Thursday, April 28, 2011

My own Rolex...

Well, some big name riders/trainers are riding at the only 4* event in the country this weekend, the biggest, baddest event on "this side of the pond."

I, however, am riding my OWN Rolex mounts...

Snickers, the 14.2 hand cow pony.

In her owner's 16.5 inch saddle (which is exactly 1.5 inches smaller than MY saddle... and those are 1.5 VERY IMPORTANT inches, friends) with the stirrups of a 85lb 11 year old. I had to get off because my thighs. were. aching. (I had to school her though, since she was being a touch naughty.)

By the way, one of my favorite parts of being a riding instructor is when I get to look at my kidlets and say "Come here. Get off." I don't do it often, at all, but I remember having the same thing said to me a Bajillion times when *I* was just a wee child.

Here is said 11 year old on her pony, so you can see the more size appropriate combination. (Turn your volume down.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stormy Weather...

Hehe... Stormy Weather is the name of the book that my dear friend, Stacy (as in Team Taco), wrote.

But also, we've had really bad weather for oh, the last... two weeks. Sustained winds between 15-30mph, humid, warm, storms, tornado cells. It's been ugly. The last two days seem to have been the worst and it looks like we're out of the woods through the weekend. In the words of the weather channel:

"We are in the midst of a potential historic tornado outbreak.  Northeast Mississippi, central/northern Alabama, middle Tennessee and northwest Georgia all fall under the greatest threat zone."

And sure enough.

So, we've all survived. Amy woke up around 4:30 am to a tornado in her front yard (literally), we got it about 5:30 (loudest thunder I've ever heard, and some lightning so bright I saw red.). Also, please think happy thoughts/jingle/pray for my friend Megan down in Decatur, AL who's barn was leveled. We're waiting to hear back about the horses.

In other news, if you live in Middle TN and need your trailer serviced, please ask me or Megan Corbett for the number of the Larry, the trailer guy. Megan has been using him for awhile and I brought him my trailer to fix this weekend and he did an AWESOME JOB. He is a horse person and doesn't try to short or cheap on anything- he does it RIGHT and SAFELY. The vertical piece that holds all my dividers and chest bars up broke in two, basically. He took it out, re-welded a new, thicker piece of metal, then reinforced THAT by sliding another, thicker piece inside it. When he went to put it back in, he noticed it was just sitting in a hole cut in the floor, so he bolted a steel plate to that, through to one of the cross members, and reinforced THAT. And sprayed it all grey to match. AND charged me $25-50 less than he quoted to get it done. AND called me back later to tell me I'd over paid him ($5) and he would credit that to me the next time. Megan says he does everything and I highly recommend him because I feel like he cares about the safety of me and my horses.

Also, I've lost a little more than 10 lbs since I began my detox (which is now over), which is awesome. The jeans I bought two weeks ago are starting to feel a little loose. Onward!

I'm dying because I'm not going to Rolex (for the first time in 8 years), but thankfully the coverage from Ecogold, EN, USeventing and other bloggers and fb-ers is brilliant. We're going to live stream it on Saturday so we can feel like we're there. Close enough, I suppose, and easier on the pocket book.

And right now, I'm in the middle of a Glee Season 1 marathon because our comcast doesn't want to play. Fun times!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Joint injections and fused hocks

I had Ari's hocks injected today, for the second time. The last time was about a year ago, and he's just been a little "off' since Chatt hills. I think I got one last shebang out of him and now he needed, badly, to be done again.

He is always HORRIBLY resistant to the left, which is his blind side, and I finally decided that it was probably more hock-related than sight related, although it could be either... or both.

So, I knew his left hind was causing problems anyway, and when Dr. Mark injected his "inside" joint (middle?) he commented on how "tight" it was. It didn't occur to me, but when I was talking to Amy, she asked if that meant his hocks were "fusing." I put a call back in to Dr. Mark to see if that is, in fact, what he meant, but haven't heard back yet. From what I read, though, that is actually a positive thing, once all is said and done. Sounds like I need an xray in the near future to have an idea of what is going on... but I wonder if an xray would just make ME worry more!

Here's a great article on hocks, injections and fusing of the joint.

Anyone out there in blogger-land have experience with fusing hock joints?

Friday, April 22, 2011


Today has definitely been a test of willpower. I've had the munchies all day. I haven't been tempted to nosh on anything specific, but I have been shoveling a lot of various fruits and veggies in my mouth in order to attempt to fulfill whatever it is I'm wanting so badly!

I've got one more full day left... I plan to cheat pretty profusely on Easter... but have NOT cheated all week. Go me!

I still FEEL good... wake up with lots of energy and don't crash at all during the day... I went to the store today and am doing some creative shopping and cooking. It's amazing what you can come up with to eat when all you have to chose from are VEGGIES and more VEGGIES!

I think I've actually lost a good bit of weight (for a week, anyway, I lost a pound or two the two weeks before, also- enough to push me into the next lower jean size.) and if I had to guess, I'd say my face looks a little slimmer and I've lost some in my belly and I really think my thighs are smaller! (I'm sure you're thrilled with the overshare, but this is what you get for tuning in, faithful readers!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I've been talking enough about this to people around me that I know some people may be wondering what I'm up to.

A dear friend of mine is a nutritionist-type and I recently asked her if there was any way I could drop a few pounds without starving myself or exercising myself into the ground. She responded "YES!" and I've been plotting every since.

Right now, I'm in the middle of a 1 week detox, basically cutting out anything refined from my diet, to teach me how to eat better (there's more to it besides this, but thats the best way to describe it in brief). So far, aside from being expensive, it's not been too bad. In fact, the motivating factor for me posting this today is that I woke up feeling AWESOME today. Maybe there is something to it!

Basically, I've been sticking to fruits, veggies, egg whites and grilled chicken for some protein. I started Monday morning and went to bed that night with a headache, woke up Tuesday morning with a headache and by the end of yesterday evening was feeling fine. I'm pretty sure the headache was sugar-withdrawal. Convincing myself that apple slices=candy is hard.

I've been stock piling fruits and veggies... and aside from the afore mentioned sweets and CHEESE (Oh, cheese, how I miss you!) I don't really feel like I'm depriving myself of anything.

I went for mexican last night and brought my own sweet potato chips and ate as much salsa as I wanted, and then ordered chicken fajitas and just ate the meat and veggies out of the skillet. Sure, I missed out on the deep fried chocolate chimichanga, but, you know.

I have a cucumber salad marinating in the fridge for lunch and will do a broccoli soup for dinner tonight. Salads when I'm busy, apples, grape tomatoes, sweet potato chips, cantaloupe, pineapple bits and clementines to munch on through the day, since I'm not much of a lunch person. 

Breakfast has been egg whites with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and I bought some artichokes for variety yesterday. Will get to add them in tomorrow. :) So, like I said, it's definitely more expensive, and takes some actual meal PLANNING, but I'm hoping it will help me feel better and maybe eventually look better, too!

So, I'll keep you updated on this plan... I'm not sure what post-detox diet consists of, but I think if I can stick with this mind-set, I'll see some changes!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Of course there's a box turtle in the pasture....

I was turning Pumpkin out today and had to cross through another pasture to return him to his gate. On the way through, I nearly tripped over a box turtle who was slowly migrating his way... somewhere...

I definitely did an equine-style "spook" in place, the only thing missing was a loud exhalation of air through my nose. I assured myself he wasn't a snapper and put Pumpkin back in his place.

On the way back, I stopped for a moment and pondered the inner thought process of the turtle... why was he there? Where was he headed? Why did he have mud all over his shell?

You know, typical "I work alone" type things.

After I walked away, Pete meandered over to see what I had been looking at. (Who says horses aren't smart?)

I wish I'd had my phone with me to try to video the following scene, but it was inside on the charger, so you'll have to imagine it.

Remember, box turtle. Approximately 9" long.

Horse, nearly 16 hands tall and about 1200 lbs.

Turtle: *sits on ground, looking curiously around*
Horse: *sees turtle, meanders over with nose close to ground.*
Turtle: *sees horse approaching, snaps head back in shell*
Horse: *startles in surprise that this new rock-like thing moves, snorts.*
Turtle: *waits a few seconds and then cautiously peeks head back out*
Horse: *watches warily as turtle puts head back out*
Turtle: *cautiously takes a look around*
Horse: *snorts at moving turtle*
Turtle: *pulls head back in shell in response to loud noise*
Horse: *spooks at quick movement from turtle*
Turtle: *sits motionless on the ground*
Horse: *musters up his courage and moves infinitesimally closer to turtle*
Turtle: *slowly begins to look out from underneath his shell again*
Horse: *eyeballs turtle from new, minutely closer position*
Turtle: *notices horse closer to him, snaps head back in shell*
Horse: *spooks at quick movement from turtle, backs up to former position, a slightly safer distance from scarymovingrockthing*
Turtle: *sits on ground*
Horse: *moves head- but not feet- slightly closer to turtle*
Turtle: *doesn't move*
Horse: *blows warily at unmovingrockthing*
Turtle: *assumes rock-like position*
Horse: *thiiiiinks about moving one toe in the general direction of unmoving-at-the-moment-but-could-do-something-crazy-at-any-moment-rock-thing*
Turtle: *still as stone*
Horse: *moves head up and down, trying to get a good sense of what scary-not-moving-rockthing might be up to.*
Turtle: *still hiding in shell*
Horse: *snorts loudly at turtle, challenging him to a showdown*
Turtle: *doesn't move*
Horse: *inches closer... freezes....BOLTS*
Turtle: *#winner*

Who says horses...aren't... smart... nevermind.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chattahoochee Hills recap!!

The ups!

 Ari. Was. A. Rockstar.

He had some great dressage movements, though overall it wasn't his best test. It seems like I get a new "thing" right before every show and don't have time to settle him into it in time to go down centerline. He was fussy in the connection, but fairly uphill and not heavy. His transitions were prompt and he was forward and animated (for him).

 Our XC was indescribable. I'm serious.

 I know it sounds hokey, but I walked into warmup and looked at Amy and said "I'm nervous." My stomach was down somewhere around my kneecaps. Not for any particular reason. There was no element or specific thing on course that really worried me... just fear of the unknown... new course, second novice (and our first was kind of a wash), new bit... just a little overwhelmed.

Chatt had 5 or 6 XC fences in warmup, which is AWESOME. We didn't even look at the stadium jumps, just trotted a little log ramp they had. Our first jump is always the worst because as much as I'm "riding," I'm always riding very defensively. And I know I do it. And I can't stop. So Amy waved me over and we had a little chat. Between that and Megan giving me a little pep talk while we were walking our course the night before, something just CLICKED. The lightbulb came on and I got it. The ride was there. My horse was on. We were READY.

I was about 3 riders out from my turn (6 minutes) and I couldn't WAIT to get on course. Ari, who usually cocks one leg and falls asleep in the start box, wouldn't be still. There was an electric current running between us... he was edgy and pulling, but not rudely or obnoxiously. I waited until the starter gave us 10 seconds, started my watch, turned him, trotted him into the start box and galloped out- he hit his lick immediately. Pulled me to the first fence and landed full tilt. The second jump came after a rollback and when I turned to face the other direction, the wind was roaring in my ears and Ari was flying. The third fence was the first of the "lookie" fences and I kicked him off the ground when he landed, we settled into a nice little pace. Fourth and fifth fences jumped great and at that point I wasn't worried about what the fence looked like any more- just GETTING there correctly. And I'm PRETTY sure that is how its supposed to be. He was terrific around the course. Only one little bobble at 7 and the rest was a cakewalk. There was an up-two strides- down bank combination that had me worried- I grabbed my strap and he took me right across it. Ari came off course breathing fire, which is what I was looking for again- that is how he was at Poplar in Sept, but MTPC took the wind right out of his sales.

Stadium was good, too. I didn't have much horse when we started warmup, but Amy quickly remedied that situation. Again, we had a couple minutes before we went and Ari was edgy, didn't want to stand still, came into the ring with a whole new attitude (This begs the question... reflection of me or was he feeling more confident, too?!) We did our tour, cantered around the ring, missed our lead (Megan observed that he jumps well off the wrong lead. I figure if it's hard, he'll learn how to swap... so far my plan is not working.)

He jumped around well, had a rail at the two stride. The course was fair but tricky, took an accurate, forward ride and most riders had a rail or two. Nice to see excellent rides rewarded and stadium have some effect on placings.

Other fun Chattahoochee moments!

I got to use the phrase "Way down yonder, by the Chattahoochee!" in a conversation. And have it be contextually accurate. Someone asked where the start box was while we were walking- we pointed towards the box- next to the river- and I dropped that phrase. I laughed so hard I cried.

Way down yonder...
 The PSF gang may or may not have created a minor spectacle while walking the stadium course on Saturday night.  It is possible that we had a carpet-fiber fight in the arena. It MAY have started with me picking up pieces of carpet and throwing them at Amy, Megan and Stacy. They MIGHT have retaliated. After Stacy managed to turn Amy on me, and I tried to take her down (she has a lower center of gravity), MEGAN managed to push us both down in the sand, where she proceeded to jump on top of us, beat the crap out of me, give me a wedgie (depositing vast amounts of sand in my underwear) and somehow, with the help of Lewis, Amy got me into a precarious position which involved a gator-like death roll to keep my boots on my feet. All while shrieking incoherently. But like I said, it may not have happened like that.

Lewis thinks the PSF girls are a "9." I guess he reserves the "10" for the leader of the pack...
 The PSF gang got to spend some time with Aunt Lynda!! We love her to death! I also got to meet FB friend Amy, new friend Tanya and get to know the AWESOME show photographer, Mark Lehner of hoofclix (who provided most of the photos for this post! Support your show photographer, buy photos!)

Megan, Pippa, Opal, Lauren, Amy, Tex, Lynda, Stacy, Carol and Crescent hanging out!
 The facility was incredible. XC designer gets two hearty thumbs up from me- course rode beautifully with the terrain and turns setting you up perfectly for each fence. Yes, there were some riding questions and visual things, but overall it was set up for a successful run (amazing concept, here.)

I got to drive MY RIG to the show with co-pilot Megan and passenger River. The rig drove great, I went up and down Monteagle and didn't die (Megan had to talk me through it. Thanks Megan!) I also drove through ATL in rush hour traffic. I guess I can say I'm broken in, now.
Amy, Meg and I!
Me, Stacy and Amy- apparently Amy and I like to match!

The cons!
(This is where I whine. Its my blog, I can whine if I want to! You've been warned.)

The announcer sucked. SUCKED. He started with dressage "Jane Doe, riding Locked and Loaded... and what a pistol this horse is!" "XYZ riding "The Duke!" and how noble he is!" *groan* Then on XC... we heard about six hours of this running commentary. "Amy, clear, bank." "George, clear, log." "Sally, clear, water one." "Mary, clear, wall." OMG KILL ME NOW.

Dressage judges. No good. There were ties in every division. Some divisions had THREE ties. Now, I can't say for sure this is the fault of the dressage judges, but I'd never seen so many ties. Also, my test read like this "4- fussy in the bridle. 6, fussy in the bridle. 5, fussy in the bridle. 7, fussy in the bridle." OKAY, I GET IT. HE WAS FUSSY IN THE BRIDLE. Could you GIVE ME SOME FEEDBACK about why sometimes I had a SEVEN when he was fussy and why sometimes I had a FOUR when he was fussy?! His score was a 40.5 which is his highest score by about 5 points in the 6 years I've owned him. Not to say he didn't deserve it, but... well...

They advertised a wine and cheese party on Friday and a competitors party on Saturday... didn't happen.

And I'm going to whine about this. They only gave ribbons to sixth place. Really, a ribbon is not the biggest deal in the world to me, but I paid A LOT of money to these people to go to this show (more than a normal event, which is why I'm a little miffed) and they couldn't pin to eighth place like every other event in the world?

Poplar is the other facility that is slightly more expensive and runs a top notch show, and they make every competitor feel like they're at Rolex, in my humble opinion. I don't mind paying them a little more for the privilege of riding at their incredible facility.

Chatt Hills, on the other hand, didn't quite hit that level, I'm afraid... not to say it wasn't a beautifully run horse trial, but I think they could do a lot more to truly hit the standard of the premier facility they're aiming for.

So! Thats how I feel about that. Overall, an incredible weekend with lots and LOTS of fun and good riding.

And obviously... my horse wasn't too stressed about the whole weekend!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A very important message from Miss Brandy!

Hello everyone! It's about time I had your undivided attention, so listen up!

I spent Saturday and Sunday with some of my bestest friends, and mom was nice enough to take the head divider out of her trailer so I could have some quality time with my buddy, Ari. Since we had to spend all weekend on the trailer, mostly together, but sometimes separate because Mom would take us out to ride us, I got to talk to Ari a lot.

I also got to have a chat with this handsome bay fellow, Taco. Looking at Taco is just like looking at myself in a mirror- he looks just like me. Striking, bay, tall, long and lean.

Taco (Thanks AM for the pics)
Brandy. See the similarities?!?

Anyway, while I was talking to Ari and Taco, they both mention this thing called "blogging." So, I asked Mom yesterday what this blogging thing was and why I hadn't gotten to write one yet. Ari said he hasn't gotten to do many posts (whatever that means, I thought posting was when mom got her fat tushie out of the saddle, but I could be wrong), but Taco said he writes on his blog all the time!

So I asked Mom if I could blog about my weekend, and she said yes!

So, first of all, I want to thank my friends Big Flo, Taco and Elby for teaching me how to be a good "training" horse. I guess when you're a training horse you get to jump bigger things and scarier things, plus, you get extra credit for being "catty" and "quick with your legs." I think I'm really good at getting my feet out of the way. When mom gets me into an iffy spot, I just pull my feet up to my belly and push with my big back end. Mom calls me a plow horse, sometimes, but I just think she should be glad I'm so powerful so I can get her over these big jumps! It is kind of fun, though, I admit. I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to, you can be sure of that!

I'm a big horse, now! Just like Flo, Elby and Taco!
See? I'm pretty tidy with those feet, I think!
I mean, look at the power back there!! (Thanks to LV for the pics!)

The best part of the stadium course was when I had to do three jumps in a row with two strides in between. It was pretty awesome, because, like I said, I'm really good at being quick with my feet. Mom had messed things up a couple times already, so she just left me alone and let me sort it out. Good thing, too, who knows how badly it would have gone if she'd tried to help! I'm so good to her.

See my ears? I'm totally counting strides. Mom's smiling because she knows I'll take care of her.
Success! I have to earn my cookies somehow.
I also had to jump a "skinny." This is funny because there is nothing skinny about me and mom, but there was plenty of room on either side of us to clear this thing. Skinnies at Aunt Amy's are much smaller, probably because since she is so tiny she has a different perception of how skinny a jump should be. But whatever, I just jump what they tell me to jump and this "skinny" was no exception!

You can see that I'm gauging the distance on either side of me here with my ears. They're my radar.
So, I jumped this whole course and only hit one rail, but it didn't fall down. That means I'm clean, says mom, but I don't agree. I have dirt on my legs and poop in my tail, but if she thinks I'm clean, then I guess I'm clean!

This is one of my favorites. I'm awesome, am I not?
And this is just so you can see how high I can jump. See Taco and Aunt Stacy smiling for me in the background?

Here's a video of me carting mom around the course. Big thanks for Karen for videoing it. And congrats to my cousin, Maybe, for finally figuring out how to make mom the happiest- by jumping all the time when she says so!

The good news is, you can see just how happy mom is in this next picture, which means I DEFINITELY got a LOT of cookies when I got back to the trailer. In the end, I was in fourth place, but I wasn't that far behind Big Flo, which is pretty good for me! Elby, Flo and Taco are kind of dressage super stars (supah-stars?!) so I have to work pretty hard to be close to them. Mom says its okay as long as I try because that is what eventing is all about.
Cookies are good, but a happy mom is the best. Well, maybe in that order.

So, I spent the rest of the day on the trailer after that. It was okay, though, because it was warm and breezy, the trailer is nice and cool and I got to play halter tag with Ari all day while I ate and watched everyone else do their thing. Mom says I can't post about the day without posting this pic:
She says it has something to do with three generation of eventing. The blond on the left is Aunt Amy. I like her because she makes mom ride me right, but I do have to work hard when she's around. It's okay, though, because I get bored otherwise. The girl on the right is my cousin, Anna, who owns Murphy, who is like the big version of me, pushy, opinionated and awesome. She helped my mom meet Aunt Amy, so I guess she's okay. And sometimes she comes with cookies and tells me nice things. She also makes fun of my brother, Ari, so that makes her even cooler, in my book. 

Speaking of Ari, he wanted me to tell you about his day, too. He wasn't going to come, but mom said something about my friend, Little Flo, not feeling well, so Ari took her spot. Mom wasn't feeling too hot on Saturday either, but I don't believe her because she did a whole lot in one day without too much of an issue!

So, Ari did novice and he was a good boy. Mom says he was very honest because she didn't ride him very well in jumping and his dressage was nice! He was in second place, just half a point behind the winner! Aunt Amy says mom gets a little complacent on Ari and just lets him go along without really trying very hard. Thats not fair, because she always pushes me to do my best! He's a couple pictures of the the stupid idiot Ari, because mom said I had to, so you can see how awesome he is.


ANYWAY, back to me.

On Sunday, mom took me to Percy Warner Park to school XC! I won't talk about it too long, just rest assured that I was AWESOME. I got to jump down a bank into the water which is kind of old news, but the bank had a LOG on top. Mom wanted to dive into the water headfirst, but I stayed underneath her we did it again and again until Aunt Amy said she finally had her feet out in front of her enough to stay on. Mom said something about Rolex, which is kind of pushing it, but I can see the similarities. We'll just say I'm a mini-Rolex horse.
This is Winsome Adante, 3 time Rolex winner. I'm pretty sure we're related. There are no pics of me on XC Sunday, so you can just pretend this is me and mom. There are some distinct similarities, at any rate.

 The other awesome thing we did at Percy Warner was the trakehner, the log with the ditch underneath it. Mom says it gives her heart palpitations just looking at it. I don't really know what that means, but I guess it means she just keeps her leg on and stays the out of my way because I jumped the heck out of that thing. TWICE! I got lots of pets for that and Aunt Stacy and Megan even said how awesome I was. Aunt Amy seemed pretty proud of us, too, but its all in a days work.

*sigh* Mom says I have to talk about that stupid jerk Ari again. He was good too, blah blah blah. Jumped well, he was brave, didn't stop, but didn't want to jump into water, so that was a battle, but eventually he did it anyway, mom is starting to figure out how to ride him forward and not pick him down to nothing at the base of the jump. Enough of him, back to me!

So, as you can see, I was a super star! Mom says she will be back later to talk about how awesome her students were, and maybe she will let some of their horses blog, too. She better talk to me about this, though, because I'm pretty sure I'm the only horse out here smart enough to work one of these stupid computers, so I'd have to help them. It's not easy to do with hooves the size of pie plates, I'm telling you!

Oh, I guess I should also make sure to say thank you to Leslie Vancil, Anna Moreland and Karen Golski for providing me with the media in this post. I can talk and talk and talk, but unless you SEE how awesome I am, you'll never believe me.

Oh, and just for good measure, here is a picture of my cousin, Delivering Maybes. She did her first three phase this weekend with her mom. Her mom did really good this weekend. Maybe it was because she wore my mom's vest with the pink laces down the sides. (tee hee... maybe)

I didn't get to talk to Maybe while I was there, but I wanted her to see this picture of me from June 2009, my first time out on XC:

And with that, all I have to say is... Perchie Power!!