I realize I’ve been maintaining radio silence BUT I’m still here, I promise!

The past few weeks have passed in a whirlwind. If you follow me on Instagram (I created a separate public account just for horse-related posts) you will see that I’ve been putting a lot of time into Justice, with mixed results.

Also since I’ve been riding in the arena more, trailering out less and not disappearing on half-a-day-long excursions, my boyfriend has been much more agreeable when it comes to my riding (of course he has also gotten completely caught up in some online game thingy so that might have something to do with it). He even mentioned he would be willing to come along to shows to support me.

Aside from endurance, only other thing I’ve ever really been interested in is jumping. Eventing specifically, but after I started exploring the idea, I quickly decided that was biting off way more than I can chew. I don’t have a trainer, nor do I intend to get one (those kinds of things cost money, you know). Not to mention the entry fees for some of these events are outrageous! With me only working at the barn right now, I needed something cost effective and fun, that wouldn’t require too much time or take me away overnight anymore.

So I started looking at show jumping. Specifically, a couple of local schooling show series both within 1 1/2 hrs from home. Classes are $10 & $11 respectively, and I wouldn’t be entering more than 4 with one horse.

So for the past two(ish) months, I’ve been putting in the miles on Justice, intending to make the June shows. I even made a friend at CS, where I board him! She is much more experienced than I (despite being younger haha) and it’s been really nice to have her input on a variety of subjects. Justice also is a brave jumper and does not like to take down any poles.

Unfortunately, there is a BUT (always a but, right?) Ultimately the flip side of the equation is that Justice has taken to acting out on the ground lately, mainly while tacking up. At first I was certain that he was in pain. But after treating him for ulcers, and discussing things with C, I’m now almost convinced it is behavioral.

Unfortunately it has made dealing with him a PITA. One day he saddles up fine. The next he is either falling in the cross ties or attempting to rip the hitching post out of the ground. His new trick is flinging his head or even threatening to rear when I bridle him. But all these things are very random, not at all consistent (he doesn’t do them all the time) and he has NO problem with these whatsoever under saddle or AFTER we’ve ridden. He tried some of these tricks with me once before a year ago, and again I was convinced I was hurting him somehow and I would untack him and let him go. Obviously that wasn’t the best idea.

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Justice is perhaps the most complicated horse I've ever owned. He is highly intelligent, and as a result he WILL test you. This has intimidated a lot of people in his past. Recently I've been having some problems tacking him up. These included (but weren't limited to), pulling back at the hitching post, resisting being bridled (occasionally by rearing) and so on and so forth. At first I had to rule out pain. However, it would seem the issue is a form of protest against having to work. Today we had a come-to-Jesus meeting when he flipped out at the hitching post again. I don't always hard tie him because of his tendency for pull back (letting them "fight it out" can be dangerous and doesn't work for all horses). However today he was pulling back in a serious attempt to get loose and "escape". So I was forced to hard tie him and let him have it out with the sturdy hitching post. I also lunged him nearby, letting him only rest by the hitching post (establishing it as a "safe place"). Finally I unsaddled and resaddled him 3x…only to pull the saddle and ride him bareback in the field (in order to show him that work IS entirely possible without the saddle AND will be requested outside the arena as well). The minute he finally dropped his head and rounded his back in a relaxed baby trot I rewarded him and ended the ride. This horse ONLY learns through reward and release of pressure. As do most horses, so that is something to keep in mind when dealing with behavioral issues. #ridetolive #horselife #equestrians #equestrian #equestrianmom #equestrianlove #equestrianlife #horselife #horsewoman #training #horsetraining #pressureandrelease #livetoride #horsesofinstagram #morgansofinstagram #morganhorse #morgan

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It got to the point a week ago where I was feeling so disheartened I trailered Pearl over to CS (yes I hooked up the trailer to bring her a mile away because I’m just that lazy lol). I was curious to discover just HOW well she could see, as she is now completely blind on her left side but her vision on the right appears to remain the same (despite the vet detecting a very small cataract there).

C was riding a client horse in the arena when I arrived, which was great because I was able to receive a second opinion on how she handled “obstacles” (that is, the jumps). I started out with the gymnastics J and I had been practicing previously reduced to poles on the ground, minus two small crossrails. So, basically pole, pole, crossrail, two strides and another crossrail.

I walked her over everything first, not giving her any indication of the what was ahead. She had no problems with any of it. I asked her to trot them, and had to laugh as she trotted right up to both crossrails, stopped dead, and stepped over them. Despite being crossrails, they were probably set at almost 2′ and so her knees almost touched her chin! I asked her to trot them next and she would lazily stumble through them. I had to actually really put leg on her to get her to jump but when she did, she had mad hops! I wish I had photos! (I have since rode Pearl down to CS again, and popped her over a couple 2′ verticals. She acted like it was nothing!)

C and I originally planned to attend a CT together on May 27th, but we ended up deciding to sit it out as it rained the entire week leading up to it. I wasn’t overly disappointed as I was feeling a little iffy about it anyway. The only options for Justice and I were 18″ crossrails or 2’3″ complete with rolltops and oxers, etc. We are currently schooling somewhere in between.

Instead, we are gearing up for TTC on June 3rd. I am actually really really excited about it! TTC is a really nice facility an hour away that hosts a CT, Jumper show, and X-Country schooling all on the same day. C is going to do the CT, while I am hoping to enter a couple jumper classes and then we both plan to school cross-country! My boyfriend is also coming, so I should have actual media from this event!

After talking to C, I decided to bring Pearl. I am not giving up on Justice and intend to take him to a couple Jumper shows later in June (if I make every single show both series host through the end of the year I will be eligible for year-end awards), and having 2 different horses for different divisions will definitely work to my advantage! Thus I have slowly been accumulating equipment in the past several weeks – I acquired a Figure 8 bridle with an elevator bit for Justice and a breastplate through Ebay, as well as a saddle from Ashley (the saddle was a godsend after I discovered none of my current ones were a good fit for J). For Pearl, I decided to go back to her straight bar Pelham, complete with double reins because that is her favorite. I would love to get her a new bridle, but settled for a new browband for my tried and true plain Havana brown bridle. It’s not flashy, but I needed some shade of brown to match her brown Stubben saddle. I do have a nicer bridle for her but it is pitch black and you gotta be all matchy matchy for showing (I’m just hoping havana brown isn’t too dark!)

^ It’s this bridle, but with a different bit/reins and browband lol

Like Sara of the Roaming Rider (who I believe has her first CT on the same day – eeek!!), I have never shown before and am woefully lacking in equipment. I was lucky enough to have inherited a bunch of random stuff last year, which included an old Casel-Equi eventing vest, some splint boots, saddle pads and breeches. I picked up a pair of tall rubber boots at a recent Consignment sale for $5, and I have a few dark blue polo shirts leftover from one of my old jobs. I may get a white one, but I’m on a budget, so maybe not. I don’t have a belt, but I’m not too worried about that (my #1 pet peeve is that we have to tuck in as I still have a noticeable kangeroo pouch leftover from my recent 2nd c-section). I don’t have a hairnet. I intend to just twist up my hair as neatly as possible and hairspray the sh*t out of it to keep it in place. After all, I’m only riding in 2 classes.

C gave me a pair of jumping boots for Pearl and I’ll probably just throw some old splint boots on her back legs for now. I still haven’t decided what saddle pad to use. I was eyeing a really nice one in the tack store recently, but ultimately decided that it was too big for her and thus not worth the $35. I do have a neat, clean pony-sized white one that will work for now. I do have to wash it before the show.

Also I’ll need to pull her shoes. She hasn’t been trimmed in a while and has started tripping a little. With the summer storms that we have sweeping through on an almost nightly basis I prefer to keep my 3 completely barefoot. I have a very real fear that one of my horses will be struck by lightning. Last year lightning struck and destroyed the fence charger at the corner of Pokey and Pearl’s pasture, and this year we’ve already had lightning strike in our backyard.

I did purchase a crop for Pearl. She’s a little lazy when it comes to jumping sometimes. I doubt that’ll be the case away from home, but I figure I’d rather have it and not need it than find myself wishing I did. And of course the crop was teal and that completely sold me (I’ve been eyeing teal saddle pads online too as my birthday’s next month!)

After TTC, I’ve got 2 more shows coming up in quick succession. FF on June 17th and COA on June 24th. My Dad and his girlfriend have agreed to watch “Bubba” (my nickname for my now 6 month old son) and my daughter on the 17th (since it’s my birthday weekend), and my boyfriend will be attending COA with me on the 24th. I do want to bring Justice, in addition to Pearl to one of these events. So I think I will ask C if she wants to go to FF with me, and I will take both Pearl and Justice to COA (I would likely be showing them in back-to-back divisions, which is why each having their own specific tack/saddles is so important).

^ Love how this saddle looks on him! It’s also the first saddle I’ve ever used on him that doesn’t slide back! I think it’s a Crosby – I’d have to double check to be sure tho.

Anyhow, I’ve been rambling. I might check in later in the week, or you might not hear from me until the show is complete. Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date! 🙂