Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year....

Got to the barn today, and after some less than stellar stuff going on, and a mean phone-call, horse-therapy was just what I needed.

Jingle leads in the barn just fine, but out in his turnout, coming in is a big issue. I've been doing all the ground tricks - back-up, move around me, move your feet, move to the side, lead! - but it just wasn't working, plus with all the cold and ice i'm not exactly happy having to lunge my horse outside. Then, I got an idea that should have come to me months ago. So, the last two times I've gone to get him, whether it be from the turnout field, or the feed yard, I've been bringing a lunge whip. I've probably lightly tapped him with it once or twice - and voila! - my horse is learning to lead. A little wide-eyed about the whip, but is leading nicely beside me back to the barn. Woooo-hoo.

After that, we lunged a bit, then played the "follow me around the arena game" in which I attempt to teach my horse what "Woah" means... getting there. However, he will now match my "gaits" with his. We even "trotted" over a cavaletti today.
Then, of course, as it is the last day of 2012 - we had to take a picture, (or five).

"I hope you guyz give your ponies lots of cookies this year cause they really deserve it.
I deserve 500 cookies a day. Right Mahm?!"

Happy New Years from Me & the Big Man!
Tomorrow marks 4 months since I brought Jingle to my barn,
and tomorrow will also mark our first "new year" together. :)
Can't wait to see what the next year has in store for me and the brute.

Equestrian Challenge: Day 11.

Day 11- Find a horse for sale online that you would want to buy

Man, oh man, I am sucking at this challenge... whateverrrr, rolling it into January!
This one was actually really hard for me, because... well... I love horses, and I love looking at horses for sale. I kind of needed to rein (hehehe) it in a little. So, I focused on Paints, and I focused on Western-Canada and weirdly enough I mostly found babies that are totally drool-worthy, and not even that out of my imaginary price range. (Jingle, you really want a brother or sister, don't you?) My first hunt was for paint-cutters, but I didn't find much... but then again, the hunt was getting ridiculous (just for a silly blog post), what I did find was a shit-ton of WP/HUS/Circuit type paints, so that's what your getting today on the blog. As you know, I fully support the current over-the-top bling in WP, and bling often goes well with paints ;)

So, from Salter Pepper Paints, two WP-typey APHA colts...

SPP Spider Venom

SPP Spider Venom, APHA black tobiano colt, sired by Down Came The Spider, AQHA 16h bay son of ONE HOT KRYMSUN. Out of 15.3h Rock Star Bentley, sired by Black Rock Star (Harris Paint Horses, Maryland), multiple World Champion producer. This colt will be tall, and will make a great all around horse under saddle. HYPP n/n. APHA Breeders Trust nominated. Alberta CCF nominated.

$2,900 CAN.

I just think this is a super cute colt, he's flashy, comes from nice bloodlines, and would probably due well in WP, but also as an all-around type horse. Plus, did I mention I think he's really cute?


SPP Andys Two Faced

Sired by our own stallion, SPP Hezablonde Andy, and out of our World Champion producing mare, Ur Oh So Royal. This gelding has long legs, big bones, strong topline, beautiful head and great neck. Wonderful, quiet disposition. Currently being fit and trained for showing in Halter, Longeline, and Yearling In Hand Trail. Should follow in his siblings' footsteps, and make a great all-around riding horse, and excel in Hunter Under Saddle, Trail, Reining, Halter, and Western Pleasure.
Notes: Wins Supreme Halter at 2 shows. Multiple Grands & Reserves in Open. Earning Futurity Money, placing very well and earning APHA points in Halter & Trail in Hand.

$3900 CAN.

A proven baby - even better! I love how some Paints can look completely different on one side than they can on the other due to their markings - so here comes the perfect colt for that statement - "Two Faced" - literally. I think if he was mine, I would call him "Villain" ;) Again, another WP, HUS type horse, and such.a.cutie.

I like the paints that this breeder produces, a lot of their babies are proven from the get-go, which is nice, and they have some flashy producers.

Now, if only I could find a Color Me Smart x Don't Look Twice APHA/AQHA baby, my heart would be forever happy. If any of you know of some nice cutting-bred paint horses in AB, or just generally high quality paint breeders, point me their way - it's always nice to drool and dream. ;)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Making of a Christmas Card...

So, Brigitte and I got the idea in our heads that we needed to have a Christmas photo-shoot.

This meant, LOTS of decorations...

We were pretty glad that no one was at the barn, since we effectively took over it with our Christmas spirit!

Do you know why no one was at the barn?!
-32 c...
in-fact, it was so cold that even 5 minutes outside my hands were so cold I couldn't feel them for hours.

But, we forged on!

Jingle was a little unsure about this whole "bareback, outside" idea..

Then, he really wanted to eat the garland around his neck

Thankfully, he sounded pretty cute whilst flinging me around, since he had bells tied onto his braids

... working it out, christmas-style.

If you look close, Jingle is figuring out his camera-perfect "smile"

Cold hands...

Another "smile" shot from my big boy.

Now! We have some Christmas photos that we can send home!

One of my favourites

"Mahm, enough of this Christmas business... what even is Christmas?!"

Trying to get Jingle to be a reindeer... he refused to be rudolph.

My "holy crap it is cold" face

So then we escaped inside, out of the deep-freeze and fooled around some more!

All-in-all our "Christmas Photo Shoot" was pretty darn fun, and afterwards I fooled around inside bareback on my boy, and he was awesome. Gotta love my crazy-eyed paint.

&... finally, some Holiday laughs...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

We love you guys! Thank you for the follows and all the supportive comments this year. It is truly amazing! I appreciate every one of you that takes the time to come and read this blog.
I am so thankful to be able to be the "owner" of this absolutely wonderful, sometimes crazy, animal. He is my best-friend, my family, and my ever-present joy (and sometimes frustration), love ya Jingle-Bell-Rock.

Merry Christmas from the two of us


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Riding Diary: 36

Time: 1 hr

Ride: I snuck in a lesson last night (Wednesday) and I sure am happy I did. Before I got on my trainer told me that we should try a bit again, and I plucked up a bit of courage (I hate sounding "know-it-all-ey", and I don't want her to think I don't respect her opinions... although i'm sure she knows I do by know) and told her that I didn't think riding in a bit was beneficial, and that I really hated riding Jingle in one. She asked me why and I told her how resistant and frazzled he felt, and that, at anytime, he felt like he was going to fall apart. I then mentioned that if his steering is lacking, and we're having issues with that, i'm totally okay with just doing lots more slow work in my lessons, since i'm doing a lot of slow work on my other riding nights anyway. She agreed that we should stick with the side pull. I guess it makes sense, although she can tell a whole heck of a lot from the ground, i'm the one riding him, so if something feels wrong, or off, it's my responsibility to tell her and for the two of us to talk about it, and figure out solutions and options.

So, my lesson began. Our warmup was pretty calm, Jingle was listening to me, trotting out really nice, checking back when I asked him. At the jog he was speedier than usual, but my trainer asked me to just keep consistent - instead of holding pressure, check hard - then release. When I hold pressure, Jingle get's frazzled, and that is when his demonface behaviours come out. (I don't wanna listen to you! Watch how fast and hard I can toss my head around in defiance!)
During our warm-up I focused on trotting through the poles (steering seemed to be working), trotting over some ground poles, and working on big and small circles throughout the arena. Ponyboy seemed pretty responsive.

Then... dun dun dun... ponyboy was doing so awesome, and had regained his power steering, (Perhaps his power steering pump wasn't working properly - horses are just like cars, right?), so we began to work at the barrel pattern at a trot. My trainer got me to circle the barrels twice for the first little while but didn't want me circling more than that because she didn't want Jingle to figure out this was yet another circle exercise and begin to get sour. He didn't! In the beginning he was bending really good at the nose, but wasn't following through with his hip. I worked on keeping my hand, and reins, up and over the barrel, and added outside leg to kind of get that added "wrap-around" the barrel we were looking for, and he did great! By the end my trainer said he was really wrapping around the barrel. She also mentioned I shouldn't take my barrels so tight at this slow of speed because horses will want to tuck in to the barrel at high speeds anyway, so if they are taught to get that close, right away, and at slow speeds, they'll do the same when going faster, and barrels are more likely to fall over. Overall, I was really impressed with ponyboy - perhaps our career path is low-D barrel racers?!

Then, we loped, my trainer got me to lope circles at both ends of the arena because Jingle is more comfortable in our old circle than he is working in new areas. I also think that perhaps I get comfortable with the dimensions/area of our normal, routine stuff and when new stuff is thrown at me, I get nervous, and it relays back to Jingle. Stop being a weeny Louisa!

He picked up his right lead right away! Awesome! Then, when we moved back to our "old circle" (i.e. where he wont pick up the right lead to save his life), he wasn't picking it up again. My trainer commented that to the left I'm really good at pushing him into the lope, to the right, I don't really "push". So, keeping the idea of pushing into mind, I used my heel to really push him into it - viola - right lead.

By this point my trainer commented that "that horse is really coming together, it's all starting to fall into place and you can really see you both working it out" - WOO-HOO! That is a pretty great compliment for Mr. and Ms. Crazy. :) I also mentioned that I would like to jump and kind of expected her to do the one-eyebrow "oh yaa?" look, but she said that we need to focus a bit more on steering and then we can forsure start working on some english stuff, and that Jingle will make a really great "All-around" horse, so he should know everything - english and jumping included!. Yaaaaaa.

So, all in all, REALLY good lesson. I was super impressed with my boy. People often ask me why I chose him to be my horse, and the fact is that every once and awhile we just fit perfectly together. Honestly, every once and awhile, we fit together like perfect puzzle pieces, and it is awesome, and wicked. Last night was one of those rides. However, those rides can be rare for us, and sometimes I forget how it feels when we work really well together. I also think Jingle is not a horse that does well with time off, this week I was with him Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and each day he did better and better. I'm going to really make an effort to try to ride more consistently, and close together day-wise, and then give him a couple days off in a row, and see if it makes a mental difference for the big man.

For Next Time: Steering, Steering & More Steering!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


So, my trainer is in Mexico, so no "Riding Diary" this week. Instead, it's the story of Jingle's first time being clipped!! As i've talked about, Jingle is a sweat-box, to the point where he was so sweaty after our rides that I would have to wait upwards and past two hours, with a cooler on, for him to be dry enough to be able to put his blanket back on and put back in his stall. Our barn is unheated, so blankets stay on while in, and out, but still - c'mon horse, get it together! So, it was decided he needed a bit of a clippy-clip. I figured a trace clip would be the best, neck and chest - gonzo, and a strip down the side.

A friend of mine, Caron, helped me out and provided me with her clippers. I thought that Jingle would either be an angel, or demonponyboy would show up. That is generally his M.O. - angel, or crazed.

So..... here he is, my partially naked mole rat!

He did quite well with the neck and chest, that was easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy. I was happily surprised, then we started the "trace", and some squirming was happening, and by the time those clippers reached the hind end.... well, his hind legs began to start creeping up. It wasn't even "I'm going to test you" creeping, it was "I'm going to boot you as hard as I can, bee-otch."

So, we took a break, him and I ran around the arena for a bit to clear his frazzled brain. Then we went back at it... but this time we put his "be nice" halter on. (Rawhide nose band rope halter). He was still being a bit of a turd, so we brought out a crop on the advice of another girl there. The second he went to kick my friend, I grabbed his face and she gave him a quick "WHACK!". He tried one or two more times and then finally looked at me, gave out a big sigh, and the clip was finished. By the end of it all, two of my friends were working on cleaning up some of the track lines, and he was looking not-so-bad for his first time. Fur was a-flyin!

"Mahm, what a horribly traumatic experience.... why am I so naked?!"

Jingle's new Weatherbeeta Everest Heavy-Weight to cover up all those nekkid parts now. My mom saw this photo, laughed and said "Look at that eye - poor horse!", Jingle would have to agree.

Then, today I went out and we worked on lunging for the first time! Jingle has been round-penned a ton, but never lunged, and I figure it's something a horse should know. So, I started with him just on a long lead shank and calmly asked him to walk. It took awhile of frazzled trotting to finally walk, but he did. Then I asked him to walk the other way, and again - slightly frazzled, but a walk finally emerged.

I was using a whip to move him and assist him, and he was getting totally frazzled by even the slightest movement of the whip so I stopped and just rubbed him all over with it, and after that he was more accepting of it.

Finally, I hooked him onto a lunge line and just used the tail of the line to move him around, since he wasn't being as pushy and needing to be in my space as he was in the beginning. We worked on the jog both ways, just trying to get him to listen to my vocal aids and really slow down into a nice jog, and he did a couple really nice jogging laps and we quit! I figured that working with the jog would be the best because it's where I'm able to use my vocal cues the most effectively while riding, and it seemed to work well. I'm hoping some lunging and lunge-line work will eventually translate into him listening to vocal cues more. Hopefully the elusive "Woah" is in there.

"GRAIN TIME - stop taking photos and go away now Mahm!"

"Hello There Crazy Lady!"

Overall, two really good days with my boy.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Equestrian Challenge: Day 10

Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding
This is an interesting one...

My Mom is definitely supportive. I don't think she really gets the whole horseback riding thing, or how much it means to me, but she's never, ever stood in my way. She's only ever been positive, and supportive, regarding the whole thing. My Mom does Ironman (the massively intensive trialthalon), as well as runs marathons, etc. So she gets being "crazy" about something, literally and figuratively, and dumping all of your money on a pursuit of happiness, so I think that helps.

My Dad... is an interesting case. We have a strained relationship as is, and he is not a rider. He never really had an opinion on my own riding. However, his wife grew up around draft horses, and rode a bit as a kid. A couple years ago they purchased an acreage which is basically one big area where he can keep all his cars, etc. He's a mechanic. He then started talking about "rescuing" horses, we had a big discussion and he agreed with me that due to his lacking of knowledge about horses, rescuing is not a good idea. Then, without a word to me, his daughter who rides extensively and owns her own horse, he went and bought two horses. Their land is definitely not set up, or adequate for horses, and my dad has absolutely no idea what he is doing regarding health, wellness, or riding, when it comes to those two animals. He also cannot ride, and has the worst tack imaginable, and "his" horse completely takes advantage of him, and dumps him regularly. Then, this summer, he told my mother that "I'm too small, and inexperienced to handle [his horse]", yeah... okay buddy. It has put a pretty big rift in between the two of us, and is a lot of the reason that our relationship is currently so strained.

My Ranch-Friends... for the most part, are awesome and totally supportive. I think they all know how much horses and riding means to me, and how hard i've been working on getting to be a better rider. So, that's really nice, but their mostly "horse-girls", so of course they are behind me 100% in the pony-endevour.

My "Other" Friends... This is a slightly frustrating one, I'm the only one that rides, and for the most part none of them get it. Some of them love to make inappropriate jokes that literally makes my blood boil. For the most part - none of them know how to share in it you know? It's weird... I don't really know how to explain it, I suppose riding is a very selfish pasttime, that requires a lot of your energy, spare time, and money, so it makes sense my friends don't "get it", especially since i'm rarely around... but it still kind of stinks. What can ya do.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Equestrian Challenge: Day 9

Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding

I've been pretty lucky, as injuries go.

As a child I had a steady stream of tree-branch induced slices, a few knocked and bruised knees, and i'm sure more bruises than was at all necessary. But, as for those minor occurances, I can't remember anything very bad.
In 2009 I thought it would be a smart idea to jump on a green horse bareback for a photo, and proceeded to get my ass dumped in the dirt... The photo really describes it all:

It was a good little reminder that one should never get too cocky, or too proud, around a horse. It also resulted in a severely fractured left wrist, which put a damper on the end to my summer. However, it managed to heal much better than any of my doctors expected. (They were all harassing me with images of horrible pins and metal plates everytime I came in for a check-up). Whoever that 2 am doctor was that set my wrist, he did a damn good job, thank you kind sir.

Then, that fall, I was working at another ranch, riding horses, and a big palomino absolutely massacred me. I can't even remember the damn horses name, but I jumped up, and he was dead still, wouldn't move an inch. This, in my professional opinion, is always a recipe for disaster. I attempted to get him to move left, and he proceeded to rodeo buck me to the moon and back. I had no chance. I landed back and head first, and proceeded to watch as his hoof narrowly missed my face. I rolled, he ran off, it was bad. I ended up with some bad aches and pains, and a decently bad concussion.

Finally, the wimpiest one of the three, this summer I had a horse irish dance on my foot, i.e. she stomped on it and wouldn't let go. My foot was one big mottled bruise, ft. some blood bruising, and I lost feeling on the top of my foot. I also was having a really hard time clenching my toes. 4 months later and I'm feeling regaining feeling. Sigh... Horses...

So, as far as bad injuries go, those three are the worst I can think of. Perhaps my mind is hiding the rest from me, because I honestly can't pull anymore up, and i'm sure there's been a few. Lately, I've been lucky, my only issue is two terribly bad shoulders that cause me a lot of grief. However, thanks to a car accident (thanks, but no thanks), I was required to go to physiotherapy. I was diagnosed with pretty bad horizontal whiplash, and it made all my issues in my shoulders kind of bubble over the surface. My pyshio is absolutely wicked though, and "needles" me, which is where they take an acupuncture needle and literally twist the needle around in your muscle until it releases. This means that when my shoulders are brutally tight, my muscles will spasm over, and over again. A lot of people really don't like this kind of treatment, as it's uncomfortable, and can be painful in the moment, but also for a couple days afterwards, but I love it - it has worked wonders for me.

Riding Diary: 35

Time: 1.5 hr

Ride: This was an interesting one, demon ponyboy was back with a vegance. We did a little bit of a trail ride on Friday, and Jingle was definitely walking out and ready to go. It was pretty cold out though, and I was feeling the chill on my thighs, so we cut it sort at about 45-60 minutes. However, not a bad little jaunt around.

We did a short little warmup and moved into a jog.... Jingle would.not.jog, he turned into a complete spastic mess. Then, while we were loping, he wasn't listening to me at all. It was like this switch that has been turned on the last couple of rides suddenly slammed right back to "off", and mr. shitforbrains decided that listening to me was just not his perogrative. Cue = out of control horse. So much so that at one point, while loping a circle, I thought he was going to slam me into a wall, we were going left, and to try to correct him and slow him down, I pulled on the reins, but must have pulled too much on the right. He literally dug in, spun on his haunches, and attempted to lope the wrong way up the rail. This caused him to scary the crap out of both the horse infront of us, and the horse behind us - if you guys remember, I ride in what I affectionately call the "jr. class" at my barn, because I ride with two like... 10 year olds. Awesome, we're back to trying to murder children, wonderful.

My trainer was clearly not impressed, I even got a bit of a scolding about the situation, ugh. Of course my horse decides to be responsive to my cues when I actually just want him to motherf-ing stop. My trainer then decided that perhaps it was time to put a bit in his mouth and see what would happen. Perhaps now that he's been softening up, and responding to pressure (... he has been! just not on this particular day), he will be a little more calm and relaxed with a bit. It sounded like a plausible experiment to me, and so, we put a bit in Jingle's mouth. Well, the experiment failed - and honestly I knew it would.

LOTS of people switch from sidepulls/bitless/hackamores to bits, I know tons of people who ride at home in bitless set-ups, and then bit for competitions/outside rides/etc. Lots of people use sidepulls as a training aid, and when a horse is becoming still at the nose/poll, they employ a sidepull to soften them back up, and then move back into a bit. So, going from a bitless to a bit is not the issue. The issue is that my horse associates a headstall, and a bit, with pain, from when he was younger, and frusteration, from now. He literally - loses.his.shit. - in a bridle. He becomes an absolute monster to actually bridle, and then he reverts back to his head-tossing, snorting, dragon horse ways.... but he has more check... so what's the solution?

Well, i've been thinking about it a lot. I understand where my trainer is coming from, right now the big issue in Jingle and I's training is speed. I have a hard time with my leads, he's a horse that doesn't know his leads, has a hard time with one, and also has issues with turning, working with circles, etc. at a lope. The slow stuff, I'm good with. It's the fast stuff where we both fall apart. Thus, because I can only do one lesson a week, I know my trainer wants to work on the stuff that I can't really work on when I'm alone. But, when he's not checking back, just not listening to me at all... is the answer to bit him? Well, we tried, and I don't think it is. I'd rather work on slow stuff, then have a dragon horse beneath me, and that is honestly - no word of a lie - what he becomes when a bit is in his mouth. So, we tried something different, and it failed.

Yesterday (Tuesday) in his side pull, and he did alright. He was kind of checking back, and I worked on lots of bending (pole pattern, around barrels, figure 8's, big to small, and back again circles), and he was starting to listen to me. His lope wasn't perfect, but he kind of figured it out toward the end.

On Monday, my two "jr. class" classmates got to work on the barrel pattern (do you think Jingle & I got to work on the barrel pattern? The answer is hell no we didn't, we got to play the "don't kill anyone or yourselves" game, as we terrified everyone around us), and so on Tuesday, after lots of bending work, and having jogged the pattern, I thought... I'll jog the pattern, and then lope home. Jingle did well, and we loped a decently straight line down the centre of the arena, and then I asked my horse to "Woah". Well... as we know, his woah isn't exactly pristine. He bounced around, but he stopped. I gave him a big pat, told him he was a good boy, and turned to begin his cool-down. Of course, there my farrier, and good friend, was, watching the spectacle that is me and my horse... his words, "well, atleast he does stop...". Yep. Basically.

For Next Time: Everything? I don't know, hope demon/dragon ponyboy doesn't appear, and then work on slow, steady and consistentency.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Equestrian Challenge: Day 8

Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at

Last year I was working at a really beautiful barn, that was ruining any form of self-confidence I had. I honestly, to this day, still have flashbacks of a terrible boss, and the bad environment, and it sucks. Anywaysss, a good friend of mine (who reads this blog - Hi Caron!), had recently purchased a quarterhorse named Quiz, and she also owns a big Warmblood named Jager. She was finding that she was riding Jager more, and I was desperately looking for lessons, and some form of sanity. She graciously invited me to come take lessons on Quiz, and Quiz became Princess Mareface (if any of you have read my blogs from last year, she was the star of the show), the lady I took lessons from became "My Trainer", and the barn became my barn too! In September I moved my own horse in, and the deal was sealed.

Honestly, my barn is awesome. It's not the most fancy schmancy pants place, but I like that about it. However, we have an awesome barn manager who makes sure everything is clean, running safe and smoothly; so what it lacks for in schmany pants, it definitely doesn't also lack in safety and cleanliness, which is all that matters to me. Jingle is stalled at night, in a semi-heated barn, and then goes out in group turn out everyday. He has access to a massive field, as well as a feed lot that is opened to them in the afternoon. When Jingle first was moved inside, and into this turnout situation, they decided they would try to put him with the mares. He is definitely a very low-pecking order, submissive horse. Anyways, it worked well, so my little fairyboy is out with the mares. There's less of them, and he seems to really enjoy it, so I don't complain!

The barn has an indoor arena, as well as an outdoor, and some really nice trails that I've just begun to discover out back. It's 35 minutes from my house, and right at the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains, so it's definitely pretty stunning.

It's really, for me, the perfect mix of social and private time I need. There's a lot of really nice, super welcoming, girls there. A lot of which worked at the same ranch as me! & of course, Brigitte, my best friend, also boards there with her winter-lease horse, Mac. So, there's generally always someone to chat to, and visit with, if I wish. However, I can also escape and do my own thing, and work on my own stuff.

So, as you can see, I really love my barn. My only "complaint", an unheated arena makes for some pretty fricken' cold night rides. (But honestly, what kind of complaint is that? I have an indoor arena to ride in - life's good.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Equestrian Challenge: Day 6 & 7

Life has popped up and reared it's ugly head, meaning I am very behind on these challenges, so you get two in one day! Yipee!

Day 06- All the tack and riding clothes you have 
(brand/color/other details)

This one is a joke... right? haha. I am obsessed with tack & riding clothes, but here goes, the short list....

This is my Jeff Smith Cowhorse, I am in love with it - it's an awesome saddle. However, lately i've been noticing some dry spots after hard workouts with Jingle, so I think it might have to be traded in. So sad.... I'm crazy enough to want to keep it, just because I love it so much, and buy another saddle for Jingle. But, after an ouchy truck-bill I got from the mechanic today, that's just not happening.

So, anyone looking for a Jeff Smith cowhorse saddle, FQHB? Super nice saddle, would fit any normal QH build (except for my scrawny, awkward withered horse) Bought it in September for $2600, always kept in a heated tack locker, mainly ridden inside, only been outside twice. Comes with Nettles stirrups & i'll throw in a brand new Billy Cook mohair cinch.

Jingle has Red Professional's Choice SMB's, front and backs, aswell as black PC bell-boots.
Here you can see his two bridles, I forget the brand of one, but it's nice, it's my back-up bridle and for quick-change bits. Then second-in from the right is my Weaver headstall that I'm in love with. I have the matching breast collar, and it's my only full tack set. Then his two halters, one is a weaver with rawhide noseband, the second is halter I had made from Chick's saddlery, it has his barn name on the noseband, and his registered name on both cheek pieces. Love it.

Then, as you guys now, Jingle chose to be ridden in a sidepull, so bye bye bits and beautiful headstalls - hello ugly, plain sidepull. This one is a weaver sidepull, it's nice - gets the job done. 

In my tack locker I have a little self container of odds and ends, here you can see my helmet, the aforementioned breast collar, and Jingle's Weatherbeeta cooler, with attached neck piece. He also has a rugged wear medium blanket, a weatherbeeta heavy blanket, and two different rain/summer sheets.

Odds & Ends - notepad and pens to jot things down, extra dewormer, a couple bits, and chin straps.

Extra reins, lunge line, Mane & Tail Shampoo & Conditioner. This is also where his Vetricyn, MTG and miscellaneous oils & potions I have goes.

Tack Box, contains brushes, hoof picks, Riva's remedy salve for inflammation that I sometimes apply to his face after a hard ride, Leave in-conditioner for his mane and tail, braiding elastics, etc.

As for riding clothes.... my favourite riding jeans are Wrangler Sadies, and I have 3 different Lululemon Stride Jackets that I love to ride in. They are pretty much just sweaters, but they are super long, so they don't ride up under my vests, and they have the loops for your thumbs, so they keep my hands warm. I I always ride in a vest, my favourites are the ones from Marks, waterproof and super warm. Finally, my favourite socks are Justin boot socks, super warm, and they go really tall but don't dig into your legs... which a lot of high socks I have do. Finally, I have my go-to Justin's that I ride in, they are pink high tops, and I adore them. I rarely ride in anything else. I also have my pink muck boots, which are essential in keeping my toes warm pre and post ride. :)

Day 07- Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why

Haha, this one is easy to include beeeeecaaaaauuuuussseeeee... I have never won a ribbon before - maybe one day. I sure hope so.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Equestrian Challenge: Day 5

Day 05- Your first fall

Welll... it was pretty unexciting, I was riding a horse named Wiggles (the cutest name, ever). I'd ridden him a couple times before but he was pretty green. I was heading out with a couple, and one afternoon we had just planned to go on a fun little adventure ride by ourselves at the ranch. I left the barn, crossed the river, went through a tiny patch of trees (still insight of the barn/main houses/everyone there), and did a bit of a trot to catch up. I was posting along when Wiggles tripped on a log, he took a bit of a dive forward. My huge bulky yellow raincoat was tied onto the back of the saddle and made a big rustling noise. No sooner were his back legs in the air, and I was mid-post, bailing over his shoulder. I landed, rolled onto the road, and watched as the scared little guy rushed off into the trees. I found him, shaking, gave him a couple big pats, got back on, and away we went!

The only photo I have of me riding Wiggles... He's a pretty funky looking paint, one blue and one brown eye, interesting markings and really small too, probably 14.3 or less. My hands are awful, please ignore them, and also note the fact my feet aren't even in the stirrups... guess the fall didn't rattle me too much, hey?

That day we proceeded to ride a pretty tough fence-line, cross a crazy bog, hopped over a culvert, and loped through a hay field... he was an angel for the rest of the ride. So, in reality, it was a pretty good fall all-in-all. 

I haven't fallen for quite some time, and all summer I had this nagging feeling that my time was running out. Survived the summer though, so let's cross our fingers for the winter!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Equestrian Challenge: Day 4

Day 04- A ride that impacted your life

This one really made me think....

I have two that I'll talk about, although i'm sure i'm ignoring a couple really good rides in the process. I have been blessed with some spectacular rides, but these two particular rides are two that have a pretty long-lasting impact.
The first is the first time I rode my horse. :)

It was a bit of a gross rainy day in 2010, Jingle would have been 6, I was 18, and I got to the barn and was told I would be riding a horse named "Jingo". Everyone seemed a bit worried about the whole situation, I remember thinking he had a really pretty forelock. :) I rode with a "beginner" group, and the only hiccup of the entire ride was that he didn't want to go up a very large, steep hill. I got someone to come right infront of me, parked his nose in that horses bum, and away we went. He did awesome. Later that night, I broke my wrist, and it wouldn't be until almost a year later that I saw ponyboy again. For some unknown reason, he settled into my brain as my "favourite", and now, he's mine. *Cue sappy music*

The second was the 2012 "Counsellor Ride" this summer.

The "Counsellor Ride" was something I had organized as a thank-you for the counsellors that worked at the ranch this year. Very rarely were counsellors allowed to do this, and I begged, pleaded and reminded the owners daily until I got the go-ahead to do it. Generally speaking, we pull our horses shoes and kick them out onto lease land until mid-September when they are brought back in, and sent to winter pasture. However, since this was the last year, and the sale of the horses was in mid-September, the horses were to stay closer to home. It was towards the end of august and it was disgustingly hot. I had tried to pair up everyone with their 'favourite' horse, or a horse that I knew they would have a good ride on. It was stressful, and it literally made me stomach ache thinking about dissapointing someone, as this was to be the last ride many of us would ever have at the ranch. 

Getting ready to head out

Me & King Ponyboy

I obviously rode King Ponyboy (Jingle), and he was AWESOME. I hadn't ridden him much this summer, but I knew he'd be fine and sure enough he was wicked. I weaved around the massive group (I think over 20 of us were on the ride? I can't remember) the entire time. A couple times I took off on my own little path, away from the masses, and he was fine to just follow my lead. It was honestly the perfect ride with my horse.

Best boy.

Doing our own thing...

We headed to the "Far Lookout", and hung out there for awhile, and then took a different way back. We stopped at a spring, and then meandered home through the river for quite awhile. Towards the end, I fell to the back, and walked through the last gate with two of my bestfriends. It was a pretty bitter-sweet moment. A part of me was so amazed and happy to see so many lovely, wonderful friends, on such beautiful, strong horses ahead of me. Another part of me realized that we were coming "home" to the shed for the last time.

Heading Home

So, how did this ride "Impact" me? Well, it was totally symbolic of my experience at the ranch, and it signified the end. Thankfully, it was able to symbolize the "end" in a really beautiful, pure way. What amazed me the most was how happy all the horses seemed. We had horses ranging from "counsellor" horses, all the way to our intermediate - juniour horses, and each one seemed happy to comply and come on this last ride with us. It almost felt, as corny as it sounds, that they knew this was their last ride too.

There was another side too, a negative and dark side, that for me made it slightly easier to walk away from the ranch. I walked those last couple minutes knowing that I was coming home with my heart-horse, and quite a few heart/forever friends, and that is really what was so important, and significant about that particular ride.

Saying goodbye in the shed....