October 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye.

When does saying goodbye to a beloved pet get easy? Oh wait, it doesn't.

Today I said to say goodbye to my feline best friend, Jasmine. If any of you read my blog a couple years ago, Jasmine got really sick after contracting ulcers in her throat from an unknown virus. I remember it being so scary coming home from Minnesota and getting hit with this news.

Since then my sister moved in with her two dogs and I moved to Orono which I think added more stress in Jasmine's life. She hates other dogs and cats. When my old dog, Ginger, was alive they were best buds. You would see Ginger chase Jasmine down the hall and then see Jasmine chasing Ginger back. It was hysterical to watch. When we got Louie and Sissy, Jasmine would tolerate them and everyone in a great while play but it wasn't the same. She also never really liked other people that didn't live in the house, other than my Pep'ere.

Since sometime this year I had really noticed that she had lost a significant amount of weight and brought it to Mom's attention. She said that she had noticed it too and we started monitoring what she was eating per day. Some days she would eat a whole 3/4 cup of food, other days she would eat nothing. I brought up the idea of trying some soft cat food, maybe she had lost some teeth or maybe her throat was having some side effects from the ulcers.

At first the wet cat food was a hit and she loved it, but slowly she stopped eating that also. *Chuckle* I even suggested to Mom that maybe she needed a variety. So, over time we bought numerous flavors and kinds of cat food to switch it up every day if that is what Jasmine wanted. One day she even had lobster and shrimp (yes, spoiled cat indeed!).

Fast forward to Sunday at 2PM, I was woken up by my cell phone (I worked an overnight shift and didn't get to bed until about 7AM). Mom said that she had some cruddy news for me and a part of me just knew what she was going to say. "We are going to put Jasmine down tomorrow". Well that started the waterworks and the stupid "Why" question. I knew very well why but nothing seemed to make sense, sure she had lost weight but nothing drastic had seemed to change, and I was JUST there on Saturday. I was told that she had stopped eating and drinking all together and something happened to her foot. She wasn't sure if it was broken because she could walk on it, but it seemed "detached" towards the foot. Needless to say I called out from work that night and rushed home, crying all the way.

I got home and was told that she was hiding in my room with the door closed so the dogs wouldn't bug her. I ended up spending the rest of the day/night with her.

Fast forward to today. I drove us to the vet and Jasmine sat on my lap the whole time. Any other time this cat would not be sitting still in the car, but I turned the heat on and she snuggled right into my arm and started purring. It almost caused me to turn the car around and baracade us in my room, because that always helps right?

Well I'm sure you all know how the rest went. I can't remember the last time I cried so much over a period of two days. With my heartbreaking and my world seemingly crashing around me, I said goodbye to my cat of 14 years.

No matter how many times she attacked you during the night when you got up to go to the bathroom, or tried to bite you because you weren't petting her the way she wanted to be petted, or sat on your laptop while you were trying to be productive...she was the most wonderful cat ever.

Goodbye Jasmine.

September 21, 2013

One Word..


If you could see me right now you would see a 21 year old giggling like a little girl in excitement. The last time I had a lesson was in the spring and it is much needed! Of course another post will follow after the lesson :)

September 8, 2013

It feels like Fall!

The past two days has brought the feeling of crisp and clean air. It has felt like fall and I LOVE IT! Fall is hands down my favorite season not only because it makes riding more bearable but it means I can sleep with my window on in a sweatshirt.

Since school has started two more roommates have moved into the trailer that I live in. One is a girl that also rides horses! We are a lot alike mostly that we talk non-stop haha, which is nice because the other roommates rarely come out of their bedrooms. Yesterday I decided to bring B to the barn and ride Ali while I ride Feather. I love having someone to ride with so I was ecstatic.

Well come to find out it was probably a day that both of us should have stayed in bed! I rode Feather in her western tack believing it would fit better than the only English saddle available at the farm and had B ride Ali in the English tack. After a while we decided to switch horses. The BO had come back with her friends after going on a trail ride. I had to readjust the western saddle because it had moved too far back (Feather is so pudgy she has no withers and I have decided that the western saddle did not fit her nearly well enough). I moved the saddle up and regirthed her for B. As B went to go mount up the girth wasn't tight enough and the saddle rolled over and B fell on her back. In the process doing some damage to her ankle. I won't lie I was a horrible friend and busted out laughing at first but then stopped once she said she hurt her ankle. She stood up quickly and walked over to the gate where she fainted. I ran over with the BO and her friends to help B. I was already thinking "Yup lost my riding buddy". We got B up and sitting down and I gave her my water bottle to drink and she felt better. I still felt horrible but B said she was fine, and she looked so much better and stayed to watch me ride Ali some more.

By the time we were done B was back to normal and we were joking around while we untacked. Then came my turn...I was just standing around with Ali when Star (a 30 year old cuddle horse) came up to stand on the other side of Ali. B went to go shoo her away and in the process something must have bitten Star because she bolted in front of Ali and proceeded to run me over, in which I went flying back three feet and landed on my back, hitting my head on a log that was on the ground (thank GOD I was wearing my helmet). Thankfully I didn't get stepped on and Star was fine, but I had to bust out laughing. I've never had so many horse accidents happen in one day, hopefully this isn't' a bad omen of things to come.

In other news school started last week and it looks like it's going to be a great semester! It won't be easy, but it's going to be manageable and I really enjoy all of my professors.

On a completely random note just heard a little girl across the road yell "MOMMY" and the Mom said "Hey baby!" adorable :)

Thanks for reading!

September 1, 2013

I guess this is needed for bloglovin?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Meet I'm A Lil Elegant (aka Ali)

Its official I stink at blogging! When I have the time to blog I don't have the motivation, when I don't have the time I want to write. So I have the time and I'm just going to write.

Over a month ago I went for a riding lesson that turned into me meeting and riding a 5 year old paint named Ali.
Even though she is 5 years old she is probably the most sane 5 year old I have ever met. I have yet to witness her spook at anything and even though she does test what you know she is a very willing horse.

At first my goal was to work with her enough that we could do some dressage shows in the spring, but I have changed my goals into just having fun with her. Horseback riding has never been a source of leisure fun for myself. With each ride I always have a goal and if I don't accomplish that goal I feel like I have failed, but no more! I will still make goals but these goals will be "go for a trail ride" "get a few strides of relaxed canter" "HAVE FUN".

Today we went on a trail ride and encountered one habit of Ali's that is going to take some time to correct. She likes to balk. In the ring she does it in on particular corner (by the gate) and today I realized she will also do it on the trail. She isn't spooky, she just stops and refuses to go forward. I don't have a crop to bring on the trail with me (in the ring I use a lunge whip when I need it but it generally only takes a few taps with my leg to get the message across). I know that kicking her doesn't phase her and I tried making small circles but she would stop as soon as I had her straighten to go in the direction I wanted. Since I didn't want to keep doing circles in someone's driveway (we were on a dead end road) I got off and made her trot down the road with me, working on making the trot longer and shorter. I would then hop back on (need to work on mounting from the ground haha!) and we would keep going. I had to do this twice today but I am hoping with more work it won't be an issue. It's a good thing that I would never let her go back to the barn without it being my idea first.

Hopefully on Thursday I will be having a riding lesson at a new barn *crosses fingers*.

Also school starts on Tuesday (HELLO SENIOR YEAR!), and I have yet to buy books haha gotta get on top of that!

Thanks for reading :)

August 7, 2013

New Internship!

Wow what an interesting summer this has turned out to be. Lets start with the most recent and work my ways backwards.

Today I started my new internship/volunteer session at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals or MSSPA. I contacted the MSSPA a while ago asking if they had an on site vet and if I could follow this vet in exchange for some volunteer hours. Why did I want to do this? In the fall of 2014 or 2015 (depending on different factors) I will be starting to apply for vet schools. I already have 500+ hours of small animal experience under a vet, over 1000+ hours of general equine experience, and over 1000 hours of alpaca general experience. All of these look great on a vet application but I am looking to spice it up and volunteering for an equine rescue and gaining some equine vet experience hours is one thing that will help to do just that.

A day or so later I received a very enthusiastic reply from the public relations person at the rescue and before I knew it I had a meeting with her, the owner, and the CEO of the rescue. Before the meeting I did some more research on the rescue and became even more impressed. This rescue really stands out from your ordinary rescue. Unlike other rescues, the MSSPA does not take horses from the general public, nor do they go looking for horses that need to be 'rescued'. All the animals on the property were seized from the state and are either here in find new homes, or are here while the owners are going through the court process. Don't get me wrong, most of these horses came here due to neglect and abuse, but some come here because the owners are for some reason arrested and cannot care for the horses (since they are not home).

Apart from their mission and purpose as a rescue, the facilities impressed me even more. I just gauk at the two barns and the set up, actually I'm sure I drooled the first time I saw the facilities. They aren't fancy (though they are VERY clean and well kept) but the layout is just so open and has a peaceful feeling. All of the horses come in at night time so each one has its own stall. Each stall has an approximate 5 foot by 5 foot open window and the stalls are very open in general. I would say that the only next best option for these horses would be to have them out in fields all day and night, but since that isn't possible this is the next best option.

My day comprised of mucking stalls, cleaning and filling water buckets, cleaning out each feed bucket in the stall (YES this gets done every day), and helping with cleaning up some hay. The barn isles are cleaned using a leaf blower and everything is just spotless (but not a crazy spotless).

Did I mention that everyone I worked with today was amazing?! The barn manager was fantastic and was so grateful for my help today and the other employees were so welcoming. It was nice to be in an equine facility where I didn't feel like the people were "horse crazy". At noon time the barn manager said that it was lunch time, and believe it or not, but all the employees stopped working and we all went into the farm house and had lunch together around a table. It was great, I've never been in a work environment where all the employees actually had lunch together.

The absolute best part of the day was when I was told that it was 4 (meaning the day was done) and I couldn't believe it! Not once had I looked at the time all day. I feel like at my new job I am always looking at the clock and counting down to when I can go home. Not that I don't enjoy my job but when I am there I always feel like I could be doing something more enjoyable, but I didn't feel like that today.

After I showered the owner and public relations lady (and her husband) treated me to dinner. These people are just saints!

Thats is what has happened the most recently, in the next few days I will be posting about the less recent happenings so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading :)

May 9, 2013

And Let Summer Begin!

My summer goal is to blog more often, and hopefully it will be mostly about horses. Lots have happened since my last post. To start off, I have completed my junior year of college. Though it's weird to say that I'll be a senior next year, because I won't be graduating in the spring but instead the fall of the year after. This doesn't upset me by any means, if I could make a living out of going to school I would do it in a heartbeat (as long as there were still interesting classes to take). I am not an A student, but I do love learning new things.

Healthwise things are starting to look up. Since warmer weather is now upon us my aches and pains are a lot less. About a month ago I ended up in the Er with pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around your heart). Actually it was 2 ER visits, and one was via ambulance. I had gone to express care (which is like the ER but without the crazy bills) and saw a nurse who asked me what was going on. I told her that I believed I had pulled a muscle in my back (which can affect your diaphragm) and was having trouble breathing and I just wanted to make sure it was a pulled muscle and nothing more. The nurse then looked at me and said "it doesn't look like you are short of breath". I was appalled! I almost told her it was because I had to take a pain med so I would stop gasping for breath, but she seemed like she was in a bad mood so I let it go. They proceeded to do an EKG and the doctor then listened to my heart. She then walks out of the room and someone else comes in and listens to my heart. A total of TEN PEOPLE (no exaggeration) listened to my heart while I was there. One nurse then said "Wow you only read about this in textbooks". I'm no sissy but I finally spoke up and asked what the heck was going on. The original doctor came back in and said I had a rub, which means that the heart was rubbing against the sac which was causing the pain. From what I understood is that you can only hear the rub in a small window of opportunity. I asked if I could listen and even to my untrained ear I could hear it, IT WAS SO COOL! It was then they said that they had to call an ambulance to bring me to the ER. I insisted that my Grandfather would drive me (the ER is only 2 miles away) but nooooo I needed an ambulance ride. Got to the ER, confirmed it was pericarditis, was sent home on enough pain meds for a horse (800mg ibuprophen 3 times a day, and .6 mg of a drug they use to treat gout 2 times a day). Went home, and about 6 hours later the pain meds they gave me wore off and was on the kitchen floor gasping for air when Mom took me back to the ER. Long story short, I'm all better now! My regular doctor thinks it was caused by the mysterious auto immune disease that I have. Can I please be on "Mystery Diagnosis"?!

Okay so I'm healthier, and I now have a new job at McDonalds. I had to stop my old job because my body was rejecting the whole working in the cold for 8 hours deal. Which stinks, I loved my job, I have always loved working outdoors. I would rather do labor intensive work than mental work any day. 

On the horses note, I have found a new eventing barn to ride at which I am super excited! If things work out they do half leases for $175 a month, or you can lease a horse a day for $20. Group lessons are $20 and private lessons are $30. This is great, although I have loved all the dressage training I have received my ultimate goal is to event and you aren't going to get that kind of training at a dressage barn.

Well that's all folks! Thanks for reading :)

April 1, 2013

March 30th Ride

This weekend was the first dressage show for the club of the year. The show took place at the University of New Hampshire. Unfortunately I stayed behind to work. I wasn't chosen to ride on the team for this show so instead of tagging along I knew that getting a full days work in at the barn was a better option. Since everyone was gone the barn was super quiet which was HEAVEN! I love it when you sweep the barn isle and it actually stays clean, nothing more frustrating than sweeping and then having people bring in horses and making a mess. But it's a horse barn so it's bound to happen.

Chores were done by 12:30 and I had about 3 hours to ride. My plan was to ride Fiona and then groom a couple horses in preparation for our home show this weekend coming up. But because my plans never going accordingly, I ended up riding and groomed Fiona for 45 minutes. She is shedding like a beast and I knew she would enjoy a good grooming. I really wish I had a camera or could send picture messages from my phone without it costing me anything because the amount of hair was unbelievable. People would walk by and say "Did Fiona get clipped?" "Nope, just groomed" haha it was great and she looked great afterwards. I feel that grooming a horse well before and after riding is a way of being appreciative to the horse (and of course the horse's owners if you are not the owner). Like everyone there are days when I am in a rush but this was not one of them. 

The ride on Fiona went pretty well. I am still working on trying to get her round at the trot. Since I am able to get her round at the walk we worked on staying round during halt/walk transitions and she did great! I also attempted to do some cantering serpentines with some simple changes through the trot when crossing the middle of the arena but the transitions always seemed rushed and very much unbalanced so we didn't do that for long. 

While cooling down Fiona worked on being on a long rein without yanking the reins out of my hands. This is a problem we have during our tests at the free walk and when riding it is just annoying. I feel like she has all the reins she wants, she doesn't need to be trying to yank you forward. I attempted to fix this by starting off with short reins (not ridiculously short) and letting them out smoothly a little bit at a time. Every time she tried to yank the reins were shortened again and we started all over. Fiona caught on quick until I was holding onto the buckle, we had to repeat the shortening and lengthening at least 20 times, but she ended up making the connection and was able to walk around on a long rein without any yanking. 

Overall it was a great ride with minimal frustration. I try not to be frustrated when riding because if the horse isn't doing what I want I know by now that I'm usually not asking correctly. When this happens I attempt the task a handful of times and if I am not making progress I move onto something else.

Well that's my weekend in a snap shot. I hope everyone had a great Easter! Hopefully my next post will be full of pictures and congratulating the team on the kick ass show!

Thank you for reading :)

March 26, 2013

3/26 Lesson

Oh gosh I have finally had a lesson! It has been weeks since I have had a lesson (which is a bad thing since I'm on the dressage team and we are suppose to have 1 lesson a week!) Life has just been ridiculously busy with my sister opening up her new grooming business (which is THRIVING already) and my grandmother getting sick, though she is better now.

I went to the barn around 12:30, though my lesson wasn't until 2. I had planned on doing a fantastic grooming job today before and after my lesson. I asked Bryn who I was going to ride and she was saying that Fiona hadn't been worked yet. Becky then mentioned that Asti hadn't been ridden either, and then Jax was brought up. I spoke up and said how it would be great to ride Jax, so that is who I rode today!

For those who aren't familiar, Jax is a dapple grey QH X Percheron cross. I have mixed feelings about this guy, mostly because sometimes his ground manners aren't up to par but I had seen Bryn ride him before and from what I saw he looked like he had potential.

So I grabbed Jax, spent a good 45 minutes grooming him, and then tacked up. I was warned not to over do the warm up because Jax is out of shape and will fry out before my lesson if I work him to hard in the warm up. At first it was really difficult to get him round, but mostly because I didn't realize how much arm strength Jax needed, especially when trying to supple him up, but once Bryn showed me how much weight I would need to carry I was able to get him round and he looked GREAT! For me the best part was when I was able to get Jax to canter by just using my seat and a little swing of my outside leg. Jax tried really hard in our lesson today and I was very proud of him, and my abs were very sore after.

The one thing that is coming along very well in my riding is my ability to use my seat efficiently, and also my lower leg. There is no more kicking from this girl to get a horse to be more forward! Instead now I turn to my seat and then an encouraging squeeze if needed. 90% of the time the seat does the trick (especially if I make sure that I am not tight in my thighs or lower back), but then a squeeze really gets the energy flowing if needed!

Thank you for reading :)

February 28, 2013

2/22 and 2/23 Rides

Well her goes my first detailed post for the Dressage club! Though I am tempted to just write "I rode this horse today" I am going to make an honest attempt to actually say what I learned, and eventually I can do it in a timely manner instead of almost a week after!

So last Friday I had a lesson at 2, though I went to the barn early. It was a great day out and so I texted my boss to see if there was anything around the barn that needed to be done. Being such a nice day there was no way I was going to stay cooped up inside until my lesson. Boss told me to text my other boss, and which I did, and I ended up going to the barn around 1 to groom some horses for her to ride before my lesson. Getting a couple horses ready for her made me remember of the days I wanted to be a working student. I would still love to have the oppertunity to do so, but my dreams of becoming a vet take priority right now.

I rode Fiona for my lesson that day (no surprise there!) and we ran through our tests before our first dressage show of the IDA season. This semester I am riding the intro B test (my goal is to be in training level by the fall time or this time next year). The biggest problems that I have to work on are my hands and trying not to arch my back. My back has been my riding nemesis since day one and I still struggle with correcting myself. I guess at this point arching my back feels normal that when it isn't arched I feel like I am slouching. Before this lesson I believed that my hands were my best attribute. I tend to have really soft hands and over time I have learned to keep my fingers closed while still being soft. When I was riding my test my instructor told me that my hands were spread to far apart which the judge would interpret as a false sense of contact (whoops!) So at this point during my practice rides fixing my hands is the number one thing on my mind. I ran through my test twice and the second test was much better than the first test. My instructor also mentioned that I sometimes use spurs when I don't have to, which has always been my biggest 'fear' when using spurs. I have seen people ride with spurs who constantly have them dug into the horse's sides and I do not want to become that kind of rider.

The next day I did my required practice ride on Fiona. I didn't bring any riding pants so my boss said that I could ride bare back. I was super excited about this because the last time I had rode bareback was when I was in Minnesota and riding Mr. P and back then my balance was crap. After giving Fiona a nice groom I hoped on and tried to relax and really focus on my hands. It was nice to feel like I had some balance (though Fiona is kind of wide so it makes it kind of nice). I also really focused on my feet and trying to get my toes turned in (I still don't believe my feet can bend that way!) I always joke when my instructor tells me to turn my toes in and say that I should have never let Dr. K shorten the tendons in my ankle. Fiona really didn't get much of a work out since I was working on my position at the walk and trot but I feel like she enjoyed the ride. She really had her ears forward and was offering to go forward without me wearing any spurs or using a whip. I think I am going to ride without spurs for a while and see if we can keep this up! I did try cantering a couple times and it was great, though it felt SO WEIRD. I loved being able to feel Fiona's back and it was easy to tell when she was tense or relaxed.

Well I'm off to class and then heading home for spring break!

Thanks for reading :)

February 17, 2013

Hiatus BE GONE!

Well I think I have taken off enough time from blogging. I really wish there was 50 hours in a day, I love to blog but when school gets into full swing I just never seem to find the time.

My biggest reason to begin blogging again is because I made the Dressage Club at the University (YAYA!) and we need to have a lesson and a practice ride once a week.

SO, last week (2/11) I had a lesson on Majik, and I had a practice ride on 2/10.
This week I missed my lesson (blonde moment on my part) but I did do a practice ride ride on 2/16.

Because it's already 10 PM I'm going to type out details on a later date.

I have a ton to share and cannot, the toughest part will be finding a place to start!

Thanks for reading :)