Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cold Weather Didn't Slow Me Down!

(Getting ready to sit in the ALQHA Booth during the Alabama Horse Fair)

January was busy to say the least!

Day to day activities such as going to the gym and doing schoolwork with the boys were challenging as they faced the tiredness of previous weekends and the preparations of the following weekends. The phrase “burning the candle at both ends” comes to mind! But what a blessing to be able to do all that I get to do! I love being able to stay home with my boys! They are fun to be with and teach me to be a better person on a daily basis! I am also blessed to have a hubby that understands my crazy lifestyle and hectic schedule and in laws that absolutely love being able to have the boys with them as much as they do!

New Years was celebrated at about 9pm and we tried to “bank” sleeping hours for the following month!We're such exciting people! HA!

On Monday the 3rd, I loaded Hayden up and went to ride at Mr. Tom’s who had another trainer there visiting. For 3 days I had the honor of riding and hanging out with Louis Hufnagel who currently resides in Texas! We worked on getting Hayden to move up under himself but in a relaxed way. I have had his head trapped at his knees so much that he hasn’t been able to do anything well but especially move his shoulders, stop and carry himself over poles. After 3 days we had made a lot of progress but we still have a long way to go! The biggest improvement was being able to feel that “hop” while he was loping signifying he was indeed carrying himself as well as moving up under himself the way he should. Louis also pointed out the same suggestion that Tom had a few months prior, to have Hayden’s hocks looked at. Both veteran trainers felt he wasn’t using them properly and that he may be hurting. Wonderful.

On Saturday the 8th, I took Hayden down to the Foley arena and rode before the action started for the first Boots and Bridles Show ( the 2011 show season. I had a fun time shooting there show and made the decision to stand in the arena so as not to miss any of the action! Of course this meant that I had the opportunity to BE the action if I didn’t watch was going on as I missed getting run over by mere inches! But what a fun group of people! It was the first time I had shot their show and I really enjoyed the grass roots feel to it! Took me back to my childhood! Here are a few of the shots from that day!

That Sunday I was supposed to shoot the Sandstone Equestrian CTC Show in Mobile but with the prediction of a bad super cold rain they moved it to Saturday and so I wasn’t able to do it.

The following week we saw record low temps and SNOW all over the state! But luckily by the weekend it was a bit milder as I was shooting the ACTHA ride at Golden Pines Equestrian Center in Perkinston, MS. Hosted by affiliate Toni Christopher it was an OUTSTANDINGLY well run 2 day event! ( The first day I shot as the riders were coming down a small incline. They also had an Ultimate Equestrian Challenge that I shot and was able to get a few decent shots there. The second day I shot at the first obstacle while folks were getting ready as well as the last obstacle, a jump up the bank! Half the battle of shooting these events is knowing where to be for the best shot. I am still learning this skill and appreciate the patience and encouragement from all the riders! Here are some of my favorite shots from Golden Pines.:

The third week was spent getting ready to ride on Friday with one of my favorite clinicians, Craig Cameron! You may already know he has his own show on RFDTv, “Ride Smart” and was the 2010 Road to the Horse Champion! Regardless of what he has accomplished though, he is a super genuine guy who loves horses, people and America! He’s a true American Cowboy! His clinic was easily the most entertaining, fast moving one I have ever had the privilege to ride in! (

For preparation for the clinic on Friday and then the Alabama Stock Horse Show on Sunday, Lisa and I took Hayden and Scout down to Steve Foley’s to work the flag that he has rigged up to move all the way around the pen. After working the flag and riding for a few hours, I noted that Hayden WASN’T stopping the way he should nor was he turning to the right very well or changing leads well that way. Panic set in and I decided since we were half way to Pensacola already that we might as well go on to Howard Finley’s to have them looked at. Howard is a very knowledgeable Equine Chiropractor and he has saved me a lot of time and money over the years! I told him what I had felt and seen that day with Hayden and what 2 knowledgeable trainers have told me. He proceeded to go over Hayden’s pressure points and told me that Hayden was NOT showing signs of Hock pain but DID show signs of Stifle pain. Wonderful. But he said that could also be related to TMJ issues in the mouth and sure enough when he tested the points he was clearly positive for that. How do we fix that? With an Equine Dentist. But not just any Equine Dentist; Dr. Tyler Dees DVM CEqDT. Appointment was set up for the earliest date: 2/4/11.

For more information on Performance Horse Dentistry complete with VIDEOS! :

Knowing that my horse was not comfortable in his mouth, it made it challenging to be excited for the show. I debated pulling out of the clinic and the show but after a call to Dr. Dees decided not to. He said Hayden has had this going on for years. YEARS! I have owned Hayden for 3 years now in which time my regular vet has looked in his mouth 2 x a year for the last 3 and has NEVER indicated there was a need for dentistry. Common from what I understand since they only teach about 10 hours of dentistry in Vet School.

The clinic, as I mentioned before was fun and educating. We then followed Craig’s desire for Mexican food and all 30 of us caravan to a restaurant that would hold all of us. What a great time we all had!(Photos by Jamie Jordan!)

Since I am a second year Director with the ALQHA, the next day was spent in the Alabama Quarter Horse Booth during the Annual Alabama Horse Fair put on by the Horse Council. It was great fun to see old friends and meet new ones! The evening was spent at the Alabama Stock Horse Banquet where I was asked to take pictures of the year end award winners receiving their awards from special guest, Craig Cameron!

Sunday was show day and I already had it in my head that no matter what Hayden and I were going to do the best we could do that day! I knew his mouth was bothering him, I had not slept but maybe 4 hours in 2 nights and it was COLD and muddy! I’ll save you the play by play but our Reining class was our worst one ever (we did get our Flying Lead Changes though!), our cow work was FUN and we got the job done, our Pleasure and Trail was the best we’ve EVER done! (Thanks Louis!) Regardless, we now know what our home work is! But the best part of the entire day was the PEOPLE! I love the folks involved with the ALSHA! Plus all the friends that stopped by that were there for the Horse Fair! It was great to see everyone! I was surrounded by friends and THAT made the day!

(Taken by Toni Christopher)

(Taken by Susan Stack)

The last Saturday in January I left at lunch to go to our Annual Meeting/Banquet/Awards night for the Alabama Quarter Horse Association. That was a lot of fun! I love brainstorming ideas to make an organization better! Of course that means I sleep less because I can't sleep when my brain is running 100mph. but that’s ok! Lots of good things are happening for ALQHA this year!

Well! That was my January in a nut shell! February looks to be a little slower but definitely will be fun filled since the 14th-20th I will be in Jackson,MS. for the Dixie National AQHA Show!