Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Flat Work Videos - Mochi

 Giraffe-ing slightly but A+ for effort.  Does this little mare ever try.  I would take Mochs as my battle buddy any day.

The Other Half was nice enough to take some video of Mochi for me last week.  Except, the day I had this great idea was one of the most oppressive days we have had yet this summer.  We were cutting through the air the humidity was so thick that evening.  I kept the ride short for the benefit of not only Mochi but The Other Half too.  I know how it is, I run almost every single morning in this weather.  I have a half marathon coming up and my runs are only getting longer right now.  There are runs that are as long as my rides (hour +).  And yes, I know, people like to point out how much humidity sucks, I don't really think it does when winter rolls around and we aren't stuck in indoors all winter long.  I can ride year round here, there is no snow, I love it.  We have amazing fall, winter, spring, and most of summer.  July and August aren't the most fun but the rest of the year is near perfect here!

Here are a couple short videos.  These weren't her best work as of lately but it was not the most comfortable evening.  I hosed her off before I even tacked her up.  I figured we already were in the ring, might as well do some work and keep it short and sweet.

I like this clip because it shows Moch start to have a slight fit right after the down transition, but she gets over herself immediately and goes back to what she's supposed to be doing.  There used to be a lot more of that and it just has slowly worked itself out since she has been in steady work.  I think some of it is her getting stronger and finding her balance more and more.  The more she strengthens and finds her balance the more comfortable she is and finds her happy place.  When she does have minor fits like that I don't acknowledge it, I don't touch her face either.  I squeeze her and make sure she has the support on the outside rein that she needs and she goes to it and settles.


Here is some of her trot and canter again.

We have an evening dressage show coming up this weekend, so we'll see how that goes.  It isn't recognized, just a show to get her out and have some fun.

Doing, what she does, giving her best effort again.

Friday, July 24, 2015

An Update in Pictures

 Mochs pretending to be offended I misted her face with gnat spray.  Pony, please.  We play this game pretty much every day.  I mist, she has to act offended then I kiss her nose and tell her she is being silly, then she allows me to mist her face as much as I want.  Silly Mochaloosa.

 An update in pictures...

 Wes enjoying his fan after a bath.

 Finishing dinner after a bath.

 Mochs wondering if the neighbor's grill with the big flame coming out of it grills little horses.  I assured her it does not.

 Trails before getting caught in a storm.

 Part of the evening's sprint track.

 Beautiful evening.

 Sunset ride!

 More handsome!

 *Le Sigh* the princess.

 Our happy herd.

 Wes' front feet after his trim last weekend.

 They look so normal compared to the shod mess he came home as.




The Other Half taking Wes back out to his mares.

Wes jogging his other half after his trim, good job buddy!

The Other Half taste testing a new salt lick with Mochi.  They both approved.  Seriously, you think I kid when I say he's the best horse dad ever??  Look at this guy!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Firestone Sucks

 New Yokohama Geolandars for the Beast!

Most chain auto shops are shitty scam artists from what I have found.  Firestone is one of the worst I have dealt with.  I just wrote last month about the awesome shop I take the Beast to that is on the farm I buy my hay from for shows and other weekend horse trips.  I know Firestone sucks.  I know better than to take my truck there.  But, they are one block from my work and I am SO busy at work it is SO easy to drop the Beast off for something simple and all I have to do is walk a block to drop it off and pick it up.  The hay farm isn't far, it's only about 15 mins away but sometimes with my work I just can't fit in running back and forth.  Sometimes I don't have time to feed myself let alone do anything else not work related.  I mean, maybe if people would stop breaking federal law I would have some extra time at work but seeing as our case load only has continued to grow lately, I'd say that's not likely to happen.

I made the mistake of dropping the Beast off for an alignment last week at Firestone.  An alignment.  That's a simple, straightforward thing to do to a vehicle, you can't really mess it up.  Well unless you're Firestone and you don't even pull the truck into the shop.  An hour after I dropped it off they told me they didn't want to align it because it needed tires.  Well, that is true, it is tire time for the Beast, but they didn't even pull it into the shop to check the alignment on it.  Out of curiosity I had them quote me some tires.  Again, the tires would be on the next day and it would be painless, in theory.  Tires.  Another thing that is simple for a shop.  So a simple shop like Firestone shouldn't have a problem.

When you don't even know what tread depth is on a tire, I guess putting tires on a vehicle CAN be pretty difficult.  This guy was trying to not only sell me some van tires for my 3/4 diesel truck but then started to back track when I called him out on it.  He said there were two versions of the tire.  I started asking him the specs on the tire he was looking up and to tell me the tread depth (which I already knew because I looked it up myself).  This guy had no idea what tread depth was.  He said "What do you mean?"  Seriously?  YOU WORK AT A TIRE SHOP.  WTF DO YOU MEAN WHAT DO YOU MEAN??!?!  That shit tire he was trying to sell me also was rated 362lbs LESS than the tires I had on the Beast.  Why would you try to sell me anything rated LESS?  Again, 3/4 diesel, with a vanity horse plate and a goose neck hitch in the bed.  2 + 2, dumb ass.  At that point I was done.  There is no convenience worth the stupidity that works at Firestone.  It isn't just that one shop either.

I took my car to one in Alabama while I was there for a work trip for a new wheel bearing.  I know what a wheel bearing sounds like.  I knew my car had a bad bearing.  I dropped my car off, again because it was really close to work.  They talked to me like I was an idiot that was imagining things.  Yet when I called at the end of the day to see if they drove the car the guy said "Oh...um...well, no.  I don't know how to drive a 5 speed.  I was waiting for my co-worker to come back so he could drive it and I could ride with him."  *crickets*  I didn't know what to say.  How do you even get hired at a shop if you can't drive a manual???  They ended up replacing the bearing and doing a shitty job.  They actually didn't install something correctly because I took it to the other Firestone when I got home and they re-did the entire job for free.

Another time I caught Firestone in a lie about my car having adjustable rear bearings.  Once I took the Scion in for a bad bearing too (Toyotas eat wheel bearings in the front, I've had a Celica, Paseo, and Scion TC all do it).   I didn't even make it a block with the Scion before I turned around.  The car sounded like there was gravel in the brakes and my ABS was going off any time I touched the brakes.  They swore up and down they must have gotten a defective bearing and re-did that job the next day too.  I can't remember which Firestone misadventure it was, but I called them out on something and one of them just looked at me and said "how do you know that?!  Google??"  Actually I have this thing called a dad that owns a shop and builds race cars.

They also are ridiculous with their prices.  One morning on the way to CrossFit I ran over a HUGE racoon that came out of nowhere, and he rolled under the front end like a ninja and ran off too.  He busted my fog lights out of the front bumper and they punctured my AC condenser.  At first I thought it was my radiator so again, because Firestone is so close to work I dropped it off and they called me and said they had worse news, it was my AC condenser and it would be $490 to fix.  Ha.  Yeah.  Right.  I was like um, I'll be there by lunch to pick it up.  Their price quote had the AC condenser at $299, the other half found a brand new one straight from Denso for $60.  He ordered it, I dropped the Scion off at my awesome shop and it was $127 to install the condenser and recharge the AC.  So, $187 vs $490.

Back to the Beast.  That day I went to pick it up and told them to shove their van tires is when I noticed the Beast had not moved.  Sometimes I think it intimidates people and I can't figure out why.  Surely other trucks come in that are bigger than the Beast.  I have had a place actually not be able to pull it into a bay.  It took two guys.  The first guy gave up and had to have someone else pull the truck in.  It was ridiculous.  What do they do when a dually comes in????  Once I took it to a detail shop and the guys refused to move it, they made me pull it through the line.

Anyway, lesson learned.  I will never, ever betray my awesome shop again.  Since it was tire time anyway, I ordered my tires myself and had my awesome shop put them on the other day.  Firestone wanted $1126 for f'ing van tires.  I bought some really nice tires and after a little searching found a great deal.  I got them for $816 delivered to my door and it was $80 to mount and balance them.  So $896 out the door for tires ten times better than the shit Firestone was trying to sell.  The Beast is riding like a Caddy on those new tires!  I can't wait to hook the trailer up.  It hauled nice before, I can't wait to see how it feels now.

Moral of the story, do your homework, learn about the vehicles you drive, ESPECIALLY the one you haul your horses with!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

More Pony Progress and Dressage Lesson

 Mochi gettin' it earlier this week.

Mochi has just been awesome lately.  We have really been putting in some dedication, and it is showing.  I HAVE to get some video of her soon, but...the Other Half is going out of town tomorrow for two weeks for work.  That means I have no one to take video.  Booo.

I rode with my dressage instructor for a long hack last weekend.  I talked with her about just how to go about starting work on Mochi's canter.  Sounds easy right?  Just start cantering.  Not on this little horse that requires you to ride every stride and be in control of each of your body parts independently at all times.  Without careful management, Mochs will just flail and be out of balance aka never develop a pure, balanced, correct canter.  She suggested it's time for Mochs to learn haunches in and begin learning to load her hind end.  So we started working on that on our hack.  We also made progress on that hack with getting Moch settled back in after cantering.  She will get all wound up after the down transition but on that hack we got her to calm it down, trot nicely, get back in balance and be ready for another transition.

I have noticed lately too on our rides at home that she is starting to come back to where she needs to be after down transitions.  That is one more thing I think that is a combination of reflections of her past and her lack of balance.  As she gets stronger with correct, regular training and as she also learns that there is nothing to get so wound up about after cantering she is calming down.  Somebody must have been rough with her at some point.  She has some serious anxiety like she is expecting something bad to happen.  My instructor sees it too and thinks she acts slightly scared.  She is on the same page with me about just letting her take her time and realize nothing bad is going to happen.  Today after some canter work Moch was having a rough patch with getting connection again and my instructor told me to just to transition to the walk and make her chill and take a breather.  She was better after her little breather.  She had to walk correctly though, it wasn't a throw away the contact walk.  I have to do the same with Klein sometimes.  Only Klein's problem is she will get frustrated with something like learning a new movement and I have to just let her walk for a minute and have a breather.  After a few minutes we come back to what we were working on and she's fine.

In our lesson today we worked on straightness in our leg yields at the walk, getting even contact, better contact, counter flexion (i.e. starting to teach her that her neck or hindquarters doesn't always have to be in line), and we started real work on our canter.  Um, milestone!  Four months ago this mare couldn't go around the ring at a balanced trot.

Today we discovered Mochs goes better when you have some pressure on with your upper leg.  She was much more into the contact and even on both reins with some extra support.  We had some nice trot work.  Our instructor even said she had a really nice trot today.  Yes, sweet validation.

It came time to work on the canter and we got a nice trot going on, waiting until she was balanced, then I'd ask.  Mochs was being pretty good.  I really had to keep my outside hand low and get her into the outside rein.  She got it though.  After a few trot-canter transitions my instructor suggested we canter from the walk.  Mochi definitely had an easier time into the canter from the walk.  I got a couple nice transitions down to the trot as well.  The trick is to really squeeze her down into transitions.  Mochs surprised us both.

Her canter also is a balancing, multi-tasking ride for me.  My instructor is like "Go smaller with your seat!  Smaller!  Smaller!" and when I do Mochs is like "Oh ok I can transition down."  No pony, you can't.  So, I have to keep make sure to keep my leg ON while going smaller with my seat to get her to connect.  She got it after a couple times of breaking to the trot and me putting her right back in the canter.  She understands the difference between going smaller with your seat and the actual aid for a down transition.  She catches on quick, thankfully.  I love mares.  Say what you want about mares, but they are awesome and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

From earlier this week.

Also, when she tried to giraffe today, by not touching her with my hands and just pushing her into the bridle she got back into balance much faster.  It's such an easy, basic thing, but sometimes I am not as consistent as I should be and today during our lesson I noticed it was my immediate reaction every time.  It's starting to sink it and become an automatic reaction that should have been there already.

 Giraffing before our lesson today.  This is me trying to explain to her that she has a great giraffe impression but it's really not appropriate for POA's, and that I've never seen a POA out on the Serengeti.

I'll get a couple strides of the picture above and that's when the whole squeeze her back into the bridle thing comes in.  In that pic above my leg isn't where it should be and my hands aren't either.  My hand (especially on the outside rein) should be lower and my leg should be at the girth with contact all the way down.  We fixed this today.

I am super excited to work on our homework.  When the Other Half comes back from his work trip we WILL get video!

We continue to hack at least twice a week.  Here is from yesterday morning's seven mile hack.  We saw a Bald Eagle fishing out of the lake that morning.  Pretty awesome.


 I also bought Mochs a Micklem.  She obviously must be pretty comfy in it, as demonstrated below.

 Pony sooooo sleepy.  She hadn't even done anything yet!