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.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Influencing people

When I showed up at the barn to ride my mare and feed/clean and spend time with the horses the next day, guess who showed up too? Yep, owner/trainer hotshot and his sister/girlfriend/whatever she is. I'm not sure how or if they are related so I'm not passing judgement there. I was tacked up and riding my mare around the barn at this point and I have to say, my mare was doing really, really well. She has a beautiful fluid walk, she was soft in the bridle, bending around my legs when asked, fearless going thru water and mud, and simply all kinds of awesome with her bad self. Hotshot and the girl are sitting on the gator with barn owner. My friend K is also talking to BO and I keep hearing from her, "She rides english too. This is the first time I've seen this mare in western tack."

So fast forward to me completing my ride and untacking my mare. Her white polos brown with mud and hotshot & his friend having washed one mare and now they're going to get the bronc. I had turned both of mine out to roll and relax while I got their stalls & feed ready for them. And. It. All. Starts.

Again.

Not judging, but not impressed either, here. Hotshot has a lasso around the mares neck again as well as the halter and lead on her. The rope has been run up thru the washrack and wrapped around the bar several times. Ms. Mare is having ab-so-fricken-lute-ly NO part of the idea of her going in the wash rack. NONE.

The paint mare went to town sitting back on the rope, rearing, striking out, bouncing around each side of the washrack and making it clear to everyone she was NOT going in there again. At this point the girl looks hopeless, the mare is choking with the rope not letting up even when she's close enough for it to go slack and hotshot is quite visibly pissed. The mare has gone up and over the door on the washrack, crashing down on it in various ways with her struggle, as well and trying to go over a poorly placed wheelbarrow and shovel. Yeah because we all want extra stuff in our way when working with an explosive reacting horse, right???

Did I mention there were several other boarders had shown up at this point? Oh yeah. Probably 5-6 of them sitting on the barn porch watching tv and relaxing while their horses grazed in pasture turnout. They've all seen the crazy going on at the washrack and so far just determined the horse is nuts. Yeah that's gotta be it, right? The horse is the one to get blamed. Always.

Me being me, I asked if these two would like some help. The mare was clearly not going in the washrack and their methods weren't working on changing that. The girl looked desperate and she accepted my offer. I walked into the tackroom and got a lunge line. The mare was in such a state of frenzy that when I snapped the line on her halter it set her off again. I will admit that as I was getting out of her way, my rope got the best of me and took my foot out from under me, but luckily I was at a safe distance, the ground was fairly soft and I had no time to brace for the landing so I didn't get hurt. In the process of getting the ropes loose, the mare also went down. Her feet got away from her and she took a dive. Not once but twice.

When the mare calmed down for a minute I stepped up to her and started stroking her head and talking to her. The hotshot helped me get the lasso off her and then he disappeared. He basically tucked tail and ran! To his credit, while I had gone to get my lunge line, he did move the wheelbarrow, so props for that... I stood there talking to the mare, letting her relax and settle down. Once we were acquainted and everything settled down, I led the mare around a little and then headed to the washrack. She got pretty close before planting her feet and not wanting to budge. Fair enough. I rubbed her head and continued to talk to the mare as she relaxed, put her head down and started chewing. A few more tugs on the lead and the mare stepped closer.

With her front feet close to the washrack, the mare was still not sure she wanted to go in. I looped my line over the front rail and stepped around the side of the mare, trying to get behind her. From there I could 'push' her forward and still guide her into the washrack with my line. A little more coaxing and within a few minutes the mare stepped up and walked into the washrack as if she were a pro. The girl was all ready to shut the gate behind her but looked a little shocked when I told her not to. She was even more surprised when after a litle praise I said, now I want to take her out and do it again.

Say what? Yeah that's right, I'm going to take her out and do it again. The next time she was a little resistant but she gave in fairly quickly and walked in again. Again she was praised, backed out and put back in. The next time I backed her out, I walked her around a little and tried again. She walked in like a pro. Now I backed the mare out and told the girl it was her turn. "She'll do it for me, but I'm not her owner and I won't always be here." The girl took the line and walked the mare around, lined her up and walked her right in with no problems. We praised the mare and I had her do it again. She put the mare in and out of the washrack a few times with no issue.



As I was bringing my two in, I noticed hotshot had come out of hiding and came back around to supervise the mare getting a bath. I didn't tie her and she stood calmly and relaxed while the two of them hosed the mare down. The girl thanked me for the help. She appreciated it. That was nice of her. The guy didn't seem to be all that thrilled with me. It's ok. I'm not surprised and really don't care. It turns out he is supposedly a trainer. He rides bulls. Yeah, maybe he should stick with that....

As a side note, this mare has some pretty big rope burns over her poll, on the left side of her neck, swelling on her right shoulder and a puncture wound and swelling on her left leg below the knee. It will all heal, but more importantly, it all could have been avoided to begin with. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Winning friends

We all know the saying, How to win friends and influence people..... yeah. Let's just say I'm killing it in that department.

After stepping in to hold the horse for the farrier, helping him get his job done and possibly stepping on some toes by offering, it seems like I have a knack for pissing people off lately. But the thing is, I'm not doing it intentionally. If they are getting butt hurt by this, can you imagine how much more pissed off and butt hurt they might be if I were trying? Yeah Baby! That's what I'm talkin about. lmao

Soooo here's the dish on things. I'm at the barn the other day and there's this paint horse in the wash rack. No big deal right? M'kay, well said horse is tied but then the owner/trainer or whatever we want to call him shows up with feed and apparently wormer. No big deal, right? Meh, so far.

Mr hotshot and his friend unload the feed and proceed over to the washrack to worm the horse. Honestly I have never seen a clusterfuck the likes of what was to come, in all my years with horses. Now in all fairness this guy is fairly young, so I might be kind enough to chalk it up to youth and ignorance. After yesterday I throw a healthy dose of ego into the mix and that explains a whole lot more.

The hotshot and friend go to worm the horse but first somehow and for whatever reason, they put a rope over the horses neck, wrapping it around the rail and tying it off. So the guy steps in and puts the wormer in the mares mouth and All. Hell. Breaks. Loose.

The mare sits back against the ropes, the lasso tightens up, she hits the door behind her, lunges up and forward going over the rail with both front legs. Now she's hung up with two legs on each side of the bar and a whole lotta tension on both ropes, one of them choking her. Her head was tucked up under her like a horse in Rolkur to give everyone the idea of her position. I thought she was going to somersault herself up and over the rail and personally she might have been better off if she had.

With the horse hung up, choking and not exactly 'feeling the love', one of the guys asks the other one if he has a blade to cut one of the ropes. The brilliant 'guest' says, "Give her the rest of the wormer before you worry about that." So the genius steps in and tries again. He shoves the tube in her mouth, gives her the rest of the wormer and we're set for round 2. The mare goes up and back, freeing herself of being halfway over the bar, but still choking because of the rope.

I'd seen enough and went back into the barn to clean my stalls and set out feed for my two. For everyome wondering WHY??? Why didn't you step in and help? Part of it is reading people. Not everyone wants or is open to help. A lot of us let our ego or emotion get in the way, closing our minds off to new ways of doing things. There IS a better way to do things.