Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Equestrian Bookshelf

I am slowly building my equestrian bookshelf and I'm proud of what I've got so far!

My horse books plus some others...

Currently on my shelf are:
Tug of War: Classical versus "Modern" Dressage by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann
Feet First- Barefoot Performance and Hoof Rehabilitation by Nic Barker & Sarah Braithwaite
101 Jumping Exercises by Linda Allen
Horse Training In-Hand by Ellen Schuthof-Lesmeister & Kip Mistral
Equine Fitness by Jec Aristotle Ballou
Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris
Horse Tack Bible by Carolyn Henderson
Horse Journal - a guide to equine supplements and neutraceuticals by Dr. Eleanor M Kellon

I'm sure I have a few other books floating around my room, but I can't find them right now. My room is just a little bit messy... Ok, more than a bit, but I digress. I'm always looking to add new books so, what are your favorite training/health books? I especially am looking for books on dressage theory or exercises and books about horses that are more technical since my knowledge is starting to expand and I want to learn even more!

Monday, January 30, 2012


Sigh. It's the time of year that I get bored. I don't like constantly riding indoors but with all of the rain, it's not really possible to ride outside, not to mention that I'm a wimp and I don't want to ride in the icy rain! Also, the cost of our jumping lessons has doubled, therefore I can no longer afford them every week so I'll be going just monthly.

So now would be the perfect time to go to a horse show. I haven't been to one since July, so... 6 months. I think it's time for another! I love horse shows because it gets us out and about, I get to show off our skills and get compared by a professional to other horses, so we learn what we need to work on. Not to mention that I'm also a sucker for ribbons ;) But... there are no shows.

Can never have too many of these :)

I was toying with the idea of going to an all-around english schooling show this past weekend which would have been a ton of fun - english pleasure, hunter hack and dressage suitability classes - but it was more expensive than I would've liked to pay, I didn't have a whole lot of time this week to wash Jetta, clean tack and get the trailer ready due to two midterms (yuck). Plus that'd mean I would have to get someone to cover my shift at work which, 1) always ends badly and 2) I need the hours! So no show for me.

I was excited to see that there's another one of the same shows in February - perfect! Except... I have a dressage team clinic that day. Phooey. It would probably be possible to do both, but that wouldn't be fair to Jetta.

The other options include a dressage schooling show February 25th-26th. I told myself I didn't want to do any schooling shows, only league shows so that way I can qualify for awards and not go to a bazillion schooling shows instead. But... if I want to show soon, this is it. There's two league shows in March which look promising.

Then comes another problem - hunter/jumper show or recognized dressage show? Every single year I plan on going to a recognized show just for the experience and the higher level of competition but without fail I never get to go. This year there's a recognized show earlier in the year (since I won't make it to the summer one, again). But the same weekend is a large (and only local) hunter/jumper show that I was originally planning on going to. Hmm... decisions, decisions.

The one thing I am planning on is the Inavale HT - June 22nd to 24th! I'm definitely not missing this one. I've planned my whole summer around it already, lol.

Other than that, I'm waiting for some local jumping/eventing schooling shows to come up on the calendar. I'm so ridiculously impatient. It's a month into 2012 and they still don't have their calendars for the year up! *Scoffs*

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Breed Spotlight: Gypsy Vanners

An upper level dressage Gypsy.
The Gypsy Vanner is known by a variety of names: Gypsy Cob, Drum Horse, Irish Cob, Irish Tinker Horse, British Heavy Colored Cob. Basically it is all the same breed save for some divisions in height, for example a Drum Horse which must be at least 16 hands (usually crossed with a draft horse of some type). They have become very popular in the US in recent years.

Drum horses were bred to carry kettle drums in
the Queen of England's Band of the Life Guards

Some typical trait of Gypsy Vanners include their abundant hair - they have thick feathering on their legs long and full manes and tails, and typically have a beard. They fall into the small draft category and tend to have a lot of bone, though usually not a lot of height. They are most commonly pinto patterned (I believe the most common color is piebald), but can come in any color, solid included.

Doing what it was bred to do

They're a pretty versatile breed. Originally bred to be a flashy cart horse (hence their knee action), they are also successufully shown in dressage, jumping, eventing and western. One of their greatest traits is their gentle, curious and sweet natures.

The prettiest buckskin color I've ever seen.
A western Gypsy - they exist!

They can make some very cute jumpers!

A gorgeous palomino stallion
Eventing a Gypsy is definitely do-able.
I really have enjoyed working with my two Gypsies (technically Gypsy Drum Horses), Katy and Colton. They really are neat horses!

Friday, January 27, 2012


We all know that horses are more of an obsession than a hobby. But in terms of obsession, I may take it just a little bit farther sometimes... Case in point:

I love it when I can find things that come in "my" colors. My cross country colors that is. My absolutely favorite color is bright aqua blue. So here is a collection of all the things that I've have scoured perused the internet for that come in my color. Enjoy my craziness :)

You can already see I've gotten the blue pad and polo down :) We also have
a black rope halter with bright blue flecks and a black cooler with a turquoise binding...

Wahl Lister Star Clippers in turquoise

Dressage Bridle from ebay in aqua/green padding. Talk about bright!

How do I not own this brush already??

Pink Equine Interchange bridle with Atlantic Blue padding in brown leather
Cross country bridle anyone? Perfect :) I could even get a matching 5-point breastplate!!

Padding colors for Pink Equine tack.

Coolest thing EVER: Pink Equine Interchangeable (Half-)Chaps
The straps at the top are changeable!

All the chap strap colors. Drool...

County Sparkle Crop in light blue

Centaur Pastel Web lunge line in turquoise

Pink Equine crown piece in Atlantic Blue (left).
 I could make our leather show halter matchy-match too!

Turquoise duct tape. You know, the essential stuff.

 In case you haven't noticed, Pink Equine has just made itself my most favorite tack supplier because I can get things in my colors and everything matches! Tack whore's dream :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Horse people know that happiness is having a great ride on your horse (or even just spending some quality time doing mostly nothing). Today was one of those days. A great ride just totally boosts my mood by 1000%.

Happy because Jetta and I have been able to pick right back up in our training where we left off over three weeks ago during our little crazy break from sanity. Today and yesterday we worked on shoulder-in and leg-yeilds in the trot and walk, emphasizing the forward aspect of it and the results have been amazing. We still have a long way to go, but it feels good! Jetta gave me a great ride today, very uphill and forward (a little too forward, but at least she remained balanced throughout!).

I'm also so happy at this new barn. It isn't fancy and it does have it's downsides, but I love it. The BO sent me this picture today while I was in class and it made me smile for the next hour. I'm happy that I have such a nice BO who would take the time to do this! My pony is happy too :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Black vs. Brown

Black vs. brown dressage tack that is. I've always had black dressage tack (I grew up hearing that black dressage tack was the ideal) and I think it has an elegance to it. But recently I've started liking the look of brown dressage tack.

I think if I decided to have all brown dressage tack, I would get this bridle from Five Star Tack.

It is such a pretty bridle! This is the Star Hunter Bridle in Conker brown (which it of course no longer comes in), but there is a dressage version as well (black) that has the wider noseband.

Or this double bridle by Kate Negus that I found on ebay. I just love the aged color of this bridle. Not to mention that the brass fittings would look great with the brassy-gold Herm Sprenger bits you sometimes see.

As a dressage saddle I really like Antares. I saw a brown Antares dressage saddle on ebay that I fell in love with. It was gorgeous and it sold almost instantly. Of course I can no longer find any pictures of any brown Antares dressage saddles, but you'll just have to imagine it's wonderfullness.

I think Robert Dover's horse looks quite nice in brown tack
 It's interesting to think that brown tack used to be the "higher end" stuff. The black dye for tack has the ability to mask flaws in the leather so if you had the money, you'd buy brown tack because it was better. I just love the wonferful patina that nice brown leather develops over time as it is used and cleaned.

What do you think? Do you prefer black or brown dressage tack? If brown dressage tack was more available would you buy it or not?

Stacey Kimmel at Behind the Bit did some great posts on brown tack (much better than mine!) here: Brown Dressage Tack Part 1, Brown Tack in Dressage Part 2, and Brown bridles abound!

Colton's Training Plan

Here's my list of things to do with Colton in the near future. This is mainly just to keep me on track as a reminder of what I'm supposed to be doing, since I did start this blog as a training journal.

He's been pretty good lately. I haven't done a whole lot with him yet, but he's fine with me tossing a saddle blanket all over him, putting pressure around his middle as if he was wearing a girth and getting rubbed with a plastic bag. He's learned to yeild his hind quarters and shoulders to me as well as drop his head to pressure on the poll. He is leading well, still somewhat uncomfortable with trotting next to me, but it's coming along.

  • Worming: practice with applesauce and syringe
  • Need new rope halter (in blue!)
  • Put surcingle on him
  • Continue to work on lowering head command
  • Bridling: practice putting bridle on and reward for it
  • Once comfortable with the bridle, work on bending and giving to the bit in hand
  • Round pen/Lungeing (need to pull weeds out of round pen!)
  • Play with throwing on saddle
  • Getting him comfortable with me jumping off & on bareback
  • Even more desensitizing
Then what comes next is riding! I'd also like to teach him to ground drive and I plan on asking my aunt if she has a smaller sized harness (not a draft one!) and possibly a 2-wheeled cart that I can use to start him on driving. Fun, fun, fun. Have I mentioned that I love starting young horses? I love it :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blog Award

Getting blog awards (my second one!) makes me all warm and fuzzy inside :) Especially since I still feel like a new-comer in the blogger world though I've already been blogging a whole year! Definitely doesn't seem that long. Thank you Mona and Ruffles for the award!

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award
3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs!

Ok, this is tough, but here goes:

Wyvern Oaks 

Chasing the Dream


Hunter Barbie Takes on Eventing

Bad Eventer

These are just a few of my favorite blogs (of many). I tried to pick ones that I know haven't gotten this award quite yet :) Thanks for reading!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back to Normal

Finally (finally!) back to normal! Whew, that was quite a week.

First, the flooding has retreated. I was able to go out to the barn yesterday and there was absolutely no water on the roads, unlike the river there was before. The barn fared pretty well, though one drainage ditch under the barn got clogged so there's a bit of a sinkhole in one quarter of the arena. The BO is working on fixing it though.

My computer is fixed! I think it's completely 100% back to normal. After rebuilding the hard drive twice (and almost a third time) and discovering that even doing so the virus was still there, the tech guys found the virus and got rid of it. Good riddance! My internet now works so I can be a better blogger :)

And Jetta has been a complete rockstar lately. I love her so much when she's good. Because she's just that great! On Sunday I rode her in our jump tack. I just got a belated Christmas present of a nameplate for my saddle and bridle (which was exactly what I had been wanting) and I just had to put my newly legit tack on. It looks so awesome.


Jetta was very good undersaddle - though I found without my dressage whip she was pretty dull to my legs after the first few minutes. Hmm... I've made a few changes to my tack that have made her a whole lot better. First I put my itty-bitty spurs on. Perfect response now without the whip, plus as George Morris would say, they "dress up the heel of your boot and make your heel look more educated." Aka we look pro now. Then I changed bits from our french link full cheek to my Myler d-ring. She just goes so, so well in her Myler loose ring when in dressage tack and with the french link she is more dull and gets too strong especially when jumping. Now with the Myler it hasn't made a humongous difference but I think just enough that it will be better.

Today I just can't stress how good she was. I pulled her out of her stall and into the crossties. I touched up her clip since her guard hairs were getting long. She stood perfectly still the whole time. Then I tacked her up, lunged and got on. No more sassiness - she was perfect. I mostly worked on my own position - I tend to put my feet just a bit too far in the stirrups, I also tend to perch in this saddle, so I focused on fixing those problems. Then I got off and spent 30 minutes pulling Jetta's mane in the crossties. While she stood absolutely still. Well, almost absolutely still. There were a few head bobs thrown in and some "Imma bite you" moments, but seriously? That is a huge improvement from the can't-stand-still, must-constantly-throw-head-in-air, chomping-me that was our previous mane-pulling events. It's still my least favorite activity, but it's a lot more bearable when she's good!

Looks very silly half done, but I can only take so much!

Overall I'm in a completely better mood than previously - I feel very content now :)

The question is however, to show or not to show? There's a schooling show on Saturday that I had been planning on going for a long time. Then Jetta started acting up and I figured I wouldn't be going. But now she's being so good and it'd be a great event to go to... But that would mean that I have to find the time in my busy schedule (I have two midterms to study for already) to clean all of my tack and get Jetta show-ready. Plus I probably should be saving money for other shows like the Inavale HT and eventing-related practice shows, yet... I really want to go. I don't know, I can't decide! We'll just have to see.