Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflections on 2016

2016 was a trip in many ways.

I didn't get Chili hitched to drive yet.  I was taking lessons and had her going in the shafts.  We had a setback and then my lesson fund money dried up.  She is however, ground driving just about anywhere, and we did have a pleasant showing at an open show in ground driving obstacles she had never seen before.  She placed middle of the pack over broke driving horses, so that was pleasing.

Donni is still recovering from her leg injury.  This afternoon I changed the dressing again and it's still looking promising.  She's feeling better, but the verdict is out long term on if it will scar and how functional it will all be.  I am optimistic.

Donni also managed to give us all a heart attack a few months ago after she choked and ended up with aspiration pneumonia, despite veterinary intervention.  After weeks of IV and IM antibiotics, she proved she was a tough bird and was back to snuff.

Chili had a couple minor injuries, including one a couple hours before I left for my European vacation.  I am lucky to have friends that I can call at the 11th hour to step in and help with my poor problematic horses.

In April, Chili and I had a clinic with Jec Ballou and learned a lot.  Very versatile application to all different type of horses.

May, Chili and I went to a breed show.  This was the only rated show I showed at this summer.  I handled a few horses in hand for other people as a catch handler. 

I bought a new horse trailer.  After my education and my house, the most expensive thing I've ever purchased. 

I showed at a few open shows and a Morab show.  Chili won reserve high point at one show.

I am slowly gaining confidence in taking out the horses in the truck and trailer.  I went to the local park a few times with friends and trail rode.  I drove myself a few times, so there's that.  ;) 

I lost a few horses at my friend's.  They weren't mine, but they were some of my favorites.  It still hurts.  Sometimes it pours when it rains.

All in all, a successful year.  Some ups and some downs.

Hopefully I'll be able to put down my goals for 2017 after I have some time to think about them. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Getting My Roll On

For those following or occasionally following my posts, a couple weeks ago, both Squeaky cat and Donni, my older mare were not up to snuff.

Donni sustained a laceration to her leg which was fairly gory and Squeaky was acting quite lethargic and not quite right.

Well the great news is that Squeaky is totally back up to snuff.  She's her happy Squeaky self, happily supervising me all day and telling me what a terrible job I do.

Donni's leg seems to slowly be improving.  She's been on stall rest for three weeks now and is doing surprisingly well.  I do let her out to wander around in the arena while I'm out picking her stall during the day and I turned around while she decided to get her roll on.  If you're curious, she's wearing Back on Track boots on front and it's her back right leg that is injured and hidden in this photo.  :)

I decided to ride Chili tonight and had her out and tied to the arena wall while I was picking out Donni's stall.  Chili had a semi-feral moment where she decided she didn't particularly want to be tied to the wall, especially when Donni went back to her stall. 

So it was time to just roll with it.  I put Chili's boots on, got her tacked up, and decided since she was feeling very feisty and obnoxious and wanted to just run that she could run on the lunge line.  And run.  And run a little more. When she wanted to quit, I pushed her a bit more, until she was quite satisfied that a good walk was really what she wanted.  We worked on switching directions and transitions for a few more minutes and called that good.

I am not usually an advocate of "running" a horse down, but weather in the Midwest can be unpredictable and the cold can make them a little bit like morons.  In this case, I wanted Chili to realize that despite her full-of-beans attitude, she needed to still have manners while I was asking her to do something. 

I then rode her for a couple minutes.  She was quite well behaved and still had quite a bit of energy.  We did a few serpentines, which is a weak point for me.  I am so right sided that it takes me a few minutes to sort myself out and serpentines more than point that out, but it's good for me to remember on work on that.

We picked up a clean canter transition both directions and I decided to cool down by dragging around the pool noodle some more.  It's good for her to keep working while having a distraction and that noodle is a great one.  :) 

So in the end, despite my original plans, it's time for me to get my roll on and just roll with new plans as things change.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Winter Wonderland

In true Midwest fashion, it snowed again today. 

On the plus side, it is no longer below zero.  I decided to let Chili out in the fluffy snow for a chance to take some photos.  It's always a work in progress on my behalf.

I know everyone is pretty jealous of my awesome clipping job.

Totally awesome clip, but since this gal lives outside (even with blankets), I wanted a way to get some of the fur off so while I'm riding she doesn't overheat as quickly, but that most of the clip is covered under the blanket.  It's easy to take hair off, but pretty hard to put it back on.  ;)

The garland is from one of the regional titles she won.  I just wanted to have some fun adding a little bit more color.

I'm not quite sure about this last photo. Obviously her face isn't in focus, but it does seem a little bit different and enjoyable in some aspects.  Part of the learning process I suppose.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

What's the Scoop: Blood Type & Horses

What’s the Scoop?

Blood type and Horses

I have always been vaguely interested in equine genetics of all different sorts.  I have a more than basic understanding of equine color genetics and am always fascinated about the newest testing coming out for various inherited equine genetic disorders.  From this general line of thought, I started looking into equine blood types.  I understand human blood typing as I have worked as a blood banker, but horses are an entirely different situation!

I decided to do a friendly little post with some of the basic overviews in case anyone else out there enjoys a good read!

From my general research there are seven accepted red blood cell systems A, C, D, K, P, Q, and U.  It also appears that there may be an 8th system that is not universally accepted yet.

Within each system, are multiple antigenic sites known as factors.  Think of the A, C, D, K, P, Q, and U as houses and the factors are different rooms within the house.  The factors are listed in parentheses after the systems so it ends up looking like this: A (a,b,c), Ca, Ka, P (a,b), Q (a,b,c), and Ua. 

The most common blood type for a horse is Aa Ca+.  Here is a fun chart taken from UC Davis with the breakdown between breeds and blood type.

So it looks like the breeds most commonly being AaCa+ include Thoroughbreds and Arabians.  How fun!

Humans naturally form antibodies to other blood types so a blood type and antibody screen is imperative before attempting a transfusion.  There is of course, the universal donor type (O negative), which is compatible as it has a lack of antigens more than anything else.  However, horses apparently don’t naturally develop antibodies to other blood types, so usually the first blood transfusion, even if with a different blood type isn’t of consequence.  The exception of this are broodmares that may have been sensitized from previous pregnancies.

Some people may have heard of women having issues with their pregnancy from different blood types.  Rhogam is a product commonly issued to RH negative women who have RH positive babies.  Humans are a little bit different than horses in that RH antibodies (as well as others!) generated by the mother against her child can cross the placental barrier and can cause Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn. 

In horses, this is a little bit different in the fact that while a mare may in fact have antibodies against her foal’s red blood cells, until that foal actually ingests colostrum containing these antibodies, they are generally healthy and safe.  Neonatal isoerythrolysis is what develops if this foal would consume colostrum containing these antibodies.  This results in anemia, jaundice, destruction of red cells, increased heart rate and all around bad things.  This is somewhat more common in certain breeds, including Friesians.  It is also common in mare to donkey breedings. 

The likelihood of this disease can be screened for by taking blood samples from both the sire and dam.  If likely, the foal should be muzzled after birth. 

So if anyone else is a happy nerd, hope you enjoyed this scoop and just look at your horse and marvel at how many potential blood types they have! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 Questions

Borrowed from Viva Carlos

Does your horse need shoes?
I have two.  Both are barefoot.  I show Chili barefoot which is probably unusual on the breed circuit. I have hoof boots for trail riding, but haven't used them on the trails I've done so far in this area.

What do you think of the barefoot vs shoes debate?
  To be honest, I enjoy barefoot because it's cost efficient. I would have shoes if necessary, but as long as the horse is comfortable and moving well, I don't see the point.  I do make an effort to maintain feet between religiously scheduled trims. 

I absolutely dislike excessive pads and hose clamps on shoes.  Sorry horse show friends.  I don't like the look and I don't understand how anyone wants a 4.5 inch foot on an Arabian, unless it's a rare 16 hand horse. 

Horses need what is comfortable and therapeutic for that horse.  Sometimes people do what isn't especially fair to the horse in the name of "therapy" in terms of keeping a horse quasi-sound enough to show and I am not sure how to draw those lines.

Favorite season for riding?
Late summer is nice when the bugs are dying back and it's still comfortably warm.  Spring usually is a muddy mess.

How many shows do you think you’ve gone to?
The first rated show I went to was in 2012.  I did a trail trial in 2005 before that.  I would have to count, but I would actually imagine around a dozen, including catch handling.  I work a lot of weekends which cuts into shows.

I do try and watch a fair amount of bits and pieces online.

Do you consider yourself a good rider?
Older I get, the less competent I am.  I've been on a lot of horses, but I have a lack of finesse.  I have totally ridden quite a few unpleasant animals along the way and helped civilize them, so that probably counts for something. 

How experienced do you think someone needs to be to own a horse?
I'm not sure how to rank experience.  Too many people have years of experience and little common sense.  Some jump in with excellent guidance and are wonderful owners.

Have you ever gotten into a fight with your trainer?
No, don't have a particular trainer.  I love riding with some coaches, but don't have monetary budget to allow much more than occasional coaching sessions. 

Describe your dream horse.
I think it's be pretty awesome to own a dressage schoolmaster.  Can I order it in bay with four white feet and a blaze?
Does anyone in your family ride?
My brother can ride and rode a bit in the camp setting.  My dad and grandmother both can ride, but don't so often.  My mother rode a bit while she was young.  No one else is heavily involved in horses.  My grandparents bred and raised horses for some period of time.

If you could ride any horse in the world, which one would it be? why?

Not sure!  I think it would be pretty cool to ride some very nice finished reiners. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Legs and Whiskers

Chili is in there on the far left.  There are actually three horses in this photo.

Taking care of Donni's leg has still been a daily task.  My work schedule has shifted around this week so instead of working 2nd shift, I am starting out the week at 7 which isn't too bad, except my drive is taking about an hour and a half due to snowy conditions.  See above.  ;)

The past day or so, my cat Squeaky has not been her usual squeaky self.  She does have periods of eating inappropriate items and then cyclic vomiting, when usually resulted in a dehydrated cat, which I typically solved by running subcutaneous fluids.  Probably not the most elegant ways of handling things, but it was OK and we got things done.

I'm just breaking up the texts with a Chili video from the other night

Well, Squeaky has been off and just lethargic.  No obnoxious cat just constantly squeaking each time I was in the kitchen, or the bathroom, or just standing around in general.  She just mostly lay on the back of the couch.  I had been making a wet food slurry to coax her to eat, bringing it to her perch princess style.

After talking to my husband while I was at work, I was disappointed to hear that Squeaky had not perked up.  Her historic bouts of feeling ill in the past were typically short lived, so then I decided to see if I could get an appointment squeezed in after work.

The clinic I used is still fairly new to me, so I think the poor tech was probably taken aback on how direct I was in that I thought she probably needed an appointment sooner than later and that I wanted a complete blood count and a chemistry panel run, in addition to whatever the vet's line of reasoning was.

So, I managed to leave work a little bit early, scooped up the cat, and off we went.  He doesn't think it's a foreign body as she's just lethargic and not vomiting at this point and time.  His line is thought is tracking more some kind of respiratory thing.  She has a borderline high temp 102.5.  For this cat, yes, that is high. 

I haven't met this veterinarian before and he was fine. Very cursory, not very appreciative of any of my input, but then again, it's so much like dating to gain any kind of working relationship with a medical professional.  I love some of the trust and give and take with my equine veterinarians. 

Short plan is CBC & Chemistry panels drawn and results should be back tomorrow.  Injectable antibiotics apparently because he believes that all patient compliance is quite low.  Sure, in a typical situation, but good grief, my compliance is 100% given that used to be my job.  ;) 

But we are back home and Squeaky is a little perkier so that's a plus.

Then I turned around and went out to the barn to take care of Donni...

I ended up emailing back and forth with that veterinarian today, since it can sometimes be hard to get on the phone while actually at work.  Donni has been dragging her toe on the injured leg which was concerning.  The last wrap change was on Saturday morning and the leg was bleeding again and had some drainage. 

It's hard not to go from 0 to 100% panic at times, even though I really know better.  So I took some photos, which I suppose I won't share because leg injuries are kind of gross, but it's good for following progress. 

Current new plan with the vet is more stall rest, back on bute to reduce inflammation to hopefully stop the toe dragging, keep checking drainage to see if it's purulent discharge, and to continue the antibiotics. 

Poor horse.  Good thing is maybe she won't mind being inside a while longer while it's artic subzero temperatures for the rest of the week.

I did end up trying out the new equi flexsleeves tonight.  She is starting to stock up quite a bit from having been inside a week now.  Let's see how the socks work.  They are quite simple and easy to put on, so I'm hopeful.  Theoretically they can go over an injury as well, so maybe after Donni grows some hair back and stops bleeding each time her wraps get changed, we can just use the sleeves instead of layers and layers of wrap materials. 

But I'm about due for a change of luck...I hope.  A few too many bills in a short period of time, especially during this time of year. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Take A Bow

While Donni has been laid up, I've been at the barn on a daily basis to help look after her.

I'm not a trick trainer, but I thought it might be fun to teach a trick or two to Chili.

Here has been my method so far.

Initially, I worked on handling Chili's feet with lead ropes.  It's good practice anyway to have horses desensitized in case they manage to wander away with a lead rope attached.  In a picture perfect world, my horses stay perfectly still where I ask them, however, it's not a perfect world and they have been known to wander away and subsequently step on a lead rope.

Once she was fine with having ropes on and around her feet, I began picking one foot up with the lead rope and asking her to put her head down for a treat.

As she was comfortable with this, I began asking her to rock her weight back a little bit and let me bring her foot further under her body.

I know some individuals ask the other front leg stretch down further, but my goal was to have a position where the horse is dictating where she is comfortable, so if we have an odd bow, that works for me. 

This is how far I'd previously gotten as far as having her start to reach under and let me handle and bring her leg under her body. 

My goal this past week is trying to have her begin responding to tactile cues and not be reliant on the rope handling her "bowing" leg.  I have two cues that I've been using.  First, I touch the inside of the leg to pick up and then under her belly to bring the leg back.

I have also been pairing these cues with the word "bow".  My eventual hope is that she will be able to response just to the verbal cue and reinforce with tactile cues as necessary.

As I've been out daily this past week, I've worked a couple minutes with Chili.  It's been a little more cold and I haven't had the time to fully tack and ride, so I wanted to see if we could make more progress on our bow.

Usually in the beginning, we have to reinforce with the rope once and then back to tactile and verbal cues. 

The other day, I took a short break and was talking on the phone to my husband.  He asked what I was doing and I told him "Teaching Chili to bow".

I looked over and saw this.

Clearly not the full bow, but a fun work in progress! 

Does your horse bow?  Any interesting tricks or other behaviors that they perform?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Puddles of Red

Today was one of those days that didn't go exactly as planned.

What I had planned:
  • Wake up
  • Brew a cup of coffee and sit around not moving
  • Shovel snow
  • Eventually go to barn, organize my tack, and ride a horse or two

How my day actually went:
  • Wake up to phone ringing.  It was my barn owner
  • Emergency situation with Donni
  • Attempt to find clothes.  Realize I need warmer clothes as it's snowing
  • Call veterinarian
  • Wait for veterinarian to come through said snow
  • Organize tack
  • Hold horse for veterinarian
  • Eventually go home and finally get that cup of coffee
  • Go back and see horse again
  • See non-injured horse and forget about riding today

    She should be OK. She missed injuring the tendon sheath.  There was a "flap" in the laceration and when that was picked up, the blood just absolutely started pulsating and squirting out, where the blood vessel had been punctured. 

    The laceration itself is fairly straight and horizontal, so the decision was made not to suture as it is in a high tension and higher movement area and there would be the possibility of pulling the sutures out. 

    She is in a fairly thick bandage which is applying pressure to the wound and hopefully enabling the wound to begin closing and healing.  Stall rest to ensure the bandage stays dry as this type of bandage system shouldn't be changed daily unless there begins to be drainage.  It was a fairly "clean" injury without much debris, so in some cases, it's good just to close up the injury and just let nature do its thing.

    I also learned today that my veteran, combat hardened husband apparently couldn't stand seeing my horse in distress with large puddles of blood about.  He checked in on the situation, saw the blood, and then felt ill and left. 

    I am grateful though that he did stop in and check.  I am also very thankful that the barn owner and family really did step up and did what they needed to do to stop the bleeding and to lend a helping hand during the vet visit and getting everything ready for her stall rest.  It's such a good feeling to be in a place that goes above and beyond for the care of their (accident prone) horses.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


It's a little belated (pretty typical of me, to be honest), but I am thankful at this point and time in my life to have a good husband, a home, a job I enjoy, two sound horses, the cats, and the dog.

Despite the fact I may often complain about my student loan debt, I still am able to live a lifestyle so that I can carefully decide to attend one or two shows a year.

I go on vacation perhaps once a year or every other year.

I eat out probably way too often, but at times, it doesn't seem often enough.  I don't really liked doing dishes.

I am grateful to the other horse people in my life that listen to my discuss trivial things like feeding, saddle fitting (oh dear), my inability to expediently back a horse trailer, and probably every other topic.

I am thankful to be involved in a non-profit therapeutic group that truly cares about the horses and the students involved.  I didn't realize how many slant one way or the other. 

In the end, life is pretty darn good.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Saddle Fitting Trials

I have a feeling that this isn't going to be one of those open and shut cases.

The other year, I ended up with a lovely saddle that had an adjustable genesis tree.  It was comfy and seemed to fit the horses well enough. 

But there seemed to be a problem. 

My lower leg would keep creeping forward.  I worked hard to fight this and thought's just in the way I'm riding.  My equitation needs a lot of help.  I know this.

I also fought the way my leg lay on the horse.  My lower leg turns out and I felt physically unable to drape my lower leg quietly against my horses.

So about eight or nine months ago, I decided to see if the tack store that sold me my saddle would be able to help me out.  The owner is incredibly sweet and willing to work with me.

I wanted to basically be able to trade my saddle without involving an even crazier sum of money.  Unfortunately, I am a tall person, just shy of 6 foot with a very long leg.  Also unfortunately, I ride smaller horses with short backs.   I also didn't (and don't) have the budget for a new, nice fancy $5,000 saddle.

So, the other day I got a message that she finally had a saddle for me to try!  Hooray!

I'm not sure if I'm totally sold yet, but I have a Frank Baines Elegance on trial.  It is quite deep and seems to fit the ponies. 

Now, for me, I'm not quite sure.  Leg seems somewhat improved at the trot and canter, but it is still creeping forward at the walk.

I also still need a lot of work on balancing myself at the canter.  But sorry for blurry video stills.  This is what you get.  ;)

But definite pros are that despite Chili's random skitters, I didn't move out of the tack.  The seat seems comfortable.  It has a nice "Y" girthing system to adjust pressure on forward groove horses. 

Cons are the creeping leg and whether it will still be suitable if little narrow Chili fills out more.  She is five, so I am not sure how much more she will plump up.  I am hoping a little bit so that she will take up more of my leg, but who knows.

I had my friend take some photos to pass back to the fitter along with my concerns.

So we'll see how this version of the Saddle Fitting Trials turns out.

But in other news, I decided to work with asking Chili to bow the other night.  I think we are making progress!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blog Hop: Before & After

Blog Hop courtesy of That Red Mare

Chili then...I bred and foaled her out.  She was born on mother's day during finals week while I was in graduate school.

A few months old


Two years old

Three years old.  Lightly started under saddle.  My first ride on her.

Four years old.  Last winter.

Five years old.  Her current age. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Almost Famous

A few months ago, I decided to write a short recap of my adventure showing a friend's stallion last minute at Nationals, where he ended up being Reserve National Champion.

Horse & Rider has a small column/section for readers submitting their own stories, so I thought why not?  I emailed the editor and off we went.  She contacted me and liked the story and a few months later, emailed me again with a more condensed version of my story, since I do like to be a bit wordy and occasional ramble.  Anyone reading my blog shouldn't be surprised on the rambling.  Sorry.

A random friend of a friend picked up her copy of Horse & Rider and read the article before I even knew it was published.  Quite a surprise to receive a message on Facebook regarding the story I didn't know was out.  :)

So, as my husband says, I'm "almost famous" now with my tiny 900 word recap in Horse & Rider.

Pick it up if you like from your local story or check in the library.  Let me know what you think. 

It is certainly enjoyable to write and I am looking forward to hopefully writing more articles in the future.  I do currently provide some content to the Morab registry and local magazines, but I'd like to have something nationally published sometime!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Down the Long Side

I have been reaching to books for ideas and exercises to do as the weather has suddenly plunged into winter mode and I am trapped in the indoor arena for the next six months more or less.

One exercise that I believe I pulled from Reiner Klimke's Training the Young Horse book is letting the horse learn to extend/move the trot into a lengthened trot on the long side while on the lunge.

I decided to go ahead and modify this by putting down ground poles to make a long "chute" to guide her straight along the rail, so I could cheat a little and not have to worry about her only going into "auto circle" mode while in the lines.

Chili at times gets tight and ends up doing this little pony trot, so I wanted to have her enjoy the chance to go straight and feel like she could move out without my interference, as long as she behaved and wasn't running off her feet.

She seemed to enjoy herself, but it did bring up another thing that I need to work on and that is her butt phobia.

She doesn't like things on her back legs and while intimidated, immediately clamps down and worries, runs forward, or some variation thereof.   I don't know if this is directly tied into the dog attack that she sustained about a year ago that ended up injuring a back leg, but it has been recently come to my attention as something I need to adjust her response and fear.

This is why in the above photo, I'm lining more like the gaited horses with the line up and over her back instead of behind the hamstrings like many people like to classically do.

As this is called the Semi Feral Equestrian blog, I do tend to pick and choose what I do in my semi feral style, as long as the horse is responding.  :)

At the end of the session, it was an excellent time to go back to basics with just running the lines along the ground, up her pasterns and along her hamstrings.  If she worried, I didn't punish her by pulling on her face, although she was still in the lunging cavesson. 
The goal was to wait for a positive reaction in which she didn't clamp her tail, tuck her butt, move forward, and so forth.  Positive response meant I removed the stimulus (rope) and let her relax for a moment. 

Rinse and repeat.

This was a few days ago and I'm happy to say that I worked again for about five minutes tonight on the lines and while she initially worried, it took less than thirty seconds before she relaxed into licking and chewing with the lines in her "worry zones".

I think it will be a point to check in for the next few weeks and months until hopefully, we've moved on past that. 

Funny how small experiences, as in her accident with the dog, can leave deep impressions.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

10 Questions for November

Borrowed from Viva Carlos

How old is the youngest/greenest horse you’ve ridden?
I've been on a couple of two and a half year olds.  I've started some from scratch as well that were varying ages.

How old is the oldest horse you’ve ridden?
Mid to late twenties.  Alex, my auction Arabian is 27 going on 28 in March and I still hop on him.  He's still on crack most of the time.

Were you scared of horses when you first started riding?
Not at all. I'm less confident now that I have had a back injury.

Would you say you’re a more nervous rider or a confident rider? 
Usually a confident rider, but depends on the horse and situation.  For a while, I needed anti-anxiety meds, but not due to horses in general, but life was getting in the way.

Generally speaking, I have most of my mojo back, but still need a pep talk when anxiety takes over.  It does bother me since I've done some bold things with horses in the past.

Biggest pet peeve about non-horse people around horses?
People trying to put their kids up on every horse they come across.  Really, it's a horse.  Don't do it.  If it's on the other side of the fence, it's not yours to touch.  Stop feeding them without permission.  My stuff, your stuff kind of rules

A time you’ve been scared for your life?
I don't think I've ever felt I was going to outright die, but more like "Oh crap, this is going to really hurt."

One time I was riding a big palomino gelding bareback and he had been fairly well behaved while I was helping teaching lessons at a camp.  We were loping back from one side of the field to the other when he started bucking.  He'd buck and I ended up on his neck, I'd push myself back and he'd start again.

Fortunately, I managed to take enough control of his head and got that stopped.  I really thought it was going to be painful though.

I have been bucked off a few times that weren't especially enjoyable.  I also have handled some unpleasant stallions.

Have you ever fallen off at show? What happened?
Oh good grief.  No and let's keep it that way.  I have just recently started showing undersaddle in the past couple of years. 

What’s a breed of horse you’ve never ridden but would like to ride?
I want to ride a bunch of baroque horses like Lippizanners, Andalusians, and Friesians.  I know that too many would drive me crazy by being heavy in my hands, but at least it would be fun to try.

I  have ridden a lot of different gaited breeds, including Rocky Mountain horses, Tennessee Walking Horses, and Paso Finos if that counts for anything.  Nothing too exotic beyond those besides various Warmblood "breeds", but since they have open books, I think that's more complicated.

Describe the worst behaved horse you’ve ridden? 
A lot. I rode a horse that was donated that was pretty spoiled and one of the first times I was riding her, she began alternating between bucking, crowhopping, and rearing.  She just drove me crazy.  A couple rides later she was good and never really caused too many problems again.  I think she just had cowed a few people into getting off of her.

Now that I think about it, I've ridden a few other horses like that.  They just needed to be pushed through their stupid attitude and realize that I (or whatever other) rider wasn't coming off.  Wet saddle blankets are good things for those spoiled critters.

The most frustrating ride you’ve ever had?
I once got bucked off at a halt by a Quarter Horse that didn't want to work.  I got on, thought about asking her to move, and got launched into the dirt.  It was the shortest ride I've ever had as well.  ;) 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saturday Snapshots

Yesterday as told in photos

Chili and her Fjord friend yesterday

Beautiful Fjord mare

Little miss looks like an adult horse!  Almost...I think
Snoozing Chili when I arrived.

We hung out for a while together.  She had me itching her spots.  She stayed down.  A first.

We absolutely suck at taking selfies.  Clearly we both have RBF.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Learning Curves: Other Side of Shows

The past few years I have tried to tame my semi-feral self and to be more involved in various aspects of the equine community.

Through one friend, I have started assisting with a fairly large sized show.  It isn't HITS or Dressage at Devon, but for our area, it attracts around a hundred horses.  I also have been working with an Arabian club and their show events.

Here a few things that I learned while being on the other side of the show curtain, as in assisting the show instead of just exhibiting.

1.  People are generally good natured, but have some questions.  At all hours of the day.  All types of questions.  Be prepared to answer questions anywhere, even while in the bathroom.  :)

2. Show facilities charge fees for everything for the hosting show.  Vendors on the ground means a fee.  People showing from a trailer is another fee.  One facility even charged anytime people used the electrical outlets.  Unfortunately, some of these stupid fees have to be passed along to attendees.  It would be difficult for a show to absorb ten to fifteen dollars a time for each person showing from a trailer.

3. No matter how hard you try, people will not like your class schedule, the order, or the judge.  Sometimes all three.  They also want classes for small, spotted horses of a certain gender that haven't won.  OK, that's a bit tongue in cheek, but it does seem that way.  Don't take it personal.  It's the way it is.

Here's a suggestion for those that show and would like classes added.  Send an email or note and ask if you can sponsor a class.  People are much happier to add classes when they are sponsored.

4. People should put more thought down when putting down stall requests.  If your horse can't be near another living animal, please put that down.  If you have a very frisky young colt, put him down as a "stallion", not a "colt."  Trying to write stall assignments is some sort of mysterious art form that I don't truly understand as it combines horses and human politics and if we don't have all the information, it gets much trickier.

5.  Shows are obnoxiously expensive.  There are many that are ceasing to exist because they just can't get enough horses and clubs are continue to hemorrhage money trying to put on unsustainable events.

6.  If you like your show options, consider volunteering or sponsoring.  Both help creep closer to breaking even or showing a profit, which means more shows for next year.

Anything else that people "on the other side" would like to add? 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rinse and Repeat

Here's your random photo of the day.  Let's play "I spy"....

OK that's a spider that I found after putting on splint boots.

Back to regularly scheduled topics. 

Chili has occasionally been difficult to load, so last week I wanted to set aside a day to hook up my truck and trailer and practice loading, as well as beginning to clean it out to get it ready for winter.  It is the Midwest after all and despite the fact the weather has been unseasonably warm, it's not due to last forever.

I managed to back the truck up perfectly to hitch the trailer, so that was excellent starting point.

Then I went and got Chili.  The last time I tried to load her was for the little local schooling show with my husband in the misting rain.  She was difficult and a bit of a piss, but I ended up resorting to a butt rope to get her on.

So with a couple hours before I had to go to work, it was rinse and repeat: trailer loading style. 

I originally tried asking her to just load like normal, ie just walking her on which used to work.  Well not so much. 

I went to the whole "work the horse away from the trailer " and let them rest near the trailer.  The downside is that she's an Arabian and she doesn't care about putting her feet on the ramp, it's rather the whole actually staying inside of it that she doesn't want to do.

So I ended up trying to load her with the butt rope by myself, which was a little bit creative, but about 35 minutes, she finally went in. 

It took about two minutes for the next time and then the 3rd and 4th attempt were effortless with her even self loading with the straight load dividers up.  Usually I just swing the straight load divider over so she has more room.

So while I don't think this is the end of our trailer difficulties, at least I think it gave her an idea that loading on the expensive, new shiny trailer I bought specifically for her isn't an optional thing. 

Sunday, I planned to go trail riding with a barn friend and it was time to put the trailer loading back to the test.  In our favor though is that the other horse is Chili's BFF so incentive to any degree.

So much love for that Fjord.  We are also standing on top of a tire at the park

The Fjord loaded first, then Chili decided to hesitate for a minute.  I just tossed the lead rope over Chili's rump and apparently she had butt rope flashbacks, so she just hopped right in. 

We had a pleasant ride at the park

Complete with lake wading.  It's actually an equine watering spot as the edge is too muddy for the horses to actually drink.

Trying to be artistic, but all you can see are my horse's giant ears. 

Then it came time to load back up to go home.  I asked if Chili could load first and closed up the divider and toss up her lead rope on her back and she walked in!

So who knows...maybe a sign that we'll accomplish things, someday!

Or maybe another round of rinse and repeat is somewhere in our near future.

How about your horses?  Good to load or not so much?