Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pinecone's past life

One of the coolest things about ex racehorses is that if you do a little digging you can catch a glimpse into their history as a racehorse. This website offers past performance, pedigrees and sometimes race replay videos of horses. They also has some awesome information about all things race related, from a glossary, to race comments, fractional times etc. You can really learn a lot about racing there.

I have been extremely lucky in my search for Pinecone’s history. I’ve been able to find out the history of his name and I’ve also gotten some of his win pictures. I had managed to find one of his trainers on facebook and sent her an email. I half expected her to never respond and I other half expected her to yell at me for bothering her. She was super nice and said she was extremely happy that he’d found a good home. She has no control over what happens to them after they leave her barn and she often worries. Her mom had a few of Piney’s win pictures so she got in contact with me and emailed them to me. I’ve been in touch with her a few times keeping her updated on how he is doing. She was thrilled to hear it and told me it made her day to hear how great he is doing.

I’d also managed to find the farm where Piney was born and raised. The place looks awesome! If I was a horse I’d want to live there! They had a “contact us” link to an email so I decided to just send a brief email never expecting to hear back. I told them that I had adopted a horse that had been owned by the owners of the ranch, and that he was amazing. I also commented on how beautiful their place was and a few other little things. It was a few weeks ago so I just figured the email had been read then deleted. It shocked the hell out of me when I got an email from the owner on Friday. He told me that Pine Bend was named after the oil refinery in Minnesota that a close friend of his owned. One of Piney’s win pictures still hangs in the president’s office to this day. He also thought it was fitting that he ended up in Minnesota since he was named after a place in Minnesota. He also said that if I’m ever in Arizona that they’d love to have me out to the ranch for a visit. He also told me to keep them informed on how he’s doing as he was one of their favorite horses. How cool is that? I’m so grateful that people in Piney’s past have been so kind to me. And no doubt they were very kind to him as he is the sweetest horse I’ve ever met!

Pine Bend Refinery, Piney's namesake

Naughty Horses

Yesterday I went to the barn to feed as I normally do, and got a call from the barn owner on the way out saying that the stall cleaner bailed on her and was wondering if I could clean some stalls. No problem, I like cleaning stalls as long as I’m not doing all of them, every day. I’ve done that, it’s not my favorite. When I got to the barn I walked into the barn and stepped into a pile of crap, odd. Then I looked down the aisle and it was trashed! Everything was everywhere, the hay cart was demolished, there were manure piles all over, and then I saw him. Our Icelandic/gypsy vanner being followed by the 14 year old girl who helps me feed a few nights a week. She didn’t look happy. Apparently she got there and a whole bunch of the geldings were hanging out in the barn making a mess. We rounded them back up and threw them all back outside. Then it was damage control time. They tipped over the garbage and dragged the twine from the bales all over the south entrance, they knocked everything off every ledge they could find, and all the grooming kits on the stalls were shaken empty all over the aisle. They managed to break a water bucket in one of the stalls and that was spilled all over. One of the fire extinquishers was tipped over, i was amazed they didn't set that off. So we cleaned that up and feed the monsters outside because they were all spending the night out since we FINALLY have a nice stretch of good weather. Apparently the stall cleaner came in the morning to turn them out and forgot to lock the gate to the paddock with all the barn owners geldings. It’s been this girl’s third strike and we put an ad up on Craigslist last night for a new stall cleaner.

When I was cleaning my last stall the boy who has been taking lessons on Pinecone came up to talk to my instructor and she had me grab the monster for him. I then helped him groom and get ready to ride. They were having a jumping lesson and I was excited to watch. Pinecone was in true Pinecone form and a pile of lazy bones. The little boy wasn’t feeling good though so he didn’t have his focus on riding. So they cut his lesson short and I hopped on up. My riding instructor told him to watch me so he could see what I do to get him moving out. His attitude switched when I put my feet in the stirrups. I could feel him under me and it felt like he was saying “allllriiiiggghhhhtt! Lets show em what we can do mom!”

He wasn’t the lazy pile of bones anymore. Maybe it’s just I know how to make him do what I want him to do. The girls at the barn think it’s because I’m his person, and that he loves me and wants to make me happy. He doesn’t ever go as well for anyone but me. Anyways I started out showing the boy that Pinecone CAN have a nice big walk and not a death march. We then picked up the trot and over the poles we went. That big red horse of mine sure does love poles. We went over the ground poles and then over the small cross rail. I didn’t have it in me to ask him to canter today. I was sharing the arena with a little boy and the gypsy vanner so I didn’t want any shenanigans and I had to keep my eye on them. I went around the “course” a few more times then called it a night. He’s so funny when I’m done riding he always puts his head down and into me as if to say “mom was I perfect today?” I love him.

I honestly think my horse gets cuter every day. One of the girls was holding him and giggling she said “Pinecone you are so cute!” I had to agree.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look out we have a jumper!!

Last night’s lesson made me want to cry. It made me want to cry because everything went so right and it was perfect. One of the instructors was giving a lesson to a little boy and I just kinda hung out in the back of the arena just happy to be on my horse. Then she started setting up ground poles and a small crossrail jump for her next lesson and I asked if I could hop in on that lesson. She said “Sure!”

Right now a bunch of us are taking jumping lessons. We are still learning so it’s mostly ground poles and usually one cross rail. This was my first jumping lesson in about 7 years. So I was pumped! We started out with two ground poles by B and two more by E and a cross rail at X on the K X M diagonal. Having not ridden in a while I decided to just trot all the poles, as I didn’t feel comfortable asking for the canter just quite yet. Well as it turns out my little Pinecone LOVES poles and jumps. He perked up and was amazing! The little girl in the lesson even said “Wow! I’ve never seen Piney so excited!”

Halfway through the lesson the instructor set up a little course for us. And it was a lot of fun. Coming around one corner I asked for a canter and then got it we then proceeded to FLY over a ground pole. It was awesome. When we were done with the little course his walk was different. It was like he was strutting. If he could talk I imagine he would have said something like this. “Hey, did you see that? Yeah, I totally jumped that pole. I’m like the best jumper in this barn.”

My instructor had come in to watch us. She said that he just really must enjoy poles and jumping. When he does dressage he just seems to work his way through the test but he’s never excited about it. I think he finds dressage to be boring. And not gonna lie, maybe I have too. I think it’s because we are only doing intro level tests. If we get our butts in gear and work on getting a nice canter right when I ask for it, not half way down the arena, we can move up to training level tests and we will both have me fun with dressage. Then of course by next summer we’ll be doing Grand Prix level tests, obviously HAHAHAHA!

I am just blown away by how awesome my horse is. I know I seem to say that all the time, but I seriously mean it every time. I had a big grin on my face the entire time I was riding yesterday. He just keeps getting better and better. I feel like I don’t deserve him most times or that something has got to go wrong. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a horse and he’s things I didn’t know I wanted. I’ve never met a horse like him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good Time To Review

It just came to my attention that I never explained the title of my blog. Good Time to Review was the registered name of my first horse. He was a 15.1hh palomino AQHA gelding. And when I say first horse I mean first everything horse. He was the first horse I ever fully owned. The first horse I’d ever went camping with. First horse I rode up in the mountains. First horse I ever went to drill team practice with. First horse to be kicked off the drill team. The first horse I ever rode in a parade. First horse I’d ever have nicker at me when I hugged him. The first horse that has ever dried my tears. And the first horse I’d ever lost.

So in honor of my buddy here are a few pictures of him. I wish I could have just one more ride on him...

This is my absolute favorite picture of him

At work

BIG SKY, MONTANA!! (sweet outfit huh? it was hunting season!)

havin a drink
on the way to Montana
I miss you buddy...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not horse related :-)

Well I got hitched on Saturday and it was amazing! The weather thankfully cooperated with us, although it could have been a tish warmer! I am in LOVE with the place we had it at. It is a place outside of town with a historic old mansion, an old chapel, and a barn where we had the dance. It couldn't have been more perfect for us. I had people tell me it was like a fairytale wedding. I couldn't have been happier with the way it turned out.

Here are two of the pics from our photographer. I LOVE them!! she was amazing and I'm dying to see all the rest of the pictures.

When I get more pictures up I'll be sure to post them. Some of the highlights of the night were the carriage ride we had for the guests. During cocktail hour we had hired the "grand wagon" carriage that was pulled by two adorable Clydesdales. I think everyone had  alot of fun with that. We also had a little photo booth set up for guests with all kinds of props. I have been seeing photos up on facebook and they are HILARIOUS!
Tonight I am feeding the horses at the barn. I miss them like crazy it's been over a week since I've seen my monster. Can't wait to see him!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I miss my monster!

So I am going through horse withdrawal. I haven’t seen my monster since last Thursday. With my wedding coming up in THREE DAYS I have been busy doing all the last minute preparations that needed to be done. And it looks like I won’t be out to see my monster until next Tuesday. I miss my big red horse.

Originally we were going to have Pinecone trailered to the wedding site to have some pictures done with him. But after our last fiasco of trailering him to a wellness clinic which was soon followed by my trip to the hospital we decided that maybe he should stay home. I don’t really need to be rushed to the hospital to have my head stapled back together and blood wouldn’t look too good on my dress. (even if it would match the bridesmaids red dresses haha!) So when I talked to the photographer earlier this summer she said that maybe we could go out and do a “trash the dress” photo session with him at the barn. She also said that she might use that day as a photography work shop with some other photographers in town AND I wouldn’t have to pay for it…woohoo!

I did get an awesome email from one of the girls at the barn yesterday. We had been talking last week about how busy I was going to be and that I wished someone could ride Piney and love up on him since I wasn’t able to. She said that her older boy (he’s 13) really wanted to ride him so I said that if it was okay with the barn owner/our riding instructor he certainly could. At the show he had ridden the horse he usually rides in lessons and the horse kept breaking into the canter. It wasn’t a wild out of control canter but I think her boy was a bit shaken from the experience. She sent me an email saying that he rode Pinecone yesterday and he was perfect. Her boy was smiling the whole time and that he is definitely a confidence booster. That makes me so happy! I am so proud of my boy!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sass Monster

I rode last night and it was great. Pinecone was definitely feeling his oats yesterday. He was alert and forward moving. I love it. I got my huge favorite trot out of him with very little “conversation” about it. When we were tacking up, however, I had a little sass monster on my hands. He’s always been a little girthy, and still is even though we switched to a sheepskin girth. My instructor thinks that he might have a muscle spasm in his girth area. Most of his attempts to nip at me were unsuccessful and met with a “QUIT!!” However as I was going to his off side to slide down my stirrup he bit me in the butt, when I wasn’t looking. He really goosed me! Ha-ha! I joked later that he was probably just trying to be one of those creeps that think pinching your butt is actually a type of flirting. Needless to say looks like we will be working on his manners.

But it was a great ride. I love him. I had some cavaletti set up and he really likes those. So after my wedding we are going to start jumping lessons. Hooray! My mom told me to wait until after the wedding so my dad doesn’t have to wheel me down the aisle in a wheel chair. Seems like a good idea ha-ha!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Toughest photography subjects yet!

Last night I was faced with my toughest challenge as a photographer. Now I’m no professional, just a girl with a camera attached to her face at most every chance I get. I’ve taken pictures of babies, and I’ve dealt with Bridezillas. But yesterday I met a bunch of rowdy, wiggly monsters who would sit still for a split second before they were off again.


I love them! The owner of the barn has German shepherds and one of her females just came home from Montana where she was bred. The couple that was taking care of them while they were out there and the barn owner wanted pictures of all the puppies for a collage. So I did my best and it was the toughest assignment I’ve ever been handed. The pics I posted are my favorites of the evening. They definitely aren't the best pictures I've ever taken but I tried my best!! I’ll take a uncooperative, toddler any day rather than have to take pictures of puppies! Even if they were the cutest dogs on the planet!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Schooling show results...

The horse show didn’t go exactly as planned. Maybe this picture will explain.

That is indeed a 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place ribbon AND a reserve high point champion ribbon. we did BETTER than i expected!!  My monster went from getting nothing but 5th and 6th place ribbons last year to top three in his classes! The reserve high point almost knocked me off my feet. We got it for our intro A test. There were only 4 of us in that test. In intro B there was six of us and I was riding against the best riders in the barn. We got second. And I am so proud of my monster. I was super proud of him for getting 3rd place in his first test. (it was a walk trot test my instructor made up). I never expected him to do as well as he did. The funniest thing he did all day was after we halted at X and saluted the judge the last time he would snort, as if to say "and THAT is how you do dressage!". It was adorable. I love him.

Yesterday was a fun day. We all spent the day laughing and cheering each other on. I love my barn family! We also had some fun awards at the end of the day and I got best dressed, best groomed horse, and cleanest breeches. Haha! Still can't beleive we did as well as we did. I am so proud of my boy! he is perfect!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nothing beats a good ride...

Yesterday I ran out the barn to drop off something that the barn owner had purchased from TSC. I decided that since I was out there I was going to ride. But I was feeling pretty lazy so I just rode bareback. He was being pretty lazy too so I had someone hand me my “weapons” (dressage whips) and then he had a bit more go. As I was riding around the arena I realized something…I was riding an ex racehorse, bareback with whips…never in a million years did I ever think I’d be riding a thoroughbred bareback and certainly never thought I’d be using a whip or crop on one. I rode for about 45 minutes and he was perfect. When I hopped off I asked one of the students if she wanted to hop on him before she got on her pony. I think she was a bit nervous, but she did awesome. I just walked around the arena and he followed me. I really think he is going to be a great lesson horse someday.

I rode again tonight and it. was. AWESOME! We started out by trimming Pinecone’ mane and tail and all other little whiskers that needed to be trimmed up. He looks like a million bucks! Then I tacked up the monster and he was a little angel. He didn’t try to eat me when I girthed him which was a pleasant surprise. I climbed aboard and off we went. I didn’t go over the tests as there were a couple others working in the arena. Usually everyone is pretty good about moving aside if you want to practice a test or something but I didn’t feel like bothering anyone. When the arena cleared out we started working on getting a nice BIG trot and he was delivering it. I LOVE when he is actually going someplace! Then as we were going along I went for it…I cantered him. Yeppers, I just felt like asking for it and we did it! I’m so happy with my monster. We had no problem going to the right that seems to be favorite way. When I asked again going to the left he threw a little teeny tiny buck in the depart but after that was out of his system he was great. We only got a few strides in going to the left but I was quite pleased. Then we shoved his face full of treats. He was quite pleased with himself. We worked hard and he didn’t even work up a sweat, I’m so glad that its finally not super hot out and that he’s getting in better shape. I’m working on not being so scared of cantering him. He’s got the smoothest canter of any horse I’ve ever ridden and its HUGE. Apparently it’s gorgeous. I need to remember that he’s going to take care of me up there and he will stop when I want him to. In fact he is more than happy to stop if you want him to.

Since we have the show tomorrow, we scrubbed up his socks and he looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see us both all dressed up tomorrow. After I put the monster to bed, we had a little tack cleaning party. The barn owner, another boarder and I sat around and cleaned our bridles. It’s always more fun when there are other people with you. I am not nervous about tomorrow, my first ride time is at 11 so I’m not having to get up at the crack of dawn. WOOHOO! I’ll get a good nights sleep and then just have fun tomorrow.

Friday, September 3, 2010

i wish i had more hours in the weekend...

We are having a schooling show at our barn on Monday. What I love about schooling shows is that it’s just boarders and students from our barn. We are a small group that has become a little family. We all help each other out and are there for each other’s highs and lows. It’s awesome. I’ve boarded at a few different places though the years and this is my favorite place. I just love it to pieces!!

Here are some pics of the barn I’ve taken.

I’m not to terribly worried about the show on Monday. I joked with my instructor on Wednesday that me and Pinecone are just “happy to be invited to the dance!” I haven’t been riding as much as I’d like with my wedding coming up in two weeks it seems there are a million other things that need to be done. Hopefully this weekend I’ll get to the barn and get my tack and horse cleaned up and maybe fit in some riding time too. Like I said I’m not worried. I am doing some walk tests that my instructor came up with as well as a walk trot test, and Intro A & B. Intro B always seems to be our best test for some reason. I just wish we were doing Prix Caprilli this year. Pinecone LOVES cavaletti! I’ve learned that getting stressed out and upset at shows doesn’t do a bit of good. If we do well…then that’s awesome. If we fail miserably…better luck next time. I often joke that piney prefers green and pink ribbons. Green since that’s his color and pink because it’s mine!

I just don't get to serious about dressage as some people do. I love my horse and I have fun with him. He makes me incredibly happy. if we never get past Intro level, i honestly don't care. He is my horse of a lifetime and I'm so happy i found him. He thinks he is perfect all of the time and he tries his little heart out for me. He's come a long way since I brought him home and he learns something new every single ride. I am so proud of my little monster even if he will never be a grand prix level dressage horse haha!