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


April 28, 2008 - Oct. 6

Click here for page 3 - Oct. 11, 2008 and after: Congress and beyond

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Corky was full of energy today. She rode well for me, but she started that balking crap when I asked her to canter. I really got after her, and this happened several times. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't make such a big deal about the balking, and just subtly push her on and into the canter like I do when it happens at a show. It seemed like the more I got after her for balking, the worse her balk got the next time I asked. Puzzling....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I have tears of joy! They drew blood to test her hormone levels and I will know on Saturday whether I need to keep her on ReguMate through her pregnancy (here's hoping I won't have to do that!). I am so happy, relieved, overjoyed, and excited. She is bred to Hot Diggity Joe. I guess since she was bred on April 15, she would be due sometime near the beginning of April. Since she is a maiden mare, there is no telling how long she may go! Next year is going to be very exciting!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Julie and I rode together today. Corky did well. She balked a couple of times. I got her through the balking with really subtle pushes into forward motion - MUST remember not to lose my temper and make it into a battle because I am getting halfway decent transitions out of her once I get her back in gear, and am doing so with very little fuss. Someone call me daily and remind me of this silly little fact.

Corky and Taylor got their first turnout together since they went separate ways in February. There wasn't one moment of fuss. They immediately went to grooming each other. Taylor grooms Corky so hard with her teeth on the withers, I am afraid she is going to rip her mane out at the base of her neck. Oh well, just a few less braids to have to deal with I guess!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I rode Corky again on Friday and today. Today she was wonderful! I have been riding her in the French link ring snaffle and she is getting much lighter and responsive. I am trying to remember to stay very light with my cues and to release pressure immediately at the first response she gives. Our transitions were great today - zero balking! I worked her over 2 ground poles at the trot. She is so incredibly sloppy at the poles, they end up being slapped, knocked, and kicked all over the place by the time we are done.

Her showmanship still stinks, though. It is downright awful. I am trying and trying, but I see no improvement on the setups. I am not sure what more I can do at this point.

Monday, May 5, 2008 Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Corky rode pretty well for me today. At first she was very cranky at my leg. I didn't longe her at all, just saddled her and hopped on. I did some trotting leg yields (which she HATES) and it improved her attitude immensely. Having my leg on her trotting on the rail wasn't so bad after working zig-zag leg yields all over the arena! She was very light in the bridle today. One thing I have learned about her - if you sit on her and stand around talking to someone for a while, she hates going back to work. I had to convince her that we really weren't done with our ride!

Corky will get a couple days off, and then we will plan on heading to a new place to show - Danville, Indiana. I have never been there before, and I have never shown Corky all alone before. I am looking forward to it! Hopefully we will have a good experience.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Corky seemed stiff on her right hock on the longe line. She worked out of it, but this is a sign that her hocks are probably getting dry. I made an appointment for next Thursday to have her checked. Tonight we rode, braided, and packed. We are ready for the show!

Friday, May 9, 2008

We arrived in Danville around 8:30pm. What a nice facility! It's only a couple years old, and still has that 'new' feel to it. I unloaded everything and rode Corky in the arena. She was awesome. The arena was huge (and covered), but had some deep spots in the sand we had to avoid.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I made the mistake of trying to warm Corky up during the break. She got really rattled with all the horses whizzing around her every which way, so I took her out and longed her on the grass, then let her chill out in her stall for the rest of the break. When it was time for the first class (Green HUS) I pulled her out, hopped on and went in the arena. Immediately I felt something was wrong. She felt very off at the trot. I tried pushing her on because she seemed lazy, but it got worse. I saw the judges watching, and as I came towards the gate I started pulling her up as one judge stopped me. We both agreed something was wrong with her, so I left the arena.

I checked her over good, no heat or swelling, so I am not sure, but she is definitely uncomfortable on her left front leg and doesn't want to keep weight on it. Unfortunately, IQHA's policy of no refunds got me, so I lost $83 in entry fees (not to mention the stall fees, gas money, etc., UGH!).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Corky is VERY sore, she could hardly walk out of her stall. Her tendon was swollen and extremely hot. I cold-hosed her for about 30 minutes and then put cooling poultice on her and it did help bring some of the swelling down. This is definitely a tendon injury (I was SO hoping for something simple like an abscess). Thank goodness the vet is coming out Thursday. I will have him thoroughly check this tendon and see what more I should be doing. This could spell disaster for our show season. I am very depressed.

Taylor gets checked on Thursday to make sure she is still pregnant. I really hope I get good news there. I need some good news!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corky's leg was a little better today. The swelling had gone down a bit. There was still some puffiness near the top of her tendon. It definitely wasn't as hot as yesterday, and she walked out of her stall fairly sound. I took no chances - I cold-hosed her leg, hand-walked her for 10 minutes, and poulticed her in her stall. I am praying mighty hard that this is a very minor injury and she can get back to regular work ASAP. I guess we will find out on Thursday. I am scared...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bad news from the vet. Corky has a small 12% bow in her left front tendon near the top (right below the knee). She is on 5 weeks of stall rest and handwalking only, then slowly back to work. I will have her leg ultrasounded after 5 weeks to see if it is safe to ride again. This means the majority of my show season is SHOT. I worry so much about handwalking a horse like her that is on stall rest...she is going to be wild! I have to be diligent about the treatment, this is a serious injury and there always is the potential for more damage to happen that can be career-ending. I am devastated. Words cannot describe...

Taylor was ultrasounded, and the good news is that she is still pregnant. The bad news is that the baby is a little small from what it should be at 30 days. So all I can do is pray and wait. I will have her ultrasounded in July to make sure things are OK. She is staying on ReguMate through 90 days just to be safe. So, even my good news is not really good news. Needless to say I am very down right now. I have my whole summer looming ahead and NO horse to ride. First time in 20 years I don't have a horse to ride or show. I don't know what to do.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Taylor and Corky got their feet done yesterday. It was painful for Corky to stretch her front legs out. I am worried that even though the other leg doesn't have heat or swelling, maybe that tendon is affected also? I rode Taylor briefly at the walk and trot on Friday, she rode like the great broke horse she is! Other than moving like poop because she is so out of shape, one would never know she hasn't had a saddle on since February. I rode her again today, we even cantered a little bit. She huffed and puffed...she is so fat! We are both on a diet.

Tomorrow I am hauling Corky to another vet for a second opinion. This vet does a lot of shockwave therapy on racehorses, and I want to see if this is an opinion for her to help speed up the healing process. I will leave no stone unturned!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wow! Get this: I hauled Corky to the second vet, he spent a LOT of time ultrasounding the leg and he says he finds NO evidence of a bow in the tendon. Nothing - nada! He thinks she might have just slightly strained her suspensory at the show, but nothing is torn or damaged. He said to rub in some Surpass (at $80 a tube...yikes!) on her tendon 2 times a day and handwalk for another week, then if there is no heat or swelling, I can go back to riding next week!!!! Amazing! There is absolutely no swelling in her leg anymore, and maybe only the slightest touch of warmth. Of course now I have to get up an hour earlier and drive to the barn 20 miles away at 6am to rub in the Surpass, then clean up in my horse trailer and head to work. I hate mornings, and I especially hate extra-early mornings, but believe me this is TOTALLY worth it! It reminds me a lot of her yearling year in September when she had that bone infection and I had to go out 3 times a day to wrap it. If you didn't read that story, you definitely need to!

So now we will take it day by day, and see how it goes next week. I will say this, she has been a dream to handwalk. She has been stallbound for almost a week and a half now and walks so nice and quiet next to me for 20-30 minutes. What a good, patient girl!

Wednesday, May 22, 2008

Today was still cool (low 60's) with a strong breeze, but the sunshine was gorgeous. I handwalked Corky outside in the back pasture. She was very fired up. For the first time she seemed overly energetic and started being a handful (which for her means she tried to jump and trot a couple times, no biggie). It helped the both of us get out of the boring indoor and soak up some sunshine. My master plan is to put her on the longe line on Tuesday afternoon and see how she is at the trot, and go from there. I bought her a stall Lickit toy but she has no idea what to do with it. She started chewing on the plastic top, so I am sure this will last about 3 days before she destroys it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Our days of handwalking are almost done! Tomorrow we get to try a little trotting on the longe line. We have been talking long walks outside in the back pasture and along the riding trail on the perimeter of the pasture. It's fun to get out and see the sights (what few there are). She was pretty wound up last night, I know she is dying to do something other than walk. There has been no swelling or heat in her leg in a week now.

Here are 3 photos I just received from our photo shoot back in April, almost an exact month ago. I think they turned out great! They were taken by Kelly Graphics.

Check out the pics from my photo shoot here!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Today was the big day - our first longeing in 2 1/2 weeks. I handwalked her a little bit and then let her walk on the line. When I first asked her to trot, I panicked when I saw how awful and stiff she looked. But it only took about 2 rounds before she loosened up and looked good again. I guess spending 2 1/2 weeks in your stall tends to make you stiff and jerky!!! Once she relaxed and moved better, she looked great! I did about 25 minutes of walking and trotting - doing very short trotting intervals in between walking, and reversing a lot to equalize the pressure on either side. So far, so good! Tomorrow we might try a little cantering on the longe line.

I decided to make an appointment with a GOOD vet about 2 hours from me - for next Friday. I still haven't resolved the issue of her hocks, and I would like him to look at her tendon just to make sure it is 100% before I go planning any shows in June. Yes, I buckled in and am getting a third opinion!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

After several days of longeing, today I decided to saddle up Corky and ride her lightly at the walk and trot. MAN it felt SO good to be back in the saddle on her back again!!!! You have NO idea! She was very good, a little stiff at first, but was very relaxed and seemed actually happy to be back to work. I just rode her at the walk and trot. I was so tempted to do a little cantering, but I talked myself out of it at least 4 or 5 times. No sense in pushing it...maybe tomorrow. I rode for about 15-20 minutes. Her leg stayed cool and sound...YES! To be safe, I slapped some poultice on both front legs to cool them off (Yes, I am a little paranoid now!). Today was the first day it actually felt like summer - it was actually HOT...finally!

I am starting to think seriously about showing at the MEKQHA circuit in 3 weeks. The schedule is nice, I would arrive Wednesday, and I would show Friday and Sunday, giving her plenty of time to rest in between.

Monday, June 2, 2008

What a beautiful, warm, summerlike day. I was so tempted to ride outside, but decided not to risk overworking Corky. I rode her inside, and she was FULL of energy! We ended up getting in a couple battles that I hadn't intended on having, but she was in that kind of mood today. I hope and pray her leg is OK - I guess tomorrow will tell. If she has no aftereffects from the workout she gave herself today, then I know her leg is truly healed. I will say her canter transitions were really nice, considering she hasn't cantered under saddle in 3 1/2 weeks. No sign of any balking today, that's for sure. Instead she wanted to surge and run off, and fight me when I asked her politely not to do so.

After riding, I poulticed her legs just to be safe. She is now getting turned out with Taylor. I think Taylor enjoys the company. Tomorrow I am having a vet (yet another different vet LOL!) come out and ultrasound Taylor to make sure she is still pregnant. The U/S is at 4:30pm...keep your fingers crossed that I have good news!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I rode Corky again today...she was waaaaaaaay better than yesterday. She actually seemed happy again. I swear sometimes I think this horse is bipolar. Her canter was much better. I left my spurs at home by accident, but her transitions were very fluid and we didn't seem to need them today.

The best news is that I had Taylor ultrasounded again today and she is definitely still pregnant with a nice big healthy baby! The vet could see the baby move around a bit, so all is well. Now I can finally stop obsessing for a while! Time to celebrate!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Today I hauled Corky 2 hours to Xenia to the vet. He checked over her tendon very carefully and pronounced her fit to work! (insert happy dance here!). He checked her hocks, and just as I figured her left hock was fairly off, the right one slightly so. He injected both hocks, and did some acupuncture (not really sure what the acupuncture does for her hocks, but he is a big believer in it and I am all for the alternative medicines). He also ultrasounded her to see where she is in her cycle, and she was in heat with a big (40) follicle. I needed to know this because I am ready to start her on ReguMate again for the rest of the show season, but I didn't want to screw her up by putting her on it at the wrong time (this happened to us last year!). So I will let her go out of heat while I am in the Bahamas next week (yep, am leaving on Sunday for a week!!!) and will put her back o ReguMate starting next weekend. So...all is good!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just a little picture to show you were I've been all week.

After a long week, I am finally home! It was a hot one today. I went out to the barn to ride Corky. I longed her first because she hadn't been out yet, but she didn't have much energy in the heat. It was such a joy to watch her - first tie I've seen her since her hocks were done and her tendon 100% healed. She looked like a million bucks (which is the approximate total of my vet bills on her this month!). Once I got in the saddle, she had a lot more energy. I let her trot out a bunch of her energy, then worked on some cantering and leg yielding. She was awesome! She had a lot of 'go' to her, but still cantered very easy and relaxed. It was such a joy to ride her again without worrying about anything. p>It looks like Wednesday we will head to Kentucky to the MEKQHA Circuit. I am chomping at the bit to start showing again! I might even attempt some showmanship!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Corky rode great for me today. I am working HARD not to get my hopes up, because I know she will be a different animal at the show this week. She hasn't been hauled in over a month. She has been so pleasant this week. It's weird, though...when I go to put the saddle on her she has been acting like she has never worn a saddle before, jumping around and acting strange. I put her on the longe line to loosen her up and she does these stiff-legged hops, then settles down immediately and works nice and quietly. This is the kind of thing she used to do as a 2 year old until she got completely broke. I guess after having all that time off, she is reverting back to her greenbroke days!

Our showmanship practice was a little better today. She set up somewhat decently for me. I am seriously considering trying some showmanship this week. Oh how I wish I were still a novice!!!

Thursday-Sunday, June 19-22, 2008
MEKQHA Circuit - Liberty, Kentucky

Corky and I arrived at 1am on Thursday morning, after getting hopelessly lost on the way to the tiny dot on the map called Liberty, KY. Kentucky really needs to invest in more road signs. Jan needs to invest in a GPS!

Thursday was an off day for us - only trail, horsemanship, western riding, and reining occurred. I got up in the morning and longed and rode Corky in the arena while they set up the trail course, and then handwalked her around the arena many times to loosen her up after the loooong trailer ride the night before. I rode her again that evening, and she did pretty well. She was a little strong, but decent.

FRIDAY: The day started with the over fence classes, and then Hunter Under Saddle. I got up in the morning and rode Corky in the outdoor arena, and she rode very well. Our first class was Green HUS. There were 10 or 11 in the class. It was a complete DISASTER. Corky managed to do about everything - buck, break gait, take off running (multiple times), spook, switch leads, you name it. It was a mess. I had a decent break before Amateur HUS so I took her out and longed her and she longed like a wild woman. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Amateur HUS only had 3 in it. She rode fairly decent, though got a bit strong and overbridled second direction. We ended up 1st and 2nd in that class. Stacey and I are convinced her behavior has to do with the other horses coming up behind her. In the Green HUS there was no avoiding the traffic, and she was fine in the amateur until someone started to come close to passing us (and they were a good 20 feet away but she still reacted). It's strange, last year she dealt with her discomfort in crowds by laying her ears back and getting defensive. This year she is fine with her ears, but instead takes off running when she thinks about it. I'd rather have last year's problem!!!

After the HUS came halter and showmanship. I told everyone that we would attempt showmanship if the pattern didn't have a back around a cone (we haven't even practiced that yet). well, it didn't, although it had a straight back and a turn and a half. Here was the pattern (if you can imagine it:)

  • Trot cone 1 around cone 2 (to the left past cone 3. Do a small (1/4 turn) pivot and back. Do a turn and a half and walk to the judge.
I worked over and over on our pivot since we have never really practiced sticking a turn and a half. By showtime she was starting to get it, but her setups were still hit and miss. In the class, she behaved wonderfully - did a really pretty trot around the cone, stopped straight, and she backed straight and nailed her pivot! Our only major mistake was that she just would not set up square for me. After doing the hind foot dance about 8 times, I finally gave up. We ended up placing 3rd and 4th out of 8!!!! Pretty darn good for Corky's first showmanship class ever! Here are a few pictures (taken from a video):

Saturday: Saturday was just showmanship and the western events. Of course I had to try another showmanship class!!! My mistake today was taking Corky to the show arena waaaaay too early. we stood around for over an hour. She started off very sharp, but after waiting an hour she got rather dull with her cues and wasn't paying much attention. Today's pattern called for a 1 3/4 turn! Unfortunately, she stepped out of the turn ever so slightly twice, and once again would NOT set up correctly. We ended up 4th out of 5 under both judges. Oh well, it was a great learning experience for both of us, and I can't wait to practice it some more at home! We spent the rest of the day taking a long ride around the grounds, and then rode again in the evening in the show arena...she rode great!

Sunday: Today was just the hunter events. I rode her outside in the morning and she was fantastic. Unfortunately when we entered the arena for the Green HUS she blew up again. It was so disheartening, after all this work to have this happen yet again. Once again when Amateur HUS rolled around, since there were only 5 in the class this time she was much better behaved. She did take off once at the first canter when someone came up behind us, and one judge caught her. We got a 2nd and 5th out of 5. I am very depressed and frustrated, because I have yet to have a clean show with her since Congress. I am determined to fix this problem and get my good show horse back. I think it is going to take a lot of work, though. My plan is to haul her this coming week to several open shows and just ride her around during the break amongst the crowds of horses and make her behave and listen to me. I know if I don't get this fixed, there will be no Congress in our future this year!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today I borrowed a bit from a friend to try on Corky - it is a double-jointed D ring with a low port and fixed rein. I need to find something she won't lean so hard on, so I can control her shoulders better. I took her to the outdoor arena, saddled her up with my old western saddle (after I dug it out of the garage attic!), and warmed her up first in the gag bit. She warmed up fairly well, though I had to use some pressure on her to keep her focused and in control (she tends to really SURGE forward when I release her for more than a few strides). Then I changed to the new bit. It was fantastic. I was able to ride her with just the lightest tough of my fingers, and I was also able to work on lifting her shoulders and controlling her corners better without having to use so much bit pressure. I tell you, I had one of the best rides of my life on her. I could have ridden all night!

The big question, of course, will be if she can do this amongst other horses in a class. Step one is to school her in a crowd, which I hope to do on Thursday evening at a schooling show (hopefully it won't rain). I am determined to figure this problem out and fix it myself...I have to since I am pretty much completely on my own from this point on. Thank goodness for good friends with good advice!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The rain prevented me from hauling Corky to the schooling show, so I rode her at home in the indoor. I used the new bit. She was absolutely perfect. I mean, it was weird. I didn't have to touch her! She gave be some beautiful, fluid canter transitions, worked off my leg with a completely loose rein. I begged her to PLEASE ride like this at the show next week!

We did some turning on the haunches, she is getting a little better at them. We also worked showmanship. As usual, the issue was with setting up, so we practiced that about a thousand times.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I went back to the gag bit today for something different. Corky was in the mood to surge on her corners again, so I had to set her down a few times. This made me mad, and she offered to buck. I like that phrase "offered" to buck...she offered, and I refused LOL!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I rode in the curb today, she was really good. It's no fun riding indoors, but the footing was nice today and the dust was minimal. We did lots of equitation-type movements - circles, figure-8's, leg yields, turns on the haunches and forehand. It looks like I'll be heading to a local show to just ride around amongst the crowds and not show. Hopefully they will have a nice long break so I can really school her in traffic. We are planning on leaving for the 4-day West Virginia show on Wednesday. I am really looking forward to it, I am determined to get some good rides out of her come heck or high water!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I decided not to go to the show to school, because of the wet weather. Instead I gave Corky the day off, turned her out with Taylor in the indoor all afternoon while I cleaned and organized my trailer and packed hay and grain for the show coming up this week. I realized I haven't mentioned Taylor in a while. She is looking pretty fat...not too bad but definitely not in show shape anymore. She is a little over 2 months pregnant, so the baby is probably the size of a hamster or so if that. She still follows me around the arena backwards wanting her butt scratched. I wonder if she'll teach her baby to scratch her butt for her. That would put me out of a job!

WVQHA Show - Winfield, WV - Thurs-Sun., July 3-6, 2008

Wednesday, July 2 - We arrived in Winfield, WV around noon today. It was hot and sunny...my kinda weather! I rode Corky that afternoon and again in the evening. She was fantastic both times. I was actually hoping for a bad ride to get it out of the way, but she was incredible - happy, ears up, and did everything I asked.

Thursday, July 3 - Today was HUS and WP only. I showed nice and early in the morning (while it was still cool outside). I rode Corky early (around 7am) before the show started. I rode in my good English saddle, and breeches and boots just in case maybe it was my boots that were making her act out. She once again was the perfect soul! Our first class was Junior HUS...only 4 (why???). This part of the show was double-judged. She was absolutely fantastic in the class. I swear I never touched the reins. We got a 2nd and a 4th. the winner was a super nice, well-broke horse. Silly me was so thrilled with my quiet ride that I totally let the reins drape, and they flopped around my entire ride (and the second judge did not appreciate that LOL!). We entered the Green HUS (7 entered) and got 2nd under both judges with another great ride. Amateur HUS had 12 in it, and we were actually having a great ride negotiating the traffic until one jerkwad decided to school his horse during the canter and slammed on the brakes and started backing into the center of the ring. I had two choices - run Corky into him or the judge, and I chose the judge as the lesser of the two evils (he was the judge who placed me last in the Junior HUS, but I swear I didn't do this on purpose LOL!). I didn't actually touch him, but he did have to take a big step back. Unfortunately he didn't notice the reason for diving into the center, and I was caught by both judges, so I got placed down a bit (4th and 6th out of 12). You know what? I could care less, I was SO incredibly thrilled with having 3 awesome rides. These were my first truly good rides since Congress! Plus I wore my new green jacket, thus breaking the curse of the new coat.

Friday, July 4th - Today was only showmanship for us. Ye gads, there were 22 entered in the Amateur Showmanship!!! Corky made a big boo-boo in front of the judges. Just as we stopped to set up, something caught her eye and startled her and she swung her hip crooked, and then giraffed her neck to look at it during the inspection. However, she set up decently and stuck her pivot! In a class of 22 really tough competitors, we didn't have a chance in the world, but I was still happy with the other elements of out pattern.

I should mention that I won a bunch of money at the greyhound track the night before, and bought myself a new cell phone case! That was pretty exciting for me :-]

Saturday, July 5th - Today was a full show. I opted to skip showmanship to concentrate on getting Corky warmed up for the riding classes. She came out of her stall today incredibly stiff - she almost looked crippled. It took a lot of long trotting on the longe line to finally loosen her up. I was a bit worried, but the more she worked the better she looked. The class sizes were a bit bigger today. I placed near the bottom of Junior and middle of Green HUS with two decently quiet rides. I think she just looked tired, and the traffic and being constantly around other horses was starting to get to her and hurt her expression. I debated whether I should enter Amateur, but they only had 14 so I went ahead to make it a 3 point class. They did end up with 16, and I probably shouldn't have entered because the crowds were intense and many of the exhibitors were weaving in and out of people and were not very good showpeople. Corky got really agitated with the crowds, we had to shut down several times to avoid running into someone who cut us off. It was very frustrating. we placed smack in the middle of 16.

Sunday, July 6th - I made several mistakes/miscalculations today. should not have entered that big amateur class with all those horses that crowded her, because I don't think she fully settled after that. I longed her in the morning, and she seemed so stiff and exhausted, that I didn't work her hard at all, and I didn't ride her until the end of the break before the hunt seat classes started. BIG MISTAKE! WHY did I ride during the break, where everyone was going every which direction and not looking where they were going? It was a madhouse, and she got VERY flustered and upset. I got her calmed down a bit before my class, but we rode our class on the edge of control, and it was obvious she was about ready to blow. I did not enter green or amateur HUS. I did enter amateur equitation! It had a slight counter canter, which she blew for 2 strides before correcting, but overall did fairly well for her very first equitation class ever! It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to enter, but I thought it might be a good idea to get her in the show ring where she could ride alone (in her pattern) plus do rail work with only a handful of other horses. It was a good decision, and she stayed calm throughout the class. She was a bit agitated during her pattern...she HATES sharp turns and quick starts and stops under saddle, so doing a pattern with several elements at cones was not her cup of tea LOL! Blowing our lead knocked us to last, of course. But, I got accomplished what I had set out to do, and that was to give her a calm, quiet experience in the ring before leaving.

Overall, it was a good experience for us, and we had a great time. I love showing in Winfield - the people are friendly (well, most of them anyways), the facility is awesome, and the prices are the cheapest around.

Photos from the Junior HUS class on Sunday:

Photos from our very first Amateur Equitation class!

QUICK RANT: My pet peeve about unprofessionalism in professionals: You know, when they announce no less than THREE times that the 30 minute break before the HUS classes was for hunt seat horses only and ask that the western people and the longers leave the pen, WHY do certain trainers (whom I am REALLY tempted to name here!) feel they are above the rules and continue to ride and have their clients ride their western pleasure horses during the hunt seat break, getting in peoples' ways, snarling up traffic, and just adding to the crowding problem. Here's the unfairness of it all - the HUS horses got a 30 minute break, but once the classes started there was no place to ride or warm up so they all stood out in the hot sun on the gravel waiting for their class. The western people got a 45 minute break, and then they had the entire covered contest arena to ride while the classes were going on (since the contesting was done by the time the WP classes rolled around). Yet MANY MANY rude people and trainers STILL insisted on breaking the rules and ignoring the announcements and rode their WP horses during the hunt seat only break. GREEDY jerks. I made note of all the rude, unprofessional trainers (two of them AQHA judges!) AND their clients, and some day when I am especially cranky I will list them here for the world to see.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Corky rode very good for me today - she was very light in the bridle (snaffle bit!). I longed her first in side reins and that seemed to help. It's weird how some days she is so light in the bridle and some days she lugs like her head weighs 1,000 pounds.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I free-longed Corky and Taylor in the indoor. They ran around like fools! Taylor looks great...I still feel a big twinge of regret for retiring her when she had been doing so well. She looks awesome, as does Corky. I loaded Corky up and hauled her to a friend's to ride. Wouldn't you know when I pulled her off the trailer she was dead lame! This time it seems to be the other front leg (the right front). I could find no heat or swelling in her tendon, the tendons seemed OK. I am wondering if maybe Taylor kicked her when they were turned out playing? They did run and buck and kick out a lot. I am so down...it is always something with this horse. How can such a talented horse be so darn fragile? I hauled her home, have her some bute, and will check her tomorrow to see how she is. Our show this weekend is not looking too good right now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

No show for us, Corky is still very lame at the trot. She walks fine, and will run around and play, but at the trot she has a severe head bob. I had her feet done yesterday, we tested her hooves all over and there is no sign of hoof soreness (which I didn't thin, since she pus weight on her foot just fine). NO signs of any swelling or heat in any leg, joint, or tendon. I am still guessing shoulder (???) but am befuddled as to why it is no better after 3 whole days. Even on bute, she is still sore. I leave tomorrow, am out of twon for TWO weeks and I am in a slight panic mode leaving without knowing what is going on with her. So far we have missed half of our show season due to one issue or another. Congress ain't lookin' too good this year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I finally arrived back home! Corky took quite a long time to heal. She was lame for about two full weeks, and only started coming out of it near the end of last week. Today I free longed her first to make sure she was OK, and she was. Boy did she get FAT these weeks I've been gone! Our ride today was actually pretty good, considering all the time she had off. I am considering heading to Findlay to the AQHA show this Saturday if everything falls into place.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Today was a hot one. Corky was not very well-behaved. We had several battles, and finally I had to get off her and put her back on the longe line. She ran and bucked and galloped like CRAZY! Finally I had to force her to stop before she overheated herself. At that moment, the vet came to write up her health papers for the Kentucky State Fair next week. I also had Taylor's blood drawn to have her progesterone levels checked to see if I can finally pull her off of ReguMate. After the vet left, I got back on Corky only to find she was SORE again in her right front shoulder. She limped when I put her into the trot. I immediately got off of her, unsaddled her, and walked her out. ON the longe line (after she had cooled off) she barely limped, but it was noticeable every couple strides. WHY? WHYWHYWHYWHY?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On the longe line she looked OK, so I saddled her and started riding her in the indoor. She felt weird - just a little off. I wondered if it was the footing, since the indoor was extremely hard. I took her outside because the outdoor arena was soft and perfect today. The biggest thing we had to deal with was being swarmed by horse flies. One the longe line she looked fine outside, so I got in the saddle. She rode fine for me, felt OK. not great, not perfect, but not limping. Maybe a slight bit stiff? This is such a puzzle. We leave on Monday for the Kentucky State Fair AQHA show. I really hope I don't lose my entries due to lameness. I want this solved!!!

Tomorrow I am taking her to a local open show to ride around, maybe practice some showmanship, and see how she is under saddle. I worry about showing her in that scary, air-conditioned coliseum in Louisville next week after not having been anywhere in over a month. Mostly, I pray she stays sound. She will stay with Stacey after the show next week so I can do some August shows with her and start preparing for Congress. I am feeling very down about this year and this season...what a terrible contrast to last year.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I got up early and hauled to an open show about an hour from my house. It was a quarter pony show...hehehe...needless to say Corky stuck out like a sore thumb. There was an ultra cool showmanship pattern for the open and jackpot classes, so I decided to do it. The pattern started facing backwards, with a back, 180 turn, trot around a cone, stop and back around a cone in line with the judge...too cool! Corky did great! We won both the showmanship classes. She is really coming around in showmanship. We even managed to do the back-around fairly clean.

There was a short 10 minute break before our riding classes. She rode well in the break but rode like an unbroke 2yo during the HUS class. *sigh* we are back to our green-show ways. We leave tomorrow for Louisville. It's going to be an interesting couple of days!

Mon-Tues-Wed., August 4-5-6, 2008

Well, I have good news/OK news/bad news LOL!

The numbers were better this year at the show than last year. The good news is that Corky stayed 100% sound the entire time...hooray!

I got there Monday evening and rode in the coliseum. She was very forward and full of energy, but not spooky at all (gotta love that). Tuesday I decided to work her HARD. I rode her three different times! I rode in the morning in the covered arena, she was very forward. I rode again in the afternoon in the covered arena and she started off a bit wild but by the end I finally got the canter I was asking for. I rode once again late that evening in the coliseum and she was awesome. There were really rude, drunk barrel racers in there and they were purposely trying to run into people, so that made it interesting.

Wednesday was show day. I longed for about 15 minutes in the morning. Showmanship went very well. There were 10 in the amateur and we got a 4th and 6th. She was a bit sluggish on her trot-off, but nailed the pivots and the lines perfectly so I was very happy with her. I told her that when she wins her first showmanship point I will buy us a new show halter (I have one already picekd out at Schneider's, but I want to make sure she earns the right to a new one!).

I rode her for a bit in the covered arena while waiting for the HUS. I decided to do that rather than attempt to ride in the crowds in the coliseum during break. I was the only one out there, and we had an absolutely awesome, Congress-winning ride! She was wonderful!!!

My HUS schedule stunk. I had 3 classes all back to back - first Junior HUS, then Amateur HUS, and then the non-pro maturity. We went in for the junior HUS and trotted around while they placed the class before us. I was thrilled, she was so incredibly relaxed and easy. As soon as they started judging, they had the entire class reverse at the trot. It was no biggie - we do that kind of stuff all the time. So we reversed at the trot, and trotted about halfway around the arena and then she just TOOK OFF! There wasn't any other horse around us, there was relaly no excuse because I was completely relaxed and enjoying the ride, and she just tensed up and grabbed the bit. the rest of the class was a bit of a battle trying to keep her focused. I was NOT happy with the ride, but we ended up placing 2nd and 4th out of 8 (yay, a half point!).

We had to stay in the arena for amateur HUS, and she was VERY tense. We had some ugly moments at the canter (luckily most of them were behind the judges' backs). We got 3rd and 3rd out of 10 (yay another point!).

The Non-Pro Maturity only had 6 entered. She was worse yet. She was downright BAD in this class, just slamming her hind end hard at the canter and trotting so big and forward she was grabbing her own feet. I was VERY unhappy with this ride. We ended up 3rd in this class, and I don't think we deserved it.

So...I guess it was good that we got another point and a half, but I can't bve excited about that because I was so disappointed with how badly she rode in the show pen after she rode so awesome for me beforehand. I just don't get it. I wish I could figure it out, because this was not an issue for us last year.

Corky is staying with Stacey right now. It is time to decide if we will do Congress again this year or not. Taylor is still extremely footsore. She has been sore ever since she got her feet trimmed on July 15. I am worried - it's been over 3 weeks and she still hobbles around in pain. Oh these horses....such heartache sometimes!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stacey called, she is hauling a couple HUS horses to the AQHA show in Franklin Furnace, OH just for the day on Saturday and wondered if I wanted Corky hauled so I could show one day. Heck, have you ever known me to say no to a show? So it looks like I will be driving all night after the band performance on Friday night, getting to the bottom of Ohio, braiding, taking a nap in my truck, and getting up to show...woo-hoo! I wonder when I will ever get too old for this? Hopefully never.

Taylor is still very very sore. My farrier is coming out tomorrow to put pads and shoes on her. I hope it helps. I am really getting worried....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My farrier came out and took a look at Taylor's feet. She can barely walk today. He pared away some of her front feet and pointed out what looks to be a separation of the laminae. This means laminitis or founder. I feel absolutely sick to my stomach. She was 100% sound until she got her feet trimmed a month ago. Immediately she went sore and has not been sound since. Her feed hasn't changed, in fact she has been on a diet since she seems to gain weight on air in this pregnancy. What could have caused this? I am thinking she was possibly trimmed too short and maybe this is a stress founder? I don't know. I got on the phone and made an appointment to haul her to a vet clinic on Friday for x-rays. we need to take a look at that coffin bone to see if there is any rotation. am trying not to think about the consequences...not going to even consider it until my vet has looked at her. What else can possibly go wrong this year? I shudder to even think.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The arena had been dug up and was as fluffy as a pillow today. I turned Taylor out to clean her stall and she moved a lot better on the soft footing. She even trotted about halfway around. She isn't 100% by a long shot, but the improvement today gives me some hope. Tomorrow we will know...say a prayer....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Better news! Taylor had her vet appointment today, and we had digital x-rays taken of her feet. She has the slightest rotation in her right front foot, the left front foot looks OK (although it is the one with the bone spur). Our treatment is 3-4 days of bute, and wedge pads and bar shoes put on this coming Monday. She is walking better today. She was VERY ouchy on the gravel, but walked good in the arena.My vet was very positive about this, he feels this is minor enough that she will come out of it without a hitch. Yea Taylor!

I am out the door now (at 10:00pm) to head to Franklin Furnace, OH to meet Stacey (and Corky) at an AQHA show. I am hoping for a few good rides to boost my confidence and feel better about the huge amount of money I just spent on Congress entries. Stay tuned...
Taylor's x-rays

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Franklin Furnace AQHA show

I am back from the show, it was absolutely exhausting! I left after my band performance at 10pm, got to the show grounds at 3am. I really struggled to stay awake. Here is a list of the foods I stopped to buy and eat on my 5-hour drive:

  • Cheet-O's
  • Pretzels
  • Diet pepsi (3 bottles)
  • Powdered Sugar donuts
  • a box of Lucky Charms
  • A bag of Jelly Bellies
  • Special K blueberry bars
It was a tough drive. I braided Corky - the world's largest and fattest braids! Normally I have to put around 30-34 braids on her, last night I put 17 LOL! Got to Stacey's room at the hotel around 4am, fell asleep about 4:45, alarm woke me up at 6:30. UGH.

Corky was wild on the longe line in the morning and pulled a front shoe off. The show farrier never showed up to tack it back on. Luckily she was fine on it, so I went ahead and showed. She was really really good for me! She was pretty grumpy (it was HOT and there were huge horse flies). She had several really icky transitions that knocked us in the Junior HUS and green HUS. I was 3rd in the Junior, 2nd in the green (1/2 point...yay!). I made a really really dumb error in the Amateur HUS. They called for the canter to the left and I cued her and she responded, but if felt weird so I looked down and thought she was on the wrong lead, so I tried to pull her up. She would NOT stop cantering, just kept cantering slower, throwing her head up and fighting me. I looked again, and she actually WAS on the correct lead, for some reason my perception was off and I really screwed us up. How dumb! I think the heat, and lack of sleep got to me LOL! What an idiotic mistake. I am still kicking myself for that.

We made a brave attempt at amateur equitation again. The cones were set up so close together, she only got ONE canter stride in between the cones on her canter portion, trying to drop her to a posting trot after one cater stride was near impossible, so we missed our cone. It was an ugly pattern, but I got every lead and diagonal correct. We kept our equitation streak alive by once again finishing LAST. :-]

So, it was a good show for us. In all 4 classes she stayed nice and calm and if anything I actually had to use quite a bit of spur to keep her going (which made her really mad!). I do like having to push a horse rather than hold her back. Next on the agenda - in 2 weeks we head to Liberty, Kentucky for a 3-day AQHA show over Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I was out of AQHA records money so I had a friend look up Corky's points. Yesterday's half point made 10 open points, so Corky has officially earned her open ROM!!!! YAY! I hope the results from my last two shows gets turned in quickly so we can show performance halter at the show in 2 weeks.

Taylor is walking better today. Tomorrow she gets her wedge pads and shoes. I can't wait to see if she finally is comfortable enough to start playing and running around like she used to.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taylor got 2 degree wedge shoes plus hoof packing today. She immediately felt better. Yay!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I turned Taylor out in the indoor and free-longed her. While she doesn't move the prettiest anymore, she is SOUND for the most part. Yay!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Here is my ad for the fall issue of the KyQHA Quarterly. You can tell I designed it myself, it's rather wordy and cluttered. I decided to leave it that way to make it look different and more interesting to read. You know me, I never seem to do anything the standard way. I love the KyQHA Quarterly. I can actually afford their ad rates. Of course now that I say that, the ad rates will probably triple for the next issue!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I free-longed Taylor today. I swear she looked better than she had even before she left for the breeding farm. I was tempted to throw a saddle on and ride her, but I thought I shouldn't push it today. I might do a little light riding on Sunday if she still looks so good. She was so flat and slow-legged today, took my breath away. I'd forgotten what a beautiful horse she is.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time for some Taylor pictures! Introducing "Spare Me the Details", 4 1/2 months pregnant with her Hot Diggity Joe baby.

My fave pic...she is feeling GOOD again!

You really can hardly tell she is pregnant unless you knew Taylor before. She is a very lean horse, the pregnancy makes her look a bit more filled out.

Hardly even a belly showing! I wonder when she will "pop" out with her pregnancy.

Isn't she pretty! She always has such a pretty expression.

Saturday-Sunday, August 30-31, 2008
Kentucky Quarter Horse Breeders Futurity and AQHA Show - Liberty, Kentucky

I pulled another all-nighter to drive to the show. I was DYING on the drive. It was the most awful drive I have ever done, and I think I will NOT be doing that again. I am officially too old. I left school a little after midnight on Friday (actually Saturday morning) after a football game. I got to the showgrounds at 6am. Braided Corky til 7am, then braided another HUS horse. Yea, money! I finished just in time for the start of the show. ZERO sleep. Lots of junk food. Here is a list of what I ate on the 6 hour drive:

  • 1 bag of Hostess donuts
  • 1 bag of Cheetos
  • Jelly Bellies
  • 3 24oz Diet Pepsis
  • Zucchini bread (thanks, mom!)
  • Special K blueberry bars (4 of them)
  • 1 bag of Pepperoni Pizza Combos

I had a GREAT show weekend. I showed yesterday (Saturday) on NO sleep! I skipped showmanship and just did the HUS. Corky was great, it was like having the old Corky back! We got 2nd in the Open, 2nd in Amateur, and we won the green HUS! Points...yippee! I am most thrilled with the fact that she rode these classes happy and ears up. It was nice seeing her in a good mood...I think she missed me. :-]

Today (Sunday) was even better. I did our very first performance halter mare class, we won! Oh yeah, we were the only ones in the class...LOL! Still, it was fun to accomplish one of my goals this year.

We did showmanship today, and Corky was really on...we ended up 2nd out of 8...our first half point in showmanship! I am celebrating, now I am going to get my new show halter for next year. I am excited. She really did well. I think she might actually make a showmanship horse! (Check out the video...keep reading!)

Our HUS classes ran back to back today - all 3 of them in a row! Yuck. First was the green HUS, we won again today (yippee!). It was a great, sit back and cruise ride. Then was the amateur, we won it!!!! Then came the open, and by this time she was pretty angry (it was 95 degrees and HUMID!). We didn't have a very good ride, but the best thing was that every time she tried to be bad, I took a hold of her and asked her to behave and she DID! She just wouldn't hold herself, so it was a class of constant corrections and the judge dinged us for that (we placed near the bottom). I couldn't be mad, because for the first time I was able to correct her, and instead of her blowing up and getting mad at the pressure, she gave in to me. This is a huge accomplishment.

We decided to try amateur equitation. Yep, another disaster. She managed to take the wrong lead both directions in the pattern. Yep, we got last again LOL! We have yet to beat anyone in equitation!

We all decided last night that we would skip showing on Monday because everyone was leaving and there would be NO numbers. The bummer was that when I went to close my check today I saw sitting on the table a gorgeous trophy with a bronze statue of a HUS horse trotting, and a name plate that said 'High Point English Horse KYQHBA show". I asked about it and they were awarding this trophy to the horse with the highest placings in all the English classes for all 3 days. I was SO bummed. Unfortunately we had already checked out of the motel, loaded half the stuff, and unbraided Corky, so I couldn't force everyone to stay just for me. I am so sad...not that I need another trophy like I need a hole in the head, but it was so pretty. I sure I had known about it from the start. What a great weekend we had!

Our showmanship pattern:
Corky's first showmanship point

Or...see the YouTube version (in low-quality) if you cannot get the above video to load:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I came back from the weekend to find Taylor 3-legged again. This time I am fairly sure it is an abscess underneath her shoe and pad. She is standing with her toe on the ground and doesn't want to put her heel down. My farrier is coming out this afternoon to take the shoe and pad off and see what is going on. Poor Taylor cannot even walk. She certainly has been through the wringer this summer.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My farrier took her shoe and pad off on Thursday and found a little seepage of moisture from an abscess - on the side of her foot right underneath the shoe. He dug it out and put the shoe back on (minus the pad). I've been packing the hole with icthammol (lovely smelling stuff!). Today she seems a LOT more comfortable and is moving better. What a relief! An abscess is a good thing - a minor lameness that I can handle. I was dreading finding out it was something more serious, but for once it was a good, minor diagnosis.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All is well in my horse world! Corky had a good chiropractor appointment in Kentucky and had lots of adjustments needed. Taylor is 100% sound and happy! Today I felt the baby move!!! She is 5 months along today. I am starting to really get excited. I have a tentative name picked out...shhhh, it's top secret! I don't want to jinx myself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Maybe I am rushing the game a bit, but I am starting to think about what I want to do next year with Taylor. Part of me wants to breed her, part of me wants to bring her out of retirement and show some more. I'd really like to find a great breeding deal for her, maybe find a top-notch up and coming stallion that would give me a deal for a proven mare. Then again, I'd looooove to bring her back to the show ring. Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I spoke with Stacey today. Corky has been doing great - very happy and good about her work. It seems she really likes Matt, and rides very willingly for him. Looks like I will have to talk Matt into buying breeches and boots (come on Matt, you can do it!). I am excited, I am heading to Kentucky this weekend to ride ride ride...my last 'home' ride before Congress. Can you believe we are setting up the stall at Congress next weekend already? Yikes!!!

Taylor is doing well, fat and sassy. I am investigating some possible breeding deals for the 2009 breeding season. I want only the best for her, but I have to stay at a reasonable cost so I can still afford to do my 'thang'. I have an idea of what I might do...stay tuned. You'll be the first to know when I sign the contract!

Congress....*sigh*....we aren't ready this year. Oh well, I'll have fun anyways! I get to shop for a new show halter this year..woo-hoo! Here are my show dates:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 15 - Non-Pro Maturity HUS 1st go and Limited finals
  • Monday, Oct. 20 - If the moon and the stars align and pink elephants fly across the sky, I will be in the Non-Pro Open HUS Maturity finals
  • Ok, I am technically entered in the Nov. Am Equitation on Wednesday, Oct. 22, but it ain't happening! I won't be able to get that day off...UNLESS I don't make the open finals. I only get 2 days (personal days) off per year, so I have to spend them wisely. We are SO not ready for equitation. Getting last place all three times we've attempted it is not a good thing LOL!
  • Saturday, Oct. 25 - Junior HUS and Amateur HUS.

Wish us luck, we are going to need it. Missing most of the summer due to injuries has left us far behind. I keep reminding myself that I can't possibly expect to top what I accomplished last year. that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for someone like me!

Saturday, September 27, 2008M

Happy day after my birthday! What better place to celebrate my birthday than in Kentucky, riding Corky! I came down here this afternoon for one last weekend of riding and lessons before Congress. She rode absolutely fantastic! Her transitions were soft and quiet, and she held herself on a loose rein with a canter that was big and flowing...I wanted to ride it all evening! This really lifts my spirits and makes me feel good about this upcoming BIG month ahead of me. She was ears up happy the entire ride, was not the least bit bothered by a couple other horses that came really close to her. I love seeing my horse so happy!

I love coming down here. Stacey and Lori got me a happy birthday cookie and a card, plus some grape Smirnoff. It made a nice ending to a crazy week!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I got up bright and early to ride. Last night I splurged on a hotel room rather than sleeping on the couch in the barn lounge. It was my birthday gift to myself! First thing in the morning Matt and I went outside and worked showmanship. Corky's showmanship is still doing pretty good. Sadly, I have discovered that all my bad habits I had when showing Taylor (not always completing my turns, starting my trotoffs crooked, etc.) still happen with Corky. Ugh...FRUSTRATION! I had another great ride this morning. I have Corky a break and then rode her one more time later in the afternoon. I worked on some equitation things - mainly pivots and cantering from a stop. She is getting better, but her pivots are still pretty bad. I felt pretty good about my riding this weekend - I am sitting straighter and feeling more confident. I just hope I can hold onto this for the next month. 2 weeks until Congress....

Monday, September 29, 2008

They released the stall assignments for Congress. We are in the Swine Barn again this year...woo-hoo! I like the piggy barn. We have stalls towards the main center aisle, near the entrance towards the beef barn.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ok, Congress looms in the close future (as in THIS WEEKEND!) and I am starting to feel the nerves. I am fighting my own worst enemy - myself. No pressure, no pressure, I keep telling myself...easier said than done!

I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, and to meeting a lot of people that I have chatted with online for many years. It's going to be an exciting couple weeks.

Click here for page 3 - Oct. 11, 2008 and after: Congress and beyond

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