Friday, July 30, 2010

I Need Shows!

Won't it be nice when I can actually write about horse shows... I mean, this blog is about Lilly's journey into life as a show horse. There just haven't been that many shows here lately! Granted, we had a 6 month layup, and we got cleared for riding right about the time shows were winding down for the "hot season", but I'm ready to get back to it.

I have a crappy work schedule this week. I started my week Tuesday and it won't end until next Thursday! 10 straight days of hard labor staring at a computer screen. It has been entirely too hot to ride anyway, so I haven't even been able to work my horse, but it seems worse when I can't spend more time out there with her because of work. You know, the same work that supports this terribly expensive habit I have!

I am looking forward to the big move on Monday and I keep dreaming about that gorgeous riding ring at the new place. Hopefully we'll be able to get out there and start back into some serious work before the August shows creep up on me. I'm anxious to have a normal wash rack again too. I can't stand to have my horse so dirty, but with the way things are set up now it just isn't convenient to give her as many baths as I would like to.

The next show we'll be attending is on August 14th and it is a two day show. I've decided to haul Lilly out there on Friday and stall her Friday night and Saturday night. It'll allow us time to show in more classes, have more time to get ready, and I'll get to camp out in my trailer (I love doing that!). I counted 20+ classes that I could enter over the course of the two days, but that's way too many, of course. Narrowing it down is going to be tough. I really want to take her in a western class or two just for fun, but if we do a bunch of english classes, I would feel bad making her go back out there to do western too. I just want to do a GAYP class and a walk/trot horsemanship class with no pattern but this will only be our second show back since her injury so I probably won't. It wouldn't be any fun anyways since there won't be anyone there to get a picture of us in our teal getup (unless I beg a stranger).

I'm on track for the Paint show too and really looking forward to that one. With any luck, the way my work schedule happens to be that week, I may end up with a 4 day weekend. That means I could actually stay a while on Sunday and watch the western classes because I won't have to be to work by 4.

In other news, I hate Tack of the Day! (And I blame YOU SillyPony for pointing it out to me... the bill is on its way!) :) Today's item is the Kerrits riding pants and I love those! I have one pair already but couldn't justify spending $80 on casual riding pants more than once. But since they're on sale at TOTD, I couldn't resist getting another pair.

Retirement is overrated anyway...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good News!

When I got to the barn today, I walked out to the pasture and look what I found! Two horses and two fly masks! :)

I'm always happy when I find the fly masks where they're supposed to be.

I cleaned Lilly's legs up and all her scrapes looked pretty good. They were scabbed over and most of the scabs came off with a little soap and water. Underneath them was pretty pink skin with little white hairs growing. The worst scrape was holding tightly to its scab, so I put some Tri-Care on it and left that one alone.

In other news, my girth had found its way back into the tack room. It was laying on the saddle rack where my saddle had been and had quite a bit of chestnut colored hair on it. Definitely not from my horse... I'm guessing someone borrowed it, hopefully thinking it belonged to one of the other boarders who had given permission for their stuff to be borrowed. A girth isn't something I'm ok with sharing, but I might have overlooked it had it been cleaned.

At least I have my girth back. It's a size 30, by the way. ;)

Just for archiving purposes, I wanted to post a picture of the silver I have on my current show halter. I just love it... something about the diamond shapes.

And lastly, because I have one other furry, four legged friend, I thought I'd introduce her to you as well. Meet Sneakers.

Don't let her cute face fool you. She expects to be treated like royalty and if you don't oblige her, she will attack your legs or scratch your arms, depending on the situation. She's the only pet I ever bought from a pet store, and I will NEVER get another pet store animal as long as I live. She has an entitlement mentality for sure! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finally, Some Rain

We definitely needed the rain, but it put a damper on my barn-ing plans for the day. I was going to check and see if my girth found its way back to the tack room or if it's lost forever. I wanted to check again on Lilly's legs too, but it was raining hard with thunder and lightning. I stayed home until I had to go to work. I'll head out tomorrow. If I can't find my girth then, I'll order a new one.

That'll be another nice thing about the new place. Right now, there's no place for me to get out of the rain, unless you count standing under the trees. When I move, I'll be able to go out to the barn no matter the weather.

After much discussion with 3 Gems Tack, I ordered my brand new Kathy's show halter! :) It will be ready to ship on Friday, so I'll have it in plenty of time for the two shows I want to attend in August.

Here are the specs:
#210 (the silver I showed in the last post)
Dark Oil
Mare Size
Regular Cut
Matching Silver 1/2 Moons
Slotted Buckles
AB Stones

I've never had the slotted buckles, so I hope I like them. I think it gives the halter a whole different look.

I'm super excited to get it and hope I really love it when it arrives.

I move the horses on Monday. (I can't believe how quickly this month has gone by and that it's almost August. Where is the summer going?!) The good news is that I never really "unpacked" and got settled in at the new place. So packing up is going to be a quick and easy process.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

So Much For Relaxing

I had planned on relaxing today... sleeping in, enjoying a lazy morning, and maybe even getting some scrapbooking done before I had to go into work. The horses were all set from my visit yesterday and I was content to skip a barn visit.

I was able to sleep in, but as soon as I got up, my phone was beeping. I either had a text or a voicemail. Wonder who it was?

It was the BO. She said, "Sorry to bother you early, but Lilly scraped up her back leg on something. Looks like she just took the hair off."

I guess Lilly missed me while I was in Alaska and wanted to make sure I came out to visit.

Here's what she did to herself.



I cleaned them up as best as I could, and put some Tri-Care on the scrapes.

I think she'll end up with more of it in her tail than on her scrapes, but at least I know I tried.

The only thing I can think of that she would have done this on is the round bale feeder in her pasture. Maybe she was scratching her butt and managed to step inside the feeder and then had trouble getting out? I didn't think to check it for white hair while I was there, but I don't know what else would have caused it. Luckily I don't have any shows for a while.

While I was there, I decided to move some of my tack back into my horse trailer. I had my western saddle and pads in the little tack room and they were getting quite dusty in there. I gathered up my stuff and noticed my western cinch was missing... and my cinch strap was all undone and laying on the ground (something I would never do). So I'm currently cinch-less. Not sure what the deal is there.

After scouring the Interwebz for show halters, I found a Kathy's design I really like. It was silver plate, but after some research and testimonials from people with Kathy's stuff, I think I'm ok with the plate. I can't imagine anything I own is anything but plate after finding out the cost of overlay, so it won't be any different than the silver I already have. The difference will be that I'll know the PROPER way to clean silver plate now, and hopefully my new halter will last forever.

Anyway...

The style is obsolete and has been replaced with another style that I don't like. Figures.

So now I'm looking at this one.

I don't know if I like the 1/2 moons, but as it turns out, the Kathy's halters always have spots for moons. I think it would look silly without the silver moons if the halter has the spot for them. Oh, and they're extra, of course.

The silver is kind of hard to see on the halter picture, but I like how the gold vines go off the silver part and disrupts the edge. Here's a better picture.

I did find out that 3 Gems Tack has great prices on the Kathy's halters (about $30 cheaper than the Kathy's site) and they come with a free lead shank. I emailed them with a question and got an email back about 3 minutes later! I was shocked! I've been emailing about the halters and she's answered all my questions quickly and cheerfully. Talk about customer service! Needless to say, I'm planning on buying the halter through them.

Finally, (are you bored yet?) I've made plans to move my horses on August 2nd. The countdown begins.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pretty Faces

On my way to work today, the thermometer in my truck read 103 degrees... the a/c in my apartment was out for about 12 hours (starting sometime after I went to work yesterday), so even I was hot today when I got up. I figured I might as well go to the barn and hose off the horses. At least someone could be cool!

AJ was missing his fly mask AGAIN, but I found it in the pasture in the same spot. At least he's trying to be helpful about it. I'm not sure how it's coming off. It isn't undone, so it's slipping off over his head somehow.

I hosed him off and brushed out his tail, then traded him for Lilly. Here are a few pictures I got of my pretty ponies.





I tried to get a picture of AJ that showed the little bit of weight he's lost, but it isn't easy. Different angles and light make him look totally different. His hips are a little more visible and he isn't as filled out in his hindquarters. In this picture you can see his ribs a bit, but he's resting that back leg so it throws everything off.

He certainly isn't skinny, but I don't want him to lose weight in case it isn't easy to put it back on. He is getting older...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Done

I did it...

I gave notice at my current barn and notified the owner of the other barn that I did so. I really hate doing stuff like this, but I want to give this new place a chance. The circumstances are far from perfect, but what the hell... If I totally regret it later, I can kick myself then.

As one of my favorite quotes points out, "Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise."

I plan on moving them before the end of the 30 day notice (although I'm paying for the entire 30 days). August is just too busy to wait until this time next month. Hopefully a month from today I'll be in Charlotte at an APHA show.

The new BO even offered to knock my trailer parking costs down to $10 a month. Nice!

In show halter news, I give up. I've been watching eBay too, but everything has red or blue stones. I think I could work with purple stones, but prefer no stones, or clear stones. Perhaps the perfect one will show up. I might end up showing in my current halter for the Paint show, but I've decided not to buy something unless it's exactly what I want.

There. Now maybe I can get some sleep!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Still Pondering...

I've been giving some serious thought to this whole moving thing. I've been getting a lot of opinions and ideas too, and I really appreciate it. Some have said "no way" and others have said, "why not?"

When I first got the email from the gentleman at the new place, I was concerned about how my current BO would feel about me giving my 30 day notice a mere 45 days after moving my horses to her place. I decided to go look anyway, and fell in love with the facility. Board would only cost me $50 more per month for both horses, although I'd have to pay $20 per month to park my trailer, so $70 more a month to be closer to home and have a really nice facility to keep my horses. I had almost made up my mind to move because I thought my BO would understand and I could do so without burning any bridges.

Then I saw the "for sale" sign as I pulled out of the property. He hadn't mentioned that, so I looked it up online and found out it was indeed for sale. The owner said it'll most likely be a simple change of hands and I shouldn't worry too much about it.

He can't possibly know what's going to happen. It could simply change hands with everything staying the same, or it could be purchased by someone that wants a private farm and we'll all be kicked out. Someone could purchase the place and raise board costs. It could sit on the market for 2 years, or it could sell tomorrow. There really is no way to know.

A plus to this new place too is that the pastures have shelters. I really think pasture boarded horses should have shelters and I turned down quite of the few other barns I checked because they didn't. My current place doesn't have shelters either (except for one of the pastures) but they have trees and there are tons of trees in Lilly and AJ's pasture that provide shade and shelter from the rain, so I decided that they'd be ok.

One of the pluses to where I am now is that both of my horses are pastured together. At the new place, he keeps the mares and geldings separated (I think that's silly) so Lilly would be in one paddock and AJ in another. Right now they'd be the only two pasture boarded horses, so when the stalled horses get taken back to their stalls, mine would be left alone in their pastures. They can see each other over the fence, but wouldn't actually be together.

I've had a couple people tell me to go for it. What's the worst that could happen? I don't like it or someone else I don't like buys it... then I can simply move again. While this is true, I'd like to find the perfect place to keep my horses where I can feel settled, and not be worried about tomorrow all the time.

I can do that at my current barn, but the new barn is closer to home and I can spend less time driving.

I can make due with the adequate riding rings at my current place, but the new barn has a 250' x 150' sand, lighted arena.

I can tie Lilly to the trailer and give her a bath just fine, but the new barn has a hot and cold wash rack.

The voices haunt me!!

Is my current situation perfect? Nope... Could the new situation be perfect? Maybe... The fact that it is for sale keeps it from being perfect, at least for the time being. Maybe, though, the new owners will be even better than the current one. Maybe they won't charge me to keep my horse trailer parked on their property. Maybe, as SillyPony mentioned, they'll be Paint horse people!

Maybe I should stop looking only at the potential bad, and focus on the possible good?

(Can people take UlcerGard? I might have one by the time this is all over without it...)

On top of that, I found out that both of the halters I posted yesterday are silver plate, and not sterling overlay. $400 for silver plate!? So they both dropped off my list. I've been told now by a couple of people that Circle Y has crappy silver. I have a Circle Y saddle and headstall that seem to be perfectly lovely, but they don't get much use, so I really don't know. I was a bit surprised by that, but I've decided to drop them from my preferred halter list.

The sterling overlay that Kathy's has are more like $575... I just can't see spending $600 on a halter. $400 was ok, but not $600.

So, I started searching again and found some information about Broken Horn halters. The reviews were good, they have medium oil halters, and they use sterling overlay instead of plate. I found one I like that costs about $350 (depending on the size), but I'd have to buy a lead separate, so I'd be back to the $400 mark. Here's the silver design I like best:

From what I can tell, you can get them with or without stones. Depending on the stones they have, I'll probably opt to get it without. I contacted them yesterday regarding sizing but haven't heard back.

I usually enjoy shopping... but this has been a nightmare!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Ramblings

Look what I found when I went to the barn today!

What is that mess you ask? Why, that's the muddy wash pit with the mat pulled back and bags of sand laying in the dirt. Progress folks, progress.

I went to the pasture to get my pony and noticed Mr AJ was without his fly mask. I tried to explain to him that it does him no good on the ground somewhere in his pasture but he just rooted around for cookies. I'm not sure he really cares.

So I set off to try and find his mask.

And there it was!

Waaayyy down at the bottom of the field. So I can't blame it on AJ (unless he rubbed it almost all the way off on a tree or something), and I can't blame it on the other horses, so it must be the work of Lilly! She's not one to mess with blankets, halters, or masks, but maybe they got to playing and she pulled it off. I've left it quite loose so as not to run into the problem I had last time. I'm just glad I found it in one piece.

I checked out the other arena and it's much nicer than the one I've been riding in. I didn't see any rocks and it is much more level. It's a bit smaller, but that might work out ok since we need to work on bending anyway... lol. It's way on the other side of the property, but I think I'll start riding in there instead. As much as I love the other facility (and the fact that it's much closer to home), I'm too nervous about the for sale part. It could be on the market for 2 or 3 years, but it could also sell next week, and then what happens? If we can get the wash rack spruced up, I might be able to get settled in and forget all about the dream barn down the street.

Since it was hotter than the gates of hell today (which I don't mind, but I think Lilly does) I just longed her in the round pen. She did really good in her bad direction and really bad in her good direction. Go figure. I think the longing and round pen is helping her with her canter, though. She HAS to bend and stay in a particular sized circle instead of fooling around and dragging me all over the place. She's been getting her leads and slowing down a bit too.

In show halter news, I found 2 halters that I think are pretty. I really want a halter with gold accents on the silver, but I found this Circle Y halter that has beautiful goldless silver.

Also, this Kathy's halter is pretty and you can choose which color stone you want. I would pick the AB crystals which are clear but reflect colors from whatever is in the surrounding area.

Both of these halters cost a cool $400 (matching chain lead line included... lol), but they are the lighter colored leather I like and come in a 2 year old/mare size with the 7 and 3/4" cheek size I'm looking for.

I could get one of those or I could get the $225-ish silver plated one (after including a lead line) I mentioned from the other post. The silver plate actually sounds easier to clean because you don't use silver polish. You use soap and water because it doesn't tarnish thanks to the coating over the silver.

I'm not sure what I would do with a $400 halter... except drool over it and be terrified of getting a spec of dirt on it.

My birthday is coming up... any takers? What's $400 between bloggers anyway... :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Decisions and Frustrations

Usually when you get home from a long vacation, you're relaxed and recharged. Me, I'm just frustrated.

SillyPony and I have been talking show halters and how confusing all the different types of silver can be. Silver plate, sterling silver overlay, sterling silver... which is which, how do you clean them, etc, etc... I found a pretty good article online explaining the different types, but it isn't always easy to determine which is which.

Then along comes my Paint Horse Journal. They did an article on silver too! How timely!

So after reading that, I decided I didn't want silver plate, I wanted the sterling overlay, which is a bit more expensive, but will last at least as long as the silver on the halter I have now. I love showmanship, and I'm ok with spending a little bit more to find the perfect halter.

Halters like Kathy's and Dale Chavez claim to be sterling overlay, and while they range from $300 - $600, I figured I could find something I loved.

WRONG...

No offense to anyone who might actually own one of these halters, but I have not found any that I thought were pretty, that I'd want to spend that kind of money on. They either have wrapped cheeks, red stones, way too much silver, or are congress cut with wide, short pieces of silver.

I just want a new halter, and I don't want to settle for something just because.

Adding to my frustrations, I went to the other barn yesterday and it is amazing. The arena is huge, the barn is fabulous, pastures are nice, owner is great. The downside is that he charges $20 per month to park trailers (that is such a pet peeve of mine...) and the farm is for sale. The owner said it's being advertised as an income property, but what if someone buys it and kicks all the boarders out? Or what if the new owner is a jackwagon? I just don't know what I should do...

There is another arena at my current place way up on the hill that is supposedly flatter and less rocky, so I'll take a look at that tomorrow and ask Lilly and AJ what they think we should do.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Woe is Me

I went to visit my horses today for the first time since my long vacation and they seemed happy to see me! (Maybe it was just the fact that I had cookies and fly spray, but either way, they were happy to see me... LOL)

It's allergy season for Lilly and she had really goopy eyes. I had to get the Clear Eyes and squirt, squirt, squirt to get the giant eye booger out of her eye. Poor girl... I had left their fly masks off while I was gone but today I put them back on. AJ needs his for his cataract and Lilly needs hers for her allergies. Low maintenance they are not.

AJ has dropped a bit of weight. I'm not a good judge of how many pounds he's lost, but it's noticeable. The barn owner was there today and we chatted about it. She said she had noticed too and increased his grain.

I wanted to work Lilly in the round pen but it kept raining and eventually a pretty severe storm blew through. So I just brushed them both (not easy to brush a wet horse), and soaked them with fly spray.

Regarding the title of this post, all I have to say is UGH! I got an email today from one of the farms I had put on my list of places I'd like to board. They had a waiting list and I added myself to it. So of course, they now have room for my horses. I just moved less than 2 months ago, so their timing isn't very good!

This place has a nice barn (with affordable stall board if I so desire), and very affordable pasture board as well. Hot/cold water wash racks, a really nice lighted outdoor arena, sheds in the pastures, trails to ride on, a nice tack room with A/C, sink, bathroom, microwave, fridge... the list goes on and on. It would only cost me slightly more per month than I'm paying now, AND it's closer to where I live. They have a nice little website here.

What to do, what to do?! They won't hold spots forever and said they have some other people on the list too, so I need to decide quick. I'm going out there tomorrow to look at the farm and chat with the owners about what I'm looking for. They only have one gelding pasture board spot left.

I'm not perfectly happy with the new place... The arena is uneven and is a bit rocky, and it's very difficult to work Lilly in there because she's taking short steps quite often. I don't know that I will be able to work her like I need to in there. I planned on taking my shovel over and digging out some of the rocks to make it better, but how I dream of a nice, sandy arena. The wash rack also leaves something to be desired. There is no way for me to wash my white-legged horse without her getting covered in mud unless I just tie her to my trailer (which is what I did last time). I also pretty much live out of my horse trailer.

My goal when moving the horses where they are now was for their benefit. There was an arena, a wash rack, and a wonderful pasture, lots of other boarders, and the board price was reasonable. It seemed perfectly acceptable for me, and even better for my horses. I was content to stay where I am and make due and then this gosh darned email showed up.

Is it terribly rude to move after only a month and a half? I have a habit of making decisions based on the feelings of others and sometimes short change myself to keep from hurting/offending/upsetting other people. If this new place is still my dream barn, is it ok to move?

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm Back!

Here are a few more pictures. I think I have over 1500 of them, so trying to decide what to post was a challenge!

We went on a whale watching tour and saw about 13 humpback whales. They got so close to the boat, I couldn't believe it!

Somehow I was convinced to go on a canopy adventure where we zipped from treetop to treetop... at one point, we were 130 feet in the air... on a tree stand... and the tree was swaying in the wind. I am terrified of heights, but it turned out to be quite fun.

One of the days at sea we stopped to see Hubbard glacier. It was incredible and calved much of the time we were there.

We went into Denali National Park and Preserve and saw a ton of wildlife. I think the park and preserve is over 6 million acres and can only sustain a small amount of wildlife (only 300 bears, for example), so our guides told us not to expect to see wildlife. We saw bears, moose, caribou, wolves, and sheep. She said we were extremely lucky.





We were also able to see Mt McKinley. They told us that only 30% of the people on their first trip to Alaska see the mountain. We saw it on two separate days, and when we went into the park, the view was spectacular.

We also went horseback riding which was a bit disappointing. I was hoping we'd see some really pretty scenery, but instead it was mostly a ride through the woods. When we finally got to the clearing, we turned around. Doesn't my boyfriend look thrilled to be on horseback? He was a good sport! :)

I wouldn't want to live there, but Alaska was beautiful!