Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Riding!! (Finally)

First of all, merry Christmas! I hope everyone had an excellent holiday!! I got a few horsie presents. First of all, I got new western boots that I love and wore all around my parents house on Christmas. Also, I got a new pair of bell boots for Scarface I'm excited to try!

As I mentioned, I was stuck in the city for a long time, between work and school and then final exams. But I finally was able to go out and visit Scarface last week. I was so happy to see him! He is definitely a big fuzzyball, since he lives outside full time and is naked. But he is happy and possibly a bit warm with the warm winter we've been having this year.

On the 22nd, my dad and I trailered over to a neighbour's who has an indoor arena. I was expecting Scarface to be a bit of a nutcase, since he had the past few months off (since his foot was a bit sore in August and I was very busy with school and work). Plus he is normally very spooky with new places, so I was expecting the worst.

However, he impressed me a ton! He was so quiet in the indoor arena! He was a little wary of the far end which had a blue tarp, especially when one of the other people riding was turning their horse quickly back and forth in that end (I think he was practicing boxing for a cow horse class). Scarface had been there once before a year or two ago, so either he remembered, or he is mellowing out in his middle age (he turns 12 this year)!!

The arena used to be used for roping and while they took out the return alley, I'm pretty sure I'm still the only person to have ridden in it english. I think it's cute because he has dressage letters up too, just for fun (they're in the right order and everything).

There were a few girl there for a lesson and, since my dad is kind of a regular there, he ended up giving part of the lesson. The girls were all pretty green. My dad helped them with stopping and backing and then made them trot a square since they weren't using the corners. He even had them trotting loops! I bet they didn't even realize they were doing a training level dressage movement!

Scarfie was a good boy. He is pretty out of shape from his time off, so we didn't canter much. We working a bunch of transitions within the trot. He was trying pretty hard, but he was a bit lazy with his shoulders. Overall I was super happy with him!

I'm planing to go again on the 30th and hopefully this time my mom will be able to come too!

I'll be out at my parents off-and-on until January 9th and their internet is kind of slow, so no promises with posting. I'll try to schedule a few in case I am busy or can't upload pictures.

I hope everyone had a good holiday season and best wishes for 2012!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The day I got Scarface

I thought I would share some photos of the day I got Scarface. Wasn't he a cute little boy?
He looks so little here (he's 3). Sporting a spiffy, I-love-my-new-horse halter and lead.

Our first ride as official new partners!    

In other news, I would love to win a spiffy Hayward Jacket. Wouldn't you? Check it out here!
I really like this show shirt! The details are so pretty!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Casper and Me

Continuing with the old photos until I'm done my exams and have something more interesting to post able. Here are more pictures of my first horse Casper and I (after I had graduated from my pony Diamond). I loved Casper. He had the personality of a crotchety old man who deep down is a big softy. He carried me to lots of 4H and open show ribbons and a few high-points as well. I always loved his name: Shock N Roll (his sire was Shock Em). Enjoy!

Showing off my ribbon from the 4H Achievement Day
Warming up at the regional show. I look very excited to be there!

Judge's Comments - Listening intently

I am much happier to be jumping that Casper is - He hated jumping so much. What a lazy bones!

First place in showmanship at 4H! He was one of the only horses trained to hold his pivot foot in the turn.
Showmanship at an open show. Such a good boy and so much for me to learn!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Me a very long time ago...

Early in my love affair with horses. Also, I love how I'm rocking shorts and winter boots!
I went through my photo album and scanned in a bunch of photos. Here's one of me (front) and my cousin  on my mom's old brood mare Midget (She sadly passed away last year. I think she was about 31). Watch for more of these flash-backs coming up!

All Natural Hooflex Dressing

Tuesday my Absorine All Natural Hooflex arrived. I'm super excited to try it out, but unfortunately, I'm extremely busy studying for my final exams next week, so I'm stuck in the city until at least the 15th, but maybe the 19th. I'll go a post when I finally get to try it out. Special thanks to Laz for picking my name!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Very Good Day!

It's not quite noon, but today is already a very good day! Why? Because today is the day I am officially pursuing a B.Sc. in Animals Health with a major is Companion and Performance Animals! While it does really change things (I've been doing my animal health classes all semester), it does make things official and it just makes me really happy. Another step along to road to vet school so I can keep all the horses happy and healthy!

Someday this will be mine!
Admittedly on a bit of a high right now!

Friday, December 2, 2011


Most people involved with Quarter Horses and other stock breeds like Paint and Appaloosa have heard of HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis) which affects offspring of the Quarter Horse stallion Impressive. I'll working on a project about HYPP for my Equine Studies class and while researching, I came across this awesome video made by some vet students. Everything you ever wanted to know about HYPP in a 3:30 minute music video.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I know a lot of people ride horses non-competitively and are perfectly happy achieving training goals and just all-around enjoying their horse. Unfortunately (because competitions can be expensive), I'm not one of those people. I'm the kind of person who needs to constantly challenge myself or I'm bored. Competitions give me that challenge. I am so much more motivated to train when I know I have a goal set of attending a competition.

I think I went to my first show when I was 8 years old. I rode my welsh pony Diamond in a welsh pony show. My major memory of that show was staring longingly at the prize table where there was a welsh pony tote bag I wanted so badly. I asked my mom to buy it for me, but as it was a prize, that didn't happen. I hadn't won anything off that table, since Diamond was a typical pony and I didn't have a lot of riding experience yet. But somehow in our western pleasure class, everything came together and we ended up in first place. The prize? My tote bag! I guess that was the point where my fate was sealed and I was hooked.

After Diamond I got my first horse, a quarter horse named Casper (registered Shock N Roll). We went through the ranks of 4-H, where I was usually near the top, since my parents spent a lot more that more parents to make sure I had a safe, trained horse to learn on (a rant on parents buying untrained horses for their 13-year-old 4H kid is for another post entirely). I showed in 4H at the club and regional level and went to lots of open shows. I won a pile of classes with Casper, as well as high points. On the flip side, I didn't do so great in a lot of classes as well. Casper was a lazy, somewhat-cranky western show horse, which meant he was too slow for gymkana and too lazy for jumping (although that didn't stop me from trying both).

Once I had outgrown Casper, my parents and I decided I was ready to go up a level and show on the QH circuit. That's when I got Hootie. Hootie and I had our ups and downs, from circuit champions to last-place days and everything inbetween. With Hootie I learned a lot, especially that I'm my own worst enemy and over-think everything. My parents and I decided that it wouldn't be fair for me to show Hootie in 4H as there weren't many horses that would be competitive with him. So I rode a couple of my parent's ranch horses in 4H and the odd open show and had fun. Then I gave up on 4H altogether and focused on my breed shows

From Hootie, I went on to Scarface, a young three-year-old with lots of potential. With Scarface, I confirmed that I think to much, realized how much I preferred the pattern classes over riding around the ring over and over in western pleasure. He was my trail star and won me my first (and only) AQHA trophies for performance all-around and grand champion halter (there were no halter horses that day). In my last QH show with Scarface (2007), we finally won that elusive Canadian Nationals Buckle in Novice Youth Trail (and reserve in Youth Trail and Youth Hunt Seat Equitation).

I enjoyed showing and the training leading up to it. I was always focused, always had a goal, always had a reason to be better than the ride before.
Then, university, work and being an adult got in the way and I didn't compete for 3 years and I know that my rides were less focused and less productive with no upcoming competition to light a fire under my butt. Even making the 1.5-2.5 hour drive out to ride became a chore. At one or two points my parents suggested selling Scarface and I would dissolve into tears, regardless of where we were (including shopping in Banana Republic). Scarface is a forever-horse for me and, as such, I owe it to him to focus and give riding my full effort.

So this summer I swore I would show again. I was planning to go to a AQHA show in May, but the EHV scare caused it to be cancelled or postponed. After this cancellation, I reconsidered my riding goals and realized the AQHA circuit no longer fit my goals. I was more interesting in trying out disciplines like dressage and hunters. Then I moved to a new city to go back to university that's further from my parents, who kindly still keep Scarface around for free. That was a bit of a setback, but I didn't let it stop me. My nieces and I went to a little open show where Scarface realized he enjoyed being a kid's horse, but that wasn't enough. At the end of August, I went to a little dressage schooling show. It might not sound like much, but it was enough to get me hooked on competing again. I proudly display my pair of 6th-place ribbons; not bad for a rehabbing ex-western pleasure horse and rider at their first dressage show.

Now I have the goal of taking lessons over the winter and going to clinics in the spring and showing in some more schooling shows next summer. With a clear competition goal, my motivation is through the roof!

Do any of you feel the same way or am I just crazy competitive (also possible)?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Early Scientific American Article

I just wanted to share this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas Present

While I realize that it's a bit early to start talking about Christmas (tell that the radio stations that have already pledged to play 100% Christmas music), I just couldn't wait. Last Friday I went the Farm Fair with my parents. I was supposed to help out with one of the big cattle shows as part of my university judging club, but they ended up having too many volunteers, so I just got to go to Farm Fair for free instead!

My parents and I watched a bunch of the working cow horse events (that is what their stallion Ben does, but he had the summer off after a bad colic on the way home from Idaho this spring). It was fun (always exciting). Also, a friend of ours was leading the Non-Pro futurity after the 1st event (3 events over 2 days: cutting (herd work), reining (dry work) and fence work), so that was really exciting. I watched her herd work and she had a smokin' good go!

After that we shopped a bit at the trade fair and I got my Christmas present: new western boots! To be honest, it was about time I got a new pair. I got my old pair over 10 years ago and they are worn out. They are all scratched up and have a hole worn in the sole of one. My new boots are pretty (brown bottoms with teal uppers) and comfy as well. Too bad I have to wait until the end of December to wear them! It's snowing like crazy here, so I guess my winter boots will have to do!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RIP Hickstead

Today the horse world lost one of it's great ones. Hickstead passed away today after completing the course in Verona. He will be sorely missed I am sure.
Hickstead and Eric Lamaze on their winning run of the 2011 CN International at Spruce Meadows

Here is a video of Eric Lamaze and Hickstead winning the CN International this year at Spruce Meadows.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Equine Science Studying

I've been completely swapped with school lately. It feels like I'm studying all the time (which I guess I am). On the bright side, one of my last two midterms next week is equine science, so at least the content is super interesting! So I thought I would share some of the interesting points with all of you!

Exercise Physiology:
-Sweat contains latherin, a protein that helps spread sweat over hair.
-At rest, a horse respires 50-60 L of air per minute. Maximally, a horse can respire 1800 L per minute.

Pasture Management:
-Control weeds by not overgrazing pastures.
-Alsike clover can cause liver damage and photosensitization. Could that be why Scarface and Teto had sunburns in the summer? I know there's clover in their pasture, but I'm not sure what kind. I'll definately look into it before next summer. Alsike clover is fairly easy to identify because the leaves don't have white watermarks like those found on red or white clover.
Could we have found a cure for your sore nose Scarfie? Now I feel really bad!

-According to Martin Beeman, a conformation exam should be divided into 5 categories (check out a full article from here):
     -Head, neck, body and balance
     -Way of going

-5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare:
     1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst
     2. Freedom from Discomfort
     3. Freedom from Pain, Injury and Disease
     4. Freedom to Exhibit Normal Behavior
     5. Freedom from Fear and Distress

-5 grades of lameness used by vets:
      Grade I = Inconsistent lameness
     Grade II = Consistent under certain circumstances, ie: circling in one direction, while going downhill etc.
     Grade III = Consistent, constant, visible when horse is trotting on a circle AND when he is trotting in a straight line
     Grade IV = Lameness is obvious at a walk
     Grade V = Extreme lameness - hopping, dragging a limb, unable or unwilling to move

-The upper arcades of teeth are slightly wider than the lower arcades. The chewing surfaces of teeth are not level, but have an occlusal angle of 12-15 degrees
-Watch out for performance signs of dental problems, such as resiting turns, head tossing/shaking, mouthing or chewing the bit, head tilt while ridden or lunges, resisted bridling etc.

Infectious Diseases:
-West Nile Virus has similar symptoms to a number of other diseases such as Rabies, Botulism, Western/Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (WEE/EEE), Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) and Equine Protozoal Myelitis (EPM), making diagnosis more subtle and difficult.
-Horses as 'dead-end' hosts for West Nile Virus and WEE/EEE, meaning they can't infect other horses

Hopefully you've learned something and wish me luck on my exam!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Riding Withdrawal

I have to admit I am in a slump. Maybe a funk even. And I know exactly why. It's riding withdrawal. Going back to university to bump up my grades so that I can go to vet school so that I'll have a good paying (and enjoyable/interesting) job so I can afford to live on an acreage and ride horses seemed like a really great idea. And I still think it is. But this part sucks! School keeps me busy (I'm on campus 5 days a week) and in order to pay for it, I have to work Saturday and Sunday (not that it will keep me out of debt, but it will put me less in debt). Which means I m busy every single day! Now add in midterms, projects and the fact that my horse is 2.5 hours away. I don't get much (any) chance to see Scarface and I miss him so bad! I can't justify paying to board him somewhere when I'm already heading into debt and I can't make it out to visit him after school or work because they days are getting too short and I am usually too busy studying anyway. Well, I can't wait for summer already!

Sorry for the rant, I guess its a symptom of withdrawal!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stacy Westfall - 2011 freestyle reining champion at the American Quarter Horse Congress

I just wanted to share this awesome video with everyone. Hopefully everyone is familiar with reining, it is an event at WEG and people are campaigning to get it in the Olympics as well. Watch her amazing run, which was done bridle-less! Stacy is famous for her bridle-less riding and  I was lucky enough to be able to watch a couple of her clinics at the 2010 Mane Event in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. One of her hour-long clinic focused on stopping. Her biggest take-home point? Most horses stop based on some combination of voice, seat and reins. If you take away any of these, the horse won't stop, or at least not as well. Stacy trains her horses to stop 100% on each of these cues individually. Then if she takes 1 away (like the reins), she still has 200% to guarantee her a stop. I think this would be good for people who trail ride as well, just for the safety aspect, in case you lose your reins or are hanging off the side of the saddle. Anyway, enjoy the video (it's not mine, I borrowed it from YouTube from chavaux84)!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spruce Meadows Pictures

Eric Lamaze and Hickstead!!
I went to Spruce Meadows to watch the CN International competition at the Masters last month. I didn't take many pictures, but there is one of Eric Lamaze. Olympic gold medalist, Rolex Leading Rider and, most importantly, Canadian! Eric and his amazing horse Hickstead even have fangirls! There were 2 girls sitting near us wearing short-shorts with Eric Lamaze and Hickstead written all over their arms and legs. It must have been good luck, but they did amazing and came first and won a boat-load of money!

I also watched the RCMP musical ride for the first time in my life. Very cool. They have excellent timing and their horses are all super comfortable with each other.
The big wheel!

The spinny wheel maneuver (not it's real name)

And I met a small celebrity. Little Chief, who plays Sugarfoot on the TV show Heartland! Do people in other places watch Heartland or is it just on in Canada? Either way, he was very cute. Amber Marshall, the star of the show did appear and sign some autographs, but I had much more important show jumping to watch!
Me and a tiny celebrity!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blog Award!

I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving (if you're in Canada, otherwise too bad you missed the turkey)!

I was lucky enough to receive the One Lovely Blog Award from 2 awesome bloggers! Cjay and Ruffles! Thanks so much!

I am supposed to list 7 things about me:

1. I'm currently working on my second university degree, this time in Animal Health with a major in Companion and Performance Animals.

2. I've planning to go to vet school once I'm done and because a equine vet!

3. I was in 4H for quite a few years and my favourite part (besides riding) was public speaking! I made it to regionals one year. My least favourite part was putting my book together at the end of the year.

4. I recently joining my university's judging team, but all I know how to judge is horses! Lots to learn!

5. I have a microbiology midterm tomorrow and I feel like my head is going to explode!

6. My favourite colour of horse is grey (sorry Scarface, sorrel is pretty awesome too!)

7. I often take equine science books out of my university library for "fun reading." Currently on my desk is "An Illustrated Guide to Equine Diseases."

Next I'm supposed to tag my 15 favourite bloggers. A lot of the people I follow have already gotten this award, so here are 4 more people I think deserve it!

Carol at Dressage Training Journal
Jeni at Supersize My Cob
Paigley at Sincerely Paige

Friday, October 7, 2011

Win a Gorgeous Hand-Painted Saddle Pad

The lovely Kate from The Adventures of Lucy is generously giving away one of her beautiful hand-painted saddle pads. I really love these (as in if I don't win, I might just buy one anyway because they are so pretty!) and the ones you can choose from are all great. My favourite is this fishie one.

Click here to head over and enter your name in to win one of these beauties!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Results and Apologies

Sorry for just disappearing for over a month! I got busy getting ready to go back to school, then going back to school. And now that I'm into midterm season (my first one is tomorrow), blogging seems like a great way to avoid the studying I really should be doing (or at least to take a quick break from that studying).

Here are the result of Scarface and my first dressage show. A pair of 6th place ribbons! I think there were nine and ten horses in each of my classes, which means we did pretty good considering this was our first show in a few years, our first ever dressage show and, to be honest, Scarface has a long way to go with dressage. He is very willing and we can ride relatively precisely, but he was train for years to go slow and would get in trouble if he went more forward. Definitely lots to work on. Our biggest comment (on pretty much every maneuver) was: MORE FORWARD!!! Which is kind of funny because Scarface thought he was working his butt off trotting as fast as he was. He also tends to get a bit downhill in his movement because of his former training. By far our biggest area for improvement is our walk maneuvers. Scarface was trained to walk extremely slow, like all western pleasure horses. So he almost stops between each step sometimes. I know he can walk normally or even fast, since he loves to walk fast in the halter, but it's just a matter of teaching him that it's ok was walk faster under saddle if I ask him.

The other big place we lost point was use of voice (I know, a big no-no in dressage). But to be honest, I think we probably would have had some breaks of gate if I hadn't clucked and kissed. Scarface is lazy AND very voice-trained.

So overall, we got a 52.5% on Training Test 2 and 52.0% on Training Test 3. Not amazing (or even good) scores, but for us they were great for our first time out in a discipline brand new to both of us. And I guess we didn't look too foolish, since we placed in the middle of the pack.

I'd love to go to a few dressage shows next year. Goals?
1. To improve our overall score to above 55%
2. To improve our free walk to consistently receive 5

While we certainly had our issues with our tests, we did get some nice comments from the judge.
1. Gorgeous horse (Thank you!!!)
2. He has better movement than he is showing (True and encouraging that if we can get a bit more "forward thinking" we should be able to improve our scores)

Overall though, I had a great time! Sorry, no photos (my dad forgot the memory card in the computer at home). There is a video, but I haven't figured out yet how to make it small enough to be able to upload it, but I will probably work on it some.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to ride much (at all) lately since I've gone back to school. I live/work/go to school 2 hours from where Scarface lives at my parents'. So between going to school 5 days a week and working every weekend, I haven't had any time to make the trip (the last day off I had was September 11, when I went to Spruce Meadows with the bf and my parents (Great job Eric Lamaze! Can't wait to watch you win another gold metal at the Olympics in 2012. And don't worry Ian Miller, you'll always be my favourite!). But Monday is a holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving) which means both school and work are closed and is my day off. I'll be going to my parents' for some delicious turkey and if the weather is decent, I should be able to ride my horse. Hooray!!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meet the Gang (Part III)

I rode Saturday and yesterday. Scarface was pretty good. He was good and brave over the cross-rails. In fact, he actually tried to pull and good kind of back habit, if that makes sense. We had been going over the little jump and he was being really good about it. Then after I decided we were done jumping, I decided to canter a bit more on the flat, just to remind him that we don't always do jumping (especially considering I have my first dressage school show EVER on Saturday). As we came around and up toward the jump we had be going over and I was guiding him to go around the jump, he actually tried to basically say, "nope, I'm going over the jump again." Which is bad because he was anticipating what to do and wasn't really listening. But in another way, it was good for him. Scarface was trained as a western pleasure horse and since he was taught to go slower than horses naturally do, it's always a lot of work to make him go more forward (he'll listen to spurs, but he hasn't figured out what a crop means yet. He thinks it means do a little buck or maybe do a flying lead change). So for him to actually want to go over the jump, even when it wasn't what I was telling him, I still feel like it was a step in the right direction.

Anyway, here is part III of Meet the Gang.
CD Ben - My parents' cow horse stallion. He has won quite a few futurities and derby, but is currently recovering from a bout of colic a few months ago (you will meet his first 2 babies next time)!

Sorry I couldn't get a good body shot, he was being very friendly and curious of the camera. He is really great and most of the time you don't even know he's a stud!
Lily (the bay) and Tommy Lee (the roan). Lily is my 2-year-old prospect and she is going out to get started next month. She is going to be fairly tall, so I'm excited for her to be my next jumping/dressage horse. She already jumped the 5 foot fence once because she didn't like being by herself! Also, Tommy Lee is Teto's one and only son!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meet the Gang (Part II)

Hootie (CS Surefire Success)
Pepper (I can't recall his registered name)
Can you believe he's 17 already?
Part II of showing off all the horses on my parents' farm. Today I'll introduce you to Hootie and Pepper. They are in their own separate pen because they have limited access to grass since they've both had laminitis. Hootie got a touch of it once, but is better now. Plus he gets way too fat if he's on grass full time. Pepper has chronic laminitis (he has good days and bad days) so we don't use him for riding anymore since he is pretty sore, even if we give him bute. So he is our lawn ornament. Here are the boys enjoying there limited pasture time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spruce View Horse Show

WARNING: This post turned out to be really, REALLY long. Here's the show summary:
 Showmanship - 2nd
 English Pleasure - 2nd
English Equitation - 2nd
Western Pleasure - 1st
Western Equitation - 1st
Command Class - 4th
Water Race - 4th
Egg and Spoon Race - 1st

Feel free to stop reading now!


Saturday my family and I went to the Spruce View Horse Show. Scarface hasn't been to a show in over 3 years, so it was a bit of a warm-up show for the dressage schooling shows I'm planning on going too before school gets busy in the fall. The caliber of horses wasn't too high at this little open show, mostly young horses or ranch horses or gymkana horses or both/all three, so our placing are pretty high, even when our performances were less than stellar.
My nieces who are 6, 7 and 8 were out from Manitoba for a few weeks, so they rode all week to prepare to ride in the show. My oldest niece Cassie rode my old, mostly-retired horse Hootie. He was an absolute angel for her (except for in showmanship - he's always a brat in-hand). She ended up winning the high-point award for the 8 and under age group, which is pretty impressive for her first show! Having a well training horse really helped, but her equitation pattern was bang on and was actually better than mine (more on that later). My youngest niece, Kylee, also rode Hootie in the lead-line classes.

I let my middle niece, Clara, ride Scarface in some of the PeeWee walk-trot classes. He was so good for her! I never thought of Scarface as a kid's horse because he can be pretty spooky and silly. But luckily Clara's classes (except showmanship, which was a bit messy) were in the afternoon, after Scarface was less nervous. Scarface loves being a walk-trot horse! For one thing, my niece weighs about a 1/3 of what I do, plus she never really asks him to do anything but walk and jog on the rail. He ignored her floppy hands and legs and just jogged and walked along the rail. I'm not sure how things would go if she would have had to ride a pattern, since he is so leg-trained and her legs are so much shorter than mine. Anyway, she had a blast and in her 5 classes managed to win one ribbon of every colour, which she thought was awesome!

On to Scarface and I. The night before the show, Scarface was acting really nervous and upset. I guess he knew something was up when he had to have a bath and sleep in the barn instead of out in the field with his buddy Teto. When we arrived at the show ground Saturday morning, Scarface was a bit nervous, but really not too bad. We got all ready for showmanship (in-hand) and heading to the arena. That's when the trouble started. Scarface was terrified of the indoor arena because it was dark and kind of loud and brand new. He danced all around in showmanship whenever I asked him to stand. Amazingly, we ended up getting 2nd out of 6 horses, mostly because all the other horses were nervous too and all the parts of our pattern that didn't involve standing still were pretty good (including a trot circle where I was on the outside and had to almost sprint to keep him from breaking). Even when he stepped out during inspection, I kept smiling. I guess it's still drilled into me from my days of bigger shows.

In our english classes, there was one girl there on a big Hanoverian jumping horse, riding in the show as a warm-up for her jumping show on Sunday (I guess my dad talked to her). Her horse was happy and calm, while Scarface was worried, so we were right behind her in both the english pleasure and equitation. Our pleasure was not so great because my niece showed Scarface in showmanship immediately before my englsih pleasure class. I assumed there would be a break between the in-hand classes and the riding classes, but there wasn't. So we had to hold up the gate to do a quick tack change at the gate and then go right into the class with no warm-up what-so-ever. The combination of no warm-up and an already super nervous horse was not good and Scarface got super humpy on all our transitions into the canter. The judge missed most of the humpiness in the pleasure, but it was painfully obvious in our equitation pattern (only when I picked up the left lead, our right was actually pretty decent). But I made a point to smile through the left circle, even though my horse was all humpy and things weren't going great.

We ended up scratching from the trail class, mostly because Scarface was so nervous in the morning. Plus the day before my niece tried to do a rope gate with Scarface and things got all out of position and she didn't know to just let go of the gate and Scarface got really worried and upset. I wasn't there, so I'm not exactly sure what happened, but Scarface was still a bit worried about the gate when I rode him through it afterwards and would get worried about it if I didn't keep good contact with his mouth (usually I let him just stand around a lot when doing trail maneuvers so he doesn't start rushing through them). So this fear, combined with a super narrow metal gate with huge metal rails sticking out the bottom (a super easy place to get in trouble and have a wreck) and the fact that it was less of a traditional trail pattern and more of a collection of scary things (like a slicker and a mailbox and the aforementioned gate) made me decide just to scratch the class. It probably lost me the high point and it probably would have been ok, but I decided better safe than sorry.

Luckily, there was a break after the english classes (so the judge could eat lunch) and they left the arena open for riding. I was really on the ball and was there right after they cleared away the jumps (Scarface wasn't ready to jump in the show, but more on that another time), so I even got to ride in the arena by myself for a while. I worked Scarface a bit and did a few walk-canter transitions, but mostly I just walk him along the rail and left him start to feel more confident and comfortable in the arena. It helped a lot! He was better in my western classes (it still wasn't pretty). In the western pleasure, he was a bit humpy one way, but the judge's back was to us, so we managed to get first (once again, it was mostly against young and/or green horses)
. In our western equitation, we had to do a circle to the left and Scarface decided rather than just lope along in the circle, he was going to do this weird lope on the spot thing he does sometimes when he wants to be lazy. Our circle was a bit small for me to push him forward and I was more focused on making our circle round. But when I watched the video my dad took, it sure looked funny! My dad burst out laughing and actually rewound the video so we could watch it again. I might try to get it off my parents' video camera to post up, but it's pretty strange-looking. But all our lines were pretty straight and our circle was pretty round and we were sharp on the cones, so we managed to win the class. One 3 year=.-old had a huge blow-up at the pylons and refused to go near the second or third one (the first one wasn't too scary). I think it was it's first class (why you would do a pattern on a young horse but not rail work is kind of confusing, but whatever) so it also might have been scared of the far end of the ring.

After that we moved onto the game classes, which I went it just for fun and to let Scarface spend more time in the new arena. We had a command class, which I'm usually pretty good at, but by this time Scarface was pretty tired from me showing him, as well as his extra classes with my niece, so when we were asked to transition from the lope to the extending lope and I put my legs on him, he got pissed off and pinned his ears and broke to a trot. I pushed him back into a canter before stopping and heading to the middle. We ended up 4th out of about 7. Next was the water race (everyone gets a cup of water and at the end of the class, whoever has the most water left wins). I thought we would do well since Scarface is so smooth, but apparently I have shaky hands or something, because we only ended up 4th out of 6. Our last class was the egg and spoon race. It started off not very good. Everyone got their egg and spoon and we were all stopped and about to start when I adjusted my hand and my egg fell. Luckily, since we hadn't started moving yet, they let me pick up my egg and keep (start) going. And in the end, I won the class! I was pretty close to losing it a couple times, especially in our downwards transitions, since Scarface was tired and was more than happy to shut down from a lope to a stop in one stride. All-in-all a great end to a great day!

Sorry for the hugely long post, but it was a long day (with way too many tack changes)!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Busy Schedule

I'm pretty happy because today I was looking at the calendar and I noticed that 3 of the next 5 weekends will involve horse shows!

August 13, 2011 - Spruce View Open Horse Show

This one I'll be going to with my parents and my 3 nieces. My dad won't be showing, but hopefully my mom will be ready to show this weekend! It'll be the first time we're in the same classes. Also, my 3 nieces will be showing as well. I think we will have one in the PeeWee (8 and under), one in the walk-trot and one in the leadline, but there's a chance the oldest one will show walk-trot as well. My one niece is even planning to show Scarface in PeeWee showmanship and walk-trot. This show is mostly for my mom and nieces, but it will be nice for Scarface to have a chance to get back in to "show mode." He will be one tired pony by the end!

August 27, 2011 - Burnt Lake Stables Dressage Schooling Show

My first ever dressage show. I'll be riding 2 training level tests. Hopefully everything goes well!

September 11, 2011 - Double W Dressage Schooling Show

Planning to attend a second dressage schooling show in September!

Unfortunately, that will be all the shows I can go to this year, since after the 11th, I will be going to school full time (5 days a week) and working part time (the other 2 days a week). With homework, midterms and all the rest, I won't be able to make it out to see Scarface very often once school starts. I guess the fact that I'm taking a course call "Introduction to Equine Studies" next term will help make up for it though!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Meet the Gang (part 1)

Scarface isn't a lone horse. He has lots of company at my parent's farm.

We'll start with Scarface and his pen-mate, Teto (FOURZ EYED B PEPPY). Teto is my mom's gelding and is definitely the bossier of the two!

The boys love chilling by the water trough!
Scarface is interested!
Scarface looking handsome
Poor Teto, his nose got sunburnt pretty bad. Now he has to stay inside during the day and wear sunscreen when he goes out at night!

Scarface making faces.

Scarface got a bad sunburn too, so he has to stay inside during the day as well.
If you look closely, you can see how Scarface got his name.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Long Weekend Fun!

This past weekend was a long one thanks to Heritage Day today. I spent the weekend at my parents' house and rode all three days, which was awesome. It was nice to go out and visit Scarface and my parents both rode with me as well, which is nicer than riding alone.

I'm planning to take Scarface to a dressage schooling show in the early September. Neither of us have ever done dressage before, but we've done a lot of equitation and horsemanship patterns and low level dressage is basically just a really long equitation pattern. The hardest part so far has been trying to learn the patterns! I think I've got Training test 1 straight in my head. Now I have to learn the rest of them!

I think the biggest things we need to work on are our free walk (which usually involves Scarface gawking all over, or plodding along like he's been galloping all day) and our stretched forward and down trot circle.

My mom wanted some pictures taken of us riding, so here are a couple shots my dad took of us working on our pattern (while dodging the trail obstacles). I got heat stroke yesterday because I didn't wear sunscreen or a hat, so I was all decked out today!

In my next post, I'll introduce you all to my two-year-old filly, Lily! I hope everyone had a great weekend!