Thursday, July 29, 2010

did it!

Actually made it through a lesson and stayed on, haha! Not that I usually come off, but I was pretty shaken up by my fall the other day. I didn't get hurt and it wasn't, to use Sarah's term, "an epic fall" but it dawned on me as I was picking myself up and dusting myself off: I don't have health insurance. I know that sounds like a bizarre thing to think about, and honestly until my dad mentioned something the other day, it hadn't even crossed my mind, but...well now I can't stop thinking about it! Sarah put a really good spin on the situation today as we were heading up to the outdoor arena, she said that because Keenan is usually such a good boy, him acting up like he did on Tuesday IS a little unnerving - because it's unexpected. When Rapper bucks, I just sit it out and laugh because it doesn't faze me - he's been doing stuff like that for 13 years!

Today was a good day, though. As soon as I got on and we'd walked around for a few laps, I put him right to work at the trot. I figured if he had a job to do right off the bat he wouldn't have time to think about being silly. It worked. He is a little stiff and out of shape, so when we started jumping, he made a four stride line a five and I didn't set him up correctly for one oxer and he dropped a rail...but overall, it felt GREAT to be jumping my horse again. Sarah said that we did well, for a pair that hasn't worked together much lately. Feels great to be back!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Fell off Keenan was supposed to be my first lesson back on him and we didn't even make it through warming up. At a trot. Ugh. It started with that little playful bucking-half-rearing thing he sometimes does. I was sitting it out just fine, but as I was leaning forward to keep my balance, his head and neck came up and smashed me right in the face. That did it. I fell off, right on my bum. And what really sucked...I was just a little scared to get back on. I did anyway but I just walked around for a few minutes. Sarah told me to untack Keenan and turn him out so he could gallop his kinks and bucks out - which he did. It was...incredible. I've never seen my horse gallop full out and yesterday it finally hit me: he really did used to be a racehorse! Very cool to see all that power on full display. Still, I'm unnerved that I was the least bit scared...I've never been scared of my horse before...
Sarah's schooling him today and we're giving the lesson another try tomorrow. Wish us luck.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

baby steps and feeling good

I rode Keenan today!

Hooray, we're on our way back! Sarah told me yesterday that we can start lightly hacking Keenan this week and if all goes well, we can ease him back into working! I hopped on him today and it felt so good to be back on my boy. His stride is so smooth and it just feels so right to canter him around again. I can tell he's still stiff and he was rarin' to go, but I'm just glad to be together again!

Had a really great lesson with Bijou tonight. She had a week off last week while the gang was at Country Classic and the vacation really did her some good. She was a joy to ride tonight, and at a few points, I even had her moving in a nice hunter-y frame.

Last night during our flat lesson (I rode Tamara's Thoroughbred gelding Cloudy), Sarah said something that made me feel like a million bucks. We were doing pretty uncomplicated flatwork, but Sarah was really critiquing our equitation. She tends to do that after shows because she's had a chance to see her clients put into practice what they've been learning and also what they need to work on. So we were trotting around, creating a connection with our horses and getting them into a nice working frame. Sarah was talking about basic points of equitation and how important it is to make that connection - when a horse is moving properly and using himself correctly, it tells a judge that the rider is doing his or her job. Sarah said that it's not a coincidence that the riders who win equitation on the flat are the riders whose horses are moving in that round, working frame. "That's why Missy wins all her eq on the flat classes [she forgot that I came in 4th in the last one]. She knows how to get her horse to use himself correctly. That's why she's at the top of her division and that's why she'll be moving up next year." It meant the world to me that she would say that. My mom has told me about the nice things Sarah has said to her and I have overheard Sarah's comments to people like the horse show vet about how well Keenan and I go together, but to say that out loud in a lesson made me glow inside. I so look up to her and it makes me feel so good to hear her praise.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

hi from the boys!

Just wanted to share this picture of my boys! Rapper's eye was much better today (thank you ice gel pack and Swat ointment!) and even though progress is slow with Keenan's abscess, he seems content and sound - albeit bored. I turned Rapper out in the arena today while I soaked Keenan's foot and he made friends with Sophie. He even came right to her when she called and stood patiently while she haltered him and led him back to his stall. Keenan, on the other hand, was a wild man. He enjoyed his convalescence at first, but now he's ready to get back to work. He about ripped my arm out of the socket when I led him into the arena to hand walk him. It's weird - I'm not afraid of either of my horses but when 16.2 hand Keenan starts throwing a fit, you suddenly realize just how big he is. Didn't let him get away from me, though, which was of course what he wanted. For all his trouble, he got yanked and yelled at and had to practice good manners and showmanship for 20 minutes. That'll teach him. Punk.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

my horses have issues

So apparently, my horses have decided that they will take July off. Between Keenan's cellulitis, colic and abscess and Rapper's newly swollen and puss-ridden eye, they are bound and determined to weasel out of any work this month. Meanwhile, I turn into Jell-O. What punks.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Well it turns out that Mr. Keenan has an abcess. Yeah. All this (hopefully) for an abcess. Apparently, when horses have an abcess high up in their hoof, they can exhibit heat and swelling in the leg itself. I really, really hope this is the answer to all our issues over the past several weeks. Abcesses I can deal with - Rapper has had two over the past couple years. Simple, really - remove show, soak, wrap. Lather, rinse, repeat. As long as there's no more colic incidents (like last Friday night - yeah, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear THAT...the first time I leave cell phone range for a weekend, Keenan colics!), I will be hopeful. Fingers are crossed that this is all it is!

Also, some cell phone photos from last week!

Rapper and Lex, enjoying the sunshine!

horse show coolers are so multi-purpose - thanks for winning this for me, Keenan!

Friday, July 2, 2010

happy thoughts

I'm really too tired to write in depth about my day at the barn, but I won't be seeing my boys until Tuesday (out of town for the holiday weekend) so I figured I'd better jot a few things down now...

Rode old man Reno today. He's a former Grand Prix jumper and a retired school horse. He has the old mare and foal stall with a ton of room and an outdoor paddock that he can enjoy any time of the day. We walked and trotted to our hearts' content and even had a couple laps at the canter. He's a little arthritic and stiff but he's still so willing and actually has a really great stride. He was the first horse I ever felt totally solid cantering on in a two-point. After our ride, he got pampered with a sudsy bath and Lifesavers. Good day for Mr. Reno.

Good day for Keenan and Rapper, too. Keenan also got a bath and even though he was a total pain during it (what else is new?), our hand-walk was good and his leg is getting better almost by the hour. As I'm wrapping his legs in the evenings before I leave, I've been "sending good vibes" to his leg. I know how out-there and new-age that sounds but it's something my mother in-law really believes in and I've seen her do some amazing things with her "hippie magic." But we all know how perceptive our horses are and how they pick up on our moods and emotions - I figure, it couldn't hurt to try and heal him with love as well as ice boots, leg wraps and medicine, right?

And of course, Rapper, haha. I kind of cheated him out of a ride yesterday, so I kind of owed him one. His arena work was pretty standard but it was the walk up the driveway that made me really proud of him. I know I sound like a broken record, but a year ago, a calm walk up the driveway would have been out of the question. And today there were all kinds of distractions - a car going up the driveway, a car going DOWN the driveway, a huge sprinkler in the outdoor arena, a curious Boxer pup and Mike on the tractor. Rapper took it all in stride - in fact, the one thing he chose to be "concerned" with was the gate closing automatically after Tamera drove in *eye roll*. Still, I think I have reason to be happy with my guys.