Wanted: Personal Assistant…

I am going to talk to the barn owner about getting my boy a mister. That seems to be the thing that most people thought would help. The only other thing I can think of was Laura’s idea. Clearly if I want Gen to be happy in the summer time heat he needs more than I can give him. I think it is about time that I hired my handsome pony his very own personal assistant!

Gen and I look so young! This pick is from 2007

Gennyral’s Requirements of a Personal Assistant:

  • Must be willing to scratch his cute butt whenever and for however long he needs.
  • Must always have brown pears and carrots on hand in case he gets hungry.
  • Dislike of grooming or giving baths so he can get and stay as dirty as his heart desires.
  • Must love to cuddle and give kisses.
  • Strong preference for bilingual candidate so he can get told in both English and Spanish how handsome and perfect he is.
  • Must be willing to stand at fence line so he can still eat after the Appy breaks the fence to his field instead of standing there defending his turf all on his own.
  • Love of the water so you can take him in streams or hose him off every 2 hours so he does not get hot.
  • Must be willing to stand outside with giant umbrella, fan, and fly shooer all hours to make sure he is shaded, cool, and bug free.
  • Strong camera skills a must so you can take pictures of him all day and night making sure to catch him at this most handsome and most dirty.
  • Ability to keep a level head in all situations, especially for when Gen randomly throws temper tantrums for no reason at all.
  • Good working knowledge of horse first aid since Gen thinks scars are cool.
  • And last but not least…A good sense of humor because sometimes all you can do it laugh!

Payment: Gen and I talked it over and the best payment you can get it the love of one very sweet and possibly spoiled Thoroughbred. Who needs money when you can have Gennyral kisses right?

Gen is just not a hot weather horse!

There is an excessive heat advisory until 8pm tonight in my area. It has been hot for about a week here. Like over 90 with 100% humidity hot. I briefly thought about moving down south earlier this year, and then we had a really hot day and I decided against it! It is the humidity that kills you. Not being able to breath or cool off. My parents live in Arizona and even at 114 there I don’t feel like death is eminent, but where I live I start to get hot at about 80 degrees! Gen is the same way. Yesterday I went at 10am and 5pm to hose him off. The barn owner is VERY sick right now and has other people covering for her and I was unhappily surprised to find my baby still out at 10am. I, of course, brought my little monster in.

My poor Gen was COVERED in sweat from under his boots all the way to his ears and back to his tail. In all honesty though Gen is a bit of a baby…only one other horse in the barn was even sweating and they were not even close to Gen’s level. What can I say, my horse was meant to be in Alaska.

The worst part is the boots. Because Gen has to wear the boots for turnout when he gets sweaty his legs get so gross under the boots.  His Pegasus Airboots have been FANTASTIC in keeping his leg relatively cool this year. This was the first year where he did not get fungus back in May. I am really hoping we can go the whole year without fungus! Fingers crossed. I am a little worried that one 10am day may have done us in though.

Gen spends all day in his stall napping in front of his fan. He angles himself so that it blows on his chest most of the day. I have a feeling I am going to be going up twice today to give him two showers again.

I literally have to build my day around my hot sweaty pony to give him max cooling time. Anyone have any tips on keeping a horse cool in the summer months? Gen does have access to shade when he is out, he is on night turnout, he has a fan in his stall and a big window in his stall that stays open. He of course has access to water 24 hours and his loving mother goes everyday in the afternoon to hose him off. And yet my precious pony is still melting before my eyes. The heat and humidity are supposed to break tonight and it is supposed to be 80s with low humidity for a least a few days, but it will get hot again so anything you can think of to help keep my boy cool and fungus free is worth a try!

The Memorial Day Horse Show Saturday – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

So as I was riding around feeling out of place I got yet another blog to my ego. My first test, the one I thought I did okay on? Well during my warm up they announced that I got a 56.522% for the whole world to hear! Yikes! I got a freaking 56% at training level. I wanted to crawl into a whole and go home. I spent about 2 minutes giving myself a pity party, and then it was time to get back to work. Clearly I was not good enough to be at this show. It sucks to know that you are just not there yet. I was signed up and I had to show so I could either sit around being miserable or at least try to get better and break a 60%. My trainer and I set to work trying to make my second ride a better ride.

We did transitions, a little lateral work, lots of figures and any and everything else we could think of to get Phoenix forward and over the back. It was during out canter warm up that I felt him lift up his tummy and come underneath me.  You should have seen me start to smile. And when we went back to trot and he still kept it…well…I was grinning from ear to ear. When it was time to switch warm up rings I really tried to focus on Phoenix and make sure that he stayed with me because this is where we really lost focus last time. I was more successful, but I still did not have the same horse that I had in the big warm up ring.

By the time we got called to the ring to do our test I had some of my horse back, but it was not all there. Here is the video of our second test.

Now watching this video I don’t love the test, but riding it was worse. When I walked out of the ring I was not a happy camper. It just felt like a worse test. Watching the videos they look about the same, but riding it…it just didn’t all come together in my book. I mean, look at the horse in the ring next to us and then look back at is. It was just embarrassing!  At the time I was pretty bummed about it, but in the same breath I was also pretty proud of Phoenix. Look at my little super star taking it all in stride. I know many horses that would have a problem showing in a ring with a horse next to them, but not my baby! He was a rock star all day long!

My trainer’s baby was getting hot so she left not long after my second test. I took my time un-tacking and taking care of Phoenix knowing that if my trailer and truck were a mess it would kill me the next day at the show. I gave Phoenix a bath and loaded him in to the trailer waiting for them to announce the results. I got many admiring glances from the people in the trailers on either side because of how I was able to do everything on my own. After waiting 15 minutes for them to announce the results I grabbed my clothes and figured I would to and change and by the time I was done with that they would have to be done scoring…right?

Remember, I was parked out in the middle of Siberia at this point because the people staying at the show had not been very courteous about their trailer parking. It took a long time to hike to the show office and the results were still not up. I changed and checked again. Went back to the trailer and checked again. All the while I was beating myself up in my head over the 56%. I mean, with a score like that I should not be showing dressage. I was berating myself for thinking that I was good enough to go to this show. It was abundantly clear that neither Phoenix nor myself was of the caliber to be at this show on this weekend.

Almost an hour after my ride they finally announced the scores for my second test.

PHOENIX AND I GOT A 63.214%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I knew right away that the judge was just generous, but I didn’t care. Not only that, but it was good enough for 3rd place and…(drum roll please)…we even beat PO!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about going from a low point to a high! I happily skipped down to get my ribbon and test. Driving home I was floating on air! I gave Phoenix a bath when we got back and put him back in his sleezy. He was not thrilled about having the braids left in for another night, but I was not re-braiding the following morning! This was my first multi-day show so I went home to clean tack and do laundry so everything would be clean and wonderful the following day. I was so happy with my red and yellow ribbons. I was hoping that I would get more the next day…

The Memorial Day Horse Show Saturday – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

With the footing being so bad my trainer and I decided that it was in our best interest to be conservative in the warm up. What did that entail? Lots of walking :P. It was good because the more we walked the more warmed up his back got, but in the same breath what we both needed was to keep our confidence up and walking around gave us both time to look…and time to think…

Seeing our wondering attention span my trainer figured that crappy for or not, we needed to WORK so she started barking out orders. It is not like her to be that demanding, but in the same breath it was exactly what we needed at that moment in time. My biggest problem at that moment was my long, droopy reins. For some reason I had decided in my head that long reins=confidence….not such a good thing at a DRESSAGE show :P. I tried to remember all I had learned at the Becky Cowden clinic, but for some reason it was just clicking as well in the full warm up ring.

I was really trying to get it, I swear I was. We had some good moments in the warm up, but for some reason it was just not all coming together. I could get Phoenix for a stride, sometimes even a few strides, but looking around at the caliber of horses and riders here a few strides was just not going to make the cut. You couldn’t even tell the difference between the training, first, and second level horses. All were impeccably trained, well moving bays or chestnuts.

My trainer could see me getting frustrated about not being able to get the connection and decided to pull me to the ittsy bittsy warm up outside the ring I was going to show in. It is only a 40×20 and it can have up to 5 other horses in it at the same time. This turned out not to be a good decision because for some reason Phoenix was infatuated by a grey mare in this warm up. To the point where he would even try to change rein, etc to follow her and was totally ignoring me. Instead of this small warm up relaxing me, I started to get tense. Phoenix was way worse about listening! My trainer got down to work and did everything we could to get Phoenix to focus. We did tons of figures and transitions. He was actually marginally better by the time we went over to the ring.

So here is the weird thing… The test actually felt a lot better than it looked! I was so proud of us when we saluted for the second time because I thought we had put in a solid test. That it would be close to 60%! When I walked back to the truck to get ready to take a break before the second test my trainer seemed a little surprised I thought it went so well. When I asked her about it she diplomatically said that judges scored a little tougher at big shows like this one so I should not get my hopes up.

We had an hour between tests, which meant that we had 30 minutes to chill. Phoenix was very grateful for the break and took the time to eat some hay and drink some water. He was already starting to feel at home in this big/intimidating show environment. I smiled at how good my baby horse was doing while watching other horses drag their owners around. It was a bitter sweet moment sitting down with my trainer, friend, and trainers baby watching Phoenix. We all knew that that I had dreamed about showing at Memorial Day for years and now the moment was here and I would be loosing Phoenix after the show.

After some encouraging words, muffins, and Gatorade it was time to get dressed again and head back to the warm up.  Phoenix was getting sleeping so retacking went easily. He was a little reluctant when I got back on, but at least this time he didn’t spook at anything as he was heading to the warm up. We walked in and sure enough there were a good 30 horses all warming up at the same time. This time most of them were in double bridles and top hats. If there were ever a time to feel out classed at a show this would have been the time. My fat self with my Appy stood out like a sore thumb in the sea of upper level horses and 6 foot tall thin riders.

To Be Continued…

The Memorial Day Horse Show Saturday – Part 2

Part 1

I took some deep breaths and figured it was better to unload him, even though I would be alone. Luckily, Phoenix backed off the trailer like a big boy. As he started to jig around me though I started to question my decision to unload him so soon. I set about fussing over him and making sure he looked his best, which seemed to help him calm down. He kept touching me and looking for reassurance. Luckily, after the show the week before, I was as confident as I could be so I stayed calm and made sure he knew that he would be okay. His back was tight as knots as I went to tack him up, which made it a very interesting process. I finally got his saddle on and started to get myself dressed while holding him.

Just as I was finishing up my trainer showed up. She took one look at my cold backed pony and asked me what I was going to do. I told her that I was just going to get on and walk around. I knew it was a little early. I knew that he very well might take off bucking. The thing is, I also knew that the only way I was going to not worry about what he was going to do was just to get on and find out. I could see the worry in her eyes, but I didn’t sweat it. I know Phoenix. I know that the only way he will feel 100% is if I feel 100% and I knew that the only way for me to get there was to get on him. As I walked over to the tail gate of my truck (it makes a great mounting block) I took many deep breaths and said what my fears were out loud. For some reason that calmed me even more.

By the time I put my foot in the stirrup I was okay. As soon as I got on I felt Phoenix tighten up even more. He was so tight over the back that he could hardly walk! Because I was parked in the middle of nowhere I had a nice big field behind my trailer to walk around in. It took a good 10 minutes of walking, changing rein, etc before I even felt comfortable enough to head down to the warm up. My trainer was walking behind me laughing on the way down because EVERYTHING was an issue to Phoenix, but I wasn’t letting him get to me. He would spook, I would stay steady and tell him he was being stupid (he was I swear) and keep going. After about the 10th spook Phoenix started to feel my confidence and finally began to settle.

Because I had gotten on a little early I had time to kill so I walked him around everywhere, including down by the barns were all the big names were stabling. After once last big spook about a storm drain Phoenix took a deep breath and that was it. He was so overwhelmed and he just had to trust me, so he did! By the time we headed to the warm up ring for real he was nervous, but he was paying attention to me and looking to me for guidance. That trust was hands down the best thing about having a baby horse. They look to you for leadership because they don’t know any other way. Over the last year and a half Phoenix learned to listen to me when he gets scared. That moment at the show was the big payoff for all the training and work I had done.

Normally at this show ground there is only a single warm up ring for all 5 show rings. Because this show was a CDI there was a special warm up for that ring for only 4 rings were using the same warm up. There was still about 20 horses already in the ring by the time I got there, but that was better than the 35 that their normally are! After riding in a teeny tiny ring with over a dozen other horses the weekend before I didn’t worry about all the horses flying towards us and past us. I made a plan of how I was going to ride my warm up with my trainer the week before and we were going to stick to it. I refused to get flustered. Just flat out refused! There were many close calls for crashes, but I was steady and didn’t worry about them. I think I need to do a post about universal ring rules, but barring other peoples bad manners we had an even bigger problem.

The footing was a total SWAMP!!!!!!! All the rain from the night before and the morning seemed to have all stayed in the warm up ring. Phoenix was worried about sinking in and honestly, I was a little worried about that also…

To Be Continued…

The Memorial Day Horse Show Saturday – Part 1

*Can I just say that it is weird to write up this show? I have not seen Phoenix since I walked away several weeks ago. I hear he is happy and doing well. It was hard to bring myself back to that show to write this up…*

So I had done all my prep for the show the day before except getting my trailer. And knowing my poop loving Phoenix I figured that a bath was going to be in order also. I had heard that it was going to be a nice weekend, maybe a little on the hot side of things. Imagine my surprised when I wake up and it is raining out. Rain? I had not heard anything about rain! Luckily my truck was packed so I didn’t really have to brave the weather until it was time to hook my trailer up. With a little help from the Barn Owner at Gen’s place (she was on her way to feed and stopped to help) I was at Phoenix’s in no time.

I would not have any help getting ready for this show. My trainer was going to meet me down there to warm me up, but I couldn’t find anyone to come along with me to play groom. I knew going into this that I had to put my big girl breeches on for this show. I cleaned Phoenix up yet again, braided his forelock and it was time to load him. I have loaded him myself before, but normally there are people around to help me if there is a problem. No one was around this time though so I just took a deep breath and marched on. Phoenix, being the perfect pony that he is, followed me right up. I quickly closed him in and hit the road.

During my drive down I was actually very calm. I was not even rocking out to music (my normal pre-show routine) but instead listening to a nature show on NPR about the oil spill. It was almost like I was going out for a Sunday drive instead of to a big deal show. I had no problems until I got to the show. As I pulled in the driveway I noticed that a some people had parked really far away from the rings. I didn’t think a lot of it figuring there were there to ride the X-country course and kept driving down. And that is when I realized that all the people who has stabled at the horse park had decided to park their trailers close to the indoor in the first row! Normally people who are staying overnight and who unhook usually either park behind the barn or they go in the second row back leaving enough space for commuters like me to not have to hike so far to the rings.

I turned around and parked in the middle of the Sahara (or so it felt) and went to check in. The show manager was happy to see me and excited to see Phoenix. I didn’t know how to tell her that this would be our last show so I just sort of skirted around the issue. I am happy to report that I had a perfect entry (no money or paperwork due). When I got back to the trailer I could already tell that my Phoenix was wound up and wound up tight. His eyes were bugging out of his head and he kept going up to the chest bar and back to the butt bar in the trailer. I was alone and had a long time before I needed to tack up. I knew that I would not be able to have breakfast if I took him off (I made blueberry muffins), but I also knew that leaving him on was just going to get him even more worked up. At that moment I was really wishing I had some help.

To Be Continued…

Guenter Seidel Fractures Pelvis in Riding Accident

The Original Article Can Be Found Here

Written by Astrid Appels


U.S Olympic team rider Guenter Seidel got injured in a riding accident this morning at Klaus Balkenhol’s stable in Rosendahl, Germany. The American WEG team contender was thrown off a very fresh UII and fractured his pelvis. He successfully underwent surgery in the Munster University Hospital and will make a full recovery. Seidel arrived in Germany yesterday and was ready for his first ride on Dick and Jane Brown’s UII, a 9-year old Dutch warmblood gelding by Jazz x Rohdiamant. The liver chestnut was very frisky and started bucking incessantly until Seidel, who was wearing a helmet, was launched from the saddle and crashed on the ground.
An ambulance was immediately called to the scene and Seidel was transported to the local hospital. Several MRI and CT scans were made and a broken pelvis was the diagnosis.

Guenter was then transported to the University Clinic in Münster where a specialized team of trauma surgeons, including Dr. Martin Langer and Dr. Michael Raschke, operated on him. The surgery was successful and though it will take time to heal Seidel will make a full recovery. Guenter, who is getting pain relief, is conscious and speaking.

The 49-year old German born Seidel joined several American WEG squad riders in training and showing in Europe to gain more exposure to judging panels and top level competition. Seidel had scheduled to compete at the CDI Fritzens and CDIO Aachen leading up the U.S. WEG selection trials in Gladstone, NJ, in August. Unfortunately, this accident is a major set back for Seidel who will be unable to ride the team selection trials.

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Poor Guenter!

I cannot even imagine the size and number of bucks it took to actually get him off! UII is not just some horse that Guenter decided to get on…He is one of Guenter’s horses in training. I am just glad that at the end of it all he will be okay. And please take note that he was wearing a helmet. Even if he was just doing it because he knew UII would be hot at least he had one on. I am bummed that he is out of WEGs because the American team needed him, but I am glad that he will make a full recovery.

Courtney King-Dye Update June

Sounds like things are going well! I am reposting Lendon’s facebook update below and Courtney’s own update below that. I really hope she becomes an out patient soon! As for Hippotherapy…there is a wonderful facility not far from the Kessler facility she is at called “Rocking Horse Rehab” that has  a great staff, volunteers, and wonderfully trained horses and ponies. I hope she does decided to do it for no other reason then to change up her therapy routine! For those of you not familiar, Hippotherapy is not about riding at all. It is using the horse like a piece of therapy equipment. Should I do a whole post on this at some point or do most of you know about Hippotherapy already?

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Lendon Gray A quick Courtney update — slow steady improvement in speech, walking, stair climbing (with a railing to hold onto, she goes up and down a set of 4 steps by herself 3 times in a row), etc. Lefty is getting more dextrous and Righty can now (with effort) be lifted almost straight up in the air (Righty is the hand/arm that didn’t move at all for a long time). With luck she will become an outpatient at Kessler by July.

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Found on her website

Sunday June 13, 2010

Hello all! I am doing well. I am almost 1\2 way through the emails (thanks DP for putting them together), and I can’t tell you how much they help me. Just knowing how many love and support me is huge!

I still don’t have proper use of my right side and speech is difficult, but I guarantee I am working hard on them! I am amazed how much the brain does. But I feel very lucky being like my normal self and having my memory; I see a lot who don’t have that luxury. I explain that my brain may be terribly screwed up, but my mind is good! I kick butt on anything mental they throw at me, so what if I can’t walk; I can think!At first I didn’t think I would ride again partly because my neurologist said if I hurt my head again, it will not be 2 times as hard to come back but 5 times; and I can tell you, it’s not easy now! But the fact is (even though I have a good education) I can’t see myself doing anything else. I have been asked a lot if hippotherapy sounded good, and at first I thought “those horse are so far below my abilities!” But in reality, horses always make me feel better, so until my balance is better why not do it on horses who are used to it? I heard that Lendon visited me while I was in the coma with a rein, and it made a huge difference! Jason says he was not too impressed with it because he was still trying to get me to communicate, and here is Lendon reminding me how to ride! But it worked; it’s what my body knows. So thanks to Lendon for being such a big part of what’s going on!Ok, that’s all for now. Lots of love,

ckd

The Fun Horse Show – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

So while waiting for the riding classes we ALL started to fade. We had been hanging out for over three hours waiting for the trail classes, which normally would not be a big deal, but not only is my dressage self not used to it, but my trainer and I were not prepared for it. The food stand had run out of food hours ago and had only 1 soda left for the three of us to share by the time we got up there! I had a bottle of water hanging out in my truck and so my trainer, her niece and I all shared what we could, but it was clear we were all fading. I am the queen of baking for a horse show, but I had thought that this would be a quick one, in and out in an hour. We were all regretting our decision to do the riding classes at this point. I don’t know how you Hunter people do it!

We watched the western classes and were all feeling at least a little bit better after getting something to drink. I was still bummed that I had not placed in the in hand trail class, but I figured a few pleasure classes would cheer me up. I was super impressed that as tired as I was (I had been at the barn early to bathe and braid) I was still having fun. Even my trainers niece at all of 8 years old was being a total trooper. We hung out and had a nice chat before it was time to tack up again.

Because there is only one ring at this farm, in between each class that would give us the opportunity to school. When the last class in the western division was done I tacked Phoenix back up and he had this look in his eyes like he was done. I promised him it was only 2 easy classes and then he could go home. I mounted up and was ready to go just as the warm up time started. I was one of the first people in the warm up, but slowly it started to fill up. It went from a handful of people to 17 other horses and ponies in the warm up in no time. Since the ring was not that large it was a little crazy in there.

I was really glad I went to this show because I knew it would be great practice for the following weekend! If I could handle this small space with 18 of us in it nothing could get in my way at the big show.

One thing that I noticed was that everyone was going in the same direction. In dressage, we all just warm up and watch out for each other. At this show it was more like a highway, but opposite. The fastest on the inside and the people walking got the rail. I swear that let us go for a good 15 minutes (about 5 minutes in my trainer, her niece, and I all decided to change rein and everyone else followed) before they started the pleasure class. I have no idea what a judge is actually looking for in a pleasure class. I don’t know how this happened, but along the way I decided that it was a steady rhythem and a long neck with very litte rein contact.

When they called the “English Pleasure” class to start a ton of people left the ring. There were only 8 of us left. In my brain I was mad because I really just wanted a ribbon! We were asked to just walk and trot around like it was nothing. When they called for a line up I was hopeful. Phoenix had been on a looser rein and pretty steady for the class. When they called out 1st place, it wasn’t me. They kept going down list (my trainer got 2nd) and they called me for 5th place. I was good with that. 5th out of 8 in a class that I had no idea what the judge was looking for. I could do that.

The 2nd class was open pleasure. That meant that any adult could ride in the class. Two of the people from the English Pleasure class dropped out and 6 new people came in making the class very full for this small ring with 12 participants. By this time of the day Phoenix was getting grumpy. It had been a long day for him as well waiting to be braided and hanging out for the classes and he just wanted to go home and get his dinner because we were well past supper time and he was still at the show being ridden. Instead of fighting with him I basically just dropped my reins and gave him his head. He went in what I think of as a free walk/stretch trot frame. In this class we had a few more challenges like backing up (Phoenix was no so straight) and standing quietly (did I mention he was a big grump at this point?). By the time we were called to warm up I was just releaved that I could get off of him because he was not being very fun to ride.

Imagine my surprise when they called us for 4th place out of 12 people!!! I was thrilled! I was so happy that Phoenix and I had done so well! I was also getting really tired and dehydrated. My trainer’s niece still had equtation to go, so I quickly untacked Phoenix during the next schooling break so I could watch her go. Her niece did well against kids that were much older. You should have seen her smile when they called her out for 3rd place in a class with teenagers in it. She was beeming!

By the her class ended it was after 6pm. We had been at the show for over 5 hours! We were all dehydrated and tired, but we were also all still smiling. The fun show had been really fun! Phoenix was ready to go home so I loaded him up on my own, which was another big confidence booster for the Memorial Day Show. Knowing I could load him on my own made me very happy! I threw all my crap in the truck and headed home.

What a mess! It is clear I literally just tossed everything in in my haste to leave!

It had been a wonderful, but very long day. So how much did I have at this show? My trainer and her niece are going to go to the next one. I had so much fun that I talked my friend into going and so she is going to let me use her horse for the inhand class so I can show there again. That is how much fun I had! I did pay for getting so dehydrated. I was sick that night and all of the following day. It was worth it though. And now I know to bring food!

The End.