Thursday, November 18, 2010


I has been a while since I have posted. I know that. A few quick things first though. I may have to take the two blogs down and delete them entirely. It seems my dear husband had created a Gmail account and somehow it has been linked to the blog. He swears he has no idea how it happened and has tried to get it resolved by removing it. It's still there even though I have tried to contact Google, gone to their useless "Help" section and gotten no response or assistance in deleting the damned email account.

I did read one way of doing it was to create yet another new Gmail account, (which I do not want or need and have no intentions of doing) sign that on as another author, then delete my original account... blah, blah, jump through hoops, we're too lazy to help you or just don't care, blah. It's just not working for me.

So I may be deleting the entire thing. My blogger account, the NPD blog, this blog and all of the pictures and links on either one. There it is. If there was any information here that anyone wants to save as a future reference, fair warning, look it up now because soon it will be gone.

I don't expect anyone to freak out over the loss. I also don't expect or wish to create any headaches for anyone by giving a short deadline. I will leave the blog up and "as is" for now. If anyone would like to suggest a deadline or date to delete it, I'm game. Otherwise I'm thinking the end of the year would be as good a time as ever.

Once deleted- I will start over again. I always do, because that is just, what I do. New and fresh and a beginning to go with the the New Year. Until then, I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween, has a Happy Thanksgiving, with much to give thanks for and finally a Merry Christmas.

To all of you who have supported this blog by signing on as followers or posting in the comments- my sincerest and heartfelt thanks goes to each of you. I really have appreciated it! I can be reached via email at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Progress in progress

We all have our moments...

Although this is not exactly one of those photos many would consider a 'great shot', I like this one. Kat learned forward is the only direction he is supposed to really go!

Which he did.

We actually put him to the cart last weekend. Sorry no photos as there was nobody else around to take any. That is one of the drawbacks and such is life. He handled it all really well though. Stood like a rock as the shafts were lowered on his sides, through the tugs... the shafts bumped his sides and moved up and down in the tugs- everything they would be doing once he was moving. He handled it all really well. Nothing phased him, bothered or upset him.

So why is there someone else at the end of the lines and not me? Um yeah... I had one of those moments when it all goes according to a plan different than mine. I was jogging along behind him as he trotted around the arena. We jogged & trotted, then went back to a walk, stopped, walked, jog/trotted and then for some reason he startled at hearing me jogging behind him and rushed forward.

Not a big deal but he started to run and I could neither stop him or keep up, so I let go of the lines. He ran down to the fence where the mares were on the other side of it. He was talking a big game but they couldn't be bothered.

So back to work he went and since hubby was at the end of the lines and my cell phone was in my back pocket- we have pictures!

And there were a couple that I really, really liked.

Especially these two...

Can you imagine if he was 16 hands?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

At a bit of a standstill

Ok so maybe things have temporarily come to an all out stop. It has rained here the past couple of days. When I say it rained, it should read more like- It. Downright. POURED!

Last night as I left work, I was a bit excited. The power had gone out for an hour in the afternoon. Then it came back on and went out just before time to close up and go home. We actually got to leave 20 minutes early... Hooray!

It had poured on us a couple times throughout the day. Rain, pour, stop, pour, pour, pour, stop, rain, sprinkle, pour... It was nice, I am not complaining, but sheesh. It was actually in the low 70's and I had worn a sweatshirt in the morning. I don't like being cold, can anyone tell?

The weather channel and online weather service websites spoke of heavy thunder storms and mentioned tornado warnings. How is that for comparison to some other areas of the planet? As I loaded my stuff in the truck to leave I looked up to see a mass of gray/green clouds blowing in from the southeast. All day it had been dark skies out to the west... But as I drove away and reached the end of the street, the skies unleashed on us again.

It had started to hail! Pretty good sized chunks of ice hit the street and smashed to bits. It also pelted the truck so hard I could not hear the person on the other end of the cell phone, even with my hands free ear buds in... The rain, hail and wind was so bad I could barely see past the end of the hood of the truck. I had turned right into the storm and had to either sit and wait it out or trudge forward and go home.

Not only was the rain and golf ball sized hail pelting and beating the truck and windshield, there were pieces of tree branches flying past- good sized branches mind you, debris from the road and nearby houses in the neighborhood... I just hoped the windshield and windows in the truck held up. The windows on the building next door at work- they didn't! Every one of them is broken or has several holes in them.

It took me several minutes to drive the two short blocks to the railroad tracks. I stopped for a minute there. The power was out at work when I left. I couldn't see if a train was coming or not and wondered if one did, would the warning lights go on, arms come down and anyone know? I decided to go for it and hit the gas pedal. Not too hard- don't want to loose traction and not get over the tracks quickly...

Once on the other side, as I came up to the traffic light, it seemed everyone was sitting on the side of the road waiting it out. At least the road was clear and I was able to get through. Getting on the freeway was another interesting feat. Some of the traffic had pulled off to the side- both on the right and left sides... At least nobody was blocking the ramp. There were several drivers pushing on and going forward so I joined them. All of the semi's had their hazard lights on as they plowed through the water on the freeway in front of me.

About 4 miles down the road I had made it out of the storm. The wind was still blowing, but the hail had stopped, the rain was a slight drizzle and I could actually see where I was going again. I still had to stop and get hay, feed when I got home, unload the truck and go inside to cook dinner for the girls. Although I had left early, I still got home late. Not sure how that works, but hey. At least I made it home.

While eating dinner the weather kicked it up again. This time though at least I wasn't outside in it. The wind blew our one wind chime to a horizontal position and the rain all the way up under the porch to the point the front windows were wet half way up.

We might live in the desert, might not get rain that often, but when we do... Mother Nature sure throws a hell of a party!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Redirecting towards grooming again!

Lately it seems I have gotten a bit off track. This is a grooming blog after all, yet I have posted about the cow, getting the WB mare Aruba going under saddle, getting the pony stallion going in harness and a bunch of other stuff. Lately even all of that has sort of come to a stand still.

For Sale Fridays have gone by the wayside although a few people still have the tack they would like to see go to a new home and get some use... Myself included- 2 bridles, a girth, a few bits, the two carts, etc. still hanging around... I believe there are a few saddles owned by the people commenting that are still available, one western show type saddle, one all purpose English saddle. One person emailed asking if I would feature their dressage saddle and when I said yes, please send photos and the info- nothing.

We have talked about getting great deals on tack and accessories, where to find great deals on tack and accessories and what we all like and dislike about things we have or have used. I have gone over blanket repairs and some points of saddle fit, which western pads I like and why, etc.

There is still a lot to cover though. Braiding, banding, mane pulling, clipping, body clipping and surely there are things going on in breeds of which I have not shown or handled- which I have no idea what you guys do or why? If there is anything in particular someone needs to go over for an upcoming show, now is the time to put in your request. If you show draft breeds or have experience with a particular breed in which I do not- feel free to write a guest post and I will gladly put it up.

I did not get decent enough photos of Kat before the show with his mohawk, let alone the battery on my phone died in the process of trying to take some... I also did not get any photos of him since with his ears clipped out and neatened up. I will try and get a couple of those over the weekend and put them up. It is also about the time that some of our horses are getting a bit of a winter coat and some of the people showing will be contacting me about clipping their horses. I may do one or two of ours for grins too, Kat does have the driving show in November...

So now is the time to go through the box with the clippers in it. Pull out all the blades, send them out to be sharpened, maybe even take the clippers in for a once over to have everything checked and anything needing to be fixed, replaced or repaired- done. There's nothing worse than getting half way through clipping a horse, than to have your clippers fall apart or break on you. When you are clipping a horse for someone else- its even worse! Having an extra set of clippers on hand for just that, can save you. I am eyeing this pair since having sold my Osters.

If you have clippers and need them sharpened, but don't know where to take them- ask a local dog grooming place or barber shop. They would very likely have a place they send theirs or someone who comes in to do them. If someone comes in to do theirs, ask what day and time and if you could bring yours in to have them done too. If you are unable to find anywhere nearby to take things, Ryan's Pet Supplies here in Phoenix offers repairs as well as replacement clippers, blades and dryers. They have a wide selection of brands and are the most reasonably priced I have found yet.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Reflection of Perception

So we have all seen how Kat and I did at the show last weekend... Or maybe not yet, but the pictures and the video are in the last post for anyone who hasn't seen them yet. He was a bit excited about being at a show, around other horses and back in the ring.

For the most part- he did good. He walked, he jogged readily when asked, he stood, he was alert & interested in everything, he looked the part and behaved pretty damn well overall. He did bump into me repeatedly when jogging and he did creep on me when standing up for the judge, but this gives us a baseline of things we need to work on for next time. There is always room for improvements and since even the riders on the Olympic level have coaches- yeah, I don't feel so bad. It is always good to have another pair of eyes and insight from others as to what needs to be fixed and what to leave alone.

"If you want to continue with showing him as a sport horse, you need to get him to elevate the front end and drive from behind more. When he has the impulsion from behind he will be able to lift his shoulders. His stride will improve and it will show."

Any guesses as to where I heard that from? One hint- it wasn't the judge. Nope, the judge offered no tips, hints, recommendations or even facial expressions as to what he liked, didn't like or wanted to see. For a schooling show- that's what I do WANT to hear. That's kind of what we are all paying for, isn't it? An objective opinion and tips for improvement... HellooOOoo! Duh!

It was also mentioned in the comments about showing one level below what you are training for. In jumpers if you are schooling 4' at home, showing 3'9" or even 3'6" is perfectly reasonable. That 3" is a big deal and can mean a lot if you have jumped. Dressage riders may be schooling 1st or 2nd level, yet showing in training level or 1st level. When you have mastered the movements and scored well enough to move up- you do. Same with cutters moving up from Green Horse classes to the $500 limit class, and so on.

Shows can also be selected based on the type of show, if they are rated or not, the type of competition there, etc. For anyone who has shown, we all know there are Horse Shows, then there are horse shows. Some being priority and others considered 'bottom of the barrel'.

What I find interesting though is the competitors at the shows. You have some that treat the 'A' rated shows as if they were nothing speyshul and people who treat the schooling shows as if they were the Olympics. Another interesting thing I have noticed, those who frequent the rated shows, may treat the schooling shows as a chance to compete, yet they don't really take them seriously. You are paying to be in the ring, practice your skills and asking for the judges opinion. If it isn't of any importance, why did you come?

There is one competition I have been told I shouldn't take a horse to as our 'first time out' because it is a Big Show... Has anyone told the horses that? If they are ready and behave well enough at home and away- the size of the show is of no matter to them. The horses don't know or care what we spent on entries. If they did, why is their hoof in the checkbook anyways?

I also find that I enjoy having competition. I am not thrilled about a blue ribbon when I am the only horse in the class. I like having other people and horses in the ring, pushing me in a way, to do my best and not accept anything less (from me or my horse), even if it is a schooling show. When there are several horses in the ring, I may be excited about placing second or third even. If it is one of the horses first few times in the ring, you bet.

No matter the level of show you attend though, there will always be classes where you felt the horse did really well and the judge doesn't pin you at all. No ribbons for any classes and your horse was a total gem. What the...? There will also be classes where your horse is a complete twit, acts like an idiot and somehow you manage to be in the judges eye for the few strides it all comes together and nothing else. You will win or place well and wonder why on earth? because you blew your lead, missed your diagonals, your circles were egg shaped, transitions were terrible or whatever else you find wrong with what you did.

That's the nature of the beast though. It's all part of being an exhibitor and competitor. Some days you do well and others, well, we won't talk about them if you don't want to. It happens. Just chalk it all up as a horse show experience and work towards improving before the next one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How did it go?

Funny you should ask...

Before I tell about the show, I have to say one thing. People who board are lucky in one respect. On the day of a horse show or competition, they take their horse, a flake or two of hay, tack, clothes, etc. and off they go. They don't have to worry about feeding the rest of the horses at the farm or facility, making sure everyone is in or out, have water or anything else. You are ready, you get your horse loaded and you leave.

People who own their own place are lucky in another. When you own your own place, at the end of the day you can pull in the driveway, park the truck, unload the horse and go inside. Unloading tack, clothes and anything else can wait. Which is what my stuff is still doing out back. My hunt coat is still hanging in the truck outside, here at work.

The show has moved to a new facility. Clean, spacious, level, ample parking, nice bathrooms, covered arena, bleachers, warm up arena within range to hear classes being called, barns... Nobody would likely guess it has been built on top of what used to be the landfill. Two minor drawbacks- no shade in the trailer areas which is a bit of a distance from the arena. This makes it tough to hear classes being called. Two minor things compared to so many beneficial things? I think it is a pretty nice place overall. They do need to scrape the driveway again though, there were a few potholes.

The last facility the shows were held at, there was plenty of parking, new bathrooms, trees here and there- everything was near the arena, but it was not covered and there was one small set of bleachers right out in the sun... Decent enough place, but it could use some work as far as improvements go.

We arrived at the grounds around 9:30 am. I had fed the horses and the cow, lunged and bathed my little guy at home, gotten everything together, hubby hitched up the trailer for me and so the day started. My friend who has been staying with us for the past couple months used my phone and was my paparazzi at the horse trailer. There are of course a few not so favorable pics and a few nice enough pics, included below. Once in the arena, hubby was able to take pics and video. Yay!

Getting the bridle on and adjusted at the trailer...

A few times practicing standing him up and trotting off before going over to the ring.

We were the only stallion in the halter class, 4 yrs and up. Judged schooling rounds or exhibition classes as some call them. Unless your horse is a total jerk, you pretty much can't help but win. I don't care much for these small victories... As it was, this was more of a schooling round. My little guy was not behaving as well as he should. At the trailer he was whinnying and squealing. This didn't stop until we left the showgrounds and were on our way home.

He went into the ring at a jog and was playfully throwing his front feet out ahead of him and tossing his head back and forth. He wanted to show off and he was. *eyeroll*. He did stand nicely on the rail, but up in front of the judge- he kept creeping on me. A step here, step there, inch by inch, getting closer... He didn't stand still like he is supposed to and knows how to do.

As the judge came around behind him on his left, something in the stands made a loud noise and he spooked a bit. That's what you hear (if you have the sound on) and why he jumped. The reason my hand was back and forth and all around his muzzle- he keeps trying to grab the reins in his mouth. One of my biggest pet peeves. Stand still and pay attention, would ya.

In the Championship class, we didn't do so well. Again we were up against horses you can ride later on in life... To some people I guess size does matter.

Sport Horse Stallions and Geldings- Again we were the only entry. If I can get the video to load, you can see him bumping into me and not behaving as he should. It has been a while since he has been to a show. All in all, he wasn't misbehaving horribly, but he also wasn't behaving as well as he should.

The judge was a trainer who I recently found online. He trained for some time with the dressage barn next door and I guess he recently spent some time overseas competing. Not having seen some of his students in action, the jury is still out on that one.

Blogger Kellimare was also at the show, but I really didn't get to stick around and see how her students did. Maybe at the next show we will take a horse or two to ride and will be able to stick around longer...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Down to the wire

The other night I brought Kat out to trim his feet. I was able to get him done and was petting him afterwards when I realized- he needs to be clipped. His bridle path consists of a short mohawk. Yeah it has been a while.

Looking at the photos from the last show, a lot of the horses there had their ears done as well. Thankfully if I do go that route, he enjoys it and there is no sedation necessary. The only way he makes it tough to do- he likes it so much he leans into the clippers and puts his head down. He is a pony so for him to put his head down, well, it makes it hard to see inside the ear and what you are doing. Sorta like a tall horse sticking their head up in the air like a giraffe.

Thankfully I can get him done tonight or tomorrow night. A quick buzz over his head, muzzle, bridle path, eye whiskers, ears and he will be good to go. I will try to get pic's and put them up of at least the before and after. Hopefully I can get some of him 'in the process'. He may be willing to go that route since the little clown does like the attention.

I have worked on horses who were difficult when it comes to having their ears clipped. Sedation in many cases is all it takes, but some of them still fight it for all they are worth. Standing on a bucket trying to reach and clip the ears of an uncooperative, sedated horse can be quite the experience. You learn to work fast and rely on feeling for when the horse has about had enough. You learn how to 'read' the horse without looking at them. A good ground person is a blessing. Having an unspoken, all knowing connection with them- priceless. For those who have been there, you know what I mean.

I also need to get our entry forms filled out. The online file wasn't working for me, but I did print them out. I like to have the forms filled out so that when I get there, I can head up to the window, hand them everything, write the check and walk away. It speeds everything up, allowing me more time to get the horse unloaded, get him lunged to take the edge off, change clothes if needed, pin my number on and be waiting at the gate when the class is called.

Since we are only showing in hand this time, I haven't had to do much with my pony as far as schooling him for it. He has been to shows before and knows the routine, which is kind of nice and makes things easy on me. For anyone who is just getting into the swing of things though, working with your horse is the only way you will get there. Don't expect your horse to just know it and don't expect them to learn it in one lesson.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Holly Cow!

That's right, Holly is a Cow. Holly for Holly the Holstein, not like Holy Cow, but the other morning when I said "Say hi to Holly cow." I figured it out and started to snicker.

She is incredibly sweet though and has settled in enough to stop charging the fence at people. Maybe it's because they bring food and treats. Like apples, carrots and handfuls of grass.

The other night as I walked away she had her head through the fence and was Mooing at me. "Come back and bring more goodies, Okay?"

She had let out one single Moo when they dropped her off. The guy said that was the first and only time he had ever heard her do that. She does it a lot here and talks to us at feeding time every morning and night.

Her suitor next door is an Angus. The neighbors have a few steers, the bull and a couple of heifers. She will stand out since she will be the only one with spots. One of their heifers is a Jersey or Guernsey cow, the brown ones for those not familiar with cattle breeds. I wanted a Jersey or Guernsey, but for now I have a Holstein and she's perfect. Things don't always work out like you plan and sometimes it is for the best.

Links with more information from Holstein Association USA and Oklahoma State University

Friday, September 3, 2010

What have we become?

I am proud to say our herd has recently grown again. Wednesday night we received in our newest member. She is young and beautiful with a bright and productive future ahead of her. We plan to go the route of the Krazy Kolor breeders with this one! Ran and jumped off the cliff head first if you will.

I found an ad on Craigslist, went and had a look and bought her on the spot for the most part. The price was right and this is one that sure won't be headed down the wrong road on the ill fated truck. Her owners had been thinking to take her to the auction, just never got around to it. A bit too soft hearted to follow through on that idea. Momma is expecting so what more reason is there? At least for some people... but her owners are just not those kind of people. The ad actually wasn't even about her. Some of her younger herd mates actually. A bunch that had recently been weaned.

I was the one that went to look at her and although I couldn't get very close to the girl or get a good look at her conformation, I could tell she is nicely built and has some promise. Her byoootiful, loud, black and white tobiano markings must have been what did it. She may not have papers, but one look told me she comes from a long line of black and white tobianos, so she's sure to produce more... Researching her breed a little, they originated in Europe and major development of the breed came from an area which has become the Netherlands. More specifically the two areas of North Holland and Friesland. She should mature to around 15.1 in height.

We have already found her a nice, solid black stud to breed her too. He is, quite literally- 'the boy next door'. We are sure to get a nice cross from these two.

She loaded up just fine. Hopped right in the trailer. Surprisingly for being such a 'wild one'. Traveled nice and quiet for her second trailer ride ever. Unloading was a bit of an interesting thing though. She had traveled loose and there were straps across the top of the back of the two horse trailer (where the storm doors would go) to keep her from jumping out. Which she tried to do when the trailer was backed up to the stall gate. Did I mention she was a bit wild? Not exactly 'halter broke', this one.

She was SCRAMBLING! around inside as the trailer backed up and when it stopped- she really went berserk in there. She tried to literally climb over the back doors to get out. Almost made it a couple of times too. Had the front half of her body under the straps and over the door. She was determined to get out! The right side door was opened and she got herself back inside the trailer. When she figured out the door was open, she came charging out of there! Shot into the stall and tried a few times to go through the bars. Once she figured out she couldn't do that, she looked at us and charged the fence where we were standing. Yeah, that was fun... Not! Everyone took a step or two back and we all decided if she wanted to ram the 3" schedule 40 steel fence- that was her idea and she probably wouldn't do that too many times.

The seller said he had never seen her try to pull anything like that before. Almost sorry he agreed to have sold us such a wild two year old. I assured him it was no problem and if we felt we couldn't have handled it, we wouldn't have bought her to begin with. We got to talking about things and it turns out, we know a lot of the same people in town. It truly is a small world.

As we talked she settled in and started to relax. The rest of our horses were a bit excited to see the new face and soon they settled down and went back to eating too. A fresh tub of water, a nice pile of hay for dinner and she was good to go. Still leery of being touched, but no longer panicked and frantic. She even laid down to sleep last night. Poor girl was tuckered out.

I did manage to get a couple of pics of her though... and I will get more to post since my cell phone and the computer don't seem to be cooperating. Seems they don't want to speak to each other in the same language. Gotta love technology.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Start with a list

The whole mix up on my part in the show dates kind of threw me a curve. I admit, it got me thinking, but it is also a good reason to double check, well enough in advance of when, where and what time you are supposed to be there. Planning is good and helps make everything run smoothly.

Knowing the show is about two weeks away, where do I start? I make a list of things I will need and things that would be nice to have, but aren't totally necessary. The type of show you are attending is a factor when considering this. This is a schooling show. They are fun, a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere, but we all want to look like we not only belong there, but like we hope to do well. Besides, this is a starting point of bigger and better things to come later on.

My pony has been getting worked and is coming into shape nicely. He is due for a trim so he will be getting one before the end of the week. Check the schedule of when your horse was trimmed or shod last and plan to have this done before the last minute. I like to have a week or more of 'flex time' before the show in case anything comes up and needs to be addressed.

Since we are only going for the in hand classes, I will be cleaning and oiling his bridle as well. Checking it for any thin spots, cracking, the stitching, the buckles, wear points, the bit for smoothness, etc. Not all that tough but maybe a little time consuming. While I have the oil and leather cleaner out... I may as well clean and oil my dress boots, on the chance that I end up showing in breeches and all.

I will need to go through the trailer and check for hoof polish and other supplies as needed. It is a good time to fold up, put away and clear out things I won't need or be using at the show. Horse trailer tack compartments can easily become a 'catch all'. It happens to a lot of them and ours is not immune.

Cleaning it out give me a place to change clothes, room for a cooler with drinks and snacks and makes everything easy to find. The way it looks right now? Well let's just say I'm sure ours isn't the only one and it's a good thing there is no competition or judging on the tack compartments of exhibitors horse trailers.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back on track

A good friend of mine has been showing recently. For her area it seems they are winding things down and wrapping it all up for winter. She has hit a few small shows and done pretty well. She is happy with where things have gone, seen room for improvement and welcomed suggestions on ways to improve in hopes of doing better in the spring. Lucky for her, our show season is just getting started. She can relax and take notes so when spring time comes, she can come out guns a blazing and knock 'em dead.

I am planning to take my little guy to the schooling show next month. Funny that it will be here in what- two days? I had it in my mind that their September show was on the 19th. Good thing I just checked- it's not! It's on the 11th. Fast forward everything a bit there. I also downloaded a class list as well as filling out and printing the entry form. I like the kind you can fill out before you print. It saves a lot of trouble in misspellings and/or mispronounced names. No guessing if that is a 3, 5, 6 or an 8...

I like to print out 2 copies of the class list. One to keep in the trailer when you get there and one to keep with any ribbons you may win. I also like to make notes on the back- how many were in the class, any comments the judges may have had and of course, paired with the ribbon as a reminder of how we did. I also like to note on there- what kind of horses won. It's all good to look back on and see what you can fix and what to ignore.

Since the upcoming show date is right around the corner, I have to get after it and get everything in line. Starting with the trailer- the wasps have vacated the nest and I knocked it down the other night with the hose. I have to locate the little mans' bridle tonight and give it a good cleaning and a once over to check the buckles, keepers holes, straps and that everything is in place, in order, etc. I can't really show him in his driving bridle with the blinkers and all.

I also have to dig out my show clothes. Since we will be going into a halter class and a SHIH (Sport Horse In Hand) class, I have a few slight options. Almost two different dress codes in a way, but right now I have to try it all on and see what fits. That may be the one thing that dictates what I decide to wear. I haven't been in the ring since before the girls were born. This should be interesting. Better bust out the refreshments and lawn chairs...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mindless Musings

So the pony Kat has been getting a break. I have't done a lot with him. I pulled him out last week, dusted him off, tacked him up with the harness and drove him around like we have been doing it all along.

Last night I pulled him out to let him graze a little before turning him out. He's such a pudgy little booger, but he stood quietly snarfin up all he could as fast as he could, thinking I would take him aways from it. When I leaned over his back and started talking to him, he slowed down in his persuit of inhaling the grass. After a while I took him up to the front pasture and cut him loose.

Find a pile of poop, roll in it, jump up, do a few acrobatic moves, take off at light speed and do several laps. He is such a clown. I had dumped the water tub so when he realized I was still within the fence with him, he came over and nudged me. Bumped me with his shoulder to insist I scratch his itchy spots. So I did, then stopped and stepped away. When he realized I had stopped, he looked at me like "WHAT? You STOPPED?" He stepped closer and nudged me again. It's a game we play.

Me- Scratch, stop, step back, stand, and wait.
Him- Look, step closer, nudge, wait for the scratches...

While I scratch him he arches his neck and bites the air. To the point you hear, Chomp, Snap, Chomp, Chomp, Chomp, Snap, Chomp. He makes faces too, but mostly he bites the air.

Aruba has gotten some time off too. I was waiting for the farrier to come, then it has become a pile of getting after other things that haven't been getting done. Life gets in the way sometimes. It happens to a lot of us. Playing a game of "catch up" makes you think how much you dislike doing ___________ so that's probably why you haven't for a while. But now it is twice the work and you dislike it even more. Talk about a vicious cycle...

I had her going in the long lines and then the last time, just as we were about to quit for the day anyhow, one of the rings came off. I have had the surcingle for about 20 years. It was about due anyways. Now we just switch over to using the saddle and keep at it. But she's been off for a while, so she will get turned out before we go back to work. Maybe a few days of just lunging.

There is a show coming up next month. I will be taking the little man, if only for halter and the sporthorse in hand classes. It will be nice getting back into the ring with him. He's a lot of fun to show and isn't FUN what it's all about?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Discriminating or demented?

Often in life I have said "Horses are not a hobby they are a way of life." For some of us they are. We live, breathe and think of everything for the horse. We often overlook things for ourselves in order to provide the best we can afford for our horses. It's craziness I tell ya. Pure craziness. But where does it stop?

A few years ago at the Scottsdale Arabian show I was introduced to the magic of orthotics. The $250 price was a bit steep for something that was off the shelf and not custom made so I passed. I found a store brand for a much cheaper price $10 and gave them a shot. They made a huge difference in a lot of things for me. My knees, hips and lower back no longer ached and I could stand for long periods of time again. It really gave me a good sense of insight into how a horse feels and moves when they are trimmed right and all the hoof angles are correct.

Lately I have been looking online for a new pair of boots. My current pair are seriously on their way out. I was looking at a few of the different websites and I happened to notice something. A lot of the boots are not 'balanced' looking. The toe sticks up a bit, the inside of the boot where the ball of the foot sits, is up or down and visa-versa on the outside... leaving the impression that the foot bed is twisted. Some of the boots it was really obvious, others more subtle, but it was still there.

My main question here is this. Knowing how much information is out there, how much has gone into studying the effects of how a horse is trimmed and/or shod and how it affects their soundness... Do the boot companies seriously NOT think we would apply the same balance issues to our own footwear?

I really like the looks of this boot

in roughout leather and if it weren't for the fact that mine would only look this nice for a short time, I may be so inclined to buy a pair. But this is a great example of what I am talking about. On the left hand side of the screen, (in the link) there is alternate views of these boots, scroll over them to view. The 3rd one down shows the boots from the front.

Look at the foot bed and notice how it seems to sit higher on the inside and lower on the outside? Go to the 5th one down, a view of the back of the boot. Look at the foot bed and how it sits in comparison to the shaft & heel of the boot.

Put a ruler up to the computer screen if you need to or scroll down and use the bottom of the screen as your straight line for a guide. Notice anything else? Like the narrow width of the heel area and how the shaft seems to widen out more...

Even the Ariat's in the $50-$100 price range seem to do this. The outside of the foot bed seems to sag and the inside tilts up.

At least this pair is straight through the heel area and the shaft of the boot.

The Durango's at $100, also had the same twisted problem and the outside of the boot seems to 'blow out' and lack some support.

There was one pair I liked until I looked closely at the heel of the boot. It was wedged towards the toe. Kind of like putting a wedge pad on a horse who doesn't seem to grow enough heel. In the horses' case you do it to balance things out and raise their comfort level. In the case of the boots, I'm not sure I have heard of anyone yet who can't grow enough heel to stand correctly balanced. ???

click on the picture for the whole thing.

I also like this pair of Justin's for $120, but from the front- same thing.

Then there's these boots for $170- same thing.

They are kinda fun and funky looking. With the right outfit... whatever that may be?

Nice thing about Sheplers, you can shop by price range. I looked through the boots listed in the $200-$300 and Over $300 price ranges. I can honestly say there were quite a few boots that caught my eye and made me think Wow! and a few other things too. But not so much in a good way or because I liked them.

Now I realise, these are only photos of one boot. I also realize camera angles may either play up or down the intensity of the amount of 'twist' in the actual boot photographed. The pair you try on and buy, may not be 'tweaked' like the boot in the photos. But unless you look at them closely in the store when you try them on- maybe they are all like that. To the boot makers- if this is the best you have- why take photos like this of your work? Not a good way of representing your company, is it? Are the footwear companies making their boots & shoes this way to help other businesses along? My ________ aches so I will seek comfort through chiropractors, pain meds, etc..... Do they hope we buy unbalanced for our own feet, yet we expect balanced feet for our horses?

Where our own comfort and 'soundness' comes into play, our shoes make a huge difference in how we stand, how our weight is distributed and how long before we sit down complaining of soreness, achy joints and "Oh my aching feet!" Equine events are usually known for long hours of standing around, miles of walking to the trailer, concession stands, entry booth, bathrooms, the in gate, stand on the rail during the class, run up to the judges stand, back and forth, back and forth and it never fails, whenever you need to get to one- it is at the other end of the showgrounds from where you are. The right pair of shoes will either make or break you day. Keep that in mind the next time your farrier comes out to trim or shoe your horse.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Roll the DICE

The other day when I was going out to work my horse, (or was it the pony?) I thought of a simple thing to make sense of the way I try to make everything I do, COUNT!

None of us have unlimited time during the day to get everything done that we'd like to. None of us have countless hours to do as we please and hope someone else will take care of the ___________ for us. But there is something we can do to make quick work of what may seem like an endless, loathsome chore. Getting something done that will leave us time for more enjoyable things- things we actually WANT to do...

Stop for a second. Remember to take a deep breath and 'Roll the DICE'.

At horse shows this works for riders, grooms and trainers alike. Anyone who has been to a show to compete or assist a friend, knows without a doubt, a horse show can be a grand display of organized chaos at it's best. Hurry up and wait. Everyone is doing things at a fast pace, trying to squeeze it all in, stuff it, pack it, cram it all together and do as much as they can to be ready for their class... Get the horse into the ring, the gate closes and now the pressure is all on the rider/handler/driver.

Once the class is over you can go back to the barn and feel the sense of 'let down'. Everything has slowed down, everyone is relaxed, you can breathe again, maybe laugh a little. The pressure is off now so you joke around some. It's sure a lot different feeling, isn't it?

One way you can change how things go throughout the day is to take a deep breath and Roll the DICE. Make every move you make, count!

Calculated-Confident and

DICE for short if you will.

Be Deliberate in what you do. Pay attention and make 1 stroke of the brush instead of three to clean the same area. Dip your applicator into the hoof polish and swipe it around the coronet band letting the polish run down the hoof covering as much as it can in one pass instead of smearing it up and down, around and around leaving streaks...

Make Intentional movements and strokes. Do things to attain a desired affect not willy-nilly and hap hazard. Did you mean to put this on there that way or did it just end up like that?

Calculated movements made with Confidence provide better results. They just do and not by accident.

When you start being Deliberate, Intent, make Calculated moves with Confidence, your work becomes incredibly streamlined and Efficient. You accomplish a lot more, a lot faster, with greater ease and ability. You gain a new level of pride in your work, the endless daunting tasks, seem to get done in no time at all and you are free to go do fun stuff sooner.

Rolling the DICE works for riding too. Take a deep breath, Roll the DICE and apply it in the saddle. Make clear, Deliberate, Intentional, Calculated & Confident, Efficient cues to your horse. You might be amazed how they respond. Enjoy it. You will notice you're smiling because you can't help it.

People around you may wonder what's going on. Tell them you gamble a lot, take a deep breath and Roll the DICE.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bargain hunters paradise!

I recently found a bit for my horse. It is on it's way as we speak and I am excited about it. I am having the neighbor make a bridle for me and need to get the measurements over to him, show him what I want and get a price, but for the most part I just haven't gotten there yet...

Another poster on another blog I frequent was asking where I found it? She is looking for a similar bit, but a different size for her horse. Tack Trader is a treasure trove for horse people. All sorts of stuff, giant place to find anything and everything under the sun in just about every size, shape, brand and price you can think of.

I love looking for bargains. I love finding one and scoring a great deal on one even more. If someone else needs something and I can point them in the right direction of where to find it- just as good! So I posted in the comments for her to contact me, let me know what she's after and I would see what I could find and send her some links.

A lot of horse people already know about every tack store in their area within a reasonable distance- say a 40 mile range. They know which stores carry the stuff that is cheaply priced, because it is cheaply made, the stores with high prices on big brand names, low prices on big brands and so on. Horse people can be a fickle, less than loyal bunch too. We will shop where we get the best deal and lowest price on what we want. If we want something, we are on a constant lookout to find it.

For any newcomers or those unfamiliar with where to find things for your horse I figured today's post would be a good way for the rest of us to share. Almost like a recipe exchange or tack exchange if you will. A place to list some of the smaller businesses and shops where you find stuff, that's off the beaten path. Places others may not know of to look. Feel free to post a clicky link or the web address and a brief line or six about what they have that you like.

Besides Tack Trader, there is a whole host of other online places to shop. Some people prefer eBay, but I just have not found the time to find stuff there, let alone watch the bidding or remain on the lookout for similar items... I know there is a way to auto bid, up to a set price and all that, but I just can't get into it.

Craigslist is another place to find bargains, but you have to be on almost a daily alert, searching through a ton of ads and look through the assortment of all kinds of things to find what you really want. There is an abundance of good, bad and otherwise on there, just like everywhere else.

Many of us know about all of the "Biggies",
Schneider's, (sstack dot com)
Smart Pak Equine,
State Line Tack,
Libertyville Saddle Shop,
Jeffers Vet Supply,
Valley Vet,
Farm Tek, which used to be Country Supply
Chicks Saddlery

and then when you get into discipline specific there is a whole bunch more to be found.
Dressage Extensions and Dover Saddlery for English riders comes to mind for me...

But there are a whole bunch more out there to be found. Just Bridles, thanks to Cattypex posting that in the comments. EQ Tack is one I just found and will have to go back for another closer look at some things...

Horse Tack Co. has a number of products and items in their closeout section and regularly on sale. Equestrian International is another good one. I found breeches there for schooling for around $20 and a helmet for around $30. Note to Candy's Girl- I forgot about these two the other day in the email.)

Then there is Greenhawk Harness & Equestrian out of Canada- they have just about Everything- Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing tack, western, English, etc. They had leather field boots with the full zippers up the back once for around $65. Of course I was broke at the time!

Smith Brothers,
Teskey's and
South Texas Tack come to mind for the western crowd...

So pick your link and click away all you want, just don't run your bank account into complete, dismal oblivion if you can't restrain yourself... I have gotten to the phase where I know what I have, who it fits and where to find replacements if I should need them... See what you guys can come up with to fill in the blanks. Please leave the credit cards out of it...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's always something...

So last weekend I am out lunging my big WB mare, Aruba. Got out there at about 6am on a day I could have been sleeping in. (What is wrong with horse people? Why do we do that?) I did manage to get some nice photos of her during her workout. She is really coming along quite nicely, I think. Just wish I could say the same for my own progress... *sigh*

While I would still like to see her gain some more weight she is also building some muscle and toning up what she's got. I'm loving that.

Her butt is coming along quite nicely and depending on how she is standing and where here back feet are, if they are under her like the left one in this photo- the top of her hip is only slightly noticeable. YAY!!! Otherwise she has those bones sticking up on top and it drives me nuts. I would like to see it round out some more, but with work and time, we will get there. I just have to be patient.

One of the big things I really like about this horse, is how when we go out and start working, she walks. That's it. She walks around, loosens up and then starts to move. No explosion into a bucking fit, no racing around like a maniac, not her, she just walks...

At first she didn't exactly lunge well, going to the left. She liked to jump, buck and dive into the canter, usually accompanied with a strong yank on the lunge line and me at the end of it. We worked through it though. When she came home, she wouldn't pick up or hold her left lead at the canter. Last Saturday however, she just rolled right into the nicest canter transition and made several laps- all while on the correct lead.

In this picture she may look like she is off to the races, but she is really not. She just has this stride that is like everything else about her- HUGE! As you can see, I had the surcingle on her. The poor thing hasn't seen any use in who knows how long, so it too was getting a workout! I text a few pictures to my friend, who replies and asks why there is no bridle? Um, I don't have one that fits her yet and I don't have a bit for her either... No worries though, I have found a bit and our neighbor does leather work. Done. I am ordering the bit tonight or tomorrow and I have the measurements for the bridle. We will get there in due time.

For now, here's a few more photos of her moving and making progress.

Through all of these I kept hoping she would drop her head some and drive more from behind... Go into a more 'hunter' frame if you will... I keep hearing- "She's not built that way though. Besides, you are just lunging her. Let it go and quit expecting so much." Yeah, I do need to work on that a bit. The whole "Have Patience!" thing. I do get caught up every now and then.

Of course I saved the best for last. She's really reaching out here and her head has come down some. (At least I like to think so.)

And by 9 am it was in the high 90's we had 40% humidity and I was borderline being overheated. I had rinsed my head and neck twice with the hose already and the water felt COLD! I was wearing my visor and sunglasses, but I still got a light toasting on my cheeks and needed to get inside. I was just not made to last in this climate. I don't think anyone is.

Monday, July 12, 2010

DIY project #1

My friend sent me a link to a blog post from 2008. Seems like a good idea to me. Bethany Caskey had posted about building your own fly traps on her blog Caskey Studios. You may notice the picture above is the same one from her post... Yep, I used it from hers and credit goes to the person who created it. I'm pretty sure nobody could take a photo of the particular happenings.

I haven't gotten a chance to try it out, since things have blown up in a bad way for my friend that sent the link and I am being as supportive of her as I possibly can. We have been through a lot in the 20 or so years we have known each other. Few people know the details since it is a personal matter and I am trying to find ideas of ways she can handle things. Time is always of the essence in matters such as this and I hate the fact she has to even go through it. When it is all resolved (Hopefully soon and with a favorable outcome!) I may post about it on the NPD blog. Or I may not, in hopes of putting it all behind us and moving on in a positive light. Out with the bad!

At the same time another friend of mine is dealing with a full plate of bad things in her Northeastern neck of the woods, another friend has her hands full dealing with her family and another friend is going through a load of crap surrounding legal issues. I swear that some days it just feels like Groundhog Day and we are stuck on the crappiest Monday to be found. I am not going to ask if it could possibly get any worse, but rather I want to know when it all ends? Where is that light at the end of the tunnel? Please tell me it is NOT a damned train!

On a happy note, I did get a few pics of the bay mare during her workout. Had I not forgotten a power cord and my phone wasn't dying- I could post them. For now, you will just have to wait.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Any guesses as to what that is? Click on the pic and blow it up if you'd like. Here's a hint, the nest will have to be destroyed before we load any horses in the trailer. For that matter- I wouldn't even go inside to close the roof vents. But I did close all of the windows hoping to bake the little boogers in the heat!

Sunday night as I was getting Aruba ready to work, and afterwards as I was grooming her and getting her finished up to put away, I noticed a wasp or hornet, buzzing around the back door of our horse trailer. I rolled my eyes and groaned about it being the last thing we needed at the moment...

Monday morning I went out to work her and a few others. Figured I would take a peek and see what was up. There were about 30 wasps on the nest which is about the size of a grapefruit right inside the back door, up on the ceiling in the horse compartment of the trailer. I snapped the one pic, shut the door and closed all the windows up. I worked my mare and got the two babies out for their workouts, but I am steering clear of the back of the trailer.

Although her workout went well, she is giving me the "hung dog" look and declaring she hates Monday's.

She's coming along nicely in the front end. Starting to build up some muscle, launched into a nice canter a few times with little encouragement from me.

Here she is showing off her recently clipped bridle path, shortened mane and fancy look. She needs to muscle up through the butt a bit, but I also put my saddle on her and Hooray! Hooray! It looks like it is going to fit. Of course as she gets more and more fit, develops, progresses and comes along- that may still change. Time will tell.

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's official folks...

I live in Hell! A friend of mine used to say it's hotter than that here, so maybe it's true then? When friends from out of state fly in, they usually call me from the airport and say "I have arrived in Hell!" They never do sound happy about it. :/

The projected high is 118 today. Good thing I have an indoor job now. For most people in the horse industry though, you are up and outside, feeding, getting horses worked and done by 10 or 11 am at the latest. Four thirty and five am are not odd hours and the sun is already coming up, so you better get out and get after it. The fact that some of the fast food places don't serve 'lunch' or maybe even open until 10 or 10:30, is annoying. If I want a burger or a deli sandwhich at 8:30 or 9am, it's because it's lunch time already!

By 9 am it was already 97 degrees outside and it's supposed to be partly cloudy today. My 'office window' does not show any clouds in the sky. Not one. At least my window is in the shade. Hooray for that!

Yes, it is a dry heat. Imagine sticking your head in the oven. You get the idea... As Matthew Broderick's character in the movie "Biloxie Blues" said- "It's Africa Hot."

I have been to Alaska twice now and would loooove to go back. I have several friends up there in different parts of the state. Mostly in the Wasilla, Palmer, and Anchorage area, but a couple out on the Aleutian Islands. Their high is in the 60's this time of year (62 today and cloudy, 50's-60's and rainy the next 3 days) and they swear they are just 'dying' in the heat. Both times I went, when coming home and the plane reached the gate, attached the ramp in the chute and they opened the door- the heat made me want them to turn it all around and go back. Turn the bird around guys! We are in the wrong place.

Another blogger from the midwest, Wisconsin I believe, had asked me once before if we had covered or indoor arenas out here. She was thinking to come down in the winter time. I had to laugh. Mostly because we do have covered arenas, but it is because of the intensity of the sun in the summertime. Not because of the snow or rain in the winter. Winter is prime riding season around here.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a safe holiday. Try to stay cool too. That includes drinking a lot of water and maybe playing in it! Just not from the same source I hope...

Monday, June 28, 2010

The ball is rolling

I am happy to say that Rubes has finally come back home. Not in as good of condition as she could have been but not any worse off than when she left either. A few of the readers know she has been gone for a month, at the neighbors place, getting in shape as payment for my jumps. I forgot my iPhone cord or I would be able to post a few photos of her since her return. I will get them up, I promise...

The heat over the weekend has been bad. She came home on Saturday so I went out to give her a bath and a 'once over' to check her progress. Of course I was wearing a tank top and my shoulders now are still a nice shade of pink. :( I sprayed her off and kept trying to get back in the shade. Do something, get back in the shade. Do something else, get back in the shade. At least she got a bath, sprayed with conditioner, mane and tail brushed out, fly sprayed and then turned out to ROLL! She may have, but by then she was dry and nothing seems to have stuck. Hooray for small victories!

Sunday morning I set to work. Went out about 7am and picked her feet, brushed her off, wrapped her legs and went out to lunge her. She worked for a short time at a slow and leisurely pace and stopped when she thought she was done. Um, no. Sorry sweetie, that's not how it goes. You will never get into any kind of shape without putting out some effort. So I got after her a little, using my voice, body language and the end of the lunge line and made the impression that yeah, she needed to Move It! So she did.

Since she has not been in tip top shape for working for some time, I didn't expect her to work for long, but long enough... She started to sweat at least. She broke into a canter three times, for a few strides each time, then back down into a trot. The first two times, she jumped and dove into the transition. Not what I wanted, but at least she was moving! I'll take it, and just hope that never carries over when she's under saddle... By 8:30 she was finished, rinsed, fly sprayed and put away, everyone was fed and I went inside. It was already in the upper 90's. Blech! High of 107 expected for the day. Bigger Blech! The heat is not my friend.

The course of action has been set. We got up early this morning and headed out to start working everyone. I admit, I loafed a bit and we had a slower start then we wanted, but we did get the two babies worked, rinsed and fly sprayed before I had to head in and get ready for work. (I didn't have any pockets on my sweats or I would have pictures of them too.) Hubby got Johnie out and lunged her too. Tonight Rubes and the Kat man are on the list for their workouts. And I am going to spray the ant hill right under the water faucet where we rinse the horses. Nasty little critters bit me and hubby. Bad move on their part. They need to go somewhere else!

Even for having a slow start though, with efficiency, we did get quite a bit accomplished in an hour and a half. As a groom, you learn to make every step, every move, every trip from here to there count. Shortcuts may save you a few minutes here and there, but from experience, you end up having to go back and do it over again later. Did you really save anything taking the shortcut?

You also learn to prioritize. Those who need the most work, go first. Those who are just starting out under saddle, may be the only horse getting worked that day, so plan for it. They get your full attention. Clipping and full out baths- one horse in the rotation per day gets them or they are all done on the weekend. Planning, having a routine or schedule can really provide results. You would be surprised how much you can get done. And if anything comes up in the middle of the schedule- see to it, then get back on track. It's nothing more than a hiccup. It happens.

Monday, June 21, 2010

It all started with a frog...

The first thing I ever put on a fly mask was a frog on a tan mask with green trim. It was for hubby's mare Chica. She is a palomino mare who likes to get down and dirty on a cow.

Then came a whole bunch more... Guitars, checkered flags, Gothic crosses, dinosaurs, flowers, the sun, moon & stars, lizards, firetrucks, tanks and military designs. I made one for a mini named Lil Bit, for the group at the Back In The Saddle Project or BITS.

Then there was a Tigger mask for Dena, and another dinosaur for Micah, a couple for Fern Valley which are under way and will soon be on their way... Just looking for one more patch that fits the horses personality.

But the latest batch to leave will be headed to California. A Fairy, whose dress and wings are shiny and glittery. She also has a row of sequins on her skirt.

A skull with a pink bow, for a mare who thinks she is just the princess of everything in her world. And who is to tell her she's not?

A rocket for Sonic and crossed pistols for none other than Pistol, of course!

To me it is not only fun making these, but the thing I like the best about them, is hearing the reactions when people get them. Hopefully the person expecting this package either has a Google blogger account or will be signing up for one. She is also interested in a few other things I will be making. Of course I will post pics and ask her for some with the horses wearing everything...