Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Baby Horse Agenda

I don't know how she puts up with me

Rosie will be two next year and although I intend to send her to a professional for a month in the spring, tell me, what kind of things would you want your baby horse to know by 2? So far we can: be caught, lead, kind of tie, pretend to cross tie, groom, go over tarps, wear shavings bags, tolerate much abuse via bear hugs and squeals of delight.

Now that we are in winter my time at the barn is unfortunately limited to weekends but I still feel like we can get a lot accomplished over the winter. After having "seasoned" horses I can kind of forget what things I need to teach.

Does not care about boy shenanigans 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Baby's First Show

One of the reasons Rosie was "discounted" on her sale price was because she hadn't been registered or inspected yet. My biggest priority for the year was getting her registered, branded, and inspected. Rosie was to be registered with the American Hanoverian Society. I didn't have much experience with the registry so I had to call up to gain some information.
Hay bags are hard, yo

The AHS doesn't do a formal inspection with branding and registration. They do oral commentary on foals presented with the dam, but nothing is scored. However, they do offer a foal futurity for yearlings and two year olds. I wanted Rosie to be branded so we were heading to a registration site anyways, so I figured why not throw her in a foal futurity. I had a little over two months to prepare for the futurity. 

So naturally, what did I do? About nothing. The first month we spent getting to know each other. Then we quickly discovered we would be moving. The registration event was being held two weeks after our scheduled move out date, so the second month was really spent giving her kisses and telling her how much I loved her. After we had all moved, I had two weeks to not make a laughing stock of us at the event. It was too cold to bathe so I focused on in hand work. And by "focus" I mean I had my friend with me ready with a lunge whip, took her out to the arena, gave her some treats for bribery, and practiced trotting in hand. Like the good baby unicorn she is, she happily followed along at my shoulder at whatever gait I was going. I told her she was amazing and the best and knew it would have to suffice. 

After some annoying scheduling drama the night before, I arrived at her farm with about 45 minutes to groom, braid, and load. Luckily I had my friend with me and Rosie's current color looks perpetually dirty. We slapped some braids in fairly easily and she loaded right up in the trailer. We arrived at 2:30 with the event to begin at 3. As soon as we arrived, the host let us know the judges were flying in at 3 and we hoped to be started by 3:30. I took Rosie off the trailer where she quietly gazed at her new surroundings. We opted to go for a quick walk around the farm and into the indoor where the event was held. Rosie was bold yet quiet. She was on alert but nothing startled her. Having never been in a barn or indoor, she acted like it was NBD. We practiced walking and trotting the triangle a few times, which she also didn't care about, then headed back to the trailer to wait. I'm not 100% confident in her tying so we just held her while she ate her hay bag. 
She felt casual about her gaits today, but thats ok

Rosie and I didn't start until 4 that day, and despite having baby brain she held it all together. While not very animated in her gaits, and at an awkward growth stage, her brain really shined bright that day. Everyone commented on her excellent demeanor. She got a pretty fair score for her current condition, and even the judge commented that her stage of growth was her only downfall. The score is just a number and I wanted to weep with pride when everything was said and done. She showed up, put her big girl pants on, and really did her job. I couldn't be happier. 
Lets ignore how she kinda looks like a mule here lol

Monday, October 21, 2019


When I first lead her to the round pen to see her move I felt a warmth radiate from her. She seemed kind and quiet. I let her loose in the round pen and the breeder warned she had never been lunged before. I was curious to see how her brain worked. I raised the lunge whip and she raised an eyebrow back at me. She wasn't flighty. She was curious. She just kind of stared at me until I added more energy. It took a little time to teach her that whip up means go forward. She wasn't intimidated by me or the lunge whip. She really just wanted cuddles and snacks instead of trotting around. I asked her name, "We call her Rosetta." Rosie, I instantly thought. My support group shouted, "Oh my gosh, it's perfect! And your shirt!" I had my dressage "Squad Goals" shirt on that had listed Rosie.

We broke out the grooming box next and she quite contently stood and let me fuss with her. She didn't mind being sprayed, having her feet picked, or anything else in the grooming routine. I was shocked with how well accustomed she was to daily handling; most yearlings can behave but are still ornery. She seemed to enjoy my attention. I took her for a walk around the property and as I headed towards the back the breeder let me know she hadn't been back there before. She was cautiously brave about the new surroundings. When she wasn't sure of something she paused, let her mind digest, and then march forward. When I walked with her I could imagine riding her in the future. She was so quiet yet still had personality. I really liked her. I asked her price and it was reasonable.

I tried to keep myself objective about the situation. I didn't have to buy a horse now. The shirt thing was a weird coincidence. Her being grey was just another random factor. Her brain, movement, and bloodlines were superb for the price, but again, I didn't have to or really need to buy a horse.

I didn't get overly emotional or even express a lot of my dreams for this little grey filly. But after seeing another filly the next day I knew I really wanted her. We spoke about it over margaritas, probably not the best objective drink choice, and we came to the conclusion she had to be mine.

I brought her home July 25th. She cautiously jumped right in the trailer and took the 3 hour journey home no problem. When I unloaded her at the new place she walked off the trailer, took a look around, and turned to me as if to say "ok, now what?" She marched over the bridge and into her new pasture optimistically. She took a small walk around, let the other horses go crazy, and then began to eat her dinner. The sun was setting on a perfect picture complete with a perfect pony. I am so ecstatic and blessed to be able to introduce to you: my Rosie.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Threes - Part 2

Sometimes you aren't necessarily looking for a big change in your life but you just happen to get it anyway. Just like an arrow, life will pull you back so far only to launch you forward. 

I'll miss this 


The first big change was with the horses. I've always had these feelings of needing to move forward but I wasn't quite ready. As you last read, something inside me just set me over the edge. I can't quite explain how I gathered the strength, but I'm sitting here typing this blog post incredibly thankful I had the courage to move forward. I opened a new savings account and began to purge my collection of tack. I was going back down to one horse and didn't need my current collection to outfit 4+ horses. My goal was to be able to save up and buy something in the next few years. I had my moms horse, Vermont, and the generous gift of my friends horse to ride as well in the meantime. I could try and get my life settled (getting married, eventually buying a house, creating a career path) and when I was in a better position mentally, I would have the funds to buy my unicorn. 

I was at a baseball game with my mom one evening telling her my life woes and she encouraged me to look into a young horse. I was shocked, but she must have just been so thrilled I was going to only have one horse again she wanted me to find it sooner rather than later. I begun a casual search. I didn't really have the money I was expecting to need but no harm in some casual internet searches, right? 

I came across an old Facebook ad from a semi-local breeder wanting to sell one of her broodmares. The ad was old and the horse was sold but I was curious and sent them a message being extremely candid about my situation. They told me they had a 2 year old gelding that might work and he wasn't too far outside of my current cash on hand. I ran it by my mom and a close friend. The next weekend, we figured "why not" and took a day trip to the farm for funsies. The gelding was quite sweet but just wasn't quite the right horse for me. We asked if she had any other babies available and she said she had two fillies. The first filly was 2 years old and quite nice, but we just didn't click. Then we went to look at the third filly. Now I distinctly remember when we pulled up to the farm I thought this one foal stood out. But in the wrong way; she appeared red roan from far away and quite petite. I mistakenly assumed she was a quarter horse. When we went to grab the third filly, the breeder stepped past the big bay and went and haltered the red roan looking filly. I was kind of surprised until I realized how dumb I was - she was just a chestnut going grey. She had appeared so much smaller because she was the only yearling on the property. 

She was incredibly sweet and didn't bat an eye at anything I threw at her. She was kind and happy to just hang out. She reminded me a lot of Riesling. She was put together well and had a good brain on her shoulders. I really wanted her to be mine. And the best part? Her name was Rosie.


Work, a financial institution I started at in January, had been stressful for quite some time. We had been short staffed and the team wasn't functioning as cohesively as it needed to. There had been some turnover that made the dynamic change. The loan officer was newly pregnant and found herself staying home more than expected. In this industry, we only have enough people hired that are required. Having her gone frequently and unable to fill other positions made the day to day extremely taxing. One day, the loan officer and my branch manager came to a mutual understanding it just wasn't working anymore for either of them. The loan officer left. At this point I was working as a personal banker. I learned my job quick, however, and was longing for more. There wasn't anything inherently wrong with my position, but I wanted to use my brain a little more. When my loan officer left, I was given an incredible opportunity to take the position. I had been working hard and killing my goals at my current position and was already trying to prep for the next opening. It just happened to come much sooner than I expected. 

I accepted the promotion August 23 and have been really happy ever since. It has been a large adjustment moving to a supervisory role while much younger than my peers. The art of lending will be a long journey to learn as well. But I'm incredibly happy being able to use my analytical skills more. My teammates are incredibly supportive of my move and I find joy in mentoring those I lead. I feel like I am on a path with my career that I will enjoy for awhile and is giving me the growth I need. 


Cheers to the good memories

Between the horse instability and my job, I really needed a break to mentally get back on track. The universe doesn't take suggestions though. My renting struggles were continuing to grow as my commute ate up most of my free time. I knew my fiance and I weren't ready to buy a house and our goal was to start looking after the wedding next June. Regardless, an opportunity arose for us to buy. My parents had been pushing us to buy for awhile and their generosity to make it happen soon obligated us to say yes. 

As of October 1st, the farm life is no more. We moved down the street into a subdivision and I'm still struggling with the change. I'm incredibly happy and grateful for the chance to buy my own home, don't get me wrong, but it is a huge change. Packing up the tack room was one of the most emotionally exhausting tasks for me. Every piece of tack I hadn't sold yet held memories. I remembered first bringing Riesling home to the first farm. I remembered moving all the horses into the fancy new place. I remembered happy, fun, or even scary times with the horse that last wore the item. It refreshed my feelings of loss and grief between all the horses that had crossed my path. My life had suddenly done a 725 degree turn  (it got real crazy, ok?) in all sorts of directions I wasn't expecting.

I'm encountering the biggest first world problem and I feel guilty for my feelings. Here I should be so happy for this incredible future I'm about the build, and yet I'm still struggling to move on from the past. To accept what happened, happened. An era ended before I expected it to. I have so many wonderful things going for me, I'm just not quite settled from dust. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Threes - Part 1

There were three and then there were none. 

I knew very early on that Z was not a forever horse for me. He had the best brain and I adored him but I knew I ultimately wanted something nicer for dressage. I knew if I wanted to accomplish my dream of becoming the best dressage rider I could I would need to move on from him. I was incredibly lucky in that his perfect home popped out of nowhere. I scrolled through Facebook one evening and saw a friend of mine was in the market for a young warmblood. I reached out to her and she was able to see the lovely young horse through the fuzzy coat and lack of topline. She came out to see him and despite his long winter off of work, she shared the same vision I had for him. She brought him home and they have been absolutely lovely to watch grow together. They work so well as a team and my heart is so full being able to watch their journey together. I have peace knowing he went where he was supposed to go.


Merlot makes me the saddest. I always felt like the way I found this horse was destiny, but I was just forcing a bad accident (broken foot) into fate. I truly think this was one of the nicest built and moving horses I have ever owned. After Z, I knew I needed to move on from Merlot too. When I first thought about buying him I was riding multiple horses a day and my trainer was generating a new confidence in myself that I didn't naturally have. I have spoke about before how I have a history of fear with horses. But she helped me conquer that. She made me successful on horses I would otherwise never agree to ride. I saw Merlot's greenness as a chance to prove that I was finally a confident rider at heart and I had the determination to take him to his full potential. But when I got him home and I had the opportunity to buy Mae and ride Evita, I realized I didn't have the time or energy to put into four horses. Merlot was really the horse that needed the most consistent work to get over his baggage and as my time slowly slipped away from me, I realized I didn't have the time to put into him. I really thought and still do think he is going to be a spectacular horse. But I was put into a position where I couldn't afford to keep him in full training with the intent to sell. So I gave him back. And now, my heart still hurts. 


And then I was left with one. I absolutely love Mae. When I first saw her my heart melted. I mean I always thought Merlot was beautiful, but this horse was something else. When I looked at Mae I just dreamed of one day being able to own such a beautiful mare. The opportunity to buy her was my dream come true. This was a beautiful mare that had decent breeding and training. She already had a show record. Her suspensory injury seemed like a speed bump in the road. I wanted to be her forever home. I thought if I couldn't keep her sound enough to ride, I would at least be able to breed her. As I brought her back into work she made it clear that she wasn't quite done healing yet. But at this point I loved her. I figured I would give her a year off and try breeding. I had some money saved up and thought she would really make excellent babies. I tried to breed her unsuccessfully three times. At this point my "splurge" money was well spent and I would have to save up again before I could breed. I really do feel breeders need to be prepared and responsible for any vet bills that can come there way, and even though my breeding was paid for, I didn't have the necessary cushion to continue if something were to go wrong. I wasn't too worried though, I figured I would bring her back into work. I had absolutely adored riding her before. But her baggage came up in full mare glory. After we worked through it, I felt like Amy from Heartland. But then another day and another mare-titude would hit and my confidence was shaken more. After Z and Merlot I knew I would always keep one horse. But I couldn't help but long for a fresh start. A horse like Z with no baggage but was a little fancier. I felt guilty. Here I had a beautiful horse that I had once dreamed of owning and yet I was kind of afraid of her. I was rattled from some past experiences with her and couldn't seem to shake them when I swung my leg over her back. A friend of mine has always expressed interest with her and one day I let go of my emotions and realized I had to be done. Shes been thriving with my friend and I knew I made the right decision. 

But even though there were none it didn't have to be the end.