It’s the Year of the Horse… Are You Accomplishing Your Dreams Yet?
Like every year for me, last year was a year of ups and downs… Claire poked her eye out… I had a surprise foal… I spent the year paying off Claire’s medical bills…
I was inspired to really tackle this Year of the Horse thanks to one of my dear 4-H kiddos who designed our District T-Shirts.
Year of the Horse t-shirt – Designed by Rachel Buehren
See the important print? “It’s Our Year!”
Yep, time to take this year to accomplish some dreams! Here are a few off my life list this year…
- Ride Claire in a Recognized Dressage Show: done! We may have only gone Intro but I rode at a recognized show and was cheered on by everyone! HJU friends, family, non-horse friends who showed up to support us.
Start getting mildly serious about Dressage – Check! We’re taking two lessons per month with a USDF Dressage Judge (Not saying that we’re doing super awesome yet).
Show Prince in a real “campaign” season – So far so good. He’s shown everywhere across the state so far at least twice per month and we are having fun. Man, I love showing!
Show at Upperville – Done!! The Upperville Colt and Horse Show is the oldest horse show founded in 1853, and is a “AA” rated show. It’s the pinnacle of showing and just having the honor to show there was enough! We didn’t place in a class of 12 but Prince was the fan favorite with everyone hugging on him and taking photos.
Show in another state - While I’ve technically done that before in a grooms class I wanted to go just for me. At the West Virginia Miniature Horse Championships Sammy and I were Reserve Champion Gelding and between my friend and I and our three minis we won 28 Medals, 13 trophies and over $200 in prize money!!!
Eliminating drama. Wow, did that feel therapeutic! Unfollowed a few people on FB, cleaned up my newsfeed…so done with hearing drama.
Saying goodbye to a lady who gave me all – This sounds so sad but I had the honor of caring for Flower for 1 1/2 years and she had a great life here living out her final days before the laminitis and founder finally claimed her. She was able to birth the beautiful foal she surprised us with last year and was able to live here being loved and having everything she needed instead of the auction line where she was found.
Working on my Equine Business Goals – So far we are moving forward. I don’t have plans to teach like a riding school style but I’m offering my services and am happy to get started. Offering Show Management services, as well as Show Judging and professional grooming/exhibiting and I teach a few things too.
Being BEYOND PROUD of my 4-H Horse Knowledge Team! Coached all the way from the County and District Finals to states for ribbons in everything! Hippology, and Horse Judging as a team and individuals.
Ride at Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Show
Keep working with Prince and get him State Fair ready
Nail that Canter with Claire!
and who knows what else. As they come to me I’ll try to check them off my equine bucket list.
So friends, what have you accomplished this year?
4th of July Celebratory Safety! Does Your Farm Have a Plan?
Here in the US it’s the 4th of July, aka Independence Day, where we celebrate the liberation from British Rule with large parties, parades and lots of fireworks!
While we celebrate with cookouts, beverages, games and other merriment it’s a great time to assess farm safety with visitors and fireworks!!
With that in mind here are a few things to keep in mind if you are celebrating at the farm with outside guests:
- Make sure you have sufficient signage for safety, liability and the potential loss of fingers.
- Post clear signage on stalls or paddocks if you have horses with issues or special dietary needs advising visitors (and children) that they shouldn’t be feeding them cupcakes, or apples etc… ( I had a mare who easily foundered and the local kids used to bring her handfuls of mints…)
- Talk with neighbors or your own farm family to make sure everyone knows that the horses are/are not ok to pet. And that we need to do to keep guests OUT of the fields.
- Offer a planned visit of the horses so people don’t just walk into the field with the killer pony… or worse, decide to ride said pony!
True Story: I was showing at the state fair of VA which is an extremely crowded venue. I stand up from scrubbing my pony’s white back legs to witness a dad who has set his 4 year old on my cross tied, soap covered driving pony’s back and genuinely didn’t know why I had a problem with that…
- Make sure hot things are never near hay!!
Neighbors or community planning a fireworks display?
- Talk to your neighbors and local friends about any news of planned celebrations.
- Talk with your vet. Some horses are ok with fireworks, some will tear through a fence get loose on the road and require staples… thereby a sedative might be in order.
- I suggest turnout! As prey animals horses are not generally ok with all that assaulting action while boxed in a stall. Unless you have a cowboy mounted shooting horse you may have some panic.
- Make a plan. I unfortunately never go to 4th of July parties because the neighbors who own the field next door like to shoot off fireworks (they started on the 28th of June this year) and one of my boarder horses is NOT ok with the noise.
Again… make sure hot things are never near hay!!
Happy 4th of July! Stay Safe and Have a Great Day!!
Review: Spur of the Moment Spur Straps… Just Enough Bling
I’m one of “those” people… and by “those”, I mean George-Morris-would-be-proud classic, at least in public. While I rock hot pink breeches at home with a purple saddle pad and look like Easter just happened to my white horse, in public I am very traditional with my attire. I braid for schooling shows. At the schooling dressage/CT shows, I am either fully turned out in a coat or at the least a monotone polo, white saddle pads, black tack and all. I have a very simple clear stone browband, but I am just not the kind of gal to show in a shadbelly with hot pink bedazzled points and collar. (I saw it on a rider at one show; it was very pretty but found it to be distracting while she rode.)
I also show Western halter so I have my time to get my fix when I’m covered in sparkles and my time when I’m not. But I ran across this really cool item selling in local and international tack shops as well as online. “Spur of the Moment” they promise “Classy Bling for Every Ring!!” OK Spur straps sound simple enough, but Spur of the Moment has taken them to the next level in a very classy way!I finally saw a way to add fun little personal bling without looking like an encrusted, bedazzled cupcake on a horse!
For the price of only $30 I was for sure they’d be a little charm glued on a cheap strap for me to break the charm off and have to fight with bulky straps but NO! The leather is fantastic, super soft, and the perfect thickness!! And the bling… I have no clue how her hands get them secured on so well since you’re working with a very small space but they are spectacular.
Being the custom lover that I am I snapped a photo of the card on the straps and got online. I found hundreds of gem options and browsed until I found my match. #38 a beautiful oval pearl surrounded by clear bling, all approx the size of a quarter.
I contacted the owner Sasha and she had them made and shipped to me super fast! I had saved them all this time for my “big” show of the year and wore them with pride in my dressage test, they were small enough to not distract from the look but big enough to be there.Mine even survived a fall and drag across a gravel driveway, Tall boots destroyed…bling still intact. (Proof of great workmanship!) The variety of stones is endless and you’ll love how custom they feel!
I’ve already purchased a set as a gift for my boarder who like me wants a little sparkle! These are great for Dressage, Jumpers and I’ve even seen a few local hunters sporting them. These straps are plenty fun while staying classy in the ring. Mine made their debut at my first licensed dressage show and I found them to be daring enough while remaining respectfully conservative.
To learn more, visit Spur of the Moment’s Facebook page or Etsy shop.
Dear Coach, Believe In Me – presented by Walsh
Sounds simple right? Just believe in me. Well it’s easier said than done. One of the hardest things I’ve experienced is trying to find an instructor for my crazy mare and I who won’t give up on us. Someone to genuinely look me in the eye and give me the confidence that this mare is worth fighting for (and with) to get to our goal. Our goals aren’t super long or advanced but really a sane horse that can handle a training level dressage test and get herself on the trailer are our big life goals. Right now we are the walk/trot and occasional canter that generally ends on the wrong lead with some bucks for good measure who can’t get on the trailer and has a 4 hour stand off. I’ve had people tell me to sell her (pretty sure I couldn’t give my drama queen away she’s so high maintenance!), ship her off for months of training, or just breed her and get another horse to ride. All for me are not even options, as we are going to work through her life drama and nail a left lead or a 20 meter circle one of these days!
Albeit a small blog this entry I hope I can reach many a trainer and instructor, coach and even judge to tell them that the most important thing you can do for a student who struggles with a horse that’s not there yet is to just believe in them. In my lesson as described in my last blog (When to call the vet- training edition) My horse decided to trot backwards while bucking across the arena, yes that’s a new PSG dressage move you just haven’t heard of yet! However The entire time my instructor was working me through this with a few simple statements that got me calm and helped me move on:
“I know it’s so easy for me to tell you down here how to do this and not be in the saddle, so keep working at it and I know it’s far harder up there to get this done”.
A HUGE statement for a trainer of any kind! She really recognized that her telling me to do something is easier than me doing it in the saddle, she really took time to credit my intelligence, my abilities, and to give me the confidence that this will eventually work.
“You’ll work through this” “You’ll come out the other side of this”.
It is so REASSURING to hear that there is light at the end of this bucking tunnel! My horse has NO work ethic and when her little timer goes off we are done, so we are working on that timer! For an experienced person to tell me they’ve been in my boots and that we will work this out and it will go away is so helpful. It gives me hope for tomorrow!
So Trainer/Instructor folk, despite your clients who can be needy and their horses troublesome just remember we are one step from greatness and you will lead us there one way or another. Don’t tell us to sell the horse, (trust me I’ve already run that through my head) or that you don’t get why we can’t handle a simple canter, just give us hope, confidence and above all let us feel that you believe in us because that kind of confidence can break through a bad ride and lead us all to greatness.