Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Beach

Tarra and I finally got to take horse to the beach again. We last went in July and have planned to go on Memorial Day for the last month or two. It was really up in the air what horses we would ride. We were going to take Tarra's two (Mystic and Sky) but then Sky ended up going lame. Then we were talking about taking Pretty, but that was the day she pulled back in the cross ties and came up lame. Finally I decided that Roz could go since we could just walk and the footing is good over there. Then he came up dead lame Wednesday morning. All of the horses did end up recovering with in a weeks time and after trotting Roz in hand Friday night I said he could go.

I was running around all scatterbrained Saturday morning. Making the last minute horse decision I hadn't gathered anything together for our trip. Roz hasn't really been ridden since the beginning of March so most of his tack is up with Pretty. I couldn't find his twisted full cheek snaffle I wanted to use, just in case he was being nutty. I ran to his house to groom him, put his boots on, and feed him breakfast. Then it was back home to look for that bit one more time, grab a clean saddle pad, and head up the road to pick Mystic up. I got there at 8:45 which is actually when we planned to be leaving. Tarra was still braiding Mystic's mane and was more scatterbrained than I! 

I got our tack loaded while she finished up and off we went to grab Roz. By the time we got back to Roz, less than an hour after I had been there, he had rolled again and was covered in dirt. I cleaned him up quickly and we headed out to the trailer. He was almost dragging me to it and jumped right in. Finally, we had to stop at Tarra's house because she couldn't find her helmet and thought it might be at home. She was able to find it and we hit the road. 

The boys were superstars once at the beach. Roz was totally chill about the whole thing and Mystic was so much better about the waves the 2nd time around. We walked down the beach for quite a while before stopping to take some pictures. As we moved on I told Tarra I'd like to trot Roz, just to see how he feels. Off we went, and wouldn't you know he felt great! I'm sure it's due to the soft footing but he felt fantastic so we continued on up the beach for a little ways. I did canter him both directions a little bit as well. It was so nice to be on his back again! On our way back towards the trailer Tarra found a log to jump so Mystic got to practice his log jumping skills. He was awesome! When we were almost back both horses slowed way down...like they had just run out of energy. Once we got back to the trailer we realized we had been riding for 2.5 hours. No wonder they were tired. I'm so glad I got to take Roz and that he felt so good. What a blessing!

Getting ready


I love this pony!
The two good boys strolling down the beach

Taking in the ocean air

Roz needed a nap after watching Mystic run around





Mystic flying over the log

Tarra cuddling with Roz
When we got home Tarra helped me practice loading Pretty. She took a few taps with the dressage whip to get in but wasn't hard to load at all. We went in and out several times. She got better and better backing out and was standing nicely in the trailer sniffing around. Next weekend Tarra is taking Mystic to the Oregon Dressage Society Championship show. When we get home we are going to load her again to reinforce our lesson from this week. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Progress

I was talking to Tarra today about all of the progress Pretty has made...and the things that are still a work in progress.

We have made progress in:
-She will now reliably pick up and hold her feet up for me to pick them.
-She is standing quietly (for the most part) in the cross ties
-She can now stand without pawing in the arena while I am switching the lunge line to the other side or when I'm rolling up the lunge line. This is a huge improvement from when I first started lunging her. The moment you stopped her she was pawing, or walking in anxious circles around you.
-She lunges now, and even in side reins! Her voice commands are also getting much better.
-We can clip her whiskers.
-She walks nicely into her stall. She used to stop outside her stall 80% of the time when you were trying to put her in there, now it's more like 20% of the time.

Goals for the next 6 weeks or so:
-Clip her bridle path
-Get her more relaxed about being saddled
-Start trail riding
-Improve her steering, moving off your leg, and transitions.
-Work on trailer loading
-Go to her first schooling show



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I rode Pretty tonight! Initially I planned to ride her on Saturday but we had a little issue in the cross ties. I had her cross tied in her stall and had groomed her before putting her saddle on. I decided to make one quick stop the porta potty before taking her out to the arena. Tarra was across the isle with Mystic and I asked her to keep and eye on Pretty. I had just sat down in the porta potty when I heard her pulling back in the cross ties. By the time I got back in the barn she was loose walking around her stall with Tarra at the door. She came out of her stall lame. I took her over to the arena to walk her around to see what if she would walk out of it. She definitely got a lot better but trotted lame even after some walking. We gave her some bute and I left a note for her to stay inside on Sunday. Thankfully, she trotted sound on Sunday. I think she must have just banged her leg and it hurt for a little bit but she was actually fine.

Monday night we re-visited the cross ties and wouldn't you know she was an angel. She stood super quietly while I fussed over her. I was glad that she wasn't freaked out about it. Tonight I got smart and had Tarra hold her while I saddled her just in case that was the problem on Saturday. I think that may have been the issue as she walked around her stall looking a little bit panicked after I finished putting her saddle on. I'm not sure why it should be an issue since I know she has been saddle many times, I think we are just going to have to be quiet and patient with her so she knows it's nothing to fear. 

I lunged her a bit before hopping on. The good (and bad) about a thoroughbred is that they are difficult to really tire out. Luckily, I wasn't lunging her to make her tired, just work the kinks out and get her warmed up. I was careful getting on her but she didn't seem at all concerned. We walked around for a while, chatting with Tarra and watching Mystic work. She is very narrow, especially compared to all the other horses I normally ride. She feels a little bit like riding a toothpick but I think once I adjust to her we will be just fine. She was responsive but wasn't too jumpy either. I think one of my own personal challenges with her is going to be making sure I use my leg enough. When it's just hanging around her it really doesn't even touch her body, and I don't think she is going to particularly love it either. 

It's so weird to go back to a green bean! Her steering isn't very good and there are just so many "unknowns" with them. I'm sure it's going to be quite an adventure. 

In other news, Pant's went his 3rd horse show and came home with another blue ribbon! He got a 72.5 at his last show and received a 77.7 at this one!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Retirement

I took Roz in to OSU two weeks ago to follow up on the lameness we have been dealing with since his injury in March. The good news, is that the Doctor does think his cut could be contributing to his lameness. It has grown down in to his hoof and is now a crack in the hoof wall. For now he is supposed to have a month off to allow the crack to grow further down his foot. The bad news is that they also re-took radiographs of his foot, and the navicular changes have worsened. At this point he will continue to wear his corrective shoes and be ridden over the summer, even if it's once or twice a week on light trail rides. I'm currently working to find a nice winter home for him, and he will most likely be retired at the end of this year. It's really sad to have reached that point with him but he's made it a lot longer, and sounder than many horses. He came in to my riding life at just the right time, giving me confidence and making riding fun again. He's always been trustworthy and safe and I have so many great memories with him. 


One of my biggest irritations is seeing craigslist ads advertising someone chronically lame or aged horse that people need a good home for. I saw this one yesterday. 


"15 year old chestnut quarter horse mare needing a retirement home, she's been a show horse and brood mare all her life and needs somewhere to retire and live out her remainder years. She cannot be stalled she must be in pasture. She does need upkeep she has some lameness issues with her hooves that were made worse through the years (before I got her) where she needs corrective trimming to make her right. We have her on a barefoot trim every 4 weeks growing her heels out out and she has done wonderfully. She does have the occasional bad day but a lot of good days. I do not recommend her for anything more than VERY light riding and no breeding. I will send her with her halter, lead, fresh trimming which will be done tomorrow and her supplement which is just a glucosamine chondroitin and msm. Very sweet in your pocket mare who is a doll about 15.3H gentle enough for new beginners to be around. I need to rehome her because I can't afford to keep an extra mouth that we can't do anything with so sadly she must go. Please email if SERIOUSLY interested. Emails only asking for pics will be ignored, you must be able to transport on your own." 


Or here's one I saw on facebook. 


"Some of you know, we have been having problems settling mares with my beautiful arabian stallion, Unfortunately, after having a breeding soundness exam, he is officially sterile. Since I need his stall for something I can use, I am looking for a good home for him. He would be suitable for light trail riding or would be a great teaser stallion because he has fantastic manners. He's 15.1, black with a star and 4 socks. I have pictures on my facebook page. He will only go to a good home."


Of course I went to her facebook page to check out the photos. And less than a year ago she posted on one of his photos regarding how long she was going to have him... "God willing, for the rest of his life, barring something horrible and unforseen."


Obviously him being sterile was horrible and unforeseen. Of course I understand that horses are expensive and having one you can't use costs you close to the same amount that having one you can use costs, but realistically, if you don't care enough about the horse to take care of it if it can't be used, who else is going to? Occasionally you may come across a person who actually wants a pet horse but I don't think those situations are all that common. It seems to me that people should consider what they will do should their horse become unusable. In the current market there hardly seems to be enough demand for a sound healthy horse let alone an old lame one. I know for me personally, I feel that I owe it to my partner and friend to take good care of him until his life is over.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A riding horse

We discovered today that Pretty is a riding horse! A friend of a friend has been asking to play with and possibly ride Pretty since I got her. We made arrangements for today and she rode her. She has experience starting and training horses so it was nice to have someone who was really relaxed about it. I lunged Pretty both directions first with her western saddle on. She was a little bucky at the canter to start but settled down pretty quickly. She crow hops more than she actually bucks. Before getting on she put some weight on her back just to see what she would do before climbing aboard. Pretty accepted everything quietly and they got some decent walk/trot work in the 15 or 20 minutes that she was ridden. I have a couple poor quality cell phone pictures and a short video to share. I think she was quite good for having a 2 month riding break! What do you think?


video

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We did it

Miss Pretty got her whiskers clipped today. It took me 3 days of working with her on it, but by the time I finished with her today, I had them clipped. The next thing we are going to work on is her bridle path. Wish me luck! I had Tarra take a photo as proof of our clipping abilities. The clippers were on in this picture, and you can see that Pretty was just fine with them. Yah!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Learning

Pretty continues to make progress. We worked on clipping again on Wednesday night and I got a few whiskers clipped. She is getting more comfortable with the clippers being on but wasn't thrilled about being approached by them. Thursday we started lunging in side reins. She took it all in pretty well and I think we will really start to see some progress now. I plan to be riding her by the end of the month! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Steady Progress

Pretty continues to improve. She is gaining weight, her skin is clearing up, and she is learning to be a good girl. I has been working with her conisistnetly this past week. At very least I have been grooming her daily. I found that putting her in cross ties in her stall is much better than tying her with her lead rope to a tie ring. When I do that she squirms all over, looks over the stall wall etc. She is much more quiet standing cross tied and seems to be more settled that way. She is in heat right now but hasn't been too bad. She was happily napping in the field when I went to get her this afternoon. We finally have some sunshine around here. It was a perfect day! I pulled her mane a little bit and gave her a bath.  I really wanted to clip her bridle path but she was totally freaked out about the clippers. Tarra and I worked with her on them for a little while, using the clicker and a bucket of treats. By the end she was touching her nose to the clippers with them on. It's definitely something we need to work on. I've never had a horse that won't clip so we are getting that fixed ASAP. 


Grazing after her bath
April 18th
Today- Looking better?

Cuddling with Mystic and Pretty

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Show #2

Wow! I am way behind on the current events. Pants went to his second show on Saturday and he did great. It was an Arabian Sport horse show and his first time on the "triangle." I had heard a lot about it but haven't ever seen it used. It was neat to watch some of the classes and see it in action. Basically there is a large triangle set up with a smaller one inside of it. They first stand for the judges inspection, walk the smaller triangle and then trot the bigger one, showing a bigger gait down the long side. Pants got a great score and a blue ribbon. He was much more settled his second time out.