Blog .:. December 2007 3 Entries

Early Resolutions

30 December 2007 Comments

I never bother to make resolutions, because I know I’m not going to keep them. I finally realized I do this all wrong. What I should be doing is making resolutions that I know will come true. This way I can be successful without even trying. It’s the ultimate fulfillment of the American dream.

Therefor, I resolve:

  1. To ride at some point during the year.
  2. To read at least one horse-related book.
  3. To watch at least one movie with a horse in it.
  4. To draw at least one stick-figure horse just to prove I can’t even draw a stick figure horse.
  5. To watch a horse show or two.
  6. To make some homemade horse treats. Buying a bag of carrots and snapping them in half counts as “homemade”, right?

Ok, I think that’s enough. I’m all out of practice with resolutions, even ones I know will come true. I hate to strain something.

My cat, meanwhile, has resolved never to come out from under the heated blanket I got for Christmas. She thinks she’s died and gone to heaven.

If I were making real resolutions, I think they’d go something like this:

  1. Find a barn (when I move to Texas) that does both formal/show-oriented lessons and trail riding (and not the nose-to-tail touristy thing, either).
  2. Attend an auction. I can’t quite explain why, but I feel it’s something I should do. I don’t expect it to be easy.
  3. Try a cross-country jump or two. I always wanted to be an eventer, deep down in places I don’t like to talk about.

Whew. That’s done. Now I have an entire year to forget about these resolutions I’m not making.

Tagged:

Befuddled and Bemused

26 December 2007 Comments

I’m not a breeder and I don’t play one on T.V., but I do read breeding forums. Not because foals are cute, but because buried in all the “what stallion would you breed this mare to?” and “what stallion do you recommend to improve the canter” and “tell me about this pedigree” posts is an awful lot of information on conformation, movement, and evaluation of the same. Everything has to be read with a grain of salt and a general understanding of the cast of characters (e.g. there are stallion owners who seem to think their stallion can improve everything from sickle hocks to the price of milk in China), but there’s information in there if you’re willing to read what people are saying, look at the pictures they are posting, and think a little.

So. In my random reading and such, I came across the Georgian Grande registry. You can google it, if you like. They have a website; I can’t say I’m inclined to link to it.

They are registering Saddlebred/draft crosses. I don’t really know enough about Saddlebreds to know if that’s a logical cross, so I kept my skepticism in check and went to look at some of the pictures.

And here is where I am befuddled and a bit bemused: what is the point in a registry where some of the horses look like Saddlebreds and some of the horses look like drafts? Even I can see there’s a huge difference between the sky-high head and hocks-out-behind stance of the Saddlebred and the big drafty horse with the low-set neck and hocks more-or-less underneath the horse. The only thing in common is the papers, as far as I can see.

If you’re a new registry, don’t you want some consistency in the horses you’re showing? Pictures that will illustrate your breed standard? I read the breed standard and looked at the pictures, and I’m still not sure what this cross is supposed to look like. Apparently, it can look like anything at all, as long as your papers say the horse is 25-75% Saddlebred and the rest is draft blood.

I’m still not sure why this registry was formed, which makes me suspect it’s part of the whole Labradoodle “designer animal” craze. With the exception of the jumping pictures (every jump I saw looked downright uncomfortable to ride), the horses look as suited to what they are doing as any other draft cross. The USDF breed results show year-end champions from 2007 generally in the low-to-mid 60s, which is respectable enough but not high enough to make me think of the breed as a likely pick for my next dressage star. 

I don’t know what to make of USDF having breed results, although from the USDF website it appears the breed registry (and not the USDF) is the one providing the year-end awards. Fascinating. Maybe I should scope out the year-end awards for each breed and limit my horse search to the breed with the best awards. I wonder what it takes to get on the USDF’s participating organization list. Could the Blue-Eyed Horse Association be added? Inquiring minds want to know.

I guess I don’t understand why Saddlebred/draft crosses are suddenly a breed unto themselves. I thought breeds were supposed to be consistent in type, with similar conformation. Am I missing something? I’m not saying it’s a bad cross, since most of the horses on the site look decent and willing enough, I just don’t get the “breed” part of it. Like I said: I’m bemused and befuddled.

Tagged: Horses

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

25 December 2007 Comments

As you know, since I complain about the cold frequently, I live in the frozen Northlands. We get feet and feet of snow every year. It’s so cold here that they don’t bother salting the streets—the city puts gravel down instead. We also get a healthy (ahem) dose of sub-zero temps, but I don’t like to talk about those (because if I don’t talk about them, they don’t really happen?).

This year, we have inches of snow on the ground. Inches. Two, maybe three. I honestly thought we might not have a white Christmas. The odds of that happening are, oh, on par with Jamaica having a white Christmas.

We did get a little snow, so the world is not quite ending. We’re not supposed to worry about whether we’re having a white Christmas. We’re supposed to worry about whether or not we can get the car out of the driveway. What a strange, strange winter this has been.

Not so strange that I’d want to stay up here, though. Fortunately, I think Houston will happen—it’s just a question of timing. Hopefully by spring. I can put up with the rest of this winter if I know it’s the last one. Lynda, I might have some real questions for you now (as opposed to my earlier “Is it true your spiders can beat up my cat?” questions) if you have the time/are willing.

No horsey news, I’m afraid. I’m done riding for the winter, because the cold is causing too many problems with my back for me to ride consistently.

I just thought it might be a good idea to confirm I’m still around.

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