Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Let him freeze!

Remember when I worried princess might get cold in the transition from the Winter shell I have for him and the Winter blanket?

Remember when I spent the last of my Christmas bonus to buy him a new liner to keep him nice and cozy?

Well:



Since I only put it on him Christmas Eve, and I know for a fact that he didn't get outside until Friday because of the power, I can easily narrow it down to how long it took him to destroy it:

Less than a day outside with the other horses.  

They somehow managed to rip the liner off him without taking off his Winter blanket (impressive, really), and destroy it past the point of salvageable.

I found it buried under 30 cm of freshly laid snow.

He can freeze for all I care!

Friday, 27 December 2013

2013 in Review

Everyone else is doing their year in review so I decided to do one too.  Brace yourself, folks.  Time to relive the roller coaster.

January



I began to take real live jumping lessons on my real live non-jumping horse.  We also participated in a Western Pleasure clinic, which was more Walker's style.  Of course, he reared with the clinician on him.  Never say he doesn't put on a show.


February


I continued to dabble in jumping.  I asked Walker to jump a two foot vertical.  He obliged, then promptly said "never again".  This would ironically end up being the case.  

I left for Italy.

March 


I return from my trip to Italy.  Walker and I celebrate our one year anniversary.  All hell breaks loose.

Walker gets sick with the cold.  Then he swells up to the size of a balloon and becomes anemic.  

April


Walker is sick.  I am sad.  I go to the barn two times a day to administer meds.  He ends up having to go to the vet clinic for two weeks.  

May 


Walker is out of the vet clinic and on the mend, despite having lost a scary amount of weight.  We move to our new home.  He becomes a jerk about oral medicine because we shoved it down his throat for weeks on end.  He vows never to trust another human around his mouth ever again.

He then goes lame.  We find out that he has mild navicular changes and that I should probably never jump him again.  Walker is thrilled with this last part.

June


Walker is sound-ish again.  I put him back to work.  His first time on the end of the lunge line, he decides to roll with my saddle on.  I suppose I'd have to crack my back too if I had been cooped up for four months.

I also begin discussions with the vet and farrier to fix my horse's feet.  It isn't going well at this point.

July


Walker is still on and off lame and generally uncomfortable.  I make the mistake of siding with the vet over the farrier and will revisit this decision months later.  Walker also starts getting regular massages.  And he's getting fatter.

I debate switching barns but decide against it in the end.

August

I still can't get over my mother's impeccable timing at catching
Walker in this state of pure disdain.
Walker fools me with some good days.  We start to get back to work.  He doth protest.

September


I decide we're going to do dressage.  So I buy a dressage saddle.

October


Two point-ober.  Walker is lame for a good portion of it.  And I am gone for the other half of it.  I still somehow manage to get five minutes.  

Although Walker is still getting beat up in the field, he finds himself a new girlfriend.

November


No Stirrup November.  I revisit my farrier's suggestion to put elevated pads on the baby.  Instant comfort, or at least seems to be.  Walker starts to feel rejuvenated by the cool Winter air.  I have a lot of bad rides, but hey, I'm riding.

December


Suddenly my work life explodes as does the weather.  I am rarely able to get to the barn.  Walker goes on another unplanned vacation, but at least he's sound for this one.  You know, other than running like a maniac through the snow and giving himself an ouchie.  But we don't count those anymore.


Apparently 2014 is the year of the horse.  Let's hope that's true, folks.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Mother Nature's Final Play

These are the trees after some of it melted
In a last ditch effort to put the cherry on top of a horrible year, Mother Nature has brought in so much freezing rain, that the whole town in which my barn is located has no power.  And the power company doesn't expect to get power out there until the end of the week.  Which means that thousands of people spent Christmas in the dark.

Including my horse.

Which of course means no water.

The barn manager spent the first two days of the power outage lugging buckets back and forth from a river down the road.  I thought this was very Laura Ingalls Wilder of her, but apparently, it is quite the procedure.

The river is over a drop, so they throw a giant barrel over with a rope, which then fills up, and it takes two of them to pull it back over the side.  They put it in the back of the tractor, and fill a bunch of other barrels the same way.  Apparently they have to do this 3-4 times a day.

And to make matters worse, I wasn't around to help, which makes me feel really really really bad.  I already feel like I don't fit in much at the barn, which can usually be remedied at any barn with some good old fashioned free manual labour, but it being Christmas, I went home to visit family.

Anyway, after about two days of that, the barn owner went out and got a generator.  Now all the horses have their automatic water back, but nothing else.  Apparently they have to keep all the horses inside because the only thing keeping the pipes from freezing is the body heat of 25 horses.

So Walker is living like Dracula in the pitch black barn.

At least Santa found him.  I hope he found all of you too!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Walker's Vacation After his Vacation

I write the bar on January 11th, and despite constant encouragement from the Law Society that we should start studying for it like six months ahead of time, few of us did, of course.  Ain't nobody got time for that.

That means that I'm entering a 2-3 week hibernation where I somehow have to manage to read like 75 200-page statutes and make sense of it all in time to sit down for an eight-hour exam.  

Oh joy.

So now I'm in the process of filling out my three week schedule to try and figure out how I'm going to find the time for all of this.  Luckily, my firm has given me two weeks off to study and I took a couple days around Christmas to make it three.  Of course, Christmas is going to eat up almost a week of those three weeks, so I'm really just back to two.

Starting to fill in my weeks.
The x's are days I am unable to study :S

The point of this digression is to say that Walker might be getting himself a little extended vacation, which is ironic since he just had an extended vacation, following closely on the heels of his on and off again lameness vacation, which followed on the heels of his six months sick vacation.

Horse mom of the year award.

I will still be working him as much as possible but it might be more lunging than actual riding.  I'll have to see how everything goes.  Right now, she ain't lookin' good.

Bring on 2014!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Winter Shoes

Walker turned up lame again.  I'm not overly concerned about it because with all the snow we have gotten, I have no doubt that he probably frolicked a little too hard, if you know what I mean.

However, it got me to thinking about his shoes.  Normally I pull his shoes in the Winter and give his feet a breather.  Now that he is wearing the elevated pads, I guess I'm going to have to leave shoes on.  I'm nervous that the clumsiest horse on the planet is going to slip on the ice and hurt himself or that this lameness bout is going to be recurring.

Does anyone keep shoes on their horses in the Winter?  Someone who lives in a place that actually gets a Winter...

I know that some people put cork shoes on, but I'm just curious.  I called my farrier and left him a message about it, since Walker is due to get the toes trimmed anyway.  I'll be curious to hear what he suggests.

I'm also nervous because we just got a bunch of freezing rain and everything is a sheet of ice.  Literally.  Nothing is more fun than scraping two inches of ice off your car.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

A Fairytale

Once upon a time there was a girl with a pony. Not a magic pony or a special pony - although the pony was magic and special to her.



Although the girl was busy studying to be a lawyer, the girl got to see her pony at least 5-6 times a week.

Then the girl got a career and she began to shovel manure of a different kind.

All of a sudden the evil villain known as Real Life stole time away from the girl (time she had to bill for, of course) and the girl could no longer see her magic, special pony.


The girl worked long and hard, no end in sight, while the little pony frolicked and soon forgot about the girl who brought him apples she couldn't afford.

One horrible week, the girl worked until 10 p.m. almost every night.  Real Life, ever cunning, teamed up with Mother Nature to bring in three huge snowstorms that blanketed the ground with treacherous ice and snow, and together, Real Life and Mother Nature made sure that the girl could not see her pony for a week and a half.


The girl was distraught.  In the whole time she had been with the pony, she had never gone this long without seeing him.

Finally, Friday came the second week, and the girl thought, perhaps too hopeful, that there may be an end in sight.  She had three weeks off to study for the bar, but in reality she knew she would rather spend that time with her magic, special pony.

Mother Nature, spiteful and cruel, brought in another storm, freezing rain this time, but the girl would not be deterred.  She holed up in her apartment all night long feigning defeat, and on Saturday, when Mother Nature, satisfied with her sabotage, slunk off to tell Real Life, the girl whipped out of her apartment, into her car, and out to the barn...

...where her magic, special pony awaited, no worse for wear.

The End.

Friday, 13 December 2013

It's the season for... grumblings

The week in review:

1. The Missing Bridle

The lesson kids used Walker's bridle this week for their rider levels. They had to take it apart and put it back together. No one asked me if they could use it, they didn't put it back together correctly, and they didn't return it to Walker's hook. I found it on a lesson horse's hook after freaking out that it was missing.  After all, it's not cheap. No one seemed apologetic. 

2. The lesson

L couldn't make it to the lesson so she had another instructor fill in. The other instructor made me start Walker on the Program even though I never asked to put Walker on the Program, I asked to ride other horses in my lesson, and of course, it's supposed to be a jumping lesson. 45 minutes of groundwork later and 15 minutes on horseback doing only bending at the halt, and I'm a little grumbly. Even if I did want Walker on the Program, I don't like being told what programs I'm going to do with my horse. I think there are great aspects to the Program, some of which I have already decided to incorporate into my ride, but I'm not ready to start him on it yet officially (if I ever do at all). I don't respond well to being told what to do - with my horse, my time, or my money.


3. My back

It turns out that my massage therapist wasn't kidding about my back. She seriously thinks there is some compression there, and now I have to get x-rayed over the holidays. I'm trying to book an appointment with my doctor. I feel like a compressed spine may be a bit of a hindrance to my riding.

4. The Forgotten Blanket

I realized today that in all my excitement to get Walker a nice mid weight Winter blanket that I forgot to buy him something lightweight. Oops. He only has a shell on right now, but I intended to get him something with a little fill before switching to the mid weight. So I ordered him a liner to throw on under the shell. Goodbye, money.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Snorting Beast

I was going to videotape the snorting beast on the lunge line the other day so people could see what I mean about him peanut rolling but still moving out nice at the various gaits, and the differences in his speeds.

But then he and I needed to have a serious conversation.

Who needs exercise when you can just chase your mustang in a circle. He was determined to flip me the bird, and during one of his bucking/kicking moments, he managed to half blind me with dirt that landed in my eye.

Then, while our arena mate stepped out of the arena with her horse for a moment, I took advantage of this alone time to canter him in a nice big circle.

And then I let go of the lunge line. Yes. The prize for the stupidest horse mistake of the week goes to Natalie.

I can't even blame him for ripping it out of my hands (which he did once... a long time ago...). I simply had it. And then I didn't.

To make matters worse, I had just been in the process of scolding him for some misbehaviour so he galloped off across the arena away from his tormentor, the lunge line whipping back in the wind.

Then the game became: catch pony before he hurts himself. Of course, I'm trying to chase him without making it look like I'm chasing him so that he doesn't think I'm chasing him forward

Note to self: don't go to the barn tired.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

I think I give up...

Sporting his lightweight blanket
Today I spent an hour trying to get Walker on the bit.  Should I have drilled that for an hour (when I also spent an hour Saturday doing the same thing)?  Probably not.  Sue me.  

In the whole hour, did he go on the bit?  No.  Not once.  Not for a second.  Not at all.

I tried various versions - everything from gently and carefully asking him to go forward into the bridle to scaring the living daylights out of him so that he shot forward like a rocket.  No dice.

Problems:

  1. He despises contact.  Is this my fault?  Quite possibly.  Contact is not my forte.  But he's also not used to it, although at this point, he should be since I've been trying to ride him with contact for a while
  2. He has always been a horse that goes behind the bit.  Even when I rode him WP, if I took up any amount of contact, he was always one to go behind the bit, especially at the canter.  It is a default position for him.  
  3. The "frame mentality".  So many people are obsessed with putting their horses in a frame.  I don't know what his previous owners were like, but I was definitely being taught to ride him front to back originally (by some people - not all).  Although I put an end to that, I still find that it's difficult to find people who understand what I'm looking for.  When I have people watch me and I ask, "Is he on the bit?", their response is usually, "Well, he's in a frame."  Thank you.  Not the same thing.
  4. He is a peanut roller.  He is perfectly content to walk/trot/canter all with his head to the ground, even out in the pasture.  In fact, when he is on the lunge line, this is usually when he looks the best and is using himself the best (presumably from the lovely stretch he's giving himself).  However, even on a lunge line, the minute his head comes up, you can see his whole topline collapse.  Add a rider and you can imagine the result.   
  5. He lacks impulsion.  He'll go forward, but he just often doesn't have that surge of energy.  He is, and always will be, a Sunday drive as opposed to Formula One.
So I'm frustrated and depressed.  I was also very hard on him today.  I regret that now.  I regretted it even then.

What's worse is that I know he can.  One beautiful day, Walker and I rode outside and he was a holy terror.  He had so much energy, and he was bound and determined that he was going to escape from the unfenced arena.  Clearly having a death wish, I decided to canter.  He surged into the bridle (with all the force and determination of a tiger), and I have never had quite as beautiful a ride in my entire life on any horse as those ten seconds.

Then he bolted out of the arena. The little jeezer.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Lesson Review

On Wednesday, I rode Murphy.  There was a bit of confusion over whether Murphy was allowed to jump since the BO says yes and the BM says no.  L decided to go with yes, since it's the BO who deals with Murphy's owner, but we kept the jumps to cross rails.  I assume that's the reason I didn't get to jump verticals this week when the other girls did, but it could also simply be that I was riding like a drunk driver.

Murphy is wiggly, for lack of a better word.  And of course, my exaggerated crest release and long reins don't add to the situation.  Or so L tells me.

One time we actually had a run out.  Complete rider error.  Murphy didn't try to run out.  He was just so squiggly going into the jump that before my brain had a chance to decide how to correct it, my leg decided to save us and push him around the jump.

Oh, yeah, and Murphy's only English saddle is a dressage saddle.  The theme of the night seemed to be: let's put the beginner jumper on a horse who may or may not be allowed to jump, in a dressage saddle, and just see how it goes.  Oh well, I'm adaptable.

line, rollback, line, diagonal, line
After the lesson, I hopped on Walker and gave him a spin.  Nothing too exciting - a little work on the bit, a couple turns around the arena, some halt/reverse/canter transitions.  He was a good boy.

After two rides in a row, my back was killing me.  Lately, I've been having serious lower back problems which are worse than my normal back problems.  It's not the usual stabbing kind of pain that I get in my upper back, but more like I had little to no control over my lower body.  My massage therapist tells me it's almost like my spine is being compressed by all the pressure on it from the riding, which I feel is more of a dramatic explanation than a medical one, but it's probably something to keep an eye on.

Tonight I'm being lazy and giving Walker the day off even though he got the day off yesterday.  Sometimes on a Friday night, a girl just needs a drink and chick flick.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Bit By Any Other Name

So my barn owner got stuck on the barn's roof on Sunday, and just by a stroke of fate, I showed up at the barn in time to save him.  He was cleaning snow off the roof when the ladder fell.  Just another day in Canada.

I also owe a kid a hot chocolate.  Walker thought hot chocolate was for ponies.  Either that or he was spiteful.  Since he always went on a rampage at the end of the lunge line while this same kid was lunging her horse, I doubt that we are destined to be fast friends.

I didn't make it to the barn on Monday because I had to work late, but I'm pretty happy with my ride tonight.  Walker has really been making a conscientious/begrudging effort to go on the bit lately - like for 10 seconds instead of 5, and more often than just twice a ride.  I'm tickled.

But this has led me to believe I need a new bit.  It's one thing to chew and lick at the bit.  It's a whole other thing to chomp the hell out of it for the whole 10 seconds you're on it.  I'm afraid he's going to break his teeth.

He might just need a flash or something to encourage him to close his mouth, but I am not a fan of those.  I have a hunch that the single jointed mouthpiece on his d-ring just has too much of a nutcracker effect for his liking - even though sometimes I'm putting him on the bit on a loose rein (I don't know if that matters).

I bought this big book of bits which I'm hoping will have some ideas.  I'm currently leaning to something like a french link, but I haven't read it in any detail yet.  I feel like if he's going to start cooperating with my whole "get on the bit" focus, I should probably try and make it a relatively pleasant experience for him.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Get After 'im

"GET AFTER 'IM!"

These were the three key words of Friday night.

I arrived at the barn freezing to death with little motivation to ride but planning to at least lunge him.  I should not have worried so much about riding.  There was no time for that by the time I finished lunging him.

This might as well have been Walker last night
He was fresh as all get out.  I'm talking bucking, rearing, kicking out.  We lunged for an hour.

The first half hour was more of a survival thing.  There was another girl lunging and I started to worry that Walker might lose it, rip loose of me, and go flying over there.  I mainly walked and jogged him, in a tiny tight circle, with very little cantering.  I knew that I would need to canter him eventually though.

Luckily, S is an extremely good rider, and she told me that cantering Walker like a maniac in a giant circle on one end of the arena would not bother her while she rode her horse.  I think that she thought I was nervous to canter him, but I was really just nervous to be that rider.  You know the one.  The one who can't control her horse and causes another rider to go home in a full body cast.

Anyway, I started cantering him and pretty much did this for 20 minutes straight.  He was freaking out, and he was less than impressed.  By the end though, he started to settle down.  I was exhausted from having to chase a cantering/galloping horse around the arena with a lunge whip.

But Walker didn't sweat.  Because Walker just doesn't sweat in Winter.  I have resigned myself to this.  I don't know what he does, but he somehow manages to turn his sweat glands off around October.  Knock on wood.  Clipping looks messy.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Windstorm

I had my first group jumping lesson last night. My trainer wanted to overlap my lesson with the lesson ahead of mine . I showed up early and they were running behind so I just jumped in.

Let me tell you that riding with other people is a lot less exhausting than taking the brunt of your trainer's exercises for a full hour alone!

Meanwhile, it was crazy windy. Like 100 km/hr winds. Some of the horses were freaking out because the wind was really giving the barn a good banging. My horse, Bentley, only spooked once but another girl did fall off.

I also did my first real course of like 8-10 jumps. A line to a line to a line, rollback, zigzag (or in more professional speak, I believe it's called a bending line).

There were mostly crossrails but I was one of two who got to have a couple two foot verticals. Don't get excited. I think this is because I had one of the two horses who could be trusted to jump the verticals in the middle of the monsoon without dumping their rider.

As usual, my takeaway is: better two point, better release. 

Bentley is also an extremely strong horse. The kind of strong that, once he gets cantering, you really need to work to slow down. I'm really not used to that with lazy bones. 

Bentley doesn't get worked much so he doesn't like to go round, bucks when you ask him to canter, gets strong at the canter and after jumps, and over jumps by a good foot or so.

I like him. He's got character.

Ps: I now understand why you all clip your horses in Winter. He was drenched. It took forever to dry him off!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Winter Walker

Damn you, L. Williams and your No Stirrup November.  My body feels like jello and it hurts to sit/walk/stand/move.  It's not even so much the muscles that hurt, but my hip/pelvis joints - whatever that means.  I now need to take a day off before my lesson on Wednesday so that I have some energy left in my system to actually learn something.

In other news, Walker is transforming quickly into his Winter form.  No, I don't just mean he's getting fuzzy.  He's getting frosty - like a cantankerous beast that packs a punch (as opposed to his summer form which is just a cantankerous beast who can't be bothered).

Tonight was one of those rides that my friend likes to call "Survival Rides".  You know the kind.

One Winter Walker + one stirrupless rider + another fresh horse in the arena = kappow

He was totally threatening to take off like a rocket ship, and I was mentally preparing for my best duck and roll.  All this no stirrup work has taught me that I do seem to have ok balance, but there's only so much a person can take before a pony finally dumps you.  At least it didn't come to that.  Tonight anyway.


Normally my response to his "overzealousness" would be to canter the bejesus out of him, but that's what the other rider was doing with her horse.  My muscles were also super fatigued so I just decided to force him to be a good pony and redirect some of that energy into actual work.

It worked for awhile, and then I thought, "Hey, I haven't fallen off and I'm still alive."  So I chalked that one up for a win and quit while I was ahead.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday Takeover

A post from Walker to the pony blogosphere:

The wretched human came to the barn today.

It is coldz and I do not like to work.  So while she adjusted my belt, I ate a piece of the mounting block.  Wretched human was not happy.  I have yet to figure out why.

After that, she got right down to business.  She was all, "Let us begin this glorious ride with a gentle jog."  And I was all, "I like to trotz.  But only when you don't want me to."

So I trotz.  Fast.  And I'm all, "You know what.  It is a wonderful crisp day."

And I felt so good and chipper that I just needed to express myself by leaping four feet in the air.  I felt like a gazelle.  I'm sure with my svelte body that I looked like one too.

By now, we're really cookin'.  But wretched human can sit all the trotz even though she took her feet holders away.  I decide this cannot deter my happiness.

Wretched human likes to rate our rides based on how many pylons I run over.  I assume that she likes it when I run over things so when I see a caveletti that someone left lying in our road, I decide that it will please her to run at it.

Now, where does she hide the treats?
I pick up the speed, and she was all "No!  You're not allowed to jump!"  And I was all "PSYCH, wretched human!"  And I just kicked it over instead.

Then she decided to canter, and because I was feeling fan-frickin-tastic, I even went on the bit for her.  But just for a few minutes.  It's important to keep the humans humble.

Once we were cantering all pretty and such on the bit, I waited for wretched human to get comfortable, then I threw my head around like a bronco.  I also threw my front end to one direction and my back end to another.  It is also important to teach them balance.

Boy, time really flies when you're having fun.  At the end of the ride, she practically slid off me and onto the ground.  I heard her everything crack.  But I suspect that she is cracked up anyway.

I mean, what exactly is the plan of the humanz?  They are all "Dance, pony, dance."  I ain't no ballerina, but if you continue to insist on feeding me the bestest food ever in exchange for knocking things over, I'm game.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A Week in the Life, Nov 17 - 23

Weekly Breakdown:

Sunday, Nov 17:

Arrive at barn in afternoon.
Lunge pony.
Pony goes wild.
Walk pony under saddle.
Put away.

Monday, Nov 18:

Work from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Miss out on barn.

Tuesday, Nov 19:

Go to barn after work.
Ride pony walk/jog/canter.
No stirrups.

Wednesday, Nov 20:

Lesson cancelled.
Decide to stay home to do a plethora of things (including, among other things, ensuring clean pants).

Thursday, Nov 21:

Dog agility day at the barn.
No ponies allowed.
Continue doing things that need to get done.

Friday, Nov 22:

Go to barn after work.
Lunge pony.

Saturday, Nov 23:

Begrudgingly agree to have a social life.
Miss out on barn because lessons in both arenas.


Week's Tally:

Barn: x3
Nanowrimo: +10,823 words

Friday, 22 November 2013

Not Feeling It

Lately, there has been some stuff going on - non-horse stuff - that has really been getting me down.  For the first time maybe ever, I simply don't feel like riding my horse.  Whereas there have been umpteen times where I was too lazy to ride my horse, now I just don't feel like it.  I don't feel like doing any of the things I enjoy, which is also why I'm so far behind on Nanowrimo.

As you may remember, I missed Wednesday because my lesson was cancelled, and the barn is closed to the equestrian set on Thursdays.  So with two nights off, tonight I forced myself to go to the barn.  

And it was hard.  And I'm not going to lie.  I felt like I was just learning to walk for the first time.  One step at a time.  

Put on breeches.  Put on boots.  Get in car.  Drive.  

Usually when I get to the barn, that handsome devil just makes me want to ride, and I'll admit, I felt a little guilty for going all the way out there and still just feeling like I'd rather not.  

But I did lunge him, and that's really what this post is about.  Not all the whiny stuff.  

I was actually pretty impressed with Walker tonight.  I put him on a nice long line and worked on speed control on the lunge.  As in, I got him to pull out all the stops that I know he's capable of - walk, jog, trot, lope, canter.  All by voice command.

I particularly focused on the difference between the jog and the trot, and by golly that fella is smart.  At one point, I actually got a lengthened/extended/whatever trot out of him.  Now, he's no Valegro, but that is the first time I have ever seen him do something like that - the kick that front leg high in the air kind of trot.  It only lasted for a moment since he didn't really have the strength to keep it up, but I was so happy to see it.

It was also a good lesson for me in lunging.  I practice what I like to call "the moving oval" since when I lunge, I don't stand still.  I usually walk in a circle, and since horses naturally drift in one direction, we will move across an entire arena.  So tonight I tried actually, you know, lunging in a stationary circle.  Frankly, the moving oval thing doesn't bother me, but hey, equestrianism is kinda about conformity at times, isn't it?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Taking the New Shoes for a Spin

On Tuesday, I rode Walker for the first time since he got his shoes put on, other than Sunday when I just walked him.  I pulled the stirrups for No Stirrup November and was pretty easy going about everything.

We mainly walked and jogged, but I did throw in a couple circles at the canter.  I also lunged him a little bit beforehand to make sure he was feeling up to the task.

Everything went well, except for a couple moments where he decided to throw a tantrum for no apparent reason other than he didn't feel like working.  Oh well.  We got through it.  I'm mostly impressed that I managed to fight back without stirrups!

All I know is that my everything is aching from the no stirrups, which is a good thing I guess, but my back is also killing me since it has been hurting for awhile now.  It's soon time to visit my massage therapist, I think.  Otherwise I'll never make it through No Stirrup November.

In other news, my lesson tonight got cancelled.  I was going to go out to the barn and ride anyway, but I'm approximately 8,000 words behind on Nanowrimo due to some unforeseen circumstances over the past few days.  It's probably best for Walker if I give him a couple off days in between rides for now anyway.

Soon we'll back at it for realz.  Soon.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Smashing

Weatherbeeta Freestyle (for the win!)
Walker finally got his new shoes and new blanket. It's like he's all decked out to go to the prom.

No sooner had I posted my disappointment that the farrier didn't come than the farrier came. Apparently he was really sick for awhile which was why he was a week late.

For now, Walker and I are taking it easy while he gets used to his new high heels. I find that he is fairly awkward on solid ground, but out in the arena, he bounces along quite happily.

Friday I just lunged him, and today I lunged and rode. Well, I only walked under saddle because our session on the lunge line ended up being a gong show.

I lunged outside, and he decided that he was an Arabian, snorting with his neck and tail high up in the air. And then, just to show me whose boss, he would canter right out of the arena. Yes, folks, he was on a lunge line. I defy you to stop a thousand pound animal who is determined to get just one foot on the grass to spite you.

I loves it!
Needless to say, this resulted in a lot of me getting after him with the whip and a lot of him, insulted, cantering off hottily.

By the time we were done, his little legs were shaking so I pulled off the stirrups and just walked him around for a little while.  After that, he was quite behaved.

When my barn owner showed up a few minutes later, he watched us for awhile and then said, "He sure is quiet!"

Mmm hmmm. 


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Check-In

I thought I would post a quick check-in to say:

1) The farrier still hasn't come.
2) This means Walker is still living it up riderless
3) I had to cancel my lesson this week due to unforeseen circumstances
4) So I have barely seen my horse let alone out my butt in a saddle

Here's hoping all this will change this weekend.

In more exciting news, Walker's winter blanket arrived. Keep your fingers crossed that it fits him and that he looks dashing in it.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Dance It Out

When I did my undergrad, I lived with my best and oldest friend.  She and I have been friends since we were five and can put up with a lot from each other.

Whenever either one of us would get stressed from all the work, we would go into the other's bedroom, turn on the following song, and without word or question, we would both hop on the bed and dance our little hearts out.  When the song ended, we would say nothing and simply return to our rooms.  Sometimes you simply need to dance it out.  

Even now that she lives on the other side of the country, every so often I will come home to the song played out in its entirety on my voicemail.

So here's to all my stressed peeps out there.  Dance it out, ladies!


You may also notice that there is a whole other verse added in.  Yeah, apparently that's the full version.  

Do I or Don't I

I'm still pretty down in the dumps over last Wednesday's lesson. To make matters worse, I expected the farrier to arrive by the end of the week and he never did.  So now I expect Walker to have another week off, which means he will have had a total of four weeks off in a row (if you don't count the two rides I got in one weekend in the middle).

To tell you the truth, I waffled tonight on whether or not I should ride him.  I almost gave in and hopped on, but then the arena had five people in it - one riding and four doing extensive groundwork.  I decided that a semi-lame pony and her idiot companion really didn't need to add to the chaos.

Sometimes it's so difficult to make that call - the "do I or don't I" of riding a lame horse.  Oh, it's an easy call to make when they're dead lame, but when they're just off - that's the hardest.

In fact, last night, two other horses were lame.  One rider rode anyway, and the other didn't.  The horse that got ridden was obviously much less lame than the other, and in fact, seemed to work himself out of it a bit once his rider hopped on.

Sometimes it's so hard to tell the difference between they're lame and they're stiff, or they're rideable and they're not.

That's the thing with Walker these days.  When you walk him down the hall, he looks fine.  Turn him, especially over his right front, and he'll hobble.  Jog him in a straight line in the arena or even large, he'll probably be fine.  He can deceive you.

And god bless them, they always just do what we want, don't they?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Nanowrimo and No Stirrup November

As if Two Pointober wasn't enough, I think I'm going to try L. Williams' No Stirrup November as well  - especially considering the slap in the face that was my last lesson.  However, I'm going to ride with stirrups for the first few days because I've been generally out of the saddle for a few weeks when you take into consideration the two weeks I was gone and the few weeks before that when Walker was on and off again lame.  And of course, I can't really start until Walker is feeling up to par.

So yeah, I'll be doing No Stirrup Half November.

In other news, I'm also doing Nanowrimo again this year.  I started doing it back in 2011 (and actually won that year), and I strongly encourage anyone who is remotely interested in writing to sign up.  It's not too late!  If you feel like you need some motivation, email me.  I'm annoying enough to make sure you succeed!  Be forewarned.


As for Walker, he wasn't looking too bad on Tuesday and Wednesday when I went out to check on him, but I have opted to give him the week off anyway.  I want to wait until the farrier comes, lest I make him more lame before he gets his new high heels put on.

Late to the Party - Sunshine Award

I was away during the whole Sunshine Award frenzy that made its way through blogger verse, but I'm finally getting around to participating.  Thanks to Hillary at Equestrian at Hart for nominating me, especially since I am rarely, if ever, a big ball of sunshine. :P


The sunshine award is for people who "positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere".  The nominee of this award must do the following, thank the person who nominated them, nominate 10 bloggers of their own, answer the 10 questions given to you, post them, and add the Sunshine Award Button to the blog.

1. Mares or Geldings?  Geldings all the way.  I used to think I'd want to have a mare someday, but the more dealings I have with them, the more I'm happy Walker is a man.
2. English or Western?  English.  Although Walker does Western better.  Maybe since I never got to do any English as a child, that has fueled my whole "go English or go home" mentality these days.  Poor Walker.  I'll probably let him become a Western pony again someday, and I think Western will always have a fond place in my heart - kind of like my safe zone.  
3. Do you prefer younger or older horses?  I don't really know how to answer this question.  
4. Have you trained a horse from ground zero?  No.  I would like to do that someday, but I fear I am not consistent or patient enough for this.  However, considering that we "train" our horses every time we ride, maybe I'm more patient than I think I am.
5. Do you prefer riding or groundwork?  I prefer riding 100%, but I admit that I really should do more groundwork.  My barn is super groundwork oriented, and groundwork is a big thing in the Western world.  You really see the benefit with the horses, and I think that if I ever trained a horse, I would force myself to focus on this aspect more.
6. Do you board your horse or keep him at home?  I board him but someday I hope that I will have a quiet little farm where he can have acres and acres to retire on.
7. Do you use all natural things or just commercial stuff (the products you use)?  I use whatever I can get my hands on.  And whatever I like.  
8. All tacked up or bareback?  Ummm, depends on my mood but usually tack.  I ride bareback when I'm too lazy to tack or cooling down.  I probably should do it more because it really shows me my weaknesses.
9. Equestrian role model?  Ian Millar.  Always my answer.
10. What's your one main goal while being in the horse world?   I don't know if I have a "main goal" other than to be the best horsewoman I can be.  I don't need to go to the Olympics, but I want to make sure that I have the abilities to do all that I desire, if that makes any sense.

Because, as I said, the Sunshine Award has already made the rounds through the blogosphere, I'm not going to throw out any nominations (and also since this is like two weeks later than everyone else).  I'll just say that if I follow your blog, you're probably already doling out plenty of sunshine. :)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Train Wreck

Tonight I had my lesson, and it was one of the worst rides I think I've had in maybe a year and a half.  It was like an out of body experience, watching a train wreck happen over and over again.  I mean, this is no exaggeration.  If you had walked in on this lesson, you would have thought it was my first ride. Ever.  I have never felt so stupid in all my life.

I don't know if there's any point in even chronicling the things I did wrong, since it would probably be more efficient to simply list the things I did right.  I will do both.

Things I did right:
- cool down (you'd think that warm up would be a given, but nope - screwed that up too)
- the fighting part (I'm always good when motivated by a naughty pony)

Things I did wrong:
- warm up
- bracing my arms
- shoulders forward (the forever curse)
This face tried to cheer me up.
I just sat in his stall in a corner for awhile
and let the calm wash over me
- leaning forward
- my heels were up
- dropping my outside rein instead of simply pulling back (that's another curse I have from my Western days)
- two-point (everything about two-point, really - which is ironic, considering Two Pointober where I nearly killed myself to improve)
- walk/trot/canter (I deserve an award for screwing up EVERY GAIT)
- not looking where I was going
- not turning my body at all
- cantering large when the instructions were to canter a circle - like every time
- my diagonals
- ripping on the horse's mouth
- reins were too long, stirrups were too long
- horse was never on the bit for more than two seconds despite being perfectly capable of doing so
- etc
- etc
- etc

I mean, some of these things are constant problems I have, like my shoulders.  I doubt a day will ever come where I am not a hunchback.  It is ingrained in my very biology.  But diagonals?  I'm the freakin' queen of getting my diagonals.  And you know, walking.  Usually that's pretty cool too.

In all honesty, I'm super upset about it.  I don't know what the hell was wrong with me.  And to make matters worse, my instructor had a friend with her who was telling me all about the new horse she was training.  So her first impression of me was as a stupid lump of spaghetti slapping around on the back of this poor horse, who was a saint, all things considered.

And I didn't even get to do all the things that the other kids got to do in the lesson before me because, well, you don't let people canter without stirrups when they can barely walk WITH stirrups.

But now I have beer.  And beer is good.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

New Ideas

I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone in my last post who said that Walker seemed back to normal.

This week he was lame.  YOU ALL JINXED US!



Just kidding.  Well, not about the lame part.  He was lame on Saturday, but I rode him anyway.  It has come to the point that he is either stiff or lame so often that no one is able to tell the difference.  This sounds stupid but when I asked the barn manager (who obviously looks at bunches of ponies every day) if he was lame at all last week while I was away, she just said "he was stiff as normal".  Nope.  Pretty sure he was lame.  And you turned him out lame.  But it's really not your fault.  I rode him lame, after all.

Anyway, by the time Sunday rolled around he was extremely lame so I loved on him and put him away.  
Then the BM told me that the farrier came out last week, took one look at him, and said "I need to talk to her first."  Exactly the kind of vague message you want to get four days after the fact.  I managed to track down the farrier, who went to the Royal over the weekend, and he said that Walker still looks uncomfortable in his right front.  He wants to go ahead with the elevated pad that he suggested months ago which the vet disagreed with and I agreed with the vet.

Preparing for a bath.
That's why he's hiding his head in shame.
In truth, I had been starting to think the same thing myself.  I have owned him for a year and a half, and minus the odd ouchy, he has never been so lame so much.  These days he likes to dig his poor little toesies deep into the sand, which I imagine is his way of relieving some pressure from his low-ish heels.  I'm hoping that the new pads will help him find some comfort and stay sounder longer.  

Probably our last bath until Spring :(

I did give him a nice bath though.  Although we have a wash stall, I can't see me bath him too much during the Winter and risk turning him into a popsicle.  It will probably be his last bath in maybe six months, as scary as that sounds.

PS: Blogger is on crack today so I apologize for any wonky formatting.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Back Finally

I'm finally back from my two week useless course.  I was right to be bitter.  It was crazy, with all the assignments and the constant emails from my work.  Things always seem to fall apart when you're away.

I actually typed up this post last weekend when I was home and got a chance to ride the pony but completely forgot to, you know, hit "post".  I'm doing my best to catch up on everyone's blogs.  Don't be insulted if I don't comment!  It seems stupid to comment on something that was posted two weeks ago when the person has since posted two week's worth of other posts.

Anyway, last Saturday I rode in the ring with Walker and his archenemy, the little mare that beats him up in the field.

My new saddle cover :)
Man, does she hate him! She plastered her ears to her head whenever we were near her, and Walker was equally unimpressed. He would intentionally veer towards her to goad her on, and I was somewhat nervous she was going to haul off and lose it on her rider, who is already a little nervous with her.

After they left the arena, we actually got down and dirty into our ride. I got my 2 point time in for the week: 4 minutes 35 seconds (which was about 3 minutes and 35 seconds of me saying over and over again: "you must improve!")

Walker was in a bit of a mood which could have been from a number of things: his archenemy, not being worked this week, or his general unending desire to never work a day in his life. Who knows.

At one point he threw in a couple of the hops - the "I'm threatening to rear" hops but I correctly gauged his mood and pushed through it.

Other than that, nothing groundbreaking. Same lazy Walker. I'd say more steps backward than forward (both literally and figuratively), but I can't expect him to pick up where we left off after a week or two of being lame-ish. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Long Absence

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm about to leave town for two weeks for some stupid course I have to take. As you can tell, I'm not bitter at all.

I literally ambushed one of the ladies from the barn the other day while I was running down the hall from my office in high heels (because my work life can sometimes border on The Devil Wears Prada - minus the Prada), who graciously said she would check in on my pony while I was away. I will be home next weekend to ride (yes, I'm literally driving all the way back for two nights just so I can ride), but here's hoping we don't have an emergency while I'm away.

At first I considered getting someone to ride or work him while I was away, but considering my track record over the last couple weeks - what's the difference between two days of rides and four? So he's just going to get a vacation instead. He'll love it.

As for me, if you don't hear from me, it's because I was either too busy or literally had nothing to talk about. I am going to pop into my old barn while I'm away, though, and visit with my old instructor and barn friends. That should at least help to dull the pain I will experience from this course sucking two good weeks of riding away from me. 

Like I said, totally not bitter.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bad Luck

I'm having a streak of bad luck lately, in my work life, my real life, and also my horse life. It just seems like its one thing after another, and I have no idea what I did to piss off the universe.

In my horse life, Walker is lame. It's a new lameness - not the same from last week when he had the cut leg. This week I fear that he is lame because of his impromptu event horse moment on the trail.

Perhaps lame is a strong word. He's stiff, very stiff, but only at the walk. He jogs fine and he seems fine at the canter. Well, he was a little jolty at the canter on the lunge line, but he was loping which is always a little jolty anyway.  Really, it doesn't matter unless he doesn't get better.

On Tuesday I hopped on and walked him for a good 25 minutes straight, 5 minutes at the jog, and then "cooled down" at the walk thinking he might work himself out of it. He did, but only slightly. He was still hobbling a little. I threw him on the lunge line Wednesday but he was the same.

The one good thing is that he's not so lame/stiff that's it's overly noticeable to anyone but me. My barn manager didn't notice when she turned him out earlier in the week. I haven't told her to keep him in just yet because, for one thing it has been raining anyway, and for another, I think it might be good for him to stretch his legs.

We shall see.

The other bad luck thing that happened to me was my lesson this week. You may recall that last week I missed because of work and the next two weeks I'm out of town. My barn owner got confused and told my instructor that I was gone for the last three weeks of October instead of the last two. So now I will have missed a month of lessons come November.

And the two-point challenge... Well, one needs to have a horse to ride, and it also helps when you're in the same city as that horse. Sigh. Maybe I'll get the rest of my times in on the weekend.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Preventative First Aid

When Walker got kicked in the leg last week and then went lame, I had one of those impromptu updates of the first aid tool box I keep in my car.

I added this to my kit last week - neat stuff
It got me to thinking that in an emergency, I'm generally quite set. I've got lots of stuff for cuts and swelling and the vet's phone number for big emergencies. But what about the day to day stuff?

Our pre-ride routine is fairly simple. I groom. I tack. Sometimes I do our massage therapist-recommended stretches. If I'm feeling particularly plucky, I even put his Professional Choice boots on (but I'm not consistent with those babies).

Our post-ride ritual is even worse. I untack. I pick his feet. And I give kisses.

I know there is a whole world out there of BoT and Sore No More and linaments and cold hosing and standing wraps that I really have not been indoctrinated into. I have some friends who have a good show routine going but many people I know are like me - pretty sparse on their day to day care.

So I'm curious. What are your daily rituals? How do you take care of your horse's long term health and soundness? What do you do pre-ride and post-ride, and how do you apply the various treatments that you do (wraps? gels? on the legs? on the back? etc)

I'm also a big fan of "folk remedies". The kind of things old cowboys swear by. As long as they're safe of course. For instance, one of the ladies at the barn fed her horse garlic the other day. Keeps the flies away. And wouldn't you know it, they won't go anywhere near her. But she also stinks!

A Trail Ride for Two

On Sunday, after moping around all morning, I went out to the barn.  I decided that it was a lovely day and Walker and I should just hack.

Fortunately, I decided to start by giving him a quick warm-up in the indoor arena since he had been quite fresh on Saturday night.  At one point at the walk on Saturday, I dropped a stirrup by accident, and in the wriggling I was doing trying to get my foot back in, he interpreted this as "she must want me to canter like a maniac".  Sigh.  Then later in the evening, he had another one of those stupid spooky moments where he freaked out at his own shadow.  His own shadow!  And man, that shadow thing will chase you wherever you go.  It took a while to remind him he had a brain.  I mean, what are they feeding him!?  I can only imagine someone has switched out his Fat and Fibre for the Stupid Spooky Supplement.

Maybe I need a vacation
Anyway, Sunday during our warm-up, we also had a couple arguments.  I was wearing spurs, and he was quite insulted by that.  Our "quick little warm-up" turned into a full 40 minute ride of workin' it, but then we finally got on our trail ride.

We went just the two of us,* and he was a bit spooky.  Luckily, he remembered that he is usually the smartest horse on the planet so when he "spooked", he would just stop until I asked him to go forward again.  I wanted to go into the woods to where this nice little field was.

Unfortunately, the woods part has a pretty steep hill.  On the way back, he kept wanting to trot down it, and I kept wanting him to walk since I could just imagine the King of the Forehand toppling down the hill head first.  Anyway, he decided that my plan was a stupid one and took off at a canter.

There comes a point in every trail rider's life where they think: should I do a one-rein stop on this steep hill and narrow path that will probably result in us either slamming into a tree or rolling down this hill sideways, or should I simply let my non-jumping horse continue cantering downhill towards that big log in our way even though he can barely manage a crossrail?  I went with number two.  We survived the jump, and then Walker thought, "Hey.  I'm in control" and kept cantering down the path while low-lying branches whipped me in the face.  So I did a one-rein stop into a tree.

The rest of the trail ride was quite nice.

*Disclaimer: I know that it is unsafe to go on a trail ride alone.  I'm not a big fan of "rules".  Don't do this at home, kids!  For reasons enumerated in this post.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend

It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  Or at least, for some people.  While I initially had a snarky and bitter blog written about why I am missing the holiday, I will give the Cole's notes version instead.  I have to work this weekend, and while I'm able to work from home with my laptop, the nature of the work meant that I really had to get as much done as possible before going home.  I wasn't able to get it done in time, and so I couldn't go home.  And because I couldn't go home, my cousin and his girlfriend couldn't go home either because they needed me to pick them up.  Thanksgiving ruined.  For me and pretty much my entire family since we cut the party in half.

While I'm sure some of you want to say, "This is the plight of the working gal", I have a few other choice words for it.  Let's just say that under other circumstances, it would be fine.  I am no stranger to working late or on the weekends, but it is just one of many in a long string of abuses.  I feel a showdown in my future.

Anyway, I managed to make it out to the barn Friday night to check Walker's leg.  Luckily he is no longer lame, and the swelling has gone down.

Saturday, after working in my pajamas on the couch, I drug my lazy butt out to the barn.  I originally intended to give Walker the weekend off since I intended to be at my parent's home.  But when it started to look more and more like I wasn't going to make it, I figured I might as well two-point it up.

I ended up getting 3:07 this week, but I was hurting very quickly after about a minute and a half. I must have been on uppers earlier in the week when I was two-pointing around with no problems *choosing* to take the lowest of my three times for my baseline. The pain! The only reason I made it to three minutes is because I'm crazy competitive and was determined to improve - even though Walker decided to take those three minutes and try to scrape me against a wall. He can do a lot of damage in three minutes!

There should be some special award for people whose horses take advantage of them during the two-point challenge.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Scheduling

I'm having a particularly hard time with scheduling lately. I'm averaging maybe 3-4 days a week instead of my usual 5-6. 

Thursdays no one can ride because the arena is rented out. Mondays I'm used to giving Walker off, and I can't seem to get it out of my head. Wednesdays I try to ride him after my lesson but that's always a hit and a miss depending on how tired I am. The rest of the week is subject to life getting in the way.

And lately I'm just exhausted. All. The. Time.

I really need to get myself going in a groove again. 

Tonight I unfortunately had to stay late for work and missed my lesson.  This is especially upsetting because I have to miss the last two week's lessons in October too.  However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  If I had went to my lesson, I probably would have skipped riding Walker because I had been feeling a little under the weather earlier in the day.  If I had skipped riding, I never would have taken him out of his stall and found out he was lame.

Yep.  Turns out he's lame in his left front.  I'm a little concerned because it seems like it's his knee area.  He doesn't want to bend it.  What's weird is that he was clearly kicked in his right front.  It was cut and swollen, so I had to bring the swelling down.  I would have assumed he would be lame in the right front from the kick, but it is clearly the left.  I put some stuff on the cut tonight, gave him some bute, and told the barn manager to leave him inside tomorrow.  Tomorrow if he's still lame I'll probably call the vet just to make sure everything is well.  I've never had lameness issues with him before where it was clearly a leg issue and not a foot issue.  Hopefully it's nothing to be concerned about.

In other news, I managed to give my horse bute all on my own - ghetto style.  I successfully gave him 12 cc's orally, 3 cc's ended up all over his face, and then I convinced him to lick the other 5 cc's off my hand like a dog.  It was gross but it worked!

Walker's girlfriend
Walker's girlfriend after he put her in her place

Monday, 7 October 2013

Two-Point October - Baseline and Observation

So L and Hillary's Two-Point October got off to a rough start (PS: If you aren't doing it and want to torture yourself, these are the ladies to talk to!).

I had planned to ride in the new saddle on Friday to check it out, go to the barn Saturday to time my baseline, and then start actually improving this week.  You know what they say about the best laid plans!

Well, on Friday my boss told me that I had to come to work on Sunday, and then I discovered in my agenda that I had an appointment Saturday afternoon.  "That's ok," I said to myself.  "I will wake up ridiculously early and go to the barn on Saturday morning to time my baseline."

Little did I know that there were lessons on Saturday mornings at my barn.  Well, I knew, but I thought there were just one set of lessons.  Nope.  There are two.  As in, there are lessons that go on in the outdoor and lessons that go on in the indoor.  This just goes to show how many mornings I am actually at the barn since Walker and I have been here since May.

I made it out to the barn today though and got the following baseline:


I know.  I don't believe it either.

In fact, my first baseline was 4:15 (!).  I actually did this stupid thing three times to get an accurate baseline.  First time was 4:15, second was 3:30 something, and then I got this.  

The first time Walker and I got into a mini argument mid-two point and my leg kept slipping back.  I think there is a lot to be said on quality of two-point vs time you can hold it.  For instance, I did this at all three gaits (mostly because Walker was like "what the hell is she doing - let's canter now") and noticed that my ability to two-point (and the quality of it) really changed at different gaits.  

I had the calf muscles to "hold" it but not the calf muscles to hold it pretty, if you know what I mean.  If there had been actual jumps, I probably would have fell down back into the saddle (and I did fall down several times when Clumsy McClumsy tripped and sent me half flying down his freakish long QH neck - but that's another story).  

So I think I'm going to use the shortest time because that was the time where I really focused on getting a good quality two-point instead of just holding on for the ride.

This should be a very interesting month!

PS: Everyone go check out Lauren's great contest!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Winter Fashion

It's that time of year again. When you drag out your Winter blankets and discover that you don't have any Winter blankets. That the blanket you only used once has no fill and is just a simple shell. Gah!

So now I'm blanket shopping. I think the shell will work as a good fall blanket but I would like le petit prince to have a nice midweight too.

And of course once I've found something warm enough and in my price range, the most important feature is colour and pattern! Why must they make so many blankets in such drab colours? Even at the barn, some people were telling me that he would just get filthy anyway so who cares if it's pretty.

I care. That's who.

I want Walker to have every reason possible to strut his stuff with the mares.

Right now I'm leaning towards a Weatherbeeta, in particular, the following blanket:


Blue is our colour, after all.

Also, does anyone know how the Weatherbeetas fit?  I have heard that they run big.  Walker measures a 77 so I was going to get a 78 like I usually do, but they measure in three inch increments.  I'm starting to think that a 75 fits a horse between 75-78 inches and that a 78 would be too big.  Anyone have any experiences?