Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hay nets

I have always heard a lot of negative things about using hay nets. People complain about almost everything about them. They are hard to fill, a pain to hang and on and on and on. I use the slow feed hay nets ($8 slow feed nets) and love, Love, LOVE them. My horses can have hay in front of them 24/7 and something to pick at to keep them full, occupied and satisfy their grazing needs. 

I agree that filling them can be a royal pain in the ass, unless you have help. Someone back in the days on the FHotD blog had mentioned using a laundy basket.  I found a Lamper at Target for $10 not long after moving to Houston. 

Simply drape the net over the Lamper like a garbage bag. This will hold bout 3 flakes of hay. which will last my guys sometimes for 2 days. 

If you pull it over the sides where the bottom of the net is about half way down, as you drop the hay in it will pretty much fill itself as the weight of the hay will push the net to the bottom and pull the sides up. Then just pull the string to close it and also to get the net out of the "lamper". You have a full net in a matter of about 30 seconds or less. Hahaha 
Next net in and full.

Pull the strings up and closed.

Another thing I use is snaps on my nets. I like this kind of snap because there is nothing for the horse to grab to help them undo it.  They are also relatively cheap and they last. No more trying to tie the nets up, tying them up and having the horses pull them loose or any of that crap. It's also much quicker to hang them and also take them down to fill. 

Wrap the string over something high enough to keep the net up where it belongs and put about 3 or 4 sections of string thru the snap. Done!  Keeping the net up where the horse can't paw at it, reduces the chance of them getting a hoof or shoe caught in it. This also keeps the hay from getting wet or dusty from being on the ground. This also works in the trailer for hauling.

One of the girls at the barn that feeds for me had recently bought new nets. Since they don't come with snaps she told me the other night that now that she has to tie them, it's a total pain in the ass! She was going to buy snaps in the morning....

Saturday, February 10, 2018

What's your angle?

The angle of the person at the barn that rides around as if trying to impress people? Yeah, he makes an impression all right, but probably not the way he intends to. He's also gotten a bit of an eye opener recently to how things can be done differently than his 'methods'.

He's very loud. As in yelling "HO!" repatedly. So much so that now his horses ignore him. So he yells it more. You can hear him from all over. There have also been times when he rides over near where I'm at and then tries to get the horse to do things, like stop, or spin and although I try not to look like I'm watching, I see what's going on and just cringe inside for the horse. He gives the horse a whole lot of mixed signals, which leads to confusion on both parts.

Since he's moved his horses into the barn, I haven't been riding my mare so he has no idea what I know or don't know. I haven't been riding because my mares right hind is all blown up for whatever reason. It started out with the swelling going all the way up her leg from her pastern to her stifle. Believe me, I've done everything I can think of to do and taking her to the vet- he told me to sweat it, (done that already) and gave her a shot of antibiotics (done that too!) and had no idea what the root of the cause is. So it's just puffy or not and sometimes bald or has fuzz as the hair grows back... It's an ongoing thing.

The other night when I worked my pony in the round pen, the guy at the barn got to see how I do things with my horses. On the advice of a good friend a while back, I started to give my horses signals as to what will come next. Stop is preceeded with a series of Whup, whup, whup's and then a quiet whooooaaaa. Turns come with cues as to whether they will be tighter turns or big sweeping turns. It's a matter of opening up the channels of communication between us.

The guy had walked up with his horse, waiting to use the round pen and stood there watching for a litle bit.  My pony was rockin it (as usual) and really working well. Katman was bent, soft, driving engaged, light and just awesome as usual as his little bad ass self is. There was no loud yelling on my part, my pony didn't ignore me and there was no running him around to wear him down. He worked like he knows how, we did some working trot, slow trot, extended trot, walking, stops, tuns and a bit of backing up. No muss, no fuss and we called it a day.

What I later found out, this guy is loud to get people to notice him so they will talk to him. That's how he meets people. He was also asking my friend if I train horses, since he realizes that what he's doing obviously isn't working. At least it sounds like he is open to new ideas.

Friday, January 19, 2018

People are weird

We all know people are weird and horse people can be twice as much. Seeing as how I am boarding my horses again, I see this a lot more on an almost daily basis. Sometimes it is laughable at best and other times it can get a bit scary. I try not to say anything and reserve judgement. I also roll my eyes as I remind myself that it is not my job to police things. I just go about my business and take care of my horses, mostly just sticking to myself.

Having my very diverse backgound with horses, riding both English and western, spending time in both training & show barns and being around people who only trail ride and have no desire to compete in anything, really "Ups the ante" on how weird things can get. Over the years- I have seen a Lot! I won't say I've seen it all, because when I do? Someone will come along with a new brand of crazy that takes it all to a whole new level....

The reason for this post is because there's a person that I can't quite figure out. I've seen them riding around like they're trying to show off, but I'm not sure if they're trying to impress somebody or if they just come off that way. I haven't figured out the angle yet.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Money well spent

My riding boots are in need of repairs yet again and it got me to thinking about a topic for a blog post.

What One item have you purchased long ago, that has lasted well past it's shelf life or expiration date, yet it still seems to just keep hanging in there, fighting the good fight, not quite ready to give up the ghost and die already? Would you say you got your money's worth out of it?

For me it is my dress boots. I bought them probably 17 years ago, after going on vacation and packing on some extra pounds, then trying to put on my previous pair and not being able to get them up over my calf. I had to go with Wide calf boots and wasn't exactly thrilled at the time.

I probably paid a little over $100 for them, had the soles restitched on them about 5 or 6 years ago for somwhere in the ballpark of $20-$25 and even though they need it again, once fixed they still look nice enough to show in.

For those thinking they probably haven't seen much use? Just one look at them says otherwise. For a while I was using them to ride at least 3 days a week, sometimes more. But I also typically take care of my things since I don't like having to replace stuff often. Yes my boots are a bit dirty at the moment, but they will be cleaned before I take them in for repairs.

Although the soles are coming off again in the same place- on the inside of the right foot from the ball of my foot back to the arch and the left one is likely to go there too, finding somewhere to have them repaired yet again is certainly in the budget and I seriously doubt it will break the bank. I found another pair so no rush on the repairs.

For those wondering what brand they are?  


Yep, no lie. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing everyone a Happy, safe and prosperous New Year!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

What the horses have taught me

Over the many years I have been riding and showing horses, there have been quite a few lessons learned from the horses themselves. They are the best teachers as their way of thinking often challenges our own. These things stick with us from that day forward, when others rattle around in our brain waiting for the day when something finally 'Clicks' and suddenly it all makes perfect sense.  Some horses have a lot to teach us, where others might let us 'coast thru life' and cover our asses for us time and again, making us look better than maybe we really are.

My first horse Tai taught me that when I think I'm a badass, maybe I'm not such a badass after all. I had been riding every and any horse I could, barrel racing, team roping, trail riding, etc. and even showing. I had never come off a horse unexpectedly and I had luckily, never been thrown. That horse unseated me no matter what kind of tack he was wearing. Thankfully I never got seriously hurt. I also learned with him that there's always the time to just get off the horse. My safety would override staying on him when he was being a total dick or when things were about to get all kinds of stupid ugly.

My mare the Mighty Mo, taught me that horses can be trained to blanket themselves. All you had to do to put her blanket on, was hold it up by the back and she would put her head down, looking for the neck hole to stick her nose thru. Hold it up, she stepped forward and then just pull the blanket back over her body. All of my horses after her- I have taught them this same "Life Skill". Kat practically Runs into his and then stands rock still while I fasten the straps. No more unbuckling the fronts for me.

Tess taught me a LOT of things. One being that the mere fact we climb onto their backs, means that we trust them. If we didn't, we wouldn't ride them. This mare also taught me how to Be trustworthy. At least in Her eyes.  ANY amount of contact meant that her back would hollow out and her neck would grow to the length rivaling that of a giraffe as it seemed to end up in my lap. I trusted her enough to ride her, She had to learn to trust me that I wasn't going to get in her face with contact. When the giraffe neck thing happened, I had ZERO (0) control, or at least it felt I did. Which leads to another thing....

It may Feel to us as a rider, that things are going all sorts of ways south, when others see something different. I'm sure we've all been there. We feel like it is a great ride and get the gate in a class, or we feel our ride is going to shit and we end up getting pinned well in the ribbons. Our horse feels like they spooked and jumped ten feet and a day- sideways and everyone who seen it, tells us later there was one or two small steps but that was it.

My wamblood mare Aruba, when starting out on a lunge line would only walk. She made a lap or two at the walk and slowly loosened things up, easing into a trot and eventually a lope or canter. It was so different than having a horse shoot to the end of the line, ripping my shoulders out of the sockets, bolting and tearing around like a jackass. My horses now start out walking on the lunge line, and when I get on them we walk some more. It has become an ingrained habit for them that even if they are on high alert, they know we will just keep walking around and loosening up. I need time to do that too once I get on, because this getting older thing sucks.

Kat has taught me a number of things over the years. That they know us sometimes better than we know ourselves, they can push our buttons better, longer and in ways we never thought of and that they are there for us when others aren't. The other night when I was sick and couldn't make it to the barn to feed, the girl who feeds for me told me that he looked at her like he was asking where I was? I've had him longer than any other horse. He should know me by now...

My TB mare has taught me that we can sometimes be pleasantly surprised when we go on instinct and trust our gut. She has also taught me patience and that sometimes we just wait it out and things get better with time. There have also been reminders of how we tend to expect the worst at the slightest bit of swelling or lameness.

There have been several horses that have taught me, there is and can be, more than one horse we have "That kind" of connection with. To date there have been roughly 8 in my life so far. Tess was one of them that was completely opposite of anything I liked in a horse, which means that sometimes we shouldn't judge the book by the cover? Lol

The thing is, that while I have learned many things from the horses over the years, there is infinitely more to learn. I'm looking forward to the lessons.