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!