Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Initial assessments

When shopping for a horse, there are a considerable amount of options to be considered. High on the checklist should be- What are you going to DO with the horse? Breed, show, trail ride? If you are interested in showing, are you heading for the jump course, dressage arena, driving course, roping chute, rodeo arena or cattle pens? What level do you intend to go to? How well do you ride? How much do you know and how much do you have to spend?

For each discipline and sport, there are a number of levels of competition. There are a number of schooling shows for beginners, green horses and as a 'brush up' before hitting the circuits and rated shows, practice events before hauling out to the rodeo grounds to strut your stuff and 'fun days' just to hang out, learn and make new friends. For each level of competition, there are horses in all price ranges and often a handful of different breeds. Stock breeds dominate in certain arenas where lighter breeds take over in others. There are also the occasional 'exception to the rules' to be seen.

Once you have decided what you want to do and where you want to compete, have come to grips with your own abilities and checkbook balance- It's time to go shopping for a horse. But where do you start? Are you working with a trainer? Will you be boarding? Is your property safe for a horse? Do you know of a farrier? Feed stores? Veterinarians? If boarding- what is included or handled by the barn staff? Once you have established a comfortable answer to the numerous 'pre-horse' questions, there are a few other things to be considered.

What are you comfortable with, as far as accepting 'issues' with the horse? There just are no perfect horses. Perfect for you and your abilities- yes. There may be a few who fall into that category actually. But just like people, horses come with 'quirks'. Some can only be handled from one side for certain things, fed certain things and not others, nervous in a particular situation, they may have allergies, skin issues and as they age, just like us, there are health problems to be considered.

Depending on the sport and discipline they have been competing in, there may be joint issues, stress points, muscle tension and even lameness to deal with. Sellers can be honest and truthful or slick and slimy in their dealings. How does a person new to the horse world navigate these waters? Carefully. Just like the rest of us!

If you are not familiar with horses and haven't been around them a long enough to develop and eye for some of these issues, the local auction is not the place to go. Your heart will likely run off with a horse who has issues that will bankrupt you. Either by funding the vet's new house or tropical vacation, or sending you to the emergency room for an extended stay. When considering an auction find as a lucky one, they are. There are plenty of them there to be found. But diamonds in the rough are all around us, just waiting to be discovered by the right person and land in the right situation.

Auctions are more or less, buy on the spot, bid what you can afford and choose from what is available that day. Scouring the online ads, you have a bit more time to consider all things about each horse and choose wisely. Horse shopping in general is like everything else- "caveat emptor" or buyer beware. Learning what to look for, keeping an open mind concerning your intended use for the horse and trusting your gut instincts is the start to making an informed decision about the horse you will soon be bringing home.

Like buying anything else, your best option is to make the most well informed decision whether to buy or keep looking.


  1. Applause!
    Great post, CNJ!
    HAH, first!

    (does ridiculous dance)

    serious snorkage on the last comments.
    I got the memo, HP!

    HAH! Sorry, all gloaty today.
    Comes from being first,SO often.
    Oh, the TAlent!

  2. GL! GRRRR..I wanted to do the 1st happy dance!)
    Great post. My friend in IA and I were just emailing about this exact thing.

    I'm constantly shopping and have my "wish" list. Unfortunately I'm not the best rider. Injuries and loss of confidence have opened my eyes (and not in a good way).

    I am blessed that I know 2 fantastic farriers, don't really like any of the Vet's in my area but the Trainer I trust has one..that's good enough for me.

    I'm a snob b/c I have to board. There are only a couple places that meet my standard (unfortunately..Trainer is not at one...she's trying to bring it to standard..but...)

    The best place closed and we are all waiting for it to reopen. Best thing I EVER did was look at the adoption contract for New Vocations...if that doesn't get you to put your ducks in a row..NOTHING will!!!!

    Lots of free horses out there with VERY EASILY fixed issues....Makes me wish I was not a scared shitless wuss!!!! and would take a risk..There are 2 (you know what I'm talking about CNJ) just today that I'd take in heart beat if I could ride regularly

  3. C3D- you? A snob because you have to board? Not hardly snob criteria there. Plenty of people board for a number of different reasons. *takes 'snob' label away*

    GL- I didn't get a memo about HP, just come to know her over the past few years. She's a lot like a lot of us. Adheres to the policy of Don't Take No Shit! That goes for horses too.

  4. I meant that the barn has to be a SUPER place. So sick of barb wire, pastures washed out b/c of rain, barn isles not picked up, pasture's overgrazed, horses not feed or watered, stalls NOT CLEANED..OMG don't get me started!!! cross ties w/o quik release clips..Want me to go on???

    I'm sitting here thinking about taking on a rehab and wondering..where do I put him? Do I want to spend $500 for pasture board for no grass, crappy ground, crappy barn help (swear this guy is wanted by the police and has buried bodies on the place) bi-polar BO? Only good thing is Trainer...Hmmmm.......Crap..did I just ramble?

    Oh HP..I didn't get the memo b/c you didn't put the correct TPS report on it.

  5. Well put.In a perfect world all buyers and sellers would be as honest as the day is long, but...I think even a seasoned horse person is wise to take someone with when looking at a horse to purchase, sometimes out friends know us better than we do and its always good to have someone on the ground that "has your back"

  6. FV- Yep! I will get into that a bit further, too. How much money and legwork do you put into a horse with a low or no pricetag? Always good to have an extra set of eyes. Besides, they can confirm your thoughts or may notice something you haven't seen or dealt with before. It can turn into a learning experience, and now you know what to look for in the future.

    C3D- I see your point, as we all expect and accept different levels of care, depending on where we live, what the average rates are, what we can afford and the
    ammenities it includes.

    There are low end facilities here, that offer cheap board and very little care. While some people may prefer to clean their own stalls (they know it's getting done) and buy their own hay (they know the quality at least their horse is getting) others are attracted, just because it is cheap. Not everyone puts a lot into the care their horse recieves.

    Some people make us wonder why they even have horses,
    while others make us wonder if the horse ever gets to be a horse?

  7. Free horses??? There are free horses?
    Clean up alert on my monitor.lol
    Very good post CnJ.
    So there is this woman. A dealer.*snicker snort* who just became online enabled.
    And she is now getting all those free horses that rest of us used to.
    Because that is how we were succeeding. But now her handicap has been removed and she is going to show all of us how it is done.
    I tried telling her that I have never in my life bought a horse from online advertising. Or got a free one.
    But I was just trying to trick her I guess.
    Oh and she just picked up a contract to break horses for the racetrack. In Minnesota. In the winter. Minus the benefit of an indoor.
    A true pioneer.
    Her first free horse? A 13yr old App/QH/TB mare. A blue roan no less. Who looks like she was put together by a blind tinker.
    She is going to breed her.
    Craigslist has much to answer for I am telling you.

  8. Dena..I'm cracking up at your "FREE HORSE" comment. Have to say I've picked up 2 such animals that just needed pasture time and time to relax.

    Both free, none needed "medical" expense other then normal shots etc.

    I did lose money b/c the market tanked but I was more concerned with "happy homes". Still get info on them. I know that's not the NORM..but i could happen. :0)

  9. Well, my last two free ones, where Top and Jasper. Jasper is doing well in his new home. Top is still coming along.

    Now both of these horses were damaged and thin...very thin. And both kind of insane worried. Jasper had had a leg tied up so they could get on, and when he bucked the woman off...they drug him around the arena for an hour. He has some interesting scars.

    Top was very thin. Ex-jumper. He'd been hurt jumping a span and didn't want to jump anymore. So, they of course beat him over the jumps. The girl who had him previous to the girls I got him from took him because they were going to put him down. She gave him a shot, and took him quite a ways in his recovery.

    You know the horse has an issue if you are the third person to receive him for free. Especially, if he is an imported, branded Oldenburg in the prime of life, and sound. Things that make you go hmmmm????

  10. Now let's see. I make a call or several. That is my time and a portion of my cell phone bill.
    And then, I hook up the truck to the trailer. There is fuel and wear and tear involved, insurance, and shavings and hay in the trailer.
    And time.
    Free horse? Never seen let alone received one of these mythical beasts myself.
    Oh I get it. You all mean the ones where there is no purchase price applied.
    Yep. Never had one of those either.lol
    Waves at HP who I have not seen in forever!
    I just got a know. With your acquiring Top did your Xanax consumption go up?
    I would have done that one in a heartbeat too BTW!
    And CnJs mare too. HAve not seen anything about yours C3D.
    Are you withholding? Hmmm???

  11. The girls were so eager to get rid of him, they dropped him off in my pen when I wasn't there with his blanket on. When I pulled his blanket BH said, "Well now you know why they left his blanket on." He was pretty dang skinny.

    I don't have any meds Dena. This is me on the natch...how scary is that. lol

  12. Dena..I'll have to scrounge and see if I can find pics of them. Hee hee. I wiped out my old pics. Last one I got rid of b/c he and I didn't like each other. He and his new owner are a match made in heaven.

    I see your point of "no free horse"..I'll change it to no "sale price" horse :D

    I'm a sucker for horses w/bows or feet issues. I've had great luck with them. Although I was told I was too fat to ride one I was going to rehab! OMG..about fell over on that one! made me dip into the Oreo's.

    HP..we'll take you anyway we can

  13. I know quite a few women that are taking something called lorazipan (sp?) to help them be calm/relaxed enough to ride their dressage horses. WTF? I'm thinking if I need meds to get on a horse, I've got no business getting on that horse. Games up for me at that point. I'm either getting a more suitable horse, or getting out of horses at that point. This is supposed to be fun, right?

  14. Like I said, how much legwork and time do you put into a horse with a low or no price tag?

    It varies for each of us. What also varies is what can and cannot be fixed. Injuries, brain fry, training? All come into play when taking in or taking on a new horse.

    Free horses? No such thing. You either pay the farrier, vet or feed store or you pay with your heart when they leave. Some cost you plenty on all levels.

    Cha-freakin-CHING! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  15. I don't even want to think what my 'free horses' have cost me. Seems like more than horses I bought in the long run. Feeding them up. Vet work, rehab, training, special needs, farrier work... UGH.

  16. HP- No kidding on the "Got Meds?" to ride a horse. Seriously? How do they expect their reaction time to keep up with signals, cues, praise or crash landings? Timing is everything.

    What does the insurance company do in the case of a trainer's liability when working with someone like that? SCARY! Living in the land if 'litigation nation'.

  17. Here, here. Only had a few freebies, in need of feed, hoofcare and rehab. Mostly either needed a bit of retraining or they were just starting out altogether.

    I know of 3 free horses at the moment. A MFT mare, an Arab gelding and another horse. The third horse is companion only status, but the first two are rideable. Contact Katphoti for more info if interested.

    One horse I heard about several years ago, I just had a bad feeling about every time she was mentioned. A friend of mine kept pushing me to take her, because "She is an Arab and I know you like Arabs." I had just lost my Arab mare Mo a few months prior to that.

    Well long story short, the friend took her. The mare had a number of issues- the biggest one being her feet. Severly foundered. She had flown in a farrier from out of state, had the vet out repeatedly and put the horse down within two or three weeks of bringing her home.

  18. Lorazepam is one of a class of drugs (benzodiazepines) which includes Librium and Valium. If I was a dressage horse who was constantly worked in rollkur, I would make darn sure you were too scared of me to ride without an anti-anxiety drug!

    Hey, guys, I'm wondering if we can keep on subject a little better. Let's stay away from the "behind the scenes" stuff. It reminds me too much of "cliques." I would hope we're all in this together.

    Without naming names, there are two people I've "met," on almost every horse-related blog I read, who cannot resist taking their mutual dislike public at every opportunity, and telling tales on each other. It gets really old.

    I wish at least one of you could resist the temptation to "defend" yourself. If you ignore it, then *you're* the grownup, and the other is the tantrum-throwing juvenile.

    Another part of growing up is resisting making remarks that scream, "I'm in the in-crowd, neener neener!"

    I know the temptation is strong. Please, please resist! Let the rest of us read and respond in peace.

    Thanks, Ruthie (in Miss Manners mode)

  19. Well,

    After my fall last year, I was having near panic attacks every time I tried to ride (I have generalized anxiety problems anyways). It was my first fall, I was a beginner at the time, and it REALLY did a number on me. Complete and total confidence crusher.

    I take a 1 mg lorazepam (it's the generic for Ativan) every time I ride. It does not effect my balance or coordination, but it does calm me down enough that I can at least walk the horse around the arena, and most days I can manage a decent extended walk with a little bit of speed. The horse in question, BTW, is a complete angel, the problem is entirely mine.

    After 8 months of lessons, I still can't go faster than a walk. We are trying the lunge line now to see if I can relax enough to let the horse go without grabbing his mouth if I panic. I was learning to post the trot before I fell.

    I have wanted a horse my entire life, and am a new rider at the age of 38. I would like to go faster so that I can trail ride my horse as he is getting bored in the arena. It's not as if I intend to canter on the trail, but if my horse spooked and ran for home I would prefer that NOT be my first time cantering!

    Anyways, if it takes a pill for me to ride, so be it. Normal activities that might make other people only slightly nervous can be OVERWHELMING if you have anxiety or panic issues to start with.

  20. New Horse Mommy...you've got the same problem I have! I grew up riding and still can barely trot. If it's faster then a jog i'm FREAKING out.

    Glad you are up and riding. I will give you a light at the end of your tunnel..I did Canter before I hurt my back again!

    Keep at it! Big HUG

  21. Lorazepam is the generic for Xanax.
    HP natch is just fine.
    It still boggles my mind how Top was treated before he came to you.

    Ruthie, I am on topic. And unfortunately, definitely in the in crowd when it comes to those who sell horses by fair means or foul.
    I thought one of the points of this blog and the we thing here was sharing that inside information of how things ARE done and how they MAY be improved, maybe, possibly, by not only exposing it but providing alternative methods.
    Was I mistaken?

    Wow CnJ this is like old times on fhotd. So many moderators and so little demand.
    Yeah I will probably apologize for being a bitch after the meds wear off.

  22. NHM did you get that feeling like a train was driving between your ears?
    Hyperventilating? And when you got off being quite literally weak in the knees?
    That was how I felt on almost everything after I got royally stomped a couple of years ago.
    That one more than any other fall knocked the stuffing out of me.
    I think it was because I was reminded that they can move so fast and it can all go very bad very quick sometimes.
    It goes away eventually. Kudos for continuing.

  23. Yeah, I assume it will go away eventually. It's just very annoying right now!

    And yes, these are full-blown panic attacks, can't breathe, shaking, think I'm going to pass out or have a heart attack. I started out just sitting on the horse until I could not take it anymore, progressed to being led around the arena by my instructor, and then to finally walking around on my own. It helped when I finally started looking where I was going instead of staring at the horse (which inspires a litany of "what's he doing?" "what's he looking at?" "why are his ears pointed that way?")! This, on the horse that just stops if I go fetal instead of speeding up.

    I wish my boy had a nice little western jog. He's got a rather quick trot instead. It occurs to me that I was staring at the horse again during my lunge line lesson. I will try to keep my head up next time!

  24. NHM..the only stipulation my Trainer put on me was I couldn't throw up on her.

    I've come pretty close but we all know what you are going thru.
    Dena..You so funny. I was told earlier today to ignore "non-computes" had me laughing in my cube of insanity. Don't make me come up there..I swear I will

  25. NHM there may be a bright side. I get majorly whomped every 14 years.
    Medical intervention required whomped.
    The puke or pass out thing? Yep, been there.
    Take it as slow as you need to.
    The thing is, one day something will happen and you will stick it.
    And your confidence will reappear.
    You can't force it or rush it.
    And I really do give you credit for
    working at it no matter how you get it done.
    I am thinking you must want it very bad indeed.

    C3D the trick is I didn't ask. And the disclaimer about my meds is on my blog and predates this particular episode.
    Oh shit. Am I off topic agaaaiiin??

  26. NHM -
    Kudos for you for keeping at it! I grew up riding, pretty much every day straight from about age 6 to 15 (when I discovered boys!). Then polo in college. Did just about every insane thing on horses to do and I rarely remember ever feeling scared. Fell off, jump back on. Horse falls on me, jump back on. Etc., etc., etc...
    Take 10 years off, have kids, gain too much weight, yada, yada, yada and now...yeah I fight back nerves a lot when I'm riding and I feel like I'm such a chickenshit a lot of the time. It's REALLY annoying to me. But on the other hand, I guess that's us feeling our mortality? I.e...old adage! Bummer. I now finally get that "youth is wasted on the young!" statement. Damn!
    (Pssttt...Hey HNDL...One of my favorite things about following blogs is oftentimes how the comments take a life of their own as far as where the subjects goes. Just like a good conversation, throw out a starter sentence and see where ya end up...And...I can pretty much guarantee that telling folks to "act nice" will usually result in the opposite effect! At least it works that way for me.)
    Carry on...

  27. Ha-ha...I meant to say "old age" not "old adage." Which is kinda redundant. Redundant.
    (okay, cracking myself up here...).

  28. And now you understand why those tact lessons are so very vital for me PF.
    Of course, that works both ways.
    It does work both ways doesn't it!?!
    Because otherwise what would be the point?

    PF I need a garden plan for this next season. I am having one.
    Is there any rule that says you can't garden your fruits, veggies, and flowers together?
    I have grapes PF. And raspberries.
    I am so excited.
    And good energy. Very important. And organic horseshite.
    You have the winter to educate me K?
    My manners are sadly lacking.*sigh*

  29. Dena -
    You might be surprised how "untactful" I can be! Depending...
    Flowers, veggies, berries - all together???? The horror!!!
    Really, that's all the rage. And can be done. If you have specific's email me (on my profile). Or "pm" me? What does "pm" mean anyways? (Still learning strangely obscure blog language...).
    And BTW, although it definitely smells the best, horse poo-poo is not the preferred animal excrement for us obsessive gardeners. (The not-so bad smell gives it away right there...) Although it's not necessarily bad either, depending on the application!

  30. Most of these women have been riding for more than 15 years. They haven't been hurt. But they all did go buy great big, big moving WB's and proceeded to kill any forward the horse had.

    Now, they have to come back out the other side and get the forward back. It is not as easy to push a horse back out there, and trust him not to leave if you've been stuffing his face to his chest for 7 years, and anytime he got moving forward, you shut him down. Now these horses object to forward.

    Part of it I think is they think their faces are going to get ripped off if they go, and they have found it much easier to mince along. So they object. They kick at the rider's leg, or fire out behind.

    I've come off been hurt, broken assorted bones with horses. The one time it really messed with me was when a horse went over on me in a trailer. I was hurrying. Thought I'd just run this young filly in there, and scooch out behind her. She panicked. Climbed the wall, flipped over on me, pinning me between the wall and the floor. She rolled out the back of the trailer. I didn't.

    For years I'd get uncomfortable, almost panicked in tight places with horses. Even in stalls. I didn't go in to load any of them for years. Taught everything to load by throwing the rope over their backs and sending them in.

    Oh, and I'll get that awful clutch feeling, almost sick when a horse sucks back. That empty feeling. That I could go up feeling. I hate it when the motion gets all behind your leg, and you've got nothing. It doesn't matter if the horse is on a loose rein, or going to the bit. That sucked back feeling is horrid. The tide is going out, and the sand is disappearing beneath your feet.

  31. ooooooooo...gardens...I wanna put my 2 cents in!!!!

    Marigolds in between most plants deter bugs! Plus they self populate.
    My spring garden is going to be in the shape of a wagon wheel. I can't wait.

    We've always used horse manure in our gardens. Use the older stuff. News papers and coffee grounds (free from Starbucks or any coffee place) are great! Try to stay away from colored print.

    Crap...what was I talking about? Oh I was talking about Crap..hee hee..I can't wait to see pictures. you've got to put sage in your garden...With your Meds issues...you definately need sage.

  32. HP..sucked back feeling..Oh that describes it!

    Heck it took me months to be comfortable with my trainers horse b/c he's a "looky loo". You know the kind that will graze, then bolt his head up like he's going to bolt, look around with ears at attention, then take a quick bite and start all over again.

    Well shoot this horse is a been there done that guy..just the way he is. I get so nervous that he's going to bolt on me, I start panicking..and like you said (whether on horse back or on the ground)..sand starts shifting!

    My trainer couldn't understand why I'd get green when I'd work with her boy. Until she saw us one day when I was hand grazing him. I try to make myself work thru it. She was like.."Girl..what the hell is wrong with you! You're all tense and GREEN"

    I love her b/c she knows when humor is needed, the "there there" is needed or "just go in the corner and sob your eyes out" is needed.
    NHM..we are all here for YOU!!!! Vent/cry on our shoulders/Love on us...that's what we all do

  33. HP sand shifting not good. At all.
    And everything behind the leg and you got nothing.
    Worse than the dropaway on a roller coaster.
    How do you control your anxiety so it does not becom a self-fulfilling prophecy?
    When I started riding the yellow horse again if there was a timed dismount class I would have won it.
    It was so embarrassing. He would stop to look at something and I would be bailing out over his shoulder lickety split.
    I was just point blank scared shitless to be on him. Even though he was being very good.
    And I was scared of him from the ground too to be honest for quite a while there.

    C3D Marigolds self-populate? I want some pretty and bushy Geraniums in a rich yellow base red and blue based red.
    Violets, Violas, Lavender, Daisys, Tiger Lilys, Morning Glorys, Pansies, SnoCap, Roses, and Tulips. It is too late for me to put in Daffodils but I love them.
    Next year.
    Sweet Corn, Peas, Carrots, Shallots, Onions, Baby Red potatos, Garlic, Snap Beans, Jalapenos and other Chilies, and oh I just want it all.
    Tomatos that have rich full flavor.
    A garden plan. Yes, I need a plan.
    PF we must construct a plan.
    What kind of shit is best? I mean poo.
    We have pig, cow, chicken, and turkey close at hand I think.
    Someone here better know how to can.
    I know it is off topic but I am so looking forward to well everything here.

  34. One of the ways to fix their sucked back...empty is a little firmer contact in the outside rein, and push them up with your leg. You've got to kind of 'unlock' them. The only scary part is sometimes they unlock BIG. But if you take the contact to the inside, you kind of trap them, you aren't really giving them a place to go...and that's when you are more likely to get a rear. Unless of course you can keep the hindend moving, in a kind of turn on the forehand feel.

    If you can get them to give you a lateral movement before the sucking back gets too bad...that usually fills them back up. Throw in a leg yield when they start to feel a little rushy and empty.

  35. Ooohhh...Chicken poo...(farmer drool inserted here).
    That's the good shit (literally!). Although in can also be bad shit (literally!).
    Here's the low down on poo (keeping in mind I'm an organic farmer so don't use commercial fertilizers). It all comes down to nitrogen. Some got lots - (like chicken, notice it smells like ammonia, as in ammonia nitrogen?). Versus horse poo, which is pretty low in nitrogen. Cow poo is about in the middle. I'm not sure about pig or turkey.
    Plants need nitrogen to grow. Especially greedy vegetable plants that suck lots of nitrogen. Poo gives them nitrogen - sometimes...
    Why sometimes? Depends on what it's mixed with. Horse poo with shavings? Bad combo. Shavings are very high in "carbon matter" which also takes nitrogen to break down. And takes it from the plants. Straw does same thing, but not quite as high on the carbon matter meter as shavings. Now if the horse/shavings/straw matter is well-aged (hence what C3D said) then it is compost. All compost is good. Improves tilth/structure of soil. Can't really get too much of it. But compost won't provide much if any in the way of nitrogen, that was used up making the compost.
    So back to the poo. If a truly new bed with nothing in it, I would put in chicken manure. Mix it up a bit. Let it sit a few weeks. Mix again. Plant. (fresh chicken manure is "hot" so can burn already planted plants.) If you got cow manure, you can apply same way. Although cow manure won't really burn most plants, even almost straight from the crapper (so to speak). (I don't have access to large quantities of chicken manure but I do to cow manure, so every spring my neighbor spreads a couple inches of raw cow manure/straw mixture on my 8 acres...). Horse manure, well, I don't consider it a nitrogen source. But I do make compost with it!
    Sorry CNJ to high-jack your blog. But she asked (whine, whine, whine..)!

  36. PF why do you not have organic range eggs and an unlimited supply of...Organic Chicken Poo!?!?!

    HP too many technical details to remember to implement lose your head to the panic?
    Did I get that right?

  37. Don't panic, and keep breathing...rule number one. lol You can usually feel which way you need to go. I don't usually panic till it is over. Then I'm like, "Holyshit, did that just happen." By then we're halfway down the longside and onto something else.

  38. I get into trouble if I over think it, or anticipate. If the horse just suddenly gets naughty, without a big build-up...I'm usually fine. It's the brewing that gets me. The 'I can feel something bad is coming.' It is then I need to get something good, and call it a day. Or I need to change up the game and redirect the horse onto something else. Hey, they can feel a fly land on their butt, they can sure feel me tighten up and hold my breath. I swear there have been days I think I left pucker marks on my saddle. lol

  39. Pucker marks on the saddle! That's a good one.
    My big problem right now is although I keep working at it, 10 years off riding put me out of "horse shape." Even though I can walk, weed, hoe all day long, a 30 minute ride on my HOT TB mare has my thighs a quivering! She's a good girl mostly, but she needs a lot of seat to ride her and not get into her mouth or she gets freaky. I.e., I can't "cheat." And she would really do better if I would take her out, warm up for a bit, then trot her for about half hour just to get her mind on straight! But I think I would turn into jello blob in the saddle and not be able to move for 2 weeks. I need to take a month off from my life and just ride continually and constantly to get those muscles back. Like THAT'S going to happen! The mare is 20, so when I got her I thought she wouldn't have as much get up and go as she does, not to mention she was pretty skinny when I got her so she really didn't have a lot of get up and go. Not the case now. (tonite when I went to feed she was running back and forth on her side of the fence, full out with sliding stops and rollbacks. Bucks, front strikes and farting interspersed. All to get her 2x daily ration of grass hay and a couple handfuls of senior feed! No alfalfa for THIS crazy girl!!!). On the plus side, if I could just get myself up to her speed I think we would have a heck of a lot of fun. (I thought about hiring somebody to come ride her to condition her but then I realized that getting her into shape but not getting me into shape???? Bad idear...).
    Dena - I do have organic chickens (and eggs). But only 19 (plus 15 ducks, 5 geese and until recently, 12 turkeys...). But that's not enough poultry poo to do me really any good at the size of acreage I plant. I actually just use it right now to "activate" the BIG horse poo and other stuff compost pile to get it composting...I don't make anywhere enough as much compost as I would like to have either...
    I've fantasized about running a 1000 or so chickens doing the "pasture poultry" thing, rotating through my fields, for the combo effect of fertilized fields and lovely fresh chickens (or eggs) to sell! But haven't gotten there yet...Next year!

  40. PF, do you have one of those big exercise balls? If you do, when you're sitting down to watch tv, or read or whatever...sit on it. It will make you balance and sit up, and help your core and leg strength.

  41. Wow!!!! It smells like Poo in here, what happened? Ya'll get off topic again?

    NHM-you are my new hero- along with C3D.
    I am challenged with some of the same issues and I gotta say I admire both of you.

    HP- I think the difference is the women you speak of loading pharmaceuticals are just being in vogue. They are riders not horsewomen. Big difference.

    Dena- I love Mother Earth News magazine- it is online too. Lots of farming tips there. I free range my chickens and use them to till for me but when planting a graden (while I haven't)they will need to be fenced out of the area, they love new green sprouts and will eat all of your veggies before you even get to them.

    PSA over-----

  42. I was terrified of him on the ground at first too! He is my first horse and I did not have the slightest idea what to do with him. I took groundwork lessons with him for the first two months while he was getting a 60 day tune-up to help with that.

    He was pretty spooky when I got him. He does not like new situations, and the move to a new environment was pretty stressful for him. Plus, nobody had touched him in months.

    He's more confident with a rider, even me, and will spook in place. On the ground, he will jump 10 feet! The first few weeks or so, every time he would jump, I would squeal! We were a freakin' train wreck. He knocked me over a couple of times, until one day I finally got the courage to execute the 3 seconds of "you are going to die if you ever do that again!"

    It worked, and every month he is better. He has decided to spook around me or in place now. He has not spooked into me since we had that "talk," and that was back in June. And I learned that he leads better if he is slightly behind me rather than directly at my side.

    I took him for a walk in the scary woods for the first time a few days ago. I could tell he wanted to bolt, but he trusted me enough not to.

    And yes, he is my dream come true, so I am VERY determined. Next month will be one full year of horse ownership. He nickers at me every day when I drive up, and runs to the gate to see me. He was a rescue and it's obvious he knows it. How could I possibly give up?

  43. Horspoor -
    Oh man, my husband just told me the same thing about 2 days ago (he has one). I HATE IT when he's right.
    But okay. Wonder if I can sit on one of those things and type on the computer? I rarely watch TV, blogging is too entertaining!

  44. Oh yeah, ditto the Mother Earth Magazine. Really excellent.
    And yes, keep chickens out when planting new stuff. Although they usually won't do much damage once the planting has gotten some size, unlike my geese which will "trim" a full head of lettuce!
    Chickens are great to put back in the garden at the end of the year as well. (They also will root around and eat naughty bugs like cutworms!).

  45. PF..I'm terrified of geese. I was attacked once. It was actually pretty funny. We'd driven to KY to try a Morgan mare. The lady had geese. It was my Mom, me and my sister. The Gander (right term??) attacked me but left everyone alone. I had to wait in the car b/c any time I was ok he was beside himself and attacking me.

    I'm still in therapy! sniffle sniffle

  46. I have geese. I used to not like geese. When I was really little we had those mean white bastards.
    They used to torment me.
    And then, one day I was at a sale and I saw some Egyptians in an itty bitty cage and that offended me so I bought them.
    And we, inherited some Africans from our farrier.
    And I love them now.
    They copme in their gaggle and tell me all about life. Loudly.
    I make commiserating sounds and they are satisfied.
    I have broken up a couple of gander fights. They are strong.
    Walked em both out of the barn with a hand around each of their necks and giving them the we don't fight here lecture. Which usually turns in to the take it outside dammit speech instead.
    C3D have you ever had pate? They can tell you know?lol

  47. geese can be nasty, C3D. Pay your therapist well.

    My chickens are my little bulldozers, anyplace I want cleared, I throw cracked corn in and off they go to work. They have effectively cleared up mountains of honeysuckle for burning. Their busy work also pretty much assures me that the snakes will move to quieter areas, leaving me no surprises.
    Since I let them free range, I have had no ticks in the yard either.

    sigh. I love my chickens.

  48. Sheesh, I leave you all alone for a while, and look where it goes...

    Exercise balls? Great tools for toning a number of different areas. We had one until the dogs got a hold of it. Getting another someday...

    Gardens? I wanna garden! I even have a plow for my pony to pull. Don't tell him that's what it's for. He thinks it is a porch decoration. Accessorizing you know.

    Anxiety and panic attacks? I thought that was the biggist load of crap EVER! (good thing we are already talking about crap!) until... Yeah.

    At least I can name the catalyst to the problem and kicked his sorry ass to the curb several years ago. Should have kicked him somewhere else while I was at it, a few times at least, but then he would have had some grounds to press charges.

    The mention of his name still makes my blood boil and gives me an adrenaline rush. And sorry but no drug in the world could offset or diminish that, when it too would soon become a projectile from at least one orifice.

    I used to ride with reckless abandon. Gallop across fields, up hills, deep sands, if the horse wanted to go, we did. Hell bent for leather. Fall off, ya get back on and keep on going. Hurt? Nobody gets hurt. Ride through it and tough it out.

    A few years without horses and now that I'm crowding 40 myself, I don't 'bounce' like I did then and I also don't heal as quick either. Falling off isn't so bad, it's hitting the ground that sucks!

    As Dena said, one day something will happen and you will get through it without even thinking about it. Afterwards though? You will amaze yourself. Others too if anyone is around to witness the event. Hang tough there, we've got your back.

  49. HP- you get the queasys from the 'sunken back feeling' I get it from another weird 'zone'. Stopping.

    Brakes. Tess had little to none at times. Didn't bother me so much. I let her get away with a lot of stuff. Things that likely would have irritated me to no end coming from another horse. The Arab mare- Excellent brakes. Stopped on a dime and gave change.

    Getting on her rattled me for some dumb reason. Never did anything wrong, but something was there. She is a good horse. Silly and quirky, but solid and good. Never knew what the deal was, but it was my deal, not hers.

  50. NC..Never had Pate (almost typed Catnip) sigh...

    Someone in our suburban neighborhood now has a rooster. He's a loud one. I giggle b/c hubby is as city folk as they get. He'd fall over dead if I put a chicken in the back yard!

  51. Geese are scary. I'll go into a yard with a Doberman before one with a goose, esp those white bastards. The gray ones seem nicer somehow. I'm basically wary of all poultry. I'm also uncomfortable with parrots and other large birds loose in someone's home. Kind of freaks me out when they fly at me.

    OH, and people that have pet monkeys...omg scary little buggers. I keep waiting for the video, 'When Monkeys and Chimps Attack.' You know it is coming. I bet a Chimp could mess you up bad, if not kill you.

  52. "How much money and legwork do you put into a horse with a low or no pricetag?"

    HA... I just got one of those. I knew the horse from 4H, also talked to the former owner, and had full disclosure on the ringbone. Didn't do a vet check, but again, I had full disclosure, and he went sound all last summer.

    Am keeping him at a place I would've turned my nose up at at one point in my life (dirty in the corners, etc.) but I've known the BO for years, and even if her PLACE isn't gorgeous, all the horses look fabulous. Most important, her OLD horses look fabulous. She is a laid-back, sweet woman without drama issues. So I can definitely tolerate the dirt.
    The fancy place BO gives me an "icky" vibe. She's REALLY into big AQHA shows, and all that implies.

    So, I've got this big old horse with on-again off-again soundness issues. I'm not going to be able to ride him all the time. But even when he's ouchy, he's not troubled. He'll still gallop across the pasture to get to his BFF elderly cougar mares..... horny old things....

    The tradeoff? He's such a gentleman. My 4-yr-old daughter can stand on a stool next to me and brush him. He will pick up his feet at a touch and not lean on me. My husband has the day off today, and is going over to the barn ALL BY HIMSELF just to play with Chip (this is a berry, berry good sign for the future). He's a family pet.

    And when I DO ride him, he is SO SMOOTH. Very forward, and very light. Surprising for a big boned QH with a barrel the size of an Airstream....

    Pisses me off that somebody overjumped him.

    So, even though he's not a horse I'll be riding for miles and showing all summer, he's what our family needs right now, and when his happy days are over, I'm glad he's with me and not some ignorant redneck who will just ride him literally to death. Because he's the kind of horse who will let someone do that.

    Glucosamine/chondroitan is a miracle substance.

  53. HP.....

    I had this BF whose weird stepmom had macaws, cockatoos and other big parroty birds. I was at their house one weekend, and this bigass macaw FOLLOWED me everywhere, staring at me with his beady eye.

    As for primates as pets.... if you saw the photos of the woman who had her face and hands ripped off (literally - she breathes thru a trach and sips her meals thru a straw... no eyes... stumps.....) by a chimp (she was on Oprah recently I think - not that I watched) .... *shudder*

    My first horse was a very pretty very smart and wily pony. She broke my arm and made me afraid to canter, but after hooking up with a quality trainer/instructor who had me ride good lesson horses while pony got professional retraining, I got my groove back. In fact, when I was in college and took some lessons at a chi chi dressage barn, one day my lesson horse shied and half-bucked. Of course I was like "oh no you DIDN'T" and got everything back to normal in .25 seconds. All these Dressage Queens on their $$$$$$$$$ horses were like *GASP ZOMG* I'm like, DUDE! Take a damn trail ride.

    NHM, KUDOS to you for wanting it enough to take the time to work it out!!!!!!! Someday you will get your own groove back, and you will be cantering along making beautiful music. Once you get your mind/body connection all organized and start cantering, you won't ever want to trot AGAIN.

  54. I was wondering CnJ could we apply this thread to men too?
    Caveat emptor and buy now or keep looking?lol
    Just kidding.

  55. HP monkeys freak me out too. Big birds?
    I greww up with them.
    I have a very healthy respect/fear of them.
    Cockatoos, McCaws, I can take them or leave them.
    Hawks? Oh wow. I have had two to rehab and they are just phenomenal beastys.
    White gees are still not on my list of things to do.
    Unless, I am injecting them with apple cider and rubbing them with butter in a roasting pan.
    Now Big Roosters with attitude?
    A whole nother story.

    CP congratulations for you, your family, and your guy.
    He sounds perfect.

  56. CP...was the monkey the woman's that he attacked? I figured they could mess you up pretty bad...didn't quite realize that bad. Holycrap. Kind of amazing she lived.

  57. He IS a big love. :-)

    And of course, there's no "perfect" time to get a horse, have a kid, or fall in love with a decent man.

    At least, I was kind of taken by surprise by all 3 ...

    ("Congratulations! You're pregnant! Hey, let's do an ultrasound... whoops, you're 20 weeks along...." :-P Explained why I'd felt awful all season.... it wasn't mono after all!)

  58. HP, did you see the photos?

    Unfortunately, it wasn't even HER chimp, but a friend's. Apparently the woman drugged her uncontrollable chimp with Valium or something, but it didn't get any that day or something, and it got out and nearly killed that poor woman.


    Like the visceral reaction I had to a woman's intentionally-bred wolf hybrid that was clearly unhappy living amongst humans, but was too submissive to be anything other than sad.... WILD ANIMALS ARE NOT PETS.

  59. No, I didn't see the photos...I was going off of your description. Not sure I'm up to the photos. Wild animals are not pets. It really isn't a good deal for the animals...at least those I've known.

  60. CP- Sounds like my new girl. Injured the stifle as a 2 y/o, likely slipped and went down on the ice in Canada. Bred and has 4 gorgeous babies!

    Her owner was getting out of breeding. One look at the pictures and she. is. just. OMG! Gorgeous...!!! The foals? Just as nice.

    The owner has also offered to answer any questions we may have about her and has been honest about everything.

    Don't run into enough people like that in the industry. She has also offered to come to any shows or inspections and take pictures for us. I have also promised to keep her up to date on how the mare is doing. In cases like yours and ours- everybody wins. Especially the horses. As it should be...

  61. She is very pretty CNJ :-) She IS a little long, but she's got great bone and the SWEETEST face. I think her shoulders look good, and a nice neck.

    On topic, I've also learned that when you start looking TOO HARD, you won't find it.

    When my husband and I were still hanging out with a group, not dating yet, the conversation turned to: "What's your physical ideal in a partner?"

    Jay's like "I prefer tall, athletic women."

    I'm like "I prefer lanky, long-haired dudes."

    Sooooo I ended up with a man who looks like an ex NFL player whose hair is about .125" long, and he ended up with a 5'2" never-played-sports unjock.

    ; )

  62. C3D - Well, I'm considering offing the three "goslings" for Christmas goose meals (I've had 2 people ask for them!), so how about you come over and help and it would be GREAT therapy!
    Wa-ha-ha! Evil Farmer humor...
    I have American Buff geese. They are very nice (and pretty, like the palomino of the goose world). Except for when mama was sitting and had baby goslings. Even then, I've never had them chase anybody (even my kids). The daddy will just "hiss" and warn if you get too close. Easy enough to handle.
    However, my friend has some Pilgrim geese. We went to his house and his male chased my daughter all over the yard! (not that she didn't deserve it, but...). I don't tend to take that sort of behavior from animals, however. My reaction to the mean goose was to bonk over the head with a shovel. So...
    As I tell visitors to my farm, I yet to hear of anybody dying via goose attack. So suck it up!
    CNJ - You have a plow for your pony? I SO want it! I have a shetland that would look SO CUTE pulling a little mini plow in my field! She needs a job anyways...

  63. I'm ascared of big birds too, funny thing is they love me.

    Please don't mention the flying monkeys from Wizard of Oz. Deathly afraid (still)

  64. CP-On topic, I've also learned that when you start looking TOO HARD, you won't find it.

    Boy is that the truth! C3D and I keep sending horse ads back and forth. She's not a fan of those red horses. I told her to go looking for one. Everything she finds will then be bay, gray, spotted, black, buckskin...

    Just like men & wedding dresses, the right one, may not be what you were looking at, but it fits like no other and is perfect in ways you never considered.

    JR and I met at a BBQ neither of us were invited to. Everyone there had been telling us we needed to meet, then they started telling us we needed to stay away from each other. WTH?

    PF- found it on CL. Just have to figure out a way to hook it up to him. It needs a singletree and a pin. Then somehow to raise and lower the tines. Yep, 6 of them. No need for sharpening as the soil here is a ittle too good at doing it for you. I also have to figure out just where the garden goes?

  65. CP and HP I agree with the wild animals not being pets.
    The hawks 1 was a fledging that fell out of the nest. Raised it, encouraged hunting etc., and was finished by a prey bird program into the wild.
    The second was a juvenile adult buckshot in the wing. Watching him fly again was amazing! He too went free.
    I have had 2 wolf/shepard hybrids. Not by design on my part.
    They need to have a lot of freedom.
    Damnedest loyal and protective family dogs ever. But they own you not the other way around.
    And they must have freedom...

  66. Yeah, I felt SO sorry for the wolf hybrid I saw. It was at a "training session" in a pet store, and she was huddled in a heap, looking SO miserable and not wanting to be around a bunch of people. Her "mom" was mostly ignoring her, talking excitedly to this other redneck woman about the wolf-dogs they bred.

    The dog trainer looked very frustrated, like no one was listening to the (probably decent) advice he was offering.

  67. Carrie had a wolf, and so did my friend Keri. Keri rescued hers from a guy in Cody WY, that hat killed the mother and stole the pups. She turned them into the park authorities, and kept one.

    Carrie got hers from a family member breeder. Cowboy was very socialized and I liked him a lot. He was the exception that proves the rule. When I'd show up for my lesson...he's get up, wag and howl for me...happy happy...my friend is here.

    Keri's was very shy, and only liked those who knew.

  68. friend of ours has a wolf hybrid. Nice dog, but allowances need to be considered as far as vet care goes. Some vets won't touch them. At all.

    The first time I went to Alaska we went to the Wolf farm. While it was nice seeing the wolves, up close and personal with a couple, each of them chained to a doghouse? Not exactly a 'natural setting'. There was one I would have liked to bring home, smokey dark color, golden amber eyes, expecting him to acclimate would be asking a lot.