Late Night Champagne

Hay in my Hair and Sweat in my Eyes

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I pulled the trailer into our driveway with my boys in tow.

Since we are honest folk here at Twisted Sisters, I’m going to lay it out nice and clear for you. If you are a person who dreams of owning a horse and keeping it at home, and also believes doing so is full of nothing but butterflies, rainbows, and unicorn glitter, you are sadly mistaken and living in a dream world. Come back down from the clouds and join the rest of us here in reality. If you are perfectly clean and look like a million bucks all the time, you’re probably doing it wrong.

That aside, it is still in all reality, a dream come true for me. I take pride in hosting my horses in clean stalls, making sure they are fed, and that they always have clean water. If that means I pick stalls every time I walk by and see a pile of poo, so be it. I have that luxury where I didn’t used to and I am grateful for a life that has given me this opportunity. So I will do all the things and I will be happy that I have that luxury. A lot of folks do not. A lot of folks would love to. Some are happy to pay others for the dirty work, but I’m not that kind of gal. I have always dreamed of a life where I could be intimately involved in every detail of my horses care and I FINALLY have that opportunity. I would venture to say most truly hardcore equestrians dream of a life where they can spend it day in and day out doing all the “horsey” things, even the dirty ones. Either way… here’s my experience and things I have learned so far as a first timer having horses at home.

Helicopter Mom: Apparently, that’s me. I installed a camera to spy on the boys. I check it incessantly. If I wake up during the night, I look at it. If I hear a noise outside, I look at it, if I am working or busy and can’t walk outside just to see if they are OK, I look at it. I mean, in the last 2 weeks I have looked at the camera like I believe at any moment either horses legs may detach from their bodies or some other horrific thing might happen. What do I find? Them munching away on hay, looking outside, or laying down sleeping. Perfectly content with life. OR I find Fizz rubbing his tail, and I can scold him through the talk feature on the camera. Both horses now think God talks to them, below is them listening-they don’t know it’s just little ole me.

Hay: I am pretty sure there will never again be a moment in my life where I am not wearing hay as an added accessory to my outfit. It’s itchy and it gets in places no one should have hay, ever. How does it even get there? Does it grow legs and crawl to really weird spots inside your clothing? Just, how?? Also, if you like to watch your money turn to poop… Just look at your horses happily munching on hay.

Sweat: It’s summer here in Kentucky. It’s HOT and it’s HUMID. I spend a lot of time outside and always have but when you’re working with horses it seems like the heat is amplified 10 fold. I can’t explain why. My eyes have never burned so much as in the last several weeks. I think I’ll keep this as opposed to frozen fingers, but still. I am pretty disappointed I’m not skinny yet after all of this sweating. The universe owes me an explanation on this.

Poop: So much poop. Like, I realize they are large animals and I have worked jobs where stall cleaning was a part of it (back in college and as a kid) but there is SO MUCH POOP. Literally they are poop factories. How did I not remember this? And I feel for all of you who have barns full of horses because just these two create so much!!!

Dust: There is literally so much dust. I use a combination of pellet bedding and bagged shavings, which I had read this combo was supposed to be low on dust. I would like to know what definition of “low dust” is on the internet because this is not it. Therefore, I have been researching this. Evidently, I need to “water” my stalls. Um, excuse me? I don’t even water my flower beds. Those things need to live off the water God gives them or they don’t survive well here. Somebody send help.

Crisis: If you think you’ll never feel like you are in a crisis, just give it a minute-one will come and your little fantasy bubble will have been popped. If you have thought about it and planned for every crisis you could think of (like me) and think you know how it will go, just know it goes nothing like you thought it would. Also know that of all the crises you could think of, the one that will happen is something you NEVER thought of. There’s a back story here I might visit later, but my first “crisis” was experienced and it is over now. Bless my husband, my friends, and my very lovely Vet for putting up with me. I probably worry way more than I should.

Bills: There are just SO many bills. Hay, grain, bedding, vet, farrier, supplements, and the list goes on and on and on into eternity. Some bills can be more than you expect, by a LOT. You might think about finding a street corner to call your own, but in the end you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your horses are healthy and happy. Even if that might mean eating ramen and never leaving your house again.

Help: Having help is CRUCIAL. I can’t say this enough and to those of you out there doing it by your very lonesome, what kind of super hero DNA do you have and where can I get some of it? Or are you just an alien with weird superpowers I can’t even begin to imagine? Because I would NOT have made it even these last few weeks without my poor non-horsey husband who has gotten a very rude intro on how to restrain a contrary horse, how to work a twitch, and some of the other unpleasant things things that come with being around horses. He has also been learning how to pick stalls and he does so without even being asked. BLESS HIM. Ladies, a lot can be said for a man who isn’t into horses but cleans stalls without asking simply because he knows YOU want your horses living in the cleanest stalls in America. I would also not have survived without my Mom, who comes over simply to make sure I don’t die while working these creatures. She’s a saint.

Work: Having horses at home is work. I work a real big girl job. I spend every other amount of time doing things for the horses and the dog. What exactly is this “spare” time everyone speaks about? Who exactly in this world gets to “sleep in” because yeah, that’s not a thing here (for me). Everyone else is taken care of before me. I am the last to eat, the last to be clean(ish-you know, because hay exists…), and I’m fairly certain the horses stalls are cleaner than my house. I can barely manage to do something as simple as boil noodles and slap sauce on top for dinner most days. Dishes left in the sink? Oh well, maybe I’ll get to those tomorrow. Or not. As long as the 4-leggeds are taken care of those dishes can sit another day. Paper plates? Meals that don’t require silverware? Even better. Sign me up.

LOVE: These animals have so much love to give. They make me laugh daily and they fill my heart with so much joy despite all of the above. I truly enjoy simply watching them exist day to day. Every person has good day and bad days, and I believe all creatures do. Our job as humans and facilitators of these animals is to make sure their days are all as good as possible, and understanding that they too, have days that are “off” and they deserve our compassion and understanding. No one, and no animal, is perfect all day every day. These horses (and our Dog Dixie) give me a break when they know I’m having an off day. They offer me peace and acceptance, despite my shortcomings. The least I can do is offer them the same.

A Little Love and a Little Hate

I have come to the conclusion that the horse industry is forever in a love/hate relationship with itself. We all love horses and that is terrific. We all love doing the different things we can do with them, competing, trail riding, watching them eat, whatever each person does with their horse(s) is their version of love. But we hate too. We hate on each other for having different practices. We hate on horses who don’t “fit into the box” that they are “expected” to be in. We hate on other disciplines for doing things differently than we do. We are jealous of this person or that for having more than we do, or judge someone for having less than we do. Last time I checked, we are all in this industry for the love of the horse, so I have to ask…

Why is the horse industry like this? We all have a little bit we can teach someone else. I will be the first to admit I do not know everything. As the years have gone on in this AOT/non-AOT/Back to AOT adventure and throughout my lifelong love affair with horses of all breeds, shapes, sizes, and disciplines I have learned to be humble. I have learned to ask for help and I have vowed to learn something from literally EVERYONE I meet in this industry. Even if what I learn is something I do NOT want to do, it’s something learned and there is value in that.

I love my horses fiercely. I will do whatever I can to keep them safe, protected, and HAPPY. I will love them to the ends of the earth and back and no matter what, there will always be someone out there who hates my horses for some reason or another. Or who thinks I am an abuser because of the way my horses move, the way they are shod, the fact that we show, or maybe even because they don’t like me. AND THAT IS FINE. Ya’ll haters just take your negativity elsewhere.

Can’t we just choose education and understanding over hate? There is so much negativity and anger coming from people who have literally ZERO education on the topics they are mad about. When you see something that is questionable, try ASKING about it before you immediately persecute someone for doing something you don’t understand. And actually make an effort to understand. I’m not saying you need to implement someone else’s practices with your own horses or riding, I’m just saying don’t judge and hate something you have not actively tried to understand first. Keep an open mind and understand that most things have a purpose. The vast majority of us are just trying to do things that are best for us and our horses, for all of our respective activities and disciplines that we participate in.

OK, now that this has turned into rambling about more things than I originally intended, back to the subject at hand. I love, and I hate, many things about the horse industry. But time and again, I keep on keeping on, because when it comes down to it, I enjoy my horses for what they are. For all their flaws, mistakes, and idiosyncrasies. For their wins and their losses, for every time they have embarrassed me or made me proud and everything in between. For doing things on their own timeline and not mine. I love them for loving me, despite everything that I know and everything I don’t know, and everything I have not learned YET. I love them for trying, as that is all I can ask. So, I will keep showing up and I will keep on educating myself, FOR THEM and FOR ME. And if someone doesn’t like that, that’s just too bad.

Is 14 Really the Age they Grow Up?

Ya’ll. Again, it’s been a while. Things have changed, AGAIN. My husband Wes and I are in the process of building a barn at our home. We have been here for a year now, and I have only been trying to get a working barn built for basically the entire time. Hopefully soon it will be a functional space for Fizzy and Duke to come live, but in the meantime, they are happy and healthy over at Brickyard Farms. A little over a year ago when Phoenix Farm shut down their training operation, we were scrambling. We weren’t even sure if shows were going to be a thing for us. Plus, the stupid pandemic, you know. What an epic disaster.

Since Duke (before I officially owned him) had been living at Brickyard for a year, it was the obvious first choice for Fizz to go there too. That way, both horses I was showing could be in the same location and I could work with both of them at the same place. Luke at Brickyard welcomed Fizz to join the crowd there and got to work. And lord has it been the blessing we have been looking for. His alternative thinking and fresh outlook has been just what we needed. Plus, he loves Fizz and Duke like they are his own, and there’s no amount of money that can buy that kind of support.

Anyway, we only went to a few shows in 2021, but they were nice, successful shows. We had FUN. And isn’t that really what it’s all about anyway? So, fast forward to now. We have successfully gone to our first real show of 2022, the BlueGrass Arabian Horse Associations Spring Blast Open Show. Yes, that’s a mouthful. However, LOOK AT IT.

So, yeah. That happened. And I am just over the moon with how well behaved this horse was. He’s fourteen this year. I simply cannot believe it’s now been NINE years with this incredible horse. He continues to keep me on my toes, humble me, teach me new things, and the list goes on but I won’t bore you all. It seems like fourteen is the year my sassy colt has finally decided it’s time to grow up and play ball with the big boys. I do not deserve him. He is literally too cool for me, but I am just going to soak up every minute and feel grateful that he’s mine.

That’s all for now!

Sometimes Maybe it’s YOU

Ya’ll. Again, it’s been a while since I posted here. Things are ever changing and ever evolving and I constantly re-evaluate the horsey things in my life and wonder if I am making the right decisions. Sometimes I regret not making certain decisions sooner. Sometimes I think I suck, and sometimes I think I am a genius. Everyone has their days I guess. But here’s some facts for you.

I am what I would call an experienced rider. I like to think I can hold my own and I like to believe I can handle a tough mount and enjoy a good one with ease. BUT, when I watch a select few others ride my horse and NOT have the same problems I had, I started wondering if it was just ME. SO, a while back (maybe about a year or so-has it really been that long?) I decided to start working with a riding instructor. As an ADULT. Who has been riding since I was 6 years old. She comes to visit Fizz and I and she gives us lessons together. Sometimes she schools him, which is GREAT for both of us, but mostly she coaches while I ride. Do I consider myself a failure because of this? HELL NO.

I consider myself a badass. You know why? Because sometimes it IS YOU. Sometimes you need to be humble and you need to admit that regardless of your experience, you do not, and will not ever know everything. Others have had experiences that can help you. Others have knowledge to share. You need to be open to accepting their knowledge, to learning from them, and to reaching a new level of potential you maybe never knew existed within you. And you know what? IT FEELS GOOD.

That moment when you’re sitting on your horse and you have a ride like you’ve never had before. A ride where you don’t struggle with things you used to struggle with. A ride where you don’t fight with your horse. A ride where you realize for the first time in YEARS, your horse is HAPPY. All the puzzle pieces are there, and you made them fit together. Maybe you don’t have a perfect ride consistently, 100% of the time. BUT, you did it and you FINALLY realized that you’ve moved past the hurdles that once stood in front of you and you didn’t trip and fall on your face trying to jump them.

If something is not working, CHANGE IT. Get help. Keep working, keep training, both you AND your horse can benefit from it. I mean, even professional sports teams have coaches. This is just like that. Go out and DO WORK ya’ll. Respect and appreciate your coaches and learn yourself something. Your horse will thank you. YOU will thank you. That’s all for today, I’ll report on other news soon! ❤

So It’s Been A While

I guess it’s been a minute.  I have not posted to this page in a long time.  I have a lot of reasons for that, but mainly it’s because Fiz is still under the direction of Phoenix Farm and trainer Blair Cecil, and we have been VERY busy.  Let me explain:  Owning horses is hard.  Training horses is harder.  Caring for horses is challenging in many ways, albeit rewarding.  Giving up on training your own horses is the hardest.  I had a hard time letting go, and honestly, I still have days where it hurts me to my core that I don’t see Fiz and interact with him every day-or even every week sometimes.  My heart literally hurts.  Every.  Day.

BUT, I know it is for the best.  When we signed on to this journey, we made a promise to him to make the best decisions FOR HIM.  What we didn’t understand in the beginning is that those decisions may be hard.  They may hurt.  And they may be financially challenging at times.  But a promise is a promise, and we are keeping our word as difficult as it may be.  Blair is an exceptional trainer (and person) and we are grateful for the care and training she gives Fiz, and for the opportunities afforded to us due to having him in her barn.

This June, after showing Fiz primarily saddleseat for the entirety of our ownership (with some occasional trail riding) we have decided to go a new direction.  As the Phoenix Farm resident expert in all things dressage/Hunter/Jumper, our friend Emily showed him in his very first ASB Hunter class at the Lawrenceburg horse show and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.  He really took to this style of riding and we have decided to try and campaign him for the ASB Hunter classes at the World Championship horse show in 2020!  Now, we may make it and we may not, but we are certainly going to try.

For me, this means basically forgetting everything I know and re-learning how to ride in a new way.  Thanks to Emily, I am also learning some dressage techniques that she has used successfully on Fiz to help us in our new discipline and she has also been teaching Fiz (and me!) how to jump.  He LOVES IT, and is actually GOOD at it!  We will see how that goes in the future, but I am looking forward to it.

Also in store for next year is potentially having him carry Cindy’s oldest daughter to her first lead line classes if she decides she wants to.  This is super exciting as we have hoped from the beginning that one day he would be able to carry her girls to some of their first horse shows and the time is near!

This horse is quirky and infuriating on many levels but he has taught me SO much over the last 6+years and he holds a very special place in my heart for everything that he is, and everything that he isn’t.  There really aren’t words for what he means to me.

Emily showing Fiz in his very first hunter class, June 2019:

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Kayla and Fiz winning the Saddle and Bridle Hunter Classic at Owingsville, July 2019

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Kayla and Fiz winning the hunter under saddle class at Owingsville, July 2019

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Appreciate Your Professionals

Guys, I have to tell you, I’ve had a good run.  I’ve overcome a LOT of challenges and received a LOT of help along the way.  Working a horse as an Amateur is no easy feat.  From May 2013 when we brought this horse home to April 26, 2018 when we pulled in to Phoenix Farms drive, Fiz has been worked primarily by me, with the exception of that one month a few years ago when was worked by a trainer for 30 days.  So yeah… I’ve had a good run and gained SO much knowledge in this AOT experience.  Lets just say if nothing else, I’ve produced the most tolerant equine on earth.  If he can put up with me, he can conquer the world.

You’re probably wondering at this point:  What am I even talking about?  Well, a month ago, Fiz went to live at Phoenix Farm to be worked by Blair for 30 days.  Then he was supposed to go back to the boarding facility to be worked by me after we showed at Burlington.  He has just thrived there, and Blair is an AMAZING person, horsewoman, and trainer, so it’s been decided he’s staying indefinitely.  That said, there comes a time where the limitations of your knowledge, experience, and ability are keeping you and your horse from excelling.  And for the love of everything holy, you have got to learn when to say, “I need help” or “I can’t teach them anything else” and you have to be able to admit when you’ve met a roadblock you can’t get past. We’ve met that point, and I for one, am unsatisfied with being mediocre.  Fiz probably doesn’t care, but I want more for him! I want to see him reach his potential.  I 100% feel that he will be able to do so under the Phoenix Farm banner.  So I have gracefully accepted the facts, that I have taught him all I know, but that there is someone who can teach him much more, and as that happens, I’ll be able to learn too. We can all learn from others, if we’re open to it.

People, you have GOT to respect and appreciate your professionals for the exceptional job they do (that is, if it’s in fact exceptional..).  You have got to understand that they make a living doing what they do FOR A REASON.  They are experts, and work every day towards a common goal: For your horse and you to succeed.  Their success as a professional rides on your success, as the way your horse competes is a direct reflection of their work. For 30 days in, I am completely in awe of the drastic changes in this horse.  I’ll let the photo speak for itself.  We can only go up from here!

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Sometimes, Plans Fail

Sometimes, you’re just being crazy, and sometimes, you’re RIGHT.  In this case, I’d rather have been crazy and not right.  Before our show, I had a dream that I forgot essential stuff and then I got lost.  See the message below, call it a premonition.

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Well, that’s not exactly how it all went down, but I did forget an essential piece of equipment.  The driving lines!  I know, right… The one piece of equipment that connects the driver to control the horse.  Yeah, let’s just hop in the cart and hope he knows where to go!  Uh, no.  Thank God for knowing people, we were able to procure a lunge line, a snap, a cable tie, and a lot of electrical tape from Blair Cecil, trainer at Phoenix Farm and get Cindy in the ring!  Really, we aren’t above ghetto fabulous at this point, and they really didn’t look bad in the grand scheme of things.  See?

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So, after the fiasco getting him ready, we were good to go get him hooked!  Except we didn’t know that the first two driving classes were going to take over an hour as each driver went individually to show.  So there we were, in the warm up ring, for an hour before the class walking around with the cart hooked.  Poor Fizzy was rather unamused, but for the most part he behaved. By the time the class rolled around, he was rather lazy probably because he’d already been hooked and walking/trotting around for the better part of an hour.  However, he went in and did his job and didn’t act a fool, which is always a good thing.  After the class when we were unhooking the cart, I had a lady tell me “That is the calmest, most well behaved Saddlebred I have ever seen” which, is a very good compliment!  He CAN be, he definitely has it in him when it counts.  Check out Cindy’s class:

Driving Class w/Cindy

So, on to my Halter class.  I realized when I went to get ready that I had no tie.  Great!  Suit with no tie! What good is that?  Anyway, I had a plan, really, I did for this class I’d never done before.  It was to go last and do what everyone else did.  That plan did not work.  It was an epic fail, because we thought we still had time but they were calling numbers for the class so we rushed up there. We were FIRST in the ring on THIRD call for the class.  SO, there we went.  I just asked the judge “what would you like to see” because I didn’t know the first thing to do!  She had me walk him toward her, then wanted me to trot him away and around to line up “head to tail” whatever that meant.  He wouldn’t trot… then he sorta did, it was rather ugly I’m sure as he was so confused!  When the other participant lined up, I found out that “head to tail” meant parallel to the rail, haha!  So, we quickly moved to match that.  Pretty sure if the judge could have given us 8th place, she would have, even though there were only 2 horses in the class.  The photos from Bluegrass Girl Photography  turned out great!  All the photos in this post are credited to her.

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There’s one other thing… The trailer.  So, Fizzy has developed this new habit of kicking in the trailer.  He’s shredded the wall off his side of the trailer twice now.  The metal toward the bottom is now bent.  SO, in an effort to keep him somewhat safe on the way home as best we can, Cindy had the idea of Duct Taping the metal so any potential sharp edges were not exposed.  Then, we put shipping boots on him to try and protect his back legs (where the shredding occurred) even though it was 93 degrees outside.  Before you ask, yes, I stood and took pictures of the pregnant lady working-and told her, “these are going on the blog!”

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THEN, upon leaving (why does this always seem to happen to us?) we got stuck in traffic while some street sweepers decided to close the road and sweep up literally nothing.  No wonder our poor horse hates the horse trailer!  Every time he gets on it we get stuck in traffic while he has to stand back there being all hot with no airflow!

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But, we all made it back in one piece, safe and sound. I think someone was really happy to get back into his field.

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Bye Bye Winter

 

It’s been a while since we posted an update.  Now that the dreaded winter is finally behind us, there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes! I’ve been bad about sharing and I apologize to our (few) fans for not posting more.  I’ll work on that!  AOT life is crazy sometimes, and it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind!  So, let me update on what’s been going on with Fizzy.

We made it through the winter, but not without a few troubles.  Fizzy got back into the habit of “I don’t want to come in from the field” again, so he has earned himself a halter to wear 24/7.  Well, he’s actually earned himself multiples, because he likes to break them or Houdini himself out of them somehow.  Thanks to Blair’s Bits and Pieces, we’ve been supplied with several leather halters without breaking the bank.  Yay for affordable used tack and equipment!! Check them out if you need anything.  Blair is awesome! Anyway, halter on, he comes right up to you in the field, no problem and no questions asked.  Halter off, and it’s a battle where he crosses some serious lines into territory we’d rather not be in.  So, halter it is.  It’s not the choice we WANTED to make, but he made the choice for us with his behavior.

Anyway, in case you aren’t up to speed, Fiz lived the entire winter barefoot.  We went through the painful stage where he acted crippled, (tried, loved, and reviewed the Cavallo Simple Boot here), then slowly but surely, his hooves tightened, hardened, and his soles became concave instead of flat! He became sound on soft ground without shoes, and mostly sound on tougher ground.  Rocks were still a little bit of a challenge, but we managed nearly 6 months without shoes!

He got his first set of shoes for the season put on 2 weeks ago (3-23-17), gave us a big scare, then turned out to be just fine.  He was shod on a Thursday morning, worked like wonder horse Friday in his full show bridle, then turned up completely lame on Monday with nothing to understand why.  Our farrier was out of town, but another farrier checked him Wednesday and found no evidence.  By Wednesday evening, he was perfectly fine again!  I guess it could have been going so long without shoes, then having them again.

Anyway, he’s fine now (thankfully) and here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to!

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2-10-17: Pretty Sunset at the farm

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2-10-17: What Fizzy thinks of photos

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2-18-17: First drive in about 4 months. He was fantastic!

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2-24-17: Fizz’s favorite activity

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3-24-17: First ride in a full bridle in about 4 months

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3-31-17: Trying out long lining (I still stink at it!)

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3-31-17: A look at his hooves/shoes

 

Overcoming “Obstacles”

Anyone that knows me knows I truly despise cold weather with every fiber of my being.  I imagine hell to be mounds of snow, not fire and brimstone but who am I to question the bible?  Anyway… since we decided to pull Fiz’s shoes and it’s gotten colder outside, we have not really been doing a whole lot, but we have still been learning and overcoming obstacles.  Or running through them, whatever your definition of the word “overcome” encompasses.

So in this post I’m going to talk about the water obstacle.  Following our big successes lately with tarp training, I got this brilliant idea that Fizzy should learn to go through water calmly at home under controlled conditions rather than out on a trail in the middle of nowhere.  Well, what I learned is that no matter how much “control” you think you can have in the comforts of “home” and an indoor arena, you simply cannot control a horse’s reaction to things they have not done before.

Let me give you a little back story. This horse is a pig.  And by that I mean he will find the ONLY wet spot in the pasture to roll around in or stomp around in as to get himself as dirty as possible.  But god forbid you ask him to step in the only puddle around if you’re leading him.  He will avoid it like the plague and even more so if you’re saddled up and riding.  WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE????  How much sense does that actually make??  Horses…

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Anyway, so I got permission from the barn owner to set this contraption up in the indoor arena and I went forth with confidence that my execution couldn’t have been better in building this obstacle.  I brought Fizzy to the arena to introduce him to my handiwork only to find that he was not nearly as impressed as I was with my ingenious build.  We couldn’t even walk near it, Fizzy snubbed it completely.  It was complete garbage, and he was above acknowledging its existence.  I was so disappointed that he didn’t find it as glorious as I did. I am also disappointed that I did not snap any photos of my incredibly awesome obstacle in all its glory.  Here’s the jist of what it looked like and how it was made:

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Anyway, my Momma didn’t raise a quitter, so I just kept at it and finally Fizzy decided to try and shut me up by stepping in.  You would have thought I had asked him to step into shark infested waters, because he went flying backwards at the splash of water that his hoof produced and proceeded to snort and blow in that direction for the next several minutes.

Since I had put a saddle on him prior to bringing him into the arena, with the intent of eventually riding him (calmly, you know, walking like a sane normal horse) through the water obstacle, I decided maybe I could better encourage him from his back.  Yeah… well, he had other ideas about what was appropriate.  My encouragement produced a horse that charged through the water obstacle like he was riding into a war zone.  I mean, REALLY?  Is that necessary?  Whatever makes you happy Fizzy.  But at the end of the day, he DID do what I asked and he went through the obstacle.  Not with the calmness I would have liked, but he went in his own way, and he did it because I asked him to.  I can’t ask for anything more than that.

After all was said and done, he was still a happy horse in his new trail riding gear, which I did get a photo of.

fizzy

Adjusting to the “Off Season”

Our show season was cut short by a number of setbacks this year.  This, for a multitude of reasons, has been our worst show season to date only making it to one show all year and having a number of unexpected things happen to us and to Fizzy.  But you know what?  That’s OK.  You learn from mistakes, you grow through adversity, and you get stronger through struggle, so let’s raise a glass to all of that and begin to enjoy our offseason and prepare for next year.  We have some MAJOR plans for next year, and what I have learned in this whole AOT adventure so far is this:  #1, you HAVE to have a plan.  #2, Plans don’t always work out.  #3, no matter what happens, we will get through it and we will be just fine.

So, what are we doing right now?  We are goofing off, trying new things, enjoying ourselves, and having FUN.  I’ve got some really fun things to share with you guys about next year, but I have to keep it under wraps for the time being.  So I will share with you some recent events.

#1.  Fizzy, after 2 other unsuccessful off seasons trying this, has FINALLY conquered (walking across) the tarp.  In case you are interested, you can watch 7 minutes of us NOT crossing the tarp here: The day we rode the FAILBOAT.  The deep dark hole that is sure to eat him alive actually didn’t this time.  He survived.  I mean, he survived after noticing that I didn’t get eaten alive walking across it before him, and I actually was able to convince him he was still safe to WALK across it while I was riding him too.  However, I have not (successfully) managed to have him trot across it, which brings me to our second point.

#2.  Fizzy can JUMP.  Well, I mean, I already knew this.  However, Fizzy can jump despite the fact that I cannot.  Imagine this:  Trotting horse approaches black hole of death (tarp), trotting horse leaps through the air taking unsuspecting rider by surprise, unsuspecting rider lands on horses neck with no feet left in stirrups.  Yeah, I never learned how to jump a horse.  So what.  We (meaning he) got more confident going (jumping) across the death trap (tarp), but it was only a success when I stood in 2-point and basically handed him the bridle and let him do his own thing.  Which, is not only slightly dangerous, but it’s also probably not the proper method of jumping and it still didn’t accomplish what I wanted him to do (trot across it).  So, yeah.  We will revisit that later, but it sure was fun to just let him have fun and do what he thought he needed to.  Maybe it’s counter-productive, maybe not… either way, we had fun so that’s what matters.  It didn’t HURT anything, so who cares?

Deep Dark Hole of Death, pictured below:

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#3.  Bareback rides are commonplace for me now.  I mean, if we aren’t going to shows, why should we drag out a bunch of equipment and get all serious if we don’t have to?  We can still learn things without a saddle, so that’s what we’ve been doing.  Afterall, a saddle does affect the communication you have with your horse.  Without it, you can feel their every teensy little movement underneath you, which is REALLY cool.  You can feel your connection with their back and you can see how your seat affects their movement, their mouth, everything.  I happen to love it, so much that I ordered a bareback pad to help keep both Fizzy and us more comfortable when we do this.  I’ll be adding a review on that once I receive it.

That’s it for now, folks.  Stay tuned for some special news about next show season and Cindy and I’s new, what I’m going to call “project awesome” with Fizzy!!!

Sometimes, You Should Just Stay Home!

True story.  Sometimes you can make all the plans in the world, but if the stars align just right and the moon is in a funny position, pigs can suddenly fly but unicorns are stabbing them out of the sky and all kinds of other freaky crap happens.  I have a story to share with you, and it’s a story about how some days you should just listen to the first sign and stay the hell home! Lesson learned, universe!

It was a nice day outside, sunny, not too hot, not too cold, just perfect for the trail riding I had planned with Mary Jo.  Yeah… little did I know, life had some more lessons to teach me.

First of all, I am not sure I shared here the story of Fiz’s”game” with not wanting to come in from the field? Well, he wore a halter for nearly 2 months (until he broke it into several pieces) because at one point this year he decided it was fun to run away at the sight of us, presumably just to laugh at us chasing him down. Since he broke the halter, he hasn’t worn another one and he has been fine to catch, no issues whatsoever for over a month. I decide I’d like to take him trail riding, and arrange to meet Mary Jo for a nice little ride at McNeely Lake Park.  Fiz decides that’s the day to begin another round of the “game” with the running away in the field.  Hilarious, I tell ya (note the sarcasm here).

I go to his field the day of the ride, about 30 minutes before I needed to leave the barn to meet her.  He runs away like a bat out of hell. So, I run him and run him and run him until he’s tired enough to let me catch him. Then, I realized that he’d nicked his front heel with his back foot, and pulled the shoe off his front right hoof. Despite that, it barely bled and he seemed fine, so I decided to load up anyway…. NOTED UNIVERSE, I SHOULD HAVE JUST STAYED HOME.  I get it.  Really, I do.  Note to readers:  It’s all downhill from here.

Fiz and I got to McNeely about 30 minutes late and unload. Well, Mary Jo dropped the butt bar before I unhooked the trailer tie (totally not her fault, I should have had this done) and he tried to fly out of the trailer, getting STUCK by the trailer tie, and then tearing off a piece of the rubber on the side of the trailer by flailing around before I could get him loose. The tie is supposed to be one of those emergency release things, which did not work as intended. EPIC FAIL.

Get him out of the trailer, finally, and again, he’s fine. He seems in good spirits, looking around, acting nice and calm, eating grass, etc. So we decide to see if he would tie. We tied him to her trailer, on the opposite side of her horse, and stood there with him about 10 minutes while he was again, calm, and being good. I decide to go back to the trailer and get his bridle. Well, AS SOON as I walk away, he ran backwards BREAKING the damn lead and GOT LOOSE. At McNeely! REALLY??? He begins running away down the road we came in. At this point I’m thinking “Well, I hope whoever finds you will give you a good home, because obviously I’m never gonna catch you out here in the open.” At this point, I also wanted to cry, felt like I was about to have a heart attack, but didn’t have it in me to give up.  I guess that’s just not in my DNA, as I keep coming back time and again for more, no matter what!

Luckily, I had some grain in a bucket in the trailer, so I go retrieve it to try and coax him back to me. Finally catch him about 10 or so minutes later. At this point it’s like “REALLY, this day is cursed” but we’re already there so might as well keep going.  Finally get saddled up and on the trail… he’s again going along fine and happy like no big deal. Until we hit some places with rocks on the trail, then he proceeds to act as though he is completely crippled on the foot with no shoe. Well that’s terrific. (Again, note the sarcasm here).

So we turn around and head back to the trailers. We were out a little over an hour. He loads FINE. Like no issues at all. Then, Mary Jo’s horse wouldn’t load, and he NEVER has issues! So we finally get both horses loaded and all is right with the world. So I thought.

I get back to the barn, and now he’s managed to get cut up on one of his back legs also. So that’s bleeding everywhere.  I say everywhere, but in all reality it really wasn’t THAT bad.   WHAT THE HELLLLLLL????? And then he won’t back OFF of the trailer! I assume afraid because of what happened at McNeely. Dear sweet baby Jesus please help me! It took about 10 minutes to convince him he could go backwards and step down. The wall of the trailer looks as though all he did was kick at it the entire ride back home. So much for having a sane, normal horse. Or wait, did we ever?  Anyway, I doctored his leg, turned him out, and went home.

I fully expected the next day for him to be super sore, but NOPE!  He was just fine.  His cuts healed in less than 3 whole days and he is perfectly fine now, but we have not since been off the farm.  We have also purchased a set of shipping boots to protect him from those type of cuts in the future.  Hopefully the next adventure is not as… adventurous!  As always, stay tuned for more adventures of Fizzy!

The Show Must Go On

We have a horse show in less than 2 days.  Saturday, the 16th, Fizzy will show in Country Pleasure at the Hardin County Fair. Those of you who care, the show starts at 8pm, we’re in the 12th class, and the address for the fairgrounds is 5617 South Dixie Hwy, Glendale, KY, 42740.  All shameless self-promotions aside, lets move on.

I was going to save this story until after the horse show because I know my loving Mother reads this blog, and you know how Mom’s worry.  I felt this situation to be similar to that time I wrecked my motorcycle days before a horse show and did not tell Mom until after I’d ridden in the show.  I did this to prove that I could function normally,  that I didn’t somehow become a paraplegic due to some scrapes and bruises.  Anyway, she’s been informed, so I guess the rest of you can be too.  Love you Momma!

Here’s the scoop.  Why is it that every time it’s crunch time, it seems like the universe wants to rain on our parade?  I mean, does this kind of crap really happen to other people, or is it just me? First let me begin by saying Fizzy has now been promoted to certified Saint, absolutely the most perfect horse in the universe of all horses.  (This week, anyway.)  Really, I should never speak ill of him ever again, in any capacity, for any reason!

That said, here’s the reason why. We had an accident in the cart Wednesday morning. Before you gasp and go “OH MY GAWWWDDD did you DIE?” No, we didn’t.  We are both just fine, by my definition of the word! Horse unscathed, Human might have walked a little weird for a day. Anyhow, here’s what happened. Coming around a corner in the indoor arena, the cart tumped over.  Yes, I mean, flipped onto its side.  As you can imagine, it’s not easy to sit on a seat that is no longer parallel to the ground, so I bit the dust pretty hard. I’m talking arena sand in my ears, nose, mouth, and pretty much covering my body hard. Probably ate some poop too, but we’re going to pretend that didn’t happen. I admit, picturing how it must have looked playing out, I’m laughing. I am going to assume this happened because of the bent pieces I later discovered while inspecting the cart.  I KNOW it was not previously like this. Despite the hard fall, I was still was able to hold onto the lines by some miracle (rope burned fingers, aside). Dragging the cart, now on its side, I shouted out  “WHOAH” and Fizzy stopped, immediately, and turned and looked at me. He stood perfectly still until I was able to get myself together, stand up, and walk over to put the cart back on it’s wheels and unhook him from it.

He literally could have ripped the cart apart, but he listened to me without a second thought and saved both of us the grief. Thank GOD that horse has a brain, and sometimes uses it! You know, when it counts! It’s one of those things you look back on and say “how in the actual hell did we get so lucky?” when you remember those “driving disaster” videos on YouTube where all hell breaks loose and some crazy equine is running loose, wildly trying to remove the rolling object from its self. Parts flying everywhere, a wheel here, a shaft there, and people scrambling around trying to stop it from further damage while it crashes into anything in its path. In case you haven’t had the luxury of seeing one of these terrifying videos, check this one out:  Driving Class Gone Wrong.  Yeah, thankfully that wasn’t us.  Saint status, yep, Fizzy has earned it.

Anyway, here’s the culprit, I assume… now to figure out how to fix that and get back to business, since we have already established that working Fizzy with the cart more has tremendously helped him! I apologize for the crappy cell phone photos, it’s the best I could do at the time.

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The aftermath:  I’ll spare you photos of my purple hip, so be glad for that.  My wonderful and caring man bandaged me up, politely telling me I should always wear my helmet for any activity, not just riding.  He might be right, but don’t tell him that.  He also laughed (because he knew I was OK), called me “Grace” and commented on how I like to “practice falling down” as he says.  I admit it, I’m not the most graceful person to ever walk planet earth and he’s witnessed a multitude of “mishaps” I’ve had.  A long time ago, he bought me this little plush horse and named it “Bandaid” in reference to my uncanny ability to inflict harm on myself without trying. So what? the show must go on, and we will be out there Saturday night giving it all we’ve got! So come join us in the fun.  🙂

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More Trail Riding!

It has been a few weeks, but I just want to say we took Fizzy trail riding around Seneca Park.  It was loads of fun, even it it was hot as Hades outside!  Fizzy hadn’t been ridden in a few days and thought walking was optional.  He’s a character, with a very backwards mind.  We learned a few things, such as stationary silent objects such as large rocks and gazebos are not OK, they are every reason needed to move sideways, snort, blow, and try to turn around. Loud moving vehicles (fire truck with sirens blaring) doesn’t get a second look or thought. I crack up at his decision making skills, and what he chooses to be afraid of.  None of it ever makes any sense to me!  If only I could see inside his mind and know what he was thinking sometimes.  Nonetheless, he always keeps me entertained.  I do feel like he likes getting away from home to do something other than go to a show, and I anticipate lots more trail riding this fall.  Here are some photos and a short video of our fun in the park!  In the video, you can hear the siren blaring and can tell that this doesn’t even phase him!

American Road Horse and Pony Show

The first horse show of 2016 is in the books.  The first show since Fizzy completed his 30 days of professional training.  Overall, he was much improved and looked terrific.  We have not purchased photos from this show, but we might depending on how the rest of the year goes. They can be seen in this album over at Stevie B Photos: Bluegrass Select 3 Gaited Country Pleasure.  She got a few really great shots of Fizzy and I!  Better than any in previous years, partly because she’s a great photographer and partly because he looks SO MUCH better this year!

Special thanks to my Mom who got these few great shots of us on the rail!

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Things we learned at this show:

1.  Make sure to check, double check, and triple check your tack before you get on.  Malfunctions and oversights happen.  Make sure you’re good before you get on and go warm up.

2.  You have a voice, use it.  If you practice at home in speaking to your horse and giving voice commands, and he executes it perfectly that way, don’t suddenly forget you have a voice when you get in the ring.  Be understanding of why your horse may have been confused on what you were asking.

3.  When the right people are behind you, any loss can feel like a win.  We made it to the show and in the ring with the perfect cheering section, and that’s all a girl can really hope for.

4.  When you get stuck for 2 hours dead stopped on the interstate with a horse in tow, anything is fair game, such as watering your horse with blue Gatorade.  Peeing in a bucket in the horse trailer not excluded, either.

Said Traffic, at least the sunset was pretty:  trafficjam

5. At the end of the long, long horse show days, all that really matters is that you arrive home safely and have a happy horse!

Also a special thanks to Cindy for the video and commentary!

 

3 years

It’s been 3 years today that we brought Fizzy home. So, here’s a video, mostly in chronological order! There’s been a lot of challenges, learning experiences, good times, hard times, fun and frustration. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and wouldn’t want anyone other than Cindy as my co-owner in this crazy horse!

Check out our video here:   3 Years of Fizzy!