Friday, March 26, 2010

I thought it was spring...

Woke up to this today. Not funny. I am leaving tomorrow for a conference and have a million things on my to-do list (so I'm posting, that makes sense) and not much time to do it in. The weather, though splendid over the weekend and early part of the week, has been poopy. Rainy, and of course the un-welcomed snow we got last night. It'll melt right away, but it means turnout is limited.

Junior is fine. We had a showmanship lesson on Wednesday and he was pretty good. I kept forgetting part of the patterns, but I usually don't have trouble with patterns at shows.... of course saying that probably jinxed it. Ooops. We've been staying in the english saddle and bridle and he's been doing well. His canter really is better than his lope. I don't feel the one-sidedness nearly as much when I let him stride out. Good thing I didn't intend him to only be WP!

Thinking of doing our first show on April 25, but not sure yet. Might just do English and showmanship, since it's a ways away and I'm the only one who's riding western this year. I hate hauling twice as much gear and then being the one to make everyone have to stay longer. And since I've resolved that he's not going to excel at WP...

Will update when I get back and have something to say.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mud Chop and Hack Out.

I was tired of muddy feet so yesterday I did what I refer to as a "mud chop." It's a rough clip job just to get rid of the long mud-collecting hair around the pasterns and ankles. I didn't take a picture to protect Junior from embarrassment. When I say rough I mean ROUGH. No real regard for evenness, no attention to blending, nothing. It's nothing I won't be able to fix when we get ready for the first show, but it's not pretty right now. Function does not always equal fashion in my book, especially when I'm working with a POS clipper. I didn't spend the cash to buy the Oster A5 I wanted and part of me wishes I did. KAT only charges $5 to clip for a show so it's fine that I don't have a super clipper, but the one I have is not great. I think it would be best for quick touch-ups at shows, but it heats up quickly, clogs quickly, and only works as a cordless for about 10 minutes, if that. In hindsight I should have kept the cord on it at all times and saved the battery longevity, but instead I roached him with it a few times. The combination of a weak motor, a dullish blade, and a short cord make long clip jobs difficult. But the mud chop is done and KAT will clean up my mess at the end of April, which I'm sure she will appreciate.

I took advantage of the sunny warm weekend (high 60's!) by turning the horses out and riding around outside both days. I didn't ride in the outdoor because we still don't have shoes on and the footing out there is a bit rough. We rode around the whole perimeter of the farm today. Not the most exciting trail ride, but it's better than rail work. It did get a bit exciting today though.

As we were coming along the back part of the property (shortly after I took the picture) we came upon the big manure pile area and it was all torn up with piles of dirt and tire marks and a huge puddle and for some reason all of that looked like scary horse-eating things. So we did some dancing around and snorting and I hung on and hoped he didn't dump me in the puddle. Silly boy. I would have taken a picture of the scary stuff for you, but holding my iPhone out over a puddle with a jumpy horse underneath me didn't seem worth it. Sorry. We got past it just fine and I was proud of him for (mostly) keeping his head and proud of myself for keeping my head AND my seat. It wasn't so long ago that him getting uppity would have freaked me out something fierce. I still didn't ENJOY the spook, but when it was over it was over and we moved on with our ride.

You might have noticed the English bridle in the picture. We've put our English saddle back on for a while. The transition is going much better than it did last spring when I felt like I was perched on top of the horse like a jockey. We're also trying a new bit. It's this one, a Myler dee snaffle with a curb chain. He seems to be going well in it. He's reaching down for it and is responsive when I ask him to raise a shoulder. I'm still confused about which is "worse" (if there is such a thing) between tongue pressure and bar pressure. It seems the lower level/training bits have more tongue pressure, and the level 2-3/finished horse bits have more bar pressure. He does do better when he has a curb chain than he does in a regular snaffle. A plain snaffle sends his nose up in the air and his back hallowed out. I'll continue to play around and see if we find something that he seems most comfortable in. It's a little tough when I don't have unlimited funds to buy a whole bunch of bits, though. This one is Max's, but he's never used it. I don't want to use a more severe bit than necessary, but he is not very sensitive in the mouth. We'll find it eventually.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vet Re-Check

The vets came out and looked him over again today. Plural vets because we use Ohio State Vets and they always have students with them, which I think is great. Being a teacher myself I am happy to help them get experience. They've got to get it somehow, right?

Anyway they were thrilled with how well he was behaving - they squirted stain and then saline in his eye and he didn't even step away. They were also thrilled with how healed he is already. I couldn't see the scratch yesterday and today they could just barely see where it was with the dye and the light-up-eye-viewing-thingy. I'm 100% sure that's the technical term for it. So no more Banamine, but still keep gooing it a few times a day and fly mask on if possible. Since he tends to tear it off I'm not thinking it's worth it to put it on him each day, but I'll try tomorrow and see how it goes. Luckily we're on Spring Break so I CAN drive out there twice a day!

I lunged him this morning since he hasn't been worked/turned out since Monday and he's having his feet trimmed today and I'm going to go ahead and do my showmanship lesson tonight. After lunging I let him hand graze near the mud lot where his buddies were turned out. They all came over and told secrets. This is Zippy saying "Dude, why aren't you in here and WTF is on your head?!?!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Unappreciated Irony of The Day

So do you know the play Equus? (You may have heard about it as the play Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) was naked in... but that's not the point of the story.) The play revolves around a boy who blinds 6 horses with a metal spike in the middle of the night.

The irony?

I got to have my very first vet call today.... for an eye problem. Duh Duh Dun! He's fine, but eyeballs are not anything I want to take a gamble on so I called the vet. He has a small superficial scratch on his cornea and will need to have some goop in his eye for 5 days and banamine for two days, or at least until he's looked at again on Wednesday. I'm pulling him out of lessons for now and keeping him in from turnout. The vet said he could go in turnout, but Charlie has been climbing all over him and it is SOOOO muddy that I would feel better if he stayed inside. He'll be cranky but it's only temporary. KAT will be put some goop in him in the morning and I'll be out tomorrow evening for more goop and banamine.

In true Overanxious Horse Owner fashion I was completely freaking out when I called KAT over to look at it, but I survived and it seems he's going to be fine, as long as it heals with no complications. They sedated him to get a good look at the eye and I have never seen a sedated horse before. He was so cute and a very good patient. I'm sorry there are no pictures, but I didn't have the camera with me and there really wasn't an opportune moment.

I'll update when there's something interesting.... and hopefully the bill doesn't make me throw up. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Quick Stop At Rods....

Should you tip a hat shaper? Why do I ask? I ask because I went to Rods...

What happens when I go to Rod's? I buy things. Too many things. Today I bought a show blanket I've been eyeing in catalogs for a while. Smith Brothers had it for half the price but they sold out of the color I wanted and I can't seem to find them for that price anywhere else so I just bit the bullet. Once I saw how perfectly my shirt fabric matched the blanket I couldn't NOT get it, even if I had to pay more. I started looking at buckskin colored hats because I'd like to brighten up my face, especially in the showmanship, but I'm a little afraid the light hat with black chaps will look like I forgot my hat and had to borrow someone else's. And I'm certainly not going to buy new chaps. I love how it looks with Jr.! TJ is modeling it for you. Isn't his mane nice! It seems a shame that I'll have to thin and shorten it soon. :( His tail is so much thicker and longer, too!

Anyway, so I bought a hat, but I'm going to take it back. I hate waffling about it, but here's the story:

I was comparing my fabric swatches to hats and a cute cowboy (just happens to be the cute cowboy on page 17 of Rod's Showbook 2010) brought me over one of their Specialist hats on sale from $179 to $99 while I was looking at the $90 hats. The hat he brought was a much nicer hat and a better color match (a little off from their standard which was why it was on sale), but looked a little, well, dirty. I said "If you can clean it up and get it to look like new I'll take it." Ten more dollars for a much better hat is just fine.... but it didn't come clean and still looked like an old, dirty hat. Rod's has a great return policy so I took it to get some opinions. Any judge would prefer a basic 4X that's clean over any dirty 6X any day, and if not, they can kiss my buckle because they're judging the wrong things. I looked at it in natural light and showed it to a few people and they thought it looked old and dirty, too. So I'm taking it back and I'm not sure if I'll get another one or if I'll just stick with my black one this year.

Should I have tipped the cute cowboy who shaped the hat? This is the 3rd time I've had a hat shaped in my life and I've never tipped. Am I an asshole? I've never gone when there was a line so I've never seen if anyone else tips. How much to tip? A buck? A five spot? A Benjamin? What?

Here's what I think we'll look like with the new shirt and blanket:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Just in case you have not seen this yet:

It's mud season in central Ohio. Found something that works super well: The Shed Flower. I'm sure I'm the last to know, but at least I know!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Good things come... the mail inside a Schneider's box!!!!

You can expect a better picture from a show this summer, but I couldn't help but show how pretty it is and how cute it is on him! I need to adjust how the throatlatch sits, but it fits him well and is a nice color on him. The leather is really nice and the silver/gold is very shiny and nice. This is the nicest piece of new tack I have ever owned. Junior doesn't look too thrilled about it, but he had been out playing all day and was exhausted. He was quite lazy during our showmanship lesson that night, but well behaved. He's clearly bored with it. A whole hour might be too much. I feel like our 1/2 hour sessions outside of the lessons do better, but I still like having KAT watch us and help me adjust when he doesn't do what I ask.

The weather was lovely outside and he got himself filthy outside for 3 hours. Tomorrow is supposed to be 47 degrees and I am REALLY looking forward to it. I'm going up to a store in Delaware, OH called Cashman's to get some grain and see if there's anything I can't live without.