Friday, March 9, 2018

Making Time

I've been so consistently busy and stressed out lately, that I just keep putting off my rides. Finally this week, I told myself to stop. I pulled out my tack, set it out and was determined to fit in a ride. First, on Wednesday, I pulled Charmer out. I spent a while grooming, because he is starting to shed. Then we got all tacked up and headed into the arena. I forgot about the fact that we haven't ridden since before I got jumps & a harrow and they live outside the far end of the arena. Charmer practically had a meltdown about them. This horse is never spooky, so I don't know if it was him trying to get out of work or being legitimately concerned, but we spent most of our ride on that end making him deal with it.

Love that fresh arena

Once he settled, we got some good work in. But I can definitely feel how out of shape he is, mostly because he was on the forehand for most of our ride on Wednesday. Since we are both dreadfully unfit, we kept our ride to a pretty quick and easy 20 minutes of walk and trot. Charmer and I both have a tendency to get anxious really easily, so I am working really hard on "restarting" him with everything really relaxed and calm. Thus far it seems to be working, so hopefully we can continue that!

Telling Wonder kid how it's done
(I hope)

I didn't quite have time to pull Wonder out on Wednesday before I had to be somewhere, so he got yet another day off.

Thank goodness for the days getting longer, because I was also able to squeeze in a ride at 5:00 on Charmer on Thursday (which is after dinnertime and he wasn't thrilled about that). Again, we kept it short and sweet, but at least this time we didn't spend 80% of the ride spooking at some stupid jump standards! It amazes me how quickly he can start to get fit again too, because he was significantly less on the forehand for this ride than his previous one. Okay horse, please don't get fit so quickly, I've got to catch up! 

Learning how to pose!

And because sunset wasn't until 6:45 on Thursday night, I was even able to put in a quick ride on Wonder kid. His ground manners have rapidly improved over the last month, which is good, because I don't have anywhere to tie when I tack up! He was very polite to be groomed and tacked up, except when I tightened the girth once and he tried to bite me. Oh well. Other than that he was a perfect little angel to be tacked. He knows that the better he is, the more peppermints he gets, and peppermints are life. 

Still getting used to these ears

He also had a complete meltdown about the jumps at the end of the arena, but he got over it in about 5 minutes for the most part, other than continually throwing side eye in their direction. We got a nice loose rein walk warmup, and he is definitely starting to stretch his topline just a little bit more - which is great! Instantly, there was tension when I picked up the bit however. His teeth need done (hopefully next week!) but he also seems distrustful of contact. Not sure if that is due to teeth, racehorse history, or something else, but whatever it is makes him really wary of the hands on the reins. I worked on serpentines & circles with him for most of the ride. A good amount of trotting and just working the whole time on letting him relax and go forward, not turn into an up&down ball of energy. We got a handful of really nice steps with him reaching into the contact. 

He also has a tendency to start getting his legs moving faster than the hamsters in his head can keep up. I have to be really really purposeful in my posting to keep him from "running away" in his trot. This is something I pretty much have never had to do with Charmer, so its an interesting contrast between them. Both horses are very different rides in a lot of ways, which is going to be great for my riding, but it is also pretty difficult at times. I am really enjoying figuring out how Wonder works.


Hoping to keep fitting in more rides over this weekend, and into the coming weeks! Feeling good about finally getting back to a little bit of a routine.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

30 Things Blog Hop

1. I am incredibly religious. In fact, I am the daughter of a preacher, and I've grown up in the same church for most of my life. My church is my second family - and I love them dearly. Some of them have known me for over 15 years!

2. School used to be really fun for me - I loved it through about 8th grade. Ever since then, school has been the bane of my existence, but I do it so I can hopefully get a good job to pay for mi expensive animals.

3. I'm in college for a computer science degree. I plan to be a nerdy programmer. πŸ€“

4. Despite not liking school anymore, I love STEM stuff. Science, Tech, Engineering, Math. That is right up my alley. I've always loved numbers & patterns.

5. I've been riding horses since I was 9yo. But I've been obsessed with them for as long as I can remember.

6. The first horse I ever remember riding was when I was around 3yo, on a trail ride, I rode with my dad on a big liver chestnut horse named "Big Red" - unique name, right?

7. I owned over 100 Breyer horses at one point. Still have probably half of them.

8. Aside from loving horses, my next favorite animal is probably dogs. I memorized an entire dog book when I was approx 8yo. (yes, I have always been a nerd.)


9. I own two dachshunds - named Arrow and Chili. They are adorable and spastic and awesome.

10.  It was my lifelong dream to have my horses in my backyard. Now, at 20, that dream has become a reality. And it's as awesome as I ever thought it would be.

11. Up until the last year, I thought I wanted to pursue horses professionally. I got an amazing opportunity to try it out, and decided that life is not for me - but I applaud and love the people that make it happen!


12. I wanted to be a vet up through probably 9th grade, and then someone told me I had to go to college and then vet school, and I realized that was wayyyy more schooling than I wanted to pursue.

13. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I've read the books at least 7 times through. Watched the movies as many times too - but the books will always be better.

14. I also love the Eragon series, Divergent, Narnia, etc. I did not love the Hunger Games series quite as much though. I am currently working on reading the Maze Runner series.

15. I'm also a huge Disney fan. You should see how much Disney art hangs in my family's house. I've gone to a Disney park on at least 20 trips - most of those trips being 5+ days in the park.

In Epcot

16. I got pneumonia once - in DisneyWorld. It sucked. It happened to be my graduation trip too.

17. I've broken two bones. My left ulna, and my pelvis.

18. My arm was broken in a trampoline accident when I was approximately 11. I stayed oddly calm when it was broken and we simply drove to the hospital and let them reset it.

19. I broke my pelvis in September of 2015 in horse accident. Again I was oddly calm, but this time took an ambulance ride since I attempted to walk and couldn't. The paramedics were surprised I broke anything because of how calm I was.

He is so much better at selfies than me

20. I was an avid skier when I was younger, and regularly skied all of the black diamonds at the local resort. I even skied a handful of yellow diamond runs. It's been about 5 years since I last skied, but I hope to get back into it!

21. I'm an only child!

22. I played piano for probably 8 years of my life. I was really good, but I hated the monotony of practicing - so my final teacher would give me pieces way beyond my ability, but then I would actually practice. It would usually take me 6 months to finish each piece - I can still play FΓΌr Elise 80% from memory.

23. Along with piano, I also spent time as a swimmer for several years, and anytime I took classes, they always asked me to be on swim team, but my heart was never in it competitively. I hope to make some more time to get back to swimming. It's a great workout!

24. I played chess semi-competitively for 3 years. At one point I beat my chess teacher's stepson (who is now a grand master in chess) and made him cry.

25. If I could live in any other time period, I would have grown up in the 1950's. Buddy Holly is my all time favorite musician, and I would've loved to grow up listening to his music, or see him play.

Buddy Holly

26. I'm incredibly introverted (scored 100% introverted on the Myer Briggs personality test), but once I become comfortable around you, you probably can't get me to shut up.

27. Regarding Harry Potter, I am in Ravenclaw house. I took the original Pottermore quiz (which is 1000x better than the new one) and actually scored right down the line between Ravenclaw and Slytherin, so my final question was which house did I want to be in. I chose Ravenclaw, but I have strong Slytherin ties as well.

28. I love musicals, especially Phantom of the Opera, The Greatest Showman and Les Miserables. In that order.

29. I took a trip to Europe with my senior class in high school. We visited Rome, Florence, Paris and London, with a few small stops in between. One of the most fun trips I've ever had. Florence was definitely my favorite - I think I could live there πŸ’“

Beautiful night in Europe 😍

30. I don't like coffee. At all. The taste of it is really gross to me - but all my friends keep trying to get me hooked on it.

Well, I hope you learned something new about me! I didn't think I could make it to 30 facts, but I feel kind of accomplished that I did!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Three Words Blog Hop

Well, I am still basically doing nothing with my horses as of right now. Mostly because I am consistently working 5/6 days a week, and still finding time for school & sleep. Somehow. I barely have time to think, let alone ride. Hopefully that will change in the very near future. Otherwise, if you don't hear from me for a few weeks, it will probably be because I died. #stressoverload

Casually running away from my problems

Anyways, because I am doing basically nothing with my lovely creatures, I have like 0 blog content, so I'm jumping on the Blog Hop train, and I'm going to do the two blog hops that are floating around right now. Both of them seem really fun, so I'm excited to do them!

Today, I am going to do the three words blog hop, started by Nadia. I was pretty fascinated by this topic. I use a lot of words to describe my ponies, but boiling it down to just three was really difficult.


Maybe handsome should be one of my words.

Intuitive: I find Charmer to be a horse who senses things really well. He can always tell when I've had a bad day. And he cares. Maybe other horses I've worked with can tell I've had a bad day, but they couldn't care less. Whenever I'm frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, sad, or upset, he knows. And he quietly sets his head against my chest and won't move until I make the first move. Its amazing. I feel like his soul is on the same wavelength as mine in these moments. Of course, he also always knows when I am having a great day, or feeling exceptionally brave. These are the days he performs the best for me. Like on our amazing cross country day last summer. I was feeling exceptionally brave, and he rewarded me with one of the best rides I've ever had. It felt like he knew what I wanted even before I asked.


Honest: Charmer is always very ready & willing to do what I ask him to. He always puts his heart into everything, and he is never a dirty horse. Charmer has pulled out of tons of jumps, stopped at a few, bolted, bucked, etc. Basically anything naughty he can do, he has done. But he is very honest and up front about it. I can usually see the bolt coming from a few strides away. Maybe I can't stop it, but I can prepare for it. In all of the 2.5 years I've had Charmer, he has spooked with me all of 3 times. And I remember each one distinctly. He has never spooked out of the blue just to try and scoot sideways to get me off. In each case it was honest, real fear that made him get spooky. I also see his honesty especially when we jump now, no matter how much I butcher the distance, impulsion, or line, he always tries his heart out to get us over. Its easy for me to often take his honesty and heart for granted.

Athletic: I cannot even count how many times I've put this poor horse into some sticky situations, and he has always gotten us both out easily. He might get grumpy about it after the fact (and let me know it), but he always gets us out first. He is awfully athletic when he wants to be. I've seen him rear & buck higher than our 5ft fences, and I've watched video replays of his races. The horse is fast. There was definitely a reason he won 4 out of 6 races & got second the other 2. Sometimes I wish, for his sake, that he had been able to do more on the track, because his heart lies in being the fastest around, but if he had been the big deal on the racetrack he was supposed to be, I probably wouldn't have him now. And even though it took him like 18 months to figure out how to pick up his freaking feet over jumps, he has some pretty killer jumping skills now. I'm always impressed with Charmer's athleticism - I wish I was even half as athletically inclined as he is.


Opinionated: Wonder is sassy. The horse has opinions on every single thing ever. And you know exactly what they are, without a doubt. Peppermints - YES PLEASE. Petting at dinnertime - NO THANK YOU. Touching ears - NOPE-ETY NOPE NOPE. And lets not even get started on bits. The horse practically tried to break my nose our first ride because the fat double jointed lozenge bit I tried was OFFENSIVE to his highness (p.s. someone might be getting a standing martingale).

Thoughtful: This one is kind of a two-fold description of him. First off, he has a very high sense of self preservation. He is kind of low on the pecking order in the pasture right now, but also (see above) he has opinions. So he is very thoughtful about when he picks a fight, or when he simply wanders off to the other side of the pasture. The second part of this description is regarding his under saddle work. Based on his behaviors under saddle, he has very minimal post-track training. Which is 100% fine, and I knew that when I got him. But he is a thinker. He doesn't want to ever do the wrong thing, and he gets frustrated if he does. So he thinks about the question and gives me an answer. I am exceedingly careful to never get upset with him if his response time is slow, or if the answer is wrong, because I know he is always trying his hardest. He gives 110% every time.

"Peppermint, PLEASE?!?"

Goofy: Wonder's little blaze face has goofiness oozing out of every pore. He has licked me several times on the face. He is always doing things with his tongue. Especially after I give him a peppermint. Wonder may (halfheartedly) attempt to bite me at least 3 times a day (we're working on that), but he always puts a smile on my face. He acts very young most of the time, and I often struggle to remember that he is older than Charmer! But I think a lot of that is because Wonder seems to have a childlike innocence, where Charmer has always been a bit of an old soul. Either way, my little Wonder horse is a goof (not that Charmer isn't too...).

This was a really hard post for me, and took quite a while to write! I struggled so much narrowing down to just 3 words. And specifically the three most meaningful aspects of their personality. If you ask me again in 2 years, I might have completely different words for Wonder, as I get to know him more and more. But I feel pretty confident in my description of Charmer, considering our 2.5 year (and counting) relationship together.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Yearly Grind

Yesterday, I had the day off (finally!), and it was the perfect time to get some routine maintenance done on Charmer. His hind shoes were coming up on 9 weeks and needing reset, so Farrier came out at 9:00, and we kicked off the day right, with a new set of hind shoes (his fronts & hinds are on different schedules right now). Once he was done, he got to go back out in the pasture and goof off with his friends for a few hours.

Around noon, I went out and hooked up the trailer - which was pretty comical, because I could not get the ball flipped up in the bed of the truck. It took me like 10 minutes. When I actually got it flipped right side up, it took me less than 5 minutes to get the trailer hooked up, but man it was pretty ridiculous getting that stupid ball flipped around. Anyways, so once everything was finally all hooked up, I went to grab Charmer, and he looked at me all "again? really lady?".

At least he plays along with adventures
(also why does his BoT sheet look like a mini skirt on him?!)

He complied with me pretty easily, and I switched out his turnout sheet for his BoT mesh sheet for the road. He loves his mesh sheet, so it always makes him a little more willing to be a nice horse and do what I want. He loaded typically, for him, which means he approaches the trailer once and doesn't get in, and then I circle him around and he hops right up. Its weird. He always needs 2 tries.

Then the poor kiddo got dragged to the vet for a dental. He gave me profuse amounts of side eye throughout the whole thing, but he was really, really good. I told the vet up front - he is a total lightweight. So the vet went ahead and only gave him a little over 1/2 of the normal dose he would give, with the saying "we can always give more". We didn't need to. 

Charmer walked into the stocks easily, and was so good about standing for his teeth. The vet even noted that he was probably a little more awake than most horses when he is doing their teeth, but the vet said he seems to have kind of a "grit his teeth and get it over with" mentality. The horse is oddly stoic about injuries, needles, and getting his teeth done. Maybe not quite so stoic in the saddle, but he is all business 99% of the time when a vet has to do anything with him. 

His teeth weren't bad at all - he was due, but nothing too bad. A small wave in one side of his mouth, a few hooks, and an oddly sharp left canine, but all fairly routine. The vet and vet tech could not stop saying how much they liked him! I counted at least 5 times between the two of them that they mentioned, "I really like this horse". Always the Charmer wherever he goes (hehehe, see what I did there). 

Once we were done with his float, the vet and I chatted a bit about Charmer. I recently switched over to this vet, so he has very little history. We spent some time talking about all of Charmer's hind joints as well as potential injections. Charmer has had two lameness exams in the last couple of years, and both times he flexed the slightest bit positive in his hocks, specifically the left hock. Not enough that either vet doing them suggested hock injections were necessary, but enough that they mentioned it being a future point of maintenance.

Slightly drugged walks

Also, when I first got Charmer (over 2.5 years ago - how time flies!), my vet at the time mentioned that his SI joint showed some slight arthritis. It has not been a major problem for us, but something I always keep tucked in the back of my mind. We discussed injections for this as well, but we both mentioned it would be worth doing hocks first since those are far less invasive (and expensive) to do. It was a good conversation to have, and even if Charmer doesn't get injections for another couple of years, the vet was really helpful and great to talk with about it all. Who knows, maybe Charmer will be back in the spring for some injections.

On an unrelated note, we made some farm purchases this weekend as well! Including, but not limited to:


An old friend of mine decided to sell all of her jumps and offered them to me. It was a great price, and most importantly, it means I don't have to build my own! They could use some TLC, but that will come in the spring. For now, I am thrilled to have the ability to jump at home. All in all, there are 20 standards, 20 jump cups, and a handful of poles. Once I get some more poles, I will be able to easily set up courses at home!! Pretty excited about that. If anyone has any fun ideas on painting the jumps, or any super fun jump exercises - send them my way! I love new ideas!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


So, as most of you know (the 3 of you that probably even read this blog haha), I keep my horses at home. Which is amazing! But it has also opened up a world of changes. For the first time, I am 100% in charge of my horse's care. Only about 6 weeks after Charmer moved home, I rethought his entire diet and we took practically a 180* turn. His hay got switched. Grain got switched. I changed a few supplements for short term use that I have now cut out. I think the result is him looking and feeling better than ever. 

Old picture.
Cutest expression ever.

But along with being 100% in charge of my horse's care, means I am also 100% in charge of giving everything a place, making sure everything stays organized, and being always vigilant about making sure my horse has enough of everything he needs.

Which honestly, I quite enjoy! But it is a lot of organizing. I make kind of DIY Smartpaks in baggies for both of my horses (although I'm really intrigued to try this idea from Leah). Some of my supplements actually come in real smartpaks (the 10% off and free shipping all the time make it totally worth it to me). But I also get a lot of my supplements in boxes and so they are all stored in my little "office" in the house, which is where I make the baggies.

I have a mini fridge in my feed room that holds some of my various horse medications/aloe vera/carrots (and works great to set my box of peppermints on!). And I have used some fairly cheap, but durable, totes from Target to hold my grain in.

I also bought a label maker and have proceeded to label so many things - especially my totes filled with blankets! Oh yeah, and that's the other thing. I have a lot of totes. Of many different sizes, brands and levels of niceness. They all hold different, but specific things. Can y'all tell I am trying really hard at this organizing thing??

All filled with various blankets

There is also a lot of stuff that lives in my trailer, since I don't have a full on barn to keep it all in. My trailer also has totes and labels in it (do you see a theme here?). I keep meaning to pick up a trailer door hanger to store stuff in as well, but it just keeps being forgotten about or pushed down the list.

I love finding new ideas of what to use or how to organize things well. Speaking of which, I just ordered the Equestrian Journal after reading about it on Meg's blog, and I am very excited to see how this will help organize my thoughts. For years, I have tried to keep notes and scribbles of rides, but somehow the notebooks always get lost, or I can't seem to keep it all organized. Hopefully, this will keep me a little more on track! I love to stay organized as well as write stuff down (ahem, the whole reason why this blog started). So I cannot wait for my new journal to come in!!

I would love to know what do you guys do to keep everything organized?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Getting Back to the Swing

Well, basically since Thanksgiving, Charmer has had very minimal work. School, work, and life got busy, and pony got a break. There were some lazy rides, and a handful of semi-work rides, but basically I snuggled him twice a day with his grain, and maybe a blanket change, and usually a nice long grooming session once a week. That was basically all I could manage for a while.

But now, I am starting to get my schedule a little more manageable (a little), and constant. And the days are rapidly getting longer, and with the beautiful weather we are currently having, I cannot pass that up.

I squeezed in a ride on Wednesday after work, and for the fact it had been over a week since Charmer's last ride, and over 2 months since he had any real "make him work" rides, he was good. Sometimes I forget how challenging of a ride he can be. He requires a lot of precision from me, and that can be difficult, especially when we are both out of shape (okay, more me than him). And he was hot under the collar, since I made him work right at dinnertime. Horse worked his booty off though.

We both had some rusty moments, and sometimes our signals kind of crossed, but we had a really productive ride. I even spent about 3 minutes working on my sitting trot (work in progress), and it didn't feel horrible. Although my abs felt it on Thursday morning!

I know it doesn't look perfect, but I tried! I'm a little more "chair seated" than I would like, and I want to encourage more forward motion from him, but its a start! I felt like I stayed off his mouth decently, and didn't feel like I was flopping like a fish out of water while sitting!


Last night I got another ride on Charmer and ended up working on almost the exact same things as we did on Wednesday, just with a little more canter involved.

We did a lot of lateral work on both rides as well, which he nailed - even if he was a little sassy about it. I've worn spurs the last couple rides, not to encourage any forward (don't need any help there), but it immensely fine tunes his lateral movements. I can send him out across the arena with barely a touch. He can be kind of bull headed sometimes, but he is awfully sensitive as well.

Wearing my favorite 1/4 zip from OTTB Identity

All in all, it feels like a great start to our year and hopefully we will be getting in a solid program again very soon! Hopefully going to get a lesson in the next 2 weeks, and start adding some jumps back into the equation.