Monday, May 27, 2013

Twisting Boot?

Lilly's left Renegade boot kept twisting at the show this past weekend. The right boot stayed on perfectly, but I had to adjust that left boot three different times. I'm hoping I just need to tighten up the cables and don't end up needing to do something a bit more drastic, like buy a new boot because this one no longer fits. Anyone else have trouble with their Renegade boots twisting?

I'm going to have to look over the directions online because I don't remember how to do it. I didn't have my little screwdriver with me at the show or I would have thought about attempting it there.

Looking good in her boots!
While I'm on the subject of boots, what do people have against me showing in hoof boots? This is the third time I showed her in hoof boots, and this is the third time I've had people point at Lilly's hooves and whisper amongst each other. I suppose it's possible they're just wondering what kind of boots I have on her hooves, but I usually get a dirty look from someone in the group. The show on Saturday was no exception, and these people didn't even try to hide the fact that they were talking about my sweet pony. What gives?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Best.Show.Ever

What a day we had at the show yesterday! The weather was beautiful, Lilly was a gem, and I really enjoyed spending the day with my favorite girl. We didn't have a great day as far as placings go, although we did well in a couple classes, but we didn't bring home a bunch of blue ribbons and trophies (not even one!) and I wasn't expecting to win any of the division titles. So I was surprised and excited when I found out we did well enough at the end of the day to bring home a neck ribbon for being the Stock Type Division Reserve Champions.

My beautiful girl!
More important than the ribbons we won, though, was how absolutely proud of Lilly I was yesterday. There are always areas where we can improve, but overall she was a superstar and the gorgeous neck ribbon was just icing on the cake.

Because of the weather and the issues I've been having with her hooves, I haven't been able to ride her much lately. I still wanted to get her off the property and take her to the show. It was to be a no expectations, let's just have fun and do our best kind of day. I was relaxed, she was relaxed (she was CRAZY relaxed), and I kept our class list smaller than usual. We only entered six riding classes and two in hand classes.

Normally I don't do halter because it's a rare day when we place higher than second to last. It's also one of the first classes and I just don't like to rush around to try and get ready. We usually just focus on showmanship and watch the halter class instead. Yesterday, however, I decided to do halter just because. We had plenty of time to make it to the ring, so I figured, what the heck. It was a fairly large class with nine horses and Lilly managed to work her magic on the judge because he placed us third. Third place out of nine horses gets us another PAC point in halter!

While we waited for our showmanship class, my super relaxed pony decided it would be a great time to nap. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing... what better time to catch some z's?

Rock-a-bye pony...
Below is the pattern from our showmanship class. I was really excited when I saw it because it's quite different from the usual patterns we have. I liked the 270 and the weaving around cones.

Something different!
Long story short, there were nine of us in the class and we placed fourth. It was a huge disappointment for me because I had watched the other exhibitors and when Lilly and I finished our pattern, I very modestly thought to myself, "there's your winning pattern, folks." She nailed her pivot, jogged perfectly around the cones, and backed straighter than ever. When we stopped to set up for our inspection, I turned to face her shoulder and ask her to square up and she planted her hooves perfectly. It literally took her .5 seconds to square up. I have no clue what the judge didn't like about our pattern, but I couldn't have asked for anything better from Lilly. Sometimes I wish my favorite class was less subjective, but that's the name of the game. Best showmanship pattern ever for us in my book, and that's what matters most.

We had quite a bit of time before our riding classes started, so Lilly snacked on hay and I made my way to the concession stand for a chili dog. I watched some of the jumping classes while I ate lunch and then took Lilly for a walk around the grounds. I let her snack on clover and watch the mini horses (they're apparently quite fascinating) before taking her back to the trailer. It was all in keeping with the theme of the day... low key!

Finally it was time to saddle up. I didn't make it to the arena for the warm-up period, but we warmed up in the make-up area and she was being a bit of a booger. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I rode her in an english saddle. I was trying to remember, and my best guess is one of the shows we went to last spring. So maybe May of last year? A whole year ago? She's gotten pretty used to having loose reins and not having contact in her mouth, and she was letting me know she wasn't too thrilled about it. I had to do a lot of trot/stop/back to get her soft and accepting of the contact, but once I had her, she was great.

Our first riding class of the day was english walk/trot - stock type, and there were nine of us in the class. This was actually our best class of the day as far as ribbons go, and probably the best ride I've had on her in the show ring ever. She was wearing her Renegade boots, so her tootsies felt good, and she rocked it. Her head was perfect and she was actually moving out with a some effort. There have been MANY times where I felt we had a winning ride and we end up with a sixth place ribbon, so I wasn't expecting a high placing, but it felt really good to be called for second place. I was so excited! Second place gets us two PAC points in walk/trot, too.

Lilly after her second place victory!
We went in another english walk/trot class, but this one was the adult age group, and there were 8 horses. Apparently the judge didn't think we had a very good ride this time because we only managed a sixth place ribbon. Lilly was still really good and I was happy with our ride, but she was starting to give me a few issues with anticipating the loud speaker. A quick correction rectified the situation, but that didn't stop her from trying to be psychic EVERY time the loud speaker clicked on.

The last english class was english pleasure. It's the only canter class we did all day. I thought it was important to canter in at least one class, so I figured doing it in english tack would be better since we wouldn't be penalized for moving out. Lilly was really good and we only had two little mistakes. We initially picked up the incorrect lead in the counter-clockwise direction. I was able to fix it quickly, but the judge had already seen us. In the other direction, we cantered first and then were asked to trot, and Lilly came down too fast and took a couple walk strides before I could kick her back into the trot. We placed fourth and I was surprised, but I thought it was a good indicator as to how well the rest of the ride went. Unfortunately, fourth put more PAC points just out of reach.

The canter classes always throw Lilly for a loop because they aren't as simple as walk, trot, reverse, trot, line up. She has those classes down, but throw in a couple canter departures and she's just not sure what the loud speaker lady is going to ask for.

We entered three western classes. They were all walk/jog classes and were pretty similar as far as our ride goes. We did a stock type class, an adult class, and an open class. She was faster than I would have liked, but she was super consistent, so I was happy about that. She carried her head perfectly and kept a really nice, even pace. Again, it was a bit fast, but it was still easy to sit and I enjoyed all three classes very much.

I still had to fight with her every time the loud speaker clicked on, but the fights are less intense than they have been in the past. Instead of feeling like I'm arguing with a brick wall, she gets pissy but does what I say. As we do more and more classes, though, her anticipation gets worse. In the last western class, the loud speaker lady told her to bring 'em in and line 'em up and by gosh that's what she was going to do, especially since everyone else was doing it! I really had to get after her, but I kept her on the rail for at least 10 strides until she was done protesting, and then we lined up. On the plus side, though, she didn't start trotting/jogging as much on her own, and when I did feel her think about trying it, a quick pop with the reins did the trick.

Our winnings!
Here's a recap of our placings:
Halter Stock Type - 3rd out of 9 (1 PAC point)
Showmanship Adult - 4th out of 9
English Walk/Trot Stock Type - 2nd out of 9 (2 PAC points)
English Walk/Trot Adult - 6th out of 8
English Pleasure - 4th out of 10
Western Walk/Jog Stock Type - 5th out of 11
Western Walk/Jog Adult - 4th out of 9
Western Walk/Jog Open - 4th out of 7

Yesterday was quite possibly the best show day ever. It was one of those days where I felt every ride could have been the winning ride. Everything just felt right, and just because the judge didn't agree doesn't make it any less special to me. Lilly still had her moments, but she was also able to get over herself and move on without putting up much of a fight. I just wish I had some pictures of our riding classes... I think that's the only way it could have been better.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Superstar!

She looks good in red, yes? :)
More about our awesome day at the show later... you know, after I shower off all this grime and get some good sleep. I'm betting Lilly will be sleeping soundly tonight as well!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grrr, Hoof!!

Ok, enough mister nice guy (or gal)!!

Lilly's hoof is driving me crazy, so I decided to act a little crazy... and dig out a giant chunk of her hoof. No more hiding, bacteria!! I got something for you!! It's called hoof knife and oxine!!


Don't like being able to see the laminae!!
Sorry it's a bit dirty... and that there's grass in the way. I just can't get good pictures in the barn, so I took these after I turned her out in the pasture. She didn't quite make it over the giant mud hole that sits in front of the gate.

I'm hoping I managed to cut away all the infected stuff. I'm pretty sure I did, so unless it manages to burrow up in there again somehow, air should be getting to it all. I was trying to avoid cutting out such a large area, but clearly my earlier methods weren't working. We'll see how it goes now.

The good news is, while I had her hoof up on the Hoofjack, Lilly rested her chin on my back and took a snooze. After I set it down, she licked and chewed through groggy eyes, so I don't think any of it made her uncomfortable.


So far the weather is looking good for Saturday! I still have 500 things to do before Friday, but I'm not stressing. If it gets done it gets done. I can't wait!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Lilly Day!

Lilly has been a bit neglected lately. We've had projects going on at our house (and they have NOT been going well), so I've felt a need to stay home and babysit the contractors to make sure they don't mess up anything else and things get done right. When I have an hour or so to spare, I just run over to the barn to check on Lilly and keep an eye on her hooves. Riding has been pushed to the back burner, along with just about everything else that isn't essential to her well being.

Friday I didn't have to work, and the contractors thought they were done (but they are NOT), so I had the day to myself. I drove out to the barn and spent hours with Lilly. We went for a ride, I groomed her really well, shaved off her goat hairs (guard hairs), and did some general maintenance work with the clippers. She looks like a million bucks! I also spent quite a bit of time on her hooves.

It was nice to just enjoy time with her, knowing I didn't have to rush to be somewhere at a certain time. We had a nice day together!

The seedy toe stuff on her left front hoof is all but gone. I'm so glad I was able to catch it in time and nip it in the bud. Her right hoof, however, is still giving me fits and I had to carve out some more hoof because she had another tiny crack at the top of the crater. I cut away the hoof wall and cleaned out the gross stuff inside, but it's clear the once per week soaking isn't cutting the mustard. The weather has been drier lately and I was hoping that would help, but it doesn't seem to be doing much good. With the drier weather, though, I won't feel as bad about soaking her hoof more often because it'll have time to dry out.

I started out riding her without boots, but I had to take her back to the barn to get her Mary Jane's (Renegade boots) so she could concentrate on me and not her ouchie toes. I'm not sure if she's still a bit sore from the seedy toe, or if she's foot sore because of the grass coming in. Her pasture is pretty sparse, so there isn't much grass to speak of, but it could still be having an impact on her hooves. I'm a bit bummed at this fairly extended setback, but such is life with a barefoot horse.

Our ride went pretty well after I got the boots. It was quite warm and she's pretty out of shape, so we didn't work too long, but I told her we need to get her back in shape for the show on Saturday. So much to do to get ready!

Patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures.
Do you see that delicious, chocolate area on her flanks? I just love that color! It's all over her flanks, her chest, and her face. I wish she could stay that color all summer long!

Lilly says she hates gnat season...
Pray to the weather gods with me that we have a nice weekend. I don't think I could stand it if another show was cancelled due to the weather!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Phraseless Friday!

Looking gorgeous today!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Nice Ride!

I had a really nice visit with my parents and while they were here we went out to the barn to see Lilly. It was a gorgeous, warm day, and I think maybe our weather is finally starting to make a turn toward spring. Wouldn't that be nice?! :)

I didn't ride her very long, or too hard, but we practiced the usual items we need to work on. Her lope transitions are getting much better and we can lope nice circles without looking like we're out of control. Her head still needs to come down, but we'll work on that later. I think I can safely say she's got this jogging thing down, though!

Pitter patter of tiny hooves...
Looking quite pleased with herself!
Here is a posed picture my mom graciously took. She held the camera with the trigger button ready to go while my dad waved his arms around like a wild man trying to get Lilly to put her ears up. Not an easy feat!

Say "cheese", Lilly!
With the weather finally looking better, I'm hopeful I'll be able to ride quite a bit this week. We have a project going on at our house, so the workers often need to be babysat, but I think they'll be done tomorrow. Perhaps things can get back on track after that!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lame...

Not as in "my horse is lame" and thank goodness for that! She's actually doing quite well and starting to get her pre-seedy toe hooves back. After speaking with my vet on Thursday, I decided soaking once a week with oxine was all we needed because the dang ground is so wet all the time. Soaking seemed counter productive to our end goal of trying to get her hooves to dry up a bit and get rid of the bacteria that loves all that moisture. I'm also happy to report that Lilly didn't have any kind of reaction to her rabies vaccine, so that was a huge win.

Life has been pretty boring and fairly sucky the past couple weeks. I'm whining, I know, but I'm so sick of this weather I could scream. Windy, cold, rainy, storms... I've only used my fly spray twice, we haven't hung up fans on the stalls yet, and no one has put away winter blankets because we bust them out every now and then. And if that wasn't bad enough, on the days I might actually be able to ride, I have appointments, or Lilly is getting vaccines, or I have to work a double shift, or the arena is a swamp from the previous night's deluge.

It's all so lame.

I'm hoping to show on the 25th, and possibly on the 18th, (weather permitting) and I'm so extremely unprepared. Luckily, Lilly doesn't regress when she isn't ridden for what seems like months at a time, but I still need to get her conditioned and get in some rides so I don't feel like such a slacker.

My least favorite person, the weather man, is calling for rain tomorrow and rain on Saturday, but hopefully the arena isn't too bad and I can ride on Thursday or Friday. I have family coming into town, so I can't spend all my time at the barn, but hopefully we can make it out there one of those days. It would be nice to get some pictures too!

Ok, whiny rant over... for now. Here's a picture of my sweet girl enjoying a brief period of sunshine.

Almost shed out!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Crossing My Fingers!

My vet came out today to give Lilly her rabies and strangles vaccines. Last year, Lilly had a reaction to the rabies vaccine, so we decided to give her a 1,000 lb dose of Banamine in case she starts feeling poorly again this year. One of the boarders checked on her for me today since I had to leave for work and she said Lilly seems to be doing just fine. Hopefully when I check on her tomorrow, she'll be her happy self.

That was one of the reasons I was so cautious this year about having her sedated for teeth floating. She's been getting rabies vaccines for years and never had an adverse reaction before, and then for some reason last year she did. My vet reported it to the manufacturer, but none of the other horses who were vaccinated with the same vial as Lilly had a reaction, so I don't think it was the vaccine itself. I discussed it a bit with my vet today because of the fact that Lilly will need her teeth done with a speculum in the fall, which means she'll need a sedative. I'm just concerned that she could possibly have a reaction from the sedative as well. My vet said she considers Lilly a low risk horse because she's healthy otherwise (no heart murmurs or anything), and reactions to sedatives are rare, at least in her experience. She said she only lost one horse to a sedative reaction and the horse was quite old.

One thing lead to another and before long she was trying to get me to tell her who it was that floated teeth. I hate lying, so I told her I was asked not to say, and she said she knew it was either a guy named "this" or a guy named "that". She was curious to know who it was because one of those gentlemen had fractured a horse's tooth and the horse was heading to the vet school for surgery. She wanted me to be aware of what can happen, aside from the fact that it's illegal for him to float because he's not a vet.

You know, I feel like I'm darned if I do, and darned if I don't. The dentists will tell you horror stories about how a vet used her power tools and filed off the horse's teeth until all he was left with was gums. The vet will tell you horror stories about how the dentists can't possibly do a proper job without a speculum, so unless the horse is SUPER calm, those horses will need a sedative, which dentists aren't allowed to give.

I just want my horse to have a happy mouth, and not die from a reaction to a sedative. Is that too much to ask??

After she left, I soaked Lilly with oxine for 15 minutes and brushed out as much of her winter coat as I could. If we ever see the sun again in this state, I'll take some pictures of her new spring coat. It's looking fabulous!

She seemed pretty comfortable today, so we should be ok to start riding again. I might have to open up the other toe because I haven't seen it getting any better yet, so if that happens, she might need another day or two off, depending on how she does. I can always use her boots, but I feel like if her hoof itself is ouchy, I shouldn't make her work.

After soaking, I locked her in the stall to dry up her hooves a bit. I tossed in some hay and then tried to get a couple pictures. Clearly that was stupid of me, because she'd come over just long enough to see if I had anything better than hay, and when she realized I didn't, I was old news. So I got a lot of crappy shots. Most of them looked like this:

No cookies? BYE!
So I went around to the back of the stall to see if I could get her to stick her head out that door, but she didn't even bother coming over. She just showed me her bum the whole time. Guess I'm just not worth her time!

Busy eating!
In barn moving news, I spoke with my barn owners about them selling since I hadn't actually heard it from their mouths. She said they hadn't decided for sure, but they are definitely leaning in that direction. They'll let me know within the next couple weeks what they're going to do. She said we're more than welcome to stay as long as we can, and thinks with the economy like it is, the farm will be on the market for a while. She's hopeful that perhaps the new owners will let us stay even after they're gone. I think if I was buying a nice horse property, I wouldn't want boarders, but I know the current owners kept two boarders when they bought the place from the previous owner, so I suppose it's possible. Since I haven't found anything worth a darn, I guess I'll just hang out until they kick me out, or until the perfect situation pops up.