Friday, June 24, 2016

Finding Motivation

Since I don't have any upcoming shows on the books I am having a hard time finding motivation to ride.  With Poppy it is more about keeping her fit.  She is pretty broke at this point and sure I know there is always something to improve on but without a goal i.e. a show looming I just feel meh about riding.  

Maybe she feels meh too

Typically I take what I need to work on from a show and focus on that in between each show.  So right now I'm hacking and popping over a few jumps here and there.  But just not very motivated.

You would think the new jumps would motivate me but nah.  There's a thought...maybe I need to make a fun new course.  Ideas?

There are always things to work on with Luxxx.  His next show is in September so this gives us plenty of time to develop him more.  Also he has only been to one horse show venue.  Eventually I do want to introduce him to the world of rated shows.  I'm not sure when that is for him.  We changed his bit at the last show so I made him up a new bridle last night and put the three ring on it with a figure 8 noseband.  I only the second ring so I would prefer a 2 ring happy mouth.  I need to get one of those.  If you have one you want to sell let me know.  I just lunged him in it last night with side reins.  Maybe I will feel motivated to ride him today.  Although with a forecast of 97 today and 98 Saturday maybe not...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Finding Your Unicorn

One of the things I like about working with babies or really any project horse is seeing their development.  It can be tough though to look at that awkward horse and see the potential.  No different than say house shopping.  You look at the foundation.  Is the conformation good (forgiving growth spurts that may have them butt high)?  Are the feet good?  Their mind (forgiving greenness)?  Do they have a nice broad shoulder?  Movement?  Especially the walk.  A horse should have a fantastic walk.  You have to see the potential.

                    Feb 2014
This is Luxxx the day I looked at him as a coming 3yo.  He lived outside in a herd so he was wooly and unkempt looking.  He had great feet and bone structure, a nice wide shoulder, and beautiful movement.  Oh and a walk to die for.  He could also do this.

And he did this with minimal effort.  

Here is a picture of his sire.  He is 17 yo in this photo at an inspection last year.  Photo credit Victoria DeMore Photography.

Buying babies and project horses is never a guarantee.  It is one thing to jump  through a jump chute it is another to jump 15 jumps in a stadium or large arena with distractions.  I felt there was enough things I liked and I took the gamble.  It's horses, it's always a gamble. 

This was April 2014.  A short 2 months after I bought him and you can already see changes.

June 2014.  Filling out and developing muscle.

January 2015.  Is this the same horse?

April 2015. Dapples for days and the big powerhouse booty has arrived.

October 2015.  Just take a look back at the very first picture.  Would you have imagined this?

April 2016.

Sometimes the gamble goes your way...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Planning and Planning to Not Plan

Right now as far as the horses go I don't really have any plans.  The baby horse was not something I had planned for this year.  I have been trying to recoup from a very expensive year and that is simply not a necessity.  When presented with the opportunity to do the embryo transfer with Poppy I thought about it a lot.  I knew my friend wanted a foal for next year and I just figured I would freeze the embryo that would be mine until another year.  Friend then asked if we could implant both embryos in surrogates and I agreed.  Let's face it.  I'm not getting any younger.  I am not sure how much longer I want to be caring for horses and a farm.  I already feel like I am getting too old to be dealing with the shenanigans of baby horses.  I am a year away from these babies being on the ground.  Then 3 years from breaking mine.  So 6 years from now it would be hopefully consistent and showing.  6 years!  So although timing isn't great I am also running out of time.

I don't have any shows on the books right now.  I might take Poppy to a rated show with trainer over the summer.  I might not.  I'm not planning anything for now...we will just see.  I am riding and jumping Poppy so when I do decide to go show she will be ready.  She is doing great.

As for Luxxx he recently did several local shows to add some mileage to his repertoire.  I will continue to work on his training and development this summer and return to the local shows with him this fall.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When a dream becomes a reality

If you have read my blog posts you know I am a bit obsessed with Poppy.

Not only do I feel a strong connection with this horse but I also find her to be pretty talented.

Since I love this mare so much I have talked about breeding her one day.  Why?  Well because if I could get a foal that was the replica of her I would be ecstatic. If I could get a foal that was even better....bonus!  Since 60% comes from the mare, she is your most important factor when deciding whether to breed.  She is by Don Alfredo and her sire line has great show jumping and dressage lines.  Her dam side is where she gets her blood. She is out of a Selle Francaise mare who is by Aerobic.  Most importantly I like her rideability.

I was recently given the opportunity to make this a reality.  About 6 weeks ago Poppy went to Ocala to have her eggs flushed and then those were sent to Texas A&M to be fertilized with Darco semen.  The fertilized eggs were then flown back to Ocala.  A month later we have 2 surrogate mares each with a Poppy/Darco baby.  One is mine and one is a friend's.  If you are not familiar with Darco a quick Google search will fill you in.  He is the sire of Maclain Ward's famous horse Sapphire.  He is also the leading show jumping sire (he's kind of a big deal).

I think this is a fabulous cross and I cannot be more excited.  I know a lot can happen with pregnancies in horses so all my fingers and toes are crossed that both foals stick and are healthy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I would love to repost this blog post from 2014 but since I can't figure out how (yup I'm a bit of a moron at this stuff) I am just going to leave the link to it riiiight here...

A Throwback Tuesday post

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Horse Show Follow Up

I strung together a video from the show on Saturday.  The first is the first 2'9 jumper class followed by the jump off and then last the speed round.  My videography is terrible so for that I apologize (I was watching and forgot also videoing).

You will notice he still needs to work in his steering.  He is a push ride which makes him that much harder to steer.  What I love most is his willingness.  I really think this arena is spooky with the stands on one side and the rodeo chutes in the other.  Tank used to hate this arena.  He went right around no spooking and did his job.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Baby Goes Horse Showing

Friday I took baby Luxxx to the final local show until fall.  And this weekend was a reminder of why showing in Florida over the summer is brutal.  Think 90s and about 90% humidity.  I don't know what hell feels like but this has to be close.

Luxxx trailered over like a champ.  We unloaded, unpacked, and he settled right in.  This time he even got along with his neighbor.  The down side to having a concrete block barn is that he doesn't have any idea of what having a neighbor is.  I did this to eliminate barn repair but at shows where he can have neighbors on 3 sides, it's a lot to take in.  I always give trainer the option of riding him and she definitely wanted to.  Although I do one day want to show him, it is nice to get a chance to see my own horse go and enjoy watching the hard work I have put into him.

He was fantastic schooling however he has been a little hard mouthed lately.  We opted for a bit and adding a martingale and this was a big help.  I start the babies in a loose ring French link typically then change as they progress.  I was thinking next would be a Waterford loose ring but trainer suggested a 2 ring happy mouth loose ring and running martingale.  She felt a big difference which I also saw. I plan to play around with bits once at home and see what I think.  She felt she was able to compact him better.  He definitely still has a long way to go with his flat work.  He is getting so big he is still learning what to do with this big body and compacting that is hard.  His stride is huge.

After schooling him over some 3 foot jumps we decided to move him up to 2'9.  Woo hoo!  The 2'6 are like speed bumps for the big baby now so we felt confident he would handle the bigger course just fine.  It was also the second division of the day so that bought me time to lunge him.

Due to trainer having other horses doing at the same time we were the last to go in our classes.  This meant the warm up ring was empty thankfully.  He does not appreciate people running into him so this helped provide him with a nice experience before going in the ring.

He jumped all his jumps, got a couple lead changes and ended up first and second!  Trainer even sliced a couple jumps.  He could care less.  He just goes.  He needs to work on steering and smoothing out his changes (he does not like to be asked he just likes to be balanced).  I could not be more proud of him.  His attitude was perfect and the things that need to be improved will come along with more time and training. I am thrilled with him.  Video coming soon when I can get them uploaded.

And last but not least Panda Moo was a perfect puppy at the show too.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Life is Good If You're Moo

I brought you up to speed on Poppy and Luxxx but they aren't the only fourleggeds in my life.  The puppy (Panda aka KungMooPanda aka Moo) has pretty much taken over the place.  If you follow me on Instagram (luvjumperlife) you have probably figured this out.

Yes.  It's a puppy in a parka...

Not spoiled at all
The look on Puff's face sums up her feelings on the puppy.

I swear puppy isn't an only child

There are no words to describe how much I miss Nugget but this little guy has me smitten.  He is learning to ride in the car or truck and be a horse show pup.  It is so important to socialize chihuahuas so the horse shows have been perfect.  He gets played with and handled all day and he eats up every moment of it.

Tomorrow I take Luxxx to the local show. Updates on that soon...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Horse Showing

I know, it's been awhile.  Again.  Since last I blogged I had two weeks of showing Poppy and one show with Luxxx.  

Getting back in the ring with Poppy after 7 months had its up and downs.  Mainly ups but we definitely have things to improve on.  The first week we got some thirds and I think 4th in the classic (I can't really remember).  Trainer said I was chasing her a bit so I wanted to smooth that out.  

Apparently I wore the princess out

Week two started with a bang with a second place. Although in the jump off I left a stride early to an oxer and gave everyone (but me) a heart attack. It was a tight roll back and that's what I saw 😁

Then a bad miss on my part the next day made for an ugly rest of the weekend.  We still ribboned and won some money which is always nice but I was aiming for smoother.  At least the pictures were pretty.

Then baby Luxxx had his turn at our local show organization's non rated one day show. Trainer wanted to ride him so she took the ride.  The jumpers go in the big covered arena so if the light isn't perfect it is impossible to see any video.  He schooled great Friday and was the first class (2'6 jumpers) at 7:30am Saturday.  I should have lunged him before but with horses to care for at home I can only do so much early in the morning.  The craziness of the warm up ring really rattled him and after getting run into head on twice his 5yo brain was like peace out.  Trainer went in the ring with zero warm up so you can imagine how that went.  By the third course he was really good and even got a ribbon.

Look at how professional baby looks!!!

I was happy with him despite the circumstances and he just needs mileage which is what he is getting.  Their last show until fall is this weekend.

I'm still trying to find the balance of work, riding, and social life. I work a lot more that I used to so that makes it hard to keep 2 horses regularly schooled.  And because I am already spread too thin and tend to just continue to take on more I took on yet another horse endeavor.  More on that soon.  How's that for a teaser?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Catch Up

Thank you for all the kind words on Nugget.  I miss her so much but also feel lucky to have had her in my life.  I knew I wanted another chihuahua so I started looking into breeders a few weeks ago thinking I would get another down the road.  Then I spoke to a breeder nearby who had this...

Well that was the end of that and this little bundle of cuteness joined the farm on Easter Sunday.

You know what helps feeling sad?  Puppies and horses.  His official name is Panda.  Kung Moo Panda to be exact.

Life hasn't been all about dogs and puppies.  This year has had its ups and downs and I am still trying to find my way.  The good news is I have realized my divorce was a blessing and the best thing to happen to me.  If I can offer anyone any advice it would be do what makes you happy.  Don't force yourself to deal with a mistake or endure living with a negative [not the best word to describe him as he is far worse] person because you feel trapped.  Sometimes you get so used to that dysfunction that it seems normal.  I finally feel happy again and am working on getting back to my old self.  The self before I met him, before I allowed him to change me.

During this journey I didn't feel like riding. I rode occasionally but nothing like before.  I worked ALOT.  A lot!  And spent time with friends.  Unfortunately some people don't want you to be happy and have to sabotage that.  He continues to try to take that from me and although he can steal from me and take all the material things he will not break me.  Everything he does makes me that much more grateful to be divorced from him.  This journey included removing all ties to him.  I cannot have someone in my life who has violated me, my home, lied, and stolen from me.  I learned that those who could not understand this were not my true friends.  No matter how long I had known them.  Unfortunately the owner of the barn I trained with since 1999 did not want to sever ties with him so I chose to change trainers.  This was incredibly hurtful.  Incredibly.  

Change can be good.  In order to move on some doors need to be closed and change is needed to grow.  I have known my new trainer for quite awhile and she was an easy choice.  I felt we share the same training philosophies and she has also been a fan of Poppy since I got her.  The farm is nearby and has a fantastic ring to lesson in.

I was sad to miss showing at HITS this year.  The reality was divorce is freaking expensive (and the nightmare refinance of the farm) and I was not getting enough riding time in to get Poppy fit again.  My horse comes first and it was not in her best interest to show as out of shape as she was.

I swear she is not about to birth a baby elephant...

Daylight Savings and drier weather has enabled me to ride more.  I am entered in a 2 week series in April.  I am really looking forward to getting back in the show ring.  Thank you for sticking by me through my hiatus and I hope you will join me on this road back to the ring...

Friday, March 25, 2016

It Felt Like Time...

I'm not sure why today felt like the day to break my silence but here I am.  If you follow me on Instagram (luvjumperlife) you may have seen that my beloved Mini Nugget passed yesterday.

I knew this day was coming.  A year ago you may recall she was diagnosed with Cushings.  I started her on Vetoryl and changed her diet.  No more cheezits (my horse show staple food), no more horse show food, no more sneaking off to visit the crepes guys.  

At 12 pounds she was a portly chihuahua.  I don't know how you mothers do it carrying around your kids.  By the end of a horse show day that 12 pounds felt like 50.

The new diet helped and Nugget looked great.  I started to think this whole Cushings thing was no big deal.

She was looking good and feeling good.  Then the accidents starts happening again and her vet said try increasing her meds.  I had pee pads everywhere in the house.  She tried but her aim is terrible.  So I put extra pads out.  Pee pads everywhere!  Eventually she couldn't make it through the night and would wake me up to go out.  Great, I can handle once a night.  Then in the last couple of months it became 3 times a night and she was getting thin.  Ok no more diet, eat whatever you want.  The weight loss didn't stop though no matter what I tried.  She was down to 6 pounds.

The vet said just let her enjoy however long she had left.  She got to where it was hard to get her to eat.  I stopped the kibble and tried soft puppy food and that did the trick.  A wonderful friend even made her a couple weeks worth of fresh food which she gobbled up.  Then the going out 3 times during the night turned into every 45 minutes followed by not eating.  She was still her happy sweet Nugget self.  Still ordering the big dogs around but she looked like a skeleton.  I firmly believe that it is our duty as an animal owner to not allow them to suffer. We are able to gift them with the opportunity to leave this world with dignity and without pain.  This week I felt it was time.  I second guessed myself over and over despite friends telling me it was time.  I am fortunate enough to have a friend who is a vet and knows Nugget well and she was kind enough to help Nugget cross the rainbow bridge yesterday.

The only down side to animals is they don't live long enough.  The house and barn feel empty without her.  My dog Soot wouldn't eat his dinner last night.  Somehow the other dogs know.  

I'm sorry for my first post after my hiatus is a sad one but I also know so many people who lived Nugget.  She traveled thousands of miles with me during her 11 years and never missed a horse show.  If we've been at the same show, you've probably met her.  I often went places and people who I had never seen before would yell Nugget when they saw her.  She changed so many people's minds about chihuahuas and small dogs.  Mini Nugget, you broke the mold girl.