Tag Archives: riding

A Christmas Surprise

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season and were able to spend time with those you love (2 or 4 legged!)

I spent the 24th with family, which is our tradition, which meant the 25th was a day for me to do what I pleased. And while I had plans to spend part of the day with friends, and part of the day walking Shelter dogs, I had the morning to myself.

Which meant, after a nice run, I could ride both of my favorite grey mares!

I hadn’t ridden Georgie in a few weeks, but Sarah asked me to hop on her and tune her up for an older gentleman who takes dressage lessons on her. I was happy to have the chance to hop on her!

I started with June and she was full of it. Not in a bad way, just in a baby horse way. She wanted to root and run through my hand. She wanted to act spooky at one end of the arena. She wanted to skip trotting and get to cantering.

We worked through all of it and it was actually really fun. We’d get a lovely rhythmic trot and she’d start rooting. We’d work on that and she would get spooky. Oh baby horse, so many tricks to get out of work! In the end we had some lovely moments. I love how forward she is, and honestly, love how easy the work is for her. She’s still a baby and so so green, but she clearly has so much talent and if I can harness that, I really think we can have years of fun ahead of us. By the end of the ride we were both sweating, but had accomplished a lot, and I called it a day.

Cute barn cat Willie dressed up in a red bow

While June cooled off, I hopped on Georgie. Georgie will always be my heart horse. Let me start by saying that. She is safe and uncomplicated and she and I have had so much fun together. I have so much love for her and am so lucky she is a part of my life.

Always makes me smile

But, oh my God, riding her and “tuning her up” was more of a workout than I expected. She’s gotten heavy and hard in the mouth. She’s been allowed to go around on her forehand for so long now, that asking her to go in an uphill frame with impulsion was a true test of my fitness (and hers). I spent the entire ride just getting her to come up off of her forehand. We worked on keeping her uphill through corners while not losing impulsion. I worked my butt off to get her to canter over two ground poles, two strides apart, and not letting her fall on her forehand on the backside. She seems to have lost the concept of bend, so we had a conversation about it.

By the end of the ride she was forward, bending, and somewhat uphill. I was dripping in sweat.

As we both cooled off, I thought to myself “Well, if I’m being honest, I enjoyed riding June more than Georgie.”

And if that’s not a Christmas surprise, I don’t know what is. I’m sure the next time June throws me into next week I’ll be singing a different tune, but for now, I’m really appreciating all that is baby June.

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June’s FEH Experience Part 1

Because I have SO MUCH to say, I’ve broken this post up into two parts. This post will be about June, and the next one will be about the actual event and FEH experience.

We loaded up and left Wednesday morning for our 11-12 hour drive. That’s right. I was driving up to 12 hours for an FEH class. Living in Idaho makes these sorts of drives seem normal. It was HOT for much of the drive, but Sarah’s trailer had great ventilation and June looked perky and happy at all our stops. Since this was a two-day event for all but the FEH classes, we were pretty much the first to arrive besides the organizers. June settled in like a champ and I have to say, she’s already pretty much a pro about traveling and going places by herself.

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Don’t worry she didn’t dump me, I just have a random lunging photo

Thursday was going to be HOT, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ride June early, or later, when there was a bit more atmosphere. I ended up lunging her in the AM and she was a good girl. I think she was happy to get out of her stall and stretch her legs. People began to arrive and so I decided to hop on her around 11:30. I think that because so many people were arriving, and there was more going on, June was a bit more antsy. I decided to lunge her before hopping on and wouldn’t you know it, she had a few bucks in her… She bucked so hard that she got away from me and cantered back to her stall. Lucky for me, the woman who caught her said “Same thing happened to us last year.” Eventers are the nicest.

I had planned on riding by myself, just hacking around and doing some walk/trot work, but now I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t have the horse I knew back at home. So, Sarah happily came with me, and I ended up having an impromptu lesson. June was basically perfect in that she wasn’t spooky, didn’t buck and handled the going ons with no issue. There wasn’t an arena, so I was a bit nervous to canter-I’ve never cantered June in the open before. But, as we settled in, I opted to do some canter work.

It went ok except for one thing. I could not for the life of me get June to pick up her right lead canter. This hadn’t ever been an issue. She was solid on her leads. I think she’s maybe once picked up the wrong lead? So, we worked for a while and got it. Then got it again, and called it a day.

I checked my ride time again Thursday afternoon and was excited to see that there were two more people entered in our division. I became less excited when I realized they were both seasoned, upper level, professionals, but still, it would be nice to share the arena with other horses.

Our ride time wasn’t until 3:40 on Friday so I spent the morning walking June around and just letting her see everything that was going on. Last thing I wanted was for her to be surprised there were a lot of horses and people here now. I braided her at the trailer since our stalls were far from us, and I didn’t feel like hauling all my crap down there. She was distracted and a bit antsy but we got it done. She looked pretty damn cute all braided.

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When I hopped on June to go warm up, she was a bit high. There was only one place to warm up/ride on the entire property. Because there was also a dressage schooling show going on, and people were riding their horses on their own, the warm up area was a bit chaotic. June got down there, threw her neck and head high up into the air and took it all in. Then I proceeded to make her walk around the arenas and by our second time around, she was cool as a cucumber. Love her brain.

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PNW eventing sure is beautiful

There were horses coming at us, bikes riding by us, children screaming ( I may have imagined that) and I was trying to steer and listen to Sarah through all of it. It went ok. She was super fussy in the bridle, tossing her head, but paying attention. Canter left went ok. (In that I didn’t run into anyone or run away). Canter right was not happening. I think I tried 8 times to get the correct lead? And I couldn’t get it done before we were called to begin the class.

At this point I got a chance to see the other horses in my class. My first thought? “Well, we’ll still be happy with 3rd place!” Honestly. I really didn’t pay much attention to the other horses or riders, but it was VERY clear they were much further along in their training than June was. They were round and on the bit. One, who ended up winning, was stunning. Beautiful mover and clearly this wasn’t her first show. The other was a really good-looking OTTB who had filled out nicely  and looked to be a solid citizen despite only having come off the track this spring. I found out later that the winning horse was entered at Novice (but moved down to BN) and the OTTB was entered Intro. They came in 4th and 2nd, respectively, in their divisions. These were really nice 4 year olds!

But, really, my goal was to get a regional championships qualifying score, and that would be based on my horse, and how we did, not on the others. So, we entered the dressage arena and began to show our horses off at the walk. And then the trot. And then we changed direction.  June was fuss busing the entire time, I couldn’t really get a good connection or get the trot I really wanted. But that was ok, because we were staying in the arena and she was not spooky or completely distracted by her environment.

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After the walk and trot, two of us were asked to exit the arena so the one horse could canter. She was asked to pick up the canter on a 20 meter circle.

And this is where I began to panic.

I haven’t done any work at the canter on a 20 meter circle. I thought we would be using the entire arena. I thought we would be essentially doing an equitation class. Had I read this somewhere? Had I made it up? I don’t know. What I did know was this would be our very first 20 meter canter…

It wasn’t great. We got to go left first (thank God) and June picked up the canter, and then fell out of it coming out of the corner. We got it again and kept it. But it was long and strung out and not the canter I wanted to show off.

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And then we went right. Before the class I asked Sarah “So, I just keep trying for the correct lead, right?” She said yes, but we both knew there was a chance June may not show off her right lead canter.

She didn’t get it on the first try.

She didn’t get it on the second try.

And right before the third try I whispered to her “June, please don’t do this to me.”

And we got the correct lead.

We veered around that circle and there was zero pretty about it. But, we got the correct lead.

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I am excited for what this canter will be one day

The woman on the OTTB also had difficulty with her horse getting the correct lead but she was far faster at resolving the problem. She did it in one stride, it took me 2-3 to get June back to the trot, and then try again.

And then we were asked to remove our saddles for the conformation portion. June was a good girl for this, but at one point she cocked a back foot and I was like “Uh, no, you can’t be lazy right now,” and made her stand with all four feet on the ground.

At the end of the class, when the three of us were standing with our horses in a line, the judge came up to us and told us we should all be very proud of our horses for handling this environment as well as they did and that was so pleased to see 3 very different, but very nice, horses. She said something nice about each horse, and for June it was something like “She was a bit green today, but she is a lovely, athletic, type.”

Yup, she is. She’s also quite green. Which is why we entered an FEH class. But more on that later.

June was such a good girl and I am really happy with how well she behaved and how she took it all in stride. I had no idea what to expect at her first show, and I learned that I can ask more of her, she’s not going to be fazed by all that is going on around her.

We did come in 3rd place, but we were more competitively scored than I expected. And, we qualified for championships, which was my goal!

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Yes, flip flops. I literally took her out, took the pic and put her back. It’ll never happen again, I promise.

June had a good night, and she traveled home like a champ. She handled the long travel days really well and today was happy to go out on pasture and eat as much grass as she wanted. She’ll have a couple of days off and then we’ll be right back to work. This mare is so fun and I can’t wait to continue learning with her.

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I have SO MANY thoughts about this event, and I can’t wait to share them with you in my next post.

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The Dressage Training Pyramid

In our indoor arena Sarah has painted this on one of the walls:

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The well-known dressage training pyramid.

I spend a lot of time looking at this piece of art. When I was riding Macy, I wondered if we’d ever get to the pinnacle. I’d check off what we had accomplished after every ride, and ask questions like “So, today we had rhythm and impulsion, but not much relaxation. Do you have to go in order of the pyramid?”

I feel like this pyramid haunts me a little bit. It teases me by showing how much I have yet to achieve in my riding. It goads me into thinking that one day I can have true collection, but not without connection!

Now that June and I are solidly doing some WTC rides, the training pyramid is back on my mind. After last week’s lesson, I pointed to the pyramid and said “We don’t even have rhythm. How will we ever achieve rhythm????” I never in my life thought that achieving rhythm could be so hard.

But then yesterday, I looked at the pyramid and said “Watch this.”

And I engaged my core, applied my leg and asked for the trot. June maintained a beautiful rhythmic trot all the way around the arena.

“See THAT, pyramid??? There’s a lot more where THAT came from.”

Of course, I couldn’t maintain this trot for 3 circles, but hey, baby steps. Literally, baby steps.

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Speaking of baby steps, not only is June so much calmer when tied up, she allowed me to put standing wraps on her and wasn’t a freak about walking around in them!

This pyramid, while it taunts and goads me, is actually really cool to have as a visual when I ride. It gives me a goal to work on, of course, but also really makes me reflect on each ride and see what needs work and what needs progress.

Of course, I think we’ll be working on rhythm for quite some time, but that’s ok. You’ve got to start somewhere!

 

 

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June’s First Stock Horse Event

One of my favorite things about our barn is that there always seems to be something going on on the weekend. If Sarah isn’t hosting a Jumper or TOC show, our western riding trainer is hosting a horsemanship clinic, sorting show or stock horse event. And while June may not partake in all these events, it’s great for her to see trailers and horses coming in and activity all around. I want her to be used to chaos.

This past weekend our barn hosted a Stock Horse event. I didn’t really know what this was, other than you do a pattern and basically show good horsemanship and a calm and relaxed ride. I signed June up mainly because it seemed low key and would get her out and about with other horses.

I mean zero disrespect to the western riding discipline, but I was pretty surprised by how warm up went. There were about 15-20 horses in the outdoor arena, everyone was going every which way, and June had horses spinning (like fancy, western, spinning) cantering and sliding to a stop all around her.

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She needed a little encouragement in the chaos

All I could think was, dressage warm up is going to be a piece of cake if we keep doing this!

The event itself was lots of fun! It started in the outdoor arena with a pattern. June and I only walked and trotted but baby horse was SO good. We had to stop and turn (other horses spun), and trot out of the arena under some trees to another paddock, and at the end we had to open a gate while on her back. I figured that would go very badly, but actually, we got the gate open fairly simply. I couldn’t close it, but that was ok, I was happy with how it went considering I had never asked that of her.

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Siding up to the gate

Next we moved to another arena where there was an obstacle course. I hadn’t done this under saddle with June so just figured I would see how it went. She was resistant to go over some bridges (but not others, others she walked right over) and she wasn’t sure about the teeter totter at all. But at the end she happily walked through the elevated tires with no problem. I’m signing her up for an obstacle/trail course clinic in August so we can work on this. While I don’t think it’s a huge deal, I think it’s a confidence builder and the more slow, mental work we can do, the better.

Lastly, we entered the cow pen. Now, June hasn’t spent any time with cows other than when I turn her out in the paddock next to them. For this challenge we would be moving cows from one pen to another, and then keeping certain cows in certain areas. I figured I would get June in the pen with the cows, see how she reacted and maybe get her as close to them as possible.

Well, June had another idea. She wanted to get in the cow pen and start moving cows! Bossing cows around is right up her alley!

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She had absolutely no hesitation around the cows, and pushed them this way and that. I guess if eventing doesn’t work out she can be a ranch horse.

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Awfully proud of herself

In recapping the event to Sarah I told her that up until now, most of my tests of June have been to see how her brain would handle things. Her brain has handled everything well. Incredibly well. Moving forward I feel like I can stop worrying about how she’ll react to things and start asking more of her physically. Like, work on getting our steering more refined. And trotting a circle at the same pace the entire way around.

So here’s to boring circles and steering. I can’t wait!

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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..

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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.

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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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June’s First Week Back

I really can’t express how impressed I am with this mare since she has been back.

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So pretty!

I figured in her first week we would take it a bit easy, and on Day 2 I brought her in for grooming and she was great.  I then put her in the round pen to see what, if anything, she remembered. Mare was 100% game and not only did she remember things, she had an attitude of “ok, now what would you like?” I’d had an issue with her not wanting to be caught  from her field last summer and so Trainer Dana had me work on teaching her to come towards me when I opened my arms, with lunge whips in each hand. If she went sideways I’d keep her from going anywhere with the whip. If she squared to me, I’d slink a little, avoid eye contact and invite her to come towards me. One step forward and pressure was released, I backed up as she came forward. It worked amazingly well, despite my  not believing it would and June never had an issue with being caught again.

On this day, I thought I’d see if she remembered any of that. I only had one whip, but I opened my arms, took a step back and June walked right up to me.

I think the best decision I made was to send her to Trainer Dana prior to letting her rest all winter. Clearly she has retained that info and is ready to move forward.

Day 3 she got off because Stella had surgery and I was in Boise. I took advantage of being unable to work her and had her get her spring vaccinations.

Day 4 we did a little round pen work, a little grooming, and then I took her to the obstacle course. As always with her, if she understands the question, she is game to do her darndest. In a few instances I got in front of her shoulder, which she thinks means whoa and we had some difficulty walking over the bridge or teeter totter. But she did everything I asked, when I asked correctly, and  her favorite is still climbing on the tires.

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What’s the big deal, mom?

Day 5 it was lunging in the indoor arena. I decided to throw some trot poles down as well as the liverpool. I walked her up to the liverpool and we walked over it with zero hesitation. This was a physically demanding day for an unfit pony. Lots of trotting, walking and trotting over the liverpool on the lunge line, and figuring out where her feet are through the trot poles. I could tell she was getting tired when she stopped and looked at me. I urged her forward and she literally threw her head and squealed! Then totally trotted forward. I appreciate the sass almost as much as how quickly she acquiesced.

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I like to watch her trot…

Day 6 she got her teeth floated. And I took advantage of the drugs and trimmed her bridle path, fetlock feathers and butchered her tail a bit. Whoops!

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She’s kinda a lightweight

Day 7 I brought her into the indoor and we worked on standing politely while being groomed, she wore front shipping boots and hind xc boots and we walked around. She was not happy about the rear boots so I left them on while I saddled her and walked her around the barn with her saddle on and stirrups swinging around. She didn’t protest about any of it.

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More tires, please?

I’m pleasantly surprised by how much she grew up this winter and how great her attitude is. We’ll begin taking lessons in May, so in the meantime I plan on just de-sensitizing her to as much as possible and getting her fit enough to begin work under saddle. It’s been great having her back, she brings much needed happiness to each day.  I’m thinking this will be a fun summer together!

 

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She’s Home!

This was a week where I could use something to make me happy. And leave it to my baby horse to help me with the task.

For those of you who kindly commented on my Fraggle Friday post, Stella is doing ok, but this week will be one of decisions, I’ll keep you posted on her for sure. We’re not out of the woods by any means

But this is a horse blog, so for now, lets talk about the baby horse!

Sarah and I went and picked up Desi and June Saturday and the trip was completely uneventful. Which is exactly what you want when you are hauling young horses! They both loaded up into the trailer with no issues. Then ate all their hay for the 5 hour journey.

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So curious at the stop for fuel!

When we got home the wind was at hurricane level, but both horses unloaded calmly and June went right into her stall and began to munch even more hay. When I left her she was like “see ya mom, I got hay to eat.”

Exactly the kind of reaction I would want for a horse that just had the most stressful day she’s had in 5 months. ❤

Media is not good, and I apologize. But baby horse had been experiencing mud season and looked it. So, I let her run around prior to grooming and was hoping I could take shots from far enough away that her filth wouldn’t be as obvious.

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I trotted her around a bit and then brought her in and groomed her. Her manners were still in place, but she got bored about 20 minutes in and began pawing. Instead of making a huge fuss I just untied her, had her move her feet, re tied her and got on with it. She looks much better now and tomorrow we’ll get to some real work.

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She’s grown a little, and greyed a lot. Is that a word? You know what I mean…

I’m just over the moon to have her back, and over the moon with how sensible she was on the trailer and her first day back. I’m so excited to get started with her and see what our future holds. Be prepared for more media and lots of June spam.

I do want to take a moment and give a shout out to my good friend Haley and her horse Tommy. You may remember that I rode him last winter and learned a ton. He was such a different ride for me and I struggled, but he was such a good boy and very patient with me. Tommy had been a rock star at Prelim and Haley just moved up to Intermediate with him at Galway, last week. They rocked around like total pros. She’s an inspiration to me and I am so thrilled with how far their partnership has come. It’s fun when a friend succeeds after lots of hard work. June and I are eager to have half their accomplishments.

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Go rock stars!

Here’s to new beginnings with June and hopefully an incredibly fun season!

 

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June’s Genes

I want to start this post with a disclaimer. I really don’t know much about stallions and pedigree. I’ve always had hand me down horses or horses that I could financially afford. The pedigree of these horses never mattered to me. What mattered was their heart, their soundness, and what was going on between their ears. So, never in my life did I think I’d be writing a post highlighting my horse’s pedigree.

But June’s is special enough (for me at least) that it’s worth getting excited about and delving into her ancestry a bit.

j

Doing what she does best…

So here goes.

June’s father is Riverman. If you haven’t heard of Riverman, you’re probably more similar to me than you knew, because apparently we have been living under a rock. This stallion has been around forever. No, like FOREVER. He was born in 1990. How he is still alive is a testament to his care, because that is one old stallion. And how he is still producing semen??? Anyway. We’ll move on.

Riverman is quite the famous stallion. For one thing, his offspring excel in all sorts of disciplines. Eventing, jumping, dressage, and even competitive driving! For me, there are two aspects of Riverman that are really appealing. For one thing, he has been the USEF Lead Eventing Sire 3 times. His babies are out there doing their thing! Which leads me to what else I like about this horse.. his offspring seem to get his talent time and time again. Now, I’m sure there are some duds, but in looking at pages and pages of his offspring, these are some TALENTED babies! Whether jumping or prancing, you can tell they’re a little bit fancier than your average horse. One of my favorite Riverman babies was R-Star ridden by Kristi Nunnick. Mare was fun to watch and so athletic! Currently, one to watch is Fleeceworks Royal, ridden by Tamie Smith.

I hope June inherits his athleticism, I already think she looks a bit like him when he was a baby..

But he is only one part of the equation. Lets not forget about June’s momma!

“Mille Mocha Lynx” is a Quarter Horse who’s babies have gone on to be cutters, jumpers and pleasure/trail horses. She has the QH brain people envy and has she seems to pass this along to her offspring.

I will fully admit I know nada about QH pedigree. But from what I gather, she is related to Doc Lynx somehow and that’s a good line of horses? Lol, I’m so out of my realm on this one. Her breeder told me that her line of Quarter Horses tend to be quite hardy and athletic. When I visited her she seemed like a friendly mare without any conformation flaws. I’m hoping June inherits her brain.

Perhaps what is most exciting is I that have a front row view of every move June’s half-sister makes. Rapid just moved up to Training after crushing it at the Novice level. (She’ll be at AECs this year!) Having ridden Rapid, I can attest to what a lovely mover she is. Her canter is a dream to ride. So uphill. Fingers crossed June gets this quality! Any time Rapid does anything remotely naughty, I’m sure to blame it on her Connemara mom. Not her Holsteiner pappa. (This is the only time I EVER fault an Irish horse for anything.)

rapi

yes please

And while June’s full brother isn’t a competition horse, he is proving to be a lovely level-headed gelding. In 2013 he placed first at Rebecca Farm in the FEH 2 year old class. He has a junior rider who he’s caring for and he’s proving to be scopey and smart and with a temperament suited to an amateur. Lets hope the same qualities are found in his sister!

While only time will tell the horse June will become, I’m excited with this glimpse I have into her pedigree. I think if nothing else, we’re off to a good start!

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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 🙂

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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!

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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!

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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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