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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I told myself if I finished my Mechanics of Materials Homework I'd make a journal for Nick. Well the homework is done so here we are.

Nick is a 9 or 10 year old Arabian/ German Riding pony. He's about 14 hh give or take an inch, but hes not big by any means. He is however round. so round.

A brief history:
in 2015 i finished Highschool and moved to MT for school. I found a dressage barn in dillon and though broke, the Barn owner and trainer agreed to let me ride Nick and a few others since she was trying to sell him. I'd visited the school over spring break before I graduated, bought a lesson from her, and rode a little paint mare of whom the best that can be said is that she was a very compliant potato with legs. after the lesson, the trainer suggested I come the next day and just ride her little arab cross gelding. I said alright.

the next day I showed up and was told he was in the far pasture and that he was hard to catch. Lo and behold, I caught him in moments (a trend that has NOT continued, you practically have to go rope the ****** to get him in) and brought him in. tacked up with a saddle too narrow and a bit and bridle probably best meant for a shetland. "Nicolas" was not high on her list of horse priorities. At 14 hh he was too small for most riders and as I would come to find out he had a nasty habit of bolting and dumping riders.

I learned later from a friend who boarded there before me that the trainer herself had ridden him once after he'd been started, and he took off at a bolt, bucked and bucked then she slid off and beat his face with a crop. He probably deserved what he got- but irregardless its no way to train a horse. after her, shed had several riders try and stick him, but he dumped and intimidated most.

at the time, I knew none of this. he was a round dumpling, with a face like an upset but cute toddler and cute little ears. I thought he was wonderful. I led him to the arena, and I dont lunge, because I often find it a waste of time on broke horses, so i lead him up to the mounting block and hop on. The trainer is sitting on her FEI type horse and will be riding at the same time.
I get one leg over and my butt into the tack when he explodes. Nick is actually an unimpressive bucker, though he is a committed one when he feels like it- especially then. No funky twists or jumps, just a bit of a hump to the back, and a head and neck buried between his forelegs. At the time, I had been riding a lazy TB, back home, who had a similar habit when asked to work so i applied the same technique I used with him to Nick- Kick the crap out of them until they stop bucking and open up into a gallop and then wait for them to stop. 'cause you know- my leg means forward... its a training technique. Step one worked great. Step 2 lasted about 20 minutes. Once in a gallop, Nick was thrilled. He has no bottom and is always thrilled to run. The trainer- schooling in the middle of the ring while we tore racetrack laps around just laughed and called "Yeah just canter him out for a bit, he hasnt been ridden in 6 months!" which would have been lovely information to know BEFORE i got on. But hindsight is 20/20.

When we finally slowed down and I got to try walk and trot I was smitten. His trot was powerful and floaty. It was the second most quality gait I'd ever sat (the first being a 4yo warmblood I worked for about a year during my junior year of highschool) Unfortunately talent was not organized, he was a snaky, fat, undermuscled mess. he leaned something horrible (still does a little bit) and was so dropped in the back it was ridiculous. I thought he was incredible.

I left the barn that day with my mom thinking- that was the best horse I think Ive ridden, it's too bad I could never buy him, I think he could take me up the levels. At the time, the idea that I would buy a horse was taboo.

Fall came, and I excercised and trail rode him as much as possible, I met my best friend and her QH gelding at that barn and we rode together all the time. I helped her a little with her QH who was 4 and green and she kept us company on the trail- that was full of terrifying things for a dainty flighty arabx. It was lovely. The trainer was okay. I didnt ride lessons with her often, because she was very busy, but shed give us pointers. They were not bad lessons. I do not agree with some of her techniques- half halts that were so much jerk on the mouth it was upsetting to get a collected canter. But she had ridden grand prix, so I listened and learned what I could and tossed out what I didnt like or didnt agree with. Looking back, I think I could have known that she was never going to make us what I wanted to be, but i was blinded by infatuated pony eyes and this was my one source of "horse"

It was february when I bought him, I was 18, I called my parents. there was a week of drama. and in the end I coughed up $6000 for a relatively green pony that I had done most of the training on. It happened like this. A woman came and tried him, wanted to buy him, and I couldnt bear to part with him. so I paid too much but had a pony. I have mostly come to peace with this.

I boarded there a little while longer, but it was $250 for pasture board, so in short form we moved twice and eventually I ended up out at my boyfriend's parents ranch paying $50/month to board. This worked well and gave me the opportunity to make my horse 'grow up' Ranch life is wonderful for horses. Long days in the saddle, somehow enough miles to gallop that even he got tired. His brain matured. he got quieter on the trail, quieter in his being and we were able to address some of his issues. The dressage however was hard, and he struggled in a way that didnt make sense so I mostly ignored it, decided he needed to just get his feet under him and we rode the mountains and the hills for a few years.

I transferred schools, discovered horse chiropractics when one was brought out to the barn I boarded at, and promptly sold my favorite saddle because the chiropractor said it didnt fit. He was right. I rode bareback for 7months and about 3 weeks ago finally got a saddle that fit us both- a stubben Laurus wide tree.

I am at MTech for school and Nick will be joining me this weekend. which I am very excited for. The plan is to push him. To up his grain and protein intake, to trot eight million cavaletti, get him to move upright, gain control of his flying changes, and get good at laterals. I hope that recording rides and progress on this journal will help us achieve this goal. There are some incredible insightful people on this forum and its as far as I can tell the most supportive horse community ever.

okay. pictures of pony dearest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well we have wheels. Yesterday myself and a friend drove to Billings to look at a one horse trailer. It's a four hour drive. We we're taking a recently borrowed (I am going to buy it) Chevy trailblazer. We get there, and though it is not a young trailer it had minimal rust, solid shackles and springs and a straight axle. The owner also had just put new tires on it because she wanted to send the college kid home with something reliable. The floor was solid, and after cleaning out a wasps nest we headed out. We swung by a jiffy lube to grease the bearings, got free service and an education on bearings and how to check them and then we drove back to Dillon. Haven't put the horse in it yet, so we shall see. But that's always something that can be worked on if it doesn't go so hot.
 

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Your Nicky purchase sounds like when I bought my old Lucky. He was 2 and sweet as could be but not going to be a great school horse so the trainer wanted to sell. She had a lady come out to try him but asked me to ride him to demo what he knew. I didn't like the lady and no way, no how was she getting that horse. I made him buck (he never had and never did again) and rear (same story) and got him to "bolt" with me. Ok, it was a credible hand gallop but I leaned way back and flapped my legs and arms and generally acted terrified. She never even got him. Score! Then the trainer pulled me aside and told me in no uncertain terms she knew what I had done and that she expected $1500 on her desk by noon the next day. Back in 1980 something that was a fair chunk of change for a 2 yo green broke, short, stubby little GRADE QH. One of the very best horses I've ever had and we kept him until we PTS at 32. Sometimes the heart just knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
First Ride in the Toaster for Nick

@Dreamcatcher Arabians that is a handsome boy, and looks well worth the 1500. Though that is still a chunk of change for a green 2yo grade qh. How did you get into Arabs?
@AnitaAnne I love this dude so much. hes really standoffish and I'm fairly certain he gives me the finger whenever I turn him back out, but somehow we work, and since he didnt work for literally anyone else Im pretty proud of him and us.

I moved him yesterday in my new wheels. He got in in less than ten minutes; so that is a win in my book. once in it was clear I need to order him a helmet for his nogan. hes not stupid, so he didnt bump it, but Id hate to be in a situation where it was needed and not have it. Especially if its a cheap investment that would save his life in an accident. Ive heard too many horror stories about whacks on the head that killed the horse. my trailer is 40+ years old, and very well taken care of, so Im rather pleased, there is no man door so the horse has to get in by himself.

As for the ride. Nick sang the song of his people the whole way down the road. when we got to where I board in the winter/school year. he tried to turn around, and nearly folded himself in half. Scared me to death. But hes a bright pony, figured it out and somewhat indignantly waited to be guided backwards by me and my best friend (who is quite possibly the best hand with a horse on the ground) once out of the trailer I could finally breathe easy, and we took him up the "hill" where he thinks hes something of a Big Deal in the herd. he was happy and trotted around reuniting with friends. Will ride him this afternoon. hopefully will get a video.

photo 1: safe and sound about to be turned out.
photo 2: just loaded up.
 

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@Dreamcatcher Arabians that is a handsome boy, and looks well worth the 1500. Though that is still a chunk of change for a green 2yo grade qh. How did you get into Arabs?
Every horse has their person and every person has their horse. Sounds like you 2 found each other. That trailer you bought looks sweet, really nice condition for its age.

LOL! How did I get into Arabs? I'm a sucker. I grew up riding OTTBs, fell in love with Lucky, he was my first QH and kind of got forced (didn't take too much) to buy him. And about the time Lucky was 18 we retired him from showing and brought him home. He needed a pasture pal so I started putting feelers out for a horse that nobody wanted anymore, didn't care, sound, unsound, breed didn't matter, sex - not an issue, color - not an issue. One of the deputies I worked with asked me if I wanted this little Arabian mare he and his wife had bought. The horse totally didn't work for either of them, matter of fact, she really disliked them and the feeling was mutual. They told me her lead manners sucked, she wouldn't load in a trailer, wouldn't bathe, clip, lunge, tie or do a freakin' thing for them. So, I agreed to come meet the horse and if we didn't try to kill each other, I would take her since I didn't care what she did or didn't do. WELL! She led like a dream, lunged like a champ, bathed just fine, I clipped her ears without a halter, and said I'd take her. Well of course, that hurt the guy's feelings, that the horse did all of that stuff for me and wouldn't do squat for him. So his wife got on, immediately got dumped, so he was "gonna show her who was boss". She tossed him so hard he missed a weeks worth of work and earned the nickname "Blue Butt". I went over to see if I could load her onto their trailer because they knew she wouldn't load for them. The only problem I had (and EVER had with her) was getting out of the way fast enough because she loaded herself so quick and well.

I brought her home, let her settle a few days and then saddled her up to see what was up. First thing, I used an English saddle because her Show Records said she was an English Pleasure horse, so no western saddle for me. I got on and she got to trotting and it didn't take either one of us long to figure out saddleseat was not something I knew anything about. So you know what she did? She started doing little half halts to let me catch up to the motion until she taught me how to ride saddleseat. I bought a saddleseat cutback saddle and rode her in that thing for 15 years. She did trail rides (she was awful on trail, didn't like messing up her pedicure but was not going to let me ride anybody else), she did team penning, sorting and then we got going over some low fences. She was 14 when I got her and she died when she was 29. Her nickname was, "She Who MUST be Adored". She was hilarious, totally owned me and let everyone know it, would scrape her teeth on the corral rails at dinner if I was too slow (and I was ALWAYS too slow), loved her 'spa days' and was just in general an AWESOME little mare. She made my husband and me fall head over heels with the Arabian personality. Her registered name was Lady Barbieri (Barbary) and we called her Lady B, Lady Bug, Bug and of course, She Who MUST Be Adored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This was yesterday,. He was really spicey, first ride back in the school year barn. This is the upper arena and I think he was just so so happy to be able to school on dirt and not grass. He wasn't bad, just really wanted to go.

The warm-up:
Nick wanted to trot and go the second I got on him. So this time instead of shutting him down I let him be a bit aerobic and we schooled canter and trot before walk. I wanted him to open up behind his wither and reach forward, which I think helps him travel straight, other than that, I let him set the pace, as long as he kept a consistent rhythm.
https://youtu.be/7pOMs8wzWbE

End result:
I think I would like to get more collection and flexibility put of him, but I'm happy with how he went and how much he was reaching with his legs. He felt good in the back, you can see his spine swinging in his tail and I could feel it in my core riding him.
https://youtu.be/1DKtfAUazkk


Excited to see what this school year does for us. I'd like to get good at single flyings. And fight with the beast of our laterals.


This is definitely the right saddle. He is so so free in his back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
McNickers has settled in well to the winter barn. I love having an indoor arena and some camraderie of someone to ride with. Usually there's a few people that I can chat and goof around with at the barn. I like that, but it's hard on my productivity and my school work so I've been going to ride later in the evening.

Yesterday I had a friend out, she's a great hand on the ground so I had her help me with my piaffe, no photos unfortunately because I had her manning the dressage cane. But lots of photos of our warm up and some bareback and bridleless afterwards. Nick loves liberty, because the devious blighter gets to sorta do what he wants and I cant make him do anything I can almost feel him cackling "haha you are at my mercy" he's like a freed ten year old in a candy shop.

I also have decided that teal and grey are our colors. He looks like a model.

I won't ride tonight, exams, but I will go grain him and doctor on a friend of mines horse that is out of town.

Video is of a few days ago. I am pleased with how he's going.
https://youtu.be/AO0F_ipuFdk
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
School has been horrid. I'm stressed out a ton and do a lot of homework. I have 3 classes I have to teach myself in.. because the professor does not.. but at this point I'm used to it. I just wish they weren't my hard classes.

Nick has been lovely. Slowly building him up and putting muscle on. He's honest and willing to work so it's been fun. Still sticky on some laterals-, but in hand helps and I'm taking them slow so as not to disturb the Prince on his tuffet.

Winter is pretty much here, so my days of getting to use the uncrowded outdoor arena are coming to a close. It stormed today so we stayed inside. A young girl was having a western lesson so we did stretchy warmup stuff for about 20 min and stayed out of their way. When she was done with her lesson and I was riding, she thought it would be fun to play copycat... Which I had to admit was pretty cute. Apparently I ride a lot of squiggly lines and transitions so was a bit of a challenge. It was super adorable though.

https://youtu.be/LciKUf2S4wM

Nick is starting to look like a normal horse, the hunter bump decreases everyday.. either that or he's putting muscle over it I can't tell. The farrier I hate with a passion. Is coming out this week to do feet (he did Nick 2 years ago and is coming up to this barn for the first time) so we are waiting a week and a half to get our pedicure. There's a Halloween schooling show on the 20th, all the AQHA events but we'll go and goof off. It's a good experience. There's even a costume class. Which I don't know what I'll do or if I will do it at all.

Otherwise, life has been rather grey, and I'm very glad for my shiny (well less so now that he's starting to fuzzy up) red spot of pony joy.

I ordered a double bridle, I got a good deal so I figure it can hang on my wall and inspire me. It's a knock off PS of Sweden and I really love the rolled leather and anatomic noseband and crown piece. I think once we get there it will be a good bridle for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sundays are super busy at the barn. And so the arena was crowded and full of people jog trotting around in laps (like seriously doesn't anyone get bored?!?) So after about ten minutes I'd had enough and decided to brave the wind on the hill for some space to actually school. The upper arena is right by Nick's pasture... His happy place... Where he does not have to cooperate with the insistent biped. So he was naturally a little displeased to be made to work when he had just walked by HIS GATE . Well... I guess he had a lot of energy... Because we had a little spook and he decided he wanted to run. The footing was not great so at first I figured I'd just let him run a bit and let him slow down on his own... Didn't want to make him slip when he was already leaning... But yeah. Nick has no bottom... So eventually I just one reined him.

https://youtu.be/1JudonuLuvY

The little stinker.


On the other hand despite being a spicy little rocket we got some nice counter canter loops and the simples keep getting cleaner.


https://youtu.be/Xq9KbZEPx7Y



Also the lady I took a lesson with is alright with me trailering out for a weekend and doing a few lessons right on top of each other like a Saturday and a Sunday. Which would be neat. I sent her a few videos of Nick so she could see kinda where we're at.


I also tried to channel my inner Pinterest dressage diva and wore red leggings as breeches.... I don't think I will do that again. It's not attractive just ridiculous.
 

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Beautiful pictures! lol well isnt he a spitfire, he seems like a cheeky, playful pony. He looks like he's a fun horse to work with, smart and playful. But definitely has his opinions.

Good luck with your lesson I hope it goes well. He really is very cute. I like the spit fire side of him. It's cute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well the schooling has been going slowly but surely. I really pushed his laterals a couple of days ago and it wore his short little back out with all that stretching and threading. So he got a day off and we did work in hand the next day.

Yesterday I rode him again and about 20min into our ride something spooked poor pony and in true Nick form he flung sideways. What was unusual was he wasn't coordinated about it- but it was quite the spook. He lost track of his legs, I was just trying to stay up and back on him in case he fell, and his right fore jammed into the ground as he went down. He came out of it fast and trotted off,. But he didn't trot off okay. Right fore was sore. Swung off the moment I felt it and walked him out. Trotted off to see lameness and there was some slight hesitation. Untacked and we walked out for about fifteen more minutes- he trotted off okay by the time I went to put him back out, but he didn't go running up the hill like he usually does. So of course I'm worried.

Nick has never been lame. I'm not kidding. The number of times up until this point where he's lost his feet, or taken a bad step have been zero. I'm concerned it is his feet, as they are long and he wears them unevenly so they are longer on the outside, but the farrier can't come out til the 24th. I don't like waiting 2 more weeks. Sigh.
 

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I just love this horse. His face is so ridiculously cute and expressive!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well the little blighter is not lame. I think we need to trailer out to somewhere with trails and burn off some steam. The cool fall air is turning him into a little firecracker. My warmup is just an attempt at revving down the engine. Little angry piaffe steps, bucks and attempted bolts... Yeah... Now I remember why I hate fall. But hey! He has energy and we can get through those counter canter loops with all that bold snorty power. So can I really complain? Will hopefully try and run through the 2nd level tests this weekend. Anyone DIY'd a dressage ring? I'd like to send a video into Better Dressage Scores but they require all letters be visible and I have no letters.

It's 30 degrees, I'm cold and he's fit to explode.
 

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Glad to hear he isn't lame! Perhaps it is indeed just the change in the weather? They all seem to get fresh and frisky this time of year. Playful to them... concerning to the weak and frail humans that ride them. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Glad to hear he isn't lame! Perhaps it is indeed just the change in the weather? They all seem to get fresh and frisky this time of year. Playful to them... concerning to the weak and frail humans that ride them. LOL
Makes me want to dig out my lunge line... I hate lunging... And I rarely do it, but the poor dear is itching to run and I have no where to do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just turn him loose in the arena, he should work it out...


For Dressage letters have painted them on concrete blocks, last forever...or use Dollar Tree foam board and wire spikes.
I think I'm going to pick up some paint stirrers for spikes and those Walmart wood letters and paint them and seal them.


Probably what I will end up doing lol. Watch the little freak buck run and fart scare himself.
 
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