BEAUTIFUL drawing by my good friend, Shelby. I love it.

Anyways, I haven’t really ridden since early last week. This week, Fred is a winter riding camp horse and then he is going into training. I am going to try to ride on Wednesday! ūüėÄ

Advertisements

12/16/10.

December 17, 2010

So, I rode yesterday! Wooo.

I went out to the barn pretty early. It was like twenty degrees, brrr. Fred was outside in the side paddock; so as I waited a little while to bring him in, I set up some poles in the middle of the arena. They were about 2 feet apart each. Then, we brought Fred in and I got him tacked up. I set up my camera to be ready to use and then hit the arena. I rode for about thirty minutes at first. I did a lot of trotting, some cantering, and a decent amount of walking over poles. I, originally, planned to try trotting and maybe cantering over poles, but Fred was not in the zone–plus, I thought it could be dangerous! Ha ha! He was walking over them with no hesitation, but was still having some issues not tripping over them. He hasn’t quite figured it out yet. Trotting flat work was easy–he was very well-behaved. He was verrrry lazy though, so it made things difficult at times. But, he wasn’t spooky for once.

So, then I got off and set up my camera. I put it on the tripod and brought it up to Fred, thinking he’d be terrified. He looked at me like, “Okay? I’ve seen that before?” so I put it in the middle of the arena and jumped on him. I figured I would ride a few times, then switch it to another part of the arena; and continue to do that until I was done riding. He was starting to get a tiny bit gimpy and he was really tired (probably part of it) so after trotting and cantering once, I call it quits. I jumped off of him and started to put my stirrups up.

Then, Fred threw in a big spook. He basically jumped on top of me; then he got loose from my hands. Stupid me, I ran to grab my camera first. I knew if he bolted, he’d run it over, and I didn’t get a warranty on it. *blush* but I knew he wouldn’t hurt himself if he bolted in the arena, as he has many times before, and he was in the “I’m not going anywhere” mode so he just stood there, blowing, and staring. So, I grabbed my tripod, then grabbed him.. and when I got him to calm down I brought him back in and untacked. I was kind of happy he didn’t spook while I was on him, otherwise I probably would have had to work him for another twenty minutes until he calmed down.

I also went out to ride today but ended up deciding not to. I was going to ride in the snow, but I thought Fred had been outside all day so I figured he’d be calm enough to go out into the big pasture and ride. When I arrived, I found out he had been inside all morning, and I did not think going into a big open pasture, by myself, with my horse that would be high-energy would be the best idea. Granted, the snow would be a nicer fall than the hard ground, but I opted out. Instead, I watched “horse-sledding” try-outs and then went out to eat with my boyfriend.

I am going to be riding Monday at 2:00 in the snowwww. I asked my mom to come out so she could do some video-taping for me, since I never get good clips unless someone else does it (which is about once every six months). I wanted to tape riding in the snow but it would be pointless to just set up my tripod. I’d like someone to be there and follow me around, to zoom, etc. so… she’s hired! So Monday will be my snow riding day. ūüôā

And Fred will start western and jumping training soon!

New Vid.

December 15, 2010

Going to ride tomorrow, so updates then!

Plans.

December 13, 2010

Lessons. Changes. Donations! *wink*

Yesterday, I went to the barn and had a long-lining lesson. I had done it before at my old barn but because I was taught a bit backwards at points in time, I wanted to make sure I knew exactly how to put the¬†equipment¬†on and properly long-line. Fred was inside, throwing a tantrum because he wanted to go out and play with his friends. I took him out, put him on the cross-ties in the aisle, and cleaned him off. Charlene, my trainer, showed me how to put on the equipment properly. My surcingle was a bit huge, so she told me to heat up a nail and poke holes in it later. She brought him into the arena where she started long-lining him. He was having a heart attack because one of the girls was behind the back door in the arena watering the back pasture horses. He was spooking, blowing, etc. Charlene was explaining to me that is Fred and I’s biggest problem (which I knew already, of course!): Fred is a scaredy-cat by nature… and so am I. So combined, it can be bad. He’s fine when someone is calm with him but since I get nervous too, it can cause problems. Of course, I’m getting a lot better.

She had me work on long-lining at a walk. Just basic steering, bending, etc. which I realized I had learned to steer at my old barn, but not very well. Fred was very calm for me and he was really good to learn with. He did exactly what I asked, so when I overbent him, he responded. But, he behaved… which is what I needed. I will be taking another lining lesson (trotting) another day soon.

We have also made a new plan for Fred. Charlene and I agree that he is the type of horse that needs the stimulation of doing different things. His mind needs kept busy, he needs different things to do, etc. to help him mature. So, not only will he be jumping by next show season, but I am going to show him in even more divisions. He will be shown huntseat [mainly], saddleseat, western, and driving. I’m excited but will need to take more hunt and western lessons this winter.

If you would like to donate to the “Fred needs western tack because Jordan can barely afford her own clothes” fund, please let me know. I would need a saddle and bridle… but probably could afford a bridle eventually. Even if I have any OH friends that will let me just borrow their western saddle at shows, that would be awesome. I would definitely appreciate it. ¬†Also, friends– please let me know good places to get western clothes [I don’t need anything expensive, just not tacky].

Why wait?

December 10, 2010

* Tip of the day:

Sometimes winter riding gloves can be pretty expensive. Of course, it depends on what you want, but some are pretty pricey. If you want some cheap gloves that you can ride in that aren’t bulky and keep your hands warm– think of out of the box. Especially, if you need the gloves ASAP and do not have a tack shop around.

I don’t buy “riding gloves”. I buy these:

Thermal Gloves by Burton

They get so warm that I have to take them off sometimes to cool my hands off a bit. They’re wonderful, cheap, and you can ride in them like that or wear them underneath another pair of gloves.

And, the Rider…

December 9, 2010

People should also probably know a little bit about me and mostly my riding ‘career’.

My name is Jordan and I am twenty years old. I am a college student that is majoring in Veterinarian Technology. I have one horse, three cats, and two gerbils. I have a part time job and when I’m not there, the barn, or school– I’m doing this sort of stuff.

My first riding lesson was in the fall of 1998. I was eight years old. My best friend, Chelsea, really wanted to take lessons and she suckered me into trying it with her. We went to this barn near where I lived in Alpharetta, GA that did group lessons. They were like “try-outs” where you took 2-3 lessons and then decided if you wanted to continue to ride. I rode an appaloosa gelding but I decided I did not want to ride there anymore. I quit taking lessons but I begged my parents to find me another barn to start riding at.

I was in luck because my neighbor’s daughter, Alyssa, was taking riding lessons at a barn about 10 minutes from our house. I started going there and began to take lessons. The barn was Friday Farm and it is still owned by Barbara Goda. They are a Morgan barn that has mainly those and a few Saddlebreds– although they didn’t have nearly as many then as they do now.

Originally, at 8 years old, I began showing leadline. Down South, leadline was walk/trot, where up here it is just walking. After a few shows, I was able to make my upgrade to the walk/trot division in Academy; which is where I stayed for a good few years. I had no problem with it because I was a very timid rider and cantering scared the shit out of me. Plus, I was young and all my friends I competed against/with were walk/trot-ers too.

I had some good horse show experiences down there. The shows were a lot more fun than the ones I attend up here. We got to travel to a lot more shows– I had many that we had to get hotel rooms for. My favorite fairgrounds were in Conyers, GA. The fairgrounds were beautiful and we got to steal golf carts and drive around all day. We would jump on horses and ride them around the fairgrounds for fun on our spare time. Kind of like mini-trail rides. Dixie Cup was my favorite yearly event and I never wanted to miss it.

I showed a lot of horses down there. I started off in lead-line on various horses. My first horse show, riding by myself, was on Pat (Alyssa’s horse). I remember just holding on for dear life while he sped around the arena. My first Dixie Cup was on Jack, who took off on me in BOTH classes and galloped figure eights until my trainer caught him. I got disqualified both times. I showed a horse named Sweetie a bunch too. I had one opportunity to show a horse named Pistol at one of our shows, but she bolted, I fell off, and she took off into the road. They had to shut down the road to catch her.

My main squeezes were Setter “Uptown Jet Setter” (a horse that went to Morgan Nationals) — in the picture on right– and Radiant, a beautiful chestnut American Saddlebred mare. I showed them a lot during my last few years in Georgia. They were really great horses. Setter is still alive but I believe retired and Radiant passed away. Rest in Peace. She was great.

Then, I moved. It took a while for us to find a barn but we eventually settled with Richlon Farms, owned by the world-renowned Lavery’s, at the time. I took lessons with their instructor, Vicki Spoonster. She was an amazing woman and taught me as much as she could before she passed (RIP) from breast cancer. At that barn, I showed a little bit but we did not show often. There were a few horses that I mainly rode: Buddy, a morgan gelding. Chucky, a Saddlebred gelding (RIP today). and Fancy, a Saddlebred mare that I absolutely detested. I mainly rode Chucky, which is surprising because he spooked at absolutely everything. Literally, a single piece of straw on the ground would send him on edge… and I liked it when I rode him– but when I got Fred later on, it terrified me!

After she passed, I changed trainers again. I also for a while took western riding lessons but gave that up when that trainer moved. When I changed trainers, I mainly rode two pretty old school horses that knew their jobs. That’s why when I got Fred, I was in trouble. I wasn’t used to horses that needed some confidence building.

Now, I ride at New Beginning Stables. I mainly ride my own horse–but have ridden others.

When Fred went “crazy”, my trainer was kind enough to offer me a catch ride. I was able to show her rescue mare, Miss Gem, at some local shows. Miss Gem taught me a lot, God bless her. She got me used to riding a hotter horse. She is a-typical Saddlebred. I could barely mount her. She’d get so wound up that we would have to mount her in her stall–there was no mounting her in the arena because she’d just rear and hop around. She was very interesting to ride and taught me a lot. I showed her in Adult Equitation, Open English Ladies, and 3-gaited Park Pleasure. Oh yes. At one of our shows, she fell in one of our classes (we both stayed put and made it through the class) but she ended up getting brain fried and had to restart training. So, I quit riding her.

Then, this summer, I got to show our new rescue mare, Hope. We are not sure what she is but we think some kind of Arab cross. She came from AC4H and she is a great girl. At the time, Fred was lame and her new owners wanted someone to take her to some shows to see how ‘sane’ she was. They couldn’t be sure, of course. So, I volunteered and showed my first huntseat class on her. We only showed at a local 4h show and I only rode walk/trot, but it was just to see how she behaved. She needed some bitting work (was really¬†feisty¬†with the bit) but was very well behaved. I enjoyed riding her and kind of wish I would have been able to more!

So, as a rider… I’ve been riding for twelve years. I consider myself intermediate. In fact, I don’t think anybody should consider themselves advanced unless they are a professional. No matter what, you always have a lot to learn. I do not think I am to that intermediate-advanced level yet. I do a lot of research and have been around enough to have a decent amount of horse knowledge but I am no genius. My riding skills aren’t exactly up to par either. I have learned that some trainers, as well as my timidness when it comes to riding, has kept me behind a bit. For instance, until about two months ago, I did not know how to do a proper leg yield. I knew to use my leg but did not know anything about bending reins. I never learned how to engage a horse’s hind end or how to get a horse in frame until about 8 months ago. In fact, I didn’t really know what a half-halt was until I changed barns. I kind of did, but barely. So, that has caused issues. I also have to re-learn a lot of things. I have gotten some bad habits from my riding past that I have had to work like hell to overcome. You can tell a huge difference even now. When I came to my new barn, if my horse would even bat an eye at something, I would literally launch myself on his neck (hence, why he’d take off). It was an awful habit I’ve had since I was a beginner rider. Now, I have learned to ride through it. I’ve gotten a ton better. My only issue is remembering those things when I go to shows. At shows, my nervousness gets the best of me, and I shut down. I don’t function. If Fred spooks once, I just forget how to ride. I just sit there and the whole thing becomes a mess. So, my goal for riding this winter is: to ride no stirrups/bareback as much as possible. I want to gain strength and balance that I clearly don’t have and I want to learn to ride through the hairy bullshit, even if it’s at shows. I think that will help my confidence quite a bit. Any other¬†recommendations¬†are welcome.

Riding footage from when I was young and in GA.

* The song was deleted. So, play your own music to it or listen to the song it was supposed to play- “Magic” by B.O.B.

The Story Of Fred

December 9, 2010

Fred was born on May 22, 2004 ¬†at Black Diamond Farm in Kentucky. His registered name was “The Sugar Tree” but everyone called him Perry. He was sired by RWC Bi-Mi World Premier and his dam was Meg-A-Bucks. Both his ‘parents’ were Five-Gaited American Saddlebreds that definitely succeeded in their show careers.

In October of ’07, I finally started looking for a horse of my own. I had been riding for what felt like forever but my parents never wanted to get me a horse. They really thought I’d quit riding. My trainer and I finally convinced my dad that I was ready and she began to look for a horse for me. She got a call from a local trainer-friend saying that she was trying to get rid of some horses and was wondering if my trainer had anyone who was looking. They decided on what one of her horses would come to my barn for a visit.

Towards the end of October, ‘Perry’ arrived. He walked into the barn and I was a bit put off. I was expecting a wired show horse that would be coming into the barn, tail set, show shoes, snorting and wide-eyed– but this horse came in a different way. He walked inside slowly, barely batted an eye at anything, walked in his new stall and began to eat. Really? That was it? He was tall, about 16.1-16.2hh and the typical chestnut gelding. His tail wasn’t set, his feet were bare, and he was more concerned about how much hay he got to eat than being somewhere new. Nope, not what I expected… or wanted.

But, I was stuck with the horse for about a month. He was staying at my barn for a try-out session and I had to deal with him. A few days later, my trainer jumped on him to show me what he looked like. He plodded along with as much knee action as a Quarter Horse. My checklist for ‘Type of Horse I want’ wasn’t even close to being finished. I was not really sure he was what I wanted…at all. For a few weeks, I began visiting him quite often and rode a few times–and his personality began to take over. I loved his silly mannerisms and the fact that everybody at the barn loved him. Everybody that walked inside the barn wanted to visit with him for hours. He rubbed off on all of us… so on November 14, 2007–he was mine.

I began riding Fred about 4-5 times a week. I spent a lot of time teaching him basic stuff; like parking out, cantering, etc. I was very proud of what I had accomplished. I had always ridden completely trained horses and I now had something that I got to teach. It was fascinating. He learned very quickly and within a couple months he was picking up his canter cues on a dime. He was still very green but at the time, we were not aware of just how green he was. After almost a year of owning him, he began to start scaring me. It started off with uncontrollable bolting. I would be trotting him towards the back door of the arena, and suddenly he would take off. I could not steer him, I could not stop him. All I could do was hold on until he dumped me. Then, he started realizing he could take advantage of me. He would bolt every time I rode him. Sometimes, he would take off before I even got on him. I remember one day, all the girls were outside riding (behind our indoor arena). I brought him into our indoor and went to get on him. He saw the girls out the back door and just bolted towards the outside. I finally got to catch him and then was too terrified to ride– because he hadn’t even given me a chance to get on before taking off on me. Even a few times, he was bad in his stall. I went into his stall one day and he actually reared up while I was in there. Needless to say, I quit riding him for almost a year. The most I did was drive him– because my trainer recommended it, but it wasn’t what I bought him for. And of course, when I did ride him, I fell off. There were days where my trainer would ask me to do something, like ride outside, and I would bawl my eyes out. One day, she asked me just to walk him up and down the path in the back of the barn after a lesson. I cried … and cried. I was so afraid I would get hurt.

For a few months, I talked to my dad about selling Fred, but because he was my first horse I was not really okay with that option. My confidence was shot and I told my father that if we sold Fred, I was quitting riding for good. I didn’t think it was worth it anymore.

I did a couple barn searches online and came across a few that looked decent. I went to visit a couple but they weren’t really what I was looking for. Then, I found New Beginning Stables. My mom called the trainer for me one day when I was at work to ask her about the place, and then gave me the BO’s number so I could make an appointment to visit. About a week later, I went out to the barn to check it out. Automatically, I knew that was the place Fred needed to go to. I could hardly wait. A week later, Fred was picked up and taken to his new home.

My new trainer, Charlene, knew off the bat a few things that needed fixed. She changed Fred’s diet, started letting him go outside (he was not allowed at my old barn because he was a “show horse”), and began working him. She told me the reason that I could not get him to stop when he bolted was because he did not know how to give to bit pressure–which was one of the first things he should have learned. She said, “How many times did you guys bit him?” My reply? “Once or twice…”

Our first two shows with Charlene were ASHAO in Ashland and another at Canfield Fairgrounds in 2009. I was really excited but both shows became a shitty experience, to say the least. At Ashland, both of my classes resulted in Fred throwing little tantrums, little bucks, and getting me unseated, frustrated, and embarrassed. At Canfield, it resulted in me feeling like I was going to die before my first class. I went to practice right before my class and Fred did anything BUT move forward. He reared, he bucked, he leaped, he spun.. but he did not move forward. So, I jumped off of him and he took off down the fairgrounds. Bolted. We ran after him to chase him down but luckily he stopped when he saw a man with donuts. (He had to have a bite). We later found out his back had gone out.

Charlene decided Fred was a bit too dangerous. She said she could try to put him into training but she was not sure if she could make him quit being a brat. She suggested selling him. I cried for hours. My father agreed to put Fred into training for two months to see if Charlene could make a miracle. So, for the next two months, I was not allowed on my horse. I went to watch many training sessions and was slightly horrified in the beginning. He threw awful tantrums. He would rear up and smack your head against the arena wall. He would take his neck and smack it into your face. Leap, bound, go backwards, smack you in the face, but not want to go forward. I was ready for her to call it quits. I also resorted to talking to many people on forums about Fred’s issues. They’re suggestions? Sell him. He’s too dangerous. He will get you killed. Horses like that aren’t worth it, just get rid of him– he will never be rideable. I really did take people’s words into consideration but I was hoping they were wrong.

I remember the day I went out to the barn towards the end of his training and my trainer suggested for me to grab a helmet. I looked at her, slightly terrified, and she told me that she was putting me on Fred. I grabbed my helmet and jumped on. She told me to listen to her, to sit there, and not to fuss with him. I took a lesson that day. I got a few smacks in the face, surprisingly no broken nose, but that was it. Otherwise, he was really good. So, she said I could start riding him again but we’d have to have lots of lessons.

For months I took lessons and it got to the point where Fred just quit fighting us. He began to calm down and actually listen. He never really enjoyed working (he’s not a horse that enjoys his job… he’s lazy. he’d much rather eat and play outside), but he began to know his job and would do it when asked without a fight. He joined the lesson program. I’ve watched 12 year old girls jump him for fun (their first time and his!). I’ve watched 8 year olds learn to canter on him. I’ve watched other beginners learn to ride on him. Whether it’s a lesson on cantering, or a lesson on steering and controlling a horse, I’ve seen him teach many different riders. I’ve also seen him give the “Fred Work Out Program, Lose FIFTY+ POUNDS!”

Recently, we switched Fred’s discipline. He had always been saddleseat and that was the only thing I ever wanted to do with him. My trainer constantly said, “He’d be a really competitive hunt horse.” … “He has the mindset of a hunt horse. He’s built like a hunt horse. I think he’d actually enjoy being ridden hunt.” but I didn’t really listen.

This summer (2010)… Fred went lame. DEAD LAME. After spending the whole summer getting various vet¬†diagnostics and being told that there was a chance Fred would never be ridden again; we found a pocket in his foot from some severe thrush he had. After it emptied out, he began to be a rideable again. I knew that he was uncomfortable saddleseat and because of all his lameness problems, ¬†I did not want to make it worse, so I told my trainer I would try huntseat on him.

I really liked it. At the end of the summer, I showed him at two different shows huntseat. We had some issues to work out, but mostly on my part, not his. He looked incredible and performed so well. He looked so happy. I had only had two huntseat lessons and he had never been trained for it. So, I decided that would be our main discipline. We will still do a saddleseat class now and then, but we are going to make it far in huntseat. We will.



Watch in HD format, of course.

I won’t lie. There are days the the last two videos make me cry in happiness.

So, that’s Fred.

The Beginning

December 9, 2010

So, I am making this blog mostly for my youtube subscribers and friends, but I am going to make sure I advertise it a bit too. Just because. This blog will have a few uses.

(1) I am going to post updates on Fred. I will talk about what happens when I go out to see him; discuss lessons, rides, etc. Just so everyone can get the inside scoop.

(2) Every week [sometimes more than once], I am going to feature a forum topic or article online–for different reasons. They will be mostly informational things about either saddle-type breeds or training methods (all breeds). Does not matter. Just anything interesting that I find, I will post. I am on a lot of forums and although, many times I don’t agree with everyone, reading up on different topics and ways of doing things is pretty helpful in the long run.

I’m hoping by including articles/forum threads about ASBS, Morgans, Arabs, etc. that my friends & followers will start to understand more about the breeds rather than just thinking they know everything about them–especially in the saddleseat discipline. But like I said, not all articles will only pertain to those breeds, most will pertain to everybody.

Happy reading!

 

* Please keep in mind that public may also comment on my posts. You don’t have to be a wordpress member. So please feel free to comment everything.