Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Horsecentric Saturday

I love weekends, don't you? Weekends are even better when I get to see my best friend and hang out with horses. Yesterday Eva met me at my house at 8:30ish in the morning (setting my dog off barking and thus waking my roomie). We headed out to breakfast (greasy diner food...YUM; I could never be a vegetarian) then we hit the road for the 45 minute trek to Baby Morgan's farm! He lives in the most lovely 2 stall barn. It has cobble stone floors and a huge tack room. You could probably fit 4-5 stalls in it but its laid out so lovely to house just two very spoiled Morgans.
I'll let Eva tell you about the experience herself. But know it was very positive and I think Reggie looked even better than he did the last time we saw him. But Reggie? I am not a fan of that name!
Eva had some spare time after our horse shopping, so she volunteered to accompany me to a local schooling show where my judging team was practicing. I wasn't really looking forward to going to the show (I'm not sure as to why, I think I was just tired and wanted to spend some time with my own horse), but Eva joining me made it sound like a lot more fun. I brought Daphne along as well. I don't see the kid much during the week (thank god she gets to go to "daycare") so I try to bring her along as much as possible on the weekends. The hose show reminded me so much of one of the open series that Eva and I used to do as kids. Its english in the morning and western in the afternoon with halter and leadline somewhere in the middle. People of all ages and socioeconomic statuses attend and you see a wide range of horses from well-bred and well turned out horses to backyard ponies with furry crusty coats and dirty saddles (no excuses people! you can't change your horses conformation or breeding, but you can clean them and yourselves up!!).

 Eva and I did quite well for ourselves at these shows as kids but most importantly we created some great lasting memories. We had a crappy two-horse trailer with no tack room that our dads would haul for us. We had no trainers or fancy things. We looked forward to morning stops to get a krispy kreme doughnut and a power aide on the way to the show grounds about an hour and 15 minutes away. We loved to win and were super competitive but usually rather supportive of one another (ok-- I was a bit more of a sore sport if I didn't do well)

Here are just some of our winnings, still on display at the barn we "grew up" at.
All of that to say that being there made us both miss those days. There were even two girls (who seemed to place quite well) that would do a little "shake and bake" hand shake after being placed 1st and 2nd together. That was SO Eva and I! My judging team did pretty well and I got to meet the coach of a team from a neighboring county who is willing to give my group and myself some guidance since we are all so new at this. The most exciting news from the horse show venture however? Daphne! She was soooo well behaved. I don't know what was different or why (unfortunately because I want to replicate, always!). She didn't growl at all. People approached her and a lot of people knelt down to pet her (which gives me a heart attack because I am always afraid she will bite!) but she was exceptionally well mannered. One person even told me that I had a very well behaved dog, to which I responded by asking her to repeat herself and perhaps document the statement in writing so that I may quickly have it notarized.

After the show, Eva had to be on her way and I headed out to the barn. I borrowed D's fancy ShowPro clippers because I wanted to introduce my man to clippers for the first time and get some of the winter fuzzies away. He had feathers (no joke folks, I think he may be part draft and someone lied to me!) on his feet and he is generally scruffy despite losing mass quantities of winter hair during every grooming. I am pretty sure after yesterday, I could have knitted a small pony with the excess.

This didn't go quite as planned. It seems that since Granite returned from his time at bootcamp with wonder-trainer Cynthis last summer, I have forgotten that he used to be quite ridiculous and almost scary on the ground. Now he is my resident dead-head that no one would peg for a 3 year old if they didn't know better. But upon introduction to the clippers near his neck and head, he lost his marbles. I went on and clipped all four feet-- I don't think they look too bad but there are only 2 settings on the clippers and its hard to make the smooth transition from clipped legs (up to the knee) to non-clipped legs, so it may look less-than-amazing for a week or two.
(Is it just me or does his "special fin" not look as special as it used to?)

After finishing up with the legs, I figured that I would go back to the head/neck area and work on just holding the clippers and running them along his neck to relax him. No such luck my friends, he violently bobbed his head up and down and up and down. It was not pretty or comfortable for either of us. I tried offering him a treat near the clippers, I tried sitting on a stool and letting his curiosity take over, I tried asking him to drop his head or releasing the clippers when he was still (which was never). Nothing really got me very far. I worked at this for about and hour and half before conceding and letting him go back outside before I knocked his head off or he killed me, whichever came first. This is so frustrating. I am a horrible "horse trainer" really, nothing I did worked. One of the girls from our virtual barn (this is Kristen's phrase about our little horse blogging community and I love it and am therefore stealing it) suggested buying one of those back massagers from the drug store that make a similar sound. This will be good so he doesn't knock the clippers out of my hand (they are borrowed and expensive) and because I need to return the clippers and I can't work with him on a regular basis. But any advice from the 'trainers' among us, would be much welcomed. I hate horses that can't clip and I refuse to struggle with Granite for show seasons to come. 

Well, now its sunday and its not sunny! I love sunday mornings, I try to get up at a decent hour and watch CBS Sunday Morning while drinking a copious amounts of coffee and catching up on the blogs. Daphne enjoys this weekly ritual as well. 
After this, we normally prepare for our 5 mile run at the park and then we head to the barn from there. But today is rainy and cloudy and my hip is killing me. I injured it in January and have been taking joint supplement and trying not to run more than 2-3 days a week or on consecutive days to keep from upsetting it. But, I ran friday and saturday and am now in pain. UGH! This is my 11th week of 5 workouts a week. I don't want to have to rest now! I finally even lost a couple of pounds. I'm not sure what I will do today as far as working out. I guess I will venture to the barn and resume work on clipping 101 eventually despite the rain, buuut the forecast is thunderstorms so, I don't know what to do. I hate not being able to follow my schedule. 

In a final tidbit of news. D's best friend, Joanna, works at an embroidery/screen printing shop and decided to surprise all of the horsie associates of Dianne with a wonderful personalized saddle pad. I was so excited and Granite looks so grown up in his! PS-- look at the ticker on the top of my blog SIXTEEN DAYS until my boy is THREE! As soon as I get shoesies on his feet its time to riiide :) Also, a development in the Oak Ridge Horse Show. None of my trailer owning associates will be attending, so alas, neither will Granite. I guess there is always next time.


  1. Start with the clippers off, and use approach/release, starting where he's comfortable - withers or neck if need be. Touch him with them and hold there, then remove. Then move slightly into the zone of discomfort, hold them there until he stops moving his head/neck/body, then remove. Repeat at the same spot until he doesn't move, then move to the next spot - very slowly. Take a break and then come back next day and repeat, moving on. Only then try with clippers on, starting again wherever he's comfortable, and using approach/release. From his reaction, it's possible he's been manhandled in the past when being clipped and therefore fears the noise of the clippers. It may take a number of sessions of slow careful work to get him where he's comfortable.

  2. Spending time with your best friend, hanging out with horses and little Daphne, shopping, gifts - wow! You had a fabulous weekend!!