Sunday 30 April 2023

Horse Expo '23

On Friday I left the city (for what is likely to be the only time this year) to head to the middle of the province to attend the Horse Expo. This is western Canada's largest equestrian trade show and exhibition.  There are clinics, demos, discussions and seminars in many different disciplines to attend, all included in the $20 admission price.

New organizers took over the format last year after the previous family That had started the event had some, well, legal issues. The trade show last year was quite small compared to previous years, but this year it was back to almost full capacity, which was nice to see considering the current economy,

Despite there being a full house, there weren't really many tack shops things, especially English equipment. I think every feed company had a booth, as did a myriad of companies schilling their supplements, and there were a bunch of western lifestyle booths.

How about horse trailers that cost as much as my house did? This one was $151,000 (CDN). You'd also need a $100,000 truck to pull it.

It was good for me as I wasn't tempted to spend money I don't have. I spent $10 on another spool of twine to repair my round bale net, and $13 on a Haas hoofpick that I've been wanting to get a second of for Cisco's grooming kit. Oh - and $24 on a dozen donuts from The Donut Mill (if you ever travel between Edmonton and Calgary you need to stop here). But since they weren't bought at the Horse Expo they don't really count.

This trailer was less expensive - a mere $147,000, but had a second sleeping area, and a different layout to the bathroom, that I thought were great ideas. 

I watched the jumping clinic with Robert Gharibzadeh - yeah, I'd never heard of him either. He's from the Ottawa area but is from Germany, is an international level 3 coach, and judges show jumping and dressage.  I quite liked his clinic. He emphasized the importance of relaxation and thinking about the quality of the horses shape over the jump which I liked. There was one horse in the group that was a bit challenging - two strides out from the jump it would take off and charge through the gymnastic line, leaving strides out and hanging legs. Pretty sure I heard an under the breath "Christ" out of him at one point after a scary line. He pulled that horse from the exercise and moved her to just trotting over a cross pole with placement poles on either side and said if it was his horse, he'd be doing these until the horse was bored before moving on to something else. 

Trailer prices have gotten crazy. This was for a standard, 2 horse angle-haul bumper pull with a dressing room. Yikes!

This kitchen is way nicer than my kitchen is though!

I was really tempted to head back down on the next day to see what he set up as an exercise suitable for all the horses in the group as he promised, but driving for almost 4 hours to sit for three hours on really uncomfortable bleachers was not very appealing, so I guess I'll never know.

The next clinic was the dressage clinic with Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu. The theme was lengthened gait; there was nothing exciting about it.  I would have preferred to watch her Saturday session on lateral work, but again, not worth the 1/4 tank of gas.

One nice thing about these clinics is that they tend to be made up of average riders, who don't ride perfectly, and usually have some holes in their training.  I'd rather watch these sessions where I might pick up some tips that will work for me now than the professional ride on a fancy horse at a level I'll probably never achieve. Total props to these riders - there are a lot of people watching them, likely quietly judging them, and they are riding with someone new who has some sort of agenda for the weekend. I know I'd never offer to do it!

The only other session I viewed was about trailer loading. It just reaffirmed that I'm on the right track with Cisco.

The trailer used for the demonstration was a Boeckmann Grand Master, a newer version of my Big Master.

It was a good day away, though I would have liked a bit more stuff to keep me interested as I left at 4 since I'd already seen everything I wanted to see. At the very least, it was a good excuse to buy a box of donuts (of which I only ate half, the other half was promised to my parents).

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Wordless Wednesday Night - Drunk Horse

 I think the drunk horse head in the manger is the equivalent of the drunk human cradling the toilet.

Cisco's teeth are good for another year!

Slowly Getting Going Again

 I'm still working on getting back into regular riding these days. I just haven't been feeling it - after daily visits for Cisco's abscess, followed by most of another week of visits to deal with Phantom's annual vaccination reaction, not to mention my sore body (first piriformis pain, then an unhappy back), I've been a bit worn out. 

I got a couple of rides in last week, and even got the Pixio to work in the new arena without issue. I always had a problem getting it happily set up in the old arena, but so far I'm 2 for 2 in the new space. 

The rides haven't been much to talk about. Cisco isn't fit, but he has been relaxed even when by himself inside. The connection isn't consistent, which will get better as he gets fitter and stronger, so I'm not concerned about it. The rides have been concentrating on getting him to keep his neck long and moving laterally off my leg. 

Cisco looks like an oversized pony after the winter.

I'm also not fit and wish I would sit up more.

The long neck at the canter, especially the left lead, is a bit harder, but at least I'm not pulling back!

If you look carefully, you might make out the grimace of pain on my face when Cisco took a bobble step and the spot in my back that's been sketchy got tweaked. 

I've been off this week and have made a point about letting my body rest, by which I mean I've spent far too much time sitting on my ass on the couch, but it seems to have done my body good. My back has been feeling much better the last couple of days.

Wednesday is also the last planned thing for the horses at the moment as Cisco gets his teeth floated. After that, it should be smooth sailing and we can all get back into a riding routine. (Runs to find the nearest piece of wood to knock on.)

Saturday 22 April 2023

Weekend Update

 Over the last five weeks, I've had only one night where I didn't go out to the barn.

Cisco wore his diaper/Vetrap/duct tape boot for three weeks until we were given the all-clear from the farrier when he had his feet done on the 6th. She said that things had healed up and his foot was nice and hard so she had no concerns about him going out without a hoof wrap, however, I shouldn't be shocked when his sole eventually falls off.

I took the next night off from the barn and basically sat in a semi-comatose state on the couch for the evening. It was glorious. 

I got a couple of rides in over the weekend on Cisco, with nothing exciting to write about. He was pretty relaxed on the first day, but was a bit concerned about the noises the arena made with the wind on the second day. I had washed his soundproof ear bonnet the day before and they weren't dry yet, so that ride was a wee bit more exciting than it needed to be. 

However, the weather was beautiful, and I made sure that we got to go outside for a walk in the sunshine on both days, which Cisco was perfect for. He also got hosed off for the first time of the year and his tail was taken down from its winter cocoon and trimmed. 

Phantom had been put back into work while Cisco was laid up, by which I mean she got ridden for 30 minutes three days a week, most of which was at a walk. She feels like an old horse these days, a bit creaky, a bit stiff behind and in her neck, but she still has lots of sass and keeps threatening to take off with me. Some easy movement is good for her though, I just have to ignore her not feeling like she used to. Her 20th birthday is next month.

She was guaranteed this last week off though due to her annual temporary boob job. The horses got their vaccinations on Monday, and in typical form, Phantom had a big reaction at the injection site. She was feeling pretty sad and sorry for herself for a couple of days. That meant that I had to go back out to the barn every evening to give her bute and cold hose the big lump. By Thursday night she was feeling well enough to canter away from me when I turned her back out, (which she never does) so that was her last night of bute. 

I thought that Cisco might have a big reaction to his jab like he did last year, and it seemed that it was going to go that way when the muscle in his pecs where he had gotten the jab started twitching only a few minutes later and started to get a bit puffy, but no, he was looking pretty good the next day. He had an easy ride on Friday. He's been feeling pretty good in his body, he just needs to get fitter and stronger.

Hopefully, this week is the end of unplanned time off for the horses, and we can get back into a somewhat regular routine again, which includes me being able to take a couple of nights off a week and rest my aches and pains. I'm currently dealing with a bit of either sciatic or piriformis pain - either way, it's literally a pain in my ass.