Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nothing Fits

Actually, I probably shouldn't go quite as far as to say nothing fits, but I'm in need of a few things for Jessie. My micklem is the only thing that really fits her well, and it actually fits her much better than it did Roz. My 48 inch girth is too small, so I've been borrowing Mystic's 52. She has big withers so my saddle doesn't sit very well on her. I'm borrowing a riser pad from Tarra to use, which improved the saddle position immensely. On top of that I only have one bit in her size, but thankfully she seems fine with it. Is anybody looking to get rid of either size 52 girth or a riser pad? I'd love to buy them used if possible.

Jessie has met me at the gate every night and seems happy to hang out with me. Monday night she got her tail washed and banged. It looks so much better! She has been a bit nervous but we had our best ride yet tonight. It seems that when she gets worried she gets tense and up & down/prancy. We definitely need to work on her being less sucked back and more forward. By the end of our ride her trot had opened up a lot and her walk was way better. Now I just have to remember to take it slow with her to build up her fitness since she has been out of work for almost 8 months.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Little Pony

I'm pretty sure Roz is tickled pink that his mom finally has her own "my little pony." He happily eats his hay while I torture groom, Emi. She happily eats hers too because she actually likes being groomed. I try to give Roz a quick brushing once or twice a week but it's not his favorite activity. It's so nice to finally have a horse that enjoys it! It's a nice way to keep a close eye on Emi and to do something with her that she really enjoys. Do your horses like or dislike grooming?

Sunday, July 20, 2014


This note greeted me last Friday (the 11th), when I got to the barn. I was up there to clean Willow up before taking her home on Saturday. It sounded kind of interesting, so I decided to inquire. I sent the horse owner (J) an email on Sunday morning and she called me just a few minutes later. She suggested that I come meet her and we set up an appointment for later that afternoon. 

When we got to her barn I met Jessica. She's an 18 year old, Swedish Warmblood/Appendix cross. She has had years of dressage training before spending the last couple of years trail riding with the owner's niece. J's niece moved to Texas, taking Jessica with her, and then shipped her home about 18 months later when she decided she wanted to do cutting. Jessica has been hanging out since January and J decided she'd like to find someone that would use her. She hadn't been ridden since January but I hopped right on and we started working. She's forward and wants to be quick, but she was fun to ride. After some hemming and hawing and trying one other horse, I decided to take her. 

J came out to approve NDF today, and we got two thumbs up. I picked Jessica up this evening and now we start this next adventure. I'm hopeful that she will be a great fit for the coming years and we can work on our dressage while trail riding and having a good time. Our first goal is to start getting her back in shape and just figuring each other out. 

Video of her dad, Juvel 9024. He was a reserve horse for the 1988 Olympics and won a Silver medal at the Pan-American Games in 1991. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Best

The ponies got to go on a field trip today. I hauled them with me to work for Roz to get his teeth done and Emi to receive a vaccine booster. As it turned out, Emi started having loose stool/diarrhea on Wednesday morning, so I was happy to already have an appointment for her. I had dewormed her on Saturday and then Monday night I started giving her rice bran. I gave her probably 1/4 of a cup (max) which seemed like a very safe amount...thankfully she has been acting totally normal and it seemed to be resolved tonight. I'm hopeful that I will still be able to say that in the morning!

This morning I was a little bit unsure about hauling them together by myself, but I had a plan. I loaded Emi first and then went back in the barn to grab Roz. Emi took a couple taps with the whip to get in but Roz pretty much jumped in. We hit the road and got there with plenty of time. A tech grabbed Roz from me and I got Emi out. She jumped right out and I thought of the times when I couldn't get her out, not that long ago. Emi follow behind Roz and walked right in to the clinic and in to her stall. Apparently she was calling quite a bit and driving everyone crazy, even with Roz next door, so they ended up moving her outside. Roz got his teeth done and had pretty bad hooks. I was a little bit surprised since he had his teeth done just a little over a year ago. I'm glad they got him all fixed up, and he's otherwise good.

After work I rescued both ponies from their stalls and headed out to the trailer. I tied Roz to the trailer and loaded Emi. She hopped right in. Roz was next and he did the same. Once home I did the same thing, unloading Roz, tying him up, unloading Emi, grabbing Roz, and heading to the barn. I thought I was home free before I remembered that the tractor is parked in the barn isle so it's really not wide enough to safely take two horses through. I opted to throw Roz's rope over his neck and send him in front of us. My plan worked perfectly and both ponies were happy to be home.

It was so cool to have a really easy experience hauling them together with out assistance. It's nice that we are to the point were Emi has traveled enough for her to be very predictable and comfortable with loading/unloading, etc. I've got the best ponies!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Blog Hop: Hauling

In light of my most recent post regarding hauling drama, I want to know what you haul with. I'd love to see pictures of your current truck & trailer, what you like about it, and/or what would you like to have (reasonable or not).

What I have:  It's so nice to be able to go when you want. I haul with my parents 1998 F250. Our horse trailer is a 2 horse slant, Logan Coach Wrangler. It's a step up trailer and has a fairly large tack room. It has been a really good trailer for me and is spacious enough for most horses. I love that the set up is relatively small and it's pretty maneuverable. Tarra and I have been all over the place with it!

On a ferry

What I'd like to have: I'd love to have a Dodge diesel truck and a 3 or 4 horse goose neck trailer. This is what a friend of mine has and it's so nice to be able to all carpool together. I also love the extra power and improved gas mileage. Sadly, I'm not even close to ready to want to put out that kind of money to purchase something like this. It's always fun to dream but for now I'm happy (and thankful) with my current option.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Road Trip!

Tarra and I returned Willow to her home today. I thought we had made some really good progress and she was being much better. I had a week left of her first month, and decided it was time to push her a little bit. Tarra and I hit the trails last Saturday evening and it did not go as well as I hoped. She road out from the barn pretty well and other than spooking at a big metal chicken, she seemed to be handling the outing well. We got about a mile and a half out from the barn before we started having trouble.

Willow decided she was done and she just stopped. I tried to get her going again but she really wanted to turn around and scoot back towards the barn. We were near a bit of a ledge and I wasn't sure what she was going to do so I hopped off. She was reluctant to go with me at first but once I got her moving well again I hopped back on. We made it about 10 more feet before she told me she wanted to go home.

At that point I knew that if I couldn't get her going while on her we weren't going to make it any further. We turned a couple of circles (because she kept trying to turn for home), and I got her facing down the trail but couldn't get her moving. Tarra had passed us by, thinking that following Mystic might help. Tarra then turned back around to grab a rein to see if she could literally lead her. Willow would have none of it and backed right off the trail into the ditch, while pulling away from Tarra. Again, I opted to hop off and I led her back to the barn.

I firmly believe that riding should be fun. These horses cost way to much money and take too much time and energy for you to not be enjoying yourself. So...we took her home today. That was an adventure in itself.

We left here around 9am and had about a three and a half hour drive. We got detoured around a HUGE quilt show (in a tiny town), and made it to Willow's house with out a problem. We saw some beautiful horses and had a nice visit before hitting the road. Tarra has had her dressage saddle for sale and had someone in the area that was interested and wanted to try it. It worked out that they lived around the bend from where Tarra's aunt and uncle used to live. The saddle fit and we sold it on our way through. We again detoured around the quilt show, stopped for lunch and then headed over the mountains to return home.

That was all fine and dandy until about 10 miles out of town the truck started lurching. I felt it once...then twice...and by the third time I was looking at Tarra to see if she was noticing it. I had just said I was going to keep driving when it got way worse.  I had Tarra trying to call my parents and I thought I should pull over. There was a big turn out on the other side of the road and we almost got in an accident getting over there. Once we got parked I talked to my dad. The check engine light wasn't on and we couldn't come up with any real reason for what was going on. I double checked the oil (it was fine), and he told us to continue on with it. The biggest problem is that there was a section of the road where we wouldn't have any cell service. We decided if they didn't hear from us in 2 hours they should come looking.

I honestly didn't think we'd get more than another mile down the road before old Black Betty left us stranded. As it turns out we did not have one more problem! I drove pretty slow to start out but the further we got with out trouble the more comfortable I got. We made it home with out issue and we are pretty sure there was something going on with the fuel. I will tell you...that's not an experience I want to repeat! Lucky for us it was on the way home, we didn't have a horse in the back, and we didn't end up stuck. We talked about making sure to bring extra water/hay for the horses any time we go, just in case we ever get stuck.
It was a lovely day for a drive

Monday, July 7, 2014

July Goals

June Goal Review 

1) I really do need to work on her standing. That's a big goal for this month since her second show is a the end of the month. I just got a traditional white web halter to show her in and I also need to practice with her in that. 

This is a partial success. I did practice with her in the white web halter and she was better at the second show than at the first (as far as standing).  I did learn how someone else teaches this at the clinic this weekend and I have been practicing the past two night with her. She's already doing better and I plan to continue to work on it a few days a week. Its good for her to be learning patience. 

2) I need to clip her bridle path, and I'm sure she isn't going to love it. My plan is to work on it in another week or two as I don't want to have to do it twice prior to the show. 

This really wasn't very successful. I got a rough bridle path done but the baby pony does not like those darn clippers buzzing by her ears! 

July Goals

See above: Standing and clippers. I'd also like to get her up to NDF for a little ponying. That will be her July outing, and then August is horse show #3. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Grooming Clinic

Saturday I got to attend an awesome little informal "clinic" on how to turn your welsh out for showing in hand. It was just what I needed. She (P) started with mane trimming using a thinning knife. She uses chalk to mark the general outline of where she wants to take the mane to and discussed varying mane lengths depending on your horses neck. Of course she said it was always better to start longer and then work up to it being shorter since you can't do anything about it once you take it off.

Next P demonstrated clipping. Here I thought all of these welsh were shown "in the rough" but it's totally not true! It actually reminded me of arab people a little bit. She talked about how you should use clipping to minimize flaws or maximize the good qualities your horse has. The mare she was working on she clipped her under her jawline and up on her nose to give her a more refined feminine face. She also clipped the dishy spot on her face to bring it out more. She then used a slick 'n easy grooming block to blend the hair in that area.  She trimmed up her ears and discussed giving them a bridle path and/or braiding just one chunk of hair behind the ears to clean up the throat latch and to elongate the neck. When she was done the mare looked super. It's definitely an art!

I commented that I'd be scared to clip that much but she said it just takes practice and that it takes 3 weeks for a face clip to grow out. Emi's next show is in about 6 weeks so I have some time to practice. I also plan to try it on Roz first. He will be more cooperative anyway.

P uses cheap hair gel to lay the mane down and normally lays a towel or something over it for 10 or 15 minutes to get it all laying flat. She does the same thing with the top of the tail and vet wraps it down for an hour or less before going in the show ring. P mentioned that you could get foaming temporary hair color to put in at the top of the main to color bleached ends. She also talked about using corn starch on white socks. She said to pack it in when they are wet and then brush it out the next day.

We then moved to the arena to talk about showing in hand. P is a judge and basically said none of us are fast enough to run with a cob in a full out trot...but that's basically what they want. She did say that them being in balance and not strung out it also important. Again, it's an art and a fine balance. She said she works with her young horses every day on standing and said that's one of the most important things they can do well in the show ring. She teaches them the voice cue "stand up" and says she is then able to use it in riding and driving classes.

I started practicing standing with Emi tonight and she stood for about 30 seconds with out moving. She was definitely beginning to figure out that I didn't want her to move. That will be handy feature for picture taking too! I asked if it was okay to have something in your hand (like a peppermint wrapper) and she said almost everyone does have something in their hand. She mentioned putting peppermint oil on your gloves to get them to follow your hand with their nose. There are so many tricks to this breed show thing. I'm just naive!

I'm sure there's things I'm forgetting, or not explaining well but I wanted to get the big picture ideas written down so I won't forget. It was a really fun day and it was super neat to get to know more welsh people in the area. Although I didn't take Emi to the clinic most everyone knew of her or had seen her at the other two shows. Everyone was very complimentary of how well behaved she is and that she's a nice mover.  I think the State Fair show will be our best show yet. P basically said you should turn your horse out like they are the Supreme Champion and make the judge have to look for reasons they are not, rather than reasons they are.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Blog Hop - Interested Parties

What made you interested in your current horse that lead you to buying them in the first place?

I figure most of you know Emi's story so I thought I'd share the story of Rozzy Ridge.

 Roz and I have a long history together. I first purchased him in July of 2003, as a project with my trainer and my best friend. At the time I had an injured horse, he was local, and we picked up up for $600. Since my trainer was in on the deal she gave us reduced price board, and helped us with him. He was basically the exact same horse he is now, with less education. He was cute but I was riding hunter/jumpers at the time and thought he wasn't big enough. He was also cranky so I didn't love that about him and found him a little hard to read. At the same time he was totally safe and was fun to ride. He had a big engine and very little whoa. My farrier at the time told me I should keep Roz and sell my injured horse. Of course I didn't take his advice. The family we sold him to had a connection with my grandparents and we kept in touch.

Fast forward two years, and my injured horse was just not a good match. I had sold her and was looking for my next horse. Roz's family was moving to Arizona and couldn't take him with them. I was interested but at that point he had gotten a nasty cut on his left hock and wasn't even sound. I took him on for a month to see if the injury would heal and then be able to try him. After a month at home I wasn't sold on him but I moved him to the boarding stable and started riding him. I told his owner I wasn't sure but that I'd help them sell him. I listed him for sale and continued to ride him in the mean time. At that point the barn owner told me I really needed to buy him as he was a very nice horse. I showed him to a couple of people and wasn't really thrilled with either of I bought him. :) We certainly didn't experience love at first sight but he grew on me, and I still have him all of these years later. I know we are blessed to have found each other and I'm thankful for all of the fun times we have had together.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Major Progress

I left off with Willow last Friday and she had the next four days off. Saturday and Sunday I was busy and didn't have time to ride her. Monday was a lesson night at the barn and then Tuesday was almost 100 degrees. I don't particularly enjoy riding when it's that hot so instead of riding I brought Willow in from the pasture, hosed her off, and then hand grazed her while she dried a little bit. She came in so quietly, stood totally still while I hosed her off, and was generally very calm. I wasn't sure if it was the hot weather or if it was due to her settling in.

As it turns out, she has come out like that every day this week. Yah! Wednesday night I rode her with Tarra and Mystic. Tarra hopped on her and had the same general impression as I've had about where she is at in her training. Tarra commented that she felt similar to how Mystic was when he was between first and second level. She's a little bit wiggly and not sure she really wants to work that hard. Our ride was not quite as good last night, but it wasn't bad.

Next Thursday will be a month and I've committed to keeping her for a month before making a decision. After having a couple good rides I decided that I am going to push her a bit this week to see if we are truly making progress or not. As much as I enjoy riding dressage I also like to get out of the arena and want to do it on a safe willing horse.

This morning I hopped on her at the barn and rode her over past the arena out to to hay fields. I've done this a couple of times before but previously she has been difficult to mount and reluctant (i.e. throwing a fit) to walk over to the arena. In contrast, today she stood quietly while I mounted and we waited for a friend. She then walked nicely over to the arena and led the way around the hay fields, even through the ditches. She was nice and relaxed once in the arena and only pooped twice during our ride. I'd say this is all major progress, especially since she has come out consistently quiet the past few days.

I'm hoping to take her on a trail ride this week to see how she will handle that, and I'm interested to see if she will walk around the hay fields with out a friend. I'm honestly surprised it has taken this long for her to relax but she is acting much more like the horse I was expecting to have.