Sunday, November 27, 2011

Senior Pictures (And, Inevitably, Future Plans)

I am a homeschooled, high school student.
I attended public school from Kindergarten-10th grade.

I raise chickens.
 Then I decided I'd had enough. I'm homeschooling myself this year and I love it. When I planned my homeschool year, I realized that I could easily obtain the necessary credits, and graduate a year early.
And so, these are my senior pictures....

I considered what I wanted to do... go away to college to study equine science? Equine business management? Go to Colorado and work on a ranch? Go to Canada and study for 8 months? And what about Daisy?

My plans as of now are this:

I plan on studying business at a community college here in town, to gain some knowledge in how to run a business, business background, etc.  At the same time, I'm going to head up to Canada for a 10 day natural trimmer course taught by Lisa Huhn, of Equinextion ( While taking college classes, I'll apprentice under my own trimmer here in town who is certified in Lisa's methods.

I've played violin since third grade
Repeat for 2013, at which point I'll go for another trimmer course and continue apprenticing. 
Our 11-year old dog, Abby. ♥
So yes. I'm pursuing my passion, which just happens to be feet. I'm hoping to help restore the horse world's hooves to the way God originally intended them to be. 

Eventually, I hope to have my own farm. It will be an 'all natural' approach type of farm. But that is for another day :)

For now, I'm Florida-bound for a week of fun in the sun (and possibly some riding?!). Daisy is over at Jenny's farm again where she's well taken care of, not that this really keeps me from worrying about her ;).  She has a pasture buddy for the week, a bay mare named Jolee. Jolee tried to put on a show for Daisy today. Daisy flat out ignored her. Like the scene in Black Beauty where Beauty  puts on a show for Ginger, who just ignores it. ;) 

That's all for now :) Talk to you all in a week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blogging Failure

I looked through my photos and realized...blogger failure that I have become, I missed out on posting a lot of stuff!

In August, I boarded Daisy at a friend's house a few minutes away. I had a lot of fun riding trails with her and her two mares. Daisy spent a bit of time each day out in a big grassy pasture:

 We cantered over logs on our good mares through the woods:
Some days I cavorted through the woods on lovely Miss Phoebe, Katie's horse:
She's a halflinger. She has the quickest little trot. LOVE her! Such a good girl.

We went up and down hills, pausing to enjoy the marvelous view:

  (These are all cell-phone shots. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera along that day)
When it came time to bring Daisy home, I decided to mix it up with my easily-bored horse and ride her home. It's about a 4.5 mile ride; not long, but it includes a huge hill. Unfortunately, I have no picture of it, but believe me, it's big. So big that we often have different weather on the top of it than at the base. Daisy's leg muscles are very used to hills, as we ride hills all over the place every day, but this was easily the biggest one we've ever ridden. ;)
Just below our house, on the base of the hill, is a small hamlet. Just houses, a hairdressers shop, a gas station and convenience store, and an ice cream/barbecue place. I've always wanted to ride down in summer and to get ice cream and ride back ;). I never did that, but I finally had the opportunity to ride Daisy through the little village anyway. 

Daisy likes being ridden and has a lot of energy, but when she does the same thing or rides in the same place often, she gets lazy and uninterested. Understandable. Riding through the town made her completely excited! She had her ears forward the whole time and walked forward with an energetic step. We left at 9 am I believe. It was just under a mile ride from Katie's house to the hamlet, and then we rode through. Our first shocker came when we went to pass behind the convenience store and Daisy heard the air conditioner going, and I think she associated it as coming from the garbage Dumpster behind the building. She backed nervously into the street and tried to spin. I attempted to calmly talk her out of it for a bit, but eventually I gave up and got off her and hand walked her around the dumpster, placing myself between her and the Dumpster, as my riding instructor once taught me when I was little. 
Once past, I got back on. We passed the playground below, situated at the bottom of the hill. Daisy thought it looked suspicious. 
We passed a cow farm. We couldn't see any cows, but all of a sudden the stench hit us like a wall, and Daisy's nostrils flared and she looked all around her. She wanted to spook, but she couldn't tell where the scary thing was! So funny ;) I urged her on, and she complied. She marched full of energy up the big hill. She didn't spook anymore. 
Once we reached the top and went along a little ways, she suddenly recognized where we were, a place we'd ridden in the past, and her interest in the ride was gone instantly. She walked slower, her head hung low, and she walked relaxed back home the last mile and a half. 
 She was such a good mare though!
I love trying new things with Daisy, taking her or riding her in new places. She gets excited and interested, and that makes it fun for me too! I hope we ride through the hamlet again sometime. Maybe if we do it enough, she'll get over it and we can get ice cream ;). 

My brother got engaged to the lovely Stormy in August, and in September I took them both on a ride at Jean's farm. 
From left to right:
Me on Phoenix, Markus on Scout, and Stormy on Buttercup

 (The happy couple got married in October)

I've been enjoying Daisy, as always. I drove her often in September and October. I haven't driven her in weeks now; my driving-helper's schedule and mine haven't meshed all that well. Saturday her and two other girls from our pony club are coming over to drive Daisy with me; fingers crossed she behaves after over a month off from driving. I think she will; she always surprises me with how quickly she picks up something again, even after time off. I have a video of us driving that I've posted to youtube. I haven't posted it to the blog yet, but I'm preparing a compilation post and it will be in it. 

Daisy has been on Mare Magic for a few weeks now. It's a supplement for mares; literally just raspberry leaves. It had a lot of good reviews, so I'm trying it. It's hard to gauge whether it's working or not, but I have a feeling it is. She's been more pleasurable to ride lately. 
Daisy yesterday as we embarked on our ride: 
Today I got on her bareback with just a halter and reins for a quick ride up and down the driveway a couple times in the rain. I've been incorporating voice commands into all our rides; Daisy responds well to whoa, trot-trot, canter (pronounced caaaann-ter!), and back. It's made rides so much more relaxed! I still use my reins sometimes from canter to stop, but it's not as much of a struggle; I sit deep in the saddle and say "and waaaalkk" as I exhale, and she slows. She listens to "easy", as well, when I ask her to settle into a more controlled canter. Today, with only the halter, I used voice commands  the entire ride. I picked up the reins a couple times to reinforce commands, but I never have to jerk back hard; it's a slight movement of my finger, and I get a response. She's incredible! At the end, I backed her with no rein pressure, just repeating "back" over and over, and sidepassed her both ways as I said "step-over" and used my leg pressure. It's so awesome to ride like that!
Then I stopped her and gave her a hug, did a cycle of 'around the world' ;), and stood on her back for a few seconds. This all with her standing feet from the gate, where she normally just wants to walk to. She stood stalk-still. Good mare!!!

I've been giving weekly (weather and health permitting) riding lessons to a 10 year old. 
My mom graciously drove me out to pick up a kid's saddle I found on craigslist for $50. Worth the purchase! The leather was a little dry, but after two times of oiling it, it's supple and wonderful. 

Lastly, Daisy knows the word 'cookie' now. I'll let you see her reaction ;) (and this coming from the mare who has her ears pinned back 90% of the time):

It's a shame that I was so negligent about posting stuff this summer. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Tribute to Laddie ♥

Some horses come into our lives and quickly go, but others leave hoof prints on our hearts that will never fade. . . 
June 2010
In the later half of 2009, my 4H leader aquired Ladd, a ~17hh thoroughbred gelding of 7 years. Ladd had successfully evented up to Training level all over the country, from New York to Florida, until he suffered a suspensory injury and ended up at Jean's.
She began riding him in October of that year after he'd rehabbed. I remember the first time I saw her ride him, and she let me get on and take him for a short cool-down spin. Whoa was my first impression. He's *so* big! And his strides were huge and long and smooth.
June 2010
In spring of 2010, I rode Ladd a few times a week to get him started for Jean. I rode him in the arena and on trails. Most rides gave me something to 'write home about'. 

In September of that year, I took Ladd to a show; probably his first open show. After getting it together, he won first in two of the three classes we rode in.
First Show together; September 2010

Hunter Hack in the rain; first place. 9/10

June 2011
Jean said I could take him to fair for English day this year. I was pretty excited. :) 
Prepping for county fair!
I spent five weeks riding him about five days a week, sometimes more. 
I'm not saying every ride was wonderful . . . We had one ride where I got off at the end and could only think What. Was that all about?!
And then those road rides where we found ourselves backing into a ditch because 'we' couldn't handle walking back to the farm?. . . 
But he was my first experience with a typical thoroughbred. And holy cow! Do I have respect for people who ride them. He's sooo incredibly talented, but it's completely different to ride them. Their minds! So opposite everything I was used to up until him. 
I had such fun riding Ladd; I love my Daisy, but Ladd is different. Taller, more leggy, more dressagy, more flowing, more forward, and he makes jumping so easy. Some videos from this summer as we prepped for county fair:
We had a jump lesson the week before fair. What I said about him being opposite? I learned how to jump him. Want to slow down after a jump? Go ahead, pull back on your reins, but he'll only go faster. And he's likely to take off and jump a standard. Which yes, he did. We didn't clear it ;) I was completely humiliated, but I got it through my head, that the only way to slow him was essentially not to try.... the only way was to sit up straight and tall and quiet. Once I slowed all the motion of my body, he was a different horse and slowed down. Crazy! 
And then it was fair. The first class after showmanship I don't think we placed, he was getting used to it all, but after that we were in top placings all day. 
The last jump

Ladd and I with Jean during the schooling portion

Yep. I'm destined to jump off-center.
I was very happy with our class over-fences. Despite his eventing background, the judge loved him as a hunter horse. And we placed first! It wasn't a perfect course, but watching the video of it, I feel like it was pretty close :)
For some reason the jump below made all the horses antsy. Many refused during the schooling. As for Ladd, he handled it like an ex-eventer. I could feel him start to slow but as soon as I felt it I urged him on and he never refused. He was such a good boy!
The jump they all looked at.

Jump courses. . . wow. So invigorating to do. Such a high!


Our 'Working Hunter to Jump' trophy
Working Hunter to Jump on Ladd (the video compilation of the course)
He even surprised me by getting us a blue in trail class. He walked over the bridge, trotted poles, and backed through barrels. I unfortunately don't remember the rest of the course, but I have the trophy to prove it :)

Since fair, I admit I haven't been to ride Ladd. He's a horse that is best in a consistent riding program. He wasn't getting it, and so to go out once a week to ride him would be torture for both of us I think. But the fact that he was there on the farm to be visited and ridden if and whenever I wanted to was what mattered.

Jean has decided to place Ladd in a new home. She's moving on from eventing, which I totally understand. Ladd is never going to be an all-around pleasure horse; no way. He loves to jump. So Jean found him a home where he's going to do what he loves.

She offered him to me multiple times, but I had to say no. I don't have an adequate barn to keep him in, and no arena to ride in. I'm taking college classes next year(and hopefully doing some training in Canada to become a natural trimmer; but that's another story), so my time will be even more limited, and I already have Daisy, whom I love dearly and can never part with. And I'm not looking to event. I have no horse trailer, and the costs and stress involved with eventing are not something I really want to pursue.
Today he left for his new home, a college about 45 minutes away to be a mount for the equestrian team. I'm ecstatic for him and the great opportunity, but that didn't make it any easier to say good-bye when I went to see him one last time yesterday. 
He's such a lovable horse. He adores people. He's so sweet. No matter how bad he is when you ride him, as soon as you hit the ground and see his face, you can't stay angry.
He will always always always have a place in my heart. Taking back out to the pasture and letting him go made tears stream down my face. Writing about it now is hard too. I never knew I could love a horse I didn't even own so much.
How lucky I was to have known someone who was so hard to say good-bye to. 

I'm hoping to visit him at a show sometime. And maybe...who knows. In ten years, when he goes to be retired, maybe I can get him back as a pleasure horse. But for now, he's out of my life.
I love you Laddie boy. Whoever rides you and takes care of you now is going to adore you. Maybe this isn't 'farewell'. Maybe it's just 'see you later'. 

The song has ended, but the melody lingers on.


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