Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas and my Yankee!!

I really wanted to make this post epically massive but I have a monster headache, so, alas, I will have to keep it shorter than I would like. But I do have pictures of Yankee, alive and very well.

Drive home was a cake, and I am quite enjoying my break. HA, rhyme. But anyways I am also quite excited to spend AMAP time with my beloved boy.

First day I went to visit him, it was freezing cold, like, whoa. I was nervous about being in an unfamiliar barn but everyone greeted me warmly, and always guessed that I was "MonicaYankeesOwnerHowisCollegeDoYouLikeIt?YankeeIsGoodHeMIssedYou" (yes, in one breath). I had to interrupt Rob's (the head trainer and barn manager) lesson to ask where in the world my horse was turned out and where his stall/halter was. I felt bad.

I trudged through the snow and mud in my paddock boots (note to self: wear snow boots next time) out to Yankee's massive pasture. I looked for him in the giant herd of horses playing and eating in the "red field". I really couldnt make him out amongst all the other dark bays, but then I looked and saw my magnificent horse running as fat as he possibly could in the mud towards me, neighing!! HE MISSED ME! HE RECOGNIZES ME!! It was a great feeling. He snuffled my hair and gladly followed me to the barn.

Yankee couldnt stop showing how much he missed me, it was very cute. He wouldnt let me brush him or anything he just kept giving me "horse hugs". And of course, being his goofy self. It was awesome. This is why I love this horse.

He does this all the time

Riding him was like heaven...I couldnt believe how great it was. I missed his flowing trot and rocking canter. AND boy, did he improve! Grace has his canter feeling fantastic now and his departs are better than they ever were. Not only that but he can shoulder-in and haunches-in at the trot now! As well as lead changes.

his haunches in

Lovely canter

However, Rob seems to like rollkur. I dont like this method, so I'm going to say "out of sight out of mind". Yankee has improved greatly and as long as rollkur is not an everyday thing I think I can be ok with much as i really don't want to be.

In case you didnt know what rollkur was, aka "deep". Not a fan.

But anyways its been heaven, and I'm so happy to be back for a few weeks.

Oh, and Zephyr missed me too :)

Z baby :)

Got some good stuff for Christmas, $$, DVD, itunes,boots, gorgeous necklace, books :), some clothes, Skull candy headphones, scarves, and a Carhartt jacket! I AM BLESSED!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Memories and shipping

So I REALLY miss my Yankee, like crazy.

To ease the pain of him being away from me (or vice versa I guess) I went through lots of pictures of him and videos of previous dressage tests and stadium rounds.

This was a FAIL really just made me miss him more. It really shot pangs through my heart. Mostly of pain, but also of guilt. How could I leave him? HOW?

I know I came to Missouri for college but I should have saved more money so I could bring him right away. I know he misses competing, travelling, jumping, and of course, me. I was the only one who rode him besides a jockey and Anna at New Vocations...I did all his training myself...we worked hard together- Blood, sweat, tears, worked through disappointment, triumph, sadness, suffering, injuries, had fun at competitions, trails, 4-H , Pony Club, clinics and just enjoyed each others company...

My horse is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and I cannot believe I left him.
Eats me up everyday. I feel like I'm suffering terribly with his absence.
I know you horse people out there know what its like, loving a horse so deeply...while others scoff and scorn calling us crazy; but they are like our children...our partners.

I am fighting so hard to convince my parents that I can take care of him myself. Besides I don't know why they are depriving me of my amazing horse and halting my dreams. If they think I am irresponsible college student they need a reality check. I have two jobs and work till my fingers are numb and I can't stand any longer, just to get my horse here. (Well also rent and such bu psssh). I would never let him suffer. Yankee and Zoey always come before me.

I have been fervently searching for transportation cross country. Its about a 500 mile trip, and most places charge between $600-$1000....However I went online to and found a lady who will do it for $425. I SOOOO scared though that she isnt reliable and will steal him or something. I researched her, and all I saw was positive experiences, but still..

So, if anyone ever reads this before jan, have any affordable, proven shippers you know of?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Photo Shoot, getting bucked off, puppy rescue and Yankee update

Well Saturday proved to be an eventful one that's for sure. I dragged my boyfriend DJ along to be my photographer for the day since Diane wanted some pics of her horses for sale. Freddy, Tempting and China were all ready and pretty and posed very nicely for their profile pics and most of them were good for the riding portion as well. Freddy was terrible at the beginning and I was afraid we wouldn't get many good pictures, but he eventually settled down enough to get some nice pics. China was very flighty that day, and I think it was because of the high winds. Also very cold winds! Makes the horses frisky! After her we photographed Tempting, who surprised us all and put in a great day on the lunge line. I was disappointed all but Tempting were still in 'western' tack but China and Freddy are too round for my size girth. Drat! And it was sooooo COLD! Here are some pics of the photo shoot at Diane's..

China posing like a good girl. She says "look at my pretty neck!"

She says, " I can trot so well now"

Freddy demands attention with his pretty coat coloring

"Look mom! I can canter on the right lead and on the bit now!"

what a pretty trot!

Such a gorgeous Tempting

Getting good at lunging!

After Diane's house DJ and I packed up Zoey and ourselves and headed 15 min down the road to California, MO. Suzie needed me to work two horses for her. It took us a loooooong time to catch them. Part of the problem was the fact we introduced Pippy and Junior to the herd that day and they were all having too much fun playing with the newcomers to come over to us. So round and round the 40 acre pasture they flew, leaving us not a clue what to do! Finally they settled and I was able to snag Dunny, a seemingly semi-broke AQHA quarter horse. Since Suzie didn't tell me what to do with them I just wanted to lunge for a few min to see how they move out and responded to voice and such. Dunny was pretty good so I asked Suzie how many times she had been ridden; she said "oh, plenty of times..I think". Well, I was sure this horse had at least been ridden, and I just wanted to hop on the see what she was like. So I asked DJ if he could give me a leg up on to her bare back and lead me around to see how she did. She was very good and just stood there calmly and walked a few times around the ring nicely and without complaint. Just as I was uttering, "She's great! Really comfortable too" Dunny EXPLODED into a massive crow hopping fit, taking me and DJ by complete surprise. Not knowing what to do, DJ let go of her. AH!! So I was still sitting on her gripping for my life while this maniacal horse tried to buck me off. She was really getting insane, so I decided better not to risk my neck and jumped off smoothly. DJ was impressed, lol. OK, so Dunny, not so good with riders. Probably not the best idea on my part, trustung a horse a barely knew. But I clambered back on WITHOUT walking just to let her know she had not defeated me. OH what an experience. After that I lunged Kit with no problems and promptly left for my 330 appt with Jill.

So again, DJ, Zoey and I headed up to road to see Jill and one of my most favorite horses, Zee. However, twenty min into the drive we see 2 dogs on the side of the highway and they blindly jumped out in front of us! I was screaming, "DJ STOP! STOP!" for fear the little one would get hit. She was right under our tires! DJ hopped out and the little one, now we could see was a weiner dog (lol), ran straight to him whimpering and shivering. The bigger one, a large mutt of sorts, rand as fast as he could AWAY from us. We tried to coax him over with food, but he was too scared. Sadly we left him :(. But we did mange to rescue one pup, and boy was she cute! Poor girl though, she was filthy and SO COLD and very hungry and had soft little tattered ears :( We gave her a little food and wrapped her in a sweater. I can't believe someone would dump these poor things, especially a dachshund with hardy any hair! She would have froze to death! But now she was safe with us, and we have fed her and bathed her and given her a warm bed to sleep in. Dubbed Pippa, she is the best little pup, and Zoey adores her! I still feel bad for the bigger dog, but he had long hair and was probably more apt to find food then poor Pippa.

Pippa with a sweater we fashioned her out of a sock

Anyways, we arrived at Jill's now with 2 dogs in tow. I quickly saddled Zee and warmed her up and then asked DJ to snap some pics before it got too late. Zee was a darling as usual and DJ was amazed to see how huge she was. A whopping 17.2 hand horse! And very fat, lol.

Zee being awesome out in the pasture

ALSO, a while ago, Grace Curell sent me some pics of Yankee, he looks pretty good, I just wish he was here.

Grace and Yankee in dressage class

awww cuteness

Friday, December 4, 2009

To catch up...

So I know I already posted today, kind of (that was yesterdays blog at my wordpress account), but I wanted to catch people up with the horses that busy my time in Yankee's absence.

This page is dedicated to the descriptions of all the horses that are currently in training with me. All pics are from Spet. ‘09. Later to be updated!

*Diane Roods horses-(all her horses were started in western garb (bleh))

Freddy-A stunning, 15 hh, flashy 4.5 yo, reg. AQHA Paint gelding. Freddy is intelligent and cunning as well as crafty. He can be quite lazy though, which can make training him a challenge. Currently he is working on picking up the correct leads at the canter, maintaining collection at the trot and moving off my leg. I started training him when he had 2 rides under his belt. He can be very barn sour but makes up for it with sweetness in the stable and smarts in the saddle!

Freddy Under Saddle

He has a sense of humor!

China- A dainty bay, 15.3 hh, 4yo, reg. Appendix mare. China is very sensitive and requires a gentle hand, calm voice and light aids. She can read body language extremely well and caution must be taken to avoid frightening her, however she is not spooky. She had never worn tack, so I introduced her to that; she really hated the bit at first, but later got over it and now goes well on the bit at walk and trot. She is a darling and very easy to work with once you take her sensitivity into account.

1st ridewith all tack

Tempting- a slight,15.3 hh, dark bay, 4yo reg. Appendix mare. Never started and barely handled I introduced her to grooming routines 1st, moved onto lunging and tack later. She took to the bridle better than expected but very much disliked the saddle the first 2 times. She got over it, she is too smart to resist long, and is now quietly working with sidereins and perfecting voice commands on the lunge. One of the smartest horses I have encountered!


Buddy-A Bay, 16hh, 6 yo, reg. AQHA gelding. Big, stout, quiet boy. Trained for trails with 3 lovely gaits and a sound mind. I love working with this big guy! His owner just wants his trot and canter perfected so if she ever wants to sell him he will be show quality. Big sweetheart great for beginnners! Pictured with my Novice boyfriend on deck. They love to hit the trails!

Buddy and DJ

Curly- A Chesnut, 15.2 hh, 8yo, reg. AQHA gelding. Curly is the hunk of the barn (besides Chunk, the real stud-but shhh, don’t tell curly that!). He loves attention, and is truly gorgeous; shines like a copper penny! However, he will test you in the saddle and is not great with beginners. Once he knows you’re “the boss mare” he will do anything for you. LOVELY jog, who I htink would be an awesome show horse on the local circuit or bigger. Goes on the bit at all gaits and is a tank on the trails. My job is just to keep him in shape.

Curly, and me in a saddle too small!

*Suzie’s horses- Pippy, Junior, and 3 mares I have yet to start. Profiles will be added later!

Junior & Pippy

*Sara Chant

Legato-a bay, 17hh, 5yo, reg Warmblood gelding. I love this big horse! This picture does him no justice! H is massive, but has the greatest personality and will truck on for hours. I admire this horses courage; he recently has pvercome many injuries, an EPM scare, and surgery but he keeps on going through training (on vet’s orders). This big guy is a doll and tried hard for you despite his pain in recovery. My jobis to rehab him and get him in shape to eventually compete.


*Jill Woodrift

ZEE- a black bay, 17.1 hh, 6 yo, Thoroughbred/Saddlebred cross. I adore this horse and you can’t even tell she is crossed with a saddlebred! This girl was trained in dressage at a young age and then left out at pasture for a years where I re-started her training. She seems to remember her dressage training, however she was never cantered under saddle so I started her on that and she is doing well. We worked mainly in a roundpen for now as she can be hot, but recently we have taken two trips out on trail. She also works well over groundpoles and small crossrails.

Zee under saddle

*Angi Minner

Jasmine- a bay, 13 hh, 4yo, range Mustang mare. This mare was VERY difficult when I 1st started working with her. Minimal handling (besides treats and love) made her pushy and hard headed. She didn’t know how to lead very well at first but we worked through it and now she has accepted a bridle and saddle without complaint and knows the basics of moving from pressure and lunging. I hope to start roundpenning her soon to get her used to voice aids. I am not sure if I am too big or not to ride her, I hope not!

Jasmine the mustang (bad cell phone pic)

An Icy Training day (yesterday!)

So it was about 28-30 degrees today and WINDY! Since I dont have a barn winter coat I had on 2 t-shirts and 3 hoodies. I was still cold. Goodness.

Today started off well, I got great sleep and felt fabulous! I got ready and Zoey and I hopped in the car for out 45 min drive to Diane’s barn. Christmas music :)

I was going to start China and Tempting in English tack today, but my girth was too small! And its a 42! Fatties. Diane didn’t have any girth extenders so sans English saddle for China…she did go in a D-ring french link snaffle though…

China's bit today

As usual, I started out by lunging to warm her up. I’m a big fan of lunging for 5-10 min just to get a horse loose. A lot of trainers think too much lunging is bad for a horse, which it can be, but 5-10 min before every ride is not going to do any damage.

SIDENOTE- the reason many trainers dislike lunging or lunging with sidereins is because they think prolonged periods going round and round and round is degenerative to a young horses’ (or older) joints. Granted yes if one lunged a horse for 45 min everyday, that would do great damage, but just 10 min before every ride at walk, trot and canter can really loosen a stiff horse up, especially in the winter! The key is to lunge on a larger circle and start off at the walk and trot and only let them canter after about 7 min of walking in trotting. I sometimes like to add sidereins for 5 min of the warmup, but only if the horse understands what they are for-stretching and loosening of the back and neck. I think it is vital to let a horse warm up before the rider ads his/her weight.

But anyways, I started off lunging her, and she seemed to enjoy the lighter English bridle and bit in her mouth. But God was it cold! Anyways after doing our neck stretches I mounted up and let her walk about for a few min. Then I started right back where I left off tues with leg yielding at the halt. Unlike tues, China was not very compliant. She kicked at the girth today when I cinched her up so I deduced that her sides were sore. Sure enough, after experimenting with leg pressure I learned that she would only tolerate light light light pressure today. That was a challenge, esp when practicing leg yields! However she soon settled and after some fussing with the bit like usual, into a workmanlike trot. I intermittently would stop and ask for yieldsand back-ups in which she complied!

After her I worked Freddy; I wish I could change him to English tack as well, but he is simple to wide for my saddle. I did though switch his bit to a happy-mouth, french link, 2 ring elevator bit

Freddy's bit

This is the exact bit I used today on him. I LOVE elevators and use a 3 ring on Yankee whenever we jump. However, it is only for experienced hands! When used wrongly this bit can be quite severe. Anyways, I started him off the same way I start China. He was one step behind her though as he didnt know leg yielding well. I put on baby spurs today and really took my time with him. He finally got it!!! I was so happy. He really is one of the smartest I have ever dealt with before. After that, we worked on cantering right when I ask. Seems the baby spurs really helped today as he FINALLY picked up the correct leads. He seems to really be coming into better balance with himself. I was very happy with him today as well!

After him I worked Tempting. I’m pretty sure she was possessed by the devil today, because she was an absolute hellion. She started off in the barn terribly (I was able to jerry-rig the saddle in place….not sure how to explain how, but it was very secure-enough for lunging, no rider could have sat in it), spooky and nervous the whole time I was grooming. Diane thought it was because she’s only worn the saddle 5 times now, and hardly was ever groomed before I started orking with her. I blame it on the wind. Pleh. I don’t know why I thought she would improve…

She pretty much looked like this all day, literally.

Well she didn’t. Tempting normally is very mindful and well behaved, taking voice cues well and all that jazz. But she was turning a deaf ear today, along with flipping of the tail and running madly around like a hooligan. I couldnt help but get frustrated…and I started to doubt myself for not being able to get ehr attention… I really didnt know what to do! I asked her to HALT adn I stood there a bit and regained my composure. Giving up on working her in the icy wind, I resulted to working with her on giving to the bit on the ground. Epic Fail. I just coudldnt work with her today. Back to the barn.

After lunch, I got on Curly. We went for a lovely trail ride, and I’m very glad I left him for last. He was an ANGEL! I used the same bit on him as freddy and he really responded well to it. I trotted and cantered a bunch on him today and really worked he hills. Maybe he’ll lose some chuz :P

I was pooped after that but I still had another 45 min drive to go work with Jasmine, the mustang. As usual she didnt want to come down out of the pasture ( I bribed her with oats!), but once she did, all was well. I first practiced picking up her feet and brushing her. She is really learning fast! I tacked her up and sent her out on the line-which she is unafraid now! Also practice halting and turning with hand signals. Later, about 20 min, I put my feet in the stirrup and hopped up and down. She was un-fazed by the whole deal. I hope I’m not too heavy to ride her when the time comes!

But I have been working out :)

The start of my 3rd blog

Well I already have a blog, 2 actually, but I noticed tons more people are on blogspot rather than wordpress so this blog is really going to be just like my wordpress account blog, just on a different website. I'm still trying to figure this site out. I dont know how to add pages and stuff of information. Can anyone help me out? to see what I'm, talking about, visit my "sister" blog at