Friday, May 31, 2013

We've had a little boxer/bulldog puppy coming into the clinic for the last 6 months.  He was just a little white bundle of loose skin the first time he came in.  I think I was there for all of his vaccines, I was there through his neuter, and I loved him to pieces.

Well, his family had some bad stuff come up and needed an immediate home for him.  Long story short they signed him over to me and we have a new family member. 

Meet Winston!

Or as I like to call him, Sir Winston Wigglebutt.  :)

Now we have three nubtailed wigglebutts.

It's been a little tense with two territorial males who have to allow a new big dumb puppy into their pack.  But so far it's gone quite well, really.

I'm not sure how big he'll end up.  He's 8 months old and weighs 84 lbs.  I think that might be about as big as a male boxer gets, but his other half can get up to 120.

I grew up with my grandma's super sweet boxer dog, so I have a soft spot for them.  But I don't know much about hot to motivate the bulldog types, and he needs some basic training.  He knows how to sit but I don't know if he knows much else.  He walks pretty well on a leash but pulls sometimes.  Maybe we'll have some obedience classes in our future.  Don't get me wrong, he doesn't seem like a bad dog at all.  So far he's been very well behaved. 

Funny how these things work out. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The help:
I was innocently walking my horse through the field when I realized there was an awful lot of rustling in the grass behind us.  Three chickens and two dogs make a lot of noise.  I don't know why they were following us.

Sadly, last week we lost one of our hens.  No feathers, no body, nothing.  Just gone.  The back of the chicken coop was wide open - the chicken wire had been knocked down.  Since then I've been letting them run loose.  They're safer that way, I figure.  But they've taken to sleeping and pooping all over the top of my hay stack, so I put them back in the coop today.  Repaired it first, of course.

Joseph was very jumpy this afternoon.  Didn't want to be caught at all, at first.  When I got him out he was worried about what was going to happen.  We did simple things.  Things he could easily get right.  I added one new thing - lateral movement from a circle.  He was confused and stressed at first (and distracted - Liam was walking Bella) but when he got it and I told him "good boy" he marched up, dropped his head, put his face under my hand and completely relaxed.  It was just what we both needed.  We duplicated it a couple times on both sides and it was awesome.  After that I fed him his supplement and put him back in the pasture. 

But then I couldn't resist catching him again and getting a picture to share with you.  A couple years back Katia and Bella won a nice black leather halter at the Spokane Mustang Days.  Sadly, it didn't fit any of our big-headed beasties. But it does fit Joseph pretty well, and he looks extremely dashing in it. 

 Liam had a great time helping me with the horses yesterday, and I didn't even have to ask.  First he groomed Bella for me, then he warmed her up.
 He took pictures while I rode. (And a couple goofy videos too)

The next thing I knew he had Scout out, going over the obstacle course Liam had made for me and Bella.

He even took Scout up the driveway and got the mail.  Pretty cute.

By the time he was putting Scout away, I had Joseph saddled and had lunged him around the field.  He was doing well and I thought it was time to call John and ask him to come to the round pen while I mounted up.  (Aren't cell phones great?  Almost seems silly to call someone who is just inside the house, but it sure works better than yelling.)  As I was talking to him something behind Joseph spooked him and sent him bucking.  I had to drop my phone and go with him, but then when he fell over backward I opted to let go.  He almost fell over backward last time he bucked like this in the round pen too.  His hind legs slide forward, butt on the ground, and his front end is up, and it's not pretty.  Anyway, he got right back up and bucked around a bit more.  I was able to catch him easily once he stopped, even though he was still pretty shaken up. 

I didn't know what spooked him, but Liam mentioned he had clapped his hands to get Scout's attention.  This just happened to be right behind Joseph, although about 30 feet back.

I'm really glad this happened when I wasn't on his back.

So of course I spent the rest of the day thinking about where I'd gone wrong and what I needed to change to make this whole process better.  I guess that's why we have bad days, so we can learn from them.

I was going to write about that, but I'm going to go get my horse out of the pasture instead.

Monday, May 27, 2013

What a good day we had yesterday.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Quite a while after a colossal bucking fit:

He wasn't super comfortable doing this with the saddle on, but the treats in my pocket made it bearable.  And I feel I must apologize for my garish shirt - it's actually a scrub top.  I didn't change after work.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This picture is from a couple days ago.  This morning it was snowing.  But on that day the horses were sleek and shiny and the sky was glorious!  And of course my Joseph was handsome.  :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So much for my plan to ride my horse again today.  I had to wait until John was home, because what if something bad happened when I was alone?  We kind of have a standing rule, no riding colts when nobody else is home.  I say "kind of" because it's a rule I'd really like to break sometimes, so I don't want to admit that it really is a real rule.  :)

Anyway, it was gorgeous out until about noon, and I did get a short ride in on Scout, as well as some mowing and watering of the garden.  But when I got my Joseph out during a break in the very light rain this evening, it decided to downpour.  Joseph was jumpy.  I mean really jumpy.  So I wasn't going to climb on, but I also didn't want to quit when he was scared.  So I didn't.  My good saddle got soaked.  We got to a halfway decent stopping point and I got him unsaddled right in front of the house, John ran my saddle and a stand inside, and I put my horse away.  After I'd changed into dry clothes I blotted my saddle dry as best I could and soaked it with saddle oil.  It's a gorgeous color now.  I don't know what it will dry like.  Can't wait to see it in the morning. 

But I wish I could have ridden my horse!

Monday, May 20, 2013

I rode all three horses today.

Wait.  Did you catch that?  I RODE ALL THREE HORSES TODAY!

Joseph had his first ride tonight!  He had been doing so well earlier in the day, but I had to quit to go to a baseball game.  I came home with a headache and it was getting dark, but Joseph was still in the round pen because I'd planned on saddling up again.  I didn't feel like saddling up again.

When I got out to him, he was so peaceful and sweet and attentive.  I figured what the hay.  I tied his lead rope around like reins and went to the mounting block.  (With lots of treats in my pockets to keep the boogeyman at bay.)

I tried throwing my leg over on the "correct" side of the horse, but my leg wouldn't do it.  After I got him turned around I threw my leg over from the off side, and that time it worked.  I fed him a bunch of treats while sprawled across his back, then slid off the other side.  Grabbed more treats and did it again but sat up this time.  The third time was absolutely awesome.  I fed him treats, scratched all his good spots, and stayed up there long enough to enjoy the moonlight and take a picture. 

I'm glad the picture turned out, even though it's not a good one.  Our first ride!

He is going to be a great horse to ride bareback.  Wonderfully comfortable.  Tomorrow though, the saddle goes back on and we will actually move our feet. 

I'm so stoked I don't know if I'll be able to sleep tonight.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Snipe is our giveaway winner!  Email me your mailing address - andreav$turbonet;com  (with the proper punctuation) and I'll get the books sent off to you.  Hope you enjoy them!

Sorry for the sporadic blogging, but I haven't had any "me" time in a couple weeks.  Tomorrow might be a better day though.  :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's giveaway time!

Thanks to the wonderful ladies at Life With My Herd and Horseshoes and Hearts, I have some books to share with some lucky person.  Once you've won them and read them, pass them on. 

These two books aren't something I would have picked up off the shelf and bought, but they turned out to be very good books!  Having lived in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, I especially liked the
"Horses of the Storm" book.  I cannot even imagine what it was like in the stinking, stifling heat, with all the death and destruction.  My hat is off to those who fought through the ordeal and those who helped them.

Just leave a comment on this post by midnight on Saturday, and I'll choose a winner this Sunday.  Then I'll mail them off and you can enjoy them at your leisure and pass them on in a giveaway on your own blog.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

 I think I'm pretty lucky to live in this neck of the woods.  :) 
We had a lovely ride today.

Monday, May 06, 2013

I caught a picture of Scout being curious yesterday.  He was pretty cute, sneaking up on the mower to see what it was.  If she saw this picture, my mom might be a bit worried he'd eat her motorhome, but he didn't.  I was watching.  I did have to catch him and put an end to his wandering when he got too close to the burn pile.  There are nails in there.

While I was letting Scout wander and eat dandelions, Bella was getting her fly spray treatment.  She's such a sweet girl.  She doesn't really like fly spray but she stands still for me anyway.  I had to spray it onto cotton balls and really work it into all of their ears.  We have these little biting gnats that we've never had before.  They're awful.

Joseph got to go out into the less secure pasture for a while.  It's only got one strand of electric for part of it so I haven't left him out there when I'm not home.  I think he'd be fine but I need to be sure before I leave him unsupervised.

He can't help but be handsome.

As I was sitting admiring my horse, it wasn't long before I had company.

They were hiding behind me, also admiring Joseph.

Then Joseph came to say hello.

Then Blue came up doing his ingratiating smiley dance.  I had already told him to stay out of the horses' area, but I'm a pushover when he's acting like a goof.  And he wasn't bothering the horses.  But then he stuck his nose on the electric fence and yiped all the way back to the house and wouldn't talk to me for a long time.  He thought I had something to do with his poor nose getting shocked.

Today we did some very low key ground work all over the pasture.  I've decided to slow down the progression to riding.  He's still so flinchy about stuff touching him.  He gets over it when we really concentrate on it, or at least he seems to, and then next time he's defensive again.  So he's obviously not really getting over it.  We have plenty of time.  I think he needs more time just hanging out, having things be relaxed and friendly.  With some low-key saddling and relaxed schooling too.  We just did circles at the walk all around the pasture, then worked on some trot transitions, and finished up with walking again.  He really relaxed and seemed to enjoy moving his feet in a way that wasn't complicated or scary.  He misunderstood a few times (or more likely I mis-cued him) and got a bit flustered, but I just calmly redirected him and he relaxed again.  At the end he was happy and relaxed.  He looked proud of himself and he was being open and curious.  Very cute.

Here he is about halfway through our work.  He's adorable.

The donkeys got a bit of a hoof trim today.  Pedro is living life in the "fat pen" where he only gets a tiny bit of grass and hay twice a day.  He thinks it's terribly boring.  I tried to put him out on the pasture a little bit and his hooves got sore.  He was laying around more and hardly braying at all.  Looking at the nice tight hoof wall he grew over the winter, I'm really kicking myself for trying to put him on grass again.  I'm sure there's going to be some new evidence of a founder episode when his hooves grow out.  Live and learn.  Can't fudge on his diet, I guess.  Bob, on the other hand, is doing great out on pasture.  Just what the old guy needs, I think.  They're so sweet.  I wanted to take my ass for a walk today but ran out of time, and it's just too darn hot. 

And now for softball!  The girls are doing pretty darn well lately, and they're playing the best team in the area tonight.  It'll be fun to watch.  And nice to just sit for a while.  :)

Saturday, May 04, 2013

I introduced Joseph to the bosal yesterday.  He didn't quite like it at first.  I wasn't going to be able to get it on him in the psture with no halter on.  He just wasn't cool with it.  So I put a halter on him and played around, and he had it on in just a few minutes.  We had practiced proper head position for bridling on an earlier day.
I "drove" him around the pasture with my arm over his back to get him used to rein movement and requests.  He was hard to motivate forward, he thought it was weird that I was back at his girth bumping him with my side.  Plus, whenever he thinks something is weird he just wants to stand still, not move forward.  But we worked through that pretty well, and overall it was a great session.

Yesterday my sister asked if I wanted to go on a poker ride.  I told her I didn't have a good horse for that.  I like poker rides because you often get to see new scenery and trails, but only on a good horse.  I think with the level of energy there, with horses jigging and calling, you'd be setting yourself up for failure if you were to ride a green horse, and it's not fair to the horse.  She said I could borrow my old horse Danni from her friend.  I said, "Sure!" 

Now, I wouldn't normally ride just anybody's horse.  I'm not that brave and I really don't see the point.  For me riding is more about the relationship between me and my horse than it is just about getting on any horse and riding.  But I know Danni is safe and we did at one time have a bond.  She's a sweetie.

 None of my pictures in the woods came out, so I just ended up with bright, sunshiny meadow pictures.

I would love to camp at this pond, but it's private land.
Thank goodness we met up with this guy who knew where the trail was.  It wasn't flagged very well.

Danni does jig some when she's excited, but still she's pretty much totally safe, even if it is a bit rougher than walking. We did 13 1/2 miles today, and I have hardly ridden at all this year.  My butt HURTS.  But I rode in Holly's Orthoflex saddle, and it must have been good for me, because my knees and ankles never hurt at all.

After I got home I was so excited about doing some more trail riding that I decided I'd better get Scout back in shape.  He was a really good boy.  I went out with the idea that I was going to be a helping hand to my horse, instead of thinking about how he irritates me, and we got along beautifully.  I can't even tell you how bad it hurt to set my butt in the saddle though.  It got better after a few minutes.  In the past I found that the best cure for saddle soreness is more riding, but I never tested that in the same day.  Ouch.

I couldn't resist a silly picture as we were picking up cones.  Scout thinks it's dumb.

This isn't the best picture of either of my boys, but it shows how much bigger Scout is!  Big and doughy.  Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have gelded him so early.  Would he have been more muscular, I wonder?