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.

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. :)

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4 Comments:

Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

A lot of interesting information in there, especially about the no sale auction. You've had a lot of horses in your life. My husband always points out that by the time our youngest horse passes on, we will be in our 70's. In fact, we may pass away before our horse does, so I doubt I'll have any more horses beyond what I've got now. We're all of those horses different breeds? Do you think personality is tied to breed or is each horse's personality unique despite the breed?

December 29, 2008 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

Great story. I loved horses as a small child too--can't remember when I didn't. But I wasn't able to learn to ride until I was in seventh grade. I guess I was 13 at the time. Can't imagine what it would have been like to ride at 2!

Never rode on a college team but by then I was free leasing a horse, and with communting to school, I had it just fine. Had to wait until I graduated and had a job to finally buy the first horse of my own.

You have been one lucky "horse addict," my dear. What a super childhood it must have been.

December 30, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

jealous? moi? yes! what a story ... so onwards and upwards from here, then?

December 31, 2008 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Polka Dot Ponies said...

They were a few different breeds. Firelight was a Morgan, Jasper was a Hackney, King, Scottie and Chip are all QHs, Titan is a paint. The horses I rode while at school varried from TB to QH to Draft to Pony. I think most of their personalities are unique. I think they get some traits from their breed like being mellow (I think you are more likely to find a mellow QH than a mellow Arab) and such bit I am more of a nurture person rather than nature. Some Arabians are as calm as they come and you can always find a crazy QH. Some things are born into horses and people but how you treat them has a HUGE impact on their personalities.

December 31, 2008 at 7:17 PM  

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