Part One, in which Junior holds still for 2.1 seconds....
I did showmanship in 4-H. So I have a basic grasp of the concept. I do NOT, however understand how Showmanship has evolved from sort of a Kudos to the Handler who presented his halter horse with style and presence to this bizarre series of walk-halt-square-quarter-back-180-jog-360-back-720-jog-reverse 180-jog-halt-square----- gulp. The first Showmanship class I saw at Congress made my brain hurt. When I showed it was: walk to judge-square-quarter-180-jog-halt-square. That was it.
I must admit the allure. The training and precision involved is very difficult to attain, but in some ways I liken it to what trail class has become. Instead of opening gates and mailboxes and flinging jackets over your horses face (you know, stuff you might encounter on a trail or hack) it has become "Poles" class. When the HELL will you ever encounter a need for that skill OUTSIDE of that class? Even if you actually found an entire field full of fallen trees (whose trunks happen to be white and uniform in size) you wouldn't go loping over them and turning little circles inside them. Or at least I wouldn't. But I digress.
Junior had his feet trimmed in the morning and spent the day in his stall. He was very pleasant when I brought him to the arena and was kind of lazy. Pleasant, but lazy. KAT got us started with setting up square (all hooves square under the body) and quartering (moving around the horse's head in relationship to where the judge is walking around the horses body) and then we started turns, walking and jogging. He was a bit mouthy as I expected and he needed a few stern reprimands but he was pretty good overall. He actually stood WAY better than I expected. His head didn't hold still as much as his feet did. He learns SOOO fast, but he simply chooses not to do what is asked sometimes. I can see it in in his eyes. He's nine going on three. Thinks he's a baby. I should start calling him Peter Pan. GROW UP! Anyway, it was kind of fun and I was really happy with how he did. It seemed KAT was pleasantly surprised with him, too. She has a shoulder injury right now so she couldn't take him from me and teach him anything, but I think we learned a lot! He started getting really bored, though and suddenly KAT said "Oh! No wonder they're getting bored! It's 6:15!" Anyone would be bored with 75 minutes of showmanship practice! So I made him square up one more time and stand, then I took the chain off and scratched him all over under the halter and took him back to his hay. I'm trying to make having the chain under the chin mean "work time" since it's the only time I put a chain there.
Part Two: When good numbers go bad!!!!
And now on to Nutrition! I ordered a new feed! Yup, I finally made a dang decision! My brain is still swimming with numbers. Who knew it was this complicated!!! I have a fear I'm over calculating but we'll just have to see. I sent my final calculations to my "teacher" TJ tonight and I'm very curious to see if I messed it all up or if I actually got it all. She's been trying to teach me what she learned in a 10 week course for Equine Science and Pre-Vet majors. She's doing a good job, but there's just a lot to wrap your brain around and math and science were NEVER my strong courses.
So, before I reveal ALL the details I'm asking you to share YOUR feed rations with me. And if you're like I was up until the end of November when TJ presented me with a 1/2" thick packet of Junior's current ration analysis and possible new rations, I'd like to know that too! Answer all or some! So:
- What percentage of your horse's body weight are you feeding?
- What is the weight ratio of Forage(hay/pasture) to Concentrates(grain)?
- What brand/type of Concentrate do you feed?
- How much does it cost you to feed your horse? Is it included in your board?
- Do you weigh your hay and grain?
- Have you ever had a hay/pasture analysis done?
- What do you base your feeding decisions on? (yes, that's vague, but before November my answer was "it's the food that's at the barn" which is the food that 90% of my barn eats and they are just fine.)