Monday, September 7, 2009

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes. do you measure, measure a year?

Tomorrow is our 1 year anniversary. Of course I have to work all day tomorrow so we sort of celebrated today. We didn't do much, I just let him and Max out into the field, cleaned his stall, rinsed his buckets, puttered around with my stall front, finally put a piece of adhesive behind his stall plate so it'll stop sliding out. I had planned to ride, but I thought he'd enjoy his day a lot more if he just got to relax. I made him run around a little in the field, trying to coerce him into running with the 2-year-old filly in the next field. He did a little, enough to stretch his legs and enjoy the chance outside. It's supposed to be rainy all week so he may not get much turnout and I can't go out again until our lesson on Thursday. He'll probably be in lessons, though so not to worry.

I don't want to jinx it, but I think I can already see a little bit of the SmartCalm working. It's hard to explain what's different, but I guess he seems more able to focus on me. He's been very good. Today we worked on STAND and BACKUP on the ground and he was getting it.

"Getting it" seems to be where we've gotten to after this first year. When I think back to what we were like and then compare it to where I think we are now, I have to feel a bit proud. Certainly he'd be further along if I wasn't an amateur learning along with him, but I think I made a good choice with him. He tests me constantly and keeps me on my toes, but I can definitely see progress. Not sure if I'll get a chance for video until the next show, but I'd really like you to see how he is compared to the video from last November. And that footage from November was the few "good" moments of that 30 minute lesson!

So what HAVE we learned in a year? Keep in mind he was totally broke when I got him, just had not really been asked to be a show horse, to use his body elegantly and to take cues with refinement. He was also tough to lope, both tough to take the cue and tough to keep from tangling his legs up or dropping shoulders all over the place. We've learned to jog, pivots on the haunches, backing on the ground, ground tying (kind of), frame (or self carriage), we can lope off from any gait and we rarely take a wrong lead. We can do simple lead changes and even a respectable flying change every once in while (I don't school that much), we've survived two shows, didn't get last place in all of the classes ;), we've had our sheath cleaned, we will stand untied for clipping, even the ears, and we have totally turned around any trailering issues he had. He was only tough getting onto the trailer the first show and all three loadings since then have been easy. Personally I think that's not too shabby for a nine-year-old horse and a novice am. owner. More and more I see him "getting it" with different things. I feel like my increased strength and balance I'm able to be more consistent with him and I know that helps.

How has my life changed? I am certainly "horse broke". Don't worry, I pay all my bills and stuff, but I have to be really careful with my money, and constantly make choices. It's funny, though, I hardly bat an eye when I have to spend money on Junior, but I haven't bought myself more than half a dozen new clothing items (non horse-riding) in the last year, which is pretty sad! I have actually kept ALL of my receipts from horse stuff. It makes me want to throw up a little! But there are only a few things we still need, like a hat case and maybe a new helmet. I still drool over catalogs, though and am trying to choose colors for next year's show outfit. I'm going to design-scout at Quarter Horse Congress in October.

All in all, I am very pleased that I bought my pony. We've had a good time, learned a lot, and I hope that luck continues.

Here's a fun picture I did. The text is a reference to the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. In the books, the Mist is what keeps mortals from seeing the half-gods and mythical creatures that continue to exist, including Cyclops, centaurs, and of course, pegasi.


  1. Oh no! Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head for days! :)

    Congratulations on one year! Sounds like you both have come a long way in a short amount of time.

    I only recently found your blog, but I'm enjoying it very much. I have a Paint, also 9 years old, and we're trying to make it in the show pen as well.

    Enjoy the many years to come!

  2. Congratulations! That's a lot of progress for just one year.

  3. Congrats - sounds like you guys have made a lot of progress!

  4. From another adult ammy with her first horse after a lifetime of dreaming -- oh how we learn to treasure those little triumphs! Congrats on your progress with your guy and know that you are not the only one (I think I invented "horse broke")!

    We Are Flying Solo