Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A new sidesaddle candidate?

I rode Brigit in my C&W last night with the Cashel wedge pad underneath, it really made a difference! The saddle wasn't nearly as uphill as it was. Success!

We played around with the dressage tests a bit more again and all went well until our second time through it. First time through I trotted the whole thing. Second time through I added the cantering bits. It started off not too bad and then kindof went into the pot. Brigit does this thing when she isn't paying attention. She drifts to the wall, ends up off-balance, jams her head up which results in a loss of power from behind and we end up in a nice discombobulated mess and then she lurches back into a canter with her head way up there. This is something we definitely need to work on some more. All in all though she was good and we ended on a good note.
I'm humming & hawing over whether to enter in a dressage schooling show in 2 weeks. I really want to but not if we're going to have issues like the one above at the show. I have to decide by Friday....

After my ride on Brigit my friend I jokingly said to a friend "Hey lets try the sidesaddle on your horse!". She willingly obliged and we swapped the sidesaddle onto her gelding. He wasn't very sure of the sidesaddle at first, mostly you could tell he felt a little lost without that right leg to guide him. But in no time at all we were trotting and cantering around the arena! What a good boy!

What do you think? Should I steal him and make him into a sidesaddle pony?

Here's a short video of us trotting.

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Pretty good for his first time!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do you really wanna know why I teach lessons?

Because the kids bring me all kinds of goodies.... Candy at Halloween, Easty chocolate & my favorite.....home made cookies!!

Plus they're usually accompanied by a cute not like this!

Adorable! And as you can see, the cookies were quite tasty!

Want some more cuteness? This is Jolie on Cody. He used to be a stud but is the sweetest thing you've ever seen. Just loves the attention the kids give him.... And he puts up with a pink saddle pad & polo's, what a good guy!

He's a little on the tubby side.... We're workin' on that!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Snow, snow & more snow!!!

Ok Mother Nature, it's almost April and it's still snowing and below 0 temps. Really? Please please please can we have spring??? I'm so sick of winter. We haven't even seen the sun in DAYS it's been so foggy and rotten. I'm about ready to go into hibernation....

Went for some therapeutic tack shopping today. A local tack shop was having a big anniversary sale so I stocked up on all kinds of good things! Breeches were 50% off, got a wedge pad to try under my C&W, some hoof polish, shampoo and some other odds and ends. Successful shopping trip!

I'm determined to get a ride in tomorrow, snow or no snow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Show pictures!

I have a CD full of photos from the show and figured I'd better share them! They're MUCH better quality than the blurry ones my camera took.

Sidesaddle in the Hunter Under Saddle Class...

English Equitation...

And on to the jumping!

Tuckered out pony.

Getting our cooler....

A new show to get addicted to!

I can't remember what I was looking for but I stumbled across this really interesting BBC series called "Edwardian Farm". Three historians go to live at an old farmstead in England (for a year I think?) and they live just as the Edwardians would have.

I've only just made it through the first episode but I'm absolutely fascinated by it!

All of the episodes are available on Youtube. Have a watch if you've got some free time!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pony Club!!!

Pony club lessons start in April! I'm really excited to have been asked to teach the club again this year. Should DEFINITELY keep me busy & help support my sidesaddle fetish! They have close to 20 kids this year ranging from very beginners to those jumping 3'+. I had a lot of fun teaching them last year (learned a lot myself too!), they're a really fun bunch of kids & parents.
The arena we're riding at is top notch too! So big I usually end up hoarse by the end of the night from trying to talk loud enough so everybody can hear me at either end lol. Lots of jumps to use too!

Very exciting! 2011 is going to be a great year! (Already is!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A thought on different saddles

Yesterday at the show I rode in my Aulton & Butler saddle and it just felt right. Now that I've done some more riding in my Champion & Wilton and swapped back to the A&B, I really notice a difference between the two and really like the A&B so much better. Brigit seems to like it better as well. I'm going to keep riding in both and see if the C&W becomes easier as I get back in sidesaddle shape. I have a feeling the A&B is just the one for me. Not sure if I'll send the C&W down the road or not. Have to mull that one over for awhile.

Still not sure what to do about this whole jumping aside business... I really want to do it though!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Great start to the show season!

Our first show of the year was a huge success!!

I don't know why but I always feel like I'm running late the morning of a show no matter how much preparation I do the morning before. I can't seem to settle down until we're actually there and tacked up.

Anyways, it was a small show, it was cold out and I think the entries were down because of it. That's alright though, the goal was to get out sidesaddle and have some fun.

First class was the Open Hunter Under Saddle class. Brigit was so good! She had a look at a few things around the arena but overall settled and gave me some beautiful transitions. Including the canter to trot transition which usually gives us trouble! My camera was on a funny setting so it didn't take great pics, but here are a few anyways. A friend took some much better pics so when I get them from her I'll upload them too.
We won the class!

Next we did a really quick tack & outfit change and went back for the Equitation class. I was soooo greatful that my wonderful boyfriend came to help me change tack, hold my horse and run to grab stuff.

We won that class too!

Next was the hunter over fences class and the equitation over fences. I again was so impressed with Brigit as we haven't been jumping at all in the last 3 or 4 weeks. She jumped everything really well, including the more "ominous" fences. There was a few rushy spots but she came back to me well. Unfortunately I have no o/f classes but I can tell you.... we won both of them!

We ended up with the High Point ribbon and a nice embroidered cooler! Brigit really didn't think much of having a ribbon put on the bridle as you can tell in the picture. LOL Silly mare.

Lets hope we can continue on this path for the rest of 2011!

Friday, March 18, 2011

This showing business is a LOT of work!

And we haven't even gotten to the show yet!

I spent most of tonight riding, cleaning tack (how did it get so dirty?), bathing, brushing, wrapping legs and my wonderful boyfriend came down and trimmed feet and even helped me scrub legs! Poor Brigit was less than impressed by all of this and I'm sure she's thinking "oh not this again!". She looked like a bona-fide show pony all clean, wrapped & tucked into a stall full of fluffy shavings.

Now to get my stuff ready! Polish boots, iron stock tie & shirt....

Makes me wonder WHY I go through all this work for only a couple of classes but I figure if I'm going sidesaddle, I'd better be polished and look the part!

I'm so glad this show doesn't start until 9:30!

Wish me luck!

Fresh flower friday & Wish me luck tomorrow!!

This friday I decided I had enough potted plants for my house and needed some cut flowers to spruce things up. They had snapdragons growing just about as tall as I am! I got a bucket full of the snaps, alostromeria and some really pretty lilies....all for $5.

The flowers are helping the spring fever I'm feeling, although the arrival of my seeds would have helped even more! I expected them to be here this week but they haven't arrived. Hopefully early next week!

It's another gorgeous day and I think all of the snow we had the other day has melted. Unfortunately they're calling for another big dump of it tomorrow night.

Tonight I'll be riding, cleaning tack & bathing Brigit in preparation for a small show tomorrow. There are a few flat classes and some small over fences classes that I've entered in. The committee has agreed to let me ride sidesaddle in the hack class. It'll be our first time out aside this year, wish us luck!!!
We had a wonderful ride last night so I think we'll have a good time.

I'll make sure somebody gets some pictures so I can share!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One step forward.....Two steps back

When it comes to spring that is. The temperatures were finally "seasonal" this week, which means we'd gone from the -20's (celcius) to somewhere in the 0-10 degrees above range. Things were melting, the birds were singing....

and then last night we get this....

More snow.

At least it's not cold out, which is nice, except the roads are fairly slippery. I'm suuuure glad I've got good waterproof boots because there are some deep puddles hiding under the snow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Having a discouraging day

I rode in my new (old?) Champion & Wilton saddle again last night, this time in full seat breeches and paddock boots (my foot DOES fit in the tiny stirrup!) and without 5 layers of clothes on. We straightened out the leaping head so my thigh would have more room, I shortened the stirrup and put some extra padding underneath the cantle to lift it up a bit. It was MUCH more pleasant to ride in. I didn't feel like the saddle was tipping left or that I was sliding around and getting jabbed in the leg by the leaping horn.
Walk & trot were pretty good but when it got to cantering, it turned into a complete disaster. To the left things were good but to the right.... well.... it wasn't fun.
We just couldn't seem to get a nice forward rhythm and keep it, especially down the long wall. The arena desperately needs to be harrowed to get rid of the dip around the rail, which really doesn't help at all. It started out with a nice departure, felt good through the short wall & corners but when we hit the long wall it all fell apart. Brigit kept drifting to the wall and there didn't seem like there was anything I could do about it. We'd drift to the wall, she'd get off balance due to the dip & rise of the track, head would go up, lose contact, lose rhythm, break to a trot and then lurch back into the canter. Ugh... By the end of trying to make it work, we were both very sweaty and frustrated. I really hope we can get this figured out.

I had to laugh though, apparently we still looked good though! Another boarder complimented us on how elegant and pretty we looked. It sure didn't feel pretty though but I'm glad it looked it! lol

Tonight WILL be a better ride!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Greenhouses are bad news!

Every friday the horticulture students have a plant sale. They sell vegetables grown in the greenhouse and an assortment of flowering plants. And you know I just can't help myself, I just have to go have a look and see what they've got each week.

A few weeks ago I got a pretty pink azalea. A few weeks before that pots of herbs. Cylamen in several different colors a week before that.

And this week they had Mandevillea, which can be put outside in the summer. It apparently likes to climb like crazy.

And they had Lisianthus plants started too. They're something I've always tried to start from seed but they always got way too leggy and then died. I really love them though... They look almost like a cross between a tulip and a rose.

The greenhouse manager knows me all too well... He says to me "Y'know, if you buy a whole flat of these, I'll give you a good deal!". So yes, I walked away with a Mandevillea in a hanging basket and a tray full of Lisianthus. Apparently they can be planted outside IF we ever get warm weather...
Now what do I do with them in the meantime?? lol I really shouldn't be allowed near the greenhouses!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring? Is that you?

We have FINALLY gotten some decent weather and broke above 0 degrees! Yesterday was a balmy +2!

I figured I shouldn't waste such a nice night, even though I didn't really feel like riding, so I went down and lunged a bunch of the horses. A little bit of exercise for them is better than none and the fresh air sure was nice.

We're definitely having a long winter this year, normally on March 1 the temps are around +8, this year it was -24. Today we may get up to the +8, fingers are crossed!

I couldn't help myself, I ordered a variety of vegetable seeds and brought out the seed starting trays. The seeds should arrive next week and then I'm going to get some things planted! Our growing season is so short that if you don't start things inside good & early or buy them from a greenhouse, they'll never get to maturity.

I'm very excited for the purple brussel sprouts & purple carrots, white splotched pumpkins, yellow watermelon and various different tomatoes! Some of it is a big gamble and likely won't produce any fruit but it's worth a try.

On another fun note! There's a fun horse show next week and I've spoken with the organizers and they're willing to let me ride sidesaddle in the Hunter Under Saddle class! Woo! It's unfortunate that there are only 2 flat classes because I'd LOVE to do more classes sidesaddle but hey I'll take what I can get. There's a whole bunch of jumping classes which might be fun too...astride though NOT aside!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Finally the weather cooperated enough for us to have our first night of lessons at the new barn. It was a complete success!!! I'm so relieved and happy that it all worked out so well. The kids loved the new horses and the horses were so good for them. Big smiles all around from parents & kids and of course me too! This is exactly why I do this, because I really and enjoy it!
I have to say, I think we've got the prettiest school horse string around too; a dapple grey, two paints and a very adorable appaloosa. I'm so incredibly grateful to my friends that have graciously let me use their horses for lessons.

I'm very thrilled it's all coming together so well and am excited to see what things we can accomplish & the fun we'll have.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What we do to our bodies for fun

I'm sure some days my body is thinking "WHAT did I do to deserve all of this!". Between riding sidesaddle and snowboarding this weekend, it must think it's being tortured.

Suprisingly though, I feel MUCH better than I did last week when my back was so darn sore. I was determined to figure out this whole snowboarding thing. I can make it down the hill alright but I've never been able to figure out "carving".

This weekend, armed with a helmet and my motocross kneepads under my ski pants, I was ready & determined to experiment and try to figure it out. I fell, a lot. And I was sure glad I had those knee pads on, I think they saved my knees from being black & blue. And I was really really glad that the place we were staying had a hot tub!

It was fun & the weather was gorgeous. In the afternoon it was +2. And by the end of the day I was starting to figure it out a bit. It sure isn't easy though! (Getting off the chairlift on a snowboard is still slightly terrifying!)

Anyways we're back home now and it's -25 here (why did we have to come home? Or to pay for all this fun). Tonight is the first night of lessons at the new barn, wish me/us luck! I'm really excited to get started and hoping that the new school horses behave themselves!! lol

Friday, March 4, 2011

A balmy -15!

Well the temperatures have warmed up a bit. It's -15 today and it actually feels quite nice. The sun is shining & there's no wind. It's a nice day to get out at lunch and go for a walk.

I can't wait for warmer weather. During the summer this whole area is full of color. This is just part of the botanical gardens where I work. The area in the foreground is full of roses. It's stunning in the summertime and kudos to the people that keep them so immaculate.

When it's really cold out, it's always nice to take a trip into the greenhouses to warm up and pretend you're somewhere more tropical.
The flower greenhouse.

And the tropicals.

One of my favorites...The tomatoe greenhouse!

And this is the greenhouse that I keep my stuff in. I don't grow anything exciting like the other greenhouses. I grow weeds for our classes. I bet I'm the only person you know that prides themself in being able to grow a healthy crop of weeds! lol Can't manage to get marigolds to grow but weeds I can! lol

And on another good note, my office fish are still doing well! I'm quite proud that they've survived almost 6 months! I cleaned their tank out yesterday so they're quite happy to be able to clearly see out again.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dreaming of warmer times....

We're still in for at *least* another solid month of cold temperatures & winter weather but that doesn't stop me from thinking about spring & gardening!

One of my FAVORITE garden tool catalogues came the other day and I've spent some time flipping through it while the wind blows the snow past my window.
(Lee Valley ) There are just so many neat things and neat ideas. I really wish we had an acreage or farm so I could really go to town with vegetable & flower gardens. It's a dangerous catalogue though....I think if let loose, I could easily spend as much in this catalogue as I do on sidesaddle stuff!

On top of that I've been taunted with the bulb & seed catalogues that keep coming in the mail! I have to sit on my hands to keep from ordering more nice things for the garden. We plan on putting some more raised beds in the back yard this year and having sort of a decorative vegetable garden since there isn't room for a traditional square garden.
This year I have access to some space in a proper greenhouse so I should be able to get a few things started early! It really helps with our terribly short growing season & frosts that occur well into May.

I really want to try some Heirloom tomatoes this year and they definitely need to be started early. I LOVE tomatoes and eat them like candy.
Perhaps some of these 'Black Cherry' tomatoes?

Or 'Tigerella's'

I've grown yellow tomatoes before and they are really delicious.

Look at these unusual 'Pineapple' tomatoes.

Maybe some purple brussel sprouts for color?

Perhaps some reddish/purple carrots too?

(I think Dr.Seuss will be proud of my garden & all of it's colors this year!)

Mmm yellow watermelon. If I start this one inside it *might* have enough growing time to actually produce fruit.

Gotta have some fresh onions too!

Mmmm peppers. I never have any luck with them though. Maybe if they get started inside early, they'll produce this year.

If I could grow pumpkins, I would be so happy! But our growing season just isn't long enough...*sigh*

Definitely need some radishes! They're super quick & easy to grow.

I bought some yellow zucchini's last year at the farmer's market and they are absolutely delicious pan fried in some butter with some chili flakes. YUM!

So many wonderful things! I really hope I can have a decent garden this year.... If spring ever comes, it might happen!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Holy deep tissue massage batman!

I went for a massage this afternoon and didn't realize I'd gotten an appointment with the deep tissue therapist. WOW was it painful at times but my shoulders and neck sure do feel a lot better. It's all still a bit sore but it's a different kind of sore. Feels looser and much less tense and painful.
Hopefully things will be good for riding in the next few days. If only the weather will smarten up!! It was -37(Celcius) this morning and we're supposed to get more snow tonight/tomorrow. The best day of the week is looking like it will be Thurs with a high of -5 (or so they say!).

In weather like this I don't even like bringing horses in to the barn, it's too much of a shock to the system to come in, get acclimatized to the warmth and then have to go back outside in the cold. They've got lots of hay & blankets to keep them warm. (And I'm quite happy staying inside!)

I did spent some time down at the barn getting my tack room organized last night. It was SOOO nice to enjoy some hot chocolate (and baileys), wearing only a sweater in the barn. I got all of my tack unpacked & organized, feels really good. The little school saddles with the brush boxes underneath with bridles & martingales hung up nearby.

I hope the weather smartens up so I can ride my own horse AND the school horses or the kids will all be lunging before they ride. I may have another school horse coming soon too which is exciting! I hope so!