Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Different Kind of Throw Back Thursday

I was looking forward to writing a post today all about how M brought the pinto mare over last night and she jumped around 2'3 like a super star.  Instead of focusing on that great part of my day I can't get the bad part out of my head.  Prepare yourself as I blow off some steam.

First, Hobbs & I appreciate the well wishes.  I started him on some bute and then he didn't finish his breakfast yesterday.  I updated my friend K (and owner of farm I train with and also whom I purchased Hobbs from) and she told me she felt he didn't have a good quality of life and it was probably time to put him down..... I felt like I got punched in the chest.  I lost my breathe, I got really sad, and then angry.  Really angry.  I have rearranged my barn so he can come and go out of his stall all day.  He has access to grass 22 hours a day (only exception is the 2 hours I lock him in his stall when I work the other horses).  He wakes me up every morning because he screams for his breakfast.  He wakes me up in the middle of the night as he gallops by my bedroom window.  I can't get grass to grow in 2 areas of my yard because he rolls there and has created a dirt pit.  Horses who are ready for the end of life or who have a poor quality of life don't behave this way.  He has been in pain for  4 days due to an abscess.  I don't think an abscess is a reason to put a horse down. I don't think he likes the peppermint flavored bute so he is not finishing his meals.  I had to chase him away from eating the chicken's feed twice this morning.  No, I just can't wrap my head around the thought of putting a horse down who still has a spark in his eye.  Maybe I will feel different in a week, a month, or a year but right now doesn't feel right.  Of course I couldn't sleep at all last night because I was second guessing myself.  Maybe I am blind?  Maybe I am too emotional?  Wasn't it Seabiscuit's  owner who said "you don't throw away a life because it's a little banged up?"  

Hobbs 2001...

Hobbs 2005ish...

Hobbs 2013...

Hobbs now...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Breaking the Rules

Sometimes if you want to get anywhere you have to break a few rules.  I know it's not smart or safe but even though no one was home, I climbed aboard Baby Luxxx last evening.  I do it with Poppy and if I am ever going to get this baby going I'm going to have to do it with him. I have tried getting people to come over and be a body to call 911 and people say sure but can never find time.  I've even offered to pay my neighbor kid.  I'm done.  If you want something done, do it yourself!  But if my blog goes quiet for awhile send someone over to check on me.  It would probably take my husband a day or two to realize I'm missing.  Seriously (well maybe a day).

Anyhoo...I rode Baby Luxxx around in my little paddock and he was great!  I lunged him first to get the bucks out then climbed aboard!  I walked for a while and practiced bending and serpentines.  He felt good so I asked for a trot.  Smooth as butter I tell ya.  Love his trot!  He was super and I lived to tell about it (and take a picture)!

And in honor of National Dog Day yesterday here are all our babies.
(Left to right) Puff, Nugget, Soot, & Buford

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


One of the many joys of keeping my horses at home (note sarcasm) is having to be around when someone comes to work on them.  So I scheduled the Equine Dentist to come at 9 am yesterday so I could go into work afterward.  The dentist arrived at 10:30 grrrrr.  All four horses were due.  All but one were well behaved.  Any guess on who the naughty one was???  If you guessed Baby Luxxx I would understand.  That's who I expected to be naughty but no, he was quite well behaved (shocking).  It was Poppy.  My perfect little grey princess was a fire breathing dragon for the dentist.  The dentist resisted calling her any names but I could tell he was thinking them...Maybe she was getting him back for me for being so late???

Luxxx's baby molars were loose and popped out.  Husband thinks I am weird for keeping them but it's a fur baby memento!

Poor Hobbs is having a rough week.  He was a little off on Saturday and has gotten progressively worse.  I'm pretty sure it's an abscess so I'm soaking and packing his foot.  He can hardly walk.  At 25 years old he is a bit slow anyway but now it's just sad.  He has cushings and apparently abscesses are common for horses with cushings plus add all of our wet weather.

Ouchy foot is forward

Hopefully the abscess will pop soon and give the poor old man some relief.  I'm getting some meds from the vet today to make him more comfortable.

Thank you for your interest in how I'm able to show on a budget.  It starts with trying to save money any way I can.  This then leaves me with more money to show.  I will try to write more in this soon and interject where I can as I did in yesterday's post.

Monday, August 25, 2014

From Unbroken to Greenie

Trainer J had to cancel on Friday to work with baby Luxxx and rescheduled for Saturday.  I initially thought, here we go again...but she was adamant she would be here Saturday.  And she was.  I lunged him and let him get his bucks out then she hopped on.  He was walking and trotting around nicely.  J suggested that we take him out in my jump field.  He has never been out there before.  I lead him out with her on and he didn't spook and just took it all in.  I was soooo proud of him.  I promised video and I did take video but I need a new phone.  I have no storage left so I could only take a few short clips.  Then Sunday I played with a video app (great way to put off cleaning the house and laundry) and made this super cheesy video.

This at least gives an idea of how he moves.  I have to say, his gaits are lovely.  Almost too lovely to be in the jumper ring... Sigh... I do not want a hunter.  I do not enjoy the hunters.  We shall see...  This video also shows you my small, simple, and very economical jump area.  One day I will put in an all weather arena but who knows when that will be.  I like riding on grass, it is good practice for when we show on it.  I have had great success with my horses so this also shows that you don't need a high dollar arena with expensive, fancy jumps to do well.  You can achieve the same thing with being creative.  Remember my post on the pool floaties? 

Ok, back to Luxxx.  I took a couple stills from the video.

Look at his frothy lips!

Extension anyone?
I am not sure when J can come again.  We are both going to the local unrated show this weekend and she doesn't have time before then.  The plan is still to take him and hang out at the show.  Trainer N will likely get on him Friday if she has time.  I think I am going to try to climb aboard him this week.  I really wanted to Sunday while husband was home but my house was a mess and the ever growing pile of laundry had to get done.  I am so happy to say I think Luxxx is officially broken and now can be called a greenie.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Thank you so much to Lauren from She Moved to Texas for the shout out on your blog post.  It's hard to believe over a year has passed since I started blogging.  Prior to that a few people suggested to me that I should start one (probably because they were tired of me talking about my horses on Facebook).  When I bought a 2 year old OTTB I thought it would be fun to chronicle the retraining process.  As things often change it has now morphed into talking about showing my Adult Amateur Jumper Poppy and breaking my new Hosteiner baby Luxxx.

I try (but sometimes fail miserably) to keep it relevant and interesting and not just the same "I hacked, she was perfect" boringness.  I love reading everyone's blogs and learning about blogging and trying to make it better.  One aspect that I do want to add to my blog is showing on a budget.  I go to AA shows with Poppy and I am able to do it without spending oodles of money.  I feel like there might be people out there that think they cant afford to do the bigger shows so I will try to start being a bit more transparent on costs and how I make it work.  It really is possible to do this sport at the A rated level without having a bottomless checking account.

I am excited to have Trainer J come work with Baby L again tonight.  I must delete crap off my phone so I can video!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baby Put His Big Boy Pants On

At last the rain has given us a brief break in the swamp state but now it is hot as hell.  It is 97-99 all week with heat indexes of over 105.  So far the ponies are fairing well.  I turn them out at night so they are inside under fans during the worst of it.  By the time I get home from work and ride it's a tad cooler.  I still just lightly hacked Poppy Tuesday evening.  It was miserable on both of us.  And those ugly helmet visors are awesome btw!  I let Baby L have the night off since he worked so hard Monday.

Wednesday I took Baby L to M's.  He rode L while I rode the pinto mare.  I need to play with bits on her.  I used a loose ring French link last evening and she was really heavy on my hands.  Last time I used a two ring snaffle and she would not move forward so I thought it was too much bit.  She was good in it once before though.  A bit is only as harsh as the hands that use it so though a 2 ring may sound extreme it doesn't have to be.  I might try it again and see if she was just tired that particular day and it wasn't the bit.  Another option I was considering is a loose ring Waterford.  I worked on lead changes again and she
is changing in front but not balanced enough for behind.  Left to right she is almost there though.

M said Luxxx was the best he's ever been with him.  He went to work and rode around with 3 others in the ring.  I am so proud of him.  He is really coming together.  He was a bugger loading on the trailer though.  Not naughty more like "It is too much effort to lift my legs.  I'm just gonna stand here and stare at you."  He is standing on my cross ties like a good citizen and tying at M's nicely.  I can clip his muzzle and ears without a fuss and he's leading in and out from the paddock without attempting to kill me.  Sniff, sniff, baby is growing up!  He thought my friend Becky's barrel pony was his bestest friend in the world.

And the barrel racer said to the jumper, "no silly you go around the barrels not over!"

I plan to hack Ms. Poppy this evening.  J is coming to ride L Friday.  I plan to take L to a local unrated show the 29th & 30th to hang out and get used to the environment.  I might take paint mare if M can bring her to my place for some jumping sessions before hand.  Ms. Poppy shows next at an AA show Sept 18-21st about an hour from my house.  We will do the high adult jumpers and the NAL classic.  I've been out of the show ring since early July so I am excited.  I love showing that little grey mare.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I am so excited!  The trainer (J) came last evening to work with Luxxx.  I lunged him for her to get his sillies out then she hopped on.  In no time she had him walking, trotting, and cantering around the paddock!  She worked on getting him to respond better to leg, bending, and steering.  He had 2 small defiant moments by the gate and after she got after him both times he didn't try it again.  I am so proud of him!  He looked so grown up!!

J really liked him, all of his gates, and his willing attitude.  That made me happy too.  She can't come again until Friday.  I promise I will take video this time.  This is why I want to be part of this experience.  It is awesome to watch a horse that I purchased 6 months ago as an unbroken baby hacking around the ring like a big boy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Live Streaming Galore

Last week was so fun to watch the live streaming of the Pre-Green Incentive Championships then the Derby Finals!  Trainer M finished top 12 in the Pre-Green Championships!  It was a fantastic ride but the green bean did one animated change that I think she got penalized for.  Her other mount didn't make finals but still finished top 60.  Out of 150+ horses competing, still not shabby.

The Derby never fails to disappoint even this jumper rider.  I enjoy watching the handy rounds especially.  Liza and Brunello had a well deserved win.  I heard some people saying on social media that Jennifer and Jersey Boy were better.  I thought Liza found the distances better and was a bit smoother.  What did you think?

The ponies were good this weekend.  We took it easy due to the heat.  This week is forecasted to be hot too.  After that its time to get Ms. Poppy back in shape. Sept 18th is our next show.

I am trying one last ditch effort of having a trainer come to my house today and ride Luxxx. If it doesn't work out then I will take him to K's barn for trainer N to ride. I live about 45 minutes from trainer N and they have a huge show barn so it's just not feasible for her to come to me.  So fingers crossed the new lady works out.  Don't get me wrong, sending him to N is not a bad thing but I would miss out on getting to watch.  That's really important to me with Baby L.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Babies Will Be Babies

Last evening I brought Baby L over to M's.  I worked his pinto mare while he rode L.  Both were not bad but not great.  He says L takes awhile to "clock in."  He's opinionated when asked to work initially then when M gets after him he's fine.  The plan was for me to get on after M but M felt that he worked him hard and he should be done.  The pinto mare wanted to be either a giraffe or a turtle.  She would either go around with her head straight up or when I got her to frame up she wouldn't move forward.  I couldn't get both.  She just seemed tuned out yesterday.  Just part of the fun of babies!

I'm still obsessing over the Pre-Green Incentive Championships.  Trainer M finished in the top ten with one ride and top 50 with the other for Round 2.  Top 30 ride in the Finals this evening!  I'm so excited for her, lots of big names in that group.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I should have taken bets yesterday to see if the Eventer would show.  If you thought no then you thought right.  She texted me and cancelled because she was tired.  I let her know I would not need her again.

I lunged L and he was so quiet and nice. I really thought hard about getting on but no one was home.  I have even offered to pay my teenage neighbor to come over to just be a body to call 911.  She's "thinking about it."  I'm starting to think either there is a money tree I don't know about and people no longer need to work or it's me.

I contacted another local trainer to come help and she was supposed to come Thursday but had to cancel.  She can't come again until Monday.  My friend K has an open stall at the barn where my trainer N works.  I might just send him up there. I am so frustrated right now my head might explode.

On another note, are you watching the live coverage of the Pre-Green Incentive Championship?  Trainer M (K's daughter) has 2 entries.  She finished top 10 yesterday on one and after this morning's round moved up.  She will ride that one in the finals tomorrow.  Her second ride on the other is later today.  Fingers crossed!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


The rain stayed away yesterday so I got a nice hack in on Poppy.  I worked her in draw reins and really made her work up into my hand and use her hind end.  Correct frame is something we can easily slack on.  I find that when in the show ring if my horse is not balanced we miss changes, distances, and we are unable to make those quick tidy jump off turns.  Correct frame, which translates to a balanced horse, is something that took me a long time to learn.  Long and low (aka pushing peanuts) is not a correct frame people!  Poppy would love to go around on a loose rein with her nose pointed out but this would not fare well in the jumper ring.  My marshmallow puff has a case of the lazies at home and although that is her preferred head carriage, it leads to a disengaged hind end.  We need that powerful hind end for jumping big jumps so I like to make her go correctly.  I will follow this up with hacking without draw reins next ride as I simply like to use them as a tune up not an essential aide.  

She was great.  She is always a little fussy, she likes to question if I am sure she has to work but once I make contact with my hands and push her with my legs she gets to work.  I always reward her at the end of our hacks with a big trot on a loose rein where she can stretch out (this is where long and low is ok or if you have a nervous horse to encourage relaxation).

Next I lunged Baby L.  He did a great impression of Speed Racer on the lunge line.  The Eventer is coming today so I let him just get it out of his system.  Afterward he got a nice bath then dinner and turn out. Remember the issues I had with him rearing leading in from turn out?  Well he is back out in the far paddock so I've been waiting to see if the issue comes up again.  I have "graduated" him from the rope halter to a nylon breakaway.  I have been leading him out and in from the paddock with this and a chain lead over his nose.  This morning my barn kitty decided to hide in the bushes and pop out as we were walking by.  L spooked hard but came right back to me like a solid citizen.  Big pats and we walked on toward the barn.  Yay!

Monday, August 11, 2014

And We Ride

Friday was literally the day from hell.  I got home from work late to find Baby L's left hind leg swollen.  Fortunately he was not lame but it was big and puffy with some heat.  I cold hosed it which helped and with his over night turn out I hoped it would go down more.  With all that I wasn't up to riding.

Saturday I rode Poppy and she was not herself.  She was spooking at everything.  Every few seconds.  So she got her butt worked pretty hard.  She finished on a good note but I don't know what was up with her behavior.  I'm guessing that was her being wild.

A friend of mine was going to be in the area so I asked her to come help me with Baby L.  First I lunged him under tack then I got on and had her lunge me while I rode.  Holy cow his stride is huge.  He was really good.  He has zero steering.  Fortunately he stops great.  Lastly I tried just walking him around and wow the lack of steering.  That will obviously be priority.  

I am hoping I can continue to get someone to come over and lunge him with me on him.  

The swelling in his leg always went down with hosing and work and he isn't lame on it.  He acts like an idiot when I ride Poppy so I think maybe on Thursday he kicked the wall.  By Sunday the swelling was almost gone.

Sunday is always my cleaning and laundry day.  I also had to go to the feed store so there wasn't enough time in the day to ride.  Hopefully the rain stays away this week and I can work the ponies!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Repeat after me

I do not need another horse.  I do not need another horse.  I do not need another horse.  I am saying this over and over to myself.  I rode M's pinto mare tonight and I like her more every time I ride her.  She is so fun and well broken for a 4 yo.  We worked on leg yields at the trot and lead changes tonight.  She is only changing up front but getting the idea and swapping behind after a quick trot step.  She will have it in no time.  I really hope someone I know buys her so I can see her progress.

Since I have been back from vacay have worked my own horses a few times too..  Poppy is doing well and we are just hacking and jumping maybe once a week.  I will keep this program with her until we get closer to our next show in September.

I have been lunging Luxxx this week but haven't climbed aboard yet.  M says he will come over this weekend and help.  L  is doing well with his ground manners.  He is now cross tying in the wash rack, backing, and respecting my personal space.  

Lastly my heart goes out to a few of my blogger friends.  Dealing with hurt horses is stressful and heartbreaking.  Thinking about each of you ❤

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Vacay Cures All... least for a little while.

We went on our annual scalloping trip with friends for 4 days off the Gulf Coast of Florida.  We take 2 of our dogs (the other 2 are not boating dogs) and we spend 4 days catching scallops.

If you have never been scalloping let me explain.  You snorkel in the crystal clear gulf water and simply dive down when you see one and scoop them up.  It is so fun. It becomes a challenge to catch your limit each day but most of all you can't beat hanging out with friends, boating, sunshine, and catching some yummy scallops to cook when you get home.

I can't stand selfies but after some wine and sunshine the dogs and I tried some out.

Now back to the real world of work and ponies.