I have always questioned this but now I know for sure....my subconscious has a serious plan and knows how to train a horse...my conscious mind plays along and is a bit slow to follow....

Today we set a simple jumping exercise that could incorporate the start of jumping a line and include a flower box (that was different than the one previously) and keep up the "these are big boy jumps" routine...NOW this was not my intention so I couldn't take credit for this as my subconscious definitely took over here: I also had set some trot poles so I could work on these some more and introduce raised trot poles hopefully by the end of the week WHICH happened to be conveniently located at a point which could be used WITH the jumping exercise as well so I could build a steady trot coming to, or off of the fence (see my awesomely creative photo below....haha)
Anyway...the pole at the end of the line, when it was being jumped on the right, acted as a lead change pole so he could be properly set up for the corner, and conveniently enough (again not my intentional plan) the right is his harder lead SO this worked well for us here. 

Pogo was awesome and towards the end was making the distance, automatically using the pole to do the change if he landed wrong, jumping well and confidently, and going straight to the fence instead of his tendency to want to be a little wishy washy on take off. 

The trot poles really became helpful as he was beginning to want to put his head down and look and USE himself before the fence and allowed for our downwards to be more together as he had a job to be focusing on after the jump. In a way this is preparing him for doing a course as he isn't going to have a ton of time to lollygag in between fences and we want him to remain through and relaxed at all times...

He was awesome and it was a good start to the week...I am excited to see what this week will bring!!
It's been yet another fairly uneventful week, with the exception of the barn getting ready to host the IHSA English show. Pogo has been going great and managing to do well with our limited schedule that we have as far as arena time. Normally, I like to give Mondays and Tuesdays off, but in recent past due to lack of arena time Pogo has had Wed/Thurs off...with the shows taking over a day of the weekend, it's been a juggle of working all three of my horses in the limited time and with one weekend day off...geesh!  Not a great excuse, but thus still the reason why there have been lack of posts...

Friday evening Pogo got to jump around a little bit of show fences. He was SO brave and such a superstar! We did a small hay bale fence, as well as a gate with some flower boxes and he confidently trotted up and over, and awkwardly jumped the fence. I was very proud as we did this while 6 bagillion other horses were preparing to school the course, ultimately a test of Pogo's down-to-earth-ness and he passed with flying colors. People were knocking rails, sending dirt flying all around, jumping next to us (purposely,I would stand him right next to a fence that was being jumped, just to see) and he didn't bat an eye. Schooling arena's will be CAKE! I think he would have preferred to canter the fences as he is still awkward with finding his feet and trotting a fence, but alas another game plan comes from this...

Tomorrow, since some of the show jumps are still out, we will probably fuss with some more fun jumps and maybe a line, since the closest we have come is a gymnastic....Later on in the week, we will plan on doing more trot cavalletti, both on the ground and raised, and then hopefully by Friday, we will go back to some gymnastic work and hopefully introduce an oxer with a rider (we know he's got it as far as free jumping goes!!!

We have a bunch more horse shows coming up over the next couple of weekends, so the schedule will still be hectic but luckily spring break falls inbetween so we can hopefully have some time and snag videos, etc. 

Remember!! Pogo is still FOR SALE!! Tell your friends, spread the word!
This week has definitely been a learning experience and it's only Tuesday. We started back to work yesterday and I was less than impressed with Pogo's new ideas....

Pogo has always been the odd horse that you turn loose in the pasture, and he stands where you put him until you go to bring him in. Literally, unless Ryker ran into him, he wouldn't move an inch except to turn around when you came to the gate. Well, Sunday, he and Ryker had decided to play and become buds. I turned them both out, they turned looked and me and then trotted off into the pasture. Yay for Pogo being a real horse!! Or so I thought...

Monday's ride was full of Pogo spotting Ryker and trying to lean, bend, go towards , etc. his buddy's direction. Immediately, I knew this ride was going nowhere, worked through what little tantrum he was giving me and put him up until later when I could ride alone. ALSO, no longer am I allowing him to be turned out with his friend, at least until he understands that ring time is my time, pasture time can be Ryker's time.

Our second ride yesterday was phenomenal and he didn't even hint at any of the naughty behavior he displayed just a few hours before (enter giant sigh of relief here..) I am still on the right track with him and can continue to progress, just not with any buddies!!!

Today we did gymastics...see the video below :)
Such a superstar. He was a little bit heavy on landing (I don't think he will end up being the most scopey horse in the world) but all around a good, solid citizen. I'm awfully proud! 

Our plan for the rest of the week will be to do my favorite little exercise, a crossrail with a takeoff and landing rail and just trot back and forth to see if we can maybe lighten the heap on landing and get a little more coordinated at takeoff. 

The jump course will be set on Friday and I think that Pogo will be more than ready to attempt some gates and small flower boxes...
I know it has been awhile since my last post, my apologies!!! 

On an exciting note, it's Pogo's birthday, he is officially 4!

Other than that it has been a rather uneventful week, mainly working on ground poles as bounces and one strides to prepare for grid work later this week. Our goal is quickly approaching (schooling the course) as that should be set on Friday, and who knows how it will pan out, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and staying optimistic for a good day. 

I have been a bit busy with work and then playing catch up with the rest of my life, so Pogo has enjoyed a weekend off, but will quickly resume to work tomorrow (if I can fend of this cold that is seeming to creep up on me!!)  Hopefully there will be many great pictures and videos to come but for now, no one is missing much of anything!!
We have liftoff!! Pogo has finally started jumping and is going EXTREMELY well(not that anyone should be surprised by this, as we have seen in his free jumping videos, haha) He is very quiet and likes to wait to the base, he does a great job of waiting all the way to the fence and sorting out where he and his body needs to be.

This is where my theory becomes a little bit controversial, but so far, it has worked for me on the handful of horses that I have started, retrained and taught to jump. As you may notice in my videos, generally I am in two point on a very loose or loopy rein. On this horse (and most greener horses) I can usually get away with this and will. Granted, this position is "precarious," being up on their neck, basically leaving every opportunity open for them to do something silly, and never say never of course, but I do have faith that I have instilled the go button and his own confidence that he will keep going. 

I also try and stay out of the equation as much as possible and allow for the horse to just figure out where he needs to be. With Jolie, I think this made her a bit opinionated and bold, but I would honestly rather work with a horse that is more forward and bold rather than one that is backed off or always searching for the riders help. My thinking is that if you are always training a horse to look for your command, you are in a way signing yourself up for trouble. As the saying goes, we are all human and we all make mistakes. If your error in judgement allows for the horse to make a mistake, you put both horse and rider in danger. However, if the horse can think on it's own what he needs to do and where he needs to place his feet in order to be safe, chances are these self preserving animals will get themselves (yourself included) out of the situation. 

As I introduce more half-halting and flatwork, I will obviously work this into jumping and working with striding in lines, but for the beginning, jumping is foreign enough without adding the complexities of the rider being in the way, so this is how I choose to work. If I do anything it will be to add leg and encourage the forward motion (as obviously forward is key and the whole point for success)
Obviously, this is boring (and almost every effort so far, with the exception of cantering flower boxes has been recorded and posted) but as mentioned previously, boring is good.

Our goals for the rest of the month include: working on the introduction of a half halt, doing more canter poles, and eventually elevating to small bounces and one strides, and by the end of the month hopefully schooling horse show fences with gates, brush boxes, flowers and the like. I do not anticipate this being a problem but time will tell. We are hosting an IHSA english show at the end of this month, so it will be the perfect occasion to get the boys out for a taste of a show and to school in a show like setting. (at least prior as the warm up gets a little bit crazy, especially for our babies!!)
As promised....

Well, reading material flies around the barn like wildfire...this week: The Chronicle of the Horse...
Specifically: Feb 6 and 13, 2012, Detecting a Genetic Pattern in the Thoroughbred Event Horse...
Passed along to me by Nancy...

So I am reading it....and it's a lot of what we hear all the time: there is no pattern, every TB basically goes back to Bold Ruler, Native Dancer, blah blah blah... (ok well it's not that boring, I love to be enlightened but for arguments sake...)

Skimming to "everyone has a favorite" 
Skim, skim, skim, any names I recognize?

Oh crap, Two Punch (Pogo's sire in case anyone has forgotten)...let's see what they have to say about this!
Steuart Pittman "The handful I've worked with have been really, really good movers and good jumpers once they know how"  (thought process: ok, I'll take it)

Ashley Adams' four star mount is by him...cool

And here's where everyone out there needs to be interested in purchasing Pogo:
"They have really solid bone, and they have a rhythm you can't get out of them. They're amateur friendly, and tend to be a little bigger and more attractive....they are all mirrors of one another; gray or dark bay and rarely chestnut. They're theamateur dream horse; they'll go out and do whatever you want them to do.."

Well, at least there are worse horses to start out as a sale project....chose a popular stud by accident...
Now to find a buyer!

Remember, his sale ad can be viewed on my website: thundercrestperformancehorses.weebly.com
I was having a chat with some friends yesterday about this site and a couple of things were brought to my attention...The first being that I never actually said how this whole project got started and number 2, training things are fun, but it's also cool to have other things included....with that being said, here's story time on how this whole idea came about..

Rewind about seven years ago: I was riding at a barn that was owned by some prominent people in the town, they happened to have dinner with the manager of a local Thoroughbred Breeding farm and he mentioned that he was looking for some help. The word was passed on, and I called about the job as soon as I could. Little did I know, it was a very LARGE breeding farm that was once one of the top stud farms in NYS (Keane Stud). Enamored with the almost 100 head of horses and all of the foals, I soon learned about a site, Pedigree Query ( thoroughbredhorsepedigreequery.com) and quickly became a junkie looking up EVERY horse that I could remember the name of. I would look up the stats, progeny etc. and became an endless encyclopedia of every horse on the farm. 

Now to May of 2008 for a quick sidenote: My boss at Keane Stud is AWESOME. End of story. He has given me endless opportunities, most importantly the opportunity to train the "freebies" (the horses that are our collateral for unpaid bills and inevitably become farm owned) as well as some track rejects that just didn't cut it. Namely: Cranky Pants who got my whole idea of  "lets retrain a TB" going in high gear. He was super easy, super fun and incredibly talented. It was for sure a learning experience but I credit all of that to my wonderful, super-fantastic boss (-es, actually) who allowed for all the shenanigans to happen :)

Ok, now back to about a year and a half or so ago: A friend posted an ad on Facebook that she found for a horse named "You Sure" a very well put together Cryptorchid at the Finger Lakes track for FREE. True to my Pedigree query-junkie self, I looked him up....and like that I discovered he was one of the kids from the farm. How cool!!?? So, I did some more research, found out that this site (Finger Lakes Finest) was a trainer listing for all horses that weren't making it...So the hunt was on to find more of my babies...

To clarify: when I say "my babies" I mean the foals that I saw be foaled, helped to halter break, taught to lead, played with, messed with, got dragged around by, stepped on, medicated, washed dirty bottoms, weaned, groomed, loaded onto the trailer for training and so forth. I may not pay the bills, but they are my kids... :)

 SO back to last spring: I became friends with a trainer at the Finger Lakes track when I went up to watch a couple of them race. I spoke about the others and also gave my contact info in case some of them came up for sale. He told me to use his name to get to the backside anytime to visit.....Big mistake. It's a rare occasion if I am not met by someone that says "Hey, you look familiar, weren't you just here?" Alas, not only a pedigree query junkie slash Finger Lakes Finest junkie, we can now add, backside regular..

So....the start of Fall Semester 2011, a friend of mine started looking at horses as she wanted to try for a re-sale project. I went up and got to looking and needless to say fell in love with some of the horses I saw. It amazed me that these young, and promising prospects were all available, rather cheaply, and who know what sort of end they could meet if someone like my friends (and now us) didn't come along. My friend found a wonderful horse (through my trainer friend, Charlie) and as she started working with him, I started to get the itch to work with a fresh slate again.

I knew I wanted to work with an OTTB, especially after my trip, but the fact was there were SO many....My first thought was, well you can't save them all....or can you? So, Tesla and I got together and devised a plan...we would approach our director with photos and descriptions (compliments of the lovely ladies at Finger Lakes Finest) and a list (and sob stories if needed!!!) and give her our pitch: We would do an independent study, for credit where we take our horses, take full care of them, work with them, document it, promote the breed, and at the end of the semester sell them to great a and loving homes. Much to our surprise (and without the use of sob stories!) she quickly agreed....

The rest is history (and most of it documented here)....we unfortunately did not purchase anything on the site as people come out of the woodwork and we were approached with two that were not yet to be listed. Our hope for this is that the school can profit enough to fund another round of this project next year and that two (or more) lucky people can find those lucky TB's and find more homes. If we are successful (and we will be if I have anything to do with it!) potentially other schools can catch on and even more TB's can be re-homed...

Anyway, that's all for now!!

On a sidenote: Pogo's bad day is a thing of the past and he has been wonderful since, he is going well and progressing a ton, potentially another free-jump day in the future!
"But its FRIDAY....I DONT WANNA WORK TODAY!!" said the exasperated little gray to the determined college girl. And so the story began... (For those of you that haven't caught on, this is going to be today's ride from the eyes of Pogo himself.

It was a great day, two consecutive days off in a row, complete with Sunshine and temperatures that were warm and cozy. It felt like someone had snuck me off to Florida in my sleep, a place that I have heard from my friends that is warm and where nice horses go to show off. I wasn't about to show off for anybody though, I was enjoying R&R the way cool kids do, stuffing my face with tasty hay, begging for grain (NOT treats, I don't get them. I swear they are POISON and these two legged things are trying to kill me with whatever that stuff is), and being turned out with my best pal, Ryker. 

Today was day three (I think) of not having anything to do, or so I thought. It was still early in the day, and I saw my two-legged person come walking from behind the barn, hopefully NOT to come get me. BOY, was I WRONG!! She took me away from my pal and what I thought was a good vacation. My first thought was, "I'll show her!" 

Normally I stand still and just right while she tacks me. Today, I decided I might try and run back to my paddock and find RyRy. I waited until she turned away and swift as ever, I started to sneak away....only to be caught and then I continued to be tacked up. Rats...

I let her think that today was going to be a normal day, I walked out, stood by the mounting block and waited for Kait to arrange herself in the tack. I picked up a walk and allowed for her to ask me to stretch. Boy, do I love to stretch, it feels good so kept up with it. BUT THEN, Kait thought it would be a good idea to take up the reins, As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't in the mood to work, so I didn't take kindly to this shorter rein....

"oh man, I have to lift my back and do WHAT?" I said..."you can do it Poge's...good boooooy" she said to me. I really didn't appreciate that tighter outside rein and inside leg pressure, what the heck is she asking me to do? Bend into a pretzel? I'm not Gumby over here...do I look GREEN to you?! (NO PUN INTENDED GUYS, DONT LAUGH AT ME!) I don't get WHY she insists on asking me to move my shoulders in every so often, whats so wrong with just doing what I want to do?

Oh boy now we got to trot, and, honestly, I wasn't feeling it. These stupid white things were on the ground and she makes me go over them and step OVER them. I hate that, sometimes I really just don't want to step over things, what is so wrong with my regular trot step? Why do I have to drop my head and work SO HARD?! And I thought life on the track was hard. At least galloping was fun, this stuff is SO BORING...Galloping on the track, hmmm I miss that.... 

::cue the light-bulb moment:: WAIT A MINUTE!! This four walled place is ROUND like the track, why can't I just PRETEND I'm on the track? There's a big stakes race at Aqueduct tomorrow,  I've heard my two-legged person talk about it, a horse she knows is in it...Well, why don't I give her a taste of what it's like?

::cue Kait's canter depart:: AAAND WE'RE OFF! And it's Pogo in the lead (for the second time ever in his life) until wait, wait, wait, what is happening? Why is she stopping this? We have already been through this, I DON'T WANT TO WORK HARD TODAY!! RUNNING IS SO MUCH FUN! 

::cue the temper tantrum:: small circles are NO FUN!! Why on earth does she insist on sitting on me and MAKING me work? What is this, I am a big bad race horse, we are not supposed to be sat down on and not supposed to go slow!" what is this?! I tried every trick in the book to try and get out of this WORK. I tried dropping my shoulders in, falling out, opening my mouth, putting my head up and putting my head down...Whatever she wanted I just did something else. I just didn't get why she wouldn't quit and leave me alone. Why is this girl so persistent? 

Finally, I decided that this was getting stupid. Not that it hasn't been stupid this entire time, but I was getting tired and was so sweaty. I just didn't want to work and this girl wasn't quitting. She wasn't going to stop until I gave her what she wanted. I don't know when my opinions started to carry less weight, but I am not a fan of this new situation. But, regardless I start to think, maybe if I just do as she asks, my job will just be done, and then I really won't have to work so hard after all....Voila! Give a little head down, stretch through my back, give sweet canter departs and in less than five minutes I was done. 

Boy, I wish I realized that sooner. Note to self: life is easier when I just do as I am told....maybe...

ps. Sorry Kristen fearless leader for the spelling and grammatical errors. I am only three, just going on four, give the baby a break! Kait sure doesn't!! haha :)