1. Do more groundwork when it's warmer to earn more respect while leading. He's not bad, but we could use some more personal space. I didn't do this per se, but we have spent all year working on ground manners. He will still lean towards me if he is looking to our right at something extremely interesting (usually another horse) but overall he's doing much better. He will ground tie in the aisle without even a rope on him, at least for a bit. We've started to work on some things that will be helpful for showmanship including stopping and walking when I stop and backing up when I turn and walk him backwards. Turns? yeah...that'll take some help from KAT. We've also used lunging to work on respect and manners and that has helped.
2. Increase Jr's winter wardrobe with some clearance blankets in the spring. Having only one blanket doesn't allow for much temperature adjustment and means I have to wait until spring to launder it again.....eeew. I bought one new blanket in the spring, a Techno-Fleece turnout and I LOVE it. It fits well and is great for our fall and spring when the temperature goes haywire. Much nicer than my heavyweight Blanket I have from them. We also gained a fly sheet that I've never used, a cool plaid sheet to keep clean at shows, a lycra hood, and of course our fitted cooler we've yet to use.
3. Change his muley mane to a pleasure mane. This was much easier than I was expecting. I was told his mane was crazy unruly but it's really not. It has a bit of a cowlick in the middle but I'v seen MUCH worse. After the roaching grew out I kept it pulled during the show season and have only combed it since September. It could use a pulling, but it's laying nicely. It will need a LOT of pulling before we show again. It is thick.
4. Get English and Western show tack. Just need an english bit and we're all set. Still working on which bit will be best.
5. Get black pants, chaps, and make a show shirt. Designing and sewing/dyeing a fully custom show outfit is completely within my skills and abilities, however, I don't think I SHOULD until we've proven ourselves in the show-ring. Until I feel like we have some "ring cred" we'll stick with a basic outfit in black and purple that look appropriate and not too flashy. A bay roan paint will stand out enough on his own, I'll let HIM catch the judges attention. I have boots, a hat, gloves, and a blanket from my old show days that I will use. This will save some money for tack, too. I did buy a black show pad because the old one ended up too small to cover our work pad. I'm also NOT planning to do they type of outfit I was once planning. I'm too old. :) and the shows I go to don't really require that level... thankfully!
7. Ride in one wtc HUS class and one wtc WP class. KAT takes students to shows all summer long so there'll be one or two I can go to. There's a multi-day show in town I think in May that will be good for us. A whole day on the grounds to acclimate before classes on day two. We did THREE HUS and WP classes! We didn't place in the top, we actually placed better in our Equitation and Horsemanship classes. You can read all about the shows here, here, and here.
And for 2010:
1. Start working on Showmanship.
2. Find a new western work pad that WORKS.
3. Have my work saddle taken in to have the buckles replaced and the seat replaced with soft pink suede instead of the icky brown slick leather. When I told KAT I wanted to do this she said "Well then how am I going to tell all the kids they still can't have pink tack!?!" I told her to tell them when they are 30 they can have all the pink tack they want.
4. Have all my tack bags monogrammed.... this is in progress.
5. Get Junior's weight stabilized.
Our ride last night was pretty good. He was playing school horse with one of Max's girls while I was away so I put him to real work right away. There is a new and adorable Welsh pony gelding in our barn named Charlie. He and Junior are turned out together and I guess they are very playful together. Charlie was in the arena with us last night and I had to do a bunch of Charlie-Desensitization. Each time Jr. came near Charlie he would pop his head up and want to go play with him. It took several tries and I even had to smack him with the reins once, but eventually we could jog by and he'd only perk up his ears at Charlie. Such a social butterfly!
And just because: here's Junior's new Christmas Present since he managed to destroy his green halter while I was away. He broke HARDWARE instead of the breakaway crown. Oh, June-Bug.... This is nothing more than a plain black breakaway halter, but i think he looks handsome in it. I went to a pet store and had two small black dog tags with his name on them, one for the halter and one for his black lead rope. They were about $7 a piece and I like the way they look. Happy New Year!!!