I have video!

I talked my husband into coming to the barn and taking some video of me riding. He didn’t want to stay long, so he just got our warm-up. He kept getting distracted and taping our daughter playing with the barn cat. I was like, “Hey! Point the camera over HERE!” The video isn’t great, but it’s a start. I need to figure out a way to set my camera on something and let it tape while I ride, no assistant needed. Here is the video… If you want to comment, feel free, but please keep in mind that I’m a green rider on a green horse and this is a warm-up. Oh, and I’m 7 months PREGNANT!

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Weight Gain!!!

Winter 2010- dirty but fatter!

I’m posting some pictures to compare Baron’s weight last winter with his weight now. He is looking much fatter these days, not so much rib showing. I upped his grain and I keep hay in front of him at all times. He actually leaves some uneaten in his stall. The last time my farrier was out, he commented that Baron looks 100% better than he did last winter. He’s much more filled out and not looking so scrawny.

He is very dirty in the pictures, but he is fat!!!

Winter 2010
Winter 2009- much more rib showing!

Paranoid Horse Ownership

I’ve heard the old saying that horses spend 24 hours a day looking for ways to kill themselves, so it’s not surprising that many horse owners are worry warts. I do not consider myself a worry wart. When Baron comes in from the pasture with an injury, I don’t think, “Oh my God, he’s going to be lame forever. I’ll never be able to ride again.” I’m not the type to assume the worst. But I do think I’m paranoid about my horse ownership skills. For example, when Baron got rain rot this summer, I was mortified.  I was thinking, “Did I not groom him enough? Is he spending too much time in the muddy pasture? Am I a bad horse owner???” Then I heard all my friends lamenting the insidious rain rot that had also cropped up on their horses. Oh thank God! I’m not a bad horse owner, or if I am, I’m not the only one!  But, when he comes in from the pasture with bite marks from the other horses, I wonder if other people’s horses have loads of little bald spots from getting bit and picked on. And then I ask myself, “Should I have him at a barn where he can be turned out only with horses who won’t pick on him? Am I a bad horse parent???” But then I visit my friends at other barns and see little nick marks on their horses and I realize it’s not just my horse.

What about you? Are you a worry wart or a paranoid horse owner? Or neither!?

The Equestrian’s Bucket List

I found this on Fugly’s blog and I think it came originally from the Practical Horseman website (maybe?). Forgot to write down the original web address, so let me apologize. If you wrote this, please let me know and I will credit you! I crossed out the ones I’ve done…

1 Gallop on the beach. I’ve cantered. Does that count?

2 Win a blue ribbon, even if it’s for the egg and spoon race! This would have to be my number 1! Oh, how I dream of blue ribbons!!!

3 Enjoy an evening of equestrian theater, from major touring productions such as Cavalia to local performance troupes. Saw Cavalia this year.

4 Try your hand at cattle work. Find out what it means when they say a horse is “cowy.” We go to a little mountain town in Colorado every year, so maybe on one of those trips I’ll have a chance to work some cows.

5 Jump! From crossrails to cross-country obstacles, experience the thrill of soaring over fences. I’ve only jumped crossrails, so I’m going to jump some bigger obstacles before I cross this one off.

6 Fall off and get right back on again. Conquering fear is empowering. I’ve done this too many times to count. I grew up riding Banker Ponies on the island I grew up on and they were green broke at best.

7 See the majestic white Lipizzan stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. This is would be my number 2 pick. I’ve wanted to visit the Spanish Riding School since I read “White Stallion of Lipizza” when I was a kid. It’s my all time favorite children’s book.

8 Come to a sliding stop on a well-trained reining horse. Never had a chance to do this, maybe some day!

9 Take a lesson with your equestrian idol, _________ (you fill in the blank). Not sure who this would be. Maybe Jane Savoie? Or George Morris? 

10 Nurse a horse through a crisis and back to full health. Um, yeah. I’d rather not have to do this. I like my horse healthy, thank you.

11 Experience the smooth ride of a gaited horse. I got to ride my barn owner’s Tennessee Walker. It is a smooth ride, but I prefer the look of my Thoroughbred even with his bouncy trot.

12 Watch the horses come through the Head of the Lake on cross-country day at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. I’d rather watch the ponies come up out of the water after the round up at Chincoteague.

13 Have the courage to do the right thing for your horse, even when it’s not easy.  I’m going to say I’ve done this, but this is something you do over and over again. The specific time I’m thinking about was at a lesson this summer when Baron wasn’t feeling his best and instead of pushing him to continue, I hopped off and trailered him home. I still had to pay for the lesson even though I only rode for about 5 minutes.  

14 Attend the Kentucky Derby dressed to the nines—including hat! Would love to do this. Kentucky is not that far from Georgia!

15 Tackle a trail accessible only by horseback and enjoy the view.  I would say I’ve done this in Whistler and Colorado. I went to Whistler with my now husband back when we were first dating. I loved that he was willing to go horseback riding! 

16 Take your dream vacation on horseback. I would love to ride the Irish countryside. I’ve also heard that there’s a horseback tour of Austria and Hungary that takes you through the countryside and lets you stay in castles.

17 Master the sitting trot. Nope, not even close.

18 Ride a fine-tuned horse in your discipline of choice, be it dressage schoolmaster or barrel champ. Again, nope. My horse and I are both green as grass.

19 Watch polo. Even better, try your hand at it! Can’t say I’m super interested in this one.

20 Feed, muck, groom, ride. Repeat daily.  Been there, done that.

21 Wake up to a whinny every morning. I board, so this one will probably never happen for me. My husband has no interest in owning a small farm.

22 Fly down the track on a Thoroughbred.  I have galloped full speed ahead on Baron, just not on a track. It was actually on a trail when he bolted and I fell off.  NOT looking to do that again.

23 Meet one of your favorite famous horses in person. I don’t have any favorite horses really. My favorite horses are fictional and my favorite horse of all time is MY horse!

24 Ride bareback, bridleless … or both!  Done it many times as a kid.

25 Share a bond with your horse that’s deeper than words. Working on it…

A couple stories…

I have two stories and a show update…

First, I had to have $800 of work done on my car so I won’t be going to the horse show next weekend. Can’t spend any extra money, have to build up the savings account again.

Second, I forgot to write about an eventful ride I had a couple weeks ago.  We were hacking around near my barn and we were walking along the fence at the edge of a little ditch that had running water thanks to all the rain here lately. We had the fence on one side and the ditch on the other. Well, the edge of the ditch started to cave in and Baron’s front feet were sliding toward the water. He is such a fussy little thing about water, hates to get his feet wet. So instead of backing up parallel to the fence, he starts backing up into the fence in an effort to get away from the water. I can tell he is starting to go into panic mode and I could just see him sticking a leg through the fence and getting seriously injured. So in a matter of milliseconds I decided that the only option was for him to jump the ditch. As soon as I had this thought, something about my body position must have changed because Baron stopped backing up, found some decent footing and hopped across the ditch. It was like my determination of what to do was communicated to him and he stopped freaking out and knew what he had to do. Some people will call me crazy, but if you ride and you’ve had a moment like this you’ll know what I’m talking about. Horses really are mind readers in a certain sense. If I had gotten scared and been indecisive, I’m sure things could have ended very differently. Turns out when Baron jumped the ditch he landed in some guy’s yard who promptly came out and scolded me for riding in his yard. Sorry buddy, but if the choice is messing up your yard or messing up my horse’s gorgeous legs, your yard is losing. But I was very polite and apologized profusely.

Third, my last ride was faaaaaabulous. I tried something different. Instead of arena work and then trail riding, I took Baron out on the trail rides first and let him trot and canter and let off some steam. Then we came back to the arena and started the trot work. He was better about pulling toward the gate, and miracle of miracles, he trotted up to the crossrail with no problems and jumped it like a pro. No refusing, no trying to go around, just perfect wide arcs to the jump and then a neat little jump! I was so proud of him. Maybe he will be a jumper after all!