De Ja Vue???

I purchased a 2 old trekehner filly prospect about 15? years ago (the time isn't important). I was going to train her and maybe even breed her. I went about my normal tasks of starting a young horse and all was going fine until about 10 months in, she started getting real fat in her belly. I had the vet out and he said "oh she just has a hay belly" ummm...she was pregnant. Vets don't know everything. Anyway, to make a long story short, she was sold to me bred by mistake??? No one knew. Certainly not the breeder. Fortunately, she had a healthy filly, despite my worry about not caring for her right all that time and training her. This story has so many details that make you know that everything happens for a reason and horses have other plans for you when you innocently buy them. But it would take me pages to tell the story in the detail it deserves. Maybe another blog.
Fast forward to now. 7 months ago, I innocently bought another warmblood cross filly prospect. I have mentioned her before. Phoenix is 3 and I started training her just as I have trained many young horses before her. Everything was going great...Except come about 2 months ago, she started getting really fat in the belly. Everyone was saying" I think your horse is pregnant" and I of course said no "she's just one of those mare's who's built that way" you know big in the belly. I rationalized an explained it away until I couldn't anymore. I contacted the breeder and sent him photos of her, and he confirmed that although this had never happened before, He had another filly with one on the way as well. Accidentally. I know this is not uncommon. I, in fact, know others who have gotten mares with surprises inside. But I ask you and myself "what are the odds of this happening twice???" Will I win the lottery next? I better with another mouth to feed. Now this is not officially confirmed but look at the pics.


Answer to a question of leg protection...

I use leg protection on a case by case basis. If you have concerns about splint bone injury or just don't want to run the risk of cosmetic lumps and bumps on you horses legs than I recommend splint boots. If you have a horse that needs tendon support, I use polo wraps. They do not protect well for hard knocks and concussion though. You may want to go to a sports medicine type boot if you need combined support/concussion protection. I use bell boots in competition with shod horses or horses that bruise their heels. I also use them on horses that pull their front shoes off a lot. I will use a brushing boot on a horse that nicks himself interfering in front or behind but Splints will work just the same. Splint boots are suitable for most protection front and back and don't cost a fortune. I like Eskadron boots for competition but they are expensive. I use a basic fleece lined boot for every day protection when I need it.

A question of leg protection for jumping...

A question for you if you don't mind? Since you're a fellow jumper too. Do you use any kind of leg protection when training for jumping? Boots, wraps, bell boots? It's been at least 12 years since I did much jumping, and I think I just used polo wraps back then. LOL. Was just curious if you use anything? And if so, what? And what brands do you prefer? Thanks so much!

Free Jumping Videos

Free Jumping is fun and great exercise for your horse even if you don't jump. It builds hind end strength and teaches balance and coordination. It can add variety to your training program. Always start with a pole on the ground and work your way up to higher obstacles to build confidence.

Watch out Mercury...Phoenix Free jumping...Grrrl power

Find more videos like this on Natural Horse Network's Community

Find more videos like this on Natural Horse Network's Community

Free Jumping Videos

Find more videos like this on Natural Horse Network's Community

Find more videos like this on Natural Horse Network's Community


Equipment choices...Mercury has more to teach...

Today I worked with Mercury in a Hackamore for the first time. I did this because the dentist came last week and told me that although he would be fine, he was had a lot of teething going on (being 3 1/2 this made sense). He said for about the next 2 months or so, he would have a lot of changes in his mouth.
Mercury is well started in his training, Walk, Trot, Canter, Poles, lateral work etc. He had been doing great until about 2 weeks ago. I noticed increased tension (see previous blog about his girth issue) around saddling, bucking and (this is a new one) excessive yawning and I mean excessive (repeatedly like 10 times throughout the ride). I found out that the yawning is a way horses will release tension sometimes. He also started flipping his nose when he felt contact with the bit.
Anyway, I dealt with the girth thing and he was better but still yawning, flipping his head, and not quite relaxed. The dentist came and talked to me about his teeth. I thought hmmm...teething, that must be uncomfortable. I went out and got a hackamore this morning and tried it out. What did I learn?
I had the best ride on him I've ever had! He was relaxed (once he got used to it) and he was softer in his body then I had ever been able to get him. He didn't buck at all,there was no head flipping and he did not yawn once! So we'll see about transitioning back to a bit in a few months. In the mean time, He gets a hackamore and we get to enjoy our time together again.
FDT and Mercury

FYI: I have just found a dentist who does not used drugs, power tools, or a speculum. He called himself a natural soft touch dentis. I highly recommend this if you can find one in you area.


Check out my Ebay auctions...

Here's some stuff I have for sale on Ebay if anyone's interested. One Item is a very fancy New Prestige Eventing/Jumper bridle.
Go to my EBAY auctions


Balance in the horse

I find it helpful when teaching this to get people to focus their eyes' on the geometry they are riding. Front to back balance is something you have to to learn to feel for. I tell my students if your horse has a nice cadence on contact with the reins and then you let the reins go loose, If he speeds up, he is probably out of balance and dependent on your reins for it. Many people think their horse is "quick" or fast and it's just out of balance.
Lateral or left to right balance can be felt really well by practicing a simple exercise. Ride a straight line toward something. In an arena, It could be down center line (dressage letter c or a). In a field or non letter ring, It could be a cone, a fence post, a tree, your dog, husband/wife. Focus your eyes on your target. The first ride don't do anything just feel what you horse is doing. Is he going dead straight or sort of meandering or drifting to one side? Don't do anything yet! Just gather information and say to yourself for example" hmmm precious seems to wobble left and right a lot" or "sugar seems to veer left all the time". Do this a few times until you really feel a pattern. Then start fixing with you legs (reins if necessary). Your horse will now probably over correct or not correct depending on how responsive he is (he should know how to move of your leg sideways for this). Keep your eyes up so you can see if you corrections are on your target line. Or they went passed. Keep making corrections until your horse track dead straight down the line with NO corrections from you. This may take time if you have ridden for a while with out awareness of this. You may find your horse it quite crooked and reluctant to track straight. Eventually you can take this to circular pattern using visualization to see your circle on the ground.

Lots of talk of stallions but what about Phoenix?

Phoenix, Phoenix, Phoenix....The half sister to my stallion that I did not need, I bought for no good reason except I wanted her. Didn't stop to think about doubling my board/vet/farrier SHOWING etc expenses! Not to mention the TIME to enjoy/work with another unbroke 3 year old ( yes, Not even haltered) amongst my numerous other horses in training. And did I mention that her conformation, movement, size... I could go on, went against EVERYTHING I look for in a horse. And I know warmbloods are not alway conventionally pretty horses, I like the look of them but some people don't appreciate their stately heads. Let's just say she has a real stately head. But I saw beauty in her.
Anyway, She knocked down and proceeded to run over the poor girl showing her to me. Always a good sales point. Would not stand for her vet check. And somehow some part of me saw through that ( did I mention she had some bloodlines I like and free jumped phenomenally despite her odd conformation. I believe the breeder referred to her as a freak?). I remember the guy I was with saying "You want to buy this horse?" like I should have my head checked.
Anyway, I bought her in september and here is what I discovered:
-Phoenix is the one of the kindest, sweetest animals I have ever had the pleasure/honor of working with.
-She is hands down the easiest horse I have ever trained. I show her once and she's got it. Whether I showed her 3 weeks ago or yesterday. Anyone whose trained horses can appreciate this. I've also had the Marmadukes who are like "wait show me again...you want me to do what now...I don't get it"
-She ALWAYS greets me at the fence from no matter where she is and is genuinely pleased to see me. (so is Mercury but I raised him from a yearling and I've had her for 6 months)
_She is sensible and brave with just enough spark to know she's a competitor(I call her my sleeper They wont see us coming)
_I noticed when I'm around I just feel good. I just liked being around her.
-She has this great spirit.

So what have I learned. Phoenix is my Yin. Mercury is my Yang. I have a perfectly balanced pair. Anyone who doesn't like mares should meet some of the difficult geldings I've worked with. I've had 3 mares and they were/are all saints. Or as I call them "Geldings trapped in a mares body"
Also sometimes, when your every part of your brain is telling you this is not a good thing but your heart says it is, your heart knows something your brain doesn't. It sees Spirit...It recognizes heart...I love you Phoenix
(Phoenix has a poor quality picture on my page. Phoenix I owe you a picture that captures your true spirit)