Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Question of the Day

Does this saddle make me look fat??
I think my dad put it nicely: this saddle on Colton looks like a postage stamp, lol. Colton has been pretty good lately. I really do love training horses, it's great to see how quickly he's learning and when he finally "gets" something.

Today was the first time his stubborn streak showed. He decided that he no longer wants to listen when I ask him to halt or back up, although he was doing just fine recently. After telling him "Fine, you don't want to halt? Then you can trot until you decide that you do." That worked out quite well and afterwards he was soft and responsive whenever I asked for a halt or step backward. He's getting more and more comfortable trotting, we even cantered a full circle in both directions today. He's starting to get what leg means and steering a little better, though today we ventured out of the round pen and I imagine we looked quite drunken wandering in a squiggly line across the pasture. Overall I'm pleased with how he's doing! I almost don't want to sell him because I think he's going to make a quite nice dressage and trail horse, and possibly do a little bit of low level jumping.

Here's what we need to work more on:
  • Bathing
  • Being able to "send" him places: through gates, into the trailer, etc. He gets a little panicked when you ask him to do stuff by himself
  • Introduce some poles to trot over and small cavalettis
  • Work on ponying
  • Pony on the trails, then ride on the trails
  • Ride with the bit, instead of in the halter
  • More comfortable at the canter
  • Steering at the trot (and eventually the canter as well)
  • Backing more willing
  • Giving to the bit (once the halt is more established)
  • Work on in hand stuff. His ground manners have increased dramatically, but I want him to be so well behaved that he could go and enter a showmanship class and not make a fool of us!
  • And then the final test will be to go to a dressage show and ride intro!

Monday, June 25, 2012

I ♥ Eventing

I went and volunteered a bit at the big HT on Saturday. While I was super sad to not be riding, I still had a blast!

I helped TPR horses at the vet box for the T3D - a vet that I work with (super, super nice) asked me if I would help since I wasn't riding so of course I jumped at the chance. I got there bright and early, first thing we went to go see a horse that had been injured overnight. Turns out his owner didn't close the stall door and only left the stall guard up, so her gelding got out and a stallion several rows down ripped his stall apart and got out and the two horses got into it. The gelding had a lot of trauma to his hind legs, and later a large amount of swelling on his chest. Unfortunately, he may have tendon damage, possibly even a small fracture. The stallion made it out unscathed, so it was an interesting lesson in liability for both parties (and me). I'm not sure I would ever want to own a stallion.

There were only 6 entries in the T3D, sadly. Hopefully they continue to offer this since I plan on someday doing it and I don't want to have to go all the way to Galway Downs or Rebecca Farms to do a 3-Day. It was neat to see the different horses' level of fitness and recovery and see their "pit crew". The only person that was eliminated wasn't as well prepared as some groups, though it was good experience for her, especially since it was her first year doing this I believe. Her horse pulled the same shoe twice and even after resetting the shoe, he didn't trot sound. Even though she was obviously very disappointed, both her and everyone else was super nice. I had been told that people might be a bit snippy because you have to stop the horse to do the TPR and most people want to walk their horse out the whole time (though it only takes 30 seconds) and that they'll be ready to move on to the next phase, but there was not one rude person in the whole bunch.

The most prepared group had two sets of everything - extra crops, extra bridles (with a stronger bit if needed), extra boots, even extra shoes that had already been fitted to the horse and had studs installed. I was very impressed and taking notes for what to do when I do a 3-Day someday!

Since we finished early, we then got to watch the Intermediate group go. Wow! I think that those jumps are a bit too big for my tastes... I think Preliminary is plenty big for me and I just hope that one day I can get up to that level! I got to watch KO go with two horses (I've never seen her compete before, and was not surprised that she was such an awesome rider) and also saw DR go, who I had taken a xc lesson from a couple weeks ago. It was really fun to watch.

And of course afterwards I browsed the vendors (and managed not to buy anything). And guess who was there? Voltaire! I am totally in love with all of their products, and was just recently lamenting to myself that I won't ever get to see their products in person (they aren't on the west coast all that much), but they had a booth there. I really want one of their 5-point breastplates someday. And some custom boots. The guy was trying to get me to buy some, but I told him that I would someday! When I can afford $1500 boots, if ever.

Overall, a great day, it just made me love eventing more and I can't wait to actually compete next time around!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fourth Ride

Colton had his fourth ride the other day! And we cantered for the first time, albeit only a few strides. He's pretty comfortable with me on his back now and doesn't get worried at all when I go to mount and dismount. Over the next few days I'll be working on getting him more comfortable with the saddle and teaching him to turn and halt from pressure from the bit (on the ground). I don't think he'll have much trouble.

He is immensely fat right now due to all the spring grass so he has gone on an immediate diet. He is now stalled at night with a flake of grass hay in a slow feeder hay net plus the smallest amount of grain with his vitamins. This boy is such an air fern. In addition to that, he also gets a grazing muzzle that he gets to wear a couple hours a day! I'm sure he hates me so much right now ;) With his diet and increased work, I'm hoping he'll slim down soon.

Why do you torture me so...

Get it off!

He also got a bit of a makeover - I trimmed his mane! I know that Gypsies are prized for their immense and ridiculous amounts of hair, but I thought I'd take advantage of his rubbed out section of hair that refuses to grow back to pull it short. I think he'll be more comfortable (less heat) and I can braid buttons for shows. We're going for the sporthorse look :) He got his beard and bridle path shaved, and feathers trimmed. Much better.

Cute stuff

After. I still have to go through it and thin it a bit, I just cut it with scissors since I couldn't find my pulling comb. Looks better though!

Friday, June 22, 2012


On Tuesday we had a lesson with KO on cross country and a ride-a-test for dressage. It was fun and Jetta was actually really great. I hadn't ridden Jetta in over a week... and didn't realize that until the night before the clinic. Oops. But even with it being her first time back under saddle after a while she was really good. I was anticipating things to go a little more... difficult... but she was great. We ended up with a 37 on dressage, when we re-rode it we got the same score, lol. But that was only because I had an error and circled in the wrong spot (that's what I get for memorizing it two minutes prior to our ride), and our free walk (with the x2 coefficient) wasn't quite as spectacular as the previous one. I was pleased with it though, after all if this is what I get for not riding her in a long time, I'll take it!

I can only imagine how well she'll do if I get her more collected on her hindquarters and steadier in the bridle! The judge told me that I need to have a less forgiving hand (which is a first!) because when she would have a moment of goodness, I would give her a release which then made me have to set her up again, instead I need to move on to the next movement with out having to re-set her up. That plus a little more inside bend and getting her more on the outside rein and she improved a bit.

Cross country was a lot of fun, except for the fact that I felt like I was going to die! KO had us start out practicing galloping, then collecting, then galloping, then halting. Jetta was very excited at first, but soon settled into the swing of things once she figured out that we kept having to do it again and again, lol. We hopped over three fences in a row, Jetta was a little bit leery about the third one but she did it. We did that a couple times, then added three more fences. She was super good.

We practiced some banks and ditches which were no big deal to Jetta (amazing how quickly that turned around!). She thinks that they're fun now. Then KO put together a 16 fence course. I was ready to get off even before I heard that! But we made it. I had to circle in the middle when I forgot my course but figured it out and got back on track. We only had three refusals, which while still means elimination in competition, it's better than 5, our last total refusals on xc. The jumps we had trouble with was a large red barn, a "tiger tooth" jump and a skinny made out of wine barrels. We'll definitely plan on returning to work on those jumps!

Ugh, don't look at my awful lower leg. I got majorly left behind on this one because I thought she wasn't going to jump it. The theme for this lesson was for me to have more confidence in my horse!

Banks = no big deal :)
Gallopin. I have no idea what my face is doing, maybe I just inhaled a bug, lol.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Work

And no play. I've been so busy since school got out! Sorry for being such a bad blogger. With work and the fact that my computer has decided that it no longer wants to connect to the internet, though when I can connect to the internet it is p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow, I haven't been able to blog.

But I promise there'll be lots of updates in the next couple days! Colton's doing well and Jetta and I had a good lesson the other day. All the horses are seemingly getting along well, though I had to rotate stalls so that Jetta and Addie couldn't play around with each other. Jetta was kicking the wall and her hind legs were swollen for a day though she's absolutely fine now. And Addie in the morning would rush out of her stall making Jetta gallop out and spin around at the fence. Then one would gallop back into the stall and so would the other one.

The weather has been interesting lately. Today was super nice, but it's supposed to rain again tomorrow and on Saturday again unfortunately. Saturday I'm helping out at the vet box for the half star at the Inavale Horse Trials, so I'm excited for that.

Here's some pics of the ponies enjoying the sunshine. They wouldn't come up to the barn so I had to check on them to make sure they were ok. Grady and Addie still wouldn't get up when I went to pet them, so we cuddled for a while, then they both stretched out and laid flat. I made them both get up (with great difficulty) to make sure no one was hurt or feeling sick! They were fine, of course :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Well, the ponies are home! And very happy about it by the looks of things. I moved Jetta and ML's pony Addie home yesterday. Jetta immediately started grazing and could care less while Addie pranced around with her giraffe neck looking at everything. Grady is pleased that his harem is being reinstated, while Colton is over the moon: Girls?? Girls!! Jetta and Addie have decided that they are in heat and are currently competing for Colton's attention while he tries to figure out how he got so lucky lol!

Last night everyone got stalled and I was a little nervous how the first night would go. I can hear noises from my window at night, but I didn't hear anything to make me worry last night, although when I got to the barn, I found all the stalls empty. What?! I whistled and they trotted into view. I guess my dad was trying to be helpful and let them out this morning without telling me. I had a minor heart attack, but it's all good.

Addie, Jetta and Colton. Best buddies!
I'm excited to start really actually working with Colton, stay tuned for his "makeover" soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Done, Done, Done!!!

I'm so excited! I don't know why, but this term was just really tough (ok, I do know, I took way too many credits again and hard classes!) and I was sooo difficult trying to study especially since all my friends were done already.

But now it's summer time! So excited, I have so many fun things planned this summer, especially horsey stuff. My roommates and I are having an awesome bbq tonight, then tomorrow I pack up and take the pony (well ponies, plural) home!

Some of this...

Riding this old guy.

Hopefully lots of this.

Some of this too!

Lots of this.

And lots of getting this fatty in shape and trained!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If The Shoe Fits

In this case it's not shoes, but boots. Hoof boots that is.

I finally bought some new ones for Jetta as my dislike for my Cavallo's is steadily growing. They're just too clunky to work in an arena or go any faster than a walk in. I really like the design of the easyboot gloves, and so I bought their largest size, a 3W and crossed my fingers that they would fit Jetta!

To me, Jetta's feet don't look that big, but they measure almost 5.75 inches wide and long, so compared to most horses (barring draft types) she has some huge feet.

The boots arrived today and I took a break from studying to go try them on her. I think they fit. I think.

Any thoughts? They appeared to fit well. Stayed on with the minimal walking and trotting and took a bit of pulling to get them off. I have power straps that I'm planning on installing if I decide to keep them. Surprisingly, if anything they might be a titch too big, but I'm not sure. The other option is the easy boot bare, but I'm  not too keen on having to have a rubber mallet to put them on and a screwdriver to get them off.

I'm planning on emailing these pics to a more knowledgeable hoof boot person to get their take on the fit, but thought I might as well ask here!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Study Avoidance

It's finals week. And I have four finals and three final papers due. So what should I be doing? Avoiding studying, hence the blogging (and complete blog makeover).

On Saturday I was planning on studying the whole day but that gradually morphed into full-on study avoidance. I decided to take a break and go down to the barn and groom the boys for a little bit. While I was down there I decided to sweep the barn. That turned into a complete cleaning of the barn. I rounded up all the water buckets and washed/bleached them. Cleaned and filled the water trough. Restacked the hay, cleaned out the feed area and tack room. Organized all my tack, stripped the stalls, and took out the trash. I spend two hours doing that. Oops.

It felt really good at least! The barn now looks great for when Jetta moves back home. ML is also keeping her horse Addie at my barn for the summer, so I want the barn looking its best for them, though I know ML won't care and its niceness will be lost on her. Oh well.

Then while I was at work all day Sunday, my parents weed-wacked the runs on the stalls and started mowing the pasture! I was amazed that they did that, usually it's like pulling teeth to get them to help with anything horse-y and all I did was mention it! Later in this week the pasture will get the rest of it mowed and my dad is planning on spraying the blackberries in the round pen that are making an effort at resurgence. That made my week since now the barn will be pretty much awesome. I can't wait to move back home for the summer.

I don't have an arena of any kind, but my neighbor lets me use her outdoor one. There are the trails to use, I can ride down the road, I'm going to be taking dressage and jumping lessons, I have all my horses in one place. Jetta will get fattened back up on pasture. I can ride Grady and Jetta, and finish training Colton. I have my tack room all to myself, I can fully customize how my horses are fed without feeling bad for the barn owner, etc.  I just prefer keeping my horses at home way more than boarding!

For now though, it's back to the last few days of school. I have one test every day, ending on Thursday, so I really get to that whole "studying" thing...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Just What I Needed

I had the most perfect ride today, it was just what I needed heading into finals week.

I randomly decided that I wanted to work on bridleless riding which came out of nowhere, since I had past resigned myself to the fact that I don't think I'll ever trust Jetta enough to actually take off her bridle. It's something I did a lot with Jazz, but again, I trusted Jazz a lot and Jazz was a very attentive horse. I could ride her in our large (3 acre) pasture with no bridle, no saddle or neckstrap and she would pay attention to every cue, walk, trot, canter, halt, whatever.

But I figure it will help us in other areas, because maybe Jetta will learn to be a little more attentive in general to my body cues. I decided to go mostly au natural and rode with my bareback pad and sidepull in addition to a neck rope.

Whatever I was expecting, Jetta blew it out of the water. She was amazing. I've never ridden her with a neck strap, but you'd never know that by how well she did today. She listens really well at the walk and part of how we cool out is for me to drop my reins and then we'll wander around and I'll ask for changes of direction, serpentines and figure-8's at the walk using just my legs and seat. Needless to say she did all of that as per her usual, but she even halted attentively when I asked and backed quite nicely as well.

And then came the trot work. Even that was good too! I was pretty amazed. We warmed up a bit by working on a jog-trot relying on the side pull. Jetta will never be a western pleasure horse but it sure is a lot more comfortable! That portion I tried to have a long rein and just reminded her every so often that she needed to slow down a bit. Then I put one hand on the neck strap and Jetta trotted a figure 8 and I didn't once touch her face. So neat! We worked on it a bit more, since Jetta would every so often speed up when I asked her to turn. But overall, I was thrilled. We even managed a serpentine at the trot. Ah-mazing.

We finished off with a canter (relying on the side pull, lol. Still don't trust her!) and I would ask her to transition down using the neck strap. And she listened. Wow, is all I can say. Such a good pony! I had a blast so it was the perfect study break.

The wunderpony in her get-up.

Are we done yet?

So cute.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Loose Ends

Ugh, I hate dead week. So, so much. I feel dead right now. I haven't seen Jetta this week yet, but I'm planning on going out after class and *hopefully* have a nice laid-back ride that will relieve some stress!

Sooo, I made a decision. Not to enter the recognized horse trials at Inavale. I know I've been planning on entering it ever since last year with Jazz. But with it being a week after school gets out and my lack of time to ride. Plus the fact that the cost is over $300 and, well, that's a lot. Jetta is young and we have a lot of time in our future to do these horse trials, unlike Jazz who turned 22 years old this year. I'm pretty bummed about not doing it, but if everything goes as planned I'll go to watch on xc day and try to steal a course map then later we can go school and pretend we're competing :)

At least we got to do the one day HT and we'll have some lessons this summer in addition to a jumper show and a dressage show.

Dressage score from the show - the two 6.5's are both from when she tried to jump the fence, lol. I was a little surprised at the 8 for our halt, since that never happens, though I wish we had gotten an 8 on the free walk like I know we're capable of. Overall, we have to work on our bending, but I was happy with our score! It was much better than I was anticipating.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We Survived!

Well, we survived the show over the weekend. No pretty ribbon for us, but I had a great time, especially since I managed to stay on Jetta! Here is the really, really long recap:


Whenever I go to a show I always think Why do I do this again? Especially when I feel like I'm going to throw up before dressage. I told my friend PM who came to take pics that as long as we stayed in the arena and I didn't forget the test, I'd be happy. Luckily we managed both (barely). We rode Beginner Novice Test B, so it's super easy, except I hate how short the canter part is, because I feel just as soon as I get Jetta into the canter, I have to ask her to trot. Warming up, Jetta felt great. She had gotten two days off and she was moving very nice though we did have to reinforce working on our halts and not allowing any galloping. After all, a couple weeks ago we were practicing our gallop in the exact same spot we were warming up! To Jetta, no fences = no brakes. Lovely. And our canter transitions were quite explosive in the warm up.

The first time we trotted down centerline Jetta almost jumped out of the arena. Seriously. I heard her hooves hit the arena fencing (which looked suspiciously like a jump we had jumped on cross country Wednesday...). We managed to stay in and I had to laugh. Jetta was pretty tense in the ring (obviously because I was tense and not riding her like I should). One comment we got is that we need to improve our lateral work in order to improve our balance and bending, which was a no-duh moment. If I had been riding like I should have been, that comment would have been unnecessary! Other than being tense - which then led to being heavy on the forehand and a bit behind the bit, Jetta was good. One other moment when she "locked" onto the fence and wanted to jump it again, but our canter transitions were nice and we even got an "8" on our halt! Nice :)

Overall, I was very pleased with our test. We scored a 28.6! Compared to the other scores in all the divisions, this was quite competitive. Only a handful of people scored better, so needless to say I was happy! We scored second in our division after dressage.


Stadium was... interesting. Jetta was overjumping everything in warmup. I guess those two days off weren't the best in terms of jumping. Stadium round wasn't the smoothest, most polished thing ever, but we got it done. There were no combinations, luckily, since those are Jetta's downfall. There was a ton of brightly painted jumps with big, fancy wings and boxes and flower boxes, etc. We had one refusal at the very. last. jump. Really? But it was the scariest one - a bright oxer, with a large box underneath. But we came in just under optimum time (going to fast, hm?) with 4 faults for the refusal. Not too shabby really. We were still in second after stadium.

The "scary" jump - take 2.
Cross Country:

This was our downfall. We got eliminated. Oops. We had four refusals, five counting the stop to sniff the water before delicately tip-toeing into the water. Dumb, dumb - we were just cantering into that same water complex a couple days ago! Oh well. It was a lot of fun and now I know what to do for our next time cross country run. If the jump is at all scary looking, we will trot it. Jetta was fun to gallop, though she was unhappy whenever I made her slow down. I was surprised that she jumped both ditches willingly, I was sure she'd refuse. Really, I was just happy that I didn't fall off. The rider before me appeared to have an OTTB that hadn't been off the track too long (just what he looked like) and I saw her standing on the ground holding her horse when I galloped by in the middle of the course. That would suck.

Galloping! Love this picture :)

First jump in a combination - second jump is above - Jetta was eying that second jump!

But I don't want to stop galloping....

Overall it was a fun show. No ribbons, but I'm really pleased with how Jetta did, despite elimination. I just content myself with the fact that we were in second after dressage and stadium :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Show Prep

Our show is tomorrow! Despite repeatedly telling myself that it's just for fun, it doesn't matter how we do since this is Jetta's first eventing show, our second dressage test in front of a judge and third jumping show. So realistically I shouldn't set my expectations very high. I'm just afraid of falling off again and I'm having doubts about competing at the recognized HT...

Anyways, Jetta is clipped and bathed. The trailer is loaded and tack is all cleaned. I just need to fill the water tank (best purchase ever!!) get all my show clothes ready and memorize my dressage test. 

Aaaand I bought a new dressage bridle!! It arrived today, in perfect timing for the show. It's lovely - I did splurge a bit more than I wanted to, but I've been mooning over this bridle forever on ebay. It's a Dy'on hunt bridle. And it was way, way, way cheaper than normal, even though it was brand new. Sooo, I bought it. Another person bid on it after the seller dropped the price so I bid on it. And won it. Then immediately regretted it. Then got super excited for it to arrive. Lol.

But I'm happy with it. It came and it's not exactly new, but that's something you deal with when buying on ebay. One cheek piece has a scrape on it and the buckles are all slightly oxidized (not rusted, maybe they need to be polished???). Anyways, I tried it on Jetta and it looks great! I wasn't completely sure about the flat noseband, though I thought it would look great to use on Colton. But, I think it looks fantastic on her long nose. I put my sparkly browband on it, though since it's a monocrown bridle, my browband is a bit too small for it. The only other problem is that the throat latch is giant.


After Jetta's bath she got turned back outside. I put her brand new flysheet on that I haven't put on her yet. I got it super cheap at a tack sale so it was a good buy. It fit really well and it should keep her a little cleaner than usual. Of course she immediately rolled once outside :( Bad pony.

Getting ready to roll...


Hopefully everything goes well tomorrow!!