A Review in 2014 Goals

Let’s chat about goals for 2014.  Back when I created these (here) I was still reeling from a confusing year of mystery lameness, and 2 months of rehab for the pony.  So I kept things pretty general.

First and most importantly-keep O sound. I’m mentally calling this a giant success.  Did she have normal horse stuff like an abscess and some footsore tenderness during the worst of the summer heat?  Well, yes.  Was it manageable?  YES.

Sound and jumping like a grown up horse.

Sound and jumping like a grown up horse.

Take O to her first horse show (that I know of). Well it wasn’t pretty, but we made it around!  Plus five other shows this year, and at each one we learned and had a great time.

Convince my husband to take a lesson or ride on O English style. Epic fail, the husband was an amazing cheerleader this year, but I couldn’t convince him to ride her.  I did convince his Dad though…does that count for anything?

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Farrier-in-law taking O for a cruise.  I think she’d adorable in western tack.

I participate in my first horse show since high school.  This was a bit repetitive, but I was worried in January that if O remained unsound I would be riding other horses, and showing them. But yes, this was a success.

Get our flying changes down. Fail.  They aren’t there consistently.  They exist, but aren’t “down”.

Feel confident jumping around full courses with consistent pace. Yes, success.  O is really starting to figure out how to regulate herself, and I have stepped up and gotten a better feel for the ride we need.

Win a ribbon, any ribbon: Not only ribbons, but some blue ones to start O’s collection.

Find and buy new tall boots to fit my mammoth calves.  I love my tredsteps!  They are ridiculous comfortable and look great.

Nerd alert.

Nerd alert.

Participate in a clinic.  Success!  Probably one of my absolute favorite memories of 2014, I had a blast and learned so much.  Plus my horse showed up and showed us she could be really great.

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Wrapping up the Year: Happy Anniversary

What a whirlwind the past year with O has been!  This is our 2nd anniversary together (paid her off in December), and  I feel like it was just in the past few months that we’ve began to have that special horse and rider connection.  With our first year being so full of lameness and other issues, this year was the first time we really were able to start working as a team.  I’m so incredibly glad to have this mare in my life!

Happy Anniversary to the one and only Dunham ‘N Diamonds!

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Let’s celebrate with a few of my favorite pictures this year, paired with a highlight for the month.

January: Coming back into full work, we move to a new barn and start to progress in lessons.

New arena, new work ethic.

New arena, new work ethic.

February: It was brutally cold and icy.  We plugged forward trying to keep in as much work as possible.

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March: I get dumped and end up out of the saddle most of the month.  Check out the money numbers on that fall!  Crazy.

April: Our first horse show is full of ugly moments, but we get through it.  O gets a few days off for an abscess in her front right.

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May: We got to our first off site show!  O shows us that she can travel and still keep brain engaged.

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June: O has to get her back shoes pulled and of course it makes me incredibly nervous.

Happy horse.

Happy horse.

July: O is a bit footsore, it’s very hot out, so I spend a lot of time researching her family.

Enjoying her time off.

Enjoying her time off.

August: We move up to 2’6” in our last home show of the summer and snag three blue ribbons.

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September: I buy lots of new pony stuff, and attempt to get updated conformation shots.

Conformation shot fail.

Conformation shot fail.

October: We do our first clinic and it’s awesome!

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November: We travel to another local facility for a horse show and earn the move up to 2’6”-2’9” in the next show in January.

December: I meet the Fancy Pony and rider, Jacq, at our home holiday fun horse show!

The Fancy Pony with O and I in the background!  PC: Jacq

The Fancy Pony with O and I in the background! PC: Jacq

What a year!!  Cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store.  Cheers ya’ll.

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Back to the Fun

I’m a very purpose driven person.

I like goals.

I like plans.

I freaking love to do lists.

So sometimes I tend to get a bit wrapped around my goals, aspirations etc. and forget to actually enjoy the riding.  I know that sounds silly.  And it’s not like I don’t enjoy riding every time, but it’s a different kind of fun lately.  Maybe it’s because we’ve had a few rough lessons?  Who knows.

The point is I went out on Christmas Eve and ONLY focused on having fun.  I brushed her until her coat was glossy and she was half-asleep.  Then I stuffed her full of candy canes.  After I mustered the effort, I tossed her bridle on and then a lunge line and watched my pony trot nicely around me.

And then I hopped on bareback and we walked and walked around.  I got to chat with some other riders, and we worked on bending, moving her shoulders over for me.  Then we did poles, and circles.  She was perfect.  I was toasty warm from being on her, and it was fun.

Good simple fun.

What's more fun than chevron saddle pads?

What’s more fun than chevron saddle pads?

Later we trotted around, working on sitting quietly and asking her to soften through half halts.  It was so much more simple sans saddle, and I was smiling and having a great time.

I got off and gave more loves before turning her out.  And now I feel about 100x better about all things riding.  Sometimes you just have to go out and have fun.  The goals will still be there tomorrow.

Oh and it helps when your favorite grey mare sleeps like this in the field, and refuses to get up, even for treats.  What a goof!

Just too exhausted from eating to get up.

Just too exhausted from eating to get up.

TOABH: Shining Star

Let’s talk about the biggest achievements your horse has accomplished.  I’m not talking about you as a rider – I want to know what your ponykins has done to make you proud.  Is there a glorious satin collection, did he/she figure out some dressage movement that took months to learn, or are is it just a great day when your butt stays in the saddle?  

One thing that absolutely makes me proud every single time I’m with O is her personality on the ground.  Can’t beat an agreeable horse.

To explain a bit more…the mare ground ties anywhere.

Wildly enthused here.

Wildly enthused here.

Waiting for her turn in the wash stall.

Waiting for her turn in the wash stall.

Even if I do tie her, she still stays where she is...even if it's in a stall with the door open.

Even if I do tie her, she still stays where she is…even if it’s in a stall with the door open.

Waiting her turn to go into the ring.

Waiting her turn to go into the ring.

She’s super good for farrier, vet and chiro visits.

She literally goes to sleep with the farrier, and he can do her feet without anyone around.

She literally goes to sleep with the farrier, and he can do her feet without anyone around.

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Oh and I just love that she seems to genuinely like her people.  Or really any people.

Like my dad.

Like my dad.

And she likes to like her people.

And she likes to lick her people.

Her heads always out begging for loves.

Her heads is always out begging for loves.

I can let people who’ve never seen a horse handle this one; little kids, even the trainers dog will tow her along occasionally.  She’s just that quiet and kind to be around.

Side note: she also loves pregnant ladies and kids.

She loves to put her face on the besties baby bump. Weird? Maybe. Cute? Yes, that too!

So she pretty much likes everyone.

Minus other horses.  Those are evil. Ha!

Evil mare look.

Evil mare look.

In all honesty when I tried her, I knew that she would be a lot of work down the line, but that her personality would always win me over.  That genuine kindness is hard to come by, and I’m one that believes if you win over a mare, you do it for life.  So glad to have this sweet, agreeable mare as my partner!

That eye.  The kindest.

That eye. The kindest.

December Horse Show Videos

God I love videos.  They don’t lie and are great teachers. Now to the videos and some takeaways.

First 2’6” Class:

-I should add leg when I feel her hesitate (stop at jump 1)

-Our left to right lead change isn’t there on course

-I ride defensively

-I love our approach to the single on the diagonal and I think she jumps really cute

-Opps, too much whoa down the far outside and we get a little long

Second 2’6” Class:

-The ride down the diagonal line is lovely

-That translates into a quieter lead change

Equitation Class:

-Now that I watch this I feel like the whole time I’m letting her build up

-So I get a tight one on the diagonal line

-Followed by a LOUD lead change which I didn’t help to support

-Our left to right lead change isn’t there on course (suckiness)

At the end of the day right now it’s about building our confidence together and I do feel like this show helped that. Very proud of my pony.

TOABH: History and Making of the Horse

ForBeka

I’m a bit behind, so I’m doing a two for one blog hop today!!

Week 1:

History of the Horse
Before you met, where was your horse?  Who bred him/her?  What do you know about his sire and his dam?  What do you know where he came from?  Tell me about the time before he had a trainer.

Miss O was a race-trained appendix, so she was in the quarter horse side of the racing world for her very limited career.  She raced once…and she was awful.  Go to 2:13 in the video below for the evidence of how slow she really was.  Breaks from gate 6.

I’ve written about her parents here. Short story, form what I can tell her Momma is pretty fancy, and her sire is mysterious.

Week 2:

Making of the Horse
Last week, we talked about our babies.  This week, let’s talk about our greenies.  Who trained your horse?  Is your ponykins still in the process of figuring out this whole monkey-on-my-back thing, did you send off for thirty or sixty or ninety days, or did you buy a horse with all the bells and whistles?  Who has helped your horse become what he or she is today?
She was broke, race trained and bred by a man in Missouri.  After her lackluster track experience, I’ve been told she helped her owner pony his other racehorses around for training.  That and she hung around a field and ate.  After one attempt to come into the hunter/jumper world she was returned to her breeder for more time in a field, until my ex-trainer decided to give her a whirl.  When she arrived she would leap jump anything and everything abet awkwardly, and was incredibly lazy and behind the leg.  She kind of knew her leads, but was generally just slow and uninterested with life. However, when she did jump correctly she jumped very nice, and had a pretty cute trot.

Uphill much?

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh love it.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh love it.

My trainer has ridden her 2-3 times over the past two years in training rides, otherwise I opted to just lesson on O and take our learning from there.  Occasionally when I’m not around I have a wonderful group of barn family who can and will take her for a spin for me, so they should get credit too.  But really, it’s just been lots and lots of lessons.
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Plus super fun clinics!

And lots of fun stuff too.

And lots of fun stuff too.