Sunday, September 30, 2012


Okay, let's review this show year. I think I've made it to a grand total of two shows this year - an eventing schooling show and a jumping schooling show, both in late spring/early summer. I signed up for four dressage show - #1 I scratched because Jetta got an abscess, #2 I scratched because we thought ML's horse had strangles (which she didn't), #3 that was supposed to be this Saturday, even though I sent my entry in on time, the show was full so I didn't get to ride and then show #4, today, got cancelled. Such a bummer!

Of course it didn't get cancelled until 7pm the night before, so I had already pulled Colton's mane completely, ridden our tests a couple times, bathed him and gotten him completely clean. I even got blisters from pulling his mane! Though it was totally worth it, he looks awesome with a short mane, especially now that I can braid it! I had the trailer packed, tack cleaned and show clothes washed and ready.

Such a huge disappointment when the show gets cancelled so close to show time! This morning, since I had spent so much work on getting Tux ready anyways, I got my mom to come take pictures of us! I love seeing pictures of us, he is doing so awesome! He's such a handsome boy, my mom and I were discussing how easy it's going to be to sell him, but I don't want to! I feel so lucky to be his rider :)

This boy can move!

Turning miscommunication, lol.

All dressed up and nowhere to go!
Looking at these pictures, I can tell I need to work on getting my leg back in a more secure position in line with my hip and shoulder. It's just hard with his huge girth to get my leg in the right spot! I had the same chair seat on Katy too. But I couldn't be happier with Tux!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall Love

While spring is definitely my favorite season, I also (secretly) love fall. Sure, fall means back to school and the unfortunate transition to winter, which includes chillier weather and shorter days. But, I love the fall colors and all the ripe fruit, etc. And it doesn't hurt that I have a fall birthday either :)

Today was one of those beautiful fall days. It started out chilly this morning, but after class the sun came out and it started to warm up. It didn't reach the 80 degrees predicted, more like 70, but it was perfect. I went to the farmers market this morning and bought some veggies. I love that I live in an area where things like this is popular as I like supporting the local farmers. Afterwards I went out and saw my pony. I didn't go yesterday because I already had too many things to do. I really should take my real camera with me next time because the scenery on the drive out is gorgeous.

She was awesome. A little more fresh and sassy, but I didn't ride her yesterday and she didn't get turned out yet. She had just been put out when I got there. I finally got to meet someone at the barn. I still think it's weird that I've never seen anyone out there, but that's fine by me. I met the stall cleaner this morning. She seems really nice and talkative :)

Jetta was soft and steady in the bridle, forward but not rushing, her back was loose. She was balanced and it felt so good! Someone left some poles and cones in the arena for practicing trail - I actually love it when people leave stuff in the arena because then I get to play with it without the issue of getting it out then putting it away. I practiced my "bridle-less" riding where I drop my reins to the buckle and steer Jetta with just my legs and seat. She's so good at it and I had fun with it today, weaving in and out of the cones, walking and trotting into the "box" and making her halt, etc.

We worked a lot on trot-walk downward transitions. She was coming above the bit and hollowing her back when I asked for a walk and with her, it's such a delicate balance between not enough leg to keep her together through the transition and too much leg and she'll just keep trotting, albeit more slowly.  She eventually got it and we had some very nice transitions.

We only had one little snafu where she was being so good that I thought "Why don't I ask for a canter from the walk?" This hasn't been something we've practiced at all since I don't want Jetta anticipating and I don't think she's quite ready for it. We've done it at shows and such but never really at home. Anyways, I broke Jetta's cardinal rule about not moving my leg back. I always thought it was silly when a clinician would tell me not to put my leg back on a mare because I was riding Jazz and she could care less. It wasn't until Jetta that I discovered that some mares really do care. She kicked up at my leg and didn't even put in an effort to canter so I corrected her (then she tried to bite me, naughty mare) and tried again minus moving my leg back. She was on the bit, relaxed but good energy for a transition, stepping under herself and... she kicked up again. Finally on the third try she leaped into the canter without kicking up. Despite being the ugliest transition ever, once in the canter she softened on the bit and slowed down and gave me a really lovely canter. I made her canter for a while and it ended up being a good note to end on. She had worked hard after her bad behavior so I had to forgive her :)

I think it's probably time though to at least work on the walk-canter transition a little more. I will have to dig up my dressage whip, I think that might be a big help! And hopefully this weekend I'll bring up my jumps and we can work on getting the correct leads with them as that's another big goal.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Well, summer has officially ended and the school year has begun.

I always look forward to school for the first few days until the sheer amount of time I spend on it starts to get to me.

Anyways, there are three areas in horse care that fascinate me (besides training of course). They are nutrition, rehabilitation and breeding. This term should be good for at least two of those areas.

Reproduction: I'm excited for this term because I'm taking an applied reproduction class. Of course it's not specifically about horses, we use dairy and beef cattle for our labs, so of course the whole process of AI is completely different, but I'm excited that it's so hands-on and I hope I'll enjoy it. I took the precursor to this class last year, Domestic Animal Reproduction, and I learned a lot but that had to be one of the hardest classes I have taken and supposedly it's the one Animal Science class that you take as an undergrad that is similar to what you'll take in vet school. This class isn't supposed to be as hard because there's not as much info, you just have to be able to put the material into practice which should definitely be interesting... I'm also taking an Animal Genetics class which I hope will be good too. Of course first we'll have to get past the whole review of mitosis/meiosis, but since genetics play a large part in horse breeding, I'll be interested to see what we learn about and hopefully we'll cover topics of coloring as well because that fascinates me (if you haven't been to The Equine Tapestry blog yet and you're interested in color, it's such an interesting site!)

Love learning about horses, even dorky ones like Jetta :)
Nutrition: I'm not taking a class at school for nutrition this term, I took the intro one last summer and am taking the next in the series next term. But, I am going to be taking an outside class on nutrition, specifically forages and pasture management which I'm super excited about. Luckily it's only on Wednesday nights so I don't think it will be too hard to balance with all of my "real" school work!

Hopefully next term I'll get to take an actual Equine class, though that's not as important to me as some other classes, just because I don't think much of the one and only equine professor...

In the training area, hopefully this will be a good year too. The dressage team is hopefully going to be a lot more active. We are really trying to start an IDA team so we'll see if that ever gets off the ground. We have all sorts of clinics planned for us to ride in and audit so hopefully Jetta and I see some good improvement this year!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Finally back to the star of this whole show - I got to ride my pony today! After a nearly four hour "training" for the dressage team (the most worthless four hours I have ever spent...) I finally got out to the barn. I got out there at 7pm and had the whole barn to myself. Of course, then I had to figure out the important stuff, like where the light switches all were and what the code for the tack room was. Luckily I had a nice little ride on Jetta.

Pretty sunset at the barn

I like the arena, it's a pretty good size, not huge but not tiny either. The footing is good too, save for one area around the outside door that's hard and has some rocks. Jetta was actually pretty good for not having been ridden in several days (at least a week, sadly enough) then also being in a new environment. The BO said that she has settled in really well so I hope that means Jetta is behaving herself!

See that little crest to her neck? She has a neck! But unfortunately not muscle, that's just fat. Poor pony looks half wild - she's fat, her mane has grown out, mohawk bridle path going on and long whiskers.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Ohh boy am I going to be sore. I didn't fall off or anything thankfully, I just rode three horses today. And I'm not used to that so my body is saying ouch!!

First I got to ride my neighbor's handsome boy Wes. She's been having some soundness issues with him and he just got his hocks injected a few days ago so she asked me to watch her ride to see what I saw and then I hopped on and put him through his paces so she could see what he looked like, plus I've never ridden him so it was fun for me. He's a Friesian/Saddlebred/Warmblood cross I think? Very well put together, but has the tendency to be short-necked and not want to stretch down so I just worked on that. His go-to defensive position is with his head up and he's not really accepting of the bit. He's shown up to 3rd level so it was fun to kind of play with him and see what he could  do. He did feel a little short on his left hind, but I think it's more muscle memory than soreness.

Next was Colton, or rather I should say Tuxedo or Tux for short. My mom and I finally settled on a name and I think it fits him. Now just to figure out a show name... I'm leaning towards something like All Dressed Up while my mom likes RoyalT (a play on Royalty and a shortened version of Royal Tuxedo). Hmmm. He was so good today! He remembered his lesson on being soft on the bit from last time and was very good with that so this time we worked on getting him off my inside leg. We were having a lot of trouble to the left last time, it's definitely his harder direction and he likes being counter bent and coming off the wall. I think I asked him maybe 4 times to move off my inside leg, backing it up with a little tap with the whip then giving him a big release and a pat on the neck when he moved away in the slightest. By the 5th time I asked, I put my leg on and he moved off as easy as if he'd always done it. We worked on it in both directions at the walk and then in the trot and he was such a good baby. We took a walk break and I'd ask him to move off my left leg for a couple strides, and then off my right leg for a couple strides, then left again. He was so good! Then I trotted him up and down the hill next to our field. He was awesome and we even cantered. I think hill work will definitely help him build the muscles necessary to have a nice canter and he tried so hard. I wanted to canter again in the arena to finish off our ride but he was so sweaty and tired, I guess I'll leave that until tomorrow. Such a good worker boy :)

Then was Jazz. Boy did she make me work for it today. I don't think I've ever had such a hard ride on her and it's sad to say that I got a little frustrated. I don't think it's her fault, just the result of a year with a different rider, especially one that is a beginner and rides western (not that there's anything wrong with that) just that she wasn't expected to be on the bit or carry herself correctly, so all those muscle groups are unused and she's just overall going to take some time to get back to her normal self. It's just hard because she was so resistant today. I don't know if maybe she needs to be adjusted because her neck is out or if maybe she's developing some arthritis there, but it was really hard for her to bend to the inside and keep it there and she didn't want to stay on the bit. We've always had trouble with her softening through her jaw, but she's never actively resisted me so today was rough. She had some really good moments, but I think it's 90% just not having the muscles for it. I know it's not her mouth because she just had her teeth done two months ago. I think next week I'll bring my side reins and pop those on her on the lunge so she can figure it out herself. Definitely not going to take her to the show next weekend because she just won't be ready.

Overall, I'm pooped. I was planning on riding Jazz and Tux tomorrow then heading up to school and riding Jetta but I think I'll skip on riding Jazz, she's probably going to be sore as well! The BO texted me and said that Jetta's settling in great so I'm thankful for that. I can't wait to ride her in our new big arena!

Friday, September 21, 2012


I have my superstar pony back! Gosh I love this horse. If there was ever a horse that felt like "home" (besides Grady), Jazz would be it. I was so excited to ride her today, I missed my rock solid girl.

She's actually looking pretty good. I'm so happy with how she was cared for. She's relatively in shape (though has her hay belly going on as per her usual when she's not in heavy work or limited pasture) her feet look great, she just got her teeth done recently and is all around healthy. The only thing that I could see "wrong" is that she's got bumps on the front of her left knee and ankle. They're from scrapes that she got and the one on her ankle is slowly healing. When Jazz got her teeth done, I guess the vet took a look at them and said they were fine, just going to take a long time to heal since they're on the joint. They look a whole lot worse than they are. The knee scrape is all healed and just has a slight, soft bump. The ankle is just a small scab, doesn't look like there's a bump and it's just the scab pushing the hair up making it look like it does.

Anyways, onto our ride. I only have Colton's oversized bridle or a western bridle to ride in since everything else is moved up with Jetta, so instead I pulled out the double bridle. Probably not the best welcome home ride, but she's fun to ride in it and I wanted to push her a bit today to see what she needed to work on. Definitely a bit rusty, but that's to be expected after a year with someone who didn't expect her to work off her hind quarters instead of being heavy on the forehand.

My list of to-do things with Jazz are:
  • Transitions. Boy, are they ugly. 
  • Canter, needs more jump and impulsion
  • Bending through the corners
  • Straightness
  • Needs steadier, softer connection
 Overall though it was an awesome ride. She didn't bat an eye at the double bridle, even though it took me forever to adjust it. We mostly rode on the snaffle but I picked up the curb a couple times in the canter and then rode with it the last 15 minutes of our ride. We did some lengthened trot and canter and for a QH, she can definitely move! Practiced my sitting trot, did some nearly perfect walk pirouettes and some great leg yields. The half pass was not there, but I didn't bother working on that since it will take a while. By the end she was remembering to bend through the corners, was on the bit for the most part and her canter had improved a ton but it will be a couple more rides until she's back 100% to her awesome self. I'm glad to have my baby back though I am wanting to find another lease situation. We'll just have to see.

On the 1st of October we could ride with TS. She'll be going to my neighbors to give lessons so either I could haul Jetta down or I could just drive down and ride Jazz, that way we could get a lesson in the double bridle so I actually might know what I'm doing with it (novel idea right?) So far I'm still trying to decide what to do... Thoughts?

The icing on the cake though is when I got off and went around the arena picking up various things and scooping poop and she followed me around or ground tied when I asked just like she always has, then I untacked her sans halter and she followed me to the gate and I let her back to the pasture. No halter and lead needed :) Such a lovely lady!

Missed this beautiful face!

Pretty girl

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All At Once

Well it seems like everything is happening all at once today!

First things first, the horse's had their feet done this morning. Jetta was the only one who really needed it, but AC cleaned up Colton's back feet a bit and Grady's front feet. Jetta was a pain in the butt for us - that's what I get for riding Colton all the time and not her I guess. I was planning on riding her this morning, buuuut I slept through my wonderful alarm. I was talking with AC though and its amazing how much Jetta has matured. Last time AC came out and did Jetta's hooves by herself and she didn't even halter her and was able to trim all her feet so easily. Such a difference from when I first got her and AC had to come out several times a week to trim her hooves, one each day. She had to dodge kicks and we had to keep Jetta from laying down because she didn't believe she could stand on three feet (though I think she figured out how that was a good method to make us stop, lol).

After that, Jazz's lessor came and dropped her off. Definitely bittersweet. I'm happy to have Jazz home but at the same time it's really sad because she was so good for her lessor and I want her to be used, not just hanging around in the pasture. Jazz definitely knew she was "home" because she whinnied in the trailer and then power walked her way to the barn. Grady recognized his girlfriend but it will be interesting to see how the herd dynamics change. Colton tries to be bossy but it doesn't work very well, he just ends up getting beat up and Jetta has taken over the position of boss mare. I can't wait to ride her. I think I'm going to take her to the little dressage schooling show down the street and maybe do some second level for fun. I really wish they offered third level, but nope. Maybe we'll have TS come and give us a lesson in the double bridle! How cool would that be?

Then I moved Jetta into her new barn. I dragged my mom with me so that she could see the barn and she approves :) I really do like this place. They're re-doing the fencing in one pasture this weekend and have hired someone to till the outdoor arena. So they're making good on their plans unlike the other barns I boarded at... Got all my stuff unloaded and turned Jetta out in the arena. She pranced around a bit and then followed me back and forth from the gate to the tack room watching me unload all my stuff. Cute stuff. I'll get to see her again on Sunday when I move back up to school! Looking forward to riding in a big arena!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Lot Like Work

The "before"

This tail. Is ridiculous. Instead of a ride before work yesterday, I decided to tackle Colton's tail. It was a nasty, snarly, gross mess. The result of me braiding his tail and then leaving for 5 weeks. I was dreading dealing with it and with good reason. 3 out of 5 braids were still in and last week I took the rubber bands off in hopes that they'd unbraid themselves, but they basically turned into dreadlocks. Like I said, maintaining this tail is a lot like work.

You know how there's always those articles in horse magazines about "how to grow your horse's tails" etc? Well, they don't help. Because they always talk to a Gypsy or Friesian breeder or groomer. You couldn't kill one of those horse's tails if you tried. When you leave braids in for 5 weeks, it pulls out a bunch of hair. I got several handfuls out of Colton's and it didn't make a single dent. Like I said, tails like these refuse to die.

I spent 40 minutes first brushing and picking out the braids. Then washing and soaping his tail multiple times. Unfortunately I couldn't find my detangler spray (best thing ever when dealing with big tails!) and I was out of conditioner, but it's way better than it was. It certainly doesn't help that his tail is white, but at least it's better than a white tail on a mare. Also, it's tar weed season - if you don't have this problem I envy you. These weeds are covered in sticky burrs and so when the horses are in the pasture their noses, forelocks and tips of their tails turn black with the sticky tar. It's nasty and really hard to get rid of.

Colton has been doing fantastic. I had a great ride on him this morning.  Our goal for the day was to work on accepting contact. He's not necessarily ready to be working "on the bit" but he needs to respect the contact and give to it. He caught on to the idea so fast. By the end he was going around at the trot very soft and responsive to the bit. I love this horse. We still have a lot to work on obviously. For one he likes to counter bend when we go around to the left. We also cantered today and he did very nicely. He just needs to canter a lot more until he finds his rhythm and maybe some hill work to get those muscles in shape. Have I mentioned that I love this horse and that I love starting babies?! It's so awesome to see when something clicks in his brain. And I like being able to start them right so that they will be awesome horses for many years to come.

We are planning his big "debut" at a little dressage schooling show down the street at the end of this month, just going to do some walk trot classes, but I'm excited to get him out there!

Lunging like a big boy

Cutest face ever

Don't you just want to take him home with you??

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Maiden Voyage

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been busy, but unfortunately not much of it has been all that interesting. I have one more week until I move Jetta and I'm actually pretty excited about it. My friends and I went looking at other barns but didn't find any we liked (including one we would not have let our horses within 20 feet of!) so I'm still happy with the barn I've chosen.

I've been mostly riding Colton and he's doing really well. I'm slightly disappointed that I haven't gotten him ready to sell yet, but I will continue coming home weekends during school to ride him and hopefully get him sold this winter, though that's not a very good time for selling horses. But at the same time I don't want to sell him. He's a cool horse and fun to ride, even being so green. I could see myself keeping him and showing him in dressage as that's what I think he'd do best at. Unfortunately I just can't afford to board two horses.

In other news, Jazz is coming home. I'm excited and sad at the same time. I wasn't planning on having her come home, her lessor was just talking about buying her a couple months ago and I at least was hoping that she'd renew her lease. So I don't know what happened with that, but I definitely wasn't planning on having another horse to care for so it's a bit of a bummer. I'm excited to ride her though, and I might take her to a couple shows before this winter, hopefully find another great lease for her, otherwise she'll just get to hang out with Grady and Colton.

Okay, all the boring stuff is out of the way - Today was exciting at least because my friend CL and I went out to a horse park to go riding. I got to use my fancy new trailer for the first time and it was Colton's first time too! I was so proud of Colton. At first CL was going to ride him while I rode Jetta but at one point the groundskeeper had a 4-wheeler that he just could not get over. At home he chases my brother around on his, so I don't know what his deal was. CL got off and walked him for a bit but he was being a brat and not listening to her so I swapped her horses and got on Colton. He settled down and was a superstar. He lead the way (Jetta wasn't on her best behavior either since she refused to lead) and bravely crossed the little river (in both directions) and two different bridges. Logs are still suspicious but I was more than happy with his behavior. I don't think he's ever walked so fast in his life! I was very proud of him for the most part. He just needs more miles and new environments and he'll settle down to being such a nice horse I think.

It was a really beautiful day and a great almost-last-day-of-summer kind of thing to do. My trailer hauled beautifully and I had fun organizing all my junk stuff in it this morning. So much room! Colton doesn't agree, he was slightly tentative about going in the trailer as if he was asking "Are you sure I'll fit?" He did, but I really want to teach him to self load soon!

Here's some pictures of the giant tack room I've been talking about. Made slightly less giant by the amount of junk stuff I'm able to fit in it.

Fancy mirror/cabinet

Hanger for clothes and a seat with storage under it

Inside of the cabinet


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Barns, Barns, Barns

Oh how I hate barn shopping. I spent a day driving around looking at barns. Here's the four I looked at:

Barn 1: 35 minutes away from school. But that was the only downside to this barn. The owner was super nice and is actually an eventer herself. The arena is nice and big with dirt footing. It sounds like she keeps it up pretty nicely and rakes about once a week. The stalls are big, I didn't ask how big exactly but more than 12x12 I would think and have an open front so the horses can stick their heads out. A wash rack with hot water. A big empty tack room for boarders that locks. She has room for 5 boarders and has three right now, then four of her own horses. Limited room for trailer parking, but I don't think that'll be a problem. Several small paddocks and 2 fairly large pastures. They're going to add bark mulch around all the entrances to help manage the mud. It sounds like they have a lot of ongoing projects - they want to put in a round pen, fix up the fencing on one pasture, add a outdoor natural trail course and put footing in the outdoor arena which is just basically an empty pasture right now. On a quiet road, 20 minutes from some really nice trails and the barn often hauls out together. Feeds a timothy/orchard grass mix three times a day, even in the pasture to keep hay always in front of them. Club room with TV and fridge and food. The owner is super nice and I really liked her. Pretty cheap for full care at $250, stalls were well kept and horses had individual water buckets, not giant tubs which I prefer.

Barn 2: Also really nice, just over 15 minutes from school. Very clean and well kept barn. Medium sized arena. Turn out isn't that optimum since it's on a hill but at least there is some. Horses are meticulously cared for but board is overpriced and I could only afford partial care. I really don't want to have to clean her stall every day. Local grass hay is included and is weighed out for each horse. Hot water wash rack. Not a huge barn, maybe 15 stalls? Nice turnaround driveway with a small area for the trailer. Small summer outdoor arena with jumps set up 24/7. Not useable in the winter. Both of my barn buddies want to board there but I really don't because of the cost and because it's only partial care - $360 for that or $480 for full care. It's just not that fancy to justify the cost.

Barn 3: A QH racing barn, the owners are getting out of racing so they have a lot of open stalls of varying sizes. A large all-weather outdoor arena, no indoor. 27 minutes from school. They have three hot walkers and they'd train Jetta to walk on them. Some turnout in the winter. And they have a race track! They have jumps that you can set up on the track or in the arena and it'd be a great place to practice galloping. Downside is the distance from school and no covered arena. Sounds nice and low-key. You can get as much care as you want with of course varying prices though it's comparable to most places in the area. I kind of liked it, though I'm sure I'd hate the lack of covered arena...

Barn 4: Close to school, about 18 minutes. Lots of stalls scattered over the property, they run a lesson program as well so there's quite a few horses. One small pasture that they are going to divide in two. Really interesting parking, it'd be hard to get my trailer in and out. Stalls have runs for the most part. All the stalls I saw were very dirty and they use big water tubs, all of which looked gross. Very large arena but ground looks rock hard and I don't think they ever rake it. Immediately down the road is a huge trail system that I've ridden before and like. Full care with a run on the stall is $325. Feed orchard grass 2x daily. Heated tack room but pretty crowded. I really didn't like it.

So, I picked barn number 1. I might end up finding another barn, but I really liked this barn. It had a quiet and friendly atmosphere, the owner was so nice. The arena is nice and there's turnout. Horses seemed to be well cared for and the price was exactly right. I liked the hay they fed, it was nice quality. I liked the small size and the huge tack room. The only thing I didn't like was the drive so we'll see how long it lasts - either I'll get used to the drive or get sick of it. There are 2 more stalls available so I was hoping ML and ZS would come with but they sound pretty set on Barn 2, it's just not for me unfortunately. Move in set for the 20th!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Finally got my trail ride in today and it was quite the adventure. I decided to ride Grady and pony Jetta - Grady is a good guy to pony off of and Jetta is a very well behaved pony-er so it all should have gone smoothly, right? Haha, it was funny.

First of all, Grady is quite short strided and Jetta has the longest stride of any horse I've ever met. Not quite the best combination. But they started off doing really well as long as I kept Jetta's lead short so she'd stay at Grady's shoulder instead of charging ahead. Usually on the way up the hill we trot or canter it the whole way. Trotting worked out just fine, but when I tried to canter, Grady tried to gallop in order to keep up with Jetta. We slowed and I reorganized all my rope and pushed Grady into a canter at the same time as holding Jetta in a trot. That worked really well for about half way up the hill until Grady decided he needed to get farther ahead of Jetta, then Jetta has to canter to keep up, but her stride is so long that then Grady has to go faster so that he can keep up and then he decides to ignore me asking for a halt. Naughty boy, but at least I can laugh about it because it's not all bad when it's a 26 year old horse wanting to gallop!

Finally got him back to a walk and we continued on our way. The rest of the top of the hill was nice and peaceful. It was 90 degrees out today so quite hot but the shade was wonderful. We headed downhill and ran into a little spring. I guess the owners tried to gravel it in so there wouldn't be a little water hole in the middle of the path. Grady goes to walk over the gravel and sinks several inches so he jumps out of that and we tiptoe around it.

Then we run into a long tendril of blackberry vine across the path. No way to go around it so we go through it, but I don't have any hands free to move it so we charge past it. First it catches on Grady's ear bonnet so he's holding his head all sideways trying to escape it. Then it catches on my shirt and rips its way off, making quite the noise and both horses spook forward a couple steps and then stop with Grady facing one way and Jetta facing the other and I only have one rein. Oh, I'm lucky I have such good horses.

We made it back to the barn in one piece and not much worse for wear. It was definitely an adventure!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sound and in the Saddle

Well Jetta's leg seems a lot better. Still a little bit puffy around the scratches but she doesn't seem any worse for it. I lunged her this morning and she seemed fine. Slightly short maybe on that right hind, but barely noticeable.

I hopped on her and had a fairly good first ride. So good to be back on my pony! Of course it was not all butterflies and rainbows... When I first sat on her she pulled her "I'm going to throw a fit if you ask me to move forward" which I guess worked with ML while I was gone, which is why she probably pulled it with me. But two can play that game - if she doesn't want to move forward then I'm going to chase her butt in a circle until she decides she can walk forward. Then whenever she sucked back like she was going to throw another fit she would have to trot. The first trot she gave me was beautiful but after that she pulled out her "pony trot" which is not exactly what I was going for, though gradually she gave me a more relaxed big trot. Our canter was pretty good too, though the transitions weren't very nice, but I just let that be. We'll work on it next time.

We ended on a good note and then went apple picking in the field as her reward for a good ride. I hosed her leg just in case, we'll see if she's still okay tomorrow since I want to go on a trail ride! We got to work off some of that fatty belly :)

Oh my gosh so faaaat! Can't get over it.

Poor sensitive girl, sporting her fly bonnet

Terrible self portrait. But it's kinda cute :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I'm afraid I'm not that exciting. But here's the happenings around the barn:

*Colton - I love how fast this guy learns! Before I left we were just starting to lunge outside the round pen. Since I never have helpers, I use the round pen to help teach them how to lunge and gradually do more and more outside. We hadn't done very much work at all though. Today however, he gave me some perfect walk and trot on a nice round circle without pulling on me. Still some sideways "OMG!" moments, but for the most part he was a champ. I've been on him a few times since I got back, mostly just re-acclimating him to having someone on his back so we didn't really do more than walk and trot around the pasture but I'm looking forward to getting him back in the arena!

*Jetta - I haven't ridden. I've been wanting to, but when I went to go pull her out of the pasture and tack up, her right hind leg is swollen. Oh pony. It looks like it got tangled in some blackberry vines and that's the reason it's swollen, she has small cuts all the way around. Grady and I went on a patrol just to make sure there wasn't any wire hanging around, but we didn't find any. She's not lame but I don't want to push it by riding her. Other than that she's her normal sassy self. We've been doing ground work and just lunging prior to her swollen leg to establish that I'm still the alpha since she has become the dominant herd horse in my absence. Her hooves are doing very nicely, the thrush is gone for the most part and her quarter cracks might just be closing up, knock on wood.

So fat! She looks like a broodmare! So unusual for her...
*Grady - My wonderful old man is still wonderful. I've been riding him around the pasture just for fun and I love it. Just today I was playing around, doing rollbacks on the fence and at one point he was doing them by himself! He'd canter out of one rollback, I'd adjust my weight to ask for a halt, he'd slam on the brakes and spin around then canter off in the opposite direction. I love this horse. I hope that someday Jetta and I build the same rapport as Grady and I have. His hooves are looking wonderful. Last year I was bad and neglected having the farrier out as often as he needed so his hooves shifted forward and they're finally going back to normal and I'm very diligently trying to get rid of the thrush that he has always had. He has such tiny halter horse hooves compared to Jetta.

I can't believe that it's already almost fall. The apples and blackberries are ripe which is one of my favorite times of year. One blackberry for me, one for the horse, and maybe one for the bucket :) I'm going to bake a blackberry pie tonight. It cracks me up to see Jetta with her muzzle all purple. She picks the blackberries herself. Colton is not quite sure if he likes blackberries yet and Grady doesn't. The apples though... Grady takes very delicate bites - you have to hold the apple steady for him because he'll bite it in half and then bite the remaining part in half again. Very cute. Colton eats the apples whole (they're pretty small) and then there's Jetta. She tries to eat them whole but they're too big for her so she has to spit it out and then bite it in half. Dork.