I served as Judge At A Miniature Horse Show this past Saturday here in Prescott Arizona.  The Fun Show was put on by the Saguaro State Shetland Pony and Miniature Horse Club. This year the show brought out over forty horses to compete.

The day started out with judging the halter classes for Miniature Horses, Ponies and Miniature Donkeys.  Many of the competitors were new to the small horse world and many had horses that had not been shown before.  The beginning Novice Handler Open sported about sixteen horses and handlers.  Judging this class was a challenge to say the least because there were so many nice horses in the class.

Halter Class

Halter classes went on until about eleven after which we moved on to the Showmanship classes. Here again there were many competitors getting their feet wet in the novice class.  They all had fun getting their horses to properly do the pattern.  Of course Showmanship is judged on how the handler works with their horse.  I was really glad to see that we had one junior competitor in many of the classes.

Showmanship Class

We ended the morning with the Hunter class which is always a challenge for the handler as they need to keep up with their horse as they get them to jump, in form, over the five jumps.  We had about six competitors that tried their hand at this class.  We had some rails down and one jump that had to be reset when one horse went through instead of jumping it, but all had fun trying.

Receiving a Ribbon

The afternoon was started with the In Hand Obstacle classes.  The course consisted of a mailbox, trotting zigzag, side pass, back through, car wash and walk over poles.  The nemesis for most of the competitors was the side pass.  Most of the horses were wondering what their handlers were asking them to do, and why they were shoving them so much.  They all have plenty of homework for themselves and their horses.  The open class added a zigzag side pass and a grass inlay under the poles.  The side pass again, had the horses wondering what was going on.

Next to follow were the driving obstacle classes which included the mailbox, trotting serpentine, halt and back up, walk thru “L” and fake grass to walk over. The halt for ten seconds and backing the horse in cart were the major hang ups for the drivers.

Next we moved on to Pleasure Driving classes which saw many minis, ponies and donkeys hitched up and ready to show their stuff.  All of the driving classes went well with no major hangups.  They were all very well behaved and their drivers did a great jobs with them.  The Reinsmanship class followed  along withe the final driving class called “Golden Age Driving” where the driver had to be over fifty five.  This class proved we are all getting older!

We ended the day with a Costume Class which brought out the creativity of those who entered.  It was a great way to end a very successful and fun show.  I am sure everyone is looking forward to the 2017 SSC Fun Show!

 

 

 

 

I had fun with Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy at the ADT (Arena Driving Trail) this past Saturday in Prescott Arizona.

I was packed and ready to leave the ranch at 7:15 am and as usual Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy stepped right into the trailer.  I arrived at the host ranch by eight and proceeded to get checked in for the days activities. Our time of go for dressage and cones was not until 12:30 so I spent the first hour checking out the dressage court and then walking the cones course and memorizing it.

After a brief rest and a cup of coffee I went to walk the obstacles and decide what track I would take in them.  Once I memorized the four obstacles there was plenty of time to watch some of the lower level drivers  as they drove dressage and cones.  Of the 30 competitors the majority were Miniature horses and ponies. There were only about six full size horses that were competing.

About 11:45 I started getting Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy  harnessed up and hitched so I would have enough warm up time with him before doing dressage. Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy was calm and listening as I drove into the dressage court.  The test was going really well until out of the blue the judge blew her whistle,which meant I was off course.  Now I quickly run the course through my head as I head over to the judges stand, and I just did not know what I did wrong.  As it turned out I did nothing wrong, I just wasn’t as far along in the test as the judge thought I was.  So after this brief hiccup I continued on with the test.   Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy took all this in stride and did a beautiful test.

As I was the last competitor to go they were all waiting for me over at the cones course with bated breath.  I saluted the judge and away we drove.  I did most of the course in a very fast trot with an occasional canter thrown in for good measure. I ended up with two ball down and a couple of time penalties.

After a rest for Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy and a quick lunch I hitched up again to do the four obstacles.  The first obstacle had all sorts of large metal animals in it for the horses to spook at.  Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy took them all in stride and only gave the very tall horse a wink.  I have seen in the past these metal animals come alive to some horses.  Then on to the second hazard which consisted of six foot tall poles placed in rows with large flags on the tops.  Now Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy normally does not have an issue with flags as he has seen many, but these flags with the wind blowing them straight out were smacking him in the face and he took exception to that. He basically said this is more than even I can deal with.  For all the other horses this was not an issue as they were all a lot shorter than him and most could not see them unless they looked up. I eliminated out on this obstacle because it was the right thing to do and not force Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy through them.

The third obstacle was made up of these huge boulders placed within the obstacle. Just a note, as we went through the in gate there were flags on top of higher poles and Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy went right through. We flew in and out in record time and did not move one boulder.  The final obstacle was the water one.  When we got to it there were several competitors waiting to drive it.  Now as we all know training a horse to voluntarily run through water is not an easy task, thus the backup.  Now when  Pinegrove’s Sailor Boy saw the water he was more than eager to fly through at a gallop, and that he did.  We crossed the water pond three times to be able to make the fastest time we could.  Of course my gator, Allan, got quite wet during this romp through the water obstacle.  The three obstacles we completed we did in sixty seconds or less so it was a good go for us.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie or “Snoopy” as we call him, took a first place at the SSC Arizona Driving Trial.  It was a beautiful day when we arrived at the hosting facility.  We found miniature horses and their people milling around,  getting their trailers unpacked.

First order of business was to check in and then I went to check out the dressage arena.   The cones course comes right after dressage so I needed to walk it several times so memorize it.  There were several blind turns in it which could be a problem if you are not ready for them.

By now it was about 10:00 so I had plenty of time to watch some of the drivers do dressage as well as cones.  It looked like everyone was having a good time with their miniature horses.

Finally it was time for me to get Spragues Orion Royal Herbie ready to drive.  After a good brush out I harnessed him up and we took a leisurely stroll down to the dressage arena.  There were still two competitors waiting to go, who were in front of me.  This made for a short wait until it was my time to go.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie was ready to go, so we took our one lap around the  arena and proceeded up the center line.  Stopped and saluted the judge.  The last time I competed with Spragues Orion Royal Herbie, was in 2004 at the Old Pueblo CDE (Combined Driving Event) in Tucson Arizone.  I was not surprised that Snoopy just went to work like it was just yesterday.  He did a fantastic job in dressage and I couldn’t have been more proud of him.

We then proceeded to the cones course where they were still setting the cones width for us. The judge blew her whistle when ready and away we drove. We did a good part of the course at the canter so that we could make our time.  It was a great plan as we were only two seconds over in time and we had no balls down. Spragues Orion Royal Herbie really enjoyed doing the cones, as always.

All competitors took a break for lunch for both them and their horses.  After which we all hitched up our horses for the obstacles, of which there were four.  Spragues Orion Royal Herbie had a great go through all four of the obstacles.  We had to race through four gates in each of the obstacles in the fastest time possible, while still being safe.

By the end of the day Spragues Orion Royal Herbie had the top dressage score of all the competitors and the top combined score overall.  We placed first in the preliminary single horse division.  Not to bad for a 21 year old who hadn’t competed in a CDE  since 2004.

 

Snoopy’s In Demand at Nursing Homes so on July 29, 2015 my miniature horse Spragues Orion Royal Herbie,  “Snoopy” and I spent the morning at the High Gate Senior Living Center in Prescott Arizona.  This is the second home we have visited this year and we have another one later this month at the Prescott Nursing Rehabilitation Center.

Snoopy is a 20 year old 31″ mini gelding.  Previously he had been a competition and show horse in both pleasure driving and combined driving.

Now in his more mature years he enjoys visiting nursing homes and children’s programs here in the Prescott area.

I actually take Snoopy inside the nursing homes and into the rooms of the patients that can not get up. I visit the group areas and always answer many questions about the little horses.

Many times I am joined by my good friend Shirley and her Mini Buddy.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie at nursing homes

It’s been a busy month for Snoopy. On August 15, 2015 the local Miniature Horse Club put on a “Meet A Mini” event at the Chino Valley city center park.  The main purpose was to introduce the general public and especially children to the uniqueness of the Miniature horse.  In all there were sixteen minis that showed up to the event.  It was a perfect setting in which to have one on one petting and loving on a mini. Lots of parents along with their children ranging in age from one to twelve years old enjoyed meeting all of the minis.

Snoopy at meet a mini

The children were able to have their picture taken with their favorite mini to take home with them.

Then on August 21, 2015 Snoopy headed over to the Prescott Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for a meet and greet with the residents of the facility.

The greeting occurred in their outside patio under the shade which he thought was great.  He was able to have his picture taken with many of the residents and of course they all thought he was handsome.

This facility has special memories for me as it is where  my father spent his last six months.  I brought Snoopy many times to see my dad when he was there and it always cheered him up.

On May 27, 2016 we once again returned to Prescott Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center to visit the many patients that live there, or are there for rehabilitation. It is always so much fun for the patients and myself.

Spragues Orion Royal Herbie at nursing homes

Then just this last week on September 30, 2016 we went and visited the High Gate Senior Living Center and nursing home for another visit.  There was quite a crowd waiting for us to arrive and everyone had a chance to pet and or hug a Miniature horse.  Snoopy especially loves the petting.  He walked over to one patient and they did not pay attention to him so he put his head on their lap and waited to be noticed.  It is amazing the smiles and stories that the people living there tell us about.  The smiles are the best!

Your all packed up and ready to head out on your trip to your next driving event.  You packed your trailer as usual, your horse loaded into the trailer nicely and off you go.  Your a hundred miles into your trip and there’s a sudden clunk and thud and your trailer does a bit of a dance and you realize that you have blown a tire on your trailer, this is the dreaded break down.

You manage to pull off the freeway, which of course is where all problem accrue. You look and see that the tire is completely flat and needs to be replaced. If you are like most people you can’t remember where the jack is or where the tire wrench has gone to.  If this sounds all to familiar you are not alone.

Dealing with a breakdown no matter what the problem is always stressful.  Now when you get older you realize that having a service like USRider comes in real handy.  I have been with them for over twelve year now and I would not leave home without their service.  When you call in an emergency they always ask about your horses first before getting into the type of breakdown you have had.

There are so many thing, that one needs to make a priority, at the first of the year before you go out on your first trip.  Trailers that sit over the winter have a tendency to have thing just come loose for no reason at all.  Make sure you go over your trailer and check all tires, bring up the pressure on them as they will deflate some just from sitting, grease all hinges, check floorboards and mats and if it is a bumper pull check the nut on the hitch ball to make sure it is tight.  Check your wiring to make sure all lights and the brakes are working well, we all know that those pesky mice and rats just love electric wires. Nothing worse than your trailer brakes not coming on in an emergency.

Now go over your truck and make sure it is in proper running order to be able to pull your trailer.  You should always have good tires and brakes.

When you break down you need to have supplies in your truck or trailer that will help you stay safe while waiting for help to arrive.  Some of the thing I always carry with me are:

Spare tire for truck and trailer

Reflective triangles (you can never have to many)

First Aid kit for both humans and horses (sudden stop can cause your horses to get banged around or you jam your finger while trying to change the tire)

Fire Extinguisher (one in auto and one in trailer)

Spare halters and leads rope

Tire Trailer Aid for changing tires

Lug wrench that fits both truck and trailer

Flashlights and plenty of batteries (breakdowns will happen at night)

Good sharp knife

Duct Tape (good for lots of things)

Cell Phone (charged up)

While your rolling along down the road always be aware of what is going on around you.  If you hear a strange noise it is better to pull over and find out it is nothing, it might have just been a rock popping up off the road.

When you do have a breakdown and you are able to get to a roadside rest do not take your horses out.  I know it can be tempting but it is also dangerous. I know of a driver that did stop at a rest area and decided to take her horses out but in doing so they were scared by all of the flying traffic that they got away. It turned into a really bad situation very fast. Your horses are able to rest just fine inside the trailer.  It really is not worth the risk!

This is what actually happened when my husband and I were coming back from The Duck Club CDE in Venture California in 2011.

We were going through Sepulveda pass and just as we reached the crest we lost power in our Dodge and we had no compression so we were just coasting.  We managed to move to the right one lane and get about a foot off the shoulder before we just stopped.  Now this was a Sunday and the freeway was packed with people coming back from the beach, this is the dreaded break down!

We immediately call USRider for help.  While waiting for the tow truck a highway patrol car pulled up and asked what the problem was and at the time we just knew we were dead in the water, later we learned that the clutch went out in the truck.  The officer was concerned for our safety because we were so close to the edge of the right lane.  Now to make this even worse there was an accident on the opposite side of the highway so the tow truck was stuck in that while trying to get to us. The officer hailed down a smaller tow truck that was just coming up the highway and with chains he was able to pull us about 100 feet into a large open area off the road.

While we were waiting for all this to go on, I was able to get our triangles set out so traffic would not run into the back corner of the trailer which is where my horse was. I was also able to go into the trailer through the door between the living area and the carriage area and feed and water him.

After several hours the tow truck showed up and picked up the front end of the truck and pulled the truck with trailer attached (it was a very big tow truck) to the Dodge dealership in Thousand Oaks.

It took three days for the new clutch to arrive in Thousand Oaks and be put in the truck.  Our trailer was towed to a nearby stable where we boarded our horse and we were able to stay in our trailer.  I always pack more food, feed and cloths than I expect to need so we had plenty for the extra days. The stable got a kick out of me driving my horse around their grounds.  It was great entertainment for their other boarders.

In my years of hauling I have had my fair share of flat tires and engine problems.  On our trip last year we lost one of the diesel injectors which started a fire in the engine compartment, now that was scary.  Bottom line is that when you are traveling with your horse, no matter if it is a close or far event you need to be prepared for anything to happen, and then be very happy when nothing does.