Thursday, January 29, 2015

Clipping Envy

I'm not gonna lie, I've become increasingly jealous of all of you that get to clip your ponies for the winter.  Chloe is pasture boarded at my barn and she is happiest living outside, but despite my best efforts to layer the blankets, she is a woolly mammoth beast.  Which means that any time she works, she sweats and it takes FOR-EV-ER (channeling my best Sandlot voice here). for her to dry off.  So while my pony spends cold, sweaty evenings like this:

Jumper Pony says Jumpers do not have to do matchy matchy.

Slobbercicles.  So hot right now.

I dream of the sleek, hairless pony that doesn't even break a sweat.   The last time I clipped a horse was my Holteiner/TB mare Roxy circa 2007?  And we were pretty plain.
Where is my helmet?!

Nowadays, there's all sorts of fun designs to for your pony to wear. Like leopard print.  Wouldn't Chloe love to be in Chloe's Mom love her in leopard print?  Or zebra?

Since Chloe must continue to be a hairy wildebeest until April or May, I will just have to settle for drooling over some of my favorite clip jobs to help me get through the next few months.

Star Pony!

My favorite.

Or maybe we could be a zebra...

Reverse Star Pony.

Island Escape.

Love the wings on the Friesian!

Or perhaps a giraffe pattern for my giraffe pony....


Classic horse skeletal structure.

 Does your horse have any fun clip design this winter or do you share in my hairy wildebeest misery?

Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Ride A Giraffe

My OTTB Chloe is convinced that the proper way for a horse to work under saddle is to lift her head as high as possible, hollow her back, and trot as fast as possible.  She also thinks horses should get bonus points for flinging their front legs like a Saddlebred.  Essentially, trying to ride Chloe is a lot like trying to ride a giraffe.

The problem is, the horse I ride now is not the same horse that I went to try.  And I'm pretty sure it's my fault.  Before Chloe I spent 4 years riding and training a Warmblood/TB cross that under saddle was very much a warmblood in that she took a lot of leg and needed me to be heavier in my hands than my current, sensitive fire-breathing dragon/giraffe Thoroughbred.

This is the Wonder Pony that I rode on trial.

And here is the Wonder Pony a few weeks ago (note:  Chloe was VERY fresh that day!)

See how she used to go calmly and quietly on a longish rein?  Now she goes on a rather short rein and very anxious.

So, how exactly do you turn your giraffe back into a horse?  Folks, we've been working on this for a year and a half now.  Chloe thinks that any sort of leg pressure means OHMYGOD!  MUST BOLT FORWARD!  WHAT IS THAT THING ON MY SIDE?!!  MAYBE I CAN OUT RUN IT.  IT'S FOLLOWING MEEEE!  THERE'S NO ESCAPE!!!  AHHH!  And in my experience, those are the horses that need more leg than you think.  Plus, it's so counter-intuitive to put leg on a horse that is already trotting it's legs off and wants to go even faster when that scary leg touches their side.

We had sort of an AHA! moment this last week.  I have a tendency to tense up on the reins and take my leg off when Chloe decides to hollow her back and rush in whatever gait we are in.  Not only does Chloe not like to be held, my right arm gets super tired because she is stiff on that side.  This last week I finally figured out that if I LET GO OF HER FACE (still support, but UNLOCK THOSE ELBOWS) and support with the hands as I squeeze with the leg that she actually goes like a horse instead of a giraffe.  We still have a long way to go, but there is definite improvement and I feel a little less guilty about ruining my horse.

Have you had any AHA! moments with your pony lately?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hello There!

Hello!  After binge reading several horsey blogs over the last month or so, I decided, "Hey.  This is kind of cool.  Maybe I should get in on this."  So here I am.  Brand spanking new to this whole blogging thing.  So I thought perhaps I should start out by sharing a little bit about myself!

I currently live in Kansas.  I know, right?!  KANSAS.  Blech.  But really, it's not that bad, other than the sometimes bipolar weather.  It's kind of flat, but it has it's own beauty about it.  I grew up in Western Washington and after what I like to refer to as my "Quarter Life Crisis", I packed up and moved to Hawaii where I met my husband, married him, and then followed him wherever the military sent us which included San Antonio for a year and now to Manhattan, Kansas a.k.a The "Little Apple" (Get it?!)  I have two bonded house bunnies named Heff and August and an OTTB mare named Chloe.

                                     August is the grey female with the uppity ears 
                              and Heff is the brown harlequin male with the floppy ears.

                                                               Heffie Naps!

                                                             Cute August!

House Bunnies are kind like cats in that they don't really like anything unless it is their idea.  Also, my house bunnies are litter box trained so they pretty much get free roam of a bedroom when I am not home and full access to the house when I am home.  Heff came from a backyard breeder in Hawaii that was essentially a rescue as they had way too many bunnies that were all crammed into hutches.  A year later, I decided that Heff needed a friend to keep him company during the working hours of the day, so I went to the Hawaii Humane Society where August was the only bunny they had at the time.  They both moved to San Antonio from Hawaii with us and later moved to Kanas.  They are both very well traveled! 

                        The Diva Horse: Chloe.  Show Name: Whiskey Makes Me Frisky

                                                               Wearing breakfast.

                                                         Napping in breakfast.

                                          Diva Pony and her fancy quarter sheet

And then there is Chloe.  When I moved to Hawaii, I had to sacrifice the Holsteiner/TB cross mare that I had at the time.  Shipping her wasn't really an option because I didn't think she would fare well on a boat and I knew I couldn't afford to fly her.  I was horseless for 5 years and was bound and determined to get back to riding once my feet hit the mainland.  

Enter Chloe.  I was cruising Dreamhorse in between emailing out resumes in San Antonio, just kind of looking for a project to put some work into and then turn around.  And then I laid my eyes on this mare.  She was in the turnaround project price range but when I met her I knew she would not be a turnaround.  She is one of the smartest, sassiest, diva horses I have ever worked with and even though we have our disagreements from time to time, she is special.  Chloe is a coming 8 year old OTTB who never raced but appeared to have some sort of track training.  She will eventually be a jumper and we are going to venture out to our first schooling shows this year.

These are my Fur Kids.  And I love them.  They make my life complete and I can't imagine my world without them.   

And that's essentially me!