Friday, February 17, 2012

I am Tonks!

So after reading "I is Roxie!" Tonks wanted me to make a My Little Poneh version of her too.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals Completed and More for the Coming Year

    2011 didn't start out on a very positive note. The struggles I have faced over the last year, have made me a better horseman and rider, but a better and stronger person as well. 
   From months of treating Addie for EPM, to finally thinking she was back to her old self and then having her almost seriously injure us both, it was time to say goodbye. A few months after making the trip to Billings to give Addie back to her original owners and breeders, we got the sad news that she was put down because she became too much of a danger to herself and others. It was a hard thing to digest, but at the same time it was also a relief that she wouldn't be suffering anymore.
Here are some pictures from last winter. 

                 I wish things could have worked out, I love that horse, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

    After two or three months I found Tonks, well really I was finally able to go see try her out after months of looking at pictures and talking to her owners.
    At the end of June we made the trip up to Kalispell to bring Tonks home with us. Since we have had some different opinions about how to go about things, but after getting her number we have been doing really well together.  We went to my first event in a year, and hers in about six and we managed to place in the top six. The next weekend we took home 2nd. We were able to work with a lot of great instructors. Thanks Molly, Olivia, Amanda, Wendy, and Sali! I can't wait to work with you all again come the New Year!

Take a look at my Goals from last year.

Goals from 2010 for 2011

My plan of action is as follows:
1. take the TABY test to see what I need to work on before I take the GED
2. take my GED and pass with flying colors
3.apply and get accepted into college, namely Montana State (I love their equine science/pre vet programs) and that way I can afford to keep my horse and compete 
I was also accepted into the University of Montana and in the process of being accepted into University of Montana Western. When I do, I am planning on going there in the fall for sure!
4.take the SAT/ACT
5. and then attend MSU in the fall :)
This did not happen because my family (not naming who) is not supportive of me going to college, whatsoever.
and above all - pray to God I stay relatively healthy
I DID end up having a tonsillectomy in March, and was laid up for almost two months. It was not fun at all, but very worth it! 

      Horse wise I haven't been able to ride much because of various reasons, but heck thats winter in Montana if you have an indoor or not.

Goals for 2011:
- Get Addie's awesome jumping back and keep it
work on my release
   I would like to think that I have improved my jumping release since I have been riding Tonks, because she pretty much requires that you don't touch her mouth when she is jumping. She is very opinionated, haha.
get nice, consistent dressage work (mid 30's at least)
   Tonks and I did end up getting a 30 at our 2nd mini event together!
- get my C1 in the spring and my C2 later in the summer
   I wasn't able to get my C1 in the spring, but did get most of it this fall. YAY! I am going to finish it this spring and work towards my C2 before school starts.
- take Addie to our first reg. event and manage to do as well as we do at home
- conquer my fear of Addie bolting by doing LOTS of xc work
- be competing at BN, which means I will  be schooling some novice
- IF she is doing well go to an easy move up novice level event
- above else staying sound (for both of us, haha) and having fun!
Addie and I didn't get to do any of these things together, but I did get over a quite a bit of my fear of her being really stupid. That was before she was starting to be actually dangerous, and even then I was riding her when I probably shouldn't have because of the safety factor.

Goals for 2012!!

Horse Related Goals:
-Really work on our jumping
Tonks really doesn't like doing an exercise more than a few times, because she quickly figures them out, so I need to work on lots of different exercises.
-Finish my C1 in the spring
-Work on our dressage (at Events keep scores no higher than mid-thirties)
-Work on my C2 and get it before school starts in the fall.
-Work on my seat and mainly my legs, so I can ride confidently without stirrups at all three gaits and jumping (small fences ;))
-Make sure that I stay calm, cool, and collected while riding, because Tonks seems to feed off of any of my negative energy.
-Figure out a happy medium for us both out cross country so she isn't freaking out and I am not half halting the whole way. Maybe a different bit or figure 8?
-Remind myself that Tonks is NOT Addie, and that I can trust her more than I have been.
-Ride and take lessons on as many other horses as I possibly can
-Start at BN in the spring and  hopefully move up to Novice
-Compete at our first Reg. Event together, Arrowhead maybe?
-Go to a few events at Novice to prepare for Rebecca Farm
-Compete at Novice at RF

Not Horse Related (Mostly):
-Get a gym membership and start hitting it hard to strengthen my legs
-Do everything in my power to stay healthy
-Work on things that will help me trust Tonks and other people better
- Find a J-O-B! and/or maybe a Working Student position??
-Start teaching more
-Make myself a schedule and stick to it. Quick being a procrastinator!
-Move out and figure myself out a bit more.
-Finish applying to UM Western and make sure that I am able to go next fall. Just Get 'er Done!
-Join the Equestrian Team at UM Western
-Also just go with the flow and when the going gets tough the tough keep on going ;)

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year,and may you all achieve what you set out to accomplish!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sundown Blues

  Since my last post in April, I have since tried out several horses and ended up finding the perfect horse.
Meet Sundown Blues aka "Tonks"

  Tonks is a 12yo, Canadian Thoroughbred mare, and 16.1hh. She has been doing much of nothing for the last sixth years or so, but before then she has shown Novice level eventing and schooled up to Training. My hopes for her are to take her at least Training and to my C3.
  I brought her "home" June 28th, and she has been a dream (for the most part) ever since!
  We started doing stuff as soon as I got her home. Just a few weeks of being together we had a lesson with Sali Gear, a Pony Club National Examiner from Virgina. Sali was great, and really helped us, with Tonk's new thing where she would start cantering which would escalde into her doing a very collected canter that she would sometime threaten to rear from. My anxiety from my experinces with Addie did not help this, so it just made the sitiation worse. Sali also helped us with jumping because Tonks loved approach them pretty well and then about three strides out bomb rush them, no matter how big they were. Including poles.

Here we are before our lesson with Sali Gear.
 Since then after lots of schooling, a quite a few lessons, and dressage clinic with the great Amanda Lamp we have made a bunch of progress!
Here is a video of us riding with Amanda:
Because of my saddle and where the stirrup bars are placed, I unfortnatly had a bit of a chair seat that made it a bit harder to stay in a basic balenced position. Other than that, Tonks was amazing, this was our second day/lesson with Amanda and in just that short amount of time Tonks had improved more than any of us had imagined.

   Throughout this time I had been taking lessons with Molly Rennie, who is our region's instructor coordinator, and Hellgate Canyon's main instructor and Jt DC. She really has helped us better understand each other, especially when jumping. Molly also really helped me re-trust Tonks after she threw my friend Alex when she reared infront of a xc fence. She almost ended up flipping over onto Alex. It was pretty scary. Luckilly Tonks wasn't affected by it at all, and Alex didn't end up getting seriously hurt.

   In Sept I was able to take Tonks to two mini events, two weekends in a row. We went Smurf because I knew that if worse came to worse, we would still be able to finish. Tonks was awesome! The first weekend we went to Herron Park, where I had only schooled once before 2 year ago, but Tonks had been there dozens of times. We placed 6th on our dressage score of 42.3 out of a fairly large class. The next weekend we went to the Flying Colors mini event at the Missoula Equestrian Park.We shaved off about 12 points from the previous mini event for a 2nd place finish on a dressage score of 30!

   After that we then went and completed the C1Flat and C1HM ratings! I have been waiting for at least 3yrs to get this. Unfortunatly, I did not get the jumping portion, which would have made it the C1 Classic rating, but even if I had planned on doing that I would have been able to. On the day I rated (as well as some other canidates) th arena was practically flooded, and we were barely able to canter, so I guess either way I wouldn't have gotten it, which is fine with me. Molly and I were hoping with a few more jumping lessons we would be able to get it before the weather got bad, but it got too bad out before we could.

  All in all I am very happy with Tonks. We have schooled up to at least BN height, and our dressage has gotten very good (in my opinion). I can't wait for it to get nice enough to start really riding again. My goals for next year are to finish my C1, take my C2, and compete at Rebecca Farms at Novice. Cross your fingers!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Search is On

    Since deciding (well okay probably for a couple of months before) and talking to Addie's previous owner about taking Addie back to her, I have been desperately looking for a horse. Our budget is 3k, TOPS. With such a minimal budget, your kind of stuck with older (around 12yo) horses that haven't done much or green beans that have done a little bit more but will need work as well.
    Being in Montana you already have a limited amount of horses that event or even jump, and if you do happen to find one they are selling for around 8k. When living in such a none eventing area, and your looking for "The One", you usually have to go to the surrounding states. Oregon and Washington that have a higher population of these horses at lower prices, and a lot/majority of them are young OTTBs that are just learning a something new.
     So here are a few I have found.

 Milo, 5yo, OTTB, gelding, 16hh. He is kind of downhill and probably hasn't been off the track long, so it would be quite a bit of work even though he sound like a great boy. He has a super pedigree too!

Casey, 13-14yo, OTTB, gelding, 17.2hh. Done pretty much everything, loves to jump and please. I really like him, and his owner is willing to lease or sell which is great. A fellow pony club member rode him at camp quite a few years ago and said he was great. I think he may be the one.

Tonks, 12yo, TB, mare, 16hh. Super attitude, done a little bit of everything. Was bought as a Training level prospect, but has only schooled up to that level and competed at Novice. Still a bit green.

Lastly is Chesapeake Bay, a 4yo Appendix mare. This is a video of her owner showing her to me, including her going over trot poles for the first time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spoke a Little Too Soon

  I need to start blogging on a more regular basis, geezzzee! Haha, sorry about that guys ;)
  So since the last time I blogged Addie has gone through her month of treatment, passed her nero, and lameness evals and everything was looking really good. Super good in fact. I was starting to look for a new saddle because we found out my was really bothering her, and starting to figure out training/showing schedules. Everything was looking up even though I hadn't ridden in a month due to a tonsilectomy that I had in March, and not having a saddle.
  I finally found a used Prestige Eventing saddle through Rick's Heritage Saddlery (which I totally recommend), and it fit enough where we could have made it work. Unfortunatly the day I went out to try it out and see how it fit Addie was lame, which was really disapointing. I tried it out anyway because I only had two days top to see if it fit, and if it didn't, ship it back.
 Addie was pretty good for about the first 45min, and then when when I went to get off because horses where being ran out of the barn after the evening feeding she just started to wig out. I couldn't get her to mind or pay attention for anything, and she kept on trying to run both my trainer and I over. I finally was able to get her back in her stall, but she really wasn't paying attention to me. I was able to get her calmed down enough where I felt safe to tie her up and start untacking. When I went around to her right side, which is opposite of the stall door, she started to pin me against the wall. So I told her to move over by putting pressure at her girth, just everytime I have for the last year and she REALLY freaked out. She started to pull and go over backwards at the same time, and this is a horse that I have only known to pull back twice and that was when I was clipping her for the first time and she spooked at the hair on the floor. Even then it wasnt bad, but she almost sat down several times while I was still pinned up against the wall.
 For whatever reason the twine loop that was supposed to act as a breakaway never broke, so I had a hard time calming her down enough to get her untied. Even then she was totally freaked out and never calmed down or started to listen after then. I was scared out of my wits, we both could have been seriously hurt very easily. We are pretty sure that the EPM has permanently affected her brain and that is why she now acts like this out of know where.
 Because this happened, along with other stuff that she has pulled, and none of it is resolved for long, I have decided that I am going to find Addie a new home. Addie has never been totally sound since I bought her last Feb., and when has been she doesn't stay that way for long. Not something you want in an Eventer. Since the economy is the way it is, and the horse market isn't in any better condition, I am just going to give her away. Yes, I know this sounds bad, but I am going to do everything in my power to find her the perfect home.
Addie would make a great broodmare, companion, or pleasure/trail horse. Whatever the EPM has done to her premanently cannot be passed onto a foal. She hacks out very nicely, both in a group and by herself. I need to find her a home asap. You can find her on under Addie Fitzpatrick. Addie also can be reg. with the North America Irish Draught Society (it is called something like that),and has super confo and bloodlines.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Update On Addie

     I have good news! I dont have to sell Addie after all! Downside is that she has tested with a weak positive for EPM, a neurological disease caused by a protozoa that attacks the central nervous system (you can learn more here). This causes asymmetrical muscle atrophy, neurotic behaviors, muscle soreness, poor coordination (more specifically of the hind end/legs), dragging of both or one of the hind toes, inability to stay balanced, and more. Fortunatly it can be treated. The most widely used anti-protazoal drug for horses with EPM is Marquis, but is also very expensive (usually around $750). This is what I am treating Addie with, and got an amazing deal from a friend that had left over from a horse that had treated a few years ago (who has made a full recovery after a very acute case the disease).  We are going to treat her with the Marquis for two months along with 5,000IU of Vitamin E every day. Vitamin E has been proved to help with inflammation and support the immune system, which are very important to help make a full recovery.
     Yesterday was the end of the first week of treatment, and she is acting much calmer (like her old self), hopefully it just wasn't a coincidence. I also started having one flake of hay put in Addie's stall in the am/pm so she has something else to focus on instead of being anxious during grain time (plus it will help prevent any side affects of the meds). So far, so good!
     Right now I am hoping that we will be able to do the things I have been wanting to do with her (before all the health and behavioral problems), if she makes a good recovery. So I will be posting a calendar of the things I am hoping to do with her here soon, along with updates on how she is doing.