Monday, December 30, 2013

30 Questions I Hijacked

Yup, Jumping on the bandwagon. But hey, it was a fun post! Viva Carlos 

1. If your horse could talk what would they say? What would they be like? 
Well we know Poppy is the diva so she would probably tell me that she needs to be more spoiled and that I should stop riding like crap and just let her take care of it and we would win more.  Tank would just asked to be loved more.  More riding, more pampering, more treats.  Anytime he was naughty I think he would shreak and say the voices in his head made him do it.  Seriously.  I think he hears voices.  Or maybe sees dead people.  If he could talk I'd ask him about it.  I have no idea what Ketel would say.  He is so curious I would imagine, "what's that?  And that?"  He has to investigate everything.  Cotton would ask for more food and Hobbs would probably ask to be left alone.  I think he would tell me he did his time as a show pony and just wants to be a horse.

2: If you were a horse, what would you look like (color, markings, etc), what discipline would you do, and what would you be like to ride?
I would probably be a pain in the ass.  I am a picky eater, I hate dirt and mud, and I can't stand to be wet or cold.  Maybe I'd have a sense of humor now and then and throw in some quirky behavior.  Of course I would be a jumper.  Not sure what color, but probably a refined little Warmblood.

3. How many barns have you ridden at?
I'm not positive but I would say somewhere around 10.  Between starting riding in MD, moving to Austin and riding there, moving back to MD, going to college in Gainesville, moving to Jacksonville, then building my own barn I have been quite a few places.  The barn I train with now I started at as a boarder until we built our place and I have ridden with them since 1998.

5. Can you braid a horses mane? Tail?
Yes.  I have not done either in many, many years so although I remember how it probably would look awful.  I do want to learn how to do jumper braids!

6. Do you believe that you have to fall off in order to be a good rider?
If you have ridden for long enough and have challenged yourself, you fall off.  It is inevitable.  I can't imagine a good rider NOT having fallen off.  It happens.

7. What do you think is more important: eq or effective riding?
I know riders who ride pretty but put them on a tough horse and they couldn't get the job done.  I also know riders who are not pretty riders but could get a cow over a grand prix course.  The best riders are both.  Watch Maclain Ward.

8. Are there any “horse couples” at your barn?
Since I am my barn I can't really answer that.  I don't think there are any at my trainer's barn either though.

9. Favorite treat to feed your horse?
All of mine get carrots daily but they all LOVE peppermints and grapes.  Poppy and Ketel like Twizzlers.  Tank loves bread.  He loves a hamburger bun or bagel.

11. Strangest thing you’ve fed your horse.
I used to have a mare that loved banana peels.

12. Have you ever made any horse friends through the internet?
Absolutely.  I could talk about horses 24/7 so to find others who are the same way is awesome.

13. Would you buy horse furniture?
I would but I am pretty sure my husband would ban that quickly.  He would say he is submerged in horses enough.

14. Funniest horsey moment
Last year about this time I went to my trainer's to lesson on Poppy.  She had the jumps set pretty big 3'9-4'.  I was going into a one stride and Poppy overjumped the first oxer so big that she landed just about on the second jump.  She panicked and dove left to keep from crashing and I flew into the vertical.  I landed upside down hanging from the jump cup by my breeches.  N had to come help me get down.  I didn't have a scratch on me so it was funny however Poppy was scared of in and outs for a long time after that.

15. Post a picture of your horse (or any horse) making a silly face that you got on camera!
Ok does silly dog count?

16. What’s a moment with horses that you wished you caught on camera?
A video of #14 would have been epic.

18. How old was the oldest horse you’ve met?
My trainer had a lesson horse that was in her mid 30s.  She passed away last year.

19. Opinion on colorful tack? (like red or blue)
Please no.  No colored tack or colorful polos.  You can use basic colored saddle pads for schooling at home.  That's it.

20. Have you ever tried horse treats? Hay?
Nope.  I'm a fairly picky eater.

21. Have you ever felt like giving up on a horse?

Sure we have all felt like it, but as of yet I never have.

22. Tell the story about the horse that you first felt “click” immediately with you (and if you can’t remember, most recent)

The first time I rode Hobbs we clicked.  I was not even horse shopping but knew I had to have him.  He was the most fun horse I had ever ridden.  On him I felt like I could jump anything.

It was different with Poppy because she was so green but still from the first time I sat on her I had to have her.  There was just something...When I had her on trial I took her to my trainer's barn to see what they thought.  Both N and K told me to pass on her.  I followed my instincts and bought her anyway and am so glad I did.

23. Ever ridden side-saddle? How was it?


24. Most interesting place you’ve ridden at

When I competed in the IHSA eons ago, I qualified individually for Nationals which were held in Burbank, CA.  I thought it was pretty cool to fly out there to compete.

25. What kind of horse do you like? (sport, stock, endurance, etc)


26. Do you feel like you have more patience with horses than people?


27. Is the horse you ride very vocal?

Yes. Tank, Poppy, and Ketel are all vocal.  Poppy has whinny that is high pitched and sounds like a pony.  It's adorb.  When she is not getting the attention she wants she will bang on her stall door.  Ketel was quiet when I got him but now has picked up Tank's whinny.  I'm not sure I could even tell them apart.  They all only really get vocal at feeding time.

28. Ever ridden in the sunset?

Unfortunately once the time changes in the fall this is how I ride Monday through Friday.

29. How do you like a horse’s mane? roached, pulled, long, etc.

Pulled.  I ride in the jumpers so I like them a little longer, pulled, and neatly trimmed.

30. What is your dream name for a horse?

It's a secret.  I've had people steal names that I've shared so I have learned that lesson.  I'm saving this one for my next big jumper.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Rainy Weekend

It has been sort of a miserable rainy weekend.  The only thing positive is that the temps have been warm.  

In the afternoon it cleared up enough that I could work Tank and Ketel.  I haven't done much with Ketel since last month so it's time to get him going.  I worked with him on the lunge.  I will do this a few times before before getting on him.  He was good, a few bucks and galloping but nothing bad.  He also got some pampering---pulled his mane and clipped his muzzle and ears.

I lunged Tank before I got on but he was still wild.  Rightfully so after having 2 weeks off.  He wasn't naughty, just full of himself.  This is the downside of when I'm showing, the others sort of get neglected.

It was getting dark so Poppy got the day off.  She will be in full swing this week as we get ready for our next show.  I also ordered new clipper blades so I can clip her next weekend.

Hope you had a good weekend.  Did you get to ride?

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Here are the things I would like in 2014:

Poppy I have already talked about wanting to qualify for NAL finals.  It seems to be rather impossible but I am still throwing it out there.  My goal with her is more mileage and consistency at 1.10m & 1.15m.

Ketel get him going back in a program when we get more daylight. Work on flat work, continuing to canter courses, and work on lead changes.  He needs to improve his balance which will come as we improve the flat work.  I want to show him in the spring and begin marketing him.

Tank I don't know.  I'm considering trying to sell him again. I just don't have time to ride and show him and feel like it's not fair to him.  I just hate dealing with the selling aspect.

Hobbs & Cotton don't really have goals but to enjoy life as the resident retiree and pasture ornament.  Although husband keeps talking about getting a cart to teach Cotton to drive.  I try my best to keep a straight face...

Me.  I want to get more consistent in the show ring.  I need to make decisions earlier.  I also want to improve my blogging.  My goal is to learn how to insert tabs.  How do I do that???  This computer idiot needs help!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 in Review

January was exciting as I moved Poppy up to the High Adult Amateur Jumpers.  She did her first classic (finished second) and did her first 1.15m classic.  We had a fantastic Winter Series and I was on cloud nine.  

February was for Poppy to rest from 3 weeks of showing and focus on her first HUGE show HITS.  We were ready for it. I also started looking at young prospects and toyed with the idea of getting a TB or OTTB.  I looked at a lot of horses and nothing blew me away.

March brought the disappointment of HITS being under quarantine for the EHV1 virus.  This was an easy decision for me and I scratched from HITS.  I was not putting my horse at risk.  This was also the month I found and bought Ketel.
This was the picture from his sale ad

April was filled with awful rain and some disappointing rainy horse shows in Ocala.  It also marked the month I started blogging.

May was a blur.  I seem to remember a lot of rain.

June we were back showing in Ocala with Tank and Poppy.
Trainer N on Tank

July was showing in North Carolina.

August was slow and my horse show was cancelled. I also started having some training issues with Ketel which were disappointing.  It was also the month I was talked into my first and last dressage show that never happened.  Apparently some people don't ride in the rain so I got stood up by my friend who talked me into the show and lost my hundred bucks in entry fees.  Another lesson learned and I will stick with the jumpers.  

September was a big test for Poppy showing in a 1.15m classic that was a World Cup format over 3 days.  She came into herself and proved she is the super mare I thought she could be.  Ketel  went to my trainer's for some training and also started jumping courses.
Ketel and trainer N

Poppy showing in September

October was quiet.

November was Ketel's first show and he rocked the cross rails and was a super star in the flat class.

December here we are again.  I had a good show this month and feel ready to tackle Winter Series again in just 2 weeks.

It's hard to reflect back on the year.  It seems like a blur and I am sure I have forgotten many things and can't even remember some of the shows we went to.  I feel blessed with the string of horses I currently have and am proud of their accomplishments this year.  This makes my 78th blog post!  Hoping to keep with it in 2014.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

M. Toulouse Stirrup Leathers Product Review

Per Smartpak "Stirrup Leathers to match the Toulouse saddles, and designed by Marcel Toulouse, Master French Saddler. These half hold lined leathers are made of fine calfskin with a nylon lining for years of use. Buckle end is riveted in a metal sleeve to reduce bulk under your leg for a closer contact in the saddle."

These are my favorite stirrup leathers.  I purchased my second pair at the horse show last weekend.  They match my Anatares saddle, they are not bulky, they are soft, the last pair lasted about 4 years (riding multiple horses, 6 days a week), and they are reasonably priced.  At the tack store they were priced at $104 and were an additional 20% off (yeah sale).  Smartpak has them for $102 and Dover at $99.

I also had the tack store make me this bracelet.  I.  Love.  It.  In fact I am wearing it right now...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Veredus Boots Product Review

As I mentioned in Monday's blog I did some shopping at the horse show and figured I would do a product review on 2 of the things I bought.

While I was warming up on Saturday my trainer noticed that the strap on Poppy's front Equifit boots had come undone.  This is not good for many reasons.  I am not happy with these boots.  They just haven't fit her right since day 1.  Excuse to go shopping.  My trainer recommended the Veredus boots so I went to check them out.

These are the Olympus and run $149 (tack store price, $139 through Dover).  The insides are gel and the have a hard exterior with reinforcement at the tendon.  Description from Dover web site "Front boots with a dual density semi-rigid polyurethane outer shell for protection and EVA foam lining in the strike pad zone.  Easy-to-use quick release hook stud closures save you time."

I LOVE them!  They are stylish, they fit her perfectly, and they are easy to put on and take off.  For now Poppy will continue to use her Equifit hind boots but I forsee getting the Veredus hind boots in the near future.  Merry Christmas Poppy!

So what did you get your pony for Christmas?

Stay tuned, the review on the other item I bought will be next!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Horse Show Report- Classic Day

Sunday is the NAL Classic day.  I typically just do this one class on that day.  It was the last class in the jumper ring so I spent the day getting to watch my friends, watch the jumpers, shop, and spend time with my horse.  My favorite tack store was there so I did get some new things.  I will do a product review post on those because I think they are great products to share.

The show was in Ocala at HITS Post Time facility.  They are setting up for HITS so there are tents as far as the eye can see.  It's insane.  Before the place was bought by Tom Struzzeiri for HITS it was a race farm so there is a track, paddocks, and a number of permanent barns.  For those that don't know, HITS started in FL in the 80s and has since expanded coast to coast.
 Jumper ring
Spoiled Mini Nugget

Horse show life is exhausting

Poppy.  Love her.

Here is my classic course.

When it was finally time for my class I got ready and headed to the ring to wait for my trainers M and N.  They were at the hunter ring which has priority.  There were 3 of us from the barn in the class.  We were the last to go so we warmed up and waited.  Poppy was feeling especially spicey.  It's like she knows when it's classic day.  Slow was not going to be in her plan.  She felt like at any moment she was going to explode.  I actually like when she is like that.  It's her game face.

N and M made it over and warmed us up over the jumps.  Our routine is to jump an oxer on a figure 8 off each lead as they keep raising and widening it.  We then finish with a tall vertical.  Generally they try to get us to get a hard rub before going in the ring but Poppy hates to rub rails so we don't do that with her.  We focus on distance and rideability.  My barn mates voted me to ride first.  There were some tricky bending lines where they walked on the half stride so we all were curious how they would ride.  Jump 1 started with a big intimidating oxer which then was a left bend in 7.5 strides to jump 2.  I opted for a wider path so I could fit a nice 8 strides, then a going uphill 5 strides to jump 3.  Jump 4ab was a one stride then a tight bending 7 strides to a skinny jump 5.  6 was a huge oxer at the end of the ring.  It came up faster than I anticipated and got there long.  Super mare was good to me didn't bat an eye.  Then jump 7 to 8 was a really awkward 7 strides.  You had to ride it like a 90 degree angle.  This was tricky as jump 8 was a big oxer so you wanted to get there right on.  She was perfect and it was a really tight 4 strides from jump 8 and 9.  Jumps 10 to 11 was a 5.5 stride so I again made a wider path so I could fit in 6 which made it hard for me to fit the bending 7 strides to 12ab.  I rode hard to get the 7 and she looked really hard at the big oxer going into 12ab so I had to push hard to get out.  We were clean and thus far only 2 had jumped clean.  Jump off was jumps 2.3.4ab, 8,9,10,11.  Got to 2 a tad tight and she pulled the rail.  We turned tight and were fast everywhere else and I was able to slice 10 a bit and leave a stride out to 11.  I was thrilled with her.  It was 86 degrees and she is not clipped.  She was blowing really hard so I think she was just so hot and tired she just tapped that rail.
My barn mates were double clean and first and second.  With 4 faults in the jump off we finished 5th.

I'm very pleased with the weekend and our start to 2014.  We just needed to get back in our rhythm.  I have a few weeks until Winter Series starts to get her clipped and in a bit of better shape.  We were happy to get home last evening.  I turned her out, she took 3 steps and rolled. And rolled. And rolled.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Horse Show Report Day 1

Sleep is for the weak.  I rested for about 3 hours then hauled out about 6 am Saturday for the show.  I got there in plenty of time to unload, park the trailer, bathe Poppy, and watch my friends go.  My trainer N and I decided I should start Poppy in the 1m since we had not shown since September.
I got on and she was a bit full of herself and for whatever reason jumping hard right.  We went in the ring, saw a nice distance to jump 1 so I softened and she stopped.  Nope, don't think so.  A couple pops with the crop and we rolled around and finished the course nicely.  It was like she just had to test me.

Next I did the 1.10 High Adult Amateur Jumper class.  We jumped an in and out and it should have been a nice bending 6 strides to the next jump and at stride 6 I pulled and we fit a really really ugly 7 in.  As in I practically slammed her in the jump and she had to flail to get over it.  One rail down.  So then the 4 strides to the next jump was not going to happen so I had to pull for an ugly 5 and the super mare left it up. Finished the course nicely after I got that out of my system.  I came out of the ring and N pointed out that Poppy should have dumped me for those shenanigans. Yup.  Grey mare made up for course #1. Lots of pats and carrots later and all was forgiven. Sunday is a new day.  Hopefully we knocked the rust off and we can redeem ourselves in the classic today.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winging It

So in the next 24 hours I have to go in to work for a few hours, pack the trailer, pack for the weekend, pick up hay, clean golf cart, do my barn chores, go to work holiday party, and try to get a few hours of sleep before I leave for the show early Saturday morning.  

I doubt I will get to ride today as I have too much to do (see to do list above) so I tried to give Poppy a good work out last evening.  I really wished I had body clipped her, she is so fuzzy.  If it was an unrated show it wouldn't be a big deal but this is an AA show.  So now I will be obsessing about that even though there was no way I had the time to clip her.

So here goes nothing for our first show of the 2014 season.  I will try to update from the show!

5 Day Challenge- Day 5

21. Favorite classes to watch

Grand Prixs & International Hunter Derbies in general.  I love watching some of the big events online such as some of the World Cup Qualifier Grand Prixs as held at WEF, indoors, etc.

22. What’s in your cooler at horse shows?

Carrots, water, coke, sometimes an apple or pear, and a couple beers.  Beer is of course for after the show day when we are at an away show.  I also love when the bigger shows have exhibitor parties and open bar hehehe

One thing about showing (or riding in general) you wish you could change?

Ok I will answer with something else since we all agree the cost is ridiculous.  That all our unrated shows run as slow as molasses on a Florida summer day.  No one is in a hurry and seem perfectly happy to be there all night.  Rings get held for an insane amount of time.  I've been to large rated shows with thousands of exhibitors and they run like clockwork.  I understand they have way more staff but could they just move a tiny bit faster???

24. Your ringside crew

Other than my trainer and Mini Nugget that's it.  Of course if I have friends showing they come watch but no entourage.  If I show close enough to MD my parents will come (they met me in NC over the summer).  And my husband only comes to horse shows for the exhibitor parties and open bar.

25. Best prizes

Money!  Also saddle pads and coolers.  I am not a ribbon hoarder and my trainer often gets annoyed that I don't pick up my ribbons (we are supposed to hang them on the barn banner).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

5 Day Challenge Day 4

Quick update.  I hacked Poppy this evening. She was sort of fussy and not being her usual self.  She eventually settled in though.  I chalked it up to the extreme drop in temperature, being dark, neighbor's cow shrieking like one it was in labor, etc until I got off and realized I never hooked my running martingale through the reins.  I'm sure she didn't appreciate it flopping around.  That was definitely a sign I have way too much going on as I am trying to get things done at work, Christmas shop, horse show, wrap gifts, & mail cards out all before Christmas.

16. One thing you’d like to change about your horse

Tank: that he wasn't so ticklish and was easier to body clip, especially his legs.
Poppy: that she liked kisses.  She will not let me kiss her nose and I hate that.
Ketel: that he kept a cleaner stall.  Uhg his stall is a nightmare to clean.
Hobbs: that he didn't have Cushings.
Cotton: that he walked faster.  My goodness is takes forever to walk him out to his pasture.  The guy goes nowhere in a hurry.

17. Your horse’s future

Tank:  I don't know.  I would like to sell him to someone that will show him and ride him more than I have time for but part of me doesn't want to.
Poppy:  after this show season I hope to move her up to the low jr/am jumpers.
Ketel: he's 3 so not sure yet.  I will focus on bringing him along this spring and hitting all the local non rated shows I can with him.  I need to free up some of my time so selling him is a possibility.
Hobbs: he will continue to enjoy his retirement.
Cotton:  be cute, eat, keep Poppy company.

18. Your worst show ever

Oh boy.  excuse the long rant please.  Last fall I decided to take Poppy and Tank to a local unrated show for fun and get Poppy some mileage.  I went sans trainer with a friend who also brought her 2 jumpers.  We shipped in the day of and our classes went about 5-6 hours later than anticipated.  It was grueling waiting all day and the ring steward was clueless.  My friend and I got tired of waiting and went to get our horses and ride whatever height they were on (which was 2'6 at the time).  When we returned shortly thereafter we were being screamed at that they were waiting on us.  They skipped the division I planned to show Poppy in and had to show her at higher height which she had not shown in.  I took Tank in first, was told the wrong number of steps down a line across the diagnal.  I got to the jump on a slice and I think Tank thought we were jumping into the stands.  He panicked and I got body slammed into the jump.  I hit my wrist hard and it immediately bruised and swelled.  I got back on and got him around the second course.  Then I had to get on Poppy with my throbbing wrist.  At this point they were screaming at me to hurry and only let me jump 3 jumps before taking a green horse in for her first time jumping 3'6 at a show.  Thankfully she is a gem.  X rays showed my wrist was not broken fortunately.  I was sure to write a letter to management voicing my displeasure for their rude and unprofessional behavior.  They did not care and I will not be giving them my money in the future.  I have never been treated so horribly.

19. Favorite horse show venue

Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, GA (Atlanta).  It is the same venue where the 1996 Olympics were held.  I think it is so cool to ride in the same arena.

20. Your show day routine

For an away show where I get a stall versus ship in this is my routine: I typically get to the show early so I can feed, clean stall(s), dump water, and walk whatever horse(s) I have there.  I check my ring and get a good idea of what time I go.  I like to have the horses groomed and ready in plenty of time.  If I go later then I typically watch friends' trips and help my trainer.  After I show the horse gets cleaned, vetrolin bath, dried, and legs get poulticed and wrapped.  I stay to feed and get the horses settled in for the night.  Then it starts all over the next day!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

5 Day Challenge- Day 3

11. Critique your horse’s conformation

I am by no means an expert but there are things I like and look for.  However critiquing conformation can be unfair to the horse if you have a bad pic.  This can skew everything.  I don't have good pics so we will do our best.
I will start with Poppy.  The angle and not having her stand correctly makes her look like her hind legs are under her so we will ignore that.  She is downhill and her bum is slightly high.  This does not affect her as she is light in the forehand and light off the ground.  She toes out slightly.  I love her long neck, strong shoulders and hind.  I believe this is why she is a powerhouse when it comes to jumping.  She stands at under 16hh so although I would have wished her to be taller her power makes up for her height.  Little mares rule!

Tank.  Another bad pic for critiquing conformation.  Huge shoulder, huge hind end, long thick neck, short back.  All thinks I like.  He toes in but I don't think my farrier helps this at all.  It doesn't affect his movement. He trots straight and is a cute mover.   My farrier says you can't fix the toe in but I feel it is worse than when I bought him and his feet look like crap.

Ketel.  He toes out a little, short back, nice shoulder and butt.  I think his neck and top line will improve with more work. He's just 3 and growing...

12. Horse’s favorite riding exercise

I think all of mine like jumping best.  They like new challenges and keeping things fresh.  Tank and Poppy love the jump offs where they can pick up the pace and  show off their tight turns.

13. Favorite spa day products

I don't do spa day.  I know, horrible horse mom but let me explain.  I am old school and believe in currying and brushing daily to get that natural shine.  Regular bathing is terrible for their coats and feet.  I try to only bathe them for horse shows.  For that I use good ol' ivory liquid soap and sometimes quick silver.  Show sheen for the tail.  After showing they get a vetrolin bath and when dry legs get poulticed and wrapped.  Having a grey means alcohol comes in handy to get out the poop stains the morning of a show.  I also use a mix of water and Alpha Keri in a spray bottle to lightly spray on the horse.  It brings out any dust/dirt then wipe them down with a towel to remove the dirt.

14. Three best things about your horse

Tank: 1) Complete love bug 2) He is like riding a sofa 3) He now has a lot of show experience so you can unload him off the trailer and go.

Poppy: 1) Her great mind, she is not spooky and can handle a joke 2) Her jump 3) She is soooo fun to ride

Ketel: 1) His great mind.  If he spooks he doesn't run away, he wants to check it out 2) So sweet and well mannered 3) He loves to share a beer with my husband

Cotton: 1) He is the cutest mini pony EVER 2) He eats next to nothing 3) Before he got too fat he would ride around in the golf cart with my husband.

Hobbs: 1) He made me the rider I am today 2) He did not have a stop in him.  If you pointed him at a jump, he went 3) You can lead him by the forelock and he will follow you anywhere.

15. Favorite picture of your horse

Poppy.  She just finished a great round and I was thanking her.

Tank.  I just think he looks cute.

Ketel with my trainer N riding.  This was his second time jumping.

All time favorite one of Hobbs.

Cottonpoo.  Cutest mini pony ever.

Ok so Cotton got 2 pictures but I had to share him in the golf cart.