Friday, July 31, 2009

County Fair: Thursday; Western Day


Western day was GREAT! I didn't think we'd do as well as we did. I had a bit of time in the beginning of the day, so I did a kinda 'spider web" pattern with Daisy's mane. (More pictures on my mom's blog, http://cdgagudl.blogspot.) I love how it turned out!

We went in the classes feelin' pretty good...Showmanship kinda messed me up because we entered the ring one at a time, which was weird, so I didn't do well...I think I got 4th, I don't really remember.

I don't remember what we actually placed in classes, but we must have done well. Daisy got her leads right the ENTIRE day! She was awesome.

One of the best parts of the day was when we lined up to speak with the judge after one of the first classes. The judge went to the first person and informed her she had had a wrong lead. She got to me and simply said "You were fine", then moved on to the other 3 people. Each person she said either "You had a wrong lead" or "You didn't canter well". But with me I was just fine. :) I got first in that class! It was a great feeling, but I could so sympathize with the other people; I was in that situation last year!

Trail class was GREAT, we got 1st place as expected! We side passed over a pole (OH YEAH!) which is something I had worked on with Daisy first with groundwork and then on her back last winter. I think I was the only one who could side pass. Then she barely hesitated going over the bridge, backed in a crooked back-up station, went to a mailbox, trotted over poles, etc. She was great; that's the class we really shine in :).

At the end of the day I did a Versatility class! In the class, you started out riding English and did a flat work English class. Then all the riders in the ring (7 maybe?...8?) went to the edge of the arena to meet their "pit crews" and changed into western clothes and western tack and did a western flat class and a timed barrel pattern. I luckily got some AWESOME fringed half chaps just the day before (first picture) so I only switched regular half chaps on my breeches to fringed and pulled off my English show coat to show my western shirt. I had one of my 4H member's Dad on my pit crew, and I grabbed Lydia last minute and she very willingly helped me out, too (THANK YOU, Lydia! :D). It was SO fun! Once everyone started changing, people always cheered really loud when another rider finished and mounted again...the first rider to get re-mounted finished in about 60 seconds! Daisy had been getting more and more edgy and excited as the day wore on; our cantering wasn't as good because she only wanted to run fast, so she was in the perfect mood for a barrel pattern. We did it (FAST :D) and in the end, we got 2nd place in the class!!!! It was SO much fun; really worth it.

My Mom took the first two pictures, the second picture is of my trainer, Jean, and I...I lived in her house for the week, too...she's great, many thanks to her! :)

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th pictures are by Lydia! OH! I forgot to mention that class. There's a class called Western Riding where you go through a pattern where you weave cones at a canter, serpentine cones at a canter, and back up. It's SO fun! Last year I loved the class even though I think I only got last place; it's just fun! This year Daisy did FLYING CHANGES throughout it! :D It took her awhile each time we changed directions for her to realize she had to change leads, but she pretty much got it; it's a great class. So Lydia's pictures are of that class :).

The last pic is by Jean's mom, who took pictures EVERY DAY all week long! She's great; our club is soooo lucky to have her! Anyway, it's from the Sunday game show before the fair; it was a sit-a-buck class, bareback :). I love the photo, and how Daisy's really stepping under!

That's about it!

Until later,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

County Fair: Wednesday; Mounted Games

Wednesday was mounted games day at the fair. Junior and Senior members were combined and divided into two teams to compete against each other; walk/trotters were divided into two against each other as well.

We did fun relay games. One was "baton race"; you weaved poles holding a baton and handed it off to the next person. Another was "Special Delivery" where you had a mail bag with magazines in it. You had to weave down some poles, stop, put a magazine in the mailbox, and weave back. I love the picture of Daisy and I; Daisy's just standing there, all patient. That's only funny because she goes racing back like a mad women as soon as I'm ready for her; she's a good listener. :)

One of the last games was "Tennis Tournament". You had a tennis racket and had to carry a ball on it to the end of the ring, drop it in a bucket, and run back. Daisy would have nothing of the racket. Normally when she's afraid of an object (like the mailbag) she gets over it after you wave it around a little, let her smell it, and talk to her. NOT so with the racket! She didn't like it at all; I had to be really careful that I didn't move fast with it or let her see it too often :-P.

The 4th picture is of Can Stack race...

The first picture is (kinda blurry) of the team I was on; the second is of our "rival" team. They ended up winning most games and got high point for the day, but oh well. It was still fun; mounted games day is always laid back and fun :).

One of the races was "Potato Race" which I think we won, but you had to run down to one barrel, pick up the single potato on it, run to another barrel, and drop it in...I have a great picture somewhere where I'm practically falling off Daisy leaning down for the potato, and I missed it :P. I didn't at the time think I was falling, but the pic makes you think I am! I'll try to find it. :)

Next is Western Day...hopefully tomorrow I can find the photos for western day...they aren't in my possession so far :-P.

Until then,

In case anyone wonders, this is my 200th post! I started this blog May 4th, 2007...See the first month of blogging here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

County Fair: Tuesday; English Day

Sorry it's taken so long to post! I have SO many pictures, and I only just got to this...I'll break Fair week into day-by-day posts. Today I cover the first day, English day...

We actually did an open Games show the Sunday was fun, as game shows always are, but nothing really notable...Daisy was a speed demon, no surprise. :)

English day started out with Showmanship, which 4H requires. I dislike showmanship, let me just put that out there. Last year, I didn't even place, I literally went out and just got it done. This year, I wasn't really meaning to care so much...but I did. I looked over the patterned and helped the walk/trotters (first picture) and then cleaned Daisy up, spent FOREVER braiding her mane, got cleaned up myself and went out. We were awesome. Our "walk from first cone to second" was fine, we got our trot from second cone to judge in the end...not right away, but she started trotting next to me, and we stood for "inspection". When judged in showmanship, you have to pretend the horse is split in quadrants, and when the judge circles the horse you have to make sure you are never in the same "quadrant" as the judge, but are always looking at that means switching from one side of the horse to the other. We got that down pat. :)
The pattern ended with a 270 degree turn to the end of the ring and walk away. Daisy actually PIVOTED the turn; I wasn't really sure she would, but she did! :)

We ended up getting first place showmanship, and a trophy...I'll make a post later with trophy pictures.

The second picture is of the Showmanship line-up(Can you spot us? Second from the left), and the third is Lydia and Stewy! She hasn't even posted about fair yet, but I figured I would! :D

Then we did English classes...the first class out, I thought Daisy felt great. She didn't pick up her right-lead right away, but she did after the 2nd or 3rd try, and I still thought she looked good and she DID do it in the I was super surprised when we got last place (6th). The judge came over and informed me that Daisy's left hind was swollen. I knew that already; she stocks up (swells) sometimes when she's at Jean's house because the stall is smaller there so she doesn't pace as much at night...he said that that may be why she was hesitant to pick up her right-lead. I told him that she's always had trouble with it. He said she looked "off" in her hind end and that I should really think about what classes to enter with her. I couldn't believe it! I went out and, as someone said I should,I iced her leg for didn't help. I really didn't want to scratch because she felt so awesome; I hadn't thought anything was wrong. Other people also said she seemed fine. Then finally Jean pointed out that maybe the judge THOUGHT she was in pain because her ears were back all the time. *Light bulb goes off in my mind*. DUH! Daisy always has her ears back; he probably confused that. I went back out, Daisy got her leads right away, and we got 2nd place. I will say, though, it was awkward going back in the ring, because the judge was totally eye-balling me, like "So you decided to join us despite the fact that your horse's leg is swollen?". But we got through, and he didn't hold it against us...

We did decently in English; I had a lot of fun, even though we aren't the greatest at it. At the end, I entered a Hunter Hack class, and Lydia and I had to fight over who would get last place; her because Stewy wouldn't canter (OR SO SHE THOUGHT) and me because Daisy is flat over jumps...Daisy felt pretty good, I collected her, but Lydia DID canter, so she got 2nd and I got 3rd (last place) was one of those classes where I didn't expect to win, so I entered for fun...and it WAS fun! :D Loved it!

By the way, I almost cropped out the golden edge on the last picture, but then decided I was too lazy.
Did you recognize it yet, Lydia? It's Stewy's hind end :-P lol.
I wonder what I'm looking at? I look silly in English clothes; my hair is layered so under a helmet it looks funny...oh well. :)

Just want to point out, do you see the second-to-last picture? I LOVE it; too bad I'm looking down (at my diagonal??? :P) or else it'd be perfect...but anyway, Daisy's actually stepping under herself in it! She seemed to be a lot better this year; she leaned more on her hind end like she should; she wasn't as "fore-handy". I think she and I really (in Emeril's words) "kicked it up a notch" since last year. Wait until you hear about the rest of the week! :D

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let's Get it Started

Tomorrow I leave to start staying at Jean's house...Sunday is our first open game show of the's a small show, but this year our club will most likely double the size of the show...we'll see how it goes.

I rode Daisy today, did some barrel racing, and she seemed awesome...Hope it lasts.

Monday we don't have a show, but our club will spend the day decorating our stalls (last year's are above in the picture) at the fair. Tuesday the county fair begins. Tomorrow is practically the start of the wonderful, fun havoc. :)

I'll try to update you while I'm "away" but I won't promise anything...probably just words, no pictures, if anything.

Until my next post,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick Update

Wanted to let you know, Daisy was trailered to Jean's today and I rode her in the arena and practiced cantering both leads and she did AWESOME! She picked them up automatically! It's really a miracle; praise God. All our HARD, often times frustrating, work has paid off. Finally. :D


I rode her in halter and reins again and I cantered her down Jean's driveway; I went to go back up and she picked up a gallop, I tried to slow her down, and the rein I *galloped* giggling up the driveway, because I knew I couldn't do anything anyway....I figured eventually she'd slow down. So I'm giggling, running past people, and I make it to the round pen to Jean and I just hold up the broken rein and laugh. Figures. :-P


After trail riding a bit, I came to the barnyard again and cantered a right-lead circle...Daisy cut a tight turn to avoid the gravel driveway, and completely fell over. Sideways. As we went down, I thought about how I always thought having a horse fall on you must be horrible. Well, it happened SO fast, I don't know what really happened. One second I was falling sideways with Daisy in tow, the next, I was sitting on the ground and Daisy was above me, and she put her head down to graze. Silly pony. :-P
I scraped my arm, but am ok otherwise. I can thank God that I didn't get caught in the stirrup, or break a leg or arm...Daisy could have really hurt me. Luckily she stood up fast and I wasn't stuck at all.
Jean had gone in to the bathroom, and came out to her friend informing her that Daisy and I fell. "What? I go in to the bathroom for 5 minutes and she falls off?"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday's Horse Show

Yesterday, Sunday, I joined Jean for the second part of an event she went to. Saturday was dressage, which I missed, but dressage put them in 4th place for their division, Beginner Novice.

Bubba used to be a big-time awesome show horse. He could jump anything. As a young(er) horse, he once jumped the bed of a truck. Yeah, I know, I'm tellin' you, awesome. Anywhooo, he's still pretty much AMAZING, but this year he seems to have lost some of his drive...the first show of the season, in June, left Bubba and Jean in 12th place, having done badly in dressage, knocking rails, and him hitting his hooves on cross country jumps as well. Jean and Bubba's real owner, Karin, the lesson teacher, decided to take Bubba down a level and just see how he was. It seems that, sadly, this may be his last year eventing.

Up until this week, they weren't sure if Bubba would be able to pull off now last-weekend's event. He seemed to be doing well, though, so they entered.

Evidently, he could handle it! Jean said on Cross Country he rode like a maniac, and even though Jean tried HARD to hold him back, they finished in 4 minutes 47 seconds...the optimum time was 6:05. The minimum time was 5:05...he ran so fast, Jean got a blister that popped at the same time on cross country. Ouch.

He's crazy. But he's awesome.

Anywho, I love taking pictures at events, but it's super hard to get timing right when they're jumping...I tried, so that's the slide show.

They ended up in 6th place for time penalties in cross country and a jump penalty in stadium...Jean had to circle a jump, she crossed some line (I don't get it) and it was counted as a refusal...but that's still good, considering!

I had fun at the show, and seeing all the beautiful horses there is always well as walking jump courses and's all interesting; a learning experience.

She's Gettin' the Hang of It

Right-lead cantering, that is.

*This is Daisy's usual face; with ears back. But I've gotten used to it. I just thought I'd show you...she likes to try to convince you that's she's better then you. I just ignore her attempt and it's fine. :)*
"Please open up my grass pen, Mom!"
I've been working super hard on getting Daisy to use her right-lead. I think she's FINALLY getting it.

Everywhere we went, I didn't let her canter unless it was a right-lead. Maybe once a week I'd take a break and let her do whatever she wanted. Sometimes, she'd pick up her right-lead by herself. Other times, I'd enjoy her left lead, and how collected and strong it is compared to right.
Now, she's doing pretty darn well! She at least has a feel for when it's better for her to use right or left lead. Yesterday, I cantered her on our lawn, which is SMALL but it's better then absolutely nothing, and she started out with her usual left lead when it should have been right. She realized how hard it was, and I moved her down to trot and asked for canter again and she picked up her right-lead really quick. When we ride on the road, the shoulder of the road is kinda angled, and she'll pick up whatever lead makes the angle less noticeable...

Most horses should do that stuff without trouble; it's horse common sense. Daisy isn't that kinda horse. I think it's a miracle in itself that she does this now. Last year, it was left-lead or no lead.

My county fair is next week, and I'm going to be showing in it. I really hope that Daisy will keep up her leads in the show ring; we still probably won't win things like pleasure classes because she's not collected enough, but it's worse when you look terrible because she doesn't even do her leads right. Last show we went to, the judge pulled me over and said "You're a good pair, but you need to work on her leads a little." That was frustrating, because that judge had no idea how hard I was already trying.

At least I know that Daisy can do it now; it's not just for show-ring sake; it really is more comfortable for her to just do her leads then feel choppy going right using her left lead :-P lol.

Right now, I'm taking a break riding...I'm still riding, but yesterday I only rode in a halter and reins, and today and tomorrow I'm doing the same. That's because of this:

Daisy seems to have cut her lip on her bridle, and each time I use it it gets cut open again...I've been using the same bridle for 2 years, and this never happened, so I don't know what's up...I'm giving it some time to heal for now...

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Daisy is getting picked up and brought to Jean's house...Wednesday I have a kinda "lesson" with Jean on jumping, along with another 4H member, and then we have a 4H mounted meeting...Next Sunday is our first show. It's a games show(Gymkhana), so that's fun. :)
Monday is no show, Tuesday is English day at the county fair, so I ride all English classes, Wednesday is mounted (relay) games, Thursday is Western day, Friday is Gymkhana, and Saturday is an open show where we're staying for the English part of the day...

Until my next post,

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Love Summer

Guess where I went today?!? Buffalo, New York, to Jean's Dad's house! This time, I took the trip without Daisy .

Jean offered for me to come along late last night, and I accepted, seeing as how it's summer and it's nice to get "out and about". We drove down with her two kids, 4H members, and another member, "S".

The reason for the trip was to pick up Jan from the Equine Correctional Facility :-P back in May when I went down. Once we got there, Jan's owner rode Jan, and I did, as well. Prior to the little training experience Jan had there, Jan had a terrible problem rearing.(Jan is the chestnut, starting in the 3rd picture) He wasn't ridden often, and was never properly trained, so he had quite some trouble listening. He got away with being naughty too many times; it was time to crack down on him. He's definitely improved since being in training; he was pretty much a pleasure to ride, although I was cautious not to ask too much of him. In a few weeks, after our County Fair, Jean hopes that I will ride Jan a few times a week to keep him in shape, along with her sister, so that he'll be kept in "check" and soon sold. I rode him and he did pretty well; it's strange riding another horse. It makes me realize how much I know Daisy. Having ridden her for 2 1/4 years now, I can anticipate practically her every move; I can tell if she's in a good mood and will be a nice, willing ride, or when she's in a bad mood and will be kinda awful, or when she's just having a day where she pretends she's never been ridden and acts like she doesn't understand me. I can tell if I'm approaching something that will potentially spook her, and I know her quirks and how to make her listen. It's strange riding another horse, like Jan, that has a bad reputation. That's all I could go on with him; I didn't know how he preferred the reins were held, how fast he liked to go, how much he could handle before he'd "flip". In all, he was just hard to read. I guess that's what's interesting; riding a horse I don't know makes me really in-tune to what's going on with him, verses riding Daisy I know her well enough that things are more automatic.

I'm riding Jan in the 6th picture; it was hard to get pictures in the ring. The first picture is just of a pretty horse at the farm...

Anyway, we loaded Jan up and drove home, stopping and turning around once because of a forgotten saddle, stopping for ice cream, and stopping for drinks.

"S" and I saddled up for a ride; she road Mouse, a lesson pony that's she's leasing, and I rode Sissy, a pretty mare that Jan's owner also owns. She's in the 2nd picture. She's much better behaved than Jan.

We had a long, fun trailride. After discovering how buggy the woods were, we stayed on the edges of the alfalfa fields. Mouse was never taught to canter, but we got him (accidentally) to a canter 3 times! :D

Afterward, we gave Bubba a bath for a show he has Saturday morning.

I had a fun day; I love that summer allows flexibility in schedule; I'm free to do *anything*.

Hope you enjoy your summer, too!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Post #193

Hello, all!

I ended up not riding in the parade on Saturday...Considering how Daisy wasn't completely fine with the last parade, my mom and I didn't have good "feelings" about this one, as it would be a much longer, larger parade, so I opted not to ride in it...turned out that it was fun, anyway, and I was glad I was there to help out.

Our club still attended the parade, and it was a good thing! Without us, there would, again, be NO horses! What a shame! :-P

I arrived and promptly started braiding tails with ribbon; I did one pony, and then another club member wanted it, too...then I did 2 or 3 forelocks. I'd just like to say, I LOVE our club; the majority of the members....well, actually, all of them, are younger then me, some a lot younger, but it's so fun that way. I never had younger siblings or younger relatives living near me, so it's kinda fun to hang out with the "little" kids. :)

The parade finally started, after getting everyone mounted on ponies and moved out of the way as our club's three trailers were taken away to the place where the parade would end, to pick us up.

We did a lot of waiting in the beginning because traffic was still going on down one side of the street, so we had some waiting to do to get onto Main street. One of our club members was riding Maggie, a Standardbred that Jean recently rescued. Maggie looks awesome now, and was a former Mennonite buggy horse, so she really shouldn't have been nervous at all, but her rider was a little nervous, so I stood with them for the time we got going, Maggie was fine. She's a beautiful girl now....maybe one of these days I"ll so before and after pictures of when Jean got her; she's awesome now!

Once we got going, Scout, the pony I rode in a show in May, started getting a little excited, so I lead him and rider for a little bit...then they went alone again, then he got super excited as we passed by a mini-stage playing music, so Jean and I both held's so...sad and annoying. We passed that stage playing music, and the music was loud and jumpy; no wonder Scout was nervous! I wish they'd have turned it down...

The rest of the parade was uneventful; I saw some friends of mine, and it was fun listening to the crowd "oooh and ahh" over the ponies; two of our ponies, Mouse (far left pony in the middle picture) and Biscuit (last little buckskin pony in the last picture) are small and ADORABLE, and you could people all of the place saying "Oh, look at the horsies! Look at the little ones!" :-). At the end of the parade we passed a McDonalds, and we joked that we should ride through the drive through...maybe if I ride next year, I will :-P.

For those who are interested in the horses, left to right in the middle picture are Mouse, Phoenix, and Mari (Samaria is her full name, I think)...Last picture left to right (that you can see; the three ponies) are Bella, Biscuit, and Scout.


The GREAT news is, I got a natural trimmer!!!!! I'm SUPER excited! I found the name and number for one "through the grapevine" and made and appointment for yesterday was awesome! (did I already say that?) I'm completely thrilled. If you've read my blog from the beginning, you'll know that since I got Daisy I've had problems with her hooves; bruising, getting cut, her being lame, having to soak her hoof, not riding for a week or two at a time, etc. Last year, I had her shod. To put it plainly, it was horrible. She reared, she wouldn't stand still, she obviously hated it, and though I didn't admit it mostly because I thought there was no choice but to shoe her, I dreaded the farrier coming. I read The Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd by Joe Camp (gifted to me by my awesome uncle :)) and was completely convinced. Shoeing is terrible.

What I realized yesterday was that the natural trimming gives the horse's hoof actual shape. Normally, the hoof is trimmed so that it's flat the way it would be if it had a shoe on. That's fine, if there's a shoe (which are bad anyway), but if they're just flat and there's no shoe, the parts of the hoof that are NEVER supposed to touch the ground do and that's what causes the horse to go lame and people to say that the horse needs shoes. I found it completely incredible yesterday to watch and listen to the trimmer as he explained the way the hoof should be shaped, and how many problems he's solved with his natural trimming. Horses that were lamanitic so bad that they would be put down were saved because of his trim. The trimmer studied in Canada with Lisa Huhn for awhile, and he said at the end of his studying he had to dissect 16 horse hooves. He said that it was terrible what he saw; the coffin bone in hooves of horses that had shoes was completely deformed and twisted because the shoes were SO bad.

All I can say is, PLEASE, read up about the natural trimming and try to find a trimmer near you; it's not simply having a horse go 'barefoot'. If you go barefoot but still have a farrier trim their hooves, they are still in pain because the hooves are trimmed wrong. Check it out, it's a fascinating subject, actually.

I mentioned to the trimmer that I have Daisy on Smarthoof, a hoof supplement, and he said right away that the supplement was a waste of time. He explained that there are so many excess ingredients in supplements that it really just makes a horse more anxious than need be, and it ends up not using half of the supplement. He said he switched his horses to just plain rolled oats and black oil sunflower seeds and that the sunflower seeds make the horse's coat shiny and give the hooves all the "supplement" they need, naturally. I'm SO going to try that! He also said that sweet feed, which I feed Daisy, is actually too sugary, and just increases the chance of thrush in a horse. I'm almost disappointed with myself for not having questioned feed and supplements before; it all makes so much sense. Really makes me motivated to question everything. Just because the majority of people do something and don't want to hear otherwise, does not mean that it's right.

Daisy evidently LOVED the trimmer; he patted her and even gave her a hug in the beginning, and was one of the few people to ignore her angry ears in the beginning. She seemed to like him from the start, and was so still and quiet, we barely held the lead; sometimes it felt like we could have dropped it right there on the driveway and she would have stood still. It was awesome.

The natural trimmer is holding a seminar in our area soon, and I'm hoping to go; I'm completely intrigued. Makes me want to go into natural horse care when I'm older! That would be a cool job!

Alrighty, sorry this was so long! Hope it gave you something to think about...


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