Year #3 - 2007

Updated December 31, 2007

JANUARY 1, 2007

Here it is, the new year, and the start of Corky's official three-year-old year. In other words.....crunch time!

Today's ride was fairly good. She had a lot of drive today at the canter, yet I had to constantly push her at the trot. I actually got some canters at the end that were rather pleasant! Once again I kept our ride kind of short. I just don't want to push it so soon after our trip to the vet hospital last week.

Here are some photos to start the year off:

And here's one of Taylor, don't want to leave her out!

JANUARY 3, 2007

I got Corky out today and let her run around the arena. She really didn't want to run much, even when Taylor was leaping through the air and acting silly. She seemed ever so slightly off on one foreleg. It was so slight, I had a hard time telling which leg it was. I am thinking it is the left foreleg...possibly an abscess? An abscess would be ideal - better than anything more serious going on with the muscles or bones. She didn't seem touchy to the hoof pick, but just seemed ever so slightly ouchy at the trot and reluctant to go forward. I will go back out tomorrow and see if it is worse or better. She is such a baby about pain. I hope it is something minor....I hope I go out tomorrow and see no sign of anything! Keep your fingers crossed, another vet bill right now would be an absolute disaster.

JANUARY 5, 2007

I think it was all in my imagination - Corky is fine, and has been for a couple days. I rode her tonight and she was awesome! I quit after about 15 minutes. She cantered nice and easy for me, ears were relaxed, and she was very pleasant. Yay!!!!

JANUARY 6, 2007

Today was a weird ride. Corky started getting very balky again and would NOT go forward. I had to use my legs on her every single stride at the trot to keep her moving out. Normally I don't have to do this. She had a bit of an attitude and just felt like being lazy. Other than her laziness, she was very good today.

JANUARY 7, 2007

Today I hauled Corky over to my friend Willie's place to ride. Willie has a huge indoor arena that is literally about twice the length of ours. Corky's trot was amazing in that nice big arena. It was nice to ride her in a place that let her really stretch out and move. Her canter was a bit out of control. Forward motion was not a problem for us today! She took advantage of the very large arena and was a bit hard to control. I am realizing now how much I have been relying on the walls for control at the canter. In a large open area I don't have as good a handle on her that I had thought.

You know, looking at my calendar, this weekend would have been 21 days from her last rotten period - right before her heat cycle. She wasn't quite as rotten as the last 2 months, but maybe her heat cycles are finally starting to shut down for the winter. I should have checked my calendar before I rode! I'll have to make note of this.

Here's a short video from today's ride - minus all the bad parts (the crowhopping, balking, etc. LOL!)
Corky - January 7, 2007

JANUARY 8, 2007

I expected Corky to be horrible today but she wasn't too bad. I think she is coming out of her PMS syndrome. She started getting heavy and luggy on the bit, so I broke down and put the draw reins on her to lighten her up and not let her lean on my hands. She did awesome in them! I didn't have to put any pressure on them. I rode with my regular reins also, and just had the draw reins on my pinkies for support. She immediately relaxed when she discovered she couldn't lean on them, and relaxed her head and neck and rode with minimal contact on the bit. I love it! We had some very nice canter transitions also. She did buck once, but I disciplined her and we went on to have a good ride after that.

I am making progress by tiny tiny tiny little increments, I think. My trainer contacted me and is working out a deal with me since I am so destitute, and it looks like Corky may be heading down her way very soon for a few months of training. I think I have taken her as far as I can without totally screwing her up. At this point in our training I need some serious guidance. She has SO much potential, and I have SO much more to learn! I am excited, this might just work out for all of us this winter! I'll keep you posted...


After unloading 1250 lbs of grain tonight, I managed to find enough energy to ride Corky one last time at home before she heads to Stacey's tomorrow night. She started off her usual way - full of attitude, but worked out of it rather quickly tonight. We ended the ride with some of the most awesome cantering I have ever sat...it flowed like butter! She is VERY hard to sit the canter because she drives so deep with her inside hind leg, but when she is throwing me around in the saddle I know she looks awesome underneath. I am excited for our future...I hope she behaves at Stacey's and learns how to be a good horse! Stacey is such a great trainer, making it possible for me to being Corky into training this weekend even with my serious financial difficulties right now. I hope we do well for her!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2007,br>

Last night I hauled Corky to Stacey's...5 hours in the pouring rain. Corky was an excellent traveler! We reached Bardstown, Kentucky around 11:00pm. She unloaded in the pitch dark and went into her stall like she had lived there forever. What a good girl. Saturday I rode her, and Stacey rode her. She was pretty good. She cantered well, and didn't show her terrible bucking sprees that she exhibited the last time we rode here in Kentucky! I was relieved...I didn't want everyone there thinking she was completely rank. Now her education really begins. I miss her at home so much...we have never been apart! I plan on going back in 2 weeks to ride and see her progress. It was so tough to leave her there, but I know this is for the best. It's time to progress her training and see what level she has potential for. I have great big huge dreams for her, and now it's time to try and make them a reality. Stay tuned!

Corky in her stall at Golden View Training Center


It's been a weird week without Corky at home! I spoke to Stacey this morning about how Corky was doing. It seems she had a bit of swelling on her tendon the day after I left last weekend, so Stacey had wrapped it and gave her a few days off. We will go ahead and have that tendon checked out next week to make sure it is OK. I am trying very hard not to panic. It's not working, though!

I guess Corky has been feeling very insecure in this new place without me there. She is acting very defensive and very unsure of herself around the other people and horses. Isn't that interesting? I know she really latched on to me ever since she was a baby - still follows me around like a dog when she is turned out. I think she wonders why I deserted her! I am heading down there next weekend...I can't wait any longer and I need to see how she is doing.


After only 2 weeks with Stacey, I didn't expect to see a huge difference in Corky when I came down to Kentucky today. Boy was I wrong! There was a MASSIVE difference in her. A lot had to do with changing saddles, but then I have always known Stacey is a bit of a miracle worker! Corky was MUCH more relaxed, with very little ear-pinning or tail swishing (in fact her tail moved very little the entire ride!). She was moving forward freely, relaxed in her topline, and was SO pretty! The videos tell it all, look at the difference from just a few weeks ago. Stacey seems to be able to get a much smoother ride out of her than I can (yet). I am very excited, this horse has SO much natural talent and now is finally starting to work with it.
Corky with Stacey riding
Corky with me riding


Corky got another good report card from Stacey! She is still riding well! This is always great to hear. I feel like a proud parent sometimes...this is the closest I will ever get to being a parent!

The vet came out and checked her tendon and it looks like everything is OK. BIG relief on my mind! The chiropractor came out and found her back to be in good shape and didn't need any major adjusting (imagine that - having a horse that doesn't have her back out ever 30 days!). But he did find that she was sensitive to her stomach pressure points and extremely sensitive to her intestine pressure points. He believes she has ulcers. Ulcers! What else??? I swear, this horse is truly my problem child. The ulcers quite possibly have been there since birth, and could be a reason for her excessive gas she has had since a baby, and can also be the culprit for the gas colic she had in December. We are going to try to put her on a special medication to sooth her stomach for a month and see if this helps. This also could explain the anger and discomfort she shows when you apply strong leg pressure to her sides.

Always something with this horse...but she is worth it!!!


I drove down to Kentucky this weekend to ride. Corky got her vaccinations on Friday, so her neck was very sore on Saturday. We didn't put a lot of pressure on her because of this, it was obvious she was uncomfortable bending or flexing her neck. We gave her some bute and she felt a lot better on Sunday.

I rode in the morning in the western saddle and she was excellent! We waited until the afternoon and then tried her out in my English saddle. I think she was a little surprised at getting ridden twice in one day! She rode very good in my English saddle. I was very happy that I felt extremely comfortable in my English saddle. I guess I will never feel as secure in a western saddle, that's just me! Corky's canter is so deep it really throws you around, but I found I sat better in the English saddle than the western...go figure!

The plan is to have Stacey haul Corky to Tennessee in 3 weeks to a show and ride her around to get used to traffic. That seems to be a big issue with her. She is very defensive about horses getting too close to her (probably stems from 2 years of Taylor torturing her when they are turned out together LOL!). Once we get that issue figured out and her transitions get more solid, we might be ready to show! She still isn't solid in picking up her left lead. She picks it up wrong about 75% of the time. Hopefully that will improve as she learns to listen more to leg and body cues.

Here is a video of me riding in my English saddle...our second ride that day.
CORKY - 2/18/07


I headed to Kentucky again for the weekend to ride. Corky was coming into heat...uh-oh! You know what that means!!!! On Saturday she was incredibly balky. The minute I put my leg on her, she would slam on the brakes and not move. At one point I was thumping her sides with both feet plus smacking her butt with a crop and she wouldn't budge. The weird thing was that once I did finally get her moving, she did great...it was just getting her into each gait that was the problem. I remember earlier this fall when we would run into the balkiness when she came into heat, she would be very nasty and want to buck a lot. Today, however she didn't buck at all or even act like she wanted to.

Sunday was a bit better. I didn't need to smack her with the crop, but I still had to thump her sides when she balked. Since this was a brand new problem that had not happened all week, I was not too worried. I know how horrible she gets when she is coming into heat. ReguMate will be my best friend this show season!!!

We spent some time outlining our plans for her this year. BIG plans include the NSBA Breeders Championship and World Show in August, and Congress in October. Beyond that, we just need to get her show broke! Stacey is heading to Harriman, Tennessee next week for a 4-day show and will haul Corky along for the ride and experience. She wants to see how she will act being ridden in the crowds and in strange arenas. It kills me to not be there...no way can I get off work to drive 8 hours to Tennessee. I hope she does me proud, I really think she will probably handle the show atmosphere OK. But, I still worry!


I called Stacey tonight, she was at a show in Harriman, Tennessee with Corky. Good news! Corky was great! Stacey rode her around during the breaks and after hours and Corky handled the strange arenas very well. This is exciting news, because we all know how wonderful it is to ride a horse you can trust not to spook at new things. What a welcome change. No offense to Taylor, but she could be rather unpredictable at new places, or where there was a lot of commotion going on. Now if we can get her transitions fixed (mainly her walk to canter transitions), we will be ready to show!


I made a quick trip to Kentucky to ride Corky. Stacey was out of town, so I was on my own. Corky was much better for me this time than 2 weeks ago, but she still pulled the balking thing with me when I asked for a canter. This is so frustrating, especially when she is NOT doing it with Stacey, only myself! Once she got into the canter, she was fantastic. This horse has SO much talent, the problem now is teaching me how to bring it out of her. I am going back in a couple weeks for 3 days of intensive riding with Stacey to see if we can get everything worked out.

In keeping with the tradition of showing that with every journey to success you have to hit a few bumps in the road...here's an 'ouch' video for you!
Somehow, we are getting our signals crossed, and she is just refusing to work with me. Where is the appreciation - I raised her from a baby and nurtured her! Kids...grrrr...the good ones are very frustrating.

Oh yes, and I measured her today. She is 17' and 1/4 inch at the hip, and 16'3" 1/4 inch at the withers. She grew a little bit since last measurement.

SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2007

I talked to Stacey on the phone, and we discussed our plans for Corky. I am thrilled to hear that Corky is going to be her #1 three year old huntseater this year. I am excited - this is a horse I bred, raised, and broke myself...and it's so exciting to know that she is quality enough to move ahead all of the other 3 year olds in the barn (including one Congress champion!). It is a lot of pressure for me, along with heady excitement. The pressure is in the financial sense - I make a fraction in salary of what most everyone else on the circuit makes, and this comes with a lot of personal sacrifices. I hope and pray that everything goes well this year and that no disasters occur that would drain my finances. This could be the most exciting year of my life (horse-wise)! Stay tuned....


I spent the past 3 days in Kentucky doing some intensive riding on Corky. Of course, I timed it just right to show up just as she was coming into heat. She was incredibly balky at the canter transition. It was amazing how great she was once she was moving, but getting her into the canter was ugly - lots of side-thumping and butt-beating. By Saturday morning both Stacey and I were frustrated with her attitude, so Stacey decided it was time we tried a pair of little English spurs. I let her try them first (LOL!). Surprisingly, Corky was actually really good with the spurs! We both thought she would be very irate with them, but Stacey started off very gentle with subtle pressure, and got some very nice canter transitions out of her. Then I hopped in the saddle and tried it and got some very nice ones myself! Hooray...finally some success!!! I despise riding in spurs, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do! I have to keep reminding myself that Corky is not Taylor, and has to be ridden and trained in a very different way.

Our first show is looming - in 2 weeks! Corky's official show debut will be April 20-22 in Frankfort, Kentucky. I am so depressed, Stacey will show her in her first junior hunter under saddle class on that Friday, but I have work and cannot take the day off so I will miss her first class. I made them all promise to have someone video her so I can see what she looks like in her very first show.


Stacey giving us some pointers on using the spur for the first time

The trot still looks awesome!

Notice the gloves and winter clothing? Easter weekend, and it was 29 degrees and snowing. It makes it hard to believe that spring is supposedly here.

"Sit back, Jan!!!!" Ugh, my worst habit. I vow to break that this year, or die trying!

4 days until Corky's first show...5 days until our first show together. I have a lot on my mind...so much is riding on this year (no pun intended!). Stacey hung a fake tail on her this past Saturday just for practice, and she tried to buck it off at the canter. I am puzzled as to why, since she wore one last fall twice when I showed her in a couple walk-trot classes at a local show. I think she just wants me to worry a bit more. I bought a pair of spurs this weekend, so we are all set. I just hope I have a nice long time to ride her before our class. I won't arrive to the show until about 3am on Saturday. The things we do just to show horses...I really think we are all crazy!!!

SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2007
Corky's first show: Frankfort, Kentucky

Well, this weekend was a learning experience for all of us! One thing we learned is where the holes are in Corky's training that we need to fix.

On Friday, Stacey showed Corky in the junior HUS...her first official class. I was stuck at work, but did get to see the video. She looked great! She made a couple greenie mistakes mainly transitions) that knocked her to the middle of the pack in placings. But overall she looked so quiet and easy, I was excited to show on Saturday.

Saturday was a different day, in more ways than one. At the last second the show management decided to change the arena we would show the hunter under saddle in. This was an arena that had been closed to riding the entire show, so Cork had never been in there. It was a scary arena - lots of stuff around the rail, big ass fans on the ceiling that were noisy and blew fast air, etc. Stacey showed her first in the junior HUS, and her ride was OK, but Corky was so distracted she just wasn't listening. Then I had to go in to Amateur HUS right afterward. By this time Corky was completely ignoring my hands and legs...she wasn't scared, but extremely interested in what was going on in and out of the arena. I felt like a little bug on her back, I had no steering and no control. Thankfully I managed to stay out of everyone's way in the class. It was ugly...downright UGLY! But it was a learning experience for both of us.

Sunday they moved the hunter under saddle back to the original arena. Stacey had a very nice ride in the junior HUS, and as usual Corky made another couple greenie mistakes. Then came my amateur class. She behaved MUCH better today for me. I felt like I really got a good ride out of her, but she was tough to show. I had to constantly remind her top focus on me. We had one very ugly downward transition that one judge caught, and she stumbled at the canter and broke in front of the other judge. We still placed 6th and 7th out of 14, and it was a tough class. I was very happy after this ride. we did get both of our walk-to-canter transitions, so that was great! And I opted to ride without spurs today (I used spurs yesterday) and that was a good choice.

Corky didn't seem to know what to do with her body on the long straight ways of the arena. After so many months of being ridden in a small indoor, she really didn't know how to hold herself and pace herself with so much room. This is one thing we will have to work on. She also was confused when the footing changed - especially where the tractor dragged unevenly. We also have a lot of work to do on her focus. The nice thing about her is that she doesn't seem to get scared at new things, just OVERLY curious and likes to look. Well, we have 3 weeks until our next show. We shall see if we can fix a few of these issues!

Here's a video from our show...bad parts cut out!!!

Corky's First Show


SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2007

I came down to Kentucky to ride this weekend. Our first ride was Sunday morning. Corky was very fresh, which equals BAD! She was so heavy on the bit, pulling and not paying attention to my cues. And of course, the awful balking habit reared it's ugly head. She even started balking when I asked her to trot!!! Another issue was standing still, when I would go off to the side and sit on her and give her a break, she would fidget and would not keep her legs still. This was after she had been worked a full hour!
,br> I gave her a 3 hour break and then rode her again in the afternoon. This session went much better. I carried a crop with me, and when she balked I had to really smack her good with it. It was so odd, as soon as I would discipline her, she would do the most beautiful canter transition. Then we'd walk a bit and I'd get another beautiful transition. Then we might walk or trot, then I ask again and she would SLAM on the brakes! There was no consistency. She was a lot lighter in the bridle during our second session. She can really bull through that plain snaffle bit when she feels like it.

My vet seems to feel a lot of these problems are hormonal. Quite possibly the 12 cc's of ReguMate aren't enough. He things she is holding on to a follicle with the ReguMate and it is causing cramping in her and making her act out. After our show this weekend we are going to take her off ReguMate and let her have a BIG heat cycle, then monitor it carefully to make sure she ovulates and the put her back on a double dose of ReguMate. I am willing to try anything at this point!

We have a show this weekend in Winfield, West Virginia. I am not feeling very positive about this show, but I know it is necessary as a learning experience for all of us.

SATURDAY, MAY 12, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CORKY! Today is her 3rd birthday. I brought her a birthday apple, and cookies for the humans in her life. It was a beautiful, warm spring day in West Virginia at the show, made even more beautiful by the incredible rides that Corky was giving us! This horse was a CHANGED horse! Stacey said they had quite a knock down-drag out fight on Tuesday when she started showing bad attitude about cantering off. Whatever happened, it worked, because she came out of her stall on Wednesday happy and willing to work. She was incredibly cooperative all weekend.

Stacey showed her first in the junior Hunter Under Saddle. She had a wonderful, smooth ride with nice transitions, not a single sign of balking! I couldn't believe this was my horse. She got 3rd out of 7, which was great for us. Then it was my turn...amateur hunter under saddle. Unfortunately there were only 4 that showed today in this class. I had a wonderful, smooth ride, one of those rides you dream about where you are on this huge, big-strided hunter that just strokes out and moves while you sit back and enjoy. We got rewarded for our great ride with a first place...Corky's first 'first place' and first half a point on her birthday! What a great gift!

That evening I got a long, intensive lesson from Stacey on riding Corky. She is becoming very easy to rate her speed using my seat and some small rein cues. We worked hard on getting me to sit back and keep my head up (my major fault I've battled with for years). As soon as I remember to sit back and look up, Corky rounds up and slows down and goes a lot easier.

Sunday was even a better day! Stacey won the junior HUS and earned Corky's first open point. Today the amateur hunter under saddle had 7 in it and we won again! I was beyond thrilled!!!!! She gave me every bit as good a ride as she did the day before. It was consistent and smooth. I could tell she was very tired, but she did her best and gave me a couple decent canter transitions with NO sign of balking. Could that problem finally be fixed for good???

I noticed on Sunday her fear of traffic (horses passing her in all directions) eased up quite a bit. She has had several good experiences in the show ring and in the warm-ups and is starting to feel confident around other horses. Yay! I am shocked and amazed at the huge difference in her in just a week. Last weekend our rides were so bad and I was feeling so discouraged. What a huge breakthrough Corky experienced this week.


Corky and I showing on Sunday

Monday, Corky comes off the ReguMate and into heat (fun fun fun!). Next on the show agenda: The Kentucky Classic AQHA show the first full week of June. Stay tuned...the ride is getting exciting!!!

THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007

I miss my girl! The end of the school year is winding down so I cannot go see her until June. Corky had a chirorpractor appointment last week, She had all sorts of parts out on different sides (I can't even remember which parts were out, there were so many). Stacey took her off ReguMate and she is disgustingly in heat right now...probably better she is down there and not here! She seems to be progressing along, Stacey reported that there have been no balking issues since she came back from the show. Could that problem finally be solved???

Now I sit and view the calendar of the rest of the show season coming up. I need to start selling body parts to pay for all of this. I keep reminding myself that she only has one three year old year, and it's time to just go for it (NSBA Breeder's Championship and Congress). Next year I may have to pare down my show schedule, but this year it's do or die...this is my 'dream year'!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I just got home from a 4-day show - The Kentucky Classic AQHA/NSBA show in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Corky and I hit some rough patches, and it was a humbling experience.

ON Friday, we warmed up and worked outside only to have a thunderstorm hit right when the hunter under saddle was ready to start. This moved the show indoors, where Corky had never been ridden. The arena was small and the classes were big...not a good combination for a crowd-paranoid horse. Stacey showed first in the Junior HUS. Amazingly, she had a beautiful ride until the very end. ON the last pass at the canter, Corky decided she had to poop, and she slammed on the brakes to go. This is a terrible habit we have been dealing with - she absolutely will NOT move forward when she goes. Stacey spurred her hard but it was too late and the judge caught her. Next, I had to hop right on and show in the Amateur HUS. Corky was very paranoid of the large crowd of horses, and alternately tried to suck back or surge forward to get away from them. It made for a very uneven ride, and we placed in the middle of the pack.

Saturday was a bright and sunny day, so we got to show outside We thought oky wasn't feeling well, and decided not to push her very hard in the morning. BIG mistake! Stacey rode her in the Junior HUS, and actually had a great ride. The best part of the ride was the moment at the first canter when Corky decided to poop (she does that a lot!). Stacey felt her hesitate and she spurred her hard, and Corky kept cantering! This was a huge training breakthrough for us. One judge caught the hesitation and marked her 3rd, but the other judge gave her the win! Our first NSBA win! Once again I had to jump right on and go in the next class - amateur HUS. Stacey warned me that Corky was getting very full of energy and building steam. Our first direction went well, but when we reversed she BLEW at the canter and bucked around the corner, then went sort-of out of control down the rail. She hated the other horses getting so close, and one horse started acting up right behind her to set her off. So we blew it in front of both judges.

That evening I got her back out to ride and get some help from Stacey. She was fighting me, so Stacey recommended I jsut get off and let her blow off some steam on the longe line. Holy cow did she blow off steam! She ran and bucked for 20 minutes straight...bucking so hard she pulled a front show off. When she was done, I got on her and was actually able to get a pretty good ride from her. The best thing was when I felt her hesitate at the trot, I pushed her on and she kept going, and when I looked behind me I noticed she had pooped while trotting! Go ahead and laugh, but it was a major breakthrough - twice in one day! ON a good note - Corky was so well-behaved at the show, never spooked at anything! I was so proud of her, we received so many nice compliments on her movement.

My first NSBA Medallions - Corky won the Junior HUS and Taylor won the Senior HUS! Check out the full show story with Taylor's details HERE!

Next on the agenda - a few more days of intensive riding with Stacey, and the MEKQHA Circuit on June 21-24.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We spent the last week together - in Kentucky at the MEKQHA Circuit from June 21-24. This was probably the most educational week I spent with Corky in Kentucky. I am feeling a lot more confident about how to handle her when she is fresh or feeling bullheaded.

We did a lot of riding on Tues-Wed-Thurs, and it paid off with a win and a 3rd out of 8 (I believe???) in Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. Stacey placed well in the Junior HUS also. By Sunday, Corky was very tired and it showed. She broke twice at the canter in my amateur HUS class. I am not too disappointed because she behaved so well for me. We finally got our canter transitions together - I keep having to remind myself to keep the spur very soft and steady and not let it 'bump' on her side (she takes that as a punishment rather than a cue).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I haven't updated in a while, it's been a crazy month! Corky got a few weeks off in July, and then we headed south to Tennessee to the Country Music Circuit. This was a 6-day show and a good opportunity for me to get 6 solid days of riding in on Corky so I can become more comfortable with her. We got a lot accomplished! We had some good rides, bad rides, ugly rides, and I think I have figured her out for the most part. Here are our show results from the circuit:

  • Wednesday - Junior HUS (Stacey riding) 1st and 5th out of 10
  • Wednesday - Amateur HUS (me) 2nd and 5th out of 9
  • Friday - Junior HUS (Stacey riding) 2nd and 7th out of 10
  • Friday - Amateur HUS (me) 3rd under both judges
  • Sunday - Junior HUS (ME riding!) 2nd and 4th out of 12!!!
  • Sunday - Amateur HUS (me) - 2nd out of 2 (all the amateurs left and went home...booo!)
  • CIRCUIT CHAMPION Amateur Hunter Under Saddle!
By Sunday, our biggest problem was that Corky was very cranky! The intense heat and many sleepless nights were getting to her. I am hoping she will be in a better frame of mind in Tulsa in August. I know it's gonna be hot down there!

Corky was very well behaved all week. Nothing in the arena bothered her...I love that! I did attempt to ride her outside when they brought the cattle in for the roping events, and the steers really scared her. I guess she will never be a cow horse, which is OK since I can't rope a stick!

Next on the show agenda: The Kentucky State Fair, and then TULSA - NSBA Breeders' Championship and World Show. You can watch us on the LIVE webcast at www.nsba.com. Stacey shows her on August 22 and 26, and I show on August 24.

Check out my full show results including Taylor's show season HERE!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Kentucky State Fair AQHA Show

It never fails, horses have a way of humbling you. I felt so good after our show in Tennessee 2 weeks ago. Things were quite different at this show.

The temperatures were ridiculously hot - in the 100's every day. Luckily the show arena was air-conditioned, so the only time I was ever comfortable was when I was actually showing. I rode Corky Monday night and Tuesday, and she rode great for me. Tuesday night I had one of those 'dream rides' where everything clicked and she went along willingly and rode awesome. Wednesday was show day. Stacey and I both rode her during the break and she was great. Unfortunately she got the idea that we were done when we left the arena, and when I went back in for my junior HUS class she was MAD! She rode the class full of attitude - bucked and farted on her first canter transition, resisted during the second and popped the wrong lead twice. It was a disaster. She needs to learn a work ethic...somehow! When she feels she is done, it takes some pretty heavy convincing to show her that she is not! Stacey and I did some 'convincing' after the class, and I went back into Amateur HUS and had a much better ride. It wasn't perfect, but it was better. We got second under one judge, last under the other (he saw a very ugly downward transition). Here is the video of parts of this class: Corky - Amateur HUS
Be patient, the video file is large and takes a while to download (go get a cup of coffee and come back!).

So now the next event on the agenda is the NSBA BCF/World Show in Tulsa in 2 weeks. I feel a lot less confident. In fact, I feel like the biggest underdog ever created. What was I thinking? We aren't ready for this!!!

Greetings from Tulsa, Oklahoma!

Corky is doing great!!! She is riding around like a pro, I am so excited. Stacey shows her in the Open Silver 3yo HUS and the Limited 3yo HUS on Wednesday, Aug. 22 in the afternoon. I show her Friday, Aug. 24 in the Non Pro Silver 3yo HUS and the Non Pro Limited 3yo HUS. Then Stacey shows again on Sunday, Aug. 26 in the Limited 3yo HUS World Championships. Come watch us show! It is going to be live on the web. The link is:
Wish us luck! I am loving every minute of this experience!

NSBA Breeders' Championship Futurity and World Show

Day one - Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Waiting for our turn!!!

What a day! Corky warmed up like a champ...went in the first class with Stacey (Open Silver 3yo HUS) and got VERY tense in the show arena. This arena is scary - flowers and shiny trophies set up in the center, exhibits all around the top level, and workers moving large metal dumpsters with tractors right outside. Corky was very tense, and her second direction was very overbridled. Bummer...that killed our class! We worked on relaxing her, and by the second class (Open Limited 3yo HUS) she was MUCH better. She wasn't perfect, but a lot better, and she ended up 6th overall! This is a tough place to show - tough arena and tough horses in the class. She is hanging in there, though. Next will be ME riding the non-pro events on Friday. I am nervous...to say the least.

Stay tuned....

NSBA Breeders' Championship Futurity and World Show
The rest of the show - August 24 and August 26, 2007

I woke up this morning a ball of nerves. Horses are so unpredictable. How is it I see so many people with super-consistent horses that never seem to put a hoof wrong. I want one of those LOL! I got up in the morning and rode Corky, and she rode very well for me. We ended up showing our first class late in the afternoon. Again, she warmed up excellent for me. Luckily our first class (BCF Silver Non-Pro 3yo HUS) wasn't huge, so traffic wouldn't be a major issue. She was EXCELLENT for me in the class! We just had one or two incidents where she got a bit defensive at another horse passing us close (of course, this always seemed to happen in front of a judge!). We ended up placing 5th...woo-hoo a top 5 finish! I won a nice sheet and some cash. After the class we took her back to the stall to relax.

Next was the BCF Limited Non-Pro 3yo HUS. This class was quite a bit larger. I took her to the warm-up pen way too early. The warm-up was a very small area with just enough room for everyone to circle at the trot. Of course one idiot HAD to trot the opposite way of everyone else, and by doing do about rammed us several times. Unfortunately this really rattled Corky, and we trotted in the arena under a bit of stress. I didn't have nearly as good a ride as the first. She got pinned in the corner several times and really was agitated by the traffic. We still ended up placing 8th, which was pretty good considering the competition!

Sadly, I had to fly home on Saturday morning for work obligations. I sat at home and watched the live webcast on Sunday to see Stacey show her in the World Show Limited Open 3yo HUS. From what I could tell, she look great. She looked a bit tense and arched in the first direction canter, but was a lot more relaxed looking the second way. Stacey ended up placing 7th, which was great!

What amazed me at this show was the high level of competition. There was not one single horse in any of the 3yo HUS classes that didn't belong. Every one of them was flat, slow-legged, and dead broke! For us to place as well as we did even with Corky's traffic issues was great. I just can't believe how high the bar has been raised in hunter under saddle. I am also thrilled that my little ol' horse that I bred and raised is hanging in there with the best of them.

Now we have to work on her traffic woes. I see lots of ponying in her future! Congress is coming, and there will be lots and lots and lots of heavy traffic to ride in. I am just hoping and praying we find the key to this issue and get it sorted out before then. Maybe I need a horse psychic??? :-]

Thanks to everyone who watched from home and cheered us on. We are truely the 'little guy' trying to go up against the big dogs.

VIDEO of our ride in the Silver Non-Pro 3yo HUS

Personal rant - bear with me!
OK, get this - we are at the NSBA World Show on Tuesday, and a woman comes along with flyers about braiding. She tells us she has been a professional braider for 20 years and braids for the A circuit. Sounds good, right? We hired her (for $45) to braid Corky the next morning. She did so while we were still at the hotel, and Corky was all braided up when we arrived to feed in the morning. The braids looked pretty good at first, but when I got closer and inspected them I noticed they were done with rubber bands!!! Huh??? Needless to say the braids lasted about 5-6 hours before all coming loose. By the next morning half the braids were out, even with a sleazy hood on her. I called the braider to voice my displeasure and she was very offended that I did not like her braids. According to her, she braids with rubber bands for the A-circuit (yeah...RIGHT). So now we were in a major scramble to find a braider to re-do her braids before I showed on Friday. After canvassing the show grounds we found out she did a LOT of other peoples' horses and there were a LOT of very upset people on the grounds. The worst things was she CHOPPED the mane of every horse she did to about 1 1/2" in length. We did find a real professional braider who did a gorgeous job on Corky, but he was very frustrated with all these horses with chopped up short manes that he had to fix (he told me he was so angry about having to fix horses that she butchered, that he called her at 1:30am and yelled at her!).

Lesson learned: Sometimes it is best to only hire a braider based on personal references. Lots of us learned that the hard way this week.


After the highs, the lows must follow! I was all geared up to show Corky at the SOQHA Futurity this weekend. Then I get a call from Stacey last night telling me Corky was dead lame from an abscess. Ugh! Doesn't that just figure! Hopefully it can blow out and heal quickly, but she is out of commission this week. There goes my several hundred dollars in futurity entry fees. I am SO disappointed. I keep telling myself to be grateful that this didn't happen last week in Tulsa! I should be relieved! I still am disappointed. I hate missing a good show like that, and this is her only year to do the futurities. What scares me the most is that her next show won't be until Congress! We have SO much to work on, so many traffic issues to resolve, but I am just going to have to cross my fingers and hope for the best at this point. There is only one three-year-old year...so many hopes and dreams ride on this one year. I am starting to feel the pressure. Is she good enough to compete? Am I good enough?


Corky's abscess STILL has not blown. Her shoe has been pulled and she is on rest. NOT good when it is only one month until Congress! Do you realize this is the third year in a row that I've had some lameness catastrophe that prohibits me from adequately preparing for Congress? Last year it was Taylor's coffin bone spur that laid her up for almost 2 months, the year before it was Corky's bone infection that put her on 3 weeks stall rest. September is such a cursed month for me (it figures since this is my birthday month!).


Corky's abscess hasn't blown, but she is almost completely sound. Go figure! That girl has an amazing immune system that kicks infections. Today she had her first day of 'donkey therapy' to help her get used to being close to other horses in the arena. It was an interesting lesson! I think Corky learned a lot (I hope). I am sure she and Honkey the Donkey will become very good friends. A little over a month until Congress......uh-oh!


Corky is going to the show at Lakeside next weekend...but not to show. She is going to be worked in crowds, tied to the fence in crowds, and Stacey is going to see how the ponying and donkey therapy have helped. We have both spent a lot of time trying to analyze her issues with other horses. Congress (with the crowds) is going to be interesting! One month! to go!!!!

I miss having Corky home. It will be nice to have her around every day and see if I can re-establish our strong bond we had last winter.


The Congress numbers are up! My classes are as follows:

  • Junior Hunter Under Saddle - 142 entries
  • Amateur Hunter Under Saddle - 154 entries
  • 3yo Non-Pro HUS - 56 entries
  • 3yo HUS Futurity - 101 entries
Lotsa horses to compete against...though I believe our toughest competition is getting past Corky herself LOL! I am headed to Kentucky this weekend for 2 days of intensive riding. I can't wait!


Well, it was an interesting if rather unproductive weekend. I drove down to Kentucky for what was going to be a weekend of some intensive riding and lessons on Corky. I rode her Saturday early afternoon out in the front pasture and she was awesome! Her canter transitions were so soft and pretty. Stacey mentioned that she had been noticing Corky being a little 'off' in the hind end when she first gets her out in the mornings. The vet was coming that evening, so we had him look at her. We pulled her out of her stall around 8pm to longe, and she was definitely off in the hind end. It was the right hind leg, and flex tests showed that the soreness was in the hock. Once again she needed another hock injection. She just had both hocks done at the end of June, so it only lasted 3 months! I guess that is the biggest trouble with having these giant 3 year old horses. Corky sits on her hock so hard...it makes her a gorgeous mover but it is hell on the budget.

So, I didn't get to ride her any more that weekend. Hopefully I am ready for Congress in only 2 weeks! The traffic issue she has is still there. We have tried weeks of ponying, donkey time, acupuncture, you name it! I guess we will just have to wait and see if she can get over her anger in traffic at Congress.


I spent a very productive weekend at Congress. Yes, it's Congress time! Corky arrived late Friday afternoon. Matt rode her Saturday morning, and I rode Saturday evening in the Scottsdale arena. She was very energetic (putting it mildly!) and required a lot of schooling to make her settle and not run off her legs. I ended up spending the last half hour doing nothing but walking. We need her mind to get used to everything without tiring her legs out...that's a challenge.

On Sunday Matt ponied her through the jam-packed crowds of horses in the Scottsdale. Sunday afternoon I tool her for a walk on the lead rope around the grounds. She got to investigate the food stands and the paths through the grassy areas. Sunday evening Stacey rode her, and then I rode her again. She was MUCH better! I had a very confident, relaxed ride. The most amazing thing was she seemed a lot better with the traffic. She didn't lay her ears back or get nasty when horses crowded her (which was happening a lot). Quite possibly this experience riding in the crowds day after day will really help her issues. While not feeling totally positive, I am feeling better about our upcoming ride in the 3yo non-pro HUS class. Ye gads....it's coming up fast!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Here we go! I left home on the prior evening and headed to Columbus. On the way I spoke to Stacey, who told he they had to have the vet out the night before because Corky had some mysterious swelling (an allergic reaction to something???) on her face and neck. She said Corky swelled so bad that her halter was cutting into her. She was given some medication to bring down the swelling, and by the time I got there (around 7:30pm) the swelling was almost all gone. Sheesh! Always something, isn't it? Because of the swelling, she was unable to be ridden in the Celeste the night before, so still hadn't gotten into the show pen. Yikes!

Our practice time in the Celeste was 12:30am-2:30am. I did a little longeing beforehand, and then brought her to the Celeste where Stacey and then I worked her a bit in the overhang area. Then Stacey rode her in the MOBS of horses in the Celeste. She handled the crowds very well, I was so impressed! I would have never believed this would be possible a few months ago. After Stacey was done, I had a chance to ride her a bit in the Celeste.

It was really too crowded to do any real work. Stacey had me go stand in the center and hang out and let her get used to the big aluminum bleachers. This is where trouble hit. The workers started sweeping up the trash in the stands and this absolutely terrified her. It caught me by surprise, because usually this horse isn't afraid of anything! She went NUTS, bucking and rearing and running into people. I knew she was going to launch me, so I hoped off first. I stood in the center holding her until our time was up, but she never did settle down. I took her back out to the overhang and put the longe line on her. She ran and bucked like a maniac for a half hour. It was now 3am, and she was dripping in sweat and we were both exhausted. Depressed, I wandered back to the stall, cooled her off, and went to the hotel for a nap. Things weren't looking good.

In the morning I stood in line for an hour and a half to longe her. She really didn't have much energy. Later that afternoon I ponied her off of Chris, the great paint pony horse. This was a great way to give her exercise and stretch her legs without putting pressure in the saddle. Hopefully this was enough, because time was up!

The non-pro 3yo hunter under saddle stakes began at 5pm. I was in split #2. Stacey warmed her up, and then I worked her a bit. She was going well. Stacey told me several key things that made a difference in our ride - don't hold her face (let the reins relax) and trust her, sit back, watch traffic and always pick out the path you were going to ride. First split reversed, we went in the makeup area and checked in...time to go!

Well, all I can say is we had a near perfect ride! We were the second ones into the arena (sure made me look confident LOL!). The first horse made it all the way to the end and then spooked hard at the organist. Corky jumped slightly sideways as a reaction, but I just took her inside and passed the other horse and continued on, and she was fine. Our ride was GREAT, I was absolutely thrilled. She was so quiet, easy, and pleasant...hardly worried at all about traffic. The weird thing was the only time she was worried about other horses was when we were passing them, she had no problem if they passed us. Makes no sense to me, but then Corky never does anything that really makes sense!

We stood in the lineup, dripping in sweat. It was very hot and humid, so unusual for Congress weather. The first number they called was 7926, and I felt a pang of disappointment. Our number was 7400, and generally they called the finalists in numerical order. They fooled me this time, for some reason in this split they started at the highest number and went backwards. Second number they called was 7400! I couldn't believe it. We made the Limited finals, and the Open Semi-Finals!!!

We had a very short break, and then it was back in for the open semi-finals. They would call 15 people out of the semis to make the finals, to be shown next Tuesday morning. Again we had a near perfect ride! The arena was much more crowded and riding it was a challenge, but Corky was great! I stood in the middle almost in tears because I just couldn't believe she gave me two awesome rides in a row, at the Congress! Whatever happens, this is a dream come true for me. The feeling was topped off when my number was called yet again, this time as an open finalist!

We had to exit and then turn right back around and go in for the Limited Finals. This was important to me because this was a finals class that would be placed. There were 19 or 20 in the finals of the Limited. Corky went in with a great attitude - amazing after 3 classes in a row. Unfortunately she was completely exhausted by this time. At the first trot, she broke twice in front of all 4 judges...broke up to a canter (because cantering is so much easier for her than trotting). Other than that, she was darn near perfect again in the class. How could I be upset over that? What a great horse she is. Our breaks kept us out of the placings, this was such a tough class of very good horses...you had to be about perfect to get in there. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. We have one more shot - the open finals coming up on Tuesday. No matter what happens, this has been the experience of a lifetime I will NEVER forget. All that hard work, 3 years of goalsetting and effort, planning and executing my plans, all for this moment. I sat there and remembered it was just 2 years ago I stood in this arena with Corky for the longe line class that I barely made after saving her leg fro that bone infection (the one that the vet thought she'd never recover from!). I realize I am gushing here, but it is such a big experience for me!!!!

Stay tuned for more results.


Corky - 3yo Non-Pro HUS 1st go

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stacey showed Corky in the 1st go of the 3yo HUS Futurity this morning. I spoke very briefly with Matt, who told me she had a very good ride and Corky did very well, but they weren't called back. They were only taking 3 horses out of each split. I was glad to hear she had a good ride and that Corky is still keeping a good attitude. Oh well, tomorrow is the second go and I'll be there to watch and video so that will be cool!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I went to Columbus to watch Stacey ride Corky in the 2nd go in the 3yo HUS Futurity. I ponied her for a while in the Scottsdale that afternoon, then waited in line to longe to see if she needed to blow off any steam (she didn't). The class ran very late - it was after 10pm when Stacey showed. She was in the 4th split, and had a great ride! I could tell Corky was slightly on edge - it was cold outside and dark and I am sure she was wondering why she was being worked so late. The great news is Stacey got called back for the limited finals (to be shown on Wednesday!). She went back in for the open semi-finals, and Corky managed to blow it by stopping a couple times in the middle of the class to rub her nose on her leg. She is so weird about that. We cannot put any nose or face grease on her because she immediately tries to rub it off. Oh well...she was well behaved and did everything else right. So she will be showing in the non pro and the open 3yo finals - I never in a million years would have expected this!!!!


Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2007

I am still floating on a cloud (albeit a very tired one!). We showed the FINALS of the Non-Pro open 3yo HUS Stakes today. Once again, last night I didn't have the greatest ride. It was raining and a bit colder than it had been (although it was still in the low 50's.). It poured rain all night and all the next day. When they made the first call for our class, we trucked on over in a solid downpour. Corky was covered head to hoof with a rain sheet, and I rode over to the arena in the comfort of a covered golf cart to stay dry.

Corky warmed up great, and I began to feel a bit of hope and plenty of anticipation. We rode into the area very confident, and immediately I could tell this was going to be a good ride. She was so easy, I swear I never had to touch her face once...just went along on a relaxed rein and was SO quiet! Our only trouble was our first canter transition, which was a little ugly (she lifted her head and hollowed out a bit before taking off).

At the end of the class I stood waiting to hear the individual judges' placings...the anticipation was killing me! We ended up being left off of 2 cards (one of them definitely saw the ugly canter transition), but placed 7th and 3rd under the other two judges!!! I stood back after they went through the individual placings and wondered if a 7th and 3rd was enough to finish in the top 10. They called out 10th place and it was someone else...I looked at Stacey and shrugged 'oh well!'. Then they called 9th place and it was ME!!! I couldn't believe it!!! My lifelong goal of placing in the top 10 at Congress had just been achieved, and in a big way in a tough class!

We cantered up to the queen to get our medallion and Corky slammed on the brakes about 5 feet away and would NOT go any closer to that sparkly looking woman. Eventually she was able to walk the medallion over to us (I was NOT getting off her, I wanted to ride out of that arena!). As soon as I got my medallion I burst into tears...who knew I was such a sappy person? It was such an emotional moment for me, and it was made doubly so by being able to achieve this goal on a horse I bred and raised myself, and agonized over for the past 3 years.

Videos? You betcha!!!!

Corky - 3yo Non-Pro HUS Open Finals

A decent picture, right? Yes, until you look at the actual 8x10 and see ME!!!

I guess I was really concentrating hard!

Thursday, Oct. 24, 2007

This morning while I was stuck at work Stacey showed Corky in the limited open HUS Futurity finals. It was actually more like a semi finals since 15 horses from the 1st go and 15 horses from the 2nd go made it to this point. They ran two splits and Stacey and Corky got called back to ride in the FINALS of the class! Corky stayed very good for her. Only one ugly canter transition...the same one I had the day before (OK, we have to work on that before Saturday!). She placed 5th under one judge, but it wasn't enough to crack the top 10 and place (and earn money). Still...ending up top 15 was VERY awesome for all of us! I am still amazed at how Corky has just come into her own at this show...and to think I thought this Congress was going to be a total waste of time and money! It turned out to be the most successful horse show I have ever had in my lifetime!!!

Stay tuned...Saturday I ride the Junior HUS and hopefully the Amateur HUS for one last Congress experience.

Stacey and Corky

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I arrived back at Congress on Friday evening after work. It was cold and windy, probably the coldest day we've had the entire Congress. I ponied Corky for about 15-20 minutes in the Scottsdale, but the pony horse was not cooperating so I decided to longe her instead. Uh-oh, she was very sore. She has been hitting her back ankles with her back shoes very badly, and the insides of her ankles were a bloody mess. She has only had back shoes on since the week before Congress, and for some reason she is interfering with herself. I took her back to the barn and wrapped her legs for the night. Poor girl! They looked very painful.

Saturday morning was a dark and cold one. With the wraps on her hind legs, we ponied her a bit and the started preparing for our Junior Hunter Under Saddle class. I had entered this as a lark, knowing that Stacey wasn't able to show in the class for me. Because of a football game tonight, I knew I probably wasn't going to be able to show the Amateur HUS unless it ran early (which it didn't look like it would), so the Junior HUS was just a class to get in and have fun - no pressure. I was looking forward to riding with all the 'big names' in the industry. Hopefully we wouldn't wipe anyone out!

Due to a number of scratches, the class ran a lot faster than we had expected. All of a sudden they were calling for split 6 (my split)! We ran on up to the arena, and after a quick warm up by Stacey, I basically had to just hop on and go in. Our split went fairly well, though Corky got VERY nervous with the wind rattling the tent when we entered the Celeste. It wasn't as smooth as some of my earlier rides, but our transitions were a little better. Unbelievably, I got called out of my split for the finals!!! I couldn't believe it...I actually made the finals of the Junior HUS...ME, an amateur!

We went in to the finals just having fun. There were 20 horses in the finals and the pen was crowded. It was VERY tough to maneuver her in this crowd. Several times she got boxed in pretty bad and it really made her upset and nervous. It was all I could do to hold her together to at least finish the class with a clean ride. I knew she was a bundle of nerves, but hopefully her legs didn't show her nervousness.

I stood in the lineup and looked up and down the row of all those trainers I have admired for years. How cool is it to actually be standing in the lineup for a finals in such company? It about made my head spin. They called the final placing, and I actually placed third under one judge. Third, can you believe it? Then they called out the final placing, and when they called me - Number 7400 - as the 10th place winner I about fell out of the saddle. It was by far the most amazing, incredible thing that has ever happened to me (Ok, so I must have a boring life LOL!). Me - an amateur - a 'no-name' amateur - placing in the top 10 in an open class at Congress! To this moment am still in amazement, shock, disbelieve, and have incredible excitement over this accomplishment. What a Congress Corky has given me!

Giving credit where credit is due is important. Someone told me it was a team effort that created Corky's success, and we three people made quite a team:

Stacey Ryan

Matt O'Neal

...and ME!

Look at those gorgeous braids. I wish I had those skills.

Look at us - two top 10s at Corky's first Congress. Absolutely amazing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I got up early (5:30am) and drove back to Columbus with my trailer to pick Corky up. I had to walk her all the way across the show grounds to get to my trailer parked in the north 40. She's such a good girl, we walked by crowds of people (some even holding those dreaded plastic bags!) and whizzing golf carts. I brought her home and gave her Taylor's extra big stall (hey, she earned it!). I took her braids out and gave her a big helping of hay. She will get a few days off, and then I will ride her occasionally for the next month to keep her tuned up but relaxed. I haven't even thought about our plans for the future. I really don't know...everything hinges on my finances and what I can afford to do. Fr right now I will just relax and enjoy having Corky home!

Monday, October 20, 2007

Today was Corky's first day of 'vacation' - her first day home since Congress and 9 months of training. It was time to introduce her to Taylor again and to make sure they would get along well enough to turn out. I had no need to worry, they did great! Here are a few pictures of Corky and Taylor re-bonding:

Here is a VIDEO.

Notice how Taylor is establishing her dominance over Corky? Corky sure enjoyed rolling in the freshly drug and watered arena. It must have really felt good! I have sports medicine boots on her hind legs just at the beginning of turnout while they ran around, trying to protect those raw spots on her ankles. I need to have my farrier come out and either change the angle of her feet so she stops hitting herself, or pull the hind shoes off.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween! It was 60 degrees and sunny today, and I decided to ride Corky for the first time since Congress, and outside to boot! We went out to the 'scary outdoor arena'. I don't see anything scary about it, but Taylor is absolutely terrified when we ride out there and although I have tried all summer, I cannot get her to relax in that arena. Maybe the ground is radioactive?

Corky didn't seem to mind it. I longed her for about 5 minutes first. She seemed to enjoy being out in the sunshine (all of our riding at Congress was done either indoors or in the middle of the night!). She only gave me one hard spook (at what, I have no idea) but immediately settled back down. She was FULL of energy! I finished up our ride inside so I could get some controlled canters out of her. When she feels good, she really kicks HARD with her hind end. It looks awesome, but it is really difficult to ride.

Her back ankles are still very raw. I am waiting on a return call from my farrier to see if we can fix this issue.

Have I mentioned how much I love having her home again! I just don't miss cleaning her stall. That girl is a PIG.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I really have nothing much to update today. I am too busy with artwork to ride tonight. When I came to the barn after work to clean stalls, Corky and Taylor were out in the front pasture. The sun was shining, although a bit cool, but it was a beautiful day. I climbed through the fence and both of my girls left their grazing to come up to me and get a little attention. Of course, Taylor turned her backside to me so I could scratch her butt (she is obsessed with having her butt scratched!) and Corky put her head under my arm looking for some affection. What a great feeling.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Corky was nasty in heat today. I was bound and determined to ride, since it was the last nice day predicted for a long time (it was sunny and 58 degrees). I forgot how angry she is when she is in heat. She was super sensitive to leg pressure. I decided today would be a good day to start correcting some bad habits she started developing at Congress. One habit she started was drifting (rather forcibly) towards the wall when going to the left (first direction). I worked on keeping her in a straight path about 4 feet from the rail with my legs, using outside leg pressure to push her away when she started drifting. She really didn't appreciate the leg pressure in her current mood, and I could tell at times she *thought* about bucking, but resisted the urge.

Now is the time to outline what I want to work on this winter:

  • Leg yielding at the trot
  • Pivots on the hind end and forehand
  • Setting up for showmanship
  • Canter transitions from a halt
  • Working figure 8's and serpentines off of leg pressure
  • Hand gallop, and back to a slower canter - changing speeds on cue
That should keep us busy this winter!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I turned Corky out in the indoor while I cleaned her stall. She ran like a maniac! When she was done, I went to saddle her and found that her ankles were all bloody again. She is still mangling her ankles with her back shoes. Thank goodness my farrier is coming out Sunday morning. Something needs to be done about this!

I wrapped her back legs with no-bow wraps to protect her ankles while I rode. She rode great for me today! We had one small balking incident when I asked for a canter, but as soon as I got after her about it she gave up and gave me some nice transitions. I worked on rating her speeds at the canter. She likes to speed up coming out of the second corner as we approach the straightaways. I worked on setting her back while coming out of the corner so that she maintains the same speed.

She really is a smart horse. Some of the things I worked on during our last ride - moving off the wall with leg pressure - she seemed to remember and did right away when I asked. I took it another step further and started trying some leg yields at the trot. She did NOT enjoy those, but we got one successful pass in each direction.

All in all it was a very good ride. It's fun having her home! I just wish she had neater stall habits...she is such a slob!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ugh, what a cold rainy morning. Corky had a farrier appointment at 8am to see if we could fix her back feet to stop hitting her ankles. My farrier noticed that the inside angle of her hind feet was too high, and this could be what was causing her to interfere and hit her ankles. He lowered the sides and reset her shoes. She stood good for everything, but got very impatient when he started pounding the nails in. I am goig to have to do that as part of my daily routine again like I used to, to teach her to be patient and get used to the hammering sensation. Hopefully these new hind feet angles will help her out. Her poor ankles are so sore!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It was actually warm today - 60 degrees! Corky was an absolute blast to ride today. I let her run around the arena before I rode her, and she had some blood on her ankles again. Looks like the new hoof angle is not working. I will give it a couple weeks and then I might just have to pull her hind shoes.

Today we worked on some newer stuff. I did some half-passes at the trot and she did great! She was much better going to the left than to the right...to the right she tended to try and balk on me. Same thing with sidepassing - she went to the left easily but was really noodley to the right. I was just happy to find that she is moving away from leg pressure, even if it isn't perfectly straight. I worked on some hindquarter pivots..those need a lot of work.

When I was done riding I got the shank out and decided to practice some showmanship. Our biggest obstacle right now is setting up. I discovered tonight that she is much easier to set up if you set her front feet first, and then move the right hind while leaving the left hind planted. We got a couple decent set-ups. I was letting her go if she at least moved the foot I was asking in the correct direction. Baby steps...I keep reminding myself! Her pivots are great - she flows around on a loose chain. I started some pull turns with her. She didn't grasp the idea of planting a foot, so I did like I did with Taylor and trained her from the off (right) side...she started to get it but you could tell she was thoroughly confused as to why she had to do this (as we all are LOL!).

What a fun evening. I love this horse!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I experimented with riding Corky without any longeing first. She was very 'angry' the first 10 or 15 minutes of our ride, and then after I worked her hard on a few elements she settled in and was happy again, kind of like she was a bit put out to have to work but then eventually realized that it was her job and time to work.

I did a lot of canter transitions today, and started working on cantering from a standstill. She actually does fairly well with that (I can remember many many months of working on that with Taylor at this age...so frustrating!). I did a lot of circles and figure-8s and all 3 gaits. She has spent so much time this year going along the rail that she really gets off balance when being asked to do something else. Off her regular 'track', she is like a noodle with her body and doesn't know how to stay straight even through the circle. I keep forgetting she is only 3...she looks and acts so much older.

I put a pole on the ground and did some trotting over it, it doesn't even faze her. I even cantered over it once and she hardly noticed it. I will start setting up grids to trot over, and eventually start cantering over poles this winter.

Our showmanship lesson today was a little less successful. Setting up is going to be our downfall. She just isn't getting it very fast. She has all the frustrating bad habits - resting a hind leg, refusing to move a leg, moving a front leg when asked to move a hind leg and vice versa, moving sideways instead of forward or backwards. Oh well...I am determined to teach this to her, even if we never show the class.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I rode Corky tonight (this time with some longeing first). We worked on cleaning up our canter transitions, and doing circles off the rail. It was a very relaxing ride, she was very cooperative today. I started working more on turns on the hind end and forehand. We made a little progress...a little is betetr than nothing! When I was done riding, someone from huntseathorses.com called me to do an interview about Congress, and my riding and breeding. It was pretty cool! Look for it on their website next week. I hope I didn't sound like a moron.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

As a last minute thing, I decided to hook up the trailer and haul over to my friend Willie's to ride with her and another one of her friends. I get so tired of riding all by myself every day! Willie has a ginormous indoor arena, and Corky LOVED it there. She was able to really stretch out and move, it felt awesome! Corky was so well behaved! I let Willie get on and ride her to see how she would act with a total stranger up on her back...she was great for her. I so love this horse!

Her canter has so much drive and lift to it, I have a hard time staying still in the saddle. I wish there was a solution, or a way I could increase my strength and skill to make it easier on me. Her canter is drop-dead gorgeous, but SO hard to ride. I am wondering if I can design a workout program to increase my strength and balance. Of course the biggest question will be if I design it can I stick to it?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Here is a link to my interview with huntseathorses.com:

Interview with ME!

I didn't intend to ride Corky today, but my friend came out to ride Taylor so I threw a saddle on her and rode for a little while. Corky was a different horse when being ridden around Taylor! She was very paranoid about going near her, and was showing her 'angry' side whenever we would pass Taylor. I think Taylor has been beating her up a bit when they get turned out (Corky has a few minor cuts on her hip) and is making her afraid. It was so odd, it was like riding a different horse from yesterday when she was so confident in that strange arena with strange horses.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Corky and Taylor had a nice week-long break while I visited family over Thanksgiving. Today I rode Corky while a friend rode Taylor. I rode Corky in just the plain French snaffle and NO spurs! Honestly, she really doesn't need the spurs anymore. Her canter transitions are very good. We started off very good (although Corky was a bit over-reactive about a sock that had fallen on the arena floor). When I started cantering her, she was full of attitude and I had to get after her several times. After about 10 or 15 minutes she 'gave up the fight' and went about her job. She still has the tendency to rush out of her second corner when she is facing the straight wall of the arena. I am hoping that consistent work in asking her to back off as she rounds that second corner will eventually pay off and she will do it without asking. I am still hoping...LOL!

I did a lot of work riding next to Taylor, and riding VERY close to Taylor. Corky is SOOOOOO much better about this! The only time she gets a litle defensive is if their heads are very close while riding. But I was able to pass her and be passed in tight quarters and Corky went about her business without worrying about Taylor. This is definitely good news!

Hopefully soon I can schedule a weekend to haul to Kentucky and have Stacey work with us again to make sure I am still on track. I don't want to screw things up, that's for sure!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yuck...mares! Both Corky and Taylor are in full heat and it's totally disgusting. Today was our last day above freezing (they are predicting weather in the 30's for the next week) so I was determined to get a good ride in. I should know better - it's hard to get a good ride in on a mare in full blown heat. Corky actually did fairly well, considering. She was just so darn forward at the canter, it was hard to ride. She's been very forward lately and we have been battling it a lot. I didn't get a very long ride in (maybe only 15 minutes or so) because the hay guy showed up with a trailer load of hay so I had to quit. Oh well...I'll be riding in the long johns this weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I am a glutton for punishment...I rode Corky again tonight. If anything, she and Taylor were in even worse heat...yuck! My friend came out to ride Taylor (yes, there are people crazy enough to want to ride an in-heat hormonal out of shape mare!). Our rides were pretty good. Corky was full of attitude, and got very heavy in the snaffle bit. After a lot of lifting and tugging, I went ahead and put the gag bridle on her and she lightened up immediately and I was able to ride her on more of a relaxed rein with just fingertip contact. Much nicer! She is getting much better at her half-passes and lateral moves. Her sidepassing is improving, and she is moving fairly light off of my leg. I am continuing to ride her without spurs. On a GOOD note - I have stopped wrapping her back legs and she seems to not be interfering anymore while she moves. Her poor ankles are finally healed...yippee!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thankfully Corky is out of heat today. It was an unusually warm day - around 55 degrees. Our ride started off well...I started her off in the gag bit to try and lighten her up a bit. We had a few issues at the canter when she tried to fling her head to avoid the bit when she started getting tired. I took care of that issue immediately whenever it occurred. After about 20 minutes I put her in the regular French snaffle and finished our ride with that bit. She stayed very light for me. I worked a lot on circles and figure-8;s, trying to get her off the rail. I think she might be getting bored. Next ride I think I will throw some poles on the ground and work some trotting and cantering grids to keep her mind occupied. She is sidepassing fairly well both directions right now. She is also doing very well in her showmanship 360's on the ground. Setting up is another story...ugh! It's still like moving a large cement block around!

One more month until the new year...and a new training diary. I wonder if I should continue with this training diary into her 4th year. It certainly is helpful to me to go back and read what I had been working on...if nothing else it reminds me that we are making progress...even in tiny increments!


I found some great old video of Corky when she was only 4 months old.

Check it out!

You can really start to see her movement in this video. It's hard to believe that was only a mere 3 years ago!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I rode Corky on Tuesday and then again today. Today she started something new...something old that is new again....balking. I haven't been wearing spurs over the past month, she hasn't seemed to need them. Today she needed them! At least 3 times I asked her to canter and she put the brakes on, and I had to really get after her for this. Frustrating...I hate when old habits rear their ugly heads! The next ride I plan to wear my spurs and nip this old new habit in the bud. Once she got going, she was wonderful. Today her canter was MUCH better than it had been over the past few weeks...much slower and easier. It helps if I can remember to LOOK UP and not stare down at her. This is such a bad habit of mine (Stacey is nodding her head agreeing with me!). If I can remember to look up and not down at her neck, I sit better and deeper, and suddenly her canter feels easier to me. Duh! Stacey's only been harping on this with me for the past YEAR or so...longer than that if you count the years riding Taylor.

Corky's leg yielding is getting very good now. We still haven't mastered the pivot under saddle. On the ground, she can do a regular showmanship pivot very well. Setting up is another story...*sigh*...it's a long road ahead of us if we want to attempt showmanship this coming year.

Today I set two poles on the ground to trot her over. She seemed to really enjoy the challenge. Occasionally she would knock one of the poles hard, but the next time around it made her more careful in picking her spacing. I am trying to let her find the correct stride length to approach and go through the poles. Next on the agenda is to start setting up grids of 4 and 5 poles to trot through. Probably by late winter I will start cantering her over single ground poles. I want the poles to be no big deal before trying that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wow, went a week and a half without riding Corky. It really showed today! I saddled her up, and while she was tied to the post she bronc-ed and pulled back like she had never had a saddle on before! Luckily both the lead rope and the halter held and she didn't break free. Unfortunately, Taylor (who was tied to the far wall all the way across the arena) reacted to Corky and pulled back, breaking my new leadrope. Now I am down to one lead rope with two horses...sheesh!

After that fiasco, Corky rode rather well. I put some draw reins on her to be able to take a hold of her in the snaffle bit a little better without having to pull so hard when she got bullheaded. They worked like a charm, I didn't have to touch them after the first round (I ride with a regular pair of reins at the same time and just use those for the most part). I am glad I went ahead and put my spurs on. She thought very briefly about balking at the canter, but I rolled a slight bit of spur into her and that changed her mind quickly. I can honestly say that today I got the best transitions and canter out of her since Congress!

I didn't ride long today - maybe 20 minutes or so. We did a lot of circles and figure 8's, keeping her off the rail. She is getting pretty good at pivots on the hind end under saddle. Stay tuned...I plan to give her a good workout tomorrow!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Corky rode well for me again today. I used the draws again but didn't have to actually use them much after the first couple reminders. We worked on our pivots under saddle again. She goes really well one direction and not so well the other. I am sitting here trying to remember which direction was good and which was bad, but danged if I can remember! Usually I keep track of things like that...I must be getting old! I think the Christmas season must have addled my brain.

My friend rode Taylor while I rode Corky. Taylor was SO bad! I know technically this isn't Taylor's diary, but I have to mention it. She started flipping her head and just being completely belligerent about everything. What is up with that? I realize she has only been ridden a handful of times since September, but normally she doesn't act so obstinate about things. Hopefully it is just a phase, or maybe she also is coming into heat. All I know is it's going to be a long road to get her back into show shape (mentally AND physically) by this spring.

Corky spooked for the first time...I mean a real spook. Actually both horses sis...the ice slid off the roof and scared both horses and both riders! Taylor of course acted like the world was coming to an end, and wouldn't ride near that corner of the arena for a while. Corky leaped sideways, and then was like 'Ah, who cares?'. Gotta love that horse!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Look at the awesome gift I got from Janet (she is my good friend and owns the barn I board at):

It is the coolest gift!

7 more days, and we will start a new training diary! I think I might include Taylor in this next one. It should be interesting reading...following me on the journey to get her bred in Kentucky!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Welcome to the last entry for 2007!

Yesterday I longed Corky a bit and worked some showmanship with her. Today I finally got to ride her...first time in a week and a half. I fully expected her to be bad, but I swear I had the best ride all year on her! Her transitions were nice and fluid, and she was so easy...kept a nice steady pace at all 3 gaits and did everything willingly. What an awesome way to end the year. I worked a bit on her lateral stuff - her sidepassing was not too good today. Her pivots on the hindquarters were all over the place. She needs some consistent work in that area.

When I was done riding, I started working some showmanship again. She can pivot well, and I even got a couple really nice pull turns out of her. She CANNOT set up for me for some reason. She just has no idea about which foot to move or what direction to move it. We worked over and over again and it was so hard to get her to move the correct foot and remain straight. When she got confused, she tended to swing sideways and get really crooked. I am wondering if this will ever happen, or if mayby showmanship just isn't going to be a class she can do. I would be very disappointed...I love this class!

Goodbye to 2007...what an AWESOME year! I think in 2008 I will include Taylor in my riding/training diary as we go through the trials and tribulations of breeding her for the first time. This will be an exciting upcoming year!!!!


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