Saturday, May 31, 2008

We've had a couple good rides this week. My horse is awesome. He's just a good boy. I'm so often amazed at the willingness of horses.

I was very excited to get my new bit in the mail, but it's too wide... Anyone need a 5.5 inch Myler comfort bit with a mullen barrel? I may need to steer away from the Myler bits, I can't seem to find any that don't have copper. I'm still not totally convinced he's allergic to the copper. I have to remember to check his mouth before I ride, as well as after. I know he had a lot of little red spots all over his lips and gums yesterday when we were done. :(

Bella is regressing... She doesn't want to be my friend anymore. Oh well, she'll just have to come back around. It's "out to pasture" time of year here, and I guess she got to thinking she didn't have to deal with me anymore. I'm going to make a point of going out every day, and most days just being nice and friendly. But sometime I'm going to have to get back to training them both.

Scout may well be a VERY dark chestnut. His mane is growing in almost black. Funny, because I would have sworn he had dun factor - shoulder bars, ear stripes... But maybe not. I'll have to get some pictures.

Well, I'm off to play with the beasties!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thanks for the sympathy about my toe injury. I finally thought to ice it yesterday, did it on and off all evening. This morning it was so much better! I'm still a little gimpy but not too bad. I didn't let it keep me down.

I realized I have less than 2 weeks until Mustang Days, where we're entered in the Walk/Trot, Halter, and Trail classes. (If you're near Spokane WA and want to participate or come watch, I'd be happy to pass on the details to you!) I figured I darn well better get to work. So today we worked on obstacles and de-spooking. Let's see... What did we do... Flagged with a cloth flag and a plastic flag. Flapped my yellow rain slicker all over him and had him carry it around. Walked over barrels laid on their sides. Backed between two barrels in a straight line. He gets so worried about that one I didn't try for the figure 8 today. Walked over two different colors of hoses and a couple ropes. Flapped a white paper Macy's bag all over him. Dragged a tarp next to and behind him, careful to turn him so he got the full effect of it coming against his butt and leg. Wrapped the slicker around his legs and asked him to walk. I was hoping he'd drag it with his foot, he worries about things caught on his legs, but he just stepped out of it. I think I'll tie something to his foot and walk him. Maybe contractor's tape, then work up to something heavier. I was hoping to ride after the kids got home from school (everything we did was from the ground) but that didn't work out because we had an away softball game.

Before we left I got some pictures of our fun games.

"Yeah Ma, this is getting old. Yawn."

"Mmmm-hmmm, I can do it this direction too. Sigh."

"Two colors & sounds, yep. I wonder what this tastes like?"

"Hey Ma, I'm not sure I really need all this rain gear."

"This is kinda tickly."

I'll be adding more strands to my "cowboy curtain" but wanted to start simple. I think I'm going to try to find some caution tape, and maybe throw in some rope scraps tied together or something...

I also want to work with a plastic bag (which he finds most tasty) full of cans (which he hasn't encountered before) and a bottle of rattly rocks. This is so much fun! Ooh, maybe my brother-in-law will let me borrow his bull whip? That would be a good tool for getting used to loud noises. I need to make a bridge too. Maybe tomorrow I'll find time.

Does anyone else have any ideas for de-spooking and obstacles to play with?

Monday, May 26, 2008

I think I mentioned yesterday that Bella brought her toe down pretty hard on my big toe joint. It's ugly. Literally and figuratively. I can kind of walk now that I'm dosed up on ibuprofen, but it hurts. I can't put on shoes! I tried. It was very painful. I did find that I can slide my feet into my slippers, so I was able to go outside and say hi to the horses and give them their supplements. Except for Bella, who apparently decided the supplements weren't worth having to put up with my company. Either that or she didn't catch on that I had food. I wasn't about to chase her down, so I pretended she didn't exist.

I think I finally got a fairly accurate measure of Tonka's height, and I was very surprised. He's only 15.1 hands. I have to stretch so much to get on, I thought he surely must be taller. I must be getting old.

I used two bamboo poles in a T shape to see how tall he is, and trusted my daughter to tell me when they were plumb and level. Tonka was pretty cool with it. Just didn't quite understand when I asked him to put both of his front feet next to each other. We got pretty close.

Soxy thought I was going to beat her when I tried to walk up with the poles! Poor girl. Coda was probably about 14.1 hands. Surprised me. I think of him as an average height horse, and that's not very tall. I suspect Soxy would be somewhere between the two boys' heights. I didn't measure Mack or Bella.

I'm off to put my toe up for a while and take some more drugs. Hope you're having a more active and fun day than I am!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Scout had a leading lesson today. Poor kid. It's rough. Look, he's pouting:Aww, cheer up kid, it'll get easier.

Mack working on patience:

Bella and Scout taking a break after the leading lesson:

Poor Bella, she was tied up and had to watch her baby struggle through the halter training thing. She was not a happy mama. But I couldn't have her running around freaking out if I wanted Scout to learn anything.

After that we went out and did some circle work. Walk, whoa, reverse and walk, whoa. No trotting because she was already stressed and this was supposed to be calming work.

I decided to go ahead and trim her hind feet since I didn't get them done yesterday. She wasn't too sure I should keep that foot quite so long, and she smashed my big toe with her big toe. OUCH. After that I was careful to keep that foot cranked up so she couldn't drop it down on me again.

Scout got his tiny hiney feet done too. Was somewhat challenging as he was just loose and wasn't sure he wanted to do this. I just stayed with him, didn't let it get to the struggling stage and didn't quit following when he walked off. Persistence sure pays with horses. It also helps that I've picked up his feet a lot. If I hadn't there's now way I could have gotten this done, he'd have been kicking and struggling.

Finished off by leaving Bella tied, then came in for something to drink, then let her out. Mack is still out there, still working on his patience... He has separation anxiety, poor guy. Life's sure rough for a horse, having to stand still and all...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What a day it's been already, and it's only half over!

I took Angus to the vet, where they LOVED him, and of course tortured him. He only weighs 105 pounds now. I think we have him at a healthy weight. The vet didn't say he was too fat and I forgot to ask. He doesn't have ear mites but he does have a yeast infection in his ears. So we have meds for that and they cleaned his ears and he shook and shot nasty black ear gunk all over. It's his shoulder that is injured. He didn't cry but he didn't want them to extend it forward. We have anti-inflammatories for him and hopefully the problem will go away. Apparently it's a hard area to x-ray. I hope he just sprained something. Poor guy, the periodic yelping out of nowhere was really sad! He also got his rabies shot and the other shot dogs are supposed to have. Distemper/parvo maybe?

Then I got home and changed and went to trim hooves. I chose Mack first because he was just standing there staring at me, waiting for me to love him. He's such a people-person. He really needed a trim! He was really long and getting cracks on his toes in front. John came out about midway through and hung with us.

Then it was Bella's turn. My oh my. Mack ran her off, which set them all off, and they decided running was better than being caught. Finally I caught Mack, moved him to a neighboring pasture. I caught Tonka after he finally got too hot to play the game anymore. Then Bella took a bit longer. She was all worked up and worried now. I'm sure she thought I was this horrible monster chasing them, when in reality I was giving them every opportunity to stop and be caught. She was a very good girl for her trim. I only did the fronts, because by now I was HOT. Then while John held her I did Scout's fronts. His first itty-bitty trim! Kind of daunting, knowing how critical a balanced trim is at his age. He was great on his left side but kind of a pill for the right. Wasn't too hard though, especially considering he wasn't restrained in any way. Just kept wiggling his little foot.

Now they're resting and I'm resting and it looks like I wasted our good riding time on trimming. It was beautifully sunny and warm. Now it's getting BLACK out there and the wind is blowing pretty good. But they needed a trim. If we'd ridden Mack on those long hooves we might have had a crack problem I couldn't fix in just one trim.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I haven't ridden since Monday! It's killing me! Well, actually, I'm not really dying. But I really wanted to ride today. I ended up spending the entire day in Spokane. Totally out of my element in the cosmetics department in Macy's while my mom and her friend shopped. Talking about skin types and such, while I melted into the background so they wouldn't notice that I wasn't wearing makeup and don't really style my hair...

Anyway, I did get to shop at a place where I felt more at home. I bought an Australian girth at a big tack shop up there. Kind of frustrating actually, since I called ahead to make sure they had them and she told me they had plenty in the size I needed. They had ONE in the size I needed, and it only had one D ring in the middle. I guess for a saddle that doesn't have a flank cinch. I needed two D rings. I settled for one that was probably too small but might work. Well, it's too small but almost worked... I guess I'll send it back to them and ask them to credit my card.

I got my new stirrup leathers in the mail today! I like them, they're good quality. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to ride with them. It was getting dark tonight when I got home.

I've been lunging Tonka last few days, but not riding. I generally think of lunging as people just circling their horses forever. I don't know what other people do, but we were working on transitions. Walk, trot, whoa, lope... He's doing well other than the lope. I usually have to ask 4 times and then his circle sucks. He really drifts toward the other horses. I think I'll try it in the round pen in the morning so we have the fence as a crutch. Just until he's doing things more smoothly, then we'll go back out into the wide open spaces and try for a better circle.

In other news, I have a miserable lame dog. Angus is going to have to go to the vet tomorrow. I was going to make him an appointment next week anyway because I think he has ear mites. We'll have to go a little earlier though because he keeps yelping out of nowhere and he's favoring one leg. Poor guy! It scares me, because he's so big and we all know big dogs have short lives and joint problems... Especially if they live on hardwood floors.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Take a look at my sexy horse! Wow, he looks good in his new gear!

Notice the English leathers. Although they're nylon, so it seems weird to call them leathers. I was going to try those so I could still ride in this saddle, since the buckles on the Aussie fenders hurt. My Woolback pad worked really well under the saddle, so I think I'll keep using that rather than buy an Aussie pad. The western breastcollar worked just fine too, woo hoo! I don't have to spend a bunch more money! But I may order an Aussie girth to get rid of the bulk of the converter and latigos.

The lesson today went a LOT better than last week. He was still pretty insecure at first, we had bad weather again. And that baby goat makes a very alarming sound when its "mama" Debi is not in sight! But he settled in and we did some more desensitizing. Lunged him at the walk, trot, and eventually lope... Took some doing to get that lope. I didn't ride today. Bummer. But Debi was very happy with him, and she helped me with a few things. Basically I need to be more patient when I ask him to do something scary (like walk past a pile of tires or onto a tarp surrounded by tires) and give him more time to think about it. But not eat grass. When he is checking out a scary thing on the ground and sneaks a bite, I'm to put him to work and then go back to it until he doesn't snatch grass.

It was a good lesson! I can't wait to work with him again. But I'm hurting all over for some reason, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have my new fenders by then. Those "leathers" just don't look very substantial...
Ride the West and the mustang adoption were lots of fun. We got there on Friday just after the horses were unloaded, so we went to see them first. They were a nice bunch of horses. The first ones to catch my eye were a big bay gelding with four socks and a big chunky black that looked like a quarter horse. And my favorite from Odessa was there. He nuzzled my hand and sniffed my face. It killed me.

Here's my boy, and the big black is hiding behind the red:

On Friday evening they had a big deal where exhibitors and trainers showed off their horses. Here's the Border Patrol on their (quite handsome) mustangs:

Charles Wilhelm was riding a one-eyed horse. They performed very well. I went later to talk to Charles about training, and he just said treat them like a severely one-sided horse. The only thing he can't do on this horse is cut, since the horse has to be able to see on both sides and can't be guided by the rider in the same way it can in other disciplines.
The adoption took place one Sunday, and 7 horses were adopted. Each one of those was something to be happy about, but I'm disappointed that more didn't get homes. My special boy went back to the BLM corrals in Burns, yet again.

Monday morning I got to go on a trail ride in my "new" saddle. I took a chance and ordered a used Aussie saddle on Tack Trader for only $110. I wasn't sure it would fit me or my horse, but I figured for that price I could always re-sell it. I LOVE it. It's super comfy and it fits us both. The only problem I had was that the buckles on the stirrup leathers pinched my calves really bad when I used my legs. So I have some big bruises now, and new leathers on the way. I wish Aussie gear was more available locally. I have to mail-order everything.
Here he is in his new saddle. I need to try a different pad this time. That's my sister's dressage pad. Worked okay, but is almost too small under the saddle. I'm hoping a regular western pad will work. I'm going to try to use English leathers when I go to my lesson today. I hope it works with those stirrups. I like this saddle so much I don't want to ride in anything else!
It was a beautiful ride! We saw a few deer. I must admit, the first one scared me, I just heard big noise in the brush and thought it was a moose. Just a little deer... Tonka got to cross big logs and little logs, burned logs and piled logs. We also played around in thick brush and going up and down banks. It was a blast. He got really tired at the end though.

My sister's horse tied-up really bad after the ride. He's been doing this for years, but it has always been subtle, so she didn't think he was really tying up. This time he looked like he might go down. I gave her some banamine (good thing to have a first aid kit handy) and she walked him a bit, then he started to loosen up and was able to ride home. They drew blood and are waiting for results. The easiest answer would be a selenium deficiency, but they're thinking it's more likely to be an inherited muscled disorder such as EPSM (also called PSSM) or something similar. She's really upset and worried. She's getting him started on a high-fat diet, and can't go trail riding until it's under control. He also can't have complete time off or it will get worse, so luckily she can still work on her dressage stuff at home.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wild Horse Adoption, Spokane WA May 17-18
* Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds, 404 North Havana Avenue – from I-90W, take exit 283B, turn left on Havana, continue north to corner of Broadway and Havana
* Saturday, May 17
8 am - 5 pm: Preview and registration
10 am - noon & 2 - 4 pm: Gentling demonstrations
* Sunday, May 18
8 am - 5 pm: Preview and registration
9:30 am: Adoption begins through silent bidding process
* 25 mustangs available for adoption

See you there?

A killdeer nest. What pretty little eggs!

On the home front, I had a lot of fun today. It was WARM and sunny. Caught Tonka, tied him to the trailer, left him for about an hour. Meanwhile visited with Bella and Scout. Scout decided it was time to go meet Mack and just went through the fence.

I guess we forgot to plug it back in after some fence work the other day. Mack was a sweetheart, just kind of welcomed him. I immediately opened the gate and let Bella through too, to avoid a panic situation. Mack and Bella love each other. And Mack makes a good babysitter. He's more stern than Bella too, which is good for Scout, the little shit.

He's a cute little shit though.

I watched them closely for a little while, then moved a trough and saddled Tonka and had lunch. After lunch we rode. Well, first we played kindergarten. Flapped the stirrups, yielded this and that, and asked for his nose. Then we rode. He was goony about some bare dirt so I had to get off and do some ground work over it for a while. Afterwards we rode over that many times, serpentined and circled over a hose, and crossed a ditch a few times. I called it a day after that and unsaddled him. He still had some time to stand tied after that though.

Oh, I forgot to mention I measured his mouth. He needs a 5.5 inch bit, not the usual 5 inch. Which is funny, because then I measured the bit I'm using, and it's 5.5 inch. I think I've decided what bit will work for him. I'll look for one at Ride the West this weekend. And then he'll probably hate it, but it's worth a try. I also found he takes a wider saddle than I thought. It's a 7 inch gullet. Which means the one I sold must have been even wider. I have a template all cut out to take to Ride the West. Maybe I'll find a good saddle.

Later I went ahead and tried Tonka in the cute little family herd. He was a jerk, but they kept him in line for the most part. He wants to pick on Scout, since he's the low man and thinks maybe this is someone he can bully. Butt head. I thought he would like Scout. And he probably will, once they work things out.

Mack-daddy. An excellent babysitter. Ah, the peace of nap time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I finally got to take my own horse up for my riding lesson today. And guess what. I didn't even get to ride. He made such an ass of himself. No offense to actual asses, it's just a figure of speech...

We tried both of my dad's saddles on him, and it turns out the one I don't like is the one that fits him. But at least now I know what fits, and can get something like it but more comfortable for me.

He was antsy and fidgety and a little worried about the dogs and the ADORABLE little baby pygmy goat that was running around making baby-pygmy-goat noises. No worries, I just ignored him and took him to the round pen. Where, as he was going through the gate, something happened and he became Mr. Rodeo Bronc Deluxe. The stirrups in this saddle are heavy (ask me how I know, and I will show you my shins from carrying the darn thing) and they of course flapped when he bucked, which sent him bucking more, and ending it with his signature Leap of the Goat. Unfortunately for me, he did all this while acting like he was going to jump into my lap for comfort, which was anything but comforting for me. Luckily no harm was done.

We did a bunch of remedial work after that. She had me flap his stirrup, but he was really freaked about it, so then we took the saddle off and sacked him out with a saddle blanket. He was really tense even about that! Back to kindergarten... When he relaxed we re-saddled and flapped the stirrups more. Hopped next to the saddle, rubbed his shoulder and elbow and girth area with my leg. My homework is to do this daily and tie him up a couple hours a day this week. Of course I also plan on riding, but hopefully all this remedial work will take care of that hole we had in his training, where he's all worried about being saddled. I knew I needed to do this, but was too lazy. Could have bit me in the butt big time had I been on him when he freaked. Moral of the story - don't ignore holes in your training! And desensitize, desensitize, desensitize!

Then it was time to RUSH home to make it to T-ball on time. Tonka had to go to T-ball with me, I was too late to stop at home. Luckily John showed up there, so I went home and unloaded my big dork. He acted like an ass yet again, rushing out of the trailer and not stopping when I asked, so we loaded and unloaded many times. Then he stood tied at the trailer for a couple hours. Then when I took him back out to the pasture he was being my big buddy again, and less like a cranky, fidgety ass. I forgot to mention that periodically throughout all this he'd pin his ears and act like he was going to bite me. Lovely day with my mustang. But it all ended well, and of course I still love the big goof.
Thank you all for your kind words about Scout. He's still doing fine. The eye waters some, but nothing else alarming to note. It's kind of interesting the way his eye reflects light now. I can't remember if that's supposed to get worse or not. She did say it will probably develop some scarring that will look exactly like damage from equine recurrent uveitis, but I'm not sure if that's what this is, or if it's reflecting more because the retina is detached.

I have decided that instead of keeping a separate blog for my domestics and my mustangs, I'll just write about them both here. And you mustang enthusiasts will just have to deal with it. Luckily I think we all love all horses, and we're not breed snobs, right?

We've been hoping to find a good horse for Liam, and it turned out that my niece doesn't want to ride anymore, so we got our Coda back! He's such a good boy! I missed having him here. Liam was SO excited when I told him Coda was going to be his horse. His face lit up, his eyes got huge, and he started clapping in excitement. So cute. I can't leave out my Tonka-man. We had a nice little ride yesterday. He is a good boy, mostly responsive. We're still working on standing still. And he's getting to really enjoy opening and closing the gate to the round pen. He tries to position himself there when I don't ask for it, because he wants to ride outside the round pen. Which is cute, but of course since I didn't ask him to do that, we had to redirect his energy for a while before going out. I tried another bit yesterday, a used Myler comfort snaffle, and he liked it other than the fact that it pinched him. So I think I'll go back to my other bit. I wish I could afford a new Myler, but my gosh, you'd think they're made of gold, they're so expensive. And I don't think Tonka really cares too much what bit I use. He fiddles with them all. He did seem to fiddle less with this one though...

And lastly, this has absolutely nothing to do with horses, but it was so much fun I have to write about it. Saturday was Liam's birthday, and we had a treasure chest full of chocolate coins and other trinkets. The idea was we'd give all the kids swords, eye patches, and such, then send them on a treasure hunt which would end at the treasure chest, of course. Our clues had them running all over the property before the end. However, I forgot to tell them not to go where the things are hidden before the party. So as we adults were standing in the pasture admiring the horses, we heard a bunch of hollering up on the hill. Sure enough, the boys had found the treasure. Which was probably even more exciting than a treasure hunt, because they had NO idea there was a treasure, and they found it. So they divvied up the loot, and later after cake they went and found all the clues and had a blast with that as well.

We all pitched in and got him a Gator to drive around. He only got the one present because it was so expensive, but he sure loves it.He even helps me feed. Drove me nuts the first couple days he had it, demanding that I go feed NOW so he could haul my buckets for me.
Happy trails!

Friday, May 09, 2008

So here's the scoop. Scout is pretty much blind in that eye, and it is very unlikely to heal. She said it could happen since he's so young and the damage is somewhat close to the blood supply, but it probably won't. I don't know if he sees at all, it's possible he has some peripheral vision since most of the damage is in the center of the eye. There's nothing more to do, just watch for complications. The eye could start to shrink and eventually need to be removed. He could get a cataract but it shouldn't bother him. So that's it...

Poor kid, they did all kinds of mean things to him today. Poking and prodding and gooing and squirting. They blindfolded the good eye before they sedated him, then turned him loose in the hallway. He followed Bella just fine until she stopped walking. He couldn't hear her and wasn't in physical contact with her so he freaked out. Couldn't see her.

But he's done with all that now! No more vets. Well, at least until he's gelded toward the end of the month. I hope THAT goes smoothly!
My vet pulled some strings and got us in to see someone today about the eye. This doctor goes to WSU once a month, and she's not an ophthalmologist yet, but she's studying under the one that's up in Spokane, so she's the best we've got down here. I'm hoping she'll give us some closure rather than sending us on for another appointment in Spokane.

On another note, I was hanging out in the pasture with Bella and Scout yesterday, just loving on them. I noticed yet again how the sides of her face bulge out a bit where her molars are. Got me wondering if maybe her teeth need work, so I reached up in there. I couldn't really tell if she had calluses on her gums, but I didn't feel any sharp teeth. There isn't much room up there at all though! Then I noticed her incisors don't meet together, her tongue is in the way. It completely fills up her mouth, and then some. She must be able to move it back to close her teeth and graze, but I wonder what this will mean when training. It seems to me there may be no room in there for a bit. And yes, Scout has the same thing going on. No big deal, we can find a good bitless option.

The three other horses got to be in the pasture right next to the baby for the first time. Bella wasn't too happy about that. She got her neck all arched and was kind of striking out toward them. Luckily she didn't get her foot near the fence, I was kind of worried about that. She and Tonka sniffed noses through the fence until he got shocked. Poor guy, he was a nervous wreck for a while after that. After the initial "checking each other out" period, she took Scout up to the top of her pasture where she didn't have to worry about the intruders. I think she'll be the one to let me know when it's safe to let another horse in with them. She's obviously not ready for that yet.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The vet left a bit ago. Scout isn't seeing out of that eye. It does respond to light, but he doesn't flinch when you swing your hand at his eye on that side. I had no idea... He seems perfectly normal. Which is a good sign, if he does end up permanently blind, that he can still be a normal horse. My vet is irritated that the vets at WSU didn't take it more seriously and didn't send him to the ophthalmologist. So we get to do that now, and hope that it isn't too late. I'll have to trailer them up to Spokane. I don't know when they'll fit us in, it could be a while. More waiting...

While we waited for the vet I haltered Scout and wrapped a rope around his butt and worked on leading. He did surprisingly well. I asked him to give his face to the side first, and praised him for each tiny give. Then we moved forward a step, then several, then he freaked out and reared up a little, but pulling his head to the side helped stop that. Then we worked some more. He was doing really well. The vet got here and fiddled with him, then when I let them loose he RAN and RAN. Had to get rid of the confined feeling I guess. Bella was, as usual, a perfect lady. This time she wasn't held while we fiddled with Scout, and she walked around and sniffed everyone and then just watched. She's such a peaceful, sweet girl.
I finally got time to go out and play with the camera. Nothing I absolutely have to do today, it's nice. I also got some woodworking started, going to make a bridge. Liam was helping and he gave me a dandelion for my hair. I felt pretty, with my power tools and my flower.

Mack's a wannabe mustang, hanging in the mustang pen:
(Actually he's a pansy, and feels he has to be inside if it's too warm or too cold.)

My sweet boy:

These next two would have been WONDERFUL if it wasn't for that fly mask:
The fly mask didn't help keep his eye from watering.
The vet's coming out this afternoon to re-check the eye.
He won't geld him for me yet though... Well, he said he would, but was worried about anesthesia this young. I deferred to his greater knowledge.

He's such a substantial little guy! And I love his way of carrying himself.

All kids gotta make faces at the camera at some point or other:

I really like this picture, with the cows, the alert mama, and the little fart:
Darn it, I forgot John needs the truck today, so I can't take Tonka up to my lesson. Oh well. Actually, I'm going to see if she'll let me cancel it without charging me, since she's only available for a half hour today and it takes me almost 2 hours of driving to get there and back.

I found a horse I like the sound of for Liam, but it's 2 and a half hours away and they can't send pictures. That's a long way to go with no idea what the horse looks like. I've also decided not to go look at a pony that sounded really great, but the asking price was way to high for a really old pony that can only eat senior feed. We'll find him something, there's no hurry, but it would be fun if we could find something soon!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I need a saddle! I'm obsessing! I can't stop looking for saddles on all the online advertising places I can think of. I even went and brought one home today and tried it on Tonka and Mack. WAY too narrow for either of them, so I'll have to take it back tomorrow.

Before that I rode Tonka for a good 2 hours today, just dinking around. Went down past the neighbor's at one point and he wanted to hang out and visit, there were horses on both sides of the road. Took some doing to get his feet moving again. Other than that we worked on obstacles, basic stuff like backing, trotting, side passing, pivoting, spinning (slowly) in a box, etc. I had him position himself right next to an old workbench/table we use to mount when we ride bareback. He thought it was moderately suspicious. I was able to dismount onto the table, circle him around it, reposition him 3-4 times, and then mount again. Oh yeah, and we worked on not rushing down steep hills. It was a fun ride, and he actually worked up a sweat somehow, even though we weren't doing any speedy stuff. When we got done I detangled and brushed his "fabio" mane. He wasn't too thrilled about that.

We were doing so well, I got to thinking maybe I should enter the trail competition at Ride the West. But no, I think not... Not unless we get something phenomenal going on by then. He is so easily distracted, and there will be distractions galore there.

Tomorrow I'm going to haul him up to my riding lesson with me. Not sure exactly why I'm going, my lesson will be only 1/2 hour long tomorrow, but oh well... I can at least maybe get some input on this saddle and how it feels funny. I think I figured it out. It sits slightly higher in the back of the seat than it does in the front, which tips me slightly forward, legs back a bit much, and then my hips hurt. That's my theory anyway. But maybe I'm used to riding incorrectly with my legs too far forward, and this saddle sits me right but I'm not used to it. I don't think so though... Could also be the stirrups are too long, but the holes are unevenly punched and I can't take them up a notch without them being way too short. Blah, blah, blah... Sorry, I guess I'm babbling... Good night!
Well hello. I know, I'm still not being a good blogger lately. You think I'm bad on this blog, you should see my other ones. They're very very badly neglected. Let me tell you why. With this glorious weather, when I have any extra energy, I ride! Or trim hooves, or just about anything as long as it's outside. So when I'm inside I really am supposed to be doing my housework, not blogging... Which leaves me with little energy to blog.

I've ridden almost every day this week. It's been fun. I didn't ride yesterday. I had no energy and was kind of grumpy, so Tonka got a day off. I'll ride today sometime.

I'm having a saddle dilemma. I'd like to ask my dad if I can buy the saddle I'm riding in. But it kind of hurts my hips, I'm not sure why. But it totally fits Tonka, which is what's most important. I think I'll just keep riding in it and see... It may not be for sale anyway. I'm also thinking about buying an Aussie saddle to try out, but they're so darn cheap they scare me. The only ones that aren't totally cheap are really expensive, there's no middle road. But if I bought a cheap one, I could buy Liam a horse or pony with the rest of my saddle money. We really need a mount for him. He was feeling left out the other day when three of us went out for a ride in the fields and he had to wait his turn to ride Soxy. If we had a mount for each of us, we could load up and head for the hills, ride a bit, have a picnic, play in the creek, etc. What fun!

I really need to get some good current pictures of Bella and scout. These are the best I've gotten. Isn't he a little tank? He makes Bella look tiny in this first picture.

And here's another, saying hello to the new neighbor cows. Darn loud bovines woke me up rather rudely this morning. I am happy to have them right next door again though, I love watching the calves play, and the cows with their oh-so-human social groups. You can tell they have specific friends, and there are certain cows who are happy to calf-sit a group of babies while the other cows are off having a girls' day out... It's cute.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

We have our first poker ride under our belts! It was okay. Not very scenic, mostly logging roads through clearcut, but some trees too. It was a good experience for us and the horses though. Tonka did really well. He spooked at a few things. Was really worried about sticks and bits of cedar bark on the ground at first, but had to get over that quickly. After all, a logging area has a lot of that stuff. And part of the ride was through a very messy mountainside, slash everywhere, and he just had to plow on through. He did great. At one point I thought we were going to wreck though. He had his head up, looking off to the side to see a horse that was calling in the distance. Next thing I know the ground is rushing to meet my face. Tonka had tripped, belly to the ground, and hit his nose on the ground, then righted himself at the last moment. He also had a few minor spooks, nothing serious at all. The worst part of the ride was his fidgeting whenever we stopped. He started tossing his head so I made him work. Backed him up a long ways, yielded his hindquarters in a tight circle both directions, stopped, repeated as necessary. He figured out that it was easier to stand somewhat quietly.

John and Mack had fun too. Mack spooked at a couple things, and was convinced one rock was going to eat him, but mostly it was a good ride. I haven't asked John yet whether this changes his mind about keeping Mack. I know he had more fun than I did, so maybe?

I didn't get many pictures, and the ones I did get aren't all that great. But I did get some.

All-in-all it was a good experience for all of us, and good to be getting some miles on this young greenie. And the old greenie. I don't think Mack has near as much experience out in the world as we had thought. Which doesn't make him bad, actually makes him better, since he did so well.

Oh, and as you can see in the pictures, the weather was great! Just right for t-shirts. It was supposed to be cloudy with a possibility of rain. But it was beautiful.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I'm sorry I've been gone so much lately. I've been here, thinking "I should blog" and feeling totally overwhelmed by the thought of a blog post, or trying to keep up with my emails, or doing anything other than what I absolutely have to do. I'm tired. My allergies, they are not my friends. I can't breathe well so I get tired, and this time of year is busy so I just get really tired. I'll just go through things point-by-point so I don't get too overwhelmed with this whole blogging thing. (I'm such a sissy...)

Arlene! Congratulations on adopting your mustang! I hope you come back here and tell me more about him, and I'd love to hear you have a blog where I can see pictures and progress. My favorite was in the pen yours came from, and I'm not too sure which one you got, I would be so excited if you got the one I liked best. I think you got one of the other bays though. I liked the way both of those were put together. He's going to be some horse when he's all grown and under saddle!

For anyone who didn't see the comments, only two horses were adopted at Odessa. How sad. I think it must have been the combination of the location and the cost of gas/diesel. Hopefully we'll get a much better turnout in Spokane and Pasco. Lea and Bob are gentling two yearlings for the Pasco adoption, so if you're looking for one you can get your hands on right away, be there!

Scout is doing well, although not totally healed. Whoops, have to call the vet, hang on, I almost forgot... Darn it, he's gone for the day. Well, I think Scout's doing alright, the eye just isn't fully "popped" back out. Still kind of recessed. We're making friends now too, which is nice. That little turd was hard to catch! Now I'm offering him a handful of Calf Manna and not sticking my finger in his eye twice a day, and he's really coming around. Nice to be able to pet him without restraining him.

On Monday morning I got a call from my hay guy, he wanted to fertilize our pasture that day and it was going to cost a LOT. "Is that okay?" Crap! That's not fair! I hadn't even had my coffee yet, that's too early to ask me something like that on the spot. We ended up fertilizing. Also had a nice ride with Laura on Mack and me on Tonka, just fiddling around out front while the guys fertilized.

Then I realized I couldn't put the horses back on the pastures with that nitrogen on there, and they ended up off pasture for two days while I got some fencing set up on the hill in my spare time. Then I turned them loose in the good grass for a couple hours.

Yes, my horse is goofy. I'm okay with it. I love his ears.

Tonka in the sky with... well, grass. Not a very catchy tune...

I was so flattered. I had sat down to do something, and he came and hung out with me rather than run off with the other horses. Allowing for many weird pictures which I won't subject you to. Then Mack and Soxy ran up the hill and Tonka followed:

Then he came running back and hung out with me some more!

I guess maybe I'm not a totally irritating presence in his life. It made me feel good.

Oh! John is going to go on a poker ride with me tomorrow! I am so excited. I hope he decides he really likes it and we can keep Mack and enjoy many more rides together. Someone's coming to look at Mack tonight. I'm really liking this horse lately, I don't want to sell him. He's sweet.

I also sold my flex tree saddle today. Did some shopping, found a new saddle shop, but didn't buy anything. I am now officially totally without a saddle. Lucky my dad's saddle works so well for me! I like it a lot, it looks good on my horse and it's pretty comfy for both of us.

Last thing of any possible interest I can think of - I'm trying new bits on Tonka. He's a fiddler. Big time. I think it's probably nerves, but I'm hoping a more comfortable bit will make a difference. I'm borrowing a 3 piece snaffle, some special dressage brand or something... NOT a Dr. Bristol, don't worry. Hopefully without the snaffle poking him in the roof of his mouth he'll be happier. I rode in 2 different bits yesterday and he reacted the same to both of them, except he was maybe a little happier to give vertically in the 3-piece bit. Still fiddled though... He probably just needs to be ridden more so he won't get so worried. Which is in the plans! I rode for a couple hours yesterday, will ride tonight and tomorrow. He's been ridden more days than not lately, I need to make a habit of that!