Monday, January 29, 2007

Anything worth buying is worth fixing

I had another great ride on Kaswyn yesterday. I was able to add cantering to the workout and he felt really good. He was a little tight at the beginning of the canter, but otherwise he felt great. Even his left lead canter, which used to be much lower quality of stride than the right lead, was actually pretty good. I wonder if his foot/knee had been bothering him for a very long time, causing that lead to be rough and lack jump. Hopefully I can rebuild it properly and get a nice canter when all is said and done.

It's been hard to be patient during this diagnosis and healing process, but I know that if I had just blown off that feeling of "my horse just doesn't feel right" that I would have messed things up worse. I know that for awhile when nobody could find anything wrong that the vets (and maybe my trainer, but just a little bit) was thinking that it was all in my head. Or that I just didn't know how my horse felt after taking a year off of riding to have the baby.

But thankfully, after riding him for 13 years I know what he's supposed to feel like. And I can tell you, right now, he feels like a whole lot of AWESOME.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Of Roses, Black and Red - Part 8

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Yes, I bought my first horse. It was dicey at times to keep the secret from my parents, but got a whole lot easier when I moved three hours south to go to college. I took Tyler with me, and I also took Liz's horse Holli. For some insane reason I thought that I would take both horses to school and be able to work, go to school, keep my grades up, and break and train Holli and Tyler.

This plan, unfortunately, completely backfired. At the end of my first year I had such bad grades that I was on academic probation. Not to mention that I didn't feel like I was making very good training progress with Tyler or Holli. I was very unhappy at school, mainly because I had left all my friends and my boyfriend back at home. Speaking of the boyfriend, he had decided to move back home to Ohio and work for the family business. He didn't exactly ask me to come with him, but I decided that he wasn't leaving me behind. I made plans to transfer schools and follow him across the country before the new school year started in the fall.

I moved home for the summer and started working at my old job in the lab. I brought Tyler (and Holli) home and was riding him as much as I could. I was also making plans to have him shipped to Ohio so I could keep him. I was nervous but really excited to go.

My friends were supportive, but I could tell that nobody thought it was a good idea. I heard many things, like "I don't see a ring on your finger..." or "Are you sure it's smart to change your life so drastically for a guy who hasn't even made a committment to you yet?", and other comments along those lines. But if you know me then you know that once I make up my mind, I'm not easily swayed. I was going.

I was fortunate to have the chance to go to shows that sumer with all my friends before I left. One show was notable in particular, and that was Regionals. We brought a big load of horses to Reno for the Region III Championships that year. We had a great time, until the last day. After feeding the horses, we all decided to go out to breakfast since nobody was showing until the afternoon. Blair had three to ride in the final Championships that afternoon and evening, so when she decided she was going to order biscuits and gravy I told her that wasn't a very good idea. Knowing Blair's past gastrointestional history, I told her to have something a bit more mild because it would be bad if she got a stomach ache. She insisted she would be fine and cleaned her plate.

We got back to the barn and it was business as usual. It was hot, being June in Reno, so everyone was just lying around. Blair went into the feed room to catch a quick nap on the hay bales. She come out a half-hour later, holding her stomach. I gave her "the look" which said "Don't even tell me your stomach hurts.". She smiled weakly and said, "I think I'm going to have to go recycle the biscuits and gravy."

My first thought was that we were screwed. You see, Blair had hyperemesis sometimes, which means that once she started vomiting she couldn't stop without medical attention and drugs. She insisted just a quick trip to the bathroom would solve her problem, and headed off. I knew she wouldn't be back. Twenty minutes later, Cheryl went to check on her, and found her dry heaving uncontrollably. Blair actually thought that she could control it and would be able to ride. I knew she needed to get to the hospital, and that she needed to tell me how to handle her rides for the evening.

If it had been any other horse show, we just would have scratched the horses and gone home. But it was Regionals and the clients had paid a lot of money to get there. Blair said that the previous trainer could show the grey gelding, that the owner could show the bay mare, and she'd scratch the other gelding. And Stephanie, the gal riding Bo in the equitation medal class, would just have to be on her own unless I had time to coach her. But I had to coordinate everything at the show office and back at the barn, with the thought that Blair just might suddenly recover, so my chances of making it to the ring to help Stephanie were close to zero.

At some point while I was running around making arrangements and getting horses ready, Cheryl took Blair to the hospital. I got the grey gelding in the ring with the previous trainer, and sent Stephanie off on Bo, with one piece of advice - don't rush him in the canter departs or you'll get the wrong lead. Then I got the mare and her owner ready for the ring. The results? The grey gelding blew a transition and was not in the Top 5. Stephanie rushed her canter depart, Bo gave her the wrong lead, as predicted, and she was out. And the owner of the mare was completely nervous and had a terrible ride. All in all, a crappy night of showing.

Blair spent the night in the hospital. She was fine after some fluids and drugs to stop the vomiting. The next morning she went back to the hotel to sleep while we packed the trailer and got ready to leave. But the fun wasn't over yet. Mary got heat stroke, and one of the geldings ripped his nose open on his water bucket and needed stitches. Blair finally showed up after noon just in time to get in the truck and drive it home. She actually had the nerve on the way home to suggest Burger King for dinner. One look from me squished that idea.

We finished out the summer, showing some more and riding together. Then disaster struck. Two days before I was to leave for Ohio, my parents found out I had a horse. Tyler had kicked down a board at the barn and they called my house to tell my mom that I needed to fix it before I left. My mom called me to give me the message, and then said "You don't have a horse, do you?"

I paniced. Then I lied and said no, explaining that it was just the horse I was riding but I did not own him. Then I called the barn and yelled at them for telling my mom anything because they knew it was a secret.

Little did I know that they then called my mom back to tell her everything.

When I got home from work my parents were waiting to talk to me. After much yelling, it came out that my father would not allow me to leave, would not support me in any way, if I owned that horse. There were tears and pleading, but he could not be budged. I was hosed.

I called Blair in a panic and explained the situation. She agreed to buy Tyler and get me out of this mess, at least temporarily. She drove over to the house and my dad watched us sign the papers over to her. She made plans to pick Tyler up and move him to her barn, along with all of his tack and blankets. Just the thought of leaving him and all of his stuff behind was so heartbreaking that it made me burst into tears. I cried for months.

Mom refused to speak to me for almost a year. Rather, she was so hurt that I lied to her that she just couldn't. She insisted that if I had just told her the truth that she would have been okay with it, but I don't believe her. She would have told my dad and the end result would have been the same. The forced sale of my horse and a long, tear filled drive to Ohio.

Before I left at the beginning of August, Blair hosted a surprise party for me at her house. All the barn people were there to wish me well and say goodbye. It was really sad, because I knew that I would miss everyone a lot, including Tyler.

I didn't know just how much I'd be missing some of them until December.

To be continued...

Part 9

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Short update

It's been over a week since I started exercising Kaswyn again. I've been slowly increasing the amount of trot work that we do and we're up to about 10 minutes. And he feels great! Not lame, very willing, eager to go. Of course he's a little tired after 10 minutes because he's so out of shape, but I think we're on the road back.

Next week I'll add cantering. I'm so excited I could bust.

Oh, and a bit of little girl news. Macey - our 19 month old - went pee-pee on the potty this morning. Now, her older sister, Lily (who is three), is not interested in potty training. When I asked her why she won't poop on the potty she said "I like to poop in my pants." Nice. Maybe we can get Macey out of diapers and Lily, out of shame, will start using the potty too.

Wish me luck on both fronts.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Almost too good to be true

For the first time in a year, I had good news when I left Dr. G.'s clinic with Kaswyn. The injured area of the splint bone in his left knee has healed 50% since the x-rays were taken a month ago. Combine this with the fact that my horse is totally sound and everyone was thrilled. Doc said that the prognosis is extremely favorable, and that 75% of these injuries heal completely.

I wasn't able to go with Kaswyn to the last visit, but this time I was able to go and see the before and after x-rays. I now have a much better understanding of what's going on in there. Basically he has an injury to the top of one of his splint bones. It's caused by concussive force and has resulted in inflammation in the bone and a separation of the splint bone from the cannon bone. So, technically, it's the very tops of the bones directly below the knee that are injured. This probably happened becasue he changed the way he moved when his navicular bone started bothering him, but there's no real way to tell.

The new plan is to slowly increase the amount of trotting over the next two weeks. If he stays sound, then start cantering, again slowing increasing that for two weeks. In a month, if he's still sound, then we start to wean him off of the bute and aspirin. He's only on one gram of bute and 3/4 of a scoop of aspirin once a day, which is not a lot of meds. So hopefully I can get him off the meds and he'll stay sound and we can finally get back to work.

Yesterday was the first time that I worked at the trot for more than three laps of the arena. Kaswyn felt great and ready to go. It was really hard not to do more, but I'm going to force myself to be patient and give this time to heal completely. I don't need or want another setback.

I'm both excited and hesitant about what the next few weeks will bring. More excited though. I think my horse is too.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Of Roses, Black and Red - Part 7

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

While I was learning the ropes as a show groom on the road, I was also getting a great riding education back home. I was able to sit on a lot of different horses and learn many different riding disciplines. I learned saddle seat, western, hunt seat, and side saddle. By this time Blair was letting me ride her three horses - Bo (the english horse), Llano (western pleasure gelding) and Teeya (western pleasure mare).

Bo was a fantastic animal. He was a half arab/half quarter horse that Blair found standing in someone's back yard. He had a heart of gold. You could put anyone on him and they would be totally safe. He was big for an arab - I think he was 16.1 - and he was buckskin, so he really stood out. Back then they didn't have country pleasure at Arab shows - just English pleasure for the really high trotting horses. So Blair showed him English pleasure with moderate success. Most of the time she leased him out to junior riders because he was a fantastic equitation horse. He was totally honest and uncomplicated. There was only one thing you had to be careful of.

In saddle seat equitation medal classes (where the winner wins a medal and gets invited back to the national medal finals) the riders first ride around the arena together with the judge watching. Then each rider is asked to ride a pattern to test their skill and prove that they can be effective and not just sit up there and look pretty going around in circles. These patterns are usually different at every show, but they generally contain the same elements. One of those elements is cantering the horse on one lead for a certain number of strides, then transitioning to the walk, then picking up the canter in the other lead. Riding Bo in this movement was tricky because he had a hard time keeping straight and needed to swing his haunches from one side to the other at the walk to get the correct lead. If you gave him just a few seconds to do this, he gave you the correct lead. If you got impatient and rushed him, he'd just pop the wrong lead for you. Not out of malice, but more like "Fine, rush me. I know my job, but here's what you get. Learn to be patient". And I did.

Llano was a horse that Blair bred. He was the son of her quater horse mare that she got when she was a kid. When Llano was young Blair used to sleep in his stall with him. He was very spoiled, and had a similar disposition to his arabian sire, who was rumored to be a real bastard. Llano picked up the name "Squid Lips" because he used to do this flapping thing with his lips that made a really gross squishing sound. I didn't ride Llano much, because he was also often leased out to a student. Usually to an adult because Llano was a grumpy guy. You never turned your back on him in the stall, because he'd come after you with his teeth. Mostly I think it was for show, but I never wanted to find out so I was careful. When you were riding him, however, he was all business. He was well trained and taught me a lot about wastern pleasure.

Which leads me to Teeya. She and Blair clashed from day one. The mare was just a bitch. Looking back I think she was unhappy with her job of being a western horse. Knowing what I know now she probably would have been a really nice dressage horse and might have been much happier. Anyway, as soon as Blair rode Teeya to her Regional Championship in Western Pleasure, she decided that she really didn't enjoy working with the horse. She asked me if I wanted to lease Teeya. She didn't ask me for any money (because she knew I didn't have it) but said I would have to work for her. Sounded like a great deal for me.

Since I was now eighteen I was able to show, I started riding Teeya and taking lessons. She was the first horse I rode on a regular basis, and was the first horse that I showed seriously. Although I learned a lot, and occasionally won classes, it was difficult. I could see why Blair didn't want to ride her any more. Teeya was just a bitch. To top it all off, you never knew what you were going to get in the show ring. She could be perfect in the warm-up, and the go into the class and start shaking her head and wringing her tail, or tossing her head and running through the bit. Or you'd have an awesome class in the morning, and then she'd hag-out on you that evening. Or sometimes it was the other was around.

I struggled through a few years of showing Teeya. The last year I showed her I tried hunter pleasure and side saddle, thinking that maybe the change from western would make her happy. The answer to that? A big fat NO. Different disciplines, same witch. At the end of that show season I told Blair that I wasn't going to lease and show her anymore. It was just too frustrating, and seemed like a waste of my time and money. Blair's answer was "Well, I don't want to ride her either. I'm going to breed the bitch then! At least she'll make pretty babies." She immediately started things in motion to get her bred.

It was soon after then that Blair approached me with a proposition. There was a trailer that she wanted to buy. The guy who owned it was willing to sell it to her, but only if she bought his last horse too. She asked if I would buy him, because she had no interest in owning another horse. Now, my parents had specifically told me a long time ago NO HORSES, but I really wanted a horse of my own. I was 21 years old and thought I deserved it. I went and looked at the horse a few times and rode him. His registered name was awful, so I started calling him Tyler. He was a little bay purebred arabian gelding who was greenbroke and kind. I was supposed to be going off to college that fall, and I figured I could take him down there without my parents knowing. It would mean that I'd have to get an extra job to pay my board, but I thought I could swing it.

So I bought my first horse, without my parents knowledge or blessing, for $800. Little did I know how much trouble that purchase would cause me.

To be continued...

Part 8

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Of Roses, Black and Red - Part 6

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

My show groom education continues..

The next thing I had to learn was how to pack the trailer for the show. This seemed like we just packed every damn thing in the tack room. We didn't really, but holy crap did we take a lot of stuff to the show. Bridles, blankets, buckets, trunks full of grooming supplies, cross ties, carpets, show clothes, drapes, plants, fans, hay, grain, shavings..the list is endless. All of this junk needed to be placed neatly in the trailer so that we could get as much of the stuff as we could. Then we'd get up super early the next day and head off to the show, were I'd get on-the-job training.

Once we arrived at the show, there was so much to do. Stalls needed to be bedded, horses unloaded, all the crap unloaded, and then the groom room and tack room needed to be set up. I actually loved this part. The groom room was just an extra empty stall that we'd set up with a set of cross ties and a mat or carpet on the floor. Then we'd put up shelves and set out the grooming trunks and hang the brooms and stall picks on the wall. We'd also hang spotlights in the stall so that it was brightly lit. This setup allowed up to put a horse in the stall andgroom it spotlessly from head to tail. Oh, and we'd polish the hooves too. Those horses would gleam coming out of the groom room.

We also had to put up show drapes. Now this is something that other breeds and disciplines do at shows, but Arabian shows go a bit crazy with it. Drapes are large pieces of fabric that are hung up on your stalls to create a custom space and a home away from home. They are color coordinated to match the farm logo colors, and one or more of the large drapes usually have the farm logo embroidered on them. There are drapes for the ouside of stalls, and drapes to be hung inside the stalls to create a hospitality room for potential or current clients. There are matching accessories including tack trunk covers, fabric chairs, table covers, stall panels - you name it they make it. Blair had a very nice set of drapes in her colors, and we'd set them up at every show. This involved nailing boards up to staple to drapes to. Sometimes if we coudln't nail something the way we wanted it we'd have to tie boards up with bailing wire to make it work. It was a lot of standing on ladders, climbing walls, and swearing, but in the end I think it looked really nice.

Usually we'd get to the show and Blair would help bed stalls and get horses off the trailer. Then she'd go park the trailer while the grooms started setting up. She'd help set up the drapes, but then she'd have to start riding horses to school them for the show the next day. So she'd be off riding and we'd be setting up. Truth be told it was nice to get her out of our hair sometimes. When everything was set up, and all the horses worked, fed, and down for the night, Blair would head to the hotel room. Sometimes we had a room and we'd go with her, but sometimes we'd stay in an empty stall at the show grounds all night to save money. We didn't get much sleep, but we did have fun. We'd usually regret it the next morning, however.

At an Arabian show, you have to get up early enough to feed the horses and give baths to all the horses going into halter classes. Most halter classes started at 8 am, and your horses needed to be dry before you went into the ring. Which meant we did a lot of bathing horses at 6 am with very cold water. Sure, we piled coolers on them to keep them warm and help them dry faster, but it still sucked for everyone involved. Then there were stalls to clean, buckets to fill, and tack to clean. Aisles needed to be swept and the groom and tack rooms needed to be kept neat and tidy. It was a lot of hard work, but it was tons of fun.

Eventually I picked up the title of head groom. I don't know if this happened because I went to the most shows, or I was the pushiest, or worked the fastest, but I wasn't complaining. I took enormous pride in having clean horses, tack, groom rooms, aisles, and stalls. Somtimes it was just me at the shows, so it didn't really matter. But other times there would be Liz, or Cami, or Laura helping groom too. Sometimes the parents of the junior girls that were riding would make them help us groom, which we always appreciated. I'm sure I was bossy and a little bitchy about some things, but nobody could say that I didn't get the job done.

Except this one time.

Part of my self imposed responsibility was to sit down with Blair when we got to the show and make up the board. The board consisted of a list of all the classes that she was entered in and on what horse. That way I would know who had to be groomed and tacked up with which tack at what time and I could plan out my day. And delegate responsibilities at the bigger shows with lots of horses and more grooms.

This one show I told Blair we needed to make the board, and she really didn't want to. What she wanted to do was go "network", which really meant she wanted to go visiting other trainers at their stalls. She wanted to schmooze and party. Which is fine - networking is very important. However, so is the board. I kept pestering her and she finally said that she didn't have any classes the next day until after the dinner break, so we had all day to make the board. I said okay, and she disappeared.

So the next day, before we could sit down and make the board, we hear the paddock announcer over the PA system calling her to the gate, saying they were holding it for her and her class was in the ring. I'm sure the look on my face was of absolute shock.

ME: Is he calling YOU?

BLAIR: He can't be! I don't show until this evening!

ME: (after listening to the announcement again) Oh, no, that IS you. What class is it?

BLAIR: English Pleasure. Oh shit, that's Andrea's class.

ME: Well someone (implying that it wouldn't be me) needs to run up to the ring and tell them you're not coming.

The owner of the horse wasn't exactly thrilled, but she kind of had the attitude of "eh, these things happen". Not on my watch they don't lady. I was kinda pissed. And Blair knew it. She said how sorry she was and that she felt really stupid for not listening to me. She promised that from now on she would sit down with me, when asked, and do the board. Which she dutifully did, every time.

To be continued...

Part 7

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Ride

I just got this in an email from a very dear horsey friend. I know it will be making it's rounds on the internet and blogs, but it's just so appropriate that I had to post it here.

A Simple Statement
by Julia Dake
May 22, 2006

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women who ride know it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'. It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch. We haul 40ft rigs, we back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor. Your hands are a little rough and you travel with out makeup or hair gel. You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Of Roses, Black and Red - Part 5

Here are links to the previous posts, since it's taken me a long time to write the next installment. It's just that they are getting harder to write. For reasons that will become apparent.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

My horse training education was progressing and I was thrilled. Blair gave me as much instruction as she could, and let me work as much as I wanted. There were occasions when she didn't have much time to help me because she had paying clients to teach, but it always seemed like I could ask for a quick 30 minute lesson and she'd squeeze me in.

Blair was in a heavy showing rotation at that point. She asked me if I wanted to show one of her horses in the junior classes. Of course this was a dream come true for me. I asked my parents, since I was under 18 at the time and I would need them to sign the entry form in order to enter the show. They said no. Which means I couldn't show. Period. For some reason, they thought it was okay that I rode all the time, but they forbade me from showing. I couldn't really understand it, but no amount of pleading, begging, whining, or sulking would get them to change their minds. They wouldn't even let me go away to a show with Blair, even if I wasn't showing. This worked out nicely for her because I would stay home and work the horses that didn't go to the show. But I felt like I was missing out on some really fun stuff. I'd see other girls come back from shows, laughing and carrying ribbons and trophies. It made me sad, but determined that I was going to show at some point.

The summer that I turned 18, my parents decided to allow me to go to shows with Blair. This was such an awesome experience for me, and a great chance to learn. Of course this meant that I'd have to learn how to be a groom at a show, which is much different from being a groom at the stable.

First, I had to learn how to clip the horses before we left for the show. Blair showed me what needed to be clipped and how it was to be done. She liked to use different sized clipper blades for different areas on the horse's body to get the best look. The #10 blades left the hair the longest and were to be used on large areas like the body, legs, and parts of the face. #15 blades took the hair a little shorter and were used around the very tops of the hooves. #40 blades clipped the closest, like getting shaved before surgery, and were used inside the ears, on the muzzle, and tops of the eyes. You had to be very careful with the 40's because you could easily clip too much hair off or make a big ugly gouge in the coat. All horses had to be completely clipped before the show because clipping sometimes takes a long time and there is so much to do when you first arrive at a show that you don't want to bother with clipping horses.

Soon after teaching me how to clip, Blair asked me to clip Teeya for her before the Scottsdale show. This was a big show, and she was going in halter classes as well as western pleasure classes. The halter horses are inspected very closely by the judge, so you really want to do a perfect clip job. This one girl, Liz (who had a horse and rode with Blair and also groomed for her - we became great friends) was helping me clip Teeya. I decided I was going to clip her lower front legs, so I grabbed the clippers and started at it.

I was having a really hard time getting the hair to clip evenly. Usually if the horse is clean (she was) and the blades are sharp (they were) it's really easy to get a nice even patch of clipped hair. I was perplexed, but hoping things would improve I kept clipping, creating a bigger area of uneven hair right in the center of one of her front legs. I decided to ask Liz what she thought. We had the following conversation, which I remember just like it was yesterday.

ME: Hey, why can't I get this to clip evenly? It looks terrible!

LIZ: (taking a look) Hmm, yeah it looks pretty bad.

ME: I don't understand. She's clean and the blades are sharp.

LIZ: What blades are those?

ME: (looking at the blades for the first time) Uhh.. they're 40's.

LIZ: (shocked and dismayed) Blair's gonna kill you.

See, I should have looked at the clipper blades before I started clipping to check and see if I had the correct blades. I didn't, and since I clipped with the 40's there was no going back. Teeya, my trainer's beautiful halter mare, had a huge bald spot on the front of her leg. Easily visible from twenty feet away.

Needless to say, Blair wasn't happy. She didn't come down on me as hard as she could have, which I really appreciated. She took the clippers and did a good job of evening it up and blending it into the hair that was left. The show was still a few days away, and she said that by the time they got in the ring it wasn't really all that bad. But I think she was just saying that so I wouldn't feel bad. I can't remember if Teeya won that halter class or not, because I didn't go to that show. When she got back from Scottsdale, Blair instituted a new rule that when the clippers are put away you must put the 10 blade on them. That way if you aren't paying attention ( like I wasn't) you can't do any damage, because you can always change blades and go shorter.

But you can bet, to this day, that the first thing I do when I pick up clippers is check the blades.

To be continued...

Part 6
Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr