2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Like in any relationship trust is key to it thriving, and that is no different when it comes to the relationship you have with your horses! I trust Mystic with my life. He has proven over and over again how reliable and sensible he is. No matter what situation I am in with him I never feel as if I am in danger and am never scared. I could fall off him two days in a row and it would not change anything. We have that relationship that would be pretty hard to change. I LOVE being able to get on every single day and not have to worry that oh he might not like that, that might spook him, or I didnt get to ride the last two days I better lunge him first. I LOVE being able to hop on bareback and bridleless even if he has had a week off and have a super fun low key ride. I dont worry about the construction going on right outside the half wall of the arena or the dogs running right up behind him. There really is no better way to end your day then going out to the barn knowing you will have the same horse every day and knowing before you get on you will have a productive and nice ride no matter what I chose to do.
Schooling indoor trail course

Bridleless at the beach

Jumping bridleless

Hanging out at a show

My chair :)

Since getting Tolo back I have had to go back and start building the trust between us. He had to learn to trust that I was going to guide him and keep him safe and I had to learn to trust that he wasnt going to dump me at the slightest noise or take me out because I walked up on his blind side. We are into our 3rd week undersaddle and I feel like we have reached that place already! Just like it was before I sold him. I get on him and he feels so relaxed and calm, a complete 180 from the first day I got on when he felt like a total ticking time bomb (and that was after lunging for 20 minutes in side reins!). We walked around on the buckle with the arena door open and people outside the half wall walking around. We then had a super nice relaxed lazy ride. All the anxious energy from the first week is gone. He walks on the buckle stretching down instead of carrying his head straight up in the air and going straight to work instead of going around looking like some sort of llama giraffe creature for the first 10 minutes. He stays standing in the wash rack without being tied up to get groomed, tacked up, hosed off and overall is a total love to be around. It definitely isnt the same as what I have with Mystic but if I am being honest not many people in this world get a horse like Mystic in their lives. Everyone says they feel bad for the horse that takes over for him when he retires :) I feel so blessed to have such nice horses!

Ignore my yucky position!

Our first real working ride outside (this was on Sunday) since I got him back

Handsome boy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pony is famous (or more famous)!

Alanna texted me last night and said "Did you get Flying Changes? Because you are in it!". Low and behold pony and I are featured in an article about Inavales horse trials! It may not be the most attractive dressage picture of us but it does happen to be the biggest pictures on the page and it also says Mystic Prince put in a winning dressage performance with Tarra Gakstatter in the Jr/Yr BN division. So just the fact that it says winning makes it better (even if the picture doesnt look like it should be winning a dressage test!).

How cool is that?! Just wait till we start making our way up in the dressage world :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

They never said it was going to be easy!

Pony and I had a great dressage lesson last night. With me being horse poor and all I cant take weekly lessons, therefore make more progress, like I would LOVE to do so we have to take advantage of the one we get a month. One of my weak points, having never ridden 2nd level before now, is that although I can really feel a difference in my lesson and am starting to understand the feeling I want it is still hard to 1-get there and 2-know when it is good enough. We are at the point where he knows how to do it all... IF I ride him well enough. And its the riding him well enough part that is freaking HARD! You know that feeling when your trainer tells you something and you thought you were already doing it? Yeah that has been my feeling with my hips/shoulders! I feel like I am turning them so far to the inside I'm about to be looking backwards (okay that might be a slight exaggeration but really!) but when I watch my video it looks like I am barely doing it. Then when I can get my body turned even more our shoulder in gets that much better. That is almost the hardest part about all of it, if I could just ride him better he would do it all! We are going to work on cleaning up our travers (or really just working on it in general. We havent done too much of it) so that the next time Mary rides him she can start his changes! Its so exciting to have a horse with fun buttons. One of my dreams is to ride tempi changes, could pony be the one?!

Here are some highlights from our lesson:

Tolo of course had to go get in a kicking match and has a nice cut and swollen knee as of this morning. Something always seems to happen once you get them going nicely doesnt it?! Hopefully a little rest, cold hosing, and wrapping will due the trick. Here is a video of us from Sunday. He keep getting better and better!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A little bit of inspiration

It doesnt take much to get my thoughts running. You know those those late nights in bed where you cant sleep so you think of all these random questions and have deep thoughts about your life and where you are headed? As I sat and watched rider pilot their horses through they dressage tests at Devonwood (super duper gorgeous dressage facility that we are lucky enough to have just over an hour away!)  all I could think is that I really believe 3rd level is doable for pony and I! It will NOT be easy to get there and it will take time but I dont see why we cant get there. The big warmblood and the big name trainers will always beat us at the big recognized shows, even at the lower levels, but it would be amazing to be able to take my fat little black and white pony to a big fancy dressage show and show people what he can do. My biggest problem is that for the past year pony and I have won almost all our tests and scored as high as 74 % so going from that to possibly not placing and getting lower 60's is kind of a blow to my competitive ego ;) In reality I just need to get over it. No one expects him to go out and do 2nd level even so if the least we do is go out, have fun, educate/show people that these horses are not just pasture ornaments, and of course put in the best tests we can I will learn to be happy with any color ribbon. Plus... if we make it to 3rd level we could do a really fun musical freestyle!! Alanna is so generously coming to tape pony and my lesson tomorrow night which will be really fun to watch.

On the Tolo front he is doing awesome! He has gone on his first solo walk down the road off the property, worked a little outside in the hay field, and is schooling all 1st level stuff. He is becoming really fun to ride and is a complete different horse already! He is making it really hard to ride Mystic though. I had totally gotten used to Mystic gaits and 'pony' movement. Tolo has really nice effortless more uphill gaits that are really nice and easy to ride so when I get on pony I feel all discombobulated. They really are complete opposites under saddle!

Since he is doing so good I am listing him for lease (with option to buy that way I can monitor who he is going to better) now. I really dont have time/energy/money to do both these boys justice and Mystic is my priority. Alanna came out tonight and got some video and pictures so I have current ones to post. Even though Tolo isnt costing me as much as Mystic it is just that much more money being taken away from showing pony. And of course all the shows I want to do are hundreds of dollars (sadly we will most likely not be able to do another 3 day this year...) and I really have my eye on doing our first recognized dressage show in October, the last one of the season! Really hoping to make it happen :)

Having a friend with a fancy camera = millions of beautiful pictures of my boys!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Busy, Busy

Having two horses to work after I get off work at almost 6 makes for busy days! Both boys are doing great. Pony got a conditioning ride in the field last night and felt really good. He tends to lose conditioning really, really easily and I was impressed with how well he did last night. Wether or not I can afford to compete in another 3 day this year (I hope so!) I plan on doing more real conditioning. It will only help us!

Sunday April and I planned a baby shower for Alanna. Pony got to give pony rides to one of our little guests!

Tolo has continued to improve each day. He is starting out much less resistant and anxious and we are getting some really nice work. Last night there was a lot going on outside the half wall of the arena so he was getting looky but once we got really working he came around. We even were doing some walk to canters and started working on some lengthenings. He has the general ideas of them so now its just solidifying them. Here is a video of our progress so far from his first ride to his 5th ride:

I am going to try to get more video of him this weekend to track our progress! Alanna is also coming to video ponys lesson on Monday which will be really fun to have. We havent gotten our lessons taped for quite some time so it will be nice to be able to see where we are at!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bad hair day... or a few

Yes, this is homeless horse look he was sporting until yesterday. Pretty sure this is the worst I have EVER let his hair get! Whoops.. 

Luckily it cleaned up nice and turned into this:


And then he got re braided in his beautiful braids again! The longest portion of his mane is 4 feet 3 inches now! Holy Chia Pet!

That face... gets me every time!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Inconsistently Consistent

That about sums up Tolo under saddle. Although our rides seems to get better and better (slightly) by the end of each ride they all start out the same no matter what I do. He is quite anxious in the bridle and resistant to reach into it. He lunges in side reins nicely and reaches into the contact then, lets me get on and walk him around on the buckle with his head down but the minute I go to pick up my reins his inner llama comes out. Obviously it is rider related and he is very untrusting of his riders hands. I tried flexing him inside and outside, moving his body around a little, etc but he gets pretty anxious about it. As the ride progresses he relaxes more and more. After some trot/canter work I can go back to the walk and work on all the basic stuff that I am not able to in the beginning. Tomorrow I am going to try just going into work without 'fussing' with him first and go back to where I would normally start a ride on Mystic after I get him loosened up and reaching more into the bit instead of sucking back away from it. We actually got some really nice trot work tonight and improved canter work. His canter really doesnt feel good. He sucks back so much in the bridle which transfers to him feeling like he is trying to canter in place. I cant read what he is thinking and therefore have no idea if he is just really worried about getting banged in the mouth or if he is about to blow! Many, many trot to canter transitions and pushing him more forward in the canter helped a bunch and we got our best canter work this week tonight. It was short lived (just a few strides here and there) but its nice to be making progress. He also had the last 2 days off so overall it was a decent ride.

I know all our under saddle problems are not related to his blindness. On the ground he is an angel! Totally like he was before I sold him. Our BO was telling me tonight how much they (her husband and her) like him and how nice of a horse he is. He has found some friend in the herd and is totally settled in! On another positive note he is feeling more and more 'regular' under saddle. He felt slightly uneven when I first moved him but I thought I would just keep up the light work and see what happens and he is definitely feeling better! He wasnt ever anything that I would consider lame just a little uneven.  I think the combination of getting his shoes on and going back into work have helped.

Mystic pony has been great also! We had a nice bridleless ride earlier this week which we havent done in a long time and of course he was his perfect self :) I am hoping to take him to a breed show at the state fair in August and if I can then we will do a bridleless musical freestyle there! Tuesday we had a rather rough dressage ride but had a nice trail ride in the hills with Alanna and Gator Dude on Wednesday. He had Thursday and today off (having 2 horses to work after working a 10 hour day is not fun! Especially on Friday!) and today but will go back to work tomorrow along with getting his hair did. It looks awful right now. Pretty sure I havent done it since Inavale... Whoops!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Progress all the way around

Pony went back to real work starting yesterday. He had a nice little vacation just hanging out in the pasture and some fun bareback rides in the field later in the week. He is definitely a horse that after a mini vacation comes back and has a pretty rough first ride back and yesterday was no different. He was really heavy, really lazy, and really just trying to see how much he didnt need to work! We ended up with some decent work at the end but it wasnt without both of us being hot sweaty messes. This mornings ride was much better! These spurs and I are going to be great friends, especially for our simple changes. What a difference! I need to start working on my sitting trot work towards the second half of our rides. It is definitely something that gets better with practice and is not like riding a bike. I havent been doing much of it recently but really need to make it a part of my routine, practice makes prettier!

Did I do good?!

The bromance boys

Today was Tolos first ride at NDF. I was just planning on lunging him in side reins as there is a big picnic going on right outside the half wall side of the arena. Bunch of men riding little motor bikes/motorcycles, running around, making noise, etc. I was thinking it wouldnt be totally fair to ask him to be ridden through that . Afterall he hasnt been in regular work in like 6 months and even then he has been ridden just a handful of times. After a nice long walk around the field outside we headed to the arena to lunge. I lunged him both ways in side reins walk/trot/canter and he was super good. A little looky outside but not bad at all so I decided to hop on for a short ride. He was really sucked back and afraid of me hanging on his face in the beginning. I was telling Alanna how he felt like I was riding a super green bean horse and she agreed that he looked like one too (which he is not!). After just a few minutes of me riding him he was settling into it and realizing that I wasnt going to catch him in the face every stride and he felt a ton better. He definitely learned some evasion techniques with them and he for sure had their number! It just kept quiet yet firm hands and ignored his few lame attempts of protesting to the work.

I really think the next 2 weeks we are going to progress a lot. The nice thing about him is that I know he knows the work it is just gaining the trust under saddle and him knowing my expectations. Even though I started him and rode him for several years after that he has been with someone else for the last 1.5 years and is a different ride then he used to be at this point. It is kind of a good thing that we are going back to basics as I am a MUCH better ride then I was back then. It is scary to look at video/pictures back then. I asked my mom why she let me out in public riding like that haha! Mary has really helped me a lot and once I get him going nicely I hope to take some lessons on him also.

Goals for Tolo in the coming weeks:
-work him 6 days a week
-start with a short lunge with side reins to get him stretching down into the contact to help with his sucking back in the bridle
-have solid walk/trot/canter work
-get him out on the trails (start by ponying off Mystic but also go out ridden)
-be able to comfortably and confidently be able to have some rides outside in the field
-begin working on lateral work and lengthenings (towards end of month) I would like to be getting solid 1st level work by the end of August 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

Today we moved Tolo up to NDF where he will stay, until the weather gets bad again, as a pasture boarder. We are totally full but our barn owner was nice enough to let him just stay in the big gelding pasture all the time. I was interested to see how he would load, unload and just how he would act in a new place (he has been there once before prior to me selling him/his eye issue). He walked right into the trailer, BACKED out (one good thing coming out of his blindness! He would not EVER back out of a trailer. It honestly terrified him), and was his normal chill self. I ran out and grabbed the pony from the pasture and ponied Tolo around our big hay field and in the arena. He was awesome! Just how I would have expected him to act when I owned him the first time. Mystic was even more of a star because he put up with Tolo playing bumper cars with him!

After giving him a quick brush (spa day tomorrow!) I took my boys out to the pasture. There are 4 other gelding in the pasture besides my two, one of which has been with Tolo previously, so turned them loose and watched as they figured out their dynamics. After a little squealing, a lot of smelling, and a little showing off they were all peacefully grazing together. He gets his shoe back on tomorrow as he pulled it after only 2 weeks. Needless to say I picked him up some pull on bell boots today (along with a new turnout sheet for pony. They were an extra 30% off their sale price and I got a cute red and blue one for 50 bucks!). After he gets his shoe on tomorrow he goes to work! Will be fun to progress with him.

Roz and Tolo :) They were best friends back in the beginning and they totally remembered each other!

Good ponies!

Mystic and Tolo!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Pony has been enjoying a nice mini vacation since his big weekend. It was good timing as it has been super hot here anyways. Tomorrow I will take him on a light hack. Tolo is moving up to NDF for the summer on Thursday. It will be really nice to have my boys together at the same place both for convenience and so I can use Mystic to help torture Tolo :)

Here is our Inavale video! Obviously a main thing to work on is getting a much more forward pace on XC. I think that will come with more experience! He is super willing and trusting of me but you can tell (and feel) how backed off he was in the beginning. Overall I think he looks pretty darn good for his first time!