Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

The top picture is of Luxxx when I looked at him to buy in early February.  The bottom was just a week ago.  I also just had him tested for worms which he was positive (thank you breeder...). So once I have that cleared up he should fill out even more!  The top picture is why looking at babies is so hard.  Especially in the winter when they are wooly and most living in the pasture.  You have to visualize!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blog Hop: Appreciating What You Have

Let's take a moment to appreciate the Pros of our current ponies, whether you own them or just ride them in lessons.

She gives me her best everytime.
She loves her job.
She pops her head out her window, ears pricked everytime I come home.
She is beautiful.
Her jumping style is perfection.
She is so fun to ride.
She has super manners and is respectful.
She is forgiving.
I love how anytime I walk out of the house when she is turned out she comes to the fence to see me.
She is like jumping a feather.
Above all else I feel bonded with her.

He is a blank slate.
He's young.
He is willing to learn.
He's sweet.
He is going to be ginormous.
He's adorable.
He has endless potential.
He is such a ham and makes me laugh every day.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Lessons #6 & 7

Wednesday I took Luxxx over to M's.  He was a little full of himself and looky as I worked him in the round pen.  When he relaxed I got on and practiced steering and turning at the walk.  M then got on to "lope."  Luxxx wasn't wanting to move off his leg so he got after him by using those long western reins as a crop.  Luxxx gave a couple mini bucks but responded and moved forward.  M stresses that at this point it is important to teach forward.  When you ask them to go they should go not argue and balk.  With babies we are setting the tone for future behavior.  M also has him stop and back a few steps before quitting.  He's getting good at this.  To finish up M took him out to the arena and walked him around.  He stayed relaxed and just took everything in and seemed unbothered.

Thursday M offered for me to bring him by again so I did.  I'm getting better at tacking up with the western saddle.  I need help with the cinch though.  Why is that strap thing so long???  I got on him first and did some jogging.  I think my flopping around in the western saddle is getting worse instead of better.  On a positive note Luxxx is super tolerant.  Here is video evidence of the flopping.  I didn't know I was being recorded (M's son was being sneaky).
Then M got on and loped, practiced turns, stopping etc.  We have a ways to go but one day it will just click with him and we will be hacking in the arena in no time.

On a side note M and I were talking about a famous Quarter Horse from the 70's or 80's that did Grand Prixs.  Threes and Sevens is the only one I can think of but I know there is another.  Do you remember?

I plan to ride Poppy tonight and this weekend.  I feel like she has been left out this week.  I also need to finish body clipping Cotton.  I will take pictures of the finished product.  Who doesn't love mini pony pictures?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Redneck Hell

The weather has been simply beautiful which makes for lovely riding.  The only disappointing part is that I live in redneck hell.  What is that you ask?  Apparently in the south people like to shoot guns and my neighbors do this nonstop. Loud, earth shaking booms that make me cringe.  I seriously would rather go get a root canal than listen to that crap.  The horses have gotten used to it but I haven't.  There is nothing like making a lofty mortgage payment to live on our quaint property, commute an hour each way to work to so that you can live on acreage, only to come home and listen to that sh*%#.  So much for getting to enjoy the sounds of nature that you are supposed to get in the country.  Quiet country living?  HAHAHA that's a joke.  The shooting upsets me to the point I have considered moving.  I really don't feel like going through building again though and I am not about to board 4 horses.  When the day comes that Hobbs passes on boarding might be something I will consider.  For now I am stuck in redneck hell.

Poppy's reaction to the aggravating noise.

Mr. Handsome.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Questions from Tumblr

It was a boring weekend filled with rain so thanks Karley for the idea!

1. Most embarrassing horse fall?
None have really been embarrassing per se.  We all fall at some time or another.  It does espcially suck to fall off at a show.

2. Ideal lesson?
When I haul to my trainer's to lesson it is usually for a tune up.  It's fun to jump new courses and come up with some hard things to challenge my horse and I with.  We like to school bigger at home before a show so that the jumps at the show seem like no big deal.

3. What’s your goal for the end of this year? Ten years?
My goals for this year have changed due to monetary reasons and unplanned horse purchase.  Instead of focusing on qualifying for NAL finals I will be happy with a solid show season and moving closer to moving up a division.  I don't know about ten years.  Hopefully I am healthy and still riding.

4. What’s your biggest riding fault?
Not trusting myself.  Sometimes I start picking and riding backward to the jumps.  It is so frustrating.  I can come out of the ring at a show and tell my trainer in detail everything I did wrong yet why do I still do those things???  The million dollar question... 

5. If you could ride one horse, (dead or alive) which one would it be?
It is so hard to choose just one.  I'm going with Gem Twist.  I idolized him when I was a kid.  Apparently in his retirement he still loved to be hauled to the shows and tagged along.  I was showing Hobbs at Tampa Equestrian Festival (where the American Invitational used to be held) one year and was out grazing and his grooms had him out.  It was prior to smart phones existed but I sure wish I could have taken a picture of him.


6. If your next ride was your last, what would you do?
Find a show to haul to and show Poppy in the Jr/Amateur jumpers.

7. What do you spend too much on at the tack store?
Everything.  Obviously any tack is the most expensive.

8. What’s your view on imports? Homebreds?
This question needs to ask imports, US bred, or homebred.  I am a huge advocate for not importing and purchasing from our American breeders.  With modern day advances and the ability to ship semen we are breeding the same lines here in the US at a much cheaper rate so there is no need to import.  Support the businesses on our soil!  I see nothing wrong with homebreds as long as careful selection has gone into choosing a quality mare and then stallion that will complement and strengthen the line.  I hope one day when Poppy is finished with her job as my show horse to have my own homebred.

9. What is your typical riding week like?
I live in the swamp state so it depends on the weather.  I try to ride 5-6 days a week, Monday through Saturday.  A couple weeks out from a show I start planning what I will do each ride to prepare.

10. Have you ever wanted to stop riding? Why?
Sure.  I have been frustrated to the point of wanting to throw in the towel but never did.  I stopped for awhile after I lost my horse to colic in college and eventually couldn't stay away.  I stopped when Hobbs hurt himself and had to be on stall rest for 8 months, then a year.  I eventually couldn't stay away then either.   

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lesson #5 AND VIDEO!!!

I took Luxxx over to M's to work in the round pen.  I started by working him from the ground then M tied 2 feed bags to the saddle.  They flopped and went from side to side and Luxxx could not have cared less.  Woo hoo!  M said we would work on forward movement today.  Luxxx needs to improve on moving off our leg.  M got on and I finally got video!!

Then I got on.  As if it isn't bad enough to be on an unbroke 3 year old but I also seriously felt like a fish out of water in the western saddle.  I felt like I was flopping around and so loose!  M snapped a video.  It is blurry.  Iphone videos always come out blurry when you send them phone to phone.  But it is better than nothing.  And yes feel free to give me a hard time about not wearing a helmet.  I ALWAYS wear one at home.  My western friends don't wear them and for some reason when I am over there I don't either.  Tsk, tsk, shame on me.

He was really good.  Whoa is his favorite word.  He has brakes but we need steering before we venture out of the round pen and into the arena.

We have a forecast of rain for Friday and Saturday so likely no riding for me for a couple of days.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend and get in lots of riding!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day From Hell

It started last night when I was writing the last few sentences of a post and suddenly my page went blank.  Poof, gone!  Then this morning I found Luxxx had taken down part of the fence in his pasture.  He seemed fine and I assumed it happened because my hot wire is not working for some reason.  So admist my crazy busy day at work I did some quick research and discovered that solar fence chargers STILL have a battery.  I went to several places and finally found the battery I needed.  Work continues to be extremenly stressfull so I was dreading coming home to have to do fence repair.  In the rain nonetheless.  Got home and found that the battery I bought was not correct.  I also took a better look at the fence and found Luxxx had almost ripped out a post and it was pretty damaged.  I dropped everything and ran out to Tractor Supply before they closed.  The correct battery and a new post later I got home and got the charger and fence repaired.  I examined Luxxx and he had cuts all over his back legs and they were swollen.  I believe he must have rolled too close to the fence last night and got caught in it.  There wasn't any blood on his cuts so that's why I probably didn't notice this morning (plus it is dark when I bring the horses in).  My vet happens to be coming out in the morning for Spring vaccinations so I will have her take a look at him.

Due to all of the above I did not ride this evening.  I did last night though and Poppy was really good.  Since I am not showing until next month I need to think of some exercises to do with her to keep things interesting.  Maybe some gymnastics.

I also lunged Luxxx in the chambon.  I think he is relaxing in the chambon and in turn moving better.  I did discover that I do not like the chambon for lunging.  Here is the video and see if you can tell why.  Ignore the ugly saddle, it is an extra one I have.  It's great for babies in case they should decide to naughty and I don't have to fear for my saddle's life.

This one is of the other direction and some cantering.

Ok what I don't like about the chambon for the lunge line is that when he puts his head down he could possibly step on the chambon.  You probably heard me squawk at him to discourage him from putting his head too far down.  I don't want to discourage him from stretching down but I also don't want him getting hurt so I think I will stick to side reins.    For sake of comparison here is the video from the other day. 

What do you think, any diffence in his movement from the first time in the chambon (last video) or the other two videos?

Monday, April 14, 2014


I am obsessed with this cute face.

I worked Luxxx in a chambon for the first time on the lunge.  I took a snippet of video and noticed he isn't moving as nice as he normally does.  Likely because he has no idea what to do with the chambon.  I will share it anyway and try to get some more videos to track progress this week.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lesson #4

I had the absolutely worst day at work yesterday.  I got home super late and was in such a hurry to get Luxxx loaded and over to M's.  Luxxx was feeling good and snorting the whole time so my hurriedness probably did not help.

M tacked him up (we are still working in his western saddle) and I worked him in the round pen each direction.  M told me to really get after him when he breaks his gait or does not go forward when asked.  He says it is important for a green horse to learn to go forward.  It makes sense that it is easier to work with a horse when you have forward motion.

Next I worked on getting on and off.  No reaction from Luxxx.  He doesn't even care when I am popping the lunge whip at him either.  I got on and M lead me around then let us loose in the round pen.  This made me a bit nervous and M told me that the round pen is small enough that even if he did take off he would probably only run or buck for a lap or so.  Ummm ok so I just need to stay on for a lap or so?  Sure no problem.  

Then M got on him.  He got him going forward and as M calls it, loping.  Luxxx initially didn't  want to go forward and when M got after him Luxxx humped his back and bucked a little.  I would say about 3 baby bucks and that was it.  He had him cantering each direction and I would help by cracking the whip when needed.  After he worked him awhile I got back on.  I walked and reversed each direction a few times.  We also practiced backing.  Says one step back is good enough for now and to reward him.  Before backing his head needs to be down.  Luxxx did this perfectly.  I typically like to talk to my babies and teach them voice commands.  M says no.  The only voice command I should use is whoa.  He says the voice commands are spoiling the horses.  They should respond to your aids and respond the first time you ask.  Whoa is Luxxx's favorite word. He requires lots of leg and didn't mind me kicking at him.  I need to work on looping my reins.  He doesn't know contact and does better about going forward and relaxing when I give him his head.  It is just my instinct to want a short rein being that I am riding an unbroken 3 year old.   I am in awe of how M can just hop on this big baby with a loopy rein and not want to hold on for dear life.  

I was more than pleased with Luxxx.  M thinks in about 60 days I will have him working nicely in the arena.  Sounds good to me.  I will continue my lunge line work with him at home and trailer over to M's about once a week maybe more if time allows.

Poppy has been great.  I'm really bummed about not showing this weekend and am kinda sorta entertaining the idea of shipping in to the AA show in Ocala on Sunday for the NAL classic.    If not, I will definitely do their May show then I will save my pennies to hopefully hit the Tryon, NC show again in July.

I leave you with a video of Luxxx and his stall cleaning skills.  Have a great weekend and kiss your ponies!

Monday, April 7, 2014

This and That

I had a great beautiful weekend.  Thursday & Saturday I worked Poppy and jumped a little.  She was great so I didn't work her too hard.  When I work her I do lots of flatting working on balance and staying under me in a nice frame.  Lots of circles both big and small and cantering over poles.  She has been going well so there currently isnt anything in particular I am focusing on.  When I say I jumped a little I mean a couple cross rails and small verticles.  She maybe jumped 5 jumps total.  I don't believe in jumping much and and I can get what I need by using pole work versus putting the wear and tear of jumping on my horse.  This will continue to be her schedule until we get closer to showing again.

I lunged Luxxx Thursday and Saturday.  I have been working him in his bridle (loose ring French link bit) and surcincle with side reins.  He is doing really well.  He goes into a nice frame and the side reins are also helping him get used to contact on the bit.  He has shown no objection what so ever.  He has more difficulty at the canter holding himself together.  This is completely understandable.  He is 3 with awkwardly long legs.  He is still figuring out where those long things go.  He gets some nice moments at the canter then falls apart a bit.  He picks up his corrects leads and occasionally will swap.  If he swaps I pop the whip and he does a lead change.  When I want him to stop I say hoa once.  If he doesn't stop he has to make a few laps more and I try again.  He has gotten really good with this and stops right away and walks toward me.  I try to keep these lunge sessions to about 15 min.

Also to follow up regarding our last lesson with M.  Thank you for your responses.  I realized i never really explained why M laid Luxxx down.  M's techniques may not be what other people use but I have chosen him because he is kind, gentle, and does an amazing job with young horses.  I would never lay a horse down (I have no experience with it).  This is something he has many years of experience doing and I would only trust him to do.  It is imperative that it is done in a gentle manner and creates trust with your horse.  Horses are the most vulnerable when down so it is important not to illicit fear or panic.  Luxxx was calm and relaxed and completely trusted us.  I have read articles of people doing this to "break" a horse or make them submissive.  This was not what we were trying to do.  There is no need.  When this horse has had his freak out moments (ie both wash stall incidents) it was out of the fear of not knowing what something was, not bad behavior.  I'm not sure if this is something M will do again.  We will both have to stay tuned!

That's about all the excitement around my barn.  Sundays I do a bran mash, feed, mineral oil, & psyllium mix that is Luxxx's favorite.  He literally dunks his head in it and licks the bucket.  It's kinda gross but he cracks me up because he wears some of it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lesson #3

I got home from work yesterday and loaded baby Luxxx in the trailer to head to M's.  Luxxx loaded right up, unlike the last time so I was thrilled.  M and I worked him in the round pen.  He worked in the side reins and then with the feed bag tied to the saddle.  M put some pebbles in it so it would make noise when it flopped around.  Luxxx handled it all so well.  We do this to desensitize him and make him a confident, unworried baby.  The more things we can expose him to the better.

Next M laid him down.  Yes.  He got the giant baby to lay down.  I have never seen this done before and wasn't sure if I was dying to watch or wanted to close my eyes.  M is an old school cowboy and may not do things the way us English riding people do but he is magical with horses.  He is calm, patient, and gentle and they trust him.  So he got Luxxx down and it was a gentle "ok I am laying down."  Not a flip the horse over or barbaric thing.  It was crazy, Luxxx just laid down and stayed there calmly.  I sat on him and we petted him and rubbed him all over.  When it was time for him to get up he didn't want to.  It was like he was totally content just chillin.  

We got him up then practiced getting on and off him.  He didn't care.  Then M told me to get on.  I got on and M led me around the round pen.  I practiced steering, stopping, going, and even backing.  I RODE LUXXX!!!!  He was perfect.  I am still on cloud 9.

Afterward I let Luxxx practice standing tied.  We put a stick on him and he is exactly 16h.  Goodness.  He still has several years of growing!!  While we socialized Luxxx stood patiently except for wanting the occasional pet and smooch.  He is getting to know me and I feel like he is trusting me.  He now nuzzles with me and looks for kisses.  So cute!

I wish I had pictures or video to share but  M is sort of your old school cowboy so he isn't into all that.  Maybe next time... 

Here's my throwback Thursday picture.
Yes I did own a hunter.  This was a few years ago and I only kept him a year.  It was fun doing some Eq stuff.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm Still Here

"I don't have time today, I will blog tomorrow," has turned into a week.  

I've been trying to figure out my next shows.  I was planning to go show to Aiken in 3 weeks but it looks like I need to take a break.  I had not planned on purchasing another horse which also entails a costly pre-purchase exam.  My budget is completely blown to pieces.  I have to stop the spending and recover for a minute.  Right now no showing in April.  I hope to go show at the end of May with Poppy but we shall see.  This also means no NAL point chasing.  That's ok, it was a good goal.  One day I shall make it to Harrisburg.   No regrets on Luxxx either.  I still think I did the right thing.

The horses have been good.  Although we have had rain we have also had some nice days so I have gotten in some riding.  Luxxx is working on lunging in side reins. I plan to take him to M's this evening.  Poppy has been her usual good self.

Nothing new and exciting to report.  Hope to have a recap of Luxxx's lesson to blog about tomorrow.

Here's a video of him playing with the muck bucket.  He's such a big baby!

Maybe I should rename him "NAL Dreams."  Or "Harrisburg." (Kidding)