Tales of Corky's 4yo training and showing year, and Taylor's last year of showing and first time breeding

Page 1

January 1, 2008- April 27, 2008

Check out PAGE 2 of our 2008 riding/training/breeding diary!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Today the temperatures finally rose above freezing, so I longed and rode Corky. Looking back, I rode her just 5 days ago and she was incredible. Today...NOT SO! Where did this wicked horse come from? The trot started off good, but as soon as I asked for the canter, she flung her head up in the air and ran backwards. This happened over and over again, crashing me into the walls and about tossing me off. Oh how I wish I had a western work saddle! I ended up getting off her and longeing her with the draws - she trotted fine but when I asked for the canter she flung her head up and hit the draws and started leaping backwards. I forced her forward from the ground, and when she finally did canter off it was nice. She tried several more times while cantering to fling her head up but was hitting the draws and punishing herself.

Finally, I got back on (with a plain snaffle bit and no draws or training fork) and worked her at a walk in small circles, asking her to bend and drop low and give her head (thanks to Randy for these suggestions!). It was quite a battle when I did ask her to canter off, and I did so from a trot...trotting her and then making her round up and give, and then canter from a trot. After about 90 minutes of battle we finally got together and she cantered off from a walk for me both directions. By this time my legs were shaky and she was very sweaty.

I am totally lost as to what brought this on. It's not a pain issue, it is a training/attitude issue. When she finally did canter off for me, it was beautiful and soft and rounded...this whole battle was a test of wills. It just took me by complete surprise since I had such a GREAT ride the last time I rode her. Oh horses...always something!

Tomorrow morning she gets her feet done and we will ride again. his coming weekend I am hauling her to Stacey's for a weekend of lessons, so we will see if this is an ongoing problem or just a really bad day for us.

I wonder if she was coming into heat today? Hmmm...I will have to see if I notated her last heat cycle in her training diary last month.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Both Corky and Taylor got their feet done this morning (8am on a Sunday...ugh!). Right now I only have front shoes on Taylor, but Corky is shod all the way around. The angle of her right hind foot was slightly off, which possibly is the reason why she started hitting her ankles again.

After the farrier appointment, I was ready to do battle...um...I mean ride Corky again today! I longed her first with the side reins. think maybe twice she threw her head up and tried to stop on the longe line, but hit the side reins and it forced her to drop back down and keep moving. After about 10-15 minutes of longeing I got on and rode. It started off well, I walked half a lap and then asked her to canter off to the left immediately, which was good. Yes!!! Twice in the ride she flung her head up and tried to stop - once at the canter (to the right) and once at the trot. Both times her punishment was to be forced into a small forward-moving circle with her nose to my knee, forcing her to give to the bit. When she relaxed her neck and quit fighting both directions, we straightened up and went on, and both times she went on perfectly without a fuss.

Several more times throughout the ride I felt her start to elevate like she was thinking about flinging her head and stopping, but thought better of it and kept on. I praised her heavily for her good decision-making!

I quit after about 25 minutes of riding...I know she has to be a bit tired after our long battle yesterday. I feel a lot better today, I think we are working through this problem the way it should be done (yea, problem-solving all by myself!). I will ride her again tomorrow, and then she will have Tuesday and Wednesday off (due to long work commitments in the evening). Hopefully I will ride one more time on Thursday, and then head to Kentucky on Friday for a weekend of lessons with Stacey.

On a side note: we practiced a little bit of showmanship today. I got her to set up square on my first two tries! Then we had some problems, but I feel pretty good since she actually did it for me. Her pivot is very accurate - slow, but accurate. She is getting the hang of the pull turn also. I need to work on keeping her body straight at the back. I really hope she can get the hang of this. I love showmanship, and would hate to have to give it up once Taylor retires.

Once more side note, Taylor was in heat today which means Corky is due to go in heat probably Wednesday? I wonder if her 'issue' is because of PMS? I can't believe both of my mares are still cycling in January. Hopefully Taylor will stay regular all winter so we can breed right away in March.

Monday, January 7, 2008

It was 60 degrees today - a new record high for this date in our area. Perfect day for riding.

Well, Corky is making progress, but the problem ain't licked yet! She tried the flipping/stopping thing twice. The first time I did the usual - pulled her in a small forward circle both directions and then went on. The second time she was already anticipating stopping and circling, and it made me think "Hold on, there!". Instead of stopping her I put my leg into her and forced her forward continuing at the canter, even with her head virtually in my lap and chopping her stride trying to balk. After about 5-6 strides she gave in and dropped her head and cantered on. Hmmmm...something to consider - making her keep going and skipping the punishment...maybe I need to make less of a big deal about this (even though it is a bit scary and a HUGE deal for me) and make her go on with business as usual.

I longed Taylor for a little bit when I was done with Corky. Taylor starts off looking SO awful, but once she warms up she actually is looking more and more like her old, flowing, pretty self. I was a bit worried that she would never come back off of her extended vacation, but even with the short amount of regular longeing I have been doing, she is improving. I REALLY need to find the time to actually ride her one of these days!

Corky (and Taylor) will get Tuesday and Wednesday off, and hopefully I will ride again Thursday. On Friday, Corky and I will head south to Kentucky for a weekend of lessons with Stacey, and hopefully she will have some good insight into our new issues.

On a side note...Taylor is booked to breed to Hot Diggity Joe, who will be standing in Kentucky this year. He is burning up the shows down south right now, winning not only in Hunter Under Saddle, but Western Pleasure, Pleasure Driving, Hunter Hack, and Performance Halter Stallions. This cross is going to be very exciting! Keep your fingers crossed for a DARK baby!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I had a great weekend. I didn't get to Stacey's until about 11:30pm Friday night. I rode Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. Corky was chargey and full of herself in the morning, but settled down by afternoon. She started flipping her head again, and Stacey rode her and discovered what I did - that she flipped her head when you threw the reins away and had very little contact on the bit. Well Stacey felt all over her mouth like I did and found no sharp points. But then she found in her gumline in that gap between her front teeth and back teeth two hard bumps = her 4yo canines were coming in and had not broken through the skin yet but were very close. AHA! That explains a lot! I tend to ride with my bit a little lower than normal. When I was taking up contact, the bit was riding farther back in her mouth but when I released contact, the bit came forward in that gap and hit her gums where the canines were coming in, causing her pain. I feel SO stupid! I thought it was all just bad attitude on her part, since I had felt all her teeth and didn't find a problem. What a relief to have an explanation for her bad behavior.

I rode again this morning, and we raised the bit up a hole and rode in the plain fat ring snaffle. She never flipped her head once! In fact, I had an incredible awesome ride today. Stacey was very happy with how she was going, so I haven't screwed her up LOL! She is having me do some small corrections to clean up and lighten her front end a bit, and taught me a new way to regulate the tempo of her canter by delaying my seat against her back and hips. It's kind of hard to explain, but it was really cool how it worked. But for this exercise I need a western saddle. Once again Stacey is after me to ride in a western saddle occasionally so I can use my seat better. Crap, so I HAVE to go work-saddle hunting. I need one with a narrow tree that will sit high enough on her back to clear her withers, which mine does not. Looks like next weekend I may be hitting Rods' and Keith's saddle shop.

Stacey got on Corky yesterday and we decided to have her try some flying lead changes. It was so exciting, Corky took to them like a total natural, she changed from back to front in the correct manner and stayed so flat while doing it...she did fart a lot each time she changed leads, though! She is such a gassy horse. We are not going to push the lead change until next year. I want her 100% solid before trying it, and I am totally going to leave it up to Stacey. Things are getting exciting! I can't wait to show!!!!

Oh yes, I measured Corky yesterday. She is a solid 17 hands at the withers, and 17' 1/8" at the hip. Holding steady!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Both Corky and Taylor got ridden today! They were both very wound up, so they got a good longeing session individually. Corky rode fantastic. She was very light and responsive. I am just riding her in the pain French ring snaffle. We had no issues with her head tossing, so raising the bit up a hole must have done the trick.

Taylor is so terribly fat and out of shape. I am wondering if she will make it back for another show season. It will take a lot of work to get her ready. I am not going to show her unless she returns back to her awesome form she had last year. I keep reminding myself to be patient...she has only been ridden about 3-4 times since September, so being out of shape is to be expected. When she is out of shape, she looks terrible. My mission is to get her fit again and then evaluate her movement and see if it comes back to where it was a year ago.

Next on the agenda is to book a breeding farm to take Taylor in March or April for breeding. I am scared to make this decision because her care is of utmost importance to me...I wish I could visit these places first before booking but there just isn't any time.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Corky was not quite as good today - she was VERY energetic and forward. We did get some things accomplished, mainly making her work when she really didn't think she should LOL!

Taylor got worked again today by a friend of mine. I decided to try ponying Corky off of Taylor. This will be a handy skill to have at the shows this summer when time is at a premium. Corky went along like it was old hat, which it is to her after being ponied every day at Congress. Taylor was not quite so relaxed about it. She didn't know what to make of Corky trotting along right at her hip. Of course it didn't help that Taylor doesn't neck rein, so steering her was a bit tricky. Overall it went rather well, we trotted around the arena a few times and all went smoothly. This might be a good skill to keep up with.

I just love how even after a long, tough ride, when I unsaddle Corky and turn her loose in the arena she still likes to come follow me and stand where I am at and get some attention. It's nice to be wanted!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's a whopping 8 degrees today. No riding for me! I went to clean stalls, and decided to free longe Taylor and Corky for a little bit just to loosen them up. I didn't want to actually work them because I didn't want anyone breaking a sweat in these frigid temperatures. Of course they decided that today was a day to run like crazy horses around the arena, bucking and carrying on. Taylor actually looked pretty good today. Maybe actually being worked two days last week really helped her. Tomorrow it is staying in the single digits, so no riding again for me :-[

Friday, January 25, 2008

The temperatures finally rose above the teens so I could ride. Corky rode pretty good. She had moments where she wanted to really surge at the canter, but we worked on that and I ended the session with a really nice canter. She was really grumpy today, was pretty angry every time Taylor passed her closely. I will ride her again tomorrow and see if her mood improves. Taylor looked good today when my friend rode her. She loosened up a bit quicker than normal. The arena ground was really hard so hat didn't help her movement much, tomorrow hopefully the ground will be worked up and I can see more of where she is at.

Great news! I sent Taylor's hair in to UC Davis to have the DNA tested to see what color genes she has. She is EE Aa - meaning she is homozygous for black and cannot throw any red (sorrel) foals! Happy dance here! That means (if I did the calculator right) that we have a 75 chance of a bay foal when breeding to Hot Diggity Joe and a 25% chance of black. How cool would that be? I hope the baby comes out with a bunch of white. I like white markings.

I am anxiously waiting for Taylor's next heat cycle to start the ball rolling. So much to do...so little time!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I had a pretty good ride today! I decided to change bits just to lighten her and 'wake her mouth up'. I put a large twisted ring snaffle. It sat in the same place that the regular French snaffle sat, yet I felt her right from the start trying to fling her head a little bit as if it bothered her. I got off after about 3 rounds and changed back the the French snaffle and she was fine the rest of the ride. Very odd how that happened. he hasn't had an issue with her head in 2 weeks - since we raised the bit up at Stacey's. I guess I will keep her in the plain snaffle for a while. I am not sure what it is about the other bits she finds uncomfortable - is it the twisted mouthpiece or is it the single-jointed snaffle?

I really noticed today how sensitive she is and how I can slow down her rhythm at the canter with my seat. Stacey showed me some of this when I was down there 2 weeks ago. It is very hard to do consistently in an English saddle. It was much easier in a western saddle where I had lots of leather to brace against. If I sit back and push my seat against her rhythm a bit, she does slow down to match me...but it's hard to keep it up the entire way around. I think I need to start hitting the Y more regularly and get back on a workout regime!

I did all sorts of fun things with Corky today. We worked on pivots, sidepassing, and practiced picking up a canter from a stop down the center of the arena. She took the lead I asked for every single time! There might be hope for us in the future for equitation...long into the future LOL! I also did some circles and serpentines in the arena without reins, moving off of leg pressure. She's pretty good at it.

Today I also practiced some showmanship with Corky. Sh is actually starting to get the hang of it. She is odd - opposite of most other horses. In order to get her to set up correctly, I have to set up the front feet first and then set the hind, leaving the left hind down and moving the right hind into position. That is completely opposite of Taylor, or 90% of all the other showmanship horses in the world, but hey, if it works then who am I to argue?

Taylor looked pretty good today. I think she is slowly getting back into shape. The arena is still hard, but her canter looked improved over yesterday.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Today was a crazy day at the barn. I got the stalls cleaned, then Randy needed to bring the load of sawdust in via bobcat. I spent most of that time working Corky in showmanship. By golly, I think she is starting to get it! As long as I set the front up first and leave the left hind foot planted, she is actually doing it correctly! We did a bunch of maneuvers and she nailed all of them. I am seeing more than a glimmer of hope...my cool showmanship outfit may not have to be retired this year!

The bobcat was parked in the arena so I had a small area to ride. I only did about 10 minutes of work. Corky did great. I really feel her listening to my seat when I ask her to slow down at the canter. It's really neat how I can get her to do that without using a lot of hands or legs (thanks, Stacey!).

I came home and opened my mail to find out the most incredible news. I ended up 4th place in the nation in limited Open HUS riders for 2007!!!! I am beyond shocked. I am absolutely floored!

It seems every time I turn around, things just keep getting better and better. All these years of hard work are finally paying off. I am just so thrilled! It helped having two awesome horses in Corky and Taylor to show. And to think I didn't even start showing Corky in the Junior HUS until August! Ok...off to go sit on my cloud for a while....

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Corky was sure cranky today! She had quite the attitude, took offense at everything I asked her to do. But...she did do everything I asked, without spurs! That's definitely a good sign. Taylor threw a shoe yesterday while being turned out. Amazing, she NEVER throws a shoe. Now the fun task of trying to find someone to put it back on...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Today I spent my ride doing things off the rail - lots of circles, figure-8's, and changes of direction. I could tell Corky was still a bit cranky today, but she rode fantastic. I got some incredible canters out of her today. I finally felt like my riding was really going good today. I struggle so much to sit up straight and back, and today I really felt like I accomplished that. I think this is a big reason why her canter was so good - if I can just sit back and be slightly behind her motion she goes so much nicer.

I hung another plastic milk jug in Corky's stall, and wrapped plastic bags around all of them. She needs to get used to the crackly bag sound again. Yesterday I pulled a piece of paper out of my pocket to hand to Janet and she leaped sideways at the sound. That's always been her 'thing', but if I force her to deal with the bags hitting her back while she is in her stall, she gets used to it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Day off from work today due to fog! It was rather warm - it actually reached 50 degrees today. Corky started off good but then became very belligerent and just tried to do everything opposite from what I asked. I was getting so frustrated. She was really in heat today, so that explains a lot about her attitude...dang mares.

Taylor got a good workout from my friend today, even went over some low crossrails a few times (she looked awesome!). The great news is that Taylor is in heat also...so now is the time to start making breeding plans. This Saturday I am heading down to northern Kentucky to check out breeding farms. This is a sure sign of spring...OK maybe artificial spring since she is under lights.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Corky was actually very good today,. Her pre-heat crabbiness must be gone. I got some beautiful canter transitions from her both directions, and the canter was slow and smooth. A good day! The arena ground was rock hard so Taylor didn't move very comfortably. Tomorrow they will both get their shots and Coggins tests to get ready to be hauled...Corky to shows and Taylor to the breeding farm.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Poor Taylor - her neck is so sore from the vaccinations she can barely lower it. She will get several days off until the swelling goes down. She is FLAMING in heat today, I mean disgusting in heat. I am marking this date down, because now I need to decide if in 21 days I plan to have her bred. The time is drawing near!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Corky's ride started off good, then she started balking again. I could tell she was in a lazy mood and was not wanting to work. I had to put the spurs on and really get after her. The she started pulling and lugging on the bit, so I had to resort to the draws to lighten her up and remove the chance to lean on my hands. Once we took care of those issues, she did better, but it was a long ride!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I woke up bright and early on this EIGHT degree Sunday to head south to Kentucky to investigate breeding farms to take Taylor for breeding. I found the perfect place for us: Liberty Hill Farm. It's a well-kept, clean operation and the best part is that they are only bringing in a small number of mares so Taylor won't be one of 200+ mares in for breeding. I felt very comfortable with the setup, and now comes the hard part - deciding when to take her down there. She had a HUGE raging heat cycle on Friday (Feb. 8th) so she would be due to come back in to heat around Feb. 27th or so. Do I want to try for this heat cycle or go for the next? Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! It was a crazy night at the barn. A barnworker with zero horse experience was hired and of course she not only about got one of the horses hurt, she tried to feed my horses TWO huge scoops of grain apiece, left my stall doors open, and her rotten little children climbed up on my hay stack with their muddy shoes and jumped off while I was trying to ride. When I stopped them (although she tried to tell me someone else gave her kids permission to trash MY hay!) they proceeded to throw metal Tonka trucks at each other next to the arena fence. Needless to say, not a whole lot of work got done. Corky didn't know what to think of all that! Thankfully she was fired today, hopefully a barn worker who has actually handled horses before will be hired.

Corky was a little balky again today. What is up with that? She suddenly lost her very pretty, soft canter transition. Hopefully she feels OK. She will get the weekend off and I will see how she is on Monday. Taylor looked pretty good today. I am thinking again of not retiring her right away upon breeding. She heads to the breeding farm hopefully next Friday!

Friday, February 21, 2008

Not much to report here! I rode last Sunday, Corky was a complete brat. She totally worked against me the whole ride. I spent a long portion of the afternoon trying to fix issues.

The entire week has been frigid - highs in the teens. So, no riding for us! Corky and Taylor have enjoyed some turnout time in the arena every day. Taylor's trip to the breeding farm keeps getting postponed due to weather! We were supposed to go tonight, but another snowstorm hit us so we are stuck until possibly tomorrow, or possibly next week. She should be coming into heat next week, and I sure don't want to miss that cycle.

Since we haven't had a good Corky photo in a while, here she is!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Despite the cold and snow I managed to haul Taylor to Liberty Hill Farm to prepare to hopefully be bred next week. What a nice place. The barn manager is very nice and I feel completely comfortable leaving her in his care (which says a lot, you know how crazy I am about Taylor!). Stay tuned this week as we hope and pray she cycles on schedule, has a clean culture, and gets PREGNANT!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I haven't ridden Corky since last Sunday. I figured she would be wild. Actually she seemed kind of lonely without Taylor. I turned her out and she mainly hung out by the fence while I cleaned her stall. We had a fantastic, awesome ride. Once again, her canter transitions were soft and beautiful. After about 20 minutes, I quit. This has to be one of our best rides this year!

After I rode, we worked a little showmanship. Ugh...yuck. Her setups are awful. Her pivots are good, but everything else is sloppy. She just doesn't present a pretty, alert picture like Taylor does. I think the whole concept of showmanship bores her to tears. If she were a human, she would be a 15 year old girl whining "what IS the point of all this?". When we were finished, I patted her and told her that we all can't be good at everything!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What a cool day today! I hauled Corky to Stacey in Kentucky last night, left the snow and cold of Ohio for the much warmer, sunnier temperatures of Bardstown. This morning I got up and rode Corky around 9am. She was really wild at first on the longe line (ran and ran and ran!) but got it out of her system and rode great for me. Stacey was pleased, she was looking good!

I rode again in the afternoon for a brief time. I am going to concentrate more on some equitation movements with her. I am 6 points away from pointing out in novice amateur equitation, and I'd love to get one more chance in NA Eq at Congress, this time with Corky. I decided to leave it in the hands of fate...when the Congress schedule comes out this month I will know. If the NA Eq falls on a football night, then it is a sign that this year is not the year to do it. I am very worried my other classes might conflict with football, it's always my greatest fear.

On another good note - Taylor got bred today! She hadn't ovulated yet, so she was bred with one straw, and will be re-checked Monday morning and possibly bred again. Goooooo Taylor! Make me a beautiful baby!!!! Next February is going to be unbelievably exciting.

On a BIG note, Corky looked a bit uneven today, so my friend measured her. She is a solid 17 hands at the withers, and a full 17'1" at the hip. So, she did grow! Hopefully she will even out soon. I told her she really could quit growing at any time now!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Today was a great day - mid 60's and sunny. I rode Corky twice - in the morning and briefly in the afternoon. Both rides were great, she just kept getting better and better. I am really going to miss having her at home for this next month. She got a bit heavier in the bridle today, so I switched her to a snaffle gag to lighten her up and get her to stop leaning on my hands. I worked hard on using my seat against her canter motion to slow her strides down, and it worked well...she came right back and responded to me.

I left Kentucky around 2:30...horseless. It's hard to believe I have no horses at home, no stalls to clean, no one to ride! It's kind of depressing!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I received an e-mail from the breeding farm manager where Taylor is at. She was ultrasounded again this morning, and she had ovulated! Now we just sit back for the next 16 days and wait and see...cross your fingers!!!!!

New Page!
OK, this isn't a riding or training update, but since I am ICED in because of the weather (the city is at a standstill due to ice!) I worked on uploading my favorite showmanship and equitation patterns, along with misc. comments:
Pattern Geek Page! - check it out!

Friday, March 14, 2008

On my way to Kentucky to ride Corky, I stopped in Walton to visit Taylor. Man is she FAT! I mean seriously overweight. It's going to be a long road to get her back into show shape, if ever. She will be ultrasounded on Monday morning, so keep your fingers crossed!

FAT Taylor!

Saturday-Sunday, March 15-16, 2008

I spent the weekend in Kentucky riding Corky! I rode her twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. She was super cranky. She is either coming into heat this week (which I HOPE, so we can regulate her cycles) or she misses her daily turnout with Taylor. She rode great for me both days. I am heading back to ride her Thursday and Friday, and then our first show of the year is the following weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2008

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! Not too happy here. The news is Taylor is NOT pregnant. So...we short cycle and try, try again. There's $270 down the drain :-[

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I got out of work today at 1:30 and headed to Kentucky to ride in the evening. Corky was extremely cranky. She has shown no signs of heat yet, we are not sure where she is in her cycle. She just seemed very unhappy. I am thinking this month with all work and no turnout is really bringing her down for some reason.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I rode Corky in the morning. She was still fairly cranky, but I had a better ride with her. Last night I think I was way too fussy with her face and was getting frustrated with her because she wasn't responding to the plain snaffle I was using. This morning I used a twisted snaffle and stayed much lighter with my hands and tried not to fuss. She was better with it. Maybe I am just being too nit-picky with her, causing her to get angry with me???

I took a break and took her outside in the 65 degree sunshine to graze a little. We sat and soaked in the sunshine, I think it put us both in a better mood. I rode again in the afternoon. I started off with a gag bit, and then after 10 minutes I went to a plain snaffle and she was great. She seemed a bit more relaxed and pleasant. I need to get her home and let her have some turnout in between our work sessions. Plus, I miss having her around! I hate seeing her grumpy and unhappy.

Our first show of the season is next weekend...in Springfield, Ohio!

On the way home I stopped in to see Taylor at the breeding farm. Her right front tendon was still swollen. This really worries me because she has never had any issues with her tendon. I brought a brush and hoofpick and I did my best to clean her up. She was filthy - covered in mud, hair, and dried sweat. She LOVED the grooming!

When I got home this evening there was a Fed-Ex receipt in my e-mail for a shipment, so this means Taylor will be getting bred tomorrow (Saturday). Oh please please please let her take so I can bring her home. Cross your fingers!!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Well, Taylor was bred today. Fingers crossed.....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

GOOD NEWS/BAND NEWS: The good news is that Corky's gas medicine seems to be working, according to Stacey. We are trying out this new feed-thru medication to help her gas problem (as in farting!). She seems much more comfortable and less gassy. I can't wait to see the difference in her this weekend. The bad news is she is in heat, which means she is going to be VERY distracted at the show this weekend. Hopefully she will be going out of heat by Saturday, but with my luck she will be at the peak of her cycle and will be a raging lunatic. Goody...stay tuned for the fun details!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Well, the first show of the year is out of the way. Thank goodness! Friday night was pretty miserable. the ring was super crowded, and once again this show made me lose faith in Ohio QH people (and am one of them, so disheartening). I wasn't on Corky for more than 5 minutes before I got run into the first time...no apologies, no 'excuse me', not even a look. This was a well-known older youth with a BNH (big name horse). I guess he was entitled to running into whomever he wanted...at least that was his attitude. Anyways, this wired Corky up, who was already on edge. She was flaming in heat and it was terrible. She was overprotective of her space, and just wild about the other horses. I had to get off of her 3 different times to longe her and let her run and buck her frustrations out. So in all we didn't have a successful ride Friday night.

I braided her late that night, and I must say I did an absolute professional job. It was incredible - the braids were perfectly flat, and exactly the same size all the way down the neck. Woo-Hoo!

I should remember that a good braid job = a bad ride. Saturday proved that superstition true again. We went into the Green HUS and she got completely WIRED. She was grabbing at the bit, tossing her head, and trying to run off. At the end of the class she even reared up a bit when I tried to walk her into the lineup. FRUSTRATING! I scratched my junior HUS class and went outside to longe her and work her more. I went back in and attempted my Amateur HUS class. It did go a bit better, but she was obviously mad and fighting me the whole time. I did get her to stand quietly in the lineup, so that was something.

It just goes to show...one can never tell with horses. Hard to believe the last time I stood in a show arena it was to place top 10 in the Junior HUS at Congress!!! She looked unbroke today, like she had never been shown before. I was very bummed. Hopefully it was just a combination of being in heat and being at her first show in 5 months. Next week she goes back on the ReguMate and back to Stacey's for a few more weeks to prepare for the Lakeside show and our photo shoot we are doing the next weekend, and then she comes home!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Today was in the high 50's - a total heat wave! It was wonderful to go to the barn and ride. Corky got turned out for about an hour before I rode her, I swear that makes all the difference. She was really cranky during the first half of the ride but she did everything perfectly. I got some super soft canter transitions, and by the end of the ride she was relaxed and happy. I think she desperately needs her turnout and free time, it turns her into a different horse. It was so nice to have my horse with a brain back! She heads back to Stacey's this weekend for another 3 weeks, but then she will come home and enjoy some daily indoor turnout. This should really help her mind.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Happy day-after-April-Fool's! (I hate that holiday). p>I rode Corky today - she got about 20 minutes of turnout while I cleaned her stall, and then I rode her with no longing (hey, that's pretty exciting for me!). She was WONDERFUL! At first she was a bit crabby, but as the ride went on she got better and better. She balked one major time at a canter transition and then *thought* about balking a couple other times, but overall it went great. We worked on some turns on the haunches, and circles at the canter and trot. I kept feeling like she was nosing out too much, but I had Janet watch and she said she looked fine, so I need to erase that perception and not keep trying to being her nose in.

After my ride we did some showmanship. She was actually pretty good today. I keep repeating my new showmanship mantra 'She is NOT Taylor, she is NOT Taylor, so don't compare the two!'

Friday and Saturday, April 4 and 5, 2008

Corky had her teeth floated yesterday so she got the day off. Today (Friday) I hauled her over to my friend Willie's to get ready to be the demo rider in her training clinic the next day. I rode Corky in Willie's awesome huge indoor and she was great! No signs of that witchy mare I had a week ago. Tonight I started her on ReguMate and by golly she will stay on that for a while! I braided her, and once again did a bang-up awesome job. Two in a row...could I finally have gotten the hang of braiding well???

Saturday morning I rode her and I swear I had the greatest ride - she was happy with ears up, even did a few happy pops at the canter in the corners. The clinic started at 12:30, and I did a few simple showmanship maneuvers with her to demonstrate. She can do the basics - pivot, pull turn, etc., just can't do them sharp in a pattern and takes FOREVER to set up. She did fairly well, considering how green she is at this.

We did a hunter under saddle riding demo, and then rode amongst the clinic participants and helped Willie direct them. Corky was really good, although she was starting to get a little cranky about all this work. After the clinic, we loaded up and headed to Stacey's for 3 more weeks of training, then she is home for good!

Here are a few blurry pictures from the clinic:

Demonstrating moves in showmanship (not sure WHAT I was doing in this photo LOL!)

Demonstrating hunter under saddle

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I got up this morning after a bitterly cold night of sleeping in my trailer (it got down in the 30's, I slept with 3 blankets over my head, it was miserable!) and rode Corky. She was really stiff and tight, really felt bad. Stacey and I were both worried about her - this is similar to the stiffness issues we had with her in Springfield. She was so tight in her shoulders, she looked in pain. When I tightened the girth she almost went down on me several times. I am hoping and praying that it is only chiropractic work she needs. Stacey is going to get a chiropractor out ASAP and see if it helps her. I am very worried - I am not sure if it is because of the long haul the night before, but the same thing happened in Springfield all weekend, where she felt very tight and uncomfortable, and it made her very upset and angry. I didn't push the issue today, I gave her a good grooming, took her braids out, and let her relax in her stall.

On my way home I stopped by and visited Taylor. She looks good, although badly in need of some serious grooming. I scrubbed her loose hair with my fingers all over her back and sides and she was in heaven. Her tendon looks fine today, thank goodness. I got home to find my latest vet bill for breeding her is an even $600.00, and that was only for 3 weeks worth...that is just the vet bill and doesn't even include board or mare care. I am very worried, if she doesn't take with this try (we check her tomorrow!) I am not sure I can afford to try again. Every time she got ultrasounded, the vet charge with farm call was $100. I am not in that league - I cannot afford to keep paying those prices and still survive financially. Tomorrow will tell...if she isn't pregnant (please God let her be!) then I will have to do some serious re-thinking of my plans and dreams with her. Stay tuned....

Monday, April 7, 2008

Well, Taylor is NOT pregnant. I am so depressed...an incredible amount of money has been spent for nothing. I am too upset to post anything more at this time...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We will try, try again with Taylor...one more time. Third time is a charm, but also third strike and you're out. The money has run dry. Now to manage daily life with all my fingers and toes crossed for the next 3 weeks...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quick update: Taylor was bred again this past Saturday. As of Monday morning she had not ovulated but was very soft and ready. So they ordered another shipment of semen to be bred on Tuesday, which they did, she had ovulated by Wednesday morning and all looks good. CRAP - 2 shipments for this one breeding. Can nothing ever go right? I pray this works, this is my LAST CHANCE.

Saturday-Sunday, April 19-20, 2008

Saturday we didn't show until after 8pm! I rode during the break and she rode great for me. But once we got into our first class (Green HUS) she go really charged up. First direction was OK, but second direction was a mess! She was surging and trying to run off, I was holding her back as best I could which was just making matters worse. Surprisingly we actually placed in the middle of the class (5th and 6th out of 10). Junior HUS was next, and she was especially bad in that class. I am a glutton for punishment so I went ahead in my amateur class for practice, and worked really really hard to stay relaxed and not try and hold her. We had decent moments, but also some ugly ones. Another learning experience for me! Stacey worked with me a while...the thing I MUST learn is to not take hold of her face - she just doesn't tolerate it that well. I have to trust her, use my seat to slow her down, and when I do take a hold of the reins have to release immediately. That is so different from Taylor, who liked a constant contact (I think it made her feel more secure).

Sunday I rode outside in the morning and had an awesome ride. I went back out in the afternoon and rode a little bit more and had another awesome ride...so much fun I had trouble stopping, I wanted to keep riding all day! I really worked hard in taking Stacey's advice about trusting her and getting off the bit, and it worked. Our classes today went much better. We went in green HUS first and I had a very wonderful smooth ride, Corky was pleasant, and we got a 1st and 2nd in the class!!! We went back in the amateur and got two seconds, had another good ride although I could tell she was getting very tired and I as having to push her. The last class was the open HUS (they combined Junior and Senior) and by then she was exhausted. I had to push her every stride at the canter, and she felt like she was going to break at any moment (she HATED all that leg pressure!). First direction she did balk a bit at the canter and then pop the wrong lead, which I fixed immediately. But overall she stayed completely quiet and good for me...THIS was the horse I remember from Congress! I was SO happy that I found her again. I blame myself partly for our bad rides on Saturday. She was a bit revved up, but I made the situation much worse by trying to hold her. Lesson learned...I will file that away and hope I never make that mistake again.

Next on our agenda - we have a professional photo shoot scheduled for Saturday morning at Stacey's (weather permitting), and then she is coming home with me! Time to plan our May shows. I want to find a small open show or two to get her out to try a little showmanship before going up against the big dogs in amateur. She's going to be a tough one to show in showmanship. I can't wait...bring it on!


A note about being REALISTIC
This training diary/riding journal/blog/whatever you call it has a purpose - for me to look back and see what I've been doing, remind myself what is working and what doesn't, remember where I started and how far I have come or haven't come. It's a realistic journal of my horse activities. It's not a back-patting, wow-aren't-my-horsies-perfect type of blog. It outlines the day to day grind and daily drudge of riding, training, and trying to figure out what works for this individual horse. Yes, I run into problems, yes we have issues. I am being honest and REAL about what I am dealing with, and how we are overcoming obstacles. Hopefully you get a little enjoyment and a little understanding out of all of this. Make no mistake - I love my horses...the good, bad, and the ugly! I firmly believe that the only way you can improve as a rider and improve your horse is to remove the barn-blind glasses and really be honest about the flaws and shortcomings so that you can work to improve. That's my goal, and that's my plan for this whole journey into my training diary. I hope you understand, and continue on with our journey together! :-]

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I headed to Kentucky after my jazz Concert Friday night, got in to Bardstown around 3:30am. We had a photo shoot with Kelly Graphics scheduled Saturday morning, but it rained just enough to postpone the shoot until the next day. It cleared up and was beautiful outside that afternoon, so I rode Corky in the front field. She was awesome!

Sunday morning we did the photo shoot at 7:30am. It was a gorgeous, sunny, but COLD morning! Kelly took some incredible shots of me and Corky (you can hardly tell I slept in my trailer with the covers over my head from the cold LOL!). I'll post pictures here as soon as I pick out the ones to purchase.

I brought Corky home today. It feels so good to have her home again. I will pick up Taylor some time this week after her pregnancy test (keep those fingers crossed, please!), so both my girls will be home by this weekend!

Photos - getting ready for our photo shoot!

Pretty girl, all clean and slick!

Check out those braids!

"Whatcha doin' down there?"

Bowing down to show off her pretty braids

Our self-portrait!

Classic hunter look!

Check out PAGE 2 of our 2008 riding/training/breeding diary!

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