Friday, September 30, 2011


Well, we got to do our jumping today, but it was just a tad bit rough. It ended up well though.

I set up a gymnastic line with three jumps, which used almost all of the poles that we had! And some of those poles are heavy -  I was certainly already tired after setting everything up!

Of course I forgot to take a picture, but I basically had a 2' jump to trot in to, then one stride to a 2'3" jump and then a bounce to a 2'6" jump. The last jump I put wings on so that Jetta wouldn't duck out and that worked beautifully... what didn't work was our first and second jumps!

The first time through Jetta did well, if a bit unsteady and not very smooth. I went to try it a second time and Jetta wasn't having anything to do with the second jump. She kept swerving, pretty severely, to avoid the second jump and ended up knocking the pole down. I left it down and we went through it a few times with no big problems. I put the pole back up and she kept ducking out to the left on the second jump so I lugged a cavaletti over to block off her escape. She went all the way through it nicely, but when we tried again, this time she refused to go over the first jump. Sigh. Naughty pony.

But eventually I had her going through it very nicely without refusing anything, without knocking anything down and cantering through the line smoothly. Success! We ended by just taking the last fence which I had raised up to 2'9". She takes it so easily, I can't wait until we're solid enough at the lower heights so that we can progress even higher!

We went for a short trail ride. I stopped to snack on some blackberries. I got off because Jetta is such a pain about standing still while I eat, lol. It was so funny though. She buried her nose in the blackberry bush and started eating berries! She'd sniff around for a bunch and then lip along the vine until she found the end, then bite off the cluster of berries at the end. I wish I had my camera, it was too funny and cute. She had lots of purple foam after that. I literally had to drag her away from the bush! She has never done that before and it was the cutest thing ever.

Remnants of the purple foam
 Overall, not a bad ride :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pony Love

Guess where we went this morning??

the Field

And guess what we did there?? Gallopin! So much fun :)

This is really our first 'official' gallop. I've been a little wary to allow Jetta to gallop under saddle because I don't want her thinking that whenever I want her to canter that she needs to or is allowed to gallop. Plus she's a thoroughbred and she's born to run!

So yesterday I talked to the BO and got the ok to use the field. We went and hacked around it, just making sure there weren't any gopher holes and getting an idea of how level the land was. Today was the fun part though :)

I let her trot out the first side of the square, then eased into a canter on the second side. From there I went into two point and gave her some rein and asked her to really go. Then along the third side we came back to a walk. She actually came back down really well! There was a moment though when her hoofbeats were echoing in the trees, almost sounding like something was chasing us and I thought she might really take off! We walked a bit and then I cantered some nice circles then did a simple lead change through the trot. Yes! No taking off or overreacting. That's my girl :) I made her do a pretty "dressage canter" for a ways then sat up in two-point and gave her a squeeze to go. She lengthened nicely but then all of a sudden, she totally hit this whole 'nother gear and we were flying!! Wow.

This time she wasn't very good about slowing down. When I sat back and asked her to woah, there was no reaction except for her leaning on my hands. She's still not a very balanced horse unfortunately... I made a large circle and she came right back down, but it was a tad scary there for a moment. My baby can run!

After that we walked the trails to cool off. She walked on the buckle the whole time. These are the times when I love my horse. She may be obnoxious, hyper, pig-headed, stubborn and willfull most of the time, but there's also those times when she tries her heart out for me and I love her for it. I hope those days will become more numerous as she gets older.

She's just been a spectacular horse all week. We had a good ride yesterday where I brought out the canter poles and she was doing them so perfectly. I've been really schooling that leg yeild and she's doing awesome, our canter is coming along nicely. Everything just feels so good. I have a jump school planned for tomorrow so I hope her good attitude will carry over into jumping!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Favorite Quirks

The famous dressage mare, Rocher, is
somewhat famous for her floppy ears.

I ran across a discussion a while back about what different quirks people like in a horse. These are things that are random and different. Not all people might think they're desirable. And it's not just that the horse has good conformation or is easy to get along with. Little things. They can be a physical or character trait in a horse.

Here are my top three favorite "quirks":

Floppy Ears - I'm not talking about deaf horses, but instead those who just naturally carry their ears floppily or when concentrating have floppy ears. I think it's super cute and oftentimes means that the horse is relaxed.

Thin, squiggly face markings - Blazes, stripes, snips, whatever. I love facial markings, especially irregular ones!

Drinking out of hoses - Random, yes. Amusing, definitely. I'm currently trying to get Jetta to realize that drinking out of hoses is fun! But she doesn't really believe me. Yet ;)

What are some of your favorite quirks?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Picks: Riding Breeches

So for the most part, this is going to be a review of the new breeches that I just received... Just FYI :)

Brand: Kerrits
Model: Breathe Tight II
MSRP: $99.00
What I paid: $70.00
Size: Medium

So I'm a little on the fence about these breeches. I got them in the mail and was immediately disappointed. The material seemed super flimsy and cheap and I specifically got them because I wanted a second set of summer show breeches so they had to have belt loops. While they do have belt loops, they are like little scraps of flimsy fabric tacked on as an afterthought. I can barely squeeze my 1" belt through the loops.

They have a higher rise, which I'm not such a fan of. I have a short torso, so in order to have them pulled up to where they're not sagging and my shirt is tucked in, it looks like I don't have a middle. Also, I don't really have much of a rear end to begin with, but in these breeches the butt sags unless tightly pulled up. Yeah.

The true test would be riding in them. I got ready to ride and actually kind of liked them while I was walking around. They are a segmented full seat and you can really feel the seat stretch while you walk so it doesn't feel like a traditional full seat, which I can't stand. Anyways, getting on, I thought that they felt great for riding around. By the end of my ride though, my thighs were sweaty. Ew. That never happens with any of my breeches, so I guess the full seat wasn't as breathable as advertised. Still a lot cooler than my thick cotton breeches though which is good for riding in the heat.

I'm curious as to how the original Breathe Tights felt as they were segmented into three pieces. The new version only has two segments so you're missing a little stretch in the butt region, but maybe the old ones pinched? Anyways, overall I think that these breeches will have to do, since I can't return them, but I do like them enough not to try to sell them right away though. I definitely think the best feature is that the full seat is segmented, so it does have some things going for it!

Overall Grade: B minus

Positives: Thin breathable material
               Segmented seat
               Less expensive than FITS breeches

Negatives: Flimsy belt loops
                 Full seat is not super breathable
                 Not exactly my favorite "fit" of breeches
                 Hard to tuck in shirt because it shows

It passes, but just barely. I'm glad I didn't pay full price, because I still think $70 is too much. If you had the money, I would probably say that if you want a segmented full seat, try FITS. They might look a little weird with the butt patches, but I've seen them up close and they look very well made and comfortable. Wish I could justify getting myself a pair.

Irideon Wind Pro 3-Season Breeches
Read a review here

Thinking about my other breeches, it seems that I have a tendency to be an Irideon kind of person. I have two pairs of Irideon breeches that I absolutely adore. One, the winter riding breeches are awesome. Definitely a staple for winter time. They have a smooth outer material that's water resistant slightly with a fleecy inside. So warm. ♥ If you want to be warm in winter, definitely look into these breeches! My other Irideon's are the Issential Tights with the swirlies on the side. They're super cute and a thin breathable material. Both pairs have knee patches and no belt loops, thus they are not show breeches, but I love them all the same.

I've always gotten breeches on sale at shows or tack stores so the Kerrits breeches were actually the only ones I had purchases online and for only a marginally good deal. I think I got my Irideon's for like $30 or $40 each.

My tan show breeches are by Harry Hall. I think they're discontinued, but they were also a tack store sale find. Overall lesson to take home? I think I should stick to buying breeches in person, not online!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Back Again

Well, I'm back to school again. I think that this is actually one of the first years that I've actually looked forward to school starting!

I'm all moved into my apartment, though there's still plenty to do organizational-wise. I love my little room, it's turned out quite nice if I do say so myself and it's so nice to have something bigger than the dorm I had last year!

Jetta seems to have settled in very well. I almost feel like we haven't been gone at all. There's a lot more horses that have moved in. I think there's 28 stalls and 20 of them are filled right now. There's this adorable drafty cross horse that's right next to Katy. Her name's Phoebe which I think fits her so well. She's almost as cute as Katy, she's just missing the spots :) And there's two very pretty Appy's on the other side. I adore things with spots, lol. Too cute.

I had a great ride on Jetta today after all my classes. She hasn't been ridden since our last trail ride so I was expecting a bit more theatrics but she was very good overall. I didn't canter her because I wanted to have a nice simple ride, so instead we worked on trotting and did lots of serpentines and circles with the focus of doing mini-leg yeilds to ask her to keep her shoulder from falling in. Then we did lots of leg yeilds at the walk. I really want to step up my game as a rider and trainer with Jetta because she's been under saddle for exactly almost one year and I really feel like I haven't taught her as much as I should. Part of it is because she's a much hotter horse than I've trained before, but that's about my only excuse. I think that in this stage of her training we should have leg yeilds and shoulder-in at the trot down, as well as good trot-canter transitions, simple lead changes, and walk-canter transitions. We don't have any of that. So my plan is to get my butt in gear and get working on that! Also, I really want to work more with trot and canter poles since we haven't done them consistently and I feel that they'll really help with our jumping work. I want to do pole work at least once, or better yet, twice a week. I want to do enough of it so that Jetta gets almost bored with it so that she can canter over the poles correctly. Lifted back, light on the forehand, nice connection to the hand, not rushing, etc. Not like our current style which basically consists of flinging herself haphazardly through the poles!

Creepy Robo Pony with glowy eyes!

After my post about Jetta's awesome feet last week, they decided to make me a liar and are looking pretty terrible right now. AC was supposed to come trim last week, but had a family emergency so she couldn't make it. She was supposed to call me to schedule a trim for this week, but hasn't yet. Jetta is in desperate need right now! Whenever she gets any extra length on her hooves, they just chip right up. And fast too. Her feet looked great last Monday. By Friday though they were looking rough. While it's not hurting her to have her feet looking like they do (they aren't super long at all and a lot of the length has chipped off) it's definitely ugly. I hope AC can come soon! This again illustrates why I need to hurry up and learn how to trim...

So yeah, that's basically life right now. One last question for anyone reading. Do you have any magic bot fly egg treatments? The horses at home had absolutely no bot eggs on them, but now Jetta is covered. They must be super bad up here! I was going to go buy a bot knife, but I was hoping that there were some easier/faster treatments out there. Any ideas?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saying Goodbye: For Now

Jazz is gone! To her new home that is. I found someone to lease her and I think they'll be a good match. It's hard handing over the reins of your horse in a lifetime that you've had for eight years. I still own her, so I can still dictate a lot of how she's cared for, but it's so weird that I can't just see her hanging out in the pasture anymore or head down to the barn to hop on her for a quick ride.

Her new rider, MC, lives not too far away and was looking for a competitive and recreational trail horse that she could gain back her confidence on. Her other horse has bucked her off numerous times and taken off with her and she just wanted a horse that she could trust. Well that's Jazz for you! She has never, ever bucked or reared under saddle. MC hadn't cantered in two years until riding Jazz! It makes me happy that they seem to be a good match.  I know she'll be treated really well and I love MC's little barn set up. She has a small indoor arena, a round pen with pea gravel. Two small pastures that she rotates and a home made trail course.

MC had another lesson today and she's starting to learn all of Jazz's buttons. After eight years of being Jazz's rider, riding her has just become second nature to me. I can feel and anticipate her every move and can unconsciously make a move to correct or influence her. Jazz is definitely a once in a lifetime horse and I'm so glad that I got her. She taught me a lot, especially about patience and the finer side of riding.

Jazzy leaving...

I'm a little sad, but I know that MC will be good to Jazz and I'll be able to see her pretty often (at least 1x per month). We might even be able to meet up for trail rides! I gave MC a little write up of all of Jazz's quirks and such - how she can be cinchy, how she knows to lower her head for bridling, that she self loads in the trailer but won't back out, what bits she likes, etc and stood around and talked some more about what Jazz likes. Her favorite treats for example - her absolute favorite is carrots, but she loves almost anything salty including, but not limited to, popcorn, saltine crackers, cheese-its, and tortilla chips as well as Berry Good treats, apples and Red Vines. She has a well developed palate, what can I say?

My girl :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Barefoot Performance

I just finished reading the book, Feet First: Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation and I love it! It was chock full of information, examples of horses that were lame and transitioned into being sound barefoot horses, the proper diet for a horse, function of the hoof and more. It gives a ton of information about how the hoof works and why improper diet/conditioning/shoeing interferes with the hooves' natural mechanisms. And it's not a book that talks about how "terrible/evil" shoes are, but simply says that horses can be happily barefoot and in full work. I would recommend it whether or not you're interested in barefoot because it is so informative about the hoof in general.

Here's a couple interesting facts about hooves:

* Did you know that a horse with healthy bare feet can grow a new hoof capsule in 4 to 6 months? But that a shod horse will take 9 months to a year to grow a new hoof capsule?
* A healthy barefoot horse can easily do road work without worrying about wearing the hooves down too far - when you gradually increase roadwork, the hooves will respond by growing faster to replace wear.
* A barefoot horse doesn't usually slip more than a shod and studded horse. They often slip about the same or sometimes even less than a studded horse.
* Have you ever paid attention to the amount of magnesium in your horse's diet? Magnesium is an important component of their diet and contributes to overall health of the horse as well as hoof health.

And there is of course a ton more. I think I'll have to read this book once or twice more so that I can absorb all the information it has!

I also found this awesome article about Thrush and the frog which are super important to having a healthy hoof, shoes or no.

And if you want some more information about hoof structure and function, smazourek (click for all of the posts tagged 'hooves') did some great posts on her blog. Here's some of my favorites: here, here, here, here, and here. Whew. I think I got them all :)

I hope to post some pictures of Jetta's hooves soon. I rode her down the gravel driveway with absolutely no issues! There was no soreness, no stumbling and no unwillingness to walk on the gravel instead of the grass.This is a huge difference from when I first got her and she couldn't even comfortably get off the trailer and to the grass by walking across the gravel driveway. The new angle of her hoof has almost completely grown down, so I think when she gets trimmed this week her feet are going to look fab!

Not Jetta's hoof. But soon! There shall be pictures :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Busy Day!

Good day today, though altogether too long. Warning: Mostly not horse related, so may be a little boring! I had to wake up at 6 am (I'm a baby, I know.) Definitely not a morning person! And I only got 6 hours of sleep because of course I procrastinated and underestimated how long it would take to finish my French novel... You'd think I'd learn someday, right? Well, it hasn't happened yet ;)

I had to give a speech at a Rotary meeting which went better than I expected. I sure do get nervous for speeches though! At least I got some breakfast out of it. Yumm, marionberry french toast!

Then I headed up to school to meet with my French teacher. I was nervous for that too, but got 100% on my test! Woohoo. Almost done. Like this close -- ! One more quiz, a final paper, and corrections to my other papers. I'll be really happy when this class ends...

I start fall classes on the 26th so I'm moving, officially, into my apartment on Sunday. I went and saw Jetta today, though of course I forgot my boots, so no riding :( I lunged her though and she was super good. I also lunged Mr. Tanq and he was awesome as usual. You may remember him from last year, he's a Dutch Warmblood that my friend CL owns. She's away for the week so I get to play with him :) I rode him yesterday too when I dropped Jetta off. He's pretty fun to ride.

While up at school I also packed the pantry and fridge with everything my mom bought me. Geez! You'd think I was preparing for a natural disaster, lol. I think my mom has a little bit of a tendency to overdo it! But at least it will last me a couple months :)

Then I got home and logged into a Webinar that SmartPak did on Joint Health/Supplementation. Learned a couple new things, they'll post the audio/slides by the end of this week on their blog supposedly - check it out! I ♥ SmartPak! I love that they do these things for free and they also have awesome customer service, great product selection, especially their own brands, cool extras on their website, good sales/promotions and free shipping! What's not to like about that? Recently I ordered from from Dover and had to pay $25 shipping! Ouch... I like that they have the hugest selection ever, but not so much their exorbitant shipping fees.

Anywhoo, then I came home and finished up editing some photos for a client. I think they turned out great - she's got a couple sale horses and wanted some pics of them to post online.

And then to round off the evening I had a jaunt around the pasture on Jazzy! Have I mentioned how much I love this horse? Well if you missed it, I love this horse. She goes to a new home with a leaser on Friday. It'll be so weird to have her gone!

So a pretty full day. I'm exhausted and am planning on falling in bed the moment I publish this post! Night :)

Back to Boarding

Well, Jetta's back up at the barn near school! The move was uneventful. I got all of my stuff moved and Jetta didn't seem too phased. I think her and Katy recognized eachother though! They winnied back and forth for a while. I'm super excited that the pasture is almost done! Well, not almost, but it's on it's way! The posts are all in the ground. It looks like there's going to be three separate paddocks plus the existing one so that will be nice that all of the horses get to be turned out more.

Dorky picture of Jetta at home...

Hanging out in the paddock at the boarding barn

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Changes are usually supposed to be for the good. Personally, I'm not a fan of big changes. Little changes, sure. Especially good ones. But not all changes are good...

I took Jetta for a hack on the trails today since she's heading up to the barn tomorrow (!) so I won't have another chance for a long time :( The trails are just so good for them - they're mostly shady so it's comfortably cool, there's plenty of hills to give them a good work out and lots of different trails to take so you can spend an hour or two out and about. I long-lined Jetta which was a tad interesting after not being ridden for a week. Then we headed out. Jetta was definitely feeling good so I made her walk up the first little hill then let her choose her pace up a bigger hill - she took off in an extended canter - whee!!

This was Jetta's first time out on this particular trail all alone and she did really well. While she didn't spook at anything, she did look quite a bit, especially when coming around corners. Cause you never know what might be hiding there! And let's not forget that stumps and logs are horse-eaters.

(Note: I may have already whined about this before. I'm too lazy to go sort through the archives and check, so you might get to hear the whining again.Or if you're not in the mood, you could just stop reading here :)

Anyways. We found a cool new trail that someone had cleared and had fun exploring that for a while. Then I was coming up the hill at a canter when we "uurrch'ed" to a stop. There were people picking blackberries on the trail and had their large (giant) four wheeler blocking the trail. I said hi, they asked me if I was Lauren (?) I said no and told them my (full) name. "Oh, do you board over at L's?" I told them that no, I live in the white house next to the C's place. (Sad that that's how I have to refer to where we live. We used to be the "big white house on the hill" but now are dwarfed by the yellow mansion that's behind us.) They didn't offer to introduce themselves, but I knew that they were the family building their mansion on the hill that overlooks the neighborhood. I know the man's name but it would have been nice if they had all introduced themselves! Especially because I haven't met them yet. I didn't want to be rude and say, "And you are?" after all, I'm pretty sure that they must have bought the piece of land that they were picking berries on and while they don't own all of the trails, I was essentially trespassing. Sigh. I scooched around their quad and said goodbye and trotted off.

I guess now I'll definitely need to make sure I have their permission to ride on the trails. Sigh. I hate how things change. I've lived here for almost 12 years and have been riding the trails for almost 11. While we've never owned the land back there, we've always had the owners' permission. It used to be that a small group of people owned all that land (close to 300 acres) and they never did anything with it so we had permission to go on the trails and what not. We tried to buy a portion a couple times but they could never decide if they wanted to sell and how much for, so that plan failed. A few years later a developer bought all 300 acres and divided it up and started selling it. We tried to buy 30 to 60 acres but he wanted to charge us $9000 an acre which was absolutely ridiculous, especially because we know he bought it at $2000 an acre.

The trails used to be in such a way that there were two loops - kind of like a figure 8. But since it's been divided up and sold, one loop is non-existant because it's been all fenced in and there are now cows on that land. The other loop is kind of all wonky now because there's a house built in the middle of it. My brother and I used to ride up there and there was this little flat ledge that we would bring lunch and make a picnic up there. There were four perfect stumps for sitting on. That's where they built their house. So now you have to double back and can't make the full loop because you'd end up in their backyard.

It's nice that someone has become interested in maintaining the trails, because we sure never did, though they were always useable. But I feel that the cost is too high - there are now three mansions (I mean freaking huge houses) behind us. We no longer have the great view that you move to the country for and it's like we live in a suburban neighborhood with all the traffic that's up and down the driveway next to us. Of course the sound carries so you get to hear everything. A fourth mansion is on its way up. Ugh. Can't tell I'm a little bitter, can you? Lol.

My dad used to mow a figure eight in the grass on the flattest part because we don't have an arena. I'd ride up there all the time. Now there's an arena on it and I can't even use it when I want to - I can't use it when the owner's riding and I can't use it for lessons. I feel bad when I use it every day because I don't pay to use it and I don't help maintain it. I don't really mind that much that I can't use it as much as I'd like because after all it is her money and her property, but I just wish for the way that it used to be.

I'm not in a very good mood to begin with today, so this just made me want to cry today. Especially since I mentioned the meeting on the trail and my parents told me I should double-check with them to make sure it's ok to ride back there. I guess one neighbor has their permission to ride back there, but the other neighbor asked if she could ride back there and they told her no. Gulp. I blame my emotional mood all on the stress - I have to pack the trailer tonight so I can take Jetta up to the barn tomorrow. On Tuesday I got roped into giving a speech to the local Rotary group and I haven't written what I'm going to say yet. Also on Tuesday I have my final French exam and turn in all my papers and I still have a lot of work to go. Add that Jazz is going to her new home on Friday and I want to ride her a bunch before she leaves and that I need to get the horse blankets washed, my room cleaned and the rest of my stuff moved into my apartment this week, I'm a little on the edge.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday Links

I think this might be a regular thing on the blog since weekends I'm usually so busy and I don't have much to blog about! Kind of like a copy-cat thing from Eventing Nation's links.

If you've ever seen those cute dressage boots on Tack of the Day that come in some awesome colors, but you always miss out on them... You can get them here! I'm eyeing the pink ;)

Speaking of Tack of the Day, there a Back on Track Rime Blanket for $149, which is almost $200 off it's usual price! I'm really tempted to get one... It ends on Monday at Noon, EST.

If you've ever coveted an ecogold pad (like me!) then you might look at Success Equestrian pads. While they're not as super cool as ecogold, they get the job done. VTO Saddlery (always a great place) has a dressage pad on sale for half off at $39.95!

I just bought this book and am eagerly devouring it. I definitely recommend it for everyone, especially if you're interested in how hooves work.

I thought this was an interesting article - Stockholm Syndrome - especially because while dressage trainers have the reputation for being mean, I noticed a lot of them really are! At least with some of the ones I've worked with :) I like this person!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Still want a project. Sigh. I don't think it's going to happen right now, maybe next summer, but I can't help but look! Of course now is when I find a ton of cute projects just waiting for someone to train them!

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5 year old Tovero, paint/draft x. 15.2hh $500

image 3
QH X filly. Loving the chrome! $200

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2 yr old Appy gelding. 14.2hh $2000

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Pinto Friesian X filly $2500

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Appy Friesian X filly $2500

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5 year old 16.1 hand Appy gelding $1000

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6 year old 17.1 hand TB mare $300

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Acting Success

Haha, so it was a success! Very interesting - we filmed for almost 6 hours for what I think is going to be a 15 to 20 minute safety video. But it was fun! And I have something very interesting to add to my resume! My very first paid acting gig :)

The pony that we used was so freakin' adorable! I want to steal it :) He was super good for the whole thing, dutifully toting his little girl around and not caring when she was practicing her "fall" off of him and barely glanced at the camera equipment. The little girl too was an actress in the making! She told me that she had practiced falling off a chair at home :) She had a lot of fun for sure. So overall, not a bad day.

Movie Star

Well, kind of. You see, our neighbor, he is part of some kind of medical company. They make safety videos and the scenario for the most recent video is that a horse trainer is giving a riding lesson to a little girl. She falls off and gets hurt and the trainer helps the girl. They asked me to participate. Guess who the trainer is? Me! I have to be an actress. Eeek! I do not act. Ever. I have never acted in pretty much anything except for role playing in class. No school plays or anything. This is going to be very interesting.

Originally we were going to use Jazz as the lesson horse, but the little girl's mom wants to use her pony, so we'll see how this goes. After all, we're doing the two worst things when making a video - working with children and animals :) So this is going to be really interesting! What have I gotten myself into? But hey, at least I get paid, I just hope I can actually act. I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September Goals

So, at the beginning of June I set some goals for the summer. Let's see how I've done in the 3 months since then...
1) Start schooling first level dressage movements (lengthenings, 15m circles and half circles)
Ha, ha, ahaha. Fail. We were struggling to actually make a round 20m circle, much less try smaller circles or attempt lengthenings.

2) Showing!!! Go to Dressage at Devonwood and/or the ODS Breeder's Classic and some local shows.
Well, I'll say we accomplished this. We went to two shows - a league show and the Breeder's Classic show. I was happy with the league show, but the other one was a complete, utter disaster. Read about it here if you missed it. I don't even want to think about it.
3) Go trail riding, possible a beach ride may be in our future?
Accomplished! We went trail riding several times at home and at JF's barn. We also did one beach ride where she did awesome and there may yet be one more beach ride before school starts...
4) Take some lessons in dressage and jumping
Nope, nada. Ok, well actually I did take a dressage lesson because I went to the Youth Clinic at Devonwood, so I would say I accomplished this, though not in the sense that I really wanted to.

5) School on a cross country course
Yes! This was one of the better things I did this summer and I was so proud of Jetta!

So new goals for September. Well, it's already half way through, so maybe these should be September/October goals? Anyways, here they are:
1) Take a jumping lesson. Or two, or three, or a whole bunch :)
2) Jump at least once a week or once every other week! We need to get some practice in :)
3) Adjustibility in the canter and improve downward canter transitions.
4) Shoulder-in at the trot, haunches-in at the walk
I also hope to get some video of Jetta working in the long lines, as she's doing really well and I really enjoy doing it. And hopefully I'll post a little more often :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Not much happenin

Not too much to update. I've been rather bad at updating because it's hard when I'm around my family, especially because my dad hates how much time I spend on the computer and the internet here is super slow and I don't really like doing posts without pictures!

I'm still super bummed about the clinic. I was so looking forward to that and now I have nothing else to do that weekend so my parents are going to go to my brother's shooting competition, while I just hang out I guess. Jetta hasn't been ridden all that much, which I feel bad about, but I'm wrapping up my last week at work, though I'll continue to work weekends, and I am almost, almost done with my self-study French class. I'm actually kind of looking forward to going back to school.

Jetta moves into the barn at school on the 19th. It'll be nice to have an arena to ride in once again and I know I'll be better about riding her every day. Unfortunately the turnout is STILL not done. Sigh. I hope the BO kicks it up a gear and fences it off soon... Jetta is looking fantastic right now, though she does have a slight hay belly, lol. But she's shiny and sleek and filled out nicely.


I rode Grady the other day, in our usual style of course, bareback and with a rope halter. He felt so good! He has some arthritis, so usually he snap-crackle-pops when he moves, but not when I rode him! We went in search of a missing fly mask hidden somewhere in the pasture. When I hopped off to get the mask I asked him to stand still. He did for a second, then started to follow me. I "tch'ed" at him to get him to stop, forgetting that's my usual signal to send him away and he galloped off. I just laughed. It was nice to see him moving like that. Even if the other horses take off cantering, he doesn't usually participate, instead just walks after them. I retrieved him and got back on. After that display, I decided a little canter wouldn't hurt and asked him to go. He still likes to buck, albeit not very hard, lol. I love my old man ♥

Handsome man.

Friday, September 9, 2011


The clinic is cancelled. And I'm really, really disappointed. I was getting so excited to work with Will Faudree and I had it all planned out to be a fun weekend. I had created lists of things I needed to do before I went (clean tack, wash trailer, pull Jetta's mane...) and a packing list and everything.

My mom and I convinced my dad to come with so it was going to be a little family vacation almost. We had picked out our hotel and took the trailer in to get serviced. I had everything planned: we were going to go up on Friday, go for a hack around the xc course then get Jetta all settled. Go for dinner and then find our hotel. Saturday was to be a show jumping clinic and then we'd go to the BBQ that night. Sunday was xc jumping clinic and then we'd pack up and head home. Sigh. But it was not to be. I hope they end up asking Will Faudree to come back. I guess they just didn't have enough people interested. But why?!


Running with the western mood I'm in... let's talk bosals.

First of all, what are they? A bosal (depending on who you talk to, it is pronounced different ways. I was taught to say boze-all) is basically, most traditionally, a woven rawhide noseband. It is tear drop-shaped and a mecate (muh-cot-tee, say it fast!) is tied to the pointed end. It works off of the nose of the horse and has a tiny bit of leverage action. Bosals are part of the Vaquero tradition in creating a finished bridle horse.

Weaving the bosal

Bosals are created by weaving rawhide strings together. In a finished bosal, these are called plaits (rhymes with flats). The more plaits a bosal has, the higher quality it is and the more comfortable it will be for your horse. A quality bosal on the lower end will have about 20-30 plaits. That's a pretty good quality bosal. A super high quality bosal will have 60 to 100 plaits in the noseband. A cheap-o bosal will have maybe 8 plaits or less. Not good quality. The bosal will be very rough and can rub your horse's nose raw.

Compare this Weaver Leather 8-plait
bosal, with...

KO Trading's 60-plait bosal.
See the difference?

A bosal has a core that helps to keep the shape. The best cores are rawhide as they are more flexible and can help to mold to the horse. A bosal that molds to the horse doesn't rub or move unnecessarily. Metal is another core material, but it is not advised because it does not mold to the horse and is illegal in some show rings.

The parts of a bosal. The knot is called
a fiador knot.

A bosal is a great tool for training or re-training horses. It is typically used before introducing the snaffle in bridle horses. Oftentimes, you start with a larger diameter of bosal, say 3/4" or 5/8" and progress to a thinner bosal and then an even thinner bosal (or bosalito). The more broke a horse is, the less pressure you have to use on the smaller bosal.

Bosals can come in different colors and designs. They can be plain, striped, or two different colors. They can be light or dark, though light colors are more popular. Usually, they are understated as they are meant to show off the horse and are a working piece of tack. But, quality bosals are as much a piece of essential tack as they are a work of art as it takes a lot of skill to weave a bosal with 30 or more plaits!



Plain, natural coloring

A bosal being used on a
western pleasure horse
Bosals are not only being used on Vaquero-type horses or in training, but can also be seen in the show ring. Typically, they are only allowed on horses 5 and under.

The mecate is another essential part of this set-up. The complete set-up (bosal + mecate + hanger) is called a hackamore. Not to be confused with the mechanical kind though! The mecate is tied onto the bosal by use of the fiador knot. The usual length of a mecate is 22 feet. it is tied so that you have a set of reins (one continuous pair) and a lead rein which is threaded around the horn of the saddle or through your belt when riding.

Mecates can now be made of several different materials. Cotton or synthetic mecates can be seen a lot in the show ring, but horse hair mecates are more traditional. And let's face it, they're cooler too! Horse hair mecates can be made out of mane or tail hair. Tail hair is coarser than mane hair, thus they mane hair are the "choice" material. They come in all the natural colors of horse hair, and are usually striped, with multiple colors of hair being used.

 A bosal hanger, the last part of the hackamore, is usually just a plain piece of leather that goes around the bosal and over the crown of the horse. I personally favor the plainer styles with a small, pretty silver buckle, but you can see a lot of different styles - with browbands, one or two-ears and dripping with silver. It all depends on what you like!

Here's a quick video of how to tie a fiador knot. This makes it seem easy!

More information:

The Care and Keeping of a Mecate

Rawhide Care

About Bosals and Hackamores

The Making of a Bosal

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Clinic - Here we come!

So I signed up for the clinic! Ahhhh! I'm super excited, but super nervous now. So nervous.

I'm really looking forward to working with an Olympic level rider for the first time ever and my mom and dad are coming too! Well, maybe. I talked to my mom about the clinic, telling her that I really wanted to go but I wasn't sure because it was 6 hours away and I didn't want to go by myself since everybody else that might want to go either couldn't or didn't. She, after some reluctance, agreed to go! And we convinced my dad to come too, which I'm excited because he doesn't usually come to my shows, or if he does, he doesn't stay long. Of course, after I sent off my entry my dad said, "Oh, I have to check something" and found that my brother has a shooting competition that same weekend. Sigh. I think my brother has some friends that can take him, so hopefully my dad is still coming.

I searched the internet for a little more information about Will Faudree. Here's what I found:

His website

Blog - though he doesn't seem to post very often! Being a professional event rider and all ;)

A good interview by Three Days Three Ways

Here's a little bio that was posted on his website:

"Will Faudree was born on October 4, 1981 in Midland Texas. He grew up on a cattle ranch, learning to ride at a very young age. When he was about thirteen he became interested in eventing, and started to compete. After graduating high school, Will moved to Pennsylvania to ride and train with Phillip Dutton. In 2003 Will set out on his own and moved to Southern Pines, North Carolina with his dog, Kemper, where Gavilan Farm is currently based. Will also competed in the Pan American Games that year. The team won a gold medal. The following year, Will was named the traveling reserve for the Athens Olympic Team. Unfortunately when Will returned home from the games, he found his house and barn had been struck by lightning and burnt down. Luckily no horses were on the property at the time, but the damage was too great. Will had to find a new farm and replace almost all of his personal belongings as well as his horse equipment. With the help of Will's family and close friends, Will was able to put things back together and moved into his current house and barn in January of 2005.

With the continued support of friends and family, Will's career as an Equestrian continues to grow. He represented the United States once again by riding on the US team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, and is working towards riding for the US Team in future international competitions."

Will Faudree and Pawlow

Will Faudree and Andromaque
And a video! Of him with Andromaque at Barbury by Eventing Nation. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Comfy Ponies

Here are the pictures I promised of the ponies all cozy in their stalls. While I'd rather leave them outside 24/7 like usual, I'm brining them in at night because 1) Jetta will be going back to school with me - where unfortunately there is limited turnout so I'd like to ease her back into "stall life" and 2) Grady loses a ton of weight when winter comes and I'd like to bring Colton home as a buddy to Grady who will be all alone (!) otherwise. Colton is massively overweight so he can come inside to get a little bit of grass hay, while Grady can come in separately to get his grain, orchard grass hay and alfalfa. That way I don't have to worry about Colton eating Grady's food. Anyways...

Cuteness! I'm planning on riding Jetta today. I didn't yesterday because my family went to the lake for the holiday. I'm still so sore from riding Jazz sans stirrups. I was going to do so again today, but I think I'll just practice my two-point of Jetta with the stirrups!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Trial Run

Exciting day today!! We finally, FINALLY (almost) got the stalls finished! And they are finished enough to use :) I put the horses in last night for the first time. I was so worried. I knew that Jazz would be fine, but last time Jetta was in these stalls she tried to kick them down and Grady hates being stalled. Grady has always hated being stalled so I've never stalled him. The new stalls though are huge and have runs, so I thought he'd be pretty ok because they're so open and his friends are nearby.

I was super glad though to see them all perfectly fine in their stalls in the morning, dozing. Yay! I was so worried all night, I felt tense like I was just waiting for a loud noise to indicate disaster. And every little noise I heard made me worry. One hay manger still has to be bolted to the wall and two stalls need the water buckets hung. But so far so good! They are all back in their stalls again tonight. I'll try to take pictures so you can see them all cozy in their new digs!

Since I got off work early today, I rode Jazz. Without stirrups. Yikes. It was terrible, I'm so incredibly out of shape. It's embarrassing. I think I was about 2 minutes into posting the trot and I started to feel the burn and started sweating. Geez. I ended up riding for 20 minutes - posting, sitting and doing 2-point in the trot. Ouch, ouch, ouch!

And another fun part... I played around with riding 3rd Level movements! SO. MUCH. FUN! I watched several 3rd Level tests at Dressage at Devonwood and it looked like a really fun test and I know that Jazz can pretty much do all the movements. I am just itching to try it out at a show and see what feedback I get :) Our shoulder-ins are good, though we tend to lose impulsion a little bit the longer we go. Collected and extended work is ok - nothing spectacular, but she tries hard. Half pass and flying changes are a little sticky, but we can do them. Her rein back, turn on the haunches, and counter canter are awesome. I just want to try it :) I know I wouldn't get a fantastic score, because Jazz isn't on the uphill side, no matter how hard she tries. But I'd love to try it just because!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Trail Pony Returns!

Had a good day out at JF's barn. I took Jetta so that I could practice on her trail course. Well, we didn't really get to do that, but that was fine with me! JF and another lady was at the barn and asked if I wanted to go on the trails behind the barn. Of course!

The trails back there are crazy steep. Like scary. But it was fun and a really good experience/workout for Jetta! It's funny - all of the hills have names with stories behind them. There's bareback hill, where JF rode Lollie up bareback - she said her feet were almost hanging down to Lollie's tail it was so steep! And then there's Calvin's slide - where Calvin, a return training horse and the cutest little thing ever (also the horse I played around with cutting cows) slid down on his butt when it was muddy out. 

Jetta did really well. Unfortunately for her, we had to be at the back because I had no idea where we were going in the mess of trails and her stride is so incredible long and I kept having to make her stop or walk really slow so we wouldn't run the other horses over. But she was really great.

That was an hour long trail ride and I think Jetta was quite tired afterwards! JF was going to go back out on a different horse so she asked if I wanted to ride Jetta back out, stay at the barn or take another horse out. I decided to take Russell out, a little 4 year old palomino. He was really good too, except for trying to be (not so) sneaky and take bites out of all the vegetation, edible or not, along the trail. He was much more laid back and so short compared to Jetta!

After that ride I schooled him a little bit, then got back on Jetta. She did really well except for a little bit of a "scoot and run away" canter transitions the first couple times but she seemed to have improved so much. I don't know if it was because she was tired or if I was riding differently or maybe the weight of the mecate reins was making a difference, but she was lighter in the canter and I was even able to give her a light, almost loose rein while she stayed round and didn't try to take off. Impressive!

Blackmail photo! Jetta stayed tied while I went out on the trails
with Russell, she had to wear this muzzle so she wouln't chew the
wood. How humiliating! She was really confused at first, lol.

And don't forget to leave your ideas in the comments on naming this horse!