Wednesday, September 24, 2014

School Horses

I've mentioned a couple times that I currently have an Equine Science class. I really do enjoy it, even if a lot of the information covered is stuff that isn't new to me. The professor is great, and for the most part I tend to agree with most of her viewpoints. She's clearly knows what she talking about and she's not annoyed with my more in depth questions . The surprising thing to me was that about 90% of the 60+ people in that class actually have very little or no horses experience at all. Sometimes I think I forget how lucky I am to have had the experiences I have had over the last 10 or so years. I've met a lot of really cool horse people from a variety of backgrounds and I've learned a ton in the process.

On the first day of class, said professor handed out notecards for us to fill out with the basic identifying characteristics as well as our horse experience and facts about ourselves. I think I must have put something like "Mary *******, freshman from ********, WV. Twelve years learning from the coolest horse people and wonderful horses, in possession of the best mare that has ever lived, and lover of every aspect of dressage:)"

That next class period after we filled out those info cards, Professor Equine looks around the room and says "Where's Mary *******?" All I could thinkg was "shit?!" I meekly raised my hand, and she points at me and says "your the dressage girl... You and I are going to get along well." 

Well, thanks for totally calling me out in front of the entire class Professor Equine. Good thing I'm not nearly as debilitating lot shy as I used to be lol

Then I go to that show with Liz that she just happens to be judging...

After that I pretty much decided that I don't care if I get labeled at the biggest nerd in the room. I ask questions and bring of discussion points and I learn and absorb as much as I can. 

So then last week, we had a Conformation lab at the farm. I drove over with a couple of my friends and we were chilling towards the back of the group. All of a sudden, I heard "Where's Mary? I need her." So I get to push my way to the front of the group and she looks at me and points to a stall and says "grab that horse and take her over to the indoor."

Well okay.

So I held horses why everyone walked around and evaluated different confirmation characteristics. 

I won't complain because I got pony cuddle time:)

She's a great professor. I really really like her and I'm glad I ended up in this class. She has another class I'll probably try to take in the future too. I do definitely feel like I inadvertently became the professor's pet, though lol.

WVU actually has a really nice horse facility. The barn is nice, the pastures are great and both the indoor and outdoor rings are clearly well maintained. I was impressed and I look forward to going back next week for a dental lab.

I don't have my horse, but I've found some ways to keep close to horses in the college life. I'm thankful for that.

                            
Mia--to be honest I don't know what she is, but she had a very hunter-type build (more substance than your typical TB. Maybe warmblood? Appendix? Not sure.
Either way, she was super sweet.

     
             The Barn, the indoor sits parallel to it on the right hand side, just out of the picture

     
                                                                   Indoor


     
                                                                   Lots of stalls

                                  

     
                                                                      Keeper

     

                              

     
                                   How cute are the horse's halters?! Cute idea!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Product Review: Rhino Wug Turnout Blanket

Not much to report on the Missy front. Apparently she's doing well. I'm not going home until October 12th, so I can't say much on that front. When I was in town last, she had managed get part of her LF shoe off. Thankful J is the best and had D come out pretty quickly last week and put it back on(first time that had happened!) Then he dentist was out yesterday, so The Mare had her yearly dental work-up, but those are probably the most interesting things I have to say at the moment, and I wasn't even there!

I WILL be at Quarter Horse Congress Friday October 10th through Sunday the 12th, so if anyone is going and wants to meet-up, let me know! I always like a good blogger get-together! 

Okay back to business...

I mentioned that I purchased Miss a Rhino Wug a couple weeks back. It came in right before I went home the last time and I anxiously dragged it to the barn with me when I went to see Her Royal MareFace.

In all her other non-Horseware blankets, Missy fits nicely into a 75", however, she has Rambo sheet and Rambo Newmarket cooler and quarter sheet, and those have taught me to go a size up with Horseware products. Our problem hasn't so much been one of length, but of being a smidge too tight through the chest, which clearly isn't a good quality in a turnout blanket. I wouldn't say this would be the case with all horses because they are all built so differently, but in Missy's case, I decided to try for a 78" this time around.

This appears to be a very good idea because I am quite happy with he fit. She has plenty of room through the chest, but at the same time I do feel like it's too long on her either. I am a huge fan of the V-front clip closure and the high neck. Apparently both those features are helpful in preventing rubs around the shoulder area, so we'll see (thankfully I've never had real issues with blanket rubs, but I did notice that some of the hair had come out around the point of her shoulder last winter...never caused actual rubs but I could tell where the hair was thinner/shorter).

Overall it seems to be a super well-made blanket it I plan on getting many winters out of it. Missy isn't hard on her blankets and she only has one herd mate so thankfull our days of blanket destroying seem to be behind us (I'll never forget the last time ai bought this horse a nice blanket, one of her buddies tore it within 2 weeks. Thankfully Schneider's was insanely nice and replaced it).

My only concern about those blanket is the back end strap. There are leg surcingles, just one tail cord clip and I'm wondering how effective that is in keeping the blanket where it's supposed to be? Maybe some of you with this blanket or one similar can shed some light?

I'll definitely do an updated review come winter....

     

     

     

     

Happy Tuesday, ya'll! One day closer to the weekend...






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Weekend Ride Pictures

I went home solely for the purpose of seeing The Mare this weekend and I decided to try to bribe my younger sister with a Pumpkin Spice Latte to come take a couple pictures of me and Miss (because I never have riding pictures and I wish I did). Thankfully my sister is easily bribed with Pumpkin Spiced beverages and she readily agreed:)

She actually did a pretty good job considering she's never used my camera and she got some pretty good pics!

Note: I insist you look at my adorable horse and NOT me. I don't ride enough currently and my position is $hi#. God could I please sit back and and pick up my hands...?! oh and the things I do with my inside leg when I trying to get The Mare to move laterally. Yuck. Who knows?! But yeah...The Mare is damn cute so look at her!






ThePintoMareFace is adorbs like for realz

This. Canter. OMG. so so so so so much improvement.

Even in this more awkward moment of the canter...so much more balance here. Obviously we still have a ways to go, but the difference from a year ago is tenfold.


Dorky smile lol

Drool.

This is the exception...look at me, not my horse. I'm happy and smiling, she looks pissed about something lol



Of course on Sunday I noticed her LF shoe was hanging off. Sigh. Thankfully J called D to come fix it for me. They both are the best!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Epic Blogger Meet-up

I've had the opportunity to meet bloggers in the past, and its' always been a blast. You communicate with these people and they end up knowing so much about you that by the time you actually meet in person you feel like you've known them forever. It's pretty cool.

I've been reading Liz's blog pretty much since the beginning (I think we both started blogging around the same time) and a meet-up as been a long time in coming. We have long been aware that we live in the same state and she graduated from the school that I am currently attending (Let's Go Mountaineers!). I'm from the northern part of WV and she lives farther south, so a meet-up before now was more difficult. However, college has brought me closer to where Liz lives so we have been discussing getting together for a while.

Well is finally happened last weekend. We only got 24 hours, but man were they jam packed and awesome!

On Friday the 5th I met up with a mutual friend of mine and Liz's who was going home and she delivered me to Liz. I didn't get to Liz until about 7:30 that night, but she quickly picked me up and off to the barn we went. Just the way I like it!

And how I mentioned that meeting-up with fellow bloggers feels like you've known them your whole life? Yeah Liz and I were no exception. We totally hit it off from moment one! We share so many of the same philosophies and thought processes, it was so good to find friendship in like-minded horse person!

When we got to her barn Q and Griffin were there, ears pricked and waiting for us! I totally felt like I was meeting celebrities. Love those horses. Q is such a sweet mare and Griffin has truly grown into such a nice-looking horse. He's come a long way from his baby days, that is for sure!

     

Liz fed the horses while I got to grooming Q. We tacked them up, Liz tossed me a head lamp for my helmet (safety first!) and before long we were hitting the trails. Liz posts such pretty pictures of the area that she lives in, but man was it cool seeing it for myself. Her barn has such great trails and I had a blast testing out the Qmare for myself. She's a little smaller than Missy but I much prefer smaller horses to the giants. None of that 17hh bull shit for me, thank you very much. What I really couldn't get over was what  BIG mover Q is for a little horse. She really steps out and has nice gaits (I would learn this even more the next day). I had so much fun chatting with Liz and testing out her truly awesome mare!

It was pretty dark by the time we got back to the barn, so we un-tacked the horses and took care of them for the night and then Liz grabbed the tack she needed to clean for the horse show the next day and we headed back to her house. Mike met us there and he and Liz proceeded to cook a fabulous meal...so yummy. I was so thankful for a nice shower and conversation (while Transformers played in the background. Very good background movie lol). Before long we hit the hay (yes I did just use a horse pun) and I cuddled in bed with Hodor and Atticus, Liz's hilarious cats (can I just say that I have so much respect for someone who names their cats Hodor and Atticus?! Like for real, best names ever...says the To Kill a Mockingbird and Game of Thrones lover lol).

6:45 am came a little too quickly, I'll admit that much! But it was oh-so worth it because Liz and I were heading to a horse show!

Brief sidenote: holy crap, Liz has the most beautiful view out her front door, I could hardly believe it. Not only is there a pasture full of horses, but there are gorgeous hill behind them. It's truly stunning and I'm jealous that that is what she wakes up to every single morning! 


     

     


We got to the barn, fed and bathed the horses, loaded them and all the tack up and off we went!

We got to the arena grounds shortly after 9 (Liz's county just recently built this arena...it's quite nice and the view is beautiful. I wish they would do something like this where I live! My only complaint about this place was how insanely deep the footing was. Not sure about why they did that...). We unloaded the horses and then went and registered for our classes. We had it in mind that the show started at 10...until we were promptly informed that it was starting at 9! Oops! The Open English Pleasure class that I was riding Qmare in was at the top of the show bill so suddenly we were in a hurry!



I changed into my un-put-together-college-kid riding attire (I was soooooooo annoyed with my self, having taken my tall boots home for my lesson the week before and NOT bringing them back) and got on Qmare for the second time ever. She's such a good mare. We warmed-up behind the trailers and while she was a tad looky, she more than willingly obliged my requests. I really really enjoyed riding her and was so thankful that Liz gave my the opportunity! She's a very sensitive mare and knows a lot of leg and seat cues and I was quite impressed with her. Liz really has done such a fabulous job with both her and Griffin!

Thankfully, there were some trail-type classes before ours so that gave us more than enough time to get situated and we were waiting for our class by the time it was ready to start. I guess this is when I should mention that the day before I looked at the show bill Liz had sent me and noticed that up in the corner it listed the Judge's name. Yup, that would be my Equine Science professor. Small world.

So when she looked at me, she had the weirdest look on her face...I don't think she was expecting to see me there lol Awkward.

Q and I were in a class full of quarter horses, which was to be expected. They are so slow moving and this mare is definitely not. Like I said BIG gaits for such a little mare (in a nice FORWARD way, not at all in an unbalanced way!). Her walk and trot transitions were perfect and in the moments that she got distracted by what was going on outside the arena, I kepy her busy with some baby leg yielding. She was quite willing to go to work! The only big issues we had was mostly a pilot error on my part. Q wasn't particularly pleased with how deep the footing was and my canter cue was quite strong enough. So the transition wasn't the greatest tracking left. Oh well. My bad. It was much better tracking right, partly because I was more ready for needing a slightly stronger aid.

We ended up taking fourth, which I pretty much expected with the class of QH and the bad transition, but not too terribly shabby for having had such a short period of time to figure eachother out! Q was so so good and I was proud of how well she handled it. Good MareFace!


Liz road her in the next class which was a Hunter Hack Over Fences Class (to be completely honest, I can't even pretend to know anything about these hunter-esque type classes. Definitely not my forte or where my knowledge base lies...I just kind of went with it lol).

There were three horses in that class-- a TB, a QH, and Q the awesome Arab. Q is an adorable jumper and their round was really quite good. Liz and Q ended up coming in 2nd, behind the QH...even though the QH knocked down a rail and broke gait. I'll admit that confused me a little, but then again I really can't pretend to know anything about these type of classes...




Liz and I both did two "fun" classes: Toilet Paper Race and Catalog Race. Unfortunately Griffin had a baby horse moment when some kids were messing with the arena gate and we didn't didn't last very long in the TP Race, but it was all in good fun so who cared (and if I had been Griffin, I would have thought those kids were scary too!)



I wasn't particularly good at the Catalog race because I totally took 10 years to find my page in the book, but Liz rocked it and probably would have won had they now given her a page that had already been ripped out! She stilled ended up getting a fourth place for her efforts! Go Liz and Q!



After that we un-tacked the horses and loaded back up...back to the barn we went!

Once we unloaded the horses, Liz asked if I would like to take Griffin for a spin before we left.

Ummm YES!

So I tacked him up and hopped on...and wow I was majorly impressed with Liz's youngster! She is a very nice ride and his gaits are exceptionally uphill for such a young guy. He knows his cues and clearly loves having a job (his ears were pricked the entire time I was on him) and was more-than-willing to give me both a nice forward trot and canter. What a good boy!

Liz and I then headed back to her apartment to shower and get ready for the WVU game. We drove back to Morgantown and before long The Epic 24 Hours was coming to a close. Liz dropped me off at my dorm so I could head to the football game with my friends, but not before we made the promise to do it again soon!



It was a great 24 hours and I am so glad I finally got to meet Liz, Mike, Kenai, Q, Griffin, Hodor, and Atticus. Liz has two super nice horses that she should be majorly proud of and I had a blast taking them for a spin. I seriously cannot wait until our next adventure! I promise next time to actually have my head on straight and remember to bring my camera;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Four Years.


Right about this time four years ago today, I was sitting in freshman Biology pleading with the horse gods to make that school day go a hell of a lot faster. My irritation must have been rather apparent because my two lab partners looked at be and asked what on earth was the matter with me.

"Well you see," I said," I'm buying a horse today..."

I'll never forget that day, not as long as I live...what it felt like to arrive at the barn that afternoon and see Missy out with the other boarder's horses...to pay for her with money that I have slaved and sweated for all on my own...to wrap my arms around her neck and promise that she'd forever be with me.

And so here we are, four years later, I'm again back in freshman Biology and still getting the rep as the crazy horse girl. Some things truly never change lol

But some things do, and while I'm not sure if one can truly credit their mere existence to a horse, I often do. Without getting into the dirty personal details that no one truly cares about, I will say with firm resolve that there have been moments over the past years that the only thing that I seemed to truly have to live for was that horse. She saved me from the demons in my life. She was there when the people who were supposed to be weren't. Forever my saving grace.

Missy is my first and while I can be fairly positive she won't be my last, I do know with firm resolve that every single horse that comes after her will have the biggest shoes in the world to fill. I will forever compare ever horse I ever get on to the standards of The World's Best MareFace. She is more special than I can put into words, and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not so incredibly thankful for the last four years.

I hope every single one of you someday know what it is like to love a horse like I love Miss. It's truly the best feeling in the entire world, there is no better high. And while I'm sad that I'm not there today to give her extra carrots and tell her how awesome she is, I know that she's a happy horse and that she lives a good life even without me there every day.

1,461 wonderful days down and so many more to come...I could not be more grateful.

Thanks for making this girl's dreams come true, Miss, you'll forever be my heart horse.

Here's a couple of my favorite pictures from over the years (actually the last six years...)