Monday, July 30, 2012

Cleaning up

Getting your horse clean
I have a gray horse.  His coat is white, which mean getting and keeping him clean is a pain in the rear end!  But, over the past couple years I have found a few things that really help get him shiny.  

  1. I wash my horse with… Purex… shhh.  You know, the laundry detergent.  You have to be careful with this one though.  If your horse has sensitive skin, don’t use it.  I tried it in a small area the week before the show to make sure that he didn’t have an allergic reaction.

  1.  The Cowboy Magic greenspot remover is the best thing for early show mornings to clean in manure stains.

  1. Baking soda is good for getting really tough stains out of tails.  It takes a bit of scrubbing, but a water baking soda paste is helpful.

  1. The Cowboy Magic detangler is awesome for brushing knots out of manes and tails.  I show Arabians, and mane and tails are our pride and joy, they have to look nice.  This product is great for untangling.

  1.   Then after your horses are clean you can spray them with a body shine.  I have…, Cowboy magic…. *cough*.  It is a really good product line!

Washing horses is one of my favorite parts of working with the horses.  My horse tolerates the baths.  He couldn’t care less whether or not he is clean and clipped.  
It is especially fun if you can wash your horses with friends.  I wash and clip my horse the night before the show then wait until he is completely dry.  I braid his mane and tail (learned how to do a four strand braid recently!) then I put him in a smaller pen with hay and water so he can’t roll.  If he has the ability to roll I would have to completely have to rewash him the next morning.  I have had to do it before.  I will not do it again.

Once I get to the show, I pull Silver out, brush him down with a freshly cleaned soft brush, use my green spot remover to clean up his legs.  Then I take down his mane and tail and brush it our so it is long and flow-y and beautiful.  Use my awesome little horse shaver to take off any few whiskers I missed, use a wipe to clean out his  nostrils, hips lips and ears.  Spray on body shine.  If there are flies I will put the white SWAT in his ears and spray him with a fly spray.  Then we are all ready to show, and he usually stays fairly clean for the show.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Show day

Horse shows are always an exciting experience for horse people.  Whether you are just beginning or if you have been showing for nigh on 40 years, there is something about a horse show that just gets you all hyped up inside.  Maybe it is the adrenaline rush when you finish a reining pattern or the pleasure in picking up the correct lead.  Maybe it is the elation you feel when your horse does a perfect pivot in showmanship.  Or maybe it is the delight when he does everything just perfectly all day.  Whatever it is horse shows are days that most horse owners look forward to and plan for all year, ok that’s a lie, I know it is coming all year, I start planning the week of and am usually franticly packing the trailer the night before at 10 pm.  Either way show day is always fun.  You get to see your fellow horsey friends and when you say something like, “Silver has not been soft on his vertical lately.” They know what you mean and are ready to offer advice about what to work on. 

I show a variety of classes, and my horse is an overall good horse to do anything on.  I ride English, Western, do reining, and I love showmanship!  I train all year for showmanship, I think that being able to get on a horse and look good is hard and for the most part takes talent.  But if you can show a horse on the ground, that looks amazing, and professional, and *sigh* a great showmanship performance makes my heart go pitter patter.  The only other thing that can do that is watching Andreas Helgstrand ride Blue Hors Matine in the 2006 freestyle. …. Yeah…… back to reality.  My horse and I have gotten to be fairly good at showmanship.  I can do a pattern without having to hold onto the lead rope, and I think that shows the bond that my horse and I have.

I also really enjoy reining, the fast circles, the slow circles, the run downs and the roll backs.  We aren’t great at reining, but we are decent enough to do well.  I prefer pattern classes to rail classes.  My horse isn’t what judges think a pleasure horse is, but he is obedient and does well in a pattern.  Unless it is trail.    We suck at trail.  Like crash and burn, hope the earth swallows you whole kind of sucking.  We can do trail at home and he will back through the “L” and over the bridge, side pass over the log, dude he would probably do a back flip, he also does really well on an actual trail (except for rushing water) but as soon as he gets in an arena we are lucky if we get to open and close the gate. 

Getting ready for the classes is also a fun part of hors e showing.  Horse showing is really the only time I do anything to my hair except for the occasional times I flat iron after blow-drying.  For a horse show I blow-dry, flat iron, pigtail braid it and put it into a long bun across the nape f my neck.  Using a total of 3 bazillion bobby pins and 2 cans of hairspray, my hair does not move, and the hat does not come off.  After having my hat fall off once and having four strands of hair keeping the hat hanging from the side of my face, I use bobby pins like they are staples.  My hat does not come off….. ever!  I love the feel of my freshly pressed jeans and button up shirt.  Pulling on my boots and mounting to quickly warm up and memorize my next pattern.  Waiting outside the gate for my name to be called, last minute pattern reciting, checking collars, cuffs, pant legs and the horses gear. 

Then riding into the arena with a smile on your face to show off your horse and do your pattern flawlessly.  Standing in line and listening to the names being called and counting off the people in the class, “and in fourth place number 241 not me! At least third) and in third place number 102 (not me! In the running for first!)”  If you have ever showed you know the feeling of realizing that you may have taken the top placing. 

If you own horses and have never shown in a horse show,, it is something you should look into.  It is a wonderful experience, and if you have friends to go with it is even more fun.  I mean, come one, hanging out with a bunch of horsey people and gorgeous horse butts, what could be better?  Well except  for watching Andreas of course.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Good times

Memories, everyone has them.  Hopefully the good memories outweigh the bad.  I realized today as I was walking to the back pasture to switch water that all of my best memories are centered around one particular house in Washington where I grew up and spent the best years in.  Just little things.  Small snippets of different days that I remember.  Playing with my cousins, trying to ride the horses, cooking with grandma, working with grandpa, or relaxing on the porch.  Some things I remember in great detail.  Other things I just remember feelings.  Tonight the memories were brought on by a smell.  There was someone barbequing close by and it smelled like the meat was a little over done, not charred, just….. dark.  For some reason this made memories come rushing back, and I couldn’t help but smile.

The memories of times I spent at that house come at random times.  Stacking wood in the shed.  Being taught how to cut kindling.  Trying to help carry horse food.  Getting locked in the feed room with my sisters, dad, and cousins.  Collecting eggs, running with a broken broom from the crazed rooster.  Two of us cousins DRAGGING a western saddle out to the corral to ride.  Big family get-togethers.  Thanksgiving dinner.  The tomato plants.  The wallpaper in the bathroom.  That really old tv.  The really yummy frozen juice grandpa drank.  Making grandpa ants on a log for his lunch the next day.

One my fondest memories was after school, the bus would drop me off at grandma’s house, she would be waiting on the porch, I would walk up through the gate and sit on the chair next to her on the porch.  Grandma would make me a peanut butter and honey sandwich and chocolate milk made with Hershey syrup.  We would eat on the porch and talk or look through Home and Garden magazines.  After lunch, I would play on the rope swing my grandpa hung under the bigger of the two apple trees, and I would watch and wait for grandpa’s little Nissan to rumble up the driveway, at which time I would run up and give him a hug.

Another one, one Sunday morning, before church, grandpa and I went out and saddled up the little Morgan mare he had, Tootsie, and we rode double down the road behind his property.  He loved to ride into and then back out of the irrigation ditches.

Let me see.  There was the time that we picked the big rocks out of the pasture and round pen and took them up to the front to make a small wall along the driveway.  He told me he needed a wall because every time my mother or aunt would back up to leave they needed a barrier to hit.  After working we sat on the front porch and drank a glass of tea.

Oh!  And how grandma always kept the clear, glass, pumpkin shaped candy jar full of those assorted Hershey candies, the one with the Mr. Goodbar, and the Krakle, and the regular hershey’s.

And grandma’s flowers.  In the summer I would water them, but I wouldn’t wear shoes, and that wood got freakishly hot, so I would get the wood wet stand in the puddle, and then water the plants, then the wood, then the plants. 

 Then there were the cousins.  Grandma and grandpa had two big apple trees in their backyard and one crab apple tree in the pasture.  We would pick the apples from the front trees, sit on the deck, eat them down to the seeds and then see who could throw the core the farthest.  We would also drink grape soda, which does not taste as good now as it did then, then spit on the ground to see whose spit was more purple.  Ahh, good times!

Ha!  I have so many more memories but I’ll end on this one.  My cousin and I (the two troublemakers) were in the back of the little red Mazda.  We were on our way home with grandpa in the driving.  They had a little maroon colored broom dustpan set they kept in the back seat.  I had the dustpan out the window in my hand watching how it moved in the wind and how tilting it would change what it would do.  Grandpa looked at us in the rearview mirror with those stern eyes and said, “Don’t you dare lose that dustpan out the window.”  Sam and I smiled, “I won’t grandpa, I am holding on to it tight.”  No more than 45 seconds passed that the little red dustpan was ripped from my grasp into who or whatever dared be behind us.  My eyes got huge, my heart plummeted, I looked at Sam, her eyes were huge too and I am sure her heart was at her feet.  We sat forward and didn’t say anything the rest of the drive home.  Neither did grandpa.  He never said anything about that dustpan to either of us.  We are sure he knew about it, but he never, I mean never mentioned the dustpan.  And we operated off of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The memories of that house are wonderful and I love when I am lucky enough to get hit with another memory of times well spent in that house, with family and friends.  In all of the houses I have lived in, I am almost certain that the little brown , green trimmed house will always be my favorite.