Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 26- Biggest riding pet peeve

Day 26- Biggest riding pet peeve

Horse snobs. I hate them. They bug the crap out of me. I try to be nice to everyone all the time. Especially when it comes to horses. If we are riding out someplace around non mounted people and someone comes up and asks to pet my horse I gladly let them! I’ve been that little kid who so desperately wanted to pet a horse I’d go to any length to do so. I’ve seen people get snippy and say “no, you can’t” when asked, for no apparent reason. I especially hate snobbery at horse shows. Yes I understand that everyone is competing against each other but help one another out! If you notice something looks wrong point it out and help them out!

People that are snobs against certain breeds bug me. Like the girls at the tack shop I was at up in Winnipeg. They asked what kind of horse I had and when I said a Thoroughbred they rolled their eyes and said “oh one of THOSE horses”. I wanted to lash out but calmly said “yeah he’s actually the best horse I’ve ever ridden. No Warmblood I’ve ridden can compare to him.” I hate when people lump one bad experience with a breed to all horses of that breed. Same goes for dog breeds. People who hate pit bulls because they have a bad rap sheet. If you look back in history you will see that Pit bulls were actually great family dogs that were often called “nanny dogs.” It’s these clueless morons that own them that make them get such a bad rep.

I hate when other horse people look down their noses at other horse people for no reason what so ever. Just because my OTTB didn't come from ZipsDocPocoImpressiveGuy or whatever stud is in fashion this season, and I didn't pay 6 figures for him doesn't mean he isn't a great horse. I may not look like a disco ball when I'm riding around the arena either that doesn't mean I'm any less of a rider than you are. We should realize that we are kindred spirts and we all have the same passion. Horses.

well that didn't go as planned...

Well this weekend didn’t go exactly as planned. In fact it went nothing as planned. Turns out Western North Dakota is flooding, badly. My hubby is from Bismarck and his family still lives out there. They were facing the worst flooding they have ever seen so we drove out west to help out. We packed my saddles and tack in my pickup just incase the flooding wasn’t as bad as they said it was so if we had time we could run up to see Piney. This was not the case. We delt with sand bags from the moment we got there until about an hour before we left.

For those of you who have never fought a flood let me tell you. You aren’t missing much. In fact it is awful. At the end of the day you feel like you were hit by a bus, and then when you wake up in the morning you feel worse, like you were run hit by a bus then run over by a steam roller. It takes everything out of you. I.Hate.Sand. More now than ever. I’ve never been a beach person, in fact I prefer the mountains and I especially love the plains. I don’t like sand. I don’t like the feel of it nor do I like the smell of wet sand, none of it. I don’t like sand. I also don’t like heavy awkward to carry things. So Sand bags are a combination of all those things I don’t like. My hands don’t close properly anymore either. I carried a lot of bags. Not as many as my hubby or his family but I carried a lot. I also think I tied a million closed. Okay so maybe not a million but a lot. Fargo/Moorhead donated their left over sandbags to bismarck. I think they had a few million. I liked Fargo sandbags. They were roughly 15-20 pounds each. Bismarck sandbags were more like 30-40 pounds each. They hadn't quite figured out that lighter bags were better. But by monday they had figured it out and the bags were lighter... whew!
Pile of Sandbags, ready to be stacked

Bismarck is in danger of losing 1,000 homes. We did our best to save hubby’s home and hopefully our hard work paid off. Some men came though the yards to plan where a larger dike would go. They are planning on making one big continuous dike through the neighborhood. They said our dike was one of the best they had seen. Probably because our team of workers has put in many, many hours fighting the yearly flood we face each year in Fargo/Moorhead. They said most of the neighbor’s dikes were more than likely to fail, but if ours was solidly and well built. Yay us! But I’m just praying that the house will be saved. We hauled everything out of the basement as a safety precaution though. As more than likely there will be water down there.

Anyways I’m sick of sand. And I still miss my pony. I plan on posting some pictures of the sandbag fight but I’ll do that later when the thought of sandbagging doesn’t make me cringe!
But in the meantime, here are a few pics of Tucker from this weekend. Pooper and Diesel went to “Camp Grandma” for the weekend. They wanted a vacation away from Tucker anyways!

My co Pilot was alot of help most of the way out there.
He thinks my saddle is a great pillow.

The view ahead of me. I LOVE heading out west! if only the weather stayed like this.

Guard Dog Tucker. Making sure the dike was safe and secure

Exhausted from his adventures.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 25- Your dream trailer

My dream trailer is a trailer that I’m not freaked out to load. It would be a slant load as I feel more comfortable loading them. I want my trailer to have enough room for a TB who is claustrophobic in a trailer. I’d like to have living quarters and a tack room for all my stuff. And all of this to be under $1500. Hahaha! It asked for a dream trailer!

and obviously I'd need one of these bad boys to haul my dream trailer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 24- Your best riding friend

Day 24- Your best riding friend

Well I have never had many horsey friends. Growing up all the girls seemed to grow out of horses but I never did. It wasn’t until I was about 20 when I met a new boarder at a barn I was leasing a horse at. She turned out to be my best friend for many, many years. We lost contact for a few years but we are now friends again. I rarely see her as we are in totally different social circles it seems but it’s always great to catch up.

She was the one that got me on the payroll at the private barn where I got Yellow. She ran the barn and I was her helper. We were attached at the hip and it wasn’t often we were far apart. We rode horses and played at the barn all day, then partied all night. Gosh what a life! We went riding all over the state, and went to Montana with the boss and his family. She pushed me harder than anyone ever has in terms of my riding. Her tough love got me where I am today. We had so much fun in the saddle together.

But I think more recently my best riding friend would be my hubby. Our riding styles are completely different and we butt heads about some things but we both love horses and love riding. I have learned though…don’t critique your husband’s stirrup length. Also, giving him helpful riding pointers along the way isn’t really a good idea either. He does things his way and I do things my way and thats how it needs to stay. We are both really looking forward to having our little country home set up so we can go for rides together every night.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 23- Critique a famous/well known equestrian’s jumping round of your choosing

Day 23- Critique a famous/well known equestrian’s jumping round of your choosing

WOW. Even though it wasn't a completely flawless round...all I can say is WOW. Those jumps are insane and they make it look effortless. He was a great horse. That is all I have to say about that!

and for fun watch this!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 22- The importance of riding in your life

Day 22- The importance of riding in your life

Riding is important in my life because it was a lifelong dream of mine to be able to ride whenever I wanted. Growing up I got to ride once or twice at the dude ranch near our summer home in Minnesota. For that hour long ride I’d imagine that it was my very own horse I was riding and we were exploring the trails at my own home. But that hour ride would all too quickly come to an end and I would have to go home. Each car ride home I would tell myself that one day I’d be able to ride any day that I wanted to.

That lifelong dream came true the day I was given signed transfer papers for Yellow. I was now able to go wherever I wanted with my very own horse and we could do whatever we wanted and we did! We rode all over the farm where he was living, and we went on adventures up the road. Once we went on a horse camping weekend and we explored miles, and miles of beautiful winding trails. We even bathed and played in the river. All those dreams I had as a child had come true.

When I lost Yellow I gave up on my dream, but then I met Piney and now I have a whole new set of dreams. With Piney everything is different. Yellow seemed to know it all, while Piney is still learning. He is teaching me things and I am learning just as much as he is.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 21- Your perfect schooling outfit

My perfect schooling outfit obviously depends on the season! But my perfect schooling outfit looks like something that fell off the page of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. Basically a ralph lauren polo and breeches. Something like this but obviously black breeches and my tall boots.

My perfect fall schooling outfit would look like any of the fabulous riding outfits Betty Draper on Man Men wears. I just love the outfits she wears riding!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 20- Your favorite horse show

Day 20- Your favorite horse show

My favorite horse shows to ride in were the schooling shows at my old barn. There wasn’t a whole lot of pressure as I was riding against the people I rode with every day. And it wasn’t really competition. We all cheered each other on and were eachothers biggest fans. The first time I showed piney we did awful. He had been off for a few weeks because he had been lame. (we finally figured his feet out and he hasn’t been lame since then! *whew!*) I rode him because he had been feeling better. We just did intro test a and b and we got 6th and 7th I think. The judge said that he understood that he’d been off for a while and that we had just started training a couple months before. He was also very impressed that for a former racehorse he was so calm. He said he wanted a whole pasture full of horses like Piney so he’d look like a great trainer because all of his horses were so mellow. He really liked him and saw the potential he has. Then I switched horses to my little white Arabian buddy horse for my training level tests and my baby jumper course. Then we really cleaned house and picked up the ribbons. Last year we had a fw schooling shows again. I was only able to enter one and that was the one that me and Piney got 1st through 3rd and Reserve Champion. He’s come a long way!

My favorite horse show to watch are the local AEER shows (Alpha Equis English Riders) They have dressage, jumping, and cross country. I love going and hope to one day bring my monster out and show him. I think it would do him some good to get out and see new things. My only concern is that they have most of their shows at the ND horse park which is also the race track. They have their dressage arena set up at one end of the race track and stadium jumping at another part of the track. The cross country course is in the infield. I think they usually have dressage in the arena that is in the infield though. But I imagine that I’d be doing my dressage test on the track and then Piney will see the final stretch and then take off like…well a race horse…haha. I highly doubt it as he isn’t a big runner anymore but it’s funny to imagine.

so excited!

This weekend I am headed out to see my monster!! HOORAY!!! It’s been like 17 years since I’ve seen him. Okay that was a total exaggeration it’s been two months, but it sure feels like 17 years! Hubby has been talking to his uncles up there and they just keep an eye on him to make sure he hasn’t escaped or been kidnaped or moved into his grandma’s house. But they don’t baby him or give him kisses, or treats. (sad!) Hubby thinks it’s funny to say “I just talked to my uncle and we need to talk about Piney…He ran into the fence…”or “Piney ran away last night and they can’t find him”. I do not find the humor in this AT ALL.

I’m super excited to ride. It’s been over 2 months since I’ve ridden. I’m really excited to try out my new treasure that I bought. Two weeks ago we were at a tack swap at the horse fair and I found a used Impact Gel pad for, get this, $10! I had been keeping my eyes out for a good deal on a western pad for a long, long time. It is used and in need of a good cleaning/deshedding but it will work great under my saddle blanket. They also had new Impact Gel pads at the horse fair for $140. When I was paying for it a guy said “I’d buy 10 of those at $10! I wish I’d seen that first!” I figure I’m gonna haul my western saddle up with my this weekend to ride in because I STILL haven’t adjusted the gullets in my dressage saddle. Plus I can use my new saddle pad!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to ride though. It’s been so long and I don’t have the option of riding in my comfort zone arena. I know he’s a good boy and but you just never can tell with horses! His new lifestyle may have changed my sweet, sweet boy into a wild bucking bronco. Okay maybe not, since when I first met him he’d been living like a wild horse for 2 years and was the sweetest horse I’d ever met. But we’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully he remembers me. I can usually sweeten him up with horse cookies.

The thing I’m not looking forward to seeing is how disgusting Piney is going to look. When I dropped him off he was just starting to shed his winter coat. So that mixed with all the mud and other disgusting things he can find to roll in is going to make for an awful lot of grooming. I think we are headed up there Friday afternoon. So when I get up there I might spend a big chunk of my time grooming and weather permitting give him a bath. He likes baths but tends to get kinda flighty after his bath. He acts just like a race horse would act after a bath. But I want to get all the yuck out of his coat and get him shining like a new penny again! I need to run my hand over his silky soft coat soon! He really does have the best coat on any horse I've ever seen...that is when it is actually clean.

I have a feeling Piney is going to resemble this hag but
muddier. this was the first day I had Piney!

In my dream world Piney will look like his handsome fellow this weekend.  He was so shiney and in the best shape of his life when he was a baby!

Speaking of baths. if you aren’t following Ashley’s Blog (you really should be!) The Process of Learning you should go check it out she is having a giveaway for Absorbine's show sheen 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. and her blog is just so darn cute!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 19-A discipline you would like to do that you've never done before

Day 19- A discipline you would like to do that you’ve never done before

I would LOVE to start Mounted shooting! We went to a demonstration of “Cowboy Mounted Shooting” a while back and I am obsessed with it. I’m not sure if it’s considered a discipline but none the less I want to do it.

There are 50 different patterns which can bet set up. They include cones that have balloons attached and sometimes barrels. The horse and rider ride up to the balloons and then the rider shoots the balloon with either a pistol or rifle. (Blanks are used rather than actual bullets.) It is a timed event like barrels and it is just fun to watch! What I thought was really fun is that you have to dress up! Either in modern western clothing or in 1800’s style clothing! How much fun would that be to get dressed up like calamity jane and shoot off horseback? Some women dress up in saloon girl outfits too.
 If I can get Piney neck reining and not gun shy I am TOTALLY gonna give it a whirl!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 18- Your grooming routine

Day 18- Your grooming routine

My spring/summer grooming routine goes a little like this:

Walk into tack room gather my grooming kit and then set it near area where I plan on grooming. Hold breath as I walk up to the Coneman and hope he hasn’t rolled in any mud. Silently cheer when I see he hasn’t rolled in mud. Not so silently swear when I see the half of his body that was turned away from me is COVERED in mud. Halter Coneman up and bring him over to my brushes. Toss lead rope over his back and thank the heavens he came with the ground tying feature installed. Dig through grooming box and find a heavy duty curry comb and start grooming the muddy side. After about 20 minutes wonder why on earth there is still mud on this monster. Continue currying my brains out. CAREFULLY work on his legs. (I’ve felt the power of one of his hind legs and I don’t want to feel it again.) About 17 hours of currying have passed and he is starting to look presentable. Toss the curry into box and grab a dandy brush and start flicking off the layer dust that has settled on his body. Toss that brush into the box and grab some cowboy magic detangler and work that into his mane and tail. Brush like crazy until his mane and tail feel like silk. Wipe my hands on his neck to get all the excess goop off my hands. Run a face brush down his face and then kiss his nose. Become a scratching post for a few minutes while he gets all those extra itchies off his face. Look at my sparkling clean horse, smile and then put him away for the night because I’m too exhausted to ride. Repeat the next day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 17- Your equestrian idol

Day 17- Your equestrian idol

To be completely honest…I don’t really have one. When I was little I guess my idol was Ian Millar. I’d always watch him on tv and was in love with his horse Big Ben. If there was anything to be watched or read about Big Ben, I watched or read it!!
But other than that I really don’t think I’ve ever had an equestrian idol. I honestly don’t think I have any kind of idol! I admire a lot of equestrians out there. Especially the ones who genuinely care for the horses they love. They don’t use cruel methods and they understand the horse. Anyone who is good to their horse, earns my resect!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 16- Your most recent fall

Day 16- Your most recent fall

My most recent fall was 9 years ago! Hooray! *knocks on wood* I’ve been very, very careful in the horses I ride, and where I ride them. But my last fall wasn’t serious and I ended up laying in the arena laughing.

Years and years ago, I was leasing the mare from hell, and tried to hop on bareback using the fence as a mounting apparatus. Apparently I did a good job grooming her and she was super slippery. I threw one leg over, and  being the witch she was, she started walking away and before I knew it I was on the ground laughing and she was on the other side of the arena.

My first fall was my worst fall, and I can count on one hand the times I’ve fallen since then. Each fall since that first fall have been nice soft landings. And all but my “most recent” fall were in that first year I was taking riding lessons in Sweden.

OH WAIT! I guess I lied my most recent fall was off the mechanical bull in Gilley’s in Las Vegas! I showed that bull who was boss though!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say?

Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say?

Lellow, I’m so, so sorry buddy. I knew better than to leave you at that place. It was only supposed to be for a short time, so a nice family could come and pick you up like I had planned. They had something come up and weren’t able to pick you up when they were supposed to. The people who I trusted to take care of you didn’t. They are awful people and I didn’t think they would sink as low as they did. I trusted them to keep you safe and they didn’t. I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you died and I’m sorry I didn’t visit you as much as I could have. I didn’t protect you the way you protected me all those times. I thought we were going to have a nice long life together and you would be the horse that would teach my kids to ride. But that is all gone. Part of me died right along with you that cold December day. I didn’t come and visit you after you were gone because I couldn’t make myself see you like that so cold and all alone. I wanted to go and I wanted and rip off that tarp they covered you up in because I know that tarps were the only thing in the world that scared you. I wanted you to wake up and it would have been all just a bad dream and we would be together for many more years. It wasn’t supposed to end like that, you aren’t supposed to be gone. I still imagine that you are alive somewhere. And that the awful people that were supposed to take care of you actually just sold you to someone else. Every time I see a palomino I stop for a second and look them over to see if it is you. I hope and wish that it is you, and that you are being properly taken care of by someone that loves you. There are songs that come on the radio that make me think of you. and it makes my heart heart to hear them. Just the other day driving home from work I heard a song and I cried like a baby. People must have thought I was crazy.
I like to think that you are  watching me from above when i am with Piney. He reminds me alot of you. I like to imagine that you helped push me towards him and decide that he was a good partner for me. He is very patient with me and he is very forgiving. He likes to give kisses for treats like you did. but he hasn't almost broken my nose like you did a few times!  He even has the exact same right hind sock that you did. He takes care of me buddy. And I love him. He's a good boy, buddy I think you would have liked him. He needed me as much as I needed him.
I just wanted to say, I’m sorry "Stinky". You deserved better than me. I'm sorry that I failed you buddy. i love you, and will always love you. There is never going to be a horse that can or will replace you. I just wish we could go for one more gallop across an open field, for old times sake.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 14- Your dream barn/farm

Day 14- Your dream barn/farm

LOVE this house!

This is something I always think about! Ideally my dream farm would be in Middleburg Virginia, horse country! A nice big old housewith lots of wood fenced pastures. something like this Virginian Hunt Country Manor. This farm has 3 barns. Its also got a price tag of $4,975,000. A girl can dream right? Just gotta keep buying those lotto tickets!

I always liked the look of a long tree lined driveway

I just love the look of this type of barn

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 13- Your worst riding ever

Day 13- A video of your worst riding Your worst riding ever

My worst riding. Hmmmm Is it bad that I actually have to really think hard about my worst riding? I really don’t want to sound cocky but I am having a hard time of thinking of my worst riding. I have been pretty lucky and always been put on great horses. I tend to choose safe horses and people that know me put me on the safest horse. Mostly because I have been a bit of a chicken in the saddle in the past and I would let everyone who knows me know that. However I have become a stronger rider and am a bit more confident in the saddle. I just wish that my old riding buddy and hubby could see that. They like to both tease me about how much of a chicken I am in the saddle.

But If I had to think of my worst riding I guess worst and scary would go hand in hand. I’m not sure if I wrote about this, and if I did I apologize for repeating myself. Back in 2005 me and my riding buddy were working at the private stable together. Our boss was going on his annual elk hunting trip in Montana and he was bringing his horses. So naturally he had to bring his barn workers with him to take care of his horses! It was a paid vacation of us and we actually didn’t have to to much work. We stayed at an awesome ranch and the barn manager there feed our horses and cleaned our stalls for us so we didn’t have to do it. It really was a nice vacation for us to not have to do that! Our only real job was to drink cocktails and watch movies, and play spider solitaire on our lap tops. Well actually we had to saddle up the horses the ONE day they decided to ride the horses up the mountain. Since we didn’t really have anything to do, and the guys weren’t using the horses one day we decided to ride up the mountain ourselves. So we waited a few days for the horses to get used to the mountain air. Boss man made sure we were wearing blaze orange and we had our bear spray on us at all times, my friend had her colt .45 on her too. Just in case. We also packed a little lunch to eat somewhere along the way. My friend was riding her own personal horse and I was riding Yellow. He wasn’t officially mine yet, but he was the only horse I rode at the barn. The previous year Yellow had gone on the Elk hunting trip and something caused him to flip over on his rider. I think it was a combination of him smelling a bear or lion, mixed with a complete jack ass in the saddle. But the jack ass came on the trip again this year and noted that Yellow was a completely different horse than the “monster” he rode the previous year.

Me and Yellow up the mountain!
So up the mountain we went. It was fun! We had a fun time exploring and we just kept climbing and climbing. We had a nice little trail that we followed and the scenery was great. We thankfully didn’t encounter any wild life. We did see a poor little fox that had been shot just for the heck of it. Poor little guy, people can be so cruel.

Lunch Break!

Once we got up to a little valley we hopped off the horses and ate our lunch. It was so beautiful I never wanted to come back down. But we decided it was getting later in the day we should probably start heading back. Yellow was great on the way up. He was calm and acted like he’d been living in the mountains his whole life. But something changed on the way down. He was fine half way down but once we got to a narrow icy patch he decided he couldn’t do it. probably because I stopped paying attention and was too busy gawking at the sights. About halfway through the little trail he panicked and started climbing the side of the mountain. I looked behind us and it was about a 90ft drop. Ahead of us was gravel and big rocks that with each step he took caused us to slide all over the place. I was in full panic mode and Yellow was worse. My friend who was ahead of us called out to me and tried to talk me through it. I heard her laughing and shouted some nasty words at her. Each scrambling step yellow took the more I panicked. All I could see was us falling to our deaths. I wasn’t worried about me. I was worried about how pissed my boss would be that I killed his horse. We struggled for what seemed like an eternity. But in reality it was probably only 5 minutes.

When Yellow finally stopped scrambling enough for me to hop off, I did. I then lead him across the path and then basically collapsed into him. I nuzzled my face so deep into his neck to stop me from bawling my eyes out. I softly said “You are a jerk!” He looked back at me like “what? I knew we would get through this. I just got nervous that’s all” I looked up at my friend and she asked if I was okay and I nodded. Then I mounted up and we were headed home to the barn. He was fine for the rest of the trip down. So we put the horses away for the night and then walked to our cabin to get ready for supper.

Later that night my friend and I were having cocktails at one of the local bars. She told me that the only reason she started laughing was to keep herself from freaking out. She said she’s never been that scared in her entire life and she was almost certain she’d be riding home alone. She told me that I handled myself well given my situation. I told her that I probably didn’t want to ride up the mountain for a few days. She agreed that it was maybe a good idea.

That is my story of my worst scariest riding adventure. I hope that I’m never put in that position again!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 12- Favorite horse color

Day 12- Favorite horse color

Again, i can't pick just one! so here are my top favs!

Mellow Yellow!
Palomino, Obviously! I just love me a golden horse, but he's gotta have ALOT of chrome on him. Nice blaze and white socks are a must. Also must have lots of dapples!

I was supposed to load a horse like this into my trailer instead of Piney :-)
I'm glad I got piney!
Grey   Ever since I saw "the horse in the grey flannel suit" I wanted a big grey TB jumper. Here is a fun fact for you. Piney was supposed to be a BIG grey mare that I was going to name "Impulse". But all the grey mares I saw were mean, and they didn't have the light face that I liked. Plus grey horses turn white when they get old, and I'm awful at grooming!

Buckskin Who DOESN"T love Cisco from Dances with wolves? I really really want me a buckskin someday. but again I'm pretty picky. I dont want any white on him. Cisco in dances with wolves had a little white I think but I want mine yellow and black only!

And just because Chestnut didn't make my list doesn't mean I don't love Piney! I do love him, he's just not the color horse i would have chosen for myself! haha!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 11- Find a horse for sale online that you would want to buy

Well Of course I can’t pick just ONE horse I’d like to buy online. So I’m gonna post a few!

Horse #1

I really like this fellow, he's got two things going for him that I like...he's a palamino, and he's a thoroughbred! However he just doesn't have as thick of a blaze as I'd like. But none the less he is beatuiful and I wouldn't kick him out of my stable!
Horse #2
This guy is pretty cute too. again he doesn't have a thick enough blaze but He's got a very sweet look to him.
Horse #3
Now this guy has got more of a blaze. And I just think he is adorable!
Obviously you must be sensing a theme here. I love palominos. And its actually the only kind of horse I ever search for on the internet. mostly because I want to fool myself into thinking he's still alive and out there. but each and every horse I find just can't compaire to my old golden boy in his beauty.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding

Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding

To be completely honest. I don’t know. I don’t think my parents realized how important it was to me until Yellow died. They always knew I was a horse crazy girl, and they knew I had a horse but I think my mom only came out and saw Yellow once. After he died though I started noticing that they ask me more about Piney and I get presents that are horsey themed once in a while. I brought my dad to a tack store in Winnipeg with me once and he patiently waited while I tried on boots and drooled over saddles and tack.

My hubby is a horse person too. He gets a little mad at me when I give him helpful riding tips though. He has his way of doing things, and I have my way of doing things. We agree to disagree on who is right (me!) He knows that horses are important to me which is why we made the decision to buy a place where we could have our horses together. When I come home from shows with all my ribbons he is very proud of me his old work schedual kept him from making it to my shows but in the future he hopes to come. We have had a number of fights about my horse though. Mostly it was about how much he was costing each month. Things have settled down a bit since we aren’t paying anything for Piney to be up north. I think we are going up in a few weeks to go riding together.

A majority of my friends are non horsey people. They get blank looks when I start going off about how awesome my horse is doing. They ask about him but they don’t quite get the whole horse scene. I know when we were younger and I was busting my ass working at the barn where I got Yellow my friends saw horses as an incovinence. I had to do horse chores first thing in the morning every day and again in the evening. I had to miss out on dinners, and road trips because they didn’t want to wait around for me. We were young and our lives were about having fun, we didn’t have 9-5 jobs or husbands, or babies. So we’d be having fun hanging out or suntaning in the park when I’d have to leave to go feed my horses. They would get upset, but they know how important horses are for me and I love that about them.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding

Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding
Lucky for me I haven’t recieed many injuries from riding. There was my badly bruised elbow from my first ever fall. But other than that its just been very little! There was the time a horse I was riding out west smashed me into a mailbox when I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. My knee swelled up pretty big afterwards but it wasn’t anything too serious. I’ve been very lucky when it comes to riding. Being a safety nut and a chicken probably has something to do with it.

Around horses I seem to get injured on the ground. Like the time Piney smashed me into the trailer door and I got my scalp stapled back together along with my concusion. And then there was the time he kicked my thigh. Thank gosh he got me in a meaty part! A bit lower he would have blown my knee out and a bit higher and my hip would have been shot. Both of those injuries were a result of not paying attention, and a wrong place wrong time deal. I’ve been lucky…lets see how long I can keep being lucky!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at

Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at

Hmmm well I don’t have a barn or stable that I ride at anymore since I’ve moved Piney up north. But my last barn was my favorite barn I’d ever been at. It was a smaller barn with only a handful of boarders. It was a dressage/hunter/jumper barn. The first time I walked into the tack room and saw only English saddles I had to smile. It was a big change from every other barn in the area I’d been in, with a majority of the saddles being western. There was a smaller heated arena with attached tack room and barn. The barn had 15 stalls and the quanset had another two stalls, as well as large stalls connected to paddocks that the horses were free to enter and exit as they pleased. I loved the atmosphere out there. I was always learning and felt like we were family. We each helped eachother out. It was by far the best barn in the area!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Well I have a lot so here goes nothing.


My saddle is a 17.5inch black Wintec Pro Dressage with slimline stirrup leathers and foot free stirrups. I use a Professional’s choice girth with a black sheepskin cover that keeps Mr. Grumpy Grump less grumpy when girthing up. I use an Equigel cushion gel pad under my saddle to help keep Piney’s back from getting sore. I have a little collection of saddle pads. My main pad is my Circuit sheepskin square saddle pad its white and I love it. But my fun pads are my Equine Couture pads. I have one dressage pad that is white with pink trim and pink and green argyle printed on it. and I have a tan and brown a/p pad that reminds me of my coach bags. Then I have just some plain pads in green, maroon, and blue. My show pad is my favorite it’s a white swallow tail pad that I picked up at greenhawk tack in Winnipeg. I bought my bridle from my old riding instructor. I’m not sure of the brand but it came from the Dressage Extensions website and is the padded crown Swedish bridle. (I LOVE it!) I replaced the plain brow band with fancy browband I bought used on ebay. It has large clear rhinestones and doesn’t look too girly. My bit is a Myler comfort snaffle dee ring bit. It is awesome for those low pallet mouthed TB's!
I also have a 16.5 inch no name English saddle that I can’t seem to get rid of. It was the first saddle that was ever bought for me. It’s ugly and cheap and apparently stuck with me for life as no one will even make an offer on it.
For ridding attire I have numerous pairs of breeches. My very first pair I bought in Sweden at a second hand horse store. They are a cream color and apparently magic because they still fit, 11 years later. I have a pair of light tan tights from devon-aire that are sweet for hot days. My favorite pair are my black full seated breeches. They glue me into the saddle when I ride in my dressage saddle. I have a pair of pukey green pull-ons that the girls at the tack store in Winnipeg sold me because they were all the rage on their show circuit that year. I also have a few pairs of tan breeches that I think are from devon-aire and I have my white dressage breeches for show. My show “britches” are full seat and blindingly white. I have a show coat as well as a white dressage shirt and stock tie, as well as a few other show shirts. When I ride I usually just have on a tee shirt or polo in the summer. In the fall/winter in the arena I’ll wear my Northface fleeces or a long sleeved shirt with a vest. My boots are tall dress boots from Ovation. I also have a pair of paddock boots that I’ll wear with short chaps. I have a lighter synthetic pair as well as a suede pair that are pretty worn out.

My western saddle is a 15.5 inch Circle Y park and trail saddle. It’s a dark mahogany color. I use a professional’s choice girth on this one as well. My head stall and reins match my saddle color and are from Weaver. They are covered in sparkly rhinestones, of course. My western bit is a gorgeous curb bit with stars and fancy engravings but useless since I’ll never be able to use it on Piney. I have a breast collar that matches my bridle. I also have the matching spur straps, but I’ve never used spurs, nor do I know how to use them. My old boss got them for me because they matched my tack! My saddle blanket is from weaver and is pink. I bought it when I was headed out to get my new horse…Piney was supposed to be a girl…that’s why I bought pink.

When I ride western I basically wear jeans and whatever top fits the weather we are having. I always wear a boot with a heel, either my double h’s or my Ariats.

I also have various misc pieces of tack. I have a box full of bits, mostly torture snaffle bits from before I knew that they were as harsh as they were. I have an Australian saddle that I picked up at an auction for $40. I haven't tried it out yet but it looks comfortable, like a mix between western and english! I have bridles and girths, and tie downs, and breastcollars...a little of everything.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 05- Your first fall

Day 05- Your first fall

My first fall…YUCK. I was taking my very first lesson at my riding school in Sweden. They put me in a class with people obviously way more advanced that I was. For some reason we went out riding on the trails. They did an AWFUL job telling me the commands to control the Devil horse I was riding. I knew how to stop a western horse, and how to neck rein. But the horse I was riding had never been to America lol, he was no dude ranch horse. Something happened that I’m not entirely clear of when we were out in an open field with some jumps. My hose took off, and I lost my balance, slipped off the side and was dragged a few feet after I came in contact with the frozen ground. I looked up and started laughing. It was the only way to keep my already tear filled eyes from gushing more tears. I remember as I looked up I saw all kinds of horses faces and riders faces. Looking at me asking me a million questions. Someone brought back my horse and asked me if I wanted to get back on. I didn’t want to, so my instructor gave me her horse and then explained to me that saying “HO!” will do nothing to get these horses to stop. Great thanks for telling me that before Devil horse took off. She also told me that the horse I’d been riding was once a big time million dollar show horse that was retired because he had some brain damage or something crazy. I really wish those things had been told to me before I hit the dirt.

When we were riding back to the riding school, we passed some riders in western saddles and they were riding QUARTER HORSES! My riding instructor talked to them breiefly and then introduced me. They told me to swing by their barn after we got home and we could talk about me riding their hroses.

So sure enough I got back to the barn and limped to the other barn…a good 30 minute walk. They told me they were looking for someone to ride their quarter horses for them so I said YES! And agreed to meet them there later that week. Then I limped the 45 minute walk home. When I got there my host mom was excited to talk about my lesson. I sat at the kitchen table and then started bawling. My leg and elbow hurt so much. So the next day was my first and only trip to the Swedish Hospital for x rays! Nothing broken but I had badly bruised my elbow. It still hurts to this day if I carry things for two long.

They say the hardest thing about riding horses is the ground…I agree!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 04- A ride that impacted your life

Day 04- A ride that impacted your life

I guess you could say that every ride impacts my life in some way or another. But the ride that most impacted my life the most was the first time I rode Yellow. I had been away from horses for a while. I had had a lease that went extremely sour. I’d taken a horsemanship university class with a professor who went out of his way to make me look and feel like an idiot because I wasn’t born in the saddle like the rest of the girls in class. Rather than helping me out, he made me the example of what not to do with horses. I was at a point in my life where I’d pretty much wanted nothing to do with horses.

I’d ran into an old friend of mine who was now working at a private barn and I ended up going out there a few times to help her with horse chores. One day she asked me if I wanted to go riding with her and a big group of girls she knew from college up in the sandhills. I actually didn’t really want to go as I felt I was pretty rusty in the saddle. But I went along because I never could say no to my friend…mostly because I was too scared to say no to her. Hahaha

The horse she had me riding was the meanest, ugliest palomino I’d ever seen. Every time I went by his stall in the barn he’d bare his teeth at me, or reach out and try to nip me. His ears were always pinned back and he just looked pissed off at the world. My friend assured me that once he was saddled up he was a good boy. I took her word on it.

Once we go there and got the horses unloaded, she tied them up to a hitching post while we got our saddles. Just as we were coming back to the horses Yellow had gotten his halter stuck on a piece of the hitching post and was flipping out. He was stuggling and then reared up once he was free. “awesome” I thought. “I have to ride this monster? This may be my last ride EVER!” But we calmed him down and tacked him up. Then I hopped on.

The group started along and I was now riding a prancing, dancing horse. He was flipping his head, and piaffing in place when I tried to hold him back to wait for my friend. Me and yellow had some difficulty communicating at first. I had no idea what he was saying to me. The bitchy girls on the ride with us were of no help to me either when I asked what I should do. One girls actually said to me “if you can’t handle your horse you shouldn’t even be on this ride!” My friend was having her own issues with her horse whose only speed was fast. So I didn’t want to bother her. I then just tried to figure out what he was saying to me. I gave him his head, and had nice long reins and he calmed down. A light bulb went off in my head; my friend told me once that he was a Western Pleasure show horse when the barn bought him. So it made sense that he wanted a nice long neck and low head. From then on out I was in heaven.

Once I figured him out I had the time of my life. He was the best trained horse I’d ever been on. When I asked for the canter he did it. No fighting, not asking two or three times. I even got some flying lead changes out of him, when I asked.

About halfway through the day we arrived at a little river with a wooden bridge over it. I sat and watched as the girls who were complete bitches to me struggled to get their horse over it. Not one of their horses would cross. I figured it wouldn’t hurt for me to try, so I pointed him at the bridge, and he crossed right over. No hesitation, no asking numerous times. He just walked right over it. The girls behind me couldn’t believe it.

I fell in love with that horse that day. And I regained my love of horses and riding. After that day I started spending more time with him around the barn. I managed to sweeten him up and he no longer pinned his ears, or try to bite you when you went near his stall. I spent hours brushing him and talking to him. And he was always my first choice to ride. The owner of the barn was impressed at the change in Yellow. He had been ready to sell him because of his bad attitude but yellow had become one of his favorites now because he was so sweet. Two years later Yellow was my horse, as he was given to me for my birthday from the barn owners. He was my dream come true, and I miss him every single day. His life was taken from him too soon. But I know he’s up there waiting for me and in the mean time he nudged me towards Piney. Who he knew would take care of me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 03 - Your best riding

Day 03- A video of your best riding Your best riding

My best riding ever sadly wasn’t on Piney, it was on Wizard, that little white arabian I took lessons on. It was my last training level dressage test at my first show at my barn. The test was going awesome and everything felt like it was going right. I was doing my last 20 meter circle at the canter when I lost my stirrup, in my head told me to panic, slow him down and get my stirrup, but my heart and Wizard said “don’t worry about it!’ We are almost there!” So I finished the test up, halted and saluted caught my breath and heard my instructor call out from behind me “HOLY CRAP GIRL! That was your best ride ever! I’ve never EVER seen Wizard move like that for anyone! WOW!”

We ended up getting Reserve high point that day and it still tops my list of my best most memorable rides ever. Especially since I didn’t panic, and grab my stirrup. He took care of me and we finished perfectly. In lessons when that happened I’d freak out. I looked at stirrups as my safety net for some reason. I know now that I can manage without them sometimes too. I just wish I had video of that ride!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 02- The last time you rode a horse and what you did

Day 02- The last time you rode a horse and what you did

The last time I rode a horse, was a few months ago. I rode Piney bareback because I had been too lazy to adjust the gullets in my saddle. It was a pretty un eventful ride to most I’m sure, but to me it was amazing. Every time I get on that horse bareback I can’t get over the fact that I am riding a thoroughbred…bareback…MY THOROUGHBRED…I’d always dreamed as a child that I’d own a thoroughbred I just never thought it would come true. I’m thankful for ever ride I get on my horse knowing that he is my dream come true.

I love our little bareback rides because usually it’s just me and him. So I talk to him and tell him all kinds of things. Obviously he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying but I like to pretend he does. Especially when I say something positive about him and he lets out a great big sigh. Makes me laugh every single time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

30 Day Challenge Equestrian Edition

I've seen a lot of people doing these and I always thought they looked fun. so I thought I'd give it a shot!
I had to change a few as I don't have any videos of me riding!

30 Day Challenge Equestrian Edition

Day 01- When and why you started riding
Day 02- The last time you rode a horse and what you did

Day 03- A video of your best riding  Your best riding ever
Day 04- A ride that impacted your life
Day 05- Your first fall
Day 06- All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)
Day 07- Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why
Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at
Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding
Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding
Day 11- Find a horse for sale online that you would want to buy
Day 12- Favorite horse color
Day 13- A video of your worst riding Your worst riding ever
Day 14- Your dream barn/farm
Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say?
Day 16- Your most recent fall
Day 17- Your equestrian idol
Day 18- Your grooming routine
Day 19- A discipline you would like to do that you’ve never done before
Day 20- Your favorite horse show
Day 21- Your perfect schooling outfit
Day 22- The importance of riding in your life
Day 23- Critique a famous/well known equestrian’s jumping round of your choosing
Day 24- Your best riding friend
Day 25- Your dream trailer
Day 26- Biggest riding pet peeve
Day 27- You know your an equestrian when….. (Give 5 original ones)
Day 28- Helmet or no helmet?
Day 29- A style/trend in tack/riding appearal that you don’t like
Day 30- Your Future With Horses

Day 01- When and why you started riding

I’d like to say that I was born in the saddle and grew up around horses, but sadly that isn’t true. I grew up in a small northern, Manitoba town. When I say northern Manitoba most people don’t quite get how far north I’m from. I’m from 600Km NORTH of Winnipeg. That’s 6 hours in the car, on a single lane highway seeing nothing but trees and an occasional wild animal. The town I’m from is the furthest northern farming community in Manitoba. But people just don’t have a lot of horses up there. I think I knew of one girl who had a horse. But I never actually saw her horse.

My first horse
 Summers we spent at our lake home in Minnesota. There were a few dude ranches nearby and I’d beg every single summer to go. And I got my wish at least once, twice if I was lucky, each summer. I’ll never forget the first time I rode a horse. Her name was Misty, and she was a little solid bay mare. I thought she was the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen, and one day I was going to have a horse just like her! They put me up in the saddle and I was on cloud nine! Finally on a real horse! They told me how to steer and how to make her move. But nothing really worked, She wouldn’t budge, so they hooked me up to a lead rope and ponied me alongside the leader. I thought I was super cool because I was up front. The ride was an hour long but it seemed to go so quickly. I spent the rest of the summer playing with and riding my invisible horse “misty”.

"Cowboy" The second real horse I've ever ridden
The photo of me on the bay hrose was taken the same autumn as my first ride. The stable wasn’t giving trail rides that day but I had my mom ask if they could saddle me up a horse to sit on. They agreed and again I was in heaven up there! I knew I had to have a horse of my own one day!

Every summer I went on one or two rides a year. Until I moved to Sweden for my year as an Exchange student. I FINALLY found a city with real actual horse riding lessons! I was 18 when I started taking lessons and since then I’ve been taking them on and off for about 11 (ugh where has the time gone!!) years.

When we were kids all the girls I knew loved horses. But they all grew out of it. I never did. Some days I wish I would have. I’d have a heck of a lot more money that’s for sure!! I often joked when cleaning stalls or doing horse chores that maybe if I’d had to do those things when I was younger I probably wouldn’t still be a horse addict! Being a horse obsessed person it just something that I am! I've said it a few times that I want out of horses. But I keep coming back it them. It's just something that I need to keep me alive. My childhood obsession turned into a hobby that I hope to continue many more years of my life.