Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ranch Rodeo Time

A Tree Grows In....  My Trailer Door... 
Sadly, I missed the Wednesday YaYa ride because of WORK.  But, I trust the girls had fun without me and Splash.

The Rogers County 4-H Horse Club manned the concession stand at the Ranch Rodeo held at the Claremore Expo - the girls were signed up for both Friday and Saturday evening.  The 4-H food show was Friday night as well, so we dropped bread (both I and A) and cinnamon rolls (A only) on our way to the rodeo - worked a couple of hours - then, back to the County building for the end of the food show.  Alaina was reserve intermediate baker for her braided yeast bread - all entries were delicious.

Considering how many rodeos I have been to working concessions, I have actually seen very little rodeo.  But, I managed to watch a little "sorting" (Team Doctoring) where the 4 ranch cowboys had to separate one steer from the herd, move him across a line, rope head then heels and tie the feet (they have to stay tied).  One team managed that in under a minute but it looked difficult - those steers are pretty tough.  I missed the Wild Cow Milking, Sorting (separating several identified steers and moving them to the other end of the arena), Team Branding, and Saddle Bronc.  Its a good thing I and A are young since they spent Saturday at the Conference Track meet before working concessions and clearing trash from the arena.

Sunday noon and Ivy washed Pico and then, while she washed Sunny, I tied Pico to the trailer with the slip tie ring and did some CA de-sensitizing.  I threw plastic, brushes, whips, and the manure fork at him until he stood still for it.  CA says:  "heart attacks are free - give one to your horse."  (evil laugh)

The rain predicted went north of us but Pico and Sunny got the full show prep treatment by KB Pro-Show Grooming in the afternoon.  Krystal managed to trim Pico's ears w/o twitching and both boys look good for District in a couple of weeks.  Krystal will come by on District-eve to polish a bit and they will look great.  Now if they will just shed out that mottled winter coat before then....

So, we will work horses every chance we get until District - and with luck - ride with the YaYa's if the stars align.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

No Riding Weekend

Alas, for me, no riding this weekend. But, plenty of horsey activities. Luckily, I managed a YaYa ride at Glenbrook on Wednesday evening - we had a lovely ride on a beautiful evening. I used a western low-port bit on Splash to work on neck-reining at the walk in the mucky WOR arena on Tuesday and followed up with the same bit on Wednesday. Splash seems to be getting the hang of it - especially when he wants to go the way I am turning.
But, while I was socializing and snacking with my friends, Splash was NOT eating hay at the trailer. He also didn't go for his food when we got home. So, I went to check on him after unloading the truck and found him ROLLING in his stall - food untouched. So we walked and Splash was not pushy or interested in GRASS! He was not sweaty, kicking/biting at his sides and didn't seem distressed, just depressed. We walked some more and I considered calling the VET. Since the phone was inside, I put him back in the stall and ran inside for the phone and to let Steve know what was up. Back at the stall, Splash was rolling again. Steve walked him some more while I went in search of one (of my 2) stethoscopes and found the thermometer...... several more searches later... stethoscope found... gut sounds on one side only.... Before calling the vet, I tried to take a temperature.... to dry to insert so more searching for Vaseline.... 100.1 Splash seems a little perkier and took a halfhearted bite of grass so we walked some more.... In the round pen, we walked (ok Splash stumbled) over cavaletti poles. Splash seemed to perk up a bit more, more walking and then..... Grass looked green again and I let him hand-grass for a while and then took him back to the stall and he started eating his feed. We checked on him several more times and he was munching hay. Whew. Late night but all is well.
Friday evening, the girls and I went to Stillwater for the 4-H/FFA State Horse Judging Competition at OSU - we went to dinner, they practiced halter reasons and chatted with friends at the hotel. Then, Saturday they competed from 9:00am to after 3:00 judging/placing 8 classes and giving 1 set of reasons. Both the junior and senior teams were Reserve Champions; Senior Emily P high overall individual, and Junior Heather High placings individual. All four seniors and 3 juniors placed top-10 in placings, reasons and overall. Very exciting since all the juniors are first time Judges. Juniors placed 2nd in Placings and 3rd in Reasons for a 2nd place Overall; Alaina tied with a girl named Alexis (from another county) 8th Individual Reasons, 9th Individual Placing for 9th place Individual Overall.
We even got to see Kale briefly when he came to the awards ceremony.

Then, without time for horse- washing preparations, we had a 4-H point show on Sunday. We arrived early and did minimal clipping and leg-wash.
Ivy Alaina
Showmanship / 6
Hunter Under Saddle 1 2
Hunt Seat Eq 2 1
Hunter Hack 3 1
West. Pleasure 4 2
West. Horsemanship 3 5
Trail 4 2
Barrels 4 /
Poles 4 /
Stakes 5 6

So, will the party lesson be back next weekend?  Alas, not for me since the girls will be competing at the Metro-Lakes Conference Track meet in Talequah next Saturday.  Perhaps a YaYa ride on Wednesday will happen?  A girl can dream.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dressage Show Rain-OUT

After my Kansas Work Trip mid-week, I was primed to work Splash Friday afternoon in preparation for the Rocking C Schooling show scheduled for Saturday.  I waited until the girls got finished with afternoon track so that we could ride together.  But then, a storm blew up in Claremore and it was raining by the time the girls got home.  Fooey.  I got Splash and saddled him up anyway but the girls vegged out watching TV inside.

With water pouring off my helmet and into Splash's eyes, we worked on canter departs and walk/walk transitions using the twisted wire snaffle.  Good News!  No dust in the arena!

Splash was a pretty good boy so we went to the trailer to un-tack.  Splash was SOAKED and so was I, but it was warmish so I decided a bath was in order.  Then, I gave Pico an iodine/vinegar bath for his blotchy hair coat.  By then it was dark so Sunny escaped water torture.  THEN..... the show was cancelled because of rain.

We received two waves of heavy rain in the early hours both Saturday and Sunday morning.  The Wild O Ranch arena was sloppy so no riding here.  I met my horsey friends for lunch on Saturday and took Splash with Sunny and Alaina to DiAmico Performance Horses' indoor arena and worked Splash while Alaina had a western/trail lesson Sunday afternoon.

Alaina worked Sunny on neck reining in small circles and on a head lowering cue.  Hard work for Alaina but Sunny never broke a sweat.  Splash and I worked on canter departs (all correct) and walk/walk transitions.  Splash is making very slow progress resisting the urge to jig when I collect at the walk.  While walking, I release and collect the reins and if Splash jigs, we back 10 feet as fast a possible (not all that fast since Splash is a Slug).  Square halts also need work - any suggestions for training good halts?

So, this week I will be able to join the YaYa Sisters at Rita's on Wednesday and the girls have a ride night on Thursday as well as a 4-H show next Sunday.  But the fly in my ointment is the state 4-H Horse Judging contest on Saturday so no riding for me next weekend. 

At least we have April Flowers from April Showers. 

No Rain - No Rainbow.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Weekend

Ivy and Alaina had Good Friday off from School so I took a vacation day too. No real horse plan in place but I called Amy R to see if we could visit her place to have a test ride for the St. Jude Benefit ride.  Amy lead the way on the ATV and Ivy/Pico, Alaina/Sunny, Sydney/Sofie, and Splash and me followed along through the lush pastures and woods near the river south of Inola.  Two ponds, several dry creek crossings, a trek along the rim of the Inola Red Canyon in the warm spring sunshine with wildflowers everywhere.  Beautiful!  We spent around 1 1/2 hours going out and back at a leisurely walk.  We investigated a dead end trail with a steep hill to start and let the horses splash in the clear water of a lovely pond - Pico was playing and Splash wanted to swim.  Only one small incident when a BIG BAD BUG made Sofie rush up a hill and do a little BUCK.  Sydney is now past her first unintended dismount but she bounced up and got back on to finish the ride in real cowgirl style.

So, St. Jude tentative date is May 20 - save the date.

The 40% chance for showers blew up just to the north of Patty's while the girls had their lesson Saturday morning. Roxy, Ivy, and Alaina spent the hour Jumping with dramatic clouds as a background. By the time Mallory and I rode, the wind had come up and thunder rumbled in the distance. That made Splash a little tense - or perhaps the rider was tense.

During our warm up, Mallory discovered a problem with left lead canter, so that is where they started their lesson.  Splash and I warmed up with trotting and walking - Splash still jumps to trot as soon as I collect the reins so we walked alternating collection/long rein and backing when Splash jigged.  Some progress but further training needed.  And the next dressage show is next weekend.  Both Mario and Splash were having trouble with Left Lead Canter departs - Splash missed his leads several times except when we leg-yielded to the canter.  I think the weather caused tension which limited our bend during the departs.  That's my story.  So, we worked on shoulder in and leg yields.  Splash and I plan to try a Western Dressage Class next week too.  Got to start somewhere, right?

Lunch at LaMansion in Catoosa followed with a big group to share strawberry shortcake for Patty's Bday.  I will have a Kansas trip next week but Splash and I made a YaYa ride last Wednesday night at Glenbrook - my first ride of the year.  The horses were a little frisky and the deer were out.  We all stayed mounted and had great food and social afterwards.  Here's to lots of rides in 2012!  YaYa!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Early (Warm) Spring

At long last!  The Saturday Party Lesson was on.  Roxy, Ivy and Alaina worked their mounts in the outdoor arena concentrating on jumping - practicing lessons learned from Pie.  Mallory, Nancy, Cynthia, Margret and I worked in the covered (much cooler in the shade).  Splash was so good, I had to quote Larry a higher price. 
After the lesson, we went for lunch at the new place in town and followed up with cake for Nancy at the Rocking C - we missed Nancy's birthday a couple of weeks ago but we remembered to celebrate.
We all started the lesson with Trot and Splash and I worked on submission and impulsion while we all made circles down the long side - Splash and I worked toward 15 meter circles and everyone else tried for 10.  Next, leg yields from quarter line at the trot both directions followed by canter work one by one.  Splash got all his leads correctly - right lead canter from the walk was prompt with only a small head lift, left lead from the trot was obedient.  Downward transitions to walk were a bit rough but the second try was better.  While the others worked on canter, Splash and I worked on walk.  Transitions to walk on a long rein are good but Splash usually picks up a trot as soon as I start to collect the reins (no German Neckstretcher to assist).  So, we stopped/backed each time Splash tried to trot.

At the Wild O Ranch on Sunday afternoon, TC and Diez got groomed and iodine baths - Diez was not amused but TC seemed to enjoy the extra attention.  Both are loosing enough hair to stuff a sofa, but Diez is the champion hair distributor leaving drifts of white all over the yard.
While TC and Diez stood tied to the round pen drying off, Splash got to try out the new ground poles in the round pen doing some Clinton Anderson exercises.  We worked on lunging until Splash turned in to the pen when reversing direction and showed the willingness to follow me around the pen.  Then, we did de-sensitizing until whirling the whip overhead stressed TC out - Splash was not concerned.  Good equine therapy even without riding.  My arena is dry and ready when I get my next chance.  YaYa!