Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas, Revisited

The holidays are always a tough time for blogging. Specifically, for me, I am so busy (and often out of town) that I haven't had the time to dedicate a whole lot of time here. However, I got some pretty kickass things for Christmas that I wanted to share with y'all :)

My husband, our four dogs, and I went down to Boise to spend Christmas with my parents this year, which was awesome in every way except for the fact that I didn't get to see Gigi for four days :(. Our trip happened to coincide with the going-out-of-business sale of the tack store from my childhood. Insane deals and price cuts galore. It's still sad, though.... the end of an era.

Because I have the best dad in the world, he agreed to take me there to do a little Christmas shopping for myself. Here's what I ended up with:

1) Stubben EZ-Control Loose Ring Snaffle (5.25")

I originally went looking for a KK Loose Ring, but they didn't have any in the size I needed (boo). However, I did spot this little beauty at a deep discount. I had read about this bit a few weeks back and thought it sounded interesting. So into the cart it went ;).  Verdict's still out on whether or not the princess finds it acceptable or not.

2) Eskadron Fleecy Bell Boots in White (Size Large)

This, but white

I'd been on the lookout for some nice white bell boots. First, because they are super dressagey, and second, because I just bought some giraffe print polos and I thought they would look smashing with white bell boots. Priorities.

3) Kerrits Circuit Fleece Gloves

Because, winter.

And, the best one of all....

4) Mattes Contoured Sheepskin Dressage Girth (!!!)

I'm a super legit DQ now. 

It's so beautiful. Seriously. OMG. I can't stop petting it ;)  So plush and fleecy and beautiful... and over $100 off. It might be my favorite present. I almost feel guilty putting it on my horse. It's that pretty.

In addition to the presents from my dad, Joe got me a browband and two sets of beads from Dark Jewel Designs. One string is purple/clear beads, and the other is black/clear beads with pearls. Both are absolutely stunning. I'll have pictures to show you the next time I ride. I feel so spoiled!

I hope you all had as good of a Christmas as I did. Gifts aside, it was really special. Did you all have a good holiday?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

OMG I Rode!

I rarely ever get sick, but when I do, my body doesn't fuck around.

A week ago, I came down sick, and I came down HARD.

What I thought were allergies, turned out to be a cold, which turned into the flu, which turned into some horrible, mutant sinus infection.

'Tis the season, am I right?

Anyways. Obviously, barn time has not really been happening for me lately. I feel bad for neglecting Gigi, but when the simple act of breathing in the cold outside air sends one into a coughing fit, it's probably a good idea to stay away from cold, dusty, horsey air. Blah.

But yesterday that finally changed!  I felt slightly less like death, and it was a sunny, warm (almost 60 degrees, WTF?) day. I decided that it would be criminal to waste a day like this in December. Plus, it was my day to clean stalls. So I drove out to the barn and hoped for the best.

Spoiler alert: The Best :)

When I got there, the two neighbor girls were riding bikes on the road in front of the barn. They were immediately very interested in what I was doing with Gigi, and stuck around almost the entire time I groomed, tacked up, and rode her. Gigi was very polite, and happy to take cookies from them. I think she liked having a fan club ;)

Since it was still pretty wet, and any sort of heavy exertion sent me into a coughing fit, we stuck to walk/trot stuff. I started teaching her the basics of doing a western jog. She was kind of confused, but a good sport. Basically, my goal is to teach her to slow and collect her trot down to jog-appropriate speed, while carrying herself in a low frame and not falling on her forehand. Eventually, all on a loose rein. To start that process, we did lots of serpentines and various-sized circles, leg yields, and walk/trot and halt/trot transitions. My focus was on maintaining a quality gait (no half walking, forehand-falling peanut rollers in this pasture, I'm tellin' ya) while working towards a more Western-Pleasure style aesthetic.

And yes, all of this in dressage tack. LOL

I think she will be an adorable Western pony someday :P. Regardless, it's fun to do some cross training. It was a fun ride and I am hoping to go bareback today. She really makes me feel like a kid again :D

Monday, December 15, 2014

Winter Is For Hibernating

Or, at least, that's what Gigi would like me to believe ;)

I can haz nap?

Sometimes, though, we do get a little bit of work done. It is hard not having an arena right now... we are kind of at the mercy of the weather in a more direct/important way. I don't want to tear up the pasture, or ride on slippery grass, so it's a little frustrating to now be able to do much even on days when the weather is lovely. 

So, what does that mean? 

We ride when we can. 

Savor the fun times. Write boring blog posts.

Although it's hard for me, in a lot of ways, to not be doing a whole lot right now with my shiny new pony, I do really appreciate having the time to build a relationship with her without any pressure whatsoever. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Don't have much else to add, other than I had a great ride. Miss G was super. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Because Yeah

Yesterday I just couldn't stand not riding another day.... shitty weather be damned. So I decided to hop on Gigi bareback, in a halter, because obviously.

No lunging, no tack... I didn't even take her blanket off. But she was a rockstar. Confused, but willing. I love her.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let's Talk Groundwork. And Belt Buckles.

Because really, one can only take so many selfies before that shit gets boring ;)

*Iggy Azalea voice* First things first, we're the cutest 

I haven't been able to ride much in the past couple weeks because of the weather. Unfortunately, in my area, it probably won't get much better for any sustained amount of time until around March-ish.

Happy to change careers from dressage pony to professional cookie eater.

And because we don't have access to an indoor *cough* TSB *cough*, that's going to leave us with a lot of time out of the saddle. Boo. But I'm choosing to be optimistic. After all, Gigi and I are still new to each other. There's a lot of bonding work we can do over the winter that will help us develop a better and stronger relationship.

Totally unimpressed. 

But still. There has to be a way to work on some real skills that will come in useful later in more than just a manners/bonding context, right?

And that's when I had a really bad good idea, one which I alluded to in yesterday's post.

Cutie pie :)

But first, some context...

Way back when, I spent a couple years showing on the APHA breed show circuit.  Overall, that experience was pretty dismal. Honestly, it sucked pretty hard and was not very much fun. While my tastes for peanut rolling Western Pleasure horses and post-legged halter nightmares with asses straight out of a Sir Mix-A-Lot video may have changed, I do have one hang up from that era that I've never quite been able to let go.

1) I've always wanted to win a belt buckle.
2) I have never won a belt buckle.

And, additionally:

3) I have a pathological need to show every animal I've ever had.
4) I can't stand not having a goal to work towards.

I just happened to discover that there is a local Open show series that offers belt buckles as prizes for all around winners in various breeds/age groups. Ooooh, shiny!

Is "belt buckle" another word for "cookie?"

Now, I'm not an idiot. I know that Gigi's a freakin' warmblood and wouldn't stand a chance against many of the stock horses that show. However, she is built like a freakin' brick house AND she wouldn't be competing against them in every class. There's actually a category for "other" breeds that might work for us. So, with that in mind....

That time it was sunny for five minutes

I've been working the past few days on teaching her the basics of showmanship. Setting up, backing, pivots, etc. She thinks I'm pretty much crazy, but in true Gigi fashion, is a pretty good sport about it. As far as I'm concerned, it's a win-win. We get to work on our relationship and sharpen up her ground manners, and I don't go crazy feeling like we're just tooling around with no goals. Whether we end up showing next year or not really doesn't matter. It's just nice to have something to work towards.

What kinds of stuff do you do with your horses in the winter when you can't ride? How do you deal with the forced downtime? Do you have any fun/creative groundwork games?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Radio Silence

My apologies for the lack of posts for the past week. We went out of town for Thanksgiving, so not only did I not do anything remotely pony-related for a few days, but I didn't have any internet, either.

Here's a summary of my last week, in four pictures:

Today, Gigi and I went for a walk around the neighborhood and worked on some groundwork. I started teaching her showmanship, just in case we want to play around with some open shows next year. Fun times :)

And now it's December... eek!  I've decided that I'm going to do a "25 days of exercise" challenge. Basically, I'm committing to do at least 30 minutes of some type of exercise every day until Christmas. Who's with me?