Monday, April 26, 2010

Too Busy!

There is so much cool stuff going on and I want to post but I don't have time! Argh.

Clift Notes version:

Grace wants to be a cow horse and we're going out to the ranch again tomorrow. Charlie may be available again after all but I haven't decided what to do about that. December has been to a couple of shows and I got to see her at one. They had a 6 year old kid riding her in one class which made me a little nervous but it went ok. She was tense in the ring and had her head up to high but she wasn't crazy or anything. Tax's first show is this month and he's started over cross rails with the trainer. Also one of the other students asked if she can ride him for a lesson once a week and she offered to pay for his shoes. I'm so doing that!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I just had to post this too...

Because how cool is that?

Up Next

Saturday Sister and I will be going on another cattle drive/sorting. I can't wait to have another story to share and the weather is supposed to be fantastic. This time we're being brave and taking our own horses. Sister is taking Promise and I will be taking Grace. And we'll be joined by our barn owner Duane and his very reliable QH named Jester. I'm so excited for an opportunity to do something different with Grace to bond and just let her be a horse instead of picking at her gaits for showing pleasure. I think it will be good for both of us. AND she should be nice and tired the next day.

Sunday is another local schooling show. My western show saddle is in the shop having the stirrups fixed (they couldn't be shortened without cutting down the fenders) so I'm going to only ride in the english pleasure classes and then just hang out for a little bit. I think I'm going to this one alone and it will be a good chance to just ride her in the warm up ring and let her get used to all the horses being around.

It's going to be another busy weekend and hopefully I'll get some great pics on the cattle drive again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Well that was interesting

You know it's bad when your trainer gets one look at the horse show judge and says "uh oh". There probably isn't going to be something good following that. Turns out that my trainer had testified against our judge at yesterday's schooling show in a court case regarding an injured horse. Uh oh, is right. I think the judge was professional about it but wasn't particularly inclined to be nice to any of us.

Final results - The kiddo got a 1st in halter, a 2nd in showmanship and a 5th in equitation. I got a 5th in equiation that I was totally not expecting. It was nice to place at all considering my lovely horse was a wreck.

Here's what happened. I'm glad the kiddo did the halter/showmanship classes, and they did well in them but I didn't get a chance to warm up and school Grace. In her first riding class she was so distracted and fast and the niece never corrected her so by the time I got to my eq class (there were no breaks because the classes were small and back to back) I spent most of my time schooling her in my class. I DQed myself in my pleasure class riding with two hands just to get her paying attention but by the end she looked much better. Grace probably had the most potential of any of the stock type horses there. She's so cute and everybody loved her. She's going to do well if we can get her focused. We'll be going to some more shows maybe to just ride in the warm up arena and get her used to it.
My stirrups on my show saddle are still too long and I couldn't keep my saddle straight, but here's the first of the pics. I have better ones coming. The niece looks cute on my looky-loo, head in the air goofy mare. At least we don't look as silly in the clothes as I thought we would. Everyone loved Grace in the halter/showmanship. She was so cute. She and the niece look really good together. Now the niece person just needs to learn to get a little more assertive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let's Go Show

Sunday is our first show of the season and our first WP show. It's just a schooling show but I'm nervous. I think because it's my first western show and I still so uncomfortable in the clothes/hat. It's also my first show with Grace and while she's doing really well she's not the kind of horse you can just throw away and let her do her job. I don't want to have to do too much correcting in front of a judge but I'm hoping if we warm up really well, we'll be ok. And it's just a schooling show for fun, right? Of course this year they changed the schedule so western is first. Last year English was first back when I was showing English. I swear they just do it to make me more nervous! I'm also nervous for my niece. It will be her first show ever!! She's going to ride in the 14-17 walk/jog classes.

I want to stay and do the English classes just because it's my comfort zone. I don't have a bridle that matches my new CC saddle though. And we haven't practiced at all. And Grace isn't really big enough to be an HUS horse. Man, if only she was like a hand taller her life would be so much easier. She wants to be an english horse. But there isn't usually a ton of competition at this show and she's probably nice enough we should place. I don't know why but I'm being weird about doing it. For some reason I don't want to tell the trainer I want to do the english classes. See, weird.

The leather guy called about my chaps yesterday. He's got the leather picked out and he's going down to town to pick it up on Saturday. I went and dropped off a deposit yesterday. Should only be about two weeks now. How cool is that?

So, I need to go pick up a show blanket on Saturday and my new trailer. I also need to make sure the kiddo has a belt and acceptable jeans. So much to do and so little time! I'm also supposed to squeeze in some lessons on Tax. Sigh...

Hopefully my next post will be all about how we did!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Hairdo

I got to the barn Saturday for my first lesson on Tax and there has been a new dramatic change. Tax got his first haircut! The trainer and I had discussed pulling his mane for show season but I admitted being nervous because I'm not that experienced with it. Apparently she got tired of dealing with his wild mountain pony hair and got started. It looks great! Really shows off the muscles developing in his neck. I'll take out my camera this week and get some pictures for you. He looks so different even from that last pic I posted.

My lesson went okay but as expected I'm extremely out of shape. I keep losing my lower leg and then tipping forward too far. I've got to practice working on my alignment when I post the trot. It doesn't help that I'm top heavy and as sway backed as an old mule. My trainer recommended I get my booty jogging regularly again and I've got to stretch my lower back and hip flexors to get some range of motion. When I finally got it right it was so painful I made it a couple laps around and had to walk, catch my breath and start up again. Other than that I need to focus on keeping my hands up, upright and tight. I have puppy paws...oh no! We just working on the trot for now, but oh, Tax feels wonderful. Strong and light in his frame. Yay!

Discussed names with my trainer. She doesn't like Perfect Storm because she feels it could have a negative connotation. She liked My Hero. I didn't run Emmerson by her but maybe I'll do that. Love the poet...good name too.

I worked all weekend on breaking in my show boots, and I'm going to get fitted for my chaps today.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Goals

I'm fairly certain at this point Charlie's owners have changed their minds. Sigh... Oh well. I pretty good at going with the flow and if it was meant to be it would happen. I think I needed another year or so anyway. I was starting to worry a little about finances. Here are my new goals for this summer.

Get December well and get her sold. - The trainer who is leasing her called me two weeks ago to tell me she was draining foul smelling mucous from one nostril so our first thought was bad tooth. Took her up to the vet and after two different vets examined her teeth there was nothing conclusive. No obvious decay or holes. The was one small defect in her second to last top left molar. We're praying it's not that tooth because it's pretty healthy and getting it out could prove to be a small feat. Fortunately our vets work with a great dental guy and she's 14 so they think they can extract it if needed. I'm thinking this will be expensive and a pain in the hiney since it would have to be packed with gauze until healed. The other possibility was a primary sinus infection. I decided to try a round of antibotics first to see if it would clear up. Then even if it starts to come back her sinus cavity will have less mucous to interfer with radiographs and maybe we can see what's going on. So far so good. The antibotics have done the trick and it hasn't come back yet but it's only been a few days since they finished up with the meds. In the meantime she's not in any pain, she's gaining weight quickly (she'd lost some over the winter and we were having trouble getting it back on probably due to infection) and she is going to take the kids to her first horse show with them this weekend. I can't even believe it's the same BGM. I'm hoping this trainer or one of her kids will buy December. They all seem to love her and at this point I'm willing to basically give her away if its a good fit.

Focus on doing well in the open shows with Grace - We may go to a schooling show on the 18th. I just need a hat. Once I have my show clothes together I'll start doing some bigger open shows locally. If we can get to the point where we're winning consistently there then I think we'll know when it's time to consider moving up to a more competitive horse and the APHA shows. I'm riding her much better than before. I've finally got the spur stop down without falling onto her neck. I'm remember to sit back better overall and I got some great loping out of her last time. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to check her more subtly and use my spurs to slow down. I don't want to be pulling on her in front of a judge but I still have to get after her a little bit before she slows down for me. Beth, the trainer, is getting married this weekend so no lesson but I'll take the niece out to ride. Got to get her going one handed in the outdoor arena if she wants to try the show. She's been riding with two hands (with a drape) for better control because Grace gets lazy and takes advantage by trotting to fast if she thinks she can.

Custom chaps - Have an appointment to get fitted by a local guy next Monday. Can't wait to get them done!! I think I've got everything else I need but a hat. The trainer says she thinks she has the one I was going to order anyway and if so she's going to sell it to me for a steal. Otherwise I'll need to go pick one up before this show. Ordered a shirt and I'm waiting for it. I think it's pretty awesome although my non-horsey friends on Facebook got a hoot.

Showing Tax - I have my first lessons on him with the new trainer on Saturday. I was watching another client of hers yesterday take a lesson. When I first got to this barn he had just started with the trainer. The improvement from last fall is remarkable, and he'd been with another trainer before that I know and don't care for. Now he and his horse look together. You can see something has clicked and his seat is so much more balanced and his hands are much quieter so his horse is moving more consistently down the lines. They're still working on a few little things like staying straight down a line and exactly when to make their turns but they're ready for show season already. I hope I can get caught up. I'm planning to go with them when they show. Tax and the trainer look awesome. He feels like a different horse. He's got muscles everywhere that he didn't have before. She's got him rating his trot extremely well. When she asks him to extend it's beautiful. His canter is much more consistent but goodness he covers some ground. They'll start on some ground poles probably next week then on to crossrails and grids. Yay!

Buy a trailer - I need a bigger slant load trailer. I've also got a plan to help pay for it. We have a gal locally who rents horse trailers. I've rented from her many times and kinda kept an eye on it to see how her equipment held up. It's been looking pretty good so I've talked to her about a partnership. She owns the company and does the advertising and arranges the rentals. She would rent my trailer and I would make 75% of the rental fee for each booking. My only additional expense is insurance which I'd need to have anyway. Pretty good deal...and the best part is the tax deductions for owning my own business. I'll make more there because of being able to write of some of the costs than I probably will for the rentals themselves.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Come on Readers...Help needed!

I've decided to conduct a little poll. I've got a few ideas for Tax's show name and I want to see what you all think. His registered name is Artaxman but my trainer hates it and I don't like it that much either.
My Hero
Perfect Storm
After Hours
Roheryn (From the Lord of the Rings. Means "the lady's horse" in elvish.)
If you have one you like best, please feel free to vote or maybe rank them in your comments.
Here's a link to a recent pic in case you need some inspiration regarding his looks.
Thanks to anyone who helps!!!