Wednesday, July 31, 2013

And so it goes

Riding Aruba has gotten away from me. The last time I rode her, she was in heat and there were a lot of things going against us. Overall, it didn't go so well.

I hadn't been on her in a while so I lunged her first to get all of the 'bugs' out. At one point she ripped the rope out of my hands and trotted along the fenceline towards the back of the pasture with the cows.  I grumbled and swore under my breath at her and after catching her and bringing her back up front to try again- she was running around like a maniac. Fine. Do it now, not when I get on you...

We did a bit of work and all things considered- when it came time to get on, I left the spurs off. Knowing her attitude, knowing mine and knowing how things were going already, I didn't want to get into a battle of wills and ruin what we had so far. We went to work, bending, circles, relax and walk with your head down and so far so good. When we moved on to trot work, a few times she protested and almost bounced into a canter for a stride or two as she threw her head and acted pissy.

Fine, you want to canter? Why not? So I asked her several times to pick up a canter and got a really fast trot instead. Once in a while I got a stride of canter, then back to the trot. I tried the other direction, maybe it was easier for her. Same thing and no dice. A stride or two here and there, but not much canter and heaven forbid I say anything. That was grounds for stopping altogether.  We worked at it for a while and made very little progress. Apparently she isn't ready, wasn't in the mood or both, so after another attempt with several strides, I kept my mouth shut while she did it, let her stop and started cooling her out.

Suddenly she noticed the horse eating monster laying by the fence. Surely it was ready to pounce at any given moment. Those heavy chunks of powerpole are mighty agile that way you know, and she was not going near it.  And in my mind, there were three words to answer that. Yes You Are!  Ok so another three word phrase also went through my mind before that one, and those who know me well have probably heard it or said it themselves too...

It was at times, a serious battle of wills. Aruba was not going to stand still and face off with that big log and I was not going to let her turn away from it. She did not want to face it and in her mind, certainly wasn't getting any closer to it, let alone putting her nose down to sniff it. Every time she tried moving off one way or the other, I turned her right back around to face the log. I only let up and let her stand if she was facing the log. When I asked her to move forward towards it, she tried turning away and moving off quickly, but each time I used my reins, legs or both to divert the energy and put her right back in front of the damn log.

What was supposed to have been relaxing, cooling out work had gone out the window and here we were stuck in the middle of No I won't vs. Oh yes you will! Whenever Aruba stopped fussing and stood facing the log, I let her relax a few seconds and praised her. Each time I pushed her forward towards it and she tried turning away, the work and moving around and finally facing it to stop and stand had gotten us closer to the log than she had realized.

Curiosity was setting in and getting the best of her. Now that she was closer to the damn log, she wanted to know what it was. She still didn't want to go near it, but now it peaked her interest. I would ask for a step forward, closer to the log and she would take it, but then hesitated. She didn't know whether to stick around, try to get closer or get outta there. Since getting away from the log hadn't done her any good so far, she stayed put still looking at the log. I praised her for it. She was close and it wasn't hurting her, let alone torturing her like she may have thought. It hadn't even moved. You could almost see the wheels turning in her mind.

Slowly, one step at a time, we got closer to the log. She was glad when I asked her to move and she took one step, that I asked her to stop. Slowly we crept closer and closer to the log. She still didn't trust it, didn't like being that close to it, but was also curious about it and wanted to know what it was. Finally we were within range and she dropped her head, putting her nose close to the log. I praised her to let her know she was ok, but she was on alert. She sniffed it gingerly before raising her head and trying to move away from it. I held her in place and then when I asked her to turn away from it, I allowed her to move off. We circled around and came back at it from the other direction.

Aruba hesitated, but slowly crept towards the log, dropped her head to sniff it again and decided it was still scary, but ok for now. Now we could stop working. Now I could cool her out and put her away.  Now she was probably really, really glad to have me dismount and lead her in... lol

Friday, July 12, 2013

Horse insurance

In the comments on the last post, Stacey asks about horse insurance for a new horse she's getting this weekend...

That is a good question and depends on a lot of things.

First off- If you are making payments on a horse, sometimes the seller requires a policy to cover the horse if anything should happen before the debt is settled.  If you were the seller, you would want to get paid, wouldn't you?

Depending on the price of the horse and your experience with horses, many times you would have the horse vetted through a PPE or Pre-Purchase Exam. Any issues should have been assessed, caught, discussed and settled before deciding if it is something you can live with, deal with or don't have to worry about. If anything comes up- you still have the chance to walk away and keep looking.

The type of insurance is another factor. Is it a policy to pay the replacement value of the horse should anything happen? Does it cover major medical?  Do you have to keep dilligent records of worming, hoofcare, teeth floating, psyllium treatments, etc? And he big one is how much is it going to cost you per month?

While our horses are often irreplaceable to us, invaluable to us and we love them so... to someone else- they may hold a low dollar value. The things endearing about my pony to me, may be seen as something annoying to someone else.

Would I recommend insurance to anyone? I would say that is up to you. Check into it, see what it covers, what it doesn't, what it costs and ask yourself is the horse worth it to you?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Push through it

Sometimes things don't go right at all. Everything that can go wrong- does. The sh!t hits the fan and splatters everywhere and still, things need to happen, stuff needs to get done and so you push on. 

With horses, sometimes it is the fact they are in heat, in an unfamiliar place and any host of excuses we choose to blame it on.  But there are times that the horses and ourselves need to put on our big girl panties and push through it. There are things we don't like doing in life that we have to do. Times we don' feel like working on certain, particular projects, but the looming deadline says you better get off you ass and move it. It's not going to get done on its own, isn't going to fix itself and the longer you sit there staring at it- the more it is costing you.

Last night I was working on fly masks. For whatever reason, it just wasn't going well. I have 3 left to do and sometimes I just don't like working on these particular style masks. I figured I could hammer out at least 2 of them like the night before. So much for that! I was making mistakes I haven't made in a long time, having to go back and take it apart, fix it and move on to screw something else up. Sometimes you have to just push through it and get done. I finished 1 and got less than half way through #2 and after missing part of the mesh in a seam, fixing it and thinking to move on, I just put it down and walked away.  

I rode my mare last weekend and since she was in heat, wound up and ready to go- lunging her she ripped the rope out of my hands and went cruising around the pasture. I followed along behind her, just out of reach of the line and swearing under my breath and out loud... I worked her some more and got on without my spurs.

Since she was already a bit lit, I wasn't too thrilled with her behavior and all, I opted to ride without the spurs so that if she got screwy it wouldn't turn into a battle of wills and all go south from there. She worked well enough, we had our differences of opinion on what, why and how, but we pushed through it long enough to finally agree on something and stopped there. Sometimes you ride it out, other times you get off the horse and when it is really bad, you just stay on the ground. But once you start something, you often have to push through and do it until you get it right, mostly right or at least until the horse is trying.