Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Did I Do

I've been considering this for a while and for some reason today, I just decided to go with it.

I've always liked the look of a roached mane and have kind of wanted to do it to Jetta for a long time but always thought that I'd never actually do it. I was too chicken.

For some reason, I just threw all those reasons out the window and shaved it all off today. I hate keeping it pulled, Jetta hates having it pulled, I'm probably not going to show that much this summer, it will keep her cool on our trail rides and I think she'll rock the mohawk.

Mid-way through the cut I kind of had a panicked "what am I doing?!" moment, but now that it's done, I actually really like it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summer Weather

Today was so summery feeling and tomorrow and Thursday are supposed to be even warmer! I didn't have any work today so I took the opportunity to go for a trail ride. Jetta was such a pain tacking up, stepping on my foot twice and trying to spook into me and trying to whack me with her giant head. We had to do some ground work to get her out of my bubble before loading on the trailer. Luckily, by that point she had decided to cooperate and she loaded herself on the trailer and off we went.

She was absolutely perfect on the trails though! My foot is throbbing a bit (of course it's the same foot that I sprained my ankle on so it's hurting in multiple ways now) but that was the only bad part of our ride. She was a perfect lady for bridling when we got to the trails and we didn't have any bad spooks or misbehavior.

I didn't let her do her big trot or do any galloping because she got too strong on our last ride, but this time she was great. She kept a nice, reasonable trot the whole time. I put a running martingale on her for the first time ever to see how it helped us out because on the trails, her reaction to me asking her to slow down is to throw her head in the area and continue at the same speed all llama-esque. In the arena however, her reaction to this same request is usually to pull down and try to fall on her forehand. I felt like the martingale helped a lot. It came into play a few times and made it a lot easier for me to remind her to trot like a normal horse instead of a lot of bickering between the two of us on how to trot.

I was super excited to finally find a lookout point that you can see out over the town. So pretty.

I live in such a seriously beautiful place

Future cross country jump?? Branch was about 3' off the ground

We stopped for a bit to take some pictures and as we turned to go came across the first person on the trails of the day, a mountain biker. He made some small talk and then mentioned that a bunch of bikers were coming up the hill. I thanked him for telling me, then headed down, thinking it'd just be a handful or so of other bikers.

Ha. It was more like a herd of mountain bikers. I think it was a class from the university. Jetta can handle a single biker at a time, but never has there been 20 or so bikers heading straight towards her on the trail. But she completely kept her cool. I just clucked to her and she walked past the first half to a little trail on the side where we could stand out of the way until everyone passed. I was super happy with her. See, she can sometimes be a good pony!

Overall, a super good day! Tomorrow I might try to do a jump school on one or both girls and then they're getting baths! They're going to be all shiny squeaky clean.

Gross, sweaty pony after our ride.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Looking Forward

Definitely looking forward to this week!

Summer weather coming right up!

I had a great ride on Misty today. I lunged her first and she did her usual bucking/leaping/alternate galloping and headflinging around. She's so funny to watch. When I got on she was nice and ready to work. Started with lots of walking and getting her to reach for contact, then moved onto leg yields and shoulder-in. Moved to the trot and did lots of loops which have become really awesome. She no longer gets confused about changing bend and maintaining gait and tempo at the same time! Leg yields at the trot are getting better but they don't quite look like straight lines yet. More like a little bit of leg yield, three strides straight and then a little bit more leg yield.

Overall, I was super happy with our ride today. I groomed Jetta really well then lunged her. She is FINALLY getting serious about shedding out her coat and each day I get lots of hair off of her so she's no longer fluffy! Plus, she's getting dapples. I love dapples but she's never gotten any! I'm super excited. But they're really faint and you can only see them at a certain angle. Weirdly enough they're only on the left side. I tried to get a picture but you couldn't really see them in the arena lighting so once it's nice out we'll try outside in the sunshine!

I was pretty impressed with Jetta even though all we did was lunge today. Someone brought some hay to put in the loft and so they opened the sliding door to the arena and drove the truck in while we were in there. Jetta lost it a little bit when they opened the door, but I brought her back to a halt and made her watch them drive in. Then I put her right back to work and she didn't even flick another ear at them while they backed up and started tossing bales up. Yay!

I was finally able to figure out a way to get pictures off my phone and onto my computer without emailing them. Complete and utter pain, but it'll work until I figure out how to fix the email. So enjoy some old pics from last Monday!

Someone's getting a bit beefy
Love getting to ride in the outdoor

Pretty girl

And we can't forget about Jetta!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rain, Rain Go Away

I apologize for not posting more often! I just feel like I don't have the energy to post with school being so busy which is a bummer.

Nothing too exciting has been happening though. Weather has been super gross and rainy and not warm. This week I got a whopping two rides in on Misty. I meant to ride both ponies last night but had a major allergy attack and decided that since I couldn't breathe I should probably just ride only one horse, lol.

Misty was good for one ride and not so good for the other. Monday we were able to ride outside in the sun just before the downpour. Our warm-ups aren't pretty but once we get done with the warm up she starts to settle and move better and accept more contact. I've started asking for more leg yields and she's stopped getting panicked about them. Introduced shoulder-in which is going well, just little baby steps every ride. Also have been working on lengthenings which are just more like zoomy trots at the moment, but every so often she gets that nice, floaty, long stride.

Thursday she was not so good. I chose to ride her during feeding time which wasn't optimal so she was quite interested and a little spooky/tense with all the noise going on above her head in the loft. She wasn't awful (certainly no where near as bad as Jetta gets) and we were able to end on a semi-good note, but it wasn't great. She didn't want to move forward and was quite behind my leg at the beginning and didn't want anything to do with contact. Eventually I gave up and worked on something I knew we could do without theatrics and just practiced our stretchy trot and then our straight halts down the centerline. I really want to make a good impression at our big show next month by entering straight and stopping perfectly! She did very good at both of those things so we were able to end well which was especially good because I was not doing so well on the breathing front. Stupid allergies.

I planned on taking Jetta for a trail ride tomorrow but the forecast changed and it's supposed to rain most of the day. So I'm putting it off until Wednesday when it's supposed to be gloriously sunny and almost 80 degrees! Cannot wait. Until then, I'm going to try and put at least a couple indoor rides on Jetta.

And that's pretty much it in my world! I'm so jealous of everyone that's at Rolex right now and have been spending little snippets of time watching the rides on my computer. Someday I'll make it out there in person!

(Also, sorry for no pictures. I have a bunch I want to share, but my phone isn't letting me email them to myself. Ah, technology; I have no idea why you're not working!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dropping Like Flies

My show plans seem to be steadily declining, which makes me kind of sad, but at the same time my original plans were quite ambitious.

April 27th - Dressage League Show- decided not to go to this unfortunately. I thought it would be perfect preparation for our recognized show, but the ultimately decided that it's not work it to drive four hours away. It would be cheaper to just take a lesson with KB instead.

May 4th - H/J show. Local, not the cheapest, but I think it would be fun to take Jetta and Misty. But I'm not quite sure yet, so this may not happen either.

May 10-11th - Heart of the Valley Recognized Dressage show- definitely going to this one. I've gotten my entry confirmation already and I'm super excited!

May 17th - Mt. Adams endurance ride. I've been planning this ride since last year, but as it gets closer and closer I'm getting less sure.

It doesn't help that I found out that there's an open Quarter Horse show that I could take Misty to and show her in the beginning ranch pleasure, reining and working cowhorse classes. The prize in which is a belt buckle... Tempting. Mostly because I'm not sure Jettas exactly where I want her in terms of fitness. I'm sure we could go out and do it jut fine, but I want to be a little bit more competitive this time. I know we're nowhere near ready to try and compete for top ten, but I still have a little bit of competitive drive kicking in.

May 31st-June 1st - One day horse trials, planning on going at least one day with both horses!

While I want to do all of these, I'm just worried about being able to do the recognized Horse Trials I wanted to do. I really wanted to aim for two of them this year, but since one generally wipes out my horse show money account, I don't know how I'm going to manage it so I'm thinking that in terms of money less shows is better, but in terms of preparation, more is better. Ugh. I hate making these kind of decisions.

At least last year was super awesome in terms of dressage shows, but I was wanting this year to be the year of horse trials! I got my award plates in the mail last week to add to my collection. Jetta got two plates for training (4 scores) and first (6 scores) and Misty got one for intro (2 scores)! Can't wait to order a plaque to mount all of them on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sore and Not-So-Sore

I had a lovely ride on Tuesday with monster pony. I was waffling back and forth on whether or not I wanted to ride her on the trails, especially as I still hadn't changed out the flat tire on the trailer. Finally, I decided that I'd just go for a quick one hour ride as I wouldn't have a chance later this week. I'm glad I did!

First off, change flat tire. That was interesting. Getting the trailer up on the trailer-aid block was easy, getting the actual tire off was not. The lug nuts just would not loosen. I'm not a strong person so eventually I ended up sitting on the ground with both hands on one part of the tire iron and a foot on the other, using all my strength to get the stupid things undone. Whew. It was a workout. But I did it! And all by myself too. I felt so accomplished.

Very flat

Spare tire on!

Cleaned stalls super quick and since Jetta just got her feet done I put her boots on. Her hind feet have to be freshly trimmed to fit in the easyboots so they were perfect and she got to wear all four! Loaded up and off we went.

The clouds were rolled out on our drive over to the trailhead and it wasn't looking very inviting. Kind of like it might rain. But we went for it anyways. I didn't see a single soul out on the trails. Not a one. We had them all to ourselves. Jetta was very good, we went at a much quicker pace this time, covering the same amount of ground (about 7 miles) but this time in an hour rather than an hour and a half. I was worried about her back so I ended up doing a lot of two-point when she had her big trot going (which is near impossible to softly post to).

I was glad I got to go though since the rest of this week is not going to have any pony time in it.

Can never have too much of this view

Today, when I went to clean stalls I palpated her back and she showed hardly any signs of soreness at all, which I was super relieved to find. I had checked the saddle fit on her the other day after she was super sore last week and didn't find anything different and her sweat marks have been even so I think it's just a strength issue/how I was riding. I'm not the most fit at the moment.

Me on the other hand, I am SORE. I couldn't figure out why I was so sore today. I didn't do anything different... no different mileage, I've been riding regularly, maybe I slept funky which made my back hurt? Oh, that's right. I basically did two-point for the better part of an hour. Dang, that's why I hurt! Hopefully all this two-point though will help get me ready for doing some jumping soon!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Not too much of a horsey weekend, but I did have to bring up 3 tons of hay for the horses. I borrowed my dad's flatbed and had the hay loaded on it. About half way to the barn I passed a bicyclist who was staring and pointing at my truck, so I figured I should pull over and see what the fuss was all about. This is what I found:

Leaning tower of hay...

Someone failed at stacking. I lost two bales out of the middle
Luckily a random guy stopped and restacked them for me. Sometimes I love people, it was such a nice thing to do!

Today, I had quite the productive day at the barn. I had only one early morning class today so afterwards I was planning on homework, but ultimately decided on going to the barn instead. The farrier was coming at 1:30 meaning I had three whole hours to fill in the meantime.

I cleaned the stalls to perfection, gave both girls a good grooming. Lunged and rode both horses then cleaned all my tack. I finished it all up right at the perfect time for the girls to get their toes done.

Neither of them have been growing much hoof since I've been riding them on gravel and their runs are concrete, they pretty much wear it off at a fair rate. I've been smoothing down the edges with my rasp whenever needed, but an actual trim hasn't been needed in months... I think like December? So I figured it was time to have the real farrier out to balance up their hooves. Especially because Misty has weird feet that I just don't even know what to do with.

Misty has a big scar on her left front. It doesn't interfere in any way, just looks ugly and makes her hoof on that leg grow differently than her other front hoof. She's been getting a lot of heel on that foot but not on the other. Then add in that her right hind is having all sorts of fun flaring out to the side... She needed some balancing done. AC said her hooves were fine, they might not look perfect but they were functional. She's got great sole depth and nice thick walls going on!

On the riding front, I rode both girls dressage. They were both great! Kept both rides pretty short and sweet because I am SO SORE. One of my main personal goals this year is to get in better shape in order to benefit my riding. I always feel like I'm going to die after cross country so I figure if I'm more fit it would probably help :) In that vein, I signed up for a 5k color run since it sounded fun. I was super good about running the first few weeks after I signed up, then I sprained my ankle and didn't run for 2 weeks... But I was determined to do it. And I did! I managed to run the whole thing and my ankle didn't even hurt. I was so proud of myself because I am not a runner. But my body is now mad at me and so is my ankle, so riding was a bit of a struggle today.



I'm considering showing her at first level at the show at the end of this month. She's starting to really put the pieces together for all the new movements introduced at that level, but so far everything's "good" but not great. I think we've finally found our lengthened trot, but it takes quite a bit of tinkering to get it during our ride, so it's not quite ready to be put out there in a test. Leg yields have improved quite a bit but aren't quite consistent enough yet in our bend and angle, but at least she's stopped getting worried about them. Circles still need some smoothing out, but our trot loops and all transitions are a lot smoother.

Will do a review on my new breeches soon. I love them so far!


I don't want to jinx it this early on, but I feel like I'm finally starting to get my horse back! I hadn't ridden her all weekend, but I tacked her up and lunged her in side reins first. She was definitely more uppity and spooky this time around. Every little sound seems to set her off and several people were cleaning stalls which was apparently very scary, but she wasn't as bad as she could have been.

When I got on, we did our long walk warmup with lots of leg yields and shoulder-ins and bending to make sure she was listening well. In the trot, she definitely is not quite there muscle-wise yet to carry herself which means I do a lot of holding her up, but we still have been able to get nice moments of self carriage. Lots of bracing in our rides, but again, she has at least as many soft moments as braced ones. We will get there eventually! Since she's having trouble carrying herself she ends up on her forehand and resultingly gets a little too speedy at the trot, but I would much rather have that than her awful pony trot. She was super good about leg yields and shoulder-ins at the trot. The canter was great today too! Last time we had trouble to the right where she got tense and speedy, but today she was perfectly balanced.

Ahhh, feels good to ride her again. By the end of the ride, she wasn't even tensing at all of the noises going on around her. Success! We only had one minor tantrum when she spooked at something and did a baby hop/spin towards the center of the arena, but it was so minor compared to her recent bronc moments that it almost isn't worth mentioning. I was a happy camper with my horses today!

Friday, April 11, 2014

No Theatrics

I had the best ride I've had all year on Jetta-monster today! Yes, the best ride all year, as in four whole months. There were absolutely no theatrics. Gosh it's been a long time since I've had a nice ride on her in the arena. It was much needed. Her back showed no signs of being sore yesterday so I decided that I'd ride her today.

Goals for the day were to get her to have a nice trot, no tug-of-war battles and to stay on her. The last of which was made much easier by the fact that there was no spooking, bucking, rearing, scooting or other awful behaviors.

She warmed up quietly on the lunge line in side reins. I got on and did a long warm up in the walk getting her to leg yield lots, be soft in the bridle, etc. Moved on to the trot and was pleased to find there was no obnoxious pony trot but she was nice and forward without rushing. Minimal pulling too! She wasn't perfect, but for the most part we had a nice soft contact without curling behind or hauling on me. Canter was good, though to the right I accidentally brushed the wall with my foot and she took exception to that and had some rushy/pully behavior which we eventually came out of.

It was a nice ride and I'm hopeful that she'll continue to improve to at least where we were last year if not beyond!

No pictures of the good monster pony, but have some of Misty! I've been lunging her in the round pen before our rides just to take advantage of the sunshine and she has so much fun running around.

I just love everything about this horse's movement!

Bonus photo. My "speshul" unicorn

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blog Hop: Our Commercial Moment

Blog hop from L over at Viva Carlos!

"So fellow bloggers, What are you buying next? Not your "Wish I could" list but your actual practical pony shopping list. And if its a high ticket item you are saving for what is it and when do you expect to order/get it?"

So, I have pretty much just recently (as in the last couple days) bought everything that would go on this list, so I'm just going to put that:
  • Canter Mane & Tail Detangler Spray
  • Rubber Bands for braiding
  • Short Sleeve show shirt
  • Smartpak Piper full seat breeches
I'm trying to decide what my next big purchase is going to be. Saving for at least one, maybe two out of these three items:
  • Set of portable corral panels
  • La Mundial boots
  • Oglivy pad

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Deflated & Sore

Despite the title, it's not all that awful.

I went to the barn yesterday and grabbed something out of the trailer. This sight greeted me:

Very, very flat

Oh joy. I have never changed a tire in my life. This will be interesting. I drove around to several places and finally found a trailer aid to use for changing it. I have a spare tire and a tire iron... Tomorrow will be all sorts of fun!

But luckily it's not like I was planning on going anywhere in the near future and if I do want to go somewhere Friday or this weekend, I should have enough time to change it beforehand. Fingers crossed.

The soreness is on Jetta. I gave her a good grooming yesterday and her back was ouchy. Bummer. It's on both sides of her back in the area that lies under the rear panels of my saddle. She's never been this sore before, I literally could just lightly press on her back and she'd drop. It was even hotter in those areas. I'm hoping it's just because she's out of shape and we did a longer ride and not that we're having saddle fit issues.

Today she was much better. I had to dig my thumb in to get a reaction. Still a little sore, but way better. I lunged her both today and yesterday and she looked great. No indication of soreness in how she moved so that was good.

After our lunge session yesterday Jetta got a bath. It was much needed. She was gross. I put Misty's Baker blanket on Jetta to keep her clean so I'd at least get to enjoy a clean pony for more than one day!

Shiny clean pony!
Have to say I like her in plaid. Maybe a Jetta-sized one is in our future?

Monday, April 7, 2014


Today ended up being fantastic weather. I woke up and was super disappointed to find that it was foggy and cool out... even at 10 when I headed to the barn it was still not encouraging looking out so I was kind of bummed because I'd been looking forward to this day for a while with the weather forecast being so nice.

Luckily by the time I finished cleaning stalls the sun finally peeked out and I lunged Jetta then loaded her up for a trail ride. It was a great ride. Sunny and warm. I LOVE spring.

Jetta was pretty great to. I was slightly worried once I got on that maybe this wasn't the best idea. My ankle is way better but I still don't have full use of it. So basically I had no left leg to use if she got spooky or stubborn somewhere on the trail. Hmm.

Mostly though she was great. A few small spooks here and there. She thoughts some fallen trees were terrifying and through a little tantrum about that but quickly worked out of it. She bravely passed a biker, walked over a small log and through a puddle. Only tried to kill us once when she spooked at something on the right side (so I had no left leg to hold her over) and went sideways towards the cliff at the edge of the trail. Geez mare, can we please spook in less destructive ways?

Checking out the creek
I'm trying to figure out the trail system better back there. The trails in that area are huge. You could go for miles and miles and miles. I will have no problem conditioning up there! I think I found the trail that leads to my friend's barn so I'm going to try and explore that next time.

Still keeping it fairly short and slow, we did 7.5 miles in an hour and a half mostly just because we had to mosey down the hills.

Overall, a good day :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Happy Birthday

Monster Pony turned 8 yesterday! I can't believe how time has flown. I've had Jetta for 6 years almost.

This past year was a fairly good one. We did our first recognized horse trial and managed not to get eliminated. Jetta became a confirmed first level horse. We did our first endurance LD ride. Hopefully this next year will be just as good!

Jetta got a bag of carrots for her bday, plus a little bit of turnout time and a nice lunge to burn off steam. My ankle is almost back to 100% but not quite enough to ride the fire breathing dragon just yet. I'm holding off until tomorrow for that :)

Course she still had to do stretches for her bday carrots

Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Happy Mouth Snaffle

I meant to do this a while ago, but never got around to it and just found this draft sitting in my folder!

I think I got this bit around November so I've been using it a while.
I mentioned when I got Misty, but I was not impressed with her previous training. At all. I know she was a ranch horse and as a result is a pretty chill, well-mannered horse, but after I bought her and rode her for the first time (not how I'd recommend buying a horse lol) she was alternatively sensitive to the bit and dull to it at times. As in I'd cue for a downward transition with my seat and get nothing, use a little bit of rein, getting a gaping mouth, use a little more seat/hand and get a slam on the brakes. Fun times.

I use Mylers on pretty much every horse I've ever had. I've found that they're thin enough to fit comfortably in mouths, too uncomfortable to lean on but kind enough to encourage a soft contact. So this is what I had Misty in. But even using a noseband to discourage opening her mouth and trying to teach her to listen to my body weight and seat aids for transitions she was still quite unhappy with the bit.

I think mostly because she was so used to a curb bit. You get the action of the shanks applying pressure via the curb strap first, plus there's no contact to speak of. Anywho, in teaching her dressage I wanted the softest bit possible to encourage her to accept contact. Enter a happy mouth.

Modeling the bit

I went with a D-ring version since I was also wanting the added control for jumping and showing hunters. The first few rides weren't encouraging. She was trying to figure out the bit, chewing on it a lot, trying to lean on it or tossing her head in the air alternately.

Now that it's been a few months though, I have to say I'm really happy with the bit. It hasn't gotten any chew marks. I don't like how the plastic yellows as it ages, but that's pretty unavoidable. Misty has settled down and seems to really appreciate the bit for working with contact. I still use the Myler for riding western but the Happy Mouth is for all our English work. She's definitely much happier taking contact and steady in the bridle. We still obviously have quite a ways to go, but I went and bought a second Happy Mouth that's a loose ring to show dressage in and keep the D-ring for jumping.

New bit on left, old bit on right

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I am so excited! I got Misty and I signed up for our first recognized dressage show.

I've been SO incredibly bored being laid up. I'm trying to be good and wrapping/icing my ankle (now I know how horses feel) but it means not getting up and moving around a lot. I've used the time to be super productive (well mostly. I did just start watching House on Netflix and I may or may not have watched 10 episodes in the course of the day yesterday).

Anywho, I finally renewed my USEF membership, organized Misty's "folder" with all of her registration papers and such. I got her the HID numbers with USEF and USDF, updated all of Jetta's info while I was at it, and then sent in our first recognized show entry!

So much money... And I didn't even get her actually registered with any of the organizations, just the HID numbers. Oh well. I would have liked to do lifetime registration so I can keep track of her in the future once I sell her, but it's not quite in the budget at the moment.

I'm quite excited for this show. I've never done a recognized show, but I've been itching to do one with Jetta for several years. I'm kind of bummed it's not with Jetta, but maybe she'll be ready by this summer for one. I really hope so because lately I've gotten really discouraged about where I am with Jetta.

We have one league show on April 27th that I'm going to take Misty to first and then May 10th-11th is the big weekend!

Can't wait for more of this:

Gah, the cuteness.