Thursday, September 29, 2011

Desire Got a Bath

Desire got a bath alright, and boy did she need it. I haven't owned a grey horse in a while and forgot the gradual change from white, to whitish, to yellowish, in their mane and tail color. Well clearly she was due for a scrubbing as this picture I posted shows:

Yesterday it was about 93 so I decided we could both cool down and she could use a real scrubbing. I used Cowboy Magic concentrated shampoo and the same kind of conditioner. Diluted it into a bucket, which as my foot got instantly soaked, I realized had a big crack in it. Whoops. Desire is so snorty about the hose, she looks at it like its a snake the entire bath but she puts up with being scrubbed and rinsed fine. I hope that eventually she will relax some about the horse but then her previous owner said she was always that way and a lot of her horses of this bloodline have been consistently scared of hoses. Well anyway, maybe with enough scrubbings she'll get over it.

So here is the finished product, BAM she's a model!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What are the Odds?!!

Today was my husband's day off so I actually got to leave the property for the first time in about a week. We are in major housewife-at-home/husband-goes-off-to-work mode and as a rather independent person who spent all spring and summer throwing my horse in the trailer and gallivanting off to the trails--well lets just say this current lifestyle is a bit different. It won't last forever though, we are looking at getting a second truck in a month or two to replace our Jeep that bit the dust this summer. And salmon season ends in November I think so his work on the boat will be over for the time being. He is having a great time working as assistant guide and its a wonderful opportunity as being a guide is his dream job and he has his foot in the door now with another young guy already succeeding at the business.

Anyway, the point of this post: When we got to town and cell service I got a voicemail from someone who said they were cleaning someone's belongings out and found my checkbook! My cell phone number is on my checks and they saw the different name on the checks from the person who had the checkbook and decided things weren't right and they should call the number. I called them back right away but went to their voicemail then I caught them on the phone this evening and turns out they not only have my checkbook but they found my PURSE TOO!! I am so happy about this, my husband and I bought that purse together in Maine on the day of our wedding and its the first nice purse I've ever owned. I always wanted a soft leather purse and that was it. I was really pissed off and sad about it being stolen and the funny thing is I hadn't even dragged out one of my other old purse's to use, I was rebelling against replacing it and had been carrying my wallet and junk around in my big purple AERC convention bag, lol. And come to find out the purse has been found and is being returned to me! Unfortunately they didn't find my husband's fly fishing rod that got snagged out of my truck at the same time--that was a huge surprise gift I gave him a year ago and a beautiful rod so bummer on that. But still, what are the odds of recovering the purse! And I get my nice leather checkbook cover back too, for what its worth.

Day two of weaning went well, Sheza ate her hay well overnight and let me put her fly mask on nicely this morning--sometimes she still skitters away when I walk up to her in the paddock with the mask in my hand, but after a couple steps and giving me the "you crazy person" look she always lets me put it on. AND this evening when I went to take it off she just stood and let me take it off instead of her usual: stand, pull the Velcro open, filly spooks and runs away, comes back, then get the mask off. Or sometimes when she spooks she throws the mask off herself. Tonight however she was all manners and the mask came right off. Desire seems to be off her hay slightly, I am keeping an eye on her. Her bag is swollen with milk tonight, poor thing. She ate her Elk Grove Milling mash in her usual greedy fashion so that's good. I spoke to my vet this morning and she is coming next Wednesday to do Sheza's shots. I'm planning to use my big irrigating syringe to simulate giving shots and try to get her used to that so its as smooth an experience as possible. Just used to the sight of a syringe and it tapping her neck etc. I also asked my vet if there was anything I could or should do with Desire as far as her big swollen milk bag but she said the mare just needs to tough it out and the milk should dry up before long.

I picked up a new bag of Elk Grove Milling mix today, this time I got the Timothy/Alfalfa/Rice Bran pellets. I like to add some water to it and make a mush and all the horses eat it right up. I threw some in with Sheza's Foal Developer tonight and she gobbled it. She is born to eat wet mash so at least I won't have to worry about that for her endurance career ;) 

Can't wait to get my purse back!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It Is Done

I moved Desire to the paddock next to Sheza this morning. Sheza whinnied twice then saw how close mom was and they both went to grazing without further commotion, haven't heard a peep since. I'm sure there will be a ruckus when I pull one or the other to work with them but I won't do that for a few days yet. I spoke to my vet this morning about shots for Sheza etc now that is becoming a big girl and won't be nursing. She will probably come end of this week or maybe next to do Sheza's 6 month shots.

Time flies!! Didn't she just look like this a minute ago?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Awesome Weather and Photos!

50 degrees this morning! Right now its just made it to 60 degrees and its been raining lightly but steadily for a half hour. I'm wearing a sweatshirt and my fuzzy boots, after spending all morning riding both my horses, cleaning paddocks, and the house. Basically, I'm in heaven!

Today was my first ride on Desire with her 4 Easyboot Gloves on. I lunged her walk, trot, canter in the arena, then rode her w/t/c in the arena. We headed outside the arena into the pasture itself and had some fun trotting and cantering up and down the hill with Blaze and the mini running behind us. I was a little wary how they would behave with us riding out amongst them for longer than the quick route from gate to gate we usually take. Blaze seemed quite into it and was trotting along behind us like I was ponying him. No shenanigans, though I was watching for them. I love watching Napoleon the mini run, its HILARIOUS. He is SO tiny, he has to be like 32" tops, but he gives 'er hell up the hill bucking and kicking and having a ball. Plus he is getting all hairy for winter and with his pig-esque markings and woolly fatness...he is just so ridiculous looking! The Gloves stayed on fine, though I know that wasn't much of a test of them. I figured I had to take one small test run from home before I ventured out-- and all seemed well. The gaiters are full of stickers from running around in the field..ugghhhh I am so sick of all the crazy thistles and prickers we have here. We HAVE to make sure we keep some money in our spring budget to get our pastures fully mowed by a big tractor or something. And sprayed.

 After riding Desire I snagged Blaze out (so far no sign of his past tendency to run like hell from the halter when living in the big field) and went for a bareback ride. Just a couple miles out one of the dirt roads and back. I used the bareback pad this time and it was actually really perfect. Since Blaze has prominent withers and an uncomfortably pokey backbone the thick suede-ish seat of the pad was just enough to make it comfortable while still obviously bareback. Last time I rode with it I felt like it was harder to hold on with the pad on but this time it was nice and I did as much trotting as I could safely. Just on straightaways where I can easily stop him if a car comes, since I'm not a total ninja when bareback riding. Yet. This no saddle thing is turning into the thighmaster supreme workout. Posting Blaze's trot bareback for 2 miles makes me a hundred times more sore than riding a 30 mile endurance ride does!! I'm going to be walking crooked for four days after this morning's rides lol.

I got 3 heaped wheel barrow loads of manure and dead weeds out of the weaning paddock. That sounds bad, doesn't it? I clean it pretty regularly but the dead weeds were the majority of what I took out today. We sprayed and killed all the weeds in the two smaller paddocks and there's still some remnants of that to be scooped up and taken out. Luckily it heaps right onto the poo fork nicely and the paddock looks much better. Shhhh don't tell the horses but I'm separating them tomorrow.

I took a couple of photos. I think Desire is so pretty!

 kitty loves to sleep on my western saddle

 "say what? You want me to come close to that zappy fence?!"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rain Dance?!

After the last week of temperatures once again nearing the 100 mark, we suddenly have a cool cloudy day today and a forecast of 73 DEGREES AND 30% RAIN TOMORROW! What what! Maybe people are starting to think I am just a *tad* obsessed with the weather and weather forecast, but as a redhead I just don't cope with the heat well and am always looking forward to comfortable days where things can get done, i.e. 80 degrees and lower. And fall is my absolute favorite time of year, with Christmas closely following! While I'm not ready for the full deluge, the winter onslaught, I wouldn't mind 73 degrees and a little rain to take the edge off our serious summer dustiness. Its bizarre when the horses are getting thick coats--well Blaze and Sheza anyway, Desire doesn't seem to be much of a winter coat grower--but when you brush them out you are still getting clouds of dust. Of course dust+water=mud sooo.. Nah, I really don't mind fall and winter conditions, or spring of course. I'd rather be wearing muck boots scraping my muddy horse off than sweating just sitting still in the heat of summer. You can always add or remove layers for cooler weather comfort. You can only remove so much in summer before the place becomes a nudist colony and then guess what--you'll still be too hot!
 My obsessive compulsive blanket shopping must go into swing again, I started it a few weeks ago when the first cool spell hit but hey, there's even a little chance of rain coming so I really should be finding Desire and Sheza blankets, right?!

 Just realized this is my fourth post without a photo. My wordiness is overwhelming my drive for photography. Better take some new filly pictures tonight I guess!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Its pretty genius, this plan I have going. See I ride one horse and in so doing end up exercising all 4 of my horses at once! I rode Desire in the arena again this evening and Blaze, mini Napoleon, and Sheza trotted and cantered and bucked HARD. Til every last one of them was dripping sweat. Meanwhile Desire and I were doing endless circles and direction reversals and anything else to keep her paying attention to me and her feet and not the insane rodeo happening outside the arena. Blaze was absolutely ripping around the outside perimeter of the arena, tail to the sky, blowing like a steam engine. He actually pinned his ears and did his Elvis lip curl at Desire over the fence after he tired of galloping up and down the hill. Every time we trotted past him he looked up with a dry sticker bush branch in his mouth and gave her a little snarly face. LOL LOL LOL. I can only guess he is expressing some sort of jealousy that she is getting ridden, or why get so fired up and then so snotty? They are a pretty hilarious little herd I must say. The mini gives it hell up and down that hill as fast as his little stubby legs can go. I actually pulled Sheza out when I was done riding and cleaned and hosed her down as she had run through the few sticker bushes in her paddock and was dripping sweat with little stickery spines sticking out of her. Good grief! Its just amazing I can ride Desire at all with all that nonsense going on, kudos to her for keeping most of her brain intact. I know mine barely is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two Great Reads

I absolutely love reading and I've noticed that some of the other folks on horse blogs I follow enjoy reading as well. So I have to recommend two books I've just read that I really enjoyed. The first was given to me by my granny for my birthday this year and is called The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I am not a previous fan of her work but I really enjoyed the vivid color of this book, in all senses of the word and phrase. The second book I just finished half an hour ago and am probably going to be mailing to my granny to read, as I think she'll rip through it as fast as I did. A real page turner and eerie mystery. Its called The Thirteenth Tale and is by Diane Setterfield. From what I can tell its a first time effort by this author and a good one, in my opinion. I will need to reread this one in about six months to pick up on more of the finer nuances that I'm sure I missed tearing through it for purely for the next plot reveal. I found the book on one of my extremely random choosing sprees in Barnes & Noble a few months ago. I choose books by a sentence or two I read in the beginning, and usually by an author I haven't read before. It usually works out well, I've only really disliked one or two of the books I chose in that manner.

 Anyhoo, check out The Lacuna and/or The Thirteenth Tale if you're in need of a good read!

A Resurgence of Heat

Yep, spoke too soon, summer wasn't quite ready to give its last gasp and quietly retire. After a deliciously cool tease of 50 degree mornings and daytime highs in the 80s, today's foothill forecast calls for 99 degrees. Oh yeah, and 99 is also the forecast high for tomorrow and the next day. I wore jeans down to town to run errands yesterday and was absolutely boiling--I got so excited for fall that I broke out some real clothing prematurely. Its back to tank top and shorts today, that's for sure.

I've delayed separating Desire and Sheza since I needed to de-worm everybody and didn't want to introduce too many stressful variants at once. Sheza is a little spooky since moving over to the new paddocks. I had to really talk to her and convince her to let me put her fly mask on in the paddock this morning, after she had been marching right up to me ready for it the last week or two before I moved her. Still, she allowed it and is coming along quite nicely. Last night she took her de-worming well, she was a little spooky about it around her face at first as she tends to be but I just rubbed it all over her face and neck and talked to her, then popped the sauce in her mouth, gave her a congratulatory rub and moved on to having her pick up her hooves right away. I figured rewarding her good  behavior at taking the de-wormer and then moving her brain right along to something else is better than making a big scene over the de-worming. I'd rather have her take things in stride and be ready for what's next than spend a lot of energy and fuss over any medicating/cleaning things she may take a disliking too. Of course I'm talking about moving on and challenging her mind as long as she is taking things well, otherwise I am ready and willing to put more time and patience into it. Since she took the actual de-wormer quietly and just sort of chewed at it without any fuss or drama I figured a word and a quick neck rub was reward in itself. She then picked up all four feet quietly. I am working on her letting me hold each of her hooves a little longer each time. I don't let her pull her foot away or be snotty but I'm trying not to get into a struggling match over it as again, I want things to remain calm and easily doable in the basic grooming/ground work phase. She is so smart and has such a stubborn streak that I feel like I should do things as smoothly and easily as possible without exciting her to a battle of wills. We've already had a few of those in her short life and I know she can hold her own long enough for it to not be worth doing if its avoidable. As an example, when she starts to pull a hoof away, I give her the "EH EH" no-no noise and don't let her do it, but as soon as I feel her stop and resign herself to holding it quietly, I mean the very moment AFTER I feel it her give in and stand nicely, I release the foot. See that's all I want, good job, we're done. So far this method seems to work with her. She has her mom's tendency to look at things with wide eyes like you are totally nuts to be bringing that hose/brush/fly mask toward her, but they both then give the object a hearty sniff and allow you to do whatever you were planning to. Its like they just have to make sure you SEE how dramatic and Arab-y they can be, if necessary. Lol. Girls, girls, girls. That extra spunk and attitude it quite entertaining to me and I am enjoying having it around again. That said I do love Blaze who comes out of his pasture to eat mash on command, then mosies back over and through his gate to go home again when I call him. No fuss, no drama. Love it. Having that variety of horses and attitudes all at once is pretty fun. I have the option of easy, medium, or spunky baby when wanting to have horse time. Or all of them at once for a big ole carrot session. My husband has been bringing home bulk bags of giant carrots reliably so there is rather a lot of spoiling going on.

Oh, Sheza's baby halter is officially too small! I just barely got it to the last hole last night when pulling her for de-worming. I think the mini's halter, which is much too big for him, should fit her at this point. For a while anyway! Wasn't it just the other day I was punching extra holes to make it go smaller to fit baby Sheza??

If the forecast does what it says its going to, Sunday should be a beautiful cooler day and is my new planned day for mom and baby separation. Of course I've set the day about four different times now but its good to be flexible, right? I just don't want Sheza having a fit about mom being moved and running around like a nutter when its 100 degrees out. Of course the horses all get buck wild when cool weather comes suddenly so Sunday will probably be quite a rodeo all the way around!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walkin' Like a Cowboy

I'm doing a little bit of that today, I must say. It started yesterday afternoon. And was caused by riding Blaze bareback for a few miles through the neighborhood Saturday evening. He seemed to be expressing some "hey me, pick me pick me!" attitude when I was riding Desire in the arena in the A.m. and I don't have a saddle to fit him well at the moment so I said heck, lets go bareback. I told myself that since he is getting all fuzzy in his winter coat it would make his big pointy withers and backbone more comfortable. The things we tell ourselves, right? I actually love riding bareback in all honesty, its just that I prefer the sofa shape of a Desire over the point withered shape of a Blaze. Still, he needed to get out and I was saddle-less.  I had a really fun ride, Blaze is as cool a customer bareback as he is under saddle so we just had a pleasant meander through the neighborhood on a warm but very pleasant fall evening. There were a few snorts and the odd rock got eyeballed but nothing hair raising. I discovered that when riding uphill bareback really wrapping your legs around the horse snugly (without the addition of heels, of course) helps you stay in place quite nicely. No doubt that method is more or less successful depending on the sensitivity of your horse's sides but Blaze didn't mind a bit. Downhill wasn't an issue, I wasn't going anywhere with that cliff of withers in front of me. I even got ambitious and posted his big bumpy trot for about 1/4 mile! And that was quite enough, I assure you. I love love love to canter bareback, there is no more free and thrilling feeling, to me. Trotting bareback, not so much, especially on Blaze, but we managed. I felt fine when I hopped off of Blaze back in the yard and I rode Desire yesterday morning for 45 minutes in the arena, sans baby. It wasn't until about 3 pm yesterday when I stood up from sitting at the desk for a while that my inner inner thighs, you know the part you grip with the horse with all you've got when trotting bareback, were suddenly feeling tight and screaming a little. Still feeling it this morning. That just means I need to ride bareback more, right?!
  After the arena session with Desire yesterday morning I tried on all 4 of her Easyboots. Of course they didn't fit quite right, why would they? The 0s on the hind wouldn't even go on her hooves with the Power straps on (I do remember the barefoot trimmer sort of muttering to herself "hmm, course they'll be kinda hard to get on back there with the straps..oh well") so I got the handy dandy drill and took the straps off. Then the 0s went on, but I'm not really confident of the fit. But then, why would I be, I haven't even ridden her in them yet. I guess sticking them all on and riding in the soft sandy arena is the place to start, yes? She certainly doesn't need them in the arena but at least I can walk, trot, canter, and see what happens, if she looses a boot no big deal. I didn't ride her this morning, the alarm clock left on cranking away at 3 am, a yowling cat, and a dying cell phone singing its little "I'm dying" song all combined to make my early morning less than restful and I slept in a bit later than usual, missing the perfect cool of the morning. The horses have been in their new "Weaning positions" in the pastures for four days as of today, I'm thinking either today or tomorrow I may be sliding Desire on over to the next paddock for true weaning to begin. Oo boy.

Desire modeling all 4 boots like a good girl:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The rest of the Gloves arrived!

Desire's new kicks, complete with power straps:

Successful First "weaning Ride"

What a great, cool fall morning, perfect for taking Desire out for a spin without Sheza for the first stage of the real weaning process. Sheza's weaning paddock is right in the middle of things: a paddock to the left where Desire will be when I separate them, the big pasture to the right where the arena is and Blaze and the mini are now living (the arena is inside the pasture). The cross ties/grooming area is right next to the big pasture and only maybe 15 feet from Sheza's paddock. Its an ideal spot as she could easily see and be relatively close to mom throughout. I put Desire in the cross ties closest to Sheza and after a few whinnies filly didn't seem too worried and just watched while mom got groomed and tacked up. Then down through the big pasture with the boys following like pests and into the arena, just managing to close the gate behind us as Blaze tried to barge in with us. He is so helpful, lol. Sheza whinnied once or twice and was trotting around at first but wasn't too worried. Things stayed mellow throughout lunging Desire and readjusting tack, then once I was in the saddle everyone got a little nutty. I don't know if it was Blaze or Sheza who started the galloping phase, but for a while Blaze, Sheza, and the mini were all galloping around their respective spots like total nutters. Desire was quite distracted by this, especially since Blaze was running laps around the outside of the arena blowing like a steam engine and just generally showing off. That lasted for about five minutes and then when things settled and Desire was back on board with me (mostly) I started a little trot work, big circles and changing direction to keep her paying attention to me and her feet instead of Sheza and whatever mischief the boys were up to. She is such a smooth ride, yes yes yes! Love it. I am thinking of trying to find a good, MELLOW riding instructor to take some beginning dressage lessons with as I am quite top heavy (gotta love the familial big boobs) and tend to get my center of balance too far forward. Its more of an  issue with Blaze who is so choppy and difficult to stay centered on but I know it must affect all my riding and my seat and comfort as well as my mount's. I have zero interest in being yelled at or shamed, I have taken literally 2 riding lessons in my adult life so I am by no means an ace in that way. However I have ridden a ton of horses hundreds of miles, keep my heels down and have soft hands, so I'm sure I can be easily taught if I find the right person.
 Anyhoo, it was a nice mellow ride on Desire but she is so incredibly out of shape its kind of funny. She likes to go however and is pretty responsive, though stiff (she can barely bend to the left, much better on the right) and when I ask her to collect she knows what I'm saying but tends to collect a little and then sort of drop her head and leeannn on my hands which is an irritating habit. She is strong strong strong. Definitely some attitude there, much more than Blaze but then Blaze is the most laid back Arab on earth and, of course, there is the Mare Factor. All in all she is quite nice to ride though and really quiet and calm considering she hasn't been ridden consistently since last fall and I was taking her away from her baby to ride her. I am still waiting on the Easyboots for her hinds and the Power Straps, I was sure they would be at the mail today but I just called and they said no boxes for me. So sad. Probably Monday. As soon as those boots come I am applying Power Straps and hitting the trail with this girl! Well as soon as my gradual weaning process allows, anyway. I think I'll do a couple more rides in the arena and then one of the days when I go to put Desire away just put her away in the paddock next to Sheza instead of with her. Then let them adjust to that and then start riding Desire a little longer, a little farther away, etc. I'll just keep an eye on how things are going and adjust my plan as neccesary. I was surprised and pleased to see that Sheza didn't immediately go to suckle when I put Desire back with her, she was definitely happy to be close to momma again but wasn't frantically nursing as she usually does after a training session. I think its definitely a good healthy time to be weaning her off as she still nurses some but mostly is interested in solid foods and is quite independent, plus Desire is definitely over being the milk bar.
 I'm heading off to the mail to send the Free n Easy saddle back. I hate going down into town on the weekend but if I do it early I'll just be done with it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Let the Weaning Madness Begin

Okay, not quite. But in a day or two. I moved all the horses to the west side of the property next to the house this morning. Desire and Sheza are in the weaning paddock and after a day or two of acclimation to the "new" (not really but they haven't been on this side of the property since spring) spot I will slide Desire to the paddock right next to Sheza and let the weaning madness truly begin. Blaze and his evil mini sidekick are reunited in the biggest pasture next to the girls. No doubt they will start their yeehaw round-up bad habits in no time. This is when they realize what a halter coming at them means and run as fast as they can down the hill and out of sight to the far corner of the pasture. Its a pretty large pasture. I usually end up rounding them up with the Polaris! Little shits. Blaze is Mr. Friendly on his own but quickly turns into Mr. Impossible to Catch when he is with other horses. Oh well, its good entertainment and that's what off road vehicles are for right?
 I am going to be returning the Free n Easy saddle. There was quite an issue over that but its not fitting me or my horse well and if I did buy it outright I would just turn around and resell it anyway. I have been riding Desire in my western saddle due to her fatness so I will be using that on her for a month or two and hopefully by that time I will have gotten a Specialized to use on her and Blaze.
 It was 50 degrees this morning! So glorious! I'm wearing a sweatshirt and fuzzy boots and am happy as a clam. The little dogs are miserable and shivering, LOL. It drops below 70 degrees and they don't know what to do with themselves. My mom knit Georgia a new sweater, just has to fit it to her before she sews it together. Wilbur isn't much of a fan of wearing sweaters as he is under the impression he is a big Lab like our dog Tady, not a little freezing wiener dog. At least he has all his hair, poor little inbred Georgia has a fully bald belly and thin hair and really does need sweaters to survive winter. Of course if you told me even 5 years ago that I would have little dogs and put them in sweaters..well, I wouldn't have believed it to put it nicely.
 My riding buddy just got me the number of her hay grower who delivers AND stacks hay for a reasonable price!!! I am so grateful she shared the love and will be calling him tonight. It would be amazing to have a barn full of hay and not have to worry about what kind or what price I'll be getting every few weeks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Desire's size 0 Easyboot Gloves and the powerstraps are being shipped today. A perk of being friends with the people you are buying things from--they get mailed quickly! I ordered them from GETC of course, and also asked them if Desire had any feet/feed issues in the past. They were surprised to hear that she had flat feet and thin sole and said she had not been that way with them. Which of course makes me feel even worse...I was inadvertently ruining my horse's feet!? But they also said pregnancy hormones, the relocation from Utah, and changing feed all would contribute to it and assured me it would be reversible. So the boots and accessories are on the way and I will be moving horses into their respective paddocks for weaning within the next week. I haven't heard back on the saddle so that's still to be resolved but the most important thing is Desire's hoof health and we will be working towards that immediately. I sucked it up and bought some of the INSANELY expensive grass hay at the feed store yesterday, only 10 bales for now. Hay is SO pricey this year and only going to get worse this winter. I've been looking on craigslist and wherever I can think of to find a better deal on hay but it doesn't seem available. The feed store folks said hay is getting exported from Cali overseas and also to the East after the all the floods and storms they had this year, plus the late rainy spring=scarce hay. The prices never even dropped this summer, usually we get down to around $8/bale in summer but its been $12+/bale all year and the grass hay is at $17/bale right now!!! Gahh! The feed store is stocking forage/stable mixes anticipating people not being able to afford the hay and using that as alternative feed. It just seems wrong that you can maintain a working horse on NO hay at all, just these feed mixes, but they do seem to be formulated as replacements of hay. If anyone reading this knows about feeding this kind of stuff I'd be really interested to hear because these hay prices are going to be deadly this winter and if it is a true, acceptable alternative I might check it out. I'll be reading whatever I can find on it as well.

 Oh yeah, finally got the ride results from Mendocino Magic, we got 3rd place out of 15 completing riders with a ride time of 5 hrs 6 minutes. Pretty interesting considering I got almost the same placing with a ride time 2 hours faster at Patriot's Day. Just shows you the type of trail really does affect things!

 Non horsey photo, still pulling delicious watermelons out of our garden--love it and the horses love the rinds!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Saddles and Hooves

Yesterday afternoon I decided to take Blaze for a test ride in the arena and see how the saddle did on his back with just the numnahs it came with. That's right, an afternoon ride, as the temperature suddenly dropped from 100+ to the 80s in the last few days, hurray! Blaze was feeling quite mighty and proud of himself on the lunge line and I thought he needed to blow off a little more steam so I let him free in the arena and gave the lunge whip a little POP which was all he needed. He galloped and bucked and had a grand time then gave two big SNORTS and trotted back to me and dropped his head like okay, ho hum, we can work now. Such a funny boy. Sometimes he just has fits of big stallion mojo attitude, and then lapses back into his quiet gelding self. I rode for about half an hour, just enough to work up a sweat as I wasn't confident in the saddle fit. Turns out I was right to be cautious as when I pulled the Free 'n Easy it had left two matching dry pressure point spots on his back. Argghh! Its just not distributing my weight well and I can't get it to fit right. That coupled with the fact that the seat is quite flat and I feel like I might fall off the back after being so used to my deep seat and high cantle..I dunno, I might just be sending the saddle back to the gal instead of buying it. Its all so frustrating!
 Today the new barefoot trimmer came out to work on Desire and it was an eye opening experience. Up to this point my education on hooves has been pretty minimal, I know a bad shoeing job when I see one and have tossed quite a few farriers whose work I didn't like, but my actual knowledge of what a quality hoof should look like is pretty minimal. Right off the bat the trimmer said Desire's hooves were so flat to the ground no wonder she was sore, her coffin bone was barely protected. by sole She didn't trim anything off but just worked the rasp. She said the goal is to protect the sole, get some flare off her front left and prevent the inclination for the toe to curl on the front right. She said the hormones of the baby and the sugars in Desire's diet were probably also largely contributing factors and recommended I switch Desire off grain hays to grass hay and no grain (she's getting half of half a scoop of mare and foal grain once a day, so minimal but its still there). So here I am thinking all is well besides Desire being a bit tender footed and apparently she is dangerously flat footed! Everything is a learning experience. The lady is an Easyboot dealer and fit Desire's Gloves and recommended a power strap for the front right boot then sized her hind hooves as 0's that will probably need power straps as well.  She said to make sure any riding is done with all four feet protected by the boots due to the very thin sole. All this coupled with the NASTY bite Desire gave Sheza this morning at feeding time (I mean a full mare pinned-ear nasty bite on the face, not a mother's nip) points to it being weaning time. Once I separate them Desire will be off all grain, switched to grass hay, and start losing some of that gut and hopefully get some good hoof growth. I haven't been able to reliably buy quality grass hay which is why I've stuck with the grain hays, also the horses clean the grain hay up much better. Desire is enough of a pig that I'm not too worried about her eating the grass but I know Blaze isn't much of a fan. We'll see what kind of hay I can find. There are rumblings that hay is going to be scarce this winter and prices jacked way up.
 So. Need to figure Desire's diet out, the saddle situation out..order more Easyboots and a couple of power straps...oy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Picture Time

More of the Same and a Bit of Rambling

Another 80 degree @ 7 am morning. Strange orange-y sunlight, must be a fire somewhere. The mini's forelock is stuffed with stickers again, took him less than 24 hours to undo my efforts. Next year hopefully we will get ALL of our pastures sprayed in a timely fashion; we have 21 acres full of about every conceivable kind of thistle and stickerbush and this year we got about 2/3 of them poisoned off. I am really nervous about using poison so we just didn't spray in some of the horse areas, but that will be changing next year. I am OVER sticker bushes. Sheza loves to eat the stupid things and I doubt that is good for her in the long run. My husband likes to work outside barefoot (don't ask..) and doesn't appreciate the stickers, and I certainly get tired of combing them out of horse hair. It seems like in the last two weeks the horses have really been getting into them too, they have been around all summer but just recently all the equines on the place started sporting unicorn horns of stickers on a regular basis.
 Oh, Blaze's winter coat is growing in so quickly! That cold week in Mendocino must have really triggered it (though he was blanketed most of the time). He usually has an extreme woolly bear winter coat and has already lost his summer gloss and started getting hairy in the last couple of weeks. I feel bad for him since the last few days have been so HOT, but I know that the rain and cold will be here before we know it and he'll need it. Speaking of rain, I have the house closed down and swamp coolers blasting and am shopping for turnout blankets online while dreaming of rain. Blaze has a great thick waterproof blanket from Schneiders Tack that I bought him two winters ago. It looks kind of like a dress on him because he is so short but it fits him well and is still in great shape. I was using my old mare's blanket on Desire when she arrived in January but it doesn't fit all that well, isn't very thick, and seems to be losing its waterproof capabilities though I sprayed it down with waterproofing stuff a few times this year. Its got to be three or four years old at least at this point though and I don't remember where or when I bought it. Schneiders has great blankets at good prices so I think I'll measure Desire and get her something like Blaze's. Color???? Blaze's is red, from my days of all red matching endurance tack, as is the blanket I used on Desire. I think I am officially over my red phase, though I still have all the tack of course. Desire's tack is denim blue with wine colored overlay but I don't really think I'll be approaching either of those colors in turnout blankets, though I could just go with blue. I feel like Desire is a little too feminine and pretty for just a blue blanket, I am almost leaning towards purple or something girly like that. I am going to measure Sheza and order her a blanket too, just not until the bitter end when the rain is really truly coming since she is growing so quickly. I know they make foal blankets pretty adjustable (or I read that they do, anyway) but figure I might as well give it my best shot on fitting for the whole winter. Of course I doubt it will fit more than one winter, since she will be over a year old by next that is a crazy thing to think about!
 I bought some new t-post wire-holding clippy thingies--careful, those are highly technical terms people--yesterday so I can run more hot wire in the soon-to-be weaning paddock. I already have new wire at the top of the fence but thought I should run another wire at mid height in case Sheza is having a spazz about weaning and feels the need to crash into a fence. One or two good zaps should take care of that. The last property owner left buckets of electrical fencing supplies which is nice but I've used most of it up running new wire on the west side of the property already. As soon as it cools to a decent temperature I'll be running new wire all along the big pastures and paddock on the east side and hopefully rigging up the full electrical fence system again ( we disconnected it to have good reliable shocking power on the west side when Desire arrived and we were having over-the-fence flirtations). The horses are all getting a little lax on their fence manners since they've been on the east side of the property with no hot wire all summer. Nothing I hate more than a horse leaning on/destroying fencing. I'll never forget that giant brute of a Foxtrotter I owned briefly who was tall enough to and had no issue with absolutely wreaking havoc on my fencing to get to the apple trees and grass on the other side of the fence. I was used to Blaze who can barely get his head over the fence at all in some places and here comes the 16 hand 1100 lb Foxtrotter who acted like the fencing was just a minor inconvenience to be removed at will! I was hopping mad and screwing with the hot wire almost every day. That was what started the hot wire revolution where I ran new wire, replaced the box twice, and waited outside with a stick to beat the horse of the fence (not really but I was about at the point). Fortunately the fence-destroying giant found a nice home up near Redding and the issue hasn't really come up again, aside from the mini horse who scratches his fat butt on the fencing viciously which made me run a wire at mini butt height wherever he is staying.
  Anyhow I anticipate another depressingly hot still says it will be 88 degrees tomorrow, so fingers crossed everyone!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hottest Day of the Summer.

Today was absolutely STIFLING! I mean, wow. I am really glad and grateful that we only had ONE day this summer like this. It was unbelievably hot, so hot its hard to breath and harder to move. Now I know there are other parts of the country that get hotter and have been hotter for a good portion of the summer but its all relative and for us, in this area, this was a doozy of a day. I think it hit 102 here in the foothills. The hottest we had probably reached this summer up here just out of the valley before today was 98. And there is a big difference even in that small degree gap. Something about hitting 100 degrees and above is I didn't sleep well last night and woke up this morning with big plans of going for a run and/or riding Desire in the arena, but as soon as I set foot outside the house and felt the wall of hot air and read the thermometer which said 80 degrees at barely 7 am..well, those plans changed. There was a gusty breeze and some clouds in the sky, a strange, stifling sort of weather that would have definitely meant lightning and storms if we were in, say, Virginia. There was a NOAA weather warning of gusts and dry lightning, high fire danger, for the higher country, but I don't know if that ever came to fruition. I do know it was ungodly warm and nasty here. At least the sun wasn't fully out and blazing, there was a strange cloud cover almost all day. I think due to that lack of direct sunlight it was hard not to be out in it, since it wasn't blazing and uncomfortable under the sun I felt guilty being inside closed up in the house and decided to round up my mini horse, Napoleon, for de-worming and and to address his unsightly mane and forelock which were sticking out straight with hundreds of stickers. Napoleon isn't the easiest to catch and is rather skittish and if I'm honest doesn't get as much daily de-stickering as the others so he was sorely in need of a touch up. He was pretty easy to catch (who wants to run around and have a rodeo when its hard to breath its so hot, eh?) and let me de-worm him no issue, then it took about a third of a bottle of Cowboy Magic and 15 minutes of frantic parting and combing to clean up his hair. As I was working on his mane I started to realize just how hot it was, since the relatively low-impact job of kneeling down brushing the mini's hair was making me drip sweat and want to keel over. He looked much better afterwards though and its a good couple of things to check off the animal maintenance list. I trimmed his forelock a little too since he has so much darn hair he can barely see past it sometimes. I usually give him a little hair trim a couple of times a year to try to maintain his wild 'do. I also hosed off the big horses over the fence about midday when I put Napoleon away; I wonder if they will ever figure out how great it feels and just let it happen rather than trotting away from the spray in annoyance. I usually stick my finger across the hose and just let it sprinkle down, not blast them, and I know it feels amazing when I do it to myself but Blaze and the foal act as if they are going to melt when they get sprinkled. Desire actually stood in it the longest and was pretty well freckled with water-spots. Blaze and Sheza used it as an excuse to buck and fart and be dramatic. Well whatever! All things considered I call that productivity with my horses for such an uncomfortable, god-awful day. At least I tackled something that I have been meaning to do for a while by cleaning up and de-worming the mini. Its still hot right now at 8:30. NOAA says it will be 88 degrees Sunday and BOY do I hope that's true, but I don't entirely believe it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Love Craigslist

Okay, I admit it. I just LOVE reading Craigslist Farm & Garden section. Specifically the horse adverts, of course. I mean what other free reading material is there that takes you on an emotional rollercoaster comparable to those sweet little ad nuggets?  Inevitably when I sit down to browse Craigslist F&G I quickly experience excitement, depression, hilarity and finally, despair. There is so much wrong with 90% of the horse advertisements posted. So very much.
  First, of course, there is the deep and often total lack of spelling ability. Now I know, everyone has different skills etc etc but the Spell Check button is king and good GRIEF pressing it is free! My favorite (and by that I mean it makes me want to grind me teeth) is the ads that start with either "For Sell" or "Must Sale"  ......I, I just want to go all crazy grammar bitch on them! And I'm not perfect, by ANY MEANS, there have to be hundreds of grammatical gaffs occurring in this blog. But its the basics folks, the basics. There are so many different ways in life to see and understand the concept of For Sale or Must Sell, you know, like signs. Everywhere. Or other ads. The rest of the ads often contain more spelling folly but then, after that ad title you knew it was coming, right?
  Then there are the pictures. And lack thereof. In a brief aside I will say my attention span is quite short while enjoying C F&G, so if you don't have a photo up I probably won't even open the ad. Unless you have some fantastic title like "3 Legged Unikorn For Sell." But back to the photos themselves, when present. You see anything in these photos from a faint smudge of brown at the end of a pasture that might be a horse, to a full body shot of a hairy beast standing knee deep mud. Toddlers sitting three astride--without helmets--on a stallion, horses tied to precarious objects. You get the idea. I've sold quite a few things on craigslist, including a few horses, and I found it takes about 15 minutes to pull your horse, give it a thorough brushing, and stand it on level ground for a photo--as a minimum. Its also pretty quick to throw your saddle and bridle on there and hop on up and get a few snaps taken to prove that the horse can, in fact, be ridden! But hey, this is free Craigslist advertising so any photo is better than none.
 Of course you read all sort of fantastical things in the body of the ads as well. My favorite one today, found on Gold Country Craigslist F&G (oh yeah, did I mention I read multiple cities F&G's, for maximum pain/pleasure?). The ad was for a 6 1/2 yr old Bay Thoroughbred Gelding. Here is my now-beloved quote: "Trailers, stands for ferrier and shots well, you can stick your fingers in his mouth and pull his tail."  Well by gory, you betcha, if I bought that there gelding I would just be darn sure to continue the standard horse training technique of sticking my fingers in his mouth and pulling on his tail. Honestly what I really would like is to ask the writer of this ad why that made sense as something to type in the ad? Okay, I guess I really follow this thing through to its conclusion, its just a good old fashioned explanation that the horse isn't a biting, kicking terror, because here he is with fingers stuck in his mouth and someone yanking his tail and no one has had their head caved in yet. But then if you really read it, does it mean you can only pull his tail when sticking your fingers in his mouth?
  Here is another random thing I thought of as I did my daily C F&G browsing this morning. How much of a cosmic F U is it to breed for paints and get an APHA foal that is solid colored??! Please tell me if I'm crazy but it just seems so damn ironic to click on an ad titled "Beautiful APHA Gelding For Sale" and see a picture of a solid chestnut standing there. I had lots of excitement over what color (and gender) my foal would be this year, and that was without any exciting parti-colors available in the mix. I got my flashy chestnut filly with big white markings and then it was all the excitement about will she gray out. Luckily I have a big, healthy, 5 month old redhead on my hands and she is here to stay. Of COURSE the priority is a healthy, safe foaling but I'm speaking to our more shallow sides that are just a little obsessed with a Horse of the Right Color, whatever that respective color may mean to each of us. So just imagine the excitement and debate over what color your APHA foal will be.. Ooo la la its foaling day! And then here comes a cute, healthy....BROWN foal. Boyyyyy I think I would be a little bitter about that, no fooling. What can I say, I just get a little snicker out of those breeding stock APHA ads. I'm sure the same must happen with Appaloosas, though I know nothing about that breed.
 Anyway, the bottom line is Craigslist F&G is a wonderful read and while it may leave me with a bad taste in my mouth sometimes and I've even sworn it off a time or two, I'm always back clicking on those little blue advert links eventually.

Hoof Stuff

My farrier came out this morning and put new front shoes on Blaze and while I am (sort of) looking forward to figuring out Easyboots I must say I enjoy looking at a fresh, quality shoeing job on my boy. I am very glad I  "inherited" such a good farrier and vet when we bought the property (previous owner was a horse trainer and vet and farrier had been coming up here for years). Boy do I remember the CRAP shoeing jobs I put my horses through when I first moved to this area 4 summers ago. I tried 4 or 5 different guys who all did terrible jobs and were all convinced they were the greatest thing since sliced bread. The worst had to be the guy who came and threw all four shoes on my horse and my friend's horse, two FULL shoeings mind you, in about 15 minutes flat! It was unbelievable. And when the horses all started interfering and the shoes were half off and funky after about a week and half, Joe Schmo Farrier Guy was nowhere to be found to come fix the issue. Previously I had always had my horses hot shod and the whole wam-bam-thank-you-ma'am cold shoeing jobs I encountered as a newbie to the area were a shock, all the way around. Prices were just as high but the time, effort, and quality were going down the drain. Thankfully we found this killer property and got a great farrier and vet along with it!!
 Anyway, the barefoot trimmer/Easyboot Fitter is scheduled to come out next Tuesday morning. My farrier even said he might stop by to check out the goings-on. I am interested to see it as well, I've never used a barefoot trimmer specifically before, and of course the Easyboot thing is new. I almost feel like a traitor to my good farrier having someone else come out to work on Desire but I am really trying to go about this Easyboot thing correctly and everyone seems to swear that a barefoot trimmer is the ticket. And the fact that she is also a professional Easyboot fitter and dealer is why I really did it, I wouldn't mind seeing it all again firsthand on the whole measuring/correct/incorrect fit/ etc. Maybe my farrier will stop by and learn it all and then I can just get him to do! Hah! Really I should just learn to trim and do it all myself. Eventually.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Folks, We Have Registration

Sheza's official AHA papers arrived today! Now, at 5 months old, she officially exists. Part of that delay was my delay in not pulling mom and baby's mane hairs right away. I was squeamish and made my husband do it, hahah! My head is sensitive and I couldn't bring myself to yank hairs out by the root. Anyhow, Sheza Blaznhaat Xpres is on the registration books!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Time Off Riding Blaze.. driving me crazy! I am trying to give him at least a week off, with daily back reassessment, since our incident with the saddle pad that exacerbated the issue caused by my ill-fitting former saddle. SO. I cancelled my plans for Patriots Day in Greenville this weekend, and have not ridden him since last Thursday. Which makes today only the fourth day. Blarrrgg. I can't imagine how people deal with months long rehab for serious injuries. I could be riding Desire but I am waiting on the new barefoot trimmer to come check her out, trim her feet, and fit her Easyboot Gloves or at least determine whether the size I bought will work at all or not. I've only tried them on with a few weeks old, non barefoot trimmer trim. And she is wicked sensitive riding out on the gravel roads, thus I'm kind of stuck waiting. SO. I am not riding either of my horses at the moment and for the next few days at least--about ready to saddle up my mini horse...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sheza pasture Pics: 5 months old

 Some photos from today of lil miss Sheza

and a fun little collage I did of Sheza coming for the camera at all ages

Decision Made

I've decided not to take Blaze to Patriot's Day I & II next weekend. His back is looking much better already, its not sore to touch or pressure and the knot has gone down almost completely. That said I know that this issue has been in the making for the last month or so in my endless battle with my previous saddle, so I'm not comfortable in saying "oh its looks good enough, lets go to a race!"  At nearly 15 years old, Blaze has lots of great years left ahead of him I hope, but he isn't exactly a spring chicken. I love him dearly and want to prolong his days of fun riding as long as possible and as such, pushing my luck over a 25 mile endurance ride just doesn't make sense to me. It would probably be a hot ride and if the trails are anything like last Patriot's Day ride (though this is in a different location and not FEI) I would probably be fairly uncomfortable doing the ride myself, let alone whatever may happen with Blaze's back. Plus my husband won't be there to pick up the pieces if I heat-stroke out again! I spoke to C about it all yesterday, since she was only going to go to the ride if I went (it would be her gelding's first endurance ride). She assured me she wasn't worried about it either way and while I already knew that was the case it helped to talk it out a little bit with her and firm up my decision to not go. Of course this morning when I fed the horses and then palpitated and checked out Blaze's back it was looking pretty darn good and the little race-fiend inside me said "heyyyy, maybe he would be okayyy.." but no, the rational and loving side of me just doesn't think its a good idea. I have never had saddle fit issues before and the whole concept of my equine buddy suffering pain directly because of decisions about saddles, pads, and riding that I make..well, it doesn't sit too comfortably with me.
 SO. Blaze is going to have a week or two off, depending on the situation of his back. When I do decide to hop back on him I'll be doing a couple of short rides in the arena or just out the road and back to make sure his back isn't taking any more wear and tear damage. I certainly won't be using the Equipedic pad on him again. I'm sort of baffled by that pad doing so much "damage" to his back, I've used that sort of pad in the past with no issue. Of course every horse and horse's back is different but I really never expected such a dramatically poor result with it. I'll be going back to the new Free n' Easy with just the numnah pads it came with, which is how I rode him at the Mendo Magic 30 miler with no issue.
 Sheza is 5 months old by the official week count, so she is going to be weaned here pretty quick. I think Desire is quite ready for that, there seems to be more ear pinning and youngster disciplining going on by the day, especially when it comes to Sheza hitting the milk bar. Its truly ridiculous how far down Sheza has to lean to get her head under Desire to nurse! My idea for weaning is to stick Desire in one of the big stalls on the east side of the property so she is at least out of sight, with the mini next door for company. I plan to put Sheza on the west side of the property, next to the house where I can watch her, in one of the paddocks with fresh, charged hot wire. I figure if she gets too nutty a few zaps from the wire is better than her crashing through a fence. Blaze will be in the other paddock right next to Sheza. That's the plan, I have NO idea how or if it will work! Luckily I have a few weeks to iron out the details and seek more advice. Any advice from readers who have weaned babies before, sock it to me!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Crappy Day

Yesterday I met my riding buddy, C, at Lake Oroville for a ride. We parked at the far end of the trails down in town, at a large parking area down a few miles of dirt road. I think I've mentioned the parking area on this blog before as a rather sketchy spot that I don't like to go to alone. If I hadn't mentioned it before, now I have. Its just far enough down in oaky-town  nowhere (and by that I mean just far enough that the cops don't feel like patrolling that far) that it doesn't get much attention as far as security measures go. Anyhow I figured with two rigs we would be a little safer and we wanted to do a long ride from one end of the trails to the other so that's where we headed. 16 miles and 5 hours later (more on that long ride time later) we came back to our trucks, hot and ready to head home and relax, only to find each of our truck's broken into. We both had a smaller window on the far side smashed in and the rocks used to do it were still lying in the cabs of our trucks. C's truck is an older model with a small, simple cab and a bench seat, no hidey holes and clearly nothing worth stealing inside. So they busted in and stole about .60 cents out of her change drawer. They wiped out my change, ransacked my truck which had a lot of crap in it, and stole my Coach purse that I  had gotten in Maine with my husband, J, when we flew there to get married. C and I both carry our wallets in our pommel bags which was a great thing, but when they got my purse they got my checkbook etc, so once again I got to go to my bank--this time with the horse still in the trailer and me filthy, sweaty, and pissed off--and close my accounts and get new ones. That makes three times in the last year that my banking information has been compromised, twice by Chase security failures and once by crackheads stealing my purse. I told the slightly-nervous bank guy that was setting up my new account that I was about ready to take my money home and bury it in the back yard since nothing and no one seemed capable of keeping it safe anymore, which got me a nervous giggle from bank-guy. He asked if anyone else had helped me at the bank that day and I said "Nope, I just walked in here, stood in the middle of the room with steam pouring out my ears and waited for someone to notice." Someone being he, bank-guy, who had scuttled up to me right away offering his assistance. I did my best to be pleasant to good ole bank-guy but I was hot, tired, hungry, starting a headache, and pissed off. If you ask any of my close friends and family all those factors add up to a redhead rapidly approaching extreme boiling point.
 Anyhow, I made a report to CHP (once the sheriff's office, State Parks, and CHP had bandied back and forth and decided who it was that was actually responsible for that parking lot....!). They offered to send an officer out right away but I told them we were all hot and exhausted and would rather just head home having alerted the police to the situation, to which CHP brightly replied, "Oh yes, you should definitely take care of your horses!" I don't know why but that was not what I was expecting to hear from a CHP officer. It was actually kind of nice. I'm sure he was just relieved he didn't have to round up one of his guys to drive out to bumf** and deal with it but I was relieved too coz I needed to get out of there and sitting around for another half hour waiting for the police sure wasn't happening.  The bank is taken care of, I still have my wallet w/ driver license etc, and Josh is getting the window fixed today. Before you know it it will be as if nothing ever happened, and the tweakers will merrily go on about their lives thinking what a great thing it is to break into people's trucks and not suffer any consequences. Can you tell I'm bitter?
 As for the reason it took us just over 5 hours to do almost 17 miles, I made a poor decision and put the new Equipedic pad under my saddle for the ride, with the thought of giving Blaze a much comfier ride...well Blaze dragged and lagged on the ride and despite checking for wear spots etc (even sweat marks, looked good) I wasn't 100% sure what was going on with him. It was definitely a hot day and it was his first real exertion since the week in cool coastal weather, where his winter coat seems to have been triggered as he is getting hairier ever it continues to get hotter here. So I wasn't sure if he was just not feeling it that day or the saddle pad was an issue, but as we neared the trailer I became convinced the saddle pad was the issue and got off and walked him in. When I pulled the saddle his back was sore to the touch on the left side and a small knot, like a little knot of muscle, which had started with my previous saddle, was really raised on his back. So yeah, the pad did a real number on his back and further irritated the issue caused by the last saddle. I felt terrible. Blaze was gamely trotting down the trail with his back in serious discomfort. Caused by me. And yet he just did what was asked, where he could have turned real nasty about it. C was telling me her friend's mare will go nuts and buck and rear if her tack isn't fitted right. That would almost be a better reaction as you would get right away something was up rather than the perseverance of Blaze that allowed me to dither and his back to get more irritated. Sooo...I am on the fence about going to Patriot's Day in Greenville next weekend, C and I were planning to go essentially together, especially since her gelding need's Blaze's quiet influence on the trail and for his first endurance ride. But I have to make the decision based on what is best for Blaze and I'm not confident his back is going to be feeling great in only a week. I will be keeping a close eye on it and kicking myself, in the meantime. And fuming about my purse.