Tuesday, December 31, 2013


"This wasn't how it was supposed to go." 

That is the overwhelming thought I hold right now. I suppose it's the planner in me. It's also the fact that I knew I'd never sell that horse and that he'd live out his long days with me. That we'd learn to drive and do proper lead changes and that someday he'd be the wonderful "old guy" in the barn. We were supposed to have years and years left together. 

But we don't. And I'm not sure what to do now. What to to with this blog, what to do with the tack locker full of memories and plans that awaits me when I return home next week. What to do with this massive hole in my heart. 

I take it a day at a time and some days are better than others. Christmas and it's flurry of activities such as baking and wrapping and reconnecting with family and friends has been helpful in suppressing reality, but I can tell that going home, back to reality, back to the life where I WAS a horse owner, where I planned my days, weeks, and seasons around Junebug, will be quite... well... different. 

Since I like to plan - even though EVERYONE keeps saying "you don't have to think about that yet" - I'm trying to get some strategies in place so I don't just end up in a wailing puddle. So, in the spirit of The New Year, a time of renewal, I'm thinking of these things:

1. Take weekly lessons. Renew my confidence that I can ride horses and not just that I knew how to ride MY horse. 
2. Ride all of my friends horses. See #1. 
3. Get help from friends as I clean out my tack locker, do it when the barn/tack room isn't busy with lesson kids, bring Kleenex. Possibly wine. Consider donating something to a rescue. 
4. Remind myself how lucky I was to have found my heart horse at all, a priviledge denied to so many, instead of the dwelling on the complete unfairness of his departure.  ....this is a moment by moment struggle right now. It's exhausting. 

I had some new decal designs in the pipeline before all this happened so I will be getting back to that eventually. After all, there's quite a big vet bill that still needs to be paid. And yes, it was worth it, even if it only gave me another 5 weeks with him. 

I hope the New Year brings you peace and joy and an abundance of warm horse snuffles. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Much Too Soon.

How very quickly life can change.

I had to let Junior go. As you know, he had colic surgery on November 6th. The surgery went well and he seemed to be on the road to recovery. On Friday morning, December 13th, he colicked again. The vet diagnosed another impaction. Even after over 12 hours of constant veterinary care, by late evening it became clear that he was not going to recover. We'd had some hope as he started passing some manure around 9:30pm, but very quickly he escalated to violent rolling and throwing himself agains his stall walls. The drugs were no longer holding and it was clear that he was in too much pain. The last rectal exam revealed that he now had a colonic torsion.  I made the hardest decision any horse owner ever faces and I let him go. 

He was so good to me for 5 years. He was everything I needed and so much more. We had so many adventures together, but there were so many more we should have been able to have. He was my teammate, my heart horse, and my best buddy. The loss I feel is incredible. We were so lucky to be surrounded by our friends on Friday, including Junior's Other People.  Junior was surrounded by love all the time, right till the end. He will be sorely missed. Life can change so very quickly, make sure to appreciate all the gifts in your life. 

Happy trails, Junebug. I'll see you on the other side.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Five Weeks Post-Op

Time goes so quickly sometimes!  Especially when you need to coordinate We are about 5 week out from Junior's surgery and he is doing splendidly.  I hate to say that out loud as we're not yet in the clear, but we have had zero complications so far.  That hasn't stopped me from freaking out on occasion, such as the day I noticed his belly looked like this:

Notice how much it dips? The vet's reply to my inquiry text was "I think standing in his stall has been unkind to him :-)" so I guess we'll call it a hay belly.  It matches the muffin top I'm getting from not riding. (It has nothing to do with my ability to eat my feelings or the abundance of feelings I've had over the past month.) Oh well, it's too cold to be skinny anyway. We will both have some work to do come January!

He is coping better with stall rest than I anticipated, but he did rear when we began our walk last Sunday and he's spooked a few times for me and for his OP, so we're keeping a chain over his nose and puffies in his ears.  Today though, he was super chill.

At this point he's allowed to be turned out, but because he's still not allowed to gallop or jump around, he needs to stay in an area less than 40'x40' and sadly I cannot accommodate that right now due to weather and other logistics. So he's still on daily (and sometimes twice daily) walks. On January 7th we will have the all-clear to do whatever.  I'll be visiting family for 3 weeks over the Christmas holiday and when I return we will get back to work.

I will leave you with yet another adorable photo of Junior and his brofriend making out.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


It has been over two weeks since Junior's colic surgery.  Kind of still feels like it's not real.  Also kinda feels entirely too real sometimes.  I've always been crazy about this horse, but I didn't know how much until there was a real possibility that I would lose him. But enough about that.  That's the "too real" part. 

We still have to watch for signs of hernia and infection and colic and my anxiety levels... ha ha! But he's been doing very very well.  

We brought him home on Tuesday 11/12. He spent the first few days on free-choice hay with daily walks.  We started him slowly back on grain last week and on Thursday 11/21 Junior got his staples out.

We will be hand-walking only until December 7th, when he can be turned out in a small paddock, but will still need to take it easy.  So far he's been quite mellow, but I'm sure as he continues to feel better he'll get tired of the stall rest and get crankier about it.  He did get all snorty-nerves over a pile of rails and cones in a freshly drug arena and I was worried he'd actually spook at it, but eventually he forgot it was scary and then nosed-over the cones like he was looking for treats.  

For now we enjoy grooming and walks in the arena...

and aisle visits with his best bro-friend....
and just being glad to be home.  :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

WTFriday - NFL Linebacker is Afraid of his Team's Mascot....

Apparently an Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Eric Berry is afraid of his team's mascot, an adorable paint mare named War Paint...It came to light when the cameras/mics caught him talking about it on the sidelines each time she came out to take her victory laps after each touchdown.

I always feel badly for people who are afraid of horses.  I mean, I'm afraid of SOME horses, the uneducated and disrespectful ones, but ALL horses, that makes me sad.

The video is a bit long, but if you get bored, skip to 5:00 and watch the rest.
Story, gifs, and VIDEO HERE.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bit Warmer Pattern!!!

Hello Dear Readers!

First, I'll tell you that Junior is doing VERY well after his colic surgery.  He's scheduled to come home Tuesday morning.  Thank you all for your encouragement and support!  It means so much that we have such great friends spread across the world!

Second, I'll tell you that my Bit Warmer Pattern & Tutorial is FINISHED and is up for sale on my Etsy store!  It's been SOOOO long in the making!  I really wanted to launch it sooner, but getting the details of the file just right took many trials and some wonderful volunteer readers. It only took a touch more work to finish and what else do you do while your horse is in the hospital?!?!

You may remember back in November of 2010 when I posted about a microwavable bit warmer that I'd created.  You can read about it HERE.

The original worked, but this new version is much nicer.  A bit more complicated, but a LOT more awesome! Full description is on Etsy.

The pattern is a digital download (.pdf file) and includes step-by-step photos and instructions, so even if you're a novice but know your way around a sewing machine, you can make this.

I'm considering making some Kits that will include a printed pattern and pre-cut fabrics, but I'm sure most people find selecting their fabrics and colors to be the most fun part!  I sure do!

So go check it out and get sewing!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Colic Surgery

The short version: Junior colicked on Wednesday afternoon and had surgery that night.  He's currently recovering well, but of course not out of the woods yet.

The whole story...

On Wednesday at about 2:20 I received a message from my BO that Junior appeared to be colicky.  He hadn't touched his afternoon grain - I knew that was bad.  I left work and headed out to the barn.  The nearest vet was already there. Junior looked bloated, but otherwise okay. The vet's diagnosis was impaction and he was concerned about the location of the large colon, but couldn't be sure what he was feeling in there.  Junior was tubed and oiled.

I was given the information that it was possible he could get through this on his own, but there was a chance he'd need surgery.  We could monitor him there at the barn and the vet would be back later that evening to check on him, but we are a 45 minute drive from the Ohio State Vet Hospital and we didn't want to risk him sliding downhill quickly and either not being able to get him on the trailer or not getting him to the hospital in time.  I totally trust the barn staff, but they were about to get busy with a full evening of lessons and I could only envision myself standing in his stall having a panic attack wondering if he was okay or not, trying to decide to take him or not. I don't know anything:  How would I know when it was too late?

For once, my Overanxious Horse Ownerness came in handy and I decided to play it safe and take him right away.   At 5:00pm Junior was on the trailer and we were headed into rush hour traffic to get to the clinic.  We arrived around 6 and they started their examination.  It was a blur with far too many big medical words for me to follow, but all his vitals were okay other than his elevated heart rate.  They re-tubed him, did ultrasound, another rectal... that poor boy had at least 4 peoples arms up his bum that day, took lots of blood, and they even drained some abdominal fluid which, thankfully, came out the "right" color and consistency, which is clear yellowish, btw. They could feel an impaction and were confirming that the colon was moving a bit.

They put him up in a stall and said he was stable and that it was possible that he'd recover without surgery.  They said it was a good thing we brought him in. The colic surgeon was in another colic surgery but as soon as he was finished he'd be in to examine Junior.

The BO and I headed back to the barn where Junior's Other People were having their weekly lesson. About a half hour after we got there (about an hour after we left the clinic), the vets called saying he'd gone downhill pretty quickly and they wanted to do surgery and gave me the quote.  I said do it.

The BO, the BM, Junior's Other People, and myself all headed back to the clinic.  We were able to watch a lot of the surgery but we didn't have a clear view of everything.  I could see his little white nose and the drapes covering his feet.  I did get brave enough to go look at his large colon out on the table.  It was absolutely surreal.

At midnight the vet came out and told us that everything looked really good.  He had both a small colon impaction and a large colon impaction but all the tissue looked healthy. It would be at least another two hours before he'd be up and moved back to a stall.  I looked around at the tired faces of Junior's Entourage and told everyone to go home.  I went home too.  They called at 2am to let me know he was in his stall and was alert and nickering. I tried to sleep. I cancelled my Thursday morning classes.

At 9am they called again to let me know everything was going well.  Due to the risk of salmonella with a small bowel impaction he was in an isolation unit to protect the other animals, so he's alone and not loving it.  I went to see him about 10:30am.  He nickered to me right away and put his head right up against me.  The vet re-explained everything and told me I could stay as long as I wanted.  It was hard to be there because I couldn't do anything to make him feel better.  He was wearing a muzzle which he wanted OFF but he had passed some manure so that was a very good sign.  He was terribly annoyed at life, but standing/pooping/annoyed is far better than the possible alternatives.

I got another update at 6pm today(Thursday).  They are VERY happy with his progress so far.  We're not out of danger, of course, but so far all is well.  They had taken him off the fluids, he had passed more manure, and they were giving him a hand full of hay every 2 hours.

I should get another update in the morning.  I'll do another post when there's more to tell.  Hoping he can come home Tuesday.

It all happened so quickly and I'm drained and really emotional. I've renamed my motion sickness bracelets (sea bands) the Emotion Sickness Bracelets as they went on when I got home from the clinic and didn't get to come off until about 6pm tonight.  I am SO thankful that I board in a barn where they pay close attention and therefore we were able to catch it so quickly.  I am thankful that for once, my Overanxious nature paid off in taking him to the hospital right away. I am thankful I didn't have to go alone. I am thankful that I have a job so that, even though it's going to be a tight budget for a good long time, I was able to give him this chance.  Obviously our goals for showing and cattle work and mounted archery are on hold indefinitely.  For now we will focus on getting him healthy.  The daily hand-walking for 6 weeks will be good for me, too.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday morning: "I do not like this muzzle of shame."

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Thank you all for your votes and shares on my recent design competition jacket!  I received a solid 2nd Place.  Unlike last year when I think I was beat out of 1st and 2nd place because teenage girls have too many facebook friends and not because of design merit, THIS year I feel very good about my placing.  The winner was clearly a high quality design.

SO my prize is $150 in Hobby Horse store credit.  Last year's prize money bought me the black pants and fabric for this year's SMS suit.  This year I'm going to wait and see what the 2014 line has for new colors. I'm pretty sure there's going to be grey as a base color, but odds are I'm going to stick to my black base for my own wardrobe for SO many reasons... I'll run into the same roadblocks I did when I was considering the Teal.  grey would require yet ANOTHER pair of boots, and I can't imagine wearing either my black or my bone hat with grey so I'd need to buy white (too hard to keep clean) or grey (can't find one I can afford) and either way that would require me to ALSO buy a double hat can.  I could spend the money for pants/boots/hat/carrier, OR I could take more lessons and stick with black.  I'm pretty sure you know what the better decision is. KISS, right?

I'm playing around with iron-on transfers for my Etsy store. I have to do more R&D, but what do you think?  What would you be most likely to buy?  A t-shirt?  Tank?  Hoodie?  Tote-bag?

Here's two quick samples I did:

Silver on Black

Multi on White

Friday, November 1, 2013

Can I Get a Tester?

Hi Friends!!!

It's FALL!!!  Three years ago I posted about a DIY reusable bit warmer that I had created.  It's been one of my most viewed (and pinned) posts. Even eHow basically stole my tutorial for their site, so the first two google search hits for "DIY Bit Warmer" lead to this blog.  

I've been spending the last year+ trying to improve the design and create a pattern to sell in my Etsy store.  Last fall I made many samples and the final outcome was barn-tested all last winte. I couldn't be more pleased! The resulting pattern/tutorial is pretty swank, and ready to launch, BUT I need a tester.  I need somebody with little to some sewing experience, preferably with a PC and average computer skills.

Here's the deal: I'm hoping to launch the pattern as a printable .pdf file, rather than a printed copy that I ship snail mail.  Faster and cheaper for the purchaser.  BUT the pattern needs to be printed the correct size - this is where I need a tester (or two). I need somebody to receive the pattern via email, then print it and see how successfully (or un-successfully) it comes out the right size. I need to make sure the file and printing instructions are clear enough for the average person.

I need this done ASAP, like THIS WEEKEND so I can launch next week!  What's in it for you?  Well, you'll get a free pattern for a sweet reusable and washable bit warmer that you will totally make and then wonder how you lived without it, and if that's not enticing enough, if you ACTUALLY MAKE the bit warmer - again, THIS WEEKEND and send me photos of it for use in the selling the pattern, I'll send you TWO decals of your choice from my store.  Anything you want.  I'll even do a silhouette of your horse's head with your horse's own markings.  Yup. Anything.

I know you all are up for this.  Who's in!?!?!

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Jacket is in a Contest... Again!!!

It's time for the 2013 Hobby Horse Elements Designer Contest on facebook!!!

Last year I received 3rd place.  You can see those entries HERE.  Mine's the pink/brown one.  :)

Overwhelmingly here and on facebook, you all chose the blue one and I found out today that it made it into the finals!

I would sure appreciate your vote!  To vote, click the link below, then make sure to "like" the photo.  I'm Finalist #5.  Be careful not to just "Like" the whole album.  Only the votes on the actual photo will count.

I believe you need to "like" Hobby Horse to vote, but remember, when you Like a page you still have the option of whether or not you want to get updates from that page in your newsfeed, so don't be afraid of excess spam.  :)

Thanks for all your feedback and compliments on both of the jackets!  I sure hope you picked a winner!!!

The Link:
2013 Hobby Horse Designer Contest

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hurry! Help Me Pick!

Remember last year when I got 3rd place in the Hobby Horse Designer Contest?  I'm going to enter again, but I can't decide which one of my eligible jackets should be entered! I can only enter one and I have to decide and submit by October 1st!!!

Both are made with Hobby Horse fabric.

Which one would you pick? I think you can bigify the photos if you click on them.

Please comment with Black or Blue!



Sunday, September 15, 2013

2013 Show Season Recap

We've had a great season.  We hauled to four shows and did three in-barn shows.  This is the most we've  done in a season.  We had some really great moments and now I'm ready to put all the show stuff away for the winter!  We're going to keep focusing on our Equitation in our lessons.  BO said "lead changes and jumping" is what's next on our list.  We'll see about the jumping part. LOL!

Some of our highlights from this year include:
  • Placing well in trail classes at two hauled shows and two barn shows.
  • Riding two Western Pleasure walk/jog classes back-to-back in a relaxed frame
  • Winning Circuit Champion in the Adult division for the Franklin County Open Shows.
  • Getting to show with adult friends!
And now a photo-dump: 

May Franklin County Show

May Franklin County Show

May Franklin County Show - Equitation

Warm-up before Horsemanship

May Franklin County Show

September Barn Show - 1st in Timed Trail Class

New pad with glittery letters!

A full rainbow of ribbons at the Sizzlin' Summer Circuit Show.

Adult W/T Equitation/Horsemanship, June Barn Show

Junior and his best turnout buddy, Mystic in the barn-show warmup pen.  They have a special bromance.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vinyl Vinyl Everywhere

I'm behind on posting things that I would like to tell you about.  Mostly because I'm waiting for photos from other people so I can give you more than my ramblings.  We all like photos best, right?  I sure do!

So in the mean time, I invite you to "Like" Buckstitch Becky's Customs on Facebook.

"Like" this page to keep in touch with news of my show clothing and decals. I've just added swatches of my new and vastly expanded colors of decal vinyl and I'll be adding ALL of my available images there, as well as client photos (some of you are featured!) and news about the business, etc.  I do have decals listed on Etsy, but if there's something you'd like that you don't see listed, just let me know!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cow-Pony for a Day

In our quest to attempt ALL the disciplines at least once, (excluding the ones that require jumping because I am a wuss) we have been fortunate to have a helpful friend/enabler with a trailer.  Our friend B and her trusty little quarter horse, Zip, have taken us to pleasure shows, trail rides, and now this year we added a Ranch Riding show and..... WE GOT TO PLAY WITH COWS!!!!

I can NOT properly express to you how much fun we had.  I'm already itching to do it again!  I didn't get much for photos or video, but I'll share what I did get, and give you the narrative.

We unloaded a the nearby cutting trainer's barn and Junior was wound up, more so than I had seen him in a while.  Not sure what it was, but he never has liked being tied to a trailer.  I tacked him up and we walked through a few buildings and into the small indoor arena.  The trainer and our old friend A was there with her "new" horse, Cowboy, whom I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting just yet.  I met A at a previous barn when she had a very different horse.  She's now in love and a much more calm and content rider than when I saw her last.  She's found cutting to be her calling so she's been boarding at this barn and training there.   So fun to see!

We warmed up at the trot and lope, letting him do a nice, long posting trot to get him working and hopefully out of that jitteriness he brought off the trailer.   After a while, A and the trainer opened a door and went out to shoo in a small herd of holstein steer-calves.  After our Ranch Show introduction to the calves I didn't think he'd freak out, but I turned him to face the door with his good eye, sat deep and widened my feet just in case... and yes, I chose to wear my helmet, cowgirl or not.  The calves came in and Junior lit up like the 4th of July.  He jumped a bit, did that snorty rattle thing he does when he's nervous and danced around a bit, watching the calves.  Pretty soon though, he was on his way towards them.  He was more excited than scared so I was told to go ahead and take him in.  He went right into the herd, nosing the calves, letting them nose him, and let me start moving them around right away.

The video is from the first bit.  I don't know how long I was doing it, but eventually we started figuring it out - with the trainer's instructions, of course - and I could tell Junior really liked it.  He wasn't afraid of them at all, but I learned that his one-sideded-ness is magnified in the required maneuvers.

After a long while we moved back to the group and shooed those calves out.  We then opened a different door and headed out to usher in the "bigger ornrier" herd.  They were bigger and there was more of them.  Junior went a bit ape when we got out into the field with them.  Again, not afraid of them, but wanted to get at them.  He was doing the thing he used to do at shows when everyone would leave him - he tossed his head and jumped around and did his snorty rattle.  He calmed down once I let him get up to them and help push them into the arena.  These cows were much more intimidating to me because they were bigger and there were a lot more of them.  We watched B and A do their turns and then I went in for a little bit, but I didn't feel as comfortable with the big'uns.

Such fun!

I'm trying the Blogger upload for the first time.... testing... testing...

Get along, little doggie!

The actual doggies were not to be bothered enough to move.

B and Zip demonstrate, Junior takes notes.

Gratuitous pretty Ohio sky pic.
And yes, there WILL be more on our mounted archery adventures eventually.  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Show Report... and a Teaser!!!

We had a fun horse show at my barn this weekend.  I failed you because I have zero photos or video of the day.  Boo. Sorry.

Junior was quite good all day, even when he was visibly tired and quite simply over the whole thing, especially because we showed five classes, Junior's OP did three, and one of the little lesson kids requested Junior for the walk/trot ground poles. I don't offer him to the lesson kids for the show because between me and his OPs he gets plenty to do, but we weren't doing anything before class 11 and the ground poles was class 3 so I said she could use him if she wanted to.  She was a.dor.a.ble and super excited she was allowed to use him.  He was very sweet for her that morning, but by the after noon he was in several classes in a row or nearly in a row with JOP and I swapping back and forth.

Our first class was the Timed Trail. We were 1st out of 6.  I didn't see all the other runs because I had showmanship right afterwards and had to do a tack change and take my spurs off.  It was an interesting pattern and it was really fun to do.  There were no gaits specified and the path was crooked so I enjoyed trying to figure out where I had to go slow for accuracy and where we could speed up for time.  We were able to practice most of the course ahead of time so of course that really helped.  Junior trotted nicely between two tight barrels, over the tarp and up to the cone where the horse had to knock an apple off a cone.  Then we trotted over the bridge, but he missed one foot so we had to do it again.  Then I walked him through the logs since they were 1/2 raised and he's so excellent at knocking things over.  We got to the barrel and grabbed the squirt gun to shoot the balloons, but the trigger had fallen out of the gun so I just had to fake it and yell "gun broke! Look at me I'm shooting the balloons!" Then we trotted to the small crossrail but Junior when ahead and cantered it so I rolled with it. We don't jump, remember?  Then we trotted through weaving cones, dismounted, grabbed the stuffed lizard, remounted, and finally kicked a yoga ball.  It was the most fun I've had on a trail course!  Junior was really responsive and did everything I asked.

Showmanship was just us so I got first and last place.  The Judge was someone I've worked with before so she changed the 90 pivot at the end to a 450 pivot.  She scored us at a 16.5 which is pretty much where we usually are.

We got 2nd in the Command Class out of I think 5.  We were neck-n-neck with one of the good boarder kids when Junior tried to walk out of the Halt and we conceded gracefully and claimed our red.

We were 2nd out of 4 in the WTC Eq. pattern.  Our circles were laughably uneven but he took his cues really well.

Then we were brave and went in the WTC Flat Eq. class against 5 other good lesson kids and adults.  My equitation is not polished, but it is better after taking some lessons with the BO.  I was surprised and very pleased with our 3rd place finish.

By the time we were done I had to peel my breeches off - so thankful I thought of bringing shorts to change into - and hosed my sweaty/hungry/tired horse off and put him away with his fan and his dinner.  I love being able to spend 8+ hours at the barn (I did the morning feeding/turnout before the show) but it can be rather exhausting!

To make up for the lack of show photos, here is a teaser of something we've been working on.....stay tuned....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cowgirl for a Day

Cowgirl in the rain and mud.
Junior and I went to a Ranch Riding show!  It was all very last minute, I was invited to the Saturday show on Friday around 2pm.  You know how I like to plan things WAAAY ahead of time right?  Kinda hard to do that in this situation so in very Overanxioushorseowner fashion, I spent the evening going from one minor panic to the next, reading and re-reading the showbill, the Ohio Foundation Quarter Horse Association Rule Book, checking and rechecking the weather, and trying to gather all the stuff I thought we'd need when going to a type of show we'd never been to, a fairgrounds we'd never been to, and knowing it was probably going to rain.

Did I need a full change of clothes?  Where is my rain-gear?  Will that be enough?  Are my split reins in my show bags?  Do I need cash? Food?  Water?  Should I bring my real camera or just my phone?  What should I wear?  What if Junior freaks out being in a totally new place where there are COWS?!?! What if Junior freaks out after a yet un-tested two-hour trailer ride?  Would I be DQ'd for our short mane?

I didn't sleep much.

The morning started miserably rainy and they delayed the start by over an hour. I was SOOOO tired but a good 'ol Starbucks Double-shot and a cliff bar got me through. It rained and rained, but it got lighter and lighter and by the time B did her final class (Breakaway Roping) it was sunny and warm and lovely.

Luckily we snagged the last two open stalls in the barn so the boys had a dry place to hang out between classes.

We competed in Ranch Riding Walk/Trot/Lope and got 6th out of 7.  My first green ribbon ever! It's sort of the pleasure class of the day.  I didn't think I had time to warm up in the small indoor arena so I ended up going into the class without so much as a jog-around. In true western fashion, we rode the class in enough rain to make several people's numbers fall off and for it to be hard to see at times. The arena was very very wet but the footing seemed fine.  I didn't see one horse slip all day, even in the crazy cow classes.  Junior did NOT trust the footing right away so that first class was wicked.  I was just happy we didn't DFL it.

I then took him into the small indoor and schooled him a LOT.  I had a good sized break before my next class so I sat and watched the reiners and the reined cowhorse classes.  B won her Reining class 'cause she's awesome.

Our next class was Ranch Trail.  There were 8 obstacles including a log-drag and a plastic steer-head roping, neither of which Junior & I had attempted in over a year and a half.  Nothing like going in cold AGAIN!!!  Thankfully he was more trusting of the footing and the rain had stopped.  He drug the log like a champ.  We had to do a 360 in a box at the far end of the arena where the cattle were.  He didn't seem to care they were there earlier in the day but something spooked him (again from that &*?#^% right side) and he leapt out of the box sideways so I backed him up and took him in again to do the turn.  He got over the spook quickly and stood like a champ while I awkwardly tossed a rope at the plastic steer head. Yes there's video, no I p I surprised myself by getting it around one of the horns!  All was going better than expected until the back through "L" where he wasn't having it followed immediately by "F-You I'm not side-passing over those same demon-spawn logs you tried to make me back through."  He DID it but it was a hot mess.  Thankfully we ended strong with a really smooth gate (the first narrow solid gate we've ever done!) and a perfect dismount and re-mount.  We got 5th out of 12!!! But the judge DQ's 7 entries for various reasons.  B won that class too, cause she's awesome.

Here's us in all it's fuzzy detail...

Then we did the Ranch Riding Pattern class.  THIS is the kind of pattern class we can do.  It was like a horsemanship pattern but a big one taking up the whole arena instead of just a small area.  It had walk, jog, extended jog, lope, extended lope, stop, 180, jog, lope, walk, stop, back.  I was very pleased with how Junior responded to my cues.  Certainly not a flawless performance but quite respectable.  We were 5th out of I think 7.  B took 3rd.

After the show was over and we packed up the trailer and cleaned up our stalls I took Junior over to see the calves.  I was told he'd been started on cattle back in Texas but this was the first time I'd had him around cattle.  He was interested in them but showed no signs of nervousness or fear.  He went up to the fence and grazed and when one of the calves tried to say hello....

He sniffed it and even let it lick his nose before he went back to grazing.  Wish I had caught that moment, too!

What a fun day playing cowgirl!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

My Best Girl - Visiting Banee

I think we were 15 when we met.  She was "too much horse" for me in the beginning, but I loved her instantly.  She was pure white and so pretty. When we started to learn her buttons we found one for tempi changes, and one for cantering side-passes.  She often frustrated me and refused to walk, preferring the piaffe. Lany would have me show off for houseguests with her, prancing along the driveway to "ooohs" and "aaaahs".  When asked to trot the barrel pattern for the first time, she ran me through like an old pro... and eventually became my all-day show horse once I (sort-of) taught her showmanship.  Even though she stood out too much from the slow-n-steady quarter horses to win us many ribbons, I always felt on top of the world when I entered the show ring on my bright white prancing pony.

It's 19 years later, and she's still my best girl.  She lives on the beautiful farm where I first met her, living a life of luxury, getting to choose whether she'd like to spend her day grazing in the field or under the fan in her stall. Her weight is great, despite her difficulty chewing and the amount of extra care needed to prepare her meals.  The melanoma in her ear doesn't seem to bother her and the swollen gland at her throat has not grown in years.  She moves around just fine despite the pronounced swayback, and still wants to GO when she's put under saddle. Her nicker is still the sweetest I've ever known and it still stirs my soul just like it did when we were 15. Every moment is precious with her, as any person with an old horse knows.  I made the journey to see her this month and I am so very glad I did.

More photos and stores about Banee by clicking HERE.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Showmanship Suit

As requested by the lovely in2paints, here are some details of my new jacket.

The base fabric is Hobby Horse's new Hobbyflex fabric.  I used my winnings from the Elements Design contest to purchase new show pants and enough matching fabric for a jacket.

The fabric makes up pretty well.  It's such a nice knit that I didn't even feel the need to serge the edges which cut down some construction time.  It's got a decent weight to it but it didn't fee hot or heavy while wearing it.  According to Hobby Horse it's soil resistant, has moisture management, takes heat well, and is machine washable.  I agree with all of that but I did find that I had to be careful in finding the balance between a temperature that was warm enough to melt the glue on my adhesive appliques and crystals, but didn't scorch the fabric.  This is a battle with any synthetic fabric, of course.  There are a few little iron marks on the jacket but they're not that noticeable unless you're looking for them.  I won't tell you where I burned a hole completely through the fabric while learning just how hot my new Clover Mini-Iron can get.  Ooops.

Every project (of mine) has it's disasters, some minor, some major.  Burning a hole through the jacket was major until I found the right combination of appliques to cover the whole without looking obvious.  The other disaster was that I had to make the sleeves twice.  I finished adding the apps to both sleeves and then went to cut more of the ultrasuede and realized I had used the wrong color of ultrasuede.  I had a sand color that I'd used on the two previous year's jackets and that's what I had used on the sleeves.  I then remembered I'd purchased a matching color of Bone ultrasuede that perfectly matched the hat - which shows the value of ordering swatches because I'd have NEVER guessed from the web photo that it would match.

After some swearing and pacing and deep sighs, I decided it was worth it to start over, so I tossed the sleeves aside and cut a new set.  I didn't repeat the applique pattern on the second set and I actually liked both arrangements equally, though I was able to incorporate the ultrasuede in a more integrated way than the first version, so it was a happy accident!  Plus I was able to toss the first sleeves into the washer to see how they'd fare.  Surprisingly well!  The ultrasuede released a bit at the edges but that's fixable and minor compared to the convenience of being able to wash a show jacket!  I'm pretty confident that I can wash this inside-out on gentle and lay it flat to dry and have zero issues.... but I'll wait until it actually looks dirty!  Dress Shields are my friend!

All of the appliques were cut on my Silhouette Cameo machine.  Below is a video demo of the process that I made as a companion piece to a presentation I gave at a national theatre conference last spring.

The glitter colors are silver, gold, black-gold, and bronze. the supplier says they "cannot be layered" but it has been working for me just fine, even through washing so I'm not sure why they tell you not to... hopefully I never find out!

There's also some Silhouette brand "black glitter" but I'm NOT impressed with this stuff.  It was hard to weed and hard to attach and is not nearly as cool looking as the glitter, but my supplier was backordered on the black glitter so I tried this stuff. If I do another black jacket (IF... ha!) I'll make sure to get the black glitter.  It's such a cool tone-on-tone look.

For the double layered apps, I used my Silhouette software to create just the right size for the underlay and the overlay and then carefully lined them up and ironed them together as one.  I didn't stitch the apps down, hopefully that doesn't bite me later.  Back when I did in2paint's jacket, I stitched every one of them down because I didn't trust the ultrasuede OVER the glitter, but I think glitter on Ultrasuede is safer.  Oh and I had to cut each of those apps by hand which is why I now have a machine to do it for me!

I used only Swarovski crystals on the jacket in several colors and sizes and finishes.  I based the pattern off of Suitability's 5630 jacket.

I find it difficult to capture the shimmer of these crystals and glitter apps on still images so here's a quick video that helps a little.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Open Show June 15th, 2013

I think he looks a little smug in this one!
The show went very very well!  The weather was lovely, Junior was in a good mood all day, and we each came home with a blue!

  • Adult Hunter Showmanship: 1st!  We had to show in the bridle which I thought would be a  problem but Junior did really really well!
  • Adult Hunter Under Saddle: 3rd of 9. This felt good.  There were some great horses in the class.
  • Adult Equitation: 4th of 6. I think it was going really well until I overshot the whoa. :(
  • Adult Western Showmanship: 3rd of 4.  This one surprised me because I thought I did better than the Hunter SMS, maybe he didn't like my outfit ;). 

We didn't get High Point for the day, only getting beat out by 2 points, but I did manage to get the Circuit High Point for the two shows so we got a nice little gift bag!

Junior's OPC was our gopher/groom all day and OPJ rode Junior in the Open Walk/Trot HUS which, as always was HUGE and even had a whole group of big-time congress horses so he wasn't called back to the finals.

OPJ and OPC celebrate with JR!
OPJ WON his Limited Novice Walk/Trot HUS! It was so fun to watch.  Junior was VERY good for him and there were some really nice moments where he had him moving as well as he can move!  Then they got 3rd in the Limited Novice Walk/Trot Equitation.

Now THIS is the kind of horse show that makes me forget how much work they can be.  Everything seemed to go smoothly, and though in hind sight I wish I would have ridden the two western classes after all, but I was tired and we were had some timing issues with the BM coming to haul us home and I still got the Circuit award so it's all good, but there was only 3 in the WP and I think only 1 in the HMS, but that 1 was a nice horse that the judge really liked so chances are we'd have been riding for DFL.  ;)  Oh well.  Over it.  LOL!

It was a long day again, but more relaxed and though tack changes were kind of exciting between my classes and OPJ's classes, I think we all had a good time.  Junior's OPs even brought me a little Birthday cake for us to share after we were done showing.  They are just so sweet!

New outfit!

Circuit Champion Grooming bag with hand-painted brushes.