Sunday, June 30, 2019

1 Cowboy obstacle race down, 3 to go

We got through our day yesterday without too many hiccups! The weather worked in our favour too - it was hot and sunny right up until the last rider at 4:30, then the heavens open up and it poured for about 30 mins.
A fairly basic course - the bridge is fun and there was even a little jump!  Most people just walked over it.
We had about 50 runs over 5 divisions, so not a bad day. This club is a schooling level show and since it is the first one, our judge set an easier course.  For each division over novice, she added difficulty by adding decorations such as balloons or feathers to the obstacles and added water to the water box (in the line on the right, past the jump).  It made it easier on our volunteers, since they didn't have to move and add obstacles throughout the day.
Half of outdoor ring looking at the indoor.  Can I move in?
We were at the farm of one of our board members.  It is a big deal to have 20 or so trailers and 30-40 people traipsing around your (pristine) property.  This place is a horse-lovers dream - 10 stall barn, big pastures, individual pens, a small event field (they are ropers, so don't use it), a huuuuggge outdoor sand ring (at least 250 x 600, maybe bigger) and an indoor arena - I was contemplating moving in!
There are some old jumps out in the grass field 
The riders seemed to have fun and most of them did quite well with their horses and the obstacles.  These shows are interesting as a horse that does all kinds of stuff at home, will often look twice at balloons, feathers and other interesting things.  Oddly enough, the big flapping start/finish flags didn't bother a single horse!  The course is timed and riders get extra points for their time - faster time = more points, slower time = fewer points - and the obstacles are scored on a scale of 1-10.    The judge sets a pattern for the course and at our shows, the obstacles are numbered to help people.

We had a fun selection of breeds too - there was a fjord (want!), 2 Canadian horses (so handsome!), a morgan, many paints and QHs, a TB, an arab and a super cute pony.
The fjord looked at the feathers, but walked right over.

I got a short video of the Canadian - he is a stud - and quite handsome! Riders had to pull the ball in a haynet out of the barrel and drag it around the bridge.  If you knocked over the barrel you lost points and if you had a hard time getting the rope organized, it would slow down your run.  And we even nailed the trendy friend's kids were asking us to play Old Town Road on repeat.  Our more mature riders weren't so sure of that song.  lol

I hit another storm on my drive home and I had to stop and get some pictures because the sky was pretty dark and dramatic.  And, it is beautiful here this time of year with all of the green and the big sky.   Although this climate change business has been bringing this region more tornado warnings and actual tornadoes. Scary stuff. A bad tornado hit very close to home (about 3 miles) away last September, so everyone is a little jumpy when the weather folks start broadcasting tornado warnings...
Dark and dramatic, with a dash of tornado warnings...

It is nice and cool and rainy this morning, so I thought I would knock out a blog post before I forget! I'm also counting cash and finalizing paperwork before heading out to the barn to do some work there.
Cash and more cash.  Crazy colours and all.  Sadly not mine...;-)
Would you guys try and obstacle race if there was one in your area?  Our club lets riders use whatever tack they wish, so no need for a western saddle or a cowboy hat!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Volunteer time - cowboy obstacle show

I think I've mentioned it before, but I've done a fair bit of volunteering for horse show-related stuff over the past 10 years.  It started out being fun, but slowly become a complete drain on my time and energy.  I resigned from all my positions but one last year. I'm on the board of directors for a small club that does cowboy obstacle races.  I stayed on to help as a favour to a friend, but this will be my last year of helping out to this level.
Part of a course from last year. That is the barn owner's dog drinking out of the water box!
I'm the treasurer and I do all of the finances, paperwork and prizes - forms, entries, order-of-go for the classes, scoring, sponsor letters, etc.  It is fun to a point, but it takes so much time and we have 4 shows this year.   Our first show is coming up this weekend, so I've been spending a fair bit of time in the evenings doing paperwork.
Charlie is my manager - she isn't very helpful...but she is super cute!
Shopping for prizes and exhibitor gifts is the fun part for sure.  This year my friend picked up a few things she found.  Some years we have bought a bunch of different stuff at Congress.  This year I  found a great local vendor of horse treats and placed a big order before the show.  I have to stop by the local tack shop for a few things on Friday and and make a run to the bank.  This year, aside from a few fun prizes, we are giving out cash for 1st-5th place in all divisions. We find that everyone likes cash - it doesn't collect dust like a trophy.  :-)
These are the gift bags the treat people made for us!  The cookies are edible by humans as well - they are soft molasses cookies that aren't too sweet.

We have a long weekend coming up, so this will keep me busy until Saturday, then I'll have Sunday AND Monday to relax and get some stuff done around the house.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Well, that didn't go as planned...

Fred and I did make it to the show yesterday.
Fred and Bailey ready to go!

We managed to do our halter class, getting a 2nd out of 4. Halter does a grand and reserve champ as well, where the first and second place horses from all halter classes go in together. We did not do well there but that’s ok, I had a bigger problem.
Fred was having trouble standing still. We ended up a bit out of
Working on setting up his feet.
He was slightly distracted by the goings-on outside the ring, but it was ok.  He put his ears up and looked cute.

Not only was my ankle sore (really sick of talking about that!) but this last week I developed a cyst in my right knee joint (same side as the ankle) and it made it very painful to walk ( it is called a baker's cyst and there isn't much you can do about it - since it is internal to the joint - until it bursts and goes away!). I had to scratch my showmanship and in hand trail as I couldn’t jog my horse in the deep sand, let alone walk him much. 
Slightly discouraged, but still trying to smile.

Fred didn’t seem to mind. He was tucked into a nice stall with 2nd cut hay, lots of friends nearby and the best horse treats. :-)
The best treats! Locally made and apparently very tasty!
I, on the other hand, was more than a bit bummed out about the whole day.  I did have fun visiting with friends and enjoying the nice weather.  Fred was a champ and loaded no problem.  My friend's difficult to load horse is now walking right on the trailer.  I'm pretty pleased with that.  Somehow we seem to have got it through his thick skull that the trailer isn't so bad.  I hope that trend continues, so my friend can get out and show more. 

This year has been frustrating to say the least. I don't want to be negative, but I do want to keep this blog somewhat realistic with my struggles.  It seems my health is causing more problems than the horse, which I think is a first.  lol  I knew going in to this season that Fred wouldn't be very competitive as I haven't had the ability to work him and prep him as I normally would.  The outcome of this show is that I need to focus on me and getting myself feeling better physically and mentally.  Not any easy task, but definitely important.  I think that will be my 2019 Q3 and Q4 goals!

And I also realllly need to go through my show kit and sort out where all my stuff is. A few things were missing from my toolbox that would have come in handy.  We have a long weekend coming up this weekend (yeah Canada Day!) so my plan is to go through all of my stuff and get organized.
Roxie my feline supervisor is on the job!
So, all in all, the show was a bust. However, it did highlight some things to work on.  And I had some fun...sort between bouts of pouting and grumbling.  lol

Anyone have any tips on mental preparedness and such for shows and goals and life?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Weekend wrap-up

This weekend extended into Monday, so I'm technically not late on writing about the weekend. And, hey, it's my blog, so I guess I can post this whenever I want.  lol

My weekend was one of those that I don't want to repeat too often.  I spent almost 4 hours helping a friend load her butthead of a horse (and another 2.5 hours today).  He isn't dangerous or afraid, just incredibly stubborn and difficult.  He doesn't give to pressure, but fights it.  Actually, in hindsight, that does make him dangerous...yikes.  Anyhoo, we have a system going with him so hopefully moving forward we can get him in in a reasonable time frame. I feel bad for my friend as she was hoping to show this summer, but (rightly so, imho) is nervous about getting him somewhere and then not being able to get him home.

Then, on Sunday, my yellow dog decided to give us a scare.  Labs are the worst for eating stuff they shouldn't - I'm sure most people know a story about a lab that ate something bad - and was either fine, or cost their owners thousands of dollars...Sophie stole my purse off the kitchen counter, rooted through it and ate and entire big package of tic tac gum.  Ugh.  Gum is bad for dogs due to the xylitol.  We found her 30 mins to an hour after she ate it and had started throwing up.  She was lethargic and had a really high heart rate.

Xylitol poisoning can cause blood glucose levels to spike and/or liver damage.  Not good.  We decided to take her to the vet to get checked out. We got lucky and found a new vet close by that was open on Sundays and didn't charge super high emergency fees.

They tested her blood right away and things were good.  They recommended keeping her overnight with IV fluids and monitoring.  I have to say this new clinic is great - the care and attention to details was simply amazing.  We got a call first thing this morning with an update. Her levels were fine this am as well and after one more test at noon, she would be ok to come home.
Heading home from the vet. Would totally eat more gum if she found it.
So, that was an expensive and stressful 24 hours. Luckily she seems to be fine and my emergency vet fund got a workout.

And since I stayed home today to deal with vet stuff, I was able to help my friend again with trailer loading.   After that fiasco sort of success, she rode Spencer for me and ponied Fred. And I took a picture.  Wow - am totally nailing this blogging stuff.  
Around and around.  Lots of trotting!  And it was a beautiful day!
Fred and Spencer were both great. Spencer was puffing a bit since he hasn't been worked in about 9 months.  Fred is a bit of a big slug - admittedly, it is a big red bus to get moving.  lol  

Oh, and the best weird news of the long weekend?  My doctor called with my x-ray results.  I did indeed fracture my fibula (outside leg bone) down near the ankle! F*** me!  It is showing as mostly healed now, but with a lot of swelling.  I have to see a sports medicine Dr next to see if there is anything else to be done with it, or if it will just take time.    I'm totally kicking myself for not getting an x-ray during the first week - damn you hindsight - but I trusted the ER doc that I saw and thought it was just a sprain.  Live and learn, folks. And trust your instincts if something doesn't feel right!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday, but on a Thursday...?

Hmm - that post title isn't quite  I meant to post this yesterday, but work was busy and the day got away from me.

I got my riding ring harrowed on Sunday, we ponied Fred and I tried to ride, but my stupid ankle hurt and I couldn't get my foot in the stirrup.  That is about all that is going on and here is the only picture I took on the weekend (note to self: get more pictures if you are going to blog!)

29C is approx. 84F in case you were wondering...

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Things are moving along!

Things are finally picking up around here!  Even though the weather people are dubbing this month as "Jun-uary" (it was 4C/39F this am) I'm getting stuff done and feeling a bit more excited about horses and riding in general.
This week is "get r done" week:
  • Monday - sheath cleaning by a professional (I can do it, but sometimes like a professional to get in there and do a 100% top notch job!)
  • Tuesday - mobile sharpening lady is coming to sharpen all the clipper blades. How convenient is that? 
  • Wednesday - vet day!  Teeth and shots and then the boys will be ready to go.
  • Thursday or Friday - harrow the riding ring!
I think I might even try and ride this weekend!! Holy cow!  My ankle is better and with a brace it doesn't hurt much. I finally feel like swinging a leg over - Spencer, not Fred, lol I don't have a death wish!

And we have been getting a lot done around the house/property.  I love having my horses at home.  I had horses at home as a kid, boarded for years and now we have been at our little farm (15 acres) for 7 years now!  We fixed the front pasture fence and even mowed under the fence line.

So the boys have been out on the front pasture for a couple of weeks now - yeah for grass! - so they are very happy.  I usually don't have to electrify that section of fence since they are too busy eating. However, I didn't take into account a certain 4yo giraffe who wants the grass on the other side!  Needless to say, we'll be running some juice to that fence this weekend!

And, I got all excited about spring/summer jobs around the farm and wrote up a list of stuff I want to do.  I love to-do lists and crossing stuff off!

Getting my ring harrowed is the next thing I NEED to get done before it goes wild on me.   This is where an ATV or gator would be super helpful, as I can't get my truck back there until it is dried up a bit.  Putting the ring way in the back seemed like a good idea at the time, but it is a bit hard to get to with a truck when we have a wet spring.
First harrow with my truck last year. 
I'm also weirdly excited to do an inventory of all my tack and "products" and get everything cleaned up and organized.  I feel like I have a ton of grooming and tack cleaning products that I never finish. I have half full bottles of all kinds of stuff laying around.  One of my goals this year is to use up as much as possible before I buy anything new, unless it is essential - like fly spray or something.

Realistically, by the time I get some/all/a few (LOL) of these little jobs done, it will be fall or winter or 2020.   I don't mind though, since maintenance and upkeep is important to keep the horses safe and the property looking presentable.

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason. On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just...