Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking a Break

I think I'll be taking a break from blogging for a while. Not sure how long, just wanted to warn you all in case you miss me. Hopefully the next time I post, things will be looking up for me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Staying Busy

Friday afternoon I ended up going out to eat with some friends for a late lunch. We had lots of fun and the food was really good. After we ate, we decided it was appropriate to go on a little trail ride, so we picked up Kate's 2 old mares and Rem and Risk and headed over to my house to ride down the farm lane. It was a really relaxing ride, but Remington doesn't walk fast enough to keep up with the mares, so we just hung back and enjoyed the breeze. It really was a beautiful day out.

After the ride, I decided I really didn't want to go home and sit all night, and Traci had free passes to the fair so we decided to go. We didn't get there until it was getting dark, so we walked around looking at the art projects and then went to get food. I had a baked potato... it was pretty good, but I've had better. Then we went to look at the goats, they are always fun. One of them grabbed some of my hair and started to chew... I suppose it was my fault for getting so close.

After the goats it was time for some mini donuts... mmmm. Those are the best!

I still wasn't ready to go home after the fair so we went to the bar and we had a drink... Well, I had 1, Traci had 2 or 3. By the time I got home I was pretty tired and ready for bed, so I didn't even have time to think about my problems :-)

Saturday I was supposed to pack... guess what didn't happen! I didn't get any packing done :-( I don't even remember what I did... We went out again Saturday night, but I didn't have much fun. I just got upset that I was out while Joe was at home, so Kate was nice enough to take me back to my car that I left at her house, so I could go home. I stayed up late watching Joe play World of Warcraft, how very exciting, huh? Yes, I am a dork... but Joe is a bigger dork, so it's okay.

Sunday morning I got up way too early. The lesson was at 10, so I wanted to be up at 8, but I woke up at 6 instead. So, I took the dogs out to the barn and played with them. I was to the lesson about 45 minutes early. We worked more on lead changes. Remington was being a complete BUTT and wouldn't take the left lead. Instead of moving his hip over when I applied my right leg, he was bowing around my leg and taking the right lead. I had worked on this so much in the past few weeks, so I was really frustrated. I just had to quit and take a break because I was getting so upset, and you can't be in that frame of mind when working with horses. At the end of the lesson I stayed behind and got him to take the left lead. It's a lot easier when no one is watching you... Oh well, just gives me more to work on. He was doing the same thing today when I rode him, but I got him over it... again.

Anyway, Andy did tell me that he could see a big improvement in Rem's footwork for the spin. That made me happy.

Well I guess I should get back to work. Though I am having a hard time seeing the point... I have Thursday and Friday off so I can move, and I might only work a half day tomorrow because I really have a lot to do. So, not sure if I'll have much time to blog this week, hope you all have a good one!

Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm just going to laugh...

Because sometimes that's all you can do to keep from crying.

I got called in to work early for a company meeting at 1. The vice president of the company was there to tell us that they were considering closing our facility. They kept saying a decision hadn't been made yet because they have to discuss it with Union officials first. That's standard procedure though, I'm pretty sure their mind is made up...

They told us we could all go home early... SCORE! I was only there for 45 minutes :-)

Anyway, what a great way to start the weekend, huh? I can't decide if I should be happy because I got the day off, or sad because I will be jobless before long... so I'm going to go with happy, and enjoy the rest of the day. I think I'll start looking for a new job next week....

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone! I'll be sure to let you know how my lesson goes

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday, what a pointless day!

We should just get rid of Thursdays... go right from Wednesday to Friday... that would make me happy.

I gave Rem the morning off, it was wet and rainy this morning anyway. Andy called tonight, we have a group lesson on Sunday. I am excited to bring Remington. Even though that mare was nice to ride, there's nothing like riding your own horse. Un-athletic as he may be, I can't say that he doesn't try his heart out for me. That's all I can ask for, right?

More packing this weekend, maybe I'll accomplish more this time, since I already have all my boxes ready to go. I took next Friday off so hopefully I can be in with my mom by next weekend. Joe's parents are coming up to get him that weekend and I don't want to stay in the house by myself, it would just be too hard.

I want to say thanks to Jennifer for giving me a HUG! Just when I needed it :-)

Now I get to pass it on, and I know just the person...

Andrea at Mustang Saga has been through a lot lately, she deserves a gigantic hug!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lead Changes

Heh, so much for wordless Wednesday...

I decided I'd work on lead changes this morning and it really does help me to write the process down. So you all get to enjoy what I'm learning in lessons about lead changes.

My trainer told us there are many different ways to change leads, but he has found one way that works for him and that is what he's going to teach us.

He then asked us what were some common problems we see when a horse is asked to change leads. One of the biggest things is that a horse will run off after changing leads, or worse yet, he won't even switch leads and he'll run off at the cue to change. Another problem is that a horse will change leads in front, but not in back, he'll cross-canter. We also talked about horses that will buck during a flying change.

Andy specifically teaches changes the way he does to avoid all of those problems.

First I'll explain the process, and then I'll tell you why those problems are avoided using this method.

We start off with 3 cones in a straight line, evenly spaced. To begin with, we trotted our horses from the first cone, to the 2nd cone. We were supposed to be visualizing going from the left lead to the right lead. At the 2nd cone we applied our left spur and asked our horse to move his hip over and at the same time we brought him down to a walk. It's very important that when you apply your spur you are getting the hip and only the hip. You don't want your horse to side pass or leg yield, you want them to swing their hip over and keep the rest of their body straight.
It's also important to come down to a walk when you are asking for the hip so your horse learns that the spur is not a cue to go faster and run off, but a cue to move his hip and eventually change leads. Once you feel your horse move his hip over release all aids and let him walk freely forward to the last cone. Stop there, do a turn on the forehand (reminding your horse of the cue to move his hips) and repeat, going back the way you came.

Once you've got the trot to walk down, you can move up to the canter to trot. Start at cone 1 and ask for the left lead. At cone 2 apply your spur as if you were cueing for the right lead to get the hip and bring him down to a trot. Once he moves his hip let him trot freely to the last cone. Stop at the last cone, turn and repeat.

Next you can go from left lead to right lead, doing a simple change at the 2nd cone. Always stopping at the last cone. This is as far as I've gotten so that's all I'm going to talk about until I learn more about the actual flying change.

But, as you can see this teaches your horse that the spur is not a cue to run off. When you lay the spur on, your horse learns you are asking for his hip, not a faster speed. Using a straight line instead of teaching your horse to change going from a left circle to a right circle ensures that your horse will change both in front and back. A horse that changes in front and not in back does so because his front feet changed direction before his back feet did. I have seen lots of people try to force their horses to change leads by doing a fast direction change and "throwing" them into it, and it may work sometimes, but I mostly see the horse will change in front and not in back.

Even in a reining pattern where you change in the middle of your circles, you should still be on a straight line directly between the 2 circles when you ask for the change.

As far as the bucking goes, I think that comes from a horse who is not comfortable with the spur being laid on them. Once again, using this method, the horse becomes confident knowing that the spur was laid on as a cue to move the hip, and nothing more.

I have a video showing the 3 different steps I described, but it is very small because I didn't have anyone to film for me and it's not easy to get all those cones in frame. I hope you can get something from it, but if not I will do another video when Aubrey is here to film me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to 2nd shift...

I was planning on riding today... preferably in the morning, but that didn't happen. I got to the barn and felt a little bit guilty that I'd be saddling up my horse before he had a chance to eat breakfast... so instead I just picked poop and filled the stock tank after I opened the gate to the pasture.

I went to let the horses in on my lunch break. Thank goodness they come running when I call them. It makes things so much easier when I don't have to go out and catch them. Most of the time they will gallop in, but there are days when they feel like they haven't had enough grass and decide to stay out on pasture despite my calls. So, I end up walking out to catch one, usually Riskie and then Rem and Chocolate end up galloping back to the barn leaving me and Risk to walk back. If only Riskie were a few inches shorter... or I was a bit more athletic... I'd be able to swing up bareback and ride her back... But that isn't the case, maybe I need to teach her to stretch and park out like a Saddlebred. That would give me a few inches to work with... Too bad there isn't a hill in that pasture, or a tree stump or anything really to help me climb on. Man, I must be the laziest person alive, trying to figure out ways to ride my horse instead of walk along side her when doing such a simple task... :-)

I actually thought about going out tonight to ride and turning the outside barn light on. But then I realized there are a few storms rolling through. I don't hear much inside this building, so I have to rely on weather.com to know what the heck is going on outside. They rearranged our office so now it's pretty much set up like a barn aisle with our own personal stalls! I feel right at home :-) heh heh.

Anyway... I should stop rambling on and get back to work... I think my break is up.

Weekend happenings

I keep thinking it's Saturday night... it's actually Monday morning now, what a crock. Saturday I spent much of the day packing after driving around to several grocery stores to try and get boxes. I am having a hard time with this, but I'm trying not to be so sad. I know in the back of my mind that I won't feel this way forever, but it's hard not to think that this horrible feeling will never go away.

I'm not even mad at Joe, because I know what it's like to be homesick. It was hard enough for me to live 4 hours away when I went to college, I can't imagine living 23 hours away. I am just going to enjoy the 2 weeks I have left with him for what it is.

Saturday night I went out with some friends and had a good time. We started out the night with dinner at a nice little roadhouse. It was really good... and I just remembered I have leftovers in the fridge!! mmm.... midnight snack... Anyway, after dinner we headed down the road to a bar that happened to have a mechanical bull. Just about everyone in our group got on and rode it, so it was a pretty good time. I had to have a drink before getting on that thing, considering I try to avoid things that intentionally try to throw me to the ground, but it was pretty fun. I can't say that I'd ever want to do it again though, once is enough for me! I'll stick to Mustangs and bucking Appaloosas, thank you! I saw another good friend of mine out at the bar so it was good to catch up with her, too. Jelaine really wanted to dance, so we headed to another bar that had a band playing. Turns out they were playing music that wasn't that easy to dance to, so I watched a game of pool and then we headed home. I'm not one to go out very often, but I had a good time and I'm glad I was invited.

I got back around 1 in the morning and was in bed by about 2. We had a lesson without horses Sunday morning at 9. We watched a video and went over the rule book. I wished I wasn't so tired! I still got some pretty good information, though, and a better understanding of all the things you can lose points for!

After the lesson I headed over to Steve's house for team roping. Bill brought Brady along for me to ride. I was no good today. The only thing I caught all afternoon was a front leg, how pathetic! I just couldn't seem to get the rope where it needed to be. I think I'll just blame it on the rope... makes me feel a little better.

I was supposed to go to my step mom's family picnic, but I just wasn't feeling well enough to be around so many people. Especially when I knew I'd be getting all kinds of questions about my current situation. I don't want to talk about it with anyone right now, I guess this blog is a good enough way for me to vent my feelings at the moment.

I sure am glad I'm back on my 2nd shift hours starting tomorrow... there's no way I'd be ready to work by 10am. I should probably ride one of my horses tomorrow morning, considering they both had the weekend off. I think the pasture will be dry enough to work on loping and leads with Remington... He's gotten so sticky about picking up his left lead...

Anyway, I also wanted to say thanks for the comments, I really appreciate them. I think I'm going to go re-heat my leftovers and then head to bed. I hope you all have a happy Monday... as happy as Monday's can be, anyway. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


First of all, thanks for the encouraging comments regarding my last post. I appreciate the input greatly.

This week has been pretty crappy. It went downhill after Monday. Yesterday, Joe told me he was planning on heading back to Texas at the end of this month. So, I'll be moving in with my mom. Luckily she lives closer to my horses than I do, but at the same time, I feel like a bit of a failure having to move back in with her.

Anyway, that's all I'm going to say on the subject because I'm still pretty upset about it. I've been keeping busy and riding every night after work. The weather hasn't been cooperating with me on that aspect either... It's been raining the last 2 days. I still ride though.

Next week I am going back to my regular 2nd shift hours (2pm to 10:30pm). My trainer told me he might need help riding horses, so I told him when I was back on my 2nd shift hours I could probably ride in the mornings. I am going to see how that goes, but if it's too much I'm going to try to get back on 1st shift at my regular job... The only reason I worked 2nd shift was because Joe worked those same hours... considering I won't have a boyfriend anymore I don't see any point in keeping those hours.

This weekend I don't have much planned as far as horse stuff goes... Aubrey's dad is headed to Michigan with the truck, so I can't haul anywhere. I will probably just pack my stuff up. Wow this is the most depressing post ever...

I am going to find things that make me laugh and add them...

This funny illustration is from a website I like to visit. You can email the artist any
phrase you want and he'll create a picture illustrating it.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. I hope the rest of the week goes better.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sometimes, you've just got to dance with the boy you came with...

I found out last Thursday that we'd be doing a group lesson on Sunday so I emailed Aubrey's dad right away to see if it would be okay to use the truck and trailer on Sunday morning. He said he was going to take it in to get serviced on Saturday, so if all was well Sunday would be fine. Saturday afternoon he let me know that the brake pads needed replacing, and Sunday morning was the only time available. I was pretty bummed out because this lesson we'd be working on lead changes, I called up my trainer to see if there would be a horse available to ride, since I'd be leaving mine at home with no truck to haul him. He said he in fact DID have a horse for me to ride... and she even knew how to turn around. That got me pretty excited, so I wasn't quite as upset that I had to leave Rem at home.

I got to the barn not really knowing what to expect. My trainer pointed out a small bay mare in one of the stalls and told me to saddle her up. She couldn't have been taller than 14.2 hands. She was very plain looking, just a regular Quarter horse. My trainer didn't know a whole lot about her, just that he'd ridden her once and she lopes nice circles and she knew how to turn around well. So, I wasn't real sure what I was getting into. I took her out to the arena and got on. It took a while for me to relax on her... probably because I'm not as young as I used to be, but once I realized how broke she was I started to have a pretty good time. The lesson went well, and at the end my trainer told me to turn her around a little... Man was that ever fun!

It turns out, he had wanted me to ride that mare to show me how much more fun it would be for me to own a broke reiner as opposed to trying so hard to make Remington into something that he may never be. The mare is for sale... but there is no way I could ever afford her, and to be honest she is reasonably priced. I'll be honest though... the most I've ever paid for a horse was $400... Anyway, for the rest of the day I was trying to think up ways to afford a horse like her, because it IS so much fun. But, at the same time... I don't think my trainer gives Rem enough credit. I am realistic about this too, I KNOW Rem has his downfalls, and he'll NEVER be able to turn around the way that mare did... But, at the same time, he just keeps progressing. I know we'll top out somewhere, but we're not to that point yet. And while I agree, when learning to ride horses or starting a new discipline, it's nice to have a broke horse to teach you. But I feel that I am a competent enough horseman to learn from and teach my horse. I may learn much faster with a broke horse, but I just don't have that kind of money laying around to go out and buy that horse. I think I could sell both Rem and Risk and have enough money to buy a finished reiner... but I can't do that. Sometimes emotional attachments suck, but I would need to choose between selling my two horses to get a finished reiner or keeping them and "dancing with the boy I came with". If I couldn't part with Rem at the auction, I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with him... and I'm okay with that.

Tonight I went out and rode him, thinking boy this is going to be nothing compared to the way that little mare felt. But much to my surprise Rem proved me wrong and turned around pretty nicely for me. I'm even feeling a little bit dizzy still. I know he'll get there. I think about how far he's come in such a short time with things like his lope departure... It wasn't pretty right up until a few weeks ago when I really started working on it. He has developed the muscles he needs to pick up his belly and lope off gracefully from a walk. I haven't worked on his spin much lately, so it's only a matter of him developing the muscles he needs to get a little quicker and more collected to just turn right around. I can feel him trying so hard to get into a rhythm and find where his feet need to go, he just needs more consistency, which I'm going to start giving him.

I guess there was a lot on my mind regarding this subject. I just can't believe riding that mare made me think so much about what it would take to get a horse like her... But then hopping on Rem tonight brought me back to my senses. I've just got to keep trucking along with him... We'll get there eventually...

ANYWAY... If you ever get the chance to go to The Melting Pot, I recommend it... but go at a time when they have a special going on, because paying full price would be ridiculous. They had a girls night out special that some friends from work invited me to. We got the cheese fondue with bread, veggies and apples for dipping. Then we had our choice of a salad, followed by chocolate fondue, with fruit and pastries for dipping! It was very good... but I'm thinking I should not have rode Remington after eating... I'm feeling a little sick now... bleh.

Well, one day down, four to go. It's just a never ending problem I have, this thing called a job... Those weekends never seem to last long enough.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I am a dork

And, as you can see... So are my dogs! So it's okay, we're one big, happy, dorky family. So... I am going to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince tonight... yep, the midnight showing. And, if Aubrey hadn't come home today I'd be going by myself. Aubrey's Grandma passed away last night, so Aubrey is home again for a few days. She agreed to go with me to see the movie tonight. I really love Harry Potter, I'm not going to lie... I have the audio books and I listen to them over and over again at work. When the 7th book came out, Joe and I went to the bookstore at midnight to pick up our reserved copy. I don't have book releases to look forward to anymore, just movies. Of course they aren't as good as the books, but they are at least getting better as they go along.

Anyway, enough about my dorkish obsession with Harry Potter... This blog is about horses gosh darnit! I have been getting short rides in after work. The bugs are too bad to do much and the only way to keep them off of us is to keep moving, so Rem gets his workout and then we call it a night. His transitions are really coming along good. There is a show in August at the fairgrounds that I want to go to. I'd like to do the horsemanship class with him. And maybe another walk/trot class :-) I'll probably take Riskie for showmanship, too. Remington is not a showmanship horse... and I don't plan on making him one.

I braided his mane yesterday, and I banged his tail. I was afraid of cutting it too short, so I didn't cut above his fetlocks, but I think it turned out okay. I am not sure if I can really see that big of a difference, but that's okay... I've never done that before so I just wanted to see if it was something I'd like. I don't want his tail to look fake either...

Well, I am going to get a short nap in before I go pick Aubrey up for the show.
Enjoy this cute picture of Remington.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I read it on the internet, so it MUST be true!

Sorry for the random title... forwarded emails annoy me greatly. I don't mind the jokes and the funny videos, but the political crap I can do without.

Anyway, I got to take Risk team roping tonight. It was fun even though she still needs work. I really like riding other people's broke rope horses so that I can figure out what it's supposed to feel like. Risk will get there, and she's already come so far without much work, but it takes consistency and that's not always easy.

Steve dragged the dummy around for me so I could work on my own roping skills, and that helped. I hadn't caught one all night before we practiced on the dummy, and after that I was able to catch some.

This week sure did fly by! I volunteered to take photos for the 4-H Horse and Pony show this weekend, but I'm not really looking forward to that. In the past I've done it and it's only been a 1 day show, but this year the show is both days, so my weekend is pretty much shot... I'll bring a book to read and work on my tan... which is stupid because I don't tan... I turn red and then pale again. *sigh*

Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A New Halter and Thistles for Dinner

I got my prize from Andrea in the mail today! She held a contest over at her blog, whoever could guess how many porcupine quills she pulled out of her mustang's nose would win a prize. I guessed 21, and the answer was 22. Nobody guessed 22 so I was the closest! I won a hand tied rope halter that Andrea made. I love it! I tried it on Risk right away and it fits great. It's not like the rope halters I'm used to, it is made of thinner rope, but I really like the way it looks. Thanks Andrea! I might have to hold a contest of my own again...

Riskie could be a halter model...

I saddled Risk up tonight and we braved the mosquito swarms together. We worked on picking up the correct lead and stopping when I throw my rope. She's getting it, that's for sure.

Risk in her roping gear

The pasture that I ride in is full of really tall thistles that I have to ride around to avoid. They
are a good way to make sure I've got control of my horse... If the horse doesn't go exactly where
I tell it, chances are we'll end up running into one of these giant weeds.

As I was walking Risk down to the pasture, I stopped to open the gate and saw her very carefully pluck the purple flower off of the thistle! I couldn't believe it! That thing still had thorns on it, too. It was so funny I had to go back and get my camera to get a video of it...

Does this look like something you'd want to eat???

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cutest. Puppy. Ever.

I was just reminiscing about the days when my giant, hairy, smelly, whining Aussie was a wee pup. I miss being able to carry him around. He was seriously, the cutest puppy ever born... I don't care what you say!

Bask in the cuteness that is Puppy Caper...

I guess he did turn into a pretty handsome dog... but it's sad that they don't stay little for longer...

I haven't done much riding due to the ridiculous amount of mosquitos that have taken over the land. I did get on Risk and practiced throwing my rope and stopping. I just worked her along the driveway on the mowed grass. She did much better stopping while we rode away from the barn than she did going towards it... funny how that works, isn't it?

Going back to work wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and another artist is on vacation this whole week so I've got lots to keep me busy. Having too much work to do usually makes the days go by much faster.

Well, I didn't have much to say in the first place so I'm going to end it here before things get random and out of control! Have a good week! Maybe something interesting will happen during mine and I'll have more to write about...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Team Roping, Team Roping and More Team Roping...

Can anyone guess what I've been up to on my vacation?

Heh, yep, team roping is correct. But, not on any of my horses.

Wednesday night I went over to watch my trainer and a few of his students practice. I worked the chutes and listened in on the advice everyone was getting.

Thursday I went over to my Uncle's place to get his horses ready before he got home from work. He let me ride Brady again, and that was a lot of fun. He knows his job so well. The girl who trained him was there and she gave me some good advice. I told her that my mare just didn't know to stop automatically the way Brady does. She told me that heel horses need to stop when they see the rope fall in front of them, so I should just practice twirling my rope off of Risk, and when I throw it, stop her. It's so simple, I can't believe I didn't think to practice this on my own! She's a smart mare so I know she'll get it pretty quickly. The best part is that I don't even need a steer around to practice this part.

Brady was really good for me and I caught quite a few, but only singles. I always manage to catch the right leg, but not the left.

Today I went over to my trainers place again to watch a reining lesson (because it's free to watch!) and then help out with the chutes again. Before they started roping the live steers they were dragging the dummy around and practicing on that. One of the old cowboys that showed up to rope let me ride his little mare. She was a lot of fun, and very much like riding Riskie. Short strided and quick. I got some good advice from those old cowboys, too.

The farrier came this morning and I had him put front shoes on Risk. She's good to go now, so I am going to start riding her a little more. She is so fat and out of shape!

My vacation will be over before I know it, but I think I spent it well... and I even kept it pretty cheap. I had fun, and I relaxed quite a bit, so I'm happy with that.

I am off to read now! I hope you all have a happy (and safe) 4th!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pictures From The Show

Jelaine and Charlie spinning

Lee and Polly loping circles

Missy and Boots sliding

I had a BLT from Subway tonight and it was delicious!
I am starting my vacation tonight and I have a head cold, a sun burn, a cold sore and lots of mosquito bites... but I don't care because I don't have to work tomorrow!!

That is all...

Monday, June 29, 2009

1st Reining Show - A Lesson In Counting

So, the show went pretty good... or as good as a first show doing something new can go I guess. My biggest goal was to do the pattern while remaining upright... that goes for me and Remington, and we accomplished that. There was no falling over or falling off. My 2nd goal was to do the pattern correctly. I didn't exactly meet this goal, but that just leaves me something to improve upon at the next reining show.

I entered the green rider reining class and that is the last one of the day. So, I had all day to memorize my pattern, and memorize I did! Pattern number 2 was chosen for my class.

The plan was to just go in and complete the pattern. My trainer told me not to worry about doing fast spins or flying changes. Just go in and find out what it's like to ride a reining pattern. So that's what I did. It was a lot of fun too! I was pretty nervous so I know I wasn't concentrating as hard as I should have. Our circles were more like ovals... and after I did my simple change to the left I thought I heard someone in the stands say something about being on the wrong lead so I broke to a trot before I started my large fast circles. Turns out that wasn't needed and I had the correct lead in the first place. It was pretty sloppy, but I know I can improve on that.

It was very windy, so when I was doing the first rundown my hat flew off. Then after the rollback to rundown to the other end of the arena, Rem wasn't sure what my hat was doing sitting on the ground in his path, so instead of running straight we ran diagonally...

Then it was time to spin... thus the counting lesson. I don't even remember counting wrong, but I do remember being unsure... so it's quite possible that I did 5 spins instead of 4. That's where we zeroed out. There are so many things you can get a zero for, and over-spinning is one of them. So, I was glad we got a zero at the end of our pattern... that way I could still see how I scored on the previous maneuvers... which was not good! Ha, but that's okay. Can't expect much when we don't do flying changes. Our stops and rollbacks (which he could have done better) were only -1/2 so I was happy with that. He doesn't have sliding plates on, so he doesn't slide the way most of the other horses did that were there.

I'm not sure when my next show will be, but I know I will be way more confident when we step into that arena.

I don't have any photos of me and Rem, but I've got some good ones of my friends. I still have to get them off my camera though...

I have to go to work tomorrow, but then I've got the rest of the week off! The only bad part about that is I'm broke(reining shows are expensive), so I won't be doing anything that require cash :-P That's okay though, the weather should be nice enough to ride during the day and I've got 2 horses that could use some work, so I'll have a great vacation riding them!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Because Everybody Else Is Doing It...

Here is a fun little reining freestyle to MJ's Thriller...

May he rest in peace...

In other news, I am going to a reining show with Rem tomorrow. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Too HOT!

It's way too hot out...

I haven't ridden since Saturday. Jess and I went to Palmyra and I'm glad I didn't bring Riskie. The trails have gotten so rocky. Rem's feet didn't chip out, but Nash had quite a few chips by the end of our ride. I know Riskie would have been hurting.

It was a good ride, we were probably out for two and a half hours. The bugs were bad and it got progressively hotter as the ride went on, but it wasn't miserable. When we got back we gave both the boys a bath and let them roll in the sand pit.

Sunday we put hay up. I am so glad I had help from my friends, Kate and Tim, as well as Aubrey's dad. It would have been so much harder without them. It's about a 30 minute drive with a hay wagon from where we get the hay to the barn, so it was nice to have 2 trucks hauling wagons back and forth. There were 4 wagons all together. We've got 560 bales, so that should be good for the Winter. I am only feeding a flake or two a day to each horse since we have so much pasture. They are all fat and happy. I told Aubrey's dad that we won't need to get anymore hay for the year and he said "As long as you don't buy another horse". I told him to tell me "no" when I ask... haha. It's best if I don't get any ideas.

Yesterday and today have been the hottest days yet... the humidity is pretty bad as well. When I got to the barn after work the horses were standing in the dry lot just sweating. I am guessing the bugs are pretty bad out on the pasture. I have been letting them out pretty early, so hopefully they're getting their fill of grass before retreating to the barn.

They looked so miserable today that I hosed them all off. I think they enjoyed it, and their bodies were much cooler after that. I hope it helped them to be a little more comfortable.

It's supposed to be warm all week, but I'm hoping the humidity drops some by the end of the week. I'd like to get some riding in, but I won't ride my horses if they are sweating bullets just from standing around.

Next week I have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off from work, so I'm really hoping for decent weather. Otherwise I'll just have to beat the heat and ride early in the morning.

Sorry for the boring post... Here's a picture that will make things more entertaining...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Me and Dad on one of my Uncle's rope horses - 1988 or 89??

Me and Dad, High School Graduation 2003

I haven't shared this story with too many people, so I thought today would be a good day to do it.

My dad died in February of 2005. He had Leukemia.

Before he passed away he was determined to buy one of the new 05 Ford Mustangs. He had always liked the Ford Mustang, but he enjoyed the older body styles best, so when the new 05 model came out he had to have one. It was a throwback to the older body styles he grew up with.

I remember him telling me about the test drives and showing me the new catalog. I still have that catalog... He even told me that when he passed away, he'd leave the car to me. I thought that was pretty cool, but I'd rather he not talk like that! He was on his second round of Chemotherapy by then.

Dad never got the chance to buy his car.

It seems that he found a way to keep his promise to me though. You see, Remington is my 05 Mustang, the year is even branded in symbols on his neck. My dad knew that I would much rather have a real Mustang than a car. That is one of the reasons I had to keep my horse, and I knew it was meant to be when Patti let me take him home for free.

So Happy Father's day to all the great dads out there!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunday's Lesson

Aubrey and Chocolate, Me and Rem

Sunday morning was the group lesson. Aubrey really liked the lesson she took back over Thanksgiving break so she wanted to come along again. There were quite a few new people at the lesson, and the most we've ever had at one so it was a little more disorganized than usual. The levels of horse and rider were so different so it was a little hard finding something we could all work on. We mostly just worked on transitions like at the last lesson.

Aubrey got some really good insight into why her pony looks collected, but feels heavy. Chocolate is quite the mustang... she is pretty much all pony as far as her attitude. When she drops the attitude and really tries for Aubrey, they make a great team. I saw some really nice moments during the lesson that made Chocolate look like a miniature reining horse.

Remington had some really nice walk to lope transitions that made me happy. It really isn't an easy thing for them to do. I think I'm ready to start slowing his lope down and collecting him more... maybe at next year's June show I'll stick around for the afternoon Western pleasure classes :-) Who knows... maybe by the August show I'll have him ready to do a pleasure class.

I still can't decide if that walk/trot class was a fluke or not... I never thought we'd get 1st against those nice Quarter Horses...

I don't have much planned for this week as far as horse stuff goes. I think I will give both horses a break... at least until the end of the week. They both worked hard for me this weekend.

Saturday I might go trail riding with Jess, depending on the weather. I would like to take Risk, but if we go somewhere with rocky trails I'll probably have to take Rem... Riskie's hooves are flaring out pretty bad. I will probably have to put a set of shoes on her next time the farrier is out. I thought once Luna was sold my farrier bill would go down... I think it's going to go up if I have to put shoes on!! Oh well... that's the way it goes I guess.

We were able to get a wagon load of our hay on Sunday night when they started baling it. I'm going to have to pick the rest up this Sunday. At least when I put hay up I don't feel bad about not going to the gym... The weight loss thing is going okay. I am still losing, slowly but surely. The hardest part is not over-eating when we have potlucks at work. The desserts just sit there all day, calling my name... *sigh*

Okay this post is getting random and off-topic... maybe because it's 2 in the morning? Why am I not sleeping!?! Okay I am going to shut the computer and turn out the light and hope that when I wake up it's Friday... hahahaaaa, yeah right... well, have a good week everybody.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Videos From The Show

Sr. Showmanship

1. Start at Cone A
2. Walk to Cone B
3. Trot from Cone B to past Cone C, make a circle
and continue trotting to the Judge.
4. Stop in front of the Judge, back 5 steps and complete a 360 degree
turn to the right.
5. Set up for inspection.

Jackpot Walk/Trot Equitation Pattern

1. Start at Cone A trot to Cone B.
2. Stop at Cone B and back 4 steps.
3. Trot a circle and continue past Cone B to Cone C.
4. Stop at Cone C.

Sr. Showmanship

Jackpot Walk Trot - Pattern work

Jackpot Walk Trot - Rail work

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Open June Show 2009

Remington and I after the pattern work in Jackpot Open W/T

Riskie and I in Sr. Showmanship

Today was a lot of fun. The morning started off with rain, which was disappointing because they did cut our hay on Thursday and it got rained on. I am hoping since it cleared up in the afternoon they will have raked it and it will be dry by the time they bale it... Anyway, RAIN! In the morning. I wasn't going to let a little rain ruin my fun so I caught my two grumpy horses and loaded them up. Aubrey decided to leave Chocolate behind today. She didn't think it would be fair to take her to a show when she hasn't ridden her in a few months, I can understand that. We got to the fair grounds at about 7:15. I sat in the truck for a good while to see if the rain was going to let up. I figured the horses wouldn't mind standing in the trailer, at least they'd be staying dry.

Once it got closer to 8:00 I headed over to register for my classes. I signed up for Sr. Showmanship and Trail with Risk, and Jackpot Open Walk/Trot Pleasure/Equitation and Trail with Rem. My first class was class #8 so I had lots of time to get ready for it. I unloaded the horses and Aubrey hung up their hay bags, that made them a little less grumpy. It was still spitting rain, but it was tolerable. The show didn't even get started until 8:30 so Aubrey, her friend Ben, and I just sat in the truck and watched classes until it was time for me to go.

Showmanship was my first class. There were 8 in the class. Risk and I went first and we had a really great pattern for the most part. Our back-up was slightly crooked and when I set her up she moved a hind foot as the judge started inspection. Then, I hesitated while doing my boxes and I thought I screwed them up. I was really disappointed that our pattern ended the way it did. As I watched the other people go, I noticed that I wasn't the only one making slight mistakes. There were people who took too many steps back, as the pattern called for 5 steps. There was another competitor who misjudged her distance from a cone and that put her in an awkward spot to pivot. A few horses stepped out of their setup, more noticeably than my own.
By the end of the class I was unsure how my own faults would measure up against my competitors, it seemed like nobody had a flawless pattern. It turns out the judge was on our side and we ended up placing 1st! I was really happy with that. Riskie is such a good showmanship horse, I can let her go all year without practicing and she still remembers what I taught her as a 2 year old when she was my last 4-H project.

After showmanship there was a lunch break so I saddled Rem up and took him into the arena to warm up. He did great. I wasn't sure how he'd react to all the chairs and people sitting just on the other side of the arena, but he did fine. He didn't even look at them. He sure has come a long way... He warmed up nicely so I kept it short and headed back to the trailer.

After warming Rem up I saddled Risk and decided to get trail out of the way. I was disappointed with the pattern because there were some really tight lope-throughs. I guess I shouldn't be upset with whoever made the pattern, but I just knew my horses wouldn't be able to do it. I know there were horses that accomplished the lope-throughs correctly, but neither of mine did. It was one of those situations where you needed all kinds of collection and I am not at the point with either of my horses at the lope. So, I ended up placing 4th with Rem and 5th with Risk.

My last class of the day was the Jackpot Open Walk/Trot Pleasure/Equitation. You had to pay $10 at the gate to enter this class and money awards were given to 1st through 3rd. I originally wasn't going to enter because I wasn't sure we'd have much of a chance, but decided it would be good for Rem and I was curious how we'd place since I've been working on his trot lately. There was a pattern with this class because 50% of the judging was Equitation (judging the rider's skills) and 50% was Pleasure (judging the horse's movement). The pattern was - Trot from cone A to cone B. Stop at B and back 4 steps. Trot past cone B and complete a circle continuing on to Cone C. Stop at cone C. My pattern went pretty smoothly, though I was a little disappointed that Rem threw his head out and grabbed the bit on our first stop. I also felt like I was working hard to keep him straight as I trotted out of the circle and to the last cone.

There were 8 riders in the class, and I didn't see everyone's pattern, but it is harder for me to pick out riding errors than it is for me to see errors in a class like showmanship. I think the class would have really been hard to judge because there was a huntseat rider, a few green horses with snaffles/bosals and finished western horses with curb bits.

After the pattern work we did some rail work. I am unsure how to present Remington as there is no written standard of how a mustang should be shown. I suppose it depends on the type of mustang you have. Western Arabian horses are shown with a higher headset than a Quarter Horse, but it is more acceptable for a Quarter Horse to carry his head slightly in front of the vertical where as Arabians are always on or slightly behind the vertical. I also didn't know how much contact I should have. I know in a cub bit on a finished pleasure horse you don't want any contact, but I rode Rem in a snaffle with two hands, so I thought a little contact would be okay. I just tried to show him to the best of my ability.

When we came in to line up, I honestly had no idea where I stood in the placings, so I was more than surprised when my name was called for 1st! I won my entry fee of $10 back and got an additional $10 on top of it. I was so proud of my little Mustang, because there were a lot of nice, finished Quarter Horses in that class!

I have video to share, but it will have to wait until tomorrow! It's getting late and I have to be up at 7 for our lesson tomorrow. Thanks for reading, I hope you all have a great Sunday!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Looking Forward to the Weekend!

So last weekend I didn't do a thing with the horses except feed them. It was rainy both days and I just stayed inside all weekend.

I am hoping the weather cooperates this weekend. Aubrey is coming home! She was originally coming home because we thought we might be putting hay up this weekend, but with all the rain we've had, the hay isn't even cut yet. I doubt it will be cut and baled by the weekend, but who knows... So anyway, there is an open 4-H show at the fairgrounds on Saturday that we just might head over to. We don't want to stay the whole day so we would probably just do the morning classes. I want to take Riskie and Remington. I would do showmanship with Risk, walk/trot with Rem, and Trail with both horses. The show starts at 8 so I imagine we'd be finished by noon. That's about all the showing I can take these days. I get cranky pretty fast when I have to wear show attire.

Sunday is a group lesson, and Aubrey will get to bring her pony! I am very excited.

Now if only it were Friday night instead of Wednesday...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

She'll Make A Rope Horse Yet...

I took a half day of work today, so I could go roping again! Risk is really coming along, and enjoying this team roping business. She is getting good about getting up behind the steer and staying where she belongs. She is beginning to anticipate the turn when the header dallies, which is good and bad. Good because she's learning her job, but also bad because she doesn't always turn the way she should. She likes to leave her hip hanging out there, so I have to use my spur to bring her hip around before we can get in behind the steer.

The good new is that spurs don't bother her anymore! We were tracking a steer pretty good and he stopped to drag right in front of us, Risk hit the breaks and I accidently dug my spurs into her belly as I tried to keep my balance. She wasn't bothered at all this time around. That made me happy, but I also felt bad for sticking her when she was watching out for me. But, she knows when to tolerate it and when to respond now :-)

I think her favorite part is breaking from the box. I just move my hand forward and she goes! That might be my favorite part about roping too. I do like to go fast, and it's so much fun to go from a standstill to a full out gallop in 3 strides.

Breaking from the box (on the wrong lead)

Taking a break.

I know a few of you are wondering what I decided about the Mustang Makeover. I thought it best to sit this one out. I will consider doing the Midwest one again (if there is going to be one), but the gas prices keep jumping up and summer is just beginning. I am going to concentrate on my 2 horses this summer, because I am still learning so much from both of them. Doing the Mustang Challenge really showed me how much I don't know about finishing horses, and that's something I want to get a handle on before I do anymore outside training. I know you can't finish a horse in 100 days, but I feel like if I knew what I know now I could have gotten Remington going better in time for the competition. Anyway, enough of this nonsensical babbling!

Tomorrow is FRIDAY! Yay! There's rain in the forecast for this weekend, so I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet, but if it has anything to do with the ponies, I'll be sure to write about it on Sunday. Hope you all have a good weekend, and stay on TOP of your ponies :-)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

June already?

Seems like May flew by... where did it go? I have been struggling with a decision, though I think I know the answer. The deadline for application for the Eastern States Mustang Makeover is tomorrow. I have been going back and forth on whether or not I should apply again. I really don't think I'll have the money, especially if gas prices keep going up like they say they will. I also don't know that I could let another mustang go... and I know I'd have to. It was easier than I thought to let Luna go to a new home... but I pretty much had an entire year to prepare myself to let her go. I also didn't have near the amount of work in her that I would put into another mustang...

I got an email from her new owner today. She and Luna are working with the barn owner/trainer. She said that the trainer is very impressed with Luna, so that made me feel really good.

Anyway... I could still fax in my application tomorrow... but I haven't asked Aubrey's dad if it would be okay to take on another mustang... it's their facility after all. *sigh* I guess I will sleep on it and see what happens when I wake up...

The weekend was good. Saturday I went to a lesson and we worked on collection for the most part. It was enlightening to say the least :-) I wasn't going to go because I am trying to save money, but I have a hard time passing up a chance to learn more while actually riding my horse.

Later, my mom wanted to go for a ride, so I saddled up Risk for her and I took Remington. We just rode around the property, but it was fun. My mom is so good at stating the obvious when we're around horses... It's not exactly funny at the time but looking back it makes me laugh. Like when Remington lifted his tail to poop... she lets out this huge gasp like she's completely appalled... Really, mom??? You've never seen a horse poop before?? I don't always have the patience I need to explain horseback riding to my mother, so sometimes I get a little short, I hope she doesn't mind. Riskie puts up with her antics well enough, though. After my mom figured out that the reason Risk kept trotting off, was because she was leaning forward, they got along much better. Risk sometimes takes advantage of my mom's inexperience, but I know she wouldn't do anything crazy (it's not like I give my mom spurs to wear!).

I didn't do any riding today, just let the horses out to pasture. The air show was going on this weekend, and Aubrey's place is close to the airport. The horses had the Blue Angels flying over their pasture all weekend. That's quite the desensitizing experience. I don't think they mind as long as there's grass in front of their faces!

Here is Remington wondering why the heck I'm snapping photos instead of unsaddling him and letting him out to eat grass... All the horses are so shiny now, I sure don't miss those shaggy winter coats...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Bridle

Here is a photo of Rem and his new bridle... well I guess it's not that new anymore. I got it at Midwest Horse Fair.

It's been rainy all week again, so I haven't done any riding at all. The horses sure are getting fat though. I'll have to start feeding a few flakes of hay and locking them off the pasture soon. Remington is still growing, so he's not quite as fat as the 2 mature mares. They are about ready to burst at the seams.

Hopefully I'll get some riding in this weekend. I can't believe I still have one more day of work. It was a short work week, but it seemed so long... Oh well, maybe tomorrow will go by fast.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Now what??

Selling my Appaloosa sure has got me wondering what I should call the blog now that I'm down to 1 Appaloosa and 1 Mustang... I'll be thinking about that for a while...

Luna is at her new home now. I am glad I was able to drop her off, it gave me a chance to see where she would be living. It's a really nice place, with very large pastures. I think she will like it, though I am sure she will miss her friends. I wonder if I am humanizing her too much... but I really believe that horses make bonds with other horses that can last a lifetime. I also believe that even after years of being apart a horse will recognize a herd mate. What do you think?

Anyway, before I dropped Luna off I went to roping practice again with Risk. I was able to take her on Tuesday night, too. She's not a rope horse yet, she's still learning, and Tuesday she was still afraid to get up behind the steer in the position she needs to be in order for me to throw my rope... so... today I decided to wear spurs. Well, I have worn spurs on her in the past, but apparently I didn't use them the way I did today, because she got to bucking when I asked her to move up behind the steer. I stayed on her longer than I would have stayed on Remington... but she did get me off. So, I tossed my rope aside and hopped back on... she'll learn to deal with these spurs I told myself. So, I asked again the same way for her to move forward and she got to bucking again, but I was able to hang on this time... though it wasn't pretty. We worked things out and in the end she realized that spurs are not a cue to buck... My trainer tells me that if a horse can tolerate a saddle on his back, then he can tolerate a spur to the belly, and I'd have to agree with him. I know many people think spurs are cruel, and I may have thought that once as well, but just like any other training aid we use, in the right hands (or should I say heels?) they are an excellent aid. The last run I took on Risk was perfect, she broke from the box like a bullet and when my header ducked off to the left she fell right in line behind the steer and set me up for a perfect throw, I was able to catch both heels. This time, she knew what I wanted, and I didn't even have to use my spurs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sold! and a busy Sunday...

Just when I was thinking I'd be holding onto Luna for a while longer, I found a home for her. A woman from Illinois found her on Craigslist, and we'd been emailing back and forth for a week or so. She and her husband came out to see Luna on Saturday.

Luna, happened to be on her worst behavior when they showed up. Probably because of my own nerves... She didn't stand stock still for saddling the way she normally does, but it wasn't that big of a deal. She still stood well for a 3 year old, just not like she usually does. Then, when I took her out to the arena she started screaming for her herd mates. She normally never does that. She insisted on trotting while I longed her, even though I wanted a walk... I finally got it. And then, she wanted to trot off under saddle, which also is not like her. I suppose it's good that they saw the worst of her and still wanted to take her.

Before they left, they said they'd give me a call and let me know their decision, that afternoon. It wasn't 10 minutes after they drove off that I saw their number pop up on my cell phone. I thought for sure, such a quick decision would be that they didn't want to take on such a green horse, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they really liked her, and wanted to take her! So, next weekend I'll be hauling her to her new home.

I sold her for less than what I was asking on the stipulation that she would get at least 60 days of professional training. I am not sure how much the woman who is buying her knows about green horses, but I do know she has owned horses in the past. Luna will be stabled at a boarding barn, so that makes me feel good. She will have company, and her owner will have good advice from fellow boarders, I hope.

Today was a good full day of riding. Since they put a deposit down on Luna, I decided to go to the group reining lesson this week. We worked on really setting our horses up for their leads. I have a tendency to over bend Rem when I'm asking for a lead. I always thought that you had to have their nose tipped to the inside, but really all you need is for them to give you their chin. Once you have their chin, you can slow their front end down and push their rear end up into it for collection. After that, you ask for their hip to move over with your outside leg, and support with your inside leg so that just their hip comes in, not their shoulder. Then you can ask them to lope off. I don't usually have any problems with my leads, but Remington only knows how to run into them, so breaking it down and making sure I slow his front end before asking really helped him to lope off collected instead of running off. Now I've got something new to practice for a few weeks. It's so exciting to feel my horse getting better and better. I am confident in my ability to start colts, but beyond the basics I can't say that I know a whole lot about finishing a horse. That's why I am taking lessons, to learn what it takes to finish out a horse.

After my lesson, I decided to head over to team roping practice to watch my Uncle Bill, and his friend's, Steve and Bill, rope. I thought about taking Riskie along, but decided against it so I just had Rem with me. Rem got a chance to track a few calves and he did really well. I think he had a good time.

When they got started roping I decided to unsaddle Rem, since he had been wearing it all morning, and just watch. Apparently my Uncle decided that meant I should rope off of one of his horses! Oh boy... I haven't roped in a while, but I thought it might be fun so I agreed. It turned out to be a blast! I had so much fun. I rode my Uncle's youngest horse, Brady. He took good care of me, even though he is kind of new to roping as well. I think he is 6 this year. I was heeling, so I didn't dally or anything like that. I missed most of the time, but I caught a few singles.

Steve decided we should rope for money, so everyone put a dollar in the pot (I only had a 20, so my Uncle paid for me). It was Steve and I against Bill and Bill. Steve talked the Bill's into letting us have 8 points right off the bat, since I'm new to this. Each horn is worth a point and each back leg is worth a point, so you can get 4 total, per steer, but the header and the heeler have to catch in order for them to count, you won't get points if just the header catches.

We had 8 cattle to work with but only 4 counted for points, we took the 4 best runs. I think I caught two singles in our set, so we wound up with 13 points.

Bill and Bill actually missed their first 4 steers, so Steve and I thought we would win for sure. But then, things changed... The Bill's pulled things together and wound up getting points for all four of their last steers. They ended up tying us with 13 points!

It was pretty exciting, actually. We had to have a rope off! We would each get a chance to catch one more steer. Steve and I went first. Steve hardly ever misses, and he caught our steer, but it was only one horn. As I went in to follow I started to swing my rope and it wound up around my horse's head somehow... heh heh... whoops! Steve told me to get untangled and keep trying, so I was able to straighten things out and get up behind the steer, I threw my loop and wound up catching one back leg! So, we had 2 points, even though it wasn't much to watch.

Bill and Bill missed their steer (possibly on purpose, to make me feel good), so Steve and I won the rope-off, and we each won 2 dollars!

I didn't have any photos from this weekend, so instead I'll include some from last year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stormy Wednesday

It's been threatening to rain and storm all day, and it finally decided to let loose as I was driving home from work. I was hoping it would hold off so I could at least get the dogs out to the barn for a little bit, but that didn't happen. I decided I should really get to the gym, because I haven't gone since Saturday, so I went and rode the stationary bike for half an hour. I don't like going when there's so many people there, so I didn't want to hang around for long. I have lost six pounds since April 25th, so I am excited that what I am doing is working. Hopefully I can stick with it.

Caper is very afraid of storms, so he was happy to see me when I got home. He hasn't left my side all night. It is calming down now though, so hopefully he won't stay too stressed out about it.

Caper, happy in this picture because the weather is nice!

Winter is so long that I forget the things I don't care for about Summer... The bugs have been bad lately. Especially the ones that bite the horse's ears. Aubrey learned about parasites last semester, so she was telling me the names of all the different pesky flies, but I forgot them already. All I know is that they're a pain in the butt!!!

Aubrey went to Farm and Fleet yesterday and bought some fly spray for the ponies. However, she forgot the horse cookies.... See all those horses lined up at the gate, patiently waiting for a horse cookie? Well, there was none to be had... I made sure they knew it was Aubrey who forgot, not me... I think they're at least thankful for the fly spray. I'll have to stop and get them some cookies next time I'm out that way.

What do you mean, there's no cookies!?!

Well I hope the rest of the week goes by fast for everyone! I don't have much of anything planned for the weekend, but I'm hoping it's nice so I can get a few good rides in...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Riding Luna

Luna's face is just about healed up, so it's back to work for her. I saddled her up tonight and took her out to the big arena. I realized I really didn't have any riding pictures of her, besides the few from when I had Aubrey climb on and off when we first started her. Riding pictures would probably help sell her... So, I took advantage of Aubrey and her photo taking skills, once again.

Luna is obviously still very green, she doesn't really have steering down yet, but it's getting there. I can't expect to much because I have taken things so slow with her. I don't believe she's had more than 10 or 11 rides. I guess the main reason I don't want to put too much work into her is because I'll probably end up getting too attached to sell her... and that is not an option. I've got to cut costs somewhere... But, I know she will make someone a great horse, she is so level headed.

I've gotten a few emails from people wanting to see photos, but no one has offered to come out and see her in person yet. I am thinking I should probably put an ad up on a horse for sale site instead of Craigslist... Now that I've got a few photos of her being ridden, that's probably what I'll end up doing.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I had Aubrey take a short video of one of the things Rem and I have been working on. Rollbacks!

I think out of the three rollbacks in the video, the first one was the best(shown 2 times). We worked on rollbacks in the last couple of lessons that I took. I took a break from them for a while because I was getting a little frustrated with Rem and myself. I picked them up again a couple days ago, and the break seems to have helped Rem get things together. He is a really fast learner, which is good and bad. He can learn a bad habit pretty quickly, so I was a little hesitant to continue the rollback work by myself, without my trainer there telling me what I need to do. But, at the same time, if I just wait around for a lesson to work on this stuff, we probably won't get much better.

Anyway, here is what I learned about rollbacks from our lesson... you can watch the video and tell me if I'm following the correct sequence.

The single, most important aspect of the rollback is to GET OUT!!! Heh heh. You can do all the other steps, but if your horse doesn't think he needs to get out of there, it won't be a really good rollback. Rollbacks are supposed to be complete 180 degree turns. You can see in the video that Rems rollbacks could be tighter (the first one was okay, probably because we rolled back into the fence). I think I need to get him back on his haunches more when I'm asking him to leave in order to achieve this. Anyway, back to how I cue.

I trot Rem in a straight line and stop. It's important to trot your horse into the stop when practicing rollbacks so he doesn't learn to run off. Once stopped, I ask for a back, first with my reins and once he is started backing I ask him to continue with my spurs. It's important that your horse backs off of leg pressure, and not reins because the rein is what cues him to roll back.

The reason we back our horses before the rollback is to get POWER. The power comes from their hind end, and they're already on their hind end when we ask them to back. Once my horse is backing in a straight line off of my legs, I move my inside leg back, and out of the way to allow his shoulder to come through. I turn my head and look the way I want to roll back, past my horses hip and then I cue him with my neck rein. He should follow my gaze and respond to the neck rein by rocking back on his haunches, doing a complete 180 and GETTING OUT of it.

It's a lot to remember, but Rem has learned that when I move my leg back and out of the way it's time to move. It's a lot of fun, and I'd venture to say that he enjoys it too!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

For My Mom

Rem, Mom and Luna - taken last summer.

Happy Mother's day, to my mom and all the wonderful mom's out there.

I just wanted to take a little time to say how important my mom is to me. She always put my brother and I before herself when we were growing up. She made sure we had all the things we needed and then some.

As most of you know, I've always been horse crazy, and she did everything she could afford to make sure my need to be around horses was met.

We couldn't always afford lessons, so she worked for me to take them. She mucked out stalls at the boarding stable in exchange for me to take riding lessons. She would also drive me out to my Aunt and Uncle's place on many summer weekends so I could ride their horses. (I also have my Grandma to thank, for driving me out on weeknights when my mom worked).

When I graduated high school, I decided it was time I finally owned my own horse. Although I heard from many people that it was not a good idea to buy a horse when I would be heading to school, I did it anyway. My mom has always supported me in my decisions, even when she doesn't think they're always right. She isn't afraid to give me her opinion, but at the same time she doesn't try to persuade me one way or the other. She always says, I need to do what's right for me, not anybody else.

So, I just wanted to say happy Mother's Day, to my mom. Thanks for raising me to be the woman I am today :-)