March 11, 2014

Two Years: Then & Now

March 10, 2012, was the day that I met Ypke.  Little did I know that that big round barrel of a horse was about to become my frenemy (that is, my friend and an enemy).   She was absolutely gorgeous and had a kind eye, nothing really seemed to phase her.  When I tried her out I couldn't even really steer her and had extreme difficulty trotting on her.  Nonetheless, I knew I just had to have that gem.  I figured that with more riding lessons, we would be a great pair in no time.

On March 11, 2012, we brought the trailer up and signed the bill of sale.  I couldn't believe it, I had purchased my first horse! A teenager's dream come true. Things were going well for several months, she was acting like just the horse I had purchased.  I would free jump her, ride her around bareback, go out into the fields, haul her to new places, etc.  Ypke was just carefree- other horses could be flipping out and she wouldn't bat an eye.

Horse transformation tuesday
March 2012 - This photo explains how she got ruined. Thosehighhandsthough
Gradually, my beloved horse changed.  It started out small enough, maybe she balked at picking up a hoof or fidgeted while she was tied.  My beginner self was clueless and so I ignored the issue.  Sure enough, those small things grew bigger and bigger and bigger; she began to literally drag me around as I was leading her and would take off bucking whenever she was on the lunge line.  July 4, 2012, is when her "spooking" issue began after I got thrown... then somewhere around that time she became a terrible loader.

Horse transformation tuesday
July 2012, just before issues arose
Month by month, our issues got worse and worse.  I was scared to be around her and practically had to force myself to ride her.   People would invite me to ride or go to shows, but each time I would decline.  I was scared and embarrassed.  Fast forward to spring of 2013; I discovered the clicker training method.


Clicker training a horse to target
Target practice - Spring of 2013
With the help of clicker training, I am slowly starting to get Ypke back to how she used to be.  She is way better about standing still and having her hooves cleaned, I no longer get dragged around as I lead her, and her manners under saddle have improved a lot.  She still throws tantrums while being lunged, she still has big spooks, she still doesn't enjoy loading, but we have finally had a turn around point... riding in the Veteran's Day Parade with zero issues is proof of that.

Dressage Fjord horse
February 2014 - If only my hands weren't quite so low
Ypke has taught me a lot in the two years I have owned her.  She taught me the values of humility and the power of patience; I have also learned how to correct certain groundwork and undersaddle issues.  Her dominance issues have made me better at working with other horses, which will help me a lot in the future.  I often think that I never really taught her anything, she was just teaching me.  I wasn't waiting for her to learn, she was waiting for me to learn. It has been a great time Ypke!  Here's to many more years to come!  Love you, Ypke... although I think I have caught Fjord Fever from you.

Standing and bareback comparison:

March 2012 - First 4-H meeting
March 2012 - Bareback


Dressage Fjord horse
January 2014 - Petting the pretty little pony after a dressage ride


Bareback horse riding
November 2013 - Bareback trotting... now if only those hands were closed

Equitation and balance comparison:
March 2012
August 2012

March 2013
February 2014

5 comments:

  1. it's great to hear about the big improvement following the slight decline in manners. :)

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  2. You guys look great. You should submit Ypke to She Moved To Texas' Transformation Tuesday :)

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  3. It's amazing how even the "bad" things can end up teaching us so much. Glad you didn't give up on her! You are both looking really great!

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  4. My mares taught me valuable lessons too. But I'm not brave enough to want to own one again, haha. :) I also didn't realize you were a teenager until now. You are an awesome blogger. :)

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  5. Wow! What a transformation! Can wait to learn more about you and Ypke!

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