Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slightly Off Topic and Random

First, I want to say a little something about Andrea and Gogo. Gogo is very lame right now and hasn't been getting better and I think all horse owners can understand how tough that would be! Denali's mom is getting some money together to get a gift for Andrea, just like Andrea did when Denali looked like she was going to be put down. I can't even imagine what I would do if something were to happen to one of my horses. I know I would be a mess! In fact I've had nightmares about Grady having to be put down or dying, especially while I'm away. This is one of the reasons that I love the horse community so much at times - we can band together and help eachother when it is most needed. Please send at least just a little bit of your money to through PayPal to While it won't make Gogo better or make the pain go away, it can at least show that others care!

In other news - my computer got a virus but is back up and running. I really don't understand people who make viruses. Seriously? Do these people realize that sometimes people rely on their computers for their jobs? That they have put a lot of money into the computer and the programs that are on it? And that they have many important things saved on their computer, things that if lost would be gone forever? Like pictures and other documents. I just don't get it! This particular virus only wanted me to buy a virus protection package and had hidden and protected itself in my computer so that I couldn't get rid of it and I couldn't open anything that could get rid of it (my own anti-virus software and the internet). Luckily the people at my school's computer were able to get rid of it after 3 hours and I didn't lose anything, but it's scary. I guess that's one very good reason to back up anything that you want to keep on your computer!

I got stung by a bee(s) twice yesterday! I was cleaning out the horse stalls and was attacked. One got my hand and the other got my calf (I was in capris and cowboy boots, lol). It sucks! This is the third time I've been stung this summer. Before that I haven't been stung in almost 11 years! Ridiculous! While I'll admit it doesn't really hurt that bad, it's a pain (in more than one way) because the part that gets stung swells and gets itchy, then sore and bruised. I had a hard time getting my gloves off after riding yesterday. This is why I'm so terrified of bees...

Jetta got the day off today after our xc schooling yesterday. It was so much fun and I now know what things we'll really have to work on. I am already planning for Inavale next year and I can't wait! I'm super sore though today so guess what that means? No stirrup work! Oh joy. But I just have to tell myself that it's good for me. Plus I'm still trying to decide about the Will Faudree clinic. It's 6 hours away (!) but I think that's the closest I'm going to find anything and it would be a really good experience. I have 7 days left to decide...

And another random note. I posted about finding some name ideas for a horse and I got one suggestion! Really guys? I need help! I need lots and lots of ideas to choose from as he needs a much better name. Go here to leave a comment with your ideas. I know people with good ideas are out there... I'm going to keep bugging you readers until I get at least five more ideas! Pretty please?

I think those are all my random thoughts for the day...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Future Event Horse

I've been hoping that Jetta will turn out to be an awesome event horse someday, so today was our first big step in that direction!

First time schooling cross country:

Scary! I don't wanna do it!

Good baby!


Baby moment: sideways leap!

Jazz and ML. They tore up the course, of course :)

Looking very determined!

Prettiest picture

Leap!! I don't know what's with my face though, lol.
So much fun! I wish I had the time/money/motivation to trailer out there every week. Or better yet, I wish I had somewhere to contruct my own course! Jetta did super well though. We walked, then trotted once around the field. ML and I had to share a vest so she took Jazz over the baby jumps while Jetta and I trotted after and looked at all of the scary jumps. Then we switched and Jetta did so good! There was one jump that was really scary - a plain old log. I know, she wasn't scared of the roll tops, the barrels or the triple logs, just that one. Also the banks were really scary so that's something we'll have to really work on. We ended up doing all of the Beginner Novice jumps and a couple of the Novice ones. So proud!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shhh... Fall is coming

Yes, it's true, autumn is soon to be upon us. Disappointing, yes. So I thought I'd do a little post about all of the things I'm looking forward to coming with fall. Because let's face it, fall and impending doom winter brings a lot of not so good stuff too (think frozen water buckets, frozen fingers, icy ground, too much mud, thick winter coats, no trail riding, rain all the time, no sun, mud, shorter days, more mud, and, well you get the idea).

#1 - No flies! They're driving me and the horses crazy! They seem to be really bad this year...
#2 - Body clipping. I'm really looking forward to giving Jetta her first trace clip! She's going to look so cute :)
#3 - No more sweat that glues my breeches/tall socks/tall boots together. Ew.
#4 - Boarding. Since I'm heading back up to school, Jetta's coming with me and we're going back to our same boarding barn. It'll be nice to have access to a covered arena all the time and get to see all my barn buddies again!
#5 - All sorts of yummy stuff gets ripe. The apples in the pasture are soon to be ripe. The plums are close too and the raspberries are almost ready with their second crop.
#6 - Warm bran mashes. The best occasional treat to whip up for the ponies.
#7 - Snow. While I hate the non-stop rain and the mud it brings, as well as the lack of sunshine, I can handle it as long as we have at least one snowstorm. It usually brings about 2" of snow, but it stops school and everything in its tracks, giving us the perfect snow day to go play with the ponies in!

What are you looking forward to the most?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Too much excitement

I didn't get to talk about my ride the other day (two days ago). Since Jetta got the day off because of our beach ride yesterday, now is a good time as any to talk of it! It was... interesting.

Near death experiences. If you've been around horses for long enough, I'm sure you've had at least one. You know, the moment when you're hurtling through the air after being thrown off your horse or when their hooves are flashing above your head as they rear. That moment. Here's how our ride went.

I set up a tiny cross rail in the arena since I'm trying to mix things up so Jetta doesn't get bored. We haven't jumped in a really long time so it was interesting. Our walk and trot is getting so much better. We're still doing lots of transitions to make sure she's listening to my aids and coming back to me when I ask. We headed towards the jump and - leaped over it and took off bucking, with an unplanned exit from the arena. Add in that of course my neighbor (it's her arena) stopped over to watch us. Lovely... But I was laughing the whole time as I walked her back into the arena.

Then we cantered. To the right she was doing super well. She's recently been leaning on my hands and not even trying to carry herself properly and cantering way too fast. But she actually did pretty good. Then we changed direction. Not as good in the other direction but I got her to carry herself a little better. We were about to transition gently down into a nice floaty trot, when "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzap!!!" My dad is very proud of his new mosquito/bug zapper. You know one of those giant purple light thingies that electrocutes buggies whenever they touch it. It apparently got a very large bug. Jetta stopped and did a rear spin while I grabbed her neck and told her to "Ho!". It was quite impressive I'm sure. I officially hate that bug zapper. So that was near death experience number one.

After my heart stopped pounding I cooled Jetta out and then asked my brother if he could help me put the jump away. He came jumping across the fence between my property and our neighbor's and Jetta just about ran me over, trying to take my arm off as she scrambled to get away from my brother. She thought he was going to kill her and every move he made was surveyed by Jetta and met with snorts and an arching tail. Geez horse! It's a person, not a killer! It was way too much excitement for me! I started riding at 7:30 in the evening, hoping it would be a little bit cooler out, but I was sweating before I got on, not to mention how hot I was after I rode the little monster, lol.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baby's First Beach Ride

Guess whose first beach ride was today?? Jetta's! And she did surprisingly well...

Yes, that is us rocking the western saddle while jumping. Be jealous! Lol.

There was lots of spooking involved - at the seaweed, the shells, the different colors of sand, the water, the light, etc. but I was happy how she pushed through it and by the end she had almost stopped spooking and was going into the water by herself. I went with my instructor, JF, on her mare Lollie. Jetta was glued to Lollie the whole time "If Lollie does it, I'll do it. Otherwise, you can forget that!" seemed to be Jetta's motto. I was so proud of her cantering along the beach like a grown up! She did super well and we even went for our first gallop ever! Lollie is used to racing Jazz and I, so we were going at a nice canter and Lollie took off so I just went into two-point and let Jetta choose her pace. She extended her stride and was keeping pace with Lollie nicely - Jetta was not even close to going full speed while poor Lollie was going as fast as she could!

JF and Lollie

This mare has the prettiest trot ever and was even doing tempi changes!
Lollie's just amazing - she can piaffe too. And she's a quarter horse!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Buck, the movie

I finally saw it! And I enjoyed it. It was a documentary, but not boring. It follows Buck Brannaman in his daily life with flashbacks to how he grew up. You meet his family and watch him do his clinics. If you get a chance, you should also read his book. It reminded me a lot of riding with my awesome trainer, JF. Probably because she gave me his book to read years ago, and also because the rope halters that we use come from the Double Diamond company and are designed by Buck (I just realized this a little while back). Funny what a small world it is! She has a small barn not too far away from where I live and every summer I used to go and live with her for a couple weeks and we'd train horses all day long and I loved it. We rode western and she started a lot of colts. She's an awesome, no-nonsense trainer, but she is by no means a mean or harsh trainer and she has a background in natural horsemanship.

Also, every summer she'd have a dressage trainer from Utah come and do a clinic and he really reminded me of Buck! Same hat and outfit, haha. He's a "western dressage" trainer that does classical dressage of the French persuasion. His name is Clay Wright, and if you have an opportunity, check him out! He's a great clinician and trainer. My favorite :) I remember most hanging out with everyone after the clinic when we'd have a potluck and everyone would share their horse stories. The movie just kind of reminded me of those times :]

Side note - Don't forget to think up name ideas! I need all the help I can get with naming this horse :) While there's no prize, you do get the satisfaction of knowing that you thought up a wonderful name for an awesome little (well, actually ginormous) horse! Go here to leave a comment with your ideas.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Naming Contest!

Naming contest! Katy has a full brother that I am going to (eventually) get to train and resell. He's built a little different than she is and is mostly black instead of white. He has the same adorable personality though! His name is Colton. Sorry, but I don't like his name at all. It's not very cute and it doesn't fit him very well. His dam's name is Queenie and his sire's name is Taliesin. Neither of those offer any inspiration. I would like a registered/show name and from that, a barn name. I loved Katy's name that ML came up with - Hey There Delilah. So adorable! Any ideas on what to call this guy?

Any ideas are appreciated! Because seriously, I've got nothing.

New Project?

Do I want a new project? I kinda really do. Here's the deal. I have sold Katy (I really miss her! I went to the pasture this morning and started counting horses. I kept looking for horse number four...) and Jazz now has someone who wants to lease her. That leaves me with two horses (SO WEIRD. I've had four horses for the past two years!). Jetta is going with me up to school, while Grady has to stay behind. I want to get him a buddy so he's not all alone. I don't think it would be good for him at his age to separate him from his life-long love (Jazz) and leave him all by his lonesome. So here are my options.

  1. Buy a western horse! I'm in a western-y mood and would really like to get a little QH or Paint to train for reining and cows. Cons - I have to shell out the money to buy one. Though my criteria are that the horse is less than $1000, I'm going to be pretty picky because I want a horse that's no less than 14.3hh, because I'm tall, and I want something "pretty" - a roan, buckskin, grulla, palomino or something with lots of chrome. I also need something with good conformation and some breeding for reining or cows.   image 2image 1image 0HorseID: 1708454 P-Nut - PhotoID: 582701 -  2011-10-27 Days Left: 66
  2. Find someone who wants to put their horse in training/rescue one. There is a gorgeous grulla mare down the road that I have been eye-balling every time I drive past. The owners bought her to train and then gave up because they couldn't figure it out. (Seriously. They told me this.) She's always been on the chunky side, but ended up foundering a couple weeks ago. I don't know if a vet diagnosed it or just the farrier, but they built a small pen in the pasture and removed all the grass. The horse now spends most of it's time in the dry lot pen with no food, or in it's stall with no food. She's let outside for a few hours every day. Definitely not an ideal situation - she went from plump to scary thin. I can count all of her ribs. I'd like to talk to them and see what they think of letting me train her. She could stay at my house over the winter so she can gain back weight and I'll have my trimmer work on her feet (she specializes in laminitic horses). The downside to this is that she requires lots of management - soaking her hay and only turning her out at night.
  3. Get Katy's brother, Colton. I plan on getting him next summer anyways, to train and sell, so why not just winter him in our pasture? Pros - No $. Cons - he is immensely fat. He needs some management, not just to be left in our pasture all winter - aka, he needs to come into the stall for a portion of the day to be off the grass.
  4. Get a pony. I really, really want a pony. Still. I could use it for lessons and it could be a companion for Grady. I couldn't really ride it though, unless it was 13 hh + and only for a little bit. Fancy, trained ponies are expensive! Pros - lesson horse. Jazz is my lesson horse so I no longer have a horse to use for lessons. Cons - I can't ride it. And they can be a little out of my price range.image 2
Hmm... So first I need to decide if I really want a western horse. I think the answer to this is YES! But do I want a western horse more than a pony? I think the deal breaker is that I won't really be able to ride a pony. I can work them on the ground and play with them that way, but I think I'd rather have something I could ride. The next step I think is to see if I could get my neighbors horse. I'd like to take her out of her less-than-ideal situation and she would make a nice western horse. Anyways, we'll see. This is just me trying to think out what I want to do...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Double Duty

I'm all for doing things twice as fast. So I went and had an awesome trail ride with two horses at once! I got two horses exercised in the time it takes for me to ride one, by riding Jazz and ponying Jetta. Good deal :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

White Trash Dressage

I stumbed across a hilarious thread on the COTH forums.

White Trash DressageI think Jetta and I could really excel at this. Forget trying to improve so that we can do "real" dressage. After all, we have the drunken trot down, where we zig zag down the centerline and then the "I don't want to stop" halt, where the rider is almost pulled out of the saddle and the horse stops crookedly and on the forehand. The sideways trot (aka the trays) where the horse refuses to travel in a straight line, instead insisting on going down the side with the haunches in. The octopus canter with the legs all going in different direction and absolutely no steering. The bucking trot/canter transition and spooking at nothing or at spots of sunlight that weren't previously there. If I wear spurs I could probably achieve the spin and rear move.

I would definitely fit in by wearing my jean capris with western boots and western spurs. Oh, and I have a jumping crop that I bedazzled with pink rhinestones. If I just covered the whole shaft of it, it would be perfect! I could put on my purple polo wraps to go with my hot pink saddle pad and neon lime t-shirt. Or better yet, I could borrow my friend's wintec saddle and use a western saddle pad! Yes, I think we could fit in very well...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hunter Pony

Jetta and I played around with being hunters today :)

My fat, shiny pony

She was pretty good today, it felt really productive. I think part of the reason she's started leaning on me and rushing is simply because she's bored. I was thinking last night about what I've been doing with her and it hit me. Duh! She's bored out of her mind right now because all we've been doing is walk/trot/cantering around a ring. I've been telling myself that I want to work on more, but that she's "not ready for it" until she can behave like a grown up. Jetta's always been the kind of horse that feels the need to let her opinion be known and always has to argue with me on something, so I think her behavior right now reflects that.

So today I decided we'd work on transitions because that's the area that needs the most work right now. I started with walk-halt transitions. Every time I ask her to halt, she very subtly tenses and comes above the bit, hollowing her back. It's barely noticeable, but it just shows that she's resisting my aids. I worked on asking her hind end to come up under her when we halted and asked for a soft mouth. If she didn't halt nicely I made her back up until she softened and then we'd try it again. Whenever she halted correctly I made a big deal out of it and patted and praised her lavishly. Then we moved up to the trot and did the same thing. I really felt a huge difference. She was engaging her core more and listening to me much better. She stills needs a lot of work through the corners because she doesn't want to work, so instead of balancing and pushing deeply through the corners, her shoulders fall in and she tries to lean on me through the turn.

I also had some trot poles out to mix it up a bit. She tried to grab the bit and rush through them, so I made her walk right in front of the poles a couple times and used a little bit of side to side pressure with the reins so she couldn't brace. We did some really nice work today. And then came the canter. A couple times she tried to offer me a canter when I didn't want it, but it was a very nice canter - balanced and light on the forehand. But I don't want to make it a habit of her offering to speed up when I don't want it, so I made her come back to a walk. Then, when I did ask for the canter she just took the bit and ran with it. Sigh. And we are back to square one. I think that part of the answer to improving our canter will be to really collect her in the trot, get on a circle and make sure she's nice and balanced, then just ask for a transition into the canter. But for now our canter is just plain ugly.

Overall, I'm happy with how today went, I just need to remember to mix it up! We might go on a trail ride this evening when it gets cool out, I just have to figure out how to get on the trails since the neighbor's driveway is still a "no-go" zone. Also, I think we'll throw in some little cross rails for one ride and ride in the hackamore another time. Just to make it different :)

After our ride today

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Weekend Recap

I'm not very good at blogging during the summer. There always seems to be a million and one other things that I could/should be doing, including riding my horse who is currently lazing around in the pasture. Sigh.

Anyways, my terrible weekend. Now that it's over it doesn't seem all that terrible and I've had a good start to the week so far.

Friday - This was the day where nothing seemed to go right. I was planning on taking Katy for one last trail ride, bathing her, finishing my very last quiz in my animal science class, then giving a riding lesson and letting Katy's new owners come and get her. Almost none of that happened. First, our neighbors got their driveway cemented. Ignoring the fact that we live in the country and it is very bizarre to cement your mile long driveway, the problem was that since they moved into the previously uninhabited and beautifully empty piece of property, they have fenced their whole property so access to the trails is limited and must be done by crossing their driveway. Which I couldn't do because of their wet cement driveway. I'm sure that they would not have appreciated Katy-sized hoofprints at all. So the last trail ride was out. Then, Katy's new owners called to say that the mom had fallen off her horse and cracked a rib, so she wouldn't be out to get Katy despite the fact that I was all prepared for them. So Katy no longer needed a bath. I then got to work on my homework which was a painfully long and drawn out process because the system (it's an online course) kept bouncing me out of the quiz that I was halfway through resulting in me having to email the teacher and have him reset the test and then start all over again. Twice. Geez. I finally finished that though. And then my lesson called and canceled. Seriously? I rode Jetta and that was it.

Saturday - An absolutely beautiful day and I had to work all day. I usually only work half the day from 1 until 8 because I work part time. Saturday, however, they decided that I needed to work from 10am until 6pm. For apparently no reason. The weird thing is that they double scheduled the vet tech assistants so there was two of us all day. Definitely not necessary. And I also found out that the girl that I had asked to cover my shift on Sunday so I could go to the horse show had decided that she didn't want to. Not that she couldn't, but that she didn't want to. No one else was available because they were busy/out of town. But I figured it was ok since Sundays are usually super slow and they had double scheduled the vet tech assistants again.

Sunday - The icing on the proverbial cake. Basically a disaster. I wake up at 5 am so I can feed the horses and dog I'm sitting while the owners are away. I get the trailer all loaded and we head up to the show at 6am. It's two and a half hours away. We get there without getting lost and my Materiale class is almost the first thing up. I quickly saddle and warm up in 30 minutes, not having time to braid. We do our Materiale class, being the only one in it! It wasn't too bad, though Jetta fought me on the transition from canter to walk in one direction. Definitely need to work on that. We got a 68.5% on the Materiale which wasn't too bad. There were two 3-year-olds in the Materiale before me, getting a 70% and 70.4%. Our score was broken down into a 7 on the walk, 6.5 on the canter and trot, and a 7 on general impression. Not too shabby in my opinion. Afterwards I untack Jetta and get her all settled with her hay and water. I braided her and groomed her all perfectly. Then I get a call from my work. I needed to come in. Apparently the other vet tech assistant that was supposed to be working couldn't come in because he had a death in the family. And I was two and a half hours away at a horse show. I told them I couldn't come in because I was out of town and that I was really, really sorry that I wasn't able to be there. They sounded pissed. This made me really upset. I was supposed to be at work, but had mistakenly supposed that it would be fine because someone else was going to be working. I felt absolutely terrible. So I ended up calling back and offering to be in at 1:30pm. I scratched my last two classes and loaded Jetta back up and we drove the two and a half hours back so that I could go to work. Now I was pissed. I had asked for this whole weekend off, both Saturday and Sunday so that I could do this show, over a month and a half ago. Not only did they not give me the weekend off, they scheduled me for both days. I never work Sundays. Ever. I always work Saturdays so that is the reason I signed up for this show on a Sunday. Also, the girl that was supposed to work for me. Why didn't she go in? Couldn't they have called her? After all, she didn't have plans and had originally agreed to work on Sunday for me. It sucked. Luckily my mom was with me so she offered to drive the trailer back home because I was so upset, dropped me off at work and took Jetta home. So glad she was with me!

So yeah. It was a complete bust of a weekend. Luckily, no one got hurt, we didn't get lost or break down in the middle of no where, etc. but it was not a good weekend. I wish it never happened, really. But I did get to do that stupid Materiale that I was so eager to do. I really, really wanted to do the conformation class but oh well. If my supervisor at work will sign a letter saying that I had to be called into work I can get a refund for the classes I scratched. So it wasn't a total loss, just really disappointing. I am NOT going back to that show next year! I don't want to tempt fate into giving me another absolutely terrible day. But at least I now know where that show ground is for other future shows.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Best Laid Plans

Well, my best laid plans certainly didn't go as planned! Basically, it feels like this whole entire weekend has just been a complete bust. Nothing really went terribly bad, but nothing went great either. I'm just ready for this weekend to be over and to have a good week ahead of me.

Jetta did well at the show, but it was another disappointment because we ended up having to scratch our last two classes, so we only completed the Materiale. Not exactly what I was hoping for. More about that later, right now I'm just going to go to sleep for a very long time. I'm not particularly eager to wake up because getting out of bed seems to make all my problems start! Here's to hoping that this coming week is a heck of a lot better than this past week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Water Ponies

Another great day at the beach! I think today was the best time that I've had at the beach. The sun was shining, we had two great horses, the tide was just right and I had a great friend with me.

This was Katy's first time at the beach and I was so proud of my girl! She handled it like a seasoned pro and enjoyed every second of it. She is hands-down the cutest horse I have ever seen on the beach :) She was barely afraid of the waves and just splashed away, willingly trotting and cantering through the water. And she tried her little heart out to keep up with Jazz when we took off galloping! We took a ridiculous amount of pictures, here are some of them!

So much fun. I love Katy so much, it almost makes me wish I wasn't selling her! I hadn't gotten around to talking about it, but I did list Katy for sale and she has been bought and is going to her home tomorrow!  Luckily, it's the barn where we board during the school year so I'll get to see her all the time, but it's still sad :(

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whitening Saddle Pads

I washed my saddle pads the other day. One of the pads was in really bad shape. It's my favorite white dressage pad and after using it for a clinic three days in a row in hot weather it was gross. The sweat had soaked through and stained it, causing the leather dye on the bottom of my saddle and Mattes pad to stain the pad as well. I ran it through the washing machine once and it did not get clean at all.

Browsing the Chronicle of the Horse I found an article on cleaning non-leather tack which talked about using OxyClean and scrubbing the pads to get the stains out. Since we had a bottle of spray-on OxyClean, I figured I'd give it a try. I usually use Zout and just sprinkle that on the stain and throw it in the wash, but it wasn't working. Scrubbing might have helped, but I decided to try out OxyClean.

What you need:
  • Bottle of OxyClean
  • Scrub brush
  • Lots and lots of elbow grease
Here are the before pictures:


And the after pictures:


Much better! They're not perfect, but they're a lot better than they were. The pad on the left is a very thick one, while the one on the right is a thinner cotton pad from Dover Saddery. It's definitely a lot easier to clean a thinner pad!

I ended up washing three pads and used over half the bottle of OxyClean. I sprayed both sides of the pad and got to work on one side. It took a lot of scrubbing, rinsing, spraying and scrubbing some more. Once I finished a side I would spray it again to let it sit while I did the other side, then come back to it and give it one last scrub before tossing it in the wash. It took forever and made my wrist very sore, but I'm pleased with the result.

One piece of advice, don't use a toothbrush when doing a large area! I needed a bigger scrubby brush to cover that area, a little one just doesn't cut it!

Do you have any other good ways to whiten pads? I'm always looking for ways to get them looking better!