Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Almost as long as I've owned Izzy, I've grappled with this question: is she too much horse for me? I am a chicken-shit-scared re-rider adult ammy. I am not well endowed financially and I do not have ridiculous aspirations of international level competition.

Izzy, on the other hand, is gorgeous, athletic, wicked smart, talented, and has a rather sick sense of humor. She's way more horse than I -need-, sure. On the other hand, she will always have a nice reserve of talent to draw on if I mess up.

I'm in no way saying that I think I'm holding her back--I fall squarely into the camp of people who think that horses do not have goals and she's perfectly happy to plunk around over 2' jumps and play in the pasture as long as I want her to. My issue comes more from incidents like Saturday or our massive crash in June or any number of other episodes we've been through together.

I -can- ride Izzy. It's just that she challenges me every single day. Because of her intelligence, there is no "trotting around" on her. She gets bored, and if you don't give her something to do, she will find something to do. (This is always and unequivocally bad). She is not the pony-ride type horse. She is not a husband horse. She is a proud and fiery mare, by turns brilliant and hormonal.

After our lesson Saturday, I once again seriously questioned what I was doing. I mean, I love riding her when she's good. Jumping through the angled grid? Definitely one of my proudest riding moments ever. Super fun. Losing it from a ridiculous explosion like that? It honestly makes me wonder if I'm one of "those women", the over-monied* and over-mounted scared adult ammies.

In a different situation, I'd probably have to seriously consider my options as far as selling, leasing, or rehoming was concerned. Let's be honest. There are times when Izzy scares me to death. On the other hand, we're actually working with a fabulous trainer now. I am confident that we're going to get through this and come out even better than before.

It just takes more. More discipline, more trust, more assertiveness, more energy, more time. More.

We're going to do it.

*Ok, well minus the over-monied part.

Monday, November 28, 2011

First Fall Post-Crash

Check out this action. This is the jump set up for my (and Devon's) lesson on Saturday. It looks pretty cool and a little confusing, and it totally is.

We started out by doing some position exercises--mostly two point at the walk. As the sun came up, we went to trot around the whole arena, and just as we passed the spot where I'm standing to take this picture, Izzy took off like a bat out of hell. I give you this section from Izzy's perspective:

"So I'm totally trotting around with mom bopping along on top of me. I have no idea what she's doing (nor.mal.) so I'm just looking around at these big pretty bushes. Clearly mom has no idea what's going on-she's just kicking me forward and keeping the reins loose. Doesn't she have any idea what -might- be in there???? OMFG GIANT ATTACK BUNNY RABBIT!!! RUN RUN RUN GET AWAY SAVE YOURSELF!!! SADDLE SLID!!!! ZOMFGZFZFZ THERE IS A DERANGED MONKEY HANGING OFF MY SIDE WHERE DID MOM GO MUST GET AWAY FROM MONKEY!!!!#%^#@%!!!"

At this point, I fell off. Izzy stopped a stride or two later and gave me a bit of a look. Her saddle was twisted off to the side. Thankfully my breastcollar kept it from going under her. Nothing like a loose-ish girth and a round horse, is there?

Anyways. There were drag marks in the arena from me. I landed on my butt and my neck and it hurt like crazy.

I got up, rearranged everything, and got back on. After all, I am having a lesson. I'm not going to lie. It was terrifying. It was all I could do to bite back the tears and grit my teeth. I MUST finish. I WILL finish. I hurt, but I will.not.quit. At least, not until the lesson is over.

After all, I still had this to do. (NOTE: video is of Stephanie on Foster. This is to demonstrate the exercise we were doing.)

Do you see the line? Not yellow to yellow. Low yellow to red to red. Three jumps. One stride between each. 45 degree angles. One straight line.

There is no time to make adjustments or use the reins. You have to come in perfectly straight and stay perfectly still.

Izzy and I totally rocked it. I may have been terrified to trot around the perimeter of the arena, but I could canter complex courses. So it goes.

Sunday was not my best day ever. I couldn't turn my neck and I was in constant pain. I opted not to ride, but I noticed that after I came off, Izzy was still super spooky every time we went through that corner. I had to grab mane each time just to keep from hitting her in the mouth.

So Sunday I booted her up and we went to lunge in the scary corner.

Damn, she looks good.

I made use of our groundwork training from this summer, really getting her to be responsive.

I kept her forward, made her stop and reverse directions on command, and let her work the kinks out. All without turning my head. Ouch.

No worries--I am/was the expected level of sore, so nothing is broken. It just hurt.

I have not been back on yet. I was all alone at the barn today and am in process of replacing my helmet, so I decided that plus the residual pain made it a bad idea. Still, I am playing through my head mental video of what happened and trying to change my reactions. I need to correct this 'cling like a deranged monkey' trait. It's really not helping anything.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Minding Her Ps and Qs

What a serene looking picture.

I was scheduled to have a jumping lesson today, so I was pretty bummed about needing to have Steph take Izzy out on a hack to establish a little sanity.

She started by warming Izzy up in the jump arena. As I expected, Izzy was completely free and forward and happy. Armed with spurs and a whip, they decided to go out and have a little hack. When they came back, I was still on the schedule to have a lesson. WOOHOO!!

Devon, my lesson buddy, warms up pony. In our Finding Nemo universe, he has been entitled "guppy".

Nothing like a lesson with a pony clubber on a pony to remind me that I am -almost- ready to ride with competent children.

Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to get out and see Izzy's hack, but it wasn't all butterflies and flowers. Izzy pulled her "backing and running sideways" stunt and Steph made her back up the hill. And keep going. Backwards.

Funny thing, Izzy figured out pretty quickly that it was a stupid idea to do that. She apparently behaved herself otherwise, but Steph said we would talk about it and she would give me some tools to ride through--particularly, she wants us to stay at the trot when going away so that I can maintain Izzy's momentum and she doesn't have a moment of suspension that she could use to "freeze".

I'm looking forward to doing more with it, because it is killing me not to be able to go canter Izzy up a mountain right now. Dumb mare.

Anyways, the lesson was a total blast, though Ms Mare was a little shocked about having to continue to work. Steph is having me work on getting comfortable actually riding forward to fences. It feels to me like I'm madly galloping around the arena and careening around the corners, but she assures me that I'm barely cantering. Sadly, she's right. I also am focusing on keeping my upper body and seat quiet so that I can ride forward from my leg and not interfere with her.

I apologize for the lack of jumping pictures. Hopefully, that will be remedied next week. Cross your fingers for the return of the amazing Ellie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Whimsical Adventure

Since it is Thanksgiving break for those who are still in school, Stephanie's weekend pony-clubber help is here all week. Her name is Devon and she's quite fun.

Today, we were supposed to take Izzy and Foster out on a hack in the hills.

You all know Izzy.

And the lovable Foster.

The hills behind Izzy in the picture is where we were supposed to go. We merrily tacked up and headed out. Neither of us took a whip--me because I've been riding without one and Devon because she'd only ridden Foster once before and no one told her she needed one.

We made it about a hundred feet up the hill before Izzy decided she was DONE leading. Foster tried to pass and led about 30 feet before her was also DONE. I could get Izzy up to his throatlatch, but them she would start running backwards and panicking. I don't know if you've ever ridden in mountains, but "running backwards and panicking" is a very, very bad way to do it. Devon being a tiny little thing and Izzy not cooperating, we decided to pow wow.

We couldn't go forward. Foster was completely immobile and Izzy was a nut bar. We had no leverage of any kind. We decided to ride back to the barn and get whips, then try again. As we start down the hill, Izzy trots. I try to pull her up and she's having none of it. She lunges forward a few strides, which culminates in running into Foster, who then kicks at her. It's like the four stooges. Or something.

Take two. With whips.

This time Foster was leading. All was going along merrily until he imagined that he saw something. He leaped and jumped sideways and ran a few strides. Izzy, never one to be outdone, started booking it down the hill back to the barn. I managed to slow our descent with a pulley rein, but Izzy would alternately run backwards and sideways and never take a step closer to the top of the hill and frequently weasel towards the barn. We made it around a bend in the trail (going towards the barn) and Foster started panicking that she was out of site. Izzy backed into a tree, lunged forward, slammed on the brakes, and started to rear when I asked her to go forward.

Hm... I decide that this is not my hill to die on, literally. I slipped off the side, grabbed the reins, and started marching the idiot pony up the hill. Foster followed meekly, clearly happy to not be in the lead. I huff and puff my way about a half mile up the hill and then stop to reassess. Foster seems fine: Izzy is bug eyed and prancing for god knows what reason. Remounting? Yeah, not going to happen. I am also NOT taking her back to the barn for this absurd behavior. I mean, it's not like she's never been on a trail ride before. ALSO, if she wants to act like a moron, she can do it going forward. Period. None of this 'run back to the barn' business.

Of course, I'm on foot, so this is not the most exciting decision I have ever made. I keep Izzy in the lead, since Foster is much happier as a follower, and we continue on up. Of course it's up... Who doesn't need a good workout on a cold, windy afternoon? As we march boldly forward (my legs are killing me), Foster catches sight of some OMG PEOPLE ARE WALKING I HAVE NEVER SEEN PEOPLE BEFORE IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!

I keep Izzy going along, thinking he will just mindlessly follow her, but no. He starts having a mini meltdown, but if you weight 1400 pounds, even a mini meltdown is enough. Devon hops off and joins me in the foot patrol. It would all be very tragic if we weren't laughing hysterically. We entitled it the 'finding nemo' trailride, which make Izzy the pufferfish, Foster as Dory, Me as Marlin, and Devon as Nemo, since her arm started hurting from Foster trying to drag her along.

Izzy continued jigging and acting the idiot throughout, but thanks to the immense abundance of groundwork I've done with her, she mostly stayed out of my space. I certainly didn't envy Devon in that department.

The score is as follows:
Izzy 1 for making me get off
Aimee 1 for making Izzy stay on the trail

Tomorrow, Stephanie is taking Izzy out hacking because I think a certain pony learned that if she put on enough of a show, she wouldn't have to work. I have zero interest in riding her through that show, but Stephanie can and is crazy enough to not even think it's that big of a deal.

Maybe I'll get video...

Monday, November 21, 2011

We're Doing It

As I mentioned, I had a grand jumping lesson on Thursday. I felt like I learned a lot and was able to do some difficult things with Izzy that exceeded my expectations for my perception of my ability. When I rode by myself on Sunday, I jumped Izzy through the exercises that were still set up from a previous lesson, and it went really, really well.

Really well. We were both relaxed and confident and in rhythm. Thanks to limited tack room space, my jump saddle lives at the barn and my dressage saddle lives at home, so I've done a lot of time in the jump tack lately, which in turn makes me more comfortable in it.

So. I've set a goal.

In order to keep up our tradition of attending one show per year, Izzy and I are going to attend the Northwind Winter Jumping Show on December 19th. We are going to jump in the 2'3" and 2'6" classes and I am not going to freak out. I am going to stay relaxed and loose and know my courses and have a good time.

Wish us luck!

Friday, November 18, 2011


The ever lovable Zymon waiting for the storm to come in with me. He has a dreamy face, if you ask me. The big blaze, the long forelock? Total ladies man.

Yes folks, we had snow. It didn't stick, but it's not going to clear up, either. I think winter has begun.

I'm hoping to sneak in a ride on Izzy tomorrow before volunteering at a show all afternoon. Pony mare is being fabulous.

Thursday, November 17, 2011



I had a lovely impromptu jumping lesson this morning. My apologies for the lack of pictures, but my photographer is in another state and had zero notice. Unfortunately, she doesn't just hang around the barn waiting for me to do immensely photogenic things.

Actually, that may be a good thing. If she did, not only would it be creepy, but also you'd have around 500 photos of me pulling manes, which is simply not that interesting to watch.

Just because it's not interesting doesn't mean it's not cute. Halfie pony ftw!!

So lesson. We started out cantering through two poles set about 22' apart. It was set to be good for one or two stride, but we had to choose which we were going to do in advance, and then DO IT. Stephanie pointed out that while we were making the distances, it was more because Izzy is good at figuring out what she's supposed to do than because I was actually riding and saying "one stride, two strides" to her.

I rode more assertively and she did great.

Then we jumped little crossrails with a specific pattern--trot in, canter out, circle. Again, it's stuff we can just 'get through', but the point was for me to ride and actually be in charge. I'd turn to trot in and if Izzy got chargy or tense, we'd circle out and do something else. I had to really focus on riding from my legs (DO THIS NOW) while just letting the rest of my hips and body stay soft and loose. That way, I would tell her the rhythm and direction, but if she took off long or short, I was poised to go with her.

Sounds easy. SO HARD.

Despite being a challenging lesson, it was rather ego-building in small ways. Stephanie pointed out that I'm a good, balanced rider (omg i did something right!!!!) but that I get tense when I'm nervous which throws Izzy off. I need to stay loose. Another exercise we completed by the skin our teeth. Stephanie thought it was luck, but I protested that while it was mostly luck, there was some tiny bit of skill involved. Her response: "The skill involved was that you've done such a nice job with this horse that she did it for you."

:-) Happy. I did something else right, too.

The lesson culminated in a super cool exercise as shown in the diagram. (Grey is ground, brown is arena fence).

We began with a trot circle to the right, then trotted over the red jump away from the fence and had to turn and immediately and jump the yellow from the canter, then continue on the right lead and finish with a nice, balanced circle.

For reference, there are about 5 strides between the two and they were each set as 2' verticals.

The first time through, Izzy and I totally nailed it.

The second time was not quite as pretty, but the last time, I turned to trot in and immediately felt my hips get tense. I relaxed them, and rode it beautifully! Winning!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jumping Again

Check this out. I did not even have pretend time to ride Izzy with yesterday, so here is the mare herself with Stephanie on board. I would have gotten some sweet action shots, but I only had my phone on me. It does neither action nor distance.

Anyways. Izzy was introduced to the magic of spurs. Steph asked her to go forwards, Izzy pretended she didn't notice, and BOOM!! Izzy leaped forward and said 'Yes Ma'am'.

I didn't get to watch the whole thing (the whole time problem...) but Steph assures me Izzy was pretty good and actually thought it was the best she had ever seen Izzy come out, attitude-wise. Yay!

And today. Unsurprisingly, Izzy was marvelous after her little tune up. She was nicely forward, walked, trotted, and cantered willingly, moved off my leg nicely, and just felt so balanced... I love it.

I also love the Del Grange saddle I was riding in, but that's another story which sadly doesn't involve me ending up with it.

The jumps were just set as little crossrails, so Izzy and I cantered around and jumped them. All by ourselves. I can think of a host of things we need to improve on (steering, braking, planning, actually doing related distances) but it went nicely. We were both balanced and comfortable and I didn't freak out when Izzy went more forward than I wanted. It may seen like little things, but for us, this is really, really good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Plans for Pony Mares

Last week, Izzy was supposed to get clipped and get a new set of front shoes.

So here's a picture of my unclipped barefoot horse. Sigh. Mareface said no to shoes during her appointment. (How? Every time the farrier picked her foot up, she'd rear or charge forward or both.)

Farrier is all "Oh noes! Poor thing is in pain!!" and I'm all "Poor thing will be in pain when I get through with her" and then no shoes were put on.

Of course, Izzy was all footsore and uncomfortable and unridable and I spent all weekend stewing about how angry I was about the whole thing. Well, that and some other horrible things.

The picture above represents Plan B. I decked Izzy out in her new cheapie dressage bridle. (Yes, Dover Suffolk bridle bought USED on ebay. How cheap am I...) You'll note it has a flash, which she's never worn before. I am an advocate of making her wear all kinds of crap to teach her it's ok, so I went ahead and put it on prior to our 40 minute lunge session to prep for farrier appointment round #2.

40 minutes later, here's the left side of Izzy's face.


She is getting more foamy lately, but I have -never- seen foam like this. Ever. For anyone or anything.

I'd be a total flash convert, except for this:

Hm, yeah. The right side of her face is only slightly foamy. Now, this is a much more normal amount of foam for her on both sides, but I am extremely curious as to why there is such a marked difference.

Yes, right is her stiffer side, but still? Tiny foam vs giant foam? Huh?

We are definitely going to have to do a ride with the flash and see how things feel. Just... not today. Or tomorrow.

PS My nefarious plan worked. Between turnout, lunging, and judicious application of the stud chain, Izzy was a total doll for the farrier this time.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Day for the History Books

Y'all are familiar with Izzy, my super-alpha-bitch mare. She doesn't always play nice with others.

She has grown up a lot in the last year, but I think today she proved just how different a horse she is now.

Since we only have one large pasture to turn out in, the horses go out in sets. Due to her reputation as a hussy, no one was excited about her going with geldings and the only other mare is a confirmed mega bitch who must go out alone.

Enter Tatiana, Steph's new upper-level prospect. She's an 11 year old Dutch warmblood who currently runs around prelim.

I like her.

Yesterday, she an Izzy were grazed together to see if they would get along. They did. Then they got turned out together and had a ball.

Today, it was my job to turn them out together. The logistics of the barn demand that you make all trips as efficient as possible--it's about a half mile (I think) from the barn to the pasture and takes about 10 minutes round trip to walk briskly.

Sooooo. I brought Izzy to the main barn, crosstied her, got Ms Tatiana out, unclipped Izzy...

and I lead them to the pasture.

That's right, folks. A half mile. Two mares. One handler. Not a pinned ear between them.

Off they go! When I left, they were cozied up next to each other at the bottom of the pasture, grazing with their muzzles almost touching.


Izzy made a friend.

It's 11/11/11 and Vetran's Day. Go hug someone. Izzy did already.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Rode My Own Horse

There is nothing like working with other people's horses to remind me of how much I love my mareface.


I've been so busy between having two jobs (yay!! down to two!!) and taking care of stuff that rides on Izzy have been short and rare. Thankfully, Rinsie took video of us on Sunday, so you get to see that today.

A couple of thoughts:
1) Yeah, a black horse at dusk. Not a recipe for good video quality. Sorry.
2) Since we're at an event barn now, the default get up seems to be jump tack instead of dressage, which is my comfort zone. It's good for me to branch out and just ride more, but it's a learning curve for sure.
3) No jumping yet... we're supposed to have a lesson sometime this week I think... but also it's the biggest home game of the year on Saturday for my football team and I have tickets, so we'll see what fits where and when.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Funny Story

The competitors are all back from Galway, but since they got back really, really late last night, I was on my own for the first part of the morning. Stephanie texted to let me know which horses needed to go out and who to lunge.

As I was bringing the lunge horse back to the barn, one of the girls who works there calls to me, "Hey, your turnout horse jumped out. I caught him..."

My response: "Seriously?"

So yeah. You all remember the loveable Zymon, the AWS mutt. Apparently, he can jump a 5' fence from a standstill without touching it just because he's bored of his turnout buddy and wants to go hang out with the horses in the breezeway.

Oh, and to him it's such a non-event that he just stood there and let the nice girl catch him with no fuss at all. Darling bastard.

It gets funnier. I text Stephanie: "So Zymon can jump 5'."
She responds: "I know, that's why you have to turn him out -with- somebody."
Me: "I did. Then he turned himself out alone."

Ha! Quite funny, since no one got hurt.

In other exciting news, I might get to go to Thermal. OMG!! I totally wanted to, but I assumed as 'general barn help', I would be relied upon to stay home and take care of things. Nope, they want a groom.

Excuse me while I happy dance.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Continuing Adventures

It is apparently winter here. We had our first snow, so of course I trooped out to the barn with a camera to take adorable pictures of Izzy in her halter.

Izzy explores the snow.

Since it was a rolicking 20f outside, I opted to bundle up in non-riding clothes and focus on the artistic qualities of a black horse on white snow. Or something.

Izzy was not convinced it was a good time to leave breakfast and get turned out. Too. Cold.

After meandering around the pasture, I took her in the indoor for the first time. She was completely crazy, as you can see in the video.

Ok, so maybe "queenly" is better than "crazy". She keeps walking around like she owns the place, eyes bright, ears pricked.

Pony mare being adorable. I have oodles more to talk about, but I guess I'll save it for a slow news day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Toys!!

Since I am a consummate tack whore, when I found out Izzy would be moving into a fancy barn with an actual trainer, I promptly bought her a crapload of stuff. Some of it you've already seen... I think... Anyways, more cool stuff showed up yesterday.

Check this hotness out. Perhaps not the most flattering shot of Izzy ever, but this is her spiffy new "grown up" halter from Danzig Brothers. It's thick, supple leather that's super nice quality and it came with her name on it. So nice.

You should notice the lovely English chin. Mmhmm, no more nasty crap adjustable chins for me! It fits her exactly how I like it and looks stunning, if I do say so myself.

As much as I love the halter, I also wanted to go for a ride before it started snowing. Fun fact about having her in the mountains: I can watch all the nasty storm clouds build up in the valley below before they start rolling in.

Izzy was most excellent. I keep expecting her to do something stupid, and she's just stellar. Two things about riding today:

1) I'd been putting off riding in the jump tack because I'm just way more comfortable and secure in my dressage saddle, and I wanted to be ready for when she tried something. Oddly, when I got on today, I felt just as connected and secure as I do in dressage. So. Weird. I mean, normal for good riders, but weird for me. I'd argue it's because we're working with a trainer now, but she's left for Galway before Izzy showed up.

2) We completely ignored all the fun lateral work I was doing in dressage and just went forward. To get Izzy relaxed and focused, we did canter figure eights with halts in the center to change the lead. Yes, I mean canter/halt/canter transitions. They're not perfect, but she was doing them with just a stride or two of trot, and then when I asked, she NAILED a simple change with one trot stride. I know it's not really eventer-kosher to have flying changes before you need them in dressage, but dammit I want them. We'll get there.

Pony mare wants changes too. DRAMA!

Ok, back to tack whoring: here's Izzy's getup today. Notice anything?

Like the absence of a horrid fleece girth?

Oh yeah, we did get a super pretty new fancy stitch leather girth. It may be a smartpak cheapie, but it looks way classy and I love it. Plus, it just cleans right up. No washing required (die fleece die!!).

Plus Izzy is still looking fab. This is pre-clip, too.

The whole get up for today. No warnings about dropping reins and walking away--we are in an enclosed arena with the gate shut. I mean, yeah, she could jump out, but she's never been that motivated before.

Anyways. My tack is spotlessly clean. My horse looks amazing. If I were I person other than me, I'd be completely jealous of me.

This is actually not new, but here Izzy's rocking her fancy cooler. Good thing I bought one last year so I didn't have to this year, right? (Of course I'm not considering getting another one. You must be thinking of someone else.)

And another shot of the wondermare wearing both halter and cooler.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Musing on Tack

I like pretty things. I like matching things.

As you can see, Izzy has very coordinated outfits. (You'd think this would spill over into my personal fashion department, but no).

All pretty havana brown leather for our jump tack. Black boots all around.

And dressage. All black, all matching. It's not that everything is the same brand, just that I make sure everything coordinates. I keep it clean and shiny and all is well.

Here's the rub: Stephanie cleans tack after every ride. Every time. As a result, her tack is soft and lovely and all, but it's completely the same color. You know, the lovely white contrast stitching I adore on my dressage and figure eight bridles? It would be gone.

Hm. I took the easy way out and just brought my lovely (and non-contrast-stitched) Nunn Finer bridle out to ride in.

Problem: when I ride in my dressage saddle, my bridle doesn't match. Havana and black? No thank you!!

I'm sure you're all relieved to know that I'm choosing a sensible solution instead of taking the obvious route and simply buying a havana dressage saddle. No, I am considering picking up a second dressage bridle. Der. You know, one without contrast stitching that I can use the crap out of and not worry about. I mean, tons of people have show tack and regular tack, right?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

First Ride

Obviously, this is not a riding picture. Ms Mare is learning to love her new turnout space.

It was quite cool this morning, so I decided I would lunge Izzy, and if she was good, go ahead and ride. I expected that she'd be spooky, nutty, and naughty, so I didn't even change out of my mud boots.

Izzy just acted like she owned the place. She didn't spook or panic or anything--she marched boldly around, surveying her kingdom, and was her usual self on the line.

We saddled up. I decided to modify our warm up (the loose, flying reins) because while Izy was being really good, she had a lot of tension and was pretty looky, which meant if I was going to need my reins, I'd need them -rightnow-. Instead we worked on staying soft and forward at the walk. I'd let her look, but she had to keep doing what I wanted, and if that meant shoulder-in away from the rail, so be it.

Oddly, I've had quite a surge of confidence lately. I have no particular reason for it, but when I ride, I don't feel precariously straddled over an unpredictable object--I feel plugged in and connected, in tune with Izzy's motion. It didn't bother me that she was looky. I just kept her forward. She was actually a little stiff, which is unusual for her, so we did a few suppling exercises like spiral in/spiral out and over bending in or out.

Trot was not quite as forward as I wanted, but marching and steady in the bridle. Then came canter. It wasn't her biggest, fastest canter ever, but my-oh-my she had suspension. Boom boom boom (pause) boom boom boom. Relaxed suspension? Is this even my horse? It felt amazing. We did transitions up and down, and then called it a day.

Say hello to the queen.

PS I did try to take a picture of her wearing a new saddle pad and looking completely adorable, but my camera went back to bed instead. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ushering in a New Era

This is my 501st post. It is 11/1/11.

And Izzy just settled in to her new home.

Honestly, I couldn't be happier.

To make up for my previous deficiencies as a blogger, I took a ton of totally interesting pictures.

For example, here is my living room this week. It is completely strewn with what my husband lovingly refers to as 'horse crap'. Fortunately for him, he doesn't know what 'horse crap' means in my universe.

Anyways, he's very glad that Izzy (and most of this stuff) has moved on. For some odd reason, he actually wants to sit on the couch. Pssh. Who has time for that?

Here's a shot of the old barn. It's so darn pretty this time of year, especially since the bugs have finally started dying.

I love all the colors, but I won't miss the parking lot being completely coated in ice... haha.

And the view. Just plain lovely as the sun comes up over the hay fields.

I have no idea how you people who live in big cities cope. If I can't see a full 180 degrees of sky, I start feeling claustrophobic.

It was about 30f this morning as I got started. I had to pick up Izzy's feed bins, western bridle, and cookie bucket.

And we were off.

Izzy checks out her new digs. Note that there is a hill behind her. Folks, those mountains you can see from the old barn? We now live in them.

Pony mare was completely cute about the whole thing. She was a little reluctant to go into the barn at first, but when she found the hay, she settled right down.

Over-the-butt view of Izzy's new barn--she gets to live in the first breezeway barn (aka where poor people like myself can sort of afford it). She has a 12'x12' covered area with a 12'x24' run. It's really quite nice.

While she munched breakfast (again) (did I mention she's about triple dosed on her ugard right now?), I did chores.

Does anyone remember when my little tack-whoring self freaked out about moving in with a trainer with high standards? And I ordered Ms Mare a fancy custom leather halter with a nameplate?

Yeah, that hasn't showed up yet, even though my order was a month ago. Sigh. In it's place, we have this:

It's not so much that I feel the need for a sharpie-ed name on her halter and it's less than I'm concerned about such a priceless halter wandering away. The simple fact is that with all the horses moving around at the new barn and Izzy being brand new, I want the feeding people to be able to check her name against their list if they need to.

So yeah, super classy.

After I finished doing work, Izzy and I went exploring. Fortunately, we didn't leave all the brilliance of fall behind us.

I love it.

The barn entrance. You're also looking at trail access into the mountains. Can't wait to get out there with Izzy and someone on an older, reliable horse. ;-)

Brave exploring pony with custom halter. She only had one tiny spook and other than that, just marched around surveying her territory. Sweet.

Also, I'm thinking more sharpie decorations on the craptastic nylon halter are in order. Not sure what, but might as well, right?

And hanging out in the huge ol' pasture she gets turned out in. Super cool indoor is behind her here.

Pony at rest. We'll have more adventures tomorrow.
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