Tag Archives: horses

Two Lessons, Two Different Horses

I haven’t taken a proper lesson in about 4 months. A proper lesson being one where I am riding a horse that can do more than trot in a side pull. What this means is, I am out of riding shape, and have gotten used to a life of plodding around and not asking much of myself physically.

It’s been kinda nice, but I’ve missed getting my butt kicked and improving my riding. I’ve been riding school horses, and running a bunch, so I hoped that when I did take a proper lesson again, it wouldn’t be too disastrous.

And when I got the opportunity to ride a barn mates horse in a dressage lesson, then a school horse in a jump lesson, I said “YES!” Even though the lessons were on two consecutive days and I knew that would be a lot for this out of shape rider.

I was eager to get a chance to ride Max, as he’s a fancy prancer in  dressage and while he can be opinionated and quirky, I hoped Macy had prepared me for him. I hopped on him and my first thought was “Oh my God this is a lot of horse.” I felt Sarah said it best “it’s like every vertebrae can move, and can move in a different direction.” I didn’t have much time to think about it, as we got right to work. And we just kept working. And working.  Overall, the lesson went pretty well, especially the trot work. I was shocked at how behind the leg he was- I had to really work to get him forward. REALLY work. I had just figured that this nice moving horse was self-propelled, but it takes a lot of work to get him moving the way you want. But once he does, it is really, really, lovely. When I got him moving straight, and forward, he was super fun.

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I wasn’t as strong in the canter work, but we would get it for a few moments, and when I did it was really lovely. I have such trouble moving my hips, which is essential in the canter, and at this point in the lesson I was getting tired, Max was getting a bit tired of me, and it wasn’t happening as magically. But it was ok, and honestly I was proud of myself for riding a new horse and having a productive lesson. Sarah had some really positive things to say about my riding and I felt exhausted but good. I’m very grateful to his owner for letting me ride him.

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The next day was pretty much the complete opposite. I would be riding Deputy, the fun little QH I rode in the Gary Mittleider clinic. (I can find ZERO media of him, sorry!) Hopping on Deputy, my first thought was “Oh, it’s like sitting on an Easy Boy recliner.” But this wasn’t the only place Deputy differed from Max. Deputy is actually very forward. He has a go button. And with this go button comes some reactivity and opinions. I had to ride him basically the exact opposite way I rode Max.

Which was tough for me. I wanted to react back. I wanted to pull and insist. I wanted him to stop spooking at the cow roping dummy and got angry when he wouldn’t. Yeah, this ride was starting out really well.

We worked at the walk for a while, then the trot, then the canter. I felt pretty good about 30 minutes in and Sarah set up a 5 stride line.

At cross rails. Spoiler alert, we stayed at cross rails for the entire lesson. Not because Deputy did anything wrong.

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My last jump lesson…

We worked on me, my position, and getting through the corners and the line the same way. I was unable to stay consistent with my arms (mainly my elbows) and have a lovely, light, following, forearm. I was unable to keep my chest up over the jumps, instead I jumped as if it were a 3’3 oxer. I couldn’t half halt in the 5 stride line while also keeping my leg unlocked and useful.

Blerg.

Deputy was a good boy, and dealt with all of it. The lesson left me feeling the way I do after SO MANY jump lessons. A mix of “why do I do this, I hate stadium jumping” and “just let me go cross country and have fuuuunnnnn.”

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This. I miss this!

But here’s the silver lining. As I bring June along, I’m essentially bringing myself along too. it’s almost like I get to start over. As she learns,  I’ll get to restart jumping from ground poles up. And I can start to fine tune things. And ride one horse and work on my position and learn what works for us.

And sure, I want to ride other horses and continue working at becoming a better rider. Which, in my opinion, happens a lot faster when you’re riding lots of different horses and learning what works and what doesn’t. Having as many tools in your toolbox is helpful, and I want to keep collecting tools.

So, I guess I’m back at it- not just having fun with my young horse, but back to getting my butt kicked and trying to figure it all out. And despite how drenched in sweat and exhausted I was after my ride on Deputy, I immediately asked when I could have another lesson.

 

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On Being a Laid Back, Type A, Personality

I am fully aware that my title contradicts itself.

But it’s truly who I have become. Especially when it comes to “show season”

When I was riding Georgie, I would have my show season set by January. I knew what I needed to do if I wanted to qualify for the 3 day,  knew what clinics I wanted to participate in, and had a good sense of exactly how my season would go.  Planning gives me a sense of peace and relaxation.

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Also peaceful and relaxed

But then Georgie injured herself, and ever since I have not had a single plan work out.

The plan to compete Macy at a recognized event fell through at least twice.

And more recently, my FEH plans with June have gone askew.

But I think one of the most important things Macy taught me, in preparing for a baby horse, is to throw all plans out the window. And somehow, this lesson from Macy (like many others) is absolutely invaluable.

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Thanks Macy!

I am so incredibly laid back about all my June plans it’s like I am a different person. (But still the same person, because I love MAKING plans. I’m just okay with said plans not being what actually happens)

This laid back attitude reaches from my daily training of baby horse to future of baby horse and everything in between. When I found out that the Spokane event wouldn’t be holding a FEH 4 yr old class this May, (where I planned to go watch so I knew what I was getting into for Rebecca), I re-routed myself to NY to see family and deliver Peekaboo to her new home. When I found out Rebecca Farm wasn’t holding any YEH or FEH classes this year, I felt relief, as I could now speak at a conference and not have to figure out how I would fly there from Montana and get June home without me. And, even when I found out that the FEH class that I was hoping to attend this fall was happening AFTER championships (therefore making qualifying for championships obsolete as it’s not like I can go next year), I kinda shrugged and while bummed, knew there is a good chance I won’t qualify for champs, so no big deal.

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She’d probably have a better chance of qualifying for champs without me…

But, in case you’re worried about who I have become, and worry that I have turned into some apathetic, non caring human, fear not. Sarah noticed there was an event being held in August we’d never been to. It was holding both YEH and FEH classes. After emailing them to confirm they would hold a FEH 4 yr old class, I decided this was the new plan! Sarah and I would go, me with my 4 yr old, her with her 2yr old. Not only do I get to take June to a show, Sarah is coming and we can make it a quick “vacation” of sorts! So, not having plans, may actually work out for the best!

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Still so adorable

And if these plans fall through, that’s ok too. I can re route once again. All plans are up in the air, and changeable. And weirdly, at this point in my life, that’s totally ok.

 

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Before We Move Forward

We need to revisit the past.

This is a post I’ve been putting off, but now that June and I are moving forward under saddle, I think I need to fess up about something in our past.

I’m not going to get into specifics because I don’t want to point fingers, and hey, we all make mistakes, but here’s the gist of it. (Also, negative comments about any party involved will be deleted. Let’s just take this as a learning opportunity, shall we?)

Last October, I had June in full training. I asked to be the first rider on her, and as her time with the trainer was coming to an end, she suggested I hop on her. In my mind, I would hop on her, we would walk around the round pen and it would be a major success.

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Our first ride!

But the trainer she was with starts horses differently than I had imagined. She feels it is important to walk, trot, and canter, in the first ride. I did not know this, and was not prepared when she had June trot. When she told me she was going to have June canter, every instinct told me to say something, to tell her I wasn’t comfortable cantering her, but I didn’t.

Instead, I clamped and stiffened and became a brick on my poor horse’s back.

As you can imagine, June felt this. And she responded by becoming a bucking bronc. She started bucking and hopping and after flying forward and back, all I could think was “I need to get off this horse NOW.”

So, I jumped off and landed on my feet, but I was basically bucked off. And, because we are dealing with horses, I had to get BACK ON and walk and trot again.

The whole experience left me sad and angry. I wish I had trusted my instincts and just walked around the round pen. I wish I had said something. I respect this trainer and feel her methods are valid. But, as we spoke about the incident later, we both admitted that it’s different having a pro be the first ride than it is an amateur who has never ridden an un-broke horse. Having June canter, when I was so unbalanced in the saddle, was a mistake. We can both admit that.

So, now that I have June back, I am essentially re-training her under saddle. The trainer did get some nice rides on her before she went out to pasture, but my last ride, was the one where I came off of her.

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Wait. I did something wrong?

So, poor Trainer Sarah now has to pick up the pieces. I’ve been working so hard on her walk work,(we can turn and woah and it’s basically amazing) that Sarah felt it was time to trot! I asked to work on the lunge line, as I had no idea what was going to happen and didn’t want June to take off bucking. In the first walk to trot transition I was pretty nervous and June could feel it. Her back got tight and she tucked her tail. But that was it. As we started the next one, I was again nervous, but I reminded myself to breathe and the moment I did, June’s entire body relaxed as well. Literally, Sarah mentioned how much calmer she was the moment I relaxed. So, we spent the next ten minutes trotting, working on upward and downward transitions and it got better and better. June was perfect and SUCH a good girl.

It’s amazing how in tune with me she is. It makes sense though. Thus far her life has consisted of following my lead whenever we are together. I need to remember that she relies on me for guidance and support. If I am nervous, why shouldn’t she be?

I told Sarah I still had some hesitation about ever cantering and she assured me we can take things as slow as I want. I really like Sarah’s method of starting horses. There is zero hurry and her hope is one day we will just fall into the canter, rather than make a big deal of it. (And cantering is a LONG way down the road.. if I hadn’t mentioned my fear Sarah would have never brought it up.)

I will say June’s trot was amazing. It’s so much bigger than Georgie’s and I mentioned how fast it felt.  Sarah told me it wasn’t fast, there’s just more movement,  and I need to let it happen, not hinder it. No pulling back!

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Let this floaty trot happen!

I’m still so excited for the partnership I have with this horse and feel a sense of relief knowing that moving forward, I’ll trust my gut and go as slow as I want. June is proving to be a smart horse, and I need to trust her as much as she trusts me. So, when I mention any fears, now you know why.  My hope is to get more and more comfortable at the trot and then see what the future holds on this horse who seems so willing to be patient with me.

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Alone Time

If you read my blog and that of SprinklerBandits you may get the feeling we have two of the most amazing, lovely, easy as can be, young horses. And, while I actually think this is true of Zoebird, I’m going to let you in on a secret about June. She isn’t perfect.

I know, you’re shocked.

I will say, before talking about all the things she needs work on, that she is actually a great baby. When she knows what is expected of her, she is happy as can be to do what I am asking. I’ve had few problems with her in work actually, most of the baby moments seem to be happening when we are just standing. This mare CANNOT just stand.

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But she’s so cute when she’s in my space!

Now, I know that’s pretty normal for young horses. I thoroughly enjoyed Amanda’s post about the Tree of Knowledge. June needs a Tree of Knowledge, or a Thinking Pole, or whatever else you want to call it, SO BADLY. Baby horse cannot stand tied, or next to me, for more than 3 seconds without beginning to paw incessantly. It used to be only when I left her alone. But yesterday, as I was talking to a woman who has worked lots and lots of baby horses, June got right in my space and then just started dancing and pawing in the 10 seconds I was speaking with this woman. Let’s just say that didn’t go over well and maybe I was called out for letting her do that. (There are very few people I will allow to question my baby horse training, this woman is one of them). June got an impromptu lesson on just standing still. And I began to hunt the farm for somewhere, anywhere, that I can high tie June.

Our other issue is that she really doesn’t like to be alone. At all. So, I’ve been forcing alone time on her. Sometimes I stick her out in the outdoor arena, where she can see other horses, but she still gallops around whinnying and has a fit. Other times she goes into the high sided roping arena, where she gallops around and has a fit. The first time I stuck her out on grass, she had a fit and missed out on enjoying her pasture time.

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Mom, please save me from this hell

She’s getting better. Which is good. But there is still a bit of a struggle every time I put her out and leave her. Which, she will have to get over, because I have plans for her this fall that involve travelling by herself.

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Also, in an exciting twist, these two have become besties, but more on that later…

I keep reassuring myself that this is just baby horse antics and ALL MOST baby horses act like they’re wearing hind boots for the first time EVERY TIME YOU PUT THEM ON FOR 1 MONTH. I have a lesson this Thursday and while I am eager to show Sarah all our skillz under saddle, I also can’t wait to ask her about 100,000 questions about certain behaviors I am working on with June and if my approach seems to make the most sense.

So there you go, June isn’t exactly perfect. But she’s still my most favorite baby horse ever.

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Habits

Since I’m not doing much riding with June just yet I’ve taken the opportunity to ride a couple of the lesson horses at our barn. Mostly I just hop on them when Sarah is out of town and they’re not being used for lessons, but could use some exercise. No matter which horse I ride, my habits are right there with me. It’s nice because I can work on them. Work on my position and try, desperately, to break my bad habits.

There’s one habit that follows me on whatever horse I ride and quite honestly, I am not willing to break it. It’s a habit I actually think has served me very well over the years.

You see, I talk to horses.

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What’s that you say? I have hay in my forelock?

When I’m on their back, I’m a talker. Like, not all the time, but a fair amount. It served me really, really, well with Georgie. For one thing, when we started going Training, and neither of us had jumped cross country at that height, I could have been up on her back, just not breathing. Instead, I made sure I was breathing by talking to her as we cruised around. There were lots of “good girl” and “woah” and sometimes me blithering on about what was next. It kept me breathing but it also kept her engaged with me. I’d see her ear flick back. As time went on, it was totally routine. When we were out on course together, I was always communicating with her. I actually think she really enjoyed it. It seemed to be what she expected and it relaxed her a bit.

Ingrid Klimke actually spoke in an interview about how she is constantly talking to her horse while she is out on cross country. And while I can’t find the interview, I remember she made fun of herself a bit, referencing the fact that she is not a quiet rider. Instead people are surprised to hear her talking as her horses fly over jumps. Her reasoning is much the same as mine.  Think about it, we’re ALWAYS talking to our horses. We’re asking them to move over, get out of the way. We cluck at them, ask them to whoa, and tell them how amazing they are. They’re used to our voices.

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One of our ridiculous barn cats

With June, so much of our relationship is based on verbal communication. She is so used to my voice. And, now that I am riding her a bit, I’m teaching her what “woah”means as well as what a “cluck” means. I assume my habit of talking to her while I am on her back isn’t going to stop as we progress in our training.

With the school horses I ride, if they offer a good behavior, they’re sure to get a “good boy.” If they spook at seemingly nothing, they get a “Seriously?” But they also get lots of verbal reinforcement as we go about the ride.

It’s a habit I can’t see myself changing, and one I’m actually quite happy I’ve got. What about you? Are you verbal with your horses when riding? Or do you tend to be the silent type?

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She Jumps!

I’m not gonna lie. I have maybe spent some time worried that June wasn’t going to know how to jump. Or would be super awkward and not talented at all. I mean, I’ve never had a baby horse before. There is zero guarantee about anything. And sure, her Dad looks like THIS when he jumps:

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Photo By: Janne Bugtrup

But hey, he’s only half of her genes.

Anyway, I was gone for 8 days, and while June got out a handful of times while I was gone, I didn’t want to ride her in my lesson the day I returned. So, instead, we decided to free jump her!

 

Now, I know what you’re picturing. Huge, elaborately decorated jumps. But, let me let you in on a secret. Free jumping actually isn’t as exciting as it is in those fancy broadcasts you see with super fancy horses. For us, we started with groundpoles. And we raised the jumps to about 2’3 at the end. It was lots of me chasing June around and trying to get her into the chute. It’s not glamorous people.

But it is fun. Especially when your baby horse figures it out quickly and thinks she is HOT SHIT and gallops around every time she exits the chute.

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Clearing the groundpole…

IMO she had great form, a great brain, and was super excited about jumping! Not that I am biased.

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2’3 was about 2 feet too small 😉

It was so fun to watch and worth all the running around to catch her and put her in the chute after each go.

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Love those happy ears

Sadly the next day we were back in the round pen, with a dressage saddle, but she’s still thinking all about how great she was at jumping.

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It’s All Good

So, before I wax on and on about June, let me say this. She isn’t actually perfect. She can be pushy and impatient and sometimes tries my patience. She has serious opinions and I know I am not getting a quiet, easy, horse.

But, that said, she’s pretty amazing.

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I mean, the cutest!

The best part (in my opinion) about baby horses, is that everything is new. There is no having to retrain them, so when they pick up on something, you’re like “OMG YOU’RE THE SMARTEST HORSE EVER!!” Because, they are learning much more quickly than you’d expect. Or, at least, than I would expect.

Last week I had my first lesson on June. It was the first time I rode her in a saddle and it was the first time she was ridden outside of the round pen. She was good, in that she would woah 80% of the time and go about 80% of the time when asked. She would get a little confused, and we’d let her work it out, but she definitely needed some direction and guidance.

Three days later I rode her again, this time in the round pen, since I was alone and she wouldn’t have someone guiding her. She remembered most of what we had done and was so much more responsive. Her woah was much more solid as was her go. She even turned! I was blown away!

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Getting her to accept ANYTHING on her hind legs has been a work in progress and probably our biggest struggle. But now she lets me put on boots without any fuss. One day we’ll try for shipping boots. One day.

And then today we did some groundpole work on the lunge line. Did she do everything perfectly every time? Nope. But she was willing and learned and figured out so much on her own. I didn’t always give her the best line to the poles and it was ok, she would trot through them and get it done. And at the end, when I gave her the option of hopping over an 18″ jump, she happily showed me that this was all a piece of cake.

I feel as though once we get a solid partnership, one where we both trust and understand each other, the sky is going to be the limit. I leave today for a cross-country adventure with Peekaboo, and I know I will miss this baby horse so much. It’s so fun to be excited to go the barn every day. Even if all our homework is just to lead from the right side, or get her comfortable with walking by the ditch on the property. Baby horses are the BEST. Or, at least that’s how I am feeling this week 🙂

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Georgie’s New Beginning

I’ve been meaning to post about Georgie for some time now. But June has kept me busy and filled with content. So, here is the update you’ve all been waiting for. 🙂

I spent much of March riding Georgie, assessing soundness while I asked more of her and got her fitter. The hope was that she would be able to be half leased by a junior rider and she would be able to handle the increased level of work. During the month I went from questioning Georgie’s future to feeling comfortable with her going into work again. It’s amazing what some fitness work and consistency can do for a horse.

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She still refuses to pose for pictures. EVER

When Sarah returned from California the beginning of April I could confidently say I felt Georgie would enjoy getting back to work and doing 2′ to 2’3 jumping with a junior. Sarah had the perfect student in mind and, well, now they’re paired up and Georgie is being half leased.

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Obviously this is hard and weird and sad for me. But don’t worry, I put some stipulations in the lease (cause I can do that, as her caregiver, I guess) and it states in the lease that either Sarah or I can ride the mare once a week to assess soundness (or give her a tune up ride). Despite how strong and sound she was feeling in March, I still worried that the mare would have issue with being ridden regularly. But having ridden Georgie this past week, I can lay those worries to rest. She felt great. I took her for a walk/trot and then just let her gallop, because she was begging me too. It felt great to be back on her and feeling her want to gallop.

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Plus we got to ride with Tommy , who happens to be Georgie’s boyfriend

And while sure, this ride was supposed to be for Georgie, it helped me so much too. When I ride/work with June, I have to be thinking all the time. There’s never really any down time. It was the same with Macy. With Georgie I could just relax and enjoy it. Letting her gallop around the field reminded me why I love riding so much. Why a partnership with a horse is such a special thing.

I still hope June has half the heart Georgie does. I love watching her new rider love on her and I hope she appreciates just how special a horse she is. I’m so glad she is still at my barn, still in Sarah’s care, and that I’m able to watch over her and ride her as well. Oh, and as an added bonus, she is housed right next to June. She has already figured out that for every treat June gets, she gets one too.

So, here’s to a great new life for Georgie, and her teaching another rider just how special a horse she is.

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Actual Pics of Me on June

So, I realize I was all “I’m not going to ride June until she’s 4” and that is still 2 months away. But baby horse has progressed so far and well with her ground work, I was kinda like “Well, its time to hop on her.”

So one day I did just that. Sarah saw me walking her out to the round pen with my helmet in my hand and just said “Let me know when you’ve safely dismounted.” I figured the less of a deal I made about it, the less of a deal it would be.

So, I worked her in the round pen and she was her fantastic self.

I sided her up to the rail, and played around with throwing a leg over her, and putting some weight on her back. Then I removed her rope halter, put my other halter with reins attached to it  on her, and brought her back over to the rail.(I don’t have a side pull and #stellasurgery prevents me from buying ANYTHING not absolutely necessary).

I sided her up, and slid on. We stood there for a moment or two. Then we walked around the round pen a few circles, worked on turning, and called it a day.

It was the least dramatic and most exciting thing ever.

A few days later I decided to try again. This time I worked on shifting my weight a bit when we were walking and asking her to woah. She got that figured out quickly, so we did some more walking around and turning. With lots of just looking around and hanging out.

And on Kentucky 3 Day cross-country day, I decided to take a risk myself, and have her walk around the property with two other horses.

She was great! At one point, we were leading, and I asked the other two riders if they wouldn’t mind taking the lead since we don’t really know what we’re doing and they were like “But you have the best behaved horse!”

Apparently I picked the wrong two horses to go hack with.

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They were fun to ride with and DID end up taking the lead…

June got a little tight in her back on the way home, and I could tell she was feeling a bit frisky as we made the last turn to home. So, instead of making a big issue of it, I hopped off, turned her away from home and had her walk over some ground poles and a log that were set up in the jump field. The other two horses left and she was fine with it. I then hand walked her back to the barn with no issue.

I should note that I was riding bareback in running leggings and sneakers. If things had gone sideways I would have fallen off easily. But June hasn’t been ridden in a saddle since she’s been back, and I didn’t want to introduce that the day we went out of the round pen. I have my first lesson with her Thursday so I’ll be putting a saddle on her once or twice before that lesson (I have been doing this all along) so that when I get on her for that lesson she is at least comfortable with the saddle and remembers it’s no big deal.

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So many pics of her trotting…I know

The groundwork I’ve done with her has done exactly what I wanted. I’m so confident around her on the ground and feel like I know her so well, despite only having had her in my care for 5 months. I’ve learned so much about her and am really loving the horse I have. If she understands the question, she tries her hardest. It’s when she doesn’t understand that she “acts out.” And even her acting out is short lived and quite minimal. When she acts out, my first question is always “what doesn’t she understand?” And I LOVE trying to figure it out with her. She’s been forgiving of my training flaws and seems eager to see me when I come to her paddock.

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First IG pic of me on her back

That said, she’s got a strong personality and opinions. I need to work on things like her getting in my space and being a bit more responsive, but she’s still young and I think those things will refine themselves with work and time. I’m excited to start working with her and Sarah so I can have homework and continue in the right direction.

The other day Sarah said to me “Remember, she’s only in kindergarten,” and that really struck a chord. Kindergartener’s have a short attention span, they have temper tantrums, and they can be easily scared by harsh teaching. On the other hand, they’re curious, eager and very forgiving of what life throws at them. For June, I think exposing her to new things continues to be of the utmost importance as well as “having conversations” about what is expected of her. I’m looking forward to going slow with her, letting her tell me when she is ready for the next challenge. I think this mare has lots of potential and I can’t tell you how excited I am about the partnership progressing and for her to show me what she is capable of!

 

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June’s Big Adventure

One of my big plans for June when she came back to me was to take her to a localish schooling show and let her see the sights and get used to the life she’ll soon be leading. One where she’ll spend nights away from home and may have to travel long distances. She needs to be comfortable going new places and not making a big deal about it.

Honestly, I had zero expectations for this trip, other than I wanted her to load into the trailer and be ok about hauling, Beyond that, we’d see what would happen.

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I’m calling this the poor woman’s side pull. I can;t afford new anything, so reins got attached to a halter…

What was supposed to be a simple haul to show, spend the night, walk the grounds in the AM and head home in the PM turned into SO much more and baby mare handled it incredibly well.

So, from the beginning: She loaded like a champ. She was the first horse on the trailer and we had no issues. We drove to Stella’s vet appt, about 3 hours away. From there, she sat in the trailer for about 10 minutes while I checked Stella in, then we went to the equine hospital  down the road where she unloaded and sat in a stall for an hour while a horse had a lameness exam. She hung out in the stall, drank some water, and was totally calm. Then, back on the trailer, and off to pick up Stella where she stood in the trailer calmly for about 30 minutes, and then to Sarah’s trainers barn where Sarah was having two lessons and we would be spending the night. There was quite a bit of traffic, so we arrived far later than we had anticipated, so we unloaded horses, I threw June into a stall in a dark barn and helped Sarah tack up. June paused for about 3 seconds before entering the dark barn, but that was it. When I went to get her she was munching some leftover hay and happily came outside with me.

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If there’s hay she’s happy

I walked her all over the facility including out on the cross country course. She was a bit leery of the coffin (smart horse) but would happily nibble grass all around it. She was calm and happy and settled in and ate her hay that evening as if she had always been there.

I fed her early that morning and she was bright eyed but didn’t end up eating a whole lot as there was lots going on and we loaded back up about an hour later. She was a bit less eager to get into the trailer. I ended up getting my “ground work wand” as I call it, and she loaded right up. Once we got to the facility we decided to leave her and one other horse in the trailer since it was cool and we didn’t have day stalls. I was worried about doing this, but shouldn’t have been. She definitely pawed, but she was in there a good hour, and about 20 minutes in she gave up on pawing and just ate her hay.

After I read Sarah her dressage tests, I went back to the trailer, got June out and we walked all over. We watched some dressage, jumping warm up and stood at the rail to film Sarah’s first jump round. She was unfazed by all of it. The only thing she gave the hairy eyeball was the Gator four wheeler thing. What’s interesting is we have one of these at our barn. So it’s not novel in any way. Apparently she’s leary of Gators..

IMG_8387

Is there a Gator out there?

But then we had the only truly stressful part of the trip. For humans more so than horses.  After loading up one more time to head home, I told Sarah I needed to stop at Petsmart as I had no dog food at home. Sarah said it was fine, we could, but I hadn’t really thought the entire thing through. Petsmart is in a busy strip mall. It was Saturday at 1pm. Sarah has a 46′ trailer. It would be almost like a semi driver trying to navigate a strip mall. With turns.

IMG_8404

Trailer is no joke..

So, I would say it was a disaster, but it wasn’t realllyyy. I mean sure, Sarah just stopped and parked on what she thought was a not busy side street (it was very busy) and turned on her flashers, after navigating about 5 strip mall turns with her huge ass trailer. And sure, I paid for my dog food and then RAN down the street with the shopping cart like I had just stolen it so I could get to the trailer and keep Sarah from being honked at by more angry drivers. And maybe our poor ponies got swung side to side and back and forth as she navigated that maze, but in the end, I got dog food, horses behaved and so I call it a win. However, now, when Sarah needs something from me and I grumble about it, she just looks and says “Petsmart” and I know I’m indebted to her for a long time…

June got home, into her stall, and started to eat dinner.

Isn’t fazed by anything but Gators.

I’d call this weekend a huge win. Not only for June’s big adventure, but it was really fun to get out of town with Sarah and do horse stuff again. And, Stella’s recheck/PT appt went great. They were very impressed with the progress she’s made! She handled the weekend well and it wasn’t nearly as stressful for her as I had worried it would be. It’s good to have my best traveling buddy with me. If this weekend is any indication, we should be having a very fun spring and summer!

 

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