Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alaska Bound!

This will be my last post for a little over 2 weeks. This Alaska trip has been in the planning phase for so long that I can't believe it's finally here! I really do need a vacation...

I'm very excited to be going to Alaska, but I'll miss both of my horses. I haven't been away from them for this long in a long time. The BO will take good care of them, I have no doubt about that, but I'll still feel a bit guilty.

My farrier came out this morning to reset Lilly's shoes and trim AJ. He came out at 7 AM, so I had to get up at 6 AM after going to be shortly before 2 AM. I'm ready for a nap... Both of my horses were fairly well behaved considering they were getting their feet done while all the other horses were eating their breakfast. LOL

I hope everyone has a great 2 weeks!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Silver Royal Show Halters?

I love my current show halter. It is beautiful, unique, AND has sentimental value, so I really wish I could bring it back to life.

I got that halter many, many years ago. If memory serves, I was still showing AJ... I was showing him in a plain leather halter and my dad told me that when we won our first showmanship class, he would buy me a new one with lots of silver. We won our very next showmanship class. :) I think it was actually our last one as well.

I can't remember the exact year I got it, but I'm guessing the halter is at least 16 years old.

At one point, the silver on the nose piece broke in two, so it was replaced with another piece of silver that looked almost just like the others. It hasn't held up as well as the original pieces, and I can't get any of it to shine anymore. There are little flecks of silver missing, and it looks beat.

Normally, I would have upgraded a LONG time ago. That's just the way it works when it comes to my horses. I just really don't want to get a new one because I love that one so much, and because of the memories it holds. Sappy, aren't I?

But it's time.

SillyPony has the one I've been eyeballing. (She has good taste!)

Isn't it pretty?!

I've decided I need a mare size, though. Mine is horse size and it's a little big for Lilly's head. I've got it cranked all the way up on her crown and it still sits a bit far down her nose. Mare sizes seem hard to come by. I wanted a medium oil like the one I have, but those are even harder to find (or they have a hideous silver pattern on them). I've been thinking that a dark oil might not be bad because Lilly looks pretty in her hunt seat bridle, and that's dark oil, so as a last resort I'll get a dark oil one.

Silver Royal has a nice selection of halters in all sizes, colors, and silver patterns, but I've never had anything Silver Royal before. Currently, though, I'm drooling over this halter:

It's very feminine, comes in a mare size, AND is medium oil! It's also not too bad where my wallet is concerned.

Has anyone heard good or bad things about Silver Royal? I absolutely MUST have a new halter for the Paint show in August.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our First Show Post Injury!

I was very excited about our very first show since Lilly's injury last November. I had packed up most of my stuff yesterday and had done just about everything I could do ahead of time except clip Lilly's bridle path and shave off those whiskers of hers. I ended up getting to the barn a little later than I hoped, but planned to make up the lost time somehow.

I grabbed Lilly from the pasture, tied her to the trailer, and started clipping. I didn't do a super close clip job because our next show isn't until August and I wanted to leave some hair in her ears for the bugs while I'm gone on vacation. I started washing my very dirty horse (with tree sap on her neck too!) and when she was all soaped up, the water stopped!! I was in a panic... why wasn't there water coming out of the hose? Of all the times I could be without water! I still don't know why, but after about 4 minutes or so of me thinking about getting buckets to raid the water troughs, the water came back on. The only thing I can think of is that someone else on the property was using water? I have no idea, but that whole thought process of making up time pretty much went out the window.

Needless to say, my horse's mane did not get banded, and it showed. So please excuse her embarrassingly messy mane. :)

The show was running two rings as opposed to one which worked out really well. It made the classes go by much faster and gave me a more specific time to shoot for. We started right on time. I only signed up for 4 classes because I didn't want to do too many riding classes with Lilly, but also because of the heat.

So our first class of the day was showmanship. There were 10 entries and here is the pattern:

I've never had to back around a cone before!

Here are a few pictures of us doing our pattern and then standing in line. Ok, there are more than a few pictures, but I love showmanship and I'm so happy to be back at it!

Here we are waiting to be acknowledged.

Doing our 360 degree pivot, which Lilly nailed!

Setting up for inspection.

Presenting my mostly clean mare with her untidy mane. :)

Waiting in line with high hopes!

Wondering WHY she keeps moving that front foot! "Put it back!"

She did a really great job on the pattern. Her only hiccup was that when we got to cone A and we were supposed to walk, she walked and then jogged a couple steps before walking again. I saw the judge write something down and thought, "crap..." Other than that, her pivot was great, she squared right up, and backed up nicely around the cone.

When we were waiting for the placings, the judge came over and said (and I'm paraphrasing), "You've got to get your horses squared up correctly and quickly. Nearly everyone's horse had feet that looked like this (and she made cow hocked, toed out looking legs with her arms). And when I say quickly, I mean quickly. When you stop in front of me, I start counting. One, two, three... when I get to three, your horse needs to be squared up correctly. That's something you all need to work on."

I was thinking, "hmpf... Lilly squared up quickly, and she was really square."

So here we are with our ribbon...

It's BLUE!

We won first place! So either she didn't see our trot steps, or her pet peeve is horses that don't square quickly and properly and since we did, we won brownie points. Since there were 10 horses in the class, it's worth 3 PAC points and gives us the points we need to get our certificate in showmanship. I'm so excited!

I took my english riser pad with me so I could try it out with my number pad and it was a big 'ol FAIL. :( She started out ok when we were warming up, but when it was almost time to go into the classes (of course) she started shaking her head, so I had to run back and switch pads and my poor boyfriend had to put my number on my hunt coat with my magnetic number holders... have you ever tried to use those things? They are so strong that they stick to each other and it is impossible to get them off!

We did hunt seat classes only and entered:
English GAYP - Adult Open
English W/T - Stock Type
English Pleasure - Open

She was a bit hyper in the walk trot classes. Even in the warm up ring she kept deciding to trot on her own. She did pretty good about her head, but just didn't want to walk. Luckily, because of the heat, the judge was pushing us through pretty quick, so we didn't have to walk for very long before we were "going as we please". The GAYP class had 11 horses in it and we got a 5th place which I thought was pretty good.

The stock type class had 12 horses and we got 5th place in that one as well. She did pretty much the same in that class as she did in the previous one. "Can I trot now? I'm trotting NOW!"

The canter class was interesting. Lilly did REALLY well and had no issue at all with her leads. In fact, I was surprised at how quickly she stepped into the canter and how calm she stayed during it all. We narrowly avoided a wreck, which I think may have cost us the class. We were cantering and there was a horse freaking out as I was coming past it and the rider ended up coming right at us sideways, so I had no choice but to slow Lilly down to a trot for a few strides and then pick up the canter again. It all happened right in front of the judge... When I asked Lilly to canter again, she did just as I asked. Correct lead and everything, so I think she's getting the hang of it. I'm not sure how many horses were in the class, probably around 12, but we didn't place.

We had a great day being back out there showing!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Big Show Weekends?

Hey look! I found Lilly on another website! Don't we look cute?

We're on the Carolina Mane Event Show website here. I think this was probably a halter class. :)

I was browsing the site looking for an updated class list for the show on August 14th and 15th. I live really close to the fairgrounds and usually just haul in for the Saturday portion of this show. They have more classes on Sunday that I don't usually participate in because I work Sunday at 4pm and find it to be too much of a hassle to haul in again on Sunday just for a few classes (plus another bath and all that good stuff). I'm thinking about hauling in on Friday and getting a stall so we can stay through Saturday and do some of the Sunday morning classes (like showmanship!).

The following weekend will be our big APHA show, so I don't know if two weekends of camping out at shows would be too much, but I'm definitely considering it. I'm excited about showing again but I don't want to overdo it where Lilly is concerned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy... and HOT!

I have been so busy, and there looks to be no end in sight!

I did make it out to the barn today, but I didn't get to ride. When I arrived, AJ's fly mask was missing so I went on a scavenger hunt to find it. After not finding it in the pasture, I gave up and took Lilly over to the tie area. I went into the tack room to get my brushes, and there was AJ's fly mask. Whew!

The main group of horses was moved up to the front pasture, so Mr trouble maker Rocky has been relocated far, far away. But now I have to maneuver through a whole herd of horses instead of just one. They're all quite friendly, though, and I didn't have any problems.

I ended up talking to one of the boarders for quite some time. He served in the Navy (and I was in the Marine Corps) so we had to take a few stabs at each other for fun. LOL Since I was running my yap, all I had time to do was trim Lilly's mane for the show on Saturday. It was too hot to do much else anyway, I suppose. At one point, my truck thermometer read 100 degrees.

Tomorrow I have a work function that will suck up my entire day, and then Thursday I'm going to babysit for a friend. Hopefully I'll be able to pull it all together on Friday so I can be ready for the show on Saturday. I have quite a few things to do.

The good news is, my boyfriend has agreed to accompany me and Lilly to our first show since her injury, so I should have a lot of great pictures to share. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Setting Goals

It's always terrifying to set goals because you know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

Well gosh darn it, I'm going to do it anyway!

There's a JCHSS show on the 26th of this month. I've mentioned a couple of times that I plan to be at that show. It'll be our first show since Lilly tore her tendon back in November and I'm thrilled that we're on track to attend. Just as I'm getting ramped up, though, the show season here in North Carolina is preparing to take a break. There are a lot of shows from February to June and September to December, but because of the heat and humidity, show organizers usually bow out in July and August. That means I'll go to the show on the 26th and then wait... one month... two months... then show season will be back in full swing again!

Because of my work schedule, I'm limited on the number of shows I can attend. I work at least one weekend day each week. Sometimes it's a Saturday, sometimes it's a Sunday, and it switches each month. I have to hope a certain show falls during a month where I have Saturdays off. It's usually hit or miss.

August is a month where I have Saturdays off. There aren't many shows to choose from in August, but after looking at my show calendar, I have my sights set on one show in particular. Since it's an August show, it might be a little warm, but it's an APHA regional show and it's just like the one I did last year. It's at the same place and during the same weekend, actually. It'll be one of those weekend shows that costs me a fortune to attend, but we'll have plenty of time to practice and get ready. We can haul in on Friday, show halter, showmanship, and hunt seat on Saturday, then get up Sunday morning and head home. I don't work until 4pm, so I'll be back in plenty of time to get ready and go into work. (Boo!)

Goals. My goal is to make it to that show. I don't see any reason why we can't make it happen!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Riding Again!

I rode today for the first time since hurting my shoulder and all went well, thankfully. It did start to feel a little tight towards the end of the ride, but it wasn't painful.

I rode Lilly english since I didn't thoroughly get to test out her new riser pad last time. I think it fits her perfectly and raises the saddle up to just the right height. I can't seem to get the darn thing to stay in the middle of her back, though. I got off twice to adjust it during the course of our ride... maybe I'm just crooked.

She hasn't been a brat since I rode her that first day, and she doesn't call to AJ anymore. He has started calling to her a bit, but she ignores him like a good girl.

I did walk/trot/canter in both directions and she's really doing great. She picked up her leads both ways and we've graduated to cantering from the walk instead of trotting 100 times around the arena at the trot before we can even think about cantering. When we were going clockwise, she kept switching leads behind for some reason, so I'd have to stop and ask again, so I'm not sure what that was about. She got a little anxious each time I stopped her because she was anticipating the canter, but I was able to get her focused again and she waited until I told her to canter.

The arena has a bunch of poles laid out to practice backing through. It's more than just backing through an L... there are a few more turns thrown in there. Lilly used to get really frustrated when I tried to back her through things because she wanted to rush and figure it out on her own. I decided to give it a whirl today anyway and she made me proud. She is so good at moving her body around according to where I place my legs on her that she zipped right through it without hitting a single pole.

She's come so far. :)

I'm still planning on attending the show next weekend. EEK! I'm so excited! I think I'm going to stick with the english classes for our first show and work on western some more before I venture back into that. My new show outfit will have to wait a little bit longer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Round Pen Workout

The new place has a round pen that I've been dying to try. Since it was HOT today, and the round pen just happens to be in the shade, I decided it was the perfect day to longe instead of ride. The shoulder still isn't quite right and she needs some work when it comes to longing, anyway.

It's a good sized pen. Even when my longe line was all the way out, she still had room before she was on the edge of the pen. I was a little concerned at first that it might not be a good idea because of her tendon, but I didn't plan to work her very hard, and she's cleared for full work now.

Wouldn't you know, she was an angel. She did her typical "Sweet! I'm on the longe line... check this out!" buck - kick, but once I told her sternly to walk, she walked. She even trotted around and around and around all by herself without breaking. Her canter was a little bit more challenging, but we're still working on that, even in a larger area. She did everything I asked, and I was super happy about it!

So the way it is set up is that there is the front pasture, and shortly beyond the front pasture (which is shaped like an L) is the pasture where Lilly and AJ are. Within that front pasture, there is the round pen. So when I'm working Lilly in the round pen, AJ is just a short distance away. The horse I spoke about yesterday is in the front pasture by himself because of his injuries.

All this isn't super important, I'm just trying to say that while I was longing Lilly, I could see Rocky and AJ playing together over the fence. It ties in the next part of my story. :)

Rocky was trying his best to take AJ's fly mask off... and eventually succeeded. Then, he started to EAT IT! So I had to stop Lilly so I could go rescue it. She was SO cute... I unhooked the longe line in case she decided to wander around the pen, but told her to stand there until I got back. I walked over to Rocky, took back my fly mask, and put it back on AJ's head. It only took me a couple minutes, but Lilly watched me the whole time and NEVER MOVED A FOOT! She stood there, just like I asked. :)

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my mare? I have? Well I'm saying it again! I love that mare!!

OH!! And then there is this:

Those of you who are new to my blog might be wondering why in the world I would post a picture of my mare's posterior. However, those of you who have been around for a while know of the trials and tribulations I have endured regarding said posterior.

My mare has had a chronic case of diarrhea for the past couple years. When it first started, I was dealing with it for months at a time. I was visiting her daily, scrubbing her hind end, and applying large amounts of Desitin to her poor, red, irritated cheeks. My vet and I tried everything... we could find nothing medically wrong with her. So we decided it was probably the heat (which turned out to be false when I was scrubbing her behind in 35 degree temperatures). Then we thought perhaps it was because of her heat cycle (which also turned out to be false when she was no longer in heat but still coating her rear end with manure). Sand maybe? Nope... I even started her on some supplements and probiotics. Nothing seemed to help, or it would at first, but then a few weeks later we'd be dealing with it again.


Was she drinking too much water and passing it that way? Was her delicate digestive system upset because she wasn't continuously passing food through it (there wasn't any pasture to speak of where she used to be boarded)? We never really got the answer.

Eventually the bouts of diarrhea went from months at a time to weeks at a time. It did improve, but never went away. And when it was happening, things were messy. She didn't really have wet manure, she simply squirted all day long, and it ran down her legs, dripping off her fetlocks. How's that for a mental image?

Okay... now that I've gone through the entire story, take another look at the picture. CLEAN, RIGHT!? Since moving her to the new place, I have not seen one spec of "manure drip" on her rear end! She has not had a bath since the morning of the 4th when I moved her, so she's that clean all on her own!

SSSHHH! Don't say it out loud!

I don't want to jinx it, but I have high hopes that we have seen the last of that mysterious diarrhea!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Big 2-4!

Today is AJ's "birthday". We know he was born sometime in June of 1986, but we don't actually know the exact day, so I picked the 14th because it's Flag Day (don't forget to fly your flags!). I can't believe he's 24 and that I've had him for 20 years.

I did a post about his history last year for his birthday, so if you're interested you can check it out here. There are even a few pictures of him in his younger days (and me too).

I've been following doctor's orders and I haven't ridden since my shoulder pain started. I'm almost better, but I can still feel the pain when I do certain things. I'm hoping to be completely better tomorrow.

I went to visit the horses today, of course, since it's AJ's birthday. They were way out in the pasture and when AJ saw me he came running. Not far behind was Lilly when she realized what was going on.

I wonder if AJ didn't run to see me if she'd hang out and make me come get her... She's afraid he might get cookies and she'll miss out on something great!

AJ's face is all healed up, so I decided it was time to try out his new Cashel fly mask. I really like it and I'm thinking about getting one for Lilly too. I love that it has a little spot cut out for forelocks, even though AJ doesn't have one. Check him out! (Click on it for the larger picture... it's worth the look, I promise!)

LOL! Poor AJ. He's never had a forelock to speak of... just a very small tuft of hair. I guess that's ok, though, because then it doesn't hide his beautiful face. :)

It's almost too big, which is crazy considering the size of his jowls and his head. He's a big boy, so if I got one for Lilly I'd probably have to go with the Arab size. The material is wonderful and soft, and I'm fairly certain it won't cause rub spots on his face. Lilly isn't one to mess with masks, so they should both be able to wear their masks without issue.

I met another one of the boarders today. The poor girl's horse has been lame for some time and no one knows why. His left hock is really swollen and his right ankle is also swollen. To me it looks like he might have OCD in that hock, but the vet has seen him multiple times, so I'm sure they've ruled that out. He's only 4 years old and she's thinking his career might be over already. She has another horse that she shows, but this horse was going to be her other show horse. He's so darn cute, too!

She asked if I trail ride and I told her the spiel about how I used to but now I show... blah, blah, blah. I give that spiel a lot. She said she shows a lot with the BO, and they load up together in the big gooseneck. In fact, they're off to a show next weekend, but I've already got plans.

Hopefully once I'm back from Alaska, I can really buckle down and get back into the swing of things. Whether that be a trail ride here and there or nothing but shows, I'll be excited either way. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Much Better!

I got my english riser pad in the mail yesterday so I couldn't wait to try it out. I was also anxious to see how Lilly was going to behave.

She and AJ were way out in the pasture again. I called Lilly, but it was AJ who came running up first. He started walking, then he took off at a canter and ran right up to me. (He wanted his cookie and to use me as a scratching post...) Lazy Lilly made it up the hill shortly thereafter. I had her halter and a chain lead with me, but just looped the chain through the halter ring to give her the opportunity to behave herself. She was much more calm and walked with me to the tree without issue. No whinnying, no pawing, and she actually stood still at the tree. MUCH better than Monday!

The new pad seems to work really well... it lifts the front of the saddle up just enough, but I haven't had any issues with her english saddle yet, so I don't know if it lifts the saddle enough or not.

I felt better when riding it it. I felt much more balanced, and it seems to me that if she needs it for a western saddle, she should have a bit of a lift for the english one as well.

I could see an immediate difference with the western saddle, but the real test for this one will be when I take her to a show.

So there we were... riding around in the arena. She was doing so well I decided we'd go ahead and canter. So I asked, she stepped off (on the correct lead too!), and after about twice around the arena I had to stop because of a stabbing pain in my back that took my breath away. I was like, "wow! where did that come from?!" The pain was so bad that I had to get off. I have no idea what it was from since we were just cantering around, but now I have this pain in my left shoulder right by my spine. I can't turn my head to the left, or put my head down to my chest without some serious pain. So I called the doctor and have an appointment tomorrow morning. I have no idea what she can do to help me, but I don't know what else to do.

In other news, I decided to buy a solid turquoise pad to use with my teal show shirt. I debated for months about the one I posted a while ago but decided a solid color would probably work better with Lilly's color. With the other one, it looked to me like the only color that would be showing from under the saddle was sand, so I opted for the solid color instead. The hard part was deciding whether to get teal or turquoise. My shirt was labeled teal, but I think it's more turquoise. Luckily, the turquoise one I decided to order matches almost perfectly!

Monday, June 7, 2010

One P.O.'d Pony

Today's weather was beautiful. It was much less humid than it has been and it was breezy too. It was perfect summer weather!

When I arrived at the barn, both of my horses were at the very back of the pasture munching on grass. I grabbed Lilly's halter and a couple cookies and headed out expecting to have to trek all the way out there to get her. I called their names and they looked up, and then went back to eating.

One of the neighbor horses, Pretzel, (how cute is that?) was close to the fence so I walked over there to visit him. A few moments later, I heard thundering hooves and looked up to see both of my horses RUNNING right towards me. I was surprised that they left their grass to come visit me. I gave them each a cookie, put Lilly's halter on, and lead her out of the pasture.

I was expecting AJ to start running and whinnying... but instead, he walked over to the visit the other group of horses across the fence. Lilly on the other hand, was blowing and in a hurry to get wherever we were going.

Instead of a designated grooming area, there are tie rings on all the trees for grooming and saddling. I picked out the best tree and tied her up.

She immediately started pawing and whinnying and wiggling all over the place. I can't stand it when she paws, but she only does it when I'm not looking at her because she knows she's not supposed to do it! She's like the ghost in Super Mario Brothers that follows you when you're not looking, but as soon as you turn around it stops. She paws until I turn around to yell at her and then she stops. She had a tough time today, though, and often the urge was just too much and she'd start pawing. Her attention was everywhere but on me and she NEEDED to find where AJ was. She can't do that tied to a tree, you know!

Too bad!

Once I started grooming her she calmed down. If I left the area to get my helmet or to grab the saddle, though, she started up all over again. She does tend to get attached to other horses rather quickly and she and AJ have been attached at the hip since I moved them. When I used to take her trail riding, she would act the same way and would sometimes get out of control. I did a post a few years ago about a weekend trail riding adventure to the coast that didn't go well at all... so she either has confidence issues and doesn't like being alone, or some kind of desire to protect her herd and doesn't like them to be out of sight. I'm not sure which.

I was hoping she'd calm down once we got in the arena and started working. Speaking of which, here's a picture of it. If you enlarge it, you can see the posts on the far side. Otherwise, it just looks like a huge pasture. :)

It's a pretty good size, but there's no sand or anything. It's just the ground and some grass. It's nothing fancy, but it works... and, there aren't jumps all over the place so I can actually do circles if I want to! I don't think many people ride in it, though... I had to walk around and pick up a few stones that I thought would be in the way when I rode.

My hope for a calmer horse in the arena was quickly shot down. She was walking extremely fast and looking out at the other horses. She was looking for AJ and trying to trot. She was chomping on the bit and kept sneezing over and over again. I'm not even sure she knew I was on her back. She kept dropping her shoulder and I would try to circle her to get her engaged and moving properly, but she would only leg yield.

That's when we had our first "coming to Jesus" moment of the day. (Yes, there was more than one!) She's a show horse... she's a trail horse... she's going to be in situations that she doesn't like, and she can be mad about it, but we've advanced past certain types of behaviors. The ones she exhibited in the arena? Yeah, we're beyond that. When she goes to a new place, she needs to know that I'm in charge and she needs to listen to me. So after our little chat, she was doing better, but still had issues. We did jog a little bit and worked on some circles. When we would get to the corner where she might be able to catch a glimpse of AJ, though, she'd cock her head to the outside and I'd have to put her right into another circle to get her attention.

I suppose it was a good training opportunity. She was quite comfortable in the surroundings at our old place, and she needs to understand what is expected of her no matter where we go or what's going on.

She was definitely NOT happy.

"Come to Jesus" meeting number two happened when I was taking her back to the pasture. We have to go through one pasture before we can get to hers and she was in a HURRY to get there. The "gate" to her pasture is just the electric tape with those handles on the end, and the fence is hot. So I take the bottom handle and hook it to the top handle to open the gate. Well, miss Hot Shot decided she was going on in and RAN past me on the wrong side causing me to have to drop the handles and scramble to keep one of the neighbor horses out, and AJ in.

Oh boy... I'm not sure when that has ever been appropriate behavior, so she received another education. I may start walking her to and from the pasture with a chain lead shank for a while since she seems to have suddenly forgotten her manners.

I took her halter off, gave her a cookie (because I just can't help myself) and she and AJ walked off.

So far I've met 4 of the boarders. There are quite a few of them, so I have many more to go, but I met three of them on Sunday and one of them today. So far, they're all trail riders except one, and the one who doesn't trail ride doesn't show either. She just rides. I'm trying my best to remember everyone's name, and to be friendly. I'm not very good with people, especially strangers, but I've been walking up and introducing myself.

The boarder I met today was at the barn on Friday when I dropped the horses off but he was working on his boat, so I didn't think he was boarder. He arrived today just as I was leaving and walked right up to my truck and said, "Hi! Do you trail ride?" I gave my spiel about how I used to but it's easier to show alone than it is to trail ride alone and I haven't been trail riding in forever. He said he was going to Uwharrie for the weekend in a couple weeks when he gets back from a work trip and wanted me to tag along.

I'm leaving to go to Alaska the first of July, so I don't think I'll be able to go trail riding until after I get back, but this is the kind of thing I was hoping for. I wanted to meet some new people that I could go riding with. I've been doing everything alone for so long that it'll be nice to have people to ride with again. With any luck I'll have some trail riding friends and some horse show friends. My work schedule will make weekend trips difficult, but a couple scenarios work. Uwharrie is a beautiful place to ride and I haven't been in years!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

That's the Spot!

I went to the new place today to check on Lilly and AJ and see how they were doing. They were both standing in the shade grooming each other. Look how sweet!

Lilly loves to be scratched, so I think she was using AJ as her personal groomer. She seemed to be a bit more into the whole experience than he was. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Big Move!

And picture spam!

When I was hooking up my horse trailer I found a bird's nest tucked up under the gooseneck. I was hoping it was empty, but really hoping there weren't baby birds inside it. When I peeked inside, there were four little eggs. I didn't know what to do with the nest... (If there had been baby birds in there I would have had to post-pone the move!) I felt really bad moving a nest with eggs, but I didn't know what else to do. I told the mama bird to watch, and I put them up under the rafters of an old building close to my trailer. I hope the mama bird found them and is tending to them right now. Actually, that's what I'm going to believe and no one can tell me otherwise!

After getting all hooked up, I got Lilly out of her pasture for the last time. She was filthy and needed her bridle path trimmed. Here she is waiting with excitement for the festivities to begin.

She hates it when I wash her face and gives me the stink eye, but if she didn't get her face so dirty, I wouldn't have to wash it! Sometimes she likes it when I spray her mouth and she drinks the water. Does she look happy here or what?

While Lilly was drying, I went to the pasture to get AJ. When I approached him, one of the other horses in his pasture started chasing him away from me. I had to walk clear across the pasture to rescue him. I won't miss that!

Here he is waiting for his turn. Notice he's on the pavement and not in the wash rack. I didn't feel like fighting with him over the splashing water. He was much better out here.

I wanted to leave the barn at about 3:30pm and was ready right at 3:30, but I still had to get the horses in the trailer. I knew Lilly would hop right in, but AJ hasn't been in a trailer in about 3 years. He's never been in this particular trailer either. I wanted him to go in first so I could walk in there with him in case he was nervous.

I walked him up to the door and he planted his feet. He didn't want to go anywhere. Thanks, though! So I tried to convince him but he wasn't having any part of it. Ok, time to get the bribes. I got some cookies and convinced him to put his front feet in the trailer but he wouldn't go any further than that. Eventually he backed out and was more interested in eating the shavings. La dee da... Approximately 10 minutes had passed and he just kept planting those feet and wouldn't budge. I figured I had given him enough time to cooperate on his own terms, so now he was fair game. I got the lead rope with the chain from the back of the trailer and put it over his nose. I gave two light tugs, backed him up a couple steps, and whispered an empty threat into his ear. We walked up to the trailer and he jumped right in. Uh huh... that's what I thought. :)

My precious, sweet, angel Lilly got right in. Such a gem she is!

And with that, we were off!

The drive was uneventful, thankfully. Even though we left about 20 minutes later than I wanted, traffic wasn't too bad yet. All was quiet in the trailer, so they both rode really well.

Here are my beauties shortly after arriving at their new home.

Lilly backed out pretty well, considering what we went through last year. I tried to park the trailer in a spot that made the step down fairly short. I tied her up to the trailer and went in after AJ. He's too darn big to turn him around inside. I was afraid he might get stuck, so he had to back also, and he wasn't liking the idea. It was a little rough, but he did pretty well.

The new BO showed me to their pasture and I took AJ with me. She made it sound like they'd be in a fairly small pasture for now, so I was planning on walking AJ around the perimeter... then I saw the pasture. (Here's a picture of it after both of my horses were already in it.)

Holy smokes! I think it must be about 3 acres, and they're the only two in it. I ditched the perimeter idea and went to get Lilly. By this time she was crying like crazy. When I turned her loose, she ran over to AJ and they whispered something to each other, then walked off.

AJ decided he was too clean, though, and had to roll in the dirty, dirty sand.

Lilly kept walking and looking around and then suddenly realized she was without AJ. So she RAN back up to where he was.

Once reattached to each other, they wandered off to meet the neighbors and eat some of the nice green grass that's growing in their new pasture.

I went back to the trailer to start unpacking and the BO started feeding. My two didn't care about the grain at first because they had grass and they were enjoying it too much to be bothered. The BO just left it in their feed pans, and after about a half hour, they moseyed back up and found their grain.

Look at how sweet they are together... Lilly was actually sharing with AJ. She would get a bite, then he would get a bite. At times their noses were together in the tire, but then neither one could reach the bottom. So they shared. I'm SO happy that they're getting along so well.

They're used to eating pellets, and here they're getting sweet feed. AJ was loving it and was sucking like crazy on his tongue.

After dinner, they walked around some more eating grass. They stayed so close together, and never showed any aggression. AJ was even using Lilly as a scratching post for a while and she could have cared less.

Here they are... the picture of happiness. All settled in to their new home. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Too Much Stuff!

Today I started packing up my stuff in preparation for tomorrow's big move to the new farm. The thing about moving is that you discover just how much stuff you really have... and I have too much stuff! I mean, how many bits can one person use? I have 11 of them, and they're all different. I just know when I get rid of one, though, I'll wish I still had it.

Here are the before pictures. I had a lot of stuff in the tack room and also stashed in my trailer. I need to condense it so I can fit two horses in my two horse trailer for once.

And here's the after. I got everything I needed hung up and stored. Some of it went to the house to be stored in the garage and some of it went into the front of the trailer temporarily. I even threw a few things away. Once the horses are moved, I can set everything back up the way I had it as far as show supplies go so I'll be able to have all my carts and totes of trailer related stuff with me (like the sewer hose, extenstion cords, fans, etc). I'll need that stuff for when I start showing again. SHOWING AGAIN! :)

At the new place, I'll pretty much have to live out of my trailer because they don't have room for all my hundreds of pounds of stuff. So I'm all organized and will have everything I need accessible from the trailer.

Now that everything is packed and ready to go, I'll have more time to give baths and clip the horses tomorrow so they look pretty for their arrival. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We're in the Paint Horse Connection!

A few months ago, an editor from the APHA contacted me after coming across my blog. She wanted to feature Lilly in the "Paints & People" section of the Paint Horse Connection, their quarterly publication for members of the APHA.

I was beyond excited! I emailed her a picture and typed up a little summary of our story and waited...

Guess who is in the Summer edition?