Gen’s New Halter

My horse is such a goofball! Check out Gen’s new halter! Because of his halter rubs, Gen needed a new halter. I knew that I would get him a nice all leather halter with padding because he had an old halter like that and it never gave us any trouble with rubs. Gen goes out with his halter on. Every barn is different about that. I would personally rather have him go out without it, but my little Houdini has shown us all that it is necessary for him to have some identifier on him such as a halter with a tag on it. Oh Gennyral 😛

So I tried to take a picture of Gen modeling his cute new halter combo and fuzzy. I always feel like having a matching halter and lead rope is so decadent, which is why I love it! I mean, not every horse has a matching halter and lead. Does your horse? I wanted to show off my handsome man, but getting a picture of Gen in his new digs was tough. He would not stand still for a moment! (notice the lead rope is blurry in the picture below because he just wouldn’t stop)

I want to give a big THANK YOU to SolitaireMare for the fuzzy. That grey fuzzy was once worn by her precious horse Monty and I was hoping it would have some of Monty’s good sense still left in it.

Clearly Gen was ignoring any of the good Monty vibes. Instead he seemed to be channeling cookie monster 😛

I ended up just cracking and taking a picture of it hanging on his stall because that was the only way I was going to be able to show you how cute the combo is. The lead rope is black with gold yarn and the halter is black with brown leather padding and brass hardware. I hope Gen enjoys his new posh look because a matching halter/lead rope set is a luxury that I am probably not going to be able to afford for a while.

The First Horse Show of 2010 – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

The best way I can describe my test is mediocre. There were no moments of brilliance or even beauty. I was okay with that though because there were also no moments of naughty or Phoenix being a total jerk. Things that we normally have at home, like straightness and bend were not there. Phoenix was all twisted up like a pretzel. I could not be mad at him for that though because that is normally an issue we fix during our warm up. How can I expect him to bend when we are not connected inside leg to outside rein? During both our freewalk and our stretchy circle I went for it and really tried to get Phoenix to stretch. Since he was not using his ample hind end to push through, there was just no stretch to be had.

When I did my second halt I knew it was bad, but I still had to laugh. I mean, I was really proud of us. The test seemed secondary on that day to me. I know that I should have cared more about the test, but I was really just proud of all the obstacles that Phoenix and I had overcome. The judge spent a few minutes after the test giving me a few exercises to help Phoenix and I (most of which I am proud to report that we already do) and saying what a great horse I have (which I do) and then bashing his canter (which I was a bit surprised about because it had felt decent to me). I knew I had not broken a 60%, but I was happy anyway.

Back at the trailer I was still really happy with Phoenix and I, and everyone else was proud of us also. This show was to prove to myself that Phoenix and I are okay. And boy did we ever prove that. I was glowing with pride as I got my baby on the trailer by myself and everyone watched. I felt like I was floating on air. Just 6 months ago I would have had a total melt down showing up so late on show day. Just a few weeks ago if I felt Phoenix’s back that tight I would have gotten off again. On Saturday I didn’t do any of those things. I was not only fine, I was happy and having fun! I didn’t even freak out when my test did not go as well as it could have.

As I walked down with my parents, Shawn’s Mom and her Mom to get my score I could honestly say that no matter what the score was I was happy. And true to my word I did not even bat an eye when I got the super low score of a 54.4%. My test was mostly 5s and 6s with a 4 for my stretchy trot.The comments were honest, my horse was tense and not over the back. Phoenix was above the bit and lacked bend. What I was shocked to see was that Phoenix and I had not even been blown out of the water by our low score. The judge was, without a doubt, scoring low and my poor score was good enough to tie for 4th. I ended up losing the tie break so I took my pretty pink 5th place ribbon and skipped back to the trailer.

The whole point of going to the show was that it was close by and I needed a confidence builder. I was, without a doubt, more confident in both Phoenix and myself as I drove home than I was that morning, so it totally worked. When I got home I even unloaded Phoenix by myself just to prove to myself I could. I was so happy I would not shut up about it for the rest of the day. I learned the valuable lesson that sometimes you can get a bad score and still have a great show. I had a lot to prove to myself and I was able to do it. I also know that even though we did not have a lot of the right moves at the show, Phoenix and I have everything training wise that we need to do well this year. My next show is Sunday and it is our very first recognized show. Onward and upward as they say!

Fin

The First Horse Show of 2010 – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

As I opened the emergency door to the trailer my confidence wavered. Phoenix was standing there shaking, like literally shaking, with his eyes bugging out of his head. I told him it would be okay, that I was okay and he had to trust me. By the time Shawn’s Mom helped me unload him he was already looking better. Phoenix looked around and then took a deep breath and calmed right down. It was in that moment that my heart swelled with pride. My little baby was growing up! I tacked him up (with help) in the driveway and hurried to get myself dressed. My parents surprised me also by showing up so I went from having no one to having lots of great people around! I was running so late that even PO had wandered down the drive way to try and find me. By the time I got to the warm up ring to get on it was 12:58. I had 10 minutes to get his number on, tighten the girth, do a full warm up and get in the ring! Yikes!

You would think that my high strung self would have lost it at that point, but I was actually okay. I never felt frazzled or panicked for some reason. Looking into the ring where just 4 short months ago I lost my nerve gave my confidence another shake, but luckily PO was there and she was having none of it. My horse was fine and I was too. I had so little time to ride I needed to turn my worries off and my riding brain on. Phoenix was SUPER tight backed as I climbed on. He felt like a spring that was ready to pop.

Some horses do not need a lot of warm up. Gen, for example, did best with only about 20 minutes before he went into the ring. Phoenix on the other hand needs LOTS of warm up in order to loosen up and relax. I normally walk him for 10 minutes, so an 8 minute warm up was just not enough time to loosen his back up and get him tracking up. Knowing that the judge was a tough one and that all scores were low so this would not be a useable score unless a miracle happened, PO set about giving us the best warm up that she could for such a short amount of time. She focused on the few things she knew we could fix instead of the 100 things we didn’t have time to worry about.

Before I even blinked it was time to take off his boots and head into the ring. We had only gotten to do one canter depart in each direction. Phoenix was nowhere near relaxed and submissive. Still, I was happy. He was not the crazy horse he had been last time we where there. I felt totally comfortable riding him, which was a big win for me. I knew that it was not going to be the best test ever, but I also knew that we were doing the best we could all things considered. One last bit of advice from PO about having a smooth and accurate test and in we went.

I could still hear PO’s words ringing in my head as I started around the ring waiting for the judge to ring the bell. As Phoenix started being a baby and looking at things and getting himself twisted into knots I took a deep breath. I needed to be smooth, no surprising Phoenix. Every transition and every movement needed to be planned and thought out. I knew this would be an “interesting” test. Phoenix had no impulsion, and so we also had no bend and no real connection. I also knew that while it might not be beautiful, if I used my head it would not be ugly either. Phoenix was a young horse and kept throwing his head in the air and he would not stop looking, but I did my best to correct him and remind him that I was on top of him! His big spotted shoulder popped out right as the judge went to ring the bell so I decided to ride smart right away and circle him before we turned up at A. This test was going to be all about using my brain.

To Be Continued…

The First Horse Show of 2010 – Part 2

Part 1

The Nice Local Trainer was teaching a lesson and busy, so while I had a brief thought of calling in for extra help, it was just not going to happen. I now had less than 40 minutes before my show time so I was losing precious minutes and I just couldn’t wait for anyone to help. I looked at Phoenix, looked at the trailer and just grabbed my boy knowing that no one was going to help us but ourselves. I figured that I needed a little grain as an insurance policy. I know, I know…A lot of people are very against using grain near a trailer because they feel that it causes colic. I decided that my hearty Phoenix would be fine and so grain it was. I also know that a lot of people are against bribing a horse onto a trailer. I am clearly not one of those people, especially not when trying to load by myself for the first time.

Bucket in hand I started to walk to the ramp where my lung line was waiting. I was having a hard time getting it on because my little food motivated pony was trying very hard to get to the bucket. I took a deep breath and started to march towards the trailer, determined that if I was confident that we could do this, Phoenix would be also. Low and behold Phoenix marched right up the ramp and in to the trailer without a second thought. I put the chest bar up gave Phoenix the reward of a few hard earned bites while I held the lung line and went to close up the back. The 10 steps it took me to get to the back seemed like an eternity. I was so worried Phoenix would come flying out the back at me. When I put the butt bar up I started to grin. As I closed up the rest of the back of my trailer I literally started to jump up and down!

I was so excited! I had loaded Phoenix on the trailer all by myself! As I went to clip him in to the trailer ties up front I just kept telling Phoenix how wonderful he was. Phoenix on the other hand was trying very hard to tell me how wonderful that little snack had been :P. Once Phoenix was secured, I literally ran into my truck and headed out. I was LATE. I was SCREWED. I was just praying that I would get there in enough time to even ride my test! Luckily the 15 minute drive there was mostly uneventful. I only had to pass one group of rude bicyclists (it drives me nuts that they bike 3 across at 20 mph when there is no shoulder and the speed limit is 45 mph).

I used my drive to take deep breaths and keep calm. In my head, I was still doing the happy dance from loading. I felt like if nothing else, I had already accomplished a HUGE goal. As I turned onto the road where the show was and looked at my clock I knew that there was still hope I could make my test. I decided that this was my consequence for being a poor planner and that I had to just roll with the punches. I was feeling stressed about getting him ready all by myself when I didn’t have a lot of time. In fact, if I didn’t hustle I might not make my test at all. I was trying hard to not freak out as I put my turn signal on to turn into the show grounds.

As I slowed down I saw a car coming from the other direction that was makeing the turn also. It was a car I knew. Shawn’s Mom (who had ridden to two 1st level wins earlier in the day at the show) and she had come back to help me!!!!! I was saved! I looked up to the sky as I went to park and knew that I would be okay. I could do this. And so could Phoenix. As Shawn’s Mom and her mother started walking back to the car I set to work. I was no longer frazzled. No longer worried. I was determined to at least ride my test. I could do this. I knew I could.

To Be Continued…

The First Show of 2010 – Part 1

So I made a big mistake at this horse show. The kind of mistake that can only be made if it is the very first show of the year. I delusionally thought that I only needed and hour and a half to get Phoenix ready in the morning. Yes, you read that right. I thought that it would only take me 90 minutes to get Phoenix from his field, give him a bath, braid him, go back to Gen’s barn to get my trailer, put all my stuff in the trailer, boot up Phoenix and be ready to put Phoenix in the trailer.

Even just typing it now it seems so stupid!!! I know better than that! Thinking about it rationally now I know an hour and a half is cutting it close just with bathing and braiding. Needless to say, time management was my biggest issue at the show. By the time I had Phoenix all braided and tucked back into his stall it was 11:50. Not good considering my ride time was at 1:08! I quickly dashed over to Gennyral’s where the barn owner help me out a lot by helping me hook up my trailer. I am usually pretty good at that, but I did not even have 5 minutes to spare so he helped me line up in a mated of seconds instead of minutes.

I had also not planed correctly because I was not dressed to show yet. I had thought I was going to have tons of time so I had all my show clothes with me, and not on me. By the time I pulled out of the driveway to go back to get Phoenix I had less than an hour before my test time. I had saved 10 minutes, but I was still running about 30 minutes behind! I was starting to get stressed.

On the drive back to the barn I reminded myself to take deep breaths. I was fine, Phoenix was fine, we would all be fine. If I missed my test time, well, then I just missed my test time. No big deal. The post of this show was just for Phoenix and I to get out and about. That was all. I had mostly calmed myself down by the time I got to the barn. I set up my trailer with the lunge line and did a quick prayer that Phoenix would just get right on the trailer no problem. I booted Phoenix up, told him to be good and loaded him up for the ride to the show.

To Be Continued…

Show Day!

I am sitting here watching tv right now being bored. I still have a couple of hours before I need to go to the barn. My tack is clean and all my gear is packed. I just need to clean and braid my pony! I am switching one of my goals this year already, before even the first show. I am took away the musical freestyle goal and added  the goal of not freaking out about showing. I thought I was over making a big deal about every show, but clearly I am not. I got really nervous about the show today when I thought about going alone. I want to just have it be no big deal to go somewhere and show. If I could take one thing away form this year I want it to be that I can go anywhere and do anything. A horse show does not have to be a holiday. It could just be a Sunday. Does that make sense?

So speaking of being nervous…PO must have been able to tell that I was wary of going to the first show of the year solo. Out of the blue, she offered to come and warm Phoenix and I up! That made me feel SOOOOO much better! I was a little nervous about that, now I have no need to be. It also means that she will be around her farm when I am loading Phoenix up so she can help me out with that, and I already know I can unload him by myself and get us tacked up. So I am already feel much more confident! Also, last night Phoenix was super tense when I got on to ride, but I was still able to have a good ride! That is a HUGE step for us!

So I am feeling much more confident today about today then I was yesterday. Which is a good thing. I would like to break a 60% today. I know where we are and what we need to work on, so it might be a big of a reach for us right now, but I am going to try anyway. My real goal is just to have a clean test. Phoenix really struggles with shallow loops and bending lines, so if we can be accurate and steady that is more then enough for me!

1 day to show day!

I could also title this post “changing the way I think”. I have been CRAZY busy this week. Normally I am ready to show weeks before my first show of the year. Not so much this year. I don’t know what is going on with me, but I still have A LOT of prep to do before my show tomorrow. I know I am not the only one who is having a hard time getting into the show season…I didn’t even get my times until yesterday afternoon!

The crappy thing about my time when I got it? Well let me back up for a second. I requested a late afternoon time because neither the Young Rider nor My Trainer could come in the morning. I figured that I would request an afternoon time and hope for the best. Well, the best turns out to be lunch time! I am the third from last ride at the show too which is just crazy. I am surprised that so few people are coming out and showing. At the same time…I don’t feel like Phoenix and I are 100% ready so I can see why a lot of people are skipping this show and waiting to make their debut until later.

So because my time is so early, it looks like I am flying solo for the first show of the year. There is a chance my trainer can come, but that is only a small one. I am a little nervous about going all by myself, but at the same time, now the show ring doesn’t really matter. My whole goal for this show is going to be just to get both Phoenix and I there and back safely. I have unloaded him alone, but I have never loaded him all by myself. Stupid things are going to be tricky like boots now. I want Phoenix to travel in boots, but it looks like Phoenix is going to be warming up without them because I don’t feel like getting off and getting back on again right before I go in.

I am a little bit nervous going alone for another reason as well. This show is at the same place as the saddle fitting. I know that Phoenix and I have come a long way since then, but just in case he is a 6 year old it would be nice to have a voice of reason there to keep me focused. I don’t really have any score expectations except to say that I think if we are having a good day I can break a 60%. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that Phoenix and I have a good day. We are just going to do out best. I know it sounds dumb, but I really just want objective feedback about my riding right now. I also want to prove to myself that Phoenix and I can show and it is no big deal.

My plan for 2010 was to make it the year for both Phoenix and I to grow up about showing. I want to be able to just go and do it and not worry about it. I want to just be able to just toss Phoenix in the trailer and go whereever whenever. Looks like we are starting on that goal right away! And on our own! Wish me luck! And any tips about self loading on the trailer would be appreciated!

Smokin Encore…Still For Sale…

This is now the third time that I have been putzing around on dreamhorse only to see that this horse is up for sale. I wanted this horse very badly as a weenling and not at all as a yearling. Now as a 2 year old I am still curious. He does not look like he is built to be a dressage horse, and I need another horse like I need a hole in the head, but there is something about him that intrigues me. His owner sounds a bit on the crazy side (check out the yearling post as well) but at least she is asking a lower price for him now. I hope this horse goes to a good home. Maybe I will find his post again as a 3 year old 😛

Smokin Encore
Dream Horse ID: 1525803

Photo expires 2010-06-05 – 63 Days RemainingPercheron/Arabian gelding
Breed:Arabian
Secondary Breed: Percheron

Date Foaled: MAY 2008 Gender: Gelding
Height: 15.3 hh Weight: 1,200 pounds
Color: Black Other Color
or Markings: star
Temperament:
1=Very Calm…
10=Very High-Spirited 3 May Trade: No
Registered? Yes Reg. Assn: AHA
Reg. Number: HAHR*1A368176 For Lease: No
For Sale: Yes Asking Price: $2,000 (US)
Horse Skills
or Potential: Trail Riding:Recreational

Notes: This young guy is growing quickly, nice heavy bone’ Sweet willing personality, will be your best friend for food and follow you anywhere. Yields to human presence and is always aware of you. I have been sitting on his back for the past year while he is tied with no resistence. he has been handled and exposed to as much as I could get to him such as tying, trailering, some longing, bathing, clipping, saddle and blanketing. He would make a great trail horse or carriage horse, he seems to have the Arab energy with the Percheron mentality. This is not a flattering picture taken late last year but it does show his heftiness and that he does look much more Percheron, I do have more recent photos, but he’s hairy and does enjoy the mud! He is double registered with AHA and AWS. He gives no problem with the vet and farrier and is all utd on worming and shots.

Courtney King Update April 20,2010

So things have been going well in Courtney’s rehab! It sounds like mentally she is coming back to herself. Lendon Gray went to visit her last week and Courtney was able to ask questions about her clients and other people which is just such a great sign. Mentally it is starting to come back. And now that the Treach is out she is even back to eating real food! It still sounds like physically she still has a ways to go. She has a hard time standing up for any length of time and reports are that she still is using a wheel chair to get around. She is working hard up at Kessler so hopefully with time is will all come back to her and she will look back at this whole thing as some sort of bad dream. Many reports have commented how grateful she is about all the cards and such that have been sent to her by fans. I hope that her body cooperates with her at some point and that she is able to start walking around again. It sounds like she is on the right path towards healing.