April 27, 2012

Horse expo

Today was such a blast! I got to hang out with two amazing friends, Steph and Katy and relax at the MN horse expo. It is the first time I have gone to a horse expo because the closest one to me back in Maine is in Massachutes. I also experienced my first rodeo and it was AMAZING! For sure I will be horse tomorrow (pun intended).

So for the good news I have some bad news. I have been so excited for Mom to come over to MN to help me pack and watch me ride. I want so bad to show her all the places I have been and just spend a little mini vacation with her. A couple days ago she told me that she looked over her plane tickets and instead of booking to fly in at 10AM on monday (we would ldeave on tuesday) she booked it for 10PM. Mom is usually really good as bout double checking things before she buys anything but there was an error some where. She went back online to see the prices for tickets and they had gone up to $600, a $400 increase. Mom talked to Delta to see if she could change her flight times, and they said that she could if she paid a $150 fee and that she paid the difference in the flight prices. Excuse my language, but that's bullshit in my mind. So..needless to say she isn't coming. I now need to pack my items myself, get my suitcases to UPS to ship back home, and fly home. I am beyond upset, not at Mom but at the circumstance, I just wanted to show her everything I have been doing for the past 9 months.

I was explaining my situation to Katy on the way back to my apartment and, being the amazing friend she is, came up with an awesome solution. She is willing to tape me giving a tour of the equine center, record a lesson, AND record me showing Mom all of the horses. Ugh it makes me so sad to know that I'm leaving such great people!! It won't be the same, but it's the next best thing.

If anyone has any ideas about how my Mom could still get here without paying an arm and leg, maybe some strings we could pull, that would be so appreciated!

Thanks for reading!

April 25, 2012

4/25 Lesson and Ride

Today I had a great lesson! All last week was rainy but luckily this week has been gorgeous! The horses are apart of a grazing study being done, so Tuesday I did not ride unfortuently.

I got to the barn and cleaned two bridles since I had an hour before my lesson. I love cleaning tack and I worked really hard on Mr P's tack. Sadly now that I only have two weeks left in MN, Mr P is starting to feel like he is my horse. He has come down with a mild case of thrush and I have been the one giving him COW every day. We have also progressed in big strides together. I am so sad to leave this horse.

But back to my lesson:
Today we worked on a lot of cantering. Since I have fixed my leaning back issue at the canter, I now have the problem that I lean too far forward and instead of brushing the saddle, I tend to actually stay off the saddle in an almost two point position. This problem seems to go away once I get relaxed and 'in tune' with Mr P.

Remember the problem I use to have with Mr P about him rushing towards the gate while doing circles away from the gate? Well, that problem is fixed...but now when we do circles near the gate, he rushes AWAY from the gate. If it is not one thing it's another, but it makes riding interesting and never boring.

Mr P made a BIG step in his schooling though. Multiple times during the ride he rounded very nicely and offered to make contact!! When he did reach for contact I gave him more rein, I didn't want to be hanging on his mouth. But Sadie explained to me that him reaching was a good thing and that I just need to stay soft in my elbows when he does so.

Mr P has taught me so much while I have been in MN. It makes me so sad that I will be leaving him, but unfortuently finances trumps horse happiness.

Thanks for reading :)

April 22, 2012


I am beyond frustrated right now, and yes I am going to post it on my blog.
I am going to start by stating the obvious, but please bear with me.
I have been working at the equine center since BEFORE the fall semester started. Yep, I was in MN for three days and I then got this job. Slowly since I have worked here my boss has asked me to do numerous management things. At first I was ecstatic, some responsability was exactly what I was striving for, and I wanted to prove that I could be a great employee. First it started out with putting the schedule for feedings on an online calendar. This became a problem right off because students never took me seriously when I would e mail them needing to know what days they were working. Rarely did I get a reply back on the first e mail, and after 5 e mails easily the excuse was always the same "I never got your e mail"...well I would ALWAYS CC my boss and she always got the e mails, so some how I had a hard time believing that.

Fast forward to know...this problem has been on going and I am at my witts end. I am so glad that Saddie is here because people take her seriously. Currently we have numerous employees/volunteers working at the barn, and on some shifts we would have 1-4 people working at one time. At first it was okay, but then we slowly began to realize that they people working the same shifts never communicated. Thus person A would go out to the barn before the other people and feed, and then persons B and C would come at the same time, not knowing person A was there, and feed....you see my problem? It got very noticeble once three horses were on grain. Legend has 1 cup in the morning with his vitamin E supplement, Maddie is now on 2 cups in the AM and PM with vitamin E supplement in the AM, and Rollo is on 6 cups of grain in the AM and PM with vitamin E supplement in the AM. All of a sudden we have gone through 100 lbs of grain...easily 30 lbs over what we should be going through. About a week or so ago Saddie asked me to start thinning out the schedule since people obviously can't do their jobs correctly if there are 3 people on one shift. So I sent out e mails...guess how many responses I got...ZERO!!! Saddie calls me up and asked me if I sent e mails out and I said yes, but like always no one replied.

Saddie wasn't mad at me by any means, she knows this has been an on going problem. I am just so frustrated because one day a horse is going to get sick or colic or SOMETHING and I feel like it's going to be my fault. Is it my fault that no one responds to e mails? I don't know maybe I should write from now on "REPLY OR YOU ARE FIRED!!!!"

I am so glad I only have 2 weeks left of work there. I love working there, but I can't stand the workers. If I was here for more than 2 weeks I would say I'm done. I don't understand why these people think my e mails are jokes and can be ignored and I can't imagine what these people are going to be like when they go out into the real world.....

*still fuming*

April 19, 2012


Yes my readers, I now have a video of me riding, my stories now have a new light.
*BEWARE* I see this video and get embarassed, but I have fixed my leaning back issue (which has given rise to a leaning forward issue, but baby steps)


It is a facebook video so if you cannot view it please tell me :)

This  video was from this Saturday when Katy and I rode.

Thank you so much Katy for being my video crew :)

Here are some pictures, I do not like them but I figure if it gives everyone some good giggles I have done my job!

Far away picture

I think I was in the middle of saying "good boy"...or I just have a super weird face when I ride!

I don't like this image at ALL. My back is arched and my foot is way too far in the stirrup. I have been working on these two big problems for a while and I am making slow but sure progress :)

Hope you all had a good laugh because I sure did :)
Saturday was a great day and I am so glad I finally have some photos to show you guys!

Thanks for reading!

April 17, 2012

Why Do I Love to Ride?

This is a question I love to ask myself often. I guess I love riding because you can never become perfect. There is always room for improvement and no matter how good you are, you can and will make a mistake. I also love the connection you have between horse and human. You might not be best friends, but there is a mutual respect between rider and horse.

Today had to be one of the most satisfying days of riding ever. It started out with going out to the barn after classes to ride. Saddie was already riding Maddie when I got there and it was beautiful out. Secretly I was hoping Saddie and I could go on a trail ride, and she read my mind. "Stasha, want to go for a hack after you warm up?" I don't know why people ask silly questions like that, of COURSE I was up for a hack. I grabbed Mr P, and to say he was dirty would be an understatement. It was caked in mud. I mean sloth some on him and throw him in an oven caked. It has been raining (and we even had some snow flakes) lately and the paddock has been super muddy. I guess he decided to not only roll in the mud, but lie down for some time. It took me what seemed like forever to get the dried mud off of him and I wish I had a camera to prove that I'm not over exaggerating. So after some grooming with extra elbow grease I was able to tack up P and got into the arena to warm up.

Mr P was extra lazy in the warm up but I didn't mind. I just focused on having him respond to my leg ques and I worked on using less rein when asking for turns. Saddie finished up with Maddie and we went outside to explore around the fields around campus. It was great, and Mr P was a rock star. Maddie was in the lead and she ended up not liking a few things, and Mr P kept his cool ears on the whole time. We did some trotting and he was super responsive to my nice half halts. I don't feel very comfortable going at a nice working trot while in the fields, but that is more because of me and not him. There was a time where I gave him a little more rein and opened up my body and he sped right up, I was amazed at how much just opening up my body could make him more relaxed. Again, my fault with not being super comfortable and confident I half halted him back to a nice slow trot. The trail ride was such a sucess!

We got back to the arena and I decided that it was time for Mr P to actually work. I will fast forward to my "little girl at Christmas time" moment. Over the weekend Katy took a video of me riding, more particularly cantering. I watched the video and was astounished about how bad my position was >.< it was embarassing. My main problem was leaning back. So fast forward to today. Trotting around, I thought to myself "don't lean back, don't lean back" asked for the cancer and oh.my.gosh I had it!!! I wasn't bouncing around, it was smooth, it was mind blowing. I went around the arena once, stopped Mr P and legit I kid you not I squeeled!!! Saddie came into the arena a few moments later and the kid came out in me "Saddie, Saddie watch me canter!" HAHA oh I am so easily pleased.

It is moments like that, that really make me love riding!!

Thanks for reading :)

April 15, 2012

Riding Filled Saturday

Yesterday was great. Later in the month I had signed up for a pre-vet clinic/information session that the University held to give some information about their vet program and their pre-reqs for getting into their program. I will admit after the clinic I was thinking "...I'm never going to get into vet school". In order to even make it past the first 'phase' of application review, you have to have a GPA of at least 2.75. Some colleges don't have a minimum GPA requirement but their mean GPA for accepted students is usually close or over a 3.0. I am not the smartest kid on the block when it comes to school. I get Bs. I'm almost as ordinary (hense the blog) college student you will find. I don't study 24/7, maybe thats my problem? But I also don't have a huge social/party life that takes over it, but when push comes to shove I really can put my nose to the grind and get things done.

I had gotten my friend Katy to attend the clinic with me, she is a senior undergrad student. After the clinic we went to the barn for a much needed day of riding. At this point in time the horse that both of us are allowed to ride allone (without Saddie or boss lady) is Mr P. Neither of us had a problem with switching during riding and Mr P really had his day cut out for him.

Oh, almost forgot, there was a pinto clinic going on at the barn. For the first time EVER I got to observe western dressage. Yup you heard me WESTERN DRESSAGE! I guess it is relatively new and I love the idea. So there were a lot of horses around using both the indoor and outdoor arena. It was a beautiful day out, and I'm sure it got to above 70 degrees, so Katy and I rode in the outdoor arena.

We got to the barn and gave Mr P a nice good grooming. He was such a trooper. We didn't bring him in the barn because there were clinic horses using the stalls so we groomed him outdoors. We brought Mr P out of the paddock and groomed him pretty much dropped tied the whole time. Even though there were many new horses coming in and out he stood right still while being groomed. See, I tell you he can be such an angle when he wants to be.

Katy had a bareback pad that she wanted to use after fixing it so we threw it on Mr P to warm up. I don't feel like I'm at the stage where I can trot around bareback, but it will come. Katy and I both took turns walking him around with the bareback pad, and Mr P did a fabulous job. There were other horses in the outdoor and he gave them his friendly ears and didn't pay too much attention to them. We did some really nice circles and he put up a little fight but nothing like in the past and it was nothing a little more outside leg couldn't fix, I really believe he enjoys riding outside more than inside. After he was nice and warmed up Katy put the western saddle on him and taught me how to put on a western saddle and answered some of my silly questions haha. Katy was more than willing to give me a mini lesson about western riding and I was ecstatic, because this was the first time I had ever rode in a western saddle (pony rides don't count in my book). It felt weird but nice at the same time. I feel like the western saddle holds you more in place and it's easier for me to relax. I walked and trotted him and it was great. It took me a while but eventually I got a nice sitting trot and Mr P offered to be nice and low with his topline. I did canter, and I am so glad Katy didnt' get it on tape, because I thought it was horrible haha! I knew I was coming too much out of the saddle. I was able to get a few nice strides where I wasn't so floppy. Then Katy got on and showed me how it was really done. She did such a great job, granted she has been riding western FOREVER, but still it was fun to watch her.

Just to make sure our day was complete, next we put the English saddle on P. I know you must be thinking we tortured this horse but he was so good!!! I couldn't resist doing some work in the English saddle. I got in the saddle and trotted around and I couldn't believe it. Not only were my heels staying down, but my calfs were flexing like they should!! Everytime I posted up, my heels sunk down lower. I was more than ecstatic!! It really gave my legs a good workout. I'm not sure if it is the new stretches, or if it was that I rode in a western saddle, but what ever it was, it worked. Katy got a video of me cantering around in the English saddle, and oh my gosh I didn't realize I leaned back so much >.< that is something I am going to have to work on! I am sure that must be my biggest reason why I flop around in the canter. I almost need someone to always yell at me to lean more forward (and by more forward I mean in comparisson to my position while leaning back).

So overall it was a great day! We rode for 2 hours and P was SUCH A GOOD BOY!!!!!
I couldn't of had a better day :)

Thanks for reading!

April 10, 2012

Progress with horse and rider.

One mindset that I always try to keep is that during riding, when something is going wrong, most of the time it is the riders fault. This is why I have been so frustrated with Mr P when I ride him. But today, we had progress!

For the first time since before winter break I rode Mr P on my own, with no one watching me. I was super excited because I feel like when I'm by myself I can take more time to process things and actually visualize what I am going to do.

Usually during the week riders are allowed in the arena after 9, before 9 they usually have horses inside the arena either doing some therapy work or just giving the horses time to stretch their legs. I had arrived early to work and apparently forgot about this because I had done most of the chorse, groomed Mr P up, and was ready to tack up before 8:30. I checked to see if the arena was being used and it was. I was so excited to ride that this kind of annoyed me because I knew Mr P would get more antsy the longer he stayed in his stall, even though he had plenty of hay and I really didn't want to trun him back out. So I hand walked him for a bit and then tacked him up around 9:05. I got to the arena and it was still being used, which annoyed me even more. The arena wasn't cleared until 9:15.

Finally I got into the arena and walked Mr P around. I could already tell that we were going to have our hands full during this ride. He was ignoring me on the ground and I had to smack him good a few times to get him to halt when I stop and to back up. Needless to say it took me 3X longer than I wanted to actually mount up. Please horse can you just put your brain on?

I walked him around and right off I could tell he was going to be super gate sour. I really wanted to work on a nice long rein especially to warm up, but since he wasn't listening to my leg aids I felt like I had to shorten them up right off. Probably not the best call on my part but I had to do what I thought was correct for the situation. There came one part where I almost called it quits because he was being such a dork face and I didn't feel like I could safely handle the situation. But I got him to at least stop, calmed my self down, and just told myself that I can't hop off it will just reinforce his behavior, so I stayed on and rode through it.

By this time I didn't feel like I could be productive on a long rein so I kept them a little short. I decided that as soon as Mr P put his attention on the gate, I would stop him and wouldn't even let him have a chance to go towards the gate. Did I always suceed? No. Most of the time he was able to get to the other wall of the arena and break at the shoulder before I could stop him, and sometimes I even had to turn him in a circle in the opposite direction to get him going in the correct direction.

Eventually, by the end of the ride, I had Mr P going around in nice 20m circles on a long rein. I was super proud of myself, and of him of course. The next task after we master circles away from the gate is to be able to do serpentines towards the gate on a long rein.

I guess this would be a great time to say that I am not a trainer, and I am not always sure if my ways of tackling situations are right. Trust me, in the back of my mind I am always worried that I'm going to ruin this horse, but I never do things that seem like abuse and if something isn't working I try to switch tactics. I post my stories to share my experiences and also to receive constructive criticism.

Thank you for reading :)

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! And for those who don't celebrate Easter, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with friends and/or family.

This weekend my room mate and I took a spontaneous trip to Wisconsin (where my room mate lives) to celebrate Easter with her family. She wasn't going to go, but ended up feeling bad about not going so we left Saturday and decided we would drive back Monday morning. It is about a three hour ride.

I do have some good news, Mr P is doing much better and all of the horses are going back to work. Since Sadie is still on vacation, my boss, Alli, and I planned to ride on Saturday morning. The agenda was to just have a fun time riding, nothing too serious since the horses had been out of work all week, and Jealousy has been out of work since she coliced, (is coliced a word?) on May 26th. We all groomed our horses and they were all super calm, well except for Maddie who refuses to stand still for more than three seconds because she is afraid something is always going to eat her. Mr P was a delight to groom and I didn't even have to tie him up to groom and tack him. He stood in the middle of his stall, away from his hay I might add, when I asked him so I could tack him up. He was praised like he was the best horse in the world. Some days he really does surprise me. Him being so calm made me very optomisitc about the ride, and I couldn't wait to try some of the things I had learned recently to fix him problem about doing circles in the arena. To fill some readers who may not know in: Mr P does not like to work on the opposite side of the arena that he comes in, and doing circles is almost impossible without slowing from the trot to walk. once he gets into the middle of the ring he just veers his shoulders and body towards the enter gate and ignores all of your cues. It has been a real problem for me, more because it is aggrivating and there is no need of it. So, back to the story. We all tacked up and warmed up in the ring and had all the horses on the buckle. Eventually we started playing follow the leaders and really focused on staying off the rail, which is the best spot to be according to all of the horses. Eventually the boss lady had us all just grab the buckle with one hand and do some neck reining. Mr P yet again took me by surprised by neck reining beautifully without me having to put much leg on him.

After a while I could tell that Mr P had enough and just wanted to go back to the paddock. He started his business of wanting to be by the gate and acted like he knew nothing about neck reining or what my legs were telling him. My boss lady really didn't want us to work the horses, but I told her I really want to work on this problem that he has. So I took up the reins and got him in a nice working and calm trot on the wall. Eventually I tried doing circles and Mr P did the same shenanigians that he always does. Before I had attended the clinic and watched some clinics online, I had always assumed that when Mr P decided that he wanted to go towards the wall, that if I either stopped him or slowed him down in order to get going in the right direction, he would learn that doing this buisness would get him out of work. After these clinics I got a new perspective on my assumption. I learned that slowing your horse down in order to go in the right direction makes the horse actually listen to you, and then you turn them around to said direction, and then pick up the gait that you were working on.

So, when Mr P decided that he was going to break at his shoulder I slowed him down actually right to a halt and then preceided to turn him around and trot off in the right direction. At times, and I am sure many people won't agree with me on this and a part of me thinks that it was just out of my frustration at this point in time, when we were walking in the circle and he would pull the stunt, and if he was ignoring all my aids, I would take my outside foot out of the stirrup and reall make it known that I wanted him to go the other way. I firmly belive that part of the problem is me, I always believe that most problems are the rider, and I know that I tense up when he does this little stunt and it might make him confused about what I am asking, but I also know that he takes full advantage of me tensing up. So I'll fully admit I wacked him in the side with my outside foot when needed. Was it right of me? Maybe not. Did it get the job done? Yeah it did. Eventually we were able to make a few nice circles at the opposite end of the arena and I ended it on a good note.

If people disagree with how I handled the situation, please speak up. Critisize me I don't mind at all, but give me some feed back on what I SHOULD have done better. I don't mind constructive criticism at all. Trust me, if my instructor asks me why something when wrong during a lesson I say that it was my fault, my form was way out of wack, etc, etc. I am usually super hard on myself, so I can take it from others :)

Thanks for reading!

April 4, 2012

Beware, Ranting Time

It has just been one of those weeks. You know the kind, where nothing seems to go right?

Sunday was great, I worked all day.
This week I have four exams, one on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. If I have any good news about this is that I have completed two and so far they are going well.
I just found out that I also have a equine nutrition paper due Thursday. Our exam for that class was Tuesday. HELLO PROFESSOR what happened to you saying that you weren't going to give us home work on the same week as exams? *head desk*

I wasn't able to ride this week. Trainer is taking the week off to sort some things out (which I'm not upset about that it's just kind of the 'add on' to an already stressful week). She gave me the go ahead to ride on my own which I was SO EXCITED about! Then she texts me later that night and said that Mr P can't be ridden, vets orders. He has come down with heaves and they gave him a steroid that makes horses prone to laminitis. Again, I'm not mad that he's sick I feel bad for him and I want him to get better.

With me transfering to UMO I had to pay a $150 confirmation fee (omg colleges come on I'm already going to be paying hand and foot for tuition stop nickle and diming me to death!!!) which made it so that I had to go into my savings account and take out the money that I am saving up to A. buy myself a new/used car and/or B. pay my Mom and Mem back for all the rent and tuition they paid for me this year. On top of that the paycheck I got after spring break was not much beacuse I only worked 2 days out of the four I usually do so my pay check was half.

So today I was suppose to get paid, guess who didn't get paid...ME!! *goes under rock with no plans of coming out*

In order to get paid I need to give my time card to my boss, she has to sign it, and then it has to get delivered to the pay roll person on the other side of campus. Boss lady has always dropped it off for the employees, but all of a sudden now we have to get her to sign it and drop it off ourselves. Boss lady...you are never there when I am...so how do you presume that this is going to work??? So yeah $13 in my checking...which means I have to get money out of my savings AGAIN! I'm never going to get another vehicle or pay off the people I owe...

Sorry for the depressing post..

April 1, 2012

Jumping Clinic

Today I had the great pleasure of working a jumping clinic today hosted by Jane Braddock at the equine center. My day started out by riding my room mate's bike to work (2.5 miles) in order to get there at 8:30 (buses don't start running until 9:30 on Sunday's) but I think this might be my new routine for getting to school since the weather is so nice lately.

So back to the clinic, I was super impressed! There were plenty of funny and breath holding moments, and even though I'm not jumping myself, there were many things said today that I could easily use during my lessons or when I'm riding on my own.

I cannot possibly highlight every rider and horse, but there was this ONE horse that was hysterical! Every time he went over a jump he GRUNTED. It was just too funny and everyone got a kick out of it.

It was so nice to see these riders (from beginner novice all the way to prelim) riding and it was nice to be able to know that some day I will be riding like that! Maybe not a prelim but hopefully at novice or training!!

Thanks for reading :)