Fraggle Friday: Welcome Lucy!

When you work for a humane society, people expect you to have lots and lots of animals. I feel very strongly that my home environment can’t be chaotic, it’s not fair to my pets. So, I limit myself to two dogs. There are certainly days two feels like twenty, but for the most part, it works and my two dogs get plenty of attention and exercise.

Now, that said, when a fantastic dog comes into the shelter, I do my damndest to find it a home…and sometimes, if the dog is bearded and fantastic, that home is with one of my family members. My Dad more specifically.

So, when a dog named Peekaboo got posted on a nearby shelter’s FB page, I had to call them and find out what her deal was.


Her story was a sad one. Her owner had died and she had been brought to the shelter.

I went and picked her up the next day. She was in raging heat (so gross) and incredibly scared. But she loaded up into the crate, and I brought her to our shelter where she’d be medically and behaviorally assessed.

I figured I had done what I could for her. Her days of being a breeding dog were behind her and with the rave reviews she was getting from our behavior evaluator and the rest of the staff, I knew she’d find a home soon.


And while there were lots of inquiries, no one adopted her.

So, I called my Dad and asked if he wanted a 3rd dog. All it took was showing him her picture and telling him how lovely she was and he was sold. Unlike me, he has a horse farm with lots of acreage and can handle a third dog. He also requested a name change, and my theory is “you adopt it, you can name it whatever you want.”

So for now she’s with me, and my crew.

Until I figure out a way to get her back east. She’s as perfect as I had hoped and the easiest houseguest. She gets along with all my animals, loves to go for hikes, and is even fairly great off leash for the breed.

I’m glad she’s one of the ones I could help and I’m lucky to have family that support what I do. So. welcome Lucy, formerly Peekaboo, to our family!


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June Plans

Let’s be honest. There has not been nearly enough posting about June. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been obsessively thinking about her and all the plans I have for her future.


Our first selfie…

So, here’s a rough look at what this spring/summer is going to look like for the mare, along with some pics from this past summer. These are the plans with a capital P, I won’t bore you with all the minutia of what our daily plans will look like.  Obvi any of this can change at a moments notice because not only is she a horse, she’s a baby horse.

Plan 1: April 7th, get June on the trailer and get her home. This may prove harder than it sounds, but I’m hopeful she hasn’t become feral in the last 5 months and will remember her manners.


Sold the trailer… but she better get in whichever one I pick her up with…

Plan 2: Attend local jumper show and bring June. I want her to get used to chaotic show environments, but want to start out in a friendly, laid back, environment. We have a show 2 hours away that should fit the bill perfectly. She’ll get to hang out ringside, and learn about spending the night away from home without becoming too attached to the horse stabled next to her…

Plan 3: Sans June, attend the Spokane Horse Trials where they offer a FEH 4 year old class. This class is new as of last year, (FEH 4 year old class)and unlike the YEH 4 year old class, horses aren’t expected to be going Novice. They’re expected to be babies that can enter a W/T/C class (I’m picturing it to be like an Equitation class). They’re also judged on conformation. Only at championships are they  sent down a free jumping chute. I’m excited that USEA is offering this class as it’s so much more my pace. I’m really interested in seeing the class before deciding if I want to commit to entering June in one. Plus, good friends are going to this event, so it should be fun!


Her first saddle pad! I made sure it was purple

Plan 4: Pony June off of Georgie. This is sort of  a wild dream, as neither mare is particularly friendly with other horses, but the idea of Georgie showing June the ropes out on the trail, while getting both of them some conditioning, would make me so happy.

Plan 5: Start taking lessons with June in May. Not sure what these lessons will entail, but I will want homework! Maybe its a hack around the property with another horse,  maybe it’s learning about different bit options, or how to start a baby horse thoughtfully under saddle, but regardless I’m excited!


Look good in a bridle? DONE!

Plan 6:  Enter June in the FEH 4 year old class at Rebecca Farm. I am not sure this goal will be attainable, but I’m putting it out there. If June isn’t ready, we’ll re route to Spokane in the fall. But it’d be awfully fun to have June at one of my favorite places, and I know we’d both learn a ton at this venue.

Plan 7 aka Alternate to Plan 6: Enter the FEH 4 year old class at Spokane Horse Trials in the fall (early October). I think I’ve already convinced SprinklerBandits to go with me, as the rest of my barn will be competing elsewhere.

And the rest? Well, we will hopefully have a long future together so I can only Plan so far out. It’s fun to think about ALL THE THINGS, and I’m literally counting down the days until she returns!

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Favorite Macy Memories

I’ve been wanting to write this post, but also kinda dreading it, as I’ll have to sort through lots of old media, and patience is not something I have a lot of… But old grey mare deserves this post and in the end, it’ll be fun for me to reflect on the good times.

In no particular order, here they are!

  1. Gary Mittleider Clinic:  Gary Mittleider Clinic                                                             Where Macy and I signed up for a clinic with Sarah’s trainer and it would be just Sarah, her trainer, and me in the lesson. Could have been a disaster, but wasn’t. In fact it went really, really, well. I think it was one of the few times I felt like I could actually ride this mare.



  2. New Year’s Shenanigans    New Year’s Shenanigans

    I love the tradition I’ve started by doing something horsey on New Year’s Day with Sarah. And this one was particularly fun because Sarah got to surprise me with what jumps we would be doing. Never would I have thought I’d enjoy a surprise with Macy. But I knew the mare would jump anything, so it took the pressure off and we were able to just have fun.IMG_7725

3.  And Then He Clapped    And Then He Clapped

Worst blog title, but another fun Gary Mittleider clinic where I got to see what the mare was capable of. Also learned that she can’t always be the boss, but in the end it worked out just fine. I love when I learn and have fun all at the same time.


Jumping Bean!!


4. Riding the Broke Horse Riding the Broke Horse

Where Macy and I entered a schooling show, rocked it, then went and schooled cross country the next day and I learned SOOO much. Macy is one of the most giving horses there is when it comes to jumping. Which is probably why so far this list is composed of all jumping moments… But this was a terifically fun weekend. I felt like we were a team. I’m still sad we didn’t get to go compete together at an event, but this weekend helped me realize we were ready to conquer Training together.


5. The Last Lesson The Last Lesson

It really was that great. It was like all the pieces came together, and if I dare say it, I became someone who can ride a quirky horse. Macy helped me, and challenged me and  I knew I had become a better rider. And certainly a rider more prepared to take on a baby horse.



Thanks for the memories Macy!

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The Last Lesson

The plan for my last lesson with Macy was to do a grid, but make it a bit more challenging by getting rid of ground poles or bounces and having it be a 1 stride to a 2 stride, giving Macy the opportunity to get strung out after the first jump and making me work to ensure that doesn’t happen.

But here’s the thing about Macy. I could be thinking “This is our last lesson together! Let’s make it a great one!” And she’s thinking “Throw head, bolt, spook, throw head, STOP pulling on my mouth, get tense” and on and on. So, really, the fact that I was expecting to have a lovely last lesson with her was amusing. This is Macy. Never expect anything.

Lesson didn’t start out great. It had to do with my pulling back and shortening her to the jump when she would throw her head and have a fit. She’d shorten and then have to rush at the jump.


When I say she throws her head, it’s not just a little bit…

But, once again, I had an aha moment (with help from Sarah). I couldn’t seem to keep consistent contact when Macy threw her head. Instead I would stop moving my elbows, brace, and inadvertently, ride backwards. Macy responded by throwing her head more, and shortening to the jump.

So, I worked on consistency and pushing her into the contact. Not surprisingly, she threw her head less (it never disappears totally) and we had some much nicer rides through the grid. Putting my leg on a horse that wants to rush will never be easy for me.

But then, as soon as we worked through that, things fell into place.


Happy mare

Things became easier



I could work on some rider position issues and seeing my distance to the first jump out of the corner.


I could work on keeping her uphill in the two stride and we actually looked like a fairly competent pair!



Here’s the last ride through the grid:

I was obviously sad at the end of our lesson, and gave Macy some well deserved hugs and lots of treats. (She tolerated the hugs because of the treats.) We’ll spend the next three weeks doing whatever we want, hacking outside, some light dressage work or just trot sets if we so desire (Because doesn’t everyone want to do trot sets?)

I’ve come so far with this mare, and can’t thank her or Sarah enough for all I’ve learned this past year.



Second to Last Lesson

Because it finally decided to snow in Idaho, and because the snowstorm was quite significant, and because the road to the barn blows like crazy creating zero visibility, my weekly lesson was cancelled last week. No big deal until I realized I only had two lessons left on the mare and really, really, wanted those two lessons.

So, Sarah squeezed me in for two lessons the following week. I opted to do one dressage and one jumping. And because neither lesson would be working towards something bigger, I was a bit lost as to what I wanted to work on. For like a minute.

Then I was like “Lets do upper level movements and not worry about everything being perfect all the time!”

Weirdly, my perfectionist of a trainer was not really into that idea, but agreed to do some upper level movements and we would do them well.

Macy was great during warm up, despite the fact that Sarah was riding Georgie in the arena with us (more on that later). BTW having your instructor on a horse during your lesson is amusingly annoying. For one thing, they’re way more mobile- she could come to the end of the arena with me or have whatever vantage point she wanted easily, making it way more difficult for me to slack off at any point during the lesson.

But clearly, we had to get a picture of the two of them. Sarah hasn’t ridden Georgie since she injured herself, and I didn’t ride Macy before the injury, so we’ve never been on each other’s heart horses at the same time 🙂


Classic Georgie and Macy. Georgie being perfect and Macy being pissed.

So here was the great part about the lesson. I can finally understand not only what the horse should be doing, but what I should be feeling. I understand that in order to do shoulder in, I need to do about 50 other things before we even think about coming up center line, and I need to feel the horse doing them underneath me because if I don’t, the movement is not going to work. At all.

We had another aha moment about my hip as well. I naturally carry my left hip and shoulder forward. If I make a point of thinking of keeping my left hip and shoulder back, Macy immediately responds. I can actually get her to be straight easily. But the problem is, it’s really tough and moderately painful, to ask my hips to be flexible. But still! It was a great aha moment!


My head is cropped off, but does it matter? The rest of the photo is pretty nice…

The lesson was so good that at the end I proclaimed I wanted to skip jumping for the next lesson, and do more dressage. It was that fun and I really, really, felt like Macy and I had made huge strides. I didn’t want it to stop!


This is me smiling during a dressage lesson. When does that EVER happen?

But then I got home and realized, if I don’t jump Macy in the next lesson, when will I ever jump again?????????? So, while I really enjoyed this lesson, I couldn’t forgo jumping.

I’m kinda just in denial that this was our last dressage lesson. Man this mare has taught me a lot and been such a school master on so many levels.  I’m just going to pretend that it isn’t ending, because right now, that thought makes me very sad.



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Fraggle Friday

Snowmaggedon finally came to Idaho! I’m about a week late in posting, but was so busy shoveling I didn’t have time to post dogs in snow pictures


Thank God for her brown head or she’d blend right in!

Maybe it’s the bad weather, or maybe Stella has just given up, but she is allowing way more cuddling than normal. Typically Stella keeps a safe distance from Siri at all times. I mean, why would she want to be around a dog who insists on playing or cuddling ALL THE TIME?


Bed sharing ❤

Siri does her best to let Stella get cozy then quietly lies right next to her. I find it adorable that Stella is allowing such interactions. Perhaps she’s resigned to the fact that Siri isn’t leaving.


More cuddle pictures

As you can see from the shaved spot in the photo above, Siri had to have some medical care after being bit by a dog. She tries to be friends with everyone, but sometimes she just can’t win over her fellow canines. She’s recovering well and doesn’t seem to hold any grudges.


Old lady walk

Here’s to more sunny days, dog cuddles and enjoying our four legged friends!

Beginning of the End

I have been purposely vague about my plans with Macy for the future.

At the end of the summer last year, Sarah and I decided Macy isn’t going to be able  to handle much travel. After a trip to Boise without ulcerguard incited some serious colic, we decided she’d be happier just doing local stuff. So, all traveling for shows got taken off the table.

So, I knew that going into this coming show season, that Macy most likely would not be a part of it. But I also knew that I would have June back and begin working with her a bit more seriously. So, I decided I would figure out what role Macy would play in my future at some other time.


I’m amazingly good at putting off things I don’t want to deal with

And that “other time” ended up being a couple of weeks ago. I began thinking about when exactly June would come back and what, exactly, I wanted to be doing with her. Now, she’s a baby horse, so all those plans may not come to fruition on the time line I have planned, but what I do know is this: Come April I’ll be paying board on her. And begin taking lessons. And get her feet done regularly, as well as vaccines and teeth taken care of. Essentially, I’ll be dumping not only a lot of time into June, but a lot of money as well. Which leaves me with less money for Macy.

And then there’s Georgie. While the hope is she’ll be half leased to a young/beginner rider, I still hope to ride her 1-2x a week to keep her schooled and assess  her soundness.

So, if I continued to ride Macy, I’d have three horses to care for. And Macy requires a minimum of 3 rides a week in order to stay mentally and physically rideable. I tried working with 3 horses last summer, and felt like I was constantly running around and accomplishing nothing. So, if I’m being honest with myself, if I really wanted to dedicate myself to June, I need to stop riding Macy.


So excited to have this monkey back in my life

Sarah and I had “the talk” last week and she was more understanding than I expected. She’s my best friend as well as Macy’s owner and I think she knew that having June and Macy in work was going to be too much for me.  We’ve also seen Macy start to struggle a bit more lately. She’s on a daily dose of Equioxx and the window for when we give the drug, in relation to when I ride her, is getting smaller and smaller if we want her to be sound. And while the drug has been great for soundness, it hasn’t been great for her GI system. I think we’ll both be happy to get her off of it and not have to worry about ulcers and colic.

So, with only two more lessons scheduled before Sarah heads to California for 3 weeks, it’s the beginning of the end for Macy and I. At first I decided to stop riding when Sarah left for California. But then something REALLY weird happened. I got really sad thinking about not having Macy anymore. So, I committed to ride her while Sarah was gone, knowing that some days I might just get her out for a walk. And then, when Sarah returns, Macy will get some time off. Or maybe a lot of time off. But regardless, I’ll no longer be her rider.


How she feels about me

So, I’m looking forward to enjoying our last month together and appreciating all Macy has taught me. I’m sure she’s looking forward to April and getting a break from me, but until then we’ll keep trucking along.


Macy thinks the only thing wrong with this picture is the rider on her back

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Groundpoles Graduate

Macy and I graduated from groundpoles.

I know. Stop the press, who would have thought it’d happen?

Trainer Sarah invited me to have a group jump lesson, just the two of us, and I said “Sure!”

And then immediately regretted the decision as vision of Macy being unrideable danced through my head.


Macy contemplating her level of rideability pre ride

But I showed up, watched as Trainer Sarah started to set up a grid and started to feel like maybe we could do this.

Warm up went well, just a few pointers to help me get Macy more supple and bending around my inside leg and then we were onto jumping.

The grid was set up off a tight turn, so Macy really had to be supple and bending or we would not get through the grid well. It was 5 fences set at one stride apart, so it was definitely a good gymnastic exercise. If Macy wanted to plow through it, she would be unpleasantly surprised, but my job as a rider was to let her make the mistake and learn from it.


She just looks so happy when she’s jumping

Not so surprisingly, been around the block mare had zero issues with the grid. I really worked on my corner approaching it, circling a time or two if she wasn’t as supple as I wanted, and things went really, really well.


Trainer Sarah did have to keep reminding me to “stretch up,” it’s a gird after all, I needed to ride in a bit more of a defensive position. I learned why the second time through, when Macy tripped, I fell forward and the brim of my helmet slammed into her neck. I felt everything in my neck crack. Not sure it was the adjustment I wanted.

But, after that I kept my face and chest away from her body.


As the grid built up it became a great exercise for both of us, and I kinda gotta say it restored my confidence that I can in fact ride this mare. Also, doing my homework has helped. What I’ve been working on over groundpoles really helps me focus on where she needs to be ALL THE TIME.

Need some short video evidence?

So yay for a graduation! It’s about damn time!

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Fraggle Friday

We actually got some snow this week which was SUPER exciting!


This is Stella’s excited face if you can’t tell

What was less exciting was that I also got the flu. And was OUT for two days. But, I’m feeling human again and excited to get out with the dogs!

Right before I went to bed for 48 hours my friend Bekka and I took the puppers on a fun hike in the snow.


I’m happy when she’s tired


Rocket, Siri’s one ACD friend…

My dogs were excellent at laying low while I slept and Stella was even feeling generous enough to let Siri cuddle with her. This is still my favorite thing that almost never happens


Siri wants so desperately to be Stella’s bestie

I hope you all have a lovely week with your pups!

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100 Transitions

In her blog  Viva Carlos, L. mentions that she did 100 transitions with her horse Dante during a walk/trot ride. My immediate thought was “100 transitions???? Is she crazy?” But then, I was like “Hmm, I wonder what that would be like?”


Exactly what I look like…

On my next ride, there I was, aiming to purposely do 100 transitions while I rode Macy.

And here’s what I found:

This was great for both of our brains. Macy tends to get a little “work, work, routine, routine” and doing lots of transitions kept her on her toes. I was worried she would get tense, trying to anticipate what was next, or never getting to do something for a long period of time, but we actually had a really lovely, really relaxed ride.


Sideways ears are an indication of relaxation on this mare

Here’s the deets you want to know as you contemplate 100 transitions:

  1. Can you really count to 100 while you ride and remember what number you’re on? Yes, yes you can. Cause if I can do it, you can too. Sure, I may have missed a number and not been sure if I was on 67 or 68, but I would then go to the lower number to make sure I really got at least 100 in. And this only happened when we had a tough transition. (Trot to canter will never be as perfect as I want it to be when there are bucking horses sharing the arena with us..)
  2.  How long do 100 transitions take to do? So, I can’t really answer this because it depends on what your goal is. My goal was to do transitions regularly and frequently. I didn’t want Macy trotting or cantering for more than 2 20m circles, if that. So, for us, we got right to work, doing lots of walk to halts in our warm up and the entire thing took 35 minutes.
  3. Why would you want to do this? Well, for me, I need to stay really focused when I ride Macy and this enabled me to work on that. I had to be thinking of my next move all the time. I had to be preparing for the next move all the time. How many times do we (I) get lazy and just cruise into an upward or downward? This helped me not do that.

So, I’m sure there are some of you out there thinking “Really Nadia, a post on 100 transitions? I’ve made this part of my routine for years!” And to those of you- I can understand why! But none of us in my eventing barn had, so it was super exciting and new. Definitely something I’ll be adding to my routine when I am riding June! Thanks L. Williams for the inspiration!

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