Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Good Start

I don't know why, but I am having a FANTASTIC morning today. I'm just super happy, which is unusual. I guess it's a combination of:
  • Sleeping more than 6 hours last night! 
  • Getting all imminent homework projects/studying done last night so that I don't have to worry about them today. Feels good!
  • Found a forgotten Almond Joy candy bar in my backpack during class. It was delicious. 
  • I easily found a parking spot on campus this morning and didn't have to drive around looking for 20 minutes. 
  • I get to have a 4 day weekend at home which = two days off of school work and riding my horses!
  • Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I LOVE Thanksgiving food. My mom is an amazing cook. Can't wait!
  • Took a final exam in one class today and I felt great about it.
There is still the chance that my amazing day will decline, but here's to hoping it won't :)

But really, there's so many things I'm thankful for!

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and also share two things:

First, Niamh had a bunch of tack stolen the other day. I can't even imagine... So if you could go to her blog, maybe see if you have anything she needs that you'd be willing to donate to her, or just offer support. The blogging community really is awesome for things like this.

Second, Tracy at Fly On Over is hosting a Blogger Gift Exchange! I'm so excited about this. I briefly thought about doing this myself, but decided that I was too unorganized to run it, so I was so happy to find that someone else had this awesome idea! I LOVE giving gifts, especially to horse people. So I'm really looking forward to that :) Everyone else should go join too, it will be so much fun!

Monday, November 25, 2013

All the Jumps

It was definitely the weekend of lessons. KO was also in town, so I signed up for a jumping lesson with her. I haven't ridden with her either since the spring or possibly the winter? Gosh, I've been slacking in that department.

The morning started off much better and I even managed to get 6 hours of sleep rather than the 4 I was running on the day before. I was still super grumpy though that early in the morning. Luckily I had packed the trailer and gotten it ready to go so all I had to do was toss Jetta in and go.

Sunrise at home

I did have a super funny panic attack though. I was sitting at a light waiting for it to turn green and I heard pawing come from the trailer. Misty is the horse that likes to paw and she'll do it occasionally in the trailer. Jetta doesn't usually paw in the trailer. I had a legitimate panic attack when I thought that maybe I had grabbed the wrong horse and brought Misty instead of Jetta! Luckily I was able to think back and double check myself that I had actually grabbed Jetta. Lack of sleep, I'm telling you...

The lesson was definitely worth the lack of sleep. When I woke up I was not in a good mood and wondering why I'd decided to do this. After all, it's not like I was probably going to be showing over the winter anyways, so why have a lesson?

Frosty morning. And isn't their barn gorgeous?

Jetta was very good warming up. KO had us leg yield on a straight line both ways (haunches-in and haunches-out on the same straight line) down one long wall, then do actual leg yields to the wall and back over on the other long wall. Jetta was a leg yielding machine. It was awesome. The only thing that KO commented on was me. The usual - sit up, eyes up, shoulders back, sit tall spiel that I always get. I needed that constant reminder after riding by myself for so long!

We moved on to cantering over poles and getting 7 strides or 9 strides. Jetta can package her canter very well, but not when it comes to doing poles. She thinks it's not possible. KO wanted us to do 10, but eventually we settled on a very nice 9 when Jetta decided it was not possible to canter a 10 stride. Mostly by launching over the first pole, then almost slipping and falling on the second pole. Dork. But 9 strides we could do nicely.

I was the only one jumping in our lesson. There was one other girl and she just did pole work. She had a very heavy/strong WB mare that she was riding and it was really interesting to see what she worked on. The mare was going in a double twisted wire full cheek and had absolutely no response to the bit, so they worked on canter-halt-canter transitions, really getting her horse to pick her back up in the halt - thinking of going "up" instead of "out" with the stride so it was easier to control the horses pace. Then they also worked on fitting 8 strides instead of 5 in on the same pole exercise that Jetta and I did by doing 10m circles whenever the horse got too fast, really focusing on turning with the outside rein so that her mare wouldn't swing her haunches out. They looked really good by the end.

Jumping all the jumps!

Anyways, Jetta. The next exercise was a 17' pole to a little jump to another pole set 17' away. The goal was to get one stride in after the first pole and before the jump, then one stride in after the jump and before the second pole. Once we mastered that, she made it even smaller, which Jetta did not like, but after some interesting attempts, we managed to do it twice and got to take a break.

Then we got to do a little jump with a tarp underneath it and panels. I wasn't sure what Jetta would think of it, but she hopped right over it without a second thought. We did that fence on the diagonal with a bending line to an oxer on the wall. We were supposed to go around a cone and get six strides in, but couldn't manage that so we settled for a nice 5. I needed to work on landing straight, looking where I was going and not leaning upon landing. Jetta though the little fence was too little so she was launching over it, part of the reason we were only getting 5 strides in there.

KO bumped the panel fence way up and then had us start doing a course. At this point I was feeling a little bummed out. I was surprised KO wanted us to do a full course when I felt like we couldn't even do one line correctly. I usually never have a bad jumping lesson with KO on Jetta, so I was disappointed especially since Jetta has been awesome jumping on our own. KO put together a huge course (to me) and I was just praying I wouldn't forget it. Penalty for forgetting a course is to do a full lap of the (very large) arena at the posting trot with no stirrups. And I'm very good at forgetting courses and very bad at stirrupless posting trot.

Luckily I didn't forget it though and Jetta was awesome. The course was an outside line, around to the panel/tarp fence on the diagonal/bending line back to the oxer on the wall. Then around to a swedish oxer bending line. Then the outside line on the opposite wall, 5 strides. Then a swedish oxer all by its lonesome on the diagonal, outside line again, finishing with a bending line that went from a fence on the diagonal going to the right to a fence on the diagonal going left. So 13 fences total. Yikes.

The only issue we had was the outside line with 5 strides. I didn't ride the first fence well enough and didn't have my leg on so Jetta kind of looked at it and jumped crooked. We got 6 and a half strides in basically and it wasn't very pretty. The rest of the course was awesome though. We landed straight. I looked where I was going. We got all of our leads. I gave a good release, I sat up. Everything just clicked. We did it once more just to get that 5 strides in on the outside line. Again, everything was perfect. The only complaint KO had was that I pushed Jetta to go too fast for the 5 strides instead of just lengthening the stride. Story of my life.

But it was good! She was super complementary of how I was riding the fences and how Jetta was doing. She asked if I was planning on eventing her and I said yes, that we were going to do Inavale. I thought it was interesting that she said Inavale was the toughest show to do the lower levels at. She recommended that I also do NWEC in May or September and/or the Young Rider show. So we'll see. I'd like to do at least two eventing shows, but that's only if my budget permits and we end up doing enough prep work. One eventing show usually wipes out my horse show money for the summer, so it's only if I plan ahead and set enough aside or get it paid for again by the eventing or dressage team.

Overall, it was a really good horse weekend. I think I got my horse fix to get me through the next couple week of final exams and projects!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Finally had a dressage lesson, it's been way too long! I can't even remember when we had the last one, probably sometime this past spring? I never got around to hauling out for a dressage lesson over the summer, though I definitely meant to.

I feel like at this point in Jetta's training, we've reached a plateau where she's as far as I can take her. There's a lot of little things we can work on, especially to get her back to how well she was going over the summer, and I can start teaching her the second level movements and building the basics for third level. But that's as far as I can get in dressage with her without some outside help. And if I want to make things really correct and improve our scores at first/second level, then we need a trainer's help.

Anyways, the lesson. I of course thought that it would be a wonderful idea to take the first lesson spot at 7:30am (I was organizing this clinic for the dressage team). I also thought it would be a good idea to commit to volunteering at 9:30am. So I woke up at a gastly time of 4am to drive to the barn, grab the horses and then pick up the girl that would be riding Misty and get to the barn for our lesson. I ended up planning everything perfectly, but geez it was awful. Not to mention, why on earth are there no coffee shops/gas stations open at 4am?! I needed my caffeine badly...

This is what it looked like when I got there for my lesson. Sunshine where are you??

Add in that it was absolutely freezing, a whopping 21 degrees when we pulled into the barn. Having Jetta and Misty together there was interesting... I haven't trailered them together to an event at all and they've gotten pretty attached since they're now pasturing together. Thus, Jetta was not on her best behavior. With not riding her a ton, I knew she wasn't going to be great. But she was also really tense because she was worrying about where Misty was the whole ride.

That said though, she wasn't completely awful. We had a lot of good moments, showed some clear improvements from our last lesson with KB and she tried.

What we worked on:
  • Leg yielding on a circle to get her paying attention to me as a warm up when she was really worrying about Misty.
  • Leg yielding up the center line, getting her to lower her neck, which is a huge issue for us right now. She has improved a ton since our last lesson, where we also worked on leg yields. She now moves nicely off my leg and doesn't over bend. She's a touch too leading with her haunches, but I'll take it over being sluggish off my leg. Now we just need to work on the neck. KB had me half halt with the outside rein (the theme of our lesson). "Outside rein controls the position of the neck". If Jetta popped her head up, we did a 10m circle and asked for her to lower her neck and tried again. Worked. Like. MAGIC.
  • Cantering, we worked on our shallow serpentine. Turns out, while you're required to show bend in the direction of your lead, I'm asking for too much bend which is throwing her off balance (which is why she rushes in the second half) so I need to ask for her to stay straighter in the neck. Big improvement. 
  • Lengthen trots. Our homework for improving that is to play around with getting her biggest possible trot on a circle, then coming back to a smaller trot, then bigger again. All while asking her to lift the front and and not fall on her forehand. KB said most horses will "discover" their lengthened trot off of this exercise, so we'll see. She said we're going in the right direction for the moment though. 
  • Another tip for the canter was my seat. I have a driving seat, always have and I can't get rid of it. Even if there's some magical way to quiet my seat, I just can't make it work. But instead of making my driving seat quiet and non-existent, KB had me just sit deeper and drive Jetta into longer strides, instead of the short strides that my seat was previously asking for. Also magic improvement.
  • Shoulder-ins were good, KB said I was doing a good job teaching/working on those. Sometimes we get a little bit too much angle and sometimes we drift, but we'll work on that. 
Overall, it was a good lesson. I was disappointed that Jetta didn't behave herself (lots of gnashing on the bit and pulling and rushing, etc) but it wasn't a total loss and we got some great exercises. KB said her gaits are looking nicer than last time (when she was behaving herself anyways) and that she's developed some nice upper neck muscles, despite still bracing the underside of her neck.

Then Misty was next! Another girl on the team rode her. She's not a super advanced rider, but she's not a beginner. Misty was okay for her. She tested her a bit and they struggled with some things that I don't have an issue with, but it was just because they didn't know eachother and KF (the girl riding) had no experience with green horses.

I told KB that Misty was just green in the area of dressage, mainly just because of the contact. What I'd been working on with her was just pushing her forward into contact, getting her more round especially through transitions and working on a nice forward, even tempo. So that's what they worked on again, it was nice to see that she did some of the same things I'd been doing with her.
  • She had  KF start out with a light contact. Misty was being kind of obnoxious and flipping her head/dropping contact, so eventually she had her pick up more contact and if she flipped her head, she'd bend her to the inside to make her stop.
  • When they moved into the trot she had KF really push Misty forward into a really fast trot, just to get her out of the habit of her lazy trot. Misty's auto-trot speed is between a dressage trot and a jog. It's still got nice impulsion and it's pretty, but it's not as fancy as it could be. KF really struggled getting Misty to move forward, which I don't have a problem with, but I think that was just a bit of Misty testing her and KF not knowing exactly how to ask. Misty has some really great looking moments when she was moving out and carrying herself nicely with just the minimum of contact.
  • Cantering was lovely, though KF had trouble asking for it just because she doesn't have a completely independent hand/seat connection. So she'd ask for it and Misty would go to canter but she'd get caught in the mouth a little and it would be a little bit awkward transition. Once they got into it though, it looked very nice. 
  • Transitions, she had some nice improvement. KB had KF sit deeper and ask, instead of letting her hips go with the motion, that way they were able to eliminate the little baby trot steps that happen in the trot to walk transition, mainly going off the seat instead of the reins so that she wouldn't brace. 
Overall, Misty was really good and I really enjoyed watching her go. Plus, KB LOVED her which was awesome. I love it when other people also love your horse :) She really liked her movement and said that she was going to make a nice dressage prospect! So that was awesome. 

I totally meant to take pictures of Misty getting ridden, but it was so freezing (it warmed up to a balmy 23 degrees at the time), that I didn't want to take my hands out of my pockets, even though I was wearing gloves, and I just chatted with KB while I watched. I love getting to talk training theory with someone who knows what they're doing! It's awesome. So we discussed how to teach the flying changes which was really interesting and now I have a lot to mull over in that department.

After we finished up the lessons, I stuck them in their stalls, dropped KF back at her house and went and did my volunteer project for an hour and a half, then picked the ponies back up and went home. I got home at around 12:30, but it seriously felt like 4pm I was so wiped out. Turned Misty out and got to work clipping Jetta. I've been meaning to do it forever, but I finally got my new blades and having a jumping lesson on Sunday was the perfect motivation to get it over with.

I was going to do the same clip as last year, a blanket clip, but got impatient, so I didn't end up clipping a small amount on her flank/hip, but I don't think it will matter that much since she's really only getting ridden 2-3 times a week. But it will make cooling out SO much better. I love having a clipped horse.

Jetta was great for it. I tied her up to do her neck so she couldn't graze. She loved having her chest area and her throatlatch done. Her eyes got half closed and she stayed very still. Then whenever I stopped she'd wake up and fidget. I untied her to do her belly so she could graze. She also loves having her belly done. She'll stop grazing and her lips will wiggle. I'm so glad she loves it! It makes it that much easier. I definitely didn't do my best clip job because I was super impatient. I just eyeballed the whole thing and got it to be relatively even and straight. As long as it wasn't super embarrassing and it was functional, I couldn't care less!

Half naked pony. Now all we need to do is get her mane under control and she'll be looking good!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Changing it Up

Sigh. It was a good idea at the time to take the horses home. It still is a good idea because I'm so short on money at the moment that it's nice to be able to set aside what I would normally pay for board. But... the whole riding situation is not ideal. My neighbor decided to close her arena for winter. Because it's too muddy. This is the problem with being at the mercy of someone else, but it's her arena and she can do what she wants! I'm just very bummed out :( I'm thinking about asking my other neighbor across the street if I can ride in his outdoor. That's where I used to ride when I was little, but I haven't been there in ages. It's probably overgrown with weeds or deep sand, but it might be better than riding in the pasture if he's ok with it. We shall see...

Super pretty sunset from yesterday evening

It's a little slick in the pasture, especially because nothing is 100% flat. Add in the fact that there's 16.2 hand of leggy Jetta on top of pancake feet and it's not a good idea to ride her outside in the mud. But for now, it's not too awful and it will do for a couple more weeks until it starts raining in earnest (it's only been intermittent the past couple weeks).

Surprisingly, our ride today was actually quite good. I only rode Jetta, despite wanting to ride both. Misty was a lunatic though. It was so funny, because she's NEVER hyper. She's quiet and sometimes a tiny bit lazy. But while I was warming Jetta up at the trot, she was leaping and galloping and bucking and rearing and spinning. It was hilarious. Jetta held it together despite Misty's antics. A few times she wanted to join in and I held her back, but she settled down quickly. Worked on getting a nice trot out of her on a slightly loopy rein. Really pushing her towards the bit, getting a longer stride and driving with the hind end. Some nice leg yields in there too. We cantered and she was very good to the left, we had a quick discussion about how to canter to the right - we are not going to go running around down the slight hill with our nose in the air! That would be a recipe for a fall, which I do not need! But she was really good overall.

For some reason, I thought it would be good to ask for some flying changes. Jetta doesn't do changes. She just won't do it, she'll happily canter along on the wrong lead or even cross canter without a care and gets pissed when I ask her to change. But, since working with Misty and fine tuning her flying changes, I've gotten better about asking for them clearly and being really conscious of both how to hold my body and how to affect the horse's body when asking for a change. And surprise, surprise we got a clean change, one in each direction! I was kind of stunned. It took two tries in each direction. She only changed in front on the first try, but second try was completely clean! Wow. What a good pony! It definitely made my night.

As a reward I let her do a little bit of a gallop up the hill where I like to run and can let the horses open up a little. Galloping a Thoroughbred has to be one of the most awesome things ever. Jetta just has such an insanely long stride and she LOVES to gallop, it's so easy to just let her open up. It's still one of my goals to get to gallop a TB on a racetrack, but for now I'll take my little gallops in the pasture and on the beach. Hopefully a beach trip will be happening over winter break in a few weeks!

Cooling out

Unfortunately my clipper blades weren't sharpened yet even though they were supposed to be done at the beginning of the week. Bummer. But I really, really need to give Jetta a clip so I'm going to buy a new set tomorrow (you really can never have too many blades) and Jetta will either get done tomorrow or Saturday. It's been quite chilly here so the girls both got their medium weight blankets on despite still having all their fur. It was 26 overnight! Too cold!

But the good news is that I took my Vespucci figure 8 in to get fixed. I bought it super cheap, it's quite used, but I love it. The only problem with Vespucci leather is that it's so soft that it stretches quite a bit and the throatlatch was horrendously stretched out. Like, I could probably fit another horse's head inside there with Jetta's, even on the last hole. So I took it in to get it shortened about 4" and it's perfect! I can finally use it in public and it looks quite good on Jetta's long schnoz.

She's too cute. And she got one of the last fall apples as her reward!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Morning rides are best

Not a whole lot of exciting stuff currently happening, but this weekend should be fun! Saturday is a dressage team clinic with KB. I'll be riding Jetta and another girl on the team is going to ride Misty! It will awesome for Misty to have someone else ride her and to get two free lessons on the horses basically (well, I will get to watch someone have a lesson on Misty but I'm sure I'll glean enough info to apply in my own riding).

Then Sunday is a jumping lesson with KO I'll be doing on Jetta. It's usually a group lesson, but this time around I only have one other girl going at the same time, so maybe we'll get to try some bigger jumps/harder questions? We'll see!

Jumping ride Thursday for Jetta, dressage for Misty, then dressage ride for both on Friday. I really hope Jetta will behave herself for our dressage lesson on Saturday. Oh, and then somewhere in there I need to clip Jetta (still haven't done it) so I don't get in trouble with KO. So a busy next few days!

In other news, Misty might have an abscess? My parents told me she had an abscess on her front left leg and that it was oozing pus. Lovely. I went and looked at it and... found nothing. I think it's definitely a little more puffy than normal, but it's on her foot with the big nasty scar so I can't be too sure. But she trotted out perfectly sound and I prodded and poked and picked at it and didn't find anything. She didn't even mind me poking around. So I'm hoping that either 1) it's not an abscess, they're just seeing things or 2) her body's taking care of it and it has drained all by itself. But we'll keep an eye on it just to be sure. 

Hm. Maybe more puffy than normal?
Yeah, definitely puffier, but no abscess to be found...

I'm still coming down off my horse show high with Misty. I just love how she's game for anything. Can we count everything that she's done so far? Competitive trail, working ranch horse, ranch sorting, dressage and now hunters! And I still want to do some cross country with her because I think she'd be a great little eventer pony. 

Here's some video stills I took from the weekend:

Over jumping much?

Love this one. Now if it was only a real picture it would be so awesome!

Oh, and also I never shared a picture of our one and only ribbon! So here's the proof that my little roany paint pony did indeed place second :)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Super Pony

Soooo many things to write about! I have had such an insanely crazy week I haven't had a chance to write, much less do any other unnecessary things like sleep for more than 6 hours. I mean, who needs sleep, right? But really, I can't wait to sleep in tomorrow. Like at least 12 hours straight.

How I kept my little piglet horse clean-ish overnight.

So, first hunter jumper show with Misty! I have literally jumped her maybe 3 times? And can we talk about how A-MAZING she did today?

Quick overview for those that don't want to read through the whole thing. Entered 4 classes, 2 of them 18" classes and 2 of them 2' classes. I've jumped her 2'6" but wanted to keep it small and inviting for her first time since we've never actually jumped a course (only maybe 3 at a time) and only plain white poles... No gates or flowers. One round was literally perfect, 2 sucked due to rider error and the last was just "meh" also because of me. But that one round seriously made it worth it.

Also warning, some complaining/whining ahead. 

All ready for our first class!

So, I guess we should go in chronological order. First was an 18" trot a course. Super easy to remember, only 6 fences... But I forgot my course. For some reason I thought the second jump was supposed to be a line so I circled while I kicked my brain into gear (4am mornings are tough!) and finally realized that it was a single fence. Duh. She did really well, but was understandably looky at the fences, but still responsive and never tried to refuse.

Second round was the perfect one. Like, I don't know how she could have done better. We got every lead, she maintained a lovely tempo and got great distances. We got second out of 10 (or possibly 12? I think a few people added after I checked in, but not sure). Sooo, that was kind of amazing. Have I mentioned that she is an awesome horse?!

I literally cannot get enough of watching this video of her. How does she look so good? I love it.

Ok, now for the not so good. First off, I am not a hunter rider. I've ridden in maybe 10+ hunter/jumper schooling shows over the past 12 years and one 'A' rated show with Jazz years and years ago. This is a major part of the problem. I feel like it's really, really hard to get into doing hunters without a trainer and going with a barn. I'm used to being the odd one out because I only take sporadic lessons and I've never been part of a barn. I'm very independent and I just don't tend to mesh well with a highly regulated program though I'm sure I would benefit from it a lot.

Anyways, so I had NO IDEA what was happening. I did class 15 and 16 and was ready for 17 and 18B. Only to find that they were going to run 18A, 19 and 20 first because those were all the 18 and under classes. I put Misty away for a while, then got back on in time for 17 and 18 to run. 17 was 2' Hunter and 18 was Long Stirrup 2'. So they called me over to do Long Stirrup and I thought "Oh, they're just going to run out of order, whatever" so I went in and did the Long Stirrup course. By the time I got to the 4th fence, they told me I was off course. Come to find out, Long Stirrup not only referred to class 18 but also to all of the classes for over 18 years old and thus I had gone off course and was disqualified.

I was kind of pissed, both at myself for not figuring that out and at the show management for not making it clear. In my limited experience, I have never had a show run that way, or if they do decide to do a class out of order, they make it very clear how it's going to go. I'm sure no one else had the problem because their trainer would be looking out for them, but I still felt like they should have been a bit more helpful, especially since it was a schooling show. I absolutely hate looking like I don't know what I'm doing and felt really embarrassed. Because I was so upset and fighting tears it kind of ruined my next ride. I wasn't as focused as I could have been and I was flustered so I didn't provide Misty with the support she needed and she fed off my emotions a bit. (When I get upset/angry I want to cry and I just can't help it. It sucks. But I made it through without shedding a tear!)

^^The not quite as amazing round. But really, looking back at it now, it wasn't that bad at all. 

So overall not a happy ending note. This is the third time I've been to that arena and the third time I've wanted to bawl because of it. I think the 3rd time was not the charm and I don't really want to go back there!

But I'm over it. The main thing was to get Misty experience and just have fun. I definitely had a ton of fun in the first 2 classes and I'm just over the moon with her. Probably am sticking to my plan of never again stepping foot into the hunter ring again though. Theoretically, I love it, but it's just really never been my thing and so I'll stick with eventing/ranch horse/endurance/dressage and the occasional jumper show because I think I have plenty to focus on there!

Other random thoughts:

If I ever show any interest in another paint horse, please please tell me no. Never, ever again do I want another paint. Misty's my fourth paint and it's just way. too. much. work.

Misty must wear a sheet with a tail flap in the trailer, otherwise she poops on the wall and then smears her butt in it. Lovely.

Bringing a blanket for my mom was a very good idea, must remember to do again because it was freezing in the arena.

Loved my outfit, lol. I kind of looked put together for once. I brought show clothes too just in case everyone was decked out, but it was 50/50 so I stayed in my sweater.
                 For reference, if interested, I'm wearing:
  • Ariat Pro Circuit breeches
  • Ralph Lauren lizard print belt (ebay score!)
  • Old Navy sweater in purple
  • Aeropostale polo shirt in gray (best/cheapest polos ever)
  • De Niro Leuca field boots
  • IRH Elite Ultra helmet. 
  • Also got to wear my brand new Roekl show gloves, first time having actual nice gloves to show in!

Trailer tack room mirror selfie, lol

Little children on ponies are the CUTEST THING EVER. There was a tiny little boy who was a GOOD rider and hearing him discuss his round ("I got some good distances!") was so adorable. I want my future child to be like him, lol. 

So many gorgeous horses. I think that the stereotypical "hunter type" horse is my favorite conformationally. They're just so dang drool-worthy.

Wearing spurs was good, though I did have to use them a couple times and Misty got a little "enthusiastic" about her flying changes, but not bad. 

Overall, it was a good day, I had a lot of fun and I'm a very proud horse mom :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Barn Tour Part 2: The Barn

You've already seen the barn from the outside...

And now the inside. View of the entire barn from the back corner by the feed area.

The feed area. Like my little table for supplements on the wall? Lol

Misty's stall. She has the one stall that got completely finished.

Jetta has the extra large middle stall. We use wood pellet bedding which I really like. Also, you can see this stall has "kick plates" for the monster pony...

The runs. We put pea gravel in the runs to keep the mud down, hopefully that will work this year!

The third stall is currently serving as the hay room. I just feed orchard grass.
My dad's toys. I used to keep the hay in that area.

The tack room is on the right hand wall across from the stalls. All my random junk is sitting outside of it.
Inside the door of the tack toom. All my grooming products and miscellaneous things. Red glow is because the light bulb in the tack room is a heat lamp bulb to keep things from molding in the winter.

All my bridles and strap goods... Yes, I have a problem.

Far wall. I have a sweet Schneider's blanket rack for saddle pads. A mini fridge on the left.

Three saddle racks... And I have four saddles. One of the western saddles isn't mine, my friend just left it there and doesn't want it back apparently? My fourth saddle sits on a portable rack.

Hopefully I'm going to have time soon to organize the tack room because it needs it badly. I haven't really had time to put everything where they belong so stuff is sort of strewn everywhere. Excuse the mess!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Barn Tour Part 1: The Grounds

I thought I'd share a little (well, more like a lot) about my barn. Since it's "my" barn I don't feel bad sharing pics of it and at least you can see the set up and see what I'm talking about when I refer to it!

I love my barn. It's nothing fancy at all, but it has everything I need. I think the only thing I really want is hot water. Ok and for the runs to be covered. And possibly for the tack room to be insulated. And the leaks in the roof to be fixed. Lol. It could still use some work.

A little background:

My parents' property has 13 acres with 3 of it for the horses. It's all fenced in as one pasture. The barn was there when we bought it, though it has been considerably worked on. Originally it had 3 stalls on the wall opposite the entry. Dirt floors throughout. We put in half a floor of concrete when we originally bought it. Why half, I have no idea. Then later tore out the original stalls and put in 3 stalls on the adjacent wall and put concrete in the rest of the barn. It took forever for the stalls to be done. I wanted them forever and they were never completed until my senior year of high school, just in time for me to move out.

Walk down to the barn. I can literally take a minute to go from the house to the barn.
Plain white wrapper. It's rather ugly actually.

To your left of the barn door there is my "wash rack/hitching post" which I basically only use in summer.
Back view of the barn with the runs.

The top corner of the pasture. The horses have their big water tank and you can see the arena at the top of the hill and my neighbor's gorgeous barn.

The main part of the pasture. There's a round pen on top of the hill. Grady is buried in the top left corner under the giant pine tree. There's a creek that runs through the middle into the pond and multiple apple trees.

More pasture. You can see the pond is directly in front of us down the hill.

The "lower riding area". Semi-flat, but gets very soggy in the winter

The "far lower corner" of the pasture. As you can see, that's where my brother likes to go mudding with his truck... My dad just dragged it and reseeded it though. It's always super wet down there.

The neighbor's arena. You can see our barn!

More of the arena. My parent's house is nestled in the trees in the back. Also, you can kind of see how the ground drops away on either side of the arena which I think is a factor in Jetta's dislike for the place. It's like an infinity arena, there's no edges!

Bonus picture: we have chickens.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankful For

I didn't notice people were doing this till I was way behind, but I thought it would be a good thing for me to do since I've been so down, I need to acknowledge all the things that are good in my life instead of focusing on the bad stuff that's been weighing on me.

Day 1: I'm so thankful that I'm able to have horses.
Day 2: I'm thankful for my wonderful family, despite our occasional dysfunctionality.
Day 3: I'm glad that I have the opportunity to study something in school that I'm interested in.
Day 4: I'm thankful that both my horses are currently sound and healthy!
Day 5: I'm thankful that my mom understands me so well and that I can always talk to her about all my horse-y stuff even though she hasn't a clue about some of the things I'm saying!
Day 6: I'm thankful for my own health.
Day 7: I'm thankful for my awesome little car who just reached 50k miles with me.
Day 8: I'm thankful for the quiet moments with my horses.
Day 9: I'm thankful that I have a job that I enjoy.
Day 10: I'm thankful for great friends.

I had a much better ride on Jetta yesterday morning. I spent the night at my parents' so that I could ride both Friday evening and Saturday morning before work. Friday night I ended up getting there later than I hoped for in the dark, so I opted not to ride, just get in some good grooming on both girls.

Misty got her mane brushed out and that nasty snarl undone and trimmed her bridle path/mohawk down. Banged both girls' tails. Misty didn't really need hers done, she's got a beautiful tail that's the perfect size but Jetta's was looking ratty and thin so I banged it short-ish like I like to and voila! Magically better tail :) Jetta got her mane trimmed and I started the pulling process on it, which she hated, but has to be done. It was almost a full foot long, can you tell I've been slacking on it lately?

In the morning I got up early and rode Jetta. Got a good lunge session in and she was very good, though she usually is on the lunge. There was only minimal tail arching on the way up to the arena. She was also MUCH better under saddle. Not 100%, more like 50/50, but I'll take all the good I can get.

Exercise of the day: Basically just getting her to keep her attention on me instead of Misty. At the trot every time she got too pull-y or popped her head up to stare at her buddy, we changed the bend and ended up doing lots of serpentines and figure eights to get her focused. Similar in the canter, every time she got fussy I asked for a 15m circle till she came back to me. Mostly she's in the "I don't want to use my butt or back to carry myself" stage which we go through periodically. I thought she might be sore, so I poked and prodded her back before and after the ride with no reaction, but she may be sore elsewhere. So we did some carrot stretches and she got to go out to pasture.

It's definitely time for someone to get clipped... she was completely sweaty.

I had some extra time so I took my sweet time cleaning stalls and getting their dinner ready for them. There's something so satisfying about cleaning your own stalls, especially when there's only two. It was a good morning!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Makes it Good

I've been mulling over this post for a little while, but haven't been able to sit down and write it out until now. Recently, She Moved to Texas did a post, then Sprinkler Bandit followed it with her own, on what makes a good blog.

Personally, I know there's many different reasons I follow a blog which range all over the place, all of the ones listed by She Moved to Texas and Sprinkler Bandit are valid and things that I often look for in a blog. Most blogs I follow don't have all of the pieces of what make a "good" blog perhaps, but I still enjoy reading them immensely. What I'm interested in though is: What do you like about my blog? What keeps you coming back to read, why did you follow me in the first place and what are your favorite things that I do?

As I'm nearing 100 followers, a milestone I wasn't really sure I'd ever achieve, especially when viewing my blog through a more objective lens and thinking about all the reasons I wouldn't follow my blog if I was not the writer of it, I'm kind of amazed I have so many readers and I feel so lucky that all of you think I'm interesting enough to read, even if it's just in a "she's kind of a train wreck sometimes and I just want to watch it happen" sort of way!

So I'd love your input! ETA: I know you're lurking there... I just checked and this post has 18 views and 5 comments! Meaning lots of you readers aren't commenting! I want to know, so do it ;)

In other news, I finally made it out to ride. I knew I wouldn't be able to ride Monday so I planned to go before work on Tuesday. But because I had so much homework I stayed at home and did that instead, so I was going to ride for sure on Wednesday. But I still had so much homework that there was no way I'd be able to ride and get things turned in on time... By today I was in a mood: I'M GOING TO RIDE WHETHER OR NOT I HAVE HOMEWORK, IF I FAIL BECAUSE OF IT, SO BE IT!!!

Yeah, I was a little desperate. But, I don't really want to fail, so I allowed myself one hour of pony time.

This is what I found... Coated in mud with wind braids to boot.

It was wonderful. I wanted to lunge Jetta and ride Misty, but time-wise it only worked out to ride Misty. My neighbor told me that she'd put a sign on the arena if she ever didn't want me to ride in there because it was too wet or for whatever other reasons, so when I went up today I didn't think anything of it but started riding around. I figured she'd put a sign on "my" gate that I come through from my barn, but there wasn't one. As I rode, I started noticing that the cones I though were randomly dispersed seemed to actually be marking wet spots she didn't want the horses going through? Then I noticed that the gate on the other side that I didn't come through had red tape wrapped around it...

Jetta behaved herself while we rode

I wasn't sure if that meant riding was okay or not so I went back to my pasture just in case and rode around there. I thought it would be too slick to do much work, but it seemed just fine for Misty (with Jetta it would probably be too slick, but Misty is much more careful!). We did some flat work in the bottom "riding area" and then we galloped! Well, Misty's style of galloping, which is much slower. Still working on the whole "go fast" thing, but it was fun nonetheless. I tried videoing both the galloping on Misty and the galloping and other antics of Jetta. At one point we galloped up the hill toward the barn and stopped just in time to see Jetta take off from the other side of the pasture at full speed, leap the creek/ditch and come galloping up to us. I thought I caught it on video, which would have been awesome, but someone didn't press the right buttons... Cough cough, it could have been me.

Hardworking ponies get apples

It was a much needed ride and hopefully I will get to go again Friday!