Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How Much Do Horses Cost? Everything.

Since the show, I've been trying to figure out what's going on with Huck.  Is it attitude?  training?  physical issues?  We've taken days off, done tons of stretching and flexing.  We trail rode.  We rode inside. We rode outside. We massaged. We ground worked. We researched. We've employed the help/opinions of the farrier, trainer, chiropractor, and vet.

Today we injected both of Huck's Sacroiliac (SI) joints.

Both chiro and vet agree this is the way to go so I am hoping they're both right.  I had my lower back/sacrum injected a few years ago so I can somewhat understand what's going on.  I also have crappy SI joints. Pretty tired of my horses mirroring my issues.

Obviously this puts a hold on show season, but clearly the showing wasn't working anyway.  Perhaps this will give us a chance at some success in the future.

This also puts yet another strain on my very thinly stretched horse budget.  In 9 months we've had a facial laceration, forearm laceration with infection, and injections.  We also had proud flesh, scratches,  and he has a swollen lymph node in his right forearm (vet says it's probably fine and that the steroids will likely take care of it.) Seriously though. WTF. This "affordably priced" horse has turned into a money pit.  I sure hope there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  This is supposed to be fun, right?

Seriously though, I have some things for sale:  or if you've ever thought about my decals, now's a great time to support small business and Huck's vet bills.

He's in a stall with muscle relaxers, bute, and hand-walking for two more days.  On Saturday he can go back out to turnout and be ridden lightly at the walk and loose-rein jog for 10 days.  Then we can start loping and stopping and see where we are.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 2016 Ranch Horse Show

I'm still processing this show.

This was our first club show of the season.  This is the club/shows I won the Green Ranch Versatility buckle at last year with Kevin.  

This was the first time I showed him in REINING, and his first reining class after a two year pasture potato solo vacation.   

So I had some reasons to be.... anxious... about the show.

Friday we loaded up and drove the 2 hours to the show with the RV and trailer.  We got our favorite stalls right by where we park and where we park is right next to the in-gate.  We really have the best seat in the house.  I can sit in my own chair, near my own fridge and bathroom, right next to the arena, and just walk 30 feet into the barn to get my horse.  This really helps me relax and enjoy the show. 

Huck was chill about everything, but he did jump once when the wind hit the tarps on the cattle panels.  He was fine after that.  Practice ride was challenging.  He didn't do anything totally stupid, but his attention wasn't on me and he wasn't listening.  Sometimes he was lovely.  Sometimes we got in a fight about who was calling the shots..... I realized I've gone from riding the quiet pleasure horse to the uppity fast one... oh crap.  Nobody wants to be "that guy" but at least I wasn't the worst.  I didn't end up on the ground and we didn't run into anyone....

We ended up helping as a turnback during the cutting practice since you need 4 people to hold a herd while someone does their cutting run, and the show organizers don't actually organize that.  So I started helping because no one else would..... I realized I've gone from having the horse who didn't give a shit about cows, to the horse who seems most relaxed while mooving cows around.... see what I did there?  So I got to do some free practice. :)

We tried to ride out on the grass trail course and it wasn't great, as I expected.  Some antics, but generally did the things.  

I have been debating in my brain for ages whether to stay in Green Reiner or move up to Ranch Reining.  I mean, my horse is AWESOME, and only one of the two green patterns has a lead change and I felt like I was wasting the experience. But the last week or so has really let me know we are not ready to go beyond Green Reiner, and that even that might be above us right now.

Aaaaaaaand I was right.  Thankfully I decided Friday night to stay Green.  I realized we weren't going to do very well and I'd rather be a terrible greenie than a terrible open rider.  

Our places for the Day:
Horsemanship: NP
Trail: DQ - Judge wrote "Unruly" on my scoresheet...
Ranch Riding: NP -  31 in the class
Green Reining: DQ
Green Boxing: 3rd out of 24 - this was the highlight of the day
Conformation: 5 out of 10

Yeah, that's a DQ in reining, you know, the thing he was professionally trained for.  I'm not going to show you the video.  Maybe someday, but I want to get past this first.  If you're unfamiliar with how reining is scored, you enter the arena with a score of 70 and every maneuver is scored as a minus, zero, or plus.  The plusses and minuses can be in increments of 1/2 up to 1 1/2 on each maneuver.  You can also get penalty points of varying degrees.  A score of all zeroes means everything was "correct".   You want to be better than correct, but like dressage, that's a long term goal.  You can win a class with a 65 if everyone else was worse, so it becomes more about personal bests than ribbons. 

So what did we do wrong?  All the things.  Okay maybe not all the things.  We minused every maneuver. The first set of circles were fine.  Still got -1/2.   Then everything went down hill from there.  First set of spins was delayed because I couldn't get him to drop his head which made me super nervous and then he started moving around and anticipating but I didn't know how long I could wait or should wait so I just let him spin and the spins were AWFUL.  Second set of circles he picked up the wrong lead but changed as soon as I asked him.  Second stop looked like a spook. Second set of spins was maybe a hair better than the first but still awful. Lope off was fine, stop to rollback was fine but he picked up the wrong lead and again corrected when I asked.  The final sliding stop was a complete WTF.  Instead of stopping he threw up his head and spun around in what looked like a cartoon giraffe making fun of a dressage horse doing a pirouette.  That spin meant a DQ.  The backup was actually fine but still -1/2.  If you click on the scoresheet you'll be able to see all the various faults you can earn.  I don't know what the z or 2 is in the first penalty box, but he didn't end up counting it.

We were 615
LL 2C = 2 Circles to the left, left lead
2SL - 2 Spins Left
RL 2C - 2 Circles to the right, right lead
2SR - 2 Spins Right
LL RBR = Left lead lope, Roll Back Right

After our run I immediately went into the indoor and made him drop his head.  Took a bit of a fight, but he eventually dropped and we did some nice spins in both directions.  We then loped off and did a poor but obedient stop.  WTF.

Horses are hard.  


All of that was written BEFORE the chiropractor came out and BEFORE I watched the video multiple times in slow motion - yes that was torturous, but necessary.

Huck hurts when he stops.

It's clear to me now and of course I feel guilty for not realizing it sooner. It's his SI joint (sacroiliac).... oddly enough I have SI joint issues, too.  So I feel even more guilty because when mine flares up it's hard to even walk or stand let alone do anything as athletic as reining!  After the diagnosis I showed the Chiro the video and he agreed with me that his behavior at the stops is consistent with SI pain.

Chiro adjusted him and taught me some new stretches.  He also recommended I get a consult with one particular vet for possible injections.  He said his adjustment will help for a week or so, but that injections would probably be a good option for long-term.

Anybody want to sponsor me so I can afford this horse's never-ending vet bills!?!?!?  I don't have any idea what this will cost me.

We haven't ridden since the show.  I wanted him to have some days off before and after Tuesday's adjustment.  I'm planning to ride today and see how he feels, but NO stops until my trainer comes next Tuesday.  Chiro said I could stop him to let him feel that it's okay now, but I'd rather let the trainer do it correctly than me fumble it.

From the video... we almost look like we know what we're doing...