Monday, April 30, 2012

A little History

I decided that my "About Me" section is a little lacking at the moment so I am going to add some more background here.

So I started riding when I was a sophomore in high school, latter than I would have liked but at least I got to start. I started riding my friends 20 year old Arab cross mare. She was overall a safe ride but was by no means a push button pony. Like most mares I have met she was very opinionated. She was pretty arena sour and was all go, go, go on the trail (I think she missed her calling as an endurance horse).

I rode her for the next 6 years, during this time we competed in one (VERY informal) show. We somehow managed a 2nd place in western pleasure (don't worry we didn't have one of those nasty pleasure lopes) we then had a 4th in western horsemanship and a 6th in the egg and spoon.

Proof that we actually got 2nd and I'm sporting my beautiful show attire lol

And then last summer I met Notch a 4yr old (lazy) quarter horse gelding. It was quite a change going from the mare to Notch, their personalities could not be further apart. The mare was very forward, especially on the trail but even in the arena it was work to slow her down. Mr. Lazypants (aka Notch) is very much the opposite he prefers to mosey around the arena and down the trail. I am trying to figure out what his "dream" occupation would be, other that professional eater of grass, and right now I am leaning towards competitive trail.

Another photo of Notch just because I feel like it :-)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First trail ride of the year

So last weekend I took advantage of the better weather and decided to go on a tail ride with the property owners of the place I board at. It got off to a great start...NOT.

Now keep in mind that Notch has had the winter pretty much free of work. After getting him tacked up I went in the arena to lunge him. Now the other two horses we were with headed out on a quick ride while I got Notch ready. Notch did not like this. The week before Notch had been great on the lunge line, this time he attempted to pull my arm off, and showed off his bronc moves! After a lengthy battle discussion lunging, his horse friends returned. I then mounted and Notch quickly returned to his lazy meandering self.

After a few laps around the arena we left the barn to go out on the trails. This resulted in another discussion over the direction we should travel. After several circles we were finally able to leave the driveway. Once on the trail Notch appeared happy enough, that was until we reached the end of the first loop. This is where Notch decided that we should be done with our ride and head home. We had another argument discussion over which direction to go. Notch finally gave up his efforts and trotted to catch up with the rest of the group.

After that challenge everything was going good, until a grouse tried to eat us. The horse eating grouse flew up out of the grass and Notch completed the fastest spin/rollback I think he is capable of. This resulted in me making an unplanned dismount. I some how managed to land on my feet thankfully! The look on Notch's face when he finally stopped trying to run me over with his rear end was priceless! He looked at me like "Mom why are you on the ground something is trying to eat us!!" I don't hold that one against him because those things scare the bejezus out of me as well!

Edit: I did forget one part. Not long after the spook Notch almost fell. He has developed a bad habit of trotting down hills. This particular hill was semi-slippery due to recent rain. When he hit the turn at the bottom is back end went out from under him, he thankfully caught himself. This would not have been the first time we went down. Last summer we went on a week long camping trip to Wildcat Mtn in southern WI. It is very hilly (hence the Mtn in the name) and can be slippery when wet. Well it was wet and slippery because it had been raining the week before we arrived and some of the trails had not dried out entirely. About half way up a slippery slop Mr. Notch decides to stop to wait for his friends. I told him this was a bad idea and if he continued to stand there he would fall. He didn't listen and went down on his knees. I got off before I could possibly be stuck under him. Well it was just as slippery for me as it was for him so I fell too. In his attempt to stand up he kicked me, thankfully he did not actually put any weight on it or I would have been stuck in the middle of no where with a broken leg. I walked him up the rest of the hill (off the trail where it was not as muddy) and he thankfully was also fine. I ended up with a nice bruise to document our adventures.  

Just thought I would throw in a picture of Notch hanging out at camp. I think this was either the day of the fall or the day after.

So by the end it was a good ride, but I hope the next one goes better. I am sad I am not home this weekend to ride him again; but I only have two more weeks until graduation and then I should have more time to ride!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

That is how about Mr. Notch right now after having pretty much the entire academic year off. Sure I went out and visited him during the winter and lunged him periodically, but it was not enough. We were having some problems towards the end of the summer resulting in me being thrown twice in one night (did wonders for my confidence NOT!). This bucking at the lope I latter determined was due to an ill fitting saddle (Saddle fit is a whole other story).
During the summer we had spent a lot of time on simple things like turning and stopping. He was really good at turning his head one way and going to other direction. We had made quite a bit o progress and he was working off my aids much better. Then he had way to much time off and it is like we have gone back to square one! It makes me wish I could have boarded him closer to where I go to school instead of 2 hours away. And winter in WI was not helpful even though we had a fairly mild winter compared to other years it always seemed to be at its coldest when I was home. My toes and fingers threatened to fall off and Notch acted like a crazy beast when I lunged him, see example below. Alright I'm rambling I will stop now.
Notch with A LOT of pent up energy


The title of this blog about sums up my life right now. I will be graduating from college in about two weeks with a degree in Political Science. What am I planning to do with my degree you ask? Well that is a good question, anyone know how to combine horses and political science?
At the beginning of last summer I had a sort of lease arrangement worked out with a family friend, at the end of the summer I had to decide if I wanted to buy the gelding, if I didn't they were going to sell him. So I bit the bullet and decided to buy him, I couldn't imagine never seeing him again.

Meet Notch my 4 year old quarter horse. Even though it may not have been the best financial decision to purchase a horse right before my senior year of college I do not regret it, even if it means being more broke than normal. The worst part is that I could not afford to board him where I go to school so I did not get to see him as much as I would have liked during the winter.

Well that is all I have for now. Check back for updates on the pony and the post graduation job search.