Moving Forward By Looking Back

Well, Gimpy is…gimpy again. He lost his shady looking left front shoe last week and since every farrier just assumes horse people don’t work full time day jobs, a rant for another day, Dusty ended up pulling his right front for me Saturday. He was doing fine with only one missing front shoe, but immediately became gimpy again with the loss of the other. As of today he is moving normally on soft surfaces and still pretty touchy on harder ones. I’m torn as to what to do about this, but again…another post.

For today, since I find myself out of the saddle yet again with the Big E (new name has been decided too!! I want to roll it around a day or so before it becomes real), I want to focus on a topic that has been running through my head an awful lot since bringing him home: our future and how to not completely screw it up.

It is amazing how the simplest things can make a huge impact. Getting the horses in used to be annoying as we hung all the halters on the fence post off to the right making it a task to unravel them all. I picked this halter rack up at a tack store and have loved it ever since. 

My experiences aren’t as vast and wide as a lot of other bloggers. I didn’t grow up in lessons, as a barn rat, or have a training program. I didn’t ride through college or go through the ranks of Pony Club. I was a self taught trail adventurer in my young days turned endurance rider in early adulthood and am now an event hopeful in my middle years. Gem and I came a long, long way from our dirty beginnings together and I am super proud of where we ended up, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make a metric ton of mistakes along the way. And its those mistakes I wish to not repeat all over again.

Every 3 months I service people inside their homes that can’t get out or care. This month I found three little and very sick kittens along the way resulting in a pit stop to the Hubby’s work to drop them off. I may bring this little calico home once she is medically cleared. 

Hellomylivia (What I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know) and May As Well Event (I Have Regrets) published posts a while back that stuck with me and now that I a starting a new journey looking through a new set of ears, I’ve been finding myself thinking along those same lines.

Here is my pledge to the Big E:

  • I will not let others dictate our path.  This is our journey and as such it will look a lot different from everyone else’s and that is okay. We will take our time, move up when we are ready and listen to those I trust while keeping in mind that progress is not linear. In the past I have let bad trainers push us beyond where we were at the moment or conversely let others talk me out of doing things I knew we could do. I’m sure glad I didn’t listen to all those who told me I couldn’t do a 100 mile ride after only doing two 50 mile rides. They were wrong and I knew it in my gut. Each person’s story is different and I plan to live my own.
  • I got a hair cut. I love my hair cut. It is so much cooler in this summer heat plus when it is down it looks no different so it remains professional at work. Next step will be to dye it fun colors. 
  • I will advocate for you at all times.  Why is this so hard to do? Bad farrier care has already wreaked havoc on the start of this relationship. You would think that having them at home would make all this super easy, but it isn’t. I will stick by what is right for you, listen to my gut and make choices that I feel comfortable with regarding basic care, advanced needs and our training. No gong with the flow because that is what others say is right. If it feels wrong, it is wrong.
  • I will be consistent with what I am asking of you. The biggest mistake I made with Gem was not being consistent with her. I’d allow her to ignore my requests one day and then expect prompt reactions the next. I’d let her break to canter and go with it on one ride and then insist she remains trotting until I ask the next one. It wasn’t fair to her and it didn’t get us anywhere as a partnership. Things started going better for us when I settled down and became very consistent that when I say halt I mean it. Now. Not in 5 steps. Like raising my kiddo, firm boundaries makes life easier. With Eeyore I have been working very hard at laying down the rules every ride and sticking to them. Hopefully it allows us to move forward in a better place.
Weekend evenings spent watching Wyatt fish at the pond
  • I will leave emotions in the barn. It can be really hard to not let the day build up and effect saddle time. I learned with Gem that if I wasn’t in a good mood I needed to stay far, far away. Eeyore is a lot more forgiving by nature but his stubborn side can get under my skin pretty easily. Losing my temper or getting frustrated never works and I am working very hard at letting things go in the moment.
  • I will have fun. No brainer, right? Yet it is so easy to put more importance on riding than it deserves. Let me explain that. I’m not a competitive person. I throw away any ribbons I win. I don’t have a full show season planned out. Heck, I’m still the Queen of the 18″ division. For me riding isn’t about anything but stress relief, exercise, fun and a place for personal growth. It doesn’t matter in my life if I ever jump 3′, learn the passage or move up the levels. When I sit down and take a long hard cold look at horses and my life, at the moment the only way they work is as once piece of the jigsaw that is my life. A tiny piece that fits in among the others but must remain in balance. A moment cut out of my day that isn’t about anyone else: no patient problems to fix, no dinner to be cooking and no kiddo to raise. In that 45 minutes all that exists is my horse and myself. There are times I get bogged down mentally on the fact that I am only doing 18″ fences. That my xc schooling is over logs on the ground. That I still struggle with getting the horse to bend properly. But then I realize that right now none of that matters. Eeyore is my escape and each time I swing my leg over him it needs to be, above all else, fun. And that is all on me. It is on me to shrug off the circle that he counterbends on and fix it and try again. It is on me to laugh off his rooting and boot his lazy butt forward. This doesn’t mean I don’t strive for more, that I don’t hold both of us accountable to perform at our best and grow. It means that I stop being so damn Type A about it all and let go and HAVE SOME FUN even in the bad moments.
  • I will allow for variety. Habits are good. They are also boring and can lead to both of us getting sour. It is easy to tack up and work on flat work in the arena at home and it is necessary to build the foundation. It can also feel a lot like I am drilling him as we circle for the thousandth time. I will get out the jumps from time to time. I will get out of the arena all together. I will hit the trail. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
I got most of this pasture mowed before the tractor overheated in the 100F temperatures. Honestly I should have paid someone to bale it for me. There are three unusued pastures right now that could easily be turned into hay if I can find someone to do it. 
  • I will not ask things of you that you can not perform. Fitness will be key with Eeyore. I got away with a lot with Gem based on her natural athleticism, but he won’t be able to come off a month long break and hit the ground running and jumping. In addition to fitness there is also the mental exercise and building on that solid foundation to reach new tasks. I will take it slow, be patient and make sure I set you up for success while letting you find your way.

I know I will make mistakes. I have goals and dreams of where I would like to see us by the end of this year, next spring and onward, but overall I want to plain old fashion do right by him and have fun. I think that if I can stick to my pledge those simple goals can be met.


What’s In A Name?


Eeyore is a cute name for a horse and at first I thought it described his laid back attitude, but the more I get to know him the more I dislike it. He isn’t gloomy, pokey or down.  In fact he is the exact opposite. He loves life, plays in the water tub and follows me happily around as I do outside chores getting in the way and demanding attention.

This is Wedgie. Trainer found her on the side of the highway two weeks ago. When she went to grab her, the kitty jumped into a crack in the cement barrier and was stuck. She called me in a panic, I passed it to Dusty and 30 minutes later Wedgie was retrieved unharmed from the barrier and in a cage at Dusty’s work while he worked her up for diseases. She fond her new home this week with one of Trainer’s boarders. 

Sure he isn’t a spooky or crazy horse but the Big E has a lovely forward walk and trot when he wants to and a zest for living it up. Well, until he decides he is done and then his stubborn side comes out. And believe me he can be stubborn. Yet even when he is being stubborn he still comes around eventually and is generally pretty amenable to most things. With a heaping dose of side eye.

Wyatt’s fishing obsession continues. He caught his own dinner Monday night. 

He needs a new a name.

And yet I’m having difficulty finding one that suits him. Liz offered up Tigger and it’s a good idea but I actually really dislike Pooh and can’t see going the next 15 years tied to that. Plus I believe in the power of names and I don’t need him to become a lunatic. He is only 7 which is still plenty young with some maturity yet to happen.

In keeping with the cartoon theme I was hooked on Olaf for a while. I mean it suits him plenty well. He is friendly, loves hugs, is quite literal about things and while he isn’t stupid he also isn’t the sharpest in my pasture either.

PC Pinterest somewhere. I’m bad at this. 

But I don’t know. I’m not really feeling the cartoon character vibe.

What I really want is to go with a South American theme as a salute to the South America shaped blaze on his face. It’s the first thing people mention when they see him. I can’t find anything along those lines though. I can find a list of Spanish names but he isn’t a Miguel. I already know two Rios so that isn’t going to work tho I like the name. He needs something just a little silly and full of life.

If you hadn’t seen it before, now you won’t be able not to. 

I’ve been doing some research and love the tradition of the alebrije, the brightly colored and fantastical spirit animals of Mexican folklore. I was first turned out to this tradition when I saw the movie Coco, one of my favorite cartoon movies of recent years, and became obsessed with the Day of the Dead tradition. In the moive, the main character’s alebrije is a rather Big E like dog named Dante. This would probably suit the Big E well except there is already a well known blogger with a Dante.

Dante. PC the internet

Of course, Mexico isn’t in South America either so there is that. It is a rabbit hole folks and I am lost down in it.

After hours of scouring the internet and wracking my brain I am at a loss. This is the reason Gem and Pete kept their original names. Other pets have included: Hero the corgi, Bones the mutt, Smokey the grey cat, Echo the calico cat, Waggy Tails the berner, Einstein the boykin and Gizmo/Wyatt the guinea pig. I’m fresh out. But the Big E needs a better name and he needs it soon or he will end up being the Big E for forever.

So bloggers…any suggestions?? I’m really coming up short here. Any ideas are welcome! If I wasn’t putting all my money into the Volunteer Challenge I’d offer up a prize, but I can’t so just know any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!


The Three Rides Eeyore Gives

Eeyore (still working on new name) has three very distinct phases to his rides at home. I’m working hard at trying to figure out the best way to handle each and hoping with time they merge into one flowing ride, but for now our rides have very distinct chapters to them.

The warm up: At the beginning of the ride Eeyore is his touristy self. He looks around, pays minimal attention to me and screams for his friends. He is pretty amenable and generally offers up a fantastic forward walk that is fun to ride. Of course it comes with some downsides mostly his inattention and he tends to offer to canter a lot when walking or trotting.

Honestly this phase doesn’t bother me and is becoming shorter and shorter with every ride. He isn’t being bad. His head just isn’t in it yet and I can understand that. I mean it’s not like he decided it was time to exercise at that moment. I’m slowly learning how to get his focus on me and generally start off with a nice marching walk around the arena both directions on a loose rein but with a firm sense of where we are going with each step. From there it is on to a lot of changes in direction at the walk eventually working up to the trot.

The real work: Ah. The lovely center of the ride. When Eeyore is focused and game to work it is a pleasure to ride him. We walk. We trot. We bend. We work on geometry. Last night I returned to the Jumping Exercise book and set up the ground pole chute to work circles and figures eights at the walk and trot. He is light in the bridle, rhythmic and overall amenable to life.

This part of the ride is why I bought this horse. Unfortunately it leads to the last phase.

The quit. Once Eeyore perceives he is tired it is game over. I say perceives because he was quite capable of a 2 hour cross country school so I am no longer thinking that 45 minutes of walk and trot work in large circles and figure eights is tiring him out.

He has figured out that dropping his head gets him nothing but sent more forward and is now on to trying other ways to tell me where I can stick my ideas of work: curling behind the bit, cantering at the merest suggestion of leg, refusing to bend away from the gate, forgetting what a transition is. I have to laugh because his attempts at evasion are in the toddler stage compared to The Queen herself. Sorry buddy, but these antics won’t get you anything.

These phases played out last night pretty clearly. Once we began canter work he decided he was done with me and done with this whole riding horse thing. I switched to tons of walk trot walk transitions, threw in random halts and quit once he gave me one final circle away from the gate without breaking to canter or walk.

Really the only phase that bothers me is the last one. Once he mentally checks out I’m not really sure how to get him back. He just plain is done and I’ve never dealt with a horse that gives up. More fitness will help. More time figuring out his life with me will help. Perhaps changing it up with some jump schools at home versus flat work will help. I think though that deep down he is a quitter which is new to me and something that will take time to figure out how to deal with.


Stoneridge Cross Country

Holy crap guys this place is amazing. Roughly 70 jumps from poles on the ground (yay!!!) through I don’t know massive height (I believe preliminary) with multiple banks, ditches, a water complex and terrain questions and all only 30 minutes of back road driving from my house. The owner is really awesome about letting people come as long as you ask first and have a ground person along. I hope to spend a bunch more time over there this summer and fall.

The view from my trailer. Gorgeous!!!

The Horse Formerly Known As Eeyore unloaded just fine and then proceeded to scream his head off looking for any friends he could find. When I went to the office to sign in and pay he lost his mind and began rearing, pacing and pawing at the trailer. I forgot how much it sucks getting horses used to traveling. For all I rag on Gem she is amazing at traveling: unloading, eating and napping immediately upon arrival.  I had to remind myself that this is only the second time I’ve trailered him since bringing him home and he has no idea that he gets to return to his pasture at the end of the adventure. It will take time for him to learn that and settle.

Showing him around before tacking up.

For all his fidgeting in tacking up he calmed right down when I mounted and remembered his lesson of having to stand to be mounted. Good boy! We then headed off up the hill to warm up.

And his brain melted out of his ears for the second time in a half an hour.

Grumpy ears as he learns that other horses are way less important than the monkey on his back

The other two took off to walk/trot/canter warm up and Eeyore could not handle this. He tried to take off. He tried to dolphin leap. He tried to tell me he couldn’t bend or turn at all. In turn I got tense, had flashbacks to my rides with Gem and forgot how to ride. It was looking like a very bad decision to do this.

Trainer is amazing though and had the others stop and come in to let me work with Eeyore. It didn’t take long for him to relax, realize it was way more work to fight and give me his nice rhythmic trot that I love so much. It helped that he warmed up on a slight hill and the effort plus the already warm day took the wind out of his sails in about 10 or so minutes. Eventually he learned he could in fact walk and trot nicely while the others came and went and did their own thing.

Sweating exactly 5 minutes after beginning warm up. I think I’m going to have to start making my homemade electrolytes for him on the regular.

From there it was on to a wide but not tall log on the ground.

Trainer was too busy teaching (how dare she!) and the other two were obviously riding so I have no actual media of me doing anything. You will have to take my word and enjoy the pictures I was able to snap from his back.

And immediately my stomach churned, my muscles went rigid and I freaked out. Baggage is a real thing. Plus, I kinda hadn’t jumped him since my test ride and was really feeling rusty. I approached at the trot, freaked out, yanked on him and got yelled at for teaching him how to run out. I tried again and we went over, jumping an extra foot in the air just in case. This wasn’t going well and I really didn’t want to be teaching him bad habits from the start, so I asked if the prelim girl would mind hopping on him and taking him over a few times. Of note, she has also taken Gemmie over things and I’m not so sure she was that interested in saying yes to another one of my rides, but she was too nice not to. She got him going over the log and a few other things down the hill then returned him saying “He was much nicer to me than Gem was” Yeah…hard to find another horse harder on you than my Gemmiecakes.

After that I got back on and pointed him at that log, put my leg on, swallowed my nerves and went over the darn thing. He was great, never even thought to say no and was easy to ride away after. Trainer had me go over it both directions a few times and then we moved down the hill a little to two skinny logs. The skinny logs really highlighted my inability to stay straight to the jump, look in the distance, and ride through the entire thing but we made it over each time.

We moved on to the bank complex next which was a really cool multi layered bank. The first time up the small left hand side we just walked, but he had this one down pat and was really feeling awesome. She had me trot up it several times but he made it so easy that we eventually cantered up concentrating on steering after. He was locked on and so much fun! Going down was pretty funny as he went to the lip trotting then jumped up to jump down. Way more effort than needed, but it was easy to sit and I didn’t feel unsteady at all. In fact it was this point in the outing that I completely relaxed and really started having fun for the first time on a course. He wasn’t spooking at anything, he was doing the thing and while it was not perfect it was really, really enjoyable.

The tiered bank complex. Eeyore and I worked over the far left portion going up and down. 

Let’s see…we wandered over to a second way beefier bank that was basically an elevated piece of land on all 4 sides so once you did the up you had about 3 strides I believe before the other side’s down. This was way too big for us so we just hung out and watched the others do their thing. Eeyore decided at this point that his new BFF in the world was the one OTTB and any time he would wander off to go do his thing Eeyore lost his marbles yet again trying to bolt after him. Silly guy needs to learn that other horses are not important when being ridden.

On the way to the water complex we ran into a nice little log that Trainer had me send Eeyore over, but it was a non event and I even got to let him canter for a while after just enjoying the feeling of a solid horse under me.

This being a non event is a great feeling!

The water complex was our last stop for the morning. By this point I was feeling pretty brave and marched Eeyore right on in. He took some huge drinks while the OTTB decided he hated water and refused to go in. I was content to let him cool off as long as he wanted until he tried to roll down on me! Nope, sir that is not going to happen! We practiced trotting through the complex trying to not lose steering or momentum and then Trainer had us work over the logs into and out of the water. It was so much fun!! He was pretty tired at this point and the base was gravel and I believe he was getting a tad tender on his bare hinds through the gravel so this wasn’t our best effort, but we went over and did the thing. We ended by going down the small hill over the log into the water, through it, then up over the log to exit and then away up the lane and over a log out of sight. He did ok until he realized we were leaving everyone behind and then we slowed to a turtle trot, but we still trotted and went over the log so it was a win.

The water complex had a lot of good options and questions depending on the level. We stuck to going over the small logs set on a  straight line just outside the water while the prelim girl did all the scary looking jumps into and out of the water. 

After that we were all done having been working solidly for two hours. I was so proud of him. Well, until I went to put his halter on and he nearly left me and then proceeded to have a fit when I disappeared into the trailer to put things away with him tied to the side. Sigh. I see me hooking the trailer up at home and tying him to it until he learns to chill out.

At the end of it all there were some great take aways:

Trainer made some observations about Eeyore:

  1. He is a tourist. He looks around, toodles about, stops to smell the roses, grabs a bite to eat. I need to work on capturing his attention at all times.
  2. He is very literal.  He doesn’t run out in the true sense of being locked on and going then saying no and ducking out. Ahem like some other bay mare we all know. When he did “run out”, mostly when working over the skinny logs, it was because I wasn’t steering well enough and so he kept on going where he was directed and then kinda twisted around the edge of the jump to get out of its way. When I had him squarely in the center he always said yes.
  3. That ignoring of the right leg/my weaker right leg aides results in a pretty solid right drift.
  4. He was enjoying himself. Especially after the banks he really started to light up and do some mini celebrating after. He feels super proud himself after a good jumping effort and wants to go play the game.

For my part:

  1. I have formed a nasty habit of looking down at my neck strap about two strides from the jump . This does nothing for me except forces me to look down, prevents me from steering and in general screws us all up. Thankfully Eeyore is forgiving and likes jumping so he went over anyway but this has to stop, Now.
  2. More leg is always the answer. Always.
  3. I need to drop my rein contact. Not completely as in throw him away but I get scared and immediately take to pulling. Not good. When I force myself to let go, Eeyore relaxes and everything is better. It will take a while to learn that I can let him go and he will behave, but hopefully we will get there.
  4. Look up, look away and plan for after the jump. I actually don’t have the bad habit of looking at the jump. Gem trained that out of me very quickly. But I do look at his neck (see #1) and that isn’t much better. Trainer kept telling me that once I plan my approach to the jump I need to forget it exists and shift my focus to what I am doing after. Basically pick a line, trot/canter it and the jump just happens to be in the way. At one point she told me to think of it as dressage with speed bumps. Plan my turns like I’m presenting down center line and forget the jump is even there.

The future is bright folks!! I won’t be out there conquering BN any time soon, but I do hope to maybe sneak in an amoeba or tadpole level schooling HT this fall and perhaps come out next spring at starter.


Old Man Winter

Pete is around 29 years old now. I say around because we have no actual birth date on him, but a vet looked at him two years ago and proclaimed him 27. Since most horses have a spring birthday I just figure when Gem turns a year older every May so does Pete.

Looking pretty darn good at 29 years old

He looks amazing for his age. He is still full of spunk, his coat shines like a mirror and he never misses a meal. His teeth are in pretty good shape and he is still able to forage for grass, eat regular hay and a pelleted feed without fuss. In fact, if anything he remains a bit chubby but I’ll take it.

I start to worry about him though this time of year. While most people worry about getting their senior horses through a winter season, I become a hyper-aware nervous wreck come summer.

Hanging out by the water tub

Pete is a big horse and he gets hot easily. Every fall I see him breathe a sigh of relief and relax as the cooler temperatures start to arrive and the humidity leaves. Right now though it is the beginning of 3-4 months of heat and high humidity and the poor old man looks exhausted and worried most of the time.

I’m not really sure what all to do for him either. I don’t use fly masks or blankets on him as they just trap more heat in and so he gets sprayed with fly spray instead. He has access to fresh water, a mineral block and the pond right now is flooded up into the back corner of the lower pasture. I’ve caught him in the water belly deep or rolling in the wet mud along the bank on several occasions. When he comes in at night, if he is sweaty and looks uncomfortable he gets a nice cold shower until the water runs cold off his body. He always appreciates that.

Getting his evening cold shower

A lot of people around here will keep horses in during the heat of the day, but our barn isn’t really good for that. There are no windows for a breeze and the aisle is set facing the wrong direction for the wind as the breeze comes at it from the side and is blocked. Perfect planing to keep it warm in the winter, but it is an oven in there in the summer. Even with fans blowing, it is still way hotter in the barn and he looks even more miserable than if he was outside under the shade trees with a breeze.

His weight is maintaining, he is walking fine and drinking well so I will continue to do the above and keep him as comfortable as possible and wait for fall to come around and bring with it the relief of cooler temperatures. I like that he has a big pasture with lots of shade and water access to roam and keep his joints moving and two friends who don’t pick on him, He seems generally happy with life at the moment and I hope to keep Old Man Winter around for a long time yet.


Enjoying The Ride

Trainer had come out last Monday for a rainy lesson and then time slipped away and it was Saturday before I could get on again. Only Dusty worked in the morning and by the time I could have gotten on it was mid 90s and I decided it was safer for both of us to just wait until Sunday morning when it would be cooler.

Sunday morning I hopped on the big guy at 8 am trying to beat the heat a bit. He did great for tacking up and stood still like a gentleman at the mounting block. He even stood still while I mounted and didn’t try to walk away until I asked him to. Which is a great start to the ride as I am adamant my horse stands still while I am at the most vulnerable during mounting up.

I picked this new pad up at the Tack Shop for $5 after my winnings and unfortunately it looks as good on him as I thought it would. I don’t like navy, but his orange coat really looks good in it. Guess I am going navy.

I am learning that he needs a bit more time at the start of the ride to get his head in the game, however letting him go around toodling on a loose rein isn’t the best either with his slight ADD tendencies. It is a balancing act I am trying to figure out. Sunday I worked on the walk giving him a little more leeway than in true work mode, but being very consistent with our path and really concentrating on using my outside aides in our turns. Having never been able to play around with stuff like this I have to say how cool it feels to move my horse around using only my outside aides and get a nice sharp, clean turn. I even forced myself to drop my inside rein altogether to not allow the instinctual inside rein pull to turn. By doing it correctly, the turns felt balanced and we kept our rhythm.

In the sun you can see the shine to his copper coat and the highlights in his mane.

I still had the three trot poles in the center of the ring and decided to do a modified Exercise 1 from the 101 Jumping book. I used both “chutes” between the poles to make circles of varying sizes in both directions which really helped me make a plan and adjust for the right leg aide that he likes to ignore. He got the memo pretty quickly that he must turn and while I lose some of my leg aides in the trot as a function of me sucking at it, we managed to improve upon the last two rides quite a bit.

He tried to pull out the head drag pretty early into our trot work, but I combined Trainer’s words with Emma’s visual she commented on my lesson post about sitting deeper in the saddle when he pulls against me instead of getting lifted out and forward and it really, really worked. The biggest change I did and something I really have to work on is not letting my elbows get locked out straight. By keeping them back by my sides and following more he didn’t have a lever to pull against.

With all the rain I haven’t been able to get back in the arena to work it and now I have a golf course of grass again. Of note, Eeyore is almost the same shade as the clay in SC

Eeyore doesn’t really seem to respond to praise that much but it could be that he still doesn’t have it figured out that he is stuck with me and should care about me. HA! He does respond very well to less work and he quickly figured out that pulling on me wasn’t getting him anywhere. He then tried to curl behind the bit which is another new experience for me, but I remained calm and kept him going through our ever changing circles and directions. Eventually he got pissed off and I could both hear and see the shadow of a very sassy tail shake going on, but he settled well enough and we ended it once he went both directions on both size circles carrying his own head and not swearing at me.

I had wanted to canter some as well, but by that point he was extremely sweaty and there was sweat dripping down my face as well. The time flies when I am on him and what used to be a torture to get more than 20 minutes of work in an arena has turned into me checking my watch to find 45 minutes has flown by and I should probably stop riding and give the guy a break.

Did I mention he sweats a lot? This was 45 minutes of walk and trot work at 8 am.

I gave him a good shower after, put his dreaded fly mask on him, and sent him outside to be with his friends for the day. I was so happy with him. Sure, he got a bit annoying when my abs were killing me and all I wanted to do was trot in a circle without my arms getting ripped off, but he gave up on it a lot sooner than before and I kept my posture better and I can see an end to this fight in the near future once he realizes he won’t ever win. He is a lot of fun to be on though and I am really excited to keep figuring him out.

His selfie game is getting better

In fact, when my surgery for this Friday rescheduled for next week, I texted Trainer and set up a cross country outing for Friday morning!! She immediately learned to never let me pick the time though. She asked me what time, I said early, she said fine, I originally started texting 6:30 am, realized that was probably mean, then changed it to 7:30 and she asked for 8. I’m a morning person, what can I say? Its odd though because well, I have yet to ride Eeyore off property and haven’t even jumped him over stadium jumps since getting him home yet here I am, the biggest wimp on the internet, setting up a cross country school. It would probably be smarter to take him to Trainer’s place first for a lesson “off property” and to school in the arena but I don’t want to miss this chance. My surgery schedule gets really full pretty quickly and I hate to pass up an opportunity to get out on a course. Eeyore has never been cross country schooling before, but he has been trail ridden extensively and reportedly does water, banks and logs on trail just fine. I’m prepared for him to be a little up and probably scream for invisible friends for a while, but he should get down to business quickly if the past is any indication. We will find out!

So fingers crossed we get the go ahead by the farm owner and I get our feet wet on the cross country course!!!


Thoughts About Eeyore

He has been home with me for three weeks now and between the riding and nursing his feet, I’ve logged quite a bit of time with the big guy. There is still a lot to figure out with him, but there are some things about him I’ve come to know.

  • He isn’t a dumb horse. His gears don’t turn as fast as Gem’s do, but he isn’t dumb either. In fact, he picks up on things quite quickly yet he can still handle repetition without losing his marbles. When he first got home he was an idiot in the cross ties and would try to weave, eat the ties, back up and so on. After a few days of being tied and left while I picked stalls and generally ignored him he now stands like a statue. This was repeated with mounting. The first ride he would not stand still. The second he fidgeted but let me get on. By the fourth ride he stood next to the mounting block politely and didn’t move until I asked.

  • He is a pain with his head. Bridling him is a chore. He lowers it and takes the bit just fine but actually doing all the buckles and straps is a fight as he moves his head, tries to scratch on everything, mouths you and is generally very annoying. It’s the same with his fly mask too. I’m not sure how to make this stop.

  • He cribs only when a person is around. He will stand quietly in his stall as long as he doesn’t realize you are anywhere near him. I’ve hidden in the tack room and watched as he props a hoof and goes to sleep in his stall. Once he realzies a person is around and not paying attention to him he begins cribbing or chewing or flinging stuff around. Anything for attention and to Eeyore negative attention is better than no attention.
  • He poops. A lot. In nearly 9 years of riding, Gem never once pooped in the arena. Eeyore does it every single ride. It is a little pet peeve of mine.
  • He also sweats a lot. He comes in from the pasture soaked in the evening and in the morning has a layer of salty crust. When I ride he almost immediately breaks out full body. I’m still figuring out how to know when he needs to be done. His saddle pad is always soaked through even after a 15 minute walking warm up and I think I’m going to have to buy extras to ensure a dry pad. Gem rarely sweats. Actually there was a time I worried she had anhydrosis but nope. She’s a hearty little desert Arab with astounding metabolics. This is new territory for me.

After three weeks with the big guy I’ve also decided that he needs a new name. He is way too happy and has way too much energy to be an Eeyore. I’m not sure what to change it to and I’m not in a hurry to do so, but I’m not really liking the Eeyore for him. His registered name is “Made For Fame” which is gag inducing, so no help there. I’d like to represent his true personality which is laid back yet inquisitive and friendly. He has yet to spook at anything: dogs, kiddo, toys left in the arena, tractor, birds. So I think he is brave as well though his bravery stems mostly from his generally curious nature and love of all the things. He does have a bit of a stubborn streak and prefers to put forth the least amount of effort possible but won’t put up a fight for too long as fighting is more work than behaving. Anyway…I’d like to capture that in his name as Eeyore makes him sound gloomy.