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Walter and I just got back from showing in KY. Cross that off my bucket list. What a fun week. Miss Maddie and I drove down on Thursday morning. We got to the horse park about 1:30pm and got to lesson that afternoon. Nikki had us doing a figure 8 over a small vertical mostly. He was perfect. Very even, not heavy, and I was able to keep him balanced and straight on the backside for some nice lead changes. We showed on Friday and Saturday in the Adult Amateurs 18-35. My 2 round o/f on Friday were pretty nice. Not perfect, but good rounds. The first round was pretty much as perfect as I could get until after the last jump when we had a late lead change. Doh! Such a bummer. The video is seen HERE. Then our next round, we fixed the lead issue. Just a small chip going into the last line coming home. That video can be seen HERE. We got a 7th in that class. =)

Saturday was pretty good. We started with our under saddle. I felt like we rode is really well. However there are so many amazing horses in KY competing, that we didn’t place. Then we had our o/f. In the first one, we had some chipping action going on. But got our leads. Then in the 2nd round, we just had one chip. We didnt place at all though. Later that day we were entered in the $5000 hunter classic. Lots of competition in there as it was all ages combined. I had a great first round and scored a 74.5. I was able to hang in there for the call-back until the very last rider and then I got bumped out. Darn it. So close. It was super fun though. I got to wear a shadbelly and the photographer got some nice photos of us.

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I’m a slacker once again. Things have been going great with Walter. We just got back from Maffitt lake in Iowa. Best weekend ever. I got there on Thursday and we had a lesson. In the schooling ring he was his usual self. Then we went into the ticketed warm up ring. It was the main hunter ring and the jumps were super sweet and set to 3′. As soon as we walked in there, Walter lit up! He was so excited. I’ve never felt that with any horse before. Nikki asked me how I felt about those jumps and if I was comfortable with them because she wanted to put me in the Adult Hunters this weekend. I was fine with it, and excited. So we went right to it. Nikki gave us the course and Walter was cruising. We were flying over those jumps. He was a little strong from the excitement and that was making it difficult to get the right to left lead change. So we had to work on that.

So Friday we did the 2’9 Special class. We had some pretty good rounds. Struggled a little with the lead changes a couple times. Then we had a handy round which was fun. There were a few roll-backs in there. We got a 4th in the handy round. The under saddle was really good. We took 1st. Overall we did pretty well. I think I got a 2nd, 4th, 5th and 1st.

Saturday was the Adult Hunters and we were in the classic too. First round was similar to Friday. We had one late lead change. Then our second round, which was also being scored for the classic, was perfect. We kept a steady pace the whole way trough and got every lead and distance. We scored an 82! And took first for that class. We also had our under saddle and rocked that once again taking first.

Sunday we finished up the Adult Hunters. My first 2 rounds were really good. We were consistent and got our leads. We got 1st and 2nd in those. Then I had my classic round which was pretty good. I had a small rub. We got a 76. Overall we took first in the classic! Woo! and in the Adult Hunters, we got champion! A very successful horse show for me and Wally. Looking forward to KY in June.

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So much fun…

Just wanted to post a little on Walter. I am having so much fun on him. I think I’ve said in the past how Walter is a different kind of ride than I’m used to. He’s got a big engine and doesn’t require much leg to use it. But I’m getting really comfortable with it and I’m having so much fun on him. The last couple of weeks, we’ve had Doug Boyd helping out with lessons. We’ve worked on letting go and riding up to the base of the jump. then yesterday we worked on the grid. It consisted of 3 bounces followed by a 1 stride oxer to a 1 stride vertical to a 1 stride swedish oxer. So much fun! Seriously. Walter is such a pro and so well behaved. He loves that stuff. I’m totally falling for him. ❤

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It’s Ocala season! Walter is not going this year but I will still go and ride. I actually get to ride Tyson this year which is pretty cool. Usually Nikki finds me a lease horse down there, I meet him the day before and then we go show. While it’s a fairly similar situation with the whole not riding him until the day before, I at least know Tyson and what his personality is like. And Nikki knows him so she can coach me on what he’s like. It was all very last minute which is why I didnt ride him at all before he left for Ocala.

This is Tyson. Such a cute face!

I also did a few horse sessions for the xmas season. It started with Gabrielle and Walter. It was for the xmas card and also Gabrielle’s birthday. We did a beautiful album for her. I should have taken a few pictures of it to post. But here are a couple of the shots we took.

Gabrielle and Walter.

AND! I also took the plunge and got custom boots. I had to get custom if I were to get new boots at all because of my calf to foot ratio. So I went in to Ann Hubbard’s and ordered the Fabbri boots. It was quite the process. Took Nips about 20 minutes to do the actual measuring of my feet and legs. I got to pick the toe shape, the little embellishment for the top, the fancy punch design on the leather, and the color of the leather inside the boot. That was my favorite. I couldn’t decided between the hot pink or the Tiffany blue. I ended up with the Tiffany blue. I was afraid I might tire of the pink and the blue was a safer choice. They came super quick too. Usually it’s about 6-8 weeks.. I didn’t think I’d have them in time for Ocala. At least not enough time to break them in. But they came in 2 weeks! So I’ve had a good 1.5 months. They are getting there. Slowly. I can ride safely and fairly comfortably. They can soften up a little yet but I they are good for Ocala.

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Sorry!

It’s been forever. After Dizzle, I had a couple of weeks where I wasn’t super enthused about riding. I just didnt want to have to deal with quirky random horses giving me crap. Dizzle was just so awesome that I needed some time. After a couple weeks, Nikki had me ride Al. Al looks like a chestnut French warmblood version of Dizzle. He’s 5 just like Diz. Of course he has some more training under his belt since he’s been in nikki’s care. So we lessoned. I know from watching Al, that he has a big jump. That lesson was so much fun. Al is so athletic and will take the big spot every time. I did some chair in the air but I hung in there. I rode him a bit more over the next couple weeks. I also worked in some lessons on Dancer who is a dressage horse. So I did some fancy stuff on him which was cool. This is Al below.

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I also had a couple of offers to take on other horses like I did with Dizzle – free lease. They benefit because the horse gets training and goes to shows, and I benefit from getting a free lease. I was still a little damaged from losing Dizzle so taking on another horse so soon was not what I wanted. I just wanted a good horse to shareboard that would be nice to me and I wouldnt have to tack up myself for a little while. =)

In the meantime, the Geoff Teall clinic was coming up. I planned to ride Dizzle in it. So now I needed a new horse. Margaret Clayton was kind enough to work with me on finding a horse to use for the weekend. I started riding Oliver who used to be with us at Gem Stone. But then he started acting up and we ruled him out. So I rode Vienna. Also a Gem Stone veteran. She was great. So I brought her over to springfields and did the clinic with her. This is Vienna below.

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ImageSo while I was still inbetween horses, there was the final PTS show coming up. Out of no where, Nikki and Marisa came up with the idea that I could take Walter to the show if I wanted. Walter is Gabrielle’s horse. He’s a bay TB who is actually blind in one eye. But he’s amazing. Not spooky even with the eye. He’s really tall too, which works for me. So I took one lesson on him and it went well. So then we went to the show haha. One lesson and then we show. But that’s because he’s such a nice horse. At the show, we did really well. There may have been a shallow distance here or there, but everything was good and we got 2nd in both o/f. The under saddle was really good too. I rode just like Nikki told me to and we got first! Overall we too home the champion ribbon. =)

Gabrielle is moving up to 3’6 this year. Walter is a 3′ horse. The family decided they couldn’t let Walter go and purchased him. Their family was generous enough to work with my budget and I started shareboarding Walter. He’s been awesome. Here is Walter and I from the show.

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Walter is a total snuggler. I love it. Since Thanksgiving, Nikki took away all the kid’s stirrups. I get to keep mine because I’m an adult, but I have dabbled in dropping them here and there. Walter is a different ride though than I’m used to. He has got a big engine. I don’t have to even wear spurs with him. So I haven’t been super comfortable with no stirrups. But last night I took them off my saddle completely for my hack. Good move. I started feeling so much more comfortable by the end with both his speed and letting him just go. Kind of fun actually flying around the arena with no stirrups. =) So it was a little bit of a break through for me. I’m a bit sore this morning though. My core muscles are really feeling it.

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Oh Diz…

So quite the turn of events. The week leading up to the PTS show, Dizzle was off and on with his front right foot. Some days he was fine, and some days he was off. Some days he’d work through it pretty quick. So before the Summer’s End show, Dr. Marsh from Merritt said she’d be in the area if I wanted her to look at him. So I asked if she would since my gut was a little worried. They started with a hoof test and he wasn’t overly sensitive to that. Then we went in to the arena for me to ride and show her his lameness. He was certainly lame. They then started doing all sorts of flexion tests. After that, they recommended a block to narrow things down for them. The block improved his lameness 90%. So they then wanted x-rays of his front right foot. First thing out of Dana’s mouth was, “I wouldn’t buy this horse.” Definitely not what I wanted to hear. Not that I’m looking to buy Dizzle – he’s not even for sale. But still.

He had all sorts of stuff going on. His coffin bone was all nasty looking like a little mouse was in there nibbling away all the edges. Then there was a spur on one side. There was also arthritis visible. And he has navicular. And that was only the front right foot. Dana had suspicions of other things going on in other legs. But we didn’t x-ray those. So she knew we wanted to go to a show the next day. Dizzle had responded to bute the weekend before for the PTS show. So she gave us Doxicyclin for the time being and recommended getting a new shoe setup and we’d see how he responded. I didn’t realize though how bad all this was until later on. There were so many things Dana was telling me and I didnt know what half of it was. So Nikki took him with her the next day. He was lame for the next 2 days and he was not responding to anything Nikki was doing for him or giving him – short of injections. So she called Dana and they discussed, and then Nikki called me to discuss. I learned that if Dizzle was to continue with a riding program, he’d need injections and other rehab. But it would probably be just for light riding if we did all that.

So that’s pretty much when it all hit me how bad it actually was for Dizzle. =( So I told his owner about it and she eventually heard from the vet as well. Fast forward a bunch of text messages and a couple weeks, and Dizzle is staying with me through September and then going back to Christine. He is confined to the round pen so that everything hurting him can calm down with out him running around. Not like he’s much of a runner, but just in case. And he was also given a new shoe setup, as seen below. Christine had Joe Sircy come out to re-shoe him and help relieve any pain that he could. I had to work all weekend but I’ll see Diz tonight and see how he’s doing.

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Big Boy Pants!

Hello! So last time I blogged, Dizzle went to boot camp again with Nikki. Since then(it’s only been like 2 weeks) we have been working on the transitions a lot. And steering from the leg. He’s still not very good with the steering. We did some counter bending on a circle the other day and he was like, wtf? He thinks if his head is pointed in one direction, that’s were his body goes. Not the case my friend. The result was a lovely leg yield though. hahah… All in good time. We also have new shoes. yay! no more racing plates. This should help him with tripping over nothing. Which I believe it has already. Nikki said the race plates have more traction which would explain some tripping. So far so good.

This weekend is another PTS show. It’s up at Fields and Fences. I dont have a wedding this weekend so I will be able to go school on Saturday which is nice. And actually, Nikki offered to come up there and help me school him. I was thrilled at the offer. Betsy is back from having her baby, but obviously can’t ride yet. But I did get 2 lessons with her this week. So Nikki will be there to help. Then on Sunday, it’s show time. And we will have quite an audience. My grandparents, parents, and my aunt Jenny and cuz Stephanie are all coming to watch and meet Dizzle.

Then on Wednesday, Nikki is picking up Diz and we are going to the Summer’s End Show in Camp Lake WI. It’s an A show. Hence our “Big Boy Pants” title. Nikki will work with him and show him during the week if all goes well. Then on Saturday I will show him. I can’t wait. I miss being at the shows with Nikki and the crew. I went to Trader’s Point Charity Horse Show last week to photograph Nikki’s group and it made me really miss seeing them. So I’m very happy to be going with to Summer’s End.

Other cool news, Dizzle and I got our lead changes!! woooo! It happened in our lesson on Wednesday. Betsy came out. We did a lot of work cantering piles of poles on the line – keeping him collected and rocking back. Then we started jumping some verticals on a figure 8. Towards the end, I’m like… I’m gonna ask for the change. I gave him a swift kick on the outside. He popped up like he was gonna do it. But then he felt like he dove down and sped up. So I pulled. No lead change. Then Betsy told me not to pull on him. That it did not look to her like he ran off with me or anything. So we tried again. We jumped the vertical, landed on the incorrect lead, I gave him a kick and low and behold – he did it!! I was thrilled! We continued on to our next jump and then I asked again for the change and we got it again! So exciting. And he’s so smooth about it! So we did a victory lap and that was the end of our lesson. Great night!

I had gone out to visit him earlier that day on my lunch break. I told him he was going to a big boy show. I think he heard me – hence the lead changes. =) Here are some photos of Diz and his buddy Dillion in the pasture. Dillion is a 4 year old OTTB.

I love this first photo. I want to order a big print of it.

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