About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


For years, I have wanted participate in this mobile confidence course. Finally, it just so happened it worked out, that my trainer Meggie was combining a day clinic that ended with the course, AT my friend E's current riding facility. 
How perfect...what could go wrong???
Cue to...a lot.  
But a lot went right too
Laz is finally considered like a normal horse. What normal horse doesn't have some soundness issues right? Any way, healthy enough to trailer, healthy enough to participate, and we've been working extra hard 'practicing' what could come
Do you know what we didn't practice?? Trailer loading.
Despite Lazaroo being normally, walk on no problem trailer loading pony, he chose not to be this early am at 7:30.
I had gotten to the barn an hour early, to feed him, allow him to digest and slowly groom him. I didn't want to rush or give off my excitement in a negative/rushy manner. Despite that, I guess did the opposite.  I'm sure somehow I was more quick, more antsy than normal. And realistically, I haven't loaded Laz in a trailer since he came here almost 2 years ago now. Nice. Smart. Winner!
My friend E came to help me, borrow her truck/trailer, and take us to her barn. Could she be any more awesome? I think not.
I walked Laz in, he loaded perfectly, and then, I'm not entirely sure what happened, but he bolted Michael Jackson moonwalk backwards and broke my favorite OTTB leather halter (it actually like exploded off his face) and ran around the property like a lunatic.  
We finally caught him (I temporally lost my phone in this chase..of course) and went to load him back on.
Yea. NO GO.
It took us about an hour to slowly get him on using grain as coaxing. Poor guy. In one swift 30 second load, I totally lost his trust in the trailer. I was SO pissed at myself.  
Once loaded, we jumped in and slowly drove...I was already over an hour late to the start time, but the LAST thing I wanted to do was : Not go, AND scare him into the trailer. 
Once we got there, he unloaded great; slowly but excited
And totally sweaty.
I literally bit my tongue because I thought I was going to explode in tears.
What have I done? Why am I torturing him? He's going to hate me.
Thank goodness E just kept me calm and said, "this is all great exposure for you BOTH!"
Laz's slight injuries on both sides of his face. Thank goodness it was minor surface wounds.
Thank GOD!
We walked in, and felt like the two bulls in a delicate tea party. Everyone else had had about 2 hours to warm up, Sade was playing (actually my wedding song was on, lol) and we were walking in sweaty, one of us wanted to cry and the other wanted to run.  Despite my frazzled, shaking body, I literally had to get my head into the game because I wasn't of any help to Laz being riddled with anxiety. 
My trainer whispered to me "Breathe...take your time, there is no rushing, let him roll if he wants to, you are OK"
THANK GOD for support
My trainer below and her little Atwood mare Little Ray
We did just that. Took our time. I just tried my best to focus on him and help him get comfortable and focused on exhaling and inhaling for myself. Eeesh. 
They had some elements set up for us to work around; barrels, poles. It was mostly to work on getting the horses comfortable, quiet, tuned in to US.
As far as I know, it was Laz's first time in an indoor and I do think, he did great despite the shit show I put him in earlier that morning. He was electric and UP, but he also kept his cool. He had a very hard time focusing on me, but tried. It was also a group of about 7 horses and he had a LOT to focus on.
New place, new people, new horses, new environment=WTF for him
Despite that, I tried to reconnect. We had some great moments and some were I would lose him.
My biggest mental loss was I felt our partnership get shattered that morning and I was determined to find it again in that class.

I felt my brain getting FIRED. I was so stressed out. I just couldn't 100% get it back together. That fed into my disappointment of what I was for Laz, a crap-tastic leader. Despite that, I pushed to find the fun and tried to use it all as a learning experience  I was there, it was time to be in the moment and leave the worries/issues in the past.
Or so I just repeated to myself. 
NAMASTE dammit!!!!!
We broke for lunch, and thank the lord baby jesus they allowed us visitors to have a stall. They gave Laz the bigger one which was very sweet. I threw him two flakes of hay and fresh water. He and Kaspin (J9's GORGEOUS Haffie) were across. Boy did they bond over screaming at each other. We were laughing saying they were crying "HELP!!!!!!!!!!!! ME!!! WHERE ARE WE?!! I"M DROWNING IN FEAR AND EMOTION!!!!!!"
I'm a right brain or you a right brain?
Do you have a brain? I'm not gunna use mine today!
Cute boys. Kaspin is literally drool worthy gorgeous and what a goooood boy he is!!! I was so happy and proud of them!
J9 and I ate lunch together, which was laughable, in her van. We were both stressed but laughed about it but I seriously had NO appetite. You know who didn't eat either?
Our two right brain boys. They trampled their hay and just freaked out in their stalls.
Serenity now!
Cute picture! We had said "We have to get a photo of us together with our boys!" 
Of course, we didn't because we were SO focused on our own pony
Next time! At least we got one of those two together

Below was an example of part of the course. They wanted to set it up outside but with the cold front, and 20+ mph winds, I was THANKFUL it was set up indoor. As it was I wore 4 layers, two of them down, I was C.O.L.D.
This particular element took Laz a while. 
What was interesting is if I walked through it, he would follow-always.
If I 'sent' him through it, he would stop where you see him below and get 'stuck'
He did his nervous "I'm chewing invisible bubble gum chew" a lot that day. A lot.
It was hard to not take it personal. Like I made a mistake, I lost his trust.
I also realized how much I lead for him, and don't allow him to do via a send. I didn't set him up for as much confidence as I thought. Lesson learned.
Laz, I'll do better!
Despite him getting stuck at the noodles (he was not afraid of them, it was pushing through on his own, because when I walked through they actually bopped him in the chest and he didn't care) he did great at some of the other obstacles.

For instance, the Flags, NO problem. Didn't flinch once. 
 Go team
Here Laz is calmly walking through on his send, good boy!
Another obstacle that he owned; the water
It was funny because the lady running the course said "DON'T start with the water one, it's too challenging," so I went the noodles. I should have gone with my gut, gone to the water and allowed him to play. He loved it. Again, he did great the closer I stood to him and the further away I stood, and sent him, the more it frustrated him or he would fall apart.
 Despite my constant 2nd guessing of Laz, I was really proud. This duo below was great, this young girl was SO patient with her buckskin who was scared of crossing. She took her time and they did it quietly and calmly. You just can never tell what they will/won't offer to do
 Oddly, the noodles with flowers right next to the observation room (as the gorgeous Kaspin shows) wasn't a problem for Laz. Go figure.
Neither was below, the two poles that had either flattened water bottles or rubber snakes and ducks.
No problem, he just walked through carefully once and then was A OK
(as you can see, I didn't take a lot of pictures of Laz doing things because I was CONCENTRATING!!! and I just didn't want to lose any tiny connection we had. The times I took photos were our 'down' time watching J9 ride)

The mattress, Laz took about 10 minutes to tap it with one foot as the other three were camped back. He was not a fan of the dirty bed. Just didn't want to put his feet on it. Many of the other horses pawed heavily at it. Laz did not. Kaspin (my model lol) did great on it.
 The carwash below, another one Laz owned. He was great walking through with me, and in his sending. NO problem.
 No problem standing on the platform, but couldn't do the pedestal at ALL.
He was fine with the scary ass crooked eyed doll (I on the other hand was terrified of that plastic devil), and the mailbox. 
 Here I am listening to our trainer.
Despite my wanting to, I decided, much to my disappointment that Laz was not ready for me to saddle up and ride the course. That I would just take our time and do this via the ground for he and I to really work on basics.
I just felt that I wasn't fully there for him in the beginning of the day, the last thing I wanted to do, was continue on that path. He already was doing so much that I just felt it was unfair.
Had we had 1 more hour, I would have and he would have been ready. It took him from 10 am until 4:30 to settle down. Class ended at 5
 Despite wanting to literally bust out crying in the am, I ended up having fun and smiling
Laz and I were there. 
Having fun. Learning. Testing. Compromising. Developing. Building. Trusting
 Sure, I wanted to ride it. But the disappointment was quickly washed away when I just allowed the day to be about Laz and I. Strip the goals away that I had pre set, and work on what was in front of us.
 We were happy supporters of these two;
There is no doubt that J9 works her tail off to earn trust with her horses. It's amazing to watch and see. When she's in her zone, she is able to block out and work on just she and Kaspin. It's awesome, we are lucky to have friends to lean on and learn from like her :)
The day ended great, the re loading on the trailer was UGLY.
Luckily I had my trainer there to help me.
Even luckier, my barn owner is going to allow me to use her trailer to practice loading/unloading Laz so next time we trailer, we will have some time/work under our belt.
Side note; how adorbs is this tiny trailer!? 
Laz back at home, sweaty, tired, cranky
I groomed him, fed him, and rubbed liniment all over his legs.
The next day he got a power smoothie of mashed hay cubes, chia seed, parsley and apple, and salt.
As for me, I got home on Sat and fell asleep like I was drugged.
Pudgie shows a good example of how I felt.
Despite wanting the best butterflies with glitter experience of a day,  I got a stinging slap of reality.
It wasn't the best day, but it wasn't the worst. We got lucky in our ugly moments that Laz wasn't hurt, we had fun, we saw what we need to work on.

Despite all of the obstacles in our way, we made it through together.


  1. I have been in that situation more times than I can count and it always is challenging. However, I think you did the best possible thing: turned it into a learning experience for both of you. As for the trailer stuff, don't worry, you will get his confidence back. And I've always heard the licking and chewing thing is a very GOOD thing: it means they are thinking about what they are doing.

    1. Yes, the licking/chewing is great, it's a release. However, his 'nervous' tick is totally different than that. He chews like as if on bubble gum and zones out in his eyes and starts to bob his head up/down, almost like a weaving in a stall pattern (which he used to do when stalled). If I moved him, or did something, he broke of it, but when he felt unsure or stuck, he chewed his bubblegum ;) Challenging day, yes. VERY.

  2. I think this post is great. I think you are AWESOME! It encourages me to know that I'm not the only one who comes on rough frusterating times with my horses. And I'm not the only one who has a horse who loads on a trailer and then blasts off like a lunatic (we work on this - some days are totally normal and other days are wacky! what gives?!). What I love best is how you didn't give up. You could've canceled but you went anyways. You couldve quit and just observed when you got there, but you jumped right in. Despite how disappointed you were or how much you thought you failed for Laz - you didn't at all. What you showed Laz was that even through scary times, you carry on. That sometimes you get nervous too, but even in those times he can depend on you. You didn't fail him one bit! And I think this post is a true testiment to how much you love and care about him becuase you are so kind and so observant to his needs and you want to be the best you can for him. Next time will be better! I'm proud of you for doing this!!! :)

    1. Thanks!!!! :) I was just glad I didn't bust out crying like I literally wanted to!

  3. I feel like you are being a little hard on yourself. You asked him to do something that he never had a problem with before...load in a trailer. You had no reason to expect that he would have a problem that day. But like the others said, you did the right thing by not giving up, and helping him through it. You did not fail him in any way.

    Obviously some trailer work is in order, but so what? Its just a little thing and really doesn't take much to retrain them to be okay with it.

    I could totally relate to how you felt about wanting to ride the course instead of hand walking, but again, you did the right thing. Instead of saying, "You must do this" you asked him, "what can you do today?" And he showed you that he could do quite a bit.

    I say it was a job well done for both of you.

  4. Ohhhh, I wish I could write as nice as you!! You did a great job writing this blog and I laughed so hard at the Micheal Jackson comment, LOL, LOL, LOL. Until you wrote it! You're correct! I was sooo in the zone with Kaspin that sometimes I didn't hear anybody in the back ground talking, or doing their things. I too, was making sure I just took care of Kaspin's needs:) I am so glad both of us got to do this together and thanks for the kind words!! Love you 2!! xoxoxo

  5. That is a really hard situation to get through, but you did it! All those obstacles look really fun too, and I'm sure you and Laz have benefited more than you may even realize from this experience.

  6. It sounds like you had a great day! You learned a ton and you proved that you can get through it! That has to be a good lesson for you if you ever decide to show. A lot of people would quit when they felt that freaked out, you just lived with the discomfort until it got better! Which is awesome in my book. As someone who is a constant ball of anxiety most of the time I think it is not having fears that makes things hard, but knowing how to work through them that is the challenge. It sounds like you figured a lot out, so I call the clinic a success in my book.

  7. Hugs to you and to Laz - it is all a learning process, right? This experience will help you two grow. Keep safe and sane by making your goals and his goals intertwined. Mostly though, keep a listening ear toward Laz. He will tell you how and when to proceed - and when to call it a day. Oh, it is so hard to know - why can't they understand that we mean well with all this love and attention! You both deserve much spoiling for making it through a crazy tough day!

  8. Hey, we all have days like that, so don't worry--we get frustrated, our horse's get frustrated, and sometimes our emotions get in the way. What's important is that you both put your frustrations aside and worked together. Total win in my book.

    A thought about the trailer: is that Brenderup that trailer you used? If so, that might be why Laz reacted the way be did. I know a lot of people rave about them, but frankly Brenderups scare the crap out of me because they are so small and light. So if Laz is more used to a standard trailer, maybe he stepped on and then felt the difference and freaked. ??? Just throwing that out there.

    The good news is that getting him over his fear shouldn't take too long, since he has always been good about trailering previously. I'm a big fan of making the trailer the "safe" place -- so, make them work, longe, back up, etc. and then take them to the trailer and let them rest. Repeat, repeat, repeat. They eventually figure out that the trailer means rest/scritches/no work/treats and they WANT to go there. It takes the stress away and makes the trailer a positive thing.

    One of my pet peeves is people who go in the trailer and face the horse and expect it to come in, even though their body language us saying the exact opposite! Not saying you do that, just that SO many people do, and then they get mad at the poor confused horse!

    Glad that you guys were able to make the day into a positive experience despite a less-than-perfect start. At least it was a learning experience! :-)

    1. Per usual, you are SO correct. First off, after I had loaded him correctly and he bolted backwards, I did exactly that ; FACE him and thank GOD, E very nicely said 'uh lead him' so I corrected my posture. Agreed about making the trailer the safe place, that is exactly what I'll work on IF I can borrow the gooseneck trailer and make sure it doesn't move at all unhitched, otherwise, forget it. I didn't see the brand of trailer but I do think it was TIGHT, and he was like "ARE U KIDDING ME?!" and a bit light as well. I think he's more used to a slant load as well and this was just all together not a great combo.

    2. Lol, I don't know about that--some people seem to think I'm always wrong! :-D
      I totally bet it was the trailer. Those Brenderups are WAY, waaaaaaaaaay lighter than most standard trailers, so I'm sure Laz felt that and knew it was different than the trailers he's used to--maybe he didn't feel safe? I learned to drive in big, heavy cars (Saab and a Volvo station wagon) and when I went to buy cars I tried a Honda Civic and felt like I was driving a tin can, lol. Totally thought I was going to die any second. I bet that's similar to how Lazaroo felt.

    3. That photo of the trailer WASN'T what I put Laz in...sorry if that was confusing....it was one I just admired that was in the parking lot. ;)

  9. Gah, a million typos! Damn you, iPhone (which just chained my "Gah" to "Gay" and I had to go back and fix it)!

  10. Changed! Not chained. I swear this phone's mission in life is to make me look like a completely illiterate moron.

  11. I loved this post so much. I understood every single feeling you were detailing. I would have felt the same way. I know that trailer experience too well, and I loved the actual course that Laz went though. The pictures are all amazing and the other horse is very high on the charm factor. Just wonderful. Hey. You did it and so did your guy. Consider me president of your fan club. Oh wait, what's that you say? That a million other people already have/want the job? I'm not surprised. The divine in me bows to the divine in you, horse friend.

  12. Everyone has pretty much said what I would have so I'll just say sorry the morning started off rough, but I'm glad Laz was okay. I get exactly like you described so I can totally relate. Way to go ending on a great note though!!