June 21, 2013

Catch-up Post with Tons of Pictures!

Oh man, I think this is the most behind I've ever been in blogging.  I have two Liebster Awards to catch up on (thanks, guys!) and lots of stories to share.  Also, thank you all so so much for the support and comments on the last post.  They mean the world to me.  We're hanging in there, and he's already had a couple of interviews so far, so hopefully this will be a much shorter unemployment this time.  Ok, time for a catchup post!

#1: Connor's been easy to catch lately because being outside in the buggy heat is not his idea of a good time, and I've been doing fun things with him like hand grazing him outside his field or spraying him down before we ride.  Also, he had a bug bite on his eyelid that led to some minor eye-area swelling on Tuesday:

Add caption

which has led to this:

Fly mask time!
#2: My plan for a long time has been to sell both of my too-narrow saddles after Leg Up next weekend, but after forgetting my jump saddle at home and riding him in my lesson last night in a borrowed Xwide tree Walsall Saddlery saddle that belongs to this giant drafty fellow, I am speeding that plan up.  They need to go, and he needs a wide tree and a flat-paneled saddle, end of story.  The Walsall wasn't a perfect fit, but he was all too eager to lift his back and be perfectly between my leg and hand last night underneath the wide tree.  With my husband losing his job, it gives me the perfect chance to sell them, sit on the cash just in case he's unemployed for a while, then hopefully put the money from both toward a really nice, permanent jump saddle that I'll also ride Dressage in until I can afford a Dressage saddle.  His back and shape have stabilized enough that I am comfortable looking for my "forever" saddle now.

Cob people aren't kidding when they say the British brands fit the Cobs best.  They know their broad, flat-backed ponies.

It's a bit too wide and therefore a little low in the front, but putting my Thinline Saddlefitter underneath it took care of that.
Looking good.

#3: We're still in the middle of jumping boot camp, and for the first time ever last night, he took an appropriately short distance to the fences like an educated adult pony.  This is the result of a whole lot of concentrated work!  Because the canter was so long and flat before, he was taking long and flat distances to the fences and then throwing himself haphazardly over them.  Now that we're working on shortening the canter and keeping it active behind, he's able to take off from an appropriate distance - and equally as important, he has the confidence in himself that he can make that distance.  The first one felt wonky even though it was smooth because he had a split-second "Why am I this close?" moment as we took off, but he made it and my trainer was pleased with it as a learning moment.

This is from one year ago, in May of 2012, jumping indifferently from a flat, runny canter.

#4: I'm giving him longer warmups that include walking in the grassy field until he relaxes through his back and into my hands.  Sometimes that takes a while, but I'm on his time for that, so that's okay. We just walk and I gradually ask him to come on the bit through relaxed lateral work and circles. By the time we walk back over to the barn for our lesson, he's got so much foam going on he looks rabid, and he's happy and relaxed enough to do whatever I ask during the lesson.  Happier horse = more productive lesson.

Beginning of our warmup.

This weekend we have team XC schooling at the HHP on Sunday, then next weekend is Leg Up, then the weekend after is a jumping clinic at the farm.  Looking forward to it and whatever comes after!


  1. Wow, that saddle fits him well. Did you feel good in it too? The balance looks better than your other saddle. Better more willing movement was how I knew Comrade was in the right size finally. I love my sheepskin pad to help when the saddle is a little big.
    I wish you were closer so you could try some of the saddles I have sitting around waiting for Roscoe to get bigger.
    Have fun schooling! Fingers crossed for your husband.

  2. I felt okay in it. It's an A/P so flaps weren't too far forward, but the seat is a big large for me so my knees weren't over the flap at my jumping length. She wouldn't part with it anyway, and rightfully so.

  3. I'm volunteering at Leg Up all day, maybe I'll finally get to meet Conner! I was going to bring Rhyme, but our trailer is being fixed, and I don't feel like he is ready mentally yet.

  4. Yay for your husband! And yay for Connor. He is looking really good, looking forward to seeing his new and improved jump.

  5. Have fun at the XC schooling!

    Keep up the good boot camp work :)

  6. I think I missed something. Does the county you bought not fit? I'm sorry about that. That's a total bummer.

  7. Hope one of your husband's interviews lead to a great new job soon! I am job searching (not my idea of a good time) and it is stressful.

    Looking forward to hearing about you and Connor's success at Leg Up!

  8. Hillary, he went through what I hope to be his final "growing out" in the past couple of months. My jump saddle fit perfectly and my Dressage saddle fit okay two months ago, but as of very recently they don't fit at all. It sucks because I love that Dressage saddle so much.

    Kelly, good luck with your own job search. What are you looking for?