Saturday, August 30, 2014

Video - Oregon State Fair

I was a bit slow on this but here's the video of Emi at the State Fair. It's not super exciting but it's still nice to see how she looks. I thought her first trot was really nice. She was a bit sassy the 2nd time around. This was her first time ever being in that arena and I thought she was very brave about it. I'm also impressed with how well she is trotting with me since I haven't been practicing at all between shows. That's one skill she's got down! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Informal Blog Hop - Transformation

I had to join in on the informal blog hop, started at Life of Riley.   It's fun to look at the progress/growth from one year to the next. 

Emi July 2013 & August 2014

August 2013 & August 2014

Then I couldn't resist the progress my hair has made....

March 2013, June 2013, September 2013, December 2013, April 2014, August 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Rest of the Story

Some of you may have been wondering what happened with Jessica. The short answer...I took her back. The long answer...After our first lesson in which she slammed on the brakes and did not want to go across the diagonal, this problem continued to come up. In hindsight, this actually happened twice while riding her out in the field the first week I had her (before the lesson). I just didn't quite connect all of the dots. It normally happened mid way through a ride with no warning that it was coming. I tried pushing her forward with my leg, I tried using the whip to get her going again and that did not work. She was even more resistant and felt like she would consider rearing. The only thing that seemed to work was just to sit it out until she decided she was "un-stuck."

Side Note: One very defining horse in my life was a mare named Roxy, (similar to Sprinklerbandit and Izzy). If you've been reading for any length of time you have probably heard me talk about her. Roxy was a gorgeous thoroughbred mare who I got off a feedlot. I owned her for almost 3 years and invested a lot of time, energy, and emotions, not to mention the money! Although we had some good times, we also had some really bad times. Not only was she very athletic but she was not the most willing partner. After that experience I made the decision that if I wasn't riding something I really enjoyed, I wasn't going to ride. 

We had about a week of this before I asked Tarra to try her out for me. She hopped on and off they went. Things started out well enough with Tarra telling me she thought the issue could be worked through, but by the time her ride was over we had both decided this just wasn't working. Jessica was the worst she has been and at the end of the ride she was throwing a tantrum even just walking around the arena. She'd walk fine and then decide to back up, bump in to the arena wall, and generally not cooperate. I contacted her owner, and the rest is history.

I'm quite honestly a bit frustrated and discouraged. I did not expect it would be that hard to find a horse that I could ride around the arena, take on trails, and generally enjoy. Even leasing is a big financial commitment and I'm torn between being an adult and doing something smart with my money (since I do already have two horses), or pursuing another horse. The only thing that makes waiting unattractive, besides missing out on all sorts of fun horse adventures, is that I know I'm going to have a green 3 year old on my hands in two years, and I don't want to be out of practice!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Show #3

Today, baby girl went to her third (and final) show of the year. She was really good! We started the morning with a little bit of a discussion regarding loading, but things got much better from there. Once I had her in the trailer we went up to NDF to pick up Mystic. Emi stood quietly in the trailer while Tarra got her stuff loaded. Both horses hauled great and came off the trailer nicely. 

We couldn't find a stall chart in the barns so we headed over to the horse show office. The show was at the Oregon State Fair and it was already pretty busy when we got there. Emi was very brave and walked right along. Once we got things figured out it was back to the barns to put them in their stalls and get the trailer unloaded. 

Although afternoon classes started 30 minutes late they did a good job of keeping us posted on what was going on. I didn't want to have Emi out for too long since her attention span is fairly short.  Although we did have to wait a little bit, it wasn't bad. She came out calm and was well behaved while I walked her outside the ring. 

When we went in to the ring she trotted really well and I focused on running fast. I felt like I did a pretty good job, although I haven't looked at the video yet. In my opinion her trot work was good but she didn't stand super well. She got pretty jazzed up as the other horse (a foal with her dam) trotted around the ring. She placed second under both judges, which meant she got to go back for the championship class. 

Fancy girl!
She's growing up
 I debated whether I should take her back to her stall between classes but opted to keep her out. It ended up taking longer than I expected (doesn't it always). Although Emi was thinking she was done with me, she was still pretty good while we waited. When we went back in we got another chance to work on her standing and she did a lot better.

So shiny
At this point I was just happy to have her standing still...I had no idea she had a foot rested. 
She has such expressive eyes
She loaded great for the ride home and hauled quietly (with out Mystic). Rozzy Ridge was thrilled to see us when we got home and Emi was so happy to head out for a few hours on the pasture. Overall I felt really good about the day. I'm always so impressed with how reasonable Emi is. She saw a lot of new things today, let along traveling to a totally new place, and she was awesome. She's screaming a lot less, she's listening a lot better, and she's really growing up. I was also thrilled that the rope halter I made for her didn't break and worked well. Yah! Next up? A baby outing to Perrydale Trails, in September. We will be going with Tarra and Mylo, and then Alyssa and her yearling filly. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Major Progress

With Emi's third show right around the corner, and my new found knowledge of how to properly turn a welsh cob out, I'm ready to go. Last night I pulled the clippers back out to start getting her trimmed up. My friend, April, is going to come help me on Monday, but I thought I'd see how far I can get with out assistance. As it turned out, between last night and tonight I got both her whiskers and her jawline trimmed with minimal fussing from her. I'd say that's a major break through! Now I need to do her bridle path and ears. Last time I just trimmed her long ear hair with scissors and I think I will most likely do that again. The bridle path was a major challenge last time and seems to be the place she protests the most. We'll see if it's any better this next time around.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Shoo Fly

There are a lot of things to like about summer...but flies are not one of them! Ever since I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer I've been much more careful with the chemicals that I use on my horses and I wear gloves when applying products. That was never a concern for me before. The things I have been using this summer do seem to be working, and I thought I'd share.

1) My go to product is Repel-X lotion. This stuff works so so good!  It's my favorite product for the sensitive skin on their bellies near the sheath/udder. Roz can get terrible oozing sores there if I don't keep on top of things. The Repel-X only needs to be applied every 5 days or so and it beats all of the other products I have tried. Swat is one of the other ones that I have used but it's so messy! This lotion goes on easily and really works.  As stated above, I do apply this with gloves. If I could only use one thing...this would be it.

2) Fly predators! I had heard a lot about these and NDF started using them a few years ago. Although they don't make all of the flies magically disappear they do seem to decrease the number of flies. I just started using them here at home, this year, and I do think they have helped. They are easy to use. You can sign up for automatic monthly shipments and then just spread them around manure areas. I definitely plan to continue using these next year.

3) My newest tool is Eco-vet fly spray. I've been using this for the last month or two and I think it really works! The active ingredients are actually fatty acids, and they confuse the flies and keep them from your horse. The product was created by a vet who was concerned about the chemical exposure his own family was receiving while spraying fly spray. It's another product than can be applied every few days.

What are your favorite products?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lesson Time

I am so behind on my blogging! I've just been way too busy these last couple of weeks. Jessica is settling in well and I've been happy with her. We've been taking it fairly easy due to hot weather and her lack of fitness (not to mention my busy schedule). I have had a lesson scheduled with a new instructor (TG) for over a month. Initially I had planned to take Willow but once I took her home and got Jessie I figured I would just go ahead and take her. April is also taking lessons on her horse, Pants.

Jessie walked right in to the trailer and we were off...until we noticed that one of the trailer tires was low. We ended up stopping off at Les Schwab to get the tire aired up. The people in the front told us to go around the the back, the people in the back said to go back around to the front. 20+ minutes later we were back on the road. We arrived about 5 or 10 minutes prior to the start of our lesson. April's horse is 3 and I told her that Jessie and I would go ahead and go first since there wasn't going to be any time to spare. 

We opened up the trailer and Jessie was sweating so badly she had it dripping off of her. Yikes! I think it was combination of her sweating easily, stress, and the trailer being warm (especially since we had to stop and it was hot outside). Pants was totally dry so it couldn't have been that bad in there! I tied her to the trailer, tacked her up, and took her in to the ring. I led her around one time before hopping on. She was awesome! She went right to work and was very settled. I explained our story to TG and let her know that I didn't want to over do it. We ended up only walking and trotting but it was really good!

Jessie is really easy to move side to side but doesn't want to be very forward. I feel like part of it could be from her previous training. When I tried her, her owner made several comments about not letting her get too quick. I got the feeling that she rode her conservatively. I think that, combined with fitness could be part of what we are seeing. We worked on bending both to the inside and outside, getting her straight and then more forward. I need to work on always having her in front of my leg. Her evasion of choice is to move sideways. 

We worked several walk/trot/walk transitions. She wanted to really stiffen up in them. As we continued working we added the transition in on a circle after I had spiraled her in. She gave me a beautiful transition. Along with spiraling in and out we worked on leg yields from the centerline to the quarter line and then straight. My biggest issue is that she is happy to move over with out moving forward or she gets really sluggish.

Near the end of the lesson TG had me change directions trotting across the diagonal. Up until this point Jessie had been quite willing and everything we were doing had been well received. We came off the rail and I felt her suck back and start throwing her body around. I'm not exactly sure what the issue was but we spent a couple of diagonals turning circles and kicking her forward. Once we got "unstuck" we trotted a couple more before giving her a walk break. I put her on a loose rein and TG started in on April's lesson. 5 minutes later she had me pick her back up to see if we remembered how to trot diagonals.  No problems here! 

I got Jessie untacked, hosed off, and then we stood to watch April and Pants. She was totally happy to chill with me. Once they were done she walked right back in to the trailer and we were off. The screen on her window was open on the way up but I actually opened the drop down window to get more air in to her. She was still sweaty when we got home but not nearly as bad as the first time. 

Watching Pants
Windows open