Friday, July 25, 2014

Two for Two

Today is Friday which is fantastic.  It is my day off with zero obligations.

No clinic to work at, no barn chores, and no lab job and just one day to hang out and do what I ned to do for the rest of the week.

And what do I usually do?

Nothing coupled by going to the barn.  Efficient use of time, right?

I went ahead and rode both horses today!  Pretty big accomplishment in my world.  ;) 
I failed at actually taking a picture of the filly.  But she does have a neck, so here you go.

I rode the filly first and she was just a peach.  We worked on hanging out in the scary back corner where the hay wagon is parked.  She is getting to be a pro in her transitions and it is getting ridiculously easy to pick up a nice, smooth canter out of a trot. 

Way to go little filly.

Sometimes I think I need to pinch myself to realize that she is mine.  She is just so easy going about working.  She is getting fairly reliable about carrying a bend and has some start to what will eventually be a leg yield.  ;) 

Next time is learning a turn on the haunches, I think.

The person that originally did her first few rides was also at the barn so I invited her to hop on and see how the filly has progressed.  Last time she rode, she was still a wiggly, wet noodle that wasn't particularly a fan of moving forward, but this afternoon she had the pleasure of riding a cheerful, happy little filly who is learning to seek and carry contact.  


Then I rode the Semi Feral Mare.  After her theatrics last week, I wasn't incredibly enthused about riding her after having such a nice ride on the filly, but sometimes, you just have to pull up your britches and ride anyway.

I was very pleasantly surprised.  I'd have to say this was probably one of the nicest and easiest rides I've had on the SFM in a long while.  We had a long warm up working on bending and counter-bending and working on finding the corners of the arena, as I have an issue on cutting the corners and not riding deep into the arena.

We hung out on the scary end of the arena for a few minutes and then went to work at the trot and she was happy to carry a good rhythm down the long sides and not try her I-want-to-be-a-racehorse maneuver. 

I also worked on her canter briefly.  She can be fast and unbalanced at the canter from past anxiety, but today we just worked on carrying a couple good strides of canter, then halting and then picking up the canter again.  She had some good moments of uphill, more round canter, so I called it quit.

Tomorrow, there's supposed to be a junior rider who needs more saddletime coming to look at the SFM and to think about riding her, so we will see if it works out.  I'd be thrilled, since it would be more exercise for the fat grey mare! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's All In the Genes

Or so I'd like to think.

The SFM has had several foals.  One in particular (besides the Semi Feral Filly) has been shown and has done quite well.

He currently belongs to an awesome youth rider, who was showing him this past weekend at Arabian Youth Nationals.

1.  I wish I could have had that experience
2.  How cool!

On an awesome note, Garth took reserve national champion in western sidesaddle and western junior owner to ride.

Garth, but not his current owner ;) 
 I have ridden sidesaddle a couple of times, but it is on my bucket list to become proficient at.  Step one is probably owning a sidesaddle and a horse worth of said saddle.

Still awesome to see a great horse and a great rider do well together. 

Dear Semi Feral Mare.  Nice Genes.  Too bad you haven't done anything as interesting.  ;) 

Poor mare.  She doesn't have the slightest clue that I am currently planning on bringing her to a show at the end of August.  Nineteen isn't too late to get into the swing of things, right?  :)

The show continues through the 26th of July and you can watch it online for free here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Keep One Leg On Each Side

Keep one leg on each side of the horse.

Sometimes important to remember.  (Unless, you are a man riding in the previous post's sidesaddle class ;) )

Saturday, I decided to go ahead and ride the Mare in the outdoor arena while a friend rode the filly.  It took a few minutes to convince them that they could actually walk down the driveway to the outdoor, but that was fine.

There is a gelding that was left behind in his pasture that he shares with SFF & SFM and usually he is quite quiet, but holy buckets, he just about lost his mind.  The SFF is typically all business undersaddle, but the Semi Feral Mare does have her nickname for a reason and she is in full blown heat.  Shenanigans.

We arrived to the outdoor and she was being a little prancy.  I went ahead and added leg and asked her for a trot and she decided to buck.  Well, her version of bucking is more like slamming on the brakes and popping her hind end up, but still I wasn't expecting it.

Fortunately, I didn't really go anywhere, but I certainly didn't feel like parting company with my horse. 

The filly, on the other hand, was quite well behaved during this whole ordeal.  Go figure.

A lot of trot circles later and some bending and counterbending work and the Mare seemed much better behaved. 

Tonight, I went ahead and worked them both again.  It was really hot and humid here.  It said ninety degrees (F) when I left work, but the humidity makes me feel rather like I am being broiled.  I waited until a bit later for the heat to being breaking. 

I admit.  I kind of wimped out because I decided that perhaps the Mare should just be worked on the lunge line and sweat a little.  It's been a while since she has been just lunged and tuned up.

She really did quite well with a minimal amount of fussing.  I primarily worked on strengthening her walk to canter transition as if I just let her canter, she'd rather race around dumped on the forehand, but with more transition work it keeps her mind better engaged.

I then decided to school her a bit in halter.  Now, I have shown halter, but I really don't know a whole lot about teaching them halter, but I am curious if she had the basics put on.  In the rope halter, with a whip, she did seem pretty astute to "whoa" and standing still, but who knows.  She doesn't really know how to give through the neck or reach towards the whip, but for my purposes I don't really care.

My goal is to take her to a fun type show that my friend is hosting at the end of August.  There are Arabian and part Arabian classes, but also and 18 & over (horse's age!) halter class and I thought it would be fun to enter.

There's also a Most Classic Head Arabian class, which might be fun for the Mare as well.  

Halter what??
I then decided to work the filly under saddle.  She was quite good.  She is getting better on being mounted from the left side (her original preference was the right).  I put down a couple of ground poles for her to walk and trot over.  

She seemed to enjoy the poles and didn't hesitate at all.  We have to work a bit more on carrying a rhythm, but for my purpose, I am happy to have her engaged in her environment.

All in all, a couple of successful rides.  After all, horses got ridden and no one ate dirt.  ;)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Men Gone Aside!

As many people know, I am involved with Arabians.  If you didn't, welcome to my blog.  I have Arabitis.

The breed circuits can be quite a lot of fun and I'd like to share an excellent example of a great group of people that came together to raise money for a great cause.

The Arabian breed has a non profit group called the Arabian Horsemen's Distress Fund.  This fund has stepped in and helped Arabian horsepeople in need such as a trainer battling an illness, an unexpected fire, or so forth.  It's really an excellent cause of people helping people.

The horsemen of Region 11 Arabian horse circuit decided to come together and create a Men's Sidesaddle class.

The trainers went all out.  They are all renowned riders, both in western pleasure and english pleasure.  The horses were quite savvy horses too, although a few had never been ridden sidesaddle before this event!

Without further hold, please enjoy watching this video of the Region 11 Men's Sidesaddle Men-In-Distress Class

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More Blog Hoppin': Stalker Style

Another blog hop from Viva Carlos

Blog Hop: Stalker

What Equestrian Blogger out there do you really want to meet? (If you have more then 1 I will allow you to list up to 5!)

Very difficult!  I have met a few bloggers out there.  One that comes to mind is Kate from A Year With Horses  when I was at a veterinary hospital.  She was just as informative in person as she is in her blog.  So if you don't follow her already, I'd check it out.

Now..for people I haven't met yet...

L from Viva Carlos would be my number one.  I am not sure how long I have known her online and I have religiously read her blog for a very long time before deciding to jump off into trying to chronicle my adventures.  Now, I need to do a better job like she does, but there you go.  

Aoife is another one.  Seriously, I want to go to Europe and if I get that far... ;)  Or if you ever end up here in Kentucky or something, then we should have a blog get together.  ;)  

Monday, July 14, 2014

More Muzzle Failure

We tried again with the grazing muzzle and the SFM since she looks approximately 280 days in foal now.  She is pretty wide, despite only being out on grass for part of the day.

Today, she just stood there and didn't make an effort for several hours.  The barn manager did eventually take it off, since I'd like to make sure she actually does drink and eat something between turnout and turn-in.  

Oh mare.  Such problems.

I have also come to the conclusion that I should probably ride the SFM more in her dressage saddle, which as the widest tree.  She is so fat right now that she is more uncomfortable in her western saddle.  Normally, someone watching might think she was just rushing or trying to break into the canter as to be naughty, but I think she was just more uncomfortable.

So I suppose, back to carrying breeches and boots in my car for a quick work change before riding.  But jeans are just so convenient, LOL. 

I also rode the SFF. The filly was good, albeit lazy.  A couple small goals include working on getting the idea of bends (corners, what corners?), introducing basic lateral work, and that gaits can have more than one speed/introducing the basic idea of the half halt.

The filly has good brakes, so when the reins are picked up a little bit more just to add a bit of pressure, she stops.  Hard.  Add leg and you can see that she is pondering a bit of what the heck that was.  But she is a good filly and is coming along pretty quickly. 

She is such a sweet filly that sometimes it's hard to try not to rush things, but I suppose we have forever to get these "simple" basics right.  

Derp a derp derpy. 

Love my girls.  Good rides.  :)  

Wish the SFM good luck tomorrow.  Let's see if she finally gets this muzzle thing. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

SFF Survives the Great Outdoors

I rode the SFF again this past Saturday.  She was good, except she wanted to stop and balk a bit at a window by the end.  I am not sure what preempted this, but when the filly's other rider was out last week, one of the young suckling colts escaped and ran into the arena from that end, so who knows...maybe she is looking for more trouble!  She did handle the loose colt well though.  I always hate having (or being around) the horses that lose a marble or two when a horse gets loose at a show or trail ride or field or what have you.

The filly did go out on her first trail ride a few days ago with her other rider.  Most of the gals at the barn are good eggs, but what her Rider didn't realize was that one is a little different at times.  Baby's first time out, everyone knew that and this gal decided to take off at a full out gallop.

Good grief. 

At least the filly was just a little surprised and didn't do anything stupid, but I know more than one horse that would have face planted a rider for that one.

So good girl little filly. 

She is very soft in the bridle and we worked a bit on a bit more lateral control.  Baby brain sometimes takes a while to equate that leg does occasionally mean other things than go faster, but she is getting it. 

It is interesting to note that she is getting more steady and dependable in the bridle at the walk and trot, how she has begun to carry herself on the lunge in just a halter has changed as well.  She now will seek and begin carrying herself longer and lower and just a bit in front of the vertical instead of inverting like I commonly see with Arabians in general. 

So what goofy things have your trail partners done? 

Suggestions on more to teach the little SFF?  :)  

Anyone else noticed a postural change in their horse after working them in the bridle and having them learn to seek and take contact?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Growing Up Filly Part II

The filly as a young horse was a bit...opinionated. 

Things she liked:


And that's about it.

Things she didn't like

-Everything else
-Things that made weird noises

For a bit, while she was young, I thought I'd own the only horse that when I went to halter her, would flip over and lay down on the ground and not move. 

Seriously.  Imagine this irritated, angry filly just laying down on the ground.  Once, she decided to throw herself backwards through the gaps in the fencing to prove her point.

She was not a fan of fly spray.  Or blankets.  Or fly masks.  Or being caught.  On the plus side, she was pretty inquisitive with new things as long as it didn't make too much noise.

Funny how much they can grow up and change in just a short period of time...

Stay tuned for more Growing Up Filly ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Beginning

As requested from a reader, let's go back.

Way back.  OK, she's only three years old, so there isn't that much to tell. ;) 

Since I bred the SFF, let's share a little bit more about her past & beginnings.

This is the SFF's sire.  He is a national champion in native costume and has other titles in english pleasure, sport horse in hand, and halter.  His national championship was won with a junior rider.

Dang crazy Arab stallions being ridden by kids.  

I chose him because he was athletic, strongly built, and kind, among other things of course.  His pedigree is filled with strong athletes top and bottom.

Pregnant SFM

The SFM has been a broodmare in the past.  She has had five other foals, other than the SFF, including one gelding that has (I believe!) 10 national titles right now.  He is a pretty cool show horse.  I didn't breed him, of course, but I knew the potential was there.  :)

After a long period of waiting (ok, not so long), the SFF made her appearance after 329 days on Mother's Day at a reasonable hour in the morning with most of the farm there present at her birth.  Apparently she wasn't a shy mare that day.

Stay tuned for more "growing up filly" ;) 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our Secret

Don't tell.

There may be something horse related in the dishwasher...

It's a washer right? 

And it cleans things, right?


In other news, the SFM failed her first attempt in the grazing muzzle.  She stood around all dejected, rubbing and whacking the muzzle on the other Arabian gelding in her pasture (who is muzzled).  What happened to monkey see, monkey do?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blog Hop: Interested Parties

What made you interested in your current horse that lead you to buying them in the first place?

How I acquired the SFM is a bit of a story.

I first saw a photo of the SFM after my friend's half Arabian mare died.  I was on a regional equestrian forum, along with my friend and of course, other people.  A sweet person on there offered the friend the SFM if she would be interested in replacing her Arabian.

Friend said no, but decided to forward the picture to me because I am a big fan of Arabians, especially cute grey ones. 

Fast forward a year and I found out I couldn't lease the horse that I wanted to lease, so I had to look for a horse locally for my senior year of undergrad.  I thought of that cute grey mare and dropped a line and voila...

November 2008

But remember, I was only leasing her.  I didn't know where I was going to end up at that point and time, but when I decided to stay in state, things came together and the SFM was gifted to me.

August 2013
So I suppose what really drew me in besides the fact she was a grey Arabian was that I thought her pedigree was interesting, she was available for lease, and it was a horse close enough. ;) 

Sometimes I was not all that discriminating and sound + four legs + not completely suicidal was enough to make me happy.   ;)

As for the SFF....I didn't buy her, I bred her and it probably would have been a whole lot cheaper (but not as satisfying I imagine!) to have purchased a been there, done that broke horse from how much money it cost to put her on the ground.

Ah well.  That's life with horses.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

SFF Goes Out to the Jump Field

Another day, another ride for the SFF.

A couple of friends were riding in the outdoor jump field today, so I decided to take her down to hang out and wander around outside in that arena. 

Before they made it down there, I went ahead and lunged her and she willingly walked over the jump poles and between the standards.  Always a plus.  ;)

Went ahead and got on her.  Not too many issues, despite a lot of distractions.

The empty hay wagons rattling in off the fields were slightly unnerving to her, but they were as well to the adult horses, so with time and exposure I think she will be a pro.

We had a kindly older gelding that helped us walk past some of the scarier cross country jumps like the sunken, painted barrels, and the tire jump.  She didn't mind all the cross rails and typical blue barrels.

Worked a bit weaving around the jumps and walking in some of the tighter spaces.  Watched a friend jump her horse, so it was good patience for her to get used to another very large horse cantering around and jumping (and occasionally knocking things down).

Good job SFF.  I'd say the exercise in the jump field was a success.

Do the easy things often enough until the horse builds up confidence and while it was a simple and bit "boring" type of day, it's the perfect day to hang out with a sweet, willing young horse.  :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

More Horsin' Around

Not sure if the video will work.  Sorry if it's choppy or doesn't.  Let me know. 

Look!  It's a holiday and I'm not working.  I'm so incredibly shocked.  I missed out on the holiday pay for sure (which is approximately triple time).  Lots of things aren't the top of the list about my job, but holiday pay isn't a negative.

Moving on...

I went ahead and went out with the hopes of riding both the Semi Feral Mare and the Semi Feral Filly.

The filly was a little more distracted than yesterday, so I'll admit I chickened out and had someone hold her while I got on.  She was head tossing and being a little too fidgety so I would rather have someone be there for the first five seconds of a ride and make sure I didn't promptly get launched.

The filly has never done anything wrong, but ya never know...

Went ahead and rode her a bit.  She was overall quite good.  Worked a bit on moving off of my leg.  She is slowly working through her brain that leg doesn't always mean go forward (or canter!  I can canter!  Wee!) and that picking up the reins and sponging them doesn't mean stop dead so rapidly that I could get ejected. 

I think the horse really wants to be a reiner.  Look, she just likes loping and stopping.  Works, right?

Anyway, she was quite good to the left, but on the right, she seemed a bit fussy in her face.  When I dismounted and was prodded at her, she fought a bit and flew backwards, so I time to examine and see if she has a loose cap or something dental going on.  Or knowing her and how she isn't incredibly bright, she probably tried to eat the thistle growing in her dry lot.

Gave her a bit of bute for the evening and we will see how she is tomorrow.

I went ahead and grabbed the SFM.  I had intended on riding her in the dressage saddle today, but a couple of other folks at the barn invited me to go out on a trail ride around the property, so who am I to turn down that invitation?

The SFM was really quite good.  A little chompy and forward and was a little unsettled when they were dragging a hay wagon off the field, but overall, good behavior from the mare.

So, I'd consider that a win in my book.  It was nice to enjoy and relax a bit on a holiday.  Doesn't happen often!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flying High

After a hiatus from riding due to the bad weather (read: tornadoes on an almost daily basis for a while), I went out to ride today.

I decided to go ahead and ride the SFF.  A friend has been riding her since I'll be honest: I guard my back and am worried that if she does something stupid, I will be very crippled more than the partially crippled I am now.

But sometimes you pull up your trousers and go.

So went ahead and saddled her up and got on.  There were several other horses in the arena including one person ground driving her horse with one of those flags.  I wasn't sure how the SFF was going to react to the flagging since it is something I've never exposed her too.

I also didn't know what she would think of carrying my heavier weight rather than her peanut sized regular jockey.  ;)

But she was a trooper.  I went ahead and rode walk, trot, and canter.  She is so unbelievably soft in the bridle that it's a little confusing to me.  She has to learn obviously more about being an adult horse, but she is coming along so nicely.

Wow, so nice to have a horse that is a clean slate.  I've always had projects or other types of horses, so to find one that (so far!) is kind and sweet and willing just seems so surprising.

PS Also rode the SFM after a month off.  She was all things considered, well behaved too given the massive chaos in the arena.  She isn't a fan of change, but she handled everything quite well overall.

A+ to both ponies and a good feeling to end the night on.