Today we're updating about Jade AKA Sexy Black Horse, SBH and the like.
We worked in the round pen last week and she was doing well with respecting me and going forward so I went back to the Schiller video lair and reviewed some more videos. When I worked Arthur, I focused on a series that was about a nutjob like him and that worked great. Jade's not a nutjob, just a bit lazy and spoiled so I opted to watch a different series and see what I can gather from this one.
This was the "Andalusian" series which I'd perused before but not really dissected it down looking for things. I did that this past week and decided I would swap to more "on line" things with Miss Jade. We worked on disengaging, turning in (something that was horrible that last round pen session omg), and general leading manners again. Naturally combos of the above as well. We ended the week on respecting my space while walking around me (sort of lunging) and on Sunday we did some fence work. If we recall, fence work is not my strong point but it turns out Jade LOVES fence work so she was happily leaning up against the fence to get rubbed and sat on.
Considering the one other time I tried to sit on her bareback she got all balky, I thought this was awesome!
The hardest part was her standing still as she REALLY, REALLY liked me on her bareback and all the scratches and rubbing. We've also been working on lateral flexing which she was actually already good at so I think combined with the disengaging going well, we'll move towards saddle exercises in the arena/open area and One Rein Stopping/straightness type things. I'm debating the first ride in the round pen or not (probably not) and western saddle or not (probably?)
That's about it but its been so nice seeing her fly through these lessons and become more of the horse that I like to have around.
Grey horse still doesn't have a name (thought for sure Ian was it *sigh) but I do want to chronicle the struggles we've been having since the first time I rode him at home. So grey horse gets rubbed easily. When I put Katy's 75" Rambo Protector Fly Sheet on him out of necessity and it rubbed his shoulders lightly, I thought NBD, that makes sense and when his 78" fly sheet came in I slapped it on him and was like yass, I win. Except that rubbed him WORSE than the smaller one. Seriously? I slapped a Weatherbeeta Adjust a Neck 81" (a Jade extra) on him and it didn't rub his shoulders but it did rub his withers.
Eff my life.
Grey horse lives outside naked now. Anyone want a fly sheet?
So the bigger thing is his saddle pad. Granted the boy needs to fill out his top line more and we're trying to work on that but when I got him he was only being ridden in a poly pad so I thought cool, its not an issue, right? So I supposed mistake #1 was when I was at Pine Hill I put a Roma Impact pad on him PLUS my Thinline thinking it'll just buffer tons of things and be awesome. I was only hopping over a few logs so why not? That combo rubbed his withers (only) slightly and our issues began apparently.
Next up was trying out a regular pad with the thin line to clear withers and cushion his back. That rubbed the holy hell out of his back scar and I was like o.O. I recalled I had a Roma faux sheepskin pad as well and tried that alone on him. Nope, rubbed as well. I ordered a Steffen Peters fancy pants REAL sheepskin dressage pad (my dressage saddle/riding style seemed to be the biggest offender to him). This was probably the minimal rubbing but still.. rubbing. We're talking enough to remove the top layers of skin and he's also been fussy about cantering to the left (could be me, could be him out of shape for what we're doing, could also be his scar is on that side and getting rubbed - or all of the above). I ordered an EcoGold Memory Foam pad and tried that on the Roma fleece shaped pad under my Devoucoux and while it DID distribute the rubbing more evenly, it still rubbed but again, that Roma pad did rub him so it might just be that thing.
This weekend we were in Houston and I stopped at Dover to just buy a poly pad. Hopefully this fixes it because going high tech and expensive hasn't seemed to help much.
I think combos I might try moving forward in case "just a poly pad" doesn't work, are adding the Eco Gold Memory Foam to the poly pad, adding that to the Steffen Peters sheepskin pad, and I do have my "only used once" EcoGold Secure XC pad that I can't imagine it working (grippy on the scar?) but trying to pick things that will move with it haven't been working so who knows. I just dread having to buy more of those and I really don't like the way they feel but maybe the grippy + air flow is the answer.
As far as riding him, he's doing well (naturally) while I struggle to be able to work him purposefully for longer than 20 minutes. He likes to lean on the inside during our left lead canter and I stupidly don't realize I'm holding him up until my arm is about to die so yeah, I need to work on that more. Derp. Otherwise I'm pretty happy with how we're doing (only had him two weeks yo!) and he's a true gentleman and just a good boy. Our Thursday jumping lesson was legitimately jumping over (baby) things and he did well. I did ok/good once I got all my body parts to work together for good not evil. We tried out our PS of Sweden High Five Breastplate during this lesson and it rocked, but when I put it on him for Saturday's ride it seemed to start rubbing him. (Seriously?!).
I think we're going to work on a combo of "just riding" aka hacking out/light work (for him) with cantering so I can get used to him and him to me and we'll add in the "fancy" things on alternating days. It's times like now I long for the barn I was at in high school where you had miles of trails and fitness was not only easy but interesting. My most convenient choices are trotting around my 2 acre riding area or working the 1/2 mile track at the barn.
We'll figure it all out, but its hard when we're SO close to being a team already and I have to remind myself its only been a drop in the bucket time wise since I got him. Normally patience is easy for me, but its definitely hard for me to be patient with my body.
Also, Grey horse got a hat:
Also, also he's been chowing down on hay all week and I SWEAR he's gained weight so yeah!
By some sort of mysterious coincidence, I don't have any pictures from the past week. OK, I've just been wicked busy, most of my riding/horse time is either after dark or without my phone on me, and also tired.
Last Thursday, I had a first lesson with Grey Horse and Amanda. We were effing awesome until my lack of fitness showed up at the end and I sucked. I mean, its a good sucking, but it is a little weird (but not unexpected) to be the weak link on a horse team for the first time in forever. So our homework? 2 Point Trot Sets. Fair enough and a big part of why I went this route. I was also kinda bitchy to Amanda when I couldn't perform or think out the instructions, but she pulled her part by telling me to shoosh and lecture me. I'm so glad she does this for me on the occasion I need it.
Friday, I pulled Grey Horse to the barn and we did our first set on the track. I believe we did 3 miles and about half of that was in 2 point. I probably could have done longer but first day, I didn't feel like exhausting myself for the Saturday torture I'd signed up for:
I finally got back in touch with her and we had set up ONE dressage lesson (I decided not to be suicidal with all I've done this week) so that was Saturday after I taught my dog training peeps that morning. The lesson was really good, really hard, and I didn't get too sore but I think Grey Horse might have a smidge (it was really tough stuff for him). He didn't complain though (he's a saint) and we have more homework to do. Some of the fun things we got to do were walk-canter transitions and shoulder in and some other 2nd level things basically. My brain vaguely recalled this stuff from decades ago but the execution was a bit meh. We have loads of homework and I have to get my head right on how to cue a trained horse properly but we're on our way. Lurena was very complimentary of the Grey Beast and my riding (yet) again. It's hard to not feel good leaving there :) The only bad thing about this day was that our saddle/saddle pad combo rubbed some skin off Grey Horse's scar on his back and made it kinda gross so we're ordering a sheepskin pad for that and dressage.
Sunday was supposed to be a "See Where Jade Is With Me" followed by riding another horse kind of day, if not two horses ridden. Instead Jade was an anxious mess and we worked on some simple focus and bending type things. Overall we survived but I made the decision to just train her like I do my other projects in the past. Her two main themes are: I wanna be on top of you AND This is too hard, IM OUTTA HERE! Since she's only 4 and I intend to keep her a while and do super awesome epic things, we're just stripping things down like I should have done earlier. She is better than when she came, but she's a smart and headstrong mare so I'm just going to be fair and lay it all out for her in order. Also, Edison got caught up in the super firm steel cable fence and sliced himself to hell. Nothing was super deep but he feels like poo. He was a rockstar about being tied (first time) and being rinsed/cleaned/medicated in the wash rack (also first time).
Monday turned into an unexpected car shopping day so my goals of riding horses everyday was shot but I figured one day wouldn't kill me. Then Tuesday I brought Jade to the house to do round pen work and she just lost her cool. It was like she'd never worked with me before so I guess I'd say the good things were she was forward and responsive? We definitely have a ways to go and even though I know we need to do some work, it was rough seeing her in shock.
Wednesday the Hubs decided to go actually GET a car he'd found coupled with Tuesday's football practice being moved from Tuesday to Wednesday. I did put on riding clothes and went to kiddo's football practice in silent protest (and optimism). Practice was out at 8:00PM and I had convinced myself I could get dinner, eat it, set the kid on his path to bed, do the barn, then come home and ride one of the "good" horses. I got everything done except riding so I guess that's a win? I also worked with Jade in the barn aisle on some ground work and she was super polite. Very yes ma'am and attentive without the worry we'd ended with on Tuesday so that was good. I just have to remember that it'll go faster with her since she's not really "broken" than it did with Arthur or Nigel.
Today is Thursday so that's Amanda lesson day and I should be able to ride Katy I think as well as some ground work with Jade before wrapping up the evening. Fingers crossed my real life doesn't get in the way :)
Also, I've decided I really need to work on a name for Grey Horse so I don't look lazy/heartless when people ask his name. I thought Patrick was the front runner but now Ian is passing it so that might actually be it. We'll see. I suck at naming things.
Also, also, the barn guy FINALLY got me some numbers and I basically just decided on the dog area add on. If I can move them over out of the stall area that will give me four 10x20 stalls to use and I might get brave and have an aisle added on to that so that I can have a true shedrow. My plan is to have them out as much as possible so spending all the $$ for a "real" barn/big barn doesn't make logical sense to me right now.
Some cool things I bought this week:
I also tried out Riding Warehouse for the first time this week and it was good. Super fast shipping and good prices so yeah. Go RW!
Final thought is man, I'm tired. I get that I should be but this is a bit ridiculous. I realized the last time I was this bad off it was low iron so I broke out my old anemia things and it's helped out. I'm trying to find the desire to lose weight/look better in the saddle/feel better/blah blah blah but with everything going on I'm not terribly motivated to lose those 10 pounds I've gained from being reckless this summer. It'll come off but I just can't focus on making all the good choices right now. Soon though. ><
Well grey horse has survived his first 24 (ish) hours at the house in the round pen, happily eating grass, hay, and drinking his water. I tossed a fly sheet on him and he's been happy and chillaxing until we head to Pine Hill Sunday AM. I didn't know how he was to catch, but obviously he's slightly herd bound based on what he did during loading on Friday and his wistful looks at Mango and Katy in the pasture. I didn't want to deal with him being bleh to catch AND bleh to load, so he camped in the pen all weekend (and hence no Jade lunging).
Sunday AM was muggy but he was chipper and game to come out of the round pen until he realized he was going back into "the box." There was NOOO way that was happening in his mind so we had a pretty big brawl as he knew I had no backups to assist with loading him. Just him and me and he was going to win. After about 15 minutes of throwing a fit in practically every way a horse can over loading, he finally just sighed and followed me calmly in.
Crazy new lady has weird loading skills. Sad pony.
We hit the road and an hour later we were unloading. He was chill and reasonably alert to the new place but not spooky or weird. I tied him up and began the dressing of the horse. I'd put his Majyk boots on BEFORE the loading war as I anticipated him being silly and didn't want him to strike himself and end this party before it got started. I had placed both my saddles on him before I took him Friday and they were within acceptable tolerances so today was actually trying out which girth, half pad or no, and other such things.
The only jumping/all purpose pads I've been using are the Roma Cross Country ones which have their own nice padding built in, so I grabbed that, tossed my new Thin Line on top of that and worked on where the Chiberta needed to be on his back with the Total Saddle Fit girth. I sound like a tack whore in this paragraph but there it is. The Fleeceworks pad was just too much.. fluff or something so I left it in the trailer. His bridle naturally fit except I noticed that his flash was basically just buckled and dangling there on the tightest hole. Derp.
The fit with the pads seemed adequate so I girthed it up and started looking for Amanda. She'd been at her trailer on human foot when I drove looking for a spot earlier, so I went in search for a mounting block. The gate to the course was open so I started heading to the nearest steps but then someone closed the gate so I was like rawr and headed to the gate and let myself out on the course. There was a nice stump so we walked to that. Once I got there, I realized the thing was really rotted out on the far side and looked about again. At this point I was at the bottom of the hill and was like eff it and found a log jump and just used that. Grey pony was alert but so patient. I also had my stirrups WAYYYY short so he was forced to endure me fixing that while he looked interestedly at all the jumps around us.
After the epic mounting block issue, I wandered back up the hill to find Amanda or signs of her (her dog normally lols). Two groups of people were in the woods so I debated hitting the water jump but was all nooo, not supposed to school alone. With Katy I KNOW she'll do it, but with Grey Horse I couldn't guarantee he wouldn't do something stupid so we just walked and walked and walked. I finally decided to just warm him up and see if I could dressage him. Within 10 minutes we were dressaging hard and I was working on loosening up his stiff right jaw. NBD.
We went back to the shade to wait. A set of parents came over and asked about Amanda and I was like *shrug* she'll show. The talked to me about themselves and their daughter, horses, things they'd done in eventing, places they'd been, drama they'd seen, and so on. I was a bit in awe of how involved these parents were but I just can't relate. I've been an island too long, fought my demons for so long, and forged my own path so long I guess I don't have time for that. Things that impress me don't normally impress other people and vice versus. I'm broken that way.
I also pointed out that I'd never, ever done a USEA (or USCTA if we want to be old school wut) event. Like ever. I think they were a little flabberghasted at my background in general but were super sweet and tried hard to make me socialize. It got even more fun when they asked me about Grey Horse. "I got him Friday." I said simply and they were like oh, uh. Mkay.... They tried to ask me sweet things like his name (unno yet) and the like but I suck at all that. Yay island awkwardness.
Amanda showed up with the other woodsy group, soaked in sweat and came over to greet us (more them as it was their first time training with her after previous trainer drama or something). ISLANDS DUN CARE. We warmed up and Grey Horse was brill. There was a point I just wanted to gallop the field but I was good. More or less. The teenager had to do some course remembering and I reminded Amanda I had no brain cells right then so just keep it easy (pleases). We did two logs strung together and Grey Horse was super duper keen and totally knew what was up. I was also stuck to my saddle like awesomesauce so it was pretty epic. THEN Amanda added a coop as we were heading back. Grey Horse was like yasssss and charged a bit at it but it was doable.
Next was the water jump and he did fine with a tiny rolltop into the water and then... the log happened. It was TINY, like... GAG tiny and he went straight up beastmode on it. I hadn't had this happen in like... FOREVER so I tried to half halt him (luls) and he just charged on ahead with me being all rawr. I felt totally in control and confident (yay me!) but Amanda pointed out to not fight with him. After a few more tries of charging the snot out of that log, we did a passably sane jump and moved onto the woods. I did curse loudly over the first ridiculous attempt and then was like OOPS TEENAGER PRESENT but whatever. Hopefully she's not scarred for life but you know, life and all that. Back in the woods the teenager did most the work and we lounged in the shade. Grey Horse had moments where he was like ME TOO but then chillaxed back out easily.
Very fun to be on a game horse that knows its job again.
The next/last thing we did was another small log in the middle of the woods and I just kept steady, whispered nice whoas and steady boys and Grey Horse was like ohhhhh just be cool about it and he did. Great jump and we walked back. Very fun but low key outing and I'm looking forward to things. Amanda wants us showing in October (woot) at GAG (whatevers, I'll take it) and I felt fantastic about our abilities to dressage all the things.
Only drawback is my saddle pad configuration rubbed Grey Horse's ample withers slightly so I'm going to have to sort that out. I don't think that means new saddle (oh gosh, please nooooo) but I'm going to have to figure it out this week.
If you're wondering, once we were all hosed off and somewhat dry, Grey Horse loaded behind me like a lamb on the first walk up. Grey Horse is no dummy.
So I tried the grey horse on Friday. He was a bit underwhelming when I first saw him droopy lipped and comatose in a bucket in his stall while on my way to find the trainer. When we came back to him, he only woke up slightly to allow me to check all his legs out and for her to point some melanomas out. His back has a scar and I wanted to be all "eww!" about it, but then I recalled that Piper has a HUGE divot taken out of her neck to no ill effects so I just moved on. His rear is a bit.. off. He sticks his left leg out at an angle while torques his stifle when he's resting. He also likes to camp under himself basically whenever he can. Other than that, he checked out ok so we moved onto the riding part.
The trainer rode first per my request and I had her walk/trot/canter him, jump him, and even do some lateral work on his "bad" side just to see if it altered how he moved. In reality, no it didn't. I couldn't fault the fellow in really any way at all so I climbed on. He was pretty ready at this point (maybe 10 minutes, MAYBE) to get back to his stall for some sleepy droopy lip time but with some slight leg pressure he was like UGH FINE and we headed off. I was able to get him on the bit for a little bit and then his jaw tightened a little on me. I chalked it up to me not knowing his buttons and honestly, I wasn't there to learn to ride him. I knew he could do soft, drooly faced on the bit things based on what he'd done with the trainer.
I eased him into a trot and boy did he trot! I haven't been on a horse this forward in FOREVER and while my annoying brain wanted to go OH NO WE'RE GOING TO DIE, my instincts and previous TB experienced easily overrode it and I kind of felt like I was home. It was easy and no, it wasn't him in particular, but the memory of horses from my past and the ease that it was to ride them came flooding back and I thought yes, I can do this. Grey horse was cantered both ways, trotted both ways, I messed up diagonals on purpose to see what he'd do (he slowed down and was like no, you're doing it wrong), and we then trotted a taller crossrail. Jumping him was probably the thing I was dreading most but I knew it was stupid to NOT do it while I tried him. Just something small! but my a-hole brain the whole time was shoving doubt "maybe you can only jump Katy, maybe you suck at jumping, this is a weird saddle, maybe you only jump in your saddle!" So yeah, my brain sucks but I was able to easily jump him over that jump and was pretty smug about it.
Suck it brain!
We finished up and I made my original offer with supporting reasons and the trainer called the owners. Shortly after they accepted and we did the paperwork dance. The trainer was super sweet and the previous owners were wanting to unload all his gear as well. I honestly don't like to have tons of things (despite how my garage looks right now), so I only took his daily bridle and a set of cross country boots (Majyk Equipe) as Amanda had told me we were schooling Pine Hill Sunday if I bought him.
It made sense to at least have a bridle and boots for the occasion.
Trying to load grey horse was a little heartbreaking. For him. He saw the trailer and was like uhhh, pass. I swung the rope at him and he slammed it backwards while I kept light pressure on him and he attempted to drag me backwards and then.. towards his stall. NOPE CANT MAKE ME!!! After releasing him towards the trailer a handful of times, he figured out the trailer was the right answer and stood staring at it, then me, then the ramp, then sighed and loaded himself.
Sorry fellow, party's over.
We made the trip home that night and he pigged out in the round pen until Sunday AM!
So basically, I can sum this acquisition up in a single clip of a conversation with the husband:
H: Is he what you wanted?
Me: No, I have that at the barn (Jade). He's simply what I need.
Its not romantic, its not fairytales and friesians (but then again, THAT wasn't even a POW moment), but he's simply what I need and I look forward to our future together, unromantic as I'm sure it'll be ;)
That title will probably come up badly if anyone feels inspired to search for this post on Google, but whatever. Its not like I'm gunning for any followers and am probably the main reader of this train wreck lol.
But yes, Sexy Black Horse is sexy, I'll admit it now. I guess that was never in question really but my version of "sexy" is normally "reliable, dependable, intelligent, etc" so its probably not super accurate as the general public sees things. She's attractive to look at without a doubt, but what I'm seeing underneath has me sold.
Jade is basically the half of me that people don't see in public really. She's goofy, she's wicked smart, sometimes fails epically but owns it without batting an eye. She's a giant black goober of a horse that will try her heart out if she understands what the mission is. I really am thrilled to have her in my life and she's always enthusiastic to see me (yes, even without food) and is showing me how game she can be. Even for a light draft horse.
When I picked out a breed, I wanted versatile, willing, smart and durable. I knew Friesians were supposed to be people critters too and Jade definitely is all of these things. What has me really loving her though is the issues we're dealing with. Her canter WAS great(ish) in PA, but since I've got her its mostly been a buck into it (if I'm lucky) and then we trot on. She's not happy cantering and I needed to work on that since the rest of it is looking gor-geous (for a 4 year old).
So we are hitting the round pen.
So many people have asked me about this and if I'd do my "horsemanship" things with her and yes, I am. Granted she's not in serious boot camp like my "problem" horses were/are but she's much more respectful, responsive, and willing than when I first got her. And yes, less spoiled brat and more partner. Even as a goobery 4 year old. Learning to canter in the round pen is just about the first "real" session we've done though as I've fit the rest in mostly during our normal chores.
Why the round pen? Well, its either me or her or both that can't get this cantering under saddle. She was also trained with A LOT of leg and while I could be in better shape strength wise, its not my mission in life to pony kick a 1400lb horse through a dressage test. I want my horses doing two things under saddle always: maintain speed and direction. Jade's not super good at either really. So we've been hitting the round pen. The goals are work on her transitions, her responsiveness, her fitness, and her willingness to just try even if it might mess up. I knew she wasn't a "program" horse or else I wouldn't be in possession of her so here we are. This is how I know to break things into small bite sized pieces and move onward.
The first day was rough. I decided to use my pen at the house as its much bigger than the one at the barn as well as having much much much better and level footing. I inadvertently forgot my lunge whip at the barn though and had to use my "trainer stick" for this event (heavy and less reach for me). Having tack in 3+ locations sucks. We get in the pen and she's all SWEET GRASS! And thus we begin moving off when I ask (huge shock to her). After our first trailer loading "issue" months ago, I know how stoic she can be so this exercise required a lot more output on my part initially, but by the end she was eagerly changing directions facing me, resting when asked, and trotting continuously. Her canter was... difficult... but we got it in both directions and I rewarded her for being so clever. We did also work on her semi-habitual kicking out and bucking when asked for transitions and you could see she was like whaaa? really this is bad? mkay... maybe no more of that.
While I was sweating balls and out of breath in this 30 minute session.
She then got a nice bath in our driveway and began the path to learning to ground tie for reals. She did SOOO well and I realized at this point how much she'd learned from being at the barn and all our mini lessons just being around me. Bath was done and I tossed her back into the round pen with a pat to actually graze while I rode Katy. She watched me for the longest time but finally decided to graze but was always attentive whenever I was on the move. Such a good girl. Beth > Food? Maybe.
We did round two a few days later and I remembered the lunge whip this time. Jade remembered what to do in the round pen. Smart horse is smart (y). This time it was much much much better than last time and I think the total time we worked was like 15 minutes. She remembered all the direction things, the responsiveness things, skipped the kicking out 90% of the time, and happily cantered to the right. I began systematically rewarding for 2 strides of canter and pretty soon she was all, oh you like TWO strides? How about the WHOLE THING!? I let her rest at that point and told her she was so clever. To the left however, she's just not as balanced BUT she did try. Like whoa. Even getting tired, even with cross cantering, she didn't kick out and just kept trying to offer SOMETHING until it was righter. Once we got a few up transitions (immediately back down of course), I let her rest and told her she was so clever again. Another ground tied bath (only one correction!) and she was a happy camper.
I'm going to continue this path and work to riding her in the pen with a transition to the open. It shouldn't take long and I like that this HUGE canter issue is so easy to resolve like this. No it won't be perfect, but if she just understands "canter until I say something else," my life will be sooo much easier. We're also going to start hacking at the trot soon to start building more muscle and work on transitions. Her lateral work is sooo nice and its obviously so much easier for her so we'll add that in to make her feel spiff.
And my legs will be happy!
I'm not exactly sure what it is about my life right now, but I guess this "going with the flow" is really working for me. I'd been wondering about the Katy thing pretty hardcore since the start of July and now with her latest issues its become more of a concern to which I had little to answer with.
On Facebook, I used to follow TONS of horses for sale groups. I realized after getting Jade that I had no interest in that anymore and needed to focus on my guys so I unfollowed anything that came up with horses for sale. Yes, even CANTER Texas (although that made me rather sad). I did it though!
So it was a bit odd (fortuitous?) that when I woke up early on Sunday AM to head to herding with the dogs that I just happen to log in long enough to see an ad for a Beginner Novice horse for sale. I checked it out real fast (the price was reasonable I thought) and I watched a snippet of the flat work video and though wow, what a nice fellow! I closed my phone real fast and bolted out the door.
The drive to herding is about 45 minutes but that was enough for my stupid brain to get to thinking. He WAS a nice horse. Calm, happy, a little short in the rear but basically a touch more advanced than Katy was and much younger (without being a young horse). At a stoplight, I pulled the ad up again and he'd qualified for the AECs this year and I thought wow, I could hit the ground running if I swapped Katy's spot for him... hmm.
I headed to herding.
While there (the lady I work with has had cutting horses FOREVER), I worked my dogs and the idea grew on me. I could get him, sell Katy (maybe Mango too??) and come out ahead. This boy wouldn't take me to Rolex (nor do I want to go as a competitor!) but he'll be fun, safe, and I won't be starting over from scratch. Which, when I realized that, that's my biggest fear with getting yet another horse. Retraining AGAIN. I always feel like I'm in the same place, training the basics and letting them go once they're going. When do I get to have the fun?
We watched his videos and she said I needed to get him. I agreed (hard to argue with that lol). I made the call and had my list of things that would rule him out of my desire at the ready for the call back. Along the way home, the trainer called my back and we had a nice chat. He doesn't crib, he's a good boy, he's been shown by a 15 year old that's lost interest, and I can't really find much wrong with him even with the trainer talking (good and bad) about him. Honestly, there wasn't anything I would find bad about him and he sounded like a nice step up from Katy that I'd really enjoy.
I got home and debated telling the Hubs. Its hard to say how he's going to take these things (he's mostly given up at this point). I decided to just tell him and explained the Katy issue, plus that I would sell Katy ASAP after getting a replacement, and he was like "Do it." and that was how it was. I got the call back from the trainer (I'd offered a lower amount than the asking and wanted to know if we're in the same ballpark as the owners) and we made arrangements for me to come try him this upcoming Friday (after we discussed his Xcountry faults on USEA). I have a dog show in north Dallas, so this is on the way. I'm taking the horse trailer with me so if it works out, I'll grab him on my way back home Sunday. If it doesn't, I'll keep my eyes out for something similar but honestly, I haven't' seen anything like him in a really, really, really long time. I think this may be the start of something really fun. Fingers crossed!
For Katy, we'll work on selling her ASAP once I have a replacement. I think she's too valuable to some awesome kiddo that wants to learn to ride or for some lesson program that would love a horse that can do lunge line lessons and teach people to jump up to 2'6" here and there. For me though, she's not what I need nor was she ever. I'm grateful for how tolerant she's been of everything and look forward to working her until we get this all sorted out in everyone's best interests.
Meanwhile I'm brushing up on my USEA rules and upcoming shows. A girl can dream in fast forward, right? (I'll be happy to just go schooling lol)
This is more a quick note to followup from Thursday about Katy.
So I rode Katy at the house. The point was more to ride in the saddle again before deciding "for real" to keep it or not. I picked up Jade from the barn, brought her to the house and we did some really good (but exhausting) round pen work. She enjoyed her time grazing in the paddock before I had to take her back. After working Jade, I rode Katy in the saddle.
At first it was ok, but within 5 minutes of just walking on a loose rein, Katy was tired and lightly dragging her toes again. I did some stretching warmup type exercises and she worked better but it would happen here and there ever so slightly. We worked through the trot and then canter and she was lovely, but despite her desire to work hard, I could tell it was difficult for her and we weren't really doing anything tough nor was it particularly hot. We ended on a good note after 30 minutes and she's working really really well but I'm just not completely sure what to do at this point for myself. I guess I can work on her fitness or maybe just accept that she needs to teach some kids to jump/ride and be happy doing lesson horse things. I never bought her to be an event horse so despite her loving the work, its probably not fair to keep pushing her to be what I need.
Not so sure what to do... I can start reworking with Piper but with her having Baby 2.0 next year, its going to be a short lived workout for us both. Just when I get her in shape and good, she'll be on maternity leave. Things will work out, but I sure hope I don't wreck Katy... I do think the supplement swap has affected her though and I will change that ASAP back to how it was. It definitely helped her but long term I don't think relying on the supplements is enough to keep her sound and happy with where I'm going. She's never had more aggressive treatments like hock injections nor do I feel prepared to do something like that with a horse like this. Its just Green as Grass/Beginner Novice so I mean, come on.
I may or may not have waited patiently while waiting for the saddle to come to me this past week. I suppose it wasn't that I was SOOO excited to part with my money or SOOO excited about how epic I was going to be of a rider suddenly (doubtful), it was more the fact that the shipper got the saddle to the UPS store basically the same day I ordered it and then... it SAT there. I get that there was the weekend, but holy cripes it took forever for it to even make it to the postal center. At that point it was less dramatic except that it was due to arrive TODAY. This is also LESSON DAY. I really, really, really wanted to try it out over jumps and its way easier to do this when someone else is setting the jumps and making you do things. I guess I should mention that our UPS guy normally comes around 6pm or 8pm.
So the saddle clocked in at my house at 3:26pm and I left work about 4:15pm to head out to get kiddo and get things ready at the house for my lesson and kiddo's football practice. The saddle was there (of course) and I unwrapped my Devoucoux from the Voltaire box (what world am I in?!) and checked it out. Honestly... it wasn't that impressive. I'm getting used to the look of monoflaps but this wasn't super over the top exciting. It was well made, sure but whatever. I put it in the tack room of the trailer, noted that the cover smelled like previous owners (gross), and started getting ready for the lesson.
Since I'm insane, I decided to take Katy for the lesson and then grab Jade on the way to ride BOTH in the covered arena this evening. Loading Jade didn't take much time though and we were at the arena at about 6:30p for the 7p lesson. Not bad :) I tacked up Katy and the saddle seemed a bit too roomy for her in the shoulders but the rest was ok. I left Jade tied to the trailer for the first time ever and hopped on Katy. Immediately the saddle was much better balanced. I just trotted Katy around in it and it was fine. We started cantering and that's when I knew this was a great saddle - everything was effortless PLUS my legs were already starting to burn on fire from the effort. It was wonderful but also ominous.
Long lesson ahead yo.
Today was our dreaded one jump exercise where I manage to mangle it in about 3253465 ways. Granted these are tiny things, but I'm still trying to do all the things correctly. I'm just mean to myself like that. Jump was ok and I realized about 5000 things on my list were solved with my better saddle position. The next go around Katy WAY over jumped the jump and I... was stuck even firmer in the saddle and felt like a boss. No ERHMERGAHDYING moments. Just.stuck.
We continued the rest of the lesson with me basically worrying less about things I didn't have to worry about fixing anymore and focusing more on offense type things. It was a really nice feeling to have control over my body and it was... easy. Even if my legs were in tears by the end. SUCK IT UP GUYS! And yes, the saddle will be staying.
One thing though, I'd been struggling with using Katy for jumping and my abuse as I like. While the new saddles are WONDERFUL, I'm finding myself started to outpace Katy and had been debating if it was really fair to make her be this horse I needed her to be. Jade is a wonderful challenge, but I got her more for dressage and yes, I'm wanting to do some eventing (especially to get in shape physically and mentally) so I can rock things in the future. She's also a "baby" horse in that she needs a lot more training to be roadready. I've already spent so many years with Katy that its "there" now and we're "doing the things (jumping/dressage/etc)."
During this lesson, Katy was having a lot of issues with knuckling over in her hind end and even tripping at one point (she caught herself but still). This is really not like her, but I've had issues in the past when she starts to get tired where she cross canters and other similar things. I could get her in better shape but that's not really a great pathway with such an older horse in my mind. I'll ride her some more this weekend and see if it crops up again. I did also switch her supplements a little but this seems a bit extreme for something simple like that. Oh and she was coughing A LOT more... supplement swap issue though?