Happiness is owning a chestnut mare.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Oh Summer, where did you go?

Taters is in heat and therefore acting unworthy of a post devoted to her today :)

Today is Friday, August 24th. My last real day of summer. Summer camp is over. Taters has 6 more days of boot camp, and then we go back to our "real life." I feel like this is my real life though. I am never happier than I am at the barn teaching and hugging ponies. That is when I am home, that is my real life. I do like my job, but common people! So many people say do not do horses as a job because then it wont be fun anymore. I have worked full time at barns at different points in my life and the time outside (well maybe not cleaning stalls in Feb, but still) is the best time of my life. Oh to win the lottery so that Taters and I can live happily ever after.

I need to stop feeling such sorrow. Anyway, here is a video from todays summer camp festivities. No, Taters isn't in it. Maybe next year she will be ready for egg and spoon...or maybe she and I will never be ready-she is way too bouncy, I would loose immediately. So instead of riding my Tots, I rode my other bff HB, aka the best pony ever born. Honeybear doesn't like everyone. She is downright sassy to some people. For whatever reason she and I are good friends (yes, I consider horses my friends). She lets me ride her even though in reality I most likely exceed her weight limit by about 50 lbs (they should only carry 10% of their weight right? or is it 20%? I feel like either way I still am not ok haha).

Anyway, enjoy...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


There are a few quotes in my life that I have seen and really felt like they meant something to me at a particular point in my life. Last week for example, I was quoting "The Burbs" as my mother and I snuck over to my neighbors front yard to try and figure out why they have been missing all summer.

On a more meaningful note I saw this quote on facebook, and I really liked it. I am posting it here so that I never forget. It is a quote by Eddie Sweat, who happened to be the groom for one of the most famous horses in racing history, Secretariat. It goes as follows:

"Only way that horses win is if you sit there and spend time with 'em. Show 'em that you're tryin' to help 'em. Love 'em. Talk to 'em. Get to know 'em. That's what you gotta do. You love 'em and they'll love you, too. People might call me crazy, but that's the way it is."

There were some additional parts to this quote, but I took the first section. I love this quote because it is the truth. I think back to my one and only "win" thus far and I think that it really came from spending time with Taters, loving her, getting to know everything about her, helping her understand her new job, and of course spending countless hours talking to her like she understands every word I say.

Anyone from my barn who is reading this (shout out to Erica, since I know she likes to stay on top of these things) knows that I talk to the horses. I talk to them a lot. In a serious voice, in a silly voice, in an angry voice...you name it, I probably use it. In all reality I am pretty sure I spend more time talking to animals than I do people.

I love talking to people too, but I love to talk to animals, especially Taters. She is a very expressive horse and shows a ton of emotions in her eyes and nostrils. It reminds me of when I watched "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" for the first time.I just laughed and cried because of the horse conversations. No, there weren't very many actual words spoken, but the horse expressions were priceless. In parts of the movie, the horses told a wonderful story without speaking a word.

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of this post was to point out that this man is really smart, and this quote hits close to home. The quote was finished when he added:

"I been on the racetrack 34 years, and I ain't never gonna give up. I think they'll take me to my grave with a pitchfork in my hand and a rub rag in my back pocket."

I can't help but think that is the way I will head to my grave, though I will probably also have a treat or two in there-I'm a sucker for that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Blue Ribbon Tots

Yesterday Taters had her first horse show. I had two goals going in 1) To not fall off and 2) To not injure small children. Fortunately I accomplished both of those goals, and so much more :)

Our day began with me getting to the barn at 7 instead of 6:30. I got on and schooled a little bit. She was pretty calm, we even went and cantered around the big ring twice right before the schooling ring closed but everyone had already exited. She was going pretty slow and I was feeling positive.

Then I brought her back into the barn to braid her. After half an hour I was ready to kill myself for deciding that braiding would be a good idea. Lets just say THANK GOD it was a local show, because those are the worst braids I have ever put into a mane in my life. I thought that I had pulled it enough, but that was not the case, the middle was still so thick it was nearly impossible to braid and I didn't have  the patience to do 50 braids (mainly because she didn't have the patience for me to do 50 braids). Additionally she must have rubbed it because there were shorter hairs all over the place.

Things were going good and she was pretty calm until the announcements started and people started clapping and cheering after rounds. At that point, seeing that she is Taters, she had to know what was going on. She got very upset, not in a bad way, but in her nosey/curious always needing to be in the center of everything kind of way. I took her out and we walked around the whole barn, we went over and walked through the trailers, walked around the indoor and ate some grass ring side. She loved being in the middle of everything.

We warmed up a little bit over the jumps in the indoor, but not a lot. As soon as I got on I could tell she knew something was up and she couldn't stand still for a minute. Fortunately my friend was the only entry in the Adult HUS class. They asked me if I would do the class with her and I thought that was a great way of getting Taters into the ring for some extra schooling before my division. I went into it saying that I was going to take my time with transitions, not push her and do what I need to do to make it great for her and just plan on getting second (which is hard for me because I am extremely competitive haha). It worked out very well. She was definitely still hyped up and flying around the ring, but I just took my time, did circles when needed and stayed away from the other horse and rode through it. I was very proud of her.

I was really happy that I was able to get that canter out of her system because I really did not get much cantering in when I was schooling. After we came out of the ring she was much more relaxed and calm other than refusing to stand still. We kept walking laps around the barn while we were waiting for our turn in the ring because she just could not stand. At first I was annoyed and started getting tense thinking she was going to be nuts, but I somehow was able to calm down and tell myself that it is what it is. It really worked because though we never did stop pacing, I was much more relaxed.

Then we had our division. I decided to enter her in the trot crossrails division. We are fortunate enough to have a local summer show series that allows green horses and green riders in the crossrail divisons. It was the perfect division because we are not at the point of cantering courses yet, but I really wanted her to have her first show experience involve jumping. The only problem is that our indoor is incredibly small, especially for a 16 hh OTTB mare. We had one stride between the jump and the end of the ring.

Anyway she was more amazing than she has ever been in her life. Seriously. She went into the ring relaxed and happy and only wiggled a little! I honestly think she loved it! I almost cried when I left the ring after my first course because I was so proud of her. We were showing against 4 other people, so it wasn't a huge division by any means, but we were able to walk away champions! My mom video taped  my flat class and I just couldn't believe how wonderful she was and how nicely she was moving. Even with her slightly giraffe like stance, she definitely was the closest thing to a hunter in the class. Also we didn't have to canter right, which surprised me. My only guess is it was because it was the trot crossrails class so cantering wasn't even required for our jumping classes. I couldn't believe how great she was cantering in the group of horses. It was her first time in the situation of the person in front of her starting to canter at the same time she did. Again I took my time, waited for the girl in front of me to canter, then I asked for mine. She did trot/rush into it a bit, but it was still better than I was expecting.

Ok, this was super long, so here is the video and a picture of our loot! So exciting!! I guarantee that my grandma and papa were looking down and rooting us on! I know we did them proud!