Sunday, April 29, 2012

Intro to My Headliners: Part 2

A cold, wet rainy day with no riding. Perfect time to introduce you to Barry, the grey Arabian pictured above.
When my mom bought Sherman, we had to stop leasing an Arabian mare named Gazelle. We continued to ride and care for her, but soon we found out the owner had sold her. My friend and I were heartbroken. We cleaned her up and planned to ride her in a show before she left for her new home. Unfortunately, they came early and we did not get our goodbye ride. At 12yrs old, losing Gazelle was tough, so when mom started taking care of another grey Arab, I was not interested.
Gazelle, 7yr old Arabian mare
Where Gazelle was a beautiful dapple, grey with steel highlights, Barry was 13.3 h flea bitten grey and rough looking. Eventually I did start riding him. He had two speeds: walk and run. He had done 10yrs of trail riding and had some barrel racing training. Very quickly we realized that I could not take group lessons since he was a bit of a live wire. Barry and I had to learn to trust each other. I was lucky to have a great instructor who put a lot of time into training us.
Over the next 8 months we worked at finding Barry's right lead, harnessing his energy into productive movement and deciding the direction we would go. I had to figure out whether I was going to follow the hunter or go into eventing. Eventing seemed to fit us to a "T." Barry and I used hunter shows to get jumping mileage. We normally drew a crowd because people wanted to see how fast we finished our round. Finally after the months of training and building a partnership, we were ready for a Combined Training show away from home. The pony who had had no right lead, no speed control and the infamous Arab head spin only months before came home with the first place prize. It was only the beginning of a successful relationship.
Barry and I picture for the Base Event book
Soon after that show, we changed instructors. My old instructor felt we needed more than she could give. Barry and I were up for the challenge. We continued to grow and Barry really took to jumping. Dressage was still just a means to get to the jumping phases. Both of us had to work at Dressage. Barry had to think what we wanted was his idea. The cute little pony definitely had strong opinions.
Everything was going great and then Barry's owner told mom she needed to sell him. I had flashbacks of Gazelle. His owner asked for 1500. My dad the negotiator came back with 1350. We were on pins and needles. Our instructor said not to lose him for 250, but in the end a promise that we would be his last owners swung the deal our way. A pony his size could be constantly outgrown and sold over and over again. So peace of mind won the day. At 13 I had my own pony.
Over the next year my parents made payments until finally he was ours. We thought he was 14 or 15yrs old. My parents surprised me with the information that Barry was the same age as me, 14yrs old and actually he was only 12 days younger. No wonder we got along so well, we are both Gemini.

Trail ride with mom and Sherman and friends

 We competed together for nearly 8 yrs. Barry and I won at First timers (2ft) first time out, Baby Novice (2'3") 2nd time, Beginner Novice (2'6") 3rd time and we started competing at 2'9" and placed in top 4. In dressage we competed through training and ventured into 1st. Barry and I trained at 3ft (much to my mom's surprise) and we showed everyone that a 13.3 h pony can do anything a larger horse can.
Considering I wanted nothing to do with Barry when he came, the bond we made was soul deep. He knew when I was sad and would rest his head on my chest. I knew when he was sick and stayed with him through that nasty cold that set back our training.
Barry and Hansi,warmblood first time at new farm
When I went to college, I choose to commute so that I would be near Barry. During my Sophomore year we moved the horses to our current barn. It was amazing to see how youthful Barry became once he had grass and turn out. He nearly reverted to the crazy pony we had in the beginning. His training progressed in leaps and bounds. We both came to appreciate Dressage and its nuances.

19yr old Barry
 He even was a lesson pony for some of mom's students and a pony ride pony for the girls that live on the property.
When he was 22yr old we noticed some moments of lameness. We could tell it was in the hind end, but not whether it was high or low. We brought out our holistic vet, Joyce Harman to get her opinion. She also saw the lameness and recommended having an ultrasound and xray done. Our conventional vet found that Barry had damaged his suspensory tendon and his sesmoidal.
For a horse his age, that was a career ender. On the plus side, his xrays looked like a horse half his age. Great advertisement for Corta Flex. Nearly a year of stall rest, then limited turn out and I finally was able to walk him around. He would never be completely sound, but he was happy. Retirement was not his favorite, but he still had me so that made up for it.

Barry settled in as a companion pony to an older horse and helped managed the other horses too. Our next challenge we had was Melanomas. Barry always had  them on his tail, sheath, and mouth. We rode him in a hackamore or a bozel to avoid the ones in his mouth. Unfortunately, the ones on his tail started changing and growing. We had some success with a product called Nublada's Cure, but not enough. At 26yrs old he developed a  tumor that grew from grape sized to grape fruit size in about six months. The melanomas were awful. Messy and itchy. We started to come to the barn and find his tail bloody and sometimes, This is really gross, infested with maggots. Peroxide, a bug spray, rubber gloves and desitin became our friends.

Time for Coggins came and we had our vet looks at Barry's tail. Now before I talk about her recommendation let me say that Barry was known for his very long mane and long tail. They were his pride and joy, mine too. So when the vet recommended amputating his tail, it was a shock. The tumor had gotten too big and surgery was the only option. I made the appointment and called mom who was in Florida. We both agreed losing his tail was better than the nasty tumors driving him crazy. I scratched and loved on him and then turned him out with DaVinci.
Barry and Larry, Peggy's husband
I did not realize that would be the last time I would see him alive.

Barry always drank soda from a cup :)
Early the morning of May 29, 2009 I received a call from the farm manager saying that one of the horses had been struck by lightning. From the description I knew it was Barry. It was the longest drive to get to the barn. Mom was in Florida, so I called Peggy.
home horse trial
I was alone when I went out to the field to say good bye. Barry was gone after almost 14 yrs together not even a month before his 27th birthday. The bond I had with him, I wish everyone could experience.

His western look
Peggy and I talked as we walked to where he was buried. We don't think it was a coincidence that he died the day after we learned he could lose his tail. Luckily we did not lose DaVinci too as he was in the same field.

1st place dressage test for First timers event
So many people asked me when I would get a "real" horse. Well Barry was the "perfect" horse for me. Barry gave me jumping, dressage and games. We trail rode and barrel raced. I will probably never have what I had with him again, but I am a better rider for what he gave me.

It took me a while to find my joy in riding again. In the eyes of my sister, I found it when I started riding Comrade. So many people thought Barry was welsh, maybe it is the *Raffles influence, so I guess that is why the cobs drew me. Rosemary has brought a new joy and challenge. Then last year Rosemary gave birth to Roscoe...

On June 19th, Barry's birthday. Some things are just meant to be.

Long mane

He had to wear a muzzle too
Home horse trial

Monday, April 23, 2012

Professional Show Pictures

Here is a link to some of the Show Pictures taken by the Pro.

Roscoe's pictures are #206-#225.

She did not get his naughty moments, but there are times he has all four feet off the ground at the trot.


Ps. I feel better now that I found out 2 out of the 3 other riders in Comrade's classes left early too.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Show Day...or Not

Well Saturday was crazy busy. I had a hair appointment, then I had to get to the barn for Dottie and DaVinci's farrier visit. Dottie was a bit stiff from all the excitement of Comrade's visit, so she was difficult. We worked with her and got her shoes done. Then I turned them all out, so they could move around before Peggy and I started bathing. We looked out the door to see this view:
Once we tore ourselves away, we started loading the trailer. Then we started bathing or trying to bathe Roscoe. Roscoe decided that water was really acid and he kept spinning around. Peggy and I were almost wetter than him. We persevered and he finally got clean. All that chrome was pretty white.
Rosemary the whole time had been running around and calling, so afterwards we hosed her off.
Up next was Comrade, who was just as inclined to stay still as Roscoe. His tail was so dirty it needed two washings.
Rain was forecasted and the horse would be in for the night. After both the wet boys had rolled in their stalls, I took a chance and put them out.
About an hour later the storm hit. I was able to get all the boys back inside. The girls decided eating grass was better than getting out of the rain. I finished primping the two show ponies and went over my checklist. When I was finished I tucked all the horses in their stalls and headed home to get my few hours of sleep before coming back.
4am came way too fast and it was still raining. We picked up Peggy and went to the barn. Fed all the horses, turned out the four staying behind and loaded the last items into the trailer. Both the boys loaded great.
By 630 we were on the road for the over 2hr drive. We arrived at the Bel Air Equestrian Center just as the first class was starting. We took the boys for a walk, then put them back on the trailer when the rain started. I met with the guy who would be handling Roscoe. He was lured into Roscoe's "I'm a sweet baby" routine.
We warned him that a wild pony was inside that body. He headed in for his first class (he was the only Sec. D in breeding stock division). The little monster came out, but he did it in style. His handler was great managing him. He moved onto the Supreme championship class against the other sections. He did not place but was a good boy. He was fascinated by a Sec. A stallion. Here are some of the highlights from the two classes.

Roscoe and Sec. A stallion

Not long after Roscoe finished his classes the rain started in earnest. The boys went back on the trailer. By this time Comrade was loading himself.  We watched a few more classes, then took cover in the truck. We had a lot of classes left to go before Comrade's. The temperature had dropped into the lower forties and there was no end in sight for the rain. Peggy recommended packing it in and going home. I held out another few classes, because Peggy would lose the money she paid for the classes. In the end, I decided to scratch. We still had the drive home and stalls to clean, so an earlier day had much appeal.
So, except for a temper tantrum by Roscoe and a half torn apart breast bar by Comrade mixed with rain the day went well. I told Roscoe's breeder she has her work cut out for her when she shows him next month. Roscoe really should be in Wales where they appreciate attitude and airs above ground in the show ring :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Herd Dynamics

To make Show day a little easier, we brought Comrade to our barn on Wednesday. His price for admission to our grassy fields...
That's right a muzzle

DaVinci went out with him first, running ensued. Then we added Winston. More running and some squealing. All three were easy going and soon settled down to start eating.
Then we added Roscoe. More running, pushed on somewhat by Rosemary on the other side of the fence. We shut the gate to the biggest field to slow them down. Once they slowed down we noticed that Roscoe would not let Comrade within five feet of him. Comrade would approach and Roscoe would run away.

Now for a little background. When Roscoe was born, Rosemary always kept him away from Comrade. She never liked him and when he came to our barn, she showed she still does not like him. Isn't funny how Roscoe remembered?
Okay back to the herd. So Roscoe told DaVinci that he was not comfortable with Comrade. DaVinci transforms into the Arab Mafia. He completely acted like a bodyguard getting in between Roscoe and Comrade. Winston put his two cents in too, but then mostly stayed out of it. By time we left for the day, DaVinci had run Comrade out of the field. We reopened the big field so they had options and left Comrade in the run in shed.
The next day we come to the barn to find Comrade's muzzle hanging by his braid and him happily eating grass with all the boys. Mom and I went out to put his muzzle back on, only to be surprised by Roscoe coming up to Comrade and playing. I guess they came to an understanding. DaVinci still pushed him around, just to keep him in his place.
Little did we know the bigger surprise was still waiting. We found a note from the Appies owner saying that Comrade had broken into her barn, which connects to our run in by a dutch door and made a mess. AND he did it all with the muzzle on. He got the muzzle off after all the excitement.
Day 2 and night 2 went much better, though Comrade still goes wide around DaVinci.
Today we put them all on the sacrifice area so they did not have to wear muzzles. By this time Comrade is really missing home where he has hay all the time, access to a stall and owners that live on the property giving him attention. At our barn he has to work for his food and move a lot since our herd is active. Plus Roscoe has chosen to annoy Comrade, which is normally the position Comrade holds at his barn. Pay back is hell :)
When we went to the barn after work about 9pm all the boys were getting along enjoying their hay.
Tomorrow will be very busy and it is suppose to rain. Should make it really fun to get both the boys clean for the show, especially Roscoe.
All that chrome is fancy, until you have to get it clean. Wish us luck. More after the show.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Riding with Music

Today was a busy day, including trimming the Appies feet, show clipping for Roscoe, cleaning stalls and of course riding.
Let start with the Appies. Rebel is still pretty lame but we were able to get 3 feet completely trimmed and 1 a little rounded. So he has 1 long foot still.
Jenna is really lame. Mom and I hope she did not founder. She is sore on her front left enough that when you pick up the right, she points the left after. With everything, I only rounded her toes.
Keep your fingers crossed that she gets better.
Next up Roscoe. Mom helped me by holding him so I could trim his ears. Then by myself I trimmed his beard. He was great. I did not even need a halter. Now when I attempted to even out his mane, we had a battle. Roscoe does not believe his mane should be pulled or as I was doing today using a clipper blade to shorten it. He shook his head over and over while I kept working. Not easy since his mane is so slick, but I did have some success. After a quick hoof trim, he was finally able to go eat his hay.
Finished product
Cleaning stalls is normally not difficult. Pick into the wheel barrow and roll out to the spreader, dump and pitch. Well today I wondered how I was suppose to pitch into the spreader since the house parked two ATVs right by the spreader leaving no room to dump. Luck was with me. As I started cleaning, the girls came and took the ATVs for a ride. I quickly finished and rushed to pitch into the spreader before they came back. Sometimes it is tough to remain diplomatic.
Now for the fun stuff. DaVinci and I went for a bareback ride in the front field to work the little hill. He was a bit lazy, but what he did do was good. Nothing like a half hour of hill work to give a quick work out.
It was a bit too windy to ride Winston, so he got lunged and long lined. I think he was a little bored on the lunge. He did everything I asked, but it was kind of vanilla. To change it up, I clipped the other end of the line to his halter to long line him. This perked him up. I asked him to trot and was able to walk behind him. We completed a bunch of figure 8's at the trot. Plus we did some lateral work. Both of us were happy when we ended.
And the grand finale. The show is Hunter based which means Comrade's dressage saddle won't work. I decided to try Dottie's Wintec Wide. Since it has the widest gullet, I used a sheep skin pad under it to help with the size difference. To spice up my ride, I used my Ipod and a little speaker system to play music. Comrade is so silly. He hung over me while I set up and turned on the music. Then once I was on he decided that the mystery noise was scary. During the song, "Proud Mary," I don't think we rode one straight line due to him trying to avoid the music.
Then a Trans Siberian song came on. I love riding to their music and Comrade seemed to like it too. He had a lot of energy built up from the previous song. Harnessing that we did a zig zag pattern of haunches in, haunches out, then trot on. Then at a tempo change, we cantered.
During the next song, he was trotting forward and I realized I was holding him like he was still "going fast." I relaxed and enjoyed the movement. Over the next few songs, we did some slower, collected work with corners and some more canter work. By this time he was working well. Music brings a whole different aspect to a ride. I enjoy seeing what music a horse responds to and how their movement changes.
And the saddle seems to work. We may need the thicker sheep skin pad, though. Comrade is very quick to say if he does not like a saddle and he did not give me any negatives. One show question answered.

Hmm, do you think they would let me play music during the class? :) Probably too exciting.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Roscoe is signed up for the Welsh show on April 22nd. He will have to trot into the arena, show off and then line up. Then comes the judging while standing, then at walk and trot. Sounds simple right?
I managed to handle Roscoe when he was 12 weeks old, but now at nearly 10 months he is a handful. His trot out paces me quickly. He is a good boy about not pulling me and will circle around. Great for practice, not so good for the show. So I put out a call for help.
Quickly I got a response from the show secretary with the name of a guy who could show him. I contacted him and he was willing. Now Roscoe will have a better chance to show his moves. Another Welsh owner offered to show him too. Hopefully she will show her Sec. C colt against Roscoe. They both are Chestnuts with a lot of chrome, so it would be a great class to have them together.
I will still bring in hand show clothes in case I have to handle him, but that is a long shot.
Roscoe, 12 weeks old, and I at Welsh show in September '11
Now I have figure out the rest of the plans to get both Comrade and Roscoe ready for the show.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


For Easter, Rosemary and DaVinci got to join Dottie and Winston in the joys of wearing a muzzle. When we got home from our trip we could tell Rosemary had put on a few pounds. Gotta love spring grass.
For all the horses except Dottie, I can order $20 muzzles from and one each normally lasts the season. Dottie has to have the $45 draft size Best Friends muzzle. To help prevent rubbing, there are a lot of accessories out there. I like the cheeksavers sell. They are a simple neoprene pieces with velcro that prevents rubbing by the clip. Unfortunately we found out the hard way that DaVinci is sensitive to neoprene. He got a really bad reaction. So we found a nice alternative  right in the store where we work, moleskin. Dr. Scholls makes a great moleskin product that sticks right to the muzzle basket and nylon straps. We wrap all the contact points on the muzzle. If it gets dirty, just brush it off. Great stuff. In this case the off brand moleskin does not work as well.
The other accessories we use are generic halter fleeces or sheepkins. DaVinci has a few on his muzzle, but they may not last long. Roscoe thinks it is great fun to pull off the fleece and sometimes he even pulls off the cheeksaver. He has not figured out how to take off moleskin yet.
We don't like to leave them in muzzles all the time, so for a couple days at a time all the horses go on dry lot. A couple areas around the run in sheds can be closed off from the fields. The horses can eat the grass down in those areas making them our "fat turn outs." We toss some hay and they are happy ponies.
Ah the lengths we go to, to make sure our horses stay healthy. After seeing one horse we knew founder in all four feet, I believe better safe than sorry.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Welcome Home

Well we got home about 230am on Friday, so we were too tired to ride. We did get a lot of hair off the horses though. They all came running when we called. Always a great feeling. They all got good report cards from Peggy, even Roscoe.
Today I was suppose to do the Appies feet, but Rebel was really lame. Left front with heat in the fetlock and hoof. He has ring bone in both fronts so he nearly always has some level of lameness. He was not letting us pick up the left at all. We decided to give him a week and reassess. Fingers crossed.
Next we scraped more hair off the horses. Gotta love shed season. Mom also told me to clip Roscoe to start getting ready for the Welsh show. I did not even need a halter to trim his beard and whiskers. His reaction made me a believer in early(as in first week of life) exposure. He first met clippers on about day three. Hopefully showing young will serve the same lesson.
Then we picked the girls to work and turned out the boys. We took Rosemary for her first ride around the big fields. She is such a silly girl. There was a pile of stone or cement dust on the ground and she snorted and bowed away. I walked her up to it so she could check it out. Next thing we knew she took a BITE. Of course it did not taste very good. Many funny faces followed and she was left with a gray muzzle. Then she decided the slight dip in the ground was a pony eating black hole. Brave Dottie came and led the way finding safe ground for Rosemary. On we went into the wild.
Toward the back side of one of the fields, there was a dirt patch. I looked at it and thought "baby up jump." A little raised area was on one side of the dirt. Now Rosemary looked and decided that it was "pony sucking quicksand." She immediately put on the brakes and reversed. Again Dottie came to show her it was safe. She followed and then as Dottie left the spot, she realized she was standing in the "quicksand." OH NO jump to the side. Overall she did well...for a drama queen. We walked by another "quicksand" spot, but I did not push her. Then we went for the long walk around the biggest field. Just past the pond we had to navigate a small but steep hill. Rosemary trusted me to bring her down picking her way through the long grass. She started cruising then at the walk stretching down into the reins. Really great walk. She only got distracted by the people on the other side of the fence and the chickens. I thinks she looked twice at them. I put her behind Dottie for this area so that Dottie would show her the way. Both of them were good girls and we had a great ride. We ended with a trot around the main field. Rosemary opened up and pushed. This time Dottie followed her. The boys came to greet us as we rounded the corner. After a rub down, cookies and sunflower seeds, we turned the girls out and headed to Peggy's.
First up for Comrade was his clip to get ready for the show. Then we tacked up and went to the arena. I was set for a warm up walk then trot. Comrade decided that he would rather canter. I went with it and pushed him on. For the first time ever, he kicked it in when I asked. That push from behind was wonderful. The trot work that followed was better too. He was so willing and good, I let him finish on trail jumping the log jumps. We had some great jumps and one "air" jump because we differed on which way we would go after the jump. I resettled and off we went. We had fun and Comrade has come along.
I should mention that Comrade turned 7 yesterday. Happy Birthday!!!
Tomorrow Peggy and I have to fill out show forms. Hopefully the breeder will show Roscoe in hand for us. Maybe Comrade too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Show Overlaps

Since I have so much time in Florida, I have been keeping track of the show listings. I already have a Welsh breed show on the calender for April 22nd, but I wanted to see the other schooling show schedules. One of the Hunter show series finally listed dates. Of course the first show is the same day as the Welsh show. Take that off the options for now.
Next our local horse society holds a variety of shows for different disciplines. I already knew I could not do the jumper shows since they are held on a week day. This year they are having 3 dressage shows. The first show date... falls on the same day as the Welsh show. If it was not for Roscoe, I would consider skipping the Welsh show to go to one of the others. Breed shows are the only shows he can show in right now though. I hope to take horses to the other dressage shows in May and July.
Our local society posted their Hunter show dates. That show arena is only five minutes down the road so they are a good option. Unfortunately, their first show is April 21st... not good and the second is May 19 the same day as the VA Welsh show.
I am aiming for exposure and experience. Comrade and I did one Dressage show last year. We survived, but had a few bucks during Intro C. This year I want to get him in some jumping classes and maybe find some combined training events. At Welsh shows right now he can only do pleasure classes or green hunter. Money will decide how many Welsh shows he goes to.
Rosemary and Roscoe will at least go to the 2 VA Welsh shows in May and September and maybe some of the MD Welsh shows for the breed classes.
DaVinci would do Dressage shows (he is not very Hunter.) Dottie could do Hunter but I would love to get her to a Dressage show. Fitness will be the biggest factor for these two.
Rosemary will be trained to drive this year, so her show schedule will depend on her training and availability.
I am going to have to sit down and put the show calenders side by side and see how to work it all out.

Two mores days in Florida and then we head home. If I am not too tired I am riding my pony Friday.