This is going to be a pretty quick review as there's not a lot to say except I LOVE the quality of the collar I got from this etsy seller! I had wanted something a little more "outdoorsy" for Zing and fell across the idea of a trout pattern collar and my inner wildlife biologist was all over it. After looking at the available options, I went with SarahWestDesign. I purchased the Orange/Blue/Green option in Medium and waited. The order was placed on August 30 and at my house by Sept 4th so I think that's super reasonable considering most etsy orders take much longer.
I've ordered my fair share of collars and goods in general from the internet and these collars are NICE! Very nicely made, the stitching was super secure, the thread colors used complimented (blended in) with the striking trout pattern (top stitching and bottom stitching are differing colors to match the fabric), and the fabric is vibrant and durable feeling. Super pumped about this but needed to wait until Zing was old enough to fit comfortably in it...
I've used a lot of clippers in my time as an animal person and running a lab at Texas A&M University (don't ask). You name the brand, blades, whatever and I've probably used them and normally on a large scale. I don't like clippers in general because of all the usual issues- they get hot, they blow hair in your face, they're finicky, they only cut X hair when Y is true. It's annoying and I've amassed an arsenal of these things and just spend a fortune on Cool Lube, Oil, and clipper blades. I hate it. Just clip! That's all I need you to do!
I've been eyeing the Lister Star clippers for some time because of The$900FacebookPony but when you look at reviews it says they're as good as the Andis that I already have several sets of. Grr. I finally just grabbed a pair from Riding Warehouse and had it sent to my house. Vana was looking like a yak, Orbit the Border Collie needed freeing from her copious coat, and when they work they're so good for so many things.
I grabbed Vana after getting his Coggins done from earlier that day and realizing that his yak style was making him look too old manish and with our upcoming show(s) I needed to get it done sooner rather than later. I broke out the clippers and was SO PUMPED that they were already assembled and ready to go with a quick oiling. I had also bought 2 other clipper blades but (spoiler alert) I didn't end up needing them.
Much of what I've clipped are either deceased animals or livestock or dogs that people didn't care about them being clipped perfectly. I'm usually in a hurry to get them done before the stupid things heat up and I start burning the critter and have to stop with them looking either half done or half chewed up. With this in mind, I just started on Vana's front legs and went up his neck, chest, and shoulder. He was prepared for the pulling, nicking, heat as he danced and fussed but within a few minutes he... relaxed. Vana. Relaxed. He just chilled out and I got his whole body clipped with NO lines and hardly any missed spots PLUS some small fussing in about an hour. Is he ready for the A circuit? No, but man, he looks great and I can see how much weight I've put on him and how much more top line I have to go lol.
So yes, these clippers earn an A++++ from me. I kept them oiled as recommended and even used Cool Lube when I heard them change sounds at all. They are louder of course then the smaller Andis but they're quieter then the Oster clipmasters. Very nicely balance and easy on your hands, I found myself... enjoying (what...?) the task and looking forward to tackling the other horses and dogs!
I even got Miss Orbit (Border Collie) out and clipped her. No bath, no nothing, just started clipping and it did a GREAT job. Minimal oiling and I was able to clipper her comfortably (her and me!) in a short time frame with a great outcome! Also, still using the original set of blades so very well worth it!
We are slowly transitioning from ALWAYS raining to... mostly raining. I'll take it I supposed but the ups and downs of maintaining a farm and business with it being gorgeous or abysmal makes it difficult to make training progress! For Halloween, we were due for some super fun showers (see below) so I opted to take some of the older puppies for trips in the car to see how they are individually and out of the crate. We normally travel with them IN their crates, but sometimes we don't have room or for some reason it's not feasible so we like to make sure they can travel both ways.
Zing has been wanting some additional one on one time so I opted to take her for the majority of the errands. She loved it, but thought it was rather boring that we were driving but not actually GOING anywhere. It worked well on her settling and impulse control abilities though so it was well worth it! I also got some website things FINALLY updated so that was a relief.
We were on the road again and this time it was another overnight er with the new horse trailer. We took Vana to show in the PSG class (2x), Jade in First level for some more show experience, and I coerced Roxanne into coming along with her Paint mare Splash to compete at T-3 and 1-1. We had some excitement with getting dogs situated in the am due to some flight confusions but with that settled, I packed up the trailer with my horses and gear, drove over and grabbed Splash, and then headed to Haras in the mid afternoon.
The horses were quickly unloaded and the much more simplified horse trailer living quarter's were set up and ready in short order. Roxanne and I headed to get some food and resources before riding that evening and waiting to show the next day.
I knew Vana was going to be a hot mess dragon demon horse after not showing since January but was hoping being at Haras versus GSWEC in Katy would help but... nope. It was a nice morning, he was clipped, and I'd finally taken him back to where he firmly thinks he belongs- in front of people to watch him DANCE! Except his dancing is that he wants it to be a solo until he realizes he's forgotten the choreography. #suchadiva
This was why his royal highness was at a schooling show. Again. Hoping to get all this silly nonsense out of the way and he might learn to listen and rely on my more during our shows. He's 23 going on 24 so a girl can hope, right? Alas, he was on fire and I consulted with the judge ahead of time to explain my plan. I told her she didn't have to score it, I just needed her body there judging because he always knows when he's on and when he's not. Bless her heart, she did score us (outside of our schooling moments) and scored it a 53% which I thought was generous considering I only tried for 4s on all the diagonals (by design) but when I read the comments I totally agreed with her. Hmm, I guess he IS looking better the older he gets. Go figure...
At the end of our ride, we'd made the show 5 minutes late as the first ride so I opted to scratch his royal goober from his second ride so I could school at the end of the show. In fact, I scratched Jade too as she doesn't know that being in front of people is any big thing - I just had to get her working nicely in a strange place as well as dealing with NOT wanting to jump the dressage arena boards.
Jade ended in a good place after her ride and Vana worked wonderfully (maybe a lot too much passage for showing off at the end...) so we packed everything in after that.
In between my horses, Alex showed up with Moose (Dracthen bred dog that was donated to the auction in CO) to get one last outing with him before he headed home on Sunday to Colorado. Judging by his thoughts on the heat at Haras, he's going to be super happy in Colorado! He did all his puppy obedience things and was a star in the new facility among horses, people, and "things." Moose is going to be an excellent companion for his family.
And of course, Roxanne showed too! She had a blast in her First level test and worked on being more engaged and accurate in her Training level test. Definitely a convert to dressage and especially at nice venues! I'm always nervous about taking people for their "first" dressage experience because you either love it or hate it depending on if you "get" it so it's a thrill to see someone get turned onto such an exacting and disciplined sport. Alex called her tests for her and it was so nice to be out again as a team. Can't wait to see where we all head from here!
That was all Friday/Saturday and then on Sunday, Moose, Beth and her family headed to Houston Intercontinental Airport to wish him on his way (and then let the guys do Air Soft at High Ground AirSoft in Spring, TX) before heading back home at the end of the day to work on some training with the pups at the house.
At the risk of repeating myself yet again, it's still raining. And still muddy, and still gross. I'm digging dog toys out from the back pasture each time it rains as they float out there. I'm so over it but here we are - making the best of it.
I decided to vote and took Ghost with me for some Public Access training as I knew this would be a novel experience. After some misdirection, we arrived at the tiny tin building with the 70s smelling carpet and the overly excited retirees helping run the station. Ghost took it all in and while he was excited, he tried hard and did all his "things" as I asked and made some good decisions. We were successful and headed out with our sticker!
Pike with Alex and Lyric (owned by Lindsey Mathews) with Beth hit the local ASCA agility trial and had a great weekend! Pike got to try out his new skills he's been working on all summer at Flash Paws in Houston and he figured it out pretty well! Lyric tried again for the Standard Open Title and Gambler Open Title and managed to ALMOST get her RV-O title (5pts shy now) and DID get her GV-O title! We also picked up some nice Elite Jumper runs to start counting towards her ATCH!
The trial's ribbons were leftovers from the ASCA Nationals that were held recently in Colorado and SUPER blingy! Very fun!
Today was a sunny day! To celebrate, we were at the agility trial BUT I also made sure we made some time on Sunday after our runs to hope on ponies! This was Alex's first time on my new trade in, Toast, and they did great! Alex is a beginning amateur adult rider and Toast was the perfect packer for her to work on her trot work and posting since the arena wasn't a swampy mess.
They worked on basic handling skills and Alex learned to give her a bath. Slowly getting her more independent and then we can learn all the things and do pony things together! Welcome to the dark side :P
Yay, it's been raining a ton still but I'm home from shows for... a minute. Naturally this means BACK TO WORK! I've been working the dogs outside as often as I can and Ghost is still working on his Public Access training. We've been working on going to Starbucks to hang out for a while to let him settle over a long time but it's always so busy we only have standing room only. Grr. We'll get a sitting session done at some point but in the meantime he's done fabulously with the placing and order, moving through the waiting people, waiting, and then getting the drink at the end to return to the car.
The other dogs are working on foundations and reinforcing those as we're hitting an age point where they like to "forget" things and/or "want more" so we're balancing that as they grow some more brains and become "real dogs" rather then puppies. Growing up so fast!
I finally did it... I traded in my beloved 2+1 horse trailer for a 4 horse with living quarters. I'll probably always kick myself for doing that, but we're trying to streamline things and this just makes our lives easier on a day to day, weekly trip, and then away from town horse OR dog show. Basically, more flexibility in one vehicle for what we do on a regular basis. I HATE slant load trailers but that was the biggest compromise. The living quarters was as small as I could get and still have a real bathroom/shower and it's SUPER cozy and I love it.
In true Drachten fashion, it took FOREVER to get the deal finished due to having to use offices in other states and such, but I received the trailer on a Tuesday, took it home, threw my things in it and the next day loaded Jade in it to go to GSWEC in Katy for a 2 day horse show. Phew!
I didn't have linens or anything, so Alex and I hit up the Walmart the night before I showed and I put the place together as best I could that night.
This was Jade's first recognized show and she did really well but was SO CURIOUS about everything and wanted desperately to jump the arena boards since she decided they looked like cross country jumps or something. Anyhow, she was super excited and worked really hard which is about all you can ask from a green animal at their first HUGE show but we also scored respectably even with me halting and making errors to reinforce some of our training concepts in the ring (instead of letting them fly and she learns that the show ring has different rules).
This weekend I took the Friesians to the Texas Inspections. This is a bit like a conformation show like we do for the dogs but it's for the horses. They evaluate the structure and movement of the horses and then award scores based on their criteria. The judges and crew are from the Netherlands and they travel to the US annually to assess our breeding stock which is amazing and an honor to hear what they said and to see all the horses in our area that attended.
I did the IBOP (riding test) with Jade as well. This was her first time trying to even show at any fancy venues and she did her best. I gave her some free rein at times to encourage her to be more how they "prefer" but all in all, I rode like I would at a dressage show. We earned a 72.5 which is respectable especially never having seen one of these done in person.
Zoe was evaluated and was a demon of a baby horse. She tried to kick the judges during the height measuring, tried to kick and charge me in her stall, and was just lit. We did some more of our ground work and she settled in somewhat and was manageable for her turn in the ring. I had only had her for 2 weeks so knew this was going to be a lot on her brain and I wasn't wrong. She did her job and was fairly sane most of the time so I'll take that as a win.
All in all it was a rather interesting experience but the people were all really awesome and love their horses. With such a small breed everyone has to play nice on some level but it was nice when everyone made appearances at dinner (not something I see much in the other sports I participate in). Everyone loved Jade and were fascinated by how broke she was.
It was a very good experience and we'll see if we can get to it next year in our show schedule!