A Night on the Ground

Even though I spent the whole night out at the stable last night, and that the weather had simmered a bit, I didn’t spend a second in the saddle.

First I spent an hour plus cuddling my horse while pretending to hold her for the farrier. Realistically she’d never move anyway, this pony loves to get her feet done.  She got some snazzy new kicks and took a nap/drooled on me.

Cuddle sesh.

Cuddle sesh.

Then I convinced my farrier-in-law to hop on O.  I’m sort of in love with the cuteness

Note: My farrier-in-law has been riding for 50 years, and is a hell of a rider.  When he rides, (hubs rides like this too) it’s like he’s glued to the horse.  I am always jealous at their ease in the saddle.  That said, the non-neck reining how threw him off for a minute.  

 

About a hand taller than any of his horses at home.

About a hand taller than any of his horses at home.

Figuring each other out!

Figuring each other out!  Love her one ear back listening.

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So it's settled.  She'll go be a fancy cute western pony when we are done jumping :)

So it’s settled. She’ll go be a cute western pony when we are done jumping 🙂

He loved her, he said she was really smooth, and wanted to please.  I probably glowed with the compliments.  Marrying into a family of horseman/women I alsways felt that I needed to validate my riding as it was one of my few qualities that actually come in handy on a ranch! Ha!

Now that I’ve got a few months before another show, I love the quiet that has taken hold of the barn.  I foresee lots of western action and maybe a trail ride or two in our future.

Keeping to the budget

This has been a hot topic lately around my stable, so I thought I’d put it out there.

I am a bit of a cheapo. HA!

No, I’m not broke or anything.  But I am very aware of my costs in the equestrian world, and manage them to the best of my abilities.  So below you can read up on a few ways that I’ve saved money in the past, and strive to do so in the future.  By doing this it means I can go to horse shows, or splurge when I want to.  It’s a balance it is.

1. O herself.  I negotiated.  Hells yes. In my opinion absolutely everything is negotiable price wise and I personally take great pleasure in getting a good deal.

2. Living accommodations for O.  I knew when looking for a horse that he/she MUST be able to live outside majority of the time.  The hubs believes it’s the only way to go with horses, and personally I think it helps to keep O’s brain installed.  Are there downsides?  Yes.  But I think O loves it, and for the most part I do too. Price compared to a all year stalled board is a huge perk.

Getting her hay on.

Getting her hay on.

3. Amazing, flexible trainer.  She’s not only a rockstar on a horse, but totally gets that we work to pay for the ponies, and treats us with both respect and with awareness of that fact.

4. Farrier. Not that this is an option for everyone, but marrying into a family with a well-known specialty shoer is a good way to go.  Got lucky there.

5. eBay.com.  During college I lived far from the world of tack shops…and first explored eBay as an option for some new riding clothes.  Then I pretty much fell in love.  You have to be careful of course, but this site has given me some of my fav riding clothes including TS, Rompf’s, Equine Couture, all at ridiculously good prices.

6. DIY.  In life, my hubs and I are the king and queen on do it yourself projects.  With equestrian life I use this nifty trait to help pick up the little costs such as clipping, mane pulling, etc. that you can pay for at my stable.  If we head to some bigger shows next spring I am hoping to get the thumbs up to braid my own.  That stuff is expensive at shows, and I used to be a wicked good braider.  Stay tuned for upcoming post on my recent struggles relearn.

The great rhino repair job of 2013

The great rhino repair job of 2013

Pony getting her mane pulled!

Pony getting her mane pulled!

7. Mint.com.  HIGHLY Recommend this site due to the easy budget set up, and the fantastic app.  It keeps my brain in line when I’m off on a tangent staring at gorgeous french saddles and such.

So I realize these traits may fit everyone reading, or no one, but I just thought I’d share how I personally attempt to make this ridiculous expensive sport, a bit more realistic!  Please feel free to share any tips you have!

 

 

 

August Horse Show-Summer Finale

This horse show was the last in the local summer series stuff, and I was pretty excited about it.  It was gorgeous weather out, and mostly cloudy so we weren’t burning up.

I headed to the warm up ring, loving that the 2’6” classes run first in the outdoor ring, and quickly realized that I had too much bit.  After a quick walk, trot, canter, I ran back and swapped out her snaffle pelham for a mullen mouth pelham.  Really good decision, as she came out much happier with the new bit.  We hopped over a few warm up jumps and we were ready.  Since another trainer was busy with some problem ponies, I got to go in almost back to back for my first three classes.  It was fantastic!

We felt really great in our warm-up class, even with me riding a bit defensively.  We got our changes, and even with she rooted down with her head, I was able to sit back and push her back up.  Go us.

Our first judged class, went pretty well we had a rather loud flying change at one end, and got a little tight into the oxer right in front of the judge.  We got a third place!

The second class, O and I headed in with a bit less speed, and quietly loped our way down the lines.  Everything was so much smoother.  We marched out with a shiny blue ribbon for that one.

The next division was a bit smaller, but we wanted O to go around as much as possible, so in we went again for two classes.  First time in we got a tight spot to the single on the diagonal, but even if it was tight, I was so proud of how she jumped out of it instead of straight up in the air.  We left with a second place ribbon for our efforts.

Second time back in we nailed it the distances, and I feel like I got more quiet with my hands.  End result was a quieter horse.  I was so proud of her!  We got another blue for this round!  Squee!

And here’s the topping on the cake.   O and I walked out with our first blue ribbon during the under saddle flat class!  We hadn’t heard the placings for jumping yet, so this was the first blue we had ever gotten together and I could not have been more excited or proud.  🙂  There were only four who stayed for the flat,  but who cares, my pony was stellar.

First blue for O and me!

First blue for O and me!  Ignore my squinty eyes and red face!

I have videos too!!

First one is of both blue ribbon rounds.

Second one is warm-ups, the other two judged courses, and some of the flat class.

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Annnnnnd here's the tight spot!

Annnnnnd here’s the tight spot!

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Favorite photo :)

Love my girl.

Overall, we won 3 of our classes, got a second and a third.  I was overwhelmed with how confident and adjustable she was on course.  We have a few things to tweak (and by ‘we’ I mean me), but I could not be happier!

August Schooling-Like a Boss

Going into schooling I wasn’t sure what kind of horse I would have.  The past show or two we’ve intended to do the 2’6” divisions and then ended up stepping back a bit after our schooling.  As this is my last show for awhile, I was really hoping we would be able to make our move.  My trainer thought we were ready, I was ready, O has been fabulous; all we needed was a great schooling.  

This week it’s been sickly humid, and O has reacting by being pretty dang quiet.  I still tacked up and put in my new snaffle pelham and went to school.  She was practically asleep in the tack.  Woke her back up a bit, and she was okay on the flat.  Not stellar, but obedient.  We headed to the jumping area, and O pleased us all by being incredibly brave, jumping all the filled jumps on the first try, and easily cruising around like she’d done it 1000 times.  Thank goodness.  

We didn’t push her, and let her be done as soon as she jumped everything once.  I was so stinkin’ proud!  She was so focused and eager.  A few of our lead changes were a little bit gritty, but they were happening.  Happy faces all around.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Observing the schooling after us

Observing the schooling after us