Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is stylish: Silver Screen

Five Star Tack's "Bridles with Benefits"

Cross-post from another blog, but sounds like a WONDERFUL program!

Here is a cool program for those of you cleaning out your tack rooms and thinking of getting a new show bridle or two!


Five Star Tack “Bridles with Benefits”.

Send a used bridle in good condition to Five Star Tack.

They will give you 10% off any new bridle, AND send the used bridle to Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue.

Five Star Bridles and Strap Goods are beautiful quality and quickly becoming the bridle of choice for eventers, show hunters, jumpers, etc.

For more information on the program go to

Five Star Tack: Charities

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Woooo, I need a hobby!

As much as love riding the ponies... I go home and really just sit on the computer haha! SO I'm volunteering at the local humane society next month, and then when college starts I'm ROCK CLIMBING!!! I have some old scores to settle with the Barton Creek cliff faces. And indoor rock walls. I have old scores to settle with rock climbing in general. That and I will also be walking up and down the giant hill that makes up Texas State. It seriously is like climbing a Mayan temple. I had to go halfway down the hill to the testing center during orientation, and I counted a little over twenty flights of steps (staircase steep, not the big, easy, flat kind) with a little over twenty steps on each flight. And that doesn't count the multilevel buildings, since those are built into the hill too and the elevators aren't always a practical option! I will have a body like one of the Williams sisters!

But I do get to pass by their super cool horse statue in the middle of the campus. I like to take a good long stare at it every time I go by. It is a truly fascinating statue.

The college does have an IHSA team, BUT lessons are extra and I won't have the time and it would get expensive. Greta and I will get to know each other even better then haha!

My jumping lesson last week made me realize how weak I really am LOL! Jumpers... you rock!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Grampy's pony, Miss Choco! We've actually had her for almost a year now haha, I've just been so Greta-centric I suppose. Boo :(

But isn't she a cutie? Her AQHA name is Hot Chocolate Sundae, and she's by Zips Chocolate Chip. She's a bit lazy, but Grampy has taken her a long way. She's such a good girl. She also stretches very nicely when you post the trot lol. My legs were like jelly, so I felt it would not be fair to try and post the trot on her without stirrups haha!

And excuse the chair seat, my legs are a bit long on her :)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I wish I had gotten video...

Firstly, I have been riding so much more than last summer. It's awesome. It started with doing little mini rides on lesson horses, then Greta gets awesome-er, then resident reining rider lets me do some mini-lessons on his finished reining QH (kind of got the spin down, the sliding stop... well, let's say I was happy to get a bit of a skid out of him, it's harder than it looks! But boy, that horse doesn't look like a fool with his bum on the ground sliding for several feet haha!), then I asked trainer if she had horses that needed riding (I always feel presumptuous when I do things like that, but that's about all you can do, I suppose). One thing didn't lead to another, but the whole deal is very cool.

So, I am now riding a greenie gelding named Salvation, for the time being, at least. I have only rode him three times, counting today's ride, and he's really cool. He tries a lot and is super brave (I call him "the brave little toaster"). He was being an especially cute baby today, but alas I forgot my camera. You guys WILL see him, promise!

Speaking of which, riding him today, trainer asks me to put him into a canter. I had seen it on the longeline, and it's pretty big. But one does not realize the full extent of these things until you actually ride it. His canter is freaking huge. Well, compared to Greta at least, with her little pony princess prance gaits.

Anyway, I digress... he did just fine cantering to the left, got big pats, because I got some pretty prompt responses out of him. Then going to the right, his iffy side, I also got some very prompt responses (thought I was riding a finished schoolmaster for a minute, then the imbalance made me quickly realize I wasn't haha) BUT he kept picking up the left lead, bless him. After about the sixth or seventh try, we pick up the canter again in the corner and he picked up the left lead but then quickly swapped it to the right lead! And within two strides! What a dude!

And then I went to go pat him, surprised him, and he went back to a trot. Ooops.

But still, he got big pats and called it a day. Cuz what he did was really cool.

I also realize I really need to strengthen my legs because they were almost like jelly today, which probably didn't help him any when I was asking for a right lead canter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Still can't figure out the moral...

A funny story told to me by a farrier today:

J. was trimming the hooves of a young girl's (spoiled and plump) gelding. She had gone off to get something, and in her absence, said gelding thought it would be great fun to try and take a chunk out of the farrier. The farrier, performing a most natural reaction, popped the horse on the shoulder and yelled the common expression of alarm at appalling behavior, "You S-O-B!".

He did not know that this gelding's little girl was coming back down the barn aisle and had heard him.

Skip forward to Sunday morning at the church both the farrier and the girl go to, and little girl told on J. to the pastor.

"Mr. J. cussed at my horse," she said quite solemnly.

"Okay, I'll have a talk with him," said the pastor reassuringly.

Skip forward to after the service, the pastor finds J. and pulls him aside.

"Now, I'm know we're all adults and we're allowed to curse, and it's not like you do it a lot or obscenely, but a pair of little ears told me they heard you call their horse an S-O-B? She wasn't very happy."

J. chuckled, recalled the story, and joked, "If you were around as many horses as I am and have to put up with as much nonsense as they can give me, you'd be cursing too!"

The pastor put his hand on J's shoulder, quite serious, and patted it. "J, that's why Jesus rode a donkey."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lesson 6-20-2011 WHEE BITLESS

"Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air, because I know I can count on you. Sometimes I feel like saying, 'Lord, I just don't care,' but you got the love I need to see me through."

It's not that Greta has a problem with the bit, but this really forces me to use my seat, because I can really get "handy". I like it :)

We're looking more and more like a legit dressage duo every ride!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

When you're down.....

... listen to feel-good Disney songs!

Now, in all seriousness... I know a couple of people out there who are going through some difficult stuff with horses, pets, family, etcetera right now. I am at the tail-end of some difficult medical problems myself, and at the beginning of it all, instead of getting bummed out (not that I wasn't, because we shouldn't be excited for such things haha!) I remembered this song and it got me PUMPED!

Like Donny Osmand's character said, you need strength and discipline to retrieve the arrow.


A nerd and her horse ;)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lesson 6-13-2011

Warmed up in the pasture, really worked on her stretching for the bit (she has had some issues with that the past few days, but when she stretches she can STRETCH) and then did some baby leg yields. Only got video of the ones at the trot, we did a lot at the walk and trot, and while none of them were spot-on, she was really trying hard to figure it out and get it right... she was like "Wait.... you want me to go forward AND sideways? What the HECK?"

I told her I would love for her to be like a Willy Wonka elevator. Those can go forward and sideways!

But poor thing, I have a tough time opening up my seat for her. I tend to sit more on the side of the direction she's traveling in, which is definitely not opening things up for her lol! I also have a tough time slowing her shoulders so she is straight and not just going in a diagonal with her neck bent. She also loves to really overbend from the withers, even when my inside rein is absolutely slack. Silly girl! She's only doing what she thinks is right!

She has an easier time leg-yielding to the right, because she likes to stand up on that shoulder! Which is why cantering to the left is easier for her than the right. She gets a bit counterflexed going to the right and thus ends up being a bit unbalanced and strung out lol. But MUCH better than what she was 6 months ago. And goodness knows we look better than we did 2 years ago haha!

And her canter has come such a long ways! I love her canter. She's got a big, beautiful canter and walk. She could stretch even more at the trot, but that's pretty easy to fix. And fix it we shall!

Fun stuff. What a doll :)

Barn Menagerie

Peafowl, chickens, turkeys, crazy barn cats (but no mice!), a resident rabbit, occasional deer, and even a coop of racing pigeons! The barn has got quite the menagerie. And none of the critters will ever be seeing the chopping block, although I and other boarders have threatened the noisy chickens and the ones that wander into the arena while a horse is cantering have threatened them with that..... heehee.

Oh, and the SmartCar that shows up practically every day ;)

Greta is a saint :)

Greta helps me give lil bro a mini lesson :)

Seriously, she loves taking care of the little guys - granted, he's not a little kid, but Greta is always very gentle with all the little lesson kiddos that come to the barn, whether she's in the stall or getting groomed and tacked up. They can feed her treats and she won't get nippy and she'll let them pet her all over, just absolutely relaxed (I don't think she's ever gotten nippy in the two years I've owned her, nor kicked out or even put an ear wrong.... other horses, not so much!)

Oh, and in honor of National Helmet Awareness Day (and to protect lil bro's brains!) I made him wear my helmet on my CRAZY pony!

AND I have loved this song for four years now. Just so... chill.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

What a steal! Not!

I had sent a SWB farm up in Collinsville, TX, an email last year asking about information on a SWB inspection they would be hosting. I have a member number and everything, I just kind of wanted to know the time and details haha! Well, they never responded, so that was a bust, BUT......

I magically got an email today (my email ended up on their mailing list for this mass email) and it went a little something like this:

"Hello All,
I have just returned from another successful trip to Sweden where I found numerous nice dressage horses from 4 yrs to GP for under 50k usd. If you are interested in viewing some of the horses that are still available just click on the links below..."

Under 50k? What a steal! That's more than what I hope all four years of college will cost my family and I!

But, just for grins and giggles, and because nothing makes me happier than to see pretty ponies, I decided I'd browse through the 14 links to YouTube videos sent. They all pretty much looked the same. But THIS guy...... whoa. Kind of blew me away. A bit flashy in the front, and if that was natural then phooey... I would be hoping it could be trained out. But he's by Okeanos (don't know the dam, much less his name or gender, as I'm calling him a 'he' out of assumption now, but a 'she' would be extraordinarily awesome lol! I'd hate to know such important information like that!) so that's a very good start, and then he's also a grey!

To sum this baby up in one word.... ELECTRIC.

Tie me kangaroo down, sport......

We've all rode a jump like this. They're crazy!!! It's the song that makes it. I thought I was the only person my age that knew this song ;)

Riding 6-6-2011

lol excuse some of the filming. My poor brother couldn't quite figure how to work the Flip. And I think he took me a bit literally when I said, "Just keep the camera rolling on Greta." But bless him he got up as early as I did to film (which is about 7:00 in the morning now that it's so hot!)

Notice her trot is much more energetic, and her canter much better as well. I tried to get a simple lead change out of her towards the end of the video, had not prepared her very well, so she continued to counter canter and it was not bad at all, so I rolled with it! I felt her almost want to do a lead change, but I have no idea how to ask her for one lol, so I didn't help her out much there either! Oops!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Horse | Does a Horse's Work Affect His Personality?

The Horse | Does a Horse's Work Affect His Personality?

Not the reason why I posted this, but thought it would be interesting to point out:

"According to the researchers, "The fact that dressage riders expect their horses to react quickly to their orders might develop their 'sensitiveness' to the point that can easily lead to nervousness, and by repetition in the long term, become an integral part of the horse's personality."

Which is why many of your "old masters" of dressage constantly stress the important of cross-training.

I popped Greta over a crossrail the other day and, as always, we both ended a good light ride with a great deal of fun! It's hard to cross-discipline, because many riders get terribly focused on perfecting work in the arena, that they can forget they can also work on some of the same skills on a short trail ride, going over ground poles or jumps, from the ground, or just in a new area in general. When I take Greta for short hacks around the property, if she's uneasy about something and wants to move away from it, I try and turn it into a leg-yield (very successful with that today!) I have more room to work on basic speed-up/slow-down at the canter in the pasture in the morning when the horses are already inside for the day (they get night turn-out now that it's so hot) and do a normal ride as well. It just spices things up because we're in a different setting on uneven ground, and we both have to become super aware of where Greta's feet are as we go up and down and around and over the small hills and slopes. Fun stuff!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Steffen Peters: Improving The Uphill Balance in The Canter

One of my favorite riders! If you're new to the blog, you can scroll down a bit and on the side is a picture I took with him at one of his clinics at Valhalla Stables in the DFW area! Wonderful clinician! Anyway, a interesting vid from a video series he's been doing on the USDF's YouTube channel (USDFORG) and relative to some things I'm working on right now (the bare basics of it, anyway). Sorry the sound's a bit shoddy, it's like that on all of the videos.

Riding 6/6/2011

AKA Look at the little harem girl! With her net people have also said she looks like Zorro, The Dread Pirate Roberts, a beekeeper, and a bandito! Or... bandita?

LOL whatever works, right? Notice it's also too hot for a normal saddle pad. We're moving to the baby pad (yay for a properly-fitting saddle!) and yesterday we dawdled around the property bareback. Whee!

Also, I try to ride in the outdoor arena too, but seeing as we have had some record-setting heat (a high or 101 today) and even in the morning (I'm talking 8 AM!) there's enough heat and humidity to steam vegetables (usually there's wind, but there was NONE today!!) then we've been pretty much covered-arena-bound for the past couple of weeks!

Yeah.... nothing new :)

"Hold me close now tiny dancer...." haha

LOL at her awkward-yet-super-engaged lengthening!

See? I told you we're getting that cantering thing down! She can hold this for a few strides. Getting her to hold it for a whole lap around the arena is something else haha! It really makes me seat muscles BURN! But it's not bad.

A little strung out, but better than a few months ago!

Kind of the same thing with the trot. Enough strength to hold this loveliness for a few strides, but still working on longer periods.

This is what most of the cantering looks like. But like I said, nothing bad! :)

And like I said before..... nothing new ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In Memory of the True Prospect Horses

A Short Note on a Fashion Faux-Pas

This is a wonderful article on the latest "fashion trend" where people put fly fishing feathers in their hair. Honestly, I think it looks like A) you got stuck in the chicken coop, B) you got snagged during a fly fishing trip, or C) you got kidnapped by a tribe of cannibals and are about to take part in their decorative ceremony before they eat you. Take your pick on what "look" you're trying to go for :)

That Article

I didn't think anything of this trend (besides that it looked silly, but so do my fingernails that I painted white because I saw it on a French runway model! I am not guiltless!) until I read that article and starting looking into how fly fishing baits are made. Now I am bothered by this trend.

Now, the author of that article definitely seems to be siding more with the fashion trend than the very valuable, genetically selected, and time-consuming birds that are being plucked to death in extremely high numbers so people can feel better about themselves. Animals being commercialized by fellow animals who forget that they are fellow animals. What's new, right?

Anyway, at least the fly fishermen who use these baits use them for a long time and appreciate the value and sacrifice of these animals. As the article explained, it is a painstaking process to grow out these extravagant feathers, and the birds do not often survive the plucking. Of course the fisherman appreciates the great value these costly baits have!

Now, if you still MUST put feathers in your hair like an African queen with the last name of Smith who lives in the middle of suburbia, then there are cruelty free feathers out there. I have looked on Etsy and there are they there in large numbers. Supposedly these feathers come from show roosters and other foul with nice plumage, but instead of the feathers being plucked off, they are collected after the birds naturally molt. And if you think a bird doesn't produce a lot of feathers when it molts, then you have not been around birds! (We own a cockatiel, and they're not that big!) They are a bit more expensive because not as many feathers are produced as when you pluck them and the birds are kept in very nice conditions (did I mention show birds?) but I would much rather pay more for happy animals!

I'm no PETA fan, but I don't like it when we harm animals for the sake of beauty, even if the specified idea of "beauty" is questionable.

You're favorite Crazy Tree-Hugger and her Horse!

P.S. I'm going for at least a B.S. in Wildlife Biology at Texas State, so I'll be able to sound more "edumakated" about these issues! YAY!!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Jillian Michaels and Buzz

WOAH! My grandfather showed me an article in Cowboys and Indians about Jillian Michael and her horse, Buzz, and my first thought was "SHE RIDES?"

As far as rider fitness goes, I imagine she's quite the ideal example ;)

Anyway, my second thought was, "Wow, Buzz is a dead-ringer for Odin, save a bigger star on his forehead. I wonder if he's a Perch/Fresian cross? He looks a lot like one."

Remember Odin?

Read the article a bit, and he most certainly is a Perch/Fresian cross. He is also a Premarin foal/rescue, so that was really cool to read that he was rescue as well. She also described Buzz as like a big puppy, also like Odin. AND they do dressage!

He is almost Odin's twin, save that Odin was a former Amish carthorse, but in personality and looks they are very much alike. Very weird! I wonder if all Perch/Fresian crosses are like this? I would be eager to find another and see for myself!

Anyway, Odin left fall 2010, so thus ended my days of riding him (really, I had to stop when school started, he moved later) but I couldn't help but think of him when I saw this! Now Jillian just needs to get herself a Greta-like pony and her world will be complete!