1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?
Since my guys are on outdoor board, they only get fed their grain when I am out. They are both chunkers who get a scoop of ration balancer and a bit of beet pulp - Phantom because her supplements will stick better to it, and Cisco because he forgets to swallow and chokes on his food. So the first thing I do is make up their food with hot water so that it is ready to feed when I need it.
2. Is there a breed you would never own?
I can't see me owning a draft horse - I'm short, and my little legs would never get around the horse. I also can't see myself owning a saddlebred - saddle seat just isn't my thing, although I would like to try it one day.
|What I would look like on a draft.|
My last ride was on Phantom this weekend. I had a whole 25 minutes to be in the saddle. She was pretty perky and felt good - since it was a short ride I didn't have much of a goal, just to get her moving. I did try to sit a bit more left than normal on the left lead canter (I tend to get thrown to the right) and it seemed to help me keep my connection - but my girth wasn't tight enough and my saddle definitely still slid right. Oops.
4. Have any irrational riding fears?
I don't think I have irrational fears, just the normal ones that get worse as you get older - basically, falling and getting hurt. Little jumps look big these days, but that's mostly just because I haven't jumped very much over the last couple of decades. That's the one thing I'd really like to work on.
|I had to put my big girl pants on for this teeny crosspole. Which I fell off over the next day.|
It's been so long since I've ridden a lesson horse! Like, only a few times over the last 30 years? So I have no answer to this one!
6. Would you ever lease out your horse?
Definitely yes. I would like to find a half-leaser for Phantom - she's not getting ridden enough, and of course to help with expenses. But it would have to be the right person.
7. Mares: yay or neigh?
I've owned two mares and two geldings. They have all been very different in personality and I've loved all of them. I just wouldn't want a horse who is crabby and doesn't want to be with me - doesn't matter what sex it is.
|Sunflower was the first mare. She was pretty chill about almost everything in life.|
Most weeks between 3 and 5. Some weeks adulting gets in the way, other weeks I get out more. It all depends on life.
9. Favourite thing to do on an "easy day" with your pony?
An easy day would be spent going for a relaxing hack at a walk somewhere around the property, then returning to spend a bit of time at the spa, maybe working on some fun clicker training stuff while drying off, and some hand grazing before turning back out. And stuffing both of us with lots of treats.
10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most.
If we are talking true conformational faults that the horse is born with - feet issues. They will cause so many problems in the long run, so listen to your farrier and get a horse with the best feet you can find.
If we are talking musculature, I don't like to see a horse with a pencil neck that's muscled on the underneck and a hunter bump. That indicates to me that your horse isn't being ridden correctly and you are probably taking shortcuts. The good thing is that this can change with proper work.
11. Thing about your riding that you are most self-conscious about?
I'm pretty confident about my own riding, and I'm also at the age where I don't really care what others think about me. So I'm not really self-conscious about what others may think about my riding.
However, I'm very aware of what my body is doing when I'm riding. My left hand likes to hang on the rein, my right arm likes to allow too much when it's the outside rein, my right hip and leg stay forward. So I'm very conscious and constantly thinking about these issues as I ride.
12. Will you be participating in no-stirrup November?
I have surgery scheduled for October 29th to have my thyroid removed, so I probably won't be riding for at least the first couple weeks of November. Then work starts ramping up and I generally only manage to get out to the barn once a week for a few weeks so I just don't really get much riding in.
And I'm old and just don't work that hard these days.
13. What is your grooming routine?
Curry the body with either the Hands On grooming gloves (Phantom) or the Haas Der Gute curry comb (Cisco). Dandy with the Haas Schimmel brush (both horses). When time allows, body brush (Phantom - Haas Red Star, Cisco - Haas Fellglanz). Phantom gets her faced scrubbed with the grooming gloves then a dandy brush, Cisco gets his face gently brushed with the Haas Head brush - the only one he allows on his face.
When Phantom has a layer of dust all over her after currying, I'll usually wipe her down with a sheepskin mitt. I also use a baby wipe to remove the crud that has inevitably run from her left eye and gotten crusty (her pink rimmed eye tends to run).
Hooves get picked and I apply Keratex Hoof Hardener as I feel is needed over the summer months. Both horses are a bit thin soled and don't like to walk on gravel.
I don't touch manes or tails on a regular basis or use any type of coat conditioner. In summer I'll apply fly spray.
|Love me the Hands On grooming gloves.|
14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?
Both my horses are easy keepers who are in diet pens. So they live for their food.
Phantom lives with three other teenagers, who all get along pretty good with little drama. Nap time is late morning, followed by hanging out in the shelter, then waiting by the fence for dinner that will be served sometime within the next two hours. They want to be ready for it.
Cisco lives with two mares that boss him around, and a gelding that he tries to boss around. His nap time isn't consistent. He spends a fair amount of time standing at the fence chatting with the girls in the paddock next to him, who always seem to be in heat.
Both horses are dry lotted since they are air ferns. I really wish that they had way more space to play in, but they both would not do well on grass. I'm pretty sure that Phantom would have metabolic issues and get laminitis, and Cisco would look perpetually in foal.
|Naps are important.|
15. Favourite season for riding?
I had about 3 years of not having a horse after I lost Farly in 2006. I pretty well stayed away from everything horses, but every fall the urge to ride was very strong and I would find myself on the internet looking at my options. When I started to ride again, it was in the fall.
The weather in the fall is what I'm most comfortable in, the flies are mostly gone, and there's something wonderful about trotting and cantering through the fallen leaves.
16. If you could only have one ring, indoor or outdoor?
Living in the Great White North, an indoor gets far more use than an outdoor. I'm quite happy to school out in a field outside instead of a groomed ring if need be, so I can do without an outdoor ring.
|I don't want to have to dress like this to ride.|
Like all horse disciplines, there are things that I like and don't like about them. For western, I like how the horses seem to be mostly quiet and relaxed, which might have more to do with the selection of horse (mostly quarter horses) than anything else.
18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?
I don't think there is a particular brand that I covet. I would just want something that fits both the horse and me - I don't know who is harder to fit.
I do tend to like the newer styles of anatomically fitting bridles, breastplates and girths, so most likely I would look for something a bit un-traditional.
And I'm a sucker for reptile print leather, so any embellishments would probably be crocodile print. And patent.
I don't know if I want to tally this. Here goes.
Rambo Duo and a bunch of liners.
Shedrow winter blanket with liners.
Weatherbeeta rain sheet x 3.
Older green rainsheet
Navy Shedrow rainsheet
Bucas Smartex winter blanket
Bucas Smartex rainsheet
Bucas Power winter blanket
Pessoa Tundra winter blanket
BMB winter stable blankets x 2
Rambo whitney striped sheet
Blue nylon sheet of some brand
Kensington fly sheets x 3
Rambo Protector fly sheet
Shedrow fly sheet (needs repairs)
Weatherbeeta Duramesh fly sheet
Bucas fly sheet (needs repairs)
Baker style blanket
Eskadron rain sheet (for tacked up horses)
Square wool cooler
Wool shaped cooler
Polar fleece coolers x 2 (maybe 3?)
Boeckmann jersey cooler that came with my trailer
I think that's it but I probably missed something. I've had three horses in a row who are all pretty well the same size, so most of Farly's blankets from 20 years ago still fit the current ponies. Since Farly was always the dominant horse in turnout he was very easy on his blankets and they are all in very good condition. Cisco has been hard on his blankets, so the Kensington fly sheets are worn over his blankets as a suit of armor. They've definitely taken a hit over the last two years, but they've done their job.
I primarily blanket over the winter since it gets so cold here, and when it's wet and cool in the spring and fall. Dry and cool they are naked, and I try not to put fly sheets on as much as possible over the summer. Phantom gets overly sensitive about flies touching her if she's covered up and it's a pain in the butt when I ride outside. If the mosquitos get bad then I will blankets them.
|Some major dents in the armor.|
Phantom's favourite treat is whatever one she is being offered. She's not picky.
Cisco will eat most horse things happily, but he's unsure about fruit or baked goods. Cookies are fine however.
Phantom loves her face scratched - especially after her fly mask has been removed. She's happy to have a good scrubbing with a flexible curry over her head.
Cisco is all about wither and neck scratches. When I grab mane to get on he sometimes moves his neck up and down like he's getting it scratched.
|Who doesn't like homemade cookies?|
My barn feeds hay only twice a day. Since my guys are not on free choice, I really wish that they got another feeding later in the evening.
The barn doesn't have a dedicated grooming area, so we have to tie in front of stalls in the aisle. No biggie, the barn is not usually that busy so it's not usually crowded with horses. The tack lockers are at one end of the barn, after a single stall that is used for more tack storage. My tack box is in this stall. And inevitably, someone has their horse tied up there, because it's closer to the tack lockers and they are too lazy to walk down the aisle. So I have to walk around their horse and move him out of the way (because the human is never there) to go in and out of the stall for my stuff. This spot is also right next to the overhead door, so when you are coming or going in winter and have to open and close the door it's awkward to position your horse so that you can get the door.
22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes?
Tidily shortened manes that look pulled but weren't are my thing these days. A properly pulled mane looks the best to me. Phantom wants to run me over if I try to pull her mane, so I haven't pulled her mane in years. I use a mane rake to thin it and scissors to even it out. Cisco has very fine hair and a fairly thin mane, so I don't pull his either.
|I love this mane rake. Stupidly expensive, but so worth it.|
Buck. Rearing scares the crap out of me.
I can likely sit out a buck - well, the first few. Haven't had to in a while though - Phantom is a terrible bucker even without someone on her back, and Cisco hasn't really thought about it yet. Farly used to have a good buck though, and got me off a couple of times, but I sat out the majority of them. His bucks were done in joy so weren't done with the intention of getting me off.
|Phantom's version of a buck. Hind leg towards ear.|
24. I would never buy a horse who ___________?
Cribs? Is crabby? Is a known significant rehab case? Has killed someone? Is pregnant? Has obvious hoof issues?
25. Favourite facial marking?
I have a thing for chestnuts with blazes. I've known a few good horses with this marking.
Otherwise, I like really asymmetric face markings and snips.
|Farly is the reason for my thing about chestnuts with blazes.|