Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lubbock: Heart of the rainforest

The ponies have been neglected for more than three weeks. At the beginning of September, I was out sick for a week with a mystery illness that caused severe pain and nausea. An ER doctor finally diagnosed me with GERD and accompanying ulcerations in my esophagus and prescribed an anti-inflammatory that kicked in after 48 hours of taking it and finally allowed me to get out of bed and go back to work. I have an endoscopy scheduled in October to see what's going on down there. But at least in the meantime I feel pretty good.

As soon as I started feeling better, it started to rain. And rain. And rain. In Lubbock. It's a semi-arid climate, and they've been in a drought forever. Three straight weeks of rain isn't really something you expect around here. One night this is what the freeway near the university looked like:

And most days this is what the road to the barn looked like:

Even when I could make it to the barn, the arena was partly underwater and completely soggy. And so, the ponies have been having a vacation up until today. Even today, we ended up driving along the edge of an adjacent field to avoid some remaining lakes on the barn road. But at least the arena was 2/3 dry.

The kids were great! Clair is often very, very busy when tacking up, and today I expected a frenzy of activity, but she was actually quite good. She acted up only once on the lunge and was otherwise very ladyike. She has some bot eggs on her legs, so I picked up a pumice stone on the way home today and will attack them tomorrow. Dakota was zoomy on the lunge. He cantered and cantered and cantered. No bucking or rearing, though, which surprised me. I kept the Pessoa long on both horses so they could work in a training level frame, since they'd been sitting around so long. I'm so glad to be getting back to work with them!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vintage Stubben facelift

Back in February, I bought a cool brown Stubben off of eBay. I got an awesome price on it, and it fits both Dakota and Clair very well. I'd been meaning to have it serviced, as the billets were split, and I suspected it had never been reflocked. I did a Google search for certified Stubben saddlers, and found Amanda in Virginia. She did a wonderful job! She replaced the split billets with some slightly longer billets that still are hidden under the flap. Add in some leather conditioner, and what a difference. Look at the kneel roll!



From the side it almost looks like a new saddle.



Now that it's reflocked, I think it fits Clair even better than before. Both ponies move along happily in it. I have a matching brown bridle I'm using on Clair, and a cobbled-together black one I'm using with Dakota and his hard-to-fit head. If I show Kota, I'll need to cobble something together in brown.

Clair and I are getting along great! We're working on perfecting our canter communication; I keep letting her drop to trot without meaning to. Gotta get her more on my leg. The departs are crisp and clean. Many times when lungeing, Clair has offered walk-canter. I think it'll be a breeze under saddle. I'll probably start schooling it for fun since it comes easily to her.

I've started asking Dakota to stay more firmly on my aids and really listen to the outside rein. He'd rather go back to baby aids, but each ride he fusses a little less and settles into work sooner. He has developed a tremendous hay belly, so I'm working hard on conditioning. It's nice to see him plump and sassy after ending up on the thin side post-Oregon-winter.