Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Napolean Dynamite

<-- Meet Sparky. Sparky is a 6 year old (though he's actually 2 in this picture) unregistered Morgan gelding made up entirely of bravery, character, spunk, and cuteness. He is EXACTLY like a little kid - always trying to push the envelope to see *just* how far he can go and *just* how much he can get away with! He is extremely friendly and inquisitive... really, everybody loves him. He's definitely a "little big man," - or maybe a "big little man" - so though his "official show name" is Sucha Special Spark, I'm pretty sure he will show at least a couple times as Napolean Dynamite. (That's part of the beauty of an unregistered and unrecorded horse - you can show them under just about any name on a whim).

Sparky stands just over pony size, so we briefly dabbled in the idea of becoming a large pony hunter/jumper, but then we decided to nix that idea (though it was totally do-able) as: A) I'm an adult (by age, anyway), and would therefore we would not be able to team up for pony classes, as they are restricted to children; and B) I'm not planning on selling him; so C) What would be the point?

So Sparky has decided to embark on a career as an event hony (that would be a just-over pony-sized horse). I think this is a good idea. *nods* Maybe eventing will help occupy those overly large brains of his! He has decided to refer to himself as a "Morgan Sport Pony"... there's not really any such thing as a Morgan Sport Pony, so I figure I'll humour him.

Now, for those of you who don't already know Sparky, there is a pretty significant piece of history to him. In August of 2008, Sparky suffered severe injuries to his left butt cheek and legs by getting caught in some fencing, ultimately being impaled on a T-post and getting cut up the the wire. We are very lucky he even survived, so the fact that he is doing all that he is and has decided to be an event hony is all the more impressive and all the more special. His comeback, though slow, has ultimately been phenomenal! We have set the goal of competing at Beginner Novice at the Chattahoochee Hills horse trial at the end of October.

With this goal in mind, Sparky had his first dressage lesson last week. It was split into two parts due to a pop-up thunderstorm, but the overall assessment is that Sparky is a NICE horse (of course, I knew that, but it's always nice to hear!). Turns out that the things that need the most work are... wait for it... the rider! Haha! Why am I not surprised?

Last night, Sparky had a little jump school. He hadn't jumped in a couple of weeks, and I thought that hopping over a couple oxers might be a good thing, since they're still fairly new to him. So we started off with a couple of crossrails going down the center and an 18"cavaletti-vertical set on the diagonal. After successfully hopping over those a few times, I raised one crossrail to a vertical, and turned the second one into a little oxer. Sparky hopped right over the vertical and cantered right down to the oxer. He didn't even blink at it, and went right over. (An aside here, this was only Sparky's second day jumping an oxer... day one started off rough, but ended well). We came through the line again, and this time added in the cavaletti-vertical set on the diagonal... so yes, a bending line. Sparky was a little surprised by this (Wait! That one, too?!? I haven't had to do that before!), but went right over. He had knocked down the vertical, so as I re-set the pole, I also raised it a hole. We went back through the line - Sparky didn't even look at the higher vertical - did our bending line, and then made a big left turn to two cavaletti set close together to make another little oxer. This was a square oxer, so he didn't see that there were two rails until we were almost right on top of it, but he just stretched out and cleared it with no hesitation! He was absolutely PERFECT! A big pat and a "Good boy!" and we were done. After cooling him out and hosing him off, I went back up to the arena to measure the jumps; the oxer measured 2'1" and the vertical measured 2'4"! Wow!

I am SO impressed my Sparkplug! =D XC schooling: here we come!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Laughing Down the Lines

Sometimes it's centerline, sometimes it's a bending line, and sometimes it's an outside line. Sometimes it's outright laughter, sometimes it's actually a grimace, and occasionally, it's a four-letter word (and I don't mean "pony", though that's a four-letter word in both senses, too!). Sometimes it's due to something truly hilarious, sometimes it's pure joy, and sometimes it's because it's all one really can do. But wherever we are, and whatever the cause, I find that I almost always go laughing down the lines.

This is basically the story of the adventures (and misadventures!) of Gratis Park Sport Morgans, better known as me (Nicole), Star, and Sparky, with cameo appearances by many of our friends.

So come along for the ride - or drive, depending on the day - and you'll probably be laughing (with us or at us; we don't judge) at some point, too!