Friday, April 20, 2012

Super Duper

Miss Pretty was super today! I have brought her in from the pasture the last 3 nights. The first night she was dragging me in. But the last 2 days she has walked in like a little lady. I put her in the wash rack to hose of her legs and then tied her in her stall. Tonight was the first night she stood still and really seemed to enjoy being groomed and fussed over. Once we went out to the arena she was calm and attentive. Her lunging is definitely improving. I have been careful to keep our sessions short since she doesn't need to be working really hard, but I want to settle in to a routine with her. Tomorrow her rain rot is going to get scrubbed up again, and Sunday we will do more lunging.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Pants!

Pants turned a year old today! It's so hard to believe it has been a year since he was born. We had a little party for him tonight at the barn.
Wearing his party hat

Ready for his cake
Cleaning up after himself 
While we waited for the party to start I asked Tarra to snap a couple photos of Miss Pretty. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So much to do, so little time

Wow! Life has been so busy lately. Pretty is gaining weight and is now getting to be turned out all the time. Hattie, her turn out buddy, is definitely the boss. Saturday, I went out to the pasture to give Miss Pretty a carrot and had to chase Hattie off to be able to do it. We have also discovered that Pants is enamored with the new girl in the neighborhood. It's very cute. I lunged Pretty on Sunday and she was really good. She was definitely nervous coming in with out her buddies, and whinnied when we got to the arena. Several of the horses answered her and I thought "oh no." Thankfully, as soon as I put her to work she was all business. We worked both directions and her circles and her whoa are getting quite a bit better.
"Is it safe to come over for a carrot now?"

Saturday I went to a dressage show with Tarra and Mystic and got some very cute photos. Here are a couple of my favorites.






Rhythm head is doing well also. We went on a very nice leisurely trail ride Sunday afternoon with Tarra and Mystic. The weather was pretty nice and it was fun to meander along visiting with each other. We had another good ride tonight after some discussion in the beginning about what I needed him to be doing.

Sadly, Roz is still lame. I'm hoping to get Tarra to check him out with my tomorrow. Depending on what foot is causing us trouble he may have to head back in to the vet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Connection

I had a good ride on Rhythm last night. Our half-halts are making a huge difference in the work that I am getting from him. Our canter transitions are finally becoming more consistent. We also got good leg yields last night! They have been lost since our last show...but they have finally been found. Since I have him connected a lot better he is not able to get away from me. Previously, he was either just charging on ahead or throwing his shoulder to the wall. 

Miss Pretty continues to improve. Her skin seems to be getting better, and she may be gaining weight. While she was soaking today, I worked on getting her to stop pawing. I ignored her while she was pawing but as soon as all 4 feet were on the ground she got a click and treat. I definitely need to keep working on that with her. But, once I started hosing her off she actually stood still! It's the first time that she hasn't danced back and forth the whole time I'm working on her. I was super happy with that. I hope we made a real connection that standing still is the right thing to be doing. 

Just tonight, I had asked April what kind of ideas she had for how much she moves around, particularly when I am hosing off her left side. She usually moves way up into the corner of the wash rack with her rump, and almost gets to where she could twist all the way around in the cross ties. Although she doesn't do anything stupid it's just not a safe position for either of us. I try to hose as much as possible from her right side over to her left but that only works for so long. April noted that she definitely seemed anxious while I worked around her. I will just have to keep working to reinforce when she is doing the right thing, and hopefully make her feel more comfortable about the whole thing. The weather is supposed to be nicer over this weekend so the Little Miss is going go outside for real turn out over the weekend. She is going to love it. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Good or Bad?

What's the difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut? About 2 weeks. At least that's what April told Pretty. I think it may take more than 2 weeks to make Pretty's hair cut a good one...but I suppose we can classify it as "good" if it helps eliminate her skin issues. I clipped up her legs and her back today. She wasn't super thrilled with her legs being clipped and kept stomping as I worked. I was going back and forth on clipping her back but decided to start it and see how she was. Surprisingly, she was way better for her back. I'm planning to take her over to the arena to lunge her tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how she does. 
Can you take this off now!?
Her silly clipped legs


Nasty skin on her rump
I took Roz down to the barn today to see how he looks. He is definitely stiff and seemed a little off on his left front, which is the one he pulled the shoe on. I'm planning to wait a couple days and re-check him. We are going to start putting him back out on the pasture and I think the extra movement will help him. I stopped by his house tonight to give him an hour out on the pasture. When I came back I put all of his feed in his stall, hoping to entice him in....Seeing that enticing him wasn't going to work I rolled up the legs on my sweat pants (so they didn't get wet) and headed out to get him. I grabbed a hold of his mane and pulled, and pulled, and finally reached down to pick his head up out of the grass. We had to stop 2 more times for a quick mouthful but once I got him to his paddock I let him go and he headed right in. He was a very good boy for coming with me with a handful of mane as my only control.


My Annie May hanging out in the sun with me today.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dancin' Shoes

Miss Pretty got her dancin' shoes on today and her feet look so much better! It had only been about a month since her feet were last done but they were not done well. Auntie Tarra was super awesome and held her for me since I had to be at work. The report I got was that she was pretty good, but definitely ADD, and very nervous. I was pleased to hear that she was decent, and I'm sure it will only get better from here on out. 
Her legs are starting to look better
She's going to get her legs clipped tomorrow. Hopefully that will also help speed up the healing process. She was much better tonight for her scrubbing up. I washed her back with her soap a bit more diluted, so then I was able to just pour it over her back and scrub her up from there. That sped us up a little bit and then made her easier to rinse. We played with her clicker again tonight and she really does understand that she has to put her nose on the bottle. She was nudging it like crazy tonight, would stop for the treat and go right back to it. I think she is a smarty pants! She also got a click and treat several times for standing still in the cross ties, and being way better for me to use a spray bottle on her body when were done. 
Enjoying some time in the sunshine eating grass


Doesn't she have a beautiful face? I love her pink nose and sweet eyes.


And of course I had to take a couple photos of Fancy Pants. 

 The super cute Baby Pants

I had a funny encounter with a co-worker today. I was asked if I got to ride last night, and I responded that I had a lesson. Here it comes..."you take riding lessons?" You can see the wheels turning as they consider the fact that they always thought you knew how to ride. Then I try to explain but saying that I want to learn to ride better, which makes them think you are an even worse rider than they did when you first told them you take riding lesson. It's just too hard to explain to a non-horsey person. Does anyone else ever hear this?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Half-halts

Rhythm and I had a lesson tonight and we worked a lot on half-halts. It made a huge difference. I have been allowing him to run through my aids way too much, and need to be constantly re-balancing him and asking him to stay down and round. I also need to stay really aware of my position, with my eyes up, shoulders back, and heels down.

We got our best canter work ever tonight! Our transitions are slowly improving and the actual canter was great improved with a strong leg and half-halt. Mary told me to not be afraid of being too strong with my hands but however strong I am using my hands I need to be 80% stronger than that with me legs. Since I tend to be on the nice side anyway with both my hands and my legs I need to be thinking "more." We had a beautiful canter down the quarter line on the long side of the arena. Rhythm was balanced and adjustable. We need to get there consistently. We also worked on our sticky traver tonight and actually had a few good steps of half pass both directions! They are definitely improving.

Pretty started to figure out her clicker tonight. Right now I am doing target training with her. She has a "target" which in my case is a spray bottle I was holding up. When she puts her nose on it she gets a click and then a treat. Last night she never really understood it, but she didn't sniff the bottle a few times and get a treat. However, tonight she started to make a connection between the target and the click. It was really cute watching her become more confident nudging the bottle to receive her treat. We'll see what she remembers tomorrow night. She is getting her feet re-done tomorrow, and her Auntie Tarra has graciously agreed to hold her for me. I'm hoping that she will be a really good girl. She can be hit or miss with being good for her feet. If I pick them up while she is cross tied in the wash rack she hops around and tries to jerk it away. She is better about it when I do it in her stall. The time I had her trimmed when I had her over the summer she was pretty decent. I definitely think she needs more boundaries and expectations. She appears to have been the boss back at her old house and is very impatient and inattentive. I certainly can't blame her since up until now her training has had a lot of holes. Hopefully we can fill that in as we go.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eating like....

A horse! That's right. Miss Pretty is actually eating like a horse. When I had her over the summer she wasn't a very good eater. She desperately needed to have her teeth floated the first time I had her, so her eating improved once we got that done. This time around she is eating super well. She absolutely loves her grain and is eating her hay well too.

I think her legs are starting to improve. Her poor back and rump are still looking pretty icky and she is really flinchey when I'm working on them. She squirms back and forth in the cross ties while I scrub on her but I really think she is uncomfortable. She is walking right into the wash rack now. The nicest thing of all? She is super tidy in her stall. You've got to love the neat horses. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 2

Miss Pretty is settling in well. She got to spend a couple hours outside this afternoon in the sunshine! She was happily grazing when I got to the barn. According to April she ate 4 flakes of hay this morning and scarfed up her grain. We are going to get her fattened up in no time! Most everything I have read says that horses in poor nutritional condition are much more susceptible to rain rot.

 I scrubbed her up again and put a blanket on her this evening. She was pretty good for her clean up today. She is impatient in the cross ties, particularly when I leave her for a minute. She paws and scoots around but that's about it. Another thing I have noticed the past two days is that she wants to move her bum over towards me while I'm scrubbing on her. When I put a hand on her to make her stop she is fairly responsive. I think mainly she is just busy and moving around with out paying a lot of attention to where I am at. I washed up her tail this evening and trimmed it. It looks a lot better! My next project is to tackle her mane. I have a good ten minutes every night while she soaks so I am going to chip away at it. 


Trotting over to see me
Isn't that a sweet face?
"What'cha looking at?"
Wearing her nice blankie from Auntie Tarra

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Return of Pretty Line

Some of you may remember Pretty, a mare that I rescued back in July. You can read the beginning of her story here. She ended up coming back to me today and is sadly not in very good shape. She is on the thin side and has rain rot and scratches. She is going to be quite a project but I'm sure we can get her fixed up. She loaded and hauled very quietly and came off the trailer totally calm. She definitely seems to have grown up since I had her last. I will be working to get her healthy and will hopefully start lunging her in a week or two. Also, the person who purchase Pie from me used clicker training with him and said that it made a huge difference. I'm planning to play around with it on Pretty and see how it goes. It should be fun! 
Cute blazed face
She's thin but we will get her fixed up
Rain rot
Full body shot. I should have help with the camera in a few days and can hopefully get some better photos.
She basically has rain rot all over her topline and down her rump

She has a rub on her withers too....
Her sad legs





Her cute face again
Eating in her stall after her medicated scrubbing