Happiness is owning a chestnut mare.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


O.K. So wrote a very nice update...and it's not here! Then I wrote and update to the update and that's not here either! I haven't been a blog slacker, I swear.

Last Monday after work I went to the barn to a horrible sight- a swollen, hot left hind fetlock. My BO and BM both thought it was a scrape, and I thought so too until I cleaned it off...then much to my horror it was actually a deep flap of skin, almost like a puncture wound.

Needless to say this past week has been all about getting up extra early, spending 1/2 hour+ at the barn before work, then at least an hour after work..cleaning, hosing, hand walking twice a day for the first two days since she couldn't go out. Such a pain in the ass...but she is the top priority and she is special enough that she deserves top notch care!

Hopefully she will be ok for the next 24 hours because I have to work up in Orchard Park and won't be able to go out. She is on SMZs and I wrapped it up real good. Unlike most wounds I really cannot air it out yet because when I did the flap came up, and my main focus is to keep the flap down so that it can connect back together.

She also got kicked twice in the pasture. We just recently put the two groups together and now all the mares are in heat. Since Taters is the socially inept one, she tends to be the one who gets in the way of other horses hooves.  She is such a smart horse in so many ways...she better catch on to this fast because I can't deal with a summer full of injuries!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The grass is not always greener on the other side.

The big pasture is ready! But the real question is...is Taters ready?

Taters is turned out with two geldings: a 2 year old TB and a 25 year old QH (who is her mini-me). Everyday they glance over at the luscious green grass in the top pasture. One would think it would be every horses dream to run free and eat the succulent, glorious grass.

Not Taters (but really, did anyone think she would make something easy?)

For the three days that they have been up there (the groups rotate so they are up for 2 hours to get used to the grass) all she is doing is pacing. Pacing back and forth. Not eating. Not drinking. Not beating up on other horses. Just making a dirt path along the fence line from walking back and forth. Not comfortable being that far away from the barn when there are other horses closer (even though she is with her boys).

SO, it is true. She is a worry wart. She comes from a long line of worriers though. I, for example, am a huge worrier. I alway assume the worst, it is just in my nature. My grandmother, yup, a worrier too. I'll never forget when  I heard about how when my dad was born she gave away their bird. Why, you ask? Because she was afraid it was going to let itself out of its cage, fly over to my dad, poop on his hand, and then he was going to eat it. Yes, I am being serious. I laughed, but as we were laughing I was thinking about how I would probably do the same thing (I do need to point out that the only time I would choose a human baby over an animal would be in the case of birds or fish, because I just don't like them very much). I am sure the worrying goes back further than that, but I don't have the time or energy to go back and look for it. I am too busy worrying about other things.

So obviously, It only makes sense that my forever horse would be a worrier.

Anyway, today they joined the pony herds together into one big, happy family. So now Taters, Dan (2 yr old), Tori (25 year old) and two more mares Penny (8 yr old Standardbred/Perch cross) and Seneca (5 yr old QH) are all together. They had a lovely time. Taters still was not 100% care free, but it was much better. Tori decided that Taters is his (I think he is a little old for her, and she doesn't need a Sugar Daddy unless he wants to start paying for shit) so he spent the whole day creating a barrier around her that no one could cross. I personally love this idea because 1) Taters is very independent and doesn't necessarily want anyone close to her anyway and 2) Taters needs a bubble around her in order to avoid injury.

After her t/o we did a little bit of jumping. I set up three trot poles to a crossrail then two strides to an elevated pole. She did great and I really do see good things for her in the future...assuming that we can canter properly at some point.

OH and then I gave her a bath. She likes baths, but hates the washstall. Everytime I have taken her in there in the past she has broken her halter (it is a breakaway). So I decided she needed to go in there with a non break away halter to learn that she cant just snap her halter and be free (it literally was just a step back and pull head non-chalant break, not a freaked break).

Anyway, three rears and pulls later she realized that she could not break her halter and then stood still

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Le Spa de Tater Tot

Nothing makes me feel better than when people tell me that my horse looks great. I love every moment that I spend grooming every single hair so that it looks perfect and shiny, massaging and stretching her muscles, feeding her treats along the way. Linamenting if we do "hard work" (aka tight circles in my opinon-got to keep those legs comfortable!), keeping her mane short and her tail long and tangle free are all in a days work for me.

Our resident cowboy calls me a softie and that the barn turns into a horse spa when I'm around. People comment on how shiny my horse is and how long I spend grooming her. I love that. Grooming/pampering is my favorite activity involving Taters (and that is not just due to her intermittent ridiculousness).

I wish it was her favorite activity. Her favorite activity is rolling, then sleeping out in the sunshine with her friends. I am attempting to convince her that grooming is just as good, but she doesn't buy it. I try to tell her she would like currying more if she stopped rolling and getting dirt as deep in her hair as possible. I mean, obviously that is the reason why I have to scrub harder on some days. If she would just realize that she could have a nice gentle curry everyday. "BUT MOM," she would say, "rolling is my FIRST favorite activity." Oh the life of a thin-skinned TB mare. It is so hard.

Fortunately she puts up with me. That's what I love the most about her. She deals with my long groomings, and my never ending hugs and kisses. Somedays she eats them up, somedays she gives "the look" and I know she needs some more personal space. It's good that she does, cause God knows I put up with a lot of crap from her! :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Angelic Tots

Well, it was as if the Gods opened up the clouds an sent me an angel today. She was in a fabulous mood. I think it was the sun and the 60 degree weather. I set up 4 poles in a 20m circle in the middle of the ring. She was so good and it helped keep her from dropping her shoulder to the left like she loves to do. We also worked on some shoulder in because she LOVES to trot around with her head to the outside. We walked it first and she picked it up the second time around. We tried trotting down the long side and she was pretty good. Definitely the best that she ever has been. I was super proud of her.

We also worked on some canter transitions. I started to the right because that is the direction that she is better going in. Her transitions are horrible, which is completely understandable since we have only cantered under saddle a few times since she came off the track. I tried squeezing harder and making a more definite "ask" but that resulted in a more definite crazy trot to canter GO. I think I am going to try a halt, back up, canter approach like Melanie Smith Taylor suggested in an article that I can no longer find but for some reason remember.

Cantering right was going great until my saddle sore randomly appeared. It was my own fault, I was wearing my wool lined boots (yes in April, I am obsessed with them and would wear them in July if I wouldn't die) and I was stupidly not wearing knee socks. So we did about 4-5 canter transitions to the right, then I turn around, and as soon as she departs into the canter to the left my skin literally rips open. I held on for one circle, then one full lap around the ring and I had to pull up because the pain was HORRIBLE. I screamed out "G.D. Mr.Fr" (you understand the profanity). My friend that I was riding with laughed, but I could not. I undid my boot and my sore was so bad that it was actually bleeding. I decided I had to suck it up. I did 4-5 transitions to the right, I needed to do at least 3 to the right. So I did. and it hurt. a lot. When I stopped her the last time I could not even keep my leg on her side and it bumped her a few times..she didn't love it, but she stayed calm...probably because she could hear me screaming profanities on her back.

Then, since  I love to torture myself, I had her trot for a few more minutes in each direction. My goal is to let her know that just because we were cantering, it doesn't mean canter every time I put my leg on her post-cantering. She needs to learn the different leg cues to go along with her verbal cues (which might I add she picked up very quickly and is now fluent in horse english: trot!, caaant-ER, Ouuuuuut, aaaand walk, and of course whoa).

After we finished a perfect ride (minus my bleeding leg) we walked around in front of the barn a bit before I got off. Larry (our resident cowboy who I refer to as the BM in the thread) looked at my western saddle for me and then Jennifer decided to take Penny on a trail ride. It was their first trail ride together, so Larry was going to go along on foot to make sure nothing went wrong. I decided to go along on foot as well with Taters (my leg was screaming at me to not get back on again).

So anyway, we took the back way around the trails and the hill was freaking HUGE!!!!!! I thought I was going to die, I don't know how those horses do it! I am going to be so flipping sore tomorrow. On the plus side Taters was SO HAPPY walking through the trails in the sun. I really do think that even though she is spooky sometimes, that I have found myself a girl who loves the outdoors and loves to experience nature on the trails (Taters and I are very similar in that weather severely affects our mood for the day).

Taters on her trail walk

After we got back I took my time grooming her and just had a great time spending time ON THE CROSSTIES with my QUIET mare. ha. People always comment on how shiny she is and how good she looks. Her perfect weight is due to my BO being AMAZING and providing high quality hay and grain. As far as her perfectly clean coat? I always respond with, "She better be, I groom her for almost an hour 6 days a week!"

I know it sounds silly, but I take a lot of pride in her appearance. I like her to look perfect before I ride, and I like her to look perfect before I put her away. That means a lot of grooming. Hopefully she does not get a princess complex.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh Taters....

 I have a feeling most of my posts will have this title. The first thing that everyone who reads this blog needs to understand is that my mare is special. Very special. and by special I mean quirky. She is the love of my life, but she is also my pain in my ass.

Tater's positives include (always start with the positive):

*very loving/friendly
*gets along well with other horses
*beautiful (I know, I know, but it IS a positive)

Taters quirks:

*She can't handle being somewhere when she cannot see another horse.  She becomes very nervous and at which time she promptly puts her mouth as close to my ear as possible and starts whinnying very loudly.  (she needs to make sure I am aware of her distaste for being alone). I think this is in part due to the fact that during her racing career she spent an entire summer on the farm by herself. He trainer mentioned that all she did was run the fence and whinny all day long begging for someone to answer her. I wish I could just tell her that she will never, ever be alone on a farm ever again so she doesn't need to worry, but I think that when everyone is gone she gets flashbacks and thinks everyone is seriously gone and not coming back.

*She spooks a lot. These spooks are very specific though. She spooks at things that she can hear but cannot see. Snow sliding off the roof for example results in a complete and utter meltdown. She remains on edge when she has ear plugs in which I think is because she gets nervous that she cannot hear as well (she enjoys being "in the know" even though it scares the bejezus out of her.

attached to those are:

*She will remain calm as long as there is another horse around who is also remaining calm. If she is alone, there is no remaining calm. If there is another horse around that is not calm, she will not be calm, even if it is something that she is generally not afraid of.

*When she becomes nervous there is no consoling her. Her mind is gone for at least 10 minutes regardless of petting/sweet talking/etc. She will eventually come back though (another positive!)

See! The positives list is longer :) Also, I am not put off by her quirks at all. Fortunately she was able to find one of the most patient women in existence who will love her regardless, yet also insist that we make things better. I am convinced that what needs to happen is that she needs to learn to trust me and I need to be "good enough" to count as another horse. Obviously I will never replace another of her own species, but I am working very hard through ground work and piling on the love to earn her trust and therefore (hopefully) keep her calmer.

Anyway, usually my days at the barn are a roller coaster. Today, of course, was one of them. I started out by arriving at the barn to find out that the workers had decided to come in and fix the drainage ditch. That means, trucks, a bulldozer and unknown people walking around and causing a ruckus coming in and out of both the indoor and outdoor rings.

My friend had some out to ride her horse, and I know that in general Taters stays chill when she and Seneca are in the ring together, so I decided I would lunge her outside first (they were working at one end of the outdoor, but bring the trucks through the indoor. She was perfect. W/T/C both ways, peppy, but not too fast, not nervous, just lovely. 

So then I get on. Again, she was lovely. There were puddles, which she is not a fan of, so I trotted a little bit, then walked her through the puddles. 

After we made it through most of them and she was not caring about the big machine (which, due to her inquisitive nature and ability to see the sound she decided she wanted to follow around and stiff for a bit) I trotted a little bit more, working on bending on circles (at the non-machine end) while my friend did some crossrails that we had set up. 

After my friend was done jumping I decided that Taters was quiet enough to try a few. We trotted around to the first one and the bulldozer jumped out and tried to eat us when we went passed the door (well, thats what Taters thought) and she was not even looking at the jump when I got to it. refusal I took her back to it again and she refused again (first time for this!) so I swung her around and took her over the other crossrail (she walked, sniffed, jumped, then I stayed at the trot and came back around to the one that she refused and that time she went over it.

Now. One thing that needs to be made clear is that though I have been jumping for almost 20 years, TEACHING people how to jump for 10 years, and have shown at heights much higher than crossrails that are MAYBE 9-12" high in the middle, it does not change the fact that my horse, as wonderful as she is, tends to be unpredictable which has caused me some unneeded anxious feelings.

So, what then is my response to this wishy washy pony behavior? Why my abs into a ball and stare at the jump of course! I get so pissed at myself because I know what I am supposed to do, but my mind and body will not allow me to do it 75% of the time.

anyway, I did the jump a few times...knowing full well that if I had been on the ground teaching and watching my student do what I had done I would have been like "wtf are you DOING?!"

Oh well, there is another Taters positive- She didn't ask me wtf I was doing (most likely because she didn't know wtf she was doing), she just went with it and didn't get mad at me.

So see how WONDERFUL that was? I am totally climbin high! Then my friend asked if I wanted to go for a little trail ride. Now, I am using the term "trail ride" very loosely here. In this case trail ride is defined as walking the path behind the paddocks, past the pond, up to visit the boys in the far pasture, then back down to the barn again.

She was PERFECT, AMAZING and acted like a pro. Maybe that machine trying to eat her scared the rest of the spook out of her (among other things) because she was enthusiastic with out trying to be in control, perfectly happy with having Seneca lead and kept a pleasant demeanor the whole time. I think she may have even loved it. So now we are on the top of the roller coaster hill! Unfortunately what comes up must come...down :(

I put her on the crossties to groom her and my friend had her horse in her stall next to her. Now, like I said, as long as there is a horse around who is calm, Taters could not care less about anything. She was being a little perfect princess, until the two horses that were in went back outside.

It took her about....30 seconds to realize that she was now alone in an empty barn. Now, was she actually alone? NO I WAS RIGHT THERE! Hopefully we will eventually get to the point where that is enough. Now is not that time.

Within 45 seconds she was flipping out whinnying, then pulled back as hard as she could on the crossties, broke her halter and proceeded to give herself a tour of the farm. Now, keeping in mind that there was a huge bulldozer and a truck in the indoor, both of which making tons of noise in the barn made my "loose horse!!!!!!!!" screams completely drowned out. Which meant no immediate help. Now in hindsight I probably should have grabbed a leadline (since the halter was broken) but all the doors to the outside opened wide so that the trucks could keep coming in and out and I was more worried about making sure that she stayed in the indoor/outdoor/paddocks (which are all attached and were all open) rather than the big garage door which led to the street, which was also open and where she was initially headed.

So, not thinking (because I haven't been forced to think for almost 2 weeks with being on spring break and all) I just ran and blocked the door to the outside, then fortunately she ran into the bulldozer paddock (which apparently is no longer wanting to eat her because she ran right to it. I asked the guy to stop infront of the one opening, and I had already closed the other opening. I was also an idiot without a halter walking after my horse like I was going to mount up and ride her back to the barn bareback and bridleless. 

Anyway, my friend and the BM had their horses on the other side of the fence and my friend threw me her belt to wrap around Taters head (now I totally feel like an ass) and I led her back to the barn, embarrassed, but not yet defeated.

She was not done getting groomed and she was not going to win (did I fail to mention that along with my patience comes quite a bit of stubbornness?) I threw her in a stall in the still empty barn and went to get my rope halter. She was crazy at first (obviously, we both just had a very stressful 5 minutes) but I did some pressure point exercises and she calmed down after about 5 minutes. I then proceeded to do my grooming, the way I wanted to do it while she stood still in her rope halter. Every step she took, pressure. Not mean pressure, though there were a few times she tried to say she was going where she wanted and she needed me to be more firm. 

I kept her in the barn until I  was done with what I wanted to do because believe it or not Taters, it is not all about you and what you want to do. It's all about your wonderful mother who loves you more than life itself. hahahaha just kidding.

Anyway, as I was leaving the barn the BM asked me if I had anything exciting planned for the day I said, "My life is pretty boring when I leave the barn, but who needs extra excitement when you have a horse like Taters?" 

But mom, I just wanted to be out with my friends....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I finally get to see my horse tonight :)

Ok, so I have been up in Buffalo visiting my family for Easter. I have not seen my beautiful horse in 6 days!!!!!!! So ridiculous. I am not even busy either. I am just sitting in my parents house all alone waiting for them to come home at night. I have to wait around because I made some appointments since I am never up here. I did get to meet my friend's FLF last night though and it was fun! Very cute mare.

Anywho, I will be back home tonight and back out at the barn. I will be able to do more updates when I finally get to see her :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Meeting My Tots

Ok, time for post #2 aka the story of me and my Tots!

As soon as I sold Pete I told myself that I was not going to buy another horse until it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I liked all my other horses, but I always got them because someone else chose them for me. My next horse was going to be MY choice, no one else. I have always owned thoroughbreds and felt that they are the most beautiful breed. I love how delicate, yet powerful and regal they are. I love that they are quick, smart, brave and put their hearts into everything they do. I would take a thoroughbred over an imported warmblood any day of the week!

I also studied conformation extensively over the years that I was horseless. I knew that I wanted a horse right off the track, so conformational ability was going to have to play a large part in my decision. There would be no show record that would prove that horse would excel in the hunter world.

The most important thing that I was looking for other than an overall athletic appearance was a nice, big, strong set of hindquarters. I have always loved horses with big, powerful butts haha. I also wanted a horse that was even with a strong back and an uphill build, decent shoulder/pastern slope, clean legs and of course a pretty head and neck.

Also due to my build (5'7" and all torso) I knew I wanted something in the 16hh range to off-set my torso, and a narrow body to off-set my stub legs.

If that isn't enough (I told you I was going to be picky!) I was determined to find a horse with an in your pocket, loving personality that wanted to form a bond with his/her human. I love some sass in a horse, an inquisitive nature and wears their personality all over their face. After all, a lazy horse with no personality is no fun! (though amazing for a lesson program). So anyway...in your pocket, loving, bond forming, sass, loads of personality...I obviously needed a mare!

In addition, for whatever reason I had it in my head that I wanted a flashy chestnut (refer to first show horse, and last love of my life horse). I know, I know, I played with fire before when I decided that I "needed" a flea bitten grey. I told myself that I did not need a chestnut mare, and that conformation and personality were 100% more important, but we all know that when I searched the ads, I always opened up the chestnut mares first!

The horse that fulfills my list- aka Taters <3

I spent 3 years half-heartedly searching the internet after I sold Pete. It was one of those things where I wanted a horse of my own, but unless it was perfect I wasn't going to spend the money. Plus, I was still in school and teaching preschool, and then AIS,  so it would have been a stretch. I went to look at a few (no, not all chestnut mares...they were all mares though) and I even PPE'd two ($$$$$$!!!!!!) but in my heart I knew that they were not my horses so I didn't take the plunge. Then when I was leasing Scarlett I had gone from half-heartedly searching to quarter-heartedly searching because I loved her and was happy with my situation (and not having to pay for vet bills!)

Well, the fall of 2010 came and there was a post on my facebook wall of a link to the FLF proboards (who did it?! It was either Joanne, Sarah or Alyssa, that I know for certain!) Anyway, it was a link for a trainer listing for a GORGEOUS chestnut mare, Small Potatoes. I loved her instantly, but there were a lot of horses I loved instantly upon looking at their pictures, so I needed to know more. I called Jackie (her owner) and we ended up talking on the phone for a long time! She sent me a link to her video, and I was totally smitten. She told me that while she was the owner, she did not live in NY and her boyfriend was actually Small Potatoes trainer and the one who would show her to me. She gave me his phone number.

Meanwhile there was a FLF thread on the COTH forum with a girl who was talking about how she liked Small Potatoes and was going to go out to see her. I was very upset and nervous...I knew I wanted to go and look at the horse, but I am not the type to fight with someone or get into a bidding war. She had mentioned she was going out to see her that week, so I waited on calling her trainer. It is true, I tempted fate.

Then, it happened. My Scarlett was ripped away from me! Ok, that sounds a bit dramatic, but it WAS a dramatic time! I had recently broken up with my alcoholic stupid boyfriend, now my horse was gone. I felt like I had nothing...well nothing except that girl talking about how much she wanted MY horse all over the COTH forum. haha. A few days after she was gone I got a message on facebook- That girl isn't taking Small Potatoes, you should call! (thanks Joanne). I was super excited and called her trainer. He told me that he not only had Small Potatoes, but he also had a rather large bay mare named Secret Moment for sale. I knew I wanted the chestnut, but I figured, why not go out and see both? What if the chestnut wasn't all I made her out to be in my head? He told me that the bay mare was lame, but should be back in action in a few weeks. I told him to call me when they were both sound and I would come out to see them both. HE NEVER CALLED! (tisk, tisk Bill! haha)

As I mentioned before, I am not the assertive type. He didn't call. I was sad, but I wasn't going to stalk him and beg to come out and see his horses (especially in December!) I just kind of figured that it was God's way of saying that she wasn't my horse, it wasn't the right time, and I needed to forget about her...but I just couldn't do it (and neither could my friends...I think they knew she was perfect for me before I even knew...)

Well, almost a year goes by. I spent my summer riding Arthur (who I LOVE) and teaching summer camp. I am not going to say I was constantly thinking of that chestnut mare, but I would be lying if I said that I didn't wonder what happened to her every once in awhile.

What she was doing while I was teaching...

Then it happened. In July I got a message on COTH from Jackie. She told me that they had decided to keep Small Potatoes and race her for another year, but now they were seriously ready to sell her and was I interested. WAS I INTERESTED?! I almost peed myself when I read the message, but I had to remain calm and be a mature adult. There was no way that I could get a horse in July. I was way to busy with summer camp, and I had free access to an amazing horse everyday. I also barely had any income. I was working as a teacher assistant so that meant no summer teacher pay. I was living off of summer camp money!

 I emailed her back that I would get back to her at the end of the summer and if Small Potatoes was still available I would come out and look at her. That email seriously made my heart pound. When I hit send I was kicking myself, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. I spent the next month watching the youtube video of her over and over and spent a lot of time praying about it.

By the beginning of August I had a real-live teaching job interview! I kept in the back of my mind that getting a real teaching job would be my way of owning a horse again. I had a good feeling about it, so I emailed Jackie and said that I was ready to come out and look at the mare. My friend Lisa and I headed out to Bill's farm after I got called for my superintendents interview. Taters was beautiful....and full of burdocks...but how could you not LOVE this face?

She was quite feisty (which I personally enjoy- see horse requirements list). She was pretty distracted, but still very friendly. Now what I am about to say is very cheesy and lame. But it has to be said. When this horse cantered by me the sound of her hoofbeats made my heart leap for joy and I KNEW she was mine. Three days later I got the call that I had gotten the teaching job! It was fate! The stars aligned! The timing was right! My horse was finally mine!

My next blog will be about our progress so far!

Picking her up from the home farm! SHE'S MINE!

The first post!

After flooding my facebook page with many horse updates, I realized that not all of my friends are interested in seeing horsey updates. In fact, most of them are probably as annoyed with my horsey updates as I am with seeing their baby bump grow everyday. So, I decided to do the decent thing and move my horse updates to a blog.

Since this is my first post, and I am not starting from day 1 of my Taters ownership, I have a lot to talk about! I think that my first post is going to be about me...so that I can give everyone a little glimpse into who I am and what made me think that getting a thoroughbred right off the track would be a good idea. Then, my next post can be about how I came to meet my Tots, THEN I can start talking about our progress! Thank GOD I am on spring break and have plenty of time to sit at my computer!

Alright.... It's all about ME damnit (well, for the rest of the post at least...)

Well, as you can see on the sidebar my name is Kim and I am 29 years old. It is actually quite funny how I got into horseback riding. It was my grandmother's idea, not mine. I have always been an animal lover since the day I was born. I was always that kid begging my parents for every animal I saw, but my parents  were not the type to let me have all of them. I did not have that childhood desire to sit on a horse, but they were animals, so therefore I loved them. Anywho, when my grandmother suggested that I go to horseback riding summer camp when I was 10, I liked the idea because of the animal aspect, but I was also nervous so I agreed to go...under the condition that I could stop at anytime if I didn't like it. HA!!!!!

Obviously, my parents and grandparents had no idea what they were getting themselves into. The summer camp was a three week long day camp, which ended with a horse show on the final day. The horse that I rode not only most of those three weeks, but also spent the next four years riding and showing was a very cute chestnut thoroughbred mare named Vikki (Against All Odds).

Obviously this horse looks nothing like Taters (ha!) I have to find some more pictures of her and put them side to side. Over the years I also had a few other loves that need to be mentioned, and have their pictures posted, just for old times sake:

This is Bullet and I (note that I am rocking a Forrestel Farm Camp shirt)

Of course no horse blog about my past could be complete without this lovely fellow!
Doobie aka Fat Man

Last but not least, the most flatulent of the bunch, Betsey 
(yes I stole this pic from a fb friend)

I spend every free moment at the barn...cleaning, helping younger students, cleaning, feeding...cleaning oh! and scrubbing buckets. ha. After an unfortunate turn of events, I moved on and ended up spending the next few years before college floating around barns, not really finding my place. One thing I did know is that all I wanted was to be around horses ALL THE TIME. So I made the financially irresponsible decision to take out a ton of student loans...and go to horse school! (DUMB but an amazing 2 years!) That is where I met a cute little arab/qh cross who was to be my project horse. He was an ex-reiner, crotchity and old as dirt, and the closest I had ever been to having my own horse. Anyone from college could tell you- I LOVED LADDIE! How could you not?


When I was finishing up school my parents realized that horses were here to stay. I had discovered in my Theories of Instruction classes that I loved teaching. I also took every therapeutic riding class possible, as well as completed a therapeutic riding internship. My professor told me that I am meant to teach children, and I agreed. I decided to go to school for Special Education. When I graduated from Caz, my grandparents and parents got together and helped me purchase my first horse...a cheap, moody, 15 year old thoroughbred mare! My vet (who I trust 100%) told me not to buy her...but I did!
Meet Ally:

Ally and I got along, and I loved her to death, but she had some mental and physical issues that she could not get passed (which is why she was so cheap!). I did enjoy meeting children who had ridden her prior to my ownership and hearing the stories of how she broke their bones. She became a pasture pet after back problems (hers, not mine) kept me from riding her with any regularity. When I realized that Ally and I were not going to make it to the Olympics (darn!) , I started looking for a second horse. I decided that I needed a flea bitten grey gelding. Yes, it's true. I wanted a horse based on color (never a good idea). I was sitting around with my BO at the time and said how I had always wanted a flea bitten grey gelding...and who would have known! She knew of one...a 12 yr old recently gelded (aka 3 months before) OTTB who was just getting restarted after a life of racing and breeding. WHAT A GOOD IDEA! hahahaha...anyway, I bought Pepper...

Pepper didn't last too long. He was fine, I could w/t/c without getting run away with most of the time, and I even started him jumping. My barn only had PVC jumps, so as soon as I tried to jump verticles he would bust through them. Long story short- I took him to a trainer with real jumps. She didn't like him and I was indifferent. She talked me into selling him and buying...

Pete aka Petey-poo aka Crazy-Eyed Pete!

Pete and I lasted for a few years. He was a good boy. I moved him to an amazing barn with an amazing trainer. Things could have been great if I wasn't in school full time and working full time to afford my very expensive board and my very expensive amazing barn. We did get some stuff accomplished, but when I wanted to start showing 3', he couldn't. Fortunately my trainer found him an AMAZING home with the Nazereth College IHSA team, where he is still happy today :)

After I donated Pete to the college I took some time off from horses. I was doing my Masters degree and working 60 hours a week at a hotel. After about a year I started cleaning stalls for a friend in exchange for riding her horses. It was there that I met a new friend who had a connection to one of the summer camps that I had attended as a child (note the t-shirt I mentioned above!) I decided to lease a horse for the winter. He was a cute boy, I have no complaints, but it was the wrong time for me personally so I had to send him back early. I did however, start teaching lessons at the barn where I had kept Pete and was able to start taking lessons again!

Lopez - he looks super nice here!

Lesson on Happy! Hilarious!

After I was taking lessons regularly and had my life together, I decided it was time to lease a horse again. The day that I went and asked my trainer about leasing a horse, was the same day that Sandy called and asked Chrissie if she wanted to lease Scarlett. She did, and I did and I fell in love...with a chestnut mare (see the pattern yet)? 

As much as I loved this mare, I knew she was never going to be mine. She was 16 and had hock problems. Whenever we tried to jump anything over 2'9" she could make it over 2 or 3, then she would start knocking them down. She just couldn't do it anymore. She was for sale, and I was thinking about it, but her owner wanted way too much money and the cost of keeping her comfortable with injections was out of my price range. It was during my time that I was leasing Scarlett that I found my Tater Tots (but that is a story for my next blog...)

So the day before my 28th birthday (which happens to be the 1st of the month) I got a phone call from my boss. Scarlett's owner had decided she was taking her back. The next day. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. I decided I would never lease a horse again because I never wanted anyone to be able to pull a horse out from under me with no warning ever again. I started thinking about Small Potatoes and how bad I wanted her....but her owner had never gotten back to me.

I kept going to work (obviously) but I didn't ride for the rest of the winter. I just couldn't. The only time I sat on a horse was when one of the lesson horses was being sassy and I needed to school them a little for my students. When the sassy lesson pony Molly came back from a few months off I rode her a little, then I was lucky enough to spend my summer riding my trainers horse, Arthur. After my summer with Artie I was longing for my own horse again!

Sassy Molly Pony!

And that brings us to my Tater Tots! And her story is where I will pic up with my next post! Wow that was long..but I am pushing 30 after all...so there is a lot to cover!