HG Blog Hop: Every Day Tack Set Up

Stephanie at Hand Gallop asks:

It’s fun to try new stuff and experiment with the latest goodies, but I’m curious to know what your every day tack setup is like.

Maybe it’s because I mainly focus on hunters, and by nature they are pretty boring…but I am the epitome of boring in almost every way.  (it’s kind of sad.)  On my plain bay mare with limited white, we rock:

Bay pony.

Bay pony.

My tried and true Devoucoux saddle.

Loves it.  It's the 14th birthday/christmas gift that keeps giving!

Love this saddle. It’s the 14th birthday/Christmas gift that keeps giving!

It fits O really well, and I’ve loved it for years.  Sadly, there are some concerns about my knee flaps being forward enough (legs=too long with shorter stirrups), but it probably won’t be an issue until we move up more.  Or at least I hope so.

O goes in a super simple, cheapy white foam bump pad.  I tried a few wither pads, including the beval pad I loved for years.  Sadly she goes best in Mr. Boring Foam Pad.  Jealous?  Buy your own here!

Can you see the foam pad?

Can you see the foam pad?

And on her cute face, we have one of two options available.

The favorite child: Bobby’s English Tack Raised Fancy Stitched Snaffle Bridle, find it here.  Bobby’s has a great rep around my stable, and I can see why!  Since I’ve used mine mainly for show or the occasional lesson it hasn’t gotten a ton of use, but the leather was soft upon purchase and I love the look and feel.  Oh and the reins, something about the reins I love.

Can you see them?  Urgh, most of the close up's of this one also involve her stopping...

Can you see it? Urgh, most of the close up’s of this bridle also involve her stopping…so this is all you get.

The worker bee (aka schooling bridle): Picked up an HDR fancy stitched bridle on the cheap last year and we’ve been hacking and riding in it every since.  It is a great buy for a basic, working bridle, and I actually really like the way it fits on her larger face.

HDR in action

HDR in action.  Also, look at her lashes in this one.  Daww.

There’s a variety of saddle pads that get rotated through, and a cheapy girth that I picked up in college when I was at the eating ramen every day stage of broke.  Like I said, we are thrilling over here in Hunterland!

Next post is lots of photos and updates from O’s time at the ranch!  Sneaky preview….

Coy and Olive June 3

The Short and Sweet

Stephanie, I hope you don’t hate, but I am stealing your fantastic Friday five idea today.

Crazy week at work, no pony in city to ride=short and sweet updates.

1. I have located another lovely catch-ride for the next week.  He is a gorgeous hunk of Argentinian warmblood.  If he was human, guessing he’d look a lot like this.

Why hello Mariano Andújar.

2. I’ve learned heat and being knocked up, yah they suck together.  Trying to rethink my riding schedule a bit to deal with it.

3. O is spending her first week as a ‘legit’ ranch pony this week working cattle.  I have no idea how it’s going so far.  Full report after this weekend.

4. I miss riding on a more regular basis…it’s really affecting my ability to keep up with my eq and overall strength in the tack.  Maybe that’s DaBaby screwing with me a bit too, but still, it’s hard to come to grips with.

5. Guess who gets to go see her pony this weekend!??

THIS GIRL! 

Also, doing a gender reveal for my in-laws.  But ya know.  O will be there too.  ❤

Bonus: Karley is doing a fantastic contest over on her blog!  Go check it out!

What I’ve Found

“When something bad happens, you have three choices.  You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.”

bloggers-weekend

PC: She Moved to Texas

As equestrians we inevitably flock together, sharing our lives, our hopes, and our treasured 4-legged friends.  I’m so glad that this community continues to grow and support each other through the good and the bad times.

Shauna from The Adventures of  Floppy Ammy, posted something that so perfectly captured all the emotions I’m feeling, and I wanted to share. 

Link.

My thoughts are directed to Lauren during Tim’s memorial today.  I hope that his celebration of life turns out exactly the way she hoped, and that she knows our hearts are with her.

Back to the Schoolies

As someone who bounced from horse to horse a lot as a kid, I have a deep appreciation for school horses.  Or schoolies as well call them.  Since I became temporarily horseless, and am cooking a baby I was in desperate need for something trustworthy and still enjoyable.  My trainer promised she would find something safe for me until a time where O comes back or when I can no longer figure out how to get off the horse (getting on is the easy part I hear).

Three of us in this photo!

Three of us in this photo!

So the past two weeks I’ve taken lessons on a sweet-as-pie, slow-as-molasses schoolie.  And I’ve had a ball. It’s been a few months since I’ve really been able to focus on myself, and boy was it brutal.  Sitting trot, lengthenings, more sitting trot, working on compressing the stride and then opening it back up.  We were like 20 minutes in and I was exhausted.  It may have partially been because I needed a stick with this schoolie, and there are only so many ways to bust out the pony kicks before your body gets tired of it.  Anyway, I felt like I really got to drill the good stuff, work on my shoulders, my wrists and opening my chest at the sitting trot (yuck posture).

Lessons learned though, those schoolies totally have your number!  This one even tried to chomp my butt when I was picking his feet.  I’m not sure who was more offended: me, when I realized what he was about to do, or him because I actually managed to get out of his way.

photo 5 (12)

Either way, I’m missing my pony, and having something to ride whenever I’d like, but I’m so grateful to still be out there riding and learning in the meantime. I know that this is really good for me.

O @ the Ranch: First Steps

Thank you all for the best wishes about O’s adventure to the country!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a very lucky girl in the marriage department.  My husband really is the greatest guy.  Of course we argue as normal couples do, and while O sometimes often seems to be a source of those “conversations” he knows how important riding and horses are to me.  Mainly because he has a huge, giant, soft spot for his own spicy little mare.

Yup, that spicy little mare.

Yup, that spicy little mare.

He was the one to call his parents about possibly keeping O for a few months, and working with her.  He knew to not touch me, or bother with talking on the ride home after she left.  And he did the math on exact drive times it would take me if I wanted/needed to see her on any given day.

He also drove down last weekend while I was traveling for work, and took O out on her first excursion around the ranch.  His report cracked me up, and shocked me as well.

1. There is water all over the ranch, everything from teeny creeks to full blown streams.  And you have to cross them to get anywhere.  O politely refused to get her toes wet.  Hubs asked again.  And again (a bit more firmly).  And again (a bit more firmly than last time).  Finally O awkwardly crouched down and then attempted to jump across the first one which was rather large.  She landed in the middle and trudged right on out. He thought it was hysterical.

Pretty water at the ranch.

Pretty water at the ranch.

2. She does not speak gate.  Cattle ranch=a ton of gates everywhere.  She was massively offended by him leaning off of her to move them.

3. Sensory overload.  He couldn’t help but laugh as she pretty much couldn’t decide what to stare at first.  He said she walked through the ranch swinging her head back and forth and back and forth trying to take it all in.  Also, she didn’t spook a single time, but pretty much was on her tippy toes the entire ride.

4. Out in the big field, he let her have her head and some room to run if she wanted.  She got her rocking horse canter going, and carried them across the flat areas, acting quiet and polite about it all.  I was shocked, as multiple times we’ve had major issues with her trying to be naughty in big open spaces.  He did say she was drenched in about 5 gallons of sweat by this time, so maybe she just didn’t have it in her.

But here’s the big one.

5.  There were logs scattered about the trails, nothing bigger than 2’6” or so, that Hubs just allowed her to canter up to.  No exact steering, just letting her figure it out. He said a few strides out she raised her head to check it out, and proceeded to quietly hop over them; landing quietly and happily loping away.

To review: My mare, who can’t usually be trusted out in open spaces, went cross country riding with my husband, who hadn’t ridden her in two years.  She went alone with no other horses in a completely new area.  She didn’t buck or spook once.  Her biggest issue was with the gates.  She leaped over logs, a random stick in her path (like 2 inches tall–Hubs wasn’t quite ready for that one), and did it with respect and interest.  Oh and he actually called me from her back to tell me how ‘wild’ she was.  And he snapped this picture, which makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

Getting her degree in Ranch Pony.

Getting her degree in Ranch Pony.

She’s being pushed outside her box, and she’s learning to be confident.  This is a great first step!  Hopefully more to follow.

Calling for Reinforcements

If you asked me 6 months ago if I would be in the situation with O that I am now, I would laugh hysterically.  My horse?  A spooky stopper?  Hell, I probably would’ve joked that my quiet little mare wouldn’t have the energy or interest to try to unseat anyone.

The best at innocent looks.

The best at innocent looks.

And then she dumped one person….and another…  My trainer was sick and tired of watching our rides fall to pieces, and pretty much told me flat out that O needs something we obviously aren’t giving her.

So I called in the reinforcements.

Or rather, my in-laws.

Unlike the typical rom-com stereotype, I adore my in-laws and value their opinions in all matters.  Their advice and knowledge of horses is a wonderful perk to have in the family.  They raise, train, and work all of their own horses and commonly keep a herd of 8-14 horses around to help work on their ranch.  My husbands grandfather was a quarter horse breeder, and obviously his father is my farrier-in-law that commonly swoops in to help with O’s feet.

Anyway, maybe you are guessing where this is going….but the final answer is that last week O left for the ranch to spend a few months getting reacquainted with some basics, and to decompress from her stopping issues.  I do hate that I’m turning her life upside down, but maybe that what she needs.

Still my favorite trotting picture of her, of all time.

Still my favorite trotting picture of her, of all time.

My husband always says that horses need have a job, and O’s is to be my partner, and do what I ask (within reason).  Currently she is flat our refusing to do her job.  The in-laws are hoping to let her have a mixture of time to be a horse and de-stress, and be adjusted to a riding lifestyle that will not tolerate her new found attitude and resistance in regards to what her rider is asking.  So basically she’s having a summer long come-to-Jesus moment about who is in charge.

Her new roomies at the ranch will include my husband’s mare, which I think is kind of cute.  O traveled and arrived well, and is still separated from the bulk of the horses as to properly introduce her.  I really, really hope this is what she needs.  A chance to hit reset on some of her training, and to learn confidence in herself and her riders.  Plus I know she is well looked after by a group of amazing riders.

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Progress, or Lack There Of: A Catch Up From the Past Few Months

I’ll try to keep this concise.

Since last Christmas(ish) O and I have been struggling with some real issues with her stopping at the more spooky jumps, and within a few weeks it had grown into a full fledged monster issue.  Then to top it off, she started spooking at everything.  From a physical standpoint we tried everything, the vet has been out multiple times.  We looked into her vision, her body condition, her ears, her body aches, we thought maybe it was a footsore issue, so we treated that for almost a month.  Then a few weeks ago when I got back on my sound, perfectly content horse, and it was exactly the same as it was before all of this.

Sound, fat, seemingly happy.  Why you hate us so much O?

Sound, fat, seemingly happy. Why you hate us so much O?

She will stop at poles.  She will dragon snort/blow/spook at jumps, and we are talking this reaction is from 5 strides away and not even pointed at them.  (Ask me how hard it is right now to simply hack around an arena full of jumps.)  

While my trainer had been threatening O (and myself) for months with a pretty serious come-to-Jesus type of intervention, I don’t think either of us saw this really coming; it is a 180 degree change from 6 months ago with this horse.  She’s completely unpredictable over fences.  One day she’s totally willing and gives me a great ride, the next she won’t be able to walk along the line of jumps without losing her marbles.

 The feeling of failure has been pretty much reigning in my horse life right now.  I felt that I created a monster.  A stopping monster (even worse for us over-the-obstacle based equestrians).  It sucked and continues to suck.

I have one last plan in place to try to resurrect the O from last year, or at least come up with a way to deal with her new attitude.  I’ll divulge all the details in my next post.  But really, my horse needs a massive wake-up call and a change of pace.  And perhaps I do too.  Anyway, sorry to be depressing, but sometimes real life can really be a bummer!  Now you are all caught up.