Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Makoto and I want to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

I don't know why he puts up with me. Probably because of days like this when I let him do his favorite thing, jump! This horse would be an amazing eventer in the States. He is so stinkin' talented I just can't believe it. He is coming back from an injury however, so this was one of his first days back to jumping some actual height and not just cavalettis. Yay Makoto!

My eventer friend Alexis has turned this horse, Sky around. He's like a different horse. A really springy and talented jumper horse. I had a blast jumping some pretty big jumps on him yesterday with Alexis.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last Thursday we got a special delivery. Meet our new 7 month old baby pony!! He is the cutest, softest and most adorable lil baby. He is curious and playful and smart. Today we decided on his name. Kokopelli. Koka for short. I am totally in love!

Check out this little cutie playing and running around:

The owner is in the video and he doesn't speak much English, but he says "Bambi" which is really funny because so many people have said he looks like a baby deer or reindeer. Love it!
We are going to have a lot of fun with this little colt. He will be so showered with love, that's for sure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Horse Show

The Fall Horse Show earlier this month was a huge success. I worked my tail off, so I'm thrilled that it went off without a hitch. I think everyone had a really good horse show experience and had a lot of fun.

The week before the show is always crunch time. It's long hours at the barn and a ton of prep work at home. This time it was extra time consuming with 4 injured horses to nurse on top of everything else. But, as always, the kids make it so worth it.

The afternoon and evening before the show is the Horse Show Prep time where the students come out and help get the horses ready for the show day by giving baths and braiding manes and tails. My least favorite chore of the day is putting up the dressage arena... loathe. But, it was my third time, so it's easier each time. I topped the dressage letters with yellow and orange fall flowers (that's my favorite part). The whole barn area was decorated with a Halloween theme. We hung up lanterns in the trees, taped Fall and Halloween decorations everywhere and draped Halloween garland around doorways and around railings. I had a bucket for bobbing for apples and carrots. It was wonderful!!

The morning of the show I set out all the Halloween plates, cups, food/drinks and decorated the picnic tables. Of course there were buckets and boxes over flowing with Halloween candy on every table. I made each rider a Show Folder with a program, their show number and copies of the courses for the other events. Each rider got a goodie bag with Halloween Chex Mix when they checked in and received their folder.

The morning started off with dressage. The students had practiced their tests so many times and many had memorized them. We did USDF Intro Test B, USEF Training Level Test 1 and my young determined and totally focused 9 year old student did a USEF First Level Test 1.

We had a "short stirrup" class of two 5 year old and a 6 year old. Totally adorable. All these youngsters came away with blue ribbons since the judge just "couldn't make up her mind." :)

Next was the jumping classes. We had a trot jump class and a trot/canter jump class. The jumps were prettied up with fall flower boxes and pretty fall leaves decorating the standards.

Each participant received a horse show trophy. Ribbons were awarded 1st-6th place for dressage and jumping.

And then came the really fun part. The Obstacle Course. This fun class wasn't judged 1st-6th, but rather each participant got a certificate award for their best aspect of the course. And riders were encouraged to wear Halloween costumes! We had witches, cats, bat girl and bat horse, Mario and Luigi, a hippy, goddess, vampire, fairy, lady bug and other fun outfits. I was a candy corn/arena cone. Madie, the other instructor who's pregnant, was a cat who swallowed a fish bowl. Alexis, the judge, was Rainbow Bright.

The riders were timed and had 10 obstacles to navigate such as getting a treat out of a Halloween bucket and giving it to the horse, going over a wooden bridge, halting in a square, a small jump and "around the world." This was so much fun and such a good way to end the day, with lots of laughs! And one of the horse show moms was sweet enough to give the me, the other instructor and the 2 judges flowers at the end of the day.

So, no one fell off. All the horses were angels. No one was crying or a poor sport. It didn't rain. I think this was the best show yet!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

1st Birthday

A very happy first birthday to my spiky lil monster, Gojou (pronounced Go-Joe, his name means Joy in Japanese!). My lil Goji Berry turned one today! He has blessed my life in so many ways. I love him to pieces and enjoy his cuteness on a daily basis. I haven't blogged about him as much as I would like, but he is the usual subject for many of my pictures. Speaking of pictures, all these were taken with my brand new Canon super duper fancy camera. My generous husband bought his for me recently. Maybe because he felt like he needed to get me a lil something after buying himself his deployment present, a PRS Custom electric guitar. It is quite beautiful and was the first subject for my first photo shoot with my new camera. This is my first "real" camera and I'm just starting to learn how to use it. I love it already!

Anyway, back to Gojou. He is a grumpy lil guy and has been very resistant to my love and affection. So, he just has to deal with my force-loving him. I thought he would grow to love me as much as I love him, but it's been a year and I'm pretty sure that his personality is quite established. Goj loves to sleep and eat. That's about it. He does love running nightly marathons on his wheel too. But, when it comes to me he'd rather just go back to sleep. Even so, I enjoy his funny little personality and I love taking care of him.
Today I celebrated his birthday by giving him an extra helping of meal worms, a nice fresh cage and then making him fresh and clean too by giving him his usual bath. Goj is supposed to like baths, but he just can't seem to get into it. Still, I find it adorable, and he needs regular baths, so he just has to deal.

Today Goj reminded me of how much he hates baths by biting his bath towel and hanging on! Crazy Hedgie.

Goj also got a pink shirt to let the world know just what a crazy Party Animal he is. Wooo yeah. Party. Don't worry, Goj is quite comfortable in pink. He just showed how manly he is with the towel picture.

#1 reason why I love having a hedgehog: they curl up in the most adorable balls.

So, happy birthday to my not-so-baby-anymore hedgehog, Gojou!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Riding Workshops

In preparation for the Fall Horse Show we held a couple of workshops to help the riders get ready. The horse show judge gave the students some advice and pointers on what she would be looking for on show day. I think the kids really benefited from these rides and I think they had a lot of fun too!

The jumping workshop went off without a hitch. The horses and riders rode through a jump course that was very similar to the course planned for the show. All the rides went well, we stayed pretty much on schedule and the horses were well behaved.

The dressage workshop the next weekend was a different story. Essa was extremely sick at the start of this clinic and I was dealing with getting the rides out for Alexis, helping all the kids, dealing with Essa's colic and a million other things at one time. We got about half way through this chaotic clinic before it became obvious that Essa was not getting better, but worse and that the kids needed to leave right away. And I've already told you the sad outcome of that day. Poor Essa, I miss him every day. So the last half of the dressage clinic was made up the following week. Despite the Essa situation the rides went well and all the riders got to practice their dressage tests.

I never thought I could ever have this much fun working!