Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Right here, right now

Someday, I am going to have a stuffed animal made from the drawing of this unicorn. 
Ahem. L. Williams at Viva Carlos brings us another topic to discuss: What are you currently working on in your lessons or rides?

Good question. For the last few months, I’ve been focusing on both horses’ fitness in anticipation of the hunter pace. Now that the hunter pace has come and gone (and I didn’t get to go *tear*), I’m a little flummoxed on what to do. (Not to mention a little unmotivated.)
There are several shows to which I’d like to take the horses, but without a horse trailer, it isn’t likely I’ll be headed to them. So what to do with the horses?
The answer is, as ever, flat work. Moe’s dressage is a hot mess of giraffe-ing, splatting, and mild evading. Gina’s flat work is basically okay, but her lateral work needs some help. Of course, I think the horses and I would go bonkers if all we did was flat work for the next two months, so I imagine we’ll mix it up with a few jump schools and maybe a gallop set (or five). 

We’ll see how it goes.

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Weekend in numbers

10: Number of different configurations I tried in an effort to get my phone to charge. The USB port appears to be damaged, so guess who’s phone has finally bitten the dust? It made it through a hard year that included lots of my sweat, being dropped down and subsequently rescued from a storm drain, having the screen cracked twice, and getting bathed along with the horse. RIP Galaxy 2. :'(

9: Number of times I swept the house before the Derby party. (Did I get all of the animal hair? NO.)
8: Number of individual-sized pecan pies I ate this weekend. (When they’re miniature, they taste better. Seriously. And the calories don’t count? RIGHT?!)
7: Number of whiskey punch + sweet tea drinks I consumed on Saturday.
6: Number of different dishes I made for the Derby party: smoky pimiento cheese sandwiches, fruit skewers + dip, spinach artichoke dip with veggies, tomato-herb crostini, pasta salad, aforementioned pies. (We have SO. MUCH. LEFTOVER. FOOD.)
5: Number of hours the Derby party lasted, somehow. (We have talkative friends.)
4: Number of times I shrieked something obscene at the TV while watching the Memphis Grizzlies versus Oklahoma City Thunder playoff game before I got disgusted, fast-forwarded to the end, and went to bed. (We love the NBA! Both of our teams, the Dallas Mavericks and the Grizz are eliminated now. *tears*)
3: Number of hours I spent at the barn last night.
2: Number of times Gina went through a bounce to one stride grid last night before I decided not to push my luck. (Who am I kidding? I quit before I barfed due to temperatures in the 90s and eating too many pies.)
1: Number of good selfies Johnny and I took at our party. 
How was your weekend?

Happy Derby day!

My friend and horse racing enthusiast Holly is my go-to for Derby picks. She follows the industry much more closely than me, has published several papers and will publish a book on the relationship between social media and racing, and once met Gina’s great-grandsire Affirmed. In my book, that makes her qualified to tell me who to place my bets on.

There you have it: based on which horse’s people are basically good, you can wager on California Chrome, Wicked Strong, Wildcat Red, Samraat, and Uncle Sigh. While you may or may not make much money, you can rest assured you’ll “have the righteous sense that good has triumphed over evil.”
Happy Derby Day, everyone! 
Disclaimer: Neither Holly nor I are responsible if you lose your life savings following this advice.

Happy Birthday Moe!

Today, my beloved Richnfree turns 19 years old. To celebrate, we’re going to have a good gallop around the field, following by lots of apples. 
Here’s 19 facts about my 19 year old horse! (And pictures, duh.)
  1. My parents bought Moe for me in 2003 after my horse Spike was having issues being a safe and reliable jumper.
  2. I met Moe for the first time at my Pony Club’s spring horse trials. He’d just won the beginner novice division. 
  3. Moe has never had a penalty on a cross-country course, time or otherwise. He has had lots of penalties in show jumping for knocking rails.
  4. Moe is a garbage disposal and eats anything: apples, carrots, any kind of horse treat, granola bars, peppermints, donuts (cake and plain glazed). 
  5. If you offer him a bottle of Gatorade with the twist top, he’ll grab it between his teeth and flip it up to drink it. His favorite kind is blue raspberry; he won’t touch fruit punch.
  6. Several years ago while prepping for an event, I decided the local XC course and the jumps at home weren’t challenging enough. So I jumped him over the hood of my dad’s car.
  7. Moe competes in a snaffle bit for all three phases of an event.
  8. He’s always on the bottom of the pecking order, no matter what horses he’s turned out with. He doesn’t seem to mind.
  9. Moe is the first horse I’ve ever had with a white marking on a leg. I used to scrub and scrub with White ‘n Brite before shows because I wanted that pastern to shine!
  10. Moe only raced once before he was sent down the eventing career path. He was an abysmal failure who lacked competitive drive. He was completely happy to run at his own pace and let other horses pass him.
  11. His head is tiny. He wears a cob sized bridle, and regular sized halters can slip off him while buckled.
  12. He loves water and will stand by the water trough in the summer, waiting to be sprayed off while someone fills up the tank. He’ll also wade into ponds and stand like a hippo.
  13. Moe loves riding trails. He’s surefooted and brave, and goes out alone or in a group.
  14. He hates having his face brushed. He almost always lifts his head and shies away as if I’m going to hit him. (To my knowledge, no one has ever hit him in the head.)
  15. Moe always answers to his name; if he can hear someone yelling for him, he will always head toward them.
  16. Even though I always carry a bat while jumping, I’ve only ever smacked him with it once, when he ran out at a jump at an XC school.
  17. The highest we’ve jumped is 4′. In college, I’d make my friend Amy be jump crew while we played “How High Can Moe Jump?”
  18. His nicknames include Moe Moe Sillypants, Moezilla, Moe Money Moe Problems, The Camel, and Moemar. 
  19. Moe only has one half-sibling, a gelding who had 8 starts and zero places. Failure runs in the family!

Happy birthday, sweet pony! I hope you live another 19 years. 

Vet check

Both ponies saw the vet yesterday for their annual checkup. Moe wasn’t very enthusiastic about having his eye poked and prodded again.

Moe’s eye got the all-clear- the vet was very pleased with how it had responded to treatment and proclaimed that it was clean as a whistle and commended me on how I’d cared for it. (Thanks, but administering drops + cream + Bute + fly mask is nothing when your horse is well-behaved!)

Gina was deeply suspicious of the big man poking her all over her neck and chest with needles, but didn’t do anything silly while she was being vaccinated. Moe, of course, stood quietly and ate cookies.

I had the vet look at both horses’ teeth, as it’s been nearly two years since Moe’s were floated. Gina’s haven’t been floated since I’ve owned her. The vet said Moe’s had normal wear and needed to be filed in a few places; he complimented Moe’s jaw strength when he saw him bite into an apple. (Apparently, many horses lack the strength in the front of their mouths to do so. And all this time I thought Gina just didn’t know how to eat an apple.) Gina’s teeth had “monster hooks”, which surprised me a little bit. I would have thought she’d be angrier about the bit or having difficulty chewing! So the vet will return in the next month or two to float their teeth. (I’d have it done sooner, but one of the dogs just had four teeth removed and our bank account needs some time to recover from taxes and vet bills.)

In sad news, Moe and I won’t be attending the hunter pace on Saturday after all. My teammate Levi has a work obligation on Saturday, my backup teammate Richal has decided not to go, and somehow, none of my friends have bumper hitch trailers. I’m disappointed, because the horses and I have been working hard to get fit for the ride. I was also looking forward to schooling Moe over some real cross-country jumps. Oh well. Time to really get serious about selling my trailer and buying a smaller, lighter one the truck can pull, I guess!