Horse Training and Another Show

So this post is all about playing catch up.  It’s been awhile since my last post, and we’ve been really busy! We’ve been taking our lessons with my hunter/jumper trainer every week, and I had decided to add some dressage lessons from another trainer in there as well.  I want to be the best rider I can be!  Having access to trainers from different disciplines is great! I took a dressage lesson with a dressage trainer, in a dressage saddle for the first time in my life!  Found out that my pony can move pretty fancy when asked to properly!  I also had the dressage trainer ride him a few times to train him a little bit.  He’s moving better now that he knows what to do, and I’m learning how to be a better rider having a more solid foundation and established connection than before.  So we spent a lot of the late summer doing some dressage stuff in between our jumping lessons.  My goal is to be a better Hunter, so I’m just taking what I learned from our dressage lessons and training and applying it to the hunter ring.

 

In December, there was another Barn Show, and I entered into the pony division.  I have to be honest here and let you know that there was only one other pony in my division though! lol  So it was Newton and I up against a really great little 8 year old rider and her somewhat still green medium pony who is 6 years old.  They make quite a rock star team together!  We had 3 jumping classes one of which was an Equitation round.  Two flat classes. One Hunter Under Saddle, and one Equitation on the flat for a total of 5 classes.  The little girl and I were neck in neck till the last class! She won the hunter O/F classes, and I won the Equitation classes and the Hunter under saddle class. So we did end up Grand Champ, but with only one competitor I really can’t brag… AND the fact that I BARELY placed above the 8 yr old is a bit humbling lol.  She does have more show experience in her young years than I have in my whole life, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself. It is was it is, and we squeaked out the win 😉

 

Our best jumping photo from the show, need to work on my Eq a bit still!

 

Looking forward to continuing our training and practice, and hopefully get to some more shows!  It’s really hard with my schedule, the kids, the businesses, etc… But my passion lives on and I’ve never been happier 🙂

 

Our First Horse Show

So my own barn does several Schooling Shows a year, and there was one on April 29th, 2017.  I’ve only had Newton for a little over a month, but what better place to try our talents than at our own barn, in a low pressure schooling show?  So we entered into the intermediate Hunter division. We did 2 flat classes (One Under Saddle and one Equitation) and 3 jumping rounds (2 regular over fences rounds, and one Equitation Over Fences round)  Plus we did a red/blue round for practice (Thank god for those practice rounds!)  Our division only had 5 or 6 entries, and only one of them had trailered in from a different barn, so I was mostly competing against all my lesson mates lol. (FYI the girl that trailered in was amazing! She had an amazing horse and she was a perfect rider and I’m pretty sure she won every class.  She obviously was an “A” Circuit rider, and wondered at first why she even bothered with a schooling show, but turns out that she was coming back from a collar bone break, and this was her first show before going back on the circuit. Sooo…. I forgive her for cleaning up and wiping her perfect little booty with us LOL)

That being said, Newton and I did OK.  I definitely need to improve on my Equitation over fences, and didn’t get any good jumping pictures.  The few that I DO have I’m too embarrassed to post! haha.  On the flat we did well and my Equitation has always been pretty decent on the flat.  I was proud to come in 2nd in the division on the flat equitation class, next to Miss Perfect!  Seriously, she and her horse were flawless! So, I really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome than that.  So our placings in 5 classes were 2nd, two 3rds, a 4th and a 5th.  I can’t even remember exactly what classes were which, except my 2nd place, but we made it over all the fences and never went off course, so that was something at least lol. The jumps were pretty low, I think the actual height was prob 18 inches, so my pony didn’t put in much effort getting over them.  He actually jumps better when he has to jump at least 2’3′ because then he actually has to try and really does have nice form when he lifts his knees and uses his rear end underneath him.  It might not have shown off his or my skills completely but we still have a lot to work on. We did end up Reserve Champ, and I’m still convinced the judge might have made a mistake on that one.  But my pony is very cute and of hunter “type” so maybe that’s why she pinned us that when I felt that other people got better placings overall than we did.  It was an introduction for us into showing at least, so I could at least get a feel for it.  I’ve really only ever done a handful of schooling shows in my youth, with some fun shows and maybe an open show or two thrown in there my whole life.  I’ve never even been to a rated show!

Got Reserve Champ in a division of 5 or 6 riders. (Don’t mind my saddle pad slipping, it was a live and learn lesson to ditch the gel pad we didn’t really need anyways)

So that was our first show… a simple and small schooling show on home turf after only having him a little over a month.  In the time that I bought him and the show, I did at least get a better saddle that fit both of us better than what I had before, and was able to get some other tack of my own instead of just borrowing everyone else’s 🙂  One down and hopefully many more to go!  At my age and level, and my busy lifestyle with kids, I’ll never get to show as much as I’d like to, but want to get better, and show as much as I’m able to with my lifestyle.  I’ve missed my “glory days” and will do what I can, when I can and savor every minute! 🙂

Getting to know my new pony

 

                                 Introducing him to the kids

 

April of 2017 was mostly a month of getting to know my new pony better. We introduced him to the family, and the kids adored him. He’s very ground safe, easy going, and level headed. Part of the reason I got him was his personality. I wanted to be able to bring my young kids around him and introduce THEM to horses for the first time without worrying too much about him getting goofy or something, and them accidentally getting hurt. He was very good for this. I was able to teach my kids how to safely be around and handle horses with no issues from him. He’s all around great on the ground! He clips, loads, bathes, etc all wonderfully. I can stick my fingers in his ears, his nose and pick his feet without any complaints from him. His ONLY issue with handling seems to be looking in his mouth. He just won’t let you. (He will accept a bit fine however, and no issues putting on or taking off his bridle) Of course I had the vet come out right after I purchased him to float his teeth, get him current on his shots, deworming and Coggins test. He had to be sedated for his floating of course, and he did have some sharper edges on his teeth, but nothing crazy that seemed to cause him any pain. But who knows what had happened to his mouth in the past? He was pretty much due for everything when I got him, though he wasn’t neglected. His feet were due for a trim, but they were not overly due. He actually has wonderful feet! I was expecting to put at least front shoes on him, but the farrier suggested I don’t. So he’s been barefoot and great ever since. I don’t know if he has ever been shod before, but even in this extreme Florida weather his feet haven’t had any real issues. I will absolutely shoe him if the need ever arises, but it just hasn’t yet. (I keep asking the farrier, and he keeps telling me “Quit trying to find something wrong with his feet!” LOL) I ride mostly in a sand arena, don’t jump him high and often so his feet have held up well. I ride aprox 4-5 times a week, mostly flat work and one jumping lesson with my trainer every week. We typically school anywhere from cross rails to 2’6″ during our lessons so his jumping isn’t too demanding on him so far.

My husband isn’t much of a horse guy, but he very much respects my love of horses and riding. Happy wife, happy life, right?! 😉 He likes Newton, just doesn’t desire to ever ride, or to come out to the barn much. The kids on the other hand LOVE it, and want to come whenever they can. My son adores helping with barn chores, and my daughter has made a few little barn friends of her own in the younger girls that either take lessons there or have their own horse or pony at my barn.

silly pony, equine
Showing off his silly personality

Being a mother of 2 kids, wife, and business owner, time is always a constraint. I now have my own equine kid that needs attention too! I also do book keeping for 2 other businesses. Luckily, my schedule is pretty flexible because I own my own business. So I work in my riding and barn time around my schedule, my husbands schedule, my kids school and extracurricular activities, etc. My barn has a lighted outdoor arena, so that really helps when I cannot get out during daylight hours! Sometimes that’s where I spend my Saturday nights, and there is no place I’d rather be. I’ve made so many new friendships out of owning my own horse, so very much enjoy even just spending time with my fellow “barn peeps” as I call them. It really is a form of therapy for me, and helps me deal with a pretty busy and otherwise crazy life. My kids and husband are heavily involved in Lacrosse here, and my husband coaches, as well as is president of the local club here. So his schedule is pretty crazy too, being that we also run a small animal veterinary hospital. I have to work around all that to get out to the barn, but we’ve made it work! I’ve never been happier, and finally have something that’s all my own that I’m passionate about. You mom’s out there know what I’m talking about! We always put ourselves last, especially when our kids are very young and require almost all of our attention. Now that I have 2 kids in school full time, that opens up my schedule for more flexibility and “me” time. At this point in time, I had already fallen in love with Newton, and continue to love him more everyday!

My New Pony

So this is Newton. Affectionately called the copper pony, or Newt. I had to think of a show name for him, and since I don’t have registration papers for him, he came as simply Newton, and the name suits him. This name has stuck with him for at least the past 2 owners and I have no idea if he was born with that name or not? Supposedly he was registered AQHA according to the barrel racer who sold him, but have been unable to get any more info on that, let alone the actual papers. I was unable to come up with anything on a search of the AQHA registry website, so if he was registered, he might have had Newton as just part of his name or not at all. A mystery that will probably never be solved. Since I have no aspirations to show in the AQHA breed shows, this doesn’t matter to me. I just wanted a nice large gelding pony with prospect for the Hunter ring. I don’t do actual jumpers, just hunters, and he fit the bill for me. He has a wonderful “in your pocket” disposition, and is very smart. Sir Isaac Newton seemed to fit him as a proper “show” name, so that’s what he goes by at shows. His barn name is Newton or simply Newt for short.

I am riding him here during his trial in March of 2017, and gave my then 6 yr old daughter a pony ride on him shortly after the purchase was official. He proved himself a talented and willing little man during his trial, but was still a bit green on a few things. His unknown Western training followed him a little bit, and he had a different “que” to pick up his right lead canter. My trainer and I spent some time to “fix” this, so that he now understands the regular que for both canter leads as they are asked for in the hunter/jumper world.

His pre-purchase exam showed a healthy and sound 7 year old pony. However, we did do some joint radiographs, and there were some ever so slight changes in one of his hocks and stifle. Nothing that interfered with soundness, but to stave off any future issues, I was recommended to put him on a joint supplement from the equine vet. He is on daily joint supplements from Smartpak (the combo pellets for joint, gut, hoof and coat) and I also give him an IV injection of Polyglycan each month as a preventative for good measure.

I had not owned my own horse since I was 15 years old, and back then “boarded” at a friends backyard farm. This was my first experience of being an actual part of a boarding facility and a hunter/jumper show barn. I got back in the saddle for the first time in almost 7 years in May of 2016 at my current barn just taking weekly lessons. So until I bought Newton, I was just riding once a week in mostly group lessons with my hunter/jumper trainer. I never dreamed after starting back taking lessons in May of 2016 that my dream of owning my own horse or pony would actually come true just 10 months later in March of 2017! So this is us, at the very start of our journey as a team together 🙂