From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Long Overdue Update PART 1

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately. I have had very little time in the few weeks months to even think. In May, I had my first show of the season, taken SAT's, competed in 2 FFA (Future Farmers of America - haha, I know, sounds lame but its not!) CDE's (Career Development Events), had my Drill Team performance, had a lesson, went XC for the first time this year, worked on Jet's canter, worked, and was hired for the first time EVER to photograph a horse show!

Let's start with the boring stuff...I took my SAT's on May 5th, the day before my first show. I didn't get a good night's sleep the night before taking them and was completely brain dead 2 hours into the biggest test of my life. Being a hard-working student with a 101.17 grade average, I was extremely disappointed when I got my scores back and discovered that I only scored a 1720. My math was my highest score (always is) and my English areas need work. My mother is signing me up for summer tutoring to help prepare me for when I retake the test in the fall.

On May 9th, I competed in my school's FFA Horse Showmanship CDE. Originally, I was signed up to compete in both the Showmanship and the Judging portions but once we were there, I was informed that since I was the overall individual high score last year, I was unable to compete on the A-team (the team that can qualify for regionals and nationals). I still got to participate by being on the B-team(Backup-team). Since we had to have my spot filled by one of our B-team members, I filled their spot in return. However, I was still able to compete in Horse Showmanship. Basically, the competitors are randomly handed horses that we have never handled before and we must compete an in-hand showmanship class with them. I was watching the people infront of me getting their horses...there was a nice thoroughbred....a pretty a warmblood!...and then I get handed the 11hh ancient pony that can barely move...I made the best of what I was given and proceeded to win my class! I was SO happy! Our team ended up placing second overall so they won't be going on to regionals or nationals unfortunately. We only lost by 18 points! (out of 1500+) We judged the following classes: Conformation classes- Hunter Pony, Thoroughbred Geldings (Reasons), Sport horses, Paint Mares (they threw a gelding in this class!); Undersaddle- Hunter Under Saddle, Hunter Hack (Reasons). Overall, it was a long, but fun, day.

May 24th was our FFA Livestock Evaluation CDE. Normally there are 4 or 5 full teams competing at these competitions so we were shocked (and thrilled) to see that only one other team was there to compete that day. Once school didn't even try to form a team, and another had a team set up but none of the kids showed up to school to go... haha. We had to judge Tunis breeding ewes, Market lambs (oral reasons class), breeding gilts, market hogs, belted Galloways, and aged Simmentals (orals class)l. In other words, we did a breeding and meat class for sheep, pigs and cattle. I didn't really know what I was doing but after talking with people on my team and on the other team, nobody was really sure how to place the classes. The pig classes were exceptionally hard. After we did our oral reasons (where we get 10 minutes after all of the judging is done to prepare a 2 minute, one-on-one presentation to the judge as to why we place a class why we did), we were told that the pigs were actually from the same litter making it even HARDER to judge. Needless to say, I completely failed. But luckily, the other team failed more than my team and we will be heading to the National Conference in Indianapolis in October! I am excited, yet terrified because I feel completely unprepared and do not want to make a fool of myself...


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shot Down

My knee is *knock on wood* all better! The past few rides with Jet have been AMAZING. Something has clicked between us. I have been able to feel a difference in his movement. His hind end is finally engaged and going in the right direction. I can feel him coming up into my hands and he has a bigger, more suspenseful stride. His canter has also become 10 times better lately! I have been doing lots and lots of transitions and changes of directions, circles, serpentines etc. and all of the different things seem to make him become more responsive and lighter in the bridle. I'll have to get a video to show you guys.

Yesterday, we gave him a 6-way shot. Its cheaper for us to order it online and give it ourselves. Jet has always had reactions to shots. It doesn't matter if we give it or if the vet does, he always swells up like a balloon. Today I took a look at his neck where I gave him the shot and it was nice and puffy :( Poor boy...gave him some bute and hopefully the swelling will go down soon.

As soon as we start to do well, we always have an obstacle in our path that slows us down No worries though, its just a small bump in the road. Two weeks from today we will be sweeping up at our first show!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Something New

Since my knee has been bothering me on and off, I decided to try something new (to me) but very familiar to Jet. It is something I have always wanted to do with him. Want to take a guess at what we did?

Here are some hints: he was originally bred and trained for this. His first career required him to do this task and while doing it, he won three times. Some horses pace, some horses trot. If you haven't guessed it by now, you never will.

I finally got to drive him! I wasn't the only one who was excited to be hooking a jog cart up to him. His ears perked right up and he was happy the entire time I was driving him. I didn't drive for long but we got in some nice stretches of trot. He was calm the entire time and listened to every aid I used. He wasn't spooky and he didn't care that we were leaving his friends to go for a drive (when riding and leaving the "herd" he tends to be a bit of a brat). Ofcourse, I have pictures.

*I know we are on cement. There was no other safe place to trot. We were not on it for long and he was warmed up and cooled out properly.

Click to enlarge, click read more to see more pics!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dear Horses, I Do NOT Like the Taste of Dirt

My knee FINALLY stopped bothering me when I was riding and guess what happens? I fall off...again.

Before this little streak that I now have going, my last fall was nearly two years ago. Now it seems like I fall off all of the time but strangely enough, I don't mind. It just gives me things to work on. The fact that I always get back up, without fear, and try again makes me proud and gives me inner strength. If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

As some of you know, I am part of my school's equestrian drill team. Today we had open tryouts and the current team decided to work the other horses after tryouts. It seemed like just another normal day.

I have been working with this particular mare to help break some habits and get her less tense under saddle. She is a little 8 year old 14/14.2hh chestnut pony mare who we shall call "S." She has bucked off several intermediate riders in the past few months and the school instructor is hesitant to put anyone on her at this point. I'm always up for a challenge and the instructor knows I can hold my own with most horses.

Lately, S has been AWESOME! I have her going consistently well walk, trot, jog. She has finally accepted pressure on the bit without tossing her hand. She has also begun to understand leg pressure. Before, she would just bulge through what ever leg pressure I applied and if she gets too annoyed, she bucks. She doesn't care if you kick with all of your strength; if she doesn't want to do something, she will do everything she can to get out of it. Oh, did I mention she kicks other horses if they get to close? This mare has learned every trick in the book to get her riders off. Her past owners were scared of her and she learned that if she got them off, she didn't have to work. Little does S know, I always get back on after I fall.

I have been working on her canter the past few rides. The canter is when she pulls 99% of her stunts. Usually, she just bucks or crow hops but today, it was her goal to get me on the ground. She did not want to work. It took three people to hold her still enough for me to even get on. She was rearing and jigging but I finally got my little bum in the saddle.

After she was warmed up (her warm up was amazing by the way, forward, engaging trot and she even offered to take the bit a few times!) I asked her to canter. I got her usual "I don't want to canter - buck buck kick kick" routine but I got her going a few times around the ring at a nice, balanced canter. She was swishing her tail and I knew she was thinking of something. But after she got into the canter, she was fine.

I walked her around a bit and switched directions. Apparently, I gave her enough time to let her think of a way she has an excuse to get me off. She pulled the same stunts when picking it up and even threw in a nice grunt and tail swish. I had her going maybe half way around the ring before I had to come off of the rail to pass another horse. S will deliberately go after another horse to kick them when the opportunity arises so I made sure to cut in a lot. However, S believe that if she bulged far enough out, she would be able to reach her destination. after politely asking her to straighten out and go back on the rail without success, I gave her a nice boot with my outside leg to remind her that I actually meant that she had to stop bulging towards other horses. Needless to say, S did not like my reminder.

After popping a few bucks, I squeezed her on. She was getting annoyed that I wasn't already off. So what does she do? Out of nowhere, she goes from giraffe mode to having her head in between her front legs, bucking, then crow hopping, then dead stopping. Without having anything in front of me to put my hand on to stop me, I went straight over her head. I do admit that I was leaning forward to try to gather my reins and that also helped me get to the ground. What did I land on? My screwed up knee. Awesome.

As I was plummeting to the earth, I saw her hooves coming at me in the corner of my eye. My heart dropped. I knew she was rearing and that she was right above me. I covered my face and shut my eyes. A few seconds later, I opened them and was relieved to see S walking to the side of me. Its school procedure to stay right were you fall and wait for the nurse to come and check you out before remounting but I'm a rebel and got up and got back on before anyone could come over to me and see if I was ok.

I quietly dropped some F-bombs to myself because I could feel the pain in my knee. Obviously, I sucked it up and told the instructor that I was fine and that there was no need for the nurse. She wasn't too happy with me but she was glad to see that I was physically and mentally able to get back on after falling off. Within a few minutes, I was cantering her around the arena again. She finally gave in and behaved so I got off and called it a day.

99% of the time, I take complete responsibility for any accident or fall. This time, I partially blame the horse's past owners for installing bad habits into this poor little mare. She thinks that if she gets you off, she gets out of work. Hopefully I won't fall off again but if I do, its a good lesson for this mare.

The most painful part of the whole ordeal was walking away. Literally. Each step felt like my knee was being hit by a sledge-hammer that was being swung by the world's strongest man. I got home, iced it, and took some Advil. Oh, guess what I have tomorrow in school? Gym. And guess what we are playing? Soccer and kickball. It looks like my poor knee will take longer to heal than I thought.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Leap" of Faith

Today, for the first time since I fell almost two weeks ago, Jet and I jumped. I set up four jumps in my little arena of varying heights. Since I am not wealthy, I used common backyard items as jumps and standards.

For example, one jump had big sticks from the woods as poles and groundlines and two saw horses as standards. This jump was a 2'ish crossrail placed on a diagnol so we could practice switching leads over a jump (which is a new thing that we need to practice for upcoming shows.) Jet did awesome! He listened to me and my body as we were approaching and landing the jump so he would land on whatever lead I felt like putting him on.

The next jump had a toy bin as wings and a long 2'6" wide piece of plywood in the middle. I slanted the plywood up against the bins so the jump had both height and width. It ended up being about 2'3". Jet seems to like more solid jumps compared to show jumping style fences. I think since it is solid, it is easier for him to see it and find a distance up to them. He went over this without hesitation.

Out of the bunch, the next setup was probably the most "normal." I had two big blue barrels as standards and then regular wooden poles. I set it up as a verticle with one pole halfway up and halfway down to give it some sort of a filler, the top pole, and then the groundlines. This fence was probably 2'4/2'5"ish. He went over this from both the trot and canter. He did buldge right when we were going to the left but he still went over it.

The last, and biggest, fence was the largest fence we have jumped as a team. I had a traffic cone as one standard and the mounting block with a smaller cone as the other standard. I used regular wooden poles as the top rail and the half up half down filler and then big sticks as the ground lines. As I set it up, I thought the jump was only about 2'6/2'7"ish but went I went back and measured it, it was 2'10"! He went over without hesitation at the canter going to the right (his bad way ironically) but he kept running out when canterred it to the left. I finally got him over it to the left at a trot and cantered it once more to the right and then called it a day.

I know my stirrups are waaaay to long, I'm too far out of the saddle, and I have broken wrists, but look at how well Jet handled it! And check out my new saddle ;) (matching bridle and stirrup leathers are coming soon!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

New Saddle and a Lucky Fall

After spending what seems like endless months searching for a saddle that not only fit and pleases my finicky horse, but also fits my extremely long femur, the search has finally brought me to this saddle:

Say hello to my new Collegiate Convertible Diploma (with a long flap ;)). After sitting in many saddles, such as HDRs; Cicruits; Marcel Toulouses; even a few Pessoas and Bates, I fell in love with this saddle. The flap length works well for me when I do anything and everything from flat work to jumping, the seat isn't hard like a rock, the leather is a much nicer quality than some of the others I've sat in, it fits Jet like a custom saddle, and the seat has the perfect depth and twist to please my personnal preferences. I just LOVE this saddle.

The first time I rode in it, I had a bit of a  mishap. I was putting it through my test run (w/t/c, half seat, sitting trot, how it felt with no stirrups, jumping, etc) and Jet decided that it would be more fun to see what I look like going over a fence while he stayed on the other side and watched.

He had been acting a bit funny that day. It might have been the weather, or something caught his eye, I have no idea. I was definitely jacked up and ready to go. I knew that he felt ok in the saddle because when we tried the last saddle on him, he was jacked up but instead he wouldn't move. All he did was buck in place and pin his ears. He does this with any saddle he isn't 100% happy in. But he was moving around just fine with the Collegiate.

My Aunt (my instructor) set up a large crossrail so I could start to test jump in the new saddle. He pulled some of his usual "I haven't jumped in a while so I'm gonna test you before I go over it" stunts which include buldging out, running out, going fast, supermaning, or going nice and forward to the jump, then just trotting over it like it's a groundpole. This day, he added a new one to the list. For the first time, he actually straight out refused with a dirty stop. The few times before we went over before he stopped, he was flying through and supermaning. After I reminded him that he does have to listen to my aids, I finally got him going nice and slow and steady to the jump and then BAM, he stopped. I would have been fine if he didn't proceed to tuck his head between his front legs and fly backwards. I went over his head, knocked over the jump and landed on my knee. Jet just stood still with the "OH SHIT! I didn't mean to do that! I'm so sorry!" face on. From the ground, it looked like he was about to come jump the pile of poles where the jump used to be and were I was but thankfully, he didn't. I'm just glad I didn't land on my head again like I have the past three times I've fallen off. I'd consider that a lucky break!

When I stood up to go fetch my refusing horse, I could already tell my knee just wasn't right. When I got back in that saddle and started riding, I was in serious pain. But, I kept riding and working with Jet until we finally worked everything out and he was jumping it like a pro. As soon as I put him away, I checked on my knee. It was already burising and swollen.

I took some Advil and decided to suck it up. Bad idea. Two days after the fall, I was in a dodgeball tournament at school (it was a group of my friends from my major - Large Animals - so we called ourselves the Moo Croo). We won the costume contest for the tournament! We all dressed up like cows. In our first and only match, I managed to get pegged in the knee and fall and twist it. We were the only all-girl team so needless to say, we didn't win our match, even though it technically should have been a tie! I went home that night with an extremely sore knee.

Now, more than a week after the fall, my knee is just now starting to feel better. I can ride without it hurting but if I over work it or hit it on something, I'll be close to tears. It gets better and better each day so hopefully I'll be 100% soon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Computer Crash and Burn

I apologize for the lack of posts. My computer decided to completely die leaving me unable to update. The computer will be sent out to be fixed soon! However, we got a new laptop just incase the other can not be saved.

Jet and I have done a LOT of trail riding! In one week, we spent nearly 10 hours on the trails. This is by far his favorite thing to do. Our normal loop takes us roughly two hours to complete, depending on how fast or slow we choose to go that day. No matter what, Jet plods along with his ears perked up.

There is one thing that has brought up some concern..when he is in the field, he kicks out when he canters. I'm sure I have posted about this in the past at one point or another. To all of the Standie owners or riders out there: did your guys also kick out (it's not really a buck, he kicks out with his right hind) when you were just starting them out with cantering? He doesn't do this at all in the ring, only in the field. I'm worried that something is bothering him...

On a good note, I am in full swing saddle-shopping mode! I made the journey to Pelham Saddlery in NH yesterday and took an HDR on trial. It fits me and Jet well, but something about it just feels weird to me. I am used to riding in an all purpose (Colliegate Senior Event) so close contact/jumping saddles feel a lot different. I have also been looking at Dover's Circuit saddles. I have ridden in the circuits before and really liked them. Which do you guys prefer? Why?

I have tons of pictures that I will put up once they have downloaded onto the new computer. When I post them, I will tell you guys about my show schedule!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plans for 2012

I guess you could say I have been thinking about my future a lot lately. Next year, I will be a senior in high school so right now is the perfect time to start looking at colleges. There are so many to choose from! I don't even know what career path I want to follow so how can I pick a college? As of right now(and for the past two years), I am at the top of my class. If I stay here, I will have to give a speech at graduation next year. I'm completely fine with giving speeches and presentation in front of people, but I absolutely suck at writing them. What am I going to do?!

All of this thinking made me start to realize that I only have a short year and a half left before I go off to college...and I'm not sure if I will be able to take Jet with me. I am going to do everything I can to either stay close to home or to find a place near the college of my choice where I can board him for a reasonable fee. That being said, I only have one full show/riding season left before I leave. So here is what I plan on doing with it:

  1. Go to the National Standardbred Show in New Jersery on September 9th. I want to compete in walk trot AND walk trot canter classes and well as jumping and maybe even western classes.
  2. Show w/t/c with Jet at local shows instead of w/t. I have never competed a full show season w/t/c. I'm capable of doing it, but I also end up riding green horses or Standardbreds who are learning to trot instead of pace, never mind even thinking about cantering! This should be exciting, but I will admit..I'm a little nervous about how Jet will do cantering in a large ring with many other horses..
  3. Show in the hunters and jumpers. I have done groundpole jumpers with him in the past and crossrail hunter courses (click on the link to see the posts about that) but this year I would like to be competitive in the 2'-2'6" range. This means that we will have to get our lead changes down aswell.
  4. Go team penning!
  5. Try cowboy mounted shooting
  6. Go to Woodstock Fair 
  7. Drive Jet
  8. Show him western atleast once
  9. Do the Breed Demo at Hobby Horse Farm
  10. Go to Rehoboth Fair again!
  11. Go on the Apple Knoll Hunter Pace and at least one other hunter pace.
  12. Go to the beach!
  13. Be in a parade
  14. Jump a 3' fence for the first time with him ( I have jumped up to 3'3"-3'6"ish in the past on other horses)
  15. Ride with friends as much as I can
If I think of anything else, I will add it on here. Basically, I want to do as much as I can while I can do it. This year we are trying everything we can get our hands and hooves on. Hopefully, we'll get to do everything and more on this list.

As an update, me and Jet have been trail riding a lot since the clinic. The first trail ride I took him out on, he bucked at the canter NON-STOP. I was actually worried that there was something wrong. I just walked him after that.

The next day, I got on him and just walked for 40 min on the trails then did some ring work for 20 min. He has never given me such nice canters before! He was even somewhat balanced and slow going to the right! (his much worse direction)

I rode him again yesterday for about 45 minutes and we gave me another beauuuutiful canter. I don't know if he realigned himself with all that bucking or maybe if he just needed to get out and moving in a big field, but something clicked and hopefully we will continue to build on this canter and make it show worthy by April!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pics and Video From the Clinic

If you missed my last post about the first clinic Jet and I went to, read about it here before looking at the pictures.

That being said, enjoy looking at the progress Jet has made since last year!

More pics and videos below

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our First Clinic

Today Jet and I went to a Cross Training Clinic with my friend Alli and her new pony Annie. The focus of the clinic was to "use dressage to improve your jumping and use your jumping to improve your dressage" but I found that the instructor taught the two separately and never really connected them. With that aside, I had a great time and got to try some new things!

We started with introducing ourselves and telling the instructor about our riding abilities and our horses' histories. When I mentioned that Jet was a Standardbred, she started to talk about how her friend owns and trains Standardbreds out in Michigan. I was relieved that she wasn't prejudice against the breed like so many people are. She even said that they are great horses but people don't give them a shot. Lets face it...right now, Warmbloods are in, more refined horses (like TBs and STBs) are out.

We then warmed up on the flat. She set two cones on opposite sides of the long side of the ring. She had us count the number of trotting strides between the two cones at a working trot. After we found the average of strides between the cones, she had us add some strides and take some out. The point was to collect when we were adding strides and extend when we were taking them away. It felt more like she was having us adjust our tempo between cones because all me and Alli did was slow down and speed up. The other horse in our group is a Level 6 jumper and had all of these moves mastered so we definitely looked sloppy compared to her.

Next, we moved it up to a canter...well..ermm...tranter. I warned her that our canter definitely needed work (especially our right lead) and boy was I right. The first thing she said was, "Oh...that was...interesting.." She had me try to work on it in a circle which I was fine with, but her reasoning didn't make any sense to me. She said that he is falling and and balancing off the circle and corners and that I needed to lift him up when I could. She said to work on long straight a-ways. I said that he is a lot better in a field where he can't anticipate turns or use the walls or rail to balance off of. I asked her how to "lift him up" and she started her response with "when you are on a long side.." Well how am I supposed to work on that if you are keeping me on a circle?! I could tell Jet was getting frustrated. He was trying but the area she gave us to work with was too small so I brought him down to a trot.

He was MUCH better going to the left. I could actually canter multiple times around the ring without him breaking and he was somewhat balanced. His canter was much faster than the other two horses' so as soon as I got a good (well good for us...) rhythm going and when he was just starting to use his hind end...I'd have to bring him back down to a trot because we caught up to someone. We couldn't cut across the ring and there was only one or two spots we could circle (but they would be TINY circles) so I decided just to bring him back down to a trot and start up again when the opportunity arose.

The fun stuff came next! We did a lot of grid work, which is something I have never been able to do before because our ring is way too small. I was interested to see how Jet would handle it. I had a feeling that he would see the first groundpole and try to jump that AND the cross rail (a stride away from it) at the same time. He surprised me by not only going over every element separately, but by doing really well and enjoying it! I was worried that since we haven't jumped much recently, he would get sour quickly or maybe he would pin his ears, refuse or run out...but he went over EVERYTHING, no questions asked, and he did it with his ears up the entire time!

We started with a cross rail with a take off pole a stride before and a landing pole a stride after. Next, we added another crossrail, and finally, we took out the original take off groundpole and replaced it with a vertical that was about 2'3"-ish in height. This meant that there was now a bounce in the grid. We have also never done a bounce. Yet again, my Super Standardbred shocked me and did it very well. By the end, he was taking off evenly with his hind feet (something that has been a problem for him from day 1) which meant he was using his hind end evenly, resulting in a more correct, better feeling jump. I was a proud mommy (:

Overall, I felt we accomplished a lot more in the jumping phase than the dressage phase. I would not go back to this instructor for regular lessons, but I would definitely go back to the facility to rent the indoor or go for shows. But for right now, I'll stick with lessons from my Aunt in my little backyard ring and one day, we will prove to the world that Standardbreds can do ANYTHING, and they can do it well.

*Pictures and videos to be posted tomorrow*

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Friends

We recently added two new animals to our family. Two lambs were taken home yesterday and Jet immediately wanted to be their best friend. I'll do a full update later but for now, enjoy these pictures!

I don't think he looks too bad for a Standardbred!

The black one is Reggie, the white one is Jack

Read more to see all of them!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fun with Friends

Happy pony ears
Tuesday was a day to have fun with friends. Once I got home from school, I loaded Jet onto the trailer and headed off to my friend Mary-Kate's house.

Mary-Kate also has a Standardbred (a mare named Katie) who I have talked about numerous times on this blog. Jet absolutely adores her! He always nickers when he sees her and puts up a fuss when she goes out of site (something I definitely need to work on).

Dad drove us there and went home to relax while we rode. Jet was fairly well behaved as I brushed him removed the caked in mud on his coat, picked his feet, then tacked him up. With a little more practice, I'd feel comfortable bringing him to a show all by myself.

Mary-Kate hopped on Katie and I got on Jet. We walked around for a while, walked up the street and back, then rode in her field. I love being able to ride in a larger area than my 85x80 little ring because Jet has the ability to really stretch and lengthen his stride. In my ring at home, he'll get to exactly were he needs to be balance and movement wise but then a corner immediately pops up and we lose it. In a field, we have a lot more room to work with and he can't use the fences, that would be in a normal ring, to balance off of.

 We did walk, trot, canter, and attempted some ground poles. Apparently, Jet has forgotten how to go over ground poles. He refused, ran out, and jumped them but he didn't really go over them like he is supposed to. That another thing to work on.

After that, we went for a trail ride and rode by the cranberry bogs and the multiple ponds and lakes that are by them. I took my camera and proved that it IS possible to take semi-decent pictures while riding a horse!

We then went back to the field were Mary-Kate took pictures of me riding. By this time, the sun was pretty much down so the pictures came out blurry as you can see. I cooled Jet down, took off his tack, and hopped back on with just a halter and lead rope. Mary-Kate ponied us around for a bit and then we called it a night. The two love birds went their separate ways but they will definitely see each other soon!

Oh, and a few days ago we also popped over some small fences to mix things up. I'll put pics of those too!

Click to see more pics!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Here are some pics from the past month or so. Some are with my new camera, some are from my friend's point and shoot. Enjoy (:
 Captions ABOVE the picture, click read more to see the rest!

Jet loves to stick his head in the snow WHILE I AM TROTTING/CANTERING and licking the snow. Here is proof:

The lines slipped off of the horn but I quickly fixed it

Mary-Kate and Katie

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Liebster Award!

Ruth/"Ruffles" at Just A Girl and Her Horse has given me the Liebster Award! Liebster means 'dearest' in German and the award is given to great blogs that aren't well known (having less than 200 followers/members). So now, I will pass the award onto 5 other blogs that I read all the time! Go check them out!

Riding Miss Daisy

Now THAT'S A Trot

I Am Boyfriend

Grey Brook Eventing

Standardbred Excellence

Thank you Ruffles!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Trees do NOT taste good...

What's the best thing to do on a snowy day? Go horse sledding! I took Jet out and took my brother and sister for a ride during the snow storm on Saturday. We just did walk, trot, canter up and down the street a few times. Its hard work pulling a sled and carrying a rider! Here are some vids:

Jet's little tantrum, the only time he was bad throughout the day. He puts up with so much!

To set it up, I took a fuzzy surcingle and put it on top of a saddle pad on him and then attached it to a breastplate. Then I took long lines (nylon driving reins) and attached them to the surcingle

On Sunday, I went to Mary-Kate's house and we did the same thing with her horse Katie (also a Standardbred). This time, we rode with a western saddle. We put a lunge line under the saddle (inbetween the saddle and saddle pad) and then did a safety release knot on the horn. It worked really well...until I crashed into a tree. Friends would run friends into trees and immediately turn around and go help them but BEST friends keep riding, laugh hysterically, then eventually ask if you are ok. Gotta love best friends! And the best part? Its on video!

I'm not sure why I didn't just roll off. Things just happened to quickly. I did see it coming and put my hands and feet out infront of me but I hit my head on my knee hard enough to bruise my knee (but not my head...). After about 30 seconds of being confused, I was completely fine and went on to do it again, and then I got on Katie and took Mary-Kate in the sled.

We then ended the day by taking Jet to the back field and sledding with him. We used the same setup that we used with Katie earlier that day. Here is what it looks like from the sled! (Mary-Kate in the sled)

Then Mary-Kate got on Jet and I went in the sled. Patch (my dog), was very concerned because I was screaming (with joy). He kept biting my jacket and trying to pull me off. A few times he actually ended up jumping on the sled with me and licking my face. I knew he was trying to help but I didn't want him to pop the sled so I had to yell at him to stop. He sulked over the the edge of the field, sat there, and kept an eye on me after that. When we got home I gave him lots of treats!

Did I mention I absolutely love my horse?

*DO NOT TRY THIS WITH JUST ANY HORSE* Jet and Katie have both been driven before and we got them used to the sled and the sounds of it before doing this