Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye '09, Hello 2010

So tonight being New Year's Eve with only an hour and half left of 2009 I figured I would write my New Years Resolutions, horsey and otherwise. Now I have never before made a resolution, but I figured its never too late, right? So here it goes:

1. Bring my mare back to her reining roots and compete in the Amateur reining class at an AQHA show or in the new grassroots program started by NRHA. I would also like to compete in trail and/or barrels at the QH show as well.

2. Ride in a clinic

3. Watch more clinics at the expos I go to.

4. Spend more time practicing techniques my trainer shows me in lessons

5. Keep in mind its just for fun when I am stressed or frustrated at a western pleasure show

6. Hit the trails as much as possible!!!!

7. Mix in as much fun, easy rides as I did last year into my schooling ride schedule

8. Do more hunter paces

9, Take even more pictures everywhere I go

10. Write/Blog more about everything and anything that come to mind.

So these are some of my goals for the coming year 2010. I will keep you updated on how things go in accomplishing them. Every equestrian out there should set at least one goal for the New Year in their horsey life. Most equestrians resolutions seem to be to spend more time with or ride their horse more. I think that is a great resolution, but fortunately I got that one down. And I guess an 11th resolution would be to enjoy every moment of my supermare's senior years :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow is Gone!

So the only upside of the horrendous downpour all day Saturday is that it washed all the snow away. Yay! Then Sunday turned out to be beautiful and 50 degrees! So of course I went out and rode the pony. We rode around the back of the farm since it was too nice a day to ride in the ring (at least in my opinion) and the trails were going to be gross. She was very good and not stiff for having most of last week just walked and then the rain. She was a little beasty when jumping the logs but settled down nicely. We ran the barrel a couple of times and she did it nicely though was not as headstrong as I expected.

Today I went to the barn early in order to babysit for D since she had an important meeting with a rescue group that may bring a few horses to us. So I spent an hour or two watching her 2 year old who I adore and cleaning first barn before the new client saw it. It is probably the most used barn with the biggest tack up area since that is where the lesson kids tack up, as well as, those of us who have horses living out in the front field 24/7 which include D and her daughter K. So of course this makes it the most dirty. With the help of the toddler and D's 11 year old son A we had everything away and the barn sweeped and perfectly clean in an hour. Now the challenge is keeping it that way!

Anyway so when D returned home my friend L arrived and we rode our mares in the ring. We did an excercise our trainer R showed us where you try to trot beside each other staying stirrup to stirrup and you circle, do extended and sitting trot, canter, etc. We had not done it in a while and were swapping stories so we did our walk and trot warm up side by side. This excercise is extremely hard when one is riding a 16 hand Standardbred and the other a 15 hand QH LOL! She loped nicely both directions after and we did some work on quarter turns, rollbacks, and spins which were okay. They need more work in our next lesson with R. We also did a little sidepass which was lazy but overall okay.

Anyway so tomorrow my friend M and I are going to NY overnight to visit relatives of mine so pony will get one maybe two days off, but tomorrow is supposed to be freezing anyway so I dont think either of us will mind lol!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Break is Finally Here!

Fall semester is finally over and winter break is here! Finals and the holidays have been keeping me quite busy, but now I will have some more time to write and keep things updated. Anyway this year Rutgers decided they hated us apparantly and had finals right up until the day before the Christmas Eve, so of coure who had exams on the last 2 exam days? Me. One last Monday and one Wednesday. I survived and now I can rest until Spring semester starts in mid-January. I have lots of fun things planned for break though that I am looking forward to like catching up with family and friends and a few short trips, plus the MD Horse Expo is always the weekend before I go back to school and is one of my favorite trips of the year.

Anyway so on the horsey front I will give you the weekly riding update as always. So last Friday my friend K and I went on a trail ride. They had been predicting a heavy load of snow for the weekend so we figured it would be quite some time before we got out on the trails once that happened. I was of course aboard my trusty steed Satin, but K rode a friend's pony Cindy instead of her pony Smokey since he just got his shoes pulled. We couldn't do too much since it was cold and there was a lot of ice. We had to navigate around the ice which was pretty gross, but we made it and did some exploring. We found the back of this semi-abandoned farm I guess you would call it. It is part of or at least used to be part of the farm of someone who trains Standardbreds. They had no horses and the barns were falling apart a bit or it so it looked. We got onto the track and I wanted to take a little canter around at least part of it, but then K spotted someone and said we should turn back, so we did. We picked up a trot which turned into a canter, but Miss Satin of course was not content to just do that and was chomping at the bit...literally! I had to hold her back to keep her at a fast canter rather than gallop, though I guess it was really more of a hand gallop LOL! She was hopping up and down as she often does when I hold her back. She is quite energetic for a so called old lady haha. On the way back we did the jumping trail and when we came around the bend after Satin spooked left which was unusual for her since she very rarely spooks and I heard and saw nothing. As we progressed though I saw the source which was a group of middle school aged boys hanging out in the woods behind someone's house on this big pile of wood and next to this rather large hole in the ground. It was kind of strange and like typical adolescent boys they started cracking dumb jokes and making fun of us for riding horses. I got that all the time when I was that age, but as I got older people and boys included started to think of it as cool more than strange. K was calling back to their comments as she is younger, older than the boys but only a couple of years. I ignored it knowing it was not worth it and would go away eventually. Anyway all in all we had a nice ride.

Good thing we went because the next day it snowed 20 inches! I went out to the barn to help with the Christmas cookie baking we do every year. We made like 4 or 5 different kinds of cookies including gingerbread men. I ended up getting snowed in there over night and stayed at my barn manager's house. We had fun baking and watching movies and what not and at night went out in the snow a little to check on the horses and see its progress. The next morning when we went out the snow had finally stopped it came past my knees and I'm 5'5" The horses were all up to or past their knees as well. I figured we would be leaving them in, but D was determined to get them out. She and Da our barn maintenance guy plowed out the gates so we could open and close them. Da had been plowing the driveway and farm all night so we could get around a bit. It was still deep in parts though. Anyway then D decided we would ride out whatever horses we could as to avoid having to walk through the very deep snow a million times. She rode out one gelding who had not been ridden in a year and a half due to advanced uviitis (sp?) in both eyes and is going blind. He was good as gold though. We had fun riding a bunch of them out bareback. Then I took a bunch of pictures of them all running and playing in the snow. They were very cute and I will try and put some of them up a little later.

So this week we have pretty much just been riding bareback in the snow since we can't do much of anything else. We have kept it pretty much to a walk since its icey where its plowed down and deep everywhere else. Christmas Eve we did some trotting and cantering in the snow which was fun and I gave Satin a nice hot Christmas mash. Then I rode this mare Patty around for a little bit.

Right now its pouring rain, but at least its melting the snow! Hopefully tomorrow it will be better and I can finally ride. As always I will keep you updated!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Pics

I wanted to add in a few cute pics I got on Tuesday. When I got to the barn I found Satin and Jewel laying down together in their paddock and it was just so cute! Lucky for me I had my camera with me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Finals Week :(

Sorry I have been slacking once again. I had no classes this week, but I have finals Monday and Wednesday of next week plus Christmas is coming faster than ever so I have been super busy between studying and preparing for the holidays.

Let's start with the recap of this week's riding. Saturday we had a short hack in the back grass field as the ring was frozen. Sunday unfortunately it poured all day so the pony had the day off. Monday I went to ride ride her bareback in her halter and lead out of the back of her muddy paddock as I do almost every day when her paddock mate decided to come running up behind us bucking so Satin proceeded to do the same. With only a lead to stop her I quickly pulled her head right and did an emergency dismount at the same time before things escalated especially because I was helmetless which is something I rarely do. When I got to the ground I was able to get her to a walk while her paddock mate Jewel continued to run around like a nut. This made things difficult to get Satin out as she would trot forward as Jewel tried to play chase which she never does. Anyway after all that I bring her inside to find she has a lost a shoe so I couldn't ride her. I walked her around the farm to stretch her legs and Tuesday she got her shoe back on. Thank God for my wonderful farrier who is always quick in responding to lost shoes. Luckily this is something that rarely happens with my mare (knock on wood). Anyway so Tuesday we had a schooling session since we had a lesson the following day. She jogged and loped beautifully and we worked on the excercises R wanted us to do while riding one handed. She was very good, but I could feel she wanted to go. Since she behaved so well I decided to reward her by letting her get it out of her system. So I pointed her towards the barrel to do a dash and she loped very slow to the barrel practically walked around it then all of a sudden sat down, launched, and took off like she was shot out of a cannon across the ring. She sounded like a stampede crow hopping and all. It was quite hilarious. So I ran it one more time with the same result except a little faster towards the barrel. Silly girl :) Then we hacked around the property with K and did one or two log jumps which she beasted lol.

So Wednesday we trailered over to my trainer's farm for a lesson. As always we had a great lesson. I can't say enough how much I love my trainer. She is awesome. Satin's walk, jog, lope was great. We worked on a bunch of simple changes doing different patterns, like serpentines, etc. Then we did flying changes, which she did BEAUTIFULLY! She has nice auto changes, but she tends get rushy with them which makes them sloppy and she sometimes doesn't get the back because of that. But, when we do the simple changes first it seems to help warm her up to get perfectly clean, beautiful flying changes. We also did some work with a L shoot that R set up for us and Satin did it perfectly. We then moved on to work on her spins which she has been sloppy on lately. We started with quarter turns and 180s then did a couple of full spins. To the left they were all beautiful, but as usual to the right they were a bit sloppy which I think could be due to the fact that in that direction she has to pivot off of her bad hock. R got on and worked with her a little bit and helped figure out the best way to get her to really pivot on her spins in both directions. She had her doing some really awesome spins! It was cool to get to see her work since I am usually on her. Then I got on and with R's guidance got some of the spins she was getting including some better ones to the right.

Today I just hacked her bareback in the ring for a little bit since she was probably worn out from yesterday's hour and half lesson. Then I rode my friends L's stb Lexie.

On Tuesday I went to visit my friend H and her stb gelding who I refer to as boyfriend. Her back was out so she asked me if I wanted to ride him and let me try him western which is pretty much the only discipline he hasn't done. He took to it as well as all the others and did very good.

Well time to get back to work I have a busy weekend ahead with a Christmas party tomorrow and a day in NY Saturday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brrr! Winter Has Arrived

I feel like it just became winter all of sudden. I mean we have had medium temperatures until Saturdays rain/snow storm then boom magically it was high 30s / low 40s and freezing. Sunday especially was frigid. I had to bust out my layers, which are my best friend this time of year (besides toe warmers of course!).

The only good thing about winter is getting to use all my winter supplies for Satin and I. Along with the layers and toe warmers came the bit warmer, riding the pony bareback in her blanket, her new cooler, and my embroidered "Satin" jacket. This year I plan to invest in two new winter tools. One is a winter helmet cover that wraps around your face. I had one about two years ago which somehow got lost in the shuffle, but I definitely miss it! Today in the blustery cold and wind I tied a scarf around my face to simulate that protection. It worked, but was much less efficient and more difficult to put in place and keep there. I also plan on getting a fleece seat cover for my saddle. My old trainer used to use one in the winter and said it helped keep her toasty (plus is comfy too!).

Though I would trade the use of fun winter supplies in for some warm weather any day! I am definitely not looking forward to the cold weather still to come. Yesterday was tease. It was rainy and gloomy all morning then around noon the sun came out and it was 60 degrees! I almost wasn't going to go out to the farm because of the morning forecast, but the afternoon turn changed my mind. And thank God! It was a gorgeous day to ride. I mean really, how many 60 degree days do you get in December? So K and I hacked around the farm and then did a few barrel dashes. Satin was very hyper and feeling her oats with the warm break in weather. She took off full force for the barrel, crow hopping all the way. Such a silly girl. She is always out to prove that 20 is the new 2!

So this weeks riding log includes a schooling ride on Sunday. Satin had a beautiful jog and lope, though I should have worked on one handed, as well as, two. Then we worked on quarter turns, 180s at the jog, and rollbacks as per Renee's instructions and she did well. The rest of the week we mostly hacked around the farm, including Wednesday as I already mentioned where we added some barrel work. Today we rode in the ring bareback in a halter. We also did some brideless work and she was pretty good. She got a little quick at the canter, as she usually does bridleless, but was otherwise very responsive. We even did some bridleless spins, which were very nice as usual. I hope she is hiding in her shed tonight as I can hear the wind blowing full force outside my window. Tomorrow she will get the day off to relax.

On Sunday I also my friend's STBD Larry. Larry as I may have mentioned has not been ridden in over a year pretty much until the week before when I climbed back on. Larry is a very nervous boy. I call him the boy in the bubble! So Sunday we head into the indoor with our friend M and her mare. We were unhappily surprised to find that there were three large hyper thoroughbreds having a jumping lesson and a fourth joined shortly after. Our two nervous greenies who had not been ridden in a week were obviously "hot" especially on such a chilly day. Larry was very nervous with horses cantering past in all directions and tried once or twice to go up. R fixed the situation asking for the horse turned out in the outdoor to be brought in. The outdoor arena was mucky, but parts were decent enough to ride in. It took a few minutes to get Lar settled in and in a work frame of mind, but once he did he was very good. He gave me a nice ten minutes worth of trot which is very good for an out of shape pony like him. He also backed beautifully and walked several times over a cavaletti with very little protest. I hope to ride him again this weekend as we are shooting to have him ready for April showing!

These last 2 weeks have been super busy at school with the semester ending. I have been buried under papers, projects, quizzes, etc. I am so glad that today was my last day of classes. I handed in my final creative writing piece, though I still have the portfolio to complete for next week. I did my group presentation for International Media too, which I think went well. Now besides for my portfolio I just have Astronomy and Women Writers finals to prepare for. Unfortunately my exams are on the last two exam days write before Christmas, but the only good thing is it gives me almost 2 weeks to study.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Holiday Break

So it was great to have a few days off of school, especially because once I return today it starts the last 2 weeks of the semester which are always hell basically. But, anyway I tookd advantage of my vacation to get some extra riding time in of course. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best except for yesterday, but thats alright.

Wednesday was rainy and gross, but K and I rode Sat and her paddock pal Jewel bareback around the farm. On Thanksgiving my barn manager D organized a Thanksgiving morning trail ride and last minute was unable to go since she did not have anyone to watch her toddler. The rest of us went however with her daughter K and myself leading as our horses like to be first. We were with some girls and horses that do not usually go on trails so we kept at walk trot and had to deal with a lot of nervousness. We did have a few incidents with one girl falling off as her horse decided to go bucking up hill and another friend's horse who is usually great on trails took off to catch up with my horse and K's horse who are much faster walkers and the horse behind her following suit. Long story short it wasn't one of our best trails, but when we came home K and I let our horses blow off some steam around the back of the farm.

On Friday I ran a few errands and went to visit my friend R's Standardbred Larry at his new home. I used to ride Larry and showed him once or twice and now that he is at a barn with a real ring and indoor we are getting him back into riding again. I got him and he was great. We walked and trotted for about ten minutes as he is out of shape and hasn't been ridden in a while, but he was very good and he gave me his nice almost jog. His trot can go so nice and slow especially for most Standardbreds I have seen. Then I hacked Satin around the farm a little since again it was a gross day.

Saturday my friend Kt came over for a western lesson. She has ridden english forever and has started riding on her school's western team and doing well. I had her on Sat and gave her a little western pleasure lesson. They both did great though I was surprised Satin was in pleasure mode since we haven't worked on it in while. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous! It was the perfect trail day but I had no one to trail ride with. So I hacked around the farm for a bit and then decided to go out on a short little trail by myself. It was only about ten minutes of the closer paths, but Sat was very good for her first time out alone and we had a nice ride.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Banquet and Hunter Pace

So I had a very busy and fun filled weekend. On Friday I had the CJHA banquet where myself and most of my horsey friends received our year end awards for the CJHA horse show series. I was 4th in Adult Amateur Western. All the girls from the barn came home with trophies too. I am on the board of this organization and the banquet is always great. It is nice to see everyone outside the barn and half the time you don't recognize them all dressed up. We had a lot of fun dancing the night away and celebrating a successful horse show season.

Saturday my friend L and I went out on a short trail ride to prepare for the hunter pace we were going on the next day. It was quite eventful for a short hack complete with quads and dirt bikes, L's horse being uncharacteristically spooky, and L's horse also being unusually full of energy which she displayed in a series of bucks during a short hand gallop. We went on a trail ride because L's mare had not been on one since the summer and Satin had not been out in about month either and L wanted to get her mare out before our hunter pace. Well as you can see it was a good thing we did.

So yesterday we went on the Turkey Trot which is an 8 mile hunter pace with L obviously being my partner. We had an absolute BLAST! We were apparantly one of the only teams not to get lost according to what we heard from people who were working the ride and running into quite a few teams that had been turned around. We thought that it was the fastest time wins so we were quite proud of ourselves when we passed a few teams on the trail. Turns out we were wrong. We came in 23 minutes faster than the optimal time LOL! We didn't care though. We just went to have fun and we did. L's mare did take off once or twice, but we got it under control. Satin thought she was a cross country pony hand galloping through a series of logs which she jumped like they were 3 feet tall haha, gota love my lil super mare. Today of course she got the day off to rest up from yesterday's big adventure. As you can see she is back to tip top condition, even with her mother being distracted and forgetting to put her splint boots on for the hunter pace yesterday :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back From Mass.

I'm back! I was up in Mass. at Equine Affaire this weekend and had a great time. There were lots of good buys and some great clinics. Satin got a new cooler and few other things. We got to enjoy clinics by John Lyons, Ken McNabb, and many other great clinicians. We also got to see the Versatile Horse and Rider competition which was pretty interesting. I would love to enter something like that. It is like a trail class, but with even more intense obstacles. The obstacles included various jumps, a tunnel, sidepassing while carrying stuff, rollbacks, spins, walking into a kiddie pool filled with leaves, backing over a bridge, ground tying, etc.

Yesterday I got to ride my pony after four days of missed riding from the rain and being away. She felt good just a little stiff from time off and bad weather. We did some work with our bridge at home going backwards, forwards, and sideways over it and had no issues though our bridge is flat while the bridge in Mass. and the one they use at breed shows is raised. We also did some of the sidepass excercises they had to do and jumped a small crossrail. We also cantered over some ground poles which she tends to do rush into and swap leads over, but after a few times over she settled down and did them correctly.

This weekend we have a big hunter pace so I Friday to get year end awards from horse shows this year

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pony is Finally Healed

So I don't know what Miss Satin did when she cut her leg, but her leg was still swollen for a couple days after. I kept up my regimen of walking her, cleaning the wound, buting her when needed, etc. On Saturday there was still fluid in the ankle. My barn manager suggested adding cold hosing and wrapping to my regimen. So I walked her for 15 minutes, cold hosed for 10, then we put on a furazone sweat wrap for 24 hours. When the wrap was removed the swelling was gone and she was sound though a bit stiff from almost a week off. The swelling has not come back and she has stayed sound (knock on wood). Yesterday I just walk - trotted her for twenty minutes to stretch her legs. Today I kept it easy too not wanting to stress her. I walk - trotted her for about 15-20 minutes and cantered once each direction. She felt good so that puts me at ease.

This weekend I am going to Equine Affaire in Massachusetts with some friends, so I am definitely looking forward to that. Will let you all know how it goes!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slacking Again ....

Sorry guys, I know I have been quite the slacker with posting lately. I have just been super busy with school, the pony, and freelance work, etc.

Ok so let's start with the most important topic the pony. Well yesterday the princess pony cut her leg. I don't know how she did it, it happened in the field at some point yesterday. Anyway the cut was not deep at all it was just long and the leg was swollen. So of course she was off and quite stiff since it is the leg she already has a touch of arthritis in because of an old injury. After walking, cold hosing, betadine, furazone, and a little bute she was much better today. The swelling is gone and she was running around her field bucking like a bronco. I rode her, but we kept it at 20 minutes or walk, trot to help circulation flow, unstick her, etc.

On Tuesday we went barrel racing. Now that we figured out the key to her turns I was looking forward to trying it out. My friend K rode her in the barrels as well since at the last minute she was unable to bring her pony. She ended up getting a better time than me at a 19.2. I got a 19.7, but I also slowed her down more than necessary to ensure tight turns since the last few times her turns were half the ring. Anyway I also rode my dash the opposite direction that I usually do, to the right rather than the left. Her turn was good and we got an 8.7. Our poles ended up being our best event of the night. We had our fastest run yet with a 25.9!!! Unfortunately we knocked our last pole which gave us a 5 second penalty. Obviously I was disappointed at the knock but I was absolutely thrilled with our time. We used to get 30s then the last couple weeks we had been getting 27s so a 25.9 was awesome not just for us but in general!

Last Friday we went team penning with our dream team partner who I call Sunshine but also known as our barn owner D. Anyway we had pretty good runs. Two in the 30s and a 23 then one we didn't get the cow because he was a little butt but then we almost got him and I admit it was my fault he got away. But that's okay we still had a good night. I did one run with our friend DNs friend J and we were set up for a perfect run. They called our cow and all the other cows ran left but ours stayed right in the middle. We began to run him down and he cut left and no matter how many times we got him and began to run him he would get away at the last second. He was a nasty little bugger. He wasn't afraid of the horses. Satin bit him and he just tried to kick her. Then my partner's horse almost jumped on him and he didn't give a second glance. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. But like my other friend DR said we took one for the team because now no one else would have that cow.

In other news I went upstate to J's last weekend. They had a clinician coming to her neighbor's farm and she invited me to come ride Flo in one of the spots she had reserved. Saturday I just watched the clinic and Sarah who rides Flo for Jill did the clinic. I did ride Max around for a while though and did some ring work with him. I spent Saturday night visiting my friend's that go to college up there for Halloween. Then Sunday it was my turn to ride. Flo was very good though a bit quick at the canter. I got some good tips and overall it was a good experience (though I still think my trainer R could teach circles around this guy :) ).

School has been busy, busy. I had midterms and papers and all kinds of fun stuff keeping me up to all hours. I took my last midterm today thank God.

I also had two freelance projects I was working on. Both were due last weekend. One was an article about trail riding in Allaire for the Paint Horse Journal and the other was about the SPHO-NJ and the race world supporting them for Hoofbeats. Fingers crossed the Hoofbeats editor likes it and decides to publish it. They were both really fun to work on. As I told you I enjoyed riding in Allaire. As far as the Hoofbeats article I learned some things and talked to some interesting people. I got to talk to Dr. Patty Hogan one of the leading equine surgeons on the phone and she had some great things to say. She gave me phenomenal quotes and I would love to get to do an article just on her. Scratch that she needs her own book!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Upstate and Allaire

So as I said in my last post I went to my friend J's ranch in upstate N.Y. this past weekend. We lucked out weather wise since the forecast was beyond grim. We got up around 8 on Friday so we didn't get to play with the ponies until Saturday. Saturday was chilly, but dry unlike previously forecasted. I had a chance to work with Flo, the palo filly I have mentioned in previous posts. The last time I rode her I used a saddle that does not fit me at all and it really affected the enjoyment of my ride because I could not get a good seat. The seat on the saddle was too big for me which I could have overcome if the stirrups went short enough. I could deal with one or the other, but the combo of the too long stirrups and too big seat made it difficult to get a good position and really enjoy my ride. This time I used a saddle that fits me much better in the seat and stirrups so my ride was much better. Flo is really becoming a great pleasure horse. Her jog is too die for. It is slow, comfy, and she has a nice headset. She has been mostly being worked English because the girl who excercises her for J rides english. Her canter is super comfy, like a rocking chair, but its a medium paced hunter canter not a slow even lope or even close to it. Like J said this is because the girl who rides her has been working on working her up in tempo and headset for jumping. When I am up there I will work on her western as much as I can, but I am not up there enough so hopefully Jill and the trainer work on it in between.

A few weeks back Flo was spooked by a bear in the ring where she was turned out. She ran through the fence and cut up her legs. Luckily the cuts were all superficial, but it definitely had an effect on her. When riding her in the ring where the incident occurred she is very looky. Her ears are always up and head up looking around. When asked to give you her headset and set up she will and a few moments later looks up again. She is still not over the trauma of the bear incident obviously. She did a nice spook at some deer creeping through the trees too. Hopefully with some time she will begin to get over it. She is still very calm and quiet for a three year old.

I also had a chance to ride Max, the gray gelding I wrote about in earlier posts that I described as a barrel/reining prospect. I set up the barrels and did some work with turns trotting and walking him around through the pattern in both directions. Then I tried to canter him through. He broke in between, but cantered parts. He is still out of shape too so you can't fault him. We did a dash or two and even let him run a little. He did a slow hand gallop and I didnt push him for more because again he is not in shape. He was a good boy as usual and has some nice turns. With more work he will be in shape and much better with turns and what not.

On Monday I finally got back on my mare after four days of not riding her due to rain and being away. We just rode around the farm and did the same on Tuesday. Yesterday was gorgeous and my friend K and I went on a trail ride in the local state park. I am doing an article on this park so I needed to go and we have been wanting to go for a while anyway. We rode for about 2 hours exploring the trails and eventually it lead back to the main path. The trails were gorgeous with mostly good footing. We had a great galloping spot and some beautiful autumn scenery. I got a lot of gorgeous pictures as well. The trails are also open to bike riders and walkers so some are narrow and windy, but most good for a horse to pass. I look forward to going again and exploring the other paths since there were a ton of them we passed along the way we chose.

Today we just hacked around the farm enjoying the beautiful weather. Tomorrow we are going team penning for my friend's birthday. It will probably be one of the last times for the season so should be fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Playing Catch Up

As usual, I am playing catch up again. Busy, busy with school, the pony, etc. Okay so over last weekend I was up in New Hampshire for my cousin's wedding, for which I was a bridesmaid. I took two days off of school to get a long weekend, which was nice. And it was great to get to spend time with the whole family. We don't get to get together enough, so it's nice when we do. The wedding was beautiful and we all had a blast.

In other news, I spent the rest of the week catching up on missed riding, which was put to a screeching halt by this horrible cold and wet weather we are having. Tuesday we went barrel racing of course. I don't even want to talk about the barrels, they were horrible. My first two turns were all over the ring and my third was so tight we knocked the barrel. Our dash wasn't bad. We got an 8.9, but our turn was ten miles wide so we could have been closer to last weeks time if not for that. We redeemed ourselves in the poles though. We had our best poles run so far! We got a 27.066 seconds and all of our turns were beautiful. If I could get her to go a little faster going back up the poles we would have even better time, but I was very happy with that run.

So I spent Wednesday working on our barrel turns because I know my mare has awesome turns in her. Thanks to the help of my friend K who is more experienced with barrels than I am we got them going pretty well. We figured out that I should run the pattern to the left rather than to the right like I usually do because she does her turns much better in that direction. It seems her left turns are her weaker ones and if I run the pattern starting to the left that will be the only left turn she has to make. I am thinking of even running my dash to the right since that seems to be her stronger turning direction.

Unfortunately today my riding got reined out. This weekend I am going upstate to my friend J's with my friend S. I was looking forward to riding Flo and Max but this weather prediction isn't looking good for that. Hopefully we will get at least one day of riding though. Either way we will have fun and find something to do and its still a weekend away to relax.

Anyway thats pretty much the news for now, stay tuned for next week!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Show and Barrels

Okay so I have been crazy busy which means I have not kept things updated here. During last week I spent my riding time prepping for the western pleasure, horsemanship, trail show I had last weekend. So I had the show Sunday and it went well. Satin was very good. Her transitions were much better and her lope slower for most of the classes at least. We came 4th in pleasure, horsemanship, and command due to missing our counter canter which we always get. But I had the same problem in my lesson today as well and have it fixed. We came 2nd in trail though which is always our best class and we do compete against born and bred pleasure horses who do it in the breed shows. So all in all I was happy with our day and it is our last one of those for the season.

Then yesterday we went barrel racing. We had a pretty good barrel time for us with a 19.7. She just doesn't seem to run in between the barrels, not sure why. We had an amazing dash thought. We got an 8.5 which is even better than our last time. Our turn was a little wide though so we have been even faster if not for that. We had a pretty good poles run except her first turn was a bit wide but we got a 27.5 which is very good since we used to do 30s.

Today we had our lesson which was good as usual. I can't say enough how much I love our trainer R. We did some flat work, bending, transitions, etc. We worked on simple changes from the correct lead to the counter canter and back. We also worked on our horsemanship pattern from the last show, which went pretty good at the show except for a break in the jog, but we perfected it in the lesson. We also worked on flying lead changes, which my horse can do with her eyes closed. Sometimes she gets quick and rushes because she anticipates too much which makes her changes sloppy and sometimes she forgets to switch behind because of that or what not. We had some late ones, but we also had a lot of great ones, so that was good. I am trying to work on getting them perfect every time since I eventually I want to do some reining stuff maybe at QH shows.

On the non-horsey front, school is school. The usual business with reading and papers and midterms coming. Also this weekend I have my cousin's wedding and I am in the bridal party so that will be fun and busy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hunter Pace

Okay so yesterday we went on a hunter pace even though it wasn't the greatest weather. It was pouring when we left, but when we got there it was just a light mist so it wasn't that bad. I rode with my friend K and this woman KB from our barn. D rode with one of the girls E. There were only 3 or 4 teams because of the weather, but we still had fun. It was dry most of the time except for a light shower, but we were in the woods for most of that. The Assunpink was very muddy and gross. We had to stick to walking and trotting most of it because of the slop. We did get some canters in and one hand gallop though. Anyway we were first in our division though there wasn't really any competition Lol. We enjoyed it which is the important part!

On the other hand we also went team penning on Friday. D and I got another 15 second time though this time she rode her daughter K's horse Smokey. Of course once again the day we get one in 15 some one gets it in 13 so we were second. Our second run we did not get our cow and our third run we got it in 40 seconds. I also did a run with DN and we got our cow in 30 seconds. Satin made quite an impressive move running to "get there" as we call it from across the ring after we clean up the "trash" as they call it. My friend C who hasn't penned in 2 years and was very nervous partnered with E and they got their cow in 18 seconds their first round and did well in their other rounds too! So it was a successful night for all.

Also last week I had a lesson with my fabulous trainer R. I can't say enough how great she is and how much I love my lessons with her! Anyway we had a great lesson of course. I usually take my lesson with L, but her mare was off so it was just me. We worked on the weaknesses and mistakes from the last show since I have another western pleasure show this weekend. We worked on canter transitions and other transitions as well since they were very slow at the show and they got much better. We also worked on my focus which is my biggest flaw, but is improving. Her lope and jog were gorgeous even one handed and we worked on slowing and correcting her with the one hand, as well as, ensuring she picks up the correct lead one handed. We went through the horsemanship pattern from the last show which was great at home as I know it could have been at the show. We also worked on sidepassing and spins and Satin did both beautifully. R gave me a little pre-show pep talk so to speak. Sunday is our last WP show this season so we are going to go in there with confidence and show them what we can do. I am determined to make this last show our best one of the season and ride it as well as we do at home. I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Team Penning

On Friday we went team penning, which Satin and I are becoming pretty good at and both enjoy. We did quite a few runs and had a late night, but had a lot of fun. Our first run was with D and her horse Jewel our partners from last time who we kicked butt with. We didn't get our cow unfortunately, but put in a good effort. Our second run we did with our jockey friend DN and this lady's TB who she saved from the killer pen and is trying to sell. The TB had never team penned before, but did pretty well. I got to cut which was fun since I usually play back up and let D do the cutting for the most part. We got our cow this time in a minute and change.

Then we did another run with D this time on her daughter K's horse Smokey, another great cow horse. We got our cow in under a minute. I forget the exact time. Then I did a run on my friend E's horse, Tie who had never team penned before, but behaved well for DN in his run on him so I decided to give him a shot. We went in with K on Patty one of the barn favorites. We got our cow just in the nick of time right at the 2 minute mark. We were keeping it slow and taking it easy since it was Tie's first time and he is a baby. He was very good though and liked the cows. He wanted to play with them while Satin wants to eat them haha.

After that I did another run on Sat with DN and the TB. This time I let him cut and we did pretty good. We got our cow in like a minute and half. We could have gotten him in in about 45 seconds or so, but we lost him at the last minute right when we had him down at the pen (thanks to DN lol). We also almost collided at one point when DN lost his horse as he says meaning he lost his steering and when he turned around the horse kept going sidewise. He pretty much lost his back end and luckily I was able to get out of the way quick enough.

K and I were going to do the jackpot round on Satin and Smokey, but unfortunately they did not run it because not enough people signed up, so we just did a regular run instead and got our cow in 45 seconds. Maybe next time we go we will have a chance to go for the money round. All in all we had another fun night at team penning. Recently I was looking into Satin's pedigree and found that not only are many of her ancestor's big time reiners, but many of them are also champion cutting horses, which explains why she is so good with the cows :) .

In other news, school is going well. The usual thing with classes and what not. I also have some exciting news. I got my first freelance job! I am going to be doing an article for the Paint Horse Journals "Great Rides" section. Also, I am going to be submitting an article to Hoofbeats for consideration, so fingers crossed!

Also, today Kayla and I went on another almost 2 hour trail ride adventure. It was a lot of fun as usual. We went into the development again and rode into it a little more. Some little kids came up and fed the horses apples and carrots. It was very cute. Then we explored some new trails and had our usual fun on the old ones.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Pony is on Fire!

So last night we went barrel racing at our usual place and Satin was awesome! We did the barrels in 19.7 seconds which is our best time so far. When we started doing barrels we were getting 22s so this is a big improvement. We could have gotten it even a bit quicker if we had not gotten a little hung up at the third barrel.

Then we had dash which is our favorite event. We did our fastest dash ever at 8.7 seconds!!! I was so thrilled since some of the horses that usual beat us did it in an 8.9 and our fastest dash at this farm so far had been 9 seconds.

Our last event was poles which we usually do in a 30 but our fastest time there was a 29 and this week we got a 27.8 seconds! Again I was super excited at this great improvement! My friend whose horse is a fantastic poles horse and usually does a 1D or 2D poles time did it in 27.2 so I was very happy.

We were 1st in 2D dash and 2nd in 3D poles. There were some pretty fast horses there last night so I was very happy to place that well and most of all extremely happy with our very improved times.

I think the difference is I stayed out of her way more and let just do her job. I am usually very worried about her overshooting the barrel so I slow her down way too soon before the barrel. This time I tried not to touch her much at all and did not slow her if I could help it. I just turned her right when we were over at the barrel. In the poles I usually end up pulling a bit back as well as side to side because in the direction towards home she tends to blow through. This time I made sure I just went side to side as not to interfere with her speed and she practically stopped around the last pole so if she had not done that our pole run might have even been a bit faster. But again I was beyond thrilled with our performance!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Horse Show Recap

Yesterday I had my western pleasure show I had mentioned in my last post. So I spent most of my week preparing. Wednesday I went on a 2 hour trail ride with my friend K for her birthday and we had so much fun. We up on this grassy circle that goes behind this development. We like to go there and canter around and always wanted to go through into the development just for fun. Well this time we finally did it! We saw people watching us ride through their back door and asked if they would mind us walking through. We walked up and down the sidewalks and along the streets. It was a lot of fun and people were running to the doors to see us. It's not everyday horses walk through their development Haha.

Anyway back to the show. Turns out crazy 2 hour trail rides work wonders for our western pleasure. She was slow and perfect in our lesson the next day. At the show she schooled like a dream. Great jog. Beautiful lope. The only thing was she was a bit slow on picking up her canter. I worked her through our horsemanship pattern and worked on the transitions and she did well.

Then I went into my first class which was horsemanship pattern and rail work. She is always a bit of a doofus in this class. She gets very antsy and rushes the pattern, but I thought she would be better since she has schooled so nicely. Unfortunately I was wrong. We started our jog and she was prancing all over. She was slow in picking up the lope so by the time she did we were at the cone where we had to circle. Our circle was to small and uneven and she was quick. Our rail work was so, so. We had only 3 people when we usually have 6-8 in the class and it was extremely muddy. I ended up pinning 2nd in that class. We had a great judge "Buttons" Fairfax. I really liked him and he gave helpful comments. The horsemanship class wasn't entirely her fault. I didnt really hold up my end all that well either. My eq was sloppy in trying to fix her and my usual show nerves. I get in the class and stop being able to think about everything I am supposed to be doing. Anyway the judge said I needed to sit up straighter and look up (which my trainer R says all the time and I had been getting much better about in lessons).

Then we had the pleasure class which started well. She was jogging nicely and her lope started our well but got strung out and quick in parts. Her upward transitions were also slow. We ended up third due to our inconsistent lope. The judge said she had parts where she was collected and using her butt and she looked gorgeous, but then I would let her get strung out. I was so used to my old trainer saying to check or correct when the judge wasn't looking and he was always looking so I didn't correct as often. Like my friend said though it is better to let the judge see you correct then to let her keep going around looking sloppy. He also said when I do check her to lift up not back or down which is just what my trainer said as well.

The command class which is my favorite was very quick. His second command was lope and me and another girl both picked up the wrong lead so the 3rd girl won. I took second. Usually that is our best class. I can't believe we go the wrong lead. She never gets the wrong lead. Ugh so frustrating.

Our last class was the trail class which is also one of our strong points. Our pattern was alright. We had to back through cones which went well, but had some close calls. Our transition to the jog was slow and we only had a few strides to do it to begin with. We had to pick up a jacket and put it on another pole she was shifting around when I went to place it down which I am sure made it look to the judge like she was afraid of it, which she wasn't. She was just being antsy as usual. Her transition to the lope was very slow again. She only got 2 strides then broke 2 strides before she was supposed to. Her 360 was a bit sloppier than it could have been. We had to jog over a fan of poles and she hit some which is points off. She sidepassed nicely once she started doing it. When I halted her at first she was antsy and swinging around. She walked fine over the bridge and got her right lead canter at the end which I was very happy about. She counter canters beautifully at home, but I always have trouble getting it in trail classes which drives me nuts. We took 2nd in that class and were reserve champion.

All in all we did okay, but could have done better. It just makes me nuts that she schooled so beautifully and did so well in our lesson and then doesn't go half as nicely in the class. Though that is not entirely her fault so I should not make it seem that way. I let my nerves get the best of me and don't even realize it. I get into the class and just forget everything I should be doing to fix or help her and get mad instead, which is no good for either of us. I think she has a bit of show nerves of her own, but mine don't help much. We have our last of this show series on October 4th so we are going to work hard towards redeeming ourselves in that one. Ribbons are not important to me I just want to go out there and do the best we can do.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Team Penning!

Okay so the local farm where we go barrel racing on Tuesdays holds team penning on Fridays. So this past Friday my barn owner D and I went. We had all gone earlier in the summer, but had not been back since. Due to a long story worth of circumstances the other girls didn't go so it was just me and D. It was actually a nice peaceful outing since we only brought the 2 horses, Satin and D's mare Jewel who is Satin's paddock mate and best friend. They are both laid back, very quiet, easy loaders, etc. So it was 2 riders and 2 horses who know what they are doing so nobody to worry about.

As I said I had only gone team penning once before. Luckily my mare is a natural. For those readers out there who don't know team penning is when you are given a number cow between 0 and 9 and you and a partner have to get that cow away from the others and heard down into a small pen at the opposite side of the arena as quickly as you can. We went for our first run and got our cow in 20 seconds which is a great time. Then we go back in for our second round and end up getting our cow in 15.7 seconds which is an awesome time! We were of course very excited and proud of ourselves since sometimes people win it with a 20 and there we were with a 15. Unfortunately a few runs later someone came out of nowhere with a 13! We did one more run, but our last cow was a trickster and we were not able to get him in under 2 minutes. But, that's okay we still had a great time. My trainer R and her husband D who is the barn farrier came to watch us and some other friends that were competing.

Other than team penning we have mostly been schooling for the show coming next weekend. And I have been trying to get myself back into school mode which is feeling almost impossible lol but I will get there. Okay well I am off to visit some friends at their college for the night so more show updates this week!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Helmet Saves My Life Again

So now this is the second time this year I have been extremely thankful that I always wear my helmet. On Monday I decided it would be a brilliant idea to ride my mare who had not been ridden all weekend in a bitless and bareback saddle in the back path behind the paddocks. She was hyper from having days off and wanted to go every time I asked her to canter so I let her go a little and she was fine. Then when I was cantering her again later she started pulling and wanting to go again so I decided to let her get it out of her system. I let her run down the path and through the grass field. She was really booking it and she went to take a sharp turn between paddocks. I tried to slow her down and widen out her turn by pulling her right. Unfortunately it did not work and the bareback saddle is not the most stable thing so me and the saddle went right and she kept going left.

I landed about an inch from the paddock fence and saw her hooves gallop past me. Apparently from the eye witness accounts I got some pretty good air and really flew off. I hit my leg on either the fence of just hard on the ground not sure, but it swelled up and turned pretty colors. The swelling has gone down but it is still colorful. The next day my neck and back were a total mess as was most of the rest of my body parts. I was very sore and definitely got some good whiplash. My helmet definitely prevented me from breaking my neck or cracking my head open with that fall. My mare just ran right into the barn to wait for me and when my friend reached her (since she was moving a little quicker than I was) she trotted herself right out to her field and waited for us there with the bareback saddle on sideways and reins hanging around her neck. I put a real saddle and bridle on her and got on and rode her another ten minutes taking that turn at a hand gallop to make her do it wider and stopping her before turn to prevent that happening in the future.

Afterward I cowgirled up and rode three more horses, which may not have been the best thing for my leg, but I survived. We were on an unlucky streak at the farm with L falling off at the show Sunday, me falling off Monday, then my friend E fell off at barrel racing on Tuesday and my barn owner had a horse rear up and land on her when trying to back him off the trailer.

So that takes me to Tuesday. I finally got to go barrel racing. We did well. We got our usual barrel time of 20 seconds, our dash time was a little slower than normal at a 9.2, but still good and we won some money in 3D. We had one of our fastest poles times at a 29 when we usually do a 30. My trainer R came and rode my barn owner D's horse Jewel. She did great and it was funny to give her riding advice instead of the other way around, but as with all things involving horses she was a natural.

The past 2 days we just schooled in the ring since we have a western pleasure show next weekend. I started school on Tuesday, which is depressing thinking of homework and reading coming and the absence of freedom. I am also trying to rearrange my schedule which is extremely annoying, but hopefully it will work out.

National Standardbred Show

L and Lexie in jumpers

My beautiful boyfriend lol and H

winner of Battle of the Breeds in hand

R with Larry (isnt he gorgeous)

I apologize for being such a slacker, but I have been super busy with going back to school and what not.

Anyway so I spent my weekend at the Horsepark for RACE N.J. weekend. This entails the Re-Run show Saturday, the first ever Battle of the Breeds (Thoroughbreds vs. Standardbreds) Saturday night, and the National Standardbred Show on Sunday.

Last year I showed my friend R's stbd Larry in the western division at the Stbd show. This year due to a very long story that you would have to know R to understand I did not ride Larry so I played the role of horse show assistant, photographer, and show mommy to my many friends who competed their stbds. It was fun and I actually didn't mind not showing because I got to help all of my friends and enjoy the show and I got lots of great pictures some examples seen above. My friend L and her mare Lexie did great in all of their divisions against some tough competition. L took a fall in her jumper class, but she was okay and got right back on for the next one. My friend H and her stbd gelding J.B. who I refer to as boyfriend because I love him lol did awesome. They were grand in driving and equitation, reserve in senior horse and got tons of other ribbons as well in various disciplines.

The SPHO who puts on this show is such a great club full of dedicated members. A friend of ours came with her standardbred all the way from Maine and they did great as usual. Another girl brought her stbd all the way from Kentucky. I had heard about this mare before, but this was my first time seeing her in person and she was awesome. She has the most adorable canter ever you would never know she was an stbd. She beat the thoroughbreds in the battle of the breeds canter classes. She also has an awesome jump and competes western.

Anyway so back up to the Battle of the Breeds, which was won by the thoroughbreds, but was fun to watch and came right down to the wire. The first class was in hand which was won by a gorgeous TB mare. She was chestnut with white blaze and for big white socks, so flashy, I loved her. My friend R came 2nd with Larry, my friend S came 3rd with her stbd, and my friend H came 4th. The next class was walk trot pleasure which an stb won but H came 2nd. Then came walk trot canter won by the stbd from KY. Then it was hunter hack won by the same stbd. So it was 2 to 2. Then came the command class again won by the stbd mare from KY. The 6th class was barrel dash won by a TB so now it was 3 for 3. The final class was ride-a-buck. The crowd was on their feet cheering on their favorite breeds and in the end it was won by a thoroughbred. I hope they will continue this event next year and maybe even invite the QHs. I would love to bring my mare!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

As the saying goes "No hoof, No horse"

Or in my case no shoe, no barrel racing. :( So yesterday I took Satin to go barrel racing at the local farm I wrote about in my last post and I unloaded her off the trailer to find she had thrown a shoe. I was disappointed to say the least especially because she is the kind of horse that never loses a shoe! She is due to be shod in 4 days though and the mud doesn't help. Luckily my farrier was able to run out this afternoon and get her shoe on so I can take my lesson tomorrow because we have not had a lesson in quite a while between my schedule and my trainer's. Anyway I was lucky enough to catch a ride last night on my barn owner's mare doing the poles. The mare shoots off like a rocket as soon as she get anywhere near the vicinity of the ring at barrel shows and poles is her best event I think. It was my first time gaming on her and we did well got it in 28 seconds.

Anyway now I will back up to where I left off last Tuesday when I was taking Satin barrel racing. As I predicated she was ready and raring to go! She was really on top of her game. Our barrels were awesome! It was the best she has ever run the barrel pattern. She did it in 19 seconds, not to shabby for what many would call an old lady, if I do say so myself :) Not only did she have a great time, but her turns were also great! Then we had barrel dash which is Satin and I's best and favorite event. We did it in 9 seconds and ended up winning money in it! We were first place in 2D! It may have only been $12, but I couldn't have been happier or prouder of my little mare. Then we finished up with the poles. Satin has awesome changes which is great for poles, but she doesn't go as quickly through them as others. We did it in 30 seconds which is pretty much our usual time. The poles at this farm are pretty tight and running them in the direction of home Satin just wanted to rocket through the line instead of weave through LOL! But we made it work and I was happy with her performance. So all in all I had a great night and was really happy and proud of our runs. Now we are looking forward to going next week (with both shoes on!).

So in between last Tuesday and this Tuesday there isn't too much too tell. We have mostly been riding in the back of the farm where there is a path that is like a small loop through the trees behind the paddocks. It is nice in this heat because our ring is like the Sahara desert so it is about ten degrees cooler under the trees. I have mostly been riding her bareback or in the bareback saddle so tomorrow in our lesson will be her first time doing real work and being in the ring in 2 or 3 weeks so that should be interesting, but is definitely needed. I wanted to work her in the ring today, but I couldn't ride her because she did not get her shoe back on til sometime this afternoon and my only time to ride was in the morning. So I rode one of my barn owner's horses instead bareback on that path. The mare is blind in one eye, but very calm and well behaved and not the least bit spooky. She has the MOST comfortable trot ever! She can be in a super extended, fast trot and you can still sit it with no problem whatsoever, its nuts! She is even more comfortable at the trot than our friend Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse, who is a gaited horse made for being able to sit to a comfy trot, and this horse I rode is a QH! My friend was riding one of our barn owner's other horses, a chestnut appendix gelding who I love. He is my buddy, but I had never really ridden him before except once for like 2 minutes. So in the end we switched for a few minutes. He has lactic acid build up which causes him to suck back and be very lazy, so he can be a pain in the butt about moving forward and what not, but he is generally a good boy.

On the non-horsey front, this past weekend I had to go up to New Hampshire for my cousin's 2nd bridal shower since I am a bridesmaid. The shower went well and NH was very nice though it was a very long drive. The wedding is right around the corner now, only about 6 weeks away. I am excited, it should be lots of fun. Unfortunately school is right around the corner as well. Classes start September 1st and my question is where did the summer go? I feel like it went by so quickly. Ughh :( I am sad that my friends are all leaving to go back up to school, but we are already planning lots of visits.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to my lesson and this weekend we have the big National Standardbred show and the Horsepark. Last year I rode my friend R's stb Larry in the western, but because of a few different reasons we were unable to get the riding practice in he needs so I won't be riding him this year. I am just going to relax and enjoy the show this year. Though I doubt I will do much relaxing. I already promised to play show mommy to 2 of my friends that will be showing in quite a few classes that day, plus playing photographer to them as well and I am sure I will be helping in the set up and running of the show since I am friends with everyone in charge and an extra hand is always needed. That show is Sunday and the night before they are holding a Battle of the Breeds, the Standardbreds vs. the Thoroughbreds with a bbq to follow. So it should be a fun weekend and I am looking forward to it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy



So I have been such a busy bee lately it has caused me to become a slacker on here and for that I apologize, but I am going to attempt to do some catching up now. Anyway so last time I wrote I was filling you guys in on my upcoming western pleasure, horsemanship, trail show. Unfortunately the show ended up being rained out. I was there all morning and around noon they closed the park down because extreme lightning storms were heading our way. They hit just as we began unloading the horses back at home so lucky we left when we did!

Anyway, in other news I spent all of last week upstate at my friend J's house. J is the one who gave me my horse and she has a beautiful farm in upstate N.Y. My family was up with me for most of the week and we spent most of our days at the dude ranch we have been vacationing at for years that is coincidentally right around the corner from J's house. So I spent my days going on the trail rides at the ranch all day as much as possible, which I do enjoy. I am friends with most of the people working the rides there so we goof around and have a good time. A lot of the people there ask me if I really enjoy it since I ride all the time, but I said yes it is still a vacation for me. At home if I want to ride I have to groom and tack up the horse myself, plus un-tack, hose, spray, etc. when I am done. Plus I don't trail ride everyday we have to work some days and when I do trail ride if she acts up or whatever I have to correct her. At the ranch I just get on and ride no grooming and tacking and go and do whatever.

While I was up there I also spent time riding J's horses. J has a 3 year old palomino, paint, QH filly. She picked her out based on her ad site unseen and she was to be our little project. J just wanted a nice horse to mostly trail ride, but this filly is just way to fancy to not show so she said I would show her since she is not interested in showing. She is a born and bred western pleasure and english pleasure filly (obviously the western pleasure aspect being my focus). She will also do well in halter, showmanship, trail, and horsemanship. Anyway now she is 3 and has had some training in her knows her leads, working on changes, etc. She is in that growing stage so since I only see her every few months she grows so much in between. She has really filled out and looks like a horse now compared to the way she looked when she first came as a just barely 2 year old. J has a trainer working with her and a girl riding her to keep her in shape since J is always super busy with one project or another like building her new barn so she doesn't have enough time to give her the riding she needs right now. The girl rides her English and took her to a show and she looks cute, but I can't wait to get her really working on western pleasure. The trainer has been riding her both. I rode her in the ring a little while I was up there and she seems to be coming along nicely. She is very, very good for a 3 year old. J and I took her and our friend's gelding Max out on some trail rides on roads and what not and she was very good about it. She is a sweet and quiet baby.

While at J's I also rode our friend's horse Max. He is a 9 year old grey gelding. He is a little green, but our friend who owned before began training him for reining and he knows a lot. His sidepass is awesome! He moved right off stayed perfectly straight and even all the way across and moving with nice momentum, none of that start-stop stuff. While The filly will be my next pleasure horse this horse is going to be my next reining/barrel horse. I did the barrel pattern with him and his turns were awesome. You don't really even need to use your hands, if you just use your leg in the right spot he moved around it perfectly. I only did it at a trot since he is pretty out of shape, but still. I also did the poles which he did nicely as well. I wish his owner C would send him down here or I had more time to go up there and work with him and the filly too of course. They are both going to be really awesome horses in their respective disciplines with some more riding.

Anyway though I enjoyed my time upstate I did miss my girl so it was nice to get home to her. Tomorrow we are going to a local farm that does jackpot barrels, poles, and dash every Tuesday, so I am excited about that. Satin has been very hyperactive since having a few days off so she should be ready to go Lol! I will let you know how it goes ... stay tuned :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Show Prep

So this week I said I was going to be all about show prep and getting Satin (and myself) back in slow mode for our western pleasure, horsemanship, trail show this Sunday. Well that went out the window pretty quickly.

On Monday Satin got the day off after the gymkhana. This week in summer camp we (meaning the more advanced students and girls who board at the farm) are allowed to do camp because my barn owner D runs a games camp for more advanced riders. So I decided to do the camp on my friend L's stbd mare Lexie so I was riding english which is a rare occurrence for me. Anyway it was fun and she was good for me. We did relay races and things like that. Then on Tuesday night I gave Satin a very short schooling session to tune her up for the show and our lesson the next day. She was very good.

Then on Wednesday night we had our lesson with our fabulous trainer R. As always our lesson was great. We worked on a lot of flexion in both directions which Satin responded well to and we also worked on getting an "animated" trot and canter. That pretty much entailed me curling her up into a little ball so to speak and making her gait more up and down then forward. I also had to work with slightly bending her each direction with each stride and doing it in an invisible manner. This is a pretty difficult exercises, but Satin was awesome and R said it looked great. Then R had us do some exercises turning around the barrels at a trot and canter in order to help us improve our barrel turns. It involved things like doing a figure eight almost between two barrels. We also jumped a small vertical then circled 3 barrels one at a time. Then I did a barrel dash for her and there was just something she was trying to figure out about why Satin paused on her third step around the barrel. So I invited her to get on and feel for herself. That is one thing I love about R she asks if she can get on your horse and if she can do certain things while on. my old trainer would just be like hop off which I was fine with, but its just funny because R is such a change and a good one. Anyway so she did a dash each direction and got some good turns too. Then she was having fun and wanted to do another which I of course said. She told me to make sure I really sit my entire barrel turn and not to get off Satin's back until she is straight again, where before she got on she was saying for me to get up off her back before she was back completely on the straight away. So getting on the horse really changes things and makes it easier for the trainer to fix the problem. Then R started doing some spins and such with her which I was glad about because we will need them Sunday. Her spins have gotten so much better and looked really good.

So today I decided to ride Satin in camp. We did some more baton relay races which we did okay at. She was good but I am not so coordinated and didn't get the baton in the bucket once or twice. We did this in pairs and individually. Then we did musical horses, which is when one person rides and the other walks and when the music stops you switch and the last person to mount loses. My partner and I won the first round and came second in the next two. Then we did a few pole runs, which Satin did nicely and we did one dash., which we won :). So there went my week of keeping it slow haha.

Tomorrow I think we are going to sit out on camp. One reason being we need to work on things for the show and two being that I want Satin to take things easy a little and have a little break because she has been doing a lot of speed lately, plus its been so hot. Though D and I both thought doing a lot of speed would ruin the pleasure aspect, but surprisingly it has made it better. She actually goes nice and slow at the jog and lope. I think because she now gets to gallop and play more often she is fine with going nice and slow and sometimes. So I think things may be looking up for Sunday. Anyway I probably won't be able to write until after the show because it will be a busy few days until then.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Okay, so I have been being a bit of a slacker again, but this summer just has me super busy!

So I will start by telling you about our gymkhana yesterday. We went to the 4H gymkhana at the Monmouth County Fair and we had a great time. Satin was awesome and everyone form my farm kicked butt. We did poles, keyhole, bowtie, barrels, flag race, pin drop, and egg and spoon race. The flag race and pin drop ended up being our best events because though speed is necessary accuracy is also important too. A lot of people went to fast and missed their flags or didn't get their pin in the barrel or the horse was too worked up for them to get it. I was afraid Satin would be like that but she was very good. I kept her a little slower so I made sure I got the flags/pin. It was a tough division because a lot of the people in there are crazy fast, but I was happy with Satin's runs. It was really hot which made it tougher for them and us, but we all managed.

Most of the week me and Satin just had some relaxing fun rides. We just went out and rode in the back and what not to stretch her legs and change things up a bit. This week we have to get back to work though because we have a western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, etc. show this weekend. I am taking it easy on her though because she has been doing a lot of speed lately.

Unfortunately on Thursday we had some sad happenings at the farm. Our oldest resident Snooks, a 29-year-old TB coliced and we had to put him down. I stayed with his owner til midnight walking him and they kept walking him until 4 am. He started to look better for a while and we thought maybe its just a gas colic and he will come out of it, but he never did and ended up getting worse again so his owner made the tough decision to put him to rest. He lived a nice long life though and it was his time. He was a sweet old man and we will all miss him.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

JHR Open House!

So today was our open house that we have been preparing for for weeks. I think it was pretty successful, especially for our first time throwing it. We had a pretty good turnout probably around 60 people or so and made some good money in donations.

The morning was hectic getting all the last minute things set up and horses ready to go. We started a little late because we didn't have that many people at opening and we changed the schedule a bit to accommodate. We started the day off with the trail class which involved me and 3 other people. The 3 others each demoed a single obstacle and Satin and I demoed a full trail course, which went well.

Then we went to the parade of breeds which was nice and went well. We had about ten different breeds including some unusual ones like the International Champagne and Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse. We gave a short history on each breed and short bio on the horse or horses representing the breed.

Next we had a jump off which was awesome. There were 3 girls and it came down to duel between my friend L on her standardbred who can jump huge (she has jumped out of her 5 foot paddock fence from a stand still) and another friend on the App she leases who has only been jumping for a few months, but is like a little jack rabbit. My barn owner stopped the App from jumping at 3 foot oxers because she didn't want to push him, but had my friend L jump the line one more time with the first jump being a 3'3" oxer and the second being a 3'6" oxer which is the highest she ever jumped (under saddle that is) and she cleared both. The highest she ever jumped before that was a 3'3" single vertical.

Then I did my two freestyles starting with my bridleless to How 'Bout Them Cowgirls which went really well. Satin listened well and was very responsive. I was very happy with it. Then we did our reining freestyle to No Reins, which also went really well. Satin did great, but we were both hot and tired after.

Later on we had an english versus western demonstration which went well also. First they demoed the difference in tack, in hand position, in the walk, trot/jog, canter/lope and then did a routine to music.

Later after that we did games with me and 3 other girls. We had kids pick a horse to represent and if their horse won they got a prize. We did barrel racing, 2 barrel dashes, and pole bending. Each of us won one event each which worked out well. I won one of the barrel dashes which has always been Satin's best event.

Throughout the day we also had pony rides, pictures and grooming, an equine massage demo, raffles, coloring contest, and much more.

Now Satin and I are thoroughly exhausted as are the rest of the crew involved in the demo. It was a long and very hot day for us, but it turned out well so it was worth it and we know what we need to do next time we have one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Yay my first blog award!!!

My stb friend from Maine and fellow blogger stbeventer gave me the honest scrap award.
The rules for this award are that I must tell you 10 things you don't about me and then pass it on to ten other bloggers.

Ok so here is my ten things:

1. My father is one of eleven children so I have a very large, very crazy Italian family, but I love every one of them and believe there is no better family to have.

2. I was born in Brooklyn, NY and that is where I was introduced to horses and I know most people would never think someone would get their start in horses in a city like Brooklyn.

3. I love seriously I am OBSESSED. I can often be found with a camera in hand clicking away especially around the farm and hope to make it part of my profession.

4. I am also obsessed with my pony. I know, I know every equestrian says that, but believe my horse friends will even tell you I may be more obsessed then most. Haha :) She is my life, my pride and joy, and my best friend.

5. My favorite thing in life is going for a good gallop. There is absolutely nothing like it in the world. The rush is unbelievable and it just sets you free.

6. On top of writing for a equine magazine I also hope to one day right a book, which will of course be horse related somehow.

7. I also love the look on people's faces when I am out showing, team penning, barrel racing, or anything really on my "senior horse". They see how she acts and looks and ask her age assuming it will be 12 or under and when I say 20 they are like "what?!?". Haha its great she goes out there proves that 20 can be the new 5.

8. One of my favorite places in the whole world (other then the barn) is my friend J's place in upstate NY. She has 80 acres full of horses, log buildings, woods, waterfalls and more. It is just so beautiful, secluded, and peaceful. I never thought I could live anywhere outside the city or suburbia, but I could stay there forever.

9. I am extremely active, over-active sometimes. I am a member of numerous organization, active and board member in some, show my horse, go to school, intern, work, riding other people's horses, am doing a photo session for a friend and much more. I am a doer so to speak. I jump in and get involved in everything when asked or even when not asked. I commit to a million projects at once, but I manage to do them all.

10. I am a HUGE procrastinator. I always wait to the very last minute on everything. I work well under pressure. I always get it done but I kick myself for piling it on at the last minute and like every procrastinator say I will change, but I never will. It works for me.

Okay now I am supposed to pass this on to ten blogs, but I really don't know if I read ten but hear it goes

1. Standardbred Excellence
2. Now THAT's a Trot
3. Not so Standard Standardbred
5. Fugly Horse of the Day
okay so there are supposed to be ten but I could only come up with these 5 because these are the ones I follow regularly.
Thanks stbeventer!

JHR Open House!

Okay so I have been promising some info on this Junior Horse Rescue I have been talking about and it's open house.

So the Junior Horse Rescue is a brand new rescue organization started at my farm. It is run solely by a group of girls all ages 20 and under (with me being the oldest). There is a select group of adults that serve as an advisory board, but again the rescue is run solely by juniors, hence the name Junior Horse Rescue. We are hoping to make a difference one horse or pony at a time. We will be going to the local horse auction and saving a horse out of the kill pen. Once it has been rehabilitated and retrained we will put it up for adoption and use the adoption fee we receive for that horse towards getting the next horse from the auction.

We have been working for weeks towards our biggest fundraising event an open house at our home farm. It will be a fun day filled with demos involving a variety of breeds and disciplines such as reining, jumping, bridleless riding, western pleasure, english, and much more! It will take place this Sunday, July 19 starting at 10 am and ending around 5 pm. There is a $5 admission charge which includes a pony ride, snack, and drink (while supplies last). There will also be other food, drinks, additional pony rides, and items available to support the rescue for sale. Unfortunately due to our insurance children under the age of 5 can not receive a pony ride, so they will be admitted for free and can still see our great demos, brush the horses, and take pictures with our horses. We will also have an equine massage demo, pictures, grooming, raffles, coloring contest, and other games. Come out and join us for a day filled with fun. For more information please go to our website:

All of the proceeds from this event will go directly to the rescue! It really is a great cause and everyone involved is working really hard for this event so I hope we get a good turn out. Its been a tough week because we have been super busy prepping the farm. Today we spent the whole 90 degree day picking manure and old hay out of the fields and removing large sticks and such. Tomorrow we are doing all the inside cleaning in the barns and dragging some of the fields. We did weed removal earlier in the week but will be doing a little more. Then Saturday we have horses to bathe, tack to clean, tables and signs to put up and a bunch more. We have been making signs and information sheets all week. We are putting together the announcer's script and music playlist and the to-do list just goes on and on. It feels never ending already, but it will lead to a great event.

We have all also been practicing all week. I am doing a reining freestyle to music, as well as, a bridleless freestyle to music, so I have been very busy practicing and getting my routines down. I pretty much change it every time I ride it, but that's okay because it give me a feel for how I want to ride it that day. My reining freestyle is to the song "No Reins" by Rascal Flatts and my bridleless freestyle is to the song "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls" by George Strait. So Tuesday I practiced my bridleless routine and she was bit quick at the lope and didn't want to stop, but it wasn't too bad. Wednesday we took a break from all the work and went on a trail ride with my friend L, which was a lot of fun as always. Today I practiced both routines. My bridleless was much better. She loped slower and was listening better and it turned out pretty well. My reining freestyle was good, as well. I am getting my timing and ideas down and Satin knows as soon as she hears the song what is to be expected Lol :). Tomorrow is my last day to practice both freestyles because Saturday I have a lesson with my trainer.

We will also be taking part in a few other demos that day. We will be representing the quarter horse in the parade of breeds, doing a western trail class pattern, and taking part in the games portion of events. There will be 4 of us doing barrels, poles, dash, and relay race. Those who attend the event will be able to win prizes if they choose the winner of the events correctly. Then we will also take part in closing ceremonies, so it will be a long, busy, but fun day for Satin and I. Bridleless riding has become a passion of mine since watching the Stacy Westfall bareback and bridleless reining freestyle to the song "Live Like You Were Dying" (if you haven't seen it you absolutely must) and I have always wanted to perform my own bridleless freestyle so now is my chance because she will be quietest with it at home. Anyway so that's what my week / weekend has been like. I probably will be too busy to write again until Monday when the open house is over, but maybe I will see some of my readers there!