Monday, February 22, 2010

Rain Delay!

Since there is a lot to cover in saddle fitting, and I really wanted to get a few photo's to put up and it has been raining so much lately... I'm going to have to improvise for a while. Honestly our horses are not quite looking presentable at the moment. There are a number of questions you may ask- Why? How could that be? You are so knowledgeable about grooming, why do they not look presentable? What happened?
You may also be thinking-> CNJ, you really droppped the ball. I thought your horses ALWAYS looked perfect! I mean, come on... what gives?

Well it has been raining. A LOT! And it's raining today. Right now as I type, matter of fact. Since we are set up for flood irrigation, the pastures are not designed to just run off and drain. No they hold the water to some degree so it will soak in and stuff will grow. Like grass! We may want grass, but at the moment we are more likely to get weeds. Believe me they are coming up everywhere. I have been pulling them up by the roots in hopes of them NOT coming back, which is quite the workout, but definately worth it.

We have had a few horses out over the past few days and since we haven't been showing, nobody is being blanketed this year, nobody has been clipped and I'm kind of liking the more natural or 'wild' look a few of them are acquiring. Bridle path? They are supposed to have a bridle path? Pass. Skip. Move on please... Besides, being at the show over the weekend, I have seen enough bridle paths, that extend halfway down the neck to just be... well let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Whiskers? Check.
'Beards'? Check.
Feathering? Check.
Yep! They all have pretty much everything listed. Add in a nice coating of mud and we have ourselves a herd of piggy looking ponies. The one palomino mare is half yellow, half green and brown. Does she look disgusting all coated and caked from rolling when she's out? You bet! Does she look for the soggiest, funkiest, nastiest spot in the turnout to roll in? Better believe it! She may be blonde, but she is definately NO Barbie.

But is she happy? Certainly. And with the weather being what it is, I could always go out and hose her off, (cold water of course) clean her up, throw a cooler on her, wait for her to dry, snap a few photo's, blanket her and try to make her stay clean, but would she conform? I doubt it... I really, Really, REALLY doubt it. Would she still be as happy, being all blanketed and clean? Probably not or she may not care either way as long as there is plenty of feed and water.

But she is happy at the moment being filthy. A few of the other mares are just as filthy. The mares I wanted to use for the pictures in fact. The only clean horses out back would be the boys- Mondo, Pal and Kat. Figures as much, doesn't it?

So maybe I have been looking at the wrong horses to take pictures of. Maybe the girls don't care for their few minutes of fame and I will have to just start pulling the boys in under the lights and get the camera out. And maybe, just maybe, Mondo will be seen wearing a close contact saddle long enough to get his picture taken. And a dressage saddle too. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when that happens... I will be told, "Don't go getting ANY ideas!"


  1. Hey CNJ. I thinks I like your ladies! There is NOTHING BUT NOTHING like a good roll in the mud to work out the kinks.
    I have a somewhat related question. My mare, when I got her had a roached mane (polo pony), I've let it grow. Been trimming it to about 5 inches or so (pretty badly, I must say, but I have no plans to show!), and giving her a bridlepath (which is rather grown out at the moment). Lately, however, I've noticed she is shaking her head a lot. She had always done it a bit but seems like a lot more lately. Starting when I put her halter on, bridle on, while we are riding. She does it when we are just relaxed, loose rein and also sometimes as a "I want to go" behavior which I think starts more out as a head shake and then a hey, that was fun, lets GO! thing. When I take her gear off she does REAL big head shakes. But I'm starting to wonder if her mane, especially up toward her head, is thick and I can't keep it to stay flat on one side. So I'm wondering if it is literally irritating/itching her because she isn't used to having one?

  2. And just to make clear, she does it just with a halter on as well. So I don't think its a reaction to her bridle. However, I don't see her doing it when she is loose in pasture...

  3. Any horse on my place with considerable amounts of white seem to have equal parts of green,brown etc.Except Johnnie , he seems ever ready for a photo op. Hmmm I wonder if he thinks he is special?

  4. Also what is it with the bridle path half way down the neck? I was always told ,gently fold the ear back and where the tip settles is where you trim to

  5. PF- Tess used to go into the middle of the puddles and roll. Sloppy, wet and just so undignified of her... but she just loved doing it so much and it was fun if not funny to watch. Knowing how much she enjoyed it- there just are no words.

    My grey Arab mare Mo also sported green and brown spots in winter. And the smelly funk to go with it. Gotta love those dirt divas.

    Logically thinking about your horses head shaking, if the mane was bothering her, you would think she would shake her head all of the time. Because her mane is there, attached and could be an issue all of the time.

    That would make sense, but sometimes things make no sense. Then we find something that pulls it all together and it makes perfect sense. And we feel bad for letting it go on for how long now? And not thinking about that or finding the cause sooner...

    Have you checked her ears for anything out of the ordinary? Grimy build up or even ear mites? But there again, it seems like the grime or the ear mites would bother her all of the time too if that was the issue.

    Have you tried roaching her mane again or even considered it? If you do and she stops throwing her head, well then, problem solved. But sometimes they do things a few times and it becomes habit. Good or bad, it becomes habit. Some horses keep those habits for a long time, others as soon as the beginning of the habit is resolved, it all goes away. It can be a tough call.

    Maybe there is something in the barn emitting a noise annoying to her? Or something you carry on you all the time doing the same? You approach with the halter and there it is. I keep shaking my head and there it is... that same noise... somebody please make it Stop...

    I'm still sorta on the fence about animal communicators, but in some cases- whatever works! If the horse can tell you what the issue is or why they are doing something- all the better in putting them at ease the quickest way possible.

    The fact that she does it with the halter on and really big just after removing the bridle doesn't make it sound like it is a bridle issue. Maybe more like an issue of just having something on her head...

    That's a really good question.

    If you do get in touch with an animal communicator, please let me know what happens. It is always fascinating to me, to hear what's going on in Their words.

    Katphoti just posted about her recent animal communicator experience on her blog When the Painted Horse Comes. There is a link to Lydia Hiby's website in the post.

    And yes, I feel like I am grasping at straws a bit since I am not there to see the why and how of what is going on. Sometimes seeing it makes it all so clear. Things get lost in translation.

  6. FV- I don't get that either. I trim the bridle path to the horse. Drawing a straight line from their throat up to the cest of the neck is also a good rule of thumb.

    I find it strange that in a breed where everyone is all about the long, pretty manes and tails- they shave half of it off. Common sense is not so common in some places...

  7. My God CNJ, you have just described my 4 equines. Grubby, hairy lot they are. No green spots though, just lots of brown mud. Guess what, it is raining again and supposed to rain Wed/Thurs.

    Of course Whinnie hates the mud, the look on her face when she squishes through the worst areas says it all.

  8. I've been spoiled with all the snow.... not even a puff of dust on Chip, and his socks are SO WHITE. His pink hooves look scrubbed.

    And now that our 2' of snow is melting.... mud lakes are EVERYWHERE. Ain't no mud like midwestern clay mud. When you give up and grab a metal curry, you have to be careful that little adobelike chunks don't hit you in the eye and get into your contacts.

    Someone told me to wear safety glasses during mud/shedding grooming, but I don't want to get laughed out of the barn. ;-)

    Just did a FABULOUS photoshop job on a gray horse with many manure stains. He looks like he's made of marble - a very nice advertisement for the equestrian program at the college I work for.

    Wish I could photoshop myself every morning......

  9. Bridle fit comes to mind, PF.
    Is her bridle tighter because of her winter woolies, or is she shedding maybe?
    just thoughts.
    She may indeed be going WTF?? What's that on my neck??

    Also, I'm still completely confused about tenting saddle pads, western vs. english.
    I'm not seein' it in the western horsie mags. And that lovely video of the horse cuttin' a cow all by himself showed lovely white patches on either side of the withers.
    Just asking, don't shoot me.

    I wish the Scottsdale feed had been better, or that I could have somehow saved it! Missed so much of the show, and it was great fun, the tiny bit I saw.
    Were entries down?

    always askin' the dumb questions, and out..

  10. GL - I did notice last ride she is started to shed (don't shoot me, but we have had unseasonably warm weather here in the Pac NW), and it seemed like she was shaking more than before.
    I think I'm going to try and roach her and see if that does help. Plus I can't get her mane to lay flat. Just have to get me some clippers...
    And I recently got a new higher quality bridle set than what I started with so I think I'll work on getting that all oiled up and try it on her. It might be more comfy.
    CNJ - I read that posting on Kahpoti's blog. That's spooky! I'm so going to stop calling my horses bad names now. (Just kidding, but I definitely think I'm going to talk to them more. Or can they read your mind when you don't say it? So confused...).

  11. CP- we have some amount of clay in the mud here too. So much so they are blaming some of the sink holes and fishures(sp?) on them. Slicker than snot on a doorknob, that stuff is... It's keeping me from getting my mare worked and in shape. Not happy about that.

    And like CCC's forecast, it poured over the weekend, poured on Monday and they are calling for more rain next week. I am not complaining! We need it. But, can we average it out over the hotter months and cool things down a bit then too? Just asking...

    GL- not much tenting of saddle pads going on in the western world. When we get to saddle fitting there, you may see why. It's in relation to how the saddles are built and the thickness of the pads in comparison to english.

    I did see one pad at the show being touted as the newest, bestest thing EVAHR! I didn't have the heart to step in, explain things and blow the sale on the poor guy. Also heard about and seen a few other items being touted as the hottest new thing in _________! Again, safety issues first, fit and comfort second, quality third and I walked away shaking my head...

    PF- I am considering giving hubby a reading with one of his horses of his choosing. Thing is which one? And considering his girls- some words are best left unspoken. Just sayin.

  12. PF, if you're in the PNW, why do y'all call yourself a "prairie" farmer?
    Just occurred to me.
    (points urgently east)
    We have Prairie Provinces, and they are biG, and Flat, and um, prairie-ish;)

    I really think western could benefit from tenting, I don't care how thick the pad is. The pad "settles" as you ride. It does in my world, anyway.
    I can't see how allowing the forks to dig in as the pad "sits" down would be good.

  13. GL -
    It's a direct reference to the natural prairie where I live and farm. "Ebey's Prairie" on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, in the San Juan Strait.
    If you want to read more about it, and the awesome historical reserve that helps protect it, I have links on both of my blogs.
    And no, it's nothing in size like the endless prairies of middle America. But it's a prairie, PacNW style. I.e. We have great soils (I have 2 feet of sandy loam topsoil, I literally have had clay dropped off at my farm to add in to places!). We also have our own native prairie habitat (short grass) and plenty of howling prairie style winds.
    I'm not sure how many acres, total, would be consider in "prairie." We actually have several connecting ones, separated by ridges and patches of forest, Ebey's Prairie being the largest. Maybe 4000 or 5000 acres total in native prairie soils? Not so much to some, but plenty for me!
    And now back to the regularly scheduled topic...

  14. I remember when fitted, thick wool felt pads with scalloped edges in gray, white, cream or black were popular around here for showing Western. The idea was to have a little scallop showing all around. I seem to remember some of them had "air holes" down the middle. They were quite tasteful, and looked very functional. Would be pretty in colors that matched your chaps.

    Of course I also remember when it wasn't necessary to have chaps to be taken seriously, even at the BIG open shows.

    Hey lookie! We're getting 2" more snow this weekend!! I can hardly wait..... :P

    At least I don't live on the East Coast. Those poor people....

    ¡Gracias El Niño!