I love Sundays. The only reason why it's not my favorite day of the week is because it is followed by Monday. I love sleeping in, going to church, having lunch with my family, and spending the afternoon at the barn. Today I got to play with Erin and Roz over fences. He was a super star. His hair cut looks decent but I may end up doing more of a full body clip on him considering how sweaty and gross he is getting. I hate body clipping but I love how much easier it is to care for them once they are clipped.
He's not looking bad for an old boy
After riding with Erin, I headed up to the barn to go on a trail ride with Tarra. We enjoyed a nice walk in the forest and it was actually pretty sunny. It's so beautiful up under the trees with all of the different fall colors and the leaves on the forest floor. Next Sunday the time changes and we will be losing an our of light. The next 6 weeks or so will be the hardest. Once we get past the shortest day of the year everyting will be okay.
Today was so much fun. I got up early to give Roz a small fall hair cut.
Fuzzy wuzzy was Roz.
I clipped his neck and then took him for a ride in his new bit. He was quite spunky. He was quite annoyed by the whole clipping thing at 7:30am on a Saturday morning so I think that made him a bit more sassy than usual. When we got home I touched up a few missed spots on his neck and turned him back out.
The first thing that needs to be done after having to work is a good roll. He got that taken care of....
And wondered what I was looking at. Isn't he cute in Roxy's pink blanket?
Then Tarra and I made a trip up to Lake Oswego to the Irideon/Toklat warehouse for their 2nd annual sale. It was so fun! We both found 2 pairs of breeches that were prototypes and were deeply discounted. The first pair was a fleecy winter pair that was $25 (regularly $100); the second was a pair of lite schooling tights $18 (regularly $60). I'd say they were pretty good deals! I also bought 2 pairs of white woof brushing boots for $10 bucks a pair!!! They have a small stained orangeish stripe on each one but nothing that affects their function. I found a cute red long sleeved t-shirt in their $10 t-shirt bin and of course I had to bring that home too. We refrained from buying saddle pads or cute $10 lavender polo wraps. We both have way too many as it is but those things are so hard to pass up! :)
After eating at Taco Bell (Tarra's favorite place) we stopped off at Gallops Saddlery to pick up a new pair of pull on bell boots for Roz.
I went out to ride Mr. Rhythm when we got home. He was super good tonight! He was hardly spooky and is getting a lot softer in the bridle. We practied a few walk to canter transitions and he is starting to get he idea. Our traver at the walk is getting so much better and I feel like I am more organized for it. Sitting the trot is also getting a lot easier for me so that is really nice. It's definitely something that you can get very out of practice on. It was a fantastic day!
Mystic showing off his new $10 woof boots. He looks like a dork. :)
I first heard about it when reading Joe's writings at tbfriends.com. He did the math on 140000 horses going to slaughter and it works out to roughly 383 horses per day. Then a friend posted the actual link on facebook which I ended up reading. Here are some points that I thought were interesting or totally disagreed with. :)
"Horse breeders and the owners of livestock auctions say that eliminating slaughter basically removed the floor for horse prices, allowing the market to collapse and forcing many out of the business. One reason, they say, is that owners are now forced to pay hundreds of dollars to euthanize and dispose of unwanted horses when they used to receive about that much to sell them to slaughterhouses."
If horse breeders have been forced out of the market because slaughter is not as easy of an option, they should never have been breeding in the first place! Also, it doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars to euthanize a horse and dispose of it. A bullet could just as easily do the job, and a horse can be disposed of at the landfill for around $150. If you can't afford that, you should never owned a horse in the first place.
"The United States, much of it settled on horseback, has never really taken to eating horse except in times of need. But elsewhere, the meat — lean and protein-rich — is prized as a delicacy. Selling to a slaughterhouse has long been a way to make some money, to get rid of an old or unwanted horse no longer able to perform at a racetrack, show ring or ranch."
Doesn't slaughter seem like the logical way to get rid of horses that can no longer perform at a racetrack, show ring, or ranch? How about finding a new career for these animals? Many people believe that the only horses that go to slaughter are lame or crazy. That is simply not true. Many thoroughbreds come off the track and are sent directly (or almost directly) to feedlots or auctions before being shipped to slaughter. These are young healthy horses with loads of potential. Or we could go the other direction and look at an old horse that is lame. Most likely that horse is lame from years of work for someone. People need to step up and take care of these animals that have served them well over the years. If they have no value to the people who have used them up who will they have value to? Unfortunately in our society people are looking for the easy way out.
"Now owners have to pay to get rid of horses. Debby Brehm, director of the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association, spent $200 last month to euthanize a sick horse and $150 more for it to be hauled to a rendering plant. Other owners keep them but are unable to bear the thousands of dollars a year it can cost to feed and care for them. As a result, the sight of malnourished animals is familiar, Ms. Brehm said, and stories abound of horses abandoned on public and private land and even, in one audacious case, in someone else’s horse trailer."
I love that they quote someone from the Quarter Horse Association as they are one of the worst over breeding organization and are definitely pro-slaughter. Notice that is cost $350 to slaughter and dispose of a horse but....people are unable to bear the thousands of dollars a year that their horse's care can cost. Come on! If you honestly can't care for you old (possibly unrideable) partner anymore then spend the money and have them euthanized. Why would you ever sentence them to being hauled to a slaughter plant. Think of how stressful hauling is for many horses, and then pack them in a trailer with lots of other horses and ship them long distances only to kill them. That's how I want my horse to spend it's last days. Not!
"The Southeast Nebraska Livestock Auction used to sell about 100 horses every month, but now that may be the total for a year, said Dale Steinhoff, the owner. At Central Nebraska Packing, which used to slaughter horses but now buys more than one million pounds of horsemeat a year for sale to zoos, the meat is far more expensive when imported from Canada, said Lloyd Woodward, general manager.
And, even as they pay less, those who buy the animals for slaughter — a group known as “kill buyers” — say they are struggling to cover their cost
'The Mexicans are getting rich off us,' said Derry Mayfield, who buys about 40 horses a month and sometimes has them given to him for no cost. 'They’re buying these horses
cheap because they can. We have no other options.'"
I do understand that there are economics involved here. I believe horse slaughter either needs to be completely shut down (no export of horses for slaughter) or plants do need to be re-opened in the US. Ultimately that would be more humane for our horses and may help improve the economy. The problem of too many horses is not going to go away on it's own. But, people need to wake up and quit over breeding horses along with stepping up to care for their current horses.
Networking needs to be done for these unwanted horses. As someone who is currently shopping for a horse I can tell you that a lot of people aren't giving nice horses away. Many horse in my opinion are over-prices and under trained. Why aren't these unwanted horses being advertised for free? People need to understand that horses do cost a lot and they live a long time. If you can't make the commitment then don't buy a horse!
I haven't updated in a little bit because I was with out my computer over the weekend. I rode Roz on Saturday and he was excellent. I am planning to jump him once a week over the next couple of months. He has changed so much in the years that I have owned him. He was jumping so quietly and was listening so nicely. If I wanted him to add a stride we was right there with me, or a little extra leg and he would find the long spot. I love that horse. I am so thankful that he can still jump. 6 months ago I wasn't even sure that we would be able to continue riding him, much less be jumping. I am hoping to clip him this weekend as he is getting quite sweaty already. He grows a very thick winter coat!
Roz and I at Devonwood in 2007
The rest of Saturday was spent preparing for a bridal shower for my cousin on Sunday.
Our yummy cupcakes
Monday I received a call that I could ride Rhythm extra this week. I am looking forward to some additional days on him. We had a decent ride tonight, and I get to ride again tomorrow so that will be great!
Pants is getting so big and he is adorable. I will take my camera to the barn tomorrow night to get a better picture of him...but I got a cell phone photo of him wearing his new blankie tonight.
I had a great lesson on Rhythm last night. I have arranged to ride him on Tuesday's and Thursday's with my lesson normally being on Thursday. It was nice to be able to put a ride in on Tuesday so that I was ready for me Thursday lesson. His owner has her lesson on Wednesday night so Rhythm gets 2 nights of supervised work in a row. He was really good in my lesson and I am amazed at the progress he has made over the last few months. We went back to many of the same things we did last week, adjusting the canter and traver. In the counter canter we played around with uberstriken and actually had some very nice moments where I held him on me seat and legs while giving my hands away. I also found out that I was holding too strong in my half-halts to collect the canter and caused him to break gait a few times. I need to keep working on that. We also introduced the start of half pass, walk to canter transitions, and counter canter. It is definitely all in a fairly rough stage but it is cool to be able to step up his training. I felt like I did a much better job in the traver of getting me body in a more correct position. I still really need to be working on my core and sitting up tall as that is where my strength is coming from. Riding dressage requires so much physical (and mental) strength. I worked on my leg position specifically on Tuesday and we worked on it more last night. They are improving. Now I need to work on being more active with them, particularly at the sitting trot. I have a much harder time using them well while I am sitting. As I was cooling out last night I was thinking about why my leg is not as active as it should be. I think it mostly comes from years of riding young/green horses who didn't accept my leg. Instead of using it anyway I just learned to ride very "tactfully" and keep my legs off and quiet. Thankfully Rhythm doesn't mind your leg at all so at least he is not re-in-forcing that bad habit. We are still a work in progress but at least I am seeing improvements and learning a lot along the way.
In other news, I donated blood today and was shocked to learn that they use a 16 gauge needle for it. I don't even use a 16g needle on my horse!!! I'm sure they use it to make it go faster and as it was, it didn't take all that long, but still.
This morning we went to Erin and Roz's third horse show. He was quite pushy and put out about heading to a show. We locked him in his paddock last night so he would stay sort of clean. He did stay mostly clean but he was super annoyed about the whole thing. We braided him in purple this weekend and he turned out really cute! They were running almost an hour late, and we didn't know that until Erin was already on and starting her warm up. It actually worked out well because it gave them both some time to relax. They had a very respectable test and ended up with a 36, which is 4 points lower than their last show. There was a rush to get ready for cross country and Roz was being a wild child. I had brought along his slow twist full cheek snaffle so we ended up doing a quick bit change before they went out on course. Sadly they had 3 refusals (at 2 different fences) and were eliminated. Thankfully, they had a schooling round to use so she used it there. They had 1 sort of refusal in the schooling round but over all it was much better.
I am really not sure what is going on. Roz NEVER stopped when I was actively competing him a few years ago. It was always a safe bet that he would go double clear cross country. I have decided to take him to a couple of hunter/jumper schooling shows or combined tests, so that I can give him some good rides and get them through this. If he continues to refuse then maybe he just doesn't want to jump anymore. I really don't think that is the case since he jumps great at home. I think it is a product of Erin getting anxious and not riding him as well in a show environment. We will continue to work and hopefully get them all set for next year.
Forelock that Erin braided
Aren't they cute?!
Tarra "cantering" a 20 meter circle while demonstrating Erin's test
The event was at a barn we hadn't been to before. It was a nice spot and I hope we can go back again next year to compete.
Here is my lesson video from last night. Sorry it's so long...I will be impressed if anyone has the patience to watch the whole thing. The last minute is pretty neat when I finally get a good shoulder-in.
I had a great lesson on Rhythm tonight. Tarra and I have made an agreement to tape each other's lessons once a month so that we can see things that we need to work on. I need to work on my position!!! I'd like to say that will be my goal over the next month or so but really it's probably a year long goal. I have several trouble spots. I look down and I tip my head sideways when I am concentrating, and I don't sit up as tall and straight through my shoulders as I should. I need to get better at wrapping my legs around the horse with me knees and toes in. I need to be able to use my outside leg more effectively. I feel like I can be doing one thing right, like having an active inside leg, but as soon as I have to add my outside leg I lose the work that my inside leg is doing and vice versa. I need to multi task! :) I also sit to the left and collapse through my right side. Probably the only thing that I have working for me is that I have nice quiet hands, and I have become much more effective and strong with them. That being said, these are all fixable things and when I accomplish that I will hopefully be a pretty and effective rider. How cool would that be?! The question is now...do I try to correct everything at once or just get one thing straightened out before concentrating on the next thing.
Tonight we worked on lengthening and collecting the canter, travers, and shoulder-in. I have a video that I will post tomorrow night since I don't have the time to let it upload tonight. The lengthening and collecting at the canter was difficult but was getting better towards the end. It requires a tremendous amount of core strength to accomplish what we want. Dressage looks so easy when it's done well but it actually requires so much! The traver work would have been much easier if I had been able to get my body positioned better. You can definitely see where I was sitting in the wrong spot and not able to get all the pieces put together well. At the shoulder-in I was not riding the shoulders like I need to be but you can see when we got it at the end and it felt great! A quote I saw a couple weeks ago that I am going to strive to be like is this:
"Hard Work Beats Talent, When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard"
we struck out. Tarra and I had a great trip to Spokane but unfortunately we did not find a pony. Pony #1 was okay but I didn't like his body type and conformation as much as the other too. He was also on the top side of my budget. Pony #2 was flat out adorable...but was wary of people on the ground and wasn't as confident as I would have liked him to be. I know he is on the young side but I really do think that their basic personality plays a roll in this and that is not the attitude I want. He wasn't bad to ride, and was a good size for me so I did really like that about him. Pony #3 is owned by a crazy lady. Her first strike was that when we got to her house to look at her she was already riding her. We were 15 minutes early and I was immediately put off. Once we met her the owner started telling us more about the mare. Every third sentence she would say "I'm just going to be completely honest with you." To me that makes me feel like she is not telling the truth. Then she started telling us stuff like, she rides in a double bridle. She hates water. She does the hoochie koochie (whatever that is/means) in the trailer. She is really a hot cob. She's really quiet. She hates to be stalled. But you can stall her overnight at a show. She really freaks out in a stall though, unless she has food in front of her. She can be ridden in rings (running martingale?), and is pretty good with head confinement. She's not sure how she would go in a standing martingale. She does tie up when she comes in to heat, but you just need to make sure you have her on plenty of B12. Otherwise she will be totally sound for you. Needless to say, I didn't even ride her. I just told the owner she is not who I am looking for and we made our return trip home.
The drive itself went well and Tarra and I had fun. Tarra drove the Pony Express for the second time and I think she is hooked. She learned how to pass people and decided that was really fun. :)
Our hotel was decent enough. We were so exhausted when we got in last night. Dinner was at Denny's right next to our hotel, followed by loading video on the computer and a swim in the pool and hot tub. Once we were done in the pool we headed to bed and were asleep close to 9pm. Thankfully we got almost 10 hours of sleep and woke up feeling better this morning.
My delicious waffles
An American flag on the top of this cool bridge
One of the many trains we saw
Circular fields due to the irrigation pivot.
Organic carrots...for the pony we didn't buy.
Beautiful scenery. Do you see another train?
The windmills Tarra and I want to buy. These were some of the only ones that were turning.
I saw this on facebook today and I couldn't help but repost.
A Gelding Owned By A Girl She's begun dating a cowboy, so he joins us on our rides. And she says she'll be on my back when they play "Here Comes the Bride." Her new guy's horse is a Leo Bar, a muscled speedy thing. But I lead the way on every trail, he knows that I am king. At first glance he had his doubts, about ribbons and a tail in curl, but now he realizes who I am, A gelding owned by a girl. They ought to have a special prize for horses cursed in this way. The whims that we put up with, the games they like to play. We live our loyal lives alongside these girls who are our own. From lead lines and kiddie gymkhana, to barrel racing when they're grown. But there's one thing about a girl that makes it all worthwhile, it's the fact that she'll always think you're grand, and that you have real style. How did I end up as CEO? I never expected to become, such an important thing as this, the place where I was from. An auction over six years ago, and a girl looking through the rail, saved me from a packing plant, and braided these ribbons in my tail. She had no idea where I came from, imagines I was a champion stud, still thinks I am from time to time, even when I'm covered in mud. That's how I can put up with the giggles, and allow myself to bow so low, as to nicker when she brings me carrots, and to put up with what she doesn't know. Next thing there'll be a young' un, moist-reared and pudgy-cheeked, and the old saddle will be stained, by the water they invariably leak. So laugh if you like at this old nag, go ahead and stare, I'm a gelding owned by a girl, and I've learned not to care. You try putting up with the doo-dads, take her ineptness if you can, but it would kill any cow pony. who has ever been owned by a man. Yes I'm a part of a special breed, but I put up with a pearl, and the truth is I kinda like being a gelding owned by a girl.
Roxanne left for her new home today, and although I am beyond happy with where she ended up, it was really hard to see her go. I've had her for 3 years and definitely get attached to my horses. In many ways she is as close to my "dream" horse as I have ever gotten. I've always wanted a bay thoroughbred with 4 white socks and blaze. I sold her to someone I have known for almost 10 years and she will be using her to produce sporthorse foals. Her first date is to an Appaloosa stallion that is a full brother to the buyers current mount.