Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taking It Easy

Today was just one of those kind of days. The kind when you don't feel like putting much effort in and mostly just end up doing nothing.

I went out and caught Lady after she had finished her morning oats and she just felt sluggish. She was a little gimpy on her left front, which is her worst hoof anyways. I cleaned her feet out and there were no stones or anything weird in any of them, so that was good.
Poor girl was just overall really stiff and looked tired. I'm able to see now from a distance how she's feeling because she gets a dip in her back and stands differently. Her hips and ribs looked tight and she moved soooo slloooooowwww.

I made her do some circles around me just so I could make sure nothing more serious was wrong and then she got some grooming and we did stretches.

She was much more mentally relaxed and moving with more ease and swing by the time I put her back out with The Pony. Since we're still waiting on the new saddle, we'll probably just continue to take it easy this week.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Learning Leather

So the big news is that I found a saddle that I am 85% certain will fit Lady and the purchase has been made! I'm still nervous and antsy for it to get here so that I can find out for certain. After all, there's only so much information you can get online.
(I did try several saddles and took very careful measurements and angles from each one to compare and contrast.)

The balance was wrong on this test one.
Anyways, the smaller news is that this new saddle is made of leather. I know... shocker. My only other English saddle was a Wintec and I only had a synthetic Western before that, so this is my first experience with a piece of leather bigger than a bridle.

Sooo.... I'm asking all my wonderful blogger friends out there, how do you decide what you do to clean/oil/condition your leather?
This saddle is about 7 or 8 years old but has sat in storage for about 4-5 years. Before that it was only cleaned with Lexol light leather cleaner because the owner was afraid of darkening the leather, which by the way is a lighter tan/red color. It has never been oiled or conditioned and apparently is still pretty stiff and new-feeling.
I don't much care if it darkens some, I just want to take care of the leather properly.
What would you do and why?  Thanks! :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

September's 10 Questions

Thank you Viva Carlos for giving me inspiration on this very sleepy day!

1. Is there something you don't like about your riding?  Right now, I'm super frustrated with my lower leg whenever I trot or canter. I can't seem to get it under control. :(

2. Does your horse buck?  Yes.  No.  We have finally (almost) broken the habit of bucking whenever its time to canter, but it still happens sometimes. And don't even think about getting after her with a crop or a stick.  On her own though, no, she doesn't buck. She kicks.  The Pony on the other hand...

3. Is your horse head shy?  No.  She has gotten a little ear shy over this summer because the bugs got into them and they were scabby and painful, but nothing serious.

4. Favorite barn chore to do?  Making/mixing feed, and putting down new bedding in a stall.

5.  How many times do you ride per week?  2-3x per week. I would like to bump that up to 4 times per week, but we'll see how it goes.

6.  Who is your favorite pro rider?  I love Lauren Barwick in dressage. Beezie Madden is absolutely amazing too.

7.  If one pro rider could train you for a day, who would it be?  Umm... not sure. Let me think on that one.... hard decision ;)

8.  Favorite facial marking?  I have a soft spot for stripes and I also like blazes a lot.  :)

9.  Leg Markings or No Leg Markings?  Well... I've never owned a horse with leg markings (unless The Pony's pinto splashes count). I think chrome looks really flashy and I like it a lot, but I'm more than content with solid legs too.

10.  Every broken anything fallen off?  Thankfully, no.  I do expect it at some point in my life though.  :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


No apologies for the week-and-a-half hiatus that I took from blogging, except to say that life can be a mess every once in a while. God does answer prayers, the minutes keep ticking by whether you want them to or not, and having a focus is important in order to succeed.

The fall weather is really getting to the ponies and I'm slowly getting used to riding lots of energy whenever I get on. Most of the time its not really that big of a deal - Lady is obedient, just a bit squirrely and expressive/enthusiastic. But she does feel the urge to test my leadership every so often (this morning was one of those days) and then we have minor arguments. 
I am pleased to note (aka brag) that my riding has improved a lot over the past few months and our rides are really showing it. Having her throw a fuss doesn't bother me like it used to. I can stay balanced and I'm finally getting the hang of using aids properly and consistent. She knows more of what I expect and I've gotten better at thinking on my feet (on my seat? o.O ) so that she doesn't get away with as much as she used to. 

In other news... I sold my saddle.
Good bye, lovely Wintec.
I learned about shipping saddles in the process, which was quite interesting. 

The process of finding a new saddle is totally happening now. The local tack shop has a few English options, but very little. I've been bringing some of their stuff home on trial, but I'll post more on that later on this week.

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's blogs even while I wasn't blogging myself, or even commenting. I will attempt to start getting back in the game now. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2014


I've been rather silent this week, but the real reason for that is.... nothing is happening. It has been raining and every time I'm home from either work or school, its either too dark or the sky is dumping gallons on us. Besides that, our driveway and every other decent riding area is under several inches of water. Even if it wasn't raining, I probably wouldn't be riding due to that.

I love the rain and don't mind it all that much, but it just so happens that the temps today are in the 70s and 60s.... I would LOVE to be out riding in that air!  Oh well...

Cute pony pic in place of rain pictures.
I did ride on Tuesday and had loads of fun dealing with Lady's new reserve of energy (still not sure where it came from).  She really is getting better at ALL the things and I've enjoyed our rides a lot lately.

Ponies are currently separated. Lady is in the pond-pasture again with all the grass, but Tempest is still in the arena-pasture across the property because its the only fence I trust her in. The plan is to change up the fences again and make them a proper (and larger) enclosure for the winter. With the pond, preferably, to save me the trouble of breaking ice every morning.  :-)

And... I am in the process of selling my saddle.  The scary part is actually going to be finding another one in my super low budget. All the ones that I have found that are my size and fit are not wide enough for Lady and the ones that are wide enough are not my seat size.

Have a great Friday, and Merry Christmas! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Asking "Why?" 002

I totally get this. Whenever Lady doesn't feel well, or work gets in the way.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Last Week's Schooling & This Week's Goals

Lady got more days off then I meant to give her this last week, but I did put two good rides in on Lady, which is the goal, right?
Tuesday's Ride:  Write-up here.

Friday's ride was somewhat more exciting and not so technical. I took Lady out off the property and we actually had our first real "trail ride" on our own. We made a loop across a field and around the road back home - about a mile in length. We had some minor spooks and issues - having to pass by the neighboring horse instead of going to see her, going into the shadows under the trees, and then getting chased by two dogs who were actually biting poor Lady's heels. I was pretty upset about that part, but we made it home safe and sound. It wasn't perfect or pretty by any means, but it was successful!  I was, and still am, very pleased!

On to this next week - the second week of September! You can go read my full list of weekly goals over at my other blog. That post will be up tomorrow morning!

Tuesday:  Ride out on the neighboring field. Really work on obedience, calmness and light contact.  I would like this ride to be at least 30-40 minutes long and I might pull my saddle out.

Thursday:  Focus on patterns in this ride, either in the arena or in the open on our property.  If Lady is calm/obedient enough, then work on canter transitions as well.

Friday:  Loose-rein "western" ride - just for fun.  :)

Those are the only three sessions I have planned for this week, but I may squeeze some extra little things in there as well. Who knows!

How was last week for you?  And what do you have planned for the second week of September?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday's Tack Addiction - Saddle Pads

Would you believe me if I said I only owned 2 saddle pads?  Because it is the truth.

One Western Navajo.

One English AP.

I used to have 3 western pads. There was a lovely orange one that was just the right softness and thickness and a firmer, also thick, green one, and then there was the navajo pad pictured above. I only have the navajo one left after my tack room had an issue with rats in it and the other two were torn beyond use.

My english saddle pad is my own work. It is very simple cotton fabric with a medium thickness of foam inside and black edging. I made it according to measurements from my Wintec.

Just because I only own two pads though, does not mean that I don't go looking for more and check my bank account every so often to see if I could just maybe afford another one. I also want a half pad to help cushion Lady's back since she is so sensitive.

The few things I do want in a saddle pad are durability, shape (it has to fit over her withers properly), and I love all the pretty colors!

I really like the hunter/dark green on Lady, preferably with black trim (which is what I made my own english pad out of.  I would also like to try a plum color on her, and a few different shades of blue. And of course I want the standard black and white ones!  ALL the colors!

What kind of saddle pads are your favorites? Do you have a particular brand? How many do you own?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

August's 10 Questions

I've been meaning to do this ever since Viva Carlos put it up, but here it finally is, in September, but oh well!

 1.  Is your horse spooky or bombproof?  Kind of in the middle. Lady isn't spooky the way a lot of horses are and most things don't bother her, but she kind of loses her brain sometimes and we all know what happens then.  So not bombproof.

2.  Does your horse have a long or short stride?   Umm, its hard to say since I haven't ridden any other horses in a while, but compared to most horses around here (Quarter Horses and/or short) Lady has a longer stride. She has a very nice reach and covers ground very well.

3.  Describe your current barn in 3 words.  Home, Convenient, Grassy.

4.  If you could switch barns, would you?  Hard question. I love the fact that my horses are at home and I don't have to drive anywhere to ride. But I lack a good trainer, which is something I really crave and need. So yes, if I could (aka. afford it) then I would.

5.  Favorite brand of breeches.  Don't own any, although I would like to.  I wear jeans all the time for riding.

6.  How many blue ribbons do you have?  Don't have any, but I have a lovely red and black one that I got from the Parelli Celebration in 2009. Love that one.  :)

7.  How many saddle pads do you own?  Currently 1 English one and 1 Western Navajo pad. I used to have 2 other ones and then the rats got to them.  :(

8.  Is your horse your phone background/lock screen?  When I had a phone she was.

9.  Do you go trail riding often (weather permitting)?  We don't have actual trails around here, but I do ride around outside of the arena much of the time.

10.  Favorite horsey movie?  Hidalgo, or Seabiscuit.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finally Getting There!

I finally got back in the game yesterday and had a "real" ride. It was in a rope halter and bareback, but it was still a real ride!
I went out and caught Lady with little trouble, and even had The Pony come up for a petting too, which I was quite pleased about. :-)

After a little bit of moving around to see where she was at - slightly stiff and a bit grumpy - I hopped on and started out with just riding calmly around the arena (or their pasture as it is right now) at a walk. Lady was quite nice about it, even though I had to remind her to stay straight several times.

When I felt she was sufficiently warmed up (she lives out on pasture, but comes in stiff a lot) I decided to go straight into cantering. The trot has been our worst enemy lately, especially bareback, and I didn't feel like making that situation worse.
Side note: I am doing some research and working on my personal fitness/strength, and I continue to do several short periods of trotting whenever I ride for the sake of practicing, but I do have to be careful that I don't jar Lady's back or hurt her.

Anyways, I got my nerves together, and after a few not-too-terrible steps of trot, we transitioned into the canter and the transition was quite nice!  I'm getting better at that part!  My focus was on keeping her energy forward, and keep myself with her. We accomplished both goals!  I was present enough to let her know what was expected, and I even kept a good seat (albeit gripping a bit too much with my legs).

I was pleased with that and brought her back down to a walk for a break before trying it a second time. The transition wasn't as good the second time around, but once we were in the gait, it went quite well.
Cantering is so much fun when it goes well!

Lastly, I decided to go through our dressage test (USDF Intro A) completely at the walk. My focus here was her obedience (she did well) and my ability to see the geometry (not so good). I'm not good at seeing circles yet so our lopsided eggs were completely my fault and not Lady's.

My notes:

  • Must do more canter work! She is capable of it, just needs the practice to build muscle.
  • I need to have more strength in my my thighs.
  • Independent seat, especially in the trot and canter are very important.
  • Practice circles more often.

How was your latest ride? Did it go smoothly? What did you learn?

My latest motto. <3

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Analysis / September Goals

I love writing these!  Lists, and goals, and plans!!  I just enjoy all of that :)
But before I digress, here is August's analysis...


  • Keep up with my schedule for this blog.  I can't say that I followed the schedule that I made up, but I did put in 14 posts, which is 2 more than I had planned, and the second highest monthly amount since I started this blog!  So, success here.
  • Complete the blogging challenge I chose for my writing blog.  I got behind a few times and had to catch up, but I got all the assignments in and learned a LOT.  Definitely success in the blogging area!
  • Make an A in my summer geology course. I'm ashamed to say it, but this didn't happen. I ended up getting the worst grade I have gotten so far in college. Umm... yeah...
  • Start the fall semester prepared and ready!  I definitely feel prepared and ready to tackle this last semester so I can graduate!

  • Log 12 horsemanship hours/10 rides for summer challenge.  I did not quite reach either of these, but got SO close!
  • Workout again.  I started the month off okay, then slacked off in the middle and now have myself back into a sort of routine.
  • Journal every night.  Again, I skipped some days, but definite improvement, so I call success.
  • Complete a cover for my novel. I got some ideas going and then decided that it was too big a job for me. I'm getting help to finish it.  :)

I'm quite satisfied with August. On to September!!

Writing/Reading Goals:
  • Finish the final edit of my novel.
  • Follow my blog posting schedule.
  • Organize my short stories into a collection.
  • Read 6 novels and study parts 1-4 in my horse training book.
  • Start searching for a new saddle and possibly sell the two saddles I have.
  • Ride a new horse.  I plan to go to the local barn for this.
  • Ride Lady at least 2x per week.
  • Arrange at least 1 piano lesson with my teacher.
  • Keep up with school assignments and my exercise schedule.
  • Earn my taekwondo purple belt (next testing)!
  • Finish paying off my summer school course and end the month with a certain amount of money in each of my bank accounts.