Friday, May 25, 2012

WTFriday - Jock Smocks

Not sure if this'll catch on...

Compression Suits for Equines by Hidez of Australia

This black one would sure complete Junior's Batman costume...

More information on their website:

Oh, and bonus points to any of you who get the "Jock Smock" reference.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Mugwump's Mouthy Monday post yesterday made me think.  The post was about the common mistake of buying a "Pretty" horse over a plain colored horse that's more suitable.

Let's take the Wayback Machine to summer of 2008...

I didn't really mean to buy a "pretty" horse.  I'd ridden a ton of bays and greys, but only one sorrel.  In 2006 I met 4 bay roans and learned what my least favorite color was.  It didn't help that one of them, Rosebud, a stocky little QH cross, was only the 2nd horse in history to dump me on my ass and was a complete impossibility to catch. I didn't like how most of the roans progressed from solid bay heads to white butts.  Then throw in the black mane/tail and you have a very busy and unbalanced appearance.  I've never been fond of Appy's either.

I wanted a red horse. I was looking for a Sorrel.  Why?  'Cause I'd never had one and since they tend to be looked over for flashier horses, I thought I'd be able to find a diamond in the rough.  Bay would be okay, too. I admit I desired a loud paint, but I was looking at QH's too because I was pretty realistic about this whole "there is no bad color on a good horse" thing.  And a sorrel horse looks great with green chaps.

Then I found Junior.  There was a photo of him, taken from the back end with his head turned around to look at the camera.   I wish I had a copy of it. I remember thinking "ugh, it's a bay roan... but he's actually pretty!"  I don't know what I felt but I knew I needed to meet him. It was like pulling teeth to get a hold of the owner, but eventually I drove to meet him. He was the first horse I went to try.  LOVE.  The only thing I didn't like was that when I handed him a treat after the ride he damn near swallowed my arm.  Not aggressively, just really impolite.  I couldn't let myself buy the first horse I looked at.  I was smarter than that.

So I kept looking.  I nearly bought a solid sorrel QH.  Gave a deposit and everything, but took my Vetfriend who said he was lame and pointed out he was already 15 yrs old and was over at the knee and had terribly long toes/short heels...  So I didn't buy him.  There was also a stunning sorrel solid paint bred with a ton of halter, showmanship and HUS points but he'd been navicular and needed corrective shoeing every 4 weeks.

All I could think of was Junior, and I was in a bit of a rush since I didn't want to try to horse shop during the school year. I'd only tried 4 horses - well 3 actually, because the prettiest loud sorrel paint was a full hand shorter than his ad and he reared as soon as the owner got on and the only place she had to ride was in a small enclosure of uncapped T-posts and hot wire..... so I didn't actually ride that one. So I took KAT down with me to try Junior again.  And I bought him.

He turned out to be a royal pain in the ass but he's exactly what I needed.  I needed a horse who would do whatever I wanted to do from trails to open shows to dressage lessons to relaxing in a lawn chair and letting him graze next to me while he steps on his rope and simply moves his foot.  I needed a horse who wasn't going to make things easy for me, but trainable enough that I learn how to teach him. A horse that (knock on wood) seems to have sturdy limbs and good digestion.  A horse that is silly and moody and lazy and willing all at the same time.  He keeps me on my toes but nearly always delivers when it really matters.

Yeah, he's pretty.  Random strangers make a point to tell me he's pretty all the time. Sort of like bringing a puppy into a sorority house.  I've had compliments from cowboys AND dressage/eventers.  My usual response is "thank you, he thinks so, too."  I wish I could explain to them that pretty came with some terrible ground manners and an infuriating fear of trees and that "pretty" isn't everything.  But yes, he's VERY pretty, even I think so.  ;)

2000 APHA Bay Roan Overo Gelding 16hh
All-Around. Sound. Pretty. Barefoot. Performs best with an intermediate to experienced rider but arena safe for beginners of all ages. Stands quiet to mount from ground, block, bleachers, car bumper, etc. Dislikes college-aged boys.  Masterful at Carrot Stretches but should not be given treats by hand. Ground manners need strict boundaries. Dislikes rough grooming, will pick up feet for you. Okay for farrier (if farrier likes to be nuzzled and licked).  Great for vet and deworming.  Trailers (but he'll snort), bathes (but it'd better be warm water), clips (ears are a slight challenge). Lunges on voice commands on a good day, but will ignore you if you have no whip.  Been shown in open shows, placed or won in: Halter, Showmanship, HUS, WP, Eq., HMS. Maintained by amateur owner. Very inquisitive and "looky".  Gets uppity when the line-up leaves him.  Best gaits are working trot and jog.  Canter and hand gallop are good.  Walk is not refined.  Lope is  meh.  Has been introduced to crossrails. Supposedly worked on cows. Placed at Cowboy Challenge.  Not spooky about weird man-made obstacles, tarps, flags, trash bags filled with tin cans, etc.  Has been trail ridden -better with a group.  Likes to lead. Okay with water. Nervous/spooky in trees when alone. Small Corpora Nigra cyst in right eye - does not affect performance/vision. Visible scars on face.  Needs daily turnout with a buddy/baby-sitter to play with.  Will crib on feed tubs when frustrated with lack of turnout. Does better with ground tub. No collar needed. Will stand on hose when he doesn't want a bath.  Very entertaining.  Barn favorite.

How would you list YOUR "NOT FOR SALE" horse?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Diagonals, Legs, and Comparison

Thanks for all the compliments on our last show!  I'm still kinda on cloud 9 about it myself.  Junior got to have Monday and Tuesday to himself.  Yesterday all he had to do was walk out to the grass and stay within a lead-rope's radius of me while I enjoyed the sunlight in a lawn chair.  Rough.  I'm trying to take it easy this week.  The show was rough on my back and I just want to give it a chance to rest.

Back to DIAGONALS.  I do know my diagonals when I'm going in a circle, and I am even starting to be able to pick up the correct one without looking down. Skilz.

What I was confused about was the terminology.  The pattern was that weird X/half-circle shape and it said "Left Diagonal" and then "Left Lead" even though it was tracking right.  I knew what Left Lead meant, but wasn't sure if Left Diagonal meant "the proper diagonal for tracking left" or "posting with the left front leg".  I assumed it was the proper for tracking left and stuck with that, but none of my team were sure, and the other riders did it the opposite; posted when the left front rose as if tracking to the right.  Even KAT told me I did it wrong!

HOWEVER.  I emailed the judge and she confirmed that I did it correctly.  So, I was right that "Left Diagonal" assumes the same direction as "Left Lead."   I WAS right.  :) WIN!  I'm so glad I went with my gut!

LEGS: I started looking back to other videos and it looks like my legs have been uneven for a while.  When I was in HS I wore a small lift in one of my shoes but I can't remember which one and I've had back issues on and off for ever, so I'm not sure I can totally blame that.  When I did THIS video in April I noticed my left leg looked different.  After confirming they were the same length, I swapped the stirrup leathers so it can't be that, or the opposite leg would be wonky.  Maybe it's time to have my movement coach colleague come out and assess. I had been feeling like I had to push harder in that stirrup to get him straight this spring.

COMPARISON: For your amusement (and by YOUR I mean MY) I've made a little comparison video of our very first show and our most recent show.  Same location and same judge.  I think there's been a bit of improvement in 3 years...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Show Details

What a great day!  This was by far our best outing yet.  I remembered all three of our patterns and I was really confident about them.   I don't know what happened, but I think someone stole my pony and replaced him with a clone that lacks Junior's ability to be a total prick when he gets annoyed about something.  It was like it finally clicked:  "Okay, I get cleaned up, go someplace, get messed with, ride around under my best behavior, get to eat hay ALL day, and then go home?  Yeah, I got this."

Example #1: He was cooperative during his bath.  HE LET ME HOSE HIS FORELOCK.  He didn't jump all over the place every time I turned the hose on.  He did step on the hose a few times, but he moved when I told him OFF.  Normally he tries continuously to get away from the water.

Example #2: He let me clip the INSIDE of his ears.  I did shove my sheepskin earplugs in first, but still, I've never been able to do it before.  AND he practically fell asleep when he was being braided.

Example #3: He loaded like a champ into a strange trailer with only minimal snorting.

Example #4: He didn't whinny AT ALL at the show... at least that I witnessed.  Not even once from the time he went on the trailer, to the time we unloaded back at home.

Example #5: He stood like a statue and let me polish his hooves and spray paint his legs and only moved a leg once.  Then stood on the concrete to dry with my BF while I changed clothes.  He didn't even try to move towards the grass.

Example #6: He was a ROCKSTAR in the show ring!!!!

AND we won Adult Hight Point!!!  I didn't find out until this morning when I found a voicemail from the show staff.  A check's in the mail!  :)

English Halter: 5th out of 14.  We'd NEVER done a halter class but I figured heck, why not.  Maybe he'll get his jitters out during that and be okay for showmanship.  He was great.  Moved around a bit in the line-up, but he did as he was told.  There didn't seem to be any jitters to get out.

Adult Hunter Showmanship: 1st out of 4.  He was a tiny bit crooked and took too long at the set up, but he nailed the pattern.

Adult Hunter Under Saddle: 4th out of 8.  There were definitely three nice horses above me so I have no complaints about the white ribbon.  He was VERY good.  There were 2 or 3 horses in that class that were a bit terrifying.  I know it's a small open show, people, but have some humility and leave the fugly-crazies at home.... sorry that was mean, but really.  Taking a horse that's learning is fine, taking a horse that looks so out of control you make the other riders/horses nervous is just rude.  Take it from the girl who once did THIS.  But look at how far away I kept from ALL the other horses.

We had a long break between classes so I untacked him, hoping he'd pee.  He was dropped but he really doesn't like to pee at a show.  By the time I had to tack him up again he was pissy and didn't want me to tighten the girth, but he only warned me with head swinging and stopped when I smacked him.  I didn't need to tie him or anything.  By the time we got outside and mounted up he seemed cheerful again.

Open Hunter Under Saddle Walk/Trot: Top 12 of 30+.  This was a HUGE class with 3 splits.  I don't usually do this class because it's huge.  I entered assuming I wouldn't place, there are too many nice horses in the youth divisions (nearly all the youth classes had to have splits) and pretty much everyone who does any of the English classes does this WT class.  We were in the 2nd split and got called back for the finals.  I have no issues with his performance.  They only placed to 5 so I'm not sure if we were 6 or 12.  It was a true  Open class with little kids, adults, QH's, hunters, a couple of Arabs, ponies, you name it, and the 5 places went to not only the QH's!

Adult English Equitation: 1st out of 4.  I was on the wrong diagonal - apparently I don't understand what right and left diagonals mean, but the other 3 messed the pattern up worse.  I was really pleased with the pattern and think we look pretty clean, or at least cleaner than we ever have.  He absolutely despises the counter canter so I was surprised he kept it as long as he did.  Just wish he would switch cleanly if he insists on doing a flying change.

Just after Equitation.

Adult Western Showmanship: 1st out of 5.  He had finally peed by this time so he was in a much better mood.  I gave him a touch-up grooming, and since it was our last class went over his whole body with Vetrolin Shine and a goat-hair brush.  I cleaned his legs again but didn't re-polish his hooves.  He was great in the pattern. I walked confidently out to start the class.  I was sure I wouldn't win because there was a guy who has beaten me before when he had a different horse.  Thankfully this horse was in training and did NOT want to back in a U shape.  He was very chatty in the line up like he was last time.

Junior gets to eat Victory Grass in his fancy halter.

SO.  What's next?

A: Learning what Right and Left Diagonals mean. And yes, I'm embarrassed that I don't know.
B: Working on keeping a relaxed and balanced frame during downward transitions.
C: Are my legs too far back?  I don't seem to have a very nice ankle angle.  I never have.  I blame learning to walk on my toes.  I've never had good stretch in that joint.  But they look funny.  Do they look funny?
D: Taking a little time off to recover.  My back was unhappy the night before and all day during the show.  Today it's not so bad, and hopefully tomorrow won't take a turn for the worse.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Show Day!

Here's a teaser about the show we went to today.  This time ALL of the ribbons were from classes of more than 1 rider!

I'll post more when I get unpacked and find where I put all my energy....