Wednesday, March 31, 2010


So, all the mares at the barn appear to be in raging heat, which leaves pee everywhere and the poor geldings just abused and confused.  A couple of the ponies on the other side of the barn have been covering everything in urine and attempting to climb out of their stalls, so I've been just waiting for the curse to strike Pia. 

I'll preface this post by saying that yesterday, S and I had a conversation as to "how bad" P will be when she's in heat.  We, of course, had this conversation while she was being a little angel in the ring and I was regretting the fact that I forgot to add mare magic to her smartpak..  No sooner had I declared her "clearly not in heat yet" than we were untacking in the barn and Pia got her panties in a bunch about another mare and then promtly PEED IN THE AISLE.  in the AISLE.  not in her stall, not on a fence, not anywhere that would remotely make any sense, but just stopped walking and full on peed EVERYWHRE. 

So that answers that question.  I guess she's in heat. I guess she's not bad about it, and I guess that explains her little absolute refusal to trot at the end of our ride. (video to follow).

Alright, our lesson:

I got to the barn pretty early, but S already had P tacked and walking, and I could tell from the moment I pulled down the driveway that her back was swinging and HUGE, even more so than it has been the past week. (I realize that at some point I just need to reset my expectation for "swinging and huge," but relative to where she was 2 weeks ago... I'm thrilled).  S had tried riding Pia on Monday with side reins loosely attached from the center point on the girth. when I say loose, I mean loose. no tension, no action on the bit, just a little extra weight guiding her nose out and down.  It seems to have been just what Pia has been asking for.  Her neck is long and low, and she's actually lengthening her entire frame, not jsut poking her nose out.  (love it!).

I hopped on, and we started with P on the buckle, getting her to accept increased leg contact (without rocketing off) and using my outside leg to guide her off the rail and over ground poles set on a circle just shy of 20 meters. The goal was to get P over the poles at their center point using just seat and leg, and control her walk enough to not need my rein contact. 

It worked. mostly. or mostly enough that I was impressed. Then we added a slight lengthening between every other pole (about 15 strides) to work on starting to distinguish between lateral-move-haunches-over-leg and opening-up-our-stride leg.  she opened nicely, more of a struggle to bring her back, but that's ok for now.

Then it was trot work, and baby baby leg yield type things. Just the idea of moving off the rail, and then back to it.  Pis had mixed feelings on this, and certainly prefers moving away from my left leg.  moving away from the right leg usually involves some little hunchy hops.  (neato). 

Finally, we put some trot poles down.  starting with two poles, at a distance.  P was great. plopped over them, trying to figure out where her feet were supposed to go, and how many feet she exactly has (I'm not sure she knows the answer is four).

We made the mistake of giving her a quick break before switching direction, and apparently, Pia had concluded that she was in fact DONE with the ride and was not in any way, shape or, form interested in trotting ever again.  (sound left in, because its FUNNY)

We worked up to real trot poles by the end, she loved them! and focused so well...

Isn't she cute? I love this mare so much. Her little attitude fits are part of the charm.  Plus, I LOVE how amazing she feels when she relaxes and really pushes for a stride or two. can't wait for more and more of that!

I'm actually in town for the rest of the week and meeting free, so I'm looking forward to getting lots of rides (and lessons) in while I can.

Make hay while the sun shines, right?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Wrap Up

So, I was away on a business retreat in Idaho for the weekend (doesn't it look like we were working hard??!? cause we were..).  Which meant that I left P home for some rides with the trainer.

Sounds like she was mostly "good," or at least consistent.  She put up her normal fights, especially with regard to getting her used to really consistent leg (she thinks it means go, go GO!). and also reducing the number of bunny hops  when we ask for canter.. 

She's such a sassy-brat. I love it. :)

I'm finally getting back to the barn this afternoon for a lesson and discussion of April goals.  I don't think we got too far on our March ones (wow 3 weeks went fast), but we'll review them tomorrow anyway.

In related news, my visa bill came yesterday (which I have been dreading), but in a surprising twist it wasn't that bad! I was expecting some serious pony-related damage, so it was encouraging to see that I'm not in the poor house..... yet.

But then I realized that my billing cycle ended approximately 2 days before I went hog wild on horse supplies.  WHOOPS. oh well. still better than I expected...

Part of April's goals will DEFINITELY include solidifying my horsey budget and possibly setting up a separate checking account for Pia to hold me to it. 

More tomorrow...

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Piasaur. That's what she is sometimes.  Giant, tall long necked goon who bounces around with absolutely no sense of how huge she is, or where her big monster feet are stomping. 

What a dork.  A cute dork, but a colossal, prehistoric dork. :)

Yesterday was GORGEOUS.  Like, 75-degrees-with-a-slight-breeze-gorgeous.  It was slightly cooler out at the barn, but still, it was amazing to be riding in a tank top and in the sunshine.  Of course, today the rainy doom has returned and its back to wearing 8 layers to prevent frostbite, but what can you do...

Anyway.  Yesterday, P's feet felt a little warm, which was odd since it had been 4 days since her trim, but she wasn't ouchy, or moving weird, so I made a note and figured I would just see if riding made it better or worse.

P got a nice free lunge in the morning (she hasn't learned that there's no LINE involved in that yet and she just circles you..) so she was nice and calm for our lesson.  I must say, whether its her new toes, or using S's tack, I'm not sure but her stride is about 8" longer and she's so fluid it feels like a different horse.  She's still testing the crap out of me, and since my current strategy is a super light contact and lots of leg she tries to squirt around quite a bit.  I'm not too worried, she has moments of reaching into the contact and lengthening her frame, but for the most part she's still holding herself upright and staying a little more tense than I would like long-term.

OK, so here's our vids from yesterday, first at the trot, and I'm doing ok.  My leg is still a little loose, and she's so sensitive I really have to remind myself to keep it on her and work her through it, rather than back off and hold my leg off of her.  but we're making strides (haHA). oh god. I need coffee...

(Oh, also, I'm in a fight with Quicktime and my movie clip formatting, so I'm still stuck with the "free" audio tracks from youtube.  I can't preview them, so I just pick a ridiculous ong title, and go with it.  It's sorta like playing russian roulette.  but without the dying...)


Aaaaaaand our canter work.  We did lots today, and currently the (main) issue is that Pia hates my leg and kicks when you move her into the canter.  It's easy to sit down and push, but I'm trying to stay light on her back (hard when two point hasn't been in my vocab for oohhhh 6 years). So its a comprimise.  Also, my lower leg is swinging EVERYWHERE.  better work on that too...

Just a warning, there were better clips of our canter work, but this is the MOST embarrassing 3 minute section so I'm making myself post it so that in 2 months it looks like we've gotten even farther.  :)


Today is another lesson, hopefully more of the same and maybe even a little less hops/bucking. 


ps- today P's feet are nice and cool... maybe she had just been baking them in the sunshine??

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back to Basics

So P is acting like a new horse with her toes all done up. :) which is great.  I'm glad the mystery tight back had an obvious solution.. always makes you feel better.

What doesn't make me feel better is all the g-d d-mn meetings I've had this week that are keeping me from going to the barn after work. (frowny face).  Fortunately, she's been getting lots of rides from S, and seems to be doing great.  Our current "goal" (ignore previously stated goals), is to get P to lengthen her frame and stretch down into the bit before we start to put her together.  She doesn't like contact, and prefers to hold herself upright, which is nice, but she needs some topline, and practice at long-and-low (and opening up her stride), before we start asking her to sit up and really carry herself.

Soo, that being said, I did justify a lunchtime barn run to watch S ride, and I snagged a few vids.  So here's Pia, working on light (pinky) contact, with lots of leg. She tends to object to outside leg.. so that's what causes the little kicks and such.. what a prankster.. I finally have a free night tomorrow (YAY), and get to actually ride her myself (I'm getting a little jealous).

For the record, I felt like a ridiculous owner showing up to watch my horse "get worked" by someone else and then stand around in my work clothes (ok fine, jaeggings and boots..) petting her nose while someone else untacked her.  I certainly won't be making a habit of that.. how do people own horses like that??? It was all I could do not to curry her up and get barn all over me...

(also for the record, to avoid annoying one sided comments from me and the video camera, I've "audio swapped" the videos. I have no idea what music YouTube replaced the sound with, but I'm sure it's lovely.. )

At the Trot:

At the Canter:

look at her back!! it's so much happier! I should have grabbed a video of her cooling out. Her back was so loose and swinging.. great to see.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Back!

Just a sentence to say that Pia got a nice ride today and was a brand new girl.  big swinging back, and no antics (despite the few days of light lunging and no rides..).  YAY! sounds like her new toes are helping!  Here's to hoping it sticks.  Can't wait to get out there myself!

(happy happy)

Pretty Feet

YAY. feet done.  check!

So, as the world of farriers has it, P didn't actually get her toes done until Saturday.  which was supposed to be first thing at 10am, but of course at 11:30 when I had to leave the barn, there was still no farrier so I left her with the trainer and a blank check.

Farrier finally showed up, and first admired how pretty P was before declaring that her feet resembled "clown shoes" or "flippers."  The first farrier who looked at her was (as I described) not exactly subtle or tactful about his opinion on her feet, and seemed to think I was purposely crippling her.  Farrier #2 (trusted long timer) was significantly nicer about it, said nothing was tragic, but was fairly certain that her feet were behind her tight back.

(apparently I'm supposed to try jogging in my dad's size 13 shoes to "get a sense" of what her flippers were doing).  Now, I hate jogging under any circumstance, and certainly don't need to make it more uncomfortable for myself,  but I appreciated the analogy, and it actually gave me a fairly good sense of how it was causing P to hold her back even as a walk.  So, Farrier #2 has a plan for her feet, that will over the next couple of trims, hopefully reduce the resemblance to flippers...

Sunday, I popped back to the barn to scope out the new feet in person and make sure P was being well adored and getting enough time out in the sunshine. Her feet were a little warm (to be expected), so I popped a tiny bit of bute in her, turned her out, let her play, gave her a nice big grooming, some carrots and let her have a happy Sunday. 

Today I'm stuck in board meetings, but the trainer is putting her back under saddle and I am eagerly awaiting a full report.  So sad to be stuck INSIDE on a day like this, but oh well... the weather will only get nicer and more frequent.. right?

Polished toes!

Friday, March 19, 2010


So, yesterday my plan was to hit the barn, poke at P's back and see where things stand after a little bute and day off.... It ended up being a day of small ups and small downs.

small up! - Pia didn't react to me pinching her back

small down - my hip bruise has SOMEHOW blistered. sick.

small up! - P got super groomed and sprayed with all sorts of delicious smelling things.

small down - the farrier blew us off, so no toe trimming

small up! - I threw P on the lunge to see how much she was still holding her back, and she much better

small down - still uber stiff to the right.. but that's mostly normal for her (I think?)

small up! - I got new lotion/conditioner stuff for the skin under her cute lucky knees. I slathered it on for the first time and not only is is not greasy or sticky, but it sorta makes her smell like a coconut. cuter.

With Pia fluffed and buffed, and happily wacking away at the (totally decimated) Lik-it, I called it a day and put her away.  Crossing fingers that our favorite farrier makes it OUT THERE TODAY. for toe trimming so that I can at least cross that off the list of possible causes for our crazy sore back/freakout on Wednesday..

P says that she smells like a tropical fruit

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bad Back?


Well, I should have paid slightly more attention to P's short stride on Tuesday, because yesterday she was LOCKED UP.  tight tight tight. I could see it on the ground, but we were planning a short ride just to have Sabrina show me what she had specifically gone over with Pia on Monday.

P was tight, and we got on without lunging (whoops), which I think didn't help the situation... only kept her tight (though she wasn't hot).  Sabrina took her around a few times, explaing her small adjustments and while P was starting to relax I could just see how much tension was in her back...

She popped around a few times (small hops, small prances) with one larger outburst/kick/buck thing, but nothing disastrous, or that different from what I've been considering a usual test/objection to a new rider and new aids...

I popped on thinking NOTHING of it, and had walked around the ring approximately twice before P went UP, UP, UP and then bucked, bucked, bucked. Now, I pride myself on having a pretty solid seat, and staying fluid, and being pretty handy and spinning a horse enough to get their feet back on the ground, but Pia managed a NUMBER on me.  Here's what happend (I think)
1) We were up against the fence so I couldn't spin her the direction that she was already going.. and there was no way I was going to change her direction and risk a flip
2) While I know I used to be excellent at emergency dismounts off both sides back in pony club, I'm not sure I could pop off to the right anymore if my life depended on it... and I was up against the fence on my left.
3) I lost my stirrup (DAMNIT). I'm fine without a stirrup on the rears (aint no thing), but when she started cowboy bronc-ing it with her back rounded out, I sorta wanted my stirrup back, and I just totally failed.
4) She finally gave me a little room on the fence side so I (don't know what I was thinking), grabbed the fence and thought I would just pull myself off and salavage my dismount


5) it's flexi-safe fencing... so my attempt to "hold myself up on it" meant that it bent and stretched and really just helped dump me back on the ground.  And of course this all happened about 4 ft from the covered portion on the ring where there's some fantastic muddy sand going on.

Of course at this point Pia decided to romp around the ring and harass the cute hunter who was hacking around quietly in her lesson with her 12 year old. .. (thanks P). Now I have a loose mare (with reins swinging) nosing up another mare's butt and a rider who isn't thinking to turn her horse around so we don't have angry hooves aimed at heads/chests...

It all turned out fine, aside from being somewhat embarrassing, but in retrospect I think it's totally my fault.  1) she tried to tell me she was tight. 2) I didn't let her stretch out on the lunge and 3) those two things should be more than enough to cause me to think..

Then to top it all off, the farrier called to say his dad passed away and he won't be trimming toes.  Obviously bigger fish to fry in that sentence than Pia's feet, but still. DANGIT. I was really hoping to get her feet up to snuff and her back loose so that I can figure out if there's something else contributing to this...

My plan today is to head out to the barn, palpate her back a little, see if there's any stiffness left and either lunge her and let her loosen up, or if she's really happy, hop back on and see how she feels.  I'd rather give her a few days off to get her feeling good, then keep pushing on a tight back, so we'll see.

Oh mares...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bad Boots..

Humph.  Totally sad to have discovered that P's pretty purple glittery bell boots are rubbing her. :(  A muddy sand ring isn't helping any, since the sand instantly sticks and turns them into sandpaper, but still...

So, she's off her bells but otherwise great.  Farrier came out to take a look at her feet yesterday and will be trimming her toes tomorrow.  she's definitely ready for a trim.  Her feet look solid, but the clinches are starting to poke up and her toes are a wee bit long.  Farrier gave me this look like I was CRIPPLING her by not having her trimmed already... but I think it was just the typical righteous-weird-farrier look.

We'll see what magic does or doesn't happen after her trim tomorrow...

Yesterday we hacked about 30 min.  She was great, though her stride was a little choppy (maybe because her bells were sanding her skin off..).  Good forward movement, better with her neck and some nice canter work.

Today at lunch I popped by Olson's to return an extra bridle, and bought a new thinline saddle fitter pad (my dressage saddle could use some shimming), some fun extras and some new stable bandages.  She hasn't needed wraps at all... but my old ones are gross, and when you want them, you WANT them.. so I might as well have some good ones on hand.

Anyway, off to the barn for another ride. The sun is shining, and I am happy. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday- Funday!

So since my calves are remembering the pain of riding with my leg actually ON, I took advantage of the sunshine to go walking downtown with The Boy, while Sabrina took P for the day... Apparently it was a great ride. Aside from a slight argument about who's haunches go where and when.  but they look like they got along... right?

Monday, March 15, 2010

First Weekend of Work

Well, it's Monday, and if I had to say how Pia is doing, its "great."  She's eating, drinking, snuggling, and all those things that generally point to a happy horse... so I'm happy.  Friday I went out to the barn to do some ground work and if she was happy and willing, to ride for a bit.  Everyone at the barn is still oohing and aaahing over her, which is fun for me, and cute for her.  Lots of pats and attention so I can't help but think that she's getting comfortable at Eremon.  She did manage to DEVOUR her Likit in the first night, and while I have refills, I can't help but think if I replaced the 2 mini likits and 1 big likit as fast as she hoovers them down, that I would a) be poor, and b) be dealing with a horse on a constant sugar high...

SO, Miss P has to wait at least another week before she gets to nose around with a new Likit.  No real reason behind the "ration time," but a week sounds reasonable to me.

Anyway, Pia was little-miss-manners on the ground, so I tacked up, and got ready for our first ride at Eremon- and our first real evaluation of where she's at, where I'm at, and what we should be focusing on first.  Of course, before we even got started I went to adjust her bridle and literally tore it in two.  like, in half. not really sure what happened... one of the cheekpieces just decided to be in two pieces instead of one.  Thankfully Pia didn't seem to mind that her bit just dropped out of her mouth and smacked her in the face. she just stood there, scoping out all the scary jumps and poles in the ring.

We found a quick replacement, threw it on her, and decided that even though her noseband was about 2" too large, that we'd just go with it.  This proved to really not be a big deal since P doesn't really care about opening her mouth or crossing her jaw when she's working... but she did look sort of stupid.

We worked for about 40min, mostly at the walk, with a little trotwork thrown in at the end.  One thing I noticed is that she seems to warm up a little "off" on the lunge, which made me pause and make sure she wasn't actually lame, but I think it's because she was just so stiff.. once her back started moving, she looked perfectly even to me, but I didn't want to push it, just in case there was a little soreness someplace. (from the trailer, or ridiculous stall kicking, or turnout.. who knows).

Once I was on, Pia was a gem. We walked around ears forward and snorting at everything in the ring, generally being affable to the idea of "working."  However, once we took up contact and asked for some push, she made it very clear, that while she'd gladly listen, her favorite form of evasion is currently sucking her face down into her chest and curling so far behind the bit that she doesn't have to use her back or butt at all.  Not the biggest issue in the world, but it is something that needs to get fixed before we move on to anything else.  SO, we spent the entire ride pushing her forward and lifting her up.  Lots of driving with the seat and attempting to follow with contact to as to encourage her down-and-out, instead of just up-and-back.  I think it's a baby thing, and that she's so big and muscled, that she can support herself that way, but I don't want her to get in the habit of running around with a swan neck curled all tight.

She's a smart girl, so she got the new concept pretty quickly, but wasn't able to really use her back, or maintain the vertical for much more than a stride or two at once.  I was thrilled that she was even adjsuting to what I was asking for, so we took the small steps as massive improvement and called it day.

(I have video of our trot work, but youtube is being a pain and won't complete the upload.  so I'll get it in here soon since it shows her "moments" of accepting the bit and pushing forward along with my silly looking saddle-seat hands that do actually seem to help lift her up, and our totally inconsistent rhythm since I'm trying to simultaneous push her forward and lift her up and I don't think she totally understood what the question was... long story short... video will go here soon)

I suggest muting it... I haven't figured out how to get rid of the sound yet, but I'm pretty sure its not great :)

Saturday was a repeat performance and P already showed some serious improvement.  She even had to work with a couple lessons going on in the ring, but did a pretty good job of maintaining focus. There were a few baby moments with small bucks and little hops, but for the most part, she relaxed and pushed herself forward.  By the end of our session we were working on moving out and opening her stride, then balancing up through the corners.  (!).

Since we snapped our bridle on Friday, Dad was excited to join me on a trip to the tack store to contribute a replacement.  We poured through the (reasonably priced) options and came out with the new Thinline snaffle bridle, which so far I LOVE.  The squishy padding on the noseband and over the poll seem great for the horse, and the squishy/sticky reins seem great for me (the girl who ALWAYS needs to shorten them).  Plus its a great looking piece of tack, and it looks lovely on P's pretty face.

Sunday, we did more groundwork, showed off to more friends, and had a quick 30min hack to loosen up and keep with the lift-lift-lift, theme of the week. I think we rounded out the weekend with a good sense of where we strand and what our initial goals are going to be.


1) Get Pia's face at least vertical, if not slightly in front of it.
2) Soften to the right, increase flexibility.
3) Establish regular rhythm at the trot.

Things we already have working in our favor:
1) she's FORWARD! no nudging here
2) big loose walk
3) super soft mouth (total lack of tension in her neck and poll)
4) lateral movement (she already moves away from my leg when I ask)

I'm giving ourselves the rest of the month to really get a sense of each other, and come up with specific measures for continuing goals into April.  So far though, I'm really pleased with how quickly P is responding and picking up on new concepts.  

Today, P is in Sabrina's hands for a ride, lesson Tuesday, ride wed, lesson Thursday, Sabrina gets her again on Friday, light hack sat, and a day off Sunday! WHEW.  What a week.  Can't wait to see what it brings! (or to get my stupid videos up.... grr)

Friday, March 12, 2010

She's Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!

Ta-Da! It's Pia Mare!
So last night Pia and her mom made the trek up from Orting to Issaquah for the big move.  Everything went great.  I was super excited to see that Pia is totally content to stand like a lady in the trailer, and even happier that she backs up out like a super star.  Even when you hear that a horse "hauls great." It's always a relief to see it happen.  It's been so long since I've had a horse that was a breeze in the trailer that its just more icing on the already very pretty, super great cake. :)

We didn't actually do much yesterday.  I got to the barn and unloaded my tubs of crap.  Apparently the barn owner's dad does most of the handiwork, and he is quickly climbing my list of favorite people.  I maybe had my stuff in the tack room for 10 minutes before he had installed new saddles racks, bridle hooks and drying racks for my area.  and it didn't take any longer than that for him to notice Pia's new LIKIT on the ground before he had cut a piece of lumber to size and installed her toy for her.  What a perfect barn dad.  Projects NEVER get completed that fast on my watch...

Anyway, Pia settled in like a champ (at first).  Aside from trying to convince me that she was petrified of the puddle in front of a gate, she was totally happy to just look around and smell the new smells.  Her main excitement came from a lesson in the ring which apparently was very intriguing and it took her a while to decide that the cantering school horses were just going in circles and not signaling the start of some great stampede..

As it turns out, Pia has way more blankies than anyone I know, so it took a while to sort through all her closet, but I'm super excited that she is SET on clothing for a while.  I hate experimenting with blankets and figuring out what fits each horse and whatnot.. so its just one more fantastic bonus that her mom (Danielle), was nice enough to bring Pia up with her complete wardrobe. 

So that was most of the night.  Until Pia decided that she was NOT interested in standing in her new stall quietly.  When we first put her away she was totally content to munch on hay, drink water and attack the Likit.

(Usually I think that when people put toys in their horse's stall it's to make them feel better about locking their beloved animal up all day and that the horse doesn't actually care about it at all.  But Pia is definitely the exception.  She appears to be totally thrilled by the likit, except for when it escapes from her and she gets mad at it... )

Anyway, after Danielle left, Pia waited a few minutes (nicely), then started total freak out mode.  Kicking stall walls, hopping around in little mini rears and pacing like a mother.  She worked herself into a nice sweat before I threw a halter on, gave her a treat and walked her a bit.  Apparently, much like myself, food and attention is all it takes to inspire relaxation.  However as soon as I left her back in her stall she was back to her freakout.

After about 45 minutes of her display, I switched her blankets (since her liner was nice and sweaty), tossed her a few more flakes of hay, and shut off the lights.  I didn't hear her scrambling around when I left, so hopefully she took "lights out" to mean that not much else was going to happen last night.

Sabrina is out there this morning to make sure she's quieting down, and give her a little walk around the property.  I'll head back out later to keep working with her and make sure that her stress level is going down, which I'm sure it is.

Here are a few more photos of Pia, Danielle, and myself from last night!

New Digs! (and a scary, horse-eating drain...)

Pia and Danielle

So, off we go! Time to set some goals, and move forward.  I'm giving myself until next Wednesday to get a good feel for where we are at, and then we'll work with Sabrina and see if we can come up with some objectives to hit by the end of the summer, and the end of the month.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2 days and counting!

I feel like I should have something important to say, but things are pretty much on hold until Thursday when Princess Pia arrives! whee!  Today, the box of goodies arrives and I get to at least paw through that for a while, so that should help calm the anticipation. :)

I've been in total "new-mom-mode," constantly looking at the same three pictures of her on my phone and thinking about goals for the first few months, possible routine changes, examining her feed, etc.  All (of course) without actually having Pia in hand so I really don't have a clue what I'm starting with or how long it'll take for her to settle in to our new barn...

My current plan of action is to let her roam and trot around a bit on Thursday (after unloading), then just groom, put her up in her stall, let her sniff around, and maybe do some groundwork in order to establish our relationship and focus early, as in immediately.  She has such great ground manners with her old mom, that I want to minimize the loss of respect/obedience with a new person.  The good thing is I know that she's capable of being super attentive and aware... so it's not a matter of her capability, but rather not letting her test me too much.

Friday, I'm hoping that she gets some decent turnout so that she's not stir crazy, but I'm planning on another groundwork session, followed by lunging, and if she's calm and happy, a short ride. If she's still in crazy-land, I'll save the under saddle work for Saturday.  Then its the WEEKEND, and I get to play all day with her all I want and make her pretty.

Can't wait, can't wait can't wait.
Here's a pic of her daddy (HS Wistar), just cause I want a pic in the post.... and he's pretty.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kid in a Candy Store

Okay.  So I mentally allowed myself $1,000 to spend for upfront 'costs' in getting Pia set up with any necessary gear to get started.  Of course, this begs the question of what "necessary" really is.. but that is a MUCH longer post.

Lucky for me Pia's mom was exceptionally nice and is basically giving me any equipment she has that won't fit her other horses.  Even luckier  for me is the fact that her "other horses" are all little Arabs, and not likely to share much in the way of anything with a 16.2 hulking Warmblood.

So, I'm anticipating a whole slew of blankies (turnouts, rain sheet, stable blankets, sweat sheet, fly sheet and liners) along with a totally functional dressage bridle, some splint boots and whatever else comes a calling.

Basically this took at LEAST $1,000 off my "must buy" list leaving room for the sort of necessities, that, well aren't really necessary, but they sure are nice.

Case in point:  I need  bell boots, but I got purple glitter bell boots.  Why? Because every girl needs a little bit of sparkle.  Plus, they are ridiculous, and let's be honest, Pia and I aren't doing much of anything serious for a WHILE.

What else made the cut? some breeches for me (my current favorite pair is going on 10 years old and well... that's sort of pushing the limits of any apparel that relies on spandex fibers.

Other fun things include some lovely open fronts to match our rear Eskadrons for if we ever do anything spunky, a bigger girth, since Pia is, well, round.  some new saddles pads, new grooming box, fancy new halter and a fun new toy, since I just can't bear the thought of being locked in a box with nothing to do.  So, per her old mom's suggestion I threw in the Likit "Boredom Breaker." I mean why not. there are electrolytes in there! plus it tastes like apple, or banana or something that I'm sure she won't recognize, but its something to nose at, and she is possibly the nosiest mare I've ever met..

Oooh, I also needed a new bit, and while I am obsessed with the double jointed heavy, KK loose ring snaffle for babies, I'm going out on a limb and trynig the new Stubben "golden wings" version.  In theory the "wings" protect from any lip pinching, and it still has the heft of the KK.  It's copper, so it's not show legal, but like I said, I think we've got a while before that's an issue and I'm sure I'll be able to get a new bit by then..

So I think that's mostly it for now.  I'll hit the tack shop next week for some barn supplies and liniment and such, but hopefully I should be able to take care of Miss P when she arrives assuming my big box of goodies doesn't get stuck in a snow storm someplace.... annnd I still have plenty of "set-up" cash left in the coffers...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Official!!!

Love it! Here's the updated ad, all off the market and mine, mine, mine!!! *grin*

God, I feel like such an adult.  My dad hasn't even seen her! I've never bought a horse without his blessing (or checkbook, ha!)

New Mare, New Adventure!

So it happened. And as it turns out, it didn't take very long at all. It's only been about a month since everything fell apart with Belle, and I didn't get to have her "as my own." 

I guess the farther I got away from Belle, the more certain I was that I really had my mind set on having my own horse again, and that maybe it wasn't a bad thing to not get the horse who's ability to injure herself is only outdone by her inability to focus on anything else..

So I upped my searching... and after plenty of ads, conversations and narrowing the field to a few choice candidates.. I spent a fantastic weekend with The Boy driving all over Washington and Oregon.  Finally I found her.  My new partner, Pia. 

She's everything I wanted.  Young, smart, green, pretty, and maybe most importantly, well-tailed.  I've been on so many horses in the last couple years, I forgot what it was like to get on and just click with one.  But I definitely clicked with this lady.  I'm not gonna claim that we clicked Black Beauty style - Pia definitely moves better under her old owner (who is a-ma-zing), so its not like she was some untammed beast who quieted just for me, but still we clicked.  We clicked in the "oh-gosh-you-are-so-fun-and-light-that-every-step-is-a-dream" sort of way.

Which is damn good enough for me. 

I have some video of my first ride on her, which I hope to get up here soon, but for now, here's a still:

STUNNER!  I'm obsessed.  Aside from her being absolutely gorgeous, she fits me! I don't look like a giant! Which is always a plus. 

So here we go again.  I feel like a total novice, and even though I had about a garage full of random horse stuff 10 years ago, I seem to have parred it down to only my old favorites.. which means that I get to go play in tack stores and collect all the random fun stuff that makes owning a horse worse than going to Nordstroms on Double Points Day.

Thank god I have a trusted friend to hold my hand, point me in the right direction and constantly yell at me to straighten my shoulders and shorten my reins.

I can't wait to get started...
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