TAAHH Blog Hop: First Horse

Since I’m still having fun writing about all horses of my past and present, TAAHH’s blog hop seems the perfect place to introduce Coorina.

My first time on Coorina, circa… 2000?

If you ever read the old blog, you may have read the story of my riding accident. Probably will share that one again one of these days, but the short of it is I was 9 years old, trying a horse to buy and he bolted through a fence – and I went through a fence post. It was a relatively gruesome injury and I lost absolutely any trust and confidence I had in horses.

That’s when Coorina came along. She was a APHA mare owned by my aunt and uncle who had purchased her as a yearling in Iowa. They showed her all the way through the levels, including a Reserve World Championship in Western Pleasure by the time she was a 5 year old. When it became apparent I needed something that’s main interest in life was sleeping and eating, they knew she would be the perfect match. To this day, she is the laziest horse I have ever known in my lifetime.

I was a very tiny human.

She came home to live with us and took me from lunge line lessons, to walk-trot, showing at schooling shows where I would only go in the arena if my mom or trainer could come in with me, all the way through showing at the World Show level.

Looking back, I realize she was also probably one of the nicest horses I’ll ever ride. Mare could move, but she was also built practically perfect and that face – I can’t tell you how many times we were asked if she had Arabian in her. We won a bazillion (accurate number right there) halter classes, including some really awesome satin that any kid would have loved despite having to do nothing but stand there and look pretty (her favorite).

This is not to say she was perfect – she hated going hunt seat (probably because she was all of 15.1) and she was a mare. When I first started riding her as a terrified kid, she wouldn’t put a foot out of line, but as I started getting more confident or if others rode her, she was not afraid to express her opinions. Opinions about everything. Didn’t want to trot in showmanship that day? Didn’t do it. Learned how to grab the shank of her curb bit so she didn’t have to listen to me. Refused to do more than one lead change approximately every 20 minutes without turning into a witch. When Lucy came home, she made it very clear that she was in charge and Lucy better not try her. She was essentially a Real Housewife, if we’re being honest.

But, she also let me shimmy up the side when my trainer insisted I had to learn to mount without a mounting block (seriously, did you see how short my legs were? I was like a monkey gymnast). She’d also go on essentially no rein at all, draped to the ground.

In another story that’s too long for this post, she also had a Peter Stone model made of her, which landed us an article in Young Rider (anyone remember that magazine?!) Every once in awhile I see a Coorina model on eBay or Facebook and it never ceases to make me smile that my beautiful mare had an actual model horse made of her – talk about every kid’s dream.

When I started to get ready to move up to the 14-18 divisions and look for another horse (what would be Lucy), Coorina went back to my aunt and uncle to have babies. Her first was a filly by Real Bonanza, Sadie.

Baby Sadie

In typical Coorina fashion, one of the first days they were turned out, they went to bring her in for dinner and Coorina came loping up to the fence (the only time this mare willingly moved at a speed faster than sloths was when food was involved), stopped about halfway to the fence and realized… she had completely forgotten little Sadie. Because in dinner vs baby, those maternal instincts were having a real fight for first.

Sadie did not get her mother’s diva personality

After Sadie was weaned, Coorina actually came back to us and became my mom’s amateur horse for a few years, where they were ridiculously successful because my mother can ride circles around me without trying. It’s fine, she likes chasing cows now and I like pretending to event, we’re all good.

She tried to eat a plant during this class and still was Top 5.

Coorina’s second baby was Sonny, a gelding by Mark This Spot. For a mare who was a prissy western pleasure princess (she is literally known as The Original Princess Pony), both of her babies ended up being badass cowhorses.

This is Sonny showing about a month ago
Sadie a few years ago, she’s in foal for next spring now!

Even once retired, Coorina was the mare I would hop on bareback in a halter and lope around like we were in the world show pen – she was that fancy. We lost her November of 2014 to some type of cardiac event. I was in my first semester of graduate school and it completely devastated me. I remember just laying on the floor of my apartment, unable to pull myself together. This was the mare who gave horses back to me. I have no doubt in my mind I would not have stayed with riding after my accident if it wasn’t for her.

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October Ten Questions

Answering some fun fall-themed questions courtesy of Liz!

Brown boots are very fall festive though

Most equestrians quote fall as their favorite season to ride. Are you one of those that does? Or maybe not; what is your favorite season to ride, if so?

I like fall, don’t get me wrong… but I love spring. All things spring. Well, okay, not my allergies, but basically everything else. Fall is lovely, but it comes with this little pit at the bottom of my stomach that warns me it’s going to get dark and cold and I need to get into survival mode. Winter: surviving, not thriving.

As a kid/perpetual student, I loved the feeling that summer was almost here and classes were coming to an end. I love knowing days are getting longer and lighter and it’s warming up and I just want to be outside ALL.THE.TIME. A big reason I didn’t study abroad in college was because I refused to miss a fall football season (uhhh should have totally missed 2012), but I also refused to miss a spring semester because it’s my favorite. For riding, it gives me a burst of motivation – show season is coming, I can ride after work (in the light!), water buckets don’t have to be broken, blankets get to be put away… lots of good things.

Do you clip your horse in the fall? Or maybe you wait a little longer? 

So breed show people are weird and put their horses under lights instead of clip. I have no reasoning, so don’t ask. But it meant we never body clipped, just turned on the lights starting in August and blanketed the hell out of everything. Or in years we were done showing in August/September, we didn’t do anything. Lucy never grew enough of a coat (still doesn’t) that she’d be too sweaty. This year, I think Doc will need some type of clip, but I will be leaving that to trainer’s capable hands. I want to vote for a fancy hip mark of some sort though, just saying.

Have any costume riding events in October on/near/around Halloween? What will your horse be dressed as? What about yourself? What would you dress as if money/time were absolutely no issue?

Nope. I actually hate Halloween. I only like it for Reese’s pumpkins, which are the 2nd best shape of Reese’s (Easter eggs, pumpkins, Christmas trees). Costumes are annoying and you’re hot or you’re cold or you’re uncomfortable. I am the grinch of Halloween.

do love Dia de los Muertos though and think it’s one of the most gorgeous holidays ever. The traditions are beautiful, the colors and artwork are insane and I was lucky enough to have a school growing up that celebrated it and made sure we understood it. (So New Mexican, right?) Seriously though – check these out and tell me it’s not unbelievable.

Is your horse afraid of any autumn colors? Or maybe has a certain quirk that appears only in the autumn?

Not super excited to be limited to this space all winter, but good excuse for mirror selfies

Not afraid of anything, but definitely not fond of rain in his ears (I mean, me neither dude). It’s my first autumn with Doc, so I guess we’ll see about quirks. Lucy doesn’t particularly have any, minus her inability to grow a real winter coat. She’s also like, the most boring ever though. I love her dearly, but nobody would ever say she is full of personality. My first mare used to colic the beginning of August every year like clockwork though – barometric pressures!

Pumpkin spice. It’s everywhere right now. Find any natural pumpkin [squash] spice-esque recipes for your horse? 

Nah, although I’m sure Doc would eat anything I come up with. Hmm.. maybe we’ll experiment.

We’re getting to the end of the calendar year, any final few “big-bang” shows to look forward to?

We just did our first CT at starter and then depending on weather (…and my bank account), might get to show once more at the beginning of November. Otherwise, we’re done until spring!

Winter is coming. What are you doing to winterize your trailer/rig/car?

Sob?

Wait, that’s not an appropriate answer?

I’ll try again…

Hibernate.

Still no?

Whatever.

Hell no, I want to stay indoors until it’s 75 and sunny.
I did do this to my car last weekend though to load hay

Do you have any autumn traditions you/your horse follow?

I do dress Doc up for gameday. He is now a member of the Auburn family. His degree is in turf grass management.

Consume my body weight in Honeycrisp apples? Watch College Gameday every Saturday and yell at the television like the Auburn sideline can hear me? Consume a million and four Reese’s Pumpkins? Burn the Nest Pumpkin Chai candle 24/7 (and before you say a word about spending that on a candle – it’s worth every penny). I love pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread… yum. I’m also basic AF and love pumpkin spice chai and lattes and I’m not ashamed at all. I also still wear Uggs from 2006 though, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

October in many places marks the beginning of deer hunting season. Does this affect your riding at all? Do you wear blaze orange or modify your schedule to accommodate the season?

Not here, but in NC it did. We stayed in the arena more or less during that time. Even wearing blaze orange still left me a little freaked out to venture out and we still had on property small fields to ride in.

What are you most looking forward to goal-wise as the final months of the calendar year approach?

Goal: less of this

Learning how to steer? No, in all honesty, continuing to improve our dressage work as we get confined to the indoor, riding to the base of the jumps instead of taking all the flyers so I can stop sending my trainer into an early death, keeping my collarbone UP and getting stronger (leg, core, cardiac). I’m hoping having some distinct goals to work on this winter will help me survive and we can come out stronger on the other side and be ready to go compete next spring!

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Dream Horse

I  love to daydream. Also, regular dream because it means I’m asleep and I love to sleep. I also have incredibly insane, but also realistic dreams so I often wakeup unsure if something happened in real life or dream life. (Examples include, but not limited to: group of friends going on spring break together… to Costco, finding 150 wooden hangers, discovering a brand new fancy washer and dryer in my condo)

So when Olivia started posting about dream horse, it was like, oh, I’ve totally got this, because uh, that’s basically a repetitive dream that got me through grad school classes (mainly statistics HI MOM LOOK I GOT THE DEGREE IT’S TOTALLY FINE). It’s also more fun than the dream where I forgot to turn an assignment in senior year of high school and the Head of Upper School is scolding me and I graduated SEVEN YEARS AGO CAN THIS STOP PLEASE.

I digress.

The problem when you ask me to design one dream horse is that I do not have one dream horse. I have lots of them*. I have many things I would like to do. But apparently this limits me to one singular horse, so ugh, fine.

So this dream horse is definitely a mare. Yeah, I know. But I love mares. Can’t help it. Always have, always will. They just understand me. Geldings are far too patient, far too easygoing for my psychotic self or something. Mares are like, “yeah, me too girl, let’s be crazy together.”

She’s dark bay with lots of chrome. I only want to have to obsessively clean like, 40% of my horse. But no blue eyes. Nope. Not acceptable. Flashy legs make my heart go pitter patter.

Image result for wesco eventer

Athletic enough to go play eventer (let’s dream big like someday I’ll go training or something), sane enough to go bop around bareback. Pretty mover, great conformation, magical at dressage but brave enough cross country. Good feet. Likes being oogled and primped and color-coordinated within an inch of life. Totally a show off. Like, this mare is definitely in contention for a Bravo show.

Never want to jump this. Would also take Caroline Martin’s leg length.

Not so giant she makes me look like a mosquito. Big enough that jumps don’t look like actual houses. Wears a freaking medium NORMAL tree saddle. Loads nicely, stands nicely, not prone to doing stupid things like running away, rearing, bucking or kicking.

It would also be great if she would learn my courses for me, pay for herself and never lose a shoe.

Don’t wake me up, okay?

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