Our trail to happiness !

Our trail to happiness !

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Summer 2014 & Our first LD ! (and Ava lee's first trail ride)

We have had a great summer of  riding Kizz & I, We conditioned some, but mainly we worked on some problems we have started to have since Spring. We rode in the dark the first time ever too! Rode with Kaaren and Robyn in the dark back to Kaaren's and Kizz stayed there the night, and I rode him home the next day.
Kizz at Kaaren's on sunday before we rode back home

 Kizz is getting extra racy and just running along with the other horses (Who are in WAYY better shape!) and not listening to me at all!! So when my dear friend Robyn meets me on trails, we do lots of WORK! When he follows along blindly running, I turn him and make him go towards home! We survive and he starts to learn he has to go at OUR pace not everyone elses!

one of our first spring rides out with others, and Kizz is very bad with the race brain ! we ride with Kaaren, her son & Robyn up the short cut road to Caverhill. 

Robyn & Bambi on left, Kaaren & Odin on right

I leave Bambi and Robyn on trail every time, going along with her and then turn and go towards home. The last time we do this even at a CANTER down the rail way! I'm so proud of my guy!!

We rode in our first Thunderstorm!

Mine & Kizz's first LD  !  The Kiss My Axe Ride!

Our First LD!!!

Lucky enough it's home on our trails! How fun is that?!? I am helping the lady with the ride and am designated as "prize lady" to pick out prizes for the ride. I have a great time with it! I get a logo made for the ride by a graphic designer and even have it digitized so I can have it embroidered on items! Had it embroidered on two hats! So cute! Had a water bottle with the logo on it, a bunch of buckets, I made a bracelet, and saddle fobs and lots more! 

one of the first buckets I did!

saddle fobs for the ride

My hubby has his first taste of crewing! I was so happy with how well he helped out! And my daughter got to watch the whole thing from the truck seat !

My Son Alex helped , he scribed for the vet , it was nice to have him here for it! Ava lee helped too :) what fun!!

Ava lee in front of Kizz's pen

Alex & Avalee tired after all their hard work!

I'm lucky enough that Robyn is entering the ride also, so we will have our buddy to ride with!

Wednesday before the ride , Kizz and I go mark trails that didn't get done! he's a pro now! haha

Friday we have to go finish marking more trails (a good chunk of the 50 mile ride we are also having)  that didn't get done by the lady taking care of trails. But we hurry on the four wheeler and get back in time to move horses down to the ride site by 4. (Vetting is at 5!) but It's only a few minutes from home.

I Fence the horses in and get them settled. Robyn arrives not long after and we go for vetting and of course I realize he will have his temperature taken! He's never had it done before so I'm a bit nervous. Of course Kizz is A1 and makes me so proud! He even stands quietly for pulse :-)

Get horses settled again for bed , give them supper and head home for the night !

Saturday morning comes and I get up at 5:30, turn on the beans in the slow cooker for the meal.  Get my son up who is volunteer for the LD & END :-)

We ride out with my friend Robyn and her mare Bambi. We were both pretty nervous and of course freezing cold. It was below 0 at 7am heading out in the almost dark!

Bambi & Kizz were quite hyper at the start,  Bambi a wee bit out of control , so kizz fed off that and was super hyper. He even did some little bucking a few times on me. But I kept him in behind Bambi and not racing by, so that is good. Then when we got to the fields before crossing the pave, she worked on getting Bambi to walk and circled a few times. It helped a lot and we did better. We crossed the pave and went in to the little first trail , where we walked the whole thing. Taking us about 20-30 minutes. I'm sure we got way behind the others in the ride here.

But it being so wet there, we had to walk a whole long section of the trail

Then on the long dirt 'Clone road' with good footing we asked for a trot but by the end of the clone we were cantering/galloping up every hill. Ughhh.

That toned racehorse Bambi down a bit haha, so we stayed up in front and led the way at a more quiet pace. We walked a long ways to cool them down. (We walked the entire woods to the first crewing spot, loosing another 20-30 min but at least our horses were cooling out safely and also they were learning it's not all about racing! )

When we got to the first pit crew stop my hubby was waiting with held breath wondering where the heck we were! Lol  (we are about an hour behind everyone else !)

coming in to the first crew stop 

It is here that hubby realizes we are not going to be in the front runners of this ride ! Haha! While I try to explain where he should find my 2 lost boots back on trail, I'm also trying to explain to him that I'd much rather have my horse walk the entire thing and pass vetting than to get pulled because we galloped the whole thing or slipped on mud/wet grass with hyper horses !

We mount back up and Hubby follows us in the truck down the 2.5 klms of pave we ride.  He even scares a dog off the road that was about to chase us!  Thanks Chris!! We get to the next trail , a lovely long stretch of old Railway (now a walking trail) and we trot most of it (I have no boots on, and Robyn's mare is only wearing fronts) so we take it easy on any rocky parts.

Next check point (Millville park) comes and goes, we continue to trot a lot of it. We cross the pave and continue along the RR , we trot a lot of it trying to make up some time!

At almost home we hop off , loosen girths and walk in.

We get in to the hold (home base) about 45 min after everyone else!(Most riders are tacking up to head back out after their pulsing down and 40 min holds!) my son Alexander who is doing timing comes over and gets our papers and writes down our time :-)

  I immediately untack & check Kizz's pulse and he is down to 50 so I go to vetting. Robyn and Bambi follow us over. We get our passes and start our 40 min hold ! Kizz is very quiet and stands nicely for vetting. This is amazing compared to last year! (Although his buddy Bambi is near us so I'm sure that helps !)

First loop, accomplished! Yahoo!

I get a banana ate while we fix boots , get boots back on (this time remember to tape my back countries Velcro shut!) tack up and head out again

Both horses are super quiet and laid back going out! We trot a lot of the trail along to the scale road. I trot ahead and Bambi keeps pace behind us. We make it to the big hard packed Mill road and Robyn hops off and walks. We walk about 1/4 the mill road , then decide to trot the next half and then walk the last 1/4 as we know we have a long long hill to climb after that. When we get to the hill kizz and I canter ahead and canter all the hill. Bambi follows along behind pretty good.

We meet hubby at the top and sponge the horses off a bit. Have a drink. Then head back down the hill. We walk most of it down talking and chatting until we get to the Railway again and realize we probably are getting low on time to get back within out allotted 7.5 hours for the 30 miles! Lol. So we trot and canter most of the whole RR back. Taking turns one in front and even ride side by side some.

At the end of the trail Kizz is happy to go along so we canter the last few miles , he doesn't seem tired at all.

We stop again at the trail to come in, loosen girths and hand walk in. Kizz is warm so hubby dumps water on him as untack (wow hubby totally has the hang of this!! )

A few minutes later Robyn has head over to get pulse done. So we head over too. We get the horses pulsed  and then vetted. They both pass lovely !  Kizz with all A's on the whole thing. :-)

We finished! We passed it! We came in last. Haha!! But we did manage to avoid that pesky Turtle award (as we pulsed down before Bambi , I later found out)

So proud of my boy! Standing so perfectly for vetting, mounting and he eats/drinks well on trail. Listened very good to me. I'm very proud and happy. He deserves time off so we decide not to do the JP the next day (as well,  I'm sick so I'm not feeling up to it either!) very happy for my friend Robyn, she and Bambi did great! Not only was it their first LD , it was their first ACTRA ride period!! They did sooo much better than I did at my first ride! I hope she'll attend - few ACTRA rides with me next year!

Bambi on the left, Kizz on the right :)

We trailer home since it's only a few minute ride. He gets out of the trailer and canters up the hill to Coby. He doesn't seem too tired out ;-)

I go back to the ride in time to eat and give out the prizes I donated to the ride. Beautiful shirts, buckets w/logo, cooling neckerchiefs I made, hats with the ride logo embroidered on,  and lots of other goodies. I'm proud and happy everyone loves them!

All in all it's a wonderful first LD. :-) I can't wait for more now!! I am hoping to do a 50 next year.. it will be Kizz & my 3rd year conditioning and he will be 8 years old.. so I think we are ready!

Some pictures from Spring - our LD Sept 13/14

Kizz & I spring ride with group 

first conditioning ride after our accident 
June 2014

my daughter and I have our first little ride together in the mini paddock 
June 2014

Kizz & I at the stream on Loop 1 for the first time Aug 9/14
(with Kaaren & Odin)

Robyn and I on trail 

picture Robyn took of us in the fields by Tim's having a munch 

me leading on the Clone road with Robyn & Kaaren

Robyn & I crossing the bridge on Loop 2, for the first time 
Sept 7 /14  we did 17 miles 

Fall 2014

After the LD we take some time to just trail ride and cool down ..

we only do one more conditioning ride , it's a beautiful fall day , and my youngest has started school , so I go during the day.. it's a gorgeous day ! We go down to the RR and stop at the little shelter where there is a picnic table, have a break and a snack , then head home. It's a perfect ride!

Kizz and I on the RR , it is the best ride of the year 
Oct 2 2014

Taking a break in the shelter :)

very happy girl!

Kizz has a hard time slowing down, so we do lots of walking rides..  We even take my daughter out on her very FIRST trail ride!!! My friend Amanda brings her sweet mare Bronwyn over to go with us (to make ME feel better about it all ! haha)

Amanda & Bronwyn, Kizz & I, and Ava lee & Coby

Sept 28/14

she insisted on crossing the Rock Wall first both ways :)

Ava lee & I !! her first Trail ride with us all on horses,
our second ride out , just the two of us! 
Oct 3 /14

She even got out on some Rides with her pony Dream!! first ones not being ponied!

Oct 13, first ride not being ponied on Dream

They do great!!

Cinna along on one of my fall rides with Kizz

Dream loves to paw in the puddles! Ava lee loves it!

Ava lee and Dream on our last ride out of 2014~

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May 13/14 Our first clinic EVER!!!

Spring 2014 is HERE!!!

 We get two good rides in ! One down on the RR on the still frozen snow packed Rail way, Kizz is hyper and going down the pave (we can only go on the pave on the ridge, as the woods has sinky deep snow still ) and he spooks at every mail box.. fun fun! heeheh he even gives a little buck or two on the road, he's some frisky!!

Meeting Kaaren and Robyn on Tim's road before a ride on the RR
April 18/2014

Second ride we head down the pave to Kaaren's and meet Robyn, Kaaren and her daughter and ride on the RR down there a while. (the RR is clear down there!)

We have two pretty good rides ! Next up.. the clinic with Amanda! My very first clinic!! I'm so nervous!

I'm so nervous when the day finally comes to get ready to go! I have NEVER gone to a clinic, have NO IDEA what to expect! Have never had a man coach me before, nor had a coach I didn't know at all before...Haven't had much lessons or training period over the years!!

 I'm excited but also worried I will end up looking foolish, I know I have a lot of faults for all that I have watched and tried to emulate on my own.. I get things done.. survived starting kizz and put over 200 miles on trails on him last year.. I feel GOOD about what we have done so far. Do I really want to go and feel BAD about my riding skills or Kizz's training so far??

  The decision of course was easy... as sensitive & shy as I am, I know it is for the best. It will be a help to us surely. I figure even if I come away with ONE thing I can change or learn then that is worth it! PLUS, getting Kizz out to a new place and riding in a ring with PURPOSE will be good for him. It's not all about racing my love <3

Friday ----

The Day comes and I am all packed and ready to go.. I get Kizz all ready and waiting in the wash rack for his trailer ride

They arrive and I load Kizz up.. he gets right on like the good boy he is.. so proud of him. New trailer, new horse.. but he hops right on beside her.  We get on our way and are there in under 2 hours.. We unload and get them settled in their stalls for the night..

It rained that first night and it was a little chilly camping out in Amanda's mom's van, but WAYYY better than it would have been tenting! We were the only ones who stayed on the grounds so It's good we were prepared to stay! the property was beautiful! a smaller warm up ring down by the barn, a beautiful large ring, showers and bathrooms, bleachers and announcers booth by the ring up top.. lots of beautiful grass to park on or camp on.. and fenced all the way around with a gate ! loved it!! 
Kizz warming himself up in the warm up ring lol

That night before bed we lucked out and met our Coach for the clinic Mitch Harbour. He seemed very nice and down to earth.. easy to talk to! I prepared him for how horrible I might be the next day , telling him Kizz can be a handful and about our little bucking into the canter problem, as well as how I hadn't had much instruction over the years so to be prepared for the worst! HA HA! Was nice to meet him,  (and his two cute pooches, Marshal & Ellie) , he's very nice!

Saturday ---

The next morning when we got up it was drizzling still from the downpour the night before. But we tacked up at 8:50 to ride for 9am  (after some Tim Hortons to warm up! )
I at last minute remembered to take off my sheepskin cover... boy that would have been squishy to ride in the rain with! haha!!!

Mounted up and headed to the ring.. Kizz entered and was very excitable in the ring.. but we did lots of circles and walked all around and let him get used to the scary announcers booth.. haha

Soon Mitch put us to work walking around the ring and getting good positions , as well as working to get our horses moving with purpose and from behind. We moved on to trotting around and worked on the same things. He told me to put more leg on my horse and showed me where exactly. He also wanted me to tighten up my reins (which at first I completely didn't understand but later seen how it helped kizz and myself both balance better ) He quickly picked up a nicer better trot I could POST to! Not only slow and nice I could SIT to, but a nice good paced one that I could post to and get things done with! Nice !! so happy.

He reminded me over and over again about my hand position , legs ON, sit up better, and of course my worst LOOK up! Where I'm going. It was a full time job for him to keep reminding me to tighten my reins, at one point he even tied a knot in my reins and had me keep them THAT tight!! Finally we worked on some cantering, and he seen the first direction Kizz's goosiness jumping around.. but we got a half circle done. The transition was what he was looking for (thank goodness , since I the second time I cantered, it was on the wrong lead )

I notice as I am tacking up for our second ride that day, that Kizz is ultra sensitive to my touch... more than normal!! hmmmm...
makes me wonder if he needs a supplement or something of some kind.. something to think on for sure.
Kendra & Fluke, Amanda & Prime and myself & Kizz at the end of a rainy lesson

The second ride of the day Kizz was really picking up on this all! a smoother nice trot that I could really post to and work on my position at the same time, I was so amazed how quickly we were getting things done that I hadn't been able to do over the past 3 months by myself in the indoor!!  At almost the end of the ride, I was asking for a canter and he jumped off sideways bucking.. I lost my seat and almost gained it back when he gave one last good buck and I went off the left side and rolled.. I laid flat for a bit to check everything.. everything seemed perfectly fine! phew! Got up and there was Kizz looking down at me, as if to say.. HOW DID YOU GET DOWN THERE MOM?!?!  DARN horse!! Mitch helped me mount up again and we worked on some more getting a good trot. Quite a few times Mitch yelled out that he wouldn't CHANGE a thing! "YAHOOO!! what an accomplishment for me, with as much as I had to fix to get there!!! so proud! I was beaming everytime he said that. Great ride, I'm soooo happy I went!

We finished the day out with a yummy warm meal at a local truck stop.. oh was it GOOD! got the chores all done, horses settled for the night and tucked ourselves into the van for the 2nd night. It was early we were both super tired! We each had a cooler, and fell promptly to sleep!

Sunday ----

Sunday morning we wake up and the sun is shining!!! yahooo!!! We get up, get the horses done, go grab some Tim's and get ready for our first ride at 9 again.

We mount up separately and head up , as our ninny horses have decided they have to be together at all times haha
Kizz & bronwyn 

The second day goes even better ,work more on my hands and position, reminds me leg on, look up and ahead.. and my outside rein to be down , tighten inside rein to turn and keep my hands in correct position!! I'm getting there !

As he notices things I am doing as I ask for the canter, we work on them.. I am "goosing" Kizz when I ask for the canter, He is sensitive and needs less bump and my leg is also too far back.. He shows me a better position for Kizz for asking the canter.. he also Works on me setting back , hands down and for me to still STEER while I ask for the canter!! We do a couple each way and I don't get dumped again lol

I have so much to work on !! phew! it's been such a great couple days though I'm super happy and excited about this! I got more accomplished in 4 lessons with him, than I did over 3 months riding in the indoor this winter !!! Wow! I'm SOLD :)

Amanda with her beautiful mare Bronwyn 

Look at Kizz's position here.. never seen this before haha! 

love this boy, so beautiful and super smart, Mitch got on him at the end of the first ride on the second day so I could see how good he moves, and He said a few times that Kizz was very smart and caught on to something he did with him after only 3 times! He also said he really liked him :) So glad my boy is so likable to someone other than his momma! 

getting some one on one with Mitch! 

I could go on for another hour about how happy I am about going to this clinic and how much I learned! but I  will cut it off now. I really did have a great experience and can't wait to go do another clinic with Mitch! Never had someone explain things in such a way they made such sense and I seen immediate results! Thankful I went!

Was also happy to get home, get Kizz safely off the trailer, and put away ... and get hugs and love from my hubby and Kiddos!! It was mothers day!! Hubby bbq'd me lovely steaks and made me a lovely meal even including dessert! He finished my chicken coop While I was gone too.. feeling Very loved <3

Wish me luck I can use some of what I learned on the trail and not be a complete beginning again when I go to my next clinic :)

Our Accident :(

Kizz and I have our very first Accident (hopefully our only!) On our very next ride out after the clinic. I ride down the pave to meet up with Robyn. Her mare got spooked by a crazy chained up dog at the crossroads near her house , and ran into the field and cut her leg a bit on some wire in the field. As I ride onto her road I see her standing with her mare ! They are a little shook up but ok. So she mounts up and we go for a short ride on the RR. I ride back with her past the crazy chained dog (also across a wooden bridge on that road, Kizz has never seen before!) we take the outside and ride along by the dog. The horses are fine. Bambi is happy to have another horse along to comfort her I think!

We ride almost the whole way to Robyn's house, then turn.. On the way back Kizz is PERFECT. We go by the crazy dog and across the old Wooden bridge. Once we got onto the pave we decide to trot a bit. Kizz is still very hyper since he had a very short ride . He picks up a little canter on the pave and I stupidly let him :(  As we go around a pot hole in the pave, he spooks a bit, (just that little stutter spook that you wouldn't normally notice!) and his front feet in the boots loose grip and we start to go down!! We slide along the pave for a ways!! I slide along my knee , calf and helmet a bit! When we are stopped I jump up and Kizz hops up! It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be going down!!! but then I see why.. poor kizz has taken the brunt of the fall and has road rash along his stifle area and on his left front elbow area.. he also has a little bit of chafing on his back hooves and fetlocks but not bad. He isn't dripping blood from the two wounds but they're bloody :(

I walk my poor guy home and access the damage. My husband comes out and gets me the garden hose going so I can hose it and see it better.  Robyn arrives and helps me  as well. We clean it and put some Wonder dust on them . I turn him out to pasture with his buddy and he gallops off! Guess nothing is too seriously hurt!! BUT over the next few days he does lay around in the grass alot and I think he's probably very stiff.. over 2 weeks his wounds heal and then we get back out for a little ride and he's back in the game!!

walking home after our accident 

our first Conditioning ride back after the accident.