2009: This is going to be MY year, right? Corky is 5 years old and it is her last junior year. Taylor is carrying my very first "grandfoal". It is going to be an exciting year!

Thanks for taking the time to read my day-to-day ramblings about my horse life. My goal is to keep things as realistic as possible. We all deal with issues and problems, and I am struggling to learn and become a better horseperson and a better rider. It's a lifelong task!

January 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009 Happy New Year!

Today I did my annual New Year's Day ride...I have ridden on New Year's Day every single day since 1989, so this is my 20th anniversary! I truly believe in starting the year of right - in the saddle!

I had a very productive ride on Corky today. I am so glad I rode...I had to really force myself since it was only around 20 degrees. I free-longed her first, and she ran like a madwoman while I stood there and watched. Eventually she got tired, and I was able to saddle her up and ride. We did all sorts of things today - we did the bending and counterbending circles first at the walk, then eventually (later in the ride) at the trot (and she did excellent both directions!). I did a few rollbacks (which totally rocked), and we even did a little bit of counter-cantering, remembering to keep the inside leg and rein constant the whole time around the counter circle. She did better today than just 2 days ago! She did balk once with me when I cued to canter, in the middle of our ride (which is unusual), but one pivot on the forehand and she was done with that idea.

She was bending around the corners a little better to the left today. I think doing these counterbending-bending circles are really helping that issue. I am ready to try a lead change again, but will probably give her a little break and wait till the weekend. I also did some works on turns on the haunches and forehand. I had a good reminder at my lesson to take things slowly and not expect perfection while we are learning, and that helped. I need to remember that, because I think sometimes I get too demanding of perfection and it frustrates Corky, and we end up battling because of this. New Year's Resolution - be patient!

Today I sat down and really thought through my goals for 2009. I have some general, simple goals and then of course the BIG DREAM goals. Here they are:

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 2, 2009

I need to start off today's post with a workout update - I managed to run a little over 3 miles straight without stopping today. That is a HUGE record for me! A year ago I couldn't even make a mile!!! I feel good about that.

Today's ride was excellent. I laid off the counter-cantering and the rollbacks just to give Corky a break. we did lots of bending, pivots (her forehand pivots are still pretty sticky), and circles (working to keep that inside shoulder UP!). She felt awesome under saddle today. All the pieces parts fit together and I can see the whole package now, and see what is being accomplished little by little.

What's funny is that the more I have control over Corky's independent body parts, the more I realize I am going to have to ride perfectly balanced and centered in the saddle in order for it all to work. I noticed that when I shift slightly or am slightly off balance, it now really affects the way and the direction she moves. Great - she is really listening; not-so-great - now I gotta ride perfectly!

I still notice that the beginnings of our rides are always sticky. I need a solid 10+ minute warm-up in order to get her moving and willing. It seems we must run through the same bending exercises at the beginning of each ride, and each ride I have to school her in the one corner she wants to ball up and be balky (weird - because after schooling through it 2-3 times she gives it up and the issue is gone for the rest of the ride, but it happens EVERY time in the same spot!).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Today I brought my video camera and put it on a tripod in he corner and pressed record...recorded my whole ride (or what was shown in the one area of the arena it was able to capture). This is such a useful tool. Corky is lookin' good! I have two perceptions - one is right and one is wrong. My perception of her head and neckset is wrong...at times I felt her head was up it really was pretty level. I need to be less fussy about that and trust her to carry it level on her own. My perception of her speed is dead on - 'too slow' did look too slow, and when I felt her 'too fast', she did look a bit too forward.

Today was an iffy/good ride. We had some moments - sulling in the corner several times and one good balk at the first canter transition. She still is so hard to get her to round to the left and lift that left shoulder up. I was getting it by the end of the ride, but it required going to draw reins to not let her lean on the bit and push on it. I definitely noticed her listening to me at the end of the video - it looked a lot better. Her turns on the forehand to the left are TERRIBLE. To the right she isn't too bad, but to the left she will go about halfway around and then start backing up no matter what I do. The more I did them, the worse it got. I am not sure what to do about that.

I did try one lead change...didn't work so I quit. I don't want to screw this up, and we really had been concentrating on some other things today that I wanted to stick with.

The bending-counterbending looked good on video. She looked a lot more relaxed than I had thought. I did about a 45 minute ride...dang I did a LOT of cantering. I never realized until I sat and watched the entire ride on video. I need to keep track of that.

Showmanship was kind of stinky today. She was pretty dull to the set-up and it was HARD to get her to move her feet tiny increments. Her pivots were nice, though.

frs, then frs/dr

Monday, January 5, 2009 - back-to-work Monday :-[

Corky was pretty quiet today, very little energy (no, I am NOT complaining LOL!). I decided to take a break from the hard training and just have an easy, relaxing ride. We did do some bending (and a bit harder schooling when she sulled a couple times in her usual corner) but for the most part I did a few big circles and just went easy on the rail, only riding for about 20 minutes. It was a pretty good ride! Her turn on the forehand to the left still stinks, but I quit after we finally got a quarter turn that was somewhat accurate. I think she mentally needs days like this occasionally where there is very little pressure, and we just relax and ride. I know I needed it!




Guess the birthdate and gender of Taylor's 2009 foal and win a gift certificate to Art By Rabbit! One guess per person :-]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not much to update here! The arena has been too hard to ride on, and the temps have hovered around 10 degrees and below, so Corky is getting a break. I, of course, am not since the stalls still have to be cleaned and maintained. Those wheelbarrows feel twice as heavy when the manure is frozen solid. I am dying for spring.
Here is an update on Taylor's foal pool.

MY guess! April 5 Colt
Courtney March 24 Colt
Cassie March 20 Colt
Lacey Armour March 24 Colt
Jessica March 22 Colt
Joel Moore April 1 Colt
Mandy Dacek March 29 Colt
Meredith Langlois March 20 Colt
Ashley Lapinski April 9 Colt
Lysh March 19 Colt
Samantha B March 19 Colt
Thernora Camillo March 22 Colt
taylor February 17 Colt
Meredith Westbrook March 12 Filly
Eleanor EVELEIGH Jan. 4 Colt
Jen March 28 Filly
Doug April 3 Colt
Becky March 22 Colt
Jen Salls February 21 Filly
Lori B. March 8 Filly
Caitlin Janusz March 10 Colt
Erin Fawcett April 1 Colt
Meghann Miller March 4 Colt
Joanne March 20 Filly
Sheree Sims April 1 Filly
Nikki Owen April 1 Filly
Willie Matthews March 24 Colt
Steph Falck March 27 Colt
Lori March 21 Colt
Amy Sargent March 18 Colt
Ashley Niemann March 5 Colt
Taylor March 7 Colt
Tracey Feril March 26 Filly
Georgia March 25 Filly
Melanie March 17 Colt
Terri March 21 Filly
Sarah Parviz March 29 Colt
stef tetz March 25 Colt
Anndrea Roberts April 12 Colt
Katey April 7 Filly
Amy Olson March 24 Filly
Shirelle Englund March 17 Colt
Peggy February 10 Filly
Laura Cutler April 18 Filly
michelle lyle March 20 Filly
Kristin Flater March 14 Filly
Meredith March 20 Filly
Diana Goss March 10 Colt
Miranda Rabon March 22 Filly
Heidi Banks February 13 Colt
Vicki Morgan March 22 Colt
Alyssa March 14 Colt
ann casto March 7 Colt
barbara stoot March 28 Colt
Sher Grisham March 16 Filly
Sharon March 22 Colt
Tracy April 3 Filly
Paula Hogan March 25 Filly
Jessica April 1 Colt
Raelyne March 24 Colt
Captain Clark March 13 Colt
Jesse Jackson March 26 Filly
Michelle Wenger March 21 Colt
Becky March 30 Colt
Kerry March 14 Filly
Winnie Nemeth March 10 Filly
Kathy Speck April 5 Filly
Michele Gannon March 14 Filly
Jackie Hasser March 17 Colt
Sug March 28 Filly
Kelly March 31
Billie Parsons April 12 Filly

Check back to this chart to see as guess get added! Remember...Taylor was bred on April 15, 2008!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009...more

I took some pictures of Taylor with my phone when I was out cleaning stalls today. She has hit the 'awkward, ugly' stage. She doesn't feel much like running and playing anymore. Her belly is way bigger in person, I think!

It's hard to imagine she still is this beautiful, elegant 17 hand HUS mare...she sure doesn't look it anymore!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finally...after weeks of waiting, the stars and moon aligned! I got out of work at 5pm and had no other rehearsal or evening game, the temperatures rose to the freezing mark, and the arena was freshly worked up...so I rode!

Corky and Taylor had already had their turnout by the time I arrived at the barn. I put Corky on the longe line and she was dead, so I went ahead and hopped on (I used my nifty new plush work pad I bought last week). Man did she feel weird under saddle. I asked Janet twice to watch us at the trot and canter. Janet saw nothing obvious wrong, no short-stepping or lameness. She was very very stiff and seemed a bit quicker underneath than normal. I did a lot of long trotting and she never did loosen up. On the plus side, she was VERY well-behaved after having such a long break from work. She was very good to the leg yields and didn't fight my leg pressure. She did balk twice at the canter, and I really had to force her to keep going. It was an odd feeling having to ride her and push her every stride. I have never had to do that before. I got off after about 20 minutes. Even though she looked OK, she just didn't feel fluid or energetic, and I didn't want to risk in case something was wrong. Yes, it's paranoia time! Things have been going way too smoothly for us. I am looking for our next disaster.

February 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It was a horrible week of weather, but today it actually reached the upper 30's so I finally got to ride again. Corky rode great for me. She was very willing, and her transitions were very clean (no balking...yea!). I think her biggest issue is that she is a bit FAT and out of shape. After 2 rounds at the canter she was huffing and puffing, and her legs got sloppy (a little quicker) as she got more tired. That's to be expected, she really hasn't had much work in over a month. I, on the other hand, have been working out diligently, so at least one of us is somewhat fit LOL! She felt better than our last ride last week. I think her fitness level is what is catching my attention.

On Friday, both Corky and Taylor got their vaccinations. Corky is fine, but poor Taylor is miserable. She won't eat and doesn't want to move at all. I am hoping as soon as more of the snow melts and I can get to my trailer, I will get her down to Kentucky pronto, to prepare for foaling. The time is drawing near..less than 2 months to go!

Monday, February 2, 2009 Happy Groundhog's Day...6 more weeks of winter BOOOO!

This morning got off to a stressful start. Taylor completely quit eating and drinking, she hadn't drank any water since early yesterday afternoon. I made an emergency call to my vet, and he went out there to check on her. Those darn vaccinations were hurting! She couldn't bend her neck at all, and did NOT want to move. He gave her a shot of Banamine and some bute paste, checked her temperature (it was 100, so that is pretty normal). When I went out there after work she did look a lot better and was moving around a bit. She drank maybe an inch or two of her bucket. Poor thing She always has such severe reactions to vaccinations.

I rode Corky today again...and once again she was wonderful, even better than yesterday! Her transitions were quiet, she was laid back and relaxed at the canter (allowing me to lift her shoulders without much protest), I even got some decent turns on the forehands out of her. I did a few rollbacks, but did want to push the issue since she is so fat and out of shape. She moved much more fluidly than yesterday...my old horse was back (with a new good attitude!). I am puzzled by her complete willingness to work after so much time off...either:

  1. She is so fat and out of shape that she doesn't have the strength or stamina to fight or disagree
  2. She is finally growing up and realizing that it is easier to be good
I am hoping for the latter! We shall see!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nothing much to report other than Taylor is fine, and Corky is RAGING in heat today. I am talking a full-out, ground-drenching heat cycle. Yuck.

Friday, February 6, 2009

OK, now I am a little worried. Taylor presented her butt to me for scratching like she does every day, and I found a bunch of fresh blood on the underside of her tail. It was still wet and sticky. Where in the world did that come from? Oh boy...please don't let there be a problem....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Woo-hoo, it reached the mid-40's today! Finally the snow is beginning to melt. This morning Taylor and Corky had a farrier appointment (note to self: Corky's angles are 53 in front, 55 in back). Corky still had some abscesses forming, especially under the shoe. She is on Source supplement which is an iodine supplement recommended to me to try and prevent recurring abscesses. They were better, but still not completely clear. Maybe by her next trimming it will have been in her system long enough to make a difference.

Corky was FULL of energy with the big temperature change. I watched the baby move in Taylor while she was having her feet trimmed, it was so cool! She is actually starting to get a little puffy around her udders.

Only a horseperson would take photos of a mare's udders LOL! I want to keep track of what they look like at the different stages of her pregnancy so I will know more what to expect next year.

Today I finally made Taylor an official broodmare. I took her tail down out of the three-piece tail tube, conditioned it, and left it loose. It was a sad day. I finally am accepting the fact that she is indeed a broodmare now and not a show horse anymore.

I cut off about 5 inches of hair, right above her ankle, and let it go. I am planning to take her back to Kentucky to prepare for foaling on Tuesday.

Corky was wound up, so I let her run around the arena for a while before riding. She rode fantastic again today! I am a little spooked by all these good rides in a row! She has been getting much better at allowing me to rate the speed of her canter. This is something I really wanted to work on this winter, because I think this is what often hurt us in our classes. Her turns on the forehand stunk, but I didn't make a big deal about it because she did move right off my leg. Next I need to work a little more on her trot-to-canter transition because she really likes to surge into the canter. I am getting pretty excited about show season. Maybe our hard work this winter will pay off!!! I am hoping to schedule a lesson this weekend if the weather is decent.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another semi-warm day (40 degrees!). Corky was great again today. I am wondering who came and stole my horse and replaced her with this nice, willing mare!!! Today we tried to stay off the rail a bunch, did a lot of circles and figure-8s at the trot and canter. I worked a little on lateral moves (sidepassing) and our turns on the forehand and haunches. They still aren't great, but I figured I would touch on them every day for just a minute or two rather than drill them hard, and see if she gets better gradually. I pushed her into an extended trot (which was really cool and pretty) and then asked her to back down to a working trot, which she did fine but then kept wanting to surge forward again into the extended trot.

The one thing I MUST remember this year is to not correct her too quickly. I think that was part of my problem last year - the minute she did something wrong or lifted her head out of frame I corrected her. I found recently that if I give her a stride or two she corrects herself on her own, and stays a LOT more relaxed. I need to stop being such a darn perfectionist and let her fix her mistakes, and only correct her if she doesn't fix them quickly. Quite possibly that is the reason for her improved work ethic - I am letting her have a little bit control and letting her discipline herself in a way.

We did a little showmanship today. She started stopping crooked (swinging her hip slightly sideways at the stop) which she has NEVER done before, so I need to nip this in the bud. We had a little more trouble with our setups, she kept wanting to step sideways instead of moving her foot forwards or backwards. She was also lazy on her pivots, let her foot lift and move right at the end of each pivot. I'll have to do some more work at this to make her more consistent.

I swear, Taylor's udders feel bigger today than they did yesterday!


Monday, February 9, 2009

I had another great ride. I tested my theory and sure enough, Corky made most of her own corrections. I did some half-passes at the trot, counterbending at the trot, and even a little counter-cantering and hand-galloping. I worked a bit on the walk to canter transitions to keep her more rounded when she pushes off. She was so darn good, I hopped off and hugged her after 30 minutes. I love this horse.

frs, dr

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today I hauled Taylor to the breeding farm to get ready to foal. She is due in a little over a month! Today was a nice day, pretty warm (around 50 degrees), a little off-and-on rainy but not bad. Her stall at the farm is MASSIVE. This is such a nice place. The farm manager really cares about the horses, and it's very private (only a handful of mares go there for breeding or foaling). Taylor, of course, settled right in. She never had a problem with new places, probably from all that hauling and showing she has done since she was a yearling. Gotta like that! So now...I wait.....

Funny...I stopped at Waffle House in Kentucky for dinner after I dropped Taylor off (yes, I enjoy waffles for supper LOL!). I was wearing my boots I always wear, with my English spurs attached (the ones I ride Corky in):

Some woman stopped me and said "You don't RIDE in those spurs, do you?" Then she proceeded to tell me how horrible and cruel spurs are, how abusive, yada yada. It was weird! I couldn't get away! Geeze, you can't get much milder than these spurs! Takes all kinds, I guess.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flood warning for our county, but it was in the 50's so I don't mind! Tomorrow it's back to the 20's and snow...back to reality. Corky had a bit more energy and was a bit more forward today. I had to do more correction, but the good thing is she listened to me and did what I asked! Our turns on the forehand were HORRIBLE today. I don't know why, but she really resisted my leg pressure, and then bent herself in a pretzel on the turn and really didn't come close to keeping a front foot planted in either direction. I am not sure what to do about this, her forehand pivots aren't improving. Hmmmm....

Today was worming day - with generic Zimecterin. Exciting :-]


FRIDAY THE 13TH of February, 2009

For a 'bad luck' day, mine was pretty good! I rode Corky after work, worked a lot on lateral movements and just getting her loosened up in the front end. We did several rollbacks - she is awesome at them now! It is so cool to swing around at the pivot and feel her lift and PUSH off with her hind end into the canter. It's so powerful! My friend showed up to ride her horse about 3/4 through my ride. Corky was VERY interested in the strange horse in the arena, but not nearly as distracted as I had anticipated. She behaved and listened to me, but she suddenly turned 'on' and became a lot more forward. This is an issue I knew I would have trouble with this year since I ride alone every day, day after day. Since she is not in a training barn, she is not getting ridden or exposed to other horses during our rides.

Her turns on the forehand STUNK. No progress there! Overall it was a very good ride. She really was pushing and floating today. It felt great!

I came home to find that Taylor's white papers finally arrived! I had forgotten to send in her ROM records...oh, for over a year now! I got them back just in time, because her baby will now be born with white papers! The new AQHA papers are nice, but I had no idea they were going to take one of the crummy photos I sent in of her to use as a permanent photo on her papers. I need to send Corky's in next, I hope they use one of the few good photos I have of her.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Today I rode without longeing. Corky was extremely stiff under saddle. I think the longeing is really important for her just to loosen up before carrying my weight. I'll probably not hop on without some sort of warm-up again. I did a lot of bending and counterbending at the walk and the trot to free up her shoulders. Today she wasn't as willing to do as I asked. She was seriously dropping her left shoulder in the corners. She was also very forward and was back to her old habit of rushing out of the corners (especially the one nearest her stall). This was VERY frustrating because I feel like I completely lost my 'handle' I worked so hard to put on her. I asked her to back off and lift and she flat out ignored me. Needless to say, I didn't let her get away with it and we had a slight battle (not a huge one, but enough to make the point stick). I am not overly upset...we have had great ride after great ride for the past few months so I can't expect perfection every single ride!

My back still aches a little bit from stacking hay on Saturday. I got in 25 bales of hay (on Feb. 14), along with the 3 I had remaining. I am curious to see how ling this hay lasts with only having one horse at home. It's kind of icky grassy hay. Taylor is the lucky one - she is being spoiled in Kentucky with some rich, green, pure alfalfa.


March 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The arena has been too hard and dusty to ride in the past few weeks, so today I hauled over to a friend's arena to ride. Overall, Corky was pretty good, but she was VERY forward. I spent a lot of the time trying to get her to settle under control and not surge ahead and pick her own fast pace. This worries me - this has been something I have worked on all winter and thought we had made progress, but the last two rides (my last ride was 2 weeks ago) were very forward and reminiscent of last year's problems. I will say she was pretty happy and seemed to enjoy the ride in the nice big arena, she traveled with her ears up or relaxed, and actually didn't seem too worried (other than a time or two) of the other horse being ridden in the arena.

I did some rollbacks, transitions, and worked a lot on cantering and holding her shoulder up and staying under control. I rode an hour. I was just finishing up my ride and was going to end it with some trotting figure-8's when all of a sudden she started limping. It seemed to be her right front leg. I immediately got off and checked her tendons - they both felt cool and tight. The lameness was so sudden I don't know what it was - maybe an abscess?

When I got home, I trotted her across the arena by hand and she seemed fine. Darn horses!

frs, dr

Monday, March 2, 2009

Today I free-longed Corky and she looked 100%, no limping at all. She was pretty tired from yesterday. I am going to give her a couple days off and ride her again on Wednesday

Taylor is doing well, and developing more of a bag! I am going to visit her on Saturday. I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yay, the arena was watered and dragged! I free longed Corky first, and she had a great burst of energy while I stood there in the center and watched her run like mad in circles around me. She is usually pretty good at letting me know when she is done with her playing, and when she was finished, I saddled up and rode.

She rode pretty good today, though had some forward moments. I worked a lot today on asking her to back off on her speed, and then letting her go and asking her to hold her pace. She started doing a lot better by the end of the ride. I just need to be more patient...isn't that the mantra I keep repeating to myself every day? Lord give me patience, I am sorely lacking!!!! We did a lot of circles and figure-8's. She started really speeding up when I went into a circle, and I am not sure why. I did a lot of them to try to make them no big deal. Her turns on the forehand were improved today - her turn to the right was actually pretty acceptable! The turn to the left was still kind of stinky, but we had moments where she left her foot planted and swung her hip around.

I feel like we are really ready to show. The biggest problem is that it is March already, and Corky has about 2 inches of long hair and is not losing a single hair yet. I am worried about her lack of shedding, by now she should be starting to lose a little hair!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

This morning I went to visit Taylor in Kentucky at the breeding farm. It was a surprisingly gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree day...an anomaly for March! She has gotten SO big in the past 2 weeks! Today is day 326 of her pregnancy. As soon as I walked up to the fence, she came running to me! It was neat to see how happy she was to see me. I scratched her in all her favorite spots, and spent some time talking to her and ORDERING her to wait until at least 3 weeks from today to give birth, because March 22-27 I will be in Florida with the marching band. It will KILL me if she gives birth during that week and I cannot get down there to see her!!!! Hold out an extra week, Taylor...PLEASE!

She wasn't bagged up much, just a little more than 3 weeks ago. No wax yet, but her belly has dropped significantly lower. Here are a few pictures:

I went out to ride Corky when I got back home. I have a lesson scheduled tomorrow! She was FULL of energy, but she behaved and did what I asked. I only rode for about 25 minutes, and did some free-longing to let her buck and play. I am excited to have someone check my progress and let m,e know if I have been on the right track. It's terrible riding alone day after day with no feedback.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It was decently warm today (60 degrees) but a flooding rain all day long (until we left town). I hauled with a friend for a lesson today. Corky was excellent! She really did well. I was excited to be able to show off all of my hard work. Darla was pleased with our results. It felt GREAT to get some positive feedback! I think Corky just seems happier being at home with me, getting daily turnout and a bit less work than when she was in full time training. I really am anxious to hit a show and see if our new learning stays in place with the crazy show atmosphere. Unfortunately, Corky STILL isn't losing a single hair. Shed already!!!

I forgot to mention our other big news - Corky's white papers came in the mail on Friday! Yippee! I am feeling proud that the two horses I bred and raised and kept for myself to show have both earned their white papers! I was smart this time and only sent in nice photos of Corky (now that I realize they grab one of the photos to be put permanently on her papers!). Corky's photo on her papers is actually one from when she was a 2 year old, but she is cleaned up and is wearing a tail so she looks presentable (unlike Taylor in her photo on her papers!).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

OK, so I "accidentally" ordered myself a new digital camera. Yes, seriously, it was an accident...I was checking out this brand new model that is waterproof and dirtproof (very important in my life LOL!) and I accidentally clicked the order button. Oh well, it was meant to be, right? I ot it yesterday, so today I went to experiment on some fuzzy winter pics of Corky at the barn. It does take better action shots than my old camera. Here are a smattering of pics:

Getting ready for some self-portraits!

Even in her winter fuzzies, she is elegant!

Not too bad of an action shot, I think!

Can you tell I DO love this horse???!!!???

OK, everyone HAS to take the required 'ugly-nose-in-the-camera' shot, right?

We are having a happy winter! Bring on the show season!

Corky in her spiffy purple blanket

Friday, March 13, 2009

The word from Kentucky is that Taylor is starting to develop some wax!!! WAIT, Taylor...can you hold out another 2 weeks???

Saturday, March 14, 2009 - DAY OF FRUSTRATION

Today I hauled Corky to Springfield. There was an AQHA show going on, and I decided to take the day to school her after the show in the crowds and see how our long winter of riding and training holds out when in a crowd situation. Well...not good. It didn't help that because the arena at home was so hard all week (tractor's broken, darn it!) I couldn't ride her since I rode at my lesson last Sunday. I got to Springfield and they were finishing up on the last few classes, so I longed her outside. She was WILD! She bucked and ran and whinnied a LOT. I let her get all her kicks out until she settled (about 20 minutes or so), then headed inside.

Immediately inside she tensed up. I stood there with ehr for a while, walked her in little circles, and then decided to hop on (with a western saddle, and draw reins!). She started leaping and running sideways. After almost wiping several people out, I jumped off and held her in the center for a bit.

They cleared the show arena, and I took her in there to longe. She settled down fairly quickly, so I hopped on again. I tried to get some trotting dine, but crowds of horses came into the arena, and they started setting up the trail course (which made it even crazier to ride!). She fought me the entire ride, trying to take off running, and bucked when I held her back. I tried to walk and she jigged, I tried to stand in the center and she hoped up in her front end and tried to run backwards. Several times I got off her and held her in the middle (once I even went back outside and longed for 15 minutes - she was DEAD on the longe line outside), hoping she would calm down. This went on for almost 2 hours! Eventually I gave up and rode her outside. We were the only ones out there. She never locked in completely, but she settled enough that I could trot and canter her and get something done.

Overall, it was a miserable experience. I worked SO hard all winter to get her to the point where I could control her speed with my seat and legs, and she was doing so well at home. Today it's like she was an untrained 2 year old, she ignored me completely except to fight me. It's so frustrating...I had such high hopes for 2009 but I see we still have a long way to go. I just wonder if she will ever be able to handle the crowds. I NEED a pony horse, that is the only thing that worked with her. Yeah...like I could afford to keep another riding horse...*sigh*.

I am feeling down tonight, but tomorrow is another day. We are tentatively planning to go to the AQHA show in Wilmington the first weekend of April, but those plans are up in the air...a lot depends on Taylor and her schedule.

*sigh* someone tell me not to completely lose heart! Someone remind me that all my hard work isn't completely in vain. *sigh*.....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I didn't get to ride out of a walk yesterday because the arena was dug way too deep. Today it seemed better on the rail, so I stayed on the rail (and put sports medicine boots on all 4 legs) and worked her lightly. This, of course, was without any longeing. She was a bit forward, but there isn't really anywhere she can go in the indoor. I am not fooling myself thinking I have her broke, I learned the hard way last weekend that it just ain't so! She was very heavy in the French snaffle, but I worked most of the ride in lightening her up and she finally did a bit by the end. It was a decent ride, but I am NOT getting excited anymore until I have some success at a show.

Look at the COOL vest I received from Kerry Bradac, owner of Hot Diggity Joe (daddy of Taylor's foal). Yay for great marketing to us mare owners, I finally feel appreciated!

Friday, March 20, 2009

IT'S A BOY!!!!

Taylor foaled this morning around 1:30am! Can you believe I didn't take my phone with me to bed because I never thought she would go this early? I got the message this morning from the farm manager. It's a colt! Bay, with a blaze and "some socks". I guess the labor and delivery was VERY rough. The baby got stuck and required a lot of pulling. When he was finally out, he wasn't breathing, but Don the farm manager gave him CPR and brought him back. God bless Don! He gave the baby some colostrum to be safe, and this morning he is bounding around the stall (the baby, not Don!). Taylor is a bit beat up, but doing OK. She is very protective of her foal, but does not want to let him nurse (typical maiden) so Don is holding her to let the baby nurse every few hours.

I am beside myself with excitement! I am headed down there tonight! Stay tuned for pictures and more details! Congratulations to Cassie and Meredith, who picked March 20th as the date and COLT as the gender...I will draw a name later and someone will win a GC to Art By Rabbit....:-]

JSaturday, March 21, 2009

Last night I drove down to Kentucky to see Lazlo for the first time. He is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. He is a dark chocolaty bay with 2 socks (right front and left hind) and a white triangle on his right hind that matches Taylor's triangle on her left hind! He is very people-oriented, loves attention. I spent over two hours putting my hands on him, and taking over 250 photos.

Go HERE for more pictures and details!

Friday, March 27, 2009

I got home from Florida this evening - I took the band to Florida to perform at Disney! While I was gone, the vet in Kentucky ultrasounded Taylor on Wednesday evening and found a 47 follicle!!! They went ahead and ordered semen from Thanks For Com En and she was bred Friday evening. According to the vet it looked like she had just ovulated on Friday when they bred her, so hopefully she caught! I am amazed she came into foal heat so early! It was only Day 5 when she was at a 47...weird!

Tomorrow I am headed to see Corky and ride, and Sunday I am visiting Lazlo, so stay tuned for more pictures!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It is so good to be home! Corky STILL isn't shedding, just a few stray hairs and that's it. Ugh...not sure if I will go to the show next weekend with her looking like a shaggy beast. I free-longed her for a bit first, and when I went to tack her up I noticed her left hind leg was swollen in the back from her ankle to her hock. Of course, my first worry was her tendon, but I felt no heat in the tendon and she didn't take a lame step. I went ahead and rode her lightly. She was full of energy. Right near the beginning of the ride she gave me some attitude about my leg and I brought her around and spanked her for it and after that I had zero issues with her. I think she was a bit jolted having to work after her week-and-a-half vacation. She was full of energy, but did listen when I asked her to back off, and was holding her pace fairly well. I worked on really holding her together when I asked her to canter off, and I got some really nice canter transitions from the walk. I need to remember to work more on holding her together and not letting her completely loose for the transition - it is so much nicer and smoother when I make her do it right.

Her leg was still a bit swollen, but a little less (concentrated more on the lower part of her cannon). I put some bleach on the bottom of her hooves. I am out of thrush medicine, and her bottoms of her feet (especially the left hind) are a bit mushy and stinky. Her stall is kept pristine, yet she has always had a tendency towards thrush for some reason.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I went to visit Lazlo today! It was COLD - 39 degrees and spitting snow. He was rambunctious and full of himself in his stall. It was great to see him feeling so strong and secure at only 9 days old. Lazlo is looking a little more upright in his hind pasterns. they are still a little bit dropped, but not nearly as much as they were right after he was born.

Kevin and his "investment"

Lunch time!

I still haven't decided on a registered name for him. It's tough! I want something unique, and not just a generic pairing of the mare and stallion's names. Plus I have the added challenge of getting Kevin to agree to my name choice...we have been discussing names for several days now.

Check out LOTS more pictures of Lazlo at 9 days old!

Monday, March 30, 2009

It was semi-warm and sunny today (around 50 degrees). Corky's left hind leg was swollen hugely from ankle to hock, but she never took a lame step on it and didn't seem sensitive at all to it. I turned her out and let her run and play and about half the swelling went down (though it still stayed puffy closer to the ankle). That foot seems rather thrushy for some reason, so I am thinking the swelling might be coming from that. I did go ahead and ride her since she wasn't the least bit sore. She started off riding good, but then got a little forward and pushy and I had to school her a bit on backing off when I ask for less speed. Her turns on the forehand were actually pretty good, and her turns on the haunches stunk! Corky always manages to change things up and surprise me.

On a good note - she finally started shedding! I was getting worried about that. I remember when she was a yearling she held onto her winter hair all the way through June.

April 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009...April Fool's!

Today I changed things up a bit and put some ground poles down and free-longed her over them. She really stinks at this - she is so flat with her legs that she doesn't bother picking them up at all to go over the poles, so half the time she knocks them all over the place. Oh well...I won't complain about having a super-flat mover!!! She wasn't too bad at the trot, but she couldn't quite figure out how to canter over them...she would split the pole with her hind legs a lot.

Under saddle she did better at the trot (maybe because I was pushing her a little more and she was more forward-moving?). The canter was another story - she REALLY got wound up at the canter when we went over them. I allowed her to hand gallop a little bit, and that probably was a mistake because she gained speed and threw in a couple bucks in the corner. I think she needs more work on the longe before cantering over poles in the saddle.

Other than that, she rode really well for me. She wasn't nearly as pushy and forward as she was on Monday. After I rode, I worked on some showmanship. She has a tendency to to swing her hip at the stop, we need to work on that. She was really slow at the setup today. I think I need to work more on showmanship. I've kind of let it slide for a while, and I need to get it together with her before our first potential show in 2 weeks.

Her left hind leg was only slightly puffy when I got her out of the stall, and by the end of our ride, the puffiness was pretty much all gone. It looks like the mushy thrushy stuff on that foot is mostly cleared up, so I am pretty confident that this was the culprit (I hope!!!!!).

Lazlo and Taylor are coming home the day after Easter!!!!!

frs, dr

Friday, April 3, 2009

Today was a good ride. Corky was a bit heavy and lugging on the bit. Occasionally at the canter she would drop down and lug down hard on the bit, pulling the reins a bit in my hands. I was riding in the fat French ring snaffle, so that was part of the reason. Today's ride was good because although she wasn't perfect, she did respond to every correction I made. I am feeling better about this year. My program might be working. I think it has really helped us to have me riding her all winter, mainly so I can figure out what I need to do to get the results I want.

I am aiming for a show in 2 weeks. We will see if my program is working, or if I am totally deluding myself.


Sunday, April 5, 200

Another good ride today, even better than Friday...Corky was so willing and relaxed (especially at the canter). I did some equitation exercises that I haven't done in quite a while - trotting up-up-sit, and posting one-legged. Corky hates when I do that, because it puts me way off balance and that really offends her. The arena footing was freshly drug and soft, it was wonderful to ride on it. We practiced some showmanship, and although her setups weren't great, her straight lines were a lot better as were her turns. I practiced backing some curves, and she did really well. I don't want to do that very often as she wants to back in a curve naturally. Backing straight is a challenge for us.

frs, dr

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

After unloading and stacking 40 bales of hay by myself yesterday, I was sore and tired, but decided to make myself ride anyways. Corky had other ideas. She was off on her right hind leg (which was the opposite leg from the one that was swollen and puffy last week!). There wasn't any heat or swelling, so I was at a loss as to what was going on. No riding today!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I got out of work at 1:30 today, and decided to take a trip to Kentucky to see Taylor and Lazlo before my jazz rehearsal. On the way, I stopped to check on Corky. Today her right hind was puffy, but on he longe line she was completely sound. I am really confused now!

I spent about 45 minutes with Taylor and Lazlo before having to head to Dayton for my jazz rehearsal. Lazlo has grown so much already! He can't quite fit underneath Taylor anymore. He was still so friendly and curious. It was really hard to get any full-body shots of him as he kept coming up and putting his nose into the camera. I think he liked the flash!

Taylor - still my number-one girl!
See more pictures HERE!

Taylor gets checked tomorrow to see if she is pregnant. Lazlo will also get checked - he has a large swelling that is either a hernia or an infected umbilical stump. This has me worried...but what else is new?

Horses = worry :-]

Friday, April 10, 2009

First thing in the morning I got a call from Kentucky. Taylor is not pregnant (no big surprise there!). She does have a large follicle, and they went ahead and ordered semen to breed her tomorrow and Monday morning. Come on Taylor!!! Lazlo's swelling is not a hernia, but instead it is an infection. He will be on oral antibiotics for 2 weeks (won't THAT be fun to administer!) and hopefully that will clear it up. If not, then it means a trip to the vet hospital for treatment. Say a prayer...that would be terrible! On a good note, they are coming home Monday!!!!

I got Corky out and longed her first thing in the morning. Today BOTH hind ankles were swollen. Janet thinks it might just be weather or spring-related. I went ahead and hauled to my lesson. I was SO glad I did! Corky started off pretty good, but was really crabby and forward at the canter and was very fussy about my leg pressure. She is just too sensitive in her sides and gets very resentful if I have to use any leg on her, which is not good. Darla and Brian decided to have my try longeing her with two small wheelbarrow tired hanging on either side so they banged on her sides. This made her VERY angry, as you can imagine! Once she settled down and accepted it, I rode her again and the improvement was amazing! This is something maybe I need to do to get her accepting to my leg...because my steady leg pressure is sure less annoying than bouncing tires on her sides...and she quickly learned that the calmer and quieter she moved, the less annoying the tires were on her belly.

I am planning our first show for next weekend...should be interesting. I am hauling in by myself. It kind of stinks to show all alone, but I guess ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Taylor and Lazlo came home today! It was a cold and rainy day, but the sun was shining when I arrived in Kentucky. Don (the farm manager) led both Taylor and Lazlo out together and they both walked calmly into the trailer like they've been hauling together their entire lives! Step one was completed...whew!

The haul home was uneventful. I stopped a few times to check on them, and both were traveling quietly. Lazlo never did lay down, he just stood at Taylor's side quietly. I had the rear divider taken out, and the front stud divider tied all the way back, so they had the entire trailer. Taylor was tied up front.

When I arrived at home, it was raining and the front area was muddy. Paula helped me lead the two of them out of the trailer (we turned Taylor around to walk out facing forwards). They walked calmly out and into the indoor and to their stall. It was a piece of cake! I never expected it to be so easy...what a relief!

Lazlo settled in quickly while Taylor munched her food. He certainly seems to love personal attention. I can tell he was a personality and a half, and is very people-oriented. Those babies are the fun ones!!! It was funny - Corky was loose in the indoor arena and she was extremely worried about the baby. It was almost as if she was frightened of Lazlo! I believe this could be the very first baby she has ever seen. Stay tuned...tomorrow I hope to have video of Lazlo's first adventure being turned out in the indoor arena!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I longed and rode Corky today. She spent her first night and day in the regular stall (it's 12 x 12, not exactly small!) instead of the foaling stall which she has lived in for years. Wow, could I tell! She came out of the stall completely stiff as a board. It took a lot of longeing and long-trotting to loosen her up before riding. She rode fairly well today. She didn't seem very happy, I think moving to the smaller stall bothered her a bit. Back to reality, Corky!

frs, dr

After we were done riding, I turned Taylor and Lazlo out in the indoor arena for the first time. They had a lot of fun! Check out the videos!
Lazlo - 3 weeks old!
YouTube video of Lazlo
MPG video of Lazlo
Long MPG video
(you might want to right click/save as to your computer and then watch)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Farrier appointment today! Corky and Taylor got their feet done. Corky had a few small abscesses starting (mainly under her shoes) but it seemed a LOT better from last time. Maybe that new supplement is really working.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today I longed Corky with the wheelbarrow tires attached to the English stirrups. They really annoyed her! She gave a couple huge bucks, and trotted really fast, but other than that she wasn't too bad. I had a GREAT ride on her afterwards...I wonder if this is a good sign? Kevin came out and visited Lazlo. Lazlo is so incredibly friendly, he is easy to handle. I love that. Today Corky got a bath and I braided her in preparation for leaving for our first show of the year tomorrow (in Springfield). I am cautiously optimistic...the show is held in an arena that I have NEVER got a good ride in. Corky hates this place! There is a special event showmanship Friday night I hope to make...first time with the new showmanship halter! Stay tuned...we will see if all my hard work this winter pays off with a good ride or not.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I headed out after work to Springfield to the show. I actually had plenty of time to get ready (for once, I was actually organized!). The special event showmanship started at 7:00pm. The pattern was 'make your own'! Gotta love it! The judge (Marty Jo Hays) specified that we were to do a walk, trot, extended trot, back, and a turn of 180 degrees or more in any order/shape in the pattern. There were two cones - 'A' at the gate, and ahead and to the left 'B' was where the judge stood. This is a perfect pattern for my creative soul LOL! I decided to try to do a difficult pattern to show off what Corky does well. We started facing backwards, and backed around the cone in a semi-circle, then trotted halfway, extended trot to the end. Then we backed (straight) until her hip was even with the cone, did a 270 and walked to the judge. After the inspection, we did a 90 pull turn and walked out. Corky NAILED everything...except the set up. She was so confused at the set up. She kept moving the wrong foot, wrong direction, over and over again. Eventually the judge gave up waiting and started inspecting before I had her set up. That pretty much blew our class. Oh well...she is still very green at the class, and I was happy she nailed the other elements!

I waited until the special event show was done and everyone was done riding, and I rode from around 12:30am-2am. I had the entire arena by myself. I did intermittent longeing and riding, depending on how she was acting. She was very fresh at the canter, and I had to work hard to make her come back to my speed. We had a few battles, but these were normal battles that we sometimes have at home. I was pretty satisfied with having the same horse at the show that I had at home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009 - from the mountaintop to the valley :-[

I got up in the morning after a few hours nap (in my FREEZING cold trailer - I was NOT paying $25 to plug in for 4 hours so I froze in the 30 degree temps!) and got ready for showmanship. This time we actually had a 'real' pattern, and this time Corky nailed her setup. Unfortunately she slid a foot out of her pivot, and I misjudged the back and stopped and had to then back another step to be lined up...pilot error! We didn't place (there were 17 in the class), but it was a good learning experience.

I entered Open Performance Halter Mares, once again I was the only one in the class. Corky is 2 for 2, undefeated in performance halter, but has yet to beat a horse LOL!

After halter I longed her outside for about 15 or 20 minutes, she was completely calm and relaxed. My plan was to skip the warm-up pen entirely. I waited until the class before mine was called, and then walked her up to the arena and stood outside of the arena in the cement isleway until my class actually entered the ring. I literally hoped on and rode right into the show pen. It was a very good plan! Corky had ZERO issues with the crowds or other horses. Our Junior HUS class wasn't very good mainly because she was WAY too fresh (the downside of doing NO warmup). I ended up schooling her most of the class and making her come back at the canter and listen to me. She did fairly well, but I was having to check her every 3 or 4 strides so it wasn't pretty. It was a good training lesson for her.

There were quite a few classes between Junior and Amateur HUS so I took her back to her stall. I followed the same routine for the amateur class - just hopped on and went in. This was a much better class. Our first canter was really good, second one got a little forward and I had to check her hard a few times (one judge caught me). I ended up placing second under one judge! I was THRILLED - my plan seemed to work! Placing 2nd for our first show since October is awesome! I feel really good that I figured out a program at home that hopefully would work and it seemed to pan out. Yay!

Later Saturday, April 18, 2009

On my drive home from the show, I received a call from Janet (the barn owner) mentioning that Lazlo seemed to be laying down an awful lot today. When I got home I checked him, and he just didn't seem to want to get up. We took his temperature, and he was at 102 - pretty high. He got up a couple times to nurse, but then just layed right back down. I called out my emergency vet, who came about an hour later. We were worried about the infection in his umbilical stump that we have been treating, so he got his ultrasound machine and ultrasounded the stump area. It seemed pretty inflamed on the inside. Dr. Kline put in a catheter in his neck to administer some stronger antibiotics. In the course of all this, Lazlo was fighting us as we held him down...at one point he kicked me hard enough in the shin to form a lump! But as the evening went on he got weaker and weaker, until Dr. Kline decided our best bet would be to take him to the OSU Veterinary Hospital to have them check the infection. So once again I took the divider out of the trailer, loaded Taylor and Lazlo up, and headed to OSU.

The emergency team was there waiting for us when we arrived. They determined that his umbilical stump was still very infected, and they decided that the best treatment would be to surgically remove the infection. Surgery would also allow them to see how far internally the infection had spread, and whether it had infected any major organs. They felt it had probably already infected his bladder, because he was urinating frequently. Dr. Hurcombe at OSU decided we would wait a day or two and treat him with strong antibiotics before attempting surgery.

My friend Barb drove to Columbus from Dayton to be with me, and we went to her parents' house to spend the night. What a good friend she is! It was a relief not to have to be alone for all of this.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The surgeon called me first thing in the morning to report that Lazlo's limbs were stiffening, which was a sign of tetanus. He felt we had to do surgery immediately, and I okayed it. I told him I was sparing no expense to save him! The surgery started at 11am, and was supposed to last 2 hours. It ended up lasting FIVE. Dr. Hurcombe reported that the infection was a lot bigger than anticipated. A small section of his bowel had to be removed and resectioned, but thankfully the infection had not reached his liver or any other major organs. Our number one worry was the tetanus - it was throughout the body and the only thing we could do at this point was to treat him with strong antibiotics and hope his body would fight off the tetanus. He was out of surgery around 4pm, and I went to visit him in recovery.

He was pretty alert when I arrived, and was struggling to get up. I sat with him in the stall for the next 3 hours, holding him still and petting him. He had a feeding tube inserted in his nose, and Taylor was being milked every 2 hours and her milk was fed to him. Everything looked good after the surgery, and the surgeon felt that the surgery had been successful. This would be a long recovery, a long expensive recovery, but it was worth every penny.

I left OSU around 8pm, since I had to work the next day. I was home for about 20 minutes when I received the call that Lazlo had passed away. The tetanus took control of his body, and started paralyzing his lungs, and he stopped breathing. I am devastated. Completely heartbroken. I cannot even describe what I am feeling. I sit here and type this two days later and still cannot believe it, nor understand why this happened. Why me? Why do I lose two babies in a row, two "Joe" babies? I took premium care of them, I spared no expense to make sure they had a healthy start in life, and I was willing to spare no expense to save him, but in the end it didn't matter. My hopes and dreams are completely gone, along with my bank account. I am finding it hard to cope, because I can't think about it without crying. I am sure God has a plan for this and a reason, but for the life of me I cannot understand it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Today would have been Lazlo's one month birthday. I took the day off from work. I haven't slept in 2 days, and I cannot hold myself together for more than a few minutes. Kevin and I drove to OSU in the afternoon to pick up Taylor. She was standing in her stall with her head hanging down. I have never seen a horse so depressed. I went in her stall, and she pushed her head into my chest and we just stood there together. She and I feel the same. I loaded her into my trailer, then sat in the parking lot and cried.

Thank you to everyone for your notes, e-mails, and texts. I am having a hard time responding, because I cannot hold myself together...but please know that it is all appreciated.

Thank you for making the ribbon, Jamie.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I held myself together for work today (OK, so I cried a little at lunch..shhhh, don't tell!). When I got to the barn, Taylor still looked rather low. I turned her out in the indoor arena. Corky was rearing and jumping around in her stall wanting out, so I led her to the gate to turn her out with Taylor. Interestingly, instead of tearing around the arena, Corky walked sedately up to Taylor. They touched noses, and instead of fighting and chasing each other (which is what they usually do), Corky reached over and started grooming Taylor's withers. Taylor then started grooming her back. When I left the barn (8 wheelbarrow loaded of manure later, they were still standing there grooming each other. Corky might be the best therapy for Taylor. I wish it were that simple for me. I am trying hard not to think about the future. I called AQHA today and cancelled Lazlo's registration. I wonder if they will refund my money? I threw away my NSBA BCF nomination forms, my Tom Powers information, and other futurity forms. Not gonna need those, I guess. When I have the guts, I will put my favorite photo I had printed of Lazlo and myself in a frame for my desk, but right now I can't look at it.

Tomorrow is another day, I think.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Yep...another day.

Taylor acted a lot more normal today. She was eager to get out and run in the arena, and kicked out at Corky (which means she really is back to normal!). She is so full of milk, I feel so bad for her. She kept siding up to me like she wanted me to milk her. I guess she got used to the OSU vet techs milking her every 2 hours. I hope she dries up soon. I took her temperature, and it was 98.7...whew, it's normal! It conditioned and put her tail up in the tube. She's not technically a broodmare anymore, and I had the thought late last night that maybe I should un-retire her? I suppose I need to have the vet out to check her next week to see if she is pregnant. I highly doubt she is. I think they bred her too early (she still seemed to be in heat when I picked her up last week), plus with all the stress of the past weekend I can't imagine she'd hold on to an embryo. then comes the big decision as to what to do. Do I eat the stud fee I've already paid, and give up? Or do I go farther into debt by trying one more time? Decisions, decisions. My heart hurts too much right now to even think about this.

I rode Corky tonight...time to try and get back to some semblance of normalcy. She was her usual self - good at times, bad at times. I only rode for about 15 or 20 minutes. She didn't want to sit back and settle at the canter today...probably because she hasn't been ridden or worked since the show last Saturday. I think I might haul to an open show and work on her canter a bit...cheaper to pay $4 to school than 24, and we need some work before hitting any more expensive shows. I want consistency, dangit!!! Her showmanship was really good tonight, go figure. She sets up really quick when she is bored in her own home arena.

The Congress schedule is up for 2009. All of my potential classes are on dates that I can do. My brain is whirling...I am thinking, thinking, thinking. I need something to focus on, something in the future to work towards.

Sunday, April 26, 2009...a day of "Corky Therapy"

Yesterday I spent a long day at the barn cleaning stalls (they were AWFUL), riding Corky (She was AWESOME!), washing Corky (she was DIRTY!) and braiding (an especially yucky braid job - I give it a D+). Today I got up early and headed to an open show in St. Marys, a mere 15 miles from the barn (what luxury!).

We first did 2 showmanship classes. Corky was spot-on with both of her classes, she even set up immediately (shock of all shocks!). We ended up winning both showmanships, and I was VERY happy with how she did. the judge even complimented me on my 'nice braid job'...go figure!

I decided to stick with my original program that worked last weekend at Springfield, and I did NOT ride her during the lunch break. I did longe her lightly, but she was dead and I couldn't keep her moving without a whip so I stopped. It was in the mid-80's and sunny...extremely hot for this time of year! Our first HUS class went really well. I didn't even have to get after her at the canter, she stayed so relaxed. We had one small incident at the end o the second canter when someone came up cantering behind us and she let her horse put his nose practically on Corky's hip. She jumped a little and I had to battle with her, but they immediately called for a walk so we were OK. We won that class, and we won the next one! I did have to set her down pretty hard at the canter second direction in the second class, but the judge must have forgiven it. It was a great day of "Corky Therapy". I teared up a couple times when friends asked about Lazlo, but overall it was wonderful being out in the sunshine with Corky and enjoying the day wih friends. I came home feeling renewed and more hopeful for the future.

Taylor's temperature has been normal, but her udders are still full of milk. I put her on the longe line yesterday, and she looked absolutely fantastic! I swear, she looked like she could go to a show tomorrow. She only has a slight belly on her, and she looked so slow-legged and flat...I really started thinking. Maybe if she isn't pregnant, I will un-retire her? I am thinking I will try once more for this breeding if she isn't pregnant (we find out Thursday!) and if she doesn't take, then I might try to put a few more senior HUS points on her, and maybe let a friend show her a bit with a novice permit. It's something to think about...I think she really enjoyed being put back to work on the longe line. I know she misses being fussed over and braided...she is such a girl and loves that part of showing.

Thursday, April 30, 2009 - morning

I don't have much to update today, other than to mention that Taylor gets checked this afternoon to see if she is pregnant. I honestly feel she is not (though I think I am due for a miracle!). The vet down south, in all his infinite wisdom, cultured Taylor after he bred her the second time, and of course the culture came back positive, so now if she isn't pregnant I will have to have her treated here by my vet. I am not sure why he didn't culture her first. He wouldn't have even taken that culture if I hadn't insisted. Go figure...we are all at the mercy of the professionals we hire. We hope they are giving us sound advice and leading us the right way, but who knows anymore? I seem to have lost faith in pretty much everything horse-related. This afternoon, when I find out officially that she isn't pregnant, I have to make the decision to breed again or not to breed. I will be mulling it over in my mind all day today. What makes me the angriest at myself is that I still hold this tiny sliver of hope inside me that maybe she really is pregnant, and I will be full of optimism again. I know she isn't pregnant, she shows signs of being in heat, her culture was dirty, and I think the vet ordered the semen a few days too early, so I am almost positive she didn't take...yet that tiny corner of me is thinking "maybe, just maybe...". If you hear an odd thunking noise coming from your computer, it's just me banging my head against my monitor.

Stay tuned...I'll update you tonight on what the vet finds (or doesn't find).

Thursday, April 30 - evening

Well, Taylor is NOT pregnant. No big surprise. I KNEW she wouldn't be, so why am I so bummed and depressed about it? She doesn't even have a follicle developing. My vet thinks she probably just ovulated, which means she has been cycling on a 2-week schedule instead of the usual 3 weeks. Today we infused her with ampicillan, and will do it again on Monday morning. I have some decisions to make this weekend... :-[

I think it's time to start a new page for my riding/training/breeding diary. It's May 1...and supposedly it is spring!

Click HERE for Page 2!