Friday, October 29, 2010


It's funny, really!

Greta and I won an editor's choice in Horse Illustrated's Grooming Challenge. We got a free bottle of the new jasmine-scented ShowSheen (haha guys!) and a free 1-year subscription to the magazine, which I thought was really nice! Greta is on the website, and I believe she'll be in the magazine, but I don't know for sure since she didn't win-win (the winner though, that alpaca-looking pony, was definitely worthy... I think I had a nightmare about tackling something like that before.....)

I should probably send in a follow-up of how pretty she looks now to the editor, of Miss Greta all braided up and such.

Wow, even with all the craziness this month, it has certainly been worth it! Winning a scholarship, finally getting some training-level movements out of Greta (she can really put her inside hind underneath me!), a comment from the farrier that Greta officially has spot-on hooves (and I accidentally cantered her across gravel, but without a problem! But I'll try not to do that again...), meeting Steffen Peters (I'll put a post about that SOON!), and now Greta's in a magazine!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


This is all I'm going to post tonight, because I am amazingly tired and I just got home from a 4 hour trip (totally miscalculated, as the trip was far from two hours. It's amazing I aced geography class three years ago, hmm?) But I will tell y'all this:

A) It was amazing.

B) Mr. Peters is a very friendly guy, as is his wife.

C) I have yet another nickname. Try "Hotel Girl" LOL.

Really, I'll explain it all soon. But I'm lazy and tired. So toodles!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Steffen Peters, grab your cowboy hat!

Firstly, I will be leaving right after school tomorrow to travel two and a half hours up to McKinney, Texas (near Dallas) to audit a Steffen Peters symposium! I'm very excited. Sadly, though, it means no lesson tomorrow and I shall be Greta-less for two days. TWO. DAYS.

Secondly, I entered a contest a while back for the Race for Education (really good organization that provides scholarships to students going into any and all aspects of the equine industry, and lovingly sponsored by many of the Bluegrass area's prestigious racing stables, considering the organization got their start providing scholarships to student jockeys!) for a t-shirt design for their annual 5K Benefit Run. The winner would receive a $500 scholarship to any college of their choosing. Guess who won this hefty prize?

I got five free tees, and they all shipped in today. The front with some super cool artwork. Not trying to be cocky or anything....

The back with some super cool sponsors, including the Breeders' Cup Foundation and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. OCD (Optimal Cartilage Development) Pellets logo is on the sleeve. That will get some looks at school tomorrow!

As you imagine, I was elated when I got the phone call from the organization. I hope for many more oppotunities like this to come in the future! The people there were super nice and helpful and will walk me and my family through the scholarship process (me more than anyone else... as I, well, have issues with all that financial terminology.)

Read the article here!

The lessons will wait until next week. Excitingly, though, I'll be able to take two lessons next week, Wednesday and Friday. It's a first!

Also, I rode Greta last night and firstly, she actually left the round bale for me when I called her (very few horses do that, as I'm sure all of you well know) and was just a saint for anything and everything. I rode her in the covered arena after an outdoor arena streak these past few days. I actually kept my hands over her withers and out of my lap (a bad, recently realized habit of mine) and she did super well! She was chewing and accepting the bit most of the time, and, well, it was just a nice ride! She'll be used as a tacking-up and grooming demonstration pony Tuesday next week for a school club! Even though she has her spooky moments, she is quite the saint on the ground. Bless her.

So, yes, exciting day and an exciting weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

3 Goals.... modified!

Well, scrap that circus idea, though I'm sure Greta would make quite the carnie. As for purple, it'll still be an ongoing process. After our ride today, I looked back on what our most trying moments were, and I realized that they've been that way for a while. So, that all finished my list very quickly:

  1. To improve our canter transitions. I want to be able to have developed such a feel at the trot that I know when to sit and immediately ask for a canter, as Greta's inside leg is coming forward. I want to have developed such a feel at the canter too, so we don't fall into the trot (not like our canter-trot transitions are as drastic of a fall-down as they used to be, but we still fall into the trot haha!)
  2. To be able to maintain contact from a stretch (free walk, stretching trot, etc.) back up to a working frame. Either I'm throwing away the contact when I pick up the reins, or Greta's taken by surprise, or something, but we gotta stay connected. I want to be able to keep that contact and still stay in a pretty frame (through contact comes first before maintaining a frame does, as always!)
  3. To be able to maintain a nice riding position throughout a ride: deep seat, heavy in the thighs and not the stirrups, hands above the withers. I want to be able to keep that basic position and not be stiff in it, I want to still be able to communicate effectively with Der Greters.
  4. (per request) Be the best MUDDER that der Greter could ever wanter!!!

3 Goals

I was asked by my instructor to have 3 goals that I want to fulfill in about 6 months in mind by Friday's lesson. So, I have begun. Number 1 is a for-sure, number 2 and 3 are still in debate:
  1. To improve our canter transitions. I want to be able to have developed such a feel at the trot that I know when to sit and immediately ask for a canter, as Greta's inside leg is coming forward. I want to have developed such a feel at the canter too, so we don't fall into the trot (not like our canter-trot transitions are as drastic of a fall-down as they used to be, but we still fall into the trot haha!)
  2. To teach Greta how to talk, jump through hoops of fire, and do ballet so I can threaten her with sending her off to the circus for misbehavior and actually have some credibility behind my threat.
  3. To rock purple even more than we already do.
Really, I'm so stuck beyond canter transitions.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Quote of the Day - Akiko Yamazaki

"As an owner, I want to show the world, through my horse [Ravel] and talented rider [Steffen Peters], that there is a way of riding that is 'American.' ... America, through its unique history, has been able to produce the best in every field because it draws from the best in the world. Ravel's team includes a Dutch-bred horse, a German-born rider, a Mexican-born groom and vet, a French-born farrier, a therapist who lives in a town called Rough-and-Ready, a freestyle person of Italian descent, and an owner who is of Japanese descent, born in Costa Rica. Where else does something like that happen and create something greater than the sum of its parts? Only in America!"
-Akiko Yamazaki

Heintzberger, Amber, and Akiko Yamazaki. "Made in America." USDF Connection October 2010: pg. 60

Oh, the things you can do... in a week!

Firstly, Greta and I had our first lesson with trainer "New L" (I would say "NL" but the Netherlands doesn't play into any of this.... but we just had an "L", hmmm...... I'll think of something) and I must say that I LOVE her! The first thing she did after watching Greta and I warm up was to point out that I was sitting on my pelvis, not my "seat bones". I thought that I've always sat on my "seat bones". When I posted the trot, instead of landing back on my seat bones and keeping the landing padded, I was landing on my crotch, not hard, but definitely not correct either. My hands are still a bit too quiet and they could stand to be a bit more forward on Greta's neck (I can imagine Greta thinking, "Hmm... she's quiet, too quiet..... OH THERE SHE IS!) and I need to be lighter in my stirrups and heavier in my thighs. She was amazed that I don't pinch with my knees and that I grip with the insides of my thigh when I post.

Her report on Greta (and I was glad to hear this of my Shining Star) was that A) the girl's got a good work ethic even if she can get bossy and distracted sometimes, and B) once I fixed my seat, sat up taller, filled out my sacral area, stayed tall through the transitions, helped her balance with her head, and pretty much improved my position... Greta instantly rounded up beneath me, halted from the trot without star gazing, and overall just turned around. Basically, most of our problems were me! And it's much easier for me to fix myself than it is for me to fix Greta!

New L also had us ride in the outdoor arena, which I mentioned when we had talked previously that the outdoor arena always presented a challenge for Greta's nerves, especially when the cows come home (literally). Yesterday, she said that we would be riding in the outdoor arena and that she "hoped some cows show up!"

So as you can imagine my fear of anything and everything going wrong.

Greta had her spooky moments, especially when the cows came home, but all in all with L's help (I mean New L, but just from here on I'll just say L, deal with it) we worked through them! Yay!

Our next lesson will be a longe line lesson! Because I need it! And I'm quite excited!

But like I was saying, a lot can happen in a week! Greta and rode initially in the outdoor arena Wednesday night with great success, until the cows came home. But even then, I've seen her do worse. We had successful trail rides around the property. Greta trotted over the bridge, quite enthusiastically, like it was no problem. We jumped a small crossrail three times last night and I will say that when Greta jumps, she JUMPS like she's crossing a six foot spread! I was prepared to sit a nice, pretty, little jump. Not like I've EVER had any formal jumping equitation lessons, but I still sat it without hitting her back, though I definitely fell forward on her neck upon being lurched forward! LOL Greta!

Greta also discovered the wonders of being sprayed with sparkle spray after Bre whined that Western riders get all the cool sparkly, blingy stuff and dressage riders just get white and black (and, if we're feeling particularly creative, brown or grey!) and then boarders proceeded to call Greta Golightly "Gredward" and "Greta Go Sparkly" and "Sparkle Pony" and it was all great fun. Greta could care less though, it was just another strange thing sprayed on her body. I was happy though Greta and I could be SPARKLY, too!

All our rides this week were wonderful. And Greta now has a snazzy new black fleece cooler with gold braiding for those CHILLY Texas winters! Her pink plaid sheet will be coming in next week so she doesn't get a winter coat! Because, unlike last year, she's really being worked and a thick winter coat will not help any!

Daily "I follow you like puppy" routine :)

Pretty sunset face :)

Sexy chica! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Good, then Bad, then Good!

Greta gave me a scare this week! She got into a little fight with another mare Tuesday. Sadly, the other mare got the worst of it, but she is doing much better now, no lameness, just some ugly cuts. Greta probably got kicked firmly enough on her LH hock to be ever so slightly off, so her back legs were sponged with liniment, then hosed with warm water for ten minutes, then sponged with liniment again (liniment is magical!) given a gram of bute, and left in for a night. She was much better Wednesday, and was let out to be a normal pasture horse again. My parents were kind enough to do all this Wednesday because I had two helluva essays due Thursday!!

Thursday, I cheated on Greta and was with other horses in our school's homecoming parade! I led little minis and cooled out the two horses that were ridden once the parade was over. It was really fun!

And Friday I put Greta on the longeline to check her out. She was sound *whew!* but a little stiff, but considering she really hadn't been worked for a week it was understandable, so getting her to engage her haunches in the trot took a while, but she worked it out, bless her. I opted that I much rather get Greta back in gear than go see a football game... which we lost haha!

Today I met my (possibly) new instructor and I have to say that so far I REALLY like her! She was very interested in Greta, and seemed ready and willing to not only help us progress in our riding, but also things like trailer loading and "densensitizing" her to the scary parts of the property like the outdoor arena and walking by the utility shed! She believes, and I was very glad to hear this, that bonding exercises such as the last two would carry over into our riding and make us a much better team. Very exciting!

I rode Greta today for a half an hour and it went well. She really did not want to bend around my inside leg AT ALL. She was this way last time I rode her last Saturday as well. It really takes a LOT of convincing, and it is frustrating. But really, I think today's ride was one of the best we've had in a while. We were both relaxed and she was much more willing to engage her haunches and reach for the bit, even if she was counterflexed! The few times, after a great deal of convincing, that she did bend correctly then she was promptly rewarded with a brief walk break and a pat! I stretched out her legs and neck before I rode her, and I do think that helped to keep her less stiff. I also kept my hands out of my lap haha, and met her "halfway" right over her withers, and she reached for the bit much more nicely.

She's always so good and eager to work, and thank goodness she's forward! I feel so happy to have such a healthy, happy, opinionated horse! I love all her personality.

Also, I found out from the vet today about Greta's mysterious sweat spot on her shoulders. It drives me crazy and it looks very wierd, but thankfully it's harmless and it's just going to have to be something she'll grow out of... in a few years! At some point in her life one of the minor surface nerves was hit with a needle or a kick or something, but it (and I quote the vet) "screwed up" the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves that the affected nerve connects with, so it makes a long mark down the front of her shoulder and down to her chest and then down to the inside of the same upper foreleg. So now, if she stands still, then she gets dark and slick with sweat in that one spot on her shoulders. When she's working, then it doesn't sweat. It just looks wierd!!! But so long as it's harmless, hen I'm happy.

But it still drives me crazy.

Because it looks very wierd.