Monday, April 29, 2013

We had a great day yesterday, visiting with family and of course I played with my horse.

One of our girls outdid herself - that's quite an egg.  The middle egg is a normal sized egg.  The teeny-tiny one was laid by our 8 year old banty hen.  I kind of wonder if it might have been her last effort.  It's about the same size as her first egg was.

This is Das, the layer of the tiny egg.  She's definitely her own bird.  She likes to hang out around people (especially people who have blueberries to share) but she's not exactly tame.  She's also very smart for a chicken, flies well, and likes to roost high in the trees.  I think if you wanted birds that could survive predation, you might want birds like Das.  She's a Silver Seabright.

We had German Pancakes for breakfast.  I probably should have taken pictures of the finished product.  I call them German Pancakes because that's how I grew up, but I've also seen them called Dutch Babies and my cookbook calls them Puffed Oven Pancakes.  They're awesome, but I can't eat them because of my egg allergy.

I don't know what these flowers are called, but I like them.  Even with poor focus, they're pretty.

I started working on Joseph's Equine Good Citizenship Level 1 video.  Here he is after I did the standing tied part.

Then we went out to lunch.  My rotten daughter was taking pictures of me so I took pictures of her and we took pictures of each other taking pictures.  :)

Now I'm off to go play with my horse some more.  The weather is icky cold and windy, but we'll still find something worthwhile to do.  Yesterday he learned that we can trot together without freaking out.  It was actually pretty funny.  He kind of bunny hopped to each side and backward on the first try, then we tried again and he did it perfectly.  He's a quick study sometimes.  Then in the course of perfecting our positions  we fell apart and came back together again, and then started over on the other side.  It's all good.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I never did post these photos of my friend's visit, I don't think.  They were here over Easter weekend.  I wish they could come visit all the time.

Bob doesn't really eat hay unless he has to, but he humored Hillary.

Even Joseph was pretty good for her:

Good old Dyno.  He's looking for a home with kids to play with, if anyone knows of someone (locally).

We all "rode" Pedro.  Meaning we sat on him and he mostly ate grass.  Look how Allegra's legs almost wrap all the way around:

 She thought his back was more comfortable this way:

Hillary sat on Pedro too, but you could tell who she really wanted to be riding.

 Then we went fishing.  She caught her first fish ever!  Awesome.

The girls - my daughter and my two nieces:

Liam and my nephew, wrangling a fish:

Yesterday after Bob bit the crap out of Pedro's neck and left it bloody, I tried putting Pedro in with Joseph.  At first they kept their distance, then Pedro chased Joseph around a bunch.  I had to run to town, but I heard reports that Pedro was trying to get a hold of Joseph's neck, and Joseph was staying just out of reach and kicking up at him.  Good exercise for them both, I figure, as long as nobody gets hurt.  I'm trying them together again today.  I'm hoping to get some video of them running around.  :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I couldn't decide if I wanted to go to my sister's today - I could just work at home, and then maybe I could work with three horses.  But there have been a few things that have been bugging me, and I figured I sure could use another set of eyes and ideas.

The first thing she suggested was using treats.  He's been tense, watchful, and kinda introverted.  He would be okay with something one day and then we'd have to start over again the next, because he wasn't really okay at all - he was just surviving.

The treats turned his brain back on and got him interested and engaged.  He was seeking a dialog instead of just letting things happen.  I'm totally not against using treats, as long as you're not rewarding bad behavior.  I just haven't had any treats, and I rarely remember to stick some carrots in my pocket.

One of the things, maybe the biggest thing, he's had trouble with is switching eyes.  He didn't like me reaching over him, although he would tolerate it and even look at my hand on the other side, and he couldn't stand still for me to walk behind him.  That was just too damn terrifying.

He's not sure he likes this game at all.

 I just kinda like this picture.

Here he says he just can't stand still and let me walk around his butt.

Oh my gosh, would you look at this!

Good boy.

Wow, buddy!

I did successfully walk behind him from both directions.  He would still have to move, but not until after I'd switched sides, and it wasn't a scoot and bolt, just a turning around to face me.  At the end, he didn't even do that.  We broke it up with some other stuff so it didn't get too intense.

I mentioned to my sister that he wasn't comfortable yet with me being above him, and she insisted I work him from the fence.  This isn't something I do.  It's really uncomfortable!  But it was sure a good thing to do today.

Once he got to where he understood where I wanted him, I'd lean over and give him a treat from the other side.  So he's not hiding away behind half-closed lids and then shocked when he actually sees me on that other side, he's actively searching for my hand.

 Good boy :)

Not sure about this.

Maybe this is okay.

Ooh, food!

Yes, this is about as comfortable as it looks.  Which is not very.

He's cute.  My posture sucks.  But one day I'll be sitting on his back, not behind it.

Check him out!  Interest, not fear.

What a good boy.

I even put my weight on his back.  He thought that was weird, I thought it was uncomfortable.
At no point did I commit myself to the point where I'd fall if he moved.  I had a good hold on that fence the whole time.  Well, except maybe when I draped myself over his back, but then I could just drop to my feet.  Yes, I probably should have been wearing a helmet, but I assure I was not at risk - I don't take those kinds of risks.

When I got home Bella helped me learn that I have a little PTSD from Tonka's accident.  I heard a big metallic bang, and I couldn't see her, so I hauled butt out to the grain bins with a halter & lead in my hand.  I figured I could use it to find a way to MAKE her get up if she was cast.  But what if she had a broken leg?  What if I had to have her put down inside the grain bin?  How would I get her body out?  I was all business and ready to tackle whatever the problem was, but all sorts of thoughts were going through my head.

This is what I found - Bella's tail knotted around some gate hardware, and her shaking like a leaf, pulling on it.
I took the picture while I waited for her to quit pulling.  I had a knife in my pocket but I really didn't want to have to use it.  It only took her a second to give me some slack and then she was free.  I watched her walk away pretty painfully and I was worried.  I forced myself to get a good feel of it, even though it was hurting her and that bothered me.  It might have had some swelling, but she was able to gently clamp it down, which made me feel better. I kept watching her, on and off, for several hours.  She wasn't using her tail at all, even though the other two horses were pretty actively swatting at bugs.  Finally she had to poop, and she lifted it a little. I talked to the vet and she said that even if the tail was damaged enough that she couldn't use it, there's not much you can do.  If she was peeing and pooing on herself enough to cause infection or flystrike it could be amputated, but it's a big dang deal.  I'll give her a pretty hefty dose of bute for a couple doses, then a normal dose for a few days.  I think she'll be alright but I don't think I'll be riding her any time soon.

And I was thinking about riding her, just a little.  She got this award today:
And I really want to work on Level 2!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My good boy wore my good saddle today for the first time.  It has a lot more squeak and creak than the synthetic saddle.  Plus it weighs twice as much, has a back cinch and saddle bags.  I took the breastcollar off initially.  He took to it pretty well.  Don't mind his silly parked out stance here, but take note of how long his hind feet are:

Now check it out.  That's a lot of growth.  I wonder if he's ever been trimmed.  The BLM sometimes puts them in a chute that tilts them horizontal so they can trim their feet, but I kinda doubt they did that with this guy.

The other hind hoof is seriously overgrown too of course, but looks different because the bars haven't worn off, they're just as overgrown as the outer hoof wall.  

It started raining so I threw another saddle blanket over my saddle.  He thought that was dumb.  As a matter of fact, he thought all the proceedings were dumb.  He was really a good boy though.  I just trimmed him with his rope draped over his neck, and gave him a break whenever he seemed like he needed it.  It took quite some time to get him trimmed.

When we were done he got a good long break and then I did a lot of fiddling with the saddle, standing over him on the mounting block, hopping up and down, and putting my foot in the stirrup.

I need to work more on getting him accustomed to rein commands.  I forgot to mention the other day, I got a good look in his mouth.  He has BIG wolf teeth.  And his canines haven't erupted yet.  Which makes me wonder if he's younger than they say.  But going back to the wolf teeth.  I'm going to have to wait until after I have those pulled before I put a bit in his mouth.  So I'm thinking we'll either use a bosal or sidepull.  I'm leaning toward the bosal - the sidepull doohickey that I have isn't quite to my liking. 

Then I put the breastcollar on, moved him around a bit with it, and we went out into the great wide open.  (I don't normally have a breastcollar that low - I lowered it so he could graze more comfortably.)

He's even handsome when he's eating.

Blue was enjoying the sunshine with us.

Happy times, just being.

I could have taken a nap just like Blue

 But I was aware that something might happen and I might get run over.

Eventually Joseph ate all the good grass within reach, Blue started barking at something, and my bladder demanded attention.  Our magical moment was over.

I had intended to get Scout out and ride but the weather took a nasty turn.  Glad I was out when the sun made its brief appearance.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

We had another great family hike today, on a trail Tonka and I rode down 3 years ago.  We went a little too far and were all footsore and a little whiny by the time we got back.  I have what I call "NextCorner-itis" and it's hard for me to decide to turn around, even if I know what's just around the next corner. 

Right at the beginning was an interesting rock formation where you could see that several lava flows had layered one on top of the other.  Since Liam is studying this kind of stuff in school right now it was fun to point it out to him.

This tree looks like it might get up and walk away:

Katia found a good place to sit:

Another amazing root structure:

Looking straight up a cliff - the moss was very pretty:

A huge blade of rock separated from the rest by a deep, dark crevice:

Rock climbing.  Can you believe he hikes in mud boots?

On the way back we spotted something we hadn't seen the first time:

Here's a closer look.  Nests!

The sun decided to grace us with its presence as we neared the end of our hike:

I really, really wanted to walk across the bridge, but I was a good girl:

This next picture is the same area, from above.  I took this on one of my rides with Tonka.  Beautiful view of the Palouse River with Steptoe Butte sticking up in the distance.  I think our next hike might be at Steptoe.  All my years living in this area and I haven't been there.