Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goals for 2014

The Odd Couple

Well, since I lost my blog in July I don't remember what all of my 2013 goals were.  I think some of them included dressage shows at 1st level and the permanent goal of keeping The Odd Couple happy and healthy. 

This past year has went by incredibly fast for me.  The first half of the year was complete insanity and not fun.  The second half was awesome and it made up for the first half being rough.  I really didn't get to take advantage of last spring and get the ponies out like I wanted to.  But, I can't complain because both of them are still happy, healthy, sound and as full of it as ever.  That's really all I want.

I really don't feel like setting a lot of goals this year.  I just want to enjoy my horses, all (soon to be) three of them.

  • Keep the three of them happy, healthy, and sound
  • Make a couple trips to the beach and ride in some of the Florida State Parks
  • Take The Odd Couple out to a few fun shows
That's it.  That's all I'm asking.  Bye-bye 2013, I have a feeling 2014 is going to be a great year for me.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Georgia Winter

Forgetting the world on my Heart Horse this afternoon.

It's been a stressful week.  Of course my ponies always make life better though.  This afternoon a hack and some dressage work on Klein was much needed.  While we were wandering along in the pecan orchard I started thinking about how thankful I am to still be somewhere that it doesn't snow.  


It was 68 degrees today and I was riding in a t-shirt.  There's still green grass and a lot of trees that still have leaves here, and it's almost January.  The Odd Couple really don't have winter coats either.  What horse owner wouldn't be happy for that?  Georgia winter is pretty awesome.  The ground isn't frozen, there's no snow to turn to slush and then mud so your riding schedule remains largely uninterrupted during winter.  

Lately I've been getting lost in my own thoughts about Wes' arrival here.  Today in this beautiful weather I stood and stared at the pasture that Wes will come home to.  I still can't believe it's real.  I could just see him standing out there, relaxing and just being a horse.

A friend told me today that I'm more excited for Wes to come home than a pregnant lady.  I told her, well I've been waiting for eight years for him, a pregnant lady has to wait nine months.

I lunged Mochi yesterday.  She was pretty spicy.  Her mind works faster than any horse I have ever known.  Can horses have ADHD?  She's only like that when she's working though.  The rest of the time she's super quiet and stands like a statue. 

 Klein mare was happy to be out working as usual.  We hacked around through the pecan orchard then went to work on some dressage.  We worked on sitting trot and some transitions, then lateral work.  She gets so easily frustrated with lateral stuff.  I have to give her small breaks when we work on lateral stuff (i.e. leg yield, turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, etc...).  She's always been like that, so I've just learned ways to deal with her frustrations.  Usually we'll either stop and stand there on a loose rein for a minute and I'll rub her neck and tell her she's being a good pony or we'll go on a short loose rein walk then we'll get back to it.  I make sure to give her extra praise so she knows that even though it's frustrating to her she's still doing things correctly.  Everyone has something that isn't their favorite thing in the world to do.

 Taking a little breather from lateral work.

 After I got her to give me just a little more concentration and less protest we ended and walked home on a loose rein.

Klein has never been the Alpha, and she still isn't.  Lately I've noticed someone has been bossing her around and using force.


 None of them are chunks taken out of her, still though...to me, this is kind of like finding dents in your car.  Klein's not a piece of equipment but I still would like to keep her unblemished if I can.  The only time she'll be aggressive is if another horse starts a fight and keeps coming after her.  Other than that she usually gets told what her role is.  *Sigh* Wes is the SAME way.  I've actually never seen Wes stand up for himself, ever.  I've never even seen him put his ears back.  Dogs have come out after Wes and I too and I've never seen him try and kick one either.

 My Heart Horse.

Oh, and Bring Wes Home! is up to $1,090!  YEAH!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Herding Dogs

 Pony kisses!

Both ponies have been on the lunge line lately.  Klein makes minor protests but Moch is usually mildly spicy.  She's pretty funny and I have a hard time not laughing at her.  She's not being bad, she's just playful.  Klein will usually toss her head and squeal.  Mochi will bounce around a little bit.

 A buck...

 A bolt...

 Then she gets it together.

This picture was from later that week.  I warmed her up a little more and jumped her over a little coop and I think that helped get her to focus.  She got to get some energy out before she had to dial in and work.

Good baby.

 Pony playtime!  Nora is in the foreground and she's the boss.  She is making a face at The Odd Couple and they are making faces back at her.  They were all galloping around though, Nora didn't go after them.

 Out hacking on Klein mare.

Today I did some short gallops up a small hill after I warmed Klein up.  Then I set two fences on an L shape and we worked on landing on the lead of our choice.  Mainly it was if we came in on the right we'd leave on the left.  Easy work for Klein but good reinforcement of simple stuff.

Hugging on my girl today.

Then I hacked Moch and was going to work on some basic stuff with her but she was so wound up it didn't really go like I planned.  Which is ok, we still had some small victories.  But, we did run into this dog across the street.  Every time we run into this dog it's like he can never figure out if he wants to play or if he's afraid of Moch.  Moch doesn't care, as you can see.

I hope you guys all had a great Christmas! 

Wes' last day of work was today!  He is officially retired!  And, the Bring Wes Home! page is up to $1,050!!!  Woohoo!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Stupid Human Tricks...

I say stupid human tricks because of the things horses put up with.  They have their own silly games but we have equally as many and our horses humor us.


And, by the way, the above picture is really telling because Klein has a short amount of patience with anyone but me.  But check her out...She lets the other half do whatever he wants and she acknowledges his existence and actually playfully INTERACTS with him.  That's very unusual for her.  It's safe to say she has found another human she approves of.

I turned my boyfriend out with the rest of the herd the other morning...


The Odd Couple have decided they like Chex Mix:

Moch cracks me up!  Watch her chase my boyfriend because he has a bag of Chex Mix:  http://youtu.be/9XyC2lzFsG0

Both of the ponies got a pedicure the other week and this is one of Klein's tricks that never fails to impress me.  She's done this with every trimmer we've had.  Her feet will manage to find the hoof stand no matter what.

The Bring Wes Home! page is up to $725!  That is pretty amazing if you ask me.  Lately I'll catch myself standing in the barn aisle and thinking "WES is really going to be standing here in just over a month?!?!  That's insane."  It just doesn't seem real yet.  I've waited over seven years for that boy.

Insert Wes in cross ties here!

On the old blog you guys all knew what a big advocate of rider fitness I am, so that's why CrossFit things will show up here and there in posts.  I finally ripped my hands at CrossFit two weeks ago.  That week was INCREDIBLY painful.  I had a hard time even picking hooves or putting a halter on.  We did "Daniel" that day and it was:

For time:
50 Pull-ups
400 meter run
95 pound Thruster, 21 reps (thruster = front squat to a push press all in one motion)
800 meter run
95 pound Thruster, 21 reps
400 meter run
50 Pull-ups

So, if you're good at math that totals 100 pull-ups.  No big deal, just partition them as needed when you get to them and you'll be fine.  Bite size pieces right?  Yeah, until on the 90th pull-up I felt my right hand slip and knew something bad just happened.  I kept going to 94 then dropped off the bar to look at my hands.  I tore both of them.  I wish I would have felt a warning sign but they honestly felt 100% until I felt the right one slip.  I tore that one in two places and I tore my left hand in one place.  Ripping your hands is when you get blisters and they rip open because you don't stop.  Well, I finished my 100 because I'd be kicking myself all day if I didn't complete a WOD.  I can take a beating and I'd have to break something or get knocked out before I would quit.  Besides, the damage was done to my hands.  They hurt SO bad the rest of the week that the first two days the wind blowing across my hands hurt.  Then when they start to dry you can't open your hands all the way because they're so tight, then they crack anyway again and hurt some more.  It was NO FUN.

A week later and one of my coaches had to pretty much make me mittens out of tape so I could complete that day's pull-ups.

Meh, it happens.  You can find a billion pictures of CrossFitters that have ripped their hands.  People say "Oh, you're crazy...you just don't know when to quit, what's wrong with you?" and other things to that affect but, in case you don't know, these workouts are named after service members that have paid the ultimate price.  Sometimes it makes you want to tear up reading the little excerpts of what happened to them on the CrossFit main site.  Our coaches will read them to us right before we do the workout and it gives you that little extra motivation to, no matter how challenging or massive the WOD may be, stuff your complaints and just do the WOD.  These workouts are dedicated to them, named after them.  Being an active duty Air Force member, these people are my brothers and sisters in arms and I can take some torn hands in honor of their sacrifice.

Oh...and besides, how many time has someone said something to you about being crazy for riding horses because they have a mind of their own and could kill us with one well aimed kick or buck?  See, same same!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bring Wes Home

On the first Jumping Percheron blog many of you might remember my stories about Wesson and how I used to drive draft horses in Salt Lake City for a carriage company.  I had made a few posts here and there about Wes, his story, and how much I miss him.  Well, the time has come for him to officially retire.

I met Wes before I joined the Air Force while I was still working for the carriage company.  He wasn't there when I first started working there.  He showed up one night after the owners went to a draft auction in Denver.  He came with a teammate too. 

I remember the first night I saw them.  They had just come off the trailer from Denver a couple hours before I got there.  It was a cold October night, dark, and I had a non-horsey friend with me.  Smith and Wesson were half asleep standing right next to each other like they were harnessed together.  They had mohawk manes and looked like full on war horses that you wouldn't want to meet in battle.  My non-horsey friend was hilarious.  He just could NOT understand what he was seeing.  "Oh my god...they're HUGE.  I've NEVER seen horses that big IN MY LIFE!!!!  THEY ARE HUGE!!  That's ridiculous!!"  Me on the other hand...I was instantly in love.  Love at first sight.  I thought they were hands down the two coolest horses I'd ever seen in my life.

Yeah, he's a big boy.

They actually came with names like "Bob and Bill" but obviously those names were much too boring for these boys.  I volunteered to start working with them because they had to each start driving single, which is tough for a team to learn.  The owners let me re-name them because I was so in love with them and spending all my extra time with them, even my day off.  Yes, I worked six days a week most of the time because that job was not like a job, it was more like a privilege. 

At first I was going to name them Sherman and Bradley.  Smith was going to be Sherman and Wes would be Bradley.  Naming them after tanks seemed pretty appropriate.  Then, I thought of one better, Smith and Wesson.  Perfect!  Don't ask me how I decided who was going to be Smith and who was going to be Wesson. 

Smith (right) and Wesson (L), this was the day before I went to basic training.  I had come to say good-bye to them and promise Wes I would be back for him.

I started working with both of them and while I loved them both Wes and I just seemed to click.  Eventually they each got their own personality and Smith actually would gang up with the other horses and pick on Wes.  Wes was the biggest boy in there at the time and the lowest man on the totem pole.  He really is a big baby.


At first they even had a hard time walking in a straight line in harness without each other.  They would want to do a 180 and just look at me in confusion like, "You...want me...to work...without MY OTHER HALF???"  Slowly they each got over it.

Starting Wes to drive single.  He had SUCH a power walk, I almost had to jog sometimes to keep up with his big, determined stride just at a walk.

Smith seemed to settle in a little faster.  He was a little older than Wes too.  I actually hitched Smith up first and took him out for his first night of work.  A couple weeks later I felt Wes was ready.  I remember the first day I hitched up Wes before work and we went for a short drive through downtown.  That was our test run and I felt like he was ready to go out and pick up customers.

Smith and I on our way out to work one evening.

Success!  Wes and I at work one evening.  I really wished I didn't ruin this picture by my eyes being closed.  Wes is just as handsome as always.

We had good times out on the street.  We picked up a lot of interesting people with interesting stories.  We did countless wedding proposals, luckily none of the girls on the proposals we did said no.  We picked up lots of brides and grooms and took them to their hotel from their wedding.  We took Christmas carolers.  We got yelled at by protesters.  We went through a ton of drive thru's for snacks, I would always order Wes a fruit and walnut salad.  We had people try to spook Wes, even by blasting an air horn at us one night.  Wes never did much more than lean into his harness a little and I'd tell him "Oh we're ok boy" and he'd relax.  He never gave any of those people any satisfaction of spooking at any of their ridiculousness.  We have navigated through heavy traffic, through snowstorms, you name it Wes and I probably have done it.  Oh and one of my favorites, lots of passing by storefront windows, Wes seeing his handsome reflection and whinnying at it.  I also remember crying a lot over having to say good-bye to him.  I cried for months when I got to my first base in Hawaii.  He is actually the reason I have Klein.  He made me fall in love with the draft mind and personality.

Wes and I getting ready for work one winter evening.  I have 85 layers on, Wes is hairy as a yak.

One of the sweetest faces you will ever see.  Wes coming to put his head in his halter for me.  This boy LOVES to work.  He was happy to go out every single day if we would let him.  He actually would be very disappointed if I came out and got another horse.  He would just watch me take the other horse in with his ears perked hoping I was getting that horse for another driver.

Through all of this I have always kept in contact with the owners and let them know that when Wes retires, he's coming home with me.  Or if he got sick, injured, and couldn't work anymore, before retirement, that I would be there to take him.  I also have a friend that still works at the barn and is nice enough to send me pics of him every now and then.  This has been going on for over seven years.  My mom still goes to Salt Lake City, even though she doesn't live there anymore, for business trips.  Last August I had her stop by and give Wes some of his favorite granola bars.

Mom with my sweet boy.

 Another picture from when my mom visited this past August.  As you can see Wes looks great!!  Shiny and healthy as a...Wes.

I have gotten word recently that Wes is ready to retire.  He is officially done and can come home any time after 1 January 2014.  I have set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for his shipping.  He will be picked up by Brookledge, the same company I shipped Klein with from New Mexico to Georgia.  They did a FANTASTIC job!  Yes, I could make a road trip out to Salt Lake City and pick him up myself but I think it would be faster and less stressful to just have a professional hauler make the 2,100 mile trip.  It would be 4,200 mile round trip for me.  I would be so emotional the whole trip because of the disbelief he's coming home.  I've waited for that day and had a lot of dreams about it.  Here is our Go Fund Me page:

The barn there finds great retirement homes for all of their horses.  Mostly drivers that have worked for them come to claim their favorites when they retire, like I am doing.  If I wasn't there to bring Wes home they would find him another good home to retire in.  But, I owe this guy, and I made him a promise.  I've missed him every day for the past seven years.  He needs to come home to me, where he belongs.

So, Wes has officially begun his last Christmas season taking customers around Temple Square and downtown to see all the lights.

 First day of the busy season this year, the day after Thanksgiving.

 My handsome boy getting ready to get tacked up for the first night of his last Christmas season!

His whole journey will be documented with lots of pictures and video.  My mom has even offered to buy me a ticket to Salt Lake City so I can fly out to be there when he's loaded and fly back before he gets home to Georgia.  

So please, feel free to share this page as much as you would like!  We appreciate any help we can get with this journey!!  BRING WES HOME!!  BRING WES HOME!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Saddle For Sale

 32cm Duett Presto, 18" seat.  $650 shipped.

Unfortunately this saddle isn't fitting Moch as good as it needs to and so I have decided to sell it.  That's the only reason it is for sale.  I still have my Presto for Klein.  I have had it for over four years and I LOVE that saddle!

Here are some more pics of it, but please excuse the mess in the background, moving sucks.

I know Nancy at Duett will take a look at tracings if you send them to her if you're curious of the potential fit for this saddle.  I am not willing to let it go out on trial.  I really don't want to be shipping it around and raising the chances of it getting damaged. 

Please contact me at jumpingpercheron@hotmail.com if you are interested.  Thanks!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Back to Business.

So, I haven't been as good as I expected about restarting this blog.  I'm going to give it a better effort this time.  It's just so disappointing to think about what I lost with the first blog.

Her Royal Majesty...Klein Baby.

Things have been great and The Odd Couple have been doing well.

I was in school for most of August and all of September.  I got to spend another lovely seven weeks at the JAG School on Maxwell AFB, AL for another certification.  I'm glad that one is over!  Not only did I get my last certification I needed, I also completed my Paralegal degree while I was there.

Glad that's over!

The timing was fine with that school because that's when it is the hottest and most humid around here.  I didn't feel bad about The Odd Couple just hanging out on a little break for a while.

I got back from school and two weeks later I had to be in Miami and the Keys for my brother's wedding.  Rough, I'm telling you.

Me with my love.

I've pretty much just been easing them both back into work.  Long hacks, lunge line work, gymnastic lines.  Klein is jumping around nicely.  She's always such an easy tune up. 

 Klein happy to be out working.  She's looking at a gymnastic line in this pic.

 Klein at 3'3".  Her long takeoff is completely my fault.  We were having a little too much fun and came into this line a little too fast.  But, she still looks awesome!

Pony Crossfit officially starts for Moch in January.  Speaking of...there's still a lot of that going on for me.  Every morning.

Crossfit Winnersville woot woot!  Nano 3.0's woot woot!

One day last month my boyfriend said we should just bring Moch home for the day to hang out.  I knew Moch would love that because she is just happy being included in the group.  We brought her home and she grazed in the backyard and hung out with some of the neighbors.  I had the idea that we should see if she would go in the house, so I took her in the house.

Moch in the kitchen, looking for beers.

We took her for a walk and then took her to a friends' house and let her hangout in their yard with us for a while.

Moch making new friends on our walk.  The red gelding was completely in love with her.

Moch hanging out with Brady in our friends' backyard.

We went to a friend's barn one week to hack with them.  We always have a good time with that group.  

I did something I've never done with any horse too.  I roached Klein's mane!  One day I was about to thin it and I looked at it and wondered how I was going to fix it and make it look presentable.  She had been itching this summer and rubbed a spot of it into a mohawk.  I had to give her the same allergy shot she was getting in New Mexico during the summer too.  Thankfully it worked.  Looking at her mane, I just decided "f it, let's start over."  I grabbed some scissors and chopped it all off then finished it with the clippers.  My hope is that some beautiful, bright grey mane will be grown in by spring time.  I didn't really like it at first.  I must have apologized to her 20 times.  But now that it's started to grow out into a tiny mohawk, it's not so bad.

See, it's not looking too bad.

Both ponies got haircuts, surprisingly my boyfriend WANTED to clip them both and asked if he could.  All I did was put the lines on them.  He did a great job!


 Klein's face in the first pic cracks me up!  She is such a princess sometimes!