A Blog About My Journey Riding and Training Sora, My Soulmate

Friday, July 31, 2009

Last day of Work!!!!

Today was my last day of work at Target. I've been there for almost exactly a year and I was really ready to be done. I now have about a month before school and I plan on making the best of it.

I had a wonderful ride on Sora this evening. I started off like normal but was a little tougher on her than I usually am. I pushed her a little harder on things like steering, trotting and continuing to move forward and she took it. She worked nicely and I was very pleased that she didn't pull the spoiled pony card :~) We even went on our first real trail ride and other than thinking that maybe that meant she could graze she was really good.

I thought maybe it would be time to talk a little about my background since you know so much about Sora.

I am currently a student at Carlson working on my Human Resources Grad degree. I commute two hours each way to get there but I only have school three days a week. School starts again in early September. I have a bachelors degree in Music Performance and play the Cello. I changed my career path at the end of college for the simple reason that I knew I needed horses in my life. I miss the Cello but I am so happy each and every day that I wake up and remember that I get to spend the rest of my life around horses that I know I made the right decision.

Along with loving real horses I have collected model horses since I was about three lol. I recently started sculpting them and you can find one of my first attempts here
I've always loved Arabians and always wanted one although throughout my life I've liked different types of horses and different sports. My love of Dressage came about when I was too nervous riding out on the cross country courses with my sister and our friend and would stay in the arena saying I would rather do Dressage. It ended up that I really did love it and have ever since.

My family got our first pony when I was only seven. My mom was terrified of the little beast for good reason and he did everything he could to defeat my dreams of riding him. Eventually I gave up on him completely and we sold him soon after.

My next horse experience consisted of English jumping lessons where my favorite horses where a white Arabian mare and a buckskin pony. They only lasted a month and then I had a very depressing few years until we got Bucky.

Bucky is really a blog all in himself so I'll talk about him later but he was quite the horse experience. I am proud to say that I stuck him out until he was nearly perfectly behaved and then traded him for Loki.

Loki was wonderful, a beautiful mover and a very well behaved calm horse but we never got along. I think we both hated each other a little and we were always having arguments. I stuck with him while I was going to school for music because I didn't think I was going to be able to have horses and therefore it made more sense to just keep one that was uncomplicated but as soon as I changed my profession I put him up for sale. He found a wonderful woman that called me after she got him home and said she had just had the best day of her life :D I used the money from Loki to buy my long time dream horse, Sora.

Along the way I participated in 4-H where I showed goats and rabbits. I have a cat named claudio that thinks he is a dog and my family also owns a welsh corgi and another cat named Benedict along with the horses and goat that you know about. I have two sister's that kind of like horses and a brother that won't set foot near them. We currently all live on a newly split twenty acre farm in southern Minnesota right near the Mississippi river. In fact we live so close that we take our horses swimming in it.

I've done tons of other interesting things in my life but I think these are the most relevent and recent things. I'm sure I won't be posting as much once school has started but I'll let you know when that is.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

ahhhh, me :P

Well, today I had my first bad day with Sora in a long while. It was weirdly bad too in a way I'm having a hard time capturing or figuring out.

I took her into the barn with the idea that I was just going to rasp her hooves and try her SmartPak saddle pads on with her saddle. She seemed tense from the first moment she walked in the barn. Like something between being in pain and being in heat. She was extremely nervous in the barn and was jumping at all kinds of silly small things.

The thing that really got me though was that she was jumpy and didn't want the saddle on her back. She was pretty sure it was going to hurt her or attack her in some way and she NEVER acts like that. It is an especially sore point for me because my previous horse, Loki, always acted that way and it drove me nuts.

After I took the saddle off her back I started on her hooves and was waiting for it to be rough but she was better than she's ever been. I got through all her hooves and was able to do a really good job on all of them. I'm supposed to be doing it every week and it had been a little longer so it took a while and she stood extremely still the entire time :~) My trimmer should be impressed lol!

After I finished with her hooves I decided to go out in our arena and join up with her since it's been awhile and it would give her a nice amount of exercise in a less structured way. She did really well at that too and even trotted and cantered after me when I ran away from her for the first time. She was very respectful and stayed joined up really easy.

What bugged me during this though was that she didn't really want to do anything but graze. Honestly! our horses get to graze 24/7 and yet whenever you take them out that's all they want to do. Sora didn't used to be that bad but for some reason, even though she's fatter than ever, she just won't stop. Since we don't have any space without grass it's just part of life here but sometimes it bothers me more that others and tonight was one of those times.

At first I was having a tough time getting her to stop but by the end all I had to do was cluck and she would stop and start following me but that was really all that was on her mind even though I was out to play around and enjoy her company she was thinking only of grazing and was getting pretty po'd that I wasn't letting her.

I know I shouldn't let it bother me, I mean she's a horse right?, but she usually isn't like that so when she is it bothers me too much. After she was really listening we went for a walk down our driveway and made a nice loop. Usually she freaks out about a dozen things on that loop but this time, as long as I stopped along points and let her graze urg *pulls hair out* she was calm and well behaved.

So as you see the whole day really went fine but I was kind of disappointed. Maybe it was me, when something goes wrong with Sora it usually is :X

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Again So Wonderful!

I rode again tonight and Sora was, as normal, wonderful! I longed her first and she was very fast. She cantered and trotted more than she has in awhile. Probably because of the weather. In Minnesota it didn't get above the upper sixties today :X I thought it could be an interesting ride but I've completely gotten over any worry about riding her. She has proven to me that she is trustworthy even in "spooky" weather and I no longer have any qualms about getting on her back.

After our speedy longing session I climbed up and started riding her around the arena and she decided that she was reallllly tired lol. She wandered around and didn't really want to listen to my steering and acted like she didn't remember how to go forward. I laughed and got her working off my legs a little better and the rest of our ride she went forward much better. I do think I'm going to start trying to ride a few days in a row to help build up strength and work on discipline now that she knows what's going on.

Part way through our ride she had her first big shy with me on her back. We did well together and it reminded me that I am a better rider than I give myself credit for. After I gave her a chance to settle we continued on. It was good because I got a taste for how she is going to shy and I have more confidence in my abilities now.

We also did our first long stretch of trot today. I've worked on getting few steps of trot out of her before but I have no interest in pushing her and she simply wasn't moving off my legs well enough for me to get her to keep it up. Today I did and we trotted half way across the arena. She has a nice trot and after I get her to stretch through her back and get her head down a little we'll be golden :-)

After our ride I brought her into our barn, crosstied her and checked her all over for any unusual warmth or sore spots. She was fine but I rubbed liniment into her back and legs and took her out to hand graze for a little.

I have noticed that I need to work on my riding. I haven't really spent much time in a saddle since last fall and my balance and core strength are definitely lacking. I'm going to try to start riding Jackson on the nights when I don't ride Sora. It would be good for both of us pudges lol!

Not too surprisingly I've been having trouble getting Lauren to go on a trail ride with me and I really want to get Sora out of the arena. Luckily Hanna is coming home this weekend and although I'm sure she won't want to ride right away she'll be more excited about trail riding with me.

Sorry for not getting any pictures. I'll try to recruit a family member tomorrow when I ride so there is something interesting to look at :P

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy Monday

I didn't feel like riding today so I decided to just post some pictures.

This is Hanna, my sister, riding Dancer. Dancer was one of the ponies we sold last year.
This is my friend Jeana riding the horse my mom used to own. Her name was Hero and she was a Missouri Fox Trotter.
This is my cat Claudio. Isn't he cute!!!
I love this picture of Sora!
Finally a rare picture of me and my sisters all with horses. Lauren is in the background, Hanna is in the front and I'm in the middle. This is one of those "see how many mistakes you can find" pictures lol! and yes, Hanna is texting while riding backwards on her horse *rolls eyes*

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sora the Wonder Pony...... ie. Ride #11

If there is anyone reading this blog you are probably getting pretty tired by now of all of the good, wonderful, incredible things Sora is sooooooo good at lol! If that is so, than you maybe shouldn't read this post jk.

I took Sora for our fateful eleventh ride today and once again she was more than perfect (I also noticed that this happens to be my eleventh post. Perhaps the world will end ;-). I got home from work after planning allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll (of my long and horrible day) to ride but almost didn't. I almost didn't because I got home and it was stormy, windy, cooler than it has been, the horses were all worked up, the extra terrestrial had gotten out and was racing back and forth along the fence line going nuts because she couldn't see the others, etc. etc. I had my heart so set on riding but I didn't want to do anything foolish so I decided to just go and get Sora and Jackson and put them in the dry lot since they are both getting a little fat. However when I caught Sora she was so quiet and well behaved and friendly (she's been bitchy and testing me for the last few days. I think because she's been in heat) that I decided to at least take her in and groom her and longe her.

I got her in on the cross ties (by herself) and groomed her (in our barn that sounds like it's going to fall down around your ears everytime the wind blows :X ). She was quiet, licking, blinking and chewing so I decided to wrap her front legs in polos for the first time. I also french braided her mane, for the first time, bridled her, for the first time in awhile, and decided to try my Dressage saddle again even though she wasn't happy with it last time. None of it fazed her and she was SO well behaved and calm on the longe that it would have been silly not to ride her.

Of course at this point I was up against the following.
- unusually cold, windy, stormy weather.
- wearing a bridle for the first time with me on her back.
- wearing the Dressage saddle, which she didn't like last time, for the first time with me on her back.
- wearing polo wraps for the first time with me on her back.

and the big one,

- the horses decided to LEAVE her and gallop around in their pasture where she could hear them but not see them.

at that point I almost chickened out again. I do tend to be a nervous tense rider especially with the windy day and with the horses running around but I put that aside and climbed on.

I was completely rewarded for my trouble. She moved off my leg better than before. She stopped much better than before. I had set up caveletties all over the arena so I worked on different patterns and her steering, as long as I remembered to use my seat, was better than before as well!

My sister gets back early tomorrow and I can't wait to show her how incredible Sora has been. Honestly I was more confident, relaxed and loose than I would have been on my sister's teenage gelding in that situation. Honestly the gelding probably would have tried to throw me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Celebrating.... plus ride number ten

Sora's gotcha day is officially on the first of August. That was the day when this arrived at my home.and Sora stepped off.
She undeniably changed my life and I am so lucky to have her!

To celebrate I ordered one of these with her name embroidered on it, a nice soft fleecy half back pad (to keep her back comfy as her muscles change) and a nice fleecy Dressage girth so I can start riding her in my Dressage saddle. I can't wait until they get here and I'll be sure to take pictures to post here.

I did also ride her today (ride number ten) and she was perfect as usual. I worked mainly on stopping since starting on Sunday I'll have someone to trail ride with and I want to make sure I have brakes first lol!!! I also tried something a little tricky just to see what she would do. I rode her over to the gate to our arena, leg yielded her up to it and leaned waaaaaaay over to unlock the gate. She was perfect and only jumped a little as I swung the gate open. We went out then and walked around the lawn and over to the field a little. I was really happy and we called it a night since I had limited time. I'm hoping that I can ride tomorrow after work and if I can I'm planning on riding her with the bit for the first time although I'll only use the halter to steer the first time. I'm so excited.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


No really, this is a good post lol!

Sora is the most incredible horse I've ever been around. It's like having some combination of the Black Stallion, Pegasus, a unicorn, etc. etc. Literally she is my dream horse. The horse I would dream about when I was a little girl and didn't have a horse and even later when I had my big, scary buckskin terror. She is everything I wanted and more that I could have imagined. I bought her looking for specific things but discovered that she has qualities that I hadn't even thought to look for.

I would never claim that it has much to do with my training. I am a fair trainer and I have a bit of experience but the best I can say about myself is that I have been trying exceedingly hard to forget all about the training methods I was taught when I was thirteen-fifteen and practiced until a few months before I got Sora. I'd do anything to make her happy and make sure she is a comfortable, healthy, horse. To make sure that happens I've been doing research on different training methods and ideas for the past few years. I've combined them and done what's worked best for Sora and I think I've been doing fairly well.

I went out today and both Sora and I were a little off. I don't know what was going on with Sora. I think she was just testing me. I was wired because I'd just had a huge diet coke to drink and the caffeine was getting to me.

Despite this I decided to take Sora out by herself. If you remember I'd been taking her gelding buddy out with her the past few times so she'd stay calm but I decided that today I'd see how she did without.

She was great in the barn, nice and calm in the crossties and didn't fuss when I girthed up her saddle. It was on the longe that she decided to test me. Normally I make her behave on the longe. I don't let her buck or gallop around. I expect her to walk when I ask her to and trot when I ask her to and certainly to stop when I ask. All of that went out the window today. She even tried graze which I thought I had cured her of :X

Once again I thought about not riding her but figured I'd at least climb on and see how she did.

Long story short she was more than wonderful. What shocked me first was that she was calm and collected in the arena even though she couldn't even see other horses. Really?!!! My sister's teenage gelding that is ridden out regularly without other horses is nervous in the arena by himself :X and this was only the ninth time I sat on her back and only about the seventh time I've really ridden her. But the biggest shocker was still to come.

She's been a little sticky about turning so today, for a break, I decided to try turning her more with my seat and weight. Once again I figured this would take some work but the first time I tried it she did perfectly!!! I do mean perfectly. She turned nicely in a small circle. After that I started using the reins and seat/leg cues together and she did better at walking all the way around the arena than she ever had before!!! She even halted perfectly when I stopped her with my seat and that worked better than using reins also. I probably shouldn't be surprised but I've never had a horse that took to it that easily. I've had well trained horses that absolutly refuse to learn anything about seat aids no matter how hard I try so I was shocked that Sora took to it so easily. I still feel like I'm walking on air and so happy I can't get the grin off my face :D :D :D :D :D

If there is anyone reading this you may notice that I gave up the quotations around our arena. I did it for a reason. I've decided I can hardly complain about our barn, our arena, our lack of nearby trails, or even our lack of a trailer because Sora makes up for all of that. I've got the best horse I could have in my back yard and that is really all I need :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

After a Break

Today I rode Sora again finally (ride number Eight) . For the past few days Sora has been kind of off. At first I think it was because she was in heat but yesterday when I took her out to pony her she was grinding her teeth and her eyes were pinched so I figured she was in pain somehow (it was hardly noticeable and she really only ground her teeth once in a while but I know her so well that I could tell something was off). Today when I took her out it was the same thing but a little less so I decided to try to figure out what was wrong. I poked and rubbed her all over including her legs, back, hips, shoulders, etc. I lifted her legs and moved them and she didn't seem like they were hurting her at all. Her back wasn't sore at all even though I wasn't being that gentle poking at her lol.

I finally discovered a small knot about half way on her neck on the left side. It is small and just a little warm so I am not too worried. I got her to stretch her neck in both directions and up and down and she didn't seem overly uncomfortable.

At first I didn't think I would work her but because of where the knot was and because I haven't been able to work with her for a few days now I decided to start out and see how she was doing. I tacked her up and there was no tooth grinding and she seemed comfortable so I took her out to lounge her. She did seem slightly stiff on the lounge and once again I thought about not working her but since her back wasn't sore I figured I would at least get on and work on backing her and getting her to move off my leg.

She did really well! Especially since she had a fairly long break and is still in heat. There was no tooth grinding and she was relaxed so I stayed on her back, otherwise I would have been off right away. I just walked her around again working on getting her to go to places in the "arena" that she wasn't happy about going to last time I rode. After we were done she didn't grind her teeth at all and her eyes looked better so I wonder if moving around helped. I also put some liniment on it so just maybe that helped a little as well. Soon I hope to work on trotting but I'll wait for that until she is back to 100%.

In the next week Lauren, my sister, is coming home and then I'll get to take Sora on a trail ride!!!!!! I'm so excited :D

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Stormy Night......... Ughhh

Sad face,,,, :*(

I was soooooo excited to ride tonight. I got home and got ready and all of a sudden the wind picked up, the sky turned dark and when I went outside this happened.....
and this...
and this......
at about this point I decided that riding while ponying Sora miiiiight be out. So instead of riding pictures and a story that I really wanted to have here you get this lol.
thirsty after,
brain freeze lol!!!
hey mum!
tasty scratchesFinally a wonderful roll!
Hopefully I'll finally be able to ride tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two Bays, Two Chestnuts and a Sorrel

Today I had every intention of riding and ponying Sora because it was beautiful outside. Cool, sunny and breezy and just the absolute perfect riding temperature. However, I didn't sleep very well last night and for some reason had a really long and exhausting day at work so when I got home I watched So You Think You Can Dance (the best show ever) and just lazed around on the couch feeling guilty for not riding lol.

(Bay) I did go out and scratch Sora and I got some fuzzy pictures of her newly trimmed fetlocks.
Because otherwise this would be the most boring post in the world I decided to post some pictures of the other horses/animals on our farm.

First are the two horses that are owned by my sister's Lauren and Hanna.

(Chestnut) Jackson is owned by my sister Lauren who is currently going to college so when I want a horse to ride he is the one I take out. Yes he is an easy keeper lol! He is most likely a solid color Appaloosa possibly with a little Quarter horse in him. He is probably in his late teens.

(Sorrel) Khepri is Hanna's horse. She is a wonderful trail horse and is the perfect horse for me to ride when I'm ponying Sora because she is calm and well behaved. Those Halloween costumes again lol.
(Chestnut) Next is my friend's Arabian who is staying with us until fall. She is registered and is 6 years old. Trained western pleasure. Her Barn name is ET which is perfect because she can be a little like an extra terrestrial sometimes lol!
(bay lol!) The Goat is the last remaining of our herd of Dairy goats that I showed in 4-H.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that she has "goat powers". Don't look into those eyes lol!!!

I promise (cross my heart) that future posts won't be so full of fluff. I am certain that I'll actually work Sora tomorrow and I'll try to remember my camera :D

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spa Day

So, today I had thought about riding but didn't for a few reasons. First, it has been getting ready to storm all day and it feels tense and windy outside. Second, Sora is going through a growth spurt so her hips are quite a bit higher than her withers and I don't want to risk making her back more painful than it probably already is (I can only imagine how uncomfortable that would be :~S) Finally, there were a few other things I did want to work on and I had already spent all day cleaning up around the barn so I decided to be lazy.

I crosstied Sora in the "barn", pictures later, and got her groomed up. Her mane has been staying wind-knot-free for the past few weeks, which has to be some sort of miracle, but it has been flipping over her neck so I decided to braid the top part anyway to correct that. I also decided to cut her feathers off because she has been looking a little like a pony or a very small Clydesdale lol. I don't have after pictures right now but I'll get them soon.

After that I put the bridle on and longed her for a little to get her used to the bit again and continue to work on strength. I think she is in heat and she had a few little fits but continued to listen. What is really encouraging to me is that now after I have to correct her (read chasing her a little on the longe without even a whip lol) she no longer acts like I'm going to eat her for the next hour. This is such an improvement from when I first started working with her and will be soooo important for her to continue on with Dressage.

Once I had her back in the crossties I worked a little on rasping her feet and getting her to hold the back ones up for longer. Last time the trimmer came she had a panic attack when the trimmer refused to release her foot. (short rant here) *I did tell the trimmer to set Sora's foot down for a minute so she could relax but the trimmer said "but then she would be winning" and just kept right on trimming. Because of this a panic attack ensued and the trimmer was unable to finish with Sora's back feet. I know I am partially to blame because I wasn't working on holding Sora's feet up for an extended time, but honestly, keeping a horse comfortable is not always letting them win and the rest of the session would have gone fine if she had just listened to me about my horse.* (rant over) Luckly Sora is now over what ever scared her (irritated her) that day and with treats as bribes :~) has been doing extremely well with her feet.

So, since I didn't get any pictures of my day with Sora I thought I would post some of our "barn". Now, I'm not complaining because my parents are letting Sora stay at their farm for free until I finish grad school but the barn is kind of a mess. Don't get me wrong, I love it in there. I love how it's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I love the big whitewashed beams and the rough cement. All I wish it could do is keep the rain and snow out and that is where there lies the problem. Sadly it got this way because the people who had our farm before us let it go and by the time we got it, it was too far gone for us to be able to do anything with it.
From the horse pasture end. Note the troughs on either side of the isle, the barn was a dairy barn and those were for the manure.This is looking out on the horse's dry lot. You can see their shed. The crossties are the black hanging things. Note the tarp over the saddles. You'll see why it is needed in a moment :X

Hay loft floor water damage. Note that you can see daylight, bad sign huh lol!
The "roof". It is always quite relaxing during the winter when there is beautiful soft snow falling in a corner of your barn lol. :*(

Isn't that just wonderfully flat ground in our arena behind Sora there lol! At least we can work on strengthening on hills lol. I don't even mind the hills so much but I do wish I had some good footing to be kinder to Sora's legs.

This is part of why I am sooooo jealous of the facilities people like Klein's mom are able to use. Oh well, it could be worse! I am sooooo thankful to be able to wake up and see my horses right outside. I'll certainly miss that when I move Sora to a boarding facility.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Ride Today #7

Today started out well. I cross tied Sora in the barn with my sister's gelding and got her groomed and tacked up. They both got treats for standing nice and being calm and then he got tied while I rode Sora in the "arena". I've been doing it this way so that she has a buddy and so she is thinking about riding and not about how she can't see the horses. Soon, once I've got her whoa down a little more, I'll start taking her out without a buddy.

Once we got out in the "arena" I lounged her like I always do but this time she was unhappy. I don't really know why. It's been windy and cooler here than normal so it could have been that but I kind of think it was because I was trying a different saddle on her. The all purpose I've been riding in is a little wide for her (it doesn't rest on her withers or anything but it's a little on the wide side) so I thought I would try my Dressage saddle on her this time. It was actually a little narrow but nothing too worrying so I thought I would try it. She had a hump in her back and I drove her through it a little but when it didn't go away and she looked unhappy I decided to listen to her. I switched her saddle and lounged her again. She was still a little speedy but the hump was out of her back so I ended the lounging with that and tried to decide whether to ride today. I decided to take the chance and I'm really glad I did.

She was really good again :~) She was a little speedyer than normal and I did a one rein stop once when it felt like things could get out of control but after that she was perfect. We even trotted a few steps for the first time!

The funny thing was that I had decided my main project for today was going to be getting her to move off my leg softer. I had figured out exactly how I was going to address the problem and was so excited to try it. I waited until she was stuck and with great excitement put my plan into action. I started by very lightly squeezing with both legs and guess what...... she walked off calmly.


What about my perfect plan lol?

Oh well, I was sure I would be able to next time. so I waited until she got stuck again and went through the same motion. Again she walked off perfectly. Oh well. Not to say I wasn't ecstatic!! I was just quite attached to my plan lol!

The rest of the ride went just as well and I can't wait until next time. I've been sticking to an every other day ride at this point so her back doesn't get sore (just to be safe) so tomorrow I'll probably work more on picking up and handling her feet.

I hope anyone reading this had a wonderful ride today as well!!! :~)

I'll take mine with a side of baggage please....

So, when I bought Sora I knew that she came with some baggage. I felt confident that the issues that she did have were things I could deal with and didn't conflict with what I wanted her for.

Now, I know that compared to most rescues Sora's few problems would be considered small potatoes but remember that I was looking for a training project with fairly little training experience on my part and I was looking for an unbroke two-year-old that was halter broken etc. and not a horse with any problems.

When I went to visit Sora she was tense, she carried her head high and her eyes were pinched. Despite this the trainer had just trimmed her hooves for the first time and had just trained her to stand still while he sprayed her with flyspray. She listened to him but she also seemed to be terrified of him. I think the reason was that he was a Quarter Horse trainer so he was used to having to motivate horses that weren't quite as sensitive as an Arabian. He kept mentioning that although he didn't like Ay-rabs she was really smart and picked stuff up right away.

During that first meeting the trainer told me what he thought had happened with Sora. He told me that Sora had been stuck in a pasture with a bunch of other yearlings and not touched until she was about two. She wasn't handled at all during this time so when they decided to sell her they chased her into a stall, knocked her down and eared her to get her clipped up so she looked like she had been handled. The woman I bought Sora from bought her from these people. The woman I bought Sora from than turned her out in one of the trainer's huge pastures while he started one of her other horses. Eventually when it was time for him to start Sora they couldn't get near her (hm, I wonder why). Soo... the trainer roped her. Yeah, that won't leave any emotional baggage on an Arab *rolls eyes*. They got her in a stall and got a halter on her somehow. After that he started working with her and made tons of progress.

Because of all of this Sora had some issues when I got her. She was hard to catch, didn't want anything going over her head(I think from the roping experiance), wouldn't let you get even close to touching her ears (especially her left one), and was nervous about letting people behind her. By now almost all of that stuff is in the past. By the end of the first day she was happy to be caught and by the end of the first week she was letting me touch her ears.

Once again I realize that this stuff is nothing like the hard core issues horses come with out of rescue but it made a two year old that should have been completely loving and happy a tense, nervous unhappy horse.

Finally, before and after pictures :~)

This is the trainer coaching me on how to catch her. I really think he thought I was going to have major trouble with her. :~)

Sora is NOT convinced that she wants anything to do with me :*(

She looks really excited about being handled doesn't she.

Can't keep her away to take pictures lol! Note the relaxed eyes and ears.

Dorky I know! This was three months after I got her. My sister and I went into our local town and trick-or-treated. Sora was great and didn't jump around even with my white skirt blowing between her legs.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Pocket Full of Ri,,,des

One of the main reasons I started this blog is to have a journal of my progress with Sora. I LOVED reading "It's a Really Long Way Down" and I realized that having a record of my progress would be wonderful for me to go back and look at later. I also thought it would be nice to share my progress and any problems I have along the way with other people who are also training young horses.

As of yesterday I've been on six rides on Sora. She hasn't objected to me riding her in any way which, with my previous pony training experience, is incredible to me :~) I didn't get pictures until our sixth ride but the previous five rides looked just about the same lol. The first time I jumped up on her back she just stood, relaxed, flicking her ears and eventually turned her head to both sides to sniff my feet.

Hold on there you scary Arabian you lol.

Afterwards I jumped off and, strangely for me, started to sob
hysterically :~P Once I had regained my composure I started to machine gun feed her treats. That made Sora very happy lol!!!

On the next few rides I gradually worked up to her wal
king around her dry lot and eventually moved to our "arena". None of those rides had anything as scary as even a shy and she acts so relaxed that I feel as though I'm riding a 14 year old instead of a 3 year old.

What I am riding in I will fondly refer to as the "arena" because it is actually a small pasture that is as close to flat as you are going to find in southern Minnesota. I don't have good footing and frankly the fencing scares me a little. I did get the posts from the middle pulled out (part of a round pen) after that ride so that is better now. I'd give some body part for a chance to ride in a proper arena but without a trailer that won't be happening anytime soon :*(

I don't know if anyone out there is reading this but if you are, how many of you are dealing with working with a horse without any kind of arena. I once heard from an upper level Dressage rider that was riding in a marked out part of a hay field and she gave me hope lol.

Pictures :~)

Now, before anyone says anything I know I am in tennis shoes and shorts but at least I'm wearing a helmet right? lol (and my stirrups are too short XD)

For those of you with Arab-Phobia no she is not drugged.

Note the tongue in the last pic. Sora decided to pull a funny face for the picture XP

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nerves and Expectations

So, to start out I'd like to give you a little history on me and my horse/horses.

My horse is named Sora AKA TF Lilly's Shoshana. She is a registered Arabian that is three years old and currently about 14.2 hands. Sora is bay with four short white stockings, in that way she takes after her grandpa, Desperado V's markings :~)

I bought Sora almost exactly a year ago as a Dressage/trail/driving/everything prospect. I knew going into it that I really wanted an Arabian. I've had a few horses and ponies before but ever since reading "The Black Stallion" I've REALLY REALLY wanted an Arabian. I've sort of always held them up as the perfect horse (I know, I know, every young girl wants an Arabian. I guess I just never grew out of it lol.)

I did put quite a bit of research into the breed. Dressage is my passion so I knew I needed a horse that was capable of at least not embarrassing me as a dressage rider. I was pleased to find how many Arabians make WONDERFUL dressage horses. (see links)


I also wanted a short horse (for reasons that I will go into later) and so Arabians fit that as well. Finally I wanted a loving horse that would bond to me and would learn well. I've trained horses in the past but this would be the first time I was training my own horse.

Sora turned up in an ad on Equine Hits. I had finally managed to sell my previous horse (who I will talk about on a later post) so I was ready to start looking around. I had been looking at the same four Arabian fillies for the past two years. The problem was that now that I was finally ready to be serious most of them were sold and one of my favorites looked hideous in a more recent picture :(

I was looking for "the last time" through the Arabian fillies available in the area and on a hunch decided to call "Lilly's" owner because of this picture.

She was the right size, my favorite color, and had great bloodlines. I actually didn't think anything would come of it (people never seem to respond to questions about horse ads *rolls eyes*) but her wonderful owner emailed me within the following hour. We set up a time for me to see her that week.

I bought her the evening of the day I went to see her and she was delivered about five days later. I had looked at a few other horses and honestly I probably should have looked around more but than maybe I wouldn't have the most perfect horse in the world. In this case I listened to my gut and it was right!

She is the best, most beautiful, and smartest horse in the entire universe lol!!!
She's wet because she just had her first bath :~) awwww!