Saturday, February 17, 2018

PSA: The Training Wheels Have to Come Off at Some Point

I've noticed that there is somewhat of an epidemic going on with lack of confidence both within my own friends, and at shows.  Now with show season approaching, I'm sure I will continue to see it, and I don't understand it.  I think I know why I don't understand it, but I still can't comprehend it.

People are deathly afraid to ride their own horses without their trainer.  Key word THEIR OWN HORSES.  Not a lease horse, not a lesson horse, or any other form of riding a horse that you do not personally own.  THEIR OWN HORSE.  They act like their own horse, which they paid for, pay all the maintenance on, and even insure, in some cases, has been syndicated.  So, who is the mystery owner that limits them from doing whatever they want with their own horse?  Their trainer.

Having a trainer is not bad thing, at all.  This post is not to discredit trainers in any way shape or form.  But, is not a little ridiculous when people pass up shows or schooling because their trainer can't go on that day.  Do you really lack that much confidence in your own abilities that you can't even go to a damn schooling show without your trainer?  Think about ride your horse with them all the time, is the training they are giving you not sinking in, no making sense to you?  Because if that is the case, you better speak up and fix that.  At a show, you can either ride your horse or you can't.  There is no big, magical fix that is going to happen in the short time span that is a horse show.

Last year I was at a show where the girl ahead of me was called in for her stadium round and she started freaking out "I...I can't go yet, my trainer isn't over here yet.  I can't go in."  This was a schooling show, so it is a learning opportunity and I can appreciate that, but...either you can ride your horse, or you can't.  If you can't go in the ring and ride your horse without your security blanket, is that not dangerous?  The people running the ring at that show weren't having it, because there was a nasty storm on its way in, and said get in there and go, NOW.

Think about all the great schooling opportunities you miss out on when you won't go because your trainer's schedule doesn't match up.  I understand if you are in a spot where you are trying to move up a level and feel you need some coaching to school it, but I would say 99% of the situations I have witnessed, that is not the case or anywhere close to it.  Do you realize just how much you are limiting yourself? Also, do you realize how much self confidence and partnership building you are missing out on by refusing to take the training wheels off and going out without your security blanket?

What if your trainer gets hurt and is out of the barn for a few weeks?  Then what do you do?  Nothing?  Your progress stops?

I've known people that want to jump but won't because their trainer isn't there that day.  I suggested just putting up a course of cross rails and they still were like "oh no, I can't."  You can't jump cross rails by yourself?  Say what?  You do realize your horse could STEP over a cross rail at the walk, right?

I've even known some people that won't make a minor change like try a different bit on their horse because "my trainer would be upset with me."  Why?  For doing something with your own horse?  How will you ever know if that different bit makes your horse more comfortable if you won't even try it because someone else, who doesn't own YOUR horse told you not to do it?  Have some self confidence people.  YOU know your horse.  Stop letting someone else dictate your every move.  These people act like they're going to commit a criminal act if they deviate from any tiny little thing their trainer has suggested.

Some of the examples above are why I understand why this happens sometimes.  I can't comprehend it because I don't have a frame of reference for it.  I learned to ride with no trainer at all, ever.  My mom bought me my first horse and told me I had to learn to ride bareback first before she'd get me tack.  She didn't have money to put me in lessons, so I never had any.  Now as an adult I have taken lessons here and there but have never had a regular trainer, and have never had any of my horses in training with any trainer.  A trainer is an absolute luxury to me, not a necessity.  But I do understand some people had the good fortune of growing up in a regular lesson program and from there they have developed this need for their security blanket.  However, I don't think that changes the fact that you limit yourself in a big way when you rely on someone else so much.

We have all heard that nothing grows in a comfort zone, practice what is difficult or what you are not good at, etc...  That doesn't mean you have to do something dangerous that is so above your skill level you run the risk of hurting yourself or your horse, it can start with simple things like jumping a small course by yourself at home, or going along with a friend for some xc schooling at a level you are already competent at.  If you can't do these things, maybe you have the wrong horse?  Maybe you have the wrong trainer?  All I'm saying is do yourselves a favor and work on your self confidence both within your own abilities and the trust you have with your horse.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Arranging 2018 Training Priorities

Now that Mochi is back in work, and feeling great, I've had to stop and think about my plans for this year.  My plan was to compete Klein at second level in some dressage shows with an event here or there, or a jumper show.  Klein is an easy tune up.  In a couple weeks it will be time to start putting some wind in her again.

Mochs, well, she is going to take longer to get fit due to being out of consistent work for two years.  So, it's pretty obvious where the priority is right now.  Mochi needs to get back in shape and gain some strength so that we can do some work this year.  While I have a really hard time pulling myself away from Klein to any degree, I realized that I'm really not doing that just by making Mochs a little higher on the priority list due to what I already mentioned, Klein being an easy tune up.  She requires some basics and conditioning regularly when the weather gets a bit nicer, but she is easy to maintain once I get her there.  She remembers everything I have ever taught her and her love of working makes her happy to do these things any day of the year.

I also have recently gotten an awesome opportunity to ride some horses for a local barn (post coming soon).  This is a great learning opportunity above all.  Sure I will be training them, but I feel like I still learn something from every single one of them and those experiences help me to continue to improve my own riding.  I love riding a variety of horses because you can learn so much no matter what level of training they are at.

Mochs deserves to have her time to shine, and now that it is here, she also deserves my very best effort so we can be the best team we can be.  So, when you guys don't see Klein out at shows as much as she usually is, just know there is nothing wrong with her, she's not done, she's not on a complete break, she's not benched, she's just fine!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Waving Good-Bye to my Dreams of a Klein Baby

For years now I've had this dream of a Klein baby.  I even have a name picked out (which I will save for a special filly later on).  Klein is my Horse of a Lifetime, my Heart Horse, and there will never be another like her, ever.  In addition, she physically, and mentally, is great breeding material.  She's built exceedingly well, she has good feet, she's amazingly athletic, she's sane yet has an insanely strong work ethic.  Anything she could produce would be amazing, or would it? 

I have been drooling over Million Dollar BWP for a couple years now too.  I WANT A FOAL FROM HIM.  He's such a freak that people thought some of his jumping pictures from inspections were photoshopped, they're not.

Images courtesy of

Unbelieveable, right?  You can read a little about him here:  Million Dollar BWP

And, of course you need to watch this video:

I've been watching his foals too.  He has some in the U.S. that are looking pretty promising.  However, while I would have loved for this guy to make a Klein baby, there's nothing stopping me from getting one of his foals from another mare.

We all know you roll the dice with breeding.  You could have two horses that you would think would be fail proof to produce something stellar, but there's always the chance that you'll get something you don't want.  By don't want, for me, that would be something that would have some kind of physical issue that would not allow for many years of riding.  What if it comes out with legs so crooked it would never hold up for any kind of riding?  By default I'd have to keep it anyway because I couldn't get rid of a Klein baby no matter what.

The biggest thing that has always been in the back of my mind with breeding her is what if something goes wrong and something happens to her?  I would NEVER forgive myself.  Breeding is an elective procedure.  She doesn't have to be bred, so if something happened, especially with a procedure that wasn't even necessary, devastated doesn't begin to describe the level of destruction it would do to me.

What if something happens to the baby?  What if it gets deathly ill shortly after birth?  What if it's a stillborn?  What if it's a Cyclops Foal (YouTube that if you haven't seen one, it's real)?  Recently I've read about Torsion Colic and Pregnancy Seizures (and saw a heartbreaking video of a mare having one of those seizures).  What if those things happened?  I know, the what ifs can go on forever, there are hundreds if not thousands of what ifs.  I also know the risk of those things happening is very low.  However, even with the low risk, I have decided it's just not worth it to me.  I also know that something could happen in the pasture tomorrow, but again, breeding is elective.

Some more pros to not breeding her are that the next mare (that's one right there, that it WILL be a filly) I buy will guaranteed be healthy, with good confirmation.  I will know exactly what I am getting and get to physically see it before deciding.

If I win the PowerBall at some point, a Klein clone isn't out of the question, but breeding is just not going to happen.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Happy 27th Birthday-4th Retirement-Homecoming Anniversary Wesson!

One of my favorite pictures with him, taken by my dear friend that so generously "ponysat" him for two weeks during our move up to NJ.

Yesterday was another milestone for Wes.  It was the 4th anniversary of him being home.  I still look out the window every day and can't believe he's home with me.  If you haven't seen the post about the day he got home, here it is:

We also call his Retirement/Homecoming Anniversary his birthday since we don't know his exact birthday.  He turns 27 this year and is still going strong.  He is getting ornery in his old age.  It's not uncommon for me to hear the door to the feed stall be thrown open while I'm getting their dinner ready and turn around to see him in the door.  I still have to keep the stalls latched open because if they're not, he loves to trap Mochi in a stall.  She thinks she's actually trapped when he closes the door on her.  He has done it to Klein too, but Klein just slides the door open again and lets herself out.

This video is in the linked post, but in case you have already read it I have to put this video on this post.  This was the first day of the rest of his life, and also part of the reason we call his anniversary his birthday.  Again, he was very well taken care of at the carriage company, but he did live in a down town area with no turn out, just a small paddock.  Keep in mind he did walk miles through down town Salt Lake City 4-5 days a week. 

 Wes at work in downtown Salt Lake City.

When I drove him prior to my Air Force career, he was always one of the most enthusiastic workers.  He truly did love his job, but it was evident that his just being a horse side had faded when he arrived home and I realized he forgot how to graze.  It took him almost a month to figure it out.

 I will never forget the minute I took this picture.  This was the first bite of grass he took after just staring at the grass for the first month he was home.  He knew he was supposed to do something with it but he couldn't remember what, so he would just put his head down and stare at it, until this day.
He's just a content old guy that's happy to see the sun come up every morning and have his daily roll.  The only thing that seems to change is the grey around his eyes.  It gets a little more grey each year but nothing else about him seems to change. 

I put some pictures from the past year in this post since right now he is full on yak status.  I fully expect him to shed out to shiny dapples again this spring.

I still can't thank those of you who helped Bring Wes Home enough.  I only hope that these posts and updates about him are a small token of our appreciation, so that you can see he is living it up in retirement.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Mochi Update: Now You Can Call it a Come Back

I feel like it's gradually becoming more and more ok for me to let my excitement with Mochs progress this year be believable.  She feels...AMAZING.  She looks AMAZING.  I really think this is going to be the year where I can compete her regularly again.  She is looking and feeling the best she ever has.  I *THINK* we may have just gotten off the roller coaster ride that has been the past two years.  The most recent ups and downs of the roller coaster being this past summer:

She has went out again with friends.  These types of outings are perfect for her.  Now that she is back to work, she has been going all over the place with me.  That second time we went for a hack with friends her anxiety surfaced for no particular reason.  Her hindquarters started to quiver before I even loaded her that morning.  Normally it starts once she's loaded.  Even when she does this, I still have her loose in a box stall on the trailer.  She gets wound up but she doesn't act stupid in the trailer, so I continue to allow her to have her freedom back there to do what makes her comfortable, i.e. look out whatever window she wants, turn around and ride backward, or just ride facing forward, eating her hay.

She was also wound up for our ride.  The week before she was pretty mellow, but that time she insisted on being out in front and how she out walked two big horses with her pony power walk, I don't know.  She settled half way through the ride though and that right there is why we do those things.  That's the only thing that will help, just go out and do stuff.

You may recognize that tall, dark, and handsome fellow, Scout, from 

So much fun!  Not often I have the smallest horse!

In addition to hacks she's on the lunge line once or twice a week, sans any type of tack.  We'll throw side reins in the mix here shortly.  I have been riding her in the ring once or twice a week right now as well, and that will pick up as she gets more in shape.

Feeling good and making it known, yet still adorable while doing it.

Today, she was nothing short of amazing for her flat work.  She could not have been any better.  She without a doubt feels the best she's ever felt.  Even her canter is somewhat together right now.  She's lacking in the strength department, but with increased work that will return and her balance at the canter will improve.  Here is some video at the trot today:

A post shared by Stacey C (@jumpingpercheron) on

I am determined to make this her year. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mochi Update: New Feet, Who Dis?

Acting like she never had an issue.

I am beyond happy to say that Mochs is looking and feeling amazing after her injections and magic shoes aka pads in the front to raise her heels a degree.  I have been ponying her off of Klein, tack walking, her and putting her on the lunge line to start getting her back into shape. 

I took her out with a friend last Saturday and it was SO nice to have her out.  She was a bit excited, but that's par for the course the first couple times we go somewhere after a lull in her work.  She didn't revert back to square one though, which is a step forward from where she used to start.

Mochs and her hack buddy Saturday.  This was the first time she has met this guy, and she seemed to really enjoy his company.

The plan is to bring her back slowly like usual.  This means a couple work outs on the lunge line a week, one or two short rides a week that are hacks or a hack and just wandering around the arena with little or no contact for most of the ride.  I will start to incorporate ground rails and cavaletti within the coming weeks for her lunge line workouts, side reins will come back, and contact will pick up on our rides.  She looks the best she ever has since this whole Navicular roller coaster started.  I'm pretty confident we have found the right combination for her and I can't wait to get her going for real again.

 Typical Mochs.  Plenty of bucking, kicking, bolting, and snorting.  I find it hilarious, and I have a really hard time not laughing the entire time she's busting out her circus tricks.  She takes herself so seriously, yet she is the only one that makes goofy faces every, single night after dinner while she waits to be let back out of her stall.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Polar Bear Management

The Handsome.

I don't think the Fountain of Youth is an actual fountain, I think it's a management style and we have found it for Wes.  This is the coldest winter I have had him in and he continues to own the hell out of it.  Obviously draft horses do better in the cold, but at age 26, going on 27, I worry about him.  But, the cold weather is continuing to turn the clock back on him, and I couldn't be happier about it.

I normally watch him closely on about everything he does, but in the cold I watch even closer.  I watch him like a hawk every time he rolls to make sure he is getting up fine, and he sure is.  That Pentosan Gold keeps his joints oiled for sure.  His mind is still sharp as a tack.  He notices EVERY little thing.  If you set something like a new hose out, he will stop and stare it down to make sure it isn't a threat.  The girls?  They notice things, but they just don't care.  Moch especially if the thing is between her and food, her level of caring goes down in the negatives when there is food to be eaten. 

 Just a big teddy bear who loves his dad.  The Other Half is 6'3"...

Wes is adorable.  If a new thing is on the barn porch, he will stop and stare it down before he proceeds into his stall to eat his dinner.  His yak coat is super glittery this year.  I think he'll look amazing again this spring.  He continues to be on nothing but hay, molasses free beet pulp, Empower Balance ration balancer, soybean oil, and a vitamin e & selenium supplement.  They have a 100 gallon heated stock tank and they always do a decent job drinking it down, so I know everyone is drinking well in the cold.

Pictures do it no justice.  You can't see the glittery sparkle it has here, but it's pretty impressive.

He continues to be more active the colder it gets.  With this Bomb Cyclone/Arctic Blast b.s. we had a day where the wind chill was making it feel like -5 and Wes was standing out in it.  I do not lock them up in this weather either.  They always have a choice to be in or out.  The girls will sleep in their stalls when it gets under 20 degrees at night.  Wes could, he definitely has enough room to lay down and get up comfortably in his stall, but he doesn't ever sleep in it.  Never once have I found shavings on him in the morning.

Bomb Cyclone in progress.

How Manny prefers to spend his snow days.

The calm after the storm.

Today we came home from picking up stuff from the feed store and Wes was standing out in the sun taking a nap, when it was 15 degrees.  Two things he does on a daily basis, rolls, and takes a nap in the sun.  He's a simple guy.  Though this winter isn't close to being over, I'm not worried about Wes a bit, and I think he'll look like a million dollars again in the Spring.  Nothing makes me happier than to see this old man continue on in his retirement in this condition.

The girls couldn't wait for me to get their blankets off today, and Wes is like "pffft, amateurs..."  I think he's pulled Klein's Canadian card lately.