December 31, 2014

USEF Amateur Status Vent

I have been planning on getting my USEF Ammy Status back ever since I quit coaching the IHSA team. That was two years ago. There is a one year wait before you can get your ammy status back. Then, you have to send in a notarized letter, two more letters from other current senior members, and a $50 check. Then you have to wait 5 weeks or so for a board hearing. Simple? Yes, and I was happily willing to jump through those hoops.


It seems that coaching aside, I still will blow my ammy status if I so much as clip someones horse (money for horse services), sell tack trunk plans on my blog (because blog is horse related), or even ride Hugo on occasion for EB (because I board her horse). The rules IMO are a bit ridiculous. I really don't think any of those things make me a professional in regards to showing. How does any of that make someone a professional rider/horse trainer?

Despite having gotten the ball in motion, I think I will save myself $50, and those I've asked for letters, the headache of tracking down notaries. I will just keep my professional status. Most shows around here are so small that they do not separate pros from ammy's anyway. Lord knows that I won't be going to Thermal anytime soon anyway (although I can still daydream about it). I guess now I can start clipping horses again and maybe even start training the occasional horse for profit. If I'm a pro, I may as well actually be a pro. Right? So ridiculous.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 29, 2014

Re-thinking Feed

The other day I was looking out my window and noticed that Gentry was standing camped under. What! It was utterly reminiscent of how Rose always stood before I put shoes on her. I had tossed that up to mean that Rose just was too big for her feet and needed shoes. Once we put shoes on her, she did indeed start standing correctly within a week or two. She also came sound. She needed shoes it seemed.

Gentry on the other hand, has always been bare and purportedly sound, and did not stand camped under when I got him. To be fair, he doesn't stand like that all the time, but it was enough for me to scratch my head and start to think. So what the heck changed?

I put him on the LMF Super Supplement G that I always had Rose on. They are both easy keepers and do not need grain, beyond balancing out vitamins/minerals with their hay diet. That is just what the LMF is, as ration balancer. You only feed a very small amount per day. That is why I have always loved LMF. Also, it seems to keep dark horses dark in the summer. No fading, yay!

However, LMF has molasses in it. Molasses = sugar. Sugar = hoof sensitivity in barefoot horses. I always knew this, even back when I was struggling to keep Rose barefoot. However, I didn't think it was enough to actually cause any sort of hoof soreness. Now I am thinking otherwise.

I still want Gentry on a ration balancer so it was time to research this whole thing again. So I went the interwebs and I also called around to a few feed stores. I think I have decided to go with Triple Crown 30% Equine Supplement. It has NO molasses and very few carbs in general. Still has a good amount of protein, copper (keeping him from fading), and the much needed selenium.

I am curious before I buy it, do any of you have experience with Triple Crown 30%? Given the lack of molasses is it still palatable? Or do you know of another no/low sugar ration balancer that you use and would recommend?

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 26, 2014

The Grain Sled

Last week after it snowed I found myself in a slight predicament. I had to get grain for Hugo and when I got home ready to back my car up to the barn, I discovered that the driveway gate latch was frozen shut. I really did not want to haul 150 lb of grain from my garage to the barn. It's not that I can't hoist a 50lb bag of grain on my shoulder and truck through 10" of snow transversing about 150-200 feet. It's that I don't want to. There had to be an easier way. Then I saw it. Junior's purple snow sled.

The Grain Sled

I stacked the three bags of grain on the sled and hoped that I would be strong enough to pull it. Sure enough it was pretty easy. Much easier than carrying them. Remember kids, work smarter not harder! That's my motto around the farm these days.

Moochers...hoping lunch was coming early. They were disappointed.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

We woke up to a very white Christmas this morning...and it is still coming down. I think we have near a foot of snow at the moment! After presents, brunch, a rousing game of Life, and lunch, Junior went down for his nap and Hubs indulged me by taking a couple Christmas photos with Gentry.

But then, Hubs really surprised me and asked if I would take a photo of him on Gentry! This is Hub's first time ever on him and Gentry was a good boy, standing nice and still.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you and your's are having a wonderful day.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 22, 2014

Cross Ties

Gentry has made huge strides in the cross ties. After the third time in them he finally stopped attempting to paw at all and just stood quiet from the moment I put him in the grooming stall. I've been putting him in there after he eats his grain at lunch time, while Hugo finishes his up (he has a lot to eat). This gives me a chance to groom Gentry, even if he doesn't need it, and for him to get conditioned to the grooming stall. It also negates me having to play grain referee while we wait for Hugo to finish up. At this point I feel completely comfortable with him in the cross ties, and my farrier even trimmed him in the ties the other week. Such a good boy!

He's so chill I can even leave the throat latch open on the halter for grooming.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 20, 2014

Portrait Contest Painting Complete

Those of you who have read my blog for at least the last year may remember that I held a Horse Portrait Contest last December. The winner got a 8x10 acrylic painting of their photo. The winner was Dom from A Collection of Madcap Escapades. This is a photo of her standardbred gelding Oz.

Photo provided by Dom

I was really excited to make this painting and had planned on pumping it out by the end of January. Then work got in the way. I figured February. Then more work, and life got in the way. Then we listed the house and I couldn't ever leave a painting mess laying around because of showing it. It seemed, every time I planned on having time to sit down and paint, something got in the way.

Well, I've been on a bender lately, finishing up all my unfinished projects from the last year. Dom's painting was the last and final unfinished project. So, yesterday, I said enough was enough, found my paints (still boxed up from the move in August) and got down to business.

Getting it Done!

A few hours later I had finished the painting. It seriously only took me a few hours, which makes the fact that the painting is 11-months late, really sad. However, I feel that it turned out quite well and I hope that it was worth the wait for Dom. Now all I need to do is get it packed up and shipped off to her.

Finished Painting: Cold Smoke, 2014, Acrylic on Canvas

Merry Christmas Dom. Thank you for letting use your beautiful photo to create this painting.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 19, 2014

Gentry Gives Pony Rides

This past weekend, before it snowed, we had great weather on Saturday. It would have been the perfect morning to ride, except that we had planned a family Christmas related outing for Junior that morning. It was a great local community event/fundraiser and we even met up with a couple of other families that we know. Later that day we even went to a White Elephant party with Junior. It was the MOST social day we've had since Junior was born! I digress..afterward the morning festivities one of the families we met up with came back to our house and we had a bit of a play date.

This was also the first time they had been to our new house or met our horses. Everyone wanted to meet them and feed them carrots, so off we went to the fenceline. I am so glad that we have some post and rail fence for this purpose. Electric fence is not so kid friendly!

The boys were so enthralled with Gentry and Hugo, I randomly asked if they wanted to sit on them. I was not quite prepared for the enthusiastic "Yes's", but was oh so happy to oblige! So, with Hugo standing tied and out of the way, one of us leading Gentry, and the other holding the boys, we let them sit on him and even walk a bit (always holding onto the boys for immediate dismount if needed...given the lack of helmets on hand). Gentry was a perfect angel and this was (with me anyway) his first "pony ride". His ears are not pinned by the way, he was just intently focusing on us and the boys on his back.

There isn't a photo of Junior because we were not as with it to ask our friend to take a photo while he was up. Next time!

You can see the storm brewing in the background of the photos. That should of been my first clue that it was about to start snowing and there was no way that I was going to get to ride that day or any time soon. And snow it did, literally the moment our play date ended and our friends headed out our driveway.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 17, 2014


Tuesday morning I couldn't take it anymore. Those stray horses were begging me for food when I went out to feed breakfast to the boys. They had done so Monday night as well. I had noticed that no lights had been on in that house since Sunday as well (the day they got locked in to the paddock). So, I decided to walk over to our fence line and do my best to search for evidence of water.


At this point the horses were begging for hay, so I felt fairly certain that they hadn't been feed at all either. Their only source of food has been digging through 10" of snow for the grass on the edge of the barn driveway. I  guess it was a good thing for the snow, or they wouldn't have had any source of water at all. The whole situation seemed just bizarre to me. Why lock horses into a paddock and not feed/water them? At least if the gate was open they would have eventually wandered home in search of food.

I decided the best thing to do was to call the person who I suspected of being their owner, the lady caddy corner to us down the hill. I dug through the christmas rush project mess that had accumulated on what I would normally call my desk, and found the list of home owners in our neighborhood.

Taking a deep breath and reminding myself to stay switzerland-esque, I called the gal's number and was sent directly to voicemail. I left a really nice message letting her know that I thought they were her horses, where they are if she was looking for them, lack of food and water being my concern, and to call me if she needed help with anything. I received no call back.

However, within fifteen minutes she was at the paddock and the horses were gone. Yea for those horses. If they were still there this afternoon with no return call from the gal my next call was going to be to the sheriff to notify them of the lack of water/food issue. It was really hard for me not to throw them hay...but I know that is the last thing you want to do if you plan on calling the authorities over animal neglect.

Now, here is the deal.

You can see her house from the paddock those horses have been in, so I assume you can see the horses from her house. Also, you can see the horses from the road as you drive by. Has she seriously not noticed that her horses had been missing for going on three days? Do people that feed round bales seriously never do a daily horse check?


Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 15, 2014


I had plans to go on a ride Sunday. The ground was beautiful and dry on Saturday, and temps were in the 60's. Then we woke up to what eventually topped off as 10" of powder. Yea for snowsports; Boo for riding. At least it is picturesque.

P.S. You might notice the two horses in our neighbors yard. Not his horses I assume. For some reason, all our neighbors horses are constantly getting out and they come to our house or our neighbors. People around here seem unconcerned with their lack of quality fencing. Anyway...they have been there since Sunday morning...and well they are still there tonight (Monday night). I think they belong to a neighbor caddy corner to us...but why hasn't she come to get them? As far as I can tell they don't have food or water and the gate seems to be closed, so it's not like they can wander home. It is a big mystery. I'm not quite sure if I should become the overly concerned nosy neighbor (and thusly potentially hated) or just let it all be. At the very least Gentry and Hugo are enjoying the extra company.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 11, 2014


I had grand plans to ride Gentry this morning. My farrier was scheduled to come at 8:30am, Junior is at preschool for the morning, the ground has dried out pretty well to make it safe, and the forecast high was 50ºF! Then I woke up to a wind tunnel. Seriously crazy wind today. Now, if I had a horse in serious training and a nice dry sand footed arena, I would totally still ride despite the wind. But I have none of those things, which equates to "I don't HAVE to ride, so I'm not GONNA". Bummer.

What did I do instead? I did some work, and checked Facebook. For some reason I found myself lurking on Gentry's breeder's facebook page. We aren't FB friends, but most of her stuff is public, so I thought I'd go way back and see if there were any baby Gentry posts. Not so much. However I did find a post on her page from another gal who own's Gentry's full brother, who I believe is one year younger than Gentry.

Everyone, I give you Wilson!



As a two year old - sale photo

OMG! I could just die. Clearly they have different coat colors, but otherwise they look so much alike in build and expression. All the info I have about him I found on this website months ago, before today's FB discovery. Immediately I realized it was the same horse.

So now I am at a social media cross roads. Wilson also lives in Montana and it would be fun to meet him at a show in the future. Do I friend his owner? Should I friend Gentry's breeder? I don't generally friend people I haven't met, so I'm thinking no...that would be weird and creepy. Maybe I will just wait and message them both when I have Gentry entered in his first show, incase either will be attending. That is less creepy right?

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

December 8, 2014

The Solo Loop

This past Sunday was a particularly nice, warm, sunny day. Unfortunately that meant the melting snow and slush turned everything promptly into mud. That of course translates into crap for footing. However, I managed to convince myself to put my big girl panties on and still go for a ride around the neighborhood walking on the gravel roads (and the 5% of the road that is asphalt).

Up until this point I have only ridden Gentry down to the mailbox (1/4 mile) and back solo. I have only ridden him to the arena (1/2 mile) once and that was with EB on Hugo.  The whole loop is 1.5 - 2 miles long. I figured that I need to start setting out more and more on my own. Not only to continue building my confidence and trust in Gentry, but also I think it is good for him to get away from Hugo once in a while and realize that Hugo will be there when we get back.

Most of our ride, I'd say 90%, was very enjoyable, on the buckle and relaxing. We made it around 75% of the neighborhood loop riding on the buckle with floppy ears.  Then we got to the asphalt section of the road, which still had a bit of ice on it, and also happens to be occupied by some run down homes (not actually part of our subdivision) that have rather unfriendly off leash dogs.

It didn't occur to me that we would have to pass this house and those dogs when I decided to go on the ride. I briefly considered just turning around and riding the long way home, but then once again decided to suck it up. Mostly I was concerned that those dogs would come after my dog, not so much Gentry and I. Luckily their owner pulled up in a truck just as we came to the house, so the dogs were pre-occupied while we passed.

Right after that house is the park and the arena. I quickly got Gentry into the park/arena and then that is when he turned into a royal pain. He got tense, head up, and started calling like a fool. I decided to walk circles in the arena until he calmed down. That never really happened, and he just seemed to be getting more and more worked up, on bad footing. Then he even tried a little mini-rear pop. I quickly smacked him with my hand between the ears and he got the picture that it wasn't okay to attempt to rear. At that point I felt like I was loosing ground with him and just wanted to go forward, so we headed out of the arena, through the park, and down a trail that popped us back out on gravel road.

The moment we were back on the road he was completely chill again and great for the rest of the ride home. In retrospect, I think perhaps he was initially worked up from me being tense about the sketchy house and the dodgy dogs.  Despite the dogs, I will have to make sure that I stay calm and cool next time we pass that house and see if it makes a difference. I might just bring a spray bottle with vinegar in it too, just to have some personal protection if I need it.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


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