I'm a 20 something girl living in the beautiful state of Oregon. I have a lifelong love of horses and have been blessed to own a horse since I was 8 years old. My first pony was a 20-year-old POA mare named January. I mostly rode her bareback because I couldn't saddle her on my own. At that time we lived on 30 acres and I also had access to the neighbors 60 acres next door.
I'm struggling to find a leather halter that I love on Uno. He's got a really sweet face and I'd like to find him just the right halter that accentuates that. I have posted two photos below of halters that he has used around the farm. One is probably 1/2 inch and the other is a standard 1 inch halter.
This is his bridle, which I think is really handsome on him.
I ordered him the halter pictured below, and although it's beautiful, I think it looks too clunky. What do you guys think? I think if it were broken in and not sticking out funny, it would look better.
If I send it back, what do I try next? Find a narrower leather halter? Or just a normal one? I'd love to find one with a bit of unique style. If I could find something like his bridle nose-band in a halter, I'd be happy. I'm not as much a fan of the rolled leather look...what ideas do you have?
As I mentioned previously, Uno does not like his hind feet being pulled out behind him at all. If you do try to get him to relax it out behind him he’ll start leaning funny and pretty soon be almost falling over, which then makes him wiggle. I’m not sure what the deal is, neither my farrier nor I think he’s uncomfortable (physically). I’ve been making a little bit of progress on the issue, just getting him to relax a small amount and let his hoof go. I’m hopeful that at some point he’ll realize we aren’t trying to make him fall over.
Another thing he is quirky about is being saddled. He’s mostly weird about the saddle pad being put on. He reminds me a lot of Benny in many ways, and definitely in saddling. He almost freezes up and acts like he’d like to run away, although he doesn’t actually try. I’ve spent some time just rubbing the pad on him, flopping it on and off of him etc. He’s better, but still not as comfortable as I would like him to be. I’m not sure if he anticipates me throwing the saddle at him, cinching him up too quickly or too tight or something else entirely. He’s such a good boy that he doesn’t do much, but you can see that he’s also not very comfortable with it. I’m being slow and methodical with everything, and hoping that many miles with that kind of handling will put him at ease.
Standing nicely to be groomed and tacked up in the arena
I’m also struggling to find a bit that he likes. He’s very busy with his mouth, chewing at the bit from the moment I put it in. I’ve tried several different bits but haven’t come across anything magical. Emi is the first horse who I’ve ever had a “magic” bit with, from the moment I first put it on she was happier in the bridle. I have no idea if such a bit exists for Uno, and if it does, what it is!? I don’t ride him in a flash but would like to try a drop, to see if that would encourage him to be quieter with his mouth.
Always chewing on the bit
Considering all horses have quirks, all of his are quirks that I can handle, and I think are things that will continue to get better. I’m feeling incredibly fortunate to have found this horse and look forward to developing him further.
As per usual, it’s been a while since I posted. We have now made it to two months with Uno. Let me tell you, I’m so happy I purchased him! He’s a total sweetheart and I am enjoying the process of getting to know him. He’s one of those horses who is really easy to have in the barn. He’s very kind and well behaved, which makes it especially nice when my nephews are around or when other people are handling him.
Giving his first pony ride to my nephew ♥
He’s made a lot of progress this past month in terms of his ridden work. Things are starting to come together. He stands quietly at the mounting block, is on the bit more often than not and all of his transitions have gotten so much better! We’ve been doing lots of 3 loop serpentines, leg yielding (at the walk) both nose to the wall (I don’t actually have a wall) and on a circle, transitions, regular leg yields (mostly quarter line to the wall), stretchy trot, transitions with in the gait – particularly in the trot. He is very forward and motors right along with no encouragement needed, it’s quite fun. The transitions with in the gait are going really well and he responds nicely to me asking him to move out and then come back. He loses his balance in the leg yields so I continue to work on smoothing those out. I’m planning to take him to a show at the end of August and I’m excited to see how he does. I think he might be pretty tense, but he’s also usually very reasonable so he may settle in just fine. With the progress that he’s making I think it will be very likely that I’ll be able to show him first level next season. I’m so excited about that.
He’s gotten way more settled in the pasture, and is eating further and further out in it (rather than staying near the top, which is what he was doing). The first month he was out he would pace and/or run the fence a fair amount, especially when cars came in and out of the driveway. I’m so glad he has stopped doing that.
From my post updating on his first month I had listed things to do:
“In the next 4-6 weeks we are hoping to go on another trail ride, take our first lesson together, and get his saddle adjusted for him. He’s dropped some weight since he’s been home, so I’m hoping that we can get his weight loss turned around. I’m not used to seeing ribs on a horse!”
I have not accomplished the trail ride or the lesson, although I’m working on getting both things done. The saddle fitting appointment will be taking place near the end of August. I don’t have any real complaints about his saddle fit, so I’m comfortable waiting a bit to see the saddle fitter and a friend is having a new saddle delivered at that time. Regarding his weight, I do think he has quit losing weight, and is hopefully on the upswing. A few weeks ago we put in 6 tons of local orchard grass hay, which should be of higher nutritional value than the 2 year old hay that I was feeding him. Now Liam is getting to eat the “old hay” when he’s in the dry lot during the day.
Is he adorable or what!?
He did see the farrier again and was much better than the first time. He doesn’t like his hind feet to be pulled back behind him at all. I’m working on it but let my farrier know that’s what makes him freak out. My farrier is awesome, and is very patient. He really likes Uno and commented on what a good looking horse he is, and tall for an arab. The farrier also said that in his opinion arabs are one of the most versatile breeds around and aside from maybe draft horses, have the best feet. I love to have the endorsement of my farrier!
The cutest pair
I’ll leave you with this video clip taken on Independence day.
Since I missed Transformation Tuesday we will have to do Transformation Thursday Let me tell you, Liam J does not appreciate being clipped. There was kicking and biting many angry donkey faces. Good thing he's small and oh so cute. His clip is certainly not flawless, but he was dirty and his hair was so thick. Next year there will definitely be a bath prior to the clipping.
I'm way late on writing this up, but wanted to do a recap on my second half marathon, which took place on June 1st. Leading up to the race my training had been going pretty well. I am blessed to have a great running partner, who I am evenly matched with. We usually run 6 miles together each Saturday. Leading up to the race we added a mile each Saturday, so 7, 8, 9, 10, we skipped to 12, and then went back to 8 and then 6. For miles 9, 10 & 12 we ran to breakfast! Let me tell you, long runs have never been so fun as when you are running with a friend and running to breakfast.
After the Roseburg to Coos Bay Relay I had started physical therapy for a tight/sore hamstring. The PT worked and my hamstring issue resolved in the time leading up to the half marathon. Between the running challenge I'm currently doing (750 miles in 2019), the relay, PT and our long runs, I felt well prepared for the race. Susie and I spent the first 4 miles weaving in an out of the crowds. After that we were finally spaced out and able to run our race. The miles passed surprisingly quickly, and before we knew it we were approaching the turn around point. We saw my dad go by (he had passed the turn around) and then another friend went past.
4 miles in
We were saying "good job" to many of the runners who went by and It seemed like many of the "fast" runners were not friendly, and wouldn't even acknowledge us. Recognizing that we would be the "fast runners" on our way back towards the finish, we decided to encourage the people who hadn't yet made it to the turn around. Susie and I traded off talking to the other runners, and that was a nice distraction from the discomfort and fatigue. It started getting a bit harder by mile 11 and by 13 we were excited to be near the finish line. We finished with a time of 1:49:56 and a pace of 8:20. I was 6th in my age division and 46 overall out of 313.
Almost to the finish
Running partners ♥
My dad and I
Imitating sore runners
Before & After
It was so fun to complete this race, as my dad and I had signed up for it two years ago and I ended up with an injury and had to drop out. Next up we are changing gears and working on our speed. We have three 5k's on the calendar - August, September & October. I actually prefer distance over speed, but it's good to mix things up.
As of Tuesday, I’ve owned Uno for 1 month. In that time we’ve had some really good rides. I feel like we are starting to find a rhythm together. The mounting block is probably the worst part of riding him, as he tends to be very wiggly. However, this week, he's stood quietly both mornings that I have ridden him.
Things that have happened in his first month:
He’s transitioned to all day turn out (for the summer months).
He’s gone on his first trail ride.
He’s had his hooves trimmed.
He’s gotten a new bridle.
He’s gotten a new saddle pad (and other miscellaneous items).
He’s seen the vet for vaccines & a dental.
He’s been dewormed.
In the next 4-6 weeks we are hoping to go on another trail ride, take our first lesson together, and get his saddle adjusted for him. He’s dropped some weight since he’s been home, so I’m hoping that we can get his weight loss turned around. I’m not used to seeing ribs on a horse!
With Monday being a holiday, it was the perfect opportunity to take Uno for a trail ride. I had reached out to one friend about the possibility of riding with her, but she was out of the country. Another close friend has a horse that is currently being rehabbed. Although I could have tried to find someone else, I decided that I would proceed with taking him alone. Worst case, I would walk the whole time, but at least he’d get some trail exposure and I’d have an idea of where we were starting from.
He came off the trailer with his head high and eyes wide, and I walked him around for a minute before tying him to the trailer. Unlike Miss Emi, he is not food motivated, so although I parked him in front of a hay net, he spent his time looking around rather than eating. We had parked near another horse trailer, and while I was finishing tacking him up the owner came walking back with her horse. Uno didn’t call to the other horse, nor did he seem particularly interested in it. I was impressed.
I led him out to the trail head, and then proceeded to lead him part of the way out the trail. I wanted to assess how he was handling everything and also see if we would run in to any mountain bikes, dogs or other normal trail hazards, before it happened with me on his back. In general he’s not particularly spooky. His tendency is to puff up and give things a hard look, but then proceed with a level head. I hopped on and he continued down the trail, the same as if I were leading him. He had his adorably tippy ears perked forward and he motored along nicely. He was keeping a close eye on everything and I could tell that his trail exposure has been limited, as even the little dips in the road were cause for an extra look.
We walked and trotted happily along, and never encountered anything more than a couple of people walking with dogs. On the way back down the trail there was one cleared spot that he was not sure about going past. We sat and looked for a bit before I urged him on. He wanted to turn back, but listened when I told him no. I was debating hopping off to lead him by, but I didn’t feel like I was in any danger by staying on him. At this point a woman came walking towards us (through the clearing) and once she was part way through it I got him moving again. He was definitely uncertain but he proceeded past the scary spot without any issue.
We arrived back at the trailer and I got him untacked and ready to head home. He loaded pretty quickly, definitely faster than on the way out. I left feeling so proud of him (and of me too). I know I was asking a lot of him to take him out alone for our first trail ride, especially since I haven’t had him very long. I was prepared to lead him the whole time, but it was quite awesome to have him be such a rockstar. The ride was really fun and I expect we will spend many hours out on the trail together.
Uno and I have put in two rides at home, and all is going well. I can't get over how sweet he is.
The first day I rounded up a bit to try and fitted his borrowed bridle to him. I lunged him prior to getting on, since they did that when I tried him. We were not having the best of luck with my lunging equipment (the halter kept coming up by his eye). He lunged well to the left and not as well to the right as he kept wanting to stop and go the other way. I didn't get too far down that road before I opted to hop on.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how much stretching he did while on the lunge line.
He’s squirmy at the mounting block. I’m not sure if he’s not familiar with one or just wasn’t well trained about it. I’m planning to pick up some sugar cubes and see if we can’t improve the mounting block process. As it was, I had to make a small leap of faith to get on him. There’s always that moment between leaving the mounting block and hitting their back, where you are wondering if you made a wise decision. I also might need to get a taller mounting block. My current block is just two steps high and feels like a bit of a stretch, although that’s because I’m used mounting Emi, not Uno.
We cruised around at the walk for a bit before moving on to the trot. He spooked once at the lunging equipment I threw at the edge of the arena, but was otherwise very steady. Although he’s broke enough to ride walk/trot/canter there is a lot of work to be done. We worked on coming nicely forward and being straight and on the bit. I was very pleased with his behavior for our first ride.
Our second ride took place on Wednesday night and I did not lunge prior to hopping on. This was mostly due to time constraints and also because I’d rather not have to lunge before every ride. I think he’s the kind of horse that will benefit from me getting on and putting his brain to work. He was again squirmy at the mounting block and was scooting around when I got on him. Once he stopped I gave him a cookie. We walked around for a while and worked a little bit on leg yielding. He chomped at the bit and finally after 5 minutes or so his cookie fell out of his mouth. Poor guy never got it eaten!
We worked on the same stuff as the day prior – going nicely forward, finding a connection, not bulging or falling in etc. Then I started working on his down transitions. I believe he was trained as a western horse, so he tends to stopwhen he transitions. One of the first transitions I rode where I really thought about keeping him active all the way through the transitions and into the walk, he did quite a good job. We worked through several transitions before cantering. He wants to buck a little bit when tracking right. “Buck” is probably too strong of a word, but he’s a little bit hoppy in the transition. I think he may have done walk to canter transitions, because he seems to anticipate that when we are walking.
In the canter, as in the trot, the down transition is a spot where he wants to whoa. It would have been fun to see the trainer ride him when I tried him, that insight would be helpful. I suspect that a lot of what I am asking from him is a foreign concept. There are so many different training things to tackle it’s almost overwhelming! I want to make sure he feels happy and successful in his work, so I should probably hold back a little bit on addressing all the things.
Besides getting to know him, my next order of business is to get up to JW for a lesson. Actually, I have many things on the list:
Vet visit – this is scheduled for the beginning of June. He’ll get his teeth and vaccine done, plus a health certificate and coggins so that he is able to be hauled up to JW (she’s across state lines). My vet is also a chiropractor so I’ll probably have him adjusted
Saddle fitting – hopefully my saddle will be fitted to him in the next couple of weeks.
Bridle & Bit – I need to measure him and order a bridle for him. I also want to try him in a different bit, as I’m not sure he likes the bit he’s currently in.
Trail ride – I’m working on a plan to take him on his first trail ride. This may require new hoof boots, again, I need to measure him to confirm.
I’m excited to introduce you all to my new partner – Mach One.
He’s a 5 year old, Arabian gelding, who stands about 15.2hh. I found him via a response on my ISO post on a facebook sales group. He was located about 3.5 hours south of me, about 20 minutes away from the first horse I tried. Although I wasn’t super excited about spending 7 more hours in the car, he was worth trying based off of his information, a very short video and his price.
My friend and I set off early on Saturday May 4thand arrived to see him by mid-morning. His owner mentioned that she should have told me to bring my own tack, a she is mainly a breeding farm and doesn’t have a lot of tack. Luckily my friend had suggested I bring my own saddle. All they had for a bit was a twisted wire snaffle and unfortunately I hadn’t brought anything else with me.
He was tacked up (western first) and then taken out to the roundpen for a quick lunge. The farm hand lunged him a bit before the owner interrupted and said he should be fine. She then made some sort of remark about how I’ve ridden throughbreds, so I’d be fine. It was at this point that I asked if someone else could ride him before I hopped on. The farmhand was given the task and he mounted him in the outdoor arena. Mach One hadn’t been ridden out there before, and was giving a hard look at one side of the arena. He was quietly ridden by a couple of times and it didn’t take long before he settled. He was ridden at the walk and trot, with a little bit of canter, before he was handed over to me.
I mounted and set off. I had ridden for 5 or 10 minute when I asked about switching him from their western saddle to my dressage saddle. They also had a german martingale on him, which I removed when switching the saddles. I climb back aboard and immediately felt better. I rode him for a while, working him through his paces and had a smile on my face the whole time. He’s broke with the basics – so we had no trouble doing walk, trot, canter and steering. He was forward and willing, which were two of the things that sold me on him. Once I hopped off of him I stood in the arena talking to his owner and petting him. I get the sense that he’s got a good brain and is smart and kind. I untacked him and returned him to his stall before thanking the owner and letting her know I’d be in touch.
Once we got back in the car my friend lamented that we should have brought money and my trailer, but as I told her, “we don’t shop with our horse trailer.” Of course the trek home involved a lot of discussion regarding the visit, what we liked, what we didn’t like. He paddles mildly, particularly on the right front, but we didn’t have a lot of negatives. Once we returned home I made an offer on him, which the owner accepted. We arranged a pick up date of Saturday and I settled in to wait.
Saturday was a long day, with the drive being a bit longer with the trailer in tow than it was in my car. Mach One gave the horse trailer a hard look, and spent a few minutes standing at the edge of the trailer before he climb aboard. He hauled well and stood quietly while we got diesel and milkshakes.
Per his old owner, he hasn’t been hauled very much. She didn’t breed him but he grew up on her farm (from a weanling or yearling on). He was raised in horsey paradise, with a large pasture and several colt buddies to play with. I would say, based off of the information that I received, that he has had minimal handling. He was sent to a trainer to be started about a year ago, and then came back to the farm in the last couple of months. The owner commented several times that he’s taken anything they’ve thrown at him in stride. She was excited to see him being ridden dressage and said that arab sporthorse nationals are back on the west coast next year.
Once home, I showed him around his new paddock and introduced him to Liam. He was very skeptical of the small donkey, and took a bit of gawking before he touched noses with Liam. At that point I moved him away from Liam and Liam brayed. Mach One whipped his head around so fast to take a look at the squawking donkey. It was hilarious. It didn’t take long before they two of them made friends, and Liam’s end of the paddock is definitely where Mach One prefers to be.
Speaking of Mach One – he doesn’t have a barn name. My top contenders at the moment are M1, Uno or Theo. I'm excited to see how he develops, and how he takes to being a one person horse. Hopefully he turns out as well as I think he could.
With #15 coming soon I thought it would be fun to recap the 14 other equines I have owned.
#1 – January
My first horse was a POA pony mare, named January. After looking at several unsuitable horses, my parents decided to ask the neighbors about the pony in their field. She had been used for 4-H by their kids, who had since grown and moved away. We purchased her for $600. She was an excellent pony, and I rode her all over our farm, usually bareback as I struggled to get the western saddle on her by myself.
#2 – Cricket
Cricket was my “step up” horse from January. He was a young thoroughbred gelding, who was a little more spicy than what I could handle. If I had him right now, I suspect that I would love him. He was about 15.1hh and a good boy, just not a beginners horse.
#3 – Sassy
Sassy (JC – Sasswoon) came next. She was a 4 year old OTTB, and again, not suitable. She was endorsed by my trainer, and wasn’t a bad horse, but way too green and had a pretty good scooting spook. She could disappear right out from under you. I credit Sassy with the start of my “stickability.” Sassy had several injuries while I owned her, and one of them results in her having to be on stall rest for 6+ months. She never returned quite the same post injury, both physically and mentally.
#4 – Roz
Roz (JC – Rozzy Ridge) is well known on this blog. I purchased him during one of Sassy’s lay ups. Actually, I purchased him with my trainer and a friend as a project. We paid $600.00 for him and owned him for less than 6 months before selling him. He was kind of cranky and I didn’t like him all that much. He would return a couple years later, which is really when he became my horse.
#5 – Cosmo
Cosmo (Cosmopolitan) was a thoroughbred gelding who was given to me during yet another time when Sassy was off due due to an injury. He had competed in hunters and was a lovely horse to ride and jump. Unfortunately he had a lot of physical issues. He cribbed and was chronically colicky. He got bladder stones twice (prior to me owning him) and also had soundness issues. I ended up giving him away, which was sad because I really did love him.
#6 – Roxanne
Roxanne (JC – Lauren Knows) was up next. She was a feedlot rescue and was supposed to be my up and coming horse as Roz was starting to slow down a bit. She was big, beautiful and amazingly athletic. She came along really well, until she didn’t. She had a huge buck and after having some traumatic experiences with her she ended up stepping on my foot and breaking it. That was the beginning of the end. She was bred by a friend and after the foal was weaned I gave her away.
#7 – Ruby
Ruby was a feedlot rescue that I had for a couple of months. She was a young mixed breed mare. She was quite nice and landed in an amazing home.
#8 – Moose
Moose (A Pleasant Surprise) was a thoroughbred gelding that belonged to my childhood best friend. She was getting out of horses and gave me her horse to use as a lesson horse. She had competed him through the 3’6” children’s jumpers and he was quite a nice guy. I used him for a while as a lesson horse, and rode him some myself. Once I transitioned out of giving beginner lessons I found him a good new home. I’m not sure that he’s still alive, as he would be around 27 now but my friend and I did visit him a few years back and he was doing well.
#9 – Pie
Pie (JC – Caribbean Pirate) was purchased while Roxy was pregnant. I sold him as the time approached for me to take Roxy back.
#10 – Pretty
Pretty (JC - Pretty Line) was another feedlot rescue. She was a very small, adorable mare. She was quite young (maybe 3 years old) and needed some TLC. I had her teeth done and gave her some time to gain weight. I sold her as needing to be restarted. Sadly, the person who purchased her ended up giving her back to me within 6 months. She was in poor condition when she returned, her back was covered in rain rot and she was skinny. At this point I was boarding her and started riding. After getting her healthy again I re-sold her as a polo pony, which I heard she was very successful at.
#11 – Chevy
Chevy (JC – Blazon Shields) was purchased after Roxy was given away. The month after I purchased him I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I sold him during treatments, as he was not working out the way I had hoped, and I had other things I was dealing with.
#12 – Emi
Emi (Winterlake Emerald) requires very little introduction. She was purchased as a foal, the year after I was diagnosed with cancer and was just recently sold, at almost 6 years old.
#13 – Liam
Liam also requires very little introduction. He was the best $100 I've ever spent.
#14 – Benny
Benny (Ben Big & Rich) was a half arab gelding that I purchase while waiting for Emi to grow up. I had been riding Roz but his navicular continued to progress and he was no longer able to be ridden in any serious way. I wanted to be on my A game when starting a baby horse, so I purchased Benny. I had him for about a year and a half. He was an awesome horse and was affectionately dubbed “Benny the wonder horse.” He is currently living in California and is well loved.