Sunday, August 31, 2014

Max's first trailer ride out!'s not exactly his first..he's been trailered many times before.....but..first time with me! Weeee!!

Max and his new girlfriend Layla ^.^

Max was a little nervous while loading because the ramp was wobbly but he walked in like a champ! Then we drove a short distance to a nice trail called Paine Open Space. It was a lovely little area with a good mix of wide and narrow forest trails that eventually led out to a huge field. 

We passed four beautiful ponds.

Max enjoying the scenery.

When we got to the field we trotted and cantered some circles and serpentines. Max was feeling good so I opened him up and let him run down one side of the open field. I was a little nervous at first because I wasn't sure if he'd just forget I was up there, but with the lightest touch he came back to me and we turned around and trotted back to C and Layla who was happily munching on grass. 

My trust and confidence in Max  really took some big steps today, and I like to think it was the same for him. Hopefully there'll be many more of these trips to come!!

C was so kind and took this video of us cantering around her.

Lots of hugs, carrots, apples, and grass after ^.^

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Training: Lesson day

Today my trainer hopped on Max for a few minutes and I had the pleasure of watching her transform him into a beautiful collected dressage horse.

When I first bought Max I was told he was trained and showed hunter/jumper and was starting out with some dressage training. What unfolded when my trainer rode him was not only an incredibly smart horse, but one with more dressage training than everyone thought he had! She pretty much ran him through all the second level moves and he did very well! What a gem!

After watching her prance him beautifully around the arena, I hopped my sorry butt back on and tried my best to replicate what I saw. Of course, she tried to help by giving lots of great tips and corrections, but I knew I had a long long way to go.

It was a short session so we focused mainly on collection and forward, but at a steady rhythm. We also worked on keeping contact - which is an issue with me especially in downward transitions. Then we tackled cantering in a spiral going from a big canter to a really tight and collected canter.

It sure was tough, and he tried a few subtle tricks to get out of working so hard. After a few conversations though we got into the groove of things and it felt fantastic!

If the weather behaves tomorrow, Max and I will be trailer-ing out on an outdoor adventure! Keeping our fingers and hooves crossed!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Things Hop: Nooks and Crannies

"Let's share things that make us happy! Today, let's talk about the little nooks and crannies in your house that make you smile."

Ever since I started reading blogs I've always been fascinated by blog hops and I am happy to be able to participate in this one! I think it is a lovely theme. The more things we can find in life that make us smile the better and where else than in your own home (with the exception of the barn) :)

I am trying to make this blog soley about my horsey-life so I'm going to include as much horse stuff as I can in this post...which isn't much...yet anyhow! haha

In no specific order.....

Funny artwork by my husband (top) and myself (bottom)

Kiwi's bedroom...if I could shrink down I would LOVE to go play in it

My pegasi collection, a stress ball chipmunk made by a good friend.
and calming crystals given to me by my mom

A cozy couch with a sleeping puppy on it...this will always make me smile!

My herd of breyer ponies donated to me by a good friend.
The giant Indy belongs to my hubby, and no..he is NOT cutting through the
herd no matter what my husband thinks!

These aren't up in the house yet but they are going to be. 
My mother had these cushion covers hand-made for me as a gift. 
I love them so much because the top chestnut one looks a little like Max!

This is my favorite place to sit and relax.
I'll plop down here to read a book, chat to my family on the phone,  
or just curl up with my pup and look out the window till we both fall asleep.

This horse is named Moonlight Dancer and she sits on my night table.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Free-lunging Max

Tonight we took it easy and spent some time grooming, cuddling and free-lunging. He was being so good so I hopped on him bareback after, trotted around and even did some cantering!

He is starting to feel extra soft and fuzzy and I have a feeling it is the beginning of his winter coat starting to grow out.... *sigh*.... There goes summer.

Our free-lunging session went great! I really didn't know what to expect since we've never tried it before.

I led him to the center of the arena, gave him some good pets and then took everything off so he was completely nekked (save for his boots and bell boots). Don't worry I kept MY clothes on.

Then I left him there to go fetch the lunge whip from the corner of the arena. When I looked back, he was still standing there looking around his behind at me and it was just so darn adorable. That cutie-patootie!

He stayed where I left him till I got back...and then started to move away as soon as he saw the lunge whip. After some fumbling on my part our communication got a little stronger and I could soon change his direction, speed him up, and slow him down to a trot and walk with my voice and energy.

awwllll nekked


After a few rounds I bridled him up and hopped on him bareback. We practiced some shallow loops, 10 meter circles and leg-yields. He was super soft and responsive and didn't even get looky when the crazy neighbors whooped by on their ATVs. They are a classy bunch...

Since he was being so good I thought I'd push my luck and try cantering him down the long side. He has a super comfy canter, even saddled up, so it was no surprise cantering bareback felt like sitting on a marshmallow.

Cool down walk

Can me has grass now?

And yes, he had enough time after to get his grass-munchies on! I've been working on keeping his head up and choosing the place and time he can start feasting. After saying "eat" I drop the lead rope and he can go at it. It took him a few sessions but now he will wait till I give the key word and release before munching on his beloved grass, like the good boy he is! Love my Maximaximax! <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Training: Keeping shoulders back!

Goal: keep up good position and keep softness throughout ride.

My goal tonight was mainly focused on my position, especially my slouchy shoulders. Max is a smart cookie and he already knows a lot more than I do. Which means I have a bit of catching up to do! I also wanted to focus on staying in..light seat and reigns but still maintaining good contact throughout the entiiiiiree ride. Hahaha...delusional

A good position is very very hard for me because I'm not exactly what you call super fit, although I'm working on it! I think I achieved it here and there, and when I did he rode like a dream. That's how I can tell! I fell apart more than I held it together so unfortunately I don't think I really reached my true goal tonight which was to keep that feeling throughout..

Maybe it's just too big a step. Next time I'll aim for something smaller.

Other than our semi-moonlight ride, we managed to get a pre-ride cuddle session squeezed in. He was hanging out in his usual corner and shuffled up looking for a treat...of course. It was so peaceful just stroking his neck and telling him what a handsome boy he is (which he adores btw). Maybe Thursday will be a cuddle and compliment session!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Buddy Trail Ride

Today we had our first buddy trail ride with a nice lady at the barn and her mare Layla.

We explored the usual trails I take alone with Max, along with a few new ones I didn't even know existed! Hooray! Then we headed out onto the road and did a big loop through the neighborhood.

He did very well for his first time in a lot of new places..besides the few expected spooks- which he gave plenty of warning for- he took me through the forest, on roads with cars passing by, past flags, scary drains and pipes with really no more than a few hairy eyeballs and a couple of skittish moments.

Max and Layla did so well together that Layla's owner kindly offered to trailer us out to a park next weekend! I am ecstatic!! Max will love it and although I'm a little nervous, I'm sure I'll love it too!!

Munch munch munch

Beautiful day, great company and two gorgeous horses. Who could ask for more.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scary woods

It doesn't matter that we've ridden by AND through this part of the forest many times before. It doesn't matter that it was a perfectly normal day. It was even a.o.k to be hand-walked by.... But as soon as I hopped on, it was a flat out No. There were definitely monsters in the woods and Max felt this strong need to shy and run away from them, taking me with him.

I guess I should be grateful he's got my a sense....

Anyway, this little episode extended our ride by at least half an hour. We did a lot of circles, serpentines, leg-yields, transitions..each time bringing him closer to the scare zone. I don't really know exactly how long it took and what clicked in his brain but at some point he started to chill out a bit so I decided to try trot over the jumps and poles I had set up for him.

After doing a couple of rounds of that, he was looky towards the woods, but no longer trying to sprint away. Whew. We ended our ride with some nice canters over the jumps in both directions and gallops down the long side (Yes! Even along the scary side!) Woohoo!!

It's all good. We're all good. The monsters are gone now.

By the end of the ride I realized I was on him for a good hour and forty five minutes! 0.0 Poor fella! So I quickly hopped off and gave him a nice cool-down bath.

I discovered that Max enjoys drinking water out of the spray nozzle. It is SO funny to watch and I greatly regret not having my camera on me. I'm going to have to glue it to my arm!

Tomorrow is a big day for Max and myself. We are meeting up with a fellow boarder and her lovely mare for a stroll through the woods. If Max and her mare get along then she might take us out venturing away from the barn! How fun would that be!!

However, after today's episode I'm a little nervous about it. I hope it all goes smoothly tomorrow!! Updates to come!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Training: No stirrups

Goals: To complete a whole training session without stirrups  ( ! ! )

What happened:

I got to the barn early tonight and found another boarder there with the barn owner. Apparently her new horse was being delivered !  A beautiful Oldenburg mare named Ginger. Wooo did Max prick his ears up when he saw her...he would have done a wolf howl but he settled for eating his apple AND the bag it was in.

Yes, Max ate a plastic bag :( One of those thin ones that you bag your fruits and veggies in. When I caught him he was already chewing and I tried to tear it out of his mouth but it was so flimsy it ripped apart. I am really worried and I'm going to call the vet tomorrow. The barn owner says she will keep an eye out for plastic bag in his poop so there's nothing much we can do but hope and wait.

I'm just hoping that he chewed it up into tiny pieces and that it won't tangle up in his belly or intestines like the internet says. The internet really scares me sometimes!

With that worry on my mind, it affected me which affected him so we ended up with an ooookay ride. Worked a lot on transitions. When he's warmed up and forward enough all it takes is a shift in my seat to get him to walk and a little bump to get him to trot, but tonight I was in a bit of a fluster from the bag incident and struggled a little with my position AND communication :( :( boo on me. We did some canter/walk serpentines with the stirrups off and except for a little unsteadiness on my part it went pretty well. Didn't ride the whole session without stirrups though - for several reasons..mentally I was in a bit of a mess, and Max was still woohooing over the new girl in the barn and couldn't keep his eyeballs from her general direction. Yeesh.

The best part though was after our ride he snuggled up to me and I hugged his head and gave him kisses while he kinda took a nap.

Ended on a good note at least - I'm hoping that plastic bag passes soon!! :0(

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fun videos from the past

I thought it would be fun to google Max's registered name and see what I can dig up.... and voila! Videos from his past life! What a gold mine! I thought I'd share them here..

DeeDeeMax in his good ol western days!

Max going over some jumps in a show

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Forward thinking, and a neat saddle bag

Goals: Keep round in transitions without over-curling. Keep up rhythm and relaxation.

What happened:

Again with the usual warm up - lots of free walk, 10m circles, shallow loops and leg yielding. I tried to leg yield in a trot towards the fence and it was messy at first but he eventually understood my fumbling and performed marvelously! Such a clever guy.

I really tried to focus on keeping him on the bit tonight and for the most part I think it went pretty well. J told me to give him a forward aid when he starts evading and it is working great!

After some walk/trot/canter transitions we did some canters over a pole. He loves to hop over things - it gets him all excited. I can definitely feel more uphill in his canters now which is fantastic. J told me he did a flying lead change the other day!! So proud of him!

Oh! I purchased an EasyCare Stowaway english cantle bag for future trail rides and paces and had a chance to try it on him. It works great and we rode our entire session tonight with it on. Max didn't even notice it was there...or if he did he didn't give a hoot.

Slips over the top

And velcros around the girth straps

The long summer days are slowly slipping away and twilight creeps up so quickly these days during my after work rides. There are so many "if onlys" on my mind right now but I'm going to put them away and be thankful I have Max and the time to enjoy him. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Gorgeous Saturday

Goals: Trot poles and position in half-halts

Today was just amazing! Beautiful weather all around. Max and I LOVED it!

We kept things simple today and worked on warm ups, roundness in transitions and walk/canter transitions. No trot poles because there were some lessons going on and I didn't want to start setting things up. It was nice anyway - short and sweet!

Hopefully I managed to keep up with my position during the half halts and transitions, but there were moments where I didn't check myself so I'm sure things slipped then. I really need to work on checking in on my position a lot more often. I tend to micro manage him too much where most of the issues really lie with ME!

We had some great forward movement today..he was raring to go! Had some trouble rounding out during walk to trot transitions - he'd toss his head up and hollow out OR he'd curl his head in too much - both showing me he's evading the bit. We worked through it eventually but it's definitely something I need to keep an eye on and work on in our next session.

Afterwards we took a peaceful rambling stroll in the woods and trotted over some logs. He really comes alive out there! I Cannot wait to take him to a hunter pace - I think we'll have a blast!

Over that fallen tree or under?

All dressed up!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Training: Half-halts homework

Goals: work on a better half halt and position

Process: shoulders back, core contract, knees in

What happened:

I got to the barn earlier today due to a new route I found on googlemaps. The same miles but it shaves off about half an hour from sitting in traffic! So much awesome from that!

It's a good thing too because Max had rolled and his left side had spots of dried mud. I spent a good chunk of time brushing him down to his usual shiny self. He's just so gorgeous!!

Me pwetty!

On to our training. Again with warm up at the free walk. J wants to see his head drop down more in a relaxed walk and trot so hopefully this will encourage him to bring his head down.

 The BO's hubby was busy mowing the grass around the arena. Max was wary of him but whenever I felt an inkling of tenseness I'd massage the outside reign and tap him lightly with my inside leg and he'd drop his head down again. Lovely..I like my men to be good listeners :) :)

Okay okay I hear ya

After our usual warm up circles loops we moved on to some trots and canters. I applied the half-halt tips J had given me during our lesson and it really makes such a difference - not only in the smoothness of our transitions, but in his forward movement! Yay!!

Then it was on to walk/canter transitions in a serpentine. Basically we would canter the loops and then transition to a walk on the straights. This really helps him engage his hind end, which in turn helps take weight off his front legs. He also has to change his canter leads which he is amazing at. He gets SUPER sensitive to my aids when we do this exercise too. I like asking politely and getting a polite reply. It keeps things so civilized!

We ended our ride at a relaxed trot around the arena a few times. He is starting to get the picture and would drop his head really low when I ask right. I experimented and said the word "Whoa" without using any physical aids and guess what? He made a nice gentle dead stop. *sigh* I love him  !!

And I shall I end this post with some pictures of the amazing Smartpak dressage saddle pad I bought for him to replace the lousy Tuffrider one. I love this pad so much I might get a second one down the road, maybe in a different color.Oooor in this turquoise again. Such a lovely color on him!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Training: Lesson Day!

Wednesday 08/13/2014

Goals: Keep correct position to prevent blocking and confusing Max

Process: Toes in, heels down, knees and hips open. Shoulders back and NO caterpillar back!!

What happened:

We did a long warm up while waiting for my trainer (let's call her J). It consisted of a free walk several times around the arena in different directions then moved on to circles and loops at a medium walk.

When J arrived we had just finished some trot walk transitions and Max was ready for class!

Tonight J focused on keeping Max at a steady rhythm while leg-yielding at an angle from the fence. He tends to lose his momentum and either slows down to a crawl or sucks back. By fixing my seat she had us move at a better rhythm through this exercise.

She also had me work on clearer and more cemented half halts during transitions, specifically trot canter trot. What a huuuugee difference it made in our transitions! By applying a good half halt we'd move from one gait to the other like butter. It was such an awesome feeling when we got it right!

So that is our homework for the next week till our next lesson. Can't wait till our ride tomorrow so we can start practicing!

I am so happy my smartpak turquoise dressage pad arrived at the barn today! Of course it had to be the day I forgot my camera....but hopefully I can get a few pics in tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Horse shopping is tough..

You kinda have to trust yourself enough to know when it feels right.

It's funny...Max was one of the last horses on my list to check out before I called it quits. I was kind of convincing myself that he wasn't going to work out anyway. The day I had planned on meeting him I had a terrible headache and tummy ache and wanted to just call and cancel.

Something was telling me to hang in there though..and I'm glad I did.

Max eating carrot cake ^.^

We had a mini celebration with Max last night and I thought he might like some carrot cake while we stuffed our faces with cupcakes. 

He thought it smelled yummy and took a big chomp and this happened..

Greedy gus!

He never fails to make me laugh!

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's official..

Today is a VERY special day. Today I found out that Double Dare Heir (Max) is officially my horse under the American Paint Horse Association registry. He is also registered under my name with the American Pinto Horse Association.

I am so happy I'm  all teared up..

My baby DeedeeMax <3 <3 <3

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Training: Play day!

 Sunday 08/09/2014

Goals: No goals's time to relax

Process: Short warm up then a loooonnng relaxing trail ride

Other things to do: Practice polo wraps? Try on Amigo Mio rain sheet. The Amigo Medium I bought looks a touch too big :( :( I have a feeling Mio is going to be too. *Sigh*

Practically swimming in it :(

What Happened:

Well Max was an absolute angel usual. I practiced some button braids on his mane and a braid on his tail. I've braided squat my whole life so I'm a bit fumbly and messy with it..but he didn't seem to mind much. He's so patient with me!

The results :)

After tormenting him with braids, we got tacked up and headed out on the trails. He was relaxed and curious, a lovely combo. We eventually worked up to some trots and little hops over small logs laid out on the trail. And oh! We saw a baby fox!! Max and I said "awwwwwww" at the same time

Looky that cute bebeh fox!

Max loves obstacles

 We even headed out on the road and he was so brave!! I love my sweet boy!!

 A little hand-grazing, brush out the braids and it was time to tuck him back in his paddock for lunch. He's so good...whenever I take his halter off he'd dip his head down towards me for his fly mask. He knows the drill lol!

Munch munch munch

Sporting a fro

Next Maxsession will be this coming Tuesday! Cannot wait!

My first horse: One of the best days of my life

On June 6th 2014 , year of the horse, I bought my first horse.

Horse shopping was a long and tiring process. After driving miles and miles all over New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey I finally found him.

My heart horse. And his name is Max


I'm really using this blog as an online journal to keep track of progress (or the lack of) because I have almost completely forgotten how to write with a pencil and paper. Yes it's true.

I'm hoping to create a post with an outline of my plan each and every time I see and ride Max and then update it with successes, failures, ups and downs.

Time is precious, especially with my schedule and the (sometimes) horrendous commute to the I find having something planned out for the day keeps things interesting, educational and fun for Max and myself.

On to our new adventures together as horse and rider!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Training: Moving forward

 Saturday 08/08/2014

Goals: Forward and roundness.

  • Warm up. 
  • Flat work around and over poles and one small jump based on this jump course
  • Cool down loop through forest and hand-walk along road. 

Other things to do:
  • Practice polo wraps. 
  • Bath Max. 
  • Clean and disinfect the scratches on his chest. 
  • Disinfect all brushes. 
  • Try on new medium blanket to see if it fits.

What happened:

Warmed up with free walk for about 8 minutes and then into trot and canter in a light seat to help him out a bit. My big butt can get kinda heavy!


Then we walked 10m circles and shallow loops along the center line. When I finally asked for a trot he was nice and forward! Yay! I think that warm-up really helps. It does take a while and honestly it can feel a little boring...but hey...I'm on my can never get TOO boring ^.^  So I believe we did manage to achieve forward and roundness this ride ^.^

We trotted over the 'jump' course I set up - which was pretty much a cross-rail and three super low poles. He did fantastic. Then we cantered them. He did great as well, and I think he had a blast!

For meee?

After our fun work-out I took Max out to the woods to cool down and to do some hills at a walk. 

We came across a family of deer and he was pretty looky. They passed by quietly though and so all was well. Suddenly two fawns appeared in front of us on the trail. Uh oh...I admit I was nervous...I had no idea how Max would react, so I halted. The fawns stepped towards us tentatively and Max pricked his ears up at them. Then they dashed away in the blink of an eye!

What did Max do? 

Absolutely nothing...didn't even bat an eye. In fact, I think he was even laughing at me a little. Silly human..all nervous over a couple of baby deer.

I don't know what I've done to deserve such a wonderful horse.

Well after our little adventure, we took a short walk on the road and he did great there too. Then it was bath time.

He's pretty naughty during the bath. Stepping here, stepping there, pawing, neighing.'s just water and soap just settle down already! Eventually he did and I managed to get him squeaky clean.

after bath grass reward

He had some bumpy itchies on his chest a few days ago and after some applications of Miracle Mist I'm glad to say they are pretty much gone! I washed the area with apple cider + water anyway just in case. Hopefully it'll all be gone in a couple of days.

Now to plan on tomorrow's ride!! Hooray for weekends!!