2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bribery... gotta love it!

Tolo came home this afternoon! He came off the trailer quite well and even let me switch halters without a fuss. While the owner and trainer and I chatted I just let him graze next to us. Pretty sure he thought he was in heaven! After talking I took him to his new digs. I made sure to make an entry way that could be opened up wide so he wouldnt be scared to walk between a tighter space and he walked right in. I showed him around then unclipped him to let him scope the place out. After they left I went and put his blanket on and to my surprise he was totally fine with it all. Working on his blind side and everything. We snapped some pictures and let him settle in as I had to run to work.

He is such a ham for the camera compared to Mystic! He always has his ears up

Do you have more cookies?! (This is his blind eye. You can see how it is smaller)

Such a handsome boy! Hopefully the weather is nice this weekend so he can have a spa day


I went home straight from work (before going to visit the cutest black and white pony!), to get a grooming in while it was still light, and for the first time I really saw his apprehension about people approaching him. He was really having nothing to do with the halter. I really want to make it all a positive experience so after trying for a couple minutes I resorted to bribery :) I went and grabbed some grain and when he let me approach him I gave him a nibble. He figured that one out quickly and soon I was making him come to me. Then I slipped his halter on one time and he was totally fine. Once I got him caught I took his blanket off and gave him a brushing. He was super good for it all. I would leave him to go get another brush and come back (still on his blind side) just talking to him and start brushing again and he didnt flinch. He actually quite enjoyed a nice brushing. His tail is super gross so hopefully it is nice this weekend so he can have a total spa day. He needs a bath, a bridle path, and his mane cut/pulled.

At this point I am going to hold off on letting him out into the pasture. I will take him out and graze him and walk him around but dont trust that he will be easy to catch and I dont want to relive the second week I got him (when I first rescued him) and have him run around scared and get hurt. Hopefully this weekend he will be able to get some supervised outside grazing time as he also hasnt been out on pasture since the summer.

I am going to give him a couple weeks to settle into our routine and getting his trust back then we will start doing desensitizing stuff like no ones business! The more he sees/hears/touches the better :)

On the Mystic front... he was great tonight for having all week off! He was a muddy mess but enjoyed the attention. Well... he atleast enjoyed the treats haha :) Less then a month away from the expo!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time flies..

When you are getting ready to bring another horse home! My poor pony has been neglected since Sunday. I didnt go out Monday then just went out on Tuesday to do barn cores and tonight I had to come home and keep getting ready Tolos home coming tomorrow.

Along with all this the norovirus is going around at my work (daycare) and it is super gross. We sent 4 kids home today just in my room and almost all the teachers have gotten it. I have been lucky to this point but have not been feeling so hot the last couple days and it was worse today. Praying it is just a cold!

I promised Mystic that I would head out tomorrow morning after doing morning chores at a barn I work at first and go ride him before Tolo gets here!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Recap!

I ordered a video of his test so it will hopefully be here this week so I can share it with you all. Like always the pony was great from start to finish! There is something to say for a horse that 100 % loads, hauls, travels, etc every single time like a total champ. There has not been one single place I have taken him where he hasnt loaded up right away and came of the trailer exactly how he loaded onto it. I was telling Mary how it is not everyday that you wish your horse would be a little more enthused in new places as I was dragging him around everywhere because he was slowly plodding along ready for a nap!

We got there in perfect time to check in, get him tacked up, do his hair, and get him warmed up. The warm up arenas footing was super deep and clumpy and gross. Luckily we have a great trainer who noticed that and opted to do all his walk warm up outside of the arena although obviously couldn't avoid the warm up arena for the rest of it. The footing definitely took its toll on him energy wise and even though his warm up time wasn't long or abnormal he was pretty tired by his test time.

I was so happy with how he did in his test, especially since 2 elements he had only done once prior to the show (whoops, our bad! It was the simple changes at the quarter line and the counter canter serpentines too. Not easy stuff!). He did everything asked of him to his best ability at this point in his training. We knew it was going to be a more 'green' second level test, I mean really he has been schooling some of the movements for 2 months, but he definitely showed that he is more then on the right track to getting even better scores by the end of the season.  He got mostly 6's but managed 2 8's! One for both his halts :) His lowest was his first medium trot where he broke into a canter in which he got a 4. We were actually quite pleased to find out that in his second medium trot he got a 6! That is one area that we thought could easily score 4's all around. So that first medium trot got a 4 then the transition score got a 5 because he was messed up anyways. The only other below 6 scores he got were in his rein back (judges comment: dragging feet. Dont think that one will change much LOL!) and his first walk to canter transition coming out of the free walk where the judge said he came up through his neck. All of those were in the beginning of the test. Then he got a couple 7's and 6.5's at the end! In his collective marks he got all 7's except for impulsion (he really was quite exhausted!).

The end judge comments said:

"Obedient and willing! Work for more cadence and swing through back- cute boy"

I mean... she said he was cute, what more could we want?! We actually went and talked to her after as he was the 2nd to last horse to go anyways. She has some really nice things to say about him and said in another 6 months once he knows the work better she thinks he has the ability to score quite well. She just said what we already know about him needing to sit more and be a little more light on his feet, not so clumpy, but that she thinks he has the ability to do it! Obviously it gets tougher because he will be competing more against those fancier warmbloods and such with the big fancy floaty movement but we will just keep going at it and show everyone what little black and white ponies can do!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I have myself a 2nd level pony!

He may not be the most athletic (who are we kidding... he is not the most athletic haha!) horse out there but he sure makes up for it with the amount of heart he puts into it all! I got to the barn this morning to finish bathing and cleaning him up. Learned that I will not be letting any pee spots stay on him, no matter how cold it is outside as he now has 3 giant pee stains that would not come out. Luckily everything else cleaned up nicely and he enjoyed a nice 45 minute graze behind the barn.



Pictures will have to do till tomorrow!







Final halt salute! 

63% at second level test 1. A very happy Team Mystic!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I love my horse!

He was so good tonight after his lesson on Monday! We kept it short in sweet, strict orders not to over due it this week :) We played with some centerline halts and getting a prompt trot transition after. They played with them on Monday and he needed work sitting into the transition instead of plopping onto his front end and throwing his butt around. I think we got some good ones tonight and got some nice trot departures also! Over we had a nice forward and attentive ride! We got a new warm up program at my last lesson trotting on a shallow loop from wall towards x back to the wall with changing his bend. It had really helped loosen him up! We start out by doing really shallow ones and as he gets more warmed up I demand more bend and start asking for some leg yield towards x. It seems to really be helping us! It is always nice to be able to go out after work and have a nice enjoyable ride on your perfect pony!

I am starting to get ready for Tolo to come back (Sunday). I went and got him a pretty purple halter today, just like old times! And of course got some mane and tail detangler spray. No bad hair allowed around this place! I had bought him a new blanket but his Auntie Alanna has one for him so I returned the other one. Now just need to pick up his grain and some bedding and get his stall put together. Hopefully I can con my unsuspecting brother into helping me tomorrow :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is meant to be, will be

Tolo (my first rescue horse who has been with his new owner for 1.5 years) went into OSU today for an eye exam. The results came back what I expected after first seeing him today, he is completely blind in his left eye. I knew right when I saw him stepping off the trailer that he was most likely blind in it. He has completely changed and is very jumpy and unsure just on the ground. He has traveled a ton in his life both with me and with his new owner and used to be quite calm and cool in new places. It was extremely hard to see him like this, however, once inside and being examined he did seem to calm down and was standing with a hind leg cocked which is promising.

That being said he will be coming back to me. The super weird part about it all is that I named him after the horse from the movie The Long Shot. "Tolo", in the movie, is a dressage horse that goes blind and overcomes many obstacles to compete once again later down the road. Maybe we will have a similar ending?  I will have more information and pictures once he comes home. Until then.... Here are some pictures from when I had him:

On the feedlot destined for slaughter


Running down the beach was a favorite of both of us!

Cross country schooling! Little man can jump!

Winning a BN eventing derby, finishing on our dressage score

Also a dressage pony

Qualified for state all years I competed him 

Loves little kids


Swimming!

Just being handsome :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Watching

As much fun as I have riding my steed it is also so much fun to watch our trainer ride him! Every time I see him go I think what a fancy 'little' pony I have. Not to mention you just cannot help but smile when you see him go, he is just too freaking adorable :)

He is coming along really nicely. There are some definite strong points in his work and definite weak points also. This weekend will be a good indicator of where he is currently at. We are not expecting a 68 % out of him, especially since some of the work is almost brand new but I hope to see some encouraging marks! We figured out tonight that we had not even started him on the canter serpentine but he actually did some really nice ones tonight! Another weak point are his simple changes since they are not on the circle. His walk to canter is better then the canter to walk. The positives are his shoulder-ins are coming along very nicely and are fairly easy for him now and his medium canter is good (and adorable!).

The plan is to give him a nice bareback walk tomorrow, ride on Wednesday and do some center line halts (getting him halting on his hind end and not just throwing himself down on his front end), ride on Thursday doing a few solid simple changes (between center and 1/4 line) each direction, go on a nice walk on Friday, then bath and show on Saturday!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Starting again

We finally started jumping again today! Not much and not high, obviously, but I was very happy to find that he just took everything in stride and even gave me a few awkward distances that I asked for (if I knew we were going to get long or short). The plan is to start jumping once a week. We can only set a couple fences in our arena so we will just work on getting back into shape, both of us, then start doing some line and grid work again. I hope to take him to some hunter/jumper schooling shows in the spring before eventing season starts just to get some exposure over fences in new places. I want to start with tiny little baby classes so that it is easy for him and I know I am not over facing him too soon. Really the most jumping we have done has been cross country or it has been stadium fences in a field. No arena jumping until today.

I have some pictures but iPhoto is being stupid right now... I will get them up tomorrow!

Edited:
As promised!!






Saturday, February 16, 2013

Taking him for granted

Sometimes I feel like I take my horse for granted. I know he is a super nice horse all around and dont over look that at all but I don't realize just how MUCH better he is than your average horse. Not that im tooting my own horn over here (okay maybe a little!) but wow my next horse, when the time comes, will have HUGE shoes to fill. Recently with riding some other horses, riding my training horse, watching at horse shows, etc
 I went and watched some friends compete at their IHSA competition today (Im not on the team...Not a fan of riding a bunch of less then pleasurable horses without warm up time) and all I can say is that it was interesting. Some of the horses are complete saints. They pack different riders around in back to back to back classes all day long without breaks and manage not to throw them off like I would if I were a horse. They stand patiently in line and really are solid citizens, even if their under saddle work isnt up to par in my mind. But then you have the flip side. People who allow their green broke, completely nervous wreck horses come. You know the ones where they say "oh yeah the horse is great just dont take up any contact at all" during your english class while the horse freaks out if you take up any amount (like really any. If there wasnt a loop in the reins it was too much) of contact but then tries to go running off once the riders give the horse its head completely. Then there is the horse that almost rears straight up in the air because it didnt want to leave the side of the arena where everyone was standing and dumps its rider. Oh yeah... and the one that double barrel kicked me in my stomach. I got extremely lucky and was far enough away that I only caught the tail end of it so it wasn't bad. I also held onto a couple horses that would just run right over the top of me to get where they wanted to go.

I could go on and on about why I am so thankful to have such a nice horse not only on the ground but under saddle. I am one lucky girl :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The one that started it all

In May of 2007 I got my first rescue horse, a scrawny dark bay 3 year old TB gelding that was barely halter broke. He was small (14.3 maybe?), I got him for $300 with no parent there to okay it, and I was now the proud owner of a scared neglected pony named Splendor. The first thing to go was his name! We changed it to Tolo, the horse from the movie The Long Shot.

After a near death experience for him right after getting him he was put on 5 months stall rest/hand walking. The best thing that could have happened to us in the long run! After fully recovering we had our first ride under saddle on February 5th of 2008 after a few months solidifying his ground work. Fast forward 4 years and we had numerous blue ribbons and had qualified for state in both dressage and jumping for 2 years of OHSET and dressage for our final year placing in the top of our district.

He decided that eventing wasnt going to be his thing and since he was too small for me anyways, and I had already gotten Mystic, I decided that I would find him the perfect dressage home. I found a good home for him and have kept in touch with them for the almost 2 years they have owned him. They had been having trouble with him being spooky (never an issue before, he was very laid back guy) and recently found out he may be blind in one eye due to some kind of trauma they had been trying to treat for some while now. He is set to go into OSU for a work up but it is looking like he may be coming back home to me. He is a horse I have always said that if they ever needed to get rid of him I wanted him back. He was the one that started it all and part of my heart will always be his! I told his owner that I would take him back in a heart beat. Obviously my main man is Mystic and it will stay that way. We are playing this whole situation day by day and will assess how bad it is should he end up coming back to me. So there may be a "new" face showing up here soon.
Us at the beach in 2010

Monday, February 11, 2013

So simple yet so hard to do

That basically sums up my lesson tonight. Im definitely feeling the whole "most tears are shed at 2nd level". Well without the tears though because I dont cry (like really though. I could count the times I have cried in the last 3 years on one hand probably!), just the frustration.

You have the moments where you feel like everything is in place and you can really feel a difference and then it is followed by 10 other moments where you feel like you cant do a simple movement. Then you have a horse that is so willing and honest to ride that he tells on you to your trainer the whole ride haha! One of my bad habits is that I tend to hang on his mouth with my left rein whether I think I am or not. When she would tell me to give it up completely I could feel his whole body change to where he is carrying himself, but giving that rein up is really hard! One thing I have noticed recently is that our canter to trot transitions have gone to crap. Tonight we worked on them and I really got to feel what I am doing to keep him from giving it to me. I try to hold him with the inside rein too much and dont have him straight enough so instead of stepping into the trot he stops with both hinds at the same time before going into the trot. Working on that was really hard for me! For some reason I couldnt figure out how to half halt with my outside rein, give up my inside rein, and use my inside leg all at the same time! But by the end we started putting some better ones together. Now just to keep practicing the way we learned tonight to keep improving them!

Dressage takes serious brain power and coordination! You have to be able to fix one thing while maintaining another. Once you get one thing you lose another. It is not for the faint of heart thats for sure. But it just keeps sucking you in! All those little frustrating moments are all worth it when you end up with the correct work (instead of taking short cuts and not doing correct work but thinking you are) and the amazing feeling of you and your horse really moving together! Next week he gets some saddle time with Teacher Mary :)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hair Day

Today Mystic got his mane and tail washed. His mane hasnt been done in way to long because of the really cold weather. Even though we have hot water in our wash rack it was so cold outside I would have felt bad while he was drying. The other day I noticed that there was a small chunk that had been rubbed out of his mane (that was still all braided and vet wrapped up). So today since it was decent outside I took it down and washed it, he was loving it! It was clearly all itchy. It looked much better after it was clean!
The process:









Although his tail is growing, its not fast enough for me! He has a show in 2 weeks and it is going to look so bad. Im actually contemplating just keeping it braided. Im not sure which is less 'classy" LOL! I will check with our trainer and see which she would prefer. He had such a gorgeous tail! I wouldnt mind if it was more uneven on the bottom but it is a huge chunk in the front middle of it...
Bad pic of it but the black hairs are the center of his tail. It is about half the length of the rest of his tail
After getting his mane and tail washed we went on a nice 20 minute bareback walk outside to let him dry out before I zip tied and vet wrapped his mane all up.



We have a lesson tomorrow that I am looking forward to!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Big pony eyes

Since we had our dressage ride last night I decided to do some more desensitizing today. I brought out our big ball, a big tarp, and tied a plastic bag onto a dressage whip. He of course is still in love with his ball and is almost at the point where he just chases his ball around and I am just on for the ride! It is cute to see him love it so much though.

I was very happy to see that he remembered our tarp work from the last time and didnt bat an eye at it at all. On the ground I picked up the tarp and drug it beside him while he walked, although he was unsure he didnt shy away from it or anything. Just kept an eye on it. I tossed it all over it, made it fall off the other side, had him walk while wearing it, etc and he was great! He would get his big scared pony eyes on sometimes but never reacted on it and got a nice soft eye after he realized it was not a pony eating tarp! He is NOT a fan of carrying big things on him (such as flags, standards, etc okay the standard is understandable lol!) so I am working on getting him okay with having things on him. After doing the tarp I picked up his big ball and bounced it around next to him, put it on his back, threw it over him, bounced it off him, etc and he didnt bat an eye. He was great! It is SO nice having a sensible horse!

On another note... this little mare is killing me. I want her so bad but I have been practicing my self control skills. I mean how cute is her face?!



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Boys and their balls...

Hahaha yup I said it! Mystic LOVES his big ball that I got him. Its quite funny actually. I loaned my riding boots out to a friend in my class who forgot hers, and my tall boots are still trying to recover from being completely soaked and filled with sand from our beach adventure so I had nothing to ride in. But I rode him bareback and bridleless last night because someone was trying a horse, someone else was riding, and someone was waiting. So I just gave up and called it a short but sweet ride. I had intended on playing with the ball last night but it didnt work.

So I brought it out tonight! There was another horse in the arena so I had to make sure she was not going to have a complete conniption over it (and she didnt). I just hoped on bareback but with his bridle on. I started out letting him push the ball around, went and did some work, pushed it around some more, did some work, etc. When we were working and went by the ball he would try to go over to it. And when I let him trot and kick the ball he kept speeding up to keep up with it. It was adorable. Then of course when Lola (the other horse) got close to the ball he had to remind her that it is HIS ball by giving her a nasty face. If I let him he would just follow it and kick it around the whole time. He is very reliable at kicking it and is quite good at it now. It is SO much fun :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February already?

It seems like it was just yesterday it was November and we were just beginning to think about starting our 2nd level work saying how fast the next few months will go by and we will be showing in no time. Now we are sitting at 2 weeks away from our first show of 2013!

Mystic will be debuting at 2nd level (test 1) at Bear Above the Ground dressage league show! I opted to have our trainer ride him for this one. Figured it would be nice to have at least her knowing what she was doing! LOL! The other good thing is that I will be able to get video and pictures of it all :) I am super excited to see how he does and what the judge has to say about him.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Recovered

Yup. The pony is acting like nothing at all happened to him, which is great! I opted to cancel our Monday lesson. I figure we have made it this far, what is one more week! I dont want to push him into a hard lesson after our drowning experience yesterday incase he is sore. I know I woke up with a sore leg so im sure he is a little sore, whether he shows it in the pasture or not.

I did go out today to check on him. Not only that but Alanna and I had a lot of tack to clean if we wanted to keep it from cracking from the salt water! He was happily grazing int he pasture and was happy to see me and get some apology carrots from me (I feel really bad this happened to him!). I brought him in, gave him a quick look over, brushed him, and sent him back outside. He was his normal cookies loving self and seems no worse for the wear. Horses really are amazing animals!

After turning him back out I got all my sandy tack out and gave it a good washing. I sprayed down his bridle, breast plate, and girth last night along with wiping down his saddle but I didnt actually clean it. So I brought it back out to actually clean it. Its amazing how much sand was still in/on it all!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What a day

Alanna and I made a spontaneous choice to head to the beach with the ponies today since the weather was supposed to be gorgeous. We were both super excited and ready for a nice beach ride! We got there and got the boys tacked up. Both were great coming off the trailer (normal for both) and before long we were tacked up and heading out to the beach. Mystic settled in and I think he remembered the place and led Chevy to down the trail to the ocean. After a few mintues of letting Chevy take in the scenery once we got there we headed down to the water. It was GORGEOUS outside. Definitely the best beach day we have ever had with our horses! The tide was low, the sun was out and it was just perfect.

After walking down the beach a little we headed for the water. Mystic doesnt like the foam on the edge of the waves but quickly got over it and was in the water in no time with Chevy following close behind. Happy with how they were doing we decided to start walking down the beach a ways so we could start trotting/cantering and getting some pictures. As we looked over a bigger wave was coming so we turned the boys away and started trotting away from it, not quick enough though. As it hit them it was over knee high. Chevy spun and ran further into the ocean and Mystic shot forward before stopping. I think what happened was that once he stopped the sand under neath him began to fall (like if you go and stand in the water) and he started scrambling to get up and out of the water. After scrambling around he got swept into the water and fell down. As he went down I slid off and had my foot caught in the stirrup and we got swept out a little further. Finally my foot came loose and I was able to grip the bottom with my hands and get up to see Mystic had made it up and was trotting out (first sight of relief!). Then I turned to my right to see where Alanna and Chevy ended up. They had made there way back towards the beach a little more (not so belly deep in the ocean swimming their way to China!) and Alanna and jumping off as I was standing up. Somehow she lost her footing while jumping off and she also ended up on the ground and Chevy and Mystic took a little gallop down the beach together.

Luckily by the time we reached them (we had to walk all the way back down the beach!) they were content and just standing there like nothing happened at all. Mystic had broken his reins and one of my stirrup pads had come off when my foot was stuck. My saddle/pads were covered in water and sand but both boys were so happy to see us and seemed no worse for the wear. After gathering ourselves (and removing any sopping wet clothing) we walked them on foot down to the water and had them walk in with us just to let them know it was okay before heading back to the trailer. Afterall who wants to ride soaking wet, covered in sand, with broken reins?! We were both SO happy to see both boys were okay and that I hadnt drowned and Alanna and Chevy were not washing up on Chinas shore! Definitely a memory that will stick with us forever!