2013 Memories

2013 Memories

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dressage Boot Camp

Since the ES clinic in October Bentley has been in dressage boot camp. In fact, we didn’t jump at all until this week. And the “jumping” we did was very minimal over very small jumps. But, it was also a huge improvement from the clinic! I love dressage! Going back, taking the time, and putting my focus into his flat work has really been paying off.

This past weekend I hauled him out for a dressage clinic. He hadn’t been hauled off property (other then to the vet 🙄) since Rebecca Farms in July so I had no idea how he would be. Plus we were riding with someone new to both of us. It could have been entertaining!

He is a really solid traveler but is always a handful to deal with on the ground in the riding areas. As we entered this gorgeous arena he promptly stood on his back legs to let everyone know he had arrived. Because there was a lesson going on I decided just to walk him in hand so I didn’t disturb them any further. He spent a good 5-10 minutes going between walking normally to rearing then running backwards. I’m pretty sure the spectators (although they all thought he was gorgeous) and the clinician thought I was crazy. Once the other lesson finished I hopped on and walked him on the buckle. The clinician said “you’re an eventer aren’t you” 😂

Once on him he settled right into work and we had a fantastic lesson! Thankfully I know him really well so I knew he would settle down once I was on him. She told me that I was spot on with what we need to work on as far as getting him more supple in his body and getting him to take bigger steps. We went to work doing a 4 loop serpentine with 10 meter circles every time we hit the wall. From there we progressed to nose to wall leg yields (and doing transitions with in those), leg yields, and going from shoulder in to renvers at the walk and trot. 

What I really appreciated about her was that she would have us do a task and whether or not he did it well we would go right back onto a 20 meter trot circle to put the pieces back together and then go try again. He seemed to really respond well and we didn’t rattle his brain at all. By the end his connection was much stronger and his stride length had increased significantly. She had really nice things to say about him and I think he pleasantly surprised her after his terrible first impression while entering the arena.

There was a videographer there and since I don’t have any flat video since Rebecca I got it taped. Definitely glad I did! 

We are headed to the indoor trail course this weekend and have our normally dressage trainer lesson the following weekend. Looking forward to an educational winter!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Boys are Back

Breaking news... ALL three of my horses are currently rideable! I’m sure it won’t last but I’m going to enjoy it while it does!

Mystic and I had our first Dressage lesson back and it far exceeded my expectations. That Pony is ready to get back at it! He moves back to my main barn Friday. We also celebrated 7 years together on Monday. How lucky am I?!
Tolo and Mystic have been rooming together 😃

Tolo, the forgotten free loader, is free loading no longer! The kid that owns the barn he is at has taken him on and they are a wonderful pair. Tolo is definitely enjoying the increase in attention and a job. Plus he has been on his best behavior. The time off seemed to reset his brain and the kid is loving riding him!

Bentley has recovered from his larynx/eye problem, his rabies vx reaction problem, and his “I can’t be barefoot behind” problem (he pulled his own shoes it was not a planned barefoot experience). His nice little 3 week vacation ends today! 

I did get these cute pictures from our clinic last month. He is adorable if nothing else 😉

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

BWB (Bubble Wrap Boy)

I’m not sure which higher power I have pissed off in the last two years but I feel like my luck is non existent. Between the three of my boys they have done some weird 💩. 

Let me just highlight Bentleys 2017 for you so far:
-cellulitis (actually had it 3 times in fact)
-popped two splints
-had scratches
-tore up his back leg
-cut his eye lid
-cut his larynx (yes you read that right) and was bleeding out of his nose for 4 days (nothing the vet could do about it)
-had a reaction to his rabies vaccine
-has pulled 10 shoes 

I have not even owned him a year yet. Wtf! He gets iced, linamented, wrapped, and BOT after jump schools, he gets his legs betadine scrubbed all winter, he gets daily mash with his supplements, he sees a chiropractor, I see him/check him over 7 days a week, what more could I do?! After thinking about it, between all of his extra curricular activities this year, he has had about 3.5 months off.

Currently we are at 2 weeks of no work (haven’t been able to ride since the clinic) due to the time off for his larynx to heal and the addition of the rabies vaccine reaction right after he had healed up. Due to his love for our vet he has been named BWB, or Bubble Wrap Boy, by one of my friends! 

I’m really hoping he doesn’t have anything else in store for me the rest of the year. Some days I truly think it is a miracle he is still alive with all the crap he has done to himself! People keep telling me it has to stop soon. I can only hope! He is signed up for a Dressage clinic in December. Anyone want to take bets as to if he will get to actually go or not? 😂

Monday, October 16, 2017

Clinics are not our thing

My biggest take away from our three day clinic was that my horse is NOT a clinic horse at this point in his jump training. Private lessons or no clinic at all for us at this point.

We had a dressage lesson a few weeks ago that was very basic and simple but really helped him relax into his flat work. We had some awesome dressage schools leading up to our jump clinic and although he hadn’t jumped much since coming back from his injury I thought we would be fine.

Day 1 was flat work. It took him about 20 minutes to settle into it but we actually got some nice work in and had some awesome canters! ES emphasizes forward (the horse taking you not youbising your legs every stride), straight, and regular. With straight meaning hind quarters following the shoulders, following the poll, on any line you choose. He has a man of keeping things as simple as possible while getting the most out of your horse. Something we should all strive to do! He definitely shows us how much we over think things. 

Day 2 was stadium jumping. This is where I learned the most about my horse. Because the group lessons were 1.5 hours I didn’t warm up (more then a 10 minutes walk) on my own before. Getting he flat work before jumping is obviously important with every horse but particularly with this one. Unfortunately, because it’s a group, you just have to get going with the rest of them and I hadn’t gotten to chance to even canter before we started a pole exercise that quickly turned into a jumping exercise. The jumps were always fine but the inbetween was not fun. Easily the worst jump ride we have ever had. He was very strong, ripping the reins out of my hands, etc. It was so not fun. So much so that he even asked to get on Bentley at the end. He very, very rarely ever gets on horses at clinics! He went back and did some flat work (what we had needed to do) and made some progress before calling it a day. 
Bentleys lesson group girlfriend

Day 3 was XC day. To day I was dreading it would have been a fair statement. He had only been out XC once since Rebecca Farms (in July) so I knew he would be prettt hot out there already. He was again strong, ripping my reins away, flipping his head, and had an extreme lack of brakes. Not exactly the ride you want to have. Especially since we had a super jump lesson with our normal trainer the week prior. By the end he was slightly more rideable and his terrible behaviors became less and less but I, unfortunately, left thinking I had over faced my horse too much with the group situation and feared I had just set us back. It’s not that he didn’t jump things, or even that he didn’t jump things well, it was just his over all mental state. He actually jumped things quite well and did some hard things that he hadn’t done before such as:

Training log bending to novice coop

Training chevron to an angled novice roll top 

Training corner!

 There was a professional photographer there so hopefully she caught some good moments! When we were in the air it all felt great 😉 Back to the drawing board. We have a long winter of dressage and pole work ahead of us 😳😃

Monday, September 4, 2017

My Heart ❤️

Not much to say other then this horse is my heart. I will probably never trust any horse the same way I trust him. How blessed am I to call him mine?

I went 3.5 weeks without riding. And today I got to ride both of my favorite guys. Doesn't get much better then that 😃

Monday, August 21, 2017

11 Days

11 days is what it took before my normally fairly easy to handle baby OTTB lost his marbles on stall rest. Technically he started losing them on day 10 but was somewhat manageable. When he gets hot/excited he loves nothing more then to stand on his back legs and black stallion it. So we spent most of our walk yesterday doing that with the tail straight up and snorting. In his defense there was a lot of barn traffic with the eclipse and a clinic. Today however was just him losing his marbles!

  Second bandage change last weekend

I took him straight to the round pen to hand walk and within 3 seconds of leaving his stall he was airborn 😳 Once in the round pen all of his hooves were not on the ground for a solid 5 minutes. And when I gave up and decided to just let him loose in the round pen it took me another 5 minutes to get his lead rope off. The dude needed to blow off some steam! Thankfully he only carried on with his antics for a couple of minutes and it seemed to be just what he needed. Thank god he didn't have a tendon/ligament injury! Not sure he could handle that without drugs.

From bandage change 3 days ago

My regular vet is coming out when he gets back in town and I'm hoping for a shorter time frame of him being off work. He needs his job back!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Because who needs a show season?

In true Bentley fashion he has managed to earn himself yet another 2 weeks off of work. 

In case you didn't know... getting your back leg OVER the top of your paddock fence doesn't end well. How or why he decided that may be a good idea beats me. Sadly that means no Caber Farms. We were supposed to leave two weeks from today. Instead we get to spend our August wrapping a leg wound and hand walking. Thankfully he didn't get both legs over. And thankfully it all seems superficial so it's just allowing the wounds to heal. Because of the location on the front of the hock it may take a little bit of time. If all goes well he can go back to work in two weeks. We will hope for that!

Very thankful that I was at the barn teaching when it happened so t was caught instantly. Poor guy thought his leg was falling off. Non weight bearing (not because he couldn't be just because it hurt), reaching around and smelling his leg, kicking it out, etc. He thought his leg may need to be amputated! I have an amazing vet friend that came out and got some sedation on board, since he was very painful, so he could wait for the vet in a little more comfort. The vet put a bandage from his hoof up to his hock, gave me some antibiotics, and called it good. 

So for now I will leav you with some Rebecca pictures while I email the next show secretary and hope I get my money back 😩

Monday, July 24, 2017

Rebecca Farms 2017

Montana was full of up and downs but ultimately I came home feeling extremely happy with my horse and feeling like it was an amazing experience for both of us. It just didn't quite have the fairy tale ending that it could have.

Bentley loaded, hauled, and traveled like a seasoned pro which was very nice. We thankfully had a great layover barn in Spokane that had very nice stalls with runs attached so the ponies didn't have to get off the 8 hour trailer ride and just sit in a stall all night.

He was calm and relxed every time he hopped of the trailer and I even took him for a bareback hack at one of our stops to stretch his legs! 

We arrived at Rebecca Farms on Sunday and the following day we went Xc Schooling at a place nearby. All the horses were great and we had the positive ride we needed before tackling this first novice. On Tuesday we had a light dressage school which included riding in their giant arena with approx 30 other horses and, for parts of it, 3 giant water trucks. Bentley couldn't have cared less about all of it and we had a nice relaxed school! Just what we both needed.

Dressage day rolled around and he was warming up much better then I had anticipated! The normal issues we always have with him just being green but no nonsense like we had at Inavale last month. We went in and put in a solid test (for him at this point in his training at least) and got a 34! We were tied for 9th out of 26.

The XC walked big to me. Definitely had mostly maxed out novice fences, a half coffin, and a corner. But overall the course was open and flowy. I knew I would really have to ride the first 7 fences but thought the second half of the course would be very doable. He came out more backed off to the fences and strong between the fences then I thought he would but he was getting it all done. The half coffin that I had worried about (if you remember how ditchy he was previously) rode beautifully! I have him a big pat and let him roll a little bit more after it. Unfortunately the whole "letting him roll" didn't pay off as he was quite strong and resistant to my half halt coming up to fence 8 (a steeplechase type fly fence) and I just think he never really registered he was jumping a jump and we had a runout. He popped right over it on second try. It was extremely disappointing because he doesn't really ever say no to a jump and I feel like I didn't give him the best ride to it (even if he wasn't being the most cooperative). He jumped around the rest of the course well and I crossed the finish flags with an incredible amount of pride and disappointment at the same time. My horse is so much better then what the score on paper said after xc but you live and you learn. He jumped around a novice course, and made it feel easy, after just 6 months off the track! How cool is that?!

The silver lining was that there was zero pressure for stadium. Bentley is very scopey but he doesn't always use it in stadium and had the potential to have some rails. Again, the jumps were maxed out with some big oxers but the course looked fun. He was very bold to the fences and was jumping great. He got away from me around the turn to #4 and got flat so he pulled a rial with his back leg. Otherwise he was jumping really well and wasn't wiggley between the fences at all like he was at Inavale. Fence #8 was causing a lot of problems for people but that was our best line of our course! 

It is hard to not look at what could have been. Such as if we finished in our dressage score, like he is fully capable of doing, we would have tied for 2nd. All the pieces are there we just need to keep working at the details and hope that one day they will all fall together at a show. The experience he gained this week was definitely a game changer for us and he handled the whole week like a professional. His future is looking very bright and I can't wait to keep chipping away at it all!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Aspen Farms XC Schooling

Over the weekend Bentley, some friends, and I made the 4 hour drive up to Aspen to get a solid off property Schooling in before Rebecca. The only other time Bentley has schooled away from our barns course was the first time he had ever gone xc. And although it was mostly successful he managed to almost kill our trainer because he was a big pansy about the ditch. I really haven't been worried about it but really didn't think it would be fair to him to not give him some practice before such a large event. 

I got off work early on Saturday and we loaded up and made the drive. He hauled great and hopped off the trailer like a pro (not what I was expecting!). We hand walked the ponies around, set them up in their accommodations for the night and went to our hotel to sleep. My group went first thing Sunday morning and I really could have gone either way on what I thought he was going to act like. Much to my surprise he was even more relxed then he is at home when we go xc! He warmed up super well and had his game face on. We started over some baby logs and worked our way up to some BN jumps and then began stringing things together. He was confident and knew his job. What an awesome feeling! He even jumped up a bank like a normal horse! He also was handling the group atmosphere (aka: horses cantering and jumping around him while he had to wait) SO much better then expected. That was a huge bonus. 

Cut out fences, jumps out of the water, jumps up hills, the coolest pirate ship jump, all without any problems! 

On that note we headed to the next field. To the ditch 😳 He has been 100% solid to the ditches at our barn. Recently we introduced him to the much wider novice ditch and he balked at it but was easy to get over. And has been solid to it since then.. but still. Would he be okay to a ditch at a new place? Not only did he jump it first time but he jumped it normally and without even really looking at it 🎉 

We then jumped the training trakhaner (it was a novice height) easily and moved on to yet another field. In that field we did some combinations with some log stacks, barns, etc that he negotiated quite easily. By now he was getting a little tired and was a little harder for me to to adjust but was still being very good. We ended at a second water jump where we practiced mini 4 jump courses involving the water. I am very thankful that he is brave about water! Then, as a grand finale, we did our first jump in the water. Our first approach surprised him as we had been cantering right by the jump previously and a lack of riding on my pet almost ended with me in the water 😂 thankfully he stood still as I shimmied my way back in the saddle and came at it a second time. This time with my legs on! And this is what I got:

What a boy! It was a great outing for us and left me feeling even more ready to tackle our first novice at Rebecca next week. Now to get packing for our journey up to Montana!!


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Almost Time

It is crazy to think about but in under 2 weeks Bentley and I (plus some more barn friends and trainer) will be heading to Montana for Rebecca Farms Event. 6 months ago (June 25th to be exact) when he came home I would have thought you were crazy if you told me Rebecca was an option. But, I am SO excited that it all came together like this. My little crazy talented baby OTTB! Mostly crazy for dressage with a lot of talent while jumping 😂

Holding on for dear life

We had a spectacular xc lesson yesterday where he schooled much of the novice course. Trakhaner, coops, ditches, barns, tables, water combinations, etc. He is gaining adjustability and starting to be more careful with where he places his legs. Not much fazes him when he is on course which is very nice since he gets quite hot when he isn't. Put jumps in front of him and give him a job? He turns his game face on! 

This upcoming weekend we are heading up to Aspen Farms for the weekend to get in a little off the property XC school in. That will be a great prep for Montana. Then the following Saturday we head out bright and early! This trip has the potential to be a big "growing up" trip for him. It also sets us up nicer then any more local event because he gets to be on site at the show for 3 days before we show. Not only that but we get to xc school at Heron park (minutes from Rebecca) 2 days before we compete. Bentley is getting a lot of big boy miles this month! Looking forward to an amazing event 😃

How we prepare for big shows... bareback and bridleless 👍🏼

Monday, June 26, 2017

Inavale Farm HT

Over the weekend our barn hosted its 20th year anniversary horse trials! It's the only recognized event held in Oregon and it's always a highlight of the year. In our Thursday lesson in the dressage field Bentley was as I expected he would be. Hot, tense, and ready to go. We changed our approach a little based on our dressage earlier in the week and by the end for some decent work. Unfortunately for me our dressage did win Friday wasn't till 3:30 and our weather decided to go from upper 70s to upper 90s/100 just for the weekend 🙄


I want to forget our dressage test ever happened. Hands down the worst test I have ever been apart of. The sad part was he was actually warmed up quite well considering the circumstances and we were prepared to go into the test and lay down a repeatable (for a OTTB 6 months off the track) test. Judges comment was "horse appears capable- just not today". I can add being in last place after dressage as a first, and hopefully last, in my book. 


The thing about being in dead last is that there is no where to go but up! Day 2 was stadium day and I really didn't know what to expect. The jumps at our trials are decorated much more then most places. Bentley put in a great double clear round to give me a little more hope then I had after dressage! He was wiggly in the lines but never questioned me and felt very rideable. He moved up two spots after stadium.

Day 3 was the day that I was looking forward to the most... XC day! The course had a few combinations, some new questions, but also started out pretty inviting. 

The only ones that made me think twice about were #9 and #11. #9 because of the blind 90 degree turn from behind the bushes and #11 because it was in the tree line with a small drop on landing and a not very open landing area. 


From the first jump on I knew we were going to have no problems. He was hunting the fences and questioned nothing! The changes in terrain, the light to dark, the shadows, nothing bothered him! He cruised around the course and even got praise from the announces on his beautiful ride at the end of the course. My favorite jump? #11, the one I was so worrried about! 


Again, he moved up 2 more places and finished on his dressage score in 7th place in the open division!

We have a lot to work on still. And as fun as XC was we need to work on adjustability so that I feel like I can open him up a little more without worrying about not being able to bring him back. Our trainer is going to ride him XC in my lesson this week to see if she has any tips. People don't believe me on how strong he gets out there because he doesn't throw his head around and looks pleasant. He just doesn't respond enough  to any of my aids other then one telling him to go faster! Onward and upward to Rebecca Farms next month!!