Friday, December 30, 2011

Plans for the New Year. 2012 here we come!

IEA sent out the calendar for 2012 and I just can't help myself by starting to scheme , plot and plan for what is to come over the next year.  Here is the IEA calendar.  At the end I will post my "plans"(The word plans is definitely always used loosely because we all know how things planned usually work out).  I guess I may be better off using the word goals.  Yes these will be my goals not plans!!

5 | P a g e 2012 Calendar Date Event Location Contact
Feb 18th IEA Awards Banquet Indiana Downs Kelly Peine
Feb 18th Dressage & Combined Test Show Come Again Farm Lee Ann Zobbe
Mar 24th Dressage & Combined Test Show Come Again Farm Lee Ann Zobbe
April 7-8th Spring Bay Horse Trials ® Kentucky Horse Park See USEA website/omnibus
April 21-22nd Leslie Law Clinic Come Again Farm Lee Ann Zobbe
April 25-9th ROLEX Horse Trials ® Kentucky Horse Park See USEA website/omnibus
May 12th Dressage, Combined Test, Derby Show Come Again Farm Lee Ann Zobbe
May 12-13th Winona Horse Trials ® Winona, Ohio See USEA website/omnibus
May 19-20th Greater Dayton Horse Trials ® Fairborn, Ohio See USEA website/omnibus
May 26-7th May Daze at the Park Horse Trials ® Kentucky Horse Park See USEA website/omnibus
May 31st – June 3rd IEA Horse Trials ® Hoosier Horse Park See USEA website/omnibus
June 9-10th Derbyshire Horse Trials ® Michigan See USEA website/omnibus
June 9-10th Spring Run Horse Trials ® Kentucky See USEA website/omnibus
June 16-17th Lost Hounds Horse Trials ® Pennsylvania See USEA website/omnibus
June 17th Horse Trials and Dressage Show Come Again Farm Lee Ann Zobbe
June 22-24th Encore Farms Horse Trials ® Michigan See USEA website/omnibus
June 22-24th Midsouth PC Horse Trials ® Kentucky See USEA website/omnibus
June 30th – July 1st South Farm Horse Trials ® Ohio See USEA website/omnibus
July 6-8th Champagne Run at the Park Horse Trials ® KHP, KY See USEA website/omnibus

Amy and Steady's 2012 goals!!

My big over all goal for this coming season is to compete at Beginner Novice at a recognized Horse Trial!!  The timing and location are not set in stone.  That will depend on how training and fitness over the season goes.  There are a few different options as to when and where this may be able to happen. But this is the holy grale for the year for The Big Lebowski and Me;)


My only goal for this dreadful month is to ride at least 2 days a week.  I would like to say my goal is higher but I would much rather set something realistic than fail miserably.  So 2 days a week is my goal.  I don't care if those rides are walking for 30 minutes, hacking out through the fields/trails or a focused 30 minute dressage or jumping ride.  My goal is just to ride no matter what that be.


18th  IEA Awards Banquet at Indiana Downs!
Riding goals again are to ride 2 days a week.
If the weather/footing for either January or February are good enough that I am able to ride consistently then I will hopefully sqeeze in a lesson somewhere. I do not feel it is worth it though to take a lesson when I am not able to work Steady often enough to keep his 'edge' off.  Otherwise we will spend our lesson on keeping him in check and to me that is a waste of time since I know that regular work keep him in check.

Get more focused in training and fitness.  Primarily focusing on refreshing our minds and bodies to real work.  Ride at least 3 days a week.  Slowly building back fitness.
Take one lesson this month.

25th-29th ROLEX!  I say we make a blogger meet up at Rolex, who's with me?!

Trailer to a lesson with Lee Ann with hopes to take two lessons dressage and jumping.
Start training back again.  Ride 3-4 days a week.


12th possibly have our showing debut for the year at CAF CT.
19th-20th Greater Dayton Horse Trials!  This is a very slight possibility for the the holy grale but it seems awfully early in the season so chances are we will be spectators or volunteers at best for this event.  While researching this HT I found that it is at Twin Park and is only an hours drive for me and is open to the public for XC schooling. Why I did not know this I do not know but this is a relief to know that I have more options than the 2 hour haul to Sheridan or Hoosier Horse Park. Though now my challange will be to find a trainer in that direction.

Riding goals for the month are to ride 4 days a week.

XC school


May 29th-June 3rd IEA Horse Trials.  Also another option for the HT but this is a biggy and I may not have the balls for it but you never know?  It is on the table as an option for the time being.  Otherwise we( we as in me not Steady but it is education for the both of us when I do these things but I also hope to bring my daughter along this year for volunteer work) will volunteer for this event. I loved doing it last year and hope to do it again.

7th Come Again Farm Horse Trials.This will most likey be our HT for the year.  

Riding goals for the month are to ride 4 days a week. 

No lesson for this month in preparation for Event Camp.


July 5-12th Event Camp.  If I make the cut off for event camp I do hope to do it this year.  I have debated back and forth about it.  Wondering if I should just attend separate clinics over the year or put all my eggs in one basket so to speak.  This has been a tough decision this year and I am still not 100% and I need to mail my registration on the 2nd so I need to figure it out.

If I do event camp that will be my one hurrah for the month and probably August too.

Riding goals full on training, trails, gallops and jumping 4 days a week.


Another dreadful month for Indiana.  I will most likely cut back riding this month and take the month "off" with just no pressure hacks, trail rides and rides when weather permits.


Start training back up again once the heat dies down.  Riding 3-4 days a week. 

CAF Event Derby at Novice!?    We will see where the season takes us but if all goes well I think this is with in our grasp.


Riding 4 days a week full training, trails, hacks and gallops.

Octoberfest I loved this show and the XC schooling opportunity.  If I have the money to show 2 months in a row I will be doing this show.  If not I will be forced to choose between the two.


Ride 3-4 days a week.  Training and trails.

Hopeful for a lesson.


Ride when weather permits and take a lesson.

All entries are subject to change at any time with no explination.  I reserve all rights to this schedule and will make changes on a whim at the last minute because that is how I roll.  But at least this gives you the general idea.

Over all I hope to take one lesson a month, clinic at event camp or at 2 other clinics, show a schooling show at the start of the season at Beginner Novice, shoot for that all exciting goal of a recognized HT at Beginner Novice and one schooling show at the end of the season competing at Novice level!

2011 in photo's.

Quick aside, my last accidental post was supposed to be finished out before being published.  Complete with a 2012 goal calendar.  Then I started filling in the year and got completely overwhelmed and realized how much thought I needed to put into it.  So the "2011 in photos" will precede the 2012 goals.  So here goes!

Dedicated winter riding.

I got myself a big 'ole truck!! 

Winter bareback ride.  Then I remembered why I don't do winter bareback rides.  Because I like my vagina!

Then the ice came and the horses got locked up for 2 weeks.

And the ice stayed. (gate to my pasture )

You can sum up the winter with the word, ICE!

I brought sexy back by starting 2011 50lbs lighter than 2010!!!!

Steady went western for a day.  Meh, it didn't last.  He may look quite cute western but I could do without.

Crisp yet sunny springtime rides.

Off topic of horses but I collected and boiled down 100 gallons of sap to make maple syrup.

The saddle torcher hunt.  County saddle, fail.

Steady came out of winter looking like death on legs :(

But he was loved and I started to do what ever I had to do to fix him.

Again off horses but my mama goat had triplets!  Baby goats are so cute..awww

April we competed at CAF in the Starter Derby.  BTW we got a 34 in dressage and had a perfect jumping round but were eliminated for taking a jump the wrong direction.  DOH!

We both were very green jumpers in April.

Went to the horse exhibit at the Field Museum.

Finally found a saddle that wasn't an awful fit.  Not perfect but not awful.

I had my very first ROLEX experience! Life changing!

Changed Steady to Progressive Nutrition feed.

My 6 year old competed her pony for the first time.

May, started to see a difference in Steady's coat and weight.

Volunteered for 3 days at the Indiana Eventing Association Three Day Event.

June, I wasted my money on injections.

My daughters competed at the 4-H fair.

EVENT CAMP!  EPIC in my life!

Put in another pasture.

July, Not looking so green anymore!!!

Many awesome trail rides with my even more awesome trail buddy, my 8 year old daughter.

Took Lily for a test ride and made the decision to bring her home and begin training her to event.

Competed at Octoberfest Beginner Novice Combined Test.  Scored 31- 29 in dressage if you don't count me going off course!!  Major milestone!  Ended with a 39 for a refusal and 2 rails but still walked away 4th out of 11!!!

Cleaned house at the jumper show!

Became a pony clubber!!

Audited Peter Atkins clinic.

Did some Miniature driving.

Shoveled a shit load of gravel.

Steady got some new diggs.

Winter we saw a tiny bit of snow but have mostly been swallowed up in mud!

Went from green beans, trotting in circles to bonafied green beans learning dressage.

This year seemed as if it started out on a bad note and things just were not going as I had hoped or planned.  But at some point things started turning around and before you know it, all that work that seemed like was getting us no where, all came together and just clicked.  I feel like at the beginning of the year everything was like a 1000 piece puzzle that was just dumped out on the table.  It looks like a mess and you work on it and work on it but even when you start to make some progress it still does not resemble anything remotely beautiful.  It is not until you put in the last piece that the picture is complete and you can see how all those little pieces worked together to make something beautiful.  It was tedious, disappointing, frustrating and annoying for 2/3's of 2011 but the last 1/3 made all of that more than worth while.  It made it all that much more gratifying and fulfilling.  There must be darkness to truly appreciate the light.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Plans for the New Year. 2012 here we come!

This might be a little backwards but well that's me!  I plan to put together a "look back on 2011" post.  First though, IEA just sent out the calander for 2012 and I just can't help myself by starting to scheme , plot and plan for what is to come over the next year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sick days

I try to stay on the positive side mostly because it helps me so much to have a positive attitude when I think and talk about the positive.  But we all have problems.  Some just choose to dwell on the negative.  Those are the type of people that I would like to slap upside the head and say, shut up whiner.  Do you think you are the only one who has problems?  Some of us just choose not to bitch about it all the time.  So after saying all that here is a warning that I am about to bitch and whine for moment.

I mention often the positive of having my horses just out my back door, but today I am going to point out a negative.  No sick days, no replacement, no one to fill in when your head is so full of snot, you can't stop coughing and you feel like total crap.  Nope the animals still need to eat and drink.  The weather does not cooperate and all the chores must still be done and if I don't do it, who will?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day after Christmas trail ride

I had a great day after Christmas trail ride today.  The thing is when you have kids there really is not much time nor money to spend on or with your beloved animals.  The good thing is they don't know the difference.  So none of my beasts got any special treatment for the holiday.  Good thing they are all spoiled rotten all year round! 

My daughter, Moonlight, Steady and I all when for a ride.  We ventured down the dreaded bike trail behind my house.  It has been confirmed that the county is clearing a horse trail to run along side the bike trail that will connect with an exsisting horse trail to make like 20 miles of trails out my back door!!!!!!!!!  Excited much?!  This has got to be the coolest thing to happen.  There are a few things I don't like about where I live but over all I love it and now a horse trail is getting put in my back yard, too cool!!  Ok I got off topic a bit.  I figured since we will probably be riding the trail a couple times a week come this summer when it is finished, no time better than now to start getting them used to it.  I have found I struggle a little more with Steady riding out from the house than when we trailer to trails since he knows where home is.  Add onto that his hightened energy level from the lack of work and cool temps.  Steady has an amazing mind and he has a great energy level but sometimes those two things can get misproportioned and his energy level out weighs his brain power.  That is when I feel like I am riding a jet propelled rocking horse that I am doing all I can to keep it from blasting off homeward bound or from shooting straight up into the air.  My daughter usually can keep the situation under control by keeping her horse in control.  It is like a good game of pick up sticks, no matter how good we are or careful, there are those close calls when I am concerned the whole thing is going to come tumbling down.  Either way it was nice to get out and ride on a trail in nearly January.  And riding with my daughter is always a treat, coolest kid ever.  Ok 1 of the 3 coolest kids ever!

So on the way home in my attempts to keep Steady at a walk I decided it was a nice time to practice our collected walk(since if I let my reins out he would walk faster and faster until we were trotting and so on until we were galloping at Prelim speed straight back to his beloved pasture)  It was actually pretty cool because that crazy energetic walk makes for some insane impulsion.  I have no doubt that I could have gotten very close to a piaffe out of him and I don't even know how to do it.  So I spent some time switching leg pressure and doing haunches in and shoulder in's, leg yeilds and a few steps of side passing.  I am telling you this horse has some insane prospective dressage talent.  But definitely an animal that has to be handled with care as to not push him to loosing it. 

And I don't have any photos or video of our ride today here is a super cute video of some fellow eventers have some wild rides.  I LOVE the horse who considers trying to avoid the water complex but jumping over the whole thing and then the last horse looks much like that rocket propelled rocking horse that I mentioned.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas with friends and family of the two and four legged kind.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh glorious (lesson) day!!

I first must say, even at the risk of sounding like a complete creep, I LOVE Karen!  She is of the coolest kind.  She is an amazing rider and horsemen.  I am so glad to know her!  I hope I never scare her off with my overly enthusiastic, non stop gabbing when I am around her.  Then there is Hampton, who is Steady's bestest traveling buddy.  He is also such a kind horse who is going to love Eventing.  He surprised me this time with his jump!  He is one awesome horse!

On to the lesson and to not being so creepy.  First thing Lee Ann said when she saw Steady was, " doesn't he look good?!"  I got lots of comments about good he is looking!!!  It only took almost 2 years and probably years off my life because of the worrying and stress but The Dude(OMG I think just came up with a show name for Steady!  It couldn't be more perfect for him.  You know? The Dude?  From The Big Lebowski!) is finally looking like an event horse and not a wirey, TB, track horse!  Yay!

She also quickly pointed out that Steady and I argue too much.  She couldn't be more right.  I need to just tell him where he needs to be and stay there until he comlpies.  Instead of going back and forth trying to convince him to listen to me.  Point well made and spot on.  So we spent the majority of the lesson with her showing me how not to get into an arguement with my horse.

Steady trying to get me to argue with him like normal and kind pissed I am not .

 After some ugliness and by ugliness I mean he came within inches of kicking Lee Ann!  I was mortified and am so glad he did not make contact because I could have never shown my face at CAF again.  She inturn started to beat him, mind you, she had just had me take my foot out my stirrup and she had my reins so I was atop a horse getting a beating and feeling incredibly concerned I was about to meet the ground.  Unfortunately though Lee Ann was not armed with a whip and could not suffiently beat him the way he deserved.  He deserved to have is ass beat, trust me and he got off too easy. Fortunately for me I did stay on.

Lee Ann at the controls.  Ever ridden a horse while someone on the ground was steering and kicking your horse?  Trust me, it is a strange feeling. 

Other than that he was really working for me.  Not getting right off the bat what I was wanting.  Understandable considering he is used to me always feeding into these arguments of ours but he kept working until he got it.  That damn horse is so athletic it is sickening. Karen said that she even saw Steady take a few piaffe steps while Lee Ann had the controls.  Oh that makes me day dream about his abilities with someone as good as Karen.  If she were closer I would for sure be paying her to ride him.  But when he got the concept, and I got him to take consistent contact, oh my goodness, it was smooth as buttah!  The contact was just there.  It wasn't there and gone and there and gone like we have so often.  It was just there and if felt so fricken cool and what we got accomplished in those few minutes I am confident that we can repeat this at home.

 This is just yummy.

Lee Ann pointed out the obvious by saying his left is his bad side.  Yup sure is.  My second light bulb moment after learning how not to engage in these arguments with him was "it is always the right rein with him".  OH well that makes sense.  She said that could very well change quickly with consistent work on it but right now it is always the right rein.  Once I figured that out we got straightness.  Such a good lesson!  It was a beautiful day.  We rode outside on December 18th in Indiana!  I even had to remove my jacket after a few minutes of riding. 

The day got even better by then going out to lunch with Karen and my other bestest horsey buddy Susan.  We talked and ate and talked some more.  I didn't end up pulling out of CAF until just at dark but I had a full heart and a smile on my face.  Karen helped me load The Dude onto the trailer and I would LOVE to have her there with every time we load.  She is just so damn good with horses and she did exactly what Steady needs.  I have had SO many people offer to help me load him and only one other person other than Karen have actually been a help.  Everyone else within a minute start getting loud and obnoxious trying to get him in.  Trust me if you try to get crazy with him he will get way crazier and his crazy can out last my crazy and that is say A LOT cause I am pretty fricken crazy.

Videos to come but with so much Christmas stuff going on it may take a few days to get them all uploaded.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A restless mind musing.

My mind is whirling with thoughts of next season.  I can look back on last year and see we went from not even being able to canter, unable to get the correct lead, unbalanced and definitely not on a 20 meter circle. To scoring 8's!! on the canter in a dressage test! Being told we are 'pretending to do dressage' to scoring 31 on a test!!  From not being able to hop over a tiny 18' 'jump' without being an ugly ball of a mess.  A launching horse and a neck climbing pilot. To jumping oxers, walls, swedish oxers, ditches, banks, novice xc jumps and winning Championship in a jumper class and fourth place up against some stiff competition on a CT. All in just a few short months from April to October. Steady has taken me farther and fast than I ever imagined.  I am witnessing before my very eyes the progression of Steady's body.  I know I have read and heard that it can take a long time for a horse to fully adjust to life off the track, and even more so the longer they were on the track.  I didn't understand exactly what that meant until witnessing it for myself.  Now I can see that it really did take over a year to get his body adjusted to it.  I see that it was a matter of allowing his body to completely transform from the way it gains, burns and stores calories.  To completely change the shape of his body, starting to muscule in places he has never had muscule and allow him to figure out how all of that translated into how his body moves.  These are no SMALL feats.  No more place for the strung out stiff as a board body that he had only needed up until then. He had to learn how to bend that body, round his body,  keep his feet under himself and stay in balance all at the same time.  I didn't start out understanding how much of a challenge that would be for a body that has never been asked to do those things before.  But it was like once he got past those tough adjustments he just quickly started to soar with progress.  Now he can only go as far and as fast as I can take him there and I think we make a great partnership.  I just look at next season nervous and excited and wondering, "how far will we go? And how fast?".  This is my first time at attmepting any of this, first time training a horse, first time doing any Eventing.  So every single thing we do is new.  New to him and new to me.  So to me it is just amazing that we are progressing as well as we have.  I am not meaning to say that I am intending to put pressure or push us to go farther, faster.  Not at all.  I do mean that I have a feeling that Steady has the ability to take me farther and faster then I had ever imagined and that is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

I plan to have this conversation with Lee Ann on Sunday at my lesson because she has been around this block many times.  So I think she would be a valuable source of information.  I pretty much want to know how far should we think about going?  And how fast should we plan to get there?  I could say that I should just take it one step at time and not look too far into the future but that is not me.  I need a plan at least an outline of a plan.  Not everything has to go according to plan but I do have to have a specific goal in mind or I will just fall into a state of bored, depression and I don't want to go there.

I had until now thought we would not go past Novice, ever. Though now I am thinking Training could very well be in our future(shivers in fear).  Beginner Novice will be where we start off next season.  I plan to do a Derby at CAF early in the season then see how the season goes but hopefully finish the season at a full 3 phase HT at BN.  That goal is well within our reach and I wonder if finishing the season at a schooling Novice Derby or CT is where we will end up.  I don't know.  Should I keep pushing farther and bigger or should I slow down and just take my sweet time?  One thing I am lusting after is competing at KHP.  I don't think I would bother going to KHP at BN but maybe my goal could be when I get solid at Novice then I can compete at team challenge?  I also really want to compete at Hoosier Horse Park at the IEA 3DE at some level, but the question is what level?  Do I do it as soon as next year at BN, just to have the experience?  Or do I make it a carrot on a stick kinda goal to push myself to get to a certain level first?  Now if I had an unlimited checking account I don't believe it would matter nearly as much because I could just do it all when I wanted to.  But since I get to only pick one or two things to do over a season I want to be very selective which and when I do them.  I don't know, but if this is a sign about what my brain is going to do to me over the boring winter months you, my faithful readers, may be in trouble.  Sorry for you, I cannot seem to get the swirling, circular reasoning, unanswerable thoughts from over taking my head.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Splish, splash!

I was excited to ride today.  It seems like forver since I just got walk out my back door and ride with our crazy, feels like I live in the PNW weather lately.  The temperatures have finally stayed low enough that the ground is frozen, halle-fricken-lujah, no MORE mud!!!  The high today  was 45 and I made the mistake of waiting until late in the afternoon.  That gave the ground long enough to get nice and sloppy.  I had hoped it would still be firm but as soon as I walked into the pasture I could hear that was not the case.  Slish, slosh...that is just asking for slipping and sliding.  So I came up with a plan to do a nice long walk warm up then do a few trot sets in very large circles and no quick turns.  We went over the trot poles a few times just to get his heart rate up a little.  I slowly walked him up to a tiny little cross rail and let him trot the last two strides then asked him to walk within a couple strides after.  He could use alot of slow non rushing jumping exercises.  Then the other direction we had one of his typical moments of rebelion, run off after the jump flipping his head to avoid giving me any sort of control, bunny hopping and thinking about rearing as he is going in 5 different directions.  I am going to just expect at least one of these moment every single ride over the winter months that way I am not disappointed by his outbursts.  I think the unavoidable contributing factors are not having consistent hard work outs along with cool weather makes a TB feel GOOOD/naughty!  The rest of the ride was at a walk.  Turns on the forehand, leg yeilding but Steady can get kind of annoyed if we spend too much time on tedious, redundant work.  So then I came up with an exercise that I think we will be doing A LOT this winter.  I have never been told to do this but I could see right away how much this will help us  with our jumping.  It was all done at the walk which means it is something we can do almost all winter long in any footing.  So simple but exactly what I think Steady and I need.  I can see this one simple exercise being the key to Steady and I having a very successful season come springtime.  What is this exercise you ask?

Well get ready to not be blow away....we...spent about 20 minutes!  Wow, right?!  I would focus on an distant object like a fence post or tree.  It could be at any angle but the goal was to make an accurate, straight angle turn and focus on the object and riding 100% straight on to it.  Then focus on a new object and continue for 20 minutes.  As strange as it may be I really, really enjoyed this exercise and Steady did not seem annoyed like he can get with tedious things that don't involve alot of forward movement.  It is my new favorite and I can't wait to see how much it helps us after doing it for a couple of months.  I am imagining a much straighter horse and rider making accurate turns.  Having the ability to ride straight to a jump and that is exactly what will make us rock the XC course at, at least BN next year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

How to get the most out of your lessons.

I can only speak from my own experience, of course,  but this is how I get the most out of my lessons.  I can tell you I am not always never the best at something.  I rarely can ever get things right on the first try.  I have been known to get to the verge of break downs mid-lesson.  But one thing I think almost every trainer I have worked with has said to me in some way, how they appreciate that I give everything I've got in a lesson.  One has said, "I just love the look of determination that comes over your face when I tell you to do something" another has said, "WOW you really try to get the most for your money"   So I am not nor will I ever be the best at anything.  That to me is never a goal, though being competitive is one of my strongest personality traits.  I am not in competition to be the best but you better believe I am in competition to try the hardest.  I give every ounce of me and if every ounce of me is not enough then I do everything in my power to figure out how make myself better, stronger, more educated so that I will be enough.  I fail more often than I succeed but I know each failure is a step closer to getting it right.

1) Approach each lesson like it is the only one you will get.

When I make arrangements for a lesson/clinic I have no idea when the next time I will be able to get to a lesson.  It could be a month it could be 6 months, I just don't know.  So to me I better listen to every damn word.  And if a trainer tells me to do something I have to know exactly how, why and when do to it.  Because I know that I will have to recreate the same thing at home, alone.

2) Make sure you walk away from EVERY lesson feeling like you cannot ride your horse right.

This may be a very strange statement but I used to have the mindset going into a lesson that I wanted to walk away feeling good about me and my horse.  I mean I was paying the person the least they could do was give me a sense of approval.  I now know I only want a trainer who will yell at me and push me to my limit every single time.  But when you leave a lesson feeling good and having approval that you are a great rider and you are doing a fantastic job training your horse then what in the world will you go home and do in that 1-6 month period?  Bop around the ring with a grin on your face, and thinking to yourself how wonderful you are????  Now how productive is that?  Human nature is not to get better when things are smooth sailing but when we are at our breaking point to find a way to rise above it.  You know the saying, "when the going gets tough the tough get going".  I know no one tougher than horse women.  I have learned that when I leave a lesson feeling like I cannot nor will I ever probably get something right, my personality is such that if you tell me I cannot do something you better believe I will die trying to prove you wrong. So the crappier I feel the better. Ugh, this is really making me look forward to my next lesson knowing I am going to feel like utter crap when I am done.  Really though when you find the right trainer they are good at making you feel like crap but still give you a sense of hope.

3) Speak up!

If something doesn't feel right, or your horse is having a physical or mental block and you know it, or you are having a senior moment.  SPEAK UP!!  It is ok to feel like an idiot because you are sure you are asking the dumbest question on earth.  It is your responsibility to speak up on behalf of your horse if something just isn't right.  Even when you know it may be viewed as just a lame excuse.  The worst that can happen is that you end up feeling like a total idiot, bawling your eyes out because a world known trainer thinks you are a whining idiot and writes you off but you can know deep down that you did right by your horse and you both with be the better for it.  For me I know it won't be the first or last time I feel and look like a complete idiot so what the heck.  Now don't make excuses, work through pain and don't give up but don't be afraid to speak up.  Ask every question that pops in your mind and don't be afraid to say as my 6 six year old says to us often, "yeah, I just don't get it".  A good trainer will find another way to get it through your thick skull.

4) Be a cheapskate.

Most of us die hard horse lovers are horse rich and money poor so I know most of you know what it is like to get the most out of every penny.  Being a complete cheapskate makes me get the most for my money.  If I pay someone to tell me I suck, I am weak and I cannot do something right.  You better believe the next time I come I will have done everything in my power so that they don't tell me I suck at the same thing.  I can suck at something completely different, yes.  Because then it is worth the money but if I have to pay twice to be told the same thing then I don't feel I am trying hard enough on my own.  One way to get the most out of your money is to politely beg ask a poor unsuspecting bystander to video tape your entire lesson.  Then watch it over and over again.  I promise you will hear things on that tape that you never heard in the lesson and it will make your lesson all that much more worth it.


This is numbero uno, muy importante!  Though my last point but the most important one.  I am the ignorant of the ignorant, I am NOT the sharpest tool in the shed, the brightest crayon in the box, the...ok, ok I get the point you don't have to be so harsh. I am sure you poor people who suffer through my grammatical and spelling errors can attest to that fact.  You don't have to be the smartest but you can use every last braincell you have left that was not killed off in your rebellious youth or last weekends post show drinking fest get together.  Have you ever been driving and arrive at your destination and think, "I have no idea how I got here"?  It is usually a place you have driven to a hundred times and at some point in the trip you kind of go into lala land and don't come out until you realize you have arrived.  When you are in a lesson DON'T do that, EVER.  If there is activity at the barn, block it out.  If you are mad at your boss, block it out.  If your butt itches, block it out, or wash it before you go.  But don't let anything get into your head.  Stay in the moment.  Ask questions.  If you can't do something, try again, if you still can't do it ask how you can figure out how to do it.  If you frustrate the trainer, good, but don't let it be because you are distracted.  Think about the, how.  But more importantly think about the, why.  Analyze everything, and take no information for granted because you do not have a trainer, or even a more experienced rider at home to refer to.  It is pretty much do or die so you better pay attention.  You don't need to walk away from a lesson feeling like you have the answer.  But you better listen to every word of the trainer so that you can figure out the answer eventually.

5) The lesson doesn't stop when your hour is up.

That is just the beginning.  Now take that feeling of "I suck at this and I will never be a good rider and I am sure that I am completely ruining this magnificent animal" and figure out how to make it turn into "I never thought I could do this on my own and looky here, WE DID IT!!!".  That, my friends, is how confidence is built.  It may have taken us 3 months on the same exact thing to figure it out but I did it!!!  Read, practice, read, practice, practice, practice.  If you need to be stronger then get stronger, if you need get balanced, find balance. Whatever it is, just do it and don't give up.  We all have pity parties.  We all get into a funk.  We all feel like quiting, putting a sign on the side of the road saying "free horse" (or maybe that is just me).  But I am pretty sure more often Steady wishes he could put a sign on the road saying "free owner".  So you work and you work until you can find that harmony.  If you get frustrated, walk away, take a break, change the scenery or do something else until you can come back to it with a clear head but don't just "let it go".  You can take 3 months with the same goal in mind but that does not mean drill that one thing for 3 months straight.  Sometimes it means, try it, fail, don't ride for 2 weeks, try it again, have a little progress and keep at it, go trail riding for a couple weeks, come back to it and feel like you have lost ground, work at it again, get frustrated, take a week off of riding read anything you can on the subject, ask yourself why your horse is struggling, get into his head, go back out and try it again, have a break through(remember we are like 2 months into it already), a light bulb moment for the horse and yourself, then practice, practice, do something different, practice and then just maybe then you will feel like you have made a clear and confident step forward.

You don't have to be the best, smartest, prettiest, have the nicest stuff because the coolest thing about horses is that if you just give them your all, they return the favor and that kind of a relationship is the stuff we horse gals live for!

I know a couple of my blogger friends are in those low moments and struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Wondering when they will feel that moment of a clear step of forward progress or if they will ever find the confidence they lack.  But it will come, and for every ounce of sweat, sore muscles, tears, break downs and stress it will only make the success that much sweeter!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


See, it is probably a good thing I stopped homeschooling my children.  My math skills obviously leave much to be desired.  Here is my algorithm on how I came up with my answer.

2 old beat up saddles take a trip to the pawn shop.  They are both old and not well cared for english saddles.  Both were given to me by people who just didn't want them.  I didn't really want them either but didn't have the heart to throw them in the trash.  They were at least fairly good quality leather and could have been brought back from the dead.  I was surprised when the pawn shop offered me $20 for one and $40 for the other.  Cool $60 at Christmas time!  Then I start looking at the saddles they already have.  Mistake.  There was a nice looking saddle on the saw horse and I started googling on my phone.  It is a Crump Prix de Saute jumping saddle.  So I got rid of 2 saddles and came home with 1.  Hmmm not in the plan but the price seemed so reasonable and I figured if I couldn't make use of it I could at least sell it for probably more than I bought it.  So I handed over my $60 and then some.  So the total saddle count as of now is 8.  My husband cannot wrap his brain around why I would have 8 saddle and 4 horses.   I don't even own 8 pairs of shoes, well maybe if you count my riding boots, paddock boots and chore boots.

I think some people are simply gifted.

I am always in awe of those that ride bridless and bareback.  I think the people that can achieve such harmony with an animal is a gift they have been given.  Though I cannot imagine the work that goes into it too.  Here is a pair that though not bridless are performing beautiful dressage movements bitless and bareback.  I stand in awe.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My favorite things Friday.

The view out my kitchen window.  Standing in my warm house watching the snow fall on the horses backs is a favorite sight of mine.  White snowflakes on brown!

This Thoroughbred

Snow covered scenery on cold mornings doing chores.  Can't get enough of this veiw.

These 3 little girls.  My heart and soul.

This nose <3

Happy herd coming to greet me.  Or should I say search me for food.

 Others I don't have pictures of:  Watching The X Factor, snuggling with my husband and giggling little girls to name a few.