Monday, December 31, 2012

Equestrian challenge

New year starts tomorrow, time to do an equestrian challenge.

Day 01- When and why you started riding
Day 02- Your current riding goals
Day 03- Your Best Riding
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- Most Embarrassing moment
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- Picture of your favorite jump/combo
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 apparel that you don’t like
Day 30- Your Future With Horses

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas gift.

I got this for Christmas. And I instantly started bawling. I absolutely love it, as it is one of my favorite pictures of us. I trained him to give me kisses and this was one of the only times anyone caught it on camera.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oh North Dakota

Horse keeping on the plains of North Dakota closely resembles Antarctic exploration and requires one to dress like it...but I really wouldn't have it any other way :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Easy to shop for.

Tack ho's are super easy to shop for. Just don't get me any more saddle blankets ;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


My father in law got me a ton of old Western Horseman magazines from the past 30 years. When I have more time to go through them I will post some of the humorous things I find...the 80s was a wonderful time...


Original heart horse.

Today marks the 4 year anniversary that I lost my first horse. Tomorrow will be the 5 month anniversary that I lost Piney. It’s little anniversaries like this that make me question myself as a horse owner. I lost two horses in 4 years. They were both 12 years old.

My first horse was a Palomino who’s registered name was this blogs namesake, Good Time to Review. He was the most beautiful palomino’s Ive ever seen. The funny thing was I thought he was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen when I first met him. A friend of mine was managing a barn that belonged to a family, so it was private. She would often trick me into coming and helping her with the horses after a long night of *ahem* consuming large amounts of adult beverages. I would crash at her place and she would wake me up bright and early with a “get up, we gotta feed the horses!” I did learn that the best thing for a hangover was to clean a bunch of horse stalls. Works almost every time. We’d usually go home and crash for a few hours. Finally she rewarded me for all my hard work, by getting the ok from her boss to let me ride one of his horses. She had planned on going on a big group trail ride with the Universities Rodeo team who she was friends with. She brought along one of the horses that I wasn’t too incrediably fond of for me to ride. He was a pissy and UGLY palomino named Charlie Yellow. (There were two other horses at the barn named Charlie. Charlie Red, and Charlie Brown. It’s bad luck to change a horses name). She unloaded him from the trailer and we tied him up to a hitching post. Apparently something was wrong and he flipped out and when I turned around he was pulling back from the hitching post. I remember thinking Awesome…can’t wait to ride this horse. Especially since I haven’t ridden in forever. But the rest of tacking him up was un eventful, and I hopped on, even though I was a nervous wreck. I started riding, and he was being a crap head. Prancing and fighting the whole time. I was not having fun, and he wasn’t making it fun for me. Then my friend looked over and said, he was a western pleasure horse, give him his head. Sooooo sure enough…gave him a bunch of rein, and I had an awesome ride. Walk, jog, lope, flying lead changes…yes when she told me he could do flying lead changes, I tried it...out on the prairie. You name it, he could do it. Apparently he was bought when another girl was managing the barn and the owner was interested into having a barn full of western pleasure horses. She did a great job filling his barn with awesome western pleasure prospects and show horses…but she got fired I think shortly after her ex husband came by and threatened to shoot all the horses. Securtiy around the barn got super tight after that too.

Anyways later on that same ride, we came to a bridge and I saw all these girls fighting with their horses trying to get them over the long, narrow wooden bridge. They had been riding since they were fetuses but were having a hard time. I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a go and see what happens. I excused ourselves past and then sure enough, it didn’t even phase him and we clip clopped right over, followed by the girls who were quite rude to me earlier in the ride, when I asked for a bit of advice on what to do when Yellow was acting up. I believe one said “if you can’t handle your own horse you shouldn’t even be on this ride with us…”

I left that ride with a love for that ugly yellow horse. I say he was ugly because well, he was. He’d slipped on some ice the previous winter and knocked out some of his front teeth. His butt was a sooty, dirty looking color, that no matter how hard you scrubbed it wouldn’t come out. He was missing a large chunk of mane where he’d rubbed it off on his feeder. His attitude was what really made him ugly. He was a crab ass. Everytime you walked past his stall, he’d pin his ears and try to bite you.  After having so much fun on the ride with him, I made it a challenge to try and sweeten him up. I started by talking to him when I was at the barn, and I would always offer to be the one to take him to and from his paddock. My friend talked to the owner and I started helping out at the barn more. So that ment that I got to see my yellow buddy more often. The time I spent with him worked. And he quickly became one of the barn favorites. The owner even told me once that he was thrilled with how much he was starting to like that palomino. Yellow started to be referred to as my horse and I was allowed to ride him anytime I wanted to. He even started to look a lot nicer. The following year after I started playing with him, his coat lost the sooty grossness, and he was shiny with dapples. When we went places I’d get complements on him all the time. I even had a few people throw offers at me. Big offers, offers I was probably stupid to have turned down.

A few years later I got to the barn to do chores on my Birthday and I saw a big fat envelope on the table with my name on it. I opened it up and there was signed AQHA Transfer papers. Yellow was mine and it was official.
Someone feed that girl a big mac...sheesh I was a twig.

Yeah, I know the cheek peice is twisted...I paniced because the new fancy bit I bought for pictures was making him crazy, so I had to quickly switch back to my snaffle and I messed up the bridle.

My boy.

Well life takes us down different paths, and I ended up moving Yellow to a few different barns. Near the end, he had gotten kicked out of a friends place because he was being a bully to her pregnant mares and not allowing them to eat. I moved him to a barn close to town temporarily. I had decided that owning a horse at that point in my life was too expensive so I wanted him to go live with a family that would use him and enjoy him. I’d worked out a free lease with a family that was a friend of my dad’s friend. They couldn’t take him just yet so I boarded him until they could come and get him. Well I will never forget that phone call December 19th 2008. But then again how could you forget a phone call that included the words “your horse is dead”.

The owner of the barn I was boarding at called to tell me that yellow had died, but he wasn’t sure what happened. He went on to say that the night before he was doing just fine but when they went out there that morning he was dead. He also went on to say that he’d had about 5 other horses die in the last few years and that the next one that dies he’d be getting a necropsy done to find out why. In hindsight I should have gotten one done. But I was too heartbroken. I didn’t even go out and see him after he died. I felt like I had let him down and I really, really didn’t want to see my beautiful boy like that. They told me he was on a trailer covered in a blue tarp. That was what really killed me. Blue tarps were the only thing that scared him.

Shortly after yellow died, I needed horses. I needed to be around them. So I looked on craigslist and found a barn that needed help with pm feeding. I started working there and it wasn’t long after that the barn owner started talking to me about her friend who had all of these retired racehorses that I should go look at. They were free. So obviously I went out there and got Piney. If it wasn’t for Yellow passing, I would never have ended up at that barn, and then with Piney. Everything happens for a reason and I need to remind myself of that. Yellow taught me everything that he could on this earth. Piney taught me what he could. I guess each horse enters our life for a reason. I just wish mine didn’t leave so soon…
One of my favorites.

This was the result of my awesome feeding program. Didn't need to use Show Sheen!

The "shack" that the owners of the barn I worked at lived in...he wanted a he built one...

Stay....good boy.

Montana trip!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

help from thoroughbred people please!

I have a question and I wonder if some Thoroughbred people can help me out. I have some experience with Thoroughbreds. When I was a spry young 20 something I worked at the North Dakota horse park a couple seasons up as a patrol judge. I videotaped the races up in my lonesome tower on the back stretch making sure there weren’t any naughty behavior from the jockeys. I did spend quite some time in the barns, and around the horses.  I also spent part one season working hands on with the horses as a groom for a trainer. Seriously, not as glamorous as I envisioned. I mucked stalls, hot walked horses, fed, bathed and did a little grooming. The horses dragged me around the barn, stomped on me, pushed me, bit me, slobbered on me, and all kinds of wonderful things. The horses were all strung out and in race mode. They were what I thought “typical thoroughbreds” should act like.

At my last barn were two thoroughbreds that never made it into race training. One of them a little gelding that was never registered but had ended up at the “Second Chance Ranch” and then picked out and delivered to the barn owner as a project horse, and a younger mare that was never raced trained that my friend picked out when I went and got Piney. Those two seemed to display “typical thoroughbred” traits. They were high strung, super prancy on the way to turn out, and were a bit skittish. Once they got into training and had consistent work they turned out to be fantastic mounts. The little gelding was fun to ride.  But they were still a bit spooky sometimes. I remember being in the arena on Piney, and my friend was on the TB mare, when one of the cats knocked a box of show ribbons off of a ledge, it made a big commotion. The mare about leaped out of her skin, almost dumping her rider and then stood there for 5 minutes breathing fire out of her nostrils. Piney didn’t move a muscle, he just let out a big sigh and then looked over to see what the mare’s problem was.

That was usually how Pinecone handled scary situations. (EXCEPT the trailer) If it was new and scary, he would check it out, then get over it. I rarely if ever found anything that would make him jump out of his skin. One time he was being a smart ass and started walking away before I was fully mounted, he got his foot caught in the step stool, it scared the crap out of him, he cantered for about 5 strides then stopped and that was the last time he ever did anything like that. I watched the riders with the two younger tbs and I always noticed that they weren’t’ so lucky. I saw bolts, and freak outs, and rearing, and bucking.

I guess what my question is are older Thoroughbreds, who have spent a lot of time at the track a bit more desensitized to scary situations? Are they a bit calmer and easier to handle? Piney only had 25 starts, and then 2 years off to spend in a 4,000 acre pasture. His breeders loved him and took wonderful care of him so I know that they had a factor in his personality. But I am terrified to get another OTTB because this time I am doing it without my riding instructor holding my hand. It turns out I wouldn’t have needed anyone really helping with Piney though. Some of the things I loved about Piney was that I could bathe him, and wrap his legs, and give him wormer, and his shots and he stood like a champ. He wasn’t spooky, and most things that would send a horse flying across the pasture, usually caused him to look up briefly, and then go back to grazing. A lot of commotion in the arena never did anything to him and even though he didn’t have much of a competitive streak, it completely fizzled away when he retired.

Basically what I am scared of is that I lucked out with Piney. He was easy, everything about him was easy (EXCEPT trailering). I’m so scared that if I get a TB, they are going to be a bit more like the younger TB’s I’ve worked with. Am I silly for wanting an older TB, that has spent a lot more time at the track? Probably. My thinking probably doesn’t make any sense and that it is just the luck of the draw. When my friend and I were looking at the TB’s that the Second Chance Ranch. She was looking for conformation in her horse. But her horse was not wanting to be caught and it took two people to chase her down and get her cornered in a smaller pen so that they could halter her. Piney came up to me, and was very loving right away. Even the mare I almost brought home instead of Piney, was very sweet and very interested in being with me. She had had a very, very successful career all over the country.

I guess I am just looking for some more firsthand accounts from Thoroughbred people. Any advice people have on TB’s is greatly appreciated. I am not as crazy as I sound in this post…I promise…even if any of it made ANY sense at all…

Monday, December 17, 2012


We picked up some more of our free hay for the horses yesterday and we encountered these beauties. I love cattle...

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I wish someone would come to my barn and wash all of Piney's blankets, coolers and sheets. I was in my barn tonight trying to decide what I can let go in order to buy a new saddle, when I opened up a tote filled with Piney's cooler and a sheet. The smell of him hit me like a freight train, and I couldn't stop the tears. It stings just a bad now as it did a few months ago. I clung to that dirty old fleece cooler and just inhaled it. I miss him.

On a side note this tack ho can't let go of any of the tack she's hoarded over the years...I have a problem and apparently need 46 English saddle pads...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Yes, It’s true. I am guilty of this, but only when it comes to my horses. I have come to the conclusion that Pistol needs to be wrapped up in bubble wrap. When we first got him, well when he let us get a good look at him, we noticed that he has scars all over his legs, body and face. We figured he’d wrestled with some bad fencing. Our farrier asked if he was a Thoroughbred because it almost looked like he had been pinfired. Pistol also has a gouge out of his eyelid.

The other day I went out to feed the monsters their supper. It was dark and I had just brought my little flashlight. When Pistol came in to the lean I noticed that his front white foot, looked like it had blood on it, and sure enough when I flashed the flash light on his leg it looked horrific. It looked like there was little intestines springing out…but then I reminded myself that it was like -20 and that blood freezes. So I took a deep breath, and then chipped off all the blood and it was just a scratch. So I grabbed some yellow goop and smeared it on there. There was no swelling or anything. But of course when I went into the house and googled what to do when a horse cut itself in the winter…I found nothing. Not one thing. Apparently horses don’t get hurt in freezing parts of the country like where I live. I asked a few of my horsey friends and they said that I did the right thing. But it is so strange that there is no artic first aid for horses guides out there…Maybe I am on to something…

Then the next day when I ran out to check on the horses again before work, I ran into the lean and saw Pistol butt against the wall, head hanging down. So immediately I thought, he was dying. Obviously he couldn’t be in a deep sleep…oh no, he was dying. The fact that I startled him when I went to touch him…nope that isn’t an indication that he was sleeping…it was telling me that he was 3 feet in the grave. So I grabbed his lead rope and walked him around, and sure enough he perked up and went about his normal Pistol routine. I spent the better part of the day researching horses and their sleeping patterns. And came to the conclusion that he obviously has equine narcolepsy. He has NONE of the other symptoms other than he was very sleepy when I saw him. I really shouldn’t be allowed to google anything. Ever.

Has anyone else had a horse that was always getting hurt? Is it actually something I should be more concerned about? Or how about heavy sleepers? He was standing up when he was sleeping, but he was out like a light. My mind is racing thinking of all kinds of things…like neurological diseases, and other strange things. Should I just save up all the bubble wrap at Christmas and make him a suit? He’s an old timer and the scars on his body tell me he’s been like this most of his life. But I keep telling myself what they told me when I worked at the horse track. “It’s a long way from his heart!”…but it always seems so close to mine…

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


There are some people out there that just don't deserve to be riding horses. I didn't grow up in the horse show world. In fact I don't think I even went to watch my first horse show until I was in my 20's. When I did see my first show I was appauled at some of the behavior. Mostly by prima donna teenagers. I watched one girl screaming at her dad because he bought her the wrong type of hair nets. I saw another girl bawling her eyes out blaming her mother for buying her the wrong horse because it "sucked" at western pleasure.
I really didn't spend much time at any of the area dressage and english shows. And I am not sure I really want to. I've heard stories upon stories of the "dressage queens" or more realisticly the "dressage bitches". The barn I boarded at had a strict no "DB"(dressage bitch) rule. We all helped each other out and we all cared very deeply for our horses. In fact I was talking to a friend who still boards at my old barn and she said they got special accomidations at the last show because the officals saw how much the riders from my barn loved and cared for their horses. 
Then there was this video of a girl and her horse. I'm not exactly sure where it is...but it solidifies my point about brats and witches.

I got mad after watching this. Have I ever fallen off my horse and been PISSED? Yep. Have I EVER lunged at him to hit him right after falling way. Usually upon dusting myself off, and laughing my ass off (I laugh when I fall off, it's the only way to stop the tears) I go check to make sure my horse is ok. Then spend the rest of the day grumbling and cursing out the horse. I've been left on the side of the road and forced to walk home, never once hitting my horse when I got back to find them happily munching on the front lawn in the "No horse allowed" zone at my old barn years and years ago. They are horses. Beating them isn't going to get the point across. If this little brat could have had her horse if she wouldn't have went to hit him afterwards. If this was my better believe that pony would no longer belong to her.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

grooming it out.

Have you ever had one of those days, that no matter what you try and do, you fail. That was me on Sunday. I was having a hard day, and nothing was working in my favor. I had been pushed to the limit so I went to the barn. It was time to feed the boys so I mixed their supper and then grabbed a few brushes. I haven’t groomed like that in months. I wasn’t grooming with the intentions of riding. I wasn’t grooming because they were caked in mud. I was grooming for myself. I needed my horse therapy. To be completely honest here, since Piney died, I haven’t really wanted much to do with the horses. I feed them every day, and check on them. But I just don’t seem to interact with them as much as I did when Piney was with me. It’s not fair to them, but they are fat and happy and their every need is met.

I am not a huge fan of grooming. It’s actually one of my least favorite parts about horses. I’d clean stalls all day if it meant someone else would groom my horses for me. 5 year old K.K. would probably sucker punch me for admitting that. When I was a little girl, I promised that I would groom my horse every single day if I had one.  I think I don’t enjoy it because I can never get them sparkling clean like the fancy show horses. I brush and I brush, and I curry and curry, and I wipe and wipe, and they still always seem to look like hags. Maybe I am being way too hard on my skills but I just can’t seem to get them sparkling clean. Back when a friend and I were managing a barn together, we’d always take the half assed approach and clean the cinch/girth area and where the saddle pad went. And I am lucky now that we don’t have the mud and clay mixture that I had at my last barn. They boys are usually pretty clean, and they can’t ever seem to find mud. I really lucked out. But Sunday night, I needed to groom and interact with the two horses.

I grabbed my brush and started on Pistol and the tears started flowing. With each brush stroke that amazing horse smell got stronger. I needed it. It reminded me one of the reasons I love horses. Pistol is such a champ. He stood there and ate his dinner as I groomed and cried. And it hit me hard how much he looks like Piney. They have similar markings, and the top of his blaze is so much like Piney’s. I kind of just fell into him and cried for a good solid 5 minutes.  He looks like him, and sometimes acts like him. Pistol really has come a long way since he came to live with us. He seems to trust me, and I don’t have any problems putting a halter on him. He no longer flinches when I touch his face, head or neck. The sparkle is there in his eyes and he no longer has those dead eyes that he did when we brought him home. He seems happy to see me every day and he is no longer skittish.

I groomed him until my arms were tired, and then I kept going. He does not look like a million bucks, nor does he look like a fancy show pony. He still looks like a hag. His winter coat is coming in, and he has patches of hair missing where Duke took a few big bites out of his sides. But my grooming session wasn’t about making him look good. It was about me remembering why I love horses. They are my therapy. There is something in my heart and brain that makes me need them. So many times it would have been easy for me to just sell them and move on. We could have a nice house in town, close to friends and family, and fun activities. But the thing is, I’d be missing something. If we sold the two horses tomorrow, it wouldn’t be long before I’d be looking for another horse. I need them.