Monday, January 30, 2012

Heavy Traffic!

A piece I wrote is featured on Mugwump's blog today!  I wrote the piece back in June and to my surprise she posted it today.  I am very flattered that she thought my piece interesting enough to post.  Or maybe I was the last one on the pile.  Either way, I'm very excited!

It's amazing how much my blog traffic has increased today so I thought I'd post a little WELCOME to anyone who's coming over from Mugs and checking out my blog.

If you're interested in more about my early horse days (as described in the "Perspective" post) you can find "Past Horses/Experiences" on the View Posts By Topic section in the sidebar.  But no, there are no videos of that, maybe someday.  There ARE some videos on my YouTube channel and you can find a link to those in the sidebar.

If you want to know more about me or my current mount, the tabs at the top should help out.

If you'd like to read a summary of this blog from beginning to now, you can read the cliffnotes Timeline Summary tab.

Welcome!!!  I hope you found something interesting here today!

Friday, January 27, 2012

What The Friday!?!?! #6

Here for you consideration and amusement: The Equine Miracle Harness!!!!!

"The Miracle Harness is a miracle. It really works real good." Quote from YouTube video:

And just in case you were unsure of the meaning of the word MIRACLE:

One look at this Miracle Harness and you will be SURE to understand it's colossal potential and it will become your go-to training device! HOW have we trained horses for thousands of years without this!?!?! Surely Divine Intervention has given us this marvel!  Yes!  You can have total control over a horse "up to 1000 lbs"! 

This item, and I quote:

"allows the handler total control of both the head and body at all times."  

"Safely teach your horse the following concepts and commands while instilling confidence in the animal and handler, and making training more enjoyable for everyone!

Cross Tying
And MUCH more!"

It gives you confidence that you can overpower a 1000 lb animal!!!!

Perfect for all the un-handled two year old cross-bred studs you can find on Craigslist! Get yours today!!!!

Click here to buy your own Miracle Harness on Etsy!

And yes, I know similar devices have been around for a while.  My own favorite Horsemastership book suggests using a lead rope or a simple rope loop behind the rear of a FOAL to help teach it to lead.  You can also purchase a sturdy looking FOAL leading harness HERE for about the same price. But with the Miracle's good for horses up to 1000 lbs!  Woot!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If you ever need....

.... a good cry and/or an emotional uplift, watch videos of little girls being surprised by getting a horse for Christmas or a Birthday.  Mind you locate the tissues before watching...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

Leibster in German means "Dearest". Thank you to Nina and A Horse Named Milo for the honor of this blog award!

The rules of the award are as follows:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award
3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs!

I would like to give this award to the following:

1.R Lil Bit of Cash who bears so many similarities to my own horse journey and in whom Junior and I have found two kindred spirits.
2. To Eleanor Brimmer Para Equestrian for inspiring Para Dressage riders as she competes for International Titles in Grade III Para Dressage.
3.  To Rockin Roxie, the most entertaining BBW bay roan mare bloggin all by herself over at I is Roxie!
4. To Riding Aside for allowing me to live vicariously through her in her Sidesaddle world, both the Now and History, and the Real and the beautifully Imagined.
5. And last but not least, another bay roan over at For the Love of My Horse.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

He Doesn't Make This Any Easier.

Apparently I can't even lunge my horse or practice showmanship without hurting my back.  There are certain movements I do that are causing compression in my disks and/or moving my pelvis out of alignment enough to create more pressure on the affected nerves.  And I can do this without noticing/feeling it at the time, only later do I feel the effects and there's nothing to be done but take the pain meds and start over.  This is not helping my progress and it's very frustrating.  I have not been physically normal since May 7th.  But in addition to the fact that I simply want to spend time with my horse even if I can't ride, it's also out of guilt that I lunge my horse and work on showmanship.  It's winter and turnout isn't as extended as it is in the warmer months and I feel bad that he has fallen out of shape as much as I have. He doesn't seem to care, he's rather lazy, but he does like to be messed with.

So I am going to get more aggressive with my treatment and try really hard not to screw it up any more.  

In the mean time I went just to check on him yesterday.  I brought him in from the paddock, just to groom him.  And then I noticed his Left Stifle was banged up.  Not severely, but maybe like he ran into something and scraped off some patches of hair and maybe a slight abrasion.  Then, working down the leg noticed the lower leg and fetlock were swollen and there was a scrape/puncture on the cannon bone. He trotted off fine (I had the BO do the trotting... see, I'm TRYING not to hurt myself) but I gave him some bute and cold hosed the leg.  He didn't appreciate me poking the stifle but he never really does.  I'll go out today but then I'm benched for the weekend after I'm going to have a needle inserted into my spine.  Ugh.

So I recruited the BM to keep a closer eye on him over the weekend.  I might be able to go out, but I really need to be careful.  

Of course he mildly injures himself when I can't monitor it.  Sometimes I think he plans things like this.  

I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, imagine me lounging on the sofa with ice packs, pain meds, and Netflix.  Then maybe sooner rather than later you will be able to imagine me actually riding my stinkin' pony and having something interesting to blog about.  Fingers crossed. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



If the Sopa bills are passed, this blog will probably be shut down.  Yours might be, too.
If you are not outraged, you must not be paying attention.
Keep Freedom on the Internet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Many of you will think this is cheating.  I tend to agree, but it's becoming the norm at the shows I attend and in this particular avenue I can use all the help I can here I go.

Yup.  Eliminating the shiny bright stuff that draws the eye to my wobbly legs like pre-teen girls to Justin Bieber.  Dark recedes.  Works best on a dark, dark horse, but it'll still HELP on a bay roan wearing a chocolate brown girth, I think.

And yes, Ms. Equitation Police, I know perfectly well that I need to strengthen my legs and core to keep my legs more stable.  I KNOW.  I was working on lots of 2-point before I was benched and  I WILL be working on it again and eventually posting without stirrups and all that torturous crap when I am cleared for riding. But what's wrong with a little optical illusion? And I HAVE seen black irons on classical Dressage horses so THERE.

So I have a question: How do I know what size Iron to get?  My current irons I bought years and years ago with my first saddle and I think I just measured my boot or something.  Is there some type of criteria? I  know for safety you want them big enough that you can easily slip your foot out, but that's the extent of my knowlege.  Is there a more precise way to know?  They come in 4 1/4, 4 1/2, and 4 3/4.  Only 1/2 " difference between the biggest and the smallest.... is it Child, Woman, Man? There's gotta be some reason there are sizes.

The iron in the "in action" photo looks WAY small to me but maybe she's just got big ol' boats?

Anybody know? About the sizing... not about Bigfoot there...

And can anybody explain to me the benefits or drawbacks of the jointed irons?  I've never used them.  I did have a pair of double-offset irons once (angled foot and off-center leather placement) and I liked them.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Showmanship Outfit Re-Vamp

I don't know what it is about this time of year that makes me itch for show season. Even though I don't know if I'll be able to show this year, I'm still thinking about it.  AND I got a new digital drawing pad from my BFF/SO and I need to practice with it!

And even though last spring I said about my outfit " I'm pretty happy with it. Hopefully I won't feel the need to make yet another outfit for next year!" I am considering making another one.  I know, I just can't leave well-enough alone!  In my greatest fantasy I'd have a completely different outfit for Showmanship, for Horsemanship, and for Western Pleasure, but that's just not practical for the type of shows I go to.  There's not really time to change that many times! And I seriously don't need anything else to have to haul the shows!

I had been pondering the idea of designing a new showmanship outfit in a COLOR rather than the black that I've been wearing. I thought about using Hobby Horse's (now discontinued, but they still have some available) Green and adding tan(like the hat) and some sort of other accent color. The 2011 Color of the Year from Pantone was Honeysuckle and I LOVE the color.  Maybe a little bright for an adult, but I really like it.
I can imagine it with my current hat color and I think it would be pretty with Junior's roan coat. I could envision using the hat color and a darker pink like the gradation of the flower petals.

But after pondering the idea long enough I realized that not only will this create some expenses that I don't want to have, this will cause logistical problems for me at the shows. There is simply not enough time between my Western Showmanship class and my first Western riding class.  If I changed colors, I'd have to go all the way to a bathroom or my tack stall to change the outfit, THEN put on the chaps and spurs and tack up the horse.  Even with a Groom last year I was late to my first riding class - thankfully KAT was kind enough to tell them I was doing a tack change otherwise I would have missed the class! And with how terrible I am at memorizing 4 patters in a day, I need all the time I can get between the classes!!!

If I was only doing showmanship and not riding I might go ahead with a fun color since I wouldn't need to keep the black pants for the black chaps or need a new saddle blanket.  I could keep the black and just make a new top with the Honeysuckle colors mixed in, then I'd have to still have another top for riding or get a new saddle blanket.  I think that using the same top for both is worth the time it saves both in construction and in tack change time.  I did that the previous year with the embroidered lace jacket and I found the additional changing stress this past year was awful.

So then I'm back to my existing outfit I made last year and figuring out how I can make it improve it visually and functionally.  After wearing it a few times I'd like to make some modifications and I can do these with VERY minimal cost:

1. Remove the closed "invisible" zipper from the back and put in an invisible separating zipper. Currently I have to put the thing on over my head and squeeze my shoulders into the circumference of the hem which is rather difficult and time consuming. Having the jacket able to slip on and off more easily will allow me to take it off if it's really hot between classes or if I need to do a task that might get it dirty. Separating invisible zippers are not available locally, but I have finally found them on line so I might be able to have the best of both worlds! A new zipper is the ONLY expense on this project.

2. Shorten the Hem just a little so I can wear it for halter and riding. I gave it a removable crotch strap so it would stay smoothly tucked in for the riding classes.  Not only was this rather uncomfortable (I'll spare you the details) but it added time to the change.  If I shorten the hem I can use the jacket for both showmanship and riding, and only have to put on my chaps and spurs for the riding. I hate putting a horizontal line at my hips, but I think with the black-on-black it'll be okay.

3.  Add more appliques down the center front to vertically lengthen the visual contrast. The inverted triangle will hopefully be flattering/slimming. The increase in the non/black color will also allow the hat to blend more. I can easily cut the new pieces from the extra ultrasuede/gold and apply them while the zipper is out.  I'll add in some more crystals down the front, of course, to match the amount on the existing areas....maybe I should bling up my hat??? Kidding.  Kidding. That will not happen.

4. Make pants?  This vexes me.  The fabric I bought for the jacket looks like the same black as my Hobby Horse pants in person and in photos, but on my videos it's a different shade and I don't know if it's noticeable in person since I can't see myself.  I'm pretty sure I can get more of the jacket fabric, but there's still a chance that the dye lot will be different and I'd have the same problem so I don't know if it's worth the effort/cost of fabric.

So this is what I think it will look like:
I don't think it's super trendy, but I really don't like the trendy textured and crazy look.  I like a little more retro/subtle I think.  It might end up a little different when I actually go to lay out the new pieces on the jacket. 

What do you think? Here's the way it is now for comparison - remember the jacket will be out over the chaps.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I love the term "unseasonable" during the winter.  Not so much during the summer.  It was 50 degrees today, so Junior got a few minutes of January... on green grass... amazing!

One of my college students came out to ride Junior this morning.  Junior seems to have a particular dislike of college-aged boys, I assume from his 10 months as a lesson horse for a college gym program when most of the boys were there to get their one "athletic" credit done and nothing more.  I doubt they gave him much love and were probably big and unbalanced and bouncy and were most of the cause of his slide into evil-pony that he became before I pulled him out of that situation.  So I don't really blame him, but he seems to like this kid okay, probably because they're from the same state. Go Texas.  He's also not a bad rider for someone without much training. He wants to learn and Junior's a pretty patient teacher.  Junior still gives me "the look" whenever he goes by me, you know, the "um... why are you making me do this" look, but he did what he was asked, mostly, and didn't do anything stupid or dangerous so that's a WIN.

After the ride I untacked him in the arena and waved a dressage whip at him... the sound is a good motivator!  And surprisingly,  this is what happened.... and it's only about a third of the show and this is VERY unlike him! I guess someone was feeling a bit unseasonable... thankfully he was a perfect angel for the ride!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Equilutions 2012

Happy New Year!!!!!

I have returned from a glorious vacation to visit my family and friends.  It was a wonderful time but I am glad to be home and getting back to my normal routine...mostly. ;) 

As per usual, to celebrate the new year, I have been considering goals for 2012.  But first we must examine the goals I set for 2011...

1. Solve the Western Saddle issue. WIN!  I was able to sell both my training saddle and my Circle Y show set for a small profit. I had Rod's custom order me a Rockin' R saddle that has served both as my show saddle and my trail/hack/cowboy challenge saddle.  The light color I chose is still pretty light for those cowboy challenges, but I got over it. :)

2. Work on jumping. FAIL!  This one has to move on to next year.  Though I did pop over a few crossrails over the year, there was no real work done here.  Oh well.

3. Learn to braid well enough to pass at a show. WIN?   Okay, so it's actually a FAIL, but I think roaching is sufficient (legal in APHA) to "pass at a show" so the problem is solved, just not in the way I had planned.  :) When a girl has to do ALL the show prep by herself, a roached mane saves a LOT of work/$$.

4. Place in a cowboy challenge. WIN!  We got 2nd in the Novice at our first challenge this year!

5. Trailer out and go trail riding. WIN!  Brenda trailered us out to one of the Metro Parks, AND we did the trails at the Cowboy Challenge grounds!  And we had FUN!!!

7. Be able to do a fast and slow lope. FAIL! There's been some work here but there's a lot more to go. But I think the FAST part works fine... 


I am still working on my back issue but at this point it's clear that it's going to take a bit of recovery time.  With that fact it's rather difficult to know how realistic my goals are.  If you had asked me last summer, I would have told you that Junior and I were going to be in the best shape we've ever been in and take the 2012 show season by storm.  Alas, life may have other plans.  

So  my lone resolution this year is to work on OUR fitness level. Not quite able to use January 1st as the start of that, but we'll start as soon as it's possible.  I'm considering obtaining in a surcingle and long lines to work with Junior while I'm benched, unless of course tomorrow's Dr. appointment advises otherwise.  I'm terrified of carts (I'll tell that story another time) so I've pondered how good it would be for me to get over that fear by doing it with a horse that's rather trustworthy and is not bothered at all by stuff banging into him.  

Speaking of carts being terrifying, you've seen this, right:

And isn't doesn't this look more relaxing/less dangerous?:

Today I groomed him and gave him lots of carrots which he still had to earn by stretching, then took him into the arena to make sure he remembered how to do showmanship. I turned him loose afterwards and he cantered around a few figure 8's, stopped to sniff his own poop.... and walked back to me with a comfortably submissive low headed posture, sighing and stopping within arms reach, right about in the spot he's finally learned to lead in (instead of directly in MY space.)  Goober.