Midsouth Pony Club HT-Part 1

This past weekend was Midsouth Pony Club Horse Trial at the KY Horse Park (I know I should venture out more, but I really love the KHP).  This event is #2 for favorites-mainly because of the organizers but also because the courses are always challenging, but fun to ride. I also have a soft spot for this horse trial because it was my first ever USEA event in 2015.

Midsouth PC also runs their Novice with dressage/XC on Saturday and Stadium on Sunday, so I was really excited to see how Marcus took to the change.

Friday night we had flash flooding-I usually ignore The Weather Channel but this time, they actually called it. So, cue in panic mode for the footing for XC.

Saturday morning I loaded M up and headed over to set up, walk my course and braid. I walked the XC course and only panicked about 3 jumps- the #2 table, the corner and the half coffin. Not bad really. The footing for the most part was okay, so I relaxed about that. But we did have a few extra water crossings on course.


This looks so much smaller in pictures

Dressage was not perfect but a big improvement from May Daze. We still have places where we need work (i.e. the B-E and E-B change of directions and his “SQUIRREL!” moments) but our circles were round and our transitions were pretty relaxed. My goal was below a 35, and we ended up with a 35.3 to put us 5th of 17.

I walked XC with my trainer once she got done judging and we talked about a plan for the jumps that were making me nervous. She suggested avoiding one of the water crossings because it was rushing water (you could take an indirect route from 7B to 8 to avoid it) and we made a plan. I got tacked up and headed down.

I think M was a bit confused but warmed up perfectly, and they asked me to head to the box a few rides early with only a 30 second count down.  No turning back now.

Fence 1 was a simple log and he jumped it no problem, then we headed through the gap and out to the outfield. He was locked on until we hit our extra water #1 right in front of the #2 Produce Stand table that made me want to puke. Not wanting to get muddy, I growled and kicked and we jumped it. The corner was #5 which we had planned to jump dead center, but alas my fearless eventing partner was too busy spooking at the flower and we jumped it right of center.

The middle of the course flowed really well even though we were conservative on pace-there were a few places where the footing was just so so in the outfield so I figured a sound horse was better than time faults.

Fences 14-17 were back in the infield. Fence 14 was a large roll top, then 5 or so strides to the half coffin. He took a flier at 14, so in a moment of panic I yelled “WHOA” then I had to growl because he peaked at the ditch. It worked out great, and we went on to jump the last two fences and finish 6 seconds under optimum time. We moved up to 4th after that double clear.

He’s so darn cute on XC. Why did we waste so many years in the hunter ring?
Oh that’s right, because I’m a chicken shit.




© Xpress Foto 920-619-8765
Minor disagreement about pace..
Maybe my favorite picture of M ever

MSEDA 2016 End of Year Awards Dinner

This past Saturday was the Mid-South Eventing and Dressage Association annual meeting and awards dinner.  Instead of a speaker, the Board decided to do an open forum including “100 ways to get eliminated”. As a relative newbie to the eventing world, I found this super useful! The two speakers went over all of the terms we usually lump together for “eliminated” including RF, W, MR, DQ. We got to ask questions and discuss rules, tack, and behavior. I hope they do it again next year.

Marcus and I did pretty well this year!

First, I got my USEA Area 8 Adult Amateur 6th place ribbon (we missed the Area 8 awards dinner because of weather). I’ve never won any type of regional or national award so this was super exciting. I am still in shock!

We ended up 1st in Senior Starter CT, 2nd in Senior Starter HT and 5th in Senior Beginner Novice CT. Not too shabby considering we moved up in June.

I was also awarded a $500 educational grant from MSEDA to be put towards lessons.  The Board said that since I came from a unique background and I wrote about my struggles with the transition, they chose me. In return I am supposed to document my progression in a blog they will feature. I feel super lucky!

Baby’s first show!

Frankie went to his first horse show this weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park. My expectations were low as he has only been off my property a few times and he hasn’t been ridden with a lot of horses since the track, but he blew us away with how good he was!

I had Laura, the young pro who helps with him, show him as I wasn’t sure how he would be (she has a velcro butt) and I didn’t think that with my show  nervousness  I would give him the positive ride he needed.

Friday I hauled him over to school in the covered arena since he had never been in there before and hasn’t been in an indoor since I bought him. I threw him on the lunge for a few minutes and he was quiet, so Laura hopped on. He was rock solid and hacked around the small warm up, then she took him to the arena and walked and trotted around. He took it all in stride. I could not have asked for better! Back on the trailer and home we went.

Hanging out like a show horse

Saturday I brought him over and let him eat his breakfast in his stall. Then we went for a walk down to the arena and we hung out and watched. He was nervous but never once acted out. I had planned to lunge him, but the footing in the ring outside was terrible and I felt it wasn’t worth the risk. Laura hopped on and I held my breathe. Frankie warmed up great-nervous but calm.

Taking in the warm up
Ignore the cuts. Some one is still a wee bit nervous on the trailer alone…

He did Intro A and Intro B. Kept his cool the whole time, even when the horse next to him was exploding. There were some baby moments, but he was FANTASTIC! I couldn’t believe how good he was!

Intro B:

The two Intro classes combined and he got a 4th for his A and 3rd for his B with respectably scores in both. The judge came up to me later and told me how good he was for a baby and that she though he was going to jump great based on how he was built and how he moves.

Baby’s first ribbons!!

Lots of carrots and hugs for baby horse! Can’t wait until the next show.

Barn Building 101-Part 2

In the past week we’ve been working on getting the barn ready for my horses to move in this week. While the general structure was complete and the arena had footing, we still quite a list including fencing, water, and concrete.


We chose to have one main water spicket in the barn and placed in near the grooming stall. This way we can run a hose to water all of the stalls and out the back door for the wash stall. In the pastures, we installed Mirafont automatic waterers. The water lines were dug 36” deep (our frost line is 24” I believe). Obviously we need a bit of reseeding around the waterer.


In the tack room we had a line for a utility sink and for a washer installed in the one corner. We have an extra washer and dryer from the old house and wanted the hookup option.

IMG_2228 - Copy


For the pastures, we installed Kentucky 3 board. While I would have loved to have put in 4 board, we just couldn’t justify the added cost at this time. We divided the back acreage into a smaller paddock and a larger pasture with a run in shed. Eventually we’d like to make a small dry lot to the right of the small paddock but that will have to wait until the dirt pile is moved.


For the ring we did a 4’ 3 board fence with one board placed on the bottom to prevent the footing from running out. Because it sat for a bit we do have places where we need to add additional footing, but that will come with time.

Finally they installed posts for our wash stall and composted bins. We actually ended up getting these for free because they messed up several parts of our pasture and yard fence (nothing that we couldn’t live with).


To keep the mess down, we opted to concrete the 12×60 aisle way, a 12×12 grooming stall and our tack room. In order to do this, they dug out several inches of the base which we then used to fill and level stalls. While they were there, we also had them pour a 10×10 slab out back for a wash stall and two 6×6 bases for compost bins behind the barn.


And a little touch of love (Marcus’s front right shoe)


Ideally this dirt area around the barn of the barn and near the wash stall will be gravel some day (hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m over this mud).



Compost Bins

I love to garden as a hobby, so we opted to compost our manure. Or at least give it a try. We already have a small composter for our house hold food waste that is by the house but obviously needed something larger for the horses. Chris found plans to make compost bins online and we planned to make two:


Our fencing company wouldn’t install square posts, so we did round. They are still in progress, so I will have to update later but we plan to add 2×2 to each post to be able to add and remove boards from each side. Since we don’t currently have a tractor to mix the piles, we will use PVC pipes to add air. It will be a bit of a trial run to see how quickly we fill each bin and if we need to build another.

IMG_2229 - Copy

So what’s left? Inside the barn, we need to put the finishing touches on the stalls like hardware and installing stall mats and insulate and finish the tack room. Outdoors we need to put up arena lights and gravel a driveway and trailer parking area to near the barn.

Our new furry mouse traps

Chris and I were in the barn a few weeks ago moving pallets around before we got a load of hay. All of a sudden he jumped and yelled “I think I just saw a mouse!”

Proceed with a 5 minute discussion of how he couldn’t believe we had a mouse already.

My only response “Well, at least it wasn’t a rat.”

Needless to say, soon after that he started asking about a barn cat.We called the local humane society which has a barn cat program, but they only had feral cats. I figured it could be an option, but really we wanted something a bit more approachable. Last Friday, I got put in contact with a group that was trying to place about 12 barn cats seized from a property a couple counties away. I didn’t think much of it and told the girl I would be interested in one or two friendly barn cats if they needed homes. She called me back and said “Are you familiar with the Maria Borrell case? These cats are from that farm”. I told her I needed to talk to Chris and called him and explained to him what that meant and before I knew it I was making arrangements with someone to get the two cats that night.

So meet Charles (cause he’s in charge) and Joanie. Charles is really friendly and had to have been a dumped house cat. Joanie is a bit more standoffish but I think she will come around. She looks like a kitten but shes an adult, so clearly her nutrition was lacking early on. Right now they are camping out in our tack room until they get used to our place. I may lock them up a little longer because they are going to harvest tobacco next door and I don’t want them roaming with the tractors running.





Baby’s first lesson

Marcus tossed a back shoe on Friday night and my farrier goes to the lake on the weekends, so I called to cancel  my Sunday lesson. Ms trainer suggested I come take a lesson on Frankie, so baby horse stepped in for his big brother!

All I can say is wow! In two weeks of training at Julies, he has learned so much. He now (mostly) stands when you get on which is a huge difference from when I first tried him and he would walk away. He stands quietly on the cross ties though if you leave him too long, he will turn himself around and look out the other door out of boredom.

I didn’t have a bridle to fit his baby face, so Julie worked him on a lunge for the first two days after he arrived at her place. Then she got bored and decided to ride him around in a rope halter to teach him how to move off your leg and seat.

Western trick pony:

Julie’s theory with babies is that you practice something they know, then you teach them something new, then you go back to something they know to boost their confidence and end on a good note. Since it was my first time lessoning on him, she just worked with me to teach me how to ask him to do the things he knows. So we worked on walking with contact, and trotting with contact. Then we did a few 20m circles, working on correcting his body and head when he had a baby moment. Transitions are hard for me on both horses because I drop contact, so we worked a bit on walk trot downward transitions. My issue is that when I ask, I don’t keep enough of a feel and when his head goes up, instead of keeping contact and adding leg, I open my fingers.

We also worked on lengthening and shortening at the walk from my seat. That was amazing! If you let your hips follow the movement, he would lengthen. Then if you tightened them up a bit, he would shorten. Such a smart baby!!


Julie was absolutely giddy over how he was. She went on and on gushing about how great he was doing and how smart he is. She also called my friend to brag about him to her. Feels SO good to have a trainer who adores my horses and really appreciates the little things in a baby’s training. Based on the improvements in the last two weeks, I am really looking forward to seeing how Frankie develops. If he keeps this up and has the same attitude, he is really going to be something special.

One pooped baby: