The chronicles of a Friesian mare who happened upon an owner who lives outside the show ring....

Monday, August 25, 2014

Revisiting the Urethane Horseshoes

Foxhunting season is upon us (hooray!) and it is ever more imperative that I protect my horses hooves.  We're still using the Ground Control horseshoes and on our second season with them.  They hold up fairly well (I get 10-12 weeks out of a shoe) and have a nice balance of traction (with Grip Studs!) and shock absorbtion.  They do tend to collect dirt and debris under the web and frog protector, which is very difficult to clean out.  The last reset, I cut out the frog protector, which really helped with the dirt entrapment, but reduced the protection for her foot. 

We travers some very rocky areas and often at speed.  So, I decided this time around to try packing around her frogs with Magic Cushion, filling in the rest of the void with oakum fiber and then adding a 4 Heavy leather pads to the package.

Ground Controls set up with pads and studs
I hope to acheive a few things with the addition of the leather pads.  First and foremost is increased protection for her soles over rocks.  Also, with the packing and additional coverage of the pads, I hope to keep much of the dirt and debris from getting stuck under the shoes in places that I can't clean out.

I put these on her yesterday and she seems really happy with them so far.  We have a hunt up in Tamworth, NH this coming Saturday, so that will be a good test as, if I recall, there was some serious granite up there!


Nails farthest back were holding shoe and pad together for application.  They were pulled out before the job was completed.
 I'm pretty please with how they turned out.  We'll see how well they hold up! :)  Also interested to see if the Magic Cushion will improve the hoof quality over time.  Packed with that has to be better than packed with bacteria laden dirt. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spartan Race (Aroo!) and one last dressage show....

Last weekend was INSANE.  Back in February, I signed up for the Spartan Race held at the Amesbury Sports Park.  Seemed like a fabulous idea at the time.  "It'll get me to work out", I said, "a great personal challenge" I said.

Well, it ended up on the same weekend as my last USEF dressage show.

Five miles of grueling hills, impossible obstacles and slipperly, slimy, smelly MUD.  I finished in just over 2 hours.  I have never been so sore in my life!  I had no time to train (far too busy this summer!).  Thank goodness I'm generally fit or I never would have made it!

Here's proof.  Your's truly completed a Spartan Race.  Arrrrgh.  That was fun.  Like a heart attack!  No, really.  It was fun. :P  They post photos of runners en-route during the race, so as soon as I've got some, I'll share.  Should be good. :P

The next day dawned and I was up butt-crack early to haul up to UNH for the last dressage show before hunt season starts.  We just did one test (smart move!) and came away with a 63.22 in First Level Test 3 despite my.....err.....inability to ride well due to revolting muscles!  Lol.  Daatje was good, even on such a warm day. 

Thanks to my friend Marielle, for this wonderful photo!
Yesterday I realized that I now have enough scores to apply for the USDF Rider Performance Award at 1st level.  (yay!) Daatje needs 6 more scores above 60% at 1st level to qualify for the USDF Horse Performance Award.  Definitely a goal for next season. :)

Moving forward, today's openning meet was cancelled due to rain (bummer, but I couldn't go anyway....working) so we are all looking forward to the start of hunt season on Saturday!  I promise a hunt report with photos. :D  'till then......

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dressage Sport Horse Show

On Saturday, July 19th, Daatje and I made our way over to UNH in Durham, NH for the Broadfields 121 Dressage Sport Horse Show.  We'd never done one of these before, so I thought it would be an interesting experience. :) 

We entered two classes, Maiden Mares 4 and older and the Friesian Breed class.  I didn't expect Daatje to score well in the Maiden class, especially against dressage bred warmbloods.  While I'm partial to my mare, I'm not so starry eyed that I can't recognize her conformational faults. :)

So, we placed 6th out of 6 in that class. :)  The Friesian Breed class was kinda silly because we were the only Friesian there!  Honestly, more Friesian peeps should have come out, they would have had a great time.  (and given us some competition!)  I felt odd accepting the big FHANA high point neck sash!  I mean, we were the only ones. :P

The judge was dutch (cool!) and spot on with his assessment of her.  A friend joined me for the morning and helped me get Daatje ready for her first class.  She also brought her amazing camera and took these photos of us after the Maiden Class.  Just lovely.  Faults and all, I simply LOVE this mare. :)

We have one more dressage show this season, which will be back at UNH on this coming Sunday, August 10th.  I'm so glad it's the last one!  This has been fun (and $$$$!) but I'm ready to start ATV'ing with my pony.  Foxhunting begins for us next Saturday!!!

On another note....little did I know that Broadfields would be the last time my old red Chevy hauled my horse trailer.  I took it in to the shop for an oil change last Saturday with plans on doing a brake job with my Dad that afternoon.  Well, turns out not only did it need brakes all around, the rear backing plate was rusted off (gone, as in not present).  That on top of what I knew needed fixing (the front wheel bearing and hub assemblies, AC vacuum leak, heater core, radiator) and the rust that had accumulated over 13 years of living outside, was the last straw.  I was done putting $$$ into the old girl and set out that morning to buy a BRAND NEW TRUCK! 

Wait, what?  Yes.  A brand spankin' new GMC Sierra.  Say hello to our new wheels. :D

Looking forward to hauling to hunts safely and in style. :D  

Monday, July 21, 2014

UNH June Dressage

What a busy summer!  I don't know if I'm coming or going between juggling horse shows, property maintenance and improvements, work and family it's just crazy sauce!

Back in June, I took Daatje to the USEF Dressage show up in UNH.  This was just before I took a week long business trip to Ohio.  I was bummed 'cause I wanted to show both Saturday and Sunday that weekend, performing one test each day, but I had to fly out on Sunday and didn't want to risk having to scratch out of a test just to make the flight.

So anyway, Daatje was very, very good.  She always gets decent marks with respectable comments like "horse is very obedient", etc.  She'll never get stellar marks as she's not a brilliant horse.  Her gaits aren't over the top, she's long in the back and steep in the croup which makes lengthening difficult for her.  But she tries to do everything I ask of her the best that she can.  What more can I ask for? :)

There was a professional photographer there, who took a TON of photos of us.  I bought alot of the digital images, just couldn't decide between them!  Here are a few of my favorites.

Love this photo!

The Sensation Formal Dressage Saddle continues to impress. :)  I had to use the pad I made for my Jump model as I hadn't had time to sort something out that fits this saddle better, but it did the job and only looks a little funny. :)  She scored well in the mid-sixties in both First 2 and First 3. 

After this show, we attended the NEDA Summer show.  The weather was nasty hot.  Daatje put in what felt like the best test of the season so far, but the judge only scored us a 58.8%  Too low, based on what we've been scoring and how she felt, but some judges just don't like Friesians.  I haven't encountered it in a while, but the prejudice still exsists.  No matter, soon we will be galloping over hill and dale, through swamp, forest and fields to a pack of hounds in full cry!

That is where the REAL fun is at. :)  Season starts for us on August 16th!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Finally, a new dressage saddle!

New to us anyway.  I found a barely used Sensation Formal Dressage online for sale at a significant discount compared to ordering a new one.  (about $850 less!)  How could I resist?  She has had such success hunting in our Sensation Jump saddle that I've wanted to get the dressage version for quite some time. 

We've ridden in it a couple of times and it is ah-mazing!  Comfy for me, but more importantly, comfy for her.  Her trot is bouncier, her canter  more round, her leg yeild unimpeded.  It's amazing what the horse can do when the tack isn't causing restriction.

Love, love, love these saddles.  Paired with the handmade pad I made, they have been a back saver for her.  So grateful that I've been able to secure two of them.

We continue to work out dressage schooling as our next show is Saturday, June 21st, up at UNH.  We'll be doing First 2 and First 3, so hopefully it won't be too hot!  I just sent the entries in for the NEDA Summer show to be held on July 13th and something new.....the Broadfields Dressage Sport Horse Show to be held on July 19th!  We'll just be doing one test at NEDA Summer.  I expect it will be HOT mid-July and one is enough for her in that weather.  The Dressage Sport Horse Show is something new and exciting that we've never done!  We'll be showing in-hand on the triangle in Maiden Mares 4 and older and in the IBC (Individual Breed Class) for Friesians.  Whoo!

I just put a new pair of Ground Control Shoes on her yesterday and I continue to LOVE them.  I'm getting faster at shoeing too.  Bless her heart, the first set I put on took me about a hour a foot!  (she is a saint to stand there while I figured it out) but this last set went on in just over 2 hours.  So nice to have new kicks. :D

Friday, May 23, 2014

Going Grey

No, don't worry, Daatje is not going grey! :P 

I am. 

Or, rather, I have been since I was 17 years old!  That's 20 years of dyeing my hair and the older I get, the less time and patience I have for it all!  So, on a totally *not* horse related note, I have started a blog to chronicle my transformation from a regular hair-dyer to a silver fox!  Might be interesting. :)  Check it out at Graycefully Grey.

Monday, May 12, 2014

NEDA Spring 2014

  Last Saturday dawned a cool 52°F (too cold for a bath!) and rose to nearly 80°F by the afternoon.  Thankfully the sun stayed behind the clouds most of the day, but it was a shock coming from such a cool start!

I didn't expect much from Daatje.  We're not fit, it was hot, we haven't had lessons or a coach since 2007 so I really just wanted to get out there, do our very best, and see where we stood.

The ride down was long.  2 hours and 15 minutes of heavy traffic, highway driving, most on 95 south just west of Boston.  I'm used to hauling, but not on those kinds of roads!  Stressful.

We got to the Marshfield Fairgrounds with 45 minutes to spare before my planned warm up.  Daatje unloaded and chillaxed while I got ready.

My Mom came with me, such a treat to have company, especially on such a long trip. :)  (she took all the photos)

So serious! Lol
First 2 went pretty well.  We made some technical errors that we might have been able to avoid given more balance and strength, but all in all, not a bad test. :)
15m Canter

Trot down C-line

Leg Yield Left
And as it turns out, we recieved a 65.81% which left us in second place behind the leader who scored 65.94%.  Just a hair under a tenth of a percent from the blue!  (at NEDA Spring, first place over 65% gets the NEDA medal along with the ribbon and goblet)  I was thrilled with her and was encouraged that we still have it to be competitive at the big shows (practically right out of the field!)

It got hotter and more humid between First 2 and Training 2 and we were both tired.  She was poky in the warm up and I didn't want to push her.  After a bare bones warm up, we proceeded with Training 2.
Halt Salute

A little tight here


Free walk (Daatje says "thank goodness!")

Medium walk

20m circle

Softer here too

Second canter circle

Halt-Salute end.

All done, we're pooped!
I honestly thought we lacked such luster in that Training level ride that we'd be lucky to score a 60%!  It felt as if in slow motion. :P  To my absolute astonishment, we scored a 70.34% and won the Training 2 division!  (a pretty big group)  Go Daatje!  I'm so proud of my sweet mare.  Willing to go along with just about anything.  So, at the end of the day, we did come home with a NEDA medal!  Who would have every thought?  Not I, that's for sure.

Our return to USEF rated dressage has shown me that it can be done without a trainer/coach by your side and that although we haven't had the money or time for lessons, we have not lost our skills.  I'm really looking forward to training more over the summer and tring to improve those scores at First level!  My goal would be something in the 70%'s at First 2 and or First 3.

I might do a schooling show the end of May/beginning of June to test out First 3, but that aside, our next rated show will be at UNH on June 21st!  Whoo-hoo!

UNH June (First 2, First 3) 6/21/2014
NEDA Summer (First 2, First 3) 7/13/2014
Oyster River @ UNH (First 2, First 3) 8/10/2014