Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pretty Lady!

So it turns out the little lady knows a whole lot less than we had originally assumed. When Jim Bob had originally sent her out to be broken, she came home and Jim Bob was told that she had been starting lead changes. Not the pony I rode today. This little mare doesn't steer, doesn't know kick means go pull means stop. There is no way she has changes. I spent about four hours playing with her and cleaning her up. I lunged her before I got on, and when I did get on I felt like I was sitting on a three year old that had never been sat on before. I wouldn't be surprised if this mare has only had ten rides on her. I pulled lightly on the reins to ask for a halt and she got so nervous that she just went straight up in the air. I have found that her tendency when she gets nervous or doesn't know what I'm asking of her, she will just rear. She has done it several times on the cross ties, and she gave me two big ones under saddle today. As much as I hate rearing, hers don't really bother me that much because I know its just fear. I don't think this horse has ever heard a kind word, or been loved on the way she will be in the next few months. Seems to me that everyone was pretty quick to lay a heavy hand on her if she did anything wrong. She expects the worst, and she expects that when she misbehaves that I will just hit her. I won't. I do give her a hard bop on the head whenever she rears under saddle though to imitate a ceiling.

I finally was able to get a brush through her tail today. I washed it again, and its starting to get closer to the white blonde that it is supposed to be. I will probably scrub it again tomorrow, and depending on the weather try and give her another bath. I'm not sure she has ever really been bathed, she was afraid of the hose, so I had to use a sponge. I didn't want to blow her mind though so I didn't really scrub her whole body. I got the front half done though and then next half I'll get her hindquarters and scrub her legs. That way we can find out just how many socks she actually has. I know that she has two stockings on her back legs, not sure about the front. Because she is a sun bleached palomino it all kind of fades in. I also finished pulling her mane, and took scissors to the fluffy parts of her legs, fetlocks, ears etc. She is starting to look pretty good!

Once she has a solid top line she will really be adorable.

Oh and our barn cat Bob is adorable, I thought you all would like him

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Pony!

Meet my latest project, graciously sent over by Jim Bob, my farrier. She is a 6 year old 14h Quarter Horse mare. She looked ratty when she got off the trailer, she has been sitting in a field since July. I immediately threw her in the round pen to take a look at what we have. She is a nice mover, no world beater, but certainly a pony that could win in the NCHJA circuit. She really needs a top line, but she has only ever been ridden western, and hasn't really been touched in at least a full four months. Here are some pictures! She still needs a name, and I have been toying with calling her Penny Lane. If anyone has any ideas please let me know! She is a doll, and is going to be a very fun project.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Changes, changes

Today is the first full day in a long time without the pony in my life. She has been such a fixture for so long, that I hadn't realized how much I would really miss her.

The vet check is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at 1pm. For anyone interested, this is where the pony is right now: Pretty nice huh?

I spoke with Jim Bob today, and he is going to get his filly over here as soon as possible, he is hoping to do it this weekend. I learned a bit more about her today as well. She is 14h and 6 years old, and bred to be a cutting horse. She has been started, but is apparently pretty wild. She is a palomino that doesn't have a name yet. When she arrives I will post pictures and you all can help me name her! The ultimate goal will be to sell her, and we will probably get her into the show ring first, so we are looking at a spring/summer 2010 sale. I haven't even seen a picture of her, but despite being bred to cut cows, and being out of a pretty crazy mare, he thinks she will make a nice little hunter pony. When I get her fit, she has been out of work since July, I will have Anne over to evaluate her, and we can come up with a plan of action.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New home

This morning Nikki came out to meet Zena, and really liked her! She watched me ride her around and jump some bigger fences before she got on herself. She is a soft rider who stayed out of the saddle most of the time, especially at the canter. She really liked that Zena likes to stretch down - thats a good quality in a horse that will be asked dressage and jumping questions.

After seeing if she would still go if she was dropped at the base, if she would still go if she got put at a long or short spot, and trying her over a 3' swedish oxer, she decided that she did indeed like how she felt.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Its days like today when I realize just how cool our little mare really is, and just how much I will actually miss her. As I pulled up to the barn, her head flew up from her pile of hay and she trotted over to the near side of the round pen, and lifted her head over the high fence. Ears pricked she paced the fence on the near side while I turned the car off and got out. I think its really a testament to how much she will thrive in a situation where she has one person to just love on her all the time.

I rode her again tonight, and she was better although still hot. It didn't take as long to get her focused and working, although because I didn't have my spurs on she wasn't as responsive to my questions about lateral movements. I'll be sure to put them back on tomorrow. We also popped around some small fences, and worked more on staying collected into and during lines. I wanted to make sure that the lines set up were set to make her look good, with flowing distances rather than distances I really have to push or hold for (read: hold). Tomorrow I will ride each line again in the morning, and then I will reset them. I want to give Pony every possible advantage on Wednesday! Fingers still crossed...
As we prepare for Wednesday, the pony is sound, but now as hot as every. Yesterday involved lots of lunging and lots of bucking, and I still feel like I barely broke into that huge energy store she has. I rode her this morning on the flat, and it took thirty minutes for her to even consider focusing. After that though we did end on a rather nice note, with some consistency and focus. I will ride her again tonight after class, and then twice tomorrow. One of the three rides will be a jumping ride. Still hoping all goes well Wednesday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Updates updates

Pony at the show! She looked so Fancy with her fuzzy halter and clean sheet.

Pony's new noseband!
So the Pony's shoe was reset yesterday, but I think she must have gotten kicked while she was turned out. I went to lunge her before riding and she looked sore in her back right hip/thigh muscle. I cold hosed, massaged, liniment bathed, linimented, and then poulticed her back legs, just in case. I also gave her some bute so she would feel better. Today she looked much better. I stopped by Anne's and picked up some really strong stuff kind of like mineral ice, and I massaged it into her hip after I cold hosed her. I'm going back out to do that again this afternoon. I also hopped on her for about 15 minutes to walk her and trot her. Once she was moving forward and out, her hip loosened up. I have a lesson with Anne this afternoon too, and our next IHSA show on Sunday.

I also didn't end up clipping her. I talked to Nikki, the girl coming to try her on Wednesday, and if she likes her and ends up taking her, she wants her to have some hair since its really cold in the mountains of Blacksburg. If she doesn't take her I'll clip her next Friday.

Grayson talked to Jim Bob yesterday, he asked her if I would consider taking on another horse, and how much it would cost, ie what I would charge. I think the pony is a large pony hunter prospect, and he would eventually like to sell the horse. I told Grayson I'd love to work with another - its the horses that make me most happy! Send him on over! And then he would sit for the end of Dec and Jan and go back into work when I get back in February.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fingers crossed!

The pony's shoe is getting reset tomorrow, so it will be back to work! I have to get her ready to meet her potential new mommy next wednesday. Cross your fingers everyone!! If all goes well Nikki will bring our little lady home for a two week trial to decide if she is what she is looking for. She is looking for an upper level eventing prospect, and though she wasn't looking for what Pony is, she was particularly intrigued and impressed (I believe "mesmerized" was the word she used to describe her canter :-D ) and of course, then inquired for more information. After much discussion, we decided on a day, and the terms of a trial, and now we just have to wait and hope!

Time management

Today, since the pony's shoe is still loose, I simply groomed her, oiled all my tack, traded her noseband for the figure 8, and cleaned my trunk out. I decided that I was tired of always having to dig around the trunk to find what I was looking for - so unorganized! I went to Walmart and bought two new storage units. One wide three shelf thing, and a narrow seven shelf thing. Now everything has its own place. Spare blankets (right now fly sheet and spare sheet) in the bottom of the wide box, with the extra leather halter, and two extra nosebands. Hoof stuff in one shelf, saddle pads, spurs, stirrups, earnets in the top shelf of the wide one, razors, curry, brushes hoof picks etc in another. Now I'm organized! And I can use that other trunk for storage in my apartment. It all works out.

And tomorrow its back to work for the pony! Once the shoe is reset we can get back to work.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Back to my lovely little friend tomorrow after a much needed fall break! Body clipping here we come!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I have the best pony in the world!

After deciding not to load in the morning, and me thinking that it was possible we wouldn't be showing, we loaded Spice on the other side of the trailer, and put pressure on her hind end with a broom (and then she proceeded to poop on Fred who was holding the broom) before finally stepping all the way up onto the trailer. Once she was on we were home free. We shipped out and arrived at Sedgefield 40 minutes later.

Stepping off the trailer was difficult, since it's a straight load without a ramp. She tried to turn around, but I was in front of her to keep her from doing that. Once we were all unloaded at the show, and after Fred held her while I entered my classes, I spent the next hour walking her around the grounds. I met up with Anne and said hello, and I think the photographer snapped some shots of us together. I then headed back to the trailer and began to tack up. I rode her all around the grounds, around the jumper ring, and then flatted her for about 25 minutes in one of the schooling rings. I jumped a few crossrails and concentrated on our turning. I then headed back to the trailer, untacked her, and hung out some more.

Our division was supposed to run at 12, but the Short Stirrup ran late so they didn't end up setting up the ring for the jumpers until about 1. Then I walked the course with Anne and some of her other students. I've found that I have learned to ride from my eye more than I have from the technicalities of the steps. It was a bit amusing to watch everyone worry about the strides as I stood back looked at the lines and guessed correctly how many strides the pony would take inside the line.

In the first class I thought we were doing the power and speed, but really we were supposed to be doing class 185. Needless to say I was very pleased with the way she jumped around even though we weren't clear on what we were competing in. After how well she did in the first class I talked to Anne about the possibility of moving her up. She thought it would be a good idea to do one more 2'6 class and then the 3' Child/Adult class. "After all, whats six more inches?". I agreed, we had schooled 3' a few days before, I felt that she was perfectly prepared for this endeavor.

In the second class, I pulled the second rail, but I had let her get out from under me a bit. Because we pulled the rail, we didn't jump off, but I got off and gave her some time to just chill. After about 45 minutes, I got back on and began to warm up for our 3' class. I wasn't too concerned with jumping fences, but I did school a big oxer and a big vertical, focusing on relaxing my elbows and riding the turn from my legs rather than trying to balance her through the turns myself. I realized that I have gotten her to a point where she is able to turn herself, but I'm so used to riding horses that needed so much help and support that I have reverted to old habits by trying to support her. I need to relax and let her do what I have taught her to do and balance her own body through her hind end. All I need to do is sit back and get good spots.

Our little girl was absolutely fabulous in her 3' class. While she pulled the first two rails thinking they were still 2'6, it was as though a lightbulb went off in her head before the third fence and lasted the rest of the course. She really came back to me, balanced back on her hocks, and used her body over each fence. It was really great to feel her as she actually began using her body over each fence. And even better to know that she didn't feel challenged at all by the height. While the only ribbon we got was a fourth in our second class, I am extremely proud of how hard our little pony worked, and how focused and happy she was to do her job.

This little one is going to do great things! I think with more practice at this height she will have no issue being competitive against other bigger horses. And just yesterday I got a hit on a potential future owner for the little one, a lady who would be perfect! So everyone cross your fingers that this will be it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day!

So the past two days, or actually ten, have been spent preparing for tomorrow. Yesterday I schooled some 3' fences so that if we do decide to do it tomorrow, we would be a little more prepared than if we hadn't schooled 3' at all recently. She was a dream. A little drift to the left, but overall very calm and confident in her job. We trotted it a few times, then cantered it as the out of a line. We did some course work at 2'6 and she was awesome, and today I flatted her, gave her a good gallop, and worked on balancing herself through a ten meter circle.

Pony also got a whole lot of pampering today. She got a bath, her mane and tail washed, feet painted, and got to hang out, get treats and listen to music with me while I packed my stuff up. She is just so fun.

Now we just have to see how she goes tomorrow! The trailer is all packed, and we are ready, though loading her will be a pain since its a trailer type that I'm not sure she has ever seen. I did some work with it today, but I was alone, so as far as we got was getting her front end up. And that was fine. Tomorrow we will have to start early though on that endeavor.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ah ha!

I think I might end up having time to ride the pony a second time today, depending on if my friends in econ want to study after class or not. If not I can head out to the barn and ride her again this afternoon. I began by riding her around the property, and I used her sheet as a cooler since I don't have one. She was hot so I ended up getting off and lunging her for about ten minutes. I still ended up needing to give her a nice gallop after we trotted a while, because she was so hot.

The main focus today was maintaining the flexion, and the bend, especially to the right. I was getting frustrated for a bit when she was tensing her neck right by the poll, but then I remembered some of the stuff I worked on with Patrick. I opened and lowered my hands, almost to my mid-thigh. I shortened my reins to keep her in check. by opening and lowering my hands I gave her an opportunity to soften to my hand, and move away from my leg. I was riding with a shorter stirrup today (I have been in dressage mode for too long now, riding with my stirrups 2-3 holes lower than my jumping length), and because of that I really had to focus on using my whole leg (much harder when your leg feels short) rather than referring back to my spur. She does respond really well to my spur though, and its all starting to click with how I can use/move my leg to manipulate how the the pony moves her shoulders or hind end depending on where I place my leg.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Up and Round

Before anything else - look how much weight the pony has put on! Her hindquarters are really filling out and you can no longer see any ribs. Muscularly she has also continued developing her top line, including the muscles that run down either side of her spine, and on either side of the top of her neck. She looks a little crest-ier, but its all muscle.

Anne came out this morning around 8 to give me a lesson, and we spent about 30 minutes on the actual over fences portions of the lesson. We began with the combination she set up, a two stride to a one stride. In the beginning I rode it as a three to a two since they were only cross rails, so it would ride a bit longer. We then continued to work on riding fences on an angle, and practicing my crest-release. Anne thinks that if I use a crest release and completely stay out of her face over the fence she will jump better. It began to work about halfway through the ride.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And so it goes...

So after discussing it with Anne and Marilyn today, we decided that we will definitely figure out a way to get me to the show. Preparation is on! Pony might have to go up to Greensboro the night before, but Julie also says now that she may not want to show Saturday, since it will be after her homecoming dance. She would rather show sunday when she doesn't have to worry about getting up early and whatnot. I have to hope that she chooses to show Sunday even though it means her trainer won't be there.

I rode the pony pretty lightly today. She was resistant to coming down on the bit consistently during the beginning of our ride, probably because she was a bit hot. I will have to really ride her hard on Saturday, and maybe stick her in the Special Hunter U/S class first thing in the morning, untack and hang out, then get her going for her 2'6 jumper classes. I will ask Anne what she thinks about trying a 2'9 class, and since divisions are split over 2 days I won't be chasing tri-colors.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Let the countdown begin

So I competed in my first dressage show yesterday! The Elon Dressage Team traveled up to Virginia Intermont to compete in the first IDA show. I was nervous since I have never ridden a dressage test before, and the horse I drew was a lot older, swaybacked fellow that was a bit lame. Needless to say, Duke and I got along well - I was able to keep him down on the bit, bent and traveling forward with impulsion. I scored a 65.6%!! It earned me third place out of twelve riders and helped put our team up to fifth place out of twelve teams! I also got the highest score of anyone who rode my horse, the other two riders earned a 57% and 59%! Talk about a positive first dressage experience!

In other news the pony is doing really well. After Friday's two brilliant rides, I had a quiet jumping ride over small fences on Saturday, gave her the day off Sunday and rode her again today.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I didn't have time to post yesterday, so there are probably going to be two posts for today. I AM SO PROUD OF PONY. Yesterday I had my first ever dressage lesson on her, and Patrick LOVED her. I had one of the best lessons I have had in a while (I wish I could lesson more!) Patrick really helped me identify the weak spots of my ride and he gave me a lot of tools to make the pony softer and more supple. He had me really getting her body to bend rather than her neck, and getting her hindquarters to release around the circle rather than popping her outside shoulder out.

Patrick also began talking to me about break some of the babies he is getting sent this winter. And this time he asked me what I would charge! Thats a lot different than asking me to pay him to do his work! Obviously board would need to be paid so he was wondering essentially what I would charge for "training board". Board here is only 400 so I have to figure out what to charge to make it worth my time and safety. I would really look forward to this experience though!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Acres and acres to run

Sarah and I got to the barn early enough today that the horses that live in the bottom field were still enclosed up top. This meant that the five acres were free for us to use! We decided it would be a fitness day for Moose and the Pony, and let me tell you - the pony was HOT! She is still adjusting to her new turnout schedule and as a result she was super hot.

I really think she is proud of herself for being strong enough to carry herself while moving from behind. Even when I hopped off to cool her out (she wouldn't stop jigging) she carried herself in a frame. It was a "look at me, don't I look great?!" moment.

Throughout the ride I was able to hold her attention for bits and pieces of it, but mostly I just wanted to work her hard. At the end I let her have a gallop in both directions, and she was definitely surprised but very happy that she didn't have to package herself up and could just really run. She was also surprised when I didn't let her just continue to the top of the field, I was actually asking her to gallop all the way around the field.