2010: A new year, a new outlook, and a new optimism! This will be a good year for us, I can feel it!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read my day-to-day ramblings about my horse life. My goal is to keep things as realistic as possible. We all deal with issues and problems, and I am struggling to learn and become a better horseperson and a better rider. It's a lifelong task!!

July 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I got out to the barn in the morning hoping to ride before the bugs started swarming. Nope...didn't work! I longed Corky outside for about 20 minutes and then rode. She was a little distracted (which was to be expected) but the more we rode the more she sweated and the more the flies came...it was awful. All things considered, I didn't have too bad of a ride. At one point I could hardly get her to walk forward because she was so upset about the flies. I smacked one on her neck and it left a huge bloody spot. that was it, that was all I needed to end our ride. No sense it torturing her with these flies, they were biting!

Yesterday I spent all evening stripping and re-bedding hers and Tango's stalls, so they were still nice and fluffy today. Oreo is a terrible pig and trashes her stall. Taylor was a very neat horse and always lined up her manure along the back wall to keep it out of the way. Tango will be a true test of the Nature vs. Nurture theories. Will he be a stall pig, having learned that from Oreo? Or will he be a neat freak like Taylor was through his neat genetics? I guess we will find out in August when Oreo leaves.

I did another leading lesson with Tango in the stall. He did great - I got him to walk two steps at a time! Don't laugh, we are taking it slowly...it's the only way I trust myself to train LOL! I had to get after him a bit for putting his mouth on me. I like how he respected my space after that. I also picked up all 4 of his feet while I had a hold of him. I think he is starting to get used to this routine, which is good. He still has all of his baby fuzz. I hope he loses it soon, I am anxious to see what his true shade of bay will be. Right now he is a light red, but there appears to be very dark hair underneath the fuzz. I measured him yesterday - 48" at the withers and about 2" higher in the hip. He needs to GROW! He won't grow if he won't eat. I worry about his lack of nutrition.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 ~~~ Happy 4th of July!

Whew it was a hot one today! I headed out to the barn a little after 11am to ride. I didn't quite make it to my early morning ride I had planned. I decided to give the outdoors another shot. I soaked Corky in Piranha fly spray...I mean SOAKED! We longed for only about 5 minutes and then I got on. I actually got a pretty good ride out there! We lasted about 35 minutes, reapplying the fly spray about halfway through our ride. I did a lot of circles, changes of directions, and just unpredictable paths at all gaits to keep her listening to me, plus the usual task of trying to get her to listen to the rate of speed I am asking for and hold it there. She did fairly well, all things considered. Darla had commented last week that at the canter she is good with cantering to the left and the rider holding her right leg on her, but going the other way and having left leg pressure was another story. Just another example of me riding crooked - I am riding much stronger with my right leg than my left. I have been working at using left leg pressure on her to hold herself together at the canter (to the right) and it seems to be working - she seems to be more accepting of it.

When I was done riding, I was wringing wet with sweat. Cleaning stalls was miserable in this heat. Even Tango was lethargic, laying in the stall and not wanting to get up until I made him so I could clean under him.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 ~~~ Not So Happy 4th of July

I read through my Quarter Horse Journal today and found Taylor's obituary in the "Deaths of Horses" column. I miss her so much...I can't believe it's been 2 months and it is still raw enough to reduce me to tears when I think about it. It bums me out they don't consider novice points as "real " points. I worked my butt off for those - we earned well over 70 novice amateur points (mainly in HUS) in the beginning years. I hate that people don't count them for anything. Oh well, they count in my memories!

click to enlarge

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another scorcher of a day...I do love the heat but this humidity kills! I waited until evening to ride, thinking the bugs would be better. WRONG! The bugs were 100 times worse. It was not a good ride. I could not get Corky to concentrate on anything. All she wanted to do was run or do everything I asked FAST in order to get away from the bugs (lots of tiny gnats tonight). It was a tough ride because I made her behave and listen. We stopped multiple times at the canter and backed up. Eventually I got a decent canter both directions, and I quit for the night. Once again we were both soaked from sweat. I can't say it was a very pleasant ride, but I feel we got a smidgen of something accomplished. Corky has a loose shoe, she's had it since we got home from the Tom Powers. It's still on, but you can feel (and hear) that it is slightly loose. I cannot remember if it is the same she that got tacked on at the show or not. For once, I didn't write down that pertinent little detail in this diary (and normally I bore even myself with the minute details for this very purpose!). It is her right hind shoe. Her farrier appointment isn't until July 19, so I am hoping we can get by. I am hoping to hit a show on Saturday for fun (and to hopefully earn some grocery money so I can eat this month!!!). All next week I am gone with band camp, so at least there my food will be paid for. I should take a big purse and stock up LOL!

Tango and Oreo were turned out in the indoor tonight. I finally got to see Tango move a little - normally all I ever see is him at a full-out run, or bouncing up and down in the pasture (he bounces so much I should have called him "Tigger"). I am really liking the way he is moving, as he grows and gets stronger he is looking nicer and nicer. He still has all of his baby fuzz. I hope he sheds it soon so I can see his true color, plus he looks so darn hot under all that fluff! His registration applications are being sent in tomorrow to AQHA and APHA...my name choice (the only choice I wrote down is "Thanksforthedetails". I hate the run-together names, but I didn't have a choice and really had no other name idea that wasn't already taken. Fingers crossed I get this name under both associations. I do NOT want to keep two separate names for the two groups...way too confusing for my unorganized brain!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some days I just hate the mail....


Dear MEMBER: (How incredibly personal!)
It is with regret that we acknowledge the death of your horse. For your convenience, we have provided a self-addressed envelope so you can return the Certificate of Registration. After it has been properly noted, (i.e. - stamped with DECEASED) it will be returned. If, for some reason, you cannot send us the certificate, please advise our office.
Thank you.

Duplications and Corrections (Nice name...so very personal and warm)

*sigh*...how depressing is that? Ironic, since I just dug out Taylor's registration certificate last night in order to fill out the registration certificates on Tango. I really hope all this paperwork is in order. AQHA has no record of Taylor being bred by Thanks in 2009, this has me worried because without that I cannot register Tango. Oh you know me, I worry about everything! I guess I'd better send in her registration papers so I don't get listed in the DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS column in the Quarter Horse Journal for "Failure to return certificate". Hey, that would be one way of getting my name published in the QHJ! :-]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MURPHY'S LAW: The heaviest rain of the day always occurs just as you fill up the wheelbarrow full of manure and need to take it outside to dump.

...and THIS is why Tango needs to be weaned off of Oreo A.S.A.P.! Oreo does NOT discipline him. His favorite game is to rear up and rest his legs on her back and bite on her, while she never even lifts her head from grazing. Spare the rod and spoil the child!.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It was a busy day at the barn today! I rode Corky, cleaned stalls, washed Corky, and braided her for the show tomorrow. I rode inside since it had poured rain all morning. She rode pretty good. I decided to hit an open show about an hour and a half from me tomorrow. I am going to get up extra early so I have plenty of time to prepare and groom for showmanship (it's always so much harder doing all that with your horse tied to a trailer as opposed to having a stall). the HUS classes came after the western so I'd have plenty of time in the afternoon to ride her and work her before our classes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I got up well before the crack of dawn and hit the road a little after 6am. It was still very dark, and extremely foggy. I hate driving in fog. About an hour or so down the road it felt like my trailer was pulling funny. Actually it felt like my truck tires were out of balance. The sun was just starting to rise so I could finally see things, and when I glanced in my side mirror I noticed one of my trailer tires did NOT look right! I pulled off the road and indeed it was pretty darn FLAT. What are the odds? I just spent almost a thousand dollars on new truck tires last week, and here a trailer tire goes flat. I pulled onto a side road and called US Rider. They were very helpful (once I got through to them after sitting on hold for what felt like forever!). Then I sat...forever.
I opened up Corky's doors to let some air in. The temperature was riding with the sun, and I hoped help would come before it got seriously hot. Corky was pretty unconcerned. I had packed her a monstrous hay bag so she stood there and stuffed her face. I sat on the edge of the ramp and played solitaire on my Ipod for a while, took some random photos with my phone, and contemplated my crappy luck. Eventually the tow truck came (after blowing by me once at 60 mph...didn't even see me sitting there!). He changed my tire and got everything shipshape and ready to haul. I was stranded for about 3 hours, so I knew I had missed my showmanship class. I headed on to the show anyways, figuring I could at least make the riding classes.

I should have known this day was going to be a long one when I pulled in and they hadn't even gotten to the showmanship classes yet! I still didn't have enough time to get fully ready, so I just saddled her up and decided to do some riding in the makeup arenas for a while. She rode pretty good. I love how she is rarely scared of anything. She was a bit strong at the canter, but I knew that was because she was fresh and hadn't really gotten worked all week. I did a lot of circles and bending and just loosening her up. The makeup arena wasn't too crowded, and she didn't seem to notice the other horses (yay!).

The day dragged on...and on...and on. I've never been to a show that wasted SO much time in between classes, and gave SO many open arena breaks! Poor Corky had to stand tied at the trailer all day. By all day, I do mean ALL DAY. Do you know what time we ended up showing HUS? 9:30pm!!!. Insane for an open show! The classes were really big, most of them had 15-25 in them. By the time my classes came around, Corky had been standing in the heat all day, and the sun had already gone down and the MOSQUITOES had come out. I had a sinking feeling this was not going to end well, and boy was I right. The first class had a ton of people it it and a lot of them were kids on jumpers that galloped when they asked for a canter. Corky heard the galloping hooves all around her and went nuts! Bucking, twisting, trying to rear, you name it! The area was crowded which she doesn't like anyways, and you KNOW how she gets when she is tired and cranky. I was NOT going to let her get away with it. I stayed towards the center and pulled her into little circles and really got after her for her behavior. I kept going back out on the rail and if she acted up we went back to the middle and schooled hard. At the end of the class while everyone else was lined up, I took her back out on the rail and gave her another chance. She was wired and archy, but she behaved, so we stayed for our next 2 classes (they were all back-to-back). She never totally settled and gave me a good ride, but I did get her under control and MADE her go through the motions in a controlled (albeit rather UGLY) manner.

I got Corky back home around midnight. Packing up at the show was fun, since they had NO lights in the parking area where I was parked, so it was pitch black. I had to find all my stuff with a flashlight and load Corky in the dark. She was being eaten up by skeeters, and was in a crazed mood. A fun ending to a FUN day...sarcasm intended! I unloaded her and took my trailer to the repair shop and dropped it in their lot around 1am. Looks like a set of all new trailer tires are in order. That makes 12 tires I've purchased in the last 4 months. Go figure...on a year when I can least afford new tires I get to replace them on every trailer and vehicle I own. I am willing to bet right now even my bike has two flats. I am feeling very low right now. Low enough to wonder if this is all worth it. Why not quit and save myself the heartache, disappointment, and financial ruin? What am I really getting out of this anyways? This year has been so un-fun. It seemed once Taylor died, nothing has gone right since. I just don't know if I should even be doing this anymore.

Well, I'll be getting a little break since I am gone all week at band camp. Maybe by Friday I will have a better perspective on things. I need to get rid of all the discouragement that is bringing me down. All I'd like this year is one little ounce of success...is that possible?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This week away did my mental state some good. I was so swamped dealing with band camp and students 24 hours a day, I barely had time to think about anything else.

I got to the barn this morning, and Corky had both hind shoes ripped off and the right front had slid way sideways and was barely hanging on. Looks like she partied hard while I was gone! Well, that means no riding until my farrier appointment Monday morning.

Tango still hasn't lost a hair of his heavy baby fuzz. He was soaked in sweat for half the time I was there. He gave me quite a scare at first. I was in Corky's stall cleaning it when I heard a groaning sound. I went into Tango's stall and he had laid down and gotten his front legs caught underneath the bottom of the door that leads out into the pasture. I managed to slide him sideways and he got up - didn't panic at all and there wasn't a scratch on either leg. It was a miracle. Later when they were out in the pasture, I had the large double-wheel wheelbarrow parked in the doorway of the stall while I was cleaning. Tango decided he wanted in to visit me, and leaped the wheelbarrow from a standstill (only caught one back leg!). Yikes! Maybe he has a future over fences.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

When I got to the barn today, Tango and Oreo were turned out front. First thing I noticed was Tango's leg...ouch! I have no idea how it happened - yesterday I didn't see a mark on him. It looked pretty painful but when I touched it he didn't seem to react too much, and he didn't limp a step. I am wondering if he inherited Taylor's stoic nature, which I always loved. Today we had an extended leading lesson. I haltered him and worked on getting him to move forward on cue. I got him to lead all the way across the arena, yay! Today was also the first day that I actually saw him move without bouncing around or flat-out running. I actually saw him trot! Of course when I whipped out my digital camera he either would stop or break into a canter. I did see him do a nice floating extended trot for a few strides, I can't wait until he decides to do it more often.

Here is a VIDEO from today. If it won't download automatically, you might want to right click and save it to your computer and view it that way. It was taken with my digital still camera, so the video quality is fairly low.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Janet e-mailed me late last night and said that Tango's cut leg was swelling. Of course I stewed all night in a semi-panic. I got up this morning and headed over there. His leg looked pretty good - maybe a minor bit of swelling but the wound looked better. He didn't seem sore on it at all, even when I touched it. I sprayed some Furacin spray on it. We had another mini leading lesson in the stall, he led very willingly. I think I need to do a little of this every single day. It looks like weaning day will be some time next week. I have transportation for Oreo on July 31st to head back to Kentucky, which will save me about 11 hours in the non-air-conditioned truck. Plus with all my truck and trailer woes I am just not comfortable hauling that far all alone. Tango's 3 month birthday is next Tuesday, so that will probably be the day we aim to wean him or possibly the next day).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Farrier day! I got to the barn early to prepare Oreo - she HAD to get her feet trimmed today, no matter what! Well, catching her was impossible. Round and round her stall she went. I ended yup getting my lariat out and roped her. Go me! I caught her on the second throw...what an awesome fake cowboy I am. Granted she was in her stall and not out in an open field, but still...

Once I got the rope on her, I put the halter on and left a lead rope attached. When my farrier was finishing Corky, I went over to Oreo's stall and gave her some ace in the mouth (I am too chicken to give shots). It was pretty worthless, because she was bug-eyed and snorty while my farrier was working on her, and got worse as he went (even though he was completely quiet and gentle). By her last hid foot she was wild. We both decided to quit before she hurt him. So, she ended up getting three feet trimmed. That was the best we could do. What a freak she is. When he was gone I worked a bit on picking Tango's feet up. He is not very good at all with picking up his back feet. I don't think he has very good balance yet.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I dreaded today, because my vet was coming out to draw blood for a Coggins on Oreo so I can ship her back to Kentucky next week. I had left her halter on but still had to chase her a bit to get a hold of her. My vet petted her, and drew blood with NO incident - she stood like a statue. I swear I cannot figure this horse out. You'd think having a needle stabbed in you would make you react more that trimming a hoof.

I rode Corky, even though it was in the 90's with high humidity. hadn't ridden her since the show a week and a half ago. She started off the ride very balky and unwilling to move forward and work. I really had to get after her and do a lot of bending and counter-bending circles. Eventually she loosened up and worked pretty well. Since she was already a bit crabby I worked her canter a lot - making her really round up and collect underneath herself. We got some stuff accomplished, and I quit before passing out from the heat (always a good idea, I think). I just feel so lazy about riding. It's hard to get motivated to ride by yourself every day, especially with no clear-cut show goal ahead. If only I had a riding partner I think I'd get a lot more done. I am so tired of riding alone at home every day, and showing alone every weekend...*sigh*.

After my ride I worked with Tango. He is leading really well now. We had a fly spray lesson, and by the end he was tense but accepting the spray on his body. We had a few super-stubborn moments when he didn't want to lead forward, but we worked through them. His leg is still a little puffy, but he still doesn't show any soreness. The cut has a nice scab on it, so I am going to leave it be right now and hope for the best. Weaning day is a week from today!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Heat index over 100 today, but I rode anyways! I worked Corky HARD. I first put her on the longe line and she was really full of herself. I decided to put all this excess energy to good use, and I did a ton of canter work - leg yields, counter-canters, simple lead changes, you name it. When we were done, Corky was soaked. For once she hardly protested getting hosed on her face. The horse flies are out in full force which makes riding pretty miserable, and riding outside impossible.

Monday-Wednesday, July 26-28, 2010

I spent the past 3 days at the Ohio State Fair, braiding horses for the 4H state horse show. I braided and banded well over 20 horses (my poor hands are crippled!). It was such an interesting experience meeting all of these 4H kids. They ran the gamut from the excited and enthusiastic to the sullen and pouting. For the most part, most of the kids I met were great - they were loving their horses and just excited to be there! I met a teenager pouting because she didn't place high enough, I met kids that were giddy from earning a ribbon - any ribbon, I met a girl and her mom sleeping in their truck to save money. I got bit in the stomach once while braiding a horse's forelock (and the teenager holding him was too busy texting to pay attention), I braided horses that stood like statues, horses that were wild animals, and horses that were jerks. Some of them really made me appreciate how awesome Taylor and Corky have been to braid. The good thing is by doing all this work I earned a good amount of money to help with the bills I am still catching up on this summer.

My friend's daughter who I help out won the 16-18 year old HUS class out of 65 horses and three splits. It was pretty exciting and I was really happy for her. Back in the summer of 2007 we spent months traveling around looking for a horse for her, trying out all sorts of horses good and bad. Looks like we found a good one for her - she was reserve champion HUS last year, and also was reserve champion English showmanship at this show. She does almost all her own riding, so it's nice to see that rewarded.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - WEANING DAY!

Today is the big "W" - weaning day! I went out to the barn in the early evening to get the stalls stripped and ready for the big event. I turned Oreo and Tango out for one last romp in the pasture together, and took my last pre-weaning pictures: (click to enlarge)

Tango's last drink of milk before weaning!

A storm rolled in just as we were ready to separate Tango and Oreo. It proved to be a blessing as the loud rain on the roof drowned out a lot of the whinnying. I led Oreo across the arena and into a stall in the barn on the other side. She was VERY agitated and upset, whinnying and digging in the stall and running circles. Tango whinnied a bunch until I walked back over to his stall and then he settled down very fast.

Tango is officially weaned!

I gave tango some hay, and he seemed excited by the fact that all of the hay was ! Here is a short video clip of Tango about 20 minutes after we took Oreo away. He took to weaning very well!

Direct video download

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I went out to the barn in the morning to check on things. Oreo was still a little agitated but not nearly as bad as yesterday. Tango was as quiet as can be! He nickered when he saw me (I love that - Corky whinnies to me every single day when I first walk into the barn and it makles me happy LOL!).

I put a halter on Tango and brushed him. then I led him around the stall and picked up his feet. For the first time ever I was able to pick up all 4 feet and hold them up with NO struggle from him! We had another fly spray lesson - the horse flies were eating him alive! After I sprayed him, he stayed fly-free for a while. Eventually he will make the connection between fly spray and comfort. I opened up the doors to the pasture for him and he went out by himself and did some grazing. It was all pretty low-key for him. He whinnied maybe a handful of times the whole time I was there.

I had planned to ride this morning, but the arena had been watered and was not dragged yet, so I left and hope to come back in the evening to ride and check on Tango.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 - later...

I headed back to the barn in the early evening to ride. The arena was drug, but it was so deep in spots I just couldn't get a decent ride. Corky seemed like she was struggling, and when I put her on the longe line she just didn't look fluid. After about 10 or 15 minutes I gave up. I am not sure if it is the bad footing or whether she is a bit 'off' somewhere, but I called it a night. She just felt uncollected and struggle-y at the canter. I spent some time playing with Tango again. He is perfectly calm and quiet. What a relief! I measured him, he just seems so small to me. He is 12"1' at the withers and 12"3' at the hip. I measured his front leg and it says a full 17 hands! He is going to be a late bloomer, I think.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I headed out to the barn early today to give my friend's daughter some showmanship help. we used Corky, because her gelding tends to wallow and walk all over her, which scares her. Corky is so respectful of personal space. She was such a good girl, helped build the little girl's confidence in handling such a big horse. Afterwards I rode Corky. The footing still was fairly bad (though better on one side), but she felt a little better than last night. I am thinking part of our problem is she is probably very out of shape. I haven't worked her super hard since before band camp, which was a couple weeks ago. As usual whenever we come off of a long break, Corky was resistant to my leg. this meant we did a lot of leg-yielding at the trot, counter-bending, and the like. We ended on a pretty good note - she doesn't feel perfect underneath but definitely better than last night (so I can quit panicking LOL!).

Oddly enough Tango was pretty agitated today. Janet e-mailed me last night and said he was getting hoarse from whinnying and indeed he was. He seemed slightly stressed and kept whinnying intermittently. Strange that after 2 days he would sudden;y start getting upset. On the flip side, Oreo seemed completely OK with everything. I have her health papers and Coggins in hand, so we are ready for the shipper to come tomorrow to haul her back to Kentucky. It will be a bittersweet moment. She did a great job of taking care of Tango and nursing him, but she certainly was hard to handle and caused more than her share of issues. Irregardless, she saved his life...I hope wherever she goes next year takes good care of her.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I rode Corky around 11am today while waiting on the shipper to pick up Oreo. I was really worried about Corky at first - she was SO stiff and stilted on the longe line I thought something might be wrong with her. She eventually did loosen up but I still don't think she is moving 100% for some reason. When I got on her she was VERY resistant to move. I had to get after her to make her simply walk forward, and then trot. Once we got past the balkiness, she rode really good for me. Her canter to the right just doesn't feel as flowing as it normally does. It's better today than it was yesterday (and yesterday was better than the day before) so maybe I just need to patiently get her loosened and back in shape. Quite possibly I am paranoid!

When the shipper arrived, Oreo loaded up without incident. I wish she did everything that easy! In the trailer was well-known western pleasure stallion Vested Pine. Oreo gets to travel in some high-class company! When Oreo left, I went to Tango and worked with him. It's just the two of us now! His baby fuzz is finally starting to loosen. I haltered him and took him for a walk in the indoor. It took quite a while to convince him to lead out the stall door. Then it took quite a while to convince him to lead back in! Now the real training begins...

August 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I finally went to the hospital today to get my finger checked. It's been hurting me since the om Powers, intermittently swelling and turning purple. Sure enough, it's broken right at the knuckle. I wanted to ride today, but since it is splinted up pretty good I decided to wait a day or two.

Tango got some turnout time in the indoor today. We had a lengthy leading lesson in which he did really good. Several times he tried to nibble on my hand and I scolded him. Just saying "NO!" firmly scares him off of my hand! By the end of our walk he wasn't even trying to nibble. Again I successfully picked up all 4 legs. Of course, I took a few more pictures. I am beginning to think I am a little obsessed with the picture taking LOL! Oh well, no one ever regrets taking too many pictures, right? I bought a new weanling halter for him and it's too small to fit on his head! Weird since I don't think he is that big but it definitely doesn't fit.

Me and Tango - note the big old finger splint on my hand!

Tango is going through that awkward growthy unbalanced stage.

He always is curious about my camera!

Monday, August 2, 2010

I decided to attempt a ride even with my hand and finger all splinted up. I figured Corky would probably take advantage of me since I had to hold the right rein between my thumb and index fingertip. She surprised me, as usual, by giving me a great ride - very light and smooth and easy on my hand. Good girl!

She was extremely touchy to her sides today for some reason. I sat on her in the middle of the arena and just rested my legs against her belly and she started furiously backing up! I left my legs there, and even started rubbing them and applying pressure. Eventually she got over it and I was able to use a little more leg when trotting and cantering. It's so weird how she comes out of her stall some days like a different horse. It's like owning 5 different horses but only having to feed one. What a bargain!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My ride on Corky was pretty good again today. I was able to rate her speed fairly well, and correct her when she wanted to surge. However I don't feel that the problem is solved. Riding indoors is so cramped it gives me a false sense of security and training! Remove the walls and then you see what you really have. Due to even more rain, our outdoor is still wet so it looks like we won't be able to see how things are training-wise until we get to the show this weekend. I am planning on going to the AQHA show in Rochester, Indiana this weekend. I like the Indiana folks!

Today I wormed both Corky and Tango. Tango was so easy - he let me worm him and never moved a muscle. Nice!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I re-taped my broken finger in a different way to make it easier to ride - by splinting my middle finger to my index finger rather than my ring finger. It made it a lot easier using my reins, but the downside was I can't do ANYTHING without my index finger free! I am not sure what I will do at the show this weekend.

Corky was wound tight today. Several times I had to go back to the trot and pull her into a circle and let her spin her frustrations out rather than surging at the canter. I remember Darla having me do this last fall - going back to the trot when things were not working at the canter. It worked like a charm, every time had to do that Corky came out of the trot and went into the canter quietly and more relaxed. Oh, if only I could do that in a class LOL! I am leaving tomorrow afternoon for Rochester, Indiana to the AQHA show this weekend. I don't show until Sunday, but I can use Friday and Saturday to ride and socialize with my Indiana peeps.

Friday, August 6, 2010 - Rochester, Indiana

I left around noon and hauled to Rochester, which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive. En route I got pulled over by a police officer and given a coupon for a free McFlurry at McDonald's for wearing my seatbelt. Weird! For once I was actually staying the speed limit, thank goodness!

When I arrived, I unloaded and saddled up to ride. I decided to do things a bit differently this weekend and rather than doing long marathon rides, I would do several shorter rides - get 'er done and let Corky relax! The first ride was in the western saddle and big fat snaffle with draws (I always ride with regular reins when I used draws...ride mainly using the direct rein and only engage the draw reins if necessary). She was full of herself, which was to be expected, so I spent the ride mainly letting her see everything and working a lot at the trot asking her to stay at my pace. Later that evening I rode a second time, but rode in the big fat twist without draws. On this ride I spent a lot of time bending and getting her to stop leaning on my leg and dropping her shoulder. She was a little resistant and it was definitely a schooling session more than a riding session, but we quit after about 20 minutes when she started doing everything correctly.

Saturday, August 7, 2010 - Rochester, Indiana

Today was all western, so we had all day to ride and do stuff. I did my first ride in the morning - went back to the western saddle with snaffle and draws. I worked a lot at asking her to hold her pace and rate like I asked. It was a better ride than yesterday and we definitely had progress, so I quit after 20 minutes.

Second ride was in the middle of the afternoon - I rode in my English saddle with my show bit. During this session we did some bending and flexing, and worked on keeping her frame steady during transitions (especially walk-to-canter). I quit after 20 minutes again.

The third ride was much later, around 8:30pm. I had the entire arena to myself and it was awesome. We did lots and lots of huge circles and serpentines, changing directions and basically staying off the rail yet doing everything long and fluid. It was a great ride! I quit after about 25 minutes. I should note that every time I got Corky out to saddle her today she was interested and happy - I am thinking that keeping our rides short and to the point made her more willing to come out again and be worked.

Sunday, August 8, 2010 - Rochester, Indiana Show Day!

I got up early to longe Corky in the morning. She was SO tight in the body from those tiny, cramped stalls. She couldn't turn around without either brushing her butt against the wall or having to giraffe her neck up to turn. Poor girl, I did notice that she never laid down the entire weekend. She was super tight on the longe line, so I did about 15 or 20 minutes of slow long trotting to get her loose.

The showmanship pattern was a good one. My main concern was keeping Corky steady enough to stick her pivots. She tends to drift after she reaches the 360 degree point, so turns of more than a full 360 are challenging for us.

Corky did stick her pivots perfectly, but she was terribly sluggish. Everything she did was accurate, but it was slow and had no crispness to it. At this level, that ain't gonna cut it! We placed middle-to-low in a class of 12. It was disappointing. I have worked so hard on our showmanship and yet we never seem to be improving at all. Corky can do every maneuver, stay straight, and be 100% accurate but her big 17+-hand body just never moves tight and crisp like a smaller horse does, and it kills our placing. I am not really sure how I can make her more 'up' and tight without messing up other things.

Next was the riding. They took a 45 minute break and I decided I was NOT going to work her before our class. She was ridden three times yesterday and got better and better. I wanted to see if maybe I didn't do so much under-saddle preparation if she would stay happier and more focused. It seems when she gets tired, she gets cranky and that's when she decides to NOT behave or listen to me. It's a mental game...I need a degree in psychology to ride this horse!

I hopped on right before my amateur HUS class and trotted on in. That's when I realized my only major mistake - in not riding her at all before the class I did not loosen her up at all, so she trotted in looking very pony-strided and tight. NOT a good first impression to the judges! She stayed pretty tight the entire first trot. Second direction was much better, she loosened up and felt great. We ended up placing pretty well - 4th and 5th out of 13 (just out of the points as usual). I was kicking myself about that first trot..no excuse for me because it's not like I don't know how tight this horse gets standing in her stall!

I had a long wait until the senior HUS - 5 or 6 classes. I got off of her and just stood in the makeup arena and relaxed. This time I got on her and did a little bending and trotting right before it was time to trot in, and that worked better. She was a lot looser. Unfortunately there were only 3 of us in the class, and she wasn't at her best. Can't get away with much when the judges only have 3 horses to watch! She wasn't bad by any means, just not as steady and I had to work a little harder to make her frame up and rate. The judges placed us 2nd and 3rd...*sigh*. It's always a learning process for us, and this was a good one because even though we weren't world-beaters, I had good, clean rides and that's my number one goal.

It's frustrating, because the more I show her the better she gets yet this year I've hardly been able to show her at all because of schedules and finances. If I could just be able to do some consistent (like every other weekend) showing, I think we could make some significant progress. Sadly, real life has interfered once again this year to keep me from my goals. Oh well...we will keep plugging away. I am the fool that never gives up LOL!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's been in the mid-90's again this week, with humidity and heat index into the 100's. In other words, miserable hot!. Tango is still holding on to his baby fuzz. He'll probably shed out just in time for the first snow storm. I haltered him and did a leading lesson with him. He would NOT let me lead him through the stall door outside. It drove me nuts because he runs in and out of that door every day as he goes in and out of the pasture, but today he planted his feet in the doorway and would NOT let me lead him out. I ended up having to wrestle him outside with my arm behind his butt. We led around the pasture a little bit. He led pretty good for a while, then got a bit energetic and tried to get too far ahead of me at times. I led him back into his stall, praised him, and then tried to lead him outside again. Same thing - he planted his feet and would not move. I wrestled him outside, praised him, led him in a circle and then back into his stall and took his halter off. It was too hot to do much else, but since I won the battle twice I decided to quit while I was ahead. I liked that even though when I was really getting after him, he didn't get upset or flustered or scared in any way...just stubborn. I can deal with stubbornness much easier than a horse that is afraid of everything.

On Saturday, Tango got a visit from the owners of his sire Thanks For Com En, Jim and Lauren Dettmer (and new baby Weston). Jim also has an orphan Thanks colt this year. We made plans to have an "orphan Congress" next year in the Hunter Longe Line...fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I tried to get some video of Tango today but it was impossible. He kept following me around the arena and wouldn't run or play. Ah, the price I pay for a friendly baby! I really didn't feel like trying to scare him with the whip, plus it was hot so I called it quits. I'll try again next week.

Today I was able to pick up every one of Tango's feet, prop it up on my leg, and pick his hooves out with a hoof pick. Small thing, but a huge step forward in growing up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I made another attempt to get some video of Tango. With Janet's help, I managed to get some footage of him cantering, running, and a slight bit of trotting. The bugs were horrible tonight and they were eating us alive out there. Today for the first time I turned another horse out with Tango. The horse was Hotrod - an old broodmare at the barn. She does a good job of teaching youngsters how to respect her space, which is something Tango never learned from Oreo. Only once did Tango make an attempt to nurse on her and she kicked out and made it VERY clear that this was NOT going to happen LOL! Tango had a look of surprise - I think he was shocked to learn that other horses could discipline him. They ran around a bit and he respected her space the whole time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I worked with Tango today - picked all 4 of his feet up and picked them out. He was as good as gold! Then we did a leading lesson, and he decided he was NOT going to let me lead him out of the stall to the indoor. He never got excited or upset, just planted those feet and would NOT move forward, even with the pressure of a butt rope. I ended up having to back him through the stall door in order to win the battle. I backed him through the door and then took him for a walk around the indoor. Then we went back into the stall and went to lead out the door again. Once again he planted his feet, but I convinced him to go forward through the door without having to back up. Yay...victory!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I finally got a chance to ride Corky today - I haven't ridden since the Rochester show almost 2 weeks ago! I expected a bad ride but she was great! She was extra extra light in the bridle and we had a very nice, willing ride. I love that. Hopefully the weather holds out so that I can ride outside this weekend. My work life is really getting in the way of my riding life...football season starts next week and that means my life is pretty much over until December.

Rest in peace, June Warren. I always looked up to her - she was a wonderful person to talk to. I remember sitting on the phone with her for hours back in 1997 when I was calling her to book my mare to Last Detail. She loved to talk about HUS breeding and bloodlines! It meant a lot to me that throughout the years she kept up with me about Taylor's show career and was extremely supportive. I was shocked and saddened to read of her passing from brain cancer today. Another one of the 'good ones' is gone :-[

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What an ugly, rainy day. I started my barn day by leading Tango out the stall door (he went willingly...yay!) and into the indoor. I let him loose for a while and watched him run and play while I tested out the video camera on my new Droid phone (way too cool!). Then we did a leading lesson. A couple times he balked and I had to urge him forward and a couple times he got ahead of me and tried to pull me in his direction. Other than that, he led very well.
Tango has lost nearly all of huis baby fuzz other than a little bit on his legs, and the very top of his back and hip. He is a real bay now that you can see the black coming though on his legs. He looks like he will finish out to be a dark bay - darker than Corky with less red.

I free-longed Corky for a bit and then set some poles up - 2 poles slightly raised (about 3") one stride apart. I then put the longe line on her and longed her over them at a trot. At first she was really frightened of them (silly thing!) but once I slowed her down she was able to think about her striding and did pretty good. I did the same thing at the canter, and she was slowly figuring it out. I moved the poles more into the center where they could lay flat, and added 2 more poles to make a box. She rode very well under saddle. I took the poles straight at the trot several times and she was excellent. At the canter she had more difficulty getting her striding right, but it didn't take long for her to figure out of she slowed down and shortened her stride she could easily lope over them. I did a fun exercise where I trotted over them in all sorts of patterns where I went over the poles at an angle, went over the corners, etc. It really kept her brain focused, and she was covered in sweat when I was done. It was a fun ride.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tango is really losing his baby fuzz now! He just has some fuzz left along the top of his back and hips. Finally!!! I turned him out in the indoor and let him play a little bit, then we went for a walk and had another leading lesson. He was better today than yesterday.

I set up the poles again (this time I used 3 and made an open-ended box) and rode Corky. I really worked her hard over the poles at the trot and canter. It was a tough but good workout. I am kind of riding aimlessly right now. I don't have anything I am working towards - no shows or goals, I am kind of at loose ends with my training. I just don't know what direction to go or what I should be doing right now. I guess that's one of the prices you pay for riding alone and on your own...no one to point you in a certain direction or give you advice as to the next step. It's a lonely way to ride, I think.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I brought my new phone out to the barn to test out the video camera (It's a Droid 2). It's pretty decent for a phone camera! Neither of my horses wanted to move at all today...they were both so LAZY! Please excuse the annoying clicking I was doing :-]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I spent all of last night and part of this morning braiding horses at the Allen County fair - pretty much paid for my new Droid phone yippeee!!!!. I managed to do with with my middle finger still in that honkin' big splint. I even got my picture taken for the Lima News:

The splint comes off after this weekend. I can't wait. I miss my middle finger! It's really a lot more necessary than I had imagined.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It was a beautiful day with low humidity and a strong breeze, so after my teachers' meetings I headed to the barn to ride outside. The ride started off OK, but then went downhill fast. I am so frustrated, it's another typical one step forward and 5,568 steps back! Corky seemed to be doing everything in her power to go against what I was asking. She would NOT hold her rhythm and pace, was constantly speeding up and surging and I know if I had let her she probably would have just grabbed it and ran off. It wasn't that she was scared or even excited to be outside, she barely longed on the line. It just seemed to me that she was purposely working against me. Am I foolish for taking this so personally? It really upsets me why some days she just does NOT want to do the right thing, but instead will do the wrong thing which ends up beign WAY harder and rougher on her than if she had just done as I asked.

I sit here wallowing in my self-pity wondering why I am even worried about it since once again I have to skip Congress this year because of finances.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ok, done with the self-pity! I took Corky outside and tried again, and she was wonderful! She actually listened when I asked her to rate her speed, and she went about everything willingly. I had some awesome canters out of her. Go figure! I swear, my horse is bi-polar. Complete opposite of what happened yesterday...so confusing! Heck, I'll take it!

I practiced a bunch of collected sitting trot since they asked for that in several HUS classes at the NSBA world show last week. I am guessing that will be a new thing a lot of judges will start asking next year, so I want to be ready. I spent some time trying to teach Corky to slow way down when I asked her to at the sitting trot. By the end of our ride she was really getting it and needed only occasional reminders. It's very interesting to me that they asked for this new gait...in a 2yo and 3yo HUS class! How exactly will they be judging it? Will they want you to go to the extreme and really collect down into a jog, or is it just supposed to be a slight shortening of gait? I wish I had been there to actually see what people were doing. I need to ask around and see what others' opinions are.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another gorgeous day...I rode Corky outside again in the afternoon. Can you believe it - she was even better than yesterday! It was one of those "dream rides". It was wonderful. The sun was shining, it was around 75 degrees, and all was right with the world. THIS is why I love to ride - moments like these are like getting a glimpse of heaven.


Yep, Tango is 4 months old today, so of course it was reason to take a slew of photos (click on them to enlarge). I measured him, he is around 12'3" at the withers and 13' at the hip. Still kinda small for his age, I think

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tango was turned out in the indoor arena today with the doors open so he could go out in the front pasture if he wanted. He looked a little lonely so I thought I'd turn out the old broodmare with him. Well, she was in an evil mood tday, she kept chasing him for no reason and actually to a bite out of his butt a few times. Not cool! I put her back away and decided maybe it was time to try Corky with him. He was very afraid of Corky, but Corky was pretty quiet around him, and only mildly curious about him. A couple times she approached him and he took off running, and she took off after him, but I could tell she really had no idea why she was chasing him other than he was running so she would too! It was a good way for both of them to get some exercise without any meanness. Corky is such a good girl. I think she remembers being a youngster and being picked on by every other adult horse in the barn. Maybe this taught her that being a bully is bad! The front pasture is so pretty with the white fence...perfect excuse for even more photos! I swear I am obsessed with photographing this little guy.

Corky pretty much ignored Tango while there was fresh grass to mow down!

Corky investigates this new little alien being that showed up out here.

I love this face!

Following me to get his nose in my camera!

Monday, August 30, 2010

First day of school! First day back to work where I have to get up before dawn. That's rough! It was a hot day - up in the 90's. I went and rode outside anyways. I will enjoy these warm weather memories in mid-February!. I have to say I had the number one best ride on Corky ever! Seriously! I have been riding without longeing lately at all, which is cool, but I swear today she had the best attitude. There were several long stretches at the canter where I didn't even have to touch her - didn't even have to remind her what pace I wanted her to stay at, she just held herself! THAT is what I have been aiming for, for the past 4 years!!! I want to put this entire post in bold print so I can go back and read it weeks later when I get frustrated and all down on myself (and her) again. these moments do happen and they are worth ALL of the hard work. Now, if only I could get to a show and have it happen there. Darn job and crazy fall schedule! Getting to a show is going to be tough. Oh well, meanwhile I will enjoy my evening rides in the sunshine.

I should mention (for my own future reference) what I worked on today. I did a lot of circles at the trot and canter, and worked on cantering figure-8's with a simple lead change in the center. Corky can do them really well indoors, but outside with no walls she was very confused when I asked her to break to a trot for a stride and change leads. I was surprised she found that so difficult to understand. She is really automatic with them indoors, but I guess the walls are cluing her in as to what to do with her legs.

September 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I rode Corky outside several times this week and all of my rides were GREAT!. This has been a good horse week and a great stress-reliever from the first week of school. Today I went out for another ride. Corky was a bit more full of herself today. the wind was blowing and it was slightly cool...yee-haw! I can't complain, though. It wasn't a perfect, smooth ride like we've had most of this week, but considering I was riding in just a fat French snaffle, she actually did listen to me when I "spoke" to her, although it didn't last. I had to do a lot of reminding about what pace I was putting her at and trying to make her stay, but the good thing was when I did ask her to back off she did...just didn't stay backed off for more than 4-5 strides (which is a huge improvement over last year...geeze look back at my August and September training diary from 2009!!!). I did a lot of work off the 'rail' - circles, changing leads, changing directions, and just random riding patterns all over the grass keeping her focused and taking away any anticipation of direction.

When I was done riding, I took Tango for a walk around the indoor arena. He is leading excellently! He has now shed off almost all of his fuzz, and I love his color. This is a good excuse to take more pictures.

I should mention that we checked yesterday and it appears Tango has both testicles descended. Exciting news LOL! Hey, it's all part of breeding and raising colts, ya know? I am aiming for a gelding date in November some time when the bugs are down (and my schedule is easier). I've never gelded this early, but I'd feel better gelding him before winter so he can have some safe turnout time with Corky.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day! (or Labor-FREE Day!). It was another perfect day to ride outside. I want to bottle these days up and savor them. I have been working with Corky on slowing down and collecting her trot with my leg pressure and today things really clicked and it worked! I actually was able to collect her up into a western jog, I mean a real western jog, which was really weird for us! This is such a handy tool to have. I am now thinking this needs to be added to our canter for more control. I am excited - I feel like I actually accomplished something this month and now I am eager to keep it going. Today's ride was still a bit forward but very controllable and although I kept having to remind Corky of the pace I was asking, she did continue to listen and do as I asked each time. I really want to get to a show, ANY show, this weekend to test out our training. It's this weekend or bust, because after this weekend I have NO open weekends though October. Oh, the joys of football season :-[.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

All good things must come to an end, right? My great rides with Corky came to a halt today as she was back to being bullheaded and trying to rush everything. She would rush, I would bring her down, she would get mad and rush harder, I would stop her, she would get madder and fight more, I would pull her into circles where she would fight it out with her self, and so on. Since she was so grumpy I did try a little slowing her down with leg pressure at the canter. I am not sure what I am doing wrong, but instead of slowing her stride down, she just shortened it so that it was up-and-down bouncy and not long and relaxed. This is uncharted territory for me so I think I am going to need some help here.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. Another day for the world's most inconsistent horse LOL!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hope springs eternal! we headed outside today for another ride. I switched bits since she was getting overly heavy and pulling on the French snaffle. I switched to a fat twist. Amazing how a slightly different mouthpiece "wakes" her up and lightens her. I need to get on a rotating schedule switching bits every 4 days or so. She rode great today - MUCH lighter and responsive (and willing!). I didn't do much collecting and holding. Instead I let her move out naturally and asked her to hold her pace, which she did. Whew! Things didn't totally go to pot, thank goodness. As a reward (and to let her realize that coming outside has it's good points) I took her bridle off and let her graze a bit in the field when I was done. we ride outside on a dirt track in an open field...fenced in only on 3 sides (which is scary - the road side does not have a fence!). She seemed surprised that I was letting her graze. I actually pulled her head down to the grass to let her know it was OK. Sometimes you just have to give them that "ice cream treat" when they do well, ya know?

Janet mentioned that tango has laid down and gotten cast twice now. Dumb horse...he has that huge foaling stall all to himself and yet chooses to lay down against the wall. I banked shavings up against all 4 walls to encourage him to lay down in the center. Hopefully this will start a new habit with him while he is young - he needs to learn that the center of the stall is always the best place to lay down!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Storm clouds were rolling in early in the afternoon, so I took Corky outside just to longe a bit before the rain hit. She was WILD, and I do mean WILD! What was up with her? We longed almost a FULL hour (and that is eternity when standing on the end of a longe line!) and she never settled down. She was whinnying and hollering and acting like a fool who has never left the barn. I washed her afterwards, and then braided her and the whole time she was moving around and wouldn't behave. This is so unusual for her, usually she stands like a rock for braiding. Tomorrow I am headed to an open show, my absolute last show of the year thanks to my job that is taking over my weekends. Tomorrow is it! Having a raving lunatic for a horse today does not build my confidence for tomorrow, that's for sure.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I got up before the crack of dawn (4:30am!!!) and headed to the show. I did a good longeing session in the morning for about a half hour. It was very cool and windy in the morning so Corky was energized, but not overly so (nothing like she was yesterday!). Showmanship was first. I knew I was in for a weird day when I went to the entry booth and asked if they had patterns posted yet. The judge was sitting in there and he told me "Young lady, I'm an old-timey judge. I don't believe in posting patterns ahead of time. I believe in the old way of showing!". Uh-oh! He was old enough to call me "young lady", how funny is that? Ok, so there was no showmanship pattern posted. It was a pure flashback to the 80's where I walked in the arena and walked all the way around to the line up and set up, then the judge walked through and told us our pattern. It was fairly simple - Walk out of line, do a 360, walk to the judge and set up, then trot towards the ring steward. The ring steward was standing off to the left, so you would either have to do a 90 degree pull turn or a 270 turn to trot to the steward. Being an "old-timey" judge, I figured he probably wouldn't appreciate a pull turn. Corky nailed every element, including a fast set up and we won the class. It was a nice win and I was really happy with how she did.

Hunter under saddle was another story. Get this - they had NO break between the showmanship and the HUS...not even 5 minutes! I was in the last showmanship class, so I literally RAN to my trailer, changed clothes, tacked up Corky, jumped on and trotted into the class. Not a good plan, Corky is not one to be rushed. She went into the class a bit agitated. our first trot was OK, although a bit over-flexed and forward. All %^$#! broke loose when she caught sight of a little kid galloping on a black mini...for some reason she was terrified of this little pony and it sent her into a bucking spree around the end of the arena. From that point on we alternated between flinging head, bucking, leaping into the air, jumping sideways, and trying to run off. Completely horrible! the judge saw all of our bucking - every stride. And...he placed me FIRST. What tthe heck? I was so embarrassed I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. I got the look of daggers from everyone. I felt awful. Our ride was completely out of control and dangerous and the judge saw every bit of it, and there were many horses in the class that had really good rides. I ended up not showing in any other classes. I didn't want to go in and have more bad rides and that judge keep letting me win, it just wasn't fair to everyone else and it was WRONG. I have been on the other end of this story many times and I know how bad it feels to have great rides and get unfairly beaten. So, I packed up and went home.

I did ride her around after my class (they took a break AFTER the HUS) and tried to school her. It wasn't very good. That little black pony just had her completely terrified, and I have never seen her so afraid of something. That's so weird!!! I never did get her to settle down. It's a not-so-good way to end my 2010 show season. Yep, it's over for me...real life steps in and takes over for a while. I guess that's a good thing, since my truck is ONCE AGAIN in the shop. I walked home from the mechanics after the show today. Something is wrong with the transmission or something...heck, I dunno. All I know is I went to a whopping FOUR shows this summer and 3 of them resulted in major truck or trailer repairs. Stinking black cloud over my head, time to DISPERSE!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

After a long week of work, I finally had a chance to ride this morning. It was a gorgeous morning - sunny and moderately warm. I had a decent ride but it wasn't a push-button ride by any means. I just don't understand Corky's inconsistencies. It's so weird. She can canter so relaxed and flowing for sometimes 5 strides, sometimes 3/4 around the arena...and then suddenly she just decides to surge ahead and take control. Of course, when I ask her to rock back again she shortens her stride but doesn't slow it down, so it gets choppy and rough. It happens over and over and over and over and over again. I wonder why??? She knows what her correct pace is supposed to be. When she is going at my pace I don't touch her, I make it so easy on her to do the right thing. Why on earth after ALL this time she still will not hold her pace and tempo. Sometimes I only get a handful of correct strides out of her before I have to start correcting. Maybe I am thinking too logically for a horse, but to me it would make more sense to make it easier on my self by doing things correctly. I don't get it.

Her 'spur slow' at the trot is working really well. I experimented at the canter, and it does work but instead of slowing her stride down all I end up getting is a faster, shorter stride which is the opposite of what I want. I really have no idea how to work this out, so I think maybe I should not try it at the canter until I get professional help. Being someone who has not ridden western in 15 years, this is all a new and foreign concept to me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tonight I had a farrier appointment, and it was Tango's first hoof trimming experience! I have been picking his feet up daily and he stands perfectly still for me (I don't even need a lead rope!). He did great today. He was a little worried when my farrier put his front leg propped between his legs to trim...that made him try to pull away several times. I love love love how he can get scared and immediately relax and come out of it. He never stays wound up or scared. By the end he was standing perfectly still for his trimming. I am proud of my boy!

I turned Tango and Corky out together for a while when I cleaned stalls. Corky wavers from being intensely curious about the little guy, to deciding she doesn't want him close. At one point Tango finally got brave enough to stand still while Corky nibbled on his hip. He is a smart one though...he tries to stay a good distance from her and respect her space.

Monday, September 20, 2010

After that long rant I had the other day, things did a 180 turnaround. Corky must read my training diary. She went out today and rode very consistent, steady, and holding her pace. Occasionally when I corrected her, she listened. Weird.. wish colleges offered a degree in equine psychology. I think I need one. Or maybe I am getting one right now whether I want it or not!

I might ride a time or two this week, but next week starts my hell week at work and then football season and Congress take over the month of October, so Corky is going to get a month off. I think I will let her just "be a horse" next month, and then hit the training hard come November. Ok, so that's kind of the plan, but don't hold me to it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!. Tomorrow is also Tango's 5 month birthday. I turned Corky and Tango out in the back pasture for a while this afternoon and shot some video. They played pretty hard!

Some 5 month photos of Tango:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today might be the last really warm day of the season. It hit the mid 70's, so I rushed after work to squeeze a ride on outside. It's SO hard to find the time to ride during football season. My life is consumed with marching band, football games, performances, and getting all the other bands going. I want so badly to spend time with Corky and Tango every evening, but usually I leave with a computer full of music to write, so all they see of me is my hunched-over back cleaning their stalls in a hurry. Today I forced myself to make time. Work can wait! It was a wonderful ride. I am so glad I did. I had some wonderful, wonderful canters, and everything was very responsive. now I feel refreshed...heading back home to get to work for the rest of the evening...*sigh*

October 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Summer is definitely gone now. It was very chilly today with a blustery wind. I am in serious pain, jaw pain from that infection that is requiring surgery very soon plus a nasty bronchial infection that is making me cough nonstop. Needless to say I didn't ride today. I did, however, spend some quality time with Tango. First on the agenda was another tying lesson. He stands so good! He stood tied in his stall while I brushed him and picked his feet out (he let me prop up his front feet between my legs like a farrier and only pulled once). Next was the lesson I failed at a few months ago - leading him out the pasture door. He lets me lead him in and out of his stall into the aisleway, but for some reason he will NOT let me lead him through the door outside to the pasture. Today I decided he would HAVE to learn. He needs to learn to go wherever I ask him. I am not sure why he won't let me lead him out that door. He walks in and out that door a hundred times a day on his own. We had quite a battle at first. I tried a butt rope, and that didn't work. What did work was swinging the lead rope and rapping his butt lightly over and over again until he got so irritated he leaped forward and out the door. I praised him a ton, led him back in, and he led out the door quietly with me 2 times in a row. Mission accomplished!

I have been banking the sawdust against the walls in Tango's stall for about a month now, and he has not gotten cast since I started doing this. I am hoping to "train" him to lay down towards the center of the stall rather than against the wall. Hopefully when he is older, it will be a habit for him to lay in the center, and I can stop banking the walls. So far it seems to be working. That's what is so nice about raising your own baby...you have a chance to stop bad habits before they really get started. Of course, it also requires a lot of thinking, planning, and diligence to keep things consistent. It's good practice for me, because my life is anything but consistent!

By the way, I measured him today - about 13'1" at the winters and almost 13'3" at the hip. He grew a tiny bit.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Well, I ended up in the hospital with a major infection...had surgery, now am on the mend. Yesterday Kevin (hubby) and I compromised (since I wasn't able to drive because of the pain meds) - he drove me to Congress to watch the hunter longe line and then I went with him to a firefighter hog roast outside of Columbus that evening. The longe line was interesting. there were a handful of really super nice hunter prospects, and a LOT of tweeners that were short-strided and quick-legged and didn't even track up at the trot. Hmmmmm.... The first 3 horses were really nice, and I liked one other horse that placed lower. Oh well, judging is such a crapshoot. Who knows if Tango will even make it this far next year. He has a lot of growing to do and a lot can happen in a year's time. Believe me, I sure know that!

Today was a rare 87 degree day in October and I was lovin' it! I was determined to ride, but once I got out to the barn and cleaned stalls I discovered I was a lot weaker from surgery than I had thought, so decided to wait another day before attempting to ride. Instead I spent some quality time with Tango. I tried on a new purple halter I bought him yesterday. He fits in a yearling halter all the way up on the smallest holes...yay! If nothing else, at least his head grew LOL! We did another tying lesson and I picked his feet out and brushed him. I need to get some no-chew spray to stop his rope-chewing habit early. This is a must because he is destined to be my next showmanship horse if everything works out. We also did a lesson of leading in and out the pasture door. At first he balked again, but swinging the rope behind him reminded him of that lesson we had a week or two ago and he led in and out several times without issue.

We also did a longer leading lesson out in the indoor arena. At first he was really wound up and wanted to leap in the air. Rather than fight his energy, I turned him out and let him run and play. When he was done, we did our leading lesson. A few times he tried to stop and rear but I scolded him and made him settle down. He was being a little tougher today - not wanting to turn to the right and flinging his head a little bit when I reached for his right ear. I did a lot of ear-rubbing on both ears many times during our walk and he soon got over that. Ahhhh...babies! Gotta love them! I love how everything is new to them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

They say today is the last summer-like day of the year. I took advantage of it (72 degrees and sunny) and rode Corky outside. I haven't ridden her in what - 2 weeks? She was pretty calm outside, but Tango was in the pasture running the fence line and occasionally whinnying, and Corky had a hard time focusing no me. We did a LOT of work on slowing her canter down t the speed I chose, and using leg pressure to hold her there. I wouldn't say we were a raging success but I feel we did get a smidgen of stuff accomplished and I stayed very patient and calm, which is always good. I got off Corky and looked over at Tango running the fence line and squinted...and realized that he was running the fenceline on the outside of the fence! Somehow he had gotten out of his pasture. I yelled for help and the three of us plus Corky attempted to catch him and herd him into this pasture gate. He was racing around the field...the unfenced field that opened into the road. He wouldn't be caught, but luckily he wasn't secure enough to lose sight of Corky. Eventually I managed to convince him to come to me and I used Corky's rein as a makeshift halter and led him into the pasture. We then went over the pasture fence...not a post out of place. I went over Tango with a fine toot comb and not a hair out of place! The only thing he could have done was jumped the fence and cleared it! Dang I wish I had been watching. I would have loved to see that. I think Tango just wanted to be with another horse. I don't know, but it has me worried about him being outside by himself while we are at work all day. The alternative is for him to be in his stall all day and that is definitely not a good thing. This weekend it looks like I will be shopping for a breakaway halter for him. If he gets out again he will be a lot safer "in the public" if he has a halter on so someone can catch him.

So, it was an interesting day. I feel like the swelling in my face is down to normal now, although chewing and talking is tough. Corky was...um...OK for me today. Tango survived his first mishap without a mark on him (I LOVE that!!!). Life is normal at the Hare household. This weekend I am off to Congress to watch and socialize.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Woo-hoo, another beautiful day! I decided to ride outside again. Gotta take advantage of sunny, dry weather. It was another major schooling session for Corky and I. Sheesh this horse can be frustrating. All I wanted was for her NOT to keep surging and taking control. Over and over and over at the canter I repeatedly schooled her - checked her when she started taking control and surging, occasionally stopping and backing, just trying to drill it in her head that if she just stays at MY pace, life will be so much easier. I think *maybe* I got through to her a little bit??? The ride did improve a little...we're talking inches. BUT, it's inches in the right direction, that's all that counts.

After I was done riding, I let Tango outside. I put him in the indoor arena while I rode...don't want to take any chances of him deciding to jump the fence and join Corky and I while I am there alone. We had a nice long leading lesson in the indoor. He is getting strong, and starting to test his boundaries a bit. He's pretty easy to work with because he backs down pretty fast. I led him outside through the stall pasture door (yay, he walked right through with no issue!) and we went for a walk out in the pasture. He i>really wanted to run when we got out there, so this was a good lesson for him to learn patience and to walk with me even when he is energized. We walked the fence line again to check just in case we missed anything yesterday. I walked him way out to the far corner of the pasture where Tory is buried. That's his grand-dam! I wish wish wish wish I had Taylor buried out here with Tory and Fruit, and Fruit's baby. I wish Lazlo was out here also. It stinks losing your horse far away from home.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My first pain-free jaw day in a month! It's miraculous! Now if only that horrible hole inside my mouth will heal up...but at least the pain is gone gone GONE.

It rained last night, so today I decided to ride inside. Yeah, Corky is so much easier to ride indoors with walls and a smaller space. It really gives you a false sense of security in training when you ride consistently inside. I haven't ridden inside in months. My training holes have gaped wide open in these past few months. I tried working on the same things inside that I did yesterday when I was outdoors. Of course, I got way better results inside because the walls were a nice incentive for Corky to listen to me and rate her speed. I did some leg-yielding at the trot (Corky's least favorite exercise!) and worked on slowing her down and holding her trot to my slow pace on cue. This is starting to work very well, I can almost have her jogging on a semi-loose rein after a while. Maybe there is hope for her canter yet. It's not that want her to go slow, I just want to be the one in control of her speed. She likes to test my control by surging forward, and it seems to degenerate into a never-ending battle between us. I haven't given up hope yet...

Sunday, October 13, 2010

I spent the weekend at Congress, watching a bit and visiting with a lot of old (and new!) friends. It was a lot of fun. I have pangs of missing it because I am not showing, but I was prepared mentally for the disappointment this year so all is good. I got to actually bid at the Super Sale to help a friend get her horse's price up to the reserve. It was a blast. I have never bid at an auction before. There were so few bidders left at this time, the auctioneers were very excited to have a live bidder in me...I felt so important LOL!

Today when I got home from Congress I decided to ride Corky. It was getting slightly dark so I chose to ride inside. The arena was freshly drug and was a bit deep so I couldn't get a lot of work done. Basically I just tooled around a little and w-t-c a few times. I didn't push any issues since I know that battling in deep dirt will result in a tendon injury (been there, done that!).

I have this horrible urge to get back into breeding. I don't think I could ever breed a mare that I raised ever again...Corky is safe right now! I would like to buy a talented TB mare, another diamond in the rough, and start. I'd like to partner with a friend because I don't want a baby or expenses every year. Such a dilemma...it's hard not to have any dreams of the far future. I can't really dream about that ever-so-distant elusive world champion horse I will be breeding if I don't even have a broodmare.

Tango is going through such an ugly thoroughbred-y stage. I swear, Thoroughbreds make the ugliest yearlings! I hope Tango grows out of this stage soon. Taylor had a major ugly stage for a while also, and she matured into a beautiful horse. There is hope...I think!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Today's ride was indoors due to weather. I am wondering if my outside rides are over for the year. I hope not! Today I honestly feel like I am making progress with Corky. Yes...MAKING PROGRESS WITH CORKY. I needed to highlight that phrase so I will notice it later when I am frustrated and feeling like all I've done is take backwards steps. PROGRESS!. OK, so it wasn't earth-shattering, but it was a step again in the right direction. Mainly it was at the canter - the first few times I asked her to slow herself down with leg pressure she didn't respond readily, but after about the third time I was actually getting some response from her! A few times she held it for a ways and I was able to relax and not constantly remind her. I am hoping that this progress is for real and that I am indeed doing the right thing in my training. Not sure...time will tell, I guess! I did a bunch of leg-yielding at the trot, and that went very well. It's such a great warm-up exercise, because after doing that, Corky doesn't seem to mind my leg pressure when used in a lighter, different manner. We also did some practicing of turns on the haunches and forehand. Here's another concept: When you enter into something without the preconceived notions, you might get a different result!. I know that one direction for Corky in turning on the forehand is really bad - she gets all bent and resistant and it's usually pretty ugly. I haven't done this in so long I honestly couldn't remember which direction was her bad way. So, I went both directions equally and you know what? Both directions were equally good! Hmmm..something to ponder...

Tango had another tying, hoof-picking, and leading lesson. He's such a good boy. He decided to venture over to the indoor arena gate and meet up with Corky. I am pretty sure Corky likes him mainly because he is the only horse in the barn that doesn't pick on her and try to beat her up. No wonder she has such an inferiority complex around other horses!My plan is to have Tango gelded next month, and then hopefully they can start having turnout time together on a regular basis.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I headed to Congress bright and early to watch the 3yo HUS finals, and Junior HUS. Let me tell you I was very impressed with the 3yo HUS horses this year. Man they were nice! I loved loved loved how they were moving - bigger and with tons more forward motion. If only people would show like this at the weekend shows, I could let Corky step out a lot bigger and we'd both be more comfortable. Maybe it will trickle down? I fell in love with a 3yo in the class. I believe his name was Only A Blue (by Skys Blue Boy). That horse had the most fantastic, freaky big and flat front leg that I have ever seen. It takes a LOT to wow me in HUS since I am so overly critical, but this one definitely did it. The Junior HUS was a good class - had some good and some bad (and a few ugly) but overall I liked how big everyone was moving.

On my way out, I looked at some breakaway halters in one of the shops and debated on spending the $22 on yet another halter for Tango. I just bought him a new halter last weekend, but now I am thinking maybe he should have a breakaway halter on when turned out instead of having no halter. After must mental debate (yeah, I debate with myself for hours over a measly $22) I went ahead and bought it. Good thing. Janet called me no my way home and said that Tango jumped the fence again. I guess the neighbors were petting him over the fence and then walked away and Tango decided he wanted more petting. They said he just gathered himself up and leaped over the fence into their yard. Impressive, yes. Worrisome, extremely so. What the heck am I to do with a 6 month old that easily leaps the very tall fence at various spots? I am at a loss as to what to do...since it is not my property I cannot just build him an extra tall corral, or run hot wire on the top. It's so frustrating. I hate the thought of him not getting turnout...it is something that eats at me because I think it is imperative that young horses have access to turnout all day. Janet doesn't want to turn him out in the back pasture anymore. I wish I knew what to do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I rode today. At one point in the canter Corky was getting so bound up and tight, I finally just went into two-point position and hand galloped her about 3x around the arena. It definitely loosened her up. One time at the canter she deliberately ignored my cue and surged really HARD. I stopped her and pulled her into some hard-working circles and really got after her and made her bend, and then after that her canter was much better. She hates leg-yielding and especially hates leg pressure putting her into small circles (bending and counterbending), so sometimes that is the most effective punishment that also accomplishes something. She was really in a forward-moving mood today. Good thing we were inside!

I turned Tango outside with the old broodmare while I cleaned stalls and rode. He stayed in the fence, but the old broodmare wasn't much of a companion for him because she spent the whole time standing at the door and didn't let him near. Who ever heard of a fat old broodmare that doesn't want to go out into the pasture and graze on a 70 degree day? Crazy! I brought Tango inside and did a leading lesson with him around the arena. He was in a very bratty mood today wanting to walk all over me or pull me forward. We walked around in circles and serpentines and I didn't quit until he settled down and led nicely.

Tango gets his vaccinations Tuesday. I really hope he didn't inherit Taylor's sensitivity. She used to react so badly to vaccinations that several times she had to be put on an I.V.

Monday, October 25, 2010 - Happy World Pasta Day!

I decided to hang a milk carton and a Diet Pepsi bottle in Tango's stall so he can occupy himself with something to play with. I am pretty proud - it only took 3 tosses of the carton before I managed to make it go over the beam in the barn roof so I could tie it. Immediately Tango went to playing with it. He was attacking it, hitting it with his nose, trying to bite it. I put some grain pellets inside to make a nice rattling sound. It surprise me that when I went into his stall and batted the carton so that it swung wildly and made noise, he never even flinched. Even to this day, that will send Corky over the roof! For good measure, I hung one in Corky's stall also. For years I had hung them in Corky's stall and tied plastic Wal-Mart bags over them so they crinkled. This sound, for some reason, is her greatest fear. Even now she can bump into one and not be bothered, but if I walked in her stall and accidentally nudged the plastic she will flip out. Horses are weird.

Tonight Tango is going to get turned out all night with a 32 year old retired gelding. I hope he runs and plays, but I doubt he will run much since it will be pitch dark in there. At least it gets him out of his stall for a bit today. He is still banished from the pasture until I can spend more time out there and monitor him with the old broodmare.

I rode Corky tonight. I can't get over how fat she is. It worries me, because in the past few months she has gained so much weight all over her body and neck - she looks like a draft horse! I have cut her diet waaaay down, and she is going on an exercise program! Today I decided to make her into my equitation dummy. I trotted her for a long time while practicing my 2-point position, up-up-sit exercises, and one-stirrup posting. My legs feel great! I love it when I am slightly tight and sore after a ride...makes me feel like something was accomplished. Her canters were really good today. She does so much better with somewhat consistent riding. I really need to try and make time this fall to keep riding her regularly. It's just so hard after a long day at work. It means I eat supper around 8:30 or 9pm. Times like this make me jealous of the lucky amateurs who don't have to work for a living - ones who are still funded by their parents or husband or whatnot. I don't mind the hard work, I actually love it...it just would be so much easier if I didn't have to work an actual job for 10 hours a day. Oh well, it's life, right? Lots of people like me out there trying to do it all. No pity party for me! I am truly thankful that I was able to pay for my $10k in vet bills this spring, plus keep food on my table and electricity in the wires, ya know? At times when I was at Congress I would get twinges of feeling sorry for myself that all this happened to once again kill my show season for the year, but then I remember how many THOUSANDS of people would LOVE to show at Congress and will never get the opportunity, and I've had the opportunity multiple times and managed to achieve my lifelong goal (and then some!). So Jan, quitcher bitchin, OK?

I love this picture. I can remember when Corky was this age and in this very same stall and she would always stick her nose through the bars begging for attention. I often thought about when the day would come with Corky when she wouldn't be able to fit her nose through the bars, and would I notice? It happened so gradually...it just seems suddenly one day she was a big girl and her nose didn't fit anymore. Hard to believe someday Tango will reach that point also...he seems like the eternal baby to me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today is vaccination day for Tango. He had to get 4 shots in the neck. I figured the first one would be easy as he wouldn't know what was coming, but any shots after that might be a battle. Boy was I wrong. The first shot was easy, and so was the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th! He trembled a little but stood perfectly still for all 4 shots. What a good guy. My vet agreed that he is ready for gelding, so I am planning on having him done at the end of November when he gets his second round of vaccinations.

I guess last night someone left the gate unlatched and the yearling stud colt got into the indoor arena with Tango and the old retired horse. Both Tango and the yearling were very sweaty, but both were unharmed. The yearling must have spent the whole night chasing poor Tango. Both were whooped today! Thank goodness no harm was done.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The wind was fierce today, but the temperatures were mild so we rode inside briefly. It was a very good ride - smooth transitions and Corky was light on the bit. I love it when I can ride her in a plain snaffle and she rides on my fingertips. I think I will start working her over ground poles again, and start doing some crossrails just to break things up a bit. I feel like our flatwork has improved a bunch, and I don't want her to get bored with the same old exercises. OK, so maybe I just don't want ME to get bored. If I have interesting new stuff to work on, I am much more willing to put in the time and effort to ride at the end of my long work day. I need something to work towards...a goal of some sort. Maybe doing some fences would be a good goal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I have a rare Friday night off since my football game is Saturday this week. On a whim I decided to work Corky over a fence today. I set up a nice low straight rail (maybe 6" tall?) and first I longed her over it at a trot a few times, with no fuss. Under saddle I did a lot of work on the rail at the trot first, then at the canter. After working a few rounds at the canter I went ahead and pointed her at the fence. We threw the fence in at random as we worked our normal exercises. I didn't want her to think that just because the jump was set up, it meant we had to go over it every time around. Basic stuff, yeah, I know. It's been a long time since I have done any real jumping, and heck, the last horse I tried it with was Taylor and that was back in 2003! I guess I will just muddle along until I decide she actually has talent and deserves a real trainer. Corky did fairly well, I only had to get off her three times to reset the jump! That's pretty good for her, because she has very little desire to bend her knees and lift her legs. I worked a lot on getting her to relax after the jump and rock back into her easy canter. By the end of our session she was doing very well at this. It was a fun diversion for us.

Wednesday was Tango's 6 month birthday! I measured him today. *sigh*. He is just so darn small! He measures a shade over 13'1" at the winters and a shade under 14' at the hip. Yep, VERY downhill. He is such a shrimp, he should be well over 14 hands by now. I thought having two 17 hand parents would help the height genetics, but I guess I lost out on the genetic lottery. Maybe he's a slow grower? I don't know, it seems like he doesn't seem to have a lot of leg underneath him. What do you think? Here are some pics and a short video from today:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I rode Corky today while another horse was being longed in the indoor. It was a rare moment for us to be working around another horse. The biggest drawback to always riding alone is that Corky gets so used to being the only horse in the arena, she tends to fall back into her paranoid ways when being ridden around another horse. She rode fine, but was a bit on the defensive when the other horse passed her. I was glad to see that eventually throughout our ride she got over it and relaxed a bit. I worked a bit more on leg yielding and also using my legs to slow her down at the trot and canter. She tends to get a bit 'hoppy' at the canter when I do this. Usually if I put my legs on her for a few strides and then release, she will relax back down (for a short while). I need to make sure I am doing this right. My plans are to haul to Darla for a lesson on Saturday and see how things are going and make sure I am on the right track.

Tango got a tying/feet-picking/leading lesson before I rode. He was a bit wound up while leading and it was a good chance to teach him that even if he feels energized he still needs to lead quietly. I turned him outside while I rode. Afterwards I brought him in and lead him around again. He was much quieter. I am having to correct him a bit for putting his mouth on me. This is definitely a habit aI want to nip in the bud. Hopefully next month's gelding will also help stop that from becoming a habit.

November 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

I turned Tango and Corky out in the indoor arena and free-longed them. It didn't take long for Tango to work up a sweat and get tired. I think I will try to do this for a little bit every time I go out to the barn to help Tango get exercise and get in shape. Here is a video of Tango from today's session:
Tango 11/1/10

Today's ride on Corky was fairly good. I did a lot of leg-yielding practice. I also worked on turns on the forehand and haunches. She is getting smoother and smoother. I worked a bit more on slowing down her canter with my legs...when I put my legs on her hard she is drawing back so much that she is getting hoppy for a few strides, but then when I release her she does relax and slow her legs down a bit. Am I doing this right? Who knows? Well, Darla will, and since I am hauling in for a lesson Saturday hopefully she can watch and make sure I am not totally screwing Corky up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Today I worked a lot on my equitation - posting without stirrups (I did better than expected!), up-up-sit exercises, etc. Corky was a willing equitation dummy for me today. I also free-longed Corky and Tango some more. Corky has already figured out that all she needs to do is run into the far corner and then stop, because I tend to be more focused on Tango. Somehow I need to work on keeping them both moving. Tango's potbelly is starting to diminish since he has been off the pasture.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finally...a chance to take Corky to Darla's and ride a lesson to check our progress. I haven't ridden with anyone since June. Wow! That's a long time to develop new bad habits, I am afraid.

The morning started off with a bang. Aside from being REALLY cold for November, I began the morning by breaking off the door handle to my living quarters of my trailer trying to get into it. So, now I can't open the door! Thankfully I do have a walk-thru door in the horse area. This required moving a CRAPTON of bins and boxes of equipment (really Jan, do you need to carry EVERYTHING with you in your trailer all the time???). I spent a good part of the morning dragging bins out so I could get into the door. NOT a good way to start the day!

I turned Corky loose in the indoor while I prepared the trailer. Wowee, she was WILD on this cold morning. I ended up free-longing her and she ran and ran and ran and ran while I just stood there in the middle and watched. This is either a good thing or a bad thing...we shall see.

Upon driving, I could see my right rear tire of my trailer was a bit low, so I stopped at a gas station to check it. Yep...only had about 30 lbs and needed about 75 lbs. My big question of the day: WHY do I have to pay $.75 for AIR, and WHY do they time it so that you ALWAYS need ANOTHER $.75 in order to finish filling your tire???. Dang that is so irritating.

Darla and Brian moved to a new place in Plain City. Yay...30 minutes closer for me! Yay Yay, the barn is heated! My lesson went well - Corky was totally on her best behavior. She must have used up all her craziness this morning when I free-longed her. I showed Darla the spur training I have been working on at the canter. I am SO relieved, I guess I am doing things somewhat correctly! Darla recommended that I make sure to control her neck and keep it down when applying leg pressure, and to also only apply the pressure for 1-2 strides and then release right away. The key is to do it for a very short amount of strides, but rely on repetition to get your point across. Cool! I think I've got it! I felt pretty good after I left today. I guess I haven't backslid or developed any new bad habits while riding all by myself for the past 5 months. I am SO ready to get ambitious again and start setting some riding goals. One goal Darla thinks I should consider is the ever-looming spectacle of the equitation class. I used to love that class...until Congress of 2003. Now I dread it, and I think I translate that to my horses because they all seem to dread it now also. This is something I need to conquer and deal with...a good goal for me to work on this winter.

Darla has a weanling that I really liked. I bet she is out of my price range. Yeah...I am kind of looking for another prospect to have another project this year. I'd love to have a longe-liner, and I don't think Tango will be strong enough as a yearling. He is going to be a very late bloomer. I have been casually looking online, searching for that ever-elusive diamond in the rough. I have a teeny-tiny budget but large goals and ambitions and expensive tastes...NEVER a good combination LOL!

Here is a very green 2yo at Darla's that I really like. Dang, she has a great price tag also...though I am set on trying to find a weanling, I am soooo tempted to seriously consider her. Ahhh patience! Stick to the plan! Here is a yearling filly, half sister to the 2yo (and both are half sisters to the weanling I liked...which I will post a video of soon when I am done uploading it). We'll just call this a shameless plug for Darla LOL!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today's ride was a review of what I did yesterday. I worked on the spur training and reminded myself to only ask for a stride or two. After several repetitions, I felt like Corky was improving. I am not really having to use my spur so much, so the term "spur training" is kind of misleading. I don't know what else to call it. I am using steady leg pressure with the lower part of my leg to get the response...occasionally when she ignores my leg I go to a little bit of spur. An interesting concept for me to consider was the idea that if she breaks to a trot, this isn't a bad thing. Darla explained that if occasionally she breaks to a trot when I use the leg pressure cue, I should not push her immediately back into a canter because actually she is trying to do as I ask when she breaks, just takes it a bit too far. My goal is to learn timing so I can cue her to slow down but keep her moving when I feel her stride almost ready to break. It's interesting, because I assumed the last thing I want her to do is break because that would be a big no-no in the show pen...but it makes sense if you think about it. I am asking her to slow down, and sometimes she agrees a bit too much. In that case, rather than punishing her for trying to do the right thing by kicking her back into a canter immediately, I can ride out the trot a bit and then ask her to canter again. Once I get our timing perfected, this shouldn't be a problem.

Tango ad I took a walk around the perimeter of the pasture. He is so much better behaved when I work with him after he's been turned out or free longed (DUH!). He is starting to get more mouthy. Darn boys! I need to schedule his gelding ASAP.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I am on a riding tear lately! Today was more of the same - working on leg pressure, and doing my usual posting without stirrups until my legs give out (which doesn't take long, sadly enough!). I free longed Tango today with Corky, he is looking a lot better since he is losing his potbelly. He is kind of lazy, which I really like. I enjoy lazy horses...at least I think I do. I haven't had one in YEARS!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I got out of work at 1:30 today (had to be back at 5pm...booo!) so I zoomed over to the barn to get some riding done. It was sunny and mid-60's, a freaky day for mid-November! I decided to ride outside. I was curious how Corky would behave with my new 'buttons' when outdoors in an unfenced area. My first battle with her was keeping her focused, she kept getting googly-eyed over every little thing that moved. Eventually we worked through the distractions. Her canters were really really good. Only occasionally would I feel her surge a bit. When I put my legs on her to slow her down, she got really hoppy - up and down like a pogo stick. As soon as I released, she zoomed ahead. NOT the reaction I was looking for, and I am baffled as to why she was getting MORE up and down rather than relaxing and slowing her legs. I guess Darla was right when she predicted it was going to take Corky twice as long to accept this training as a normal horse. She is just so overly sensitive to leg pressure that she reacts differently than most horses. Oh well, either way it was a good ride outside.

I free-longed Tango for a little bit this afternoon. He is looking better and better, starting to look a bit leaner and more fit. I really really really need to find him a buddy his own size. He is so terrified of every horse in the barn, if one even looks at him he is running away like mad. This is NOT a good thing if I plan to show him! I think if I could find him a buddy to grow up with, he might gain some confidence. I also think he is going to probably be a bit too weak and small for the longe line next year. He is such a slow grower, he is going to need a lot more time to grow up. So, let the shopping begin!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It was beautiful out today. I can't believe I am riding outside two days in a row in mid-November!Corky started off really sluggish, just kind of dull and ho-hum (it was wonderful LOL!). Then she took notice of a huge tree that the neighbors had cut down and the trunk was cut into about 4 huge pieces laying by their driveway. She was terrified! I couldn't believe it - this horse is usually fearless. She was wheeling around and I thought she was going to dump me, so I hopped off and longed her by it. I made her walk up to it while I jumped all over the stumps. After that, she calmed right down and didn't pay any attention to it. How weird.

I have noticed that I can control her canter fairly well with my seat - by leaning back and pushing my weight against her stride and making her slow down. Of course this only works on the days when she is not distrated or in a fighting mood. I did a little spur training but it just seems to make her want to go faster after I let up the pressure. Not sure what to do (help, Darla!). She was really good and solid with her topline today. I like those days when she tends to lock into frame and I don't have to constantly remind her.

I free longed Tango again today. He is so lazy! It's a workout for me just to keep him going. I know this is a good thing, so really I am not complaining. I bought him an obnoxiously bright pink ball from Wal-Mart and he loves it! I so love the babies.

Yes, I am still in the market for another weanling...a cheap bargain baby that someone wants to see in a good show home to be promoted. At least, that's what I am hoping for. I have several really nice prospects I have narrowed down and now it's time to do some serious figuring and looking. It's fun in a way...I haven't bought a horse in 10 years. There is a lot of frustration in dealing with sellers. Here are my frustrations, in no particular order:

That being said (whew, glad to get that off my chest!), there are some really great sellers out there who have videos and photos prepared and all the pertinent information right at their fingertips and they send it to me right away without asking. Things like bloodlines, show records of the stallion and mare, the weanling's current height and height of the parents, handling done with the weanling, location, price, video link, etc. There are so many I want to go see in person but I have to narrow it down. So many babies, so little time (and so little money!). So...the serious shopping begins this weekend, so stay tuned....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Perfect sunny day today, I headed outside immediately with Corky. I only longed about 5 minutes, just long enough to loosen her up. Let me tell you, this was the absolute BEST ride I have ever had! Her first 2 canters were so perfect - so soft, flowing, slow-legged, and correct on a light rein that I just had to stop and post about it on Facebook (LOL!). Every canter after that was just as perfect - she went around with her ears up and stayed her pace perfectly. I found that I was really able to control her leg speed with my seat...just by working against the motion a bit I could slow her legs down. I love that, I would like to refine that and make it so automatic it works all the time. I had very little need for using my legs/spur to slow her down today, though I did it once (and she hated it of course!). It seems that always backfires and when I use my legs in that way, she speeds up even more afterwards. Not sure what to do...but today it was a non-issue since it was the perfect ride.

I free longed Tango a little bit today. That boy is lazy! No, I am not complaining, believe me. He was laying down in his stall today and I went in and sat with him for a while. I tried taking pics of us with my phone, but my phone stinks at self-portraits. I am looking forward to finding the perfect weanling on my search and bringing home a buddy for him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Farrier appointment today! Tango was such a good boy, he stood very quietly. He lost his balance a little bit on the last foot but he never got upset or worried. I am so proud of him! Our daily foot-picking-up sessions have paid off. He had grown quite a bit of foot since the last appointment.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today was a very frustrating day. I had Corky and Tango turned out in the indoor while I was cleaning stalls, and I went in the yearling stud colt's stall (not MY colt, of course!) to close his pasture doors and he literally shoved me down and burst past me out of the stall...at a dead run he made a beeline for Corky and mounted her!!! Corky was terrified, and he ended up chasing her into a wall. I cannot repeat the words that were in my head at this time, but let me tell you...no, better not even do that! I got him chased into his stall, and Corky seemed OK, so I saddled her up. Immediately at the trot I knew something was wrong because she would hardly move her back feet off the ground. I got off and free longed her, and she was definitely off in the back end. That jerk of a colt must have done something to her when he jumped on her, or when he ran her down into the wall. I unsaddled her and turned her out with her buddies in the indoor for the evening. I really hope it isn't anything serious. We will not even go into my thoughts about people who don't geld what should be gelded....

Anyways, the weanling shopping is continuing. I am looking at videos, worrying, and stressing. This is such a big decision for me to make and I don't take it lightly. For comparison, I uploaded a video of Corky:

Watching that even now she takes my breath away. She is such a natural, no wonder I am having a hard time replacing her. How could I possibly do that on my budget? Oh well...I will keep looking and digging until I fall in love.

Friday, November 19, 2010 ...just a side note

No no no...I am NOT selling Corky! Oh my gosh I couldn't imagine selling her...NEVER! I guess I was misleading in my last entry - by 'replace' I meant find another longe liner/young prospect, not to i>replace other than replace her former status as my longe liner back in 2005. Yesterday I was looking at her videos from way back when and thinking to myself I wil probably never own another horse like her, she is a once-in-a-lifetime horse. Of course, thinking back I also said that about Taylor. I think they were both once-in-a-lifetime horses, just a little bit different. She's not going anywhere for a long long time (I hope and pray).

I love getting your messages from this website, I do appreciate it :-]

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I should mention that yesterday I went to ride Corky and she was SO incredibly cranky I ended up getting off after 10 minutes. I think she is coming into heat - she is horrible on the days leading to her heat cycle. I can certainly relate, so I decided not to fight with her and gave her the day off.

Today a friend of mine hauled her big 3yo gelding over. She is selling him, and wants to market him to the hunter/jumper crowd. We decided to try him over some crossrails to see if he has talent (I got elected to be the guinea pig rider...yay!). By golly, he does have talent over fences! He hates working on the flat, hates setting his head, but point him at a jump and he just flows. Here's a little video clip of us in our very first attempts:

Does anyone know why YouTube sometimes uploads your video in slow motion? I ended up downgrading the video quality on this video a TON to get it to play at normal speed. It's weird - there is no audio track and the video is short, so I shouldn't have to do that. I'd love to know why...

Tango was laying down in his stall when I got out there today. I went in and laid down beside him and he actually moved his head over and laid it on my lap just like when he was a newborn in the hospital and I slept with him. He actually fell asleep for a little bit in my lap...I love it! I can't wait for his new friend to arrive. Yes, the weanling shopping is going well, and I am hoping sometime in December Tango will have a pal to grow up with. It will be a fun winter! I shot a video of tango since it is close to his 7 month birthday:

Some days (like today) I like his movement, and other days I am exasperated with how he looks. What sort of horse will he grow up to be? He needs to make up his mind LOL! I like today's Tango.

I noticed that this training diary takes forever to load! I apologize for that, I should have broken this diary down into more pages. Too late now, but 2011's diary will go 3 months on a page so you don't have to lose hours out of your day waiting for everything to load. Annoying!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today was a freaky warm day - mid 60's! Reality comes tomorrow with colder temps...by Friday we will be well below freezing. Why do I live in Ohio? I forgot!

My ride on Corky was pretty decent. I think using my seat to slow her stride down at the canter is working a lot better than my spur - she will slow way down with my leg pressure but as soon as I release, she zooms right back forward, or else she does this icky, hoppy canter. As long as she is in somewhat of a willing mood, I can control her a bit with my seat (which is really cool, and makes me feel a lot more secure). I felt like my riding has really gotten better this fall. I noticed I am sitting back a lot better (Stacey would be proud LOL!). I guess discovering the powers in my butt has given me a better seat...who knew my butt had such strength? Don't even comment o that!

I worked a little showmanship after I rode. She is a bit rusty. I can't remember when the last time I worked showmanship with her. Bad me! I am usually very diligent about my ground training. I guess Tango distracted me. I do so much groundwork with him, it seems all I have been doing with Corky is hopping on and riding.

I am happy to report that finally, Tango GREW! Yep, first time in a LOT of months. He is just a tad under 13'3" at the withers and a tad under 14'1" at the hip. Hurray! He is looking (and moving) so much better without the pot belly. I've started working with him trotting while I am leading him. He likes to trot REALLY fast when I am leading at the trot...makes me run! Maybe he'll be my cold weather jogging partner this winter. I remember many a jogging session with Corky when she was a mere child. Hey, anything to keep me in shape, you know?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yesterday my friend at the barn got a new weanling filly from Michigan. Tango was turned out with her, and they became fast friends! He was SO excited to be with another horse his size...I was so relieved to see him finally not terrified of another horse.

Today I brought my camera out to take pictures since yesterday was Tango's 7 month birthday! Here you go!

I had to start Corky's ride off with a lot of leg yielding. She started off overly sensitive to my leg pressure. It may be time to bring the tires out again. once we got through that, we worked a bit on our collected sitting trot, and as always we worked on our canter. I worked a bit more on having her slow up with leg pressure...didn't work too well today. Maybe it's because she had a week off? Who knows! At the end of my ride I did a bunch of posting without stirrups. This time I incorporated it into figure-8's with alternating sitting and posting circles, working on picking up my diagonals without looking and without stirrups. It feels good!

It looks like I have settled on a weanling to get, though by the time I actually have my new weanling it will actually be a yearling! Oh well...good things come to those who wait. Stay tuned and I will have more details coming shortly.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I longed Corky with the tires today. They really fired her up! Tango was smart and figured out that it was safest for him just to stand in the center and let Corky zoom around the rail with the stirrups flapping. Just for fun I decided to leave Tango loose in the arena while I rode. It was amazing to watch. As soon as I got on Corky, it was like he almost lost his fear of Corky. He stayed fairly close, and while we were trotting, he tucked in right behind us and trotted along with us! It was so cool. He really didn't show much fear. Occasionally he would be standing in our way and we would get really close to him and he would step aside, but for the most part he was just fascinated with watching us go through our work session. He couldn't take his eyes off of us! I loved having him trot along behind us. Hey, kill two birds with one stone and get them both exercised (along with me!). Win-win-win! Corky's ride was pretty non-confrontational. I did some circles, figure-8's and whatnot. Mainly I was busy concentrating on watching Tango to see what he was doing. I wonder what he was thinking while watching us ride. I wish I could crawl into his mind and read it. At the end of our ride, I actually stood on the ground between the two of them, and they were so close I could pet both at the same time. A landmark moment for Tango! Maybe he is losing his fear (I hope hope hope).

December 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not much to update...I've been swamped at work and the snow and temperatures have been falling! Tango definitely seems to be losing his fear of Corky. That's a relief. No matter, since it looks like I have finally settled on a decision in buying a weanling so he will have a playmate his own size. I looked at probably 30+ videos...lots of nice prospects to choose from (though most were far out of my minuscule, tiny budget)! When it came down to choices, this one seemed to be made to order.

Patience...I will reveal all very soon! This weanling is dark, well-bred, and very fuzzy. How is that for a big hint? There is a bit of a risk involved with this purchase...somewhat of a gamble you might say. That part leaves me a bit nervous because I am doing something I swore I would never ever do. Thus is why I rarely use the word "never". One just never knows. Oops...used that word again!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You know, in the 22 years I have been deeply involved in horses, I have met some completely amazing people. I've met some completely amazing idiots also (yes, you know who YOU are! I know who you are also!!!). But for the most part, the horse people I've met and interacted with have been great and they often surprised me with their generosity and kindness. A very very kind and generous friend who has been there for me through a LOT of horse tragedies has made it possible for me to get this new weanling. She knows I love working with the babies, and she knows how hard it is sometimes. I am hoping it is a win-win situation for both of us.

Time marches on whether I want it to or not. I have a "friend" (please note the quotes) who seems to feel that since I had a disaster this past spring in losing Taylor, that I should quit...give up...be happy with what is left and not do anything to move on or progress. Basically, it is my duty to roll over and do nothing, and I am wrong for not just quitting. I don't get it...what reason is there to feel that way? It's the same type of person that secretly feels glad when bad luck befalls someone else. What fun is there in being an unkind person? I don't understand. Thankfully my life is filled with much better people. I have such a great pack of awesome friends who are behind me 100%, and I am behind them as well. THAT is what true friendship is. If you cannot honestly be happy for someone else's good fortune, then you are not a true friend...and who needs ya?

My real friend that has made this weanling possible lives pretty far from me, but I know she has been there through every mishap and tragedy though the years, and has stood by me. Making this opportunity possible for me has been one of the greatest gifts someone can give me, because it's not so much a financial thing, but it is the belief in me as a person. THAT means everything to me. She doesn't want me to reveal her name yet...but I will very soon because people should know about her (although a LOT of people do!).

Anyways...to cut short this mindless drivel I will say again that I truly appreciate all the messages I have received from this website. So many people have connected with me in a way I never imagined when I started this thing back in 2004 just to keep track of my training progress. I have a warm spot in my heart for all of you, and it's always so much fun to run into new faces at shows that introduce themselves to me. One can never have too many good friends, right?

Tango gets gelded tomorrow afternoon! It's a bittersweet moment, but one that has to be done. I worry, of course, because anything can go wrong even with the most routine procedures. He's a strong colt and he will do fine, I am sure of it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Well, Tango's manhood got a stay of execution today. My vet called and we postponed the "deed" until Friday. The temperatures were way too low to attempt surgery today. Friday we should hit the lower 30's, which isn't exactly warm, but certainly warmer than the lower 20's of today. I am kind of glad to put it off a bit longer. You know, I haven't had a horse gelded since 1996??? Amazing! Too many fillies, I guess! I do love the girls...never thought I would but Taylor and Corky have sold me on the greatness of mares (with a little help from Ms. ReguMate, of course!). Tango did get a little bit of torture today - he got wormed (which he really doesn't seem to mind...YET) and I had to pull mane hair for his AQHA DNA test. Now that he wasn't too thrilled about, but we got 'er done! I can't believe I don't have papers on him yet.

This ultra-cold weather so early in December is frustrating me...not being able to ride Corky makes her a fatty. She gets fat on air, which is so unusual for a 17 hander that is 7/8 thoroughbred. She certainly is an easy keeper. Tango looks to be the same way...they are both looking roly-poly.

Here's a teaser...a big, fuzzy, huggable brown teaser. 4 weeks from today...hopefully..weather permitting...this fuzzball will be playing with Tango in the indoor. Wouldn't it be cool 5 years from now to be hauling these two - Tango showing over fences and this fuzzball doing the HUS? Or vice versa! The sky is the limit when you are dreaming and looking at your prospects, right?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Today is the big "G" day! Yep, Tango got gelded. I forgot how icky that is. He went down quietly, and my vet was quick and efficient, Tango got up, and when I left the barn he was standing in his straw-filled stall walking around and nosing for hay. What resilience these youngsters have...he didn't seem to be bothered at all by what had just happened. Now he will be a good boy and can go out with the young girls safely this winter. Yep...another hint...the weanling coming is a filly! I do love the girls.

Corky is full of energy. I am bound to pay the price for my lack of riding. I plan on riding tomorrow, weather permitting (we are expecting an ugly snowstorm later tomorrow). Tango will get turned out in the morning, and I will hand walk him for a while to hopefully keep the swelling down.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When I came out to the barn today, Tango was sacked out in his clean straw stall. Of course I had to go sit with him for a while. I have never seen a horse so comfortable with laying down around people. While he was laying there I checked over his wounds. Everything looked pretty good - almost no swelling and just a little seepage. Although I despise cleaning stalls out bedded with straw, there is something nice and cozy about having your horse napping in a big fluffy mound of straw. Look at his face, isn't he totally huggable? He's like a big fluffy stuffed animal that should be on someone's bed.

I turned Tango loose with Corky while I cleaned their stalls. Corky followed Tango round and round and round at the trot. She wasn't really chasing him, but she was intensely curious about his 'wounds'. She must have sensed something was different about him. Tango, of course, had no idea why that massive creature was following him, and he was frightened. Eventually she trapped him in a corner, and then nosed all over him checking out his new smell. She was such a good girl, she was very gentle with him and he relaxed quickly.

I left Tango in the arena while I rode Corky. It was finally a day with decent temperatures - in the 40's. I haven't ridden Corky in a couple weeks, so I knew she would be over-reactive to everything I did. I free-longed her with the tires first. Let me explain a little bit about the tires. This is a great training/desensitizing trick taught to me by Darla. I have these little rubber wheelbarrow tires that I hang on each stirrup and they bounce along her side as she trots and canters. It doesn't hurt her, but it can get a little annoying. It accomplishes two things - Corky gets her sides desensitized (so she doesn't completely overreact when I use leg pressure) and she learns that the quieter and smoother she goes around the arena, the less the tires bounce. Rather than fighting with her right away under saddle when I use my legs (because I try to ride with about 80% leg and 20% reins), this gets her to relax. It worked like a charm, because once I got in the saddle she was very receptive to my leg pressure and moved off of each leg willingly.

It was fun riding with Tango in the arena, He followed us for a while, but stayed pretty much in the center of the pen and watched us the entire time. I made Corky into my equitation dummy again today - did 4 laps straight posting without stirrups, took a break, and then did some more. I also did some of the up-up-sit exercises. I am getting a LOT better at that, though occasionally I lose my center of balance and land kind of hard on her back. I feel bad when I do that, I hope I am not throwing her back out of whack. I am a lot better at it than I used to be! Equitation is going to be a big goal of mine in 2011, amongst other things. I will conquer that equitation monster yet!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowed in! I woke up to a big snowstorm today. It feels very early in the winter season for such a big storm. I couldn't get out to the barn today, but my friend at the barn e-mailed me and said Tango was still doing great, hardly any swelling and seepage. What a relief, because I can't imagine what I would do if something happened and I would have to haul him to OSU. There is no way I could get my trailer out today or tomorrow.

It crossed my mind that very soon I will have to sit down and write down my goals for 2011. Worse than that, I will have to look at my 2010 goals and realize I reached NONE of them. I don't believe I hit a single one. I am not sure...I can't exactly remember what they were and I won't look back until it's ready to look forward to 2011. I wonder what sort of goals should I set for myself. Should I aim for the moon? Should I try and be a bit more realistic and find some goals that are actually within my reach? Part of me just wants to have a flat goal of keeping everyone alive and healthy and leave it at that, but that would be a negative copout and I am not going to do that in 2011. All positive thoughts, you hear???

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy snow day! I braved the drifts and the ice (thank goodness for a 4WD truck) this afternoon and headed out to clean stalls and check on things. Tango had quite a bit of swelling going in, that was disappointing. He was very stiff when I walked him out of his stall, but once Corky got him moving around in the indoor, he looked a lot better. Cleaning stalls in 18 degree weather is always a treat. The manure balls sound like gravel when they hit the wheelbarrow (and feel about as heavy!). Pushing the wheelbarrow through 3' drifts was impossible. I ended up having to turn the barrow around and pull it through the snow. Needless to say my back, legs, and arms are very tired now. Oh the joys...I sure hope these horses appreciate it! I am on a mad search for coveralls because mine have disappeared. I want to find a set in a fun color instead of the boring icky brown or navy blue. I think if I owned a set of purple coveralls, I would enjoy cleaning stalls a lot more. Seriously! You laugh, but when my friend/barn owner Janet bought me a purple rake to clean stalls with, it made me happy, and I smile when I use it. The little things please the little minds, you know?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I free-longed Corky and Tango in the indoor. Tango is still a little swollen - about the size of a couple small eggs. I hate cleaning his stall with straw - it is like a big pit and stinks, even with daily cleaning!

I am really wondering if gelding Tango will stop his habit of wanting to grab on to your hand or sleeve with his mouth. This is a terrible habit of his and is the number one reason why I don't like showing male horses in showmanship (the mares are much more respectful!). Well, we did a leading session around the arena today and not once did he try ad nose my arm or grab it! Maybe it's just a coincidence and he was having a good day, but I am hoping maybe with the lack of studly hormones, he will lose his mouthiness. I will say he led the best he's ever led - stayed right with me with a slack lead rope and followed my body when we turned. Progress!. or the second time I put him on the end of the lead rope and asked him to move around me in a circle at a walk (like a precursor to longeing). He caught on immediately. It's amazing how incredibly smart he is. I also noticed when I was free longeing him that he obeys the word "Whoa" with virtually no training! He caught on when I spent all these weeks free-longeing him with Corky, Corky stops on a dime at the word whoa. I free-longed Tango a bit on his own tonight and twice he stopped right away at the 'whoa' command. Cool! I think he got used to doing it because Corky was stopping when I said whoa, and he learned it from her. I love that. Corky can be my assistant trainer LOL!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another coooooold day, and another day of free-longeing. Tango spent another day with zero mouthiness. I am feeling pretty good about it! He was a bit more swollen today than yesterday, but it didn't seem to bother him. It's been so long since I've had a colt gelded (my last one was in 1996!) I can't remember how long this swelling will last. He had a lot of dried crusty stuff on his hind legs, and I used my glove to rub the flaky pieces off. I swear if he was a cat he would have been purring. He leaned into me and kept positioning himself so I would reach the places where it was caked up the most. Ick...the things we do for these horses! I loved every minute of it. Not one person on earth would understand this other than us horse people. We really are nuts! /p>

Free-longeing was a success. Corky was full of herself today so she got the brunt of the exercise. Every time I said "whoa", bot she and Tango would come to a dead stop. This is so cool. I've never trained via free-longeing in pairs. Maybe this is a new concept I can market and make millions :-] I will just need to make some DVD's and sell a "special" rope or two.

I cannot wait until the new weanling filly will arrive. It will be so much fun to train two of them. Her breeder sends me photos and videos on a regular basis while I wait for the shipper in January. I feel like I am getting to know her, and I feel SO much better about buying sight unseen. I've gotten so many video clips from her - casual clips, clips in her stall, etc. - I feel like she really is mine. Well, actually, she is!!! I received the registration papers on her already! It was an exciting moment...finally getting something positive from AQHA. I opened the envelope thinking they were Tango's papers, but instead they were my new filly, with the name I picked out myself, in my name. Cool!

I have two forms of official proof that Tango grew today. Number one - I needed to let out his halter another hole. Yay...he was on the tightest hole when I bought that halter at Congress, and this is the 2nd time I've enlarged it. I personally don't think his head needs to get any bigger, but maybe his incredibly smart brain needs more room? The second proof is the measuring stick! I swear he looks more and more like a ski slope every day - his butt just keeps getting taller and taller. Official measurements today with the stick and level: 13'3 3/4" at the withers, and 14'1 3/4" at the hip. Yep, his hip is almost out of the official pony measurement range..yahoo!

On a different note...I was looking through all the horse videos on my website and I watched a few older ones of Taylor. I watched the last video I have of her - she was running free in the indoor and she was 4 1/2 months pregnant. I cried. Damn I can't believe it still bothers me that much. I watched the old video of Lazlo taken just a couple days before he died. Then I watched the video of Tango when he was 5 days old and just came home from the hospital with Oreo. So much sadness. I tell myself that these depths of sadness will only make my joys in this upcoming year greater. I am looking forward...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What a fun day - Tango was in a playful mood so I tossed his big hot pink ball into the arena and watched him play.

Aren't babies fun? The whole time I was videoing Tango, Corky was following with her nose attached to my back. I think she is still getting used to the fact that she is not always my center of attention anymore! She is such an attention hound. OK, a few pics of the fuzzy big beast...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tango's swelling is way down...yay! It was slightly puffy when I got him out of his stall, but when I checked him after he had been turned out for a while I could hardly see any swelling at all. Good news!

In the spirit of Christmas, I will now reveal the identity and photos of my new filly! She is not yet in Ohio, but should be arriving in 2 short weeks. I can't wait. Tango will love having a buddy his own size. I will love having another youngster around. And Corky...well, Corky will learn to tolerate her along with everyone else LOL!

GO HERE to see her!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pretty much no swelling today, and boy Tango was feeling good! He really decided to test his boundaries today, and I actually (*gasp!*) had to get after him for jerking his feet away while I tried to pick them. think he was shocked that I could show anger. He stood like a rock the rest of the time, and you could tell the little wheels in his brain were turning as he considered the fact that yes, I am the boss! We did a little leading lesson before I turned him out to go play.

The temperature finally left the 20's and today was my last day of work before Christmas break, so of course I had to ride. I have MISSED riding every day. I need my saddle therapy! Corky started off the ride like she always does after having a long break - she balked a bit and didn't want to go forward. It's the same old story with her, I thump her around a little with the sides of my feet, she suddenly "remembers" what she is supposed to do, and the ride goes along great. Today was no exception - it was a great ride! She retained everything I had worked on earlier in the fall...in fact she seemed even more responsive to it. I had my winter riding boots on and they were spurless (I lost one...horrors!), so I wonder if that made a difference? I did about 2 minutes of showmanship after my ride and she was auto-pilot. I love this new grown-up Corky that doesn't need daily riding or training! It's a good thing she picked now to finally mature, because having 2 yearlings to train this winter will keep me pretty busy.

Kerry sent me pictures of "Pepsi" (yes, I am calling her that because she is the color of Pepsi, and I LOOOVE me Pepsi LOL!) actually IN the trailer. Trailer loading lesson today was a success! Check out pictures on Pepsi's page. Many people have been asking for the story of my connection with Kerry, and rather then tell them to go back and start reading this training diary from 2005, I put the Reader's Digest Condensed Version on Pepsi's page (does anyone here even remember those old RD Condensed books? My parents owned hundreds of them!). Thanks for all of your messages of well-wishes on my new purchase. I really appreciate all the great comments I have been getting! It makes me happy :-]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My first day of Christmas vacation...yay! Funny, there is a big discussion on the Pleasure Horse Forum regarding hunter under saddle horses. People were talking about a huge suspended trot on a video they posted, and there were many critics of today's HUS horses not having that massive suspension. I think most horses have that, but why would you want to ride it constantly? I've ridden it, it's not really that pleasurable...but it is there if I wanted it. Corky was in a mood today when I turned her out and started doing her big suspended trot, so I grabbed my phone to video it. In comparison, I added a trot clip at the end of the video that shows her in a relaxed, working trot frame. To me, that last clip looks the most pleasurable and flowing and what I personally would rather ride on a daily basis. I never was a fan of the extremes at either end. Here is the short video clip:

Of course, I have to laugh, because after she trotted her energy out and I went to go saddle her for a ride I found she had sprung a front shoe. There's another reason not to want that overly-exaggerated trot! Randy was around and nicely straightened the shoe and tacked it back on for me. My ride after that was uneventful. It was good - Corky was listening to my leg and letting me lift her shoulders and maneuver her body. The status quo is continuing to be good!

While I was waiting for Randy, I decided it was time to get the actual longe line out and see how Tango did on a long line with walking, stopping, and reversing. Let me tell you, it was easy! His lessons with free-longeing and following Corky's lead paid off. He walked calmly at the end of the line, stopped on a dime when I called "whoa", and with a little encouragement he easily reversed and continued walking. This, of course, is a Hallmark moment so I had to take a quick little video clip to show our very first lesson:

Remember, I am the world's slowest trainer! We will ONLY walk, stop, and reverse on the line for the next few months. I am not a big believer in hard or long longeing the babies. My philosophy (take it for what it's worth LOL!) is that if I spend a lot of time on the basic building blocks like walking a true circle without pulling, stopping and reversing smoothly, later when I add the trot and the canter I can spend less time training because the foundation will be solid. OK, that's my philosophy anyways...who knows if it's really good or not, but it's mine LOL! My number one priority is to protect those legs!

Thursday, December 23, 2010 Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Corky managed to keep all of her shoes on today. That's always a good thing! I put a simple pole on the ground and worked her over it at the trot and canter. Now granted, I haven't done this in a while, but geeze. She trotted over it like it was elevated 2 feet! It gave her something to think about and concentrate on while we rode. She was more forward today but it was a good forward - she wasn't pushing against me but I could feel she was really stretching her stride out and moving good. Tango was being a pain in the butt today - as usual I left him loose in the arena while I rode but today he was getting in our way and interfering. He is definitely losing his fear o Corky. I am glad he is losing his fear, but I want him to respect her and her space. Today when I was in the saddle he was not being very respectful. At one point when he cut right in front of us Corky reached down and tried to bite him in the butt. Funny - he is much more respectful of her when she is free and not being ridden. He must sense that I am controlling her when I am in the saddle.

This long page of a training diary is sure annoying to wait to finish loading! My 2011 diary will be broken down into a lot more pages so that it will be quicker to load. I guess I tend to post way too many photos and videos. Oh well...:-]

I've been pondering the last few days about the importance of friendship and determining who are your true friends. It's kind of a bittersweet moment. In the past week or two I have been reminded of how many incredible friends I have, and in the same light I have been betrayed terribly by someone I considered a friend and went out of my way to help. It's funny how when someone who does you really dirty gets found out, they go extremely silent and disappear, as if out of sight, out of mind would actually take place. Usually silence is golden, but in the case of betrayal, silence is screaming loud. What does one do when faced with this type of event? I chose to be silent - ignore the desire to confront and vent, and do my own version of 'silence is golden'. However, do not mistake my silence for weakness or naivety. I will never forget.

That being said (yeah, I tend to go off on miscellaneous rants sometimes), I have been overwhelmed by the wonderful heartfelt comments from this website. I really appreciate your well-wishes and good thoughts. You have no idea what it means to me. Hopefully in 2011 this training diary will be a lot more entertaining with more stories of success!

...and if don't get a chance to tell you this in the next few days - Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010 Merry Post Christmas!

I had a very nice Christmas. Kevin was actually off work for the first time in years, so I didn't have to spend Christmas day alone...yay!

Tomorrow is Tango's 8 month birthday! I decided to take his official birthday pictures and videos today since I got a new video camera for Christmas (very cool, it is a digital HD video waterproof camera, and it's purple!). It was kind of dark, and I didn't do a very good job of videoing because I didn't hold still enough. Wow, with those little bitty video cameras you practically cannot breathe while videoing. So I apologize for the jumpiness! First - official 8 month photos:

Woo-hoo look at that stretch in his front leg!

He is still 3 inches off - official measurement today is a bit over 13'2 1/2" at the withers and just a millimeter under 14'2" at the hip.

I never noticed that white patch by Tango's nose! How could I have missed it? It looks like it suddenly appeared this weekend...weird.

Lookin' pretty!

Tuesday-Friday, December 28-31, 2010 TEXAS!

I had the most wonderful 4 days in Texas visiting a good friend of mine. It was four full days of nothing but horse and I love it! Of course the 60 and 70 degree weather was a big plus also :-]

We rode every day. I got to ride various horses, but the highlight had to be riding the Breyer legend and multiple paint world champion Fleetstreet Max. I think I had forgotten what it is like to ride a really broke horse. He was phenomenal. Here is a video clip, make sure you watch all the way to the end where I get to do a bunch of lead changes!

I learned a lot about how to ask correctly for lead changes. I picked Alisa's brain and am eager to try a few things out with Corky. Here are a few random pictures of me and my "Texas pals" riding this past week:

Yes, that's me riding a real western pleasure horse! I know you are shocked LOL! Ignore my horrible chair seat please (have mercy and remember the last time I showed WP was 1995!). This is a very nice 2yo roan stallion (I didn't know he was a stallion at all, I even bent down to check when they told me!)

Yes, here I am riding western again! It's fun to stretch your boundaries and try something new. I don't mind WP when I am riding multiple world champion pleasure horses LOL!

Me and Max. He put up with some terrible riding by me. You just have to love a horse that ignores your miscues and does what you are asking anyways.

Karen leads out her gorgeous Last detail HUS mare that is the spitting image of Taylor, minus some of the white. When I saw her in her stall, I actually teared up from the resemblance.

I love the arenas in Texas. I didn't see any fully enclosed indoors, but everyone had these huge open-sided covered arenas with screens. What a great idea!

Karen taking a spin on Max and her 2yo pleasure stallion

I refused to leave the state of Texas util I got to see a real live longhorn in a field. They are very creepy and intimidating up close!

Here is one of the coolest kids in the world, with her paint hunter pony

What a great sign I found outside the Dallas Love Airport. You gotta love city officials with a sense of humor!


2010 Short Term Goals
2010 Long Term Goals

Ok, it's the end of the year! Time to recharge, rejuvenate, and be reborn! 2011 is the chinese Year of the Hare so it is destined to be MY year, right? Well, stay tuned...

2011 Diary p.1