I’ve finally bit the bullet and began an outright, not so casual search for Wyatt’s wonder pony. The idea has been floating out there since early fall however we weren’t very serious about it and I wasn’t actively looking online for anything.
Then his birthday happened. The farrier was going to be at the barn and I had already taken the day off work for him. His party wasn’t until 4 pm, the kiddo loves going to the barn, and we had no other plans. Might as well get the hooves trimmed up and get that stressor off the list of things that needed to get done.
So there we were getting the horses trimmed. After they were done Wyatt asks me if he could get on Gem. This isn’t unusual. Kiddo adores it, but then he asked if we could go in the woods on trail. Um…yes!!!! So I led him and Dusty walked beside as Gemmie picked her way carefully down the trail. I was thinking he would be done in a few minutes, but nope, he kept asking to go down a new trail and then another and another. Gemmie was really amazing with him and way more careful than she ever is with me. Its proof she can be a good girl and just chooses not to when I’m on board or leading her in the woods. Spiteful little girl.
Boy needs a pony. I’m convinced he would love to ride around the yard, go over poles and explore the woods on horseback if he had a Wyatt sized four legged creature to do it on. Hubby is happy because we plan on introducing trail riding with Dusty on foot with the lead rope at first, then on foot without the lead rope. Dusty loves running. Anything that gets him more trail time is okay on his end.
I took to the internet and searched all the local horse sites, horse for sale sites and competition pages. Nothing. I put out ISO ads:
ISO: We are beginning the search for my son’s first pony. Age, breed and gender are not important. A show record is not important. Must be well trained to w/t/c. He will be taking lunge line lessons to start with the pony, so needs to lunge. 13h and under. Must have a good brain and be child safe. $2500.
We technically will go over $2500 if it is the perfect match, but I figure that’s more than double what I paid for Gem and we aren’t looking for a show pony, just something to teach Wyatt all three gaits and that is safe and sound.
Maybe I’m looking at the exact wrong time of year, but there is nothing out there. Not even crappy, oddly put together, not trained ponies. Nothing.
I did get one response, but after talking to the owner I don’t think it is a good fit. The pony is sweet and safe, but has never gone above a walk and I don’t want Wyatt to only learn to walk. I’m sure the pony can trot and canter, I mean a healthy sound horse of any size can go over a walk, but he doesn’t need to learn on something that is also learning.
There is another option that Trainer fell in love with, but it is 3 hours away and my schedule is chock full until right before Christmas. I told the owner that I would be in touch and if she isn’t sold by then we would come up with the intention of trying her and bringing her home for a trial period in which we could ascertain a good match and get a PPE done. We will see.
But…the intention of this post isn’t to whine. Well, the entire intention wasn’t to whine because obviously part of it was.
The real point was to ask you all how to find a pony. I’ve been on dream horse, equine now and one other site plus all the local facebook for sale groups. Anything I am missing? Gem and Pete just landed in our laps, so this whole looking, trying, looming some more, gotta find the perfect pony thing is entirely new to me. With Gem is was basically…oh look a horse! With 4 legs! Lets buy her!
And well…you all know how that turned out for better and for worse.
There are roughly five billion things happening all at once between my work and home life right now.
Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration although it doesn’t currently feel like it. The end of the year is always hectic at work but this year I decided to torture myself and staff with changing my electronic medical record and billing system. Ahem…again. The one I have won’t work with new government mandates in 2018 and so I’m stuck making another change. Changing systems in this day and age should be easy. Ha. Hahahahahahahaha.
That is added on top of the typical year end rush of people wanting seen and surgery performed prior to deductibles starting over again.
Some big life stuff is happening at home too and well, it has finally all caught up to me. I’m having a difficult time figuring out how I’m going to get it all done in time. When this happens my body, oh so helpfully, shuts down and freezes. It’s like it says “how are we to do it all? I know! I’ll just stop functioning, drain all energy away and that will help!”
Anyway… all this whining to say that I’ve decided that Gem is on vacation until further notice. Well, it wasn’t all my decision. With the darkness now and no lights or arena to ride in, she is a pasture pet Monday thru Friday anyway.
I was supposed to go to a schooling show this past weekend. The rules were posted forever ago, but I only stumbled upon them the Thursday before the show and was dismayed to read that even though it is a schooling show, the material clearly stated that schooling attire was not permitted and coats were required.
I don’t own a show coat. Or didn’t anyway. Friday I booked out of work to make it to the tack shop an hour away that has a plethora of coats in my price range (under $200) with 15 minutes to spare before closing. I snagged a navy (ick but beggars can’t be choosers) RJ Classics Sydney coat on sale and an Ariat long sleeve show shirt that was $60 off.
I was all set. Or so I thought.
About a week ago I texted with Trainer about what classes to do. It was a hunter only show and I wasn’t sure what all the classes meant like Hunter Under Saddle O/F 2′ and Rail Work. She had no clue what that one was either. The plan was to do one cross rails, HUS and equitation O/F 18″ and then the HUS and equitation O/F 2′ classes. If Gem was feeling good and ready we would add the hunter derby 2′ as well. I was stoked for the progression of height for both of us and the planned 5-6 rounds.
Then Friday I found the rules again and read past the “no schooling attire” part. This basically killed my show plans. Turned out that cross rails meant no other height could be entered, scratch that off the list. Then I saw the definition of short stirrup was under 14 yo and all the 18″ classes were short stirrup only. The adult classes started at 2′.
Having only done one prior course at 2′ and um…not having ridden in 2 weeks…I didn’t think it was fair to pull Gem out for only 2’classes without the warm up smaller rounds. We are so incredibly green to the whole jumping thing and our participation is tenuous. Every outing needs to be fun and confidence boosting for us both. I didn’t think this would be.
Plus it was an hour away for only 2 rounds. Seemed a bit silly to trailer out that far for two rounds.
After that blew up in my face I decided to call the rest of the month off. Gem does so much better with consistency and it isn’t fair to grab her only once every two weeks and expect much of anything. She isn’t that type of horse. Instead I think a month off to relax and regroup is in order.
Once things settle down at work and home, which should happen simultaneously once the holidays are over, we will get back to our lessons and schooling shows. Until then she is on vacation while I pull my hair out and try to squeeze 30 hours of work into a 24 hour day.
Ugh. This post should be easy to write. Yet I have now deleted it four times. The issue is that I really don’t have a clue what the future holds. The only solid answer I can provide is that horses will likely be in my life for many years to come. Otherwise, why even go through the torture of farm shopping?
Gem will be retired within the next 3-5 years which puts her in her mid 20s and us having suffered with each other for over a decade. It will be time even if she is mentally and physically still able to be ridden. She will have more than earned her last several years eating grass and being sassy in the pasture with her BFF Pete.
The next 3-5 years will be similar to the last one. Lots of lessons, some small local shows and gradually making some small steps of progress in our way of going. My end goal with Gem is to show at the 2’3″-2’6″ level and be able to canter in the dressage arena without being complete idiots. We are now at 2′, so I think it should be within our grasp to move up 6″ more in the next 5 years.
But after that? I haven’t the foggiest idea. I’m sure I’ll get another horse. It is just that I have no clue what the horse will be or what my own free time is going to look like. Wyatt will be 10 years old and I am sure he will have activities and sports and things of his own for me to attend which will all detract from any riding time available. I don’t judge others and how they make their families work, but in mine our hobbies do not trump anything Wyatt related. Heck just this past holiday weekend I sat waiting in line for Santa Clause and missed any chance to enjoy the 60 degree sunny day for riding. Wyatt trumps it all and I never regret my decision to watch him play at the park instead of ride. A lot depends on what he gets into, if he wants to ride or not and how much time I have outside of that. Work, Wyatt, me time. Its the way it goes in my life and I am happy for it.
Time will tell where I go beyond Gem. I have said ever since Wyatt was born that had he come first I never would have gotten Gem. It is very difficult to balance it all, but I also really need that riding time to maintain my own sanity so I’m sure the post Gem era will look a lot like the current one with a lot of lessons, some stolen time to ride with friends and a sprinkling of shows here and there. I just hope the next horse forgive me a little bit more in my own greenness.
I’m probably the absolute last person to talk fashion or trends mostly because I have zero fashion sense and couldn’t tell you a current trend if you offered me free full training board for a year.
When it comes to tack and apparel I’m a less is more type of woman. I really don’t like a lot of strap goods hanging off a horse and don’t even get me started on bling. Most brow bands these days make me want to rip my eyes out. Adding blinged out stirrup irons, helmets and saddle pads and eek.
There is one trend that I don’t understand and perhaps you all can fill me in. What is up with the skull caps with the cover that is lifted up like a visor of sorts? Why does the cover sit so high? Why not pull it all the way down on the helmet? It reminds me of boys in the 90s sagging their pants so you could see their underwear.
Other than that, to each their own. Just make it safe.
Honestly there isn’t a whole lot more for me to say on this topic. I wear my helmet every single time. No helmet? I don’t ride.
Endurance is pretty far behind the times when it comes to rider safety. Most rides in the SE and the ones I did in the Midwest only require a helmet for juniors (under 16 at start of ride season) and “recommend them” for all others. I’ve been to rides where people don’t wear a helmet and I have no clue what they are thinking. If I was a ride manager I’d require it. In fact, I recall an entire Facebook thread on the endurance group a couple years back where people were complaining that managers were starting to require a helmet for all riders. It shocked me the excuses people came up with.
Personally I’d love to see endurance make safety vests a requirement as well. The risk level is nowhere near that of eventing or really even of stadium jumping, but there is a level of risk higher than the other arena based disciplines and I believe the safety requirements are pretty non existent currently. Endurance is still rooted in the days of minimal governing body involvement and a strong “don’t tell me what to do” attitude which is fine except when safety is concerned. I mean this is the sport that recently put k tape on the banned substance list. For a sport that is dedicated to horse welfare a little bit of rider welfare wouldn’t be amiss.
Oh boy am I ever sucky at these sort of things. These pretty much pertain to my own lifestyle as a rider, so the mileage for others may vary. Here goes….
You haven’t made your bed in years, but your horse is spotless for every ride. Yup, thats right. My house is a mess, my bed goes unmade and there are toys everywhere. But Gem is sparkling clean for every ride. Good thing the Hubby isn’t a neat freak.
You have a full two car garage and both cars live outside. The garage is currently full of hay, so the nice vehicles get to live under the oak trees and get pinged by falling acorns. Gotta have dry hay though!
When house shopping you spend 10 minutes running through the house and two hours walking every inch of the property. We told our real estate agent that the house was secondary to the property. None of them believed us until we walked it. They quickly regretted agreeing to come along as we touched through the grass and woods.
You find yourself making comments on grass variety and getting into a heated debate on the merits of Bermuda versus fescue. I’m not a gardener and yet I find myself now very knowledgeable on winter rye, Bermuda coastal, fescue and Timothy grasses.
You balk at the cost and time commitment of soccer then sign your kid up for pony lessons while scouring the internet for a suitable pony. Um….yeah.