Sunday, August 18, 2019

AE Bloghop: 12 Tough Questions

Things are fairly quiet around here this week.  Alberta Equest has 12 tough bloghop questions that I thought I would take a crack at. 

Q1:  What hobbies do you have outside of riding?

People have hobbies outside of horses?  Whaaattt? I like to read (moreso in the winter) and I like to dabble with watercolour painting. I’m not very good, but it is kind of relaxing.  I also like photography, but I'm not super dedicated to getting better, but every now and again I get some good shots.  

Q2: What is your boarding situation?  Are you happy with it?

I have my horses at home, so mostly happy, yes.  With our winters, an indoor would be life changing.  However boarding out is kind of pricey around here, so we make do.  All the guys get the winter off to just eat hay and relax.
Winter - not much going on but a wicked sundog (see the rainbows on either side?) as the sun sets
On a nice winter day, the horses like to run around.  The black pony is gone, thankfully. He was a hellion.

Q3:  What's on your horsey-related wish list?
  • BoT quick wrap boots for Fred, in green of course
  • Custom name halter for poor, neglected Fred
  • New cowboy boots
  • A foal out of my friends AQHA mare (this might actually happen in 2020!)
  • Bucas zebra fly sheets
  • new name plates for the stalls 
Singles ad:  LF: tall, studly AQHA, must be successful in show career, colour not important
Q4: What is your most expensive horsey-related item?

I guess my truck…?  I don’t have much tack these days with showing halter.  All of my riding gear is older and not that valuable any more.
I can harrow now without having to ask someone to help me!
Q5: What was the hardest horsey-related decision you've had to make lately?

Again, I’ve been lucky here.  The toughest thing this spring was deciding not to try and show Fred. Having a broken ankle and very little money certainly helped me decide.

From last year
Q6:  What's something you feel you can't live without in your routine?

Hmm…I’m pretty flexible here.  I can’t think of anything essential that I couldn’t sub for something else.

Q7: What's on your horsey-related calendar for the rest of the summer year?

Not much...  One fall fair with the cowboy obstacle group, some planning sessions with my friend to look at potential Baby Daddies for her mare and a long-shot of attending QH Congress in October.

Q8:  What is one thing you would willingly change about your horse?

Poor Fred, but I’d give him a nicer head if I could.  
Definitely cute, but maybe not the best for the show ring where they judge only on appearance...
Q9:  What is something you most want to improve on with you and your horse?
Ugh, this is hard.  I’m not riding at all right now, so I don’t know what to write. I guess consistency.  I like being consistent with working the horses and my feeding/grooming routine.  I’ve been unfocused and unmotivated this spring/summer so my goal for the fall is to get some basic routines established and then go from there.

Q10:  What has been your [current] horse’s most severe injury?

Again, I’ve been so lucky here.  Although, Fred is only 4 so there is lots of time.  I guess the most serious that needed vet attention was a puncture wound on his front forearm.  I feel like I dodged major injurie(s) when he got stuck in the electric fence this summer.  He just stood there waiting for me to come and get him loose.  All he had was a bit of rope burn, but it could’ve been sooo much worse.

Q11:  What do you feel your biggest downfall is as a rider?

Only one?  Hahaha – lack of consistency?  Also, short legs, not a lot of natural feel and/or talent.  Maybe this one needs a Q11a: What do you feel your biggest strength is as a rider?  And for that I would say a willingness to learn and keep trying.  :-)

Q12:  What feeds your motivation?

Alberta Equest – this is a super hard question!!   I’ve been having a heck of a hard time lately with motivation.  Emma wrote a great post about this that gave me a bit of a jolt.  I need to remember to be grateful to have horses in my life, since I just love them so much.  12yo Laura would be in awe of the house and barn and horses (not that it is that fancy...but comparatively) that I have now. I'm actually living part of my childhood dream.   I sometimes get lost in thinking about points and money and the fact that other people that have more opportunities than me. 
13yo me riding in a parade - at least I have a better hat now and this one looks like it is on backwards. omg.
Ok - I found another pic - too funny to not share!  I think this is right after I got my pony for my 12th bday -  she is still at our friend's place in this picture.  I'm in rubber boots!  My Mickey Mouse sweatshirt is on point though.  lol

1986, thanks to my Moms mad scrapbooking skillz...
Working on motivation, consistency and gratitude will be a big part of my fall/winter downtime this year.  I can’t expect any positive showing outcomes next year if I don’t put the work in now.  

Monday, August 12, 2019

Weight gain and weight loss (of the equine variety)

Or, alternatively titled, "Oh lawd, he comin'"

Well, that is more for Copper, not for Fred.  I'm sure you guys are familiar with the "chonk chart"?  Someone needs to make a horse version!

from imgur
Now that my ankle is feeling (mostly) better and most of the horse shows and little trips are over for the summer, I need to get going on working with the horses.
A fine boi?
Copper has been living large the past few weeks and has gained a fair bit of weight, which is pretty easy for minis and ponies.  I had him in a grazing muzzle in the spring and then took it off when they devoured the grass and the pickings were slim.  I also had round bales out for a few weeks in July and I don't think he can eat hay with the muzzle on.  So, even with limited grass, he has blown back up and that isn't great for his joints or his wonky shoulder (old injury).

This is my good side...Copper, probably
Fred, on the other hand is still growing and is like a teenager with his lanky legs and endless appetite!  He has been getting grain and hay and a bit of grass, but he needs more.  I'm hoping to show him next year and for halter he needs to fill out more.  I need to start now and get more food into him.

Having my horses at home gives me a good chance to work on this. I've been pondering how to best get all the horses the food they need.  The other two QHs are easy keepers, so I don't want to overload them either.  I contemplated putting in some temporary fencing to separate them, but Fred has a tendency to charge through fencing and Copper is willing to take a little zap to escape to eat on the lawn.    I think my best option is to keep both of them in from when I get home from work and overnight.  They can then go out with the other two during the day.
Nom nom, Fred probably
Fred will be getting a small amount of grain, oats and oil in the morning and then more grain, oats and oil when I get home.  He'll then get a pile of 2nd cut alfalfa and likely a bedtime snack of grain and 1st cut hay overnight.  I haven't quite decided on the exact ratio, but he needs fibre and roughage as well as the protein/fat he gets from the grain.    Copper will be getting a whopping 1 flake of 1st cut to pick at while inside.  He doesn't seem to like to eat from a slow feed hay net, but I'm hoping to get him doing that so it lasts him longer. I have these cute trailer sized 1" hole nets that hold 1-2 flakes that I want to start using with him.

**edited to add:  Fred has been checked by the vet and had his teeth done, been dewormed, etc.  I think he is just growing right now still...

Both horses move around a fair bit in the pastures, but could benefit from some focused work.  I am feeling confident that my ankle is healed enough to longe and do groundwork, so Fred will be on a light program starting this week!  Copper would benefit from some walking over poles and stuff like that to strengthen his shoulder and develop some muscle.

Have you had a hard keeper that you put weight on?  Any tips?  What about a chonky boi that needed to slim down?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Weekly wrap-up

This week is the local AQHA show in the town close to my house.  I normally show there or volunteer, but this year I did neither!   I took the week off to help some friends that were showing and I spent the rest of the time parked on my butt in the shade watching the show.  It was relaxing to not have to worry about having a horse there, but I did sort of miss it too.

The club had their annual awards banquet and bbq on Thursday night, which is always fun.  Fred and I were the high point overall halter gelding and the high point open and reserve amateur 3yo gelding so we got a bit of loot.  The prizes weren't quite as nice this year, but that is ok. Missing from the pic below is a ball cap with the club logo on the front and "champion" on the back.  I'll probably get the most use out of that.
A portfolio and a picture frame.
I helped my friends get their halter horses prepped.  For this show format, which is 7 days! (omg) exhibitors show to 3 sets of judges over the week - 4 on Tues/Weds, 3 on Fri/Sat and 3 on Sun/Mon (it is a long weekend here on Monday).  The halter classes are the first to go on the first day of each "show".  They showed Tues am, this morning and will go again on Sunday morning.  A lot of QH shows are run this way or in a similar format.  You rarely show to just 1 judge any more.  7 days is a damn long show though - people that travel long distances often have to buy hay and other supplies as they just can't haul enough to last them.  And many people were at a show in Quebec before coming here, so they would be on their 2nd week away from a regular bed and laundry facilities.  Wild!
Halter horse up close and personal.  I was holding him to be groomed, but he just wanted to cuddle. 
Banded mane - something I need to work on this fall...
The entries for a lot of the breed shows have been down the last couple of years.  Costs to show keep going up and more and more people are staying home.  It is too bad, but maybe things will bounce back?
A halter gelding class
Now,  the most important thing about being at a horse show is the horse show food, right?  Right.  And adult's five o'clock somewhere?  Totally.
yaasssssss - poutine!!!  And water - err...coors light... 
I even took Sophie over to the show for a few hours most days.  She enjoyed watching and meeting all of the horse show dogs that were quite literally everywhere.  Although, don't get me started on the people that have their dogs off leash and then happen to be looking the other way when they poop.  Argh. So rude!
Watching from the shade.  
 I'll miss the rest of the show, which is ok - it does get a little boring after a few days of the same stuff being repeated!  I'm heading "down south" for a few days to visit my Mom for her 70th birthday.  She lives near where I grew up, which is about a 7-8 drive SW of here, still in the same province.  I'm looking forward to a nice family visit.   I've been feeling stressed and grumpy lately, so some good laughs with my family should help!

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...