Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Great Blanket Massacre

Oh horses. I was cleaning stalls yesterday when my brother, who was driving past the pasture, called to tell me that Misty's blanket was half on/half off of her. I sighed and walked down. Sure enough, she had broken both leg straps and had the blanket up around her neck.

She saw me walking down and walked up to greet me which I thought would make my job of fixing the blanket easier. Then Jetta took off at a gallop from behind Misty, which of course Misty has to follow....

Both horses galloped two laps around the pasture while I watched as Misty's blanket came completely off the back end of her. It's like watching a train wreck in horror... I was sure she was either a) going to catch the blanket on the fence or a tree and hurt herself, b) step on it at a full out gallop - which she did repeatedly - and break her leg, or c) trip and fall over it.

Finally she stepped on it in such a way that she got "stuck" and when I walked up both girls just stood there. Jetta with a totally innocent look on her face as if she didn't instigate this whole thing.

While originally the blanket had been salvageable before she started running, after, both leg straps and surcingle straps were broken and the entire neck region was shredded. Definitely beyond saving. Luckily I got her light weight blanket bag from being cleaned and repaired so I got to put that on. Just what I need to do right now, buy her a new blanket! I guess she wasn't satisfied with her Christmas present and thought she needed something better...

Help me?

Such a bad pony... Though I mostly blame Jetta on this one.

Speaking of Christmas, the girls got some hot bran mash for Christmas. I always make it for Christmas and Birthdays, it makes me feel good and the horses love it :) Well, at least Jetta does.

Misty actually rather liked it, but she didn't even finish it before turning to her hay, so I had to give her feed pan to Jetta who licked both bowls clean. Jetta LOVES her mash, she got excited when I let her in her stall and she could smell it on me.


Wheat bran

some molasses

and combine!

"Hm, I guess this stuff is good"

"Omnomnom, this is the best stuff ever!"

Friday, December 27, 2013

Time for an Update

Wow, it's been a long time! Sorry for being such an awful blogger this month. Things have not been blog-worthy lately. 

But, here's what's been happening recently. 
First off, I got some exciting stuff in the mail!

First was the blogger gift exchange. Anyways, I asked for some of the Higher Standards saddle soap in lavender vanilla and that is what I got!

Thanks so much to Hawk for it, it even came with a nice little note :) 

So of course I immediately had to try it out. I love it. Anything that makes cleaning tack slightly more enjoyable is awesome. I loved the smell of the soap, it wasn't overpowering and cleaned GREAT. Even my girth that I sometimes have a hard time getting the sweat stains off came completely clean. This stuff gets an A++ in my book!

The second goody I got in the mail was the Equestrian Culture magazine. They had a kickstarter campaign to go to print so in return I got a year's subscription at a discount. I LOVE this magazine. It's laid out beautifully and had some neat articles. It's just so pretty! I think it needs to go on my bookshelf and get flipped through from time to time. I am obsessed with art which is a really heavy focus in this magazine. Let's just say that someday I'm going to need a house with a lot of walls...

I finally got to ride! I've ridden both a handful of times. Both were good but SUPER hyper. One day I just got off, pulled off tack/blankets and let them gallop around.
Crazy pony

Fancy pony

Hoping to take Jetta for a trail ride soon and I am planning on hauling out to an arena to ride Misty more. I went and looked at one barn out of the two I was planning on looking at. Not sure how I feel about it but I'll post more soon!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2014 Goals

Since there is absolutely NOTHING exciting happening in pony land. I haven't even seen the girls but once briefly. But now that I have a few days off work that will change! In the meantime, I bring another year-end post.

And also this ridiculous picture of Jetta: my view when giving her smooches.

 Here's what I wanted to achieve in 2013 and let's see how I did!
  • Compete in a 3' class - hunters or jumpers and I'd just like to have a clear round!
Success! I did a hunter/jumper show at the beginning of the year with Jetta and we competed in our first 3' class. Warm-up was pretty embarrassing and I wasn't sure we were quite ready for it, but the first class we went in, a hunter class, Jetta rocked it. Of course, I was super excited when my mom told me she caught it on video... come to find out, it was a 3 second video of the ground. Bummer. We did two other 3' jumper classes. One fail due to rider error (I forgot a roll back) and then the last class she bombed through a fence because she was getting tired. But, we accomplished one clean, awesome round! And we've continued to school 3'+ at home and she's been great.
  • Compete in  one recognized and  two league dressage shows
Somewhat of a success. I competed in way more than two league shows so this year was way, way better for us in terms of dressage competitions. However, I didn't get to accomplish the goal of a recognized show. The show I wanted to attend was in early summer and at that point, I didn't feel Jetta was ready for that level of competition. Now, if it had been at the end of summer, that would have been awesome.

Here's how our shows went:

Training Level
  • 65.0% at Training Level Test 2
  • 65.8% at Training Level Test 3 
  • 64.6% at Training Level Test 3
  • 62.419% in Training Level Test 3 
 First Level
  • 61.724% at First Level Test 1
  • 62.42% at First Level Test 1
  • 66.724% at First Level Test 1 
  • 62.027% at First Level Test 2 
  • 66.757% in First Level Test 2
  • 64.0% at First Level Test 3

  • Ride a first level test at a show and score at least a 65%
Success! Our last show earned us two 65%+ scores!
  • Compete at the recognized Inavale HT - I don't care whether it's at Novice or Beginner Novice I just want to ride in it!
Also a success! I had a blast. Jetta was awesome (in everything but stadium). We finished with a number and not a letter, which was the goal and we were actually only one place away from getting a ribbon. So close!
  • Ride in a schooling HT and not get eliminated
Well, not quite. We did a schooling HT and did get eliminated, but it was still an improvement. However, we did complete a recognized HT without getting eliminated (see above). So it was kind of a success. 
  • Try to get Jetta inspected by a warmblood registry, probably RPSI or Oldenburg
Fail. I don't know why I never got around to it this year. I think it was just poor planning.
  •  Compete in an LD endurance ride!
Success! This goal got added in late but it was something I really wanted to do and while it took us forever to actually achieve (I planned on completing it at the beginning of summer but didn't get to until fall). It was awesome and now I can't wait for the next one!

Goals for 2014. These are just going to be for Jetta, because she's the main gal around here. The name of the game is attainable goals. I have some loftier goals, but I'd really like to be able to check things off, so here we go:
  • Compete in a recognized dressage show. Finally.
  • Get a ribbon in a horse trial! Either from a schooling or recognized one. I don't care I just want that ribbon!
  • Ride at Inavale and/or one other recognized HT. 
  • Compete at Second Level at least once and score in the 60's.
  • Compete at Novice and just not get eliminated. 
  • Show at 3'+ in a jumper show (Yes, again. But hey, maybe we'll try out a 3'3" class)
  • Do at least one, but hopefully two LD endurance rides. 
Ok, and I actually will add in a couple Misty goals.
  • Hopefully do another sorting competition
  • Take a reining lesson
  • At least school cross country but hopefully do a one-day show at the Intro or BN level. 
  • Mountain Trail Competition
  • Show at Training Level and work on First Level at home

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Something Different

Yesterday was pretty fun, I got to do something a little different. I met up with a horsey friend, CL, that I haven't gotten to see recently. We used to board together almost four years ago (wow, time flies!) and at that time, she owned a horse named Tanq. If she couldn't get out to the barn some days I'd ride him for her, which was really fun and different to go from a sensitive, hot and catty TB to a ginormous, floaty and less reactive Warmblood.

I met her new horse at the beginning of the summer when we went for a trail ride. Hayes is STUNNING. He's basically the horse I would buy if I was in the market for a Warmblood (he's an imported Trakehner), minus a few little flaws. He just has perfect conformation, is my favorite shade of light orange chestnut with chrome, the best work ethic under saddle and did I mention he's gorgeous?!

Pictures just don't do him justice

We'd been trying to coordinate a time for me to come ride him but never could make it work due to both our crazy schedules, but now that it's winter break we have a lot more free time so we finally did it!

It was a ton of fun. Riding Hayes just solidified my love for him. He has very nice gaits, uphill and floaty. He naturally really engages his hind end and lowers his haunches in transitions. He's basically naturally just on the bit. Oh my goodness, riding him was awesome.

He's not convinced that pictures are fun

CL is showing him Second Level and will hopefully get to Third Level this summer. He was just really different from Jetta in that he didn't really get rushy, he'd go fast sometimes, but I never felt like we were snowballing faster and faster. He never got heavy on the forehand. Like not once. Transitions were amazing, so simple and just there. He's got the dreamiest trot ever. Like, I could just trot him all day. Collecting, extending, asking for some almost-passage steps. So. Cool. He was a lot "heavier" in the contact than Jetta, but not pulling, just accepting it, whereas Jetta is very light mouthed except for when she's pulling on you so contact is typically very light. He didn't argue about leg yields or shoulder-in. His canter wasn't super amazing, he wanted to be really uphill but at the same time I had trouble getting him really through and he almost got a little bit lateral in the canter, though CL got back on afterwards to show off his flying changes and I didn't see the same issue, so that was obviously a rider error!

Gosh, it was a lot of fun. I need to bring Jetta over and introduce her to Hayes and tell her to be more like him. I know her trot can get better, maybe not to the same quality as his, but close. It just made me more driven to work hard with Jetta and hopefully get her to that same point as Hayes. Someday.

Makes me miss a certain pair of fuzzy little orange ears.

I've been thinking about what I want to do with the horses. I was kind of toying with the idea of leaving them at my parents' for another month and moving them up at the beginning of February, but decided that it would honestly drive me nuts to have them so far away and not able to ride often, plus if I want to achieve my goals with Jetta this next year, we need to start soon and work really hard and consistently at it, which I can't do right now with them at home. So, I have 3 places on my list to go look at. All would be feasible for the horses.

Barn #1 is CL's barn. It's adequate, but not as nice as I would hope. The stalls are pretty old and dinky and it's a little more than I would like to pay. But KB trains out of there, which would be awesome to get into a regular lesson plan with her.

Barn #2 I looked at before, but I don't know why I decided not to board there. It's at least a 30 minute drive, so it's a little farther than I hoped. The arena is kind of a funky layout, but the owners seem to be making lots of improvements. There's a covered round pen, an outdoor arena, year-round turnout paddocks and the property backs up to lots of trails which would be awesome. It's right at what the max I'd like to pay.

 Barn #3 I also looked at previously. Another friend boards there now. There's two (or maybe three arenas?). The main arena is huge and really nice. The stalls are ok. Not a ton of turnout and runs are super muddy. The BO seemed kind of crazy, but supposedly she's fine and you don't really have to interact with her that much. And if I did self care it would be super cheap and maybe I could trade off days with my friend who boards there.

 I'll give more info when I finally get to go see these barns!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Year 2013 in Pictures

I decided to do this post a little earlier than usual this year because I have literally nothing else to post about. I'm suffering from major pony withdrawal right now :(

Be prepared to be overwhelmed by pictures! I should probably figure out a better way to break up this post since every year it seems to get longer and longer, but oh well. I guess this year you'll just have to suffer through it! I'm very picture oriented, so I like to do these overviews.

At the beginning of the year, these were my horses: Grady, Tux (I half owned him with my Aunt) and Jetta. I still owned Jazz, but she was being leased out to a lady until October (supposedly).

Tux was going really well, he had all of the basics down that I require of my horses and was put up for sale. I had some great rides on him around the property.

At the beginning of February, I finally sold him to a lady from Washington as a dressage horse. I was really sad to see him go because he was such an awesome horse. He had tons of talent and personality! I hope that someday she takes him in the show ring and I get to watch.

Saying goodbye to the big guy
At the end of February, I had my first dressage show of the year on Jetta. It was actually our first dressage show in almost two years. We debuted at First level and it went ok. Definite weak spots in our tests, but it was a good start. Jetta wasn't quite on her complete best behavior, but I couldn't completely blame her cause the footing was truly awful there.

We scored a 65.8% at Training Level Test 3 earning a 3rd out of 10 and a 61.724% at First Level Test 1 earning a 1st out of 2. 

With the money I made from Tux, I finally (FINALLY) got new tall boots that actually fit. I'd been cutting off my circulation with my old boots for the past 7 years. Enter, my new De Niro's. Love.

March had to be one of the worst months of my life.

After 11 years of being together, I had to put my handsome old man down. He was 27 years old and I always thought he would be around until at least his 30s. He still had plenty of spring to his step and was healthy in every way. But he colicked and twisted his gut so I made the hardest decision. I still miss him so much.

Exactly one week before, cuddles with my fuzzy man.

Also in March, I went on a beach ride (the only one this year) to lift my spirits. Can't beat a nice gallop on the beach.

The trails finally dried out too and we started to discover some new trails.

And the xc course opened super early and we got to school xc. This was where my "one fall a year" came in, when Jetta reared because she spooked over a tree branch on the ground, I bailed. Sometimes I wonder about this horse...

After I sold Tux, my aunt (Tux's owner/breeder) asked if I could sell Tux's mom for her, since she was having no luck getting her sold through a "trainer" in her area. I agreed and welcomed Queenie in, though I wasn't really feeling it because of my loss of Grady.

Queenie definitely didn't have as much training as she was supposed to have. In fact, the first ride was rather scary when I found I didn't have brakes or steering. But, just like her babies, she proved to be a fast learner and hard worker with the sweetest personality. I had a lot of fun with her:

Definitely not spooky

Lots of trail rides

And giving rides to friends
Finished product: ultimate jumbo-sized western pony

I sold Queenie at the end of April to a lady looking for a calm horse that was "different" that she could ride on the trails and maybe someday get back into doing little open shows with. Queenie definitely won her over when she let her 10 year old daughter easily handle her.

Also in April, Jetta and I did another dressage show. Jetta did much better than at the last show and I didn't have a lot to complain about our tests. However, the judge was super hard and scored everybody very low with next to no positive comments...

We scored a 64.6% at Training Level Test 3 earning a 1st place out of 5 and a 62.42% at First Level Test 1 earning a 2nd place out of 6.

They had recycled ribbons at this show

I also did a jumper show in May. Jetta was really good and it was our debut into showing 3'. There were a few mishaps, but the main takeaway was that we could indeed show at 3' and do well, completing our goal of a clear round.

Jetta showing off how crazy she can be the day before the show...
I think this is our 3' class? But it looks a little small here... Not sure.

In May, I have no idea what got into me. I was casually looking for a new project horse when I saw a horse that my BO had previously owned, a cute little bay roan paint. She was listed for way, way out of my price range and I commented to the BO that I wished I could buy her, but that I didn't have any money. She finagled the current owner wayyyy down in price into my (near) price range. So I bought her on a whim. Keep in mind that this is the most I've ever spent on a horse and the fact that I only knew this horse from my barn and never actually rode her or anything. And that's how Misty (previously known as Sissy) came to be with me.

The picture I bought her off of
First ride wasn't quite what I expected...
June was a very busy month.

At the beginning of the month, Jetta and I did a one day trial at Beginner Novice. We ended up getting elminated because we refused 5 (I think) cross country fences. But everything else went swimmingly and it was a major improvement over our last attempt. We even scored our lowest dressage score ever with a 25.7 putting us in 2nd after dressage (and show jumping too).

In the middle of June, we did our first weekend long show. It was not our best. It was the league show championships and we did the Training and First Level division. Jetta was not enthused about it being more than one day and by the second day decided she didn't really want to play anymore. It was quite rough. We scored a 65% in Training 2 and a 62.419% in Training 3. Then a 62.027% at First 2 and a 64% at First 3. Did I mention it was our first time basically even looking at First 3?? But, somehow we managed to place 3rd in both divisions.

Only pic of the weekend unfortunately (or maybe fortunately).

Then at the end of June, Jetta did her first recognized event! The goal of this show was to finish with a number and not a letter. We definitely succeeded and I had a complete and total blast. We did have two refusals in xc, but that was a major improvement. Jetta went above and beyond my expectations. We got a 33 in dressage placing us 3rd, but after xc we got knocked down to 9th. Stadium was basically a disaster, meaning we had no chance for ribbons and we ended up as 9th. Never have I ever wanted an ugly brown 8th place ribbon so badly!

Rocking the water.
Also in June, I got Jazz back. Her lessor was supposed to keep her for another several months, but ended up not being able to afford her. I decided to put her up for sale rather than lease because she deserved a more permanent home where she could have plenty of attention. It was another hard decision because I've had her for 10 years and I could not imagine a more perfect horse.

I had the opportunity to go to a photography workshop with one of my favorite equine photographers which was really fun. While photography is just a hobby for me right now since I don't have enough time to develop it into anything more, eventually I'd like to make it a side business.

And foals are just too CUTE!
 July was the last of the dressage shows. I had such an amazing year for dressage shows! Jetta was finally going REALLY well and I decided to bring Misty too to test out the waters for my little stock horse in dressage.

Both horses did awesome. Misty scored a 63.125% in Intro B and a 63.25% at Intro C with consistency in tempo and contact being the main issues we needed to work on, unsurprisingly.

Pretty dang fancy for a ranch horse.

Jetta and I had our best dressage show to date. She was just THERE for me in everything I asked and it showed in our tests. We got a 66.724% at First Level Test 1 earning us a 1st place out of 7. Then a 66.757% in First Level Test 2. Basically it was amazing.

Our most amazing stretchy trot ever.

Unfortunately, that same weekend, Jetta somehow managed to untie herself and wrap the lead rope around her legs and got some bad rope burns and a lovely hematoma on her belly. So I sent her home to pasture to recoup and brought Jazz up to the barn to escape the gnats and relieve her sweet itch and find her a new home.

Jazz enjoys the amenities of the new barn, namely the lack of gnats.
The lovely hema-tomata.
I had some amazing rides with Misty and Jazz. Jazz was truly a once in a lifetime kind of horse.

Jazz and Misty went on lots of trail rides

Jazz was super dressage-y and adorable.

More trails

Two perfect horses and one rider.
 August was a fun month with Misty. We got to play with cows.

I took her to a ranch horse competition and had a blast.

Getting a 9 on that cow circling!

I made Misty jump. She wasn't too sure about it...

But eventually she figured it out and proved to be a perfect hunter princess mount.

We even got to compete in our first ranch sorting competition, kicking butt and taking names (well, kind of). We placed first and second in each of our division meaning we left with more money than we arrived with! How cool is that?! We also did 3 trail competitions over the course of the summer, which she did very well at.

I sold Jazz in September to be a young girl's horse and to do 4-H. I know she's definitely spoiled and I love hearing updates about her. Especially when they run into people that know Jazz and they brag about how awesome she is. It makes my heart happy.

Last day with Jazz.

This meant I got to bring the newly healed Jetta back up to the barn and get back to work.

Someone was going stir crazy with no work. And fat.

And she was a complete and total brat, despite being absolutely adorable.

We hit the trials hard to prepare for our first LD endurance ride.

Proving she actually does like water.

We also tested out the kineton and found that it was awesome, despite Jetta's general distaste for anything that made it harder for her to lean on the bit.

Me and my friend AR did a pony photoshoot. I did get a few good photos with the girls out of it, but I was most proud of the shots that I got. Starting to expand my horizons into people photography!

My favorite of these 3

October was my birthday month. Misty got to give pony rides:

What a good girl
 And Jetta and I finally competed in our first LD ride. I had a complete and total blast and I can't wait for our next one!

 Jetta proved that she liked Halloween. Or at least, Halloween decorations.

And I freejumped the horses, with Jetta killing it over 5 feet.

And we got kicked out of our barn because it was "closing". So on November 1st, the horses went home to my parents.

Home sweet home?
Misty went to her first hunter/jumper show and did amazingly. Mainly the only issue was rider error, but we still managed to get a 2nd place out of 10 in one of our rounds.

From there, not a ton of interesting stuff. The horses have been getting ridden sparingly.

Thanksgiving weekend jaunt.
Jetta got clipped.
Jetta and I had an awesome jumping lesson with KO

Goofing off after a ride.

So that's basically been our year! Some incredibly low lows, but also a lot of highs. Overall, not too bad of a year, though there were definitely some things I could have done without. Looking forward to 2014 being even better!