Pony Profiles: Valley Miss, Part 1

Friday, February 25, 2011

After Stoney was taken away, I didn't have a horse to ride.  So Bonnie put me up on Valley Miss.  Miss is a 1988 bay thoroughbred mare.  She was completely different than anything I had ridden before.  For one thing she was BIG, at least compared to the pony and quarter horses I had been riding.  She stand 16.2 hands and has the longest legs.  Which means she has a huge stride.  It took me a while to get used to that.  Add in the fact that she's not an easy horse to ride means it took some time for us to click together.  But Miss has always thought of her riders as her kids and so it's her job to take care of us.  We got used to each other over the winter and when the 2002 show season rolled around, we were ready to take on all challengers in the mini trial circuit.

My best memory from that summer was the Grand River mini trial.  Miss and I were entered in the very green division, we had a pretty decent dressage test and were excited to head out for cross country.  As we were trotting to the first fence on course, I felt my right stirrup leather slide off the stirrup bar.  I will admit, I was pretty much ignorant of the rules and I didn't know that I could stop to fix my stirrup.  So we kept going to the first jump.  The stirrup was only hanging on by the excess through the keeper, and the iron was hanging down below her belly.  Miss was such a good girl for me.  She just very easily crawled over the jumps for me.  About halfway around the course, I realized the stirrup iron was banging Miss on her leg, so I reached down and pulled it off the saddle, just tossing it on the ground.  There was one jump that Miss had to actually jump to get over, and as soon as we landed she was looking back to make sure I was there.  We finished our course, with only one stirrup and we had no jumping penalties.  Bonnie picked up my stirrup and we replaced it on my saddle and went on to jump clean in stadium and win our division!  I will never forget my baby girl taking care of me that day.

Over the winter one of the other girls in the barn started riding Miss, getting her ready to event at the novice level in the spring.  And although I still got to ride her occasionally, that was the end of our partnership (for a little while at least)


Pony Profiles: MR Boston Supreme and Rhinestone Rascal

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So while I moved on to riding at Bonnie's I was still very close with Tom and Nikki.  Tom would occasionally hire me to take care of the horses and clean stalls when he needed help.  And Nikki would invite me to groom for her at horse shows with both Tuffy in halter classes and Image in western pleasure.  When I started at Bonnie's one of the first horses I rode was a chestnut Quarter horse gelding, MR Boston Supreme.  Boston was Bonnie's event horse, but he was a great first horse for me to learn on.  Even though I had been riding with Nikkie for about a year, I had not yet had any formal lessons.  At the time Little Creek Pony Club was still fairly small, there was only like maybe 6 or 7 of us.  So I started learning to ride dressage and I learned to jump.  Boston was a trooper and so very patient with me as I learned.  He was also very patient with me through lots of lunge lessons, which were so very necessary!

Look at my horrible leg!

God, I'm practically laying on his neck and it's such a baby jump!

Boston really taught me a lot and I appreciated every chance I got to ride him.  He ended up being sold to one of the kids in pony club and moved on to a successful eventing career with her.  Sadly I found out just this weekend that Boston passed away.  RIP Boston, you were a sweet old boy.

After Boston was sold, I got to try riding Stoney.  Stoney, or Rhinestone Rascal as I dubbed him for shows, had belonged to another girl in pony club.  But she was a bit afraid of him, understandable because Stoney was a SNOT!  When they had first gotten him, he had a bit of a rearing problem which Bonnie soon fixed after switching his bit to a snaffle.  But he still was a pony, and so he was not always perfectly behaved.  For some reason though, he and I just clicked and I loved him.  That's not to say that he didn't try to get me off, or was always perfectly behaved.  I took him to my first show in 1999, a combined test at South Farm in the intro division.  He was pretty good for dressage, but in stadium, I stopped riding him for just a second and he took advantage.  Completely ran right around the jump and would not turn.  I did get him turned back to the fence and got over it.  But the damage was done and we had a refusal.  But as a plus for me, I stuck with it.  And we completed my first show.

The next year I took Stoney to most of the mini trials in Ohio and we did pretty well for ourselves.  Unfortunately because of a genetic issue, Stoney was going blind so we couldn't jump him very big.  But man did that pony love to run cross country!

Even though we were just jumping little logs, I still remember how much fun it was to gallop across the fields at Stone Gate Farm with my little pony.  The summer of 2001 was the best.  We went to several mini trails and always placed well in dressage and followed it up with clean jumping rounds.  It was the perfect introduction to eventing for me.  Then in late 2001 there was a dispute with Stoney's former owner.  He had been given to Bonnie for use in lessons, the owners had moved onto another barn and Stoney was left behind with us.  Bonnie had assumed the cost of care and upkeep for him.  But they came back and took him from our barn.  I was devastated.  Stoney was my best friend and he had been taken away from me without even a chance to say goodbye.  A police report was filed regarding the incident, but the reality was Bonnie just didn't have the money for a court battle to get him back.  And I haven't seen that awesome little pony since. 


Pony Profiles: Ziplock's Miss Murphy

Monday, February 21, 2011

So I've come to realize that although you guys know a lot about my current ponies, I've not really talked in much detail about the ponies that have brought me to where I am now.  Since winter is upon us once again after two days of warm weather teasing us, I can't really do much riding.  So it's the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane.

After much begging and pleading, my mother finally gave into my need to ride a horse.  Of course living in town we really had no idea where to go to take lessons.  Luckily my great aunt's neighbors had horses and were willing to take on a horse crazy kid.  Those neighbors were, of course, Nikki and her dad Tom.  I didn't really get lessons, per say, as Nikki wasn't an instructor.  But she did let me ride her horses and started me on this obsession.  Even without formal lessons, I learned a lot from Nikki and Tom.  Not only did I learn the basics of riding, but I learned how to take care of horses, how to be a show groom and things like that.  The first horse that I rode was a 1989 Appendix Quarter Horse mare named Ziplock's Miss Murphy.  Murphy was Nikki's hunt seat horse after Natasha was retired and while she was waiting for Image to be old enough to ride.  When I met Nikki, Murphy was actually in foal and so I learned to ride in a western saddle as we couldn't get the english saddle on her.

I was able to get a couple of months riding on Murphy before she had her foal.  Who, by the way was an adorable little palomino colt, SA One Tuff Zipper.

Nikki ended up selling Murphy shortly after Tuffy was weaned.  Once I could no longer ride Murphy, I spent some time riding Image a bit.  But around this time is when Nikki headed off to school and I had to find somewhere else to ride.  Nikki gave the names of a few barns, one of which was Windhurst Farm.  After calling around, we decided that Windhurst sounded like the best option as I could join Little Creek Pony Club.


Guess Who's Going Training At South Farm...

Monday, February 14, 2011

My personal goal has been to go Training at South Farm in May.  But it hadn't really been discussed with Bonnie yet, so of course it was kinda all up in the air.  Not anymore!

Kaye was feeling pretty good on Saturday, the weather was getting a bit warmer and she had been cooped up all week.  Katie got the first ride on her since I had to go pick up feed at Agway.   And Kaye was going her best to spook at everything.  She was jumping the patch of snow that had blown in the doors, she was spooking at every noise.  In other words, feeling good and expressing it the only way she knew how.  After Katie rode, I got to hop up and make sure Kaye was settled before any of the kids got on her.  Once I got on though, Kaye realized it was time to settle down and get to work.  We went through the spooking stuff last winter, and she's come to realize that I don't put up with that anymore.  Even though Katie had warmed Kaye up already, I still started her out with a good bit of walk work.  The free walk has a coefficient of 2 in all the dressage tests, so really you can't spend too much time working on the walk.  Especially with Kaye, who doesn't have a real great walk to begin with.  Plus I wanted to make sure that I had her attention on me and not everything else.  Then when Bonnie rejoined us in the arena, we picked up the trot.  I've really been working on keeping myself relaxed.  As soon as I get any bit of tension in myself, I get tense all over and Kaye picks up on that.  Then she gets tense and starts resisting.  And actually my last two rides were pretty good with that.  She was pretty good both at the trot and canter, soft and responsive to my aids.  Then it was time to jump a bit.  We just worked over a baby fence, since this was my first jump school since October.  As usual my first fence wasn't all that great, but it actually wasn't as bad as usual.  And my second fence was pretty darn good!  Biggest thing was that I just wasn't getting my timing right.  So the reins were tied in a knot and I started jumping with no hands.  Fixed that problem!

So after we finished jumping, I was walking the marsie around and Bonnie asked what level I was going to do this year.  I was honest with her, told her that I wanted to move up to training this year.  That for me, I'd probably go Novice at the first combined test, but then move up to Training at the next one.  And Bonnie agreed with me!  In fact she thinks that I should just do two divisions at the first CT, Novice first then Training after.  She pointed out that I thought the Novice jumps were small, and after school some Training level fences with Boyd in the fall I am ready.  And the CTs are a good place for me to move up.  They have pretty easy courses, nothing harder than what we jump at home, so I can do it no problem.

So Kaye and I will be tackling Training this spring!  I can't wait for show season to start!


2011 Show Schedule

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Well one of my goals for January and February was to start looking at a show schedule.  Of course this is all going to be very tentative yet, as three of the four horses I haven't even sat on since fall.  Also assuming I have the money for all this.  And Bonnie is willing to haul us.  And let me show her horse.  And Tammy lets me show her horse.  But fingers crossed that all goes well, this is what I'm hoping for.

  • May 7, 2011 South Farm Combined Test
    • Fashion Statement, very green
  • May 8, 2011 South Farm Combined Test
    • Special K, novice
    • Special K, training
  • May 22, 2011 South Farm Combined Test
    • Special K, training
  • May 28-29, 2011 Red, White and Blue Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
  • June 4, 2011 South Farm Combined Test
    • Fashion Statement, baby beginner novice
  • June 5, 2011 South Farm Combined Test
    • Special K, training
  • June 10-12, 2011 ICHA Double Points Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
  • June 17-19, 2011 Inter-State Triple Points Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
  • June 24-16, 2011 WHA Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
  • July 17, 2011 South Farm Farm mini Trial
    • Color Me Mellow, intro dressage
  • July 31, 2011 Grand River Mini Trial
    • Fashion Statement, baby beginner novice
  • August 5-7, 2011 Catt County Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
  • September 2-4, 2011 MEHA Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
    • Color Me Mellow, intro dressage
    • Bugsy, liberty
  • September 11, 2011 South Farm Mini Trial
    • Fashion Statement, beginner novice
  • September 16-18, 2011 Randolph Classic Charity Show
    • SA Dalal, western pleasure
    • Bugsy, liberty
  • September 25, 2011 Basset Highlands Mini Trial
    • Fashion Statement, beginner novice
  • October 1, 2011 South Farm Combined Test
    • Special K, training


The Not-So-Super Bowl

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Well, I just have to say I am proud to be a Pittsburgh native, and I will proudly proclaim my status as a Black N Gold Girl.  It was disappointing to fall short in the game Sunday, but I am so very proud of my boys for getting that far.  At the beginning of the season no one thought the Steelers would be a factor at all, let alone make it to the Super Bowl.  Well, no one outside the Steelers Nation that is.  We were without our starting quarterback for the first 4 games of the season, and many were expecting us to lose all 4 of those games.  But when Ben rejoined his team, it was to a 3-1 record.  We overcame a lot this season, bad games, injuries, bad calls and of course, Godell screwing our team.  We came from behind in the division championship at Heinz Field to beat the Baltimore Ravens.  And then we very narrowly beat the Jets for the AFC Championship.

Let's face it Green Bay out played us.  With a lot of help from our boys.  The Packers really were not able to do much with the ball on their own.  It was only off of the 3 turnovers that they were able to score.  And I really give Ben a lot of credit for manning up in his post game press conference and taking responsibility for that.  And the rest of the team did too.  It was a team effort.  Ben wasn't the only one who messed up.  But as the leader of the team, he was right to take the blame.  But really the big question, in my mind at least, where the hell was our defense?  I mean really.  They did a poor job of holding the Packers when they needed to.  Where was Troy?  Where was Harrision?  Come on guys you need to be on those players, not 20 yards away so they can run when they get the ball.

I'm still proud of you boys.  You made Pittsburgh proud and I am glad to say I am a member of the Steelers Nation!  Rest up, get healthy, and we'll be back next year.  We will bring home #7.

And now that the game has been discussed let's move on to the other important part of Super Bowl Sunday.  The commercials.

Overall I have to say I'm disappointed in the commercials this year.  There were a few good ones.  A couple of my favs would be the Volkswagon Darth Vader.  That little kid is just too darn cute!

Another good one was the Bridgestone Carma one.

And really I loved the Chrysler commercial with Eminem.  I <3 Eminem.  I have for a long time (Thank you Blair!)  I love the way it was all about how good things come from Detroit, not just crime and poverty.  And I love how unexpected it was to have Eminem in a Chrysler commercial, not exactly something I thought I would see.

I was kinda disappointed by the Budweiser commercial.  There was only one with the Clydesdales and they weren't really a big part of it.  It was kinda cute, but not up to their usual standards.

On the other end of the spectrum, the stupid and downright gross commercials.  By far the worst has to be the Doritos commercial.

The Pepsi Max commercial wasn't funny at all, in fact I thought it was kinda mean.

And just a couple final thoughts on the Super Bowl.  Next time, can we please get someone who will make the effort to learn the correct words to the national anthem.  There is no excuse for you to not know the words to the Star Spangled Banner.  And I do believe that wasn't the first time she screwed up the national anthem.  And the half time show.  I actually enjoyed it.  I thought the Black Eyed Peas did a good job, and it certainly was a nice change from the geriatric performances of the last two years.  And although I can't find a picture right now, Ben looks HOT after shaving of his beard after the game.


Back in the Saddle

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well I finally made it back to the barn two weeks ago.  And I actually got a ride on Kaye!  Amazing.  Bonnie gave me a short flatwork lesson in which it was painfully obvious that I cannot go that long without a lesson.  My leg was horrible, I was tense, Kaye was tense.  All around it was not pretty!  But regardless it felt so good to ride her again.  I also had a another good ride on Miss.  She is definitely perking up and feeling good.  The snow falling off the roof of the arena gave her just the excuse she needed to give a little spook.  She humped her back, and bounced her hind legs in a little baby buck before breaking into a canter.  I couldn't help but laugh at her, which made it a little hard to bring her back to the walk.  I was just so happy that she was feeling good enough to even try to buck.  Of course, being Miss, she really has no idea how to buck, but the thought was still there.

Unfortunately the next weekend it got very cold again, so that meant no barn.  Boo!  But I understand why Bonnie doesn't want to open the place up in that weather.  I was able to get out again this past weekend though. I tacked Miss up first and took her out for a walk.  So was feeling good again.  And she is looking great!  She's putting weight on, her ribs are completely covered.  But I think I'm going to have to talk to Dr. Maro about getting some more albuterol for her.  We're pretty much out of it now, and it really has helped her breathing.  Then I got to hop on Kaye for a short lesson too.  And this one went much better than the one two weeks before.   I was much more relaxed and so she was much more relaxed.  And we had some really good moments at the trot and canter.  Really looking forward to riding more and getting ready for show season.

I talked to Bonnie about getting Twinkie's feet done so that I can start riding her again.  Ari and I were talking a couple weeks ago and she mentioned that she would try riding Twinkie again after I had a little more.  Twinkie really is a sweet horse, she doesn't do anything, but she's still just green.  She doesn't really know what leg means yet, so she's a wiggle-worm all over the place.  But she doesn't have a mean bone in her body.   She'd never even dream of bucking or anything.  I can get on her cold even when she hasn't been ridden in months, even if she hasn't be turned out in a while.  She's just so laid back and calm.  I'll lunge her more out of habit than any real need to do so.  So I've got a call into Jamie, just waiting to hear back from him.  X needs his shoes pulled and trimmed, and then Twinks can get done at the same time.  I was thinking that maybe I would take Twinkie to a combined test or something at South Farm this spring, she how she would do in the very green division.  Or maybe if we get her cantering I'll take her in baby beginner novice or even beginner novice.  So we'll see.