November 25, 2016

November's 10 Questions

Thank you for the blogging content, Viva Carlos!

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden? I actually haven't ridden any really young or green horses.  The youngest horse I have ridden was 5, but he was well trained and as close to bombproof as you can get.

How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden? 26!

Were you scared of horses when you first started riding? When I first started riding I was fearless. After riding for about a year I took a bad fall and my confidence went from 100 to 0 real quick.

Fjord horse mane

Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider? I have built up my confidence a lot these past few years, though I would say I am still more nervous than confident.


Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses? I'm not too bothered by non-horse people. I think it is great when they take an interest in horses!
That being said, I do not like it when horseless people who you barely know try to take advantage of the fact that you own horses (ie: bring your horses to my kid's birthday party, let my kids and their friends come over to ride, and such).

 A time you’ve been scared for your life (horse related)?  I was on a super steep trail, and the horse I was riding tripped, fell, and went sliding down the hill for a few feet. Definitely made my heart skip a beat since it was out of the blue, though I don't think there has ever been a horse-related incident that made me scared for my life.

Fjord horse mane

Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened? Nope! But then again, I do not show often.


What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride? I've never ridden a gaited horse before, so I would like to sometime.

Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? There was this one gelding who was basically Jekyl and Hyde. One minute, he would be the most well-behaved horse you've ever seen, the next he would rear to the point of flipping over or try to buck you off. My first dozen rides on him were great, just basic intro level dressage work. One day, he just completely switched and tried to buck me off. Then he began trying to kick me whenever I was within kicking range. Of course, the owner immediately said, "He's never done that before!"

Whenever you asked him to do something he didn't want to do, he had two reactions: buck or rear. After seeing him rear to the point of nearly flipping over (unprovoked) with a trainer, I quit riding him.

Of course, the owner neglected to tell me about his issues, and claimed he was "as bombproof as you can get." I came to find out that the horse had an awful reputation in the local equestrian community and was known for being very unpredictable. Supposedly he passed pain/back exams and saddle fit seminars, so maybe he was just crazy. This is why I am wary of riding new horses now!

Fjord horse mane

The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had? About a year into owning Ypke we went through a super rocky phase where rides were consistently awful. I was super nervous after the fall I took, and she took advantage of that. Pretty sure she figured out that I wasn't confident enough to enforce the rules, so she basically did whatever she wanted to do when I rode her. Luckily she has never reared, bolted, or any of that. Her version of misbehaving is refusing to go faster than a lazy walk or dragging me towards the nearest patch of grass. Typical Fjord!
 

November 12, 2016

Churchill Downs

Last weekend I found myself in Louisville, Kentucky. I don't think any trip to Louisville is complete unless you visit Churchill Downs, which is something I have always wanted to do. Needless to say, it was amazing!

My favorite part was standing right alongside the track by the finish line. I loved the sound of thundering hooves!

video
 
Previously, I had never been to a track or watched a race. I am definitely no racing expert, so a couple of things surprised me:
 
a.) The horses were quite calm. When I think of racehorses, I think of them as easily spooked, hot-tempered, and prancing around. While there were exceptions, most of them seemed quite polite and levelheaded.
b.) The horses were not all that tall. I always figured racehorses were giants (17hh+), but the ones that were racing while I was there were certainly shorter.
 
Churchill Downs paddock
Explosive Kowboy


Churchill Downs paddock
Finley'sluckycharm


Churchill Downs
Finley'sluckycharm
During a tour, we were shown how they were brought into the starting gates. One horse threw a huge fit. It reared a couple times, the bridle fell off, it reared again, the jockey jumped off, and the horse took off at a full gallop to the other end of the track. It happened not once, but twice. They were all having a laugh about it, so I guess it must not be too uncommon. I would have been terrified, that's for sure!
 
video
 
It was a huge place and a beautiful facility. The footing looked wonderful, and I wanted to steal it.
 




The Kentucky Derby Museum was very well put together and interactive. They had a horse racing game that I low-key got addicted to.

Kentucky Derby Museum
 
I was able to spend a couple hours in the museum, go on a few tours, and see about 10 races. It was loads of fun, and if you are ever near Louisville I would highly recommend checking it out!

October 28, 2016

Surgery Update: 1 Month

Late last month, Jethro injured his mouth and had surgery.
 

September 28
 
The surgery went well, and he stayed at the vet clinic for two nights. Three teeth were pulled, and by the time he came home he was in pretty good shape. Jethro is a trooper! It has been a month, and the new teeth are starting to come in. Unfortunately, it looks like one of them is coming in at the wrong spot. The other two look like they will be coming in just fine though.
 
 
 October 28
 
Unfortunately, he (understandably) hates have his mouth touched. I had to tickle his whiskers with a brush in order to get him to show off his teeth.
 

September 29, 2016

In Which Jethro Gets Surgery

So, last week I went out to feed Jethro and noticed something was wrong. His bottom lip was hanging down and the lower row of teeth were sticking straight out. He was not pleased about me trying to get a closer look, so I scheduled a vet appointment.

Jethro still had an appetite and carried his Jolly Ball with him everywhere, so I figured it must not have been too extreme. My assumption was that he was losing his baby teeth and new ones were coming in. The soonest the vet could see him was one week later.

Fast forward to yesterday. He goes to the vet, gets sedated, the vet tech opens his mouth, and I see the reality:

Not good.
Yikes. Definitely an injury, not new teeth replacing old ones. My best guess is that he grabbed onto something with his mouth and suddenly pulled back really fast. The gumline was sliced through, forcing his front teeth outwards. A lot of scar tissue developed in the week that we had to wait to go to the vet.


The cut is pretty deep, as you can see in the above picture. The front part of his mouth was torn open, pulling his teeth forward. He had to have three teeth extracted.


Jethro actually does not have any of his permanent teeth yet. The three extracted teeth were all baby teeth. I found it surprising how long the roots were.

The poor little man will be spending two nights at the vet's barn. Luckily, the vet thinks that it should heal quickly.

August 14, 2016

Coming to Terms

When I first got Ypke back in 2012, I was a teenybopper. I had about three riding lessons under my belt and was a total beginner. Starting out, she was a complete saint. I could ride her bareback out in the pasture on a loose rein with zero issues, despite my floppy hands and inexperienced seat. Ypke didn't bat an eye at anything. She was about as close to beginner-friendly and bombproof as a horse could be.

Throwback to when I tried her out. 2012

But then, after about four months, something changed. At the time I was confused as to what happened, but now it is crystal clear: I was inexperienced, had zero confidence, and to make matters worse I was tiny. I didn't know that at the time, but she sure figured it out.

It started out small, but gradually progressed. While leading her and asking her to halt, she would take a couple extra steps before stopping. When I would attempt to pick up her hoof, she would refuse and begin to paw. Whenever I was leading her, she would try to drag me towards the pasture gate. As I rode, she completely ignored me and did whatever she wanted to do. Ypke was too smart for her own good, and she realized I wouldn't do anything about it.

Pro tip: If you don't know how to properly hold reins, you aren't ready to          
buy a horse yet. (Though I don't regret the purchase!) 2012.

As I was working with her the other day a sudden realization hit me: the constant struggles had been gone for awhile. While of course not everything is sunshine and rainbows, I can actually fully enjoy riding now and not have to worry about every little thing being a constant battle.

Ypke is definitely the kind of horse who you have to earn respect from. Maybe it was the clicker training. Maybe it's because now I'm 5'10" and not a 4'10" teenybopper. Or maybe it is because I finally decided to have some confidence. Somehow, I think I must have finally earned it. It took over two years, but it happened.

I look sold on her, but she doesn't look too sold on me. 2012.