Most bloggers it seems use their blogs as journals, training records, and/or, if they're active and competing and/or training, as a conduit for their news. This blog will probably serve all three purposes.

I grew up with horses. My first pony (at age 4) was a darling Dartmoor mare. Along with her I rode my mom's Crabbet arabian gelding, a grade grey gelding, a Tennessee Walker, a POA mare, and the Appendix dam of my current mare. I was involved in 4-H but never ever had a proper lesson. We lived in a remote area and lessons just didn't seem to be a priority. Not that I knew better - riding was just riding. All I cared was that once we took off cantering, my horse would eventually whoa. Rubber riding boots and stretchy pants made up my riding habit. I rode in a generic ap that "fit" all of our horses. The "fancy" riders and horses who showed up for 4-H shows and the County Fair filled me with jealousy and awe. Their horses picked up correct leads, performed flawless turns on the haunches, and stood square. They had dream horses.

My "dream horse" is an adorable (ahh a mother's love) TBxQ (not technically appendix) chestnut mare Hadassah (Huh-das-uh) who is just turning 8 in May. I bred her dam to a gorgeous, just around the corner, OTTB in 2003.  Unfortunately, prior to weaning her dam was put down due to colic. Dassah, now a semi-orphaned mare she lived her first 4 1/2 years out in a pasture with a gaggle of beloved misfits. Unfortunately due to that semi-orphaned state her earliest years were spent with a crabby broodmare and her foal and she picked up the most comical (to the knowing person) habit of making mare-faces at everything. Treats. Dogs (well, she actually hates those). New faces, old faces, new friends, old friends, people ignoring her, people adoring her, flies, birds, leaves, basically anything. However, if the object receiving mare-face returns the stare, her ears prick up and she makes happy face. I think it's just a learned behavior and she doesn't know she doesn't have to make those faces. She can be strange like that.

I really wanted my mare to grow up un-stressed. She was introduced to haltering, leading, feeding, trimming, and trailer loading during this time. Once or twice a year I'd put her on a lunge-line for kicks and giggles (not literal kicks, the "oh hey, let's introduce/re-introduce her to this again). Had I been a responsible horsewoman, I would have introduced her to a lot more. I wasn't and I'm trying to make up for it.

Dassah went through some fantastic training at 5 and 6 with a great trainer just outside Columbus. She was backed and taught great ground manners. We went through some trying times when she was moved to a new barn and I thought that if I really instilled the ground manners she already knew, I would get over my fear of riding a newly backed horse. So I basically soured her on the ground. Go me. I'm learning though and she's mostly forgiving, so we're making forward progress, slowly.

In March of 2011 I linked up with another fantastic trainer in Columbus and it was then we really started to hit our stride. By May we had completed our first schooling dressage show (Intro A and B - with great placings). By June our first hunter-pace, and by August another hunter-pace, a fun-show, and another schooling dressage show. At the end of October my red mare and I were out on our barn's cross-country course tooling around when mare felt me hesitate a couple strides out from a small fence - she ran out to the left, I flew to the right, and I ended up with a broken foot, about a mile away from the barn. Thankfully I make up my own one-fall rules so I hopped back on (pun intended), re-rode the fence (successfully), ran around a couple more, and headed home. The next day I was put on crutches for 7 weeks. Four months after the accident we're back on schedule to do I don't-know-what. My aspirations are to event. I'm not certain what Dassah aspires to beyond the next apple/sugar cube/carrot. We're both learning to jump, bend a 20m circle, and make a trot-canter-trot transition that doesn't involve a bajillion half-halts.

Our equipment (since I love to know these facts about other riders): Rope hackamore, leather hackamore, loose-ring single-jointed snaffle, Amigo plain snaffle bridle, Thorowgood AP saddle, simple cotton saddle-pads, fleece Lettia girth, and Woof boots as needed. Don't let these simple good fool you, I drool over fleeceworks/mattes/eco-gold/Nunn-Finer/5-Star/Black Country/Rambo/ like every other breathing rider.


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