Saturday, April 28, 2012

Reasons My Horse Hates Me

Remember when he did this:

And remember when I joked about him needing a helmet?  Guess what I picked up for $10 today!!!!! 

Ha ha ha!!!!!!!  Now he can take the short-trailer to school!!!!!!!

I am sooooo mean!  He didn't seem to mind wearing it so we might actually use it in the trailer!  Even if we don't it was worth the ten bucks just for the entertainment!  It's stamped EquiFace Face Saver.  Creative.  I couldn't find anywhere you could buy one new, but I saw an "out-of-stock" listing that had it at $150.  I can't imagine why they aren't popular...  NOT nice enough leather to be that expensive, and it's synthetic fleece. It must have come in last weekend at their tack swap.  I also picked up a girth sock for $4.  I've always wanted one.  It's not pink or black but it'll do.  ;)

We had a nice ride today and afterwards I got his front feet/legs clipped.  I'll do the back feet tomorrow since he doesn't love sitting still long enough for me to do all four legs at a crack. I don't like pink legs so I use a 10 blade a week before a show, then just clean up the coronary band right before the show when I do the face/ears/bridlepath.  And if he needs it, I have white touch-up spray.  Such a cheater...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Practice Video

We had a nice ride yesterday.  I shot some video since I haven't done it in a while and I wanted to see what we looked like.  I might have mentioned before that I'm a very visual learner.  The edit below is the mount-up, first bit of trot and canter, then I shut the camera off for a while.  I turned it back on to see if I could see anything different because he sure FELT longer and swingier.  I think we're doin' okay.  I just wish I could rely on him to be this relaxed and attentive at a show!

He also got his feet trimmed yesterday.  Our awesome farrier, Jim, gave me an old rasp so I could make sure he was cleaned up before the shows.  He's really wonderful.  He also told me a story of how he was taking some of another farrier's appointments because the guy had to have a nasty surgery and was out of work for a while, and Jim told the clients to send the checks to the other guy.  Heart him.

How's it goin' down there, Jim?

Thursday, April 26, 2012


What's been going on the past 2 1/2 weeks?  Not a ton horse-related, but it was a very busy time for me at work including assisting with the live lamb we are using in our current theatre production.  Nobody knew how to brush a sheep.  I did.  Thank you, 4-H training! ;)  That production is open so my part is essentially done and I can start getting to the barn more. Yay!!!

On the horsey front, I haven't ridden much, but the rides have been pretty good.  I'm lacking physical endurance so our rides are not long yet.  I'm sore afterwards but I don't think I'm over-doing it.  Junior has been feeling pretty crooked so he got his massage/chiro adjustment on the 18th and felt REALLY stiff and crooked when I rode him on the 19th and on the 22nd, but yesterday he felt a TON better.  I had a nice 90 minute lesson yesterday on HUS/EQ and Showmanship.  I got a lot of compliments on how we are doing compared to my lesson with her last summer so I guess I've been doing okay on my own. :)  Yay for amateur-maintained horses!

I also got my critiques back from the final Fuzzy Fun on Film show.  I was 1st of 2 in the Adult Showmanship and tied for Reserve High Point Showmanship with that score.  I was last of 5 in the Jackpot Showmanship but she told me I actually had the best looking pattern... aside from leaving out that trot to walk transition.  Dang it!!!!!!  Ah well.  Nice to hear it was a good pattern considering how down I was after watching the videos.  I guess I continue to be me my own worst critic.

We're a week and a half away from our first show of the season.  It's just a local open show sponsored by the county 4H Horse Advisors, so there's not a lot of pressure, but ... well you know what this blog is called, right?  I've got my hauling and braiding set up and I need to get my stuff in order this weekend so I just have to put the bags in the car the night before the show.

Unfortunately the cow clinic scheduled for Sunday was cancelled because we didn't get enough people registered.  I am completely bummed about it, but there's nothing to be done.  I'll just have to keep waiting for the change to see if Junior really does have cutting training.

I'm off now to meet the farrier for a trim.  I'll see how he's feeling and I'll ride or do showmanship or lunge.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hoppy Easter!

Work is really weighing on my mind as of late.  The only way to force my mind onto something else is to go to the barn.  "The barn" has always been, even when I was a teenager, the place where all the rest of the world melts away for a while.  I get really annoyed when people at the barn ask me about work.  I know it's because my job sounds super cool, and it really is, but it's still WORK and it's not what I want to think about at the barn.

So I have been trying to MAKE barn time lest my brain implode from the constant rattling of to-do lists around in my brain.

Today I went out and it was a really nice day.  VERY windy outside, but I grew up on the prairie so it's not so bad... except when it blows the driveway into my face.  Yum, crunchy.

We worked on the basic stuff: working trot with a lifted back and relaxed topline, keeping a cadence, working deep corners, trying to keep my body in the "proper" posture and balance.  We did some cantering and some lead changes.  I need to work with somebody on that.  Sometimes he changes beautifully, sometimes he surges forward and changes changes and changes back and sometimes I have NO idea what his legs are doing down there, but I know it's not good.  If I do too many of them I can't get him to stop changing so it's not something I spend a lot of time on.  I'll put that on our list for our lesson in a few weeks.... er 11 days.

He was being very cooperative.  We went over the bridge a few times, did some pivots and turns on the haunches, then we let ourselves out of the arena by working the gate.  I've only worked this gate 3 times and this time he was darn near perfect.  He likes to do everything fast, which is okay for the Cowboy Challenges, not for arena trail class, but we have no aspirations of that.

Then we took a stroll through the property, including the "trail" (ha ha) behind the grass fields.  Mom, it makes the trails at the last place look like a national park.  But it's better than nothing and any exposure to trees (especially in the wind) is good.  We even have a pond, and though Junior was NOT willing to go any where near the pond at the last place and snorted at it constantly, I got him to get his front feet in this one today!  I would have taken him further in, but I was alone and didn't think today was a good day to get dumped in a cold pond.  But he gave me hope that we will go in much further this summer!

After our good ride I presented him with an Easter Basket of sorts.  He was very excited.  I let him eat most of it in the grooming stall, but he started pushing the grass out to eat the rest so I took him back to his stall for the rest of it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

WTFriday - The Manly Art...

Yes, knitting.  This is real, but somewhat unexpected.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love nothing more than a cowboy who can knit me a sweater while he rides the fences all day.  Though I'm not convinced of the safety of knitting while riding. 

I've seen many images of the cover, but never any images of the projects inside, and at it's going price I never will.

If you'd like your own copy of this 1972 pamphlet it'll cost you....

AMAZON for $130-175

Ebay for $160

 More MEN WHO KNIT here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Patterns Are Clearly Not My Thing

I. Am. An. Idiot.

In addition to my proven inability to memorize a pattern at a show, I have now discovered I can't even READ a pattern.

Today I was stalking my competition for the Fuzzy Fun on Film show on Youtube.... there is another adult with a nice little paint who won the high point the first show and then was 2nd overall on the 2nd show.  I  watched her entry for the Jackpot class, you know, the one with the complicated pattern?  Her walk and jog were lovely, the circle was big and round and smooth, and then she broke to a walk before doing the 360.... uh... uh oh.... there was a walk in there before the 360?  Expletives.  I looked and it's right there on the pattern.  RIGHT THERE.  IN ENGLISH.  Expletives.

I didn't even want to submit my entries after I filmed them!  When I got home and watched the videos I saw a TON of things I could have fixed, but I didn't have another day that I could film.  The tricky thing is you NEED another person to man the camera, or at least to do the inspection walk-around.  Entries weren't due until the 31st, but I was leaving town for a conference the 27th-1st so I had to submit early or not at all.  And now I'm kicking myself for entering them. There's no way I'll place in the Jackpot.  The regular adult class wasn't great either.  He stepped on my foot, and that was the best of the 3 takes. I am embarrassed.

Okay, enough of the Whiny McWhinerton.  I AM pleased with the progress we were able to make while I was benched from riding.  I think our pivots have REALLY improved with the help of a dressage whip during training sessions.  I use it as an aid to straighten his body by giving him a tap on the shoulder when he gets crooked.  I used to just use the lead rope or my hand, but with the whip I can keep my body and hand positions correct.  Backing is getting better, but he needs to get stronger in his hind end to do it faster and straighter.  He still requires convincing.  The whip is helpful for that but he resists when I don't use it. The back-around the cone of the Jackpot was dreadful.  I don't really know the "proper" way to do that.  It's on my list for my lesson later this month.

Even if I miraculously acquire the ability to read and learn a pattern properly, we still need to work on a lot.  But, with only a handful of lessons I've done the vast majority of his training by myself and I'm pleased with how far we've come.  And yet there's so much further to go.

In other news, I was able to ride this morning and groom my poor neglected pony.  He was very good, but he needs a chiropractor.  He felt better the longer I rode and his canter was surprisingly smooth and even.  He felt very light and it's been a while since he's felt that way.  So I know he's not too messed up, but I'd still like to get him adjusted asap.   I haven't heard back from my favorite chiro yet, and I'm starting to consider calling the other guy.  He does fine work, but I prefer the one who spends a whole hour with the horse working on massage, pressure points, AND adjustments for only $10 more.

Here are my entries (patterns are HERE) if you want to watch me fail: