Friday, May 4, 2012

What The Friday

Kentucky Derby is Saturday, which leads me to beliebe why Vanity Fair felt the need to shoot this abomination...

GAG ME times 100, 098, 890.

Like seriously???

When I first saw this, I was even more pissed off because I thought this was just a model. Models posing wiht horses legit grind my gears because generally they know nothing about horses. Just seriously.

Then I found out this was Chantal Sutherland, one of the most badass woman jockeys out there. She has made a fortune doing what she does best, and she DOES ride well and win doing it.

But come ON? That picture is legitimately a sell-out and absurd. I just can't even....

 And NO, my opinion has nothing  to do with her bangin' body. I have one of my own, so that doesn't really matter to me. Well, the fact that she is naked...riding a horse in a hotel...does. And quite a few other reasons.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dammit, Summer

I hate summer. With every fiber of my existence, like seriously. The only good thing about summer is being tan and horse shows and even then, I'm awkwardly tan thanks to riding and horse shows are miserable because of the heat and humdity.

So basically nothing good comes from summer.

Can we please talk about the worst things about summer?
Flies. Humidity. Hay prices. Tornado sirens. Tornadoes. Thunderstorms. Lightning. Bugs. Heat. Sweating. Bugs. Tan lines. Sweating. Cutting grass in the heat. Driving with no working AC. Sleeping in my house, with no working AC. Summer school. Heat. Sweating. Melted icecream. Traffic. Hot horses.  Buying fly spray.

And it came early this year.

I hate everything.

Today, I woke up sweating. I walked outside, sweating, at 8:30 AM to go to my car to feed my horse. It was 78 degrees. Let me just remind you that it was about 40 degrees not 2 days ago.

Poor Yankee was standing at the gate, looking absolutely  miserable and pathetic. He yelled at me, letting me know that 8:45AM is way too late of a breakfast time and that he would appreciate an earlier arrival. Will do, buddy. The sun, heat, humidity and bugs were AWFUL. Poor guy was beside himself.

Remember the turnout post? Yeah, he HATES bugs. He is such a baby. I don't blame  him though, they swarm him! I put off turning him out wihtout a fly sheet as long as I can, because I doubt they are comfortable, and probably make him hotter, but he seems to be OK with it as long as the bugs can't harrass him.

(Sidenote: By 10 AM it was already 81. I may or may not be a wimp, but I don't care. Too hot.)

I also just bought this for his majesty...

He's going to have to deal with purple. I wanted blue, but they were out.  Got this bad boy for $7, $15 total with shipping. Not bad. Poor college student find FTW!

I don't know if you guys know this, but Yankee is a master at losing fly masks and about drives me insane. I started putting one on about a month ago and he promptly shrugged off 2 different masks in less than 3 days. Still lost in the pasture depths. Awesome.

I hope this tighter version is more comfortable for him and harder to get off. I also opted for no ears. In the past (Ohio farm) he got really bad ear bites, so I bought masks with ears. Now I leave the hair long in there, hoping to fend them off. Perhaps the ears on the fly masks were bothering him.

In other news, we haven't been riding much due to finals. I hate finals...they're And daunting. Luckily this is my second to last finals week! I shouldn't be blogging either, since I have a wicked hard exam tomorrow, but lets be serious..I am the QUEEN of ProcrastiNation. Sorry I'm not sorry.... for blogging!

Finals "week" at Mizzou actually lasts 2 weeks and I've been SWAMPED with projects. I had 3 presentations yesterday (mega anxiety) and my final art portfolio was due. It was a bitch and I about died.

I digress.

I've ridden twice in the past 8 days, lastly on Monday, and I don't think Jackie has ridden more than that either. Both rides were ABSOLUTELY stellar though. I can't even....

So good. He was exceptionally loose, free, engaged, obedient and bendy. It was AWESOME. Makes me re-think leasing him out, because he is so fun to ride. Who cares if he ever qualifies for the AEC's or moves up to 3*?

HAH. Kidding.

Both times we worked on transitions and keeping the balance. Also, perfecting out halts!! I never have praticed them with him, and rarely are they worthy of even a 6 in a dressage test. Sometimes he gets his front legs even, but usually not. He CAN halt square, I just never practice. So I did, and he was flawless.

Something like this :D

 After 5 times of backing/scootching forward little bits (when he halted allllmost perfectly, but not quite), I got his legs even and praised the absolute shit outta him. He was pretty clever and realized that 'when mom is preparing me through engagement and riding the halt, I should be square'. I could almost see the lightbulb go off in his head!!

Until the dread of tomorrow's exam is over (PHEW), I can't even think about riding. Like I would want to in this heat. There is a charity schooling show Sunday my landlord is putting on that we might go to, but since my next exam is Tuesday and I am almost broke again, might not happen.

After that, my last exam is May 10, then I walk at graduation (even though I don't graduate till August) May 12. Affter ALLLLLL of that THEN I can finally ride again and get serious. Our first real USEA event is in the begining of June (Jackie is riding, but I am her "coach") so we need to practice practice practice.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Study Break

While taking my 7th study break in less than 2 hours, after reading all the blogs, I stumbled upon this wicked cool picture on my friends' FB wall....

That would be Janice Holmes, one of my most favorite instructors of all time. She knows her shit and helped me event BOTH Spirit and Yankee. Best eventing coach ever.

If you live in Ohio, near Cinci, I would look her up and take some lessons. I only made it out twice a month, but since she is an ICP level 2, she is wooorrrrrrth it.

Badass article here.

Its funny, I saw who ran out an grabbed Veronica (Karen O'Conner horse), but thought nothing of it- turns out it was Janice!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Age Old Question: Prospective Project

 Before anyone reads this and gets hissy, this post is a culmination of general observations I have made. There are exceptions, and I know that. So keep that in mind :)

What is the answer to that age old question? Who decides? Ultimately, the buyer- but it is up to the people who produce and train horses to find/make/mold horses into what people want. I want to know what eventers want in an upper level prospect. I know what I want...but what do they? How do I find this out? I start with what I know and like...

I would like to find a horse who I can spend time with re/training, and resell as a prospective upper level eventer. No, I am not selling Yankee. If you know us at all, you know I am leasing him out, since I cannot afford to show him as much as I feel he needs to be to get qualifying scores. Ultimately, I want  him to be a 4* horse, but he is now 10, and even though he has talent, time is not onour side. We would have moved up to prelim 3 years ago, but I broke my arm, and then a multitude of unfortunate occurences happened...and here we are.

I digress.

How important is the REALLY to prospective buyers?

To me, it is of  utmost importance, and a delicate balance. Horses are creatures. They die. They have an expiration date, a prime age and a dumb baby age. Depending on the horse, dumb baby ages last from 4-10, prime age can be anywhere from 7-15 and they expire (from competition) around 15-20. Granted there ARE exceptions, this is just what I have noticed and others heed as well.

The perfect prospect for ME to SELL, would then be at least 4, but no older than 10, but lets be real, 5-7 is the perfect age. 4 is still pretty much a baby and but you might have a blank slate to work with. Pros and cons! The younger, the more time you have time on your side. YOU get to start the horse and you have time before they become "old".  But also, the more retarded they are and the more time you NEED to let the stupid play out. (for example, it took yankee from age 4-10 to become un-stupid.)

Unfortunately, the competitive society has the modern thought process that we need everyhting NOW. Now now now now now. We need babies to be smart NOW. We need to win all the things NOW. We need to qualify NOW. We need need need. This will be my demise. I want to produce a baby from scratch with PROPER training and cumulative, positive experiences. You can only do this by taking time. But time is money. SO CONFLICTED.

What is THE perfect height? Depends on who you ask. If you ask a taller person like myself, they might usually say, a horse over 16.2hh. Short, a horse on a smaller scale. And then you have the discipline biased heights. Jumpers are HUGE. Dressage horses are....warmbloods. (I know this is not a height). Hunters are 16hh. Eventers are the rest.

So honestly, it really just depends on preference. If I had my way, I'd ride an 18 hand horse that was light enough to have mad hops over 6 ft. fences. But lets be real. That horse doesn't exist, at least in ample supply. I can settle for a 17 hand horse. But most of them are clunky, fugly and can't jump. Horses under 16h hands are out of the question- I would hit the jumps with my feet. 16.1-16.3. MEH. I still look awkward BUT the smalller lighter horses stay sound longer.

But WHAT does everyone else want? Specifically, what do EVENTERS want (since that is my sport)? I hear answers all across the board. Generally though, 16.1 is the perfect balance between too small and too large. They juuuuuust right.

I would like to find a prospect between $500-$2000. That is my max budget. For when I get  a budget...

I would like to resell between $9000-$14,000. I sold Murphy (see previous horses tab above) in 7 months for $14k and he was a fugly, hateful, asshole of a horse. Pretty much what you would not consider in a competition prospect.

After the time cost though, what would my profit REALLY be? I'll have an entire post on this later.

I prefer TBs. Most eventers prefer a TB or a mix of one. Sucessful event horses are usually one of the two. But there are exceptions.

Conformation is really the important thing though. Lets start front to back, being impartial to beauty, JUST conformation (which I have issues with).
-head: clear, bright, kind eyes. Good/effective nostrils
-neck: well muscled, high set on shoulders. No screaming confrmation faults like ewe-necked
-shoulders: much debate on slope vs. no slope. i prefer a happy medium between upright shoulders and super duper sloped shoulders. I feel this produces quality gaits and mad hops.
-cheast: deep, wide chest
-front legs: long, strong legs free of extreme blemishes and previous injuries. Cool and tight.  Equal  pastern angle measurements to shoulder. I REFUSE to buy a horse with sinking pasterns. That is looking for trouble.
-hooves: good angles, 'plush' frog, well hydrated. No crumbly crumbles.
-barrel: deep
-back: happy medium between long and short. If I had to choose, short. Well muscled, free of soreness.
-loins: filled out
-quarters- balanced, muscled,  proportionate to front of body
-back legs: no awkward angles. You can just tell. The rest goes the same for front legs.

All of these horses are TBs. 

Too long back, weird pastern/feet angles

I really like this one. All of him.

Proven TB stallion. I dont like him-chunky, weird neck, downhill build

Not ALL of this is possible. So main areas of importance for me. Legs, feet, hind end. Second importance, barrel/back, shoulder, neck.

This is difficult to determine from initial rides. This will come in time, but you CAN note a horse who has balanced gaits, light on the forehand, spring in their step and has a general positive attitude.

Resale Value:
determined by performance and a culmination of previous factors

Personal preference BUT stereotypes ARE a part of life. Chesnut, TB mares are to be avoided at all costs. ALL COSTS. THEY ARE EVIL. Evil. Ask anyone.

Generally, people want geldings. Stallions and mares are too hot.

 Time Cost:
This will be an entire post on its own as well.

I have to take into account actual cost of horse, cost of upkeep (board, feed, vet, farrier), cost of additional upkeep (supplements, emeregency vet care), showing and travel cost, advertising cost, etc etc

In a jiff- a younger, athletic, super sound, preferebaly 16+ gelding, TB.

What do you guys think? Since I am only one person with one opinion and limited connections...need thoughts loyal readers :)