Sunday, November 30, 2008

John worked with Cisco in the round pen today. It went very well. I think Cisco knows what round pen exercises are all about, except maybe inside turns. He hooked on to John and was doing great, then John worked on rubbing him all over with the training stick. Cisco is afraid of it, so it will take some time for him to relax with it, but he wasn't taking off or anything, just tense. Then they did some work on the halter and lead and we talked about where a horse should walk in relation to his human since Cisco lags a bit behind. After that we walked to the trailer, John asked him to just consider going in, and he did, so we put him away.

Meanwhile... Tonka was having a little fit! Squealing and grunting like a pig, bucking around in his quarantine pen. This was the first time he's seen another horse for almost a week. He wanted to play too, poor guy. It's got to be awful being locked up like that with no outlet for his energy and no company.

This afternoon I was thinking I wanted some coffee but I got out my new Pilates DVD instead. It was hard, but not nearly as hard as I expected after hearing from other people. I did a 20 minute workout and part of another one. I'm going to start doing Tai Chi as well, and we're going to get John's parents' treadmill. We've also made a commitment to start eating better again. You could say we're starting our New Year's Resolutions a month early. I'd like to be a better horseman and rider, but I'm so out of shape it's not even funny. I've been watching Chris Cox and dreaming of going to one of his 6 day clinics (never going to be able to afford it, but I can dream) and thinking there's no way I could do it, it would kick my butt. So I'm going to do my best to get my "powerhouse" more powerful, myself more flexible, and just overall more able. And maybe I'll look better in the saddle next year too. :)

I joined HorseFlix today and I can't wait to get my first video. I'll probably be doing "reviews" on the stuff I watch in case anyone is interested. At least a thumbs up or thumbs down I suppose. Speaking of which, I watched GaWaNi Ponyboy's Horse Follow Closely for the first time yesterday. It's very basic stuff. In the beginning he had some ideas I hadn't heard before, so that was food for thought, but the rest is just round penning, sacking out, giving to pressure. It also really bothered me that he chose to use a lame horse for his roundpenning demo. Its hooves needed a trim pretty badly, so that might be all the problem was, but whatever it was, it was enough to make him limp, which to me says he doesn't have the horse's best interest in mind. You don't run a lame horse if you don't have to. And even if you somehow know it's not bothering the horse, why choose that horse for a demonstration that is going to be put on a video? For my purposes, I'd give it a thumbs down, but for a beginner it's decent information. You'd probably get more from watching a different clinician though.
I stumbled across something very cool today. It's a lot like Netflix but with horse DVDs. The best deal I've seen yet for renting horse informational DVDs. Just thought I'd pass it on. :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I just thought I'd check in and let everyone know that nothing has changed here. It's all become so boring and regular, and I haven't got much to write about.

The weather has been awful and the ground is so saturated that the horse areas are muddy even in places where the ground usually stays fairly solid. I'm glad that they at least have their dry stalls to go into. I cleaned the stalls today and had fun hanging out with the horses. Cisco and Bella don't like each other, they make seriously nasty faces at each other over the panels. He's nice to Scout though. Scout got a hold of my broom at one point and was flailing it around and Cisco really wanted to play too, it was cute. Later I left it where Cisco could get to it and he pulled the top off of the handle trying to pull it through to his side. I think I may have some great entertainment someday when all the boys are pastured together. I might have to get them some toys.

Tonka wasn't as accomodating about having his warm compress done tonight. He was just a little fidgety. It seemed like it might not be draining as nicely either. I might have to really work at the scab with a scrubby rag tomorrow. Ouch. I keep complaining about having to do all this but tonight I realized I should be glad I'm not him. All alone except for two visits a day that include doctoring that is probably at least a little unpleasant. And the abscess probably hurts all the time. Poor guy.

Sorry I don't have anything more interesting to write about. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get something done with a horse or two so I'll have something to tell you about.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tonka is doing well. His abscess ruptured the night after I last wrote, and it's now an open sore the size of a quarter with the big hard mass underneath it. He's eating like a horse, normal energy level, not droopy, no snot, slight eye boogers but nothing alarming. My vet isn't too worried at all. But we're going to get the nasties cultured anyway. Unfortunately the lab is kind of messed up because of the holidays so I guess we'll be lucky if we get a preliminary result by Friday.

Until then, we observe quarantine. (Insert creepy music of doom here.) I hate it.

Here's the drill: Go feed other horses. Go back into house, change out of work coat, put all hair under stocking cap, put on nitrile gloves, mix epsom salts and hot water and put several paper towels in it to soak. Fill bucket of water (bleached handle and bottom). Take self and buckets out. Change into frozen rubber boots 100 feet from corral. Pour water in trough. Step in foot bath with bleach solution. Get hay, take in, foot bath, more hay, take in. Do warm compresses for 10 minutes. Go out, throw away paper towels, latch gate, foot bath, throw away gloves. Pick up water bucket. Sanitize handle. Hand sanitizer, change boots, hand sanitizer. Footbath nearer to house, then leave water bucket in foot bath. Get in house, strip in laundry room (John especially likes that part) throw clothes into washer and run it on hot. Vigorously wash hands and wrists. Find something warm to wear.

The vet said not to go overboard with the quarantine procedure since other horses have to come in contact with bodily fluids to catch it, but I could so easily track those around on my shoes or get them on my clothes.

Well, I've been sitting here forever, was interrupted by a phone call, and now I'm tired, so I'm off. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today I took Soxy for a ride out at Melissa's. Tonka got the day off thanks to an abscess that is brewing under his jaw. I really think it's just caused by cheat grass or something since he doesn't seem the least bit sick, but just in case, I left him home.

It was fun to ride Soxy, she's just a steady old horse. She was kind of eager to move out, which is funny because she's so out of shape and gets winded so easily. But I'm glad she had fun.

Here are some of the sheep. They all cleared out when they saw us coming, so this was the best picture I could get.

Melissa's sweet Angus. Isn't he just the cutest dog?He sings with her donkey, Peaches. And he's an excellent livestock guardian.

My sweet Angus. Isn't he just the cutest dog?
He was giving me puppy dog eyes because he wanted food and he knows he's not allowed to whine at me or I won't feed him. He is an excellent eater of food.

They don't know that I think they're both the cutest. But they are.

Oh, and in other news... Tonka got his jaw clipped. He is very afraid of the clippers. His legs were shaking and he was kind of jumpy, but he stood still for me like a good boy and let me get the job done. That'll make it a lot easier to see what's going on when the abscess ruptures or I lance it. Will keep it cleaner too. Then I moved him in the dark, took him up to the front door to recruit help and put him out in the mustang pen all alone. I hate making him live by himself. Hauled him some water and gave him lots of hay and called it a night with him. Tomorrow I'm going to try to get a sample of the goo so the vet can culture it. I'd hate to have strangles on the place and not know it, go about my business and end up infecting other horses. So I'm going to cover my bases.

Today Cisco redeemed himself after his bad day last week. He had decided that instead of getting into the trailer he was going to spin and bolt. I couldn't stop him and he got away 3 times. Tried more often than that, but I'd found a way to anchor him with a long rope and stop him. He still kept trying though. So today when I got home I decided to try loading him with Soxy already in the trailer. He loaded very well. A little skeptical at first, he had to back out a couple times, but then he stood in there with me very nicely while I fawned over him and told him he was a good boy. Then I put him away.

That's my horsey day!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Melissa got a couple of good pictures of us today. In this one I think I was grinning because Tonka was a dork and jumped the creek, so we were going back in.

Here he's in the water and we're going to stop and stand for a minute.Still in the water.Break time.

Checking fences. That black dot up ahead is Melissa on her horse. Tonka is poky and sometimes we fall back because he has to be "schooled." Usually for trying to eat.

Had a great ride today but didn't take Cisco. He was a bad boy. I may write about that later but I'm too tired right now.

I also took our big dog Angus in to the vet today. No big deal, just suspected joint pain. I also asked about some scabby things on Tonka and he thought maybe it was rain scald. I didn't know we had that here. I'm not sure whether to believe it... But he's the vet. So I'm supposed to spot treat it with iodine. Tonka also has a huge abscess under his jaw that's about to pop. I thought it was a swollen gland. It's been there for months but just in the last week doubled in size. He did this two years ago also and I got all worked up worried about strangles. I'm not going to worry about it this time. It's probably cheat grass.
I forgot to tell you all about the crazy weather that came up yesterday. It was nuts! I was out riding Cisco and my cell phone rang. It was my sister so I assumed she just wanted to chat and I ignored it. Turns out she was trying to warn me to get off the horse. The weather hits her house before it hits mine since she's west of me.

So I'm sitting there on Cisco and this noise starts building and building. The trees start blowing and it just keeps on building. A tumbleweed blows by and leaves are coming down the driveway like they're out to get us. And the wind is still building. I decided to get off just in case, and watched the show. Huge patches of dark fog were blowing by very quickly. The temperature dropped 20 degrees in about the same number of seconds. Cisco wasn't acting worried so I got back on and worked a bit more. Which I later regretted because by the time I got him put back and everything put away I was FREEZING. But it was probably good because I don't want him thinking I'll get off every time the wind comes up.

What was interesting was the way Cisco reacted to the storm. While I was with him, and while he was tied and I was putting things away, he was fine. Watching everything, but not worried. As soon as I put him out and he was on his own he was scared. Not freaking out and running around, but obviously uncomfortable. I think that says a lot, that he is willing to trust and that having someone with him makes him comfortable. I'm still just tickled pink about this horse.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cisco has been ridden every day since we brought him home. John and I rode together yesterday. It didn't go as well as it could have. Cisco was a little bit quick on his feet and tried some head tossing. Next time I'm going to ask John to practice one-rein stops. I think that will be the key to solving the problem. He'll quit rushing if he has to stop all the time and he won't toss his head if he isn't being pulled back on.

Today I took Cisco out to the round pen. (Tonka was watching very closely from back at the barn, I think he was jealous.) Poor Cisco totally doesn't understand why anyone would want to ride in a small enclosed area. He's all about going somewhere, and he knows where the gate is. :) I tried the one real curb bit I own, a really gentle low ported one. It was no good, we weren't communicating. I went back to a snaffle. That was SO much better. I think the key with him is going to be one-rein stops and riding with two hands. I don't know how anyone every got along on him in a curb, unless he was just going down the trail with his nose up a mare's butt (as his old owner put it). He stops great no matter what bit, but he wasn't neck reining very reliably. Then again, it could be me.

Tomorrow I'm going to very reluctantly leave my Tonka at home and take Cisco out for a trail ride at Melissa's. Not that I won't enjoy riding Cisco, but I wish I could ride two horses at once. I need to really get an idea of what makes him tick and how he's going to behave before I ask John to ride him again.

Oh, and I trimmed his front feet today. He was pretty good. He's not perfect, but then they only trimmed him twice a year. And come to think of it, he behaved about as well as Tonka does, which isn't bad at all. His feet are good but small for a mustang, and they were kind of off balance since his last trim was done by a rocky trail.

Hopefully I'll get some pictures on the ride tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cisco is from Nevada! I got the info from a very nice lady named Amy at the California BLM office. He was born in 96, captured in 98 and adopted the next spring. Lucky boy.

Information on Stone Cabin HMA:
The very first Congressionally approved wild horse gather after the passage of the Wild Free-
Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 was conducted in this HMA.
In the late 1980's, the University of Minnesota conducted a fertility study in the Stone Cabin
HMA. There are still two collared horses from that study in this area.
This HMA was historically home to the "Stone Cabin Grey" type of horse. Recent gathers and
drought have reduced these animals, so few remain.

That's sad.

I do know of one other horse from Stone Cabin. Augustus! He seems like a sweet boy and he and Eric are really going to go places, I can tell. :)

I was going to try to upload a map that shows where Stone Cabin HMA is, but it didn't work. So I'll just mention that it's in south central Nevada, and US HWY 6 runs though it. One of these days I'm going to have to go on a road trip and see the areas all my mustangs come from. Would be a long trip though, with them coming from 4 different states so far...

Oh, Linda, you asked about who trained him. As far as I could tell it was the lady's husband. To be honest, she talked so much I couldn't make sense of a lot of it.

Amy the nice BLM lady is going to send me a letter stating that he was titled, but they can't send me a replacement title. Makes sense, since it's not their job to keep track of who is the legal owner. I wish I could have a pretty title for him though!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I rode Cisco this afternoon. I think we may have finally gotten the dud we were looking for. He was good boy. Very mellow. I wasn't sure what kind of bit to use on him, but since I usually ride everyone else in a snaffle I just rode him in that. He was great. He carries the bit nicely and sets his head and everything.

So far, so good!
I got some new pictures of Cisco this morning. He's so darn cute.

I clipped his brand and he was a little worried about the clippers but he stood nicely nonetheless. No silliness. I like him.

I went for a short ride with Melissa this afternoon. Here's a kind of goofy perspective of my boy afterwards.
Then on the way home I put $90 worth of diesel in the truck. Ugh. Why isn't the cost of diesel going down with gas! Soon I'll go unhitch the trailer for the first time since Friday. There's been a lot of horsey running around going on. I have a lot of dishes to do thanks to my horseplay too. Fun. I think I'll go love on horses first.
As all mustang enthusiasts (and a lot of the general public) know, the government has been talking about euthanizing (shooting) the mustangs in its care that it can't afford to feed. I won't get into the politics of it. I don't do rants and such, and I don't have a solution so I don't want to be just another complainer.

But check this out!

"Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. Lifelong animal lovers, the Pickenses just a few years ago led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States."

Click here for the entire Washington Post Article.

This definitely buys them some time, but the logistics of it are baffling to me.

If you have been thinking of adopting, now would be the time. Or at least this year. There really aren't that many horses out there, compared to the number of people. We could get them all adopted out. Or if you don't think you could handle gentling a mustang, try adopting an old rescue horse. Or bid against a kill buyer at an auction. (Someone I know recently got a well-conformed, pretty little appy yearling for $20.) I can tell you from experiece that when you save a horse, they know it. It's worth it. The rewards may be intangible, but they are very real in terms of the heart and soul.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jessie tagged me! I feel so special. I never get tagged other than when people say "I don't want to tag anyone specific so if you want to you can do this."

So, it's a HORSE book thingie and these are the instructions:
1. Grab the nearest HORSE book.
2. Open the book to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next two to five sentences.
5. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book or the intellectual one. Pick the Closest.
6. Tag five people to do the same.

"Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse" by Mark Rashid just happened to be right here in front of me. (He's talking about his horse Buck, BTW)

"He consistently displayed the same quiet behavior with every horse (and person, for that matter) that he came in contact with. If a horse like Pete came at him in an effort to ruin his day, he would basically shrug it off, using the least amount of energy necessary to defuse the situation. It never seemed like a big deal to him, so he never made it a big deal or allowed it to turn into one.

While Buck consistently used the least amount of energy to accomplish the most, Pete used the most energy and accomplished the least! This became so frustrating for Pete that when he fell short in an attack on Buck, there were times when he would suddenly turn and attack whatever horse happened to be closest to him."

And that is part of the idea behind being a "Passive Leader" rather than the "Alpha Horse." I recommend this book, or any of his books. The ones I've read aren't a step by step process, but they have a lot to teach.

Since Jessie stole all my people I would have tagged (cyber thbbbttt) I guess I'll have to do what I was kinda whining about earlier, and say please consider yourself tagged if you feel inclined. Leave me a comment saying you posted though, so I can go read it. I like learning about new horse books.
Here's our new boy!
Or I should say, "John's new boy!" But I'll have the care and feeding of him so I feel justified saying "our" unless he does something bad, then it'll be, "Guess what your horse did, honey."

Now we have 4 mustangs and only one domestic (but she's special and she stays! :) ).

He's a good boy. He supposedly comes from California but I can't read his brand and he didn't come with a title. As soon as I get it clipped and read I'll be looking into getting his title (he was titled at one time). He's supposed to be 13, although without a title it's hard to say... I'm guessing more like 15. But who cares really, as long as he's a good boy.

He packs and rides. Supposedly anyone can get on him and ride, he's not spooky at all and blah blah blah. We'll see. He did fine in his test ride, but that was just in the lady's yard. He sure seems like a good horse though. (I guess that's kind of obvious because if he wasn't I wouldn't have bought him.)

We're going to have to watch his feed intake. He's got quite a crest and that wavy hair has me wondering about Cushings. But Tonka's has been kinda wavy too lately, so maybe it's nothing... Cisco's feet seem fine, so I'm not too worried about founder, but from the look of him it could be in his future if he was fed wrong.

Has anyone here had a horse with Cushings? I'm going to have to join the EquineCushings group on Yahoo again, I've forgotten a lot about it...

I'll definitely have more pictures tomorrow! I might clip his brand tonight so I can see what's there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I got a call today about Mack, and they came and saw him and fell in love and he went away. I am very happy he found a new home with such nice knowledgeable people. I felt bad taking him away from his friends, but when we got him to his new home there was an ultra friendly gelding there waiting for him and they seemed to hit it off right away. There's a weight off my shoulders!

I'm waiting to hear when I can pick up our new horse. I am so excited. His owner works a lot so I may not hear back until tomorrow. And I couldn't go up tomorrow anyway so it would be Tuesday at the earliest.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

These may be the all time worst pictures I've ever posted on this blog. Oh well, it was dark, my camera was malfunctioning, and we were lucky to have John's phone there.

I think we're going to bring this guy home. But we haven't slept on it yet so don't hold me to it.

He is stout (needs a diet actually), comfortable to ride, and has a few flaws but is pretty uncomplicated. I don't know what HMA he's from, his brand was too fuzzy to read and they don't have his title. Someone once had it, so I shouldn't have trouble getting a new one from the BLM. She said he was from California, but you never know if maybe he was adopted there but came from somewhere else.

His face totally reminds me of Scout! Same eyes, same expression. He's sorrel and has a blaze, two hind socks and a bit of white on one forefoot. He'll be like a pea in a pod with the rest of the mustangs here.

Cross your fingers for me that this is really a good horse for John. According to the owner he's great for anyone, not spooky at all, but you never know... I have a good feeling about him though. Could just be the really nice saddle she had that I rode him in. Wow, I want one. It's a McCall.

She has I think 3 mules, a couple quarter horses, and another mustang for sale as well. The baby mule is ADORABLE. I think I might try to talk my sister into coming up with me and maybe she'll buy him. I doubt it, she needs another horse like she needs a hole in the head. But a mule, that would be a new experience. And I think its mama is a mustang, which is a good thing. :)

Alright, I better stop babbling and go feed my starving horses.
Tonka seems to be 100% better. Must have been that one little bit of dry poop holding up the works.

I was thinking last night that what I said about this special bond with my mustangs might sound like I was implying that you can't get that with a domestic horse. I didn't mean it that way at all. I think the bond comes from spending so very much time with them, learning each other's ways and motivations, reading each other and building an amazing partnership. I know people with domestics who spend quality time with them every day and they have that same bond. I don't think you can get there unless you're in the horse's head, which takes time and love and understanding. It wouldn't come from just saddling up and telling the horse what to do.

Linda mentioned being totally heartbroken over the death of her goats. I've can relate! It's nothing to belittle, even if they are "just goats." I've been there too, with my sweet little ewe Roseanne. She was wonderful. So devoted and happy. She would have lived in the house if she had her way. There were so many times I had to push her foot out the door as she tried to come in with me. She died of bloat and I don't think I'll ever forgive myself. She was another one that was totally irreplaceable, thanks to the loving way that she was raised by my friend Melissa and her natural sweetness. Bottle babies are special, but Roseanne was really special. I don't think there will ever be another Roseanne.

Here's a picture of Baab and Roseanne sharing a treat with Tonka a couple weeks after I adopted him. Roseanne is the colored one. Baab, the white wether, was a bottle baby too, but he was always a rambunctious and pesky little guy.
We're going to look at a mustang today. He's supposed to be a mellow guy, packs and rides, just kind of plods along. John said he would ride with me if he had an uncomplicated horse, so hopefully this is the one. We're going fairly blind, they didn't even have a picture to email. I'll let you know how it goes later.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Late night update: We have another wet poo! Yay! Looks like it was nothing to worry about after all. But I'm still going to worry some.

It's hard having so much of my heart invested in one horse. Just the thought of him really having something wrong brings tears to my eyes. He's my boy, The Horse that I was meant to have. And we have so much invested in each other. So much time, trying, learning, growing together. I didn't realize exactly how special this is, and how in tune we are with each other, until I started working with Mack. My mustangs just have something more, and whatever it is Tonka has it most. I can't put words to it. He's my big fuzzy goofus dork, my special boy, and he's totally irreplaceable. I hope he's with me for the next 30 years, and I hope those years pass slowly.

I know a lady who's been in horses a long time and she says ride 'em, like 'em, but don't marry 'em. Don't give them your heart. Well, maybe later I could, maybe I'd learn to keep that distance someday, but for now I'm in this with all my heart for the long ride. When he rides off into that last sunset without me... (deep breath) I'll look back and remember and know that it was worth it.
Tonka had me pretty worried for a while there. I stalled him so I could monitor his poop and how much he drinks, and he had the type of poop you hope not to see. Small and dry. Still not drinking out of the buckets I put out there but it's only been a few hours. He's perky and alert and wondering why I'm not feeding him. I gave him some loose salt in a feed pan and I think he was pretty disappointed that it wasn't something good. I just got home and found a nice wet pile of poop out there, so I feel better but I'll keep watching him.

Had a good ride at the arena today. Mack is a good boy. I hope we can find him a great home.

Soxy was good too, but she's pretty predictable that way.

Tonka is off his feed this morning and looking miserable. I just offered him warm water and warm water with molasses and he refused both (but Scout was happy to lip and dribble it and then stick his nasty foot in there). I decided to give him a dose of Banamine. He does have gut sounds on both sides and I saw him poop, so that's good. I suspect he didn't drink enough last night. I'll be putting the tank heater in later today, for sure.

I finally got to ride Mack last night, after several days of just walking and grooming. He was a good boy. I'm heading out to ride him at the arena today. Hopefully I'll get some pictures too.

I was really looking forward to riding Tonka today as well, I really miss him after spending all my time with Mack. Hopefully he'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm giving in... Going to the chiropractor here in a minute. The rib is still out, and while it's not as painful as it was, really not too bad at all, it adds to the constant back pain I normally have and it's just a bit annoying.

I haven't worked with the mustangs at all the last few days, other than to brush or pet them, and of course feed them. I put Soxy in with Bella for the first time yesterday. Funny that Bella's been here for over a year and never been pastured with Soxy. I wish I'd had my camera, I could have gotten a pretty picture of them arching their necks at while they sniffed noses. They have a good armed truce going on, they'll even share the stall with just a few nasty faces at each other.

I've been taking Mack out every day and just doing simple stuff with him. We'll go to the arena and go riding on Friday. I don't want to ride him in this slick mud.

Well, I'm off. Hope your weather is better than mine and you're having a great day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This time I'm fishing for comments. Kind of for a project I have coming up... Let me know if I can use your thoughts, possibly in ads or on flyers. I'm looking for ideas I can use in trying to "market" the mustang horse to the general public.

Why do you love mustangs? (If you do)
This may sound like a simple question, but if you haven't thought about why you love your specific breed of choice, it's sometimes a hard one to answer.

What is your perception of mustangs? (If you don't own and love them)

Do you think they're an important part of the American West?

Would you like to adopt a mustang?

If so, what's keeping you from it?

Will you adopt an untouched mustang in the next year?

Would you adopt a gentled mustang in the next year?

Feel free to answer one or all of the questions. Or none, but I'd love to hear your opinions. Honest opinions. If you don't like mustangs I'd love to know why.

I might have more questions later. I'm not thinking too clearly tonight, I have the crud. Blech.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I have decided, yet again, to find Mack a new home. This time I really, really mean it. Really. I'm not going to back out on it again. Although it's hard, with how sweet he was today. I wish I had another rider in the family. But it's not fair to him to leave him standing around in the pasture all the time, and I've come to terms with the fact that John isn't going to be my riding buddy.

SBG (Sweet Black Gelding) loves to snuffle behind your ear, enjoys the outdoors but can play inside too, ISO LTR with an active, confident, fair individual with some prior experience.

He'd be the perfect horse for someone who wants to show (he is AQHA registered) AND be able to ride out in the mountains all day. While he's been here he's pretty much been ridden by beginners only, but I'd like to see him go to someone a little more experienced.

Here's a rather boring little video:

If you know of anyone in my area who's looking, send them my way!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Today's trail ride was canceled due to bad weather, but we still had a fun horsey day around the place. I took Tonka to the round pen and he remembered everything he learned the other day. I didn't run him around at all, I think he walked a total of 5 laps around, and the rest of the time was spent walking with me, and dealing with our "crowd."

I asked Katia to whoop and holler and clap and just generally be a spaz around the edges of the round pen.

She was definitely up to the task.

She had so much fun she got dizzy and fell down.
I think being a spaz may just be her calling in life.Not sure how many jobs there are in that area though...

Then after lunch we saddled up and went for a ride in the rain.
We ended up going down the road instead of across the creek and over to the arena. Going down the road is frustrating, it's hard to keep Tonka moving, especially when there are horses on the sides that he wants to visit with. But it was still fun, and he did better than he did last time, which is what's important.

When I got back I trimmed two of his hooves, which turned out to be a stupid idea. I've had a rib out of place the last 4 days or so, even breathing was painful, and today was the first day it felt almost normal. Not so anymore. But it's still not all that bad so I have hopes I won't have to go to the chiropractor. His hooves look much better now though.

When I went to love on Bella something red caught my eye. She has a wound that's become a pocket of pus on her lip. The hole is of course at the top of the wound so it can't drain. I squeezed a lot of nastiness out of there. She didn't appreciate it but she did let me do it several times without a halter. I'm sure that after the initial pain of it, it felt good to have that pressure relieved. I think I'll clean it up with some diluted iodine later.

Now I'm going to go watch a movie.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I found this little quiz on Just Another Day on the Prairie and I just had to do it. I'm obsessed with books. I adore them.

(Please note that I copied and pasted this here and for some reason couldn't control the italics. Really I do know how to use them, they just didn't listen. Wild critters, italics are.)

  • What was the last book you bought? The Faraway Horses (Not too impressed, really. He's very negative.)
  • Name a book you have read MORE than once? There are so many. To Kill a Mockingbird, Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein), Anthem (Ayn Rand), The Disposessed (Ursula LeGuin), Siddhartha (Hesse), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, King of the Wind, Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, The Illuminatus Trilogy, Green Eggs and Ham (I had it memorized when my daughter was about 3 years old)
  • Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it? To Kill a Mockingbird. Heinlein's books Farnam's Freehold, Tunnel in the Sky, Time Enough for Love, To Sail Beyond the Sunset. Siddhartha, Stranger in a Strange Land, My Antonia, Mark Rashid's books, Atlas Shrugged, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and many more. Really, how can a book not change us, at least for a short while? I'm not sure exactly how "fundamental" the change in my life would be for each of these, but they're all very important to me.
  • How do you choose a book? e.g. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews? I look for certain authors and I read books recommended by friends. For horse books I look through the table of contents and I read books that I hear a lot about.
  • Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Fiction. I have a problem paying attention to non-fiction, even if it's a horse training book.
  • What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot? PLOT. The writing had better be good, but I don't like it when it gets too flowery or pretentious. Another very important thing - the human relationships in a book. Some authors are harder for me to read, like the hard-core science fiction guys, because it's more about plot than relationships. The people are flat.
  • Most loved/memorable character? Oh gosh. That's not right, how can you ask that? Scout and Atticus and Boo Radley. Antonia (My Antonia). The Reluctant Messiah (Read that so long ago I don't remember his name, or if he had one, or the real name of the book.) Wild Horse Annie of course. Every horse character in every horse book :). Jubal Harshaw. Drizzt Do'Urden.
  • Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment? Orson Scott Card's Homecoming series, books 1,2,3 & 5 (Currently reading book 2). Life Lessons of a Ranch Horse by Mark Rashid. War and Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, The Idiot, Duh - the Stupid History of the Human Race, 3 Marion Zimmer Bradley Darkover books, Tom Dorrance's True Unity, and an issue of Western Horseman. A couple kids' books and some old Parelli thing. I'd have To Kill a Mockingbird there to re-read, but I can't find it. (If you hadn't noticed I think that's my favorite book of all time. I'm always left thirsting for more, wishing the story wouldn't end, tempted to immediately turn from the last to the first page again and read it all over.) I'm all set for the next couple months, I think.
  • What was the last book you read? The Memory of Earth by Orson Scott Card
  • Have you ever given up on a book halfway in? Not very many. I consider it a failure not to finish one. But there have been a couple in the past year that I just could not read. One that I wish I had put down was Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Horrible. HORRIBLE. Like I said, flowery prose is not my thing, and when the good part FINALLY comes, she passes over it with one - ONE - dry and unsatisfying sentence.
Anyone have any good books to recommend? Seems most of my favorite authors are dead or not writing much anymore. It would be great to find a new literary love.
I feel a lot better today about our time in the round pen yesterday. I watched someone else who is doing the same stuff and realized Tonka did just fine, but I probably asked too much for the first day, and I probably am too tender hearted about seeing a horse stressed. The horse I watched today has been doing this for at least four days, maybe a week, and she isn't as far along as Tonka was yesterday, and she still gets stressed and has to leave some, but not as stressed as the first time, and not as stressed as Tonka was yesterday. Which, I should clarify, wasn't really all that stressed. He was't freaking out by any means, no big movements or anything.

I think I had more to say on that subject but I got sidetracked for a few hours and I forgot...

Tomorrow I am hopefully delivering a saddle to its new owner. I should also have a few other tack items sold, so my new saddle fund has some money in it! Not near enough for a good saddle, but maybe some amazing deal will come up as I slowly save money.

I better get going, I have three muddy dogs to bring in and still have to feed the hayburners.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Round Penning." What do you think of it? As a verb, I don't like it. I haven't done much round pen work with my mustangs. Well, not the current ones. Willow did a lot of it, thanks to my John Lyons video. Now I just feel like it's a bit too agressive, a bit mean. I want my horse to be with me because he trusts me to be his leader, not because I've bullied and scared him into following me. I want to be Mark Rashid's passive leader, not Clinton Anderson's dictator. I guess maybe I'm a softie, even thought I don't think of myself as one. Another reason I don't do it is that I know for a fact working on a circle is most definitely not good for them.

But, I decided I was going to try it. I read Marv Walker's "bonder" the other day. I don't know, I don't see the difference between it and other round pen work. His statements make me feel like the idiot who can't comprehend the philosophers, but I wonder if it's more a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. Maybe I'm not dumb, and maybe it is the same. The only real difference I can see is that he makes it clear it's not just about chasing them in endless circles until they're worn out.

As background info, I should say that Tonka will walk with me without a lead most days when he's saddled and bridled, so he is already a good boy. He doesn't present himself to me to ask what he can do for me every time I go into his area, but he usually doesn't run away. He sometimes pins his ears as he follows, but not when he's next to me, which tells me we might have a respect problem.

Anyway, I took him to the round pen today. I say this in my head all defeated-like, feeling like I'm saying I took him to the whipping post. But I digress... Trotted circles, changing direction every 3 laps or so, with NO agression, just calmly keeping him moving where I want him, waiting for him to really give me his attention. He did, I asked him to hook up, he did pretty well on one side. Not so great on the other side at all. After about 45 minutes I had a horse that was scared to walk with me on that side. He'd try to hook up and then get worried and decide it was easier to leave. He pivoted great in either direction, worried but with me, on hinds or forequarters, but he couldn't walk next to me without getting scared. After exactly 59 minutes (that felt like two hours) he was doing better, gave me hope that I didn't make a huge mistake. He was following me well on both sides, backing without getting scared on one side, then at the very end he did it on the other side. He was sweaty and winded. I felt like a big jerk. And I still don't think it improved our relationship. Rather than walking next to me perfectly and with interest, he was lagging behind kind of sullenly, making me jiggle my stick to encourage him to keep up. Maybe he was just tired.

I'm still a bit torn on what to do with this. Did I not keep it up until he was fully "mine" or is it just not the right technique for him? Would it be better to try it again or walk away from that idea with this horse?

Hopefully he'll let me know whether this was some amazing breakthrough or a really big mistake. Probably neither. I think we already had a pretty good relationship, and I don't think he'll hold it against me.

Monday, November 03, 2008

We had a pretty good weekend. On Saturday Katia, Bella and I "walked the loop." It's four miles and goes through a pretty treed area for part of it. Bella was not her usual easygoing sweetie pie. It was windy and slightly rainy, and she wanted to go home. Less than a mile into the walk she threw a little fit trying to set her neck and pull away from me. We worked through it and then our issue was stopping and backing. She was happy to zone out and walk but wasn't paying attention to when I stopped. Then she wouldn't soften her face and back up at the same time. It was an either/or type of thing. She was worried about a big rock painted orange next to a yellow sign. Really scared of it. But she touched it for me. Still scooted away from it twice though. Other than that the walk went well. We passed some horses that were very excited to see us. Bella got a little excited but settled when I told her we weren't visiting.

Yesterday I went to a tack swap that turned out to be pretty small. I got something for a friend, and there was a saddle there that might have fit Tonka, but even though it wasn't expensive I didn't look too seriously at it. I need to sell my Aussie before I start looking at saddles.

In the afternoon, or shall we say evening at 4:00, thanks to the stupid time change, I worked with Scout a bit. I was thinking now that I have a new training stick (I gave mine to a friend) I can be more effective at keeping him out of my space. Well, it turns out that he's an angel once the halter is on. It's just in the stall that he thinks he can walk right through me. Which he also does to Tonka, so maybe it's a baby thing rather than a lack of respect. I suppose in a herd they'll put up with certain nonsense from a baby. Tonka doesn't always put up with it, but Scout still does it...

Today I think I'll do some basic round pen work with Tonka. We've done very little of that, and he will kind of "hook up" with me, but kind of not. So I think I'll go through all the motions until he's got it down as well as Lyric did. It's fun when people are so impressed that you can lead and do complicated maneuvers with your horse without a rope.

In other big news, something got our hens last night. I think it must have been an owl. We've heard a big bird in the trees the last few nights. I thought it was neat, didn't even think of the danger to the chickens. They were all still alive, but were very stressed and had bloodied combs. I couldn't see any other major injuries in the dark, but one hen had lost a lot of feathers. I feel terrible. We've never had anything attack them before. If we'd replaced the coop covering it wouldn't have happened, but I thought since we've never had an attack they'd be fine. Wrong. Now I'm going to have to keep them locked in their house at night until we get the coop re-covered. And just hope that they all make it. They could be riddled with puncture wounds. I better get going and check on them.