Due for a crash landing…

So it’s been a while since I’ve really posted anything. Partly I haven’t had too much to post, but partly I’ve just been dealing so much with a crappy period of nearly non-stop migraines and while some riding has taken place, I’ve had nothing exciting to talk about about and the rest of the time I’ve really been too miserable to care.

While I’ve been feel like crap (hopefully the new medicine regime will get them back under control), Batty’s been feeling pretty good. We’ve had some good hacks, a couple of good lessons, lots of horrific heat, and a nice trail ride or 2. Between the heat, migraines, and pony finals, we missed a lesson while my trainer was a way, but got back on track last night.

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(all pictures are from a ride a couple of weeks ago).

Overall, he was a good boy for our flat work. We’ve really been working on my position at the canter in the corners. I’ve ridden super sensitive, upright thoroughbreds for so long that I’m so used to spending so much time in half seat whereas Batty is a downhill quarter horse so I need to break myself of that habit. Trainer has my half seating the long sides and sitting and lifting through the corners. Makes complete sense, I just need to get myself used to that! We’re getting there. I also don’t always like to side. I can lean back without actually sitting which is bad as well. Old habits die hard…. But, progress is being made, or so I think?

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After drilling flatwork, less trot work today, and more canter work (yay canter circle and my inability to drop my outside shoulder without being reminded in one direction…) we did a little jumping. Trainer decided we’d be nice to Batty and start with something simple and easy. A tiny little gate without any boxes or flowers heading towards the in gate. Well, idiot horse decided to fight today and it took us what felt like forever to get over it, we did eventually but it wasn’t easy. He fought a bit the second time, but after that was fine with it. Strangely enough, he much preferred the jump the other direction. After that we moved on to another, more built up jump and he did much better with that. Wanted to jump it the first time but got over soon after (we sort of practice the walk up to it and ask until he goes over philosophy as they’re small enough that he can carry himself over at this height). This one he was probably the most confident with this jump.

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After our brush box, we moved on to a simple gate and that’s where we found disaster. He actually wanted to jump it, but there was a stupid vine (I swear, the fake vine was annoying the shit out of him) that he was staring at and the footing made noise when it hit the plastic vine…. So, crop, spur, crop, spur, crop, spur, SUPER HORSE LAUNCH OVER JUMP and on the other side we were!!…unfortunately, not together. I just got too much weight in my right stirrup and went flying off and landed hard. It took me a few minutes to get myself together (I feel like for the first 15 seconds I couldn’t make sense when I tried to talk?) which kind of freaked me out but otherwise, we’re all ok.

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a fall so I know I was due, but did I have to have a hard fall? I think I whacked my head (it hurts) though no one seems to think I did) and I don’t have so much as a scuff on my brand new helmet (ride 3?) so who knows? This morning my lower back and right hip are throbbing and I have a nasty cut/bruise on my right elbow. I think I’m going to live on Advil today…
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Because we love abscesses

Batty and I have a new tradition. I go on vacation, he gets an abscess.

He was a little wonky at our lesson before vacation. Not lame so much as  a little ouchy up front. We pushed through it as he was find unless we got into the really deep sand and we both survived. We even survived a hay bale jump that he thought was going to eat him alive. But, we got over it and connected 3 big boy jumps together and called it a night.

Not thinking much of it, I gave him some bute for a couple of days, he seemed 100%, and I went on vacation. I had some fleeting thoughts about soaking his front feet with white lightning before vacation, just in case (brain kept hinting at abscess), but honestly? I ran out of time. Between the heat, buying grain before vacation, and picking up our once dead, now fixed lawn mower (and successfully backing trailer DOWN my long driveway), I just didn’t have time. As it was, I don’t know how I got what I got done. So, no front hoof soaking.

Which turned out OK because the abscess turned out to be in him right hind hoof (and he just showed generally ouchiness upfront). Horse sitter let me know Saturday morning that he started gimping a few days before and was walking on his toe and gimping around starting Friday. Considering he was 3-legged lame last summer when she watched him, she wasn’t super concerned and didn’t want to take away from my vacation this time. All was fine, but damn, 9 months without an abscess and I go on vacation and? Abscess.

So we got home on Saturday night and I didn’t deal with his hoof until Sunday. He was miserable, 3-legged, and stocked up in his right hind. Our typical reaction. But, he had no issues gimping to the water, his bucket, and the hay so… Anyway, I did a white lightning soak Sunday and poulticed his leg. Hoof was definitely bothering him and he did NOT want the hoof wrap on (just while his foot was in the white lightning bag), but we survived.

I got home from work yesterday to this:

Popped a 2″ hole out his coronet. And I’m pretty sure it still hurts.

So much so that he tried to kick me when I set to soak with white lightning (had to get husband to help since this idiot wanted NOTHING to do with me messing with his hoof. Then he decided to run away from me (he’s sound at the trot). Needless to say, I was NOT happy with him and I have a bruised thumb thanks to his antics. Anyway, I got my husband to help with a chain and got his soak going and leg poulticed (don’t mind the excess poultice hand prints…) and dumped him him the round pen (that still needs tree limb repairs) and left him for an hour.

After ignoring each other for an hour (the 98* weather didn’t help any of this), we were both in better moods. Removed the wrap without issue. In fact, he even let me squirt iodine in his gaping hoof hole with no issues and didn’t fight the ichthammol either. While he sound, I’m pretty sure there’s more to draw out.

That said, why, of all hooves, do we need an abscess in his already crappy, scar tissue filled hoof? And to blow out the coronary band? So that it can grow down where he’s got plenty of scar tissue and a permanent crack and structural instability?

DIY Fly Bonnets

So, for a while now, I’ve planned to start making some fly bonnets, or head doilies as my husband calls them, and I did start making one last year? But to be honest, lack of motivation sort of stopped the quick project in it’s tracks.

Anyway, last week I finished up one I started a year ago and started/finished a second one this week. The first one has crocheted ears and I just don’t like them (too bulky and weird) so  I’ve got to get back to that one and redo it. For the second, I went with fabric ears. While the fabric is a pain when you don’t have a sewing machine, they’re not horrible.

Anyway, my first fabric ear attempt sort of failed (see picture on left). Despite following a random pattern for ears I found somewhere, they were just too small. They fit on Batty, but were just too tight. I couldn’t even get them on Subi’s head. Who knew his ears were bigger than Batts’? Moral of the story, before attaching ears, make sure said ears fit horse… Much better than trying on a fly bonnet with too small ears in the dark at 10:30 at night. Not that I did any such thing… Yes, my horses are saints.

Ear attempt # 2 was more successful (see picture on right) though I’m still not completely happy with how I attached them (but happy enough not to pull them back off). I did not follow my own advice and try them on before attaching, but I was lucky and they fit (AND I have the pattern for next time (could make them more narrow at  the top too if I want).

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“I am not amused. I have polka-dot antlers.”

I’m happy to report they stayed on the entire ride despite a less than impressed horse (though he was more less than impressed by the spurs I was wearing, the heat, and my insistence that he get in front of my leg and move forward). It was hot and humid and buggy, but he didn’t have bugs in his ears.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with how this one came out. Working on a second one that hopefully I’ll finish this week. Then I have lots more fun yarn and fabrics to mess around with. Poor horses, but at least I’m happy?

Anyway, thunderstorms expected this evening and of course I have a lesson. I seem to luck out with lessons and thunderstorms…

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Go Drexel?

Weekend wrap up

I already posted about Sam, the giant horse, but I figure I should catch up a little on the rest of the weekend.

I’m trying to get back into lessons again and had my first lesson (in a couple of years) scheduled for earlier last week. Of course, a storm was moving in so about 40 minutes before my lesson, we rescheduled for Friday. Storm dissipated completely and it was sunny (though raining) during my would be lesson.

Lesson on Friday was a little earlier than was convenient, but being a holiday weekend, I decided I could skip out a little early. So, when 4:30 came around, I headed out. Just to get to my car as a bolt of lightening struck and knocked out power across the university campus. No rain at this point either. Of course, I park in a gated lot which meant that the electric gate didn’t work to let us all out. Calls to parking and public safety were useless and no one necessarily wanted to be “the one” to break the gate. Eventually, we decided to drive through the handicap ramp and sidewalk to exit the parking lot. Fun times, but no cars go stuck. I’m not sure if it would have been as successful if it were raining…

My drive home included lots of sun, lots of rain, localized flooding, localized heavy winds, and downed branches. Oh and more blinding sun. I got home to find heavy rain and part of a tree on my round pen. Another fun project. Still, radar looked looked like it would clear out, 6pm showed 0% percolation, and no lesson cancellation. Because of the rain, I ended up rushing out last minute (we had a long 1 mile drive…) and felted rushed pretty much until I was actually on Batts.

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Round pen repairs needed again….

While I’ve worked with this trainer very briefly a few years ago, I was still nervous because that’s me. Nerves and stress. Add in crazy 90% humidity and I was feeling sort of wonky to start out.

Overall, the lesson went pretty well and we’re going to try and stick to an every other week schedule (I’d love to do more, but my bank account objects) and I’ll haul in on off weeks to hack in the ring. We worked on pace, moving off my leg when asked, bending, and energy. Needless to say, we rocked our halts and downward transitions, but it was suggested I start wearing spurs with him again since he was zero respect for my leg. Right now we’re following the whole ask with leg once, then demand with crop. I’ve avoided spurs lately as my leg sucks and swings though trainer has indicated that it really doesn’t in reality… So, back on spurs go, at least for flat work.

We actually did some jumping which surprised me as I was expecting a flat lesson. I don’t know how much I’ve posted about Batty, but he’s a former dead quiet, bombproof lesson horse who would be absolutely perfect if he weren’t a stopper… A reluctance for jumping combined with getting hit in the mouth by a variety of riders and all of that… Even poles were an issue at times (stopping or trying to launch over them). Anyway, since I’ve had him, I haven’t done too much jumping. I didn’t jump him at all for the first few months and then boredom hit and poles were reintroduced as were cross rails. He has his moments, but for the most part, he’s pretty good with simple, boring cross rails of varying heights. Even boring (read empty) verticals were pretty consistent too and he’d occasionally pop over a 2’6″ bland vertical. Then, with all of his soundness issues and abscesses last year, he hasn’t really jumped much. Anyway, a few weeks back he popped over some cross rails and a tiny vertical and then the following week we fought a little with our jumps since the one cross rail was trying to eat him… After successfully trotting a few cross rail courses, we haven’t actually popped over anything since.

So when trainer suggested some fences, I wasn’t entirely certain. Especially since we were facing actual solid jumps (brush box and some astroturf covered thing). They were tiny, but solid. Determined he could walk over them, we worked on the whole forward motion thing. Lots of crop and kicking later, he finally made it over to lots of pats and praise. Second time was quicker success, third time was immediate. Then we trotting it before moving onto the second jump. Astro turf is scary, but having learned from the first jump, we eventually made it over, and then immediately made it over the second time. Once he was over, he was good. We trotted the line once then trotted in and cantered out and called it a day. Batty was pretty darn pleased with himself. He’s a strange one and moves very quickly from OMG something’s living in that jump and it’s going to eat me to Mr. Cocky and Proud of Himself (from there we move onto “I’m bored and can’t be bothered to put in effort” but we didn’t get that far).

Anyway, post lesson we were both exhausted and sweaty. After a nice cool shower (using cross ties! which appears we’re fine with again) we headed home to a thoroughbred who missed his Batthorse very much…

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the masked men

On Sunday, we were supposed to go to a fun little schooling show at my friend’s barn, but due to low entries, she cancelled. Instead, we headed out to Fair Hill for a trail ride with Erik and the dogs.

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My best girls (and Erik)

Armed with a broken crop, I learned bridges are something we need to work on. He was find with the first bridge until a car went under it and then no go. Darn broken crop didn’t help me much. Second bridge was scary because of the sound the small piece of metal made when he stepped on it. I eventually got off and forced him over it (again, damn broken crop) and considered it a success. The covered bridge however was no issue at all and he happily crossed that one (that was the bridge we had issues over last time). Still, considering he was out there without other horses, he did pretty well. Stuck mostly to the walk as my Hermione dog did NOT like me getting that far ahead and since it was warm, I didn’t feel like stressing my already tired pups (Marble got to lay in the creek so she was happy). I did let him canter up this small hill a bit once the dogs were back at the truck and that seemed to make him happy. Strange horse likes cantering up hill.

Arrived home and the boys were happily reunited. Well, Subi was happy, Batt just wanted to eat and I can’t same Jiminy actually cared.

Does this horse make me look short?

Led out a nice, low key trail ride yesterday afternoon. Sun, temps in the 70s, no humidity. Really nice afternoon ride. Took Sam out– he’s really just massive.

door frame for size reference


massive mounting block for size reference


sam standing downhill next to 2 draft crosses for size reference


Overall, really nice ride and grateful that Candace lets me take out her big 6 year old baby. He’s definitely a nice complement to CT and Poe: the gang of slow, slower, and slowest.

What’s better than a PONY?

Really need to catch up but in the meantime, Jiminy!​ He’d argue he’s allergic to work, especially when thick grass is involved! It’s also really hard to lunge said pony and video it… Excuse my poor skills!​ we did much better when I put my phone down. Nonetheless, he’s crazy adorable!


Weekend Adventures

So I have a lot to blog about, including trying to put my 19 year old thoroughbred back into work after a cold winter and super wet May, but I’m just going to focus on the incredible Batthorse this post.

A friend of mine came down from NY to visit me and Batt so we decided that Sunday would be a day spent at Marsh Creek State Park. Of course, after being in the 50s last weekend, this past weekend had temperatures up near 90 with lots of lovely humidity. Teaching Saturday was pretty awful and the heat really got to me before I had to lead out a trail ride in the afternoon. That said, it all went well but the day in the heat really hit me Sunday.

So we left around 9 on Sunday morning after my “OMG trailer! I’ll die!” Batthorse walked on the trailer without batting an eye. Actually, Sandra was throwing the brushed in the trailer tack/storage while I loaded and managed to miss the entire thing. ::knock on wood:: but he seems to be mostly over his issues and rather comfortable with our trailering arrangements (aka riding backwards and not being tied). We actually stopped at Wawa on our way down to pick up lunch (something I wouldn’t have dared to do before) and Batt happily watched all the commotion around him. He seemed quite entertained.

Anyway, once off the trailer at HSF, again, it was as if he was there every day of his life. Now that we’re actually going places, I just cannot get over this horse’s brain. He doesn’t even look around, he just acclimates instantly. It’s pretty insane. Those of you who know Subi know that showing for us always meant riding my horse for about 4+ hours until he was quiet enough to go into the ring without having a meltdown. Batt is just the complete opposite.

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“Hi Mom!”

After I gave Sandra a lesson on Boston and we all died in the heat, I hopped on Batt and we headed down to water to explore/splash along. While Boston wanted NOTHING to do with the water (though he was happy to stand at the edge and watch), Batt splashed right in (no hesitation today!) and considered laying down… We instead moved around before heading back to the farm to hack in the ring.

In the ring I had  a super happy and super sound horse. Truly amazing. He was probably sounder than he’s been in years. After all of his hoof issues and resulting soundness issues the last couple of years, it’s nice to have my real horse back. We’ve been taking it easy which sucks for me since I’d like to and need to ride more, but it’s been the best thing for Batty. Anyway, we hacked around, worked on our corners at the canter, especially the dreaded right lead, but he was great, picked up all his leads immediately (this horse has NEVER had perfect upward transitions ever) and even managed a nice right lead canter. After popping over a few crossrails (suddenly he sees his spots too?), I hopped off (the head was starting to get me me again) and let Sandra ride.  She jumped him a little bit more and he had fun.

After the “I want to lay down and roll” in the water incident, I decided to take him back down to the lake bareback to play. Of course, there were more people at our little “beach” including some random guy laying in the later and 2 people with kayaks and a dog. Of course, this time, without tack, Batt felt no need to roll/lay down. Of course not. Which means that next time he’ll roll while tacked up because that’s just what will happen. Anyway, Batt pretty much thinks that water is the Best.  Thing. Ever. and thoroughly enjoyed himself. He tends to make strange noises when he’s happy (moaning and humming) which he did a good part of the time we were in the water. Though we did have a kayak come right up to us to take a picture which was interesting. After commenting that he’d never seen a kayak before, the people on the shore ask if that was because he was a baby. Um, yeah, OK.

After lunch and grazing and offers from a boarder to trade horses (nope, not happening!), we headed home and I pretty much crashed from 2 long days in the sun.

In which the Batthorse takes on Fair Hill

Batt and I finally had our second off property field trip on Sunday. I finally got to meet a friend of mine out at Fair Hill for a nice little trail ride. And it actually happened even though we’ve had to cancel and reschedule thanks to the lovely amount of rain the mid atlantic region has been “blessed” with lately. Actually, we had already cancelled Sunday’s ride on Saturday fearing the trails would be too muddy. But, things looked better on Sunday morning and people were out riding so we uncancelled (good thing because our rescheduled date of the 22nd is showing rain right now).

It was a short ride, but it was pretty successful. Due to the weather, I have NOT worked much with Batt on loading. In fact, I don’t think we’ve loaded in a couple of weeks. Nonetheless, Batt loaded pretty quickly (we had about 25 seconds of hesitation) and then we were off!

What I love about Fair Hill is it’s super close (20 minutes without a trailer). What I hate about Fair Hill is that the trip is filled with tight, twisty, hilly country roads. This is fine day in and day out when I go to work, but less fine with a trailer. So, I decided that I was going to go the longer route. Of course, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get to the covered bridge lot by vehicle (I pretty much only walk to the covered bridge) and my GPS did not like my alternate route. So I ended up on different twisty country roads. I should have just stuck to the ones I know. But, I didn’t have to pass any amish buggies so success?

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Anyway, we met up with my friend Terry and her horse Bailey (they lease a barn in Fair Hill) at the parking lot and once I was tacked up, off we went. Tacking up was surprisingly easy considering Batt doesn’t currently tie. The mounting block was a little less successful since he was convinced that the piece of wood attached to it was going to eat him and there was NO WAY WE COULD STAND CLOSER THAN 2 FEET FROM IT. I ended up using the second step and leaping on. Elegant, no, successful yes. Once on, I almost look my leg on on the wood post since it’s only scary when I’m not mounted?

13177127_10100114204760095_6424462441061312462_nWe stuck with most of the paved trails since it was still muddy, but we had a good time. Batt initially thought that the lady next to the covered bridge messing with her fishing pole was going to kill him once he walked onto the bridge, but after a short fight and a brave Bailey, we walked over as if our argument hadn’t happened. It was a short ride since Bailey’s 28, but a nice introduction to riding at Fair Hill. Hopefully we’ll make this a regular thing.

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Loading after our ride was making me nervous (first time I’d actually load completely by myself) but he walked right on and all was right in the world. Hopefully the more trips we take, the more he realizes that he gets to go to fun places. That horse loves to explore, is brave, and doesn’t spook (unless it’s the second time you pass a tarp, then it’s time to spook). All in all, it was a nice, easy afternoon. It’s sort of nice to haul out for an hour and a half ride and be gone for only about 2.5 hours.

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Now I just need to plan our next adventure and find people to ride with!