Amber was chosen to be one of the trainers for the 2009 Extreme Mustang Makeover Eastern Stampede!!
Trouper is the beautiful wild Nevada Mustang that Amber was randomly assigned for the competition. This blog was created so everyone could keep up with Amber and Trouper's progress during this experience.
Amber and Trouper competed against the other selected trainers on Oct 23-25, 2009 in Murfreesboro, TN.
For more information on the Extreme Mustang Makeover, visit: www.extrememustangmakeover.com
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on November 2, 2010 at 7:32 PM||comments (0)|
There hasn't been much said about Trouper in the blog lately, but he has been a busy boy.
If you haven't already, be sure to like his Facebook page, Trouper the Mustang. That way you can keep up with all that he has been up to lately.
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on June 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM||comments (0)|
I just rescued poor Trouper from "The mighty thorn bush tail!"
I think it started off with Trouper and Surfer playing. I watched them pick at each other and then start running and such. I was standing in the back door way watching them play. Then, they ran around the back of the barn and the next time I saw them, Trouper was running for his life!!
He kept kicking out, but not in a bucking way. Then, I noticed he had a large stick dragging from his tail. I watched for a minute thinking it would come off, but it didn't.
I went out into the pasture (in my flip flops and shorts, mind you) to try to help him. That's when I realized it was a sticker bush.
He saw me and he came running to me. Just as he started to slow down when he got to me, his tail must have caught up with him because he bolted forward and off he went again. This happened a few times and I was afraid he would kick out as he went by me, aiming at the thorn bush. He never did, but I couldn't help him because he was too afraid to stand still. I think he had already scratched his legs up with the thorns and they were probably stinging and he kept swishing his tail, which would only scare him and cut him even more.
I didn't feel safe trying to get it out of his tail, mainly because he wouldn't stand still, and I figured it he did stand still long enough for me to walk around behind him that he would feel it, kick out and run off.
I came out of the pasture and then Trouper ran around behind the barn again and I heard him run into the stall and then it all got quiet. I went back in and found him and Surfer in the stall and Trouper was still scared to death, but he felt safe in the stall. I broke off a long stick and I went in there and just started rubbing the stick all over him so he would see that that stick wouldn't hurt him. Then, I used my stick to grab the stick in his tail so I could pull it around the side to get it out. It was hard to get it out of his tail, as it was all intertwined, but I did and he never moved a muscle. After it was all out and I gave him his tail back, he tried it out with a few "test swishes" and seemed very relieved to find it was just his own tail back there.
I went up and rubbed on his face a bit and it was covered in sweat. He was still panting also. I held his head to my chest and he just relaxed in my arms. I loved on him for a few minutes and then told him he needed to walk around to cool off. When I walked out, he followed me. I gave him an alfalfa cube bite for a treat. He had the sweetest look of gratitude in his eyes! I think he knew that I had just helped him out of his scary situation.
I went to wash my feet of at the water hose and he came over there. I sprayed the water up into the air and he walked over to where it was coming down and turned his rear end around to it so the water would come down on his rump and back legs. I bet they were stinging from the sweat running into where the thorns had scratched him and he knew the water would help.
It was a nice little bonding moment for me and Trouper. Poor thing is still covered in sweat.
Curse that scary ol' thorn bush stick!!!!!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on March 18, 2010 at 1:13 AM||comments (3)|
Hey Trouper fans! I want to apologize for not blogging in so long. The truth is, Trouper and I have been busy!!!
Trouper and I have been on quite a few trail rides and wagon trains since the EMM. He doesn't get worked anywhere near as much as he should, but he's been faithful to me anyway. He goes weeks without being worked with and I just pull him out of the pasture and hop on him and go. Granted, he does like to crow hop when I ask him to lope when he hasn't been worked with. I blame myself for that, though.
After the Extreme Mustang Makeover, there as an add in the Times Journal about Trouper and I competing and how I was able to bring Trouper home. Dr Campbell, the president of Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) saw the ad and was excited, because the Mustang is the NACC mascot. He asked someone to call me up to see if I would come to the college to speak and bring Trouper for the students to meet. The date was set for Feb 23, 2010.
I'm not much of a speaker. Heck, I hadn't given a speech since Speech class in college over 5 years ago! Luckily, I enjoy writing about Trouper so I was able to write an 18 minute speech!
NACC sent out a press release in different newspapers and also put it in the news on their website. www.NACC.edu
I was nervous about speaking, but it was so much easier than I thought it would be. The speech went pretty well, and I didn't stumble on my words nearly as much as I feared I would.
Here is the audio version of my speech, courtesy of Colleen Scott, one of Trouper's newest fans.
The "Meet the Mustang" part was a huge hit! Everyone enjoyed being able to pet Trouper, look at his tattoo, touch his hooves, etc.
While I was there, Dr Campbell asked me if Trouper could be the official NACC mascot! What an honor!!! I was even offered an Achievement Scholarship! Of course, I accepted!!!
There was another big press release announcing Trouper as the official NACC Mascot. It was in papers that I haven't even heard about! Here is the news release on the school website.
Here are some photos taken by Angela Stewart from NACC of Trouper's debut appearance.
Another exciting announcement!!! I am currently working on a fan page for Trouper on Facebook. I plan to publish it, hopefully, within the next 24 hours. Be looking for Trouper the Mustang!
I encourage everyone to become a Fan to keep up with up to the minute updates of Trouper. I will also post there whenever I update the blog, which I plan to do more often again from now on. You can also keep up with Trouper's events there and see many pictures. I already have lots of pictures taken by Danielle Brewer and Marcella Brown of Trouper's debut appearance at NACC. I will be adding pictures from our first 100 days soon also!
Our next scheduled appearance at NACC will be April 9th, 2010 at 12noon for Spring Fling. I think we'll be there for about 4 hours. Valley Vet is currently working on a monogrammed sheet with the NACC seal on it for Trouper to wear while he's representing NACC. Look for us in the parades sporting our school spirit!!
I plan to start back at NACC in the Fall. I am following my heart and changing my major from Business Management to Special Education. Can you believe that Trouper is sending me back to college????? WOW!!!
Oh yeah!! Trouper is also up on the Extreme Mustang Makeover website!!! Visit www.extrememustangmakeover.com and Trouper's article should be the first listed article on the page. How cool is that?????
Tomorrow, I'm taking Trouper to Reality Farm in TN to see if he and I might have a future in Dressage! I am very excited and anxious about this.
Just for fun, if you get bored.... Google "Trouper the Mustang" "Trouper NACC" and "Trouper and Amber" for lots of interesting newspaper articles, etc. I just didn't want to overwhelm the blog with links.
Another hint of news...... Trouper could possibly be on RFDTV in the near future. Stay tuned for details!!!!
Keep a close eye out!!!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on October 28, 2009 at 1:49 AM||comments (18)|
Things are starting to settle down a little bit around here now. I have finally gotten some pictures and videos together that people have sent me, so I figured I would get together a good blog about the EMM. I'm sure I will add to it a couple times as more people send me pics and videos, but I can't leave you guys hanging too long. lol
It all started at 5:30am Thurs 22nd, as we loaded the last minute things into the truck, strapped Montana into the car seat and loaded Trouper into the horse trailer to head to Murfreesboro, TN for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Eastern Stampede. I couldn't believe how quickly those 100 days had gone.
As you may remember, Montana tested positive with swine flue on Tues and Jamie and I both started getting sick on Wed also. We all three ended up on Tamiflu and none of us really felt like a weekend trip, but we all had to cowgirl and cowboy-up.
Jamie had to work on Thurs, so he stayed behind to leave early Fri morning with my dad and niece, Kelsey. It was dad's birthday and me, mom and Montana were heading out of town. Luckily, Jamie took him out that night and we went out again a couple times once we were all together in M-boro, TN.
We arrived at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum at about 9:00am. I got signed in and found Trouper's stall and my tack stall and started getting settled in. Then, I took mom and Montana to the motel room and headed back to work with Trouper. I stopped to decorate the truck on my way back. LOL
I also painted "Trouper & Amber" on each back door window.
I stayed up at the barn and worked Trouper until time for the Trainer's meeting at 5pm. During the meeting they announced the winners of the Dawn Lappin Mustang Trainer Assistant Fund. (On Aug 27th, I received an email about the fund. It was to help trainers that wanted to buy their mustang back and needed assistance. They said that they would pick a few trainers and give them each up to $500 to go towards the purchase of their mustang. Within 2 hours of the email arriving in my inbox, I had filled out the application, written a 2 page essay, took it all to the post office and mailed it off priority mail!!)
Well, they read over all of the application and picked 5. They announced that this time, they had chosen to give one trainer $800!! Guess what, that trainer was me!!!! Praise the Lord!! I jumped up and down and then bursted into tears right there in front of all of the other trainers. That meant so much to me. I had prayed for that grant, but I never would have thought that I would have gotten that much!!
After the meeting, I worked with Trouper a bit more and then bathed him and cleaned him up nicely. Then, I took him back into the coliseum with his cooler blanket on and lunged him a bit to help him dry and stay warm.
I headed back to the motel at about 10:30pm. I worked on posters for Trouper's stall until about 2:30 and got about 2 hrs asleep before I was up and on my way back to the barn to get Trouper (and his stall) ready for the competition.
Mom helped me hang my posters on Trouper's stall. I made one poster in honor of Glenn Graben and I made one with newspaper clippings from the Times Journal and The Weekly Post. Mom had also had a poster made with lots of pics of me and Trouper during our journey.
After Trouper finished his breakfast and I got my nerves in check, I got him out for some practicing. They opened the arena from 7-7:30 for us to practice in.
The competition started at 8am on Friday and we were 28th in line so we had some time to relax and get pictures of our little fans. :-)
Here, Trouper and I pose with Montana, Ava and Mia.
Time went by fast and it was our turn before I knew it! The first part of the competition was the In-Hand portion. I had to lead Trouper through a series of obstacles including:
walk over ground poles, pick up object off of one barrel and take it to another barrel, put a saddle pad and saddle on and take it off again, pick up all 4 feet, load into a horse trailer and unload, trot a serpentine around 3 cones, walk into box and do 360* turn, and walk into poles and back through an L
Here's a couple pictures. I'll have more later.
Here is a video a friend took of my In-Hand competition.
At the end of the In-Hand portion, we had to take our Mustang into a small round pen area, un-halter them and shoe them away. Then, we had to re-approach them and catch them again, to show how catch-able they are. Then, a judge would come in with us and judge the Mustang's body conditioning.
I tied for 1st place on Body Conditioning and came in 5th place in the In-Hand Competition. That put us in 4th place going into the Horse Course.
In the Horse Course, we had 90 seconds to do whatever we wanted without props, but we could use the obstacles in the arena. Then we were to dismount and mount again, trot to a cone, pick up a canter in the left lead, canter around a barrel, trot into an alley made of poles, back around an angle, walk out and over the bridge, trot over cones, walk into box, to a 360* turn to the right and exit at a walk.
Here are a few pics of the Horse Course. (I'm sure I'll have more pics of the Horse Course as well)
I was a nervous wreck as I entered the arena!
For my 90 second "At Best" performance, I decided to stay as laid back and relaxed as possible. I walked across the arena and went across the bridge.
Then, I trotted back across the arena, stopped up next to the panels and did a side-pass to the right. Then, my time was over, so I dismounted and remounted.
I was way to nervous to be getting on and off! I think that's where I really started to show my nerves to Trouper. When I asked him to move off, he froze up on me and didn't want to go! He finally moved off for me and off we went. We trotted to the cone and then picked up a canter in the left lead. He broke into a trot a little over half way around the barrel and then I got him into the canter again just in time to trot into the poles for the back and turn.
When we left the poles, it was over the bridge again.
We trotted to the poles and he started over them correctly and then he got nervous and wanted to avoid the middle ones.
We walked into the box and did our 360. Then, we exited the arena and I was so glad it was over!!
Here is a video of our Horse Course.
They were suppose to announce the scores at 7:30, so we all went out to eat and I came back with Kelsey for the announcement of the scores. We stayed until about 9:30 and finally came back to the motel room. I left my number with a couple of the other trainers and I got calls and texts every now and then saying that they still weren't announced or posted. Then, FINALLY at 11:45 I got a text saying that I had came in 12th place!!! I was so thrilled to have scored that high.
My goal for the competition was to place 17th or better, but I really didn't think I would make my goal with all of the time I had missed with training Trouper lately. With the rain, the passing of Glenn, the swine flu and my general health, I probably averaged 10 mins a day or less with Trouper while he was here. I heard other trainers bragging about spending 3hrs a day with theirs. I wish I could have done the same, but I am very pleased with how well Trouper and I did!!!
Well, I was able to rest a bit knowing that the competition was over, but I was very nervous about the auction the next day. Trouper and I had been together for the past 100 days. He had gone from being wild to willing during that time. He came as an untouchable wild animal and now he was willing partner that I could trust and that trusted me. We had created such a bond with one another. I wanted to keep Trouper forever, but I couldn't guarantee that would happen. He had to go up for adoption just like all of the other horses and I would have to be the highest bidder if I wanted to keep him.
Before the auction began on Sun morning, they had an award ceremony for the top 10 in each division (Condition, In-Hand and Horse Course).
Here I am receiving my ribbon for Condition.
Here is the Top 10 in Condition
Here I am talking to Gary Itzstein, an Australian trainer from SC. I met Gary for the first time at the GA Warm Up Mustang competition. Gary and his horse, Jackaroo, made it to the Idols Top 10 Finals.
Then, it was time for the auction to start. They went by hip # and they would put a yearling in every 4 or 5 horses. We were hip # 17, so it wasn't long before it was time for me to ride Trouper in the auction. Patti Colbert , founder of the Extreme Mustang Makeover, gave me the mic to tell about Trouper.
I had barely opened my mouth before I started to cry. I told everyone that Trouper was a great horse and that my husband was going to bid on him for me and that I hoped to take him home.
Then, I started to ride Trouper around in the auction pen.
The auctioneer was talking about how big and strong Trouper was. They mentioned how nice his extended trot was and what a wonderful dressage horse he would make. The bids started taking off!!! Patti went to the auctioneer and told him that I really wanted this horse. Then, he made sure that Jamie had the highest bid and then he called it. Thank God for that!! He didn't cut anyone off at the bid, but he just didn't go on to get more bids. He called out SOLD and then said that this horse was going home with his trainer. What a relief!!!
I rode out of the auction pen into the large arena and got down and gave Trouper a huge hug!!!! I told him he was going back home and that I would keep him forever. I was met by Jamie as I walked out of the arena and we held each other for a few moments. I thanked him for helping me bring Trouper home. Then, Jamie pet Trouper and Trouper nudged him as if to say, "Thank You!"
Kelsey brought Montana over and she loved Trouper as well.
Then, we had our first true "family" picture with Trouper. Trouper truly is part of the family now!!!
As I was leading Trouper back to his stall, I was smiling from ear to ear with excitement!!! I was now the owner of a mustang!! More than thatt, I was the owner of Trouper!!!
We stopped for a pose with some Trouper Fans who were waiting to congratulate us at his stall.
I went up to the office to pay for Trouper and sort the paper work out for him while Jamie started packing up our things.
Then, I loaded Trouper and we were homeward bound.
I felt so blessed to have done so well in the competition, despite setbacks along the way, and to also be taking Trouper back home with me to stay forever!
One Tues, I took the other horses out of the pasture and lead Trouper around the fence line. Then, I turned him out into the pasture for the first time. He walked around, sniffing things and checking out the fence. When Jamie pulled into the driveway, trouper decided to show off how fast he could run! WOW!!! He can fly for a big boy!! LOL After a bit, we put Denny, Jamie's 3yr old AQHA gelding in with him. They were doing great, so we also put in Scout, our 25yr old Paint gelding. I took some pics that I will post in a day or two.
I went out a couple times during the night to check on Trouper and each time he ran up to me from the back of the pasture. He seemed so happy to be back home and to be able to go out into the pasture with the other horses now.
How wonderful it is to have him home!!
Thanks again to everyone who has helped me along the way. Thank you to all of my blog followers. Thank you to everyone who made the trip to Murfreesboro, TN to support me and Trouper. Thanks to everyone who helped me be able to bid on Trouper and bring him home. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!!
Since Trouper is back home with me, I will continue with the blog. I don't be keeping it up daily, but I will try to, at least, update it monthly or whenever something exciting happens. I will try to always post on FaceBook when I do, so my FB friends will know to check out the blog.
This has been such an amazing journey and, in a way, it has only begun!!!!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on October 25, 2009 at 11:33 PM||comments (5)|
I can not tell you guys how happy I am!!!! We had a GREAT weekend!!! The best news is that Trouper is back home and in his paddock.
I will try to post tomorrow with pics and more details, but I had to give an update tonight before I passed out from exhaustion. HA!
Trouper and I tied for 1st for Conditioning. We came in 5th in the In-Hand competition which left us in 4th place all around going into the final division. Then we took 17th in the Horse Course, which brought out over all placing to 12th.
Trouper didn't do very well in the Horse Course. He acted completely out of character and was very nervous with the audience, announcer etc. He was probably feeding off of my nerves, though. I was a wreck!!! I am still VERY please with our overall performance!!
I am so proud of Trouper!!
I am going to try to catch up on some long lost sleep now. I will try to update again with pics tomorrow.
Thanks to all who came to support me and for all of the good luck emails and texts!!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on October 21, 2009 at 2:12 PM||comments (8)|
Hello everyone! I feel I owe you all an apology for not keeping my blog updated these last few weeks. We have had so many things going on in our life lately that it has been very difficult to have time to even work with Trouper, much less get online.
Our dear friend Glenn lost his battle with cancer on Oct 17th. He has been fighting it for 5 years now and these last few weeks have really taken a toll on him. He used to come over and sit and watch Montana while I worked with Trouper. He loved that little girl more than we will ever know. He told us once that he lived for her!
Here is a pic of Montana and Glenn sitting on his tractor back in the summer.
This picture alone can portray some of the love that these two shared!
Glenn went down hill very quickly over the last couple weeks and we spent all of our spare time by his bedside so he wouldn't be alone. Montana read him books and talked to him, even when he could no longer respond to her. In the end, they said that Montana was the only one that he would respond to at all. Some of his last words were, "I love you too, girl" in response to Montana. He will be greatly missed!!!
If you live anywhere near us, you know how much rain we have gotten over the last couple weeks! I have never IN MY LIFE seen so much rain! I say that the Heaven's were making room for a special arrival. The day of Glenn's funeral, the rain stopped, the clouds went away and it was a beautiful, warm and sunny day. I think the Heavens were rejoicing with sunshine! Glenn is at peace now!
So, as if Trouper's colic, the rain and Glenn's passing weren't enough, Montana started getting ill a few days ago. Yesterday, she tested positive for H1N1!!!! LOVELY!!! She was put on Tamiflu yesterday. Last night, Jamie and I started feeling ill also, so the doc called us both in a prescription to Tamiflu as well. I have started already and Jamie will when he gets home. They say that it can be used as a preventative medicine also. Lord willing, I will be well enough for the competition this weekend!!
Oh yeah, I had a yard sale this past Sat to help raise money to Bring Trouper Home and it rained or drizzled ALL DAY!! It even sleeting once!! I stayed out there in it and so did Dani. We managed to raise $268, even with the rain!! I am very pleased with that. I will plan another one after it's all over to help make back any more money that we have to put into Trouper. I just hope I can bring him home. I have to realize that if he goes for too much, I won't be able to, though.
Poor Trouper has hardly been touched these past couple weeks. I just hope that things go smoothly at the competition. I do have some pictures to share from Sept 30th and a couple other days since then that I was able to ride Trouper. I will share them quickly without too much narrative comments. LOL As you can imagine, I have SO MANY things to do to get ready to leave out for Murfreesboro, TN early tomorrow morning.
These were taken on Sept 30.
These pics were taken, I think, the next day. I introduced Trouper to spurs. They are the blunt tip spurs. He is very lazy, so I thought it might help to keep me from kicking like crazy. LOL He did great with them and I only had to barely touch him with him!!
Look how nicely he is flexing/collecting now!!! Well, then. LOL
He will also walk up, and even stand patiently, on the bridge now! Thanks to Jamie for building it and for my dad for repairing it as it hasn't been used in months and the screws had broken!
These next pics were taken, I think, on the next day or closely after. This was back before the rain and the drama set in, so it's hard to remember back that far!
I decided to try Trouper out in an English Saddle. He did great, but I felt like a fish out of water. It has been YEARS since I've ridden in an English saddle!
I also want to share some pics from Oct 7th when Trouper was under the weather. We all tried to comfort him and keep him company. Ernie couldn't be left out!!!
These next to pictures I will cherish forever!!! It's hard to remember that such a short time ago, Trouper was running free and wild and here he is, putty in a 2yr old girl's hands!!!
I ask you all to remember us in your prayers this weekend. I pray that Trouper remembers everything that he has learned, even though he's hardly been touched in two weeks. I don't expect him to win, but we will do our best. I am going to dedicate my performance to Glenn this weekend. I know he would love to have been there to support me and I have no doubt that he will be if at all possible!!!
Trouper and I will do our best this weekend. Our main goal will be to stay together in the end!! Thanks to everyone who had donated money, no matter how much, to the Bring Trouper Home Fund!! I really appreciate it and I hope that it's meant for Trouper to come home with me. Lord knows I could use a good strong horse to rely on after all of the drama passes over our lives.
Thanks to everyone who have kept up with my blog!! I will update again once the dust settles after the competition. I will make a quick update on Monday to let everyone know if Trouper came home or not and then I'll update with pics and info from the competition as soon as I possibly can.
Thanks again for everyone support!!! I can't believe the time has flown by so quickly!!! We leave out at about 5am tomorrow!! If Montana continues to do well, she will go with my mom and I when we leave out tomorrow and my mom will stay in the motel with her all day tomorrow and maybe on Friday, if needed. Otherwise, Jamie will have to stay behind with her. Please pray that doesn't have to happen!! Jamie plans to leave out early Fri morning to be there before the competition starts at 8am. I really want my baby girl and husband to be there for me!! They have both sacrificed family time with me so I could work with Trouper.
Wish us well!!!!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on October 8, 2009 at 2:05 PM||comments (10)|
Ok guys, I'm trying real hard to catch up a little at a time!! Thank for all of the comments on Part Two of the competition!!
I gave Trouper the day off on Sun after the competition. We had a light workout on Monday. Dani was here to watch and she was offered a great opportunity! I let her sit on Trouper!!! That's right! Until then, I had been the only person to ride him and Montana and Ernie had sat on him.
Trouper was a little unsure at first. His head was up and his ears were back, but he soon settled down. I lead him around for a couple minutes and then backed up to take this pic with my cell.
On Tues, Ernie decided to enter the picture again! As I was riding Trouper around, Ernie started walking along the rail beside me.
I was inspired by the jump at the competition over the weekend, so I decided to set up something to work Trouper over.
This next group of pics will be called the "Where's Ernie" pics because he is in them all, somewhere!
Here is Trouper checking out the jump and Ernie looking on from the rail top!
Now enters Gojo, our other rescue cat, to make his debut!
Trouper finds rest over the jump with Ernie looking on from in front of him.
After walking and trotting over the jump for a while, I started cantering him over it for an actual "jump." Of course, Ernie was there for that as well!! :-)
I will try to update on the rest of the week soon, but I want to update on how Trouper is feeling. We think his tummy might be upset from the new hay we got out of the field last week. He had been on round bale, with minimal sq bale daily, but when his last round bale ran out, we upped his sq bale intake about the same time that we picked up fresh hay out of the field. The vet says that it probably wasn't dried and cured enough for his system yet and to take him off of it for 2-3 days and slowly wean him back on it again. Also, to worm him with Quest Plus today and start him on probiotics tomorrow.
He seems much better today, but he still gets gassy after meals, so I hope this helps!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on October 6, 2009 at 10:44 PM||comments (12)|
At long last, I'm going to attempt to finish part two. Life just hasn't allowed me to blog much lately. It seems every time I make plans to blog, something else gets in the way.
I'll give an update on last night quickly. Trouper had gas colic and I was up with him until 3:30am. I broke down and called the vet at 2am who told me to go ahead and give him 11cc of Banamine, trot him for 20 mins, offer him warm water and then choice of warm water and cool water with electrolytes. He never quit pooping, but his gas was so bad, I could hear his belly pinging from 8 feet away!!!
We had Trouper off feed and hay until this evening and we started weaning him back on them both. As of an hour ago, he has gas again!!! It's not as bad as last night and I'll keep a check on him. Hopefully I won't be up as late this time, though. I am exhausted!!
I'm going to check with the vet tomorrow and if she says it's ok, I'm going to go ahead and worm Trouper with Quest Plus. I'm wondering if it's a parasite that acts up after he eats. My poor boy was so sweet last night, though. He really enjoyed the attention.
Ok, now on to last Sat's competition. I ended the last blog with the pic of Trouper and I riding in the arena with all of the obstacles and other riders. I rode Trouper around at a walk and got him to walk by as many obstacles as possible. He wasn't sure what to think about being in a large indoor/covered arena, especially with all of those weird things in there. LOL
I was wishing that we had been able to arrive before the demos started as they had opened the arena up for everyone to practice then also.
I met a new friend, Kelsey, and her mustang, Mo Money, at the competition. Her mustang was breezing through all of the obstacles like it was nothing! She was great to slow down and let her horse encourage Trouper to try new things. Here we are checking out the bridge.
It took a few minutes, but Trouper went across the bridge!
After a few minutes, I got brave and started trotting!
I rode Trouper up through the L and practiced backing him through it.
As you can see, there was allot of commotion going on around us, but Trouper concentrated on me really well. We would approach a scary obstacle and then another trainer would gallop by us on their mustang and Trouper would remain calm.
When I had read the course, I laughed at the fact that there was a jump. Trouper had seen a grey pipe laying on the ground before, but never a jump!! I decided to take Trouper to sniff it.
Another rider had knocked down one of the pipes, so I thought I would see if Trouper would step over it. He was very cautious. When he finally went to step over it, he got a bit scared and quickly tried to jump to get over it.
I was just tickled that he went over it and was wishing that it could be knocked down for the competition also! LOL
Not far past the jump, there was a box with water in it. There was mud all around it also. My goal was to ride Trouper between it and the arena rail. He did it great!!
After that, I just rode around a little bit...
Then, we stopped to visit my dad.
I realized that everyone else had been practicing the "car wash," so I went to practice it also.
Trouper was like, "You want me to WHAT?"
After a bit of practicing and with help from my mom holding back a few of the tarp tassels a few times, I was sending Trouper through the car wash.
Then it was time for all riders to meet up to go over the rules.
They gave us hints to what they were looking for. For example, they said they preferred a horse that would lead up next to their trainer instead of lagging behind. They also said they would give extra points if you could trot your horse beside of you on your way in. They said that we had a 10 minute time limit and we were to complete all of the required obstacles and then we could use the rest of our time to do any of the extra obstacles or "show off" in any way.
After that, they cleared the arena and then snuck a few extra obstacles in there. LOL
I was about the 9th or 10th rider in the competition. When we entered the ring at a walk, Trouper was right by my side as they said they wanted. Then, I asked him to go into a trot, which he did, beautifully!! I trotted him right past the judges and to the rain coat. I took it off the fence and rubbed it all on him and down his legs. We hadn't practiced this one, but he did great!
Then, we headed to the car wash. I trotted him again. We had just went to a walk again in this next pic and he fell behind a bit. You can see the three judges watching on.
Trouper made me proud at the car wash!
I waved the bubble wand around Trouper's head and he just stood there. Then, we bridled up and Trouper snuck in a poop.
After I mounted, I dropped the reins and sat there for a few seconds to show that he would stand until I asked him to move.
Meanwhile, while I'm competing, my mom is on the microphone. They asked her to give my story for everyone while I was competing. I couldn't hear a thing as I was in my own little world with Trouper, but rumor has it, people had tears in their eyes. Someone told me afterwards that we would make a great Hallmark card. LOL
Some great friends and blog followers had came to support us, so while mom was talking they took pics for me. Thanks Ellis!!! Unfortunately, mom's batteries started going dead on this last pic, but I am so glad that he was able to get some pics for me before that happened.
After I mounted Trouper, we went to the bridge. They had brought a tarp out before the competition started and put it right near the bridge. Trouper wasn't too sure about it. LOL I managed to get him to put a front foot on the bridge, but he didn't want to cross and I didn't want to waste all of our time there. I quit on a good note and went ahead.
I didn't ask Trouper to go through the blue tarp water box as it was a BIG booger. LOL I asked him to walk by near it and went to the L. On our way there, a flock of birds flushed out from that end of the arena. Trouper did great!!!
Before practice, everyone was saying that we would walk through the L and then back out, but in the meeting they said they wanted us to walk up to it, turn around and then back through it the other way. I hadn't practiced that and Trouper was confused, so I walked him through it and he backed through it nicely.
Then, we were off to the cross rails! I had no intentions of jumping it, but something possessed me to walk him up to it. I let him sniff it again and asked him to go forward and he jumped it from a standstill. It wasn't pretty, but I was on cloud 9!!!
From there, I trotted him in a figure 8. There was so many obstacles everywhere and this was his first time in a large arena, so I chose to not canter him. I dismounted and went to load him in the trailer, but he didn't want any part of it. LOL It was very high and it wasn't our trailer, so he flat out refused! I kept asking him until he stuck his nose in it and then I pulled him away. They called 1 min, so I wanted to try to sneak in something else.
I lead Trouper to a barrel that had a plastic bag full of cans on it. I picked up the bag of cans and rubbed it on his neck and shoulders and on his saddle and rump. I put them back and then dropped his lead rope and walked away to show how he would ground tie. He stood like a perfect gentleman.
They called time and Trouper and I left the arena. I must have had the biggest smile on my face!! I was so proud of Trouper for all of the new things that he had done and how well he had done them. I had decided before the competition that if I only lead him in the competition, I would be pleased. Then, I thought if I could only lead him and ride him at a walk. Then, we were trotting and going over a jump!!! I was very pleased with Trouper!!
Here's a few pics of the competitors.
It was hard for us all to fit in a pic, so Kelsey and another guy decided to lay their horses down in front of us!! It was hilarious!!
We never did all get close enough for mom to get a pic with everyone in it.
After our photo op, they announced the winners. It was no surprise that Kelsey got 1st. She did great!!! Trouper and I took 6th place!!! I was so excited!! They gave me the judged score cards to keep.
Each obstacle was judged from 1-5. We got zeros from all three judges on the water box, bridge and the dismount and trailer load and zeros from 2 judges on the trot and canter figure 8 since I didn't canter. One judge gave me 1 point for the trot. One judge gave me an extra point for wearing a helmet. One gave us an extra point for how well he did when the birds flew out. We got 5 points from one judge for ground tying and 4 from another one. We got 2 points for creativity, 4 for the sack of cans and 4 for mannerism. Or was that manurism? LOL
At the bottom of each judge sheet was the total points from that judge. On Judge 1's sheet the total was written in another color ink and it's 7 points less that the actual points given, so I'm not sure what's up with that. Who knows, maybe I actually came in 5th. LOL It doesn't matter. I am very happy with how well Trouper did, no matter what place we came in.
After things settled down a bit, I posed for a pic with some fans. LOL
From left: Sarah, Dad, Kelsey, Gina, Me, Jean and Ellis
Of course Trouper posed with some of his fans.
It was pouring with rain by this point, so I brought Trouper's water bucket into the show barn for one last drink before we hit the road.
I unsaddled Trouper there in the barn and ran to the truck with the saddle. I gave the keys to dad to start the truck and then ran out with Trouper. It was pouring with rain so much it was hard to see. Trouper loaded up really well, even with the pouring rain.
After he was in the trailer, I made a run for the truck. The ground was so slick that my feet slid out from under me as I approached the truck door and I hit the ground. It was quit hilarious and I was already soaked, so it didn't matter that I was muddy then too. LOL We were all drenched, but we all made it in the truck and we headed for home.
We arrived home at about 11:30pm. I think we all slept like babies that night!!!
One more blog should catch me up to date. I do have more exciting info and pics to show you all, but I am flat exhausted and I'm hoping Montana is FINALLY asleep now. She's been awake and in and out of bed since I started this blog over 3 hours ago.
I will try my best to get caught up and stay that way. Thank you all for bearing with me, though!
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on October 2, 2009 at 12:45 PM||comments (9)|
I want to apologize for not blogging for a whole week! That is very unlike me. I have been overwhelmed with things to do, plus our 2yr old, Montana, has taken a spell where she doesn't want to go to sleep at night. Also, I am the type of person who doesn't like to start something unless I am SURE that I can finish it. Unfortunately, that causes me to not start allot of things that really need to be done. Well, Montana is resting, at least for the moment, so I am going to catch up as much as I can.
Thanks to everyone who has checked in and encouraged me to blog, if only a little bit, and then catch up more later.
So, Let's start with last Friday.
Sherri came to watch Montana while I worked Trouper. After I rode him, I decided to give him a good bath to prepare him for Sat. This was his second bath and he enjoyed it more than the first!!!
He even lets me wash his face as long as I turn the water on low!!!
After his bath, my mom rode up on the 4-wheeler, so I let Trouper check it out.
Trouper looked so nice!! I scrubbed his hooves down when I bathed him also and after they dried, I put a clear sheen on them. I also used a bot knife to get all of those pesky bot eggs off of his legs, belly and shoulders. I was also able to flake the last of the dead chestnut off of his front legs. They were long and dry when he came, but with the exercise and conditioning, they are now flush with his skin!
I packed everything but myself, Montana and her stuff and Trouper into the truck and trailer on Fri night so there wouldn't be much to do Sat morning.
On Sat morning, I got up bright and got the last minute things together. Jamie had to work Sat, but he got up early with me also to make sure we got off down the road ok. Kelsey and Sarah spent the night Fri night so they could go with us and mom and dad arrived at 4:40am to load into the truck.
Trouper loaded very well in the dark and we were on our way. I didn't think about the competition being on eastern time instead of central, so the 5 hrs I thought we would have to get there turned to 4. Well, we made it in about 5 and were only 1hr late for the clinic demos.
I left Trouper in the trailer while I went in and signed up and got all of the details and they showed me a stall that I could put him in. They handed me a copy of the course and this is what it said:
1. Enter at a walk leading your horse.
2. Proceed to rain coat on fence. Rub on all parts of your horse.
3. Send horse through car wash.
4. Proceed to barrel with bubbles. Wave bubble wand all around your horse.
5. Mount your horse.
6. Cross over bridge.
7. Walk through blue tarp water box.
8. Back your horse through L
9. Jump over cross rails.
10. Trot and canter horse in a figure 8.
11. Dismount and load horse in trailer
Extra obstacles that are in the arena: water box, mailbox, green ball, cap gun, drag a tire, etc
Ok, NOW I'm nervous!! This is going to be like an extreme trail challenge!! He's never seen a single obstacle other than a pole or a log on the ground. YIKES!! LOL There's even a jump in there! Holy CRAP!!! A JUMP!!! At this point, my stomach is rolling so much that I have to make a bee line to the potty!!
I unloaded him out of the trailer and tied him up to the side of it and groomed him up nicely. He looked like a million bucks!!!
Check out my handsome boy!!!
After he was groomed, I took him to his stall. It only took a min to get him to go into it. Then, I let him come back out again. I did that a couple times and then left him in there. I brought him some hay and water and he settled right in!!
I got Trouper out once and lead him into the front of the arena to see how he would react to being indoors with a sound system. You would have thought we were home in our little round pen! One guy was doing a demo and started cracking a bull whip. Trouper didn't even flinch. Then, the guy pulled out a gun!!!! I was prepared for a disaster, but I tried to stay relaxed and pretend nothing was about to happen. The guy shot the gun and it echoed through the arena and Trouper just stood there. I was very impressed!!!
After I settled down and had a bite to eat, I saddle Trouper up and started riding him around outside the arena barn.
I look nervous in this picture!! I settled down pretty quickly, though, when I saw that Trouper was as laid back as usual.
Of course, you all know moms, always having to zoom in for a close up. :-)
After I rode Trouper around for about 30 mins, they opened the arena for a warm-up time.
Everyone went in the arena together and it was very chaotic, but it was great for Trouper!!
Montana is not resting anymore and things are getting chaotic in here, so I'm going to end part one here for now.
We are heading to the Dekalb County Fair soon to enter Montana's mini donkey, Wilbur into the fair!! I will try to finish part two of the competition tonight.
|Posted by whisperingrainfarms on September 24, 2009 at 11:45 PM||comments (6)|
Well, I didn't work with Trouper on Tues. When "Nanna' came to watch Montana Tues morning, I worked with Dakotah with plans to work Trouper when Grandmother came Tues evening. As I was working with Dakotah, I started loosing my vision and I ended up having a really bad migraine that left me in bed for the rest of the day. I have been having them often since my heart procedure, but they say it's not related. Luckily, Papaw was home early and took Montana to give me complete silence!
Tues night, I got a great surprise!! Dani brought me a black headstall for Trouper!!! It matches his tack perfectly! I had a brand new show snaffle that I bought a few months back (before Trouper) that I put on it.
Wed, Jamie and I made plans to go on a trail ride when he got home. I had Trouper and Dakotah saddled up and ready. Before we headed out, I put Trouper's new bridle and bit on him and rode him around in the arena.
I took this pic with my cell phone of Trouper and his new bridle and bit!
Trouper did well with the new bit, but I didn't want to take him out on his second trail ride with a new bit. I quickly changed bridles and down the road we went.
Trouper did really well!! We had the most relaxing ride. Both horses were very calm and we just plodded along. There was a couple times where I could feel Trouper's attention drifting off to something that "could have been" scary, but I would just push him up into the bit and bring his attention right back to me. Trouper's feet were still pretty sore. I'm hoping that they will toughen up and I'm going to ask the farrier to leave more sole next time so he can handle the dirt roads better.
We passed a bunch of dogs that ran out barking at us and chasing our 3 dogs that went with us. Trouper seemed a little nervous, but I talked to him and kept saying "easy" and he calmed right down. We cut up off of the dirt road for a little while and road in a huge open grassy hay field. I could feel Trouper's energy rise when we were in the open pasture, but he did great. He tried to eat grass a few times but I kept after him. He won once and pulled harder than I did and snagged a tiny bite. LOL Trouper walked out much better in the grass, so I could tell that it felt much better on his feet.
Jamie and I both really enjoyed the ride together and both horses did great!!
Today (Thurs) I got allot of great advice and youtube videos from my friend Tina on how to put a spin on a horse. I read emails, asked questions and watched youtube videos all day and was so excited to try some new things out with Trouper today. I also had a CD that has some songs on it that I might use should I make it to the Top 10 Finals at the EMM that I wanted to play while I worked with Trouper.
I put his new bridle and bit on him and gave the CD to my mom who pulled her truck right up to the arena, opened the doors and turned the sound up loud. I trotted Trouper at a lunge in dmall circles with his lead rope a time or two each direction and then hopped on him.
I started out working Trouper in the center of the arena walking in small circles. I was getting used to being aware of where his front feet where at all times and working on when to ask him to cross over on the front end. Here we are practicing that.
Trouper wasn't too sure what to think about the music at first. whenever we were on the side of the arena near mom's truck, he was in a hurry to get to the other side of the arena and would walk more briskly. I decided to put Trouper into a canter and right after we passed the truck, so I kicked and smooched to him. I'm not sure if he thought the truck was after him, or if he was just excited to have the "go ahead" to get away from it, but he attempted to buck. It wasn't a full blown buck (I've never seen Trouper do one anyway), but more of a head toss and a heal kick-out. It was kind of funny. I couldn't let him get away with it, though. I scolded him and put him into a tight circle while I pushed him through it (the circle). Then, I put him right back onto the rail and asked for a canter again.
This time, mom was ready with her camera. He didn't try to buck this time, though. They never do it when you have the camera ready! LOL
This was the first time that I had cantered Trouper without asking him to lunge at a canter before I rode him. Not sure if it had anything to do with it or not, but he does buck often the first time he canters while being lunged.
Trouper canters best to the right, so after a few times around, I changed directions to work on cantering to the left. He kept cantering a stride or two and then cutting into the center of the arena or breaking down to a trot. I was kicking and smooching with all that I had and it wasn't keeping him going. I asked mom to bring me the crop. That helped!!
I kept driving him forward. Every time I felt him slowing down, I would put me legs into him, smooch and then whack him on the shoulder if he wasn't speeding up by that point. I should be whacking him on the rump, but I can't seem to get my hand back there where it needs to be and keep him going in the circle right also. LOL I need to work on that!!
Trouper and I went around and around to the left until we were both wore out and sweating. It wore me out just keeping him going. I trotted him around a bit and then I went to work on Spinning 101 again. LOL
He did much better by this point! He was listening to my ques much better and was even moving off of the indirect rein much nicer!
Here we are getting a slow motion step or two at a time.
You can see that he is really listening to me and trying!!
It might not have been the prettiest thing, but I felt that we really learned something today!
During our cool down I decided to see how close I could get Trouper to the gate. I managed to get him right upon it, so I leaned over, grabbed it and shook it. It rattled and he cocked his ear to listen. Then, I leaned over and grabbed the chain that locks it shut and opened it one-handed. When the snap came open, the one end of the chain swung out, making allot of noise and hitting Trouper in the shoulder. He jumped in his skin, but didn't move off at all. I was able to side pass him over a bit as I opened the gate. Then, I rode him out into the yard.
I ended up riding Trouper down the driveway and then down the dirt road!! By ourselves!! This was Trouper's first ride out of the yard without another horse. He did great and walked along quietly. I rode him to my parent's driveway and turned to come back. I rode him up to the mail box and stopped him. He stuck his nose out and pulled it open!!!! What a nut!! It scared the crap out of him (and me too), but he didn't move his feet, just kinda jumped in place. It was soooo funny, though. Then, he stuck his nose back over to it and was pushing up on it like he was trying to close it again!! He did this about three times and managed to get it about half closed. He's so goofy!!
After I untacked and groomed Trouper, it was getting quite dark out. I decided to work on his trailer loading in the dark. We do have a security light in our pasture that sheds some light into that area, so it wasn't completely dark. He wasn't too sure at first as I was trying to send him in the trailer. I had to work him a little bit at a lunge near the back of the trailer and then ask him to go in again. After a few times, he put his front feet in and stopped. I praised him and then let him back out. After that, he would go right in pretty easy. Once he would load, I would walk in with him, pet on him and then ask him to back out.
I have some very exciting news about the weekend!!! Trouper and I are going to Buckhead, GA for the GA Warm-Up for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Eastern Stampede. A few of the trainers for the EMM will be there giving clinics in the morning hours. Then, at 2pm they will have a Warm Up competition with 20 or more trainers and their mustangs. It will be a great way to break the ice and get Trouper and I ready for the EMM next month. It will also give us some ideas of what to work on. The clinics are free to attend and admission to the competition is free for spectators. It will only cost $20 to enter Trouper and I received a donation to cover that and the fuel to get there and back, so we are going going going!!! I am so excited!!!
If any of your are in or near Buckhead, GA, you should come out Sat and see Trouper! I tried to paste the flyer here, but it's too large, I think. If anyone is interested in more info, just email or comment and I'll send you the flyer.
Jean and Gina, how far are you guys away from Buckhead? I think it's about 1hr east of Atlanta. We will be heading out at 5am in order to get there by 10 am and then coming back late on Sat night. Trouper and I will both be exhausted, I'm sure!! This will be great for us both, though!! Oh, and mom (the photographer) is going also so,hopefully, I will have allot of great photos to share!!