Adventures in clipping

I’ve never been super into clipping my horses for the winter. They almost always spend their winters outside and in light work, so I’ve never needed to clip.

This year, I have ambitions of working Moe and Gina throughout the winter in the barn’s indoor arena. They’re turned out during the day and stalled at night; the barn owner is also willing to blanket (within reason- changing blankets three times a day probably won’t fly!).

A few weeks ago I scored a great deal on a pair of Andis clippers through Bit of Britain’s tent sale, and over the weekend I went on a clipping adventure!

I had aspirations of a trace low clip; I knew I didn’t want to remove tons of hair because I didn’t want them blanketed 24/7. The only clipping I’ve ever done was a full body clip on a horse at my previous job, so I made sure to carefully watch all 30 minutes of the Andis DVD (which appears to have been made the year I was born) as well as several YouTube videos.

Moe was covered in filth when I pulled him out of the pasture, so I had to give him a bath.

Mud, hay, who-knows-what all over his belly and shoulders.

He got to stand tied in the sun to dry while I clipped Gina.

Gina napped in the crossties while I clipped…and clipped…and clipped. The woman in the Andis video made it look so easy and quick! Two hours later, I was coated in bay hair and sweat.

“What have you done to me?”

I rinsed Gina off and started on Moe. Poor Moe didn’t get the cleanest or best clip job in the world; he has some patchy spots and jagged edges. But at that point, I was tired and hot and figured that Moe isn’t going out in public (well, except for the hunter pace) any time soon.

Both horses were extremely well behaved. I’ve never clipped Moe in the time I’ve owned him, so I was really impressed that he just took it in stride. Gina continually surprises me with the amount of things she tolerates and/or does well. 
I rode Gina Tuesday evening in the indoor; she cooled out quickly and didn’t get very sweaty, so I’m happy to report that as ugly as they may be, the clip jobs are working!
I’m going to duck out of work early today (it is my birthday, after all) and try to get a jump school in on both horses, so the clips will really be put to the test!

Moe and Gina go to camp

Last week, Moe and Gina attended Green Country Dressage’s annual junior rider camp. I was happy to let them go; their teenage riders regularly have lessons on them, and I figure that the more dressage training the horses get, the better! (Even if it’s teenagers doing the training.)

The camp was held at gorgeous Prairie Lane Farm. There were indoor arenas, outdoor arenas, deluxe stalls with runs attached in a big, airy barn, a covered viewing area with lawn chairs! Camp started on Thursday and I stopped by on Friday to say hello to the ponies and make sure they were behaving themselves.

Gina feeling luxurious
How Moe REALLY feels about dressage.

Moe was hamming it up and reliving his Pony Club days, mugging every possible person for every possible treat, head hanging out of his stall, sticking his tongue out, tossing his head, curling his upper lip back. Gina, however, is too dignified for such behavior and promptly went back to eating her hay after accepting one treat.

The horses also did some work while they were at camp.

Their riders (and Richal) reported that Moe and Gina were extremely well behaved and that both instructors at the camp really liked them. It always makes me feel good when my horses can be useful, especially when they can help young riders learn! 

Moe loves learning! Or treats.

Hand Gallop Blog Hop: What’s in a name?

Blog hops are all the style, and I thought I’d try my hand at one (or two) and see how it goes. At the very least, I’m giving y’all something to write about, right??

What’s the origin of your horse’s show name and barn name?

Now, I typically use a horse’s registered name as their show name. This has resulted in some pretty dorky show names over the years, including: Rocky Ridges Alibi, KW’s Flying Bailey, Silk Pajamas, and My Midnight Queen.

Poor Gina has had many names. Her Jockey Club name is hideous: Kimberly K. Who names a horse Kimberly? (Johnny likes to joke that Gina’s name is actually Kim Kardashian.) Her sire is Look See and her dam is True Brilliance, so I can only think that she’s named after her breeder’s daughter or something.

The name on her USEF registration is a marginal improvement- it’s Imagine That. I’m guessing that’s where “Gina” came from.

At the barn, her nickname has turned in “Eugena” (Moe’s nickname is “Mocephus”- you know, like Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Bocephus”.) Eugena is a pretty good name, all things considered. Gina’s whinny sounds like she’s been smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for the last 15 years; doesn’t Eugena sound like the name of a crotchety old woman who smokes a lot of cigarettes and yells at kids?

Gina teaching a teenager how dressagin’ is done.

At the last show, Gina’s show name got an addition. You see, I emailed the combined test’s organizer and said “I’d like to scratch Expect Freedom and enter Imagine That instead.” When I looked up my ride time, I was surprised to see Gina entered as ‘Imagine That Instead’. I laughed hysterically. I mean, come on! “Don’t think of this thing, think of something completely different instead!”

Moe’s show name has always been his Jockey Club name: Richnfree. His sire is Richrichrich and his dam is Feelingfancyfree, so it’s pretty easy to see where that name came from. “Moe”, on the other hand, is a total mystery to me. He came with the name, and I’ve always kept it. (He sort of answers to it.)
I’m certainly curious to know how your horses received their names! Are you a registered name user? Do you make stuff up? Get in on the blog hop and let us know!

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Gallery Farm combined test recap

I know, I know, show recap posts are really only exciting for the person who’s writing them. But I wanted to let y’all know that a) Gina didn’t kill me and b) it went pretty well.

My ride times were pretty reasonable, with dressage at 11:20 AM and XC at 2:02 PM. This meant that while I did get up at 5 AM and get to the barn by 7 AM, it could have been much, much worse. Gallery Farm is near Oklahoma City, so it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from where the ponies live. We pulled out with Gina (who kept her socks super-white overnight) and Freddie (for company and experience) around 8 AM, and after many turns (and a couple of turn arounds), we arrived and parked next to our friends Rachael and Sarah.

Freddie about fell down getting out of the trailer, but recovered gamely and spent the next six hours standing tied to the trailer, eating hay and drinking/playing in the water buckets we had tied up for them.

Freddie’s happy place.

Gina (left) and Freddie (right) are unimpressed by shows.

Both mares seemed to get along reasonably well. Fred made a couple of ugly faces at Gina and also drank all of her water (while ignoring her own bucket), but was otherwise fine. No calling, no squealing, no kicking. Freddie is a champion at standing around. Maybe she’s missed her calling as a halter horse.

Anyway, dressage warm up went well- I kept Gina to a trot since it was a walk-trot test. Her gaits are plenty energetic, so I figured there was no need to canter. We stuck to figure-8s, circles, and serpentines and Princess Pony put on her best dressage face and we had a nice test. Our walk work was a little weird, as it seemed like Gina was less focused on me and more focused on what was happening outside the covered arena where the test was. All the trot work was very good and the judge was impressed by her “bold” and “forward” gaits. 
We scored a 29.3 on our test, which is something like the best score I have ever had in my adult life. (I think my best test was a 26 something when I was 12 doing walk-trot dressage.) We were in second to our friend Rachael, who scored a 25.3 on her super cute Percheron mare Venus, so I was definitely happy.
Walking the course made me feel good about my chances of getting Gina around. If you aren’t a long time reader, a little history: Gina has been a problematic jumper in the past. Occasionally, she’s excellent. Most of the time, she’s awful. Past antics have included rearing up and backing at ground poles, dirty refusals at a crossrails, and jumping 2’6 oxers fine for five minutes, then inexplicably pitching a fit.
The only jump I was mildly concerned about was a tire jump. The tires were tiny- lawnmower sized. But they were black, I’m almost certain Gina’s never jumped any tires before, and I immediately planned to keep my leg on and ride defensively.
I shouldn’t have worried. After an extremely short warm up (by which I mean we cantered both directions and jumped a crossrail twice), we headed out on course. I got Gina into a nice, forward canter; even though the jumps were tiny, I feel more comfortable jumping out of the canter and Gina’s canter is much more comfortable to 2-point than her trot. 
Rio 2016, amiright?
Gina was apparently gearing up for next year’s Rolex, because she attacked those tiny jumps. Like, rolling along at a good clip, taking good distances, not backing off anything. I could feel her lock on to each jump, which is certainly not something I’m used to feeling from her! She jumped like a champion over every single fence and cross the finish line prancing and snorting as if she’d just bounced around a 4-star.
What a fruitcake.
Draft power!
Rachael and Venus went clear too, maintaining first place, which meant Gina and I stayed in second.
Bonus pic of super cute Rambler & Sarah, who were 3rd in the Starter division.

I’m really pleased with how Gina behaved. I think she had a good time- I know I did. There’s an eventing derby in a couple of weeks- Fred is getting some time off, so maybe I’ll enter Gina. And maybe we’ll even move up a division (or two)!