Monday, March 4, 2013

The Rest of the Story

Well it is nice to see that Trax and Sassy had their fun, but there was really quite a bit more to the weekend than they realize.

It was very cold in the Halter clinic arena, and I should never have taken 2 horses. In fact I could have done just fine without any horses.  I was a little bummed because I thought that perhaps they would not just show us on their horse what to do, but help us work with our horses. Once it was clear that it wasn't going to happen like that, and they were moving on to "competing in showmanship" I loaded up and headed home.

I did get a ton of great grooming tips, and learned what to expect in halter class, so yes it was worth the money and I am glad I went.  I learned that Trax will never be in a regular halter class because that would require him to stand absolutely still while a judge walks around him. Trax is extreme sensitive (boy that is putting it mildly) to people beside him and always steps away. Although, it would probably be a great training exercise for him, so I will work on it and see if I can accomplish it. It is safe to say though, that it isn't happening this summer.

Now the horse that they were using as their model was, just as Trax said, drop dead gorgeous. She had a huge butt and huge muscles all over. In fact it was almost too big for my liking. Watching her walk from behind looked awkward and almost as though she would have a hard time doing anything that required any athleticism. Now this is just my opinion, I don't know much about halter horses (and could be totally wrong abut this horse), but truthfully I prefer an athletic horse that can work over a horse that you just "lead n' feed".  I was really amazed to learn what they do to condition these horses to look like that. Lots of food, worming every 6 weeks, exercise at trot, lope, and lots of backing up 6 days a week. Then they also wear "sweats" during and up to an hour after their work out.  So although yes, they do feed these horses a ton of food and grains, they do still get a lot of exercise, but it is all in a round pen and all in a straight line.  They do not ride them at all.

The facilitator looked at both of my horses, she said that Trax could lose about 75-100 lbs, because he has a crease in his back (winter weight) and could use some muscle toning.  I asked about the "Color Breed Class" at the open horse show and she told me that in that class they judge on color and markings first, then conformation. He has pretty decent conformation, so he could do ok. I asked how much grooming I would need to do on him, and she explained that although he wouldn't need as much as a regular halter class, he would still need whiskers clipped, ears lightly trimmed, feet polished, bridle path, and mane thinned out, but not necessarily shortened.   For the Ranch horse Halter class, just clean him up real nice, cut a bridle path and take him as is.  So now I have to make a decision.  How much do I want to take away from his "I'm a working horse" appeal?  Is it even worth it, knowing that he probably won't stand still for a judge?  She did suggest that I start braiding his mane and tail to keep it looking nice through spring.  My friend Kim is a fantastic horse groomer, so I will have her help me with the thinning of his mane.  I have till May to make my decision on whether or not to enter him in that class.

As far as Sassy goes, I was told the scar on her shoulder will not hurt her, nor would her special shoes as long as she isn't limping or paddling, but she is way to thin and needs no less than 75 pounds added plus alot of muscle tone.  Her mane would need to be pulled to be shortened and she would need the full whisker and ear trim and all the works, as the class she would be entered in would be against professional halter horses.  It would be fun to show her in halter, but I think that this is the wrong time to pursue that career for her. Right now soundness is my priority, and common sense tells me that too start trying to pack on pounds and muscle may not be conducive to getting her healed and sound. I think light exercise is what she needs.   Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

It was funny to watch my two bad ponies at the clinic. The lady with the Arabian was seriously frowning at me and my horses and literally moved her horse to the other side of the arena to get away from mine. Of course her horse had a feed bag in his face to keep him occupied.  Trax was fine and would stand quietly as long as he was not tied to the wall where he couldn't see. As long as I hand held him and turned him towards the center he was as quietly and calm as could be.  I really do think he was in love. There were times when he would lay his head across Sassy's back and just stare at that mare. It was hilarious!   They told us to take a break and so I took Trax to the other side of the arena and worked him a little in a circle. At that point I looked over to see the facilitator holding Little Miss Sassy Pants who had untied herself. That is when I knew it was time to go.

I did not ride this weekend. I should have done it Saturday, but put it off till Sunday and then regretted that decision. It was so windy Sunday, and it just takes all the fun out of anything.  I blame it on the negative Ions flying around everywhere!

I did go to an antique flea market, where I got 3 new old books.  Judge Colt, by William Mcleod Raines.  Chicken Every Sunday, by Rosemary Taylor (which I bought just cuz the title was cool) and then a book on Lost Mines and Hidden Treasures. My grandson in AZ is big into mining right now. I thought he might like it.
I also got a drawing by a William Rains (not the same as the author) which is actually the back of an album cover. It is horses coming out of the mist, done in pencil. Just a cool little drawing that spoke to me, and it was cheap which was the real reason I bought it!  I will have to take a picture of it to post.

According to the weather man it is supposed to get nice this week. So I will try to take Trax and ride on Wednesday.

Oh I almost forgot. I started my search for a consistent trainer to work with me. I found one gal, and contacted her.  She commended me on not giving up on Trax and said "I'm not doing professional training right now, so I can compete at a non-pro status, but am always willing to help people with their horses, perhaps you could get together a group and we could do a little clinic and donate the money to worthy cause."   I just told her I'd let her know.  Truthfully, that isn't what I am looking for. I need one on one consistency over a period of time. I went to the tack store to look in their "local services" book. There are several people advertising in there, but I have never heard of any of them, and I have heard that there are a few in my area that are down right dangerous, so I need to proceed with caution.   The reining clinic is in 2 weeks. I guess I will see what I learn there and then make a decision. I know who I want to train with, but can't seem to get him to return my calls.   Frustrating.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.


  1. hmmmm. I just went back in your blog posts and looked at as many recent pictures as I can of sassy, and honestly, she doesn't look thin at all! Of course, having a winter coat can make them look plumper than normal, but I wouldn't want to put any weight on her, especially since she's been lame. I can definitely see adding muscle mass to her, but not necessarily fat, just to give her some weight. But with her having been lame for so long, I'd say do it slowly, don't push it for a class and end up regretting it. I think its really cool that you went to the clinic and were able to find out more about the halter classes though! I had no idea what they were, it's awesome that you were able to find out the criteria for it so you know in the future if its something you want to do and what would even be expected!

    I agree that it would be cool to have that goal with trax, since he's so sensitive, Its funny what they will adapt to when you consistently work with them on something!

    Thats definitely frustrating about the trainer. I have my trainer, but I've taken a LOT of lessons with different people, and I can never find someone that works with me as well as my trainer....aside from finding someone who is knowledgable, its tough to find someone that also understands how to teach someone! Much like your trainer before...he was clearly knowledgable, but you left your lessons feeling down, which had more to do with his teaching style, expectations than his knowledge! It's tough!

    Can you try looking on craigslist? Thats where I found my trainer....or maybe look up boarding stables near you and see if any of them offer lessons/trainers and contact them?

    1. Thanks Marissa,
      I think you are right, no sense in pushing Sassy just to get her in a class this summer.

      I have given up on the former trainer all together. He used to do my trimming too but I have texted him 2 times to see if he could trim 2 horses for me soon, and can't even get an answer at all. So my guess is that he is much to wrapped up in his personal problems to deal with me. Which is fine.

      I called the other trimmer I use sometimes, and left a message so maybe he will come out and trim. It just so happens that he is the trainer I really wish to use too, so maybe if we can talk about it in person I can get a solid yes or no, or even a good recommendation. This young man trained my neighbors Arabians and did a wonderful job with them. I have seen him ride, and I want what he has going on. Plus I have seen how he interacts with horses, he has a soft spiritualness about him, and I like that as well.
      I think he would be great to work with. So hopefully he will at least call me back on the trimming today.

      I have not looked on craigslist. I am leary of that outlet.

  2. Care to share some of those grooming tips?
    Some horse people can be so frustrating when they think they are better than others. I am sure your horses were fine. :)
    I am interested to hear about finding a trainer. I imagine I will be looking for one come fall. Maybe sooner.

    1. I will try to do a post about the tips. Okay? :)

  3. In my experience, halter horses have a hard time staying sound due to the excess weight and the 'ideal' conformation. If you have a hard time keeping your mare sound, maybe just clean her up and enjoy halter for the fun of it instead of trying to pack on weight! I don't know what level showing you are doing, but my QH and I used to do well in halter for purely a fun level and he was average weight (no butt creases, no ribs).

    1. That seems like some "sound" advice. (get it- I did a little play on words there- hee hee) :)

  4. I think if your horse doesn't have perfect conformation, a showmanship class might be more up your alley. And you probably wouldn't have to get them all fat and gross looking like a halter horse. I don't understand that kind of showing at all. I like my horses with all their whiskers and warts, and living a natural life with normal exercise. For me, horsemanship is more about the partnership than the glitz and approval of others. But I've never been much of a person to want to be in the spotlight anyway. Although I do kind of like showing off how awesome my horses are. :) Do you like to trail ride? What about ACTHA rides, or something similar, rather than showing? If that's your thing. Not trying to push my preferences on you. :)

    In regards to a trainer, I think something is just going to magically fall into place at the right time. Keep your eyes open and follow your intuition.

    1. Hi Andrea,
      I'm not sure if Sassy has good conformation or not. I know that every vet and ever farrier that has ever worked on her, has made a point to comment on how much they like her, so she must have something going for her. But really after I sat down and thought about it, my initial reasons for taking her to that class, and for even considering showing her in halter at all, has nothing to do with winning, and everything to do with exposure. She has spent so much time just sitting in the pasture I really want to get her out and about so that she is a little more calm in public places. A little more used to being in an arena with a bunch of other horses. And also, a little more selfishly, something to do besides sit and watch tv.
      Can you tell me what ACTHA is? I do like to trail ride, I just don't like to do it alone and never have anyone to go with.
      I'm hoping you are right about the trainer! Thanks

  5. Sounds like an interesting clinic, and the halter style horses are not my cup of tea either, and bit to beefy for my liking, I like a more "using horse " look. One other thing, and please don't feel like I am dissing your blog, but I find the dark background and white writing really hard on my eyes , otherwise I love the layout and the blog as a whole.I almost need to copy and paste this type of color combo to word to read it without seeing spots.Sorry not trying to be a kill joy

    1. Funny you should mention that, because I was thinking the same thing as I looked at my own blog yesterday. It is hard to read like that. So thank you for mentioning it. I will be making some changes today.

  6. Thankyou for popping over to my blog.
    I don't know what a halter class is. I am guessing it's the same as the inhand classes we have in the UK. No riding just walk and trot in front of a judge?

    1. Yes, that is exactly what it is.
      Welcome to herdlife Zoe.