Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good weekend

We had a good weekend with friends. My horse crazy little girl friend rode a lot, but I didn't turn her loose.  Here she's just sitting on Pedro, saying she wished the rope was connected on the other side of the halter too, like reins.

We took them up to our favorite place in the woods.
I call it Shiny Creek, but I don't know what it's real name is.

This bronze tipped rock was pretty striking:

A happy little cascade:

The big center rock is brilliantly shiny.  It just doesn't show well here.

Scout got kind of bored with our antics.

And as always, he was easily distracted.  But he was a very good boy.

John and I took a nice evening walk with the boys.  Here Jasper is staring off at a coyote in the next field over.  I think it makes a very nice portrait.  :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Discouraged, but have a plan

Blogging is a lot more fun when you have something to brag about.  My wee mule is not working out quite as smoothly as I had hoped.  I go to mount up, and he won't stand still.  Unfortunately with my synthetic Steve Edwards saddle, getting my foot in the off stirrup is a pain in the ass.  So Jasper decides to do a mini-bolt, and I try to stop him, which gets him more worked up, which is just a vicious circle.  Last couple rides lasted 30 seconds or less, luckily with a planned dismount.  :)

So I took him back to kindergarten and asked him to stand still at the mounting block.  It took a LOT of times repositioning him, but he got to where he could stand still.  The last couple days I've been ground driving him around the round pen, asking for a lot of stops.  He got to where he'd "whoa" with just my voice, before the rein cue.  Nice.  Then we added some changes of direction and I found another difficulty.  He doesn't like to switch eyes and find me on his off side.  That got smoother and eventually we did a bit of walk, trot, walk, whoa.

During all this, I decided to go back to the hackamore and see if that would help, but actually he was more willing to lean on that than he was the bit.  Either way he was emotional and reactive, so we went back to the bit.

Today when I was disconnecting his driving line on his off side, while standing on his near side, he spooked when I reached over his back.  More change of eye trouble, I suppose.

So I have a plan.  I'm going to take him off the pasture.  He's getting fat.  We all know fat horses are sassy.  I'm going to continue working on standing still, and "whoa" with the bit, a fair amount of desensitizing (especially things above, behind, and switching sides) and I'm just going to have to cowgirl up and get through this.  I'm also thinking about having someone at his head when I do decide to mount up.  That's cheating, I know, but it might make us both feel better.  I have also considered taking him to a (somewhat) local mule trainer and getting some pointers. That will have to wait until I get my daughter's root canal and my year's supply of hay paid for.  In the mean time, if I want to ride a good, predictable critter on the trail, I can ride my colt (who is looking like a better ride all the time). 

Lack of time, and the fact that I've been sick most of my days off this spring, are not helping.  Some days, especially Fridays, I get home from work and I'm so tired I just want to lay down and die.  But I'll have to quit whining and just do it.  I really do like Jasper a lot.  He's a real sweetie when we're not "working."  We just have to get to where working is fun, not a big ordeal.  We have a few years yet before either of us is too old to try anymore.  :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Not much to write. Actually I do have some stuff I could share, but it's nothing that won't keep. As usual, not enough hours in the day.

Pool party for one:

 Pop quiz: Do you know who's who here?

Pond monsters:

Monday, May 05, 2014

Interesting day

I spent my day off castrating stallions. (The vet castrated, I was just an assistant.)  Wow, what a tense job that can be.  Especially with older stallions who are very concerned about where the mares are, and don't get much handling. These guys will be better off now though.

I also spent my day nauseated, and haven't stepped out of the house since I got home.  I'll have to go feed the hayburners at some point, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

(Whining warning)  I need a few more days in the week.  I'm sick of being too busy.  I lost my whole weekend this week, and it looks like next weekend is quickly disappearing in mother's day and work plans.  I am going to make time tomorrow.  I have a trail ride planned for next week and I have to get more than 2 rides in the round pen before I tackle the trail.  I wonder if Jasper would let me use clippers on his mane too.  Hmm, might have to get some really super yummy treats and try that.

In regards to the fly spray issue I brought up last time, I decided to buy chemical fly spray again because I know it works and I don't have to order it online.  I like Endure or Tri-Tec.  Some of the cheaper sprays seem to attract bugs.  I have tried feeding apple cider vinegar as well.  It didn't make a difference.  I'm not comfortable with feed through fly products.  It feels bad enough spraying them with pesticide, I don't want to feed it to them.

Speaking of pests - the ticks have been driving me crazy!  My dogs are very fluffy.  They have a very dense, fine undercoat.  I search them all over (in the guise of a thorough petting) for ticks at least twice a day.  I put Frontline on them, and it does help, but isn't really a cure-all.  With my past dogs Frontline has worked really well, but not with my fluffy Aussies.  I think the fine undercoat wicks up the stuff and it doesn't spread on the skin like it should.  Winston, the hairless wonder (not really, he sheds more than the Aussies) doesn't spend much time running free and has yet to get a tick this year. 

Anyway, I'm just babbling to pass the time.  No interesting news to impart.  Just a bit of enforced cabin fever, even though it's not winter anymore.  I'm getting outside tomorrow, no matter what!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Bugs and Mane

Tonight I groomed and fly sprayed Bella, Scout, and Jasper.  The flies are tormenting them, and I think the mosquitoes are starting to be a problem too.  I'm about out of fly spray and I'm thinking of trying something different.  Has anyone here ever tried Flick's fly spray?  It's all natural and I've smelled it on a nice old mule before and it was wonderful, but it has cedar oil in it so I'm afraid it might be a problem for some critters.  How about Avon Skin So Soft?  I hear that works well on mosquitoes too, but I also hear it doesn't work at all, so...  Hmmm.

Then I cut poor Jasper's mane.  I say "cut" and not "roached" because there is no skill to my work, or really any claim to knowing what I'm doing at all.  Somehow I ended up with it shorter in front of his withers, so he looks ewe-necked now.  And I'm sure he looks like a beaver chewed on him.  It was dusk when I finished, so I think maybe when I see it in daylight I'll be horrified.  Oh well, haircuts grow out.

Everyone was very well behaved, and although they don't love being sprayed, there was a lot less flicking and stomping going on when I was done.