Sunday, February 23, 2014

Geldings at Work

Saturday I drove to the fishing hole and got 14 miles in on Scrappy while my husband fished and ran the dog pack. That is my kind of car pooling! And always means a few neat photos when someone else is around to snag the camera.
Here I stand on my rock, waiting for my starvatious horse to be able to stop eating long enough to lift his head so I can mount. L-O-L
I gambled that Scrappy's feet were softer from the damp but so were the trails, and I do think now that I could have booted him up and gotten more of what I wanted done as far some speed. We spent the usual 3 hours at it, but we did ride both Sycamore Hill and back around and back up the dam before looping back. I handwalked/jogged the last 2 miles which was mostly downhill and I definitely felt that in the ole metal ankle! Time to be limbering that baby back up for these wild notions of higher mileage I have.
Scrappy wanted to follow me closely and pat me down for snacks but I told him No, WOAH 4 times and that got me this photo below. He had just climbed Sycamore Hill so standing still really was a totally okay alternative.
His feet are really fantastic looking after 27 barefoot miles this week. All I did was clean up the natural mustang role he was creating and take a tiny bit of tall bar on his hinds with my knife after the ride and I was really happy. Did I remember to take photos? Nope. He and I both have FOOD on the brain at that point.

This morning I met Mel at the lake to escort her and her 3 yr old project around the short horse camp loop. This was a confidence booster ride for the greenie/vet pair and went very smoothly for all parties.

Blaze was briefly sad there were no friends to ride with..
..then he saw this vision in filly greyness coming across the parking lot toward him! 
I rode Blaze totally barefoot too and though we didn't do much moving out to wear hoof down I was once again struck by how much better he moves without Renegades on the front. His movement isn't as lofty and he doesn't trip as much. I have booted his fronts exclusively for the past 2 years at least because of an odd/scarred heel on his right front, so I hadn't realized how different the movement with front boots was until now. Goooo figure. 
Also Blaze is now going in a 3 piece lozenge style loose ring snaffle and is quite happy in it. He had previously been in a single jointed loose ring snaffle and it took a lot of work to get him working well on the bit and he never seemed quite happy on it, despite having current dental and chiro work etc. I played with a few types of bits but hadn't made the leap to the 3 piece mouthpiece. Now I am--and I like it!

On the 15 second walk to his paddock after a semi-bath, Blaze hurled himself to the ground in protest of being Clean. He rolls many times a day, every day, and hates any and all version of cleanliness! 
 "there's a clean spot, I can feel it, gottaroll gottaroll"
Had lots of fun getting in over 30 miles in on my dorky geldings this week. That hasn't happened in a while!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Rambo after 5 weeks

My least favorite thing is sitting around waiting for someone. For almost any reason. Waiting for something horsey is almost bearable but waiting for general utility people, ugh! What to do when waiting for internet service people who don't call and don't show up early as promised but keep you tied down waiting? Well, when you have 5 horses there's always someone who needs hooves or filthy coats cleaned up! 

I've been enjoying riding my horses entirely barefoot (as opposed to paranoid booting) lately and have really been seeing how much of my hoof work is taken care of by doing so. With that in mind it has been my intention to pony Rambo out from home on the gravel roads around here to do some foot exfoliation but with the Waiting For People on the docket I decided to just pull him and Blaze out for a thorough grooming and hoof trim in the cross ties.

 I will say that I am generally hesitant to make new/young/project horses go straight into the cross ties for hoof work. What I mean by that is that putting a fresh/young/interested/concerned/worried/etc Arabian in cross ties and expecting them to stand quietly for hoof work (especially when you don't even know how they like that part yet!) isn't always setting yourself up for best success. A horse that has been ponied out, lots of the hoof work was done for me by gravel, and horse is now tired/relaxed  is the sort of horse I like to clip into cross ties and have a go at with hoof tools! Still circumstances aren't always ideal and Rambo has proven himself to be a sensible, well intentioned fellow over the last few weeks, so into the cross ties he went and out the hoof tools came! 

chilling with Blaze
Hey! Trim this toe! I think? 
Big happy grin here, because Rambo was *very good* for his hoof trimming session. Scrappy and Napoleon insisted on running the short fat guy Olympics in his direct view across the yard which got him blowing and doing his hilarious "walking in place" tap dancing thing a few times, but after about 10 seconds of grooving in place he would stop, take a breath, look at me, look at them, look at me, take a deep breath, lick and chew, and quiet again. When he was tap dancing I was standing back leaning on the rails talking quietly but being thoroughly unimpressed, and when he quieted again I rewarded him with scratches and loves and went back to work. I mostly nipped his rapidly growing toe and put a Mustang roll on all 4 hooves, there is certainly more work to be done on his (actually really nice) feet but it was a great and productive session that I concluded before he got angsty and finalized with a giant mash. I didn't tape him again but he is seriously butt high and growing! 

So here he is, after 5 weeks here including the last 2 weeks on Sheza's hill, & after his grooming this a.m. :-)
right side is the scarred side that he swings his hind leg on, though the leg swing is already drastically reduced as his muscle builds

What a cutie, leaves his mash to come investigate me again <3

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Moments We Choose

There were many minutes, hours, days, lord were they long days, in the last week. Things seemed to be going wrong for everyone, everywhere, and then just for fun my husband and I were rear ended in a 3 car incident near the end of the week. We were both sore but okay, and as ever my mind calculated all the ways it could have gone worse, and how in fact, we were quite Lucky. 

Because we are, really, lucky and blessed. But so much is coming at us, each and every one of us, every single day, that it's not easy to remember just how Lucky we really are. I was seriously mired in negative moments in places in the last week, but also was so blessed with many other lovely ones, which are much more worthy of sharing:

A great solo ride with my Scrappy buddy
Gorgeous sunsets in honor of those beloved
Goofy geldings freshly awake from the barn, staring at Wild Canadian Geese playing raucously in our newly overflowing pond after 10+ inches of rain
Beloved dogs always adventuring and doing silly and/or naughty things
More of the same--Kodiak camo pup!
 My gorgeous ever growing filly
A great ride with Mel, Farley, and Scrappy 
 My ridiculous horse who comes to dubious attention with a mouthful of food when I say "HEY SCRAPPY POSE!!" 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Seriously Worth Checking Out

Whether you are green as grass or wise as a turtle, you will enjoy scrolling through these gorgeous Lynne Glazer photos, spanning some of the amazing PS and Western region sites, phenomenal horses, biggest rides, and great characters of our beloved sport of Endurance Riding:

(OH, and Desire and I are photo# 156)  :-)

Monday, February 10, 2014

And Then There Was Rain

Hello from dry land, but barely! Winter visited us again, this time in the form of 4 days of nearly non stop torrential rain. We are in the foothills just 5 miles below snow line and often get more extreme weather than other folks farther down in the valley than us. The few times my husband or I forayed out in this storm the rain let up remarkably only 6 miles away. But here, at the house, we got *soaked.* 
I don't know about you but if I think a storm is going to be big and get the horses tucked up in the barn, inevitably the storm blows out quickly and the horses are questioning my sanity. Now if I have the gall to underestimate Mother Nature, on the other hand, I end up retrieving mad cold horses in the wee am or pm hours, every time. I went ahead and erred on the side of the latter this time, which resulted in the Saturday 6 am rescue mission: Save Soggy Steeds.

my husband, J, helped deliver Sheza in this stall almost 3 years ago :-) It's the dim barn lighting, Sheza isn't really a glowing-eyed demon..really..
Rambo got more bonus points for proving himself completely reasonable for catching up and stabling in the dark in the pouring rain and unfriendly wind. Sheza briefly toyed with the idea of being Uncatcheable while I stood in the downpour with Desire already haltered and waiting, but a muttered threat about leaving her out there alone found a suddenly eager filly at my shoulder and thrusting her nose into the halter with her usual drama. Whether she's doing what you want or not, it *will* be done dramatically, you can rest assured. 

Rambo enjoying the finer side of being a RE pony
Soggy steeds then stayed in their cozy stalls the entire weekend, until this morning when the rain has finally quit and patches of blue sky are fighting to be seen through the heavy but quickly moving clouds. Fortunately turning out 5 Arabians and a mini horse after 48 hours lockboxed was nowhere near as dramatic as it could have been. It was entirely too slippy for drama and nonsense but I feel anxious with them stabled so I went with the theory that the eagerly sprouting green grass everywhere would prove more exciting than mass heel-to-sky kicking and shenanigans. I love it when I'm right. ;-)

mother and daughter battle for who's 14.3 hh is taller
Scrappy and Rambo love camo

I got photo evidence of what I thought I was seeing growing in herd body cues over the last week. Rambo bossing mini king Napoleon! Gooo figure. Look at the casual herding walk he has going, what a joker :-)
 Rambo did try to boss me for carrots/feed this week, pinning his ears when I approached with food, but he's so sensitive that a sharp word and claiming step forward into his space had him all cute and apologetic again. Apparently he found other outlets for his growing confidence. You're welcome, Napoleon! *snicker*

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Herd Shake up and Gorgeous Girlies

Today I made good on some idle threats. I've been contemplating joining Desire's paddock-with-shed to the largest pasture on the property that has the arena inside it. Since Desire is retired it only seems fair she be on a big ole space to roam but I like her to have a shed when the weather comes. Thanks to the arena there are a couple of extra corners and gates; with some gandering I deduced I could use the corner gate off the arena as a 2-way if I just cut a gate sized hole in the bottom of Desire's pen and shut the existing gate that was previously open against the arena, viola, one big space, since there is ANOTHER gate at the other arena corner that could be left open.

Desire seemed pleased with this notion and checked out the larger digs

Not to be outdone, Blaze jumped on the 4hooves off the ground train
My other "threat" was putting Rambo on the Sheza-butt hill to build his sad little hiney. Which meant horse shuffling since Sheza was on the hill and not to be mingled with boys. Since I had just expanded Desire's quarters to the largest available, why not add another resident, thereby freeing up the Sheza hill for Rambo! Sheza vacated the hill and joined momma Desire and goats on the house side of the property, and promptly got in on the 4 hooves off the ground action! 

Sheza herded the goats as  a yearling and is clearly still game for it. She put those goats through paces they didn't even know they had! It was hilarious until it caused the goats to start finding and exploiting any and all fence weaknesses to get away from the galloping red whirling dervish. Still now my fence lines are all checked and the goats got a good workout, as did the mini horse Napoleon who trotted and screamed for his Sheza girlfriend for a couple of hours.

Horsey tetris is quite entertaining. My generally clever horses are not the brightest when it comes to connecting the pasture dots. Finally the suspense of Sheza realizing she was in the same pasture as Desire was killing me so I opened the obvious line of sight arena gate that I had closed to open up Desire's paddock. Sheza immediately went OH THIS WAY!  Genius filly..
 Ohhh it's the same pasture! HI MOM
I have intentionally kept Sheza and Desire separate since weaning. Desire is quite squealy and dominant in the pasture and Sheza attempted to nurse off her for a good year after I weaned her, which was not on Desire's list of Okay behaviors. Sheza spent the last 2 yrs exclusively with geldings and has given nary a squeal, despite exhibiting clear heat in the last few months. She's a solid Junior Citizen now, or so I hoped, and indeed so she proved by rushing up to momma D but stopping short to greet her with a polite baby mouth, zero attempts at nursing, no squealing to be heard, and total mother-daughter harmony.
Interestingly,with the obvious line of sight corner gate I let her down through closed, but the other gates left open Sheza later left Desire, went the long way around the arena and came back up around so she's sharing fence line with Desire but has kept herself essentially in "her own" pasture area, though she could be right in with mom if she chose. Clever girl has learned some herd boundaries and is feeling independent it seems. Her third birthday is in just 2 months and then it's off for 30 days light saddle training with a dear and trusted friend. How time flies. I can't wait to be sitting on the back of a foal that I once helped deliver from my own endurance mare, what a wild and fun thing that will be. 

Not so long ago in the same paddock..

I look forward to seeing Rambo's tragic little butt grow in the next few weeks as he conquers the Sheza hill, too!