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.