Friday, 25 September 2009

Joint Supplements

Today, many people are keeping their horses on joint supplements to either help a pre-existing condition or maintain the function of healthy joints. I used to keep my mares on MSM, but quit using it when I did not see much difference. So I ask my readers, what joint supplements do you like and why?

Friday, 28 August 2009

Cattle Extravaganzas

For those of you who compete at APHA shows on a regular basis, I wanted to let you in on a little secret. Cattle extravaganzas! For those of you who don't have halter horses, yet need those halter points; go to the cattle extravaganzas! While the numbers aren't always that large, the halter classes are large enough to get points. An added benefit to the ones here in northeast Texas; if you show in any of the performance classes, the halter classes are free. Got a horse you need to complete an APHA championship with? Attend some cattle extravaganzas. The atmosphere is friendly and laid back. It was an overall great experience and I encourage those of you who do show APHA to attend a cattle extravaganza and find out what it's all about!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Palomino Filly Needs Good Home!

APHA palomino solid yearling filly HYPP N/N

Registration # 944,220

Foaled April 13, 2008

Thank You Viki! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time with Marilyn.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sex, lies and bad checks!

Все, что я могу сказать, - daaaaaaamn, и о хватать! Я буду держать мои мнения мне непосредственно пока, потому что я не имею всех фактов, но...

Любой хочет нанять ставки, как долго будет требоваться Духота, чтобы изменить ее телефонный номер теперь, когда все кончено Интернет?

Интересно, есть ли действительно картины? Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew. Есть картины и ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew. Я ожидал бы фотографии как этот от подростков, но вернулся бы к реальности.

Интересно, какова сторона Духоты? Царапайте это. Я читал комментарии к Horsedopia. Таким образом она ненавидит ее немного больше, и немного больше каждый раз она должна была помочь ей. Она действительно спала с нею существенный другой, и она передала фальшивые чеки, чтобы помочь ей с ее лошадями. Это - сорт A, более святой чем Вы, королева спасательного материала тут же. Ждите, я забыл, все остальные делают плохие вещи, но не Вас. Поскольку мимолетные фальшивые чеки не преступление. (Рулон глаза вставки здесь).

Конечно это - весь слух ... все же, это прибыло непосредственно от того, что напечатали эти две вовлеченные стороны. Мое мнение?
 Y'all нуждаются в профессиональной помощи. Позвольте мне предлагать Вам мои услуги в психотерапии.

Я воздержусь от цензурирования комментариев. Однако, если они будут слишком унесены (и это возьмет много), то я подвергну цензуре их. Пожалуйста имейте доказательство перед созданием любых серьезных утверждений.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

In Loving Memory!

R.I.P Tristan Slater Proposed (AKA Slater)

I really wish I didn't have to make this post and I'm really not up to going through all the details so I'll keep it short and sweet. My thoughts and prayers are with you Darla. Rest assured he's in a wonderful place and we did all we could.

We'll Miss You Slater! We tried to save you but it all just happened so fast. We will always remember the way you effortlessly made those flying lead changes in the pasture and the cute way you played hide and seek with us around the out shed. You will be greatly missed. You were such a brave little trooper today. We love you!

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,We'd walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken, no time to say good-bye,
You were gone before we knew it, and only God knows why.
Our heart's still active in sadness, and secret tears still flow;
What it meant to lose you no one can ever know.
But now we know you want us to mourn for you no more,
To remember all the happy times; life still has much in store.
Since you'll never be forgotten, we pledge to you today:
A hallowed place within our hearts is where you'll always stay

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A Man That Should Be Named Horseman of the Year!

As most of you know there are not many trainers (or judges) that I highly respect. To be quite frank, many of them are pompous and some even down right unethical. But I also know that there are great trainers and judges out there. Today I had the pleasure of working with one such man: Rod Cavinder.

What do I look for in a horseman? A gentle touch, patience, knowledge, and a will to go against the grain of the fads and do right by the horse. A person who, when they train a western pleasure horse, keeps that horse happy, attentive, and not over-canted down the rail. A person that can not only teach, but will also listen. A person that is willing to explain things in detail, and does not think so highly of him/herself to talk down to another when a person asks a question that could be perceived as simple, or dumb. A person who is willing to work with another to bring out the best in the client. Professionalism, a good sense of humor, and most of all, a down to earth person. Some of you may be thinking that judge or trainer does not exist; or at least a judge or trainer that exhibits ALL the aforementioned qualities. I can tell you now. You're wrong. Mr. Cavinder is that trainer/judge.

I have shown under Mr. Cavinder twice and done well, but I never had the chance to actually meet the man until today. It takes an awful lot to truly impress me and make me believe that you have a way with horses and people. Today, Rod Cavinder showed me what a truly great horseman and professional he was. I'll say it now. I was MORE than impressed.

He is a man that holds nothing back and speaks the truth. He does not blow smoke up your ass. (This was his first brownie point he earned from me). But he didn't sop there. This man took the time to show me what can separate the wheat from the chaff in showmanship and halter. He told me what he looks for for each discipline, how to achieve it, and some other little tips and tricks which I think I may just keep to myself!!! (After all, I paid for those tips so I think I'll remain stingy with them! LOL!)

He has a way with horses and with people. A truly great man and horseman. It was a great relief to have the opportunity to work with a person so down to earth. He makes you feel as if even if you make a mistake he is not going to crucify you or the horse.

At any rate, I know I didn't give a whole lot of info on what we did today, but I did want to share my experience and let others know that this is truly a great judge/trainer whom deserves truckloads of respect, recognition, and I think he should be our next candidate for Horseman of the Year. Thank you Rod Cavinder!

Wednesday, 01 July 2009

When Did the Title of "Horse Show Judge" Allow You to Become an Asshole?

Yeah, I know I haven't updated for awhile. I was on vacation, then I read the Twilight series (thanks Jordie), and my mother decided to get a tummy tuck and lipo so apparently I am the in-home nurse. Yay me!

Anyway, I went to an open show a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I was really disappointed with the judge's attitude. Some classes he placed fairly, others he didn't. But that is not what got me riled up. I was actually going to post his name on here but after I chilled out I decided against it. First let me give you a little background.

When I first walked into the pen I figured he looked like a nice enough man. Although his face was a little scrunched like he was constipated and he was more round than he was tall, I figured maybe he really wasn't as mean as he looked and he might honestly just have to poop. It was a hot day after all! I guess I thought wrong. Not only did I hear and see the judge talk to the ring master like he was a pile of dog shit he just stepped in, by the end of the day he damn near got his head ripped off.

To make a long story short, I had been hunting for my english spurs all day to no avail. My friend (also the show manager) let me borrow a small pair of western spurs to use. It's just a little open show, and the management let me use my western blunt tips the last time (it's not like we are at the World Show here people). Anyways, so I go into my first HUS class, wearing the spurs and placed first. I turn around and go into my next HUS class and the judge walks up to me and says "I hate to be the bearer of bad news but those spurs are illegal to use in an english class. Those are western spurs". And I said, "I'm sorry Sir, I didn't have my english spurs with me and show management said it would be okay if I used these". Now, I said this in my most little girlish and polite voice possible. Wanna know what the asshole said? He damn near shouted back as he turned his back and walked away "Well I guess you shouldn't have freakin worn them at all then huh"!

WTF? Were you really just that big of a prick to me when I wasn't being rude in the slightest? Do you not realize that I was 1.2 seconds from the crowd being able to videotape an episode of "Midgets Go Buck Wild" as I flew off my horse and shoved your head up your ass before my feet ever touched the ground?

I was not the only person the judge was rude to that day. But honestly, when you are a judge, you still don't have the authority to be nasty or rude to an exhibitor. You are not a highway patrol officer for pete sakes. I think next time I'll just bitch slap him with my reins... that ought to shut him up. What is the world coming to? Is is that hard to be civil with people? I could understand if I was being a bitch, but I was no where near "bitch zone" that day UNTIL he decided to be an asshole to me. To think... a little open show judge thinking he was hot shit. If I ever show under that man again I think I'll bring a laxative with me. Maybe his problem really was that he couldn't poop. Who knows. But, I would like to say this to any judges out there. Watch who you decide to get rude with. I will complain about, and report your ass.
So, do any of you have any stories of rude judges?

Friday, 05 June 2009

Halter Conformation and What Wins

So what conformational traits do you see in the AQHA, APHA, ApHC, etc. halter horses that you absolutely cannot stand? I know some will say posty hocks and that's a big one for me as well, but what other common traits do you see?

I am a leg gal, first and foremeost. If the horse doesn't have good legs, all the balance and type in the world is not going to keep the horse sound. Before any halter people jump down my throat, I AM a halter person, but I do not agree with the leg confo that passes in the pen and wins. There is no reason why a horse whos knees and toes point east and west should be a Reserve World Champion. None at all. The filly I am speaking of possibly had some of the worst front legs on a halter horse I had ever seen. I'll give you two guesses as to who the sire was. So, what are the faults you are seeing that are being rewarded and perpetuated in the halter pen?

Monday, 01 June 2009

Training the Showmanship Horse (Updated)

Training: Training the showmanship horse is a relatively easy task. However, some people receive sub-par results because they lack repetition. Repetition (doing it the same way, over, and over, and over) is just one piece of the puzzle that makes a solid showmanship horse. There are six basic maneuvers that your horse should know; walk beside you, trot beside you, stop beside you, set up, back, and the pivot. Other maneuvers such as the 180 degree turn, the pull turn, etc. are all variations of what I consider to be the basic maneuvers. I like to start my training off with a regular rope halter and lead. For precision training I move to the war bridle.
Before some of you go frothing at the mouth and peeing in circles on the carpet screaming “abuse,” I am not talking about the war bridle you typically see to restrain a horse. I take a simple lariat rope that I have cut to the appropriate length. Next I make a medium loop with the lariat and put the “small loop on the rope” on the offside (to the right). I then pull the excess slack from under the medium loop (that I made) through the top of the loop; thus, making a halter that has an attached lead. The war bridle works off poll, nose, and chin pressure to help teach your horse to give to very slight cues. However, you DO NOT EVER JERK on the war bridle. This tool works off the most sensitive areas of your horse’s head. If you start jerking, your horse is going to show you how pissed he can get. Some horses simply cannot handle the war bridle. They resist, rear, strike, etc. While most any horse can learn to accept it; if you have never used a war bridle I strongly suggest you only do so under the guidance of a KNOWLEDGEABLE horseperson who can use one EFFECTIVELY. Let’s get down to business.

The Walk: The first thing that I expect my showmanship horses to do is to walk beside me. Not half an inch in front of my shoulder… not two inches behind me; I want their throatlatch at my shoulder ALL the time. Relatively simple right? I challenge those of you that do not do showmanship to go to the barn, put a halter and lead on your horse, and walk out of the barn with your hand holding the very end of the lead. I would venture to say that more often than not your horse was either in front of you (it doesn’t matter by how little or how much) or behind you (same thing). A horse that cannot rate himself to keep his throatlatch at your shoulder at all times is not going to get you very far in the showmanship pen. You shouldn’t have to “pull, tug, or bump” your horse with the shank to get him beside you if you have done your training right.Teaching the horse to walk beside your shoulder is very simple; it just takes repetition. I start from a standstill. When I first go to ask the horse to walk I over-exaggerate and lean forward with my shoulder and gently pull the lead forward. Once he takes the first step I begin walking. (In showmanship, the horse should always take the first step, but only after you have given him the cue to do so.) I walk a couple of steps, stop, and praise him. Then I repeat the process until he starts to get softer on the cue. Once the horse starts to recognize that when your shoulder leans forward it means go, do not use your hand to gently pull him forward anymore. Make him look for the cue from your shoulder. However, you still want to exaggerate your shoulder forward since you are no longer giving him a cue with the lead. Example, I will exaggerate my shoulder forward, keep my hand still, and wait for the horse to take the first step. I walk the horse a couple of steps and stop and praise him. At this point I am not worried if the horse stays perfectly beside me when he’s walking. The point of this method is to teach the horse to watch your shoulder for the cue. When the horse gets to the point where he is recognizing your exaggerated shoulder cue within about a second; I start to exaggerate my shoulder less and less each subsequent time I ask for the walk. Eventually, the cue will be virtually invisible to the spectators and your horse will be in tune enough to know exactly what you are asking. As with any method, your horse is not going to complete all these steps in one day. This is something that needs to be worked on every day, for about fifteen minutes, for two weeks, until he becomes solid. When starting a showmanship horse I pick one maneuver to work on, and get them solid on that maneuver before I start teaching other maneuvers. Only after teaching all the maneuvers correctly do I start using them together for a pattern. Now let’s incorporate the stop.
Stopping: How well does your horse stop? And, I don’t want to hear “really good, all I have to do is say whoa.” The judges don’t want to hear you out there blabbering commands to your horse during a pattern. Your cues should be invisible. Your hands should not move, and your mouth should be kept quiet. Showmanship should be like dancing with your horse. So how do you teach the horse to stop at your shoulder without saying whoa or using your hands? Two words… body language. Now that we have a horse that will walk off a body language cue, the stop is just as easy to teach. Ask your horse to walk about ten strides. Three strides before you know you are going to ask the horse to stop, mentally prepare yourself. Think about stopping. When you get to the point where you are ready to ask, gently pull downward on the lead rope, say whoa, exaggerate your shoulder back, and plant your feet… in that order. Then, turn and face the horse with your toes pointing towards his right front foot. By doing this you are telling him that he has to stay planted. When you are ready to move again, you will go back to your original position beside his throatlatch, give him the shoulder cue, and walk off. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Once he starts listening to your body language, do the same thing; except this time don’t pull downward on the lead. Just say whoa, exaggerate your shoulder back and plant your feet. The horse may take a few steps to stop this time. If he does, remain facing forward, and gently pull back on the lead rope until the horse is stopped and standing with his throatlatch at your shoulder. Then repeat this exercise until he learns to stop from the verbal and shoulder command. Once he’s solid on this, eliminate the verbal command, using only your shoulder and your stopped feet to stop him. Likewise, when he’s solid on this, start exaggerating your shoulder less and less until the cue to stop becomes invisible and he’s stopping accurately beside you (not in front of or behind you) when your feet stop. Now, just because you are not exaggerating your shoulder anymore does not mean that you don’t use your shoulder at all. You will always lean slightly forward for the walk and slightly back for the stop. You just have to make sure that he is watching and listening to your shoulder cues and that you are not over-exaggerating the cues. No one wants to see over-exaggerated cues. Keep it professional. Once your horse has a solid understanding of your shoulder cues to walk and stop ACCURATELY, begin adding the walk and stop together to achieve perfection. If your horse is truly listening to your shoulder, he has now figured out that he has to watch your shoulder for the next command and that he is to walk beside you and stop beside you EVERY time. He will begin to rate his speed with your speed in an effort to keep up with your shoulder. Beware… if you work showmanship and ask for all the maneuvers perfect then let your horse dick around going back to the barn or just because you are tired, you are going to undo what you have just taught him. These maneuvers should become second nature to him. My horses are expected to walk and stop off my shoulder NO MATTER WHAT I’m doing. If I’m leading my horse to the barn from the pasture and I trip and fall, that horse better stop and stay planted until I’m ready to move. You are now seeing where showmanship plays a role in ground manners and safety.

The Trot: Again, the trot is another simple maneuver to teach. I teach the trot much the same way as I do the walk. However, I add a voice command. I start from a standstill, exaggerate my shoulder forward, gently pull the lead, and give a short quick smooch. (I don’t like to cluck in the showmanship pen because I cluck louder than I smooch!). Once the horse picks up the trot I release the pressure on the lead, quit smooching, and keep my hand in the same place. I then ask for the stop. Once again, I work the exercise until my cues become invisible and the horse goes effortlessly into the trot from a standstill. I don’t want 2 or 3 steps at a walk. I want an immediate trot. The only exception for voice commands that I have is for the trot. Since my shoulder cue is the same as the walk cue, I use the short, quick, and quiet smooch to ask for the trot. This way, when I am in the pen and my horse is listening to my shoulder if I give her a short, quiet smooch, she knows it’s time to trot and she doesn’t get confused between the walk and the trot. Make sure that when you ask for the stop, you get a stop and not three or two walking steps and then a stop. The horse should trot off perfectly and stop immediately from the trot perfectly. If you let them take a walking step they are going to get lazy and your transitions will be sub-par. Now let’s move on to the pivot.

The Pivot: This is often the hardest thing to teach a showmanship horse and often one of the most improperly taught maneuvers. Why? Because many people attempt to push the horse backwards into the pivot. The pivot is a forward motion and should be taught as such. When you push a horse backwards into the pivot they will often pivot on the left hind foot and/or cross the left front foot behind the right front. This is incorrect and one of the main reasons why people get frustrated with the horse. Additionally, the pivot should be taught in steps. If you go out there and ask the horse to pivot the entire 360 degrees without showing him how, you are asking for confusion.

Keep in mind that when teaching this maneuver, the horse’s entire head, neck, and body should be straight. If the horse bends his head and neck around, the slower his front feet are going to be in crossing over, making the pivot slower. Points are also deducted for a “crooked” horse. To teach the pivot I start from a standstill, (obviously), with the right hind foot slightly behind the left hind. (This is for ease of teaching. When you are in the class, you will more than likely have to pivot from a squared position). With my left hand I take the lead rope and gently pull forward and to the left, and simultaneously press my right thumb into the shoulder to ask them to move away from the pressure. I press with the thumb and take a step towards the horse’s right front foot. (Note: I do not walk directly towards the horse as this will give him the cue to take a step back and away from me. My toes are pointed towards the right front foot and I take a step towards the right front foot to tell the horse to move to over). If the horse starts to cross his left front foot behind the right front, I pull forward again. The left front has to cross over the right front. I also only ask for two steps at a time. The horse will not be able to pivot correctly in the hind end unless he is crossing over correctly with the front end; therefore, I concentrate on teaching the horse to properly cross his front legs first. Each time the horse tries to cross his LF behind the RF, I pull him forward and push him over with my thumb then release the thumb pressure. If you leave the thumb pressure on them they will start leaning on your thumb rather than moving away from the pressure. Once the horse has mastered crossing over in the front correctly, I start concentrating on the hind end. As with the front, the left hind foot needs to cross over in front of the right hind foot. The difference here is that the right hind foot needs to stay planted. Do the same thing you did while teaching him to cross over in the front. Ask for 2 to 3 steps and let him rest. If the left hind foot gets behind the right front foot as he’s moving, pull him forward to where the left hind foot is in front of the right hind. Once the horse figures it out, take away the thumb pressure and just pull forward if he starts “backing into” the pivot. The slower you go, the faster he will learn it. Eventually, you ask for more and more steps until he completes the 360 degree turn correctly. When you get to perfection, you will be using your right hand to maneuver the horse, not your left hand. Your horse should be solid enough with your shoulder cue that when you walk towards his right front he knows it’s time to pivot. Likewise, your horse should watch your shoulder for the cue to stop the pivot. When you plant your feet, he should plant his… not continue on with the pivot.

Squaring up: Another thing that is often taught incorrectly! Your horse should be taught to square up around his pivot foot, the RH. To get the horse soft to your cues, ask him to stop with his right hind behind the left hind. You should be facing the horse with your toes pointed toward his RF foot. Next, I take my right hand and gently pull the horse forward, only letting him move his left hind foot forward. Then I push back asking him to move the LH back. I do this over and over again until I am sure that with the gentlest of pulls or pushes he is going to move that left hind foot where I tell him to put it. Next I start asking him to place his left hind foot directly beside the right hind. I like to keep about 2 to 3 inches distance between each hoof. Use your judgment. Since the horse is soft enough to the “move your foot forward and back cue” it will begin to take less and less pressure to get him to place his foot correctly. Eventually, the horse will become automatic. When you stop and turn and face the horse he will square his hind feet without cue. This is when you start working on the front feet. You do the same thing with the front feet as you did with the back feet. Your horse needs to have his RF foot planted and his LF foot needs to be placed around the RF. By this point my horses are usually so soft to the cue to move feet that I can *just barely* jiggle the lead to get the LF foot placed. It usually takes me two weeks of working every day to get the horse to square from my body language. Meaning, when I turn and face the horse with my toes pointing toward the RF foot, they square up with no cue from my hand or lead. In the pen, the horse is expected to square up within three seconds. Any more than that and you are wasting time and you will have points deducted accordingly.

Backing: A correct back up can determine a winning or losing pattern. The horse’s head should be level with the withers, on the vertical, and he should back with no pressure from the lead. When teaching the back, I want it perfectly straight. There is nothing worse than watching a “big booty back-up” in the pen. (You know, the one where the horse swaggers his hips side to side and goes as crooked as a politician). First, I test my horse to see which direction he sways his hips to. I then put him next to a fence. If he sways his hips to the right I want his right side next to the fence. When you ask for the back, make sure that your body is pointed straight. If you are angled towards the horse in any way he is going to back away in that direction. If your body is straight, he is going to back straight. If you are angled away from the horse, he is going to back into the area that you are angled away from. I then take my right hand and gently push the horse backwards with the lead while walking towards him (keeping my body straight and my shoulders squared). When I release the pressure, he knows to stop. I do this over and over. Each time I use a little less pressure on the lead. Eventually, the horse will learn that when I take a step toward him, he is to back up with NO pressure from the lead. Keeping your body straight and teaching him to back along a fence will help to ensure that he is backing straight.
Showmanship is all about body language. Not your hand movements and not voice commands. Your horse should stay with you at your shoulder, and watch for your body signal to stop, square, back, etc. Once your horse is solid on these maneuvers, try incorporating them together. If he is lacking in a maneuver, go back and give him a refresher. I generally spend two weeks teaching and perfecting EACH maneuver until I am sure I can use them together with perfection. Then and only then do I start working on patterns. I typically work on all maneuvers and patterns for about 15 to 20 minutes per day to make sure my horses stay fresh. When I want refinement in my maneuvers I will use a war bridle. It gives the horse that extra “light bulb” moment when they think “oh yeah, I remember this”! Keep in mind, I ONLY work in the war bridle if the horse is lagging. I don’t want them to get dull to the pressure.
There are several videos on my youtube account. One is of my pattern at the Memorial Day Spectacular. The other is Gertie and I screwing around doing some maneuvers. However, you can get a good visual of my shoulder cues during my practices, and what my completed patterns look like. Go to youtube and type in shorty45177 and it should pull up those videos.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Negligent and AbusiveTraining

Lets talk about negligent training accidents.

I was reading a thread on the pleasure horse forum. A lady stated she sent her two year-old to a trainer in Whitesboro. She called the trainer to see if she could come watch and evaluate her horse's progress. The trainer stated it wasn't a good idea. The trainer further stated the horse was "off" and needed a farrier. The lady insisted the trainer call the vet. The lady ended up calling the vet. The horse is in surgery for torn ligaments and a broken pelvis.

Come on trainers... I know horses can injure themselves. I know accidents happen. I know some horses that wig out to the slightest of pressures and flip themselves over. It can happen to anyone. My question about this particular horse and trainer is how could you ascertain the horse needed a farrier rather than a vet? Are some trainers just really that poor at evaluating the proper way of going? A broken pelvis and a hoof issue are not going to present the same issues and ways of going.

My second question would be why the hell was the owner not called when the trainer noticed the horse was off? Come on guys. Are your britches really so big that you think you are the end all be all, or do you really just think of yourselves.

Guys, this is the main reason my horses do not fall into the hands of trainers... no matter how good of a reputation the trainer has. Anymore, it seems all about the money. If you can't have compassion or run your business to where it serves the client rather than yourself, you should find another venue to pursue. Training horses isn't just about training horses. It's also about people skills. I think some trainers need to polish those up a bit.

I tell you what else... if I get one more goddamn dirty look from a hoity toity, stick up his ass trainer that lopes his horse crooked as shit down the rail as I pass them at the lope, I'm going to lope by so damn fast and smack you upside the head so you have a reason to give me a dirty look. I obviously have the same right to be at the show as you do. I obviously paid my dues and my horse is winning so get over yourself. I'm tired of you pretentious bastards. You put on your pants the same way I do. Only difference is I look better in my jeans.

Sorry for that end rant, but it was on my mind and it really bugs be. Not all trainers are pretentious bastards. Just one guy in particular.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Hard Work Pays Off!

Well, I'm back from the Memorial Day Classic in Waco and I wanted to take the time to say hard work pays off. We did awesome, walked away circuit champions of our class, picked up 29 points, and secured ourselves a position on the APHA honor roll (which we were not expecting). Of course, the honor roll standings will not be updated until the results of the show are posted but I am tickled to death none the less.

So what is the lesson learned here? Hard work pays off. I'm not talking working your horse hard, yanking his face off right before the class, drilling him on the back-ups and pivots. I'm talking short practices each day BEFORE the show. It just doesn't pay off to drill your horse right before the class. This is how patterns are lost; not won. A small, short practice is fine... drilling... no. The other lesson learned... you don't need a trainer to do well. Happy Memorial Day everybody! Hope your weekend was as good as mine.

Monday, 18 May 2009

So What Pisses You Off in the Show Pen?

I want to know what things, other than abuse or drugging, etc, piss you off when you walk into the show pen or make up pen. I think I could actually write a book on things that piss me off. Maybe I just hold really high standards?

Some things that irk me really badly:

1). Exhibitors not bothering to clean their horse for a showmanship or halter class... seriously... points are awarded for grooming you know. And why the hell would you not want your horse to look like it belongs on the cover of a magazine?

2). Ring masters ushering you in to start your pattern before ALL the judges are paying attention. Do they have any idea how badly they screw some of the exhibitors by rushing them before the judge is ready? At the 07 World, I was ushered in so fast 3 of the judges didn't watch my pattern until I was halfway done. I pay just as much money as everyone else and I expect to be judged. Don't rush my ass!

3). Perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves... placing horses is a halter class that can't even lock in their knees. Come on guys... you know better than this shit. If my horse can stand, and the one next to me looks like she could drop on her face at any minute, she doesn't deserve to win. I don't care how "balanced" you think her body is. She obviously can't even stand still properly. WTF?

4). Rude people. This is a biggie for me. I am nice to everyone I meet. I'm always willing to help someone. But damnit, I'm tired of moving my horse out of the way so you can come through (even when my horse is out of the way); but when I need to get by you and politely say "excuse me" you give me a shitty attitude. This will get someone smacked one day I'm afraid. At the very least I will unleash my frustrations and a string of foul language. I know I look like I'm twelve and I'm only 4'11", but I'm not a child and don't talk to me or treat me like I am a child. I'm just tired of it. If you can't be nice go home please.

5). Please don't run your horse's nose up my horse's ass. She really doesn't like it. I promise. Just because she doesn't kick does not mean you are entitled to "see how close you can get." I make a conscious effort to stay out of people's way. Do me the same courtesy please. If you see me working on a pivot, that does not mean trot your horse to my horse's ass and give me attitude that "I'm in your way."

6). Screaming babies when the rest of the onlookers are silent and you are running a pattern. I don't have kids. Enough said.

7). Screaming parents or trainers. Please, get some couth.

8). Animals that don't belong on the show grounds. Why can't they be left at the trailer or at home? Some horses are not as dead-headed as others. Granted, my mare is pretty good, but I think if she sees an exotic animal at a show while I'm in a class, it may just cost me the class. Not fair at all. Maybe I should run along the rail with a shaking plastic bag and see if you like it.

9). Divas... AKA... Princesses. You are not a princess or a diva. The world does not revolve around you. Contrary to your belief, you need to be nice to other people to get their respect. Not order them around like dogs. And by the way, do you know how to tack up your own horse yet? And you've been showing for how many years? Yes, sadly this happens.

10). The longing for hours to wear the horse out. You do know that if your horse takes forever to get to the point where you can show him (and he's supposedly dead broke), you are making the problem worse by longing his ass off. You are creating a fitter horse that will take longer to calm down in the future. Do you even think about this? Furthermore, if your horse is "finished" WTF do you need to longe him for an hour before you ride him for six hours? And you wonder why his attitude sucks and you are spending a fortune on injections.

I have plenty more, but I want to know what pisses you off. Have at it!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Showmanship Q & A

Lately I have had a lot of requests for the showmanship series and even more questions about training, fitting, showing and more. So, I figured I would make an entry dedicated to questions and answers. So lets have em! You ask and I'll do my best to answer. I do have the capability to take video as well if you are more of a visual learner.
Ask away!

Thursday, 07 May 2009

STALLYUNS!!!! Let's go judging! Placings are updated!

Well, It seems people really enjoyed the last confo exercise so I am going to go ahead and post another one. Same deal as last time. Let's try to get more in depth with our reasons for placing one horse above or below another. Keep in mind the Quarter Horse's and Paint's foundation uses such as ranch work, racing, etc. Now, these are all halter stallions, but let's see if you can look past the weight and place the horses form to function. Also, if any of you have good confo shots of your horses (like the one I have of my pally mare) please email them to me at I will make classes of more "everyday" type horses rather than the horses we all see in the magazines.

Ok, I placed these stallyuns D,B,A,C

When you get to horse C, click the gadget in the upper right hand corner of this blog. They made this song for this horse!
Horse D won this class because to me, he exhibits the best overall balance. He has a lot of scope to his neck. It's neither too long nor too short. I would like to see a better wither. In the photo, he appears to have a mutton wither. He is also not very deep through the heart girth. His croup has a bit too much slope for my taste and I'd like to see a bit more carry down through his hip. Some of you my be going, "why the hell did you place him first?" LEGS, my dear Watson... LEGS. This horse has a very nice gaskin with great angle. His hocks are very well set. He does seem to have the slightest bit of set to his hocks but he is less posty than B,A, or C. He also has quite a bit more bone to him. His stifle is strong and well developed. He has a fantastic underline. His front legs appear clean and straight, with good bone. However, his RF pastern seems a bit too steep. I'd like to see a more laid back shoulder on this guy as well. His neck ties in nicely. He appears a bit thick through the throatlatch,but overall, is a nicely balanced horse with decent enough angles and good bone.

Horse B takes a close second to horse D. I actually like the shoulder, wither and hip of B better than D, but the posty hocks and slight bone were the deal breaker for me. Look at those withers! they extend well into his back and overall he has a fairly short back. While his croup is kind of angular (a little rough couped), he has nice length to his hip and decent carry down. His gaskins are short and well muscled, but they could stand to be a bit longer. He is post hocked which I can't stand and he has teeny tiny upright pasterns. He is also deeper through the heart girth than horse D. He has a decent enough shoulder but it is slightly upright. I would like to see it a hair more laid back. Front legs look nice and straight, but are light of bone and those damn pasterns are killing me. If he just had a bit more angle... His neck ties in very well but, like D, he is thick through the throatlatch. But hey, these are aged stallions.

Horse A takes third. I really like this horse's shoulder. He has the best hip of all the horses but he is really downhill. He is also post hocked, which we all know, I don't like. Other than that,his assessment reads just like horse B, except he appears to be back at the knee and he's practically vertical through his pasterns.

Horse C... Hmmm. I always wanted a J-Lo butt... Do you know what it is like to go through life with no ass at all? I was born with a back with a crack. Do you think CK could give me some of that junk to put in my trunk? Anyway...beautiful neck, decent wither that extends well into his back (although the fat cover doesn't make it appear to be very prominent). His back is rather long as well. I love his shoulder. He has the best shoulder of all the horses so far. Other than that, that's all I like. His hip looks like gelatin jigglers. He is goose rumped and has extreme "hip hang." Furthermore, not only is he post hocked, he has some set to his hocks as well. Anyone want to start a pool on how long before he gets his first hock injection? He is very upright through his pasterns and in this photo, he appears to be back at the knee. His throatlatch is pretty clean though!

I know I didn't get extremely detailed this time around but you get the general idea. In case no one has noticed, I am a leg girl. A horse can have all the balance in the world but if his legs are shit, he's not going to hold up very long.

Sunday, 03 May 2009

Place This Halter Class of Mares (UPDATED with analysis and placings)




Please place these horses in the order YOU think they should be placed. Do not base your opinion on what you think a judge would place them. Please give a rationale as to why you chose the order in the way you did. Please also include conformational points as to why you did or did not like a horse compared to another. After some participation, I will post my views along with my assessment.

Ok, here we go. I placed the horses in the following order: 1,2,4,3. Please see photos.

Horse 1: While this mare is not up to halter weight, she exhibits the best balance and angles of the four mares. Her neck is neither too long, nor too short and her withers extend well into her back. Her heartgirth is also ideal. Her back is relatively short with a strong loin. The length of her hip is longer than horse 2, and 3. She has more carry down through the hip than horse 2 and 3 as well. Her gaskins are neither too short, nor too long and she has good muscle. Now down to the nitty gritty. I placed this mare over mare 2 because she has a better set of hocks. In the picture she is standing a little under herself, in both the front and back (I set her up this way on purpose to get pictures I could fool people with on confo) but you can literally draw a plumb line down this horses rump and hocks. Mare 2, has a bit of set to her hocks and looks to be a little finer boned than mare 1. Mare 1 has excellent slope to her pasterns , is straight through the front legs with no deviation. Her shoulder is very laid back affording her extreme reach. Her neck ties into her shoulder a little higher than what I typically like, but it ties in nicely. I fault this mare on her throatlatch and head. Her throatlatch could be a little more refined and her head could be more feminine; however, her head is not too large for her body. Overall, this mare has excellent bone, and is the most balanced of the four mares.

Horse 2: A very nice mare that is nicely fit for halter. However, on first glance, this mare's shoulder is a tad heavier than her hip. Her balance is better than that of horse 3 and 4, but she is longer through the back than horse 1. She has good definition of the withers but I would like to see them extend into her back a little farther. Her heartgirth is about the same as mare 1's, but not as good as mare 4. Her hip is shaped nicely but I would like to see a little more carry down in order to balance out her shoulder. She could also have a bit more length of hip. While this mare is not sickle hocked, she does have a touch of "set" to her hocks, meaning you could not drop a plumb line down her backside. However, the amount of set is not bad enough to warrant her placing under mare 3 or 4. She has more bone than horse 4, about the same as horse 3 and a tad less than horse 1. Again, not too big of a deal, but she is a bit finer looking for the amount of weight she is carrying. Her pastern angles have nice slope and length, but her feet appear to be smaller than mare 1. However, they are larger than mare 4 and appear to be the same size as mare 3. She has a very nicely angled shoulder, however, her neck is a little heavier than I'd like to see it. Her throatlatch could use some refining; however, her head is feminine and matches the rest of her body. If this mare had a little more carry down through the hip and a hair shorter back she would have been placed first.

Horse 3: While I don't much care for the looks of this mare or the way she is set up, she places over mare 4 for the following reasons: balance and bone. While she is not at all (to me) pleasing to look at, she has more bone to support her body weight than mare 4 and her body proportions are better balanced as well. This mare is mutton withered and lacks depth through the heartgirth. Her withers also do not extend as far into her back due to a more upright shoulder. However, her back is short and she has decent length of hip. While she, like horse 2, could use a bit more carry down through the hip, horse 4 is goose rumped. Her gaskins are of good length but could use a bit more muscle. This mare's hocks are deceiving. While she looks as though you could drop a plumb line behind her, she is actually camped out a bit. (Look at her point of hip in relation to her stifle joint). If she were stood up properly, she would be a little sickle hocked (about like mare 2). Her pastern angles are great and she has nice length to her pasterns. Front legs appear straight with no deviation. Her shoulder is a bit upright (which is why her withers do not extend well into her back). Her neck ties in much lower than what I like (giving her that nest appearance); however, her throatlatch is surprisingly nice. While her head is kind of plain, it is better than mare 1 and 4 but not as nice as mare 2. I placed this mare over 4 because this mare will hold up to a riding career while mare 4 likely will not.

Horse 4: What an impressive looking mare... till ya get to her head! But... Daddy always said "you don't ride the head." This is true, but her head isn't even big enough to act as a proper pendulum. I really like the shape of this mare's neck and the way it ties into to her chest, but it's just not big enough for her body. It needs to be a little thicker to match the rest of her mass. Her withers are better than mare 3, but do not extend into the back as well as mare 1 or 2. Her back is nice and short; but her croup is not ideal. She is goose rumped as all get out. She has great carry down through the hip; but it's even more exaggerated due to her being so goose rumped. If this mare had mare 1's hip and bone she'd be a hell of a halter contender. The thing I like best about this mare is her gaskin and hock. She has beautiful, low set hocks and very nice length to her gaskin, as well as muscle. Her hind pasterns match the angle of her shoulder, but the angle of her front pasterns is more upright than her shoulder. These un-matching angles can cause future soundness problems. If you look very closely at the picture she also appears to toe out slightly in the front. This will cause her to rotate her knee during movement. While this makes for a "flat kneed mover, her sheer mass will cause her to break down due to her minimal bone. Her shoulder is nice, better than mare 3, but not quite as laid back as mare 1 or 2. Her neck could use a little more depth and her throatlatch could be a little more refined. her head, well... it's just too damn small. It reminds me of the guy that had his head shrunk at the end of the movie "Beetle Juice." Where the hell is her jowl? This mare placed last because she lacks balance and bone. Her shoulder is a bit heavier than her hip. Her heartgirth is wonderful but she is supporting about 12-1300 lbs on bone that could be no more than 5 inches in diameter. It's just not enough bone to support her body. If her hip was a bit longer, her head a bit bigger, her front pasterns at a better angle, and her bone a bit larger, this mare would be one hell of a riding horse (structural wise). Of course, the weight would have to come off first!

Saturday, 02 May 2009

How Bout that Derby!!

A big congratulations to Mine that Bird, his jockey, owner and trainer. What a race! That gelding completely blew the rest of the pack away. I was a bit disappointed with the call, the annoncer didn't even acknowledge the horse until it damn near crossed the line.

There is nothing better than seeing an owner care for his horse so much he drove the horse there himself. His owner knew that horse was special. And what great riding by the jockey. He was in tears at the end of the race. Now that was a well derserved victory and a much appreciated victory as well.

Not to mention the horse is a gelding without the chance of ever reproducing(obviously). From what I have seen of the owner, he looks like a man that is in it for the joy and he takes his horse seriously. This was by far one of the best derbys ever in my book. What did you guys think?

Friday, 01 May 2009

So Who's Going?

This is just going to be a quick little post. I was wanting to know if anyone else was going to go to the APHA Memorial Day Spectacular in Waco? I and several others from the free speech board will be there, but I was interested to see who else might be going. I think it would be a great opportunity to meet some of you if you are going, sit back and have a good time. So who's going?

Thursday, 30 April 2009

What a Mess!

I am so sick of this damn rain. It rains for a day, then dries out just a little bit; then rains again, then dries up for a day; then rains again, then dries up. Grrrrr! The round pen and outdoor arena are too muddy to work horses. It's too muddy for Gertie to go outside, but she has to be worked. So we are confined to the indoor arena, which is about as wide as the roundpen except the first 3 feet of the edges are muddy, which cuts off 6 feet and makes for some smaller circles. However, at least there is a little bit of dry space where I can work, and it keeps us dry, and there is a nice breeze and good footing. So I guess I can't bitch about the rain too much! But I want to get out and ride. I also want the outdoor arena to dry out enough to where I can set up my elaborate patterns and get to work.

We are going to the Memorial Day Spectacular in Waco the 23rd and 24th of May, and I really need to tune her showmanship up before I go to this show. Don't get me wrong, she's not rusty on her maneuvers (we've won all our showmanship classes this year so far, including the Fort Worth Stock Show), but for a six judge show, we need to be perfect.

The main thing we need to work on is a trotting circle to the right. She's great to the left, but to the right I need to get her head just a little lower so my short ass can see over the top of her neck and see where I'm going. It sucks being short sometimes. Our session yesterday was pretty damn good. We worked our circle to the right for about 4 minutes in the war bridle then went to a regular halter and voila! Perfect circles to the right.

So let's hope the weather clears up here soon so I can do some real practice work. Anyone else having crappy weather?

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong

"My research skills are great! This is an opinion blog! This bastard and that bastard should be beheaded!!!"

And all I have to say to that is "shut the fuck up already." Why is it so difficult for people to research things and learn BOTH sides of the story BEFORE spreading rumors, calling names, and getting a bunch of blood sucking, pitch fork-carrying people riled up? You know what's even better? When people jump on a bandwagon and start talking about how this person or that person should not be allowed to live, should spend the rest of his life in jail.... and many times the whole situation is not as big a deal as they make it out to be.

You want an example you say? How about the polo pony incident... If I had a dollar for every time someone said "IT"S STEROIDS" I'd be a rich bitch! Seriously, until you get your facts straight, please refrain from making opinions and nasty statements about something you clearly are not qualified to judge.

And one other thing on a totally unrelated topic... do many of you really think halter horses are beefed up entirely on steroids? I admit, some are; but many are not. If you think they are all roided up... it's just another classic example of the need to conduct more research in order to develop a more educated opinion.

Thursday, 09 April 2009

Deciphering the Showmanship Pattern

So let's talk about patterns. There are thousands of combinations of patterns for a showmanship class. However, even the simplest looking pattern can be the hardest one to win. So how exactly do we decipher those patterns? Practice my dear Watson! Practice! I like to do multiple dry runs (without the horse) so I can make sure I have the pattern perfect (chin up, elbows in, squared shoulders, hands still, etc.). This not only will help to familiarize you with the pattern, but gives you several chances to correct things you may be doing wrong without the added frustration of concentrating on the horse as well. Get yourself some of those small orange practice cones that are light weight. I bought twelve of them on Ebay last year for $12 total... way cheaper than buying them out of a tack catalogue. But I digress and I'm getting ahead of myself.

You have to read the pattern extensively before you can begin to decipher it correctly. In every pattern there is a particular "part" the judge will be watching for. This particular "part" will be where the pattern can be won and lost. Especially at the World Show levels. The "part" will be different for every pattern, which is why it is so important to really analyze the maneuvers of the pattern and do a few dry runs. Showmanship is all about details, straight lines, and transitions. If you run a good pattern and pay attention to details, you can beat the overly fake exhibitors that we all see in the arena. You know the ones. They are the ones you look at and go "man, it looks like they really have their shit together." Just stick to the basics and you are as good as golden.

Another important aspect to think about is that patterns can be interpreted in different ways by different people. I find them to be very cut and dry. I look at a pattern in a very "literal" sense. When a pattern says to "stop" after a maneuver, it means stop. Not for one second or a half a second; but a good solid "stop." Now we'll get down to deciphering a real pattern.

You'll have to bear with me because this pattern did not scan very well. This is what I would call a relatively simple pattern; however there are a few places the judges will be watching to make sure you and your horse have your shit together. I always look at the diagram first; before reading the maneuvers. This way I can see what "jumps out" at me. In this pattern we have a circle to left. This is going to be the first major "part" the judges really hammer the exhibitors on. However, the part that is perhaps THE MOST important is where you come out of the circle to trot to the judge. Here is where that straight line is going to make you or break you. Other important aspects of this pattern are going to be your transitions at each cone and, of course, your attention to detail.

The pattern reads: 1). Trot from A to B. 2). Walk from B to C. 3). At C, trot a circle to the left. 4). Trot between B and C to the judge and stop. 5). Set up for inspection. 6). After inspection, back five steps. 7). Execute a 270 degree turn to the right and trot to exit.

Here is how I would run this pattern. I always start my pattern about two or three feet away from the cone and I will maintain the same distance from the cones during the entire pattern. In the case of this pattern, you need to start on the left hand side of the cones. I like to start my patterns with my horse's shoulder at the cone. However, as I progress through the pattern I make sure that my transitions occur when my horse's NOSE reaches the next cone. I have found that unless the pattern calls for it; if you wait until your horse's shoulder is at the cone you often do not leave enough time to pick up the required gate and your pattern will appear sloppy.

So, starting with my horse's shoulder at cone A, I will be standing on the left side of my horse since the judge is positioned to the right. Do not forget about your quarters... the judges will be looking for this. When acknowledged, I pick up the trot... immediately. There is no room for error. She must pick up the trot from the standstill. As soon as her nose reaches cone B we walk. I typically prepare her about a half a second before giving her my shoulder cue to walk. We walk from B to C. As soon as her nose gets to cone C we immediately pick up the trot and trot the circle to the left. Here is where the pattern gets tricky for some. Most World Show patterns, and any showmanship pattern for that matter is tight; meaning the cones are not spaced very far apart. While this circle to the left looks big on paper, it's not when you get out there. A lot of horses will pull slightly away from you while trotting the circle to the left; essentially widening the circle, causing your hand to move, and throwing off the straight line you are getting ready to set up. When I trot this circle, her throatlatch HAS TO BE AT MY SHOULDER. I tend to let her get just a hair closer to me when trotting a circle to the left because the circle is so narrow. If I were to maintain my space and "push" her away slightly, she would widen the circle and resist.

Now scroll back up and look at this pattern. I know its hard to see but this pattern gives you a clue. If you look to the far left of the circle, you will see an arrow. It looks like a bold blob on here though. Where this arrow is positioned is when and where you should be looking to your left to make sure you; a). are going to pass exactly between the cones and b). are setting yourself up to be in a perfectly straight line with the judge. If you start looking to the judge at this position your body will naturally close the circle perfectly and you will set yourself up for that perfectly straight line. Continue trotting to the judge and stop your horse about an arms length from the judge. If you stop too close you will cause the judge to take a step back. If you stop too far away the judge will have to step forward. Either way, points can be deducted. However, if you notice; the pattern says to specifically STOP. Here is where exhibitors start rushing. You can't just stop your horse and turn to him to set him up. You must complete the stop maneuver. This means stop. Stand there; facing the judge and count to 3 fairly quickly... as in 1..2..3. THEN turn to set up your horse.

If you have done your homework and your horse is trained, he will begin squaring up as soon as you turn towards him. If your horse stopped square, don't try to change it. Leave it alone. A horse stopping square is not penalized. However, what you don't want is a horse that is trying to square himself up when you are "stopped" and facing the judge. If he is moving his feet while you are stopped, your horse failed to "stop;" for this you can be penalized. It should take three seconds or LESS for your horse to square up. Right now Gertie is at about one second but we are working on improving this even further. Keep in mind, your set up does not have to be "halter type perfect." It is ok if the front or back feet are a little off. What the judges are looking for here is speed and as close to accurate as you can get without wasting time. As soon as the horse is square, look up at the judge and nod your head that you are ready for inspection. You better know your quadrants too. Something I have noticed a lot of judges doing this year is walking toward you when they begin inspecting your horse. Pay attention. If you lag behind and don't cross over quickly enough, you will be penalized.

When the judge has finished inspecting he will nod to you that you are excused. Nod back, turn and face your horse, and back five steps. No big booty back ups here. You have to back straight. When you have backed your five steps, count quickly to three; this will give you enough of a pause and a nice completion to your maneuver. Next, Position yourself with your toes pointing to your horse's opposite front foot and complete your 270 degree turn to the right. When completed, face straight ahead, count quickly to three, and trot to exit. Now when exiting, some exhibitors give the judge a nod and some don't. I always give a nod to let the judge know I have completed my pattern; whether they are watching or not. Remember, there are ring stewards and they watch too. Just because you think a judge isn't looking for a nod back doesn't mean he isn't expecting one. The steward may be giving him a signal or letting him know which exhibitors acknowledged him on the way out. Sometimes the judges aren't looking for a nod back, but I see it as better safe than sorry.

Let's look at this pattern. What I want you guys to do is look at it, read the instructions, and tell me where you think the crucial points of this pattern would be.
1). Trot from A to B
2). Walk from B to C.
3). At C, trot to the judge, stop.
4). Set up for inspection
5). After inspection, execute a 270 degree turn to the right.
6). Back five steps.
7). Execute a 90 degree turn to the right.
8). Trot to exit.

Wednesday, 08 April 2009

Tuesday, 07 April 2009

When Did it Become Acceptable?

Did I miss a general netiquette rule change that states in online conversation it is acceptable to be a stark raving bitch if the poster asks a questions about something that may or may not be a controversial topic? If I did miss this rule change I apologize; however, I'm pretty sure that general netiquette rules still apply in online conversation.

Don't get me wrong, I like to snark and complain about things as much as the next person. I can be downright nasty too. However, if someone asks a question because they want an answer I'm not going to be an asshole about it. The exception to that rule is if the person asked the question to intentionally stir up shit and cause drama.

Some of the problem comes from people who ask for advice yet do not take the advice. This happens all too often on the message boards. The way I look at it is either a). don't give advice or b). give the advice and realize that it may or may not be taken. If the advice is not taken and you put in your 2 cents worth; is it really skin off YOUR back if the original poster didn't listen to you? No. This is the Internet for crying out loud!

The other thing that cracks me up is people giving advice when they actually don't have a freaking clue what they are talking about. Some of them have a small inkling of a clue and nothing more; however the Internet makes them feel as if they are the "authority" on all things horses. Get a grip people. There are hundreds of different ways, methods, and techniques to achieve a desired result. You just have to find the one that works for YOU. My methods may not work for some people and may work great for others.

My favorite is the mob mentality. Seriously. When did it become ok to personally attack other people? I'm not saying I have never done it; I have. But you live and learn right? The more I learn and interact with people from all over the world, and apply their online behavior and mannerisms to my psychology studies; the more I realize how truly fucked up some people's reasoning processes are. When did people stop researching and drawing conclusions for themselves? Why follow blindly with leaders that conduct half-assed research with the intention of stirring the pot? All that does is get many people (not all) following along blindly, not knowing all the facts, and forming biased and inaccurate conclusions. Has the general population lost the ability to conduct informed, reliable, valid, and accurate research? How can you judge a person online when you only know their online personality and have never met them in person?

I have really lost interest in several message boards. It's a shame too. They used to be a place to relax and have fun and maybe pick up a tip or two. Now they are a place for bitching at, to, or about other people and attacking their personal character. I'm losing faith in people. Maybe this is one reason I got into the field of study I did. To figure out how and why people can be so cruel.

Wednesday, 01 April 2009

Halter and Tail for Sale

Rather than putting up ads on ebay... which I hate, I thought I would post some things I have for sale here.

I have a 2lb APHA/AQHA legal regular sorrel with flaxen tail. My pictures suck because I took them inside (out of natural light). The tail is best described as sorrel with some flaxen and black hairs mixed in. It is a natural hide with 8 grommetts. I bought it brand new for Gertie two years ago from Sergeants. I paid $375 for this tail and when I held it up next to Gertie it was just "too dark." She has a flaxen/sorrel tail which gets progressively lighter in color every freaking year. Needess to say, the tail didn't match, and Sergeant's had a no return policy on tails. So I was out $375 for a tail that didn't match. It has never been on a horse and has been kept in a tail bag in my closet for the past two years. It's clean and has a tapered (not blunt) cut. I am asking $100. (Which is cheap for this kind of tail). It is roughly 46 inches long. This same tail retails at for $175.00 for a 1lb natural hide. This is a 2lb, you do the math. Shipping will be USPS Flat Rate box for $4.95. I do accept paypal. Email me at if you would like to purchase this tail.

Next I have a Dale Chavez Congress cut mare halter which I also purchased from Sergeant's 2 years ago. I have used the halter twice. Each time at the World Show. It still fits Gertie, but is a little snug around the bridge of the nose. I paid $550 for it new. It has been kept in a bridle bag. It has nice silver (not the cheap shit that flakes off when you polish it), gold scroll type work on the outer edges of the silver, and small inset rubies. I'm asking $275. Dale Chavez halters come in sizes full, mare, yearling, and weanling. This is a mare halter and will be a bit smaller than a "full" halter. I can take measurements before you buy.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Ridiculous Showmanship Trends

I was reading a thread on the PH forum the other day about showmanship. It honestly surprises me, after the reading the comments and hearing about how "well" some of these exhibitors do in their showmanship classes, how they even win at all. Don't get me wrong. I love most of the people on the PH forum, but the trends are killing me!

Let's talk about some really stupid trends. Let's see. First there was the pivot on the left hind foot. Now it's the right hind foot, yet a pivot on either hind foot is acceptable. This is bullshit and AQHA nor APHA should allow it. It should be a pivot on the right hind foot. The reasoning? A pivot is a FORWARD motion; NOT a backwards motion. When a horse pivots on the left hind he is moving in a backwards motion. The tendency is to cross over incorrectly with the front feet, however, there are some horses that cross over correctly in the front yet maintain a backwards motion, pivoting on the left hind foot. This is incorrect and should be penalized. It should not even be considered a "trend." This is generally common knowledge. The APHA rule book says a pivot on either hind foot is acceptable but a horse pivoting on the left hind should not place higher than a horse that pivots correctly if the patterns are equally nice. I'm thinking I need to write to APHA about this. It's crap. The horse should be taught to pivot correctly.

Then we have the "where to stand" debate. Some exhibitors state it looks better if you stand facing the horse... as in straight towards the head. Incorrect again. Showmanship is NOT supposed to be about trends. There is a STRUCTURE that should be followed. You are supposed to stand angled towards the horse... not straight. Your feet should be pointing towards the horse's opposite front foot. Honestly... get over the trends people and learn the proper way. Hell, it even states in the APHA rule book the exhibitor should stand ANGLED towards the horse's opposite front foot. So why is this a debate? If you can't figure out where to stand and you are standing incorrectly you should not be placed over an exhibitor that knows where to stand. Then someone asked "Why stand angled? It looks stupid!" No, it really doesn't. The purpose is to give the judge a completely UNOBSTRUCTED view of the horse. When you stand in front of the horse straight on the only one that looks stupid is you. Basic horsemanship 101: never stand directly in front of a horse. Didn't we learn that in 4-H? Read the rule book.

Next is the "should the pattern run all together or should there be pauses" dilemma. Seriously? Showmanship is like dancing with your horse. You have to COMPLETE your maneuvers. They should not all flow aimlessly one into the other. I've seen exhibitors go from a 360 degree turn into an immediate trot off. Number one, you have no time to make sure your horse is straight. Showmanship demands straight lines. Second, it looks like you are rushing. When I am in a class, I complete my maneuver, count to three quickly, then move on. Crisp, clean, and straight. When you rush a pattern it looks as though you have no confidence in your horse. Judging by some of the APHA world show videos of showmanship, there are exhibitors that rush the pattern, flap their elbows, and just look plain bad. I also see a lot of exhibitors using their shanks... a lot. A big no no. Train your horse to move off your shoulder and listen to your body language. When I show a showmanship class, my lead shank hand does NOT move. At all. Not even to ask for a back up, pivot, or set up. It does not move. But, my horse works off my shoulder, as she should.

And why is that fakey fake puff your chest out when you do your quarters shit still going on? This isn't Broadway. This is showmanship. The handler should be businesslike. Not like a Vegas Show Girl. Hell, at the last show I thought one of the girl's was doing the "bend and snap" maneuver from that movie Legally Blond! Give me a break.

Showmanship should be clean, precise, complete, and businesslike. The trends are ridiculous. Exhibitors need to stick to the rule book and show the class properly, or learn to decipher the pattern correctly. Either one will work. It's a very basic class; yet it demands attention to detail, straight lines, and flawless patterns. Thankfully, classic is back "in" and the fakey fake exhibitors are not doing so hot. At least in my neck of the woods. Classic needs to stay "in" and the trends need to buried along with all the other shit that gets swept under the rug.

Tomorrow we will discuss deciphering a pattern correctly.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

A Nice Place to Live... Horses Welcome

I don't have time to make a traditional blog post today but I wanted to put this up for a friend of mine.

She needs a roommate to help her out with the house payment. She has a very nice 2500 sq foot 3 bedroom home in the Caddo Mills, TX area. She also has a 4 stall barn with plenty of pasture. Horses are welcome. No smokers please. She is asking $495 per month and if you have horses an additional $125 per month per horse for self care. This is in a very nice area and she is a very nice hard-working lady. If interested please email Tracy at

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Evicting the Denton Texas Hillbillies

This is soooo not horse related but it's really irritating me so I'm going to go ahead and bitch about it.

About a month ago we finally got some tenants into our house. It had been on the market for sale or lease for a few months so we were happy that we finally had someone moving in. Little did we know they would closely resemble the Beverly Hillbillies with a little less class and even worse hygiene. Our realtor handled the background check, job and income verification, the lease agreement, and the collection of the deposit, pet deposit and pro-rated rent for the first month so we never got to actually meet the paper (except on paper) until the day they moved in and we went over to install extra interior locks and a peephole (required for rental properties in Texas). Needless to say, the realtor assured us that everything checked out, and he had checked with the property managers and everything was cool. The people paid on time, kept the house nice, etc. No problem right? Ha!!

The day we signed the lease agreement there were to be three people living in the house. The man, the woman, and the man's mother. We were thinking it would be great since I had spent 2 1/2 weeks painting EVERY room in the house before we moved out. (The house is only two years old anyway, but we figured the house would sell or rent out faster if we painted and did a few other updates). So we are thinking "cool, no kids to mess up the walls". Not that we are against kids, because we aren't. But you know how messy little kids can be. My husband and I are young and this house was a major investment for us. We just want to keep it nice. Thus the reign of the tenants from hell begin.

My husband and I go to the house to install the peephole and door locks. We arrive, they were aware of when we would be arriving. I walk up to my front door to find three boys (14 ish in age) SKATEBOARDING OFF MY FRONT CEMENT STEPS! No helmets, no gear, no nothing! One fell down and hurt himself and went home. Greeeeeaaaaaat! So I ask the remaining two boys where the adults are. He happily replies they are at the other house getting another load of stuff. Ok, no big deal. Two HOURS later, the tenants show up and not just themselves. Every greasy haired, rootin tootin, redneck neighborhood hick kid came with them. Seriously, there were two girls that had what I ascertained to be blond hair. However, I would make a bet that those two girls had not washed their hair for at least a week because it was actually orange. Like... orangutan butt orange. In total, there were 10 children of various ages running amok through the house, slamming shit into walls, hanging off my banister, etc.

So my husband pulls the man aside and asks him how many kids are going to be living there. He replies "three". Oh gee... were you going to put them on the lease or were you just going to lie about them? So, since they conveniently left the kids off the lease (they have to list all the people living in the house) I addressed the situation with my realtor and he had them sign an updated lease listing the three kids So now we have six hillbillies, some with teeth, some without, living in a 2,500 sq foot four bedroom house. We brush it off and go on about our business.

March 3rd rolls around and we haven't received a rent check. My husband calls the man and reminds him rent was due two days ago on the first. He says they had some "unexpected" bills (WTF did they go buy a shit load of soap, shampoo, and conditioner and clothes that don't look like they have been slashed by jack the Ripper)? Ok, that was mean but Jesus. You know the rent is due on the first. Can't you pick up the phone and tell someone you are going to be late? He stated that we would have the rent money plus the late fees between the 6th and the 10th. The tenth rolls around... no rent. The 12th, no rent. The fifteenth... no rent. I call the realtor (I'm at a horse show) and asked him if he would be kind enough to call the hillbillies and pick up the rent. He says yes. He said he called them 20 minutes before he arrived and told them he was going to be there in 20 minutes. They said ok. He gets there and the little bastards made him sit out there and knock for 20 more minutes before they answered the door. Then, he said he waited another 10 minutes before they wrote a check. (Oh, and by the way... isn't it funny how the tenants said they were putting a check in the mail on the 10th when I called, then my husband called, then the realtor called)? So it was confirmed, by all three of us on the 10th, he was putting a check in the mail on the 10th. Surprisingly it never came. Gee! What a surprise! So anyway, the realtor picks up the check. Guess what? Those late fees they accrued are not on the check. Another coincidence? I think not. So after being pissed for a few days I got over it and moved on... until tonight. You'd think that a family that brings in over $5000 per month could pay $1,199 in rent on time.

As if my day has not had enough stress; I get a phone call from my neighbor. I gave my neighbor my phone number the day I installed the peephole and door locks and asked her if she would let me know if they caused any trouble. She agreed. I was wondering just how long it would take her to call. Well, it only took about 37 days. My neighbor is a wonderful Southern Baptist lady. Three awesome kids, well groomed, respectful, eloquent, and polite. She NEVER bitches, nor does she curse. Until today. I seriously think my neighbor is going to set her some lil redneck traps in her yard! LOL! First, she came home this evening to find the light on in one of the upstairs bedrooms. It was dark outside so she could see inside the house. Sadly, she reported my mini blinds are no longer mini blinds. Instead, she said they look like some cracked out Asian child attempted origami with them. They are destroyed. But that's not all folks! Apparently, they keep their dog outside at night (ha ha... at the beginning the dog was listed on the lease but the kids weren't... lmao). This wouldn't normally be a problem but I guess the dog barks and howls all night long and her kids can't sleep. I hope the tenants dog does not go missing. LOL! Nah... my neighborhood isn't like that nor is my neighbor, but you get the idea of how pissed she is. Then, she said last week she came home to find several kids sitting in the middle of her yard pulling the grass up with their hands. (She's meticulous about her yard and she is trying to sell her house so I see her frustration). Not only this, but apparently the 17 yr old son that isn't on the lease but lives there anyway (now we are up to 7 people in the house) has been parking directly in front of her house with his truck. Not that big of a deal until he started pulling up on the curb and into her grass! She had a showing on the house the other day and the kids truck was parked in her grass. She politely asked him to move it. Be called her a "nigger bitch" under his breath, and didn't move it for another 35 minutes. Then the man came out and apologized. she asked them to please park in the driveway and he said ok. They still haven't complied. So, tomorrow she is taking a picture of the origami work that used to be my mini blinds and emailing the picture and her complaints to me so that I can forward them to my realtor. If they can't comply with the rules... their asses are getting evicted. Why can't someone normal move in that doesn't cause a disruption? WTH? Am I flypaper for freaks or what? So now the dog making a disruption is a violation of the lease as well as the 7th person living in the house that is not on the lease. I could have evicted them the day they lied on the lease but I like to think I am not as cruel as that and I gave them a second chance. Fool me once shame on you... fool me twice and your ass is evicted. Gaaaahhhh! I want to pull my hair out.