Thursday, February 22, 2018

2017 Year in Review

2017 was one for the history books with the requisite highs and lows. I am still in awe of what we all accomplished.

January: So by now most of you know that this is my hell month at work and very little horse stuff happens. Sadly what did was Winston having colic one of my days off.

February: This was the beginning of an amazing year with my decision to participate in Adult Camp at Sprieser Sporthorse with Roscoe. Lisa and Natasha each worked with us and helped me figure out it was time to take the kid gloves off and move Roscoe forward. Although Roscoe showed his green, he also showed his class during a group cavaletti lesson. From that high we fell hard when we lost Winston the end of the month. I still get teary even thinking about him.

March: Roscoe and I had our battles as we both continued to grow and we had some jumping fun. Then I took Comrade to Adult Camp. We worked our butts off and had some really nice rides. The biggest win of the month was that Natasha offered to come to our barn for lessons. Motivation was activated.

April: Lesson Time! For the quality Sprieser trainers provide, the price of lessons is really reasonable. Plus I was able to have Natasha ride Roscoe for no additional charge.

May: Show Time! Roscoe and I survived our first dressage show kicking off a big year. We took in an old friend from the last barn we boarded at. And the month ended with the birth of Roscoe's second filly.

June: Roscoe's birthday month, his second show, breeding, lessons and finding out our trainer was leaving. June was a roller coaster. I also apparently have training level goals.

July: The month we did not take a breath. First was the USEA Jump Chute clinic, then another dressage show and finally the month ended with the Westfalen NA inspection. Roscoe was a superstar and expanded his fan club.

August: Roscoe took a break after the hard work of July and creating foal 2018. He did go to the Welsh show with Ember though. Comrade and Rosemary braved a dressage show with air traffic. We capped off the month by finding an affordable equine dentist.

September: This was a rough month with Dottie battling gastro problems, my sister in law getting in a head on collision and my car getting rear ended which was the beginning of gastro problems for me. And that was just before Roscoe and I made our training level debut.

October: Ember and Roscoe went to the VA Welsh show and then Ember went through a long gelding. Then Roscoe had a great training level test and Comrade was eliminated at the last summer show.

November: This was the month I was determined to get Roscoe moving off my leg and working harder than me.

December: Although we did not have a completely successful show, we did win the ugly sweater contest. Then we had a great Blogger Gift Exchange getting an awesome photo of Roscoe jumping at his inspection.

2018 will probably be less exciting just because I am poorer thanks to my other horsepower, but there will be more breeding. Which means more foals! I have 12 prepaid dressage tests and hopefully I can get some jumping in this year.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


I have not ridden much with weather and work over the last couple months, but the rides  I have had were good. Roscoe is maintaining the the energy we worked to find in November. Now I can ask for canter and get and an active gait. That means I can actually work on his canter and not just work at keeping him going.

We still have to work on our balance and straightness. I tend to lose my center when he turns into a motorcycle.
Ugh, what can I say

 Not sure how to fix that, but I am looking forward to working on it. We had a super warm day and I managed to get a little video of Roscoe.

I was pleased to see that though Roscoe lifts his head into the canter, he also lifts his shoulders.

He steps under just a bit

 Plus I am getting better about sitting taller. It is amazing what a year does for progress. I had hoped to take him back to Sprieser for camp again, but my other horse power required $1200 in repair leaving me too broke to play.
Now I have to decide what to ride for the next show in March. I am sorely tempted to do two tests and make one Training 2. I think Roscoe is a bit bored with Training 1 and that leaves him time to be stupid. So I may do T2 first and then try to be competitive for T1 after he gets his hijinks out of the way. Ah, the gamble.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Trail Of Painted Ponies: Winston

I knew the next Painted Pony would be tough, but I thought it was because it would be Barry. Instead it is hard because it is Winston. Nearly a year now after we lost him and I am still missing him. Every show I go to, I wish I was taking him. This was the year he would join the show string. Over ten years we owned him, he had come so far and overcome so much. Even before we had him he had his challenges. Winston went through at least 4 owners before us, one a dealer, one a dead beginner. He dealt with a horrible barn owner and people who did not understand him.

Trainer, he loved the jingly double bridle

9yr old Winston

When we saw him the first time it was crazy windy and dark, but this horse did everything we asked of him in hand. So we bought him for a whopping $450. He was suppose to be a resale project, but that went out the window after he dropped me 3x by taking off. Plus the first time we trotted him under saddle he looked like a German Shepherd. Winston scared me with his runaway tendency. We began 2 years of ground work, long lining and side reins. He loved to work, but something was not right. A vet though he had kissing spine, then after seeing him move said he was like a 3yr old in a 9yr old body.
So I did something I had never done before, advertised for a trainer. Most people would not even answer my emails since we did not have a fenced arena. Then I found a lady willing to try him out. She pushed him until he took off, but she could handle it since she expected it. Over three months with her riding 2x a week, he began to turn into a riding horse.

That allowed Mom to ride him more and more. And I even got on him too, though I still shook with nerves. Winston loved to work and learned to relax. Little did we know that his chill attitude, combined with a nimble mouth would lead to a painful experience. Even wearing a muzzle, Winston developed Laminitis. He dealt with ice boots, pain and feeding restrictions all in stride. Fortunately, we saw a trial for a new drug called Laminil and the company added Winston to their trial. He came through the procedure and was nearly sound days after. He still had a long road to go and a ton of weight to lose. Through it all he was still happy. He began to learn Spanish walk too.
Gradually he came back to work and continued to improve. He and I actually began to have fun together. That only increased when we made the move to Peggy's. There he could go out with the herd consistently without worrying about the grass.

He did develop Uvitis which made him go on Previcox and wear a mask forever. But that was better than dealing with puffy eyes. He also dealt with carcinomas that seemed to appear seasonally. They did not interfere too much and we had some cancer ointment to use.
The horse we bought one windy day withstood so many storms in his life. Though it took time, once he gave his trust, it was complete. He was always so happy. That was why I made his show name "Omnis Cor" (all heart).

Sadly last year he faced a storm that would not pass. We knew when we looked at him that his heart was gone and so was his joy. We let him go and now he rests in the field were his buddies play in the shade of the trees where he once snoozed.

With our aging herd, Peggy and I have looked at Painted Ponies. Though I was not looking for him, Peggy found a pony. Once I looked, I knew that was the one for Winston.

Storm Rider Lightning illuminates this strong-bodied pony as it braces for the storm ahead. 

The steel gray who glitters with his head up in the face of a storm was Winston to a "T." He touched so many people and taught me more than I could have ever thought. I like to think he is running pain free and eating a bunch of grass in heavenly fields. Thank you everyone for letting me share him with all of you. He truly was a special horse!