Sunday, August 29, 2010

Choco and I had our very first horse show on Saturday! For a first time handler I did pretty well, but for a first time show pony Choco did amazing!! We wanted an opportunity for the mustangs to be in the show ring before we take them to the Makeover in October. All three of the mustangs were very calm and just as good as any of the other horses that have shown many times.

We were entered in two kinds of classes; halter and showmanship. In halter the judge looks at how the horse is built physically, like a sturdy frame and good muscle tone. Since mustangs usually don't have the kind of frame judges are looking for, Choco didn't place in those classes. He did very well in the showmanship classes (see last entry) and we actually placed ahead of a few people in one class.

We had two different patterns we had to do and Choco
did both very well. I'm the one that had to go mess us up! We had accidentally practiced one of the patterns wrong, and I had just learned that a few minutes before going into the ring. It was a very small change that Choco would have no problem doing. When I got in the ring I comlpetely forgot about the change and did the pattern wrong. When I got up to the judge he just looked at me and said," You forgot the pattern." Oops. We may have done it wrong, but we did it wrong very well. Choco did exactly what I told him to do. Later we did that pattern again, and we got it right that time.

I was so pleased with how Choco responded to the crowd and noise. He wasn't scared when there were other horses close by or of walking through the parking lot full of trucks and trailers.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

This week is Showmanship Boot Camp! This means we will be practicing and perfecting our showmanship under the direction of Mrs. Brandee Livingston ( who is a 6 or 7 time world champion in showmanship). She is a fantastic teacher, and everybody and their horses are doing great.

Showmanship is the part of the competition that shows how focused the horse is on you and how well they obey your cues. We have to complete a pattern of different maneuvers including walking, trotting, stopping, backing, and pivoting.

Choco is pretty good at most of it. I'm the one that needs all the help! A large part of showmanship is the 'show' part. I have to always be in the correct posture with my shoulders back, elbows in, and head up. Even if I'm running or trying to count how many steps back Choco is taking, I still have to keep that position. Mrs. Brandee threatened to tie our arms to our sides with hay strings if we don't keep our elbows in! (if you don't think it sounds hard to run like that, you should try it!)

In a few weeks we are taking the mustangs to a horse show to expose them to a show environment before the Makeover in October. It will be a great first horse show for me because the point of going isn't really to win. But everyone's pony is doing so well, maybe we will actually be some competition!

I almost forgot to mention the weather! Mrs. Brandee is the kind of teacher who keeps going if it's pouring down rain while we are working. We don't go inside unless things start getting struck by lightning. Running in several inches of mud makes keeping my posture right much harder. After Boot Camp is over a horse show is going to seem so easy! Thanks so much for all your help, Mrs. Brandee!

If you would like to read the 2 reports I have written on mustangs, look over on the left side of the blog where it says 'pages.' They are called American Original and Balancing Act. Just click on either and you can read the whole paper. Thanks and if you want to leave a comment on anything please leave your name so I know who you are!

Monday, August 16, 2010

I can't believe it has already been 1 month! Choco's progress is much faster than I expected. He is getting his basic maneuvers down and now we are working on different tricks for the finals if we make it that far. In the finals you can use music so I've been listening to some pretty crazy songs. We've been working on our different strengths and weaknesses to figure out what kind of routine is best for both of us. In the finals we will have 4 minutes to show of what we do best. My goal is to show that he is quiet, trusting, attentive, willing, and athletic.

A lot of people have asked if I am riding him. The answer is no; you don't break a horse to saddle until they are 2 or 3. But I am doing some exercises that will help him get used to having some weight on his back.

Before and after.

Here is a drawing I did with my graphics tablet in Adobe Photoshop.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I would like to officially introduce you to "Doc's Something Chocolate" of Doc Livingston's Farm and Stable. It took three weeks, but he finally has an official name. Why Something Chocolate? Because it's always good to have Something Chocolate!

It's hard to believe it has been three weeks already. Now that Choco has decided to cooperate (most of the time), there seems to be no end to what he can learn. It is challenging for me to come up with new things to teach him. Of course, I am still focusing on his ground work which is the foundation of a good horse.

Choco has had little trouble getting used to his new surroundings. He seems to enjoy people coming up to say hello. He eats very well. And, he does not seem to mind any of the action of the barn.

By the way, do you have any interest in how the government oversees wild horses and burros on government land? Are you interested in learning about new proposals for more effective land and herd management? Are you interested in giving your input on new proposals? You can! You should check out the 2010 SALAZAR INITIATIVE. The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, presented the WILD HORSE AND BURRO STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENT to the Bureau of Land Management. The primary goal of the document if to develop new strategies for managing issues of overpopulation. For a government document, it is really pretty interesting reading. It also contains pages of questions for public input. Check it out at (click on 2010 Salazar Initiative) or