Friday, January 29, 2010

The Cold is back with a vengence!

The bitter cold is back and I hate it! It was in the low twenties today and is expected to the same tomorrow and let's not even talk about the wind, ugh! I was unable to ride today because of the bitter temps and they are predicting the same for tomorrow, which leaves weekend riding out of the picture most likely. Sunday is supposed to be about thirty, but still pretty cold so who knows, fingers crossed it will be enough to keep the ground unfrozen and not be too harsh on my pony's lung for a workout.

Anyway I have been riding throughout the week when the temps were better. Monday was 58 but it rained most of the day. All of a sudden at 2 the clouds parted and the sun came shining through so of course I ran out to the farm. We just had a fun ride, hacking around the farm, enjoying the warmer temps. After the weekend off and a rain storm Satin was quite full of herself so I let her run it out a little which made us both happy.

Tuesday is my late day at school so I did not arrive at the farm until after 5 and had to get home since my aunt was visiting. So I decided to just ride bareback. I was joined by my friend K and her friend KB who is a beginner but has enjoyed learning. We just walk, trot, cantered and then did some bridleless work at the walk and the trot. We are gearing up for the JHR 2nd annual open house where we will give another bridleless demonstration as we did last year and this time will be bareback as well.

Wednesday we went back to work in preparation for next weeks lesson. R gave us some homework so we got down to it. Our warm up went beautifully as did her counter canter. It was very calm and collected just as we practiced with R. Then we worked on going across the ring and seeing how many times we could change leads as we did in our lesson and R said to practice. It went pretty well though I think could be better. Satin was getting restless and tired from the work we had been doing before. It was also nearing feeding time so she was trying to rush and be done.

Thursday night we did our usual warm up than worked on collecting and extending the trot and canter. She was awesome! She collected her trot with hardly any rein aid. All I had to do was tighten my seat and leg and she would automatically come down to the collected trot. As soon as relaxed my seat she extended again. Then we again worked on getting as many leads as we can across the short end of our ring. It went about the same as the day before maybe a bit better. Hopefully we will get some riding in before our lesson to get them a bit sharper.

In other news I am in week two of the semester and all is well so far. Still trying to get back in school mode though, but I like my classes for the most part.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back from Maryland

Okay so as always I had a great weekend in Maryland at the expo. I went with my friends L and S. My good friend J who as you may remember gifted me with my wonderful mare met us up there with a friend of hers. We arrived Friday night and just spent the evening catching up with J and relaxing at the hotel. Saturday we hit the expo all day. I was a little dissappointed in the shopping selection as it there was less vendors and less products than in past years which I am sure must be due to the bad economic times. We all also shopped much less than in past years. I bought a water bucket for the shows which was on sale for a great prices, some cheapo half chaps for my few ventures into english riding (and hopefully some ventures into dressage...more on that later)m soem smaller clippers, and a t shirt. The clinics on the other hand I found to be much better than in past years. They had some new clinicians and some different topics covered. I watched s few english clinics since that is what my friend L rides and I must say I even learned a lot in those that can be applied to my own riding. Today we stayed at the expo until around 3 then headed home.

Our jockey/racehorse trainer friend Doug was involved in a demo with Steuart Pittman, an eventer, but he did it on Thursday before we arrived. Though we did get to see one of Doug's horses who he recently retired from the track in many demos with Pittman about turning retired TB racers into eventers. We even for to see him free jumped which is something I have never gotten to see in person before and was pretty cool. It turns out Doug's brother was also at the eventer giving a speech on sponsorship. It also turns out his brother is the owner of a big tack shop that I had first come in contact with at Equine Affaire and sponsors many big name riders.

So overall we had a fun weekend, but I of course missed my pony. Going to these expos and watching other people ride always make me want to ride even more. Plus L and I learned a few things we want to try at home one our mares. Tomorrow is supposed to rain, but the afternoon is supposed to clear up and be 55 degrees! So I am very much looking forward to that and hoping weather predictions are correct as far as drying up by the time I get out of school to ride. (knock on wood)

Anyway I will quickly catch you up on the riding I did before leaving for the expo. Tuesday Sat and I had a good schooling session. Her jog and lope were good and we did more shoulder in and out. We also worked on quarter turns which she did pretty nicely. Then since she was being a very good girl and I could tell she wanted to go I took out the barrel and let her run a few dashes which she very much enjoyed. Then K wanted to get on and do a few since she had not run a barrel in a while and her pony Smokey had been lame for the past 2 weeks so she was just walking him bareback. So we switched and I walked and lightly trotted on the finally recovered Smokey while K did a few dashes on Sat which she did nicely. She also did some awesome practically sitting down reining stops when K asked her to halt after some runs. She also did a couple of nice spins after being keyed up from the barrel.

Wednesday we had a jam packed lesson with R that was great as usual. We worked on extending and collecting the trot and canter as we have done in the past. We also worked on quarter turns at the walk, trot, and canter setting up a bit of a pattern. While doing the quarter turn pattern we worked on halts since Satin tended to swing her butt out instead of stop squarely because she was prepared to spin as soon as she was asked to halt. As I always this say this mare is too smart sometimes! She always anticipates and memorizes every pattern after one or two times doing it. Then we began to add 180s into the pattern. Her quarter turns were great and her 180s were pretty good as always better to the one side than to the other. We are definitely seeing improvement. We then worked on lead changes starting with simple then on to flying as is our usual routine now since the simple seem to be a good warm up for Satin for the flying. We had to do them a few times though since she swapped the front but not the back a few times or anticipated/rushed the lead change cutting the circle too early. It took a few minutes of working on it and trying a few times but we eventually completed the beautiful changes she is known for. After that we worked on counter canter something we had not worked on in a long time in or our of lessons though I had done it once or twice the week prior. She picked it up easily both ways and held it nicely as long as I asked and around the turns. I was very pleased since the last time I had done it at home it had taken a try or two to pick iy up and she tried to swap once or twice in the one direction. R wanted me to work on collecting it and having less of a head tilt to the outside on Satin's part. So we did each direction a second time and got it a nice more collected counter canter. I also let go of her head since I tend to hold it to the outside to keep the bend and prevent her from trying to switch on the turns. On the left lead counter canter she held it the whole time and even had her head tipped to the inside for most of it. On the right lead counter canter she again held it the whole time but had her head slightly tipped outside on her own though she did straighten it here and there. We also worked on an excercise where we go down the middle of the arena from one end to the other on the right lead for a few strides then the left or vice versa; order wasn't important. We had done this excercise in previous lessons except she had us go down one side of the ring and see how many times we could do each lead, get a stride or two of the right lead then left then right then left etc. This is something R suggested practicing at home seeing how many times we could do each lead or how many transitions from walk to trot to canter or trot to walk etc. She wants us to be able to get three changes down the arena by our next lesson, so we better get practicing since R has a small indoor. This excercise required sharp transitions and quick responses from my marem but I have full faith in us. We ended with some sidepass practice which went beautifully though R said all the excercises we had done in our lesson set her up to be ready to sidepass. So as you can see R packs a lot into a lesson!

I also consulted with R on the upcoming show season since CJHA is now adding games back to the prize list. There will be barrels, poles, and keyhole. As you all know my mare and I love games so I wanted to both at least on some shows, money permitting. So I asked R what she thought since I see some horses Satin's age and a year or two younger retired or semi-retired, so I sometimes wonder if I do too much with her. But, she is extremely fit, loves everything she does, and wants and loves having a job. She has not shown any signs of being overworked. R agreed that there is absolutely no physical reason why she could not do both divisions on the same day since the four pleasure classes are not tiring for her and there ate only 3 games classes plus she will have 2-3 hours in between. She said physically there is nothing to worry about, the problem is if she can mentally handle getting into pleasure mode after running barrels in the morning in the same exact ring. It will either be good and tire her out before pleasure or the opposite and get her hyped. She suggested trying it the first show and seeing what happens. So that is what I plan to do. I also as I have mentioned want to go to QH show and they are offering walk jog pleasure and walk jog horsemanship this year so I am thinking of showing in it or hoping to.

So Thursday I decided to take it easy on Satin since she had quite the workout the day before and just walk, trot, cantered lightly bareback. We finished up with some bridleless work at the walk just doing circles and figure eights and such. I want to get her ultra responsive to bridleless at each gait so of course the walk is the place to start.

Anyway thats it for now as far as riding. I also started classes on Tuesday. I have a jam packed semester with six classes. My three journalism classes seem interesting and fun as does my creative writing non fiction class. My religion class seems like it will be okay and I can tell I will hate physics but at least it is the last science class I will ever have to take!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Break is Coming to an End :(

Unfortunately today was my last day of winter break and tomorrow spring semester starts and I am back to classes, studying, and homework. I am definitely not looking forward to it, but who ever really does.

Anyway so first of all I will of course give the riding update. Friday as I already informed you guys was Satin's 21st birthday. It was also a gorgeous day in the high 40s so we went for a trail ride. We were joined of course by K but her trail mount was unusual, well for her. She rode my friend L's standardbred mare Lexie since her usual trail mount, her gelding Smokey, has been lame for the past week. Her mother's horse Jewel has not been ridden in a month and the other mare she sometimes rides was going out on trial the next day. So L offered Lexie who has proven to be a reliable trail mount since L was not riding that day. We went on a nice little hack for about forty minutes.

Saturday was another gorgeous day reaching about 50 degrees. Since we did not have anyone to join us on a trail ride we rode at home around the paddocks and the grass field. She was good as always as we trotted and cantered around. Then I let her do the barrel a few times. I was just going to have her do it slow, but Satin had other ideas. The first time she went to the barrel slowly, but it was blast off on the way home, to the point where I almost thought I wasn't going to be able to turn or stop her before we hit the fence! LOL! We did it a few more times and she was raring to go, blast off every time. Then I let her do a very short sprint across the grass ring to where L was waiting and she was going full steam ahead! That's my girl 21 going on 3, haha!

Yesterday rained, plus Satin deserved a day off so I did not ride. Today was another gorgeous 50 degree day, so after some shopping with L we hit the barn. Satin was prancing and dancing when I took her out of the field so I expected a hyper schooling session. If not for the fact that we have a lesson this week and need some schooling work I would have let her play in the back again. As I began to warm her up Satin proved my expectations wrong, she was ready to get down to work. We started with our usual posting trot warm up with shoulder in and shoulder out. Her jog and lope were beautiful and then we worked on counter canter. It took a few tries to get her to pick it up in both directions. We have not done it in a while so she is out of practice, but was still able to hold around turns in both directions. Then we did some quarter turns and then 180s which are getting a little better. We finished off with some sidepassing which was a bit lazy but correct.

Tomorrow we will do some more schooling in preparation for what I am sure will be a great lesson with R on Wednesday. Also as previously stated I start classes tomorrow as well. Of course I have to start classes on my longest day, four in a row, ughhhh. Well at least riding to look forward to after and the Maryland Horse Expo this weekend :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Loving this Forty Degree Weather!

This week has been in the high 30s and low 40s and it will continue to climb into the mid to upper 40s through the weekend. This is like it being in the 70s compared to the 20 degree weather we had the previous two weeks. The ring footing has gone back to perfect so my riding has gone back to its usual mode. Satin and I are both very happy about that. My mare enjoys having a job and does not like being pent up.

So Tuesday we had a good schooling session. We did some shoulder in and shoulder out excercises like we did in our last lesson and then some jog and lope which were very nice. Afterwards we worked on our quarter turns and I let her get a little hand gallop in as I could feel she was ready to blow. After I rode Sat, I rode Hezzie, a friend's Kentucky Mountain Walking Horse. We just rode around bareback at a walk and trot since he has had some time off. Then afterwards I jumped on my friend L's Standardbred mare Lexie for some more bareback walk trot since by then the ring was getting a little crunchy. Let me tell you who needs a thigh master with that mare around. Sit to her trot bareback a couple times a week and my legs will be rock hard!

Yesterday Satin and I had another good schooling session. Again we did the shoulder in and out and her jog and lope were very nice. But again I felt she was tensed and ready to go though she listened very well. So as a reward I let her get a little gallop out of her system. And let me tell you she was ready to go! Then we popped over a small cross rail a few times. The first time she soared over it like it was 3 feet tall and then took off a little afterwards. After about three or four tries we had her going over it in a normal fashion. Then we did some more quarter turns as we are trying to sharpen our spins. Before I rode Sat I rode Hezzie again bareback while K rode Patty and then we switched. We did walk, trot, and canter with both ands they were both very good. They are the 2 most comfortable horses to ride bareback. Hex being gaited has a nice smooth trot and though Patty is a QH she has the most comfortable trot ever! She can be at the most extended trot ever and you still don't have to post. Its awesome!

Anyway Satin's 21st birthday is tomorrow so will write more on that then!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rider's Bucket List

So a few months back Horse Illustrated, one of my favorite equestrian magazines, featured what they called the "Rider's Bucket List". Basically this is the equestrian version of the typical bucket list. A list of things every equestrian should do and experience before they kick the bucket.

The list Horse Illustrated published was as follows:

1 Gallop on the beach. (done, though I would like to do it on my mare)

2 Win a blue ribbon, even if it’s for the egg and spoon race! (done)

3 Enjoy an evening of equestrian theater, from major touring productions such as Cavalia to local performance troupes. (done though there are others I want to see)

4 Try your hand at cattle work. Find out what it means when they say a horse is “cowy.” (if team penning counts then I have done this too)

5 Jump! From crossrails to cross-country obstacles, experience the thrill of soaring over fences. (done, though I would eventually like to try bigger stuff)

6 Fall off and get right back on again. Conquering fear is empowering. (done many times)

7 See the majestic white Lipizzan stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
(would love to do)

8 Come to a sliding stop on a well-trained reining horse. (also would love to do since the old mare doesn't slide anymore)

9 Take a lesson with your equestrian idol, _________ (you fill in the blank.)
(definitely on my list and mine would be Stacy Westfall or Lynn Palm)

10 Nurse a horse through a crisis and back to full health. (haven't done yet, but I'm sure I will eventually)

11 Experience the smooth ride of a gaited horse. (done)

12 Watch the horses come through the Head of the Lake on cross-country day at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. (again would love to do)

13 Have the courage to do the right thing for your horse, even when it’s not easy. (have done and will continue to do)

14 Attend the Kentucky Derby dressed to the nines—including hat! (done but would love to do again)

15 Tackle a trail accessible only by horseback and enjoy the view. (love doing this)

16 Take your dream vacation on horseback. (also on my must do list)

17 Master the sitting trot. (done--> part of the job of a western pleasure rider)

18 Ride a fine-tuned horse in your discipline of choice, be it dressage schoolmaster or barrel champ. (well this goes back to ride a fine tuned reining horse for me but a master barrel horse is on the list too)

19 Watch polo. Even better, try your hand at it! (watched a demo once but would love to watch/try the real thing)

20 Feed, muck, groom, ride. Repeat daily. (lol done)

21 Wake up to a whinny every morning. (would love to some day)

22 Fly down the track on a Thoroughbred. (definitely something to experience)

23 Meet one of your favorite famous horses in person. (def on my list = Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and Stacy Westfall's mare Roxy)

24 Ride bareback, bridleless ... or both! (done! though definitely want to continue)

25 Share a bond with your horse that’s deeper than words.
(done :) )

So as you can see I have already accomplished many of the things on this list (which can be found at But I definitely think the things on here are things every equestrian should experience at least once in their lives. There are also a few things I have not yet done that I would like to add.

26. Watch the birth of a foal in person (maybe even get to assist)

27. Go to Montana and spend time on a real working cattle farm.

28. Learn to drive a horse in a Meadowbrook or some kind of cart.

29. Sit in the sulky and experience a real racing trot or pace.

30. Breed my mare (not Satin since she is beyond breeding years) and raise and train the foal myself.

31. Compete at a Quarter Horse show on Satin (hopefully this year)

32. Compete in a reining class (preferably on Sat & maybe at QH this year)

33. Take reining lessons

34. Ride a Grand Prix dressage horse and learn how to really make them work

35. Own a race horse

36. See Stacy Westfall perform bareback and bridleless in person

37. Go to the World Equestrian Games, Breeder's Cup, and Saratoga

38. Go back to Kentucky to go to the Kentucky Horse Park, Racing/Derby Hall of Fame, visit some of the big breeding farms like Claiborne, etc.

39. Compete in an endurance race or better yet one of Craig Cameron's Extreme Cowboy Races

40. Go swimming on my mare (done before on other horses)

41. Get up at dawn, jump on my horse, and hit the trails.

42. Attend the equestrian portion of the Olympics

43. Spend a week on the farm of a famous equestrian like Lynn Palm or Stacy Westfall.

44. Watch morning workouts at Churchill Downs or Belmont before one of the Triple Crown Races.

45. Attend Quarter Horse Congress

So these are some things that I as an equestrian would like to experience before I "kick the bucket" in addition to the things Horse Illustrated suggested. I better get to work! I would love to hear from fellow equestrians about what is on your Equestrian Bucket List.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Riding Update

Okay so first off I will give my riding update of the weekend. Friday the ground was too hard to do much, but Saturday it was good enough for walk-trot. So my friend L and I rode our mares around bareback and were later joined by two of the other girls at the barn C and S.

L and I were goofing around as usual and decided to switch ponies without getting off as we have done in the past. We had the mare's hip to hip touching so it could not have been any easier for L, but due to the jeans she was wearing she was unable to stretch her leg out to slide onto my mare. After quite a few laughs and L almost sliding off she finally got herself onto Satin behind me, but by then both mares were wiggling around. So I had to slide off and bring Lexie over to the mounting block and get on. L very much enjoyed Satin's slow, comfy jog. On the other hand Lexie's big Standardbred trot was quite different from what I was used to. I have ridden the mare several times, but never bareback so as those of you who know Standardbreds can guess it was quite the bouncy ride. I even tried bareback posting which not many people do voluntarily Lol. After a few minutes I got used to it and got Lexie to a good pace that was easier to sit to.

Then we decided to try and ride Lexie doubles, as we have done with Satin dozens of time. L was nervous as to how the mare would react, but she is quiet and I figured she wouldn't be bothered. I was right. L climbed aboard behind me and was Lexie stood perfectly quiet (probably rolling her eyes at us). Then S climbed aboard Satin since C was riding her pony. S and C switched and L and I rode Lexie back to her paddock. The four of us had fun riding bareback, switching ponies, and goofing around on a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday was colder and I wasn't feeling so hot so I decided to give Satin the day off, but my friend E wanted me to walk around with her so I pulled out my backup mount the steadfast Patty. I am pretty sure I have mentioned her before. She is a wide, comfy QH mare who is blind in her left eye, but just as quiet is not quieter than many sighted horses. Patty's trot is so comfy that even at an extended trot you never have to post. Her canter is equally as comfortable which is why I never ride the mare with a saddle.

Today the ring was good enough to walk, trot, canter, but I still decided to ride bareback in a halter with E. We walked, jogged, and cantered in each direction. Satin was feeling a bit frisky and tried to crow hop a little in one direction, silly girl. Then we did a little bridleless work just at the walk. I had a neck rope on but tried to use it as little as possible, since I would like to eventually get her to the point where she can go without a neck rope altogether. This has to start at the walk, so we worked on circles and turns, and figure eights and she did pretty good. She was a little distracted towards the end with night feeding having started.

The rest of the week is supposed to be better weather from mid 30s to eventually 40s through the weekend so that should leave the ring in good shape for riding. This Friday is Satin's 21st birthday! Though looking at her you would never know it. She thinks she is more like 4 or 5. Then Friday afternoon I am going upstate to my friend J's place, so as always I am looking forward to that. The following weekend is the Maryland World Horse Expo which I have been going to for the past 3 years, so excited for that as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Forty Degrees, Woohoo!

So the past two days have been around forty degrees which is like beach weather compared to what we have been dealing with. Tuesday the grass ring was soft enough to walk and trot, so I did that bareback just to stretch her legs.

Yesterday I had a lesson with my fantastic trainer R. We trailered over to her farm to have our lesson in the indoor as we have been doing the past couple of weeks. As usual I had a good lesson. We did a lot of different bending excercises such as shoulder in, shoulder out, and dressage serpentines at the trot and canter. Her jog was great, but her canter was a bit quick. That was to be expected though since she hasn't had a real ride since Friday. We also worked on lead changes which she did beautifully. Then we did some more work on spins which we have been having a bit of trouble with. Surpringly her spins to the right were good and her spins to the left not so good. Usually its the complete opposite, so that was really weird. R gave me an excercise to practice at home in order to try and help her lift up and really spin correctly.

Today we had a good ride in the ring at home. Her jog and lope were great and she loped over the cavalettis like a normal pony without jumping them, taking off, or doing lead changes. We also worked on our counter canter which we have not done in a while and she did good, though she did give me a little trouble picking up her right lead counter canter because she was trying to rush into it. She eventually picked it up and went around just fine. We also worked on her sidepass which had been a bit lazy and sloppy last time, but was much nicer this time.

This cold weather is really getting annoying already because it takes away riding days and makes her stiff so by the time I get some days in riding her I lose more days. Tomorrow through the weekend is supposed to be bitter cold, so I doubt I will get any riding in the next couple days other than just walking. Next week its supposed to be in the forties all week though, so thats exciting! Its sad that forty degrees is exciting. Of course it wont hit forty til Tuesday or Wednesday and I am going to Upstate to my friend J's next weekend so I will miss out on a couple of riding days, well at home at least. I will be riding up there so I do hope the weather is ridable while I am there. Though J has access to her neighbor's indoor so we can still ride.

Anyway, thats all the news for now. Fingers crossed for decent footing soon.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Pics (Better late then never!)

So here are a few of my favorite shots from the many I took around the farm a couple of weeks ago during the blizzard. The first 3 are of my girl and her paddock mate <3

Monday, January 4, 2010


It is freezing!!!!!! I am so sick of this freezing cold weather. It is really putting a damper on my riding since the ring and ground in general has been frozen because of it.

New Year's Day we had some pretty some decent weather around mid-high forties so I got a good ride in. My friend J who gave me Satin came out to watch me ride and we just did a schooling ride in the ring. Her jog and lope were beautiful and we worked on simple and flying changes which she did nicely as well.

Unfortunately that has been the last time I was able to get a real ride in. Saturday was bitter. I don't think it even hit 30 and the ground was frozen. I did walk her around for about ten minutes to get her old lady legs stretched so she isn't stiff. Sunday was even more bitter and SUPER windy so I did not go out to the farm at all as I had plans for the day with my friend L. Today was low 30s and the ground was still a mess so I was resigned ot just walking the princess pony to get her legs stretching especially with a lesson coming up on Wednesday. Then when I went to get her I found she was missing a shoe, so I would have been stuck walking either way. As they say "No hoof, No horse". She used to never throw a shoe and now this is the second time in the 6 weeks since her last shoeing. She threw her front right about 3 weeks ago when it had been very muddy for a week straight. Now she threw her front left though she is due to be shod on Friday. Luckily my farrier is awesome and already returned my call to say she will be out tomorrow morning. This way if the ground is unfrozen I can get a little ride in before my lesson Wednesday.

In other news, I am enjoying being off of school for a while and getting to catch up with friends who are home. So besides the barn thats pretty much what I have been doing. Anyway thats it for now!