Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 In Review

January
January was a fairly busy month. I remember having mild weather and I was able to get in quite a bit of riding. Probably the biggest event of the month was a saddle purchase. It was the exact same saddle my friend rides Lilly in, so we knew it would actually fit her shoulders and I got it for a great price. It needed some work, but it was absolutely worth the trouble because I knew my saddle fitting nightmare was finally over! We also had a vet visit to determine if Lilly could possibly have UFP, Lilly got her teeth floated, and Alex came for a visit. What an exciting month!

It fits!!
February
February was a bit less exciting. I had some good rides and some not so good rides, and thankfully Alex came to my rescue (again). I don't have anyone around that I trust enough to ride Lilly, so it's always a blessing when Alex comes out. She understands Lilly and can give me pointers from the saddle. I usually need some tough love from her to get me and Lilly back on track. I also purchased a bunch of fun new toys to take to the trim clinic Lilly and I attended, and we did a lot of work in the round pen.

Getting a dose of that tough love...

March
Wow, 20 posts in March? That has to be some kind of record for me! Too bad they were all posts about nothing. I seriously rambled the entire month! Okay, so Alex came to visit, so that was a highlight, but I mostly just complained about bits, horse shows, and soggy arenas. We did go to a fun show, and Lilly was a pretty good girl. I was very happy with her attitude, even though she was still trying to anticipate the next move every time the speakers clicked on.

Being a good girl at the trailer.

April
April was a tough month for Lilly. She got a bad sunburn on her shoulders and neck, was vaccinated, had a reaction to her rabies vaccine, had a sore back, and was started on a series of Adequan injections. Lots of needles! Lilly also celebrated her 12th birthday and we went to a show up at the fairgrounds. I was disappointed in the horses I saw while we were there (we were walking and passed loping horses), but we tried to have fun anyway. April was also the month when Lilly finally shed out all her light colored winter coat and revealed that dark spring coat I love SO MUCH!

*drool

May
May was a really fun month because we managed to make it to three different shows! One was a CMHA show, one was a TWHA show, and one was a JCHSS show. We almost didn't make it to the CMHA show because one of my ribs had popped out of place a week or so before, and it was the WORST PAIN EVER. I wasn't sure if I should risk it, but in the end we hauled in anyway. We had three great shows, but Lilly was still being absolutely awful about anticipating. It seemed to be a theme for each show. It sucks because it isn't something I can work on at home, so I debated whether or not to blow my classes. Nevertheless, we earned quite a few PAC points this month and I purchased some pictures from one of the shows. Behold, my favorite picture of us so far!

Love this picture!

June
June was a boring month. I was having fits about the arena and contemplated switching barns again (even went and checked out a place), but in the end I decided to stay. June also seemed to kick off "Wedding Planning Season", so I'll warn you now that it only gets worse from here on out. We did manage to get in a few rides, but it was a pretty low key month.

After one of our bareback rides.

July
Don't say I didn't warn you... we had crazy hot temps in July and there wasn't a whole lot of riding happening this month. I did post some pictures of Lilly's hooves and enjoy looking at how much healthier they are since we pulled her shoes. At this point, she had been barefoot for just under a year. What a completely different horse I have now!

Gorgeous!

August
Since the wedding was only a month away, August was boring on the pony front. On the wedding front, though, things were hopping! I did make it home to see Boo Pony and had a wonderful visit with friends and family. Lilly felt extremely neglected, and unfortunately for her, it was only the beginning.

My sweet AJ.

September
One word: Wedding! Oh, and Lilly ripped her fly sheet to pieces.

Married to the love of my life.

October
Two words: Honeymoon and brand new house! (I guess that's five words...) I didn't write a single post in October. Shame on me! I had a wonderful time, though!

Our lovely new home!

November
Lilly and I got back into the swing of things a bit in November. My vet came to give vaccinations and freaked out at how pudgy my pony was, so we switched her feed and did a little rearranging with her supplements. I started riding her quite a bit, and was thrilled to report that she picked up where we left off so many months ago. She was having some issues with her right front hoof, though, and it was making it difficult to work her with any kind of consistency. I had my trimmer come out to make sure my trims weren't the cause of her issues and we decided that Lilly was ready for a pair of Renegade boots.

What a precious face!

December
December brought a new pair of Renegade boots, some gorgeous weather, and some wonderful rides on Lilly. I also made it home to Michigan to visit AJ. The show bug officially bit me this month and I am looking forward to 2013 and all it has in store for me and Lilly!

New Renegade boots!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So Much Rain!

Yesterday we had gorgeous weather... today, not so much. Tornado watches all day, with tons of pouring rain! The BO texted me this morning to let me know Lilly was in the barn, which I promptly thanked him for. It's still raining out there, so any chances of hopping in the saddle anytime soon are nothing but a dream at this point. Just as well, I suppose, as it seems the leather ties for my reins have gone missing. I cleaned them the other day and left them to dry before tying them back on my bit, and now they're MIA. I just don't know what to make of that... maybe the dogs found them to be a fun toy and pulled them out? Where does one get itty bitty leather ties for reins? I sure hope Google knows!

Lilly got a little bucket of gooey horsey cupcake things and a beautiful AP saddle pad from the BO for Christmas. It's clear she loves the cupcakes much more than the saddle pad but I guarantee the pad will last longer than those treats!

I think she's finally losing some weight too. She's been on the Enrich 32 now since November 6th, and with the exercise and possibly burning some of that pudge when the nights are colder, she is starting to look less pregnant. I've also cut out carrots and have been feeding her sugar free treats (yummy!). The cupcakes won't help with her diet, but once they're gone, she'll be back to icky treats. No difference in her hooves yet, but she hasn't been on the new supplement for very long.

Umm, let's see... what else can I ramble on about? Oh! I put some new pictures in the header and left them full color this time. A new look for the new year!

I hope everyone in the path of this storm stays safe and warm!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It was beautiful today. It started out sunny and eventually became completely overcast, but the temperatures were in the low 60's. It would have been a gorgeous day to ride, but it was my turn to work, so I'm keeping watch over the network instead of enjoying this glorious day outside. The hubby and I celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple, and our first year in our gorgeous new house yesterday and it was wonderful. We're very excited about the upcoming year, and celebrating all it brings with our friends and family.

Lilly and I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, prosperous 2013!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

— Luke 2:8-14

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Many Is Too Many?

As is the case around this time of year, I start getting uber excited about next year's show season. I visit the websites of the different show circuits I plan to join at least 46 times per day, wondering when they're going to post next year's show dates.

"Come on! It's the middle of December! Where are those dates?"

The few who have their seasons posted might also have their new show bills available and I pour over the classes Lilly and I will be entering.

"Which classes to enter... hmmm... this one, and this one, OH and definitely this one!"

Before I know it, between the stock type division, the adult division, and the western and english divisions, I've circled 16 or more classes.

"Dang, that's a lot of classes... Okay, where to cut back? Not that one, can't cut out that one... maybe this one?"

The problem with some of these shows, is they have 3 or 4 classes that are essentially the same thing. Take for example, my favorite show series, JCHSS. For their western classes they have the following classes Lilly and I would want to enter:

Western Walk/Jog - Stock Type
Western Go As You Please - Adult
Western Walk/Second Gate (so gaited horses can enter too)

Those are all essentially walk/jog classes. The stock type class counts for the stock type division, the adult class counts for the adult division, and the walk/sg class counts for the western division, all of which I hope to compete in for year end awards.

Add on to those classes a western pleasure class and two horsemanship classes (one walk/jog and one walk/jog/canter), and I'm already at 6 classes. Plus I was thinking about doing trail this year, so we're now up to 8.

The english classes look exactly the same as the western classes, minus trail, so now we're up to 14 classes. In addition to the english classes, they have 4 huntseat classes we could enter, and don't forget about halter and showmanship. We could potentially enter a grand total of 20 classes. 20 classes?!

Obviously that's too many, but I just don't know what to cut out. I have been thinking about doing only western this year, but to be competitive in the stock type and adult divisions, I have to show in at least 2 english classes. And well, if I'm suited up for english anyway, what's a few more classes to try and snag a few more PAC points?

It just snowballs from there...

Then I remember that because of my work schedule, I will only be able to take Lilly to about half of the shows anyway. So unless we bring down the house and whoop up on everyone else there, we might not be able to get enough points for year end awards anyway. If that's the case, we could just enter the classes we wanted most since divisions wouldn't matter.

At one of the shows.
It seems like we usually enter about 12 classes, and at least one them is a ground class like showmanship and sometimes halter. 10 riding classes sounds like a lot, but we really aren't in the arena that long for each one. I'm not one to work her constantly throughout the day (although maybe I should) and I don't use her for my own personal chair, but I'm just not really sure how many classes is too many. I can't ask Lilly because she'll just say we shouldn't go at all.

I need to find a way to narrow them down... somehow!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bye Bye Warm Weather

Uh, t-shirt weather is long gone, and I'm SO sad!! Today was overcast, windy, and COLD... we're talking low 40's. I want the 70's back!! I managed to convince myself to get dressed and head to the barn, but once I got there, I realized I was severely under dressed to be spending any kind of time outside. So I braved the cold long enough to say hello to Lilly, squirt ACV in her hoof hole, pat her on the neck, and give her a cookie. Then I was outta there.

The tack room was fairly warm, though, and since my tack has been severely neglected the past 6 months or so, I figured it was a good time to find my Horseman's One Step show my bridles a little love. They thanked me when I was done and I must say they look much better. I'll have to carve out some time to do my english and western saddles later on.

Speaking of tack, can anyone recommend an online tack place that sells nice mecate reins? I don't want fancy horsehair ones or anything, just a nice set of marine rope style reins, and I'm willing to spend a little cash to get a really nice pair. I've seen some for $20 and I just can't imagine they're what I'm looking for. Or maybe they are and I'm so used to spending thousands that I can't comprehend buying anything that is reasonably priced! I have roper reins on my snaffle bridle at the moment and they just aren't cutting it. I don't ride in the snaffle much these days, but I'd like to have a nice bridle set up for trail rides and fun rides in the arena.

"knottygirlz.com"
In other news, today was day one of the new hoof supplement, BioFlax 20, and Lilly licked her bowl clean! I'm crossing my fingers that it tastes yummy enough that she doesn't mind the fact that it's powder. I think the BO put a little bit of water in with her grain to make everything stick together, so with any luck I won't have an issue with her eating breakfast. Now I just need the supplement to work its magic!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

T-Shirt Weather!

I rode in a t-shirt today and I was wishing I had a tank top. 74 degrees in December? Yes, please!

This crazy weather does make it hard on the ponies, though. Lilly is clearly ready for cold weather and when the thermostat hits 70, she sweats almost instantly. I rode her lightly and I still had a sweaty horse to cool out when we were done. I'm not complaining, believe you me! I'll just need to get a new pair of clipper blades so I can do a little clipping to make her more comfortable if this weather wants to keep this up!

We're both still loving the new Renegade boots. I rasped her hooves a little bit today to clean up some of the jagged edges and make sure they fit properly in her boots. Maybe it's just because I'm a little nuts, but I swear her soles looked a bit more concave than they did last time I looked at them... is that possible? She hasn't even been started on her new supplement yet. Those will start being fed on Wednesday... AND, when I walked her back to her pasture, she walked across the stones like they were nothing. Again, not complaining! Just makes me scratch my head, that's all.

Anyway, we had a nice ride. She temporarily forgot her brain a couple times (the boys were all screaming for her today) but was easily reminded that she's not to scream back. We're in a really good place right now and I'm loving it. We have a bit she and I both like, she has a saddle that fits and doesn't cause her any issues, and we have tootsies that feel good and boots that work perfectly! I can tell she's happy every time I take her out for a ride. There's no cranky faces, no tail swishing, and no short steps. She jogged around the arena like a happy, healthy western pleasure pony. I loved it!

I hope eventually we'll be able to say that about her loping too. I'm sure we will, but she needs consistent work with transitions and staying soft. It'll take time to get her back into shape and then it's practice, practice, practice. We have made a lot of progress, though. She'll lope around on a loose rein, and while it would never win her a western pleasure class, it's great to be able to let her lope on her own and not have her end up at mach speeds within a few strides.

She seemed a bit stiff going clockwise today, especially at the lope, and she didn't want to bend in our circles. We do a lot of rail work and not a lot of circle work, so I guess it's time to start incorporating more lateral exercises and circles into our daily routine.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Boys

I'm back from Michigan where I had a wonderful visit with family and friends. While I was there, I got to snuggle with these two handsome devils.

Two peas...
Sweet Justus
Precious AJ

Saturday, December 1, 2012

They're Here!

My boots came just in time on Friday! My trimmer was planning on coming out to help me fit the boots since she was going to be in the area, but when they didn't come on Thursday, I was getting worried. Thank goodness they came on Friday around 1:30 and I met her at the barn at 3.

Oooh... pretty!
They have a gel coating in the bottom for a little bit more cushion, and because Lilly has such dainty feet, they're cut back a little bit. They were a perfect fit, and were much easier to adjust than I thought. The website makes it look fairly complicated but it wasn't at all, so I won't have anymore nightmares about doing it in the future.


We did a test run with the boots before my trimmer left and Lilly could walk, trot, and turn on the pavement without any issues. No short steps and no painful steps. I think she really likes them!

After my trimmer left, I saddled her up and took her for a short ride in the arena. We did our usual walk/jog/lope and she was excellent. She didn't act ouchie at all and never took a short step. There are a couple spots in the arena that are hard and I felt her hesitate a bit before relaxing. I think she was anticipating the hard ground and then realized it didn't hurt with her boots.

Oh boy... now we can get back to work. Yay...
So far, I give the boots two thumbs up and can't wait to use them a bunch when I get back. It'll be interesting to see how she does when she can really work and not worry about stepping on a stone in the arena.

I'll be in Michigan all next week for an early Christmas with my family, so I'll bring back some pictures of my precious AJ. Have a great week!