Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Time for my first book review!
This book starts out by explaining the concept which is that they are going follow four different horses, of Spanish breeding, through their training journey with the goal of all four horses becoming proficient in Dressage. I bought this book about a year ago when Katai was still quite green. I thought it would be an interesting way of looking at different horse learning styles and would give me ideas for how to adapt my training to fit Katai’s learning style. What was most interesting to me is that with the ability to write about these four different horses, all of the same age and very similar breeding, with the same handlers meant that there were very few external influences. It was extremely interesting to see how each horse reacted to each stage of the training.
Each section of the book was broken down into four parts, named after each of the horses and each of these parts followed the horses through different stages in their training beginning with their birth and their initial personality and moving on through the training process.
The good: Nature, Nurture and Horses is written more like a really good story than an instructional manual. I found it very easy to read and couldn’t put it down. I bought the Kindle version and read most of it on my iPhone but I’ve looked at the book version and it is beautifully put together with many large, gorgeous, full cover pictures, which are in the Kindle version as well. Since I’m a very visual learner this always helps me figure out the concepts that they are writing about in the book.
This book was excellently designed so that you could either go through and read from start to finish about one horse or compare and contrast as you go through, reading about the different learning styles. I especially found it interesting when they adapt their training with one or two horses to slow down or change the order of things. I also found it really interesting and helpful that they followed a colt and three fillies and had some examples of how the genders can differ.
The bad: This is not a training manual. I know I picked up ideas for training Katai, especially when she was young and green, but this is really more good story than instructional.
Overall: I would give it 4 carrots out of 5 and would definitely buy it again.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
These may not be exciting to anyone other than me but I am pretty thrilled and want to share.
First of all, I believe I mentioned that my friend H had moved to my previous barn, with J as a coach, last summer. I was so excited to have her there but then as things started to go downhill I felt guilty. When I left I didn’t want to put any pressure on her to leave as well since she was in a very different place with J based on her own riding but mostly on her pony since J didn’t think he was “completely worthless”. I talked to her, of course, and explained why I was leaving and she witnessed some of J’s behavior to me but I didn’t want to feel like I was dragging her away with me so I mostly kept my feelings to myself.
Fast forward to last week when I met up with H for lunch. We started talking about lessons and how things were going and I could tell she wasn’t happy. She was mostly positive and trying to explain how things were going in the best possible light but she was upset so I talked her through it and eventually, on the drive to a tack shop for some retail therapy, she vented her way to realizing that it was time for her to move. I was still trying not to influence her much but I could tell that she was starting to see a lot of the same things I did when I left so I was glad when she stated that she was going to start looking.
I gave her some of the contacts that I knew about and she looked into them but also looked into a few options with contacts that she got from her friends. She was going to set up a lesson with the trainer I’m going to start working with (Y) but there were reasons for her to look elsewhere.
H lives about 1-1.5 hours away from where I live and the barn we both boarded at was sort of in the middle. About 25 minutes away from me and about 45 minutes away from her but she had to contend with more traffic. Now I’ll be driving about 45 minutes to the new barn but it would have still been about 35-40 minutes away from where she lives so when she realized that a top dressage trainer had a barn and training program only 20 minutes from her house she jumped on it. Most exciting to both of us, since we both are passionate about ponies in dressage, this trainer is one of the people on the Pony Task Force!! She’s went to see a lesson and has officially got a spot at this trainer’s (who I will call P for Pony) barn. I am wishing her all the best and can’t wait to go see her take a lesson. It’s wonderful to know that she has found such a great situation and I’m extremely happy for her.
I do have to admit that I am very slightly jealous. This is such an incredible opportunity for someone that loves ponies and wants to only every ride shorter equines. However, while every review is glowingly positive for P, I actually think that even if it weren’t for the 1.5-2 hour drive to study with P I would chose Y just based on teaching style, personality, and boarding options. I can hardly believe that I get to move a week from Sunday and it feels like Christmas J
The other exciting news I have is probably even less exciting to the general public but I am so happy and relieved that I can’t even describe it! As anyone who owns horses knows saddle shopping is like hell. Even if you have an unlimited budget it can be horrific trying to find a saddle that fits both the rider and horse for more than a month and if you add any type of budget to the mix it gets ten times more difficult. Now add oddly shaped equine to the mix and it really seems impossible. I’ve been wanting to consider custom saddles for awhile but my budget is just not $4000-$5000 dollars and that would only buy me a mid to lower end custom saddle brand (at least from the brands I was aware of). However, after much searching I finally found a custom saddle company that will make a completely custom saddle in my budget and that has almost only positive reviews.
I believe I’ve narrowed down which of their models I’m most interested in and reached out by email earlier this week to get some more feedback on what my budget will need to be for what I want. I’ve made it my goal to order by the end of May/June and will make that work even if I need to get a part time job for awhile to pay for it. I’ve also listed some of my collectables for sale to help me get to my goal. I am so freaking excited that I finally found the answer to my saddle fitting woes! I promise I will share more information and pictures once I’m sure I’m heading down the right path and then Swanky Saddle here I come!