So I’m not going to go into the full background story of how all this came about because it’s very long winded, so I’m just going to start at the part where I google-mapped the old house I rented in FoCo and was Amber’s first home when she officially became my horse. I noticed from the satellite images that it looked as if the new owners had (finally) done some updates to the old place (I couldn’t see remnants of 2 of the old sheds) so I figured I’d go down to street view and see.
And…..strange it looked as if one of the trees was back. Huh. So I moved to the side of the house (it was next to a street) and noticed that dilapidated shed was still there when it didn’t appear to be before. Aaaaannndd that’s my old roommate’s OTTB in the front pasture. So I hurriedly moved to the back of the property and boom.
Baby Amber! After she had to be separated from the OTTB but before her injury. How cool is that? I think it’s pretty neat, even though she’s not famous, it’s pretty cool to be on the streetview! Then, of course, that spawned me reminiscing about being in college, and it not looking any different than I remember (before my brain kicked in with a DUH, Mandy – streetview hasn’t updated in SIX YEARS so OF COURSE it’d look the same).
It’s funny what we remember and how much we actually can remember if we really put our brains to it. It was just a great blast from the past.
Amber has been doing okay although I haven’t been able to do anything really remotely horsey all week. It’s been a whirlwind of being suddenly busy. Amber had lost a shoe at some point, but the farrier came out pretty much 2 days later so she didn’t get a chance to ruin much. Thankfully it was her left front, the one that is pretty much like iron.
I chatted with my farrier before he shod her (one of these days I’m just going to take the day off of work so I can be there because it’s so hard to convey things when on a phone), just sharing some of my concerns with her RF leg. I had noticed that her wear was going towards the outside of her foot – not down the center. Her tendon that had swelled never got better, and I saw that it seemed to be strained and went along with her growth pattern of inside hoof growing more than outside. I wanted to share what I saw and compare that with his thoughts. He’s always so observant, and really cares about the horses he does, and he mentioned that she was taking the weight off of something – probably the inside of her knee – so she’s shifting weight to the outside. Which of course got me thinking.
I’ve been keeping the lid on my panic but I do really worry that these things with Amber may only be manageable for none-to-light riding. But this one doesn’t have me worried as much. This time last year, Shoer D and I noticed Amber was wearing her RF differently than before. We waited a few shoeings before it just wasn’t getting better, and then around early June she got a trip to the vet for her knee to be injected and she wore her foot just as she had before. Put in that perspective, a lot of the idiosyncrasies I’ve been noticing with her can very logically be linked to her needing another knee injection. Which, the injection lasted about a year last time, and with my plan to stick her on adequan I think one will last another year so I’m cool with that.
Her abscess still has puss, but nowhere near as bad as before. There’s no smell, and I only go out once a day to clean off what has dried and to help a couple drain spots reopen. I am starting to think that the abscess won’t go away until her tooth pocket has completely healed, but here soon I’ll have a chat with Dr. W about steps forward with Miss Special. It’s fine. It’s all fine. I’ll just drown my stress woes into RW’s 15% off President’s Day sale.
Have a great 3 day weekend everyone!
Sunday dawned sunny but chilly. North wind had blown in through the night and the breeze stayed around through the morning. Amber didn’t have her usual tantrum, no doubt learning from Saturday that she wasn’t going anyway but definitely not happy that Whisper was leaving. Whisper though hopped right in the trailer. It’s nice that the show grounds are only about 35 minutes away, so it’s not a huge endeavor for us to haul.
Whisper was a little more lit coming off of the trailer, but after a short walk around and perhaps only a 5 minute lunge, I could tell her eyes were softer, and she was definitely better/not as wide-eyed as she was Saturday. I was a little overzealous in getting ready right away – I should have talked to the office to see what class they were on, but I think it was okay. When I hopped on, Whisper felt almost exactly as she does at home – relaxed and easy. We walked around for a bit before I realized that they only started the reining class and there were about 10 people in the class (approximately 2 minutes each run). My class was directly after reining, but the last thing I wanted to do was overwork Whisper in the warm up, and leave our best work in the warm up ring as well.
So I hopped off, and proceeded to be very pleasantly surprised when Whisper cocked a leg and started to fall asleep. It was almost 9 at that point, her usual nap time, but I was so happy that amidst reiners practicing patterns and whatnot that she was sleeping. Good girl!
I hopped back on 3/4 of the way through the class and did just a bit more warm up. Her left lope was doing well – her right was strung out. Which….eh. As I’ve said I was more concerned with her feeling comfortable at the show, and she was really trying hard to be relaxed and listen to me, so I called it good.
The first class was a walk/jog warm up – a sort of “train” class to warm your horse up but the class doesn’t count for anything. It allows those in canter classes to cross-enter (same rider/horse combo can’t go in “official” walk/jog classes if also entered in canter classes). She was a little fast at the jog, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to ride in or let her see the main ring, so to a judge, her lifting her head to look out of the arena to the street is a problem, but she kept her pace well. I was happy with her. We ended up getting second in the class, so yay! She also didn’t do her nervous tic that she’s done many a previous show – it’s hard to describe. But she’d nod her head very quickly while biting at the bit, and sometimes take the reins out of your hand. None of that happened, so she got many many pets.
Our next class was just an AA lope class, and I was very proud of her. She was actually close to breaking gait a few times! Oddly enough it pleased me lol. Probably because she only breaks if she’s tired or feeling comfortable, but I talked to her a bit through the class and she was so super! Her right lead was strung out still, and we had a bit of a problem steering off the rail (which is something I plan to work on before the next show), but overall I was super pleased with her. Again, no nervous tic, and the judge was nice and gave everyone little pointers before the ring steward called the placings (Whisper better left side, right lead strung out – accurate lol). But we still placed first! Good girl Whisper!
I did a little more work in the warm up ring, then let her chill again. Whisper was really being great and holding it together, trying her best to listen. I knew that right lead REALLY needed to get fixed if we were going to continue doing well in the classes, but I knew the show was not the place to work on it or fix it. I’ve always taken with me a piece of advice Andrea Fappani said in one of his clinics – “If you haven’t fixed something before the show, you aren’t going to fix it AT the show. Better to show off the things you can do well and conserve on the things that aren’t so good.”
Our next class was senior horse, and it was a pretty full class. Whisper was excellent. Her jog was getting better, but her lope was starting to deteriorate a little. She was probably also tired, but as I said she was still trying her little heart out, and keeping it together despite some “OMG” looks she threw to the outside of the ring. The judge actually called for an extended jog, and I laughed at myself because Saturday after the ride I’d looked at my mom and said – “Wouldn’t it be funny if we had to do an extended jog? I haven’t done an extended jog on her in years. Huh.” Well? Extended jog both ways, and I felt like we nailed it. Good girl with her rusty buttons that still work! lol I tried as best as I could to support her at the lope – really keeping my leg on to help but it wasn’t working the best. We ended up in second, with pointers again of her being close to breaking gait and looking like she was slogging in the lope, but there was no way I was disappointed in her. One of the hardest things I had to work through with her was trusting me enough to help her, that my “correction” or “lift” wasn’t punishment in any way. So the fact that she readily accepted my help at a show and really put her trust in me was a win in my book. It’s only February. We have until the end of the show year to continue improving.
Our last class was jackpot. And her jog was the best yet. As she got a little looky again, I gave her a few upward “bumps” instead of the hold I usually do, and she finally seemed to accept that okay, we’re in here to do work. Her left lead was a bit slogging, and I knew she was getting tired, but boy was that sweet mare trying. She was so solid in the walk work too – no anticipation! Which is miracle of miracles for her since anticipation is her middle name haha. She just walked and walked until the judge called for the next gait. Our right lope was definitely more forward, and I preferred it actually to our previous slogging. She was definitely tired, and I knew the right lope was too fast for the judge, but there were no nervous breakdowns or resistance when I reached out to help her back on her butt just a bit. My lift probably cost us a higher place in the class, but she hit that perfect lope I was searching for for a stride or two, then got a bit fast again. But usually she shows a bit of resistance, and I was so happy there was none. We ended up getting third in the class – and winning $20 – but I was still a bit miffed at the placing. The first place horse broke 3 times, which fortunate for the first place winner the judge didn’t see, and Whisper was actually nowhere near breaking gait that whole class. The second place horse (who I’ve known for years and absolutely adore that little Arab gelding) deserved first, but…well, if the judge didn’t see (and did see my corrections), then the judge can only judge what they saw. I think after Whisper doing so well, I thought she deserved better than the placing she got. So pleased that there was no nervous tic again either, but she did want to make friends with every horse there lol. Which is why she is way better suited to these classes than Amber haha.
All in all, it was a good successful day. After that class I did just a little bit more with her canter. I didn’t completely feel okay with leaving the strung out as it was, so I really squeezed her into a good right lead lope, got a couple great strides, did a simple lead change, lifted the left, got a couple great strides and hopped off. I was a little worried that when I hopped off she might remember the nervousness (she wouldn’t stand still and I had to back her a bit while I tried to roll up my chaps), but I think she’ll be okay. She got many many face rubs, girth loosened, and then we took her back to her food. I wanted to let her roll, and it seemed like she might after a second, but she didn’t. I would’ve loved for her to do that, but that’s okay. She was definitely ready to go home, but refused to load for only about a minute. We’ve learned it’s just because she has to pee (she’s done this for years so it strikes me as super funny that she AND Amber do this), and my mom did a great job of just waiting, not looking at her, and Whisper finally hopped in, pooped, and peed a minute later haha. Silly mares!
Amber was very excited to see Whisper when we got home, and Whisper did finally roll in our arena. That was about it for the day!
I did find out that I’d actually won some stuff with Amber from the previous year though! Not only did we do well enough in the buckle series for us to win a buckle, but we managed to get Champion in Ranch Riding, Western Dressage, Western Horsemanship 18 & Over and Reserve Champion in Reining Open. What do you know about that?! Way to go Amber! I was very surprised by the horsemanship and reserve in reining – those were definitely classes I was not expecting to get anything in! I guess it’s because we just were always in them even if we didn’t have the best placings….? lol I got a hay bag, a bag that could probably fit half a bale of hay, and strap to go with it, a hay bag helper (those black things that help keep the bags open so you have more hands) and a plaque! They did spell Amber’s name wrong, so they’re in the process of getting the plaque fixed, but I am tickled pink that Amber and I won a plaque!
It was definitely a tiring day, but I felt so happy with Whisper after the show. Such a trooper, and her attitude was miles different from the last time she was there, and even different from Saturday. I couldn’t be happier. The show brought to light things that I’ll have to work on with Whisper, but all in due time. She’s had the past 2 days off, and we’ll start back with light riding, getting her supple and starting to give her heavier works so she’s fitter for the next show.
All in all – a huge success!
First show of the season!
Thursday was our last prep ride at home. I felt pretty confident with her paces, and then decided to test a few of her rusty buttons. She surprisingly responded with no more than an “oh sure, I remember that” instead of her usual very quick response. I have a theory about that but I’m going to end up writing a blog post about it after the show because it’s potentially a long winded one. But I am not sure if it’s the bit, other factors, or what, but she was SO SLOW on Thursday. To the point it worried me haha. I’ve been trying to get her to go forward for that clear canter but still rocking, and either I was hard of feeling or she was tired because it was 75 – I am not sure what it was, but I had to really get her forward. It worked mostly. Ish.
Her left was good albeit a teensy bit slow, but after working on her lope we came back and jogged around. It was good to do this sort of “throw it all to her and see what she gives me” type of ride. It gives me new information on what I need to continue to work on not just for showing, but overall for Whisper being able to perform her lope without cheating as she tends to do. It’ll be difficult since as soon as she gets a bit close to the rail she lapses into her old habits. Lots of canter work in her future. Lots of circle work for her. Lots of lateral movement and sticking her back in snaffle. The lateral work helped Amber and I exponentially getting more supple for getting a little straighter at the canter so I’m hoping this will be a good starting point for Whisper.
Either way, for the few classes we signed up for and as it is the first show of the season, this was good. I knew I was going to be a lot more concerned with Whisper’s head space during the show than her pace or even quality of her gaits. She’s excellent at walk and jog, we just have to work a little harder on her lope. Her last show was many years ago, and only once recently did my mom and I take her to a show to just ride around and she was honestly pretty good. I was hoping though that with her more comfortable with her work that she was going to be great Saturday and Sunday.
After Thursday’s ride, I turned Amber out but hopped on her bareback first because she was really jealous that I had Whisper out.
She really enjoyed the walk around the arena. I had wanted to saddle her up, but time just wouldn’t allow it. She was especially loving, probably because she doesn’t want me to get ideas about riding Whisper full time and leaving her out of it. She wants to be out and riding, and a few times when I’ve cantered her she’s shaken her head – her biggest expression of joy under saddle (otherwise I feel it build as we canter and you can feel her go OMG LET’S RUN and that lasts for like 2 laps lol). Other than that, she’s not more comfortable going faster than a walk right now, poor thing.
Friday I worked an all day shift, so no ride time. My mom bathed Whisper and trimmed her up (western pleasure and all that. No whiskers and ear hair allowed! lol). Saturday, we took it easy and arrived at the show grounds around 10:30 to get in our preliminary ride and let Whisper get settled to seeing the place again. Amber threw her regular tantrum as my mom hooked up the truck and trailer, and then proceeded to be very confused that we were loading Whisper into the trailer. But Whisper walked right in and we were on our way!
Getting to the show she was a bit rattled – the announcer startled her a bit, but I worked with her just as I had been, and she came around very quickly. She was definitely calmer around other horses, and it’s quite interesting the difference between Amber and Whisper – Amber likes other horses around but she’d prefer to be by herself. Whisper wants to be near other horses and performs best when there are others with her. Which is absolutely perfect for their disciplines haha.
She was really ready to go when I started to tack her up, and a bit tense and speedy. However, after about 5 minutes, she really started to come around and give me the work that we’ve been doing at home. I was right in that the show definitely perked her up a bit so I actually had a better lope on her. I was expecting her usual, nervous work at the show, but I was really pleasantly surprised how well she settled. She got upset only twice, once from a horse pawing inside a passing trailer, and another time when the other horses were leaving the arena for a class and she couldn’t follow. I was expecting her to be a little worse, and I was so happy with how well she handled it. And only after a minute or so she came right back to me and gave me some great work. Almost borderline too slow, but I was very pleased with where her mind was so I called it a day after about 30 to 40 minutes of light riding, and headed home. I was very hopeful for Sunday after feeling her response Saturday, and I thought we had a great experience to move forward.
Stay tuned for Sunday!
That was probably a very poor attempt at a pun because it’s for the dip but that was scooping…. but whatever – on to: THE DIP.
Here it is everyone! Creamy Crab and Artichoke Dip
1 pkg 8 oz crab delights
1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1 lg can (13.75 oz) artichoke hearts, preferably un-marinated, drained and chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375. In mixing bowl, blend together cream cheese and mayo. Stir in remaining ingredients and place mixture into a glass pie plate. Bake uncovered for 15-18 minutes. Serve with crackers or French bread.
I believe I have mentioned this before, but just in case I haven’t, I have never body clipped a horse in my life. I don’t even remember seeing a body clipped horse until I was much older. By the time I WAS old enough to pay attention to that sort of thing, I wasn’t doing English anymore and most western people I met never clipped their horses. My eventer friend is bomb at body clipping but….she lives in Washington.
As I mentioned yesterday, it has been hot here. It’s going to be 78 this Friday, and even though Sunday is forecasted for only 58 (WHY the cold day for the show?!) it’s still going to be back in the upper 60s by Wednesday and upper 70s next week. Amber has been sweating, poor thing. She LOVES to sunbathe, but recently, she won’t even nap outside because she’s too hot.
So, I embarked on an “Attempt to body clip your horse for the first time” endeavor and just winged it. Here’s how it went.
Step 1: Draw some semblance of a line. It may change.
Step 2: Proceed to clip. Realize your horse hates all things that may rub/pull on her hair, so you thankfully remember in time to leave her girth area unshaved. Which then looks…..so awkward.
Step 3: But hey, it’s not that bad! For the first time of clipping it’s decent. Especially since as you were clipping pony was leaning into you because she thought OMG SCRATCHES as the clipper blades ran over her fur. So, go on to the next side.
Step 4: Repeat drawing a line, and completely miss it and mess up. But it looks a little better on this side actually! So, cover the mess up with something inventive.
Step 5: You picked a heart cause Valentine’s day was coming up? WHY. You HATE Valentine’s day. Well, at least you love your horse, and she loved the scratches, and the heart is a very sentimental gesture. How fun and cute.
Step 6: Call it good because hey it really doesn’t look that bad, and go ride the other horse, who is NOT happy to be ridden again.
However, Whisper was great! Just a couple things to fine tune before the show and we’re on our way! Also KC over at The Pilgrim Chronicles, when I mentioned if she’d like the recipe for the artichoke and crab dip, said she’d absolutely love it, and since all of my commenters mentioned it, I will dedicate a blog post specifically to the dip! My mom will get me the recipe and I’ll post it for everyone, so give it a try! I’ll post it tomorrow. Happy Hump Day!
I remembered today that I was actually supposed to use last weekend as a prep for Whisper but uhh….I completely forgot that there’s a horse show this coming weekend lol. But I’ll make sure to ride these next few days, and even with a 10 hr shift on Friday, we won’t be showing Saturday – a perfect opportunity to drive down to the show grounds, let her see the sights again and get in a ride as the final prep for Sunday.
So instead of preparing this weekend, we toodled. Amber and I played around, my mom rode, and then Amber got a bath. She was not enthused.
Her tail is getting so long, though; I love it. I also can’t wait to get video/pictures of Whisper with her mane and tail just gorgeous….I’m excited.
Superbowl was a great surprise with the Eagles’ win, but we really didn’t do much. My mom did make us her artichoke and crab dip (which is HEAVEN OMG) and then we could make up nachos with as much cheese as we wanted with salsa, black beans and avocados because superbowl is really about food and commercials.
It’s been hot here. Like in the seventies. I know, I’m so sorry for all of you guys in the cold, but I’m really just amazed that it actually has been so warm. We’re usually in the low 50s for the day and mid 30s at night, but this has been a surprisingly mild winter. Don’t get me wrong I’m absolutely not complaining; I wish I could send some of our warm weather to you guys!
Amber’s abscess FINALLY looks on the mend! She had her last dose of antibiotics over the weekend and I seriously can’t wait. I’m just hoping all her hair grows back! It looks….weird lol. But so far so good!
Happy Friday everyone!
I hope everyone has some good plans for the weekend. I am not really doing anything superbowl-ish. I mostly watch for the commercials and root for the underdog, so in this case the Eagles. But hopefully it’ll be horsey-filled! What is everyone up to? Are you planning to go to/host a superbowl party or is football something that you are indifferent towards? If you aren’t doing anything superbowl-related, what are you doing instead?