Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blown Away (literally)

Barn is hosting another show this weekend, and while I lack the interest in actually showing in it, I will take the opportunity to school Soonie around it.  The jumpers were going by the time I got there, and he was completely relaxed the entire time.  He remembered that the point is to fall asleep, and he excels at falling asleep, even in 30mph wind gusts.  Seriously, the wind caught my helmet just right and I felt it shift.  Winds were REDONKULOUS today.


We did some walk/trot in the schooling ring just because, and when he was stretching happily in the trot (in said 30mph wind gusts) without so much as twitching, I decided that was about perfect and we called it a day.  Good boy.  :)

"Barn is that way.  Barn now."

Friday, April 25, 2014

That good feeling

I may have had a glass of wine (whee!) before this, so please bear with me as I'll try not to drunk!post.  Just want to say: my horse rocks.  He ROCKS.  Had great trot stretch Wednesday in his first day back after getting his missing shoe replaced, had really lovely soft canter work yesterday including some nice stretch canter work (in addition to some amazing trot work), and today he was lovely again in the trot and nailed his flying changes (two on each lead).  We even did some trot and canter on a shorter rein/outline and he's feeling a lot stronger there.  I can't talk enough about how nice it is to feel him these days compared to where we started out.  He moves SO much bigger, his back is and topline are developing beautifully, and he just feels like a very scopey type mover these days.  It's an amazing feeling to feel us tapping into that athleticism (when I actually ride correctly off the outside rein).

My two favorite boys, Soonie and Boo

Hello Cuteness

He lives for his grass reward!

In other news, it's Rolex weekend, and I'm so happy for Allison Springer and her long time partner, Arthur (Irish Thoroughbred) in their excellent dressage performance this afternoon.  They're leading after the dressage phase, and on to the cross country tomorrow!  Check out their performance below, and be sure to tune in to the live feed of the XC at USEFNetwork.comClick here for ride times


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

No deep thoughts here...

Just wanted to say that this is the funniest thing I have seen probably all month:


Love the guy in the green shirt when he misses!  Dying from laughter, it hurts.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Finding Your Own Path

I wish people would subscribe more to theory, more to what is said, and less to who says it.  I wish people would believe in a technique or approach, not because so-and-so said so, but because it's the right thing.  I wish people would condemn improper training methods because they're wrong, instead of saying it's okay because the trainer's really great.  I wish people would learn to accept that people are not infallible, and sometimes, things are just not what they seem.

Stick with me on this post, because this is an actual, thoughtful, important one.  I think there is a journey we must all must take as horsemen.  It's a journey riddled with highs, lows, cock ups and triumphs.  It's a road where we try different things, branch out into new territory, and learn what works best for us and our particular horse.  It's where you learn to sort the garbage out from the truth, where you learn to appreciate both the nature of the horse and our nature as humans, and find a way to make them work together. 

I'll leave the details out, but suffice it to say I've seen some recent evidence of a BNIT (big name internet trainer) doing some rather unnecessary things to a horse in his charge.  It was not necessarily abusive, but it went well beyond what he preaches to his students.  It was simply not appropriate, not useful in ANY sphere that I am aware of, and just flat out looks bad.  The horse was being forced into doing something, looked very uncomfortable and pissed off, and wasn't being slowly eased into the work per this trainer's philosophy.  It was unfortunate to see, and there were several videos of this demonstration of force.  And yet, people defended it. 

When someone is introduced to a new concept which works, they often get blinded by how amazing it is, and those that introduced it to them can often be put up on a pedestal.  They're untouchable.  They're a "genius."  No matter what they do, even if they go completely against all the great training theory they've introduced and the horse is upside down, gnashing its teeth and looking very uncomfortable, it's acceptable to the pupils because the horse eventually gives up and submits to what is being asked.  I call bullshit.

The idea of forcing things goes against everything this BNIT has said in his popular website and videos.  The idea of forcing a horse to where it gives up is reprehensible.  But the close followers who are still in the "They can do no wrong!" stage don't see an issue with it.  I've never seen someone preach correct training so fiercely, and go against it so blatantly as this BNIT in those videos I saw.  It's just unnecessary.  Completely, utterly unnecessary.  If the horse won't relax right away, then you give him time to warm up.  Get him on the lunge and let him work it out without someone on his back.  Set the horse up for success.  Don't get on, do the Yank 'N Crank and make an example out of that animal.  That is NOT training.  That's bullying, the very thing this BNIT speaks out against in a popular video series.

Bottom line, my fellow horsemen and wanna be horsemen:  trust in techniques, trust in theory, do not trust in people.  People screw up.  People make mistakes.  People get egos.  People do not belong on pedestals. I wish the up and coming horsemen reading this learn that you have to decide for yourself what you will and will not subscribe to in terms of training methods.  You have to find your own path on this journey of horsemanship.  Just because a favorite trainer does something, that alone does not make it right by the horse.  The ends never justify the means.  Take those theories, those techniques, and use the parts of them that best suit you and your horse.  Learn that your riding and your training will never fully resemble anyone else.  Take the best from the people you learn from and keep those lessons in the front of your mind.  Take the worst from those people, and keep those in the back of your mind of what NOT to do...

And before you ask, YES, I have use techniques on horses that I no longer use today.  I've used gadgets like draw reins, German Martingales, ridden front to back, and jumped an unnecessary amount as a ribbon hungry teenager.  I chased points when I was younger.  I am not perfect, but I've learned from my mistakes, and I have evolved.

I will be stepping away from this particular trainer, as clearly we do not agree on the "Do as I say, not as I do" approach.  To me, a truly great trainer practices what he or she preaches, always.  There are ways to accomplish the end result without unnecessary force or harshness.  It requires patience and tact.  He took a shortcut instead, and I do not agree with that, and I will sure as hell not sit here and defend it.   The overall techniques and approaches he preaches are true; but they are not his, and he clearly does not live by his own rules.  I will not endorse someone who operates like that.

So it's time for me to head back out on my own again, taking the best of what I've learned and leaving the rest as a valuable lesson. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Epic Shoe Journey, Part One

I ventured out into the big herd's field today in a last ditch effort (my only effort?) to find Soon's lost shoe.  I can't help it - I've always been a shoe hunter, it's how I was taught.  So in 80 degree weather (why can't we find a happy medium between 30 degrees and rainy, and 80 degrees and balls hot?) I trounced around the field looking like a dope.  I found ALL THE SHOES...


...but not Soon's shoe.


In other news, Soonie did some fantastic shoulder ins today!  We truly "got it" with today's session (walk only again due to the pauperness).  I tried them on the centerline as he tends to gravitate a lot to the rail, and that was causing us issues.  But without that rail crutch, he listened so much better to the leg and gave me exactly what I was looking for.  I had a great feel of the outside rein and was riding him into it off the inside leg.  The inside rein was soft and, he rode well/adjusted off my legs.  He was much better going left than right, which is pretty typical, but we got it in each direction, so I am totally thrilled with that progress.  We've been getting steps here and there, but today was our first confirmed shoulder in.  It's awesome to see the progress he's made, especially in the last three months or so.  What a smart boy!  We had some lovely walking stretch too, so today was extremely productive.  He was so darn cheerful during and afterward that I could not help but smile.  :)

Topline starting to look much better, can't wait until shedding season is over!

Gah...so cute.

Meeting a new girl, showing off the hay he stole

Rode Baby Whee again today.  Let's just say she makes me appreciate Soon.  A lot.  Like...so, so much.

They did it again!

Charlotte and Valegro set a new record in the Grand Prix on Saturday, and captured the FEI Dressage World Cup Finals!  I love this pair.  What's more, they did their freestyle to the music from "How To Train Your Dragon," which you may remember from this post is one of my favorite movies.  I hate to be that super sappy, overly emotional girl, but I actually teared up watching this routine, right about at the free walk.  I also loved that she pats him after the one-tempis. 



Go Charlotte and Pet Dragon!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Other Horse

So with Soon only having one shoe, I'm schooling one of the five year old Holsteiner cross babies for the week.  I don't know when she got ridden last (she's been broke for about a year and a half, but acted like it was her first time in the indoor today, whee!), so we just worked on getting forward and focused on the contact at the walk, and then some trot.  She was good, I'm sure she'll be better tomorrow.

Baby Whee

I hopped on Soonie afterward and just did some lateral work at the walk.  I got some shoulder in on each rein/direction and was very pleased with him!  We did about 20 minutes worth of work, just enough to really get him forward off the leg, moving well laterally, and some great stretch.  The next few days will be a good chance for me to give him a much more thorough introduction to the shoulder in at the walk and hopefully start to see some consistency with that.  He's so much fun to ride, even if it's just at the walk!  :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Reasons why today didn't actually suck

Despite whiny post below, today didn't really suck for the following reasons:
  • It's Friday
  • It wasn't snowing
  • I went for a run
  • I flew a plane today.  Like, I was at the controls making the aircraft do things.  It was super fun!  Holy crap!  While I have dreams of being a pilot, I don't think I'll pursue this (I can't afford three ungodly expensive hobbies), but this was an incredible experience nonetheless.  I had a heart attack on the ground when the instructor told me I'd be doing some of the actual flying, but once we got airborne (I did the take off!) I had a stupid grin on my face.  Most importantly, the number of landings we did matched the number of takeoffs. At no time did the flight resemble anything like this....

....or this...

...so great success!
  • "Shoeless Joe" Soonie is sound, so I'll probably hop on and we'll do some walk works in the indoor this weekend.  All is not lost, he's fine with some extra time off anyway.
  • SMARTPAK SHIPMENT ARRIVED!  Smartpak shipments are like Christmas.  Christmas where you get exactly what you want.  I got a saddle pad with extended sides (just in time because Soon's spur rubs are already grown out and fine...so nevermind) and two pairs of Tailored Sportsman low rise "TS" breeches.  I love Tailoreds, I ride exclusively in them because I just can't kill them.  They're pricey, but last forever.  I got rid of the last low rise TS that I had from a few years ago, so now that I'm back riding full time, I decided to reinvest.  I love my current, regular rise TS breeches, but these new ones won't make me feel like I'm 15lbs overweight.  Got a cute Baker belt too.  I'm trendy-ish again!

Nope.

Soon lost a shoe yesterday.  His first since I've had him, I'm actually pretty impressed that he's gone this long without tossing one.  But amazingly enough, I was told that the farrier won't be able to make it out at all until at least next Wednesday.

He lost the shoe Thursday.  That's six days.


So many reasons why I'm frustrated, some of them being why I was the one to find the horse missing the shoe at 7pm when he was brought in at 3:30pm and nothing was said, farrier was not called.  Also, I can't seem to get another farrier to come and do anything earlier.  I tried.


So I guess I'll not do any of the hacking in the beautiful 70+ degree weather as I had planned on doing this weekend.  Soonie will have most of that time off, maybe a walk (trot?) session or two in the cushy indoor if Princess Panties isn't footsore.  If he is, then we have a fun next five days of hoof wrapping/packing and vacation. Yay.  And I guess I'll just go running and spend more time in the gym instead.  We'll get over it...


...But I needed a gripe session first.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mud and hamsters and War Horses

So it rained all day on Sunday which turned to snow by Monday morning, then it melted...



...thanks.  You know that moment when you show up the barn and you're PSYCHED to ride, and then you see your horse has completely caked at least one side of his body in concrete-like mud, and you know you're going to spend at least 30 minutes just on the currying alone? 

Yeah, it's like that.

And you curry and curry and curry and curry, and pick some of it out with your fingers, and curry some more, and pick something that you thought was mud but was really a scab and now you feel like a bad person...then you realize you have 10 minutes to finish getting tacked up and ready for your lesson, but it still seems like at least 30% of your horse is still caked in cement....

Yeah, it's like this too.

And then, when almost all hope is lost, somehow as if out of nowhere, you manage to scrub the mud off the horse just in time to get on for your lesson, and your instructor does not yell at you for bringing a muddy Yak into the ring.  And you feel like this:
F&CK YEAH!


Also, we had a jump school today.  Soonie was great, although we took a rail down on the single vertical (got a little long) and it rattled him just enough to make him jump out of his skin on the next one.  He needed a little reassurance after that, his brain was spinning pretty hard.


He is dead quiet (almost to a fault), but he is sensitive.  He tries so hard sometimes that he almost undoes himself, and combine that with knocking himself hard on that rail, he spun himself out for a minute.  I think if he has the scope and I have the ability to actually not ride like a monkey over bigger fences, he could be a really great jumper type - efficient, but careful, and not wanting to touch anything.  The trick will be teaching him not to get so worked up after hitting a rail.  The good part is that he's relatively easy to settle.  Just a soothing hand on his neck and a canter circle, and he's back in a soft rhythm and rides perfectly well down to the fences.  No rushing, no tension, no sucking back.  He's right where I put him every time.  Despite the little bobble, he earned a lot of compliments tonight, and I was very happy with him.  We'll have another school before the end of the month because the show fences will be set up.  I don't know if we'll actually show this time, but at the very least we'll get a good jump school in. 

I saw War Horse on stage again recently.  I first saw it in NYC in 2012 when it was at Lincoln Center, and was absolutely floored by the production.  When I heard the National Tour was stopping in to my local venue, I jumped all over the best seat in the house and waited for it to arrive! It was every bit as good as I had remembered it (the only downside was it being in a larger theatre this time, I was slightly further from the stage and it lacked that really intimate feel).  I forgot how very real, gritty, and powerful the stage production was.  It takes you from the highs of that great emotional connection with the horse, to the lows of the horrors of warfare.  I took note of the reactions of audience members around me - grown men and women with their hands to their chests and mouths in shock or fear, or sheer emotion.  "Emotion" is probably the one word I'd use to describe this production.  There is so much of it that I could not even begin to explain.  Long story short - if you ever have the chance to see the stage production, DO IT!  Don't hesitate.  Don't worry that you'll cry (you probably will), because it is worth it.  It is a million times better than the movie - I love performing art because it allows your mind to fill in little gaps that movies tend to shove down your throat, and that imagination makes the show that much more personal.  You'll remember this for the rest of your life, and as a Broadway enthusiast, I don't say that about many shows.


"Who'll sing the anthems and who'll tell the story?
Will the line hold, will it scatter and run?
Shall we at last be united in glory -
Only remembered for what we have done..."
(Only Remembered Reprise - War Horse)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Horse Shows are Bad (For Me)

So Friday and Saturday I hung out at the jumper show that was in town.  All. Day. Both. Days.

Everything from 1.15m to FEI classes, whee!

So I got up at 3:30am to braid one of the barn horses so he and his teenager could go to the show and do the Local Day class...


They went and had a great time in the first Local Day class at this big show, so I'm very happy for them both!  I went home and napped, something about being up until 11:30pm and getting only four hours of sleep.  I feel old.  I took the day off work and rolled to the show about 10:30am to watch some of the Low Jr/Am stuff and enjoyed the company of an awesome barnmate.  We did lunch, came back and decided to go "look around."  Which doesn't mean window shopping, it means actually shopping.  Or as I like to call it, surrendering my self control.

Attending horse shows always makes me feel like I have to get back into competing RIGHT. NOW.  Like, run out and buy Animo jackets and matching ear bonnets and more open fronts to go along with my existing four pairs of open fronts. 


I have been legitimately looking for a new set of open fronts/ankle boots for Soon since the old Weatherbeetas could fit better, and would like to retire.  I was going to buy some Equifits, but then I saw some of the Boyd Martin Majyk open front sets and decided to have a look.  And by look, I mean I straight up bought them.  But look now nice they are!


I'd heard about their memory foam liners and vented options to keep the tendons cooler.  The tendon guards and strike plates, combined with the snap closures sealed the deal (and they're less expensive than the new Equifits!).  My reaction was that of a mature, cool consumer who knew exactly what she needed...



So having just dropped cash on some boots that will be useful, but probably were not entirely necessary given my current collection, I strolled over to the next tack booth and did exactly what any responsible horse adult at a horse show would do.  I dropped more money on something I didn't need.

This is going to look AWESOME when I'm riding by myself!
I finally got control of myself after those purchases and cut myself off.  I like to think of it in terms of stuff I could have bought that I didn't:
  • New Antares saddle pads and matching ear bonnets
  • Custom Dehner boots
  • Five Star Tack breastplate
  • Animo soft shell coat
  • Veredus boots
  • All the breeches

All in all, I consider this a successful horse show.  When I look at the above list, I feel pretty damn fantastic.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Introducing contact and the stretch

I've had a couple of people ask me recently about how to get the horse stretching.  I want to state up front that if you're just introducing a horse to stretching, they won't get to where Soon is right now  immediately.  It will take several weeks to get a horse to develop a good stretch, and upwards of a year or more from there to really put a complete topline on the horse.  Thus, my first tip is patience.  Don't rush, and try not to get frustrated with slow progress.  Learn to feel the little "ah-ha!" moments your horse has when they start to understand and offer you what you're looking for, even if it's just for a stride or two.  Build off those moments, and your patience and dedication will be rewarded.

Introducing the Contact - Pressure and Release
Each horse is different and you have to find what works best for your horse, so here are a couple of tricks I know. 

I teach my horses with the use of lateral flexion. I tried to find a good video on YouTube to demonstrate, but they were all either about "The Method©," or they were set to the Lion King soundtrack (seriously!?) and all about nature and hugging and crap. This is NOT an exercise in cranking the horse's head around and twisting the neck. So we'll just skip that garbage and get to the point: pressure and release. Horses learn and respond to the application and release of pressure. All good riding or handling is, is the understanding of how to apply pressure, and when to release it to shape the horse's behavior. I use lateral flexion not necessarily to get to longitudinal flexion (in the poll), but rather to teach the horse to yield to the pressure and seek the contact with the bit. The longitudinal flexion comes later as we develop the stretch with an engaged hind end.

The lateral flexion I introduce on the ground (in hand) and then I work on it while mounted. Here's the scenario mounted: stand and let the reins go slack, then pick up one rein and bring your hand over to your knee. Ask the horse to flex gently to that side with pressure on the rein and a gentle squeeze of the leg on the same side (inside leg). Keep asking until the horse softens and brings its nose over to that side. If he's pulling/resisting, don't let go until he softens. As soon as he softens, even if it's very slight at first, give him your hand and allow him to return. You're trying to teach him that when he yields, he gets rewarded with release. DO NOT grab a hold and ask for more and more flexion - that is uncomfortable and confusing for the horse, and entirely unproductive. You do not and should not have to bring the horse's head very far around, only enough to ask him to yield. Always release when he yields. He should start to understand fairly quickly that yielding to pressure = release. Give him a second to think about it between each one when he's good. Repeat equally on the other side; you may find he flexes better one way than the other. If he wants to move the hind end away, allow him to, but don't let it turn into a spin because that's also not the point. If it gets to that point, then you need to take it back a few steps and simplify, because that's a sign he's not understanding or getting frustrated. Once he flexes and is understanding the yield part, you can add forward movement to the equation and start to bridge some concepts.

 Introducing the Stretch - Forward Stretch
So getting into the riding part finally, the lateral flexion exercise above transitions into forward riding when you start on a 10 or 15 meter circle. You're basically replicating the in hand video above from a mounted position: you have a soft, elastic connection with the outside rein and an open inside rein. Even contact on both reins. Outside leg is supporting just behind the girth. Gently apply the inside leg (think inside leg to outside rein) and ask him to bring that nose in and down as he steps forward. If necessary, give the inside rein a gentle squeeze. Once he yields (even slightly), soften your inside hand to reward/release. Again, you may only get a step or two starting off, but after a couple of sessions you should start to see him wanting to stretch forward and down, with his nose on the vertical or poked out slightly (this is not an exercise in cranking the horse's nose to its chest). Continue until you get some pretty consistent stretching at the walk, and be sure to not drop the outside rein and allow the horse to bulge through that outside shoulder. Once the walk is established, you can try it at the trot. The outside rein is very important as you don't want the horse to just flex to the inside and throw the outside shoulder. It's very important they be on the contact and take the stretch down, versus being on a long rein and expecting them to find the contact.  The above techniques and explanation help set the horse up for what ultimately works best for developing the stretch, which is explained below.

Riding the Stretch - Encouraging Contact
Regardless of which of the above techniques you use to introduce the beginning concept to the horse, once you get him starting to comprehend seeking the contact, it gets a little simpler. I go back to the George Morris videos from the 2014 Horsemastership Clinic on USEF Network - watch the flat sessions, and you'll notice getting a horse to soften is really just closing the fingers and closing your leg. Watch the Day 1/Group 1 flat session at about the 35 minute mark when GM gets on the horse (whole session is great, but when he's on the horse is where you see the demonstration).  Watch and listen.  If the horse's head goes up to evade the contact, your hands go up. Never lower and widen your hands to get a horse's head down. Hands travel up and maintain that straight line from elbow to bit. Close your fingers on the reins and gently enforce the contact, and push from your leg up into it.  Make it slightly uncomfortable, or more work, for the horse to be up and running around like a giraffe.  Horses will eventually come down and soften. Once they do, offer your hand by lowering it as they lower their head (maintaining straight line elbow to bit), and soften the elbow to allow them to continue the stretch. Don't throw the reins away when they yield and start to come down. Just soften your arm and allow him to bring your hand forward/down with him as he travels down in the stretch.  He should not be pulling or leaning. When he starts getting really deep, then allow him to take some of the rein, but again, never just throw a bunch of rein at him because then you lose the connection front-to-back. Let him take what he needs and maintain a feel of the mouth.  Like Mr. Morris says, impulsion first, but the secret is to give with the hand.  Flexion at the poll is secondary to activity and flexion in the joints (hocks) behind.  Seriously watch the whole flat session, because it's a wealth of information no matter your discipline!

It's important to emphasize your legs are just as important as your hands. You have to keep encouraging her to be active behind. Learn to feel when the hind leg is in the air, because that is when you apply the pressure with your leg on that side to get the hind leg to step under (for example: at the walk, when you feel the barrel swing to your right, the left hind is in the air. You want to apply your left leg when you feel the barrel swinging right, because your left leg cues her left hind to step bigger. Alternate pressure like that to encourage a bigger walk). A horse cannot correctly stretch, or correctly be on the bit at all on any length of rein, if the hind end is not first active.

Some horses just need the "close the fingers, leg to hand" part to understand stretching, but for those that don't get it, the in hand and lateral flexion exercises help bridge that gap of pressure/release. Hands should be very quiet. You don't have to have really wide/low hands to make this work; as you can see in the video my hands don't move very much, and I like to think I (for the most part with some exceptions) maintain that straight line from elbow to bit. That is very important - no puppy dog hands or broken over wrists. Carry your hands, elbows in, and relax your upper arm. Your elbow is the hinge, and that needs to be loose so you can communicate effectively. Keep your hands quiet and stable, because if you are constantly wiggling fingers and the bit, the horse has nothing to really seek if the bit's constantly moving around in the mouth. The legs create the forward energy, and the hands receive it. Think of it that way in terms of how to ride your horse forward into the bridle, versus pulling him into it, which is of course incorrect. No need to be "handsy," but you do have to explain to him what it is you really want him to do, so hopefully the above information helps out. If you have any questions let me know as I'm happy to discuss!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Green Halter

I had a somewhat funny experience the other night when Soon came in without his Green Halter.  As some may have noticed, he wears a bright and somewhat gaudy old Kelly green nylon halter.  This came from his race trainer/owner, who had halters to match his stable colors (green/white). 
Green Halter!

I joked the day I came to look at (and purchase) Soon that the green would eventually go, and that my colors tended to be in the navy blue/red/white realm instead of bright green.  His previous owner pretended to lament, but in all honesty I didn't see the thing sticking around.  I usually only put my horses in leather halters, because Triple had a special talent for wrecking them (I'd rather her break 8 halters than her neck).  So I bought Soonie his new navy blue breakaway halter for every day stuff, and I have the two leather halters sitting around from Triple.  But...they never got on him.  Horses at this barn only wear halters when they are going to/from the turnout.  Halters are usually "community" halters so there's no promises made the horse will come in with the same halter.  Ever.  So taking that into consideration, I left Green Halter on Soon, because I figured if it was going to travel, I don't want it to be one of my nice ones.  I figured no big deal if it got lost or trashed.

Green Halter again!
Ohhhhh was I wrong.  Over time it's become an endearing little symbol of Soonie, and much to my amusement, it is the ONLY halter that consistently comes in with its owner.  First because it's BRIGHT GREEN and second because it's one of the few cob-sized halters that actually fits his little pony face.  The guys all know it's Soon's halter, and they always bring him in with it.  It's cute and in a funny way actually kind of means something to me.  And now I just can't bring myself to part with the stupid thing, because Green Halter came with Soon from the track, it's his last physical connection to his former career.  So when it didn't come in with him the other day, while I didn't completely panic (think Cameron on Modern Family) and run outside and swap it, it kind of made me go, "Huh.  I miss Green Halter."

(for a split second I did scream in my head "GREEN HALTER!" like Cameron)

Fast forward to the next day and it was back on his stall door, and all was right with the world again.  When we move back east and Soonie settles in to his new barn, he'll be wearing his leather halters, but Green Halter will still be our little mascot.  I don't want to become a hoarder of stuff, but I can't bring myself to get rid of it.

Green Halter back where it belongs

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flatwork critique



April First....

Normally is April Fools Day (which reminds me I didn't get fooled today!), but to me it's the birthday of my Wondermare, Triple Thirteen.

Our first show in 1997


2000

Our last visit together in 2007
Heart of a champion

She would have been 27 years old today.  Took me from the 2' to the 3'6", two colic surgeries, one fight for her life, state championships, and so many memories.  Thank you for all the good times!  I love you and miss you, Doo.  You were the very best part of me.