Thursday, January 14, 2016

January Condition Photos

These were taken on January 10th.

I did notice that once in a while, she looked a little ribby, but it didn't show up much in the pictures. The weight tape showed her right around 1,130lbs. I never know if I'm doing it right, or if it's all that accurate, but I figure if I do it the same way incorrectly all the time, it'll still accomplish what I'm after.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kicking Off the New Year

Lilly and I had an awesome year in 2015. She was kind of the bright spot in an otherwise stressful, depressing, and trying year. I'm hoping that this year is going to be no different (the Lilly part, not the stressful, depressing, and trying part), and I've decided to take proactive steps to make sure it happens. I'm not big on 'resolutions' per se, and I've learned not to define 'goals', mostly because I feel like the universe takes this as a challenge and sets out to derail them every chance it gets, so instead I've decided instead to lay out 'ambitions' for the year. These are things I'm going to work hard to achieve, both for myself personally and also for Lilly, and instead of listing specifically what they are, thus putting them out there to be crushed, I've decided to define the things I plan to do to make them happen.

I have even decided to give 2016 a theme... something short and sweet that I can fall back on anytime I'm having a crisis, or a dilemma, or something that has me stressed out. The theme I have chosen for 2016 is "Self Care".

I keep being told that I need to be a little more selfish... selfish with my time, selfish with my money, start putting myself first for a change, and I need to learn to say no to others and yes to myself. Society teaches us that being selfish is bad, as a recent fortune cookie reminded me. It said, "A life not lived for others is a life not lived." I've done a lot of living for others, so this year, I'm living for myself. I think taking some time for myself and finding opportunities to be a little selfish will help me heal and move on in my life.

I won't bore you too much with the specifics of my own personal Self Care ambitions, but I will say they involve new show clothes, girl time, pretty new tack, art supplies, time with Rylee, wine, fun events, fitness and nutrition ambitions, and lots of time in the saddle.

Self Care for me also involves Self Care for Lilly, and since she can't exactly do that for herself, I'm going to have to be the one to do it for her. This will involve several changes for her this year:
  • Joint Supplements:
    My sweet girl will be 16 years old in April, and for some reason that suddenly sounds old. I know she's not OLD (AJ is going to be 30 this year... THAT'S old), but the number just sounds old. Maybe it's because she's on the 20 side of 15, rather than the 10 side of 15. I really don't know, but I feel like I should start her on a joint supplement this year. With more time to ride, and more shows to go to, it certainly can't hurt.
  • EasyShoes:
    This is one of those "selfish with my money" scenarios. While Lilly has the most amazing hooves I think she's ever had in her entire life, she still struggles with certain types of footing. This doesn't happen so much at home, but it's an issue when we go to shows. We go from grass, to a sharp stone driveway, to an arena full of Johnston County Red Clay (mixed with stones and a tiny bit of sand). I have a pair of Renegades that I absolutely love, but I hate having to use them at shows. I always get funny looks from people, questions from the judges, and I feel like they just make her look heavy. They're also not perfect, and I have to take them off after every third class or so to dump out the clay and put them back on. It's dirty, annoying, and I'm always worrying if she's acting "off" in the ring if perhaps there's an issue with her boots. So the hoof boots just aren't working as I'd like them to, which has sent me back down the path of EasyShoes. The initial cost will be awful, but my trimmer said she's more than happy to spend some time showing me how to apply them so I can do it myself in the future. I'll only have them on her when we have shows, which is April - June and September - October (ish), which should help me save a little as well.
  • Weight Tape and Condition Pictures:
    When my vet came out in November, she was pretty happy with Lilly's weight. She said she wouldn't want her any fatter, but that she wasn't as concerned as she has been in the past. Then, after spending several minutes talking about how fat she is, my vet asked for a cookie to give Lilly... She said it might be a good idea to keep track of her weight with my weight tape, take pictures of her at the beginning of each month, and keep a close eye on her to see when she starts to struggle with the grass. This way we can try to stay in front of the weight gain and keep her from getting foot sore in July and August like she tends to do. This isn't necessarily a change for Lilly, but something I want to keep track of because of the issues we had last year.
  • Muzzle:
    This brings us back to the muzzle. I hate it, I hate the idea of it, but Self Care requires that Lilly wear the thing, at least during the periods of time where the grass will hurt her. I need to start working on getting her used to it now.
I also plan on blogging more this year, and taking more pictures. I didn't have much horsey stuff to blog about last year, but I will this year! It'll also help me keep track of Lilly and how the ambitions I set for her are working out. I'm definitely looking forward to the year ahead.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Year End Awards for 2015

This past weekend was the awards banquet for the show series Lilly and I did last year. I knew the divisions we placed in before the banquet because a spreadsheet was sent out, but I was still excited to see the ribbons and prizes. Here's how we placed:

Adult Division: Reserve Champion
Stock Type Division: Third Place
English Division: Sixth Place

Also, as a rider, I won a Ribbon of Outstanding Achievement which was based on all the points I received as a rider throughout the year.

We won a cooler seat for the adult division, a really nice grooming tote for stock type, and a nice bristle brush for the english division. The ribbons were also gorgeous!

I had ambitions of taking glorious pictures of Lilly with all her winnings so I could frame the picture, put it up in my office, and surround it with all her satin. They didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, though.

We had the beautiful blue skies I was looking for, but we also had a ton of wind. Trying to find a place to hang the ribbons that was in the sunshine, but not in the direct path of gale force wind was tricky, especially since I was by myself. I wanted a picture of all her day awards, a picture of her year end awards, and a picture of everything. Sadly, these are the best I got:

Day awards for the year!
Year end awards for the year!
All of our awards for the year!
Lilly also gave a HUGE spook when the ribbons started violently flapping in the breeze and nearly took off my finger, which made me nervous about leaving her lead rope hanging, but she eventually got over it and went to sleep. That's my girl.

If the ribbons looked good, she had her eyes closed. If she actually looked at the camera, the ribbons were blowing too much to see what they were. Here are a couple outtakes for you to enjoy!

Still sleeping...
The only ears up picture...
Needless to say, I'll have to do this photo shoot again.