Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mare-y Christmas!

To all from me and the ponies!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost Christmas...

Here are a few of the photos from Saturday.

Rem, bucking and playing in the snow. I saw both him and Luna slip and flop over on their sides while they were playing. It was pretty funny.

An artistic shot of Chocolate that Aubrey took.


Saturday night Aubrey volunteered to back Luna for me. I said go for it! I'm still too fat
to climb up on her :-)

Luna was good, but a little nervous. Rem was making all kinds of noise because he thought he should have some attention, so Luna was a little distracted. I don't have any photos of it, but Aubrey did get all the way on. I was the anchor so my hands were occupied!

I went into work a little early today and was lucky enough to be able to leave early with the rest of the office! YAY! I don't have to go back to work until next Monday. I am going to go take advantage of the afternoon and nap... how exciting.

I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And the winner is...

Tracey of Mustang Diaries! Tracey, if you'll please email me at: jessica dot willyerd at gmail dot com with your painting choice and your shipping address, I'd be glad to get it in the mail on Monday!

Thank you all for entering!

Many of you asked if I knew anyone competing in the Midwest Mustang Challenge this year, and so far I only know of a few....

Siobhan will be blogging about her experience in the challenge at Spinnin & Slidin, Lopin & Dreamin.

I talked to Tracy Porter, who competed last year and her friend TJ Clibborn will be in the challenge. He competed in the Ft. Worth competition and did pretty well. I am close enough that I could probably stop by and get some updates on their progress.

That is all I know for now, and until they get a list posted of all the trainers, I probably won't know much else.

Well, Aubrey is home and we've got about 10 inches of snow on the ground, so we're going to take some photos of the ponies today. I'll share when I get home!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Name and a Giveaway!

Well, now that this blog is less about the mustang challenge, and more about me and my horses in general, I figured I had better include the girls on the name. So, Two Appaloosas and a Mustang it is! I know, very creative...

Andrea, at Mustang Saga has been doing a few giveaways, and has inspired me to do one of my own! The rules are simple, just leave a comment and you have a chance to win your choice of an original painting done by me!! I don't care if you've never commented before, or if you're even a member of blogger, just leave me a comment and you could win!! It doesn't matter what you say, let me know what you think of the new name and color scheme, or just say hello! The contest will end on Friday, December 19th. Then I will draw a name out of those who left me a comment.

Here are the paintings, if you win you get to choose one.

8 by 10 acrylic portrait of Remington

9 by 12 portrait of a bald faced chestnut horse.

The Clinic

We made it to the Ranch horse clinic and back. I was a little worried about the roads, but everything turned out fine. I was a little delayed in the morning because the trailer hitch was full of snow and ice, and the blocks were frozen to the ground. Not to mention, Remington decided that he should not have to load in the trailer at 6:30 a.m. My plans were to leave at 6, but we were the first ones to the clinic anyway. I got Rem settled in a stall and then just waited around for it to start. Rem was thankful for a chance to eat breakfast.

The first portion of the clinic was showmanship and conformation. Not sure what I was expecting, but most of the things covered were things I've already learned in 4H, but it seemed many of the other participants were adults who didn't really have that opportunity. I never did make Remington into much of a showmanship horse, so that part of the clinic wasn't really much fun to me. When we moved on to conformation, the clinician had us set up our horses to make them look their best. Considering Rems legs are as crooked as the governor of Illinois, there's really nothing I could do to make them look good. I tried anyway by "hand setting" them... I went to pick up his left front and was dumb about it, bending over in front of him. He decided to offer me his right front and his knee bonked me in the forehead. Haha, whoops, that was embarrassing. Right about then I decided to become more of a spectator to those around me. Remington won't be entering any halter classes any time soon. He then went on to fall asleep, which was fine with me. I enjoyed watching the other participants set up their nicely conformed horses :-)

Next up was Horsemanship. I was hoping to make use of the large indoor arena to get some loping work done, but with 10 horses, it was a little bit crazy. Rem is still pretty green at the lope so in order to keep us and the other participants safe, I kept the loping to a minimum. The pattern work was fun, but again, it was things I'd learned in 4H. The pattern work was really good for Remington though. We had a chance to do it twice, so our first run was a little sloppy, but the second time we improved, which was nice. The clinician talked more about the riders position than he did about the correctness of the pattern. I have a hard time riding "correctly" when I am on a green horse, and I still consider Rem to be pretty green. So, the clinician did pick on my faults a little, which was fine. It sure will be nice when I can let Rem go on a loose rein and worry about nothing but where my shoulder, hip and heel belong! :-) We then went on to do some rail work. Here I think the class should have been split, 5 on the rail and 5 in the center, because the arena wasn't that big and there were quite a few green horses in the clinic. Remington did nothing but pass horses, and we couldn't find an open spot on the rail to get comfortable. The clinician said something about "using the corners" but what are you supposed to do with a fast horse, and no open holes on the rail? Ride up someone's butt to use that corner! No thank you. I'll just run around in the middle and make it look extra fast since I'll be doing twice as many small laps around the arena! heh heh.

Lunch break followed that part. Rem had a nice break and got to finish his breakfast. I had a chili cheese dog and a rice krispie treat. So much for eating healthy...

Trail was next, and this was probably my favorite part. Of course Remington enjoyed it. The bridge they used was painted white, like the one from the competition in April. Remington looked, but never stopped moving and he went right over. He knew what these trail obstacles were all about! They had a hay bale with a steer head roping dummy attached that you had to throw a rope at. Many of the horses wouldn't stand to have a rope thrown off of them, but Rem knew what he was doing. He stood like a rock for me to rope the dummy. The trail clinician was pretty nice, and very helpful to everyone who was having trouble with the obstacles. The funniest part was when he asked me, "How is that horse bred?" heh heh.... As I was looking over the showbill for the Wisconsin Ranch Horse Association, I noticed you had to have some type of registered stock horse complete with registration papers in order to compete.... I wonder if Rem's BLM title will count? Oh well if it doesn't...

I was getting pretty tired at this point, but I wanted to stay for reining. That is pretty much what I came for. I don't know if it's because I was getting tired, and Rem was getting unresponsive and sleepy, but I found the reining part pretty boring. Again it was very basic, which is probably what I should have expected. After we did some rollback exercises and some squares, they moved on to loping circles. I decided to head out because it was getting late and I didn't want to drive home in total darkness. It was a long day for us both, but we had a lot of fun, and met some very nice people. I know I would have gotten more out of a private lesson, but sometimes it's good to get your horse out with a big group. It was really good for Rem. We haven't done anything like that for a long time, and he was a great ambassador for the mustang! We got lots of compliments.

Now I'm going to enjoy my Sunday by doing absolutely nothing, all day long.... It will be marvelous!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ranch Horse Clinic this weekend

I signed up to attend a Ranch horse clinic this weekend, put on by the Wisconsin Ranch Horse Association. I am pretty excited about this, I'm going to bring Remington and hopefully we'll both learn something.

I will be sure to update after the clinic, but I can't promise any photos. My goal for this winter is to get Rem spinning really good. I am taking lessons and I recently bought a video on spins and rollbacks by Larry Trocha. I watched it once and I'm working on watching it a second time. I haven't had a chance to try any of the exercises out yet, but he does a good job of giving you different methods to try. Most of them I have heard of, but wasn't sure how to do them exactly, so it helps to actually see him doing them. He rides horses that he says are still learning the spin, but they sure move a lot quicker than Remington ever has... then again they are probably bred for that sort of work...

The Midwest Horse Fair is only a few months away, yet again! I wish that I could participate in the Mustang Challenge, but I simply don't have the money (and we all know what happened last year...) I understand that there is not as much interest in being one of the trainers this year. The Mustang Heritage Foundation has extended the deadline (was the 1st now the 10th) I wonder why there isn't more interest, but I have a feeling it has something to do with the economy. There's just not a lot of extra money, and it takes money to participate. At least gas prices are down... last year I think I spent $150 alone on the trip down to Illinois and back to pick up the mustangs (and that was only half the money spent on gas, Jess paid the other half)! I do hope that they have enough interest to still do the competition. I would really like to be a spectator this year... much more relaxing.

Here's a photo from Thanksgiving of Aubrey and I on our mustangs. I'm not sure what the expression on my face is about, but I was supposed to be smiling, like Aubrey.