Jellybean’s recent adventures

After the past two shows and Jellybean’s mostly grown up behavior, I was expecting a similar trip October 22nd at Topsider. Jellybean, however, had different plans.
The week leading up to the show, Jellybean became increasingly difficult to work with. I blamed the slightly cooler weather, and we worked through it. Then Saturday came…
I arrived at the barn to find an adorable looking Jellybean sticking her head out of the stall she stayed in for the night. After putting her in the cross-ties, I put shipping boots on her and left her there to help the other riders find needed items. I returned and found that Maggie had put a blanket on Jellybean. At this angle, it fits, so I’ll let it look good.
After everyone was loaded in their trailer, we went on our merry way to Topsider. Jellybean was content with pulling out her hay all morning. Katy, Olivia, Tyla, Hannah, and I studied our tests, as our rides were in the afternoon, and we also ate lunch.
Soon enough, it was time to warm up. Jellybean was excited, so we walked around and did some trot-walk transitions to chill out. We had a few good canter transitions, then Jellybean was done with everything and started freaking out with every canter transition.
We chilled out for a little bit, then it was time for the Beginner Novice A test. Jellybean was wriggly as we walked in, especially by the judge’s stand again, and where the sun was shining in the arena. We trotted until the judge rang the bell and off we went. This test went well, as seen in the picture of the test below, except for one moment where we had “rodeo time.” When I asked for the right lead canter by the judges stand, Jellybean went sideways and we cut the circle nearly in half. We finished the test with a nice trot down the center line, and a square halt (even though it was slightly off the center line).
While waiting for the second test, Jellybean figured out a way to amuse herself. First it was bit chewing, then flapping her lips.
When time came, the warm up for Intro C was rough with lots of head shaking and explosive canter transitions. She calmed down a bit and I thought we would be okay with the test…Oh how wrong I ended up being. Stepping into that ring, Jellybean was semi focused and after the halt, she slowly but completely lost it. I’ll let the video speak for me on this one.
Overall, I would say that the show went okay. It also made me realize how much better of a rider Jellybean has made me, and how much she has to really work on.
Now for the schooling story from Sunday. Even though I am not going to do the High Point show in December, I went for the experience. This was Jellybean’s first visit to High Point and she did well, except for when there were ponies escaping riders. Then, Jellybean wanted to race with them as they ran away (we didn’t) and had to watch instead. She’s slowly learning her manners. When it was finally our time to practice, Jellybean was ready to go. We started with a small log type jump, which she went over easy-peasy. The next jump was a coop, which she also did fine at, and then we continued on to a bank.
At first, Jellybean did not want to go up, but after watching Joe and Knots do it she was fine. Then we had to conquer going down. Now, I’m not sure what exactly goes through a horse’s mind but I do know that going up should be as easy as going down. Jellybean disagreed, and we had trouble with going down for a bit before moving on. Knots and Amanda had to show her a few times before we got it.
We did another coop, then a green box jump. Surprisingly, Jellybean handled the box just fine. (from Amanda: the green box is probably the largest jump on course, and its the one that usually terrifies people.)
After doing the box, we moved on to a small wood jump (I’m not sure how to describe it?) When Jellybean comes up to a new jump, she first walks over it, then launches over the second time, then will relax and be fine with it…I, however, forgot the routine completely.
The first time, we walked. The second time, launch. I was not prepared and ended up in front of the saddle, holding onto her neck. (I do not recommend this position of riding at all.) After struggling to get back into the saddle, Jellybean shook her neck and I fell off. I’m tough and stubborn, so I got back on and watched everyone else finish. I couldn’t do much other than sit there since I was slightly dizzy and I couldn’t put my right leg in my stirrup. It ended up that I had twisted my knee, bruised most of the right side of my body, injured my lower back, and received a minor concussion. I should be good by next week and the adventure of No Stirrup November will begin again with the crazy mare. Wish us luck yall!

40s, Clears, and Monsters

By Ashlynn
After riding the sassy red mare for this long, I have figured out a way to gauge her mood and attitude for the day. It’s either a thoroughbred mood, or quarter horse mood. TB moods includes wanting to be spooky, run and buck, ignore all aids, and overall be a brat. We usually work this out as we ride. Quarter moods are the more sensible ones, where she listens and responds with minimal sass, and everyone is happy.
Last Sunday at Pine Hill, Jellybean was in a quarter mood and handled her first horse trial like a champion. Despite a near collision in the warm up for dressage, Jellybean stayed cool and focused, and we went on to get a score of 40 for the test.
Then we had to wait. Jellybean entertained herself by pulling the rest of her hay out of the hay bag, then we had to get ready for stadium. In the warm up arena, we stopped at each jump before going over—I just needed more leg. That’s always the answer, sit up and more leg. After going over each jump a few more times, it was time…after we waited for a few more riders to go. As we walked in, Jellybean was focused and ready to go. We ended up getting a clear round, and walked out of the arena happily.
After a long afternoon, a nap for Jellybean, and a relaxed warm up, it was time for cross country. Now, at this point in the day, Jellybean was tired of this. The sass was showing in near full force as we went out, and she was probably thinking it was plain stupid—why do this when she could be eating or sleeping?
The second jump we refused and then walked over/on. With leg, we went over the 3rd and 4th without any issues, and then…flowers. After the 4th jump, a simple log, there was a large jump off to the side with some flowers in it. Jellybean decided they were monsters out to get her, but after a quick argument she accepted I was right, they weren’t going to attack, and we made it past. Coming around the water, there was a large prelim jump with a shadow across our path on the right—it had to be hiding a scary monster! So we sidestepped forward and sideways to avoid it…then Jellybean saw a large sand pile to the left, and backwards we went. An older lady was off to the side, shaking her head at the baby horse shenanigans as we argued back and forth—I was pushing her forward with both legs and seat, Jellybean was going backwards and sideways. We made a circle, then finally darted between the two monsters, and continued on our merry way.
The next two jumps we went over fine, after jump six there was a bucket with some more flower monsters that we darted past, and then we came up to the last jump: going, going, STOP. We circled and attempted 3 times before the team behind us caught up and passed us, and then we had another refusal. As the golf cart drove up (most likely to tell us we were done), Jellybean decided the cart was scarier than the small box jump and we finally went over. Doesn’t that just figure?
Despite the x-country refusals and elimination, Jellybean survived her first horse trial and (99% of the time) behaved like a champion. Everyone was proud of her and I can’t wait to see how the next trial goes! There are some cool pictures from the show by the official photographer here.

Weekend picture party

I’ve been posting a lot of pictures on my instagram (@atindalla) and the Diary of a Dusty Summer Facebook Page, so here are some of the recent highlights!


Hanging out with Jellybean bareback!


Gracie’s cut is almost healed, potential proud flesh aside.


Vinny is such a good boy.


Ashlynn and Jelly at Pine Hill Oct 2


Ashlynn and Jelly at Pine Hill Oct 2


One of the nemeses on XC at Pine Hill Oct 2

Stay tuned for a show write up! Ashlynn has promised me one very soon 😉

Rain, rain, and some more rain

Writing this blog has given me an interesting perspective on the rain, especially as I can look back and see what we were doing this time last year. Which was watching it rain. Apparently this is the monsoon season here.

The barn hasn’t been hit terribly hard, or maybe we have finally reached the critical level of improvements. The new arena sand is keeping the big arena rideable. The ponies are spread out a bit more, so there is a bit less mud. We added more sand to some paddocks and moved horses out of others. The barn is sporadically flooding, which we still haven’t figured out, but most of the horses aren’t in hock-deep mud.

There has been some sporadic riding when it dries out for a few days. Knots has gotten the most attention, and Jellybean has been ridden a few times. Hopefully the weather will be clearing soon, because its summer camp time! Kids all day! I actually have a great time with summer camps, and with the completion of my two TAMU jobs, I’m hoping to have a bit more time to get ready for some horse shows.

It looks like Jellybean isn’t going to make it to Pony Club Camp this year, Ashlynn has the opportunity to take a more seasoned horse. Tank is a pro at pony club (year 3!!) and she will be able to take the lessons learned from Jellybean, ride Tank, and then start working with Jellybean more.

I’m trying to get ready to take two (!) horses to Pine Hill in July. Vinny is a big handsome percheron/arabian who is going green-as-grass and Knots and I are going to run beginner novice again. I’m working on some major conditioning for me, two horses in 90+ heat is going to be a challenge.

Anyways, long ramble. I’m hoping the weather relaxes and we can all actually ride.

Baby Bucks, Cross Country Jumps, and Jellybean’s First Show

Guest post, as promised. Jellybean is starting a new adventure with Ashlynn. She is riding her in lessons for now, but if all goes well, Ashlynn will be leasing her this summer. Rumor has it Jellybean is even going to Pony Club Camp at Pine Hill! Ashlynn will hopefully be giving us her perspective on Jellybean’s thoughts and keeping us entertained with their adventures.
Sorry for the late post—life is always busy for me. I’d like to introduce myself first, before we get to the exciting parts of Jellybean’s past two weeks. My name is Ashlynn Helm, and I’m the rider that has started working with Jellybean since spring break-ish. So far, I’ve only fallen off of Jellybean twice—but I’ll get to that later on. I ride Thursday evenings currently, once a week, and hope to ride more this summer and next school year (being a senior will have its perks, like two or three off-periods in the afternoon which equals more ride time!). Jellybean has already improved me as a rider, and hopefully I can also help her as she grows and matures.

Photo: Sydney Sund

The past two Thursday lessons have been out in the cross-country field as practice for the show Saturday. The first Thursday went okay. At each jump, Jellybean would stop and look at it, walk over, and keep going. The second time over consisted of a long spot. After that, Jellybean trotted right over. She’s a quick learner.

Photo Credit: Sydney Sund

The second Thursday, only a few days ago (the 5th), Jellybean decided to show me her version of “bucking.” When most people hear the word buck, they think a nose in the dirt, back feet flying, violent attempt to get a rider off. Jellybean? She has the head part down, but her back feet only do a small kick out. This is good and bad, because while she doesn’t buck violently, as soon as it works even once, she’ll just keep doing it to get her way.
Now for the most exciting part of this post—Jellybean’s first show! Jellybean was super excited when I arrived to the barn to get her ready. There were all these different horses and people around, and she could definitely tell something was happening. In the warm up arena, Jellybean wouldn’t focus at first, but this was partly my fault. I was nervous, and that made her more nervous—leading to the first fall. Jellybean threw her head down to buck, twisted, and I flew off into the dirt. I got back on, we worked on a 20m circle until she was actually paying attention, and then started we started over a small cross rail. The first time over, Jellybean launched over, which I wasn’t expecting, so back down to the ground I went. After I got up, we continued to work over the cross rail and a vertical, and then we were ready to go.
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Photo Credit: Stephen Hyvl

We competed in the ‘We Have Just Begun’ (12″)  class, and in our group of 6, placed third. I even earned a Sticky Seat Award. The first round of WHJB went well, except for a startle at the brick wall jump and at a banner. The second round was a bit more interesting—a slight disagreement, baby bucks, and an attempted startle—but we both survived. [There are some videos that I’m hoping to be able to link soon]

Photo credit: Jacob Gilliam

Overall, I think it went well. Jellybean survived her first show, got a fancy ribbon, and got some learning experience with the chaos of the warm-up area. Hopefully the next show will have less bruises and scary objects.
Check back for more adventures soon!

It’s raining again

I’m planning world domination, or rambling on about things that are moderately exciting.

Also know as, what things do I need to do to take a horse to a competition? July is the next date on the calendar, and I’m brainstorming who and what.

Knots and I could run beginner novice. Jellybean could go green as grass. Or I could get us rolling to goldilocks. A could take Jellybean green as grass, although that depends on a couple of things going well. Knots and I need some more jumping experience before we start adding cross country combinations at novice. We both also need to be in better shape.

When it stops raining, I made this handy little chart that I’m going to start using:

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There should be more riding time in my [very near] future >:)