Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pony shopping trip

Today we went to Illinois to look at the pony I posted about.  It's a 7yo 7/8 arab 1/8 shetland mare, dapple bay.  She has not had much handling and has some previous baggage from being started by a bad trainer but a local teen was able to get her going under saddle.

I found her to be skittish and wary at first, took me 5 minutes to catch her, but surprisingly she was very good with her ground work and not spooky at all.  After she had warmed up to me she followed me all over the area I was able to work her in.  She ended up being easy to catch and seemed quite sensible.  I took a couple videos to watch over and over to ponder my choices.

A few things for me to keep in mind:

1.  Can I fix this pony?
I think so.  She's been started, and while nervous, warmed up and didn't do anything stupid.  I felt comfortable around her and liked the way she responded.  I feel she would join up with a person and form a fierce bond.  I felt if I brought her home and I didn't hit any major snags I could be on her in a couple weeks.

2.  Does this pony have the conformation to be a lower level eventing horse?

Maybe.  She has longer pasterns and is straighter behind, both negatives, but no horse is perfect.  Would this things affect her ability to do dressage or her ability to jump high?  Yes.  Would this matter at the level I'm eventing at.  Probably not, but better conformation is always better.

3.  Could I resell this pony if it didn't like to jump?

Maybe.  I could probably give her away, especially if she were suitable for kids.  She has no value as a 1/2 arab because she isn't very typy, and she is small, but stout enough to carry an adult.

4.  Is this pony squishable?  YES!


On the road today to go see this pony.....

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Things that are purple


I have the standard black/black version of these which I ended up putting on my dressage saddle.  I found the wide track helped keep my feet in the stirrups while dealing with my "spastic leg" problem and I find that they are much more comfortable trail riding in than normal width english irons.

These are a must have for my jumping saddle.

Horseloverz carries them as well as a few other online shops.

Purple eventing reins!  In pony or horse size!

Lancaster Amish Goods is the original source for most of Bit of Britain's english leather goods.  See the exact same reins here.

Here's an interesting bell boot design by Roma.  The scalloped edge is supposed to prevent movement

Here's an interesting bell boot design by Roma.  The scalloped edge is supposed to prevent movement

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lame duck

Well, I had hoped that my next post would be about Tiffany's very first lesson.  Nope.  Tiffany heard about the reputation of my trainer, and the fact that she has an arena full of POLES, and brewed an abscess.

Now abscesses aren't usually a big deal, but I'm a bit abscess phobic ever since Nikki and this is Tiffany's second abscess since I started riding her.

Who probably had some sort of systemic issue in her feet that was worsened by riding.  Whenever the ground got soft she'd abscess, sometimes each foot in a row, and I'd lose every winter and spring until the ground either froze or thawed.  I think it was worsened by riding as I have not seen her put a foot wrong since I retired her due to bum hocks.  Stupid horses.  The only solution was front shoes and pads and rear shoes.  Which was expensive but kept her abscess free for two years solid.  However, I don't feel at this stage that Tiffany has justified shoes so I'm waiting to see how much of a continual problem this is going to be.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Trot video

Here's a video I took last week as a reference for Tiffany's current state of training and mind.  This video is taken as soon as I started trotting and shows everything good and bad.  My philosophy with a nervous horse is that I "free lunge" with rider aboard.  I minimally control direction and stay out of the way unless I feel like I'm in danger. I maintain light contact with her mouth just enough to take the slack out of the reins but I'm not trying to hold her head down, keep her straight, etc.

Everything you see with her head moving is of her own doing, you can see that she wants to go down to the contact (although it's really more posing at this point) but she's nervous and wants her head up.

I am not really using much if any leg at this point so she comes back to the walk a few times, but I'm ok with this for now as when I add leg she starts to run away.  You can see how eventually she calms down a bit and settles into a more relaxed way of going.  That's when I feel confident about starting to influence her a bit more.

Next week I'll start to add more influence, to see if I can ASK her to relax a bit and stay steadier in the contact.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


I've been working on Tiffany a lot on the ground.  Her ground manners are decent but her trust in people is not as strong.  I've started on some basic despooking which I believe makes you safer in the saddle when faced with scary things you meet while out and about.

Here's Tiffany's first reaction to the tarp

I'm standing in one spot shaking the tarp.  I noticed how, although she ran as far away as possible, she made several passes right by me.  She was scared of the tarp, but not scared enough to keep her distance.

Here's Tiffany after a couple sessions with the tarp.  She's more concerned with the cookies in my pocket instead of the tarp, big difference huh?

Picture your horse's reaction at a show if a canopy blows over in the dressage ring, or you are riding past the stabling and someone shakes a blanket out.  Or people are climbing up and down bleachers.  A less reactive horse might just keep you in the saddle!


 Hello all,  Life has been busy and I have not felt I've had anything worth blogging about.  Or that my blog is particularly interestin...