Saturday, May 11, 2019

Why breed shows and halter horses?

I've sat in front of my computer several times over the past month trying to write this post.  I think I'm on version 6 or 7 at this point.  Emma's recent post had me thinking as well, so I went back to editing yet again. 

Why do I show halter?  Why would you show halter in the breed world?  Don't those horses all look weird?  Wouldn't you rather ride?

All valid questions that I ask myself daily.  And the answers are complicated and vary day to day and year to year - life throwing a wrench in the works, motivation fluctuations and resources. Always with the resources when it comes to horses.  I do still ride a bit, although it is hard to work full-time, ride one horse and fit a halter horse, on top of other commitments, you know the hubby, eating, etc.  ;-)

I bought Spencer a few years ago looking for an older QH (he is 18 now!) that could do western breed type classes (western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, showmanship and maybe hunt seat) at the schooling show level. I had a lot to learn, so didn't feel the need to jump into the breed show world at that time. I had sort of planned to learn with Spencer and then buy something a bit fancier in a couple of years.
Me - having fun at a local fair.  Spencer, not so much.  Likely totally embarrassed by his human.
I did well with him the first year we showed and then life happened.  In a nutshell:
  • my coach retired,
  • there aren't any other western coaches in my area,
  • there aren't any western shows above the schooling show level (including fairs) that aren't breed shows,  
  • I have "issues" that rear up at unfortunate times (confidence, anxiety, fitness/health)
  • my husband got really sick (and is fine now, thankfully)
  • and our finances took a big hit. 
With all of that stuff going on, I had to remind myself that my love for horses covers more than riding, showing - I love doing stalls, fixing fences, feeding, mini scritches, etc. 

One of my favourite pics - this is my friend's horse - he is so handsome!  I didn't even know the photographer took this one, probably why I like it!! lol
I had showed friends horses in the past and kind of got hooked on the sweet show schedule - most halter classes are first thing in the morning and then you are done!  Grand and reserve ribbons are kinda sweet too!
stand still, mother fucker!  me, probably, circa 2016
Once my life stabilized a bit, my friends encouraged me to get a halter horse so I wouldn't have to worry about the riding/trainer/gear issue.   I was on board with that idea and the search for Fred began.  Admittedly, I don't love how halter horses are supposed to be examples of excellent  conformation and yet most that are winning big shows are post-legged hypp n/h creatures that don't have much of a future as a riding horse.   This applies to many horse-related industries though - sadly, there is no shortage of this type of stuff in our beloved horse world.
almost to Fred's farm in Kentucky
I feel that you can still be part of a breed/industry without supporting the worst parts.  Think of all of the amateurs across the board that feed into shows, breeding and the horse industry as a whole. There is a lot of good out there too and fun, let's not forget the fun!  And, to quote Emma from her awesome recent post "But the great thing about these animals is that one size does not fit all. There's room for everyone."
Showing a friend's horse in 2015...?  This is actually a showmanship class at a fair, but I showed this guy in halter at AQHA shows one year.  He is 19 now!
Now that I have Fred, I now try and look at how I want to show and take care of my horse with a view to learning, doing the best with what I have and trying to have some fun along the way.  Would I someday like a fancier horse to move up some levels and win at some bigger shows? Yes, I can't lie, I would like that. Is it in the cards for me? Who knows.  And I'm ok with that.
This has been my motto lately...
The important thing is that I don't need those things to enjoy what I have now.  And that is 3 horses, my own little barn and lots of opportunities to learn and have fun.  It is so hard to not get caught up in the points and awards and the dream of travelling to far-away shows, but it is more important for me to enjoy myself and remember that love of horses that I had as a kid. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Ankle-gate: The plot thickens...

Alternative title: OMFG I hate sprained ankles!

Ok - so this is the last ankle post, I promise. 

I had a physio appointment last night and he was really concerned that I still had a lot of pain while walking.  He pondered the problem and tried a couple of diagnostic methods on my ankle to try and isolate the pain.  He frowned, then mumbled "uh-oh".  The conversation went like this:

Me:  Did you just say "uh-oh"?

Him:  Uh, yeah.

Me: ...

Him: Uh, well, it seems that you have a secondary sprain, above the ankle.

Me: whaaaat?

Him:  Yeah, that happens with a severe injury.  The lower inversion sprain and the pain and swelling that causes disguises the secondary sprain.

Me: So, since it is secondary, it isn't as severe and will heal up quickly. Right?

Him: no.

Me:  Uh, so how long are we talking here?

Him: *mumbles*

Me: ???

Him:  it can take months.

Me: Mother fucker! OMFG!  (then I realize there is a young teenager around the corner)
Him: so, we can tape it for a couple of days to help, but since you can't really exercise the tissue in between the tib/fib, it will just have to heal on its own.  A brace might help too...but...

Me:  *sigh*

So, for those of us that are sort of fascinated by injuries (horse, human), I had to look up a "high ankle sprain"  to read the gory details.  Luckily mine seems to be minor.  A severe high ankle sprain can result in the ligament pulling away from and fracturing the bone and requires surgery!
Started with this...
It a nutshell, a high ankle sprain causes the tibia and fibula to pull apart (gross!) a bit.  From Wikipedia: "A high ankle sprain, also known as a syndesmotic ankle sprain (SAS), is a sprain of the syndesmotic ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula in the lower leg".

and then this, for good measure!  All in one quick fall.
If the ligaments are injured and are not adequately holding the tibia and fibula tightly together, then they can start to splay apart with the high load of weight bearing, leaving the ankle unstable and painful when walking, which is what I was experiencing.

On that note, this is the last we will speak of the ankle.  I'll leave you with a picture of Copper zooming through the snow a couple of winters ago. 

zoom, zoom!  Copper, probably.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Monday - I got nuthin'

Man, Mondays are tough!  I'm still grounded by my physio, so very limited time doing anything but sitting around.  I did another round of "please let all of this winter hair shed out now omg" on each horse and then parked myself in a chair on the lawn while I hand-grazed Fred.  That was about the extent of horse-stuff!

I did catch Fred and Copper playing last week and got a few pics. I had to take the pictures from the house, because if I went outside they would immediately stop. 

These two play a lot  and it seems pretty fair. I'm always worried about the little guy getting hurt, but in reality, Fred is the one that gets picked on the most.  He has quite a few bite marks from this winter that are finally growing in new hair.

Sorry about the photo quality - I need a bigger zoom lens - put that on my shopping wish list!

Why breed shows and halter horses?

I've sat in front of my computer several times over the past month trying to write this post.  I think I'm on version 6 or 7 at this...