Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014- a first year of blogging in review


I can't believe that it's already been over a year since I started this blog! I did mean to acknowledge the actual anniversary of my first post, buuuuuuut I thought it was later in the month and didn't even bother to check until I'd missed it by about two days.  Oops.  Either way, the actual anniversary was December 7th , after which I promptly didn't write for almost an entire month.  Luckily for me, I decided to make posting at least once a week my New Year's Resolution (which I kept for the most part), and as a result, I got to keep blogging and meet so many great people (metaphorically speaking of course)!

January

I give a little basic background on my horse and where she came from.  I recollect on some progress I've made with not freaking out when someone comments my horse might not be at 100%, and I have my usual crazy winter Jazz.  It seems so weird to think that I didn't know almost any of my now go-to groundwork exercises back then.

Jazz's original sale photo
February

February was definitely my best month for posting, and I learned a lot of things.  The most notable, to me at least, was a new way to lunge which ranks as probably the most useful tool in my groundwork arsenal as of today.  We continue to make good progress with groundwork and respect, and I recount my years at horse camp (read: essentially my entire riding experience pre-Jazz) complete with a slightly cringe-worthy picture from my youth (well, my younger youth).  I also promise an explanation of when I started at the rescue that it now occurs to me I never wrote.  Oops.  Note to self: rescue that story from the drafts.  I unexpectedly attend the Saskatchewan Horse Expo where I got to watch a few clinics and shop at the trade show.

Cutest, sweetest gelding ever
March

I hit a tough spot in our groundwork re-start, though it doesn't last long.  I also participate in my very first blog hop (which explains my URL if anyone missed it and is curious).  I wrote what is still one of my favourite posts to date (you can't go wrong with Julie Andrews, plus it's a nice flashback to being in a production of the Sound of Music).

Mmmm professional quality photography.


April

After my return to basics and groundwork, April is when I started riding again in earnest. For anyone who read my last post about Jazz's teeth, here is the post where I explain what her teeth were like around this time last year.  Jazz starts shedding, though molting seems a more accurate term.


May

I promise another post I never wrote (about the Mane Event)... oops.  There is also a completely unreasonable snow storm which leaves Jazz very cold, stiff, and shivering (and one of my favourite post titles of the year).  Of course the gross weather means I get to break out the blanket I bought almost two years ago and never even took out of the package (I am hardcore on team naked horse, but I draw the line at May snow on my shedding horse), and Jazz looks very cute.  I participate in one of my all time favourite blog hops.  Side note: there is nothing I love more than hearing about bits.  If anyone ever wants to entice me into reading a post on their blog, make it about your bit.  Jazz turns six!

There's a reason everything I bought her for our first two years together was blue. 
I pretend I know how to run barrels (Jazz's favourite) for her birthday, but I fail to stare them into submission.

June

I get a new trainer, and Jazz gets fussier and fussier, until I remember she's due for her teeth (another personal favourite post title).  While I wait on Jazz's mouth to heal up, I take a lesson on my new Trainer's awesome lesson horse.  I buy an English saddle!

Mmmm shiny summer Jazz

July

I hit 1000 pageviews! Jazz continues her random naughtiness, which has been going on since before her teeth were done at this point.  I compare her, not inaccurately, to a rubik's cube, and get in a few bareback rides with the halter on a horse I hadn't ridden properly in the saddle for about two weeks.  I somehow manage to get away without serious injury. I own up to some of the blogs I check obsessively  follow, and we buy a trailer

One of my favourite pictures of us. 
August

I update a little about my horse, and discover that purple is her color. I attempt to sell a couple of things in a tack swap with no success (which I still have and can be viewed here).  I take a trip to London, England, and document everything horsey in sight (which reminds me, I ought to finish up that post since I still have some exciting pictures I never shared).


September

Jazz goes on the only trail ride we've managed this year.  I avoid actual updates via blog hops and questions.  I write the longest post EVER about the Household Cavalry Museum in London.  I make a first attempt at starting a blog hop with sadly, no takers.


October

Definitely the worst month for posting with a dismal 2 posts.  I fess up to how I've been jumping behind everyone's backs.  I also attend my first show, but the post for that isn't until November, so I'll include it there.  


video

November

I attend my first show and Jazz is awesome!  We manage a 1st, 2nd, and a 5th, despite a rocky start to the morning.  Basically all else that happens in November is I don't ride my horse.  I talk about hypothetical future disciplines and take some of my favourite pictures of Jazz ever.  



And I'm not going to bother wrapping up December, as it's barely half over.  It seems so weird looking back at all I didn't know then and all I do know now.  I also learned I promised a few posts that I did not deliver on, but will be sure to revisit (such as when I met Jazz, the times she's bucked me off, the posts left over from London I still wanted to share).  It's pretty unlikely I'll write about the Mane Event from way back in May now, unless I have a reader particularly dying to read about me struggling to remember details from months ago, in which case let me know in the comments.

Another mostly unrelated note: at some point in the last couple of months I hit 2000 pageviews and failed to note it on my blog then.  As of now, I have 2462. Yay!





Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blog Thankfulness

Sometimes I'm very happy to have my blog. Sometimes it feels like yet another thing in my overly busy schedule that i feel guilty when I'm not keeping up with it the way I'd like. I'm always very happy to read everyone else's blogs and be a part of the community,  but there are times when it feels like a chore to be keeping up with photos and videos (ha, like I bother with videos) and putting it all into words. But this is the first time I've really been so grateful to have it.

I've ridden Jazz a couple times in the last couple weeks. She's been okay but not great. There was a lot of head tossing,  and much bigger than her normal. Her had was basically in my lap half the time.
I started vaguely thinking about it and remembered this time last year when her had tossing was getting out of control.  

Just before I really started blogging, around last November/December, Jazz started head tossing more than what I would consider within normal range of naughtiness for her.  It occurred to me she hadn't had her teeth seen to in a while, and I asked my trainer (at the time, not my current trainer) if that could be why she was acting this way.  I had her checked out the following week, and there were big hooks on her teeth and some lacerations on her cheeks, which were much worse on the side where she had been refusing to turn lately.  

I had them floated, and was told she'd need a re-check in six months, since they could only do so much in one day.  When she was acting up again, I had her teeth redone in June.  

It was so unbelievably nice to just have my blog to look at and be able to say, "Oh right, she got her teeth done six months ago, and the vet said they needed to be done again in six months", and suddenly everything made sense.  

And really, that's the biggest point of my blog for me right now.  Records.  I am notedly terrible at keeping records and dates straight, and worse at taking photos, but my blog gives me a way to work on that while preserving the memories of my time with my excellent red pony (though she sometimes tries to convince me she's forgotten how to be excellent).  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Na na na na na na na na

Na na na na  


BAT HORSE

"I even perked my ears for this one" 
Between my lack of photography skills and her disinterest in looking at the camera, it's a miracle I have as many decent photos of her as I do.
As the fleece cooler suggests, I got to ride my horse yesterday.  After my truly pitiful November where I managed to ride a grand total of one time, it was nice to be back in the saddle again.
The hardest part by far is always convincing myself to get my stuff together and get to the farm at the end of the day.  With 4:30 sunsets and a schedule that picked up a lot in other areas of my life over the last three weeks,  it's easy to make excuses for my November slipping away from me.  All I can really say is that I have no intention of letting my December be the same.

Jazz came in quietly, and we did a tiny groundwork warmup before grooming and tacking up in the arena (the barn isn't heated, and it was too cold to do it in there).  I got on and was pleased with how she felt right off the bat.  She was really forward, and obviously had a lot of energy, which was totally fine considering the icy ground and her long, semi-unintentional vacation.

And now, a semi-interruption to just be grateful for the bloggers out there.  I find that I really look forward to catching up on many different equines all across the continent (and a few international horses) and their pursuits of their many disciplines.  For one thing, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one having the annual winter hardships (or being jealous of all the Texan and other Southern U.S. bloggers).  More specifically though, I'm particularly grateful to Karen of Bakersfield Dressage for this post , which contained a little hint that made leg yields 9084589720 times easier (you know, when Jazz decides to remember that legs mean she has to move), and Jen of Wyvern Oaks for this post, which motivated me to start trying to rely less on pulling and a possible solution for Jazz's strung-out gross trotting (Jazz, was not in fact rescued from an auction, she was found near the train yard, and it's suspected she was a runaway train).

I started with a dressage kind of mindset and a month's vacation type of fresh patience.  Jazz was actually incredibly good considering how she hasn't been properly ridden in forever.  That means, of course that she was the usual kind of naughty instead of some unpredicted naughtiness.  The back corner of the arena at K is still a cause of random sidepassing, stopping, and dropping shoulders so low I consider it miraculous they don't drag when circling 20m tracking left.  There are two reasons for this that don't include the horse getting away with things I can't correct 100% of the time yet, one being that this is the corner containing all the jump standards and other assorted scaries, and the other reason being that the light was burnt out for about six months in that corner under the old management, and it took forever even once it wasn't dark over there to get her to stay on the track in that corner.  There were also plenty of crazy strung-out gross trots, and indignant insistence that we canter NOW, including fancy tiny collected canter and head tossing, often simultaneously (which looks hilarious and feels ridiculous).  That said, I found a chill place and with one four second exception (curse you, K corner), I didn't get frustrated at the same problems we have every ride lately.  Jazz also tried a sassy little canter transition buck at one point, which accomplished two things, making me laugh, and making me grateful for my improved seat.  All in all, a decent ride which included a couple of canter departures onto the correct lead on her hard side before she wound herself up too much to canter.  Jazz is a slow burn kind of horse.  If I ever bring friends to the barn to ride her, I always do a very short walk/trot check in and then let them get on, because so long as she starts okay, she usually will behave for the bulk of the middle part of the ride.  It's always when we do too much fast work, especially cantering, that she gets all gooey and won't get off my leg or transition down or half halt.   Oh well, she's not a fancy dressage horse... yet (despite her fancy canter skillz).


Another random note: I saw moose for the very first time this week!  I was out at a friend's farm and we saw a cow, two young moose, and two bulls.  
Here's the cow! After watching her jump this fence I can confirm that Jazz does, in fact, jump like a moose.
Here she is reunited with the two little ones.

You know you're Canadian when you stop on the highway to watch five moose.