Monday, February 13, 2017

Field trip!

The barn I'm boarding at has no arena so one of the girls and I decided to take the horses on a field trip and go to one of the local, public use arenas and work horses. Originally I was going to take both of mine and she was going to take two as well. There was supposed to be another girl with her two horses going along. Things slowly got whittled down to me and the one other girl, one horse each.

She left one horse home because she's had issues with him and wants to resolve them doing something else before getting hurt. I decided not to take the pony because he's been hauled, shown and knows the drill. My mare has been hauled to a few different arenas to work, when we lived in hellizona and she didn't handle it well. She didn't handle the move well either and is finally learning to cope and deal with things. I wanted to focus on her, so leaving the pony at home was the best option.

Her horse is for sale and she was hoping to get some photos of him in action. Apparently he has also never been in a 2 horse straight load trailer. Well it didn't take long to get him in and we were on the road.

We had a good time. My horse was a little wound up when we got there, as I expected. I got her legs wrapped, saddled up and lunged her a bit before deciding to get on. On the lunge line, she didn't exactly go around in nice round circles, but she did go around. She looked at everything, but she never spooked or got stupid so I put her bridle on, dropped my stirrups and climbed on.



Although she looked around a lot at first, she kept her head together and settled right down to work. We had a really good ride. I got some of our best canter work to date and she was light in the bridle, loose and felt really good. We had some incredible trot work and a few lovely canter departures in each direction. Then my friend set up some barrels to try her horse on the pattern. He did pretty good and I thought WTH? Why not give it a whirl? So we did.

I trotted her up to the first barrel on the right. Going around it she was a little wonky. We trotted to the 2nd barrel and around it a little wide. I pushed her into a lope and we made our way around the 3rd barrel, not so elegantly. My friend was laughing and quite impressed. She thought my mare looked pretty good on barrels. Mind you I was riding her in dressage tack. We did a couple more "runs" and the last time thru, I pushed for a little more, guided my mare around the barrel and let her go a little to bring it home. She enjoyed that.

Barrels are not something I will be trying to compete her with. My mare can run and may possibly be good at it, but this was all in fun. I wouldn't expect my mare at 18 years old to really be competitive in barrels and more importantly I doubt her knee would hold up. I really love this mare, why would I want to set her up for injury or a total fail?

After untacking and giving her a chance to roll- she didn't.



Love that face....



Monday, February 6, 2017

Photos don't lie

As riders, we strive to improve. We try to fix things we think we are doing wrong. We don't focus on things we think we're doing right. And then someone comes along and says something and depending on our mood, their words, the tone of their voice and our own opinion of them.....

Yeah. Things change. I used to worry about my lower leg and my hands, a Lot. My hands were no longer an issue after a friend of mine was standing next to the trainer I had started working for about a month before. Watching me ride the trainer told my friend, "She's got the nicest hands I have seen in a long, long time." Booyah! But my lower leg was still an issue in the back of my mind. Until the day I seen pics of me riding one of my mares and I seen for myself that no matter how she was moving, my legs were always where they belonged. Seeing pics of me on another horse and yep. There's my lower leg locked on where it belonged. Riding my WB mare forced me to keep my lower leg back under me in position or she puttered out. I no lnger worry about my lower leg anymore.

Tonight discussing riding and proper position with one of the girls at the barn, she asked me if pic's can help your riding. Absolutely! Pic's don't lie. You're either doing it right, kind of close or you're not. There may be a few pic's when it all comes together and that's great, but when there's only a few out of 20-30 or so, showing things not right or needing work, well now you know what you need to work on and fix.

The same girl has been dying to ride my mare. Since she's finally up to weight and I've been on her, I let her climb on and take my horse for a spin. It's working out well since she's getting to ride a bigger horse, try out a variety of tack, learn new things and I get to see my horse move. Win!



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Pony pics

My mare was on straight alfalfa and I soon found that in Houston, it isn't as readily available as it was in Aridzona. There it was anywhere from $10-$15 a bale. Bales were 3 strings and around 100-110lbs. In Houston it was $17 at the feed stores for a 2 string bale that weighs around 60-65lbs. If you can find the 3 string 100-110lb bales, they are typically shipped in from Az and anywhere from $23-$27 a bale. *Cough*

At the barn, everyone kept telling me that feeding my mare straight alfalfa was not a good idea. She wasn't gaining any weight though. In fact watching her, it seemed as if she might actually be dropping a little more. After some poorly timed drama at the barn we were at and the upcoming trip to Az looming, I moved the horses to a new barn. Sure it is a little further away, but it is a nicer facility, Zero Drama and although my mare had begun to settle down, at the new barn she was back to her normal chill self. Since I would be driving to Az and coming back empty, I looked up alfalfa on CL, found a place selling it nearby where I was staying and loaded up the bed of the truck with 8 beautiful bales before heading home to Houston.

I am a big fan of the slow feed nets. I have 5 of them although I have loaned/given them to the one girl that I know at the barn. She had major drama at the previous barn and moved her horses a few days before I did. She rides and has minis that she drives so we have clicked pretty well. Since the barns are both self care, we had made an agreement on a feeding schedule. I fed hers in the mornings and she was feeding my horses at night. One weekend a month I would feed and one weekend she fed. That allowed us each a weekend we could sleep in or take off and go somewhere without worrying about the horses.

The coastal hay is similar to bermuda hay in Az. Not a lot of protien in it and it wasn't going to colic my two or fatten them up any either. Kat has actually slimmed down to where he should be but my mare looked like shit and riding her wasn't going to happen for a while. Since I was now well stocked with alfalfa and armed with slow feed nets, my mare was loaded up with hay in front of her at all times. She had 2 nets in her stall with healthy sized flakes in each. Once again I heard a.l.l.l.l.l. about how I could not, Should Not feed my mare straight alfalfa.... yet I know my horse. I've had her 12 years now, I damn well SHOULD know my horse by then, right?

So the alfalfa lasted me a couple months and my mare had started to gain some weight back. She looked better but not good and was certainly far from looking great.


Ribs - check.
Hip bones - check
Withers - Omg YES, check
*sigh*, eyeroll, shake my head and swear a little

Since there was another court hearing the day before thanksgiving, I drove out again for the week to take care of some things and hopefully getting to spend a few days with my girls. Again, since I was there and had the truck, I grabbed a few bags of alfalfa pellets, the kind my mare was used to eating before and brought them back with me. I had started her on Senior feed and I had also doubled what she was getting since that was more in line with how much she was getting before. She was starting to really put weight back on and coming around. Once again, I heard all about how I should not, could not possibly expect my mare to gain any weight or do well at all on these pellets because of this that and every other reason in the world since the nutritional breakdown is on the back of the bag in big, bold numbers and letters. Too much protien, not enough fat, too high this, is there any that? Where's the ____? All of a sudden it's everybody's business and they are all suddenly an expert on my horse. I let them have their say and while some things did have their merit, at the end of the day- my horse, my money, my feed and essentially-> my choice.

The other night I was able to turn her out and get a few pics. I love this one of her.

This one isn't great but it shows the fact she still has a little more gaining to do....



Of course I can't leave out the little man


My mare has turned the corner and has put on the much needed weight. I can still see and feel her ribs but her hip bones are not protruding anymore and she has put weight on up by her spine and withers again. She's getting there at least and hopefully I will be back to riding her again soon. For all the nay-sayers and their advice, for not being able to or their opinions of what I should and shouldn't do, thanks but she is doing well and still gaining. Looks like I will be driving to Austin every so often to pick up feed since its a lot closer than making the trip back to Az every couple weeks.


Better, but still room for improvement.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Who really knows?

I know I haven't posted much lately on either blog about riding, driving or even the horses in general. Why is that? Well there are a number of reasons, one of which being time. Time to post, not much time to ride or drive and recently because a lot of things (life!) has been "a hot, sticky mess" (and not in a good way) that I haven't exactly wanted to share with the world. I just don't necessarily get into the whole idea of this being a blog about everything that happens in my life and all of the things wrong in the world or at least my little corner of it. No pity party or riding the whhhaaambulance here.

To be honest, when the girls and I moved to Houston back in February, horse and pony included, my mare didn't handle the trip all that well. Sure she was bred in Washington state and had traveled down to AZ to start her life as a race horse and after that didn't work out, she left the track to live with a new owner (K) who later sold her to (L) and she traveled from the Scottsdale/ Rio Verde area across town to Queen Creek to spend time there before I bought her. She made the short trip home with me 12 years ago this month, and pretty much never left. I did take her to a couple of schooling shows and had hauled her with Kat for those, but it was a short 20 minute trip on the road, 1 or 2 classes in hand and back home again. Nothing major, no big deal. For the most part she never left the property and she was comfortable there.

When traveling long distances, sometimes horses will go off their feed, they won't drink and they are on edge because they are stressed out about things. This was my mare. In the trailer, she didn't eat much and didn't drink at all the first day. I'm not sure if or how much she drank at the barn where I overnighted them, but it wasn't until late in the afternoon the following day on the road, that she finally began to drink again. By that point between not drinking, not eating and being stressed, she had dropped weight. I'm not going to guess how much, but it was enough that when we arrived and I got her off the trailer, her ribs were showing and it was pretty obvious.

We had gotten in late and after getting everything situated for the night, I fed and watered them one last time and went inside to bed myself. My mare tore up the grass in the back yard pretty good where she was obviously bouncing around quite a bit during the night. This didn't help with the weight loss either.

The next few months being at a new barn, my mare was quite wound to put it mildly. She paced in the stall and taking her out to lunge her or do anything really, she acted as if she had no respect for anything or anyone. Walking out to the grass area where I worked her, she tried to blow past me, circle around me, was constantly moving and never really quiet or relaxed.

She also had become Very attached to the pony. If I took him out, she literally wrecked the stall and screamed her head off the whole time he was out. If I took her out, she was constantly trying to look back to the stalls, get back to the stalls and screaming her head off the whole time. That shit gets old really fast. Even moving Kat to a different stall didn't help. He didn't care, but she never would settle down.

I had brought feed with me to hold them over long enough that I could not only find a feed store, but also to help transition the horses over to whatever new feed I found. I had a couple bales of alfalfa and several bags of alfalfa pellets. Finding a comparable and compatable feed to use- boy was I in for a surprise...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Strength


So in a few days is the 3 year mark of when my husband was arrested. After finding things in the email on the iPad his dad gave us, I was ready to pull the trigger on filing for divorce. Thing is, there was criminal content in the emails. Seeing that made it crystal clear to me, things were definitely OVER. I know I haven't really talked about much of this in the past 3 years and honestly there is still a lot going on. Some things I am not ready to disclose.

The end of the year has been a time of change for me for the past several years. One of my good friends and I joke about this to keep things a bit light hearted in the face of adversity. Things tend to fall apart for her at the beginning of the year. With all that has happened, and all of the comments about how strong I am for what I have been thru, there is still so much, that so many of you still have no idea about.

Yes I am strong. I am stronger than many may realize. Many times I have surprised those around me. There are times I am stronger than I may not even realize myself. With the things that lie ahead- yes, my inner strength will be tested again and again. I have no doubt I will get thru it, because I am strong. I'm not afraid, but those against me should be, because as we all know-> Karma is a Royal Bitch. People get what they deserve. Karma never misses her mark on that.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Movin' on

So the past few posts, I've won friends, influenced people and tried not to pass judgement on someone. Calling animal control on the person might seem like a good idea, but since then, the guy sold all his horses and moved on. At least they all have a shot at a better life now. I haven't seen him at the barn in a while so that's good. Makes me wonder how long until he gets another horse or several.

Another guy I've run into at the barn, has a stallion that's a really nice looking horse, but he will be gelded before long. Hooray! He was telling me the other day that he was watching one of the TV horse trainers the other night and how they were telling people how to determine if the horse is in charge or if you are. For a lot of us who have been around horses for a decent length of time, this is a no brainer, I know. He proceeded to tell me how he used the guys methods to see for himself if his horse was in charge or if he is? Watching them interact together, it's blatantly obvious what's going on. Then he asked me if I had ever done that to see if I'm in charge or my horse?


You can all take a few minutes (or ten) to process that. Try and keep your laughter to a dull, hysterical roar! Now imagine the look of surprise, shock and amazement when I told him that "No, I've never done that. I've never felt the need, since I go in knowing who's in charge and it is Not my horse." I went on to explain that the horses can size us up before we even get the stall door open. They know if we are a leader or a follower and respond accordingly. They also aren't usually wrong. When I explained to him that yes I've worked with a Lot of horses and yes a good number of them have been stallions, he looked like he was beginning to understand what I was saying. He also nodded in agreement and said that these were things the TV Trainer had also said too. When I told him that a lot of these things are based on common sense and typical animal behavior, he agreed with that too. Imagine that?!?!

He has yet to geld the horse and is waiting until after he is cut to really start riding him. He has had a saddle on the horse and worked him in the round pen, but that's about it. It will be interesting to see if he expects the horse to be magically trained or easier to deal with once his nuts come off. He may, but he also may not. I guess geldings never buck and somehow they just know to respect people? Yeah, that's it....

Friday, September 2, 2016

Honesty

So we've all now had the experience of the not so fun and games of the hotshot at the barn and I wish I could say it ends there. Obviously, sadly enough.... I can't. The things I've seen him do and say? Sadly enough I could almost do a post a day of the things this guy does. Almost. But I won't because of a few reasons. One, he doesn't deserve the attention even if it isn't a good thing for him. Second, its exhausting being around this level of ______. (Please feel free to fill in the blank)

Seriously that blank could be filled in with several different words. I'm not sure stupidity is it or that even ignorance covers it. He is working with the horses, he just doesn't have a clue. He may have an idea what he wants but doesn't have the best idea of how to get it. There's times he does things, as if setting himself up to fail altogether on purpose. The other day he put hobbles on another mare. After leaving her alone to sort it out herself, he tried leading her out of the round pen. The mare wasn't willing to move. Any guess why that was? He hadn't taken the hobbles off of her....

Sometimes I wonder if the guy even likes horses. The way he behaves around them is questionable in that sense. The mare he hobbled is supposedly wild. His words. It's tough to get a halter on her. Supposedly so is the paint mare he traumatized in the washrack. I also wonder if he is just scared shitless of these two mares? I mean he always has to revert back to the lasso and almost choking the paint mare to do anything with her and still manages to f*ck it horribly up. Then having to hobble the other mare in order to lead her out of an enclosed space? Things like that shows that you know you have no control over the situation and no real plan on how to fix it either. It also tells everyone that he's trying to out muscle the horse. Never going to happen. One thing worth mentioning? How people treat their animals says a lot about them.

Just to clarify things, they have 4 horses that I know of. The mare he hobbled was the mare I held for the farrier. Lucky for everyone he hadn't been there that day. When my friend told me the guy is supposed to be a trainer, I laughed a little, but then I cringed because really it's just sad. Thing is? Horses don't lie.