Monday, December 30, 2019

One Decade(ish)

I have lived in 3 states (just missed being 5 by a few months on either side).

Gained two (three if you count Cowboy who isn't technically mine but I picked him) horses

Lost one dog and one father

Graduated from grad school and kind of sort of got big kid jobs

Started blogging (I am a few months away from 5 years which is totally insane)

Kind of sort of quit blogging because life

Met the most amazing people ever

Joined a cult (best decision ever, but choose your cults wisely tack ho cults are the best)

Learned many lessons

Probably forgot some shit

PS If the picture is good it probably is courtesy of Aimee

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone enjoys a lovely day. Happy holidays from the reluctant selfie takers.

I participated in Tracy's Secret Santa once again and got a lovely gift from OneBudWiser of course I didn't take any pictures. Hopefully once the new year rolls around I will get around to posting about the big changes that are in store for the new year. I am quite happy to leave this one behind.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Giraffe Much?

I always swear that Stinker is actually a giraffe and I had every intention of doing a giraffe clip for halloween if he ever needed a full body clip. Sadly that never happened, but here is all the proof you need that he is a secret giraffe.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

When In Doubt Smile

I honestly don't know what to do with this little quirk Karma has. If she is corrected/nervous/bored/whatever she does her smile.

I have been working with her halting on the lunge line. Her idea of a halt is come to me for a treat. My idea of a halt is stopping wherever she is. I have been making her back away from me. Her solution to this is smile at me.

I took her for a short pony around the park. She was starting to get tired at the end and her solution was to drag on the lead rope and smile.

If she is standing and gets bored she will start smiling. I have this fear that is growing deeper and deeper that I am going to be doing a free walk and she is going to poke her nose out, twist the neck and smile for judge.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Learning to Post

I keep talking about lessons on Cowboy, but now I finally have actual proof of them. I drug my mom to my last lesson so she could video. Which was kind of a risk because she likes to take pictures with her finger in them, but she was successful in getting several decent videos.
Right before the canter starts you can see me tip forward and dump my hips out behind

Of course having video is a double edged sword. On one side I am always happy to be able to see things, but on the flip side I can see how skewed my perception of myself is. I always think I have my shoulders back and my hips under me. Nope my shoulders lean forward and I dump my hips out behind. It is especially bad at the trot.
Trying to rise up instead of swinging under

Additionally this time I got to discover I really don't know how to post. Theoretically I understand, but putting that theory into reality isn't happening. There is some sort of disconnect, which I texted my trainer "I don't understand how to post without tipping forward. Help." And being the amazing trainer she is, she didn't bat an eye and said "Of course!"

Don't let that face fool you, he broke a lead rope and took 45 minutes to load

The next time I rode with her, trainer tossed me up on her very nice upper level horse to teach me how to post. He is super steady in the bridle but also very sensitive so I could very easily feel the difference in his trot when my hips were under me and when I was letting them trail out behind. It really helped me get the feel for swinging my seat forward instead of up.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why Karma?

I never really talked about what exactly I was looking for in a horse when I was shopping. I just said SURPRISE GUYS I GOT A PONY!!!!!!!! Yes I am adult, why do you ask? Anyway, I decided to try and apply the lessons I learned from Stinker and not make the same mistakes.

Fun but not well put together

I will never regret getting Stinker, I love that horse dearly and he has taught me so much. But on the flip side he has some weak points. First up, I wanted a horse that was well put together. Stinker was never great, but the EPM took a toll on his body that he just couldn't recover from. Secondly, I wanted a less sensitive horse. If I were a better rider it wouldn't be such a deal breaker, but any little change in the rider's body resulted in a change from him. Sometimes it was great, a lot of the time it was activating giraffe mode.

I always forget how awful he looked when we started the EPM treatment

My list looked something like:
1) Sensible
2) Good conformation
3) Smaller (I just don't like massive horses)
4) Fun

I like the way she is put together

My goals were to find a horse that seemed like it could make a good all-round horse but also be decent at dressage. Think Karen's Hampton, but smaller because Porkchop is massive. My budget had me mostly looking at younger horses. I thought about a couple warmblood babies, but I kept coming back to most warmbloods are bred to be bigger than what I want. Sure there is a chance that they won't get that big, but I didn't find anything I wanted enough to risk it.

Stolen shamelessly from the internet

Karma appealed to me because Cardi baby + her dam has good dressage lines + I liked her personality from the video. They were chasing and rattling stuff at her so she kind of looked like a pogo pony at the canter, but I decided it was worth the risk to go see her. Basically I thought I wanted her, but didn't dare show her video to my trainer because I knew the canter would result in an immediate veto.

When Aimee and I arrived *ahem* at 7 am to look at her (I am an idiot and screwed up my scheduling and I had to be home by 10 am the next day and it was a 14 hour drive) poor Karma was a little out of sorts. It was supposed to be breakfast time not having strangers mess with her time.

These moves were not observed (I will never get tired of this picture)

Her breeder was a little mortified by her behavior, but really I didn't think much of it. Karma was a little head tossy and you could see that she didn't really want to play, but she did anyway. I was fiddling with her and discovered that she didn't lead from the right side. So to test her thought process I pushed a few buttons to see if she would say no or figure out what I wanted. It took her about 30 seconds to figure out what I wanted with no escalation. You could watch her process and go ok weird but sure.

How can you resist this little weirdo???

I totally fell in love with her that day. The timing of everything was less than ideal, but I knew she was what I wanted. I am sure we will have our ups and downs, but I am excited for the future and can't wait to see how she develops (and please please please grow Karma).

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Finding The Happy

This year has been a rough one. The personal things weighed on top of the horse things. Everything seemed to come all at the same time. Stinker got his SI injected in hopes that it would make him more comfortable the same time my dad broke his hip. As my dad's health declined so did my hopes that the SI injection would actually allow Stinker to continue on with me.

Aimee's photo skills making Stinker look fabulous 

Eventually I came to the conclusion that Stinker was a million times happier packing my mom on the trails. I am very fortunate that I had that as an available option and I wasn't forced to make a choice of keeping him or not. He has a home with me for as long as he is kicking.

Stinker's happy place

That being said I really struggled with the shift to Cowboy. 90% of the time Cowboy is a good boy. Lazy but good. That other 10% he can throw a fit and be a pain in the ass to ride. Head tossing, sucked back, I DON'T WANNA, and occasionally an attempting at bucking or leaping. The one thing Stinker had going for him is he would try his little heart out for you and forward was never a problem. And despite his super sensitivity I dearly love the goofy horse and found him to be fun to ride.

He is a weird one, but always puts a smile on my face

Cowboy is not a super forward horse. He is much happier standing and eating. So I struggled with the transition. I desperately wanted to be able to steal Stinker back, but at the same time I knew that I needed to stick to my decision for his sake.

Aimee's photo skills making Cowboy not look like a feral trail horse

Slowly but surely Cowboy is adjusting to his new life. He is actually a snuggly horse. Poor Stinker tolerated it, but never really enjoyed it. Cowboy happily lets me hug his face and tolerates my riding if I shovel him full of treats. Bribery will get you every where. The tantrums have been less and the willingness is increasing. So slowly we are finding our happiness together.

Insert cookie

I am back to enjoying riding and having Karma has given me a bit of a spark I so desperately needed. I am excited to look to the future and having Cowboy is really giving me a chance to focus on my riding. It has been over five years since I was consistently riding a horse that I could trot or canter around and work on my position. And I am having fun learning again. So thank you Cowboy, Karma, and Stinker for putting the happy back in my life.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Settling In

I was a giant tease. I posted about Karma coming and then promptly disappeared. She settled in quite well. I left her alone for a bit to get used to me and so we could start building a relationship. She is quite entertaining. Her breeder taught her to smile so every day she comes over and smiles in hopes of getting a treat.

She also likes to tease the boys so I don't have any plans to combine them. I might will murder Stinker if he chews her tail over the fence. It is the most ridiculous thing. He alternates between flirting with her and trying to murder her for getting too close to Cowboy.

So far she has shown her intelligence. The first time I got her out, Cowboy screamed for her the entire time. She was nervous but well behaved until I turned her loose. Then she went a little wild. Hopefully I never see her moves under saddle.

I also tried out ponying her off of Cowboy. It went well except for the part where I discovered she doesn't march through brush. It was too much of a barrier and she refused to follow. I ended up dropping the rope and having to double back to grab her. Thankfully she didn't move.

She has also collected quite a harem of baby mustang stallions. Thankfully she ignores them, but they are all to willing to line up along the fence line. I am probably going to have to run some hot wire just so I don't have to worry about anything this winter.

I am enjoying getting to know her and I think she is adjusting to her life quite well. Even if she was quite put out when I started teaching her about the slow feeder box. The first thing she did was shove her foot into it and then scare herself when the grate sunk down with her weight. She is figuring it out and if it has survived life with Stinker I highly doubt she can be any rougher on it.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


I apparently have had too much time on my hands, because I did a thing. I have casually been looking for a horse, because while Cowboy is doing well with dressage he is an 18 (almost 19) year old OTTB with some creaky joints. I knew I was going to be shopping young and I also knew I didn't want a massive warmblood baby. While I am tall, I don't love riding big horses and I have a strong affinity for smaller pocket rockets (ahem Stinker).

Meet Karma

I saw Karma on facebook because a friend had tagged someone else and I jokingly sent her to Megan. Then I kept staring at her picture and got brave enough to ask the price. Karma just turned two and is out of a warmblood mare with lines to Rotspon and Weltmeyer by Norths Forks Cardi, so I assumed she would be out of budget. I asked a few more questions which didn't get a response right away. While I was waiting I made a deal with Aimee. If the lady responded I would go see the horse and visit Aimee. The lady responded and we went and I bought.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Doing Things

I have been doing things, but I haven't had much motivation for blogging.

I did another LD with yet another horse. It did't go as planned but we ended up with a completion.

Cowboy has been doing dressage and he is getting better.

We have also been doing trail riding trying to build up his butt, especially though the stifles.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Updates All Around

Stinker has been doing fabulous with my mom. He is actually a way more reliable horse than Cowboy. Cowboy can be spooky and pretty dumb sometimes (one time he had a fit about water spun around and proceeded to back into the water he was scared of in the first place). But Stinker just wants to go forward and is much easier to deal with.

Cowboy has slowly adjusted to being my dressage horse. When we first got him he had an absolute fit about bits, so I put him in a hackamore and that is what my mom always rode him in. I would occasionally ride him in a snaffle but for the most part he went bites. I was expecting to have to deal with him having fits about the bit, but really he has been quite good. He was reluctant to learn how to bend, but he is getting there. Most days we have a reliable leg yield. His right lead canter is a bit hit and miss but that is a combination of my unevenness and his preference to lean on my right leg. We even had a lesson and he was a very good boy.

I am still playing with the endurance mare, Cola. She got a bit out of shape over the winter and I was pretty worthless at the beginning of the summer, but we are finally getting back into shape. We were supposed to have our first LD this weekend, but in true horse form as soon as I mailed the entry she came up lame. We think she is on the mend, so hopefully that continues.

We did get to explore new trails. I hadn't been up to this lake before and it was stunning. The downside was it is super popular with mountain bikes and Cola was convinced they would murder her, but we had to be in the lead because we had another horse that was utterly terrified of them that needed to be sandwiched in the middle. Overall it was a fun day and the mountain bikers were super nice (especially when the one horse just about jumped off the road because the guy didn't actually stop).

I have been tormenting my mom's dog, Socks. He was looking super cute sitting and the sunset was really pretty, but when I moved to take the picture he took off for the barn (he is totally obsessed with the horses). So I told him to sit so I could take the picture, but of course he started worrying and looks terrified. I swear we don't beat him, it is just how he is.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


When I moved two years ago, I also moved my parents in with me. My dad had severe dementia and Parkinson’s. He was to the point where he required 24/7 supervision. My mom was unable to get help where they previously lived so she was trying to do everything and it was no longer working.

All of a sudden going from being totally on my own and boarding a horse to helping care for my dad, having horses at home, plus my own work (which is not a typical job and I usually average 50-55 hours per week and sometimes 65+) made life a lot busier but we kept plugging along.

Back in January (when blogging essentially stopped) my dad fell and broke his hip. So we were staying at the hospital and then the rehab place with him since he needed a person with him at all times. He recovered from the broken hip and things were going along but both diseases continued to progress (as is their nature).

I went to LRK3DE and had a fabulous time but it was marred by the fact that my mom made the decision to enroll him in hospice care. Things continued to decline and he passed away May 20th. Since then it has been a whirlwind preparing for the memorial service, which was last weekend.

I can’t even put into words what it is like to watch someone go through something like this, so despite my desire to keep the blog about horses (because let’s face it that is why we click on the blogs) I am putting all of this out there for anyone who is going through this. It’s hard and it’s ugly but you can get through it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Tough Choices

Back in January Stinker got his SI injected. The plan was to give him a six week break from riding and use the equiband to keep him in shape and working correctly. Unfortunately, shortly after my dad fell and broke his hip so I ended up trying to juggle helping with him, keeping my mother from having a total meltdown, and that little thing called a job. Stinker got put on the back burner. Then our weather turned to crap and I got slammed at work. When I was finally able to come up for air it had been four months since he had been in work.

Ever since the EPM he has had a hitch in his right hind. With careful hill work I was able to eliminate it. But with all the time off it came back. I’ve been struggling with what to do with him. He has terrible conformation which will probably result in early retirement but he is also a horse that loves to have a job. I’ve started him back with the equiband but I really needed to get him out on the hills. But since he is so chunky and out of shape and I’m trying to strengthen his back/butt I didn’t really think it was fair for me to start riding him right off the bat.

I got the bright idea of stealing Cowboy from my mom and have her ride Stinker. I wasn’t really sure how that would go because typically when he gets a new rider he gets really nervous and riding through that until he settles is super annoying. But she got on when he hadn’t been ridden since January and he was foot perfect for her. I am not sure I will be able to get him back from her but in the meantime he is climbing hills with her and I’m driving him with the equiband. I’ll see how he comes back and then make a decision about his future. In the meantime Cowboy is doing dressage with me.

I didn’t really think it mattered to Stinker if he had a job but he turned into a complete crank when I was doing nothing with him. Since I’ve had him back in work he has turned back into the affectionate playful horse I know. So long term he is going to have to have something to do even though f it is a slow wander around the park.