Saturday, September 24, 2016

Worries Dispelled

The trainer reports Duncan is fine. Whatever had him down when I was there must have passed.

Also, Scout seems fine. I've worked him 2 days in a row and he's been willing and able. So I'm glad I didn't have time to take him to the vet right away.

I actually really enjoyed riding Scout last night. It's still like driving a barge but he does try. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Update, good and not so good

Duncan is doing well at the trainer. He's got a few rides on him now and I'm glad I wasn't the one to do the riding.  On his first ride he did spook himself and break into a pretty good run a couple times, but the trainer is equipped to help him through that without a lot of drama. There's a video on facebook but I don't know how to share it here.

He did better yesterday. More relaxed. They just did more of the same, asking him to maintain gait and stay on the rail. He didn't do anything silly. I took a couple pictures.

Afterward we went for a little hike in the woods. We had to walk through the setup for the Spokane Renaissance Faire to get to the forest. So of course I took a picture.

I'm worried he's getting sick. Goopy eyes, snotty nose, and yesterday he seemed a little lethargic. It could just be the sandy dust up there, and maybe I just caught him at nap time, but I don't think so. They're going to keep a close eye on him.

In more bad news, I think John and I are cursed to never have two rideable horses at once. Scout is not quite right. I hesitate to call him lame because he's not limping, but he doesn't ride well. He's cranky, which is totally not like him, and he has some obvious pain at times. The chiropractor has failed to fix it after 2 visits so I think it's time for the vet. And of course I don't have time for that for over a week, but it's not like he hasn't lived with it for a while now.

To end on a better note, the dogs are mostly getting along. :)

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Off to School

After our 5th ride I decided that Duncan has to go to the trainer. He didn't do anything bad, he just made me nervous with his reluctance to move, and my nerves made him nervous, so I figured I'd better find someone to do it right.

I took him up yesterday. It was weird just leaving him behind. :( I'll go see him as often as I can.

Scout has seen the chiropractor twice now, and barely been ridden in the last month or more. So his naughtiness on our recent ride is to be expected, but he bucked! He's never done that! I think it was just excess energy, feeling too good, and maybe a little nerves. There were wolves in the area. They'd been harassing a hunter at the trailhead every night, and their tracks were all over the place. That doesn't excuse his behavior, but I'll give him some leeway since I haven't been riding enough. It was just a little gentle buck and I pulled him around and he quit.

I just reintroduced the dogs to each other yesterday. I think Blue's Prozac is working, but Huckleberry is being a growly jerk. He got in big trouble for it last night. Blue is definitely knocked down a peg though. We'll see how it goes. We won't leave them unsupervised or let them outside to run together.

Whoops, I'm gonna be late, gotta go!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Hello again! Long time no see!

I'm not sure where I left off so I'll just jump right in and tell you that Duncan and I have 3 rides under our belts now. Happy dance! He is still hesitant to move forward but he does it, and last night he actually gave me a little quicker walk, almost like what it should be.

Ride #1:
I started by asking him to walk and trot with tires in the pannier bags, since I was still worried about what he'd do when I asked him to move with me on his back. He did fine, so I decided to ride! He would do this funny crab-walk, mostly sideways, but it wasn't bad. John came into the round pen and gave him someone to follow, and he was much happier with that.

Ride #2 came several days later and honestly I don't remember it much. We just practiced moving forward, and he did improve. I took a bad picture in the dark but I deleted it.

The next time I worked with him we went on a big hike. He was so steady and unflappable! We had to walk a ways on the highway to get to the trailhead, with logging trucks zooming past. No biggie. Some motorcycles were very noisily getting going in the parking lot - no biggie. We saw a moose who turned out to have a calf with her. She's downhill of us and looking much smaller than she really is in the picture (right side):

He crossed water and some bridges:
We met a couple people, who he thought should join us. He kept looking back for them after we'd passed them.  It was an excellent day.

Ride #3 was last night, and he did okay. Again there was a lot of time between rides. He seemed reserved and less cooperative. I wonder if his saddle fits as well as I think it does... I'm going to borrow a friend's saddle if it fits and see if that makes a difference. Scout's saddle definitely doesn't fit him. But it was probably just your typical third ride, where they're starting to get comfortable enough to let you know they're not totally loving this new game. 

He's a cutie.

He did really well for the farrier the other day! He only tried to scoot away once. What a big brave boy.

Speaking of which, that was the same day I witnessed a rollover accident with a fully loaded horse trailer. I never want to see anything like that again. It was like a bad dream in slow motion. Amazingly, everyone walked away. All 4 horses were able to unfold themselves and unload, then load up again in another trailer. I think it was a good thing they were packed in tight with no dividers. I think they probably hurt a lot worse a little bit later. I hope they can continue to do their jobs. It was a ranching family, and to lose a truck and trailer and the use of 4 horses would be a hard hit. I hope their daughter is able to pull a trailer again without panicking.  I just wish it hadn't happened. But I'm glad they didn't hit me. It was a little close.

Oh, and that same day my dogs tried to kill each other again (and we almost got hit by a tow truck going to the vet- I swear none of these near misses are my fault). The dogs are starting to heal but I wasn't sure they would. Having 2 dogs in cones who have to be totally separate from each other is very hard in this tiny house. I might try Prozac for Blue. I can't face the thought of having to put him down, but this is clearly not a good situation. I think I'll order some basket muzzles and consult a trainer too.

Today I'm going to saddle Duncan and not ride, then go borrow a saddle, then do mundane stuff, and ride in the evening. It's too hot to do anything during the day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

So I sat on Duncan for the first time th other day. On and off, both sides, several times. He was pretty chill. After the last time he came and pressed himself up against me with his shoulder, like he maybe wanted me to hop up there again? I don't know what that was about.

He can stand still all day while worrisome things happen, but when his feet move it's a different story. He gets tight, bunched up, worried, or even sometimes jumps a bit. So I didn't ask him to move.

Last night I lunged him with some strange things over the saddle, which he did pretty well with other than being tight. Then I climbed up in the saddle and draped myself over, rubbed the other side and had him look at me on both sides. Lastly, I asked him to walk on. He backed a few steps, moved his hind end over, and finally took one step forward, confused and a little concerned. So I hopped off and praised him a lot and called it a night.

He's so fun fo work with. He really enjoys our time together. I think a little bit about how I could have done this faster (although I have to give myself some slack for the illness/surgery/accident time off) and then I think how far we've come and how well adjusted he is now. He was so uncomfortable when he first came here. Hard to catch, impossible to handle his hooves, scared of the saddle, etc. I think we're doing just fine.

Speaking of well-adjusted, he and Scout both get to see the chiropractor tomorrow. Scout got into the hay storage area in one of the grain bins and injured his back. His hips aren't moving right and I think he's having nervy sensations in his hind legs because he was kicking the ground when I rode him.  I suspect Duncan has been out in his poll this whole time. He could just be head shy but I think there's more to it than that.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Almost Ready to Ride?

Duncan is so close to being ready to ride, even with me being inconsistent working with him. I'm going to make it my goal to spend an hour every day, even on work days, making actual progress. And I could be on his back soon. If I can get over my jitters. Wish I had a man on the ground to help.

Anyway, yesterday was a great day for him. In the morning he stood saddled and tied to the round pen for over an hour while I rode Scout. He was antsy and whinnied a bit, even got the rope over his head sometime when I wasn't looking, it he didn't freak out about it.

Scout and I went in the round pen and just chilled with him for a while. It took a minute for him to be comfortable with me petting him from up there, and also to be comfortable with investigating the saddle and my leg. Little things like that nervous reserve tell me that maybe he's not quite ready to ride yet.

In the evening we did a lot of ground driving outside the round pen. We did this once before, briefly, but he got kind of chargy so we went back to the round pen. Last night was soooo much better. He happily went way out away from the other horses, did serpentines, stops, crossed the ditch and some poles. Straight lines were the hardest, of course. We were at it for quite a while. I did have to get after him several times for trying to eat but I don't blame him, it was dinner time. It was good to have to discipline him a bit. Usually he's so careful and I never have to get after him, but now I know he won't fall apart if I make a loud noise at him when he's distracted and committing a minor badness.

Then we went to the round pen and I stood on the mounting block and asked him to get in position for mounting. I did my physical therapy exercises that usually have me leaning on a yoga ball, using him as the yoga ball. This is the second time we've done this and it's pretty cool. He was super uncomfortable the first time, but I wasn't concentrating on him and that gave him the courage to bring his head around and check out what I was doing. Funny how just looking at a horse (or not) can be so powerful.

We did that on both sides and he was getting a little antsy at the end, wanting to move his feet. The bugs were getting bad.

He's a sensible dude. I don't see him getting into any kind of wrecks or trying to buck me off, but he does get overwhelmed sometimes. As he makes mistakes and has to work through then, he's getting more comfortable with being corrected/directed and learning that mistakes are OK. He's letting down a little of his stiff reserve and relaxing, taking deep breaths, and licking and chewing more.