Saturday, January 28, 2017

Saturdays are for Selfies

These two enjoy eachother so very much!
Due to a temporary change in my working hours for the next two weeks, I've found myself leaving the office just as it starts to get dark out. Thus, I haven't been able to do much with the horses.

Tack on the unfortunate influx of wet weather we've been experiencing for the past four days, and I literally have no option to ride or drive, at least not on the roadways in the subdivision.

Pretty sure the rain isn't supposed to be IN my barn!
My trailer will be back on Monday morning, so I intend to be trailering out next weekend and get back to our regularly scheduled program. In the meantime, we've been practicing our selfie-game.

The prettiest mare in the entire world!
Spud, looking pretty miserable with the rain
(and also because Annie was right beside us).

Terrible lighting, but Annie has an obsession with
snuffling my face. It's adorable.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, I finally got a video of Spud being a tempermental mini to Annie post-graining.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Weekend in Review: Sunday

In continuing with All The Horse Things on Saturday, it was arranged with R/Nixie and N/AJ to haul out to one of the two barns in the next town to ride in their indoor. With R being back in town and having access to a 3-horse trailer (mine is a 2 horse and it is being lended out at the moment), it was pretty neat to be able to load up as a group and take off to ride!

I have greatly missed having riding friends, and I feel like it is going to be a pretty awesome year with the company of these two wonderful gals!

As far as the trip went, it was pretty uneventful. We packed everyone up and headed out around 11:15am, and since N was in the next town anyways for work, we just hauled her horse for her and she met us out at the barn in her own vehicle.

Spoiler alert as to how she did!
I normally would post in chronological order but I have
no media from that day other than from when I was riding!
Annie loaded up really well and was super quiet in the trailer as I tied her up and moved her over to close the divider. It is obvious that she has been hauled exclusively in an angle haul, so my straight haul is going to be a bit of a change for her (which was evidenced when I hauled her home earlier this month). When my trailer gets back from being borrowed, I'll be practicing loading her into it so she gets accustomed to the different set ups. Still, it is promising to see she is an eager loader in the angle hauls.

When we arrived, the unloading took some cajoling. She seemed more than happy to just stand in the trailer looking out; wherein the group of us started to make fun of her. Finally, she hunkered down out of the trailer and looked around at the new barn, horses, and settings with a bright expression and followed me to the sliding doors without so much as a bat of her eye.

The barn layout is kind of neat. The front of the barn has a heated lounge and the actual barn itself features an indoor arena in the middle, with stalls along each long-side. Since the arena has kick-boards, the opposite side of the kick-boards has personal cubbies which correspond to the stalls. You will see exactly what I mean when you watch the videos.

Onto Annie.

Things she did well upon arrival (because point form is the bomb dot com):

      • Tied quietly in the aisleway a few posts away from the other two horses - no calling out, pawing, pacing, etc. I did notice she enjoys playing with her leadrope tho (I looped it one extra loop just in case she knows how to untie herself cause that wouldn't be good).
      • Watched the horses being ridden in the arena without spooking or otherwise.
      • Tacked up without fuss aside from a mild argument when I went to put her bridle on. She flipped her head up at me, but I just kept pressure on and she chomped onto the bit like, "Goddamn, I have to be good when we are away from home too? Fiiiine."
      • Was quietly confused by the bell-boots, but allowed them and didn't walk funny after I put them on. lol.

Heading to the arena, I walked once around in both directions before wandering to the mounting block to mount up. I felt kind of funny tho, because both friends opted to lunge their horses (for reference, AJ is 17 and Nixie is 14). And here I am with my baby horse and just givin' 'er guns and hopping on like shes some schooled beast.

Fortune favors the bold, I guess?

Things she did well upon mounting:

      • Initially, she did scoot away from the mounting block, but I corrected her, stood her up, and she stood quietly for my second attempt to mount. All she does is literally swing her hips away like, "LOL I know you aren't Stretch Armstrong so I'mma be out of your reach, Shrimp Person." If I had longer legs, I would just still mount, but I'm pretty sure I'd end up doing the splits and ripping my breeches wide open.
      • Walked off quietly with no jogging!
      • Toured the arena quietly assessing everything; no spooks, bolts, etc.
      • Walked past AJ who was being lunged at the opposite end of the arena at a faster gait than she was going.
      • Quietly maneuvered around the arena as a lame horse was brought into the arena to also be lunged quickly. So we literally had one horse lunging at the north end, and one being lunged at the south end and Annie and I were just cruising around the outside walls.
      • Stopping when asked and moving off of leg.
      • Responds really well to the whip (ie no bucking).
      • Went around walk, trot, canter with other horses going different directions and different gaits!
      • Stood in the middle of the arena while the other horses were worked on the rail and on 20m circles.
      • Fell asleep after I dismounted and was talking to friends.

Things we need to improve:

      • She likes to duck behind the bit on me, esp during our halt transitions. Need to remember to: give her longer reins so she can't curl up behind my hand and push her forward past the contact, use legs to halt and do not touch the reins.
      •  As we progressed into the ride, she started to get saturated and tired. Baby horse brain's are just tiny and baby horse also lacks muscles and fitness. I had to end up borrowing a whip to tap her haunches with because I was literally cowboy kicking her towards the end to trot for me.  *This is all normal stuff, and as her fitness and brain capacity gets larger, I'll be able to do more but it is important to note regardless.
      • Attitude when requested to canter. She actually tried to buck when I asked her to canter for like the fourth try, and after I got after her a bit she obliged and cantered fine. But it is important to not waste her energy trotting around aimlessly when I want to work on canter stuff. She is also not very balanced so the cantering stuff is hard to do right now anyways - BUT, she needs to canter when I say so (hence the reason why I bought a dressage whip).

A lot of things we need to improve on are based off of the fact she is super green. She doesn't really know the cue for canter yet - she will trooooooot mach 10 and then canter, but we need to refine that and polish it up.

Interesting to note, and I think some other horse people will be like *omg lightbulb moment*: It is still a learning curve for me to understand that although, out of the three horses, she was the driest in terms of sweat... she was by far the most exhausted.

She has such an uphill stride compared to
my comfy western LazyBoy
couch of a pony Suzie!
There were so many questions I asked her on Sunday, and for having only 30 days of riding under her belt in ONE arena at ONE barn, I feel like she did spectacular. Yah, we had a mild bucking fit but it was corrected and we moved on.

It will still be a learning curve for me, esp because I have never brought along a true green horse before (30 days or less). R gave me lots of good advice tho and a few points she brought up that I found interesting were:

      • When she is sticky in her turning, lift your rein up and OVER as opposed to over and back towards your hip. I was guilty of this on Sunday, as I would lead her over with the rein but be pulling back at the same time which just upset her balance.
      • Invest in an whip and use it for those baby tantrums. You don't want to get them dead to your leg and using a slight tap on the hind-quarters will help you. (I grabbed a whip off of the cupboards during my ride from the resident trainer and used it to get one of our canter transitions which helped IMMENSLY. I didn't have to be a brute about it, but it got my point across vs kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick... ok take a break because holy shit I'm tired. I didn't get to use the whip much tho, because I picked it up near the end of our ride and was admittedly timid to use it lest Annie's response be to rear and crush my brains in.
      • Every time you are riding her, you are training her, so don't feel like you were too soft or too hard on her. Build upon the foundation you have laid down first before you expect her to be a solid citizen. (I was asking her thoughts because I felt like I didn't accomplish much in the ring since we legit were just riding circles and squares, lol).
      • Baby horse brains are small and it doesn't take much to fill them - it is OK to end the session when they have had their fill, even if the session didn't last the ___ minutes you wanted it to.

I was pretty damn happy with her - the plan is to haul out every second weekend to get things rolling and once the ice and snow melt more in the back paddock, I'll be adding lunging to our routine to build up some more strength in her and solidify that canter. I feel like taking away the human equation will help her build up her stamina too, since she lacks a lot of balance (spoiler alert: I do too). We had attempted to do some lunging last week but there is a sheet of ice under the snow which made it impossible for Annie to gain any traction, so for now that's a no go area.

As Winter melts away, we will be getting out and doing more. I feel like she has had a pretty good taste about her new life and has taken it all in stride - even just working around her in the paddock while I scoop poop or wrestling with the frozen hose or even tossing blankets on her while the wind blows is a learning curve for her. Everything is new to her and she is still learning the routine, and to not be surprised when we verge far away from the routine.

Exhibit A: not a normal routine.
I'm a huge advocate of "do weird shit" when it comes to horses (note: I didn't say unsafe or stupid shit). Just weird shit. Have them wear a baseball cap while you walk, trot, and canter around the arena. Teach them to back through the arena gates vs walking forwards. Pick their left feet up while you are on their right side and pick them out (that one confused the HELL out of Suzie, haha). Take them schooling one day and trail riding the next. Make them roll a giant ball around.

The possibilities are endless, and I am so certain that all the weird shit is what has made Spud such a steady eddy. Those who remember Spud from the beginning will remember how difficult he was in terms of his own self-esteem - he was such an unsure pony when I bought him that even scraping manure anywhere near him would send him galloping away... and now I can scrape manure literally out from under his hooves.

So sorry Annie, you've gone from a city girl to a country bumpkin.

Let's just remember the weird shit Suzie is used to.
Thankfully I have a mini that serves my driving
needs, so this isn't going to be repeated anytime soon...
at least not with a wagon. lmao.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Weekend in Review: Saturday

This past weekend it was All Things Horse.

It has been such a very long time since I have been so immersed into riding and making it the forefront of my life - literally 75% of my weekend was horse-related and I certainly will not complain!

Saturday, a riding friend who just returned back to the area wanted to go for a hack around the neighborhood so myself and another riding buddy joined her. The biggest thing with Annie right now is that any time I'm doing anything with her, I am training. With Suzie, a lot of it is going through the motions that she already knows, but with Annie, a lot of things are new to her.

Awkward baby pony is awkward.
Also, tying doubles as desensitization with all the
ice, hoses, and tarps. #cityhorsemeetscountryliving
And Saturday would be no different. We had a line up of things that would be remarkably different from the two solo-hacks around the neighborhood earlier in the week, with having other horses join us as the main difference.

I had a few goals in mind though:

    • Ride out solo from the barn with no protest (on our first solo ride out into the neighborhood, she had refused to move and gave me a bit of attitude before she would move off quietly. She has not repeated it since, but it is something to be aware of regardless)
    • Have Annie walk up quietly and calmly (whenever Suzie sees another horse off in the distance she will either squeal, spook, or chaaaarge down to them. And sometimes, just sometimes, she will walk quietly).
    • Be the leader horse and be a follower - very important, esp when this transitions to trail riding where she may HAVE to lead or follow depending on the width of the trail.
    •  Ride home alone. All of us gals live in different parts of the subdivision, so when we say goodbye, we usually branch off and head our own way home. It is important for Annie to not be herd-bound in the least.

I was prepared to make things easy for her if we ran into any trouble and didn't put too much pressure on the goals - I just wanted to test them out to see where her brain was at and how she felt.

I needn't be worried.

AJ thinks he's a ladies man. Annie thinks
he's a creep.
 She is getting much better about standing quietly for me to mount - she wiggled away once or twice (she will swing her haunches away from my makeshift mounting steps (the makeshift steps is a feed bucket upside down, lol)) but was easily corrected. Moved off quietly and we met up with R and her Andalusian X mare without an incident.

 Annie was a bit peppy in her step, as R's mare hasn't been out in the last two months so she was raring to go and spooking at a lot of things which made Annie a little insecure. It was a bit hilarious that Annie had to lead R and her mare past things and act as "lead horse" right away, especially since Nixie is almost three times Annie's age.

We met up with N and her gelding AJ from there and Annie seemed quite pleased to see a familiar face. The rest of the ride was pretty non-eventful aside from a moment where all the horses spooked at a dog behind a fence. We stayed at a walk for the entire ride, due to the ice that was still on the streets and when it came time to part ways, R asked if I wanted her to walk me the rest of the way home. I politely declined and stated I wanted to see Annie's reaction first and much to my delight, she just plugged on home and gave a few uncertain ear twitches to let me know she was a bit nervous.

So all in all, another successful outing that I am sure is already molding her into the respectable equine citizen I want her to be.

We're the three best friends that anyone could have.

We are continuing to work on in-hand things, and have seen great strides there already:
    • She picks up her feet quietly and has not threatened to kick out since the day she had that CTJ meeting.
    • She is less and less anxious being tied and won't dance around as much as she used to.
    • She is starting to eat grain whilst tied (she was too anxious to do this before).
    • She has started to cock a leg whilst being tied.
    • She is accepting of verbal cues and pressure in the paddocks without a halter or bridle on.
    • She is accepting of bridling at home - she hasn't fought me at all the last two times I bridled her and I can also bridle her without having the halter still clipped around her neck.
We also have seen some unfortunate behaviors:

    • Ripping up Spud's blanket. GRRRR!!11!

The herd as a whole is doing quite well - Spud hates Annie with a burning passion, although I am not certain if it is more amplified when I am present or not. They seem to eat together quietly when I get to the barn, but when I am out doing chores (and can be seen/heard) he will snake his little teefers out at her or make ugly faces when she walks by. She doesn't seem to feed into his drama-llama tendencies and will just continue on her path regardless of his facial expression (which actually just pisses him off more).

And Suzie doesn't mind Annie, which is super weird. She will let Annie nibble her mane and withers, which is actually super adorable. I think Spud mostly hates Annie because Suzie accepts her and Suzie is his biotch. I can't say I blame him though.

Friday, January 20, 2017

It's Like Dating Again

Much like Britt's hilarious rendition of what owning a new horse is like, I have found myself going through the various stages someone in a new "human" relationship would be going through.

Things with Annie are still very, very new. This uncharted territory is what I would imagine a cocktail of nervousness and excitement to taste like. It can only be described as something completely and decidedly unfamiliar. But the unfamiliarity breeds a bubble of enthusiasm.

What will things be like tomorrow?

What else will we learn together?

What will we look like a year from now?

And so on, and so on.

Things with Annie have been remarkably easy (touch wood), but also humbling in some regards. I find myself, hurdling down that all too familiar stretch of pavement, and it reminds me of what it was like developing a relationship with my SO a handful of years ago.

I am still blissfully stuck in the Honeymoon phase where, while there have been mild upsets (ie trying to kick me), I am finding more and more reasons to declare her the best baby horse ever (ie. having never been ridden outside of an arena, our second ride together was a hack around the neighborhood... alone).

We are still attempting to find a common ground with eachother and a mutual understanding. Both of our hearts are quite guarded against one another, and we haven't quite fully committed to this new budding relationship. We're still testing the waters to see what it is all about and as a developing young horse, Annie has to come to her own conclusions about her new rider.

So while we are still navigating a very new relationship, I can feel it already molding and changing.

FYI if you are looking for
a bridle that is identical to Annie's,
Carly is selling hers!
And while it is all hunky dory right now, I imagine there will be a Power Struggle wherein I ask myself, "What the hell was I thinking" approximately 10x a day. Trust me, it happens. I went through this stage with both Suzie and Spud, and while it was one of the more frustrating times in the relationship, it has only succeeded in bringing us closer together.

After surviving the Power Struggle, we will hit Stability, and from there Bliss and Commitment.

I feel like a lot of bloggers are going through this New Relationship stage - Britt, Emma and Alaina to name a few! It will be kind of humbling and affirming to look onto other blogger's pages to read about their own struggles and achievements as they navigate their way through a new partnership.

So in case you feel like you are missing out, I have arranged and categorized a step by step process you will mostly likely see on my blog re: new pony shenanigans.

Celebrate how lucky you are that you found and now
OWN this perfect specimen.

Constantly remind everyone with pictures and video media
just how amazing and awesome your new horse is.
Bonus points if you add tears.
Be constantly surprised that your horse did X, Y, Z.
He or she is AMAZEBALLS.
Declare your goals immeasurable.
Convince yourself you are going to the Olympics.
Have your horse serve you a slice of humble pie.
Commence the First Fight.
Lean on your friends for support during your time of need.
Debate putting up "For Sale" ad.
Horse: Acts cute.

And then guess what?

The cycle repeats itself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Why I Wanted a Miniature

Back when I first started blogging, there was only one star of the show - a certain ornery redheaded mare. Blogger friends may remember the lease mare I stole borrowed for a portion of the 2014 year and why I had leased her in the first place.

Tally-mare was a boss ass bitch when it came to jumping,
I was mostly just along for the ride.
Being that Suzie was boarded solo at the new-to-us barn, Tally was primarily leased to be a companion for Suzie. Secondary to that, Tally would also serve dual-purpose as a cool and educated english mount. The plan worked out well, as Suzie and Tally got along well enough and I was still able to ride both of them. Unfortunately, it just wasn't very cost-effective to pay board on a secondary horse that I didn't own, especially in Winter-time when I couldn't be riding anyways.

Thus, the idea of an alternate companion surfaced, as Suzie is quite a social creature who enjoys company. (The irony is that she bitches at them 24/7).

I tossed around ideas of a goat or sheep, but wasn't certain either would make viable companions being that goats are generally destructive and may not even be amicable with a horse. Plus, I couldn't guarantee Suzie wouldn't kick them in the head.

He kind of looks like a goat anyways.
 Friends suggested a second horse, but with working such hectic hours and the fact that Suzie was still rideable, I didn't really want to purchase a nice young horse and have it sit idle while I worked or rode Suzie instead (and vice versa!).

And that's when I put two and two together after hungrily reading Andrea's blog which featured O-ren and her new job - driving. Being allured by the idea of driving, I was pretty quick to put the pieces of the puzzle together and initiated my search for a broke and sound driving mini.

The whole thing about miniatures is that a lot of people own them, but rarely do much with them. If I purchased a horse to serve as a companion, I wanted it to be able to perform and still have a purpose. Knowingly purchasing an animal that can't really serve a purpose is a tough expense to incur, especially since Suzie would be retired soon enough and I couldn't justify two hayburners (I say that with love). It is a reality I face since I board - once I have my own barn and property, providing a loving home to an eldery and retired horse is something I would like to do since it would be much more cost-effective in the long run.

Because, horses.
 The idea of a working miniature was a great compromise, especially if he would be able to do things that I could enjoy with him (since I obviously can't ride him). The board, feed, and other expenses were largely reduced due to the pint sized horse I brought into the picture and I haven't regretted it. I know a lot of horse-people strongly disagree with turning a mini loose with full-sized horses, but as they say, "My horses, my rules."

The other cool thing about having Spud is that he provides friendship and companionship in areas where life may fall short. For example, if I were to go away to a 3 day show with Annie, I don't have to worry about Suzie being alone because Spud is still there. Or if Suzie goes out to pasture again this summer, Annie and Spud will be together. I often think about Suzie's final years too, and how having Spud there will largely help in keeping everything and everyone together.

Plus, Spud is just naturally good at being a best friend. Case and point:

Synchronized BFF'ing

Honorary Warmblood BFF.

Crotchety old mare BFF.

Paint horse who thinks he's a mini BFF.

Old man Finnegan BFF.

Stud colt BFF and resident manners-teacher.

Horse show Trakhener BFF.
It has been an interesting journey in more ways than one, and I am sure it will continue to get more and more interesting as the herd dynamics change with the introduction of Annie and the possibility of Suzie going out to pasture again for the Summer.

Life gets interesting at times, so it is always nice to have him around to provide companionship no matter what happens.

Monday, January 16, 2017

First Tour of the Neighborhood

Apprehensive baby horse says, "I don't
know about this." Her worried eyes
are the cutest thing ever.
Since my boarding situation isn't exactly the norm (no arena, no indoor, no "horse only" hacking trails, etc) in that the first steps off the property are directly onto a roadway, I wanted to take the opportunity to start working with Annie regardless of the weather because I didn't want her to settle into a routine of being with Spud and Suzie 24/7 and not getting used to leaving them.

One of the biggest problems a lot of horses have is barn sourness and despite the fact the weather is El Poo, I don't want Annie getting too kushy or comfortable in her new lifestyle and find out a few weeks down the road it is going to be a fight to get her to leave the barn.

Anyways, that was just a long-winded way to say I don't want Annie to become too habituated at the barn with my other two.

We also worked on standing still while I move
away so I can get confo shots.
I think we got a pretty decent one... kind of lol.
 Thus, we went for a hand-walk around the neighborhood.

Things that did not phase her?

- Barking dogs/ dog that ran out and attempted to attack my Shepherd
- Strollers
- Cars
- Puddles
- Ice
- Chickens
- Meeting a new horsey friend
- Leaving new horsey friend (there was some pretty pitiful whinnying, but that was about it)
- Bridling (we did it about 5-6 times)
- Blanketing
- Standing while I moved away to get confo pictures

Things that did phase her?

- Me asking her to pick up her hind leg.

I imagine this was her face when I
tried to pick up her hind foot.
She was immediately corrected and we went back to the basics on "You pick up your feet when I ask and I don't give a shit if you hate it.". The Come To Jesus meeting helped immensely and I feel as though this is a good place to nip it in the bud.

Other than that, I'm pretty confident to get on her and toodle around solo once the ice melts a bit more. She is very calculating and smart, which is intriguing to see in such a young and inexperienced horse.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

First Impressions: Annie

Initially, I was going to stuff all the information about Annie into one blog post, but I figured it would be too messy and long to read, so here is the recount of my first meeting and overall impression of the new kid on the block.

We are awkward and that's ok.
Being that I wasn't quite certain what I was getting into, I was a bit anxious for her to finally arrive so I could finally assess her. It was a tense few days when she was not delivered on the dates we had first agreed upon, but Mother Nature isn't one to give notice of impeding snow storms and sub-zero temperatures. Plus, I'd rather have my horse arrive in one piece vs the alternative.

Yesterday, the Boyfriend and I drove the 45minutes to the next town's riding grounds (fun tip: you may recognize the indoor arena from Spud's lessons last year) and anxiously awaited Annie's arrival. A few close friends who were interested in meeting her met us there and we stood out in the freezing cold (it was about -23C with the windchill) chattering excitedly.

I had unloaded my saddle and such from the truck, and was in the process of bringing my tack into the indoor when the hauler arrived and we hurriedly wandered out to watch Annie unload.

Smelling all tha things.
The hauler's trailer had quite a large step up and it took some coaxing for Annie to make the leap out and down. Her exit from said trailer lacked a lot of grace, but she made up for it by casually observing her surroundings and blowing softly from her nose. I pulled the sheet the hauler had tossed over her to keep her warm during the trip off and we wandered over to the indoor where we would be out of the wind.

A large portion of snow had blown up against the indoor arena's doors and it took some awkward two-stepping to open the door, tip-toe around it, and then finally emerge into the indoor. She blew and snorted at my saddle sitting on the saddle rack before we turned her loose in the arena to stretch her legs from the 6 hour drive.

To almost everyone's surprise, she casually walked all over the arena, sniffing along the ground and checking out all the signs and other interesting items without so much as a spook or snort. In an attempt to decipher what kind of mood she was in, I swung a lead-rope at her and clucked to see if she would take off bucking and carrying on, but she literally just jogged around the arena and stopped when I was far enough away. To get her to canter, it took two of us to convince her, and she cantered for about 11 strides before walking again.

That one time we convinced her to canter. It was short-lived.
 Crazy mare I tell ya.

The main purpose for this was to assess her before I got on. I'm not as young as I used to be and don't take the chances I used to take, so chasing her around the arena to see if she was going to take off galloping, bucking, etc, was a chance for me to get a feel for her personality. The fact she was pretty lazy was a good indication she wasn't going to kill me.

'Cause let's be real. She is a green four year old who just had a three day trip and is in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, wearing unfamiliar tack and being asked to do things in an unfamiliar way.

After that was done, I caught and led her to the center of the arena and just played around - picking up her feet, touching her ears, tugging her tail and forelock, poking her udder and teats (I'm so mean), backing her up, asking her to yield her haunches and shoulders, etc. And when I got to touching her muzzle to check her teeth, she was suuuuuper offended. I noted this and carried on with the rest of my assessment.

All ready to climb aboard with some moral support!
Once I deemed things good, I led her over to the make-shift stalls to tack her up. She tied good, although she was just a little wiggly (which is normal). Quiet to saddle, quiet to have the girth done up. An issue blossomed when I went to bridle her, where she gave me a very large NO and wouldn't even let me touch her muzzle. Based off of the knowledge I received from the owner, she had had her teeth done late last year (2016) and was a bit funny about the bridling thing, but it had gotten much better so it is possible this is her attempting to test me. We will work on it and if she continues the behavior, or it worsens, I'll have to get her teeth looked at just in case.

During my attempts to bridle her, I just kept at her with a steady pressure, giving a few growls here or there where she was rude. It took about 2 minutes to bridle her, but once it was on, she was fine and complacent. She stood quietly for the remainder of me getting ready, which included when I walked away to put my helmet on and she stood ground tied without so much as a blink of an eye.

The other issue that cropped up was when I went to get on her - she swings her hips away from the mounting block. I wasn't really prepared and kind of just skipped off the block, so I had to reline her up and re-mount. She is wiggly there, so it'll take time to work on but I'm not sure if she is familiar with blocks or if she knows what they are all about and she is just being a smartass.

We took off at a walk, and she jogged several times on me before we came to a clear understanding that she needs to WALK. It was not malicious at all. I worked her walk, trot, and canter and aside from feeling very unbalanced and weak, she is very solid! Just willing to please and strives to do the right thing for her rider. Any fears of uncertainties I had about riding a young horse melted away and I immediately trusted her (this isn't to say I am not cautious).

I rode her around with kid gloves - not asking too much and not expecting too much. I don't think she has done much lunging or otherwise, so we will be adding that to her regime to help her with the canter stuff since she is very unbalanced.

The canter you guys... so much uphill...
so much awkwardness.

A friend of mine hopped on and rode her around quickly before I hopped back on again and pushed a wee bit more than I had previously. She certainly feels like a young horse - the steering isn't very refined, she ruuuuuns into her canter transitions, she is very unbalanced and unsteady, but she shows a very large amount of promise.

Much like Emma, my posts surrounding her will be all about exciting baby stuff as we grow and learn. Things like, "Omg we cantered without doing an extended trot first" and "We halted when we meant to!" will be the forefront of this blog, but I am excited for the journey and excited to see Annie develop and grow.

We look like this

But we can also look like dis!

With limited access to an indoor arena, and due to the inclement weather we currently have, Operation In-Hand Bootcamp has commenced. Not that she is terrible leading or anything - but I wanted to refine a few things and really make clear and concise indications about what is tolerated and what isn't. I will also be working on the mouth thing (if anyone has any tips or advice, please feel free to add).

This In-Hand Bootcamp is something I have done with quite a few horses I have "restarted" in previous years and it really sets the tone for a working relationship. The foundation of trust starts on the ground, and with it being terribly icey out and unsafe for riding activities (unless I haul), I don't want to rush into things.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I did a thing.


The internet is a very dangerous place as we all know.

And uhm... I did a thing.

Her sale ad photo
"Annie" arrived home on January 11th after a 15h drive (1,373km or 853miles) which was split into an unintentional three day journey. What was supposed to be a two day trip turned into a three day-er, simply due to the poor weather that bombarded down the the night of January 9th (her initial arrival date). Wanting to be safe, we post-poned having her hauled and opted to wait out the snow, ice, and wind and hope for better conditions the following morning.

And good thing we did - accidents are so common on our highway and it is always best to be safe rather than sorry!

Now onto the fun stuff:

Annie is is an 2012 Appendix who was just recently started (30 days with trainer, 10-15 rides with owner's students) and sold as greenbroke walk-trot-canter and going over trot poles. Interesting to note - she is actually a rabicano, which is highlighted by the white tail floof.

And, uhm... I bought her sight unseen. #itseemstobeatrendwithme

How could you say no to that face tho.
And those markings!!

From what I have been told, she hasn't been exposed to a lot of "life experiences" as I like to call them. She came from a very busy city where things like trail riding/ hacking and trailering out are a luxury item. But, the seller had said she is quite a steady-eddie despite her age and would even make a wonderful children's mount in the future with more miles. So, I imagine it will be a bit of a culture shock, but I think she will learn quickly about all of the weird, random shit we do up North.

She hauled exceptionally well for the haulers, and I had received quite a few compliments from them regarding her behavior on and off the trailer. I was told I "got a good one", which made me pretty pleased. 

The Boyfriend and I headed out on this afternoon to meet the hauler and pick her up from the next town (45min drive).

More posts to come ;)

I am beyond excited to start our journey and to share it with all of you. This is just the beginning of a very exciting chapter.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Blogger Gift Exchange: Thank you Cob Jockey!

 First of all, a huge thank you goes out to Tracey for organizing this event yet again for all of us equestrian bloggers! This is my first year participating, and I had so much fun picking and choosing things for Alana at Pony Express.

I was pleasantly surprised on Wednesday afternoon to find a package making its way up the drive with the mail lady, and even more surprised it was my Secret Santa gift!

Thank you so much to Jenn and Connor/ Euro Pony - the gifts were awesome!

I actually couldn't believe how tiny the name-plate was! So cute!! And I cannot wait until the snow starts to melt a bit and the roadways are safe again to try out the splint boots on Spud. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Suzie Update

I haven't posted much about Suzie and how she was doing since the Vet appointment back in November. There are two reasons for this: I didn't want to jinx it by posting about it prematurely, and I wanted to allow the pain management system we have in place to actually start working and see how it was affecting her.

 When I had left off blogging about Suz, I had mentioned she had two additional doses of Legend which I brought back home with me. As per Vet recommendations, they were given to her 7 days apart from one another. And in addition, Suz was set up to have a farrier visit to assess any changes that could (and should) be made.

It has been 5 weeks since her last injection and 6 weeks since she had her feet assessed and re-shod.

From her shoeing appointment in November

So how is she doing?

In short - She is doing much, much better.

Her quality of life has improved tenfold and her "bad" days are fewer, and farther between. It took her a week or so to adjust to her new shoeing job - her heels are set to expand more and grow upwards vs having underrun heels.

She is starting to get undermuscled and saggy, but
I am hoping some stretches and mild exercise will
right that once again.
She gets around much easier, and knowing how concerned I was with the impeding Winter and snow, she has really done quite well so far and I am pretty pleased with the positives I am seeing. For example, her knee is actually more malleable than it was before and she can lift it higher for when I pick out her hooves.

The cold has been a bit difficult on her - the cooler days have her a bit stiffer and when her knee is bothering her, she will stand under the shelter and only move around a little bit. When the sun comes out and it warms up a bit more, she will trudge through the snow to the sunny spots in the paddock and wander through the barn aisle when I open up the doors to see if I have any treats hidden away in the tack room.

Her mischievous nature and enjoyment for hacking out has not waned, and I continue to tack her for hand-walks whenever I can, and have more recently been ponying her off of Spud's cart.

I anticipate, towards the end of January, I will be looking into getting another dose of the Legend to keep her loose and limber, but that has yet to be determined. My fingers are crossed she continues to do well and is still able to lead a happy life despite her physical limitations.