Monday, July 15, 2019

All is Well

One of one.

Unplanned radio silence has been going on here for a few reasons, none of them bad, some actually very good.  I had special assignment for work pop up that took some additional time out of my days.  I'm two classes from being done with my Master's in Forensic Science, and I have recently had some unreal career advancing opportunities outside of my regular job.  I'm also in the process of applying to the school I'm going to attend for my Ph.D.

I've been busy, but it's all for the advancement of my career and we all know that in the end, that just means more money for pony stuff, right?  We also had family come to town for a visit and last time they were here, in March, I had to leave 24 hours after they got here for a work trip so I didn't get to spend much time with them.  This time I was here for their entire visit.  Here are some pics of what I've been up to.

Bad Water Basin, Death Valley.

Golden Canyon, Death Valley.

Zabriskie's Lookout, Death Valley.

The Other Half <3

Back gate of Area 51, Rachel, Nevada.

You know all that Storm Area 51 nonsense going on?  This place is the rally point where it is supposed to start.

Sunset at the top of the Stratosphere...this was just the beginning of a crazy tequila filled night with a friend that stopped through town for work.  It ended with riding the big zipline over Fremont Street.

Also, Klein was on light duty for a few weeks while she got the loading dose of One AC.  I wasn't going to put her on it here but I decided to go ahead with it because it definitely won't hurt anything.  She had a mild case of anhydrosis in South Georgia that I caught immediately and One AC worked within three days to have her sweating like she had jumped in pool.  So, ever since then I have put her on it each summer.  I usually start a month prior to warmer weather but I started it late this year because I wasn't going to do it due to the dry climate.  It's not the heat that is the problem.  It is heat and humidity combined that is the problem.  But, like I said, it can't hurt and I have better peace of mind with her on it.  The vet here said that she really only sees cases here when we have some rain and the humidity increases, which is noticeable when the normal humidity is 9-14%.  All of that to say, I follow the loading dose instructions and they state "strenuous training or work must be reduced to a minimum for three weeks if maximum results are to be achieved.  Walking to maintain muscle tone is suggested, but keep the heartbeat below 80 bpm."

She's back to work now.  I took her to Lone Mountain the other weekend and she had a great time.  She loves adventuring.  I jumped her this morning and she felt amazing as usual.



Lone Mountain hill work.



One of those gorgeous mornings with my #1.





I have switched to riding in the early morning before work now that the summer heat is here.  The girls have fans with misters on all day to keep cool and they have been doing great.  My Queen B continues to look absolutely amazing and completely blow my mind with her fancy movement.

Queen B has been out and about too.  She has been having an odd issue that took a little detective work on my part but I have solved the mystery and that whole thing deserves it's own post (next post).  But B has been out and about too.  I also took her to Lone Mountain and she did great.  She was nervous at first but calmed down and did some hill work and did the whole trail that goes around Lone Mountain.  I took her alone on purpose like usual.  She has also been hacking around the neighborhood like a pro.  I jumped her last month and she felt AMAZING and nailed every distance at 2'6".  I was so proud I could have just floated right off of her back.  Once she gets straightened out this week it's back to jumping for her and I'll be taking her for some jumping lessons.



First lesson!  This was her first dressage lesson, or any kind of lesson for that matter, and she did absolutely perfect.

Hacking through the neighborhood to our lesson.







One of our hill work loops.


I did not make it to the recognized dressage show that was supposed to be Queen B's first recognized dressage show.  This was due to the special assignment at work.  There was the potential to work weekends and there was no way around that so I decided to not even take the risk of potentially flushing a few hundred dollars down the toilet by entering and then not being able to make it.  There are plenty around here anyway.

Mochs and Wes are also doing great.  Every update I get from the barn owner in NJ just makes me even more glad that they are where they are.  Here is a video from a few days ago:


The weather has still been insane up in NJ.  There have been two small tornadoes in the area we used to live in and massive flooding.  All has been good at the barn where Mochs and Wes are.  They are a bit further southeast from where we lived.  I cannot tell you how happy I am every single day when I wake up in the desert.  I love it here.  It's 107 today, and 5% humidity.  I LOVE IT.  And guess what? It was gorgeous riding this morning.  So to everyone who said how hot and miserable they think it is and how I wouldn't be able to ride in the summer...think again.  Meanwhile there are heat advisories of the absolutely crushing heat index because of the heat and humidity in NJ.  I would MUCH rather be riding here in the summer than there.  You know what else is amazing, NO BUGS!  It is so nice to walk around without insects buzzing all over, landing on you every .00023 seconds, and biting you.  There are NONE here.  I love the desert.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Happy Birthday Klein Mare

5 year old Klein, who clearly knows she rules the world.

Today is Klein's 15th birthday.  While she is like a fine wine, I need her to hit the pause button and become immortal. 

Jumping her earliest jumps as a 5 year old.  This photo in particular got me an offer for $25,000 for her.  Obviously she never has been and never will be for sale, so there was no chance for that person who made the offer. 

 Second time schooling 3'9".

Galloping through the desert on xc. 

One of the first pictures I saw of her.  These were in her online sale ad.  She is 2 here. 


2 year old Klein during her first days in Hawaii. 

This was taken the day I picked her up from the port in Honolulu!

She is still going strong at 15, working on Second Level dressage, starting to school Third Level movements, and schooling 3'9" fences.  How long will it be until she starts to tell me it's time to back off?  I have no idea, but I am always listening.  I have always told her if she ever doesn't want to do what we do now, just let me know.  She has nothing to prove to anyone, she doesn't owe me or anyone ANYTHING.

So, she's 15 now, what is her maintenance?  Careful conditioning.  I'm serious.  She's not on anything, she did get Adequan early this year as a preventative but she has never had any joint injections and she's not on any daily supplements for joints and she looks great.  I will give her another round of Adequan later this year as a preventative.

People were extremely negative years ago when Klein started all of this jumping stuff.  They told me I was going to break her or she wouldn't last long, etc...  I always have carefully conditioned her and here were are, still going strong.  Klein is an alien.  I have been convinced for a long time now, she isn't from this planet. 

Some more pictures from over the years:

What's at the end of the rainbow, a perfect unicorn of course. 

Story of our lives. 

Flying. 

This beach was across the street from our barn in Hawaii.  We went there a few times a week.  She was three here. 

Owning the hell out of her stadium round at a horse trial.

The true definition of a Heart Horse in every sense of the word.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Nina Thompson Dressage Freestyle Clinic


This weekend was the dressage musical freestyle clinic I was really looking forward to.  There was an evening seminar session then a riding session the following day.  I have a general idea about what musical freestyles are and the more I see them at rated shows the more I have wanted to do one.  95% of my rides I have Pandora on and there are always songs that seem to match their gaits or that I think would be fun to do a freestyle too so I make a list or download them to make sure I don't forget about them.

I have just never been sure of where to start with putting a musical freestyle together so when I saw this clinic was coming to town I registered immediately with Klein.  The seminar was really a necessary part of the clinic.  Nina broke down the basics of how you get your horse's baseline BPMs (beats per minute) in all gaits, what tools to use, what the range of BPMs are, etc...  She also had different video examples that she made to show us songs that did and did not work for a particular horse.  While some beats may work for a gait, the song may actually make the horse look slower than it is or heavier, or the reverse can happen.  It was very interesting.

In the seminar she also went over how she picks songs, what judges are looking for as far as artistic scoring, and choreography strategy.  I learned a lot!

The second day she told us to have a different color polo wrap on one front leg for our rides.  This helps with visibility when watching the horse to determine BPMs as well as watching it move to certain music.  She sent us all a questionnaire prior to the clinic and asked what level we are riding, our horse's strengths and weaknesses, what is more important: having fun or scoring high, what type of music we had in mind, and did we have a preference for lyrics or instrumental music.


As far as scoring and music I said that I am more interested in having fun with a musical freestyle.  Of course I don't want to go in there and not do well, but if it is between having songs I love or having songs I think the judge would love, I'm going with what I want to ride to.  Nina can work with pretty much any preferences when it comes to songs.  She has a database with hundreds of songs so she can flip through them and find whatever you are looking for, and if she doesn't have it she can get it.

She said that the majority of judges seem to prefer instrumental music so a compromise she uses is, if someone is more concerned about score, popular songs that have been covered by something like a violin group.  Or she will find the instrumental version of the exact song.  She can also work with music and adjust the speed of it if it is slightly off.  Too much adjustment can distort it a little bit though and actually make the horse appear a little heavier.  She showed us examples in the seminar.

The choreography strategy was also very interesting.  I keep forgetting that the judge won't have a list of movements you are going to do for your test.  There are required movements for each level, but they don't have the actual chronology of them like they do with a regular test.  This allows for a lot more freedom.

The second day she started with watching Klein do different movements in all three gaits and matching them with a metronome to get her BPM. 


Then we started trying different songs with the different gaits.  It was fun to listen and feel Klein match up with the music.  We found Macklemore songs that match all of her gaits.  Cake By The Ocean went nicely with her working trot too.  There is also one song I really want to use that we tried and will coincidentally work perfectly with her working canter too, it's called The Man by The Killers and if you read the lyrics and just replace "Man" with "Mare" it's 110% Klein mare.

I know the score like the back of my hand
Them other boys, I don't give a damn
They kiss on the ring, I carry the crown
Nothing can break, nothing can break me down
Don't need no advice, I got a plan
I know the direction, the lay of the land
I know the score like the back of my hand
Them other boys, I don't give a damn
I'm the man, come round
Nothing can break, nothing can break me down
I'm the man, come round and
Nothing can break, you can't break me down
I got gas in the tank
I got money in the bank
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
I got skin in the game
I got a household name
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
When it comes to Friday, I always earn
But don't try to teach me, I got nothing to learn
'Cause baby I'm gifted
You see what I mean?
USDA certified lean
I'm the man, come round
Nothing can break, you can't break me down
I got gas in the tank
I got money in the bank
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
I got skin in the game
I don't feel no pain
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
Who's the man? Who's the man?
I'm the man, I'm the man
Who's the man with the plan?
I'm the man
Who's the man? Who's the man?
I'm the man, I'm the man
Who's the man with the plan?
I'm the man
I'm the man
I'm the man
I got gas in the tank
I got money in the bank
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
I got skin in the game
Headed to the hall of fame
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
Right hand to God
First in command
My testimony, but I take the stand
Who's the man? Who's the man?
I'm the man, I'm the man
Who's the man with the plan?
I'm the man
Who's the man? Who's the man?
I'm the man, I'm the man
Who's the man with the plan?
I'm the man
I don't give a damn
I'm the man


Overall, it was very interesting, and very fun and I am going to continue working with Nina to put together a musical freestyle that we will use this fall at rated shows.  I am looking forward to working with her more and learning more.

12 Years Later, Here We Are


May 30th marked 12 years with Klein.  Each year I do a post, and each year it pretty much says the same, because every year it is still true and it always will be.  12 years later, I am still in awe of her every single day.  She really is like a fine wine.  There is no way I can every thank her or repay her for everything she has done and continues to do.  The places we have been, the things we have accomplished, the memories we have made, the things we have learned together, the things she has taught me about myself.  All of it is priceless and irreplaceable.  I honestly don't know where I would be, or who I would be without her.  She is truly one of a kind and everything that makes a Heart Horse.  She is my Horse of  Lifetime, OG, BAMF horse and I am grateful every minute of every day for her. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

May 2019 Dressage Schooling Show

 Being a model citizen at the trailer.  I don't think I can resist the urge to go put this girl in some USDF DSHB shows this fall, she is too pretty and I just KNOW she would just absolutely own it.

Last weekend I took B to another local dressage schooling show.  She was MUCH more settled this time.  This time I also wanted to try an experiment.  I wanted to try a less is more approach with her warm up due to the way she warms up at home.  She has gotten to the point where every single ride her first canters are prompt, smooth, and obedient.  If she gets wound up over something it usually happens later on.  These times continue to happen less and less though.

I decided that I wasn't going to canter her until the test.  For her warm up I just walked, trotted, did some transitions, a couple halts, and some free walk, then walked around on a loose rein.  She already started off on her very best behavior.  She stood like a statue while I tacked her up and I got right on her from the fender of my trailer.  The past couple months she has been slightly unsettled to get on when she's at the trailer, she is back to her normal self.  She walked around on a loose rein first like she lived there.  After a few minutes of walking on a loose rein we did my simple, slow, warm up plan.  It worked.  We went in and got a 73% on our first test.  That's the highest score she has gotten, it's also the highest score I have ever received on any test.


She felt so good, I definitely trotted right on in there with a smile on my face, just happy to be there with her and happy to feel/see how comfortable she was.


Here she was waiting to go in...wound up, right? 


The next test started off ok, but unfortunately a barnmate of hers had just went before her and after the test his rider stood at the end of the ring on him.  B wanted to hurry down the long side every time we turned toward him.  She's not barn sour, and she doesn't call for other horses, so I'm not sure what that was about but she was definitely distracted by him being right there.  And, we all know that's just the way it goes, a bunch of things happen at shows that you have absolutely no control over and that is why we were there.  She needs to get all the experience she can to include situations like that where she just has to continue working and ignore the distraction. 

The judge even mentioned at the end of the test that it was unfortunate that he was standing there because it made a clear impact in that test.  But, even with the distraction causing her to hurry, break to the trot at one point where she picked up the incorrect lead when I corrected her, she still scored a 65% on that test.  So if she can get a 65% like that, I'll shut up, and I can't wait to see what the score will be when we don't have that going on. 



Definitely need to work on the engagement here but this is also where she was getting a little strung out so, she CAN do better than this.

A rated show was added to the schedule for the local area next month.  I'm still sticking to my plan of waiting until the rated fall shows for Klein to get her Second Level scores, so I will put B in the rated show next month.  It will be her first rated show and she'll just do Training Level for more show miles.  I have a lesson later this week on B too, this will the first time I've ridden her in a lesson, she is more than ready.