Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Show that Almost Wasn't - Part II

Part I is here. 

Saturday early afternoon we loaded Huck and Ledger - wow they are both so easy to load/unload! and headed down the road.

I'd only been to this fairgrounds once last spring with Kevin for a Ranch Pleasure clinic/demo, which I don't think I posted about.

The show arena is decent sized, the warm-up is small and there is another small warmup arena that wasn't drug.

The show is a pleasure circuit, but this year they added 7 Ranch/Performance classes to the end of the day.  I was sad to see, once we arrived that there were patterns posted for the two Ranch Pleasure classes, even though their rule book describes the classes as rail-work only.  Thankfully the office people assured me that they were, in fact, rail-only and since this was their first time offering the classes they were still figuring things out.  The patterns were tough, too!  Both had lead changes and extended lopes!

The western classes were going on when we arrived and I really don't miss all those crystals.  To each his own, of course, but I don't miss it.  They allowed cross-entry from Western Pleasure to Ranch Pleasure so we didn't know what the mix would be in our classes.

The mix was definitely a mix. There were the two of us, who I would call serious Ranch people, a few reiners that were clearly there just to school, some pleasure-trained horses with work tack and manes growing-out, and some contesting kids.

Note to self: don't go to a horse show without fly spray.  Oopsies.  Luckily I had Tri-Care so I could get the flies away from his wound and B found some roll-on repellent in the trailer.

I was very nervous and shaking while I tacked up.  Huck was fine.  He was looky and wasn't holding still, but he wasn't crazy or screaming.  We rode in the crappy warm up for a while and I tried to convince him he didn't need to go as fast as possible and maybe should consider relaxing his topline and ignoring the show atmosphere.

We eventually got to a point I felt he was "with" me and we had about 30 minutes before Ranch Conformation would start so we stripped his tack and got ready to show.

We started with Ranch Conformation.  Huck was much better behaved than I feared he'd be.  He jogged off when I asked and set up pretty well.  He did move at one point but he obeyed when I re-maneuvered him back to square.

The judge stopped and looked right at his staples.  I was so worried she was going to excuse us.  She could have been totally insulted that I brought an open wound into a halter class.  If she had asked about it I'd have shown her the text from the vet okaying us to show. :)

Places were called and we were 2nd!  B and Ledger won the class.  Take that pleasure horses!  I showed in my vintage buckstitched halter.  B has a cool new rope halter that's pretty much the same color as Ledger.  I have a new brown rope halter on order so I can be as cool as her.   You can see why we call Ledger the Barbie Horse.... And you can purchase his image Here.  And as a unicorn here. 

These are the only photos we have of us showing.  Looks like the photographer didn't stay for the whole Ranch division.  :(  B and I were both too busy managing our fresh horses to take photos.

There were two trail classes and open reining that B was showing in,  so I tied Huck to the trailer and sat where I could see him.   I did get up and walk halfway to the trailer at one point but he was fine and I returned to my seat.  He didn't stand quietly like a gentleman, but he wasn't pulling or freaking out.  I think he was just mad that he was standing on grass but couldn't eat it.  The hay just wasn't as awesome.  I wanted to see if he could handle being alone at the trailer and yes he can.  Yay!

Our first riding class was a Ranch Pleasure Jackpot. Huck did about what I expected.  He's not the mover that Kevin was, but we're working on it. He minded my instructions and didn't seem bothered by anything. We ended up 4th of I think 6.

Horsemanship was next.  Our practicing of this simple pattern was ridiculous.  Huck was sure that loping from a standstill meant that he should go really really fast, as if we were speed roping or something.

He was better in the class, but we overshot cone C.  He stopped much better at D.  He picked up his leads well and he we did the reiner thing by moving his hip before asking for the lope. He always backs easily.  No one wanted to go first so we volunteered.  I feel the judge gives extra points for the one brave enough to go first.  ;)

She had us do rail work after the patterns and that went fine.  We were called First!!! I can't remember how many were in the class.  At least 6.  B and Ledger were 2nd.

Last class was another Ranch Pleasure class.  Not sure why they have two open Ranch Pleasure classes.  The first was Jackpot so it was $2 more to enter and had a higher payback.   I could tell Huck was getting tired.  The worst part of the class was that there were, I think 12 in the class and I had a hell of a time trying to find a spot on the rail.  There were a few in the class who, in my humble opinion, should have been excused.  I've been there, trust me, so I get it, but it made it really difficult to show my horse well.  I was cutting the corners and short sides of the arena a lot, just trying to keep my cadence while others zoomed around or bucked, or kicked out, or stopped short.....  I was happy with how Huck just went where I pointed him and didn't seem at all phased by the commotion.  This is good because our rail class at our ranch shows can sometimes be a shit show, too.

We ended up 4th again, and I think B was 2nd.

Since this was our first time at this show, we were thrilled to discover that there were paybacks for each class!  I think the show cost me about $3 after getting my payback!

I suppose I can say Huck earned a paycheck, right?

I feel SOOOOOOO much better about going into our show season, now that I know how he is at shows.  He's fine.  I'm sure he'll be even better when we have more time to adjust before actually showing.  I was most worried about the reining, which we didn't get to do, but I think we'll be fine.

I felt really guilty making him show with an injury, but his leg is good now.  The swelling is nearly nonexistent and the wound is dry.

He was a little back-sore on Tuesday.  I blame him being stalled for 4 days and the shit footing in the warmup. In hindsight I should have gone to the other warmup, but it was full of people standing around.  Next time I'll be bossy and tell them to get out of the way.  

Huck saw the chiro Tuesday afternoon and got two days off with a little bute and liniment.  Hopefully he's less sore today.  We have James Cooler back tomorrow-Sunday for a three-day horsemanship retreat.  I'm very excited to show him how much better we are at moving hips now!


The Show that Almost Wasn't - Part I

Well that was a roller-coaster of a week!  Warning; TLDR possibility.

On Tuesday Huck came in with a cut on his right forearm.  We are thinking Ledger kicked him, but can't be sure.  This is a risk we take by putting our shod reiners in turnout.  We know this.  We also know we do not like stalled horses.  We like free-roaming, socializing horses with lower colic risk.  I've already gotten a lecture about this, thank you.

Anyway, so B calls Tuesday morning to say that there was a lot of blood but he wasn't lame. She said she'd clean it and when she called back she said it was worse than she thought.

I headed out and took a look and decided we were going to need professional help or this thing would not heal properly.  It was too deep and too wide. Luckily our vet was able to come pretty quickly.

The vet cleaned it out and stapled it shut.  Two days in the stall on bute but take him for walks, and then we can go back to work.  He even said the show would probably be okay but maybe not do the reining..... great.  The biggest reason I wanted to get him to a show before our first circuit show was reining.  Poop.

The only reason I was upset about not showing was that this was the ONLY show before we do our first Ranch circuit show in May. New horse, new sport, and I knew I'd be super nervous.  I wanted to get that first one out of the way BEFORE we were going for year-end points.

We go from bad to worse...

Wednesday it was swollen and a bit stiff.

Thursday Afternoon
Thursday the leg was even bigger, even down to his hoof on the interior side and he was hot and lame.... and spewing pus from the wound if I touched his leg..... another vet call.  It was disgusting (seriously like projectile pus) and terrifying.  I mean, the vet wasn't terrified, but you know the name of this blog.  Also, while I was walking him, the 6 vultures circling overhead were unhelpful.  They just live here, but still, they weren't helping.

It's hard to see in the photos, but there were zero tendons visible on the interior side of the leg.  Though, to be fair, you know the name of this blog, so I may have been more frightened than necessary.

Thursday Afternoon
The vet returned to drain and flush and he left a few staples out.  We added antibiotics to the regimen.  I was convinced the show was a no-go and also pretty much convinced my horse was going to die.  I didn't sleep well.

Then Friday morning B texts to tell me the swelling is much better and he's not lame.  I go out midday to give bute and walk him and it looked SOOOOOO much better!  I could see tendons! I sent photos to the vet letting him know there was still some drainage.  He said good and that it'll get better with work.  I asked when we should go back to work and turnout and he said "Now.  Show okay if he's sound."

Friday Afternoon

And he was sound.  Just like that.  Well shit.  I would have been spending this week preparing for the show but I didn't!

I made a second trip to the barn Friday night (I had to go back to work in the afternoon) to see if he was sound to ride.  He was, and he seemed happy to work.  By the end of our ride his swelling was down further.

Okay, so now I have to make a decision about hauling to a show on these Overanxious thoughts:
New horse, hasn't been shown in over 2 years...
No idea how he is in a show/crowd situation...
Or tied to a trailer...
He's got an open would on his leg...
Will we insult the judge taking him in Ranch Conformation with that wound?..
Will I hurt him if I put him through the trailering and showing?

So I decided to go because of these thoughts;
This is a "dress rehearsal" show - it's schooling. (It's a real show but not one of my circuits)
I NEED for my own sanity to know what he's like at a show before we go to big show May 7.
Vet said he should work.
We can do just a few classes.....

....To Be Continued...

Part 2 is here.

Monday, April 11, 2016


A quick update on our facial laceration. It's looking really good!

The scar is much easier to see now that we've been body clipped, but it's really not as unsightly as was expecting, and it'll probably continue to get better.

Body-clipping was a necessity because this boy sweats like nothing I've ever seen.  Even a 30 minute ride in 55 degree temperatures causes him to be soaked just like he was here.  I did a modified bib-clip myself but that really wasn't enough so we went all out.  I didn't do a bridle-path, the inside of his ears, or have his whiskers cut.  I've always trimmed whiskers, but I've been reading a bit about how some people are re-thinking the importance of whiskers.  That being said, I have yet to find something that looks like a scientific study giving strong evidence one way or the other.  The ranch people seem to like them.  I'm undecided.

My friend/former student/former barn manager did a great job clipping, and aside from now looking like a scarred-up dun, he's looking rather slick. I can see his muscles now. I'll have to get a better picture to compare to what he looked like when I first got him and he was a pasture potato.

Our first ride after the clip was probably the best ride we've had so I'm sure it's the haircut.  We did lead changes on a loose rein!  I might be learning how to ride my horse after all!

He looks really dull in the after photo, but after just a day he's starting to have a bit of a shine... which is good because.....

...our first show is Saturday..... Yikes!