Sunday, June 17, 2012


Last weekend on a last minute whim, I decided to hitch a ride with Shana, the BO, to a show. It was nothing but English and Western Pleasure, but I thought it would be fun to just get out. It is always a new experience to go to different types of shows, just because the English/Western pleasure horses are extremely different than Olly. First off, as we all know, the BRH is a TB not a QH. That generally means we get pushed to last place and have to work our way up to the ribbons. Then after one lap and passing, oh Idk, EVERY horse in the arena, we remain in last place. We entered in two classes. English Pleasure and English Equitation. For all of you that do the English Pleasure stuff, I commend you, because I couldn't do it as a discipline. I find it a bit boring and unchallenging. It is just not for the BRH and I. We didn't even place in the English pleasure class. We were on the wrong lead, which is just baffling how we did that, but we just failed miserably.
The Eq class had a pattern, our only hope for placing. We basically looked at is like a dressage pattern, but as slow and loose-reined as possible.
I tried finding the actual pattern but I think I pitched it. So, I decided to draw the pattern for you.

We accomplished the pattern, not the slowest but we were half way collected and placed 5th out of like 9.
I don't have a video of the class. :(

This weekend it stormed like crazy, but that didn't stop us from going to the barn and riding. I packed all three kids and Benni in the car and we were off to go play in the mud. THAT I do have a video of.

I apologize for the length of the video, I edited it on my mom's computer and the software shut down (grrrrrrrrrrr!!!!) So I just added a few captions and saved it like that. Next time, I will use my computer and have a shorter more edited video.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Padded Room? Coming Right Up!!!

So, I have been MIA lately. And for many reasons, some good, some bad.
Here's the run down:
One week out of the blue, Summer's Eve just up and text me saying he would be sending the boys to Indiana (from Hawaii) in a week. Just a month and a half before his decision, I was in a court room, yet again, fighting for custody. I have no idea why he is making thing everything so difficult. I just chalk it up to his stupidity, which is, a lot.
Anywho, one week later, 18Apr, I was sitting at O'hare airport awaiting the flight of my life. At that point in time, I hadn't seen my boys in eight months. **tear**
One of the happiest days of my life. I had just ended a crappy job and just in time to spend all my time with the boys. I enrolled them in school, even though they would only have 7 weeks left in the year, and began to repair all that was instilled in Hawaii...

One of my non-horsey days...

The following weekend we made a trip out to see the BRH. Colton wanted to ride. I threw Shana's western saddle on him and we hopped on. Olly was stoked and ready to go. Colton opted to pass until we got the "hops" (bucking, as it's normally called) worked out. His weight was back to where it should be and his energy/attitude level was more than what any horse would ever need. Yup, he was ready to be put back to work. Until....
That Monday. I got a phone call from Shana (the BO) telling me I needed to head to the barn ASAP. Olly had decided to roll...into the fence. Yes, he ROLLED INTO THE FENCE. A three wired fence. Just a standard fence. He has about a half an acre to roam in, all to himself. He has a stall/run in (stud size) with friends to talk to. There is no reason why he should have any issues. BUT, in true BRH fashion he could injure himself in a padded room.
Now, I am not sure how he did it exactly, the BO was not home from 9:30-1:30. When she returned, he came running up to the fence like nothing was wrong--except that he was bleeding. A LOT. I grabbed the boys from school early and headed to the barn. I got there at about 2:45p. He was stiff and looked like he had tried to rip his leg off. PANIC. I choked back the tears, and started evaluating. First instinct-VET. I text my vet friend and she checked out the pics the best she could. She advised suturing. Now--from here on out--I am not asking  for advice of others. I have consulted a vet and with my own knowledge have decided to do, what I thought was best. That being said, this is what I did.
I did not opt to suture the laceration. Why? Because it was right below the joint. If it would have been sutured it probably wouldn't have drained well, possibly abscessing or tearing out the sutures altogether. I grabbed the first aid kit with the betadine scrub and cleaned it up. The laceration was only superficial and was already swollen. He needed some antibiotics and pain meds. All I had was bute-powder form. Olly was already having eating issues, so I rummaged for some Banamine. The BO had some left over from another horse, that was no longer there. I headed out to get some antibiotics, and wound dressing. I knew that it was a great risk, but I really thought this was the best solution.
Every day for the next week and a half I went out to the barn to give the banamine (for 5 days), antibiotics and cold hose twice a day. I cleaned and dressed his injury. He never really was lame. He was sore, but not lame. After the first few days there was swelling, but it was minimal. I decided to leave him turned out and unbandaged. Again, please no judging on the treatment. I know how rough it sounds, but I really did think this was the best.
After two weeks he was trotting around like it w as nothing. The only thing I was really worried about was the granulation tissue that might form. After doing some research, I found this great product. Schreiners Herbal Solution. After reading about the herbs that it contains, and the process in which it works, I decided to give it a try. Now, I didn't start treating with it until the antibiotics were finished. Initially I used Horseman's Dream Vet Cream, to keep it soft and covered. Here is the website if you are interested.

Tomorrow it will be six weeks post injury. I decided that because of his attitude and how well he is healing, he would be ok for a ride. Nothing big, just a few times around the arena. We rode about 25-30 minutes. This isn't the first ride, I have been on him twice before, once bareback and once with a saddle, but nothing but walking, 5 minutes each time.
I do not have a picture of his leg from today, but I will get one the next time I am out. I do, however, have one from a few (almost 3) weeks ago.
Yucky, yet healing.

This was Wednesday of this past week, Olly is just thrilled with Benni...

Here is a video from today, there is minimal swelling just below his right hock (where the actual injury is).

I didn't get the bucking on video. :(

Travis, my non-rider. He's pretty damn good!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


This week the BRH has been asked to increase his efforts. We have done long hacks, short hacks and Tuesday a little of arena jumping. I haven't made any jumps yet. The barn that we are at is strictly western pleasure and barrel racing. We fit in well. I scanned the barn and surrounding areas and found a few buckets and rails. I made a skinny...which is a new meaning of "skinny" and threw in the mounting block just for the heck of it.
At first I think Olly was just happy to be jumping, but then got bored...quickly. He was basically just trotting over the cavaletti-esk jumps I made. I did add a few ground rails at the far end of the arena.
I have it on video. I didn't set the video to music this time, only because the commentary is slightly hilarious. Sometimes I forget there is a camera rolling.

It was a short ride, just because I didn't want to tire him out too much and we had done quite a bit of riding over the past week.

Yesterday, we went out for another hack. Nothing too much. I think it topped out at like 3-4 miles. We trotted some good lengths in the fields and did one nice controlled canter. Mostly walking enjoying the 81* weather. That's right 81*!!!! I can only hope and pray that the weather stays nice. **fingers crossed**

Today, depending on the weather, thunderstorms starting at 5p, may have the day off. I think he deserves a good break. His last day off was Friday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back in Action

I have been waiting for you 11March!!! One addtional hour to go riding. I dislike winter and every thing it stands for. Not one thing is good about it. The sun is setting later and the weather is showing signs of possibly staying warm. I'm happy.
The first warm day was a little over a week ago. I dicided to skip riding and give the BRH a bath.

64* is NOT warm enough for a bath!

Then it was on to conquor his tail. I love his tail and have had sleepless nights over the bundle of protein that looks like a rats nest. Over the past few months I have dumped conditioner on it and wrapped it until the weather was warm enough for me to fully brush every strand. For the record, I don't think the poor conditioning attempts helped at all.

No! Not the tail! Pleeeeeeasee not the tail!

Perfection---yes, it's dark. That is how long it took me.

The following weekend the weather dropped into the 30's* and the wind was terrible. We decided to pass on the riding in open, hurricane force winds, corn fields. Last week was the first of somewhat consistant days above 45*. We took a few short rides, just becasue the daylight was limited.

Yes, that is a bear in a field...a BIG bear. Where are the bears coming from? Huh, Liz?? I blame Lance!!!!

Thursday was the first day of asking the BRH to put in some effort. I timed the trotting sets and asked him to hold his form for longer than he was willing to offer. The fun thing about riding in the corn/bean fields is the distractions. Olly is easily distracted. This gives us both practice on focusing and I find that we don't get bored as easy. Win, win. We continue on at a good working trot, focusing and I start to feel him engage his hind end and round his back. I release my little finger off one of the reins and scratch his withers and tell him good boy. I then realize that he only held it for a few strides. I turn around and see that he was pooping and not *really* engaging his hind end like I would have hoped. FAIL--I was still encouraging. 

Holy Big Buck Tracks!!!!

Friday knew that Olly would be slightly sore from pushing him a bit the day before so I went out (with Grandma Gracie in tow) to brush and love on him. I also did a few carrot stretches just for the heck of it. I go out in the paddock and bring him to the hitching post. As we all know, the BRH does bow. Not that difficult of a trick to teach, BUT what I found interesting/hilarious was Olly started to bow to beg for the carrots. I wish I could have gotten THAT on video or even a picture. Of course when I went to recreate the incident, it didn't happen.

"Is this far enough to get a carrot?"

Saturday morning I decided that we would go out for a nice long hack. There is so much to explore out here with all this open land. Shana (the BO) did inform me that to the east the farmers are cool if you ride in the fields, but to the west it's a no-go. Fair enough--to the east we go!! It was a bit chillier out. I had a hoodie and my Carhart, which at one point I may of been a mistake. The trotting sets were working me too, but after we broke to a walk I was thankful I had it. We walked along side the road and any path that went through the fields. We did only one canter set, just because I could feel his fatigue from the trotting sets.
Of course, when we turned around to head back in the direction of the barn his walking pace almost double than on the way out.

"Mom, why are all my friends short and fat?"
(We live in QH country)

At the last field, the one we were doing trotting sets in a few days before, Olly was on a loose rein, he took it upon him self to cross into the field and increase his pace. I thought it was so cute. "Mom, can we breeze the last few yards?? Huh? Huh? Huh?"I gathered the reins and let him breeze along, I did make sure to not let him go and push himself, even though I know that is what he wanted. When we got back to the barn he was so tired he just stood there and enjoyed all the brushing and loving.

"Don't worry about the halter Mom, I'm not going anywhere."

Sunday we went around the block. Now normally "going around the block" isn't that really that big of a deal, but here a bundle of 200 acre corn fields make up a block. All we did was walk. Yes. The entire time. Just puttin' some miles on. It was relaxing. I could tell Olly was feeling it from the six miles we had done the day before, but he was happy to go out and see new things. We decided to go west, since we would only be walking. It was nice to just feel him under me walking and relaxing. We talked, and by 'we' I mean ME. The BRH is a good listener. As we're just tinkering along, the BRH stops dead in his tracks. Now, a few years ago this would have been a 10ft lateral jump along with a spin and possibly a 10 yard dart in the other direction, but the BRH today has learned that a simple "WTF" will suffice.
*side note* a few years back I read in a magazine (Equus, I think) where this dressage rider taught her horse to freeze instead of bolt. This is where I got the idea from. The BRH was a bolter. Apparently he was chased by lions when he lived in the African Safari many moons ago. Back to the magazine--She talked about being very observant of your surroundings and trying to spot the 'hazards' before your horse does, then prepare. In the begining I felt like that was all I did was ride defensively. But after a few months I noticed that the bolting turned into just jumping sideways, then the jumping lessened to just freezing in place with your front feet out like a giraffe and now most of the time he just freezes and watches until he's comfortable or I say go. Which ever comes first. NOW, this isn't always the case...the camels got the best of the BRH not so long ago.
Why did the BRH freeze on the hack around the block?
**Freeze stance**
"Uhhhhh what kind of horses are those?? Paint's?"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Three Hour Tour....

This morning when I got up the temperature was like 30*. And since we did some jumping yesterday, I thought, maybe the BRH would appreciate the day off. Well, I walked outside to let Benni out and it was wayyyy warmer than I had thought. I think my phone didn't upload the weather recently. I ran back in the house and threw all the stuff I had pulled out of the fridge to make my lunches for the week, back and grabbed the first pair of jeans I could get my hands on and was out the door. I had said yesterday that we were going to work on dressage, so I dug out the dressage pad and saddle, along with his dressage bridle (loose ring french link) and got started.

It was really nice out, I had on two shirts, standard Indiana attire, and a hoodie. Yesterday I had on two shirts, a hoodie, my Carhart, jeans and thermal breeches. Today, two shirts and a hoodie...well, and jeans of course.
Indiana weather has a mind of it's own. In the winter it is freaking cold and snowy. We are just about an hour east of Lake Mighigan and about an hour and 45 minutes from the Ohio line. I live about fifteen minutes from the Michigan line. Easier said-I live 10 minutes from Notre Dame. In the summer it's hot and humid. Winter starts in Oct and ends in April or May. I hate winter. And my birthday is in the winter...

So, it was nice out and I thought instead of riding in the arena we would head out for a decent hack. Olly loves to go out on hacks, and this was the best day to do it. We started out going our normal way. We trotted down the field where our xc logs are and turned down the first side road. All down this road there are farms with horses. Olly neighs at every farm to see if anyone will answer. None of them usually do, they are just content to be fat and eating their grass. There is, however, one paint that always comes to the fence. He never causes a problem, I think he is just curious.
Curious Paint and Fat Arab
"Let me know if the TB is interesting, I may get up"

Normally, when we get to the end of the road we turn right (this takes us to the camels). Today, we turned left. As much as I dislike being back in Indiana, I have to admit that it is pretty out here in the country. Flat, but pretty. As we were walking I made mental notes of all the cool places to work on endurance. Whenever we found a lane or something we wanted to explore, we went. I kept an eye out for No Trespassing signs. We would retrace back and continue on down the road. My plan was to go around the block. Next side road turn and that should take us back in the direction of the barn. Well, little did I know we would be on the longest hack in Indiana to date.
Indiana goes on for days. You can see for miles.

We kept on doing our trotting sets and cantering sets. No crossroads in sight. Just enjoying the day. I heard and saw a ton of geese, in the fields and in the sky getting ready to set into the fields. Along the side of the road there were hundreds of deer tracks, and a few were of some massive bucks. One of the wooded areas we walked past was full of pines. Turkeys had to be in there. We crossed to the other side of the road and sure enough I heard them. None within sight, but they were loud, just hens clucking no gobbles. That's the next season up, April, I think. 
In the near distance I see, what appears to b a crossroad. I was somewhat thankful only because I was freezing and we had gone about 3 miles. The closer we got to the "crossroad" the more it wasn't. It was a drive way. How do I know?
Well, I know because there is no road sign and it clearly has the "Indiana Driveway" identification, a hubcap.

So since this was not our exit, we continued on. I did happen to see a promising stretch to canter. And it had a sign-I'm sure the sign said "Made for cantering sets for Pru and Olly." Once we got closer it said "Wetland Preserve." I was close.
I am not sure if you can see the little tank (pond) in the back ground.
We did breeze the little strip of grassy land just inside the Wetland Preserve. I could tell Olly was feeling the long hack and we hadn't even found our "crossroad" yet. As we slowed, I saw a road sign, just after a bridge. Finally!! An intersecting road that would turn us in the direction of home. 
Oh, wasn't a road. It was a sign saying we were crossing into the NEXT COUNTY!!

The Kankakee River

I tried but didn't see ANY roads, other than the one we were on. And by this point it was no longer New Rd it was 300S. I could see cars driving a few fields over and it actually crossed my mind to hoof it cross country to "said" road. The corn fields were acres and acres and the wind was blowing. I was starting to wonder why I made the decision to leave my Carhart in the car. I was fine until the sun ducked behind a cloud, then I really started to contemplate turning around. 
The dirt here is so rich, hence all the corn and bean fields.
This picture (above) was the turning point. We had been out for two hours. I knew that it would be a quicker ride home because we weren't exploring as much, plus Olly had turned on his BRH GPS and was double timing it.

Here is a short clip of the BRH's GPS in action. I do not have a helmet cam, this was on my phone.
Once we were headed back it was a bit quicker pace. You can see the first clip of the video he's really working his walk. After a few minutes, I started scanning the surroundings. Even though I am not a fan of being in Indiana, I am thankful for the beautiful day and everything in my life. I did notice that my immediate "family," the ones I love (outside of mom and such) are all male. The irony...Back to the hack.
While scanning, I notice the tower we passed on the way out, it's about a mile or so from the barn. 
See the antenna? It's the tiny little red stick FARRRRRRR in the background.
Yeah, that's how far we had to go to ALMOST get home. We kept going at the pace Olly was tracking. I just let the sun warm me as much as I could and every few hundred yards I tucked my hands under his saddle pad near his withers.
I promised Olly one last breeze in the xc log field before we made it to the barn. As we were approaching the field Olly's attention was diverted.
Mom!! They are taking our xc logs!!!!

The trucks and bulldozer were hard at work removing the last of our make-shift xc course.
We made our last SLOW canter set down this field and walked the rest of the way home. Olly was beat, but happy and so was I. Total time? A little over three hours. Normally I would have no issue riding for this long, but it was too chilly for just a few shirts and a hoodie. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This week has been interesting. The weather can't make up it's mind...cold and snow, then warm and rainy, oh, and back to cold and snow. I am very thankful for the warm breaks, but it makes the cold and snow that much more crappier. I have decided that if I take my riding clothes to work and change there, race to the barn (which is about 25 minutes away) and hustle saddling, I can ride for at least 30 minutes before it gets dark. Thirty minutes doesn't seem like a lot, but when you don't get to ride at all during the week due to no daylight, it's worth all the effort.
Monday I happened to walk outside while at work and noticed it was clear and warm out. How did this happen?? I have no idea. I made up my mind that I was going to ride. I didn't have a change of clothes, but I was going to make it happen.

I rushed out and hopped on for just a few minutes. I totally didn't have the right attire, but at this point I didn't care.
 Mom, it's 53* out, can the sleezy come off now??

Peacoat, slacks and muck boots--perfect for riding.

We rode in the arena for about 15 minutes. Tuesday was supposed to be even warmer. Score!
Tuesday I had brought my riding clothes to work. The BRH was going to have to put some effort into it. It was too dark to actually video, I tried. All I got was an Olly and Pru silhouette. Video-not so much. Stills-awesome.

This one is my fav.

Wednesday I fully intended to go out riding, but had lawyer issues and had to pass.
Friday we had us time. No riding just tons of scratching and loving.
Today, Saturday, I made sure the camera was charged and went out did some jumping and a short hack.
A few things I have noticed we have to work on:
-speed. I feel like we are racing to the jumps, but when I watch the video we are just cantering along. I think that I just need to maintain an even collected pace. Feel free to leave feedback blow.
-leads. Simple changes are just that, simple. I haven't really tried flying changes since we have been back at it, but This coming week, tomorrow, we will. There is no reason why we should still be doing simple changes.
-strides. As you will see in the video, we botched on of the tries at the log. Of course, this was my fault, but practice is practice.
What I do know, is that Olly has remembered way more than I expected. I just need to brave the weather and put the miles back on him to get back into shape.

Ever hear some one say "stick it where the sun don't shine?" I'm pretty sure whoever coined that phrase meant Indiana. It's always gloomy here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pffffttttttt!!! Who's Out of Shape??!!

I set out on a mission today. I packed my camera up and my Carhart and headed out. Olly has been showing me that he has remembered a lot more than I had expected. Today, we were going to be working on transitions and simple changes. I wanted to do some exercises with ground rails, but I didn't have any.
Come one Mom, let's get the boots on and get rolling!!

We started out doing light arena work. Walking and trotting in both directions and a few laps cantering, just to warm up. The plan was to be as informational on the video for Maddie, my friend with the OTTB, in VA. After warming up, I started with a working trot. It was time to start working on collection. He was going to have to really work at it, since he hasn't worked those muscles in quite some time. In the videos you will see that he is trying, but can only hold a half way decent form for short periods. It will improve the more we ride. I'm not really worried about it just because it is the lack of muscle. It will develop in time.

Here are two books that are a must have:

The first video is mainly transitions. We did up and down transitions. For the last few rides I have been noticing little things that need fine tuning. I know it's difficult holding his form. While doing some of the trotting I really had to keep my hands still and good contact with the bit. I also had to keep my legs on him to encourage impulsion, I think he just needed the extra help. I also noticed that I was lacking on the outside rein. I know it has been a bit since we were consistently riding, and I know that outside rein is important, but I didn't remember how important it was to him. As I watched the video, I did see how loopy my reins were. Fail. That is why I like doing work and recording, so I can see what I am doing wrong. I set up a few angles to video from.

Note to Maddie:
     Things to watch for-in my riding and also yours:
           * keep your hands still
           * keep contact with the bit-no loopy reins
           * no posting ( that goes for up or down transitions) unless the gait you are going to stay in is a trot
           * keep you heels down and legs still NO BUMPING HER SIDES
           * maintain same tempo
           * remember diagonals
           * don't be afraid to fail. just try again
           * have fun and don't get frustrated

The most difficult for me to accomplish out of the above list are loopy reins and bit contact. With out those you lose your horse. You can see in the video him falter when my reins go to shit. Oh and don't forget the bend. Bend is the curve of your horse's body when turning . I think of it as one minute past 12 noon (like on a clock).

In the last part of the video we do a simple lead change. Right to left. His body enters the diagonal slightly bend to the right, we break to a trot remain straight and then bend to the left for the lead change. Now, in reality, he should be bent to turn, be straight for the entire change then bend to the left to change direction. We are not perfect, but it's a start.

The next video is more on lead changes. The BRH had a few issues with anticipating my next move. Of course, he was right 99% of the time, but that does not make it acceptable for him to do. We had to do a little corrective training, which is on the video. I had to use a lot more leg and even get the lunge whip out to help hold him. He dropped his shoulder, which may have been an outside rein issue. My bad.

After the arena work Olly still seemed to have some energy. I decided a short hack would be a good reward for such a good ride. We went to the nearest downed corn field, where we usually breeze the length. I was scanning and noticed that in the middle of this field there used to be a tree line. Now, all it is is huge logs and stumps....**idea** I bet I could jump that shit.  We trotted across the field to check it out. I found a few logs that would be perfect to try out.

 Log A
Log B (Let's go Mom!!!!)
Log A is in the video.

She's seen better days...

Roached mane

Mom, please...I'm eating.