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'.

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