Sunday, December 29, 2013

Runnin' in Circles

 Saturday's lesson brought a lot of learning. When I arrived at the barn, I went to fetch Reno, who was lying on his stomach at the back of his paddock, napping. I had to nudge him to make him get up. Then I brought him to the grooming stall to clean him and tack him up. Like last time, I used the dressage saddle.

 I warmed up by riding Reno around the arena at the walk, doing several walk-halt transitions at places I designated myself, rather than places Meghan told my to halt at. Then, I changed directions and gradually worked up to trotting. As usual, I started by doing corners, then short ends, and then long ends. Once I finished doing that, Meghan introduced something new to me: circles. She described how the typical dressage court consists of three adjacent 20 meter circles, each marked by several letters and lines.

 I practiced the circle with the points at C, H, between S and R, and M at the walk, then did it at the trot several times. Next, I did the S-R, E, L, and B circle at the walk and then the trot. Once I had done those several times, Meghan asked me if I knew how to do a figure eight. I guessed how to do it, and then Meghan had me execute it. After that, I moved on to doing the final circle in the court at the walk and then the trot. I did the figure eight involving it and then learned how to a serpentine. I did that once, at the trot.

 Meghan explained to me the importance of learning circles, telling me it is useful to learn how early on in case I will need to use them with another instructor or when showing.

 After finishing the serpentine, I dropped my stirrups and rode around the dressage half of the arena(As I have said before, the arena is cut in half lengthwise using poles, with one half marked with dressage letters) at the walk. Once I did that, I exited the arena, turning left toward where the trailers are parked when people bring their horses to the ranch. In this area is a steep ditch. Meghan had me practice riding hills on that ditch before riding around the barn and the adjacent pasture to to cool down like I usually do. This time, I rode in the opposite way I usually do.

 Overall, it was an awesome lesson with a lot of learning. I really enjoyed myself and can't wait to find out what I'll learn next time.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

More Posting Work

 When I arrived at the barn today, I met Annica and her bay mare, Roxy, We talked a bit, then I went to fetch Reno from his paddock, leading him to a stall that is used from grooming. I brushed him and picked his hooves, which surprisingly were not caked in mud from his water trough. Once I was ready to saddle him, Meghan brought out a dressage saddle rather than the jumping saddle I used in my other lessons. She said the dressage saddle could help me with my posting. I put it on, tightened the girth, and led Reno to the mounting block in the arena.

 Before mounting, I checked his girth. Then I mounted and rode around the arena at the walk to warm Reno up. I did some walk-halt transitions, too. After that, I began working on trotting, starting by trotting corners, then short sides, and finally part of each long side. Meghan made sure I focused on posting in rythmn with Reno, making sure I rose out of the saddle rather than being bumped around. I can really the difference. By the end of the lesson, my posting had improved a lot.

 At the end of the lesson, Meghan told me that I am almost ready to begin riding Ginger regularly now. I will do another lesson on Reno next week, and after that lesson Meghan says I will begin riding Ginger every lesson. Once that happens, I can begin cantering. Yay!

 Before returning Reno to his paddock, I untacked him, brushed him and picked his hooves. I also brushed his tail.

 I really enjoyed my lesson and had a good time. Reno was such a good boy, too, and not energetic like last time.

Friday, December 20, 2013


 Flyinge is a large, well-known equestrian center in Lund, Sweden. They have magnificent warmbloods, many of which can jump up to five feet fences. They have some awesome horses there. Throughout the year, they host clinics and seminars on various disciplines at different levels, and professionals can come and share their knowledge.

 I also noticed that they have a high school program. You can do your regular classes there, and ride at certain times during school hours. Better yet, professional riders come there to train you for elite competitions, so if the A circuit is your goal, you can go there. If you have a horse, you can bring him, but you can also use their school horses, which are fancy warmbloods.

 If you want to be a veterinarian, you can take their science and hippology course. The courses are horse-related, and you learn both science and horse management. Who doesn't want a horse-related class?  When you graduate, you recieve a certificate that you can care for horses.

 It sounds like a great program. Too bad there is not anything like that in America.

Day 7: Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why.
 I have shown so I don''t have any ribbons, but I hope to someday.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Horse Health Myth Busters

 Over the years, many ideas have appeared regarding horse health. Recent technology has studied these ideas, disproving some, while verifying others. As horse people, we are responsible for seperating the truth from the myths.

 One idea states that horses cannot vomit. This, in fact, is true. When a horse swallows food, it passes from the esophagus into the stomach. The lower part of the esophagus, called a sphincter, is much stronger than that in humans. The ring-like muscle prevents food or liquid from coming out of the stomach. As a result, a horse is incapable of vomiting.

It is commonly thought that white hooves
are weaker than their dark counterparts.
 However, their inability to regurgitate can cause colic. Because a horse cannot vomit, if food, liquid, or gas gets jammed in their gastrointestinal tract, they experience pain in their digestive system and in serious cases require surgery.

 You have probably heard that white hooves are weaker than dark hooves, which we now know is simply a misconception. Radiographs(X-rays) have proven that other than color, there is nothing physically or structurally different from a white hoof than a black one.

 People also say that horses cannot breathe through their mouths, another fact. This is because the soft palate on the roof of the horse's mouth, which seperates the nasal cavity from the oral cavity, extends all the way to the back of the throat. Therefore, no air can reach their lungs from their mouths.

 When a horse breaks or fractures a leg, many people treat it as a death sentence, saying they should euthanize the horse. In some cases, there is an alternative, but it takes a lot of work. A horse with a broken or fractured leg must be kept from laying down for extended periods, which can cause nerve and lung damage from his own heavy weight. This is often done using a large sling. Also, his leg must be splinted.
A broken leg must be care for like this.
 You must take into account where the fracture is, too. One below the knee proves relatively easy to perform surgery on and put in a splint, while the chances of repairing one higher up on the leg proves dim. Even if a horse does successfully heal, other complictations may occur. Putting too much weight on his good legs can cause joint problems. Also take into account the age of the horse. The future of foals with broken legs is actually brighter than that of adults due to their light weight.

 A final myth is that horses can only sleep standing. While they do sleep standing most of the time, this is only for lighter sleep. To get a deep sleep, they lie down, though this is only done for up to an hour at a time. In order for you to understand why, you must remember that horses are prey animals. Standing allows them to start running more quickly should a predator come.

 Knowing the truth when it comes to your horse's health leads to his well being. Do not trust that old stories that have been around for over a hundred years are valid.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lots of Pictures

 I have lots of pictures from Saturday's lesson, and even have some pictures of the ranch and barn, which I'll publish in a later post.
In this picture, I am riding down one of the short ends of the arena.

In this picture, I am finishing up a lap at the trot.
It was around this part of the lesson that Reno began to canter.

 Day 5: Your First Fall
  I haven't fallen off a horse yet, which is good. Just like it happened to everyone else, there will be a time that I will fall, so I'll tell you about that. For now, my horse riding lessons have been injury and fall free.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fast Reno

 Today for my lesson, I rode Reno again. Although I didn't ride in the round pen, I did a whole lot of trotting and rode without having Meghan help to guide Reno. I started by warming up with two laps at the walk. Then, I began trotting. At first, I only trotted around the corners, walking the rest of the way. I gradually worked up to trotting even longer distances. After doing a few laps with just trotting around the corners, I began trotting along the short sides of the arena, then walking again until I reached the other side. Meghan made sure I kept Reno, who often strayed to the inside of the arena, along the rail.

 Reno also showed me a side I have not seen before. Usually, he prefers to keep at a walk and has be encouraged a little to stay trotting. This time, however, he was eager to trot, and often began trotting at random times when I was supposed to be walking. He even added several canter strides randomly throughout the lesson, catching me off guard. The saying that says something along the lines of "Every ride you ride a different horse," really is true. Depending on the time of day and the mood the horse is, your ride can very different.

 Anyways, by the end of the lesson, I had worked up to trotting a consecutive lap all the way around the arena---twice!  I am really excited about that and feel pretty accomplished. Hopefully I can trot just as much next week, too.

 Meghan had pointed out several things I need to think more about next time I trot. She had to remind me to keep my shoulders back throughout the lesson, as well as to not lean forward too much, which makes Reno want to go faster. I'll have to keep this in mind and write it in my journal.

 I have some pictures of Silver Rose Ranch, the 60 acre ranch where I take lessons. I have only been to the front part, where the barn, arena, hay storage, round pen, and several pastures, covered outdoor stalls, and paddocks are. I think further along the trail I ride on to cool down is a house. I'll post some pcitures and give you a tour in another post.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Some are Jumpers; Others are Painters

 Metro Meteor is the popular OTTB who paints. Before retiring from racing due osteoarthritis in his knees, he won eight races and earned $300,000. Upon his retirement, Ron and Wendy Krajewski, who owned shares of horses racing for Renpher Stables, decided to adopt him.
Metro Meteor

 For nearly a year, they rehabilited him and did intensive vet care to aid the recovery of his knees. After nine months, they could ride him, but he could only be worked lightly, so they went on trail ride with him. Fast forward two years, and Metro was having knee problems again. This time, excess bone was growing on his knees. Eventually, his knees could lock up and he would have to be euthanized.

 Despite the pain and stiffening in his knees, Metro kept good spirits. He is a really strong-willed horse, much like other Thoroughbreds.

 One day, Ron noticed that Metro loved to bob his head. He would do it in the stall and any other time he was standing still. An idea struck him. What if he could teach Metro how to paint? Since Metro already bobbed his head as if he was painting, all Ron had to do was teach Metro how to hold a paintbrush. Ron did so, then took Metro in front of a blank canvas, giving him a bursh with paint on it. Metro bobbed his heads, creating a beautiful abstract art. 
Painting a beautiful picture

 The owner of metro's boarding stable set aside Stall 6 for Metro to use as a studio. When a TV crew comes to film, Metro paints either outside or in the indoor arena.

 Therapy using injections that slow the bone growth in Metro's knees have made it capable for him to be lightly ridden. Metro continues to sell his paintings to cover his treatment cost and help other ex-racehorses get a second chance. Metro even has his own website,, as well as a facebook page.

 Also, check out this youtube video of him painting. This horse is awesome!

 *All pictures are courtesy of Metro's website.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Checking Your Horse's Vital Signs

 One of the most important ways to check your horse's health is to observe his vital signs. These include pulse, respiration, temperature, and capillary refill time, the latter being how long it takes for color to return to the gums when you put pressure on them.

 The normal temperature of a resting horse should be around 99 to 101 F(37.2 to 38.3 C). His heart should beat 36 to 40 times a minute, he should take 8 to 16 breathes a minute, and his capillary refill time should two or less seconds. Also, in a healthy horse, the gut should make a wide range of sound.

 It is important to take your horse's temperature when he is resting, since horses get hotter when they exercise. Start by taking a thermometer, tying a long string securely to it, and insert it rectally, being careful not o get kicked. Wait a few minutes for the thermometer to get an accurate reading. Mercury ones take as long as three minutes, while digital ones can work as quickly as one minute. If you are uncertain, waiting a little longer never hurts. Just remember to keep a tight grip on the string. In a healthy horse, the temperature should read around 99 F, though you should not be concerned if it is a little bit lower. If it is higher however, the horse may be running a fever so you should call the vet. When you are done, make sure to clean the thermometer thoroughly.
You can check your horse's pulse using the artery on the leg.

 A healthy, resting horse's pulse should be around 36 to 40 beats per minute. When taking the pulse, you may want to set a timer so you accurately measure it. Start by finding the main artery in the cheek and press inward and upward at the same time. If you don't feel the pulse there, try the artery on the inside of the leg, just under the knee.
Another way to check the pulse is by using the artery in the cheek.

 To check a horse's respiration, stand next to his shoulder and watch his flank and stifle joint carefully. Every time they go in and out, count the breath. An average respiration is 8 to 16 breaths per minute, though it can vary depending on the size of the horse. ALso, make sure to check whether his breathing is labored or shallow. If so, call the vet.

 You can check you horse's hydration by two ways: capillary refill time and a pinch test. The first is more reliable and involves pressing the horse's gum and checking to see how log it takes for the color to return. it should take only two seconds. Three or more should be a cause for concern and the vet should be called. While doing the test, check the color of the gum too. It should be bright pink, not pale yellow, dark red, or blue.

 Another test you can do is pinching the skin above your horse's shoulder and seeing how long it takes for the pinched skin to flatten, which should happen right away. This test been disproved, though.

 A final way to check your horse's health is gut sounds by putting your ear to his stomach. There should be a wide range of sounds. Silence usually means colic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kiger Mustang

During the 1500s, the Spanish explored the New World, bringing large groups of horses with them. Many of these horses escaped, forming large herds throughout the western United States. Because so many different breeds escaped, the appearance of horses in different areas can vary slightly. Some herds, called Colonial Spanish Horses, resemble the horses the Spanish brought over, while others, known as Mustangs, are hardier.

 In the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, herds of dun horses with black manes and tails roam. A herd of these horses were found in the '70s by E. Ron Harding, who was gathering Mustangs at Kiger Gorge in the Steen Mountains. Since this herd seemed special and was thought to be of Spanish descent, the Bureau of Land Management decided to relocate the herd to southeastern Oregon rather putting them for adoption. The separated the herd into two groups, with twenty going to an area near Diamond, Oregon, and seven going to Riddle Mountain Herd Management Area.
Kiger Mustang

 Every few years, the herds in these areas are rounded up and inspected. Those with desired qualities are returned to the wild. The rest are auctioned off.

 Today, some domesticated Kigers are bred as trail and endurance horses. Since they are now domesticated and not considered Mustangs, they are called Kiger Horses instead. They can be registered under the Kiger Horse Association and Registry.

Breed Description and Uses
 Kiger Mustangs, named for the area in which they were found, are small horses, standing only 13.2 to 15.2 hands high on average. They are compact with slanted shoulders and strong hooves. Traveling the foothills of large mountains has made then very sure-footed, thus making them excellent trail horses. They have a small, refined head with hooked ears.

 All Kigers are some shade of dun, whether that be grulla, red dun, buckskin, or any other variation.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five Day Challenge, Day 5

21. Favorite classes to watch
 I love watching jumper classes of all kinds. It's exciting to see the horses soar over a jump, then turn tightly and take off several strides away from the previous jump. Basically, I love all jumper classes. Jumpers amaze me.

I don't know who this is, but this picture is awesome.
22. What's in your cooler at horse shows?
 I don't show yet, but I would probably bring lots of water and, if I am staying there all day, some healthy snacks, such as fruit and sandwiches with lunch meat. Of course, I would bring treats for the horse to eat when we are done.

23. One thing about showing(or riding in general) you wish you could change?
 I would want there to be more English riding shows in my area. Mostly, I hear of rodeos going on nearby, but I have only heard of a few shows with English classes that are nearby us. Maybe if I look around more I'll find one I can go to when I have my own horse and start showing.

24. Your ringside crew
 I don't show yet, but every time I do a lesson my parents are always there, watching. They are very supportive of my riding and I'm sure they'll do the same once I go start showing.

25. Best prizes
 I love any type of prize, no matter what it is. Ribbons are nice, especially if they are blue, but to me the best prize is the fact that I gave it my all and did well.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Common Equine Winter Ailments

 Winter, for some, means bitter cold and snow, while for others it means lots of rain and mud. Nevertheless, no matter where you live, you still must watch out for similar ailments in your horse.

Mud Fever
 Mud fever is an infection caused by Dermatophilus congolensis. As the name suggests, it only occurs during moist conditions, such as when a horse stays muddy too long. It causes painful, inflamed sores full of bacteria to erupt on the horse's legs. These scabs carry bacteria and must be gently removed.

 According to Melissa Shelton, DVM, mixing 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil with 4 ounces distilled water into a spritz bottle, then spraying several times a day on the affected area, often relieves the condition. Oils like Roman chamomile and geranium also work well.

 You can even apply the Animal Scents Ointment to the wounds. Just be careful not to hurt your horse while applying it.

 Dr. Shelton also recommends using oregano or Thieves essential oil blend orally for bacterial infections by placing a drop on the horse's lower lip. Be warned, though, that those oils are strong and should only be used in more severe conditions. Even then, you should probably dilute it by mixing it into a moist feed.

 The affected horse should be keep inside a stable if possible while his wounds heal.

Click to enlarge.

Rain Scald
 Rain scald is similar to mud fever and is caused by the same bacteria. It mostly occurs on the back of a horse that has been body clipped and is lacking his winter coat. Again, the spray I mentioned earlier is recommended.

 Colic can be caused by multiple different factors, such as the horse eating quickly. If horse horse colics, you should call your vet. Check out my post about colic for more information.

 In the winter, with the ground likely being frozen or muddy, lameness often occurs. Be careful when you ride and make sure you thoroughly pick out snow and ice when you are done.

 Be on the look out for thrush, a hoof ailment that causes the frog to secrete a black, oily substance. thrush is caused by the horse standing on wet, muddy ground for extended periods of time.

 As with anything, prevention is best. Check your horse regularly to make sure he is dry and warm.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Five Day Challenge, Day 4

 Again, I'll change it a little, but that's okay.

16. One thing you would like to change your horse.
 The fact that I don't have one. :)

17. Your future with horses.
 I have a lot of plans about my future with horses. First on my list is to save up to buy a horse of my own. Although I would prefer an OTTB or a Fjord, any breed that is capable of doing show jumping with me is fine. I plan on teaching the horse to jump and going to lots of shows. Once out of college, I'll  buy several acres of land suitable for having horses and start getting racehorses off the track that I can rehabilitate, train, and set up for adoption. While doing this, I want to continue showing with my own horse, hopefully making it to A Circuit shows. Someday, I want to go the Olympics or the WEG. Even if I don't place, I'll be happy just to be there.

18. Worst show ever.
 I don't show, so I haven't had any worst experiences.

19. Favorite horse show venue.
 I've only actually been to one venue, the Fresno Horse Park, so I have nothing to compare it to. Out of the different ones I have heard about or seen on TV, I like the one in Washington, where the WIHS is held.

20. Show day routine.
 Again, I don't show but I'll make one up. I would arrive at the show grounds early so my horse can get used to his surrounds while I get ready to show. Two classes before mine, I would start grooming my horse and tacking him. Then, once the class before mine is almost done, I would begin warming.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Five Day Challenge, Day 3

 Okay, so since I don't have a horse I'll have to change these questions a little.

11. Find a horse you want to buy and critic it's conformation.
This is Witt's Midway, a Thoroughbred I wanted to buy. First, he has slanted pasterns.  His fetlocks are nice and his cannons are long and straight. The hock and knee are clean, and his upper front legs are straight, while his gaskins are slightly slanted. His shoulder, too, has a bit of a slant to it. His back is straight, as well as his croup. the neck seems a little bit short. 
12. A riding exercise you love
 I really love trotting, which I am working on right now.

13. Grooming routine
 I start by currying the horse to loosen all the dirt. Then, I use the stiff brush to flick it all off. I usually  stop to several times to get the dirt out of the brush before continuing. Next, I pick out hooves, starting with the left front and working my way to the left hind, then the right hind, and then the right front.

14. Three best things about riding
 My favorite thing about riding is horses, because that's the reason I started riding in the first place. I also like the people I meet and doing something I love.

15. Favorite picture of your riding.
I really love this picture of Ginger, a lesson horse, and I.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ginger Pictures

Here are some of the best photos from Saturday's lesson.

This a picture of Ginger while I am grooming her.
She has such a cute face!
I rode Ginger around the arena at the walk to warm up.

Trot, trot, trot.

Five Day Challenge, Day 2

6. Favorite equestrian book and movie
 I read a lot of books, particularly horse books, so narrowing it down to just one is kind of hard. however, I do really like Beyond the Homestretch, by Lynn Reardon. It's an awesome book that you guys should read some time.

 For movies, my favorite is Secretariat. I enjoyed the movie, which follows Penny Chenery and Secretariat up to the point where Big Red won the Belmont Stakes by a whopping 31 lengths.

 I also like Buck, though it is really a documentary, not a movie.

7. Most common riding misconceptions
 I think this one is supposed to be about what other people think about riding. In that case, a common misconception I hear is, "Riding is easy. The horse does all the work." That kind of annoys me because, as equestrians know, the horse does not do all the work. An equestrian is an athlete.

8. Two riding strengths and one weakness
1. I am learning pretty quickly.
2. I sit up straight in the saddle.

1. Sometimes I don't keep my head up and look where the horse and I are going.

9. Least favorite thing about horses and/or riding
 The cost is what I don't like. Not only does buying one often cost a lot, but when you include, feeding, boarding, and training, the price goes up even more.

10. What do you feed your horse?
 I don't own a horse yet, but before I get one I'll do my research on what to feed a that particular horse.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


 Today, my older brother, Robin, accompanied my parents and I to the stable so he could watch my lesson before heading back to college. Meghan was giving a young girl a quick lesson on Reno, so she said I would get to ride Ginger today instead. I was excited about about that.

 Ginger is a chestnut mare, about 15.2 hands high. She was once a polo pony but was later sold to a woman in the Bay Area, who did jumping with her. Now, Meghan owns her and uses her as a lesson horse. Ginger is a little more energetic than Reno.

 When I tried to put the halter on, she raised her head a little bit, so had to reach a up to get it on. I led her to the crossties, hooked her up, and grabbed her grooming supplies from a shelf in the tack room. Unlike Reno, Ginger has been body clipped and has a short, pulled mane, like most other English horses. While I groomed her, I talked to her and tried to get to know her. Then I picked her hooves. She was reluctant to lift her first hoof, the left front, but she lifted the others almost immediately. Once I finished, I pet her and talked some more.

 By then, Meghan had come so I began to tack Ginger. I strapped on her boots, saddled her, put the bridle on, and led her into the arena. Usually, I mount using the large mounting stairs just outside the barn, but this time I used the smaller block that always stays in the arena. The arena had bee cut in half, lengthwise, with poles and dressage letters. Lily, one of the girls in Pony Club, was trotting on Milo, a tall dappled grey Thoroughbred.

 I rode the section she wasn't using and warmed up by halting and walking. Meghan taught me about the subtle aids, so I focused a lot on halting and going without using the reins and without saying, "whoa." Then, I did more trot work. Meghan made sure I kept contact with Ginger's sides and gripped her with the side of my calves, rather than pushing down hard in the stirrups. After working on that for a little bit, I rode the usual route around the barn to cool Ginger down. While I rode, Meghan told me that in my next lesson(next week), I would be riding Reno in the round pen to do even more trot work if it is not being used by someone else.

 Once Ginger was cooled down, I untacked her and began grooming. Lily soon brought Milo, who was wet from a bath, into the barn and tied him in the crossties next to me. Milo is a huge horse, at least 16 hands high, if not even taller. He actually came from the same polo barn as Ginger, but he never played in any games because he was not good at polo. Milo is the same OTTB that I saw in one of the outdoor stalls the first time I took a lesson.

 I finished grooming Ginger and picking her hooves, so I led her to her paddock. It was a great lesson. I learned a lot and I really enjoyed riding Ginger.

 P.S. I was wondering what you do to clean half chaps and/or boots. I just wiped mine down with a moist rag, but I wanted to what you do.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Five Day Challenge, Day 1

 Since Tracy at Fly on Over started the Five day Challenge, I have seen several people go join her so I decided to hop on too.

1. Most influential person on your riding.
 This is a hard one, because there are lots of people who have influenced my riding, and I can't narrow it down to just one single person. My parents have been a huge influence to my riding. After years of begging, they finally got me lessons, which is a dream come true for me. They are the reason I am riding right now. Another influencial person in my riding is my trainer, Meghan, my trainer. She has taught some of the basics of riding and horse handling, building that foundation of knowledge for me. Then, there are all my blogging buddies. You guys have been a great support to me, and your kind, supportive comments mean a lot.

2. A piece of tack you would love to splurge on.
Right now, I will not be getting tack since I do not yet have a horse, but I would to get a nice jump saddle and a bridle---both in black---once I do get my horse.

3. Top five riding playlist
 I don't listen to music while riding, particularly since I am a beginner and I find it a little hard to concentrate on things when I am listening to music. However, if I do ever listen to music when riding it will be upbeat songs or something that fits whatever I am doing.

4. Most important aspect of your barn.
  This is probably a common answer, but I love the people there. Everyone is kind and helpful. One of the girls there said that it would be cool if I would be part of their group lesson someday.

5. Three winter riding goals.
1. Improve at the trot.
2. Strengthen those riding muscles.
3. Start cantering by spring.

I hope you guys had an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Icelandic Horse

 Not much is known about the famous Icelandic horse, except that it has been in the area for centuries. Many believe that the vikings, traveling across the sea to discover new lands in the tenth century, took horses with them. Due to their isolation from the influence of other horse breeds, the Icelandic horses have not changed much since the tenth century.

 Over the centuries, only the strongest horses have survived in the harsh climate of Iceland, causing only the best traits to be passed down to the future generations. This natural selection created a strong, robust breed with desirable traits, such as stamina and strength.

 Settlers of Iceland used the sturdy horse for work, such as herding sheep, and transportation. In the late 1700s, a local volcano erupted, killing hundreds of horses. After that disaster, locals spent time recovering the breed, and in 1904, they created the first breed society for the Icelandic horse. Nine years later, the Icelandic breed registry opened.

 Throughout the 20th century, hundreds of Icelandics were shipped across Europe, particularly to Britian and Scandinanvia. In 1986, Great Britian created a breed society. Other countries did the same, and before long the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations was created to help multiple countries work together to preserve the breed.

 Today, the Icelandic is popular throughout western Europe, particularly Scandinavia and Great Britian, and North American. Approxiamately 80,000 Icelandics live in Iceland, and 100,000 live abroad.
Icelandic doing the tölt. credit

Breed Description and Uses
Although the Icelandic horse is small, standing only 12 to 14 hands high, it is strong, able to carry an adult. It has developed a special gait, the tölt, in addition the standard equine gaits. The tölt is a a smooth, highstepping, four-beat gait, which can be performed at any speed. Some Icelandics do the pace, a gait in which legs on the same side move in unision.

 Today, the robust Icelandics are used for endurance, jumping, and dressage by both kids and adults. People living in Icelnad often use them the traditional way---for herding sheep and transporting them across town.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Trotting Pictures

Here are the pictures I promised!
Before fetching Reno from his paddock, I saw this cute paint named Ammo!
Warming up with circles.
Other than the fence in the way, this is one of the best pictures of me posting.
In this picture I am turning at the corner of the arena and preparing
to trot alongside the rail.
Cooling down with a lap around the arena at the walk.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saturday's Lesson

 Saturday I used my new riding clothes for the first time. Meghan was busy finishing up with the Pony Club testing(the local Pony Club meets at the same place I do lessons), so I went to go fetch Reno while Meghan was busy. I tied him by the tack room with a quick release knot and began grooming him. He wasn't too dirty this time, but his hooves were a pain to pick out. Early that week, it had rained to the point that the arena was too muddy to be usable, so his hooves were filled with so much mud that I couldn't even see the frog or the the sole. It took a few mintues to pick all the mud out. By that time, Meghan had finished up testing the Pony Club girls.

 Once Reno was clean, I put his boots on and tacked him up. The process moved more quickly now that I have practiced putting all the tack on a couple of times. After he was tacked, I lead him to the mounting block, got on, and rode toward the arena. Unlike the previous two times I have ridden, another person was in the arena, doing circles. It was not difficult riding with someone else in the aren, though.

 I started by walking, then halting at some of the dressage letters that were at the side of the arena. Next, I did several circles around a couple of the jumps. After that, I did some trot work. I practiced holding my balance while posting and I trotted the short side of the arena several times. By the end of the lesson, I was able to hold my balance for a little bit while Reno trotted the short side of the arena. To cool Reno down, instead of riding the loop around the barn, I walked him around the arena two times. Near the gate, he started to trot(I guess he really wanted to get back to his paddock), so I slowed him back down to a walk. I dismounted, the led Reno back to the barn.

 I untacked him, groomed him, and picked out his hooves and led him back to his paddock. Meghan said that next time I'll be able to do a lot more trotting. Yah! My older brother, who is away in college, will be able to watch this time. I can't wait.

 I'll upload the pictures later once I get them off the camera.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Highland Pony

The Highland Pony has been in Scotland for centuries, changing a little bit each time an invading army  came to the area, bringing with them horses native to their country. Among those horses include Percherons, Hackneys, Fell Ponies, and Dales Ponies. Because of the many different bloodlines of horses within the breed, the breed has developed into two: a small, light one and a large, muscular one.

 Due to their stamina, strength, and sure-footedness, the ponies were used for farm work, such as plowing, as well as hauling timber across the land and carrying deer back home after a hunting trip. During the second World War, the pony was used as a war horse.

Today, the pony is a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II, who owns the largest herd of stallions, which are bred during the breeding season.
Highland Pony credit

Breed Description and Uses
 The Highland Pony is small, standing only 13 to 14.2 hands high. His hooves are hard and solid, perfect for climbing the Highlands, and feathering covers his fetlocks. His hindquarters are powerful, chest deep, shoulder large, and neck arched with a pretty little head.

 Highlands come in dun, gray, black, chestnut, and cream, and some come with dorsal stripes or zebra stripes on their legs.

Highland Ponies are still used as hunting ponies–not the jumping, though they are good at that too, but the kind when you stalk and shoot animals. They are also as a pack pony, and those crossed with Thoroughbreds make great eventers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The Hanoverian is a relatively new breed, only coming into existence 300 years ago. It started in 1714 when an English king, George I, sent Thoroughbreds to Germany. Later, in 1735, his son started the Celle breeding program, adding Holsteiners to the mix. The result was a excellent working horse.

 At the end of World War II, when Russians invaded Germany, Trakehner owners found their way to the Hanoverian breeding facility in Celle. Their mounts mixed in with the bulky, work horse, creating the perfect sport horse.
Hanoverian doing the extended trot. credit

 With the change of the use of horse from work to sport, the demand for lighter, sportier horse grew. The breeders at Celle stepped up to the plate. Their Hanoverians were awesome sport horses, much like the other German breeds, and the demand for them rapidly grew.
 In 1978, the American Hanoverian Society was founded.

 Today, the Celle, remains the hub of Hanoverian breeding. About 200 stallions stand stud there, and approximately 8,000 breedings take place every year.
Hanoverians are also excellent jumpers. credit

Breed Description and Uses
 The Hanoverian, standing 15.3 to 17 hands high, is built like an athlete. Their cannons are short, hocks strong, and should steep and slanted. The croup is sloping, back short, and neck long, with and elegant head. Looking at the Hanoverian, you can visually divide his body into three equal, rectangular pieces: the shoulder section, the barrel, and the haunches. Black, bay, and chestnut are common colors.

 Hanoverians are the most popular of warmbloods, and are excellent at English sports, particularly jumping and dressage. They move gracefully.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Paddock Boots and Half Chaps

 Today, my paddock boots and half chaps arrived, completing my riding outfit. Yah! I am now what the Germans call "profi(professionally) equipped."
I'm wearing my new riding outfit, which
I can't wait to try out.

 I love them! My paddock boots are Saxon brand, while my chaps are Dublin. Both are great; I can't wait to try them out this weekend, when I will ride again.

The Intro Horse

 I've seen a L. Williams do this post a while ago and decided to answer just the first question so you all can see how I first got into horses.

The Intro Horse
We each came into horses in our own way, but it was always with a horse leading us. This might have been a friend's first pony, or perhaps it was a draft horse on a farm you first visited. It may have been a real-life meeting, or an imaginary one. I was escorted by the Black, Walter Farley's star horse in the Black Stallion series...

  I first got into horses a long time ago, when I was about six or seven years old. Before that, the only horses I liked were My Little Ponies, and I never really though much about real horses. My transition from liking those to liking the real thing probably happened due to several factors. My mom had ridden horses when she was younger and told me all about her experiences, how she volunteered after school to groom horses and muck stalls, then took a lesson. It was around that time I remember watching the Black Stallion TV series. I loved it, and the Black Stallion drew me to even more horses: Black Beauty, Spirit(from Spirit: Stallion the Cimarron), over a dozen different Breyer horses, and eventually to where I am today as a hopelessly horse-crazy girl. Along the way I have taken a 2 to 3 year hiatus from being horse crazy, returning only just this March, when the feeling steadily increased to what it is now. 
I have no passion for anything other than horses.

 At this point, I'll never turn back. Horses are my passion. They make me who I am today, and I can't imagine a time when I won't love horses. There are times when the feeling of wanting a horse is almost overwhelming. I want to work with horses when I grow up–own a rescue for ex-racehorses, where I will rehabilitate them and set them up for adoption.

P.S. Check out this Horze contest at Adventures with Shyloh.

Monday, November 18, 2013

"Buck" Movie Review

 Last week I ordered the movie "Buck," which several people have recommended to me. It came the other day and I was finally able to watch it after school today. I love it!

 The documentary is about Buck Brannaman, an amazing horse trainer, who learned from Ray Hunt, another equally amazing trainer. He does natural horsemanship, a training method in which the trainer tries to think like the horse and be gentle yet firm with him. He had an abusive childhood and now tries to understand horses and get them past their problem rather than breaking them with force and fear like some cowboys do. He says that he, "helps horses with people problems."

 Throughout the documentary, Buck worked with many horses at many different clinics throughout the United States. He started colts and explained his training methods. It's amazing what he can do with horses; some people call him the real-life "horse whisperer."
Buck at one of his clinics. credit

 Several people who have been to his clinics talk about him throughout the documentary, saying what their first impression was and what they now think about him. I would recommend this movie to anyone wanting to learn more about Buck Brannaman, his training methods, and his experiences with different horses and different clinics. Someday I hope to go to on of his clinics. That would be awesome.


 During the late 19th century, in the southeastern Alps along the border of Austria and Italy, the Austrian government decided to breed strong pack horse for their military. They started in 1874, when they crossed a half-Arabian stallion with a mare native to the area, producing the chestnut colt Folie. Mares were continuously bred with him, and the resulting offspring were called "Haflingers." All of today's Haflingers are descendants of Folie.

 Even though the breed only got its name in the late 1800s, similar horses have been seen in paintings from as early as the beginning of the 19th century. This proves that when the military horses were being bred, the government may have just been refining an already existing breed, one that has never been named.

Haflingers are strong yet athletic. credit
 Once World War II broke out, the military need shorter, more agile horses. Since then, the Haflinger has developed into a sturdy horse strong enough for driving yet agile enough for riding.

 In 1954, Tempel Smith wanted horses with great bloodlines for his breeding farm, so he sent a man named Leo Lightner in search of horses throughout Europe. Though Lightner recommended the Haflinger, Smith decided to get the Lippizaner.

Breed Description and Uses
 Haflingers are sturdy, strong horses with powerful hindquarters and are perfect for driving and packing, though they also make good riding horses. Despite their muscular build, they are quite small, standing only 13.2 to 15 hands high. Their coat is thick and soft, coming in a golden chestnut color with cream manes and tails. White legs are undesired, yet blazes are preferred, though it is not very important. They have calm, friendly temperaments and are very patient, especially with young children.

 Today, Haflingers are used for a variety of sports: driving, like they were traditionally used for; jumping, dressage, and even western disciplines.

By the way, check out this cool contest with Amy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

40 Questions

I saw Kalin at Cash's Steppin' Up do one of these, as well L. Williams at Viva Carlos, so I decided to do one to. Achieve1Dream modified it a little as there were some repeats.

  1. Favorite thing about riding? Horses. I fell in love with horses when I was younger and decided I wanted to learn how to ride them.
  2. Draft horse of pony? I prefer average sized horses over drafts and ponies, but if I had to decide I would want a draft because of their calm, kind temperaments.
  3. English or western? English!
  4. Dressage or hunter/equitation? I like hunter better than dressage because I love the excitement of jumping.
  5. Green or trained horse? I would want a horse taught at least the very basics–riding, groundwork, and manners, and I would want to train it in a discipline of my choice. 
  6. Worst fall? I haven't fallen yet, thankfully, and hopefully I get to keep it that way for the time being!
  7. First fall, what happened?(see question 6)
  8. Have you ever wanted to quite riding? No, I just started and have no plans of quitting. 
  9. Favorite thing about your horse? I don't have one yet but my favorite thing about Reno, the horse I currently ride, is that he's the type of horse that you can ride and be focused on good equitation and learning how to ride without worrying about what he would do if you are not focused 100% on him. In short, he's a good lesson horse.
  10. Least favorite thing about riding? Two things, the cost and snobs who always have to have the best, fancy warmblood and the nicest, new tack and pick on those who don't.
  11. For trail riding, do you prefer a horse that likes to lead or a horse that likes to follow? I don't really do trail rides, but I would prefer to have a horse that follows because I don't like be in front much.
  12. Do your prefer to ride inside or outside? I ride outside,  but if it's pouring down rain I'll prefer an indoor.
  13. Do you show? No, but I plan to once I get a horse of my own.
  14. How long have you been riding? Since November 2,  2013. 
  15. Why did you start riding? I started because I love horses and Mom and Dad finally got some for me after more than a year of mercilessly begging.
  16. How many times a week do you ride? I'm trying to do at once a week, but most of the time I'll probably just do 3 times a month.
  17. Have you ever fallen at a show? How? I don't show and I haven't fallen off yet. 
  18. Ever fallen at a jump? I haven't started jumping.
  19. Ever been bucked off? No, Reno does not buck.
  20. Do you have a privet or group lesson? I do a group lesson since it is better for a beginning rider to have one-on-one time the first few rides.
  21. In your opinion, does it make less of a rider if you don't own a horse? No, some people do not have the privilege to own a horse, which is really not there fault. it doesn't make them any less of a rider than someone who does have a horse.
  22. Trick riding or eventing? Eventing. 
  23. What discipline do you want to try? Why? I have always wanted to do show jumping. It seems exciting to be soaring over jumps, even 2 foot ones.
  24. Ever had barn drama? No, and I hope not to. Fortunately, the girls at my lesson barn seem nice and I don't think I'll have any drama from them. 
  25. How many barns have you been to, as in visited or boarded at? I haven't been to barns many times. As far as I can remember, only Silver Rose Ranch, where I take lessons. I have, however, been to several ranches, though one kept their horses in a covered paddock and I haven't seen where the other one keeps it's horses.
  26. Do you plan on having horses in your life, for the rest of your life? Yes! I want to own a rescue for ex-rachorses if I can, as well as have me own personal horse.
  27. Favorite Tumblr equestrian? I'm not on Tumblr, but I follow lots of blogs with awesome people! There are all awesome in there own way.
  28. Favorite Tumblr horse?(see above) All their horses are awesome as well.
  29. If you could ride any famous horse, dead or alive, who would it be? Why? I would want to ride Snowman, the great show jumper from the '50s and '60s. He was an amazing jumper and a just as amazing lesson horse. 
  30. Does winning ribbons matter to you? Having fun and doing the sport I love matters more to me than taking home the blue.
    I love this quote!
  31. Favorite color, breed, and gender of horse? I love Thoroughbreds and I love geldings. Color isn't a big deal to me, though I do think chestnuts, bays, and palominos are cute. 
  32. Worst riding experience? I haven't had any bad riding experiences yet.
  33. Ever been on a trail ride? I do go on a short loop around the barn after every ride to cool down Reno. It's technically a trail, so yes. 
  34. Hunter or jumper? Jumper!
  35. Is there a horse that you knew and loved but didn't own and really wish you could have owned? Nope, there aren't really any horses that I know/knew, but LOPE in Texas had a horse Witt's Midway, that looked sweet. He always got up close to the photographer and started grazing within ten minutes of arriving at the ranch for the first time.
  36. Ever wanted to buy a school horse? No, although there are other  horses I have wanted and will never have.
  37. Have you been knocked unconscious by a horse? No, I have never had any accidents around horses.
  38. Ever ridden a horse 17hh+. No. Reno is only about 15hh, and he is the only horse I have ridden.
  39. Ever ridden a horse 13hh or lower? Nope, only a horse 15hh.
  40. What is your favorite season to ride? Fall is nice here in California. the temperatures are cool, and the rain doesn't come until winter. Perfect riding weather!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Blanket Guide

 Cold weather is on its way, so its time to start thinking about blanketing your horse, supposing he has been body clipped. There are many types of blankets, running from sheets to heavyweight ones with fleece liners. Some have hoods and tail flaps, others do not. Because there are so many to chose from, it is important to know exactly what your decisions are and what words like "denier" mean. 

 The first thing to think about is what kind of blanket your horse will need. Will he need only a sheet, which will keep out the wind and rain but not protect him in colder temperatures(below 50 F or 10 C), or will he need a midweight blanket, which will protect a clipped horse in the 30s and 40s F(-1 to 10 C)? If you live in a climate that gets down to the 20s(-6.6 to -1 C), your clipped horse will need a heavyweight, if below that, he may need a fleece liner underneath his heavyweight blanket. In the 50s and above, unclipped horses generally do not need a blanket, other than a sheet if it is windy and rainy. They may need a lightweight in 30s and 40s, a midweight in the 20s and 30s, and a midweight with a liner below 20 F.
I decided to make a diagram about blankets.

 If you plan on keeping your horse in the pasture or outdoors all winter, you will need turnout blanket, which is more durable than a stable blanket, used only indoors. Another variation of the stable blanket is a stable sheet. This doesn't give the horse warmth, but can be used before a show to keep him clean.

 Many blankets come with extra parts to give the horse even more warmth. These may include neck covers, which as the name states, covers the horse's neck. Others come with hoods, a neck over that also comes over the face, or even high necks, much like high collars. In some blankets, neck covers and hoods are removable. 

Type of Fabric
 There are also other things to remember before you go and buy your blanket. For example, some blankets are breathable, meaning they allow body heat to escape, preventing your horse from overheating. Others are ballistic. These are tough and hard to tear, perfect for the horse that often breaks his blanket. A moisture-wicking blanket draws away moisture and sweat, while a water-proof one protects against rain. If you think your horse might tear the blanket, get a ripstop one, a design that prevents rips from spreading. Finally, polypropylene is a strong, lightweight blanket that is fairly water-resistant. 

Parts of Blanket
 Another good thing to know is the different parts of a blanket. The surcingle is the main strap, wrapping underneath the belly. Other straps include leg straps, elastic straps that wrap around your horse's hind legs, holding the blanket in place, and tail cords, which wrap underneath the tail. 

 Most blankets feature shoulder gussets, pleated triangular shapes that allow the horse to move his front legs more freely. They also feature tail flaps. These flaps cover the tail and stop cold air from blowing underneath the blanket. For extra protection, some manufacturers cover their seams.

Insulation and Density
 There are two words that are commonly used to describe the blanket's insulation and density: fill weight and denier. Fill weight represents how much polyfill is in the blanket and is measured in grams. The more polyfill, the warmer the blanket. Denier is another important word to remember. It is the ratio between the weight of the blanket and the density of the strings used to weave each thread. The higher the denier, the stronger the fabric.

There is so much to keep in mind when buying blankets, but doing so can ensure that both you and your horse are happy during the winter.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Winter Care for Horses: Dos and Not Dos

 Winter is coming up. For some places, that means snow, for others, it means chilling rain. Regardless of where you are, it is essential to know how to feed and care for your horse in that particular season. Malory, at the Country Hitching Post, is doing a post about winter care, and I decided research and compile a list of 10 to do things and 10 not to do things.
Winter is almost upon us, so it is important to know how to care
for your horse in this season.

To Do

  1. If it is very cold(below freezing), rainy, windy, or/and snowy, feed your horse extra fiber. Hay works best, as the horse's body creates heat when digesting.
  2. Check your horses weight often, removing the blanket(if he has one) and feeling his body. It is very easy for him to lose weight in the winter.
  3. Make sure your horse's water hasn't iced over or is cold. Cold water may reduce drinking or cause colic, so it is beneficial to warm it up before giving it to your horse to drink. Bucket heaters may be available at your boarding barn or online, just remember not to let the water boil. Lukewarm is good enough. 
  4. If it gets icy or snowy where you are, you may have to replace you horse's shoes with snow shoes, or take them off altogether. Snow shoes are made specifically for icy conditions, giving the horse more traction and preventing snow and ice from getting stuck in his shoe, possibly causing lameness. Often, it is best just to take the shoes off unless your horse needs them. 
  5. Even if your horse has a winter coat, you may need to give him a light blanket if it is rainy or windy.
  6. Many people body clip their horses. If you do, make sure you have blankets for your horse, some that will protect him well enough in your climate. For some, than will just be a thin blanket. Others will need a thicker one.
  7. Some parasites survive, even in the winter, though this is more common in warmer climates, such as California. Make sure you deworm your horse to protect him from these parasites.
  8. Pick out your horses hooves daily, getting rid of snow and ice buildup. 
  9. Warmer climates can also mean thrush, a hoof ailment that causes the frog to produce a black, oily substance.
  10. Many horses do well if they are kept outside. However, they should always have access to a shelter, such as a three-sided run-in. 

Not to Do

  1. Do not let your horse's water trough freeze over or get too cold.
  2. Do not let your horse just sit around in the pasture. He needs exercise! Try to ride him as often as possible, even if that means ride in the cold. Snow sometimes gets in the way, and not all people have access to an indoor, so lungeing him or turning him out to a paddock or pasture for a little bit will work out just fine.
  3. Do not ride to hard if your horse is out of shape. Sometimes you only have time for an occasional  ride or only ride when the weather isn't terrible. If you do, take care not to overwork your horse. Start out small and work up to more difficult exercises.
  4. Do not keep your horse indoors all winter. it is more healthy for the horse to be turned out with a shelter to keep out the wind, rain, and snow. However, if it is not possible to keep him outdoors, at least keep doors and windows open in the barn to allow airflow and take your horse out daily.
  5. Do not over-blanket. This is a common mistake among newbies. They see their un-blanketed horse out in the freezing cold paddock and think, "The poor thing must be cold," giving him a blanket or two. Horses do not get as cold as people do. often, a winter coat and a thin blanket is good enough. 
  6. Do not neglect to care for your horses hooves. Some people do not do this when it is cold, but in reality, horses may need even more hoof care in the winter, when ice can buildup in there hooves.
  7. Do not forget to groom. Your horse needs to be groomed, even in the cold. This keeps him healthy and clean.
  8. Do not let your horse sit in the pasture without touching him until the spring. Daily maintenance–grooming, hoof picking, watering, feeding–can be hard when it is freezing outside and you prefer to sit by the toasty fire, but it needs to be done.
  9. Do not forget to give him extra fiber. This includes hay, and sometimes even corn oil.
  10. Do not forget about yourself! While it is important that your baby is taken care, do not forget about taking care of yourself. Bundle up. Wear gloves and toe warmers. Do whatever it takes to stay warm and healthy while taking care of your horse. the last thing you want is to catch a cold. 
Keep these tips in mind to make sure you and your horse stay healthy and taken care of this winter. Stay tuned for my post about blanketing, which I'll post up later this week or next week.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It Came!

 Yesterday I checked the mail, hoping to find the breeches and helmet I ordered. I was excited to find a box from Dover. I took several pictures while opening it to show you guys what I got.
When I checked the mail I was excited to find this.
My breeches!
Here's how they look like when I am wearing them.
My Troxel helmet in its box.
This is my new helmet. It has a design of a horse on the side.


 I meant to post this yesterday, but didn't have time, so here are some pictures from my lesson.
Look at all that dust! He's a dirty pony. 
Reno, you're so cute.
I learned how to do circles.
In this picture Meghan is discussing the 2-point with me.
In this picture, I think I was trying to feel Reno's movements
with my eyes closed to help me with posting.
Heading toward the exit of the arena.
At the end of the lesson, we hit the trail to cool down.