Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Arrived Early!

Oh What Fun!

This was the 6th year for the Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange, hosted by Tracy at The Printable Pony.  This is my 2nd or 3rd year participating and it's ever so much fun.

If you're a horse blogger and have never participated, keep an eye on Tracy's blog or facebook for next year's entry deadline.  Tracy sends you a blogger's name, address, blog, and some guidance on what your blogger might like, then you choose a gift  (around $20) and send it off to your blogger.  It's a great way to find new-to-you blogs and it's so fun to see what all the bloggers exchanged.

My gift came so early that I stared at the package on my doorstep for a good 45 seconds wondering why this unknown person sent me a Priority Mail package!  It may also have been before coffee...

Once I realized what it was, I excitedly opened the box to find a cute Santa bag with this adorable tag!


Inside was a sweet little zippered bag, and a nice haul of homemade beauty items from Elizabeth at the Clover Ledge Farm Blog

The bag is made by another fellow blogger Amanda at Bel Joer Blog  - another new-to-me blog!  She has an ETSY STORE if you want to snag one for yourself!  She has lots of fun things for sale!

The  "Praise" soap, 'Czangria & Shiraz lip balms, and Peanut Butter Cup Coffee face scrub are from KJ Creations. 

I'm excited to try all of these fun gifts!  Thank you Elizabeth!!!

Wishing you and yours a peaceful Holiday Season. 

And if you are still in need of a quick stocking stuffer, check out my Etsy Store: but you better hurry, we're getting close to the shipping deadlines. Gift Certificates (printable .pdf) can be purchased up through the 23rd!


Friday, December 14, 2018


Yesterday was the National Day of the Horse.

Yesterday marked 5 years from the day I had to let my Junebug go.

Leading up to the day I thought I would write a big long post about where I was in my journey of grief and healing. 
I thought I would have a lot to say.

But I don't. 

At least not today.

Hug your ponies. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Show Recap of 2018

In June we had our 2nd Ranch show. The first week in September we had our 3rd, and mid September we had our final show of the year.  Clearly I am behind on bloggin!

June Show

We had a pretty great show!
1st Open Horsemanship
2nd Open Showmanship
2nd in Open Trail
3rd in Open Conformation
4th in Open Ranch Pleasure
6th in Ranch Riding - no points for this, but considering how much trouble we've been having with lead changes in those patterns, I was thrilled with how we did.  We actually tied for 5th, but had more penalty points than the other 5th place so we get squat.... BUT it was a good ride for us!

We racked up 23 points, compared to 15 at the May Show, sneaking us up to 1st Place standing for the year end awards.

There was a show August 19th but the Thursday before Kevin came up lame.  We prayed for an abscess rather than something more major. 

Kev got to miss the show, which I'm sure didn't disappoint him.  The vet diagnosed a "deep bruise and blood blister" in his left hind foot, so kind of an abscess, but not yet infected.  Full disclosure: I've been riding for over 25 years and I've never had an abscess.... knock wood. I've had plenty of other crap including multiple contusions, injections, colic, you know..., so don't be too jealous.

Vet opened the sole on a Monday to drain the blood blister, wrapped him up and sent him back outside (our horses live out 24/7 with grass, dry lots, and run-ins) with instructions to take the bandage off after 5 days and as long as he wasn't painful on the drain hole we were good to go.  We suspect he did it when he came down hard on a pole during our practice the previous Tuesday.  :(

By Thursday it became clear that his lameness was not improving and was potentially getting worse, so the Vet came back out.  The bandage came off and we discovered that his "sensitive sole/frog" was protruding out of the drain hole like a little black rubber nub.  I admit I "skipped that class" and am not as knowledgeable about anatomy as I really should be, so I had NO idea what this all meant.  After much explanation I equated it to stepping on a lego with each step.  Ouch Kevin, no wonder you were getting worse.

Vet pushed the nub back into the foot, which Kevin did not appreciate, but is a very patient patient and required no sedation. Then Vet created a 2-part rubber cast of his sole that would become a "plug" of sorts to keep pressure on the hole.  We were to change out an idodine soaked wool pad each day and he got to spend 7 days on stall rest.

On the 7th day we had rear shoes and pads put on so that he could go back to normal horse life in turnout and we began light work with only 4 days until the next show.  We monitored him closely and by Saturday we decided as long as he was still sound Sunday morning we'd go to the show.

Kevin cooperated and we got to show!

September 2nd Show
Imagine sitting in a sauna for 4 hours before you get to show.... now imagine feeling like this was a bloody waste of your time and money because the classes that the Open Division got season points for were also the Open Jackpot classes so all the good open, amateur, and youth riders would also be in the classes.  Dang.

We lightened our show load, and only did the Pleasure, Horsemanship and Conformation.  His owner showed only her W/T Pleasure and W/T Ranch Riding.  Both of her classes were also Open and BIG so we were THRILLED that she placed in both classes: 4th in Pleasure and 2nd in Ranch Riding!!!

Kev and I made it to the finals in a 26 horse Open Ranch Pleasure class but didn't place.  After having two weeks off, half of which was visibly lame, I really am quite happy with the way the class went.  He lacked his usual consistency and cadence, and by the time we were done (we went straight from our split back to the rail for the finals) he was a bit tired, but he was easy to ride and I couldn't have asked for more.

I didn't do the trail since the outdoor pen was a bit too stoney and I didn't think it was fair to him to make him trot over poles on poor footing so soon. 

I went back and forth about whether or not to do the Horsemanship class.  It was a short pattern with almost entirely loping, and it had our bad-way lead change in it.  BUT, he seemed really good after his other classes so I added it.  By the time the class came, however, he gave me the "oh for frack's sake are you really tacking me up AGAIN?!?!" face, so I just did a quick warm up.  Have I ever told you Kevin AIMS for cones?  If you're trying to go past a cone, he will try to aim for it, and that's what he did at the end of the pattern.  I was able to get him next to it, but we needed to do a 180 pivot and he decided to be a boob and turn on the haunches for the first step which placed his rear squarely over the cone while he finished the turn.  Ha Ha.  Ooops.  I am NOT good at fixing those moments while they're happening.  No place.

We ended the day at 9:30pm with a 2nd place in Open Conformation so we grabbed 5 points for the season.

Our final Show was on September 15th.

I wasn't feeling optimistic about the show.  We were 3 points behind the leader in our division.  My workload increased this fall semester and I wasn't able to ride much between shows, and the patterns were kinda tough.  Lots of schooling in the days leading up to the show helped a little, but I just wasn't feeling like it was going to be our day.

We began the day with Trail.  Kevin was a gem.  He did all the things exactly like I asked him to do.  I was thrilled to hear our number called for 1st Place! 

Our next class was Reining.  Wait, what?!  Yes, I decided Kevin needed to revive his reining career.  We'd done reining all through 2015, though it was never good.  The season points were getting really close and I thought that maybe, just maybe if we kept it quiet and clean (and all the other competitors dq'd LOL) we had a slim chance of placing.  I just didn't want to end the season a few points behind and wished I'd taken the chance.  Not surprisingly, we did not place, but we had a respectable (for us) 64.5.  The video made me laugh... pleasure loping our "large fast" circles.  LOL.

The Pleasure class was good sized and I was completely shocked to hear us called for 1st Place! I made it my goal to keep him smoooooth and make nice transitions and have solid extensions, and he felt like his old self again, loping down the rail like he was born for it and reminding me how much I enjoy riding him when he's enjoying his job.

Yet again we failed to place in Ranch Riding.  It's the lead changes.  Biggest thing we need to work on for next year. 

Horsemanship called for a bunch of things we struggle with:
-begin with a walk - he anticipates the next gait and gets wiggly
-extended trot - not a problem, but since we need to sit the trot in horsemanship, it can get ugly if I ask him to abruptly
-180 left, 180 right - sometimes he's awesome at these but mostly he's a turd
-lope on the LEFT lead and make a right turn

I'm not sure what I did right, but he was just so unbelievably "with me" and he did everything right!  I was so relieved and grateful that I started crying when I left the arena.  We got another 1st Place!!!  WHAT!?!?

Next up was a 3rd in Conformation.  The judge later mentioned that I had him set up in a hole so he "looked like a ski slope".  I always forget you can do things like level the ground with your feet before you set up....

We ended the day with a 3rd in Showmanship.  The little turd was doing his auto set-up in the warm up but stopped like drunk octopus and it took way too many adjustments to get him square.  Oh well. 

Overall the last show was so stinkin' good I couldn't even be mad about it.  He gave me so much more than I could have asked for.  Mucho cookies for Kevin.

Oh, and we happened to win Open Champion for the year end awards. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

First Show(s) of 2018

Oh look, I haven't posted since January!  Luckily, you haven't missed much!

I've been riding Kevin since December.  I admit I've been taking it pretty chill and only riding about once a week December-April.  In May I bumped that up to 2-3 times per week as the show dates loomed closer.

I'm kinda back where we were in 2015: I'm schooling and exercising Kevin and helping his owner out as she navigates her second show season. 

She's showing the walk-trot division at our shows and I decided to go for the Open division rather than the Amateur where Huck and I were Res. Champ for 2017.  I chose this for two reasons: One, because the showbill order goes Jackpot, Youth, Open, Amateur, Walk Trot for each type of class.  Showing Open allows us a lot more time for our tack changes.  Reason two is that last year there were far fewer competing for year-end points in the Open than in the Amateur.   This year looks to be the same so far.

Our first shows were this past weekend, both run by Buckeye Equestrian Events. Western Dressage show on Saturday and Ranch on Sunday.  I grew up with dressage letters and a classical or military seat so I'm a little familiar with Dressage, but I know enough to know I don't know anything, if you know what I mean.

I chose the Basic Test 1 and I ended up with a 66.46% which I'm told is pretty good for our first time out, and that's with a 2-point error because I forgot where I was supposed to start the free-walk.  We also rode in an Equitation on the Rail class and placed 4th. 

On Sunday I was more in my element with a full day of Ranch classes.   My division gets points for Reining, Pleasure, Ranch Riding, Trail, Horsemanship, Conformation, and Showmanship.  I showed all but reining.

3rd in Pleasure out of 20 - He was really good.  Little bobbles but otherwise super smooth and easy.
4th in Horsemanship - Pattern felt like crap but the video looked like I knew what I was doing.
4th in Showmanship out of 5
2nd in Conformation out of 9 - even for a 14 year old fattie, he's quite balanced.

My trail pattern was good but I got killed on a side-pass over an "L" with 4 penalty points for ticking the logs, which took me out of the placings.  Trail and Horsemanship are at shown "at will" in another arena and I forgot to look at how many were in my classes. 

My ranch riding pattern started fine, but I knew I was going to have trouble with the extended lope to a lead change.  Kev is still muscling back up and doesn't quite have the fitness he needs to go all day so he gave me some trouble.  He didn't want to slow his lope so I asked for a simple change and he started to fight me.  I got him to pick up the other lead but it was late and then he did that thing where he says "Eff You!" and threw his head up (and himself totally out of balance) and didn't want to slow to the extended jog - broke back to the lope a few times - didn't want to stop.... well, you get the picture; it was ugly.

It got uglier after we left the arena.  I took him into the warmup pen and we had a bit of a conversation about keeping your balance (and your brain) intact while loping and bending and doing a simple lead change.  It took a good while of this exercise for him to stop fighting me and just say "Yes, Ma'am."  I was pretty firm with him and I'm sure it was ugly to watch, but I think I was fair.  I kept my emotions in check but kept my boss face on until he offered what I asked.  Then praised him and let him rest.  I couldn't let him just be a jerk like that since his owner still had to go in and do the same pattern (without the loping).  She ended up having a very nice pattern.

We ended the day with Showmanship and even though Kevin is getting really good at setting up and turning, I'm still trash at the inspection.  I suppose it's because I never get to have a person play judge for us so I get easily flustered if the judge changes directions or stops.  This time, the judge was just about to cross the near-side shoulder and Kev moved a front foot out.  The judge and I both looked at it and I became dumb not knowing if I should change my position and then fix the foot, or fix the foot.  The judge stopped so I tried to fix the foot but Kev wasn't making it easy and the judge just said "he's kinda done for the day, huh?"  Well, it's our 11th class, so yeah.  I couldn't blame him and at least we didn't DFL.  He got some nice grass before loading up and then got to go home to his field.

We are currently tied for Reserve in the Open division for the year-end award - our BO/Friend, B is in the lead.  There are 4 more shows to go, two more of the shows just like this, and then we can get points for ranch classes at two other open shows, one at the same facility and one at a big facility that I've never shown at before. 

It's not a bad start to the year.