Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thank You All

I want to thank you all that commented on my post yesterday about the fall that I did the right thing.  It honestly made me SO much happier to know that even though I felt super awkward and wished I knew what to do, I made the correct decisions.  Especially now that I know how bad it is.  Are you guys prepared for this?

He broke his clavicle (which is why his left side hurt so bad, and I always had to help from the right).  And he broke his ribs in 9 different places.  He broke some ribs multiple times.  That, my friends, is a pretty nasty fall.

He stayed at the hospital overnight, and he will stay a few more days for them to watch. Their fear is that since he cannot take deep breaths due to the rib fractures that his lungs will fill with fluid and he will get pneumonia.  I feel so bad, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.

Anyways, that pretty much puts a damper on any post! But me and pony had a great ride today.

Aw, pony and her mini were bonding.

We went english, and I was so proud of her.  I set up two ground poles followed by a cavaletti.  We trotted a lot, and I loped her some and then I trotted her over the poles and then the cavaletti, then changed direction so I was trotting over the cavaletti and then the poles.

I worked a lot on two point (ouch my muscles!) and then, going into the corner before the caveletti, she picked up a lope once! She loped over the cavaletti, over the ground poles, and then started crowhopping/mini bucking!

I was so surprised. By two things.  1) That she picked up her lope and watched her feet and did so good over the poles and 2) That she started crow hopping!

My first thought was that I had her head too much and didn't give when she went over the cavaletti.  But, my best riding trait is that I have super soft hands (its something I just naturally have, I am so thankful for it, since its so hard to train yourself to have softer hands!) So I honestly did not think that was the culprit.  I went out of the arena to find my trainer and let her know, and she told me its something that green horses do, they get excited and proud of themselves for completing the task correctly.

So, that made sense, and is pretty cute.  We did it again, and she didn't do it, so obviously it was just an excitement thing.

We went back into the arena, I wanted to try it again and end on a good note, not a confused note (ok lets be honest, I was really excited that we had loped over it all and wanted to do it again!) but I was SO proud of what I received.

I trotted her a few more times, and she didn't pick up a lope.  I really didn't want to push her into the lope, since there were so many things she had to watch her feet over, I didn't want to push her into it and then regret it, and give her a bad experience.  However, I picked up a lope and went all the way around the arena..she was going pretty fast so I figured we would go around and not go through the jump.  Instead, coming into the corner in front of the jump, she slowed down and collected her limbs and did it perfectly.  It was SO freaking adorable.

If she's going to crazy-canter, I would much rather have her do that when we're not facing a jump, rather than her be calm until we get close to a jump!

It was quite awesome.

Then....the day was not over.  I washed her high whites, because she's cute.  She wasn't really a fan of that.  She kept just walking away from the wash rack, which is funny, because she isn't afraid of was more of a 'yeah, maybe if I just walk home she won't notice....'

Look at those pearly whites :)

This is off topic, but I found this super interesting.  The fact that she has high whites and stripes that fade into her roan, and she also has a white chin, she has the paint gene in her! So when she did have a foal, it was a paint foal! I thought that was really interesting!

Then, I went and got Kadin, my prince charming of horses..who is a grey arab with the poopiest butt you will ever see on a horse.  He desperately needed a spa day.

So he got all prettied up! He's so good though, once you take the hose to his butt, he lifts up his tail and really lets you scrub around in there....its quite hilarious.  But he looked absolutely gorgeous afterwards!

Tell me that is not the sweetest arab face you will ever see! This guy honestly stole my heart a while ago, I'm sad I don't ride him anymore.
And obviously the best way to dry him off was to ride him...I walked all over the ranch bareback for a barefeet nonetheless.  My boots got soaked so I put them in the sun to dry while I walked him around.  I haven't ridden him since probably may, I forgot how much I love that horse!

He's so chill hahaha.  But, LOOK at that wither.  Like a dang shark fin!  It definitely gave me a stopper when walking downhill though!

Once I was ready to get off, I did something I honestly think I deserve an award for.  I picked up one of my boots and sock with a broom handle while on Kadin.  It was awesome, and took SO much effort.  Kadin stood there like a pro though.  I was working on boot number two when someone walked by and picked it up for me.  I told them not to, but they did anyways.  I was pretty bummed.

Then, I even managed to get close enough to pony to untie her and pony her over to her home, which is where I finally got off of him to put her away.  That gate is impossible from horseback, otherwise I might have tried!

I spent about 7 hours at the was pretty awesome.

And this has nothing to do with anything, but are those not the creepiest lawn ornaments you have ever seen? I mean, who would buy those?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mutual Respect

So today when I went out to the barn, I was almost done grooming pony (I had half of a foot left to pick) when I heard a fall from the arena.  I went over to see what had happened, and I saw a beautiful palomino standing by the gate with no rider.  I opened the gate and he stepped towards me, stepped on his rein, couldn't figure out how to get away from the pressure, spun around and I saw myself getting kicked for a second.  Luckily, he had a pretty calm head and didn't even offer a kick.  He simply walked around in a circle a few times until I picked up the rein and started to lead him down to the man on the other side of the arena.

It was an older man, I later found out he is almost 80, I was thinking more along the lines of 60.  He was panting and heaving on the ground.  I asked if there was anything I could do and he said no.  So I stood there.  For about 20 minutes until he asked me for help.  He was clearly prideful, and I didn't know what else to do.  I didn't know the man, or the horse, so I couldn't go put him away by myself.  Finally, he asked me to step to his other side and help him up (he fell on his left shoulder so wanted help on his right side).  He leaned against the horse and we slowly walked to the gate so he could go sit down in the tacking area.

We made it to the gate before he needed some more rest.  We stood there for another few minutes before we stepped through the gate.  He took another few minutes rest before he made it to the chair and sat down.  I haltered the horse and tied him up while he described to me where to put his tack.  Turns out the horse is one he leases from the barn.

This horse was an absolute angel this entire time.  He was the sweetest thing in the world.  I put him away, went and got the man some water and sat with him for a few more minutes.  At this point, it had probably been about 40 minutes from the fall.  He was having trouble taking deep breaths.  Finally, we walked to his car and he got in and I rode with him to the gate so I could get out and open it for him and he didn't have to move.  He said he was on his way to the hospital.  I told my trainer about it later, and she called him, he made it there with his wife and they were waiting for xrays when she talked to him.

I guess last time he fell, he broke a few ribs.

I felt so bad, and wished I could have taken more charge of the situation, but he was clearly very stubborn/proud and I just stood there and let him tell me when he needed help.  I didn't want to start yanking him up if he wasn't ready to get up yet! Plus, im 20 years old, clearly I have never experienced a fall at his age.

Anyways, the point of this post is about what someone at the ranch said when we talked about it later.  He said 'knowing those two MAN (not putting names) probably kept asking for stuff and HORSE probably let him know he was done.'  He said it in a totally respectful way, not like he was saying the rider was a bad rider or anything.

But my point is, we expect our horses to respect us.  We are constantly asking for them to follow what we want, where we want it, how much we want, etc.  In turn, we need to listen to our horses when they tell us that they are done.  I'm not saying you have to fall off, or they have to do something bad to tell us.  Listen to their small cues that let you know they feel like they have done a good job and they are ready to stop.  Listen to them if they are speedy horses and they suddenly really don't want to go anymore.  Listen to them if they get a bit unruly, calm them down then call it a day.  Listen to them if you get on and they seem crazy from the get go, keep it a walking/groundwork day and call it a day.

With that being said, if you respect your horses wants/needs, I honestly do not think they will abuse it.  They won't pretend to be off, or do whatever quirk it is that lets you know, everytime you get on them! They will work, until you are done, or they are done.  This obviously comes with exceptions, so take it with a grain of salt, as all advice goes.  But just remember that.  Take what you can get, and respect your horse when they give you all they have and are then done.

This is put into play perfectly with pony last night.  She was absolutely crazy.  So crazy that the owner of the barn asked me to ride in a different arena since she was teaching lessons and they were beginners. (She was very kind about it, but it hurt nonetheless)  We went to the upper arena, and she was absolutely a nut job.  I sat back and let her choose her gait, and it was a crazy lope with some humps.  Clearly, that was not working since the longer she did it the worse it got.  I couldn't get more than two steps of walk before she was trotting.  I finally took her to my trainer and let her know that I honestly think its saddle fit.

And it was.  I switched saddles, took her back to the arena and she was a different horse.  She was clearly still a little hot, but when she loped it was beautiful  However, the second time I asked for a lope, it was much faster.  She was telling me 'Hey, girl, its almost feeding time and I've been pinched and prodded and I wanted to go home.'

So we ended it there.  Because she had had a rough day! She was tired of me being on her, and I had figured out that it was the saddle fit that was causing problems.  I was happy respecting her wishes that she was done being ridden since she had put up with me through a pinchy saddle.

Monday, January 28, 2013

You learn something new everyday

Kind of like the fact that ponys feet are striped!!

I had no idea. Her feet are always muddy/dirty/dusty. And while I always scrape the mud off, they are still always left just dusty/ dirty

For some reason I decided to actually hose off her feet, and I was surprised to find dainty little stripes!!

By the way, on the last picture (blogger for iPhone is kinda stupid, so it might not be the last picture) it's a picture of RH.

The hoof looks abnormal, right? It's like a piece of her hoof was kind of gummy on top, it was very bizarre. I thought it could have been the tiniest bit hotter than the rest, but that could have been my imagination. My trainer said unless she seemed off that it was probably fine, but the farrier will be out this week and he can take a look at it.

EDIT : I tried all weekend to post this from blogger for iphone, and it kept refusing to, but I was away from my computer.  Nonetheless, these are all from a few days ago, and pony's weird hoof spot went away, my trainer thinks that when she was with the bitchy mares she stood out in the rain/mud when she usually stands inside so she probably just got a wet soggy spot but when the weather cleared up it did too!

Also, I know her toes look really long (mostly the front, the back look better) and she is overdue but the farrier will be here this week! But they definitely are not as long as that one picture makes it look, that was kind of a weird angle.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saga of the boarding continues...

In which pony gets to go back to her previous paddock! I'm really happy.  I think the final straw was today, I went to go get her, and it was feeding time, and she was standing on the far end and none of the horses were letting her near any food.  

I mean, I understand that theres a point of breaking in when a new horse gets introduced to a herd, but its been a week and her butt is still swollen.  The paddock shes in right now is right next to her old one, so she was just pacing back and forth by the fence like 'come on guys let me back in!!!'

She used to be boarded alone with pinky.  Pony loved pinky.  Pinky liked pony.  Pinky is kinda a bitchy mare.  Now that she has new friends, she doesn't like pony anymore.  I guess they were full on like butts against eachother and it got pretty sketchy there for a minute, I wasn't there to see it.

I'm just really happy she gets to go back in with all the horses she can bully haha.  

She is very sweet though.  She rarely is actually mean to any of her herd, she is just very dominant.  She doesn't have to kick or bite to show what she wants, a simple ear flick and she gets it, and then shes nice. 

So, since she isn't getting moved back until tonight, I gave her an extra big bucket of grain, since she clearly wasn't allowed near any of the food.

And let me tell you, this horse is the slowest damn eater I have ever seen.  She's such a freaking mustang.  Just look at this video.  I think part of it was that there was butte and electrolytes and psyllium in it, so it might have been a bit, thick...hahaha

She just makes me laugh to watch her.  She just has to take a bite, then look around, chew, look around, smell around, then take another bite.

My trainer did some endurance with her, and she finally had to stop because Pony would come up lame at the end, but have NO warning signs until then! It was like she was in pain but hiding it until the race was over.  Clearly, that doesn't work for anyone haha.  Also, because when she's in a different environment she didn't want to put her head down long enough to drink, so she'd wait until she was like about to pass out of thirst to drink.

Such a silly mustang!

Also, this is awesome.  Has anyone ever heard of the wild ponies of Chincoteague?  I just heard of them.  They are seriously awesome.  Its a small island in virgina that has Ponies that have adapted to beach life.  They eat sea grass and whatever grows in the dunes, and drink from freshwater ponds.  They live ON THE BEACH! how cool is that? They swim in the ocean! 

They are technically the property of the Chincoteague Fire Department, how weird is that? They maintain their land, etc and be sure that they have proper grazing and water, and in turn, every july they have water cowboys herd them from the ocean and they auction some of them off, very similar to how BLM does.  

Isn't that the most bizzare thing you've ever heard of?

How cool would that be to have a wild beach pony?! 

I guess the idea is that there were a lot of ship wrecks on the coast of the atlantic ocean in the 1500's and thats how these ponies came to be here...They made their way to shore once their ship had crashed and since this happened so many times, there became a herd! They adapted to eat forage that grows on the beach.

Its a really interesting thing! There are like, thousands of people that come out to watch the pony swim every year too. Its crazy.  

By the way, I found out how to upload videos to youtube where its not crazy pixely.  

In case anyone wanted to watch my shining moment in HD :)

Believe me, I don't blame you if you don't hahah

Also, here are pictures of ponies poor bum :( You can see where its swollen right near her tail.  

When I was grooming her too, she was fly kicking when I was rubbing her right side around her ribs.  Since there were no flies in sight, I'm going to assume she got kicked on her side too :( Poor pony!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 20 Challenge

Your favorite horse show

Ok, well since I haven't done a whole heck of a lot of shows, there aren't many to choose from.  And, I don't know if I can just choose one, since they were all special!!

The very first show I ever went to was with Kadin, an older arab, and he was absolutely perfect.  Looking back at the videos, we were ALL over the place, but we had developed a great bond at that point and he went exactly where I pointed him at the exact speed I asked him for.  It was great.

Another very memorable show was the Gymkhana I took pony too.  I really loved it because it took SO much effort from me and pony, and we came out the other side of it (second place overall) but also a much better bonded pair.  While that was not obvious at the time, it was pretty much the cruddiest conditions you could imagine, and we fought through it, and I know next time it will be way easier.

One of my other favorite shows was one that we put on by ourselves.  I don't know if I have told the story of Sombrero yet....but if I haven't, please let me know because its a greatly terrible one.  Basically,  I was hired as a Wrangler for last summer, summer 2012.  I was leaving June 11th, and I really wanted to go to one last gymkhana.   Me and Shannon had gotten up, loaded the trailer, loaded the tack, loaded the horses, picked up my horse from a different ranch (Kadin).  We got to the show, started to open the back trailer doors, I walked in, started untying Kadin, Brett pinned his ears and gave him evil eyes, and he freaked out, slammed his head, and we had to head back to the ranch to wait for the vet to come with stitches.

Anyways, (yeah, thats another greeeeat story) we didn't get to go to that gymkhana, and that was the last one I was going to be able to go to before I headed out to Colorado for the summer on the ranch.

So, since that didn't end up working out, we talked to a bunch of people at the barn and made our own gymkhana!  Everyone was invited, we did a few different classes.  My friend (that made me the belt) made bronc halters for the winners (they were seriously gorgeous!).  One girl brought snacks, one girl brought drinks, basically, everyone contributed in some way.  I didn't have any horses to ride at the time, so me and Allison both shared Liam.  I made ribbons for everyone.  We had about 13 people running events.

The idea was also to have a super chill event for people who were afraid of showing.  One of the girls there who is super amazing and a good rider, went to her first gymkhana at the same time I went to mine...she wasn't thinking far enough ahead, and fell off twice at that gymkhana, both times because her horse stopped at the end before she did.  It wasn't anyones fault, she wasn't hurt, just her pride.  Which is totally understandable! But she didn't want to go to another gymkhana.  There was also another woman who never wanted to go, so we wanted to have a fun 'show' like environment.  It was SO MUCH FUN!!

We ended up having a whole bunch of drama afterwards, etc etc etc.  But whatever, I hated that the day ended like it did, but remembering how much fun it was before was awesome.

Heres the ribbons that I made for everyone.  I should do a tutorial on making your own horse show ribbon haha.  They were easy, but WAY time consuming. Took me forever. And, I still have quite a few left haha.

Alright, cruddiest quality picture ever, but I was far to lazy to do more than snap it with my computer camera. You get the just haha

All in all though, I've never had a really shitty show day, because even the really tough ones amount to something! I love showing, I really do, and I hope to do more and more of it!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Trot til your abs ache...or laugh

Yeah, laughing works too!

I think its time I share some of the hilarious things I've seen on pinterest and repinned with you guys.

In case anyone wants to follow me on pinterest (I'm a pinaholic...) you can do so here.

If you don't know what pinterest is, or haven't tried it, you are honestly missing out.  Basically you look through 'pins' and it is a virtual pinboard, so there are recipes, pictures, articles...anything you would rip out of a magazine and pin to your wall, is the way I see it.  There are crafts, things to do with your kids, awesome time saving ideas, things that make your life simpler, helpful ways to organize, things to make a workout regime...seriously anything.  Theres also quite a few equestrian pinners too!  Here are some of the things I've seen that make me die of laughter....

Uhm, yup!

I laughed SO hard at this. What a good horse!

I know everyone just had someones face pop up in there head....

Cue "That's so weird, he's usually so well behaved..."

Yup, we've seen those ads hahahah

Crystal, this is for you! Haha!

Ok, Seriously though, I am obsessed with 'Hey Girls'. They are sooo funny.  And theres soo many equestrian ones.  I have a video somewhere of Ryan Gosling actually reading them, and its so funny, I'll have to put the link to that someday.

I showed this to bubby....he wasn't so amused hahahha.

Not a single person can disagree with this hahahha

There is no possible way you can't laugh at this.  I mean, come on. hahahahaha

This one just makes me laugh because the caption was

"uhm, theres a 9 year old girl loose in the ring so you should probably shut the gate..."

Anyways, theres a million more where that came from, but they ALWAYS make me laugh, so I thought I'd share! hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 19 Challenge

So for day nineteen the question is what discipline would I like to try that I have never tried before.

I would really like to get more into working cows.  I have a tiny bit, but not very much.  I wouldn't mind to learn to rope too.

Also, I think jumping is cool to learn, and me and pony are getting there.  It is a bit slow going because while I am trying to improve my english seat, I also don't want to lose my western seat, and I also ride bareback along with trail riding/riding around the ranch.  I think that eventing is really awesome too.

One thing that I wish I could just try once, is to ride a really well trained dressage horse, I definitely wish I could have a chance to feel those fancy moves, like a piaffe and a passage, etc.

I feel like the basics of dressage are things that I do in every ride with pony, sans perfect collection.  When seeing the lower level dressage tests, its honestly all stuff that you should always be working with your horse on, controlling their gaits, getting lower transitions, and upward transitions, transitioning from every gait, moving off your leg, etc.  With that being said, I am totally not saying that dressage is a piece of cake, if anyone takes it that way.  I just mean that my understanding of the lower levels of dressage is that its really being able to communicate quietly with your horse and have your horse be responsive to you.

The only things I'm not really interested in doing right now in my equine life is driving.  Not to say that I won't want to fiddle with it down the line, I think its awesome, just right now it's not something I'd want to test out.  I think I pretty much covered most things you can do with horses!

One other thing that I would think it would be cool to try for like, two seconds until I fell off would be riding side saddle.  It would be cool to just feel how different it is, you know?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Poor pony :(

So poor pony got moved to a different paddock setting on Thursday evening. When I went to see her yesterday her entire butt was swollen, and she had a hefty bite mark out of her RH.

Poor pony :(

So I saddled up anyways because my trainer said it would be best to get her moving and stretch out her hind a little.

So we did some long trot and some walking and took a little jaunt around the ranch.

How cute is she?


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 18 Challenge

My grooming routine

My grooming routine depends on two things

1) How much time I have

2) How dirty my pony is!
If pony has rolled in the mud, or is really dirty, I get to work with one of these and scrape all that pesky mud off of her. 

After that, I get all the dirt trapped underneath the mud with one of these

These are especially awesome for getting the mud on their legs and more 'delicate' areas that you don't want to scrape a big metal thing haha

Then I like to use a stiff bristled brush like this

with a flicking motion, to remove all the dirt that I curried up.  In the winter when her coat is really thick, I generally only use a stiff brush, once it gets nicer and she sheds out to a nice sleek coat, I use a soft brush after the stiff brush.

After that, I pick her hooves

I then use this stuff

In case any of you don't know what this is, its awesome.  Its at any drug store in the hair aisle, specifically under the 'ethnic hair' section.  It costs about 5 dollars and is literally a olive oil spray.  Its better than any horse detangler, cheaper, and better for their hair.  It also makes it super shiny, and has a kind of sweet smell.  One person at the barn got everyone else onto it, its seriously the best stuff ever. Spray enough of it in and it will get any amount of mud or tangles out.

Then I use one of these puppies 

and brush that pretty thing out! 

If pony isn't muddy at all, and its not shedding season, I skip the metal curry.  

If I am really in a hurry and am only jumping on her bareback or whatever, I skip the plastic curry (She stays really clean, i wouldn't do that if she didn't stay so clean!)

Also, I don't brush her mane and tail every time.  I don't want to rip out excess hair if I don't have to, and as long as it doesn't have massive tangles in it, I leave it alone, unless I'm bored or don't feel like it. 

The only two things that I do every single time, is pick out her hooves and brush her coat.  I sometimes even pick out her hooves after we ride, just to make sure that she didn't get any rocks lodged in her feet that would bother her.

And thats pretty much it! Everyone should check out the olive oil spray though, its awesome and you can't beat that price!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Alright blog-iends, I need your advice.

Pony can get a little hot.  Some days she's totally normal, and some days she has more trouble than others.

I can usually always deal with her, its not really a big deal.  I have, however, been having one main struggle that I am finally admitting I need some advice on.  I have a lesson with my trainer tomorrow, and I will in fact talk to her about it, but the truth is, that I am doing everything correctly, and really need some crazy off the wall suggestion.

Her biggest problem is that after we lope, her trot gets CRAZY.  

She will have a huge bouncy trot, then realize that we aren't going to canter again and slow down to a barely moving trot, then try and get really really big and fast again, and I have SUCH a hard time managing her trot after the canter.

She anticipates the canter, and I have done a heck of a lot of stuff to let her know that we don't always canter.

Here are the things that will probably be the first suggestions that people have, that I have in fact been doing :

- We don't always lope from the same spot.  Sometimes its a corner, sometimes its a straight, sometimes we lope in a line, sometimes we do small circles, sometimes we do big circles, etc.
- We don't always lope from the same gait.  Sometimes its from a halt, sometimes its from a walk, sometimes its from a trot.
- I do a lot of trot work, its not like the only time we trot is when I'm getting ready for a lope.
- We don't always do the same thing before we lope.  For example, we don't always do a figure 8 trot and then lope, or do two circles and lope, or anything.
- After we get done loping, we do a lot of trot work before she gets to cool out at a walk.
- I never ask her for a lope again if she's doing a crazy trot.  I always wait until she calmed down and focused on me, so clearly I am telling her that she will get what she wants when she settles down.

Basically, I switch it up a lot and give her different stuff to do and definitely do not make a set routine.  She just really wants to lope.  A lot of times, when I am posting after we lope if shes giving me a crazy trot, she will just start to lope again, I will relax and close my fingers, and she gives me the slowest most pathetic lope I have ever felt, and I know she knows what I want.

Anyways, does anyone have any off the wall advice with what to do? Ripping her mouth off won't help, she will get pissed and end up crazy trotting the second I give her reins again, its really a matter of getting her refocused, and she has been getting better about this.  Maybe once every 5 rides she will do this, its definitely not every time.  I think part of it is that usually she does this most at night, when she has food in her corral, and I think she thinks that the faster she gets through the ride the faster she can go back and eat.

I think it will take more time of me riding her, its still only been a few months since I've been riding her. She is still figuring me out, maybe she thinks if she does it long enough, she will get away with it....not with me my darling pony :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Equestrian Challenge Day 17

Day 17 : Your equestrian Idol.

Hmm, I may have been avoiding this one a little.  I honestly don't have an Idol.  I haven't been riding all that long, about a year and a half now.  I didn't grow up in the culture, and now that I am riding, I don't think I am completely emmersed in the culture.  I don't know when there is equestrian on tv, I couldn't name a barrel racer if my life depended on it.  I couldn't name any famous show-ey equestrian if my life depended on it, honestly.  Except this guy, but only because once you see this picture, it really has a way of sticking with you


I really respect and idolize people who have practiced and made the art of natural horsemanship famous.  People like Buck Brannan and Clinton Anderson. Also there is a man named Dr. Lew Sterret, who is a pretty awesome guy.  You can see his website here.  My grandmother saw him doing a clinic and got his shirt and sent me his book.  It's all about how your relationship with horses is similar to your relationship with god, etc, etc.  My grandparents are very devout southern baptists, and while I am not religious like they are, I appreciated the book. (My personal religious philosophy is that the way I act reflects upon myself.  I should treat others with respect, respect myself, and really try to be the best person I can be.) I really loved the book, and while there was a lot of religion in it, there was also a lot about his relationship with horses and how he trains them.

There are two things that stuck with me in his book more than anything else.

1) He was always great with horses, and finally got noticed by a reputable trainer and was offered a job under him. (This was when he was young and just beginning his professional career.) One day the trainer had given him the task of having the horse put his front hooves in a tire, and move the back ones around it.  So basically, a turn on the fore.  He said that he started by having the horse step into the tire, then tried to move his hind.  The long of the short, was that he was so concerned about making the horse do it so that he looked good on his new job, he hit the horse with the whip every time he took a wrong step.  The horse had no idea what was being asked of him.  Later, the trainer helped to show him to start from the beginning.  Only ask baby steps of your horse. Then move on to the harder task.  He had given the horse a task that he did not know how to do, and offered him nothing but criticism.  Looking back, he said he has always felt bad about the way he treated that horse that day, and has never gone a day without regretting it.

2)  There was a horse at one place that he worked at.  The horse was clearly high strung, and had more spirit than many other horses.  He was a good mount, but always had his head high.  The trainer of that horse could do nothing to get that head down.  His solution, was to take him out into a field, and tie his head down onto a concrete slab for a few days.  He said that once that horse came back in, his spirit was broken.  He was no longer the same horse.  He didn't have the sparkle in his eye, and never acted the same again.  He said that was when he realized he didn't want to be associated with people who used those methods, and he never, ever, wanted to break a horses spirit.  

Those don't exactly sound like passages that you would want to idolize, but those were two things that just really stuck with me now that its been over a year since I read the book.  But the breaking a horses spirit, thats something that creeps up on me all the time.  I never want my horse to feel like they don't have an opinion, or a say, or that they are only there to cart me around.  I want them to have spirit, to be able to run through the fields with me with no collection in sight.  

One other thing that comes to my mind when I think of equestrian idols....

Has anyone seen Wild Horse Wild Ride? 

Me and bubby watched it a few weeks ago, and it really was great.  I think it helped me work with pony a lot, seeing how scary it is for the mustangs.  

There were a few of the 'good old cowboys' that worked with the mustangs.

There were a few 'stupid as shit bimbos' that shouldn't even be on a horse, let alone training a mustang.

And there were a few people that really were awesome.

There was Wylene Wilson (who has a clinic a little north of me that I really want to go to in March!!!)

She got her mustang Saturday night, and was on her by monday.  If there was one way that I could describe the way she treated the horse, I would say fearless.  Like, honestly.  I think she was so sure of everything, that the horse had no time to even think! It was honestly like the horses attitude was 'what the hell, shes crazy'.  Which honestly, is a pretty cool attitude, when you think about it.  

She was just so dang confident, the horse had no option but to be confident as well.  By like three weeks in, she was riding her horse bareback and bridleless.  She trusted in him, and in turn, he trusted in her.  

There was one other guy in the movie that had the same approach.  

He put his horse in a round pen, and then just kind of sat on the edge of it.  He finally got up, walked about halfway in, never making eye contact, and then turned around and went back to the fence.  He looked like he had forgotten something and was going back to get it.  He continued to do that, everytime getting closer.  He finally got right up to the horse, reached out to touch him, the horse stood still, and he turned around and went back to the other side again.  It was honestly hilarious to watch.

The attitude of the horse was that he was so damn curious about what the hell the guy was doing that he forgot to be scared.  

So I guess, I don't really have an answer for you about who my equestrian Idol is.  Check back in a few years, I bet I'll have one then. 

By the way, here is the trailer for Wild Horse Wild Ride, in case you haven't heard of it.  It was definitely worth watching, it was really good.  It was so interesting to see different peoples approaches to it.  I was able to find it on Redbox, if you have those in your area.

And I looked far and wide for clips showing you guys Wylene Wilson, and Nik Kokal (the guy in WHWR) and I could not find any. Guess you'll just have to watch the movie!

Monday, January 14, 2013

In which Pony questions what this 'little thing' is

Pony is an awesome horse with kids.  She's super cautious and will be perfect for them.  If they ride her, she goes super slow and makes sure to keep them safe.

With that being said, she could never be a childs horse.  She would absolutely blow up if she was constantly worried about the small thing she is carrying around.

So I took the little boy I nanny for to see pony, and she was just adorable!

Do you see the horse behind them? When we pulled up Reed goes 'oh my gosh i see a Giraffe!!'
Hes four.

Look at how curiously protective she looks!

Ground tied like a champ!

He was feeding her carrots, and he kept dropping them when her lips got close to his hand.  Then,  I held his hand in mine to help him feed her, and when she took it he started screaming and clapping his hands in excitement, when he was basically this close to her face.  She kind of moved her face back in surprise but was pretty much like 'oh the little thing screams at me. ok...'

Alright, everyone needs to take a look at this picture, and wonder if shes not like part donkey.  I mean, come on!!! Look at those ears! It makes me laugh sooo hard when I see this picture.

He wasn't scared of her at all, but he was definitely a little bit nervous of her big lips and wandering nuzzle.  Look at how sweet she looks though :) She's all over her new little friend. But also, sooo gentle, There was never a step too close, or any semblence of a nibble.

I looped her lead over her neck and put his hand under her chin to lead her, and she totally let him! She barely moved her feet, as to be careful not to step on him.

She was so curious about him!

She looks like she has grumpy ears in all of these pictures, but she was just being very aware of her surroundings, she was super relaxed with him, but clearly protective and watching out.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

So much to catch up on

I have not blogged about my riding in quite some time! I went to Oklahoma for christmas to stay with my family, and ended up not seeing pony for almost two full weeks!

So a quick catch up, when I was in oklahoma I went riding, got put on a cruddy horse and got switched to a totally awesome horse.  While this horse was totally awesome, I snapped my ankle, HARD, and definitely thought I broke it. It wasn't the horses fault, it was completely mine.  The tack I was riding in was way huge for me, too long of stirrups even on the shortest setting, too big of saddle, thinking back I would have been better off riding bareback! This horse was a nicely bred somewhat expensive cutter (unfortunately no, there were no cows to work) and he had the dreamiest lope I have ever felt.  It was nicer than the one gaited horse that I rode, and I didn't even feel like I was moving when I was riding the gaited one! So he was just wonderful, but the stirrups were at the point where if my heels were not down, my foot was touching the stirrup.  So I was riding with barely any contact in the stirrups at all, and they set out barrels for me.  I went to take the first barrel at a right turn, and DAMN can this horse turn.  I put leg on too early, since I didn't think he'd turn so fast and he turned in front of the barrel and turned so fast and so well that I lost my right stirrup completely, and when I did that I overcompensated for the left stirrup right as he came back up from the turn and basically since I was barely touching the stirrup it got slammed down into it and turned my ankle completely on the side, basically so that the bone on the outer side of your ankle was touching the bottom of the stirrup.  It was brutal.  It wasn't the horses fault, it was mostly mine for having ill fitting tack.

Anyways, so once I got back I went to the barn, and saw Pony for the first time in two weeks.  And, since my ankle was still swollen and hurt, and Pony can be rough on your stirrups when shes crazy and hot, I did some ground work with her! First day I brought her out and groomed her, which of course took forever because she was filthy after not being groomed for two weeks (and she doesn't wear a blanket!)  I then just jumped on bareback and walked around the ranch for a while.  She was of course calm, because shes always fine until you reeallly ask something of her. After I got off, I kept walking without holding onto her lead, and she followed me quite a ways.  She followed me in circles, and even backed up next to me.  It was awesome.

Then, the next night, I went out with a pocketful of carrots.  I taught her to bow! It was slow going, shes a mustang and is not naturally trusting, and when she bends her legs with her head beneath her, thats a very vunerable position to be in! So I worked on that for about fifteen minutes, and then, with her halter still off, I took the rope and wrapped it around her neck and jumped on! She was kinda spazzy, but didn't try to do anything other than walk.

Day three was the best day ever.  It was seriously awesome.  I wish I had pictures of it, but I was lame and didn't take any.  I groomed her, found an old rope and tied it around her neck, and jumped on.

I started to walk around the ranch.

Now, I know most people will think I was being stupid and careless.  No way! I was showing my horse that I trust her, and in turn, she can trust me.  I wouldn't do this with any horse, and also, the entire ranch is gated, so if she took off, I can easily jump off of her, and she would probably just run back to her home.  No harm done.  So anyways,

I started to walk around the ranch, and found my trainer at the upper arena.  She saw me a little ways off and just shouted 'omg your crazy'.  You know your doing something awesome when your trainer thinks your crazy ahaha.  There were a few other people that ended up riding around the arena killing some time until another horse was ready to be ridden.

We made the funniest group.  It was me, bareback with only a rope on a pony, this girl who was on this huge OTTB who had the weirdest habit of kicking (I have never seen that huge of a butt on a thoroughbred!) She would just stand there, totally relaxed, eyes relaxed, head down, ears relaxed, and just kick a leg.  Then the next one.  Sooo weird.  The last horse was this cute paint who was being ridden double by my trainer and another girl.  We must have looked like the funniest group! We walked around the ranch quite a few times.  Pony got a little nervous at times, but never more than a few trot steps.  The only sketchy part was when we circled the arena (one side of the covered arena is completely closed, and on the outer side is where the hay storage is.  Its kind of in an alley way, and once the sun gets over the arena its a little dark on that side) we were turning the corner to go down the alley way ish, when two horses in a corral to our right got fiesty and started rearing up at eachother.  It clearly scared her and she started trotting down the alley way.  She wasnt hugely responsive to the rope when she was obviously spooked.  So i just relaxed my body as much as I could and wiggled all over her back in this terrible trot until she had calmed down.  It wasn't much, which is really awesome that that was our sketchiest part!

She was super responsive for the most part to sitting back and saying whoa.  She'd stop on a dime.  I think that we're getting along suuuper well, and I am having sooo much fun with her.  I think shes having a lot of fun with me too!

pony nose! Or should I say donkey....more on that one to come ;)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Equestrian Challenge Day 16

My most recent fall

Welllll, we have definitely already heard this story! My most recent fall was not only one fall, but two falls, in very quick succession.  If you haven't read that blog post, you can read it here.

Basically, Pony was a hot mess, and looking back, I should have taken a different approach since it was my first time riding her in a week.  However, with that being said, I think a lot of times we get into a 'safety net' or 'escape route' when we're riding, and I am definitely at the point where I need to push myself to get past having that escape route.

What I mean, is that usually the first time I ask for a lope its in a medium sized circle on either end of the arena.  However, I have realized that thats pretty much all I've been asking of a lope.  Ive been doing circle, making them bigger and smaller, and playing with leg yielding in circles, but I really do need to push myself.

And more onto the point of having an 'escape route' is how many times do you ask for a lope in a circle before you do whatever pattern etc that you were preparing for?  I definitely never ask for a lope without getting it in a circle first.

Which is totally great if your not comfortable with your horse, or are not a confident rider, or your horse is crazy, etc etc etc.  However, I am at the point where me and pony are getting along awesomely, and I need to start asking more of her, and in turn ask more of myself.  I don't need to circle her to make sure her lope is controlled everytime.  I need to do whatever my plan was, and then if she seems a little rambunctious, then its a good time to circle her and settle her and then try it again.  However, I can't always have a  fallback and need to trust my riding ability more! I think a lot of the time its more habit than anything else as well!

Anyways, basically i had two ground poles, a cavaletti and a bunch of cones.  I was trying to make a circle going through every pair of cones and over the ground poles and over the cavaletti.  Once she jumped the cavaletti and threw me off balance and I gracefully fell and landed on my feet next to her.  The second time, she jumped a ground pole before we got to the cavaletti, she zigged and I zagged and came off hard.

My trainer got on her (its my trainers horse, I have a full lease on her) and made her do the pattern, and then she changed it a little for me.  She took out the cavaletti and shifted the cones a little so that I was still having the same type of pattern (I needed to make one side more square, rather than round, as if I needed to straighten out for the cavaletti jump) and then I did that for what seemed like a million circles, until Pony was finally not crazy and I had gotten her there.

Basically, it was a shitty ride.  But those totally happen, who are we kidding? Me and pony are doing way better now, but if it wasn't for the bad rides, you would have no gauge of how far you've come and how much you have improved! Plus, that day really was great for me to work with pony on REALLY relaxing and figuring out how to read her.  I honestly think it was a breakthrough day.  The main thing I learned was  'sit back and relax, if your relaxed, she will figure it out. But you have to give her the chance to figure it out herself, she's like a teenager and she won't listen to you until she believes it'

Monday, January 7, 2013

Equestrian Challenge Day 15

If you could say anything to any horse, living or dead, what would you say?

I think this post is too much fun to only choose one horse!

So I am going to say a little bit to most horses that I've ridden!

Chili - you tricky bitch! I wish I could ride you now, you were such a funny mare.  I was so inexperienced and overwhelmed, man would we have fun now!

Oreo - I wish I could give you a better life.  You were bored, and your owners suck.  Im sorry. You are so beautiful! But don't let that go to your head.  Your one tricky mare.

Chrome - You probably feel like I have abandoned you.  I'm sorry.  I wish you didn't scare me like you did.  I wish I had the time and confidence to make you something amazing.  The facility wasn't working, and I honestly just needed help, which you don't get from an always empty barn!

Kadin - You are the sweetest horse I've ever ridden.  You are my prince charming.  Thank you for teaching me to relax.  Thank you for teaching me to trust.  Thank you for being perfect with me.  Thank you for trusting me, thank you for helping me become a better rider.

Pony - I am trying so hard.  I want you to trust me.  I want you to know that you can trust me.  You are so good to me, thank you for teaching me the lessons I need to know to be a good rider.  Thank you for being what you are, and teaching me how to deal with it.  I know I don't always handle you perfectly, thank you for putting up with me.  

Liam - You are so much fun.  You are such a great pony.  I'm so sorry for what your owner has been doing, I hope you get everything you deserve at the new barn.  You are awesome, I wish there was more I could do.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Equestrian Challenge Day 14

Your dream farm/barn:

Since the boyfriend has a barn on his families property, I've been able to see some things about barns that totally don't work.

#1. There is a barn with two stalls, a large corral, a small paddock all connected. Inside the barn to the other direction there is a tack room and some empty space that could be converted to another stall, or used as hay storage. Problem is, that with five acres, why keep your horse/animal in the corral area? Let them have free roam! Then, you have to keep hay in the tack room. And comeon, horse people have too much tack to be sharing it with hay!!

My dream barn/farm has cover for my horses, but also a lot of space where my horse can be a horse! It has easy access to tack etc, and space to tack up that is close to the tack room! I would like an arena, and lots of area to explore, even if the exploring area is off the property!

I would like it to be cute and pretty, but my horses health/well being comes first! I of course would like some enclosed space where I can keep my horse should they be hurt, etc and need to be on stall rest for whatever reason.

As long as my barn doesn't fall down on my horsies like this one is about to!

I think red barns are just beautiful

I wouldn't complain if this was my barn

How Clean!!

Anyways, obviously my horses well being is first off! Clean spaces, lots of space, well ventilated, etc.