Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Big News

Well, I had some big news to share over the weekend and uh, I guess I kind of forgot to share it!

Don't ask me how I forgot to blog about it since I've been thinking of it all week, but here it is.

Drumroll please...



I sold Tux!

Finally had someone (actually two someones) interested in him and so the first person came down to look at him, made an offer and I accepted!

I think this will be a good home, it's the lady, we'll call her M, I mentioned a while back that wanted to ship him to her, but she ended up being able to come down.

I got Tux all cleaned up the night before then the next day just washed his legs so he was sparkling clean. I even blow dryed his feathers so they wouldn't turn into instant mud in the arena (of course Tux could care less about the hair dryer - he stood there with his head down enjoying it without anyone holding him).

Hauled Tux to the indoor arena a few minutes away since it was raining. He loaded up perfectly in the trailer, unloaded, tacked up and rode around. We hadn't been to this arena since I first started him undersaddle and boy was he looky! I was slightly frustrated with him because he was blowing off my left leg and snorting at everything - the posters on the wall, the new flag for the cow horses, the hay around the end of the arena, etc. etc.

They kept saying they didn't mind though - especially if this was his "worst". The sister hopped on, she's a dressage trainer, and Tux was quite good for her, though a bit lazy in the canter. M got on and walked and trotted around. I guess she's getting back into riding after breeding horses for a few years - she'd breed them and her sister would sell and train them. Anyways, she's very knowledgeable but a bit out of practice. Tux was very good with her and she loved how easy his trot was to sit.

The plan is for Tux to have his pre-purchase exam done tomorrow then the hauler is coming on Friday to pick him up! Of course it's not finalized until after the vet check, so it could fall through, but I don't anticipate any problems so hopefully this doesn't jinx it!

I'm actually quite sad that he's leaving. In the past I haven't had a problem selling horses, but I think it's because he's going so far away (well, 6 hours so it wouldn't be impossible for me to come visit) and the fact that I clicked so well with him and if I didn't want to jump, I would probably be up for keeping him (well, besides the fact that I have Jetta and I don't want to sell her either). On the ride back to school I teared up when it finally hit me that my boy was going. Hopefully I don't start bawling when the trailer arrives for him...

All time favorite picture of him

At the beach

First indication that maybe he'd make a nice dressage horse!

Recently started under saddle

Not quite started undersaddle

My non-horsey roommate riding him

The cuteness

Bringing home the ribbons

Fat horse muzzle hatred


Western saddle = postage stamp

In the dreaded pony torture chamber

Playing the brave trail pony

First day at my place in Fall 2011

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Armed & Dangerous

I went out to see Jetta today armed and determined to have a good session with her...

Armed with my camera that is!

I got a new toy (a remote control) so of course I had to try it, plus I didn't want to have another fight with Jetta so we did something that we both enjoy - free jumping!

I'm a one-woman team so with free jumping it's hard to take pictures and make sure Jetta goes over the jump, but with the remote it's much easier, though I need to work on my timing.

Anyways, enough chatter, here are the (awesome) pics! Still need to figure out how to take better arena pics, but I still love them despite that.

3'3" - I think she makes this look easy!


Love how much clearance she has here!

Super pony

3'9" (though I think it might be taller than that) - of course I couldn't seem to get any pictures of her actually over the jump, my timing was off so this was the best I got. 

Nice hind end!

Reference - it's tall! I'm about 5'7"

Then it was time for a good roll. Of course she had to do it next to the wall and make me worry she was going to get cast or hurt herself.

Afterwards I went back to the wash rack for more fun. This time it only took 15 minutes of bickering before I got her in the wash rack, this time with no bribery. Ha! Once in I loved on her a bunch and made a big deal out of how good she was, then I put her back in her stall. Hopefully she will decide that it's not worth the fight tomorrow...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Major PITA

As I'm sure you are all aware, Jetta can be a major PITA. Which she has been the past couple days. Roller coaster I tell 'ya.

Saturday was yet again another crazy day. I woke up too early at 6am to go get Jetta and have a lesson with KB. While at our last lesson Jetta was too forward - running and anticipating the canter - Jetta was more on the lazy side this time. There is no middle ground with this horse.

I got there early and lunged and when I got on she was behind my leg and not really wanting to move out. Sigh... She was also doing the nasty rooting thing which I can't stand. I know she's doing it because of nerves, but the past few lessons (before our most recent with TS) she was perfectly fine. I really want to haul her to a different barn and just school her so she learns to cut it out.

Despite Jetta being a complete brat for the lesson I got some good pointers, as always. The two things we worked on were our leg yields and canter transitions.

For the leg yields, KB said I was bending Jetta's neck too far in order to get her to move her hip over. This was disappointing to hear because I felt that our leg yields were getting so much better! But they're not :( It makes sense though. So to fix this I just need to ask for a straighter neck then we need to work on getting her more responsive to my leg for stepping over. Because straight neck = less yielding to my leg in Jetta's book.

Next up was canter transitions. KB's contribution on finding that "perfect" cue is to ask three times with each of my aids - outside leg, inside leg, seat - and then if she's still trotting nicely then she's allowed to canter. This really, really pisses Jetta off and she ended up kicking the wall. What a fantastic way to make an impression right?

But we'll see how it goes. It makes sense to me, I'm just worried about desensitizing her too much and having her blow me off when I do ask for the transition. We did get some lovely ones, it was tough though.

Today was more of the brattyness. I lunged Jetta then had a quick ride. She was ok - not actively bad but not her best either. Then the plan was to do a white lightning soak on her back hooves, wash her tail and start pulling her mane.

Problem? Getting her into the wash rack. She flat out refused. And it's not because she's afraid of it or anything. She tolerates baths pretty well. No, she just likes to argue with me for the sake of arguing. I argued with her for over 30 minutes using everything in the book to convince her to get in the wash rack. She'd stick one front hoof in, I'd praise her, then when I asked her to go further in, she'd back out.

This is the problem with having a dominant horse. I love her to death but she drives me nuts because she's always seeking a way to get back on top. I finally lunged her in the arena so she didn't get a break and the wash rack would be a more relaxing place, then resorted to flat out bribery.

I grabbed a armful of hay, plopped it down at the back wall of the wash rack and sat down, studiously ignoring Jetta but making sure to rustle the hay a lot. She had the most adorable look on her face - she wanted that hay so bad but still didn't want to step foot in the wash rack. Finally I held a handful out under her nose and she stepped both front feet into the wash rack, then the back feet followed.

Looking so pitiful as she decides whether or not to step into the wash rack

Two feet in...
And we have all four feet!

I'm not sure who won this round - me or her?

She cleaned up all the hay, so I left her in the cross ties and put everything  (that I didn't get to use...) away. Then I stood with my back to her until she stopped pawing and bobbing her head, handing her treats whenever she stood still.

She is such a piece of work.

I think this week we'll be tacking up in the wash rack until she decides it's no big deal.

Friday, January 25, 2013


I have a cat story. I think this blog is turning into a horse/cat blog. But horse people tend to like animals in general so I hope you like cats!

Snowball is the barn kitty that I love. They keep trying to get me to take him home but I can't which makes me really sad because he is my #2 favoritest cat every (second only to my Chloe-cat). Anyways, he's not particularly happy about the arrangement. You see, he adores me just as much as I adore him. When he sees my car he literally comes running and you'll see a streak of white making a bee-line for me.

He follows me around the barn while I tack up Jetta meowing loudly and occasionally will sit on the arena wall or the jumps in the corner and watch me ride. Yesterday, he decided that more action was needed.

After my ride I got in the car and sat texting people before I turned the car on. I heard a "thunk" and looked up to see Snowball on the hood of my car staring at me, obviously trying to tell me that he wanted to be inside the car too.

Giving me the most evil glare imaginable

I honked the horn at him and he jumped a bit but didn't move, just kept staring intently at me. I rolled down the window to try to call him off but he didn't budge. I started the car. Still didn't budge. I slowly started backing up and he walked to the end of the hood and firmly sat down. He obviously was not getting off, I guess that's the downside to teaching him to ride the four wheeler. He's no longer afraid of sitting on running or moving vehicles. I got the car turned around and started inching forward, sure that he was going to get off once he realized how futile it was.

The car is actually moving in this photo, albeit slowly, but he is not budging!

But nope. He settled down on the hood as I drove to the end of the driveway. I got out to shut the gate and set him on the ground. I'm sure if my hood was made of something he could have dug his claws into I would have had to pry him off. As it was he sat in the driveway doing those big kitten eyes trying to sucker me into taking him home with me. I wish!

That cat is just too cute. After I got home I saw that the BO had texted me - she saw the whole thing and was just dying of laughter. Oh Snowball...

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Jetta has been having fun free lunging and I enjoy watching her strut her stuff.

Sometimes I think I am so lucky to have found this horse ♥

Being a dork. Someday she's going to flip her head and run into the wall, lol.

Look at that overstep!

Being a good girl and coming into me when asked

"You called?"


Sorry for the overkill of pictures but I couldn't get over how lovely she looked!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


My motto - "It's the very difficult horses that have the most to give you." - Lendon Gray 
I actually have this quote framed with a collage of pictures of Jetta.

Had such a nice ride on Jetta tonight! Not perfect of course, but it just felt so good.

I lunged her beforehand which I've been making a habit of lately, she just seems spunkier than usual which I'm currently attributing to the below freezing weather.

I hopped on and worked on our free walk as a warm up. I haven't been doing as much of a long and low warm up because Jetta's gotten to expect it so she'll try to yank the reins out of my hands so that she can stretch. Naughty... now she does that and she gets a kick! She's mostly stopped.

Everything seemed to flow today. Her trot has continued it's niceness - I don't know how to explain how good it feels. It's elastic and round and swingy. Feels like perfection to me! She was a little sticky in her canter transitions to the left but to the right they were really good.

This is 100% Jetta's motto
For some reason leg yields have suddenly clicked in her brain and tonight, even without a whip we got some awesome leg yields: straight and at the perfect 45 degree angle. We even switched it up and leg yielded off the wall to X and then back the other direction to the wall. Even in the canter it feels nice and she hasn't even gotten sassy with me about it!

Lengthening in the trot is more expressive now that we've started asking for more and after she got in trouble with running. I no longer feel like we're a freight train when she gets going that fast. Both the leg yields and adjusting the stride length in the canter has made her canter more uphill, round and balanced.

It just felt like everything was coming together, that we could go out and do a respectable first level test. And keep in mind that this was all while the BO drove the truck into the rather small arena to unload hay that was covered in a tarp and grain all the other horses. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about - my horse was awesomeness.

I hope this feeling lasts a while because training Jetta has been such a roller coaster ride from you-know-where! We are constantly making one step forward, then four steps back, sideways, up, down, you name it and that's probably happened. At this moment in time I feel like we're on a linear, progressive and upward trend in our training. (Please universe, do not take that as an invitation to set us back a year in training!)

She's going to turn 7 here soon (for reals, not just the universal TB birthday) and I feel like at this age the "she's young" excuse is no longer applicable. She's becoming an adult. When I look back I can see that we have come so, so far. But I still see a long road ahead us and I'm looking forward to conquering it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looong weekend

This weekend is just what I needed! Besides my crazy, hectic day Saturday the rest of the weekend was nice and laid back.

Sunday I basically did nothing and ended up sleeping in until noon. Oops. I lazed around at home then Monday we had no school so I spent the day with my mom for lunch and shopping.

That morning I fed the horses and had a quick ride on Tux. I opted to go bareback in the interest of saving energy (aka being lazy) and the fact that he was warm and the weather is stubbornly remaining below freezing. He was such a good boy and we had a fun jaunt around the pasture. I wanted to go ride on the road again but we've had a freezing fog settle over the valley so I didn't want to gamble with the slick roads even though he doesn't have shoes and would probably be fine. Better safe than sorry.

Someone was supposed to come out and look at him Monday morning, but they flaked and later I got an email that they decided to wait on buying a new horse. Phooey.

But! I still have someone coming to see him this Saturday, as well as one other person interested in him if the first set decide not to go through with it, plus a third person who emailed me this morning and might be interested. Finally! At least two people are really serious about it, they are both from out of state and I think they'd both be good fits. It's a little sad that they're not close enough to visit like with Katy, but if they bought him then I would have an excuse to go there!

Today was more laziness, though I've still been productive. No class so I've gotten through three hours worth of video lecture for my online class, did laundry, more homework for other classes and am now just about out the door to go ride Miss Jetta!

Hopefully she'll behave herself and make up for her rudeness on Saturday since I'm still a bit miffed at her.

No horse pictures, so I'll leave you one of my very annoyed cat, Chloe. I think she wanted me to stop taking pictures of her...

Not amused...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Busy Bee

Really long post because I had such a busy day yesterday! Started off at a tack sale. I sold a few of my things that I don't use anymore, though not as many as I had hoped. I also sold a saddle for a friend so I got some consignment money for that so overall it was worth waking up early for. Amazingly enough I managed not to buy anything! That has to be a first for me :)

I left the sale early to head up to get Jetta for a lesson with TS. Of course I was running late so I just grabbed Jetta out of the stall and tossed her in the trailer. Thank goodness I had it hooked up and turned around the night before!

Mapquest, always the one for adventure, took me the back way to a barn which was what I wanted since it would have taken me twice as long to go up the interstate but wow! There were some major hills along the way so I'm glad my poor old truck was able to make it and my dad had just gotten the brakes redone because we needed it!

I had never been to this barn before but it was really nice. I wish there was something closer to me like it. Every stall had a matted run, there was a gorgeous outdoor arena, the tack room had a viewing window, washer and dryer, fridge, and was heated of course. I love my barn but there are just a few things I wish it had...

Jetta, of course, was a brat. I was really excited to show off to TS how well she was doing. Her trot is so nice right now and she had been such a good pony lately. But of course, Jetta is always the humbling horse. She was quite hyper and when we were warming up kept anticipating the canter and was trying to snatch the reins out of my hands which was unusual since she hasn't done that for the longest time. She was trying to run in the canter too. Basically she was just plain rude.

Fortunately though that didn't ruin the lesson. After TS admonished me for being too passive with Jetta and using some strong half halts to get Jetta to knock it off, we worked on using our corners in the trot to collect and rebalance as well as going deeper into them. We moved to the canter and did a little bit of counter canter, just doing shallow loops on the long side going from the corner to the quarter line and back to the other corner. Surprisingly Jetta did really well at this, I was impressed!

Back in the trot we showed off our lengthening. TS said it was a good start but that we needed a lot more. Of course it always feels like a lot when you're in the saddle but on the ground, she said there wasn't enough of a difference. Of course asking for more = running for Jetta so we went back to the strong half halts to let her know that that wasn't allowed and that when I sat back and asked for a return to the working trot she better do it right now! We finally got one spectacular one (to me it felt amazing) so we quit on that and started on lengthenings in the canter, where we're having more of a problem.

We just did a few strides forward, to a few strides back, really asking her to collect thinking "canter in place". To the left Jetta was really good and I felt like I was riding a real dressage horse! We got that "rolling" feeling where Jetta was uphill and lengthening her stride, not just going faster. Amazing! To the right it was much more difficult to get that rolling feeling though I finally achieved it by sitting back a bit and thinking up picking her up with my reins.

One question I had for TS, since she's a vet and chiropractor, is what is going on with Jetta's butt! Her right hip is almost an inch higher than her left hip. TS said Jetta has always been stronger on her right side, her gluteal muscle is just more developed. Jetta doesn't want to push off with her left hind so that's part of the reason that our canter to the right isn't as good as to the left. She said it's nothing to worry about because eventually she'll learn to use the left side more, it's just embarrassing I never noticed it before!

Part of our problem...

Despite Jetta's rudeness, I love how TS loves Jetta, as cheesy as that sounds. My parents don't particularly like her, in part I know because of how upset I get when I just can't get through to her and we have bad rides or I feel like I'm not a good enough rider for her. Plus my dad is convinced that mares are the worst and has always wanted me to sell Jetta. ML absolutely doesn't get along with Jetta either so she never quite believes me when I say that Jetta was really good. So it's nice to have someone that likes Jetta and believes in our potential.

TS always mentions that Jetta is going to make a great FEI level horse, in part because of her hard-headedness. TS knows my parents and knows that my dad doesn't like Jetta and today she said "You should be allowed to keep one great horse for yourself" since I'm selling Tux I guess. TS hasn't seen Jetta since the beginning of summer which is kind of neat in that she gets to see the differences in Jetta that you wouldn't otherwise see if you were working with us on a regular basis. She loved Jetta's trot that despite being a bit rude was still very nice and she praised our canter too.

I took Jetta back to the barn and hurried home to change for the next phase of my day. TS was giving our team a presentation on horse biomechanics, using Dr. Gerd Heuschmann's video. We had it at one of our member's really nice homes which was great because she had a movie viewing room with a projector and everything so it was perfect. We made it a potluck (I made chicken lasagna the night before) so it was a fun night with everyone just talking about horses... well, and cats too. They had an adorable cat that was so fun to watch.

Overall, it was exhausting but you can't beat a day filled with horses! And I applaud those of you who made it to the end of my little novel :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Blues

Ugh, every year. I hate winter. I hate that it's dark, I hate that it rains for 10 straight months, I hate that it's cold, I hate that there's no shows, I hate the mud, I hate that the trails are un-rideable, I hate that there's limited turnout, I hate everything about it. Except snow, I love snow! But that's it.

Even though it's only Week 2 of class (9 more weeks to go!) I'm already overwhelmed by everything and ready for the term to be over. None of my classes are bad, it's just that I'd rather be elsewhere... In addition to school, I'm also trying to set up clinics for the dressage team, sell Tux, be in other clubs, volunteer, and have time to ride my horse. It's driving me a little crazy.

Jetta is at least doing well under saddle which is a huge boost to my spirits. And this week I have a four day weekend to look forward to! So it's not all bad :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Jetta has been really good for the past two rides.

I went and rode her last night and though she started out with a bit of an attitude she settled down and we were able to work on her canter transitions and get some really nice ones and she didn't get all worked up about it. We also worked on leg yields and they are improving as well. I'd really like to do the First Level test 2 with Jetta but we have to have all the pieces in place.

Looking so cute in her striped quarter sheet.
This morning was another good ride. Again, Jetta started out a little bit rude but settled down quickly. I think we've figured out what works best for her in asking for the canter - I ask with my seat first to prepare her but she isn't allowed to canter until I put my leg on. That way she's prepared for when I ask and the transitions have been pretty nice! Of course it's not 100% and it still needs some fine tuning, but I'll take it.

Her lengthened trots are feeling really nice so I can't wait to hear what TS thinks of them. We need to work on the canter lengthenings more though. Overall I feel like our first level stuff is coming together, though I don't think we'll be doing test 3 any time soon since it calls for a simple change through the walk with no trot steps. Ha. I'm lucky to get a simple change through the trot so it might take us a while to work on that...

I think tomorrow I'll take the First level tests 1 and 2 out to the barn with me and do a run through and see what is left to work on.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sale Question

Ok, I have a question for all of you out there that have sold a horse in the past. I finally have someone who is seriously interested in Tux, but she lives out of state. I am completely fine with selling him out of state, but she doesn't think she can come down to try him out, plus she wants her vet to do the pre-purchase exam so instead she wants to ship him up to her and do a lease-to-buy sort of thing. She says she could probably decide in two weeks whether or not she wants to keep him.

She seems like a nice lady, her sister with whom she rides is an accomplished dressage trainer and she likes Tux because he reminds her of one of her first horses, a black pinto who she bought at 12 and trained to dressage, retiring him at Grand Prix at 26, then he lived to be 37!

Anyways, thoughts? She would basically just find a trailer that's going her way to hitch a ride, not a commercial shipper, it's only a roughly 6 hour drive. We would of course have a contract drawn up, etc. I'd probably ask for a couple references to talk to as well, then he would also need a Coggins pulled and a health certificate. I've just never had experience selling a horse across state lines, so is this something you would do or say no?

In addition, I had a comment the other day about his sale listing, so if anyone is interested, here's the link to the dreamhorse ad. And of course you have this whole blog to see all the pictures and videos of him :)

Helping Out

This was kind of a crazy weekend, even though it wasn't originally supposed to be.

Saturday I had planned a nice, productive day. I'd sleep in a little, clean my room, get some homework done, go for a run, go ride Jetta then drive home to ride Tux and spend the night.

Friday night as I was getting ready for bed, I get a facebook message from a friend, one of my old 4-H leaders, thanking me profusely for helping out "tomorrow". I frantically pulled out my planner, sure that I had volunteered to do something and  forgotten it, but nothing came to mind and Saturday was blank. Long story short I finally figured out that somehow, someone had volunteered me to help with a tack sale.

It was a benefit sale for the 4-H program, so I couldn't say no because I love supporting the program, plus I didn't have any "concrete" plans for the day so I woke up bright and early for it. It was a lovely 23 degrees throughout the sale, though they made quite a bit of money from it, which is great for the 4-H program since funding fell through three years ago and there is no longer 4-H in our county, though it looks like they are rallying and the community is finally coming up with enough money to fund it again.

Preparing to go outside: 3 pairs of pants + gloves and face wrap + 4 coats = perfect toastiness!
I went home and defrosted for a bit then went and rode Tux. I am putting off clipping him again since it is so cold! He was great as per usual. I rode him Sunday as well and worked on stuff from our last clinic. If I still have him by the end of February I think I'd like to take him to a dressage show and maybe show at first level.

Sunday I ended up having too much homework to go ride Jetta and I'm finishing it up today so I will get to ride tonight hopefully! In the slightly improved temperatures of 28 degrees. Boy do I hope it warms up soon! This whole below freezing thing is a bit ridiculous.