March 11, 2014

Two Years: Then & Now

March 10, 2012, was the day that I met Ypke. Little did I know that big round barrel of a horse was about to become my frenemy. 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 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, 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 grew 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!

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


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

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

  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!

  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. :)

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


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