Archive for December, 2006

overwhelming cuteness (or, how much i love my baby)

Thanks to the break for the holidays, I had a friend come out the barn with me a of times (because she also loves the overwhelming cuteness that is my horse), and I was fortunate enough to have her get some video clips for me!!

First, we decided she needed to meet the hose. (cue ominous music). I mean, gosh, she had only learned to cross tie like a week ago, so of course she should be able to stand in the wash rack and handle a bath. Right.

HA! Like she cared. She was FANTASTIC, and like her reaction to EVERYTHING, decided scary things are best tasted to make sure they’re safe 🙂

Then, since there were three of us, we decided to free jump her!! We managed to pop her over a couple cross rails (she managed to also pop herself over the higher guide poles!), and then set up a nice cross rail to a vertical. I wanted to do an oxer too, but we ran out of standards. The three humans probably stood there looking at the set up for ten minutes debating on whether or not it was going to be too intimidating, and then decided she had already jumped something higher and that we might as well give it a go. She doesn’t seem to intimidated!

And then I had her follow me around to cool out, since she’s really a giant puppy dog and not a horse. And we’re not going to let jumps get in the way!

She’s so darn cute!!!


December 28, 2006 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

saddle story

Back in August, I tried a saddle out. LOVED this saddle. It’s a Custom, and boy did it feel like it was custom made to ME. Even the Stupid Pony went well for me in it. Long story short, the more I thought about it, the more I decided I just shouldn’t be shelling out the $$$ for the saddle right before the start of the semester.

The owner was only selling it because she sold her horse, which she sold because she was going to grad school and needed the money. I asked if perhaps she’d let me pay for the saddle in two or three payments. Nope, all the cash right away, or send it back – by the end of the week. Fine, it was worth a shot. And I VERY reluctantly sent it back to her. I think that moment was the closet my trainer has come to killing me.

Long story short, I haven’t stopped thinking about that saddle. At all. And I keep shopping for it online, but they don’t make that model any more and I can’t find any other used ones (even in different sizes) for close to what I could have bought it for. We stilltalk about how great I rode in that saddle. And even in my lesson last night, my trainer and I were talking about it and what it did for me.

So imagine my surprise when out of nowhere I received an e-mail from the owner of that saddle. She got busy with school, didn’t have a chance to list it anywhere, and now that the semester is over she planned on taking it to a consignment shop, but before she did was I still interested?

Okay, seriously! I don’t blame her for wanting the money all right away. But had she just let me make the couple of payments, she’d have her money, the saddle sold, and I’d have the saddle!!!

And of course, here I am two weeks before xmas rearranging funds and begging and borrowing from my mom and listing things for sale….all because I test rode a horse for someone else six months ago and then loved the saddle

Let that be a warning to anybody who goes horse shopping…

(A fantastic saddle IS worth it, right??)

Besides, THIS is what it did for me on the Stupid Pony:

So, on that note….to help my Custom Saddle Fund…if you or anybody you know might like a brand new Toulouse saddle with matching show fittings, check out my Tack Trader ad. I also have a lightly used and kept inside synthetic western saddle for sale, and a great deal of other random tack….

December 21, 2006 at 9:56 am 1 comment

good rides and goal setting

My mom has been unable to ride for a while, so her horse (Win) has been sitting since about August. We recently came to the conclusion that I should just ride him – he needed work, I needed a horse to ride…how convenient. About two weeks ago we discovered that he was
a) more out of shape than we thought he was; and
b) had been enjoying his life of liesure and didn’t really want to go back to work.

I had never really liked riding this horse anyhow, and that first lesson on him was horrible. Beyond horrible (I was nearly in tears for the whole thing). This horse did everything in his power to get OUT of doing something. Bulge the shoulder, drop the shoulder, cut in, cut out, plow through the leg, plow through the rein, duck behind the bit, tense the neck and plow through everything, run himself head first into a wall, change gaits, buck, rear, kick, bolt, etc etc etc….he just wasn’t doing it. No pain, no medical reason – this was nothing but sheer attitude. I had never had a WORSE ride on any horse. But it’s my mom’s horse and she really wanted me to ride him, so what can I do??

A couple more rides with much lowered expectations, plus a couple boot camp sessions with the trainer, and fast forward to this week. I rode Win in my lesson Tuesday night and he was….much better. Not great, but MUCH better. And the craziest part of all? I was much better too. I rode him through a lot of stuff that I would normally panic at, pushed him through and then managed to keep on going. My trainer was all but jumping up and down, and she did say that it was the best she had ever seen me ride!

I had another lesson last night and my trainer decided that we should keep on going and ride Win again (rather than have me ride her school pony or the warmblood from last week). I did our usual lunging warm up and he was bad. Lazy, not relaxing, just right back to where he was a while ago. We figured he was probably tired and maybe a bit sore from being good the night before, and prepared ourselves for another bad ride.

Surprise!! I got on and he was GREAT. Just great. Both ways, at all three gaits. And he didn’t even TRY to get out of working at all. He got tired and it became harder for him to relax and be soft, but he still had TRY in him. Yay!!

So I cooled him out and jumped down and my trainer asked me what my plans were for this horse. I hadn’t thought about it at all. She said that if I wanted to invest the time into him, he’d EASILY be going first level this summer. And we could probably squeeze out second, and maybe third farther down the line. So, while I’m still not overly excited about riding Win, I think I need time to adjust to the idea, and get him into better shape. We decided we’d better set some goals to keep the two of us going. And in the mean time, I KNOW he’s a horse I’ll be able to ride and show this summer, which is great.

Goal: Show training level at the in-barn schooling show January 14th
Goal: Show first level at the ILPH GlassEd show May 27

Meanwhile, I haven’t forgotten my little girl!!! My trainer and I have started setting up all my lessons in two hour blocks so that I can ride one horse and then work her in a lesson setting. Tuesday night she got off easy as I learned just what this whole triangle thing was about. My little girl thinks she’s a show horse already, and consistently nailed the setup. She’s so cute and knows when she’s supposed to pose and look pretty. Still a little confused about the whole REST of the triangle and why we have to move, but she’ll figure it out!

Last night my little was all grown up and wore big-horse tack! She had been saddled before, but never girthed up. So we lunged her a bit to get her in a thinking sort of mood, and then brought her and the tack into the middle of the arena. No big deal. Of course. Stood perfectly still for everything, even when I realized the girth wasn’t actually going to fit, and let me take it up and down and up and down then finally tighten it. Good girl! hehe

We walked around for a while and she was fine. Started lunging and trotted her. Fine. Those noisy things flapping on her back? Fine. Oh, you want a cute little canter where I have to expand my chest against the girth? Fine. Switch and go her bad direction. Still fine. And then the big one, ask for the canter to the bad direction – FINE! She was GREAT!!

My trainer said that if she were already three, I’d probably only be a week or two away from getting on. As it is, we’ll add some banging stirrups and have her carring a bit. Introduce some side reins. Go to ground driving. Maybe have me SIT on her. And she turns three in March, so we’re really not all that far off! Oh, and that triangle thing. We need to work on that still!

But then it’s back to the goal setting stuff (must be an end of the year thing….we don’t usually spend an hour after each lesson “thinking long term”). Given how great she is, and how easily she takes in new things, I don’t want to use that and end up pushing her too hard and too fast. But, as my instruction reminded me, it’s also okay to accept that she’s just going to be okay with certain things and move on. We have to find the happy balance.

Goal: Back her in March
Goal: Have her ready for the materiale classes (read: cantering) by DAD
Goal: FEI 4-year old tests next summer

And then I got really excited at the thought of “showing FEI” 🙂

December 21, 2006 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

show pony

As I sit here bored at work, I figured I may as well put together a show schedule for the little Snow-Pony. I’ve decided I’m absolutely NOT going to push the riding thing at all – we’ll go as slow as she (read: as slow as I) need to go. So, if we do any riding classes this summer it will be some low-key Intro tests later on.

What I DO plan on doing is kicking some major Warmblood arse in the in-hand classes! Have I ever actually DONE an in-hand class before? No. Do I know what is involved? Something to do with a triangle or two. Do I still plan to kick some major warmblood arse? OF COURSE!

Glass-Ed is a local dressage circuit that occasionally does offer some in-hand classes, and I figure we can use those to warm up for some real USDF shows. So, here’s what I’m looking at doing with the pony:

27 – ILPH (Williamston MI) – GlassEd
9 – Mystic Marsh (Delton MI) – GlassEd
23 – M Bar M (Portland MI) – GlassEd
18 – Waterloo (Grass Lake MI) – USDF DSHB
29 – Derbyshire (Stevensville MI) – GlassEd
12 – ILPH (Williamston MI) – GlassEd
15-7 – Waterloo (Grass Lake MI) – USDF DSHB
American Haflinger Registry Inspections
22/3 – USDF DSHB Finals (WI)
25-7 – Dressage @ Devon (PA) USDF IBC and DSHB
28/9 – GLHA Show (East Lansing MI)
30 – ILPH (Williamston MI) – GlassEd
3-6 – AHR Nationals (Mason MI)
American Sport Pony Inspections (Metamora MI)

And just looking at the end of September/October has me exhausted already. And maybe between all of that I’ll have had time to climb on her….

December 19, 2006 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

my first Warmblood Experience

So last night I had my first Warmblood Experience. To back up a bit…

I like to pretend I’m a dressage rider. I try really hard, but I don’t fool myself – I’m just pretending. Not working in my favor is the fact that I’m 5’3″ and that I prefer horses to match my stature. I like ponies. (for what it’s worth, I like ponies without the pony attitude, and the ones that might have a chance at also pretending to be good at dressage, and that don’t come with the pricetag of a German Riding Pony, which is how I ended up with my 14.2 filly). I do NOT like 17.3 monsters.

And yet for some reason last night when my instructor asked who I wanted to ride I turned down her safe, consistent pony that I ride frequently for a new horse in the barn – a 17.3 monster. Have I mentioned that I don’t like 17.3 monsters? To be fair, she earned some USDFHOY award (I think – it had lots of letters) a couple years back, and is a solid second level, and is supposedly also safe and consistent, and is currently for sale for approximately 52 TIMES more than I paid for my filly. But when it boils right down to it – she was still a 17.3 monster.

I then went from pretending to be a dressage rider to pretending to be an up-down lesson student, and got a step stool so that I could sufficiently brush the mud off her neck. And lift the saddle two feet over my head. And if I ever thought my Kai-man could lift his head high – he had nothing on trying to bridle this girl. I think her head was the size of all of me.

Imagine my surprise when I finally made it on and decided I LIKED this horse. No, I LOVED this horse. I had a complete BLAST riding her!! She was smooth and comfy and just FUN! And dang could I sit her trot so well I impressed myself! At some point I stopped in the middle, looked at my instructor and said, “I fully intended to hate this horse.” She laughed, and then I asked if I could show her…

December 15, 2006 at 3:53 pm 5 comments


I kept telling myself that I was going to keep a training journal about my filly, so hopefully the NEXT time I decide to buy a baby I will have a slightly reduced number of suicide attempts. But being the procrastinator I am, I have a blank training journal sitting on my shelf, and somewhat better behaved filly than the one I bought six weeks ago.

So to bring you up to speed…I was the annoying kid that asked her parents for a pony and riding lessons for every birthday and Christmas. They never gave in. January of my freshman year in college I decided I would finally start riding. Bi-weekly lessons turned into weekly lessons turned into twice-a-week lessons and catch rides on the off days. Then I started an equestrian team at my college. Then I leased a mare (probably the second greatest horse ever). Then another mare (probably the second worst horse ever) to have my first experience with a “project” (along with my first near-death experiences). By the next January (yeah, that was all in the first), I bought Kai (probably the greatest horse ever). He is my old man and best friend, and it was a very quick nine months between the day I bought him and the day he crossed the rainbow bridge. He also did wonders for teaching me to ride. Apparantly 20 YEARS off the track doesn’t do much for some!

And then I bought my filly. She’s two years old and just a blast. She’s young and unpredictable and steady and sensible all at the same time. She keeps me on my toes!! She’s my first baby, so we should have quite the story to tell…

December 15, 2006 at 3:31 pm 2 comments

A few words on how horses haven't managed to kill me (yet...)
December 2006