Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things about the EMM that were cool....

Everything was so big, so it is hard to remember what happened from one minute to the next. All I know is each minute was filled with something neat and fun.

You know how you go on vacation and while you are doing it you are having a great time, but when it is over you wonder what happened to the time, and were you really there? That is how I feel.

This morning when I got up I got to thinking about those neat little things ......

Arriving and getting to unload our own horse instead of just watching everyone else. Then hoping the tall buildings on each side and the sound of his hooves on the street would not be too much for him.

Getting to the barn early each morning and listening to and watching the hustle and bustle of getting the horses fed, and ready for their classes. Then there were the barn smells (okay, after a couple of days, not all were good) :-).

Walking up and down the aisle to and from our stall and speaking to each horse by name and giving them a rub on the forehead. I still have to look at my catalog to remember peoples name. Ha!

Taking Tripp for walks. We would walk outside the barn and he would just stop and look around with big curious eyes. Then he would look up at the sky and watch...he was not meant to be a stalled horse.

Seeing other trainers that you recognize from their blogs, and they recognize you too! And other people who have read the blogs who came by to visit. Rosalie and her daughter - oh I hope they check the updates because I can't remember her daughters name. It was a very beautiful name. If you read this, please e-mail me. I would love to hear from you again. I hope your trip home was a good one.

Strollers.....we were warned about strollers on the Yahoo Groups by Darlene, trainer Ashley's Mom. She was right, they were everywhere and they got close to the horses. Tripp did pretty good with them after he got to sniff one...it made me smile.

The day there was a cup of what I thought was tobacco juice sitting on my stuff in the tack stall, and Arvell Bass had to take it to the trash. It was only tea! HA! I told him that I thought it was the icky stuff and I was grossing out. Give me bone sticking out and gushing blood, and I would have been able to handle it. He laughed!

I have to finish getting ready for work now......just wanted to do this while I was thinking about it. I am still dreaming about it too. I have never consistently dreamed about anything in my life!

Hope everyone has a great day!

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Monday, September 29, 2008

I got in trouble! Post EMM Update

HA HA!!! I got in trouble by Christina and Nine for not updating my blog yet. I better get on it!

We got home very late Monday night, and I left for Baton Rouge, LA for work on Tuesday morning - will be here 3 weeks. It sounds horrible to take off again so quickly, but the work weeks are 7 days, and the days are long so there is a lot of overtime to be had. It comes at a perfect time. Not only do I have a horse to pay for (YAY! Tripp is home where he belongs!) but we had two tire blow outs on the way home!

Yeah, no joke! The first one was south of Purcell, OK, so I ran to Purcell to get a new one. The other one was on the Kansas Turnpike, and thankfully we were close to a town, so I got one....15 minutes before the business closed! I don't know what happened. All I do know is tires and wiring were supposed to be okay before we left. Those two things were my main concern. Thankfully all turned out okay. I will get the other two replaced when I get back.

Okay, where do I begin? How about Sunday, Mustang Adoption Day. This is the day I had my melt down. Okay, that is what I call it, but Brian doesn't think it was a real melt down. He thinks it was just an emotional day and it made me a little weirded out about things. :-)

Our hip# was 208, so we were in the ring early on. The well trained black horse that went before us only went for $300, or close to it, so I was thinking that I would get Tripp for a cheaper price. WRONG! I timed it, and from the minute I walked into the ring, until the bidding stopped, was 1 minute 3 seconds! We got Tripp at the $1,500 mark. I don't normally talk money, but the prices will be posted eventually anyways, so I will this time. There were two other people bidding against us, and I started panicking at $800. It was just going way too fast! When we got him, I was so happy, but also a mess! I never did find out who the other person was who bid against us, but I heard that one of the groups was a 4-H Ranch for girls. When they found out we were trying to bring him home, they quit bidding. How cool is that? Tripp and I have been together for only 3 months, and this 4-H Ranch thinks I did well enough with him to trust him with kids! That was one of the biggest compliments I could have received!

It was after we got Tripp, and I left the ring and took him back to his stall, then went back for some more of the auction, that I had my melt down. I didn't understand why some great horses were going for so little, and I didn't understand why some of the bidding was stopped early on so trainers could take their horses home, etc. It was not completely about the money - it was just about not knowing why things were going the way they were. Heck, I still don't know. This event showed me how naive I really am. I mean wow, this was HUGE! And to be involved with something so big as a first time deal...well, it was wonderful but overwhelming!

I was surprised how many horses were not getting bids, so the MHF and another fellow from Mustangs Forever or something like that (I will need to figure out who he is so I can correct this if needed) helped out by donating the adoption fee, and a lot of the trainers took their horses home. Some to keep, and some to put more time on them and find them a good home.

I met so many great people. Some were naive like myself, and some were more grounded with what was going on around them. I felt like a little kid seeing things for the first time....something was happening all around us, and there just was not enough time to take it all in! You know how a little kid will get tired and fight it tooth and nail because they don't want to miss anything? That is how I felt! :-)

Rebecca and Bu, Christina and Nine, Ashley and Captain, Robert and Artista, Arvell and Prince, Nikolas and Apple Jack, Lynn and Jimbo, James and Kelly Verret, Roeliff Annon, the other Karen and Eli, Greg Reynolds and Bluegrass Steele...I know I must be forgetting someone. These are just a few of the people we met and visited with a lot. Rebecca had her posse with her - and they adopted me too. :-) Thank you to everyone who made this experience great, and thank you for your support!

I especially want to thank Kris and Nikolas Kokal's Mom and Dad, Stephanie and Andre' for my pep talk! Of course I can't have a melt down in private - I have to do it in front of someone! Isn't that the way it works? At least they were my stall neighbors and bitless bridle compadre's! Andre' and his wife Stephanie told me that I need to believe in myself and what I did with Tripp, and I need to do something about it! This was a sign, and I need to recognize it as one.

Sooooo....once I get back home I am going to vamp an area for additional mustangs. I plan on being involved in the TIP program - advertising to get future mustang adopters, and I will begin to start gentling and/or starting mustangs for other people. You see, I have a hard time letting go, and Andre' and Stephanie reminded me that it will be me picking the adopters, so it isn't like they are going to an unknown place. I am not saying it will be easy - but I think I can do this!
And they are right - I did good with Tripp, but I really didn't believe in myself. So I will be working on that too!

Sunday also brought the announcement that there were still some yearlings left over that needed homes. It was on Saturday that Brian was talking about getting a yearling and he looked around a little bit, but held back. But once the announcement was made that the MHF was taking care of the adoption fee on the last few, Brian went looking. He found a nice little bay gelding. We never did find his trainer, so don't know anything about him other than Brian loves him, and Stephanie Kokal had him picked out as her 2nd choice. She is a natural hoofcare person, so her opinion about Joker mattered a lot to us. We don't have an eye for 'flaws' that others see.

This yearlings name was Lucky Seven, but Brian didn't think that name fit him. Personally I think an animal should keep his/her name, because that is the only thing that is theirs. Brian wanted to speak to the trainer to find out if there as a nick-name. Then in order to stay with the theme, he dubbed him Joker. Now this little guy has earned his name from what I hear. Brian says he has been messing with things like crazy at home!
On the way home he was sticking his nose out of the trailer and letting the wind flap his lips! It was the funniest darn thing! I need to ask Brian if the video turned out. If so, I will have him post it.

One thing that I am sure the MHF has heard by now is I believe that the trainers should have been allowed to have first option at adopting their horses. We all tried to follow the rules, and we did what we signed up for. Almost 50% of the people didn't show up for various reasons, some legit and some not. If they wanted to keep their horses they paid the $125 adoption fee and forfeited the $500 reimbursement, which in my opinion should have been forfeited anyways due to the date listed in the rules (unless it was an emergency). I am not saying I should have brought Tripp home for $125, but I sure would have given up my expense reimbursement in addition to that without blinking twice. Just a thought.
We all knew what we signed up for, and even tho it was hard for different reasons, we did what we were supposed to do.

As a whole what was my experience like? There was a small part of the picture that was not what I expected, and a HUGE part of the picture that was AMAZING!!!! Will I do it again? YES! If they let me. But this time I will prepare myself mentally to prepare a horse for a new adopter. I am very lucky and got to bring Tripp home. He was a lot of firsts for me....so it is time to share another wonderful mustang with someone else. Will it be hard? You bet! Will I cry? Of course! But that is okay.....

That is all I can think of now. As I am in Baton Rouge, LA and I don't have access to my pictures, there are not any again. Bummer!

If I think of something else along the way, I will post again!!!

Until later....Karen and Tripp!!!!! YAY!!!! TRIPP TRIPP TRIPP!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Horse Poop is Good Poop! (We rode today! Yay!)

A very good friend gave me a good luck charm to keep with me....

Jill, this is for you! Thank you! :-)

After seeing my performance in the horse course, you would think the good luck charm didn't work - but it did work! I got to ride! Woo hoo! It was touch and go for a while because of the girth rash thing. It isn't only the neoprene area that was irritated...it was the whole area, including the rings. They seem like heat bumps. We got to thinking about what is different, and we think it might be the shavings. He seems to have a few hives elsewhere on his body. They aren't big - but you can tell there is something there.

He still made faces at me this morning when I went towards the girth area, but we think it was a habit and anticipation of pain. I massaged it and he finally relaxed. That was when I decided to ride because I could not feel anything foreign. I didn't get any practice time in the past couple of days, so I spent a couple minutes riding in a small area before I was due to take my turn. I was afraid to ride too much and have him get irritated again.

First of all let me tell you I came in 34th out of 42 people who showed in my division. And if you look at the bigger picture, I was 34th out of 200! HA! If I could have salvaged the horse course, I would have done very very well.

I was very nervous, and I know that did not help him. We got out there, I mounted using the block, and I headed to my 2nd thing to do. I decided not to canter - trotting would be fine. Well, it wasn't fine. You all know how a young horse is learning how to steer at the trot and he is zig zaggy? Tripp got all wide eyed in that arena and when we started trotting, he was all over the place! No worries....I decided I would work with what I had.

I am attaching pictures of the course - it looks very easy...but all I have to say is yes, it is easy, but not when your horse has not seen some of the stuff before in a room full of energy. ACK! There was a rope gate that was right at the 'L', and Tripp did not want anything to do with it! I thought I would ride around the obstacle first to let him look at it better, but it was close to the wall and banners, so that didn't work either. The announcer finally called my time and said I could start my 2 minute free style. Ahhhh yes.....will get right on that. :-)

I headed to the far end of the arena where it was more open, and as I was headed towards the poles/bridge, Tripp stopped. I could not get him moving, then his tail started swishing 100 miles a minute! He had to poop! He still has not figured out the walk and poop thing, so we sat there. I waved to the crowd and laughed, and they laughed too. Hence, horse poop is good poop! You all know how you sit in the crowd and are mentally trying to help the rider? I feel like everyone was doing that for me, but when I waved and laughed, they relaxed. We trotted over the poles and headed to the bridge. We would have been fine there except there were 2 plastic plants on each side of it. HORSE EATING PLANTS! :-) So no bridge. We did come back on the back side of the obstacles close to the wall and exited the arena.

Here is the cool thing.....well, there are a couple of things. One is I ended up getting 54 points today! No, that isn't a lot, but it is A LOT when you think you aren't getting anything! The other thing is Ken McNabb scored me higher on a couple of things than the other judges. Hee hee!

Even tho I was nervous, I was sooooo happy to be out there riding! So it was all good. I will admit that after everything that happened thru the day soaked in, I was disappointed in myself. I felt like I did not show what the mustangs can actually do, and I felt that I didn't do anything to convince the average person that they can gentle and work with a mustang, which was my goal. I was not belittling what I had done - I know we did great and am very proud of where I am at. Brian had to give me a pep talk and reminded me of a few things. He really has been great! He doesn't just talk the talk...he has been there for me and is so proud of me, which is a bonus in all of this.

Here is another really cool thing...I had people approach me and tell me how great I did, and they appreciated that I didn't get all over Tripp and yank around on him to try to make him do something. I stayed patient with him and tried to work with what he was going thru....he was stressed and they loved that I tried not to add to it. That meant so much! Our stall neighbors were laughing because they said they could see my non-stop grin from where they were sitting. :-D

Here we are done! I am relieved to know we are done....this is the beginning of Tripp being a real horse for a while. :-)

Okay, just another me and Tripp picture...I am proud of this shirt!

We did not win anything for the stall decorations. Hmpf! But it was fun! Brian and I have been wearing our tie-dye shirts, and people would stop us to let us know that they knew what stall we came from. It is pretty cool!

Okay, here is the 'L' and gate. It freaked out a lot of horses - then again there were a lot that trotted right in there. I need to learn how to prepare for something like this. Tripp really did try, but I think with him being alone out there, and me being nervous, it was a recipe for something other than what they wanted. :-)

I was excited to be one of the first ones to go this morning - but after sitting there watching some of the others who were having problems, I learned that there is so much more I could have done to salvage the course itself. My mind just doesn't work that way, so I will have to retrain it.

I have a story to share I forgot to tell the other night. I have never had hay bags before, but we got one for the trip down here. I had it hanging in the stall the first day, but it made me nervous. You know Murphy's Law - if it can happen it will. I was working on my scrap book and Tripp was moving around but looked like he was limping. Then he moved again and it looked like he was holding his leg up and I got scared - just could not image what happened to make him hold that leg up. I looked in and he had his foot in the hole of the hay bag! Nobody was around but me, and I was internally freaking out! I have to tell ya, Tripp was awesome! I went in there and he stood still. That leg was as high as my lower waist and he let me heave ho it a little bit to get it out. I was so proud of him for not fighting it! It took me a full 2 seconds to get that bag out of there! I will put it back up in the trailer, but that is it.

That is all I can think of for now. How do show people do this? It is after midnight, and we need to be up early again. I want to be there early enough to get a seat to watch the Legends perform. The days have been full ones and there isn't time to rest.

Tonite we watched the yearling finals and it was great!
We also got a mini concert put on by Templeton Thompson. She sings a lot about horses...very cool!

Okay, I really am headed to bed.

Until later....Karen and Tripp

Wednesday Pictures....Thursday Update

Good morning! I was going to try to update this last night but it didn't work out. We have been so tired and just haven't got much sleep. We got out of the talent show last night and Angela and Jessi called me. Hi guys!!! :-) I was thinking it was 11:00 at night and it was only 9:30! I was so excited about getting to bed after taking Tripp for a walk.

It was a gorgeous night and we walked and trotted around the outdoor arena. It felt so good to get out.....we decided that even tho we are having sooooo much fun, we aren't stall material. :-) We are ready to go home and have some weeds to munch on. Even the weeds in the sidewalks here aren't appetizing to him.

GIRTH AREA UPDATE: It is still very touchy as of last night, so I put more ointment on it, with a couple of added essential oils to help. Brian thinks he will be okay this morning....I sure hope so! If we can get thru this, we can be done until Sunday. Because of this, we have practiced cantering, so if we do get to show, we might or might not try it....will depend on him and his actions. There is also that rope gate that has fake plants hanging on it.....hmmmmm, I don't see good things coming out of that either. But it will be fun trying!

Here are some pix from Wednesday:

This is the hallway to our stall area - The Duke is our neighbor to the right. When we first got here, there was nobody back there.

We got our decorations up, or most of them anyways, and Brian is napping in front of the stall. Why is it guys can nap so easily? Is it because of the cowboy hat? Maybe I do need to get me one of those! Ha ha!

We were in one of the practice arenas walking around. This leads out to a side street, and we stood out there and watched the golf carts go back and forth.

Practice arena Wednesday evening......he handled everyone running around very nicely. It was hard to get to the obstacles because there were quite a few people - and some people would stay there and do it over and over again instead of just a couple of times and getting back in line.


We did our Conditioning and In Hand. Conditioning went very well for him! Yay! In Hand was not bad, but could have been better. We did trot when we were supposed to, but when we got to the trailer he would not just walk up there. He did paw it once - so I decided not to fight that battle and I walked in. He freaked me out a little bit.....he got both front feet in and hesitated. When he hesitates, he usually backs out again, and I didn't want to pull on him in front of everyone. Hee hee!!! He was standing there and I was literally begging him to come in. :-) I figure they could not hear me or see the desperation on my face since I was inside the trailer. He came in and I backed him out after a couple of bumps on the folded back divider. I was still happy.

Now to the feet. We lifted the first one and my cell phone rings! For those of you who don't know, I have a donkey braying as my cell ring.....so here I am, all nervous, lifting feet, and a donkey brays in my pocket! I tried to ignore it, but it frazzled me. By this time also, Tripp was ready to move on, so we did get the other feet lifted, but it was rough, and once he walked away and I had to go get him. It was all very casual so I was fine.

The 'L' was not as smooth as we usually do it, but like I said, he was getting ancey.

All in all I am very pleased with how we did! Woo hoo!
But let me tell you all this. I am an early bird when I don't know what is going on. I don't know how long it takes to go thru this stuff, so I was waiting when the Star division started......we were out there a long time meandering around waiting for our division, then waiting for our turn. It was all that waiting that got him going. So for those of you who have never done this before - don't be too early! ha!

Last night was the Stang Stage. It was a talent contest, and it was pretty good. I wish I had the kind of talent that could put me up there...but I don't. I commend all of them for getting up there and doing their stuff. There was singing of serious songs, funny songs, a few comedians, a juggler, and scripture reader (which sounds dry but was awesome!) and a couple of poetry readers. The poems were great! Of course they were about mustangs....a couple of them were tear jerkers! Very cool.

Then we took Tripp walking, and even tho it was 9:30 after the show, it was 11:30 when we got back to the room.

Okay, I hate to predict anything, but I want to come back this afternoon to take a nap....we will see. I still need to walk around and find everyone we have been chatting with on the blogs.

Lynn Decker and I have been hanging out too. Her horse is Jimbo and he is a big dude too.

I have to get ready to get out of here.....gotta go feed Tripp and check out that girth line.

Will update later!

Karen and Tripp

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We are in Texas! Ya hoo!!!!

Well crap! Something has happened and I am typing this in a Word Doc, then I will paste it into a new entry. I can open my Draft copy, but I can’t edit it or even post it as is. I tried to do this earlier today, but there have been Internet issues here at the hotel. Oh well…….so here goes again.

Hello! This is going to be short and sweet (yeah right!) because it is almost midnight, and we didn’t get much sleep last night.

We drove most of the day, got to our overnight spot, I got to ride Tripp a little bit and he did pretty good in spite of him being in a new spot and not being ridden for a week.

Not much sleep to be had….we slept in the truck. Actually Brian slept in the truck with the seat kicked back, and I slept outside on the hay bales. Two were flat and the middle one was on it’s side, so I had a hard time getting comfy. I wanted to be outside to listen to the night sounds. We got night sounds alright! Where we stayed, they just got thru separating mares from weanlings, and that is what we heard most of the night. Them and these sea gull type birds.

It got to be about 50 degrees out, and I was glad I had my good thick blanket. My only problem was when I kicked it off down to my waist, and I woke up with a layer of dew on me from the waist up. Brrrrr!!!!

I woke up at 3:00 and stayed up. I know I slept because I dreamt a little bit. I layed there all toasty in my blanket and waited for Brian to get up. We ended up on the road about 4:45 a.m. and rolled into town about 8:30 a.m. Dang! Traffic was atrocious! No need to remind me why I don’t live in the city!

We got checked in early and found our stall. It is at the end of an aisle…we were the first ones down there and it was like walking down a prison hallway! Okay, I don’t know that to be fact – it is what I would imagine prison hallways to be like. 

We got Tripp settled in and let him eat some hay and drink a little bit of water. Later on we took him for a walk. There is a small practice area close to our stalls so we hung out there for a while and did some basic ground work, and I let him sniff around on stuff.

There are time slots for each level/hip numbers to use the practice arena during the day. We headed that direction and I rode him a little bit. He was very jiggy with me. He is a touchy guy anyways, but he was excessively touchy and crabby. I even took the saddle off because something wasn’t right with him. I put it back on, rechecked it again, and took off. He was okay at the walk, but the trot was not good. He kept humping his back and swishing that tail. I knew something wasn’t right, I just didn’t know what it was. We rode over and around the obstacles I could….there were several people hanging out at each one for quite a long time. I never did get to ride him thru the ‘L’.

I didn’t stay out there very long – maybe ½ hr tops – and that is when I realized I was not nervous (YET!), I realized I was scared! Of what exactly? Don’t know. Part of it is being intimidated by other trainers levels – which is crazy! That is why there are different levels. So all of us can participate and show what we did with our different skill levels. Part of it is Tripp – with him acting so cranky, I was thinking that he was going to throw me on my head during the horse course!

Tonite I was going to saddle him up and head back down there, and I found part of his problem. The girth rubbed him! I really thought I checked it to make sure it wasn’t pinching him or curled under. It isn’t just one spot – it is the whole girth area. It isn’t a rub spot – it is swollen like it is very irritated. He even bit at me and kicked at me when I was brushing that area – and that is not him at all. So yes, now I am totally freaked out because I am worried about it not healing in time for the horse course. Maybe part of it is dehydration from the trip? Don’t know….one of the people who have a booth set up here has some ointment stuff they put in our ‘freebie’ bag, so I will put that on it tomorrow. I am hoping by tomorrow evening he will be better. I am using a neoprene girth and have for quite a while……HELP!

If I can’t ride the horse course, I will be soooooo disappointed! Will I regret coming this far if I can’t ride it? Heck no! That is what I signed up for…it is part of it! Period!

The horse course – they have a gate! He isn’t very good at scootching up to things, so don’t know how that will go. The worst that can happen is we don’t do it and I get a 0.

Anyways, that is all I have time for now. By the time I get this pasted in a new entry, it is going to be after midnight…..
We need to be lined up at 8:00 in the morning for the In Hand and body conditioning. They are doing the conditioning while we are in line for the In Hand.

Oh yeah…..WE GOT COOL SHIRTS!!!! Woo hoo! I will try to have pictures on here tomorrow.

You all give us some good thought on that girth issue! :-)

Until later…..Karen and Tripp

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wow...the time has come! We leave in the morning!

It has been a few days since I posted because I have not ridden for a few days. We have had so much darned rain, so between that and crazy schedules this past week, it wasn't my time to ride. I am going to try to take him out tonite for a little while just to find out if I remember how to ride! Ha ha!
He is smart, so he will fall right back into gear.

I will start with the GREAT news! This is actually a two parter......#1 - I ordered another bitless bridle and got it in! Yay! #2 - Brian got a call from a guy who lives by the arena, and he took the bridle because he thought it was leather and he didn't want it getting rained on. It is hanging in his garage - we will go get it tonite. The funny thing is I work with his sister, but she had not had time to talk to him about it yet. I am very excited!

We had our mustang adoption this weekend in Sedalia, MO and the plan was to take Tripp. The adoption was almost cancelled due to the mud, and I was advised not to take Tripp (of course wishing I had once I got there!). The trucks could not get into the original place the pens were set up - they moved the pens and the adoption was back on again! Yay! They did leave Saturday night instead of Sunday, but all in all they did alright.

We are leaving for Texas in the morning (Tuesday), will stay the night south of Oklahoma City, then Wednesday morning roll in to Fort Worth. I can't believe that we are this close already. I am too stressed out about getting everything packed to be nervous yet. I have a long list of things to grab, and don't think for a minute that I left Tripp off that list! I have visions of getting a couple hours down the road and remembering that I forgot Tripp! ACK!
We don't even have our stall decorations finished yet. I also need to finish the scrap book. The scrap book is going either way.....it is almost done.

This has been one of the most incredible things I have ever done and I am very sad to see this journey end. On the other hand I am excited because I am wondering what new journey awaits me.

I am trying not to think about adoption day. I think I will be able to bring him home, but you just never know.

We are going to try and update the blog from down there...so keep checking back.

After we get back from TX, I will be heading out of town for 3 weeks for work. I originally was headed to Baton Rouge, LA, but that can change between now and then. Will depend on where the stormy winds blow me. Perfect timing because we had a bunch of repairs done to the truck. I thought I just needed tires, but it turns out I needed ball joints, shocks, etc. So now all that is done...and I am so glad I get to work overtime those weeks!
While I am gone, if we bring him home, Tripp will go out in the weed field with the other horses to be a real horse for a bit. He has been wanting to go out there....he stands at the fence and just gazes at the others. I told Brian to keep a close eye on him the first couple of days to make sure nobody picks on him. And I am already prepared for all the green fuzz ball things that get in their manes and forelocks! Every single one of our horses is just full of them, and other than having a nice groomed pasture, which is a future project, I don't know how to get rid of those things.

Jill, thank you for my charm! :-) I am going to keep it close! You are a gem, and it was so nice to finally meet you in person!

Signing off but not for the last time.....
Until later....
Karen and Tripp

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Woo hoo! Five days until we leave!!!!

I have been bad about updating this. I am excited about the trip, I am nervous about the trip, and just a bunch of stuff has been going on.

Sunday I was so tired I didn't do a thing except go out and love on everyone a little bit. I don't know what was wrong with me....I felt good except for the feeling of blah. Figured it would not have been good to get in the saddle feeling that out of it.

Monday, we ran errands and got home too late to do anything.

Tuesday I took my lunch late which got me out of work an hour early. The plan was to take a trail ride and relax - I needed it. Then I was going to call Dona and head to her place to practice what we did the week before and work on finessing my cues.

Well.....I got home, the weather is great, I get Tripp saddled before I left (usually I brush and saddle him at my ride site....it is therapy for me) and I could not find my new bitless bridle. I was digging thru the truck, where I keep everything because of the crazy schedules right now, I looked thru the house, which is a cluttered mess, and I even checked the barn even tho I knew I didn't have a reason to take it out there. NO BRIDLE! Now I am in panic mode...I backtrack and realize I took it off him at the arena and put it on a post, then walked him out to unsaddle him, and brought him back in to practice trotting. I was so excited he seemed to have the trot down, that I was focusing on him so much, I walked right by it! That was my middle of the night revelation! Anyways, we loaded up and headed to Sturgeon! I didn't expect to find it but I was hoping....nope, not there. But I know that is where I left it. So needless to say I am sick to my stomach, because this close to the event, I don't have time to change tactics. I was told that Tripp would be fine going into a snaffle bit, that it was ME who wasn't fine. I told her she was right...and since I am not comfortable with it, I can't do it. I will ride in the halter first because that is what we started with. If I had an extra week, I would have gone to the snaffle. But this weekend is our only mustang adoption for the state of Missouri, and we are going to be there. That is not the place I wanted to try and transition him into a bit.

What I will say is I wish I would have watched a Chris Cox show on RFD earlier. It was a May episode (I am very behind....they are there when I get time). He talked about how he used to put the bit on them and let them hang out to get used to it, which is what I did with Tripp and after 3 evenings in a row, I could not handle it any more. In this show Chris mentions that he does it different now.....he puts the bit in and immediately starts flexing. It gives them something else to think about and they get used to it quicker. Great information for next time.

Right now my only worry was getting him to stop. He does alright with me 'sitting' him to a stop, but sometimes I still need to pick up the reins. He had to relearn it from the halter to the bitless, and I know he could have learned this too, but with the short amount of time, I didn't want to accidentally pull on that mouth too much....so yes, it was a 'me' thing.

Anyways, to make a long story longer, I did order another bitless from a U.S. distributor and got it today. I also put up LOST signs in Sturgeon and talked to a few people. I don't really expect to see it again - but I can still hope.

I did end up going for a short trail ride that night I realized the bridle was gone. We both needed it, and enjoyed it. I sat by the lake a while, and he munched grass by the big horse eating rocks.
I used the halter, and he did fine. He did pull away from me a couple times when food was involved, but I got him back. Other than that, he was great. There are some things I love about the halter, and other things I love about the bitless. Now if I can figure out what it is that makes him respond the way he does, I could build something to suit him better. :-) Will do that in my free time....

Tomorrow after several unexpected truck repairs (better now than on the road), we are headed to the mustang adoption in Sedalia. It is supposed to be a rainy weekend...I hope there are adopters out there who are not afraid to get a little wet or muddy.

That is about it....just alot of trying to figure out our trip.

It is hard to believe we are this close. I saw the final number of trainers is down to 132 (unless more have dropped out after I looked at it). I projected 150 to 175 to be there....I was a little off. I wish everyone could have made it. I know 'stuff' just happens sometimes that can't be helped, but it still stinks. Maybe another time, and to those of you who are still going even tho your horse can't be there, stop by to visit Tripp and I!

Gotta go pack for the weekend now.....
Will write again before we head out. :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday...September 6th

We spent most of the day in Columbia running errands. I have not been in town on a Saturday in a long time, and add football game to the mix and it is even more of a mess! It all reminded me why I normally don't go to town on the weekend! Makes me very very cranky! GET ME HOME!!!!

Tripp and I went to the arena this evening and got done before the rain started. Yep! Good timing!
The arena was very muddy in spots - could not even walk thru them without slipping, so I had to be careful. There are short sand strips along the edges and one down the middle that was usable so I stuck to them as much as possible. Sometimes Tripp had a different idea tho. When we were cantering to the left, he wanted to go towards the middle. I had his head bent all the way to the right and was
bumping him with my left leg - which usually works - but not tonite. BUT....what he did do good was starting off on the correct lead, and once we even started the canter from a walk! SWEET! I did laugh tho......he brought his front end up and made this huge 'GRUNT' sound before he took off. He was letting me know it was more work than what he wanted to do. Ha ha! It was a nice slow rocking chair
canter too...very nice. Most of the others attempts took a couple of trot strides before he would go into it, which is still good if you ask me. And only one butt hop tonite!

We also worked on the side-pass stuff along the fence. He was watching something which I think helped. He got tired of me 'asking' him to move, then he would move over. It was almost huffy, like he was saying "Oh all right!" Then he would go back to watching whatever it was that he could see that I couldn't.

Trotting on the lead....when we were done I gave that a shot. We got an 'F' on our trotting grade card! So I unsaddled him and took him back in the arena and we tried again and again. We finally got it, so I trotted him all different directions on three separate occasions. He does stay a little more behind me than what I care for tho....I don't want him to all of a sudden feel all spunky and run me over, or bring those front hooves up when I am watching where I am going! But then
again he can do that even if was beside me....let's just hope he doesn't.

We only stayed out there about an hour, but it was a very productive hour.

We got quite a bit of rain this evening, and I don't know what is supposed to happen tomorrow....will play it by ear.

That is it for tonite...probably one of my shortest posts. :-)

Hope everything is doing well!
Until later...Karen and Tripp

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What a wonderful night in the neighborhood....

No pictures tonite because I was focused on getting Tripp thru the yard to the trailer without slipping and falling in the mud. And darn it! This would have been a good night for pictures! Oh well....

Last weekend Tripp and I went trail riding and I met two new friends (mentioned on previous post). I was telling them all about the Makeover, and the more we rode the more impressed they were with Tripp for the amount of time he has been under saddle. Tripp even spooked at a large horse eating log, jumped in the air (not very high) and landed in the same spot, looked and snorted at it. Then he walked away. They thought that was pretty cool too. And I admit, I think it is pretty keen! :-) Much easier than a runaway spook! Dona offered to have me come over to her place so she could work with me on a couple of things for the competition - there were some things she noticed that she thought she could help me with, and she really wants us to do well. Tonite was the night...

First let me say that I don't like it getting dark earlier...now that I have that out of my system I will share what a great time I had!

I can say that I have had my first riding lesson - EVER! Woo hoo! She says I do alright, but my body needs some shifting around to be centered correctly. I am much tighter on one side than the other, so I need to be doing stretches, etc. (which I should be doing anyways) Hand position is also a little sloppy.
We also worked on Tripp's flexing, and me just doing what needs to be done to get him to go somewhere - I have to quit responding to things he is looking at.....and we did more but I just have to tell you this! Guess what we did??? GUESS!!!! We side passed! Oh my gosh, it felt so awesome! I think I only got a couple of really good ones done, but the others were fair, and some were....well, they just weren't. :-) But I have the general idea, and if I can put it all together and practice what I was taught tonite, I should be able to do this in no time at all! I have also learned that the term 'no time at all' can mean 1 day, 1 week, or even 1 month or more. Either way, I am very excited about this!

I worked around some cones to help with the side-pass, and it also helped me start preparing him for lead changes when I started figure 8's. Okay, I was told to do a figure 8 - so I was doing an 8. What I needed to be doing was a double horse-shoe figure 8 shape....oooohhhhhh - finally got it! And it was much easier! Doing this tonite makes me not so scared about trying to teach lead changes to him, because if I do what I am supposed to at the walk and trot, the canter will follow suit. I am going to practice it, but I am still not going to stress over it for the competition. If it works out, great, if not, great too.

At the trot, if it is smooth enough, I don't post. I am not a good poster so I avoid it. Well, tonite I learned that I wasn't doing it right! No wonder I wasn't good at it...I was making it harder than what it should be. So posting is also on the agenda to practice. Along with diagonals. I don't know why, but this is a hard one for me to grasp. But I will get it....

Oh my gosh, we spent a couple of hours going over some basic stuff, and my brain is on overload! She had one of her horses saddled up and she rode too - some examples were easier to follow with her in the saddle. She has a foxtrotter and her name is Sassy. Sassy might be sassy at times, but she was a gem tonite! To watch Dona and Sassy ride, I was thinking of dancing. They move like a team, and I want that kind of responsiveness and smoothness with Tripp.

Since we got a bunch more rain and it is muddier than heck again, Sharon from The Horse Farm offered me the use of her indoor arena, so I will be going over there tomorrow to practice a while. Then this weekend I will call Dona to see if our schedules match up. We want to work in more daylight if we can. Plus Brian has not seen her Haflinger, Magic, yet. It was too dark tonite by the time we got done.

So there you have it....and it really is a short version of all the information I have floating around in my head. Dona told me that for not having any instruction, I do pretty good. Whew! She is also pleased with Tripp's progress for the short amount of time we have been together. I think she is just as excited about the EMM as we are now! :-)

I do have one other 'Stupid Karen Trick' story to share. Last night it was very cool outside, so I was opening windows and doors. The back door has a double screen that I have to fight with because it falls off the track. I was tackling them and saw something out of the corner of my eye move - there was a big wasps nest in the corner of the doorway! Those big reddish brownish ones that are mean! I get the wasp spray and spray the nest, close the door and go out to feed the critters. When I come back there are still some moving around, and a couple are really mad! You know how they stay in one spot and move those wings so fast you can't see them? They were doing that - I was a target!
I get the wasp spray again, and peek around the corner of the door jam carefully, then I spray at the nest again. I was concentrating so much on not getting my face attacked by them, I had the can of spray too close to the door jam, and it hit that and ricocheted right into my face! HOLY CRAP! That stuff burns! It could have been a lot worse tho.....but still. Lesson for the day - don't do that!

Okay, signing off now.
Until later....Karen and Tripp (who side-passed!) :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Have Health Certificate ... Will Travel!

I woke up at 3:00 this morning with a tummy full of butterflies! I was nervous about the event coming up, which is crazy! I keep telling myself that whatever happens, happens, and to just have fun, etc. Well, those butterflies don't understand English! ACK!

Then I got to thinking we are leaving in two weeks and I still need to call the vet about the health certificate and my farrier/trimmer about checking Tripp's feet to make sure they are balanced. I have trimmed them a couple of times, and like I have said the in past, they look okay from the bottom, but the tops are just weird to me! I have never had a pigeon toed horse.

The vet worked me in today, so I have the Health Cert. Woo hoo! I have never traveled out of state with a horse, so this is all new to me. The exam didn't take that long at all. The longest part was talking Tripp into getting his temperature taken, and he seemed to know there were no armpits or tongues involved! With all the stuff I was trying to find to expose him to, it never occurred to me to have him comfy back 'there'! Now I know for next time.

I called Julie Plaster, my farrier/trimmer, and she lives in the same town as the vet so met me there. I thought we would do a quickie check them over, let me know what I need to do, and she could hustle out of there because she has been very busy. Nope. First of all, Julie is a talker, so we have to schedule for that too. :-) But we had fun with Tripp's feet because of his crooked legs, etc. We talked about how he has grown and matured, and he compensates for the 'twist', and how he wears his feet. Watching him walk is cool because you would expect him not to land level - but he does. Julie thought that was cool too. She is a hoof junkie, which is great for me too because I am always learning something from her! He has a very good hoof capsule and is sound, so all is good. I got a nice mini-class out of it too, which is a bonus.

Tripp was a gentleman most of the time, but he did try to swing those rears a few times. On his last foot he decided he had enough. His cute little face scrunched up and he wasn't so cute any more, and that tail started swishing.....just as Julie mentioned his tail, I was telling her about his change of expression and to be careful. Julie gave him 'what for' and he decided this tiny petite woman was someone to be reckoned with. He had a tiny bit of fear for a while, then settled down and sulked. He really did do good for as long as he had to stand there. He is still learning patience.

Sounds like it is supposed to cool off the next few days - and let's add big chances of rain to that mix. Not good.....don't have time for too much rain.
Went out at 5:45 this morning and it was very muggy out, and it was the same thing tonite. All we did was walk around obstacles and I loved on them all for a while.

Oh, yesterday's report on Tripp's trotting not good, right?
Today he trotted every single time I asked him! Go figure.....
But he didn't want to load in the trailer with me on the ground. Is he just pushing me because he can? I always win in the end, so I would think he would get tired of wasting his time. Sometimes he is a challenge, that is for sure!

That is all for now.....
Until later....Karen and Tripp

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day! Monday, September 1st....

No words needed for this one.....

I walked out the door at 8:00 this morning and knew it was going to be another warm day. It was so humid, and there was not that cool edge to the air that makes mornings so wonderful. Better get to the arena!

This morning we worked on the same stuff - especially cantering. I just need to be careful not to burn him out on it. Today was not as good as last night was, but it was still alright. Last night he was probably too tired to argue with me. This morning he was well rested and thought arguing was an option.
Butt hops were at a minimum, so that is progress, and I did steer him different directions, but the stinker would up and stop with no warning, then turn the other way! I started questioning my body language.....I had to have done something that made him think that was what he was supposed to do. I really could not figure out if it was me or him....so I treated it like it was both of us. I was careful with what I was telling him, and if he didn't go with it I was more firm in my 'asking'.

Here we are going around the corner...

The dude loves to trot, but cantering just isn't so much fun for him. Actually that isn't true....on the trail we will canter and he seems happy to do it. I think he just doesn't like arena work. I try to change things up a lot because I don't like arena work either. I will say this tho - it is teaching me patience! I have learned so much working with Tripp, and one of the things is if something is not working, back up a step, start over, and give it another try. Being in the arena has given us a good place to work on some of those things that would have been more of a challenge at home on the uneven ground.

Brian planted himself in the announcer stand to take pictures. I think the breeze was better up there too. :-)

For the competition I would like the right leads, but at this point I am not going to stress over it too much. I just want him to give me a nice canter in a straight line when I ask him. To set him up for the correct lead I was starting in the corners, and after reviewing some of the video's, that seems to be working. He would fall down to a trot, and when I started him back up again he would pick up the correct lead again. Now I need to learn how to cue the correct lead and see how that goes. I kind of know...but 'kind of' doesn't get it. :-)

After we were done I let Tripp loose in the arena hoping he would run and run and stretch those legs. Nope - there was scrubby grass in there that he thought he needed to eat. I had to run after him and he would run a couple of steps, then stop. I did get him moving a couple of times, and once he did give me the big kick in the air I was looking for. This is the pre-kick......

He would scoot around me, then face up with me. I was pleased with that.

This evening we played with the obstacles and jumped over the barrels. We also worked on our trotting on the lead. Every single time I asked him last week he did it! I was very excited. Today, nope, not doing it. So tonite I had Brian chasing us around to get him going. We would keep going and once Tripp realized Brian was not close, he would go back to the walk. We did that a few times, decided that it was a good time to stop, and that was mainly because I thought I was going to pass out! Not literally, but dang that is work! So, we might or might not get that trot on the lead. I am not giving up tho! :-)

That is about it for now.

Until later.....Karen and Tripp

Love long weekends....but not so long until we leave for Texas! ACK!

I have used my new Nurtural bitless bridle 5 different times now. I thought he was pulling on it more and tossing his head more than he was with the halter. I figured that was due to the pressure feeling being different, and sometimes he gets cranky when he is learning something new. After a trail ride with me feeling like I had NO control when he got excited, I adjusted the nose band. I had it very loose....it is a me thing - I don't like feeling constricted and just the thought of it stresses me out. I adjusted it the way the directions suggested, and last night he did much better with it! Yay!

Saturday morning we headed to the neighboring town arena and I worked on everything we have been working on up until now. I also needed to get a head shot of myself for the catalog brochure for the EMM. Somewhere along the line they were not getting my e-mails. I sent in a picture with the application, and I sent them the name of my horse the first day they asked, so I have been ignoring the e-mails that were going out 'reminding' us to get our stuff in. OOPS! I didn't have a clue they didn't have it.....so, I got that done. Considering how many horses they are going to have in Texas, and how many activities that are going on, I am surprised they can keep everything straight! My hat goes off to them! Along with a big THANK YOU for helping to make this happen!

Here is the picture I sent them.....

I did a lot of walk/trot/canter again, and he was back into butt hop mode! There was only one that was big enough to throw me forward on the horn - OUCH! Other than that, they were small and he just appeared to be annoyed. I checked my gear to make sure all was well, and I sure could not find anything amiss. Sooooo, the more he butt hopped, the more I asked him to canter. I think it went pretty well all things considered. I got him going both directions, I did NOT feel like I was riding a billy goat, and I was steering him different directions. He falls out of the canter, but that is okay. We will get it. He did okay with the new bridle - it was when he had attitude that it didn't help me. Learning process.....

Saturday evening I had plans to ride again, but Brian asked me if I wanted to go to The Junction for dinner.....I went into mustang mode and was food motivated. :-) Dinner it is!

SUNDAY - AUGUST 31st - originally that morning I was going to head to the arena, and that evening to the trail. Brian had a bad migraine, so I headed to the trail first. I thought my camera was in the truck - I thought wrong. So I took pix with my cell phone. That is fine and dandy, but I can't figure out how to get them loaded to the computer. My phone didn't come with software, I had to use a cord from my camera box that fit, I downloaded a driver, but nothing is working. I guess I will have to e-mail them to myself? Don't know....will figure it out later.


It is Labor Day weekend and I knew it would be busy at Rudolf Bennitt. The place I usually park had quite a few trucks and trailers, so I headed to the parking area by the shooting range. There were a lot there too, but I found a spot where I didn't have to do any tricky maneuvering.

Another truck pulled in right after I got parked and it was two gals who were riding together, and they invited me to go with them. I warned them that Tripp was very green and has not rode the trails with other horses. They didn't have a problem with that as the Haflinger that one of the gals was riding is also green.

Group Picture of my new trail riding buddies.

Left to right: Laura on Saddlebred mare Tramp, me on Tripp, and Donna on Haflinger Magic. This was taken at the Trailside Cafe, which is close to one of the bigger campgrounds. We had stopped for something to drink and munchies.

On the trail...

As a whole, the ride was good. I have not ridden with a group in a long time and I didn't want to be in anybody's way...I got over that pretty quick. Donna and Laura are not crazy riders, so the ride was nice and relaxing most of the time.

I was warned about the group by the Trailside....trail etiquette is usually 'different', so it would be best to just get out of the way when they come by. That is no joke! Well, when one group came up on our tail, poor Tripp just could not comprehend what was going on. Not to mention he was pooping...and he is not a pooper/walker yet. Where I came from you slow down until you know what the situation is just in case someone is on a nervous horse, having problems, etc. You all know what I am talking about - common sense and courtesy. One group went by and their horses were bumping Tripp's butt, and not lightly either, and he just lost it and took off running down the hill and up the other side. That is the one time I felt I had no control with that bridle! I finally got him stopped and there was a spot off the trail I could get him to. None too soon either.....because here came another couple of groups of riders. I kept Tripp out of the way, but he was not happy about the situation.

One guy did holler at us "Hey! Is that one of those Extreme horses?" and I said it was and this is his first time with a big group - he usually rides by himself and the gal with the guy hollered "It is good for him!" I just said that it was, and that is why I was there. They didn't even slow down.

I was glad when they all went by! There was nothing relaxing about that, and that is the perfect example of why too much booze and riding don't mix! I guess I should be happy they were not out driving, right? :-)

The smaller groups were not bad - it seemed to be the bigger groups that were more than what I care to be around. Just personal preference. :-)
Later on we saw one of the groups that passed us, and one of the guys was slapping the crap out of the side of his horses face over and over again.....that did not settle well with me either. It made me sick to my stomach and sad at the same time.....They were on another trail on the other side of the road from us.

Then a little bit down the trail I smacked Tripp on the side of his face with my hand! I felt like a hypocrite! He pinned his ears and went after Tramp, and I didn't want him biting or kicking at Tramp and Laura so the first thing I had was his face turning around by my left leg and I smacked it. Yes, he is fine, it was me who wasn't. I am still fretting over something that got his attention, changed his mind, and he moved on!

Tripp got to experience being in the lead, being in the middle, and bringing up the tail. He was exposed to a lot of things out there.

We also rode by the shooting range, and this time the guys with the 'cannon' were there! I don't know what it is, but that thing BOOMS big time! We had been listening to the normal shooting and that was not a big deal. Then that darn cannon went off! I jumped - Tripp flinched. :-) They kept shooting it off and Tripp ignored it. The other girls commented on how well Tripp was doing, and maybe they needed mustangs! I let them know that I have a mustang at home - Wendigo - that would not be as calm about it, so I think their horses are pretty good. :-)

Donna, Laura and I exchanged numbers so we can meet up again. In spite of crazy riders, it was a nice morning/afternoon. I met them about 11:00 and we got back after 3:00.

I gave him a 3 hour break and we headed back to the arena. After the 'runaway' incident, and after him having a few sessions of head tossing, I decided to adjust the new bridle as recommended and give it another chance. It worked wonders! He still pulls a little bit, but not more than he did with the halter. It was a very good evening! I had forgotten how early it gets dark.......

We had a beautiful sunset....

Brian wanted a short ride on him too - he wanted to feel that trot....it was getting dark so most of the pictures didn't show up. Here is one that kind of works.

It was a full day and Tripster was a tired dude and I was a tired dudette! Both times at the arena and on the trail he worked up a good sweat. He did not give me a frothy sweat at all - it was all clear sweat which is good sweat. The other two horses from the trail ride were big horses, and they also had a clear sweat. They go to several different local places to trail ride quite a bit, so their horses are used to it and in shape.

That is all I can think of for Saturday/Sunday...

Until later....Karen and Tripp