Monday, February 28, 2011


We survived our first tornado warning early this morning. I had never experienced tornado watches or warnings until Kentucky. During our time here, there have been some severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. But not an actual warning in my county. The wind woke me up and I saw on my phone that I had an email from school that there was a tornado warning and to seek shelter immediately! Yikes!! So I rounded up my pets into the hall bathroom, with my phone and netbook to check out the weather, to wait it out. Not a fun thing a 4:30 am! Especially since I couldn't get one of my cats in the bathroom with us. I think I freaked him out by acting like a maniac, but he stayed right by the door, just wouldn't come in. Dork. Once the warning expired in my county and then in the county where Jay lives, of course I had to put on the news to make sure it didn't touch down anywhere by him. Then I was finally able to sleep and of course over sleep. Oh well, it was scary but not too traumatic.

Not much to report on the riding front, as it has been rainy and cold. But late this afternoon, the sun came out and Jay had some shedding going on when I groomed him. The forecast this week looks good, let's hope it stays that way! Planning to ride before class tomorrow, let's hope the pony remembers his stuff!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Moving right along

Well, things have been progressing as quickly as the weather will allow. Jay has been going across the street both alone and with Salty with no real issues. I am still hand walking him but that's ok. The important part is that we are doing it and he's staying calm. It seems that everytime we go across alone something (or things) scary happen and Jay has taken it all in stride. Our goal is to ride over at SP Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a hack day on Monday, day off on Wednesday and a lunging day on Thursday. The hack day should help us to eventually ride over and back and the lunge day is just to have him not have 2 days in a row off until it starts to stay light out later. Once we have more daylight on Thursdays it will be a second hack day. This plan is what my schedule allows and I think it should work well for us. Now we just need the weather to cooperate!!

I recently found out that I will be moving to Birmingham in June for my externship, which will be my last year of grad school. I never would have thought that I would go from Long Island to Louisville to Birmingham, but am extremely excited for this new adventure. Fortunately, this postion is paid, which means I will be able to keep Jay-R at a nice facility and start lessons again!! I truly love my little barn that I'm at now but am looking forward to not doing partial self care for a while. It's not the work I mind, it's the time it takes away from riding and "regular" life. There are also many little things that bug the heck out of me there.. if not for B it would be very hard some days. But oh well! Jay is safe and happy and healthy.. and we only have a few more months until we are back in a more training centered atmosphere.

In the meantime, I'll be working to get the pony back in shape and ready to start up the serious stuff again! I'd love to look at doing some small shows this summer/fall at First Level. Totally doable I think. Jay is going to be looking the part as well! He will get a body clip soon, has his mane pulled and got his back shoes put back on. Although tonight he's a muddy mess. Look out Bham! ; )

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


A lot has changed for us in the past month. It got extremely cold the second week of January and Jay made it pretty clear that staying outside all night in the single digit temps was not for him. Since then he has been staying in every night. At first I was going to just keep him in on terribly cold nights, but he has been perfectly content with the routine, so we are sticking to consistency.

Our friend B has an OTTB (Salty) who she has had for about a year. She has done a ton of groundwork with him and has recently started riding him herself consistently (up until now he has been ridden by her trainer, Ry and P but not super consistent recently). B and Salty have no problem with actually getting across to SP, but she was more worried with the actual riding once we got there part. So we decided to do horsey stuff together when we can to help each other out.

Thanks to B, I have had a big mental breakthrough with the whole getting Jay across the street alone thing. We decided to take our boys across the street to graze in the field. Jay was grazing quietly even with loud scary trucks going by. B says lets go past "checkpoint 1". As I ask Jay to walk on, he throws a mini fit. For no reason other than not wanting to move. This is what made me realize how much of our "problem" is Jay's behavior, not him being "scared" or nervous or whatever. He is just being an ass. This is nothing new, Jay needs to be kept in line or he can get pushy and be kind of a jerk. He keeps me on my toes whenever I get too comfortable. As long as I stand my ground and make him behave with little things, he is a pleasure. Even though it's nothing new, we have never had to deal with something like a mile walk in an open field, so I think it just got out of hand.

From then on "checkpoints" didn't exist anymore. Jay has to be tuned in and listening and I have to chill out and stop worrying about spooking and "checkpoints". The next day we hand walked them, and made them MARCH, to the SP driveway and back (about halfway to the arenas). Good behavior for both boys. B wasn't able to be there with us the next day, so I hand walked Jay to the SP driveway again, alone this time, and he was very good again. No spooks. Then B and I decide to just bring them over and ride. They were both perfectly behaved. That was on Saturday. The most surprising part for me was that we went first thing in the morning. Jay hadn't been turned out yet and with him having been on pasture board for so long I thought he'd be a little up. Not the case, I lunged him quickly to check before we went and he was calm as can be.

So on Sunday we are on our own again. I tacked him up and threw on his halter over his bridle. I like having a longer than my reins lead so that if he acts up I have more room without worrying about him getting away from me. Off we went. It was warmish out but a bit windy. Jay was very well behaved on the way over and he was made to march the whole way.. no ambling (amazing how this translated once I got on! duh!). While I was riding him he tried to pull 2 "bolt and bucks" that were so half-assed that I don't know why he bothered (first time he got about 4 strides in slo mo, second time didn't even really count). Otherwise he was nicely forward and relaxed into my contact. On the way back, he had some tense moments. Whenever he felt tense I realized that I was also tense, and relaxing my own arm immediately relaxed him. He did not have one spook and didn't try to run home.

The one time I thought for sure we were going to have a spook was as we were heading home and approaching the "scary trees". There were 2 big ole geese about 15 feet in front of us on the path. Not really anyway to go around them. At first they weren't moving but suddenly they spread their big ugly wings and flew off. How on earth this did not scare my horse, I have no idea... but it made for a very proud mom!!

So our plan for now is to get over to SP whenever the weather and daylight allows. Mondays are our hack days and yesterday we just walked up and down our driveway keeping him responsive to my leg (and not his herd). Today was pouring so all we did was a blanket change.

Jay really seems to be happy to finally be doing something again. Even though every time I bring him in from the pasture, he gets worked and then put in his stall, he usually comes right up to me when he sees me walking to the gate. If I happen to get there later than usual, he trots to me and does that deep voice nicker. If that doesn't make me feel good, I don't know what can!! Must be doing something right!

So my goal for February is just to get into a consistent work schedule. Once we get that down, more specific goals will come. Maybe if I blog more often, they won't end up so long. Hopefully that will be easier now that we are finally working again.