Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tia's First Show

Wow! Look at how far she has come! From the skinny..wait...emaciated little mare on a dry lot.....

To the beautiful, FAT little mare I see now!

She really has come such a long way, in more ways then just her weight.

The first time she had her feet done, there was no sedation, but there was a lot of rearing and kicking out and very "scared horse" behavior. Lots of following her around just to get one foot done. Over an hour to trim 4 feet. At her last appt, she stood like a real horse...confident and respectful. It only took us about 30 minutes to do all 4 feet...and most of that time was spent talking to the farrier!

Her first vet visit was a bit scary. Not because she did anything bad, she was actually exceptionally good. Never offered to kick, bite or make any move whatsoever. It was scary because of the condition she was in. I honestly wasn't sure she was going to make it. My vet and I agreed that no shots would be given, as her body was just to weak to handle the strain on her system. A coggins was pulled though. The vet came back out for Spring shots a few weeks ago. I had him pull a new coggins because I wanted the pictures on the old one GONE. My vet sent me an email about a week ago...he had gone back and looked at Tia's original coggins..What a huge difference. He was very impressed.

Tia has had a lot of firsts with me. Her first time in a real stall, that I am aware of. Her first time being handled with something called love and respect. Her first time being able to trust. Her first time having her own herd. Her first time being ridden NICELY...I truly believe whoever broke her was not very gentle and the lady I got her from really was a true beginner. She was NEVER mean to Tia, but Tia knew how to get away with everything.

Tia's latest first...Her First Show! I would love to tell you that it was completely non-eventful...I can't. She did, however, load very nicely Sunday morning! Yay!

So here is how the show day went. We loaded up and headed to the show grounds. As soon as we got there, we went up to register. Tia and I were in Class 6 - Halter - Stock Type Mares. They were on Class 1 - Showmanship. Normally Showmanship takes FOREVERRRRRRRRRRR. Apparently, not today. I had just enough time to get Tia off the trailer, get dressed, PepeDee her little butt, get her halter on and head to the ring. She was fine until we got up to the ring. There were to many people and horses she didn't know. Trucks, Trailers and Announcers - Oh My! The majority of the class was spent with her jogging in circles and me just trying to assure her she wasn't going to die. :)  The judge was nice enough to let us at least walk the class just to give her experience. So, I did the best I could. I walked right to the judge...Tia jogged. The judge smiled and nodded for me to continue. Here are some of the moments in the class...

First Time In The Ring

Walking To The Judge

(Stole this from the picture below)

Screaming to Ber Ber the whole time

There was some snorting going on too!

Lots and lots of circles

More circles

(Stole this from the photo below)

Making our way to Line Up

Trying to settle down

Must Be Beside Mom!

The elbow was used alot that day

The judge was coming to judge her - She thought he
was going to eat her!

Standing nicely for the judge

The judge asked me after he was done judging how old she was and what her story was. I was very impressed that he actually let us do the class instead of just excusing us. Very nice judge, very patient.

What a good girl!

And!!! We got a ribbon! Third Place! 
(Who cares that there was only three people in the class!)

Me and My Beautiful Girl

Kisses for the good girl!

 After a short break, we did some lunging and then went for a walk around the show grounds. Around the back of the property she was super relaxed. It was only around the front of the property where the show rings were that she needed to be in my pocket. The horses, the people, the trucks and trailers, the announcer, the was all a bit much for her. She NEVER offered to kick or be nasty. She just needed to be in my pocket. Again, the elbow got a lot of use!

At one point, Nikki and I were joking about what would happen if the tent over Ber Ber just blew over...we shouldn't have been joking about it...cause it 2 seconds after we said it. Everyone was fine and we double pegged both tents in the ground.

Ber Shade...Until it blew over...

My Mom came over to the show and brought us Fried Chicken! Yum! We sat and had lunch and then we all went for another walk.

This time, Tia was much more relaxed. She would graze and meander and occasionally realize she wasn't close enough to me and come back over. She got lots of compliments on how pretty she was and how good she was being especially for her first show.

We had a special visitor come over as well. A wonderful family friend came over to hang out with us. We hadn't seen Marilyn in quite a while, so having her there was extremely special!

Then it was time for Nikki's speed classes! Ber Ber is such an amazing little mare. She really does do it all!

Nikki took Ber to the end of where we were parked to warm her up and I took Tia to hand graze for a little while. It was at that moment...that BOTH tents pulled the pegs from the ground and went into the air. BOTH TENTS. Both 10x10x8 Tents. In The Air. At a horse show. Needless to say, Tia LEFT. I tried to hang on, but my shoulder wouldn't let me. To hell with my hand burning to shoulder is what did me in.  Tia locked her radar on Ber and went straight for her. Thankfully, that meant she was enclosed in the trail ring. She let me walk right over and get her. No issues. I wasn't mad. It wasn't her fault. Moral of this story...tie your tents down to fricken cinder blocks! Ugh! My hand still hurts a bit, but nothing like it did when it happened. Thank God for Neosporin!

Tia got to hang out with me for Nikki's first class, but by the second class, my hand was killing me and holding a horse and trying to take pictures one handed is a bit more complicated then it looks!

All in all, a wonderful show day! Everyone lived! Everyone was smiling! Even my poor daughter...who looked like this that morning..

And looked like this in the car on the way home after dropping off horses and doing barn chores...

I'd say it was a great show day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

'Insert Catchy Title Here'

For the past 2 weeks, my brain has been completely fried. And I do mean, Completely!

Tia and I have been working really hard on learning to square and stand nicely for halter and conformation classes. Our first hurdle was the fact that she wants to rest her back leg whenever she stops to stand. This is getting a bit frustrating. I have to be really careful about how I teach her to keep all four feet on the ground without making her think that she has to move away from me when I touch her hip to get the weight back on her foot. At the last practice, with someone else who could take pictures, this was the best she could do without resting her back leg.

In this picture she is so far stretched out in the back and she locked her front end, that she looks like she is wayyy over at the shoulder! She really isn't  And honestly, its my fault. I need to really work with her on squaring up and standing properly.

I have started lunging her occasionally in a surcingle with a twisted wire snaffle. The reason I am doing this, with this bit in particular, is because she hangs on the bit so much otherwise, that she isn't using her back at all. She will fight the bit tooth and nail before really giving to it and relaxing. With the twist, she settles right down. No pulling, no fighting. Just nice natural movement with slow even footfalls. I want to keep her in a snaffle for riding, but I have to get her using herself and respecting the bit before I can go any further.

The other hurdle, I know I am jumping around a lot today, is the fact that jogging on a lead line is more foreign to her then speaking Irish. She just doesn't understand why on earth we would want to go faster then a walk...ever! The only way I have been able to convince her to jog with me is to carry a lunge whip or to have a whole pocket full of goodies...both of which are not allowed in the show ring. But, regardless, this is what I get when we actually get the jog underway!

So, we have worked..and worked...and worked on this stuff. She is finally getting the hang of it. A good friend of mine was putting on a show that next Sunday and says "Just bring her! You can show her in halter and just hang out". That sounded like a great idea! So, the show prep began. (Check out this awesome new show series here in Southern Maryland)

Bath time for pretty ponies!

(Practice Photo) Here we see Tia with whiskers and 
eye whiskers and ear whiskers...and well lots of whiskers!
And here she is with NO whiskers.

Now, I have to tell you all just how proud I am of this little mare. She had to, at one point in time, be in a home that used clippers on her. Most horses would have freaked out completely. Tia? Nope. She let us clip her face, her long eye whisker things and under her chin. She let me crawl underneath of her with scissors to chop off the horrendously long fetlocks she had growing down there. She wasn't thrilled about the clippers on her ears or bridle path, so I used scissors and the little purple manual razors. I hate to admit that I cut her ear a little with the 'far sharper than I thought it was' purple thing, but she never batted an eye. She actually went to sleep!

So the night ended on a wonderful note. She was amazing during practice, she clipped and bathed like a dream and then she settled right in for a nice long nap before show day.

You guys should have seen the next part coming...really....

We had some issues with the trailer we were going to use and ended up having to "steal" Nikki's truck and trailer. We got to the farm and loaded the trailer and then pulled Tia out. Half way to the trailer, she stops. Now, I have dealt with horses that have had major major issues with loading, so I knew what to do. (Let me interrupt here to say that our class was at was now 7:20) So I turned and talked to her and closer to the trailer we went. She took one step on the ramp and NOPE. I'm pretty sure the words going through her head were "Oh Hell No" and "Ain't Nobody Got Time For Dat". Sigh. So we went to work. We tried bribery, we tried a chain over her nose, we tried putting Mia on the trailer with her, we tried tapping with a dressage whip, we tried lunge lines. By the time we got Tia on the trailer, it was 10:15am. On she went. Lots and Lots of Love!!! Backed her off. Loaded her again. 15 minutes later she is back on the trailer. Lots of love and kisses and treats. Backed her off. Unloaded Mia, and put them both outside. I had already missed my class, and I didn't want to get to the show and her not get on the trailer again. I mean, it isn't like I can just take Mia with me...(I found out later that morning that Mia's owner would have been completely fine with that). Either way, we now have something else to work on...Trailer Loading. We have a Mounted Wanderers Show on Sunday the 26th that she will be at even if I have to ride her to the show grounds myself!

On a better note, Nikki has graciously agreed to meet us at the farm tonight with her truck and trailer to practice the art of trailer loading like a big opposed to non trailer loading like a butt-head!

I did, however, buy a nice jacket and shirt to show her in. Hopefully I wont look like 2 ton Tessie and have to feel completely and utterly embarrassed for my poor little mare that is hoping no one sees her with a black and white version of the Stay Puff'd Marshmallow Man.

In other news, I have gotten some really good feedback on my photography. I have contacted a few schools to take some courses online as well, and my Aunt sent me a phenomenal class that is all on Youtube. I am pretty excited about that. I spent about 5 hours last night working on the website for BHAD Photography, and I think it came out nicely! What do you think?