Sunday, February 23, 2014

2013 In Review - Part 2

After looking at all the horse photos I continued looking through my other files for 2013.  Even if my horse show season didn't end up as planned, Ken was able to play baseball all season, so that was good.  I got to watch a few of his games, though didn't do any of their scorekeeping this year.  Wonder if I'll do any this year?

We had some challenges with our dogs in 2013 - Annie got Bloat and had to have her stomach stitched to her abdomen (if she experiences Bloat again her stomach can't twist, which can be fatal).  And Angus' Degenerative Myelopathy continues to progress.  He's a bit wobbly now, but what's hardest is that he is mentally all there, so I'm sure he just can't understand why he can't walk and run as well as he used to.  Lucky for us Sydney had a good year - otherwise all our animals would have had something major in 2013.  Yuck.

And we got to watch all the nephews play baseball this year - Spencer and Brett came up to the Sacramento area to play and we went down to Santa Clara to watch Ryan.  It's just too bad we didn't get to spend any more time with Indy, other than at Clear Lake, or we would have hit the grand slam with the kids.

In July we saw our first live boxing match - ESPN's Friday Night Fights at Thunder Valley in July.  It was 110F - no kidding - can't believe we didn't melt in our seats.  We were about 15 rows back from the ring, (their events center is outdoors in one of the parking lots) looking into the sun.  Ugh.  But it was really neat to watch live boxing. 

And can't forget that we went down to Tucson to visit my folks.  Wasn't even Spring Training season!  We all enjoyed talking about our European River Cruise plans that weekend.

Watched Ken play baseball

Took care of Annie after her surgery - the blue donut replaces those horrid plastic eCollars

Ridgebacks have an unusual sense of comfort - Angus stayed like this for a while, too

Visited Mom and Dad in Tucson in October

What are the odds - Brett played a baseball game at the fields right next to my work - that's my office behind me

110F in July watching ESPN's Friday Night Fights

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2013 Horsing Around

How to catch up on a year?  Look through photos! 

Whether it is pulling 'old' paper photos from the closet (you know the type - you had to wait days [or an hour if you had $$] to have them developed and see if you had anything worthwhile?!) or looking through all my files on my computer.  I love looking at photos to see what I've been up to.

Lucky for me I'm kinda organized (who me?) so I've got my photos labeled by type (Horse, Vacation, Family, etc), year, date, and subject.  Makes it easy at a glance to see what I've been doing over the last year.  Here are some photos from the 'Horse' folder that show our progression through 2013.

Had a fun play day including some trail class fun.  Blu hadn't ever walked over a tarp/carpet that I know of.  And I hadn't tried to open a 'gate' from his back, nor had I ever walked backwards through a serpentine.  We did it all and had fun

Literally the first time I'd ever put an english saddle on Blu was at a schooling show in Gilroy - I hadn't ridden english in at least 10 years.  On a lark I'd borrowed Kim's saddle and found my old show clothes and brought it all with me.  I'd planned on riding western that day but thought it might be a kick to try english if we both felt up for it.  I swear Blu looked at the saddle on his back and thought 'what the hell is that thing?' but within an hour I had my seat (well, as much as I could after a 10 year hiatus) and decided to go in a class.  Had about 8 horses in the class and you could have knocked me over with a feather when they called us for second!!!

I posted a bunch of pictures on my Facebook page during the Rowell Ranch Rodeo.  Five days in May spent as part of the 'Emilie Montoya 2013 Rowell Ranch Rodeo Queen Entourage' (made that up myself...sounds grand, doesn't it!  hehehe).  Had an AMAZING time.  Learned SO much about the Rodeo way of life by living it.  And truly enjoyed helping Emilie.  She's a great young lady who did a fabulous job promoting the Rowell Ranch Rodeo.

Yet another 'first' for Blu in 2013:  Sorting cows!  This short clip is the first time he'd ever been in an arena with cattle.  When two of them came towards him I was so proud of his reaction.  Actually looks like he did a little 'charge' at them as if to say 'boo!'  Now you will notice that _I_ am not on him.  Blu may not be chicken, but _I_ am!  I had no idea what Blu would do when faced with cows so I 'let' Todd ride him!  and I took photos/videos.  Figured I'll get another chance someday to try it myself.  (which brings back a memory:  MANY years ago I had the privilege of riding my Sister-in-law Kim's Grandfather's cutting horse in Washington.  Now THAT was an experience!  Truly a 'hang on and let the horse do what he's trained to do' ride!  Bucket List item 'check')

Labor Day weekend beach ride.  We actually got IN the surf.  We tagged along during Todd and Darlene's photo shoot for the article in 65 Degree Magazine - see page 66 and the photographer might have some shots of us in the ocean, but alas, I don't have any.  I just have the memory - of staring at the horizon because if you looked down at the surf you experienced the quickest case of vertigo EVER!

After some discussions with Todd we decided to see if Blu really enjoyed English.  We haven't gone back to western since.  And I think we're BOTH having a blast!

Not bad for a year without going to a rated horse show!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Let's see if I can start again in 2014

I had this post in draft for a year.  Yep, a year.  Wrote it January 28, 2013.  Quite a bit has changed over that year as I read through it.  But rather than scrapping the whole post I'll keep it and build on it to document the changes.  Oh, and I will also start to incorporate my upcoming trip to Europe.  Hmmm. Horses, Shows, Dogs and Travel.  Could be an interesting combination.  Or not.  We'll just have to see.

Back in January 2013 I was preparing for Blu to start in a Curb Bit.  Oh, how things have changed....

Are you wondering what a "Curb Bit" is?

As you may know if you were reading this back when I started, I do not claim to be an "expert" - I'm learning Western riding right along with Blu so as I try to explain, please remember that I only know a little bit about bits (ha!  Couldn't resist...) and that you would probably be better off learning lots of details by Google-ing "what is the difference between a Snaffle bit and a Curb bit" rather than trying to understand what I'm writing (and hoping that I'm getting right).

Do you remember that in our first year  of showing Western Pleasure I was showing Blu in a Snaffle Bit?

This Snaffle has a single "bar" in his mouth and the reins
are connected directly to the bit

And in our second year I was showing Blu in a Bosal which didn't have a mouthpiece at all.

Notice there is nothing in Blu's mouth and the reins 
are connected to the bottom of the nose piece

Both of those are legal in the Western Pleasure show arena because Blu was less than six years old.

On January 1, 2013 (the official birthday of all horses) Blu turned six (his actual birthday is in April) and that meant we could no longer use a Bosal or a Snaffle when showing Western.  So we switched to a Curb Bit.  (We can still use a Snaffle Bit if we ride Hunter - more on that later.)

Here's Blu's first introduction to a Curb Bit in the Fall of 2012 - 
the reins are not attached directly to the bit, but instead, they're attached to the end of the shank
(doesn't he look like he's trying to figure out what the heck is in his mouth?)

Sunday (January 27, 2013) was my first opportunity to ride Blu in the Curb Bit.

I learned a lot, had a lot of fun, was challenged, will continue to be challenged, and can't wait to do it again.  I felt like a drunken sailor at times but overall I could see the promise of what was to come (with a lot more practice).

After one afternoon lesson I came away with the following 1) keep my hand centered 2) lift straight UP with my hand when I want to turn 3) and at the same time use my legs to steer 4) no neck reining 5) trust Blu to understand what I'm asking - I can be a lot more subtle than I think I am being.

If you want to see my first lesson using the Curb Bit you can watch the video.  No teasing allowed regarding my "20 foot circle" that ended up being 1/2 the arena!  It is literally my first ride ever on Blu with a Curb Bit.

(Feb 2014 - turns out I never put the video together - 
I just looked through my clips and published this one) 

And I have to say a big Thank You! to my videographer!  It was so nice to come home and watch what I'd done, and now I have a permanent record of that "first ride in a Curb Bit" that I'll look back on someday and see how far I've come (that's me being optimistic!)

And that's all I wrote back in January 2013......

Looking back at my calendar I realize why I didn't publish this.  Two days later Blu got injured.  He mysteriously cut his foreleg.  The good news is that he healed up perfectly.

The horizontal incision at the top is the cut, the rest are drains.

this is 6 weeks later - Mid March 2013

We had a fun 2013, though not what we'd envisioned when the year started.