I had JUST been whining in my lesson the previous day about WHY I couldn't try all the saddles NOW for jumping to poor Amanda when I decided to do something about it. I HAD to know if a jumping saddle would help me that much/at all whatever. The amazing dressage saddle I have had made these questions super important so I arrived at the concluision I was going to get a saddle to try. A trial saddle. A used saddle. SOMETHING. ANYTHING! I just needed to start looking and find out IF it mattered and then I could narrow it down to what worked for me specifically.
I also like good investments, remember?
So I started my search for a used Devoucoux Chiberta. I haven't looked in some time (a week or two) so decided to start there. My wishlist has been for a black saddle preferably, something that's 17.5-18.5" (but I figured bigger was going to be better in this case despite how I'd ended up with a 17.5" dressage saddle), and a forward flap. The search wasn't going super awesome with the normal places I haunt, so I branched outward and checked more things out. Nothing doing. At the end of my search, I hit Horseclicks and looked under Devoucoux. Nothing interesting there. Just as I was backing out of that screen, a black chiberta flopped up as a "new/featured" ad and I was like wait, hold the phone...
Clicking on it revealed some panel codes I hadn't seen but man (some light research and Amanda asking the Devoucoux rep about it sorted that out fast), it looked perfect. 18.5", black, forward flaps, great shape, and a good deal. I tried to talk myself out of it, but knew it was worth the trial so I hit "add to cart" and now we wait for arrival!
After my probably dramatic debate over to jump or not to jump, we should all know that I'm just going to do the things, right?
I do like jumping and I'm good at it, when I'm not anxious and being stupid about it. The best way to solve this is to do it and get confident so that meant calling up Amanda and getting back on our weekly lessons like we did before. It worked great for Katy and myself and I'm liking my return to normal (seriously that event ate our souls for sooo long!).
So first week back we did a shared lesson and it was... fun. I didn't mentally freak out when a jump was put up, let alone several, and the line of neverending trot poles was fun and familiar. Katy was enthusiastic and did well in this lesson. I also didn't hate riding in my jumping saddle after all this time in the awesome dressage saddle. I still couldn't help but continue my wonderings about how much better I might be able to jump in a "real" saddle.
(In fact, I had contacted Shea almost a week after getting my dressage saddle all BRING ME AWESOME JUMPING SADDLES! but she didn't have the model I wanted in stock but assured me she would as some point in the future. I'd been shopping for saddles - I'm always shopping for them it seems- and had my eye on a few different brands. Spending $4000+ on a jumping saddle I may or may not use that much wasn't appealing...)
So with the start of August, my son started football practice "for reals." We've been going 3x a week to optional practices and my husband has been taking care of that with me filling in here and there. This is our first time doing organized sports... So they brought out the August calendar and its 5x a week now. What????? OK fine whatever.
Time to schedule things.
Also, husband wants to start hitting the gym since I'm always writhing in pain from either the horses, the dogs, or my shoulder rehab with the chiro. I mean, how would you NOT want to be in that pain? He actually likes the gym so I'm all like, yeah sure!
Time to schedule ALL the things!
I'm needing/wanting/acquiescing to my horribly whining body that I need to ride more. Its hot out too. Work's able/willing to do some sort of altered work schedule to allow me to work weird hours. I also decided to drop grad school so I don't have to worry about scheduling THAT plus work, plus horses. OK. How to do this?
-Wake up early? Probs not going to happen...
-Longer lunch time? I did this one day with Katy at the house and that was actually decent but only really works at the house as I needed a shower after. Yay heat.
-Leave work early? This is nice because I can sub out my lunch to leave early and not owe any time. Problem is, its 100+ out there at 4pm now. But I gave it the old college try:
So to accomplish this leave work early plan, I had to hook up the trailer at the house, go to the barn, load Jade, then drive to the covered arena. Granted everything is in a 5 mile radius but still. In 100+ degree temps it was exhausting and I dealt with the fallout of that for about a week.
-Next option is ride when its later/dark. This is normally about 7pm when it becomes bearable. I do my weekly lessons at 7pm so I knows this. I have lights at the house if I want to ride in the dark as well so unno. I'll figure it out but for now we're limping along, riding when I can. We're hitting 3-4 times a week plus I've started lunging Jade to help her learn to canter MY way (easy way whoop) so its working out.
As alluded to in the previous post, July was action packed for us. We went on a family trip July 4th to test out the RV and then we were at a dog event for an entire week in the mid month. I might have ridden Katy once but that was about it. The event was a smashing success and I was pretty stoked that we pulled it off sooo well and I was truly humbled by our volunteers and the amount of people that believe in me. I've always been on my own for so long, forging my own way, that its a shock when you have a group of people that are looking to you for leadership and just totally get what you're saying. I'm feeling pretty fulfilled right now but also nervous a little. Dun want to let them down! to some degree but we're all doing awesome and it was a week of being badasses basically. We so rocked, go us.
So riding off that and the realization that I could now do MY things, I booked lessons. After a lesson with Sarah in early July, I decided that while I love her as a person, I might need someone with more... unno oomph for me? Its hard to word it really but I'm not sure my goals align with her teaching style although her lessons are quite nice and have been very welcome. I feel like I need more focus and direction? I like learning the process not just doing it so yeah.
I had managed to set up two lessons with Lurena Bell in Willis, TX. She was short listed for the Olympics twice and her scores on Centerline Scores are great. More importantly to me, she has loads of students (like me!) that are real people and have managed to show to and beyond their goals. I'd only briefly met her when I was a teenager and trying to watch another boarder's kids at Windy Knoll so I couldn't recall how she was as a person. Oh and she herds sheep with her dogs so I was all uh, yes please?
The lesson was perfect for me, Katy and Jade. We all worked our asses off and while they're totally different horses, the exercises we did were similar with tweaks for each horse. Easy to recall homework basically. I told her I wanted to go home with homework and boy did we. I also went home with a major confidence/ego boost as she told me soo many times during the lesson how great my position was and so on and so forth. I finally was like stahhppp its embarrassing about the compliments to which she replied they weren't compliments, they were observations. That shut me up but I was still glowing.
I've never had that many compliments/good things said about my riding in all the years I've ridden. Like, if you add them all up, it would still be less than this lesson. A little sad, but omg I felt validated that I'm not a flailing idiot either. Most trainers I ride with are like ok, do it better. OK, that's better, but do it better. Its all push push push not reward the little pieces. No wonder I'm an anxious hot mess that second guesses herself. Geez.
I floated home on Saturday with my mares who rock and then I headed out for dog herding the next morning. No rest for the wicked! We did soo well chasing sheep and then Monday PM I went to agility practice. All the things man!
So in short, I'm exhausted, physically in pain (yay shoulder rehab), and mentally toast. And I feel pretty freaking good about myself. Now to get stronger and work out a schedule that works as the kiddo is starting serious football practices, hubs wants to hit the gym, and I have been dabbling with doing some things with Piper as well as Edison.
This post is about Edison really. :P
He's sooo cool and losing his baby coat. There is a seriously red hot smexy colt under all that dying fluff. He's got plenty of sass but is super thoughtful. I can see him starting to drift away from mom, but we'll worry about all that stuff in the upcoming months. I pulled him out and started working on lunging (more like wild rearing baby horse) but he figured it out fast and all was good. I also worked on hind leg picking up alone and it wasn't.. great. He started hopping and my shoulder is toast so he decided I wanted him to lay down and so he did that. I laughed and just lightly straddled him and sat on his back while I pet his ears and everything. He was happy and I guess that counts as my first time sitting on him! He's also HUGE(ish). He'll never be super substantial (which we knew) but he's about 80% of his mom's height already and up to my chest with his back so yeah. COME ON HIT 16 hands please!
I also took some rather hasty pictures and registered him with APHA while at the clinic getting trims.
Introducing CS Logical Conclusion.
So my farrier is a wonderful person. I really like him and he's been doing my guys for years. Granted, they've been pasturey pets that I'm reworking so having performance feet hasn't been a priority. Mango has her summer white line issues but lately they've been bruising too and I'm like uh no. I've asked about shoes and I always get the run around. This is a thing from the past 2+ years and I was like :/
When I got Jade I didn't want to mess HER feet up and she was used to being shod exclusively. I mentioned it to my farrier and he just kinda mehed me when I mentioned it. This indifference led me to check out other people's horses and I had always heard great things about the farrier up at the TAMU clinic but I didn't realize we can just see him. But you can! Plus its up at my work PLUS employee discount!!!! And the clinic's prices are already lower than what I'm paying AND I can schedule appointments! No more, how about an hour from now? Oh, hey, your guys are 2 weeks over due...
Now that I'm riding Katy in her epic saddle, her foot soreness that was really only on rocks in 2014 became more of an issue. If I helped her back... would shoes help her feet? I'm not an eager person to do shoes but at this point her feet were hurting on the nice MMwhatever footing at the covered arena so that wouldn't do. Also, she and Mango were having a hard time walking on the hard sand in the pasture so yeah. SHOES FOR ALL!
The new farrier LOVED Jade and was honestly excited to be doing a "weird" breed's feet. He took his time and did an excellent job. With Katy, the first thing he did was just hack off her "long toe" that Old Farrier had been tip toeing around for years. Mango apparently DOESN'T have white line disease, she just needs some support as her hoof was separating from her laminae. Cripes. The second she had shoes on, she strutted right across the concrete and was toe flicking her way back to the trailer.
Piper and Edison came a week after that for just trims and they looked great. Edison was a little rock star as we held him and his feet and he got the footsies trimmed up nicely.
Arthur has been with the trainer about a month. In that time, he had his skills I'd put on him brushed up a touch more and he restarted jumping properly. By all accounts, he was the awesome, wonderful, snuggle bunny of a horse that I knew was in there and we'd lived with for the last 6 months.
People came to check him out as their next hunter propect and we quickly had a bite which led to a vet check naturally. The trainer felt he'd move best with shoes on and since Arthur does have pancake feet, I agreed. And that led to his PPE coming back as possible laminitis a day or two later. Whaaaa? There was a follow up PPE for that reason a few days later and derp, no laminitis, no soreness, just new shoe touchiness that other day.
So glad I'm not there in person to watch these things.
HOWEVER! The followup PPE NOW has revealed that Arthur has some scratches on his eyes. Minor but either normal things from stuff like dust in the paddock when he was younger or CANCER!!!
Seriously, who deals with these PPE vet people? Cripes.
So yeah, naturally the people that are looking at him have a hot button with eyes as their last horse had to be retired after its eye was removed for cancerous reasons or something similar (so I understand but geez PPE vet, ranging from nothing to CANCER AND DEATH is a bit of a wide range).
The people were lovely and offered me less than I wanted and I decided to just go with it because that's why you set a starting price. So yeah, from uncontrolled bucker that was terrified of the world to plodding hunter kids horse... I'll take it.
Good luck Arthur, be as lovely as I know you are <3