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

Monday, March 29, 2010

School is Torture

I have been quiet recently because of school. I'm in Midterms and have a short term class final in a couple weeks. Because of that this is copied from my training journal on the AND forum.

Things have been great with us! Starting Wednesday I had three really good days with Sora. I didn't write earlier because school is nuts right now. In the span of two weeks I have two accounting quizzes and a final :evil: and a public policy final. Today I finished one of the accounting tests and after Tuesday the public policy final will be done. Because of that its been tough to work with Sora.

Wednesday I took her out to our arena/pen to play a bit. I had forgotten that we have grass growing everywhere in that pen and Sora has never been able to ignore grass even for treats. I wanted so much to push her or chase her a bit but i didn't. I just walked around, not really ignoring her but not asking her to come either. I had almost given up when she came over to me for a treat. She stood nice and calm without mugging and got one but then walked off to graze again. Once again I let her go and after only a few more minutes she came to play! :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: She was glued to me for the rest of the time I was in with her and we had FUN. She was rearing and spinning and "cutting" me as I played keep away but was extremely polite the entire time and only forgot herself and tried mugging once or twice :D :D :D

Then on Friday morning we tried Karen's idea of patrolling the fence line. It was windy and cool and although Sora was calm I decided I wanted to play a little. I found a tree to beat on (made Sora confused since that's not one of the "scary trees") but the best part was when I shied. We were waaaay up in the pasture away from her herd which makes her looky anyway and then I "shied" snorting away. She raced off but came right back to me! Trotting like she was floating over the ground and I could tell she was teasing me. Not scared at all just laughing that I'd shied. She always comes back but normally she stands and looks for a long time first. This time she just came straight back. :applause:

Then tonight I needed to work on her hooves. She's barefoot and with the guidance of an incredible barefoot trimmer I've been doing it myself now for about six months. The trimmer also happens to do Reiki(sp?) and is an animal communicator so I know who to go to if I ever have trouble :D

I normally cross tie her, which she's good for, and she gets tons of treats. This time though I'd read about someone on here who sits on a stool with the horse's foot in their lap and I realized that would really help me as I'm not that coordinated yet with the file so I decided to try it. I put down some hay to help her be calm this first time, didn't tie her or even have a lead rope on her halter, and then I carried a stool and tools over to her. As I was setting my stool down next to her she was already lifting her foot :D wonderful obliging girl that she is she held it up for me as I sat down. She was really good with every foot except the hind right which she is normally nervous about. She was actually better than normal with that one too.

I love doing anything with her feet because she was impossible with them at first. I had people suggest to tie them up :evil: but I could never do that. In the end I decided to just wait for her and one day she picked them up with just a touch :D Now she's so good that she actually waits to set the back ones down until I step away. Her own decision, not something I ever asked of her, so that she doesn't step on me i think :kiss:

I'm trying to get some pictures but I don't have anyone here who's really willing to take them and when I try all I get is nose :funny:

So as you can see things are going GREAT! I also managed to sell both my saddles so as soon as my rebate check comes I'll be able to buy a saddle that will actually fit her!!! I'm SOOOOOO excited!

Now, back to stressful studying.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beautiful Weather!

It's been so nice here lately. It's almost like mother nature is trying to make up for our awful winter. Not only has it been warm but the mix of weather means that we almost have no mud which is usually my least favorite part of Spring.

It looks like tomorrow it's going to be a little colder and during the weekend we have snow and rain to look forward to but after this incredible week I almost don't care =)

I had a wonderful walk with Sora this morning. I'm working on trying to get her more confident out on the road and with cars because that's the ONLY place we have to ride. My dream is to be able to ride her down into our small town, down to the beach and on some of the beautiful little roads around here by myself this summer because I have NO one to ride with and no trailer so if I want to be out at all it's going to completely rely on getting her comfortable with cars.

I am hoping that some of my horsie friends will be willing to come and pick us up to go out on trails but I just can't rely on that and I don't want to have to wait for it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Berry Treats Please!

Things went sooo well with Sora today! I worked with her in the barn since everything at our farm right now is mud. I also worked with her for longer than I have in a while since she seemed to have a really long attention span.

She learned not to mug me for treats, the beginnings of the Spanish Walk, I started teaching her Ramener and we worked on backing towards me. All of this without a halter on and with hay present.

The best part was when she did this PERFECT Ramener (she still doesn't know what she was doing, she just thought she was getting treats for no reason lol) and I started jumping up and down and telling her how perfect she was. She looked SOOOO proud of herself.

oh my but this is fun =D =D

I'm really anxious to get my first pay check from my new job so that I can get her a side pull. I'm going to try to make my own Cordeo because I think I can make one of those pretty well and then all I'll need is my new saddle and we'll be all outfitted =)

Sorry for the lack of pictures but Sora looks, well, interesting, right now between the globs of mud and the extremely hairy coat. I feel she would be embarrassed if she knew that pictures of her like that were getting out so for now you will have to imagine her in all her perfect glory.

Here is a video of her from a week ago. That entire expanse is now thick mud =X

Thursday, March 11, 2010


First, not too much that's really exciting is going on. Tonight I spent some time just getting the knots out of Sora's mane because I've been lazy this winter and they were pretty bad. She looks like someone cares again which is good =) I also got some rasping done on her hooves. They've also been let go a little. Most people would probably hardly be able to tell they're too long, but since all I can do is rasp it's imperative that they don't get too long or I'll be stuck and will have to call my trimmer.

Secondly I've been working on starting her with the Art of Natural Dressage stuff. It's amazing how all the trust I'd lost in her last fall has come back along with more. I'm remembering just what a great horse she really is and she's remembering that I'm fun sometimes. At this point we aren't doing anything really exciting. She's learned how to paw with each front leg on cue, how to back towards me, and most importantly that she can leave when she wants and the training gets to be too much for her. It was fun watching her the first couple of times with this because she expected me to chase after her. Last night we worked on reinforcing good treat taking/clicker skills and it went better than expected. Now I just have to remember the order of things and she'll remain polite =)

Finally, that saddle I bought last fall is going up for sale along with the Wintec dressage. I really don't know why I've held onto the Wintec so long as I know it will never fit her and I don't plan on getting a horse that it will fit. I like the Thornhill but while the Wintec fits her shoulders but is too narrow in the back the Thornhill is too wide wide in the shoulders but fits in the back. Sora is in that awkward back phase where almost nothing fits so I looked into options and as soon as my job picks up, and I get the other two saddles sold, I'm going to get one of these saddles on trial. I REALLY like the reviews and I think it looks cool too. Plus it's a price I can afford =)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my goals for myself and Sora over the past few days.

One thing I've been thinking about is about Dressage and Dressage competition. I've said on here before that I want to do a little of everything with Sora and also that I have no interest in getting to the upper levels of Dressage. Something I haven't mentioned here is the fact that while I've always wanted to be able to show Sora I have no interest in competing for ribbons, competition, or certainly money. The only reason I would like to be able to show her is so that I can be in that environment with other horse people. Which is the same reason I love going trail riding or simply riding with friends. To me its the people and the environment that I lack here where I wish so much to have others to ride with and simply to talk to about horses. I was pushed at a young age to compete with my instruments and it was a very serious, life altering thing whether I won or did well or not because it meant getting into a better school, getting scholarships etc. I NEVER want horses to be that for me.

The reason that I realized this is that I've been thinking long and hard about going bitless. Starting with when I first got Sora and wanted to do everything for her the best way I could. I had a reminder of that when I was so successfully riding her with only her halter and more recently as I was going through this Bitless horse blog. Last night while I was at school I was doing some more research and I stumbled on this website and felt like I'd come home and found a family I never knew I had. The people on the forum are open and offer warm encouragement to each other even if different views are expressed. This is what Dressage to me is truly about and should be about. This is the kind of relationship I have always wanted to have with Sora and always been too embarrassed, or pressured to express.

I've always felt that a Bit was a very useful tool and that people who never rode with one were extremists but the more I see and read and think about it the more a different kind of riding makes sense to me. Because of that, last night when I got home from school at 11:00 I went out to be with Sora and to think. I brought her into the barn and while she had a snack I groomed her and got some of the knots out of her mane. For about half an hour we just spent time together and I carefully mulled all of this over in my head. Finally I made a decision and went in to the tack room, took the bit off her bridle and hung it up. It felt very symbolic and I know it will completely change my future with not just Sora but with any horse I end up owning.

I feel like I've made the right decision for me and for Sora and for the first time I feel like a weight is off my shoulders and I know where I'm going with her. Ever since last fall when I posted on COTH I've realized that I really don't fit in with most of the Dressage crowd but now I've found my tribe =)
This picture is of Sora's first trail ride, almost her first time on the road, when she was still slightly scared of cars. It also turned out to be the first time we'd canter. I rode her in just her halter because I completely trusted her and she proved me right. Even slowing down next to another horse from a canter to a trot with just a tightening of my hands on the reins.

Monday, March 1, 2010


And it's my first =) I was tagged by Dressage Pony.

Part of the award is that I need to tell you seven things about myself that you don't know yet. So here goes:

1) I live in a club house/fort. Yes you read that right. Being 24 and living at home I had last choice of living space and this is what I ended up with lol.

When my parents built our house they made this little fort for us since we were good kids and watched our baby sister. It's actually really cozy with just enough space for my bed on the floor and only one place where I can stand upright=)

2) I was home schooled from when I was 5 to when I went to college at 18. I never even was in a class room until drivers ed. We, my brother and sisters and I, were home schooled so that we could spend tons of time practicing our instruments at 3-8 hours a day and other than math we didn't study anything else. Now, before you condemn our mother, we did TONS of reading, had interesting discussions on everything from religion to politics and I did well enough on the SATs and entrance paper that I got a full scholarship to every university that I applied to along with graduating Cum Laude.

3) I was in 4-H for many years and raised Dairy Goats, Rabbits, Sheep, cooked, sewed etc. etc.

4) I taught one of the above goats to pull a cart and gave rides at our county fair lol.

5) I interned for a year with American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio and my booth was right in the middle of all of the DJs. I got to watch Mary Lucia doing her thing in the booth all day while listening to the live streaming of The Current, on my headphones at my computer. Best job I've ever had!

6) My first pony was a little black and white paint named Prince. While his name did NOT describe him well, my second equine was named Bucky and that did suit him exceptionally well =X

7) I live in Minnesota about an hour and a half south of the Twin Cities in one of the most beautiful places in the world =) I live right between two tourist cities, Red Wing (home of those famous Red Wing Shoes) and Lake City which is like being transported to Greece or Italy =) All of the members of my family commute at least 3-5 days a week to the cities traveling untold miles on our cars (3-4 hour round trips) but non of us would trade living here for anything. Afterall, being able to ride from our house, through a small town and be here is just about the best thing in the world =)

So, now I need to list fifteen blogs! I believe that some of these have already won this award but these are the fifteen blogs I follow regularly.

Dressage Mom
Braymere Custom Saddlery
Sincerely Paige
Javas Barn
Equine Mine
Horse Crazy American in Germany
Bitless Horse
Soltice Art Studio
Jumping Percheron
I is Roxie
Eventing a Go-Go
Sofie Learns Dressage
The Eventing Percheron
Always There Are The Horses
Tekes Tally-Ho!