Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bruised & Battered

This is ridiculous. I feel like I've been trampled by a horse. I haven't been bucked off Jetta (yet), but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. I had a terrible, terrible ride last night, compounding my feelings of inadequacy.

My body was so sore last night after riding on an unfamiliar horse for two hours using unfamiliar techniques in a saddle that did not fit my body at all. The inside of my knees and thighs are bruised from the saddle - I was swimming in it. Since my right leg is shorter than my left, I forgot to adjust the leathers properly and was constantly reaching for the stirrup so my right leg is sore. I pulled the arch muscle in my left foot. My shoulders and arms and abs are sore. I'm a mess to say the least. I feel old, haha. So when I got on Jetta I was already sore and tired. Not a good condition to ride a horse in.

Jetta was a brat - cow-kicking and bucking. By the time she bucked me onto her neck where I then jammed my pinky finger into her neck, almost causing me to faint, I was pissed. Definitely not a condition to ride in. Of course she was only bad in the walk, though our trot and canter felt very unorganized. But I'm pretty sure that was just me, it wasn't Jetta's fault. I felt like I had broken my finger.

We finished on a good a note as possible. I had some poles out to canter over so that's about the only thing that went right last night. Sigh. I did figure out what to take from the lesson I had last night. Even feeling like crap, I was definitely more aware of my body position, namely my hands. In my lesson, I used my hands to lift in the transitions which made them much easier, as well as manipulating the shoulders of the horse to encourage suppleness and balance. I'll be glad when I'm able to put it in practice, though I don't know how for off that will be. Especially with my finger being broken sprained?

In light of my frustrating day, I thought this was hilarious. I found it on Eventing Nation, though the author is unknown:

Someone posted a thread asking for advice on controlling their emotions while riding. I never have that problem because I'm so grounded and patient and altogether accomplished a tack cleaner rider. I also grew up in BC where everyone sings kumbaya and communes with nature on a daily basis. So dude, I was, like, born laid back.
have had a lot of experience dealing with difficult people, though. And, as luck would have it, I also read an advice column this morning on fighting with your significant other that was full of helpful ideas. In other words, I'm uniquely qualified to offer insight in this area. Here are 7 failsafe strategies for keepin' the crazy in check on horseback. You can thank me later.
Use loud verbal cues: Screaming at your horse is a sure fire way to get him to listen to your aids. It also lets other people know that you are confident in your particular training strategy and that they might benefit from this learning opportunity.
Take a timeout: Timeouts allow your horse to think about just how uncooperative he is. Then, when he has relaxed, you can thoroughly confuse him with mixed cues all over again.
Use humor: When things aren't going right for you, make light of your barn mate's horse, clothing or facial tick. You'll feel better about yourself immediately.
Don't get mad, get draw reins: Training tools were made to force your horse into submission. Pull out the spurs, long whip and draw lines, then watch his love grow.
Practice makes perfect: You will never get good at fighting with your horse unless you do it every day.
Bring reinforcements: If you are the one causing the problem--and, be honest, you are--then compensate for your failings with a steady supply of carrots. Only then can the healing begin.
Never get off your horse angry: Every satisfactory ride should have a proper ending. Don't get off until you're sure that he's sorry you ever got on.
Remember, just because you spend a small fortune to feed, train and house your horse, doesn't mean he has to respect you. Or even like you. You can be thankful for what little effort he deems to grant you. Or, you can fight tooth and nail until you Get Your Way. Me, I choose the latter option. (It works for relationships, too).

-Writer Unknown

Today I felt even worse than yesterday, if that's even possible. Combined with the fact that I got six hours of sleep and had to work four hours earlier than expected, I'm in fine form to welcome in the new year tonight! Ah, well. I'm not sure I'll make it to midnight, especially considering I have to work in the morning but we'll see. Hope everyone else has a fun night!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Slightly Backwards

Today was a very interesting day.

I went and rode with Dr. P, a vet who just joined the practice that I work at. She had me ride her 5 year old Friesian cross, Sander, at the barn she boards at. She trains with a dressage trainer, though she has an eventing background. I've ridden with the trainer before, last year the dressage team organized a lesson with him. I don't dislike him, he's just very different from what I'm used to, though at the time, Jetta had just been started under saddle so I got some great, helpful tips that I was able to use.

I was a little bit tentative about riding this horse because everyone was watching and trying to tell me how to ride him and I didn't want to mess up! I love riding new and different horses and this horse was definitely different! Since he is a part-Friesian, he loves to carry his neck up high and not come over his topline and use his hind end. I actually ended up riding him for almost two hours!

The first hour, his owner was just trying to direct me aboard him. She had me do lots of transitions and half-halts to get him engaged and moving with energy but not rushing. After we got started and did some serpentines and circles, he really started to loosen up and accept my half-halts. I got him to carry his head lower (which I thought was the goal of what his owner was asking me to do) and he felt more engaged. I got a couple ok canters, though he tends to be disconnected with his long back and often fell out of the canter.

Then the trainer came out and gave me basically a free lesson, which is pretty awesome since he charges $75! That is when everything fell apart. I felt like a completely inadequate and ineffective rider. I do NOT like feeling like that, it's just not a good feeling. He had me curl my hands around so that my pinkies were pointing inside, towards the horse. He corrected my whip position and had me tap with the whip on top of the croup. He drastically changed the way that I half-halt. Not to mention my shoulder-in. That was the weirdest* thing of all and I just can't get over how off it felt.

He had me get Sanders lighter on the forehand by using my hands in an upward motion, he said he was too much downwards with his head and neck and while he didn't need to have his head in the clouds, he did need to lift the base of his neck and round his back.

For the shoulder-in, he had me place my outside hand with the whip on Sander's withers and maintain a strong outside rein. The inside rein, with my hand upside down was pulled towards the inside and I used my ring finger to get Sander to flex and come on the bit. Then my legs. This was the weird part for me. He had me place my inside leg at the girth and my outside leg back to do a shoulder-in. Usually I do the exact opposite, because then you are making sure that the hip stays on the wall and you push the shoulder into the inside of the arena. Cray-zee. I just could not manage the shoulder-in at all. Thus the feeling of complete inadequacy.

My half-halts were also slightly weird feeling for me too, usually I close my leg and my hand and think "up" so that the horse is ready for either an upward or downward transition or is simply more balanced. This trainer had me (with my upside down hands) flex the wrists instead of using the whole arm. He said that it allowed for a more stable core and eventually smaller cues. My whole body of course was going "No No No!!! Must have hands in correct position!!" I did get a very nice canter out of Sanders by the end - I was able to get him "packaged" so that he was moving over his back with an engaged hind end, but then came the working on the shoulder-in that completely threw me off.

By the end I was exhausted, though Sanders was not even breathing hard. I was the one who got a workout! We all ended up going to lunch - the trainer, Dr. P and her husband, two of the girls who were at the barn and me. It was really nice. They have a very close-knit barn that does a lot of things together. They often hang out at eachother's houses, go to lunch/dinner together, lots of trail rides and in the summer they even go waterskiing together! It was super fun and I wish I was a part of something like that! Afterwards I got to meet the rest of Dr. P's animals, she has quite an assortment!

It was really a fun day and I look forward to riding more with her. I'll have to continue to mull over my lesson as I'm still utterly confused, but I hope I can take something away from it that will prove useful to me. I ended up titling this post Slightly Backwards because it all felt so completely opposite to me and I hate feeling so ineffective! I'm sure the trainer was glad that I don't normally ride for him because I could barely even do a shoulder-in or trot-canter transition. Ugh.

As a sidenote: Does anyone else do a shoulder-in like that? I have always been taught the opposite of what he was trying to get me to do and by always I mean my whole life with multiple trainers. I can't quite wrap my head around it.

*I mean all of this in the nicest possible sense, of course :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Plugging Along

Well, not too much to report. I rode Jetta yesterday and worked her little tushy off. It was a good ride, only two bucks and one rear, lol. Sad that I'm measuring our success in those terms, but oh well. Even with her bad behaviour at the walk, our canter has been amazing. We've been doing a lot of circles for the last couple months and are finally starting to venture out of that. Doing shoulder-fore at the canter has been invaluable in keeping Jetta balanced and light. I'm starting to enjoy the canter again and the transitions have been absolutely lovely!

We did a lot of work in the walk since that is where she gets all nasty. Lots of transitions within the walk - collected to extended to free walk and back again. I knew it would piss her off, which is exactly why I did it. I was very strict with her and any indication that she was going to kick out or pin her ears at me was swiftly reprimanded. By the end she was perfect.

It was quite a trial though trying to work with four other horses in the arena, geez! I'm excited to move to a quieter barn. We had the reiner riding, my dressage friend, a barrel racer and then a random rider. Talk about hard to ride - the barrel racer had two barrels set up in the middle of the arena, the reiner was doing sliding stops all over the place and the other three of us were just trying not to collide!

I went back up to the barn this morning, but didn't have enough time to ride her before I had to head to work, so she just got lunged. I ended up breaking out a cavaletti and also setting the barrels upright for her to jump. She was super good about lunging over the jumps. We haven't done that in a long time. I do notice that she has "on" and "off" days for lunging over jumps. Today was an "on" day because even when I set her up poorly to go over the jump or she had more than ample room to avoid the jump, she still headed straight for it, though by the end she knocked a pole off of the tall jump (I think it's 3'3" though it looks taller than that to me) because she was getting tired.

After I was done lunging, I let her go while I put away the jumps and she actually rolled! I let her go a lot after I'm done riding if no one is around, in hopes that she will roll, but she never does. In the past year, she's rolled once.

I'm going to ride her tomorrow. Also, I'm super excited to ride with one of the veterinarians that I work with, Dr. P tomorrow. She owns three horses and invited me to come ride with her. She also rides dressage and boards with a trainer that I took a lesson with last year. I may have the opportunity to ride some of his horses as well, we'll see! I'm excited though :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Year in Review

Here is our year in review! I might as well put all these pictures to good use, because I sure do have a lot of them :) These are just some of my favorites and the ones that I could actually find. They are definitely not in order, lol. We've come so far over the year and it's marked Jetta's first year under saddle as well as she turned 5 years old. We still have a long way to go, especially now that we've hit a rough spot, but I'm hoping that 2012 will be an even better year.

We went on some fun trail rides.

We went on our first gallop!

Nice and cozy for a chilly dressage school.

We went to two jumping schooling shows in January and February
and did quite well for being so green.

Jetta had a bizarre case of hives
We had a random week of grossly swollen legs but no lameness.

We did some riding in the hackamore

Our ribbons from our first dressage show

A conformation picture I took at the beginning of the year.
You can see how much she's changed this year!

What a pretty face!

My first attempt at braiding.
Pretty good if I do say so myself!

We went and played on the giant indoor trail course

We auditioned to ride with Jane Savoie early spring. We didn't make the cut,
but it's great to look back and see how far my equitation has come!

Hanging with my barn buddies <3

One of the few jumping pictures. Whee!

Our summertime conformation photo. Lookin' good!

I had a photo shoot with my friend IC who took this lovely photo of us.

A picture from our first dressage show. I felt like we did terrible
but we actually scored in the low-mid 60's.

Very focused trail pony.

We went and played on the beach and had a blast.

Colton came to live at home.

First time schooling cross country. You can tell by my giant smile that it was
a ton of fun!

I competed at Inavale HT with Jazz. Best experience ever!!
Blackmail photo. I tied Jetta while I rode some of JF's other training horses and
she had to wear a muzzle because she was chewing on the wood. Heehee.
We went to a three day young rider dressage clinic
and got some valuable tips.

Ribbons from our second jumping schooling show in February.

Ridin' western

Jetta got her first ever body clip. She looks very sporty with it :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vet Visit

Today was a crummy day.

I decided to have the vet out, just because Jetta has been acting so weird lately. I haven't mentioned it on this blog save for saying that she's been "bad" because I had no idea what was happening and I just couldn't handle comments speculating on what might be the matter or what I was doing wrong because I have enough issues with my own imagination! But now that I've had the vet out, speculate away! I'd love to hear what you think.

Here's the deal:

Two weeks ago, a Friday, I rode Jetta and she was absolutely perfect. It was a fantastic ride. She had three days off and then I rode her again on Tuesday. I plopped the western saddle on her with the bitless bridle and hopped on. She refused to go forward and would violently buck and threaten to rear when I tried to get her to go forward. She would walk slowly on a loose rein but any time I gathered up the reins or tried to get her marching forward she'd kick out. I got off and switched saddles thinking she might be having a temper tantrum about the western saddle. I put the dressage saddle on, which is her favorite. Same deal - wouldn't go forward, bucking when I put my leg on. I got off again and took her temp. It was a normal 99.9F. Then I put her on the lunge line. She was quite full of it, snorting and bucking and leaping all over the place. She was not off in the slightest, her trot was bouncing off the ground about a foot. Once she calmed down again I got back on her, but the same deal. I decided I didn't want to die before I finished my final exams so I put her away for the night after lunging her a bit more so she didn't feel like she got away with not working.

Next day I got on with the dressage saddle and her dressage bridle and rode. Same deal, though this time I was prepared and I managed to make her trot. Next day after that she only bucked minorly and I managed to get her to canter. Since then I had a jumping lesson and went and played on the trail course. She was getting almost 100% back to normal, except she had decided that she didn't know how to lunge and would turn and face me, refusing to go forward and would rear if I tried to make her. We worked through that and lunging is back to normal now. Then I rode her on Friday and she almost bucked me off.

The issue is that when she's walking and I put my leg on her, she freaks out, pins her ear and kicks out, bucks multiple times and threatens to rear. Once I get her into the trot, she's perfect. A tad more sensitive perhaps, but we've been having the best canter work ever. But bring her down to the walk and she will buck again. It's the opinion of most people at the barn that it's behavioral, but I wasn't sure since it was so sudden and violent. I would feel terrible if she was in pain or something and I made her work through it. I couldn't find any sensitivity along her back.

Today, Dr. W came out and did a physical exam and flex test. He found no soreness anywhere on her body, which was very good. He watched her trot out and noticed a slight shortness on her left hind (LH). He flexed her on both hind legs. She tested positive on her upper leg on her LH, but Dr. W said is was barely a one. Lameness is evaluated on a scale of 0-5, zero being absolutely sound and five being dead lame.

It's his opinion that her hocks are fusing. While they normally fuse between 12 and 15 years of age, sometimes due to workload, nutrition or genetics they will fuse early. There is some discomfort while the joint fuses, but once it is fused there are absolutely no problems. Of course it also could be her hip or stifle, but if needs be, we will figure that out later.

He said he thought that her bucking and kicking out was just behavioral, that she's testing me (even more than usual) since between the ages of 5 and 8 years old, mares experience hormone changes and look to challenge others because this is the time during which they would normally take over a herd.

I asked about ulcers and he said it could be possible. I could try a 10 day treatment of omeprazole if I wanted, at $35/dose which totals at $350. Ouch. Then if that helped, I'd do the full 30 days of treatment which would end up being over $1000. Oh dear.

I also asked about tumors on the ovaries, since I had heard that it causes aggressive behaviour and while I volunteered at the University Large Animal Hospital there was a horse with an ovary the size of a volleyball (they are normally closer to the size of a small fist or a golfball).  Dr. W said that then there would most likely be soreness in the lower back, of which she had none, but to make sure he'd have to do a ultrasound and he just got a new one which will be coming later this week.

So right now the game plan is to bute her with 2 grams per day for 5 days and see if that changes her behaviour. If it does, then we can discuss blocking her joints to make sure it is her hocks, then injecting the joint to make it more comfortable and to speed the fusing process along. If it doesn't, I think I'm going to give it a week or two to try and correct her behavior then if it doesn't go away, consider the omeprazole trial.

I'm also considering adding some more herbs to her diet. I really did feel like the raspberry leaf helped over the summer with her touchiness when in heat, so maybe if I add something else she'll mellow out a bit more. I'm considering stinging nettle leaf, but am finding it difficult to buy it in large quantities in the US. I read a great article in one of my favorite magazines, Equine Wellness, about different herbs for mellowing out mares so I'm wanting to try some to see if they'll help.

It's just so frustrating because everything was going so well and I really cannot afford any of the treatments which makes me feel even more crummy. The whole way up to the barn I was having a panic attack because I was freaking out over what was wrong with my horse. I currently have a headache from grinding my teeth. And I'm broke. I had set aside $200 to get Grady and Colton's teeth done and now I just had to spend that on Jetta's vet visit. Also, since I'm moving barns Jetta needs a new turnout blanket because she doesn't have a waterproof one. I have a car payment coming due and I my bank account is running dry while I wait for my paycheck to come. Sometimes being an adult sucks, especially being in school and not having a full time job. Blegh.

We'll just take it day by day though. There's a tack sale on the 7th of January so I guess I'll be sorting through my stuff to see what I can part with and hope it sells. Grady and Colton's teeth will have to wait and since I've been working more over winter break, let's just hope my paycheck is large enough to be helpful.

So any thoughts? Do you agree with the evaluation of it just being behavioural or is there anything else you would have ruled out by the vet?

Monday, December 26, 2011


No, I do not currently nor have ever had a beard. And I hope I never will ;)  But Colton did. A trait for Gypsy Vanners (as well as Gypsy Cobs and Drum Horses) is their hair. Lots of it. They have feathers on their legs and very full manes and tails. Their hair coat tends to be thicker as well IME. They also grow a beard and, in Katy's case, can have a long line of fur going down the center of the belly.

The breed standard is not to trim any of this hair. Personally I can't stand it, so I trim a small bridle path, shave the beard off and bang the tail. Just to make it a little more manageable.

Today I had a very successful day of playing with Colton. I cleaned his stall and added a bag of pellets, then used the bag to desensitize him. He was pretty snorty at first, but curious and he really didn't mind much, save for around his ears.

Then came the clippers. I start young horses in a loose ring snaffle so that they can chew on the bit and move it around in their mouth more. Also since I'm working with a young horse I also add a leather curb strap to prevent the bit from sliding through the mouth. Because of the curb strap, the beard tends to get in the way so it's easiest to just shave the whole thing off. Plus I think he looks more like a horse now rather than a hairy yak.

Teaching a horse to clip is a pretty important skill. Chances are that a horse will need to be clipped at least once in his lifetime, if not regularly. From body clipping for winters to clipping legs to treat scratches or manage white socks to clipping the bridle path or clipping ears and muzzle for shows. Chances are its gonna happen and I for one am not a fan of twitching horses to be clipped, at all. It's not too hard to teach a horse to accept clippers, though of course there are always some exceptions who think clippers are the most terrifying things ever invented, but twitching or sedating horses to clip shouldn't be the norm.

I did halter him, but I try to restrain the horse as little as possible except to make sure he doesn't leave and his focus remains on the task at hand because I don't want to force him to let me clip him, rather I want him to decide that clipping's ok. At first Colton didn't care about the clippers, he was fine with me rubbing them on his face while they were off, didn't care when I turned them on or when I rubbed the clippers on his face. So far, so good. Then I went to cut some hair and he decided that tickles! He has a very ticklish muzzle in general, if I tickle his nose with my fingers he'll shake his head around. It took a little while but eventually he accepted it, and along with the help of a couple treats he decided it was totally not a big deal. The next step will be to trim his bridle path and excess ear fluff which I will leave for another time.

Nice clean shave.

Look! No beard!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has had a good Christmas.

My family always goes to see a movie and today was no different - we went to see War Horse. Not bad. I wouldn't count it as a great movie but I enjoyed it and any movie with a horse in it can't be that bad ;)

The ponies here at home got their bran mash as their present which they definitely enjoyed. Overall, a nice relaxing day with the family.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Boarding Barn Options

I went and looked at a barn yesterday that I really liked! I have one more barn on my list to look at, but it seems that I may be moving here...

Barn #1

  • 5 minutes from my current barn so I can still see my friends. It's kind of out there, at the end of a very long gravel road, though I don't think it will be too, too bad to drive the trailer down it.
  • The owner is super nice (actually reminds me of my favorite high school teacher!) and is very accommodating.
  • She has a PhD in animal nutrition - awesome!
  • She mixes her own feed since she decided she couldn't find one to her liking that was high fiber, high fat, low sugar and low NSC's. Double awesome.
  • She has a handful of Lusitano broodmare that she breeds (my first thought - I get to be around babies!!).
  • The barn is small, she has a separate one for her horses and the boarding horses. There is a max of 9 boarders.
  • The tack room is heated and locked at night, plenty of room for all my junk tack.
  • The stalls are 12x12 and she is installing runs. She estimates that they'll be done in three weeks. They will be fenced with no-climb wire and footing of your choice will be added - hogsfuel or pea gravel.
  • Stalls cleaned daily, horses fed 3xdaily. She normally beds with shavings, but also has pellets, especially for the messy horses (*cough*Jetta*cough*)
  • Washer/dryer for horse paraphernalia - major win!
  • Horses are turned out daily in groups, she has three pastures for boarders and the horses are in groups based on their personalities.
  • She has a small flock (herd? group?) of German Shepherds, but they're only out when she's working around the barn. She also has a barn kitty :] Not necessary, I know, but I do so love animals!
  • She buys a load of local hay 10 tons at a time. Can supply alfalfa or orchard grass if wanted.
  • Owner lives on the property so someone's there all the time
  • There are llamas! Jetta will have to get used to them, which will help with her future trail competitions, lol!
  • Indoor arena is 60x120. Footing (just plain dirt) looks a tad deep, but again, the owner is accommodating so she said she can make it less so.
  • There's a round pen outside which would be nice occasionally so that I can work Jetta's crazy out.
  • She's ok with holding a stall for me during the summer
  • Hot water washrack is in the other barn
  • 5 acres of trails in the back and access to public land which you get a permit to ride on.
So, are there really any cons? Well...
  • The barn is all dirt floors (the stalls are matted) and since it's been dry I'm not sure if it will get muddy at all.
  • No cross ties, which is ok, since I can just tie her in her stall to tack up, etc.
  • Not a super fancy barn, which isn't necessary at all, but moving from a brand new barn to an old one... But I'd much rather that my horse is comfortable than me!
  • I forgot to take a look at what she uses for watering, but I think they're just regular buckets on the wall which would be a good improvement over the stupid tubs my current barn uses!
Barn #2

This is the barn that Katy's owner moved to. No current openings, but I could be on the waitlist.

  • Small indoor arena
  • Only 7 boarders.
  • Outdoor wash rack with hot water
  • Heated/locked tack room
  • Large runs with gravel footing in each
  • One set of cross ties for saddling/grooming
  • Open front stalls
  • Co-op care system - people feed mornings, evenings and clean stalls once a week each
  • Acres of pristine turnout
  • Not really any trails though you can haul 5 minutes to trails

I am really excited about moving. I'm going to give my BO 30 days notice so I'll be moving February 1st to Barn #1 possibly. I really do want to take a look at the other barn because it also sounds incredibly nice - indoor and outdoor arena, covered round pen, stalls cleaned 2x per day, year-round turnout, two hot water wash racks, etc. Sounds fancy! It's a tad bit more expensive than the two above barns, but if it's nice I'd be willing to pay for it. I'm just waiting for them to get back to me!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mare on a Mission

I went on an interesting trail ride today!

I lunged Jetta first. Yesterday she was being a complete brat. Her new evasion is to stop and turn towards me - her way of saying "I'm done". When I tried to send her off in one direction or another she'd rear. Like allll of the way up. Bad, bad pony. Not ok. So we got that fixed today, I lunged in the halter versus the bridle which was really helpful and she decided it was a lot easier to do as I say ;)

We headed out to the trails to meet MC, the lady that's leasing Jazz. I miss Jazz so much! But I'm so glad that she has such a nice leaser (sp?) who absolutely adores her. MC knew of a trail that was close to both of us, so we were basically able to meet halfway to ride together.

It started out very lovely with some rare winter sunshine peeking through the clouds. We were going to go on a loop that was supposed to take an hour. We kept going, and going, and going. Finally we admitted that we were lost and turned around and went back the way we came! Overall it was a 2 and a half hour ride. So much for that one hour loop!

Jetta was super, super well-behaved. MC was surprised that she was a 5 year old Thoroughbred with how calmly she took it all in. She traveled like a mare on a mission - head down, loose rein and just went. No spooking, no being a looky-lou. The trails are all graveled so there was no mud and both Jazz and Jetta's hooves handled the rocks well, save for a small section with larger rocks that was a bit ouchy. I can't wait to go back in warmer weather because by the end the freezing fog had moved in and I was frozen solid. It took the hour long drive home (for me, not to the barn where Jetta is) to defrost! Brrr. Overall, a fun day and I'm excited to finally know of a local trail system that we can ride horses on. I can't wait to go back.

Pictures are refusing to be uploaded, so I'll so that later :)

And don't forget to vote on my picture (#3 Amber)! Today's the last chance - voting ends at 12pm EST. I would really love to win this - best Christmas present ever! I could never in a million years afford this vest currently and I like the idea of having more protection for Jetta's horse trial debut this summer since she is still a baby and does have her moments. Currently as I'm writing this I am fourth, so I need to move up three places to be in the final voting selection. Probably not going to happen unless I get an outpouring of support, which I know can be possible in the horse blogger world. So vote for me and spread the word. Thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Voting Begins!

FINALLY! Eventing Nation has posted Round 2 of the pictures for the Point Two contest and I'm in it!

So if you could please, please, please, please vote for me that would be much appreciated! I am number 3 - Amber, with this adorable picture of Colton.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mashing It Up

I love to make the horses a yummy bran mash around the holidays. It makes me feel like I'm giving them a nice treat for Christmas and they sure seem to love it too!

I made up some mash for Jetta this morning and gave it to her this afternoon when I went for a visit. She got this and a hoof trim, though she wasn't exactly a very good girl today! Apparently someone has forgotten how to lunge...


Monday, December 19, 2011

Racin' Reindeers and Other Xmas Related Things

Here is your video overload for the day:

Haha, cute. I feel like Katy would do something like this - "Run!! Run, run, ru... oh food. Nom, nom nom. Running!"

Can I just say that I want to do this? But maybe with a horse. Oh, wait, maybe a pony! Ooh, yes. See this is why I need a pony. So I could torture play fun games with them :)

Ahh, cute. I love Budweiser Clydesdale commercials.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In Which I Oil My Car Seats

So I oiled my car seats and it was not intentional. And I do not have leather car seats...

I brought home my tack cleaning gear so I could clean some tack here at home. I thought I secured the top on the bottle of oil, but apparently not. My car is always a disaster, I look like I live in my car, so between shuffling through stuff to find something or make room for people, the bottle got upended and the car seat completely absorbed the whole bottle...

Luckily, it's not super noticable that my seat is now oiled, lol. There's a faint waterline to the edges and some of the pieces of tack that I was supposed to clean and were sitting on the seat magically oiled themselves. I guess I did want them to be a darker brown (!) and I didn't even have to do any work. Nothing else was ruined by it and your butt doesn't get coated in oil when you sit down, for which I'm very thankful! Definitely a good lesson to always double check to make sure bottles are completely closed. I won't be doing that again for a while!

And as a side note:

I'm in love with GetMyFix. They are always having contests :) So, for everyone in need of a new hunt coat, they are giving away a semi-custom Hayward Hunt Coat! While I did just get a new coat for my b-day, it's more of a dressage coat and I think a navy coat would be perfect on Jetta for show jumping to go with her blue elastic on the Antares breastplate.

Still nothing on the Eventing Nation contest... But I'll keep checking it!

Other than that, I've really got nothing going on. Going through pony withdrawals already and I can't wait to go see Jetta on Monday!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Finally got out to ride Jetta today! And she was pretty good. She's had the last three (three!) days off so I expected her to be a hyper brat but she was actually pretty good. I free lunged her so she could blow off any steam, but she didn't really have any...

Non-exciting trot picture. She still looks so sporty with her clip!

I tacked her up in dressage tack. She was so good! Our trot-canter transitions were awesome. We did two in each direction and they were like butter. So smooth, no bracing or rushing. Exactly how they're supposed to be like. Even with currently being in heat, thus her sides are extra sensitive, she's not kicking out or resenting my leg. Though it does make our leg yeilds a little easier :) I figured out a while ago that I couldn't ask for a canter by moving my outside leg back. That fell on Jetta's non-negotiable do not like list. I had a clinician once tell me not to cue with my outside leg back on mares when I was riding Jazz. Jazz didn't care. Jetta definitely does! Knowing Jetta, I'm not sure how long these great transitions are to stay, they may be gone the next time I ride but it was so nice for today!

Well, I don't have much to write... not a whole lot going on. I'm going to clean out all of the weeds out of the round pen this weekend so I can start teaching Colton to lunge. I'm sure he's going to love that! But we need to start working off some of that tubby belly, lol.

And speaking of Colton, Eventing Nation hasn't posted anything about the contest so far, even though I've checked the site like 20 times today... I'm not obsessive or anything ;) I just really want that vest! So hopefully I at least get past the preliminary choices. Sigh, maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Pony

I dressed Colton up and took pictures! He was so adorable throughout the whole process, wanting to sniff every object I pulled out to decorate him with.

I sent a picture into Eventing Nation - fingers crossed! I would love to win that vest :) Of course now that I've already sent in a picture, I feel like people probably went way more out than I did and I'm thinking, "Oh, I should have done that. Oh! Or maybe something like that! Ooh, I wish I had done something like that..." It's too late now though. We'll just have to see how I measure up to everyone else (if I make it on the website!)

And thank you to my dad who probably thinks I'm crazy but he still held the pony for me while I snapped photos :)

Here you go! My Christmas Pony:

This is the one I actually sent in.

Yep. Definitely thinking I should have gone more all out. But hey - he's still pretty darn cute! Promise you'll vote for me if I make it on Eventing Nation?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cold and In Control

I had a great lesson last night! But it was freezing cold. 30 degrees F during my lesson. Brrr. All of my extremities felt ready to fall off. 7pm is just too late for a lesson in winter - summer I would be game, but I was just frozen last night.

The topic for the lesson was control. We warmed up doing leg yeilds and walk-canter-walk transitions. There were quite a few people in this lesson, 6 all together which is about the max that the arena can hold. One exercise was to canter a small circle and the girl whose circle was right next to me didn't really get the whole "small-ness" of it, so I had to make Jetta's circle even smaller to avoid collision, lol.

I was pleasantly suprised when Jetta was so good about doing that small circle, she did pin her ears a bit to let me know that she did not like it, but she still did it very well - tight circle, light on the forehand, not too fast either.

Then we jumped. We trotted in, halted, backed up (if they didn't halt nicely) then trotted the next jump. Jetta of course instantly did her best diving impression but a few tweaks to my position really helped. Sitting up over the jump, legs farther forward up near the girth and planning in the air for a halt made a world of difference.

Eventually we put together a course with three lines and two oxers. Jetta did super good. We trotted into the lines and cantered through, counting strides, then trotting again into the next line. Multi-tasking for the win! I was able to do it even counting strides correctly, which has always been difficult for me.

I was so happy to end on a good note and hurry home to defrost!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Trail Champ?

Well, we won't be trail champions anytime soon, but we had a bit of fun on the trail course. ML and I went together, she rode her new horse Spider, a QH that she's leasing.

I finished finals on Thursday - YES!! Freedom! I'm so looking forward to a relaxing month off of school. I'll hopefully be working lots though and riding Jetta as well as playing with Colton. So we had Friday to go play on the trail course. You had to pay $25 for an hour, which really isn't long enough! Jetta was instantly scared-stiff when we went into the arena. Talk about a sensory overload! I lead her through the first little hill with logs and such just to let her get a feel for it, though I definitely feel better on her back as I don't want to get run over by my oversized scare-dy cat!

It was funny because I'd forgotten how Jetta thinks logs are scary. In my book, logs are like the easiest obstacle on the trail course. Ahaha, Jetta did not agree. But by the end, logs were the least of her worries.

We never made it into the water unfortunately, though a nice man offered to let us follow him through, but Jetta was not into following in the water! I discovered that ditches are the most terrifying thing ever, definitely reason to try to run away without paying attention to the surroundings, aka tripping and flailing all over the place. Bridges are no problem, though I don't even want to try a suspension bridge in the near future because of Miss Clumsy...

Step-Ups are fine, scary props are fine, the nasty, stinky cowhide was fine. Most horses won't even go near the cow hide, but Jetta waltzed right up to it. It's on a pulley, so during competition you have to pull it up to eye level, which 90% of horses think is terrifying. Jetta stood right next to it and messed with the rope that was dangling, nuzzling and nibbling it and swinging it around with her nose, lol. Too cute. I didn't want to ruin the moment by trying to lift the cow hide.

Didn't really get that many pics, but here's the few that we did:

Climbing hills in the wilderness.

Chillin' on the bridge

The view from the top... of the step up.

Followin' the trail

Look where we made it to!

Lots and lots of logs.

ML and Spider!

Showing off their skillz

Good pony.