Saturday, January 26, 2013

Show Photos

I don't have much in the way of Dickie photos. I brought my camera thinking it would take better pics than the iphone and I could just hand it off to a friend in the stands. Something was wrong with it and 90% turned out super blurry even if I wasn't moving. 

I am exhausted so a longer post will have to wait. Dickie was a trooper. He hopped right in the trailer to and from. He was feeling a little wild but listened and kept crazy to a minimum. If the show hadn't been running 30 mins behind (for the first class of the day, go figure) he probably would have even still still for his whole halter class. 

Romeo had a couple stress moments but overall they looked amazing. 

You can see Dickie's little white blaze peeking out the window. He loaded like an old show horse. 
The downfall of the show grounds was the cagelike stalls. He was not impressed by lack of a proper window. 
Our row organized with the horses tucked in for the night.  It looked like a bomb went off within 20 mins of our arrival in the am. 

Chevy found a way to get his nose out in the aisleway to beg for treats. 

Romeo was happy as long as he got to hang out in the aisleway. 

Romeo showing his disgust for having his socks whitened.. Notice the tiny hole that Chevy liked to stick his nose out of. 

Romeo looking very handsome. 

Trotting pony. 

First time in arena with more than three horses (there were probably 20)
Dickie just before he realized he had been standing still for over 30 mins  and it was time to get FANCY. 
Me trying to get him out of the arena without body slamming anyone. 

Chilling after a hard morning of work.
My two partners in crime relaxing in the warm up arena. 

Chevy showing his arab side with some spunk. 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We Trailer to the Show Friday AHHHHH!!!!

I haven't been to a show in FOREVER!! The only shows I have been to were the dressage shows at my old stable. And by "been to" I mean worked at the show. About seven years ago I rode Bre in the show but I was already at the barn with all my things so it was super easy. Getting organized to take a three year old and a student to an away show is a whole different ball game. I decided not to take a horse for me to ride. Taking one horse will keep me busy enough for the first show out. 

I work Weds/Thurs so I don't get off until Friday at 730am. That means I get a short nap then have to hit the ground running Friday so we can haul out. It is too cold here for a bath but Dickie shines up with nothing but a good curry. I am cursing his one white sock but at least it only comes up to his fetlock. I can clean that with a bucket of warm water. My friend is much worse off with her very loud paint. At least we keep them blanketed so she will just need to get his legs clean. We will also go armed with green spot remover and horsey spray paint. 

My plan is to take a quick nap Friday after work then start packing. I have been making lists of what I need because my brain will be working on limited sleep. We are going to start shuttling horses at two. That will give us a few hours to settle in before the open arena starts. I am not sure how I will get Dickie worked. There are three indoors but one will have some practice classes running and I bet the other two will be too crowded for longing. There are two outdoor arenas but I haven't been there in 15 years so I have no idea if they are winter riding safe. I guess I will just have to wing it. Worst case scenario is that Dickie is too wild to go into the class but that is fine with me. 

Saturday will be an early morning. The halter classes start at eight so we need to be there by six at the latest. A thermos of coffee is going to be my best friend. I will get as man pictures as I can. It should be a fun day if we get just get ourselves there in one piece. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hidden Risks of a Rambo Wug

Last week I planned a wonderful all day fluff and buff session with Miss Bre and Romeo. I got off work at 730 am and headed to see the ponies. I wanted to try the new saddle on, clip Romeo, pull Bre's mane, all that fun suff. The horses were in the lower pasture when I got there. I noticed that they didn't come right to the fence and vaguely remember wondering why they were hanging out in a boring corner. I didn't think much about it and it was a few hours before I went to fetch them. I had to meet up with the vet at Dickie's barn and do some handiwork before I was ready for the ponies. When I went down to get them she still hadn't come up to the gate. For 13 years this has been a horse who will be at the gate before I get out of the car. I opened up the gate to let them run up to their paddocks and oddly Bre still didn't come. Romeo went blasting by and Bre NEVER lets Romeo beat her to the barn. This mare's motto is "Why walk when you can run". She just stood at the fence corner giving me this really intense stare. Then she started pawing and my heart sank. The first thing that came to mind was she had hurt herself. That would be the only reason for her not to come. A split second later I saw the problem. She had snapped the front of her Rambo Wug to the fence. Mare had been stuck to the fence for at least a few hours. No wonder she was hanging out in the corner for so long. SHE WAS STUCK!!

The thing I love about my mare is that she didn't take down the fence or tear her blanket. She just patiently waited for me to get her lose. It was like she thought someone had tied her up and she was supposed to wait there until she was untied. I really wanted to stop and take a picture but I decided that was kind of mean since to make her wait longer because she had been such a good pony. 

Moral of the story: If there is a bizarre way to get into trouble, your horse will find it.

Other moral: If you have no climb fencing and a Rambo Wug you might want to put tape over the snap. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Favorite Horsey Must Have

This is a plug for an equine product but I am not getting any kind of kick back. I just love the product and wanted to share.

I love to buy stuff for my horses AND I love to support small businesses. My newest Equinet purchase fits both of these so I am happy as can be. Bre and Romeo are out all day but they have pretty much zero grass so the BO throws them plenty of local hay. She feeds them in the arena which has turned into a swamp were we feed. Anyone who lives in the Pac NWst knows the only way to avoid mud is to keep your horse in a stall 24/7. Even if you have a big pasture high traffic areas turn to soup. My mare also wolfs hay down faster than any horse alive then ends up irritable and hungry. Enter Equinets.....

Equinets are slow feed hay bags handmade by a woman in Washington. I first heard about this product when they were donated to a Pony Up Rescue fundraiser. Pretty soon everyone was raving about them. I checked out the website and they seemed pretty snazzy. She hand makes them in a variety if sizes (mini size, one feeding size, full bale size, you name it she can do it). They are super easy to fill (most hay nets make me homicidal by the end of the filling process), and they are very safe. She was inspired to make them after her horse was injured by a normal hay net. They support healthy digestion because it takes all day just to finish a few flakes of hay. They also keep that easily bored horse busy. Not to mention the time saving factor. You can give a full days worth of hay in one feeding.

Another plus is the fact that they don't seem to fight when they are eating from these nets. Romeo always wants to eat off the same pile as Bre (Even if there are five piles) and she gets really pissed off about it in the winter.

Our horses just love them. Yesterday I put a few flakes of hay in their corner feeders and let them in to eat while I was dinking around. In my dinkage I hung a hay net in the aisle because I was planning on a long pre-show grooming session. Both Bre and Romeo left their hay and started trying to get at the Equinet.

Here is a pic of Romeo munching hay during beauty parlor time. Notice Bre has left her hay pile and is begging to get a chance at the net:

I gave in and let her share in the fun:

Did I mention she donates a portion of the proceeds to rescues? She lists which rescue you will be supporting each month on her website. If you are in the market for a hay net  you HAVE to get one. I plan on getting more!! I need some for shows and some for the stalls too. 

Please please check out the website and spread the word on this great product!! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Guess Who I Rode?


The BFF has been really busy with work and the few times he has come out the best hadn't been conducive to riding the boy. The BO said she was willing to be my ground person. It is hard to find a ground person you can trust. If they can't control the horse and you are screwed. If they get crazy and over controlling you are screwed too. It's also important to have someone who let you run the show. She knows Dickie really well and fits all the criteria for a superstar ground person.

Thursday all the stars were aligned. The barn was quiet, Dickie was tuned in, BO was there, I was feeling healthy again... We had a little longer longe session that usual. I wanted him a tad tired and extra focused on me. He was an angel!!! He stands better at the mounting block than most grown up horses and wasn't the least bit concerned about the extra weight.

I sat on him bareback once but this was the first time with a saddle. Sometimes babies wonder WTF is going on with a saddle involved because they can't feel it is a human up there. I also used the stirrup to mount this time to see how he felt about that sensation. We walked around a bit and I hopped off and gave him some love. Then we did it over again. The second time I kind of forgot I was getting on a baby and plopped on a little heavier than the first time. He didn't care. I guess all the jumping around and thumping into him over the last six months did some good. 

The ride lasted about ten mins but it was perfect. 

Red Mare Problems

Breedle Dee has been a bit neglected since Christmas and has decided it is unacceptable. I got a call from the BO that Bre has been kicking Romeo and has made him limp away a few times.  To her credit she gives him tons of warning when she wants her space. For some reason social cues are beyond Romeo. He just doesn't get it. She gives him way more warnings than the average mare would. Bre is the mare who will let horses walk on top of her butt on trail rides. I have had horses literally tuck their noses under her tail on rides and she doesn't care. A girl has to draw the line someplace though... She will give him the ear pin, mare pissy face, cocked back leg, half kick, and only then will he get nailed. Through all of it he is clueless. He will just get closer and closer to her.

Romeo has his this issue in herds before so it isn't just Bre. At seven Romeo isn't going to suddenly figure it out. If he hasn't caught a clue by now he is never going to. You could say horses will be horses but we can't have Romeo get hurt. I was surprised to hear that things have gotten bad but once we started talking about it the reason behind her increased irritability became clear. Red Mare needs to be worked!!

We don't have this issue in the summer. In the summer she gets ridden by the BOs family and a myriad of teenage girls. Bre will also work herself when the footing is good. I kid you not, she will herd Romeo around like they are being lunged calm as can be. We didn't have the problem last winter but our arena had great footing to run around in until March. She was also being ridden by Romeo's Girl all winter. This year our arena is crud and RG has been busy with high school. I am pretty sure Bre is just stir crazy from lack of work. She is feeling good from her Legend shots and acupuncture. As if to tell me this hypothesis is right on Bre escaped on Weds. She went out of her way to jump a hedge just for the fun of it. Then she ran up and down the driveway just because she could.

Luckily the BOs niece has outgrown her horse and asked to start riding Bre. Apparently she fell in love with her this summer. I am also moving to day shift so I will have more energy to get her moving. I can't wait for it to dry out and get sunnier. I am getting testy with all this rain too. I know how she feels. Does anyone else have horses who get crabby in the mud season?

Who Me?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Accidentally Deleted Comments SORRY!!

Allision, Teresa, and Lisa all left me lovely comments and I clicked DELETE instead of publish. So sorry. It must be all the codiene cough syrup and steriods going to my brain. I read the comments and loved them. Thanks so much!!!

Fun Horse Blog from Down Under

I have been reading a lovely blog about a horse named Allie and her loving momma. Lately the blog has been focused on a New Year Equestrian Challenge. The Challenge is a daily list of questions to blog about. I am having a wonderful time reading her blog and thinking about my own questions to these answers. If you have seen it already check it out. Guaranteed to make you smile and bring back many similar horsey memories.

Allie and Grace's blog

What are your best memories?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Miss My Ponies!!!!

I had my lovely planner, Dickie's big boy saddle was in the mail, I was very very motivated with that show coming up soon.... Then my nose started to run a little and I was coughing on Friday. I didn't think too  much about it because I have asthma and terrible allergies. Saturday I had a make up Christmas dinner planned with my mom and once I woke up I realized I was sick. I didn't want to cancel because we had already put it off once. Sweating and coughing I made it through cooking a full turkey dinner with the help of my much Better Half and the BFF. (Don't worry the BFF was the one who touched food, and there was lot's of hand sanitizer on my part). The day came off without a hitch but by the end of it I felt sicker than I have been in years. That is saying a lot because I constantly had some kind of cold in nursing school. And pneumonia is frequently the exclamation point to the end of my colds due to my asthma.

Super yummy feast!!!

Long story short I have been in bed since Sunday. My biggest activities are eating food someone else cooked and the daily washing of my sweat drenched sheets (sexy huh). I am missing three days of work in all this and am out of sick days (I am a new employee without much accrual and already had a few colds). I work on a transplant unit and my patients are all taking immunosuppresants. I don't think they would appreciate this bug. I finally had the energy to go to urgent care yesterday. I had grand plans of being able to drive myself but that was short lived and I got a ride. I have pneumonia and a major asthma flare. The good news is I have two 60mg doses of prednisone in me at this and can breathe a little better. Still a bit of a mess but being able to lay flat without wheeze/hacking is amazing. I didn't realize how bad my breathing was until it is starting to get better.

Polishing my show boots is the closest I can get to the barn right now. 

I miss the ponies so much. This was going to be a good week for riding. Next week I really need to focus on Dickie and Romeo for the show. I am so grateful my horses are being taken care of. Josey's mom even saved my by picking up grain for Dickie. The big man can't go hungry. He's probably already a pain in the ass with the lack of handling. I can't imagine him at dinner time with no vittles in his bucket. Dickie's new saddle is sitting on the couch calling to me. I sat on it a few times since I can't put it on a horse yet. It has the med-wide gullet installed but it looks pretty narrow. I think it will fit the baby boy right now. I was hoping he med-wide would fit the grown up horses because I also have a med for Dickie. I think the grown ups will probably need a wide. The saddle looks really amazing for a synthetic. The gullet is nice and wide. The panels look even and balanced. I hope it fits Dickie but between all the horses I ride I know it will fit one of them. I miss having a close contact. I am a dressage girl at heart but there are things I don't like to do in a dressage saddle. 

Watch out ponies. I can jump in this one!! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

What To Bring in the Show Ring Bucket?

This is a question for readers out there. What are your must haves for the ring side bucket (or tote, or whatever you use) ?

I haven't shown in ages and I want to make sure we have the important stuff handy. Here is what I plan on keeping ring side:

  1. Extra yarn/bands to for last minute braid/band crisis. Or for unanticipated tack/clothing crisis requiring McGiver repairs.
  2. Hoof Polish
  3. Boot rag
  4. Horse rag
  5. Hair spray
  6. Water spray bottle
  7. Scissors
  8. Baby oil
  9. Body brush
  10. Tail brush
  11. Show Sheen
  12. TREATS!!!

What else? I like to keep it as simple as possible. I don't want to pack the barn around with us but I want those last minute things that make you look extra shiny in the ring.

Dickie loves a Job

December was a weird month for us. I had a few weeks where I was only able to get out there twice. Most of the month I didn't make it over to the big arena. I was either too tired or getting through the gate was too stressful. A spring comes up when it is really rainy and the creek goes right through the gate to the arena. Getting back through the gate is super stressful and deserves a post of it's own so I will revisit it at a later date. 

We have still spent time together and made some great progress. We have been going on walks past the scary llamas and up to the loud bust street. He will tie in his stall for up at an hour even when he has ants in his pants. We wears his saddle so often now that he thinks it is just part of treat/cuddle time. I whack it on him, shake the stirrups, drop it next to him and whatever else might accidentally happen during his lifetimes. I can put my foot in the stirrup and jump up and down like a crazy person. I can knee him in the side and poke him with my toe. One thing I like to instill in any horse I train is that people are weirdos. They make noise, trip, fall, make horses wear ridiculous things, they wear noisy clothes..... People are unpredictable nut jobs and the sooner horses accept it the better things will go for every one involved. After almost 13 years Bre just rolls her eyes when I get a wild hair and do something really stupid. 

So December wasn't a total wash for training. However, I have found that this horse really likes to be physical. He seems to thrive off work. I do need to balance that with cuddle time because he is offended if I just come out after a few days off then expect him to work (I swear he is such a mare sometimes). When I am round pending him and working him in the arena he is a million times easier to handle in hand. He is calmer and more focused. I think he is going to be one of those horses that you need to ride regularly. Bre loves to go on adventures and is also up for anything but she is perfectly happy to be just a pet. I think he is going to be like me TB mare who needed to work. We finally made it back into the arena on Weds and it was like he never left. He was definitely wild on the lunge to start (he's two) but he was listening, remembered voice commands, and wasn't out of breath. I have finally figured out which days the arena is clear of jumps so I am looking forward to getting down a lunge schedule. If the jumps aren't the arena we can use the long sides so I can work him a little longer without worrying about the strain of circles on his maturing body. 

I am also looking forward to riding him! It barely over a month he will be three. My new saddle will be here early next week. We aren't going to do much but I think he is going to respond well to work. If the jumps are up so I can't lunge for long I will be able to get on and walk him around. He handles longer training sessions really well as long as I keep changing our focus about every 15 mins. Riding him will mean I can do a 15 min lunge, in hand work for 15 mins, then ride for 15 mins. 

He's wearing a big boy saddle and breast collar. 

We've been working on getting him to stay put until I ask him to come. 

He can be trusted for kisses now without loves bites. 

He kept getting into the bucket of burrs and ending up with him all over his face. 

He is so friendly and followed us around like a dog in the pasture. 

"Are you sure you don't want me in your personal space?"

"If you love me you will take those gloves off and hand them over"

Three in one day?

Last summer I had high hopes of getting back in the swing of riding. I had stolen Josey from my new BFF. I was getting Romeo tuned up. And I even had a new saddle that Bre deemed acceptable to ride her in. Then Josey started to have some health issues, the arena at Bre's went to mush, and the December holiday season sucked my free time away like a black hole. I was also rejecting organizing my time and opting for doing what felt good in the moment. This worked well for sunny summer days and not so hot for depressing mud filled downpours. Right out of nursing school I couldn't bring myself to use a planner. I think it was a case of PTSD. Working full time, being class president, owning a horse, and nursing school meant I literally scheduled my time in 15 minute increments. After rejecting my planner for six months I went back to scheduling my days and it already feels better. 

Josey is feeling fat and sassy. So sassy that she gave her owner a little buck and scoot this week. Her owner had a lovely ride after Josey kicking her heels up a little. It has been a struggle to get the right saddle for her. She is a draft cross so she is wide but she isn't draft wide. She is like a big full QH bar type of wide. She also has withers and for some reason saddle makers think that wide horses don't have withers. She is wide all the way up her wither rather than having bony TB withers. If you just get a wide saddle thinking it will work they often sit on her withers. As a result I think she has had many saddles that don't fit right over the years and that resulted in some protests when asked to trot/canter. 

Josey's momma got her a wintec dressage saddle and she LOVES it. She hopped right into the canter for me yesterday. That was new. I think park of the issue was not knowing the canter command but having a comfy saddle helped too. She also had the most forward lovely trot. She still isn't quite stretching into the bridle but she's bending around circles and isn't resisting. After the ride I could see that her back muscle had come up. What a good pony. 

The BO and I made a date to ride yesterday. It was really fun because we are both getting back into riding after a break. Because we board away from the main barn it can be hard to motivate myself to make the trek over with twice (once with Dickie, once with Josey). If I have a date with someone I am much more likely to actually follow through. After our ride she offered to let me ride her horse. He was super fun. He is a 7 or 8 year old quarab. He has a much quicker stride than I am used to but once he settles down it is a nice trot. I really enjoyed him and I hope she lets me get on again. 

After ladies riding date it was time for a lesson on Romeo. It started out fantastic. We went in the snaffle to make sure all the basics are still there. He wasn't chomping and was asking to stretch forward from the first lap around the arena. She had ridden bareback the day before to fix her leg position and she was back to her lovely seat. Then all hell broke lose. Romeo saw something that struck fear into his very soul. We aren't sure was that thing was. We think maybe he saw the BO's Newfoundland out of the corner of his eye and thought it was a hungry bear (he has seen this dog many times by the way). His initial spook was a bolt across the arena straight at me. I saw my life flash in font of my eyes but somehow I managed to get out of the way. It took a good hour and half before we could get him to go around the arena without trying to sit and bolt. RG must have velcro in her butt because she sat up like a champ through it all. I ended up hopping on for the last 45 mins. She was doing great but getting worn out and my years of riding a screwy TB made me well equipped to deal spaz spooks. At the end of the ride he was jogging by the door on a lose rein but he was still convinced that something was coming through the door to eat us all. 

Romeo has is occasional spazzy moments but this was something I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it. I hope RG isn't too worried that it will happen at a show. I bet it will never  happen again. In a way it was good for her to learn how to deal with a nut ball horse. She did really well. Most people would have been in the dirt or too frozen to really ride him through it. It was also good for me because I was beginning to wonder if I still had it it me to deal with equine insanity. It has been so long that I wonder if I can get my mojo back. I still have it. It is under ten inches of fat and atrophied muscle but with a little work I will be ready for the Dickster. 

Needles to say my abs are a bit tender today but I love it.