Friday, August 26, 2016

Can Fall Come Already?

Today I was able to convince Jin to come out and take pictures of me riding so that I would be able to evaluate my progress and see what I need to keep working on. Yay!
It was really hot by the time we were able to get out to the barn and I honestly didn't really want to ride, but I have a busy weekend plan so riding had to happen today.
First, I fetched Victor and gave him a free lunge. He was a ball of wild energy! He bucked three times, jumped a 2 ft vertical, and cantered around for probably five minutes straight. It was good to see this because it means that he is feeling less sore.
After free lunging, I tacked him up and we headed back out to the outdoor arena. We did our boring 10 minutes of walking, then I asked him to trot and he thought about giving a little buck but decided against it. We then trotted around for 6 minutes and then we were done. It was a mellow ride and Victor was well-behaved. I want to work on more complicated things with Victor (like medium-sized circles), but some days he is just too stiff in the back to do anything other than trot in a straight line.
Trotting Victor
More trotting action
As a sidenote... I know that my stirrups are WAY too long in the Victor photos. I am using his mom's saddle (since he is too wide to fit in any other saddles) and I don't really want to mess with it. Since I only trot him for 5 minutes I don't really think that the length of the stirrups matter.
He's so cute and cuddly
After riding Victor, I sponged him off (there was a line to use the bath station). Then I threw him out in pasture and grabbed Casey.
While I was tacking Casey up I discovered that she has learned a new (annoying) trick. I keep her horse treats in a big plastic containers. The mare has apparently figured out that this plastic container contains the yummies and so she kept trying to get into it. Sometimes I think she is too smart for her own good. Finally, we were ready to ride and Casey was very sad to leave the treat container.
Casey was very good for the walk and trot portion of our ride. She wasn't being crazy or tugging on the reins and so I got my hopes up that it would be another perfect ride...
Calm trotting Casey
And then I asked for a canter and everything when downhill. She just couldn't seem to focus on what we were doing. She was leaning on the bit, speeding around corners, pinning her ears and lunging forward every time we passed poor Leigh, and flailing her way around circles. Too be fair, even with all of this going on, she was still much more balanced and controlled than she was two weeks ago, but it was frustrating to ride. Part of the problem was that my head just wasn't in the right space either. I was hot and it was a terrible idea to eat nachos right before riding in the heat....
Left-lead canter = thumbs up!
Right-lead canter needs more work
Even though Casey wasn't being the best, I had decided to do a bit of jumping (since Jin was around to take pictures). We were just going over little 2 ft verticals, but Casey over-jumped probably half of them. She wasn't being terrible while we were jumping, but she wasn't being good either. Again... she just wanted to gallop around the course and I was the meanie holding her back. After looking at the photos, I see bits of progress in my position. I'm still jumping ahead and my butt is too far out of the saddle (I think I need to shorten my stirrups even more?), but my hands are higher up on Casey's neck so that is a slight improvement.
Butt needs to come back more
Need to get my heels beneath me
Looking halfway decent here
Looking at the rest of the photos, I do see improvement in both Casey and me. We are both looking more balanced and relaxed. I was excited to see that in the canter, my leg mostly stayed beneath me. Also I'm getting better about keeping my shoulders back and back straight. I need to work on my hands (they are too close together at the canter), getting my back even straighter, and more heels down. Casey needs to work more on staying balanced in her right-lead canter (it's obvious even in photos that it is her weaker canter lead).
Too far out of the saddle
Crazy, but sweet
My trainer told me today that in a month she will be putting on a local show (or maybe just a schooling show) and that she thinks that Casey and I should do at least a few classes. I don't know if we will be able to improve enough in a month to be able to be successful at a show, but it gives us a good goal to work towards!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Oh where, oh where can my crazy mare be...

At the beginning of this week I had a terrible lesson with Casey. She was grouchy, stubborn, hot, and just being a brat. It made me feel frustrated and like we weren't making any progress at all. BUT for the past two days my green mare has been a magical unicorn horse.
She isn't even trying to kill the dog... PROGRESS!!!
All of the "problems" that we've been trying to work through seem to no longer be problems. In the past two days she:
  • Consistently has been able to walk around the arena with barely any jigging
  • Has been trotting in a calm and collected manner
  • Has been able to canter without getting off-balance and speeding up
  • Has been responding to my half halts
  • She will now stop and stand when I ask her to
  • She hasn't spooked or gotten distracted by things outside of the arena
  • AND... the most amazing feat... she somehow figured out how to back up without me having to force her into it!
I don't know what it is that is making her be so good, whether the sheer heat is sapping her energy or if having consistent riding allows her brain to click into work-mode, but it is so exciting to see the potential that she has. It's not that I doubted that she had this potential, but I am amazed that she is showing so much progress in literally only two months. My trainer watched us canter a lap and even she remarked that Casey was cantering like a "normal" horse. Normally, Casey just gallops around without really responding to half halts.
Casey cantering
I do think that Casey is really responding well to the consistent work. I've ridden her five days in a row now and it took three days before she was able to be a calm horse. Of course, I don't really know what to do with this information, because I do want Casey to have two days off a week and it is unlikely that they will be able to be two days in a row... I still have to figure out my riding schedule now that I am starting my new job so we will see.
Cuddles after a great ride
I will try to get some footage the next time I ride Casey to show the progress that she has made. In the meantime, what is your training schedule? How many days a week do you ride and what do you do?

Victor's First Trail Ride

*Note: Apologies for no photos! I haven't taken any more photos of Victor, but now realize that I should have. I'll add photos to my next post about him so that you can bask in his cuteness :)
As you all know by now, I am rehabbing an adorable horsey named Victor. I've been working with him for about three weeks now and while he's made a lot of progress (as in, he can actually trot for five minutes now without dying...) I am getting just a tad bored. I don't mind the trotting, because I can always find things to do while I keep him trotting (like practicing my sitting trot or two point or doing some up-up-downs), but the walking part is just miserable. Seriously... nothing feels as long as 10 minutes straight of walking... it's worse than staring at a pot of water while waiting for it to boil. Sure there are things that I could work on during that time, like more two point, or having Victor practicing bending in a circle, but since I'm not training him, just exercising him, I don't really have the motivation to do that. And so I decided that the way to beat the boredom was to take him on a trail ride.
Honestly, I did not know what to expect from Victor on a trail ride, because he is very odd and quirky about his fears. For instance, he doesn't spook at anything in the outdoor arena or anything near the outdoor arena, even though it is surrounded by distracting and sometimes scary things, but he is totally freaked out by the weirdest things in the indoor arena. He is terrified of one of the barrels in the indoor arena. Not the other three barrels, just the one. He is also convinced that if a cone is on its side it is actually a terrifying orange creature that is out to eat him. If that same cone is standing up then he doesn't give it a second glance. To be fair to Victor, it is pretty common for horses to be more spooky in the indoor arena than they are in the outdoor arena, but his phobias are so particular and bizarre. Even though Victor has strange fears, I figured that I trusted him (and his steering) enough that we could go on a trail ride together and it would not end terribly. And so we went.
I mounted in the indoor arena (because the mounting block by the barn is still home to a wasp nest) and when I asked Victor to leave the arena he was very hesitant. He walked super slowly onto the gravel. Once we were out of the arena we had to walk past all of the paddocks in order to get to the trail. Victor acted like he had never seen any of the horses before (he had) and was walking as if he were a kid on their tiptoes, one exaggerated slow step after the next. Finally, we got to the trail. I thought that Victor would be fine with the first section of the trail as it is literally on the other side of the fence from his pasture, but he continued his slow and wary walk all the way down to the far side of the galloping track. For the short side, he picked up a little bit of speed and was moving more normally. And then we had to turn the corner and face the log of terror (as it is named by Casey). I tensed up a bit as we approached the log because I was expecting the worst, but Victor didn't even give it a sideways glance. He got a lot of praise for being so brave and then we continued on.
Then... we were before the wooded section. Victor started to get really tense and as soon as we hit the first tree he tried to bolt sideways. I kept him from running and then just asked him to stand facing the woods. He was all dramatic breathes and panicky motions, but I stayed calm and gave him many pets until he calmed down. I had to ask him probably three times to go into the woods before he actually did it. He speed-walked through the woods, but he did it without any more spooking! He also had a little freak-out moment when we cleared the woods and he saw the outside of the indoor arena, but with a little bit of pets and calm reassurances he faced his fears and walked right past it.
After the trail ride we did our five minutes of trotting and then Victor got tons of treats and hugs. I think that he handled our first trail ride together really well! I'm excited that we now can do that rather than just walking around in the arena and who knows, maybe we'll make him into a decent trail horse!
Does your horse have any weird phobias? Does anyone else have trouble when they try to take an arena horse out to the big, bad trails?

The Floating of Teeth + Other Fun Vet Stuff

It is unarguable that one of the worst parts of owning a horse is how expensive their vet bills can be. At the same time, I strongly feel that if you own a horse you have to be proactive and on-top-of their health needs. So, when I bought Casey, one of the first things that I did was get a vet appointment for her. I knew that she badly needed to get her teeth floated (since they hadn't been done in two years) and that she also needed to get her vaccines.
I got Casey vaccinated for 3 Way + West Nile and Flu Rino. My trainer and vet both recommended doing just those vaccines. If I were planning on showing Casey this year than I would probably have gotten a few other vaccinations, but she won't be leaving the property and so the odds of her being exposed to other viruses are lowered.
The vet that my barn uses is the nicest man ever and so when he was floating Casey's teeth he showed me everything and explained what he was doing and allowed me to take photos. I've seen teeth floating before and I understood the basic concept of it, but I will explain it to you as well as I know I have some non-horsey-experienced readers. Basically, horses' teeth never stop growing and the grinding motion that they use to eat grass and hay does grind their teeth down, but not necessarily evenly or enough. That's why you have to hire a vet to "float," or grind down, their teeth evenly. If you don't have their teeth floated then their teeth will grow out unevenly which can make it hard for them to eat and sharp ridges can be formed which obviously hurt the horse. You are supposed to get your horse's teeth floated every year. Some horses, like Casey, can do it every other year (although now that she's mine, they will get done every year).
If I hadn't seen this process before and I didn't understand what the vet was doing then watching this would probably have been pretty traumatic. First, they gave Casey a shot of local anesthetic. It took probably 3 minutes for it to kick in and when it did it hit Casey hard. She started swaying, her eyes got droopy, and I swear she almost fell over on the vet tech a couple of times. Then they put an equine dental speculum into Casey's mouth to hold it open and gave her mouth a rinse.
Equine dental speculum
They propped Casey's head up on a stand and the vet tech held her head to keep her still. The vet then took out the electric float (which looks like an electric drill but with a long metal pole attached - the file is at the end of the pole) and ground her teeth down.
Floating teeth
Scary-looking electric float
After using the electric float, the vet checked her teeth and used a manual float to finish the job. The vet checked her teeth with his hand to make sure that there weren't any uneven or sharp spots, gave her mouth a rinse, and then she was done. The whole process took probably 20 minutes as Casey apparently had decent teeth to begin with. Then Casey drunkenly walked back to her stall and spent the rest of the day just hanging out with Wings and eating (the anesthetic wore off after about 40 minutes).
More floating
Almost done
After the vet treated Casey, he had to create an account for me with his clinic and he also went over Casey's dental chart with me. Basically, this chart shows what Casey's teeth looked like before the floating. She has a slight overbite and so her bottom, front-most molars had been ground down a bit too much and the bottom, back-most molars were growing too long. She didn't have too many dips and ridges (even though it's been two years since her teeth were floated) which means that she is chewing pretty evenly. The vet said that she has a really great bite and good teeth, which means that she is likely to have fewer dental issues and she will likely keep her teeth for longer as she ages. This was great news!
The total cost of everything was around $270. This is what I expected it to be so it wasn't a surprise. I got to save some money, because if a certain number of horses are being treated in one trip than the vet doesn't charge for the barn visit just for the work. Casey will need to get a vaccine booster in 6 months (for Flu Rino) and so that will probably cost between $50-100 depending on if I have to pay for the barn visit, so that means the the bare minimum of vet care that she will need in a year will cost around $350. Now hopefully we just don't have an medical emergencies!
Very drugged horsie post-vet
Do you like to be there when your horse's teeth are floated? Have you ever seen an equine dental chart before? Because I had not and how cool!

The Day the Horses Went Wild

Ok... so the title of this post may be very dramatic, but I swear it is warranted! Oregon has been in the worst heat wave that I've ever seen. It's been around 100 degrees almost every day and in a normal Oregon summer we might get one or two days to reach 100. Two days ago the temperature finally dropped (to around 85) and as a result all of the horses were filled with excited energy and so they decided to forget all of their manners and training and act like mustangs.
The day started out with Katie and I taking a jump lesson together. I was on Casey and she was being terrible. She couldn't seem to focus on me or herself, but instead just wanted to mow down the barn dogs. She was really hot and pissy. When I asked her to do anything besides go faster she would toss her head and jig and just be bratty. Because of all of this our lesson did not go very well and it was a little bit frustrating.
Katie rode her TB, Wings, and he was also being unusually crazy. He decided that the far left corner of the outdoor arena was the portal to Hell and so every time he had to go near it he would get all spooky and try to take off bucking. Wings is a lot more trained than Casey, however, and Katie is an amazing rider so they were able to get it together enough to do several nice jump courses.
After our jump lesson, the craziness of the horses continued...
Victor, the Welsh Cob that I am rehabbing, tried not once, not twice, but three times to buck me off. He is so overweight and out of shape that they were the most pathetic bucks ever, but still... not cool, little man.
Dobby, the paint jumping pony, was ridden by my trainer because he had been hot all week and one of his regular riders had gotten bucked off by him. She said that he was the worst that he had EVER been for her at home. He was trying to run off after jumps, was pulling on the bit, and was just being a terror.
Faith, the chestnut pony who trucks around tiny children, decided to take off cantering after a trot pole with a 7 year old beginner on her back. The poor kid fell off (and wasn't too hurt luckily). Then Katie, the instructor in the lesson, hopped on Faith to school her and Faith continued to be a terror.
Luckily, by the time I had to teach a lesson, I had seen all of this wild behavior and so I had my student free lunge Willow. The pony took off bucking and galloping around the arena, but got all of her crazy out doing that, so during the actual riding portion of the lesson she was really well-behaved. It helped that my student finally told Willow who was the boss! Go her!
All in all, it was not a good day to be riding. The next day however, the temperature went back up and the horses went back to being their normal, only slightly crazy, selves.
How do your horses handle changes in temperature? Does it have as much of an impact on them as it has on the horses at my barn?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dealing with Fetlock Sores

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but all of the horses are getting really bad fetlock sores at my barn, including Casey.
I've heard these sores called many names. Fetlock sores, bed sores, and paddock sores seem to be the most common names. These sores are caused by the horses rubbing on something - typically as they try to lie down. These sores most frequently occur on the front fetlocks, as the horse falls onto their front fetlocks when they lie down. The sores also frequently occur on the hocks of horses.
Fetlock sores
In Casey's case, these sores are really only on her front fetlocks, and she is getting them because she likes to use her nice bedding as her pee spot and then lies down on the gravel. Stupid horse... I'm probably not going to be able to change her behavior (although I think I might throw down a lot more bedding to see if she will actually lie on it), but I do need to do something about the sores.
Fetlock sores
Basically, early treatment is the best way to handle fetlock sores. When I caught them on Casey they had just started to form. The hair was gone and the skin was getting cracked. If I had left it though, the sores could have turned into open wounds which attract flies and can get infected. These sores can get bad enough that they need veterinary care. I caught them before they got bad though and so I just needed to keep them from getting worse.
Can't have a hurt horsie!
In order to prevent Casey from making the sores worse, I got some medium bell boots and put them on her facing the wrong direction (so that the cup surrounded her fetlock). The purpose of this is just to provide a layer of protection between her skin and the ground. In addition, I could have put some gall salve on it, but since they weren't too bad my trainer said Casey probably didn't need it. I leave the bell boots on when she is in her paddock and when I take her out I take them off. I don't know how long she will need them for, my guess is that as soon as it starts raining she will start to lie down in her shed, but for the meantime, this is an easy and cheap way to prevent her from getting more sores.
Prevention method: Upside-down bell boots
Do your horses ever get fetlock sores? What do you do to stop them or treat them?
Casey is much happier with her bell boots on

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Highlights from Today's Ride

Since today's ride was much like the last ride on Casey that I wrote about (as in she still wanted to live that racehorse life and gallop around like crazy), I've decided not to give a play-by-play, but rather to point out the general highlights.
Highlight 1: When I free-lunged Casey, she was in high energy and decided that it was appropriate for her to try to take out Foster, the head honcho barn dog. He likes to chase the horses around when they are getting free lunged and apparently Casey decided today that it was her turn to chase him. Luckily Foster is fast and smart and so he was totally fine, but man my horse is a dog-hater.
Foster lies waiting
Casey targets Foster
Foster runs for his life
Casey bucks as she gives up the chase
Highlight 2: Casey gave her first big spook under saddle today. Eden and Calvin (the young Border Collie) were being their normal ridiculous teenage-dog selves and chasing each other near the arena and Casey decided that this was the most terrifying thing that ever happened to her so she gave a huge jump sideways and then took off galloping. She tried to give a buck, but I stopped her, but she would not stop running for probably a minute. I would get her slowing down and paying attention and then she'd see the dogs again and speed up. So I just stayed calm and circled her until her little pea brain decided to kick in and work. I think that she was not actually as scared as she was acting like she was because the puppies always run around and it has never spooked her before. I think that it was a combination of her high energy + windy weather + dogs running that made her spook. Either way, it was fine in the end and she was able to focus for the rest of the ride.
I mean... they are vicious, but that spook was unwarrented
Highlight 3: While we were cantering around I decided to see if Casey actually did have flying lead changes. My trainer swore that she did, but I had not seen any evidence of it. So I did a figure-eight at a canter and Casey counter-cantered for the first corner and then in the second corner did a flying lead change! I was so excited and gave her so much praise and then did another figure-eight... and she did another flying lead change! I only asked her to do one flying lead change per direction, because I don't want to push her too much, but this is so exciting! Now I need to get better at figuring out how to cue Casey to do a flying lead change because I am sure that there are things that I could do to help her out more. For today I basically just had her change directions and she took over from there. What's hard about this is that horses can be trained with different cues and I have no idea what cues Casey was taught. I'm going to ask my trainer and see if she knows next time I see her.
Highlight 4: Today was a jumping day for Casey and me and I set a goal for us to be able to go over the brush jump without any issues. The brush jump is basically a white solid-ish plastic fence with some fake grass/brush lining the top of it. It is only 2'3" and is lightweight so in my eyes is not actually a scary jump, but in our last jumping lesson, Casey thought about running out on this jump and I didn't want her to do that again. I warmed her up over some small cross rails and then pointed her at the brush jump... and she went over it fine. So I tried the other direction, and she was still fine. She may have slightly over-jumped it, but she wasn't spooky and didn't try to stop or run out. So maybe she just needed one freak-out about it to get over it? Who knows, but either way Casey will now jump all of the jumps in the arena without any issue.
Still eyeing the dogs
Cooling down after jumping - she loves to stand here and stick her head over the gate
So all in all, it was an eventful day for Casey and me at the barn, with some highs and some lows.
The rest of the week it is supposed to get really hot here, like over 100 degrees, so I will probably only be riding in the morning with short rides, but if any ride is exciting I will be sure to post about it.
I am the only person with a horse that tries to murder dogs? What cues do you use to get your horse to do a flying lead change?

Project Pony Time!

Since I work at my barn every-so-often fun little projects come up. And last week I was given the most adorable little project that I have ever seen.
I was asked if I would be willing to rehab a Welsh Cob, 18 yo gelding named Victor. He is literally the cutest thing that I've ever seen. He may even trump adorable Willow in terms of sheer cuddleness! He is very small and also very, very fat. Like so fat that every time my trainer sees him she says that she thinks he will founder. And that is probably true, although I do think that the chubby factor makes him even more stuffed-animal-like.
He's pretty cute, right?
As cute as Victor is, he has had many health issues that would drive me insane as an owner. He has been lame for the past 6 years. You heard me right... 6... years... And his owner is a saint and kept him even though he was totally unrideable. My understanding of Victor's health issues is that nobody really knew what was wrong with him for a few years, and then the vet found out that he had ringbone (basically bony arthritis in the pastern or coffin joint). It is Victor's left hind that is most impacted, but I don't know if the ringbone is in other legs as well (and I also don't know if it is high or low ringbone). The vet recently evaluated Victor and said that the ringbone has fused 95% of the way and that for the last 5% to fuse/heal he needs exercise and weight put on him. I don't really understand this whole fusing business, but I was asked if I would be the one to exercise him as I am small and light, and since he is adorable and sweet of course I said that I would.
Adorable
The vet-approved exercise plan for Victor right now is 10 minutes of walking, then 5 minutes of trotting, and then 10 more minutes of walking and then stop. Repeat this 3-4 times a week. Basically, we don't want to break him so we have to slowly work him towards doing more exercise. In a month or so the vet will come back out and re-evaluate to see where Victor is at. I'll basically work with Victor until his owner or my trainer decide to take over or if I get too busy with my new job.
I have to carry a crop with him, because he is so lazy
So far I am really liking working with Victor. He is a total doll and cuddle-bug. He comes up to me when I go to fetch him from the pasture, he loves to cuddle and hang out with me, and he is really well-behaved under saddle. He's tried a few mischievous things, like pretending that he doesn't know how to walk along the rail, but with a slight correction from me, he does what he should be doing. His owner says that he has tried bucking and taking off with her, but I see none of those behaviors and really he is a push-button pony with me. In fact, he can be downright lazy. He is very out-of-shape and so that doesn't help, but I have to carry a crop with him (which I usually never do) and constantly keep asking him to keep moving.
Total cuddle-bug
I've been working with Victor for two weeks now and he's made a lot of progress. I think that he is becoming less stiff and unbalanced and that this exercise is doing good things for him. He also is getting a lot more fit. The other day he didn't start slowing down until the 5th minute of trotting, which is significant improvement, as the first time I rode him he was dying after one minute. Mostly though he's worked his way into my heart. I love Casey, but I will always have room in my heart for other horses too, and Victor's sweet personality is really endearing.

So much trotting

Cute horse bum

TuffRider Ventilated Schooling Tights Review

So as you might have figured out by now, I really don't like spending my money on expensive things. Unfortunately, all equestrian things are expensive and I use my things on a regular basis and so they get worn down. I rotate through about 5 pairs of riding breeches and when they get little holes in them I usually just sew them up. I try to wear them until they literally fall apart. And they are now falling apart. So I had to look for new riding breeches. I ended up getting riding tights instead of riding breeches because a) I've never tried riding tights before and b) it is so hot here that wearing riding breeches is a miserable experience. I got the TuffRider Ventilated Schooling Tights.
TuffRider Ventilated Schooling Tights
The price for these is about as low as you can get for a pair of riding tights. I paid $36 per pair. They range from $36-47 on Amazon. If anyone else knows of cheap riding tights or breeches that actually last please let me know, because I would prefer to pay even less than $36 but just can't seem to find it anywhere.
Navy pair in action
I ordered the colors navy/navy and black/charcoal because they seemed neutral enough and also some reviewers on Amazon said that the lighter colors are see-through so I avoided those (although I don't know if they are actually see-through). There are 7 total colors on Amazon. The first color listed is the main color and the second color listed is the color of the side panels (the ventilated areas).
Navy pair
The two pairs that I got have a different design (I don't know why this is, perhaps they are different models?). The navy pair has a traditional knee patch that is a suede-like material, but the black pair has the UltraGripp knee patches. Because I ordered both pairs from the same Amazon listing, if you really are attached to one style over the other you should probably order these elsewhere.
Navy in action
The UltraGripp knee patches really are just little pieces of grippy stuff that are attached to the tights. Because of this, there is not an additional padding in the knee. For the first five minutes of riding in these tights, it felt really uncomfortable to not have an added layer of protection between me and the saddle, but after those five minutes I got used to it and it didn't bother me anymore. I don't know if I had any additional grip in the saddle so I wouldn't expect magical things from the grippy knees, but they are definitely a cool and unique feature of these tights.
Ultra-Grip knee patches
I ordered the size X-Small after a lot of internal debate. I figured that they would be really stretchy (since they are 92% Polyester and 8% Spandex) and saggy, loose tights just fall off. The X-Small fit really well, they are not at all tight on me and they don't fall down my butt, so mission accomplished! I feel really weird telling the internet about my height and weight, but it is actually helpful to me when others do this for clothing reviews, so I am 5'4" and I weigh about 105-110 lbs. 
TuffRider Logo
I think that these riding tights are very aesthetically pleasing. The ventilated strips on the side make the tights look streamlined and they have a slimming effect on my leg. The waistband falls about two inches below my bellybutton so I'd say that they are probably medium-rise. The material is a bit shiny (you can see that in the photos) so they look really similar to stretchy leggings.
Ventilated sides
Since these are riding tights and not riding breeches, they are meant to be thinner and thus fit tighter. After years of wearing riding breeches, I don't actually mind the tightness (it's something I've just had to get over), but they are indeed thin and tight (so if that scares you then go with riding breeches instead). Since the material is so thin they are really easy to fit into boots and half chaps. I am slightly concerned about the thinness of the material because I have no idea how long it will last. After a full day of working at the barn, the tights did get dusty but they had no snags or tears in the material which does bode well but I have no idea about the durability of the material in the long run. I am hoping that they last for a while, so fingers crossed!
Durable enough for jumping
I primarily got riding tights instead of riding breeches to try to beat the heat and I have to say that they were a lot cooler than my riding breeches are. So they do fulfill that standard. I don't know if I will be able to wear them in the fall or winter yet, but I would guess that these work pretty much only for summer riding (although I'm still going to try to get away with wearing these when the weather cools down).
Shiny material
I really like these riding tights. I need to see how they hold up to know if I would buy them again, but based on appearance and comfort I think these are great. If you are a person who likes lounging around in leggings, then these are a natural progression for you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When Your Horse Acts Like a Toddler...

Most of the time I have a very well-behaved horse who likes order and routine and tries to be a good girl. And then some days those thoughts seem to fly out of her brain and she becomes a terror. Can you guess what type of day today was? Yep... she was a terror indeed.
I have had a crazy couple of days in my life outside of the barn, so Casey hasn't gotten ridden in two days. I figured that she would be a little bit hyper, so when I got to the barn I decided to give her a free lunge. Both arenas were being used so I had to wait for 15 minutes for one to open up, so I just let Casey graze a bit. She was being a tad testy at this point - trying to drag me from one clump of clover to another. Finally, an arena opened up, so we went in.
Waiting for an arena to open up
Grazing on clovers while we wait
Casey made a big fuss about having to roll. She rolled one way, then got up and back down to roll the other way, and then had to go back to the other side again. Finally, she decided she was done rolling and started galloping around like a crazy beast. She ran for probably 5 minutes straight before calming down and walking over to me and with that I thought that we were done with the craziness.
When I took Casey into the barn to tack up, she started really being a nuisance. She knows that I hate it when she paws at the ground and so has gotten a lot better about not doing that, but today she would look me in the eye, slowly lift up her front hoof, and then slowly paw at the ground. She did this about five times. Enough that I know that she was doing it just to be naughty. Every time she did it I would yell at her or tug at her lead rope, but she didn't care. Finally, we were all ready to go, so we headed off to the arena.
I could tell that it was going to be a rough ride when she wouldn't stand next to the mounting block. I finally was able to hop on and then she didn't want to walk, she wanted to GO FAST! I worked on the bending exercises that my trainer had shown me and nothing was really working. When I asked for a trot I received the-fasted-trot-in-the-whole-world. Casey then decided that circling meant go so fast that I was worried we would fall over. After a lot of verbal reprimands and so many half halts, Casey finally decided that she would go at a medium-fast trot. At this point, I was just happy that we weren't speed-trotting.
Giving me side-eye for asking her to slow walk
When I asked for a canter, Casey again decided to be a speed demon. She basically galloped the first lap in the arena before choosing to go at a fast canter. When we got to the jumping part of the ride I was expecting her to be a little less terrible because she is actually easier to deal with when jumping than straight flatwork, but she was still hot and crazy. We jumped four or five tiny cavalettis and then I decided to just be done. She was listening but was just too energetic to really get her in work-mode. We walked off and then headed back into the barn.
Look at those attitude-y ears
Back in the barn, Casey resumed being a terror. She tried to knock down all of the blankets and saddle pads as she turned around in the cross tie area, she pawed at the ground, she stomped her feet, and was just being bratty. When I led her back to her paddock she decided that she had to sniff absolutely everything and knocked over a bunch of feed buckets.
Sweaty and tired, but still being a terror
Even though the ride was a bit frustrating, I can't be too upset with Casey. I really do think that she just gets bored and so when I don't ride her every day she just kind of explodes into a bored mess. When I told my trainer about Casey's behavior she told me she thinks Casey is the kind of horse that just needs to be worked every day. While I will never be able to ride Casey every single day I now know not to skip more than one day!
Pretending to be obedient 
What behaviors do your horses have that drive you bonkers? How many days can you go without riding them before they turn into terrors?