Saturday, September 27, 2014


First time hitched to the cart with Trainer ground-driving.
 I have been holding off on posting this, for fear of retaliation and a mass of "naysayers" overwhelming my blog, but I've come to the realization that this blog is mine. Whatever opinions I express may not be the vast majority or be equally appreciated, but it is my own. This blog is a representation of my trials and tribulations as a novice horse owner - someone who becoming shaped and molded with the sport. Difference of opinions are okay, and going inadvertently against the grain of "mainstream" equestrianism could be a gulping breath of fresh air.

So let's keep the pitchforks down and the flaming torches to a minimum, okay?

When I sent Spud to the trainer (who is 14 hours away from me, but was only a short 45min from Spud), I wasn't completely certain how she trained. I knew she was successful at what she did, and that she has an extensive training record along British Columbia and into the States. However, to be brutally and completely honest: I have never met Spud's Driving Trainer.

I can almost feel every professional horse person shuddering at the thought of sending their horse to someone they have never met. Trust me, it caused a lot of mental turmoil within me.

I bought a mini I have never met.
I sent said mini to a trainer I have never met.

Two of the worst possible things anyone can do in the horse industry. Two things that are so frowned upon, I've had people literally raise an eyebrow when I mention I own a miniature and no, I haven't met him yet.

BUT, before I even thought about sending him to the Trainer, I verified my legitimate concerns and expectations. I was never once berated or treated any less because the situation, in all truth, made me a bit edgy. An open line of communication has been established and I honestly couldn't be happier.

So why haven't I shared my joy? Why haven't I uploaded any of the several videos I've been sent?

Driving in an open bridle. 2nd time hitched.
Simply because, this trainer is not "by the books". She does things her own way (without harm or abuse, of course!) and I feel as though a lot of strict equestrians would look down on her and her program. However, I've begun to feel somewhat exasperated at constantly censoring myself, so I've decided to say "To hell with judgement" and share my experience with Spud, regardless of it being "the norm" or not.

Trainer drives Spud out in the open. He is exposed to loose dogs, kids running around and playing, horses in the background neighing and trotting around in their pens,  barn doors swinging open and closed, etc. He's been driven down narrow(er) aisleways, in a sandy arena, through mud puddles, around trucks/trailers/etc.

Ground driving near open barn doors, kids toys, etc.
I prefer it that way. It is going to prepare him for the real world. I realize he is green in the cart, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. Chaos is a normal thing for a riding/driving horse, and to baby him would not do him any favors. Of course, if he was at all nervous in the cart or otherwise, Trainer would not be driving him in the open like she is in the photos (also, please no mention on the lack of helmet... I have no control over that, thanks!). 

So perhaps the "normal" way of training a horse includes a rectangular-fenced piece of dirt, but it doesn't fit into my world and it certainly will not give me a well-rounded driving horse. I want him to be able to face any kind of situation with a head-on personality and be able to be calm, collective and quiet in the event of something truly horrific happening. Safety is of paramount importance, which may sound ironic considering the chaotic environment he's being trained in, but everything that can be controlled in these situations is controlled. I want him exposed to walking over bridges, over tarps, through water, in the rain/snow, etc.

 I want to shock his world.

And so far? Spud could literally give two shits. The worst thing he does is he tries to speed up and gets cranky when he is corrected. His only hindrance is his greenness, which is easily fixed through miles and wet saddle pads (or, harnesses, rather!).

On Tuesday I will be meeting Spud, and his Trainer for the first time. He will still continue his training until the end of October and by that time, we should have a pretty clear cut idea of where he stands. It'll be a long road, but in the end, it'll be worth it. My horses and I; social outcasts of "normal" equestrianism.

Friday, September 26, 2014

September's 10 Questions

Thank you to L over at Viva Carlos for these awesome questions! I loved playing the game "20 Questions" growing up, so these questions are right up my alley (especially considering they are horsey related!)

Is there something you don't like about your riding? The fact that I really suck at jumping. It's a work in progress, though, as all things are.

Does your horse buck? Not really, no. She is quite mellow and if you end up pissing her off enough, she'll give a little crow-hop, but it isn't really malicious.

Is your horse head shy? Nope. Suzie doesn't give two shits.

Favorite barn chore to do? Cleaning up the pasture. It is hard work sometimes, but honestly I love the LOOK of a clean pasture. Ah, bliss.

How many times do you ride a week? Don't even ask right now - I've barely been able to ride due to work and renovating, but I aim for 3x a week.

Who is your favorite pro rider? For English I really like Carl Hester and I give mad props to Karen O'Connor because she is a total badass and she had the amazing pony "Teddy". For Western I honestly don't know too many "pros" that I am completely blown away by, as I haven't really kept tabs on it much before.

If one pro rider could train you for one day who would it be? English = Karen O'Connor. X-Country with her would be a BLAST I think! Western = ? I don't know! Eep!

Favorite Facial Marking? Big ol blaze :)

Leg Markings or No Leg Markings? I LOVE chrome, but I would settle for just one, two, or three legs with white. ; )

Ever broken anything falling off? Never! Knock on wood!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sunday Jumping

Grumpy pants.
 I’ve been waiting for the influx of photos that were taken Sunday night at the fun jumping event I hosted at the Fairgrounds, but it seems as though they are not making their way onto social media for a little while yet. Despite that, I figure I should probably end my radio silence and at least write something about the particular event before I forget that I even attended.

Basically, I work until 5pm every evening which doesn’t leave much time to head out and engage in horsey activities considering it begins to get dark out by 7:30pm. It doesn’t leave time at ALL for jumping, since I’d have to haul the jumps out and put them away on my own. So I came up with an ingenious idea. I opened the invitation for anyone to come join me, provided they helped set up and take down the jumps. It would be an excellent way for me to ride with other people, as well as all of us could work together and get everything done more efficiently. 

Five riders showed up, including M who was going to be our coach for the evening. Essentially, we all got “mini lessons” and M set up exercises to play in each of our horse’s strengths and weaknesses. There was a gymnastic line which was set with trot poles to an X-rail, to a one stride, to a bounce and to a one stride out. So, four jumps total. The idea of the grid was to get us really thinking about speed since three out of the five horses (Tally included) love bombing down the line (can we say Jumpers?).
It worked out really well and overall, I was pleased with Tally. She did start to act up and began stomping her front leg when we had to stand quietly in behind the other horses, and she spooked at one point after one of the horse’s literally obliterated the jump right in front of her.

M said I have a really bad habit of not letting her go… Our line felt funny pretty much every time we went down it because Tally was so compressed and bottled up that the striding kept messing up for her. M tried to get me to just leave her alone and let her do the line, and finally by the end we had a decent line. We also worked on a “zig zag” or S pattern of jumps, which we instilled a halt after each jump. It was a good reminder for Tally not to blow through my aids or get speedy.

At one point when we were going down the line, I ended up popping over Tally’s shoulder and falling off. Basically, we came out of the bounce to the one stride and I ended up being unbalanced and Tally kind of backed off of the one stride and instead of RIDING her, I just sat there in the fetal position. Tally went over the one stride, because she is just a class act, and I popped off her left shoulder. As embarrassing as it was, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I got back on and completed the grid about 4-5 more times, with the last run being our best.

Things to take away from this lesson? Learn that letting go is OKAY. Tally has a naturally larger stride and making her collect or “bundling” her up is only going to cause us to chip and get ugly distances every single time! Controlling her speed is a necessity, but when she is being honest, I need to be honest back.

Pitch black heading home... Yikes!
It was a lot of fun, and by the time everyone helped clean up, it was pitch black outside. Since everyone who came down was from the next town over (45-50min away), they trailered home while I still had to ride 20min home. I let Tally hand-gallop down the dirt trail to the roadway and let her pick her way through the darkness.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Miniature Progress

5:30AM feeding by car lights and a whole lotta rain....
Ignore the mess of hay; the bale was too heavy for me to lift
so I just left it there and took flakes when needed.
 In the world of Tally and Suzie, it's been too miserable outside to do anything other than feed and although I lunged Tally briefly a few days ago (mostly for being an ass face) I haven't done any real work with her since the show (bad me). Suzie seems to have lost a bit of weight, so I used the opportunity to feed Suzie some extra hay while I planned to ride Ms. Tally if the weather broke. I pulled Tally out lastnight during a brief break in the prevailing rainstorm and tacked her up and chucked on my spurs, since I've been curious to see how she'd go with them.

We hacked to the riding arena and I immediately felt pretty good with her responsiveness to the spurs and how quiet she seemed. In the arena, it took a bit to get her attention and she seemed relatively quite hot. I had to really half-halt the crap out of her and reallllly concentrate on my posting so she wouldn't speed up. She just felt super bracey in the face and any amount of leg sent her forward with so much bursting impulsion that I had to re-check her and bring her back down to earth and start over.
Hacking out, Tally-Cam!
Despite the speediness, we had some really great moments, including the canter where I really got after her and really used my inside leg (and spur) on her to get her really pushed into the bridle. I found that during the trot, the more you push her into the bridle, the more bracey and heavy she gets into your hands. I dumped her off of my hands a few times and really worked on figure eights, serpentines, etc.... just anything to change the bend to get her to carry herself. We still had our "oopsie" moments but other than being speedy and a bit sloppy in the downwards transitions, we had a decent schooling.

After some rigorous flat work I worked on some jumping - she was quiet, cool and level-headed. Someone had made some X-counter jumps (a log and tire jump) in the meadow by the ring so I took advantage of that. She did take off after a jump at one point and I just sat back, half-halted and RODE HER ASS to the next fence and she did really, really well and I pretty much didn't hear a peep from her again during the next few sets of the jumps. She cooled out on a buckle rein all the way home and was quiet going back into her pen.

Tonight she will be lunged and tomorrow (weather permitting) is a jump schooling with a bunch of friends. Let's hope the weather clears up and I have a good ride! Lastnight's ride wasn't perfect, but we made some small, miniscule progress, which is always a plus. I cannot blame Tally, mostly because she is a horse that needs to be ridden more than 1-2x a week, and with my hectic work schedule, I just cannot provide that to her, which is frustrating for both of us.

I love that she is driving him outside of the arena; exposing him to all kinds of things!
In the news of Spud (or Spudley as I affectionately call him), I received some photos and videos from the trainer lastnight and I am super happy to hear that she not only sings high praises of him, but is confident in his ability to be an ammy-friendly driving partner. This particular trainer may not have all the finer things at her disposal (indoor arena), but she has already laid out a game plan for Spud and I whole-heartedly approve - which includes driving him ALL OVER. We [and by we, I mean I] want him dead broke in the harness.

I want him to be able to cross water, go through mud, drive past barking dogs, step over hoses, navigate around feed buckets, etc. It may look like a cluttered disaster, but I actually love the idea of exposing a horse like the way she is... Obviously, more reactive horses would do better in a controlled environment, but little Spudley is just kicking ass at being a harness pony and from what I've seen in the videos, photos, etc, he just doesn't give a shit. And I prefer my horses bombproof; I don't need a horse that spooks at a basketball hoop, kids screaming or barking dogs. It is a reality in the world (especially driving along the roads) and I need my future driving pony (and riding horse) to literally shrug their shoulders and say, "I'm bored."

Such a good, good little mini!
 He will be working on ground-driving and on Tuesday, the trainer hopes to hook him up to the cart. Little Spud sure is taking everything in stride - settled in to the facility quietly and without muss or fuss. He does need his feet corrected, which trainer will correlate with her farrier to do. He seems like such a cool little dude - he's already been ground-driven by a non-driving 11 year old girl! I cannot wait to go meet him in a week and a half (to which the trainer is certain I'll be able to drive him myself at that time)!! Also, I would share more photos of him, but a lot of them feature the 11 year old girl, who I do not feel needs to have her mug posted all over my blog! Haha.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Exciting News!

What a lovely mare.

*Note: If you are only reading for the exciting news, see the bottom paragraphs :)

I haven't been riding the mares much due to the fact it gets darker so much earlier now (and it's only September!) and coupled with the fact that the home renos are still undergoing and are taking up a lot of our extra time.

Today was supposed to be "Operation: Ride Mares" but it appears as though our Autumn monsoon season is upon us and it has been on and off pouring rain all day long with no promises to stop until Sunday. Really keeping my fingers crossed it levels off by the time work ends and I can get a ride in on Tally at the very least.

This weekend I've decided to host a fun little jumping event and a few people from the next town over (who I showed with at the last show I attended) are going to be coming, as well as M who was giving me lessons on Tally. It'll be fun, Tally's owner is going to be coming with some of her other horses as well. And, I figure it's an awesome way to have extra help with moving jumps around instead of doing it by yourself!

Now, for the exciting news....


Meet, Spud, the newest member of the family. He is such a cute, calm and mellow looking little dude! Now, here is the slight catch in all of this, but first let's go through all the fun stuff.

He is only five years old, has been saddled and slightly backed (needs more miles) and he has been ground-driven to death mostly because the woman who owned him doesn't have a cart to fit him. And get this, his name is Spud because he is small... like the potato. I laughed so hard when I heard that. Everything I've seen of him screams "mellow" and "quiet" and he just seems like such a cool cucumber.

Now, the catch? I haven't actually met him .... but he is mine on paper as of today.

He was being stood up weird, and he's a bit fat, but he's soooo cute.
I realize this goes against the whole grain of purchasing horses and that buyers are supposed to go meet their prospective partners - preferably multiple times - but it just wasn't feasible. Spud is nearly 16hrs away and I just don't have the time or ability to go to just "check him out". The seller has been nothing but honest with me and although I am slightly anxious about the entire process, both the seller and the trainer I am sending him to have been nothing short of amazing and helpful in this entire process. I feel overwhelmed, but comfortable.

So when is he coming home you ask? He is being dropped off at the driving trainers barn this afternoon and will have a months training done and then he will be coming home, provided he is doing well in his training. The SO and I are heading down to that area (kind of) in a week and a half and will drive an extra 5hrs to finally meet Spud and the trainer and see what kind of progress he's made.

I get the amount of flack I can get for this. I didn't do a PPE on him. I didn't go meet him. But sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts... I certainly am not going to hide anything from my readers or pretend I went down a certain avenue when I didn't. I am an open book and honest. And if this entire thing blows up in my face, you all can say "I told you so"!

However, for now I am so excited to buy a mini halter. Let the girlish squealing ensue!

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Makes you a Horse Person?

I've stared at the computer screen for some time, reveling in the latest statuses and quotes that are running rampant on the interwebs which depict the true nature of an equestrian. In trying to process my thoughts in order convey them clearly, I couldn't come up with an affirmative description, but I believe a multitude of experiences and enlightenment make up the foundation of a horse person.

So what is it?

1. The realization that nothing makes you happier in your heart than being on the back of a horse.

2. The determination and preservation for success in a world of imperfection.

3. Long nights spent in a cold barn walking a colicky horse or notoriously cold-hosing puffy and swollen legs.

4. Stacking bale upon bale of hay to stock up for the Winter and having itchy pieces of alfalfa gather in your bra and underwear.

5. Digging trenches through the sloppy mud in the Fall/Winter to help drain the pasture (bonus points if you've done it WHILE it's raining)!

6. Having less of a hard time signing a check for a accident prone horse's vet visit (again) than spending money on yourself.

7. Having "barn" clothes, which essentially make you look like a hobo (boots included)!

8. Being able to MacGuyver anything out of baling twine or ductape.

9. Spending early mornings [off of work] bathing a hydro-phobic horse before heading off to yet another horse show.

10. When you see a horse who pins it's ears and think, "You little shithead." instead of "OMG He's mad, I should probably move away from his biting range!!1!!"

11. You've had horse poop/blood/pus on your hair/hands/face, etc and can still think, "Hmmm I wonder what I'll have for lunch."

12. You've loved, and lost/let go a great horse. <3

You will notice that it isn't about the clothes you wear, the breed of your horse, or the stable you board at - it is all about loving the horse and being willing to get down and dirty and taking care of your animal. It's about persistence and the ability to keep growing with this sport that we love. It doesn't matter if you ride Dressage, cutting, or just pleasure ride. We are all horse people on the inside because we all simply love our four-legged critters.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Semi-Silent Sunday

Both mares have been doing well. I popped up onto Suzie for a quick bareback ride the other night and she was great. Other than that, it's been busy for me with work, stacking more hay and repairing fences.

I am hoping to get a ride in tonight or the next night, but with appointments and such, I'm not really finding the time. I am, however, trying my hardest to stay on a budget (horse wise) and instead of purchasing brand new blankets, SMB boots and a bridle to match Suzie's saddle, I've gone to looking at the classifieds and will be dying Suzie's western bridle (pictured above). Wish me luck and I hope to post a lot of before and afters!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Eleven Questions about Suzanne

Other than a short trail ride where Suzie subsequently lost her shit because Tally cantered ahead of us, I have nothing else to blog about. So instead of recapping a somewhat disastrous trail ride (although we did redeem ourselves), I'll stick to answering a multitude of redundant and unimportant questions.

Here. We. Go.

The cutest old horse I've ever met.

1. How old is "Suzie"?
Suzie is 21 this year. She was born in May, ironically on the same day as my boyfriend's brother.

2. Where did your horse live before you got him/her?
It's funny, because I don't actually know much about her past, but she was bred and born in Saskatchewan (Canada) and eventually made her way to Alberta (Canada) and then to British Columbia. Her registration papers only have four different owners and through the Rescue I found out she has had many more owners than those four. Sad.

3. What is his/her favorite thing to do?
Besides eat? She LOVES barrel racing and just going fast. I swear this is where this mare's heart lies. She was born to be a barrel racer and she just lights up every time she sees them in the arena. It's funny to see her "gallop" down the home-stretch and trot out like she just won the World Championships.

4. Any quirks about him/her that annoy you?
Ha! That's a funny one... She is just so impatient and it irks me. On trail rides she hates standing still and even in the arena she will get annoyed at me for making her stand. Sometimes I wish she'd just chill and stand there, but she isn't downright dangerous about it, which is good.

5. Describe your horse's personality in 3 words.
Cute. Deceiving. Willing.

6. How long have you owned your horse?
I brought her home on March 24th, 2013, so I've only had her for a year and a bit now.

7. What is the craziest thing you've done with your horse?
Well, I've ridden her bareback and bridleless multiple times, and hooked her up to a children's wagon and had her pull me across the lawn.... I'm an odd owner.

8. What did you pay for your horse?
This seems to be a hot topic question. In reality, I paid nothing for her. She was "gifted" to me.

9. Hardest thing you've had to overcome with your horse?
Aside from her ongoing lameness issues due to arthritis, I would say trail riding would be one of the hardest things we had to work on. She was downright naughty, and now I trust her packing around my friends on the trail.

10. What is your horse's "song"?
A song that reminds me of Suzie is "Demons" by Imagine Dragons. I think it really speaks to her trials and tribulations from her past.

11. Is your horse social/antisocial?
Suzie is pretty social with people and horses, but she doesn't mind being left alone either... Not sure how to explain it. She is indifferent to a lot of things.

Feel free to copy/paste and answer the questions :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sunday Showing Recap

One of the times she actually stood quietly in reining.
 On September 7th, this past Sunday, I loaded up Suzie into the trailer for the Western portion of the weekend show. Initially, I was a bit wary of how it would go, considering the trainer did warn me that since Suzie used to be a gymkhana/rodeo horse, she may go a bit ballistic at the show thinking she was at a barrel race. Fair enough, I haven't really taken her to a show before, and our last "show" in July was a complete disaster since I didn't have enough time to run the show and school her before our classes.

That badonkadonk <3
We showed up literally five minutes before my Halter class was supposed to start. Thankfully they were running late so I was able to check in and get our number and get Suzie ready. Unfortunately, Suzie must get ulcery when we trailer out because she had watery/mushy poop for the rest of the day. I'm already on the net looking for some probiotics I can stuff her full of before/after clinics and haul outs to avoid future tummy upset for her.

Showmanship Champs!
I barely had any time to school her for Halter or otherwise and we ran into the arena. There were two other Registered mares in the class and we won First place. We were called back for the Grand/Reserve Champion class and were in with two other horses and much to my surprise, were named Grand Champions! Go Suzie! So far the show was off to a good start, and our luck continued into our next class which was Showmanship. The Judge told me my pivot was beautiful (yay!) and I placed first out of three. Wahoo, Old Mare!

First Trail class ever.
Our riding classes is where Suz became a bit more tense, although she warmed up beautifully! However, I now know what her warm-up schedule needs to be, as I went a bit "light" on the warm up and she needs more time to be spent on suppling and softening. Our first riding class was Trail and although we did all the maneuvers correctly with no refusals, she was very rushy and bracey against me. She felt very, very hot and had a difficult time standing still to prepare for our next maneuver. Annnnnd in my great greeness to Western riding, I rode two-handed because I had read in the Show Program you could ride two handed (apparently it was only for walk/jog riders and the "Green Reining" category). So, we were disqualified. Darn. But, Suz and I and only one other pair were able to negotiate the gate like a boss, so there's that.

Beginner reiners.
One, Two, Three... BRACE.
 The last three classes I did were all reining patterns - modified and all "beginner" patterns, so I was able to ride two handed. Suz was really good standing at the rail all day - I could leave her just standing there with the other horses and walk away if I really wanted to. However, her mushy poop continued and she was very speedy in her first pattern. She also would NOT stand still for the halt before the pattern, or after the pattern. Odd. We got a placing in the class, but I honestly don't remember what it was. The second pattern was alright, she picked up her wrong lead because as soon as I asked she counter-bent and popped the wrong leg. We did not place in that class and I opted to go school her in the outdoor arena since she was being a bit strong. She went around the outdoor like a quiet Western pony and I had no problems having her stop and stand, which was a bit odd.

Being ridiculously cute.
Our last class was the best of the day by far, but I completely made up a pattern in my head and went off course. It was a bit of a laughable moment, and I just shrugged it off. Suz did pretty well for being at her first "real" horse show and although she looked like a giraffe in a few of the photos, she was by no means unsafe or too much to handle. She did everything I asked and it can only get better from here, which is a wonderful thing to work towards!

As a side note, I REALLY need a dark show bridle to match my saddle. Yeesh.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Saturday Showing

Let's ignore the fact I forgot my show jacket.
And let's ignore the awkward canter photo.
Saturday was English classes at the show and I got there about half an hour early. Show management had the walk/trot classes running first and A LOT of people were in them so I didn't even have a class until nearly 10:30am. With the amount of people showing (which was LOTS), it was a whole heck of a lot of "hurry up and wait".

 Tally warmed up okay... She felt ouchy on her feet, probably from walking over the rocks the last two days trail riding (I don't think our extra long trail ride the day before helped any!). She felt much better in the arena, thankfully, so I didn't need to be too alarmed about it. Despite all the trail riding and riding I did before the show, Tally still felt ridiculously fresh and forward. I think that is just the kind of mare she is... she is really starting to remind me of Andrea's mare O-Ren at The Reeling. She just is a powerhouse that can go, go, go!

Tally says, "Oh we're at a show? Brace and then brace HARDER."
In all of the flat classes we didn't place at all. Mostly because Tally preferred to be strung out and I just did not have enough leg behind me to push her into the bridle (I was really wishing that I had worn spurs!) and it possibly could have been due to the fact that the judge was a Western judge. Some of the other classes placings were a bit wonky for English, but you win some, you lose some. One of our Hack classes, however, felt AWESOME. We just powered along at the extended trot and she really felt good. However, our halt and back ups were awful, as per usual because Tally hates slowing down and stopping. She'll pig root her neck out and yank you out of your seat no matter how hard you push her into the bridle and attempt to balance her.

The end result is, "Fuck you, little human." And when I retaliated and gave her a good boot in the middle of one of our classes for yanking down on me yet again, she fired back by giving a snort and a half-hearted rear... just as the judge looked directly at us. Shit.

Poles = Weeee Mare!
Because there was such a large break between Flat and Jumping, I opted to do the speed events and had a lot of fun, even if I am not a gymkhana pro. Tally loved ripping around and really threw herself into fifth gear on the home stretches. We didn't place against any of the regular gymkhana people, but we still had fun, which is what counts.

And if I thought that the Flat classes and Speed Events would slow her down, I was wrong. Jumping came around and Tally saw the jump and went ballistic with enthusiasm. She tore down the line to the practice jump and took off gleefully cantering. She was quite pleased with herself. Our first x-rail class went well, I was really happy with her pace, but it just wasn't Hunter-y and we did not place. Our last two classes (2' and 2'3" respectively) were complete shit to say the least. It seemed as though the higher the heights went, the faster and flatter she dove into it. In our 2'3" class I guess we were the giggling stock of the holding ring because Tally deer leapt over every fence and popped me out of the tack more than once.

Oh look! A nice(ish) picture!
To say the least, it was a disaster. I was a bit embarrassed, but at the same time, I stayed on.... which is what counts, right?

We didn't win any ribbons, and Tally sure served me a slice of Humble Pie. She is teaching me a lot, though, and I am definitely learning my strengths (and weaknesses) with her. A lot of it is MY fault because I don't get after her for it - I just think "Oh, okay she doesn't want to stop, so I'll just sit here and look pretty." Time to put on the big girl panties and deal with it!

Trail Riding Galore

On Thursday I trail rode with a friend, I rode Suzie and friend rode Tally. Both the girls were pretty good. We rode for about 2 hours; through streams, rivers and up a lot of hills. The rocky sections bothered them both a bit, but they powered through it and I actually had a lot of fun being out of the arena for once.

Managed to get both horses AND dogs in this shot!

Friday I rode with another friend, but this time I rode Tally and she rode Suzie (her favorite). Again, the mares were pretty agreeable and we ended up going for a three hour ride because I took a wrong turn somewhere and we had to ride the long way around.

I even hacked Tally in the arena afterwards and she was still fresh as fresh could be... I swear, this mare has energy to BURN. She offered up a lovely little canter and even though she was still bracey in her trot, I managed her better.

Tally-cam. All bright and chipper just a wee 10 minutes
from home.
Afterwards, I had to head back out to the barn and bathe/braid Tally for the show the next morning. She stood well for it all and even though I didn't get a lot of real schooling done on her, I think the mental break we had just by trail riding did wonders for us. I was starting to get defeated and frustrated by her bracey/rushy personality, so it was time to take a step back and just relax and have fun with her. Oh, and by the time I was done bathing and braiding it was VERY dark.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

10 Questions

 1. Is your horse spooky or bombproof?  Bombproof to the max. She's rarely spooked by anything. I love her unflappable personality - it makes her super dependable!

2. Does your horse have a long or short stride? Short, lol.

3. Describe your current barn in 3 words? Private. Safe. Quiet.

4. If you could switch barns, would you? Yes, but only if it meant I had my own set up and could have Suzie at home.

5. Favorite brand of breeches? I don't really have a favorite brand, but basically whatever is on sale. My TuffRiders have lasted me eight years (and counting!!) but they certainly do not fit well anymore.

6. How many red ribbons do you have? I actually don't have any first place ribbons. I've placed first in some schooling shows, but those didn't give ribbons.

7. How many saddle pads do you own? For English I have 8-9 and for Western I have 4. 

8. Is your horse your phone background/lock screen? No. She normally is, but my dog is my lock screen and my SO's grandmother (Rest in Peace <3) is my background.

9. Do you go trail riding often? (weather permitting) I used to trail ride Suz a lot, but this year I haven't done much. Hoping to change that before the season ends!! I find that trail riding really helps horses become relaxed and well rounded - too much schooling in an arena makes a horse sour and too used to their surroundings.

10. Favorite horsey movie? I really liked the movie Hidalgo. Just something about a cowboy and his horse. <3

I stole the questions from L at Viva Carlos blog. Thanks, L!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Suzie Clinic Recap

So, the clinic is over and I have a lot of awesome information and ideas to play around with with Suzie. The biggest thing I found is that I don't give me mare nearly enough credit. The clinician really liked her and it seemed like the more I rode her, the looser she got. Day 2 of the clinic, she was more flexible and moving better than Day 1. It was a lot of fun and I am glad I went out and met this clinician, especially since I had never ridden under her before.

We worked on some Reining and Trail, primarily, and Suzie did everything with no qualms. She really put effort into it and it blew me away, considering I've barely ridden her this year. The clinician said that Suzie definetly must've had some good training behind her, because half the time, before we even worked on the "game plan" (such as how to approach the gate, back through the "L" figure, etc) Suzie was already positioning herself and pretty much doing it on her own.

I learned a lot, especially since I am not a Western rider - the clinician was super friendly, upbeat and really brought out the best in me and my mare, especially considering Suzie is old and arthritic. I found that the more correctly I rode her, the better she became and the better she responded to me. It was truly enlightening and my little mare was just awesome!