Some random Jelly photos

Things have been a little bit slow since the rains have come. So I wanted to upload some fun pictures to keep you entertained.

I have been promoted!

Hey guys!   I figured out how to blog from this awesome little smart phone Amanda gave me to tweet with!

Yeah, its me Jellybean.  I thought I would tell you about the promotion I got last week.

Amanda has been riding me once or twice a week for about two months now.  She started out with Robert telling me what to do while she kicked me and pulled on my mouth…  I guess she wanted me to follow her lead because she stopped kicking and pulling when I went certain directions.  Oh well,  I am a smart pony and I know who feeds me yummy hay and grain.  I will continue to humor her.

So, anyway, we have been doing all this work in the tiny fenced area they call the round pen…  it really sucks because I have to keep turning in circles!   it makes my legs and back sore from all that extra work. Last week though, I got promoted.  I guess Amanda finally believed I knew what her little kicks and tugs meant.  She took be over to the medium fenced area and let me walk around out there.  It was great!   So much easier to walk in straight lines and actually MOVE instead of those silly circles.

All she let me do was walk though.  Maybe she still thinks I am going to try something funny if she tries to trot in the bigger space.  I can’t wait for her to let me trot and canter.  It will be so great to work with Amanda on jumping when I get older.

Cash, my boyfriend, tells me all about these jumps in the pasture and how Jeannette lets him jump over them…  I hope Amanda will let me show her how well I can jump.  I keep trying to show her I am ready by jumping out of the pasture but, that only earns a scolding…  All of my friends look so pretty and dignified when they jump.  

One day I will jump big jumps and look pretty too…

talk to you again soon!

Clearing up some questions

     Here at the blog HQ, we sometimes field comments and questions from our readers. It looks like many of the regular readers are friends of Robert or myself, and some may not have a horsey background. So today I want to define some terms that I have been using, and address some of the other comments I have received. As always feel free to comment and share your opinions!

What is Tack?
Tack is any equipment used on the horse. It can include saddle, bridle, and pad and also things as fancy as dressage whips and ear bonnets (those cool crocheted ear covers jumpers use)

Why do we use boots?
There are LOTS of opinions, and I don’t claim to have the answer. Jellybean wears boots mostly because I acquired them. The type of boots I have been using act as protection against hooves hitting her legs. They also provide additional support when she is traveling in the round pen. The smaller boots on her front hooves are to guard against over-reaching (that is, the rear hooves striking the backs of the front hooves). These are more useful working in smaller spaces.

What is ground driving and why do we care?
Ground driving refers to directing the movement of the horse by walking (or running) behind the horse, usually with “long lines” or driving reins. These reins are much longer than those for riding and allow the driver to stand at a “safe” distance from the horse. The person usually carries a whip (or incentive to more forward). I ground drive Jellybean to help her understand turning and stopping. As I continue riding her, I want her to respond immediately when I tell her left/right/stop with minimal confusion. This lesson serves to focus her energy on the bridle, instead of worrying about why someone is sitting on her.

In this photo, Jellybean is also wearing a lunging surcingle around her girth, which gives the reins a ring to go through to prevent her stepping through the line or the line dragging around her legs.
What is a dressage whip?
A dressage whip is a sturdy plastic (fiberglass??) stick about 36 inches long. It is used behind the leg of the rider, or on the ground for corrective purposes 😉

What is the time scale to “break” or “finish” a horse?
This is a controversial question based on a lot of factors. I wont talk much about the controversies, but I will outline my plan. I started riding Jellybean about two years old. We have been riding once a week or less for 30 minutes or less. I plan to continue this until she turns three. Depending on how she has grown, I will increase her riding to multiple times a week or she will continue on the once a week plan. I will then work on her basics (turning, being responsive, desensitizing to weird situations, etc). When she is 4-5, we will start working on jumping. So by this plan, Jellybean should be broke around 3 and finished around 5.

When can I meet Jellybean and take a photo?
Call or text me 🙂

Intro to the Dressage Whip

     So last week I talked about how uninterested in moving off my leg Jellybean was. This week I decided to be proactive and ride her with a dressage whip. I asked her with my legs to move, then I swatted her stomach/flank/hip with the dressage whip as some more encouragement. Jellybean responded really well to this, and even walked around the arena without Robert standing in the middle of the round pen.

Not interested in turning…

Oh, you’re kicking me? I don’t care…

     We also worked on mounting from the ground instead of the fence, and Jellybean didn’t care one bit. I think our goal next time will be conducting the walk/trot exercises without Robert in the middle of the arena. I’m very excited with how quickly she is progressing!!

And they’re off…

     Well the beginning of the school year has taken off at 100mph. Rob and I have been very busy with research and teaching, and so the updates have been slower. Have no fear, Jellybean is still participating in photoshoots 😉

     One of the other instructors at the farm (who writes another blog: has been working on a photography class and taken some more pretty pictures of Jellybean:

Thinking about pony things…
Photo credit: Jeannette Bayer

I’m sad because I don’t see my boyfriend 😦
Photo credit: Jeannette Bayer

     When Jellybean isn’t posing for photos, she has been running around in the pasture with some new friends: Sophie, Scooter, and Simon. They get her sufficiently engaged for our lessons. I rode Jellybean on Sunday. Despite being turned out all day, she was not very engaged in our lesson, and seemed more interested in galloping around. 

     When she started paying attention to cues again, I climbed on from the fence and we reviewed walking/turning/stopping before moving on to trot around the round pen three times in each direction. Then Robert walked out of the arena, and we worked on walking and turning and stopping without the extra cue from Robert. Jellybean has not connected the dots between squeezing/kicking and moving forward. I jabbed her with my heels until she moved and then immediately relaxed, but that didn’t yield serious results. I changed tracks and tried to turn her head and help her move her feet that way, but she demonstrated that she is great at stretching her neck… I will continue brainstorming this situation.

Soap and Water and Sweat

     Lately it has been hot. Even by Texas standards. Jellybean has been coming in from turnout a little bit salty. I decided the time was ripe for a bath. We have sprayed her off several times, but she has never had the full treatment. I collected Jellybean from turnout after we tried to play a game. Since there are jumps set up in the field, I tried to convince Jellybean she wanted to run over them with me. She followed me when I ran away, but she ran away from the jump and walked around 😦 Sometime later…

     Anyway, we were tied in the wash “pit” and I just soaped her up, rinsed, conditioned, and repeated on both sides and tail. Then I took a sponge to her face and rinsed off some of the sweat from her ears and face. She was not a fan of the wet sponge on her ears, I will have to keep working on that. She ended up pretty clean and shiny!

Why are you taking pictures of me wet?!

     As I was cleaning Jellybean off, I noticed the cutest little patches of black skin instead of pink skin on her socks:

     After all the trauma, Jellybean finished up another great day with dinner and her fan. I did check her weight again, and she seems to have gained about 100 pounds, to weigh 750ish now. I also checked her height, and came up with 14.3hh, which is different then what I told you last time. We will triple check the height sometime soon and get back to you.