Monday, January 31, 2011 a little carried away!

I went shopping today; online. Which is dangerous. Especially when you're getting really good deals : O

I tried to really keep myself from going overboard, since it all started because of a really nice $10 bridle and $5 discount coupon to HorseLoverz...

...and finished $192 later!

The thing I feel good about, if that makes sense, was the savings.
$10 bridle and reins, regular price $70
$15 fly sheet, regular price $50
$14 fly mask w/ears and fleece lining, regular price $20
$10 dressage show pad, regular price $20
$4 fetlock boots, regular price $20
$4 brushing boots, regular price $30
$5 jump cups (bought 3 sets), regular price $15 each ($30 total)
$5 field boot socks (bought 2 pairs!), regular price $10 each ($20 total)
$3 dewormer, regular price $10
$5 halter (sooo nice, and way better then the one I'm currently using), regular price $15
$3 lead rope (since the horses keep eating mine), regular price $10
$2 face brush. regular price $7
$5 finishing brush (I don't own one and would love to get Moon shining!), regular price $10
$5 bell boots/overreach boots, regular price $10
$5 polos (set of 4), regular price $12
$5 dressage whip (now I have to figure out what to spend my greenhawk card on...), regular price $10
$10 stainless steel stirrup irons, regular price $25

$192 for $369 worth of stuff (and that's based on what it'd cost at Greenhawk). SCORE!

Now to eagerly await their arrival and go try them all on Moon! I'll take pics!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Days like today...

Days like today...make me so happy to have a pony to visit. After hectic, crazy, couldn't go worse days at work, there's nothing better then the sweet smell of horse, on a warm winter's evening.I'm just counting down the hours until the meeting I'm hosting comes to a close, and I can header out of the city. Horses just make the days better.

On a positive note, I finally got a hit on my tack for sale, thanks to Kijiji. Ironically, I think it's my handmade english saddle pads that caught the person's attention, though I'm glad someone is interested. It looks like we might be able to work something out for a dressage saddle or hunt bridle, which would be awesome. I offered saddle covers and/or stall plaques as well, as I enjoy both of those projects and they are fairly easy. I really would love to get a dressage saddle for Moon, and then my AP can be jump and trail specific, but I'm sure she'll want a lot of $$ for it. Funny, to have three saddles for someone who's just gotten their first horse...

But I've run out of space to store it! I'll need another customs saddle rack made.

My thought though, is that a dressage saddle would be excellent for some entry level dressage shows. If, you know, we can actually make it to one.

I'm a little down that no one else (even from the horse forum) has shown any interest in them. Suppose there's a lot more people making them, and shipping from out of country always makes some people balk.

On a good note from work, it seems I'll be headed to Mexico at month's end; every day I get a few more confirmations, and things appear to be progressing well. Tomorrow the lead is back in the office, and I'm looking forward to getting a better idea of what I'll be doing out there. I'm hoping this is the first step, in many steps, towards new challenges at work. I know there's lots when I'm riding, but the workday just hasn't competed!

...2.5 hours till I can bugger out of here and visit my pony!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Show Dates and Plans.

I've been hunting around for the 2011 show dates (in english disciplines) for my province, and have managed to pretty good listing from the Pony Club Webpage:

Of course, there's tons, but also tons I couldn't enter. So I'm looking for more info on there ones...hopefully we'll be pretty decently trained (with some professional coaching to boot) for one of these:

Possible Shows:
May 14-15 MHT Meet the Fences Clinic/Derby <-- data-blogger-escaped-a="" data-blogger-escaped-be="" data-blogger-escaped-br="" data-blogger-escaped-neat="" data-blogger-escaped-this="" data-blogger-escaped-trial="" data-blogger-escaped-would="">June 4-5 MHT Clinic Derby with Dressage Will Farm, Carroll <-- data-blogger-escaped-arroll="" data-blogger-escaped-br="" data-blogger-escaped-early="" data-blogger-escaped-in="" data-blogger-escaped-is="" data-blogger-escaped-one="" data-blogger-escaped-probably="" data-blogger-escaped-season...="" data-blogger-escaped-the="" data-blogger-escaped-this="" data-blogger-escaped-too="" data-blogger-escaped-where="" data-blogger-escaped-wonder="">Sept 3-4 MHT Clinic/Derby Birds Hill Park <-- data-blogger-escaped-a="" data-blogger-escaped-br="" data-blogger-escaped-class...="" data-blogger-escaped-find="" data-blogger-escaped-has="" data-blogger-escaped-if="" data-blogger-escaped-level="" data-blogger-escaped-need="" data-blogger-escaped-out="" data-blogger-escaped-pre-entry="" data-blogger-escaped-this="" data-blogger-escaped-to="">Sept Jump into Fall Schooling Red River Ex <-- data-blogger-escaped-associated="" data-blogger-escaped-at="" data-blogger-escaped-be="" data-blogger-escaped-being="" data-blogger-escaped-br="" data-blogger-escaped-costs="" data-blogger-escaped-feasible...minus="" data-blogger-escaped-might="" data-blogger-escaped-of="" data-blogger-escaped-rrex...and="" data-blogger-escaped-the="" data-blogger-escaped-wow="">
...and this is interesting...
The Canadian Western Horse Association, which seems like an awesome place to get started. it sounds both economical as well as really friendly for newbies like me! They're also at PineRidge Equine Park, which would be a really short trailer haul for MoonSox...hmmm...and they have hunter, jumper and trail classes, which would be perfect!

...emails sent! Manitoba Horse Trials is going to see about updating their webpage and send me a 2011 show schedule. And hopefully I can get involved with this CWHA and use that as my jumping off point!

This is exciting! Except, now I'm trying to try so many different classes, that I'm going to need so much equipment that I likely won't be able to even compete! I think I need to focus on just one (or two that use the same gear) classes!

So, I'm thinking, I'll ask for:
- An english show coat ($60)
- An english dress shirt ($30)
- A competition saddle pad ($30)
- Boot socks ($14)
- Show bridle ($99)

...oh the expense! :P Probably won't even be able to show this year because of how expensive it is. Can't believe even in the entry shows you need the whole jacket-pant-shirt-boot combo. Guess that's why they call it the 'sport of kings' : P

Guess we should train and see what we're capable of before we run out and go all crazy on this stuff...who knows, we might suck. : P

Thursday, January 20, 2011


It's been cold. I'm a wimp.

Yesterday, I was going to go to the barn. I had brought my winter riding pants, helmet, toque, scarf, mitts, everything in to work with me, ready to leave at the end of the day and head right out.

...but silly me, checked the weather network first. COLD.

So I went home instead. Which is okay, because by the time I finished getting gas, there was a 1/2 hour to sunset, and I hadn't even left the city. : (

On a good note, next week is supposed to be warm. On an even better note, every day the sun sets a little mid-february, it won't set until 6 pm. That's an extra hour, and exactly how much longer I need!

: ) Wonder when I'll hear more about the EC theory course from Ebbe??...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confirmation Critique, Gear and Personalities.

I did a foolish thing; I took some confirmation shots of Moon and posted them online for judgement. Talk about a big mistake, especially when this is your first horse.

I figured he had two big flaws: a short neck and hollow back/high wither. The high wither bit wasn't too much of a worry, since he's never appeared to have saddle fit problems, and it certainly keeps the saddle from spinning around.

...but now, these 'judging' people, have me all worked up...

They say he has low hocks. They say he's calf kneed. They say that he's sway backed. Short necked. Not suited for jumping. Hard to saddle fit. Likely suffers from back pain.

...and now I worry.

But then, I wonder why?

We've ridden for 9 miles together. We've jumped together. We've had a great time together. Is he supposed to be some elite competitor? No. He's supposed to be my buddy. We're supposed to have fun. He doesn't need the most elite confirmation in the history of horses. We won't be jumping so often that it should affect him. And yes, I should check my saddle fit, but hell, I haven't even been riding in a saddle lately!

Are any horses fault free? I doubt it. And those with great confirmation, might have horrible personalities.

...the only thing I have decided, which I decided before this whole 'confirmation' thing, was that I want to get him some splint boots. I was using polo wraps, but the easy of splints would be awesome. I tried that pair from Western Rawhide, but they don't now, horrible, money spending me, wants to get him a pair of Pro-Choice of Classic Equine Boots. I've been trying to find them used, but the best I can find is $50 shipped, which is 1/2 the price of a 4 pack from ebay, brand new. Or I can go to pleasant ridge or apple saddlery and pay like $160 and get whichever pro-choice elite brand I want.

LOL. Get this. Pro Choice Elite boots are $45 each (in any color) at Fleet Farm, or a 4-Pack for $75 in...get this...any color! And that's without shipping costs! Crap, that's what I'm getting without a doubt! And I can get whatever color I want!

Brand spanking new.

I love America! Now to just make sure that A. They have them when we go down, and B. We go down to Fleet Farm!

Now...would Moon look better in Turquoise, Crimson Red, Black or Chocolate Brown. Or white or houndstooth...

I'm thinking Turquise. I just love blue, and while I know red looks awesome on my boy, blue is!

The other thing I need to do, motivated by the critiques, is start finding excercises to work his back. Lots of excercises, to really work those muscles and get him as fit as possible to keep him healthy.

I've got a boat-load of books from the library, lots of 20 minute excercises and stuff. Since I can't afford a lot of gear at the moment, my intent is to get him the SMB's, find a saddle pad to make life easier on his back, MAYBE a flysheet for summer, and the EC books for training.

Considering my birthday is coming up, and mom and dad are always down in the states so maybe I can tempt them into the SMBs...though I think I'm getting the BBQ from them.

BF on the other hand...It's a fairly inexpensive gift for him, and something I really want. And perfectly in time for when I'll be riding a lot more.

...and I suppose, maybe I should invest in a good saddle fitting appointment for him. So that someone can properly find me what we need to keep him comfortable...funny thing is, he's never seemed uncomfortable after a long ride...

Though did seem off after jumping last fall...I thought it was a leg issue I'm wondering if it was a back thing...'s been almost a month of owning Moon; and the one thing I've learned, is that owning a horse is stressful. It shouldn't be, but like all things, being new makes things nerve-wracking. I don't yet know always what to look for, or how to tell what's going on. I don't always understand all the big words people use to describe movement and body action.

Suppose I kind of felt this way when I got my dog 3 years ago. I knew she was wonderful and had great talent, but I had zero experience in developing it. I had worked with a few client dogs, I had read a lot of books and made a lot of decisions. But I had never gotten to put any of it into practice. I worried about back injury, being cold, illness, disease, genetics, everything. And now, now that I know her, and what's normal and how to work with her to really drive her to her potential, I don't worry so much...'so' being the opperative word! Heck, Monday when we left her lose in the house, I was worried she had strangled herself with her collar! Like gees, get real!

To this day, she's spoiled in care and held to strict behavior rules; and trained a lot. I think there's a lot of her personality in Moon as well.

...I wonder if we intentionally fit best and chose a specific personality in companion animals? Like I just naturally go for the scared, intelligent, need-to-convince-you're-right type?

...guess I better finish reading my horse behavior book!

Oh, and if anyone is going down to fleet farm....lemme know!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Perfect Pedicure.

Saturday was blustering cold, but I was determined to make it out to the barn so Moon could get his hooves trimmed. Despite the heavy snowfall the night before, and the -30 celsius temperatures, I was there 30 minutes before my appointment was scheduled. Which was perfect to give me time to bring Moon over to the hitching post, groom him down (he was covered in half-frozen snow and less then impressed as I tried to scrape the frozen chunks from his back with a shedding blade or my fingers...I wonder if he's got a bit of a sore back?), and pick out his snowy feet.

The half hour flew by quickly, and no farrier...In hindsight, despite the google map and google directions, apparently the street sign on the highway is only for the North side, and thus, not the road the farrier was looking for. Whoops. Still, the google map should have pointed her right to the property, but I guess she didn't bother to print it out since the directions seemed pretty straight forward...

Anyway, she showed up eventually, surprisingly, driving a car. That's something you don't see everyday.

And she was great.

The perfect mix of old tried and true techniques, with just enough scientifically proven technology to have me onboard. I know that the biggest debate in the horse world right now is barefoot vs. traditional farrier work. I personally (and I'm sure that will be another long post), don't favor barefoot trims. Farrier on the other hand, did a really nice classic trim, but used a special hoof rest when working; which seemed a lot nicer then trying to hold up a horse's hoof the whole time you work on him. It also seemed to make things a lot steadier, which I thought was great.

It probably didn't help, that the first thing she did was compliment my dog, which for me, is big brownie points!

I asked her about his overgrown hooves, and she said she'd seen a lot worse. Moreover, the fact that they haven't split or chipped was awesome, and vouched for how strong they were. I had always been under the impression that white hooves are weaker then black hooves, and Moon'er has four 80-100% white hooves. Farrier actually informed me that while a lot of white hooves are weaker, every once in a while they're not. And his were one of the nots. : ) Which was just awesome.

She agreed that this is likely the reason why he's not as 'ouchy' on gravel (I have some friends whose horses hate walking on roads with a passion), while Moon only seems bugged when walking on really big stones. Fair enough. To make Farrier gain even more points, she informed me she's the only one in the province using this new epoxy that you fill in the sole of the hoof with, that acts as a natural guard against road stones, making it even better then shoeing for road riding. This was exactly what I want for Moon; something that spares me the headache of worrying about shoes for a horse that's on pasture 24-7-365, where he could throw one and continue running around with it off or half off for days. Or another horse could step on the shoe with nails in it, and get injured before anyone is out to pick it up. Or he could loose it on the days I want to ride, and then I'd be stuck waiting around for the farrier.

The other surprising thing, was that every other client of hers, cancelled because of the cold...and they all had barns to work in! I suppose sometimes when you have the luxuries, you get a little spoiled. Plus, I'm sure their horses didn't need the trim nearly as much as Moon did.

She assured me that the dish shape of his feet was more typical of the QH breed (I dealt with too many TB's and Arab's in the past), and the the little bit of flaring would go away with regular trimming. So I set him up to be on her regular rotation, since she did a great job. Even with his frozen hooves, she trimmed a bunch off the toes, and sanded them down so what chips did exist (this is natural hoof trimming for horses, as the longer bits break off on their own) would slowly work their way out.

I was thrilled with his newly pedicured feet, as they looked all spiffy and nice. She promised to give me some exercises to do with him this summer, since he's stiff on the hind end and doesn't like pulling his back legs up to his chest. Again, she assured me that this is fairly typically of the QH breed, especially those that are ex-reiners or barrel racers (which I don't think he is). Hopefully with continued work, both on and off the ground, we can get him all loosened up and feeling great.

The best part, was when she praised him on his manners. Despite the other horses harassing us (the one half-blind horse in the paddock just continually tried to goad him into kicking her!), he was an absolute gentleman. He stood nice for her, and she commented on how compared to a lot of horses she deals with, he's a farrier's dream. No bruises, no injuries and no time at all to finish. Man, I love my MoonSox.

And that was that. I wasn't sure if one should tip their farrier, but considering it was frigid out, I was her only client of the day and she had to work outdoors instead of in a barn (plus I really like her), I gave her a little tip just under 20%...hoping that she'll gladly continue to come back in the freezing cold (and this summer, in the scorching heat) to trim him up to perfect.

Sadly, by the time she left (took about an hour, what with how frozen solid his feet were), I had been outside for 2 hours, and was a popsicle! I couldn't feel my toes, my fingers were numb, and my face could no longer move. I gave Moon a final carrot for his good behavior, and then let him free in the paddock.

...and then bolted to my car to crank the heat up on high!!! BRRRR!!!

Moon's Hooves Before:

And AFTER: (remember, we'll be cleaning it up slowly...)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fencing it all in...

Fleet Farm is having a sale on fencing supplies right now and I decide I should use the prices listed to figure out how much money I need to save to set up fencing for my pony at home.

I thought I would start with 6 acres. about twice the minimum a horse needs in the summer time. This way he and I could stay out there, and provided I find a source of drinkable water, he would be fine out there.

My fencing would be 2 rows of high tensile aluminum electrified wire, and one row of Equitape (for visibility). All wooden posts, spaced 24' apart, with extra bracing on corners.

I've estimated I need:

2 rolls of High Tensile (already have 1/2 mi) - $25 ea. = $50
4 rolls of Equitape - $45 ea. = $180
170 cedar, treated, pointed, 7'x3" posts - $3.99 ea. = $680
510 insulators (have 1 pkg) at 25/pkg = 20 pkgs. - $2 ea. = $40
10 wire strainers - $2 ea. = $20
Post Pounder - $15
Wire Stretcher - $20
4' Gate - $70

TOTAL = $1055

Which took me completely by surprise. If $1055 covers 6 acres (the entire back pasture), then for just $600 I would be able to fence off enough area for 1 horse! And $600 is MORE then obtainable this year. Plus, with the tractor, pushing in posts will be way easier, AND we can get the supplies out back.

Now I'm just stoked. To think, that this year I could have the property horse-ready...well, minus the whole picking a billion rocks and filling in a half-million gopher holes...

Snow + Traffic = Headache.

Aurgh. A big snowstorm rolled in yesterday and lo-and-behold, the streets were covered in white powder...and a skating rink underneath. Genius me, decides that I MUST go to Greenhawk on my way home, and I wind up stuck 15 cars back at a stop sign, while a semi tries to turn left on a 4 lane divided highway during rush hour, in a snow storm, with icy roads...20 minutes later, he just decided to turn right and be done with it.

Made it to GH, picked up my new winter riding pants, and asked the girl behind the counter if I can get the difference back on my winter jacket. The "SUPER SALE" one. She says she'll have to ask her boss, and get her to give me a call. Fine. Whatever. It's not a big difference in money, but enough to make me irritated. Who has a one day sale, and then puts the item on for EVEN less 2 days later, and makes the second sale last a month?

I also wanted a Dressage whip, to start doing some more in-depth moves with Moon, particularly to get him moving his hind end more to my leg pressure...and why was I not surprised to learn that GH had no dressage whips in stock?!

"T" won't be around this weekend, which bites. We haven't seen each other in forever, and there's still a bunch of boarding and payment things we need to work out. I think we pretty much broke EVERY horse shopping rule in the book, but nothing would make me change my mind on Moon.

So, I'm off to try out my new pants tonight (will probably end up riding in the dark by the time I get out there), and spend some time with my boy. And then back at the barn tomorrow morning for his farrier appointment, which hopefully isn't cancelled because of the cold weather. I just desperately want his feet trimmed.

Fingers crossed that the snow stops and the roads clear!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Potential Coach, EC Theory Classes AND Greenhawk

Where to start...

Well, I've been contacting a lot of coaches in my area, and it's been rather depressing. If you ever want to feel like a 'nobody', the trick is to call these people up and listen to them inform you that A. They're too busy with their own Olympic horses, B. They won't dream of going anywhere without a true arena, C. Is your horse even capable of testing?, D. They don't have time for you.

I get it, I do. There's only so many of these EC coaches going around, they're hard to come by, and the top pros get first dibs. Or those with enough money to keep their horses at the fancy stables, and who are likely riding 17hh warmbloods to boot. Sadly, that just isn't me. Granted, a lot of these show barns were willing to direct me to other potential coaches...guess I'm just a little bitter and jealous is all. : P

Where I was impressed, was when I called Ebbe. Instantly, I felt like I mattered and she wanted to help me out with my riding goals. To some luck, she's actually starting an EC Theory Prep Class in February, and is going to send me the details when she has them worked out closer to the date. Since you have to complete the theory portions before you can challenge the riding exams, I think that is where we shall start.

I know that Meadow Green used to offer theory classes for $10 each. I suspect Ebbe might be a bit more, but I can certainly work this into the budget. If we can focus on this over the winter/spring, perhaps we will be ready to challenge the riding part in the summer. She was more then willing to let us haul out to her place (have been to some places that don't like the idea of you 'cross-contaminating' your horse with those that board at their stable), and also was okay with Semi-Private lessons. What's this all about?

Well, Semi-Private is always less expensive then Private Lessons, as you're sharing the time. Her rates drop from $50/hour to just under $40, and much to my surprise, a girlfriend of mine is interested in joining me on two conditions. 1. The time must work for her, and 2. She needs to be trailered (which as do I).

Since I'm flexible on time and since potentially "T" is okay with me using her trailer (a nice big 4 horse), it seems as though we can make this work! Ebbe is a top-notch dressage coach in the province, and it would be awesome to train under her. My GF has always loved doing dressage with her MorganX, and her and I ride at a similar level which would make classes really smooth. She's also one of those people I LOVE riding with and I've never had the opportunity to take lessons with a friend before! : ) I'm REALLY excited about the potential here.

But, of course, that wouldn't be till April or May at the earliest, since the trailer is stuck knee deep in snow and I'm not re-starting my trailering experience in the dead of winter! Granted, my polo days FINALLY come in handy for hauling a gooseneck!!

Now, on to Greenhawk.

I started shopping at Greenhawk long before they made their way to Manitoba. I, like Prairie Nerd, shopped at Apple Saddlery, and found them better priced, often for the same product.

...but one not so good purchase (a pair of paddock boots which were falling apart before I even got them out of the box...which I had to fight to get them to cover the return shipping on...followed by a replacement pair in no better of condition...back in 2001 or so), has turned me off from them.

Now, I came across a company called "Pleasant Ridge Saddlery", which is REALLY economical, and as long as you pay attention to what you're buying (you can TELL that if a leather halter is $10, the leather is cheap), you can get some AWESOME deals.

Take for example my winter riding boots. They're about $150 at Greenhawk. My boots were just $68 last year on sale at PR, and they've held up WONDERFULLY. Sometimes my feet even overheat in them! I've gotten some amazing nylon halters from them (that I've sadly left at various people's barns over the years), and my Saddle. The "Wintec" knock-off, that has a changeable gullet, 5 year tree warranty, and is synthetic/leather. The saddle has fit every horse I've used it on, AND still looks brand new even though it's over 6 years old. The ONLY thing that's worn out is the stirrup leathers.

It's soooo comfy, that everyone calls it "The Lazy Boy". : ) I love my saddle!

Anyways, last year for my birthday I got an awesome new show helmet from the BF, along with a pair of tall Ariat Field Boots...except, my parents also wanted to buy me a helmet (this happens when you've previously had a severe horse-related head injury), and they bought me a $250 gift card to Greenhawk to cover it.

So I've been whittling down the GH card, and over Christmas during the "24 Days of Christmas" Sale, bought their Elation Winter Jacket on sale in Calgary (save 1 tax). When I got back to Winnipeg, I ordered the matching winter riding chaps/breeches...and found out that evening that Greenhawk was having a "January Clearance Sale", and the jacket I got the "AMAZING" deal on, was suddenly CHEAPER! Despite me buying it at this AMAZING ONE DAY ONLY SALE PRICE.

Last night I got a call from GH saying the breeches are in (which also went on sale even more this month), so I'm headed over there tonight to get them to reduce the price on the jacket (or get the jacket upgrade for the same price), and then get my new pants (just in time for the weekend). I've also decided, that I'm going to pick up a mane pulling comb (something I WANT to do, but have never tried before), and a dressage whip, since I need a better way to communicate some of the subtle things I want Moon to do with his hind end. Which thanks to the sale, will cost me the same as just the jacket and pants before : P

Where was I going with this? Oh yes. New gear. : )

Finally, the BF might have to work OT this weekend, which SHOULD make me sad because we were supposed to go snowmobiling with my folks, but instead I'm EXCITED, because maybe I can ride my pony in my new gear, with his freshly trimmed feet! : )

It's awful being a horse-a-holic!

P.S. I finished wood-burning Moon's new stall plaque last night and it looks amazing. The lacquer will go on tonight, and maybe it will also make its way to the barn by this weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

EC expense.

A very old goal of mine is to progress through my Equine Canada Levels (part of the 'Learn to Ride Program'), and now that I own my own horse, thought now is the perfect time! My old coach thought I could challenge to about a level 5, which would put me 1/2 way through the program. I believe you can apply for your 'instructor test' in level 6, coach 1 in level 9 and coach 2 in level 10. At the end of the day, I'd LOVE to get my coach 1 certification.

The cost to challenge an exam is the cost of an EC certified coach's regular lesson rate (typically between $40 and $55 + gst) plus $15 to EC to cover badges and certificates.

I've read through the level requirements, and I believe I could challenge #1-4 (not including the jumping portions which we need to work on), and maybe even #5.

Unfortunately, the instructors will only test (and give lessons) somewhere with a sand arena. Which sucks, because horses are ALWAYS different when you trailer them out somewhere now I have to figure out how to make this work...what I REALLY should do, is go back to B-A...but that makes me nervous for some reason...

Oh well. I really don't have the money right now for expensive private lessons, and Moon still needs work before then. And the weather isn't even that good for much riding, especially not jumping.


What I did do, is pick up a a book on confirmation to see how Moon'er checks out and another book on introduction to showing. So I'll give those a read, and I think I'll pick up the EC manuals (they're about $25 each and there's only 4 in total) and use them as guides in my training of Moon. We might not be able to spend a lot, but we can still learn a lot. That's why I have that fancy HD video camera at my disposal!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pedicure Scheduled. Now for a coach...

Well, I bit the bullet and decided to go with the only farrier who responded to my inquiries. It's a sad world where working people aren't looking for work : P Fair enough though, as 'Farrier' seems very nice and at least she responds quickly. I like good customer service.

I was originally okay with dragging my feet for Moon's first farrier appointment, but yesterday's visit to the barn reminded me of how necessary it is. His hooves, in this wet snow are showing some chips and cracks, and much to my chagrin, I noticed a place where an abscess blew out on the top of his hoof, probably 3 or 4 months ago. Which immediately (as an overanxious owner) has me worried about him and the cause of said abscess...other then the overgrowth of his feet. Seeing as I wasn't riding him much in that time period, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a stone he picked up on a trail ride or something like that. And I don't recall it being in an area where he could have cause trauma to it on his own.

His hooves are flaring out (you can see in the pic with his polo bandages), and this needs to be cleaned up. It's hard when the horses you're most used to are OTTBs who get shoes every 6 weeks and are painted with conditioner daily, get all the supplements in the world and have those PERFECT cone hooves devoid of a single crack or chip.

Add to the fact, my poor Moon'er has white hooves, which are notorious for being softer and weaker then black hooves. Not that he's ever given me any lameness issues and he's always been reasonably good on gravel (provided it's not toooo large of stones, though I've seen barefoot horses that are much worse).

I'm a little nervous as to what the farrier will say when she comes out on Sunday; I don't know enough about hooves to tell how long he's been without a trim, though I've seen similar cracking and splitting on horses within a couple weeks of trimming when the weather is too damp or too dry. Regardless, he'll get a nice trim-up this weekend and I can stop fretting about it. And from then on, we'll go for our regular 6-8 week re-trim.

I've also started hunting around for an Equine Canada coach to help me work through my rider levels. This has been a lifelong goal of mine, and while I completed my level 1 in the old Canadian Equestrian Foundation (CEF) levels, I was told by an old coach I could likely challenge to level 5 (in the new 10 level system). I'm relatively confident that my Moon'er could test up to level 5, and then after that, well, we both have some learning to do. Which is the whole point of coaching!

Problem now though, is finding someone who will come out to our barn, or that we can trailer out too...I've got three potential leads at the moment, so hopefully one pans out.

On other notes, I tried out the new KY bit yesterday on Moon, and it was wonderful. At least that's what I think (don't have a ton of bit-ing experience), as Moon was dropping his head and seemed to be playing with it a lot more then usual. He normally rides with his head higher, and I'm taking this extension of the neck to be a positive thing. Hopefully, we can start working more on the bit now.

I also tried on his new galloping boots...only to (not surprisingly) discover that they're too small. Just barely too, which sucks. So I've placed an ad on Kijiji to see if anyone is interested in buying them off me...

While I was at it, I tried out my new used polo wraps, and discovered that Moon has likely never had his legs wrapped before. Poor guy kept trying to lift his legs so I could clean his hooves. Which is an issue since legs should always be wrapped with the horse standing on them. We'll work some more on this...oh, and I need to learn how to roll bandages again, since it took me 5 tries to roll them right!

Other things we worked on included:

- Walk-Trot transitions, bareback (did okay)
- Rein-back - (Needs a really nice sidestep, but the actual backwards was a bit of a fight)
- Turn on the fore (left and right) - (Not bad for just starting practicing)
- Leg Yielding (both directions) - (Need to work a lot on this; he tries to transition rather then move over)
- Free-Lunging - (Improving, but he doesn't whoa very well)
- Standing to be mounted - (NEEDS a lot of improvement)
- Standing while tied - (Excellent)
- Bringing his head down to pressure - (Improved from the last time. Would drop and KEEP his head dropped. Will continue to work to get his head lower and more consistent)
- Lifting feet - (Not bad...we'll know after the farrier comes out...)

Total Barn Time: 1 hr. 15 min.
Weather: Sunny, light snow, -11 degrees C

Well, that's yesterday's riding journal! I'm still so pleased with him.

Working on my new 'stall plaque' for him, which is awesome since I'm always making them with other's names, and finally, one of my very own. Sadly, likely won't get anything done tonight as we have agility training with our dog Halo...who was VERY bad last class and hopefully makes up for it today by being on perfect behaviour....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I know him...but what do I know about him??

I received a response back from Moon's most recent owner this morning (she's absolutely awesome), with some more stats on my boy. It's crazy to think that he's mine, and I know less about him then most people put in a horse ad!

Okay, in all fairness, I know his heart, and I know that well. I know what makes him jump, I know how he likes his ears touched, and how to ask him to behave. I know what gets him to focus and what makes him silly and I know his big white blaze and the 'wough' of his breath. I know him, but I don't know about him.

I had, from past conversations, known that he was a Quarter horse, who was previously owned by someone in Beausejour. I knew he was over 10, my best guess was about 13 yrs. old. I knew he was trained western. That's about ALL I knew.

His past owner (we'll call her 'T') tells me that his birthday is May 9th, 1999 which means he's coming up to his 12th birthday. And he was actually 10 when we started riding. I now know that he's actually registered, and since All Breed Pedigree won't find him when I type in 'MoonSox' and since 'Moon Sox' brings me to a horse that was foaled in the 70's, I can only assume that MoonSox is not his full registered name. Which now has me beyond curious!

T is more then willing to assist me in tracking down past owners if I want to switch his registration papers over to my name, which is now a dilemna for me. Is it worth the money to switch over a horse, when it can't be bred and you have no plans on showing in any AQHA shows? The ONLY reason I might want to, is simply to have his papers with my name for posterity. Cause I love him and he's all mine.

On other notes, I went to Western Rawhide on Friday, and picked up a KY Rotary Double Jointed Egg-Butt bit for my buddy. From what I hear, this is one of the gentlest bits on the market and I'm REALLY excited to try it out! I'm hoping it will help my little western curb-bit pony start learning to really relax into the bit and be comfortable riding 'on-contact'. We'll see...

Other things to do, is to put some US money aside, as I need to pick up some dewormer in the US. Man is it ever cheaper down there! About 1/2 the price, which is stellar. I've noticed that a lot of Manitobans use a quarterly deworming program, so I thought I might give it a chance. And ROTATE through dewormers as one should.

Finally, I need a farrier! Moon's feet REALLY need a trim-up (he's flaring a fair bit), and I know the sooner we get started on our new trim schedule the better it will be. So I'm off to find a farrier!

Friday, January 7, 2011

First Ride of the New Year

Yesterday I was off work early (as happens every 2 weeks) and because the weather was FINALLY nice, decided I HAD to go visit MoonSox. I've unofficially owned him for 2 weeks (today), and hadn't been out to visit him. Where's the fun in owning a horse you never get to see? And I had to let him know that he's all mine!

The drive from work ate up 45 minutes, which sucks when you live in a province that's cold and dark for 3/4 of the day. Okay, cold for 4/4 of the day, but dark for 3/4. The sun sets at 5:00, which means that twilight is about 4:30. Which meant that showing up at the barn at 3:45 didn't leave a lot of light. Sadly, the place where Moon is kept does not have an indoor arena, nor does it have any lighting over the outdoor rings.

Moon didn't seem overjoyed to see me (not that I expected him to be, but a girl can keep her childhood fantasies), so I slipped on the beautiful leather halter I had polished up for him. I bought it a number of years ago at a tack sale, and put a lot of elbow grease into shining the silver accents and polishing it back to supple. It fit him beautifully, and while I didn't expect brown to look too good against his brown fur, he actually look awesome in it.

I didn't have a lead rope (didn't have a key to the tackroom yet), so I lead him into the roundpen...only to find that the other horses had found the carrots hidden in my helmet bag and eatten half of them. Dang it.

I took some pics of my new boy in his fancy halter, and then much to my surprise found that he would free-lunge in the round pen. This was particularly cool because I could NOT for the life of me get him to lunge in the round pen on a longe line this summer. He would just walk in towards me in the middle of the pen and stand there looking all meek and sad. : P It was great to know that off a line he would move out freely and with reasonable response to voice commands and hand gestures. My plan now is to keep working off a lead (since I know he CAN do this) and slowly add in my lunge whip and eventually the lead line and cavesson. This would allow me to start working him in the bigger ring on larger circles and over jumps (without a rider to help him work on his gymnastic ability without being encumbered by my sloppy position : P ).

We did some bareback riding around the ring afterwards (just to warm up my backside) and then I stopped to open the corral gates while the farm owner moved from fresh hay for the horses. And came back to find that Moon had found the last of the carrots in my helmet bag and gobbled them all up!

I grabbed a hoof pick and a brush from the tack room (M had opened it for me) and spent a little while brushing Moon out. By this point, the snow was falling gentle, creating a fluffy blanket on his back. There was something most serene about puffy snowflakes in setting sunlight, with the gentle smell of pony and you groom your very own horse.

And extra special when you come out of the tack room after letting him out with the other horses to eat his dinner, and find that he's waiting there at the gate for you... : )

Oh, and I *tried* to measure Mr. Moon for a blanket, but depending on his big belly gained an extra 4 inches...he's either a 72" or a 76".

I also tried to measure his height again, and got him at 15 - 15.2hh. Polo pony size. ; )

I sent an email out to his previous owners to see if they could give me some more background on him, since I only know he was bought based on an add in Beausejour because 'he had such a pretty face' : )

Hopefully I'll get out to see him again soon!...and that my winter riding breeches come in from Greenhawk!

P.S. If you want inexpensive but good quality horse tack, try Pleasant Ridge Saddlery. They have a webpage, and are about $10 to ship to Manitoba (and most other provinces). Except for the occassional cheap item made of cheap leather (no surprise), their stuff is of excellent quality, comprable to Greenhawk/AppleSaddlery and WAY less expensive! My Blackburn Saddle is still doing amazingly well, and their halters are the best price I've found!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New-Horse-Year's Resolutions

Well, I think it's important to have goals, and as such I've decided to post my goals for the new year here...and to track how (and if) I achieve them.

For starters, I've always dreamed of showing my own horse; actually, I've always dreamed of showing ANY horse, my own being just that much better. Of course, when you have no coach, a rough schooled QH approaching his teens and no past experience between the both of you...getting into the competition world is a little overwhelming.

I love a good challenge and opportunity to learn something new, so I've made the resolution to attend at least ONE competition this year. I'm aiming for the early to late fall, and it can be either: Equitation, Endurance, Trail, Dressage or Hunter class. Kind of depends on how our training progresses this year.

To get started, I browsed my local Provincial Horse Association (Manitoba Horse Council, MHC, which is affiliated with Equine Canada, EC), and managed to make my way to three websites: Manitoba Hunter Jumper Association (MHJA), Dressage Winnipeg and the Distance Riders of Manitoba (DRM). All three have a requirement that you have a membership with the MHC (and in turn an EC membership). The advantage of this membership is that it also comes with personal liability and accident insurance...a must at shows and competitions.

Now, I balk at first at the MHC membership price when I'm just 'experimenting' with competitions, especially since 1) competiting is expensive, 2) I have a LOT of horse supplies to buy still, 3) horse keeping is expensive and 4) I have an acreage that not only needs $$ and attention, but I want to purchase supplies to outfit for horsekeeping. Which means that all money made at my day job, is divided up pretty tightly between these expenses. But I like to think it's all worth it.

The ADVANTAGE though, is that an MHC membership comes with a discount at Kubota Canada...which is the tractor manufacturer that we plan on purchasing our acreage tractor from late this Spring. SOO, since the savings on the tractor exceed the cost of membership, I might as well make use of said membership and compete a little bit.

I sent an email out to MHJA, as last year they had an 'Intro to Competition' clinic, which would be the PERFECT first step for us. It was also hosted mid-summer, which meant I would have ample time to prepare. It was also a mere $70 for two days of teaching and riding, and was hosted at the same time as real competitions so that your horse would be exposed to the atmosphere.

UNFORTUNATELY, the response back from the club president read:
"Please go to the MHJA website. It has all the show information for this
year - 2011. There are 2 schooling shows which will suit your requirements."

...and there's no Intro clinic listed on their webpage for 2011. Which means that I'm going to have to try and settle for schooling show if I decide to go with Hunter competitions anyways.

I'm only really short a stock-tie and riding jacket short as far as gear goes, though I've heard that hunter-seat riders are required to ride in a brown saddle. I unfortunately only own a black saddle, and if I'm going to replace it, I want something that currently is too expensive for me to buy. And I'm not picking up a cheap $200 saddle just to ride in one competition.

Also, I asked MHJA is they have a mentorship program, to guide individuals in the world of showing...As you can see from the response recieved, there was no mention of my question...which I take as a 'No'.

From what I can see, we could do the beach party which is a 2'3" Schooling Hunter, Division ST - Starter Hunter (2'3" max. for horse/rider in first year of showing over fences) MHJA Starter I U/S/I Hunter (21-23), Open Road Hack (62-3). These would be at the August 19-20th Summer in the City Show (at RREx) and the September 16-18 Jump into Fall Schooling Show (also at RREx).

Now, the math tells me that for a regular horse show, I'm looking at $150 + the cost to enter each class (between $10 - 40). Which is $200/show. Compared to my willingness to give the clinic a try at $70, this seems nuts. . Maybe Hunter competitions isn't where I'm going this summer after all...

Manitoba Trail Riders would be a decent start at competing...Moon has done a fair bit of trail riding, and I would just have to work on his endurance which I do every time we're out. We did 10 miles last summer, and granted it took awhile but we were not riding 'trails' but rather ditches and the like. The membership is $25/year and ride fees are about $15 for the short rides...

Why does everything 'Horse' have to cost so much!! : P

My (obtainable) Horse Goals for 2011 are:

1) To Establish A Routine Care Schedule for MoonSox, including Farrier, Vaccines, Dewormer and Veterinary Care
2) To Ride Moon at LEAST Twice/Week, except in the Dead of Winter (then Once/Week)
3) To Determine Moon's 'Healthy Weight' and Attempt to Get and Keep Him There.
4) To Trailer Moon to at LEAST One Off-Site Location, Hopefully Which Include Horse Camping.
5) To Teach Moon Gymnastic Jumping, such that we can complete an 8 jump course at 2'3
6) To Trail Ride with Friends, at LEAST Once.
7) To Attend ONE 'Competition'.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Getting 'Ready'.

There's of course, still a lot to get done before I 'officially' take possession of MoonSox. I also figured I'd be saving up 'horse gear' for years in advance, so that when the time came, I'd have everything I needed already...

Granted, I've accumulated a number of items over the years, but now looking at my meagre tack-box (which is a glorified rubbermaid box) I'm left feeling like there's A LOT I still need to get, and now the pressure is on.

To add to that, I now have the expenses associated with boarding, farrier and vaccines to cope with; don't get me wrong, I'll gladly do it in order to own Moon, but it does mean some juggling of expenses. So far, I've determined the following associated costs:

Farrier - $30 every 8 weeks.
Vaccines - $60/year
Dewormer - $20/every season
Supplies - Ongoing!
Board - $150 - $400/month (depending on facilities and level of care).

Right now, I'm trying to make a list of 'must-haves' for Moon, that I'll work towards buying over the year. To add to that, I'd like to start fencing off the back pasture this summer (after we get the tractor), so maybe we can have some temporary boarding for him. I also want to talk to our neighbours, who have an old barn I might be able to fix up so I can stable Moon overnight at the property.

My current pony stash includes:

1) 3640' of Hi-Tensile Electric Fencing
2) Solar Fence Energizer
3) 1 pkg. of nail-in insulators
4) ~3000' of used barbed wire
5) English Saddle (Synthetic) w/Changeable Gullet (inc. 1 set of stirrups, leathers, 48" girth)
6) Australian Saddle w/Undergirth and home-made overgirth.
7) English Synthetic Stirrup leathers (which are wearing out)
8) 46" leather girth
9) 1 set of Green Polos
10) 4 Hoofpicks
11) English Bridle (quite supple and good leather) and flat reins
12) English Bridle (stiff and lower quality leather) and braided reins
13) D-Ring Copper Roller Bit (unsure of size but it seems to work fine with Moon)
14) Various grooming equipment (dandy brushes, wash mitt, Sweat Scraper, Face brush)
15) Horsemen's One Step Tack Cleaner
16) Small Horse Halter (Doesn't fit Moon)
17) "Sweet B" Halter (Low quality and was B's)
18) Leather Show Halter (w/Silver embellishments)
19) Rope Halter (Fits nice)
20) 2 Riding Helmets (one older plastic, one new show quality)
21) Halter-Bridle Combo (lower quality leather, but a neat idea)
22) Leather Soap
23) Nearly empty container of Fly-Spray

So, I'm starting my "Gear I Need" list. Hopefully I can get some of it used (Spring Tack Sale and Kijiji) and maybe add some of the large items to my birthday list! I know Red looks amazing on Moon (too bad most of my stuff is light blue), so I think I'll try and stick to those colors...

1)Haybag Nylon STE9324 $12.95 (for Travelling)
2)Height & Weight Tape STE9352 $3.95
3)Folding Saddle Stand STE9257 $36.95
4)Shedrow Quilted Cottons 14 x 54 Bandage BAC1901 $9.95
5)Flexi Dee W/peanut BIE0005 $39.95
6)Curvon Baker Summer Sheet BLS1547 $109.95
7)Supra High Neck Fly Sheet Mesh W/Gusset BLC0026 $69.95
8)Shedrow Deluxe Fly Mask HOR0010 $14.95
9)Brush Finishing GRO4333 $4.49
10) Pulling Comb Aluminum GRO4357 $0.99
11) Bot-knife GRO4358 $3.49

.... The more I write, the more I think I have a TON to get still!

Really, as far as essentials go, I just need some first aid supplies (need those BEFORE an emergency), some hoof dressing and maybe my own halter for him (wish I hadn't lost my old padded nylon halter with the little running horses!). Though I do have that rope halter kicking around somewhere...

Anyways, as I've gotten distracted, I noticed that last year MJHA (the hunter-jumper association) had a 'first time competitor' clinic, where over 2 days you could learn what is judged, how to show and compete at a number of basic courses. This would be about perfect for me and Moon, since it's pretty low jumps, and even has a flat equitation course (meaning no jumping).

. I wish the weather would warm up already so I could head out and start working Sox'ers again. Is it wrong to have owned a horse for almost 2 weeks and not been out even ONCE for a visit?!