Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yup, it was a disaster!

I must say, the boy was NOT good today. NOT good, at all. He is SO much better with consistent work, and he has just not been consistently worked due to all the rain. I decided that since it was SUCH a beautiful day, and I'd just ridden him Friday, he didn't need to be longed. Hmm.

Yeah, he needed to be longed. The goob stood still while I climbed up on the little step ladder and swung my leg over, then was good while I walked a lap around the pasture in 2 point, but as soon as I asked for the trot, that head went down, swung back and forth, and he tried to go fast. I half halted, got him slower, then he'd leap up in the air. We'd bend, go forward, try to run, buck. It was the crappy, endless cycle that went on and on. Finally, I removed my spurs.

For those of you shaking your head at the stupidity of big roller spurs on a fresh Thoroughbred on a late December afternoon, he's gone GREAT in them before, at Crazy Lady's farm. In fact, it had ben a real epiphany how well he went in them. Well, today, he was having none of it. So, I dismounted, removed the offending metal posts, and climbed back on. After attempting to trot in a big circle somewhat resembling a RING, I felt what it was like to Capriole. Let's just say I won't be applying to the Vienna School of Riding anytime soon. I finally slapped on a little good 'ol discipline; circling, yelling, and stinging my hand with a slap on the rump. I didn't give in to his shenanigans, and continued to ask for the trot, one rein stopping when he tried to run off, and attempting to work in a ring-like area. FINALLY, he gave up ... a little.

I was very grateful for the warm weather, because I had JUST enough sweat to stick really well, but I wasn't uncomfortably hot or anything. Tiki, on the other hand, was soaked to the skin. We FINALLY got in some productive trotting; I got some really good practice remembering how to maintain a consistent rhythm at the trot despite a non-consistent rhythm by the horse. We finally got a nice pace, a relaxed head and neck, and some relative straightness. Cantered a few times, and experienced lots of crow hopping, flat out bucking, and lots of switching out behind. Needless to say, I will be borrowing a saddle from the barn until I can get a new one that fits. It's a pain, but I'd rather be uncomfortable and the HORSE be comfortable until funds allow for BOTH our comforts. I don't know that that had anything to do with it, but I will be interested to see how he reacts to a regular tree saddle. We're planning that trail ride Sunday, but I hope to squeeze in another ride or 2 Thursday and Friday, weather permitting. No sense in having a horse if I don't ride him! Wish us luck.:)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Finally ... the rain STOPPED!

So, after an eternity of rain, rain, and more rain, I was able to more or less forget about my horrible bareback event, and actually ride. And he had another fat ankle. AGH! I just pretended I didn't see it, rubbed on some liniment gel, and fastened on his spiffy new boots. (The fat ankle was just a little soft swelling on the outer left hind; it was just stocked up, for anyone horrified.;)) I waited around on Joyce and Debbie, the 2 ladies riding with me, and we set off across the street to wander aimlessly through right of ways, and pray the hunters didn't mistake our chestnut and appy horses for deer.

Literally, as we traipsed through belly high grass, crossed over rocky dry creeks, and wound our way through the power lines, we sand loudly so the hunters wouldn't shoot us. Hunting season is almost.over. Woo Hoo! Tiki didn't try to kill me! He was very unspooky, didn't squeal at me, and didn't dance/jig/or otherwise act like a bone head. He DID want to be in front, but we had NO idea where we were going, so I made him walk in the back. He got a little anxious when Peaches the appy pony wanted to prance and jig, herself, but he just put his head down, snuffled, and power walked the whole time. SUCH a good boy!

I will enjoy the 65 degree weather tomorrow, and ride him in his pasture, hopefully doing some transitions and getting in some meaningful work. Some ladies are planning a Sunday trail ride in the 1000 acres across the street that will have been vacated by the hunters, so I am planning an actual hour plus ride then. I hope it all works out!!:) I love my pony.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally got to ride!

Double edged sword. GA needs rain ... badly. However, since I STILL don't have a ring to ride in, I haven't been able to ride in a week. Today, I said the heck with it! The pasture I ride in wasn't too bad, so I brushed out the rain and dirt, and longed him first just to be safe. He was his normal, calm self. So ... I got on bareback. Oh. My. Gosh. I will spare the embarassing details about how that was the MOST PAINFUL thing I've ever done to myself on purpose, lol. I managed to stay on about 5 minutes, and NO TROTTING! :) I think he still needs to put on a few lbs before I try that little trick again. Kudos to the boy, though, he walked on the buckle twice around the pasture and only jigged twice when big, scary trucks roared down the road. He is such a good boy, I just love him! I plan to ride tomorrow after work; the only thing in my way is the forecast which is calling for possible showers tomorrow, so I'm just hoping things hold off until at least 4. At that point, it can rain all it wants!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I ... galloped! Yup, I aimed my pony across a huge pasture, got in 2 point, and held on for the ride! I had tears streaming down my face from the cold wind, but it was INCREDIBLE!! Very fun. My pony was great the other day. Lots of transitions, stayed very quiet at the trot, did some nice canter transitions on both leads, worked on straightness, attempting to do some bending. I definitely think he did have an ulcer, and is feeling better now because he DOES go more forward for me. I think he enjoyed his gallop, as did I, and I should have ridden him today, but I actually have to LIVE with my husband. So, I cleaned up some around the house, which I have been seriously neglecting lately. Maybe I'll get lucky and can ride in the morning before the rain comes, but that is supposed to come in tonight. Anyway, just wanted to update! My High school and Middle school riding teams went to a show this weekend and earned Reserve Champions/Champions, respectively.:) I'm the proud mama all the way around!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I'd had my saddle in the car all weekend long, and pulled it out on Wednesday before going to the barn. Once I finished cleaning the stalls, it was absolutely beautiful, and I was kicking myself in the butt for taking the dang saddle out!

In lieu of riding my boy, I groomed him and longed him. He was so filthy. He's looking a little bit more fat, though, and that makes me happy! I took him out to the grass ring and actually longed him outside the ring in the pasture. Happily, he would work, then leap in the air and buck. Then he'd squeal, canter forward and buck. Then we reversed, and he'd slip, then buck.

Why is this good? It's good because it means he was not bucking out of pain, just out of feeling good. I worry about my saddle on him; he's not fat at ALL, and my saddle's a wide tree. I've tried to sell it twice on ebay, but wide tree saddles are a more specialized market. I have a big felt pad on him right now that takes up a lot of space, so I'm thinking the saddle is fine.

Anyway, he's starting to stretch down into the side reins and round his neck a little. He still doesn't stretch down into the trot, but he'll get there. I'm proud of my sweet little guy:)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The last few weeks!

Well. I've ridden exactly 3 times in the month I've been at the new farm.:( That's definitely a bummer. I was riding way more than that at "crazy lady's" barn. As I said in my last post, the problem is that now I'm out physically working for 3 hours as opposed to brushing, grazing, hand walking, riding, etc. for 3 hours. School is over next week, so that will open up Tues/Thurs as days to go out and JUST be with Tiki.

I wanted to tell about the day we went out with the group. I was so proud. I showed up at the barn, ready to ride in the crappy little ring and there was a group of ladies getting ready to trail out. I invited myself along, knocked off the dirt, and threw on my saddle. As we headed up the big hill out to the road, Tiki jigged. Tiki has never jigged, that is SO un-Tiki-like. Granted, it was a HUGE hill ... and the boy WAS a turf horse, so that wide open hill of grass probably called to that primitive part of him that made him WANT to run. Anyway, I struggled to keep him at a walk; a nice, sedate walk. I ended up circling a lot. We tried to go out the gate, and he would NOT go behind the horse standing there. Said horse moved, and we were fine to go out the gate. We spooked at a car, leaped up a small hill, spooked at a dog when another horse spooked at a dog, and jigged a whole bunch. Once I let him get to the front of the pack, he settled down. We were up front sort of by ourselves, and he settled into his ground eating walk with his head down, snuffling. The second another horse came up beside us, he tensed up, jigged again, and became super-alert. Interesting. Rather than the other horses calming him, they just made him nervous. We worked in the neighbor's grass ring for about 15 minutes, and he was a good boy. SERIOUSLY counter-bent at the right lead canter, but what did I expect? I'd ridden him once in 2 weeks. We ended up well; all the ladies exclaimed about what a good boy he was, and how they were expecting much worse. All in all, I was proud.

So, I hadn't ridden in a week last Friday, and brought my stuff out to the barn. Nope, huge swollen leg. GREAT! I trotted him down the aisle, and he was sound. PHEW!:) Cold hosed it, wrapped it, and stuck him in his stall. Rinse and repeat Saturday and Sunday. Remove wrap Sunday afternoon; it does look better. Turn out Monday in the rain, pray he's fine Tuesday, Wednesday leg looks ALMOST normal. Turkey Day Thursday, go out Friday planning a light walk around. Leg looks PERFECT. Tight, cool, and perfectly normal. We go into crappy little ring, and he was HORRIBLE. Bucked every time I asked for a trot, walked all sucked up in this stupid, backed off frame, and leaped straight up in the air everytime he tripped (which was often). I played Clinton Anderson and rode on a LOOSE rein, then pulled him into a tight one rein circle each time he got quick. I want to grab his face and hang when he's fast, so it was very interesting to ME to ride him on no contact when I knew he was so fresh and forward. We ended up well. All I wanted was calm and quiet. I feel like we did end there. BO said footing should be in by next weekend; halleuia!!!:) I need to be more disciplined if I want my horse to be anything more than a pasture/stall ornament. Time to stop feeling sorry for myself because I have to WORK to afford my horse, and just do the work and the riding.

Anyway! That was yesterday; it's raining today and tomorrow so I won't see the boy until Monday when I go out to clean his stall. Depending on the conditions, I would like to hop on and repeat Friday's ride in the crappy ring. Hopefully he will have remembered, and will be a little better. Leg looked great after the ride; I rubbed on a little liniment gel just in case, but it was still cool tight. Yay! I just thank God for finally letting my have my pony; I do love him!!:)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

First ride at the new farm

So the boy was definitely "up" the day I decided to hack him. Right now, there's a small, uneven grass ring to ride in. You can't do too much productive work in it, but he REALLY needed to be worked. I think he worked harder at NOT working, lol. I persisted for about 30 minutes, and finally he started to get with the program. Both leads worked, we cantered over poles, and even though I HATED all the up and down, it at least is good for his balance to constantly be changing.

I'm definitely missing riding him a bunch. Once I'm finished cleaning stalls, my damn head hurts too much to worry about riding. However, in 2 weeks, school is over. The ring is supposed to be finished by the end of this month, so hopefully I can start a regular program for him. Yesterday I got a little set back because Tiki had a horribly swollen RF leg. GRRRR. Hopefully it's a minor problem because he's not lame on it. I'll check it again tomorrow after my IEA show at Hilmar Farms. I've got him on ulcer meds, and he looks like he's gaining weight. I'll get some new pics tomorrow.:)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The big move!

Yay! Time for the move! My new bo (barn owner) came to the teeny farm to pick us up in her gigantic dually and gooseneck trailer. Tiki was now going to be 10 minutes from me instead of 1 minute, but the extra 9 minute drive was going to be worth it since my boy would be taken care of every day, without me worrying about having to do it myself. My new arrangement was to work 3 days a week in exchange for a break in board. I hadn't cleaned stalls in over 10 years. I was actually looking forward to it.:)

David and Kody (husband and son, respectively) helped me load mine and Tiki's stuff in our truck, and we followed Tiki over to the new barn, Spotted Valley Stables. I ducked under the partition to untie and back him off the trailer, and he was DRIPPING sweat. Poor guy! It had been a 10 minute ride, but it had been his first time in a slant trailer; I think he likes the straight load better.:( I unloaded him and let him graze for about 10 minutes so he could cool down since it was dinner time. I checked his chest, found it cool, and led him to his very own stall! After feeding him dinner, we left.

Next day, I turned Tiki out with Billy, the old appy gelding. They ignored each other for the most part, which is better than beating each other to a pulp. I then got to work cleaning stalls. Wow. That is some freaking physical labor. Total trial and error. And out of 12 stalls, easily half the horses are PIGS!!! 3 hours later, I forced my exhaused butt to rake the dirt aisle, then drove home and collapsed in bed. Only 3 days a week for the rest of my horse's life left to do this, lol.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The trip to Patchwork

First off, I must say that I could just kick myself for not taking my camera when I took Tiki to Patchwork. Patchwork is the barn I teach at, and the board costs more than my monthly mortgage. It has a big outdoor ring with a full jump course, a nice sized covered ring, and some fantastic hills and a trail. My tentative, fairy tail plan was to unload my horse from the trailer, let him graze for a minute or 2, groom him, hop on, and hack calmly around the rings. I wanted to poke around the big ring, "work" in the covered, maybe hop over a crossrail or 2 ...

Reality. Stupid me put his sheet on since it was c.o.l.d. I mean, the coldest it's been all year. And the wind ... oh the wind. Huge gusts, wind advisory, icy cold weather. So, I figured he'd be cold in the trailer, so I put on his sheet to ship him, and he was super clean to begin with. He loaded with no problem at all, which was good since I was by myself. I drove the hour drive out to PWF with no problems or issues. Upon arrival, I lowered the ramp, undid the butt bar, and untied his lead rope to back him down. Wide eyed and trembling, he stepped off onto the gravel drive. I looked at him with a bit of a sinking feeling; he was SOAKED. His neck was covered in white foam, and when I removed his sheet, he was soaked underneath. Thankfully, I'd thought to to throw his irish knit in the trailer, so I put Tiki in the washrack and went to get his stuff out of the trailer.

Instead of standing calmly and quietly, he pawed, walked forward and back, and nodded his head nervously. I threw on the cooler, hooked on the head rope, and walked him over to a patch of grass to let him graze and "chill". I was feeling like maybe things weren't going to be quite as fairy tale perfect as I'd hoped. Tiki did graze, which I was happy about since the boy tends to stand around and stare rather than eat.

I gave him about 15 minutes, until the foam dried to a crust. I put him back in the washrack, and tried to convince him to stand still. My beautiful grooming job complete with rub rag and everything had been all for naught. I used the curry and attempted to remove the crust, then just had to shrug and move on. I tacked him up fairly quickly, and he was a BUTT head! He's never a pig, he always stands quietly. As I threw the tack on, I attempted to calm the nervous butterflies in my stomach. After securing my helmet, I slipped the bridle on his head and led him to the mounting block.

I gathered my reins and waited until he stood still. After putting my foot in the stirrup, I swung up into the saddle, and Tiki threw his head straight up in the air and skittered backwards. He then stood 'parked out' with his head straight up in the air like a giraffe and looked back and forth at the goings on, which there really was none. I closed my leg and asked for a walk, and my horse began to back straight up. I threw my hands forward, kicked, and we made our way up to the big ring. He walked in with no fanfare, but as I put him on the rail, he literally felt like he was going to explode straight up. I tried to relax him and settle him, but he just wanted to GO!

After about 20 minutes of fighting, I finally hopped off and attached the longe line. He then switched to 'auto' mode and neatly picked up a little trot around his circle. I WANTED him to buck. I would much rather him do it with me on the ground, rather than me be on his back when he did it. I stepped into him aggressively, and finally he leaped a few times. I got back on, and this time, he was much more quiet. We went back to work, and he felt much better. I worked him over the poles on the ground, and got brave enough to canter both leads. Luckily, all was good, and I didn't get bucked off! I finished by taking the mini trail ride I'd wanted. He was a wonderful boy; definitely nervous and alert, but very sensible and good.

The plan had been to take him home, but my boss suggested he stay overnight and have our farrier put his shoes on. So, I took her up on the offer! The next day, I had my old Tiki back. He stood quietly while I groomed him, stood still for the mounting, and made his way confidently up to the ring. We got in some much more productive work, and I ended the session by actually hopping over a tiny crossrail. He knocked down one side of the jump, but we trotted over the "half" rail a few times, and he leaped over neatly. For sure a successful day!!!:):)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Moving a little closer to the 'present day'.

So, life goes on, and I do some normal horse stuff with they boy. I LOVE seeing him twice a day, every day, but it can be a little bit of a pain when we have evening plans. 97% of the time, it's just me and Tiki. The BM is never out there. I go in the front gate, shoo her boogers away, and go into the barn. Tiki is finally starting to spend a little time outside of the stall, and I was excited to FINALLY have shavings in his stall. I was on the verge of buying some pelleted bedding from TSC when the BM finally managed to go get a load to go in all the stalls. I rode him a few times in his pasture, and over in the park. I think the boy's going to be a little trail pony. We get on the little pseudo trails next to the river, and he just TRUCKS!

I'd discovered Tiki is a bit lazy. We've been working on consistency at the trot. He really wanted to trot fast/walk/trot fast/walk. He really was quite a challenge. Shortly, though, I found the 'magic button'.

That magic button was my spurs. When Tiki slowed down and wanted to stop, I just gave him a little rub with the spur, and he kept going. We began to work on circles, spirals, leg yields, turns on the forehand, and cantering on both leads. I really focused on STRAIGHT and deep corners. He has proved to be a willing and eager learner.

The next entry or 2 will be about the move to the new barn. I'd decided to move him because I just never felt comfortable at the farm with just me and the BM. I didn't trust her skills with the horses, I couldn't ask her to ever feed my horse a meal since I can't afford to offer up money for every little service, and I was constantly paranoid she'd put him out in the pasture with the barbed wire for whatever cockeyed reason. I'd gotten extrememly paranoid and territorial, and didn't even want the BM to look at my horse, much less actually put a halter on him and lead him everywhere. I didn't like that feeling; it'd be different if he actually lived at my house or something, but to be in someone else's barn, other people MUST interact with the horses. I'd visited the new barn and got a great vibe, so hopefully everything will work out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

First ride!

I had to torture my poor husband with 'barn' time. Hubby really likes Tiki, but is just not a horse person in general. He finds all the 'stuff' associated with horses boring. I was 100% going to make sure I was safe, though, because I had NO idea how Tiki was going to be. Would he run, buck, squeal? I didn't know, so I was making sure I had someone with me to make sure I didn't die, lol.

So, I did our usual grooming thing and proceeded to saddle him. I swear he perked up moreso than when I put on the longeing surcingle. I put his bridle on, and my fabu hubby gave me a boost into the saddle. I just sat still while he shifted around a bit. No fireworks, just movement. I did a little practice steering in the small pasture, and he felt very wobbly and non-steerable. I guided him into his usual pasture, and attempted to work an 'arena' like area. He slowly started to "get it", and I got comfortable enough to put my feet in the stirrups. I did a little 2-point, and his head came up in anticipation. Didn't try anything, though. Have I mentioned my horse is dead quiet?

I rode for about 6 minutes or so; at the very end I was just TOO tempted, and just had to see what his trot felt like. I definitely spend the most time on a horse at the trot, so I was praying his wasn't too bad ... I have a very wimpy back. I squeezed, clucked, and finally KICKED and he lumbered up into a slow little trot. It was comfortable, FABULOUS!!! I praised the heck out of him, hopped off, and plyed him with peppermints. My horse is the BEST!!!:)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Star the buddy

So. Tiki lived in this teeny little hole in the wall barn within walking distance of my house. I was doing 100% full self care, and ignored the BM's horses, for the most part. She had 5 when Tiki arrived, and I lost a bit of respect for her when one of her horses (a TB no less) got cornered in the barbed wire in the back pasture (I had no idea at that time there was ANY wire on the property). That poor little mare got TORN up; she had blood all over all 4 legs, down her neck, and all over her chest. The BM hosed her off for a minute, then proceeded to smear Swat all over the bloody gashes. It was at that moment I thanked God I was laying eyes on my horse twice a day so that I could care for him, should something happen.

Anyway, she kind of got snippy about the fact that my horse had access to the stall on the back of the barn, because I was only paying for pasture board. Well ... he WAS boarded in the pasture; the stall happened to be the ONLY thing resembling shelter. Also, that was the only pasture he could be in, because the back pasture was lined with barbed wire, and i put in his boarding contract that he was NOT to be in any pasture with barbed wire unless she held up her end of the deal and put in hotwire to keep the horses away from it. I had nothing to do with the fact that the boy spent so much time in there; besides, it didn't cost her a penny because the dirt floor stalls had no shavings, and I cleaned the stall.

So, the buddy. I was feeling a little guilty about the stall since she'd mentioned it, and tried to appease her by suggesting she put Star out with him. Star was the sweetest one. The other 3 had all tried to kill poor Tiki already; my little guy just had not been turned out with other horses ... he didn't know what it was all about. I put the little chestnut and white paint mare out there with him, and he attached himself to her like white on rice. It was so sweet. Suddenly, he was out of the stall, he was eating grass, and he followed her around with his head on her butt.

A day later, I pulled him out to groom and longe him. He turned into a screaming, raging maniac. He hollered for her, wouldn't stand still, and turned all together frantic. I turned her back out with the others, and waited on Tiki to calm down. He did, finally, but now my new problem was what do do with them so that I wouldn't create a totally buddy sour horse.

The flaky BM saved me once again. Less than a week after I'd turned them out together, she sold that one and another one at auction. Poor Tiki seemed a bit depressed, but luckily he didn't so much as go off his feed. I was grateful that little problem had been solved, but felt sorry my guy had lost his buddy. It had been about 2 weeks since he came home to me. It was time to ride!

First 'working'

One thing people must understand is the fact that my horse is freakishly quiet. I mean, so quiet, I was worried he was sick or something. So, needless to say, I was quite relieved after his first longeing.

I tacked him up with a longeing surcingle, my bridle that I'd had for years for no particular horse, and a loose pair of leather side reins. I grabbed my longe whip, and led him out to the most level spot of his pasture. I attached the side reins on the loosest hole, flicked my whip, and he squealed. Yup, squealed. He then took off in an awkward cross canter, shook his head, and swung his butt around. I just had to laugh at him ... it was quite obvious this had been a part of his usual training schedule. I worked him lightly both ways, then rewarded him with another walk through the park.

It made me happy because he actually ate grass when we walked the park. When left to his own devices, the goofy horse stood in his stall 20 hours a day. Then he was introduced to his first buddy ...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Junior becomes Tiki

The only Junior I ever knew, I HATED. He was a leopard appy, probably a large pony. My trainer, Janet owned him as a school horse. I could NOT make Junior go. Not with my leg, and not with a crop. I bought my very first pair of teeny spurs, and they helped a little bit, but not enough to be able to actually keep him at a canter. I did NOT like him. He ran me over in the pasture. So, needless to say, my first horse could NOT be named Junior. I came up with the "show" name of "Ricochet" since he's OTTB, cute, small, and boingy. "Ricki" was always my 'barn' name for "Ricochet", but the barn where I teach already had a Ricki. I came up with "Tiki", because it's cute, spiky, and makes me think of the beach. So, Ricochet, aka "Tiki" was born!

The first time I put Tiki in crossties, he was totally fine. The horse had never been crosstied before in his life, and he just stood there like a champ while I spent an hour grooming the poor beast. He has NO fat on his body, so certain areas are VERY sensitive. I was conscious of that, and tried to be easy on him. Once he was sparkling clean, I took him for a hand walk in the nearby park. Tiki was a cool customer, and actually put his head down and grazed on the longer grass. I was so proud, because I wasn't sure he actually knew how to graze! We walked for about an hour, over logs, over bridges, and by the road. No problems what so ever, and when he was relaxed, blew out the cutest little 'whuffle'. I was feeling damn good about my decision to go get this horse!!!

How I got the Tiki-boy!

I have attempted 3 times now to write this post, and I'm hoping it will finally post. Soooo, I drove 12 hours to Maryland to pick up a horse I'd seen in a picture. One picture. No vet check, no questions, just a gut feeling. I waited, listened to the advice of my friends that advised against the venture, and tried to forget the whole hair-brained idea. Needless to say, I went against all common sense, and went with my gut.

My husband was an incredibly good sport, and he got a new truck out of the deal. Yup. Our truck that we'd had needed tires, a water pump, a hitch, a transmission, new wiring, and had 220k miles on it. We traded that sucker in, and got a new Chevy ready and willing to pull the borrowed trailer 12 hours. It was a LONG drive up there. We went GA-SC-NC-VA-MD. We stayed overnight in a hotel room, then showed up at the Timmonium Fairgrounds at 6:30 the following morning to meet the trainer and load up the horse. His name was Roy's Legacy, aka "Junior".

Upon arrival, the trainer greeted us, and showed the horse to us. I was instantly pleased; he had a freaking CUTE face!! Luckily, I felt a good vibe. I had been TERRIFIED that I would feel no spark, or he would crib, or bite, or kick, or just do SOMETHING stupid. Thank God, that did not happen. We unwrapped his legs, I re-wrapped with my own wraps, and the trainer led him to the trailer. David and I walked ahead to give her a chance to say goodbye. She walked him up the ramp, tied him up, and walked off with tears in her eyes. We drove off, and I prayed to God that I had made the right decision.

All the way home (MD-WV-VA-WV-VA-TN-GA) we stopped and checked on him. I offered him water and peppermints; he didn't partake of either. He travelled quietly, never kicking or squealing. By the time we arrived home, it was about 8:30 at night and about to STORM. The place where I was keeping him was a little backyard barn with a stall on the back side of the barn attached to the pasture where he was going to live. I let him graze while I unwrapped his legs and sprayed him with flyspray. He was super sweaty, and didn't really eat anything. I was very aware that many OTTB's don't know how to be OUT since they're kept in stalls, so I was afraid he would run and hurt himself. It began to rain. I got soaked to the skin as I closed him in the little pen to try and keep him in the stall, but he sort of ran in and out of the stall. I gave him a bucket of water and a rack full of hay, then crossed my fingers and went home.

Wow. Finally, I had my OWN horse!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Want to make sure our journey is documented!

So, I suppose I could always do this the old fashioned way and actually WRITE down my experiences, but then who could read them? My husband? Yeah, right ... he has to suffer through endless accounts of cleaning stalls, silly questions, and his wife scorning his company so that she can go pick poop out of feet and "ride". He has NO interest in reading my adventure with my very first horse.

Background info? Ok, sure! My name is Jen. I've been riding since I was 8. I've always been a hunter princess, and pride myself on the fact that I am a horseman. Horsewoman? We'll stick with tradition and go with horseman. I have wanted to do nothing but ride horses from the moment I took my first lesson. Mom put me in dance lessons at the age of 2, but I made the riding decision when I had $15 in my pocket from my birthday money, and I chose to spend it on my first lesson. Yup. $15 for an hour long riding lesson. My parents never liked the horse thing; they always called it a "Rich man's sport", and felt the cost was too much.

Needless to say, I've never owned a horse. When I was 17 and met my now husband, I was at my riding BEST. I was riding lots of sale horses, going to shows, and jumping regularly at the 3'6/3'9 level. I'd taught a handful of riding lessons for my flighty trainer, and really enjoyed those. The love of my life, aka David, pulled me away from that. I'm not bitter. I took a little break for a few months and enjoyed some crazy things I'd never done before, like ride a 4 wheeler, go camping, and took a few trips to Tennessee. It wasn't long before I was missing the ponies, and had to get back into the swing of things!

I took a job at a tack store, and applied for a summer camp position at the local YMCA. I was hired, and was so naturally good at teaching that my boss hired me as an actual riding instructor. I went through a CHA clinic, got certified, and started on the path that has brought me to where I am today. Married to David now for 9 years, and have been teaching lessons for the last 10 years. I've made a few venue changes, but I am now teaching for a local big name hunter trainer. I run her school program, and also coaching 2 high school riding teams. It's been a long road, and it's been a crazy road, but a blog about my life would take y'all 10 years to read.

So to the present! I teach an hour from where I live, and the price of board is more than my mortgage! So, no horsey of mine will ever live where I teach, unfortunately. I am 29 years old, and JUST got my first horse 2 months ago; August 24, 2008. He was free; I just had to go to Maryland to get him. His name is Tiki, and my next post will be all about that day I got him. If I do that here, this blog will actually be a novel, and not a blog.:) Hope everyone enjoys this, even I do not know where it will go. I will try and figure out how to post some pics after I've gone to feed my horse and buy some food for my family.:)