Category Archives: baby horse

Things I Love: Part 1

I’m pretty frugal when it comes to purchasing horse items. I’m typically two years behind “the hot new trend” as I want to see if things last, and all the hype sticks around. Therefore, when I do make a purchase, and I love that purchase (whether new or not) I feel like celebrating it and sharing my love for it. So, here are three new to me items that I am over the moon about.

1. You all may remember that Amanda C kindly gave me her Lund bridle when she upgraded to a new one. I had been searching for a bridle that would fit June and not having much luck. Her bridle was in excellent used condition and it fit June really well. In the meantime, Lund ended up sending me a pair of reins to match the bridle, which was great, as I was riding around in non matching, black reins (Horror!)

When I got these reins, I instantly fell head over heels for the entire bridle. I now had a really nice bridle that fit my horse well and as an added bonus, it had really nice leather and looked great too.

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stock photo from Lund

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Cute pony, cute bridle

The leather always looks cleaner than it is, and it’s really soft. Plus, at the price point of under $175, you honestly cannot beat the bang for the buck. Honestly, I just love this bridle. So much, in fact, that I chose to ride in it, rather than my other new bridle, to June’s first Arena Cross event.

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Ignore side eye, she loves it too!

2. IMO no bridle is show ready until it has a browband with some bling. I’ve always been unimpressed by pre made browbands, and could never find one I was really excited about. When I found out about Dark Jewel Designs, and that you could make your own browbands, I was SOLD. I now have multiple strands and multiple set ups. Amelia is great to work with and most recently really worked with me when I wasn’t sure what size would fit June and my bridle. We ended up on a cob size curved band with snaps. The great thing about the snaps is it is SO easy to remove the browband and change it out. Plus, it makes it a little bit longer so you can slip wider bridles through the sides of the browbands.

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I credit our lucky 4 leaf clover for the success we had last weekend. It’ll be our go to xc browband for a while

Dark Jewel Designs browbands range from over the top blingy to a subtle hint of shine. I have both ends of the spectrum and love them all equally. And while I really love the newest ones I have, I find myself still loving the ones I purchased a couple of years ago. They last and keep their bling.

4. My Secret Santa this year hit it out of the park. I mean Michelle got me some amazing things, including an adorable purple tote with June’s name on it and  something else I really ended up loving:

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The Tough 1 Great Grips Brush

Sure, its purple. But that isn’t the main reason I love it. I love the fact that it bends! It’s so great for cleaning legs and other parts of the horse that aren’t flat. It’s my go to brush right now. Is it fancy and soft? Nope, but it’s perfect for getting dirt and mud off. It wraps around the horses legs so you can clean both sides at once! Hello time saving tool! I just love this simple brush and am so happy I now have one!

3. My biggest purchase of the past year was my horse trailer. Going from a tiny two horse with no tack room, to a much larger two horse with a full dressing room was a serious upgrade for me. But, beyond the size, I can’t say enough good things about how this trailer hauls. Despite being more than twice the size of my last one,  my truck pulls it without an issue. Even with two horses in there this past weekend, I didn’t feel a thing and the truck chugged along nicely. It’s so spacious for the horses and incredibly inviting. I’m so happy I made the upgrade and just can’t say enough things about how much I love it.

 

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When I first purchased it. It now has a level hitch

The dressing room has four windows and is HUGE and I’m looking forward to setting it up for show season so I can sleep in there. For me, this trailer is everything I wanted, and I’m just so excited to have a trailer both June and I love.

So those are the material things I love. I have lots of stuff I like, but it isn’t worth raving about. These items make me happy, stand the test of time and in my opinion, were super solid purchases.

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Chapters

This past weekend Sarah held some course work jump lessons and I signed right up! Sure, June and I are currently trotting poles to a cross rail, but I knew Sarah wouldn’t over face us, and I knew we needed to spice things up a bit as June is not one for constant repetition.

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She was super chill to tack up and on the longe. But I got on her and she realized we were jumping and I swear mare became a hot and sensitive beast. Now… I also realize the fact that she was calm until I got on her doesn’t bode well for me. Perhaps I made her a hot and sensitive beast? Maybe. But she definitely comes out of the gate raring to go, this one. This is so out of my comfort zone. A forward horse is lovely. I mean, I’m sure it will be, once I learn how to ride it. What I learned in this lesson, was that sometimes I just need to go with it.

Because June likes to take over to the jump, I came into this lesson prepared to do lots of transitions and keep things calm and her attention on me. She was great in warm up over the ground poles and settled in quite well as the lesson progressed. I wasn’t getting my typical June reaction, which has been, good for the first part, and then as things progress she gets more and more opinionated.

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There were a couple of moments where I had to tell her “um no” as she grabbed the bit and took over. But they were few and far between

And so, this is where I made my first mistake of the day. I didn’t read the horse I had. Now, it could have been that she was good because we were doing so many transitions and mainly working out of the trot. But it also could have been that she was good because of the work we had been doing and now was ready to progress. But instead of letting her canter to the jump, or letting her do her job, I got stiff in my body, constantly brought her back to the trot, and basically fought with her more than was necessary. I was unable to move forward with her, and instead just wanted to control every little thing.

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Meanwhile she just wanted to jomp jomp

I like to think of bringing along a horse as learning from a book. You need to know when to move on to the next chapter. When is your horse ready for you to move on, even if everything isn’t perfect. Or, when do you understand that they are ready for what’s next? I struggle with moving to the next chapter sometimes. I want to be as diligent and understanding of the current chapter and basically understand it to the nth degree before moving on. And this isn’t the most advanced form of horsemanship. Sometimes I need to take a risk and move ahead and use what we have learned to be successful with what we encounter.

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When she sees the jump, ears go forward

In this current lesson, despite Sarah telling me the same thing over and over, I didn’t relax my elbows and allow her to do her job. I didn’t see what would happen if I landed in the canter, re-balanced, and kept cantering to the next jump. I just kept thinking “Don’t let her take over, don’t let her go too fast.” Which was irritating, but understandable. I’m not used to a sensitive go get em, kind of horse, which June most certainly is.

All in all, the lesson was a lot of fun. I’m really excited to replicate it in my next lesson. I’m excited to allow June to canter and just see what I need to do in order to not pick, pick, pick, to the fence. Mare has zero issues jumping, so now, as we jump cross rails, is the time to get all of this sorted out. I’m really excited and can’t wait to work on something that is clearly out of my comfort zone.

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The Calm After the Storm

The last two weeks have been a good sort of mayhem at work.  After about 10 years of planning, and dreaming, and fund-raising, we moved into our new Animal Adoption and Education Center at work. Considering the tiny hovel we were working in prior, moving into a 16 million dollar facility has been a dream. And a nightmare. Things weren’t working properly at first. A part of the roof was leaking. Nothing had been shoveled so there was nowhere to walk the dogs. And on, and on.We have been working out the kinks for to weeks and yesterday had our Grand Opening. And the public response was overwhelming. We had more visitors than we could have ever expected. The community was thrilled with the building and the work we are doing. Which is excellent.

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Our adoption lobby with a cat colony room and our indoor dog play yard off to the right

But also absolutely exhausting.

Thankfully, I THINK life goes back to normal now. But I feel like there is going to be a new normal we will all have to adjust to.  I’m just so excited to be in the new building and so excited by how much the animals seem to love it.

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Sir Meows a Lot, my favorite cat at the shelter currently. Also, I am super proud that I set this room up for the cats and got to place all the beds and stepping platforms. You’ll also notice a camera on the wall- cat room live streaming!

Working 7 days a week for 2 weeks straight left little time to get to the barn. But I’m so lucky to have Sarah to help me. Whether she throws June hay for me, gets her lunged when I can’t come down, or puts training rides on her, I was so incredibly lucky these past couple weeks not to feel any guilt about not being able to ride or care for June. I think we can really only get through stressful times with the support of friends.

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Pirate and Percy, two adoptable rats housed in our small animal housing,agree that life is better with friends.

Anyway, I DID get to ride June on Sunday AM before I went to work. It was a COLD morning and Sarah was nice enough to turn the heaters on in the indoor before I arrived. I mean, how nice is THAT????

June was a BIT full of herself at first, and got to gallop around for a bit. I was REALLY happy with how she settled down though and we had a really lovely ride. She was light in my hands and nicely forward without rushing. I was especially happy since Sarah had ridden her Friday, her first time jumping her, and she was a bit of a fire breathing dragon. In typical fashion, it started like this:

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Such the perfect pony

And as the jumps went up, and the exercise became more challenging, June tried to take over and stopped listening. But this time, she had Sarah on her back. And they worked through it until she was once again a polite pony through the exercises.

She’s an interesting horse for sure. She’s going to try and try and try to do it her way, and I’m really learning that you have to ride EVERY stride, as she will go from perfect pony to fire breathing dragon in one stride. And once the dragon comes out, it’s really hard to contain. So, my homework is to be a more effective rider and not let the dragon out.

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Not a dragon. Fernando is one of the NICEST chihuahuas I have ever met. I got to help check him in at our new Spay&Neuter Center

I have a jump lesson tonight and then am headed to Gary Mittleider’s for a lesson on Saturday. I was going to cancel, or have Sarah ride June, but instead we’re just going to have a private lesson and work on trotting ground poles or something thrilling like that. June really needs to understand that she has to listen ALL THE TIME before we progress or we’re not going to get anywhere. I think riding somewhere new will be good for her, and getting to get out of dodge for a day will be good for me.

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You know who else is good? Sasha. She’s loving life in her heated floor dog kennel

Anyway, I’m excited for the coming weeks, excited to be in our new facility at work, and excited that one day, who knows when, it will stop snowing.

If you’re interested in learning more about the organization I work for, Mountain Humane, you can follow us on Facebook here: Mountain Humane on Facebook

Or visit our website here: Mountain Humane

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Pro Rides

Great news- June had her teeth floated, veterinarian found a couple of sharp points, filed them down, and in the two rides she has had since, the head tossing and rearing have ceased.

I hopped on her Sunday, not knowing what to expect, as she hadn’t been ridden since having her teeth done. I haven’t ridden her since Sarah started putting some training rides on her except for my lesson last Tuesday- where she was not feeling her best. Therefore, I hadn’t really been able to feel the work Sarah has put into her.

I went into this ride with a plan. I wanted to continue what we had started in my lesson last week and ride her as if there was no issue. If the head tossing started again, I would call it a day. But until that time, I’d be riding her as a training ride, not a plod around and see what happens ride.

From the moment I got on her back I was asking things of her. Go forward, bend, no running through your outside shoulder. I tried to remember everything Sarah has been working on. We had a really lovely ride. She tried a few antics to evade work but they were very short lived. She was so light in the bridle, so responsive to my aids and she had come so far in her connection and ability to do what was being asked. She honestly felt like she had been ridden by a pro for a month, not 4 times.

Totally unrelated we had a “free jump” day and June may have sailed over this 3’7oxer.

When I started the journey with June, I was hung up on me starting her. I wanted the journey to be about me and June, even if that meant we went slow and spent longer working through things. I didn’t want to put her into training with a pro, and felt like, with regular instruction, I could get June going how I wanted.

And then we had the Gary Mittleider clinic. And I felt frustrated and like I was in way over my head.

Pretending to enjoy ourselves

And in retrospect, maybe that clinic was a blessing. Because it made me realize that I can still have this journey with June be ours, even if a pro does put some rides on her. Helping me through issues doesn’t make June any less “a horse I started.” And, quite honestly, for a horse like June, having someone show her exactly what is expected is really good for her. My confusion led to her confusion. My inability to get her to do what I was asking led to her thinking it was ok to be heavy in the bridle or take over during rides.

So much fun but requires me not letting her take over

After just a few times of having Sarah ride her, I’m in a spot where we can move forward instead of work on the same issues. June is less confused, I have more confidence, and I now have a horse who I know is capable of what is being asked.

So, all in all, I’m happy I have an incredible friend and talented trainer to help me in this process. Someone who can hop on my horse and work through some of the kinks. I’m thankful that I’m not letting pride get in the way of doing what Is best for both June and I. I’m hopeful I can continue to enjoy this process no matter who is in the saddle.

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Getting to Know You

The best part of starting a baby horse has to be how well you get to know them. That bond that develops between horse and rider. Sure, this can happen with non baby horses, but for me, there is something about being the first to figure things out with a horse. All their quirks and opinions.

June is the first horse I have had who is excited to see me. She’ll whinny to me the moment she sees me and has a bit of a fit when I leave her in the indoor arena. Upon my return I am greeted by a very happy horse. It’s cute. I’m glad she likes me and that seeing me elicits a happy reaction, instead of an “ugh. you.”

I feel like they both like me. Most of the time at least.

I’m slowly figuring out what June likes and dislikes. She’s pretty easygoing, but definitely has opinions.

I was reminded this week about how well I am getting to know her. She’s always been a hard worker. A “yes ma’am” type. Strong work ethic even if she’ll try to evade some things if they are difficult for her. So, when Sarah mentioned she was having some connection issues with her in her ride, I thought maybe something was off.

Omg I miss warmer weather and I think June does too

Since I was riding her in a lesson the following day I figured we would see how she did. Again, she was resistant to keep any connection, something that hasn’t been a problem. She was really tossing her head and being quite dramatic.

And then, I asked her to come up centerline and track left. She trotted a few steps, slammed on the brakes and gave her best Hi Ho Silver impersonation. Good thing she’s so compact as it didn’t really scare me and we continued on with the lesson. But this was her first time rearing.

We moved on to practicing Intro Test B for the upcoming dressage test of choice show this weekend. June got progressively worse. Head tossing became unsolvable. Then, we came up centerline for the last time. I had her trot/walk/halt at X. I kept the connection and was happy until she fell left in the halt. I put my left leg on and asked her to step over. Instead, she just reared. So, we did it again. Another rear. Third times a charm apparently because she halted and stayed straight. She got lots of praise.

But this was strange. June isn’t a horse who is naughty just to be naughty.

Sarah asked me when she had her teeth floated last. I couldn’t remember for sure, but knew it had been a while. We discussed that she may need her teeth done and that’s why she has become so resistant to contact.

She may have recently gotten a new blanket in which she looks adorable

So, the following day I called the vet and they confirmed it has been almost a year since her last teeth floating. For a baby horse, that’s probably too long.

We shall see.

My hope is getting her teeth done will solve this problem. My hope is I know this horse well enough to know something is going on to elicit this reaction.

We cancelled our dressage show entry as clearly her well being is my primary concern. Her vet appt is tomorrow so I am hopeful that my next June post confirms my suspicions and we have a happy and healthy pony again!

 

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When Your Child is a Phenom

You’ve undoubtedly met the parent who thinks their child is a phenom. The parent can be seen speaking in a muted voice,asking lots of questions about the upcoming show schedule, taking up a lot of the trainer’s time, and always thinking one step ahead. (Forgetting that horses are fragile creatures, and that thinking one step ahead leads to heart break.) We have had a few of these parents in our barn and I just roll my eyes at them.

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But then, I got June, and I BECAME them.

Except, my “child” is a horse. Which may be better? Or worse? Heck if I know.

I worry that June has too much talent. Especially for little amateur me. But then I get ecstatic about how easy the work we’re asking of her is. I laugh at how little energy she puts into jumping a 2’6 jump. I watch her trot and  swoon. Instead of listening to what Sarah is saying as she trots her across the arena, I think “man she is going to have a nice extended trot one day.” I’m insufferable when it comes to my phenom.

But then, fortunately, reality sets in. I get on my horse and she’s inconsistent in the bridle. I can’t pick up the right lead. Hell, I can’t even get her to trot over poles without falling on her forehand. My horse may be a phenom, but we’re not bound for the Olympics with me on her back. This team is as average as they come.

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Much talent. Much Phenom.

And, what I’m learning, just as those parents will have to, is that being a phenom doesn’t just happen. It is a hell of a lot of work, and more than just natural talent. It doesn’t matter if my horse came out of the womb doing pirouettes. If I can’t harness that, and work my ass off on all the other miniscule things that are important, we’ll never get around to actually performing pirouettes.

June is the fanciest horse I’ve ever had. And by fancy, I mean, she was bred to do the job I’m asking of her.  Even though the work isn’t as hard for her as it may be for other horses, it doesn’t mean she naturally engages her abs, rocks back and is light on her forehand. It doesn’t mean I can trot down centerline, and just sit there, hoping the judge will be dazzled by my horse’s incredible movement. Nope. Sure doesn’t. I have to continue to ride every friggin step. And lets not forget, June may be fancy by my standards, but there will always be a fancier horse and better rider out there. Always.

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Weird. I ride like shit, she goes like shit

 

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I ride well, she goes well

And this may sound obvious. And I guess it is. But up until recently, I’ve been half heartedly starting my horse. Dedicated to getting her ridden, but not asking for much. If she wants to pull through my hands I let her. She wants to be inconsistent in the bridle, that’s fine. In my mind, I shouldn’t have to work as hard  because she is a nice mover and talented. Image result for ridiculous gif

I’m not a naturally talented rider. I work hard and have good horse sense, which is my saving grace. But even if I was, I’d still have to work hard. Especially with a green bean. I watched Sarah ride her the other day, and she was working, working, working. Thinking, working,thinking, working. June looked great, but it definitely wasn’t easy. Even for a pro who is literally doing everything correctly at the exact right moment. So, ya know, like, the opposite of me. I kinda check out during rides instead of staying engaged mentally and physically the entire time. And that’s gotta change.

So, moving forward, every time we enter the arena, or have a lesson, we’re working hard. We’re only as good as the work we’ve put in. If June has phenom potential, well I better not look like I’m a waste of space on her back. My dream is to one day go Prelim with her. But for now, I need to concentrate on being able to do a 20m circle in a walk/trot dressage test. Cause hell, that’s going to take a lot of work.

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Ulcer Update and a Porta Grazer Review

I’m a bit behind on both these things, but better late than never, right? Kristen recently did a Porta Grazer review and hers was similar to what I’ll have to say, except for one big difference. She keeps her horses at home. I board June, and therefore have a bit of a different perspective.

I don’t have great media, but essentially the Porta Grazer is a slow hay feeder and can also be used as a hay soaker. It’s a cylindrical hard plastic tub that has a removable top. The top looks like a large feed dish, but has holes within it. The holes come in various sizes, and allow your horse to pull the hay through the holes. The motion replicates what horses do when they graze. Here are some pictures from the website to give you an idea of what things look like:

There are three different sizes, and I went with the XL, which runs $299 (although there is an easy to google $25 off coupon out there). Shipping was about $35 I believe and it was FAST. But then again, the product is made in my state of Idaho.

The Porta Grazer was recommended to me by my veterinarian after we confirmed June had ulcers. And I can see why. It’s so much easier and neater than hay nets, and it really seems like the most natural way for horses to eat. There are some tricks to loading it, but the one I purchased can hold three flakes of hay. Much like Kristen’s horses, June had absolutely no issue with using it right away. I introduced it slowly, but she preferred it to the hay nets within the first day.

There are definitely more pros than cons to the product, IMO. Here are some things I have been happy with:

  1. No mess. I mean, there is so little wasted hay with this. It’s great!
  2. June’s meals last longer. At first, I was overly concerned that June wasn’t eating all the time. I would show up and she would be hanging out, even though the Porta Grazer wasn’t empty. It took a bit of convincing from Sarah, but I finally agreed that it’s fine that she is taking a break from eating. This is what horses do. They graze, hang out, walk around, graze some more. The fact that she isn’t hoovering her food down shows that she feels control over her food situation and can actually relax about it. The Porta Grazer is virtually empty at feeding time, which means she does eat it all, but she doesn’t sit there and hoover it all down like she was when she had free choice hay.
  3. Less anger at feeding time. June is housed next to Georgie. In the past they would kick, buck, rear, bite and put on a real show at feeding time. Some may call this being hangry, but what I’m realizing, is that it was not helping her ulcers. Getting that worked up at feeding time is not a good sign. Especially when you eat and then run over to the mare next to you and try to kick them through the fence. (I won’t say which one was doing this..) With the Porta Grazer, there’s some whinnying, but the anger has pretty much ceased (at least with June). I think knowing she will have food for hours, makes feeding time way less of an event for her.
  4. Hay stays dry and is out of the dirt. Right now the ground is wet, which means hay on the ground gets wet and gross. June’s hay stays clean and dry, so she can enjoy all of it and she doesn’t avoid eating it because it has turned into a soggy mess.
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Happily munching away

The things I don’t love with the Porta Grazer mainly have to do with living at a boarding stable and not being able to obsessively make sure everything is perfect, and I do think that if I had this product a home I would have ZERO complaints with it. But, in case you are thinking of getting one, and board your horse, some things to think about:

  1. I feed mix hay 2x a day and throw June a flake of alfalfa once a day. The Porta Grazer is really made for fine, loose hay. Our hay, while incredibly nutritious, is packed pretty tightly. Therefore, when it’s put in the Porta Grazer, sometimes it can bunch up and not come loose. Then it gets packed down at the bottom and really difficult for horses to access, as they can’t loosen it and get it through the holes. This is easily resolved by taking the lid off, and just shaking the flakes loose, and putting the lid back on. But, since I’m not there to do that, sometimes June’s hay just stays packed until I show up later. Sometimes she’ll work at it and actually put some effort into eating, and it works itself out. But I would love it if her hay got fluffed more. I mean, doesn’t everyone want that for their horse? And I throw the alfalfa flake on the ground as it can really be too coarse for the feeder.
  2. I don’t know how much June is actually eating. If the feeder isn’t empty at feeding time, is she still getting 2-3 flakes put in it? Or just one? By the time I show up, the weekday feeders have left so I have no way to tell. I fluff the hay and can usually tell what’s in there, but I have no idea what, if anything, was left from the morning feeding.
  3. The different sizes are confusing. I got the XL but now wish I had gotten the corner feeder. But the name “corner feeder” made me think I needed to have a corner for it to go into, and I don’t. It’s basically just a bigger version, with more holes in the lid.
  4. Not great Customer Service. The shipping and ordering were fantastic and easy. But I called to ask some questions, and their office hours are pretty limited and no one called me back. So, boo on that.
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Such a princess

I think this is a great product and I really think it has helped reduce (or eliminate!) June’s ulcers. Along with the Porta Grazer, I’ve also made some other changes that I think have really helped. As I mentioned before, I give June a flake of straight alfalfa everyday. Alfalfa has been shown to be beneficial in reducing the risk of ulcers, and she already gets alfalfa/grass hay, I think this little bit extra can only help.

I researched supplements and I’m so on the fence about them. I’ve used Smartpak supplements in the past, but June isn’t eligible for ColicCare currently as she had a bout of mild colic this fall which I ended up calling the vet out for.

After we scoped her, my veterinarian ended up recommending I put June on Purina Outlast. Never having heard of it, I assumed it was a feed, but it turns out, it’s really more of a feed topper, or supplement. You give your horse a measured amount depending on body weight prior to exercise or any stressful event (such as trailering). It’s advertised as a Gastric Support Supplement and you can purchase it as is, or purchase a Purina feed that has it added to it. Since June doesn’t really need grain right now, I just purchased the supplement and I feed her 1 cup before I ride or trailer her. While the ingredients don’t make me think “YES! This will definitely work!” there is research behind it and it is getting good reviews. It’s incredibly inexpensive, June loves it, and so far, I’ve been really happy with it.

Lastly, I plan on giving June Ulcergard prior and during travel, even if it’s just a couple of hours down the road. I think trailering is hard on her, even if getting somewhere new doesn’t seem to bother her at all. And in the summer I hope to get her out on pasture more, as I think that can really help.

So far, I’m really pleased with how June is doing post 30 days of Gastrogard. I did not have her re scoped because I’m pretty much broke, but she seems like a different horse. She’s eating well, she’s happy to go to work, and her general demeanor just seems back to its curious, happy, self. She hasn’t bucked under saddle and I have been increasing her work and asking more of her. Overall, I would say she’s doing great! My hope is, that with continued thoughtful management, we can keep her healthy and happy!

 

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Blinged Bridle & a Long Overdue Thank You

Back in like August, I posted about needing a new bridle for June, as Georgie’s didn’t fit her very well. Turns out June has a horse head needing a cob browband.  I ultimately purchased a Passier Blue bridle which I love, and you can read about it in my post June’s New Bridle. But as I hemmed and hawed about what to get, Amanda from The $900 FB Pony reached out and offered to give me her used, but in great condition, Lund Saddlery Eventer Series Flash Bridle . The bridle arrived and I immediately started using it. The only problem was, it didn’t have a browband, so I attached one of my old browbands to it and went ahead and ordered two new browbands from Dark Jewel Designs.

New browbands arrived, I attached it to the bridle and womp womp, it was way too big. I hemmed and hawed AGAIN about what to do. But, it looked just funny enough, that I asked Amelia if I could send them back and have them redone to a Cob browband.

In the meantime I had purchased my Passier bridle, but wanted to save that as my ‘show” bridle, at least for SJ, and so I put my mismatched browband on the Lund bridle and just called it good until new browbands arrived. Once they did, I figured I’d write a post thanking Amanda AND showing off the new browbands.

Well, the time has finally arrived.

So, let’s start here. THANK YOU Amanda for graciously giving me your bridle. For those of you not in possession of a Lund bridle, or unfamiliar with the brand, I really recommend them! This bridle was used, but kept in good condition and when I clean it up, it looks basically new. It has great ergonomic features and is at a really good price point. While I use this bridle for everyday use, I’m also thinking it will become my xc show bridle.

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And then there are the browbands. I am so incredibly in love with them. They’re purple, but I would put them more in the purple-ish category, which is exactly what I wanted. Plus, because the order was done over the incredibly busy holiday season, and because maybe I pretended to be patient, and waited longer than the average customer would ever have to, Amelia made me a BEAUTIFUL stock pin in addition to the browbands.

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She even put a 4 leaf clover on the stock pin to match the browband!

The attention to detail, and quality of product in Amelia’s designs, can’t be beat. She lets me try to be creative, and design my own, but really, you can look through all the one’s she’s already designed, and in the past I have picked one of those and they were equally as fun and gorgeous. The browbands are interchangeable and you can even purchase a snap on browband which can make switching them from one bridle to the next even easier!

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The two I designed. I chose the brown curved browband. I added a 4 leaf clover to one, as I need all the luck I can get

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So pretty close up!

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So, I now have a  bridle I am super excited about, and can’t wait to be the envy of my barn!img_0623

 

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The Sensitive Baby

A few posts back I mentioned that somehow, despite my best efforts, I had ended up with a sensitive horse. And, surprising even myself, I am really enjoying the problem solving that goes along with starting a sensitive horse.

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I have little applicable media, so enjoy pics of when my Dad visited last week and met June for the first time

Now, here’s what I mean by problem solving, and sensitive:

This weekend, I hopped on June and she was feeling good. In front of the leg, and ready to work. I wanted to work on bend, especially going right, but I noticed she kept breaking to the canter instead of bending in the trot.

So, we did some trot/walk transitions. But, lo and behold, she continued to want to canter rather than bend.

In the past, I probably would have found this really annoying. But during this particular ride, I tried to figure out why she was breaking to the canter and how to “fix” it.

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I put my Dad to work adjusting her new blanket liner. It’s purple of course. Also, I need to do a review of the Porta Grazer!

At first, I attributed it to anxiousness. But, while she was forward and wanting to work, she was also fine to just walk, so “being anxious” or trying to anticipate the canter, didn’t totally seem to make sense to me.

I decided to really think about what my body was doing when I asked her to bend right.

My leg went on, and I asked for some right flexion.

Wait. My leg went on.Why wasn’t it on before?

I soon realized, I was asking for bend with my calf. Which prior to asking, was not on. I was putting my calf on, pretty forcibly, when I wanted to ask for bend.

So, I stopped doing that.

I asked for bend from my thigh and knee, and kept my calf from pushing into her.

And guess what? She gave me bend without breaking into the canter.

I’m a genius.

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I have zero idea why I was posing like this except that I must have known I would need an “I’m a genius” picture

So, my sensitive mare understands the difference between asking from my calf and asking from my thigh. Which means I need to get better at asking from different parts of my leg.

And despite the fact that this took a good part of our ride to figure out, she tolerated me confusing her. She tolerated the fact that I kept asking her to canter with my calf and then immediately asking her to trot. She was a very good sport about all of it. Which is all I can ask of her. My hope is, she’ll continue to be patient with me.

Although it does worry me that my horse is already teaching me things. Even though she is supposed to be the green baby… lol.

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Macy gave my Dad her typical super friendly greeting. I closed my eyes and prayed she wouldn’t bite him

So much learning with this youngster. Every ride I learn something new, and I can’t even describe how fun it is!

 

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Best Yet

I was really really excited to write a recap on my most recent jump lesson. But work has been busy, and I have family coming into town tomorrow and I just can’t settle down enough to write a thoughtful play by play.

So, instead, you’re getting a recap through pictures. But just know this. It was super fun, and left me with so much homework. But I am so incredibly excited about June’s potential.

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We cantered over two poles to a jump. I had to work really hard to maintain rhythm. June was like a torpedo to the jumps

At first it was just a simple crossrail. But June wanted to pull me along to it, so I had to work really hard on keeping the uphill balance and not letting her take over.

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She was just like “easy, peasy, yawn, what’s next?” Meanwhile I was trying to remember how to jump and do a million other things

We had to work off the left and right, and our right lead canter has been, well, less than stellar, or consistent, but I was really happy with how we were able to work within the canter in this lesson and actually make some changes. Progress!

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Sometimes June took the long spot. Especially when she would take over and drag me down the line

But I worked and worked on getting this to improve. I wasn’t making changes quick enough, or insisting soon enough, but it got better as the lesson progressed.

And then, the crossrail became a vertical (yes it’s a vertical in the last photo but ignore that). June and I have never jumped a vertical before! So exciting!!

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Lets just say it was no problem for her

Going left I could get a fairly adjustable canter. Going right, well, we had to go right a few more times than left, but in the end it was far better than in the beginning.

And June just kept jumping out of her skin!

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I think she likes jumping.

June is just a natural jumper. It was so easy for her. Which meant I had to work hard on getting her to the first pole and not letting her drag me past our distance. I had to work on keeping her in an uphill frame. I had to keep my elbows moving and my leg from clamping (less successful with this..). My take away was that I can expect more from her than I was. I need to instill what I want from the get go, cause June is pretty sure she doesn’t need any help from me.

At the end I asked Sarah how high the jump was. 2′? 2’3? She paused and got the measuring stick. Almost 2’6! What??? We went from jumping crossrails to jumping 2’6 and I had zero fear, zero trepidation and it was SO FUN.

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Because I have the best friend ever, I asked her to stand next to the jump and look excited. And she did! And June just posed naturally, lol.

I think I have been grinning ear to ear ever since.

But OMG so much to work on. And I am SO EXCITED!!!

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