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Showing posts from November, 2011

2019 Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

For the fourth year in a row, I participated in the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange, which Tracy so kindly hosts (and has for seven years)!  I love choosing gifts for a fellow blogger, trying to find just the right thing to match their likes and interests.  And it is definitely fun to come home from work to a surprise package of horsey things for me!


This year, I received my gift quite early!  Thank you so much Eventing Saddlebred Style for the two surprises this past week!  She must have been checking out my Pinterest board I indicated I have, as these are both from my "want" category haha.

Plus, this is a new-to-me blog, so as soon as I finish this entry, I plan to tag along as a follower.  I like adding to my reading list, even though I have been terrible at commenting lately.


The cute little fox mug just makes me laugh.  I definitely cannot bring it to the middle school where I teach hahahaha, but I have already used it here at home a few times!

And the teal lead rope is aw…

NaBloPoMo Day #30

Day #30 - A photo (or two!) of my horse being herself


Reva
Dreamy


Sparky

NaBloPoMo Day #29

Day #29 - One thing my horse did that really affected me


Reva
Bringing Reva to her first ever off-farm experience in 2010 really made me proud.  It was the first time I really asked her to completely trust me and I was excited to see that she did.  It gave me confidence that I was on the right track with her and a glimpse at how she might act at other off-farm environments.  She was such a quick learner and really did "all the right things".  Of course, her first show was pretty gratifying too, but the prompt says one thing.  ;-)
Dreamy
Out of all the experiences we have had, I would say my trip to the World Equestrian Games and Dreamy's USDF success stands out to me the most.  2010 was a huge year for us.  I know there were other more poignant moments with Dreamy, but riding at WEG, earning good dressage scores and ultimately our All-Breed national championships was such a hard earned goal for me.  It was surreal to truck my horse to Kentucky last September and be a part of…

NaBloPoMo Day #28

Day #28 - The current status of my horse's training


Reva
Reva is the least trained of my horses, with only seven months of under saddle training.  She is solid walk/trot, while her canter is coming along.  She will pick up the left lead without issue but the right lead only about 80% of the time.  She understands how to reach into the connection with the bit and has a pretty decent rhythm as long as she stays relaxed.  Her relaxation is an issue at times though and she is currently resisting true straightness/ bend/shoulder fore.  When she resists, she gets quick.  She hold her tension in her jaw, specifically her TMJ, and will grind her teeth.  She will get a complete chiropractic work-up this spring, or maybe even earlier.  (Her teeth are done every 6 months and were just floated at the end of September...)  There are moments of absolute brilliance, where her trot becomes amazing and she is so soft in the bridle.  And there are moments of garbage too...LOL!  I have to remind mysel…

NaBloPoMo Day #27

Day #27 - Any horses I may have considered instead of my horse


Reva
Choosing to own Reva was sort of a ridiculous impulsive decision.  I had received two emails about her from my friend Helene and fell in love with her photos.  I knew I wanted a young horse in the future, but I did not think the future was that day in July 2009.  LOL!  Oh well.  I am glad I own her but did not consider any horse instead of her.  

Dreamy
I looked for a number of weeks for an older retired Standardbred that needed a home back in early 2003 when I decided to bring my mare Sparky home.  I figured I could find something older with issues that needed a home and could be a companion for Sparky.  I called and emailed about many different mares through a local Standardbred forum, but none of them sounded like anything I really wanted, so I never met any of them.  I found out through Sparky's massage therapist (at the time) that Dreamy needed a home, and having known her for years since she lived at a farm near…

NaBloPoMo Day #26

Day #26 - The conditions my horse lived in before I got her


Reva
Reva lived at Showplace Farm in NJ before I got her.  She was with John Duer, son of Carter Duer of Peninsula Farm in KY.  I actually have a photo of her in her stall at Showplace (below)!  She was well taken care of by my friend Rob who was her groom!  (I totally creeped this photo from Rob's Facebook page.  Ha ha ha)




Dreamy
Dreamy lived at a private farm in Wells, ME before I got her.  She was taken care of and had her own small paddock.  But I can't say she was spoiled like she is here!


Sparky
Sparky had the worst living situation of my three mares.  She was at a private home in Weeks Mills, ME when we bought her.  She was chained in a straight stall with no bedding, hay, or water but lots of manure!  There were chickens all throughout the barn and lots of chicken poop on her back.  :-(  She was not quite up to proper weight and it was as close to a rescue as possible without really being a rescue.  It was a bad sit…

NaBloPoMo Day #25

Day #25 - A common misconception about my horse


Oh, this is an easy one!  :-D  There are WAY TOO MANY misconceptions about the Standardbred.


Standardbreds do not make good show horses.  FALSE!
Of course not!  Just take a look around this blog here!  :-D  Standardbreds can be retrained for many different disciplines.  The neat thing about Standardbreds is that you can find them in many different sizes and shapes, so you are bound to find one that can jump, or do dressage, or turn barrels, or cut cows...or do it all!  Standardbreds are incredibly versatile and enjoying having a job!  They are general very well behaved at shows as they have "seen it all" at the track.


Standardbreds cannot canter.  FALSE!
They are trained on the track to NOT canter, so it is not as much a physical limitation but a mental block.  Generally once they understand you WANT them to canter, they have a very easy time learning to balance and produce a decent canter.  Of course, some horses might have physica…

NaBloPoMo Day #24

Day #24 - Where I was in my horsemanship before I got my horse


I started riding at age 6 and became the proud owner of my first horse Sparky in January of 1993 when I was 13.  I was a confident young rider at that point, walk/trot/canter and jump.  I did not have a ton of experience with different horses but I think I was a pretty decent rider.  I spent two years prior leasing a very hot Morgan mare named Tiffany, who taught me how to be a tactful yet effective rider.  Sparky taught me patience and the importance of trust.  


Dreamy came into my life much later, in 2003.  Hmm..I just noticed that it was ten years after I got Sparky; actually it was ten years and four months.  ;-)  By the time I got Dreamy, I had been through college where I rode different horses multiple times a week in the equestrian program.  All of my elective credits were earned in the equine program and I actually have a minor in equine studies.  I don't think I would have been as confident in training Dreamy my…

NaBloPoMo Day #23

Day #23 - Any competing I do with my horse


I love to show and any regular readers of my blog know I do a lot of competing.  Dressage shows, open pleasure shows, three and two phase events, versatility challenges, I love them all.  I have shown at schooling shows, USDF rated shows, "AA" rated shows and everything in between.  I have shown all over New England and have gone to New Jersey for the last four years to attend the National Standardbred Show.  I don't need to bore you with all the details of all the many places I have shown!


In many ways, showing helps motivate me.  My tack is cleaner when I show too!  LOL!  ;-)  Being at home with no one to ride with (unless I make specific plans) can be difficult to keep focused.  It is too easy to take a day off from riding if I am tired and no one is there encouraging me to ride with them, so knowing I have to prepare for a show helps keep me motivated to ride six days a week.  I like having challenges and setting goals with my…

NaBloPoMo Day #22

Day #22 - What specific disciplines do I do with my horse?


I grew up doing dressage and eventing, with some pleasure shows in there as well.  But in the last two years I apparently have gotten bored, because I have tried western on both my Standardbreds and saddleseat this past year on Reva. (Damn those MHA shows I have been going to where I have met Saddlebred and Hackney friends!  LOL!  ;-)  I really want to try team penning some day and I am DEFINITELY going foxhunting next year!


So specifically, I am a dressage and event rider, but I also like to have fun and make my horses versatile.  A good horse is a good horse, regardless of what seat you ride.  I am not a snob when it comes to breeds or disciplines.  It is actually pretty fun to bring along four saddles and four outfits to a show!  Ha ha ha.  


Reva
In her one year of showing, she did in-hand (hunter and western), showmanship, equitation, hunter under saddle and over fences, western, trail, dressage, and saddleseat.  Whew!


Dreamy
Sh…

2011 MHA Banquet

The Maine Horse Association year end banquet was this past Saturday night.  It was a very fun evening with three of my horsey girlfriends, Tania, Shelly, and Katie!  And of course we got to see all of our MHA show buddies too!


Reva and Dreamy both won year end awards from MHA this year!  


Dreamy
Reserve ChampionTraining level dressage - 67.275%
Reserve Champion First level dressage -  61.99%


Reva 
Champion Introductory level dressage -  65.945%
Recipient of the Standardbred Pleasure Challenge Trophy
Champion Standardbred 2-Gait Pleasure
Champion Standardbred In-Hand
Reserve Champion English Horse In-Hand


The dressage divisions and English Horse In-Hand were open to all breeds.  I am super proud of them both!  Not bad for Reva's first year showing...and having only been under saddle for seven months (with about 30 rides before that!)  I am already excited for 2012!




NaBloPoMo Day #21

Day #21 - How my horse responds to different environments
For the most part, all three of my horses respond calmly to new environments.  I am lucky to own horses with good minds.  Sparky was always pretty chill when I took her somewhere new and I never had to worry much about her.  We showed all over the place and she was normally the same horse at home as she was at a show or on the trail.

Dreamy is very calm too, but the transition from the dressage warm up ring to the competition ring used to be a problem for her.  I think much of it was because I would get tense.  We would sometimes leave our best ride in the warm up.  But we have not had an issue with that for the last two years.  Dreamy has been all over the place with me, from the quiet Acadia National Park trails, to the electric atmosphere at WEG 2010, to horse shows all over New England, to the harness racing tracks, to the Maine beaches.  She might look around in a new environment but stays smart and I have had few problems. …

NaBloPoMo Day #20

Day #20 - How my horse was trained


Reva and Dreamy
No one ever sat on Dreamy before me and only one person (my friend Helene) had ever sat on Reva...and it was for a bareback pony ride around the NJ farm.  Both of my Standardbreds were trained by me, an adult amateur who does well only because she works her a** off.  ;-)  I would never make it as a horse trainer and I am OK with that.  I have to work hard to figure out my timing and feel, and I take lessons as much as I can to make sure I am headed in the right direction.  I had started Dreamy under saddle for about a year before I started regular lessons with her; thankfully I have been taking lessons on Reva all along.  I ride both of them dressage 95% of the time, but will put jumping tack on Dreamy to jump (which is never more than once a week) and was riding Reva saddleseat a handful of times this past summer in order to show.  I take dressage lessons as well.  I personally feel that a dressage foundation will allow a horse to purs…

NaBloPoMo Day #19

Day #19 - Advice for riders with similar horses


Training and riding a Standardbred successfully takes patience.  And more patience.  And then more patience on top of that.  Did I mention patience?


Standardbreds are super easy to train.  And they are also the hardest horses to train.  Why you ask?  They are easy because they have such great attitudes.  At the track (or in training for the track), they have seen it all.  They have the mentality from the Morgan and the athleticism from the Thoroughbred.  You can literally walk and trot them the first time you get on.  Standardbreds have the best work ethic I have ever seen in a breed.


But they are also difficult to train, especially if you want to compete and do well.  Walk and trot is easy enough, but once you start asking for the canter and more advanced movements, they need to understand balance and connection to the bit.  Obviously, Standardbreds are not trained on the track to move like a dressage horse...so really it is a matter of &q…

NaBloPoMo Day #18

Day #18 - My future plans with my horse


Reva
My hope with Reva is to continue her dressage training, with some hunters, western, and saddleseat thrown in to keep her versatile.  Someday we will try eventing once she is less green over fences.  I'm also dying to try sidesaddle someday... ;-)  If I can ever afford it, I want to get a cart and harness for her to become a (pleasure) driving horse; all of my cob-sized driving equipment is WAAY too small for her.  I hope to take her to at least First Level in dressage and maybe Second...  ;-D  Of course, we will move up to 3-gait for hunters/ western/saddleseat when she is ready as well.  Next year I plan to do Introductory A and B with her and aim for Intro C in the fall of 2012.  Of course, it goes without saying that I want to keep her happy and healthy and enjoy fun things such as trail rides, beach rides, and trips to Acadia!


Dreamy
Dreamy has achieved all of the goals I set out to achieve and more!  Her future could be that of lawn or…

NaBloPoMo Day #17

Day #17 - Things my horse has taught me



PatienceTrustDeterminationSportsmanshipHard workSacrificePrioritiesForgivenessResponsibility




NaBloPoMo Day #16

Day #16 - Progress I have made with my horse since I bought her

Reva
Since Reva came into my life back in 2009, she has made a lot of progress.  I taught her to walk, trot, and canter under saddle.  In fact, besides a bareback pony ride by my friend Helene, I am the only person who has ridden her at all.  She has learned how to be a "fancy show horse" (LOL) by going to day and overnight shows here in Maine and the National show in New Jersey.  She has made a huge amount of progress in a short time, and I am super proud of her.  :-)




Dreamy
Obviously, Dreamy is much the same way as Reva.  She had actually never had anyone on her back when I got her years ago.  She has progressed from a completely unbroke 15 year old broodmare into a successful show horse and trusted friend.  Her awards are listed on the right side of my blog...but more importantly she she has become a wonderful ambassador for her breed and one of my "heart horses".  She made me grow as a rider and learn …

NaBloPoMo Day #15

Day #15 - Any special tricks my horse knows


None of my three mares know any tricks.  I have thought about teaching them to bow, but I never really followed through with it.  I guess I am not really a trick type of person.  My horses are not circus acts.  ;-)  Asking my horses to do tricks feels as though I am degrading them.


I do have a funny story about tricks though.  When I first got Sparky years ago, I found out by accident that she had been taught how to "beg" for treats.  As her eleventh owner in her ten years of life, it did not surprise me that someone along the line taught her a trick.  I was about to feed her a treat but got sidetracked talking to someone (I think it was my mother).  Sparky was on crossties and knew I had the treat.  She ended up raising her foreleg and "begging" for the treat.  I remember laughing and finding it super funny.  I tried it again, and she lifted her foreleg again.  I never did it too much, but every once in a while I would ask…

NaBloPoMo Day #14

Day #14 - Any regrets that I have with my horse


Yikes...this is a hard one.  I try to not have regrets in my life, because even when I change my mind about something, I try to remember there was a time when it was what I wanted.  There is a much more succinct quote like that somewhere, but I am too lazy to Google it.  ;-)


Reva
I kind of regret waiting so long to really start Reva.  I waited to put her into more serious work this year, her five year old year, when I wish I had done this when she was four.  But then again, I don't want to rush her, as she is a horse who has had MANY MANY training miles as a yearling and two year old.  So what is one year?  I am really happy with her and I do think it was a good choice.  But if I had to pick a regret, I deep down wish I had started her a year earlier.


Dreamy
Hmmm...you know, I have been sitting here staring at my screen for a few minutes trying to decide what I regret with Dreamy.  I can't think of anything.  The one thing I sometimes…

NaBloPoMo Day #13

Day #13 - Something I wish I could change about my horse
To be honest, I love my horses as they are.  Sure, I wish Reva could be a bit less opinionated (but what fun would THAT be...?) and I wish Dreamy's canter was naturally better and she did not have COPD (but these issues are workable for me and not that big of a deal in the scheme of life), and I wish Sparky were 20 years younger (but there is not much I can do about that!).  Yet those are silly things.  They are really good horses, willing to provide me with companionship, trust, and enjoyment.  Instead of wishing I could change them, I just work harder (if it legitimately something I can change) or find acceptance.

How to make your instructor say HOLY SH*T!

LOL!  ;-D  


Last Sunday I brought Reva over to my instructor's farm for a lesson.  My time is limited for lessons with Judy, as she does not have an indoor and the indoor where she keeps her horse for the winter does not allow outside instructors.  I am hoping to sneak in a few more lessons before winter really settles here in Maine.


I have only been riding Reva about four times a week lately, which is about what I have time for when school is in session and we begin to lose daylight.  So I was not expecting much last week for a lesson, as I wonder if she is in the best shape any longer.


It was a beautiful fall day, with a bit of a breeze.  Reva does not usually seem to be affected by the wind, but Judy's neighbors have an annoying dog that ran over as soon as I unloaded her.  It is small and moves like a dart; it is scared of horses but is very curious.  I wish it would just come over and get a good kick from a horse to smarten it up....oh WAIT, I wish the OWNER would just keep …

NaBloPoMo Day #12

Day #12 - My favorite thing about my horse



I love everything about my horses.  Yes, they are expensive and time consuming.  But my horses define who I am.  I don’t ever remember not having horses in my life.  I think for me it is an inborn trait!  I enjoy the responsibility that comes with owning horses and keeping them in my backyard.  I enjoy working hard, getting blisters, feeling tired and sweaty after a good ride or putting up hundreds of hay bales.  Riding and showing allows me to set goals and create hopes/dreams for the future.  My horses’ good health and my riding accomplishments make me very proud.  My horses give me comfort, teach me patience, and accept me for who I am.  I know I will never be without a horse in my life.


This is a great saying that describes why I love horses..



From time to time people tell me, “lighten up, it's just a horse”, or “that's a lot of money for just a horse”. They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs inv…