Friday, December 31, 2010

Western Rider


This is almost exactly what Calvin looked like today,
 though I'm not sure I was sitting as pretty
as this guy. At least I didn't fall off!

I may have to buy a western pony :) I've just been having too much fun this week playing around on my trainer's horses. After my lesson on Monday, JF invited me to come back and ride a reining horse that she had in for a tune-up, knowing how much I love reining, even though I'm not very good at it. Yet. She was so much fun, we had some nice spins and sliding stops. She was a little rusty and out of shape, but it was FUN!

Today was sooo much more fun though. A friend of JF's, we'll call him DS, brought out one of his cow ponies for me to ride on cows. I loved it! It was awesome. I think I had a big grin plastered over my face the whole time. Calvin, the horse I rode, is the cutest little guy ever. He just looks like a little butterball, but looks can be deceiving.While doing flatwork he can be super lazy, once you start in on the cows he comes alive. I almost fell off! That is what the horn is for ;) It was so much fun, I just want to steal little Calvin. I'm sure I looked huge on him though, as he can't be taller than 15hh. I've ridden him several times before and I just love this little horse. This just showed me a whole other side to him.

I think I might have to make this a regular activity going out to chase cows on him. DS competes a bunch, and a local arena sometimes has sorting practice that would be a lot of fun to do. I used to go on Jazz and while she tried really hard, she's not much of a cow horse, especially when compared to Calvin.

This week was a good one, I think I rode more western than english! Someday I would love to buy a reining/cutting prospect and finish them myself. I've always dreamed of getting a liver chestnut gelding with a flaxen mane and tail, but really I would be happy with anything that had talent. I remember riding a little smoky black paint gelding out at JF's that was in training and he naturally had a fantastic stop and turn. Sigh... Maybe someday :) In the meantime I might have to play around with Jetta as a western pony, though I don't think that she'd really appreciate that, though over at Sprinkler Bandit, Izzy seems to be taking it pretty well :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Lesson

So I hauled the monster pony home for a lesson today which was helpful. It wasn't fun driving an hour up to get her and an hour back down to have a lesson, then up and back again. But at least it was worth it. JF helped with Jetta's heaviness on the bit.

Basically, here is what she told me. When Jetta leans on the bit and rushes, hold her (don't pull) and close your leg to send her forward. If she doesn't lighten on your hands, then give her a little bump to let her know that you're serious. Don't do any upward or downward transitions until she is light on her forehand and in your hands. In the canter (where she's super heavy) hold her and sit really deep in the saddle and think of picking up her forehand, almost thinking "backward" like you are asking to back up. As soon as you get the feel you're looking for, ask to transition down. If she doesn't listen, bump her again. Always insist that she does what you want immediately. When you ask to collect at the walk, she can't lean on you for three strides until she lightens, she has to be soft immediately. Same with upward transitions, when you go from trot to canter, make sure she transitions when you ask, not later, if she fast trots too much, slow down and start again.

Another option if she's leaning and not listening to your cues (body then seat then hands) reach down and bend her quickly until she's light and then immediately go off again, making sure she's using her whole body. If she goes too fast and doesn't slow down, instead curling behind the vertical, bump on one side or the other to get her uncurled.

Jetta was ok. She wasn't a star pupil or anything. She was pretty sticky when we were warming up with our shoulder-ins which was a little disappointing cause they were so good! Overall it was a beneficial lesson. A lot of the tips I was already using, so basically it was a refresher and it helped show me that Jetta's not a baby any more so she needs to start doing things like a grown-up ;)

I also need to work on her being more responsive to my leg at the walk and turn (she's already super sensitive at the trot and canter) because she can be a little non-responsive. I think our next ride is just going to be ground work. After our lesson, I rode one of JF's horses in exchange for my lesson. He was such as cutey! She bought him as a resale prospect - he's a little 14.1hh quarter horse. He seems so tiny compared to Jetta! He's super sensitive but I like him. I felt like my legs couldn't touch him he was so short. There was a moment where he was like "OMG where did those legs come from?!" But he was pretty good. It makes me want a young western prospect to train for reining and trail. Sigh.. Maybe someday. Today has given me a lot of motivation to keep working with Jetta so I can't wait to ride her again soon!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Good Ride

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. My Christmas was a little crazy, but overall pretty good. I got several great presents that I love!

One of my gifts was a new bridle for Jetta. I have just the cheapy bridles that I paid $25 for and I hate them. They're stiff and uncomfortable and I just don't like them in general. This bridle is from Camelot and I really liked it's quality when I saw it in a tack store and now that it's home I love it even more. It has soft, thick leather, with very nice hardware. It came with rubber reins which felt great in my hands. What I didn't like was that it only came as a crank noseband with a flash, but I won't use it as such. It's kind of hard to find a nice dressage bridle without a crank I've noticed. They're out there, but there's more crank than "normal" nosebands. The plus for this bridle is that it has changeable colored padding - in bright blue, white and black!

It was pretty hard to fit on Jetta, and it's a full size, which is what size she normally wears, so I'm not sure if it's too big or too small, haha, it just depends on the area. The browband might be too small, but the noseband is slightly too large. I have officially decided that I hate crank nosebands (at least for lower level dressage, I have heard some convincing arguments about their use in the upper levels) not only because they forcibly close the horse's mouth, but also because it was sooo hard to get it to fit on her nose! Hmm. I'm going to ride in it once more so I can decide if I want to keep it or not, but overall I really like it. The rubber reins were great because they helped me keep a hold on the reins when she dives down on her forehand at the canter. Here she is unenthusiastically modeling it for me:


The noseband does look super chunky huh? Or I'm just used to the pencil thin nosebands because they looked great on Jazz, but silly on Jetta's mile long nose :)

I had a much better ride on Jetta this week. Our canter was much more relaxed and we had some great walk shoulder-ins again and one super nice leg yeild to the left. The right was a little sticky and our trot shoulder-ins weren't very pretty.

After we schooled in the new bridle I put on my hackamore because I wanted to see how she'd do. Jetta wasn't very happy cause she thought we were done, but she felt pretty nice in it.


Are we done yet?
 I was a little happier because I wasn't pulling on her mouth, but we lost a bit of our steering. I think I'll just ride her in it every so often and see if it improves. Otherwise, it'll just have to wait until I'm working with a horse that likes it better.

Overall, today felt very productive and I can't wait to head back to school so I can start riding daily again!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Hope you have a good one and that you and your horses get everything you wished for. I'm going up to see Jetta tomorrow and give her a Christmas bran mash which will make her happy. Have a good holiday!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cuteness

Nothing's new around here. Just waiting for Christmas :) I had this emailed to me and I thought it was pretty cute. It made me think of Katy when she was a baby <3

Kisses!


Nothing like mom&#8217;s lap

This is a cute pic of Katy when she was little. Such as sweety...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meh.

Well I drove up to see my pony today. The whole drive up it was super sunny and nice so I figured I would take Jetta on a trail ride, but no. I started longeing her and it started pouring out almost immediately. She was a little lazy at first, the BO said she turned Katy and Jetta out together and they were running around "like idiots". I set out some barrels as a jump and lunged her over them for the first time. I walked her up to them and let her sniff them then asked her to trot over them. The first few times were interesting as she would almost stop before taking a huge leap over them so I just kept asking her to go over it and gave a cluck a couple strides out to ask her to move forward over it.

Then came the unwanted advice. "Have you ever considered putting a ground pole down so she prepares for the jump? I used to train for eventing and we would put three or four ground poles down so my horse would move his weight onto his hind end. I mean that's just my advice, I wouldn't want her to lose confidence and it's dangerous for her and you. Then after she jumps just stop and be done with the lesson and move on to something else."

Now usually I don't mind getting advice, especially if I'm struggling and it's something new and helpful as well as it's put in a nice, not condescending way. This just made me feel like she thought I wasn't doing it right. I may not be a professional trainer, but I am certainly not a novice at training horses.

So what bugged me about her "advice" was 1) I was not struggling. Sure Jetta had a few funky jumps when she hesitated before the jump, but she was doing well. 2) She said it in a way that made it sound like she didn't approve or feel like what I was doing was correct and 3) I had already tried some of her "advice" and it didn't work with Jetta or I was already currently doing it.

Whenever I jump Jetta, I ask her to go over it and do it nicely, so she has to pick up her feet and go over the jump, not around it. When she does it, I'll praise her and ask for her to stop and take a breather. The first time I'll have her trot over and then once she does that well I'll ask her to canter. After I thanked the person for her advice I had Jetta jump a few more times and she did both directions perfectly.

Then I got on. Definitely not as good a session in the saddle as on the ground. She did great at the walk, fantastic shoulder-ins and small leg yeilds. Then the trot was a little all over the place. She wanted to go fast and wanted to stick her nose out with her head up. I let her do an extended trot for a bit on a loose rein but she kept cantering and then she wouldn't slow back down to a trot. Sigh... So we did lots of serpentines and I asked her to do some shoulder-ins. At first it was really bad because I'd put my leg on and she'd just go faster so I had to remind her that leg does not always mean forward. Then we did end up getting a few ok shoulder-ins but she would slow down to a walk or when I released her she would spring forward (which is what she's supposed to do) but then she wouldn't listen to slow down again.

Once we got all that sorta fixed we had a pretty good canter - she's really improved in learning to carry herself, I'm so pround of her! I popped her over a little X a few times and then we were done, but boy did she make this ride difficult. She always wants to GO and go fast.

I rode Katy after I was done with Jetta and she did ok, better than Jetta but not as good as she could have done. She was much more responsive to my leg, but very tense, so we did some long and low. I jumped her over the barrels and set the X up to a vertical. She did ok but she was being a bit of a brat and trying to veer off before the jump so we addressed that and by the end we had a good jump both directions. She also did several nice walk-canter transitions with correct leads and everything.

Overall, it was just one of those days and I think that the weather has contributed to my slightly dismal mood, not to mention "advice" I got, though I was probably in a bad mood to begin with and I'm just overreacting to the advice. I'm hoping to haul Jetta home for a lesson with JF soon so that should improve our rides. What I will appreciate is advice on how to teach her to slow more easily. I use my body and breathing to slow down, which works 75% of the time, the other 25% she doesn't listen and I have to use the reins and she braces against the bit and I have to really work to slow her down, sometimes circling her and it's just kinda messy.

Ok, my rant is over. I'm sure I'll cheer up soon with Christmas right around the corner, but I'm already done with this winter weather! It should be sunny or it should snow, but I do not like all this wind and rain. I guess I'm just being a whiner today ;)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Conformation

I found this great article on Equine Ink. I love learning about conformation, one of the reasons why I was on the 4-H Hippology Team last year (hippology: the study of horses). There were links to articles by Judy Wardrope which I think are fantastic. She doesn't just say "This is good and this is bad" but instead "This is good for this discipline because..." Love it. Here's all of her articles that I read:

http://jwequine.com/pdf/conformation101-jumper.pdf
http://jwequine.com/pdf/conformation101-dressage.pdf

So let's compare Jetta's conformation. This picture isn't the best because she's standing under herself in the back for some reason (that's not how she normally stands) but it's the best I have.



Based on Judy Wardrope's articles, I think Jetta looks as if her conformation is leaning more towards jumping than dressage, or maybe both for eventing? Her LS looks as if it's directly above the point of her hip (I think), her hind leg stands inside of an imaginary line dropped straight down from her point of buttock (a jumper trait). It seems like she has a pretty symmetrical (equilateral) triangle from point-of-hip to point-of-buttock to stifle, though I can't be sure if her femur is slightly longer than her ilium or not (a dressage trait). She has a pretty cat-like walk which makes me think that she does have a longer femur which means a longer stride, though she'll have more difficulty in the piaffe, passage and pirouette. Her stifle is nice and low. She has a pretty high point of shoulder with a long sloping shoulder and an upright humerus which is relatively long meaning she has a long stride. Her pillar of support comes out in front of her withers meaning she's not super heavy on the forehand. Her neck does look like it ties in a little lower than would be ideal, but she has a clean throatlatch and in this picture looks as if she has more muscle on the underside of her neck, so we're working on that right now. I just wish her head was a little smaller and daintier :)

Wait, I found another picture! This is Jetta when I first bought her.


So yeah, she does have slight sickle hocks, but overall I think she has pretty good conformation, not anywhere near perfect, but not too shabby.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Horse Jumping Rope

I thought that this was pretty impressive. This guy uses a capriole to make his horse look like it's skipping rope. Pretty neat that he can do that, especially since I'm sure I would have to hold onto the saddle so I wouldn't fall off :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Barefoot Hunter




I thought this post was great, especially in how "unique" and "interesting" it seemed. A horse without shoes! Competing! In Hunters! To me, not all that amazing, but it is great, and this is what I hope to do with Jetta, potentially if we can ever figure out how to go semi-slow and not at a full out gallop ;) Interesting that horses usually get their shoes pulled before going into the flat class. Hmm... Never heard about that but it will be a lot easier on a horse that doesn't have shoes to begin with!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ponies




I still want a pony!

Craigslist is not good, because though I am browsing for a nice inexpensive saddle, I tend to get distracted :) This cute little guy is for sale. I think he's so adorable!


And there's this sweetie. She's just sooo pretty and cute!



image 2068349308-0

Over at Three Days Three Ways Blog, there's a Thelwell Pony Look-A-Like Contest. Adorable! Personally I loved this pony. All that hair!

Tidbit
Sigh... My parents are looking into buying a house near the university that I can use and after I'm done my brother can have it. Preferably this place will have a tiny pasture and I can buy a pony to ornament it! My dad's not with the whole, let's buy a pony thing. He says I can get a goat to keep Grady company once I sell Jazz, so at least he's letting me get something... I doubt he'd even know the little guy was there though. It's not like they require a lot of feed, probably just the opposite: a tiny grazing muzzle!

Jetta's Look-A-Like

I found this post while just being lazy and perusing the internet. It made me laugh because it's totally true. I then looked through the rest of the site and just had to laugh at her mare because she acts so much like Jetta! The pinned ears, the bucks, though Jetta may be slightly better behaved.... Anyways, I thought it was really cute :)

From The Adventures of Lucy: How to Melt Your Baby Thoroughbred's Brain

1. Have a good long ride in the ring, and when you're done, don't hop off and untack, take the horse for a ride down the road!

2. When passing the barn down the road with huge gorgeous fields of grass, do not let your horse persuade you to leave here there.

3. Ride her into a field where there are approx. 15 deer.

4. Somehow manage not to fall off when she spins and bolts even though you lose both stirrups (hell yeah!!!).

5. While hanging on for dear (deer?) life, make her STOP and turn to face The Evil Horse-eating Deer.

6. Decide it's best to hop off while the going's good and then giggle at the fact that your 1000+ lb horse is trembling at the sight of some overgrown goats.

7. Once horse has gotten over herself, get back on and proceed to make her walk all the way back to the barn.

8. While en-route back to the barn, pass two cute boys weedwhacking on the side of the road. Watch little pieces of grass and dirt fly across the road and once again feel your horse tremble a bit.

9. Get past the weedwhackers without theatrics and notice a huge truck and trailer coming towards you.

10. Not just a trailer, but a black metal wire landscaping trailer. That rattles. And shakes. And it rapidly approaching.

11. By rapidly, I mean like 40mph.

12. Does the driver slow down? Of course not. Give the driver the finger as horse does the cha-cha beneath you.

13. Landscaping trailer makes a huge BOOM! noise right as it goes past you. Horses brain is basically pouring out of the side of her head at this point.

14. Get back to the barn and untack the horse. Put her in the wash stall. Give her a bath. Yes I am evil.

15. FLY SPRAY.

And that is how to fry your baby thoroughbred's brain.


This scenario looks familiar...


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An Update!

I'm back! There wasn't really anything to write about so... But I rode Jetta today! She was very good, though a little fresh and spooky which was understandable because the weather was crazy! It was sunny one moment, then super windy, then pouring rain, then hail! Crazy. Anyways, we had a few minor spooks and after she got that out she then did very nicely. We had a few bucks at the canter transition, but I think she was just being a brat - "But I don't want to canter right here! I want to canter over there!" Other than that she did very good. We worked on doing some shouulder-ins at the walk which are coming along fantastically. At the trot I just asked for a shoulder-fore but she's trying really hard and we're getting a few nice steps every so often.

I also rode Katy, since ML and I are trading off riding the ponies. Katy is so different! Even though I started Katy under saddle and was riding her and Jetta at the same time, I just have forgotten how different Jetta and Katy are. Jetta is tall and sensitive, hyper and narrow. Katy is exactly the opposite. She's relatively short and wide, dull and lazy. We just worked on responding to my leg since she's gotten so dull to your aids, lots of squeeze, tap, go and repeat. Mostly she was very good and after the first few times she was like, "Ohh... It's YOU." And then she picked up the pace a bit :)

I can't wait to ride more! I forgot, but I meant to bring out my height/weight tape and see how tall the ponies have gotten but I forgot it. Next week. Does anyone use those anymore? My parents used to get them for free at the feed store and I couldn't find them anywhere. I finally found them in a tack store, but is was $6.00 (!) and it looked ancient. It was the only one they had. What else do people use? Does everyone have the fancy height sticks and then just eyeball their weight? Hmm, anyways, it was a good productive day.

On a random note, look at this saddle I found while browsing craigslist. Eeww! I'm not against treeless saddles at all, but this one is uuugly. Probably comfortable though...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Equine Photography

I have to say that I love, love, love Mary Cornelius' photography! I have always seen her work in magazines and I said to myself that someday I will ride in a show where she's the photographer. Now I just have to actually make a deadline for a Devonwood show!

Anyways, a while ago I saw in a Flying Changes magazine that she was going to be taking pictures of "senior" horses (those 25 and older). I immediately thought of Grady.

He was my first horse, I got him nine years ago. He was 16 and green-broke (definitely not the best horse for a beginner!) but I love him all the same. My trainer DVO helped me to retrain him and after getting
 bucked off many, many times, we are now the greatest partners. I love just going out to the pasture to cuddle with him and he will follow me around. I can hop on him and ride him around the pasture using only my seat and voice commands to guide him. I love this horse.

I took some pictures of him this summer because I lost all the hard copies saved to my computer :( Anyways, I got a few good ones, but I don't feel as if I captured his beauty and amazingness as well as I could have.

He's mostly retired now, save for a few trail rides every so often. I would love for Mary Cornelius to come take some pics of us/him in the summer. I know she says that all horses are beautiful, even in their muddy winter woolies, but in the summertime he just looks magnificent. He gains back the weight he lost in the winter, has a beautiful
                                            shiny coat and a spring in his step.



Once I get up the courage I'm going to contact her, but I know that she's probably so busy!

Here's her website and if you google her name, you can find soo many of her beautiful pics!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Break Goals

Jetta has been well, there's not much to update on the training front. ML and I are going to trade off on riding the horses for the next three weeks so Jetta's going to get a mini-break. Usually she gets ridden 5-6 days a week so now it'll just be 2-3 days.

Even with all of this time off, I still hope to get a few things done. I am planning on bringing her home for a lesson with my trainer JF so we can get some new things to work on and get a few tips for improving. ML and I are also hoping to get a lesson with an eventing trainer in the area who we have heard nothing but good things about. Other than that, I just want Jetta to relax and hopefully we'll improve in a few areas!

I'm also hoping to find a new saddle. I recently got a new saddle, a Collegiate Convertible Diploma, that was fantastic, except... I didn't like how it fit me. I thought that I would get used to it because it was different from the one saddle that I have always ridden english in. I probably should have gotten the long flap, but that wasn't the only thing I didn't like. It has a relatively flat seat and I am used to a deep seat and it also puts me in a chair seat (probably because I'm not used to the style). Other than that, it's a great saddle. It has a very comfy seat, nice soft knee patches, and has the convertible gullet system so it fits my horses great. Sigh. I really do hate saddle shopping. It's too difficult! Anyways, if anyone's interested in the saddle, it's up for sale for $900 which includes all of the fittings (stirrup irons/leathers, nice contour girth, saddle pad and the gullet plates). But since I really want to get a new saddle, I'll be willing to consider any offer :) I know that over at We Are Flying Solo, she loves it, so...

I would love to get a used, super-nice saddle. I really like the Antares and Albion, but I recently found a nice Courbette that I would like to try, so we'll have to see. Jetta needs at least a medium-wide or wide tree (though she does need enough clearance for the withers). I have a Duett Fidelio that I bought used and I absolutely adore.


 
The Courbette Stylist Wide Seat



This is what my Duett looks like <3

This is my Collegiate. It's for sale! ;)


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Carpe Diem - Breeding Operation Gone Bad

I was stunned to hear about an Andalusian/Lusitano breeding farm here in Oregon that has turned into a horrible place for horses. There's a large herd of the horses "living naturally" and they haven't been handled or cared for (Hooves trimmed, teeth done, vaccinated, wormed, halter broke, etc.) and are being allowed to breed willy-nilly. There are also other horses that are penned and don't have access to food or water and are living in terrible conditions. And it seems that not much is being done by law enforcement!

I hadn't heard about this until today and supposedly this has been going on for some time with conditions just getting worse, not better.

I have always thought about starting an animal rescue in the future, but I wish I had the resources and the facilities to help horses like these right now. I hate seeing horses that need help and not being able to do anything about it. It's painful to hear about but as of right now, the only thing that can be done is to call and speak to the sherriff in Wallowa County where this is taking place. Most of the time horses have to being dying or in near death condition for action to take place. Currently, conditions include:
  • Horses refused medical care
  • Horses having to be destroyed by employees
  • Atrocious wire cuts
  • Scars and laming because of unsafe fencing conditions
  • Horses growing into their own halters resulting in maggot infestations
This is supposedly a well-known farm with people from all over the US coming to look at these horses. The stallions were imported, most from South America, so they are good quality. The offspring are kind of iffy quality and will require DNA tests in order to be registered if at all. The owner of Carpe Diem is facing disciplinary action from the IALHA and has had her rights to register horses and her membership revoked. Way to go IALHA! But there is still more to do. Currently based on people's comments, Byrde Lynn Hill is only allowing some horses to be sold, but at ridiculous prices and they are not allowed to vet the horse or even take them out of their enclosures (that is if they are not running wild without being halterbroke).

I hope that she gets all of her horses taken away by authorities and that they find new homes where they will really be taken care of. For more information, go here. I would love to take one of these guys and get them back to being healthy and put a little bit of training on them before finding them a more permanent home.



EDIT: Hmmm... Seems like there's some debate as to what is actually going on. Several sites (FHOTD, Andalusian Horse Club) claim that the horses are all in terrible condition and need to be rescued, while others say that all is well... On the discussion area for the Facebook page that they created to help horses from Carpe Diem, some are saying that there is nothing wrong with the horses there, just that they're unhandled. Horses might not be in perfect condition, but it might not be "the fault of the owner". Well, regardless of what is really going on, I hope all of the horses are being well cared for and that she can find some good homes for a lot of her horses as it sounds like she might have a few too many horses on her hands regardless of their condition. The reason her membership with the IALHA was suspended was because she signed off on a stallion that wasn't hers... At least that's what someone's saying.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Brindle

As you can probably tell, I am a fan of uniquely colored horses. One color that fascinates me is brindle. Based on what I've read, there doesn't seem to be an identifiable gene yet that is passed on from horse to horse that determines whether a horse is brindled or not. I found that can be exhibited in many different breeds, from Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds to Warmbloods and can be a dark brindle or white brindle. Research suggests that it may be a random mutation (though one researcher noted that dark brindle seems to be associated with the gene for "sooty" coloring) and when a brindle stallion TB was bred, none of his foals were brindled, yet some of them were roan which is not a color found in TBs. Other times though, brindle can be passed on. In several places, it was noted that brindles can be a result of twin eggs who merged with eachother resulting in a horse with two seperate sets of DNA (Dunbars Gold is one such horse). Interesting. Here are a few pictures of some brindles. I think they're gorgeous!


Reckless Dan


Quarter Horse Stallion


Natal Clasi - WB Stallion


Remark - Related to Jetta!
 White Horse Productions
BrindleHorses.com
The Horse - Genetics
Behind the Bit - Brindles

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jumping the Young Horse

So, I've started schooling Jetta over some jumps under saddle recently. She's doing great and we have been jumping about once a week over an approximately 18" cross rail about four-six times per session. I am continually impressed with how well Jetta has taken it in stride. I was interested in how I should progress for training her over jumps. Jetta is turned four in February this year and I started her under saddle at the beginning of June. I feel like we have the most basic skills down and we're ready to take it up a notch. I did a search about how high you should be jumping a young horse maximum and found that it was quite the debated topic. Many people say that you shouldn't jump until 5 or 6 when all of their bone plates are closed, not only in their knees, but also in their spine. This makes a lot of sense to me, but I think the general consensus that I found was that around 2'-2'6" jumped sparingly and done the right way is not too much for a four year old horse to handle.

I was planning on building up to 2'3" or 2'6" over the course of this month as Jetta finds the small cross rails we are doing so simple. I have free jumped her twice over some larger jumps and I think she seems to enjoy it as even when I asked her to stop and come into the middle of the arena, she trotted over the jump one last time before coming in. I don't want to cause future soundness issues in Jetta, so I want to go slow with her. I am not planning on jumping anything big or scary and I will only jump sparingly because I want both her soundness and confidence to remain intact. Jetta will be five in three months so I am thinking that my planned jumping work load shouldn't be too much for her to handle.

I was looking at shows that I could take Jetta to this year and I was surprised that very few shows have anything under 2'9" (as I am a beginner in the world of Hunter/Jumper Rated Shows) but did find classes for 4 and 5-year-olds that seemed really large. Hmm... Overall, though, what I got out of discussions is that you have to jump a horse correctly and don't do anything that is so big it scares your horse and try to jump sparingly so you save their joints.


Here are some articles and discussions on jumping a young horse:
Teaching the Young Horse to Jump
Horse Channel Jumping Tips
COTH Discussion1
COTH Discussion2

Friday, December 3, 2010

Naming Horses

I love to name horses. I really do. With Jetta I was so excited to get to name her, she was registered as a foal with no name, so when I bought her I got to give her a registered name. Of course she was over 2 years old, so I had to pay $75, but it was worth it. Her sire is Private Gold and her dam is Step Away. I decided I wanted her barn name to be Jetta ( I actually got the idea from the VW Jetta car! ) and so I combined the names to be Gold Jet Away. The other option I came up with was Step Into Gold, but I wanted it to have her barn name in it as well. I love it when the horse's name reflects their dam and sire's name and includes their barn name. My other horse's names are Dustin's Dynasty (ick) and O'Grady Wyeast (double ick). The barn name for Dustin's Dynasty is Jasmine (where did that come from?) and O'Grady Wyeast is just Grady. Where does the word Wyeast even come from? Nothing I have ever found gives me an idea where that name comes from. At one time I owned Scribbles Apache Rose, out of Scrabbled Graffiti who was by Scribbles. I called her Apache or Patch for short, Rose just didn't fit her.

It's always funny to hear about horse's that have bad registered names. There are tons of forum discussions on the web, there are some pretty bad ones. Ones that I've heard the most about are TB's with the registered name of Sofa King Fast, Master Bates and Hoof Hearted (say them really fast out loud). I was surprised that they made it in, sometimes the JC can be picky about the names and they won't let you register a horse with a name that has a bad word or reference in it.

Some of the horse names that I love and would like to incorporate into my future horses' names are or have seen on horses are:

Aria,
Amaretto,
Adagio,
Elusive Melody,
Vivace,
Citrus Splash,
Passion,
Patent,
Gilded Elegance,
Simple Perfection,
Starlit Renegade,
Flirtation/Flirtatious,
Andante,
Armani,
Finely A Star,
Blazing Invitation,
Panoramic,
Lookn Classic,
Royal Gossip,

A Masked Asset is the perfect name for this stallion.

If anyone every has a problem naming their horse, let me know! I really do enjoy it. There was one time on Behind the Bit when they were trying to think of a name for a horse. I really liked Blue Tsunami or Blue Ocean Rose, but she ended up choosing Indigo Whisperer (which wasn't bad). If you are stuck naming your horse, here are some great guidelines.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free Jumping

Aha! I finally figured out how to upload and embed videos. Yay!! This makes me feel so successful :) Anyways, I free jumped Jetta today, this time with the help of ML, which made it much easier for both me and Jetta. The jumps were about 3 feet, we did set them up to 4, but Jetta just wasn't getting it, so I set it back down to 3. She seemed to enjoy it though, and I think she did very well. If the embedded video doesn't work, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvtLFcpdrUg






And here are some stills, they are horrible quality because they're from the video, but you can see how she's jumping. I think she looks so cute! The one on top is the four footer, while the one to the right is three feet.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Stallion Choices

So, as I posted earlier, someday I might like to breed Jetta. Since I am slightly obsessive and I like to plan everything, I've been mooning over stallions that I like trying to find the ideal one for Jetta. Since I like color (as shown on my previous post about Appaloosas and Knabstruppers) I also like paints. Here are a few of my favorites.

Raine Dance



Airborn


Counterclaim


Palladio


Pallido Blu CF, son of Palladio


Sempatico


Senter of Attention
These are all the viable options that I came up with. There are quite a few. All of the above, with the exception of Palladio and Raine Dance, are homozygous tobiano. Raine Dance and Airborn are my two favorites, but both with some drawbacks. Raine Dance has never competed as he got injured. I love his conformation and before when he was in training, you could see he had some great scope and a very pretty frame. He does have some great blood lines including Voltaire and Concorde, unfortunately he's not homozygous. He may also be up for sale? I'm a little confused cause I found a sale ad that says he is sound for hunters even though his website says otherwise (or doesn't say at all?). Anyways, Airborn I also love (including his bright bay color) and he has the awesome looks that I love as well as great bone and he is more substantial, just what I am looking for. His sire is also Concorde. But he is located in the UK, so I'm not sure yet how shipping semen works. Like I said, this is all just a possibility so I haven't done that much preparation or research.

Counterclaim is my next favorite. I love how substantial he is. I think he would make great hunter babies, though I haven't seen any pictures of him jumping yet.

 Next is Palladio, who although I love, is not homozygous for color, so I'd get about a 50% chance of getting a foal with color. I love how he jumps though, with his knees almost up to his eyeballs :) The other option would be his son who is homozygous, but as of yet does not have a show record. The advantage of that though is that his stud fee is cheaper.

Sempatico is the next choice. While he does have very correct conformation, there is just something about him that I don't like as well as the other horses. The other stallions just seem much more attractive to me. Anyways, he does seem to have great jumping form and also has passed both the 30 and 70-day stallion testings for German Warmbloods. His sire is Semper who is another great horse.

The last choice horse also has great conformation. I, again, haven't found any jumping pictures though he is supposed to be a hunter. This would be the "economical" choice as he has a very reasonable stud fee. Though this is the stallion whose website touts him as "The Rare Homozygous Tobiano Warmblood Stallion". He is only registered with the American Warmblood Society which is one of his downfalls. He is half Oldenburg, half questionable? The only info on the mare is a headshot labeled Sugar Magnolia. Anyways, the notables in his background include his sire, Senter Stage and his great grandsire, Rainbow. He's handsome and that's about it as far as I know :)

If the logistics worked out, I think I would choose Airborn above all of the others. There are some good conformation pics on his website, you'll see why I like him.

Raine Dance
Sempatico
Senter of Attention
Palladio & Pallido
Counterclaim
Airborn

And We Have Liftoff!

I jumped Jetta for the first time under saddle today! She was way better than I expected and actually picked her feet up over the little tiny cross rail I had set up. I am way out of shape in regard to jumping form since I haven't jumped for about 4 months. But it was good for the first time, though definitely still a work in progress.

This was actually the first time I had done two-point on Jetta and her reaction was to canter every time I sat up :) Eventually after lots and lots of trotting and cantering circles to slow down she got it. Partly she was a little tired, but after being off for four days, it wasn't bad.

I still really need to work on her with using contact = slow down. She is really light on the bit for the most part (though she can still dive down onto your hands occasionally) but when you apply some pressure on the bit, her first reaction is to curl up. I took a video (if I finally figure out how to upload it, I might post it here) and I really thought that she was way, way behind the vertical, but when I watched the video she isn't. Maybe it's just because her neck feels like it's a mile long and it's super bendy!

Anyways, I thought it was a good start for our jumping career, considering a friend of mine's hunter took his first look at a tiny trot pole and wouldn't go over it for nearly an hour! Now he's jumping 3'6" beautifully, but he took a little convincing. I can only hope that Jetta will improve as much as he did!

No pictures this time of jumping, though there will definitely be some in the future! For now, you'll have to be content with cell phone pics:

Treat, treat? Where's my apple!
 So, our goals to work towards until the show in January:
1. Slow the canter down, way down
2. Teach that pressure on the bit = slow down
3. Work on jumping up to 2' around a small course
4. More trail rides! If it ever stops raining for more than a few minutes...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Horse Stuff

Ok, I officially found two new favorite horse sites to peruse. I love hearing about new, interesting, different horse products that come out and I found a couple great things on there today. The Horse & Habit and Dappled Grey are officially my new favorites :)


These products are so cute! They have bridles
and halters and lunge lines in many different cute prints
and they can be customized!

Gypsy Tail, mane & tail extensions are so cute!
They're a little spendy but a lot of fun.

I love color padded bridles. Pink Equine also
makes a beautiful one, but this one has changeable
padding and is very affordable.

All of this company's products look amazing. They're
environmentally-friendly and very fancy for your special horse!

Not really sure how useful this Bit Box would be,
but it's interesting and unique.

I can't wait to do this to my horse!
They have all sorts of cute clip designs.

These are an adorable and custom tag to put on your tack.

Customized bucket that you'll never misplace!

I am on my way out the door to go see how my ponkykins is doing.
I'll leave you with this quote on The Lazy Thoroughbred from Dappled Grey.

"I'm so lazy I can barely go forward but.. EEEEEK! Sorry, I just had to spook right there. Ok, now back to being lazy."

Monday, November 29, 2010

That Horse

That horse. You know the one. Whenever someone mentions "That Horse," you automatically know who they're speaking about. Every barn has at least one. You know, that one horse that is always sick or injured or lame or not feeling well. Unfortunately, I have one of "those horses." Yep, Jetta is a walking disaster. So this morning I got a call from the Barn Owner (BO) that Jetta was laying down and getting up a lot and pawing. She had walked her around a bit but thought she was acting like she had colic. I rushed out there and found her kind of lazily pawing the floor.

I took her temperature which was a pretty normal 99.5 degrees F. Her pulse and respiration and gum color were all normal. I walked her around a bit then sat in the car with her on the end of the leadrope to eat my lunch. She seemed fine. She wasn't nipping at her belly (she did once, but it seemed more like she had a scratch to itch) and she was surveying the field and trying to eat my sandwich.

I stuck her back in her stall and watched her for another hour. All she did was nap and hoover up stray bits of hay. Hmm... She started pawing once more, but stopped and stuck her head over the door and went to sleep. I think she might have a slight tummy ache from getting wormed yesterday. I know that if a horse has a heavy worm load then they can get impaction colic from being wormed, but Jetta always gets wormed every other month. I left her there and we'll see how she does tonight.

Gosh that horse is going to give me an ulcer with her antics. The BO said she'd keep an eye on her and I think she's going to give her some hay for dinner since it got taken away this morning and Jetta is convinced that she's starving. If she's still feeling like she's got a tummy ache tomorrow I'll give the vet a call but I am hoping that this'll all blow over.

Sigh. I am feeling so stressed right now! I don't want Jetta to be in pain :( We'll just have to see how the next 24 hours goes. This is definitely not the first time that she's gotten me so worried. It seems like there's always something wrong with sweet little Jetta. I am going to bubblewrap that horse!

When I first got Jetta, she ended up getting a scratch on her cornea. Luckily it wasn't too bad, but it still required daily medicating (which was a pain in the butt) and now she always wears her flymask in the summer. I think it's something to do with her third eyelid being very large and it tends to trap things in there.

Then she got pigeon fever. We had a mini epidemic on our street two summers ago. Again we were pretty lucky that she only got a small abscess the size of a quarter on her belly. Even though it is highly contagious, none of her pasture buddies got it and with some antibiotics she got over it very quickly. The poor horse down the street had massive abscesses that required draining by the vet almost every week.

And then Jetta outdid herself. I walked to the barn to feed the horses in the morning and found Jetta still in her stall. The stalls are always open and I would just feed them in there at night and then they'd leave when they were finished. She kept nickering at me so I walked over to see what the fuss was about and her right hind foot was stuck between the stall boards of the stall. She stood there patiently while I examined the situation but I couldn't figure out how to get her out. I called my dad and he showed up with a sawsall (sp?) and he cut the board out. The foot was a little swollen, but I iced it for a bit and put some antibiotics on the small scrapes on the front and back and put her back in the pasture. I didn't think anything of it and I was gone for the weekend. All of my other horses healed just fine when they got scraped and only had some antibiotic cream put on the wound. When I got back it was a nice, pus-oozing infection. That led to daily scrubbings and medicating and spraying on an aluminum based spray that should've protected it from the environment but the scrape on the back of her pastern refused to heal and ended up developing proud flesh.

The vet came out and blocked the leg and removed the lump and Miss Jetta had to be on stall rest so it wouldn't get infected again from all of the mud in the pasture. She was stalled for a month which involved daily unwrapping, treating and rewrapping her leg as well as giving her a daily sedative shot to keep her from kicking down the stall. She was very upset that her buddies were outside and she was not.

Her leg is all healed now, though that hind leg is still a little swollen looking with a small lump on the back where the proud flesh was.

The last event wasn't very serious, but I came out to the barn and Jetta was hanging her head over the door and there was a puddle of drool on the floor. I almost thought she might be choking. She stopped though and we figured that maybe she was just a little sore from her teeth and the next week we had them floated.

Sigh. Oh, horse what am I going to do with you? Over at Tucker the Wunderkind there was a similar blog on horsey accidents. Luckily nothing with Jetta has required stitches. Yet, knock on wood.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Outside!

Jetta got turned out today! It was her first time since she's got here just because we were waiting for her to settle in a bit and then rearrange the turnout schedule. Now she'll be turned out every other day for a couple hours. Anyways she was great. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately but she trotted around a bit and munched a little on the non-existant grass. She made a new buddy over the fence and hung out with him for a while. She got turned out with her bestest friend/enemy (her frenemy) Katy and luckily she was nice to her and there wasn't any kicking but I don't think Katy trusts her after what happened last time... Jetta just out of the blue decided to double barrel kick Katy while we were cooling out next to eachother. No injuries, but what a naughty pony!

I didn't ride today, I have a cold so I didn't feel like it and there were several people in the arena. I didn't really want to test out our steering abilities after a long weekend off. Jetta ended up getting her booster shots and her wormer. She was not very happy about it but she put up with it very well and got a giant apple for being such a good girl while being poked and having nasty stuff shoved into her mouth. (I found these humongous apples at the grocery store and just had to get a couple for the girls.)

I gave her a good grooming and we'll ride tomorrow. I hope to pop her over a few jumps this week and see how she does. I've been lunging her over some small jumps and she does ok about 75% of the time. We'll have to see...

I found a show that we're going to go to soon! It's January 15th and it's not only really close by, but really cheap, they've got great prizes and lots of good classes. I'm really excited. I was hoping to find a show that's soon because I really want to get Jetta out and experiencing new things and get some feedback on what we're doing right now. Anyways the first shows that I could find were in late February and I didn't want to wait that long so this'll be perfect. I can't wait! They have hunter classes from trot a pole to 1 foot to 2'9". We'll probably end up doing 2'-2'3" divisions if all goes as planned.

Winter break is going to be interesting as I'm leaving Miss Jetta at the barn here instead of taking her home to the muddy pasture with nowhere to ride. ML and I are going to trade off coming up a couple days a week and riding both of the ponies. Hopefully it'll just be a nice break for everyone all around. I'm hoping to get some new horsey stuff for Christmas that we can start using after the break ;)

And there's good news! Denali has made a miraculous recovery and escaped being put down. I hope that she stays that way! I know it would be so hard to put my own horse down, so I'm so glad that she's feeling good for the time being.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stud Chains

Many times I am surprised that there are people who don't do ground work. They complain that their horse is a jerk on the ground, but when someone suggests doing ground work, they look at them in confusion or say "Why would I do that?" There are many reasons for doing ground work, including but not limited to teaching your horse manners, freshening up your training schedule, making your horse a dream to handle on the ground, preparing for doing things under saddle, and during times when you can't ride, ground work gives you something to do.

What is ground work exactly? Well, it's teaching your horse things like how to walk an appropriate distance from you, how to stop when you stop, turn when you turn, etc. Teaching them to step over when you need them to move, handle feet, ears, etc easily, introduce new objects. It's also lunging and long lining (or ground driving), and generally teaching them things that make it easier for you to handle them on the ground.

One thing I see a lot is horses who don't know how to lead. What I mean is that they don't stop when you ask them to, drag you around when they feel like it, won't back up or move out of your way and require a lot of strength to handle in general. Most of these horses end up with a stud chain. Why? Mostly I think its because I think the horses are either afraid of the horse or they see everyone else doing and think why not?

There are several different methods for applying a stud chain and while they can be used humanely (they are always advertised as "humane") most of the time they aren't, or are being used as a substitute for proper training.
Under the chin. Common for 'correcting' the
horse, but little other value.

Over the nose. Used in unruly horses who won't
stand still, run away with the handler or rear.

A lip chain acts against the gums and has very severe action.
Tell me, does this horse look happy?

  I can understand using a stud chain if you are an experienced handler who has a horse that has a lot of explosive energy some of the time and you can't control them with proper training or you are in a new situation and you have an excitable and naughty 1200lb horse charging across the arena. They can also be used in vet procedures if your horse decides, for instance, they would not like their eye looked at, but again training is a huge factor. Stallions are the most common recipient of the stud chain, thus its name, because a lot of people are afraid of them and these horses aren't trained to behave properly regardless of their hormones.

While the stud chain can be a tool to use humanely, most the time it isn't. Most of the time I see horses being jerked around with a stud chain that gives no release, it is yanked on very hard repeatedly for no good reason, the horse is trying to trot in a showmanship class but when it doesn't go fast enough it is pulled on, making the stud chain go into effect, and it is used as a band-aid, not a cure for poor training.

You shouldn't have to use a stud chain to control your horse. I use rope halters that give you a little more leverage than a webbed halter, but are still nice and soft with a generous release and no where near as severe as a stud chain. Horses are less likely to lean on a rope halter, but they won't be hurt by it. You can use just a tiny amount of pressure on a rope halter to communicate with your horse or a lot if they're being bad and you won't make your horse rear over backwards. When I mention maybe using a rope halter so that their horse will stop running away with them, people often won't consider it because rope halters are "hard on horses" when in reality they are WAY more humane than doing anything else. Your horse will thank you!


If my horse wants to take off, I can control them with a plain halter no stud chain needed. They know that steady pressure means to slow down or back up. I don't have to put a lot of muscle into it. If they're not paying attention to me then a sharp tug gets their attention and we're good. If you put some work into teaching your horse to lead properly then you'll get that same amount back with regards to your horse learning how to lead. With some people it just comes down to laziness. Why teach your horse to stay out of your personal space when you could be riding?

Jetta came from a farm where stud chains were used on all the horses as a matter of principle, so she came to me with no respect for my personal space and unless you used a stud chain, pressure meant nothing to her. I think it only took two or three sessions working with her until she understood how to stand still and move with me, how to stop from a trot and keep her focus on me, not the other horses gallavanting around the pasture, and that she should respond immediately to a small amount of pressure.

Overall, stud chains do have a (very, very) small limited amount of circumstances in which using them are appropriate. Otherwise though, training can result in a horse that doesn't need one despite the situation. Regardless, everyone has their different views. Here for pro stud chains are Eventing Nation (look for the Shank You Very Much article), I think she makes some very valid points and Kristine Oakhurst, who I don't agree with at all. But there you go. If you need a lot more leverage, an alternative is the Humane Stud Chain.