Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Some Not-So-Good News

The reason for the lack of posts lately is because Elf has an injury. Last week I noticed some heat in her leg and it developed into a splint. We were icing it and poulticing it to try and get the heat out but it wasn't getting any better. The vet came out to see it, and after some x-rays it was discovered that she has a very small stress fracture. I wasn't there when the vet came out, and so I am going to see him tomorrow to discuss the results of the x-ray. As of right now he thinks that she has had the fracture for about 5 weeks, as the x-ray shows that it has already been healing. The vet thinks she must have irritated the fracture during xc schooling, and he has suggested a month off. Like I said, I will be talking to him again tomorrow, as well as our vet from back home to get the full results and an action plan. I will keep everyone updated on her progress!

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Wednesday was a nice, easy day. We took the horses on a nice long hack to stretch their legs after a good xc school the day before. When we got back Elf had a nice bubble bath and full day outside, while we hung around to watch Lindsay work the rest of the horses.

When I got to the barn this morning, I set up a long line of trot poles for my ride on Elf. She was a really good girl and we had a nice flat ride. Elf had another full day outside and I spent the day cleaning my tack, washing my saddle pads, and watching the other girls ride. We all ended up talking for a while over a nice cold drink, and the rest of the day flew by. When I got home I had a very unpleasant surprise. A giant cockroach was twitching on the floor right by the door. For some people this may not be a huge issue, but I have a MAJOR issue with bugs. For those of you who know my dislike for bugs, you can laugh at the image of me figuring out how to get rid of it.. I even called my Dad for some de-bugging advice. I ended up using the vacuum, and I am still paranoid that there will be another one somewhere. Needless to say that I had a GIANT glass of wine after. 

She really likes hay cubes- notice how discoloured her nose is

She really enjoys sunbathing too

This is Bandit

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

First XC School at Full-Gallop

Everyone had so much fun schooling today! When we arrived, I unloaded Elf from the trailer and her eyes were glued to the xc field where there were people already schooling. We tacked up and headed over to the field. I was tightening my girth, and the others had started to trot away. As soon as I was done, Elf did a really nice extended trot (her choice, not mine) until we caught up with the others. 

After warming up we started out over a small log. I don't really know what I was expecting, but Elf attacked the fence and did a bucking bronco routine after she cleared the two-foot log (Reg if you are reading this, I got after her :p). While the others moved to different jumps, I trotted that one a few times until she did it calmly. Then I proceeded to do a beginner novice fence to a novice fence, and Elf was a really good girl. As we went along it became apparent to me that Elf doesn't really mind the big and bold fences, but instead the things that you would assume an ex-racehorse might be a bit suspicious of. The very first ditch we approached she refused, but made sure to clear it the second time around. Once she had that ditch down pat we moved to a bigger one, where she did the same thing. This is where I learned that I need to be a bit tougher with her and give her a stronger ride. I was floating the rein at her and being too polite, hoping to give her a positive experience. It became clear pretty quickly that I needed to approach the fences with a different attitude (instead of trying to let her figure it out on her own, I needed more of a "you've done this before, you have to go when I say to go" type attitude). Once I gave her a stronger ride (more pace and aide) she was more confident to attempt the fences and less willing to take advantage of me being too nice.  

She was a really good girl with a few different banks that we did, and she was really starting to get more comfortable with where to put her feet. We then came to the water complex. Down here, beginner novice (entry) has a water component as well, which in this case consisted of a log, then a few strides into water (flagged) and then about five strides in the water and out the other side (the pre-training had a decent size coupe, one-stride out of the water). Elf was a bit unsure at first, and only went in after Timothy was playing and she decided it looked fun (I am still curious as to whether I could have gone in first try with a bit more pace and a bit more kicking). After she went in once she loved it, and every time we came around again she would leap (unnecessarily) into the water. We decided to attempt a bank into water. We followed Timothy first time around at the walk and Elf was unsure, but when I reproached at a trot, she decided to go for it (wasn't the prettiest sight but we were in!). We did it again, and it was a lot smoother and she felt more confident. We finished the ride by jumping a nice solid pre-training fence, and she seemed pretty happy with herself. I am thrilled we got out today, and me and Elf both learned a lot including both of our strengths and weaknesses. 

Since it was nice and hot out today (sorry guys it went up to 26), I was able to hose Elf off when we got back to the farm (which was only 15 minutes away). Tomorrow she will be getting a bubble bath, because seeing the amount of dirt that came off of her without soap was a bit disturbing. I put her in her stall for a bit to cool down while I ate my lunch. Today was the first day that she would be going out with Robin (a chestnut mare). When I put her out, they ignored each other for a while. Occasionally they would sniff but realized they weren't overly fond of one another (especially when Robin kept chasing Elf away from both piles of hay). Eventually they made peace, and stayed a respectable distance from one another, and even though they aren't best friends Elf still seemed to be happy to have some company (she didn't even chew the fence today). 

Unfortunately no pictures from the cross, but I took some cute ones of Elf, Robin, and Bruce

Robin- Elf's new friend

If you zoom in her mouth is really funny here- Looks like she's smiling 

Elf and Robin

Elf and Robin Again


Monday, 17 February 2014


Sunday 16th

Sunday morning I went with the girls to Paradise HT to watch them complete their stadium. Both the horses jumped really well, but each had a rail putting them out of the ribbons. Once they were done, I headed to the barn to ride Elf. It was the first time that I jumped her since she's been here, and she was amazing. After working on skinny jumps with Reg just a few weeks ago, Elf approached the skinny confidently. We also jumped a line, a gate, and an oxer. It was a really good and positive first jump. We were all pretty tired and so we decided to go out for dinner at Oh Charley's before returning home and getting an early night. 

Monday 17th

There was no need to get up super early this morning, so I made it to the barn by 10:30. After a nice flat ride on Elf, the girls and I went to a tack shop called Oak Manor (there are a ton of tack shops here that are all only a couple of kilometres apart). The only thing I got was some "No-Chew" spray for miss Elf, who has decided that she is really bored in individual turn-out and that chewing the fence is a good way to entertain herself. They are going to try and put a horse named Robin out with her tomorrow, and I'm sure she will enjoy having a friend. The last couple of days have been super warm, and this week we are supposed to see temperatures in the mid-high twenties. I'm super excited because I will be going xc schooling tomorrow at one of the show grounds called Full-Gallop. I will be sure to update you all on how it goes! 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Paradise HT

My mum was finally able to get away this morning. It was sad to see her go, but it was nice that she was able to stay the extra couple of days and visit with Elf. After I dropped her off at the airport, I made my way to Paradise HT where Lindsay and Jocelyn were competing. I hung out at the show all day to watch them complete their dressage and cross-country. I was able to walk the Novice (Pre-Training) course with Jocelyn, and it was interesting to note the differences between this course and the courses at home (this course had more technical aspects, including a half coffin complex, and a flagged water combination). All of the shows are within 15 minutes of the barn, and I hope to go schooling at one of the show grounds soon. The girls did really well today, and we will see how they finish up in stadium tomorrow. 

After the show I went to ride Elf. She was a lot looser today than yesterday, and should be back to her normal self in no time. Once I was done, I put her outside to enjoy the nice day without a blanket. While she was out, I hung around the barn and watched Lindsay ride a couple of her other horses before heading back to Annie's. It's been a full day, and I look forward to the nice weather coming next week, and hopefully a xc school. 

A couple pictures from the show:

A picture of the water complex from afar

Lindsay starting on course with her project Timothy

Friday, 14 February 2014

Finally got to Ride!

Mum's flight was cancelled again. After a 4am start, we arrived at the airport to find out that the flight was moved to tomorrow morning. Guess we will see if third time's a charm tomorrow. We went back to Annie's and rested until 8:30 when we headed for the barn. Unfortunately the footing was still icy/snowy so we decided to do some errands until the snow had melted in the afternoon. It was finally warm! The temperature got up to 14 today and it felt amazing (sorry to rub it in). It is supposed to continue to get warmer throughout the next week, so I am happy that my riding schedule is back on track. When we went back to the barn, Elf was outside for turnout. I think she is missing her turnout group from back home, as she gets individual turnout here. When I walked up to her paddock she came right over to me and started nickering. I tacked her up really quick and hopped on. She was very well behaved considering the lack of work, and she was just a bit stiff to start. She soon worked out of it, and she seemed really happy to be back at work.

The Farm From the Gate

Farm on the left and dressage ring/jumping ring on the right

This is Bandit, he jumped on the tractor because he was scared of a stray Husky that came to visit us at the farm 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Another Quiet Day

The ice storm did incredible damage. As my mum and I were trying to sleep, all we heard was the snap, crackle, pop of the trees snapping and then falling down. It is no surprise that by midnight we had no power. By the morning we were both frozen, and ended up looking a bit dirt-sack, as we tried to get ready in the dark and with no water (it wasn't until later that we found out the hydro runs off gas and so we still had hot water, just no electricity). 

When my mum and I arrived at the airport this morning, we discovered that her flight had been cancelled. The earliest flight they could get her on was Sunday afternoon, and so she changed airlines and is able to fly out tomorrow morning (hopefully). There is still a chance that tomorrow's flight could be cancelled, so they have not yet cancelled the Sunday flight that she's on.

We went straight to the barn from the airport, but unfortunately the footing was still too icy to ride. Elf and I are both going a bit crazy with the lack of exercise, but I was happy to spend the time grooming her and stretching her out. From the barn my mum and I went to see if anywhere was open for lunch. Everywhere was still shut down from the ice storm. Trees have fallen down everywhere and are covering the roads, and the power is still out in many places. The trees just couldn't hold the weight of the ice, and so much of the foliage is now ruined. 

Here are some pictures of Elf and some of the damage from Ice Storm Pax.