TOABH: Sugar Momma

Beka at The Owls Approve asks us: Let’s continue pretending that horse poop magically transforms into money instead of the other way.  So money doesn’t matter.  If you could buy anything for your horse, what would you buy? 

I suppose a new horse trailer isn’t really for the horses. Thinking about what Moe and Gina might want, the list is fairly minimal. They have lots of things, and I don’t think they care one bit that their blankets used to belong to other horses or that their saddles weren’t custom made. So here’s what they’d get if I had unlimited funds:
All Gina wants is for Moe to leave her alone.
  • Neue Schule Verbindend bit for dressage, so her current loose ring can stay on the jumping bridle.
  • Ogilvy half pad for dressage, because I like my dressage saddle and have zero desire to jack with custom saddlery. The saddle fits her pretty well, but the half pad might shift it from “pretty well” to “very well”.
  • Lightweight blanket, because Princess Gina prefers to never be chilly. 
  • Lifetime supply of German Horse Muffins.
All Moe wants is all the jumps, all the time.
  • Lifetime supply of Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns.
  • Schockemöhle Ashford bridle, because his tiny, cob-sized head deserves a pretty bridle for all the schooling dressage shows on his schedule this summer. (Well, and the kids who lesson on him deserve better.)
  • Perfect Sit of Sweden Jump Off Revolution bridle, because dear god does this horse need a flash when he’s jumping/trail riding/hacking out. The ancient HDR figure-8 is too stretched out to fit his small head; I like the look of this bridle and I think my rubber reins would match the chestnut color. 
There are many things I can think of for myself, but I really think my horses are pretty happy the way they are! They’re also ridiculously low-maintenance. But the lifetime treat supplies would go a long way toward improving their quality of life. 😉

TOABH: I’m a loser, baby

Beka wants to know about your horse’s biggest fail.  What did Thunderhooves do that embarrassed you, scared you, shocked you or just annoyed the hell out of you?

You know, I wasn’t planning on participating in this particular topic, because I couldn’t really think of anything Moe had ever done that was truly dreadful; plus, I’ve covered Gina’s multiple failures in depth over the years. 
And then I received a text that filled me with horror, shame, and surprise:
My sweet, perpetually cheerful Moe bucked off a child! I can’t imagine why he would do such a thing- this particular kid has been taking lessons on him for months and he’s always been well behaved if a little zoomy. My best guess is the bucks were in frustration or confusion about why he was cantering around jumps without going over them. Regardless, I’m super embarrassed and very glad that Hunter is okay!
Bad Moe. Very bad Moe.

Poor old Gina has done a variety of infuriating things including, but not limited to: running away from me for 2+ hours to avoid being caught, pacing the fence line and screaming for a week when she moved paddocks, and rearing and flailing at ground poles. All is forgiven, though, because she has never bucked a child off.

TOABH: Shining Star

Beka of The Owls Approve has another great blog hop topic: Let’s talk about the biggest achievements your horse has accomplished.  I’m not talking about you as a rider – I want to know what your ponykins has done to make you proud.  Is there a glorious satin collection, did he/she figure out some dressage movement that took months to learn, or are is it just a great day when your butt stays in the saddle?  
Kentucky Horse Park, our first recognized event
at Novice level.
Moe has achieved many things in the 11 years I’ve had him. He’s jumped all kinds of stuff. He’s let beginners tool around on him. On his back, I’ve accomplished things I wasn’t sure I’d ever do. He’s done it all with his cheerful, can-do, try-hard attitude intact. For those things alone, he’s a shining star. 
But I think I’m most proud of Moe for overcoming his spookiness. At his previous owner’s farm, Moe lived a very different life. He was stalled, ate Triple Crown, and was ridden mostly by the wonderful trainer who sold him to me. When he came to live with me, he was kicked out in a 10-acre field with two other horses who weren’t very nice to him, he ate my dad’s ‘special’ mixture of sweet feed, corn, and oats (I wasn’t into nutritional analysis when I was 16, okay?), and he had to cope with a teenager who thought hacking out down the road with no shoulder was awesome. Poor Moe. It’s a wonder he’s made it this long.
I distinctly remember hand grazing Moe in the front yard one day. I did this with my horses a lot, mostly after riding. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, and Moe stepped on his lead rope. He tried to move his head to graze, couldn’t, and promptly freaked the fuck out. I thought Moe was an idiot. 
I’m not sure when the shift from spooky to solid occurred, but a couple of years ago, I was hand grazing Moe after a bath when he stepped on his lead rope. He tried to move his head. Instead of losing his shit, he moved his hoof and went back to eating. I’ve hardly been more pleased.
Gina is easy. I’m proud of her for jumping without huge, awful problems. I’m obviously happy she’s a good dressage horse, and I’m glad she and I seem to have bonded- as hokey as that sounds. But I was so disappointed when she wasn’t the jumper I thought she was. Now, she’s jumping as if there’s never been a problem. Princess Pony isn’t such a brat after all. 

The Owls Approve Blog Hop: History of the horse

The ever-awesome Beka at The Owls Approve is celebrating Archie’s impending 18th birthday with a blog hop! Her first topic? Before you met, where was your horse?  Who bred him/her?  What do you know about his sire and his dam?  What do you know where he came from?  Tell me about the time before he had a trainer.

What a great topic!
Moe is a native Tennessean! He was bred by Hackett Brothers Thoroughbred, Inc. in Manchester, TN. (Where Bonnaroo is held for you music festival fans.)  He was foaled May 2, 1995 (just realized I’ll be getting married on Moe’s birthday- cue collective awww) and is by Richrichrich and out of Feelingfancyfree. To my knowledge, he has no full or half siblings. His pedigree has very few notable relatives, but he does have Turn To on both top and bottom; Turn To is an ancestor to many successful Thoroughbred event horses.
As a long 3 year old, Moe made his debut in a maiden claiming race on September 11, 1998 at Fairmount Park in Collinsville, IL. The race report states “Richnfree bumped hard start, send wide, outrun.” He finished 9 out of 10 and won a whopping $36. 
I’m not sure what happened over the next five years. At some point, he was acquired by Brenda Wagnon, a trainer in the middle Tennessee area; a fellow Pony Clubber knew Brenda and knew I was looking for a reliable horse. I was between competition horses at the time. I saw Moe for the first time at my Pony Club’s spring horse trials. He was 8 years old and had just won the Beginner Novice division on his dressage score. I rode him at the show very briefly; he scared me a little because he was faster and flightier than other horses I’d ridden.  
My parents were divorced by then; while there was some bickering over who was contributing what, they managed to agree long enough to buy him. So in 2003, for $3500, Moe became my horse. (He came with the name- I don’t know where it came from!)
At our first Pony Club Rally at the Kentucky Horse Park, June 2003.


Gina is registered with The Jockey Club as Kimberly K, which is a stupid name for a horse. 
She was bred by CS Ranch in New Mexico, which is known for its cattle and outstanding Quarter Horses. They’ve bred Thoroughbreds and polo ponies over the years, but seem to be totally focused on QHs now. She was foaled March 16, 1997 and is by Look See and out of True Brilliance. She has two full sisters, Ute Queen (’95) and Lardeo Rose (’96). Both made it to the track, but weren’t terribly successful. She has several half-siblings who had varying degrees of success as racehorses. Gina never raced. 
In 1999, she was sold to Grand Oaks Sporthorses in Oklahoma, where she lived until 2002. She has two offspring, both by the Oldenburg stallion Wradar. She was approved by and entered into the main mare book for The Oldenburg Registry North America and International Sporthorse Registry (ISR-Oldenburg NA). She was also approved for the Oklahoma-bred incentive program, so any of her racing offspring by an Oklahoma stallion would be eligible for additional purse money. 
Gina and baby Kassandra.
Gina’s daughter Koko- I’d love to find this mare- they’re almost identical!
In 2002, she was purchased by a man in Glenpool, OK- just south of Tulsa. In 2002, he sold her to the owner of KJM Equestrian in Tulsa, a hunter/jumper barn. In 2005, almost a year to the date, KJM sold her to a teenage girl who rode at Saddleback Equestrian, another hunter/jumper barn. This owner kept her for 5 years, until 2010. In 2006 she was registered for life with the USEF as Imagine That.
Gina and her old owner in 2007.

In 2010, her owners donated her to a therapeutic horseback riding program; in 2011, I purchased her for $1205. (Note to self: do not rely on pictures of horse jumping as proof that it jumps.)

Our first dressage show, September 2011.