Monday, August 31, 2009


Johnny comes tomorrow!!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Home for the Weekend

First week of class didn't go bad at I said in previous posts, I'm DYING for IHSA to start up again (tryouts next week!) and I LOVE my hunter class. I am soooo determined to do well this year and grow even more as a rider. I was 5th last year at Nationals and this year, I want that championship SO badly. If I could qualify in flat and fences that would be AMAZING (highly unlikely, but awesome none the less) and I want LEC to win our region so badly as well. This is just about all I can think about lately.

The good news is that it's been reflecting positively in my riding. I have determination to get things right on the first try...I want M to see that I am clearly making the changes to my riding. The only bad news is that I haven't had a single lesson all summer (ok, one but that was to work on Johnny not me and therefore doesn't count) and I think my equitation has suffered a bit. Last year, going into tryouts I was riding all the time with my trainer on a 3ft school master basically. All winter I worked on myself, and now I'm going into the first part of my season feeling totally unprepared. Although working with John has been amazing and a super awesome learning experience, I've barely jumped over 2ft this summer, but oh well I guess. I'm just going to ride my best and whatever happens will happen.

ANYWAY, as I said, I came home this weekend to pack up Johnny's stuff (he is offically shipping out Tuesday night) and because there was really nothing for me to do at school. I went to the tack shop this afternoon and got some more hoof oil, another tail wrap (because I seemed to have lost my spare...) and a really cute white baby pad with blue trim. I really wanted one of those while square jumper pads with the blue trim, but they were pretty expensive (over $50!) so I settled for the baby pad instead. It's the thicker kind, so I can still use it for a jumper schooling show or combined test. There's no rule against them...hehehe. After shopping, I went to the barn and got greeted by an especially happy Emmy and a decently happy Johnny (we don't have that relationship yet lol). Emmy got to go out first, so I groomed her and saddled her up. She was quite happy to see me and even happier to go out for a hack. After a short walk to warm up, we trotted and cantered down the street to the park (about a mile and a half) and took the loop around the dog park. The trail is nicely mowed grass and so I let her have a short little gallop up one of the small slopes. After that it was into the woods, down the ravine and across a wooden bridge, up another hill and back along the road to go home. Emmy was so happy! She cantered along with her ears flopping back and forth all the way home.

After I walked her out and took her tack off, I sent her out for grass while I got Johnny ready. The weather was perfect for riding...sunny yet cool and breezy so that the horses barely even sweated. Johnny and I did a shorter version of Emmy's dog park loop and when we got back to the barn we did some canter work in the front yard. He threw both leads easily and the canters each direction were smooth! He's getting shoes put on Tuesday afternoon...I'm super excited to see how much better he will move with more support!

Thats about it for today...more tomorrow!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hunter Class and Johnny Updates

First riding class of the semester today! The girls and I all donned our riding clothes and piled into L's jeep and headed to the barn. M had posted the ride list and we all eagerly checked it to see which horses we would be riding today. I got assigned to Cruz who is a very cute little chestnut thoroughbred. We worked on getting our horse soft and supple into the "training hunter"frame and being able to quickly assess what kind of ride we were sitting on. We incorporated ground poles into our warm up and then we eached worked on our horses canters over the ground poles. M had us first ride a line in 5 and then shorten to 6 to help develop our eye. I was a bit rusty at first and it took me two tries to fit the 5 and 6 strides in. After we changed directions my eye was considerably better and I hit the 5 and 6 on the first try. It was really great to be able to be cantering down the line and know exactly where I was in my stride. I guess I'm not so rusty after all...

New update with the Johnny situation...apparently the farrier can't come out until Tuesday now, and C was planning on taking Johnny up to school on Monday, so now I am stuck with quite a dilemma. Grrr...



Johnny is coming friday!!! Yay!!!

I've been riding a lot the past couple days at school. Tuesday I rode three horses at the barn and today I had time just to hack one. My back flaired up a bit from all of the riding, but hopefully it will calm back down. I've been doing my phyiscal therapy exercises when I can. Tomorrow I only have one class, which is my hunter riding class out at the barn, which is going to be super fun! I will update after!


P.S. IHSA tryouts are next week :)))

Monday, August 24, 2009


E came out to the barn yesterday to try Johnny and she liked him! He's scheduled to ship up to school this weekend provided that I can get his shoes put on in time. I'm so excited! Johnny wasn't as good as I would have liked him to be (he hadn't been ridden in 3 days) but E jumped him great and I think that was the final clincher. I'm really sad to leave Emmy at home but also excited to have John here :)

In and out of class today until 4pm and then an IHSA meeting at 7:20pm! Woohoo!!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back to School

Sorry it's been so long since my last update. It's been a difficult week, getting ready for school and I'm finally all moved into my apartment. Tomorrow E and I are going down to the barn so that she can try Johnny. I miss him and Emmy already :( The good news is that Monday we have an IHSA meeting, which I am SO EXCITED for and my Hunter class starts monday as well...where did summer go?


Friday, August 14, 2009

Great Day

The past two days riding Johnny has been fabulous! Wednesday I set up some cross rails for him in the back (one each direction) and let him have some fun over the fences. He quieted down a bit and was jumping really nicely. We finished up cantering over a few fences and John and I got our distances perfectly :)

Yesterday I rode him again and worked in the grass field. We did a lot of work with his right lead (the bad one) and he threw it everytime! He is getting so much stronger on that side and the canter is actually comfortable and more balanced now. He's also holding it longer, which makes me really happy :) We finished up with cantering over a cross rail again which Johnny did PERFECTLY (yay!)

After that I rode Emmy western and then gave pony rides on her to M neices and some of the neighbor kids. The one little girl helped lead Emmy into the barn and helped me put her away (she held the reins while I took her saddle off) and then helped me brush her once I put her in cross ties. It was so freaking cute!!!

More later!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Different Horse

I rode Johnny last night for the first time in almost 4 days. Between him not feeling so well after the horse show plus the ridiculously hot and humid weather, PLUS his little eye episode (which has since resolved itself) I've basically just been leaving him alone. I figure that he's going to work all winter if E half leases him, so whats a few days off right?

Anyway, he was ready to go yesterday! All he wanted to do was canter and was basically pulling an Emmy..."mistakenly" taking every little signal for canter. I let him gallop up the field a bit once he was warmed up, just to get the butterflies out of his feet and he was feeling so good that when I let him stretch down he actually dropped his nose all the way down to the ground and dolphined up the hill a bit. He wasn't really bucking...just playing. When I asked him for his right lead he threw it so easily and it felt so smooth that I actually had to look to see if he had thrown the correct one, which he had. He's holding that canter lead for longer and longer now and the strides themselves feel much more even and controlled.

After our little play session we worked on some trot poles. John was surprisingly good for them (last time he was like a drunken sailor and had a minor heart attack when he realized that he had to THINK about where his feet were going) I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to be directive with him (Emmy was the kind of ride where you just turn your head and she goes there) and that he's a little claustrophobic with the bridle...a long and quiet rein makes him happiest. Thinking about doing a little more flat work today and then maybe finishing up with some jumping. If the trails are dry enough we can go over there and jump some cross-country...I'm sure he would like that!

I also snapped a picture of him yesterday with my phone...I can't believe how different he looks compared to spring time when I first started working with him...look at the change!

Above is Johnny pictured on May 14, 2009 after I had just finished clipping all of the matted 3 inch long hair off his body (save for the saddle mark and his legs) I had only ridden him 4 times.

Johnny yesterday (Aug. 11, 2009) after four months of correct feeding, deworming, grooming and good riding. What a difference! (and yes, he has a brand on his neck)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Well, it's been a little while since my last entry, but I haven't been riding hardly at all because of the heat and humidity (not to mention the random monsooning down pours) that we have been dealing with lately.

Johnny came in from the pasture yesterday with a big fat swollen eyelid. I'm thinking that he either got bit by something or he got something in his eye. It doesn't seem to be poked and his vision is just fine. I gave him an eye wash twice yesterday (which he was not so happy about) and some bute. He also has been wearing a fly mask now to keep anything from irriating it further. The swelling had gone down quite a bit this morning when I went up to wash it out again after physical therapy. He stood much nicer this time...I think it probably felt good.

Other than that, nothing much to update. I've been bombing around on Emmy western a bit just for the heck of it...she seems to like it.

PT was good today. I had ultrasound treatment and massage therapy followed by a moist heat treatment before having to do my exercises. It made my neck feel a whole lot better :)

Maybe some riding today if the weather holds.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Lazy Week

Johnny and I have been taking it easy since the horse show. Monday and Tuesday he had off to just play and relax and then Wednesday I took him out for a little ride. He didn't quite seem himself...happy to be groomed and such, but he didn't really seem to want to be ridden. I didn't do much with him, just a little trotting and cantering to loosen him up. He wouldn't throw his right lead that day, which only furthered my suspicision that he was either a) still tired b) sore or c) a little bored and maybe sour from ring work. I took him for a little walk around the property to finish up.

Yesterday was a little bit of the same thing. T came up to ride Emmy and we decided to just forget ring work and take the horses for a nice long trail ride. We crossed the road and rode down a bit ot catch the trail up into the woods. It's my favorite ride...a nice wide trail that winds up the hill through the trees and comes out in an old corn field, which is now quite over grown. The path then winds back down the field to the road again where it catches a gravel path up the east side of the field and along the tree line. The whole thing makes one big loop and the majority of the trail is quite flat and grassy, with good footing. There are even a few logs set like in-and-outs to canter over. T and I just walked the horses for the most part, but we let then trot back through the grassy path, which excited both of them! Emmy was reliving her event horse days and was pretty convinced (despite the western saddle and bridle) that any moment now a coop would appear over the ridge. I could tell what she was thinking by the "big horse trot" that she was giving T. Johnny seemed to be thinking the same thing, and I had to frame him up considerably to keep him from getting too full of himself. I think that he definetly has a weakness either in his back, stifles, or hocks, because when he came onto the bit in his big trail trot he started to feel a little funny behind. After a walk break back to the barn, I trotted him up the grass in the side yard and he felt just fine. He threw both leads as well.

Just to see, I iced both his front legs (which I often do anyway) and then slapped a little poultice on all four, concentrating on his back ankles. I know all of his "normal" lumps and bumps from racing, but his left hind ankle seemed a little puffier to me after our ride. We'll see today if anything changes. I like to weed out problems, so that at least I might know whats NOT bothering him in order to find what is.

I also forgot to mention that I went to the doctor on wednesday and had my back FINALLY looked at (a year and a half after the fact...) I definetly have a vertibre that is sliding out of place and I have an order for at least 6 sessions of physical therapy before I go back to school (which is in 2 weeks...) They took 8 x-rays of my mid and lower back also...I should have the results of those by today. I will let you all know what I find out.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Johnny and the Brecksville Horse Show

Yesterday Johnny and I competed in the Brecksville Horse Show along side my best friend C and her Quarter Horse mare "Abbie." The morning started off with quite a few mishaps. First of all, I woke up a tad late to misting rain outside my window. Since this show is held on grass, my first thought was "oh great...the ground is going to be muddy and slippery." Second, as I was driving to the barn C called me to say that her alarm hadn't gone off this morning, and that she was running close to an hour late. So much for making our warm up 2ft class....but it was still misting and so I decided that it was no big deal, better to just take our time and not rush. Since we didn't have to pre-enter for this show, missing classes wasnt a huge deal. Johnny was waiting in the barn along side a very impaient Emmy who has been chosen to stay in with Johnny to keep him company (the horses go out at night when its cooler, so Johnny had to stay in to keep clean.) Braiding him was another fiasco...he hates it. He will stand for hours in the crossties for anything other than braiding, and its not that he just jigs...he WALKs back and forth or if you tie him up he just bounches his head up and down in protest. Poor John. I try my hardest not to get mad at him, because I know that this is all new to him, but after the 5th time of him shaking the same braid out of my hand, my patience begins to run a little low. I manage to only really yell at him once, which I have to say he deserved, and I think he got the point, because he stood very well after that.

We arrived at the show ten minutes before the start at 9am (my first class was supposed to be at 9) Since we had decided to scratch the first class, there was no rush for anything, so we opened up the trailer and went to register. Johnny was entered in the 18" schooling over fences in the hunter ring and open walk/trot english pleasure and english equitation in the main ring. I gave him a nice hack around the show ground early, and he was very quiet. E and his mom showed up just as I was getting ready for my pleasure class in the main ring. It was nice of them to come and watch :) I told them not to expect any ribbons today...the classes were large and filled with nice Quarter Horses and Arabians. My class was called to the ring with 16 horses in it...Quarter Horses and Paints and Arabians all filed in before us...nice pleasure horses too. At the in gate, I gathered my reins and asked John to trot.

We trotted into the arena, flanked by box seats, booths, tents and tarps. There were flowers around the announcers stand in the middle of the ring, music playing and people everywhere, but for the first time ever Johnny held his composure. He stretched his neck down, flung his legs out and trotted around the arena at an even pace, bending into his corners and keeping his lips quiet around the bit (he likes to flap his lower lip when he's's actually quite humerous...) We walk and trotted both directions of the ring and were called to the line up where the judge came down and one by one, asked us to please back up our horses. "Great" I thought. "Johnny's favorite thing to do...NOT" but when she came up to us, I put my leg on, wiggled the reins and to my surprise he dropped his nose and backed right up! I was so pleased with him that I broke my own composure and gave him a big pat and a scratch right there in the show ring. So what if the judge had just seem me drop my reins to congradulate him? We weren't going to place against these horses anyway. The show was COSCA rated and they were all here getting points for the year end championships. John and I had our own personal best ride...last place (6th in the ribbons) out of 16 horses would be a HUGE accomplishment if we could even pull that off. The announcer clicked on over the loud speaker. "Thank you class number 12, open walk/trot english pleasure sponsered by...." she carried on to announce the class sponsers and the presentors of todays ribbons and throphy. "In first place, winner of the rosette and trophy we would like to congratulate number 932..."

No one stepped forward.

"Walk The Line, owned and shown by Kate Hanneman..."

Wait. Oh my god thats US! I hope that the photographer got a picture of my face when I realized that Johnny and I had just beat some of the best walk/trot pleasure horses in the state. I was somewhere between laughing and crying while the ring master presented us with a big blue ribbon and an engraved pewter plate. Even with Emmy I had never even PLACED at this horse show against the trained pleasure horses...let alone WON it. I was so proud of Johnny!! The Standardbred kicked pleasure horse butt!!!

Our jumping warm up went awesome as well. It was not judged, but Johnny and I cantered over almost the entire course. C told me that he looked like a million bucks out there, cantering down the lines like a "real" horse haha. Again I was so proud of him! After that it was back to the main ring for equitation, where Johnny again performed like a super star, winning that class as well!!!

I couldn't have asked for a better day with him! Afterwards I went to the consession stand and bought him a little box full of plain donoughts as a reward. Him and Abbie shared them with joy! I think he slept almost the whole trailer ride back, I kept turning around to look at his silhouette through the back window and the tips of his ears were barely visible.
Being a champion must be hard work.