Thursday, January 27, 2011

Update

Can't be long. I am in Oklahoma. Already rasped some skin off, gave myself a few good blisters over callous from the summer and theres currently a gopher digging a mound to the left of me and a mini horse pawing the fence for more crackers to the right. It is dark and I am comfortable in a sweater out here. Be jealous.

I have not been to any blogs and probably will not make it to many soon. Unfortunately.

The good news is I am doing good. Got a good room mate and lots of horses to trim and shoe.

The bad news is....

I miss my Horses (and mr.pony) like mad and it's not even been a week. Only 11 ish more to go.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snowball effect

Everyone knew I was leaving on the 21st/22nd for school.

I am not sure if people didn't believe me or it just dawned on them "oh sh*t she really is leaving for school" but all of a sudden everything has snowballed on me. I mean people going YOUR LEAVING CAN YOU DO THIS? YOUR LEAVING COME PICK THIS UP IT NEEDS TO BE DONE BEFORE YOU GO! YOUR LEAVING COME SAY GOODBYE!
It's like the amount of things I have to do that you know, could have been done a month ago was suddenly all tossed upon me, snowballing into a mad dash to get stuff done for school.

I think I have 4 major bags 3/4 of the way packed. Most of my clothes, towels. bedding, dishes and some food. Every time I start to pack something I know I am going to need it the next day.
So I made a list...Then I packed said list and forgot what bag I packed it so rather than un-packing everything I'll just make a new one. Everyone wants me to come visit them before I go, I am only one person I can only be in one place at a time. If you want to see me that bad before I leave come here, I'll be trying to decide what was on that list that I should pack.

On top of that I work at many barns. Tomorrow is my last day at almost all of them until I get back and pick a couple back up (minus a couple Friday morning I said I would feed at before I left). Most of these barns I have worked at for more than a year or two. I love them, great people great horses. One in particular I've worked at for about 7 years. I love the boarders, they love me. They love the way I clean stalls and leave notes about stuff that is wrong with the horses/barn/everything. Nothing gets overlooked by me and they love that.
However the barn owner is always telling me things that I "should" be doing, but I was never told to do it. If it wasn't in my time/pay/description how was I supposed to know to do a job? So I get nasty notes written when things aren't done, regardless of if I was there the day before or not they will be addressed to me. I am not the only person who works there and am only there 5 days a week. No one else gets nasty notes but me. No other barn I work at have I ever got nasty notes. No other barn has ever forgot to thank me, tell me they were happy with my job and oh yeah, forgot to tell me something they wanted me to do, then yell at me later when I am not doing the mystery job. I hate to say this but they can find some other poor sucker to write nasty notes and yell at becauuuuseeee...

I got a phone call the other day. I just sat down and it was the local therapeutic riding center. I had done some work for them with their youth summer horse camps teaching kids how to braid and make dream catchers. I also brought my 4-H group there and drove once for an event in the fall. They must have liked me enough because they put me ahead of the people who handed in resumes; I never handed one in. They said people who applied for the paying job either were good with horses, or good with kids but not both, which was what they were looking for so they called me first. They want someone to help with lessons and then eventually certify them to teach therapeutic riding lessons. Of course I had to say no, because I was going to school but I would when I came back. They agreed and told me to give them a call when I go back. They are in the works of making a new state of the art facility since their current one is being built up around by the city. What an opportunity. Teaching lessons at a facility like that and shoeing horses, what more could I want?

So enough of the complain train, I also got a blog award. Three times.



I sincerely apologize if I have not commented on your blog. I really, honestly have not had the time. I have been by though, read on the fly.

I would like to thank the following three bloggers:
Kristen

Rachel

and Mare

There are four duties with this award:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

I am glad to know I am considered "stylish".

I try.

Ok, not really because I am wearing olive green yoga pants and a royal blue t-shirt that is too short for my long torso right now. Isn't there some sort of fashion faux pas about not wearing certain shades of green and blue together? Don't tell vogue.

1. I should be packing my bags right now because I leave Friday. I have not yet figured how to train a horse to fold into a large suitcase. I am working on it.

2. I procrastinate at the worst times. See #1.

3. I've never had a cup of coffee in my life. I've had sips of it and wile I do like the smell of coffee beans I'll never like the taste. I do like tea however and other sinful beverages like pepsi and A&W root beer. I am addicted to iced cappachino's from Tim Horton's. Or I was until I read the health guide and found that one medium iced cap is the same in fat as one regular big mac. I try to limit myself which is easy considering the closest Timmies is about 15-20 minutes.

4. I guess you could consider me a daddy's girl. Wile I have never been particularly close to any of my immediate family members (my only sister and I are 11 years apart) my mom and I have always butted heads constantly wile my dad and I have this sort of silent conversation and we get stuff done together easily. I guess I have just always been incredibly independent. I just don't know when to ask for help. My friends had soccer moms, I had horse show dad. Mostly because he had a truck to tow the trailer and I liked giving him bald spots (blonds in our family do not grey, so that does not apply to him. Now hes gonna shoot me for talking about his balding head on my blog if he reads it.) by falling off horses or hurting myself at 4-H and various other events.

5. I aspire to get a cute, little, spotty ass. I mean the donkey kind, not the...Yeah. I want to drive it and make a hat for it's head. Real life goals there.

6. I really should be cleaning my gigantic mess I created packing. See #2. See my problem is the way I think is if I can't see it, it does not exist. I put things in closets and on shelves and I can't see them, I can't find them. I have a very photographic memory so usually if you lose something I can find it but not if it was just put in it's proper place. This does not include the barn. The barn is mostly always organized.

7. I have a cell phone. It does not take pictures, it does not text. People look at me like I have a third eyeball when I tell them, no I did not get your text because I do not text. That's how I roll, I've never been one to conform to everyone else's "normal" I guess that is why I wear cowboy boots in public.

7.5. I had a guy ask me what I was going to school for today. I told him horseshoeing. He made a motion like the game "horseshoes" then exclaimed "I didn't know you could go to school to be a professional horse shoe player" I laughed. He was dead serious.

Now to pick 15 bloggers.

You know I break rules all the time right? Well I honestly would love to go through my blog list and pick 15 of you but seeing as you just read #1 #2 and #6 about me you'll understand if I gift this award to the first 15 who have read this and haven't received it yet. Please put it up on your blog and link back here so I can see you stylish bloggers please!

My blog posts might be a bit sporadic for a wile as I find out what internet access I have and whatnot.

Have a good one.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday stills: Macro

Macro shots are probably in the top for my favorite types of shots.

I've been busy getting ready to go away for school or I would have posted this earlier. I confess I just took this picture but I had the idea all week.

It's very cliche.

Feather, sparkles? What more could a macro picture want on the internet?


Lisa will recognize this feather. I wish I had a fluffy white one though. Oh well, another time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jingle all the way

Every year after Christmas when we have snow my Aunt Gaye comes out for a sleigh ride. (photo's by my aunt)


Last year Indigo was a butthead. She threw a good buck in the sleigh and was in general just really wound up and raring to go. This year since we have been doing a lot of pulling and even more walking she gets over her need to act a fool, spooking, snorting, head tossing when in disagreement with what I asked.We did a lot of walking and trotting too. Walking kept her head level though I am sure she would have loved a good gallop down the field.

My cousin Ken and I.

Sadly in this photo that tree got half of it wiped out by a windstorm, it was almost completely symmetrical.

I took her out early before my Aunt brought everyone out in her van. I walked and walked Indigo. She had one minor hop when the neighbors came around their row of trees with two snowmobiles (going slowly thank goodness) but other than that she was a complete doll. She knew she was going to be walking more than trotting and pulling and she did just that, being VERY lazy.
My cousin Ken's wife Alaina and I.

Did you know?: In Ontario (and most states in the USA too) from when drivers did not have windows to roll up, every person traveling on a road or near a road with a horse or any other animal drawn sled or sleigh must have two bells per animal, attached to the harness, sled or sleigh in a manner that gives ample warning sound. There is a $30 fine for no bells! Of course I am sure this is a grandfather law and no police officer in my area would know to fine us.

I use sleigh bells because they sound lovely. It's almost as much of going for a sleigh ride as the sleigh is.


Here is a video my aunt took. She was in her van. I love the trot Indigo automatically breaks into now. It's not too fast, there's no time where I have to hold her back she just knows from the work we did in the summer she better pick up a slower more level trot because we might be trotting for a wile. It's almost like a jog, it seems so effortless riding or driving her when she trots like that.

video

So even though it may be cold and snowy I am still finding time to work Indigo on a regular basis at least a few times a week. Sleigh rides when I can, pulling a log out of the bush, bareback rides you name it shes not sitting around by any means. Boy is she gonna be happy when I leave for school, 12 weeks of rest she sure deserved it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bitless: Flash in the Pan or a Paradigm Shift?‏

Recently in the bitless yahoo group a discussion was started by Zoe, the inventor of the Nurtural bitless bridles about an upcoming talk she has to give. She has asked us for our input.


Zoe riding Collin in Ireland at the Slieve Aughty Centre last May.

Bitless bridles of all kinds have taken horsemanship by storm. There are so many options and people are realizing that not only is it just as easy to control your horse, it's usually easier because there's not the anxiety on the horses part as well as some physical problems. Five years ago bitless was taboo. Hardly anyone rode their horses without a bit and if they did it was in a harsh mechanical hackamore or western bosal. Those were really the only options. Now the limit is the sky and more people are trying bitless instead of turning their noses up at it. They realize not every horse bitless is well trained or ridden by a professional.
I went from having a couple readers riding bitless to many in the past three years I have had this blog open. I get e-mails weekly from people who are now riding their horses faithfully bitless because of this blog. They have seen myself and others do just about every discipline bitless. I have to say this blog would not have survived without all the great input from you readers.

Having said this lets start a discussion for those of you who ride bitless. This discussion is not brand specific, but rather talks about bitless as a whole. This is what Zoe asked:

Hi Folks,

Happy New Year!!

Can I ask your help again – with a presentation I will be doing at the Maryland Horse World Expo later this month? Can you send some quotes and photos to share?

What do you think: Are we changing the world, or will 'the non-believers' hang on to their bits forever? Will / when will the rules change? What will it take?

This is brand-neutral! Just promoting bitless in general.

Here are the specific questions:
Can you really: Stop a horse quickly; Collect a horse; Jump, Ride Crosscountry; Fox Hunt; Perform Dressage; Train young horses; Teach new riders,; Drive minis to drafts to standardbreds; Trail ride; Endurance ride; Develop & relax your competition horse; Create a closer bond; Create a winning team!

Looking forward to your thoughts!

Zoe


So of course I put in some of my input as I was asked:

As a species the human race has made leaps and bounds in evolution in merely decades. However with horses we seem to stand still. The bit was effectively in use around the time Genghis Khan ruled. He was a cruel, barbaric ruler who thought very little of hurting others. This was also a time us humans believed the world was completely flat! If we have outdated things like cruel training practices, painful blistering of a horses legs to make him "sound" and even in recent times soaring why do we continue to use something that obviously at one point or another causes a horse pain and distress? I do think the rules will change and they are. When bitless was mentioned before people thought it was something a well trained horse could only be capable of. Now more and more people are training with their heads rather than brute force they realize horses are not all out to gallop away with us the second we take away a false sense of control.
This day and age it is a much better time for the horse as he is used mostly for recreation and seldom called upon to do real work. People wanting to ride bitless are those that want to understand the horse as a partner and not a tool we can force into doing what we wish. They want to better themselves as riders and their horses as members of the equine community. Riders who ride bitless find they need more seat and legs and less hand, for riding the horse should not be about tugging a rein left, right or back and having the horse follow for that only engages your arms and his front end, not both of your bodies as a whole.
I don't think people know enough about bits, rather than bitless bridles. They do not look at the anatomy of the horses head, lips, mouth, surrounding tissues and most importantly the nerves that bits can cause pain on in the horses face. The horses mouth is arguably the most sensitive part of his body. With a lip that can pick tiny blades of grass out amongst rocks and dirt the horse can feel a lot more than we know. By placing a bit as a solid, usually metal object in his mouth we are not only compromising his comfort but his health when so many riders do not look at what type of bit would be most suited to what mouth and face conformation. Teeth become eroded or even fractured, nerves are pressed upon causing pain or at the very least discomfort. It's a proven fact that a horse learns and retains a lesson better when taught by positive reinforcement rather than negative though both are very important tools of horsemanship. I think if people knew more about bits there would be less people using them.

Having said that and answered many, many questions about bitless because I have driven, ridden and trained horses ages 2 to 21 this year one of the most common questions after will my horse stop is will he go "on the bit". The riders asking this are the ones who do not understand the concept of collection. Collection is when the horse actively engages himself from his hind end, lifts his back and breaks at the poll, driving himself from his hind end forward and engaging every muscle in his body. Proper collection takes a long time to achieve with a horse because muscle and strength must be built. What most riders want is "breaking at the poll" AKA- on the bit, on the vertical or as some people wrongly believe but is not, collection. A horse that is flexing vertically (breaking at the poll) has learned to give to the pressure of the bridle, be it bit in his mouth or pressure on his nose from a bitless bridle. A horse that is flexing vertically and does not have the rest of his body engaged is usually on the forehand, not engaging his hind end with a hollow back. His other parts of the body are not engaged to properly drive him forward. Having said that being "on the bit" is merely a headset, and not true collection but can indeed be taught to give to pressure as well as with a bit, only now we have to teach him with a bitless bridle, not force him with the pain of the bit in his mouth. This is why so many riders have problems with a newly bitless horse being "on the bit".

Every person I teach rides or drives bitless if they are using my horse. Not one of them have ever had problems with control. Horses used for lessons with learning riders that may do some harsh, unforgiving things on the horses mouth are now painless, creating confused signals yes, but pain which can lead to training problems and even the condition of learned helplessness, no. I have found a bitless school horse needs far less tune ups than a bitted one, no matter how gentle the specific bit may be considered.

And as the famous Loriner (bit maker) Benjamin Latchford once said: "I frequently tell my friends that out of every twenty bits I make, nineteen are for men's heads and not more than one really for the horse's head"

--------------

So there we have it folks. Why do you ride bitless? Why not? Have you just not had the option or are you afraid your horse is not going to listen? Speak up, Zoe, the rest of us and myself would love to know. If you have pictures you would like to let Zoe use please do send the links our way or join the bitless yahoo group.

p.s- Due to comments I'm going to ad I am not anti bit by any means I just see far more horses improperly bitted than properly bitted ones. I believe a horse is only as good as it's rider and the tools only as humane as they are used. I wish to further everyones knowledge on a subject (bits and bitless) people know little about. There seems to be endless sources on how to train your horse, groom your horse, select saddles and pads but nothing on bitting.

p.p.s- Please take a gander at the post below. I think this one kind of overshadowed it. I would love to know why you own your horse.

p.p.p.s- For those of you not being able to afford a bitless bridle why not hire one to try it Bitlesshorse.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Evaluation

In the last two weeks I have discussed this more than once so I thought it might be a good post. With new years goals comes all sorts of riding goals for ourselves and our horses at this point we start to re-evaluate things in our life. We re-evaluate what we want to do with our horses and why.

Everyone has a different reason for owning their horse. Some just want a hay burner that they can look at out the window, others look for a horse that can be of a specific discipline.
Personally when I look at a horse I want to be able to pursuit driving even though I started out with horses riding western. I love driving, it brings upon so many different things you can do with your horse. Once your horse drives there's room for so much more in the world because lets face it, driving is not an easy thing for a horse to take on mentally. There's all sorts of straps, noises and pressure in all sorts of places once the cart is attached that should make him want to get the hell out of Dodge but when we train them properly they learn not to fear all these noises and take it in stride. Once a horse has mastered driving, riding and all sorts of other activities can fall in place. Now I am not saying a riding horse cannot become a driving horse. In my experience a driving horse is much easier to train to ride than vice versa. By the time you go to ride a driving horse the saddle is just another piece of harness and the verbal cues and trust are already there. Of course not all driving horses make good riding horses and not a lot of riding horses make driving horses.
Having said that I also want something I can ride. I want a horse I can trust to put in new situations that isn't going to panic first and ask questions later. I want that horse to approach a new thing with an open mind and try for me not put on the breaks and say no way Jose. This could be everything from some dressage, trail riding, learning some reining moves etc. I want a horse with some try that tries honestly in everything I ask it. Every horse has a different purpose, it's up to us as owners and riders to either find a way to bring out the best in them or hand them to someone else to help them on their career. Some of us are better at evaluating this than others.

For example last week I was tacking up to ride a 6 year old I broke in the summer. He needed a little tuning up for his owner before I leave. Another boarder at the barn was tacking up his horse too. We discussed why he had his horse and what he wanted to do and why I was riding the 6 year old and what the owner wanted to do with it. He has his horse to ride dressage. He wants and needs a horse capable of working 6 days a week on sometimes 3rd level dressage movements. His horse has to be sane and personable, not difficult.
The 6 year old is also for a career in dressage. He has the movement and ability but he knows when his rider is unsure and plays with that. His owner with a bit more experience on him is going to take him to 2nd level dressage but needed the foundation from me as a more flexible, knowledgeable rider at teaching an unbroken horse. Though I find no matter what discipline I am riding, I always come back to dressage.

As we tacked up and talked another horse owner came in. She used to ride dressage, she was a pretty competitive rider at one point. She had owned some very nice horses but as she aged they outgrew her. She now has a young warmbloody (absolutely batsh*t crazy), gorgeous (but completely insane) talented (but might trample you if something scares her), is going to go incredibly far in dressage (yeah, right across the border to the US of A), mare. She has what we summed up as "dressage queen mentality". Riders who have huge horses that are capable of doing fancy movements but are not trustworthy or rideable. They would turn their noises completely up at the mention of a quiet level headed horse because they want the "big warmblood movements" which are hard to come by in say a quarterhorse that might have a more easy demeanor. I wish I could say I have seen it but I do not think this women enjoys her horse. She wants to ride, and will hop on any other quiet horse but still talks about the horse doing great things wile she makes sure the mare does not spook and kill her in the cross ties. Of course this is not simply a dressage stereotype, it is in all horse disciplines I just happen to see more dressage riders than any other discipline here in my county.

Most horses could become better with consistent work. Of course we need to evaluate the horses energy plus the horses mentality plus the ability of the rider (if one can admit to their abilities) plus time of the rider plus what we want the horse to be able to do equaling the proper horse and rider combination. If the equation's answer is incorrect you will likely end up hurt, or at the very least staring at a horse burning hay you wish you could do something with.

So if our horses are not doing what we have them for we need to re-evaluate why we own this animal. Would it be more wise to sell the horse and find another suited to the discipline, ourselves? Or perhaps change our path to something more suited to the horse, for example going from dressage to jumping so to make the horse more agreeable and happy in his work. Or are there some of us simply doomed to stare at our horses mowing grass because we cannot do either? Some of us are better at re-evaluation than others. Have you ever had to sit back and think "why do I have this horse" or perhaps you went from a horse that gave you the correct equation answer to one more suiting? Why do you have your horse and do you two make up the right equation answer in the horse and rider evaluation?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday stills:

Now excuse me if I am wrong but I did things that start with the letter W rather than the letter W itself. I honestly did not think about this until now. I got a few shots but nothing to write home about. I had a big bout of winter, not at home necessarily but on my road trip 14 hours up north.

After a sizable storm dumping a good foot of snow on us and the worst white knuckle drive of my life in a storm I awoke the next day to a lovely windless winter day. I quickly donned my boots and grabbed my camera and took a hike up the hill behind my friends house. No one else wanted to come, the winter was too much for them. So alone I scrambled up the hill, quite literally as it was steep and there was ice under the fresh foot of powder. The further I trekked the more beautiful it became. Far into the bush no wind touched these trees that were lower down.


Winter wonderland

There was no evidence of any other life having walked where I did since the storm but back in the bush where there is no wind it's eerie. I could hear old pines creaking as they leaned up against each other and swayed gently in the wind. I could hear ravens cackling not far off, watching me from their roosts in the trees. I really did intend on walking to the river but my path was blocked by a large tree that fell down with really no way to get over or under it without breaking my neck on the ice. Oh well, another time. I got smart on the way down the hill and took out my trusty leatherman (oh how I love it and it's many tools like the saw) and sawed myself a nice walking stick. It was a lovely hike.

We have been getting a centimeter or so of snow here a day. It makes for little icicles on horse whiskers and great bokeh shots (more on that for an upcoming post)
Wintery whiskers.

Whats the weather like where you are? I never thought I would say this but I kind of, sort of hope we get more snow before I head to school in Oklahoma. That would be nice to take the sleigh out one more time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Resolve

So I was AWOL for a few days, sorry those blogs I did not visit I'll try and catch up between my scatter brained running around. I've been trying to write this post for two days but everything keeps on taking me away from sitting a the computer.


Things like watching snow fall, being stuck in cars watching snow fall and well, snow. Until I got home anyway because it didn't snow much here.
I took a sort of short notice trip 14 hours to see a good old friend a week ago and have some fun in the snowy north of Ontario before I leave for Oklahoma in two weeks.

Having said that a very great deal of things has happened. Firstly my power supply on my computer decided to die. New power supply and it's back up and running. Stupid technology!! *shakesfist* Secondly I FINALLY got my new SEVIS papers from school with my name written correctly this time. Phew. You don't even know, every time the purolator or UPS truck drove down the road I plastered my face to the door hoping they would stop, but they didn't until the Wednesday after the school said I would have my new papers. The good thing is I actually have them in my hands now. The third thing, cause you all know these things come in threes. Well the bank. Don't get me wrong I love my bank the ladies are kind and always know who I am and my account number but for my student loans for school...UGH! That is a whole other nightmare with them having me sign the wrong papers and assigned me to the wrong bank person I've been in there more times than I would like signing my life away.

On my way up north I stopped by Zoe and Gerry's farm (AKA the owners and creators of the Nurtural bridle) I've driven past their farm numerous times on my way up north, but never had the chance to stop. I had a nice visit with them, seeing their horses and nearly 100 year old barn. The barn was built in 1925, after the first one burnt to the ground.


All the stalls are literally underground and you have to walk down a flight of stairs. Really neat old barn, gorgeous land, lovely horses, great people.



Heres looking down from the ground level part of the barn into the underground stall area.


Beautiful northern Ontario winter with some of Zoe and Gerry's Nurtural horse, horses.

I still have tack for sale. After getting some more tack for Christmas I still have an English saddle package for sale, my natural ride bareback pad (the first deal went through when the buyer didn't pay) and about a million different colour polo's I'm never going to use. E-mail me if your interested I can put them up on e-bay and give you other details. Seriously, it would really help me pay for my schooling and get rid of some very well cared for tack. I've sold a lot of what was for sale last year but this stuff has gotta go.

As for new years resolutions. I guess since everyone else makes them I should too. I don't really make resolutions or resolve to fix something because I find so many people say "I am going to do this or that or whatnot" and never end up doing it. Instead I am making goals. I met all of my goals last year and far surpassed the horse related ones.

I took lessons. Dressage lessons to be exact. I find no matter what discipline I am riding or training a horse in I find I go back to dressage principals for every single horse.
I also made it to three shows with Indigo and we drove and rode bitless and won some ribbons. In total I did 6 shows riding a couple other horses than mine and one show overseas in Ireland. I wish I could have got to a few more riding ones and some local dressage ones turned me away because I was bitless and would not have that because of their silly rules (we all know the riders who force their heads into a "frame" with the bit like my one sunday stills picture posted last challenge who "look" like they are "collected" because they are broken at the poll and carrying their weight on the forehand will win those classes, not the properly collected ones. Tisk tisk. Big difference between a headset and true collection if you can't see it might I suggest some dressage lessons. /endrant)

I worked, worked, worked and worked. Did I mention I worked? I worked my butt off last year to pay for stuff and get ready to get my butt off to Oklahoma this year. I just have one last horse that is not mine that I started in the Fall to hand over to the owner. The owner paid for me to ride a few times a week on this now 4 year old until I go away to school. I feel very accomplished in the rider sense this year. I feel like I went from a horse exerciser to a horse worker. The difference being before I got on a horse and went through what he knew. I would work on whatever the horse knew. Last year I can say every horse I rode or drove I had something I could help him improve on weather it being lighter cues, new movements, collection, balance, rhythm, calmness and understanding. I find that is sticking out in my riding the more I think about it. Horses I ride regularly seem more agreeable and I see this mostly and importantly in a couple problem horses I rode and even in my own Indigo. Not only has she become less reactive to spook at things like bushes and fallen tress and bushes and fallen tress but lets not forget drain pipes of doom she seems to be learning how to spook in place, rather than get the hell out of Dodge and think about the situation later. I really noticed last fall how she was never in a hurry to get someplace and when something upset her she would go back to being calm very quickly instead of worrying about getting home or away from what bothered her. I guess I idealize around her because most other horses I ride a handful of times a week but Indigo and I go out nearly every day, even if for 10 minutes bareback down the field. I notice the littlest differences in her because I see her every single day rather than a few times a week. There's no "behind the scenes" to get between us.

Fun, boy I had a lot of fun! I worked horses and didn't have the usual horse owners problem with motivation. The horses were my motivation. I wanted to say my horses were quiet and fit because they were being worked and handled consistently, daily unlike a lot of horses only going out once or twice a week. It showed. Mr.Pony was on his best behavior he has ever been and same with Indigo. The summer and fall did good for them. I feel more confident that they will handle situations which makes them both more fun because I am not limited to what I can do. I can go out for example as I did with Indigo the other day, get a chain and drag some large limbs from the bush back to the farm without worrying about her having a fit when she hears the strange noise they make. I can trust pony to evaluate a situation and go through it cautiously if he is unsure rather than panic and think about it after I have to go through it with him again to make him understand nothing is going to hurt him. It makes their comfort zones much bigger and in turn makes them both more confident in new situations. I also went out several times to different places and had a blast camping, visiting relatives, friends and making many new ones.


This year my resolutions, or goals rather are kind of simple. I want to work on more collection and with Indigo. Shes plenty supple and collects and extends nicely at the walk and trot. Canter on the other hand, well she wants to stick her nose out and fall in on her inside shoulder. It's a messy mess but I have a feeling we can do it. I would love to be allowed to do some dressage tests locally and perhaps some more on Interdressage. Lots of driving of course. I also want to get a collar for Mr.Pony and start him pulling things other than his cart. Hes always been really strange about new noises and I would love for him to become accustomed to new sounds without a thought or fight with me. I was just thinking about the first time I hitched him and he nearly mowed me down with the training cart. I want him to be calm and cool the first time I hitch him to something new, not having to go back to square one each time with a new noise (I blame that on the hackney in him which comes out every so often for no given reason).

I also have the goal of getting good marks in school. I'm very much a hands on person. Any math sets me off the deep end; the deep end of being lost in number hell without being able to grow enough fingers and toes.

So what are your horse/non horse related goals for this year?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday stills: My best shot

My best shot of 2010. I guess most of these were not for Sunday stills but they have that little something. I couldn't pick favorites but here are some that struck something in me and make me keep wanting to go back and view them time and time again.

Mike the little-big golden boy
This is Mike a registered Halfling gelding I backed quite the bit this year. He went bitless as usual.

Indigo. My lovely, little, spotty, dirty horse. Such a pretty girl.
Indigo. This was actually quite an accident. It just started to rain and I intended to get some riding in but I ended up cleaning my tack trunk instead.

Ken
My cousin Ken for our tea and coffee mugs challenge. I can't quite figure what makes this picture so awesome but colour does not do it any justice it must be viewed in black and white.


My boots. Where would I be without a good pair of boots? Although I love these Ariat boots nothing to me can replace a good ol pair of blundstones.

This picture not because it's beautiful. It is everything but. It is absolutely horrible to see so many riders at this particular show that have their horse incorrectly bitted coupled with heavy, unforgiving hands. God forbid the horse try and evade this pressure and open his mouth because we can just strap it shut. I hope in the future riders know more about mouth anatomy and choosing a bit (Or lack thereof) for their horses mouth type. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. I aspire to know all I can about bitting; It's become a bit of an obsession.


My lovely friends Amanda and Mike on their wedding day. They are kooky and crazy and just had a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Leah. Mike is an awesome husband I honestly don't think Amanda has had to change one diaper yet. Leah is lucky to have two great parents.



Can you say Omnomnom?


So this one. It's a cowboy on a horse. It's very busy in the background and the composition is so-so but what we really should be focusing on is the cowboy on the horse. I think hes wearing wranglers, or levi's but who cares it's a cowboy on a horse.

If there were one image that could describe my horse without meeting her this would be it. Watch your white clothes.



I just really like this bucket of apples. It makes me miss getting good apples off the stand instead of the ones at the grocery store. It also makes me miss summer when I bought all these apples.

Happy new year everyone, see you in a few days.
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