Tuesday, June 17, 2014


All afternoon yesterday I kept getting thunderstorm warnings on my phone and it stormed pretty bad at work.  I was pleasantly surprised to get home and find it had not rained there so riding was still a go.  For once it rained everywhere by my house, score!  But...it was sweltering hot.  Even hacking Poppy at 6pm she was sweating just walking out to the jump field (aka my front yard).  I decided to just keep it a light hack due to this.  To keep things interesting I did some counter cantering and added a pole.  I love this as we tend to over use poles for lead changes so our horses think this is what we want.  First time over she swapped.  I halted, picked up the counter canter again, and tried the pole again.  Her light bulb went off and she kept her lead.  Big pats and I let her be done.  I love this mare!!

Next up I worked Baby L on the lunge with side reins.  I decided I needed to also make sure I was being more directive with him.  Only ask for things one time.  It took popping him just once to get my point across that I will only ask once.  I didn't work him long either as it was hot and he was being good.  

Another incident free morning of leading him in from the paddock too!

I leave 2 weeks from Thursday to show in NC.  I am freaking a little.  Seven hour drive hauling my most prized possession works my nerves.  Blowing 2 trailer tires on the way up last year doesn't help either....

Monday, June 16, 2014

Baby 'Tude

Friday I got out of work early so I could bring Baby L to M's to work on his rearing when I lead him in from turnout.  I feel the rearing is in reaction to me correcting his bad behavior.  He simply does not respect me.

M saddled and bridled him and we went in the round pen.  M showed me some things on a long lead to practice with him such as moving out of my space, backing, etc. I was directed to be clear and ask once, if he doesn't respond then he gets corrected.  The first time I corrected him he kicked at me.  Then he reared.  I was glad he did so M could see the behaviors I was dealing with at home.  He respects M so he doesn't behave this way with him.  I spent more time working with him and eventually he was responding to me first time I asked.  M then had me lay L down.  We did this once before at the beginning of our breaking.  Again it was gentle and done safely.  I rubbed on him and talked to him and just like the first time he was calm and unconcerned.  I asked him to get up and we let him be done for the day.  I was thrilled with how everything went and thought for sure I had a reformed baby.

Saturday morning as I led Baby L in from his paddock he reared again and ripped the lead rope from my grip.  He tore around like an idiot and refused to be caught, kicking at me if I came close.  I had to open the gate to the barn and let him run to his stall.  Even in his stall he would turn his butt to me.  I eventually got a hold of the lead rope and I led him to my small sand paddock.  I worked with him as M showed me in the round pen.  After getting my point across with him that rearing and kicking would not be tolerated, he promptly moved in whichever direction I asked including backing.  I patted him and took him to his stall.  I then took his breakfast away and let him cool under the fan in his stall for about an hour.  When I checked back he was cool and calm so I gave him his breakfast.

I then made a trip to Tractor Supply as I figured they would have the same long thick cotton lead rope like I used at M's.  I bought a 20 foot one so that should he rear again at least I have enough line that it doesn't just rip from my hands.

Sunday and Monday mornings he led in without incident.  I am sure to pat him as we walk since he is being good.  It's a start.  My husband is not happy with Baby L and thinks I need to get rid of him ASAP.  I'm not going to give up.  It is not L's fault that his breeder just turned him out with the herd for 3 years of his life and didn't teach him how to be a good citizen.  Handling babies is soooo important.  Just like a toddler they will test limits, talk back, throw tantrums, etc and unless they are taught that these are unacceptable behaviors you soon have a 1200 lb horse that acts like an a**hole.  What I don't want is a 4, 5, or 6 year old horse that acts like this so we have to fix this now.

Friday, June 13, 2014

VC Blog Hop: Fess Up To Your Mistakes

Today I am gonna fess up to one of my horse care mistakes. Will you Fess up to yours?

Back in March I took Luxxx to the YHS show, just 2 weeks after I bought him.  He had to be braided (see pretty pictures here  YHS show).  The braider said some pieces of his mane were thin so she used some hair spray to make the wispy pieces stay in place.  She told me to make sure to wash his mane at the end of the day.  Well this was the longest show everrrrr which I did not anticipate so I did not make arrangements for someone to take care of my horses at home.  I left the show late, drove 2 hours home, had horses to feed, stalls to clean, and get up and go to work in the morning.  Needless to say his mane did not get washed.  I'm lucky he even got unbraided.  

I came home from work the next day and he had rubbed his mane.  Crap.  I washed his mane at that point.  But it hasn't stopped and it's getting worse.  He hardly has any mane left.  I have washed, used MTG, used fungus sprays, creams, and EVERYTHING I can think of.  3 months later he still rubs his mane.  Believe me, I have learned my lesson!  But I beg you, if you have any suggestions to make this stop and grow his mane back, I am all ears!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Going back to my Scandinavian roots this word is the Swede equivalent to the Italian "fuhgeddaboutit."  You can use it for many things.  If it had been a hard day and someone asks about it you respond, "uffda."  If you pick up a heavy box you say, "uffda."  Uffda pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

Now and then I have touched on my struggles at work.  It has gotten particularly challenging since early February.  I appreciate all the support from you in yesterday's post!  Yes, we have all been there.  In the strive to earn more money to support our expensive hobby we take on jobs with more responsibility and in turn it is also more stress.  This too shall pass.  Although I like to think of myself as a "horse obsessed girl" I am more of an ol' gal.  This horse obsessed ol' gal will get it figured out. 

Yesterday we had heavy rain so I came home to puddles.  There was a small section of my sand paddock that was dry so I opted to lunge Poppy and Luxxx versus riding.  Both were good.

Then this morning Baby L had a case of the a**holes.  Everyone goes out at night so my morning routine involves just bringing horses in.  Stalls are cleaned and breakfast is already made.  I like to roll out there in my pjs each morning as it takes maybe 15 minutes to bring them all in.    So here I am leading Baby L in from his paddock and he thinks he is high ho silver as I am in my pjs.  He had his rope halter on so I would correct him with pressure on the lead.  He reared again.  And again. And again.  6 or 7 times in fact.  The last time striking at my head so I dropped the lead.  Off he tore.  Now we cross through Hobbs' turnout to get to the barn so poor old Hobbs got knocked down by the running idiot.  Watching your 25 year old retired jumper get laid out and then struggle to get up will stop your heart.  30 minutes later (and trying to talk myself out of killing my significant other who stood on the porch in his pjs asking if I wanted a carrot to catch him) I got him back to his stall.  

Baby L will be making a visit to M tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Is It You Or Is It Me?

My plan last evening was to hack Poppy, maybe hop her over a few jumps then lunge Baby L.  The weather looked horrible and the sky was dark and rumbling but no lightning so I tacked up quickly and got on.  Poppy had a big hump in her back that got bigger as we walked to where I ride and she was constantly swishing her tail and stomping her back legs.  Living in the swamp state we have horrible bugs and Ms. Poppy hates nothing more than bugs.  When I asked her to trot she threw a fit.  I hopped off and she continued to throw a fit.  So much that I had to walk her backwards back to the barn.  She literally refused to be lead.  By this point it was drizzling so I took my saddle off and lunged her.  No temper tantrum.  She ran for maybe a circle then was normal both directions.  Despite the weather I threw my saddle back on and took her back out.  She was hot and blowing hard but I didn't not want her learning that if she has a melt down she doesn't get to work.  I simply worked each direction quickly and let her be done.  She was fine, no fits, no stomping, nothing.  

This is not typical for Poppy.  She hasn't acted like this in years.  She will stomp at the bugs but once we start working she is fine.  I layer her in bug spray but it never keeps every single creature off her.

The rest of the evening she was completely normal.  I started to wonder if it was me.  Animals feed off of us.  I can't hide the fact of how stressed work has me.  Between work, riding, and barn chores I am lucky to get 5 hours of sleep per night.  I am exhausted and running on fumes.  My patience is gone and my sanity isn't far behind.  I can't help but think this is being transferred to her.  

Before bed I fed her peppermints, gave her a big hug, and said I am sorry.  It's so easy to get into our routines and forget that our beloved animals have emotions too.  Maybe Poppy had a bad day, maybe it was me, or maybe it was both of us.  Today is a new day and I will give it another shot but this time I will check my own emotions at the gate.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bringing Up Baby

Luxxx sniffing noses with my dog Puff

Luxxx T 2011 Holsteiner gelding 

Baby L now measures 16.1 hands.  He is looking much different than the fluffy guy I brought home 2/21/14.

I work Baby L on the lunge about 3 days a week and once a week I trailer him over to M's for work in the round pen and under saddle.  I think we have ridden him 11 times now.  He is fantastic on the lunge.  I have never had the pleasure of owning a 3 year old with such natural balance.  I have only seen him trip a couple times and when he does he gets mad at himself.  If he swaps leads I pop the lunge whip and he does a flying change! Even when he is wild he has a bottom, he gets it out then goes to work.

M worked him in the arena for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

He has no steering right now but he has brakes so that it good.  I ride him in the round pen but am leery in the arena.  M had me get on him last week and he was being bratty.  He wanted to quit and go to the gate so M got on and worked through that.  This is typical for a baby to test boundaries and try to be in charge.  They have to be taught what is allowed and that they are to work until we say they are done.  M had me get back on and trot each way a few times.  Rewarding for positive behavior is essential.  The reward is pats and being done.  We also get off at different spots in the arena so he stops focusing on the gate.   

Baby L has been good but I still want more time working with M before I am comfortable getting on him at home.  I hope to go over to M's again this week but we will see if the weather permits.  As usual, lots of rain forecasted for this week.  Regardless I still make sure he gets handled daily.  Every interaction with babies is a learning experience for them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Back In The Show Ring

This past weekend I took Poppy to an A show in Ocala.  I took her down Friday afternoon and decided to just show Saturday and Sunday.  She had been schooling well at home however we had not shown since March 1st and I had not jumped her 1.10m since probably then.  

I strongly believe in saving my horse and am against excessively jumping.  Ideally I like to show in 2 classes per weekend.  So although I knew I was taking a risk I decided to just hack her Friday and walk in Saturday and do the 1.10m High Adult Amateur Jumper class.  If it didn't go well there would be another class I could go in if need be.  I hacked Poppy Saturday morning and she was wild so she got a good work out.  Even warming up for my class she was wild and running passes distances.  She even had 2 rails down in warm up which she never does.  Fortunately once in the ring she settled down and marched around the course like it was her J-O-B.  a clear first round and a clean jump off.  I stayed conservative in the jump off but still good enough for 4th place.  I was so proud of her to have 3 months off from showing and walk right into the highs.

Tired girl getting some grass while she dries.

Sunday my plan was to just do the NAL High Ch/Ad Jumper Classic.  Of course as I was tacking up the rain came so I had the pleasure of riding in the pouring rain.  Jumps 6, 7, & 8 was a 4 stride to a 3 stride off a short turn on the rail.  I rode a little hard to 6 thinking she would look hard so I over rode it and she had a rail at 6.  The rest of the course was good and I am really happy with Poppy.  She is  not so green anymore so I need to trust her and not ride so hard.  That is a new concept for me as I am so used to the greenies.

Nugget finds horse shows exhausting

Next up I plan to make the trek up to Tryon, NC to show in July.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

VC Blog Hop: Let's Make A Baby!

If you could/were so inclined to breed your horse (1.. let's not get into the issues of backyard breeding and 2.. let's pretend your horse is a mare if it's not) WHO would you breed your horse to and Why!

Thank you VC!  This has my name all over it!  I have actually given this topic quite a bit of thought.  I adore everything about my mare Poppy and would love to breed her one day.  She has a good jumper pedigree, a great temperament, she is a sensational jumper, and pretty easy on the eyes.  Due to these reasons and the fact that I just LOVE her, I have thought long and hard about breeding her one day.  I think with her talent matched with a high level jumper stallion could produce an upper level prospect. 

Poppy is by the Hanoverian stallion Don Alfredo.

Her dam is a Selle Francaise mare named Eidelweisse.  I unfortunately don't have any pictures of her dam but I assume this is where she gets her blood from though.  Because she does have some blood I would need to take that into consideration when choosing a stallion.  My first choice is Darco.

Darco is legendary.  Look at a list of horses in any top event like World Cup or Olympics and you will see a handful of the horses entered are sired by him.  His off spring can be difficult so this would be something to keep in mind.  He is also deceased so his semen is hard to get a hold of (but I do know someone who has some).

If I couldn't use Darco my next choice would be Amaretto D'Arco (who is a son of Darco).

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Still Here

Okay I can list the excuses of why I haven't blogged in a month.  Let's see,  our Internet at home was down, work has me overwhelmed, I hate my job and am miserable, it rains ALL the time in FL so it's hard to ride... I could go on and on.   I miss blogging so I will start again.  I just have to get through my first of the month deadlines.  I have lots to share from updates on Luxxx to finally getting back in the show ring with Poppy. For now I leave you with pictures.  

Princess Poppy

Baby Luxxx