Still Kicking!

Blogged under Blondie,Elle,Horse Shows by Julie on Wednesday 21 April 2010 at 8:56 am

It’s been a while since I have updated this blog. I have been busy with work, and I didn’t really have much to say.  It is probably not very interesting to read about how many times I walk, trot, and canter around the arena during lessons.  Show season has kicked off for the summer, so hopefully I will have more entertaining things to post about!

Anyhoo, the holidays were busy and sped right by.  I started reading more, if that’s possible, and am incorporating more fiction reviews on the other blog.  That kept me distracted from the bitter cold of winter, and has me excited about books again.  It’s fun to interview an author after you have just read their book.  It doesn’t work that way with the manga authors.

The ponies are good, and they kept me sane during the winter, too.  I was able to take Blondie to the last two academy shows, and she was so good!  We won the Schooling English Pleasure classes, but bombed on the equitation classes.  That had nothing to do with her, and I have already accepted that it will take many more years of practice before I look as graceful in the saddle as some of these kids who have been riding since they could walk!  We tried the judge’s pattern at the championship show, and though we had a rough spot here and there, Blondie did the pattern correctly.  I was proud of her!  The award banquet was last weekend, and we were the champion schooling English pleasure team (Nyk contributed, too).  Yay us!

Elle is coming along, and I think she is going to be a cool park horse.  She has such a pleasant personality and a big, ground covering trot. She makes her performance debut at Gold Cup, and I am so excited to see how she does.

I am at the River Ridge show this week.  Blondie goes twice today, once with M in the saddle first, and then I show her in the Amateur class this evening.  We rolled in after 7 last night, I helped unload the trailer, and then I headed off to my hotel.  I miss the RV and will be glad when I can just veg in one place again.  If I win the lottery, the first thing I am buying is a motor coach.

To Elle

Blogged under Elle by Julie on Saturday 6 February 2010 at 4:45 pm

 

I have so many dreams for you that I wonder – Will you be strong enough to carry them all for me?

This Week in Pictures

Blogged under General,Horses by Julie on Sunday 15 November 2009 at 7:42 pm

Click on the pictures to enlarge.  You can leave comments here or click through to Picasa and leave them there.

All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone.

Plugging Right Along

Blogged under Horses,Riding by Julie on Sunday 1 November 2009 at 3:11 pm

 

Gizmo and Sarah

I survived OKC, but I didn’t survive being back in Michigan!  I have been sick since we returned, and I finally went to the doctor because I was so tired of feeling like crap.  Had a respiratory infection, and after a week of antibiotics, I am actually starting to feel better.

OKC was an interesting learning experience, and hopefully the next time I go, I can be a little more competitive.  Right now I am considering a couple of options with Nyk, and if at all possible, I want to leave him in the barn.  I am considering trading him for a yearling that is a park prospect, and Ill blog more about that if it seems like a good fit.  She is a Futurity filly, and if all goes well, she is expected to show in the middle of next summer.  That is going to leave me without a horse show, but I have a couple of options in that department as well.

Today was the first time that I’ve been to the barn in a week.  I rode Nyk and Blondie, and then got a surprise; D asked if I wanted to ride Kongo and Elmer, too.  Kongo was a challenge because he is only two and he doesn’t trot square yet.  I think I did a pretty good job with him, but we both need work. 

Elmer decided to be a butthead, so that didn’t pan out, but Tina said I could give Gizmo a spin around the ring.  He is one heck of a horse, and I was so tired when I got off.  The ride wasn’t pretty, but I believe that it was good first ride.  He trots big, he gets scrambly, and he doesn’t like leg pressure.  He is so different from any other horse I have ridden. 

I feel excited and energized again by the progress I have made in the last year.  There is still much to improve on, but I can see how far I have come.  My goals are finally within reach, and I am looking forward to another winter of learning new things and becoming the best rider I can be.

OKC and Me!

Blogged under Horse Shows,Nyk by Julie on Sunday 11 October 2009 at 7:20 pm

OKC

Disclaimer – Sorry, I didn’t proofread this.  If you’d like to point out errors, I’ll fix them later.  thanks

I made it to OKC after getting a later start for the airport than planned, and running into bumper to traffic on the freeway.  It sucked.  We got to the airport with enough time to get through security, hit the restroom, walk to the gate, and sit down for about five minutes.  That’s little more rushed than I like to be, but it all worked out.  I used an epass on my iPhone to get through security and to board, and it was so much faster than a paper ticket that I was shocked.  Totally cool!

I sat across the aisle from Zoe on the plane, the flight was so short that I had enough time to read my Yen Plus magazine and a couple of chapters from Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters.  It was an uneventful flight on a tiny little plane, where everyone standing up bashed their heads on the overhead bin compartments.  Ouch!  I didn’t do it, but I felt bad for everyone who did.  Especially the lady two rows up who did it twice!

Laurie rented a car, and it wasn’t long after we landed that we were headed for the fairgrounds.  It’s only a short drive from the airport, and once we arrived at the fairgrounds, we had to find out where everyone was.  We are in Barn 4, and they did a great job decorating.  I will post pictures later -  I haven’t had a chance to shoot any yet.  I can’t believe how hectic it’s been since we got here!

We missed Amber’s class, but she placed 2nd in the 10 – 11 Walk/Trot Eq class on Peanut. I rode Nyk in the performance ring so we would have a feel for what it was like.  Gizmo and Kongo went last night, so we watched the evening session and saw some beautiful stallions.  Wish I had about a 100k so I could have a horse that pretty!  Maybe in my next lifetime.  Gizmo was third in his class.

I was exhausted by the time the session ended, and all I wanted to do was go to bed.  There was talk about going out to dinner, but I just couldn’t do it.  I would have fallen aside with my face planted in my dinner plate.  Instead, a couple of us did some power shopping at the grocery store so there would be breakfast food.  The RV was empty of supplies.  Since I was in the first class, and the food court didn’t open until 9, which was when the show started, I was a little freaked out about getting something to eat before I rode.

I didn’t sleep very well, and 6:30 arrived way too fast.  Audie’s class was right after mine, so we both got ready and headed down to the barn.  Did I mention that it is freezing here?  It is colder than it is in Detroit, and since it is so flat, there is a biting wind that just cuts to the bone.  Brrrrr.   So cold!!!!

Our first class was a blast, but we didn’t place.  There were 16 horses in it, which is the biggest class I have shown in.  I got caught up in some traffic on the first trot, but we went so long that I was able to get out of the crowd and on the rail by myself.  Nyk was very mannerly, but I couldn’t get him up of his bridle and he would not use his ears.  M said that that really hurt us.  It is so frustrating that he won’t use them at all.  He walked, trotted, and cantered the best ever, but it didn’t count for crap because he had his ears twisted around on the back of his head.

Audie rode Leela, and she finished 6 out of 12.  One of the horses in her class flipped over backward and landed on his rider – both were fine and got back up and finished the class.  I hate seeing stuff like that and was happy no one was hurt.

After hitting a few of the shops that are selling horse stuff, we went to Toby Keith’s for lunch.  It was ok – not a favorite, but not the worst.  The mashed potatoes were wonderful, and the service was great, too.  We hit some touristy places on the back back to the fairgrounds.  We saw some statues of horses and after investigating, discovered that it was a monument to the land rush, and then went downtown to see the memorial for the OKC bombings. They did a great job with that, and I wished that I had thought to bring my real camera, instead of having to rely on my iPhone.

Now I am chilling out, feeling a little tired from a whirlwind day.  I have a driving class tomorrow morning.  I really hope my little pony cheers up and uses his ears!

A Few Setbacks

Blogged under Nyk,Riding Lessons by Julie on Saturday 26 September 2009 at 5:37 pm

The mud pit that was Dayton.  This pony looks like he liked playing in all the mud.

The run up to OKC is getting a little hectic.  Things are the barn have been nuts, and to complicate matters, I haven’t been feeling well all week.  I decided last weekend to start taking vitamins to boost my immune system, and promptly got sick the following day.  And after I spent all of that money on the vitamins, too.  I think that it’s  a myth that they actually benefit you.

I started playing DDR again to improve my endurance, and was just starting tackle the 8 & 9 footers again when that training program had to be put on hold.  I think I am feeling well enough today to start playing again, though maybe only working on easier songs.

Last weekend I went shopping with Tina, and she helped me pick out a new driving outfit.  Then we went to Mexican Fiesta for dinner.  I ordered the pork stew and thought it was very good.  It even feed me for two more days!  Lots of leftovers.  The chips and salsa were a bit on the lame side, but the meal itself was yummy.

I rode Ritz a few lessons ago, and am getting better with her choppy canter.  Blondie became terrified of the back gate again – this time because the door was closed, instead of being open.  She is such a silly mare.  I have been riding her with blinkers so I can drop my stirrups and work on strengthening my balance and my legs.

Wednesday’s group lesson was just bizarre.  Sort of like being in the Twilight Zone.  Someone fell off and had to go to the ER, there were raccoons in the walls that kept popping up like shooting gallery targets, and the horses were a little out of control.  With the raccoons, Blondie again had to wear blinkers, and we couldn’t drop our stirrups.  Due to various fiascos and dramas the lesson started late to begin with, and afterward, I wished I had just stayed home because that was the day I started feeling really sick.  So typical.

I rode Nyk on Sunday with full cup blinkers, and that was interesting.  He was certainly paying attention to every cue I gave him, and he even used his ears.  He felt like a little souped up sports car.  Last night he didn’t work as well – M had the fire extinguisher out, but the little bursts of solvent that she blasted ahead of us only bored him.  Blondie would have lost her mind.

Facing the Future

Blogged under Horse Shows,Nyk,Riding Lessons by Julie on Saturday 12 September 2009 at 7:16 pm

The awesomeness that is Gizmo

Things have been a little quiet on here on the blog, due to a number of reasons.  The first is that I am just so busy, it’s hard to work up the enthusiasm to write a post after every lesson.  The second is me having to deal with disappointment over how Nyk and I placed at Jubilee.  Yes, I realize that when I got him, it was to help me become a more confident and comfortable rider.  It was to help me improve my abilities, so I could ride Blondie better.  In that, he’s helped me so much.  But that leads to the third reason I haven’t been posting much; I have to decide whether it’s time to sell him and move on to a more complicated horse.

My biggest dilemma is that I have become very attached to the little guy.  He goes out there, does his job with a happy attitude, and tries so hard to please.  I love that about him.  But when I stop and think about that last class at Dayton, when Blondie marched along and finished 3rd in the championship, I am forced to realize that the adrenaline rush just isn’t the same.  I feel buoyed for weeks after taking Blondie to a show, but I don’t feel the same way with Nyk.  It makes me very depressed, because I want to make sure that he is always happy and healthy, and there’s no guarantee if I do sell him.

Anyway, enough of the heavy stuff.  Jubilee was a blast, barring the usual shocks of reality that have a way of intruding on vacations.  While Nyk and I didn’t always place well, I feel that I haven’t ridden or driven him better than at this show.  The driving classes were especially good – I kept him cadenced, collected, and at a nice, easy pleasure trot.  He didn’t help me much because he suddenly decided to not use his ears, but he has made me a much better driver.

The fairgrounds were just stunning, and it’s hard to not be impressed by how well they keep up the buildings and the grounds.  The barns are brick!  Brick!!  The coliseum was fun to show in, and it was also fun to sit back and just watch other classes.  I spent a lot of time just watching, which I haven’t been able to do much at other shows this summer. 

There were a couple of exhibitor parties, but it was nothing like Dayton.  The free food will always win extra points from me, so I was a little disappointed with Jubilee in terms of that.  On the plus side, there were more food booths to grab a quick bite to eat, and the guy who made my breakfast for two of the days is a genius.  Thanks for the buttery, jalapeño goodness you packed into my breakfast wraps!

I’ve only had two lessons since getting back from the show, which turned out to be a good thing as my allergies have been making me very uncomfortable.  I have been tired and just not feeling well for the whole week.  Ugh.  Starting next week I will be riding every day but Saturday in an effort to get geared up for OKC.  M is letting me use Harley on Monday after work so I can work on balance exercises, and we have been doing a lot of no stirrup work during lessons.  I even cantered Blondie with no stirrups!  Something I didn’t thing would ever be possible because she can be such a silly horse. 

Ride a Paper! I Dare You!

Blogged under Blondie,Nyk by Julie on Thursday 27 August 2009 at 6:50 pm

I’m back! I was on a horsey hiatus, and it was a rather miserable week with no trips to the barn.  The rest of the gang went off to the Futurity show, but I decided not to take Nyk, because Jubilee is next week.  It is the last show that will be held at the state fairgrounds, so it was a bummer that I didn’t get to ride through the chute one last time.  It is the coolest thing, evar!

Sunday was just a goof around day, and I rode both horses.  Blondie was just a touch better behaved than Nyk.  I laughed when M suggested that I lunge Nyk before I rode him, because he doesn’t usually give me any problems, and he didn’t on Sunday, either, but he was go, go, go.  His first stop – say hello to mister wall, you silly pony, if you can’t stand still long enough for me to get myself organized.  He got to stand with his head facing the wall for a few minutes, and then we walked, and walked, and walked.  He has to flat walk next week, but he has an attention deficit disorder and keeps forgetting how to do it.

Tuesday Blondie and I tried a new pattern.  It was EPIC fail.  Out of the blue, after having no problem what so ever, she suddenly remembered that she is afraid of the back gate!  Argh!  When we were trying to canter a circle at far end of the ring, she also forgot how to canter in a circle!!  It can’t be that hard!  Horses the world over canter in a circle – why can’t my silly horse?!  She could canter a very nice circle at the OTHER end of the ring, but she became geometrically challenged every time we hit the far side of the arena.  Argh!

The group lesson last night was so much fun!  We did a lot of no stirrup work – posting with one dropped, sitting trot with no stirrups, standing changes with no stirrups.  Then we worked on the same pattern that Blondie and I failed the evening before.  And guess what?  She FORGOT how to canter a circle at the end that she isn’t afraid of!  OH. MY. GOD!!

After we worked on transitioning from a canter to a posting trot and getting the correct diagonal, we got to the really fun part of the lesson – the ride a paper contest!!  Since we didn’t have bucks, we used paper strips that I had prepped before the lesson.  Then we stripped saddles off of the horses (even though I wanted to do it with them on!), and climbed back on and had our ride a paper contest.  It got a little crazy out there, too!  I was the last adult standing, but Zoe and Audie were in it for the long haul.  It got nerve-wracking at the canter the second way, because Bobby took off like a shot, but Audie managed to hang on both her horse and her paper, and she emerged victorious!! 

A quick stop at DQ after the lesson netted me a banana pudding blizzard, and then it was time to head home.  I was exhausted, and today my legs are a little sore :)

There is Never Enough!

Blogged under Blondie,Horse Shows by Julie on Monday 17 August 2009 at 7:01 pm

There is never enough time to get everything accomplished that I have planned for the day.  Look at this blog.  I haven’t posted in a week, even though it’s been on my to do list for the entire time!  Here’s the quick run down of the horsy events for the past few days -

I rode Blondie in her show bridle a lot last week.  Why?  There was a small academy show on Saturday, and I decided at the last second to take her to it.  I thought it would be good practice to take her some place new.  I was a little nervous about taking her to this particular barn because it can be a little scary, but she was really good!  Maybe she is finally starting to mature?

We had just enough time on Saturday to get around the ring a few times, and then it was show time!  There is a mirror on one wall, and that gave Blondie a little fright, but she was fine after a bit.  She won’t flat walk and we blew all of our canters, but that was ok, because I was able to take her some place new and ride her without her making a big fuss about everything.  Everyone said that her headset was pretty, too. That made me really happy!  And D said that he will try to gait her again this winter since I finally learned how to ride her.  Please, Blondie, be a 5-gaited horse, because then you will be so awesome I will cry.

I decided to hang around this time to play some of the games, instead of rushing home.  The show was small, and I was home by a little after 2 as it was.  I stayed and played Egg & Spoon and Ride A Buck.

Egg & Spoon was embarrassing.  We didn’t even get to walk over to the rail!!  A 5 year old beat us!  Oh, dear me!  That sucked, and we will have to redeem ourselves.  I let the reins get too long and it had a disastrous effect.

Next, Zoe rode Blondie for the bareback equitation class.  They both did great!  Zoe had never ridden her before, and Blondie had never been ridden bareback before.  They were third.  Like the way I had the kid ride her first, to test the waters?  I’m not stupid!  Then Zoe rode her in the first session of Ride a Buck.  They were second. 

Next, it was my turn. I had never ridden bareback before, but seeing how placid Blondie was for Zoe, I wasn’t too worried.  The horse was pretty tired by then.  The class was so much fun, too!  It was weird riding without the saddle, but Blondie has such smooth gaits that it wasn’t scary at all.  The canter threw me a little because I was holding her back, but we ended up being second.  Not bad for never having done it before.  I am going to practice this so I am the Ride a Buck queen!! 

The end of the show was a bit of a bummer, and it stinks that certain people feel the need to ruin things for everyone else.  Sorry for being cryptic, but the people directly effected by this know exactly what I’m referring to.  Hopefully this unpleasantness won’t happen again.  It was mean spirited and uncalled for.  End of story.

Flying Shoes

Blogged under Blondie,Nyk by Julie on Monday 10 August 2009 at 6:31 pm

Last week I tried to take things a little easier since there isn’t another show for a month and I was still tired from Dayton.  Wednesday was a big group lesson, so we rode outside because the indoor hadn’t been watered and it was so dusty.  I rode Blondie in blinkers, and she was a good girl, but she kept tripping.  Then I thought I should just call it a day and put her to bed, but the kids wanted to play some games.  Well, I should have just listened to my instincts, because playing games was not in the cards for us.  No, sir.  During a rather tame session of Red Light, Green Light, Blondie tripped again and threw her shoe.  And it wouldn’t have been a complete experience unless she also threw off part of her foot.  Darn it!!

Blondie’s feet were reset on Thursday, so it wasn’t really that big a deal, but darn it! She hasn’t thrown a shoe in a long time.  M said that all of the mud from the show probably loosened it up, and her feet were getting long.  Now she has nice shiny hooves after her pedicure.

Friday I rode Harley in a show bridle.  What a difference a few years make!  I haven’t ridden him in a show bridle in ages, and he actually set his head for me!  He was a little rough going the second way, but we cantered with no stirrups and practiced trotting figure 8s and circles, both with and without stirrups.  It was nice to see that I have improved since I showed him last, and I wonder how we’d do if I showed him now.  Hmmmm.

Yesterday was SO HOT and humid.  It was awful. Heat index in the 100s.  Didn’t work the horses very long, mainly because I was getting too overheated!  I rode Blondie and jogged Nyk.  I was too hot to ride him.  Instead, I practiced jogging circles and figure 8s in the buggy.  It was a lot easier before the two horses and one slow person invaded the ring.  And then we jogged one of the tires right off the bike, so our practice time was over.

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