That Red Mare Blog Hop: 25 Questions

1. Mares or Geldings? Why?
Can I put in a vote for stallions? That may make me slightly crazy but I really like riding and working with stallions. They don’t have the sass of a mare but they are more personable than geldings in general. Of course, it depends on the stallion but the ones that are regularly worked with can be perfectly good citizens, even around mares.

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My stallion, a couple years ago

2. Green-broke or Fully Broke?
My horse ownership has tended towards green if not a completely blank slate. One day, I wouldn’t mind buying something made but it hasn’t happened yet.

3. Would you own a “hotter” breed (ie. Arabian, Trakhener, etc).
Haha yes, seeing as I currently do! I don’t find them to be “hot” so much as just sensitive – which I like. I am not a dare devil but I don’t like a constant push ride either.

4. What was your “dream horse” growing up?
I always loved a handful of ideas. I liked the idea of taking a wild mustang and starting it myself. I loved the idea of an Andalusian for dressage and moonlit rides on the beach. I also liked the idea of an OTTB to restart. I’ve done the OTTB which was fun. But honestly, I’ve been very very blessed to own several horses over the past almost 20 years and they were all my dream horse in one way or another.

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I wouldn’t mind one of these in my barn

5. What kind of bit(s) do you use and why?
Snaffles, generally. Nibbles currently goes in a fulmer which she seems to really like and Joker prefers the hackamore though with my new bridle, I may throw a snaffle on him and see how he goes.

6. Helmets or no helmets?
Helmets.

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7. Favorite horse color?
I really love greys, again making me slightly crazy like the stallion thing. Quic Silver shampoo is my friend. But I also love Nibbles’ rich, mahogany bay.

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I love her dark coat

8. Least favorite horse color?
I’m not super fond of roans just because I think they can look dirty. Then again, I LOVE strawberry roans so I guess I can’t say I have a real least favorite.

9. Dressage or Jumping?
Dressage but I do enjoy jumping on something that knows how to jump. I don’t think Nibbles and I will be eventing anytime soon. Jumps seem to baffle her and sap her brain of any coordination.

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Joker is a super cute little jumper

10. How many years have you been riding?
Since 1998.

11. Spurs/whip or no spurs/whip?
Depends on the horse. I don’t have a problem with either.

12. Your first fall?
Probably in 1998 or at the latest 1999. I was jumping a tiny gelding over a tiny cross rail and he stopped. I went flying over his shoulder and landed on my feet, still holding the reins. I couldn’t land on my feet now if my life depended on it haha!

13. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
I rode on New Years Eve and I took my step daughter for a ride before giving her a mini-lesson where she rode solo for the first time. She’s 6 1/2.

14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
My dressage saddle, which I’ve recently learned is not wool flocked but foam and I’m not super happy about it *grumble*

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The offending tack

15. How old were you when you started riding?
8

16. Leather or Nylon halters?
Leather<3

17. Leather or Synthetic saddles?
Leather<3

18. What “grip” of reins do you like?
I use laced reins generally.

19. English or Western?
English

20. How many horses do you currently own/lease?
I own two, one of which is out on a brood lease. I unofficially lease Joker from my other horse’s trainer.

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Mom and baby

21. Do you board your horse? Self-care/full board? Home board?
I do board. I have done the board at home thing before and it leaves you virtually unable to leave your property so I don’t recommend it until you realize that.

22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
Yes, a handful.

23. How many saddlepads do you have?
Four I think. They seem to grow legs and wander away…

24. Slant-load trailer or straight haul?
Yes, you can give me either and I’d be happy 😉

25. Why do you ride?
Because life is short and it lights up my soul like nothing else.

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And having a supportive, non-horsey husband makes it all possible!

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VCBH September 10 Questions

Thanks for the great questions, L. over at Viva Carlos!

  1. Is there something you don’t like about your riding? Right now, how rusty it is. I’m dying because my seat used to be so solid and I never tried to use my hands. Now, I remember what that felt like but I only get it for fleeting moments. Practice practice practice.
  2. Does your horse buck? Nibbles hasn’t done this under saddle yet…but watch now that I’ve written it down…
  3. Is your horse head shy? Not really. She used to be bad about taking the bridle but we worked through that. She’s a friendly horse who will throw her face at you for pets.
  4. Favorite barn chore to do? I like mucking and I like cleaning my tack. Both are a form of therapy.
  5. How many times do you ride a week? I have been shooting for no less than 3 days/week. I’ve been lucky with 4 or even 5 days lately. I have to fight for barn time and sometimes it’s hard. But I can see the benefits!
  6. Who is your favorite pro rider? Oh man. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t think Denny Emerson is amazing. But as he’s not still competing at the upper levels today, I’ll go with Ingrid Klimke. I love the way she trains and rides and the fact that as a dressage rider, she does not limit herself or her horses to just dressage. I admire that hugely.
  7. If one pro rider could train you for one day who would it be? Hmmm, I’d love to have someone from the Spanish Riding School torture educate me on the lunge line. Does that make me sick in the head?
  8. Favorite Facial Marking? I love Nibbles’ big, crooked blaze. But I think my favorite are big white noses and white lips – of which Nibbles has both!
  9. Leg Markings or No Leg Markings? Ha. Okay, I love me some chrome and Nibbles has quite a bit. And I actually take a lot of pride in white socks. But seeing as Nibbles is allergic to whitening/purple shampoos, I’m not having near as much fun with it. And it bothers me. There, I admit it! Hi, I’m Rebecca and I’m addicting to having the whitest socks in the barn.
  10. Ever broken anything falling off? Cracked a growth plate coming off an OTTB after a jump. She did nothing wrong but the bridle I had snapped for no apparently reason and it whacked her in the chest, she grabbed the bit in her teeth and off we went. I bailed but did a poor job of it and my ankle didn’t come out of the stirrup like I intended. I’ve fallen off plenty but that’s the only broken bone I can boast of (knock on much wood!).

Viva Carlos Magical Blog Hop: Do Over

VCBH

Yay, my first ever blog hop! I’ve been wanting to do one ever since I got “serious” about blogging. This one was a must-do for me because well.. you’ll see…

There will always be times you wish you could go back and maybe ride straighter or better (or not circling in your class because you would have placed better..) sometimes they are brain dead mistakes, sometimes well intentioned mistakes. If you could have 1 do-over in your horse life, what would it be? (or you can list a handful of do-overs because I totally did).

If you’ve read my About page and have thought at all about why my blog is titled Back in The Tack, then you realize that I am just now (beginning at the end of 2013) getting back into what I would call serious horsemanship. I’ve been riding for more than fifteen years but it hasn’t been weekly lessons and a show every month. Sure, there were times where it was that. But I’d be lying if I said my riding career (ha) has had a straight line trajectory.

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That’s where it began. That grey mare changed my life. In under a year of riding, we were Region XIV champions. Her story deserves its own blog post someday but suffice it to say she was 17 in that photo and died in my arms ten years later. I’ll never forget that night. As the vet, my family and I walked away from her body, the vet offered her condolences. I was 18. From where the wisdom came I do not know, but without hesitation I told her that Morkie changed my life and showed me the force of joy that horses could be. And that although she was gone, she will live forever because I will try to share that joy with others for the rest of my life.

That is not something I want to do over.

After Morkie died, my path with horses because much fuzzier. I stopped working with my long-time trainer due to a personal falling out and I bought a young mare, the mare I am now selling. I actually bought the younger mare almost a month before Morkie died, as though Mork knew it was time. Sheesh! Stay on topic, Rebecca. Anyway, my do-overs primarily have to do with that younger mare, Sara. If I could have a redo button, I’d press it to find a new trainer and stick with them from my early work with Sara. I bought Sara very late in her four year old year with no training. I backed her, she contracted strangles, and then had to move barns shortly after she was cleared. Commence more lack of focus. I took my time backing her which, while that isn’t a bad thing, I know I took too long. I was busy with college at the time. I also worked. And then my family bought – and lost – a farm of our own.

Just before she contracted strangles, winning her first show

Just before she contracted strangles, winning her first show

This year, Sara is nine-years old. She is still very much green broke. She’s a wonderfully smart horse but she is very sensitive and needs someone to work with her 5+ days/week. If I could go back, I would want to realize this sooner and either make the decision to sell her while she was younger and her greeness was seen as “appropriate” or…sent her to a trainer, something. Now, I have a nine-year old green broke mare who I can’t seem to sell (not for lack of trying) but I also can’t seem to find time to work with (as my slim time is spent on the horse I’m not selling, Nibbles). I most certainly can’t afford to send her to a trainer, unless we worked out a deal. If I could do it all over again, I would have been more realistic with myself about my goals, my abilities, and my time. That’s something I’m still wrestling with but that I feel like I’m making positive progress towards.

This mare has so much talent.

This mare has so much talent.

That being said, I have my first lesson in years tomorrow. I can’t change the past but I’m committed to being the best rider and horsewoman I can be today and in the future. Cue excitement and anxiety and a blog post to come!