Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: My Practical Wish List

Now that I'm seriously enjoying my time in the saddle, I want to buy ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, I think of something new I "need" every day. In all fairness, I do have a new-to-me horse, and while my tack miraculously fits Degen for the most part, I do honestly need a few things.

Here's what I came up with:

1. Hind boots for Degen. I have a pair of the Woof All-Purpose Boots that I use on the fronts, and I really like them. I've had my pair for about 3 years now, and they've held up great. They are pretty easy to clean (I just hose mine down and let them dry), are easy to put on and adjust, don't slip or retain water, and overall, I think they are a great value for the price.

2. White show shirt. I have this shirt from Riding Sport, but I don't love it. It shrank BIG TIME in the wash (at least that's my story!), and now it's just tight and uncomfortable. Any suggestions for an affordable, comfortable show shirt?

3. Leather Soap. I'm almost out and dying to try Higher Standards!

4. Bath sponge. Mine is gross. It's time for a new one.

5. Not really a "gotta-have-immediately-or-I-won't-be-able-to-ride" item, but I'm still playing around with bridles for Degen. My dressage bridle didn't fit Kwik and they have about the same size head so I figured it wouldn't fit Degen either. My cheap-O Suffolk Fancy Stich bridle fits him great but has laced reins (hate laced reins). I swapped out the laced reins for the black webbed reins that came with the dressage bridle so now I'm riding in a brown bridle with black web reins. It's ghettofabulous, let me tell you. I would absolutely LOVE a pair of brown rubber reins.

6. Also not needed immediately, but I would love a pair of wide-track composite stirrups. It would be great to have a bit more stability as I ease back into jumping, and alleviating knee pain would definitely be an added bonus. The Royal Riders are so expensive though! Anyone have experience with the Composti Reflexes or another cheaper brand?

I really want an Oglivy memory foam Jump half pad, but that is most certainly not on the short list of things I NEED at the moment.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Riding is FUN!

Once again, it's been a while, but this time I've just been so busy RIDING! I can't say enough wonderful things about Degen. He's such a great babysitter. I look forward to each and every ride, and I'm now riding with confidence and a smile on my face. I've been taking weekly lessons with E, Degen's owner, and she has me focusing on lengthening and strengthening my leg to develop a more independent seat via lots of no-stirrup work. I've seen a dramatic difference in my position in a short amount of time as a result, and I'm now riding a good bit of my dressage schools sans stirrups at the moment. I almost feel like I ride better without stirrups now!

 E graciously brought out one of her old XC saddles for me to use for jumping, and I'm loving it! It's an old Ainsley with a nice forward flap and great knee blocks. I feel extremely secure and just love riding in it. Degen and I did our very first XC lesson with A yesterday, and ohmygoodness, we had so much fun! We worked over a combination of logs and stadium jumps that were set up in the XC field, and I am proud to say I jumped my very first skinny and corner! We also did several mini courses, practiced cantering in and out of the water, and walked up and down the water bank. I'll admit, I was a bit nervous going into the lesson, but by the end, we were cantering all of our exercises with confidence. I had a blast, and I think Degen really enjoyed himself too. He's an old pro, and he really took care of me. Can't wait for the next lesson!

Sky and Degen

We've also got some show goals as well. There is a low-key dressage schooling show down the road from my barn at the end of May, and I asked E if she thought that would be something we could work towards. She thought that was a great idea and even offered to bring along one of her horses and pick us up on the way! I pulled my jacket out of my closet the other night, and it definitely does not fit anymore. Thank goodness it's a schooling show, but it's probably time to do some show clothes shopping!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

He's Here!

My handsome new man has landed, and I couldn't be happier! Degen stepped off the trailer shaggy, hairy, and FAT, but I couldn't care less. I do wish my barn had some sort of pasture board situation since that is what he's used to and I think that's what he prefers. He doesn't seemed to mind being stalled in the evening though, and they get plenty of turnout during the day. He settled in just fine, so I took him for a spin the very next day. He went straight to work without any sillyness whatsoever. We did lots of walking, stretching, and some trotting, and I even canterd a tiny bit in each direction. We even went on a solo trail ride to cool down, and he walked along and took everything in stride like a pro. March will be a month of conditioning. We both need to get back in shape before we can really start lessoning and really working hard so the plan is to do short flatwork sessions and lots of trail riding with some hill work incorporated into those rides.

We've also been playing beauty parlor! I pulled his mane after one of our rides and had him clipped on Sunday, and the transformation is incredible! He is now super shiny and looks like his fancy show horse self. Post-clip pics to come!

Straight off the trailer:

Mane pulled and cleaned up!


Friday, February 7, 2014

The Year of the Horse

Once again, I've been a horrible blogger. But to be quite honest, there really hasn't been much to talk about. After Kwik left, I just didn't want to be around horses for a hot minute. The whole thing was very emotional and I felt like a terrible horse mom, so I just enjoyed my holiday and time with my family in December. I took a work trip to San Antonio and a relaxing getaway to the mountains with my honey and some friends in January. It's been uncharacteristically cold here in the ATL, and I enjoyed a few days off from work due to the now-famous Snow Jam 2014.

I did try out an amazing little Hanoverian cross in December before I left for Tennessee. His owner bred and trained him, and he has competed in HTs at Chatahoochee Hills, Poplar Place, and Full Gallop, and she won the Area 3 Championships at Training level on him in 2008. She has since moved on to more advanced horses, and Degen has just been hanging around in the pasture for the past two years. A made the connection, and after trotting him around for 2 seconds, I could tell this little horse was super happy to be working again and definitely had a lot to teach someone like me. Degen is undoubtedly one of the nicest horses I have ever ridden, and even with no work for almost a year and a half, I felt very safe and comfortable. Unfortunately I was looking for a care lease and his owner was hoping for a paid lease, and it didn't look like this was going to happen after all. I spent most of January investigating all other options, and nothing was really panning out.

But sometimes things just work themselves out, and I'm happy to report that Degen is coming to the farm very very soon! This is the year of the horse, and I know this year will hold many wonderful horsey things to come for all of us. Happy happy Friday!