Wednesday, May 19, 2010
17- If you are having trouble with riding, it's perfectly acceptable to pay a professional to show you how to improve your technique.
16- The Ten Commandments don't say anything about riding.
15- If your trainer takes pictures or videotapes of you riding, you don't have to worry about them showing up on the Internet when you become famous.
14- Your horse won't keep asking questions about other horses you've ridden.
13- It's perfectly respectable to ride a horse you've never met before, just once, or, ride many horses in the same day, whether you know them or not.
12- When you see a really good horse, you don't have to feel guilty about imagining riding him.
11- If your regular horse isn't available, he/she won't object if you ride another horse.
10- Nobody will ever tell you that you can go blind if you ride by yourself.
9- When dealing with a riding trainer, you never have to wonder if they are really an undercover cop.
8- You don't have to go to a sleazy shop in a seedy neighborhood to buy riding stuff.
7- You can have a riding calendar on your wall at the office, tell riding jokes and invite co-workers to ride with you without getting sued for harassment.
6- There's no such thing as a Riding Transmitted Disease.
5- If you want to watch horses on television, you don't have to subscribe to a premium cable channel (but you might need a video tape).
4- Nobody expects you to promise to ride the same horse for the rest of your life.
3- Nobody expects you to give up riding if your equine partner loses interest in the sport.
2- You don't have to be a newlywed to plan a vacation primarily for the enjoyment of riding.
1- Your horse will never say, "What? You just rode me last week! Is that all you ever think about?"
Sorry I've been gone.
I am definitely going to start posting about every visit I have with Lexi. She's needing to have a lot of handling. I'm ready!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
After having two incredibly successful weekends, working with my barn owner (also a trainer) and Lexi, I have seen significant improvement in her attitude, and understanding of what is being asked of her.
I will write another post, explaining what 'issues' I was dealing with, and what we have done to surmount them, but I am absolutely amazed at her improvement.
It's all thanks to my barn owner. She is one of those selfless people, who truly ENJOYS working with horses.
When I had my TB on lease, she would bring her in to give her a warm mash and let her sleep in a warm stall. Just because...
Don't get me wrong. She does NOT have spare time on her hands. She has around 25 horses on the property, yet she MAKES the time. She believes in passing on her knowledge, so that other people can train horses, the way she is able to.
I'm curious as to what kind of relationships people have with their barn managers. Are they a deal breaker when choosing a boarding barn? Share your stories!
Today... I dub thee National Barn Owner Appreciation Day :)
Thursday, March 11, 2010
DISCLAIMER: This is a little long, but definitely worth reading, as you WILL pass it on to all your other horsie friends!
God gives us horses and compels some of us to love them. Yet why does the horse, an animal with such a big heart, live such a short life? Perhaps it's because if our horses lived any longer, we wouldn't be able to bear losing them. Or, perhaps it's because God wants to jump. Perhaps God looks down on the fine horses we raise and decides when it's His turn to ride. He gives us a few good years to care for and learn from them, but when the time is right, it's up to us to see them off gracefully.
OK, perhaps not gracefully. Blowing into a Kleenex is rarely graceful. But we can be grateful. To have a horse in your life is a gift. In the matter of a few short years, a horse can teach a girl courage, if she chooses to grab mane and hang on for dear life.
Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of girls. To conquer the fear of falling off, having one's toes crushed, or being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for any child. For that, we can be grateful.
Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle - or computer - a horse needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice off the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip their noses and drink heartily, we know we've made the right choice.
Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular turn-out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others will test you - you'll struggle to keep them from being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident-prone you'll swear they're intentionally finding new ways to injure themselves.
If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they have unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses, and even horses with a sense of humor. Those prone to humor will test you by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it. I found one of ours on the front porch one morning, eating the cornstalks I'd carefully arranged as Halloween decorations.
Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as there are people - which makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting.
If you've never ridden a horse, you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn in a weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday - but to truly ride well takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a key in the ignition and putting the car in "drive."
In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he's fed up with how slowly you're learning his language. Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you over fences...if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.
If you face your fears, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it, you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion, in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn. And, while some people think the horse "does all the work", you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closest you'll get to heaven. You can choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as to tell. When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought about by smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider. These are the days when you know with absolute certainty that your horse is enjoying his work.
If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives, most of us have to squeeze riding into our over saturated schedules; balancing our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are stolen pleasures.
If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear: a warm place to sleep, someone who loves us, and the luxury of regular meals...Some of us need these reminders.
When you step back, it's not just about horses - its about love, life, and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of a foal, a blue ribbon, or recovery from an illness. That same day, there is also loss: a broken limb, case of colic, or a decision to sustain a life or end it gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss, and death that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow. We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our horses for their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give.
To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and out of fields of battle.
Listen to stories of that once-in-a-lifetime horse; of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenges we set before them, asking little in return. Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and the lingering taste of long-term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true companion.
In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our horses or our horses to us. Does it matter? We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.
-Author Unknown*sigh* so beautiful!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
First, my car died. There about 1,303,968 versions of cars you can buy, and it's hard to pick one!
With that said, I had to make the incredibly difficult decision of sending Leah, the thoroughbred mare I had on lease, back to her real home.
I had leased her with the hopes of purchasing her as my 'riding' horse, since I won't be riding Lexi for a few years.
It's so hard finding THE horse. I don't think any horse will be perfect, but they can be pretty close to it (in our minds).
I'd love to hear everybody's stories on how they ended up with their particular horse(s).
Unfortunately I am going to have to put buying a second horse on the back-burner for a while so that I can pay off the car.
How did you find your horse? Word of mouth? Internet?
Saturday, February 13, 2010
If you haven't read it, I recommend that you do!
I am a self confessed book worm, and freely admit to reading everything and anything (that I deem interesting) that I can get my hands on. I DO read everything and anything equine related. I read everything with an open mind, as I find it interesting to read different opinion's on similar matters.
I am a HUGE fan of everything Joe Camp talks about in his book, the most important/main things I came away with were:
- You need to build a strong relationship with your horse BEFORE you ask him to do thing for you (aka you ride him)
- Horses are meant to live outside, don't stall them!
Now I believe there is a SMALL percentage of horses that do better in stalls, but the majority are better off outside (although is makes their owner's more nervous)
- Horses are not meant to wear shoes!
Once again, I will admit that there is an exception to every rule, but generally, horses are better off without shoes. Read about this. Do some research. Learn how the hoof really 'works'. It is healthier for a horses foot to be 'au naturel'.
- Horses do not need to be blanketed.
If you stop and think about this, no REALLY think about this, you will realize this is true.
My friends thoroughbred is blanketed because he would shiver, and I mean really shiver, the whole body kind. My thoroughbred is blanketed because when I got her she was skinny and the blanket helps her keep warm, without using all her energy to keep warm. Lexi, my QH filly generally wears a rain sheet. This is DEFINITELY for me and not for her. She had never worn a blanket until she was 20 months, and she is THE hairiest horse I have ever seen. I want her to wear a rain sheet to keep the rain and snow off of her as she lives outside 24/7. I am happy to announce I took her sheet off on Friday, and will hopefully stay off for the rest of the year, unless we are forecasting cold AND snow.
I know this is a controversial subject, I'd like to hear thoughts and opinions on why all you horses owners make the decisions you do in regards to your horses.
Don't forget to read "The Soul of a Horse - Life Lessons from the Herd" by Joe Camp.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Lexi was a rescue.
The trouble with a rescue, is that you don't know their history, in this case ANY of her history.
What I do know:
- She came from the States (North Dakota apparently)
- According to the vet, she will be 2 this year
- She is NOT preggers
The reason I wonder about her past... Her best buddy that she was rescued with, who is the same age, is in foal. She is due in March, and she won't even be 2 yet. My best guess as to why Lexi isn't preggers is because she has a wicked KICK. I kid you not. She has kicked out at both of my BO's at feeding time.
That leads me to wonder... She is a little feed aggressive. Not unsafe. But when she is at her round bale, she does NOT like it when I come put a halter on her, she makes it clear (yet she has never attempted to kick me). She has kicked out at the BO's at feeding time. I wonder if she is food aggressive due to the fact that she was starved for so long. Perhaps she still worries that we will stop feeding her?
There is so much I wonder.
Was her birth planned? Who were her parents? What was the first year of her life like? HOW did she get in the situation she was in? How big is she going to get? (I'm really hoping she hits 15hh!) Is she HAPPY now?
Isn't it hard being a mother to these quiet kids?