The Long Term

I took a talent assessment test a few months ago through my work. It was to identify my skills so I could best leverage them at work. My strongest skill was “Futuristic.” I’m a planner. I think ahead. I can’t just think of what the next step is, I need to think of what the next 5 steps are. 

It translates into my non-work life. Most recently, it was expressed through the purchase of Stu. I’m sure I confused many people as to why I wanted yet another horse as I’ve got a few already. But I’m not thinking of the now. I’m thinking that in 10 years, I want an ultra competitive horse to take to big shows up and down the east coast. Will that happen? I’m not quite sure, but I know I can stack the odds in my favor.

chestnut colt
Future champion hunter? Or future broken limb causer? Only time will tell.

I didn’t end at just buying the horse. For starters, I started looking for a new trainer. I did a test lesson. Although that one did not work out for reasons I’ll put in another post, I’ve talked to multiple trainers in this area, getting a feel for their training programs. I talked to big name trainers who show all over the country, and I talked to “boutique” trainers, up and comers who only take very select people into their programs. After my trailer broke down I slowed down my looking (and had to cancel several test lessons), but soon I’ll have my new trailer and I’ll be back in full swing. 

I’m upgrading the property. In addition to all the clearing we have been doing, we’ll be extending the barn soon, making for a much more efficient riding experience. Right now, it’s demotivating to ride at my property because it’s hard to tack up, there’s no real protection for tack I leave at the barn, and I have to navigate a pony every time I exit the barn with a horse. It’s inefficient and frustrating, but I’m going to change it. 

Doesn’t look like this now. Looks like a big muddy mess.

I’m extending my arena. The arena has ended up being The Project That Will Never End and I have to force myself out there. But I need it to be wider to fit more jumps, and different jump set ups. If I can’t practice efficiently, I’m not going to progress. 

I neither enjoy nor hate doing these things, but they are just things that need to happen for me to reach the end goal. I know that an end goal of 10 years feels extremely far, but I’m being realistic. It’s going to take lots of lessons and practice to get that good, and doing the set-up is just step 1. Maybe it will take less than 10 years, I really don’t know. I’m basically throwing out an arbitrary number, accounting for the fact that I also have a job, and I have other goals life I need to fulfill. 

It is the base goal, but there are supporting pillars to this goal. If it was really just about big shows, I could board out at a barn, get several lessons a week, buy an expensive horse. But my other life goals shape and share this. I wanted to live on a farm and gave up the thought of boarding with that mortgage check. I have to have money, therefore, a job. I need to do well at my job, I need to advance in my career to make my life as pleasant and easy as possible. I dream of having a complete teleworking job, and staying at home, maybe sitting on my deck, looking out over my pasture with my laptop on my knees, spending every evening riding. 

I have a husband, I want a family. Maybe one day I’ll be driving Pony to a club rally, a little girl sitting in the backseat of the truck. It takes time out of riding to raise a child, but I’m accounting for missed riding time and to still come back and be able to compete.

And I have myself to take care of – I need to be healthy so I can do all of this. I won’t be able to support myself and reach my own goals if I can’t function. To me, that means putting a focus on eating well, and working out. I’ve been getting more and more into this, and I truly have never felt better. 

I have other goals too, ones that have nothing to do with horses. I want to travel. I want to renovate my house. I want to have a picture perfect house to live in. These things all take time, too. I’m accounting for this in my estimate. 

So yes, I am thinking of the very long term. But time goes by quicker every single year, and I want to be prepared. I’m plugging away at it, content in the knowledge that in 10 years from now, when I’m entering a international hunter derby ring on Stu, my life will be set up the way I want it to be. Not perfect, perhaps a bit messy, but the major building blocks will be in place. 

How far out do you plan the future? How do you envision your life in 10 years? Share below, or if you have a lot to say, make a post, and link it! Let’s make it a blog hop!

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Stu the Model

I feel like I only talk about one thing these days…and I have good news, I’m not going to write a lengthy post about him! Instead, here’s a post made up mostly by some of the dozens of photos of Stu during his recent inspection. I feel like they will go to waste if I don’t post them.  

You’ve been warned!

westfalen na
He’s got the look! (because he has eyes and can see out of them)
inspection
I wish I looked this good when I ran.
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Hello, ladies.
“My favorite activity is gazing handsomely off into the distance.”
Practicing the end of the runway look and turn.
He’s way too cool to show any interest in the camera.

The rest of the photos are mild variations of what I’ve already posted. It seemed excessive to post them as well. 

Now it’s time for another Stu dry spell. No idea when I’m going to go visit him again. It’s sad, but I know he’s in good hands for now. Due to some alternate commitments, his pickup date moved back to December, which is hard to endure but gives us more time to prep the pasture. Hurrah! 

Now hopefully the next post will be about the horses that live with me and I see on a daily basis!

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Westfalen NA Inspection

Sharpie’s inspection was going to be today, July 28, 2017, but due to likely all-day thunderstorms, it was moved to yesterday. This meant I was already at work, working, when I received the notice that Sharpie was going to be inspected, and did I want to come watch. I did, but I had a meeting at work that prevented me from immediately leaving and enjoying a day of foal inspections. Instead, I got there late enough that I saw 5 foals go, including mine and D’Arcy’s. 

Side note: I decided I don’t like the name “Sharpie” anymore, and am testing out a new name, “Stu.” This is Stu. Stu is awesome. Everyone likes Stu. From now on, he will be referred to as Stu, unless I decide I don’t like Stu anymore, in which case, stay tuned for the next name. 

All the inspections follow a basic format. First, the foals are brought in and examined at a standstill. There were two inspectors, which included longtime RPSI inspector of North America and German, Otto. He will be traveling nonstop until October to see all the horses on the North American tour. 

westfalen
This colt got the comment, “Very muscular.” Not a surprise since he looks like a weight lifter!

After being inspected at the halt, the mother is lead around the arena and the foal follows. This one was very energetic…he decided the best action was to attack his mother while being led. 

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“MAAAHMMM, play with me!”

Then he ran around like a barrel horse.

Serpentine Babou!

It was fun to watch the foals come out, and speculate on what their futures may be. One foal, Oh Henry, seems destined for the hunter ring. I was a little envious of his clear hunter ability, and also of the other fabulously talented foals, but I really only need the one. And need is a strong word anyway…I really only want the one. Even if I want every one of them. 

Olivet and Stu were the last to go. Olivet is having a weird growth stage right now, and has earned the nickname, “Carpet Mule.”

We are pretty sure her father was a horse…but maybe a DNA test to be sure?

They clipped off her baby hair, but she’s looking very splotchy right now. Poor thing, it stinks she had to go through inspection at this awkward stage. Otto did acknowledge that she’s clearly going through a growth phase right now in his remarks. 

Carpet Mule canters placidly. 

Stu was the final horse to go. He came in very casually with his surrogate mom, and quietly hung out. His mom is definitely a calming influence in his life. 

foal

As he trotted with his mother, he suddenly had a burst of energy and raced down the long side!

westfalen inspection

It only lasted a moment though, and then he was back to trotting docilely along. 

foal trot

Otto’s comments, which were luckily recorded for posterity:

Long legs, showed good movement, good stride at canter, nice balance, easy flying changes. Good trot, with nice swing, and good rhythm. A promising prospect here, interesting cross with long legs.  

Possibly vague, but sounds good enough. He did not get premium, which if I’m honest with myself, I am disappointed, but they look for dressage quality when they decide on those features. I assumed he wasn’t going to move out well due to his placid mother, but I’m also not looking for a dressage prospect. I saw two premiums inspected before Stu, and now that I’ve seen both premium and not, the premiums truly are a sight to behold. They have a little bit extra something going on, but I’m not educated enough to put it into words. I’m considering going to Germany for the Westfalen event in November to both see all the horses, and examine more closely what they look for in a foal. But we will see, I’m not made of money here!

After the inspection, the foals get hair plucked, microchiped, and branded. Some of them took it better than others – I wasn’t able to get photos, but one of them reared straight up. Most of them twist around for a moment at the least. None of them notice what’s going on until the deed is already done. Stu shuffled around for a moment but didn’t react otherwise. 

Westfalen North American tour
Olivet being branded.
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Stu’s new brand.

After branding, we hung around for a few minutes to take pictures and pet our oversized pets. Stu posed for me for several minutes and while this isn’t a quality they look for in foal inspections, this is a quality I greatly appreciate!

foal
We are really into deep, meaningful staring.

Stu was very interested in the decorations. 

“hmm, what is this? I better paw it to check.”
“It’s attacking! Run for your lives!”

Right before we left, they announced the site champions. The filly champion, which may not be a surprise to any readers who liked her before, was the black beauty look-alike, who is now named Delta. I sadly missed her inspection, but D’Arcy said she was spectacular. I’m very sad I missed it. She currently has a three people waiting list, so if you’re interested, better get in line!

site champion
Despite being sunbleached, her expression says she still knows that she is the best.

After everything was done, I talked to Otto for a bit about the foals, and the inspection. He’s a very interesting man. I asked him if he could elaborate on Stu’s potential for hunters. They don’t have hunters in Germany, it’s a very American sport, but he did offer some great perspective. He said they don’t judge the foals on their suitability for hunters (due to the previous sentence) but he personally thought Stu would be great for hunters. He thought Stu was great at being elastic in his movement, and he emphasized how important that is. 

This is very much making me want to go to Germany for the November stallion inspections, but we’ll see how the pieces fall. Overall, it was a very cool experience to see the foals inspected!

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The Bloodlines of F#

warmblood horse breeders

So basically, Sharpie is all I have on my mind these days. Even as I’m scratching Pony, all I can think is, Wow, Pony, you sure are fatter than Sharpie. And he is. And he’s going to be getting the muzzle of shame because he’s gotten so fat. Seriously, that Pony needs to be on a diet. But that’s another story… one that was basically summed up in the previous two sentences. 

Moving on, now that Sharpie is mine, I want to share a little bit about the effort that brought him here. The breeders themselves have been breeding for over 20 years, and I think they have an excellent grasp of bloodlines, registries, breeding, and horses in general. I’m still going to be clinging on to them until I retrieve Sharpie in November, but I might cling again later. Like if I decide I want another foal. At this point, I don’t know why I would breed my horses when I can buy one of theirs at an extremely reasonable price. And they are just such nice people. Like super nice! I want to just gush and gush over how wonderful I think them and their breeding program is. If you want to stalk or admire from afar, follow them on Facebook to see all their adorable little foals pop out. I think this year’s season is done, but I’m already excited to see next years babies start popping… I do know someone who has 3 of their babies, and I admit, it’s easy to see why…

Dam Line 

The dam line was super important to me, as I think in the end the foal will be mostly mother. When I first saw Alala, I fell in love with her. She’s exactly what I was looking for in a big hunter horse. Later, I looked her up and discovered she had bloodlines to support this, and I gave myself a big pat on the back for knowing this just from looking at her in a pasture and wildly guessing at her potential.

Again, Sharpie was an embryo transplant, so he’s not going to know her like a mother… he thinks Jeff, the champagne Oldenburg, is his mother. Which is fine, Jeff is extremely calm, therefore, Sharpie is extremely calm. 

The Dam – Alala

warmblood dam

This mare was bred by Silver Creek Farm in Oklahoma, former owners of her sire.

Grand- Dam: Thoroughbred mare, looks like she competed in the 3’6″ hunters. I’m not clear of the exacts because not a lot of information exists on her and I can only base it on one picture of her jumping a big huntery oxer. It has a huge watermark on it so I don’t think they want it shared.  But here’s a conformation shot!

I think it’s easy to see Alala is a mash of her dam, and the sire below. 

Grand-Sire: Apiro

Marabet Farm

The amazing Apiro! Formerly owned by Silver Creek Farm, now owned by Marabet Farm. One of the top hunter stallions in 2010 and 2013. His page above tells more. If Sharpie ends up exactly like this horse, that would be ideal and amazing! He is such a beautiful animal! Also, I’m liking the music selection they picked for the videos of this stallion! 

I make no apologies, I love this song. Really thought that was Oasis, but turns out it’s The Bravery. I learned something new today.

Because it’s the final countdoooooown! Sharpie is totally going to be a fan of 80’s music, just like his grandsire and now adopted human father.

Rh, this music is okay I guess. Wouldn’t have been my choice, but mainly because it starts so slow and takes too long to pick up. 

Ugh, this video was muted! How am I going to know what music should be the theme song of his life?!

Overall, I would give Apiro’s music selection an 7/10. I gave him significant points because I liked the first song so much, but I did take off a point since the last video has no music at all. Maybe they can pick something else to put on that. 

Sire Line

Sire: Flint GSF

Flint is owned and was bred by the same breeder I bought Sharpie from. He’s gone through the stallion testing and is approved for Oldenburg and Westfalen NA for stud book 1. 

And one time I saw him and he carried around a weed in his mouth for several minutes. Unfortunately, this is the best photo I have of him. I guess it sums him up well.

bay stallion

But here he is actually moving!

I’ll approve of the music choice in an angsty teenager type way. Also, he looks so excited to jump! I love it. 

Sire’s Sire: Weltstern

I don’t know very much about Weltstern, but googling him brings up many results of people who like him. This is what the breeder says about him:

Weltstern was born in Cloppenburg Germany in 1982 and imported to the US after his approval as an Oldenburg stallion through the 100 Day Test in Muenster Germany in 1985 with a very respectable score of 111.35 points. Weltstern is an exceptional stallion with extraordinary bloodlines. Weltstern carries the blood of such influential stallions as Welt As, Ferdinanad, Don Carlos, Furioso II and Absatz. The dam lines in his pedigree are remarkable as well. At least seven of the mares in his pedigree are State Premium mares and many of these mares also carry the coveted title of DLG winner as well, a very prestigious honor. He is the half brother of Bonfire, ridden by Anky von Grunsven to numerous wins in dressage, including the Olympics and the World Cup .

Weltstern’s show career started at the age of 14 where he started at third level and competed to Intemediare I with scores in the 60s. Weltstern has sired three stallions approved for breeding through the 100 day test. All three stallions scored over one hundred at their testing. One more son of Weltstern’s is gaining his approval through performance records and has already been awarded a breeding license through Rheinland Pfalz Saar.

My thought… well, he looks pretty handsome! If I find out more in the future, I will update this.

That sums up Sharpie’s bloodlines! I’m hoping for the best out of him – and also that if he is super amazing, I actually manage to keep up with him. Fingers crossed!!

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Vet Inspection of F#

Yesterday the vet checked out Sharpie, and he officially became mine. I basically already announced him before due to excitement, but now he’s truly and officially mine! Which means I can tell way more about his bloodlines without feeling like a weirdo stalker of breeders.

But first, his vet inspection!

This is the first time I’ve bought a youngster with a vet check – when I bought Pony, I just kind of winged it. I mean, he worked out great, but still… probably not going to do that again. 

So, we showed up, and the breeders went to retrieve our lovely babies from the field. 

playing foal
Olivet is super interested in the lead rope.
playing foals
They frolicked and played while walking, unfortunately, the camera missed the best parts!

The vet was running a little bit late, so we sat with the foals for a bit, waiting. It did result in some pretty cute photos!

westfalen na foal

I also found out that Sharpie is now super friendly, despite having no interaction with anyone since the last time I saw him. He has become a sweet little gentleman that loves getting itches. Naturally, he requested lots of itches from everyone. 

foal face
“GIVE ME ALL THE ITCHES!!”

He’s basically Pony, in chestnut horse form. Super friendly, and wants everyone to love him. Including Olivet, who has higher standards than that. 

“Hello, fellow foal! I would like to be friends, please!”

I’m sure eventually they will get along. 

The interesting things learned today:

  • Sharpie has a teeny hernia, which may fix itself, or it may require minor surgery. We will watch it, and see if it goes away. If not, he’ll get surgery for it when he’s castrated in the fall. 
  • Sharpie walks on the outside of his front hooves. This means his feet will wear unevenly, and if left alone, would eventually result in injury due to the unbalance. The vet emphasized that Sharpie is currently like molding clay, and if I stay on top of it, I can keep the hooves even, and potentially get them to wear evenly again. But, I should count on never missing a trim, running a file over it between trims, and likely having front shoes on him when he goes into work to preserve the levelness. 

Despite these terrible issues, I signed the papers and wrote the check. He’s 100% mine. 

foal scratches

foal canter

The next time I could possibly see him is at his inspection for Westfalen NA. I haven’t quite worked out the logistics as I’m working that day, but hopefully I’ll be able to attend. I’m not counting on a great score, though. His mother is extremely relaxed and does not like to move out. Sharpie likes to hang out directly next to his mother and do the tiniest of little trots to keep pace with her. He’s an expert at the teeny tiny little trot. But… maybe he’ll surprise me? Maybe someone will light off fireworks and they will finally react? 

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F#

westfalen foal

Luckily the disappointment of last weekend has faded away, and I’m feeling much better about this last weekend. I picked out my baby!

This is F#, which is pronounced “F Sharp,” not “F Hastag.” Hopefully, I won’t have to repeat this over and over, but I anticipate a lifetime of telling people that. He shall be called the very dignified name of “Sharpie,” just like the marker. He may look familiar, and that is because I looked at him before. I felt like we had a super connection then, as we gazed into each others eyes, and planned out our futures together. I didn’t decide on him outright at the time because… well… I wanted a bay. And he’s chestnut! I’ve never owned a chestnut! This is so weird!

Even though he’s older now, I would say he’s even more suspicious of me. He found it very weird that I wanted to touch him. 

“Ack, weird human! Remove your hand from my side!”

But he did start to realize how good scratches felt – although he showed his appreciation to his mother and not me. 

warmblood foal
“Oh yes, that’s the spot!”

While checking him out, I checked out my other option – another colt out of the same mare. He was cute as a button, but it seemed riskier to pick him – his sire just started training whereas Sharpie’s sire is approved and confirmed as being a super talented jumper. But the other colt came in a package with Sharpie’s genetic mother, and damn she is fabulous!

Me and the big mare, “Alala.” We are anticipating Sharpie will look pretty similar to her.
Alala and Dave have a serious discussion. After seeing this picture, it makes me reconsider how big she is… With Dave, she looks small. 

After checking them out, we went to visit D’Arcy’s pick and the rest of the older foals. And being surrounded by tons of friendly foals gave me hope. They may be shy when they are younger, but they get friendly fast!

D’Arcy and her new foal, Olivet.
Dave and foal who is super into him.
Little filly getting her nose into everything!

There is hope! Sharpie will be friendlier next time I see him, and be super into me, that way our relationship isn’t one sided. 

Seeing all these foals…. omg I love them all! I wish I lived on a breeding farm so I could be surrounded by foals all day, every day. Note, I would not be able to have my own breeding farm, as I would never be able to sell the foals. I’d be way too attached. Maybe I’ll work out a deal one day where I just show up to random breeding farms and run free with the foals. I could be the official Foalertertainer. Call me, I’ll come entertain your foals. 

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Yucky Weekend

Yucky is a bit of an understatement. There’s no way to polish this up, so I’ll be blunt. The foal I wanted, the one that was just born this week, has died. My second choice foal was still born. Such is life I suppose. Nothing is ever a guarantee. 

Completely overshadowing this though, and putting things in perspective, I spent the weekend at the hospital with a loved one. It was devastating, traumatic, and horrible, and I’m not sure if I’ll bring it up again, or just leave it to this one reference. Part of me wants to talk about it, and part of me wants to never talk about it again. 

Life goes on… and while we can’t control the past, we can control the future. We will see what the future brings.

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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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