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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy there. I thought I should start a new journal, since I feel like I've moved on in life. When I started my last journal, we were living in a different place. It was also almost four years ago. Life has changed since then. I hope to update this a little more often. I'm grown now and feel like I'm moving forward almost faster than I can keep up with. I wish there were more hours in the day. Anyways, a brief update-

I'm in my second semester of college. I just finished midterms. Recently I've been riding a lot more. JR is recovered from an abscess and is back to being ridden by the kids on weekends. Tess has front shoes on for now because the farrier wanted to chase a crack in her toe. I was considering shoes anyhow, and it's only $70 for a trim and front shoes for her.

Perhaps the most exciting new thing is this. I haven't shared anything about this yet, since nothing was for sure. But Saturday I attended my first training and both me and my horse passed a small entry test. We are now officially a part of the unit (name blurred for privacy's sake).
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We received most of our equipment Saturday. Thursday I will be picking up the rest of my uniform. I'm currently cleaning this saddle, as you can see the roughout is smoothed and nasty looking. But I am SO proud of my horse.

We did several small drills. I was a little off since I didn't know any of the commands, but we managed. The deputy in charge of it all was really impressed. For her first time, Tess did so well. She needs to work on sidepassing, and she had a hard time lining up abreast with the other horses, but she didn't fidget, spook, or act otherwise uncomfortable. The deputy's wife set up small smoke-bomb fireworks and the only thing Tess didn't like about them was the smoke, but she ended up walking through it alongside the other horses. She didn't bat an eye at the loud umbrellas, the confetti poppers, or the drums we had to walk past. In fact, she ended up leading the other horses past them. She wasn't fazed a bit.

We needed to see how she would react to the lights and sirens, so the deputy lit up his truck and blared the sirens, telling me to walk past the truck a few time and see how close I could get before she was disturbed. I tell you this horse didn't flinch. She walked straight up to the loud, flashing vehicle and stared it down.

The deputy wants me at a detail this week already. We're doing an Easter event for a local church. He said he wants to get me ready to ride in the Mardi Gras in May (they were postponed till then). He says he thinks we'll be ready.

I'm bursting with pride for my critter. There are some things we need to work on, but she was so good. I'm so proud of my kiddo. Ever since I got her people would act surprised when I told them she's an Arabian/Appaloosa, and then proceed to either pray over me or tell me how crazy I was. I like to think I've proven them wrong. Who says an ADD Arabian/Crappy Appy can't be a posse horse, or anything else for that matter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
so, it will be more than just parade things? will you assist in like search and rescue.?
Yes actually! We also learn crowd control and how to direct traffic. We will learn riot control tactics but in this area the chances of there being a riot and us being called in for it are pretty slim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The relationship between horse and human is so interesting. Tess will nicker when I come outside in the morning or if I go out and call her name. She'll usually come up to see what's going on. Jr on the other hand couldn't give a rat's behind about anything I do and prefers to be alone in his own personal bubble. He doesn't even like the dogs being loud around him. He doesn't mind dogs at all, unless they're rowdy. Then he'll chase them. If you come over to love on him in the pasture he walks off. If another horse comes to say hi, he walks off. He's an actual cranky old man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Has anyone else used Mare Magic with good results? I give it to my girl and it really helps her focus. Sometimes her brain shuts off and she becomes the SpeedDemon, not spooky or anything just...kind of blockheaded. I guess all horses have their days. She doesn't have mareish issues, and I don't know why I bought the supplement, but I've been giving it the night before and day of an event or big ride and she's seemed way calmer. Not sleepy, just focused. Next time I'm just buying plain, organic, raspberry leaves though, since it's the same thing but cheaper.

I'm thinking about giving it to my grandmother's extremely reactive TWH. He's an idiot and could stand to be chilled out.

Speaking of gaited horses, Tess has this really weird four beat fast walk that makes me think she's trying to invent some kind of fourth gait. I'll have to get a video of it sometime. She's not a gaited breed, but Arabs are weird.

Edit: (not my vid)
It looks exactly like this, except a little faster with a more dramatic head nod.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to begin training with my uncle's dog. I figure it's a good way to make some money if I can pull it off. She's a husky though, so it'll be a challenge. I've trained my own dogs and worked with horses before and have been studying training methods and behavior for quite a while now, so I'm pretty confident I can at least help the issues. She does need to be spayed though, that will chill her out a little.

I'm also taking my grandmother's horse to the vet for a coggins so I can borrow him (again) so my sister can come with my on a trail ride on the 20th. I would take JR except for the fact he's old and tired and has a horrible time keeping up with Tess. My grandmother's horse is a walker and has no problem keeping the pace.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As it turns out, my grandmother's TWH isn't as crazy as I thought he was. He just needs work. It surprises me how little he really seemed to know. For instance, he didn't understand how to canter. Once I finally urged him into a lope, something clicked and he loped nicely in a circle. Before that, all he would do is a running walk and a pace. He can pace as fast as regular horses can lope, but it's the most uncomfortable thing in the world to ride.

My sister and I are taking him and Tess on a trail ride this Saturday, fingers crossed he won't be an idiot. At least he can keep up with Tess, who outpaces everyone besides walkers and other Arabs. I think the saddle we're using on him has helped a lot as well, the western one we tried didn't fit and probably hurt him.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since I've been seeing a lot of this float around lately...

I have a hard time believing in anything supernatural about horse communication. There's always a logical explanation. Most of these things "animal communicators" come up with are nothing more than describing the horse's symptoms with a little creative liberty. Energies or astrological signs or some other kind of floof isn't going to help understand these critters either. They say whorls and eye color can determine a horse's behavior...but maybe there's just a genetic correlation to a horse's appearance and how their brain is wired?

We also have to remember horses (and other animals) don't think like humans and never will. A horse is a horse. There are some things we will never understand about them, but we have to learn to accept them as what they are...horses. They aren't humans, won't think like humans, won't feel like humans, won't act like humans. They are their own unique critter.

Communicating with an animal isn't rocket science. I can walk out, spend 5 minutes with a horse, and providing I know their history, can come to a pretty good conclusion of why they're acting the way they're acting. But thinking that's somehow a supernatural talent is ridiculous. It just comes from spending time with horses for your whole life.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We're getting a tack store 30 mins away! Finally! The nearest one was over an hour and they carried mostly clothes and expensive saddles. Not the necessities. Maybe I'll find me a nice pair of split reins.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I want to try another bit for Tess. I want something with a little less movement, as she's easily distracted and the bit moving all over bothers her. I have this one now Reinsman Argentine Snaffle Low Port Sweet Iron Curb Bit Big Dee's Horse Tack & Vet Supplies

This is the one I'm looking at. Super similar, just a little less movement (shanks aren't floating) and a slightly thicker mouth. https://www.statelinetack.com/item/...q-GErLOAhjsS1nrRKPoOxCyyIJcLr4GRoCih8QAvD_BwE

I'm also going to get a pair of weighted split reins from Teskeys at some point. I've gotten back into riding with the curb/split rein setup and we both like it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been cleaning tack to make a little money and here's a before an after of a saddle I just worked on...it's 30+ years old and looked like it had never been cleaned. I ended up attaching a scrub brush to a powered drill to scrub it.I had to refinish the whole thing because I scrubbed all the original finish off.

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Today I got what I call the chance of a lifetime.

Rewind to Sunday, I’m on a detail with the posse. One of the members casually mentions that she took a jousting lesson, just in passing conversation. I, having been absolutely infatuated with anything medieval ever since I was old enough to read, immediately asked her where. Turns out, there’s this guy who moved to my city (or close by anyhow) who has done it all. Jousting. Swordfighting. Hunting boars on horseback. Acting. Archery. Martial arts. You name it. He developed his own specific fighting style and technique. He does this professionally. He trained in Vienna and in other places all over the world. Worked at the Medieval Times show in south FL. He knows his stuff.

My jaw simply dropped. I’m sure my eyes were as wide as saucers. Here was an opportunity to fulfil a silly dream I’ve had since I was knee high. I couldn’t think about anything else for the remainder of the day and messaged him that evening. He told me to come out Tuesday morning (today), which I did, after going to get a round bale for my horses.

I met him and we talked for a while. He explained that he’s looking for people to teach and ride with. He showed me all the equipment and I met his Percheron, Cyrus. He’s studied the art of medieval combat for years and has copies of Henry VIII’s documents on the sport. He’s been on National Geographic. This guy's for real.

He’s incredibly passionate about what he does. I’ve never seen a grown man get so excited when talking about his horses.

I keep thinking it’s too good to be true, but he gave me a lesson today. I rode Freddie, a friend’s jumpy Percheron gelding bareback and in nothing but a halter and used a pine post for a lance. It was mainly an assessment to see where I was at. We just worked on simple things like basic form and maneuvers.

The entire time I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. I've always dreamed of learning medieval combat (on horseback especially) but never, ever thought I’d actually be able to do so. It always seemed like an unrealistic goal and nothing but a silly idea. Like a kid who wants to run off and join the circus. I’d tucked the thought into the back of my head, keeping it there as a fond childhood daydream, nothing more. But then this opportunity just fell into my lap.

I'm not an emotional or easily excited person, but I can hardly contain myself. I want nothing more than to go out there and keep learning. It's all I can think about. This is more exciting than anything I've ever done. My confidence that I might have lost when I struggled with anxiety a few years back is flowing back to me. I don't know what clicked, but something did. I've got my gumption back. I'm ready for war. My imagination is running wild with ideas which are now actually achievable, and not just little daydreams.

I feel like I can take on the world.
 

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You certainly can do it. There are many that do. There are quite a few folks who go from Ren Fair to Ren Fair jousting and riding. It's a hard life, and there is no money in it, but it is a lot of fun. I would say a majority of the guys are pretty sexist and think they are far better than the girls who give it a shot. When there is a girl jouster, the crowd really wants them to win and beat the guys. The crowd loves that. You can start out as a stable worker, then become a squire, and then become a jouster . . .or you can jump right in and joust. I know you have admired that life for a long time, and I am delighted that you are getting a chance to experience it.

As in everything else, there are some troupes that are egalitarian, fair, and honest and other troupes that don't care about their horses and work their staff like peons. If you do join a troupe, try to learn about them before you commit too much of your life. I would guess the man you are working with knows all the different troupes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm still figuring out what exactly I'll be doing, but this guy has such a desire to teach. He says most of his jousters (especially the light armor jousting, which he specializes in) are female.

The lesson I had yesterday really boosted my confidence. I went home and rode Tess, and wow what a difference. I've had some issues with her ever since I began having anxiety issues in high school. She'd do things that would catch me off guard like suddenly doing a 180, abruptly changing gaits, rough lead changes, etc. None of this happened yesterday. And I rode bareback in the pasture, which is where she usually misbehaves the most. She can tell when you're nervous and won't trust your judgment at all and will take over the situation and do her own thing. But there was none of that. For the first time in a while we were a perfect team.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I trailered Tess out today to see if she'd be up for jousting. Told myself I wouldn't make her do it if she didn't want to. The trainer's looking for horses so he doesn't have to provide them all, and I have one. So we decided to try it out. After all, I always prefer doing stuff with my horse. If she didn't take to it, I wouldn't force her to do it.

But boy did she.

First, we took the practice lances and swung them around her - didn't bat an eye. Slammed shields together and hollered and made noise - couldn't care less. Went up and down the lists a few times with the shield and took a few hits - she didn't care. I even wore a little armor (we're only doing light jousting with her, so I won't be wearing full plate armor anyhow. She's too bitty for that and I don't know if I'm up for it either) and she didn't react at all.

In fact, when we turned at the end to go down the lists, she decided she was going to be a war horse. I didn't need to cue her for her to leap into a canter and charge headon towards a percheron who's literally twice her size. The trainer said he's yet to get the other people's draft horses to do the same thing just because they're jittery and don't like running towards another horse. Tess took to it literally instantly. I'm talking zero hesitation. I almost couldn't believe it.

I'm fully convinced this mare can do anything. I laugh whenever people make fun of her for being a combination of two "crazy" breeds and a mare to boot. It's not every day you'll meet a horse who's done as much as she has. I believe she knows her ancestors a thousand years ago were warriors. The arabs rode their mares into battle in ancient times and she hasn't forgotten that. I've got one amazing little critter.
 

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Wonderful! I am so delighted for you! I can't tell you the number of horses we worked with that did not do well at jousting. You've got a winner! I wish you would read the novel I posted on Horse Forum in the Official Photo Contest, Arts, Crafts, Drawings under Horse Stories and Poems. It is called Knights in Shining Armor and will tell you all about how we formed a jousting troupe, worked to train the horses, learned to joust, and then performed at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. We performed there for 17 years, as well as the Pa Renaissance Festival and Sterling NY Festival. A lot of the things that you are working with are things that we did. My book is a novel because I cut out some extraneous stuff and added a romance to make it more interesting. I also included a bunch of pictures of the horses and people involved. I think you would get a kick out of it.
 
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