Amy’s ‘horsin’ around’: How it all began

Amy and Gypsy

Amy and Gypsy (Photo by John G. Miller)

I am so excited to launch this blog where I will share thoughts and experiences about the horses I work with on a daily basis.  My goal is to pull you into what I see with these great equine friends that I have.

I bought Gypsy going on four years ago next February 14.  I got her a day before my birthday.  I originally named her Valentine, since I did not receive her papers yet.  However, after getting her papers I could see that her papered name was British Gypsy.  The person I bought her from called her Britt, which was a pretty name but I was drawn to the name Gypsy more than Britt.  I bought her to be more my horse since my daughter Alicia had a nice, cute, blue-eyed pony named Snickers.  But when Alicia started in Pony Club, Snickers became a bit of a handful for her so I decided to try out Gypsy for her.  My lovely Egyptian Arabian was a great match for her.  Alicia had fun with Gypsy for the two years that she was in Pony Club, but then Alicia lost interest in riding horses.  If I had a farm of my own, I think Alicia would have ridden more but she didn’t like to stay for a long period of time like me.

We had to find a nice home for Snickers since he was a handful for Alicia, so I started to shop around for another horse once Snickers was sold to be a young girl’s dressage pony that would be trained up along with the girl.  As I was searching, it became scary to venture out into the unknown world of new horses.  What would be a great match?  I didn’t want to get caught with a horse who had been drugged.  I wanted a horse that was not sick or had damage that would make it not work for me.  There were so many questions and concerns in finding that perfect steed that would fit into our lives.

After quite a bit of searching and looking at various nice horses, I found a lovely grey quarter horse/Arabian cross that I thought was pretty.  I have to admit, I was not exactly excited about grey horses, especially those who would whiten so fast.  But I just wanted to try her and she looked so confident in herself and appeared to have a heart of gold.  She was trained well and was the correct size.  Her papered name was Grin And Bare It.  I took her to where I boarded my horses and kept her for a two-week trial and fell in love with her.  I had a vet check done and bought her and — last but not least — gave her a new name, Cheyenne.

Amy and Cheyenne (Photo by Randy Kroll)

Amy and Cheyenne (Photo by Randy Kroll)

She was well trained, but for me she was a challenge.  The trainer who worked with her was really good at what she did.  She could get horses to do things for her super fast; train the horses, put them in horse shows, win ribbons from them, sell the horses and the new owner might not be as gifted.  That was the way it was with Cheyenne and me.   Cheyenne is a very intelligent horse.  She likes to test the new rider.  She knew I was not as good a rider as her previous trainer so she tested me all the time.

I struggled getting the bridle on because she threw her head high.  She had a lot of energy in the beginning, so figuring her out was challenging.  A new horse takes time to get to know so it is a learning experience for new owners.  She would pull back on the rope while tied to a hitching post.  Sometimes this caused her to break her lead rope as I was trying to saddle or putting bug spray on or while I was going to bridle her.  She never bucked but sometimes she would go into a canter and kick out her hind legs.  There was one time that back kick threw me off balance and I flew out of the saddle and met up with the ground in a way that I didn’t want to make a habit.  The more I rode her, the more I noticed that she would pin back her ears when I would ask her for a canter.  But from having years of experience in dressage riding lessons I learned that there were signs we should watch for in our equine friends to inform us of how the horse is feeling.  When Cheyenne pinned back her ears, I just took that as a sign of discomfort, so I called the horse chiropractor to come and take a look.

He looked at both Cheyenne and Gypsy because Gypsy would throw her head and show discomfort herself in her ribcage area.  When the chiropractor came out, after a thorough exam on both horses he noticed that Gypsy was out in her neck and her ribcage and Cheyenne was out in both hips in her hind quarters.  He adjusted them and things became better for both of them.

However, Cheyenne and I were still having some issues together.  She didn’t lower her head while I bridled her. Cheyenne was a great horse but there were some issues that we had to iron out.  I had lessons during this time on bridling and other things that we had difficult times with.

About this time, I decided to look for something that would help us connect more in a better relationship.  I found a book while browsing through a tack store that taught how to teach a horse to perform tricks.  After buying that book, my world with Cheyenne changed for the better.  I have been training her to do tricks on a regular basis up to now where she has 40 tricks under her belt.

I am excited to introduce you to Cheyenne and her many wonderful tricks that she can do.  Please feel free to ask me whatever you would like to know.  Thanks for reading.

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