Friday, December 18, 2015

The Horses From Before (2001-2010) in Photos

An app on Facebook showed me my first ever Facebook photo upload yesterday (it was Mikey). That prompted me to look through my older pictures, most of which were all jumping!

So we're going to start pre-Mikey. I leased a 15h Quarterhorse mare for 4 years before buying Mikey. Her name was RR Can't Touch This, aka "Jasmine" (gotta love QH breeder names) and she was a failed western pleasure horse and a granddaughter of Impressive (she was HYPP N/N). She was very well put together according to QH standards, just slightly cow hocked. She was quite mareish, was prone to biting, had a fierce buck, an even fiercer rear, and if she was a person she'd be bipolar. She was mostly nasty at home, but turned on the charm for new people and when in the show ring. She was a fantastic jumper and a dirty stopper at fences. I recall a time after I stopped leasing her that when the horses were being turned out (they opened stalls and they walked themselves down a chute to the fields), that she didn't agree with the gates blocking her path and jumped a 5' gate from the downhill side to get to a different field. She hated men, had scars up and down her tongue from her western pleasure life, and we're fairly sure her back problems came from them most likely flipping her over in an attempt to stop her rearing. Her chiropractor was a man, and she positively adored him. She was probably a tough mare to begin with, and her first training soured her to life. I wish I could have brought her to my current trainer- she might have ended up with a different outcome in life.

4-H Showmanship, 2001 or 2002.
Back when I used a fake tail on her because her's was barely enough to cover the fake tail attachment.
Same 4-H show as above, riding an equitation pattern. You'd never know her mane hung down past the bottom of her neck, huh? Queen of braiding, right here, from an early age!
Pony club ratings, 2002?
We did a lot of bareback/bridle-less work. Winter 2002/2003?
More jumping with no tack in the same session as the above picture.
Jumping at a hunter show, possibly 2003?
Hello knees! 2003?
Completing my very first event in 2004(?), baby beginner novice, aka the current Starter Division.
Jasmine was an incredible learning experience. We had a wonderful 4 year relationship that only ended because I grew out of her and really wanted a bigger horse (and a Thoroughbred). She worked best for me only. Her owner tried everything to make their relationship work (chiropractor, massage, t-touch, animal psychic, treats, lessons etc), however she decided to sell her after I was done leasing her. A young girl at the barn bought her but didn't ride her enough (maybe 2 days a week down from 5- me riding her 4 days a week, the woman I leased her from one day a week), so she got fat (think laminitis fat) and became difficult for the girl to ride. The girl eventually sent her on to a sale barn to be sold, she was shuffled around several times, and we lost track of her. The last we heard of her was a phone call the girl got from Jasmine's new owner who got the girl's information from AQHA. They wanted to know what Jasmine's barn name was and anything helpful about her. I expect she's crossed the rainbow bridge by now (she'd be in her early 20s), and hopefully it wasn't by sale to a kill buyer at auction (she was that difficult to get along with).

Mikey joined the barn in July 2004. The trainer who had him after the track broke her leg and called my instructor at the time and told her she had to have this horse. My instructor didn't want him, but her husband picked him up anyway. She rode him for two weeks and then gave him to me to ride for free. Between him and another chestnut OTTB mare named Andy, that's what really did in my lease of Jasmine. By winter I had changed my lease to just Mikey, and in May 2005, my parents bought him as a graduation present.

Our second show together- a hunter show where we did two walk trot flat classes and a crossrails jump class. 2005
As to his condition, my parents and I didn't know any better. I would NEVER have taken him out in public at that time knowing what I do now. This was over a year from his last start on the track, he should be much better filled out.
Our first event together where we jumped intro (6"-1'). This is a Starter fence (1'6"-2'). 2005
Too long stirrups and a green horse and a defensive rider are not a good pair. Mikey was a saint.
Sometime between 2005 and 2007. Screenshot from a video where he was very impressed by the light on the landing.
Introducing Mikey to new jumps, 2005/2006.
In 2007, I got keen to the idea that my horse was too thin (she told me he only needed more muscle), not working properly, and my instructor unsupportive and not helping us progress (a clinician told me how to ride him so he used his topline and my instructor told me if I rode him that way, I'd ride him into the ground and ruin him). I didn't feel like he was mine, even after owning him for two years- I felt like my instructor still owned him. I was also afraid of him and debated selling him. In two years of weekly lessons, we were still jumping crossrails to 2'.

I decided to leave my barn a few days after I came back from college. A friend had her horses at a place nearby, arrangements were made, and Mikey was pulled from that program and plopped into a new barn. I had no idea what I was going to do for an instructor, but it didn't matter- Mikey felt like he was mine and I could work on our relationship. The barn manager was appalled at his weight and condition and positively stuffed him with food.

My current instructor traveled in to that barn to teach several riders and I hopped on her schedule and we were off! This trainer was also appalled at his weight and said he needed some fat so he stopped cannibalizing his muscle for energy.

I had been jumping a lot at school in the fall of 2007, so I got the bright idea to come home one weekend and jump Mikey 3'2" for the first time in his life. I just full out galloped at a very upright vertical because as I approached, it really stood up to me.
More galloping willy nilly at this big airy vertical. Oh to be young and dumb again. Mikey never hung a knee again as badly as he did in this jumping session. Very out of character for him... but I also wasn't helping him in the approach.
Afraid to jump 2' to giving 3'+ for the first time (and by myself) in one summer? A new trainer was working for us.
A little less gallop as I figure out that I'm riding a totally wrong approach to the fence.
The classical "stand" in the posting trot. I just like Mikey's neck here. 2008
Riding in the field next to the outdoor, 2008. Oh what the mane does to fake out the neck! He always looked worse in braids.
Graduating from college in 2009 brought another barn change as I took a job as a working student that lasted for 6 months.

3' Hunters in Sept 2009- I finally got my act together by this point and put together a decent 3' fence.
Our first time riding in the jumper ring at the same show as the above picture. OMG SO MUCH FUN!
This fence was the second fence in a 2 stride in and out. One course had us rolling back to this jump, which rode fine for me, and the other course had us riding the two stride. I botched it every time (long to jump 2, this oxer). Trying for a straight line bit to shoulder? He was trying his guts out and I started slipping him rein in the next frame after this.
Sept 2009, jumping at home (note the "ground line from hell" haha)
Weeeeeeee! Mikey was very exuberant in this cross country schooling session. May 2010
I tended towards riding like crap on cross country because Mikey got zoomy and excited and I was afraid of him ditching me like Jasmine used to. More defensive jumping from both of us.
I did eventually get my act together in my final year of eventing in 2012. It all came together very nicely as we galloped steeplechase at this long format. I could STILL shorten my stirrups, but oh well.
Well that covers "Jan, the early years". The riding I did before Jasmine was basic hunters with my first instructor, then western and 4-H with my second. Jasmine picked up with my 3rd instructor.


  1. What a great story, thank you for sharing!

  2. Um hello you ended the story in the middle? NOT COOL MAN.

    I love it. Write a little more?

    1. Lol! There isn't much more to the story. I've been with my current trainer since that move in 2007. Mikey and I did recognized events and some mini trials and a ton of jumper shows in 2011 and 2012, then quit and did straight dressage starting in 2013!

      I'll go over to the parent's and fire up the old college desktop. It has all my old pictures from 1999-2011 or so on it. I'll dig up pictures from 2010-2013 and do a photo story telling like this one... because 2014-now is already documented on here!

  3. Replies
    1. Apparently I'll be writing more, as soon as I dig up the pictures!

  4. Jasmine may have been naughty but talk about cute over fences!

    1. She was incredible over fences. I never free jumped her that much, but I did a couple times for people who were interested in buying her. I wish I did it more and had pics of it. She'd crack her back like the best of warmbloods in the jump chute and get big lofty jumps with a super square front end and equally tight and careful hind end. For as naughty as she was, I never had an ounce of trouble from her when I rode her without tack. For as good as Mikey was, I never trusted him to behave without a bridle. Not like I trusted her. Funny.

  5. i love it!! i've gone back through your archives and read some show posts and watched the helmet cam footage, but this was perfect for filling in all the gaps and details of the story! Mikey really was the coolest