Sunday, December 23, 2012

Judgement is Important!

So I am in Oklahoma for Christmas! My family is here and were all having so much fun! Today, my grandpa took us to his friends ranch who had a few horses so that I could ride. When we got there, I was given a nice horse who was about 15 hands. He was a quarter horse, and I guess since I'm so used to pony's forward ness, he seemed sooo sluggish.

I walked around the indoor arena for a few minutes and he wasn't very responsive. He was wearing a mechanical hackamore, and wasn't responsive to any sort of rein. He didn't neck rein very well, he didn't move off my leg very well. They said that when they had kids ride him they had him rein, shoot, i can't remember what they said. It was 'wrangle' or 'rodeo' or 'bronc' or something like that I've never ever heard of before. Basically it was just pulling one rein like a direct rein but in a hackamore meant for neck reining. He wasn't responsive to anything!

I finally got him to trot and it was pretty rough, he kept tossing his head and I had soooo much legs on! I tried to get him to back, and he was just constantly throwing his head at me. The saddle I was in was too big for me, and the stirrups were up all the way, but still too long for me to feel comfortable in. We went to the larger outside arena and he wasn't doing much other than tossing his head a lot but I felt uncomfortable. I asked him for a lope, and he did an in-place humpy jig.

My mom asked how it was going, and I told her that honestly I didn't feel comfortable on him. She told me to go inside and tell the guy an they'd put me on another horse! I felt lame doing it, but since I didn't know the horse, I wasn't in for the fight I would have had to constantly be on him, and I wasn't comfortable in the saddle. All around in wasn't a good situation for me.

So, they put me on a different horse who was a nice, expensive cutting horse, and it was awesome!!! But that's a totally different story! However, one of the other guys jumped on the horse I originally had, and the horse was humpy and Bucky and reary and altogether not well behaved.

I felt so glad that I hadn't gotten hurt (well except for possibly breaking my ankle on the second totally awesome horse, but that's a different story and not at all his fault) and had trusted my instinct and spoken up, when obviously this horse was not going to work well with me. They later told me that that horse had not been ridden in a few months. Gee, thanks!! Tomorrow you will get my much better counterpart story on the awesome cutter horse! This is a picture of the cutter!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chats on the farmhouse porch 73

Everyday Ruralty

Brrrr it's cold on the porch today! Inside with some hot tea sounds much better.

1. What would you like to see under your Christmas tree?
2. What is your best color for clothes?
3. Tell me your favorite kind of cookie.
4? What's in the middle of your dining table right now? (flowers, a lazy susan with condiments, Christmas decorations...)
5. Please help me spread Christmas cheer to my buddy, Wendell. Please a wish for him here. :)

1. I'm currently using blogger on my iPhone, which is cool, except for your able to post pictures at the bottom of a post and that's it, so you'll have to scroll down to see what I want under my tree :)
2. I love blues and pinks! Ill also go more neutral, greys and blacks in fall.
3. I love a good shortbread. But only a really good shortbread. I also love cowgirl cookies!
4. We have a platter and a pitcher, along with a whole bunch of mail! (I almost said a whole bunch of male.... That would make my dining room table a whole bunch more exciting!!
5. Wendell, I hope you get spoiled at Christmas with all the carrots your heart could imagine. I also hope ms Patrice is an awesome owner and doesn't force you to dress up with Christmas cheer like my poor pony will be subjected to later this week :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day Ten Challenge

How you friends/family feel about your riding.

My mom is super supportive of my riding, but also hates it. She loves that I'm passionate about it, and loves how responsible it makes me, but she is scared of it. She doesn't like how dangerous it is, and she's a little afraid of horses. She has never spent a lot of time around them, so it's not like she has had a bad experience, she is just a little afraid.

My dad used to ride when he was a kid. He grew up in Ohio and they all mucked stalls in exchange for riding. They all just ran around bareback, none of them really knew how to ride. He still loves horses but rarely comes out to the barn, but he does love to trail ride, and he has a huge appreciation for what I do, and knows a little bit more of how hard it is than my mom. He's never worried about me getting hurt, I think he figures I'm pretty tough.

My sister is kind of afraid of horses too. She came to see me at a gymkhana and I asked her to hold kadin while I filled up some water, and he neighed and she freaked out and was like 'omg marissa come over here he's freaking out omgggg'. It was pretty cute. But she's supportive of it.

My boyfriend is supportive of it. But the one time he rode with me he got bucked off, and he never wants to ride with me. What upsets me is that this girl used to board her horses on his property and she always wanted him to ride with her. He doesn't know how to ride and doesn't know much about horses and she would just run around and she was sooo irresponsible. She had him get on bareback and bridleless to walk up to the barn once and luckily nothing happened but he easily could have been dumped. So he thinks he knows more and is better with horses than he is, and since I don't really have any horses at my disposal that he could ride, I can't really teach him.

I started riding at a time when all my friends had just left for college and I was kinda lonely. So my friends think its awesome that I ride, but they're all friends I see a few times a year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ponys First Gymkhana!

We went to our first gymkhana!

After our wild ride on Thursday, I went to ride her on Friday hoping shed give me some confidence for the next day.

She was perfect. She was slow and calm and gave me a beautiful lope. It was wonderful.

I took all my tack over to my friends ranch that night and loaded the trailer. We also hitched up the trailer and left her truck there overnight for ease of loading in the morning. I took her home and picked her up in the morning, it was so nice to be able to just throw the horses in the trailer and go.

Pony tried on her pretty saddle blanket the night before :)

Especially since it was SO FREAKING COLD. It stayed cold, all day long. And then it started raining. All in all, it was a miserable day. The place we have it at is a covered arena so we were still able to continue the gymkhana.

However, we are able to split the arena and run two patterns at once (it's a rodeo sized arena. It's HUGE.) But, once it started raining they opened the arena for the riders to have cover, and we were only able to run one pattern at a time. Which made the day last SOOO much longer, and it was cold and wet and miserable.

However, if I was on a calm horse it would have been a lot easier.

Pony was a handful, all day long. It was so difficult though, because she was confused, stressed and scared. And when your horse is scared, punishing them is not a solution. That would simply add to her anxiety. And when pony blows up (she never has with me, but the people I was with have seen it) she BLOWS up.

She wasn't doing anything dangerous, she was just freaking out all day long. Which is totally understandable!
Pony and Liam (haflinger) were totally flirting all day, look at how cute they are sharing a hay bag! They're like the same size too, its a match made in heaven!

She's a hot little nervous thing in the first place, and she was somewhere she doesn't know with a rider she's only known for two months with a CRAPLOAD of other horses who were not minding her space. Since she doesn't like horses in her space, this caused problems.

She had a troubled past, she was at auction bound for slaughter multiple times, she was bound for slaughter while pregnant at one point. So I have no idea what she may have thought was going on that day!

When her friends would walk away she got sooo freaked out, I think she was afraid they would leave and go home without her. In the ring, I couldn't get her to stop after our 'runs', she just really wanted to trot back to her friends. We circled a lot and she got a lot of rubs when she was standing still. She was antsy outside the gate and really just wanted to get into the arena.

I braided her mane and finished it with a teal zebra bow :) It helped show off her being a mustang :)

Once inside, I couldn't get a walk from her, I could only get a trot. I did lope a few of them, but the lope that she gave me was quick, but calm. So that was completely ok with me. Her body was relaxed in her lope, and her trot. So I was really fine with the gaits she gave me.

I need to work with her on the pacing and freaking out by the gate and her not stopping after our runs. Also I wish I had been able to get her to walk some of the patterns, but no amount of rein was working, she was going right through the bit. And it was weird, because it wasn't like she wanted to run, she just didn't want to walk. She was happy with a 'slower than walk trot'.

Most horses would have been berated from me for going through a bit, but pony needed her riders approval and support, not her rider to punish her. I'm going to be awesome at reading horses by the time I've been riding her for a while hahaha.

She also got a teal zebra bow in her tail! No she doesn't kick, its just a pretty decoration :)
That's also not me, by the way.

So overall, she did good. She didn't do anything dangerous, she was just stressed and scared. She didn't understand why we were there and why she kept having to leave her friends to run around somewhere else then go back to them.

My friend that brought me told me later that she had been nervous about the entire day, because she has seen pony blow up out of fear, and she didn't know if it was going to go over well, but she said I handled her great.

When we went to do the birangle (two of the same direction turns) she took the first pole like a finished barrel horse. She then headed straight for the other pole instead of home like most horses, and my only explanation is that she had been watching the horses before her and she knew what was going on. She moved beautifully into that first pole. She isn't the most athletic horse and it was so surprising and beautiful.

I think we make a pretty cute pair! You can see her bow in her main :) This was however, after she shook most of her braid loose haha it was muuuch neater before!

She came out of the second turn (we loped this event) and headed home and I was a second away from completely losing her. I felt it. My friends saw it. I had a nano second when I thought 'oh crap should I bail off the horse?'. Instead, I gave her a quick check with the reins and sat back in the saddle, and she slowed down her lope and relaxed her body and I felt a comfortable gait.

I was so proud of her and myself for handling that situation well. I didn't tense up, I didn't scare her, I just relaxed and showed her that she could also relax. I knew that I wasn't ready for the speed she was about to give me, since it would have been the ugliest gait you could imagine, and mentality she wasn't ready for it either.

I was proud of myself for not being a hot head about winning and times and ruin her experience by putting her in a situation where she was reacting out of fear and crazy rather than direction.

So while it was a rough day, we both ended on a positive experience I think.

The best part? We got 1st in birangle, 2nd in hurry scurry (which we walked), 2nd in single stake, and 2nd in poles 2. But the awesome doesn't stop there! I also won 2nd overall for my class and got a 25 dollar gas card!
Boyfriend showed up for support, and stayed the entire day (10-3:30) in the miserable weather! Hes a keeper.  I like to think we're pretty cute too :)

I was so happy that we were able to win some places with her being slow and we never lost control.

She was honestly just so stressed, and it will take a while for her to understand what she was being asked for and why!

This is my friend that took us to the gymkhana, and this is us with our ribbons!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

If you fall off a horse you gotta get back on

But if you fall off a second time can you curl up in the fetal position and cry?

Haha, just kidding, we all know I'm too stubborn to do that.

I'm taking pony to a gymkhana on Saturday, and I asked my trainer for a lesson before we go. With Christmas, my work schedule has been crazy and I've been working extra hours and haven't been able to see pony. Since last Friday. So I knew she was going to be hot today, but nothing could have prepared me for the crazy that ensued.

When pony gets in a crazy mindset, you have to sit back and relax. If you get frustrated with her, it amps her up and she gets crazier. She also cannot be 'worked down' when she gets tired, she gets crazier and more strung out like 'maybe if I do it faster I can stop sooner'.

So we were trotting crazy for a while and finally she was able to settle down and we spent about 30 minutes doing good trot work. We had sets of cones set up in a circle (so you had to go through two cones at each point going around a circle) I hope that makes sense.

We then added two ground poles and a cavaletti to simulate the hurry scurry at the gymkhana. We were doing some awesome trot work.

And then we went to work on the lope. She was a freaking bottle rocket. Holy crud. So the first time we went over the cavaletti, and she did a beautiful jump. But obviously I didn't expect it. So I lost both stirrups in the jump and went flying. She ran straight into a wall, and I managed to fly off the side of her and land on my feet. So I got back on her and tried again, obviously. Before we got to the cavaletti she tried to turn the other way and I put leg on. She then decided to full on jump a ground pole.

That threw me off balance, and then before I was able to regain balance, she was headed at a wall and she zigged and I zagged.

I was on my butt so fast. She was at the other side of the arena before I could blink.

So what did I do, you ask?

I dusted my ass off and I jumped back on. Well not quite, my trainer asked to get on her first, but otherwise I would have been back up on her. Amanda rode her through what I was clearly having problems with, then she modified it for me. Because come on, falling a third time would have just been tempting fate.

We made it so that half of it was a circle, but half of it was slightly squared, so I still needed some sharper lope turns, but didn't have to worry about her jumping.

It took a while, but we were finally able to calmly lope through it.

So, the damage, you ask? I landed hard on my right side. I have a large bruise on my right shin and on the inside of my right knee. I think they're probably from hitting the saddle horn? And my right arm is all sorts of achey. It's the elbow that I dislocated a few years ago (gymnastics) and I think I jammed it pretty good in the fall.

Pony is such a sweet mare, she's not bad at all. And that's what is so hard about riding her is that after she dumped me I wanted to go over and smack her and get mad at her for zigging. But that wouldn't have solved anything. The problem was that I was not giving her the confidence she needed.

She needs someone to hold her together and be right on her when she makes a move in the wrong direction. You really need to be able to read her mind and stay with her, because if you don't she will fall apart. She was hot and ready to go, and I wasn't getting leg on and I wasn't relaxed because she was obviously being crazy. So she went ahead and lost it on me. And when I got back on I had to let it go and give her what she needed from me as a rider.

I think she will teach me stuff no other horse could.

So moral of the story?

If you fall off a horse, you have to get back on. If you fall of again right after that, get back up until you've figured out how to learn a lesson. Lesson learned pony, loud and clear.

Day Nine Challenge

Any injuries that have occurred from riding.

Other than the obvious soreness after falling from a horse, the only real injury Ive had is from falling from oreo bareback.

I broke my tailbone.  It was SUCH bad pain, I can't even describe it.  As soon as I fell, I knew I hurt myself bad.  But of course, my first thought is, 'If you fall off a horse, you have to get back on it'.

So I did.  I got myself back up on that horse.  My butt hurt sooo bad that I couldn't even sit on her.  So I put my hands on her mane and perched myself up off my butt and walked around like that.  I figured, walking was good enough.

When that hurt too bad, I just stopped her and tried to sit.  I wanted to watch the sunset.  But I couldn't the pain was so terrible.  So I got down, took off her bridle and put her back.  I went to leave, but couldn't even figure out how to get myself into my car.  Every single shift in my body made me want to cry.  I finally got into my car (I luckily had a lombar relief padded seat in my trunk which I used!) and the pain was so bad I wanted to throw up.  I finally limped myself into my room and layed down in bed.  My mom came in and asked if I could come do something for her, and I told her yes, i would be there in a second and waited for her to leave.

I wrangled my way off my bed and remembered trying so hard to not look like I was in pain so my mom didn't get mad at me.

So finally, a few hours later, i called my mom from my room.  I was laying on my right side, and I literally could not roll over.  In case anyone wanted to know, any muscle that you flex in your legs, anything, affects your tailbone.  I sat there sobbing because I literally could not even begin to roll over to my left side.

That was pretty much my worst injury.  It was just SUCH bad pain, and lets be honest, there is nothing that anyone can do for a tailbone.  No cast that they can give you, no surgery.  You just have to wait for it to go away.  Which it took a good six months for it to no longer be painful everyday.  A good week or two until I wouldn't start crying from the pain.  Even now (a year later) if I wear tight pants, it will still bother it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day Eight Challenge

A little about the barn you ride at.

The barn I ride at is awesome!!! There's a huge covered arena, a huge outdoor arena, two round pens and a lot of covered places to tack up!! In addition to that, we have lights in most of the tack rooms and in the covered arena. It's perfect for winter riding when the days get short. The ranch also is a really nice facility with great people and a LOT of horses. The only thing we don't have is trail access. There's pasture that we can ride in, but no trail.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chats on the farmhouse porch 72

It's Tuesday again! You know what that means!

Everyday Ruralty

Questions :
1. What's your favorite ornament on your tree? If you have no Christmas tree, please tell me about something pretty in your home that you enjoy.
2. What do you do when a telemarketer calls?
3. What was the last kind of candy you had? Admit it- you had one tiny little bite. We understand:)
4. Do you send out Christmas cards? If not applicable- do you use snail mail?
5. Please finish this. I sometimes wonder___________________________.

1. This year, my mom said she didn't want to drag out all our Christmas stuff, so if I wanted a tree we could just go buy one and buy some ornaments. We went to grocery outlet (are there grocery outlets all over the country? It's awesome!) So we bought a 3 foot fake tree, and two packages of little sparkly ornaments! We spent a whopping 10 dollars on our Christmas decorations. I will include a picture of my ornaments below.
2. I usually say 'I'm sorry were not interested bye' and hang up quickly.
3. I had a strawberry laffy taffy. The people I nanny for still have a bucket of Halloween candy sitting out in the living's impossible not to grab some haha
4. I do not send out Christmas cards. My family never has, so it's kind of foreign to me. I don't use snail mail often, because I honestly don't have much need for it! But if I had someone I could write to, I would definitely use it more often!
5. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if my mother had not made the sacrifices that she did for me and my sister.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Remember what Christmas is all about

I'm sure a lot of you have already seen this post, but if you haven't please check it out!

Kimberlys Corner

This is a great post about a beautiful young girl named maggie that has cancer.  Her goal is to get 50 christmas cards to her.  I think its a great idea! It doesn't have to be anything special, just a card, a note, a Merry Christmas...well wishes.  Anything will work! I am having my mom and her friends write cards, and also am going to have the little kid I nanny for draw her a picture.  She is such an adorable little thing, I think it would mean a lot to me to have so many people send me Christmas cards!

Day Seven Challenge

Question Seven : Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why

I would have to say my favorite ribbon won at a show was my very first ribbon.  At the gymkhanas that we go to in our area...everyone gets a participation ribbon.  which is awesome, I must admit.  But if you place, you get a button that you can clip onto your ribbon.  It was really cool to get a ribbon at my first gymkhana, especially since my trainer was very insistant that it is important to go slow and have good horsemanship before speed.  (Its sooo important!)  So at my first gymkhana I trotted the first few events, and I loped the single stake event! I got fourth place! It was really nice to get a ribbon, and also to place! It felt even better knowing that I had treated my horse great and had really good horsemanship while I did it!

Above is the picture of me and Kadin winning that fourth place ribbon.  (How arab is he!!)
But honestly, look at that face, is he not the sweetest?

Aaaand I wanted to give you a picture of my belt so you know it is prettier than I made it seem haha

My friend that made it and it was super reasonably priced...
She has a facebook page Cowgirl Sparkles, if you wanted to see what she has! She makes awesome belt headstalls too!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day Six Challenge

Question Two : all the tack and riding clothes you have.

Well this one is pretty easy for me. Because I don't really have any tack or riding clothes. I use my trainers tack on pony, since its her horse and they already fit her! I do have an English saddle that is kind of mine, I bought the leathers/irons/ and girth for it, and the saddle itself was left in a tack room when someone moved to another barn, who just leaves a saddle!!

On the subject of riding clothes...I have no real riding clothes. I have a nice cowboy hat that is a resistol. But other than that, I have no English clothing...

I also have no nice western blouses. At all of the gymkhanas I have been to I wear regular jeans, boots, a nice plaid button up and a belt!

I guess that is one thing that I have that is awesome...I have a beautiful western belt. A friend of mine made it for me, it's tooled leather with a belt buckle that is silver but looks black with a silver lining and multicolored rhinestones...I wish I was at home to take and attach a picture! It is way awesomer than it sounds!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day Five Challenge

Question Five : Your first fall

To be completely honest, I don't know what my first fall was.  It was quite possibly loping oreo bareback (read : hanging on for dear life in the fetal position)

I can't think of a time I fell before that.  But lets be honest, falling bareback doesn't really count hahah.

I will tell you about one time that I fell though...

I was at my second ever gymkhana.  I was on the beautiful arab named Kadin....It was through csha (california state horsemans association) and there rules are that you are grouped by age grouping, rather than speed grouping.   Which I personally did not prefer.  I would prefer to be put into a group with people who have my same riding experience/level than people that are my same age!

So we were up for cloverleaf barrels, we loped through all barrels, not beautifully, we were on the wrong lead the ENTIRE time, but whatever, we made it through!

Coming out of the last barrel, I wanted to ask for more speed, so I did, and he gave it to me! I was so excited! we flew past the timing line, I started to ask for a stop, he started to stop...and then he tripped.  His front end went down so fast, and he caught himself so fast that it just popped me up out of the saddle, and over into the dirt.  It was quite comical.   And I found out I was in the top 5 in my age range!

That was until....the judge gave me a 10 second penalty for my shirt coming untucked while I was falling.

Ooookay judge, next time I'm falling off my horse I'll be sure to pay attention to tucking in my shirt and all.

Anways, I have something way more exciting for you! I went to the barn today, and on the way I got anxiety about loping bareback again.  Why this keeps happening, I cannot tell you.  But I do not want to make it into some huge deal that will terrify me for years to come, so I manned up and I skipped the saddle.

And then I walked and trotted around the arena for a good hour avoiding doing anything else.  And finally, I did it! And it was beautiful! I was relaxed, pony was relaxed, I had a loose-ish rein, and did not squeeze, and my butt felt glued to her back.  I was so happy! So of course I ran around excited like a maniac and got my trainer to come see and take a video! However, murphys law dictates that the second time I did it must be much less nice, but still, considering it was the first time I have ever loped calmly bareback, I think I did pretty dang good!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day Four Challenge

Day Four : A ride that Impacted Your life.

Man, this is tough.

I guess I could go with that first ride I took with the girl that boarded at my boyfriends house... It was kinda what made me want to start riding in the first place.  Except I really didn't like her (thats a story for another day) and she was so irresponsible (we galloped across a field when she knew that I had only walked on a horse a handful of times... in hindsight I think she wanted me dead so she could move in on my boyfriend. So I don't think that story is worth impacting my life, even if that is the reason I started riding.

I can see why this is an Equestrian 'Challenge'.  There honestly isn't a single ride that stands out as 'impacting' my life.

With Oreo...she was a super smart horse.  She was so smart, that she would play mind games, and have you crazy before you even realized why you felt that way.  She belonged to a family that moved away, but left her horse where she was, which was boarded at her moms house (her childhood home).  It was a cute little barn, and the woman that lived there was older and just had heart surgery, so they wanted someone who would muck the stalls and feed a few days a week, and in return I got to ride Oreo.

She hadn't been ridden since her owner moved away very often (they had moved away about six months ago, but they were up most weekends to see her mother).  The first time I went out to ride oreo she was sooo sweet...but the second I was alone, she started playing games with me!

If you said 'ho' or 'whoa' to her, she would feign being deaf.  But if you said 'whooooa' in the deepest voice you could muster, she would slam on those breaks so hard you'd be over her head.

I don't know when It happened, but sometime her lope got TERRIBLE.  I had been riding for maybe 5 or 6 months, so I was comfortable but still not secure in my seat.  And suddenly, I was afraid to lope her!

However, after about a month of loping her for a lap in each direction and then stopping, I finally decided it was a day to lope, and I loped her.  I did maybe three or four laps and then voila! Her lope was a beautiful rocking horse canter.  I guess it was that she was stiff...and it took her a little while to fall into her lope nicely.  I found out later that on the weekends it was the owners daughter that had been riding, and she never cantered before....of course the dang horse is stiff if it never gets loped!

I think that ride really taught me that blood sweat and tears pays off.  Doing something your afraid of, pays off.  I would sit on her and cry because I was frustrated and I didn't know where to go from there...and I would know I had to do something, but I didn't know what! I have learned soooo much from then! Its tough though, because I was there alone riding her, with no instruction, in a little arena, and that was it.  There was no round pen, no lunge line, no trail access, no one to ask questions.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Conquer thy fear

 First I'd like to welcome my new followers! This gives me seven in all...

There is Cindy over at Life With My Herd who is awesome and supportive and I love to hear about her  funny horse stories.

There's Crystal at Ranch Riding who always has some supportive comments, is crafty and posts lots of pictures for our enjoyment :)

There's Aleta at The Nail Junkie who I had been following for a while for her cool nail designs (if anyone loves painting their nails they should check her out!)

There's Allison at Adventures with Shyloh who has a cute little haflinger, and haflingers are awesome....which automatically gives Allison major points haha

There's Cheyenne at the Cheyenne Chronicles that I just started following, but was immediately drawn in by beautiful pictures!

There's Dreaming over at Living A Dream who has horses and make a kick ass pumpkin pie.

Also there's Louisa over at Time In The Saddle who looks like a pretty bomb rider!

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and follow my blog! I love to hear what you all have to say!

Anyways, if you've read any of my older posts you may know about this weird little thing of mine....the dream that I have that would make me content would be if I was a bomb bareback rider.  Everyone has an image in their head of what they want to be able to do on a horse...mine is being capable of riding bareback! I don't know why, but its really just what I aspire to do.  And I suck at it.  I can walk/trot bareback no problem, but I come to a big brick wall at the canter.

The horses that I have had access to through a lease, or what not, have all had their quirks, and dreamy rocking horse canters is not one that anyone horse I've had the pleasure of leasing has had.

Chili wouldn't even lope, she'd balk and buck before she'd lope (I leased her when I'd been riding about a month, I was told she was a 'deadbroke beginner' horse...needless to say that didn't last long...

Oreo had a back like a couch, but was so dang stiff I could barely stay in the saddle when she first picked up a lope

Liam had extremely rhythmic lope, but was very rough at the same time (haflingers are bred to trot with a cart, not for nice gaits!)

Chrome was barely ridable in a saddle.

And now I am with pony (There are a few horses in there that I rode for a while for friends and such, who were no better for a bareback lope).  Pony is very quick, very forward, and I know that she will give me a beautiful canter if I relax. But its obviously hard to relax when your afraid! I know exactly where my problem is, and I know how to fix it in theory...but not in practice!

So I figured I'd keep working with pony in saddle, go stirrupless...etc and eventually be able to go bareback on her.  And in the past few days, I have gotten severely bad anxiety about loping bareback on her.  Why? I don't know! I hadn't tried it and fallen off, I hadn't even been thinking about it really.  So last night I had a dream about it, I don't remember the dream, and woke up SUPER anxious about loping bareback! All day long I knew that I was going out to the barn tonight and when I thought about it, my heart started beating really fast.  I have no idea why, we had a great ride the other night, and I hadn't even thought about trying to lope bareback.  However, I figured my body was trying to tell me something.

I grew up doing gymnastics, and I got the same feeling I would get when attempting a new skill for the first time.

The entire way out to the barn, I was panic attacky.  I got pony and my nerves would not quit it.  I got on her bareback...and off we loped!

Just kidding...but that would have been cool! Instead we walked a lot, we trotted a lot, she stayed super calm, and I tried to get her to lope.  She would pick it up, then stop.

I knew that I had too tight of reins on her, so she couldn't comfortably lope.  She could tell I was tense. Finally, I did it all the way down the length of the arena.  and we loped! It was fast, I grabbed mane and held.  It was sketchy.  But I stayed on, didn't get hurt, and am no longer anxious.

Did we do perfect? Hell no.  Did we look terrible? 100%

Do we need to work on it? Heck yes.  Am I going to wake up in a cold sweat from now on? I'm feeling like its a no!

I don't know why this sudden anxiety arose in me, but my body was obviously telling me something, so I went ahead, tempted fate, and am feeling a bunch better about me and my pony now.

Just so we all know this...I have loped before bareback.  On oreo..and it was not pretty.  I tried on her more than any other horse, and it was always sketchy! I fell off more times than I'd like to admit (she just had such a rough lope).  I had loped bareback on Liam (it was much more of a gallop....that was fun! Until I asked him to slow down and he gave me a 200 mph trot and I fell off..) and the last time I tried to lope, it was on a horse named kyra...a super forward morgan who is sweet...but forward! I couldn't get her to lope though, she just would not pick it up! She would trot fast and then I would lose it. It was so frustrating! That was probably a month ago or maybe thats where some of my anxiety was coming from.

Nonetheless, I am proud of myself for setting out and doing something that scared the bejesus out of me.   Bareback riding is just like anything else, it takes practice, and a hell of a lot of it.  I have a very good natural sense of balance, so I know I would be a good bareback rider if I simply's just sooo hard to do that when your scared! What I need to do is get my old gymnastics coach out to watch me and yell at me what to do..I bet that would work!!

And for your viewing pleasure, heres a picture of the darling oreo, she was suuuch a beautiful horse!

Oreo...She was a frame overo paint with a medicine cap and two blue eyes...can you think of anything more beautiful! 

Day Three Challenge

Question three : your best riding

This is quite the loaded question. I mean, if you think about it, everyday that you ride should be your new 'best riding' since no matter how much you know, you should always be improving.

The only exception that comes to mind is people that took a break from riding and are now trying to regain their previous confidence. I had a friend that grew up riding and rode for years, and then took about 20 years off, and when she returned she had zero confidence, and it has taken her time to rebuild that.

I will say that I went to a gymkhana this summer, and I was riding this little halflinger gelding. He's one of my favorite horses ever, he's such a cute guy. He had two riders that day, and he gave us both exactly what he knew we needed. He gave me a speed I have never been before. I think that was definitely some of my best riding.

However, now I am riding pony, and she has given me a whole other level of riding. She is the most oddly sensitive horse you will ever meet. She forces you to use your body correctly, or else she will let you know that there's a problem. She's so funny.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chats on the farmhouse porch 71

Everyday Ruralty

It's a great day for a chat on the farmhouse porch today!

Here are the questions :
1. Do you have your tree up yet? If not, when will you put it up? If you don't have a tree, please tell me about another tradition you like.
2. What was the best job you ever had? The worst?
3. Do you drive around and look at Christmas lights? If not applicable, tell me something you like to look at when you go for a drive.
4. Does your tea kettle have a whistle?
5. Do you like boots?


1. Yes I do have my tree up! Its a very rare Christmas that my family actually spends Christmas at home, so usual we dont decorate, but this year I demanded that we put up a tree. So my mom and I went and got a little 3 foot tree, some lights, a garland and whatnot to hang up around our living room. It's perfectly and easily Christmas!

2. I would say the best job I've ever had is the one I have now! I've been blessed in the job field and have generally had pretty good jobs. Even my cruddy jobs were still not terrible, and in this economy that's saying something! The job I'm at right now has great hours, great pay and a great family. The worst job was horse related. Over the summer I was accepted to be a wrangler at a dude ranch. I got there to see the living conditions terrible, the horses not being treated well, and the pretenses under which I got hired false. So I left, and decided not to put myself in the situation where lives and horses lives were possibly in danger. It was a terrible situation.

3. I love to look at lights! I think it makes it feel so Christmassy. Plus, we have a radio station that plays 24/7 Christmas music, it makes the spirit come alive!

4. My tea kettle actually does not have a whistle. Our tea kettle just pops when it's done, so you kinda just have to remember that you put water on and go make your tea.

5. I LOVE boots. All sorts of boots. Rain boots, ugg boots, cute booties, heeled boots, but most of all COWBOY boots. I wear my boots everyday, regardless of if I'm going to the barn. They just feel like part of me!

Day Two challenge

Question two : What are your current riding goals?

My riding goals change often. In general, overall though, my goal is to be a good rider, communicate well with my horse, and be able to ride bareback just as well as I ride in a saddle!

Apart from that, my goals change monthly....for example, right now I am learning to ride English. And I am going to my first gymkhana with pony a week from Saturday.

Pony is perfect for me, because while she is very broke, she isn't finished in any area. So, she will go in any direction you point her, but she's not going to be perfect anywhere. And I'm the type of person that likes to dabble in all areas, and try new stuff all the time! So while I would like to jump, ponys not going to be a major show horse. While I would like to do gymkhana, I'm not going to be aaa+ with her, and that's ok! I want to do it all!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day One Challenge

Question One : When and why you first started riding

My first ever ride was when I was a baby, I was probably only a few months old, and I have a picture to prove it! We went to Mississippi to see my family, and I have an uncle that has a cart horse, and trains horses, and I'll be damned if thats not the most wonderfully broke horse in the world.  They have a picture of me sitting up on that horse and they said they let me walk around on him a little (someone kept their hands on me the entire time, my parents weren't trying to kill me or anything!

I'll see if I can find a picture and post it.  

After that, I rode off and on throughout my childhood, never much of anything, just girl scout trail rides, trail rides in Maui, etc.  

In the fall of 2010 I thought it would be fun to take some horseback riding lessons, so I started to look into it.  However, in my area there are two large equestrian areas, Martinez and Livermore.  Martinez is way closer to me, but way more expensive and all english.  So I looked into it, decided I couldn't afford it, and didn't think about it again.

Until about a year later, when my boyfriend moved up to Vacaville (about 40 miles north, cow country).  They got a girl that began boarding her two horses at their house.  We went on a ride once, and it was fun, but the girl was a bitch basically, and not very responsible with her horses.  Around that time, me and my boyfriend went though a rough patch, and I went up to Vacaville a little less.  I decided I needed a hobby of my own.  So I looked into some lessons again, and this time discovered the awesome equestrian area of Livermore, found a trainer that was really nice, worked with me well, and had reasonable prices.  So I guess it was part jealousy over the barn bitch that boarded at my boyfriends, but I am soooo happy I got into the wonderful world of our 4 legged furry friends, no matter why I did! I don't know where I would be right now without them!

Equestrian challenge!

So Crystal over at Ranch Riding is doing this awesome thing called a 30 day equestrian challenge, and I think it looks fun! So I will definitely be partaking! Here are the 30 questions!

Day 01- When and why you started riding
Day 02- Your current riding goals
Day 03- Your Best Riding
Day 04- A ride that impacted your life
Day 05- Your first fall
Day 06- All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)
Day 07- Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why
Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at
Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding
Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding
Day 11- Find a horse for sale online that you would want to buy
Day 12- Favorite horse color
Day 13- Most Embarrassing moment
Day 14- Your dream barn/farm
Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say?
Day 16- Your most recent fall
Day 17- Your equestrian idol
Day 18- Your grooming routine
Day 19- A discipline you would like to do that you’ve never done before
Day 20- Your favorite horse show
Day 21- Your perfect schooling outfit
Day 22- The importance of riding in your life
Day 23- Picture of your favorite jump/combo
Day 24- Your best riding friend
Day 25- Your dream trailer
Day 26- Biggest riding pet peeve
Day 27- You know your an equestrian when….. (Give 5 original ones)
Day 28- Helmet or no helmet?
Day 29- A style/trend in tack/riding apparel that you don’t like
Day 30- Your Future With Horses

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Saddle fit and a funny!

So I switched pony to a fleece bottom pad rather than her normal wool pad, and it completely changed the way she acted!

She was obviously so much more comfortable! I was so happy to see her relaxed and clearly no longer in pain.

It's just another reminder that our ponies will tell us what's wrong if we just take the time to listen to them!

And I saw this on Pinterest earlier, how hilarious is it? Well played horse, well played.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ponys are the lessons that just keep coming!

And welcome to part two of 'listening when your pony tells you something!'

So I've been riding pony, maybe two months ago. She is super forward, mostly at her lope (ahem, almost gallop) but I had slowly gotten her to slow it down a lot. In an English saddle, she gives me a beautiful lope. However, in the past few rides, she's been doing some weird things in a western saddle.

When I asked her to lope she gave me a little crow hop, and then especially on her left lead (which was always her better lead) when going around in a circle she was fine around one side and then she would go in a straight line and not want to turn, while giving a terrible 'jumpy' lope. It felt like she wasn't extending her back legs, and kept them together and kinda 'hopped' from front to back. So bizarre, right?

Except what I'm thinking is that the saddle is pinching somewhere. And sure enough, when I took off the pad today, there was a place where her fur looked like it had been rubbed badly on her left side, and none on the right side. So I'm thinking its pinching on the left side, so when she was on a left lead she tried to get her legs away from her, not under her like they should be.

The thing that I'm confused about is the fact that she was fine for probably 5 weeks, then acted like that once, then twice in one week, and now that's how she feels western.

So here's my question, do you think there is something that might have not bothered her, and then when she was ridden regularly it slowly started to bother her more?

My trainer said she doesn't always do great with a wool pad, so I'm going to switch her to a fleece, and hope it feels better for her.

There is another saddle I can put on her, but I'm first going to switch pads, then saddle so I can eliminate one thing at a time.

The only other thing I could think of would be that she might have lost some weight, and now it's pushing in different places.

She's such an honest, trying horse, that I know there's something going on that makes her uneasy, or hurting.

And here we go people, with the lessons you can learn from your pony! Don't forget that if you really listen to them, they will tell you what's going on!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lets go balance!

Today I had an awesome ride that went nowhere in the direction I thought it would.

I went to the barn expecting to ride in a western saddle and ride without stirrups, in order to work on my balance/bareback riding.

I did that for a little while, with great success, until pony took off galloping across the her defense, I definitely squeezed when I lost balance.  I am trying to get her to feel me better though, and understand what I want when I squeeze different ways, and understand the difference between 'oh shit I'm falling off' and 'ok lets have some speed'.  Which is obviously tough for a speedy horse to grasp! So I don't expect her to get it, but this is why I'm doing stuff like loping with no stirrups rather than loping bareback! Its all about perspective haha.

After her spaz attack, I had a super tough time getting her back into a nice easy lope, and when we finally achieved that, she was able to stop and walk around! But after a few minutes of that, I thought that actually, it would be fun to switch her to english and cool her off that way.

So I switched her gear to english gear and went back out there.  My trainer was giving another lesson at the time, and set up some trot poles and a (I have no idea what the name for it is) but its two x's with a pole attached, so you can make it ground level, about 6 inches, or about a foot high.

It was at the ground level, and I was working on trotting and walking around and over them in two point.  She was doing fine on all of those things, and then while trotting around the other side of the arena, my trainer turned the x pole over, so it was about 6 inches high.  Me and pony both realized this around the same time, as we were going over it.  She tripped on it, and started to go down, and caught herself, then started to go down again, and caught herself, and then stumbled again.  It was ridiculous! and I rode the entire thing!

There was also a cowboy in the arena, and he came over and said I deserved a cowgirl high five for staying on that one.  My trainer said she is continually amazed with how well I handle falling off, or having a horse trip.

Here are just a few examples of why she feels that way......

1) One of her lesson horses, kadin, was my favorite horse in the world.  However, he had kinda wonky feet and it took a while to get him into shape and his feet in good condition.  In that time, he tripped a bit.  I was one of the riders that worked with him the most/asked the most of him.  At a gymkhana, we did barrels at a nice lope, and on the way home I asked for more speed, which resulted in him tripping at the finish line and me having a nice little fall.  It was honestly hilarious though,  I have it on video.  I will have to try and find that to post.

2) A few weeks after that, we were riding in an arena that we didn't usually ride in, and it had thicker sand than the other ones.  He tripped, badly, ended up rolled over on his side, however, somehow I had already landed a few feet away from him, on my side with nothing wrong other than sand in my pants.

3) We went on a trail ride and went through a gate, and I tried to get Kadin to hold the gate for the people behind us.  However, by the time we got through it, Kadin was dead set on seeing his friends up ahead, and I was deadset  on holding the damn gate! Since I had one hand on the gate and he was walking straight ahead, I tried using my leg to guide him, but I ended up being fully stretched, midair, with only one foot in a stirrup, still holding onto the gate and holding onto the rein on the side that was useless to me.  Finally I had to let go of the gate and I jumped down onto my feet.  The entire trail ride party kind of sat there in shock for a minute, I guess it looked like it was going to be a big dramatic fall.

4) She's seen me fall off bareback numerous times, but its always a step off, land on my feet type of a thing.

5) I used to ride a horse named oreo, one day I went into the pasture to say hi to her.  She was eating and content, and I didn't have a halter with me or anything.  So I jumped on her, bareback, because I had done that a few times before and she usually just walked around with me on her back and kept eating.  However, apparently I left the gate unlatched, because the wind blew it open, and as soon as I knew it she was galloping across the pasture towards the gate with me on her back.  So I swung a leg over, landed on my feet, and started running after her!!

And it just makes me wonder, you know? Because I can't lope bareback to save my life, but when a horse is tripping, falling, or I am falling I have never even been close to hurting myself.  And what it is, is that after so many years of gymnastics training, where we are trained to just let ourselves fall, if you stick out an arm you'll break it, if you stick out a leg you'll break it, so obviously your body as a whole should break your fall.  I just wish I had that instinct for riding bareback!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chats on the farmhouse porch

So through the awesome blogger over at Living a Dream ( I was able to find another awesome blog called Everyday rurality. She posts chats on the farmhouse porch, which is a few questions that you copy to your own blog and give your answers! Here are her questions!

1. What's the last thing you baked?
2. What's your favorite condiment?
3. Do you have a smart phone, dumb phone, or no phone(we're talking about cell phones)?
4. Do you have a favorite card game?
5. Tell me ten things you're thankful for - please:)

And my answers!

1. I baked cookies last week. The really stupid sugar cookies that come with a picture on them and all you have to do is dump them on a pan and put in the oven! But they are oh so tasty!
2. I really like ranch! And blue cheese from buffalo wings places, they have such good blue cheese I don't know why!
3. I have an iPhone! And I'm attached to it! I do have times where I put it down and spend the day without it, to make sure I'm not like obsessed with it.
4. I love to play card games! There's one called kings crown, or something that we always play at family gatherings that's fun!
5. I'm grateful for my family, my wonderful boyfriend, my awesome pony, the fact that I have a job and can afford to lease pony, the food I have to eat, the roof over my head, my car and truck!, the good health in my family, the circumstances that led me to find my trainer, and my kitties :)

Everyday Ruralty

Monday, November 19, 2012

Problem solved

So if you read my last post, you'll know me and pony had a few problems.

Pony is actually my trainers horse, and I have a full lease on her. Since I've never been a horse owner, and have only been riding a little over a year, it's really nice to have someone who knows the horse inside and out nearby when I have a problem. This way, the problem can get solved the right way!

So, pony is a very interesting horse. She's super honest, super forward, and super sensitive.

Basically, what we think happened was that she got frustrated and was trying to tell me that something was wrong. Usually her left lead is better, but I kept thinking she wasn't picking it up. Since she's so small and has such a long mane, it's kinda hard to tell which lead she's on, so even though I think she was picking it up, I kept slowing her down and asking for it again and thinking she was in the wrong when she was really doing what I asked.

My trainer suspects that when I thought she kept doing something wrong, I got frustrated and she could tell. Amanda (my trainer) describes her as a sensitive little kid. She gets really upset if she thinks your yelling at her.

So, her crowhop was the pony version of laying on the floor and crying because she didn't know why I seemed frustrated with her when she was doing what I asked!

So. The best solution to her little meltdown really isn't working her hard because she honestly loves to work, and it was her way of letting me know she was frustrated upset and confused. So honestly, this one was on me.

The best way to get what you want out of her is to stop her (because what she wants is to just run around, so really stopping her is showing her balking doesn't get her what she wants) refocus her, give her something that she can do easily and right, rebuild her confidence, then try again.

I know if your reading this you might think 'that's stupid, she crowhopped and you let her get away with it.'

While yes, you shouldn't teach your horse that crowhopping or balking is a way to get their point across, she had already given me a lot of hints as to her frustration, and I wasn't listening to her. She did something that I would listen to, but that wouldn't hurt me because she knows me and my seat.

I'm taking it like it was a lesson to me to pay attention to my horse and figure out what exactly it is that they are telling me before I jump to conclusions and use firmer cues etc.

Because pony is a very honest horse. And Amanda got her as a mustang and broke her, and she said she has never seen her buck under saddle in her entire time owning her, which is impressive for a previously unbroke mustang!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Today was a bit rough...

I've been super busy today and haven't had time to see pony as much as I would have liked to.  I rode her on monday, but it was an easy bareback trail ride, and she was already hot on monday.  But then again, she's the type of horse that is ALWAYS hot.  My trainer calls her the energizer bunny haha, and its so true! 

But today, she was just clearly on a whole different playing field.

Usually, when asked to lope, she goes into it nicely, she'll hump up a little if you give her too much rein.   Once in a while though, she will anticipate it and she will shoulder out and hip in.  Today, she tried to do that, and I put leg on when I felt it begin to happen, and do you want to know what her response was? A buck!

Like, what the heck! I couldn't believe it.  It didn't get me off, but it really surprised me! 

I've had horses hump up on me before, but I've never had a horse actually buck.  So, I was a little caught off guard, and since my trainer wasn't with me I didn't exactly know what to do.  My first response was to pull her face to my knee and circle her hard and yelling at her.  Then I loped her, for a while.  

Hold on, it was not a lope.  We galloped.  She's so forward and crazy, she only lopes when you really relax into it, and no amount of relaxing could get her to slow down, so when she finally did a 'not gallop' lope, I stopped, got off, untacked, and then took her back to the place where she bucked, and lunged her until she decided she wasn't going to buck again.  I was not happy with her.  But honestly, I felt bad for working her, but at the same time, she had no reason to buck! The only thing I could think of was that I had too much rein on her, but I honestly don't think thats the case. 

The only other thing I could think it might have been was that she didn't actually buck.  Since I've never been bucked before, she may have done something else, but I thought she bucked.  

Basically it felt like her butt went up higher than her shoulders. I slid forward into the saddle, it didn't unseat me, it was kinda like her back got really low, if thats a way to describe anything? 

Can anyone tell me if you think she did buck?

Anyways, on a brighter note, I have a bunch of pictures that will brighten anyones day!!

This is one of the two barn cats, Miss Kitty. (The other is Waylon)
Miss Kitty is adorable! And she loves spending time in my tack room! We have to check for cats before we lock up, no one wants to lock a kitty in all night! How cute is she? Thats her favorite hangout, is that one saddle.  She's super sweet though, as is Waylon, they loveee a good pet.

After I rode pony, I got a soapy bucket and washed her whites. She has such pretty high whites on all fours, and I felt like making her stand a while longer since I was still unhappy from the buck. 

Look at those pretty whites :)

And then......

Which of course led to.....

Seriously pony?! Seriously!!!!
I guess she was in a bratty mood today.

But, here, meet Mario

Mario is the cutest mini in the world.  He lives with pony (along with a chestnut and a bay) 
He is literally like a big puppy.  If you call his name he will run over to you.  I've met some nasty minis too, but he is as sweet as sugar.

In case you ever wanted to know what its like to look up the nose of a mini

I was rubbing his forehead and accidentally did this.  Woops, sorry man.

And then of course, since Mario was getting attention, Pony got jealous

Doesn't Mario have some pretty colors though?

So she came over.  And then, the chestnut wanted some attention too, and ran Mario away! Poor little guy

Anyways, that was my day at the barn!

Ps. if you read my post about my blanket....
my kitty loves it.

Awesome DIY blanket!

So this post isn't exactly about horses, but it's definitely horse related! 

I went to Joanns last night to get fabric to make this shirt 

(Here's the link to the tutorial in case any three of my followers are do it yourselfers!)

They didn't have any good jersey knit, so I didn't end up being able to make it.  However, when I was walking around I found some awesome fleece! I'm sure everyone has seen those cool no sew fleece blankets

Like this!
(Tutorial link/credit here)

However, I found a super awesome alternative to that! While those are fun, I think the sewn edges can be a little kid-ish (not that theres anything wrong with that! I just didn't think it would go with my fabric as well)

So I found this tutorial that gives this super pretty edge! And it is still totally no sew.

Its fun right! So I found this awesome fleece that was totally on sale, and it had horses on it! What more could I ask for! So I got two yards of two different patterns of fleece.  

First, I moved a bunch of furniture out of the way in my living room. And I laid down my first fabric
Isn't it awesome? A wild west, cowboy fabric!

Heres my second fabric! 

Wild Horses! Isn't it cool?

So first I cut off the excess fabric that is actually called the selvage, which is something I learned last night.

Then I forgot to continue taking pictures.  I had to cut one inch slits all the way around the sides, I laid the two pieces together and cut through them both at the same time.  However, I cut the pieces closer to like two or three inches long, so I had to trim each piece when I cut a small slit in each one.

Here was my scraps pile.  Holy crap.  And then I followed the tutorial I put the link to and used a crochet needle to pull each piece through the one before.  

I did have a little helper with me though

Isn't she cute? She pounced on the tape measure everytime I had it juuuuust right. So dang helpful!

Aaaaaand (drumroll please) here is my finished project! Do you like it? I love it! Its so comfy and cute, and I think the edge looks pretty dang good!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Peaceful ride

After spending the weekend with my boyfriend (as I do every weekend, he lives about 40 miles north) I got home this morning and was really dragging my feet about going to the barn.  The barn is about half an hour drive, but its closer to an hour if you get stuck in traffic, which is pretty much 7-9:30 in the morning, but 4-7 at night.

So finally I got up off my booty and dragged myself to the barn.  Its not that I didn't want to ride, its not that I don't love pony, I just didn't feel like getting up off my butt!!

So I got to the barn and pulled pony out and brushed her and picked her feet and combed her hair, bridled her and jumped on.

Well, I rode her on Friday, but not saturday or sunday, and she was hot.  She's usually sooo understanding of me when I'm bareback, but today she wasn't crazy in the least, she just wanted to do more than I let her do.  So we went out to pasture and up the hill, and it was so fantastic, just sitting directly on your pony in the sunshine looking out over all the hills.

I really need to start bringing my camera with me, I'm always forgetting!!!

The best part of the day by far was when I went to put her back.  She really likes people, but she doesn't necessarily broadcast that.

Everytime you go to get her, she runs away, and its not in a mean way, more like a 'hey lets play a game!' way, because when you stare at her and let her know you're not going to play, she lets you walk right towards her.

So today when I put her back, she stood there with me.   She didn't walk away, she just let me hug her and cuddle her and get all up in her business.  She then walked away to pee, and then came right back over to me! She's such a sweet mare, I honestly didn't want to leave!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The difference a great trainer can make!

So I rode pony for a second time English, on Monday.

She is a very funny and forward little pony, and I am not exactly foolproof in an english saddle (I can count on one hand how many times I've ridden english, so who would be!)

So on Monday morning, I headed out to the ranch and figured I would get through all three gaits today english.  I did wear a helmet (English safety!), and was all alone (the ranch was pretty empty, which is weird!).

I am usually pretty confident with horses, and I really like to push my limits on what I think I can do.  However, I try to take the safest route when pushing these limits.  So, to work with her, I rode her in the round pen! I thought it would be easiest to not worry about directing her, and only worry about my seat.  So, we trotted one way, and then we trotted the other way, and then we loped on her left lead! And it was nice! very smooth, and I thought I sat it quite nicely!

And then, of course, to make things even, I had to lope her on her right lead! Well, I asked for a lope (oops, canter) and she gave it to me, then broke to a trot, then tried to pick up her canter again.  I don't know if it was my seat that threw her off, or if I was hanging on her mouth (I really am pretty good about not hanging on her mouth, I often give her too much rein, which makes her a little crazy when shes allowed to go fast!) but something made her break gait, and boy it was not smooth.

In a western saddle, it wouldn't have been a problem.  However, in an english saddle, I first lost balance, and then my foot went out in front of me.  For those of you that have never ridden english, english stirrups go wherever you point them, unlike western stirrups that only have so much play to them. Once my feet were in front of me, I hung on her mouth, which scared her! She then squirted out from underneath me, and I went flying and ate dirt hard.

I have fallen a fair amount of times (all while trying to lope bareback, silly me, and twice when the horse I was on tripped) and usually I do a cute little step off and then fall on my booty.  But let me tell you, there was nothing graceful about this.  I landed hard, and ended up with sand all over me (for those of you that don't fall much, it gets in your buttcrack, up your shirt, your bra turns to sandpaper) oh its no fun.

So of course, what did I have to do? I had to get back up on her, sweating with anxiety, and lope her! Which I did.  And what did I do after I cooled her down? I texted my trainer and said 'English was super fun until I fell on my butt, can you give me a lesson this week?'

My fall had scared me, but after years of gymnastics training, I have a pretty good fear tolerance.  In gymnastics, if you get scared and you hit a block, there is nothing anyone can say or do until you man up and decide to do it.  And the same holds true to horseback riding.

So today, I had a lesson with my trainer.  In the trot, she told me what to fix and praised me when it was done correctly.  When it came time to lope, we worked on the left lead first, Ponys naturally better lead.  When it came time to lope to the right, I was scared.  But what could I do? My trainer can't hold my hand through it, she can only position my body and trust me to do it.  So I loped her.  And we loped for a while, and lets be honest, it was a great lesson!  It was so much fun! Lots of hard work, but I really got my confidence back, and I was so happy! I was also proud of myself, for simply manning up and doing it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Lets be honest, we could all use more patience in our lives.

I have worked with kids for years, but I have much less patience for the younger ones. I find myself getting frustrated when the little guy I'm with now walks soooo dang slow, or when he eats, sooooo dang slow, or changing, or waking up. Lets be honest, when they're three they have two speeds : super hyper fast, and slower than molasses in January.

I also find myself losing patience in my relationship. It's not very fair though, since a lot of the time I am not clear with my feelings.

How do we move past losing patience?

It's tough. I usually take a deep breath, remind myself that it's not whoevers fault, and remind myself that I need to have more patience.

I think that having more patience also runs hand in hand with enjoying the little things in life.

When I get frustrated with my little guys slow moving feet, I look at him and see how sweet he is, how funny he dressed himself, and remember that's just how kids are! They don't understand the urgency us as adults often feel.

It's tough! But remember its worth it to take time to smell the roses and walk in the sunshine.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Woohoo English!

So pony can totally jump, willingly.

So, I of course want to ride her English as well as western.

I have dabbled in English first ever lesson was English, and then I took some western lessons, and then I went back for another English lesson, the same trainer was super rude and condescending when I told her I was taking western lessons. She spent the entire lesson pointing out what I was doing wrong, and how it was because I rode western.

Basically I left the lesson in tears. It took me a while but I was finally able to work up my courage and find a different trainer and go take an English lesson.

So anyways, when I started leasing pony, Amanda said she had a saddle I could use but it had no attachments (leathers, irons and girth). So this weekend, up in Sacramento I found a store that was all consignment tack! Which is awesome! I was able to get a good quality leather girth that fit pony for only 25 dollars! I was also able to find leathers for 7.50! Unfortunately there were no irons for sale, so I bought those at a regular tack store that cost about 35. So I was able to ride pony English tonight!!

However, what I didn't notice until I had gotten home was the leathers I bought. One was in great condition, but the other was waaaay stretched out. Like, I don't know how it even could have happened. Ill include a picture...the picture I took had the leathers lined up even, look how much further down the first hole is on one of them! So...I was able to fix it. Punch more holes of course!

Doesn't pony look cute English? :)