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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Barrel racing finals

Our provincial barrel racing finals were at the end of July, and for the first time since I medical'd out in 2012 I was entered!  I would have liked to take little miss Lefta but I didn't think she was quite ready for it, and to be honest my budget played a part in deciding how many horses to take so I ended up just entering on Voodoo.
We're still a work in progress, he is quite an independent cuss and likes to do things his way. I swear that horse thinks he just needs a rider to make things official lol  I've also picked up some bad habits the last few years, and they tend to come out more on Voodoo than Lefta (probably because I feel I need to babysit her a bit more so I'm more conscious of what I'm doing - however some of the habits do spill over to her too, just not as strongly as with V).
My game plan this year was to just have fun and fix my problems and hope that helps Voodoo enough to fix his.  Sadly we only got one run... we missed running the first day and while we were able to make it to the second day that meant we automatically wouldn't make the short go even if we placed well enough.
Tuesday, day one, we got 3 1/2" of rain before it was even time to head out.  Our RM has done a horrible job with our roads the last few years and any amount of rain makes them a slimy mess, add on that my 4X4 isn't working and it just wasn't worth it to me to risk it.  I had visions of trying to get down the road and have the trailer start to slide and end up in the ditch **shudder**  A few people gave me a hard time, some pretty badly, but you know what... MY trailer, MY horse.  Not worth it to me.
So there we were, one run on day two and the funny thing was I wasn't nervous at all.  Nada.  I texted my friend Marge before my run and said "I don't feel nervous at all to run. I actually feel kinda meh"  Which is probably part of the reason we had a pretty good run!  It didn't pick up any day money, and wouldn't have gotten us to the short go even if we could have qualified, but I managed to do almost what I wanted to!
A good friend had pointed out earlier this season that I tend to turn first and just kinda wait for second to be there. As she put it I'm turning second as soon as I'm out of first, I need to RIDE my horse to second.  Which is where the almost comes in, I rode him about half way to second and then I quit on him.  Dang it.  I also meant to go to two hands between second and third and I didn't, which caused us to bump third... which I was sure meant it was down but low and behold it stayed up!  My issues with not riding to second have been causing us to knock second, or if we salvage that barrel we knock third.  Not every time, but we've had more barrels down than I'm happy with.
So our achievements were... I RODE my horse, sort of, to second (half marks for that), we had a clean run (yay), and we made a time within the goal I had set for us.  All in all I was happy :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Post Posting

I've been so darn busy!  It's good, I'm not complaining, just... busy.  And I keep thinking "Oh that would make a good blog post" but then yeah, life has moved on and I still haven't posted.  So I'll try to catch up with some stuff and also keep more current.  I hope to still "see" y'all around!  In the meantime, here's a quick one...

The Hubster has been on a spree sprucing stuff up.  He repainted all the gates to the pen and the main arena gate, the trim on the lower 1/4 of the barn (the dark brown), the fence along the side of the barn AND the inside of the barn!  That white paint inside the barn sure makes things a lot brighter :)

I cleaned out my tack room and put some stuff up for sale.  Sold a fair bit without even advertising.  Funny, as soon as I posted on Facebook that I had done a tack room tidy and had stuff to sell I had a bunch of messages asking what was available lol

Sunday, April 5, 2015

And Just Like That...

... Smudge was gone.(sold that is!)
Last week my neighbour, Mr Tim, called to tell me about a horse trailer he had for sale.  It's exactly what I want but I can't afford it right now.  He said he'd take my trailer on part trade and I jokingly said how much more would he credit it if I threw in a horse.  He asked which one and I told him I was probably putting Smudge up for sale later in the spring.  Mr Tim said he was interested but the difference was still more than I can afford right now.
A couple days later he asked me if I was serious about wanting to sell Smudge.  I told him yes, he's a nice horse but he's not getting used as much as we were planning and he's a nice horse and too young to just sit as a pasture puff.  Mr Tim was interested so we made arrangements for him to come look at him.
Now, some of you may remember but for those that don't... Mr Tim is a horse trader.  I bought Voodoo, Applejack and Smudge from him.  He's always been fair and hasn't steered me wrong.  So yes, he knew Smudge but things can happen in three years and horses may change so I wasn't upset that he wanted to check him out instead of just saying he'd take him.
When he showed up we got Smudge from his pen, he looked him over, saddled him up and rode out.  I puttered around getting stuff ready for chores and about 10 minutes later they were back.  We struck a deal and Mr Tim said he'd be over later in the day to pick him up.  That's got to be the easiest (and fastest!) horse deal I've ever done (as the buyer or the seller!)
Smudge will probably be at Mr Tim's for 2 or 3 weeks to get legged up and then he'll be off to a new home.  Part of me is sad, but you can't keep them all and he was being wasted here. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Successful Failure!

This January I signed up for a Facebook group challenge... you were to complete 30 rides and a total of 40 hours (the time riding counted toward hours) with one horse.  That was the big catch for me, ONE horse.  If I had been able to add together the time and rides on multiple horses I probably would have completed it, as it was I chose Odin and we didn't make it.
In hindsight if I had chosen Lefta or Voodoo I probably would have been able to complete, but with Odin I just didn't feel safe riding alone so we didn't get enough rides in for the challenge. 
However I chose Odin so I'd stay motivated to keep him working throughout the winter.  I knew with how green he was that if I let him sit over winter I'd be mighty hesitant to get on him in the spring without someone else taking him for a few rides first.
BUT I did keep riding him this winter!  And we've made so much progress together.  He's FAR from broke but I have confidence in him and feel like I know how he'll react to a lot of stuff that I would have been worried about before.  And at our last lesson while we were warming up Coach said "Stop!  Now pat yourself on the back!"  so I did, and looked at her with I'm sure the dumbest look on my face.  Then she said "You're riding him like a broke horse!  Not babysitting him like a colt, good job!" :D
So, we may not have gotten 30 rides, but we HAVE been riding and making progress.  I'll take that fail!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Odin Update

See the little teeny blob of a horse and rider?  That's me on Odin at our last lesson!
(photo courtesy of Nell, who was sitting on Zoey at the time)
Now sure, it's a blurry little cell pic, and we're nothing but a blip in the background, but... I noticed two things right away.
The first is I no longer look like Humpty Dumpty on a horse (yay 40lbs gone!) but more importantly, even as a little blob I can see that Odin is carrying himself much better - just look at him stepping up under himself. And this was early on in the lesson, he got much better as it went on.
What I *felt* in that lesson wasn't all an illusion :) 
We had really nice trot and canter work, man does he float when he really gets engaged and starts moving out!  Coach said I need to stop riding him like he's a colt and ride him like he's broke, until we get to something that he doesn't know. lol
I am so looking forward to getting him more 'broke' and started on barrels!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Years Off My Life

Odin and I had a bit of a scary moment last week...

I was hauling him over to the neighbor's to ride in the indoor with a friend.  Went to load him and he stepped in just fine, tied him and just before I turned to get the divider he pulled back hard.  When he didn't get anywhere he set back and pulled back H.A.R.D.  He ended up slipping and falling.  When he jumped to his feet he lunged forward then set back again, did that a couple times.  Fell at least once more during all that.

*keep in mind I'm at the front of the trailer during all this with no place to go*

My mind was racing trying to figure out what to do.  I had already tried to untie him but he had pulled too hard and the "quick release knot" was jammed.  I didn't have a knife on me but I did have my phone.  Did I have time to wait for someone to get there to help and who would be the quickest to reach and get there?
He paused and I started talking to him.  I honestly don't know how I kept such a calm, logical tone of voice as I spoke to him because I was pretty damn nervous.  I babbled something about needing to stop being bad and act like a grownup, how he had been in the trailer plenty of times and knows how to load, I told him he needed to come and stand up at the front of the trailer beside me and just be g.o.o.d.  He calmed right down and stepped forward, then touched his nose to my elbow like he was saying "Sorry Mom.  I'm not sure why I freaked out." 
He wouldn't come forward quite enough for me to get the divider closed, but he stood stock still while I smacked him in the ass with it to try to get him to step forward.  Oh well, better than another freak out lol 
Then I talked to him about what our options were.  I didn't want to leave him in the trailer alone while I got a knife to cut the leadrope loose just in case he started to pull again.  The knot on the halter was jammed as well.
(so much for the theory that if you tie a rope halter properly you can un-jam the knot if they pull, I guess there's only so much pulling it can take at a time) 
Thankfully I park the truck and trailer beside the barn, I told Odin I was going to slip his halter over his ears, that when he was loose he needed to let me get out of the way and then he had to go to the gate and I'd let him into the alleyway.  Sure enough as soon as the halter was off and I was out of the trailer he stepped out and went right to the gate, I opened it and he walked into the alley nice and calm.  While he hung out eating some stray bits of hay off the ground I grabbed a different halter from the barn and caught him up again.
We went back to the trailer and I closed the divider and loaded him up in the back half.
(probably not the safest way to haul but I was going less than a mile, literally right next door)
I was quite happy with how calmly he just stepped right in, like not a thing had happened just minutes earlier (I know *I* was still shaking, and it wasn't until a few minutes into my ride that I stopped)
When we unloaded at the neighbor's we went right in to ride and he was just fine.  Moved out pretty nice, a bit of a looky-loo at first (it was his first time there).  Went to load to go home and he loaded just fine again.
Why he freaked out will be a mystery.  However it does underline something I've been noticing about this colt... he may have a bad moment here and there but it's usually pretty brief and he comes back SO nicely.  Like Monday night at our lesson, when I asked him to lope he kicked up with his hind end, I said in a stern voice "Hey now, none of that!" and he settled in to work.  Sure he was just feeling goofy but he stopped and came back with a good attitude and a good mind.  The trailer incident was the worst he's freaked out in ages, last time was during the first bit of doctoring that leg wound that was down to bone.  However I hope he doesn't freak out that big again, this one took 10 years off my life!