Saturday, March 27, 2010


This, my friends, is horse poo. This is horse poo in the outdoor riding area at the stable I take lessons at. After agreeing to the glamorous position of stable-bitch, I have activated my radar to find and gather horse puckey. Yes, horse puckey. I like saying it, it has a nice snappy sound to it.

So, Thursday, I didn't have a lesson, just stable duty. My teacher is going on vacation and I've been so disgustingly busy at work that I put my lesson off for a couple of weeks. I got there, and there wasn't anyone in the arena, no one visiting their horses, and none of the stable owners...just a quiet, sunset filled barn with the soft sounds of horses, birds, and fresh air. I cleared my head and realized I had work to do. I mentally went over everything I had been instructed to do, and took a quick survey of who was in a stall and which ones needed to be cleaned. Well....remember, I'm GREEN.... I wonder if there was a hidden camera, because it would've been hilarious to watch....even play a drinking game to.

Big Green Girl's HorsePuckey drinking game rules:

  • Take a drink of whatever you're having for every time BGG says, "hi horsie!"
  • Take a shot for every trip BGG takes to confirm her duties on the bulletin board. (I was so worried I'd forget something)
  • Take a shot for every trip BGG takes with the wheelbarrrow for more hay. (This will be many, considering she kept losing count of how many flakes she needed and for which horse)
  • Turn around in a circle while staring at the floor for the number of times she didn't put the shavings fork within reach.
  • If you're not passed out by now, you're not human.
Suffice to say, I had fun- as I have said before, cleaning around horses is very calming and fulfilling....though I do wish one of those horses were my own.....I feel like a student who is waiting for a master to tell me, "Ah, yes, Grasshopper, now you are ready for your own horse." But really, is anyone really absolutely ready?

When you got your first horse (assuming you have one) were you ready??

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Horse Poo!!!

I didn't blog Thursday, since I technically didn't have a least not one on horseback!

I'm going to be doing some stall cleaning and feeding for my teacher, so we needed to go over the do's and dont's before she leaves on vacation. So, I learned how to clean a stall!!

This may not be exciting for anyone who's grown up around horses, but remember, I haven't been around horses! At least, I've been around horses in a very limited manner.... one of my co-workers thought I was crazy for wanting to clean up after "stinky animals", so I put it into perspective. If you're someone who is into car racing, and one of the car racing teams you love so much asked you to push a broom around the shop just for the opportunity of being there, would you?
Well, most people would say, "Sure! That'd be fun!"
So, I said, "oh please may I?"

And you know, there's an odd "zen" experience to be had when mucking out stalls. It's quiet, there are birds chirping, the general sounds of the horses, their breathing, the satisfaction of cleaning, making something good again, and the serenity of just being in the barn. And there's the occasional visit from a barn cat, or sometimes moving a horse from one place to another, and it all comes together and is very mind soothing.

So, I am now a "stablebitch". See, the old term was stable boy....but I'm not a boy. Maybe I should change the name of my blog?

Ok, and for today's lesson-

I worked more on directing Forrest around the arena, and I learned how to "post a trot". That means you're sort of standing and sitting alternating with the rise and fall of the horse's gait- it sort of gives you a specific rhythm when they're trotting so you're not bouncing around like a sack of potatoes. Then we took a short jaunt around the corrals to practice stopping and going. It was super warm today, so I actually worked up a sweat!!

I did way better tacking up and un-tacking, and I'm really getting the hang of basic horse language- I've definitely gotten more comfortable moving around them.

I also started thinking about a horse of my own....ok, when did I ever stop thinking about a horse of my own?!?

I can't wait for the day that I can be an independent rider- to be able to drive up, get my own horse, groom it, tack up, and go for a ride. I am sort of leaning on the idea of a prison-trained BLM horse... but I know I've got a long way to go.

So antsy!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I won I won!!

Well, dressagerider over at Confessions of a Struggling Dressage Rider picked lil ole me for a Beautiful Blogger award!!! How cool is that?!?!?
Here's how it works...I have to tell you 7 things about myself that you may not know. AND, I get to pass this award on to 15 other blogs.

First, the things you may not know about me:

1. I am a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. I started a blog about it a while ago, but I didn't feel comfortable exposing the stories of the families I serve, and the process of embalming out of respect for people who have to face death unwillingly.
2. Mickey and Minnie Mouse attended my wedding. The wedding picture of me and that pretty black horse was taken at the Disneyland Hotel, where the service was held. And yes, they were there!!
3. I love greyhounds! I have 2 greyhounds and 1 italian greyhound. The big ones were rescues from Golden State Greyhound Adoption. They were the best dogs to bring into our family.
4. I collect antique books- one of my favorites has "horse remedies" in it, it's from 1886, called "Cures for Man and Beast".
5. I was a member of FFA when I was in High School. My project was raising Mini Rex rabbits for show.
6. I was a small animal Veterinary Technician before I worked in Funeral Service.
7. One of my first jobs was being the Easter Bunny at the local mall.

Now....for the 15 blogs who I think are awesome!! I'd put Confessions of a Struggling Dressage Rider up here, but I'm not sure I'm allowed to tag back...

1.  Fugly Horse of the Day- Her "tell it like it is" attitude is refreshing.
2. Tacky Tack of the Day- Being a member of the self proclaimed "Fashion Police", this speaks to me.
3. Riding Aside - All about a rider who rides sidesaddle on a beautiful Saddlebred.
4. Geekwithahorse - Well written blog of a man and his Belgian
5. Our First Horse - Blog of a family who decided to get a horse- all of their experiences are here.
6. Equus Girl Adventures - Hilarious and heartfelt blog of a horse lover
7. Not So Humble Pie - Not horse related, but this is one beautiful baking/cooking blog.
8. I am Boyfriend - Tales from the perspective of a beautiful horse...wonder how he types?
9. BitchCakes- Not horse related, but one of my weight loss inspirations!
10. The Jumping Percheron- Being partial to draft horses, this is one blog I make sure to read!
11. HorseyPants-  Another of my favorites.
12. Brays of Our Lives - As I have found blogs about horses, Bartholomule is teaching me about mules.
13. Horse Laughs- A blog of horse jokes!
14. It's Really a Long Way Down- Fugly Horse of the Day's other blog, about training and horsey life.
15. HighMountain Horse - A blog of Guest Ranch owner, her thoughts and experiences.

I'll be back for the next episode of "She didn't fall off!!" Thursday....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lesson 4, The Freedom is Mine!!

At tonight's lesson, I dragged the Husband along with me, to be my papparazzi. I got tired of putting up others' photos, and thought it'd be nice to prove I can haul my cookies onto the back of a horse. Unfortunately, husband failed. He whined about not having a flash on the iphone and that the camera we'd brought along wasn't working properly. next day lesson I'll have him take more photos. Ugh. At least I got one....this was during the "follow the leader" part of the night.

As the riding portion of the lesson was starting, I looked up, and my husband was smirking at me as I talked myself into mounting Casper. I talk myself through alot of things in front of the horses. This is my basic mounting speech:

"Ok, get on the mounting block. Stand up straight, put foot in stirrup, pointing to the left. Now swing right leg up and over horse quickly, but gently, and down. Now go."

Keep in mind, this whole thing is said aloud, while I'm standing on the mounting block, not moving a single bit. Just standing, telling myself what I expect my body to do.....not sure if it helps or not, but I sound darn confident when I'm chatting it up. Even on the "now go" part, I still haven't moved. I'm sure my teacher thinks I'm a nut.

I learned about moving the horse on the ground with body language, commands, and touch, how to back him up, move his rear over, and move his front over. I don't feel like I'm getting the body language thing down. My husband said it looked like I was overthinking it by way too much. I'm way too worried about which way I'm supposed to face that I end up confusing the horse in the process.

As soon as I did all of the motions correctly, I mounted up (after my mounting speech, of course), and I was given the reins. I started off by following my instructor, which was easy, since the horse naturally wanted to follow her, but it was good for me to get used to putting the reins in the correct position.

After a few circles around the arena, she stepped back, and I was free to maneuver my horse anywhere I pleased....What freedom!!!

It was only walking, and my horse, being a lesson horse, made everything way too easy, but the feeling of working as a team with a horse was awesome. We turned in every different direction, practiced stopping, starting, and turning.

I got all proud of myself- my teacher said I look really balanced in the saddle. I feel balanced too, I don't feel like I'm going to slip off, and I don't feel nervous on a horse either, so I hope learning groundwork gets better, since I hope to have a horse someday.

Oh, Trivia Answer!!

What's the difference between a horse and a pony?

In some cases, ponies are under 14.2 hands or less, and horses are more, but it's also about ancestry and breed, since some horses are shorter just like people are shorter or taller.

WikiAnswers says this, "Different ancestry, living conditions, and conformations. However, the technical distinction relates to height. Anything measured 14.2hh and under is considered a pony anything measured 14.3hh and over is a horse.
However there are anomolies. For example a in the game of polo all equines are referred to as 'ponies' regardless of their size or breeding."

Oh, and a "hand" is 4 inches. So if a horse is 15 hands, he's 60 inches tall "at the withers", which means that's how tall the highest point of a horse's shoulders are, which is that spot right behind the mane...sometimes there's a bump there. 

Till next week, happy riding y'all!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's too nice out!

Waking up this morning, the birds chirping, the sun's just too nice to stay inside! I dragged the husband out of the house, we rode our bikes the 2.2 miles to the coffee shop, and had a nice breakfast. I surfed CraigsList on my phone, looking dreaming about horses for sale.

I know, I know!! I'm not ready for ownership!!'re like the thousandth person to tell me that....and that there's no such thing as a free horse. That I know too. But hey, it doesn't hurt to dream right? Besides, there wasn't anything on it in my area that was a good match.

Oh, but the main point of today's post- we got back from breakfast, and I got sucked in by my horse blogs. You know, blogs from people who actually know what they're doing (or at least know way more than I do), and people that actually HAVE horses.

Well, I figured I'd start to share some resources for my reader (I know there's at least one!) just in case you were wondering what other horsie bloggers are up to.

So here's the first of many a link I'll share with you-

Tacky Tack of the Day : Yes, apparently bad fashion runs in the horse world too...who knew? This blog is hilarious! While I'm still learning what the parts of a saddle even are, this is a great blog to see the "oh no you didn't!" pieces of tack, and is funny at the same time.

I'll throw more links up to other blogs every now and then, but for now, I'm going to go find something to do!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lesson numba 3...and what's a blog carnival??

Well this evening I had my third lesson. Sigh...I love getting home from the ranch and having all of the animals in the house perplexed by the smells on my boots.

But first! We interrupt your regularly scheduled coverage to bring you- A blog carnival!! What's that, you ask? It's basically a cool way to expose a blog to more readers- and a great way to discover some cool blogs. Well, my first lesson post made it into the March edition of the Carnival of Horses!!  Click on the link to see a list of all of this month's blogs, there are a ton of interesting ones, including mine...heh. I know I'm glad I found the carnival, since it gives me plenty of horsie stuff to read.

Back to the exciting lesson show now:

Tonight started out with a grooming/tacking up refresher on a little pony named Scout. Why a little pony for a big girl? Easy- to make it easier to reach and easier to put tack on/take tack off. I wasn't going to ride him, just practice on him. Why make it easier? Well, because the horse I was scheduled to ride, Forrest, is very tall- I'm not sure how tall he is, but I know he's a thoroughbred, and I couldn't see his withers. I'm 5' 4", so that's not really saying alot, but having a review on a small horse certainly made things easier.

I groomed the little pony, had a refresher on the correct way to attach the girth, and how to make sure I have it on the correct setting. I kept getting confused as to which way the straps were supposed to go- I don't like feeling turned around or backwards, so I hope it clicks in my brain soon. I'm sure once I do it regularly it'll become second nature.

Then once I had reviewed that information, we put the little guy away, and I noticed there was a horse running loose in the arena. I pointed it out to my teacher, and she said, "Yep, that's Forrest. You're going to learn how to catch a horse too!"

Now, remember that one friend I have with a horse? When she needs to catch her horse, all she does is walk up to the gate and call for her, and the horse just ambles up all nice and happy. I was quite concerned that this scenario wasn't going to play out like that.

However, I have an awesome teacher, who would never put me in a bad situation, and this horse being a seasoned lesson horse, immediately walked up to the gate of the arena as soon as he saw us, and stood calmly while I haltered him. Whoo- crisis averted!

We led Forrest to the tie up area and I groomed him for our ride, and we saddled him together. My teacher put a hackamore bridle on him, which is a bridle that doesn't have a bit. I guess it can be just as harsh as something that goes in a horse's mouth, but since we were doing lunging on him, I wasn't pulling on the reins anyway.

We worked on my foot positions, my posture, and my body cues. Basically, you give verbal and non verbal signs to the horse to show them what you want them to do. If they don't do it, then that's when you employ the reins and/or your leg cues. So I learned that by settling my weight into the saddle, taking in a deep breath, and moving my feet slightly would stop the horse. It's amazing to me as a new rider how much you can do with so little movement.

After lunging for a while, she gave me an option; Either have complete control on him and learn how to direct him myself, or let her continue lunging him and go faster....oooh...faster!!

Yeah, can you guess what I picked? So she talked to me about the different gaits of a horse, and what my options as a rider were with a trot. She explained that one could simply sit on the horse and bounce along, or post, where you rise up and down with the beat of the gait, or raise up on the stirrups while the horse is trotting. For tonight, she had me stay in the saddle, bouncing along like a sack of green jello.

It was a little unsettling at first, but I gradually gained enough balance to let go of the saddle and bounce along without feeling unbalanced.

But one thing:

Mah butt will hurt tomorrow methinks.

I managed a pretty good dismount- or so my teacher said, and we completed the untacking routine.

I am noticing, with each lesson, that I get more comfortable around the horses, and using my body to give the horses direction on the ground is becoming less of a conscious thought. I think I'm learning the language!!!

Ok, so trivia- answer will be posted next week-

What's the difference between a horse and a pony??

Tune in next time for the answer, and remember, training is good for both horse AND rider!!