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.


In 18th century Norfolk, Thoroughbred stallions were crossed Norfolk Trotter mares. The resulting horse was excellent at hacking(hence the name) and could easily trot over long distances, going as fast as 18 miles an hour. In the mid-1800s, as roads improved, the Hackneys became carriage horses, moving much faster than they heavy carriage horses meant to pull wagons over uneven roads, a difficult task. Soon after, the Hackney pony came into existence by breeding Fell pony/Thoroughbred crosses with small Welsh Cobs, and then breeding those offspring with a 14 hands high Hackney named Sir George. Though it is disputed by many, Hackney ponies and horses are considered one breed, are registered under the same studbook, and judged the same way in the show ring.

Both Hackney ponies and horses look very similar
and have the same high-stepping gaits. credit
In 1883, the Hackney Studbook Society was founded. Since then, the horse became known as the ultimate carriage. People from both America and England loved the breed because it was quick transportation.

 In 1891, the American Hackney Society was founded, and up until the Great Depression in the '30s, hundreds and hundreds of both Hackney horses and ponies were shipped to America.

Breed Description and Uses
 Both the Hackney horse and pony are very similar in appearance. They have long hind hocks, a lot of knee action, a level croup, sloping shoulders, and a high-set neck. Their head is elegant and small. The horse type stands 14 to 16 hands high, while the pony is only 12 to 14 hands high. Both come in black, bay, chestnut, and sometimes pinto. Their tails are often docked.

 Hackneys are generally used for English disciplines, such as dressage, jumping, and saddle seat, though they can also be used in driving, something even the ponies do well at.

P.S. Don't forget to check out Lauren's model horse contest and Hillary's saddle soap contest.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Post, Post, Post

 Yesterday had my second riding lesson. It was as exciting, if not even more so, than the last. To begin with, I watched the local Pony Club finish off their jumping lesson. It's always great to watch other peoples' lessons because it can prepare you for later things and you can learn a lot.

 After their lesson, I fetched Reno from his paddock and groomed him. Man, was he dirty. He must have rolled around in it. Anyways, by the time I was done, I was dusty, which doesn't really bother me. I have to get used to it.
Totally true!

 Once Reno was groomed and tacked, I took him to the mounting block and climbed up. I felt great to be back up him---I have been waiting all week, and wait between my first and second lesson seemedlong since I already had a taste for riding.

 At the beginning of the lesson, I reviewed what I had learned in my first lesson---stopping, starting, turning, all important stuff. Then, I practiced turning circles around the jumps the Pony Club had left up. Once I was able to do that without Meghan leading Reno, I began learning another important element of riding---posting. First, I just practiced the movement. Then I learned about when you should go up and when you should go down, practicing it at a walk. Next, I did a few strides at the trot, not too long. My calves were already burning, though. Now I have two sore calves. Well, they do say pain is gain.

 After doing the trot work, I did one more circle and cooled down with the same ride around the barn as last time. I brushed Reno and checked his hooves. I spotted a small pebble wedged in his back hooves, a small, hard to spot thing, which Meghan helped to pick out. I'm glad I spotted it; even the smallest rock can harm a horse. Then, I brought him back to his paddock, giving him a few pats. He deserved it.

 Meghan told me that I am a good learner and that I am learning quickly. Yah! I'll put some pictures up on Monday, probably, once I have time to upload them.
 Last week, I also ordered breeches and a helmet. Hopefully those arrive soon. The tall boots that fit my foot were way too long(several inches), so we were having difficulty finding some that would fit me. Another girl's mom recommended half chaps and paddock boots, so we ordered those. I'll make sure to post a picture of me in my gear once it arrives.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hunter Princess Hop: Expand Your Inner Hunter Princess

 To finish off the Hunter Princess Hop, Lauren at She Moved to Texas has asked us this: What would you do/change if you had no limits on your inner hunter princess? No limits means no limits!

Though I am not actually a hunter/jumper princess, I am one at heart. The main thing I would change is the fact that I am currently horseless. I would want a horse I could train to jump and would go to lots of shows throughout California with him. He may not be able to competitively show at A-Circuit shows, such as the Washington International Horse Show, but he would be a horse I could compete with in shows higher than schooling level. When not showing, we would school over jumps in an arena or go for hacks across the countryside. Sometimes, we would go to clinics with big-name trainers, especially ones that know a lot about jumping. 

 My show attire would be a navy blue coat, a white shirt, and tan breeches, with one of those nice felted black helmets. My horse would have a saddle pad and cooler with his name on it. Oh, and I would be able to successfully put those hunt braids in his mane without hair escaping from the braid(wouldn't that be nice?).
This. I want to do this. credit
What I just described is the hunter princess fantasy I live out in my daydreams. Let us know about your hunter princesses!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Florida Cracker Horse

 In the early 1500s, many Spaniards came over to explore the New World, taking horses with them. A man named Ponce de Leon brought African Barbs with some Spanish blood in them to what is now Florida, making several breeding stations throughout the state.

 As their numbers grew, many of the horses escaped and formed large, wild herds across the state of Florida. The Seminole tribe, who lived in the area, captured some of these horses, but others were allowed to roaming free, natural selection choosing who would breed the next generation.

More settlers arrived in the 1700s, also capturing the horses, which they used in their cattle ranches, snapping bullwhips as they rode. Eventually, the breed was identified by the cracking sound of the whip, hence the name, "Florida Cracker Horse."
Florida Cracker Horses are light and nimble.

The first blow to the popularity of the Crackers happened in the early 1900s, when tractors and other machines started to appear, making farm work much easier. The Crackers took another blow in the '30s, when screwworms began infecting herds of cattle. In order to rope the cattle to administer medication, ranchers needed the stronger Quarter Horses.

 In 1989, a group of people who loved the Cracker horse formed the Florida Cracker Horse Association. They planned to search for the remaining Crackers and create a herd and a registry. At first, only 31 horses were registered, but today, through the efforts of several families, who have bred them for their own use, that number has grown to 800.

 On May 2, 2008, the Florida Cracker, also known as the Florida Marsh Tacky was voted Florida's state heritage horse.

Breed Description and Uses
 Though the Cracker is not a pony, it stands a minimum of 13.2 hands and a maximum of 15 hands. The breed has wide-set, intelligent eyes; a nice neck, short back, sloping croup, and slender legs. Many Crackers are gaited and can do the flatfoot walk, running walk, and amble. They come in all solid colors, with greys being most common.

 Today, Crackers are often used for endurance racing, pleasure, and ranching activities, such as cow sorting.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Naturally Treat a Horse's Wounds

 Horses tend to get themselves into a lot of scrapes, sometimes coming out of the pasture with cuts or wounds on them. While these wounds generally aren't serious, it is still helpful to learn how to treat these them, preventing infection and helping them to heal more quickly.

 The first thing to do if your horse comes out of the pasture with a wound is to check how serious it is. Is the wound just a slight cut or is it deep enough to require stitches? It is not really necessary to call the veterinarian it the wound is not deep or does not have a flap of skin hanging off. Use your best judgement.

click to enlarge.
 Next, clean out the wound as best as you can and apply an ointment or spray. I use the Animal Scents Ointment for my dog when she gets wounds. It can be mixed with five drops each of Thieves, Melrose, and Helichrysum for every tablespoon of ointment. It is helpful to set aside a small amount of the ointment as you will not be using the whole container. Apply the ointment several times a day. Don't use a lot–a little goes a long way.

 Something that I often use, both for myself and for my dog, is a mist spray. I pour some distilled water into a small glass spritz bottle and mix several different anti-infectious oils in with it. I generally use Purification, although lavender, Melrose, helichrysum, myrrh, and other anti-infectious oils can be used in addition to or in place of Purification. This spray can be sprayed several times a day or as often as needed.

 If the wound is bleeding a lot, take some sterile gauze and hold it to the wound to stop the bleeding. If you plan on putting your horse in the pasture, or even his, it's a good idea to keep the gauze on; it will help keep the wound clean and prevent in infection. Take the bandage off several times a day to spray it or put ointment on it, then put it back on. You can use both the spray and the ointment, but if you do, you should apply the ointment after the spray.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fell Pony

The Fell Pony is an ancient breed from the United Kingdom. For almost 2,000 years, the breed has developed and adapted to the harsh climate of northern England, becoming a tough pony able to thrive under such conditions.

 Before the 18th century, well-maintained paved roads were a rarity, so people needed sturdy, strong ponies as transportation. Many people decided upon the Fell Pony, who fit the criteria. As time passed, whoever, roads improved and people needed faster horses for long distance travel. At that point, the Fell transitioned to a farm horse for farms living in the hilly northern England.

 Then, in the 19th century, the use of Fell Ponies for pleasure, such as trotting races and other sports events, began. Fells were also used for shipping goods. During the late-19th century, Fells began pulling cartloads of coal out of mines and working with the machinery nearby the mines. In 1916, the Fell Pony Society was founded.

 Only about 700 Fell mares are registered worldwide.

Breed Description and Uses
 The Fell Pony, standing 12.2 to 13.3 hands high, is a muscular, draft-like pony. Their hooves are hardy, thighs strong, and haunches muscular. Because of their strength and sturdiness, they can carry heavy weights. Commonly, Fells are black, although brown, bay, and gray are occasionally seen.
Fell Ponies resemble miniature Friesians, though many breeders
doubt that any Friesian blood is present. credit

 Fells have calm, even temperaments and are willing to work hard. They are intelligent and love activities that engage their mind.

Today, the versatile Fells are most commonly used for combined driving, though they also excel at jumping, dressage, and endurance racing.

P.S. Check out this cool giveaway at Adventures with Shyloh.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Riding Lesson Pictures

I have lots of pictures from Saturday's lesson, so I'm am only posting some of the best. Click here to read about my lesson.
Leading Reno to the barn.
Grooming Reno
Picking his hooves
Putting on his boots
Here I am learning how to put a bridle on.
In this one I am just mounting. I used a large mounting block to get on
more easily.
Now I am heading to the arena, that fenced off area to the right(it's kind of hard
to see). The white building is the barn.
I'm in the arena now. 
Here I am practicing turning.
In this last picture, I am beginning my trail ride to cool Reno down after the lesson.
I had two cross to bridges as I circled around the barn and one of the pastures.

First Riding Lesson!!!

 Saturday I had my first ever riding lesson! It was so awesome; I was smiling the whole time.

 When I arrived at Silver Rose Ranch, where I would be taking the lesson, Meghan, my instructor, came up to talk to me. To my surprise and delight, she told me I would be getting my horse from the paddock. That made me really excited because I had been hoping to tack my horse as well as ride it. We walked around the barn, passing lots of bales of hay. On the way to the paddock, we stopped to remove the blanket of a grey OTTB in a small fenced area. Then, we reached three paddocks that were side by side. In one was Moe, a dark bay. Moe had once been a 3rd level dressage horse before her owner went away to college. Ginger, a chestnut jumper, was in the middle pen. Reno was in the last pen.

 Reno is a bay ex-Western pleasure currently used as a therapy horse. His calmness made him perfect for a first-time rider like myself. Meghan explained that I would start out by riding Reno, then as I progressed, I could move up to Ginger then Moe. After her explaination, we both entered Reno's paddock. Meghan taught me how the put the halter on. Once I did that, I led Reno to the barn and hooked him in the cross-ties. When he was securely hooked in, the two of us went to the talk room to bring out his gear. First, we got his grooming bucket. Meghan demonstrated how to groom him and how to safely walk behind. I groomed him a little, picked his hooves, and began to tack him. We started with his boots. I learned how to put them on properly. Next, we brought out the saddle pads(we used to:a fleece one and the regular one). I admit, I put the regular white one upside down at first, and Meghan had to correct me. Once the pads were on the right way, we fetched the saddle and girth. We put those on before grabbing a helmet, the bridel, and the reins. Surprisingly, the first helmet I tried fit comfortably. Yay! Meghan told me parents and I a little about fitting a helmet before teaching me how to put the bridle on and how to get the horse to open his mouth. We were then all tacked up.

 I led Reno to a large mounting block, one Meghan used for beginners to easily hop into the saddle. I mounted and was ready to roll. I learned about proper EQ---head up, heels down, back straight---all that good stuff. I started by learning to stop and go. Then, Meghan introduced steering. she also taught me about tightening the reins to make a horse stop if he just keeps on moving. After practicing all that for a while, Meghan asked if i wanted to do a quick trail ride around the barn to cool down. I was excited about testing my knew knowledge outside of the arena. While I ride, I talked to Meghan about various horse related stuff---she asked if I had learned about horse colors, and I identified Reno as a bay. I then pinted out a chestnut in the pasture nearby the barn.

 We also talked about OTTBs. I had told her I wanted one, and talked to her a little bit about Lynn Reardon(she owns a OTTB adoption center in Texas) and some of my blogging friends who also had OTTBs. I told her about the horse show I went to several weeks ago and Sarah, from Eventing in Color. Meghan told me that there is a schooling show coming up next week. Some of her students will be there.

 By then, we had reached the mounting block again. I dismounted, then untacked Reno and picked his hooves again. The cross-ties were being used, so we had to tie him to a metal loop using a quick-release knot, which Meghan taught me. I sprayed Reno with fly spray and led him back to his paddock.

 Riding for the first time was an awesome experience. I can't wait until my next lesson this coming Saturday. I have lots of pictures, but I can't upload them yet since the internet is down. I'll upload them from the camera later so hopefully you can see them later this week.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Exmoor Pony

Exmoor Ponies, one of the UK's oldest pony breeds, dates back over a thousand years ago. Throughout those centuries, the ponies have adapted to the harsh climate of the moors–huge plains of heather and rough grasses. They lived there on their own without human interaction or interference. That is, until the king decided to use the land for industrial purposes, selling all of the ponies in 1818.
The Acland-type Exmoor Pony

 Warden Sir Thomas Acland bought thirty of them, making his own little herd. Others, too, purchased ponies the start their own herds. In 1921, the Exmoor Pony Society was formed and the horses numbers began to thrive. However, during World War II, the number of Exmoors took and steep plunged. Many were used as food by British soldiers and citizens. By 1948, only fifty Exmoors remained.

Withypool-type Exmoor Pony credit
 Two herds were used to reestablish the breed: the Acland herd, founded by Sir Thomas Acland, and the Withypool herd. Both were slightly different, seeing as they had different bloodlines. Even today, you can distinguish taller, darker ones with straight profiles, like the Withypool ones, and short, light ones, like the Acland type.

Breed Description and Uses
 Standing 11.3 to 12.3 hands high, Exmoors are small ponies with wide-set eyes, small ears, and a compact body with  a big barrel and powerful haunches. They have short legs and hard hooves. Since they have little knee action, their gaits are easy to sit. Most commonly, they are a brownish bay with a mealy color around their eyes and on their muzzle, though other colors, like bay and dun, are sometimes seen.

 Due to their small size, Exmoors make excellent children's mounts.