Showing posts with label Blog hop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog hop. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2016

Blog Hop: Training Excercise of Death

I have one dreaded excercise when it comes to dressage (or riding in general): turns on the forehand.

That moment when you ask for a turn on the forehand and your horse finds attempting to piaffe backwards easier. I can't even blame her, it sounds easier to me too.

Yes, I understand the purpose and how to ride them and how a correctly done turn on the forehand should feel. That doesn't make them any easier or enjoyable to me. I try and do them a lot with in-hand work and Indy understands them from the ground. In the saddle it's a completely different story and absolutely the best way to piss her off. They're getting better and help with the rest of our ride IF we can get them right. I still don't get any enjoyment out of doing them. 

So what are the excercises you would prefer to avoid in your lessons and daily riding? I'd love to hear about them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TRM Blog Hop: 25 Questions

Thanks to Cathryn at That Red Mare for a fun blog hop!

1. Mares or Geldings? Why?
I think that the training process typically goes smoother with geldings, but that mares are really amazing if/when they start working for instead of against you. As a long term ownership and/or project, I'd go with mares.

2. Green-broke or Fully Broke?
Green. It's easier to fix your own mistakes than someone else's. I've ridden a lot of "broke" horses that still weren't fundamentally correct.

Because this is obviously so much more fun.

3. Would you own a "hotter" breed (ie. Arabian, Trakhener, etc).
Give me a hot horse over a dull one any day.

4. What was your "dream horse" growing up?
Anything that looked like Betamax from the movie Sylvester, hunter bump and all. ;)

I still love a big, good looking bay. Though I prefer them without the hunter bump these days.

5. What kind of bit(s) do you use and why?
Both the dressage horses and the horses at the track go in some form of a Stubben or Sprenger snaffle. Winn goes in the Sprenger KK Ultra Loose Ring and I recently switched Indy from that into a Stubben Eggbutt. All of the racehorses go in Sprengers right now, though we will sometimes use the Stubben Wing Bit LR on them. I guess I use them because the horses all seem to like them and I like simple good quality. Gunner, the pony-horse, is the only one that goes in anything more severe than a snaffle and that's only when he's being ridden on the track.

Nelson in a Sprenger.

6. Helmets or no helmets?
I used to not be 100% strict about helmets. When my friend died from a head injury, I vowed never to get on a horse without one again and haven't. I'm not sure how that will go over the next time I go to move cows or brand with my dad, but I'll still wear it anyway.

Insert me wearing my helmet into this picture of my dad and his friends and you can understand how awkward I would look. Maybe I'll just stick with being ground crew....

7. Favorite horse color?
Black. There is nothing prettier to me than a horse that is a true black.

8. Least favorite horse color?
I'm not that picky about color.

9. Dressage or Jumping?
I'm a huge fan of jumping, but dressage is where my heart is.

Riding a horse that makes me look a lot better than I actually am.

10. How many years have you been riding?
About 30 years.

It was bad enough that they made me wear a pink hat, they could have at least got me one that fit.

11. Spurs/whip or no spurs/whip?
It just depends on the horse. I don't like carrying a whip or wearing spurs, but I'd rather have them on me and not need them instead of the other way around.

12. Your first fall?
I was 4 and it was either the time my barn-sour pony ran of with me and swiped me off on the barn door or the time he started getting attacked by ground hornets and bucked me off.

Bad pony!

13. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
I rode Indy last Sunday in a dressage show. I normally would have ridden on Tuesday, but I have a flu that won't go away and I'm trying to rest so that I can get rid of it once and for all.

14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
Custom Saddlery dressage saddle.

My precious horse and saddle.

15. How old were you when you started riding?
My mom would sit me in front of her in the saddle when I was an infant. I've been riding ever since.

My first english saddle.

16. Leather or Nylon halters?
I typically use nylon, but love to have good leather hatters around too.

17. Leather or Synthetic saddles?
Leather. Always leather.

18. What "grip" of reins do you like?
Web with grips.

19. English or Western?
English, but I've ridden western a lot throughout my life.

Back when I figured that I'd follow the family tradition of being a rodeo queen. Or Jr. Queen in this case, I was 13. This horse was out of the mare in the pink hat picture and he was awesome. I showed him western/english pleasure,  jumped him, queened on him, barrel raced, did reining, he was broke to pull a cart, and had been roped off of.

20. How many horses do you currently own/lease?
I own two dressage horses along with one racehorse. I'm half owner on another one too.

21. Do you board your horse? Self-care/full board? Home board?
I board.

22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
Yes, my OTTB, Beefheart. I'm still heartbroken over it.

23. How many saddlepads do you have?
About ten dressage pads and a couple of western pads.

24. Slant-load trailer or straight haul?
We own a slant, but I prefer straight loads.

25. Why do you ride?
I was born into it and apparently inherited the horse addict gene. Riding means the world to me.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

FOO: A Day In The Life

Tracy at Fly On Over is doing a great blog hop about what our daily routines as Adult Amateurs consist of.

I guess I can participate since I only show Open because I keep forgetting to do the stuff I need to in order to get my Ammy status. Plus, I score the same no matter what my status is and I kind of like showing against the real pros. You only get better by trying to compete with the best, right? Anyway, since I am really just an Ammy showing Open, I figure that I still count.

I wish!

6:00 am- My phone rings. It's the Fiancé reminding me I need to climb my ass out of bed. *Yes, this is late for the track, but we've been working seven days a week for almost five years straight and we have a groom. Sleeping in a bit = justified IMO.

6:01 am- Roll over in bed and stretch to see how stiff/crippled I am and whether or not I need to jump in the shower to loosen up or if I can use that time to check email and social media.

6:35 am-Walk out the door, get in the pickup, remember whatever it was I forgot. Go grab it.

6:45 am-Stop to get whatever form of caffeine I feel like so that I don't kill anyone.

6:49 am-Guzzle said caffeine while loudly labeling other drivers as an idiot every thirty seconds.

7:05 am-I start tacking horses, putting the Thermotex on, and watching them go when I can.

8:00 am- Break on the main track. Send one to the training track.

8:15 am- Silently curse the Fiancé for scheduling two workers and a ponier to all go right after the break while I run around like a crack head trying to get them all tacked and wrapped. Forgive him when he gets back and helps me.

8:30 am- Head up to the grandstands to clock the two workers. About have a heart attack as the horse we are working almost flies up the ass of the horse that some moron is hobby-horseing right on the rail.

8:50 am- Consider climbing on and tracking one of the horses. Decide that I don't have the time or energy. Start tacking the rest of the horses that need to go for the Fiancé to take.

9:50 am- Watch the last horse go. Notice a girl, that just lets the horses run off all of the time, unintentionally work about 35 flat for 3/8 of a mile, which is pretty damn fast. Wonder why she bothers if she isn't even going to try and how long before she gets herself killed. Decide not my horse, not my problem. Then wonder about why the hell anyone would even consider putting her on a horse, decide I don't care, and head back to the barn.

10:20-11:55 am- Go through the barn with L and hold the horses that the Fiancé wants thermaled, lasered, and adjusted.

12:00 pm- Go pick up lunch

12:30 pm- Start bathing the horse that we have racing that day.

1:53 pm- The horse is bathed, iced, wrapped, bridled, stretched, etc. I grab the shammy, bag, and blinkers and head up to the paddock.

1:58 pm- Our friend that helps us in the paddock catches me up on the latest episode of As The Walker Turns (AKA the typical racetrack drama and gossip).

My overdramatic pose for all of those As The Walker Turns fans.

2:09 pm- The rider is legged up and they are on the track. We head up to the Turf Club to watch the race.

2:16 pm- My heart starts going about 1,000 BPM while I sit there pretending I'm not nervous at all.

2:18 The gates open and I try not to squirm or yell during the race. Most likely, we get beat because it's horse racing and you lose a hell of a lot more than you win.

Sometimes we win, this is one of my favorites. This was Shivers Me winning the Inaugural Handicap at Sunray Park. It was his first race back after a three month layoff (six months since he'd last run). He was a complete ass in the paddock, not washing out or trying to flip or anything like that, he was just fresh and was apparently very excited to race. As soon as the rider was on him, he was perfectly calm. I'll never forget the rider confidently smiling and giving the camera (I was in El Paso watching the race on simulcast) a thumbs up after getting on a horse that just about killed everyone in the paddock.

2:20 pm- Try to keep the mood light after the race by making some smart ass joke. No need to get upset.

2:50 pm- The horse is on the walker cooling out, it's stall is cleaned, and I leave the SO to finish up and head out to ride my horses.

3:15-5:30 pm- Life is good as I groom, tack, and ride my horses. Who cares about the race? I have two gorgeous animals to enjoy. They are mine to do what I want with, no pressure. I never have to worry about them going off of their feed (they Hoover everything I put in front of them), if they get a bad ride it's because I'm riding them, no owners to appease (these things are completely opposite of the horses I deal with at the track). I pay a crapload of money for this privilege, but then how can you put a price on your sanity. Totally worth it.

5:35 pm- Call the Fiancé to see what he wants for dinner as I'm leaving the barn. In case you didn't notice, I don't have much time to cook.

5:37 pm- Decide that it's a scientific miracle that I'm not morbidly obese or dead with the way I've been eating lately. Try to convince myself that I need to join the gym I've been looking into and that I will be able to find the time to actually go. Forget about it as I begin to yell "Idiot!" at other drivers every thirty seconds. Again.

6:05 pm- Arrive back at the track, eat dinner, and get started on evening chores. *The Fiancé likes to feed late because the horses eat better when it's quiet and cool. I like to feed late to keep their blood sugar levels more balanced throughout the day (instead of them having three big meals in an 8-10 hour period). Either way, we like to feed late.

6:25-8:30ish pm- Feed, water, do leg work, and pick stalls.

This is what happens when a big, dumb (adorable) two year old tries to wipe the mud off of his legs before I can get him wrapped. Of course, he then proceeded to freak out about the mud on his head and tried to wipe that off on me.

9:00 pm- I'm finally home and want to draw, blog, read, or watch a movie.

9:20 pm- I'm completely crashed, probably drooling on my phone because I fell asleep reading my book on it.

9:55 pm- Give the SO the look of death when he wakes me up to tell me that I should probably change into some pajamas.

Kind of what I look like when someone tries to wake me up.

9:57 pm- I begrudgingly drag myself out of bed to get ready for bed.

10:10 pm- Crashed out sleeping in some awkward position that will inevitably cause me to wake up stiff/crippled tomorrow.

Me showing of my lack of knowledge about golf.

All times are subject to change when you work at a racetrack, but this is a typical race day with the exception that the post time might be different and can be the deciding factor on whether or not I ride or just turn my horses out that day. On a non-race day, I sometimes even get a couple of hours of free time to do "normal" people things. Sometimes. I even manage to squeeze a lesson in 1-2 times a week.

Sometimes I even get to enjoy an afternoon at the races with a friend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Work in Progress's Confessions of the Worst Dressage Queen Ever

A great idea from A Work in Progress. My fiancé always says I'm a not a dressage queen, but I'm definitely a dressage princess. So, while I have my dressage queen tendencies, here are the reasons I'm not on the throne:

I am absolutely and completely a totally unorganized mess. My tack is rarely clean, my boots only polished for special occasions, and all of my equipment is randomly shoved into a few tupperwares. I'm always the jack ass that sends in my show entries at the very last minute (or even late). Inevitibaly, I end up scrounging at the last minute to find my binder (which is actually organized) with my registration papers and memberships. The same goes for my show clothes. In short, I never have my shit together.

I don't care about bloodlines.  Honestly, I just ride them. Someone else can worry about the latest and greatest breeding. My only concern is the dressage, which means training. That's what is important to me. If I like a horse, I like the horse, and I would never discount one just because of their bloodlines/breed.

I'm no longer impressed by what other people have when it comes to dressage. I don't care what they have accomplished or if they own all the coolest tack or the biggest breeding farm in the area. If they're jerks, I don't need to have anything to do with them. In short, I don't really give a damn if I fit in or not. I also don't care if I impress them. I'm not doing this to become a prototype. Honestly, not caring has enabled me to fit in better than trying to pull off the dressage queen act would.

I also don't clip ears and noses. I started dressage with a very traditional trainer and we not only didn't clip the ears and noses, but weren't allowed to. It just kind of stuck.

I probably come across as not taking showing seriously. I laugh, I joke around. There is no reason I can think of that we can't smile and say good morning to other competitors. I have fun. I'm more relaxed and ride better at shows for the most part. It's where I'm the happiest and I'm not going to kill that by being nervous and uptight the whole time. Having this attitude about showing has taken time and I'm just happy to feel so comfortable out there. Just because this is a disciplined and traditional sport doesn't mean it can't be fun. It's not that I don't take showing seriously, it's that I'm lucky to be able to and I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can.

I might have subtle bling on my browband, but I don't want much more shiny crap than that on my horses. I will admit that I'm loving the more adventurous colors of coats that people are starting to wear. I also like that shorter coats are in. It's a real bitch when you are sitting on your damn coat and miserable just because of tradition.

I'm not going to sit there and have a conversation about how bad someone rides or their horse's slack of talent. They are out there trying and shouldn't be put down for doing so. So, unless the person in question is just a completely ignorant ass, and probably even if they are, I'm not going to get in on some catty commentary. This isn't highschool and I don't need to act like a teenager.

I always ride in tall boots and breeches, but I still never really look put together. I don't always tuck my shirt in and I often forget a belt. I always end up covered in dirt and don't really care if I don't look perfect for every day riding.


I hate my horses being in stalls. I would rather they be happy, stay more fit, and be calmer due to being out in a pasture or at least a run. The more they can be a horse, the better.

My horses are not my babies. I did not give birth to them and my favorite thing about them is that they are horses, not people. So why would I want to humanize them? Since they aren't my babies, I don't baby them. That doesn't mean that they don't get treated well. Just because I love them doesn't mean they aren't going to get into trouble if they are walking all over me or take a chunk out of my arm. I think that they enjoy a few minutes of hand grazing just as much as they do treats and it doesn't create bad habits. 

*I don't care if other people call their horses their "babies", it just makes me cringe when someone refers to my relationship with mine that way.

I guess that's about it. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

VCMBH: Stalker

Honestly, there aren't any bloggers out there that I wouldn't want to meet. Only picking five isn't easy to do and I'm sure I'll think of more after I post this. Obviously, I would love to meet the equestrian blogging gurus like Viva Carlos, She Moved to Texas, The Sprinkler Bandit, Poor Woman Showing, Fly On Over, The$900facebookpony, Cob Jockey, etc. (I'm sure I missed a bunch of those too). I think they have all been mentioned quite a bit, so I'm going to try to go with some different blogs.

*Sorry if my explanations are short, it's been a crazy couple of days. Between the stress and craziness, my brain isn't functioning the best. Also, I'm trying to keep up with everyone's blogs, and will hopefully get completely caught up this weekend.

1. Mostly Harmless- I love reading about her and her OTTB Fawkes. Plus she is in the same area that I spend my summers.

2. Riding Rainbow- Jess comes across as honest and knowledgeable. From what I've read of her blog, I would respect her opinions and thoughts when it comes to horses.

3. No Hour Wasted- After reading her post on William Steinkraus, I really think her and I would agree on a lot of things when it comes to riding.

4. Pampered Ponies- I don't think I even need to put an explanation here because, honestly, who doesn't want to meet Aoife? She's awesome!

5. Peace&Carrots-I've started following Kate's blog fairly recently and really enjoy reading it. She also gives you the feeling that she really cares about what other bloggers out there have to say in her comments.
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Monday, July 7, 2014

RtR Blog Hop: The Support Group

No matter what discipline we ride, we are all connected by our love of horses. Whether this love started at a young age or later in life there were probably people behind you, supporting your passion. Maybe they were morally supportive or financially backing you. So, in honor of them:

What person/people are you most grateful to for helping your riding career and why? 

*If you've done all of it on your own, you deserve some serious credit. Please feel free to share your story :)

My family
I was fortunate enough to be born into a horse loving family on my dad's side. My mom loves horses, but is really the only one on her side of the family.

I was a strange looking child.

I literally grew up on a horse's back. I was showing from the time I was two and doing play days and rodeos at the age of four. My mom taught me to ride. My dad taught me that not getting back on after getting planted wasn't an option. Both of them were always very supportive. When I wanted to ride, they saddled my horse and I rode. If I wanted to go to a show or rodeo, they took me.

We didn't have a lot of money, but I always had nice horses and good tack. It didn't matter if I wanted to be a rodeo queen, show AQHA, or ride jumpers, they gave everything they could so that I was able to follow my dreams.

I come from a family of rodeo queens....

Mom and dad didn't freak out over me giving up a full-ride scholarship because I wanted to ride. When I did my working student program back east, they sent me money to live on. They bought me show clothes and tack. Both if them have been there every step of my riding career. I am beyond fortunate to have had their love and support.
Dad helping me clean stalls in Denver

My grandmother, great-grandmother, great-aunts, and aunt were always there supporting me too. They came to so many shows! Not to mention, they captured a large part of my growing up on horses in photographs. My aunt also helped coach me at these events. You know, because sometimes kids aren't the best at listening to their parents.

Dad and my aunt hanging out at a dressage thing.

My brother tolerated the time we spent with the horses and never got jealous. He only got me bucked off a couple of times ;) I have the most amazing brother though. Even if he didn't always agree with my decisions to put riding horses above all else, he never turned his back on me. He was always still there when I needed him.

My sister, though there were times she wanted to choke me when we were really young, was always proud of my riding. She passed away when I was sixteen, but I know she would have wanted me to do whatever it was that made me happy. Bailey was never one to think that you should follow the path that society expects of you. I guess we were a lot alike in the fact that we were hardheaded and going to do whatever we wanted with our lives no matter what other people think. When I get burnt out and frustrated, I know that she wouldn't want me to give up. In fact, she probably would have chewed my ass for even thinking about it. So, I don't give up.

Bre, Me, Megan, and Tash.

There are so many people out there that have helped me with riding throughout my life. Amazing people! Trainers, bosses, my fiancé, and friends. I have some of the most amazing friends that have encouraged me. No matter if I was in Canada or what state I was living in, they were always there for me. When I come home, they not only listen to my horse ramblings, but are actually interested in them. I am incredibly blessed to have so many wonderful people supporting my horse habits! Thank you to all of you!

Jill and her son at the races. We've been friends since I was ten and she was eleven. Her dad let me show one of his horses when I was about twelve.

Aly and I at a dressage show. Not just one of my best friends, but also my best horse friend :)

Megan and I have been friends for thirty years, since I was born and she was six months old. Her and her son came to see me and watch my mom's horse show.

P.S. I thought this would be a good time to do this blog hop with the #rideabovehate movement going on right now. It seems that if people can see not only how much the rider puts into this sport, but also what those who support them do/give up, it will make them think twice about saying things to hurt someone. If another rider made fun of my horse, clothes, or tack, I didn't want to tell my parents because it hurt them too. The people with a tendency to be jack asses realizing the toll that equestrian sports can put on an entire family/group couldn't be a bad thing.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

VCMBH: Interested Parties

I'm seriously thankful to Viva Carlos for doing these awesome blog hops! They're always interesting and fun. I love reading the different answers/stories to her questions from other bloggers.

So L asks what it was that made us interested in buying our horse in the first place. I figured Beefs would be the best one to write about since I had trained Winn before I got him and bred Indy.

Because he makes me smile :)

Sometime in the summer of 2008, my fiancé (then boyfriend), had gotten a call from owners saying they were sending him a horse. We went fishing with some friends that day and when we arrived back at the barn, one of the cutest little horses I had seen was waiting in a stall. I asked Ty what his name was. Beefheart. Say what?!!! What an awful name for such a cute horse!

A few days later, I was watching Beefs on the track. He was a nice (not extraordinary) mover, uphill and balanced. Too bad he wasn't taller. I figured he could make a really nice youth/smaller adult horse one day.

Fast forward to 2009. Long story short, Beefs had two horrible races, a win, and then another horrible race. As a racehorse he was one dimensional, meaning that if he didn't get the lead he ran like crap. The owners wanted to find him a new home.

I knew he might be hard to sell because he wasn't very big and was a little long in the pasterns. My friend looked at him and wasn't interested. I jokingly told Ty that maybe I should buy him for a dressage horse. Nah, he's too short for me. Ty said that he wasn't and that I needed to get over the height thing.  The more I thought about it, the more it seemed worth a try. He was extremely athletic and smart. I didn't have a dressage horse of my own at the time. Why not? Sure, I'll take him. Always the voice of reason, Ty asked me if maybe I thought I should ride him first. Oh yeah, that might be a good idea.

I threw dressage tack on him and trotted him along with one of the racehorses Ty was jogging, thinking I was going to be pissed if I got run off with on the track in a dressage saddle. Beefs was actually really soft in the mouth, almost too soft. He wasn't spooky and was steerable. Good enough. Not for Ty. Why don't you ride him in the rodeo arena (that is connected to the track). Um, okay. He was really good, but the whole circle concept was pretty new to him. He would trot half of a perfect circle and then drift towards the track for the other half. By the end he had figured it out. To top it off, he didn't spook at the flags and banners flapping in the wind or any of the other scary looking things in the arena. Okay, sold. Ty traded out what the owners owed for training for Beefs. Best. Gift. EVER!

I'll never regret buying him. I bought him with the intention of selling him down the road, but I'll never be able to do it. He will be with me or someone in my family (I want my niece to be able to learn on him and show him) for the rest of his life. I couldn't have found a more perfect imperfect horse.

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