Sunday, 30 March 2014


Because she's the best horse, even though I haven't seen her in two weeks.

Taken by Danique*, as all my beautiful photos are.

* Full disclosure: this was a larger picture that I cropped, and probably did so poorly.


Friday, 21 March 2014

March Break 2014 - Part 2


Went out to the barn in the morning to do Mexi's 30 mins on the lunge in side reins. Surprisingly, she got worse at halting as the week went on... I figured she would improve but I guess she had other ideas, haha.

After turning her out and doing her stall, I headed back to the farm to meet K. We had lunch and then took Olivia and Czar out in the field for a hack. We opted to go out back instead of in the front field this time and we had a BLAST! Olivia was a bit "up" but nothing more than just happy and forward, and most of the snow was pretty deep so she didn't really have anywhere to go, haha. The third field had great footing - better than the ring - and we ended up going for some trots and a few canters. Every time I get to go for a nice open canter/gallop in a field, I'm reminded how it's one of my favourite all time feelings - that, and jumping a really fun/challenging course successfully.

When evening chores were done, I headed back to the barn and Kev met me there for ride #2 with Mexi. She was really good again, nice and quiet so we didn't do much. Ended with more practice getting on and off... as Kev would say, if you can get on and off fine, you're laughing.


Despite it being incredibly close to spring, Thursday brought a massive ice storm (and later a few inches of snow, bleh). The barn helper had the day off, so I took my time doing the morning chores and then went inside for a bit to thaw out before heading over the to the barn.

The horses there stayed in because of the awful weather too, and with the weather and the chores at the farm, I didn't bother going over to lunge in the morning. Went over after lunch and had another quick ride with Kev, same old. It probably sounds boring but I'm actually quite happy at how quiet she was; she had been ridden before, but not a lot, and it was ~2 years ago, so we treated it like a fresh backing. Now I just have to keep my butt in the saddle so we can progress!

Part way through our ride, a boarder came into the viewing lounge and caught Mexi's attention. She didn't do anything other than focus on the person for a bit, so while I was initially a bit perplexed, it was realistically a good thing to happen and Mex handled it well.

When we were nearly done, Kevin went into the barn to talk to someone and I finished my ride. Mexi was pretty fixated on the door after he left and the last thing I wanted was for her to startle at someone coming back in since she was obviously already very focused on it (I'm basically a Weeble right now... except I certainly will fall down). Since we were nearly done anyway, I just spent another ~5 minutes doing some circles and bending and getting her attention off the door and onto me. When I was finished, I practiced getting off and on a few times, this time without a person around as a life line, and surprise surprise, she was a peach. Put her away, did her stall, and headed back to the farm to do evening chores with Kevin. 

Mexi also showed me her displeasure at being at a new place, in a stall, and tortured 24/7 ridden 30 minutes a day. She retreated to the back of her stall when I went to get her and repeated the same behaviour on Friday... she better quit it or I'll get a complex. My horse doesn't hate me. Right? ...right??


Last day, sad. Went to the barn in the morning to turn Mex out and do her stall but didn't bother lunging. She'd been a good girl all week and she was already tired so I didn't see the point in doing more.

Back at the farm, I pulled the manes of two babies, and they were both good. I love when that happens! Both were a bit wiggly but it was the first time for one and only the second time for the other, so I was very happy with them.

Went back to the barn and had one final ride on Mex. Did the usual little "lunge" with Kevin first to get a reading on her and she actually pulled a couple hops at one point - naughty mare. It lasted all of like 15 seconds and was nothing big, basically a "I don't want to do this". Kevin said you can't blame her for trying and I had to laugh.

I ventured off the lunge shortly after and worked on getting her to move over from my leg, bending and moving a bit laterally. I would ask her to move away from my leg pressure with lots of praise when she move over a step or two. I did that a few times and then moved on to simpler things for a break. Repeated a few times, and was very pleased that she still remembers some of it/seems to be picking up on it well. Random: I find it easier to get her to move off my leg when we're trotting - has anyone else experienced this with babies?

Mex had a little look at something, I don't remember what, and Kevin reminded me that if a horse is spooking, your best bet is always to go forward. Bad things can happen when they slow down. I'm a bit rusty (okay, a lot rusty) so reminders like this are pertinent, haha. He also said that if nothing else, Mexi will teach me to keep my eyes up - yup, #1 bad habit is resurfacing never really went away. Call me crazy but I find it especially hard to keep my eyes up when I feel like I don't have much in front of me (small horse + wiggly baby).

Kevin left towards the end when it was clear we were fine, and I kept riding for another 15 minutes or so. Funny thing, after Kevin left Mexi called about half a dozen times over the next few minutes. Guess she likes him or something.

The barn owner came in towards the end of our ride and I was pleased to see that Mexi didn't mind being in the ring with another horse. Some of you may remember that she wasn't very happy being in the ring with other horses as a 3yo, but I am starting to believe my theory that that was partially caused by the fact that she was getting picked on by a lot of them at that boarding facility.

Got on and off a couple times to end our session and she stood like a rock. She was SUPER sweaty though, presumably mainly nerves as we really didn't work hard. I knew she'd want to roll so I let her loose in the ring after the owner went back in the barn... all of 45 seconds later she was down and came to say hello afterwards with a face full of dirt.

When she was cleaned up, it was time to head home, and I was really hoping that there wouldn't be another episode. I was banking on her being a lot better than she was on the trip there as she seemed to be stalling out of uncertainty than anything else. Sure enough, she loaded easy peasy; wanted to smell the ramp a bit but she walked on up with a little encouragement and the whole process took less than 2 minutes.

She trailered well again and got to spend an extra night inside at the farm because she was still wet from our ride. All in all, I think it was a very successful March Break!

(Phew. Sorry for the novel!)


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

March Break 2014 - Part 1

We all know how wordy I can get, so I'm breaking this into two posts to make it more manageable!


I was unable to get up to the farm during the time frame that S&D wanted to pick up Mex, so I asked Kevin to load her for me. It may have been for the best that I wasn't there because I would have likely died of embarrassment as the princess was a nuisance to load. About half an hour later, she was on her way to her temporary home... thankfully she travelled and unloaded well. I was stressed about her being a pain to load but Kevin said it wasn't a big deal, we just need to work on it. Apparently baby horses don't always load like a dream when they haven't seen a trailer in two years, who knew.

I got out to the barn (clarification: I'll refer to Kevin's as "the farm", as per usual, and Mexi's temporary home as "the barn") in the afternoon to find Mexi inside, nice and quiet. Pulled her blanket off and let her run loose in the indoor (read: chased her around the indoor because she was content to just hang out and smell the dirt).

Picked out her stall and put her back inside. Little lady wasn't used to being alone and called to me as I would come and go in the barn and in the indoor. I know she was just talking to me because she was lonely but I'm choosing to view it as "cute".

Left and came back later in the evening to give her a good groom and a quick lunge. She was spot on, listening to my voice commands and even halting on the circle, something that has evaded us in the past. Managed to rid her of the majority of her rain rot scabs and tucked her in for the night.

Spoke with S&D and a boarder, M, and all of them praised Mexi on her good manners. Everyone kept saying how quiet she was. These comments continued all week and kept me smiling. Good mare. :)

Where are we?

Went to the barn in the morning; groomed Mex and lunged her again, this time in side reins. Did about 15 minutes of walk and trot work with the side reins, and she was a good girl, again. Turned her out (alone) and she didn't seem to care that she was in a new place at all; walked right over to her  hay and started munching down. Cleaned her stall and headed back to the farm.

Came back in the evening with a friend, A. Lunged Mex in side reins again, and she was really good. I switched her from a rubber dee to a Happy Mouth snaffle and I think she really prefers this bit. After I was done "working" her, I took her side reins off and A took her for a spin. It is really neat to see someone else work with your horse, especially when it happens to infrequently! A worked a bit with desensitizing with the whip and getting her to change direction herself on the lunge - neither are things I have ever done with her before. It was great to see how hard Mex tries to please... by the end of it, A was beaming and kept saying how smart my little mare is.

Before tucking her in for the night, I fiddled with Mexi at the mounting block, including laying on her back a bit while A held her. She was great and didn't react at all.

 Oh hi.


Did my normal morning routine - groom, lunge, turn out, stall. S rode his penning horse while we were lunging, and Mex was a bit "up" at first as S's horse's pasture mate was yelling bloody murder. We plowed through and lunged for about 30 minutes this time, 15 minutes each way. Mex actually had to work, and little girl was tired by the end of it!

I spent more time at the mounting block when I was done lunging, and Mexi remained a cool cucumber so I decided I'd ride that evening.

S also gave a little demo on how his Robo-Cow worked; it's an automatic pulley system with a piece of material on it. You move the material (or whatever add on you have - you can even get cow lookalikes) with a remote control and the goal is for your horse to follow it like they would a cow. It was really neat to watch S's horse in action, and see my horse's brain going a mile a minute at what on earth was going on. She was scared but inquisitive - pretty foreign stuff for an English pony.

I went back to the barn with Kevin in the evening, and rebacked Mex! She was great, we worked a bit at the mounting block first, leaning over her, and eventually laying on her. After a few minutes, I hopped on and Kev walked us around. After a lap of the arena, he stood in the middle and "lunged" us a bit, me trying to steer while still having the support system. Walked and trotted on the lunge, and then walked and trotted off the lunge afterwards! Little mare was great, and it was a quick ride. I was very pleased with her!

 Proper thing.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Winter Camp

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd go to riding camps in the summer?

Well, I've arranged a bit of a winter riding camp for myself. Mexi is being trailered to a nearby barn with an indoor this morning, and she will stay there for the rest of the week. I'm going to stay with my coach for the week, help around the barn, ride Olivia at the farm, reback my horse...

I'm a little excited. Freedom, here I come...

PS, I won't be able to post during the week, but I'll be sure to take notes on my adventures riding *gasp* my own horse and will fill you in when I come back to reality!


Friday, 7 March 2014

March Break

Well, after a gruelling day including calculus and statistics midterms, I am a FREE BIRD for a week. Our spring break is more "March Break", in line with a lot of grade schools in the province. I think maybe cause our professors/teachers are in the same union as grade school teachers?

Either way, it's been a long time coming and I am so excited it's here. I don't know what I'll do with myself without stacks of homework!

I have opted to live on the wild side and not fill my week off with work, so I am planning on spending a lot of time at the barn. I actually have some fun news, but you'll have to wait until Sunday for that.

I haven't been able to ride at all this week, mainly because of school, but hopefully next week makes up for it!

For lack of other relevant content, I have hidden the idea of some spring schooling shows in the depths of my brain. These are completely dependent on A) school (how often I'm able to ride), B) weather ( often I'm able to ride...), and C) finances. I'm not planning on all of them, but I'd like to get to a few if possible!

- Sunday, April 27th
This one is about half an hour away, and the fact that it's on a Sunday makes it very accessible for me with work. In theory, this would put it high on the list, but it's also only 7 weeks away and I haven't ridden my horse in... well, let's not talk about that.

- Sunday, May 4th
Another Sunday show, yay! And this is only about half an hour away. At eight weeks instead of seven (realistically only a handful of extra rides but it makes me feel better), this is probably a good contender.

- Saturday, May 24th
This one is over an hour away and not really in consideration, but I figure it can't hurt to write it down.

Hmm, less shows than I thought. There was another semi-local one but I just found out they're doing jumper courses only, starting at 0.75m so I won't be going there... yet. There are also two gold shows in May (~A shows), but I'm not holding my breath there. Not only do I not expect to be ready, but they're also a fair bit more expensive than schooling shows.

There are more possibilities during the summer, but I'll hold those off for another day. Right now, let's just focus on conquering spring.


Sunday, 2 March 2014


In my last post, I mentioned I've been riding Olivia a bit lately. This started when E came to try a horse to lease, and has continued on from there.

Last Sunday, K and I went hacking in the front field on Olivia and Czar. It was basically a repeat of my first ride this winter, where I was happy to be on a horse, riding in a big open space. Hacking in a field will never get old... especially with a nice incline to gallop up.

I went back out to the farm on Monday, and had a solo ride in the ring. I probably only rode for about half an hour (let's be honest, neither Liv or I are in shape for much more) and it was a good ride, though a lot harder than just hacking in the fields, haha. Olivia was a bit forward, but between the snow and her lack of fitness, she came back pretty quickly. She really is a joy to ride; she's a horse that genuinely tries to please. The terrain we've been riding on (snow) is not ideal for actual schooling, but she still tries to carry herself and be on her best behaviour amidst the odd "fall out" to regain balance.

Olivia is also very receptive of her rider, which has been good for me. My stamina is basically non-existent, and when I go from riding her properly to slacking for a stride or two, I can really tell the difference. She goes from nice and round to "wtf are you doing up there?" in 2 seconds flat, which just reinforces what I already know. As soon as I struggle through and start riding like an equestrian instead of a monkey, she goes right back to being her pretty self.

Example of "pretty self".

I think it's impressive that she can remain so well schooled despite not being actually schooled in ages. Kevin was laid up much of the summer, so I don't think she was ridden very consistently. Still, he's obviously worked his magic on her... and she's done a great job being a smart horse and remembering all of that. Keep in mind that she's still a big of a green horse, too.

(Can you tell I really like her?)

Oh, I almost forgot! Considering this blog is supposed to be about Mex, haha. The herd's field goes on both sides of the ring (well, surrounds 3 sides of it technically, but the back end is trees) and Kevin has their hay on the far side because the barn blocks the majority of the wind for them. Anyway, when I walked into the ring on Olivia on Monday, Mexi was looking at us in kind of a lackadaisical way, so I called to her. She had the *cutest* reaction, ears pricked and head all the way up. I am sure she was like, "that's the girl who brings me treats!", but it warmed my heart to know that she recognized my voice/her name. So sweet. 

I wanted to get up on Tuesday but I had more teeth stuff so I wasn't able to. I was out on Friday and rode with E again; we were going to school in the ring but the snow was a bit hard and uneven since there were already tracks in it. We opted to ride in the herd's field beside the ring because it was nice and flat and didn't have preexisting hoof prints everywhere.

It was another short-ish ride, probably about half an hour again, and Olivia was just as good as she had been in the ring earlier in the week. My new goal for riding her is to work on downward transitions as they can be a bit slow. I think part of this is the footing (and possibly the fact that I've been riding her in a bridle with a loose nose band - oops), but something to work on nonetheless. We ended the ride with a few good trot-walk transitions and then went to explore the back fields a bit.

Unfortunately the snow was super deep so we didn't end up going too far, but it will be fun to ride around back there as the temperatures drop and some of this snow melts (this is wishful thinking; I haven't actually looked at the weather lately).

Okay, maybe not *this* deep.

I worked yesterday and Todd took me out to a delish Italian pizza place after work for a belated Valentine's dinner (I was laid up with tooth/jaw stuff over V-Day). We've been meaning to go there for a while, and we had a great time. We will definitely be back!

I wanted to get up to the farm to ride today, but I've got a ton of homework to do today (hence why I'm blogging... ha) so I opted not to. Work Monday, and hopefully up on Tuesday.

One more thing: have any of you ever been off riding for a while and noticed a lot of lower back pain when you got back in the saddle? It is the single thing that causes me to take such frequent breaks; sure, I get tired, but the back pain is really what causes me to stop and take a breather. I'm attributing this to a combination of having a weak core and being more top heavy now than I used to be. Obviously, neither of these problems have a quick fix, but I'm just wondering if anyone's ever dealt with it, and if so, what you've done.


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