Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blaze-in the Trail

My husband made it home early yesterday and I suddenly found myself with a few free hours and a truck and trailer already hooked up and loaded--what could I do but grab a horse and hit the trails! It was way past Blaze's turn to get some time out without ponying a greenie so I loaded him up and went for a nice 10 mile ride at the lake by my self. It was peaceful and actually refreshing to ride Blaze who, while very lofty at the trot and as such not super comfortable, is extremely responsive and light in the bridle and doesn't have the "No, I know better" initial reaction to my every request, like a certain white mare we know. I rode him in his S hack which means he didn't collect worth a damn but being a little snorty at the trails he hasn't seen in a while kept him rounded and in decent form most of the time. ;-)   I can almost think where I want him to go and he does it, now if I can just work him over some cavalleti and get him picking up his front feet better THAT would be good. He's actually better with his feet than Desire in that he does look for the best line to take on a trail instead of just blundering forward over whatever is in front because he Must Win the (nonexistent) Race, like D does. 
They call him Slim Jim..
 I just love the picture below. Someone on Facebook commented it looks like he is folding his hooves and saying a little prayer before he drinks, haha! I was thinking he was clicking his heels together in hopes of whirling back to his paddock and avoiding the workout that was to come. Either way, he is very cute and like I said, not the best with his front feet...Yes, he is standing *on* himself, he does that sometimes.
 my little dragonheaded steed

 You can hardly see the neck for the winter coat!
We did the same 10 mile loop Desire and I did with N on Saturday, but Blaze and I cut an hour off the time without even planning to, just having a good time and some nice trots out on the beautiful fall lake trails.

There is a night of rain forecast tomorrow but otherwise lots of sunny, cool, ideal riding weather in the forecast. I've been having lots of familial drama in the last month but my mom is finally able to break free from her coastal obligations and come visit later this week, so I've taken her up on that opportunity instead of going to the Lake Sonoma ride this weekend. I was pretty ambivalent about Lake Sonoma to begin with and sometimes you just need to spend some time supporting and enjoying family. There *are* some rumblings of a redhead Death Valley adventure in December, however! Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Orange You Glad It's Fall

A beautiful cool morning on the trails with a good friend, a nice 10 mile meander, no hurry, no worries. The cable broke on a hind boot so we cruised the rest of the way with bare hinds for the first time. The trail was kind and we weren't moving at any speed, it worked out fine. I've got 4 boots to repair now: 2 broken cables, 1 toe worn through, and one size 2 that the tongue fell out of. I bought them used and put a few hundred miles on them since, so apparently it's time they all needed parts swapped out. Fair enough and thanks to KC I do have cables and parts to work with.
 Toting hind boots
 Notice anything odd about this tree? Eagle eye N did as I rode blithely plast it blabbering
 Desire was in *a mood* today. A hinky, spooky, balky, MARE mood! Oh and don't forget space cadet--this morning she lost focus during the 10 seconds of trailer loading process, looked away at the last minute, followed her head, and walked right into the trailer door itself before I could stop her. Talk about unfocused forward momentum! She did the same with the solid metal caution poles out on the trail, glancing away in forward motion and almost crashing into it, though this time I steered her unfocused feet around it before too much impact. *le sigh* The grace of Arabians. Something interesting though, Miss Never-Rolls (and I do mean almost never rolls) dropped right to the ground in her pasture and had herself a good roll after her bath this afternoon. Makes me wonder if that back adjustment didn't do her some real good!

Post ride clean-up
 Our giant pumpkin finally stopped growing. My husband really wants to move it, something perhaps best prepped for before the thing weighed 900 lbs. :-)

Can we move this thing? Sheza can't wait to find out
 My husband and with the pumpkin and the Sheza photo bomber

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall Adjustments

It's definitely fall, as a matter of fact the last few days seemed like full on winter, with over 3" of rain, wind, hail, lightning, thunder, and even a few moments of snow. Desire had to wear a polar fleece under her midweight turnout to stay warm and she, Sheza, and the mini all loafed in the barn for a few days. Blaze, with his wildly woolly coat, was not impressed, nor were Joey and the goats. Blaze finally got a new winter blanket, this time just a rain sheet, as he really doesn't need the fill with his thick coat:
 Hot mashes for all
 I trimmed Sheza's fronts in an epic battle on Sunday, and today while waiting for the equine bodywork gal to make it out for Desire, I trimmed Sheza's hinds. She was much better for the hinds and I got them done in half the time, taking out lots of old gunky sole and shedding frog, and take plenty of toe. Now we are back around to Desire again, she's got some toe to take off, and I did Blaze's fronts the other day but need to do his hinds. I am loving having the knowledge, power, and good tools to be able to take care of my horse's hooves whenever and wherever I want!

The equine bodywork was a good experience! I have used 3 or 4 different people now and I liked this lady the best and will have her back if I need anyone. Desire's shoulders and hips were out of whack, as well as her spine crackling like popcorn back into place when she hit the pressure points in the quarters that trigger them to lift their frame. Desire was very snarky faced in reaction to some of the work, no doubt it was uncomfortable, but the releases were obvious in her softened eye, licking and chewing, and head shaking, if not obvious audibly and visibly! I had the lady look at Blaze as well but as usual he was declared quite loose and well adjusted. She found the comparison of two of the same age horses quite interesting, and I have to agree. Blaze and Desire are both 16 (Blaze give or take a year, he isn't papered), and from what I know Blaze has been used harder in his life. Desire was started late and while trail ridden, only did 2 50s, as a 14 yr old, before I got her. Blaze was passed around a lot in life, has done everything from gymkhana to working cows to being a lesson horse to a couple hundred miles of LDs. Blaze rolls multiple times every day, stretches on his own time, and is quite flexible. Desire never rolls, doesn't stretch much, and is overall a tenser and more uptight horse. Her flexibility isn't as good and she is overall stiffer and creakier than Blaze. Interesting!

And now some pics of my beautiful filly!
 Naughty about to spazz face
 Never go anywhere without your SuperTurkey sidekick
 What're you doing?? Trying to take your picture, go away. Why? What are you doing??

Always curious about what's going on Out There
 Critters ready for some sunlight after the storm
 A look at the flaxen potential of Sheza's glorious mane!

 It's really gotten long!
 "Who me?" Joey

You're annoying. Blaze

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hooves and Tools!

Yesterday morning my hoof expert/teacher and friend, D, joined me on a little road trip to the nearest town that carries good trimming tools, about an hour and a half away. I got some GE nippers, and a Bellota rasp and a Legend rasp. I've been using these exact type and length of nippers at D's and a Bellota rasp, but she said it worth comparing to the Legend, which has more bite I am told. Having good tools is exciting!!
 Today I pulled Sheza and set myself to trimming her very long hooves. She went almost 6 weeks since D last trimmed her, and some half assed rasping with a crappy rasp done by me. I won't let her go that long again, now that I have the tools! Anyhoo Sheza was a complete and total Spazzatron. Pulling, squatting, leaning, leaping, pulling back, etc. OH yeah, she put us both through our paces. I probably picked up each of her front hooves a hundred times to get them done, I swear. Sometimes I didn't more than 2 seconds of work done at a time before she was doing something silly, so I worked as fast and accurately as I could as an amateur and with my filly flailing and leaning, alternately. Phew, working on an 18 month old is a hard way to to learn to trim and I didn't have a breath left to work on her hinds. I will tackle those tomorrow.

Left Front, untrimmed
Left front
 Right Front
 Me and my filly dork
 LF untrimmed
 LF in progress
I still don't have a hoof stand and I do my mustang rolls the hoof on my knee pretty much, haha. So by the time I got to her right front mustang rolls I was plum tuckered, not gonna lie. Luckily I can screw with her feet every day if I want!

 RF, untrimmed
 RF in progress
 RF in progress
 RF, sloppy but I was exhausted

She Never, He Always

I've had quite a week and fallen a little behind in blog posts. I rode at the lake with N and Willow on Thursday, another 16 miles in just about the same time as on Tuesday, a little longer (4:30). Desire FINALLY peed on the trail, after I spent a few miles whining about how she never does.

Willow puts her head in up to her eyeballs and blows bubbles! Not productive but hilarious
Beautiful fall tralls
The girls did well together, though by the last few miles they were both grabbing mouthfuls of grass like they'd come 100 miles and eaten last Tuesday.
We were smugly talking about our Renegade booting experience when Desire took a funky step and her right front boot was suddenly off and twisted around. Turns out the cable broke at the toe strap. I have all the replacement parts and they are used boots that I have since put a few hundred miles on, so I'm not too bothered. Still it was *too* funny that after weeks without a boot issue we start talking about how flawless they are and something promptly breaks!

Sheza demanded to come out when I put Desire away, so I left in the cross ties alone for a while, and watched her through the living room window. She was Not Amused. Btw she's not rabidly foaming at the mouth here, just ate my apple core is all
In possibly unexpected news, Joey has a possibly uncertain future here with the herd. He is so stressed out by humans and doesn't behave consistently or predictably. I'm often gone and non-horse person husband kindly takes care of all the horses, meaning he has to handle (and has already once saved) Joey. After a particularly hard session with the trainer on Thursday afternoon, we were discussing how intensely prey-driven Joey is, and his spectacularly amped up flight instinct. My husband happened into the conversation and mentioned that he was quite uncomfortable around Joey and worried about my handling him and getting hurt trying to get him under saddle. He has a fair point in all of the above. So I am working on figuring out a better situation for Joey, but in the meantime he is here and will continue to get as much work as I can give him.

Georgia cam, watching pony wrangling
Goat on my Heels
Joey at work

I have hopes for a great home for him with all the experienced trainers needed, everyone please cross your fingers it works out!