Friday, September 26, 2014

Newest Member of the Family

Introducing Nitrox, the newest member of our merry band of misfits.
He has such a cute face
Originally Nitrox came to me from my trainer. She breeds American Sport Ponies and had several youngsters that needed to be started. Nitrox was one of them, the only difference was he ended up being 16.2 hands. She felt he needed to keep growing and fill out before being started and kind of put him on a back burner. Pretty soon he was sitting as a 6 year old, unstarted, gorgeous boy...who had no idea how to canter. She didn't feel like with all the others she had the time to put into him and offered a trade of services.

I was to get Nitrox started under saddle and get him going at our place in exchange for Pilgrim staying free and training at her place. It was a huge financial break for us and gave me a fun project to work on last fall.
First ride out of the arena and in the fields

He was literally one of the easiest horses I have ever started. I was backing him in a round pen after only a handful of days of ground work. After a few weeks we were walking and trotting around a full size arena with no problems.

We ended up having a pretty yucky winter, so I spent the majority of it going back to ground work since I couldn't guarantee that I could consistently ride him. We focused on improving his canter on the lunge and introducing lateral aides. By spring we were ready to get back to work and I knew there was no way I could let him go. I was in love with him. He's big, fancy, and sweet as sugar...although sometimes can be a bit spoiled and lazy. My wonderful hubby bought him for me this spring so now he is officially mine! YAY!!!
Nitrox loves to take selfies and photobomb
nana nana nana nana nana nana......BATMAN!
I took him to a small schooling show this spring just to get him out and let him see the world. He did very well in a new environment and brought home some ribbons. He looked at a few things here and there, but never really spooked. He wanted to call and talk to everyone while lunging and tacking, but once in the arena he was all business.

Summer we spent working on getting him a little straighter, starting to get him to be a little more accepting of contact. He tends to really fight being bent correctly and then starts playing with the bit with his tongue and gets his tongue over the bit. We have tightened up the cheek pieces, tightened his noseband and his flash and the little bugger still does it. I asked my trainer to come out and ride him for me and get her opinion. I was so tickled when she said I had done a wonderful job with him and she loved him. She suggested lunging in side reins for awhile with the inside one shorter to push him out to the outside rein...where he is avoiding going.

So, that's basically where we are right now. I had hopes of showing him this fall, but he goofed around in his pasture when it was slick and injured himself and what we thought would take a week or two to heal has taken close to 6 weeks. He was finally sound this week, and I've put him back in light lunging and will begin light riding next week. Once I'm comfortable he is staying sound we will go back to full work and concentrate on next year's show season.
Nitrox is big on safety...#mindyourmelon

Cowboy Dwight

Dwight has transitioned to homeschooling really well. I find him a bit harder to teach than Faith as he is more of a dilly dallier and not as much of self starter. We still have days where I hang my head wondering if he will EVER finish his work. I definitely see a huge improvement from 3rd grade to 4th grade though, and still can't believe how big my little boy is getting.

He really found his calling at the farm. Dwight is helper extraordinaire, literally managing most farm duties including fence repairs, feeding, groom duties, tack cleaning, trailer maintenance...if it needs to be done he is on it! He also has adopted our paint mare Jazzy as his own. They have an incredible bond and have had two successful years of showing together.

Cutest Cowboy Ever!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pilgrim's Progress

As most will remember, my beautiful Quarter Horse Pilgrim is how this blog all started. Kind of a hot mess of horse with all his own emotional/fear based baggage and our journey into the uncharted territory of Dressage. Slowly we have been working it all out through lots of lessons, training, and clinics with top riders including JJ Tate and Janet Foy. He still is not easy, and he still can have those "moments" that we have now nicknamed a "Pilgrim Moment", but he is becoming a happy and willing partner who really tries. You can't ask for more than that.
Pilgrim at the Kentucky Horse Park

I'm so excited to announce Pilgrim is currently and successfully showing at Second Level with my wonderful trainer on board. He is schooling Third and Fourth Level movements and has even begun work on Piaffe. I couldn't be a prouder horsey momma.
Pilgrim showing off his medium trot in his Second Level Test

We recently returned from the National Dressage Pony Cup in Lexington, KY where Pilgrim...aka Dusters Legacy, won the Champion for Quarter Pony Breed Award. He even got his first 70% at Second Level. He is becoming so fancy! Every time we start to think he can't...he proves us wrong.


 I've taken some time off riding him myself and allowed my trainer to work with him and show him while I focused on improving my riding and starting one of her young horses that I have since purchased. Nitrox, my new 16.2 hand American Sport Pony! But more on him later. Faith actually has plans to ride Pilgrim over the winter under supervision of my trainer and work towards the FEI Pony Test.

It's Been Awhile

More than awhile actually. I knew I totally neglected my blog, but actually didn't realize how bad until I logged in and saw how long it had been.

*Face palm*

I have a real excuse though. I've been busy.

No, like really busy!

STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES! I've been super duper, extra crazy BUSY!

What could possibly keep me so busy?

Our lesson program and show team has grown and almost doubled. I've got consistent horses coming in and out of training. On top of that, we decided to homeschool our two children. No...I swear I'm not crazy.

So how are we doing? Other than busy...really freaking awesome! Now that we've learned and gotten comfortable with our homeschooling curriculum, we all love it. It also allows us the flexibility and time to ride and compete more. It adds a lot to my plate, but honestly I am loving it. I know what my kids are learning and how well they are learning it.

Since I've been away so long, I figured I would post separate updates on how everyone is doing. I'm so excited to share our progress, along with the ups and downs of our journey along the way. So stay tuned!