Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hacks and Tack

Somewhere I forgot to mention I finally got a pair of Compositi stirrups, and I love them.  They are extremely comfortable.

 I am definitely going to order a pair for my dressage saddle.

I also finally bought a pair of Kerrits Sit Tight N' Warm Full Seat Breeches.  They are wind proof and lined with polar fleece.  There aren't a lot of days that you would need them here but a couple days after they showed up we had a windy day that was 53, perfect to try them out.  Actually, they're the breeches I was wearing in the last post in the pics of Wes laying down.  They are super comfortable and warm.  They add just a little amount of bulk but not enough to notice while riding.  

Mochs got a new bridle.  I have to punch some holes in the flash but it fits her pretty well.  It was only used once and was an eBay steal!  She is too big for pony size stuff so Cob size fits her well.  Though sometimes things are slightly off with Cob size too.  I have the same problem with Klein.  She can wear most warmblood size stuff but every now and then the WB or OS stuff will fit a little off and I have to adjust it or add holes.

I finally cleaned my trailer tack room up and got everything organized.  The saddle rack had fallen because it was mounted pretty ghetto-fabulously by the previous owner.  The Other Half did a professional job of re-mounting it.

 Back to normal.

Mochs has been busy on hacks lately.

 We got a lot of rain two days before this.  The rivers were pretty high.

Klein and Wes waiting on us to get back the other evening.

A couple pics of the Klein horse from the other day...

 Klein warming up.

 Schooling 3'3".

Klein and Wes have been playing by the pond.  It's pretty hard to hide that fact...

 That face!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

King Wes Has Been Crowned

 Klein and Wes napping, Mochs being the look out.

Something amazing happened last Saturday.  I have never caught Klein laying down napping and relaxing.  Eight years I have owned her and not ONCE have I ever seen her lay down to just relax.  I have seen Wes do it once, the day after he arrived from Utah last year.  He got in a about 3am and the next morning I let him out in the pasture and he layed flat out in the sun for a little bit.  That is the only time I have ever seen him lay down to relax, never in Utah.

Last Saturday we got to the barn and not only was Wes laying down napping, KLEIN was next to him!!  At first we actually got a little worried just because this isn't a habit for either of them.  I wanted to make sure one of them wasn't hurt and the other laid down next to them because they knew something was wrong.  Klein got up about 50ft before we got to them.  Wes stayed down.  He really looked like he was just woke up and was kind of like "Well, I WAS napping."  I made him get up just to make sure nothing really was wrong.  Next time I'll leave them alone.  Mochs was doing guard duty.  It was pretty funny.  The 14 hand pony was the look out for the 17 and 18 hand draft horses.

Sleeping Beauty himself.

Couldn't resist cuddling that face.

That just proves even more how much they love the new place.  They feel comfortable and safe and have 110% settled in.

They will remain in their little herd.  They will not be put in with the other four geldings on the property.  They have a fence that separates them and they do interact with each other but everyone is happy the way things are.  I have seen little signs the past couple weeks that Wes looks out for his girls and they look out for him.  Klein is the main indicator.  Ms. Antisocial herself actually answers Wes' calls.

Today the property owners were working on some fence line and their gelding that is the #1 man on the totem pole in their herd made a stealthy escape into the pasture where our three are.  He likes to run other horses around.  He finally met his match today.  I WISH I would have been there to see this.

The property owners told me that our three pretty much turned and went to town on him and had him running all over the place.  The girls were NOT about to let some random gelding tell them what to do.  Wes was the biggest surprise.  The girls, I would expect nothing less.  Wes...I've never seen him in this situation before.  Wes went on the defense of the girls.  He put himself between the girls and the other gelding and started pushing him around with his shoulder.  He pushed him around trees and through some brush.  Wes was letting him know those are HIS girls and he'll be DAMNED if anyone is going to bother them.

I couldn't stop laughing, it's funny because none of them were hurt.  I was completely floored by Wes' behavior.  I just have never known him to act like that.  But, then again in Utah he was in with a bunch of geldings.  At the previous barn he was also only in with geldings.

I think Wes has had flashbacks to his younger years.  I know he came from Creekside Belgians in Canada.  He is registered and they told me he was the lead horse on a hitch for them.  He also has the Tom Lane brand on his left shoulder.
 A Creekside Belgian.  Cleaned up, Wes is identical to this.  That is the exact same Tom Lane brand that Wes has in the exact same spot.

I have a STRONG suspicion he was gelded late.  I am 99% sure that is why he has a fallen crest.  When Moch went into heat at our previous barn it was clear Wes knew EXACTLY what she wanted.  The first time I put the three of them in together in a pasture just to meet each other Moch went into hussy mode.  The majority of geldings I have seen usually just kind of look puzzled when mares in heat are around.  Like they know the mare wants something but they have no idea what it is or how to do it.  Wes started nickering really soft to Moch, nuzzling her, and following her around like he was thinking about mounting her.  That's when I came running out yelling and put Moch back in the mare pasture.  Wes knows what to do.  I'm pretty sure he has babies somewhere.

Thankfully that was the first time I have ever seen Mochs go into heat and Klein has come into heat once since we've been here, almost two years ago.  It doesn't happen often.  I'm not really worried that will happen again.  She also couldn't care less about the other four geldings.  She was pretty nasty to them every time she walked by their fence for the first week.  She would make UGLY faces and now she just ignores them.  We have went on a hack a couple of times with one of them, an Appy too, and she acts like he isn't there.  I guess spotted horses have no unspoken code.

Last week while I was tacking up Klein Wes was standing at the fence, leaned over and did his little soft nicker to her.  She completey ignored him but I wondered what he was talking about.  I think he has taken on a new role in life, herd stallion gelding.  The funny thing is, as soon as the property owners caught their horse and put him back in his pasture Wes' switch flipped off and Klein went back to being the boss.  Though Wes did stand and just stare toward the gelding pasture, making sure to put himself between the pasture fence and the girls, while the girls were grazing after that incident.  I think he just leveled up in life.  Not only is he living the retirement dream, now he has a job to do.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tack Shopping With a Hungry Husband

 Medieval Times dinner show.

I mentioned in my last post that we were in Orlando last week to go to the Mecum Auto Auction, aka the world's largest collector car auction.  

 So many awesome cars.  They even had Burt Reynolds' Bandit car there.  There were over 3,000 cars there.  Collector cars, exotic cars, muscle cars, etc...and they were all spotless and perfect.  There was a '69 Hemi Daytona that went for $900,000.

Anyway, horses.  That meant a mandatory dinner at Medieval Times and stopping in Ocala on the way home since Ocala is well, on the way home. We are lucky enough to only live just over two hours away from Ocala. 

 Ready for battle.

 Andalusions and two QHs.  There were also two Friesians that would make appearances throughout the show.

 Somehow I won Queen of the Tournament and our yellow knight rode over and gave me the yellow ribbon on the end of the lance.

If you have never been to Medieval Times, and are near one, go.  But before you buy tickets, check Retail Me Not for awesome coupons.  The food isn't bad, but it's not great.  I really can't complain because they had a vegetarian meal so I was set.  You go for the show, not the fine dining.

Part of the in hand demo.

On to Ocala...

First we stopped at the Tack Shack of Ocala.  At one point The Other Half came around a corner and asked "Did you see the Back on Track Stuff they have??"  Actually no, I hadn't.  I walked right by it to look at something else.  They had a bunch of their products, including no bows, which is on my want list, and he knows it.  He started asking "Well, which ones do you want??"  I said, the no bows.  Then he asked "Would you use them?"  Well hell yeah, I LOVE the Back on Track polos he bought me.  Then it was "Well, what sizes?"  A pair of 14" and a pair of 16" please and thank you.  Wait...was he taking notes for future reference?  Or was I about to get some Back on Track No Bows?  Then he reached down and grabbed a pair of 14" and a pair of 16" and said "Ok, let's go."  'Merica. 

Awww yeah!

When we got in the car The Other Half said part of the reason he bought me the BOT No Bows is because he was hungry, borderline hangry, and the faster we got out of the store, the faster he got to eat.  Challenge accepted.  I will be sure to starve him before our next trip to the tack store.  But then he added that it was also because he loves me, and that...wait for it..."KLEIN IS A PRINCESS."  That's right.  He said it!!  He loves that horse, but he says I put her on a pedestal that grows higher every day, and she knows it.  Yeah, well...*crickets* the defense rests.  It's true.  But, those can also be used for Mochi too, the 14's atleast.  The 16's are just too big for her but the 14's will be ok for her back legs if we get back into serious work.  And of course if Wes ever needed them for any reason, after I clipped all his feather off, they would fit him too.  

Seriously though, how awesome is The Other Half?  Be jealous.  Or just try taking your significant other to the tack store when they're hungry.  Make sure to drive right past some kind of place that sells food on your way too.

Nothing but luxury for pony legs right here!  They even come with a warning saying that they work SO well that the first few times you use them do not leave them on more than 2-3 hours.

I was also excited to find some Lucky Braids for Top Turnout shampoo at the Tack Shack.  I have been wanting to try her shampoo so I bought a bottle.  After the Tack Shack, we headed off to HITS Ocala.

HITS Ocala Grand Prix ring.

Brando du Rouet.  *Le Sigh* Du Rouet is the line the stallion I want to breed Klein to comes from.  My day at HITS was made when this guy came into the ring.

Brando du Rouet over the last fence.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Just a Little Spoiled

Klein mare gettin' it!

Somewhere I forgot to mention that last weekend we went out on the trails at the new place for the first time and it was.........completely amazing.  There are miles and miles and miles, like 20+ miles of trails next to the barn.  All of it is wide, groomed trails.  It is a dream come true for conditioning.

This was a little part that branched off to go down to the river.

Aww YEAH.  I still am completely in love and 150% satisfied with my HPG Kit Bag.  Never leave home without it!  Before anyone says anything, no, I don't ride with my .40 hanging half way out, that was just to show how it fits in the bag.  It has two pull tab zippers that you can set where ever you want, so it works no matter which hand you draw with.

We have discovered that Wes has taken up aqua aerobics.  The other day he came walking in and I could tell he had just rolled.  I thought he had rolled in mud until he got closer and from his belly down was DRIPPING.  


He got IN the pond!!!  The owner's husband told me he had witnessed Wes AND Klein get all the way in the pond the next day.  It has been in the mid-upper 60's but the pond is cold!  Crazy ponyfaces.  I had just clipped more hair off Wes the day before too.  He was still getting sweaty just standing around.  Let me show you why:

The Handsome right after his haircut.

 And for comparison.  LOOK at that mammoth coat!!!!  That thing is like a RUG!

After Wes came in dripping wet The Other Half wanted to see if he could get them back in.  Of course Mochs can be convinced to do about anything for a treat.

 Well, I thought the water was cold but The Other Half has no problem standing in it.

I took Klein to the edge and she didn't have a second thought about walking in.  I only took her in just below her knees though.  We still had work to do and it's not even close to being warm enough for me to even consider touching that water.

I took Wes for his first hack off the property the other day.  He was concerned about his girls and would call to them but he didn't refuse to do anything I asked of him.  We had a nice ride in some perfect weather.


Mochi has been on the longe line.  Still just going with the general idea of getting a fitness base back on her.

Look who showed up to work that evening.

Oh, and The Other Half calls me out a lot for spoiling the ponies.  He does it too, but sometimes I will get off track on a plan because I'm such a sucker.  Like Mochi getting grain right now.  Does she need it?  NO.  But...I would feel so bad if she had to watch Klein and Wes get their grain and she gets nothing.  Yes she has a round bale, but she stands there and nickers, and it's way too adorable to say no to.  Yeah, it's that serious.  This is why she gets a very small amount.  It started out as just grain too, but Wes gets BOSS.  Well a little BOSS never hurt any pony mare and if anything it'd put a nice shine on her, so........see where this is going?  This is why I NEED The Other Half to reel me in sometimes.  Except yesterday.  We were out of town for three days and we went straight to the barn when we got back into town yesterday.  We're fixing their dinner, and guess who puts granola bars in it?  Not me.

That's right.

Pics or it didn't happen.

Ha!!!  He said it was because we were gone for a couple days.  Well, you know I'm not going to argue.  He spoils them too though, he is the one that keeps the constant supply of their favorite granola bars in stock anyway.  He actually buys them giant boxes of 96 granola bars off Amazon.  And wait until you see what he bought them while we were in Ocala yesterday (you'll find out in the next post).  You will also read in the next post where he ADMITS Klein is a princess.  He claims it was partly due to being hangry, I don't think so.  I should take a video of him doing his best impression of me talking about Klein, *in his best high pitch voice* "Oh Klein mare, you're sooooo perfect.  You NEVER do anything wrong, anything that goes wrong is all my fault, you're never wrong!  You're my princess!"  It's pretty funny.

He would never deny them anything.  No expense is spared for the three ponyfaces.  I'm very lucky in that aspect.  He would NEVER give a second thought to any expense for them.  When I call him the Best Horse Dad in the world, that's 110% true. 

 One more thing, something I saw on FB that I thought was pretty funny:

Of course, it's written terribly.  You can't expect any meme on FB to be written correctly.  The bottom is missing an apostrophe, a space, and comma.  It should be "It's a horse!  Not a country, or a waffle!"  You still get the point.

I cannot tell you how many people call BELGIANS, BELGIUMS.  Oh wait, yes I can, about as many people that call Klein and Wes Clydesdales.  NO.  WRONG.  I guess we can add that to the list of posts I need to write, a draft horse education post.  This makes me want to start calling Wes The Waffle after seeing this.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth - Dressage

 Klein in her Duett Fidelio and her Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Dressage Girth.

I've heard about the Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth for a while now.  A couple blogs I read have posted about them and being very happy customers, and every now and then a review of them will pop up on Eventing Nation.  Recently a friend in the local area got one and loved hers too.  I started thinking about it again and started reading reviews.  Overall, I would say 99% of the reviews I read were nothing less than raving about how great the girth is.  There were a few that said the leather wasn't as great of quality as they had hoped, but those all were the first version that was put out and company exchanged them for the second, improved, version to ensure happy customers.  Some reviews said they had tried other high end anatomical girths but the TSF Shoulder Relief Girth was superior.  The reviews talked about instantly more free-moving, stretchy horses.  How can a girth be so magical?  

Klein's Duett Fidelio fits her fine, and I have never had any issues with soreness, etc...  After reading the reviews though, I couldn't resist.  Total Saddle Fit makes both dressage and jumping Shoulder Relief Girths.  I chose to go with the dressage girth first because we need any bit of dressage help we can get, and if I liked it I'd buy the jumping girth from them next.  

The shipping was $10 and I didn't even realize it was 2nd Day Air until the tracking number was emailed to me the same night I ordered it.  There was no other option for shipping, $10 gets you 2nd Day Air, awesome!

I chased the mail lady down on my lunch on Friday because I didn't know if it would require a signature and we were going to the Mecum Auto Auction in Orlando the next day.  I had to hurry back to work for a meeting so I ran upstairs with it and opened it with two minutes to spare.  I was immediately impressed by the quality.  Beautiful quality and craftsmanship.  The side that goes against the horse is buttery soft as well.  

 Taking a picture of it on my office floor and one co-worker walks in and says "What the hell is...oh it's a horse thing, isn't it?"

I went straight to the barn from work, I couldn't wait to try it out. 

 The significant difference between my SmartPak Breathable Girth and the TSF Shoulder Relief Girth.

I didn't take comparison pics because I was in a hurry to just ride with it.  I will take some more pics this weekend when I have more time and have someone to take some video of Klein moving in it.  As I tacked up I still was wondering what is so magical about this thing, obviously there was a drastic difference between it and my previous dressage girth, but again, I never have had any issues with Klein being sore, pinched, rubbed, grouchy, tense, reluctant, etc, etc, etc...  As soon as I got on and started walking around to warm up I IMMEDIATELY noticed what the difference was.  When I looked down at the pommel of my saddle I could see a huge difference in the movement of her shoulders.  This sounds weird, but this is the only way I can explain it, it looked like the pommel was actually moving around more allowing her shoulders more range of motion.  I will see if a video of us walking in the SmartPak girth vs. in the TSF girth catches what I am trying to say.  I know it's because the saddle was sitting slightly in a different spot.  I also felt like I was sitting in a different spot in my saddle.  My saddle just got more comfortable, believe it or not.  Sold.  I am DEFINITELY buying the jumping girth.  I'll post a review about that too.

Klein seemed to come a little more through as well during our ride.  During that ride we rode 1st Level test 2, worked on shoulder-in, travers, and lengthening at the trot and canter.  She also was slobbering all over.

 This pic doesn't really do it justice.  I actually saw slobber drip a couple times as we were working and she had it on her chest.

Hopefully you can tell somewhat from the picture how soft the underside is.

 TSF Shoulder Relief Girth - Klein tested, Klein approved.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

If You Give a Pony a Piece of Your Fudge Round Cake...

Notice Klein in the background giving approximately 0 f's.

Mochs is pretty much a little garbage disposal.  She will try anything you give her, and probably like it.  She loves Chex Mix, granola bars, pretzels, beer, bacon jerky, and the list could go on.  She doesn't get these things regularly of course, but The Other Half always lets her try whatever he has that she wants.  The other day he had a fudge round cake and gave her a piece.  The video below is what happened after she tried that little piece:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Off to a Great Start!!

 A beautiful, quiet, peaceful foggy evening at the barn.

The ponies continue to settle in and establish their new routine.  I think Klein is enjoying not being bossed by other mares.  Right now, she's the boss.  She used to be #4 in line but now she's #1 because Wes and Mochi will both listen to her.  Mochi tries to boss Wes a little bit but he kind of stands there like "Make me."  He doesn't get ugly back to her, it's pretty funny.  Sometimes he'll move if she gets after him and other times if he doesn't feel like it, he doesn't move when she asks.  He will listen to Klein every time though.  Watching Mochi try to use every bit of her 14 hand height to get what she wants with a 17 hand horse and an 18 hand horse is hilarious.

There is a canoe beached at the pond in their pasture.  The other day Wes went over and started tapping it with a hoof and I guess he didn't ask Klein for permission.  She was on him IMMEDIATELY.  She squealed and chased him off.  It was like she was trying to say "That's not yours!  Don't touch it!!!"  The Other Half went down to it today and tapped it with his foot while Klein wasn't too far away.  Her head shot up and she stared him down.  It was too funny, I don't know what her issue is with tapping the canoe, but obviously it's against the rules. 

Speaking of Mochi, she has been working this week.  I've taken her on a hack, rode her around with a neck rope, and she's been in the round pen. 

 Heading out for an evening hack in the fog on Mochs.

The goal right now is just getting her fit.  She's out of shape so I have just been increasing her general activity to start building her up again.  The neck rope ride was the first time I've ever tried her in one.  A friend suggested it and Mochi was pretty good with it.  We started in the round pen and then once we were comfortable with walk, trot, canter in there I was able to ride her around the property with it.  The idea of it is when she gets strong to use that instead of having her just pull and pull and pull.  But since she started back to work last month I haven't really had her do that.  She's done it twice that I can think of.  I just wanted to see how she'd respond to a neck rope for future reference.  It was fun and different too and I will most likely ride her with it once a week since we both enjoyed it.

Mochi with the neck rope at the canter.

I have been taking Wes for hand walks.  He's already improving, he was pretty strong tonight, but my arms are beyond dead after all the pull-up work I did at CrossFit yesterday, so I don't think tonight counts as a good gauge of progress.

Some butterfly pull-ups from yesterday's pull-up work = dead arms today.

The Other Half put Wes in the round pen and just had him work at a walk and trot for 15 minutes this week too.  The round pen is going to benefit him, just getting him moving and hopefully that will help his hind end stiffness.  Being out with the girls is already helping because they keep him constantly moving.  The three of them are always on some kind of adventure.  He will go into the round pen at least once a week for about 15 mins.  He is also on MSM daily.  I'm going to take him for a hack this weekend.  The weather is supposed to be in the mid-high 60's and it's a three day weekend, which means ponies all day every day.

Wes, such a special horse.

Klein and I had a good jump school last Saturday. 

 Happy Klein after a jump school.

We did one of the counting exercises we read about from Denny Emerson.  It's a basic exercise, but reading the posts from him about it and also reading Daryl's blog posts where she mentions it reminded me that we should practice it much more often.  Daryl said she spent pretty much hours counting down to random things like sticks, rocks, and trees to actual fences.  So I rode around counting down from five and from three to random objects and fences.  Here's a video of a countdown from three to a small fence:

Klein was great for dressage on Sunday.  I put her back in her Pelham with double reins after our fling with the throw back german silver french-link snaffle.  Although she is a LOT better than she was when we started with the french-link snaffle a few years ago, she really loves her Pelham.  I know, two extremes almost, but there is an instant, drastic difference in her with the Pelham.  Remember, she loves her low port Kimberwicke too.  She's that kind of girl.

We worked on shoulder-in, more leg yields, and 10m circles at the canter.

 Leg yields...


 I love this because all three of them are in it.

And, my Man Crush Everyday, the Other Half and Wes.  Love!!