Friday, September 30, 2016

Update: Trainer search!

After many emails and much searching (and explaining my current trailer-less situation)

I have a trainer coming this weekend for my first lesson!

Fingers crossed it will be a good fit!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Poles poles poles

Someone was a total snuggle-bug this evening!

I threw down some ground poles and one tiny X rail tonight like this:

We worked on stretching 
(yes it is OK if your nose touches the ground, but you must still steer!!)

We worked on bending
(righty tighty lefty loosey! but righty felt some better)

Lots of circles, and long straightaways over the poles, there was a deer in the bushes, a scary tumbling white leaf, dog walkers and a dirt-bike rider tonight at the barn, none of which got more than a second look.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Righty tighty, left loosey....

It was so dry and hot out tonight that Tesla had sparks in her tail!
A little bit of Equifuse Gleam set that right as rain - wonderful stuff!!

We worked in the dressage saddle and focused on lots of quiet work, walk and trot over poles, working on straightness, and bending her body in corners, consistent contact. Going to the left is easier for me, and the right is much harder (so moar righty circles, until I get less stiff and more loosey!)

In the clinic this weekend Jutta told me I should feel the horsepower (no pun intended, LOL) that Tesla and Porsche should feel high octane when I ask for a movement - and Tesla TOTALLY feels that way with turn on the forehand!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Clinic Recap

I pulled Porsche out of the pasture on Saturday, to give her a bath, braid, and get her ready for the clinic, and she was a hot mess. In raging heat and just utterly miserable 
(which is unusual for her, poor baby).

Even belly rubs weren't really working :(

I managed to coax her into letting me get a running braid in 
(Trail Boss likes flowing locks on his ponies ;)
so she was clean and presentable. One of the things I love most about this horse is that despite any terrible-rotten-no-good-very-bad-day she is having, Porsche leaves all the drama at the gate, and as soon as you get in the saddle, she is all business. This little mare actually loves to be ridden :)

The clinic was awesome, Jutta laughed that Tesla had changed a bit (changed colour and shrunk in the wash, haha!). They are completely different rides and challenge me in different ways, which will ultimately make me a better rider!

Some great take-aways:

SIT DOWN. In turn on the forehand, don't lean forward, which leaves the back-door open and she will back up. Keep her forward, and Sit!**

**This was one exercise where Tesla is much better than Porsche - I'll have to do some ground work with the verbal command "Over" so that she will pick it up super quick too!

Don't rock your seat: you are not helping: you are just creating noise so she tunes you out. SIT on your seat bones, and then use your legs to ask for more power.

Switch up your aids a just little: sometimes cluck, sometimes leg, sometimes a tap with the whip, just to make sure she is listening to you. If she gets confused or your aids are muddled, break it down for her: example: try using only the inside leg to get her on the rail..

If her head comes up, she is either not strong enough in her body to hold the position, or she is telling on your hands.

You want her to trust the contact - if you can't hold it steady, plant your hands on her withers.

Jutta suggested I work through IntroA and B tests, to practice my geometry, and give me some perspective on the training scale.


So much good stuff to process!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Clinic this weekend!!

  I'm off to a clinic this weekend!

with this little cutie ;D

zoom zoom

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Tesla was so settled in our ride tonight.

You want canter transitions?

No biggie! 

Darling little corgi pops into the ring under my feet? 

Why hello tiny fan club!**

**Seriously, little corgi was so mesmerized she didn't want to leave

Touch my nose to the ground?

Easy peasy!!

She was just effortless tonight, we did a lot of transitions, and forward stretchy marching walk - which I read somewhere works the same muscles as canter :) we were losing the light, so I called it good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Update on the trainer search....

Have chatted with three so far....and it looks like coming out to the barn is gonna be a tall order

In the meantime, a back-up plan of monthly clinics, & lots of reading/videos...

What resources do you turn to between lessons?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tack Review: Hereford Tex Tan Balance Ride

Is I model now?

Previously I mentioned the Hereford/Tex Tan Balance Ride Western Saddle that fit Tesla like a glove, and I realized I hadn't actually written a review for it!

Magic little saddle

This saddle is so light - I can easily heft it up to 16.2hh! It is a 14.5 seat, so actually it may have been a kiddo saddle (luckily I have no bum, LOL). The tree is designed such that it naturally puts you in a very balanced dressage position (in all honesty, I really can't feel much difference between how I sit in this versus my Kieffer).

The leather is good quality - this one has obviously been used, but not abused, and is still in great shape.  There are some odd holes punched here and this little saddle definitely has some secrets from its previous life! I would say the twist feel like a regular, neither too wide, nor narrow.  It has latigos on both sides, so you can adjust the girth to be perfectly square and have even tension from both sides.

The rounded skirt is perfect for short backs (and just looks more sporty IMHO). The gullet is 6.5in. which is semi-bars, so it has great wither clearance (the wider ones can smash shark fins).  I have a 1in. thick pad under it now, but as her back changes I can opt for something thinner...

'Cause yeah....we needs it...
It is a nice open seat, so it isn't confining, and for baby spooks/trails, it is nice to have a horn (cough, security blanket, cough, cough), but I have absolutely been practicing dressage moves in it**

**In fact, a fellow rider at a neighboring barn asked if I was having an identity crisis, with my western saddle and english headstall

I like it so well, I tracked down a 15.5in. one for Porsche & the Trail Boss!

Both totes enthused about photos...
These are hard to find, I honestly looked for a year!

But if you can find one, never let it go:

 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday, September 17, 2016


The new barn has access to some serious trails (training for the Tevis Cup kind of serious!) but also lots of paths through the sleepy neighborhood that is very horse-friendly. So Tesla and I have the awesome opportunity to work our way up to hacking out extraordinaire.

Today we wandered around the country roads/paths in the neighbourhood: We passed the Big Giant Buddha/Elephant/Ox sculptures, and some HUGE green water tanks: Tesla was looky, but listening. I found a wonderful dirt downhill path/road that is definitely gonna be great for conditioning work, steep enough to be a workout, but not so steep that you feel like you might tip over LOL. Tesla is really not sure-footed going downhill yet (with or without a rider): so we're gonna fix that in no time!

We had two spooks: but the jump in place kind (those are the BEST kind) once at a duck-tape wrapped water tank (it made some noise as we were about to pass it, so legit, and once at the white spray paint on the road (cause obvs graffiti is utterly terrifying??) 

I let her loose in the ring afterwards for a good roll (she flipped herself completely over for the first time, score!) and then I took her took the wash rack for a hose-down. We strolled back up and down the street, so she could dry off, and a neighbors bulldog joined us - and was so sweet and friendly and snorty, LOL.

All-in-all, an afternoon well spent.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A girl can dream....

This drool-worthy saddle.

Plus these Konig Boots.

on this bum :)

A girl can dream, can't she?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

It's a small world after all!

Much to my delight and surprise, I found out that Tesla's year-older half sister, Diva, is competing in eventing locally!

Hopefully, I'll be able to see her go sometime!

I can definitely see some Tesla in her ;)

 Tess, 4hrs old! All her chrome landed on her face!
Teeny tiny Diva: Packin' a lot of Chrome everywhere!

So fancy!

and while I haven't jumped Tess: she is all about the ground poles....

Who knows.... the half-sisters may end up meeting (or competing!) sometime.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bombproof and Fancy

These are the things we aspire to!

Tesla was suuuuper mellow when I got to the barn:

I hear you....but I just can't even open my eyes right now....

and was totally relaxed during our ride:

nice forward marching walk: lots of trot circles, and she was reaching down and stretching....

if I found myself getting grabby, I thought of L's comment to hold with my shoulders (and by Jove! that was a golden bit of advice!)

We did some canter transitions both ways, she tends to get quick to the left (thighs are brakes! - heard in my clinic with Jutta, and seconded by Megan just the other day!)

She was so quiet, I decided to take her on a little solo trail ride up the dirt road...(nice thing about Alpha's: herd bound is a nope!)

and she was looky looky on the shady bit of road with construction equipment, tarps, hydrants, tennis courts, but not spooky (even at the crazy huge elephant and buffalo statues at the end of the drive! (yeah, that def. needs some pics, lol!)

We did the loop twice, got some good turn on the forehand work done by the gate (double score!) and then I stripped her down so she could have a good roll, then dinner.

Bombproof and Fancy....we're gonna get there :D

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ride with your triceps, not your biceps!

One of the gems from the Jutta Schott clinic was for me to ride with my triceps, not my biceps. 


Still camera-less, so still no photos from the new barn...

So tonight out at the barn, I plunked my hands down on Tesla's withers and left them there, so my contact would be consistent, my wrists wouldn't be engaging my biceps, and that I mentally would stop thinking "steering wheel!"

We did some nice circles...with an eye on figure eights next time.

Tesla had one sassy moment of head-tossing,when we went in the corner where all the road work equipment is temporarily parked, and I verbally told her 'NO". 

End of discussion.


But really guys, she is loving the new paddock, and especially her stall + shavings 

(That's what I get for naming her after a luxury vehicle - haha)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

At Liberty

Tesla and I played around in the arena today, first on the longe line (she was a bit spicy at times ;) - and then working on the turn on the forehand, with lots of verbal encouragement, and gently tapping her with the whip end just where my heel would go - she was super excited about getting it right!

Then I unsnapped the lead, and she followed me around the arena - still doing all her tricks - even following me over the little jumps (and very proud of herself for doing so!)

yup - felt just like the movie!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

And breathe...

Went to see Tesla yesterday afternoon, to see how she was settling in, and if she was calm, walk her around the arena - and if she was very calm, maybe some walk trot work.

Forgot my no photos of the new digs yet!

Tesla was totally relaxed, so I gave her a good currying, and tacked her up (Western Saddle and English Bridle, cause that's how we roll sometimes).

The Balance ride isn't much saddle (seriously, it is an english saddle with a horn!) but I sit nice and secure in it, so we will definitely be bouncing between it and my Kieffer for now...

It was so tranquil...little kiddos were playing and giggling off in the distance, and all the neighbors waved at us as they drove by at a crawl - so sweet! and Tesla gave me some lovely turn on the forehand work.

I'm delighted to have found the perfect fit for both Tesla and I.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Home Sweet New Home!

As I type this, Tesla is all snuggled up with a huge pile of hay for the evening in her new #4 paddock.

She is an awesome traveller, and before I loaded her up I gave her some rice bran mixed in with several quarts of water (to make sure she was plenty hydrated for the ~3hr trip) - and while Porsche won't touch anything that resembles mash consistency - Tesla happily slurped it up - she had rice bran up to her eyeballs, hahaha!! 

We stopped for a sandwich on the way over and I offered her a piece of lettuce from mine (she wouldn't touch it)

She stepped off the trailer at the new Barn cool as a cucumber, and gave a few nickers to her new neighbors. I walked her around the arena, then turned her loose, she rolled and then politely explored before coming over to where we were chatting to hang out. The new BM loves her (yay! no more bad girl reputation!) and she settled in right away. My heart is so happy - I really feel like this will be the best fit for her and I.

and kudos to the Right-hand Horse Wranglin' Trail Boss for helping me to drive Tesla over!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Moving Day!!

With her bootcamp over,  a clinic under her belt, and back to 100% feeling good, Tesla is moving this weekend to a new barn close to me (hooray!)

Paddock #4 (my lucky number!) at a nice family-friendly facility with a ring and trail access. 

I think Tesla is gonna thrive in this more relaxed environment!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Alpha Mare

I think it might be better than a ribbon in her tail....LOL

link here

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Clinic Recap: Part II

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”

― Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

I've always read about and heard trainers talk about "on the bit" and in my head I knew what they were getting at, but I realize now, I had never really felt any difference until this past weekend.

Jutta coached me through some wizardry involving my ring finger and the opposite knee, and suddenly, Tesla lifted her shoulders, wasn't pulling on the bit, and there was a bounce in her step I could feel. Tesla could only hold it for moments at a time (and I'm not skilled enough yet to really help her with the exact timing of my aids) but we had some seriously magical moments.

A spectator told me afterwards that when I exhaled, she could visibly see Tesla just relax and stretch down.

Jutta gave me a stern admonition that it was imperative I get a good trainer, to help me help Tesla carry herself properly (and so. fancy.) so I'm trainer shopping for someone who is good with sensitive thoroughbreds ;)  and planning on continuing to clinic with Jutta as often as I can.

I can see I have soooo far to go, and lots of hard work ahead.

But if Tesla is game, so am I ;)