Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Visions of Rolex ...

I <3 ponies="" td="">

I sure wish I could FINALLY go to the Rolex 3 Day Event this year.  How ironic would that be?  Never could make it when it was a 5 hour drive, yet could FLY there.  Haha.  Not this year!  Hopefully my awesome new trainer will qualify again next year and I can be part of the crew then.  This year I will be sitting here at my kitchen table watching the live feed via my laptop.  Anyway!  As I sit here typing, I feel the familiar burn in my lower back that says I rode today:)  I rode 2 VERY different horses, but both were great!

The morning was chilly, but in the sun it was positively lovely.  Miss Jade came in from the pasture with a positive attitude and only had one "normal" poop in the washrack.  The barn was quiet, and the mare seemed happy.  Gave her a good grooming, then tacked her up in the same setup as Saturday; running martingale and a single joint Myler D-ring snaffle with no hooks or anything of that sort.  I decided today was going to be a low pressure kind of day, so I was pretty relaxed.  Took her to the roundpen, and she was trying to run off before I even had the reins secured, so I growled at her to knock it off.  Let her run it out until she told me she was done, and when I pulled the mounting block to her she didn't move a single muscle.  Yes!  Got on and walked to the 'scary' upper ring.  Kept as loose a rein as I felt comfortable with, and took a nice leisurely walk around that ring.  She spooked twice, all 4 legs splayed out like a statue, but no spin or anything, phew.  Took her out of the ring after that walk, and down to 'her' lower ring.  Just spent some time walking on a relatively loose rein until I felt her take a deep breath.  I then began to walk a figure 8 around the 2 jumps in the center of the ring, using my leg 95%, hand 5%.  I kept my reins pretty long, and just focused on pushing her into my outside rein.  After that, I went to trot around on the rail ... on a loose rein.  Ya know, I did the SAME thing with Tiki.  He would get SO fast at the trot, then he would freak himself out because he was so unbalanced.  With a horse like Jade, it's easy to hang on her face to keep her slow.  What she then does is balance off your hand, so then you feel like you're always in a pulling match.  You have to allow them to balance THEMSELVES.  She has to learn to regulate her pace without me getting in her face.  Enter the One Rein Stop.  Every time, and I do mean every time she sped up, I spun her.  Eventually, they get tired of that!  But it teaches them to have a little self control and balance.  So I did that both ways until I made it a FULL lap of the ring with no spin ... on a loose rein, yay!

After lots of pats and a short break, I put her on contact.  I went immediately to the trot figure 8 around the jumps (which was different).  I've been doing the figure 8's in the far end of the ring, this time I was smack in the middle of the ring.  Back and forth, gentle contact, and a nice outside rein half halt IF she sped up.  There were quite a few times when she came onto the contact and got SO light and lovely, I really felt the horse she has the potential to be!  I then decided to be brave, and picked up the canter and cantered the 8.  I did a simple change through the walk in between.  I did probably 20 8's, keeping my hands up and together, butt in saddle, outside leg keeping her from dragging me out of the circle.  Again, I was very glad to have the martingale because cantering does bring forth lots of head flinging.  I just kept rinsing and repeating until she took a breath and made a few very nice transitions.

After one more break, I trotted on the rail on contact again, then did a shallow serpentine, tiny circle into the rail, finish serpentine, then trot up over pole.  I did that both ways 3 times each then let her finish.  She just got better and better, again giving me moments of true contact and lightness.  I like her in this bit the best so far; she is behind the kimberwicke, she is WAY too mouthy in the loosering, and in this one she takes the contact and even gets a little heavy in it, which is fine.  Trotting on a loose rein will fix that ;)  With the figure 8, I never feel her get mouthy with the bit, the mouth stays shut (ahem, Tiki never figured that out.  He opened his mouth in a HALTER!).  S just got a waterford, excited to try that!  I will put her back in a regular cavessoon when I try it.  Just trying to get her wants all figured out; she isn't a complicated horse per se, she's just super sensitive.  I really enjoyed her today, what a good girl!

At the other barn, I got to ride a pony!  She is fat and furry and white :)  I loved her.  Her name is Kimi, and she's a connemara.  LAZY!  Good lord, I wore my spurs and carried a dressage whip and still I worked myself to exhaustion;)  Trainer came out and made me get her on the bit like a good little dressage horse.  Had some great moments there.  I had to work for every step, but still had a blast.  I would love to take her out and run her around the xc course, I bet she's super fun.  My position was better on the pony, but I'm still having issues keeping my shoulder blades pressed together.  When I was a dancer, NO trainer EVER had to tell me to open my shoulders, but after so many years of riding alone and riding greenies and spookies, I've developed a bit of a softness to my upper body.  The default position is shoulders open, elbows on top of hips, hands up.  Slightly different from the hunter hand position :)  I'm SO looking forward to integrating myself; right now I still only know a hand full of people, but I'm getting to recognize some of them.  Trainer is slowly beginning to throw some responsibility on me.  I think she's been feeling me out to see what I know, and is starting to understand I do know a lot, so is starting to treat me as one of the crew.

So, I appreciate the ache in my lower back.  It means I got to do what I love today.  It reminds me that anything worth having, is worth working hard for.  It gives me hope that some day I will again stand in the start box and hear that countdown.  Incredibly thankful for my life, and looking forward to what tomorrow brings! :)  Peace and love y'all.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Back on the wagon! Er ... horse.

Pretty girl today

I've gotten in some great riding time!  3 rides in the last week, woo hoo!  I rode Jade on Wednesday, and she actually was pretty spooky.  When I rode her last Saturday, I was in a T-shirt ... and we both sweated pretty darn good!  When I rode Wed ... I was wearing a long sleeved shirt/vest/polar fleece top/a pretty warm coat.  Took the coat off to ride, but it was COLD and there was a bit of a breeze.  She knew something was up, and pooped 5 times in the washrack while I tacked her up.  And NO, that is not an exaggeration;)  I took her straight to the ring instead of to the roundpen, and it then took me 15 minutes to get to mount.  Le Sigh.  She was just spooky and being a bit of a witch.  I stayed patient and didn't yank on her at all, but I did progress to making her longe in a super tiny circle at the end of the reins every time she backed up/walked off from the block.  FINALLY she just stood there, no drama, and I got on easily.  She was very tucked up, and not on any of my aids at all.  She either trotted a hundred miles an hour, jigged at the walk, or flat out crow hopped because she did NOT want to work.  I never gave up, and I just kept her moving, all the time.  The second time she crow hopped, I finally growled at her, smacked her hard with my hand and sent her FORWARD.  From that moment, she finally began to get with the program a little bit.  She was VERY mouthy with the loose ring bit I was using on her, and she kept rooting around and mouthing incessantly.  She didn't get behind it as much as with the kimberwicke, though, so score!  I didn't try any lateral stuff with her because she was just so spooky and dramatic.  I put her on a constant figure 8, didn't deviate from it at all, and FINALLY she began to come on the aids.  It was a massive light bulb moment for me when I mentally shouted at myself to regulate my posting!  I quit following her rhythm, posted high and in a tempo I liked, and she began to follow me.  Yay!  I did several canter transitions both ways, and cantered just like 6 or 7 strides, then went right back to the trot work.  That was good, believe it or not, she didn't have time to get hollow/fast/head flingy.  Ended when I could feel her settle into the contact, stop rooting, and get in front of my leg.  Good girl!

My second ride was completely unexpected!  I went over to the other barn, and the trainer was riding.  She told me to get a pen and paper, and I wrote down all that was expected of me in order to earn my 2 monthly lessons/weekly riding time.  Yay!  She is a top professional, so all of her horses are simply lovely.  I love the fact that most of her sale horses are under 16 hands, yet her Rolex horse is 17.2!  And she's TINY.  About 5' flat, and I'd be shocked if she's over 110.  I took notes, we basically shook hands (she was riding, after all), and then she told me when she was finished, I could get on.  What?  Haha, I ran back out to the truck for my helmet, and when she finished I got on the very lovely 15.3 hand TB/warmblood cross mare named Luna.  Pretty little bay, a little bit of a spook, and simply lovely.  Trainer thinks she will make an Advanced horse some day, but she's only 6.  She's completed a few T events, and is almost ready for P.  Wow.  It was an experience, for sure.  Trainer nit picked and commented on my huntery ways for the next 15 or so minutes.  I was EXHAUSTED, lol.  All I did was trot/canter in a a 20m circle both ways, but the mare is crazy athletic, and trainer is 100% a perfectionist.  I was told to sit my canter better, not lean to the left, relax my right arm tracking right, open my chest more, and of course to slow my posting and sit back.  I was in a dressage saddle.  Her gaits are very athletic, and I could feel the power underneath me.  Definitely a sports car :)

Today, I rode Jade again.  She was pretty crappy again to begin with.  It was marginally warmer than on Wed without the breeze, but it actually RAINED last night, so the rings were super wet.  I brought some of Tiki's old equipment to use on her; his running martingale, and his xc bridle with a figure 8 and the single joint Myler bit.  The martingale is purely for my safety; several times, Jade flipped her head dramatically enough for me to have Audrey flashbacks (she literally smacked me in the face with her neck, causing me to fall and get a concussion), and I didn't want her to possibly feel "trapped" by a standing.  A properly adjusted martingale of any type will prevent a horse from smacking you in the face, but the running doesn't "trap" a horse like the standing can.  I wanted to try the figure 8 because she opens her mouth like Tiki did, and it can change the way a snaffle feels in their mouth.  I longed her in the roundpen and she was perfect, but when I took her to the upper ring to get on, she did the mounting block dance again, so I just went back to the rp and mounted there.  Rode her up to the ring, and she spooked several times.  As soon as her feet hit the footing, she began jigging sideways.  I kicked her with my outside leg to get her going straight, and she popped her shoulder and tried to yank her head down as far as possible.

Now, to be fair, this is the ring S said Jade doesn't like.  I didn't care.  The mare should do as she's asked no matter WHERE you are, so I stuck to my guns and kept going.  She jigged incessantly until I finally clenched my knees so tightly against the saddle I got a hip cramp, but it got my point across and she finally walked.  I was SO glad I had that martingale; she was just beside herself with the puddles/cold/'scary' ring, and she tried to stick that head straight up like a giraffe.  The martingale did it's job, though, and she seemed almost confused when she couldn't get her head up too high.  I got her walking all around the jumps, then trotted, and she finally quit trying to go so sideways (for the most part).  She also tried to drag me around like I was a little kid, and I began to do the Clinton Anderson one rein stops.  Gee, I remember a certain little red head I used to have to do the same thing with!  She decided pretty quickly that those suck, lol!  All of a sudden, I had a mare willing to work :)  I kept my posting slow, weaved her in and out of the jumps, kept my outside leg on so she couldn't blow it off and skitter sideways, and rode until she totally gave in and got between my hand and my leg.  As a reward, I walked her down to her comfortable ring, and trotted 2 big 20 m circles in the middle of the ring.  She was pretty dang good.  I had to spin her about 5 times rather than hang on her mouth to keep her slow, but the trot work was better than on Wednesday, for sure.  I cantered her both directions on the circle which is a tiny big deal because she is VERY confused about cantering circles.  She tries to blow off the outside leg and drag you to the rail.  I kept my reins together, my outside leg firmly pressing, butt planted firmly in the saddle, and she cantered well.  Ended with another few minutes of trot just on the rail, and let her be done.  Just to "torture" her a little bit, I took her back up to her spooky ring for the cool down walk and she did holler for her buddies a few times, but she didn't try to spook/spin me off, so I consider the day to be a success! :D  Gave her lots of pats, brushed all the mud off her she'd accumulated riding in the wet ring, cleaned the dirt off the tack, and put her back out.  Good girl!  Bad start, good finish, it will be like this until she gets in the routine.  I will ride her in the same tack setup on Wednesday; the ring will be dry and HOPEFULLY it will be warmer, so I can better assess the bit/noseband set up.  Thanks for reading my novel, y'all have a happy Sunday!! :)
Jade on Wed

Saturday, November 30, 2013

AND! It has been decided ...

Me on a PWF lesson pony during summer camp :)

I have a mare to ride!  Her name is Jade, she's a dark bay ottb, petite little thing too!  All the better for my short leg, lol :)  She's not as narrow as Tiki, but she's a little bit smaller than he, maybe 15.1 or so?

It's always a tossup when you're doing a blind meet and greet.  It has been confirmed that "horse people are crazy", so I was unsure about Jade's owner, S, and she was unsure about me as well.  When we conversed and she mentioned she'd ridden Jade in a western saddle, I asked her if I could ride in her english one.  I am one of those weirdos that feel very uncomfortable and insecure in a western saddle, and I've ridden in all types.  I sold my BdH I'd bought for Tiki because I never loved it for ME, and it really didn't fit much of anything OTHER than Tiki, so it was just taking up space in my apartment.  You just never know what kind of equipment people are going to have, so I mentally crossed my fingers and hoped for the best!

The barn is pretty nice; 2 rings, a roundpen, a nice sized barn.  Pastures are dirt lots of course, but I've come to realize that is par for the course in Cali.  Miss Jade is pasture boarded and barefoot, woop woop!  I tried so hard to do that with Tiki, but he loves his stall too much for that, and his feet just never toughened up enough despite copious applications of pine tar.  We brought her in, knocked the dirt off, and S put the saddle on.  Yay!  It's a lovely saddle, super soft and nice and sticky :)  It even has the long billets; it's a brand I don't recognize, but it seems to be a nice quality.  The bit I rode her in was a kimberwicke, but S is completely cool with me experimenting with a few different ones.  I will try her in the loosering french link next time.  We put her in the roundpen, and nothing happened, so I felt fine taking her into the ring and getting on.

I'm completely grateful that after 5 months of not riding, all your skills don't go away, lol!  I never felt 'off' or awkward at all, I just got to work figuring her out.  The walk work was fine; she isn't fussy at all in the mouth.  I did a few circles, some light leg yield, a little shoulder-fore and Jade was good.  I then picked up the trot and felt right away why S hasn't done much with her.  She's not an easy ride!  She's the type to move fast but not go anywhere.  She tries to fall into the center, she spooks off the rail, she curls up behind the bit, but goes fast and hangs on you too.  Definitely on the sensitive side, but I like them that way.  S has said her struggles are mostly that she's a "do it yourselfer", and when Jade gets difficult, S doesn't feel comfortable picking a fight, so she's been doing just mainly walk and some trot.  I really hope that I can help her out; the mare WANTS to be good I think, but she also is one that works REALLY hard at getting out of work.

I did a TON of circle, reverse, come up centerline, circle both ways, half turn in reverse a bunch, leg yield to and from the rail, shallow serpentine, full ring serpentine.  She tries to just blow off the leg in turns and DRAG you around, will definitely have to work on that little maneuver.  She will be a fun one to chronicle; I really hope to make some real, tangible progress with her over the coming weeks.  Kudos to her, she does canter both ways on the correct lead (definitely a drama queen about it, though), and she has 3 nice gaits, so there's plenty there to work with.  Though she threw lots of avoidance techniques at me, she was never a witch, so I feel comfortable riding her alone.  S was thrilled when I finished up and said I loved her, gave me the green light to ride any time :)  I didn't time my ride, I finished up with a short canter both ways, then a little trot over a single pole each direction.  She felt steady in my hand, responsive, and reasonably straight and engaged.  I think the snaffle will really help with the behind the bit thing, I'm not a huge kimberwicke fan anyway, so we'll see how she goes.  I actually think she's a good candidate for the waterford, but it's only a 4 3/4 which will be too small for her, unfortunately.

So, "Tails" is back!  I'm just riding her once a week, twice on the weeks I'm off on Saturdays.  My goal is to help her be more consistent and steady for S.  I think just insisting on a good work ethic can go a long way towards achieving that goal.  Laters, y'all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


NOT my little muffin;)

Oftentimes, one sees the word "karma", and thinks negatively.  There's good karma, and bad karma ... obviously, we tend to reap what we sow!  I believe I'm finally about to reap me some GOOD karma :)

When Tiki was my little muffin, I offered him up to several of my good riding kids as an experience for them.  A few took me up on the offer, but not too many.  LR was more of a mutually beneficial thing; she got the experience, Tiki got a fantastic schooling ride.  I now find myself in the somewhat awkward position of being "horseless and broke", which doesn't always bode well for riding.  As stated in my earlier blog post, I'm trying to work out something with a local trainer to exchange lessons for "work", but in the mean time I received a  "pm" in my COTH inbox today.

Lo and behold, it's a fellow CA cother with an ottb not too far from me.  She seems to have found herself in a position similar to mine previously.  Nice green horse that could use more miles under saddle, and a limited schedule that gives her only 2-3 days per week to ride.  I see a potentially mutually beneficial arrangement in the works!  We've made a plan to meet up so we can meet "in the flesh", and I can sit on said horse and see if I'd like to ride her!  Yay, something to blog about!  Lol.  In the mean time, I plan to continue to try and do the 'lesson' thing as well, I'm just sensing opportunity here and intend to jump on it!  I'm glad that by my giving back, and doing things for my students for 'free' (I shipped not only Tiki, but also Star and Sparky out to PWF several times just for the sheer heck of it), maybe I'm getting a little bit of 'cosmic justice':)  Looking forward to finally getting to sit on a horse for the first time since JUNE.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I'm here!

Look at that beautiful view on the way to the barn!!

Well!  That was hard.  I've studiously avoided this blog until yesterday.  Sad, I know.  But it's "easy" not to dwell on things when you pretend that they don't matter.

If I'm being honest, I HAVE enjoyed my slight break from horses in general.  That tends to happen to me; I get SO involved, and SO invested and SO embroiled that I burn myself out; it's happened before, 17 years ago.  I was working/riding/going to the barn 5 and 6 days a week, and then I met the man who is now my husband.  BAM!  Stayed away from horses in general for about a year, and then didn't really get super involved again with them until about 3 years later.

If you've never owned a horse before, I'm here to tell you now:  IT'S STRESSFUL!  Vet bill both expected and unexpected, lessons, trailering, clinics, shows, poker rides, hunter paces, trail rides, etc.  Not to mention lost shoes, ripped blankets, destroyed fly sheets, chewed up reins, broken saddle trees, etc!  If you're independently wealthy, no big deal.  Just swipe that bank card, and all is well!  If you're like ME ... you're probably better off not owning a horse.

I'm happy to report that the muffin man is looking fat and happy in his new home!  His weight looks great, his coat looks great, he's getting to compete at Chatt Hills, and his owner is still in love with him :)  I'm so thankful the sale worked out for all parties; it's because of him that I'm blogging from my kitchen table here in the crisp, cool California morning.  It will warm up to around 70 today and will be sunny and gorgeous.  Who can complain about that??

I'm ALSO happy to report that I'm working on a way to get back into things, horse wise.  I got a job that I LOVE working in a dental office.  The work is challenging, it's out of the elements, and it's only 20 minutes up the street :)  On the up side of that job, I have every Wednesday OFF.  Seems like the perfect day to go hang at the barn, huh??  This past Wed I moseyed on over to a barn out in the town I work in, and spent several hours watching the trainer teach/ride and had the time of my life!  It was so relaxing to just BE there, not having to worry about working ... I'm trying to work on a plan that will allow me to do some work for her in exchange for a weekly lesson!  That achieves the goal I had set for myself when leaving GA; sell the horse, and just concentrate on learning and riding as much as I can.  For now, riding once a week will be perfect.  It will be a great escape, I'll actually get to LESSON instead of muddle around on my own, and I won't be all stressed out with being at the barn 6 days a week in addition to my normal life.  I'm not ashamed to say that my apartment is MUCH cleaner than my house was, my laundry room literally has NO clothes piled up in it, my kitchen is clean, carpets vacuumed, and even the ceiling fans are devoid of dust.  At this stage of our life, I just want to escape to the barn once in awhile.  I'm enjoying the time with my boys, I'm enjoying my "real job", and I'm enjoying going to church and spending time volunteering at my church.

I pledge to come back here to "Tails".  I WILL own another ottb someday; Tiki was such a blast I have to do another one!  I will get back to catching up on the other blogger's lives I've neglected in the past 4 months because it was too hard to venture back here.  My life is still very much in upheaval because it took so long to find jobs once we got here; as usual for ME, finances are stretched really tight, but I'm optimistic about getting things in order soon.  I'm hopeful to get something worked out lesson wise so that I have something to blog about in the next week or 2!  I don't know if anyone is still reading, but I'm sorry I stepped away and happy to be back!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Stepping away

Well, y'all have seen that Tiki is gone. On one hand, I am so blessed and grateful. On the other, I am sad and devastated. Honestly, what has helped me through this whole process is to emulate LR. How is that?  Well, over the years she has had a few wonderful ponies and an amazing junior hunter. When she graduated high school and went on to college, she sold her wonderful, amazing show horse and jumped into the routine of being horseless but going to school and riding as much as possible!  I wanted to be selfish and keep Tiki forever... but I am going through a HUGE change in my life and a horse makes that way more complicated. "Why not lease?" you ask. Because I'm a control freak!  And I have seen SO many come back broken, it really is sad. And I am a concerned horse mom, there is no way anyone leasing a horse from me would be happy because I would be so picky about his care, training, etc. In the end, I had to let him go completely. I found my own 12 year old girl (actually, she found me!) and when she rode him for the first time, she fell in love!

Not gonna lie, selling a horse in 4 weeks is incredibly stressful. I didn't get much interest until I dropped his price to under 5 figures, and all of a sudden I had 4 potential buyers with a 5th lurking in the shadows...and 9 days to get it done!!!  When his now owner scheduled a vet check for the Friday before we left, I was fine with it. I figured they wouldn't spend the money to vet him unless they were serious. What nearly killed me though was what I saw bright and early Friday morning; a cut worthy of stitches right in the center of his chest. Looked like a vet had sliced open his chest about 4 inches across with a scalpel, and left the skin flap hanging. I wanted to throw up. Tiki has never even been on antibiotics before under my care, much less had to have stitches!

The vet came from south GA to do the exam, and said yes, it needed stitches. He had to ignore it for the time being and do the tests first. Despite what had to be a painful injury, Tiki passed everything with flying colors. Relieved, I expected things to come to a close as the vet stitched him up, but turned out x-rays were part of the deal..but the vet didn't bring the machine which meant we had to seriously figure out how to get them done in a timely manner. Luckily, we got it scheduled, and I shipped him down south to get x-rayed. Talk about stress!!!

Fortunately, nothing alarming was found. An old racing injury in both front feet, and mild changes in the hocks. So, negotiations were made, papers were signed, I am horseless, and a little girl's dreams came true.

I don't know yet how much blogging here I will be doing for the next little bit. I have found a barn online I want to scope out, but riding is super low on the totem pole right now. I will try my hand at blogging about riders other than myself once I get my computer reconnected. I will own another horse at some point, this I know, it will just take time. Y'all take care, I'm not going anywhere:)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Feeling the love

First off ... Tiki has a new mom.  More on that in a later post ...

I want to touch a little bit on how amazing my "kids" are.  When my husband I made the decision to move to California, I'm not going to lie.  I was feeling a little bit "unloved".  A huge fight with a great friend, a big fight with my family, good clients leaving my lesson program ... I was feeling a little bit like, "What have I got to lose"?  Well, as time has progressed and we've begun this process, I am being reminded that I AM loved.  A lot.  And it makes me so happy and I feel so blessed to have these amazing people in my life.

Words cannot even express the emotion I'm feeling as I read all the letters and cards that my girls and even my kid's parents are giving me.  I'm realizing I have COMPLETELY underestimated the impact I've had on people's lives.  I've been doing what I do for 16 years.  Whoa!  Can't even believe that!  To bring things full circle, I've had a young woman shadowing me for last month that I actually TAUGHT back then, when I was 18.  I've always held myself to a high standard, and tried to live my life by example; I've always tried to be an example to the people I've taught.  Turns out ... I've made an impact.

I am so humbled to read the anguish my leaving has brought on, to hear how much my kids (AND my adults!) will miss their weekly lessons with me.  I KNOW  I have a gift ... and I WILL use that gift again.  I have learned SO much from my wonderful boss; she has really helped to shape and mold my teaching style, and has gotten me to see things in a much more professional way.  She has been a mentor for me in my "actual" life, as well as for my professional life.

I think the reason I'm good at what I do is because I always put a piece of my heart into each and every soul I teach.  Sometimes those people end up sucking the life out of me.  More often than not, I feel an infusion of love and appreciation each time I teach them.  It's so nice to read how much that heart I give is appreciated. God has put me EXACTLY where I've needed to be all this time, and now He wants me to move on and focus on my own life a little more.  I've helped young girls grow into amazing women, and I've helped my fantastic teenagers to become horseman and really love themselves and their riding.

I wish I could articulate to each and every person that has sent me a sweet and touching letter how much you all mean to me.  It honestly breaks my heart a little bit to feel the pain my leaving has caused, but I KNOW I've given all of you the foundation you need to become amazing people, and amazing horsemen.  My heart is definitely fractured as a result of walking away from this life, but I know my path has taken a turn, and I have to follow it!  I will remember all of you fondly, and I MEAN it when I say CALL ME, TEXT ME, E MAIL ME, I'm here for you:)  We live in an amazingly connected world these days, and I plan to take advantage of it!  I love you guys.  Thank you for the memories.  Thank you for the life lessons.  Thank you for shaping ME into the woman I am today.  I have learned as much from you all as you have from me.  I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to teach your children how to love horses, and how to love themselves.  Godbless!!!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Liebster award!

I am always so honored and surprised when someone nominates my blog for any of the bloggosphere awards because I feel like I keep more of a journal than a blog so much :)  It makes me happy that people enjoy reading about my adventures, and find my endless ramblings amusing on some level.  Emmie at nominated me for a Liebster award, much obliged!

How to Accept the Award
The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs that have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a word in German that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links back to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them

11 random facts about me:

1.  I danced in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.   It was one of the most exciting things I've ever done!

2.  The ONLY reality show I would ever consider trying out for would be "The Amazing Race".

3.  I've driven an automatic transmission vehicle now for the last 12 years.  I really miss having a manual!

4.  I'm a little bit addicted to Sudoku puzzles

5.  I would MUCH rather clean stalls than clean my house.

6.  I'm a dog person.

7.  I'm going to begin training for a triathlon once I get moved to California!

8.  I'm not much for drinking.  Not even wine.  If you CAN get me to drink, it's usually a margarita/fruity frou frou type drink.

9.  The day before we leave GA for CA is my 14th wedding anniversary.

10.  I'm more of a mountain girl rather than a beach girl.

11.  When I was young (and arguably dumb) I preferred my horses the bigger the better.  I'm 5'2.  Now?  I WILL own an eventing pony some day!;)

Here are 11 Questions I Made for You!
1. You are stuck on a deserted island, what is the first thing you do?
I guess I would try and find a source for fresh water!

2. You meet a stranger, he offers you two pills. He says the green one will take you on an amazing adventure although it may have dangerous/deadly consequences or he says you can take the yellow which will make you forget any of this ever happened. Which would you take? Why?
Wow!  This is so hard!  I guess it depends on what my reality is.  I always said if the "Matrix" were real, I would rather stay in the Matrix and live my life as a fantasy in my little pod thing rather than 'actually' live in the harsh reality of that world.

3. Would you rather own a unicorn or a pegasus?
Pegasus, for sure!

4. What was your most memorable experience you and your horse shared?
Competing Novice for the first time at the KHP.  BEST time ever of my entire life.  Can't wait to do it again some day!

5. What is a riding discipline you have always wanted to try? Why? ie. barrel racing, steeple chasing etc.
I'd like to ride a cutting or a reigning horse some day.

6. What was your favorite toy from your childhood?
My Breyer horses!

7. If you show, what was your most favorite ribbon/award you earned?
My beautiful yellow May Daze ribbon for previously mentioned first Novice outing!

8. You are at a bar (or restaurant if you are under 21!) what drink would you order?
Texas Margarita!

9. How many siblings do you have?
One brother and one sister, both younger

10. What is your favorite time of the year?
Spring and Fall.  Fall probably trumps Spring because the temps can be just a little less humid and muggy :)

11. Which do you like short horses or tall horses?
I don't ever need to own a horse taller than 16 hands.  But I like to think I don't discriminate based on height!

11 questions from me:

1.  When you ride, do you cross train disciplines?  Meaning, have you ever slapped a western saddle on your hunter?  Taken your eventer to the hunter ring?  Done a dressage show with your endurance Arab?  
2.  TV watcher or no?
3.  Smart phone, or not smart phone?
4.  Are you a neat freak?  Or does a little dust on the picture frames not bother you?
5.  If you could live ANYWHERE in the entire world, where would it be?
6.  If you had an hour of down time... would you take a nap, or go for a run?
7.  Do you color your hair?  Why or why not?
8.  Other than horses ... what would you consider your favorite activity?  Or hobby?
9.  Would you flat out gallop your horse in an open field?  Have you?
10.  Do you care if you're watching HD TV?  Or is it just your SO that cares?  Or do NEITHER of you care?
11.  Can you drive a trailer?  Are you comfortable doing it, or does it make your palms sweat?

11 blogs I give the Liebster award to!
1.  Amanda at
2.  Amy at
3.  Alighieri at
4.  Suzanne at
5.  Cheri at
6.  Nicole at
7.  Suzie at
8.  Holly at
9.  Jennifer at
10.  Stacey at
11.  And finally, BAD EVENTER!   

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Here in the 11th hour ...

My favorite pic from our first show together!

There's finally a little action.  We move in 9 days.  NINE days. I've been preparing myself for the reality of moving Tiki 3000 miles across country since my barn owner is kicking us out, but it's beginning to look like maybe a little girl will get to love on him and spoil him :)  I've moved into actually wanting to sell him, believe it or not.  I was SO sad about my decision to put him up for sale, but upon reflection, I KNOW I'm making the right decision.  We are changing our life, and moving 3000 miles away ... on our own.  Paying our own way.  I have a responsibility to my family to get on top of my finances, and go back to school.  Paying for a horse at this point in my life is irresponsible; for all intents and purposes, I'm 18 years old again, just graduating HS with my entire life ahead of me.  Tiki has been tried by 2 ADORABLE 12 year old girls, and he would be PERFECT for either one of them; they just have to pony up the $$!  Praying we get things wrapped up by the weekend, because this is my LAST weekend in the state of GA.  Wow.

On the upside, having 3 people try him in 3 days means I've actually ridden the muffin 3 days in a row!  He has been a fantastic rockstar, really showing off his good side.  He's even thrown some nice, clean lead changes across a diagonal to prove he really CAN do them, good pony!

I've decided to continue this blog after I get moved ... because 4 Star Eventers will be 20 minutes away from where we'll be living.  I see some lessons in my future!  And I WILL have more horses; I want a pony some day.  And another OTTB.  Or 2, or 3;)  I take pleasure in the fact that I've transformed a skinny, terrified 5yo ottb to a mature, confident 10 year old.  I took him over his first jump, took him to his first show, and taught him trail riding is FUN.  Now I get to pass him along to someone that will love him just as much, if not even more than I do.  Thank you to any of my readers that have passed along his information, it was a hard decision that I'm finally good with.  I'm excited to continue sharing my adventure as I take this fork in the road of Life.  Hope you all are doing great!  I know I finally feel optimistic again instead of sad and terrified:)

Friday, May 31, 2013


First of all, had 2 GREAT rides this week so far!  I say so far because honorary little sis Nicole is flying in from NY to come ride this weekend!!!  Yay!!!  So I will see her on Sunday and hopefully ride.  I say hopefully because there is a 60% chance of tstorms ... :(

Secondly, the news you've all been waiting for!  If you're especially observant, I actually spilled the beans a few months ago, on the "about me" box to the right.  Drum roll ... we're moving to California.  This is the big, driving reason I'm trying to sell Tiki.  If he doesn't sell in the next 3 weeks, we will plan to take him with us, which will seriously put a damper on our travel plans.  We already have the 5 day route planned and mapped out ... taking Tiki will really mess that up because now we'll have to find places he can stay overnight.  Ugh, the STRESS of it all!  I've lowered his price by almost HALF my original asking price, HOPING someone will bite.  I can't let him go for nothing ... he's sound, young, experienced, and I've put SO much time and money into him.  It's not like I'm asking 100K for him ... 8K is incredibly reasonable, overly so!  I just don't have much time left.  So, if any of you know someone looking in GA ... PLEASE send them my way!

We're moving to Sacramento.  It's SO beautiful there.  There's actually a big eventing barn about 15 minutes from where we'll be living with board slightly lower than what I'm paying now.  That's where he'll live if he ends up coming with us.  If  he sells, I plan to still go out and hang out there and get to know Cali horse people, maybe even take a lesson here and there.  They're in the process of building a big xc course, so maybe I can get involved in that, do some volunteering and what not.

Rode the red head Monday, and he was just lovely.  I put on his cc saddle and the hunter bridle, which currently has the HS D-ring on it, and I literally did the ENTIRE ride as circle, reverse across diagonal, circle, reverse across diagonal, rinse and repeat.  Even at the canter I did this!  I've had to suck it up and ride with a crop the last few rides because the dressage trainer across the street has borrowed my spurs and has yet to return them ... so my legs are getting in some good exercise!  I HATE riding with a crop because it makes my arm stiff, but having to do it has made my arm a little better.  He started out a little on the stiff side because he's basically sat doing nothing for 2 weeks, but as per usual, he relaxed into the exercise and just got better and better.  At the canter, I halted across the diagonal, walked a few steps, then picked up the new lead.  That way he didn't stress about whether we were going to do a flying change, and he didn't get 'pulley'.  I had a single x-rail set up, and I cantered him over it, reversed, picked up the canter, circled, then cantered it off the opposite lead.  We both felt really good.  He didn't change to the jump, I counted down from 5, and all our distances were perfectly good and acceptable.  Love my boy!  He is so wonderful.  Jumped it probably 6 times then called it a day.

Today I slapped on the dressage tack, and we did some stuff in Star's pasture down in the front field.  He was a brat when I mounted, and I had to halt, back, then get off then back on again.  Star wasn't helping because she kept coming over and trying to investigate as I got on.  Fortunately, 2nd time he remembered his manners and we walked down towards the road.  After a brief time walking both directions, I went to the trot.  The fenceline is weird in that pasture, it's not straight, so I worked on sticking with a rectangular arena with nice, square corners, but I had to ride it off my eye.  Easier said than done!  Especially when a previously mentioned Morgan mare decides to come down with you and graze RIGHT in your way.  Alas, I was able to work around her, and did pretty well with my track.  I did some huge serpentines all over the pasture, working all the way from one end to the other.  I focused on his bend, his step, and the flexion ... he did great with it!  Heading towards the road, it's slightly downhill so he wanted to get a flat and quick, but I regulated my posting and half halted, and good to go!  I ended with a HUGE centerline exercise, basically trotting right up the center of the pasture.  There is SUCH a long centerline dong that!  I sat the trot, and did left shoulder-in, switch to left haunches-in.  Then come back, adding in a few circles along the way, and repeat right.  Then do it again, this time L S-I to R S-I and back again.  Then, pick up canter straight on centerline, circle, come back to centerline, walk simple change, and circle other way.  That was HARD.  The area I was asking him to circle on was very uneven, and I'll be DANGED if the boy didn't feel AWESOME.  Light, balanced, and just full of try and effort.  I did that a total of 3 times, then let him be done.  Awesome day, I will be sore tomorrow!  If we don't get rained out Sunday, I want to jump a little bit :)

Friday, May 17, 2013


Tiki loves his kitty

Well, it's been a week since literally laying Timbre in the ground, and my heart has finally stopped outright hurting.  I kept it together pretty well for the most part, and I'm finally adjusting to my "new normal".  I have 2 other "fur babies" that need my time and attention, and I can't dwell on my feelings of loss with regard to my wonderful partner of 14 glorious years.  I HAD that time with him, I got to send him over the bridge on MY terms, and my MIL is concentrating on making his grave a beautiful memorial to his life.

I didn't ride at all last week.  I've been feeling a little bit overwhelmed, and if I'm being honest with myself, a little bit depressed.  I vowed to shake it off this week, and for the most part I have.  Put out a 'paid' ad for Tiki, and lowered his price on my sale blog page, and I'm finally starting to get a few nibbles.  STILL praying as hard as I can for a teeny tiny lottery win so he can continue to be mine, but barring that, trying to motivate myself to market him a little more aggressively.  Soon, y'all will find out the main reason I'm sacrificing a large chunk of my happiness, but first there are still moving parts that need to be finalized.  Soon, my friends:)

I rode the gorgeous red head yesterday and today.  Put on the dressage tack, and employed once again a Jeff Cook type flatwork exercise.  He was out at PWF last weekend, and I audited all day on Saturday.  I just love him.  I WISH so much I could have ridden in it, but hey ... I got to watch!  I focused on using half the arena at the time, paying lots of attention to his straightness and my track, and his bend as I approached the fence.  He felt VERY stiff on the right rein.  Left, all felt light and lovely.  Right, I felt like we both were struggling a little bit.  To be fair to him, I also have not done much at all exercise wise in the last 2 weeks, so I probably wasn't much of a help to him.  I INSISTED that he maintain his flexion through the poll, and closed my legs every step to squeeze out of him as much movement as he could give me.  A friend borrowed my spurs, so I was riding sans any artificial aids!! :0

I rode him for probably 40 minutes, just doing the half arena exercise and going back and forth, and LOTS of circles.  I trotted several poles and worked on maintaining rhythm and power.  Rather than cantering a bunch, I worked trot/canter/trot transitions.  At the end, I was pretty pleased.  He settled into a nice and steady contact, and gradually that right side loosened up and I felt like he was more willing to bend his body rather than tilt that head.  Success!

Today we just walked hills.  Nothing fancy!  He was pretty forward considering I was still spur-less.  I actually dropped my stirrups on the uphill and sat hard, opened my hands to encourage him to breakover at the poll, and used my seat to create as much energy as possible.  On each downhill, I halted and backed a few steps to work on building up that back end, ALWAYS!  Finished with a nice long rein hack through half the pasture, and gave him a bath.  His coat looks so great right now, I love that deep copper color.  Here's to moving forward:)

Friday, May 10, 2013

The empty corner

Timbre 1999-2013

As I stare into the empty corner of the room, I feel as though I can't breathe.  Cold and flat, the memories assail my senses one at the time.  It's an innocent thing; a 12"X24" corner of plain white carpet ... what's missing is a teal blue foam bed.  Upon that bed, a piece of my heart slept EVERY night.  Tonight will be the first time since living in my house that the corner is empty.

The first memory to hit me like a shocking, cold wave is that moment when he left me.  Wide eyes, head up, and a piercing keening wail.  Startled, the vet looked right into my eyes and reassured me he didn't feel anything, this was just nerves.  As the wail drifted away like the sound of a far off siren, his mouth closed and he was gone.  The next wave was of him slinking off his bed, head hanging in shame.  Large brown eyes gazed sadly into mine as the scent of his shame filled my nostrils. At that moment, I felt my heart crack.

As reality began to haze over, the waves began to roll in more gently.  That moment when my life was changed inexorably as my brand new husband of 2 months proudly deposited the tri-colored ball of fluff into my lap.  I was so shocked and surprised, my eyes filled with tears of happiness and I knew great things were to come.  Learning how to sit/stay/rollover/play dead/dance/come made the days go by quickly.  The fuzzy little fur ball gradually grew into a 50 pound model of perfection.  Perfectly fluffed double coat, a unique mohawk that lined his nose, and perky ears that simply flopped over and made him so completely and perfectly MINE.  He was my shadow, my protector, and my companion.  Together, we made a life and made memories to last a life time.

Playing fetch on the beach, trail blazing an impossible path at Little River Canyon, straining against his harness at full strength, running down the Silver Comet trail while I wobbled behind him on roller blades ... preening under the admiring stares of people on the crowded streets of Helen, awkwardly attempting to swim at Clark's Hill, and sniffing our newborn son while looking at me with a knowing eye.  Timbre was a piece of my heart, a spirit that completed the entire soul of my being, an unconditional love that never failed me one time.

As the harsh, ragged sound of his breaths gave way to the gentle sounds his lungs used to make, I was reminded of the Christmas my parents bought their first box of dog treats.  Lifelong "cat" people, Timbre was the first "grand dog", and they embraced him with love and compassion.  He showed my parents, my in-laws, and my friends the same unconditional love and respect he showed me.  Timbre won over anyone that spent a moment with him, he was a very special canine.  I believe animals are angels here on earth to protect us, give us unconditional love, and to complete our souls.  Sadly, there will be many of them to fill that role; our lifespan is just so much longer than theirs, but they teach us how to open our OWN hearts, and help us to give that same unconditional love in our own lives.  Timbre was my first, but he isn't my last.  He helped me to think of someone other than myself first, to put his needs before my own.

As I stare into the empty corner of the room, I feel myself begin to breathe again.  I would go on this journey again, 100 times over, even knowing how it all ends.  Because life is all about the journey, and my journey with Timbre was absolutely one of the BEST things about my life to date.  Run in Peace, Timbre.  I hope I get to be with you again when God calls me home to be with Him.

Timbre and Kody, best buds

You fought the good fight, buddy.  Love you forever.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Garnering compliments!

All dressed up for his first lesson with Gigi Nutter

Decided to go with a dressage school in Star's pasture today.  The footing was fantastic in the field, and even though Star LOVES to continuously creep closer and closer to us while we're working, he was remarkably good.

Before I ever picked up a trot, I did some leg yields and circles.  He is so lovely and forward in the pasture, I never have to nag him when we're out there.  Unlike the other day, he didn't trip once today, yay!  I swear, he forgets where his feet are sometimes when he's not in the ring.  Upon picking up the trot, he tried to drift closer and closer to his "mare", but I put my leg on and rode him forward into the contact.  If you've never tried to keep a horse straight in a rolling field with no fence ... try it some time:)  It's dang hard!  I did lots of circles, lots of nice tight figure 8's, and some quality work doing shoulder-in and haunches-in.  The first few times I did haunches-in, I lost his shoulders.  Moving forward, I focused on keeping his body straight, then moved his haunches off the track.  Good Muffin!

When I transitioned up to the canter, it was light, lovely, and beautiful!  I engaged in some circles, leg yields, and asked for a L-R change.  Fail.  Back to left lead, asked again, got half.  Back to trot, back to left lead, asked, nothing, asked again, clean change.  No more changes!  Back to trot, did some transitions to 1 or 2 steps of walk then back to trot, and popped off a few small figure 8's changing leads through the walk.  Other than a hand full of scrambling into the canter, the transitions were superb considering we were in a pasture ... with a horse in it!  LR will come out this weekend hopefully, but I will probably ride tomorrow.  Not sure yet what we will do, I'll figure it out tomorrow!

The compliments I was referring to is a boarder that hasn't seen Tiki in a while commenting on how much better he moves now.  She says he's like a different horse:)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Still a beautiful Spring??

Muffin's VERY FIRST time in a water complex!!

Wow!  I have been LOVING this weather lately:):)  Had a lovely ride on Tiki the other day; decided to jump around a little bit.  Set up 4 simple jumps; 2 outside, 2 inside.  One 2'9 vertical, the cavaletti stack oxer on the highest setting, a steep crossrail, and another steep crossrail.  Nothing high.  It had rained previously, so the footing wasn't too bad.  It didn't rain a LOT, so the footing wasn't awesome, but it was good enough to jump low.

I warmed up nice and forward.  Muffin was quite lazy, so I had to work at it, but by the time I trotted into the first jump, he felt awesome.  I'd planned to trot a few, then string together a course, but I ended up trotting that first crossrail, then going and going and going lol.  We were GREAT!  Counting down from 5 has been a Godsend for me.  I'm finally starting to actually see my spots consistently, and I'm able to make minor adjustments if needed.  I was channeling my inner hunter princess, so I worked to keep Tiki slow and rhythmical, and we popped off about 7 flying changes, 6 were R-L.  The one L-R change he was late on, so I circled, then jumped one more.  He was just lovely.  Very responsive, nice and straight, NO hint of a bulge to either of the insides, and nice clean changes without a change in tempo.  Even though the jumps were low, he showed respect and didn't whack any of them.

It rained a TON Sunday, so the footing will be PERFECT tomorrow, but he gets a pedicure.  Darn!  I don't like to ride him after he's gotten shoes, so I suppose I will have to put off our ride until Wed when the ring is rock hard again.  I may just do a dressage school down in Star's pasture on Wed; I'd rather ride in the field where the footing may be uneven, but at least it isn't concrete!  Who else enjoyed the Rolex live streaming coverage??  I've been glued to USEF network, watching the archived xc footage.  Can I just say ... I LOVE Quimbo and Henry Jota Hampton?  I am SO in love with those horses.  Gin and Juice is pretty awesome also; being a bit of a shorty myself, I do enjoy a petite horse.  I'm just not much of a mare girl!  Sure wish Badminton had some free online streaming somewhere, I do love to watch me some Michael Jung make a **** look like an equitation round:)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Enjoying the 2 week GA Spring

I think we get about 2 weeks of Spring here in GA.  You know, the fabulously sunny days with a nice, cool base to it?  It was positively magnificent today!  Warm, but not hot.  No pollen in the air.  Perfect day to ride the Muffin!

He's been off for awhile.  I didn't get to ride him last week before leaving for IEA National Finals in Syracuse, NY on Thursday, and LR hasn't been out lately, so his fitness level is waning slightly:(  Little booger was tired after his ride today!

I went up to the ring to set some jumps, but the ring was hard as a ROCK, so I changed plans.  I haven't ridden in his pasture since I did some hill work in the draw reins, so I decided to ride back there.  Tacked him up in his normal cavesson bridle, and set off at a brisk walk.  Tiki's pasture is fairly large; about 20ish acres.  I walked the entire perimeter of the pasture, going up and down hill, and weaved through rocks, holes, and ant hills.  After walking a full lap, reversed and trotted a lap each way, then cantered a lap each way.  The canter was tough!  He wanted to break a few times on me, and at the trot he was quite literally tripping over his own feet.  I'm not all that sure he's actually worked outside the ring since his Poplar horse trial.  As I knew he would, Tiki got with the program and finished up great.  As I pulled him up to the walk, I could feel him huffing and puffing.  Poor baby!  It's supposed to rain pretty good tomorrow, so maybe the footing will be good on Thursday.  I'd like to jump around a little bit this week.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For Sale: Ricochet

Ricochet, aka Tiki.
Registered Jockey Club name:  Roy's Legacy:  Tiki's pedigree

Please contact me at for more information, or to schedule a showing

Tiki is my heart horse.  I HATE to sell him, but here he is.  I KNOW someone braver than me can do GREAT things with him, whether it's in the "straight jumper" ring in the Junior/A/O jumpers, OR in the Eventing world, Prelim+.  I'm just not brave enough to ever do more than Training, and he has so much more jump and heart than that.  Circumstances warrant a sale right now ... I hope he can find someone else that will love his beautiful little red butt as much as I do.

10 year old gorgeous chestnut Thoroughbred.  NO vices.  I mean NONE.  Willing to give you whatever you ask of him.  No spook, no bad attitude, will try his heart out.  Super brave to the jumps, no issues with fillers or oxers, etc.  VERY adjustable.  He does have a good, clean change.  In my schooling videos, I tend to ask for simple just because. I have had his hocks injected once, but not again.  I am the one that got him off the track back in August of 2008.  I have done 100% of his retraining by myself.  He loves trails, both alone and with friends.  I have done several hunter paces with him; he can go from full out race horse gallop back to mosey on a loose rein.  He is voice command enough that I have flat out galloped him in a field in his halter; just say WHOA and sit back and he comes RIGHT back to you.  Currently, he eats Triple Crown Senior, plenty of hay, and gets a monthly Adequan injection.  No other maintenance.

He will currently pack my butt around the 1.0m jumpers and the Novice eventing ring.  I was set to debut at Training this year, but a lack of funds has prevented that debut.  He successfully schools Training, and Prelim; he LOVES running xc.  I've done a LOT of hunter type training with him, so he jumps around nice and steady with a good rhythm vs. running at the jumps.  Super light, doesn't need a big bit or lots of hardware.  Absolute bottom dollar price is $8,000.  I'm moving to California on June 27th, and need to sell him NOW.  He's sound, kind, quick, careful, brave, and bold.  He can take a joke.  NOT a stopper; he's never run out at a fence.  Here's a few videos and pics:

Feb 2013 Poplar dressage video
This test is the only competition footage I have of him.  It was a good test, scored in the low 40's; it was the rider's first ever test, and she rode it like an equitation test!  The low 40 score reflected the lack of overall forward; she was focused so much on quiet and relaxed, she didn't quite push him into the bridle a whole bunch.
Schooling at home; back in Dec of '12

Jump course
I didn't initially post this video because my severe lack of an ability to find a distance really makes me cringe; not to mention the extra 40 lbs that is VERY obvious, eek!  But it shows how well Tiki can jump despite his pilot, and it shows he does indeed have flying changes.  I just prefer to do simple changes at home!

Long flatwork video. About half way through is when he settles in really well.

First time he's ever SEEN this jump

Training level corner

Ditch that's full of water

First time over this Novice level table; he'd never laid eyes on it

Novice 2 stride

3'3 vertical

Training level trakehner

Easy hop off the banks

Prelim table

Prelim cabin

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I half way think maybe a corner has been turned ... sort of.

Conformation pic from today.  Looks good, doesn't he?

First off, I just have to say I have been slightly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support of my friends, clients, and facebook friends in regards to me selling Tiki.  Offers of leases and horses for me to ride have poured in, and for that I am SO grateful.  We'll just see what happens.  I've put him out there, and while he's not outrageously expensive, he's also not "cheap", so I'm hoping to make sure he gets in to a good program where he will be allowed to become MORE than he can become with me.  Simon Eades talked about how, "WHEN this horse goes prelim", as if it were a foregone conclusion.  With ME?  I'm not so sure.  I'm not that brave, or that clever, and I'm always too broke to get in the necessary lessons/schoolings/shows to make that happen.  Maybe this whole situation is just his destiny, and someone buys him with the time, talent, and money to bring him along to his full potential.  I don't know, I'm just going with the flow right now.

So far this week, I've had 2 really great rides.  Honorary little sis Nicole is flying home from NY for the weekend, and we will ride together (YAY!), AND I've ridden twice, so good for me!  Tuesday, it had been 3 weeks since I'd sat on a horse.  LR rode him a few times for me in those 3 weeks, so he didn't sit idle the entire time.  I tossed on the dressage tack and went up to the rock hard ring to get in some good work.  He was amazingly quiet and fabulous.  Honestly, he didn't even feel fresh at all.  No swishies or head shakes.  He DID feel a little bit heavy, but that's to be expected.

There was a random pole on the rail in his track that I went over every time.  It mostly felt perfect, and I simply kept my leg ON him vs. chasing him around the ring.  I did a bunch of circles, trying to concentrate on keeping him big and slow, and to use my leg more than my hand so we got a correct bend in the circles.  TONS of reverses, and I tried just to ride well and relax.  I didn't canter very much, and he did feel a little fresh at the canter, but as usual he was a gentleman.

Today, I slapped on the stadium tack (wonder bit included), and set up a single vertical dead center of the ring, and a cavaletti on the other long side of the pole I'd worked over Tuesday.  For ME, I stretched down in my heel and worked to stabilize my leg.  For him, I just wanted to keep him big and slow like on Tuesday, and I did a bunch of shallow and big serpentines to get him to soften up and bend around my leg.  I LOVE that wonder bit, he is so much lighter in that vs. the mullen mouth loose ring.  I schooled the walk/canter transition, and he really sat down and stepped into the transition BEAUTIFULLY!  LR has been working on those, and I can tell big time.  He has really improved.  Even those downward transitions have been so much better and more balanced.  Having someone else sit on him now and then has been GREAT!  I'm very grateful to her, and I know he is too.

I finally quit procrastinating, and cantered the pole, counting down from 5.  It worked, I got to the pole perfect every time.  5 strides out gives me time to actually adjust instead of sit there paralyzed.  Moved on to the cavaletti, and it was just as good.  Counted down to it each time, and we got there great.  I DID notice that I was a little more accurate off the left lead.  Coming in right, I got just a *hair* deep, but it was still good.  As I cantered into the vertical, I realized that I freeze mentally a little bit.  As I look at the jump, I feel the rhythm in my mind, but I forget to literally THINK 5,4,3,2,1.  Once I finally made myself count down, we got to the jump very well each time.  It wasn't as perfect as our MayDaze xc run, but it was pretty good. No frustration today whatsoever.  I DO wish I had a reliable eye and could nail every jump every time, but I don't.  I just have to work on it!  Muffin was fab, not sure what we'll do this weekend, but it will be something:)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Musings, with a healthy dose of reality

I've avoided this post as long as possible.  I'm back from paradise ... and I feel like I've stepped into Hell.  But, my problems can definitely be termed "First World Problems", and for that I'm grateful.  I'll just spit it out ... I'm contemplating putting Tiki up for sale.  Yep, heart broken.  Without going into a bunch of details that aren't anyone's business, my financial status would be MUCH more healthy without a horse on my bill.  I'm stressed, I'm sad, and I feel like crying all the time, but at the end of the day ... my family means more to me than an animal.

I'll advertise him on the free facebook sites first, and I'll consider a lease, but I need an infusion of cash, and I need the horse off my list of bills.  I always thought Tiki would be mine for the next 20+ years:(  Prayers for a small little lottery win would be appreciated.