Thursday, August 25, 2016

Product Review: Dover Trailer Hitch Cover

Well I have just spent quality time trolling the Internet tack stores ordering supplements and a few extras. This takes me a ton of time since I go between multiple retailers checking prices and shipping rates. It is amazing how many times the product will be more expensive, but when shipping is added the total is cheaper than at another store where the price is lower.
Anyway one of my purchases was a replacement trailer hitch cover from Dover. I have had my trailer for eight years now and have used this hitch cover for at least six. Our first one was a Tent Sale find, but we were hooked. This cover is easy to use and fits great over the tongue of my trailer, protecting the hitch and electronics. Though I originally paid about $20 for the first and second, the current price is $29.99. Still not bad for about $10 bucks a year.

Dover's product page picture

The cover has a zipper for easy use and a strap to go under the tongue with a clip to secure it to the trailer. There are small vent holes by the hitch so it breathes. The nylon is durable and seems to last about three years. I love this cover and highly recommend it to any bumper pull trailer owners. Definitely a trailer must have!

And for those who like Riding Warehouse, I found that they have one similarly made for $25.95. I almost tried it, but decided to go with the one I knew worked for my trailer. So if anyone gets one let me know how you like it. The shape is slightly different and it does not have a zipper or vent holes (that I can see), but otherwise it looks like the same concept.

Monday, August 22, 2016

I Need a Groom!

We finally have a break in the heat which means I can get back to steady riding. What I really need is a groom who can hold one horse or warm up a horse while I ride another. I would be so much more productive. I tend to lose steam or get distracted by barn work in between rides. I can dream right?
So tonight I tacked both Comrade and Rosemary and brought them to the arena. Comrade was "tied" to the fence with his halter while I worked Rosemary. He was really good and went right to work when I switched. At one point we had to intercept Rosemary who was headed to the garden. I made her pony with Comrade for a bit before letting go back to eating the grass along the arena. They both got about 20 minutes and I felt better having worked more than one horse. Of course I really need that groom if I want to add Roscoe to the mix. 

Meanwhile my Mom is getting back into working with the horses by starting Roscoe with the pvc poles working toward the drag for driving. He is more sensitive and questions things "following" him more than Rosemary ever did during training. So he is taking a longer, slower training route. On Sunday he dragged both long poles without getting quick or spinning. I am just glad my Mom is getting involved again. She will keep this up until it is boring for him. Then she will connect the two poles to a chain to make the drag. 

And to add to the fun we have this in the works

Falling down

Yep, fence work. All the outer fencing that is 20+ years old is being replaced. The fence guys will start with the smallest area so that we have some place to put Roscoe. Then we can combine all the others if needed while they work the other areas. Hopefully this is completed before Peggy and I leave to visit the babies.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Funny: Salt Lick Art

We are still alive and have even managed some rides. But I am too tired from watching the Olympics and the heat to put together a post. So I give you Salt Lick Art created by the the Red Boys. They have been working on it for about a month. It is an ongoing project, so we will see how far they take it.
The Artists (Proof they do get worked):

Comrade, aka Salt Master Manipulator

Roscoe, aka Trusty Assistant
 And the Art (Warning this is created by boys and could be offensive to others):

Front view

Back View
Ha, ha Yep I posted the pictures :) :P They have worked hard on this.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Sticker Shock

When we moved to Peggy's, some things had to change due to the new location. This included getting a new vet and a new dentist. Last year the vet served both functions. I was a little unhappy that the only option was a power float requiring sedation, which is extra money. We dealt with it. This year we have since changed vets and used their dental service.

Well again we were stuck with the power float and sedation. Unfortunately the horses seemed really sore after the work. And the ones that were the most sore were not the ones with ulcers. I do believe you can do too much at one time. This vet used a head stand and everything.
So at the end Peggy and Mom waited for the totals. Peggy got her bill first for Comrade and about died. They charged $220 for one horse. Mom was amazed and worried what hers would be with five horses. It was $995. That was almost 3x what we paid last year. Insane. Not happening again. We may use the other vet for dental and this vet for everything else. Or we may just use an actual dentist and pay for the vet to sedate.

It kills me because a power float is supposed to be a more accurate, easier method especially since the horse is sedated, but you pay so much more for it. Plus I can't understand why the sedation is not included in the cost of the float since you have to have it. If your horse needs more than average, okay charge extra.

So much about owning a horse has increased in cost, but somehow we make it work. I hope I can start taking a lesson a month soon. It's tough since for the price of one, I used to take four. Ah well, I don't plan on giving up the horses, so time to tighten up the finances.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Roscoe's Lifting And Lightness Tell

I think you guys can tell I am pretty happy with Roscoe's behavior at the show. So here is a deeper look and how my Faith post points worked out.

1. Roscoe is a five year old. I will expect a distracted, baby. I will also pack the in hand tools to work with him.

Roscoe was distracted and he did cause us to pull out the in hand tools. BUT, surprisingly being tacked up centered him and he relaxed quickly. He was still a tourist, definitely, but a working one.

2. Roscoe is a Stallion!!! I do know this fact. I expect him to call and I expect the chance he will charge other horses. So I will not sit like  a sack of potatoes on him.

Roscoe announced all day that he was a stallion and he was alone. We had one instance during the long Champion of Champion Class that he leaped forward toward the mare in front of us. My fault, we had creeped closer than I thought. Under saddle, he called twice and he was intent on watching the horses walk by. When I asked for trot, he listened. He gave the right answers. I did not trot long enough, too hot, to get his best trot, but it was a good trot. He halted when I asked and I hopped off. Then he turned into puffed up Stallion again. He is like Rosemary in that way. She will be so well behaved while your on her back or in the cart, and then turn into drama mama once you are on the ground. Both stay within manageable limits even with the change.

3. The temperature will be in the high 90's. I think that will slow down my Cob who tends to be on the lazy side.

Well the heat did not have quite the effect I expected. Roscoe got really sweaty, but still had high energy. The heat killed me more, hence the cancelled class. I did like the fact that I had an active walk and willing pony despite the heat.

4. Roscoe will have all day to chill out, I will have all day to worry. I am a nervous shower. That said he is not my first 5 yr old  project pony. I have a history of riding rotten ponies.

Ha, chill out did not happen until we tacked him up. He had moments when he cocked a leg and snoozed, but he was hyper aware of all the horses. That said, he did load easily every time we asked him to. This show was too expensive to bring Comrade along, but he does seem to help during the wait periods. Misery loves company you know :) My worries mounted with the increasing heat and activity of the facility. But they all disappeared the moment I sat on Roscoe's back.

5. I would never leave the barn if I worried about the "could be's" or "maybe's."

I have only one thing to say, Have trust in your training, or don't sign up for the show.

6. My pony is not a robot and has a mind of his own. I will think positive and deal with any issues.

Roscoe made sure his opinion of the line classes was clearly known as he piaffed and puffed while tracking the activity outside the arena. Though I would prefer he stand still, I let him be as long as he stayed out of my space. When his leap happened, I just swung him around and apologized to the mare handler. He did not push the issue, just went back to his dancing. Under saddle, if he got quick we circled. Circles are such a great tool.

7. This show is a schooling opportunity, no more, no less.

After getting the prize money, my show fees were reduced to $35. In this area that is what you would pay for one dressage test or schooling fees at near by facilities. I signed up for the ridden portion so that Roscoe could experience the show environment under saddle. He did and he proved he can handle it. I lost nothing because he gained no Welsh points from the classes since they were open and he was alone in the class. We rode for about the amount of time the classes would have taken in the show ring, so we definitely gained more than we lost. All in all it was a successful outing.

Now I will say I gave into some of the pressure put on me before the show, mostly because I was not 100% healthy and the opportunity was available. But I did it my way, not the way it was "suggested" to me. Some felt Roscoe should have a field trip accompanied by Comrade to some other facility to make sure he would behave. With only a few days until the show, I refused to put my horse on a trailer in this hot weather and pay more money to go to another facility. So I asked Peggy to see if a lady in the neighborhood would let Roscoe use her arena on Thursday. She said we could at 2pm. I refused to let another horse come with us, but Mom and Peggy drove the green machine next to us. We walked the road for a couple miles to get to her arena. Roscoe did really well. Again similar to his mother looked at shadowed spots, but not really anything else. He dealt with the FedEx truck driving by and kids playing.
He did have a tell though when he was going to trot or get excited, he lifted and got really light in the front end. I let him be if he was just inverted, acting the tourist. If he started to feel like a plane lifting off in the front, I circled him back to the ground. I have never felt a horse get so light in the front before. Roscoe is naturally uphill so it was amazing to feel him get even more so.
Once at the arena, the 5yr old stallion came out. We got quick and he called to the cute ponies right next to the arena. Circles and more circles. Plus breathing, always a good thing. The arena was large and I could easily work him on the far side, so I did. Figure 8's, shallow serpentines, turn on the forehand, walking and trotting. He settled some, but still had the high energy. I was persistent with what I wanted and gradually worked closer to the side with the ponies. Each time I felt that super lightness and lift, I knew to circle or redirect his attention. We had an awesome trot when he relaxed and stretched into the bit. It was great to ride somewhere with that much room. I was really pleased that he gained forward, rather than losing it to distraction. About a half hour later, he was able to walk down the side of the arena with the ponies, some of them mares, without rushing. He could look, but he could not get quick.  I hopped off, a proud pony owner.

He did nothing I could not handle and nothing I would deem misbehaving or embarrassing. Thank you Roscoe for confirming that your big brain can overrule the little one.
The walk home was when the heat hit me hard. Roscoe was still full of energy and his big walk is hard to keep up with. So we tried something to make it easier for me. I sat on the back of the green machine and Roscoe walked next to it. I was in a position I could easily jump off if I needed to, but I never did. We played with the speed to find a comfortable one for him and set off. He never pulled too much even when he called to the horses along the way. Seriously, he was a good boy. He actually cooled off nicely on the walk back. All together round trip and ride time, it was an hour and a half.
I could tell at the show, Roscoe learned from that session that being super inverted is not comfortable so he kept his more normal uphill tourist position rather than go to the extreme. I'll take it.
Progress whether made in strides or in miles, is still progress.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Knowing When Enough is Enough

Bright and early we headed to Frying Pan Park in Herndon VA for the Welsh Show. Lovely GPS sent us the wrong way and we had to call for help. We made it in time though. Roscoe had to tell everyone he was there and that he was all alone.


Mom worked on getting him ready for the Section D Stallion class while I suited up. Peggy was the swing between us both helping as needed. I have to say Roscoe and I both looked snazzy. That class went smooth and the Judge sympathized with us being the only Cob at the show. It is a fact that Roscoe deals with at nearly all his breed shows. Lucky for me since he was the only Cob, he won all the prize money. That money covered the majority of his show fees, yay!
Then we waited while the other two sections were judged before the Supreme Class. Roscoe was the big chestnut amidst the little greys. He was not in a standing mood at all. Everything outside the arena was much more exciting. I tried to just manage him, but overall he was not being horrible. Of course we added a bonus class which just about did me in.

 The Champion of Champion class was open to any purebred pony who won Grand or Reserve Grand Champion at any show. 16 ponies made for a nightmare of a class as we all cooked during the judging. Roscoe used the time to practice his piaffe. Or at least that is what he looked like. He really hated the fact that he had sweat dripping down his legs and belly. Roscoe decided to spot other horses and watch the kids and oh yeah, watch the carousel.
I was sooo happy to be excused from the class to leave the finalists behind. The show personnel gave us all water as we stood in the arena, but I was reaching my limit of sun. Now we had to wait for the ridden portion.

As we ate lunch, I listened to Roscoe circle in the trailer. He still had not settled. As the heat increased, I was losing steam. The show grounds did not have a warm up arena and we were surrounded by gravel parking lots. The grass area was small before turning into a steep hill. I worried about where I could safely ride him. If his energy continued to be high, I was not sure I could handle him since my energy was waning. With a heavy heart, I opted not to ride my classes. Seriously, I cried. I hate not being 100%. Even though I was not doing the classes, we still wanted Roscoe to work. This way he would know there is more to do at shows.

Mom tacked him up and then put the rope halter over his bridle to work him in hand. Guys, the pony that backed off the trailer this was not the ADHD pony I had dealt with all day. This pony was ready to work. He settled right into what Mom asked. So Peggy grabbed my helmet and I got on. Mom left the halter on just in case, but the need never arose. I swear Roscoe was the happiest he had been all day. He gave me a solid, flat footed walk. Oh yeah I should mention that while I was riding, right next to me a tractor was picking up manure and loading it into a truck and a bobcat machine was scraping stuff up too. Roscoe could care less about all that.
This was pony I knew was in there! I love that he confirmed my faith in him. We went down to the arena once the show finished and did a couple laps. Just that short time in the arena was so hot. Roscoe was sweaty in no time. I called it enough and hopped off. My pony wants to be a performance horse. I can work with that.
Thank you everyone for your positive thoughts, they certainly helped.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Brass Shined and Chrome Scrubbed

The pony and tack are ready! Thanks everyone for your support after my last post. I think Roscoe is more ready than I am. I can't seem to kick whatever bug I caught last week causing me to be nauseous and shaky in the morning. Luckily I have a great team helping me. Hopefully the heat won't come until after I run Roscoe around. We did an afternoon ride and though we were sweaty, Roscoe and I survived.
So much BRASS to shine

The funny thing is that there are no other Cobs coming, so Roscoe is the solo Cob. Then Roscoe is the only horse signed up for any performance classes on Saturday. He will be all by himself in the two classes. I am thinking of it as an infant CT. The flat class is first and then we do poles :)
Someone walked just as I took the picture, clean but akward :)

Now I have to get to bed. We have to leave sooo early.