The New “Horse Girl Survey”

I saw a “Horse Girl Survey” that’s apparently been making the rounds. I thought it’d be fun to try it on my blog.

Halfway through I realized it just wasn’t my cup of tea, so I reworded it…

I think it’d be more fun to have you answer the questions (in the comment section below). Anything goes.

I added my response’s to help get the ball rolling. 🙂

Survey:

First thing that comes to mind:

  1. Haflinger: Tolerates your b.s riding, or handling, as long as you have food and snackies at the ready.
  2. Quarter Horse: Completely unfazed by your b.s., and asks for more.
  3. Thoroughbred: won’t take anyone’s b.s. and will call you on it instantly.
  4. Warmblood: Will take a lot of b.s., but wont figure out he was taking it until two weeks later.
  5. Welsh Cob: finds unique ways to let you know he won’t take your b.s, usually involving maiming your feet with his.
  6. Arab: found ten unique ways five minutes ago to call you on the b.s. you haven’t even thought of pulling yet.

This or That:

  1. Break out an untouched Clydesdale, OR go cross country jumping with a “Happy Mouth” apple flavored snaffle bit on a horse that doesn’t like to stop?
    Nothing like death by cross country jumping on a bolting horse with bad breaks.
  2. Own a 17.3hh horse OR own a 14.3hh horse?
    I can’t even get a saddle high enough to put it on the 17.3hh horse’s back.
  3. A 10 minute quiet ride on a beach, riding a horse that looks under fed and malnourished, OR a 7 hour trail ride on a horse that is freaking out about everything?
    When the horse nearly backs off a cliff because the leaves on that bush looked weird. That’s soooo fun. Haha
  4. Caring for and braiding a long mane, OR caring for and button braiding a short mane?
    I’m a running braid convert. 5 minutes or less and we’re good to go. I’m thinking, even if I get a warmblood, I’ll grow his mane out just so I can do the running braid.
  5. Be judged subjectively on style and conformation (hunters) OR objectively for specific faults (jumpers)?
    I just don’t understand hunter people.
  6. A green broke 9 year old, very hot mare, who spooks at everything, but has phenomenal movement, OR a dead broke 6 year old mare, who’s a steady eddie, but has ho-hum movement?
    I was gonna say the phenomenal mover, but I bought the steady eddie, so I guess that answers that.
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The Dreaded Non-Horsey Person Discovers You Own a Horse

You know that friend, or distant relative, that finally finds out you have a horse… and then the harassing beings:

“I love horses. I rode when I was little.”

“Can I ride your horse?”

“When can I ride your horse?”

“I wanna come ride your horse!”

“Oh, you’re going riding? Can I come over now? I want to ride your horse!!”

“Why won’t you let me ride your horse?!?!!”

I learned a long time ago to NEVER let a non-horsey person come near any horse I own. You know who they are even if they swear they know how to ride. You can hear it in their speech, their terminology, their lack of any knowledge on what that thingy on the horse’s head is.

Having a personal rule where a non-horsey person can’t even touch your horse might sound mean, but let me explain.

When I was 13, a school friend convinced me to let her ride my horse. It ended with an ambulance call.

When I was 18,  my cousins mother-in-law convinced me to let her ride my horse. It ended with an ambulance call…
And then we got sued.

Since the last one, I made a vow to myself. The only time I will ever let another non-horsey person touch one of my horses is if they first pee on an electric fence. I figure if they’re that stupid, then not only will they get zapped for thinking such an idiotic thought, but they’ll probably be too sore to want to ride my pony anyway.

Plus, that’d just be hilarious!

I’ve never had anyone take me up on that offer. 😦

Day 5 of 5 Day Dressage Bootcamp

The final day…. I didn’t want it to end! The week went by way too fast.

We started the day with Bern riding Jet. Oh, wait.. Let me back up a moment. Bern’s teaching Jet flying changes, but its been difficult because he’s 15Jet Trot and was taught that he had to stay in counter-canter no matter what. There’s been some struggle to get Jet to understand that they want him to change leads. On Friday, I’m watching Bern ride Jet as she counter canters down the long side, when suddenly, Jet does the cleanest flying change I’ve seen (in real life) in a long time. It was poetry. Beautiful.

After Bern brought Jet back to my end of the arena, we talked for a bit on how she had convinced Jet that flying changes were fun, and how she uses the counter canter to true canter to help Jet want to change. She explained that the counter to true seems more natural to the horse. We then discussed how what we were working on with Ava is preparation for the flying changes. The counter canter work to help strengthen her and increase her engagement and balance, and getting Ava really comfortably changing her bend (shoulder-in to haunches-in on a circle) when I ask (at walk or trot) so that when I change the bend in the canter then she’ll want to offer the flying change (don’t take that as gospel, I may have jumbled that all up).

Back to Jet and Bern… Bern cantered Jet the other direction. I wanted to watch what Bern did with her body so I could see how the flying change was cued. I watched as hard as I could as she approached the corner…. and after almost the entire corner I finally realized the horse had already changed leads. I never saw Bern move. I missed it! The whole thing. I missed it. I thought I was being clever and totally got no where with that. Ha!JetTrot2

After giving Jet a lot of carrots and petting, we drove over to my barn. Bern had a lesson with another client at 1:00 so I ran out and fetched the horse for her. This is a wonderful, older horse, named Doc. He’s some kind of draft cross , but has the cutest face, and a personality to die for. Since the woman riding him was a bit self-conscious about her riding, I handed Bern the horse and went and hand grazed Ava.

After the lady’s lesson finished, I tacked up Ava. We worked on counter canter, but with an emphasis on where my weight was. I thought my weight was on the left seat bone, but Ava kept breaking into a trot on the corners. Bern had me really (seemed like drastically) stand on the inside stirrup (inside of canter lead). It’s not really standing up in the stirrup, but close. As soon as I did that, Ava had no problems keeping the counter-canter through the corners. It kind of makes you realize how much your weight affects your horse. I mean, I knew that already, but I didn’t even realize I was throwing Ava off balance just because I was just slightly to the outside. It also made me realize that I need to check myself first if Ava’s not doing something I’m asking her to, because chances are my balance isn’t where it needs to be. Especially if you have a horse that’s normally a willing horse, like Ava. If she doesn’t do something, or throws a little hissy about it, most the time I’m either blocking her in some way, or throwing her balance off.

While we were discussing weight, Bern told me about a conversation she had with Hilda Gurney about a pair of shorts that display a colored light based on the riders weight placement. Ms. Gurney was saying that it could be used as a tool by trainers to help fine tune riders awareness of their weight aids. I thought it was a great idea. Especially since I’d just proven how much I need something like that. But then we decided a better system would have to be electric shocks instead of pansy little lights. I’d be shocked every other second. Here’s me: post, post, SHOCK argh!, post, post, SHOCK argh! . Hahahah!

Anyway… I finished up with Ava and threw her back in the pasture. Next on the list was Corey, who resides in the same pasture as Ava. I’ve gotten Corey out before, never had an issue, but Ava was always in the barn when I’ve gotten Corey out. I walk up to Corey, and Ava (who refuses to leave my side) pins her ears back at her. Corey walks off. I follow. Ava, the normally docile, bottom of the pack kind of girl is right behind me growling at Corey any time I get near her. I couldn’t get close to Corey! I kept trying to shoo Ava away, but she looked at me like I was waving grass at her. I’m swinging the rope at her, kicking dirt at her, everything… Even if I got her to step a few feet away and stop, as soon as I turned my back she was at my shoulder again. I finally catch hold of Corey’s halter and have my eye on Ava to see what she’s going to do… Nothing. She just calmly followed behind us.

I have a jealous horse.

Day 4 of 5 Dressage Bootcamp

Finally… I was in the swing of things. Life was good! I was riding a couple of horses a day, and learning tons the rest of the time.

I wasn’t dragging butt either (well, not too much).

The 9 year old, green broke, mare was starting to trust me a bit more. Which made the ride a little easier. She was also settling into the routine too. What a fun horse! It’s like riding a Ferrari. I’d forgotten how awesome Arabs are. This one is spectacular.

Going from the Ferrari to Ava was a bit of a weird experience though. The Arab is high energy and narrow… Ava’s like riding a sofa. Comfy, wide, and content to just stand there.

It did make me think about how I’ve been riding Ava. It made me realize I need to stop trying so darn hard to make something happen and just let the horse move (even if its the wrong move).

Day 3 of 5 Day Dressage Bootcamp

Day 3 ~ bow legged.

Watch the wonderful TB a friend owns being schooled. He started out very stiff, but loosened up well after a few minutes. I got to see what Bern meant about stepping into the stirrup to canter. It wasn’t anything obvious, but I could see her shift once she explained it.

Rode a 9 year old green broke mare yesterday. It was like riding a worm. Very wiggly! The fun part was watching her think through what you were asking her to do. She’s all snotty and jittery, and anxious, but never once misbehaved.

Rode Ava next, but she seemed very tired. Her trot work was fantastic. The canter work was okay. She just didn’t have much energy. Responsive, but tired.

Am procrastinating starting today. I’m sore and tired. It’s fun though!!

Day 2 of 5 Day Dressage Bootcamp

Day 2 ~ I donned my tights, breeches, undershirt, thermal underwear, sweater, coat, hat, and extra socks. I’m still freezing. Reason number 247 why I don’t want to be a dressage instructor – it’s too damn cold!

I’ve found my energy level only lasts for 2 hours. It must be all that desk jockeying I do. I am no longer the rugged outdoors woman I was in my youth. I find myself longing for warmth and something to sit on that I won’t freeze to.

Only rode one horse yesterday (mine). The plan was to fit in 2-3 horses a day everyday. Have determined this plan is suicide. Must rethink plan.

Would type more, but fingers are frozen together. The fat on my thighs and butt has gone numb. Have been surprised several times by fat roll getting in way when I can no longer feel it attached to body. Must remember to exercise more, eat less.