Sunday, September 29, 2013

Third and Final

Went to the last trail competition on Friday. It was SUPPOSED to be nice this weekend, which was good since this was going to be a three day competition. But, the weather changed and it decided to storm. The whole entire weekend. The competition was supposed to go from 9-4pm but with the rain, everyone ended up packing up and leaving at 1pm. Everything was just getting too slick with the rain.

But, Misty and I completed the course, despite the rain with no issues. Of course no one got pics of us this time, but that's okay. I barely took pictures anyways because of the rain. I wish I could do a complete write up with pics like last time, but I'll at least do an overview of the obstacles.

She's definitely improving. She was super good this time, despite two obstacles that she decided to be a bit of a pain on.

The first section was mostly on the ground:
  • Ground drive your horse through the pylons, weaving out and back
  • Ground drive between two poles on the ground, then back all the way through
  • Ground tie your horse and pick up all four feet
  • Get on them from a mounting block, horse must remain stationary
I was curious to see how Misty would do with ground driving, since I haven't done it with her yet. I was very thankful that I'd taken the time to desensitize her to ropes around her body since she was afraid of them when I first got her and there were several horses that I was sure were going to turn into a train wreck they were so afraid of the driving lines... But she was awesome! I stuck close to her and clucked to get her to go forward, I definitely could have used a little dressage whip, but it turned out ok. Steering wasn't super on point, but I didn't really have any problem getting her to do the obstacles!

Section A:
  • Pick up the big bouncy ball that's in a hay net and walk it in a figure 8 around the two trees
This obstacle last time was a hula hoop and I picked it up too close to Misty's face and she spooked at it so we didn't complete it. I didn't make that mistake again!
  • "Car wash": walk over the bristle brush thingy and through the curtain
  • Walk down a trail on the side of the hill and back up. It was slick!
  • Walk over some rail road ties
  • Walk into a ditch, then turn around and back out. The part you backed out was steep and slick and Misty just would not put her head down to back out, so obviously she didn't have enough power to get up that little hill. She threw a little bit of a fit. 
  • Walk over a big mound of dirt
  • Walk over the large, raised bridge
  • Walk through a zig-zag made of fencing, tarps and cow hides, including a nice and fresh smelly one. Lots of horses were afraid of this one 
Section B:
  • Weave through pylons, sidepass left over a ground pole, weave more pylons, sidepass right over a ground pole. Yay! We actually were able to sidepass something like it was no big deal!
  • Pick up a tall pole with an owl on top, walk around a teepee and put the pole back. Didn't get a time, because somehow the timer failed to mention that we were required to stay within the white line painted on the ground. Half way through she told me "try to stay inside the line". Fail, on her part really.
  • There were like 5 little trails you had to do in this section. Kinda boring. There was one with a bridge, Misty went right over it despite how narrow it was though!
 Section C:
  •  Toss a "noose" up into a tree and get it to land in between two hankerchiefs tied to a branch. I thought this was going to be really hard because of how high up it was, but I got it on the first try!
  • Pick up the (absolutely terrifying) stuffed money and walk over a set of poles arranged in a "wagon wheel" formation. Actually completed this obstacle this time around, but just barely!
  • Do yet another trail, pick up a bag of gold coins along the way. The theme for this whole course was "bank robbers", lol. 
  •  Drag a really heavy tire from one cone to the next. Had to dally it, which I was nervous about but Misty could care less. 
  • Pull a stuffed "bank robber" that was on a pulley all the way into the air then lower him. 
  • Open and close a rope gate that had hankerchiefs dangling from it. This was pretty cute. I tried to get Misty to get really close to it, and she thought I wanted her to go through it like it was a curtain, so she shoved her head under it (it was pretty high) and I had to rein her in before she decapitated me, lol. Then she spooked at it when I unhooked it, but luckily I was able to bring her back and get it rehooked again. 
  •  Walk under some empty feed bags dangling from a branch, they were just low enough that the horses had to duck their heads under it.
  • Walk over two different sets of logs
  • Back through a zig zag of poles on the ground. My fault really, since we barely practiced this at all. It's so weird what a fit she throws about backing through these poles... I don't know why it freaks her out so much, mini rears and everything, so we'll need to work on this lots more.
 Section D:
  •  Walk up to a fence, haunch turn one way, then haunch turn the other way
  • Walk over a white tarp "runway", at the end of which, there's a tarp covered mattress. Took us a few tries, but we eventually got it.
  • Put two front feet on a tire filled with dirt and pause.  
  • Pick up a tennis ball from a bucket and throw it into another one while standing a good distance away.
  • Walk up the three banks carved into the hill and back down. Slick! We almost slid all the way down...
  •  Walk across a set of stall mats arranged in a line and spray painted with white stripes. Scary, but we did it. 
  •  Sidepass up the hill over a large black pipe and then sidepass back down. Super bummed on this one because she did it! It just took me too long to convince her to do it, so we timed out at only four seconds over a minute :(
  •  Walk into an empty "pond" that's lined with tarps/carpeting and jump out over a log. 
  • Same "pond" as above- step down off the log into the ditch part. 
  • Drag some empty water bottles around a cone and back
 Section E:
  •  Walk over a short bridge, go around a barrel, then back over the bridge
  • Walk over another short bridge, stop on the bridge and lower a bucket to scoop up some water, walk around a barrel, get back on the bridge and dump out water. 
  • Walk down and back over a long and narrow, downhill bridge. Be very thankful your horse is super careful with her feet. 
  •  Walk down and back over a "bridge" made of sand fenced in with railroad ties. 
  • Open and close a gate
  • Walk through a ditch filled with rocks. Ha. I kept thinking Misty was going to do this one, she'd get her front feet in and then do a little bit of a panic/sideways skitter and wouldn't put her back feet in. 
  • Pick up a loud cow bell on a rope and hoist it up
  • Walk between a pig that was penned up and a tree. Only one person couldn't do this, the guy on the mule named Bailiff that is a very competitive pair... they were one of the few people that Jazz and I had to watch out for ;) He has a weakness!
  • Walk up to a tire, dismount on it, turn horse around and remount
So that most of the obstacles I remember! Only missed five, so we'll have to see how we measure up. Since the rain came and they cancelled the rest of the competition they're going to do it again for people who missed out next weekend so we have to wait that long to see where we placed... 

I finally got it explained to me how the scoring works because I was really confused. The first competition I got first in Novice... then we got 4th in Amateur at the second one. I guess you get placed in the category based on how many obstacles you do, with open being like the top 6 people, then Amateur being the next 6 people, then Novice, etc. At the end, you get points for your placing... for instance if you got first in open you'd get 50 points, then less points for each plaing, so first in Amateur would be 40 points, 3rd in Amateur would something like 38, and so on. Then at the end your points are added up and you place accordingly. 

So it's supposedly like how barrel races are placed (except those are on time, but same idea). It makes it a little more even playing field I guess, though I wished it was based on whatever class you entered... that way I'd have a better chance at winning a belt buckle! Essentially, I'm trying to get 7th or 13th place in order to get a belt buckle for Amateur or Novice. Unfortunately, I just don't think that's going to happen. Bummer.  But it's been fun and I'm super happy with Misty.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


It seems like everything tends to happen at once and then in between happenings, there's absolutely nothing exciting, lol.

This whole week, since I last posted, hasn't been exciting. I went to the barn every day, rode both ponies, had mostly good rides, and that was it. It's definitely fall now so the rain has begun in earnest meaning there's been no way to make it out on the trails. Well, unless I wanted to ride in the rain, which I may just have to suck it up and do.

So, the exciting news:

1) I won more money! The sorting competition that I won money at, their computer system they used crashed, so they calculated my winnings wrong. Thus, I get an extra $50 check in the mail, whoo!!

2) We went and rode in the rain at the third and final trail competition. Misty was awesome, the weather was not. More detailed post coming up!

Yeah... I have a problem
3) Tack store sale! I went on a tiny shopping spree. The whole store was 10% off, breeches were 20% and show shirts were 40% off. Sooo, I not only bought the two things I came for (leather therapy laundry soap for some used leather full seat breeches I bought and I also finally got Misty her Happy Mouth bit) but also a nice white show shirt with a pretty turquoise wrap collar for less than 40 bucks and a cute key chain. Goodbye any extra money I might of had, but hey, it's my birthday in a couple days so I decided to treat myself :)

I had a hard time restraining myself from buying anything more. They had some FITS breeches in my size on sale for $150 in white... While I do want another pair of white breeches, I don't really want white FITS so I passed them up, with difficulty. Then they had the whole new line of Joules clothes (I love everything that Joules makes pretty much) and all the pretty saddle pads... drool.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Possibly Addicted

Oh my gosh. Guys, I had so much fun yesterday!

First ranch sorting competition EVER and it was a blast. Well worth the nerves and the fact that I spent the whole entire day waiting around for my divisions which were the very last to go.

It was supposed to start at 9am so I got there at 8:30. I think that I need to learn to show up later than I *think* that I should... JF and DC (who I've practiced with/invited me) were already there luckily so I went to talk to them and they helped get me entered because I had absolutely no clue how things like this worked. I was feeling so intimidated too when I got there. Everyone knew everyone else, plus half the people there had trophy saddles and obviously were quite good at what they did. Plus, the office person was having a hard time explaining to me what the classes were like and I was having a hard time understanding... Pretty much I spent the whole morning wondering why I decided to come. But, you've got to start somewhere, right?

Pretty sunrise on the way out to the competition

Everything got started at around 10am. They began with a Round Robin class which took forever. It was basically a higher stakes class with a huge jackpot. Each rider rode with every other rider in the class so with 13 entries there were 78 pairs. FOREVER I tell you. They didn't get done with that class until after 2pm. But, it was really fun to watch all the experienced people because they were really good.

Then came the "8" class. Everyone's ranked on their experience/how much money they've won. So me, being absolutely brand new, am a "1". The numbered classes mean that the pairs' ranking cannot add up to more than the class number. So if you have a "5" and a "2" rider, they can enter the "8" class, but not the "4" class. Same with a "3" and a "4" ranked rider, they could also be in the "8" class. So basically, they're the more experienced riders.

Warm up time

I entered the "4" class with 2 rides and the "11" Ranch Hand class with three rides. Finally, it was my turn to go. Besides a minor mishap of Misty untying herself at the trailer and wandering off to graze, she'd been standing most of the day. She warmed up BEAUTIFULLY. Everything was just spot on. But when it came to my turn, I was super nervous. Plus, I was tired. I had been worried about getting Misty to wake up, but it turns out I should have been more concerned with myself!

My first run was a draw, so I had a random partner. We got three cows in clean, then two dirty cows made a break for the hole (which I was supposed to be guarding) and I just simply didn't run them off fast enough, even though I had plenty of time to. Embarrassing. So no time on that run.

My next run I was with DC so I at least knew her which gave me a lot more confidence. We were able to get 5 cows in clean which I was super happy with. I no longer felt like a failure! Since we had 5 cows, we got to come back again for the next round. We got 5 cows again, placing us in second! Only the top two placings got paid out in this class since there were 20 pairs. Cue awesome feeling - I was thinking, Hey, maybe we can actually do this.

Everyone just waiting around - did I mention how many gorgeous horses were there?

The next class, the Ranch Hand one, was for an experienced rider and a less experienced rider. The more experienced rider would stay in the hole while the less experienced rider got all the cows. This was the one for us. First time in I was with JF and I got 5 cows in clean. Not too shabby. My next run was a draw and I got a lady that I'd ridden with before at practice, KP. I really admire her. She's 78 years old and still riding. She used to be a barrel racer and now does sorting. She's had both hips replaced. I really hope I'm still riding and as competitive as she is when I reach that age!

Anyways, we decided to trade off guarding the hole since neither of us were that experienced and I was told not to run more than one or two cows at her at a time because she wouldn't be able to split off more than that. We got three cows in and then I brought two to her, I was having a really hard time with the number we were supposed to get and the cow just wouldn't separate from it's buddy and KP wasn't able to split it off so they both went through, so no time on that run. But oh well.

Next run I was with an experienced guy and he told me to just be really aggressive and go for it. "If you feel like you should be walking, trot." I got five cows again clean this time. Since I got 5 cows on two runs, I got to come back again twice.

I figured I might as well go all out since both the people I was riding with were really good, so I should just go for it! Boy, did it work out. With JF I got 8 cows in, almost 9 and was heading for the 10th cow when the buzzer rang. Awesome! Then with the guy, I got 9 cows in clean!

It was so amazing. Misty listened really well. We still have a lot to work on, but it was SO MUCH FUN. Seriously, the feeling after doing a run was pretty dang close to the feeling you get after doing cross country. Dare I say it was even equitable??? We placed first in that class, so with the money I won, basically I didn't have to pay any entry fees. Pretty sweet. I think that I am definitely hooked now. Can't wait for the next one!

Sunset back at the barn. What a good day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sassy Pants


Both girls have been feeling QUITE sassy the last couple rides. Geez. Didn't notice if they were in heat or not (usually it's easily noticeable) but perhaps the cooler weather's contributing to some strong opinions lately.

Happy ponies outside shortly before it started pouring

Jetta was a fireball under saddle. She had way, way too much energy and kept getting more and more amped, so we went and played on the trail course for a little bit to decompress and then went back to the arena and finally got a little bit more focused work. The BO said she didn't get turned out the day before, so that was probably partly the reason.

Misty too had her sassy pants on today. Yesterday's ride wasn't so smooth. We had several discussions about listening to my aids for stopping and turning and going. So basically for everything. I wasn't even sure at the end of our ride whether we were actually quitting on a positive note or not, or even if anything had actually been achieved in our ride. It was a disappointing ride to say the least, probably the first one with her actually that was really rough and kind of depressing.

Luckily, she seemed way more on top of it today. She was responsive and attentive. 90% of our stops were correct, she did rollbacks and picked up the correct leads, she backed softly with minimal use of the reins. She went when I told her. It was good. Then... we were cantering along on the right lead and she was doing really well. She had a fairly nice, slow canter and I was letting her go along on a loose rein. I asked for a slightly smaller circle with my outside leg and instead got an explosion. Holy cow!

I've gotten a few leaps out of her when doing flying changes, but nothing like that. I was completely unprepared for it and vaguely thought, as we were hopping and skipping across the arena, that I was going to come off. Luckily I was able to get her stopped and then we tried again, this time with a much shorter rein. Unfortunately I gouged the skin of my knuckles (how, I have no idea) so after a much better canter I got off and got my gloves. The rest of the ride was uneventful and she was fine. 

I think she was just anticipating the flying changes since the last few times I'd had to get after her for not changing clean. But, this ride we took lots of breaks, she got lots of praise and rewards for all her good behavior. We did do a flying change in each direction and I made sure to ask quietly and gush over her afterwards. Despite the buck, it was a really good ride. With all of the praise and breaks we took she started to relax and stopped anticipating.

Afterwards to give her brain even more of a break we went and played on the trail course for the first time. She thought the tarp full of bottles was really scary, which I thought was funny since Jetta didn't give it too much thought. But she was really good with dragging the bucket (something I definitely didn't try on Jetta) and roping the barrel, backing through the cones and the "L" (!) and walking over the bridge. Fun, fun. She got lots and lots of treats afterwards and a good grooming then got turned back outside.

Tackling the scary bottles

Overall, I think we're prepared for tomorrow: our first sorting event!

Also: There is a contest over at Life of Riley! Pretty awesome prizes too :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Have had two good days with the girls!

Yesterday I let Misty have the day off and just rode Jetta. I decided to ride her in a kineton noseband. I'd bought it a long time ago, but for some reason forgot I had it and never tried her in it. Since going back to work she's been super heavy and pulling, like she usually is until we can work out of it. But with how strong she's been I was thinking of possibly switching from her plain Myler loose ring to a french link 2-ring gag that I have. That way on endurance rides I could start out on the lower ring at the beginning of our ride so I could have a little more "lift" and then switch to the snaffle ring once she's chilled out a bit. But, an even better idea was the kineton.

I'd researched lots of bits and nosebands for Jetta since she is a puller, yet at the same time she cannot go in a severe bit because it just makes her even worse to ride. I came across the kineton and puckle nosebands. The puckle kind of looks like a flash noseband but the lower strap that usually goes around the mouth just attaches to the bit on either side. Both of the nosebands have the same idea of transferring some of the pressure from the bit to the nose.

Jetta goes really well in a sidepull, so I thought that one of these nosebands would be perfect for her. I'd prefer the puckle noseband, but they're really rare. More common in Europe than anywhere else, and still rarely at that. CWD makes a couple varieties, one with elastic and one without, but they're super spendy. Anyways. I found a cheap kineton on ebay and bought it a while ago and then yesterday finally tried in on Jetta.

First Whoa! moment: It was awesome. She tried to pull a little bit but found she couldn't. But, since it was still her regular, soft bit, she could still hold contact with me. It was really nice. I'm excited to keep riding her in this to see if this dramatic effect is going to wear off or not. It might even be a good option for cross country instead of or in addition to her waterford bit.

Before I rode her I walked her around the BO's new mini trail course. I took pictures of her but apparently they didn't get saved to my phone. She was really good! She usually likes to remind me that she is not a competitive trail horse and regularly refuses to cross bridges on the trail and spooks at anything mildly "scary". But she cruised around the little course at our barn like it was no big deal. I was even able to perfectly ask her to back the "L" which a lot of horses have a hard time with. She crossed the little bridge and went over a tarp full of empty plastic water bottles that were nice and crunchy with barely any hesitation.

I rode Misty today and she was semi-good. In that, we really worked on getting a good, solid stop without any of those trailing steps. Second Whoa! moment: She finally seemed to really get it. She's really good at stopping with her hind end under her, she just needed to understand that when I asked for a halt, I meant halting now and no extra steps. So then we moved on to doing a "square" exercise where in each corner I asked her for a quarter turn on the haunches, concentrating on not using my hands and getting her to really pick up her shoulder. It was kind of 50/50. Sometimes she'd really get it and it was awesome. Other times she wouldn't get it at all. And then still other times she would skip around (skipping = bad. It's supposed to be more like trotting than cantering). I guess that's more like 33/33/33 than 50/50, lol. Then we returned to the stopping and she wasn't doing it as well as previously, though I'm hoping it was just because she was physically/mentally tired. At least I know she can do it!

Third Whoa! moment: my post about the ranch versatility show from the other day got 105 views. Wow. Usually I average about 30 views per post, so that was a huge surprise! Not sure why it's so popular.

The weather's been super rainy this week so I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it out on the trails. I really want to go at least once with Jetta and once with Misty and then take one of them and go with a friend, so three times total in the next two weeks. But the weather's just looking icky so we'll just have to play it by ear...

One benefit of being rainy = pretty clouds

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ranch Pony

Well, we sucked it up and went to our first ranch versatility competition on Sunday! All week I had been stressing about it. Worrying that we were going to embarrass ourselves or that we wouldn't fit in, something would go wrong, etc.

I'm glad that I decided to go though. It was a perfect first introduction to this new discipline. And it was FUN.


Flyer said it started at 9am so I planned to get there at 8:30. Showed up with perfect timing and there were a few people were warming up but no one had a clue what was happening. So we just chilled for a bit then I warmed up and then took Misty back to the trailer.

She was actually being quite bad (for her, which isn't saying much) in warm up. She was plowing through my aids, not wanting to stop, not picking up her right lead and not giving me clean flying changes. Humph. She had been doing so well at home, I was a little bummed and now more nervous about our "debut".

The show finally got on the road at 10am. They had us all meet and explained the trail course. There were 13 obstacles and you had to pick 8 to 10 to do. They gave us a course map, but then explained that you don't have to follow it. You could make up your own obstacles even if they weren't on the map.

I was third to go and running on a lack of sleep so I did nothing spectacular. After watching everyone after me I thought of all the cool things we could have done to gain more points. Obstacles were scored 0-6 based on how your horse performed it, how you rode it and how difficult the obstacle was. Most people did just fine. It was an easy-peasy course.

Then was the reining/cow part. All movements scored 0-10.

Again we were third. The two people before us had rather... interesting... rides. The cows were really, really dull. I befriended an older couple there that were also first timers and they had been at the clinic the day before so were telling me to cross my fingers for a brown cow since they were a little more exciting.

Our reining pattern actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't think she would pick up the right lead but she did. Our circles were a little wonky (circles with corners anyone?) and I wish we had a big arena to practice in at home, but overall not too bad. Flying changes were acceptable, the one from right to left was a stride late behind though. The scoring was kind of weird - we got a 6.5 on the late change, the lateness was also noted, then the next change which was clean, got a 6. Though I guess it wasn't as smooth as it could have been, it's her harder direction so I basically rocked her off balance to make her change, aka not as smooth as it could have been. Our rundowns to roll backs were actually quite good on the stopping front considering how she wasn't stopping well earlier, though we need to work on getting no trot/walk strides after the initial halt. Roll backs could use some work.

Our "sliding stop" was quite good, back up ok. Then the spins. Were awful. I'm just too handsy. We need to work on that a lot. At least we did way better than the two before us, both of which did tight circles/forehand turns instead of haunch pivots.

Then it was time for a cow. We got a brown one! I was pleased. Of course it gets away from me almost immediately, but personally I'd rather have that than one that won't move. Though apparently you score higher with a cow that doesn't move... (according to how placing ended up).

Go Misty Go!

Misty was fantastic. She listened, watched the cow and didn't get too far ahead or behind. I was really worried about circling because it's so hard, but we didn't have much of a problem, even earning a 9!

Here's a video of our run. I apologize to my mom, but she wins the award for worst videographer. I appreciate her effort so much! But it kind of sucks...

So much fun! I thought Misty did super well and was proud of our first outing. We didn't embarrass ourselves. We watched the rest of the riders and I estimated my placing as 2nd or 3rd.

I was super bummed to find we'd placed 5th out of 7 in the Novice category. I can't help being super competitive and wanting to place well. Though really, I went into it just wanting to have a good experience which we were successful at.

At the risk of sounding like a poor loser, my mom and I were chatting after and honestly I think we placed so low because everyone who placed higher had done the clinics the day before with the judge. He knew them and their horses so he probably was able to see the improvement in them, thus scoring them higher. Just my opinion. Because the lady who placed fourth had quite the rough ride - her horse almost ran into the fencing because she couldn't get him to stop, he did simple lead changes instead of flying and didn't do spins (just small circles) and had a dull cow so you didn't get to see how cowy her horse was. But then again, this probably just shows how little I know of ranch versatility scoring...

Pink horse gets a pink ribbon

Despite all of that, I really enjoyed myself. I felt like we fit right in with all of the beginners there, even the "experienced" people weren't that amazing so I felt like we were right on the same level. I was thinking I'd be slightly self conscious about wearing my helmet because I always get "those looks" when riding with the western crowd, but I needn't have feared. Out of 10 riders, 6 were wearing helmets including me, and only one of those was a youth. Way to go helmet people!

I would definitely go back, though this was the last one of the year.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

She's Baaack

Jetta is back in action! I've lunged her a few times in side reins then finally got on and rode Wednesday. She was pretty good. Nothing that I didn't expect. Lost most of what we'd achieved last month but she wasn't completely awful. Nice to be back on her though.

Then the next day, Thursday, we went for our first endurance ride back. Only 8 miles this time around and we were slow pokes about it because we played in the river! Jetta started off her normal spooky self - leaping at leaves, sticks and stumps. At one point I thought she was going to buck me off when she humped her back at a blackberry vine, but luckily no theatrics. But the amazing part... the walked through ALL THE MUD AND ALL THE PUDDLES. This is a horse that will do everything, including walking straight through a blackberry bush, to avoid puddles.

But with just a short look at the first puddle she went through everything I asked her. Not so when we first caught sight of the river... Then she refused to move forward and I had to ponyclub kick our way down to the river. Such a pill.

But when we got to the area that gently slopes down into the water I decided to ask her to go in the water. I've been jealous of friends and bloggers going pony swimming! So I decided to see what she'd do.

Checking out the water plants

Chillin. The water was up to her belly here.

And she went for it!

We even went deep enough that she had to paddle a bit, but I didn't really want to get my tack wet so we didn't go any deeper. Maybe next time I'll ditch the tack and we'll go for a real swim. But it was so much fun!

8 miles in an hour and forty minutes. Usually we do 10 in that time.
We ended up doing two loops of the trails. Usually I do three, but since this was her first endurance type ride back we kept it a little bit shorter. She was good for the most part but started out really heavy and too fast at the trot for the first half of the trail. Once she had a good gallop she was much better.

Our route

Then on Friday we went on another trail ride with my friend ML. We used to board together and were roommates but now I don't get to see her that much and this was our first ride together again in a loooong time. It was awesome to ride with a great friend! Also, she goes our pace on her horse so I didn't have to worry about that. We rode for a good two hours, probably around 8 miles and did lots of galloping. Our horses were AMPED. I thought after the previous day's ride Jetta would be a little more laid back. Ha. Even after we galloped flat out all the way up the hill she was raring to go after a short walk break.

The bestest part of the trail ride (besides our great conversations, lol) was that Jetta's renegades stayed on! She wore them on her fronts and only the right one twisted a tiny bit. I was so glad because we were doing some serious moving with them. All the trails that we went on are graveled so she definitely needed them on her fronts. Her hinds did fine, though they'll need a bit of a rasp to smooth things out.

Saturday I was supposed to go on ANOTHER trail ride, but I um, may have flaked on that one. Oops. I was really wanting to do it but I just didn't feel up to riding. I feel super bad though because I'm the sort of person who says they're going to do something then does it - I show up prepared and on time and ready to go! But hopefully AR will accept my rain check and we'll go another time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Photo Friday

Sorry for the inconsistent blogging, I'm trying to stuff as many things as possible into the last few weeks of summer before I head back to school! Which means lots of trail rides and other fun stuff.

My friend AR and I had a photo shoot with our horses the other day and it was a lot of fun. Nice to get pretty pictures with the ponies. I'm trying my hand at doing more portrait photography besides just horse shows and landscapes. I was quite pleased with the results for what little experience I have doing portraits, though after looking at them I wished I had turned my flash on for some fill in the sunset shots!

But here are what I have edited so far out of all 800 that we took. I'm still only halfway through AR's pictures.

My fav

And the ones of me and my girls taken by AR and edited by me:

Except I took this one. Love it if I do say so myself!

Jetta is confused, lol

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jack of All Trades

My mom always likes to remind me: "Jack of all trades, master of none." I've always enjoyed doing EVERYTHING possible in the horse world, whether it was dressage, eventing, reining, driving, trail, or anything else I could weasel my horse into doing.

I was just thinking about this yesterday as I drove home from a lesson on cows. I simply can't make myself just choose one thing to be really good at and focus on, I want to do it all, even if it might mean sacrificing "greatness" in one area to just be "good" in all areas. It's just too much fun.

I took Misty to JF's to do some cow work since I'm thinking of doing a ranch versatility show on Sunday, but have never actually worked cows in that context. Misty did really good. She's lacking fitness which made it hard, but she tried everything I asked of her and it was fun. She's definitely still very green in pretty much all areas, but she has a really good basic foundation in place now.

We practiced boxing, fence work and circling the cow. Oh my gosh. This is tough! I really am enjoying it though. It's new and different plus it's really challenging. I'm the kind of person that always wants to be challenged, probably part of the reason I can't make myself settle on one discipline. I get bored. But there's so much new stuff to learn about doing cow work. You have to read the cow and know what they're going to do before they do it. You have to get your horse really in tune with your aids so they can go from a halt to a gallop in a second flat, or come to a screeching halt and spin around the other direction. Then you have to put it all together and get it done.

Circling is DEFINITELY the hardest. You have to position the horse on the cow just right so that you can make the cow turn in a circle, without allowing them to turn and spin the other direction or run away from you. The smaller the better, because then your horse doesn't have to run as fast. Basically you're trying to make the cow pivot 360 degrees, then you reverse. You have to keep your horse's nose by the cow's neck to keep them moving forward and turning, if you get too far back by their hip then they'll just run away from you, but if you get up by their head then they'll turn around and go the wrong direction.

Anyways, it was a good lesson. We spent about two hours playing with the cows and I got a lot of great tips and homework. Can't wait to get to work on it!

Here's an example of working cow horse. First they do a reining pattern, then they do the cow work. I thought this horse was quite a nice example of how to get it done (in my very limited experience). Start at the 2:30 mark for the cow stuff. First is boxing, which is just getting the cow to go back and forth, just showing how you can control it. Then they fence the cow, run it all the way down, turn it, run it back, and turn it again. Then circling, when you bring it off the wall and make it circle 360 in each direction. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Next Chapter

Well, I sent Jazz off to her new home on Friday. Definitely bittersweet :'(

Last bridleless ride

The weather has been awful of late with thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday (love me a good thunderstorm when I'm snuggled up in bed though!). I had been planning on going on a trail ride with Jetta when I dropped Jazz off at her new home because their barn is right across the street from my absolutely favorite horse park. But with the weather I wasn't too sure this would happen...

I texted TH (Jazz's new owner, mom of the girl who is going to ride Jazz) and she said that she thought the weather would be fine and that they had a group going trail riding if I wanted to join.

We met at the horse park and I unloaded the horses and immediately Jazz's new girl, AH, came over and started grooming her. At least she will always be perfectly clean! Hah, Jazz is the ultimate "tom boy" though and prefers being dirty. They tried on a couple saddles and had one that fit quite well with the help of a fleece pad.

While Jazz was getting all fitted out in new tack, Jetta was being a pill. Since I hadn't ridden her in a while I decided to put her front boots on her hooves just in case she was sensitive on the crushed gravel there. It's a pretty easy footing, but I didn't want her to be sore her first ride back. She was being AWFUL. She tried to lay down while I had one foot up. This was one of her favorite tricks when I first got her - besides trying to kick your face in - and it's luckily gone away until now. Bad, bad pony.

Jazz and her favorite treats. I gave her half the bag before she left and sent the rest with her.

Finally, all horses were tacked up and AH got on Jazz and rode her around the round pen there. Jazz was being good besides trying to pause next to Jetta. In fact, Jazz had the most perfect behavior the whole entire trail ride - she didn't spook at anything, she didn't look at anything, she went where she was told, rode third in line on a loose rein the whole time. Her only "bad" thing was trotting up the little hills, which the other horses did too. 

I think we rode for about an hour or hour and a half. It was nice going with this group because they know the park really, really well so I got to see a side of it I hadn't seen before and I can't wait to go back and explore the area a little more.

Jetta was awful. But I didn't expect her not to be. After all, we had to walk the whole time. It was her first ride back. I didn't know where we were going so she wasn't allowed to be first in line. The horse that was leading walked super slow, basically three strides for every one of Jetta's "normal" strides so I had to ask her to walk slower. So we worked on slowing down, giving to the bit, responding to half halts, etc.

Getting a bath before heading down to her new home.

When we got back to the parking lot I loaded up all of Jazz's things in their truck and then Jazz hopped into their trailer without a second thought. I'm going to miss her so much, she is such an amazing horse so I just hope they appreciate her as much as I do. I'm sure she'll be spoiled by AH and they said that they'd keep in touch and give me updates so I can't wait to hear how they're doing and maybe next summer I'll get to watch them at 4-H fair. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Story of My Life

I'm so excited! I won the contest over at Slow and Steady for a $50 Smartpak gift card! Only problem? I have absolutely no idea what to spend it on. I have a couple "needs" and a ton of "wants".

The three things I actually need right now:
  • White show breeches
  • Black leather gloves
  • Happy Mouth bit
Smartpak has absolutely no white fullseat breeches that I want/can afford. So that's a no. I even emailed them to see if they could order the Tredstep breeches I like in white, since Dover carries them in that color, but Smartpak only has them in blue and tan. No can do apparently.

I do need a Happy Mouth bit but was waiting to see what turned up on ebay, I could possibly score one for half price.

Or I could get new gloves. Not exciting. 

My want list at Smartpak is huge, consisting mostly of really cute schooling breeches. A sheet for when I go to shows and need to keep the ponies clean, a Herm Sprenger hole punch, a Newmarket throw blanket (to obviously match my horse) and an IRH Elite Ultra helmet. But none of these things are ones that I need and most are too spendy for me right at the moment and nothing seems "worthy" of such a great opportunity to spend the $50 that I've won!

I feel like the Happy Mouth bit is the mostly likely choice at this point. It's right around $50 so I'd only have to spend a couple extra bucks plus shipping. But then there's the decision of mullen or roller center? I have no experience with Happy Mouths, but I feel like Misty would probably go equally well in either, the goal is just to find her something gentler that she will take up contact with more eagerly.

Any thoughts? On the type of bit or on good things to buy ;)

Story of my life: decisions, decisions...

Oh and to add to the whole "my want list is a million miles long" this is the weekend that Mundial boots are in town... When I was looking for boots to buy I emailed them to see when they were in my state and this was the ONLY time they were here in the whole entire year. I opted not to wait several months to get fitted plus the 3 month wait to actually get the boots, but I still want them. I can see my dream custom brown field boots now... Gah. I have half a mind to go and get fitted just because and then wait until I can save up and order them. I just want to see them in person!

These. I want them.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Can't Beat It

Can't beat the feeling of being on a horse. It always makes me 10x happier when I'm on horse or around horses than when I'm not!

AR did end up flaking on me for our trail ride Monday, but I was determined to go regardless and it was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

I went to Silver Creek Falls which is one of my favorites. It's hilly and shaded through a pretty forest. There's a water crossing and a couple bridges so it's always a good outing for exposing the ponies.

Bridge #1

I decided to ride Jazz and pony Misty and they couldn't have been more perfect. I had no issues hardly at all with managing two horses, save for a couple small bloopers. Like when we were riding along the beginning of the trail that's really narrow and winding. Misty went, "Ok Jazz, you go this way around the tree and I'll go that way and we'll meet up on the other side!" Ahaha, no. I had to stop the horses and ask Misty to back up before we really got in trouble.

Being such a good pony

I'm so lucky to have such well behaved horses. At one point I dropped my phone (almost didn't notice that I dropped it - that would have been bad!) so instead of turning both horses around to go back to it, getting it, then turning both horses around again, I asked them to ground tie then ran and grabbed it. No one moved a muscle.


We rode a good two hours and it was just glorious. It started out overcast and I was worried it was going to rain. The forest is rather creepy when it's overcast. Plus, despite the 5 other trailers in the parking lot I ran into absolutely no one. Weird. But then the sun came out and the temperature was awesome and there were no bugs.


I was also slightly worried about the barefoot hooves. The first section of the trail before you reach the hills is really rocky. There's a lot of those huge chunks of rocks mixed in with the regular gravel - the kind that is hard to walk on whether or not the horses have shoes - they're pointy and giant. My horses have no issue with regular sized gravel, but those big rocks are killer. But I needn't have worried. Both horses' hooves were in their rock-crunching element and even yesterday/today there's been no hoof soreness. Success!

Overall, it was a wonderful day. So lucky to have horses in my life because I don't know how I'd keep my sanity otherwise!