Showing posts with label Gunner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gunner. Show all posts

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The many thoughts of Gunner

On the this thing called life:

Muh name esh GunNaaAh. Gun-Nah!


Derp! I'm freaking hysterical!

Wait a minute...

Did you just derp me?!

The focus is food:

Why are you so short? Where's the treats?

They have to be here somewhere...

I can smell them....

Revelation in the round pen:

Am I a dressage horse or a pony-horse?

Because if I'm a dressage horse, you seriously need to do something about this mane.

Picture perfect:

Oh, so you want to take a picture of me?

I am not a pony-horse here, I do not just stand wherever you leave me anymore! I am a dressage horse! I shall follow you. *note the fly on his face.

Wherever you may go!

Self Image:

I have a great ass for my age!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Riding, showing, surviving

I haven't gotten much accomplished on getting posts up lately. I've been insanely busy still and no matter how much I intend to get one done, sleep inevitibaly becomes a priority. I spend my mornings at the track, my afternoons with the dressage horses, and my evenings back at the track. Any spare hour here and there is spent grabbing a quick nap or taking care of daily chores that normal people do. I pretty much spend my time hurrying from one barn to the next. I'm not complaining, just explaining my absence as of late.

Indy is doing pretty well, there are good and bad days. JL, my trainer, is going to ride her tomorrow and I'm excited to see how she goes for him. I'm kind of assuming that an Olympic rider will be able to get a hell of a lot more out of her than I can.

Barstow decided to ding up her hind leg and had to have some time off. She got shod a few days ago and my shoer said she had a hot nail in the right front. She about dropped to the ground when he pulled it and then sat there chewing and licking her lips after it was off. I knew something was there, but it honestly felt like it was up in her shoulder more than in her foot, but it still makes sense. I'm glad to know that it isn't anything major or permanent. I rode her on Saturday and she was still a bit sore on the leg she beat up. We just walked and trotted a few steps to see how sore she actually was on it. She was really well behaved! Back to work for her tomorrow.

Gunner is just happy to be away from the track. He's kind of low man on the totem pole when it comes to getting ridden, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he doesn't mind much. At all.

I took Beefheart to another schooling show on Sunday. He hadn't been going well the last week and I wasn't all that excited about going. After the fiancé watched me ride Beefs on Friday, he said that he would come out and do some body work on him on Saturday. Beefs is starting to get a little body sore and stiff with working harder. I also need to get him back on the Mega-Sel, as that seemed to help him a lot.

While I rode Indy and Barstow, the fiancé spent about three hours massaging and red-lighting Beefs! The fiancé likes for me to do well too and he isn't going to send me to a show without my horse being as sound and happy as possible. So thankful for him! After he finished working on Beefs, I put Blue Lotion on the tight spots then the fiancé took him to the round pen to roll.

I was sitting there cleaning my tack when I heard my horse tearing ass around the pen. Apparently, he was feeling better. The fiancé caught him before Beefs could kill himself and took him back to his run. Next thing I know, Ty is yelling at me to hurry up and put my stuff away, we had to get back to the track because our other shoer was leaving in a half hour. Okay, what the hell does that have to do with anything? Beefs had pulled a front shoe and the fiancé was a little panicked. Not because of the shoe itself, but I think he was a little worried about how I would react if I couldn't show. He knows I'm exhausted and stressed to the max, that the shows are an outlet for me, and didn't want me to be disappointed (even if I was pretty sure that we weren't going to have a very good one this time). Hence, his change from always being the calm one to getting a bit nervous. MB, trainer's wife, was trying to tell him that JL could put the shoe back on and asked the fiancé if he had seen him. Apparently, he misunderstood and ended up telling her that he hadn't seen the one dog, but the other one had just been laying by the truck. Eventually, it all got figured out. My fiancé was my hero for fixing my horse, MB was my hero for getting everyone organized, and JL was my hero for fixing the shoe.  I'm very lucky to have so many people looking out for me!

Oh yeah, the show. Anyway, the morning of the show I got Beefs loaded and unloaded (he can be a real ass about those things) by myself. He was a bit more awake at this show and I had to deal with a combination of whinnying and trying to eat every weed in sight to get him tacked up, but I got it done. I can't tie him to the trailer because it is obviously going to kill him, even if it just transported him safely from point A to B, and he pulls back. So, getting him tacked up by myself  when we haul somewhere is always interesting. As I finished tacking, MB and JL pulled in with the horses MB was showing. Beefs wasn't being an idiot, but he was tense and whinnying quite a bit. I led him over to where JL and MB were parked to have them hold him while I got on.

*Sorry, no show pics. The fiancé had to take care of things at the track.

I don't do a lot of warm up with Beefs because he A) gets tired and lazy or B) gets hotter and more tense. Either way, a short basic warm up focusing on getting him engaging his hind end and coming through seems to work best. You know, quality over quantity type of thing. He was tense at first and things weren't looking good, then JL came over to coach us. You know you have a good trainer when the second he starts talking, you instantly relax and things start coming together.  The warm up went well and I was starting to feel more confident. *Also, Beefs felt way better, as far as soundness goes, than he had the last week. Thanks Fiancé!

The training 3 test was our first class. I'm pretty sure it was the best Beefs has gone for me. Ever. The only things I can fault us on was that he lost focus on me and was way too interested in the judges booth, we lost impulsion a couple of times, and our right lead canter transition sucked (our left was so good that I about fell off from pure shock). Other than that, I was extremely happy with the test! We scored a 73.8 (the highest I've ever scored on any horse, even the much more talented warmbloods that I've shown when I could actually ride a whole lot better than I do now)! We won the class. There was only me and one other person in the Open division though.

Lunch break was after our first ride, so I untacked Beefs, put him in a pen, and chilled for awhile. He happily relaxed and ate his hay. When I started to tack him back up he was all like "Oh, Hhhelllll nah heifer! I was good, I'm done! WTF?!!!". This is the first time that I've taken the tack off and put it back on in the same day. He's used to being untacked meaning finished for the day. Putting it back on and getting on again was confusing for him.

Needless to say our short warm up started off pretty shitacular. He was tense, stiff, and tired. The warm up arena was rocky and he was starting to feel a tiny bit stingy. Once again JL came over, talked my dumb ass through it, and things started to come together right before we went in for our 1-1 class.

Going in, I knew there were things we suck at (trot lengthenings specifically) and tried to focus on really going for it on the things we could do well. JL had told me to think about setting Beefs up for the movements correctly rather than the movements themselves and I really tried to do that. I didn't always succeed, but I tried. Maybe too hard. The test was pretty fluid, but Beefs had some moments of tension. He lost focus in the free walk, jigged in our medium walk, and must have forgotten how to do a stretchy trot somewhere along the way. Of course or trot lengthenings sucked. His canter lengthenings were pretty nice, our 15 m canter circle to the right was good, the one to the left was okay, and our canter/trot transition across the diagonal wasn't bad at all. I was kind of proud of myself in that I ignored our mistakes and didn't let them translate onto the next movement of the test. We scored a 68.79 and won the class. Oh yeah, I was the only one in the class. Whatever. The best part was that JL seemed much happier with this test than the one we rode last time and what he thinks is much more important to me than what the judge does.

Way too many 5s for my comfort...

                           I'm pretty sure that says tilting (as in Beefs was tilting his head) not titting. Apparently, collective marks can really save your ass.

MB said she thinks we probably won high point again. I had to leave right after my class because we had two horses running and she didn't get a chance to check, so who knows. I'll find out eventually. It doesn't really matter anyway, I had fun.

These last couple of shows have taught me a lot when it comes to riding, but also about myself in general. For some reason, I ride better at shows than I do at home usually. Necessity brings out my best/better maybe? I'm bolder at shows (occasionally, my  reckless "Screw it, I have nothing to lose. Just go for it" attitude can come in handy). Showing really does relax and focus me. I don't get nervous anymore, just content. Things usually seem to come together when I'm in the show ring. Part of the confidence that I used to have returns. I'm not worried about what could go wrong, just what I need to do. Basically, I'm just happy to be out there and nothing else matters. I love it!

After the races, we met JL and MB for dinner at a restaurant that is all organic and serves grass fed beef in their burgers. I'm a rancher's daughter from Idaho, of course this was my type of place! Good food, good company. All in all, it was a pretty good day. Even if I am in Hellbuquerque.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Haven of horses

*I promise that this entire post isn't negative.

So here I am in Albuquerque. Again. Life has been crazy busy since we've arrived. I've kept up with reading my Feedly, but haven't had time to comment on posts much. Hopefully, things will level out here soon and I can be more involved with the blogging world.

I'll try to keep this update as short as possible. Let's see, where to start....

The Downs at Hellbuquerque 
Zorro hates it here too.

I feel no need to sugarcoat my feelings towards this place, so I'll just be blunt. I freaking hate almost every minute I'm at the track. Don't get me wrong, I obviously love the horses and I love racing. That doesn't mean that I have to love this track too. I spend most of my mornings pissed off, exhausted, and partially depressed. There are some very good people here that I do really like and they help make it better. It's still a long ways from good though. By the end of the morning I just want to get the hell out of there and to my saving grace: the dressage horses. I guess that's one good thing about despising being at the track so much, my motivation to go ride has increased exponentially.

Speaking of which:


I had a great, and much needed, lesson on him Saturday with JL, my trainer. We went to a schooling show on Sunday (there isn't a recognized show here until mid October). Beefs was AWESOME! We did very well in our classes, but that wasn't that big of a deal. What I was most happy about was how well behaved he was! Seriously, he was better at the show than he is at home. The arena itself wasn't scary, but there is a soccer field next to it, a raised trail on one end (which includes horses trotting by, people walking with dogs or strollers, runners, etc.) with a gate so anyone could come off of the trail right next to the arena, and the drunk guys running around on their horses (one of which that fell off and his horse got loose and ran into the warm-up arena). There were also two little kids that decided to race each other right next to the show arena, which fortunately didn't happen during my ride. Then there was the ignorant jack ass that enjoys trotting up your horses ass and about running into you any chance he got. Anyway, Beefs never spooked and he kept his focus better than he ever has before. I thought I hadn't taken him to a show in three years, but it has actually been almost four. This was only his third show, so it's not like he has ever been a seasoned veteran. He pretty much acted like one though. This makes me so happy because I want him to be my niece's show horse when she gets a little older. I think with a couple more years experience, he will be an awesome first dressage horse for her!

Watching the videos, I'm not happy with my riding. At all. I will just have to keep trying, work harder. The judge did tell me later on that we beat a really nice (more talented) horse because our test was so smooth and accurate. At least I did that much right.

His training level score was high enough to win High Point. He got a new bridle for it!

The first level score about shocked the hell out of me.

This mare has so much potential! She's smart, athletic, and beautiful. Barstow only ran three weeks ago, so she is still a little racey, but she doesn't forget what she learns. I think she really enjoys the more laid back, slower-paced atmosphere. The hardest part is going to be not getting attached to her.

Winndelynn (sorryI forgot/haven't been able to get pics yet)
I was feeling bad about not getting much done with Indy this summer (I wasn't very comfortabcomfortablee riding her at the track), but I think the time for her to mature mentally and physically was a good thing. Indy fell while she was on the walker the spring of her three year old year and my previously gorgeous moving filly just wasn't quite right after. She wasn't lame, just didn't have much flexibility in her neck or freedom in her shoulders. I had L, the best I've ever worked with, adjust her and do laser therapy this spring. Indy was much better after and I think fixing her before she had the break made her much better. She is moving gorgeous and is a lot more mature, not over reactive or spooky like before. Suddenly, all of my dreams for her don't seem hopeless anymore. My trainer's wife, MB, asked why I didn't do the four year old classes with her this year. That was something that I had originally wanted to aim for, I really don't think she could have handled the pressure though. We're going to see how she does these next few weeks and then decide if it's worth trying to show the five year old young horse classes. The fact that JL and MB even think that she might have the talent to be competitive makes me feel a whole lot better. 

*After the show on Sunday JL told me we really need to focus on Indy while I'm here. He knows how much I love Beefs, but he made a very good point. While Beefs is a nice horse, it's going to be hard for him to compete against huge moving warmbloods at bigger shows in areas with tougher competition. JL isn't putting Beefs down or anything, just being honest. He's right and I really do need to make her my biggest priority.

Love my Gunner!

After I got off of him today, I told MB that it really annoys me that Gunner has probably only had about ten dressage rides since last year (he was ponying at the track), has about 1/20 of the training that Beefs does, hasn't been ridden in almost two months, and he still goes better than Beefs. Talk about being happy, yet wanting to cry at the same time. Gunner is more like a warmblood than a thoroughbred. He has a ton of natural talent with big movement and suspension. Dressage just comes naturally to him. He's not nearly as intelligent as Beefs though. Gunner is as sweet as can be, but in all honesty, he isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. That doesn't mean that I don't still obsolutely love him. The fact that I could just jump on and go after he hasn't been ridden in that long makes him worth his weight in gold.

Other than the track, I'm really happy right now. I've been out to JL and MB's every day since I've been here. I've ridden every day except two. One day it was raining and the other was the day after the show. I'd gotten so sun burnt at the show that I was really sick that night and totally drained the  next day. I still went out to see the horses. I enjoy everything about being out there. Four horses to ride on top of working my ass off at the track might kill me. At least I'll die happy. Their barn is my safe haven while I'm surrounded by Hell.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Horses Gone Crazy

I've been a little short on time the last few days and probably will be until next Tuesday. I'm trying to keep up with everyone's blogs, but will definitely get all caught up mid next week. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Loving on Gigantor and wishing I owned her so that I could throw my dressage tack on her. Just out of curiosity.

Beefheart decided he was all of the sudden barn sour yesterday and tried to run sideways to the path back to our barn. When I got after him, he figured hopping up and down might help him get his way. We worked through it and I didn't lose my temper, so that was good. Then on the way back to our barn I made him weave through other barns, taking a different path than normal back. He was prancing, but not getting stupid until we turned the corner to go home. At which point he decided to spook at absolutely nothing, grab his ass while we were on concrete, slipped, and then bolted. I got him pulled up fairly quick (knowing how to gallop race horses comes in handy off of the track too) and he continued to act like a dumb ass. We made it back to the barn. I was seething mad, he thought he was done.

I knew if I kept riding we were going to have a full out war, my limit had been reached. I told the fiancé to get on him. It seemed like the best option to keep the ride from ending on a bad note. I also wanted to see if he would try it with the fiancé or if it was just me. Beefs tried it. I felt better that he wasn't just being rotten with me. The fiancé was actually very patient with him and just made him go back out on the grassy area to keep working until Beefs finally gave it up. It all worked out.

On another note, fiancé brag:

He is a very good rider, but has never had any formal education. Everything he knows about dressage, he has learned from watching me ride during lessons and clinics. So yes, he could use some refinement, but I think he does really damn well. For Beefs to be this good after getting so pissed off is pretty impressive. The bad part is that I didn't get the figure eights with the perfectly balanced counter canter on video. Yes, that one did hurt the old pride a little. Especially when the Fiancé asked what is so impressive about it. Hmph. 

I gave Beefs the day off today and rode Gunner instead. I figured it would be nice to have a fun, peaceful ride on Gunner after Beefs having a rough few days. I figured wrong. Gun was just as pissy as Beefs and worse going back to the barn. In all fairness, we gave him some time off after he fell and he's only been ridden once since then. It had just finished raining. He's fresh. I think he may have pulled something in his shoulder when he fell because he just didn't feel quite right on it. We also rode right after the races which still and probably always will get him a little amped (I'd never attempt ponying races on him in the afternoons). I'm not sure that warrants him loping sideways and hopping around with his head straight up in the air all the way back to the barn though. My friend that I was riding with started laughing and told Gunner that he was supposed to be the steady Eddie of the group. I laughed a little too and asked her if there was something in the air or if I just had a talent for turning my horses into psychotic idiots this week. There's nothing better than having a layed back friend to help keep the mood light when your horse decides to act like an asshole. Anyway, we made it back alive.

We have three horses in tomorrow. Sunday, we have to get things ready for the horses that are shipping to Albuquerque on Monday and the one shipping to Boise on Tuesday. I might survive the next few days since the fiancé is doing all of the hauling. I feel sorry for him. Of course he gets several days of only having to take care of one horse, while I stay here with eleven or twelve, depending on how many go to The Downs at Hellbuquerque this week. So, I guess it all kind of evens out. Pray for me...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Face Plant

The fiancé took Gunner up to the track first yesterday to see how the footing was. I don't think this was how he intended to find out......

So humiliated.
It's not funny.
Mud mask.

Gunner stumbled and went down. Both him and the fiancé are okay. They came back and here's how the conversation went. 

Me: What happened?! Oh, poor Gunner!!!!!
*After I finally notice that the fiancé is covered in mud too and glaring at me.
Me: Are you okay?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Unable to maintain the urge to laugh any longer, I try to keep it to a minimum. And only partially fail.

Cleaning off Gunner and my tack brought the laughing to an end though. 

Cleaning my saddle was a real pain in the ass.

The SO wouldn't have been very happy if I had started taking pictures of his mud-covered self, but the jeans should give you an idea of what he looked like.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Beefs in a bonnet (product review)

My USG bonnet finally came yesterday. I originally wanted it in brown and light blue. I was reading articles on what colors are good on certain colors of horses and one of them said yellow actually looks good on bays. At first this sounded weird to me, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it (I have a thing for yellow, even my engagement ring is a canary diamond). Of course, I didn't want the whole bonnet to be yellow. I ordered the brown with yellow(corn) trim.

He was not being very good about me getting a picture of it.

The corn is actually more of a cream color, but it looks really pretty on him. There is also supposed to be grey in there somewhere, but nothing on the bonnet looks even remotely grey. The braided cord looks gold. 

The quality is pretty good. There are a few flaws in the crocheting, but I'm not surprised since it was only $21 and am not going to get worked up over it.  I love the Lycra ears. It is a little big on him and I will definitely order a cob size for him next time. I don't particularly love how far it goes back onto their necks. Oh well. Beefs still looks really cute in the bonnet and it isn't horrifically big.

                          Such a suck-up.

Since Gunner had a bigger head, of course I had to try it on him.
I'm so fancy....
Being as he looked this handsome and the bugs are getting even worse, I just HAD to put it on him to pony in today. The fiancé said I could put it on Gunner when I ride him, but no way in hell was Gunner going to wear it when he took him. Men. A guy saw Gunner in the bonnet and said "I like his beanie!"

So Beefs gets a bonnet and Gunner gets a beanie. Whatever works. Beefs was happy that his mane and forelock were no longer attacking his ears and Gunner was happy to have the bugs kept away. Yep, I definitely need to order more colors. Then maybe a fancier one in a different brand to show in :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Track love

First thing, Equestrian Journey has done a great list of her favorite blogs. Check her awesome blog out!

I don't really talk about the mornings at the track that much. The best explanation I can come up with of why I love racing and why I can't imagine ever being away from it can't be really be told in words. My favorite part about the mornings at the track is watching the horses train. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a horse running. The athleticism and heart of these animals is absolutely amazing! So, here are all of the reasons I love it summed up in a few videos.

Gigantor aka Sandy and Woody blowing out down the lane.

Look at the stride on Gigantor! Woody is a good sized, long striding horse. Sandy makes him look little. One of the things that sold me on her when we claimed her was the length of her stride. A person can do a lot with a horse that covers the ground like that. In theory anyways. We'll see. There's a few minor physical things to fix on her still, but we'll get there. And Woody, I'll always love that horse. I will also always have faith in his ability, no matter what. The talent is there.

Gigantor jogging back. She seems pretty proud of herself.

So, hopefully this gives you an idea of why I am so drawn to racing. It's the feeling that a running horse gives me. The work that the man and I put into them.  The pride when they do well. That feeling is absolutely everything.

*Bonus-Cute little kid riding ex-racehorse/pony-horse Gunner

He wasn't quite comfortable riding alone yet, so Ty rode with him. The kid got the whole steering thing down pretty well! Gunner was awesome, other than the one time he pulled the reins out of his hands to eat grass.

The kid's victory dance :)

So cute!

Good boy, Gunner!


Gone. Wherein, I had to walk over and save them both.

Gunner with his stolen, quick bite of grass. He was pretty proud of himself for sneaking that in.