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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Proof that Farrah is NOT NORMAL

I feel rather silly that I hadn't ever put the 2 + 2 = 4 thing together before.  Sometimes you need to be smacked upside the head to notice the obvious.

Farrah does not really like to bend left.  When asked to view her left eyeball ever so slightly, she does resist.  Not horribly, but it is definitely there.

Then you add in the rather odd, periodic swelling of her head.  Not up by her cheeks, but underneath, around the teeth and towards the chin.  Only sometimes, only after grazing (think all fluids follow the laws of gravity).

Now, she is swollen so briefly that this is what normally happens:

Go to put her halter on in the dark, hmm, won't quite fit.  I check, yes this is actually HER halter.  Her face is swollen that swollen, and even caffeine free I can see we have a problem.

I admit the first time I panicked, called the vet as thoughts of snake or spider bites raced through my brain.  However, she can eat and drink normally and there is no temperature.  Of course, the mystery swelling is gone when the vet arrives.

The swelling comes and goes, and I finally get the bright idea to take a picture with the smart phone and email it to the vet.  Lightbulb!

My regular vet says, upon inspection, she might have a stone in her salivary gland.  It is mobile, so the swelling comes and goes.  You need to get a nice digital xray to know for sure.  Ok, no problem.  Have the other vet with digital come and low and behold, the left cheek is not formed normally.  As in the bone extends up and back towards her ears.  A good 2 inches! 

This vet says we should have a specialist take a look, but the unique bone malformation could be interfering with the salivary gland and she might need surgery.  Now, with all the grooming and clipping this mare has had, you would think I might have noticed it.  After all, while you can't see it readily, on palpation it is pretty hard to miss.  So now I realize that if I had just started adding a month or so ago, I really should have been able to catch this and not feel like an idiot in front of the vet when my horse's head is clearly NOT like all the other equine residents of the farm.

The xrays do indicate Farrah was made this sign of trauma or bone remodelling.  So now we just wait 2 weeks for the surgeon to come back from France and tell us actually how to proceed.  In the meantime I count my lucky stars that it isn't a leg and that she is insured and wait to enter that next event, pending a date with the surgeon!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Farrah Does Ocala

Farrah was incredible at the Ocala Horse Properties Event.  We had a few hiccups in dressage, where I pushed for a wow lengthening at the trot without the half-halt.  We cantered 2 strides, so that became a 4...of course that shut off my brain and I started to walk at C, instead of the stretchy trot circle (Training A).  Ah well, add an error.  Farrah was 8th after dressage with a 38.

Stadium was awesome.  Farrah was so rideable, the course flowed and we made time and left all the rails up :)

Cross country had some good questions for a first training.  There was a half coffin, a log/bank drop, a second bank drop 2 strides from a table and lots of big gallop tables.  Nice bending question.  I figured we'd not even be close to optimum time and I didn't go for time, as we are so new to this level (first time out!).  I was shocked, we were only 10 seconds off the time and ended up with a 4th!  So one score down for a T3D (long format event).

I CAN'T wait for our next one, sometime in January.  Woo Hoo Farrah!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Farrah is a Training Pony

I never thought I would type that.  A year ago, the BN xc fences looked big to me.  Then novice fences looked big.  When they started to look small, I thought maybe we could do training.  (The maybe is for me, not Farrah).  Pictures are courtesy of my friend, Jitka Hyniova.

We were tied for 2nd in dressage with a 37.  Not great, but certainly not too bad for our first outing at training.  It was nice and cool and Farrah was quite energetic.  We pulled a rail in stadium, totally my fault.  I came too far forward up Farrah's neck.  We also incurred a few time penalties.

XC was amazing and I rode Farrah conservatively (ie slow, she isn't super fit).  The coffin line rode well, as did a log drop to a hut.  The gallop tables were incredible, as was the corner and she nailed the log drop into water with coup out.  Our only issue was a small bending line through the trees.  I thought we had scored a refusal, but apparently blowing sideways and taking the jump from basically a walk was not!  We had 12 seconds in time but finished in 5th.  So proud of her!  So now she is a training eventer, with me thinking maybe I could eventually try preliminary.  We'll see :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Debbie Stephens Lesson

Those of us who live in Florida are incredibly lucky to have access to lessons with the best of the best of the best.  Until now, I haven't really taken advantage of their proximity for a number of reasons.  I suck as a rider.  No money.  Not a great horse.  No money.  Still suck a rider.  No money.  Great horse.  No money.  Still not a great rider.  I am sure you are getting the picture.........

Lauren finally convinced me that I should take a lesson with Debbie Stephens. (In case you don't know, Debbie has ridden on Nations Cup Teams, Pan Am Games, etc.).   Lauren got a lot out of Debbie's lessons on Maven, her 2* horse.  Debbie is close to us (45 minutes).  Debbie is also back in town, from 4 months of showing up and down the East coast.  As I have a fantastic red pony mare in the barn, I finally agreed with Lauren and figured I could at least try.
My biggest concern is my wonderful ability to panic in a stressful situation.  This can happen when I ride for any dressage judge I know (IE going off course with Bill Woods judging).  I also apparently love to get the "deer in the headlights" look when approaching jumps I am unsure of, like drops into water.  Lauren said I'd be fine, but I am known for over-thinking riding, getting embarrased and then turning off my brain.  Not really a great set up for a lesson with Debbie.  Lauren was optimistic; I'm not sure why as she was present for the full blown panic I had prior to my first Novice).  I think Lauren forgets the bad things easily.....or at least on purpose.

I did manage to stay on, even when we almost fell in the rain.  I also managed to get yelled at, for forgetting where I was going.  Debbie asked me why I rode to the fence like I was day-dreaming about something else (I am sure that was my deer in the headlights look).  I did finally get it all together, however.  Farrah was amazing, and Debbie said I shouldn't let Karen O'Connor see her.  I knew Farrah was scopey, but not THAT scopey.  Debbie said Farrah is a freak of nature.  THAT I already knew!

Lots of fun and we'll have to try it again....I'm thinking a cocktail ahead of time might be a good idea for me!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The redhead soars........

Over the fences.  Even when her owner doesn't exactly get out of the way.  Sigh.  One day I won't look at pictures of me jumping and think "good lord, that is embarrassing".  At least, that is what I hope.

I am not sure why I insist on sticking my elbows out like a chicken.

Maybe one day I will get it right!  Now, on to Debbie Stephens for a jump lesson on Sunday.  Then Wednesday is Bill Woods for dressage and we are then primed and ready for Training at Rocking Horse.  Or so I hope.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rockstar Farrah

A year ago this month, I was contemplating my first ever event.  For myself and the red head.  We ran that BN course (we were 2nd) and I had the most fun I'd ever had on a horse.

This past weekend we went schooling at Longwood Farm in Ocala.  The goal was to see if we are truly ready for training level.  Farrah carried me to every question that was asked and loved it!  Drop fence into a sunken road, up and over a log on a hill, to a drop bank 3 strides to a chevron.  Riding her, I could feel her thinking "Why have you been keeping so much fun from me?  This rocks!"  And so the XC rockstar is ready.

I am not so sure I am ready, but I am certainly willing to try.  We'll do that same schooling show as last year and see where we are at!

Yeah Pony!

Friday, September 9, 2011

And so the red pony likes Big Jumps!

Photo by Dawn Riddle

And so we have found that Farrah likes the bigger fences!

As in pull you to them, yippee!  Ah well, we'll work on that.  You have the perfect distance and then she has to override your decision, making her work harder to get over the fence as she is then too close to the base.  Letting my trainer (Lauren DeNeve) ride her a bit now!

After almost a month of no riding (Farrah got a respiratory infection) she is GAME ON.  Which is a good thing, considering we are schooling Longwood in a week and attempting Training for the first time in October (schooling show venue).

I am so proud of the little red-head, opinions and all!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Schooling Show Move Up

Since I am known to be a chicken (said pony is obviously not a chicken), I elected to have Lauren DeNeve take her out for a training combined test.  I can't wait to share the pictures with you, as Farrah totally rocked the larger fences!  Scoring a 35 for her first foray into training level dressage wasn't too shabby either.  Now, if only I can ride as a bit better (will try for my best non-hunter form), maybe we won't be the laughing stock at the October Event at Rocking Horse!

Pictures soon :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Schooling Training at Rocking Horse June 2011

Farrah is looking at a Training move-up this fall (well, I am, I am sure she'd be just fine hanging in her pasture with her lady friends).  At any rate, to be prudent I attended a xc schooling at Rocking Horse Stables. We started by leaping over the ramp onto the trailer, because, you know that horse trailer ramps are super scary.  But she does get on, you just have to stand out of her way, so she can leap in.

Farrah schooled really well, but to be honest those training fences still look big to me.

Farrah didn't seem to mind them at all:

I am sure my trainer was not super amused with me, either.  I tell her I want to move up with Farrah, as the last few runs at Novice seemed really easy, but then we get out there and I tell her things like "that jump is too big, no I can't put the line together."  Farrah usually proves that I am wrong, as she happily complies with the questions.

We continue mildly spooking at random things unrelated to jumping, and aside from a minor issue at a corner (wow, those are easy to run by), the weekend went really well.  We do have until November to become super confident.  Me, I mean.  The pony is supremely confident....until you leave her in the stall to go ride another pony.  Then she stands on her hind legs to see if escaping out over the top is an option.  (It isn't, but since she isn't frantic at all, it is rathering interesting to watch).

So now we are back home and I am going to try to process the fact that she jumps trakehners really well but big (like they are 4') and that I will need to make sure I am not jumped out of the tack on that one.

I think I actually look like I am having fun!  I know Farrah is :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

PonyEventer: Farrah Today.

PonyEventer: Farrah Today.: "And since I am new to blogging, this really should have been at the end of the first blog I wrote. Sorry for the reverse order. To learn m..."

PonyEventer: Farrah first day....we are skinny and very homely....

PonyEventer: Farrah first day....we are skinny and very homely....

PonyEventer: Learning to Blog

PonyEventer: Learning to Blog: "So, I have never blogged before but figured now is as good a time as any to start! Farrah (Forrest Nymph) is a red headed, pony, who also ..."

PonyEventer: Farrah first day....we are skinny and very homely....

PonyEventer: Farrah first day....we are skinny and very homely....

Farrah Today.

And since I am new to blogging, this really should have been at the end of the first blog I wrote.  Sorry for the reverse order.  To learn more about Farrah and our foray into eventing, I promise I will learn more about blogging and the format will IMPROVE!

Farrah first day....we are skinny and very homely.

Learning to Blog

So, I have never blogged before but figured now is as good a time as any to start!

Farrah (Forrest Nymph) is a red headed, pony, who also happens to be a mare.  So, you might ask why I even thought about taking said pony and attempting eventing?  Well, mostly I thought it might keep her busy little brain, well, busy.  And, I just happened to have a 2* rider move in to my boarding barn.  Which is when I discovered that said pony and myself are adreneline junkies.

I have to admit when Lynn Simpson called me and asked me, two years ago, if I wanted said pony, I tried very hard to discourage her.  Farrah was 5, flunking out at a high end dressage barn, with some significant issues involving manners.  Such as cross tie, why would I deign to stand her, when I can rear, slip my halter and leave?  Tie, to a trailer, my what horrors!  Be pleasant to ride, or stick my nose on my chest and trot at mach one!

So you get the idea that Farrah was a real work of art.  It helped that she was well bred, and a pony, but I still wasn't smitten.  She is a New Forest, I breed Connemaras.  She is oversized, at 14.3.  But, she was the highest scoring ISR Oldenburg pony in the nation as a weanling.  Heck, her daddy was competing at Intermediare!  So she was a dressage washout....maybe she would like to hunter pace and I could do something useful with her.

Our first rides were, well, unpleasant at best.  Her canter felt like any minute she would explode into a bucking frenzy.  She would threaten to go up.  She was about as a wide as a 1x4 (now maybe she is as wide as a 2x6).  I really didn't like her.  Too much work!

After a few months, of not really progressing, we went to a hunter pace.  Not like this was actually in the plan, but a friend wanted to come and I offered to let them ride Lucy (she is a connemara mare, been to lots of paces).  Which meant that I had to try to ride the evil red pony.  Who had never been on a pace or to a show.  I had taken her to a little trail ride, but this would be 40 trailers in a field, horses coming up behind us at a canter, passing horses!  The red head has a thing about her personal space.  But I took her anyway.

She promptly broke her halter tied to the trailer....I think we'd been there 10 minutes.  However, after that, she was awesome.  Let horses pass her, passed horses, never tried to wrench my arms out of their sockets!  We even braved a few coops.  Maybe I might have something here!

More later....................