Polka Dot Ponies

This will most likely be just a collection of my ramblings. I ride and train horses, so there is bound to be a lot of horse stuff. But I also just like to vent and this seems the perfect place.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


In January of 2005 my mom was diagnosed with AML, a form of leukemia. She passed away from it in July of 2005. In her memory I knit hats. I have been doing this now for about 3 years. I donate many of the hats to patients in the hospital that are suffering from different forms of cancer. I also sell some and donate the profits to the Leukemia Research Foundation in my moms name.

I have never before listed the hats on Ebay but I have about 300 hats at my house and although I am going to make a hospital run soon, I can usually only take about 60-75 to the hospital at a time as they have no where to store them. Also I am running out of friends and family that want to buy knit hats as many of them now have several.

I decided to list some of the hats on Ebay and see how they do. If they sell well I am going to continue to list them on Ebay, if not I will go back to selling them privately.
I know that nothing can bring my mom back but I enjoy knowing that I can do something for people that may be diagnosed with this and similar diseases in the future. I also like imagining the look on peoples faces when the hats are brought into their hospital room and they are told they get to pick one.

My favorite hats to make are girls hats. I can't even guess how it feels to be a young girl and on top of everything else going on to have your hair fall out. I mostly knit very bright and fun hats and they are all very soft.
Some are very thick and warm while others are fairly thin so that they can be worn inside.

If you are interested in seeing the hats I have listed you can just follow this link.
I am also getting rid of some of my extra yarns as I have more that double what is for sale from donations and splurging on yarn sales. That money will go to the research foundation. Once I am able to use all of the yarn currently taking over my house then I will purchase more. I probably have about 100 hats worth of yarn sitting around and I am just not that fast at knitting.
If you are interested or know of someone that may be please pass on my post or the link. If you know of someone battling cancer and would like to have a hat sent to them I am more than willing to do that if you pay postage and the address is a hospital address.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

My 'Horse' History

I have been asked how I got into horses and how long I have been riding. Well here you go- the whole story from 2 years old until today.
Ever since I can remember I have loved horses. I have been told the story of the first time I rode a real horse many times but I don't actually remember it. I was at a friends birthday party, I was about 2, and they had pony rides. I got on one pony and when my turn was up I refused to get off. I held onto the saddle and cried for the man to let me stay on the pony. There were 2 ponies and only like 10 kids and since most kids had already had a turn he let me stay on. I aparently spent about 2 hours aboard that pony.
From there I bugged my mom and dad to take me riding. My mom got a morgan mare named Moondrift's Esprit. She boarded her at a stable in Fort Collins, CO and so I finally got to start taking lessons at about 3. I first started riding saddle seat. I showed in my first show at the age of 4 and I was upset because I wanted a pink ribbon and I got all blues. I asked my mom if I could trade with the girl that got the pink one and she told me that I could ask if I wanted to but that girl's mom wouldn't let her trade. At the time I didn't understand that the colors ment something.

I am on the right in the white shirt.
Anywhere we went I was on the looking out for horses and was constantly asking strangers (much to my parents dismay) if I could ride their horse. I figured if they were on a horse they couldn't be a bad guy. This is a picture of me at about 4 on a trail ride up in the mountians. It took my mom a while to convince the trail guide that I was fine to be on my own horse and not on with my dad.
By 5 I was showing regularly and was loving every minute of it. This is me on the horse that I showed called Cedar's Firelight. Just after I turned 6 I was offered the chance to show Firelight at the Morgan Grand Nationals. They had to custom make my saddle suit since I was so tiny. In the end it was still too big and they had to fold under and duct tape the sleeves to my arms so that I could hold the reins. Just after the Nationals my trainers got a divorce and the whole barn fell apart. Not too long after that we moved from in town to an 11 acre farm with an 8 stall barn and a huge outdoor arena. I got my pony Jasper and started riding hunt seat and learning to jump. My friend Sara boarded her horse at our house and so we rode together daily.
I am on the pony.After living in that house for about 4 years my parents decided to move us out to the midwest. When I got here I was heart broken because there were NO english or jumping classes at any shows. So the spring after we moved I got King (Skips Kings Champ). He was a 10 year old QH gelding that did western and trail rode. I quickly turned him into an all around horse and we did extremely well at all of the local circuts and county/state fairs. King put up with a lot considering I used him for 4-H and we played crazy games like cock-on-a-rock and had tandem bareback classes.

King is the second horse down. I have the purple helmet on. Brooke and I were trying to switch places.

I am in the white shirt.After a while of only having Jasper, King, and the donkey Ting my parents decided to buy 2 more horses for trail riding. We got Lady and Petals. Lady was a great horse. Smart and solid. My dad rode her a few times but then lost interest. So it was just my mom and I with 3 horses and a pony. So we decided to sell 1 horse and sadly we chose Lady because I was starting to train on and show Petals (who was a bit of a nut). This is Petals and I at a show.

Petals wasn't much fun to show because she was a bit of a nervous wreck. So I went back to showing King. After 1 show season where I did not place lower than 3rd in ANY class (halter, showmanship, trail, walk-trot, english pleaure, english equitation, hunter hack, western pleasure, and western horsemanship) my mom told me I needed to move on to a harder horse. So we sold Petals and bought Scottie (Scotch N Zip). He was a 5 year old breeding stock paint gelding that had a little western pleasure experience. Our first summer we did well but I was missing doing the all around stuff. So I started training on him to do english and jumping. He was a ROCKSTAR. I loved showing that horse. We showed in every class we were allowed in and did well in each. We even went to some hunter chooling shows and cleaned up.

I felt bad for King just hanging out in the pasture so I started giving lessons on him and taking him to shows to do lead line with T. They would not allow her to show him in 8 and under walk-trot because he was a 16 hh horse and not a pony, even though he was much better behaved than 95% of those ponies. Like the old school vests??

I showed Scottie until the summer before my senoir year in high school when I made the tough choice to sell him. I wanted to learn new things and although Scottie and I made a great team neither of us were learning anything anymore. Scottie when from here to his new family in Texas who promised never to sell him. They actually sold him less than a year later to someone in North Carolina. I lost track of him after that.
So I bought a 2 yr old Zips Chocolate Chip gelding called Chip Proof. He was at a major training barn in Texas and was constantly bucking everyone off so he had been sent to a sale so that the owners could just get rid of him. At the sale Chip and I just clicked and I made the barn manager that had brought him to the sale an offer. He accepted but still took Chip through the sale ring. He ended up selling for $2100 over the offer I had made and I was devistated. But the barn mamager no saled him, came out of the ring and told me that the horse was mine. Aparently he knew who the high bidder was and that trainer was well known for abusive training techniques. So I got him and took him up to a trainer about an hour north of me. We turned him out in a pasture with the yearlings for almost 2 months (after finding out that he had been in a stall since he turned 2, only coming out to work). No wonder he was bucking everyone off. Once he turned 3 we pulled him out of the pasture and started him all over again. I was driving up every day (it was my senior year and I had taken most of my senior classes as a junior, so I was getting out of school at 11:30 every day). By late that spring he was doing extremely well in walk-trot and could be ridden by anyone. I remember once being on him with S and A on with me (they were 7 at the time). Chip became know as the barn puppy dog and we often found S sleeping in his stall on top of him while he was laying down.
I spent that summer living with some of my favorite people ever. The barn owner, her husband and daughter as well as another girl about 4 years younger than me. We worked our butts off in exchange to be working with this trainer and for having her help us with our horses. We usually ended up working from about 7.30am until well after dark. We rode everything from unbroke 2 year olds to several world champions. We were at a show almost every weekend and in exchange for being grooms we didn't have to pay training fees. The plan had been to keep Chip for only about a year as I knew I would need to move on to university but it still broke my heart to sell him. He went on to be an all around horse in Chicago.
After I moved to IL to go to school I started on the equestrian team at my university. I didn't ride much my first year but did a few shows. I was placed in the novice division because I had never shown in Pony Club or something like that. My second year I had a car and became the Vice-President of our team. These are a few pictures from IHSA shows.
I am in the blue shirt.

This horse was calld Finn. He was 17.1 hh.This was my second IHSA show and I drew a pony called Nala.

I showed IHSA through university and then after graduation took on several training horses and gave lessons. I planned to move to Kansas City and so was out of riding for about 6 months and was miserable so I moved back to the farm and bought Titan. This brings us to present day. :)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick Post

Just a quick post before I head off to work. My internet is down at home because of the snow storm on Monday night so I have stopped by a friends to check e-mail and ebay;).
Chance is doing better with the broom but is also terrified of the cardboard tube that wrapping paper is on. He has certainly become a one person dog. He loves Boyfriend but gets upset if I leave him inside when I go out or if I leave him out when I go in. Boyfriend says that Chance checks the front door and driveway about every 20 minutes when I am gone like he is waiting for me to come home.
Bit of a horse emergency yesterday evening. Gus (T's weanling) jumped the fence and sliced his leg open. I meant to get some pictures before it was stitched but forgot right after the thought entered my head. It is a 3 rail wood fence and no boards are down but we figured out he jumped by the hoof prints in the snow. It looks like he jumped and then slid on the landing catching his fetlock on something under the snow. He got about 6 or 7 mattress stitches and is bandaged up for the next few days. When I found him it was gushing but thanks to the cold and the fresh clean snow I packed onto it I was able to slow the bleeding fairly quickly. T's dad grabbed the trailer and we hauled him into the vet for his stitches. Never a dull day on the farm!
I have to run to work but I will post again as soon as I get near a computer with internet that is working!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Poor Chance.

After today I can say with certainty that Chance has been more than neglected, he has been physically abused as well. We weren't really sure if he was just severely neglected or also physically beaten. Today we were hanging out upstairs. I was sitting on the floor with Chance in my lap (or as much of him that fits) watching Mo play with one of the plants, which drives Boyfriend crazy because Mo spills dirt everywhere. So after Mo spilled a considerable amount of dirt Boyfriend went to grab the broom to clean up the mess and when he came back around the corner Chance yelped and ran over by the couch to hide while shaking all over. I went over and cuddled him and talked to him and he calmed down a little bit. Then I asked Boyfriend to bring the broom over and lay it down about 5 feet from Chance and I. Chance started shaking again and buried his head in my lap while making a terrified throaty noise almost like a little kid crying. We sat and loved on him telling him he was ok. He continued to shake for several minutes.
I had noticed in the past that if you move too quickly he would duck to get away from you or if you shouted, even just shouting for Tess to come inside, he would cower. So we had been moving slowly and whistling for Tess instead of shouting, etc. Doing that has seemed to help and the broom today must have just brought out some horrible memory.

To whomever abused Chance:
I hope that someday you are at the mercy of someone who does not give a rats ass about you. I hope they treat you the same way you treated my poor defenseless dog. I hope they forget to feed you or water you; I hope they chain you up in a yard with a 50 pound chain around your neck and a dog house that is nothing but plywood in a state where the winters drop to -30 and lower; I hope they smack you around with a broom handle and who knows what else. I hope that someday you know how he felt when he saw you coming. Tonight he has a full belly, a warm bed and a loving family; all you have is the guilt over what you did to him.
His new loving family.


A few shots from this week.

Since it is so chilly outside and I am waiting for the washer to be done to switch over a load I thought I would entertain you all with a few pictures from the past week. They are all of the cats and dogs as I keep forgetting to take the camera out to the barn with me and I can't be bothered to trek out into the cold just for pictures.
This is how we feel about the cold. Chance- just being Chance.

Snuggling up to sleep (Tess and Chance)

My old girl Murphy.

Just one of the many attempts to take a decent picture.

Mo's 2 favorite things are ping pong balls (which he can only play with when we are watching so that Chance or Tess don't swallow it) and Chance's tail.


In need of a heat wave (or even a warmish wave)

So I checked the weather again this morning and it is actually -33 with the wind chill. OH MYLANTA. What is wrong with my state? My sister over at Grace's Birdcage Wedding was complaining this morning on her blog that it is 15 in Kansas City. Well at least it is ABOVE ZERO!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Here in the Midwest I went from pulling blankets yesterday because it was above freezing to re-blanketing (with fleece blanket liners) tonight. Yesterday it got up to 42 degrees, right now it is -15 with the wind chill and it will go down to -25 before the night is over. I bedded stalls down with some extra shavings and gave everyone an extra slice of hay. I will go out again about midnight and give them each another slice to keep their tummies a little warmer.
I have recently discovered an eventing blog called Eventing-A-Gogo! which I LOVE. I have been learning loads. Although most of the time I think I know a decent amount about horses I always love finding things I don't know. Last weekend she posted a blog about bran that I found very helpful, Baby's First Tummyache. I always knew that just throwing a big bran mash in wasn't the brilliant idea that many people think it is for all the obvious reasons but Andrea actually goes into detail on why. Check out her blog- you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

WARM day! (Well it is for December!!)

Things are melting a bit. Titan even got to spend the day without his heavy winter blanket!! He wasn't so sure when I took it off and actually grabbed it and tried to put it back over his back. But soon he shot off across the pasture bucking, farting and having a grand old time. After the bucking and farting, he dove (almost literally) down in the snow for a good roll. Then came flying back over and shoved the blanket with his nose as if to say 'HA! I don't need you today!' It was all pretty amusing. Rocky also got his blanket pulled but he didn't seem nearly as impressed just looked at D like 'Yup- take that off it's warm.' Too bad I had to work most of the day as I wanted to do some barn work- I suppose there is always Monday when I am not at the bookstore at all. Anyway way the horses are enjoying some sunshine and above 30 degree weather. Off to check them now... Sorry my my absentness (is that a word? probably not), I will try to be better this week.

PS Chance just jumped against the window and scared the daylight out of me!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Cleaning.

So the house I live in has not be regularly lived in for a while. January to March of last year it was just my 20 yr old brother, then April to May it was both of us, then June to August it was my Aunt, then September to now- Me. So needless to say the house hasn't really had a regular cleaning in a while. As of January 1st the house will be mine (I am thrilled as I LOVE this house and have lived here since I was 11). So I have been slowly trying to clean things up but catching up a 5 bedroom house on months of cleaning is a daunting task. Also, I HATE cleaning- so when I do try to clean I always find better things to do, like clean stalls, play with Titan or the dogs, etc. So anyway I had it somewhat clean when Boyfriend got here. Well Boyfriend's definition of clean is a little different than mine. He doesn't like clutter at all (I don't mind it so much). So for the last two days we have been CLEANING. Yesterday we tackled the upstairs (where his biggest complaint was the breakfast bar where I pile-um-everything. Like mail, magazines, papers, etc. I ended up with 2 bags of unwanted magazines that I took out and burnt. I have to agree that the upstairs looks 10x better. Today we are heading downstairs. So far we have completely cleaned the family room (including moving couches and everything), and put together a bed frame and set that up in my old room. We are working on laundry (I also don't like doing laundry so it piles up a bit). We just had a break for lunch and now are heading back down to work on everything else- including shampooing the carpet. Fun day... but at least we can say we did something at the end of the day.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advice Please.

I need advice about my older cat. She is 16 (we found her at 3 as a dump cat). She has been losing weight for the past few weeks and no matter how much I feed her she can't keep the weight on. She often throws up her food even though it is the same food she has been eating for years. She doesn't have worms or anything like that. She has started going to the bathroom in the basement instead of the litter box. I have 2 other cats and I wanted to make sure it was her so I followed her downstairs today and even with me standing there she went on the carpet. Last year she had 1 of her large front teeth removed because it had died (they don't really know why). I talked to Vet today and they asked if I wanted to put her down. I said I didn't know. Vet said it sounds like kidney failure and they can do some tests and such but that if that is what the problem is then there is nothing they can do short of dialysis for a cat. Which will cost a fortune and will not cure her. So basically I need to decide if I should just put her to sleep or make her go through tests and such with the possible outcome being that she needs to be put down anyay.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Wish List

  • Gift certificates to Home Depot/Lowes/Menard's (not sure which would be best... for when I need to buy things for my new fence this spring)
  • Cool picture frames- I would like to do kind of a collage above my bed but need neat frames.
  • Barnes and Noble gift cards! Yes seriously! I want to stock up on books while I have my employee discount and I won't work there after I have a nursing job! I already have quite the list of books that I need to read.
  • A 3 step mounting block. I prefer a 3 step but a 2 step would work as well. You can find it here
  • I need new brushes and love this little set.

  • I am also a big fan of this set as Cowboy Magic is on of my favorite things ever.
  • I am loving these boots. I can't put the picture up as it is copy righted. 7 1/2 regular ;)
  • I need a new English bridle. The last one I bought was for Scottie and that was when I was a freshman in high school. Needless to say it is pretty tattered.
  • A GPS!! I know nothing about them but I know I never have a clue where I am going. Something that told me where to go would be LOVELY!

  • Super Scrabble! It is TWICE as big as a regular scrabble! I have always thought that the house needed a scrabble game and what better one that a super scrabble!

Umm... I need to keep thinking... I should probably apologize to my sister as she won't be happy that there are mostly horsey things on here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took On the Sheiks and the Bluebloods... and Won.

I haven't done a book list book in a while and I don't think I have ever put a strictly horsey book up. So here you go. I bought this book, Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took On the Sheiks and the Bluebloods... and Won, about a year ago at a discount bookstore in an outlet mall. I actually bought all 3 copies they had and gave 2 as gifts. It was written by the Funny Cide Team and Sally Jenkins. It is a story of the underdog, who wins your heart and keeps you cheering until the end. I remember watching Funny Cide race. My mom, brother and I sat in front of the TV and we each chose a horse. My mom chose Funny Cide because she liked his name. Read it- you will love it, everyone love a good fairy tale- this one just happens to be true.

"They had no business being there. They were up against million-dollar horses owned by patricians and oilmen and Arab sheiks and Hollywood producers. They were 10 working class men, and all they wanted was to win a race. Instead, they won the hearts of America."

From the inside flap:

In 2003, a three-year-old with an irrepressible personality and the unlikely name of Funny Cide became "the people's horse," the unheralded New York-bred gelding who- in a time of war and economic jitters- inspired a nation by knocking off the champions and their multimillionaire owners and sweeping to the brink of the Triple Crown.

Trained by a journeyman who had been kicking around racing for more than thirty years looking for "the one," but refusing to compromise his standards; ridden by a tough-luck jockey fighting to regain his position after years of injuries and hard knocks; and owned by a tiny stable founded by a band of high school buddies from Sackets Harbor, N.Y. (pop. 1,386), who tossed in a few thousand dollars each to follow their dream, Funny Cide became a blue-collar hero with a bit, his story crammed with colorful characters- only one of whom happened to be a horse.


Kitten Clarification.

Mo is actually from the litter that was born this summer.
Full Story:
Last year when I was in England T called and said there was a 'dump cat' living in the barn. Dump cat is what we call cats that have clearly been family pets and suddenly show up at the farm because people will literally drive down the road and dump their unwanted pets in my ditch. It is how ALL of my cats came to be living with me. So anyway- T asked if we could keep the cat as a barn cat and I said no because I couldn't really afford another cat at the time. So T talked to her parents and they agreed to pay for dump cat (who became known as Cleo) to live here. That included shots, food and getting her spayed. Well by the time I got home from England she had not been spayed yet and was pregnant. So when the vet came out to geld Titan I had him give Cleo her shots and he confirmed that she was indeed pregnant. So the kittens were born about a week before I left for New York for camp (5 of them). You aren't supposed to spay a cat right after it has kittens so we had to wait a few weeks and I was going to be in New York. T was supposed to get Cleo (now known as Mama) spayed ASAP but she didn't. By the time I got back from New York Mama was pregnant again. She had another 5 kittens. I found a home for 1 from the first litter and 1 from the second litter but was not having much help from T and her family in finding them homes. Last week after asking T to come over and clean up the mud room about 10 times (this is where the 2nd batch was living since it was too cold for them to be outside) I lost it. I cleaned the room myself and left T a message that they needed to come and get the kittens. I had even begun billing them for the cat food since they weren't providing enough. They came to pick them up and I kept one from the 1st litter (since I figure the little ones will be easier to find homes for at the shelter). So they ended up taking 4 kittens from the 2nd litter, 3 from the 1st litter and Mama to the shelter. They decided not to keep Mama because it was going to cost $70 to spay her. If they had decided that in the beginning I wouldn't have had to clean up after 11 cats for months but I suppose then I also wouldn't have Mo and Chance wouldn't have his best friend.


Friday, December 5, 2008

I have been scolded.

I have gotten in trouble by those who know me about not blogging this week. I am sorry. I will catch you up on everything.
I picked up Boyfriend on Monday. So happy to see him! His plane was delayed by about an hour due to snow but he has finally arrived. We have been hanging out for most of the week. I worked on Wednesday and Thursday but other than that we have just been bumming about.
Chance is good. He is getting very good at sit and is getting better about lay down. He still thinks he is a lap dog and should be allowed on the couch and bed- we are working on that. His new best friend Mo (the kitten I kept) has been following him around all week since the other kittens left. Mo sleeps on the dog bed with Chance and Tess. He also 'hugs' the dogs as much as he can by putting his front legs around their necks and 'kissing' (aka licking) their faces and ears. I will try for a picture of that but for now you will have to settle for pictures of them taking a nap together. Mo also loves Tess but she doesn't seem to feel the same way about him and is constantly getting up and walking away from him when he tries to cuddle her. She really hates it when he goes up and tries to 'kiss' her- Chance loves it, any good attention is apparently readily accepted whether it is from a human or a cat.

Titan is good. We have about 3-4 inches of snow on the ground and Titan and Gus are enjoying it more than the mud that we had before. Titan still seems like he is getting bigger everyday. I thought that maybe his growth would slow a bit in the winter (you know like how their hooves slow a bit) but I think he is going to continue to grow at this ridiculous rate until he is 3 or so... he is going to be a freakishly large giant but I love him dearly.

I am still working at the bookstore and I still love it. I got all of my Christmas shopping done today and I am THRILLED about that. I do NOT like shopping- especially with huge crowds and all that jazz. I am also still looking for a 2nd job but have not found one as of yet since I am over qualified for every position I apply for. However I can't apply for a higher position because I haven't taken my boards yet and I haven't taken my boards yet because I can't take the review class yet and I can't take the review class yet because it isn't offered until January. I should clean out the take room again- I always have stuff in there I can e-bay... I know I have 4 brand new stable blankets just sitting there...

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