Sunday, February 27, 2011


I received my conditioning book and I have to say that I really enjoy it! My one complaint (and it's barely a complaint) is that I wish it was a little more specific/technical on why exercises work and what they are doing exactly to the horse's body. But really, this book is easy to read, complete, full of information and has great exercises.

It has great illustrations and the feature with the removeable cards in the back with exercises is really smart. There are also lists of recommended exercises to do together, or you can mix and match to your liking.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It is very informative and will help at any level of training, whether it's for dressage, jumping or eventing and more. There are stretches on the ground, in-hand exercises, exercises to do outside and on the trail, arena flat work, and gymnastic work. This book was very well thought out and I am glad I bought it!

I've already started integrating a lot of the exercises into my training, many of them are things that I commonly used, so it's great to see that they have a use not just in training the horse's mind and improving performance, but also works well on their muscles and helps get them truly fit. Two hooves up!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Dilemma

Here's my dilemma. I'm planning out shows for the summer so that I can make sure that I get the days off from work that I need for these shows.

I really want to do a Dressage Sport Horse Breed Show (DSHB). Usually there's a local one every year, but of course, it isn't happening this year. So, my other option is one in Washington. It is still through the ODS, but it is several hours away at Donida Farm. I went to a Dressage Through the Levels Clinic there with Debbie McDonald and Janet Foy and I loved the facilities and really want to go back for a show.

The same weekend that the DSHB show in Washington is an eventing show that is much more local. It is a third of the cost of the DSHB show and is only one day, whereas the other show would require four days of my time which consequentially = $$$. What I was planning on was doing the in-hand maiden mare class, TB breed in-hand class, Training Level (or First Level if we're lucky) and the 4 & 5 year old Materiale class. I really, really want to do a Materiale class this year as Jetta is 5 years old and this is our last chance to do it. I was planning on doing all of these classes at show instead of spreading them over two or three shows.

So my issue is, do I go to this show for four days and dish out all the $$$? Or do I just do a local show with Materiale for this year and skip the DSHB show and hopefully find a local DSHB show next year? This is a one time thing. I would just like to show in-hand once and be done! If I do go to the DSHB show in Washington, I'm hoping one or two of my dressage buddies will be going with their nice living quarter trailers, then there's no issue of where to stay or having to drive by myself. At least I have plenty of time to decide, as the show is in June.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Funny

Murphy's Horse Laws
1. If you do a thorough check of your trailer before hauling, your truck will break down.
2. There is no such thing as a sterile barn cat.
3. No one ever notices how you ride until you fall off.
4. The least useful horse in your barn will eat the most, require shoes every four weeks, and need the vet at least once a month.
5. A horse's misbehavior will be in direct proportion to the number of people who are watching.
6. Tack you hate never wears out; blankets you hate cannot be destroyed; horses you hate cannot be sold and will outlive you.
7. Clipper blades will become dull only when the horse is half finished. Clipper motors will quit only when you have the horse's head left to trim.
8. If you're wondering if you left the water on in the barn, you did. If you're wondering if you latched the pasture gate, you didn't.
9. One horse isn't enough; two is too many.
10. If you approach within 50 feet of the barn in your "street clothes," you will get dirty.
11. You can't push a horse on a lunge line.
12. If a horse is advertised as "under $5000" you can bet he isn't $2500.
13. The number of horses you own increases according to the number of stalls in your barn.
14. An uncomplicated horse can be ruined with enough schooling.
15. You can't run a barn without bailing twine.
16. Hoof picks migrate.
17. Wind velocity increases in proportion to how well your hat fits.
18. There is no such thing as the "right feed."
19. If you fall off, you will land on the site of your most recent injury.
20. If you're winning, quit.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Squeezy Buns

Uncle Jimmy's Squeezy Buns have a funny name and a great taste. I was wanting to try them out and my parents got a few samples from a product showing for their feed store.
Critic #1:

Grady is notoriously hard to please. His favorite treats include apples, carrots and alfafa berry treats. That's it. He won't even consider trying anything else. I offered him these and he gobbled it straight up, then asked for more! He didn't even hesitate or try to spit it out.

Critic #2:

Jazz is a pretty easy horse to please. She'll eat almost anything except peppermints. She devoured these without a second thought.

Critic #3:

Katy is the treat monster. You have it, she wants it. She also has the cutest treat face. "Nom, nom, nom!!" Is what she thinks about these treats.

Critic #4:

Jetta loves her alfalfa berry treats, but she hasn't really had the opportunity to be the guinea pig like the rest of my horses. Regardless, these were a winner in her book. She patted me down afterwards just to make sure that I didn't have any left that I was hiding.

Final Decision

I loved these treats. They were really soft, but not sticky, so they were great for the senior horse (Grady) and could be broken into pieces for sharing. They also would come in handy for hiding pills inside. It's basically a molasses treat with a little bit of oats, barley and other yummy stuff inside. They come individually wrapped which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because they won't stick together and you can shove a bunch in your pocket without leaving little leftover pieces. Bad because your horses can hear the crinkle and are all over you in a second and then you have leftover trash on your hands. But overall, two hooves up!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Pictures

Here are some pictures of Jetta and I. I think she's looking so good! We've really come a long way. I pulled these from the video I posted Sunday. It's nice to have a visual to see how far Jetta and I have come.

My favorite. (Minus my equitation. Lean back!)
Jetta is nicely uphill and I love how far she's reaching
under herself with her hind leg.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Future Barn: Part 3


Doesn't this look like such an idyllic turnout situation?

Of course it's a little overkill in my situation becaue I'm not planning on having that many horses. But I would like to have a couple individual grass paddocks, a group pasture, and one or two dry paddocks.

There are so, so many options for horse fencing and each have their benefits and drawbacks. The two options that I like the best are:

The left is a high tensile, no climb wire with metal t-posts. These t-posts are all capped for safety and have a vinyl rail along the top for visibility. The design on the right is High Tensile Polymer by Centaur. I really like this because it won't break or splinter and will absorb any impact. It's highly visible. I have seen it at several nice barns and really like it. I don't know if I would just use the HTP for the outside perimeter and then use the wire to divide it into smaller paddocks. But I do like the aesthetics of the white fence, though I've also seen it in black and it looks very nice. At least black wouldn't show dirt as much...


For footing in high traffic areas, such as entrances to the barn and pastures, as well as in the turnouts, I like the idea of the grid design, like this EcoGrid,  that helps improve drainage.

I'm not sure how well it works, but in theory it sounds good. I would use a fine, packed gravel for turnouts as well or instead of because that will last quite a while and help with drainage as well. Having good gutters and runoff water use will help prevent muddy situations and perhaps I can recycle the rain water in my own horse watering systems.

For the indoor and outdoor arena there are a couple options. The first is a crumb rubber mixed with sand. I really like this footing and have had good experiences with it. I rode in an outdoor with this footing and even though it was super wet out I loved this footing. It has very minimal dust and is nice and springy. ProStride is one of many companies that makes this rubber footing. It's also good for the environment because most often it is made using recycled tires!

Then there's this combination footing. It is used at a lot of the top horse show facilities and uses fiber, rubber, sand and wax to make the "perfect" footing. I've never ridden on it, but I know a similar footing was used for the World Equestrian Games and it seems to be pretty nice stuff. Below is just one example, made by TravelRight.

TravelRight indoor arena footing at the National Horse Show in NY
For the stall aisles I like the rubber pavers, like these Pavesafe pavers, because they look really nice and are easier on the legs than just concrete. I will probably concrete the whole barn floor because it's easiest and will last long without getting any dips or holes. The stall will be matted with rubber mats.

The only downside to pavers is that they're harder to clean, so a yard vacuum might be necessary.

As for stall walls, it seems that white or red oak is popular because it's a harder wood that will last longer than pine. Red oak is poisonous to horses, but they won't eat it because of its bitter taste. Cottonwood also seems to be good because it is super strong.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Saddle!

I finally bought a new saddle!

I hate buying saddles. I really dislike buying saddles because I have to figure out in a short period of time whether I like the saddle and if it fits correctly or not, then I have to actually pay for this very expensive and important piece of tack.

On Saturday a woman came to town with a used Pessoa (she was only in town for a couple hours so I had to decide really fast) that she was selling for $800. I thought it was a pretty reasonable price as new Pessoa's sell for the $1500 to $2000 range. It's an older model, a Nelson Pessoa A/O. I have always liked Pessoas (it was my dream saddle when I was younger) but I was a little tentative about this saddle because I had heard a lot of negative things about Pessoas recently.

A lot of people think that they're uncomfortable (ML says that she hates Pessoa's because they're "hard as a rock" but she likes mine!) and some people find that the quality is not up to par. Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised with this saddle. It is a 17" seat, wide tree (though to me, it fits more like a medium tree). Very cushiony seat, knee pads and panels. Talking with the owner, she said that this saddle is probably from the late 90's. It is well used but in excellent condition. There is minor cracking on the seat and knee pads, but I've heard that's pretty standard on Pessoas and some other saddles that use the same type of leather.

I didn't think that I'd like it's flattish seat because I love deep seat saddles (as shown by my old jumping saddle and my dressage saddle) but I was actually very comfy in it. I felt secure, the balance point was in the right place and the twist is not too narrow for my taste. Overall, I am happy with it!

One thing I'm interested in is if it is foam or wool flocked. The dressage lady (still can't remember her name!) at the barn thought it might have air bladders, but I think it's too old for that. The paneling is just so soft and squishy, it makes me think that it's foam or possibly was recently reflocked. I was thinking of having a saddlefitter come tweak the flocking if they can to make it fit Jetta perfectly, but as it is it fits great. And the best part? It fits my leg! Even with super short jumping length stirrups my knee doesn't go over the edge!

Poor Jetta. I kept getting on and riding her around, walk, trot, canter, then getting off and looking at it, then getting back on, again and again. By the end she was like "Don't get back on me, pleeease, don't get back on!"

I am so, so glad to be done with the whole saddle shopping thing for now. Now, to just sell my other saddles...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Video!

Finally figured up how to upload videos from my camera! So here you go :)

This is Jetta and I schooling the other day, please ignore my bad equitation. As soon as I know someone is watching, it just falls apart. And I had been working so hard at it! This video got sent in to apply to ride in a clinic with Jane Savoie at the Northwest Horse Expo, so we'll see if we get accepted!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Polo Wraps

Polo wraps are one of the banes of my existence. I just can't really figure them out. I'm getting a lot better, but they still look pretty terrible.

The picture on the left is definitely how mine look, while the picture on the right is what I always see and what I want.

I feel like my wraps are uneven, bulky and go too low down the fetlock. No one ever taught me how to put polo wraps on, so it's kind of a trial and error kind of thing.

Here's a video about doing polo wraps that I though was pretty good. I couldn't figure out how to embed the video :( but here's a link: The Horse: How to Apply Polo Wraps

Then SmartPak blog also has a little "how to" entry about it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Funny

This has to be my favoritest youtube vid ever. Can you see a pattern here with the whole riding + cow = I think it's hilarious?

On a side note, I finally figured out how to make videos on blogger actually fit the screen. Have I ever mentioned that I hate embedding videos?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Future Barn: Part 2


Let's talk about layout. I would like to have my stalls by 14x14 feet to allow the horses to have plenty of room. Ideally each stall is going to have a turnout pen that's at least 14x28. The turnouts will be covered and have skylights in them to provide lighting. Here's a very general outline for what I want the layout to be:

For some reason the right hand outside wall got cut off, but it will be there. This shows 12 stalls though I haven't really decided how many I want. Maybe 12 or maybe 16? Then there are the turnouts, a wash stall & grooming stall, tack room and feed room. There also needs to be a restroom downstairs, possibly in the tack room area or?? The lined block is stairs leading up to the loft. I would like to have a "House Barn" with my living area on top of the barn area. That way I'm closer to my babies, I can hear what's going on, and it is possibly a bit cheaper than building a separate house and barn. I really like the general layout idea that this builder presents, with a few tweaks it would be exactly what I want:

36x48 Home and Barn.png

Tack Room

The tack room is pretty important. I want it to be perfect because I almost live in my tack room. It needs to have a fridge to hold medications and people drinks/snacks. I want to have counter space to do things and a place to sit down and clean tack. An industrial type sink might be nice for rinsing off little things.

These two tack rooms are good examples of what I like. There needs to be shelf space for things that don't get hung up or aren't used as ofen. I don't want my saddles to go up that high because I want to be able to easily pull them down without killing myself.

This is my favorite system for saddles and pads from Innovative Equine Systems. I like how the pads hang separately. Obviously I would need several of these systems :)

I want a window to let light in and the room must be heated so that my tack doesn't get moldy. It needs to be insulated so that there isn't any dampness.

Other things that I want in my barn is a washer and dryer specifically for horse stuff. Possibly an industrial washer because that would hold up to horse stuff better. Probably like this semi-industrial from Primer. This shouldn't be in the tack room because it will produce moisture which can damage leather. It might end up in the feed room where there'll be enough space for it.

My feed room will hold grain, I'll probably just use garbage cans because they're pretty perfect for holding feed. Shelves for supplements and hooks for feed scoops. I'll have a small outdoor hay shed and only store a couple bales inside because of insurance issues (I've heard that it can be harder or more expensive for insurance if you store your hay inside because of fire risks).
Next post will be about some different materials, footings and turnouts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Ok, I know I posted already today but I just got back from riding Jetta and she was so good. I thought she would be a maniac because she didn't get ridden Monday or Tuesday (which I feel bad about but I have been crazy busy), but she was actually super good.

I turned her out with Katy in the arena cause the barn was totally empty. It was kinda weird cause there's always someone there. Anyways, they ran around like crazy. I love watching horses run. They're so funny when they're bucking and pretty when they run. Then they took turns rolling. I think this was the first time that Jetta has ever rolled in the arena. Sometimes I'll let her go walk around without tack on after we ride but she just stands there and looks at me.

I'll have to video Katy cause she's hilarious when she rolls. She has such a flat, broad back that she just kind of gets stuck for a second when she rolls. She'll be on her back with all four feet in the air for a couple seconds. So funny and cute.

When I rode, Jetta was just great! She wasn't rushy like I was sure she would be. I rode in the dressage saddle which I haven't done for a while, I thought it would feel weird but it was actually very nice. Sometimes I feel a lot less secure in my dressage saddle.

Our cantering is what I was so happy with. We did two perfect trot-canter transitions! No rushing, no ears back, no humped back, no kicking out, no falling on the forehand. They were amazing! We worked a little on doing 20 meter-ish circles which Jetta did very well. We changed directions and it went perfect. We worked on those terrible two half circles that are now in the dressage tests (first level?) and then I asked her to halt from a trot and it was perfect too! It wasn't abrupt, it was light on the bit, not heavy on the forehand, perfectly square. Amazing! I cooled her out and we were done.

Isn't it interesting how a great ride can totally just make your day? I feel so happy after today's ride and I know that when I have a particularly bad ride my whole day just sucks. Ah, horses. They make our life more interesting.

My Future Barn: Part 1

Someday I want to have my own barn where I can keep my own horses and board a couple others. It will have an indoor and outdoor arena and all the amenities that I look for in a barn.

There was a story over at Eventing-A-Gogo about a horse that died tragically at the barn she's working at and it was a horrible, horrible story and it got me to thinking about what I want my barn to be like with an emphasis on safety features. Especially in the aspect of stall fronts, aka after that story I never want to have bars. I'm going to go for the mesh/grid style, that way we have no freak accidents with footsies getting stuck.

This is going to be a multi-part topic, just because there's so much to cover. Feel free to chime in with what you like/dislike for the barn where your horses stay, and if you could build your own barn how you would make it.


The first thing I wanted to cover was watering. I have decided (at least for now) that I really want automatic waterers. But there are some requirements. First, it must be heated so that there is no possibility of it freezing in winter and I am going to insulate the pipes so we don't have bursting/flooding issues. Second, it has to show how much water the horse is drinking. I want to know if the horse isn't feeling well and is not drinking. And lastly, it must be easy to clean.

So why an automatic waterer? Well, partly because it's a lot easier than filling up a bunch of buckets several times a day, the horse will never run out of water, and because it's a bit cleaner than some bucket watering systems. Right now Jetta has a giant tub bucket in the corner of her stall, but she enjoys pooping in it and dragging her hay over into it and leaving it there. Gross. Then it ends up being full and disgustingly dirty and you have to drag this super heavy bucket outside to dump it out and clean it. This is done literally almost every other day.

Nelson Manufacturing CompanyHere's the waterers that I found that fits my criteria. These are the Nelson Automatic Horse Waterers. They are stainless steel, so there's no rusting. They come in several different styles of mounting on the wall or in the ground. They come with optional heating so it doesn't freeze. The "drinking bowl" on the inside is removeable so you can take it out to clean it. It also has a water consumption meter that tells you how long the horse is spending drinking and can be easily reset so you know if your pony's not drinking. The only issue would be that it needs to be set at different heights if you have different size horses. A shetland and a 17h warmblood are not going to have the same height of waterer, but that's pretty much true of any system that you are going to use.


I really like the idea of having an automatic grain feeder as well for the horses. That way they can get more feedings, 3-5 times or more per day, without me having to be there to dish out each serving for every horse. The only problems would be then that the horses must have a complete grain, something that has vitamins mixed in, and it is probably really expensive. Below is the Pro Feeder that is programmable to dispense as much feed as you want, when you want, up to 12 times in 24 hours.
If I do not go with the automatic feeder option, I would like to have low corner feeders, like the one pictured on the above right, that has a door above it so I can simply open the feeding door and toss the food in.

For hay, I like having a feeder that's on or near to the ground so horses can eat in a more natural position, but the hay needs to be contained so they don't strew it all over their stall and poop on it. Two commercial products that I like are the Hay Bar (left) or the corner feeder by High Country Plastics (right).

Hay Bar Corner Manger Haybar  - Black, Horse  - image 2
HunterCorner Hay & Grain Single Feeder

The benefit of these are that because they're plastic they're sturdy and easy to clean, but pretty costly. I may end up making my own corner hay feeders just using wood screwed in across a corner. Not as easy to clean or as durable, but it gets the job done.

Stall Fronts

I would like to have mesh stall fronts, that way it's very unlikely that any horses can hurt themselves by getting anything stuck inbetween the bars of the front and it also promotes air flow. Here are two styles that I like and want to combine.

I want to be able to allow the horse to stick it's head out, but I would preferably like to be able to close the door if they're being naughty or just need some privacy. I want sliding doors, but they have to be well mounted because there's nothing worse than a sticky door that won't open unless you throw all your weight against it. I like the door on the left because I can close the top part, and there's a little bit of a buffer at the bottom so all the bedding doesn't get kicked out. The stall front on the left has all mesh, no bars, but you can't close the top part. Hopefully I'll be able to find the kind of door that I want, because I'm sure a custom design would cost mega-bucks. You can drool over more designs here at Lucas Equine.

This is of course my ideal dream barn situation. I'll probably spend the rest of my life saving up for it, but it can't hurt to dream right? Maybe I'll win the lottery some day... then again, I'd actually have to play to win!

The next installment in this series will include barn layout and tack room.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The New Ariat Boots

I saw these boots on Dappled Grey the other day. I must say that I like the front zip style, minus the red accents. I'm not a red person. Other than that I think that they look comfy and cool. It was interesting to read what others thought of them. I think half the people I've heard hate them while the other half love it.

You can find the Volant Side Zip for sale here.

Then again, I also like the Nike boots, which are super similar to the Ariat Volants, but again with the red. Definitely don't like the red. I probably wouldn't use either of these boots for dressage, but definitely schooling and jumping/cross country.

Read more about these here.

Then there are these. Have to say that I do not like these. They look funky and they're too distracting and weird for my taste...

I do like several of the features for this boot,
 but the outside string thingy... yuck.
What do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Horsey Valentines

Jane over at TLH started a great thread about blogging about how you met your horse and why you chose them. I thought it was a great idea, so here's my story for my three horses:

My first horse was Grady. I've talked about him before, but he is truly my first love. It really was love at first sight. My parents had finally agreed to let me get a horse and had found a knowledgeable horse person to help us out. He was the first horse that we went to see, and ended up being the only one.

We showed up and it took a while to catch him in the field. He was 16 years old, a bright chestnut color (he is my favorite color: that of a shiny copper penny, though at the time I hated that he was a "brown" horse), 15.3hh QH. I had never really ridden horses (except for my bratty neighbor's horse) and most of what I knew how to do came from reading books. I was (and still am) a major bookworm.

I walked, trotted and attemped to canter him around a little dirt paddock and decided right then and there that I wanted him. He was perfect in my eyes. We bought him and I started taking lessons on him. Even though he was a brat, I still loved him. I didn't matter that he tried to buck me off daily, enjoyed scraping me along the fence, and rolled in the mud after hours of careful grooming.

What makes me love him the most is how much he tries for me. We've broken most of his bad habits and even after having the winter off I can hop on and he remembers everything. He tolerated me as a beginner and helped me learn to ride, developing that stubborness that has helped me to work with difficult horses and inspired me to become a trainer.


Next was Jazz. She has an almost opposite story of Grady. I didn't want her. My mom wanted a horse that should could ride with me and I was going to use this horse to do 4-H because Grady didn't really understand the concept of doing a pattern.

There wasn't anything that made me dislike Jazz, but we just didn't click. I rode her and she was perfect. I just didn't like her. My mom decided that she liked Jazz and we bought her. I took lessons on her but nothing really changed. I still didn't like her and she didn't like me much either. She wasn't much of a people horse, she liked to convince Grady to gallop away when I came to ride them. She didn't respect me, though she was never bad, but I couldn't earn her trust. She never bucked me off like Grady, though I did fall off several times through my own fault.

I can't exactly pinpoint when I really started to bond with Jazz. We did very well our first year in 4-H, making it into the medallion class. My work doing Parelli with her really paid off and she began trusting me. I switched trainers and started doing dressage and trail, both things that Jazz preferred to pleasure. We really grew together. I started trusting her and in return I have her complete trust. That is what I really love about her. I can ask her to do really scary stuff, like drag a heavy log through a small waterhole (which by the way was really hard, but Jazz didn't even bat an eye) or jump a giant oxer covered in flowers and while she'll be hesitant, if I ask her to do it, she'll try.

Then came Jetta. I had been looking at buying a new project horse, this time set on a Thoroughbred or a more dressage/hunter type horse. Jetta was the first horse we saw (again with the firsts) and one of only two horses that did not have any issues. One mare had issues with her reproductive system which were outwardly visible (yikes!) and one gelding had four clubbed feet (though it might have been because he was growing too fast for his body). There was only one other horse in contention, but he was more expensive and had one slightly clubbed foot, though I wasn't all that worried about it. What won me over was Jetta's attitude. She was so curious and sweet. She let me hug her face and snuffled me all over, ending up nibbling on my shoes. It just clicked immediately. There have been times when I've questioned why I got her, as she can be stubborn and a little obnoxious, but I still love her <3


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Good Day

Jetta was super good today for the show!

We did five classes - walk/trot on the flat, trot a pole, trot a course 18", canter a course 18" and walk/trot/canter equitation on the flat. I was very proud of my girl. We got three blues, a second and a fourth. The fourth was from our worst class, the canter a course cause she's still rushing! I think I could have changed how I rode that course to make it so she rushed less, but oh well. The trot a course was so good. So much better than last time. She picked up her feet, got her distances, didn't gallop around like a maniac. Very nice.

I felt a little bad cause some there were a couple little kids in my first two classes and they were doing so good! I wanted the judge to give them the blues :)

It was sooo muddy in the warmup arena. I definitely should not have bothered making Jetta clean at all. She was covered in mud. Her tail, all four legs, her belly, my boots, her chest, even some on her face. Sigh...

So now we know that we need to work on learning to collect and shift weight onto the hindquarters, especially before a jump. She kinda gets it, but I need it to be an automatic thing that when I ask, she collects, that way we're not all strung out and galloping around the course.
It made me feel better to watch some of the trainers and other experienced riders jump because I noticed they were having the same issues that I was, some were way worse than Jetta! One horse was a Speedy Gonzalez, just like Jetta, but had much worse brakes. A bunch of people were schooling a line and she came around the corner and her horse was fighting the bit and not stopping, ending up body slamming another horse. Yikes. Schooling shows are definitely a good way to boost your confidence about your own horse...

All of our pretty ribbons!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We're off to a show!

I am so glad it's the weekend! Too much work this week :) I'm currently taking 18 credits, which to me isn't a lot, but on Friday I had several projects/papers all due at the same time, so it was a little crazy.

Jetta was great on Thursday for the canter poles. Except for when I positioned them too close, she did it like a pro, no rushing. I'm thinking I like her reaction to the new bit, but one of the dressage ladies at the barn said she thought it was too small for even Jetta's narrow mouth, so now I'm on the look-out for a 5" french link loose ring that's on the fatter side. My Mylers are 5 and 1/4" and are slightly too big, and this current bit is 4 and 3/4" so it is slightly too small. Kinda like the Goldilocks story, we need to find a bit that fits and works "just right". I would love to get a Herm Sprenger bit, but those are way, way out of my price range. I am hoping for around a $10 or less bit!

Yesterday we just hopped over a little cavalietti jump and then I washed out Jetta's tail and her one sock. This is when I'm really glad that I have a horse with a skimpy tail. It's getting better, but I don't want a tail as big as Katy's! That's way too big... Here's my pony from yesterday. Doesn't she look like a cute jumper?

Katy got a bit of a bath too and today after they were all groomed they got to have their Sleazy's on. I think they look adorable, you can tell we're bad horse fashion parents: Katy has blue polka dots with a green blankie and a rainbow tail bag, then Jetta has pink flowers with green plaid. Really, it's bad. But at least they'll still be squeaky clean tomorrow. Here are the girls all wrapped up:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Funny

Horse Sales Terminology Translated:

BIG TROT: can't canter within a two mile straight-away.    

NICELY STARTED:  lunges, but we don't have enough insurance to ride him yet.
TOP SHOW HORSE:  won a reserve champion 5 years ago at a show with unusually low entries due to tornado warnings.
HOME BRED:  knows nothing despite being raised on the back porch.
BIG BONED:  good thing he has a mane and tail, or he would be mistaken for a cow.
NO VICES:  especially when he wears his muzzle.
BOLD:  runaway.
GOOD MOVER:  runaway.
ATHLETIC:  runaway.
SHOULD MATURE OVER 16 HANDS:  currently 14 hands, dam is 14.2, sire is 15.3 hands, every horse in pedigree back 18 generations is under 16 hands, but *this* horse will defy his DNA and grow.
WELL MANNERED:  hasn't stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked anyone for a week.
PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED:  hasn't stepped on, run over, bit, or kicked anyone for a month.
RECENTLY VETTED:  someone else found something really wrong with this horse.
TO GOOD HOME ONLY:  not really for sale unless you can
       1) Pay twice what he is worth
       2) Are willing to sign a 10 page legal document to allow current owner to tuck him in beddy-bye every night.

EXCELLENT DISPOSITION:  never been out of the stall.
CLIPS, HAULS, LOADS:  clippity clippity is the sound of his hooves make as he hauls butt across the parking lot when you try to load him.
FOR SALE DUE TO LACK OF TIME:  rider cannot afford to spend anymore time in the hospital.
QUIET:  dead (almost).
SPIRITED:  psychotic.
WELL BRED:  mother and father are also brother and sister!
COLOR IS BLACK:  brown and/or dirty.
ANY VET CHECK WELCOME:  Please pay for us to find out what the !@#$ is wrong with him!
SUITS EVENTING:  no brakes.
SUITS DRESSAGE:  no accelerator.
SUITS ANYONE:  except us, we hate him! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Vicious Cycle of Jumping

I jumped Jetta today. It was ok. I set up jumps on a two-stride, they were about 18" tall. We had a few runouts, but after two or three times I got Jetta to go straight through. Going to the right was all good. Then we changed direction and now Jetta decided that she needed to rush. So I made her stop before and after the jump, then made her trot slowly over the first one, stop in between, then back up and trot the second fence. That helped a little bit, but she was still wanting to rush.

It was kind of a vicious cycle: She's rush, so she'd have to take off early, so I would catch her in the mouth. Then the next time around, she'd anticipate that I'd catch her in the mouth and launch early, then I would catch her in the mouth. Frustrating! I took down the first jump (it was only the second jump that she'd rush) and made her slowly trot up to the second jump and then give her a ton of rein. She did good trotting, but as soon as I asked her to canter she'd rush (though this time I made sure to give her her head). So I made both jumps into just ground poles and we did them over and over until she decided to not rush in the canter.

We had a very tired pony today but it was important to me that we ended the lesson on a good note. So guess what we're going to do tomorrow? Canter poles! Fun...

And here is further proof that Jetta is probably in heat:

Bad cell pic, but you can see Dudley in the red circle. Bad pony!
 She keeps scooching her butt over to Dudley the Flirt and he was licking her butt and playing with her blankie. Naughty ponies.

Fire Breathing Dragon

Yesterday was actually a really good ride. The arena was really busy though, there were three other horses, one lady working on an indiscernible reining pattern (who knows where she was going to go next!), one girl was working on her 4-H pattern (I think) and the other girl and I were working on the rail, constantly trying to dodge the other horses. Yikes. Sometimes I feel like I'm riding this:

No, really.

I'm not joking. Jetta must be in heat or something because she's usually pretty ok with other horses. Yesterday however, we would pass a horse and her ears would go back her hindquarters would sink down, her head would come up and I could feel her forehand preparing for liftoff. Sigh... What am I going to do with this horse?! Luckily there were no attacks and I reprimanded her every time she pinned her ears. My trainer said every time she acts up like that I needed to distract her and make her work so she wouldn't attack. I tried to take advantage of her lightness on the forehand and I would wiggle my ring finger to bring her nose back down then push her into my hand to really make her round and lift her back. It worked about 50% of the time. Then I tried asking her to get a bend through her body like we were preparing for a circle. Again, it was only about 50% effective. Oh dear.

Other than that she was really good. I tried out our fat bit that I bought last month and have been meaning to try out. I haven't decided if I love it or hate it... I put it in Jetta's mouth and immediately she hated it. She tried to spit it out and kept chewing on it (it's hollow so it make a really weird sound when she does that). I asked her to walk forward and she refused so I had to get after her a bit. Once she started moving she was licking her lips and she relaxed into it.

The bit definitely feels different even in my hands. It feels bigger. I have always ridden most horses in my myler bits, there was never any reason not to. Jetta was attentive to the bit, she did some nice transitions and she didn't grind the bit any more than usual. She did bear down really hard on the bit a couple times, but I think she was just testing it. Overall, I think it was good, but I'm going to ride in it a few more times. It might be too small for her mouth because it's a 4 and 3/4. I have 5 and 1/4 bits but they're just a tad bit too big so I need a second opinion about this bit. Here's what it looks like:

After everyone else left I put down some trot poles and made Jetta go through them slowly, without rushing. I set them on a slightly shorter stride and we got some great work done. Also worked on our transitions with trot to walk, trot to halt and halt to trot. Jetta is doing very well. So it was a good ride... for the most part :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Project

I've just realized how much I miss riding multiple horses. Now, I'm riding Jetta roughly 5 days a week, occasionally hopping on Katy just to exercise her, but I miss getting to train another horse. Last year I was riding three horses - Jazz, Jetta and Katy. While it was quite a work load with school and no arena to ride in, I enjoyed being on three completely different horses.

I would love to get another project horse. Craigslist is the bane of my existence. I might be a little be addicted to it... maybe :) Here's a couple horses that I would buy if I could:

image 2179619476-0
This mare has been on craigslist forever but I
think she just needs a good trainer to fix her vices. She's cute!
image 2200520572-0
I'm very partial to grays, 5 year old grade mare, $500

image 2192949170-0
Love, love, love palominos. This girl is a cutie,
but I think I would be way too tall. She's 3 y.o.
and 14 hands. Cutting/cow lines. $650

image 2184004847-0
Love this girl. 5 yr Paint cross, 16hands, $700
In this economy I definitely wouldn't be making any profit, but it would just be something to occupy my time. Unfortunately it would just be too expensive to pay board for another horse for two to three months during the time it took me to train this horse, so I would end up losing a lot of money that I need to use for my college education. Sigh... If I was at home I think I would probably end up buying another horse to train and resell. I would probably pick the chestnut paint cross in the last picture. I just love how she looks.

Hopefully this summer I'll have plenty of horses to ride. Maybe I can ask JF to refer me some projects that she doesn't have time to take on and I can make some extra $ so I can buy a car!