Thursday, November 16, 2017

What do You do With Your Horses When You Get Back?

I told you about what typically happens when I go on trips for work that can vary in length.  Now that I'm home from my most recent five week trip, here is what I do when I get home.

First order of business, go say hi to my babies.  I got home at night and went outside to see them.  I called their names as I walked up.  They stopped eating their hay and their heads shot up.  They flipped around toward the sound of my voice with their ears pricked like "Is she home?!"  All three of them immediately came over for some love and hugs.

Sure did miss waking up to this sight, and no, they don't stay in that temporary paddock all the time.  That is only a couple days a week, and only when we are home.  So don't worry about all the leaves, they're gone now too.

The next day every one got groomed.  Klein and Wes got their legs and face clipped, along with bridle paths.  I keep the feather off of them, and I cannot stand when the hair under their jaw line grows out (especially with winter coats half way in).  Mochs really doesn't get a beard going on, and she definitely doesn't have feather.  She just needed a bridle path.

The Handsome after enjoying some grooming time complete with treats.

Later that same day.

Something about colder weather puts Mochs down for afternoon naps.  She will start falling asleep in the sun, then lay down for a while to nap.  She never lays down to nap in warm weather.

The girls both went back to work.  As soon as I tied Klein to the trailer to tack her up she let out a big sigh then pricked her ears with every piece of tack I brought to her.  She was happy that her break was over.  That is her equivalent of "Yes!  We're going somewhere and doing something!"  I took her out for a hack down the road.

She hasn't done anything for five weeks.  While she would love to take off at a full gallop, that's not going to happen until she gets rides with long walks, trots, and slow canters.  I gradually bring her back into work after weeks of doing nothing for the sake of being preventative.  If I was only gone a week or two, no big deal.

Mochs, well, you know she hasn't done anything since Klein kicked her at the end of July.  The Other Half sent me videos of her tearing around the pasture, leaping in the air, and breaking into a floaty trot on a regular basis while I was gone.  She looked great.  With her though, not only is she not even close to the fitness level Klein is at, I need to make sure she is actually feeling 100%.  The plan for her is long walks for the first couple weeks with some time on the lunge line walking and, trotting a little bit over some ground rails.  She has to build some strength back up.

With Mochs, she usually reverts back to being somewhat undomesticated after long breaks.  Her anxiety is present and there is a lot of jigging, power walking, and evading the bit the first couple of weeks back under saddle.  She was the best she has EVER been this summer and I was hoping that her new calm would still be there at least a little bit.  Even a little of it would be an improvement.

I'm happy to say that more than a little bit of that calm was still there.  Her first ride I could let her wander on a completely loose rein.

In case you can't tell, I was holding my other glove.  I took it off to take the picture, that's why it looks odd.

I did trot her a tiny bit to see how she felt and there was some intermittent lameness, not from her hip, but from her right front where the navicular cyst is.  I highly suspect it's a strength issue.  She was going great this summer and completely sound.  That was after doing exactly what I plan to do now though, long walks under saddle, with work on the lunge line.  It took about two months, and that's fine.  There is no rush with spring not being for a while.

Video from the bareback ride:

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Remember that drag I told you about that The Other Half bought right after I left?  Yeah...that thing is AMAZING.

I also came back to an AWESOME surprise.  The Other Half cleaned up my storage stall where we keep feed, blankets, the water heater, grooming stuff, etc...  It was a bit, um, unorganized.  He also bought me a Kobalt tool box for my grooming stuff and other supplies I keep in there after getting tired of the cheap set of plastic drawers I had.  That thing is PERFECT for that!!  It will last forever, and it can easily be rolled onto a trailer if I want to take it with me somewhere.  He seriously should write a book on all the stuff he does around here, and all the ideas he comes up with.

Christmas is coming, people.  Put one of these on your list if you don't have something similar.

He also got these really nice letters for each of the horse's names to hang over their blanket racks.


I'm so happy to be home.  Sadly, it is reverse for a lot of people that are on these trips.  They use them as an escape from an unhappy home life.  I'm one of the lucky few that has a home life that is much better than my work trip life.  As cliche as it sounds, The Other Half really does make everything more fun.  Every time I'm gone, no matter how many cool places I go, I just wish he was there because it would be much more enjoyable with him.

And of course, all those sunsets on different beaches every evening were beautiful, but really...this is the best place to be for sunsets...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Non-Horsey Things?

Non-horsey things?  Here are some other things that I have been doing to keep myself busy while I'm away.  Between school, the gym, and going to ride on the weekends, here is what I was up to.

Quiet evenings alone at the abandoned golf course. 

Abandoned golf course club house.

Dilapidated pier at the abandoned golf course beach. 

Flexibility...important in and out of the saddle. 

One of many beach sunsets. 

 A park on the water.

A stormy evening on a quiet pier. 

Another panorama from the abandoned golf course beach.

More beach time.  This beach I could walk to from my hotel room, and I did many days and evenings.

Being a tourist.  It has been six years since I was here last, so there were some new things I had to check out. 

Stingrays at another park on the water.

A pretty evening with lightning in the water.

Took this V for a ride.  Driving a Caddy is already nice, but add in the whine of a supercharger...  Nothing quite like driving a supercharged luxury vehicle that puts bus lengths on every other vehicle around you instantly.

I absolutely love my CTS, but I still want a CTS-V, and unfortunately this one had been in Houston, TX in September of this year according to its Carfax.  Red flag because of Harvey, and that it came to this dealer through an auction in Texas after coming from Houston.

Went to a gun show and drooled over the Deagles.  No gold tigers though.  The day I get a .50AE Deagle, it WILL be a gold tiger.

A restaurant on a house boat that gives discounts to ccw holders, military, and gives out two free beers with your food.  He has been on the Food Network too.

 Even if I wasn't hungry, this sign alone would have still made me buy food just to support this guy, who supports the military (is a prior Marine himself), and loves his second amendment rights.

Just a bear getting midnight snacks out of a dumpster by my building, nbd.  There are Black Bears EVERYWHERE around here, obviously.  I saw one the second night I was I was walking down to the gym, that I can see from my hotel room.  Yeah, I drove the 300ft the rest of the time after that.  I saw more bears throughout my time too.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


My Cousin Vinny.

While I've been on my current work trip I have made the best of it by riding different horses here.  I'm a firm believer that every horse has something to teach me.  And we can all agree that you can never learn enough when it comes to riding.  Why do you think some of the best riders in the world still have coaches?  They're always learning, you can always improve.  Bill Steinkraus once said, "Horses always have more to teach us, as I am reminded anew every time I ride."

I also feel it's a measure of my own abilities for me to be able to get on a completely different horse for the first time and pilot them around accurately and quietly.  Sure, I have two mares that are complete opposites that teach me different things, but they are still comfortable opposites that I ride all the time.

I have had the privilege of riding four horses here, all different.  Ranging from a green OTTB to a solid third level dressage horse.

Each of these four were awesome for different reasons, and I learned something from each one.  The green OTTB didn't have a lot of strength for correct balance.  He would counter bend to the left and fall out through his shoulder, which was easy to correct.  His left lead is still a bit tough from him, but we got it.  He also was plugging along at the trot at first and I had him to open up his stride and move out.  He is a lanky thing, he definitely has a big trot, but just doesn't know it yet.  We got a couple smooth canter departs and one small fit but to his credit, as soon as he got over it, he was over it.  It was like it never happened, and honestly I'm not sure what it was about.  I think he saw something and spooked at it because he jumped to the right and then hopped around a little bit.  One canter depart he leaped into like he was having a flash back to coming out of the gate at the track.  It was fun though, because I could feel a lot of lift in his front end, he's very floaty.  That boy is going to be fancy once he gets some more solid training on him.

Monty, look at those long legs!

I rode a school master NSH red mare that I absolutely loved.  I took her out for a hack and schooled some xc jumps.  She likes to chip in, but I got her to xc fences at the correct spot.  She was having a great time too. She was super responsive too.  I seriously don't understand the red mare bias.  I have never found that to be true, and this mare proved it to be untrue again.

Mary mare!

Mary mare ready to get to work.  I miss coming here with my girls.

I rode a nice OTTB that is looking for a home where he can have a career of dressage and/or showjumping.  So, if anyone out there is looking for a nice gelding for dressage and/or showjumping let me know, and I'll put you in touch with my friend.  He is located in Tallahassee, FL.  I did a dressage school on him and he is quiet, balanced, and responsive.  He reminded me that I needed to be a bit more consistent with contact on the outside rein.  He has a FANTASTIC personality too!  He is a really fun guy both under saddle and in the barn.  I sincerely hope the right person comes along for him.  Though, he is in a great spot and his current owner will not just sell him to anyone.  So he WILL find the right person eventually.

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I took a dressage lesson on a Trakehner gelding that is well schooled through third level.  The instructor told me that some people have trouble getting him round so don't be surprised if that was the case.  It wasn't the case.  We warmed up, I got him round and carrying himself correctly.  In the warm up she showed me something to add to our warm up to get them to lift their back a bit more when warming up at the canter.  We worked on proper bend for shoulder-in and haunches-in as well as lateral work.  She showed me a new way to get control of the shoulders to prepare for a more correct shoulder-in.  I also worked on medium trot because that is next on Klein's list.  This way I have the correct feel for it.  This guy was the perfect because he is very willing, but he won't give you what you want unless you make sure to ask it correctly.  I love learning from horses like this.  That kind of thing is invaluable.  He also was a teddy bear.  He was so sweet and cuddly.


Look at that face, such a sweet boy.

I am excited to take back everything I learned from these horses and use it with my own.  I'm seriously starting to consider picking up a few different horses to school when I get home.  I know this would take away my amateur status but I really don't care anymore.  It's not that important to me.  Open is fine.  I care more about learning more and continuing to improve my own skills, as well as teach some horses new things that they didn't know they could do.  I also would love to help give their riders some more confidence that they might need by getting to watch their horse schooling out of their personal comfort zone.

I go home this week and I can't wait!  It's been a long five and a half weeks for different reasons and I'm ready to actually be home and spend time with The Other Half before he has to leave for another work trip shortly after I get home.  I already have some horsey adventures planned with friends, and on a really exciting note, Mochs is looking ready to go!  The Other Half sends me videos almost daily of her trotting so I can see how she looks, and she's looking great!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

PSA Concerning Pictures From the Jumping Percheron Social Media

Every few months I usually find some website, or Facebook page, using an image of Klein and I, without permission or proper photo credit.  It happened again from a magazine just the other day.  A magazine I have no affiliation with and had not heard of until then.  I have even found a tack company using an image of Klein as well.  One of my Klein tattoos also regularly makes the rounds, usually in articles or posts about horse tattoos. 

I know that it is extremely easy to pull images from the internet.  I have my blog locked down to where if you right click on pictures, you can’t save them.  However, this doesn’t mean people can’t take a screen shot and then crop them. 

I don’t mind these images being used for some articles and promotions of certain things.  The problem is when there is no permission asked or proper photo credit listed with the image.  These pictures are always pictures I took, someone specifically took for me, or they are show images that I have purchased.  They are not pictures that someone I don’t know took of us while we were out somewhere, because that would be a little different since that would be their actual photograph.

If anyone wants to use images of Klein and I, just ask.  Email me, or message me through The Jumping Percheron Facebook page, or my Instagram.  It will take two seconds, and most likely I will just send you the high-quality image so you don’t have to take crappy screenshots and steal them.  Please keep in mind that I am a legal professional that works with and has access to hundreds of attorneys.  So again, just ask.  I check my email regularly, so you can easily reach me at 

Also, for those of you that tag me/message me when you see stuff out there, thank you!  I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

This Life and Being Resourceful

This Life is the life of moving around the country, and across the ocean, every few years with horses.  It includes the many trips in between the big moves that are days, weeks, or months long.  It challenging, but you adapt if you want something badly enough, something being my horses and riding.

This Life requires you to adapt, to have a back up plan, and a back up plan for the back up plan, as well as think three steps ahead most of the time.  If you can't see the second and third order effects of things, you're going to be in trouble too.  It is a lot, but I have been doing it for over 11 years now.  At this point, it is second nature, and I have it down to a science for the most part.  Though I have thought about almost every thing that This Life encompasses, it's possible that it throws random things in there that you just had no chance of seeing until you're faced with them.  In these times, frustration sets in but I've learned to manage that by looking at these unforeseen obstacles as a challenge.  If it is something that pisses me off, I just look at it like "Ok, nice try.  Now, let's see how I can beat this."

With any trip or move, as soon as I find out where I'm going I start gathering intel, which is what being resourceful is all about.  What's around there, who is around there?  That's one perk of This Life, I have lived, worked, and visited so many places that I usually know people close to where ever I go in the world.  Whether it is stopping to have lunch with a friend on the road trip to the place where I'll be working for a few days, weeks, or months, or visiting friends in the area on the weekends.  It can also be friends coming to visit me where I am working while I'm there.

Recently, The Other Half and I have talked about a potential career altering decision for me, a positive one, but it would require some potential logistical hurdles.  This new path is hypothetical, but should I make it a reality, my mind is already ten steps ahead thinking of how to arrange all the logistics to make it happen.

As far as being resourceful, I can give you some examples.  If you think I don't know about pretty much every boarding facility around every base in the country, you'd be mistaken.  If you think I'm not watching equestrian real estate around every base in the country, you'd be mistaken.  If you think I haven't Google mapped distances to shows from certain locations at various bases around the country, you'd be mistaken.  If you think I haven't looked up a ridiculous amount of layover barns on certain routes, you'd be mistaken.  If you think I haven't looked up places to trail ride in all of these areas, you'd be mistaken.  If you think I don't physically go out in these areas to look at properties and boarding facilities while on work trips, you'd be mistaken.  These are all things that I have to pay attention to constantly.  If you think I haven't looked up vets and farriers in the area of bases around the country, you'd also be mistaken.  If you think I haven't looked up all of the show organizations in these areas too, you'd be mistaken.  I spend hours doing this.

A barn I visited tonight to check out their set up and facilities, for future reference.
This was one of their barns.

One of the rings at the barn I visited tonight.

Sometimes we get to a new location and I take horses to places people that have lived in the area their whole lives don't know about.  I cannot for the life of me figure that out, but it happens.

This Life is a lot of extra work and stressful hours, but there are benefits.  I already mentioned all of the friends around the world.  We also get to live in a lot of different places, which helps us decide where we want to end up permanently when we retire from This Life.  Moving so much is tiring, but I would much rather be the person that has lived all over the country and know exactly what I do and do not like.  In addition to that, it's nice to experience all the different things each area has to offer.  Even before This Life, I moved around a lot.  While moving so much was hard on me when I was a kid, it seems very boring to me now that some people still live in the same state they grew up in, and that their kids go to the same schools they went to.

This Life also gives you confidence.  Big trips with the horses don't bother me because we just do it.  There is no "well, we're thinking about it..."  No, it's going to happen, the decision is made for you.  You just go, and This Life even dictates the schedule which you go on.

This Life can break people though.  I've seen it time and time again.  Luckily, The Other half is my balance.  When I get stressed, instead of The Other Half getting upset and stressed too, he calms me down because he (don't ask me how) stays calm.  He always says we're going to figure it out, no matter what stressor may be.  He is always right too.  One thing I have learned through the years is that when The Other Half says we are a team, he means it.  He is 101% serious about that.

Take right now for an example.  This Life told me I'm going to Florida for five weeks for a mandatory school (because in This Life, you are FOREVER in school).  We had two options.  One of which would have put me in school in Florida last May-June.  Obviously the other option was for me to go in October-November.  Option 1, May-June, meant that The Other Half would not have had to pick up single parent duty with the horses because he would have still been out of the country for work.  I had a plan for that.  Option 2, October-November, meant that he would pick up single parent duty.  It also meant that we would only get about three and a half weeks together after not seeing each other for six and a half months.  But, he wanted Option 2 because he WANTED to pick up single parent duty.  He said he would rather be the one to take care of them while I was gone over anyone else, and he's doing an amazing job.

I remember the time I asked him if he understood that by having the horses at home it meant he would have to take care of them when I was gone.  He never hesitated, and looked at me like I was crazy for even asking, and said, "OF COURSE I WOULD!  WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK THAT?!" know...we all know someone with a significant other that wouldn't notice if a horse was running around missing a leg, much less care.  I just wanted to make sure he knew what he was signing up for by having the horses at home while we are still living This Life.

Sometimes I consider taking a horse with me on my travels if I'm going to be away for weeks at a time.  There are many things that I think about with that.  The farms that are options for boarding in the area, the seriousness of the reason I have to go away for work, and most recently, the weather, and quarantine procedures (if any) are a few.

I absolutely thought about bringing a horse with me, which would have been Mochs this time (before she got kicked).  The issue with this is hurricane season was a bit unstable this year.  Taking a horse to Floribama, I mean, the pan handle, during this time is risking being caught in an evacuation.  As I said before, the school I am in right now is mandatory.  I technically belong to them while I am here.  I would run a big risk of getting myself in some trouble or being extremely distracted and worried should the weather get crazy, again, down here.

Also, should a medical emergency arise, I would end up getting myself in trouble as well for having to tend to it while in this school.  I would run the risk of getting sent home and then I would have to come back at another time.  This school is not something I want to repeat.  This school also impacts my career advancement.  Say I had to leave half way through it, there is no guarantee when I could get into another class.  If I don't have this school done by a certain time, my career advancement will be put on hold, and we can't have that because that means more pony money.  See where I'm going here?  You have to think of EVERYTHING.  I don't want to be a worst case scenario person, but you have to be with this kind of stuff.  Not all trips are like this.  Sometimes it is just a training that you can complete at another time if an issue arises.  This particular trip has too much risk for the reasons I explained.

However, there is a positive solution to not having either mare with me right now.  This is a perfect opportunity to learn from other horses, and that is exactly what I have been doing.