Monday, June 26, 2006

What Trigonometry is good for!

Seriously, I have to be the weirdest college student ever. I tutor college math, I run a business, I love science, and I read books. Sorry for the sarcasm but interacting with my peers on a daily basis does little to give me hope for the future of society. Anyway, on to the nerdy subject of math, of course I found a way to use trig for horse stuff...

In the spring I took a trigonometry class and yesterday I applied it to the barrel pattern. In barrel racing, the barrels are set up in a triangle, with 90 feet between the first two and 105 feet between the third and the other two (for a standard pattern, there are others). Ever wonder what the degree of the angles between the barrels are? Probably not, but I did. With a barrel pattern you have the 3 sides known but no angles.
So I used the law of cosines equation to derive the angle, below:

It turns out that the angle at the first two barrels is 64.62 degrees, and the third is 50.76.

I was curious if the "small" 60 X 90 barrel pattern would have the same angles as the standard, but it doesn't. The two large angles are 70.53 degrees and the small is 38.9 degrees.

Thus, the smaller pattern will require the horse to turn tighter around the first and second barrel than a standard because the angle to the third is much steeper.

And you thought math was boring... :D

Barrel Race - Pics!

I bought a digital camera this weekend in time to take pics of the barrel race my sister Caterina went to.
I didn't run and Cat rode Teko, her big paint. He came in 1st in the 1D in one race and 2nd in the 1D in another, which is a lot better than we expected, since he hasn't been run in almost a year!

Teko was excited to go, he really missed barrel racing. When he saw us hooking up the horse trailer he came over to the fence and watched, and then peed because he knew he'd be travelling. He loves barrel racing so he's easy to haul, he loads nicely, ties nicely, and always behaves well.

Teko standing at the trailer tacked up.

Teko and Cat before racing.

Some still shots from the video of her last run (16.35, which was 2nd in the 1D; no, it's not a standard pattern!). They are really grainy but at least you can see part of the run!

Cat cooling Teko out after the run. He got several treats.

Tied at the trailer.

After untacking, Cat hosed him off and offered him water.

Me & Teko. He really didn't care about getting a pic with me, he prefers Cat.

Cat and Teko after he was loaded up to go home.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Australia's Seabiscuit?

Takeover Target, a 6-yo gelding once described as "dog meat" and purchased for £400 (about $1,300) by the taxi driver Joe Janiak, has a story that echoes Seabiscuit's.

"His story began at a rural auction in Australia three years ago. Suffering from apparently untreatably bad knees, coupled with a difficult temperament, the bay was one step away from slipping into horseracing oblivion when he was bought by the enterprising Mr Janiak." -http://sport.independent.co.uk/general/article1093511.ece

Takeover Target was given some TLC for 6 months, and when he began racing, he began winning... 6 races and 6 wins. His prize winnings now total over $2 million -- pretty good for a horse that might have become dog meat.

"He was a bit of a mongrel when we got him, but he's a happy horse now," Mr Janiak said, explaining his recipe for success. "Basically we kill them with kindness."

His jockey, 22-year-old Ford, says of the horse, "I love him. He is almost like a human being. You just pick up little traits. It's nothing in particular, but you just know when you are around him that he is there, and that he is aware that you are there. You can't help falling in love with him."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sick and sore...

I went on my first ride in months, a few days ago I hopped on Mo bareback
and galloped around quite a bit... a nice way to get back into riding shape!
Trotting and cantering circles, getting her to bend, riding a few playful bucks
for an hour or so... my legs and lower back are killing me now, even though
it's been a few days. Bareback riding makes you work so much more than
riding saddled does (I've never been that sore even after long saddle rides),
and you start to appreciate it when you hop off and aren't able to move! It's a lot better for your muscles and balance and riding skills, especially when you are on a jolty horse like Mo.

I got really sick and I've spent the last few days in bed... I suppose I should
just be glad that I got sick after, and not before, finals, but in any case it's hard to be happy about getting sick. I was sick the week before finals, then well during final's week, and then right after...sick again. Maybe I've been sick all along but I was miraculously well for a few days while I did my finals. Too bad colds aren't like that movie "the ring", where if you pass them on to someone else they leave you alone forever... without the dying in 7 days thing, of course.

This afternoon I was feeling a little better and ventured outside my room, and
the weather is sooo warm, I just had to go for a ride, headache and fever and soreness and
all. I went for a very short ride, again bareback, and strangely my soreness
is better after that ride.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Finals Are Over!

I just finished my last final yesterday (chemistry) and now I'm free to work on the site (it hasn't been updated in a long time, and I know the boards have gotten a bit... out of control. Shame, shame on you evil spammers and bots. You suck.).

I probably will be buying a digital camera soon too, and taking more pics for the site... I am trying to plan out a trip this summer to some place where I can see and photograph mustangs in the wild, since I've spent so much time doing mustang research for my WR 123 research paper, "America's Native Horses", in which I argue that wild mustangs should be considered a native species (I will be posting on the site soon). If you know of any cool places to hike and view wild mustangs, let me know... preferably in Oregon or California, although I might be able to go to Nevada or New Mexico.

My research essay (it's pretty informal) is 23 pages long, and although I tried not to "romanticise" it too much (instructor's orders, lol), don't worry, I did include stories and bits of interesting info and stuff. And I found an awesome book, "Mustang" by Anthony Amaral (I considered stealing it from the library but then I decided that was morally wrong. And I might get fined.)
I learned some things while researching-- that American baskir curlies were bred from wild nevada curly mustangs, for example. What curlies are doing running wild in Nevada, I don't know, but I thought that was really interesting.
I tried to leave out the "but horses are so pretty and I like them so we should protect them" silly arguments, although I can't deny that horses have benefited from the fact that we find them beautiful, romantic, etc. Most people feel more emotionally toward a wild mustang than they would toward, say, coyotes or wild pigs or pigeons. But I don't think that's a bad thing, especially considering our long relationship with the horse. No animal has been more helpful or important in our history than horses have. And mustangs, specifically, helped shape American culture and history. Wild pigs didn't.

Besides updating the website which needs to be done badly, I will probably be doing a lot of riding and training this summer too, maybe some showing, I might blog about it later. I might show my appy Zippo if I can get him into shape, and I'll be working with our 2-yo stallion Blaze to start his training. Right now, as I type, a farrier is working on the horses, they are all getting new shoes so we can start riding them.

And the beach, which is too cold and windy and wet most of the year, is a paradise for riding in the summer. I am definately going to go on some long rides on the beach, in the summer nothing is better than galloping across the sand on an endless, isolated beach. When the fog is coming in it's a bit eerie and all you can see is your hoofprints behind you and the gray haze all around. When it's a nice sunny day, the ocean breeze is nice and cool and it excites the horses and makes for a fun ride. I miss it!