Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Barn

While doing these picture posts, I've realized that the layout of the barn may seem a bit... wonky.  So, to help visualize the layout of the barn, I put my computer paint skills to the test to create a semi-decent layout so that you guys will have an idea of how the barn is really set.

For some idea of comparison, here are some photos to give you an idea of what is shown in the layout:

Facing north, back field with a bit of the corral visible

Facing west in the main yard, my trailer spot is beside
the green shed with the open door, quonset is to
your back in this photo

Facing north, main yard again where you can see the
shop and my old truck

It's not a really big area, but it suits us just fine for what we really need, at least for when the weather and footing are ok.  We finally had our first ride yesterday for 2014, and I'm hoping to get in 1-2 rides a week at the farm for January, then come February the trailer is going to get dug out to haul to the arena for more intensive schooling.  After our quick ride, I popped in to visit with the BO and heard that there may be a weekly cattle thing going on at the arena, so we may jump into just to get us out plus dropping us in different situations.  Also, our local PC has more riders in levels where they're having to learn to ride some cross country, so we may get to make some semi-permanent jumps along the trails by the arena!  Nothing big (2' tops), but creating an actual course would be EXTREMELY exciting!  Since none of the other instructors have done any cross country, if this course comes to light, I'll be the main contact for design of the course!!

Possibilities abound this year, but it's still early to say anything is certain.  Even though it's still early, I'm cautiously optimistic :)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Barn Blog Hop

Also known as a photo session!
Because of where I live and board, a few of these questions will overlap, so please bear with me.

1. and 2.  View of the barn and my horse's living space:

Tied to the trailer, our 'cross ties' if you will
The barn in winter (small paddock, part of the front field
and part of the yard)
North side of the back pasture
South side of the back pasture
3.  View of the tackroom:

Behind Koda and I stands the tack room... aka the trailer.
Over the winter, all liquids and gels come home along
with my leather goods, including saddles and bridles.
It makes for a cramped fit in the house, but it works and
 keeps my tack from drying out.

4.  View of where I ride:
The great thing about where I live is all the choices of where to ride, depending on what you want to do.

Rocky Lane Trails, good for conditioning and hillwork
Field roads around the farm, nice trail for hacks
Back field set up as a jumping area, perfect for schooling
The yard... again!  It has nice footing in spring and fall
Indoor arena at Rocky Lane Ag. Farm, perfect for getting
out of the weather and into some nice footing.  Those back
panels aren't usually set up unless you're working cows
5.  Favourite feature:

This one is a bit tough, since it's not something tangible that you can take a picture of.  As most of you know, living where I do is pretty tough, let alone keeping horses.  I'm so grateful to be keeping my horse with someone who has been living here for years and has had horses for all of them.  A has so much knowledge on horse keeping in this climate, and I am stress-free, knowing Koda's day to day care is in great hands.  A is a wonderful horsewoman who loves all of her equines, be it hers or her boarders

A and her gelding Mik
Now it's your turn! Several of you have already done the hop, but for those who haven't, here you go:  all you have to do is show us the five following places:

1.  The barn
2.  Your horse's living space
3.  The tack room
4.  Riding areas
5.  Favourite feature

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Winter Time Questionnaire: Part 2

And to continue on from where we left off!

15.  Do you think any disciplines are cruel?  Disciplines, no, but people within those disciplines?  Absolutely.

16.  Your worst riding habit.  Getting ahead.

Case and point... although it has gotten better

17.  When you're in the show ring, what's going through your mind?  Where's my next jump/movement, is that corner correct, remember this is where we have trouble, watch your shoulders, keep your legs on, keep your eyes up and looking around, steady hands, fuzz, what's next?!?!?! Oh, yes, keep going... and breathe.

18.  If you owned a barn, would you try for a laid back casual atmosphere, or a professional fast paced one?  I'd like professional but not exactly fast-paced.  Professional and laid back can go together :)

19.  If I give you a $2,000.00 gift card to your favourite tack store/online retailer, what would you buy?  A few items for myself, but most likely a bunch of stuff needed by the camps I worked at back home that are in dire need of donations/funds.

I miss these guys!!

20.  You're riding in an arena at home with several other riders, and one of them obviously doesn't know the rules of the ring, even though they're posted.  The others are clearly annoyed, would you do anything?  I'd try to politely point them out or let them know some of the more basic rules.  If the person didn't seem like someone who would take to that, I'd continue doing my ride or head out.

21.  Worst fear riding?  Falling in an open space and my horse getting hurt/killed, particularly on a road.

22.  How old do you imagine you'll be when you stop riding, and what's the cause?  I truly hope to never stop riding, but if and when I do I think it may be out of arthritis or physical limitation.

23.  If you could own any number of horses, would they all be the same discipline or a mix?  A mix!  I like to dabble in different things :)

24.  Favourite colours for your horse?  I'm in the middle of switching from red to green, so the dressing room of my trailer looks a bit like Christmas right now.

25.  Favourite tack brand?  Stubben for saddles and their accessories, and five star tack for bridles and martingales.  I have what I want now (and too much really!) so am content in my tack inventory.  Now is the time to save money to show and clinic.

My precious (that needs conditioning)

26.  If given the opportunity, would you breeze a racehorse?  I think so...

27.  Three "You know you're an equestrian when..."

You know you're an equestrian when you refer to vegetables portions as flakes.  Example:  I only took one flake of lettuce for the salad, so we may need more.

You know you're an equestrian when you can't sit through a movie that has horses in it without pointing out either the riding, the tack, the fake horse noises, the switching of horses, etc.

You know you're an equestrian when your wardrobe is separate as follows: mucking clothes, schooling clothes, clinic appropriate shirts, show clothes, and then everything else.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Winter Time Questionnaire: Part 1

As winter is still raging outside, my blog entries have been sliding a bit!  I'm hoping to start bringing Koda back into work tomorrow with the expectation of warmer weather (com'on -15... please?!).  I was going to haul out today, but with blowing snow and colder than expected temps plus The Fiance needing help at the school, I got lucky and switched my booking from today to tomorrow.

In the mean time, I'm going to grab this quick questionnaire that's been floating around a few blogs to pass the time away.  Nevertheless, here's some more insight into the life of Koda and I.

1.  Favourite thing about riding?  That unique relationship you have with your horse.  It's a hard one to explain to people who aren't already in the know, but that feeling of flying across the field or doing that perfect transition with this animal... magic

2.  Green horse or trained horse?  I'm going to go with an in-between.  A finished horse is super nice, but I like having a hand in training my horse at least in part.  I bought Koda when he was a basic w-t-c who knew a bit of lateral work, but I started him over fences and am working on continuing his education as best I can.

3.  Have you ever wanted to quit riding?  I actually went on a hiatus when I first went to university.  I didn't have transportation to a barn and wasn't actively looking to ride until the idea of having a team for the IHSA came about.  Since then, I have never wanted to leave horses and I doubt I'll ever will.

4.  Do you prefer to ride inside or outside?  Depends on what I'm doing (and the weather!), but will ride in either space.  One thing I do prefer to have when riding alone is riding in an enclosed area, either in a large fenced field, or outdoor arena, or what have you.  

5.  On average, how many time do you ride a week?  When actively training, I ride 3-4 times a week.

After a fall ride

6.  Have you ever fallen off at a show?  How?  I've never fallen at a show, but I haven't been showing for very long (knock on wood).  I'm sure it'll happen eventually, and I hope it'll be a soft tumble when it happens.

7.  Do you have a private or group lesson?  When I took lessons, they were usually private or semi-private.  I enjoy group lessons, but the semi-privates were what I enjoyed the best.  More one-on-one time, plus little breaks to think of what you're doing.

8.  In your opinion, does it make you less of a rider if you don't own a horse?  Absolutely not.  I didn't own my own horse until I was 25, before then I was half-leasing or riding lesson and camp horses!

9.  Do you plan on having horses in your life for the rest of your life?  Yes

10.  If you could ride any famous horse (dead or alive) who would it be?  Big Ben.

11.  Does winning ribbons matter to you?  Short answer? Yes.  I usually want to go out to a competition prepared and ready to do our best.  As a competitive person, I want to do well and am always please bringing home some satin!  Yet, in all honesty, I try to keep my expectations realistic and for now, Koda and I are looking to have some solid completions as we feel our way into Alberta eventing.

At my first off-site show

12.  Worst riding experience?  One of my worst riding experiences was when I had Celtic.  At some times, she would be fine, but most of the time we were just AT each other, picking and nagging and just not good.  At the end of that relationship, I felt like I wasn't a rider and not worthy of even owning a horse.  We had devolved from w-t-c and baby jumps to not being able to do halt to walk transitions without flying across the arena.  For more insight, check out early blog entries in 2012.

Schooling ride on Celtic

13.  Describe a time when you wanted another equestrian to fail at something.
Honestly?  I've never wanted someone to fail.

14.  Describe the proudest or happiest moment you can think of in your riding career.
Completing South Peace Horse Trials last summer.  I took Koda from being a w-t-c horse to a budding eventer with just me riding him, no real training, and work. I can't wait for the snow to be gone!!!

We ended on a NUMBER!

Stay tuned for Part 2

Saturday, 4 January 2014

2013 Review and Looking Towards 2014

Sorry for the lack of posts, everyone!  The Fiance and I have been off visiting family over the holidays so blogging fodder (and time to blog!) was scarce.  Now we're finally back home after a myriad of flight delays and winter driving fun to relax and get back into the swing of the new year.

I want to start of this post with a hopefully quick and to the point review of 2013.  Last year was a good one for Koda and I, getting to a couple clinics in the later part of the year and completing our first event at South Peace.  Even with the set-back of the quonset collapse and the trailer taking over a month to be fixed, all came together to end our rather short season on a good note.  I started riding more and am getting more comfortable riding out at the barn with Koda and learning more about his quirks and what works for him best.  I didn't set any solid goals to accomplish for last year, but in my mind I wanted to complete our first event.  With that being said, let's look onward to 2014!

After completing our first event at South Peace

This year will be interesting as the Fiance and I will be planning our up-coming wedding that is happening in the middle of the season.  I'm hoping to get to either a clinic or two or dressage shows before the wedding, then get into eventing on the other side.  South Peace is definitely on the calendar, along with the Sandra Donnelly clinic in Red Deer.  With family coming, it will be an interesting season!  As long as the trailer is going well, I'd like to get Koda out more this year, going to different venues, even hanging out at the local rodeos (it's all about exposure), riding out more without a buddy, and generally just DOING things.  Fingers crossed we don't lose our trailer again for a large chunk of time!  Right now, we're in our deep freeze with temps bobbling between -20 and -40 so Koda will be enjoying the next few weeks as a wild non-working horse.  That being said, the blog will still have some posts going up, perhaps not as often as usual, but that's just how she goes sometimes :)

It's a cold and frozen place out there...

So, to lay out the goals for 2014:

1.  Get out to more venues (local rodeos, schooling dressage shows, poker rides, clinics, etc.)
2.  Work on jumping spreads
3.  RIDE MORE!!!!

and hopefully..

4.  Compete successfully at Pre-Entry/Entry at South Peace