Thursday, October 20, 2016


I finally got back in the saddle with Miss Emi. I rode her on Monday of last week and then left on a trip for work. She was lunged once while I was gone and I long lined her on Tuesday. Other than that she had a little down time which was perfect after our big lesson trip. 

I was really impressed with how good she was tonight. We are practicing standing nicely at the mounting block and I've begun to incorporate sugar cubes into that event. Tonight I gave her sugar when she stopped beside the mounting block and then I climbed aboard while she was busy eating her sugar. It was perfect timing. We made a few laps around the arena and she let me know that she was "scared" of both ends of the arena. I didn't give her much leeway as I don't actually believe her. I kicked her on and as soon as we started trotting I gave her a "project" as discussed with JW.  She gave me some really great answers and I kept the work short and sweet. It feels so good to be back in the saddle. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

EcoLicious Equestrian - A Review

I logged on to SmartPak recently and was pleasantly surprised that they are now carrying EcoLicious Equestrian products. I first found their products on closeout at Riding Warehouse. I was intrigued by the fact that their label reads "100% naturally derived, human grade ingredients. 100% free of Nasty Chemicals, Silicones & Parabens." Any product I'm putting on my horses I'm also getting on myself, so I'm happy to find things that I feel good about. It's a Canadian company and the products were not that easy to find from stores in the US. 

I absolutely love the Mane and Tail Conditioner. This product ranks at the very top of my favorite bath time products. It works like magic in Emi's super thick tail and once it has been washed and conditioned I can comb it out easily with out putting any other products in this. I personally feel like it performs much better than the Equifuse Creme Conditioner and I'm definitely ordering another bottle as soon as I finish the first one. 

I have not been impressed with the Moisture Maniac spray...I think it almost makes them feel sticky. 

I have mixed feelings on the Mane Setting Cream. I have used it in place of QuickBraid and I do think it works well but it almost makes the hair seem a little slick when you first apply it. The last time I braided Emi I used QuickBraid on her mane and Mane Setting Cream on her forelock. That seemed to work well and her forelock went up very nicely. Plus it brushes out well and isn't super crunchy. 

Finally I do have their lotion (for people) and I really like it as well. Plus all of their products smell amazing!

Now that SmartPak is carrying these products I'd really like to try the EcoLicious Squeaky Green & Clean ShampooEcoLicious De-Stress Intensive Restructuring & Conditioning Treatment for Mane & Tails and the EcoLicious Blinded by the White Total Body Whitening Treatment. Next time I make a SmartPak order I may need to add one of these products to my shopping cart. 

Have any of you tried any of the EcoLicious products? 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Tired Out

We had our final lesson on Wednesday morning before packing up and heading home. Emi was first up and she came out tired! Not only was she tired but she was also very good so we kept the lesson short and sweet. April took video for the first couple of minutes but then had to go get her horse ready. At the end of the lesson (when I had Emi going well) JW picked up the video camera and told me not to screw up because she was going to get some video. No pressure or anything! Haha. You can see the resulting work below. Definitely the best work she has ever done and looking more and more trained!

It still feels so surreal that she's gone from this little squirt to my riding horse.

Where did the time go? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Lesson Video

If you're interested in seeing where we are at, here's some video from our lesson on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Testing...1 -2 - 3

Emi had her third lesson with JW today. She came out quite spicy, full of go and also some anxiety regarding the horses moving in and out of the arena. Despite that she was still rideable and we did some good work. 

After our Monday lesson
I really need to be on the ball about putting her to work and giving her a “project.” As soon as something is satisfactory then I need to move on to another project, returning to check on the previous ones as I go. It’s a continual testing, moving on and then re-addressing. 
She’s bulging through the outside here, she’s falling to the inside there, she’s trotting at a 7 when she should be a 5. Since she wants to be a 7 maybe we should explore a 3 or 4. These are the kind of things that need to be ever present in my mind as we work. Bottom line, I need to be better about really thinking during my rides to utilize our time for some good training. 

A very sweaty pony after her lesson on day #3
A couple of specific take aways from today. 
  • I need to work with her on standing better to be mounted. In the past couple of weeks that skill has gone downhill so it’s something we need to work on. 
  • Posting on the “wrong” diagonal into the canter really helps capture that outside hind and really assists in that transition. 
  • Using halt as a spot for the horse to relax can also be really helpful, especially if they are anxious. We had Emi stop a couple of times and she really took a breather during those moments. 
I’m excited to see that she’s looking (and feeling) a little less like a barely broke green horse and I’m seeing glimpses of what she’ll look like later on down the road. This has been a huge outing for her and she has handled it very well. Now it’s time to keep doing our work at home and step by step we are going to turn this pony into a dressage horse. 

P.S. I do have video from our lesson today and I'll share it once it has been uploaded. 

Hand grazing with this cutie pie!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Camp Day #1

We've been planning a trip to visit JW since our last trip at the beginning of May and today was the day. 

I spent last night packing and bathing Emi. As I was braiding her mane (to get it to lay down) I noticed that her bridle path was getting kind of long. Let me tell you, this pony is a hair growing machine! Emi is very good about a lot of things but bridle path clipping is not one of them. It's something that I worked on a lot with her as a baby but never made any significant progress. The only way I've been able to do it is to have someone hold her and put a twitch on her. It's not my favorite thing but it's much more successful than attempting a bridle path with a horses that is flailing around. Anyway, I'm braiding her mane and looking at this 3/4 inch long bridle path, debating if I should attempt it or not since I didn't have anyone else around to help. I decided it was worth a shot so I grabbed the clippers and the twitch. Wouldn't you know...I had her bridle path done in a minute (two at the most). I made a huge fuss over her when I was done with wither scratches, a carrot and an apple. I think she's growing up!

This morning we headed out at 9:45am, arriving around noon. Emi came quietly off the trailer and was thrilled to find a pile of hay in her stall. Food motivated pony for the win! She happily munched while I groomed her and got her tacked up. We headed up to the arena for a look around before starting our lesson. She was a little distracted but fairly calm so after 10 minutes of looking around I mounted up. 

Our lesson was just what I was looking for.  We are at the point were we can walk/trot/canter and I'm wondering what expectations are reasonable. JW asked if there was anything she should know about before we got started...bolting, bucking, rearing or any other quirk. It was nice to be able to say no

Once I got on, Emi was a bit less confident than she had been with me on the ground. JW walked around the arena once both directions, giving Emi something to follow. Emi really liked that and by the time we had made our second lap she was feeling better. The first order of business was a rough "forehand turn," where we were beginning to discuss moving off of the leg. I'd bend her to the left and then ask her to move off of my left leg, really similar to what you would thing of as disengaging the haunches from a NH perspective. JW said to bend her as much as necessary and as little as I could get away with. Emi completed the exercise with no fuss and after doing it the other direction we moved on to the trot.  

She was fairly distracted by the mirrors but got better as we continued. We did lots of direction changes, some transitions, and discussed the fact that she needed to be trotting like she was heading to the ice cream store rather than the dentist. She is lazy(ish) so it was a good reminder that we need her to be forward thinking. We adjusted her trot from a standard 5 trot (5 being speed) to a 4, and then a 3, before returning her back to the 5. Our forehand turns came back in to play when she was drifting, to the outside, through a circle to the right. I halted her and did our forehand turn off of the left leg. We had to repeat this twice but by the third time we were able to make the whole circle with out the drift. 

Overall JW said that all Emi needs to do is go, stop, steer and not buck me off.  I really appreciated her straightforward approach and desire for this to be a good, confidence building experience for Emi. Any "try" on Emi's part is to be rewarded. I ask her to turn right and she turns sharply right? Good girl. Go forward in the trot and she canters? Good girl. 

It's really nice to get more input on where we are at and what is a reasonable expectation at this stage. I want to be totally fair to Emi but I also want to hold us back because my expectations are too low. 
I was super proud of how good she was today and it feels like a real milestone to be at a place where we are ready to haul out for this kind of experience. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Blog Hop: Horse Thief

I read this blog hop from the $900 Facebook pony and it was too fun to resist. I have multiple horses I'd want to steal. Is that bad?

First up....Mystic

Who wouldn't want Mystic? He's awesome! He's got a fabulous personality and is super dependable. He's been ponying Emi since she was a baby and was the perfect partner for her first beach outing. 

 Not only is he perfect for ponying he's also an adorable 3rd level dressage horse and he jumps too!

Next up....Cardi (you had to have seen that one coming)

Again, who wouldn't want Cardi. He speaks for amazing!

Finally I'd want to steal Giorgio.

This is Emi's yearling full brother. Not only is he adorable he's super duper fancy and should make a fabulous riding horse in a couple more years. 

I'm sensing a pony theme here....I might need to add Crumble, Connor, Paddy and Roscoe to my list. So many horses and so little time.  How about you? Which one (on my list) would you want to steal?