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Updated: August 30, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

I rode Corky at the walk and trot today. She felt great. You know, I am a total skeptic about the whole acupuncture thing. It just sounds so mystical and weird to me. But I let my vet do some on her to help with her back soreness. I must say, today when I ran a brush down her back she didn't react, and I was able to saddle her and tighten the girth with NO reaction from her..that's a first! Maybe there is something to that mumbo-jumbo voodoo stuff.

Tango has a cut on the back of his right heel, so I hosed it off and put some Furacin on it. I did a 2 minute longe session with him,, groomed him really good, and let him play. We are heading to another open show on Sunday in hopes to actually have someone else in our longe line class.

Today I cleaned stalls, and washed water buckets. Overall, a pretty non-eventful afternoon at the barn, but sometimes that is a good thing!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Some trainers from northern Ohio came out to see Pepsi, and they ended up purchasing her. I hate to sell her, it really bothers me, but I have to be a responsible adult and cut back no the horses so I can afford to pay my share of the house renovations. It stinks! Pepsi will leave probably next weekend. Tango will miss her dearly, she is the only horse in the barn that will put up with his annoying ways and play with him.

I braided Tango this evening for the show tomorrow. Let's see how he does with his braids in overnight this time!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Well, Tango destroyed his braids yet again overnight, so this is it. I guess from now on I am forced to wake up 2 hours early and do his braids in the morning. Darn geldings!

The show was another open show and was pretty close - only about 20 minutes away. When I arrived, I took Tango to go longe in the arena and he was completely ho-hum about it. I longed him for not even 5 minutes! I walked him around a bit, then he got to stand and eat at the trailer the rest of the morning. By the time the longe line class rolled around, it was HOT and humid. Once again we were the only ones in the class. This was Tango's best go yet - he did his 90 second longe line routine perfectly! I was really happy - he took his gaits right on cue, used the entire circle, and did it all with a good expression. As soon as we were done, I loaded up and headed home. I went back to the barn, cleaned stalls, unhooked, and was home by 2pm. What a great early day!

Tango will get a few weeks off since I leave for band camp on the 11th. He is doing so well and seems to enjoy the shows (NOTHING fazes him!), and I want to keep him happy and not do too much too often. Next on the horse agenda is getting Corky back in shape and ready to try a show or two this year. Unfortunately finances are keeping me from showing her at any big shows, but I hope we can do at least a couple open shows before the year is out...hopefully I actually have enough energy to ride after working on the house all week. The house project is in the roof stage - tearing off the old roof and replacing it. I really hate roofing! Hate it with a passion!!!


Well, this was unexpected! Yesterday evening, Kevin called to see how our show went, and he asked if I was showing today. I hadn't planned on it, but he convinced me to go back to the show because he wanted to go watch! Shocking! So yesterday evening I headed back to the barn and quickly washed Tango. Darn it if I hadn't already cut out his braids! Oh well...I will do a quick banding job in the morning and we will be good to go.

Early this morning the three of us headed to the show. It was a lot smaller today, so unfortunately no other yearlings were there. Once again, Tango came off the trailer as if he'd been showing his whole life. We did a 5-minute longe session in the arena and we were done until class time. He was a lot more tired today, so our class didn't go quite as smooth. First direction went well (I longe him to the right first since he is more comfortable that way), but second direction he got a fly attached to his side and spent part of the trot curling his neck trying to get at it. Because he was distracted, he took the wrong lead at the canter, but I was able to correct him within 2 strides. He did break once, and I had to get him back up into the canter. Basically I had to do a LOT of encouraging to move forward LOL! The judge actually filled out a score sheet this time, she dinged him terribly on his gaits (trot and canter). I wonder what it was that she didn't like - he was free-moving and flat. Oh well...

The colors in these pictures turned out weird! My coat is actually a dark brown, and my breeches are tan.

Friday, July 8, 2011

FINALLY I was able to take a quick moment to ride Corky./ Foolish me decided to try and ride outside...we haven't ridden outside since last year and she has hardly been ridden this last month. Needless to say it was a bit forward and slightly uncontrolled. The flies were way too terrible to deal with, so I went inside and did about 5 minutes inside...the heat got to both of us and we quit early. She requires SO much riding to get her back on the program, I just don't see how it is going to happen any time soon. I leave for band camp for a week on Monday, so any plans will have to be put on hold...maybe even for a lot longer since I have so much work to be done on the new house. *sigh*

Pepsi left today to go to her new home in Bowling Green. It was a bittersweet moment. I know she needed to be sold so I could pay off some of these monstrous house bills, but it was still so sad. I had such great plans and dreams back in January, but once again all of my plans and goals have gone out the window. I told someone that NEXT year will be MY year, and she said "You say that every year!". Well dangit, I cannot help if real life interferes! I had "MY" year in 2007 when I had very few other commitments and had save the finances to enable me to hit the big time. Unfortunately I have other responsibilities now. Maybe someday...in the future...but until then I think I will quit making these lofty yearly goals that just frustrate me with their incompletion.

I longed Tango a little bit and worked on getting him to be a bit more responsive to my 'forward' cues. He didn't like this much, I get the feeling he is on the lazy side (I am liking that!). My plan to prepare for the August longe line classes is to get him a little more 'pop' off of my cues, and to hold his circle out a bit and not come inward (especially at the walk).

I measured both Tango and Pepsi today. Tango was 15' at the withers and 15'2" at the hip, and his leg measures a full 17 hands (we shall see!). Pepsi was about 15 1/2" at the withers and 15'2" at the hip, and her leg measures to at least 16'3". Hopefully I will be able to keep in touch with her new owners to see how she matures. Wouldn't it be fun if she and Tango ended up in the same futurity class in a few years?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I am finally home from a week at band camp. I missed my equine kids! First on the agenda today: riding Corky. I rode her indoors, and she rode pretty good. It was much better than the last time I rode her. I took her tail down and washed it, it took me a long time to finger through all the tangles. I had to cut almost 3 inches off the bottom! Wow...you can tell I haven't been showing - tail a mess of tangles and cutting off 3" in mid-July!

I longed Tango for a little bit. He must be going through a growth spurt as his movement is all funky again. We went for a walk outside in the field but the bugs ate us alive so he was happier going back inside. I have noticed that he is definitely a LOT less mouthy than he used to be. I think it is because he has a "job" now - he now gets bathed, clipped, and longed regularly and has been hauled a bunch. I seriously think this does make a difference. He is much more patient and rarely puts his mouth on my anymore.

My plans now - heading to another open show on Sunday for practice. Then I am off to the Ohio State fair 4H show the following week to braid braid braid!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I waited until evening to head out to the barn, hoping that it would be a little bit cooler and the flies wouldn't be so bad. I saddled Corky up around 6:30pm in the western saddle (which was very stiff and dirt-covered since I haven't used it in over a year!) and headed outside. Looks like I was wrong on both counts - it was NOT cooler, and the flies were still HORRIBLE. Nevertheless, I actually had a pretty good ride. Corky was extremely bothered by the flies, and it seemed the only way to really avoid them was to stay at a trot or canter. This made for a hot ride! At one point in the canter, the horseflies managed to get some bites in and they made Corky buck a little bit. I am so weird, I was fascinated with watching her shadow on the ground when she was bucking. It looked really cool! I rode it pretty well also :-] I worked a little bit on controlling her forward motion with my leg. s always, she didn't enjoy it but by the end of the ride (which only lasted about 20 minutes) she was listening to me (grudgingly).

Monday, July 18, 2011

It was around 95 degrees this afternoon. Tango was standing in his stall and he was completely soaked from head to toe with sweat. I took him out and hosed him off (he HATES that!). Of course, when I turned him loose in the arena he immediately went and rolled about 10 times, covering himself in mud. I decided to leave him like that. If nothing else, the dirt covering his body might add a little protection from the biting flies.

I did a little longe practice with him today. I have been working on getting him a little more responsive to my forward cues. He is definitely improving there! Everything is falling into place to be really ready for the longe line classes at the Kentucky State Fair in 3 weeks. I am looking forward to it. This show will determine whether we enter Congress or not. Well, that and money of course! I am braiding for 3 days at the Ohio State Fair 4H horse show next week. If it goes like it did last year I will earn enough money to cover my Congress costs. If I don't end up going to Congress, that money will go towards my Doberman puppy I desperately want to get next spring. So, it's a win-win situation...other than my poor fingers who will take the brunt of it!

I forgot to mention that Tango graduated to a full-size horse halter last week. Don't get too excited. That just means he has a freakishly big head. Now his body needs to catch up LOL!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ACK! THE HEAT!!! Yeah, I need to look back at my January and February entries when I was whining about the cold. I'll take the heat over that cold any day. However, we've had day after day in the mid to upper 90's with high humidity and heat indexes over 100 degrees...and it's predicted to stay in the 90's for the next 7 days!

I spent the day at the vet's with my friend and her horse (the same vet I took Corky to a few weeks ago). What was just a little bit of 'offness' and stiffness turned out to be a serious diagnosis and the idea that quite possibly her horse may never be able to do the HUS again. I am pushing for a second opinion...vets are humans and most of the time they are just trying to make educated guesses and can be way off the mark. Ugh...I hate bad news for me or for friends.

Tonight I attempted to longe Tango. He was very bad today - kept taking the wrong lead both directions, was distracted and not wanting to do as I ask. Frustrating! It's all in a day's work of horse training, though. No biggie. Tomorrow he gets his Coggins and health papers to travel to the Kentucky State Fair in 3 weeks, and also the piroplasmosis test just in case we decide to go to Congress.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My vet came out to draw a Coggins, etc. on Tango. He had never heard of this Equine Piroplasmosis test! Luckily I printed out that page in the Congress entry booklet about the test. I hope this test isn't expensive...I am getting ti 'just in case' I decide to do Congress this year. Tango also got boostered for flu, EEE/WEE, tetanus, and West Nile. He is going to be around a lot of strange horses in the next month and I want to keep his immune system rolling.

The arena fence was run into by the tractor yesterday and still isn't fixed, so no one can get turned out right now. I tried turning Corky out in the front paddock this morning but she ran like mad because of the horse flies and got herself all worked up and sweaty, so in she came. Such a hothouse flower she is! The heat is just too bad and the flies are too nasty to turn anyone out in the outdoor pastures without a shelter.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

According to the news, today was the hottest day in our area in the past 12 years. It's far too dangerous to try and ride or do anything really active. Figures when I finally have a couple weeks off that I can devote to riding, I can't due to the temperatures! I did longe Tango a little bit, I got after him just a bit at the beginning to listen to my cues and then he did pretty well. I on;y longed about 5 minutes. It's too hot to do much more that that!

Of course, as soon as I finished hosing Tango off, he immediately found the dustiest spot in the arena and rolled...

The dirt stuck to him like glue, now he is a liver chestnut instead of a bay LOL!

Friday, July 22, 2011

My thermometer read nearly 100 degrees when I headed out at 9:30am for my farrier appointment. Lovely! We set up two big fans and the horses stayed rather cool while they got their feet done. Tango was such a good boy for the farrier. It was his first time in the crossties up front and he stood very quietly. When we were done, I clipped him. he was NOT very good for the clipping. I know he wasn't scared, he just acted annoyed and tried pulling away. I had to scold him pretty hard and then he gave in and stood quietly. After I was done, I decided to do a quick longe session. he was absolutely PERFECT! he nailed every gait as soon as I asked and held it at a perfect speed. He did take the wrong lead once going to the left but before I could cue him down to a trot to change he did a very quiet flying lead change and went on. COOL! He has such nice cadence and tempo. If I could get him consistent like this, I really think Congress is a possibility.

I measured him while he was getting his feet done today. he grew a little bit! He stands 15'1" at the withers and 15'2 1/2" at the hip. Finally!I know his head grew...he is wearing a full-sized halter now. His body just needs to catch up.

Now the big debate happens in my mind - should I haul him Sunday morning to a local open show and do longe line, or skip it because of the heat? Our class is in the morning, and the show is only about 40 minutes away. I actually am not worried about Tango, he only will work about 90 seconds. I am more worried about whether I can get my show clothes ON in this heat...or more importantly can I get them OFF in this heat? I will decide tomorrow evening...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yes, I am a glutton for punishment because I did go to the show! It was decent in the morning - not overly hot (but boy did the heat hit a few hours later!!!). I banded Tango and put in his tail pieces at the barn before I left. We got there, I got dressed, and we went right in to the yearling halter class for more patience/standing still practice. he was really good, and we won it out of 2. Once again we were the only ones in the longe line class, but it really didn't matter much to me since we needed the practice. The class went fairly well, other than Tango stepping sideways to knock a fly off his side and totally smashing my pinky toe. yep, that's gonna leaver a mark! The longe part didn't go quite as smooth as I had hoped - he was a bit pully to the side second direction, but I thought his responses were good and legs looked good. Here's the video:

I see what I need to work on with him. We have a couple weeks yet, so it's time to get with my plan!

Monday=Wednesday, July 25-27, 2011

I spent 3 days in Columbus braiding horses at the Ohio State fair for the 4H horse show. I wish I had 4 or 8 more hands as I ended up having to turn away probably 15-20 people! I had a LOT of repeat customers from last year and I love that! It was a lot of fun talking with the parents and the kids, and especially hearing about their success stories after their classes. However, I was one tired puppy by Wednesday and my hands were a mess. The money was great, I could hardly find fault with that. This money will seriously come in handy - it's my horse and show money and this will potentially help pay if I decide to do the longe line at Congress. this will also just help in paying the general horse bills the next few months. So to all my customers...THANK YOU!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Yesterday and today I did some short longe session with Tango working on getting him more responsive to my cues and KEEPING his gait rather than breaking downward like the lazy slug he is! I do see improvement. Today Corky actually stood in the arena and watched out entire practice session. I think she misses her job. I will ride her tomorrow, because it's time to get crackin' on her also!

I've had Tango on my mind a lot the past few days. I sent a friend the video of tango from last weekend (the one posted above) and asked for her honest opinion. She has had a lot of success with hunter longe liners and I respect her knowledge. Gah, she hated him! It was very depressing to hear she thought he was "homely" and a "bad mover". Needless to say I was devastated! It's hard to hear from someone, especially when your horse is SO close to your hear like tango has become. I really started doubting my own eye and ability. Could I be that barn blind that I can't see how horrible he is? I then sent the video to Darla. She, on the other hand, really liked him. So maybe my eye isn't totally off? I just don't know. Everyone is warning me that the longe line at Congress is more political than some of the riding classes (yeah, been there, done that!) and that I really don't have a hope. Well, I figure I don't have a prayer of beating any of the big names, but I would like to place near the top of the "nobodies" how make up the bottom half of the class, ya know? I just don't want to go and be at the bottom. So I have some serious thinking and evaluation to do. I know he's not Corky, but is he something? I welcome your comments or thoughts...I just am so befuddled in the brain about Tango and I now don't trust my own eye.

Just a quick note to introduce the newest members of my family: Vladimir, Dmitri, and Constance. Their chief job will be mouse duty at my new house. Right now they are enjoying the chase, and are more interested in playing with me and each other than actually catching mice, but that will come!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

We'll call this diary entry "Putting Things in Perspective".I got some neat messages from various people yesterday and today off of my diary entry yesterday.

"Get some more opinions, but at the end of the day, you have to like your horse. You have to think enough of him to pay for his care, his show fees, and when the shows are over, you have to be happy to load him in the trailer and take him home, win, lose or draw. If you're having fun and you love your horse, then I say go ahead and do what you're doing."

YES!!! Exactly! Thank you thank you thank you! It was like a nice, polite smack in the head to wake me up. IN the end, does any of this really matter? Does it really matter what my friend thinks, what the judges think? In the end it really only matters what I think and whether I am having fun, right?

"As far as him being "homely," I really don't think he is. His head seems big now, but again, he's Appendix and is going to be huge. Its pretty standard for horses with a lot of TB in them to have a bigger, plainer head. That being said, I think he's still adorable and will grow into his head and body with time. Again, I think he's just in that awkward stage where its hard to see what the horse will end up looking like. Was your friend familiar with Taylor? Judging from Taylor's looks and movement, I think Tango will grow up to be very cute, correct, and competitive. Personally, I would love to see him jump in the future."

I think I love you...:-] Talk about making me feel better about things...I really appreciate it! It's like free mental therapy for me!

That being said, I did a quick session with Tango today and then washed him for our last practice show tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the last one before the Kentucky State Fair. Tango was a little bratty for the ear clipping, but as soon as I got firm with him he gave up and stood quietly. Typical boy!

I also took the time to ride Corky today...finally! It was as I expected - a bit sloppy. It absolutely kills me to not have the time to ride nor the money to really show her this year, but I have to keep my priorities straight. This year is devoted to the new house renovation and a dabbling in longe line. Next year...maybe next year will be more of a Corky year! She's still young, taking a year off from showing won't hurt her, right? I just miss those fun, lazy summer days where I was able to go out to the barn in the mornings and ride and spent lots of quality time grooming. Now it's just a late evening rush to clean stalls and get home. OK, enough whining! Things are GOOD! Corky is healthy and sounds, Tango is healthy and sound, and everyone is doing their job and enjoying it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I woke up at 5am for the show and surprisingly was wide awake! Something must be wrong with me!!! I banded Tango, and put it some new longer tail pieces that I made yesterday, and we headed to the show. It was pretty crazy - Tango got his first look at cows and sheep (all very noisy) and this did wind him up a bit...for maybe 5 minutes, then he was done. I love that he settles so quickly.

Once again we were the only one in yearling halter. I had a few hours before my longe line class, and I took my friend's advice and worked him a decent length of time on the line. My friend told me she thought he was too fresh in the previous video. Even though he was a lazy slug, she thought he was using his laziness and turning his head to the side as a sign that he was fresh and didn't want to work. Good point! He worked great for me in the class - very soft and smooth and picked up his trot and canter right away. Unfortunately we broke our undefeated streak because their actually was someone else in the class for once. It was a really nice western yearling that had placed at the Tom Powers, so we were in very good company. I got some nice compliments on Tango, from people who know their horses (and have no real reason to compliment me!) so that really made me feel good. I still can't figure out for sure how I feel about his chances, but dang I am having SO much fun showing him in longe line! Seriously...this is the most fun I've had showing horses in a LONG time. Kinda makes me sad that my breeding career is over due to the loss of my mare. No more yearlings for me for a long, long time :-[

Tango gets the next few days off, then it's some serious preparation for the Kentucky State Fair (we leave next Monday, the 8th).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Well, I gave Tango Monday and Tuesday off and then went back to our regular schedule of minimal longe line practice. I am only doing 10-15 minutes tops. Mainly I am trying to MOVE his lazy butt forward! When he really moves and has some oomph to his stride, he looks SO much better! It takes a lot of encouragement to get him to really move out. I am kinda liking his lazy nature, but I do hope that when we get to Kentucky and show in that huge, air-conditioned coliseum, he will perk up just a little bit - not enough to make him act up but just enough to put a spring in his step, so to speak.

A friend of mine tried really hard to talk me into showing Tango at Congress this year. the theme of his speech was "Just go and have fun, you haven't been able to do hardly any fun big shows this year!" He does have a point. This could be the first year in 23 years that I haven't shown in a riding class. I might just have to drag Corky's butt out and do that later this summer just to keep my consistent show streak alive!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I came to the barn fully intending to RIDE today. I decided to free-longe Corky and Tango together before I rode. Tango is getting a potbelly again, he needs more exercise! He just doesn't play very hard when turned out like he used to when Pepsi was around. Well, Corky had a burst of energy and ran like a maniac (of course Tango ran right along with her). I just stood there in the center and watched them run and run and run. By the time she wound down, she was blowing really hard and literally dripping with sweat. So much for our ride today, she needed walked out and cooled down. Oh well, maybe tomorrow! I figured this was enough exercise for Tango also, so I didn't do any longeing today. I spent the afternoon packing hay and grain and other necessities in the trailer for our trip to Kentucky on Monday.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I DID ride today! I made sure I free-longed Corky alone first, then saddled up. I had a fantastic ride. Granted, it was indoors, but still Corky was fingertip-light in the bridle and very willing. It was one of those rides that made me ache to go show her! We did a lot of work on side-passing and turns on the forehand and haunches, plus lots of circles at the canter to get her off the rail.

I did a short longe session with Tango, he was very good. Then I clipped him (he stood very well after a minor protest at the beginning), and then a bath. A big thunderstorm rolled in just as I was soaping him up, so we both ended up getting soaked when we were finished. I decided to wait out the storm before leaving, so I sat on a stool and watched Corky and Tango wander around the indoor and interact with each other. It's fun to watch. I must be a true horse geek, I could sit there and watch these two all day. I can see their personalities so clearly defined when they are just on their own being horses. Tango still follows me around the arena like a big dog. So does Corky, and when Corky decides to approach me Tango hits the road...he knows who is boss! It cheers me up that they both love being with me. Tango has started a habit just like Corky of greeting me with a whinny when I first walk into the barn each day. Actually Corky always whinnies, but Tango does this really low, manly nicker. Gotta like a greeting like that!

We leave tomorrow afternoon for Louisville, Kentucky and the Kentucky State Fair AQHA/NSBA show. Tango shows on Wednesday late morning...stay tuned!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I loaded up the trailer and hit the road around 1:30 in the afternoon. I was lucky enough to miss the worst of the rush hour traffic in Cincinnati. I stopped in Kentucky for supper and allowed tango to rest his legs a bit. He drank a bucket of water and had eaten up his entire hay bag, so I gave him a second hay bag for the rest of the trip. He was a great traveler!

We arrived around 7pm, unloaded and got settled in the stall. Tango was a champ! Once he relaxed, I took him out to the covered pen and put him on the longe line and let him stretch his legs for about 5-10 minutes. He was pretty quiet, but was interested in all the activity going on. Later that night when the day's show was finished, I took him to the big coliseum and let him check out that atmosphere. There was only one other person in the arena, and they soon left. We had the place to ourselves! I walked with the longe line and let Tango trot all over the arena and explore. He was slightly worried when there were people up in the seats sweeping the trash, but he never got very high about it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today was a beautiful day in Kentucky! I spent the day hanging out with a lot of old friends from my Kentucky showing days. It was a lot of fun reconnecting with people. I got Tango out at a few random times during the day and did 5-10 minute longe sessions, plus we went for a walk down near the coliseum and stood around while people were warming up. I wanted him to experience the full show atmosphere. I LOVE this horse! NOTHING bothered him! He handled everything so well, even when something startled him he got over it quickly.

When the show was finished for the day, they opened the arena for 2 hours for hunt seat horses only. That would be us! I took him in the coliseum and longed him. Wow was he wild-eyed and tail-flagging! I wondered what suddenly got into him and then I realized that I have never longed him in the middle of an arena with a ton of horses being ridden every direction around him. He didn't know what to think! Horses were being ridden rather close to his circle, and it made him dive inwards a few times. But, being the lazy Tango that he is, he quit diving and jumping and just went around the circle quietly (it required much less effort than being scared LOL!).

When I was finished, I began braiding various horses for $$$. Yep, always gotta try and make some money to cover my expenses! Unfortunately, the second-to-last horse that I did spooked when someone came to look at my braids, and I got somehow caught in the crossfire. My thumb got cut to the tendon, it bled all over, and I was a woozy, nauseous mess. I managed to finished the last horse I had to do (while cleaning the blood off his neck while I worked!), and then went to the hotel around 2am. I was bleeding badly, I bled through multiple gauze bandages. I was worried - I had yet to even braid Tango! He was scheduled to be done the next morning. I refuse to let ANYTHING get in the way of showing. I worked to hard and traveled too far to give up!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - Show Day!

I got up in the morning and did a very quick longe session, then started the preparations. Braiding tango was incredibly painful with my thumb. I didn't do a great job, but it was passable. I put a sleazy hood on him and let him eat the rest of his breakfast. Unfortunately it didn't take him long to destroy the first 5 braids up near his ears, so when I was ready to groom for the class I had to re-do them. I hate that about him. He is going to be one of those horses that always rubs his braids out. As a braider (and a perfectionist) I find that very frustrating! Linda (Stacey's mom) lent me her black yearling tail, and adding that plus my tail pieces I put together made a really nice tail for Tango.

Soon it was show time! They gave the longe liners a 30 minute break to warm up in the show arena, and we did a shot warm-up. Tango was getting pretty tired from the travel and all the activity, and I could see him getting more and more lethargic. The first class was the non-pro longe line, and I was first to go out of 7. Tango set up pretty well in our halter class. Our longe portion was a bit sluggish and I had to chase him with the whip just to keep him moving. All that hard work I did in training myself to stay still in the center went out the window as I had to walk a circle to keep him moving with the whip. He was sluggish, but he did do all of his gaits perfectly and didn't miss a lead...yay!

I was the only huntseater in the class. Go long-trotters! Now normally I never complain about judging. I take when I get and try to be satisfied with my performance and not the evaluation from someone else of my performance. I was a little bummed that Tango got beat by a horse that cross-fired over and over again in the second direction of his canter. THAT was a bit disconcerting. The top part of the class was very very good. I ended up placing 6th out of 7...not good at all, but on the plus side Tango behaved and didn't embarrass me! Here is a video of that class:

Next was the open class, which had 10. once again, there were a LOT of very nice (and extremely BROKE) horses in the class. Tango had fallen asleep waiting for the placings of our last class, so he was extra sluggish on the line and our go wasn't as smooth. Disappointing for sure, but it's hard to fault Tango for being so tired after 5 hours in the trailer and a couple of nights in a strange stall with lots of commotion to keep him awake. I was very proud of him. I was also very happy to receive a lot of compliments on him, and from people who really didn't even know me or have any reason to compliment him. That was good! I got some very good feedback from Stacey and I have some things to work on. The big question, of course, is Congress or not? What should I do? It's a lot to think about and consider....

The haul home was thankfully uneventful. I LOVE uneventful hauls!!! Tango will get some time off, and then we will start doing some things and decide on Congress. I have a little over a week to decide.

After the class, he was too tired to stand up and eat!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

I rode Corky today. I could tell when I got her out of her stall that she was NOT in a good mood! Our ride wasn't very smooth, but it was productive. I put a pole in the center of the arena, and cantered over it back and forth, doing rollbacks on either side. This was hard work for her! When we went back on the rail, she was much more inclined to behave. When she started getting heavy and forward, I went back to the rollbacks over the pole...worked like a charm! Make the good stuff easy, and everything else difficult.

Tango went back to work today. My goal is to strengthen his topline and get him less sluggish to my cues. Not much progress there today, but we will keep plugging away!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I did some good longe work with Tango. I have gotten into the bad habit of continually cracking the whip and kissing to him to keep him cantering. Stupid me! So now I begin the re-training process to teach him to hold his gait without me reminding him every stride. It was tough today, but he is learning. I also spent time trying to get him to set up for halter. How come everyone else can get their yearlings to set up with the lead rope or the touch of a foot, and I have to still bend over and manually pick up and place each foot? Ugh, I am behind in my training! It's hard because he is so dull in the halter that subtle cues with pressure don't get through his thick head. My plan is to do some of this every single day without fail and hopefully see SOME progress in the near future.

I went home and watched my DVD of the 2005 Congress LL class (that was a NICE, tough class!). Then I did some YouTube searches to see some longe liners from past years. I've seen this class nearly every year, but it was helpful to put those videos side by side with Tango and see the specific things I need to work on with him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I had a fantastic ride on Corky today! She was as soft as butter and went around in a happy frame. I swear she runs hot and cold sometimes. I did circles at the canter and she held her frame and her pace really well. In fact, a few times when I accidentally clamped a little harder with my legs she actually slowed down willingly (even though that wasn't my intention). I wish she could always be in this mood!

My longe session with Tango was less productive. He is just so lethargic on the line and today was even more so - I needed a lot of incentive to keep him moving. I have been changing things up with him, but now I wonder if we need even more variety. I might try longeing outside tomorrow. I hope his lethargy is just his quiet nature and not because he isn't feeling well. You know me, paranoid to a T!

I debated about Congress a bunch last night. I woke up this morning with a fresh outlook. I think I am going to do it! So what if we place last. That's still heads over those who aren't even trying, right? I mean, it's all for the fun experience anyways. I have no doubt we will be scraping the bottom of the class...but remember Corky didn't place in the top 10 in LL when I showed her that year and she went on to be a 2-time top 10 Congress horse under saddle, and that's where it counts! So I am going to renew my attitude and go have FUN. FUN, remember that word? Time to get reacquainted!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I think I have been making progress with Tango in his topline and his consistency in holding his gait. Tiny baby steps of progress, but it is in the right direction! I am still trying to make a decision about Congress. It's so much money! I waver back and forth daily.

My thumb is still swollen and is extremely painful, and I cannot bend it forward. I actually broke down and went to the doc's yesterday to have it looked at. What a waste of time. he was so dismissive, didn't take it seriously. Heck, he didn't even look at the x-rays, the nurse looked at them and pronounced my thumb "fine". Yeah, so why after more than a week it is still swollen and has a constant stinging pain? ugh...

Self-Portrait time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I swear, Tango looked down today. I know, I am imagining things and projecting human emotions into my horses! I just think he looked bored and lethargic. We took a day off from work and went outside into the big field where I let him play a while on the longe line, then we had a nice long grazing session out in the setting sun. It was almost romantic LOL! Some days we need this relaxing, quality one-on-one time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Corky and Tango got some free time out in the front pasture. The sky was an incredible blue color with no clouds...perfect for some photos.

Tango - with the brilliant blue sky and the green and purple field. What a picture!

This is Tango's reaction when the next door neighbor decides to start practicing his drum set in the garage next to the field. Uh-oh, a band director's horse should be drum-broke!

Tango and Corky go for a romp.

When I was all done for the day, Tango got clipped and got a bath for our show tomorrow. He is getting a little better about bathing, although I can tell he hates it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It is a beautiful day for a horse show, though when I woke up at 4:45am I wondered at my insanity for taking one of my last summer days and waking up hours before the sunrise! When I got to the barn I found Tango stuck in his stall. He had laid down right in the corner up against the door and couldn't get up until I opened the stall door. Who knows how long he was stuck like that! I walked him out in the arena to loosen him up and he seemed none the worse for wear.

We started off the morning with our yearling halter class. Although he set up and stood perfectly, we did get beat by a very nice (and very BUILT) halter yearling. Next was the longe line class (after a long wait). At this show they actually let us bring our yearlings in the arena and warm up! Yes, I said yearlings! There were 3 of us today. Getting a chance to warm up really helped us out. Tango ended up winning the class! Video:

I tied his tail in a bit lower (thanks Linda for lending it to me!!!). I think his tail does look better. I think his topline is looking improved, but I could be wrong. Oh well, showing this horse is a total BLAST and I love every minute of it! NOTHING bothers him, and he is so low energy I don't have to work him at all before showing him. Please please please let this last!

So, now it's time to get serious about Congress. Yes, I am going to do it. Yes, I am going to get my butt whipped. Yes, I am going to have FUN!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nobody got worked today - they got turned out and left alone. We all need days like that. I walked around the arena with a bucket and picked up rocks. Tango was positive that the bucket had some sort of food in it and he kept getting in my way and shoving his nose into the rocks in the bucket. Then Corky would worry that maybe there was food in the bucket, and she would chase Tango off and check for herself. This went on and on repeatedly! Dumb horses.

I got a great phone call from Stacey Ryan tonight. She watched my video of Tango from yesterday and was really happy with how he looked. She saw definite improvements from our class in Kentucky. She gave me some great advice in how to keep him from tilting his head to the right and dropping his left shoulder when cantering to the left (a problem we have been facing all season). It meant a lot that she took the time to call and give me some help. Having her and Darla in my corner really gives me hope!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I did it!!!!

I made my Congress entry today!!!! Technically, I e-mailed my paperwork to Darla and she will be making my entry for me, but still, it's official in my eyes! I am gonna do it! Save the date: Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 1:00pm in the Coliseum - Open Hunter Longe Line. Gonna show for all the little people, the nobodies out there who struggle on their own like me and beg and borrow help whenever needed. I am excited to show the Congress longe line again, and again be showing one that I bred, raised, and trained myself...extra special since this is Taylor's baby and that makes him my second generation of huntseaters! Yep, I am excited!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I had a very good longe session with Tango today. Short but sweet! I turned him and Corky out and let them go in the front paddock to eat while I cleaned stalls and watered the arena. That made both horses very happy! I have been trying to work on our halter set up, but it's not going very well. If I bend down and place his feet, it's good, but he is just not grasping the concept of moving his feet on cue. He's not the world's most sensitive horse, so it takes a lot of pushing and pulling to even get him to move a foot. I will try and work on this a little bit every day and hopefully we will start seeing some progress.

Have I mentioned how much I love Darla? She has someone that is going to split my stall and shavings cost for Congress (I guess they won't be coming in until after that first weekend). That will be a HUGE, ENORMOUS, MASSIVE help for me financially! She has a longe liner also, and I convinced her she needed to bring the yearling a day early on Thursday and we could work our yearlings together. I am glad I won't be spending the entire day alone on that Thursday. Gosh, so much to think about!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yikes! Suddenly Tango looks like crap! His legs are all over the place. I measured him and it looks like he sprouted an inch at the hip (15'3") but gained no additional height at the withers, so once again he is WAY unbalanced. I can tell he is uncomfortable when being worked. This week I have been really taking it easy with him. Today we went for a walk and slow longe out in the pasture, and then some quality grazing time. I know, I know, I really should be working him hard right now. Congress is in a month and a half and I am sure everyone else is really working their yearlings hard and training them. I did some major soul-searching lately. How badly do I want to succeed? Is that my driving force? It shouldn't be! I just can't bring myself to do anything to this colt that will harm him in the long term. I guess I don't want to win that badly. What will be will be, I guess. I am training him gently and giving him lots of play time and time off in between training sessions. I don't ever want to forget to look beyond Congress. there is a LOT of life left after October 15!

One last picture before we change pages and enter September. Look how we've grown! From an ugly duckling to...ok maybe not a swan quite less but definitely less of an ugly duckling!

On to page 5....

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