Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My First Love

October marked the 6th year that I have owned Roxy. What a journey these past 6 years with her have been. I have had so much fun learning from, and teaching Roxy. We have both grown so much, changed, developed, maturity, and become great at our sport. It makes me terribly sad that at just 10 years old Roxy is no longer perfectly sound.

Barely into her prime years, and she's going to live with a stifle injury for the rest of her life. Thankfully it's not bothering her. We went on a trail ride, and I really pushed her, I felt terrible. We did a lot of hand galloping, and some steep inclines. But the next day she had zero swelling, tenderness, and was not lame. Today I lunged her, and she was so funny! While Dolly was obidient and well mannered, Roxy was prancing around. Her tail was held high and as floated around me. I have no clue what type of fancy trot it was, but I know that I enjoyed watching her do it. She bucked, and played with Dolly, and despite the fact that she was misbehaving I loved it.

I remember the day that I got Roxy. After my mother's year long quest to find me a horse, we finally settled on Roxy. A gorgeous dun mare, with loads of personality, and tons of potential. She also needed more work and training then we understood. I spent the first 6 months of horse ownership galloping entire trail rides with older women on experienced well broke horses. My filly was hardly 4 and 1/2 and I rode her in a full cheek snaffle bit. I ruined her. She didn't stop, she hardly steered, she had no clue how an arena horse should behave, and she had absolutely no ground manners. We needed help, so we reached out to my current trainer. Her barn was about a half hour walk away from where Roxy currently lived, so I trail rode over. My mother drove beside me the whole way, as the trail was the side of a road.

Soon after our first lesson, my mother and I moved Roxy to my current barn. This is when My mother fell in love with Dolly, but this is not Dolly's story- it's Roxy's. Roxy was obese, crazy, and had one speed GO FAST. So naturally I thought "Hey let's do gymkhana! Why not make the hot crazy horse that doesn't stop even crazier?" Well Roxy was really good at gymkhana. And my trainer wanted us to calm her down, so we also did flat classes. Roxy makes a divine English horse, but lacks in the western pleasure aspect. Despite my own disappointment in my mare, we always placed really well.

 Since stopping showing, I have spent the last few years loving my horses, collecting more, and always trying to remember that Roxy altered the path of my life. I am especially thankful for this little green mare, had I bought a finished gelding who knows how bored I would have been. Roxy has been feisty, sassy, and a challenge. Although some days I wanted a perfect, quiet horse, Roxy has always been what I needed. Now that I've learned from my challenging Roxy, I can really appreciate horse with a personality like Nova.

The first time we took Roxy anywhere was to our old ranch's Halloween show. We have not a single photo of me riding her, as I spent most of my time on my seasoned lesson horse Peaches Deck. 

Our First show was at the ranch down the road. 

My first blue ribbon! Awarded to me at the show my trainer put on for all her students. 

Roxy dreaded training for western pleasure, as this photo clearly depicts.
I spent a lot of time lounging around on his mare. 

My little girl looking quite dapper. 

She runs fast patterns.

Can't beat Roxy (or most appys really) when it comes to speed.

Roxy makes such a great trail mount. Point her in a direction and she goes over or under anything in her way. 

She makes for such an awesome mount in terms of working other horses. She ponies anyone, she acts around others with confidence that rubs off on them. It's just awesome to have a mare like this when I work so often with problem horses and babies. 

Our most recent adventure. Heading on a trail that I would rate at a 7/10 Roxy is an awesome mare! 

So I'd like to thank Roxy for all the times we've almost slammed into the rail trying to stop, the times we made my mother cringe thinking we were going to hurt ourselves, the blue ribbons, laughs, cuddles, snuggles, and all the sweet horsey things she does to let me know that she doesn't choose to kill me today. I will have Roxy until the day that she dies, hopefully in her old age she'll calm down enough to be the horse that my future children learn off of. I would love for them to hold the memories of her that I do. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Visit with Gideon

Sorry it took me a while to get this post up! I went up to see Gideon last Monday! He is doing so well, he has gained about another 100 pounds I would say. He is doing so well, and they love him so much. We arrived, and rode for a while. He lives with two Peruvian Pasos an older mare, and a gelding. They have mare motel stalls, attached to a large pasture. My mom, 7 year old nephew, and I went out to see my little boy.

He looks so good, and he rides really well! I also rode his new owner's Paso mare- so smooth! She had a crazy little lope.

Gideon is doing well, I am so thrilled for his great life! I rode him around their property, they have a big field where they grow oat hay, and a western village. The husband (Gideon's true owner) does western reenactments. They are actually taking Gideon to try out for a movie in January, so I hope that they do well. Gideon jumps in and out of the trailer for them, crosses water, and just goes everywhere they ask with grace. They told me that he loves water, he crosses it and plays in it while riding.

This is the story of a perfect rescue and re home situation. Gideon is doing so well, this is the perfect life for him, trail riding, and living with other horses. Here are some pictures of me riding him.

And to imagine, this is where he started out. This graceful and gentle natured animal, that wasn't even respected enough to be fed. I am overjoyed for the opportunities, and life that I have given to him. I saved his life, he will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Little Fella

I have been receiving updates and photos about Gideon since selling him, which I absolutely love! And today, I am going out to see my little fella. I am so excited to see him all filled out, and beautiful. He's been trail riding regularly, going on 16 mile trail rides through the mountains, crossing rivers, big meadows, and he's loving it. I'll be sure to take lots of photos and tell you all about it! I am thrilled to see Gideon again!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Boot Camp

So Nova started boot camp on Saturday. She's on her 23rd ride, and boot camp started on her 20th. Each session includes a different pattern/ obstacle. Each session is completed by a photograph after the work out, before being hosed down. This is so that we can judge the sweat on my little filly, and see how tough the work out was. Of course some workouts are more mentally challenging than physically challenging, thus less sweat will appear. Here are the photos, and sessions thus far.

Taken Saturday 11/3/2012
This work out was a lot of trotting and loping, and a little hand galloping under saddle for the first time.
We also started working on the barrel pattern, just walking it. She is very obviously exhausted. Also that dirt spot on her hip never goes away. I hose it off of her every day, and it almost always reappears the next day. Even worse, she doesn't have any water spots in her stall, she does have a pee spot from the horse next door... Yes, that's not just dirt, it's a pee pee stain.

Taken Sunday 11/4/2012
What a tough ride for us both. There were lots of people in the arena, which is so challenging for her. Nova just wants to check everyone out and not listen. We also started trotting the barrels! She did great. My super smart little filly.
Taken 11/6/2012
This was the first scary ride I've had on her. I rode her with running reins, trying to get her to collect a little, as she paddles out when she trots sometimes. So frightening. She would get super sketchy, balking, throwing her head up, and acting like she would rear. It was terrifying. What's confusing to me, is that I lunged her a ton with her head tied down, and she was fine. Suddenly she's started this "I'm going to rear" thing. I am not loving it. It happens when she throws her head up, and feels the pressure on the reins, she freaks out, and tries to out muscle the bit by throwing her head up. I don't think she's doing it to be bad, but I think it's a fearful response. I got a quick work out done, and then bailed, the majority of this session was lunging.

Taken today, 11/7/2012

Today the focus of out work out was ground poles. Lots and lots of ground poles. I think I lined up about 7, at trotting distance. We walked them a lot first, and then we tried trotting over she was a mess the first couple of times. She finally smoothed out though. I could really feel her lifting herself, and I loved it. She was working her body, and I could feel it. That's the type of riding that I love.

Also on the list of more sessions:

~Trotting and loping circles
~Introduction to side passing
~Roll Backs
~Backing up (gotta build up that booty!)

Once her toosh is nice and strong she'll be learning slide stops. They should come pretty naturally to her as she has a great stop already.

Today an adult friend at the ranch asked how old she was. When I told her 3 she almost didn't believe me! She thought that Nova was 5 or 6 because of how mellow and well mannered she is. I am so in love with my filly!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Most Emotional Dismount

I fell off of Nova on Friday. I'm fine today, my elbow hurts, my hip is super bore (but not bruised), and my knee is bruised, but it might have been that way before the fall. It was such an odd thing. The way down I was thinking "I'm falling off. No, no, no, I don't want to scare Nova. It's bad for babies to be fallen off of. I'm wearing white. My joints already hurt, need I really do any more damage to my body?" Thump. And off I went. Yes, all of those thoughts went through my mind, and it didn't even feel like they were rushing. I was just calmly thinking about how I might scare the poop out of my little girl and give her some issues.

Here's what happened. I wasn't planning on riding Nova, just lunging her. I lunged her with her head down, and a few times she actually balked, threw her head up, acted like she was going to rear, and I was worried that she was going to flip over. I have seen a horse flip over. It is scary. The horse was totally fine, but I was scared that they were going to have broken every bone in their body.
So I figured "Ehh I haven't really lunged her with her head down in a while, maybe I'll just loosen it up". So I did, and she was fine. I just decided hey, lets try bareback. She has never offered me one single rear, buck, running out, nothing under saddle. Her stop is better than 90% of other horses too. So I got on, and was walking her around a bit, doing some circles, easy peasy stuff. I asked her for a trot and she was nice and smooth. Her back is still so round that she's super comfy bareback. I was going to ask her for a circle, and then be done. So I did, and for whatever ever reason she freaked out, and skirted out from under me. I went one way she went another.

By the time I was on the ground, Nova had stopped to check me; which I love. To me it means that she doesn't hate me, which I sometimes question with her. Right away my elbow hurt really bad, and my hip too. While assessing myself I asked her "Did you break my arm?" I wiggled my fingers, and knew that it didn't really hurt that badly.

Like any good cowgirl, I knew that I had to get back on, for me and Nova. I was really worried that she would be terrified now. But I didn't want to get back on. I was dirty, I hurt, and it was just so extremely emotional. I don't even know why it was so emotional. It's not an issue of pride, I think falling off once in a while is humbling and we all need a little reminder once in a while that we aren't bullet proof. But I almost burst into tears after. I pulled it together, by lunging her a tad more. I had her doing a close circle to me, and roll backs. We've been working on roll backs while lunging, and she's getting better.

Then a friend came over to chit chat, and I knew that if I didn't get back on her now, we might both harbor some ill feelings towards each other. So I popped back on, and I was so relieved that she didn't tremble, run off, or act traumatized in any way. We walked a couple of circles, trotted about 5 steps, and then I happily got off, loved her down with some pets, and put her away.

In other news Blossom is getting her feet done today! Woohoo, her work starts tomorrow, with some lunging, saddling, and asking for responsiveness at the bit. Obviously I want to take some time with her training, but the vet says that she is 4, so the sooner she finishes training, the sooner she gets put into lesson to make some money.