Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Headed South...West

Last weekend found us in Utah, at a 2 day barrel race...

The weather was absolute crap! It started raining on Friday night and didn't stop until Sunday morning.

By the time I had entered the race, all of the indoor stalls were booked, so it was uncovered, outdoor pens only. It rained so much that by Saturday night the horse's blankets were soaked through and they were both shaking. I loaded them in the trailer for the night. They sure appreciated it, but I didn't get much sleep. Two loose horses moving around in the back of the trailer sure can get the LQ part to rocking. LOL.

The inclimate weather wasn't real beneficial for Frosty and I on Saturday. The only dry place to attempt to get warmed up was the holding pens at the end of the indoor arena. Frosty is not keen on other horses invading his 'bubble' anyway and with so many girls in there. all trying to get warmed up...He lost it. I think I would have scored pretty good on that saddle bronc ride, but I was sure glad he bucked into the end wall and came to a stop. A couple more jumps and he would have gotten me off.

I was obviously a little worried after that about what exactly he might do on his barrel run. It's been a long time since he has blown up coming out of a barrel, but the circumstances sure seemed right for him to do it again.

Instead, he chose western pleasure mode for his run and in spite of kicking and mooching and hee-yawing...He would not go any faster. It was a ridiculously slow time. But hey...He didn't buck.

Sunday, the weather was better...well, at least it wasn't pouring rain the whole day. I did get Frosty out and get him warmed up in the grassy parking areas. I also grabbed my popper bat out of the trailer. I appreciate the fact that Frosty did not buck with me on the pattern the day before...But he r.e.a.l.l.y. needs to start developing a sense of urgency during his runs.

We did not attempt to move around the holding area with the rest of the horses. I stayed out of there until not long before our run and when I did go in, we just went and sat in a corner. Frosty was definitely more ready for this run and stretched out better on his run up the alley. I asked him for more and when he failed to give it to me, I gave him a good pop on the butt. That got him geared back up to where he has been running and he gave me a beautifully smooth and pretty run. It was just a hair over 2 seconds off of the fast time. Good enough for a check in the 5D (1/2 second splits all the way through) and that is about all I can really hope for right now. Just a little something-something to help pay for some of the entry fees ya know?

I think if the weather had been right, he would have ran well both days, but that's why they call it 'seasoning'. It takes surviving a lot of different circumstances to make a solid horse. Frosty has his quirks outside of the arena, but for the most part he is staying well focused during his runs. His pattern is perfection. Now, we just focus on creating that speed...or getting however much speed Frosty has out of him.

This next couple of weeks should give us the opportunity to work on that. We are headed to Arizona for a couple of weeks. I've got two rodeos to attend and this will give me a good opportunity to really get to work on LJ and Shooter. Jet just needs more of the same or what he has been getting.

Jet did get a reprieve this last weekend. I have been hauling him with Frosty because I wanted to keep exposing him, but I figured the Utah race would be a good place to take LJ and start getting him used to what his life is going to be from now on. The weather made it less fun for him than it would have been otherwise and I didn't get him rode at all, but it was good experience for him and he handled it pretty well...

I'm pretty excited for this little guy. He is such a cool horse. He should come on pretty quick once he gets the pattern down and he is going to be a blast to run, I can just tell. :-)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Weaning Day And Flare Ups

Weaning day has arrived!

Frenchie was all for it. I turned her and Miss out in the pasture with Beretta and Belle and it took Frenchie all of 2 minutes to re-assume her roll as lead mare, after which, she led her adoring crowd to the far end of the pasture and stayed there until the afternoon.

I don't know if Miss is going to get to stay out with the girls, because after being completely sound for the last couple of months, she went 3-legged lame again over the weekend. :-(.

I wasn't going to turn her out at all, but she was making such a ruckus when I took Frenchie out, that she had the babies all stirred up and in spite of her lameness, I promptly got her the heck out of there.

The only reason I can think of for Miss re-assuming the pointed toe, hunched-back founder position is a change in the weather...

As weird as it sounds, a rapid change in barometric pressure, especially in the early spring and again in the fall, often have a negative impact on horses. It's most commonly when you will see older horses go down hill, cases of gas colic rise and founder cases act up.

It sucks. I feel bad for the her and I have had her on anti-inflammatories and double doses of MSM since Saturday. I figured some movement might actually help her, but this evening I returned her to her pen so she could rest. She was obviously ready to go back in. She about ran me over racing to get back there. LOL.

Frenchie is far from a maiden mare, so I didn't expect that she would be too upset over leaving her son, but she seemed almost a little too eager. LOL. Beretta and Belle are thrilled to have a leader again and have stayed snuggled up to Frenchie...

Beretta is taking this motherhood thing very seriously. She looks like she is 8-9 months pregnant, instead of just coming on 5 months.

I don't want to gross anyone out, so beware of the next picture. It's a 4 month old foal embryo that my vet preserved after the mare died of colic (That part is pretty darned sad!!). This is about the size of Beretta's baby at the moment...



Isn't it weird that regardless of knowing different, I just kind of think as those baking babies as little 'lumps'. To actually see this perfectly formed baby was so interesting to me.

As for the living babies...Yep...I've got two of them. My vet's wife dropped off their 6 month old filly to wean with Flash...

She's quite a bit bigger than Flash, but she is 2 months older than him, so that is to be expected. I didn't get a very good picture of her, but she is a super nice filly. Her mother was a pro-level barrel horse that won well over $100,000 before a knee injury took her out of competition and her sire is The Goodbye Lane. She and Flash are polar opposites in build and her elegant, leggy build sure does make my lil Flash look kinda dumpy in comparison. LOL

I love getting the opportunity to be around some of these exceptional foals some of my friends are raising. I hadn't even heard of The Goodbye Lane before this foal, and now after seeing her, I've sure been looking at him. His bloodlines sure would cross very well on at least 2 of the mares I have. ;-)

The babies were pretty noisy throughout the morning, but by the time it started getting pretty warm, they had quieted down considerably.  Thank goodness! Because it wasn't just the babies carrying on. All of the geldings were bellowing right along with them. Uncle Shooter was pacing the fenceline, nickering and chorkling to the babies. He desperately wanted them to come over to him so he could comfort them. Arrow, the visiting filly, finally did and before long she had assumed a parallel position to Shooter, who kept reaching through the fence and nuzzling her shoulder. Flash was pretty upset that someone else was overing on his Uncle Shooter, but wasn't brave enough to try to drive Arrow away.

I stayed pretty close to them all day and beings that I have such a soft spot for my lil Flashy, I kept going in and comforting him. What can I say...I'm mush when it comes to that colt. This weaning day was probably harder on me than it was Flash. He just looked so young and pathetic and every time he saw me, he would run to the fence, stick his head through and cry for me.

As is almost always the case though, especially when the momma is either out of earshot or wise enough to keep her mouth quiet, by evening, the kiddos had quieted down and happily ate their grain. Arrow laid down in the hay pile for nap and Flash was quietly munching away beside her. I think having Miss back beside them helped calm them even more, especially Flash, since she is so familiar to him.

Although I wished Miss wasn't experiencing problems with her foot again, it probably won't hurt to have her up beside the babies for the next few weeks. Shooter will be going with me to Arizona and it never hurts to have a calm adult horse next to youngsters. I don't know if this means Miss will have to come to AZ for the winter or not. I'm hoping that after the weather quits changing that she will stop flaring and can settle in with the other mares. Quite honestly, she is too valuable to me to risk her not wintering well. I guess only time will tell though. :-/.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Time Jump

We did it!! 

Frosty finally made another time jump. He shaved a 1/2 a second off his normal time...and did it with ease. He's been running about 2.3 seconds off of the fast time, today he ran 1.8 seconds off of the fast time. 

Yayyyy Forest!! No, that is not a typo. I lovingly refer to Frosty as my Forest Gump of horses. And I DO say it with affection. Frosty cannot help the fact that he is 'not a smart horse'. In spite of all of his wonderful physical attributes...He lacks mental quickness....and he struggles to absorb the things that comes so easily to my other horses. Frosty has another Forest Gump trait that I find tremendously endearing...He is supremely honest. 

Believe me...after spending these last few years dealing with a horse that was 2 thoughts (and 2 moves) ahead of me most of the time...I find Frosty's steadfast approach soooo refreshing. 

Although, the unfortunate thing is, Frosty seems to be a 'cracker horse'. You know...one of those horses that seems to fall in the time crack that pays ZERO $$. LOL!! He went from not placing in the 4D to not placing in the 3D. 

We did have a little help though. ;-).

Frosty's hocks are freshly injected, so the hoppy turns are gone, 

and....



I finally splurged on a new barrel saddle. A new Sharon Camarillo by Courts. The whole time I ran Moon, I struggled with finding a saddle that fit him through the shoulders and helped put me in the correct position....AND was something I could afford. I'm sorry...I never could make myself spend $3,500-5,000 for one of those Double J's that I wanted. I kept looking for used ones and the right one just never popped up. 

Did it cost me in the long run?...Yea...probably! (Live and learn) 

I had been running Frosty in the little saddle that I was using on Moon, but I saw pictures of my run from last weekend and said...'Oh hell no!! I am not doing this anymore!'...I was sitting flat on my butt and my feet were way out in front of me coming around a barrel. That just does not work. After trying to talk myself out of it all week, I went to the tack store where I have had my eye on this saddle for a year now and bought it. 

If this saddle had fit Moon, I would have bought it long ago, but it was just a wee bit tight on him, so I never splurged. Frosty is a much bigger horse than Moon, however, Moon had those ungodly laid-out shoulders and nothing less than an 8" gullet would fit him. This has a 7 1/2" gullet and fits Frosty and all of my other geldings nicely. 

I got it home, tried it on all of my geldings and then got on and rode it around. Then I started freaking out. It seemed to hit me funny on the back of my butt and I kept thinking, the cantle is not high enough, I'm going to get slung out the back when a horse leaves the barrel. I waffled and waffled, the whole day. Texting several people and driving them crazy with my indecisiveness. I came soooo close to taking this saddle back the same day I bought it. But finally, I took a deep breath and reminded myself...I have been wanting this saddle for a whole year...If I hadn't stopped wanting it in all of that time, I was probably just having buyer's remorse.

Well, thank goodness I kept it and made a run in it. It was wonderful!! I mean, Frosty set into that first barrel and I was like, 'Holy cow, I'm right over the top of him'. And when he came out of that turn, there was absolutely no backlash when he took off. I just stayed balanced right over the top of him. It was game on then. Frosty made a smokin' 2nd turn. I mean, he wrapped that barrel!! 3rd was just as good and he galloped for home. 

There is no sense looking back and getting mad because I didn't buy a better saddle earlier...But I know one thing...I will never make that mistake again. And now it's time to clean out the tack room. I had already told Cindy D. I had 2, maybe 3 saddles for her to sell for me, but now I have 4 that are going buh-bye. I'm keeping Moon's old saddle, because it's not worth anything on the open market...and it IS comfortable to ride in out in the desert and light...so it would be a good colt saddle. But I'm selling everything else and investing that money into another new barrel saddle...The other one I have been wanting is a Charmayne James...

The same saddle shop I bought the SC Courts from had one of these and I sat in it and really liked it. Unfortunately, they only had a 14" and that was too big for me. I could fit 3 fingers between my knee and the swell. I'll need a 13 1/2", possibly a 13" in this brand. And it comes in a regular or a wide tree and I am not entirely sure which one I want (need)...So what I will have to do is wait until I go somewhere where I can try both tree widths on a horse and compare the fit. 

But at least for now I am set. I plan on riding the heck out of the Camarillo and competing in it every weekend for the next 30 days. I am very hopeful that there won't be any issue with the tree (a slight problem with some Camarillo's in the past), but if there is, there is a 30 day factory warranty on it.