Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Fly Sheet

Oops! This wasn't supposed to post yet... I hadn't written any words!

Lilly's new fly sheet came yesterday, and even though we're getting remnants of Beryl, I tried it on her anyway. I was hoping it would fit so I wouldn't have to send it back and wait for another sheet to come.

I think it's a little bit too big, but I got her the 75" and the 72" would for sure have been too small. At first I was a little worried about the neck cover because it seemed WAY too long, but then I remembered she would have her head down grazing. Once the rain stopped, I took her outside to see how it fit her while grazing, and I must say, I'm super happy with it... at least so far.

Back to being protected!
There's already a snag in it, but I think it came that way. I love the way it fits around her chest and becasue of the neck cover, it won't fall back behind her withers, which drives me absolutely crazy. The only thing I don't like about it is that it jingles when she walks. Hopefully she won't care. :)

No more sunburns!
So far it gets two thumbs up! I'm really happy I decided to buy this one.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Miscellaneous Updates

Lilly is still without a fly sheet, but it should be here today. It drives me crazy to know she's standing in the sun without protection, but I'm sure she would prefer that to being in the stall for days at a time. Her old sheet is missing two of the surcingle straps and I don't think it's safe to put it on her knowing the other strap could go at any time. So dousing her with fly spray and hoping she gets in her shed every so often is the best I can do to calm my OCD.

She's naked!!!
She got a new fly mask too. I couldn't help myself and had it embroidered with her name. I think it's the cutest thing ever (and now no one will "unknowingly" use my fly mask on some other horse).

She's so cute!
In other news, I dewormed Lilly with Equimax back on Friday when I did the chalk test with her hooves. JenJ and I had been discussing our horses' digestive issues and she mentioned that her vet suggested tapeworms as a possible reason for Cash's on and off chronic diarrhea. It got me thinking, and I did some research. It seems Equimax, Zimectrin Gold, and Quest Plus are the only three dewormers on the market with Praziquantel, which kills tapeworms. I know Lilly has never had Equimax, and if she's ever had Quest Plus, it's been a really long time. I know she's had Zimectrin Gold, but it's been a long time for that as well. The barns I've boarded at over the past couple years have done their own deworming programs, so I've been kept out of the loop other than "you owe $10 extra this month for dewormer". Lilly was due this month for a dewormer, so I bought her a tube of Equimax to see if it makes a difference for her digestive system. So far, I haven't seen any runny manure or poo streaks down her legs, but the diarrhea comes and goes so much that I'm not getting excited about it just yet.

She also started her U-Gard pellets this morning, which is a bit stinky because now there are two things that changed around the same time, so it might complicate the diarrhea/tapeworm experiment. There's not much I can do about it now, though!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another Great Show!

Wow, what a show...

I debated going since I hadn't worked with my horse once since the previous show, and I wasn't really feeling 100%. If it was any show other than my always favorite JCHSS show, I probably would have skipped it and stayed home. It's also my last show until the end of next month, so I sucked it up and went... and I'm glad I did because we had a great time.

When all was said and done, I entered for 12 classes... 12 classes?! I didn't mean to sign up for that many. It just sort of happened. There were some hunt seat classes after the jumping classes and when I realized I had time for those once showmanship was over, I couldn't help myself. Since I rode in so many classes, I'll just sum things up and share the details I remember most. I might have to revise some of the results because I'm not always able to write down the class size before going in another class. Things get confusing after a while, so once the results are posted at the show website, I'll have to come back and correct any errors I made with PAC points and such.

Lilly was really good yesterday. She just had this "calm" about her that was really refreshing. Not that she's usually hyper, but she just seemed different... more mellow. She helped me relax and stay calm which I'm sure helped to make our day so much fun. Sometimes it's easy to forget that showing is fun!

Is it almost time for showmanship?

Who can resist this face?
Our first class of the day was showmanship. We had a pretty fun pattern and I was looking forward to it. The class before mine had the same pattern I did, so I wanted to watch them do their patterns, but I saw a couple people I knew and I ended up chatting and being social instead. As we were talking, I noticed one of the girls in the class run her horse over to the fence and she started spraying him like crazy with fly spray. Come to find out, her horse had done his pivot in a fire ant mound... I guess he was okay and they got all the ants off him, but needless to say, they moved the pattern around a bit and things changed. The pattern went from this:

Original pattern. this. They had to shift the pattern over, so there wasn't going to be enough room to have the line up in the original spot. Instead it was moved to the back corner of the arena.

Post ant attack.
As usual, no one wanted to go first so I volunteered. Since I didn't know before going in to the class, I asked where we were supposed to lineup, and the ring steward said to look for him and he'd show me where to line up. Okie dokie...

So my horse and I performed our pattern flawlessly (at least that's how it felt) and when the judge dismissed me, I looked for the ring steward. He was back behind me in the corner so Lilly and I walked off to the left, and walked along the rail to the line up. The next exhibitor that showed performed a 90 degree pivot to the right after she was dismissed and walked around behind the judge, along the rail to the line up. The ring steward looked at me and said, "now that's an impressive way to end your pattern." Every horse after the second exhibitor turned their horses to the right and walked around behind the judge. They didn't all pivot, but they walked off to the right and I felt like maybe I screwed up. When the placings were called, we got 5th out of 7, and the two exhibitors below me were clearly going to place last and second to last. I know we had a better pattern than 5th place, so I feel like I was marked down for the way I exited to the line up, but I also feel like I got shafted because I went first without knowing exactly where I was going after the judge dismissed me. If I could do it all over again, I probably would have walked off to the right, but I don't think it should have mattered.

For all my other showmanship peeps out there, is adding something to the end of your pattern after you're dismissed considered being "off pattern" in your book, or would you have pivoted 90 degrees as the second exhibitor did? I might just be bitter, but I'm mad if I was counted down for the way I took Lilly to the line up... I'm curious to hear other opinions. I've also decided that I'm never going first again. EVER!

I stewed over the stupid showmanship class for quite some time and then I realized I might have time for the hunt seat classes if I hurry. Stop being such a whiner, suck it up, learn from it, and move on. I changed clothes and ran up to the office to sign up for all three hunt seat classes. I hurried back to the trailer to tack up my pony thinking I needed to hurry if I wanted to have some time to warm up. As is usually the case, we had way too much time and stood around in the shade a bit before our class finally went in.

It was a walk/trot class, fairly large with 12 other riders, and it was filled with all the jumpers. None of the exhibitors I rode with later in the english classes were signed up, so it was kind of fun riding with a different group of people and horses. Lilly was doing really, really well but she kept stepping on stones and I couldn't get her to move out at all. The footing was a bit packed, either from all the jumpers or because it just hadn't been dragged in a while, so any little stone made her take a tender step and she was clearly uncomfortable. The worst part was, all three of my classes were back to back so I knew I wouldn't have time to run her back to the trailer and get her boots. I rode her off the rail where the footing was softer and steered her around all the rocks I could find. Needless to say, I didn't expect to even place and wasn't sure if I should even bother with the other classes until I could get her boots, but we were called for SECOND place! I was so excited that I could hardly stand it! It's been a while since we've had a place like that in such a large class, and it's even more cool when you're not expecting it.

I didn't even leave the arena since I was in the next class so we just walked out of line and found a spot on the rail. The next class was hunt seat pleasure and a bunch of the horses left, so there were only 7 of us. I know those horses were all cantering over the jumps, so I'm not sure why so many of them skipped over the canter class... but Lilly was just as good as she was the first time and I didn't have to deal with any of her "I wanna do this now" shenanigans. The judge didn't like us as much at the canter, apparently, because we only got 5th place.

Back to the rail for hunt seat walk/trot equitation, and back to 12 riders again... there was only rail work and no pattern, but I couldn't wait to get Lilly out of that arena. We did the best we could, and she since I had commented to her about how she was being so good, she threw a temper tantrum in the corner of the arena where the judge, who was up in the booth, couldn't see us. We had to reverse and Lilly wanted to reverse REALLY BADLY even though I hadn't asked her to. She either knew it was time from the click of the speakers, or she saw all the other horses turning around, but she wanted to turn around NOW. Aww, too bad you're not in charge! I really got after her until she was walking and not craning her neck around trying to reverse, and then I asked her to turn. That was the only incident we had like that all day. I think she's finally learning! It was confirmed the judge saw nothing when our number was called for 3rd place! Yippee!!

And now, the only picture I have of us in the arena, taken by the show manager and posted to Facebook for my enjoyment and yours.

Tender toes...
There was a photographer there and I'm anxiously waiting for the pictures to be posted. I doubt I'll purchase any because of the 40 I just got from the last show, but I'm still looking forward to seeing how they turned out.

Before any of my other classes, I put on Lilly's boots. I didn't have the pads with me because I wasn't planning on using the boots, and I'm lucky I even had them in the trailer. I'll know for next time to bring them just in case, though!

The next three classes were english, and we had two walk/trot classes and one pleasure class. They went pretty well and we placed right around the middle of the pack. This was a new group of horses from the hunt seat classes and we didn't place quite as well. Lilly was still a really good girl and I decided to *GASP* enter her in the pattern classes!! At first I was just going to do the walk/trot version, and then I decided, what the hell? Let's do the canter one too!

English Equitation patterns.
So the eq classes started out with everyone doing the pattern first and then rail work. Do you know that for the walk/trot class I went in FIRST?!?! WHY DID I GO IN FIRST?!?! I just won't learn!!

But there we were, a class of 7, standing with our tails to the rail and I was in the front. "#377 will ride first." I had no idea how Lilly was going to be, but I was surprisingly not nervous. There's nothing worse than having all eyes on you, watching you ride a pattern, especially when you have to go first, but for some reason I wasn't nervous. My super calm horse calmed my nerves all day (what's up with that anyway?), and we were going to ride that pattern the best as we could! I walked her up to the first cone, stopped, looked over at the judge and she nodded for us to begin. Lilly stood stock still, no chewing on the bit, no fidgeting... waiting. I cued for the walk and off we went.

Without having it on video as proof, which totally sucks, my horse and I rocked that pattern. The turns around the cones are what I was most nervous about and Lilly went around them like nothing. We didn't make giant half circles, she didn't drift out sideways, we just trotted around cones like you're supposed to trot around cones! Our 180 degree pivot was spot on, and her back was super straight. It felt good to be done, but it felt even better to feel good about our pattern!!

I watched the next rider (a friend of mine) perform her pattern and when she parked next to me on the rail she said that we had one of the best patterns she's ever seen. So it didn't just feel good to me, I guess it looked nice too!

After the patterns were done we went out to the rail for more work. We only rode in the one direction and then came in to line up. As we waited, I chatted with my friend about whether she was going to do the canter class too and that I was having second thoughts because the cones were so close together. There was no way I was going to get Lilly cantering in such a small area... and then the placings were announced...

We were called for first place! My non-pattern horse placed first in her pattern class! On the way out everyone congratulated me and commented on our pattern, and it gave me just enough courage to come back in for the canter class.

There were only four of us even though the judge agreed to spread out the cones a bit. She commented that she scared half of us away. I came into the arena SECOND, lined up on the rail, and then asked the judge if it mattered which diagonal we trotted on. She said it did not, so I decided I would pick up the left diagonal since we'd be coming out of a left lead canter. I knew we had to do a "180 degree turn on the forehand to the right" and I wasn't exactly sure which direction that meant, but I was pretty sure I needed to turn Lilly's haunches around to the right. That sounded correct in my head, especially since the cone would be on our left when it was time to do the turn. My friend was the first one to do the pattern and she turned her horse's haunches to the left. Uh oh... As I was walking up to the cone for my pattern, I decided I was going to stick to my turn to the right.

My horse did the canter pattern like a gem too! She picked up the canter right away, got both leads, and did a beautiful turn on the forehand, followed by a really nice back. I just wasn't sure if I did my turn the right way... the two other riders after me did theirs the same way I did. I started to feel better about the turn since both of them saw my friend's pattern and mine, and chose to turn the way I did. Our rail work was really nice and I tried to ride with my very best equitation. Heels down, shoulders back, head up, get rid of those piano hands!!

My friend and I were discussing the turn in line up and she said she was always taught that which way your horse's head goes is the direction of the turn. So a forehand turn to the right is actually a turn where the horse's haunches turn to the left. She ended up winning the class and Lilly and I got second. The judge seemed very nice so we went over to ask her about the turn. She very honestly said she wasn't 100% sure and would check her rule book for us at the end of the day. She also said she didn't really see my friend's turn because she was writing and had given her the benefit of the doubt. She just decided that we all turned the correct way since she wasn't 100% sure. I emailed my friend to see if she found out from the judge about the turn, but I did some research online and my friend was definitely correct. So Lilly and I did our turn in the wrong direction... but our wrong turn was a super good turn either way! :)

We had a bit of a break between our english and western classes, so I walked Lilly around and let her eat some clover. She was in heaven for a good 15 minutes until I decided it was my turn for lunch. So while I snacked on chips and tried to stay hydrated, she took a nice snooze. I remember the days where she would do nothing but stand at the trailer and paw, and now she's sleeping. Such a good girl. :)

So sleepy...
Our western classes went pretty darn good. There were three really nice western horses, so I placed fourth in all three western classes. We just couldn't quite beat any of those horses, but Lilly did super. I was really proud of her jog and where she carried her head, so I couldn't ask for anything more. We only did walk/jog classes because she's just not ready to lope and I figured she had been in enough classes for the day.

So here are the class results in a nutshell:
Showmanship Adult - 5th out of 7
Hunt Seat Walk/Trot - 2nd out of 13
Hunt Seat Pleasure - 5th out of 7
Hunt Seat Walk/Trot Equitation (No Pattern) - 3rd out of 12
English Walk/Trot Stock Type - 8th out of 13
English GAYP Adult - 6th out of 14
English Pleasure - 5th out of 13
English Equitation Walk/Trot (Pattern and Rail Work) - 1st out of 7
English Equitation Walk/Trot/Canter (Pattern and Rail Work) - 2nd out of 5
Western Walk/Jog Stock Type - 4th out of 11
Western GAYP Adult - 4th out of 9
Western Walk/Trot Pleasure Horse - 4th out of 6

Ribbons part one...
Ribbons part two... they wouldn't all fit on my windows!
I think the way PAC does their points for walk/trot, is that walk/trot is walk/trot. So even though I got points in an equitation class, and an english class, they all count as walk/trot. Assuming my point tallying is correct, I should get 3 points for the first hunt seat class, 2 points for the third hunt seat class, and 2 points for the equitation class. That's a total of 7 PAC points in walk/trot! We already had 10 points from a few years ago, added to yesterday's 7 points, and we're 3 points shy of our Certificate of Recognition in walk/trot.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Chalk Test

I've been chatting with my trimmer about what to do with Lilly's left front hoof. Her conformation on that leg isn't the best and her hoof is attached to her pastern fairly crooked. Now that she's barefoot, it wears in a way that makes it difficult for me to trim her because the lateral side either isn't growing or she wears it as quickly as it grows . My trimmer wanted me to do a chalk test to see exactly which parts of her hoof are being worn as she walks, and that way we can come up with a better plan for trimming.

I went to the store and bought some sidewalk chalk. You can't just buy a couple pieces, so I ended up with a 16 piece pack, so I'll be able to do this test MANY times in the future!

I decided to use neon green so it would really show up, and I colored the entire bottom side of Lilly's hoof. I walked her around outside on the concrete for about 5 minutes, doing some circles and some turns. I have to admit, I thought more of the chalk would be gone after all that walking, so I'm not sure if the sidewalk chalk is maybe too thick for the test? Or maybe it worked just like it was supposed to!

I did the left front first and then went back and did her right front just to see if there was a big difference between the two. Here are the results:

Left front before...
Left front after...
Right front before...
Right front after...
Pretty interesting!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fly Sheets!

I went to check on Lilly yesterday and found her missing yet another belly strap from her flysheet. The few thoughts I had about sewing it back together have now gone (it's time to let it go...) and I went hunting online for a new one.

After having the current sheet since early May 2009, I decided the next sheet would have a few different features, along with a few favorites:
Belly band - Lilly has some hair whorls on her tummy and the gnats love to chew on her skin
Shoulder gusssets - She's a bit wide in the shoulders and the gusseted sheets seem to fit better
Tail flap - Keeps those darn bugs out of her tail and helps keep her from rubbing
UV Protection - The sheet is just as much for sun block as it is for flies
Built in neck cover - No more shoulder burns
Soft material - None of that Textylene mesh stuff... it's too dang heavy.

She currently has a Rambo brand sheet that looks a lot like the Rambo Protector but mine didn't come with a neck cover. While I really like it, and love the fact that it lasted me over three fly seasons, it doesn't have the belly band, the shoulder gussets, or the built in neck cover.

Do you know that I couldn't find a sheet with all of the things on my wish list? Shocker, right? I found one that fit almost all the "must haves", but it only provided 60% UV protection. The UV protection is actually the item that I want most of all so I had to pass on that one.

Since I couldn't find the perfect sheet, I started narrowing them down and read as many reviews as I could find. In the end, it came down to the Rambo Protector and the Amigo Mio.

Rambo - $157.95 Amigo - $74.95

Since they're both made by Horseware Ireland, I feel they're good products, but I know the Amigo is the cheaper version of the Rambo (more than half the price). A few of the reviews said to forget the Amigo and splurge for the Rambo.

They both had their pros and cons...
Rambo - No attached hood, but it has the 3 belly straps which is as close to a belly band as I was going to get. I wasn't a huge fan of the way it buckles in the front, though.
Amigo - Considering the Mio is so much cheaper, and Lilly is super easy on blankets and sheets, I opted to go with that one. It has 95% UV protection, and while it doesn't have gussets or a belly band, it has an attached hood.

Please don't say you have an Amigo Mio and it's the worst sheet ever because I already hit the "check out" button for my order and you'll make me cry. It'll be here early next week and I hope it's the best sheet ever!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Not For Sale

R Lil Bit of Cash
15H 2000 Palomino Tobiano Mare
APHA #00574292

Ground ties too!
Lilly is an all around mare with PAC points in halter, showmanship, english pleasure, equitation, and walk/trot. APHA points in showmanship. Currently working on western pleasure and making progress at the jog, but her lope needs work. She tends to be quite forward. Is extremely sensitive and prefers a very soft rider. She can be a bit passive aggressive at times and will gladly take over if you're not being a good leader. Generally a horse who aims to please and is very forgiving of her rider. Is too smart for her own good and enjoys anticipating your next move.

She is a no-nonsense kind of mare who doesn't appreciate shenanigans or roughhousing. Use a mounting block, mount properly with a saddle, or don't get on. Attempting to jump on her back will not end well. She isn't one to play with toys and doesn't enjoy games of any kind. Is super friendly, sweet, not mouthy, and comes to you in the pasture.

Has had ligament injuries in the past requiring expensive treatments and months of stall rest, but currently 100% sound. She is also barefoot and transitioning well.

An absolute dream when it comes to ground manners. She clips, bathes, blankets, stands for the vet, barefoot trimmer, fly spray, and anything else you need to do with her. Absolutely no vices of any kind. She self loads but needs work backing out of the trailer. She is a very clean mare, preferring to stay white to being covered in mud. Keeps a tidy stall, is great in the stall, although prefers to be out 24/7.

She has occasionally been seen on the trails where she prefers to be in the front. Excellent with puddles, streams, ponds, and other "natural" obstacles but not as thrilled with ridiculous man-made obstacles. Quickly becomes attached to other horses when in stressful situations, especially other mares.

Easily the horse of your dreams, except she's not for sale.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Color Isn't A Crime

I don't tend to write "opinion posts" on my blog... I blog about my sweet girl and keep my comments on other horse related items to myself. It's just safer that way. Everyone is so touchy about things, especially horse people, so rather than running the risk of offending someone, I stick to the topic at hand, which happens to be the amazing horse this blog is named after. :)

That being said, I read Mug's Mouthy Monday post about buying a horse based solely on color, and some of the comments rubbed me the wrong way... just a little. Okay, so technically it was about buying "pretty", but it was really all about color. I guess chestnuts, sorrels, and bays aren't pretty? AJ would disagree!

It must be because I have one of those "horses of color" that I get all puffed up sometimes when I hear people speaking ill about my breed, and color breeds in general just because they're a color breed. Honestly, I don't think anyone buys a horse just because they're a certain color. Might they overlook a bay horse if they absolutely hate bays? Might they look only at Paints or Appys if that's their breed? Sure, but for the most part, you're not going to buy a horse in your favorite color if he waddles like a duck and bites every time you get near him. Has anyone ever bought a jacked up horse just because he was the perfect color?

My absolute favorite color is blue roan. *drool...

Star Hancock
"Stone is 1300 pounds of cow working muscle..." Yes, please!! Add some tobiano spots, slap it with an APHA registration certificate, and you'll really see me go crazy. You'll notice I don't own a single blue roan, though, nor have I owned one in the past. Instead, I have a sorrel and a palomino. Will I ever be lucky enough to own a horse in the color of my dreams? Probably not... and I'm okay with that. Besides, Lilly is going to live forever, so chances are, I'm never going to need to buy another horse EVER.

If I find myself looking for another horse in the not so near future, I'm not going to buy a sorrel, a chestnut, a bay, a black, or a brown horse. I'm just not. I'm going to purchase a regular registry Paint mare in any color other than those mentioned. That's right, folks... I'm going to be buying a so-called "PRETTY HORSE". *And the audience gasps in horror!*

What if I happen to find the perfect horse in solid chestnut? I won't, because I'm not going to look at any solid chestnut horses. When I purchase horses, I expect to have them for life, and while I have sold a couple in my lifetime, generally if I'm looking for a horse, I'm looking for a horse to keep forever. Some of them might not work out, but the goal is to duplicate what I've found with Lilly and AJ. So why not look for a horse that I find absolutely gorgeous?

Is giving preference to a horse because it's pretty, or because it's a dilute color and that's your favorite, really any different than saying you only want to look at OTTBs? Or you only want something that has been ridden in endurance events? Or that you only want a horse that's 16 hands or more because you like the look of tall horses even though you're only five feet tall? We all discriminate against one thing or another, so why does color and "pretty" get such a bad rap?

I blame the krazy kolor breeders for this whole anti-color attitude. When you start crossing Paint horses and Appy horses for no other reason than you want something sooper speshul that's going to bring you a gazillion dollars because there's nothing else out there that looks like him, you do nothing to promote each individual breed. An anonymous commenter over on Mug's blog said, "If it's got spots, or is something other than a variation on basic brown, I'm less likely to look because I assume it's got something wrong with it." What in the world??

I was lucky enough to find a horse with brains, personality, AND color. She's put together nicely, is the sweetest thing on this planet, and is worth her weight in gold. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I have a beautiful horse, I could pay for our entire show season. Not only is she gorgeous, but she has a heart of gold. Maybe she's the reason I get so upset hearing people talk poorly about "color breeds"... because I know that you CAN have it all!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hoof Pics! (It's Been A While)

I haven't done hoof pictures in a while. Not because I'm not working on my horse's hooves, but because I try to do a little bit at a time, so there's not much to photograph. Actually, I can only work on the hinds and the right front, because the left front just WILL NOT grow. It's giving me a headache because I'm not sure how to trim it. I haven't had a pair of professional eyes on her hooves since the clinic in February, so I tried to set up a time with my trimmer so she could come out and give me some pointers. We just haven't been able to sync up, so I went ahead and trimmed Lilly yesterday.

Her hinds were starting to flare and I noticed Lilly was standing a little odd behind, but once I got them trimmed up, she stood much more normal. I worked on her fronts also, and then did a bit more with them today. Looking at the pictures, I can see some areas I need to fix, but I'm curious if anyone has comments about the job I'm doing in general, or any pointers about how to trim a hoof that God put on your horse crooked.

A few observations I made... her hooves seem dry and slightly brittle. There were times where I was rasping and a little chunk of hoof came off the side. You can see that in the pictures of her right front hoof (I need to go back and touch up her medial side)... also, I think it's time for a pair of nippers. I rasped for what seemed like four hours on each hind hoof to get them where I thought they looked good, and I probably could have taken them down even more. Did you know that a testy, recently dislocated rib and rasping do not go well together? It's true!

We'll start with the right hoof because that's the one I actually enjoy trimming. It looks mostly normal! Does it look like her toes are getting long again? I can see she's a bit jammed up in her quarters, but I took the heels down as far as I dare, and I feel like I kept the hoof flat and level... I also rolled her toe a bit after these pictures were taken, so it looks more like the shot of her left front. So here's what I have!

And now for her left front hoof... this thing is the bane of my existence. You can see the little area of missing quarter on the lateral side of the hoof in the side shot, and I have circled it here on this sole shot. It has been there FOREVER. When will it grow?? She is literally walking around on sole because there's pretty much no hoof wall there.

I hate you red circled spot!!
It's killing me because the medial side of the hoof grows, but I guess she's wearing on the lateral side? So her hoof stays totally wonky and lopsided unless I take down the medial side more than I want to. Also, her sole is super bumpy so I've been using the hoof knife to level it out a bit and try to get rid of the high spots that might cause her some discomfort.

I think her hind hooves turned out pretty good, although I see a bit of flare I missed. They're a bit dirty looking, so I'm sorry about that. It's kind of hard to see the hoof wall... she had a lot of bar that was just folding over, so I hacked all that off. Overall, I'm happy with them. I think her frogs looks great!

Right hind

Left hind
I used my Hoof Jack a lot and it was a life saver, especially with her hinds. I used it to help me rasp off a lot of the flare and it was much easier than doing it from the bottom. Did I mention that I need a pair of nippers? Any suggestions on what to buy?

In other news, Lilly told me today she wants a new fly sheet. Somehow she managed to rip the middle strap of hers... I wonder if she did it getting up after rolling? Maybe she stepped on it and tore it right off.

She's ashamed of what she's done...
I could probably sew it back together, but it is starting to get thin and this is a good excuse to get a new one. Time to start shopping! Oh, and yesterday was her last dose of Adequan, so we're done with that, thank goodness. Now if I can only find the time to ride (and a dry arena) to test out the new transmission!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Show Pictures!

We've been getting so much rain here it's crazy. Even on the nicer days when I actually could ride, the ring is too swampy, so I haven't ridden Lilly since our show. That doesn't bode well for the show this Saturday, but with any luck, we'll get in some good rides this week.

I got the show pictures in the mail yesterday and I think they turned out fantastic! She took just over 40 pictures of us and I got all of them on a thumb drive to cherish forever. Here are some of my favorites!

All of these beautiful pictures were taken by Lisa Brooker of Lisa Brooker Photography.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Great Show!

I love the shows that don't start until 10:00 AM. I can get up at 6:00 AM, head to the barn, give Lilly a bath, band her mane, and be to the show with plenty of time to spare. I know she'd rather be outside the night before a show instead of stuck inside her stall, and then I don't have to spend my Friday evening getting her ready. These shows are all fairly local too, so it's usually a pretty short drive. This show was only about 15 minutes from the barn!

For those of you who have been following along with Lilly's blog for some time, the show was held somewhere I used to board... somewhere that gave me nightmares and cost me a fortune in vet bills. I must be cautious about what I write to make sure certain things don't come up in a Google search... but feel free to check posts from August 2010. Good times!

I fed Lilly her breakfast when I first arrived at the barn, but once she saw me hooking up the horse trailer, she seemed to lose her appetite. In fact, the little turd left and walked all the way to the back of her pasture. When it was time to bring her in to get ready, I had to walk all the way out there to get her. Do you think she was excited about going to the show?

It was a perfect horse show day. The weather was beautiful, I was pain free, and Lilly seemed to be in a really good mood, despite her initial reluctance to go somewhere. Despite a few issues at the barn that irritated me, I was also in a good mood and I just knew we were in for a great time. She loaded right up into the trailer and off we went.

Recently I've been hauling her in the front spot of my two horse trailer. I've had the trailer since 2007 and I've always put her in the back spot. Usually the front spot is filled up with hay bales and totes, but because I've been having issues with her backing out of the trailer, I decided to start hauling her in the front spot. The trailer hauls a gazillion times better with her up front than it does with her in the back... I don't know how I missed that little piece of information all these years, but I wish I had found out sooner! Not only that, but I can get into the trailer with her and back her out instead of opening the back door and getting the hell out of the way. She's making great progress backing out, and did her best back out yet when we got to the show.

I got us all signed up while she snacked on her hay, and I ended up entering in 9 classes. It was a "show all day for $60" show, so I figured I might as well pick a few extra classes. I actually had to stop circling numbers because I figured 8 riding classes was probably enough. I entered us in showmanship, two western walk/jog classes, and the rest were english type classes.

"I can't wait for our first class, mom!"
The showmanship pattern wasn't posted until right before the show started, so I didn't have a lot of time to practice, but we worked on the different pieces that could possibly be in the pattern. She did excellent, especially with the setting up, so I didn't push it, and we just walked around instead. When I saw the ring steward stapling the pattern to the board, I hauled ass over there and asked for a pattern sheet... study, study!

Showmanship pattern.
In case you have as much trouble reading it as I did:
Walk from cone A to cone B
At B, perform a 360 degree pivot to the right
Trot around B to Judge
Halt and set up for inspection
After inspection, back four steps and trot to line up

One of the participants said she hadn't even seen the pattern, but she would "just watch someone else and go from there." Really? What if they do it wrong?! I mentioned to her that the pattern was on the board and she mumbled something about it not being there before, so I dropped it. As usual, no one wanted to go first, so Lilly and I went into the arena to get set up at cone A. Lilly's pattern was outstanding. She did everything perfectly so we jogged to line, set up, and watched all the other patterns.
That is one nice thing about going first... I have the best seat in the house to watch the other patterns. A couple of them were good and couple of them not so good... the lady who said she hadn't seen the pattern did her 360 in the wrong direction. It even says to "pivot 360 degrees to the right", but she pulled her horse around in a circle to the left.

When the class was over, the judge went around and spoke to each of us and offered some tips on what we can do to improve. When she got to me and Lilly she simply said, "exquisite". I couldn't disagree with her assessment. Lilly was awesome and she placed us first! We won a beautiful blue ribbon, a cooler, another Koozie (score!), and a refreshing bottle of water.

Yay! We win!
Because we went in so many classes, I can't possibly remember all the details about each one, so I figured I'd just sum up the show in more general terms and share a few things that stood out.

Western Walk/Jog Classes:
Overall she was very good, but we still have a long way to go. We didn't have a lot of time to warm up ahead of time and there wasn't really a warm up area, so we just jogged around in the grass. She was a bit quick when we first started out, but I got her thinking by doing a bunch of jog-stop-back exercises and she slowed down quite a bit. We were showing against three old dudes on their really nice western pleasure horses, so considering the competition, she did well. The one thing I could count on was her head... it stayed nice and level in both classes. I'm not getting the pitter patter jog from her like she gives me at home, and a couple times I had to get after her a bit when the judge wasn't looking. We have quite a bit more work to do in the western department.

Kudos to the judge, though, because she was penalizing the geezer's horses if their heads fell below the withers for too long. That's how we managed 3rd in the second western class... the one guy was penalized for his horse's head. (I may or may not have been listening in on someone else's conversation...) So not all judges are like the one I showed under at the fairgrounds.

English Classes:
I thought my horse was amazing. She drove me absolutely crazy when we were walking in the classes, but when we were trotting or cantering, she was drool worthy. I disagreed with the judge quite a bit in her placings, but she likes what she likes, and what she liked was horses moving out. When I say moving out, I mean MOVING OUT. She really liked a gray, who I will admit was a beautiful mover and has potential, but he was also like 12 feet tall. He wasn't very collected in his movements either... he was just trotting a thousand miles per hour. Lilly could take about three strides and match his single stride. In one of the classes, there were only two of us. It was me and another girl on a cute Appy. I thought I was having a fantastic ride and anticipated getting called first, but that was before Lilly had her temper tantrum (more on that later) and I saw the judge looking right at us. When we were in the line up, the judge came over and told me that Lilly was a beautiful mover, and I was a beautiful rider, but this is english "so get him moving. I know he has it in him, so push him and lets see what he can do."

I don't know why everyone thinks Lilly is a he, but it's very distracting for me.

Okay, so she likes them moving out... in the next couple classes, I really pushed to get Lilly moving. It must not have been fast enough because it didn't help with our placings, but I wasn't going to trot around the arena like that gray horse. There's a fine line between really moving out and doing it correctly, and just trotting/cantering as fast as we can around the arena. I wasn't going to let her get all strung out, especially when we were cantering. She's barely 15 hands, there's only so much ground we can cover.

Things to work on:
Three words... anticipation, anticipation, anticipation! She was driving me crazy all day long... I purposely wait a few seconds after the speaker clicks off before I ask her for something and she does great when we're trotting/jogging or cantering/loping, but when we're walking, good lord. She wants to do SOMETHING. She doesn't care what, but we need to do something. Trot? Reverse? Walk into the line up? When she gets to do nothing but walk, she gets very upset, tucks her nose to her chest, chomps on the bit, and prances in place. This is what the judge saw in the one english class.

Luckily, a lot of the classes were done like this:
Started the class at the walk (which she is fine with), then we canter, then we trot, then we reverse at the trot, then we canter, then we halt, then we back, then we walk a bit before being asked to come in and line up. There's hardly any walking, which is good!  (Or bad, depending on how you look at it.) The time between the back and the line up is just too much for her to bear. If I was lucky, we were told to head straight into the line up after the back, and I could use the opportunity to walk her forward a bit before turning into the middle. Since her nose is velcroed to her chest, though, it was a challenge to keep her behaving... luckily I was riding english and I had two reins to work with. The bad thing is, I can't work on this at home, which means I have to school at the show. If I'm having a crappy class or if I'm showing under a judge that doesn't care for my horse, ok... but if I'm having an awesome ride and I think we could place really well (and possibly get a PAC point), it's tough for me to make the call to just blow the class right at the end. Maybe we need a year of nothing but schooling shows...

Getting ready to head home.

Classes and Placings:
Showmanship: 1st out of 5
Western Go As You Please 19 Years Over: 4th out of 6
Western Go As You Please Open: 3rd out of 6
English Go As You Please Open: Honorable Mention out of 11
Hunt Seat Pleasure Open: 4th out of 8
Appaloosa, Paint, and Palomino Pleasure Open: 1st out of 3
English Go As You Please 19 Years Over: 2nd out of 2
English Pleasure Open: 3rd out of 5
English Pleasure 19 Years Over: 2nd out of 2

No pink ribbons today!
Proud moments:
Our showmanship pattern was definitely a proud moment, but unfortunately for Lilly, I expect a pattern like that every time. Last weekend was not good, and it's also not the norm. Today is the norm, and it's good to have her back. Score one PAC showmanship point! I'm also very proud of how well she did in our other first place class. It was Lilly, one of the geezer western pleasure horses, and the Appy I showed against in the "tantrum" class. Lilly gave me an excellent ride, but she had been doing that all day. Being called for first was a great feeling! Even though it's a pleasure class, I'm not sure if Paint will give me a point for it or not. It doesn't say whether we were english or western, so I don't know how they would decide which category to put it in. Maybe they'll call me!

It was just a great day overall. I lost count of the number of people who commented on what a beautiful, well behaved horse I have. She makes friends and always has fans everywhere we go. I'm so proud of her!

There was a photographer at the show and pictures should be up by Thursday, so I'll share the link and any I decide to purchase. :)