Pony Club

You know what I love about Iggy? He’s little. Holly sized. Fun sized. Cute and snuggly sized. Doesn’t-hurt-your-ankles-to-dismount-in-winter little.

You know what now drives me bonkers about Iggy? He’s little. So little. Too little for all the things, little.

Why has this frustration come about?

Two things: pony dressage reins and 16″ girths.

I said it. I thought I was bringing home a normal, albeit on the smaller side horse. Instead I brought home an oversized Labrador Retriever. You know what you get when you google 16″ girths? Dog harnesses.

Or when you find an actual option for horses, they’re either $200 or made of questionable material and a lack of roller buckles (WHY?). And none of them come in brown, meaning I may be going XC in a very appealing combination of brown saddle/black girth this spring. Much fashun, so style.

Don’t get me started on pony length dressage reins.

(Actually, Nunn Finer makes pony length reins in their soft grip which is what I like and will probably buy, but they’re also the same price as the horse ones which seems wrong for 12″ less material…)

Trying to take conformation pics was a struggle…

My saddle pads are… mostly do-able on him, although he could probably wear a pony size pad too. Cob size bridles abound in my tack box. (Yet his cob halter doesn’t fit in the throat???) Thank God 74″ and 76″ blankets are at least relatively easy to find.

Does this mean I can join the ‘cool ponies who do cool things’ club even if mine technically doesn’t measure? Current members I know of are Jen and Allie, but I feel like membership is welcoming.

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A Weekend of Ponies

It felt so good to have a pony filled weekend in my life again. Of course it wouldn’t be an Indiana weekend without experiencing multiple seasons in 72 hr stretches, but nonetheless it was a great one.

Friday morning started off at the super pleasant temperature of -3° F, aka a ‘feels like’ of -16° F aka too freaking cold to exist. (Canadians, shhhh.) It also started with wrangling all the things as I loaded barn things, work things, dog things and ‘I live in Antarctica’ things to get out the door by 7:30am. First stop was the vet clinic (my vet is a mixed practice, so one side sees Finn the JRT and the other sees Iggy the Small Unicorn) to drop Finn off for a dental. (This was preceded by re-scheduled bloodwork due to my dog deciding the vet is TERRIFYING the week before and needing to be drugged to get in the door… the same dog who went to work with me at a vet’s office for a year…) I got him inside, dropped off, and planned to be back for him around 2-3pm.

My lead rope was frozen into this abstract sculpture Friday morning

From there, off to the barn to meet the large animal vet to give Iggy a once-over, just to establish him as a new patient and get a baseline. There were also two horses seeing him for injuries and about a dozen getting health certificates to leave for Pine Top next week. This also happened at 9am just as everyone was turning out, feeding, breaking ice in buckets and did it mention it was negative degrees. To say it was moderately controlled chaos is an understatement. Iggy handled the whole thing with aplomb, barely opening his eyes as he dozed in crossties. We got a report of “healthy, but out of shape” so like… same. More conditioning for everyone, coming up.

Of course while I’m at the barn in the midst of this, the small animal vet calls – Finn’s bloodwork has come back and it’s… concerning. He had some iffy numbers about 6 months ago, but since it was a snapshot in time, we decided we’d repeat later and decide then. Well this was the repeat and not only were things still not great, they were trending worse. Scratch the dental and instead we got a referral to an internal medicine specialist (who we’ll be seeing next week). This meant back to the vet to pick up the dog (who decided he was traumatized by the entire situation… this is my eyeroll).

So abuse, much torture

Saturday and Sunday were, thankfully, far less eventful and far warmer – mid 40s and sunny which felt amazing. Tim Bourke was in town teaching a clinic at the barn, so I hopped over to watch some lessons both days before riding. He’s a great teacher I’ve always enjoyed riding with and even auditing I got some really good things to take home (I guess I can’t say take home if I was home?).

OMG i have a leg! And dirty boots that need to be cleaned.

Iggy was a perfect unicorn because of course he was. Despite being stuck inside due to ice that turned into soul sucking mud, he was more than happy to go to work. He’s a little more out of shape than I initially realized, so we’ve got some conditioning to do, especially in his hind end. I realllllly want an Equicore system after Jen wrote about it, but with Finn’s vet bills TBD it’s not exactly in the cards right now, so I’m going to DIY some version based on Amanda’s.

For fun on Sunday, one of the juniors in the barn and I decided to stick Iggs. Sure enough, he’s just as little as we thought – right at 15.0h, maybe a touch over. No wonder I’m out here buying cob things and 20″ girths!

SO LITTLE

Our workout plan (…for both of us) starts tonight and I feel like he might not be quite as happy about it as he was when I just came and shoved cookies at him… The price of playing XC buddy.

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Finding the fit

Going from Doc to Iggy has been a change for a multitude of reasons. Some are normal, like the change in gait and style going from one horse to another. Others are physical – going from something 16.1h to something barely 15.1h. And some are personality.

Like going from this…
…to this

Yeah, it’s been a change.

In some ways, an expensive change. Like, jump saddle doesn’t fit, so just bought a new one of those (!!). Full size bridles and halters are too big – two new cob sizes coming up. Then the weather decided to tank this weekend (high of 11 anyone?) which I didn’t notice until Tuesday, which led to ordering a 280g blanket liner with 2 day shipping from Schneiders. Because you know, my horse wears a 76″, not an 81″. (Also kudos to them – I ordered it at 2:30pm on Tuesday with 2 day shipping and it showed up on my doorstep at 11am this morning. That’s Amazon Prime fast.)

Look how pretty she is

And the personality differences are stark. Doc was like a benevolent king – he did not have time for your silly antics, he was in charge, but he was kind at heart and takes care of his people. Iggy is like Kimmy Schmidt meets Phil Dunphy, with an addition of 4th grader not taking their Adderall. He wants to MEET EVERYONE, stick his face in EVERYTHING, EXPLORE ALL THINGS and be in your pocket. It’s mostly cute, so long as he remembers his manners, but it’s also the cause of what I have learned is my new pet peeve in life: the damn horse plays with the french link in his bit as soon as he’s on a loose rein. Just… for funsies. Like it’s a fidget spinner, at the ready.

Mostly I notice it while grooming. Compared to the other horses in the barn (a lot of Thoroughbreds, some Irish, some warmbloods, a few QHs but all much chunkier), he looks like someone dropped off a hunter pony at an event barn by mistake. I’ve had other riders think I was someone’s child on him, his tack is all smaller than anyone else’s and when I accidentally put someone else’s 81″ blanket on him this week, he hilariously swam in it like a kid wearing his dad’s clothes.

Tell me he doesn’t look like a pony

This has become a general rambling, but all to say he’s settling in splendidly without missing a beat (ok, so we had a small come to Jesus last night that I am scarier than being in the dark), we’ve had some fun rides as we get to know each other, I’ve gotten to shop for ALL THE THINGS and will have some mini-reviews coming shortly and we should start lessoning here in coming days.

Unrelated, my mom sent me this saddle pad, which I distinctly remember being my favorite around age 10. Kinda want to lesson in it just to see what my trainer does…

As my trainer put it once he finally arrived – I guess good things do come to those who wait.

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It’s I-GG-Y

You might have seen on Instagram the little (ok, or not so little) secret I’ve been keeping for weeks – a chestnut secret to be specific.

After stepping Doc down (who is loving life as his owner’s kiddo’s horse) I started looking for another lease. Buying just wasn’t right for me right now for about 1000 different reasons, but in part because I really wanted something older, been-there-done-that, to keep learning and growing. It took four months, but thanks to a few people – ahem, Emily – I came across Iggy! He’s a total packer 18 year old Quarter Horse who has gone N/T with his owner, but needed a job now that she has a young one to bring up.

“Hai I Iggy”

I went down to Kentucky before Christmas and meet up with Emily and we went out to try him where he was a perfect angel. The footing was miserable, it was cold and wet and he hasn’t had a real job in a few months, but he happily came out and showed me all his fancy buttons and carted my out of shape butt over a handful of jumps. Jumps where I was unable to see a single distance, where I jumped so far up his neck I was between his ears and where my my entire timing was so hilariously off it was like I’d never jumped a horse in my life before. And what did he do? Took every joke in stride without much more than a, “I do the thing and then I get the cookies so it’s ok hooman.”

Needless to say I was smitten. It took a month and some to get arrangements worked out between transportation, the holidays and a stall at the barn, but he arrived Friday night! He’s the happiest of campers, totally chill and settled right in.

“Do u like my outfit?”

I’ve been on him three times at home now and each time he just comes out better than the last. We rode outside on Sunday and it was incredibly windy with things flapping around, horses leaping and galloping around their pasture next door and he didn’t bat an eye.

Iggs has this amazing personality I’m loving getting to know – he wants to be intimately involved in everything happening at the barn. Must say hi to everyone, must make sweet faces, must stick nose into everything. Must sniff and lick all dogs, must examine all walls, must investigate everyone’s stall. We quickly found out he likes facing other horses in the crossties, as facing him away will result in his bending himself into a U-shape to watch them, making tacking up slightly more difficult.

He’s a little guy compared to all the big warmbloods and Irish horses at the barn, only 15.0-15.1ish and cob sized everything (and i just had to buy a 20” dressage girth OMG), but cute as a button. And damn does he have a speedwalk in him! Plus new size horse means shopping for new size tack and every good tack ho loves an excuse to shop. (Even if Michele tried to sell me her XC boots while I still own her previous pair…) And having a jump saddle that doesn’t fit him (someone please buy it PLEASE I WANT TO JUMP MY HORSE)

Because of said jump that saddle doesn’t fit him I’m spending some quality time in my dressage saddle which isn’t a bad thing for anyone. (Um, except me. I want to jump my pony, ok?!) We’re getting to know each other and having the best time and I couldn’t wait to finally publicly introduce him!

Selfie game needs work but we’ve got time

So bloggers, meet Iggy! (And don’t mind me quoting every Iggy Azalea lyric until forever)

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