Wednesday, September 30, 2015

DNA Results

$150 and 3 weeks later, the grand outcome results.  Boo, I guess the little Stinker isn't registered.  But now I don't have to worry about trying to get papers or anything.  And honestly anyone that sees him isn't going to question his breeding.  I mean look at this.

Does it really even matter?  Nope.

I am a little bummed because I was curious about his breeding.  But that is how the cookie crumbles.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


I started implementing D's instructions to work on the left bend from the ground on Wednesday.  Stinker was very unhappy with the new thing of having to eat all treats off of his left side.  I have been focused on ground work to establish an understanding that hopefully he remembers when we do the same under saddle.  So Wednesday and Thursday I drilled the left bend and submission in the neck (both ways) from the ground.  Friday I was planning on riding but like most well laid plans things did not go according to plan (I went to work and left work in the dark).

So today, I decided to give things a go.  I decided not to video it, because I figured we would be a hot mess and I wouldn't want evidence.  I was wrong and I have never been so happy to be wrong.  I started with the ground work.  This consists of me bending his head left and right using the reins like I would in the saddle.  Yay for being tall and having a short pony, otherwise I would have difficulty with this.  Then a quick lunge making sure that he is giving in the neck and shoulder.  NO bulging under neck allowed.  Then I drilled the calm quiet mounting.  Everything was geared towards relaxation and give.  Oh and did I mention that there was a gas power washer running 10 feet from the ring and a lawn mower 50-100 feet away.

Things started off a little tense and prancing.  The hardest thing for me in these moments is not using the reins to balance.  He is so freaking uphill that I feel like I am sliding off his butt.  I struggle to keep my legs under me and my butt tucked (not truly tucked but it likes to pop out).  When I use the reins for balance, it causes him to be more tense and prancing.  Duh I would not be happy if I had a chunky monkey balancing on my face either.  Anyway, it can be a vicious cycle (one I got stuck in for several months).  Since I can't bring him back to the walk to regain my balance I have to halt him.  This gets tricky, because he halts willingly, but quickly gets himself amped up.  If I halt and give the reins, I have 3-5 seconds to rebalance myself.  We had to do this several times at the beginning, but each time he relaxed a little. (I use the term relaxed loosely.  He is tense as hell, but doesn't feel like a coiled spring.)

When I put my left leg on and asked for flexion in the neck, there was lots of scooting.  I added some outside leg to help with the haunches swinging.  This resulted in some canter attempts, but I managed to keep my ass in the saddle and say "no, just bend; not canter."  After a minute of this something clicked.  He gave in his shoulder, let me keep my legs on without shooting forward, and allowed me to maneuver his neck.  It isn't the extreme bend D wants, but it was a very good start.  He maintained this bend off of the circle.  There was a couple times where he lost it, but he let me reestablish it without having to go back on to the circle.

While his back wasn't lifted and he was still carrying tension, this is the best he has felt since March when D first brought him down to me.  It was such a fabulous ride.  I am just hoping that I can maintain the forward progress.  And hopefully, get something similar on video.  Otherwise D might think I am full of crap.  Either way, I am flying high tonight.  There is nothing like an amazing ride to make your day.

I am mean and let ponies lick kitties.  The kitten was cool with things until the licking started.

On a random note, check out this video of this barn kitten.  I don't know what she did last night but she was sacked out all afternoon.  I was pinching her paw like the vet does when they are checking to make sure the animal is under anesthesia.

Friday, September 25, 2015


I am jumping on this whole goals thing since I like to have a plan.  And what do you know goals fit into plans nicely.

So shiny!

Goals for human:

  • Increase core strength so I can ride a certain little Stinker Pony...
  • Ride in 2 point at least twice a week on my own. S typically makes me do some during our lessons but I have to wait until my ankle is stronger.
  • Be able to run (aka slow job) 5k by the end of December.

Goals for Stinker:

  • Stay healthy!!!
  • Continue to work on relaxing and rhythm. 
  • Work on stretching.
  • Gallop once a week.
  • Left bend!

Goals for Pongo:

  • Continue to work on consistency.
  • Focus on bending through the rib cage
  • Jump at least once a week (this must wait on the ankle)
  • Ride the high side to continue to work on loosening the right hind

Pongo Update

So Stinker is still Stinker and his progress is pretty up to date in the video lessons.  That leaves Pongo.  He is currently in the dog house, but more on that later.  He is coming along nicely.  It is still obvious that he is green, but he is slowly getting more consistent.  We haven't done anything that exciting.  Our flat work is mostly walk trot with leg yields.  I haven't been doing much canter.  I have been drained from work and having two ponies in work has been a delicate balance.

This week I had two lessons.  The first one we played in the sand box.  It was quite good.  We had some nice moments and some green moments.  At one point, we were working on one loops at the trot and he decided that meant pop my shoulder and drag for the arena edge.  I gave him a correction which he ignored, so he got popped on the shoulder with the whip.  He promptly gave a very nice and uphill canter transition.  Not what I was going for, but we got things worked out and he remember I was in charge.

The second lesson was jumping.  I realized that I am signed up for a clinic in a month (stadium and cross country with Sinead Halpin) and I haven't jumped in over a month.  Cue freak out.  I am also signed up for 2'0"-2'3", which I know we can do but at the same time if I start thinking about the height I get myself all worked up and anxious.  Anyway, my ankle still isn't 100%.  I would say it is only at about 75%, which isn't good.  I still have limited flexibility and I have started having pain.  Sad Panda, but enough whining.  Back to the jump lesson.  Pongo warmed up nicely.  It took us a couple tries to get the correct leads but that is due to letting his shoulder slip out and I can easily fix it later once he understands the whole bending better.  We took a walk break and S told us to pick up trot and go over a series of ground poles.  Then....

Oh yes the little turkey pulled his shoe!!!  His new bell boots arrived today.  He was wearing the old ones, but they were getting pretty beat up.  And to make it better it is off the foot that is held together with epoxy.  The farrier won't be out until next Tuesday or Wednesday either (bad farrier no beer for you).  The last time he lost this shoe and it wasn't put back on right away he took a week before he was sound again.  Boo.  So hopefully, we will both get sound and can get some jumping in before the clinic so I don't make an ass out of myself.

Video Lesson #4

I am finally caught up.  This video is from last week.  As a side note, every time I watch one of these videos I think I should have gotten a draft horse.  Then he would be the one with the booty and mine would look small ;)

My Initial Thoughts:

I felt like my position sucked.  I look tense, I was leaning forward, clutching with my hands, and let my legs slide out in front of me or my butt behind me.  (Maybe it was both.  Sometimes with Stinker it is hard to tell and I do both depending on the moment).  At the time I didn't feel like I was tense, but I look tense.  So I need to work on that.  I think things got better around 7:00.  The canter was a bit of a mess.  I couldn't feel what lead he was on, it was tense, and felt like he was about to bolt.  At some points it felt like his front was doing one thing and his hind doing another.  Overall, there were come good moments in there, but I didn't feel like I did a very good job riding for the most part.

D's Thoughts:

Your biggest homework this week is going to be getting the two of you to have a conversation with his face.  You are going to start off either in the halt or on the ground.  Either use treats or just the reins and I want to see you be brave and touch his face.  That means his nose to his belly and he needs to respect that.  If you start on the ground, eventually work towards doing it on his back.  We need him to be OK with you touching his face and you need to be OK doing it.  Then when that feels easy peasy, the walk warm up is going to be 10 m circle right then left.  When you trot you will keep the same give (with the head in mind).

Second, all canter transitions and canter work are to be done in two point.  This probably means you will be doing shorter canter lengths, but I want to see how you guys organize without your seat.  It is going to be all core, leg, and some rein.

Third, I think you look much more centered in your energy overall.  Even in the beginning I was happy with how you didn't spend 5 minutes in that tense mode.  You were making the right choice trying to unlock him.  I also noticed a huge difference in that left bend.  It's not perfect but considerably better!  Nice work.  Sometimes he would get you and lean on your left, but I think the head and neck bending will help with that.  We will revisit this is a bit.  I liked how much you worked left.  By 7:00 you stayed on your circle.  I want that to happen in the warm up phase too.  You do not get to come off of a circle until you have the relation and bend.  THEN you can go straight (but only while he holds it).  The moment he loses it you make him go back on the circle.

I have to bend left??????

My Rebuttal/Progress:

The left bend to the belly in the saddle is currently non existent.  He gets very anxious and locked under saddle and this results in no give in the neck.  Once I got this feed back, I have been emphasizing the bend and give on the ground.  I have one pissed off pony.  He is only allowed to have treats if he bends his head to his belly on the left side.  It is not a flexibility problem, because he can reach clear around to his hip without a problem.  It is a mental game with him (as always).  Secondly, he has been getting a lot of lunging and ground work where he has to bend to the left.  Another trouble spot is the walking 10 m circle for warm up.  Walking is very uncommon and I am trying to work on it, but I need to get him to relax under saddle first.  No progress has been made here.

The two point may be interesting.  The last time I tried to do two point, my ankle was still too unstable.  I am going to try it and see what happens.  I have a feeling my weak core is going to be glaring here.  I have been compensating and using my hips to regulate the pace and I haven't quite figured out the half halt when I am in two point.

Quite honestly, I have no idea what makes me more centered in my energy means, but I will try to maintain that.  I think the left bend will be better with all the ground work I have done this week.  I still haven't ridden him this week.  I was going to ride tonight, but I went to work in the dark and came home in the dark if that tells you anything about the day.  The circle instruction will be easy to follow.  We do have steering.

My to do list:
More left bend
Nose to belly
Continue to give and maintain body control
More transitions
Canter in two point (transition included)
Add in one loop serpentines

Barn cat spam!!!
They work really hard.  The yellow one is Twitchy (my fav)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Video Lesson #3

This one is from the beginning of September.  It was one of my earlier rides with stirrups after I sprained my ankle, so my left leg isn't as effective as it should be.  This doubly sucks because he is always braced on the left side and requires a lot of leg.

My Initial Thoughts:  I didn't do as good of job riding him (I had a very good non videoed ride before this) and I was carrying tension which caused him to be more tense than our previous ride.  I wasn't as good with the release and he got grouchy and was shoving his head out quickly and then promptly sucking back.  I also thought I let him hang out in the grey area when I was trying to unlock his neck.

D's Thoughts:
Overall, so much better in your control and his frame and the trot.
1:42  That left turn was much better.  You still need to make him yield those shoulders and neck more.  Over all the neck set is better and not so locked.
2:28  When he locks left try crossing the left hand over the wither until he gives in the jaw and shoulder.  Knock him right with your left leg as dramatically as you need to until he does.
2:52  Your sitting is much better, but it still could be slightly slower here.
3:01  When he pulls down and wants to run you need to sit farther back.  The down is good but he is bringing his shoulders with him and that is why he runs because then he is falling down a hill.  If you are sitting back you can counter the weight and attempt to tell him to keep his weight back.
3:46  Notice your body rhythm change.  You are choppy again.  You need to work on that looseness in the transition.  Try the circle leg yield out then ask in the leg yield exercise to gain more control in the transition.
3:55  You were correct to praise here.  Good timing.
4:04  More outside rein and half halts.  I want to see his neck a little straighter to the left when you aren't on a bended line.
4:16  I would make the canter time less and do more transitions trot to canter.  You are controlling the canter in its entirety better.  I know it's fun to ride when it is nice but the transitions and control need the work and you are ready for that.
4:27  That was pretty decent.  Nice job organizing yourself.
4:31  Slow sitting.  He got tense, you got tense, and that's why you needed to resort to your talk out loud because I'm losing control default.
4:48  Good rhythm push and drop his neck more there.
5:13  Decent timing.  I was just getting ready to say you are making too many pointless rounds around the arena.
5:26  That looks better.  Cross that hand over and work that left bend.
5:50  That's where I want to see his neck in general next time.
6:15  Cross that hand and move him over get after that left bend more for next time.
6:42  Bump off that left leg.
7:00  Super nice.
7:02  Mover him off that left some.  Try smaller circles or spirals to help develop that left bend.  He is wanting to stretch down and I like how you have a connection in your hand up there but now you need to find that connection down there.
8:30  I am going to guess you ended up sitting too deep and pushed too hard for him to jet forward.  Because the transition was balanced and clam as it was happening.  I wouldn't have abandoned it.  You recovered the trot nicely, but then you just avoided the left canter.  Go do it 10x.
11:56  I would have gone left.  He was really hoping you wouldn't.
12:18  Good trot.
12:41  Good stretch.

Your homework is more left turning now.  Get after suppling that left side.  I want to see more transitions through all three gaits.  I want you to start playing with very shallow one loop serpentines in trot and canter and a slightly lower neck.

My to do list:
Better release
Better body control
No avoiding the left
More transistions
Add in one loop serpentines

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Video Lesson #2

Due to hip problems (me), saddle problems (him), and spraining my ankle, this video was taken a little over two weeks after the previous one (we are still in August).  This video is a bit of a hot mess. We were chased by a dog at the beginning.  He had to have a pee break in the middle.  I am bareback.  And to top it off I had a technology fail (one of many) and it isn't in focus...  Watch at your own risk.

My initial thoughts:  I thought it was a mess (as expressed above).  I did think it got better after the pee break.  And I was trying really hard to be better about releasing.

D's Thoughts:  (These are a little less precise than last time so read at your own risk)

First big thing, I am not sure the bareback thing is his deal.  Second, everything from the beginning until after the potty break (hilarious by the way) you were death gripped on for deal life.  You were trying to vocalize calm and steady which is great, but your body reads so different.  RELAX and follow.

9:49-10:17  Some of the best trot work I've seen you have on him!  The only pick is that shorter reins would have made you have a better feel of him and help control it all a smidgen more.  You are kind of like, "hey look he is stretching but my hands are still by my face"
11:12  He just gets stuck on the left side.  I would have leg yielded him left or circled 12 m OR you can try playing around with just slightly maneuvering his shoulders right and left between your reins.

14:30  Notice your arms.  What are they saying to you? (All the tension went straight to your arms and worse yet they were chickened out to the side.  If you were doing yoga you would lose your zen center with those arms.)

14:33  You were together and you gave just the right amount and at the right time!!!  Yes now we have better arms.  They are at our side and we have a flow through your body.

14:41-14:45  Looked awesome!
15:50-15:54  Another great success.
16:16  You kept all that up until you wanted to make a right turn and you went "OK right turn" and your hands come up in the air about center of the arena.  Those elbows lock back out and he starts jigging again.  Think "Ahhh let's fall right" instead of "OK we can make this RIGHT turn"

16:27  You widen your hands because he is stretching, but you feel no contact.  And you are like "yo where's my weight", when you are feeling that, your reins are too long.  Everything from here to the end is due to your reins being too long.  Elbows always stay at your side.  You can push your hands forward to find length in his neck.  When it is all rein, it drops him on his face.  Stretch WITHIN the contact whether it is half an inch or more than that.  When you can push your hands forward, he follows, and if you run out of arm you can maybe float a touch of rein.  But for now practice only doing it by pushing your hands forward toward his ears.  Then bring them back to your side.

When Stinker stretches, you have to think "sit back half halt with my core and slow my body down even more" because that is hard core work for him too.  Especially coming back into work.  You need to get your reins shorter and that would have solved a lot this ride.  Also, you need to change the way you let your brain speak and think to yourself.  Instead of thinking "ah ha here is an exercise to fix that!" say "hey look it's cool in this position or to move this way" (in your best stoner voice).

Next time I want to see more circles and changes of direction more often.  This way it is a "flow from here to here to here" feeling instead of the current "ooooook we trotted around the outside and whew we held it together.  Maybe we'll do something different ooooook now.  Prep and stay calm and relax."  Just typing that makes me tense.

Take home message:
I really need to work on being better at giving and half halting with my body.  I also need to play at being a chill stoner instead of the tense neurotic mess I am.

I love the way D explains things.  She is very blunt and hits the nail on the head but it is always in a fun positive way that makes me laugh.  Although apparently she has made students cry...but I always find the humor in the situation.

Someone got a bath and was shiny and pretty for all of 30 seconds.

Video Lesson #1

I started doing video lessons for Stinker in August with D.  I did this for several reasons.  One, I was struggling getting him back to work and I was already asking D a million questions since she started him and I wanted a similar program.  Two, I am too cheap to ride him in a lesson with S when we were/are only riding 10-20 minutes.  Three, there are times that I feel like S gets sucked into Stinker's bull as much as I do where D knows how to get past it.  Don't get me wrong S is a fantastic trainer but Stinker is a unique ride and one of D's competition horses is pretty much a bigger fancier Stinker.

These video lessons posts are mostly for me.  I discovered that I am struggling to keep track of all the things we need to focus on and since D isn't here to yell in my ear, I need an easy way to keep track of everything.  Therefore everyone gets to see the videos, D's thoughts, and major take aways.  Feel free not to watch the videos, but I will give time markers if you want to skip around.

Video 1:  08.12.15

D's Comments
0:45-1:66  Get his butt forward.  When he is stuck move his head left and right rhythmically and kick him forward.  He cannot just prance there.  You have to get more active when he is that stuck.
1:15  Decent canter, but unlock his neck.  He got stuck again.
1:23  His hind legs need to cover more ground and be slow.  That happens from your body control.
2:01  The trot is better notice the difference in his hind legs.
2:08  Notice how his hind end has changed.
2:27  Nice canter, but I'd play with his head here and go for a lower frame.  Encourage him down and allow for more forward.
3:00  He is too up and down in the hind.  Get him forward and then bring him back.
3:23  Notice the hind legs.  This is a better slow trot.
3:36  We are back to the up and down.
3:42  Get him forward!
4:04  Better, but cover a touch more ground.  So you need to sit longer or post longer.
6:14  Encourage him down here and allow for more forward.
6:31  Sit on his back and your hips walk.  Don't let him jig while you float on top.
6:48  Cover more ground.  Notice him pulling on your hands.  He is asking to go down, so always follow him in those moments.
7:05  Jiggy trot.  You either need to make him go forward or demand a slow walk.  Either way do something about it.
7:15  Notice how you are bouncing quickly in your sitting.  Tell yourself siiiit siiiiit
7:27  He is asking to be long and low.  Follow him better overall.
7:50  A touch more forward.
8:00  Good slow trot here when it is consistent like this then go for more ground cover.
8:02  Now he is frustrated because that was too much restriction for too long with no reward, when he was asking to stretch.
8:13  Now post and go forward.  This is a good place.
8:19  You missed the reward and just held.  Now is is tense because he tried to relax but there was no give from you.
8:35  Here he has relaxed again.  Now you need to push your hands out and see if he will go find the bit out there.
8:39  Short choppy sitting trot again
8:48  Make him look left.  Do a 10 m circle or left bend and a leg yield off the left leg.  Don't necessarily avoid it when he is that stuck.
8:52  Good give.
8:58  Too slow.  Move him out more.
9:00  Better trot.  Now unlock his neck.  He is in a middle position.  Here it's not a working frame nor is it a stretch frame.  You are asking for a blow up from him, because he is hanging in a grey area.
9:13  Good give.  Now move him out in these moments.

Moral of the story.  I need to give more.  I struggle with this because my half halt sucks.  I don't have the core strength to give and still say no, don't go faster with my body.  I also need to work on disconnecting myself from what is going on under me.  When his legs get going if I can disconnect I am able to bring him back into a better tempo.  If I can't disconnect I get sucked into his bull.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Keep It Simple Stupid

My old boss used to say this to me (I added the stupid part) all the time. I apparently need to remember this with my pony. Ever since we had the oops moment when I sprained my ankle Stinker has gotten more and more antsy about me getting on. I was letting it slide until my ankle could handle the drilling.

To give a picture of where we were at (I'm ashamed it got this bad) I needed someone to hold them and one of the last times my helper almost got run over. So Stinker needed a boot camp ASAP. He got over the shot reaction but I wasn't quite ready to actually ride him. Long story short I don't want to risk him associating pain with work so I play on the safe side of things. Also the side that I gave the shot on is the side he doesn't like to stretch to begin with.

I lunged him and he looked good. Very relaxed going to the right with crisp transitions. The left was more braced but that is normal. It is his tougher side since he likes to brace through the shoulder. I deemed him well enough to have a mounting boot camp. Or as I like to call it have a cookie. 

Stinker does not respond well to anything negative. He thinks too much and gets anxious and basically shuts down, so positive reinforcement is the best method. In general I prefer to use positive reinforcement to teach. So we started things by...keeping simple.

First I gathered up the reins and stood by his shoulder. He promptly tensed up and started wiggling around. I followed and talked to him until he stopped moving. When he stood for 5ish seconds he got a cookie. I released the reins walked him back to the initial spot and repeated. Once he was ok with this I added in wiggling the stirrup and pulling on the saddle. When he stood he got a cookie. Then I added putting my foot in the stirrup. This one required some hopping but he is smart and figured things out.

Next I moved on to mounting. I did this from the ground which isn't my preference but it was better than trying to add in the mounting block today. That will be saved for another day. When he halted he got a cookie. Every time I repeated this he got better. We even managed to mount walk off and halt to dismount. This may not seem like it is a big deal but typically we got from halt to prance and miss the walk all together.

All in all this didn't take much time and about 20 treats. I need to remember all of this in the future and to get pants with big pockets. I need to keep thing simple and make rewards quite clear because when he is being rewarded he isn't as tense. Keep it simple stupid...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Safety In Eventing

This is a hot topic in the event world and normally I would not bring up a topic that could potentially cause a debate. Mainly because I dislike even the mildest of conflicts. Anyway, I saw an article that sparked my interest. Michael Jung broke his leg in a fall at an event on September 3rd.

Not only did he ride a second horse in the same 4* but he also rode in another event this past weekend. He waited almost two weeks and continued to compete at the upper most levels of this sport WITH A BROKEN LEG!!! Now I do not have the details of where the break was or if he saw a doctor and I totally understand why he did what he did. But what bothers me is how many people think he is awesome for doing it.

Personally, I think he is freaking insane and very lucky not to have had another accident. Could you imagine the backlash that would have occurred if he had been in another fall and it came to light that he was riding with a broken leg? And what about the younger riders that idolize him? They think because he can do it they should ride through injuries. 

I think Michael Jung is a fantastic rider and I hope he makes a speedy recovery. I just hope that others see the danger they are putting themselves and their horses in when they ride with injuries. Not to mention the long term damage that can be done to their bodies. Know your limits and take care of your body people. You only get one and the majority of us aren't depending on the ponies for the paycheck, so use your melon. *Climbs off soapbox*

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Clinic With Pongo

With Stinker out of commission, I rode Pongo for both days of the clinic.  Leading up to the clinic, I was quite nervous.  I tried to ride him at the beginning of the week and my ankle was too weak and he took total advantage.  I had to use my whip as my leg and it was not very effective.  Mainly because he isn't used to it, so we went for good enough and ended the ride.  Some how he managed to have a foamy mouth when I got done, so something must have been right.

I decided that I was going to have S ride Pongo for my lessons, so he got his butt in gear and then hopefully we wouldn't be a hot mess for the clinic.  She did dressage one day and jumped him the other.  It had been awhile since she had ridden him and she was pleased with his progress.  Yay for not ruining her project pony! Leading up to the clinic I was good and babied my ankle in hopes that I would actually be able to use my stirrups and ride effectively.

Overall, I was very pleased with Pongo.  Things started off a little rough, he was pretty braced and when we cantered everything fell apart and he was trying to plow through my aids and run on his forehand.  This was at the very end of the first lesson and he was tired and so was I, so I don't fault him for that.  I was riding sloppy and he struggles with his balance still.  Our trot work was stellar.

One key point was I had been obsessing about losing his outside shoulder when I ask for bend, but I was told to just focus on the rib cage and not worry about losing the shoulder.  I know how to fix the shoulder problem, but right now I need to focus on really getting him to bend through the rib cage.  When I get him bent correctly, he can really lift and fill in the gap by his withers.  His neck is muscling up nicely, but it isn't muscled right in front of the withers.

The second day we really focused on the trot work and getting him to activate the correct muscles.  He felt fabulous (for a green horse that is just learning how to carry himself).  Something else I really need to work on is not hanging out in the grey area.  D gets after me for this.  I tend to ask for something and then just kind of hang out in the middle.  I either give back without truly getting a response or I don't give back when I do get a response.  I need to focus on ask, horse responds, and I get my hang/leg/whatever back to neutral.  This will really help to teach Pongo to carry himself instead of me and to sharpen the response to aids.

Overall, the judge was very happy with how we have been progressing and she said he is muscling up nicely and not to worry that he is going too deep and behind the vertical, because that will fix its self as he gets stronger.  I am taking her word for that, but I do find that depending on the day I can get him more forward into the contact rather than the slightly over bent/behind the vertical seen in the pictures.  With the additional work, he will make a really nice horse for someone.  I really hope this is all true, because they are hoping one of the girls at the barn will buy him when the time is right.  She is 12 and has a fantastic seat.  I love her riding because she is very patient and calm, which Pongo will respond well to.  Also, he is willing to try his little heart out.  Even when he doesn't know what you want he is willing to try and guess what is right.  I am becoming quite fond of him and I hope it works out for them.

Stinker Strikes Again

This past weekend I was riding in a clinic with a semi-local dressage judge that I absolutely love.  I was originally signed up to ride three lessons, but I realized my ankle was not going to be up for two lessons in one day.  I dropped it back to two and planned to ride Pongo one day and Stinker the other.

Stinker figured out yet another way to get out of work.  I gave him his anti-inflammatory shot on Tuesday (as directed by the vet).  Wednesday while I was at work I got a text saying that Stinker had tied up.  By the time I managed to get out to the barn, his hind end was looking better but his neck was swollen.  The next day he was still a little sore in the hind end but not too bad and it was apparent that the neck was going to be a problem, and I wasn't going to be able to ride him in the clinic.

My little Stinker managed to have an inflammatory reaction to an anti-inflammatory... His neck was so sore that it was four days before he could stretch it down to graze.  He was the most pathetic thing ever.  At first we were keeping him and not turning him out.  That was fine until he discovered how to turn on his water hose and flooded the barn.  Plus he was getting really antsy.  So we started turning him out.  While he was happy to run out, once he got to his pasture he became quite sad.  Thursday, he wasn't walking around.  He was just standing with his head sort of droopy looking really sad.  With some coaxing he walked around, so he spent that night in the barn with a hay bag.

Friday, he was dying to go out, but still couldn't graze.  After a fair amount of indecision, he would lay down and eat that way, so he got put in again.  Saturday, he was trying to stretch down to eat, but he still couldn't get his head to the ground.  He was trying to eat weeds and trees because they were taller than the grass.  So back to the barn yet again.

Sunday he could finally graze but his neck was still sore but he was happy to be left out.  Today was the first day I tried to do something with him.  I just lunged him.  To the left (his sticky side) he was a mess.  I had him in side reins, but he was braced and his under neck was bulging.  I never got him to relax and stretch like I wanted.  The right was better, but still not as good as he normally is.  I chalked it up to his neck still being a little sore.  He was wound up in general, but usually he settles better on the lunge than he did today.

It seems like Stinker manages to always hurt himself before a clinic.  The last time this lady was here, he came up with mystery lameness (aka EPM).  D came for a clinic, Stinker was diagnosed with EPM.  The eventing clinic, Stinker was over the EPM, but kept a hitch in his left hind and wasn't ready.  I guess that is the life of the Stinker pony...

Saturday, September 5, 2015

To Test or Not To Test

It is pretty obvious that Stinker is a Saddlebred (especially when he has a temper tantrum and starts tossing his front legs).  I do not have papers on him nor do I know if he was registered as a baby.  Hence my dilemma.  There are multiple reasons I am interested in going through the process.  One, I am curious. The lady I got him from had limited history on him and I would love to know more.  Two, there are breed awards at the local dressage show and as far as I know I am the only one in the area with a Saddlebred.  If we can get a score it would mean a HUGE neck ribbon.  I know it is silly but I would love to have an ASB neck ribbon.

The American Saddlebred Association will send you a DNA kit for $50.  Sweet, I will get him DNA tested and then I will know.  Then I discovered that it isn't quite that easy.  They will send you a kit for $50, but if you want them to look and see if any horses match the results it is additional $100.  If there is not an exact match you are out of luck.  No checking for parental matches or anything like that.  If there is a match it brings up a whole new set of issues.  I would need to contact the current registered owner and ask them to sign a transfer of ownership.  If they refuse or you can't contact them, it is necessary to get a court order indicating that ownership has legally passed to you.  Once that is done if the papers were not passed to you, you need to get a notarized affidavit for lost papers.

While everything might go smoothly, I am a suspicious person by nature and it seems like I could inadvertently open up a can of worms.  It seems silly when I am just curious and want a pretty ribbon.  So I am stuck with the dilemma of to test or not to test.  I am leaning towards just doing it and then not worrying about trying to get the papers.  I *think* I can just add the number to his USEF stuff and not worry about getting the actual papers.  That is assuming he is actually registered.  Decisions Decisions Decisions...

Excuse the fact that this is super blurry and we are super tense.
I just like that he is so uphill.  I am imagining what he will look like
once I get him working correctly.