Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Transformation Tuesday: 7 Months of Luxxx

At time of purchase February 2014

April 2014

June 2014

August 2014

September 27, 2014 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blogger Etiquette

As a new blogger I have no idea what blogger etiquette is.  Heck I didn't even know what blogging was until 192 posts ago.  I love when you more seasoned bloggers write about blogging so I can get ideas and learn to improve.  I have found that it is challenging to write about something (my life) and keep it interesting  when I don't think my life is all that interesting.  I work, I ride, and I play house keeper for a zoo of animals.  And I try to get the horses to some shows.  So I know the most important thing is keeping it interesting.  Keeping it real.  But what else?

I love Lauren's post of What You Would Say On Your Blog.  As someone who works in the head shrinking field, I found the responses to be fascinating.  And some broke my heart.

But some responses made me wonder, am I breaking Blogger Etiquette?  For instance, using initials.  Yes, I'm vague about who I train with.  This blog isn't about them and maybe they don't want to be blogged about so I don't mention names.  It's not being secretive because let's be honest.  If you really wanted to know things you could look me or my horse up with USEF or look up horse show results.  But are initials breaking some sort of etiquette?

And how much revealing is too much?  Or not enough?  I suppose there is no answer for that one. It's an individual decision.  

Are there rules?  Is there an unspoken etiquette? Enlighten me please...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baby L and Series Ideas

This week I have been focusing on Luxxx and spending time working him while Poppy gets time off after the show.  Monday was gross and raining so he just got a short lunge while the rain slowed to a drizzle.  Tuesday while lunging him he was practicing his Lipizzan stallion moves and pulled the lunge line from my hands. He was all woohoo I'm freeee!  Until the lunge line dragging between his legs proved to be terrifying and he ran for his life.  And ran.  And ran.  And ran some more until he was so tired he stopped and was like ok just eat me lunge line.  When I got to him he was sweaty and nervous.  I was weary about getting on and he wouldn't even stand still while I got on which is weird for him.  After walking for a lap he relaxed and went to work.  He is getting the idea of moving up into the bridle.  He actually worked really nicely for having a week off.  Then Wednesday he was really quiet on the lunge so I made it quick and got on.  He was super ADD.  He wasn't listening to me at all, was all over the place like a drunk driver, and did an awesome giraffe impression. So a drunk driving giraffe?  

That's a pretty site... At the canter he kept scooting and just being what felt like the verge of a melt down.  Granted it was windy and about 15 degrees cooler than normal so that could be a contributing factor.  I didn't want to let him be done and I didn't want to continue to allow the drunk giraffe to drive me around so I got off and walked him out to the jump field.  He needs to get used to going out there. I even put one side of a vertical down and we walked over that a few times.  He also walked over a small barrel jump like no big deal so I let him be done.

He continues to rub his mane :( I have heard mixing listerine and baby oil?  Anyone tried this?  How much of each?

I will probably hack Poppy tonight.  We will see if I have time to work with Luxxx at all.

I plan to continue my Horse Shows on a Budget series posts.  I don't like to edit posts after I post one so I added an edit at the bottom of yesterday's to clarify when I say horse show bill I mean the bill from the show office.  My post wasnt clear about that.  The costs of those local shows did not include hauling costs or training.  

Some topics I will likely discuss in this series are:
  - Differences in showing unrated versus rated shows
  - Maybe something on owning a trailer? It seems people think this is cheaper than paying someone to haul their horse and I don't think people understand the costs of purchasing a vehicle, trailer, and all the maintenance involved.  Maybe this could help people decide if it's worth it  to them to purchase one.
  - Are there any topics you would like me to cover?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Showing on a Budget Part 2

I felt like I needed a follow up from yesterday's post because it's really a topic that needs multiple posts.  Heck, maybe a series!  In writing a blog I write my opinion, right?  In 30+ years of riding and showing hunters and jumpers I definitely have opinions.  I believe that foremost you need to do what works for you.  I may not believe in showing my horses in half a dozen classes in one day but if that's what you feel you and your horse need and it works for you then do it.  I'm simply sharing how I make showing work for my horses on my budget.  I have found that the more show experience I can provide them, the more they (and me) can improve.  Meaning attend more shows not ride in more classes.  It's unfortunate that this sport is so expensive because when we can't go show regularly we end up feeling like "I may as well do all these classes while I'm here because I don't know when I can show next" or maybe it takes 3 classes to get your nerves to settle, etc. when all you really need is to just go show more often.  

This is why non rated shows are great.  They are less expensive and a great place to get mileage for the green horse or green rider.  One of the reasons Poppy is as good as she is, is because I took her to non rated shows.  My trainer only attends one local non rated circuit here and only if it doesn't conflict with the rated shows they do.  So in between meeting up with them at the A shows I used to find any non rated show I could find within a 2 hour radius.  I would bribe a friend to come set jumps, drive just for the day, tie Poppy to the trailer, show her in a couple classes, and drive home.  I could do this for under $100.  

This got her great mileage on a cheap budget where now she goes to rated show and feels like a pretty seasoned show horse.  We are at the point where I essentially do a practice class the day before my Classic and that's it.  But it took going to alot of shows to get there.  

I will also do the same plan with Luxxx.  He will need lots of mileage and what better way to get it than at the cheaper shows.  For the one day show where I took the pinto mare I got a stall, shavings, and showed in 3 classes and the show bill was $132.  

Yes, rated shows are more than non rated.  We know this.  But why?  Is one better than the other?  I will plan to do another post on the differences I have found between the two as far as the experience, what you get for your money, and some reasons why they cost more.

***edit: I just want to clarify that when I say show bill I mean the check I wrote to the show office.  So the $132 for the local show excluded fuel for hauling & trainer fees.  Same with those unrated shows I took Poppy too.  Although I don't pay for hauling keep in mind I have a large diesel truck that is expensive and requires maintenance (oil changes are $80+ and don't get me started on tires) as well as a horse trailer that requires the same so is it really saving money not paying for hauling??

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Can Rated Horse Shows Be Done On A Budget?

I think we all want the answer to this to be yes.  I show Poppy, my High Adult Amateur Jumper at A and AA shows.  Sometimes there are ways to attend these shows less expensively.

My recent show was pretty average as far as cost.  It was the Regional Maclay Finals so they were not going to make anything "cheap."  I also find if it is a FEI show then expect to pay premium prices (this show was not FEI).  To start with the stall was $200.  I had 6 bags of shavings at $8.95 a bag ($53.70).  Office fee is $40, USEF fee is $16, zone fee is $2.  So before even entering a class fees are $312.  Training jumper class fee $50 and NAL class fee $120.  So now the total is $482 for essentially 2 classes.  Since I do the jumpers I don't pay braiding fees.  I also save my horse and I do not enter a bunch of classes.  This saves significantly on fees plus contributes to the longevity and health of my horse.  I think if you don't get to show much you get wrapped up in the "I'm going to do whatever classes I can and get mileage while I'm here" and quickly rack up a $1000+ show bill.  I trailered my own horse and used just over a tank of diesel which was around $100.  I do my own horse care so the only additional fees are training.  Getting 4th place in the NAL meant I won money which brought my show bill down, woohoo!  I was an hour from home and commuted from home which saved a hotel fee.  I did have barn help Friday night at home so that was an additional cost.  I always pack my own drinks and snacks.  I maybe spent $10 at the concession stand.  I also did not allow myself to shop the tack stores, thus saving alot.

I could have saved on shavings by bringing my own (they are $3 cheaper at my feed store).  If you are looking to save on trainer fees talk to them about being a working student at the show.  Many need help and would welcome the extra hand at the show grooming, cleaning stalls, etc.

Monday, September 22, 2014


The last week feels like a blur so I am going to try to break it down by day.

I packed the horse trailer, cleaned up the golf cart (my hounds think it is their outdoor sofa), and headed to the show about 11:30am.
When I pulled in trainer wasn't there so I checked the stabling diagram and started bedding what I thought was my stall.  When trainer got there they had stall counts wrong and myself along with other non-boarders were incorrectly not stabled with trainer.  After trainer arrived we got things sorted out but I did have to move stalls after I bedded and unloaded so I was pretty grumpy about that.  By the time I moved and helped trainer unload it was getting late.  I hacked Poppy in one of the rings along with the gazzilion other people.  I was happy she handled the traffic well.  After hacking she got a bath, dinner, and I rushed to get home and feed my horses at home.

My division class (High Adult Amateur Jumpers) was held in the outdoor ring.  Since my NAL Classic was going to be in the indoor Friday I opted to skip my division class and show in the 1.10m Training Jumpers in the indoor ring so she could jump around in there before the classic.  I thought I would show around noon but due to the large number of entries and the Equitation riders using the lower jumper classes as practice rounds the ring dragged all day.  I showed about 5/5:30pm!

It was a nice course and Poppy jumped around great.  I walked the course early in the day so I didn't notice they made #10 a liverpool until we approached it.  We were both surprised so I just closed my leg and rode hard up to it.  She looked but rode to it brave.  We had a clear blue ribbon round so I was thrilled.  She got bathed, cookied, poulticed, and then I rushed home to feed.

We had alot of rain so this day was pretty gross.  The Classic was going early evening so about mid day they posted order of go (I was 16th of 24) and the course.

I first walked the course without trainer before the formal walk.  There were several options and spooky jumps.  Jump 1 started with a wall with open tunnels.  Nice and spooky to begin with.  A couple lines had options, for instance a direct 6 stride or hold out in 7.  Most lines rode forward which means I would really have to land and go so I could steady and set her up the last couple strides.  When I walked with trainer she had me change my plan of 6 strides from fence 9 to 10 to a bending 7.  I would then gallop and do the 6 strides in the jump off.  There was one tight risky turn in the jump off after fence 10 to go inside to fences 3AB.  Since 3AB was on the rail and if I didn't get straight and was pointed toward the stands could get me a refusal, I opted not to take the risk.  This course was set at 1.15m.  

The outdoor warm up ring was practically flooded and the teeny tiny indoor one was loaded with people.  I chose to ride in the outdoor.  Although wet it wasn't deep.  Poppy was good and felt great.  We then saved a big vertical to do in the indoor before going in the ring.  Oy it rattles me jumping with so many people in a tight space.  There were alot of faults and some eliminations on course.  When it was my turn Poppy did her usual rearing at the in gate and trainer had to lead her in.  Weirdly when she does that I know she will be on her game.  I walked in and showed her the liverpool then slid inside the timers to show her fence one (the spooky wall).  She rode up boldly to the wall, galloped down the 7 strides from fence 2 to 3AB, a steady 5 strides to fence 4.  Fence 5 was a vertical to a bending 7 strides to 6AB.  This was tricky because a fence blocked the view of the in and out until you got there.  Fence 7 was the liverpool to a going 6 strides to 8AB then I did the bending line to make 7 strides fit from fence 9 to 10.  We were clean!  We had to stay in for the jump off.  It was fence 1, gallop down to fence 5, inside turn to fence 9, hard gallop to make to 6 strides work to fence 10 (and a pop with the crop to get her there) and around to 3AB whoa 5 strides to fence 4.  Clean again!!  I was sitting in 2nd place until the last couple horses went.  We ended up 4th.  I couldn't have asked my mare to be any better. I thought she was perfect.  To nit pick, I could have been tighter on my turn to #5.  I am happy though.  A good start to the new NAL points year!  A lady came up to me later and asked about Poppy and gave her some awesome compliments.  That meant so much to me since I worked so hard to bring her along and do most of my riding on my own.  The only sad part about this day was that while my friend filmed my course my phone ran out of memory so no video :(.  I keep praying it suddenly appears but no such luck.  I am anxiously waiting to see photos from the horse show photographer.  

Remember I said Poppy was doing leadline?  Since there was only the one kid entered in lead line and it was getting so late after my class my consolation gift for not letting Poppy to be used for it was to give the kiddo my 4th place NAL ribbon.  I felt bad but my horse comes first.

Ok I know this is getting way wordy.  I will go over costs in another post.  This was definitely not a show where I could "do it on a budget" though.  Not one of the cheaper shows at all.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Funny

I just had to share this.  Someone shared it with me at the show and I have been dying laughing over it!

If Your Trainer a Said What They a Were Thinking

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ready or Not

Ready or not we are off to the show tomorrow.  I plan to hack Wednesday.  Thursday I will do a High Adult Amateur jumper class and Friday is the NAL Classic.  And if all goes well we will be done.  Well except a friend wants to borrow Poppy for lead line Friday evening.  Pops will probably want to murder me but cuteness factor will be worth it!

I'm not sure that I will have time to update from the show.  You can always check out my Instagram @luvjumperlife

Another from last year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Horse Show Prep

Finally weather was on my side and the rain stayed away Friday and Saturday!  Friday I hacked Poppy and jumped her around a bit to prep for some bigger course work Saturday.  She has gotten where I just feel like she hates flat work and is uninterested until we jump.  She jumped great on Friday.  Really using herself over the jumps and listening to me.  Also nailing the turns despite the grass still being mushy.

Saturday I put the jumps up to 3'9.  One vertical may have been a bit bigger.  I would have liked to have jumped bigger than that but it was soooo hot out I just couldn't push her.  I like to always school bigger at home so that the jumps seem smaller at the shows.  Had the weather cooperated earlier in the week... 

I rode Luxxx on Saturday and he was a good baby.  Still working on bending and steering.  He is much better with contact to the left.  To the right he's a giraffe.  We will get there one day though.  It's so tough to keep him cantering.  Plus his stride is huge so in the small paddock it's harder to keep momentum.  He's ready to go work out in the jump field but I'm not sure that I am.

The plan for this week, weather permitting, is to hack Monday and Tuesday.  I will either take Poppy over to the show Wednesday or really, really early Thursday morning. 

Here's another photo from the same show last year.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Mare Be Trippin'

Yay for another day without rain!  About 5 more days of sunshine and we might dry out!  Last evening I decided to ride Baby L first.  I texted my neighbor to see if they would be shooting so I wouldn't die.  She said her husband had planned to and I asked if he could wait 30 min for me to hop on the baby.  I got L lunged and hopped on.  When I first get on he does this fast walk thing and when I start working on bending and turning he pretends to be exhausted.  At the trot he was slow and sort of all over the place.  He is pretty good about trying to put his head down as I push him up into my hands.  It just took him awhile remember how to steer.  It's not his fault though, he had not been ridden in 4 days so I would expect some relapse from a 3 year old.

Then I got on Poppy.  At this point is was getting late and I could tell she thought she should be eating dinner versus working.  As I walked into my jump field the neighbor came over to see if I was done riding.  I thanked him for doing this and explained I just can't trust being on my 3yo with the shooting but Poppy would be ok.  He was shooting his .22 so I can hardly even hear that from my house.  I forgot to ask what he was shooting Wednesday night that sounded like a cannon.  

Poppy was ok.  Not bad, not great.  When she doesn't want to work she gets fussy and pulls which causes her to be on her forehand and then trips alot.  This annoys me tremendously.  Having had a horse that tripped and fell frequently I worry about going down.  I picked up the canter to jump a cross rail, she did her fussy thing and bam, tripped and went down on her knees.  She is agile so she bounced right up.  I got after her as this fussy thing needs to be nipped in the bud.  She of course was pissed in usual mare style.  I made her keep jumping all my small jumps until she settled.  Stopping and backing her when she pulled.  I am praying for clear weather today and tomorrow so I can get some good jump schools in.  If that happens then I can hack her next week and we should be fine for the show.  I show Thursday and Friday.  Thank you horse show for scheduling amateur classes on weekdays!  Sure, I will just take off of work, no problem.

To get in the spirit, here is a photo from the show last year..  It was 1.15m but the jumps seemed huge!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sunshine, Mush, & Redneck Hell

The title pretty much sums up last evening.  Although it was sunny, the ground was mushy and VERY wet and then there are my f%#^*+!g neighbors...

At lunch yesterday I schlepped to the craft store and picked up some new fake flowers for my jumps.  The jumper ring next week will be shared by some regional equitation finals classes so I expect some flowery huntery jumps.  We don't have that stuff normally in the jumper ring so I don't want Poppy to be surprised.

I just hacked the mare even though it was sunny, it is still just awfully wet.  She was grouchy and fussy having been off since Sunday so I also didn't feel like fighting her to the jumps.  She cantered alot of poles, lots of halting and backing up, and working until she listened.  I think she will be fine today.

Then I lunged Luxxx expecting to hop on afterward.  As I was lunging him the neighbors across the street started target practice with their cannon.  Baby was EXPLODING.  I mean like auditioning for the Lipizan stallion show.  
They never stopped shooting until it was dark so I never got him calmed down enough to get on.  It is days like this that I am ready to put my shit up for sale, move to a quiet neighborhood, and board within city limits where shooting is not allowed.  I am also considering buying a bull horn and standing under their tree stand and blowing it every few minutes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Horses and Husbands

Maybe once every six months my husband gets home from work early. Instead of yay someone is home and I don't have to ride alone, I feel guilty for ignoring him and don't ride so I can see him for more than 5 minutes on a week day.  So he hung out in the barn while I fed and did stalls (probably just to assess if I have acquired more horses).  When non-horsey husband gets around horses this is what happens.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Around the Barn

We had awful rain and thunderstorms last night so no riding for me.  I groomed all the horses, cleaned stalls, and fed.  And took pictures.  

How stinking cute is Cotton?  I just want to squeeze him.

Soot and Puff are terrified of lightning.  They consider my feed/tack room their safe place.

And then there is Buford who can sleep through anything.

Yes Luxxx is still rubbing his mane.  He does it on the edge of his window in his stall.  I have tried every horse product I can think of.  So frustrating!

It doesn't look so bad from the other side.  Baby is looking round!

Poppy needs her mane pulled this weekend.  Such the contrast from Baby L's mane.  And her diet doesn't appear to be working (I feel your pain girl).

More rain expected today :(

Puddles everywhere.  I forgot to snap a picture of Hobbs but if you look closely he's hanging his mug out the window.

Hopefully the rain lets up so the horses can go out tonight.  I hate when they don't get turnout.  I wish I had built a barn with walkouts.  With our horrible rain that would have been ideal.  Oh well, my next barn...

Monday, September 8, 2014

In Which Not Riding Has Come to Bite Me

Do you remember that blog post where I said it was a rough day so I took a break from riding?  You know, that day where it was sunny, beautiful, dry, and perfect tempts?  Well it rained and rained on Friday so I didn't get to ride.  Then rained some more on Saturday.   When I rode Poppy Saturday afternoon it was really too wet to jump more than a few small jumps.  Then it rained really bad Sunday.  And now it's 80% chance of rain today. So here I am 10 days out from my next A show with Poppy and I have not jumped her 3'6 in 2 months.  This could be a problem.  I hate Florida.  I read about the lack of rain in California and I am jealous.  Someone told me we have had 7 inches of rain this week!

I also rode Luxxx on Saturday.  He still plays and bucks on the lunge line before I ride then acts really exhausted when I get on.  He's getting much better on bending and steering.  He takes alot of leg and wants to be a corner cutter.  With the greenies I use alot of opening of the rein to steer versus pulling.  At the canter he is really tough to keep going.  My rule is that when he breaks to the trot he has to make one trip around the paddock without breaking to quit.  That can take some time.  We also have to work on smoother transitions.  When you say whoa he halts.  That's nice and all but slightly  abrupt.  And if I cough even he interprets that as whoa.  When I get off I have gotten in the habit of kissing him on his star as a "thank you for not killing me."  He's so cute, he looks for his kiss now.  

While I was riding Poppy Saturday Luxxx was doing his usual freaking out in his stall because she left the barn and he hit his head on the top of his window (which is block) so now he has a boo boo.  But with the silver paint meds it makes his star look big.

It looks like this week's riding schedule will be dependent on the weather.  If you know of any rituals to get the rain to go away let me know.  I'd try anything at this point.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Finding My Motivation

Yesterday was a long day at work.  And then add the ridiculous traffic to that.  By the time I got home last night I was exhausted.  I at least made a tiny effort and changed into my breeches but no, I didn't ride.  I just didn't feel like it.  I always push myself through those feelings and ride anyway and have never regretted it.  Last night my gas tank was just empty.  I fed all the horses, turned them out, cleaned stalls, then spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

I do feel slightly guilty.  I have an A show the 18th of this month and I have not jumped Poppy 3'6 since the Tryon show in July.  And according to husband she is looking extremely marshmallowy.  So my mare and I need to get to work.  I did actually ride her Tuesday and Wednesday but 2 days a week certainly isn't going to win us any ribbon loot at the show. 

I also rode Baby L this week!  He's been very good.  I lunge him before climbing on then I practice serpentines and bending at both the walk and trot.  Right now at the canter it's all I can do to keep him going.  Even still, his canter is lovely! Wednesday he had one spook while I was on where he scooted for a few strides then stopped.  If that's the worst he does I will be happy.  I have been riding him in my small paddock and will try to take him out to my jump field to ride this weekend while hubby is home.  My only fear is that we are close to hunting season and since I live in redneck hell the neighbors will be starting their daily nonstop target practice.  Hopefully Baby L can handle the sound of a war zone. 

So enjoy your Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hobbs Update & Final Parlanti Boots Review

Thank you for all the well wishes on Hobbs!  He seems to be much better and is only slightly tender footed when walking on the concrete.  Fortunately he doesn't have to do that much.  I am weaning him off the bute and will see how he feels without it.  I definitely don't feel that he is ready to leave this world yet.  I know my friend suggested it to let me know it's ok to let him go and not to feel guilty about it.  I will take it day by day.  One thing is for certain, Luxxx, Poppy, & I will miss him terribly.

I spent the entire time at the show in my Parlanti boots.  Last time I wrote about them I was not thrilled with them.  I have had the boots for almost 2 months now and they are FINALLY broken in!!  I schooled and showed in them and they are finally comfortable.  This has taken riding in them at home several days a week for almost 2 months.  They are beautiful though.  I love the soft leather, tight fit, and minimal wrinkles.  At $967 with tax and with my discount they are less than custom Vogels.  Now I just have to see if they have the longevity that my Vogels did.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Babies Horse Showing

Friday I took off from work and took Luxxx and M's pinto mare over to the show.  It was a local unrated one day show.   Perfect for these guys, they can go over the day before and school and get used to the environment.  I actually think these shows are waaay more scary than the rated shows I go to.  Things are a bit unorganized and hectic and you have have some inexperienced riders and spectators that haven't learned horse show etiquette.  For instance allowing small children to run screaming up and down the bleachers (this sent Luxxx into a rear, fortunately I was leading him and not on him).

Friday Luxxx schooled in the small indoor like a champ!  I had trainer N ride him.  Here is their video despite it unfortunately being hard to see..

First time jumping (or stepping over) under saddle!!  He is adorbs!! 

M's mare was great!  I showed her in the 2ft jumpers on Saturday.  My friend videoed and took pictures so I am waiting for those but I have a couple to share.

Not a flattering angle...

Nice elbows...

I wanted to show her in the 2'3 but the ring was taking forever and I got impatient.  I'm proud of her though.  She marched right around and jumped all the jumps.  Even with the children squealing and climbing in the railing as we jumped the outside line.  I was bad and didn't stick around to see our placings.  I really didn't care though, she was a good girl.  

Next show is with Ms. Poppy in 2 weeks!