Thursday, January 17, 2013

Blog Hop

Trying this blog hop thing from The Collegial Equestrian.

Share a memory from:
  1. The first horse experience you can remember.
  2. Your first "aha" moment--when something really clicked for you as a rider.
  3. Entering the ring. Could be your first show, or another time when simply entering the arena could be considered a "debut" of sorts.
  4. The first horse experience you can remember.
      1.The first horse experience you can remember.
      In olden days when I was a wee lassie, there was, within walking distance from my humble childhood home, a pasture. Upon this fair grassy plane lived two horses. I didn't know their names I knew very little about them other than the fact that I loved them. Their smell, their wild unkempt manes. They where the most beautiful creature alive. I would plead with my father to take me to see the horses at every opportunity. My dad would let loose a mighty whistle and those magnificent creatures would come running for the carrots and apples that fence visitors promised.

      2.Your first "aha" moment--when something really clicked for you as a rider.
      My first horse was one I acquired as a driving horse I was told that he'd be too much horse for me under saddle. During one training session by beloved Fame threw a tantrum and the resulting fight between him and my trainer caused my horse to pass out and crash the buggy. At that point I was given an ultimatum. Get the horse to walk or give up my aspirations to show him. Hitherto Fame had kind of lead our relationship . I was a new horse owner and was still stuck in horses=sunshine, flowers, and good feelings mode. This was the first that I decided that I could be in charge of our herd. I work him in earnest and in secret. My trainer had pretty much giving up on my horse, I stepped up. I also began to ride the horse that I shouldn't have been able to ride.

      3.Entering the ring. Could be your first show, or another time when simply entering the arena could be considered a "debut" of sorts.
      This last year I showed for the first time since my beloved Fame had passed. The show occurred on the near anniversary of his death. It was a big deal for my. I was leasing a very big lovely expensive show horse. He was also the only horse I've been able to truly bond with since losing Famous. We took Open Pleasure Driving Champions in a field of six horses. Two Clydesdales, one Mini, and two other National Show Horses. It was a huge triumph for me and for the first few moments I felt like I was holding the lines of my old horse again.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

About Me

I haven't really said much about me as a person, mostly because I'm a chicken and fear the crazies that lurk the web. But what the heck, page views are page views and comments can be deleted. So here we go. My name is Janell Hatchett. I'm 25 years old, 5'8", and at 260 lbs I am a "fluffy" equestrian. I live in Utah.

I grew up horseless and around 21 I was having a quarter-life crisis and decided that I was going to start taking riding lessons. I found a stable that would allow my to work in exchange for lessons. I cleaned stalls and rode for a short time. I was eager to learn just about anything anyone would teach me. I watch the trainer work the show horses and fell in love with English Pleasure/Saddle Seat!

I ended up leasing a purebred Arab mare called "Girla".

On My Meind "Girla" and me

Girla didn't like being ridden at all however she was a fantastic driving horse. So I learned how to drive and have loved driving ever since and encourage people to try driving whenever it might come up in a conversation.

Girla in Harness
Her owner decided that she needed to make babies instead of hauling me around which meant I was on the prowl for a driving horse. Fame pretty much landed in my lap like a gift from God. He was 15 hh, 17 years old, clubbed footed on his right front, hairy as a grizzly, a little underwieght, but oh so perfect. It was love at first sight.
Rockin to Fame a couple of days after he came from Oregon
I was told when I got him that he was a driving only horse and that he'd be too tough for me to ride. I ignored this advice and rode him in secret between driving days. I got caught eventually and was able to convince my trainer to let me ride him in lessons.

This is a video of us at a very informal schooling show.

I was also able to take Fame to my first real show as a participant instead of merely a groom. We won 1st, he has the only horse in the class. Due to financial and personal reasons my showing ambitions had to be place on hold. Fame retired and he and I enjoyed riding and driving just for fun for a time. Eventually he ended up in a lease with a therapeutic riding stable. I had looked at the facility, the horses where all healthy and friendly. And the gal that ran the program had been a former owner of Fame. It seemed perfect.

Too perfect I guess. Their best guess in that Fame got into fertilizer. His liver failed and he died. That was 2010. It took me almost 2 years to get back into riding and driving.

Now I have the enormous pleasure of leasing and working with Inferno. He is also perfect.

The Inferno LOA- current love of my life.
I also teach riding lessons to beginners and I really enjoy it. At this point the only thing I want to be is a horse trainer and find great frustration in trudging through my day job. Unfortunately I haven't developed the skills to make a living at it, but I'm working toward that end and will make it there someday.

Aside from my horse life I'm and call center bum who does customer care and tech support, and takes collage courses off and on. I enjoy reading, art, musical theater and science fiction.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Guilty Pleasure

I must admit that I haven't got excited about a Television season premiere since Star Trek: Voyager ended in 2001. I as such a Trekkie child. I was 8 in 1995 when the show made it's debut and I had found love. I wanted to be Captian Janeway when I grew up. For 7 years I'd park myself in front of the TV at 8 PM every Wednesday night to watch the adventures of my favorite Starship crew as the made their way through the wilds of the delta quadrant! And I would sorrow greatly every time the that particular television station would air the Utah Jazz games over my beloved show.

I certainly have gotten into other shows since but none that are currently airing. I am generally found of Science Fiction, Vampire Anime, and Old School shows like Hogan's Heros, MacGyver and Quantum Leap, which is why this new addiction of mine seems a little strange.

I love My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!

Season three begins on November 10th and I am way more excited than I should be. My Little Pony? Really? Now I did have the plastic ponies and a kid and did enjoy catching the old version of the show on Saturday mornings. But I was five and still girly enough to enjoy the color pink! What is it about this show that draws me to it even after my  rainbow, sparkle, magic, unicorn, princess days are over.

I have no idea.

What I do know is that I've been crazy enough to draw my self as a pony.

And my sister and her best friend as ponies!

I even drew my old horse as a pony!

I'd even draw you an your horses as ponies(for $5)! It's a sickness and I've got it bad.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bad Equitation In Art

Jacques-Louis David, 1800, Oil-on-Canvas. Caption added by yours truly.

Once a person starts teaching riding lessons looking and horse related art and movies with horse work becomes something of a trial. There was a time when I was young that I could watch horse movies and look at pretty horse pictures with wide-eye enthusiasm. Since I have had to begin teaching students to ride and have become a student of equitation myself find it more difficult to find the same wonderment in these former diversions. Perhaps it's the fact that my critical eye has been trained due to having to provided continuous feedback on people's riding. Perhaps I'm just older and more jaded. In any case my increase of knowledge pleases me, but at the same time I am sad that I have to put in a conscious effort to enjoy movies and art that I loved as a child. 

In any case I might make "Bad Equitation/Horsemanship In ______" a regular feature. Instead of picking on people on YouTube or Craigslist I will stick to art, movies, and media primarily. 

I can't wait to dive into Warhorse.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Showing On The Cheap

Being a poor starving collage student and a competitive horse person is hard. Many horse loving youths that have been showing since childhood find themselves with out a horse and an arena to show in once the hit collage. Others, like myself, were horse poor youth that upon tasting adulthood went crazy and decided to try to live out their childhood dreams. I blame my parents for never buying me that pony I ask for every year. And because I went crazy, I decided to pursue horses seriously and to try to get an education. The path I picked is difficult and not for everyone but I have learned how to show on a budget at the very least.

Trying to keep and show a horse on a collage budget is difficult. For starters your hourly rate at the crappy day job is probably right around $10 per hour or less, and you've got rent, utilities, cell phone, tuition, books, vehicle expenses, and the occasional night out with friends. Where are you supposed to fit the horse in? I'm not gonna lie there is a certain amount of hard work and sacrifice involved.

My first bit of advice is to apply for all the educational grants and scholarships you can. Get someone else to pay for as much of your school and living expenses as you possibly can. Get good grades! Don't make my mistake and spend extra years in collage just because you'd rather be at the barn than your general classes!

Secondly, make friends with horse people. Start hanging around competitive stables, work for them in your spare time, show them your skills. Opportunities to ride will almost always follow and often when you are lurking at high quality facilitates, quality competition horses. A free lease is or half lease is nice if you can get it. Befriend a barn mom and you might land an opportunity to qualify the child's horse in the adult amateur classes thus getting your self in the ring largely on someone else's dime. If you are a skilled rider/showmen often times there will be sale horses that owners are willing to let you ride and promote the horse for them. Look for opportunities, don't be picky about discipline or style of saddle as long as the horses are treated well. I'm of the belief that no time in the saddle is wasted time, stock seat, saddle seat, hunt seat, they all have something to teach, take every learning opportunity.

If you have your own horse, working at the stable and making friends with the horse people is a superb way to make a dent in that board bill and pick the minds of trainers and other experienced competitors.

Another problem is often the wardrobe. Show clothes are not cheap and after the freshmen 15 you may find that the show cloths you wore in High School no longer fit, or have gone out of style or you have change disciplines. Or you are new to the game entirely. This can be a road block but there are some cost saving strategies here as well. The easiest is to buy used or on consignment. If you buy used make sure you know the fabric type and quality of the item that you are buying. Buy something as close to your fit as possible and save on alterations. If you are industrious you could try making your own show clothes. There are a variety of sites that sell patterns. and looks like they have decent ones. I'll probably be trying out the suitability
Misses & Childrens Saddle Suit Coat Pattern in the near future(expect a blog on that).
If you are willing to put in the time and you have the skill you can make show clothes for a fraction of what it would cost you to buy a new custom suit.

Always be on the look out for opportunity to use your skills to make a little extra money. I'm a do it yourself-er if there is an item that I can fabricate my self I will do it. I've made my own tail bags and sold them people at the barn. I can make hay bags. I do blanket and sheet repair. Often times I end up with decent quality items that I can repair and resell, or even use if the owners no longer want them.

Be wise is your purchases. Collage is probably not the time to buy that shiny new dressage saddle you've been eye balling. Especially if old trusty is still serviceable or the horse you are riding comes with tack. If you do need more or new equipment buy used! Either that or wait for a screaming good deal. Be smart about it! There are a great many resources for used tack out there. A warning though, if you are going to be buying saddle used ask for pictures of the underside and the billet straps and common wear areas on the saddle. Ask about the return policy in the event that the saddle is not in the promised condition or doesn't fit you or the animal.

Now if you don't have anyone else paying your show bill there are things you can do to make the show experience less ouchie on the pocket. This is a situation where making friends at the show barn is handy. If you are any good a grooming and you are traveling with a larger group there is some good money making opportunities. Clipping, bathing, sanding, prepping the horse at the show, lunging, and warming up horses, walking and cooling out after classes are all really good ways to help come up with the monetary resources to get yourself to the show. If you aren't with a show barn at least try to find a show buddy, someone you can split travel cost with and who can help you with your horse's care and you with his/her's. Your horsie network can be your biggest asset.

I hope that this has at least given you some ideas of how to keep your horse expenses down. If you have any experience showing on the cheap and have anything to add please leave a comment.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A New Love

I have fallen and fallen hard. His name is The Inferno LOA. He's a registered Half-Arabian gelding, and as far as I'm concerned he's perfection on four feet.

In fact he's so awesome that he'll clean his own stall.

Photographic evidence! ...Now if only I could get him to poop gold...

All silliness aside I think he's pretty cool. I currently have a lease arrangement that allows me to work off large portions of his expenses in exchange for using him until he can be sold. In the meantime I can love him, show him, and at least pretend that he's mine.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


William Shatner (Captian Kirk) with one of his Saddlebreds.
Original Photo by Allen MacMillan
Caption courtesy of J. Hatchett(me)