Friday, July 29, 2016


This morning I went to the barn before work, and talked to a new boarder for a minute.  She asked which horse was mine, and I pointed towards Cupid's stall.  She went to say hi to him, and commented that he was nice.  Then I walked over and I was, wait a minute this isn't Cupid!!!  It was another dark bay thoroughbred (though with some white on his face unlike Cupid), and he was wearing Cupid's fly mask and eating Cupid's hay!  Turns out another horse got brought in in his place, and Cupid spent the night out in the pasture.  He didn't seem to mind. 
Not Cupid!!
We had two lessons this week, and Cupid's foot seems better.  The first lesson was flatwork only.  My trainer is trying to get me to ride more off my outside rein, but I'm struggling a bit. 

We jumped in our second lesson.  We started with a single crossrail, trotting and and cantering out both directions.  Then we cantered it a few times before adding a second fence, another crossrail almost a figure-eight around the corner to the left and down the diagonal.  Cupid landed on the left lead each time so we were able to keep cantering to the second jump.  My first time I pushed Cupid and we ended up with a bit of a long spot - my trainer said I should have added a stride instead but said it was good that I thought about it and made a decision (even if not the best one) instead to just hanging on and hoping for the best.  I am trying to be more proactive, and a better leader for Cupid!  We added a third fence, kind of a rollback to a little brush box.  I did a pretty good job sitting up and staying back until the jump, which is what I've been working on.

I will be gone on vacation next week, and my trainer will ride Cupid hopefully a few times.  I'm interested to hear how he goes for her and see how he does with me when I get back!

Monday, July 25, 2016


Early Friday morning I wrapped Cupid's legs, loaded him onto the trailer (he walked right in, it was a step-up no ramp so I was very happy), and we headed off on a two hour drive to Brookside Show Park. 
Typical Cupid - making friends!
Once there I walked Cupid a few minutes to stretch his legs then let him settle in his stall.  Unfortunately as the day went on it got hotter and hotter - a good 20 degrees above what it is at home!  I brought Cupid out to walk a few times and he had a lot of nervous energy, he was prancing and dragging me around a little.  My trainer said next time I may want to consider a stud chain. 
For some reason he seems to prefer the grass in the sun, even though it was miserably hot!

We waited until it started cooling down a little in the evening before tacking up.  By then the show was done for the day so there wasn't as much activity going on.  I started by longing Cupid.  He looked okay, but my trainer thought he was still a little short in his stride.  She said let's see how he feels under saddle so I got on.  Not surprisingly both Cupid and I were a little nervous and distracted in the unfamiliar surroundings.  Overall Cupid was good, just a little quick.  We did a lot of trot work with 20 meter circles, figure eights, shoulder fore, and changing the trot diagonal to help focus.  My trainer got on him and did one small jump, she thought the arena was a little harder than at home and the landing might have stung his feet a little.  So she said wait until the morning and see how he feels, then decide what to do.

Saturday morning I got up early and put on my show clothes.  I was feeling optimistic that it would be a good day, and thought about how good things had gone at camp.  Our warmup started off well.  Cupid was still a little quick, but not as much as the previous day.  We had a warm up arena to ourselves.  Our canter to the right went well.  We started off on a 20 meter circle, then went around the entire ring.  We changed directions, and had a little trouble picking up our left lead.  Then we got it, did our circle and started going around the ring.  All of the sudden I felt Cupid lunge forward and was worried he was taking off.  I pulled him up, and realized the incident was caused by a pinto horse coming into the arena to be longed.  I asked my trainer if the horse just walked in or did it do something unusual that would cause Cupid to react - she wasn't sure but the horse was being a little rambunctious.  So my nerves were finally settling down but then I didn't feel good again.  Since I wasn't feeling great and my trainer still thought Cupid's feet weren't 100% we decided to scratch from the jumping classes.  I went to another warm up ring and just walked around.  Cupid was very good, even when other horses were cantering or jumping. 

We were supposed to do a hunter under saddle class.  There was a schedule change and the class went off earlier than posted.  We didn't hear the announcement, so unfortunately I missed it.  We had a practice session instead.  The arena was pretty busy, but we cantered and even did a few little jumps and Cupid was very good!  My trainer thought he liked being with a bunch of ponies in the arena. :)
I need to work on keeping my seat in the saddle!!
Overall the show was a good experience, even though we didn't actually show.  It was good to just get some practice being out there and having another trip away from home.  I'd rather leave thinking we could have done more then regretting trying to do to much.  Hopefully next time Cupid will be healthy, and we will both get over the nerves quicker.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Crisis Averted... I hope!

I went to see Cupid on Friday after work.  Initially I wasn't planning to ride, so I brushed him and brought him out to graze.  Then I decided I did want to do a little ride so I tacked him up and we walked to the arena.  I got on, we walked about 10 steps, and then something started Cupid and he took a little sidestep, not a big deal.  His next step I could tell right away he was lame on his left front leg.  I immediately thought he tweaked something, the footing is on the deeper side and I feared the worst.  I cold hosed his leg and wrapped it.  I felt heat on the back of his cannon.

The next morning I went out early, and my heart sank when Cupid could barely walk.  I felt horrible for not calling the vet the night before and called him immediately.  The vet would be out later that morning, so I went off to take care of a few things.  Then I got a call from the vet, who beat me out, and he said Cupid has an abscess.  I asked if he was sure it wasn't anything worst, and the vet said yes it definitely seems like an abscess!  I was very relieved.
Cupid loves his vet!
The vet removed his shoe, and found and opened the spot on Cupid's toe.  He said Cupid also tested sensitive on his heels but wasn't sure if it was connected.  Since Cupid was very sore he got a pain reliever, but the vet said he should feel a lot better pretty quickly.
Abscess on the toe
The vet recommended I soak with epsom salts, then wrap with a poultice.  I've never had to soak a foot before.  I thought a flat rubber pan would be my best option.  Cupid didn't mind putting his foot in it, but he didn't really want to stand still for ten minutes.  I think he realized I was trying to keep his left foot in the pan, so decided instead he would use his right foot to step on the pan and tip it/drain the water out!
Soak with epsom salt
All wrapped up

By Sunday Cupid seemed to be feeling pretty good, and a little tired of being kept in his stall.  He is good as long as he is in the stall, but has a lot of energy when I bring him out to graze and kind of tries to drag me around. Since he was moving okay I decided he could resume turnout on Monday.

Our horseshoer happened to come out on Monday, and called and asked me what happened to Cupid's foot.  I explained the situation, and he asked if he should put a shoe on.  I thought we should since the abscess seemed to have drained, but asked him to take a look and do what he thought was best.  He said Cupid was not reactive to the hoof testers and seemed good, so he put the shoe back on.

I'm going to have my lesson tomorrow (maybe taking it a little easier), and then decide with my trainer whether we should still take Cupid to the show, either to just hang out or still compete.  But I am just relieved that he is okay!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Show Prep

Cupid and I are getting ready for our first hunter/jumper show!!  Hopefully the camp experience will help us both be more relaxed in a different environment.  I am tentatively planning on entering the crossrail division, which has three classes over fences (two hunter and one equitation) and two flat classes (one pleasure and one equitation) over two days. 

In my first lesson this week we practiced a little course.  We started with just one jump, focusing on coming in straight and staying straight over and through it.  I tend to arc coming into the jump (turn too late/wide and angle back), and Cupid drifts leaving it!  We trotted it a few times, then cantered it each direction/lead. 

Then we added a second jump, the little brush box landing and circling back kind of in a big figure eight.  Then we added a third jump, and finally a long line.  It was funny, since we kept building on the course Cupid seemed to know where we were going and I didn't really need to steer much.  We cantered almost the entire course except a bit of a rollback to the final two since I thought it might be a little tight.  Cupid was super, very relaxed and listening.  I did pretty good too - I focused on sitting upright and staying relaxed myself.  The pole work we did last week was helpful, I'm starting to develop a better feel of where we should be taking off from and we are working on riding to the base of the jump and avoiding the long spots.
Hunter pony - no more flash noseband or martingale!
Yesterday I wasn't able to ride in the morning, so went after work.  At first when I saw three other horses in the arena, including two lessons, my first thought was to go to the other arena, or just ride around outside.  But I decided I should force myself to ride amid the distractions, it generally bothers me more than Cupid.  We had a pretty easy ride, about half and hour of walk/trot and I did a few laps in two points for my legs.

In our second lesson this week we primarily did flatwork.  I told my instructor I wanted to practice turning off the outside rein a bit because I was having a little trouble yesterday.  We also did a little haunches-in work, which is hard for me because I can't see if Cupid is doing it and am can't always feel it.  But our instructor said he was doing it correctly, and that his lateral work is pretty good overall for this stage in our training.  By 8am it was already pretty warm, and I think both Cupid and I got tired quicker.  We finished up with a little jump, starting as a crossrail ending up about 18" vertical with a pole on either side to help get Cupid round.  He was very good, I am very happy with how things have been going.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mini Break

My confidence has remained high since coming back from camp.  Since Cupid has been behaving so well I've been able to focus a little more on myself.  As part of this, to strengthen my legs and hopefully help me correct my position my trainer has been having me do a lot of two-point.  Starting from the walk when we warm up, then a lot of trot and canter work during the lesson.  We have been playing with making subtle changes to get Cupid to increase or decrease his tempo.  I can't really feel it at the walk, and still need more work at the canter, but at the trot I can really feel him open up when I lean forward a little, push my seat back and close my legs, then come right back when I sit up a bit.

Unfortunately the scrape Cupid got on the last day of camp got inflamed a few days later.  I had been cleaning the wound and it seemed fine, then one morning there was heat and swelling in the leg and he was quite sensitive to the touch.  Thankfully he wasn't lame.  The vet came out and gave him antibiotics.  It is better now, but he has since gotten a good size bite on his hip as well as a few other little scratches.  None are too bad luckily, though there was one on his fetlock that seemed a little sensitive.  There is a new horse in the pasture so I think they have been playing a little more than usual.
Doctored up
Last week Cupid did something atypical.  He seemed okay when we were warming up at a walk, but got balky when I asked him to trot.  So I asked him more firmly, first with my legs then followed up with the crop and he kind of kicked out.  He usually doesn't react so extremely, so I was a little concerned he was not feeling well, perhaps might be sore from the roughhousing in the pasture.  I asked one more time and he did the same.  I told my trainer I wasn't sure if he was being naughty or trying to tell us something, he hadn't felt lame at the walk but I wasn't sure.  So I got off.  She had him walk, then trot a little on the lunge and he looked like he was moving okay.  I guess he was just trying to get out of work!  So I made him go and he seemed fine. 

We have been doing a lot of pole work to help train my eye - Cupid and I both tend to go for the long spot.  I am working on doing a half halt a few strides before, then making sure I remain upright.  It's still a work in progress but has been very helpful.

We have been taking it easy the last few days, we just did a few light hacks around the property with a few minutes work in the outdoor ring.  I thought maybe Cupid needed a little mental break, since he has been working very hard hopefully changing things up will help keep things fresh.
Awkwardly eating on the hillside