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SO, I'm not really sure what this journal will turn into yet, but I enjoy writing my thoughts down, so I had to make one. I have a feeling it will be a mix of all sorts of things. WARNING: I'm long-winded. I am mostly doing this for my own outlet, so I won't be offended if nobody reads this stuff through.

I'm 21 years old, and will be graduating college May 9th. I have a major in elementary education, with a focus on liberal arts, and a minor in psychology. Right now I'm student teaching, and working for a non-profit agency that does section 24 work with children. I work hard, and it's not easy, but it's very rewarding. Student teaching 7:30-2:30 5 days a week, and work 3-7 4 days a week....Busy girl. I ran for Umaine cross country and track for two years, I decided the pressure was too much for me, but I do love to run. Right now there's no time for that....I'm hoping to get back in shape and running this summer when I am not so stressed.

Ohhh horses. well, I got hooked on them when I was 8. I still have never been in a position to own my first horse, but cannot wait to be settled down and ready to do so. In the meantime, I'm working closely with a woman who has 6 horses and needs help keeping them all in shape. We're conditioning 3 of these horses for competitive trail, and trying to keep the other 3 in steady use as well. Right now I'm only able to ride 1 or 2 times a week at best. I've taken lessons in english, a few jumping and a few dressage, but mostly just general lessons. Its been over a year since I've been able to afford lessons, college makes me poor!!! I will be done with the rent situation this May and am looking into leasing/lessons to get myself back in the swing of things.

For the most part this may be about trail riding adventures, but bear with me as well as I try to figure out the finesse of dressage and try to grow the guts for jumping....

Horses in my life(though none are MINE)

-Amanda: 13 yo Morgan mare, very forward and willing to work. She is a wonderful trail horse, and has brought her owner great success in CTRs. She is willing to do anything for her rider, and isn't afraid of a thing. We can take her through anything and she'll lead the way with confidence.
-Moxie: 5 yo Morgan mare, Amanda's daughter. She was ponied when she was younger, has been ridden and trained, but wasn't worked regularly until this year. She's very green when it comes to the trails, but she is turning out to be just as reliable as her mother.
-Washburn: Oh, what to say about burnie. He's a 6 yo Morgan gelding. He's a great trail horse, but only for a balanced and prepared rider. He's a bit of a chicken, and tends to spin and leap numerous times on any given ride. He has a bit of a bucking issue as well(they are very tiny, hoppy kind of bucks..and mostly does it when he hasn't been ridden regularly and I get on)....wondering if it's because I weigh 50ish pounds less than his regular rider?
-Sparky: 13 yo gelding shetland pony cross with...something. He's a cutie. I look awful tall on him, he's 12 hands and I'm 5'2" but I'm light, so it's fairly easy for him. He's actually better behaved with, and prefers to be ridden by, an adult. He has no real vices, just needs to lose some major weight. :) chunky pony!!! I take him on group trail rides sometimes, usually with a bareback pad and rope halter.
-My avatar is Dottie, the horse I rode all of last summer. She was a great girl, but has been sold by her owner so I no longer ride her.

My ride Sunday: we went out on some trails, with a mix of dirt roads as well....so that we can trot rather than tip-toeing over ice and snow the whole way :) It was great riding weather, I rode Moxie today. She was a great girl, every time she got tense I'd speak calmly to her and she'd settle right back down. She's doing so well for such a green horse! We had some head-tossing today, I think she just was impatient/bored with so much walking, but I'm not sure...will have to keep an eye on it.

Congrats if you made it through all that!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had a great ride today! We did 12 miles or so, through back roads and trails. There were still icebergs on some of the puddles and ice that we punched through along the trail...so some hairy terrain, but not bad! I rode Moxie, she was wonderful as usual! She has an amazing forward trot and really got to use it quite a bit today. She even took the lead a few times even though she's the least experienced. I'm very pleased and proud! We were out for 3 hours. What a WONDERFUL way to spend a sunday!!!

Now, off to student teaching for 1st grade tomorrow! AH! 7 weeks til graduation....DOUBLE AHHH!!!!

Here's a picture of Moxie and I standing on an iceberg :)
 

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haha thanks wannahorse! I am not always that wordy. Just like to start things off with a bang I guess?
 

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I became an official member today of the riding club that I've been riding with, so that was exciting...unfortunately student teaching has kept me so ridiculously busy and frantic that I haven't been able to ride :( gah. 4 weeks until April vacation week, thank goodness. I guess I don't have much else horsey to say...other than I'm so grateful to have such wonderful horse people in my life who allow me to use their horses as my own. If it weren't for them, I'd be one depressed young lady. And I'm looking forward to starting dressage ASAP. I have an idea of what barn I'm going to...now I just need to make my way out of my financial hole. I HATE college expenses. eh. It'll be worth it, I'm convinced.
 

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Went for a ride yesterday...2 hours on Moxie. Wasn't a long ride, but it was fun and beautiful and relaxing. Moxie was great...she had way more spunk than we were letting her use, but she was good about holding back. She is doing a funny thing with her head, pulling really hard on my hands to look off to the side. Must be looking for the boogie monster. "Talking" with my hands seems to help though...maybe it helps give her some confidence?? Washburn was giving his rider a hard time...spinning and leaping. We could see the moon the whole ride...and it was so nice to get all that fresh air! Still only 30 degrees though, come on Mother Nature!!! Going for another ride in about an hour :) :) :) EXCITED!
 

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yesterday I rode Sparky...he's so good for a pony! He bucked once and spooked once...I'd say that's pretty stellar behavior. We were out for 2 1/2 hours today. It was a lot of fun, and he really did a great job keeping up with the big horses! He's still overweight from not being used much, but he is willing to go when he does get used :)

5 more weeks of student teaching, 6 weeks til graduation! I've applied for an additional summer job with teaching in a regional program, and I'm still looking for a teaching position for next school year. Haven't seen much yet.
 

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Rode Moxie again yesterday!! She is almost 6 but very green, so she has never cantered under saddle. We cantered twice today and I was pleased to find that I was able to bring her down into a slower canter, and down into a trot quite easily. She's such an angel. The first time she kinda looked back at me like REALLY??? you're letting me do this?? hahaha it felt good to let her go :) We also walked down into a lake for the first time with her and she was great about that too as long as she didn't have to go first!! She did bite another horse in the water :( she's gonna have to learn her manners....overall though it was a good 2 1/2 hours and we did some really good hill work getting her(and the others) in shape :)

Weezie: didn't introduce her before because she isn't one that I've ridden much. She was known for having a kind of a crazy streak and just being dangerous around other horses. She's come with us the past 3 weekends and has been a doll! YAY WEEZIE....I don't know what changed in her, but I like it!
Here's a picture of her from last year:
 

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I rode Sunday and forgot to write! Rode Moxie again and she didn't even try to canter until I pushed her into it....I'm so happy that she isn't taking advantage of it. We only did it once, we trotted and walked the rest of the time. Tried to keep most of the ride at a trot...I think we did about 17 miles? Not quite sure. Either way, it was 3.5 hours...a very fun day out on the trails!

Still no money for lessons :( So dressage is still a foreign language for me. Moving out of the apartment next week....graduating in 3 weeks....SO MUCH GOING ON!

Oh...and all set to start learning my CTRs this summer! I will be helping out at two to learn the ropes, and then may be doing my first real competition. :)
 

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Rode Sparky yesterday...got 4 hours in! The horse owner and I hayed and put up almost 700 bales in the morning, I'm going to grow some muscle!!! We went out and rode after, resulting in a summersault over the pony's head by me....within the first 5 minutes. I made it through 4 consecutive hours after of bucking constantly.....not sure if something was bugging him or if he was being a typical pony butthole..........hmmmmmmmmmm either way...the bright side is that I had to practice having a good seat!
 

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Thursday: rode Moxie and Kenna. Kenna is a horse that the woman I ride with purchased for a dollar...and boy is she the best you can get for the price! She was wonderful, spooked a little under the interstate...but that's it. She has a strange walk, but a very floaty trot. We were at 12.5 mph and I was floating above her easily. :) such a fun ride. Moxie was great as usual!

Today: rode a draft horse for the first time! Felt very different, but it was fun! I like how sturdy they are underneath you!!! This particular mare had a little issue with bolting at the trot, but after a few times I figured out that either a one-rein stop or a spin would work...once I figured that out I was back in control. Boy they are strong, though!
 

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Sunday: rode Weezie, the appy that the woman I ride with owns. She was a little too bound on being the leader of the pack, didn't want anybody else in front of her! She did very well other than that though, hoping for this wonderful behavior to continue!!! She's no longer the crazy horse that you can't pay somebody to ride :) still VERY fussy about getting the bridle on though!....we'll work on that.
 

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Yesterday: Rode Moxie again, a nice speed day. Rode for 2.5 hours at mostly a brisk trot, some canter/gallop and some walking as well. It was a hard workout for her but she did very well, sweated nicely, and I think learned to enjoy sponge baths! (we hope anyway)
 

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Rode Moxie again yesterday, at Acadia Nat'l Park....it was absolutely beautiful...got about 16 miles in! It was a chilly day but we got some nice extended trots from her, averaged around 6 mph...the horses are showing that they're ready to compete!

I also graduated college this weekend and am ready to start with lessons!!! I finally have some money saved up and am going to start unraveling the mystery of dressage.
=) =) =)
 

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Wednesdsay: Rode Amanda and Kenna. Kenna seems to be barn sour...just doesn't want to leave and doesn't want to walk in a straight line....keeps stopping and refusing to move...she didn't do this last time she was out...but she hasn't been out much yet so hard saying. I think she just needs a LOT more work. Amanda was an angel as always.

Sunday: Rode Washburn...it was a beautiful ride and he didn't do any of his usual dizzying spins! He did choose to jump EVERYTHING rather than stepping over, but that's okay...good jumping practice for me! We had plenty of logs and such to jump over.

Today
: Had my first dressage lesson! It was frustrating for me to stay at the walk without getting to trot or canter...BUT I felt like a fish out of water...it was crazy how much I didn't know even at the walk. I did some turns on the forehand....not pretty or perfect, but I did it! I'm hoping that once the instructor gets to know me, we'll start moving a little faster :) On the bright side she's very nice and I felt like, although we were only walking, I was still learning and working hard. She also didn't have to fix my leg position so either she's being very nice or that's something that I"m doing okay on!
 

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i I PERSONALLY LIKE THE " I PAY MY PSYCH WITH FEED AND HAY". I MIGHT HAVE TO BORROW THAT ONE....THOUGH I MIGHT CHANGE IT TO COOKIES, BATHS, ETC. ETC....
 

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haha thank you glam!
go ahead and use it absolute, I didn't come up with it though!

So I haven't kept up with this at all, since we just moved and didn't have internet for a few weeks. I don't think I'll be able to write about all the riding I've done but feel there are two things to address at least.

MY FIRST CTR(competitive trail ride):
I competed two weekends ago in the 30 mile and had a great time! I rode Washburn and we got first! Of course, it's based on conditioning so it's more him than me, but I'll take a little credit since I helped with his conditioning. :) We only had one near fall---came around a corner and almost ran into a biker...haha that poor guy was terrified. And I was hanging off my horse's neck. It was a very good time, though...Amanda got grand champion junior, and Moxie got reserve champion! All the horses are in superb shape. This past weekend, Washburn and Weezie competed in the 60 and both did very well! I was a vet scribe this time, didn't compete...but certainly learned a lot about what the judges look for and how the scores are figured. I truly love this sport, it's all quite fascinating.

Starting Dressage(very slowly): The past two lessons I've been able to do some sitting trot, so that's a little better. I am very thankful that the instructor is being nit-picky with me because I need to fine tune a lot of things, but at the same time I want some excitement too! I really like the instructor a lot, but can feel myself getting frustrated. I think I might switch to every other week and do the weeks in between with someone else so that I'll have more variety. I do want to learn things correctly, but at the same time I don't want to feel like a total beginner. I've been riding 12 years! ergh, what to do, what to do?
 

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Hmmm not sure what else has happened since I last wrote, now that I'm out of school I don't get as bored or have as much time that I feel I need to spend on my computer rambling nonsense into the abyss. So, for that reason I'll just start over with today's ride. I haven't ridden in a week anyway, so maybe that's about right.

Today: rode Washburn and Moxie came out with us as well. We had a really good ride, but the flies were so bad! I had my first incident with broken tack today and thank goodness my horse didn't have time to realize what happened! We were at a business, walking through their driveway rather than on the road...wiser choice than we had known, in retrospect. he was spinning to object going further and I moved my rein around to put him in a circle and that was apparently just about all that rein had left. It snapped...lol. GREAT. so I reached down and grabbed his bit and tied the rest of the rein around it....he thought I had stopped to give him a treat or something I think because he turned his head right where I could reach it....YAY! haha we made it safely the rest of the ride. He did seem to think he could spin whenever he wanted. He could have a cattling career if he wasn't so darn afraid of cows!
 

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WOW........I totally abandoned this ride journal. I'm going to try starting over...........because I got my own horse!!! =)

Her name is Mackenzie, an arab/QH cross, with some possible appy in there as well. Not certain :) She's an amazing girl, very misunderstood, but has great ground manners and we're working on the in saddle stuff! She's 13 and she is where my energy is going from now on I believe.

I'll consider this our starting point: she is somewhat settled in at her new home, loves the other horses in her pasture and is in a full blazing heat....AWESOME! haha. She seems a little anxious, chewing at trees and her stall, but has only been "home" for a few days so far.

As far as riding, I've had a lot of trouble getting her to leave the stable...but once she's gone she doesn't fight to go back anymore. We've had quite the bucking bronco issues as well, mare problems, saddle problems, out of shape problems, attitude problems? still tweaking and trying to figure this out. It is worst while in the arena so maybe just arena sour or so out of shape that a circle hurts...I'm on the hunt for a solution. Right now I'm using her in a Kimberwicke, but would really like to do enough work with her that I can move to a gentler bit. I'm going to try a snaffle out anyway and just see what happens so that I can get a real picture of her mouth softness, etc.

On the grounds she's about as awesome as it could be...especially after only being mine for a few days. She'll "join up" with me in an arena, will run beside me, stop when I stop, circle when I circle, back up when I back up, turn on the forehand when I walk toward her shoulder...it's fun, and pretty cool. She stays with her ears pointed at me and waits to follow my next step.

I'm not entirely clear on her history. I do know the woman before me rode some endurance/competitive trail with her, but it's been a while since she's had a steady rider. I would like to train her for a 50 or 100 but need to work out the kinks before I start riding her alone.

Ah....so happy with my horsie, despite her mare issues. :)
 
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