Wednesday, January 21, 2009

just simplicity

You know, I created this blog to blog about horses, and barrel racing, and anything else I venture to do with them but really, two blogs is too much to handle. I'm thinking about retracting this one and keeping everything at Crafty Equine.

I am stressed out, and its because there is too much going on in my life and the things that once made me happy are driving me nuts!

I started reading Ride the Right Horse and so far, I find the book intriguing. I love reading about horse personalities. I'm learning some new things about my horses that I never realized.

I haven't been riding much, not much to tell there. I just need to get some motivation and really, declutter my mind, life, and house. That would be lovely. I crave simplicity more than anything right now. Just simplicity.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Book Review: Charmayne James on Barrel Racing

A useful book to have whether you are experienced or a beginner running in local gymkhanas, is Charmayne James on Barrel Racing. How can you not learn from an 11 time NFR winner?

The book includes Charmayne's training techniques, how she fed her horses, the mental responsibilities of the rider, the physical responsibilities of the rider, problem solving, and information about the horses she rode.

Not only is this book informative, it is easy to read and entertaining.

Whether or not you decide to run the pattern exactly like she does, you can learn her take on bits, exercise, and feeding. All of this information is invaluable.

I highly recommend reading as much as you can from as many qualified sources as possible, but this book should not be overlooked. I believe that reading this book is far better than watching her DVDs. Keep this book around as a reference, you will use it!

There will be future blogs in which I will discuss exercises and more that will definitely reference this and many other books.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Horses: Thunder

Thunder is a 14 y.o. grade paint horse. He was my first real barrel horse. However, he had about as much experience in it as I did, which entailed a few small 4-H shows and literally NO real training. Essentially, Thunder and I took a crash course in gymkhana together. My parents didn't know any better and I was only 15 and hadn't had horses that long. So, I got a horse that was way too much to handle and knew nothing about barrels or gymkhana. We ran up the fence, we reared, we broke a pole bending pole (our favorite rearing event). I never gave up with him and gradually learned how to practice and ride so these things didn't happen. However, it wasn't until 2007 when he was 12 that I started to get the potential out of that horse. Had the person that got him been a better trainer, an experience racer, he would have more than likely been in the first division relatively quickly. However, he ended up with me.

We did not run last year due to moving and lack of a truck, but this year, maybe he will run again. It is hard to say at the moment, he gets sore on his front feet, but pads during monsoon season (also the busiest time for rodeos and divisional races) will only help his feet get thrush. I've been debating keeping boots over his shoes during this time when I practice or trail ride to protect his sore feet.

However, the other issue is time. I will most likely be starting a program for my Master's degree at University of Arizona. If that happens, I won't have time to keep two horses fit and sound for barrel racing. Unfortunately, because Titan is younger and rarely has soundness issues, I choose him to campaign. This might spell retirement for Thunder, which is hard for me to grasp. However, he's run barrels with me for 9 years now and it has taken a toll on his joints.

Back in about 2004 he got a bone chip in his left hind ankle, that we were able to heal with a hard core joint supplement and injections. However, the arthritis left makes it hard for him to REALLY plant around the barrels and aim for that 1d time. He can still run 2d, I think pain free, he could be in 1d, but I'm not sure that I have the means for him to be completely pain free and run the barrels.

So really, its in my best interest to put my chips on Titan and race him for the time being. It will be hard to leave Thunder at home or at the trailer, but he has earned the rest and we will still enjoy trail rides together. I refuse to sell Thunder, even if he can't run. I love that horse and he and I learned so much from each other, there is just no way I could ever give him away.

Still, this has been a tough decision and has taken me so much time to work through. I'm sure the first time I go to a race without him, I'll want to cry.
Here is a great example of our inability to turn in the beginning. We're about a mile and a half from the barrel. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting to know me

I am a 22 year old barrel racing horse lover currently living in Southern Arizona (after moving from Michigan in May 2008). I have three horses: Orion, a 10 month old gelding, Thunder, a 14 year old paint, and Titan, a 11 year old breeding stock paint.

I have barrel raced at local events and NBHA for many years and am now going to attempt to step up into the world of amateur rodeos and hopefully, down the road, get into the WPRA.

I enjoy cross training my horses in dressage and one day I hope to try eventing.

I'm also a crafter, I have an Etsy and Artfire shop. I make unique horseshoe dreamcatchers and I also crochet, knit, and play with leather a little.

This blog will be about my adventures in barrel racings, my training process, my horses, my tips and tricks, keeping my horses sound, and much more. I am sure there will be videos of my runs and photos of rodeos and barrel races. The first few months I will post more backstory on myself and my horses, as I will be working toward getting a truck and can not yet travel to races.