New Arena Footing

Guys. GUYS! I am so excited because I got new arena footing! This is the best day ever! I didn’t even have to pay for it! D’Arcy traveled to an exotic beach, and since she didn’t ask me what she should bring me back, I offered to her that she should bring back some sand for me… and she DID! Two varieties! 

Variety 1 is so smooth!
Variety 2 is slightly coarser.

I put it in my arena so my horses could benefit from the wondrous beach sand. 

This sand is going to change our lives. It will be amazing to ride on!

Yup, this is definitely going to make a big difference in my riding.
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Foal #1

The first foal was born! It’s a dark bay colt, with a big star and three small socks. A few days ago, I was saying that I hoped it was a dark bay with white socks and a stripe, and this is pretty close, I’ll take it as fulfilling my exact wish. Not a filly though, which I was originally hoping for. But, I don’t think that bothers me too much. I’m okay with a colt. 

But it does add to the complication that I didn’t come up with any male names. I picked out “Oh La La” as the registered name for a filly, and I was planning to call her Lolly. But that’s just not going to work for a colt. Granted, I know I shouldn’t settle yet, and should wait for the next one to come out. It might be a dark bay filly with socks and a stripe, but the breeder thinks this one is going to be the bigger, and easier of the two. The other one might have some complications due to its recipient mare. 

The names that I like the best so far:

Odin

Obsidian

Orion

My favorite so far is Odin – but I’m not totally sure if that’s going to be my final pick. 

Does anyone have any name thoughts? Which of the three do you like? Or, suggest one! Name must start with the letter “O”

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The Great Pony Escape

horse lifestyle

Check it out, you guys! I made a YouTube video! This is the first time that I filmed footage specifically to create a YouTube video, and I’m not too unhappy with the results! 

It’s footage from when I went riding a few weeks ago, and my sly little Pony got out when I was putting Berry away. See it for yourself!

There will be more to come! Make sure you subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss any! 

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My First Jumper Show

A friend talked me into doing a jumper show last weekend. I initially thought, but, I do hunters, but then I decided it didn’t really matter and I’m going to do it anyway. It’d be fun!

puddle jumpers

It was a fun experience, but I do need to make some changes to make the next one much better, starting with tucking in my shirt…maybe wearing show pants. I was the only one in blue breeches. But, I do like those blue breeches…they are comfortable… and blue.

Here’s what I really and truly did wrong:

I didn’t make enough time to warm up.

I think this was my main problem. I got there an hour before the show started, and then spend a lot of time figuring out how to do my course. That was time well spent, though, I thoroughly understood my course, and that was a strength. But I should have hustled more to get an actual 20 minute warm up in. Since I did not allow for enough time, I went from figuring out the course, to tacking up, to holding up the ingate while they waited for me to warm up. Pretty nice of them to hold it up for me… but meant I got a 5-10 minute warm up. Berry did more time than that to chill out… and this led to the next problem.

fox chase farm
Wow, it was like two whole seconds of warmup!

I should have cantered the entire first course. 

Due to Berry’s lack of warmup, she was a bundle of energy, and nerves, and was jumping and staring at everything – the coop, the cars going by, a slight wind. I thought the best thing to do would be to just do a nice slow trot to settle her, but what I should have done was just cantered her forward, and channeled that energy. With a slow trot, she had way too much time to contemplate her existence on this planet, and how scary the jumps looked, and what the meaning of life is. She actually refused two jumps! (a bad trend this weekend…) Granted, one was from a rollback, which we have never done, and that was slightly confusing to her. I was actually ready to retire, but I got yelled at to finish the course. And if there’s one thing that motivates me, it’s people yelling at me to do things, especially when its in front of a watching audience.

There was also no question that I was incredibly slow at the trot, and the one line that I kept the canter I did a 7 stride in 9 strides, plus a long distance because she couldn’t fit in the 10th stride. Watching the video, I was shocked at the utter slowness of it all. It was like watching slugs racing.

If I had just cantered it would have used the nervous energy she had, and likely relaxed her. After we finished that course, she was super relaxed…which she always is, after burning off a little energy. 

puddle jumpers
Just a few…hundred…more… trot steps…. AND JUMP.

I took a random meandering tour of the arena before my course.

Apparently, 45 seconds is much shorter than I thought it was… I was lucky I wasn’t buzzed out.

I was also softening too much at the base, which is probably what caused the refusal. I spoke with my surrogate trainer about what to do for the next course, and I went in again. It was a nearly perfect round! I just went slightly over the allotted time of 80 seconds, so I did get a time fault. I cantered the whole thing, and I was still too dang slow! It also helped that it was essentially a hunter course, outside line, diagonal to outside line to diagonal, and that’s what we know. Although hilariously (to me anyway), when we started down the line where the roll back was in the first course, Berry remembered and made to turn off the line and do the rollback. She remembered! But she was also okay when she realized we were doing the line like normal hunters. 

The two courses were like night and day. Hopefully, next time will both be like day, as I know exactly what needs to change. But I have figured out, I love jumpers! Other than it being fun to do something different instead of a variation of the same course every time, it was also nice that I was first in the day, did my rounds, and I was out by 10:30. I like a show that leaves the rest of the day available to do other things. 

Despite being a bumbling idiot in the first course, and being massively slow in the second, I snagged a second and a third*. Hurrah! *only four people in the class, two of them children. But, it was nice to know that I was slightly acknowledged, and I had a great time. There will definitely be more jumpers in my future! 

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Choosing the Right Foal

We took another visit to the breeding farm to see the new foals that have been born, and see how the older foals have been developing. Brace yourself for FOAL PHOTOS! (which could be the best kind of photos!)

To start, it’s probably a good thing there is a legal limit to how many horses I can have on my farm, because I basically want every single foal. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I’d get two or three, and I’m not even joking. By going through this process, I have realized that my greatest weakness is adorable foals because every single one I see, I want. I fall in love with their little faces, and their little personalities. Some are shy, and some are braver, but all are curious and they poke their little heads around their mothers to examine me, tentatively reaching out with a tiny muzzle, before thinking better of it and retreating. They are so stinkin’ cute.

The first foal I looked at, I was in love with. And he a tragic backstory, making me want to take it home and cuddle it all the more. The poor little colt is an orphan.

champagne warmblood foal
He was pretty bold though, likely due to the humans who care for him.

He was so handsome and cuddly. He had just gotten a bath (or fell in a bath, unclear) and was damp and adorable. His color is called golden champagne, which means he’s going to shed out to look similar to a golden palomino. I just luff him so much! He was so stinkin’ cute! 

They tried to get one of the other mares to adopt him as their own, and the mare was actually willing and was accepting him when the little guy got upset/scared and started kicking at the dam.  He’s still pastured with just her and her baby, so there could still be a chance that it will work out, but the breeder said the main issue is that he just wants to be with people. He has to learn to be a horse, and how to interact with horses, but at this point, he wants nothing to do with the mare and foal.

Keeping up the colt love, the next colt I saw, I fell in love with. 

warmblood colt chestnut
Three-day old strut.

Being both a colt, and a chestnut, he has two strikes against him. But he is out of the same dam that I already decided I loved, just a different sire. The sire is very impressive but definitely very frisky, and a bit of a clown. This could be hilariously great, or it could be overwhelming for me. I haven’t decided yet. 

bay stallion
Stallion picked up this weed and carried it around for several minutes. Unclear on why.

He’s looking a bit rough at the minute due to ulcers, breeding season, and spending far too much time pacing a fenceline looking for his ladies, so I’m not posting any other photos of him as I think it would be unfair to him. But he’s completed his 90 day stallion testing and is approved Oldenburg NA and RPSI (Westfalen now) in stud book 1. 

But back to the foal – I’m pretty sure we connected on a spiritual level. 

warmblood foal
We gazed deeply into each other’s eyes.

Just to throw it out there in case it’s unclear – The mare he is with is his mother because she is a recipient mare. They took a fertilized egg from his genetic mother and put it in this mare. (very sweet mare, too!)

He hasn’t been handled since he was born, and was suspicious, but I managed to get up to him while he was drinking milk. I started rubbing him, and he decided it liked it enough to stand there, suspiciously eyeing me the whole time. 

warmblood breeding
“I see you back there, hooman…”

We stared some more at each other.

chestnut colt
“Let us discuss the terms of your potential ownership of me. I demand four carrots a day (I hear they are good) on days of leisure and an additional two apples on days of exercise.”
“Hmm, yes, you also seem like an acceptable hooman.”
“Ahhh! I am cantering by and you appear out of nowhere!”

He was gorgeous and doing flying lead changes, and looking so super cute. He also liked to keep pace with his mother, and when she was doing a leisurely walk, he did the teeniest of little trots to keep pace. 

The next foal I saw, I fell in love with. Clearly there’s a pattern emerging. She is a black filly that looks exactly like Black Beauty.

I’ve always wanted a true black horse!

She was very dressage-y though so I’m not considering her as an option. I’ll just admire from afar as she goes on the horse equivalent of those child beauty pageants, and grows up to be a glamous star. 

And finally, a repeat of one we saw when we were here last time, the beautiful Olivet. D’Arcy had an extended bonding moment with her, and D’Arcy’s scratches incentivized her to groom her mother.

Could it be love!?

I haven’t spent much time with foals, but it was really shocking how much she’s grown in the three weeks since we last saw her. 

6 week old foal
Pictured with her mother. 6 weeks old, and HUGE! I think her legs are already the same length!

So many beautiful foals… I wish I could have all of them. Although I have the logic to realize I will only get one, and it will be out of the dam I love. I was planning to wait until the two from the other sire are born… but that chestnut colt is sooooo cute, and we definitely had a moment. Although having a “moment” probably isn’t a great way to pick a horse. I was told the next two foals definitely won’t be chestnuts due to the magic of genetics, so there’s that to look forward to. I will wait and see what comes out, despite being very eager to pick one already.

I asked Dave afterward what he thought of all the foals. His exact words were, “They all look exactly the same. Oh, except one had ridiculously long legs, I couldn’t even see her torso when she was on the other side of her mom.” I can only assume he’s talking about the giant Olivet. 

I just need the next few weeks to go faster! Or those babies to come out already, ugh, why do they need to be in there so long!? There’s only so much to do in there, aren’t they bored yet?!

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New Trainer, New Adventures

This last weekend was as action packed as any horse-obsessed person could want. It had all the excitement of a lesson, baby horses, moving hay, and a horse show! I need an extra day off to recover from this madness. 

Today’s topics – Lesson and hay

I was half-heartedly looking at new trainers. I say half-heartedly because I really like my trainer, both in personality, character, and overall horse knowledge. But, something just seemed off. I was looking for something next level. I was wondering if I was to throw my all into lessons and training, how fast could I improve? Having a good trainer is essential to improvement, and I want one that really pushes me and takes me to the next level.

I happened to see an ad for a trainer just outside of Middleburg, and I did some research. He had a student compete in the Upperville Internation Hunter Derby, and that is literally exactly the level I want to get to. I want to do hunter derbies, and handy hunter, and perhaps International Hunter Derby is a bit far-fetched and expensive to contemplate, but seriously, shoot for the maximum possible. TO THE EXTREME! Why just settle for, “eh, maybe something fun?” Why do I have a job, a farm, several horses, putting my blood sweat and tears into horses if I’m not shooting for the best I can be?

I jazzed myself up just writing that. Kind of makes me feel absurd for when I recap my TEENY TINY jumper show in a few days, but gotta start somewhere!

So, back to the trainer – He was offering a free day of lessons so people could try him out. That is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard, and I was very interested. Risk free* trial!

*Did end up with physical ailment, but wouldn’t say that was anyone’s fault. 

horse field
I forgot to take pictures, so here I am leading Pony back to his field after he made an unsuccessful, half-hearted attempt for freedom. He made it down the street, and then was too cowardly to actually leave, and he came back.

It was for trailer-ins only, but luckily that’s all I do anyway, so that was fine. I also figured, I have a pony, D’Arcy is a person, she can take a free lesson, too. So we both met there early Saturday morning, full of anticipation for our free lesson.

The farm is gorgeous! It has all the charm of the style of Middleburg farms, and it’s a huge plot of land, perfect for conditioning. They have a big outdoor, and a graded grass Grand Prix field. Unfortunately no indoor, but they do have an agreement to use someone else’s indoor, so that’s almost the same thing to me (actually, literally the same thing, trailering to one place is as easy as trailering to another.)

I pulled up to a nice easy turnaround for trailers (the little things are important to me!) and noticed a pretty little appaloosa in the barn. Everyone who appreciates the wonders of appaloosas is good in my book, so that was a definitely plus. 

We met with the trainer, talked for a bit, and then headed up to the ring. He made us do lots of flatwork, and made me concentrate on getting Berry to use her hindquarters. Berry is built downhill so she doesn’t like to use herself naturally, it’s definitely a struggle. He used analogies that made sense to me (Your horse is like an accordion, and right now, she’s at full extension. You push the ends together more) and I found that this kind of visualization really works for me. 

We did flatwork for half the lesson, which I appreciate. Flat work is the basis of everything, after all. Then, we began the jumping. 

He emphasized pace and footfalls over counting strides. He told us not to count strides, and to instead feel the rhythm of the canter, and let the horse figure out the distance. No searching for distances for us! This suits me perfectly, because I have never counted strides, and just “ride out of hand” so to speak. And I don’t mean that in a classy, top end rider way, I mean that in a I’m too distacted and forget to count way. I have made half-hearted attempts to count my strides, but I guess in the end, I don’t really care enough. I guess I see a distance, and I know when to hold back and ask for another stride at this point, but I basically just go with the flow. So, this is quite interesting to me. 

We did a few simple verticals, and then he had me jump one of the verticals from the opposite direction. This of course greatly upset Berry because there was a coop laying in the grass outside the ring, and she could see it from that angle. She refused the jump! I can’t remember the last time she refused. I was pretty shocked, but I turned around and did it again. Another refusal! He ended up dropping the top rail, which was fine with me, because I want a trainer that’s not afraid to take a step back and make sure everything is great at a lower level before raising it. 

This photo has no relevance to this post, but is a great example of what we look like when I’m talking to someone.

He added in a 2’9″ panel oxer. This would have been the biggest jump Berry and I have jumped. We’ve done 2’9″ verticals, but never an oxer, and never a panel, and it looked HUGE. So yeah, would have been. She refused that. She did it in a new way too… when she usually refuses, I can feel it before the jump. She gets squirrelly, and I know she’s not feeling confident. With this one, she made it all the way to the base, solid distance, and then realized she didn’t feel confident and slammed on the breaks. I guess my legs must be getting stronger because I didn’t come off, I just slid forward and took the entire impact in my chin.

This has never happened to me, and immediately aftward, I wondered why riders don’t have helmets that protect their chins. It hurt so bad, I thought I broke my jaw, and I was sure I got a concussion. I was in a daze for a few moments while I felt my jaw line, but the pain faded pretty quickly, and I didn’t want to look like a baby in front of two people, so it was time to go at it again. (My jaw now has moments where it hurts, and other times when it feels fine. I think it might have dislocated, but I pushed it around a bit and my teeth mostly line up now. It’ll probably be fine!)

Trainer dropped the back rail of the oxer, and I went at it again. One small thing I am proud of is that I have finally learned to not hold a grudge against things like this. I think a year or two ago I would have been scared to do the jump again. But now I’m either numb to it, or I’m managing to control my mind enough not to let it be an issue. I went at the now just a panel, and it was great. No issues, no hesitation at all. It really felt like a lovely jump.

The trainer kept adding more pieces until it ended up as a tiny course of jumps. I focused on my pace, and he noticed that I softened way too much right before the jump, and I need to stop doing that. I think it was really productive, and it felt like such a good ride.

This is Berry right before she started pawing in this tiny puddle.

Pony was a good boy as well. It seemed like he and D’Arcy were having a good ride, and she jumped him as well. Towards the end, he started getting tired, and he reverted to “little kid pony mode.” He was literally acting like a stubborn little pony deciding he’d had enough of his small child rider, and he could just ignore her. Unfortunately for him, D’Arcy is a full sized adult, so she spanked his behind. This made him quite indignant, which is something I haven’t seen before. 

She was asking for him to go down the line one more time, and he was refusing to walk another step. She whapped him with the crop, and his little temper flared, and apparently decided the best thing to do was hand gallop down the line, flicking his tail in indignation the entire time. 

Since he is just a pony, the effect was comical instead of intimidating. It was essentially what D’Arcy wanted, so perfectly fine. He was allowed to end after that, being a perfect little pony. 

We cleaned up the horses, and with promises of another lesson once the two big shows in my area are over, we headed out. 

We went to visit baby horses after that, but when we returned, I had 6 round bales in my front yard that needed to be moved to the barn.

The delivered hay had been dropped in my front yard due to the uneven hill that goes down to my barn. It just wouldn’t be safe for a giant flatbed to make it’s way down there. That meant we had to push the hay down the hill manually. It sounded way easier than it was.

First, we used the tractor to push the bales. This resulted in the binding of the bales ripping, and we ended up with a lovely snail trail all the way down the hills.

The horses like it though. It’s perfect for eating and sleeping in!

This happened with two of the bales. One exploded near the top of the hill, and the other exploded right by the barn. But to stay positive, four bales did survive the entire journey! Hurray! 

It took an hour and a half to move these six bales, and all of us were sweaty and covered with hay, and scratches from hay. But at least… my horses have hay for the next six months…? Hurray….?….! 

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Spring Gold Cup

Gold Cup was over a week ago. But it did happen, so here’s the official report. 

It was a very wet, very muddy day that basically passed in a blur. But a great day with bloggers Emma, D’Arcy, and Shelby

We actually got Emma to come out! We were thrilled that we managed to bring her to our area in Virginia! 

Looking super stylish in a red jacket with the hood up while wearing a fascinator.

We drank champagne/mimosas.

She has a mimosa in her hand, but also the term “cute as a button” as been thrown around.

We were invited onto Member’s Hill and maybe/maybe not into a certain tent and definitely did not sneak in to enjoy the open bar and feeling of exclusiveness. 

Everyone looks totally adorable and I look like grandma’s lace doily, and I’m trusting all of you to never bring this up again.

Also, I believe there was a horse race going on.

He must have won a race!
That first horse looks like it’s auditioning for the ballet.

Another highlight included watching the women who wore fancy heels that ended up completely covered in mud. Poor ladies…

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So Many Foals

If anything could inspire me to have a breeding farm, it would definitely be going to a breeding farm. They are so incredibly cute, I want to be surrounded by foals all the time. I want to lay in the middle of the field and have lots of foals leaning up against me, like a foal pile. 

When I was a teenager, my family raised sheep, and it was generally agreed upon by the sheep community that the primary reason to raise sheep is for lamb season. Watching them bounce around, call to their mother, stand on their mothers, play with each other, and just lounge around so cutely was the highlight of the sheep year. I imagine that is how some horse breeders feel, too. I mean, sure, the foals will become magnificent horses, but in the meantime, SQUEEE, look at the babies!!

I found this breeder a year ago. It was actually recommended on Chronicle of the Horse forums, and I checked it out, and thought, I’ll keep an eye on that one. I followed it on Facebook, and left it at that. As I researched more and more about what I wanted, this breeder just really caught my eye, and one day I realized that the farm is not too far from me. I truly do not know how I missed this detail, but for some reason, I thought they were out west somewhere. Once I realized I could easily visit in person, they became a viable option. 

I made my way southward and found this landmark right near the farm.

This is Commonwealth Park, aka, the home of HITS Culpeper. It’s also super depressing when there’s no show going on, and it literally looked abandoned/haunted. They could at least mow the grass!

The farm was huge! 150 acres and there were so many horses! I live in horse country, but I have never seen so many horses on one farm. It was the kind of place where they aren’t totally sure how many horses they have because there are so freaking many. But the farm was beautiful. All the horses were out on well-maintained grass, and it was clear they take very good care of all their horses. It truly is a great place for foals to grow up.

The first mare we saw was a thoroughbred mare named Berry. She definitely deserves a shout-out for having the same name as my horse, and also for being a thoroughbred. Both excellent qualities.

Similarities – They are bay thoroughbreds named Berry. Differences – Basically everything else. Also, this one has a uniquely colored foal, my Berry definitely does not.

Berry’s baby was only about 3 days old. So tiny and cute! He was too young even to be out with the other mares and foals, so they were hanging out in the arena. After checking them out for a few minutes, they were relocated so we could see one of the big men on the farm, their stallion. (One of their stallions, I think they have four total).

He is in training at a dressage barn, but he’s back at home to bred to the mares that have already given birth. As soon as they brought him in, I was in awe. He is a very impressive guy!

He stood for us for a few minutes while we checked him out, and then he was released to strut his stuff. He determined that the immediate course of action was to sniff poop, so he did that for several minutes first.

I’m planning to edit the video I got of him, but for now, pictures will have to do.

After viewing him, it was time to look at the foals. It was a field full of foals. Sadly, my picture of them en mass came out really blurry, but there were 10 foals out there, looking so adorable.

“Yes, I am adorable foal.”

The ones we looked at were all daughters of the stallion above. They were all so adorable, and their moms were lovely – I wish I could take them all home!

Although suspicious at first, this one was the only one that let me pet it, while laying down no less. I was tempted to get this one for that reason alone.
This won’t be the last time you see this gorgeous filly…

After viewing our favorite foals, they showed us some of the yearlings to get a sense of how the foals will develop. Keep in mind – these are yearlings, and yearlings are awkward. No one wants to be judged by their awkward adolescence! 

My original interest was in a foal that would have the same breeding at this dark bay filly. 

They were such puppy dogs! They just love people! (which was actually true of every horse on this farm. I asked them about it, and they said they only keep/breed horses with personalities that they like.)

All about the itches here!
ITCHES!!

We moved on from the yearlings to the older mares’ field. It was a mix of 3 year olds and older mares, I assume to babysit and put those young whippersnappers in their place. Once again, super, super friendly.

Half horse, half puppy dog.

We were introduced to the stallion’s full sister. It’s interesting how they are related, yet they look so different. As the breeder put it, same frame, but very different finish. (granted, not super easy to tell when in an uneven field and not square).

Her foal was the one I was originally interested in – The dark yearling above is her daughter. She’s not pregnant, they did embryo transfer with her.

Our final stop was the field of mares who were giving birth soon. It was a field of adorably chubby mares. They got a bit excited when we showed up, and galloped as fast as their fat pregnant bodies could carry them.

So much weight to carry…the one in the back looks like she’s trying to hard to keep up.
This appaloosa was definitely an instigator!

That’s when I met my unicorn mare, and fell in love.

D’Arcy examines, and mare contemplates life.

I do want to point out that while I was very impressed by this mare in person, I didn’t make the final decision until much later. I purposely didn’t want to rush into any choice. I went home and researched her and her lines before coming to my final decision. 

I was really happy with my experience so far at this farm. The owners were very knowledgeable and informative and didn’t try to sway the decision one way or another. They answered everything we asked and admitted they weren’t sure for things they couldn’t remember (mainly relating to a specific horse’s lines…they told us they’d have to look them up to be sure, there’s a lot of horses to keep track of.) They were up front with how the registrations they could assist with, and which horses are only eligible for half registration. They spent three and a half hours with us, showing us horses. 

Fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan! 

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Baby Fever

I’ve been wanting a baby (horse) for a while. I discussed it a bit in this post, in which I got some really great feedback. I didn’t even have to pay for it, many of you willingly gave it up. No one even billed for their advice.

After thinking on it, searching the internet greatly, discussing with friends, and watching/searching facebook, I ventured out to a breeding farm in my area. I had a few in mind for what I wanted, but I wasn’t totally sure. I wanted a hunter for working hunter classes and derbies, and I wanted a jumper to play around and soar, and I wanted a fun horse for all the time. 

I admit this is kind of vague to describe to someone. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what I wanted, I just felt like I would know it when I saw it. 

And O-M-G, I found it. I found my unicorn. Well, I found the parents of my unicorn anyway. The foal hasn’t even arrived yet, and won’t for several weeks. It’s agonizing to wait! I want to go in more depth of the breeding farm visit in another post but I’m terrible at keeping things secret so I’m doing the big reveal right now. I’m not going to reveal all the details yet because I want to wait until everything is signed and the ink is dry, and it’s mine forever and ever, but I will provide some vague pictures!

The baby daddy:

With a face just like Pony!!

He is a 5 year old RPSI Stud book 1 approved stallion, 75% Holsteiner. 17hh and breathtaking. Unfortunately, the breeder’s website didn’t provide a lot of information on him so I had no idea what to expect. I actually wasn’t really considering his babies, I was looking at another line. But he was gorgeous, and he had presence.  

Holy suspension!

He’s currently in dressage training, but he NEEDS to be in the jumper ring. I recommended they send him to one of my favorite trainers. I’d love to see that happen! 

But I just want to see more of him in general. He’s incredible!

After viewing daddy, and many mares and foals, we were shown the mares still going to foal…and that’s when I met mommy.

The Magnificent Mare

Although in polite society we must never ask, but she’s pregnant, so cut her some slack for being gigantic at the moment.

She an old style, thick warmblood mare, RPSI registered. She is HUGE. 17h, and thick (granted, also pregnant). Even though she was just standing in front of us, she had a presence, and I wanted her. One of my criteria for wanting the foal was wanting the mother, and WOW did I want this mare. 

Her sire is Apiro, who is worth watching on YouTube. He is incredible, does working hunter, and jumpers 1.6m. Her dam did the hunters. I’m sold!

This is such a nice mare that they actually did an embro transplant three times for her. One of the foals is already born, but it’s a colt, and I’m really hoping for a filly. Unfortunately the next two won’t be born for several more weeks. The foal she’s carrying is not from the sire above, but a completely different stallion. It should be interesting to see how that one turns out as well!

I don’t think I would have gone wrong with any of the foals on the farm, but this cross makes my heart skip a beat. I’m very excited, and super happy that I looked into this route instead of breeding. I can’t wait for my foal to be born!

In the meantime, I will definitely be posting about the breeding farm in general, because foals are amazing and cute and perfect in every way.

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Ups and Downs

The weekend was off to a great start. I went riding with a friend, and I schooled Berry over some jumps, practicing landing on the correct lead. She got it 75% of the time. Progress! Maybe I can do that instead of those blasted lead changes!

Berry was practicing holding her head at a slant.

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She had actually slipped going around the turn and she was so disappointed in herself, she shook her head back and forth. I think she’s being a bit too hard on herself. It’s okay Berry, we all slip from time to time. 

We went on a nice relaxing trail ride after. Berry was very enthusiastic about that, and showcased her enthusiasm by taking a bounding leap over a ditch so vigorously, that despite being very prepared for such a thing, I nearly fell off. I was lucky my friend was standing on the other side and Berry felt it was fine to stop as soon as she reached her. It’s moments like these that I wonder if she actually is a talented jumper, she only feels like showcasing it when other horses are watching.  

Berry out on an adventure!

She loves trail rides, and I love that about her. 

On Sunday, I took a lesson with my trainer. It’s only my second lesson with her this year, and on the first occasion, Berry and I were so out of shape it hardly counted. Now, I’ve been riding her regularly, and we’re feeling good. So I was expecting a pretty awesome lesson where I wow’d my trainer with my poweress.

“Wow, your amazing practice and results from that 2’6″ course you did at a show are really paying off! Look at you, you are clearly capable of moving up to 2’9″ immediately, and probably 3′ seconds after that.”

Naturally since I assumed it would happen like that, it happened nothing like that. We warmed up while she was finishing her previous lesson, and then we discussed my current issues (namely those damn lead changes!) and we decided to do a simple warm up: canter the long side, and circle around in a teardrop fashion back to the same long side. Basically, canter leg yield. At the rail, I would do a simple change. 

It sounds super simple, and really it should have been. This is an exercise Berry and I have been doing since at least a year ago, many times. So we began.

And it was a disaster. At first, she simply broke the canter, my fault. But then I got after her to do it, and she started getting snippy, so to speak. She started blowing through my aids and rushing down the long side like a freight train, her chin tucked to her chest. So, we were told to half each time in the middle of the long side. That started a whole new range of issues. Blowing through the aids, rushing, and then dragging me down as she halted, and then backing up and popping rears. I only vaguely knew she had it in her.

We decided to take it back a step, and just canter in a circle. And that’s what I literally did, I cantered in a circle, keeping her head up so she didn’t drop it to her knees. I had little t-rex arms to keep her up. 

Artist’s interpretation of the ride.

We got to do lots of half/canter transitions. Berry was so pissed she started pawing the ground at every halt. Completely new behavior.  

Eventually my trainer sent us back to the long side for the canter leg yield exercise. It still sucks, and I had the added bonus of feeling like I was about to collapse in exhaustion. Before this, I’ve never really been sternly talked to by my trainer. But I got a stern talking to today. I was floppy and all over the place and not backing up my aids, and letting her get away with everything. I will admit this is all correct. It was a pretty awful ride.

Eventually, as the horse and I were drenched in sweat, we called it a day. She didn’t do it acceptability, she just stopped being somewhat pissy. She was only sort of pissy. A slight improvement I guess. 

It was rough. I suppose I took for granted that my horse would always be mostly good. I needed a reminder of what it’s like to ride a green horse…or to ride a not so green horse, just one that’s in a pretty pissed off mood. Horses keep you humble…

Now my homework is super basic – “Canter your horse in a circle. Next week, we try again.” Big difference from the 2’9″ I thought we’d be doing. 

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