Friday, July 16, 2010

Days Of Summer

Unfortunately with the move we had to take, I was forced to sell TonTon to a friend not too long ago. I get updates on occasion and I hear that she is doing very well under saddle. I don't have any doubt of that...she's usually got a level head. She's smart and needs a challenge and hates being bossed around sometimes, but she's level headed about it.

I now reside in a small townhouse here in Grove City, Ohio. We're in the midst of everything here...everything but horses, it seems. Although Trent is still trying to get me a job at a local sulky track, I'm not looking to be very hopeful on the outcome. My work hours are terrible due to daycare being $200+ for one week, and so the horse industry will just have to wait.

Selling Taunie was a little harder than I expected. I wasn't really attached to the mare and I knew that I was going to sell her sooner or later, but selling Taunie would mean the unwelcomed departure of the equine world and the onset of reality. Reality that I am now a Stay-At-Home mom. No, its not my calling. Yes, I actually love my "job". I truly do. But I get bored. I get lonely. I find myself wishing on things that used to be, longing for them, wishing that I didn't take them for granted. I know that I will be able to resume my equine passions to a certain extent in the general future...maybe a few years from now. But it will never be what I was working for.

And do you see? I sound as though I hate my life, but I actually love my life. I chose this life, I made sacrifices to live this life, and I will fight for this life. I continue to build on this life and surround my energy and focus on it. But it isn't all I am and I tend to struggle with that on a day to day basis.

Anyways, if I continue this blog regularly now since I have the internet, be warned that it might not be about horse training. It might be about just everyday life and its frustrations and triumphs. But thats if I decide to keep it. If not...then I'll guess I'll see you guys when I pick up riding again, whenever that may be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Green When The Ground Is White

Tonton has been doing well, despite being ridden maybe once or twice a month. She's fat and out in the pasture now, chillin' with her home-hosses and collecting dust...I mean snow.

A month or two ago I asked someone to take a video if us for a friend's curiosity and so this be it:

Not much to show, but she's made progress from just a couple weeks before that. She was in this habit of cowkicking at the trot almost every stride, or kicking out when I added my leg in response to her slowing down. She's trotting nicely and politely because she now knows theres something worse...the canter!

I've cantered her a few times on the trail and she did wonderful. At first she wasn't so sure, but once we got going...she found out just how much fun riding could be. She'd bound over ditches, leap across puddles, spook at the dogs...all the while her ears were up and I could just hear her yell "WOO!" I, of course, was just along for the ride. Who am I to get in the way of safe fun?

I go to the barn every Friday, if not then Saturday and since I'm training horses for board, I have very little time to work Taunie. I've made it a New Years resolution to get her show ready by summer though. Whether she goes to a show or not is another thing...but at least she'll be trained for one by then.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trail Rides

I've been able to work off Taunie's board over the summer. The barn manager at my stable was kind enough to let me train her horses in return for free outside board. I haven't had much time for Taunie because of this, so when I get her out we just end up going on a trail ride. Its sometimes a chore to hop off your final training horse just to climb aboard your own horse to train. So we've been taking trail rides off and on.

Taunie has become an ok trail mount. She's confident, calm, and she even lead the first time out. She HATES water, but I already know that. She hates it so much that when she peed while she was hooked onto the wall, she stretched out as far as her halter would allow her so she wouldn't step in it!

Just starting this week I'll be able to do more arena work with her, but last week marked the 1 week plan to trail ride every Thursday with a friend. That way Taunie will get out at least once a week, and I can have my pal-around time with a friend.

This was just after last week's trail ride...haha...winter scrubs make her look so ugly and big-headed!

Don't you love cellphone pics?

Anyways, today marked the first day that Taunie used a bit. I've been using a hackamore with her and she really loved it. I decided, much to Tonton's dismay, that since she's english now (by her choice!) she has to get used to a bit.

So today we did a lot of uh...circles. We had to. The outside arena was being used for turn-out because the inside horses just CAN'T ruin the front pasture when the ground is soft! So we had to use the inside arena...along with 5 other people. 2 of which were older riders, the remaining 3 were kids who were running around on their horses and screaming.

This is a tiny, tiny arena. Ugh.

But we managed. At the end I had to get a little firmer with her, but she came around. Mare-tude and all.

We have an issue with the canter. She insists that she shouldn't be made to canter with me on her back.

We'll work through that tick tomorrow.

The Summer In Pictures

I haven't posted in a long, long time. Lots of things have been going on and I've been steadily making no progress at all with it. Taunie has been making slow progress because I've had very little time to work with her, but since you've been out of the loop for half the year, I'll update you all in pictures.

Sometime early spring:
Tonic's first time under saddle

I had my baby. Aspen Rae!

Taunie's first time being ridden

Discovered a baby picture...aww!

Switch to western sometime mid-summer

Skip to fall foliage

Found out on a whim that she could jump this pretty easily

Switched her back to english

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Let The Training Begin

I've waited since...November, I think. Yeah. Maybe November. And finally the training has begun!

We moved to PA and a month and a half later we finally hauled Taunie down. The haul was very uneventful and so was the arrival. I got a few crappy pictures which I won't display because...well, they are crap. My camera kept dieing because my batteries were lame. I've had that camera for about 3 years and its from Walmart so its about to get a boot stomping one day soon as it is.

So anyways, she arrived on Tuesday and we tossed her out into the field. She wandered over to the one single horse who has been dubbed "The Weakest Link" by the rest of the herd and made friends.

I let her settle for a day and today I went up there to work her. Trent won't let me bring her in from the field or take her back out into it. He doesn't want me to be jumped on or something I guess, so thats all his job. We're finding out just how much she HATES mud. Did a Hail Mary leap across some mud at Trent who just about had her ass for it. She's either going to make me a really crappy trail horse or we're gonna rock over liverpools.

We get into the arena and we start our first tieing lesson. She's 4 and doesn't know how to tie. I think it went decently well. No explosions. Not a lot of confusion. By the end she seemed to realise what was going on with it and to me, thats a step up. So we groomed all that shedding hair off of her...or as much as I could handle, and I took her for a walk. We worked on heeding. Something she vaguely remembered from a day or two over winter. Heeding is basically leading the horse without any contact on the leadline. The horse will move based on your body pressures. Turn, stop, go, back. You don't need to put any pressure on the line to achieve any of this. The result is a much lighter, much more responsive horse when being led (which will transfer over to lunging) and an easier horse to lead and control when a situation gets out of hand.

We did about 15 minutes of heeding before I started pushing her out onto the lunge line. I was a little hesitant to start lunging her because I know of some "explosive lungers" who think the only thing the person wants them to do is bolt around them in circles when lunging. I'm about 100 times weaker than I was last summer so I don't think I could handle one of those right now. Not very gracefully anyways. Luckily someone had lunged her correctly before I bought her because she didn't bolt off in circles. I asked her to trot by raising the lunge whip slightly and picking up my own feet a few times and she trot. Halting was a little harder since theres a lot more static between horse hand handler with 10 feet between them instead of when the handler is right beside the horse, but she did a few good halt transitions when I asked.

We turned directions and she did even better on her "stupid" side. Some horses do better on that side and some horses don't. I don't think she's a horse to be able to think of 2 or 3 things at once though, so when we turned she was glued on to me. She didn't do anything by herself unless I asked for it, where as in the other direction, her mind would wander. She was much more at ease going her "good" way, which was left. But going right is a bit more of a challenge for her.

Happy that I achieved at least a little bit today, I decided to end the session. Its a brand new place. She's only ever been inside the arena once before when she arrived so I didn't expect her to be entirely focussed. She gave me what I wanted though and for that I can't complain.

Trent picked out her feet because "I shouldn't be bending over like that" (pssst, I'm 9 months pregnant now) and she did relatively well with it. She challenged him once but it was no big deal. I brushed more of that disgusting winter coat off of her as well before I handed her off to Trent to take back into the field. She nearly plowed him over on their way there because of a muddy spot and really didn't seem to care that he was trying to punch her in the gut to get her off of him. Hahaha...but anyways, yeah. Heeding will fix that. She'll be more aware of personal space by this time next week and won't barge in so often to be carried over water.

But until then, it looks like Trent will be carrying her over parts she doesn't like unless I give him a whip and tell him to "have at it" if she gets in his space. I might just do that, to be honest. I just need to get one! Sometimes you just have to raise the excitement level once and the problem is forever gone.

I'm going back up there tomorrow. I had it planned that I'd go up there every other day, but Trent says he'll be out that way on "business" (yeah, whatever!) and said he could drop me off if I wanted.

Sure. Why not?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh, The Mud

Does anyone remember the My Little Pony movie where baby Lickity Split (or something) ran away and a witch made a batch of Smooze that would take over the pony's valley if not stopped?

Smooze is this awesome gray/brown stuff with popping eyes that stretches out across the land and covers everything in its destructive path.

In the real world, we call that "Mud Season"

Mud season is the root of all that is evil. I wish it would crawl back to the pit in which it came and never return. Unlike the lucky souls who reside in make-believe pony valley, mud can't be overcome by force of Flutter Pony wing power like Smooze. You just have to outwait mud, because mud isn't going to go away until rainy spring turns into a summer drought.

Taunie is in mud up to her knees. I'm in Pennsylvania waiting for her coggins to come back, and I haven't seen my horse in a month (have you noticed there have been no updates?). Trent took her to the vets on Monday for a health certificate and her coggins. I made sure that he promised to clean her up before he took her. This isn't just for the vet's benefit, but I'm so picky about my horse's appearance that its somehow become a compulsive habit. I think its from being a foxhunting/polo groom. So 3 hours away, I had to trust that Trent groomed her up. I made him take a picture of her for proof and low and behold, there she was...all black, no Smooze present.

I'm impatiently waiting for that stupid coggins to come back so we can finally ship her out of that dry-lot and into a boarding facility. $100 pasture board with an inside and outside arena. Miles of trails behind the barn. I first took lessons there and so I know the BO very well. I'm so excited to have her moved out to somewhere I can finally work her. Ontop of that, I'll be thrilled above anything just to get her out of that dry lot. Its too small and I'm perpetually afraid that she'll get her foot caught in the barbed wire.

Yay for an upgrade!

At least I know the coggins will come back in the next 10 days.

The mud, however, is here to stay for some time. Making anything you want to do in nice weather almost impossible unless you're ok with losing a boot in 2ft deep Smooze.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just To Update

Taunie's reaction to seeing a beagle baby:

Morgan's first trip to the barn:

I really have nothing new to say (ooh, exciting) so I'm just blogging to blog now.

The bf (Trent) and I might be moving soon. Far, far away from his mother's house. And while I'm very much in favor of this, my pony is living at her house. I won't be able to see her as often as I do now and thats a bummer. I'll actually have to board her somewhere and pay someone for it! Oh the agony!

On the brightside of paying someone $300 a month to feed my horse, I'll actually have a place to work and train her. I'm actually looking forward to that. I mean, I know I can't do much right now. But just getting her out, putting down a firm foundation for heeding and getting her used to the saddle would be an excellent step forward.

I'll explain the process of "heeding" some other time. You know. When I actually feel like explaining myself. I'm a crappy trainer in the aspect that I don't like to explain what I'm doing. Just trust me and in 3-4 sessions, you'll get the idea when you see the progress. But in my defence, there -is- always progress. I just hate explaining how I get there.

So we'll save that for another time. I'll probably just end up copying and pasting the theory from someone else who knows the procedure because I'm just that damn lazy. I'm totally ok with that.

I took Trent's beagle puppy, Morgan, out to the barn yesterday. She was on my heels the whole time, complaining to be picked up. That poor dog. Trent got her to use for hunting rabbits, but she's barely touched the ground since we've had her. Some hunting dog this lap pup will be!

Anyways, so I decided to crush her reality and take her to the barn. You know. Make her walk through snow and whatnot. Taunie is actually rather good with dogs even though I doubt she's had any experience with them. The other week I had out lost and found puppy, Holly, out at the barn with me while I was doing some drills with Taunie. Taunie was fairly interested in her. Craned neck, blowing through her nostrals, ears up. But she didn't spook. The puppy came running over to dodge inbetween my feet and Taunie's feet while we were working, and Taunie, although a little confused, just tried to step over her best she could.

So now Taunie sees Morgan. A much smaller, less fuzzier version of Holly. She cranes her neck over the side of the fence and raises her ears to her. Interest. Not fear. I think thats what I love about my little mare. She's very interested in things. So much that she learns how to deal with new experiences on her own purely out of curiosity for it. She hasn't spooked once. Of course I haven't done a lot with her. But from what I've thrown at her, she's shown that she's more curious than she is afraid of the world. I love that.

So uh...yeah. Thats that. I'm done typing. I'm gonna try to put up some photos, but I can't promise you of where they'll end up. So just deal with where they're put.