Friday, November 30, 2012

Tricky Puzzle

In my last post I mentioned having a very enlightening experience during a judging clinic thingy.  I was going to post about it when I got some photos from the event, but photos or not, it's time to tell you what's been goin' on.

My barn hosted a multi-state 4-H judges "test" where folks hoping to be granted their judges cards would be scored on how closely their placings came to those of the advisors, or at least that's what I gathered.  I'm sure there's more to it than that.  But anyway; boarders and students rode in 6 basic classes you'd expect at a 4-H show.  There were 4 riders/handlers in each class. Junior and I did the Showmanship, Western Pleasure, Horsemanship, Hunter Under Saddle and Equitation classes.  For those keeping track, that's FIVE out of the six classes.  I knew this would be a lot of riding for both of us so I wasn't expecting stellar performance from him, especially in the western since we've not been using that tack much aside from the trail ride a few weeks ago.  Even with what I was prepared for, I was surprised by what happened.  Maybe, "enlightened" is the right word.

So here's what we discovered that day:
1. The button for bending to the right must be broken.
2. The button for walking a straight line is also broken.
3. The button for trotting a straight line is sticky.
4. My equitation is abominable.  I was schooled by girls who haven't even been alive for as many years as I've been riding.
5. He was better in the western (earlier in the morning) than the english (later in the morning) so the tack wasn't as important as our lack of stamina.

Number 4 was kind of a blow, but I think it blew me in a positive direction.  I haven't been in regular lessons (and The Bug hasn't been in regular training) in over two years.  We've had maybe three lessons in the last two years.  The show last May had me feeling like we were maintaining well without them.... but maybe not so much.  The Advisors gave oral reasons and they highly praised the equitation of the BO's students.... and not so much mine.  So the BO must be teaching effectively...

Solution?  Lessons!  We'll start doing weekly private lessons with the BO in January with goals of improved Equitation and eventually low jumps. Eeeek!

Numbers 1-3 put all sorts of things into my brain, especially with that left stifle thingy I keep feeling, even though I expected him to have worked out of that by now.  I started thinking that at 12 years young my pony might need a little joint support and maybe it's time to call the chiropractor. PLUS, this last week he was suddenly girthy.  Like dragon face and tail wringing kind of girthy, not just his occasional cranky attitude.

I did some research on supplements and then asked the BO and the BM their opinions on Thursday.  While chatting with the BM I mentioned trying to schedule the chiro we both use, and she mentioned B was having one out that very night.  So after a few text messages, we were to see the chiro that night.

I LOVE our new chiropractor!!!!  He was extremely professional and down to earth, fascinating to watch, and he explained EVERYTHING he was doing in both proper terminology and in layman's English. I watched him work on 6 horses and each one was different, though there were some common issues shared by a few.

The diagnosis?  In addition to the sacral issues, shoulder issues, neck issues, and poll issues,  we have our first sign of arthritis in his right knee, which is not surprising on a 12 year old.  He also palpated positive for ulcers.  Hey remember way back in the before time in the long long ago when I talked about his grooming/girthing issues and you all suggested ulcers and I didn't believe you because that was the only thing on the list of symptoms he had?  Well, ooops.  And now I'm a terrible horse-mom. :(  Aside from the girthiness this week I didn't suspect ulcers, but I saw the reaction he had to the palpation and the chiro has nothing to gain by having me treat ulcers that don't exist.

The plan?  We ordered the recommended ulcer treatment and the recommended liquid joint supplement.  Hopefully it works and he's willing to eat it because I ordered a gallon and a quart.... it was a combo deal.  The doc also taught us how to stretch the knees to keep the fluid moving and a new carrot stretch to help with his tight poll and TMJ.  We might start slow-feed bagging his hay to keep him busy longer and I'm going to put his hanging treat toy back in his stall when I can find some lumber.  The problem with this horse and bagged hay is that he is not shy about trying his hardest to rip the bag open that I question the longevity. While most horses are content to pull the hay out, he just grabs the bag and pulls until it rips, then eats out of the larger hole he created. He's a smart one.

As instructed, he got a light workout today of long & low trotting.  He felt straighter than he has in a while and we trotted around on the buckle really easily.  He had two decent sized trips in the first lap (the kind like when you catch your toe on a crack in the sidewalk) but aside from that he felt good.  At the end I let him walk around whatever direction he chose and he chose to walk over a bunch of the very low crossrails that were set up.  I didn't think slow, careful steps would be harmful and he went to them on his own so I let him.  I noticed his right shoulder raises more than his left and now that makes sense that he can't bent his right knee as much so he has to lift that shoulder more.  Hopefully the supplement, the stretches, and our upcoming January get-back-to-training time will fix it all.

The late November grass tastes better in the sunshine.  Ahhhhhhhhh.

Also, check out the For Sale page! New stuff!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Increased Inventory

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I spent the morning feeding horses at the barn, then made a stuffed turkey and shared it with two of my girlfriends who are also far away from family.

Post in Progress::: We did a judging class thingy a week ago, I'll post on that when I get a hold of some photos.  VERY enlightening experience for me!  Stay tuned for more!

I've been increasing my inventory of show clothes for sale!  I've yet to add them all to the For Sale page, but they'll get there.  Feel free to inquire if something strikes your fancy!

Here are 2 new vests, 3 new shirts,2 used jackets, and 1 new jacket ready to sell. There's also a blank jacket there, it's in Hobby Horse's Midnight (a discontinued color so I don't have the pants to match), size Small-Medium and it is currently undecorated. If you want it, we can design it together, so claim it if you want it!

In between stitching, I've been organizing my studio.  I live in a 2 BR apartment, so the spare bedroom needs to also be a guest room, therefore I'm somewhat limited in how much room I can dedicate to sewing.  Someday when I have more room I will have an amazing studio, you just wait.

In the mean time, I'm working with what I have, including a folding banquet table propped up on bed risers.  This table is my cutting table and painting table.

Above the table is my new pegboard I made from a fugly frame I found at a thrift store and some paint.

Ziplock bags on the right hold 3 more shirts ready to stitch.

I've been exploring some painting techniques using contact paper stencils, trying to decide what to do with the Midnight jacket!

Also a bit of research on pearl snaps for an upcoming project.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fall Trail Ride

We were very lucky to have sunny 70 degree weather yesterday, for today it is rainy and getting colder by the second.  Booooo.

So let's focus on YESTERDAY!  We got to go on a trail ride!  Zip and his partner, B, invited us to go to our nearby park to enjoy the 5 miles of easy trails.  Junior, as you may remember, is not a seasoned trail horse...YET... but he gets more confident each time we go out.  I was expecting a challenge as we were experiencing 10-20 mph winds!  But we were brave and it paid off.  The park was busy and we encountered countless strollers, bikes, loud kids, dogs, joggers, and frisbee golfers. The bridle trail skirts the boundary of the park but comes near the other trails a few times.

Junior loaded/unloaded like a grown-up horse with zero issues. He was on high alert as usual and had a moment of panic when Zip was led to the other side of the trailer so we tied them both to the back.  Zip isn't super fond of Junior, but they seemed to be enjoying each other and were gently lipping each other's faces....remember that image for later...

The trail was pretty uneventful - YAY! Junior and I still doesn't agree on a safe following distance so I let him lead sometimes rather than continuously pulling him off of Zip's tail. He seems to want to get through the scary stuff faster. We had a few quick rideable spooks, once to figure out what a group of teenage frisbee golfers was up to, and once when we came around a corner and there was a light grey patch of fine crushed rock and we found ourselves facing the wrong direction... so Junior let Zip go first.

There were lovely long moments when Junior dropped his head and plodded along at a safe distance like he might have actually been enjoying it.  He remained very watchful the whole time but I was able to keep him on a very loose rein and it was a great way to end the outdoor riding season.

When we finished the ride, the boys were licking eachother's faces again.  B took a phone call and we hand grazing the boys.  Before I could intervene, Junior took a big step towards Zip and got too close, Zip responded with a wild stallion moment and Junior came away with a scrape around his eye, but no real damage.  Oh yeah, that's whey they aren't turned out together.... Zip does not have the patience for Junior's cuddliness.  Ah well.  Boys.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Third Place!

A very big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to vote for my jacket in the Hobby Horse contest on facebook.  I received third place with 202 votes.  The 2nd place had 341 and the winner had 476.

So what did I win?  It looks like $100 Hobby Horse Gift Certificate....


1. More Elements to build MORE show clothes? (BTW, there's a new blouse on my For Sale page!)

2. A plain black blouse to wear in Horsemanship and with a vest for Pleasure?

3. A personalized Black/Grey nylon halter for turnout? Since I'm not using my pretty new brown and pink one for turnout...

What to choose!?!?!?!