Saturday, November 30, 2013

That Inside Rein

Lesson day today.  Probably a little overdue, but sometimes life gets busy.  :)

I didn't grow up having riding lessons, so a lot of things is correcting habits that have been instilled over the years.  One habit that became apparent today was dropping the inside rein.

The version of my commandments based on today's lesson:

Thou Shalt Not Drop the Inside Rein

Thou Shalt Stop Leaning Forward and Putting Horse On Forehand

Thou Shalt Tip Inside Shoulder Back to Actually Make It Even

Thou Shalt Keep Riding the Horse so It Doesn't Relocate Unexpectedly

Thou Shalt Remember To Keep Control of those Haunches on Turns

OK, sounds like a pretty basic list, but it always seems like back to basics is my theme now while riding.  Some horses are able to rise above my flaws, but the Semi Feral Mare is much more honest.  She doesn't always understand, so she looks to my posture, riding, and abilities to guide her. 

We had some good moments today working on that wonderful left circle.  I actually have a better idea now of how to fix it.  When riding, I knew I dropped my inside (left) shoulder, which I damaged while I was a swimmer. So I would try to pick it up, but it wasn't a sure fix.  I guess what feels "up" and "straight" to me, isn't actually so straight.  So I have to physically think "up" and "back"to get my body back closer into alignment where it should be.  

Then it became apparent when working on turns onto the centerline the other habit I have.  I grew up pretty "legs off" of the horses.  I would guide the semi feral mare onto the centerline and her haunches would end up swinging out.  Same type of issues with any changes of directions.  Anything requiring my left leg made this haunch swinging more evident.

So a bunch of centerlines and so forth later, I feel like I am almost exaggerating catching and supporting her with the other leg.  Of course, seems basic to some people, but something I never had pointed out to me, nor certainly something I learned while growing up!  Too bad, I never had a dressage basis in childhood.

Then again, I have a lot of good things to be thankful for with the horseback education I have.  There's something raw and primal about learning how to ride horses bareback, over varied terrain, in storms, rain, mud, and good weather too.  So while I may not be aware of my legs, at least I could control my seat.  :)

Towards the end of the lesson, we ended up working on leg yields, which were successful to a certain point.  I didn't originally have much lateral control of the semi feral mare and there are still a lot of times when she thinks leg means "go" and "anxiety", so for leg yields to be done fairly comfortably with a constant pace is a good win to me.

So another day in which the semi feral mare did good.  While I have had the privilege of riding many horses that are fancy and make up for my flaws, there's something to be said about trying to learn to successfully teach and ride an older, sometimes cranky broodmare who is an exact reflection of me. 

Except the broodmare part.  I don't usually do children without ketchup.

So what are the basic things you are working on?  Sometimes it seems some of the easiest things are in fact, the hardest to do correctly since we take them for granted.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Black Friday

No, I didn't go out into all the black Friday shopping madness.  To be fair though, I did go ahead and order some things online.  Terrible I know.  Just wait until the packages start showing up at the house on what the husband says then!

I had a doctor's appointment this morning.  Should have been fairly straight forward in evaluating my back injury, doing paperwork and so forth to bring to my lawyer handling my workman's compensation case.  However, in the midst of answering basic questions on how I was doing and feeling, the doctor stopped, looked at my MRI again, and left the room to go speak to radiology.

He came back, complete with a medical student (resident?) to show her some of his findings.  Cool, I always love being interesting enough for more than one person to take notice.

But what he thinks he found upon evaluating my MRI again is a cyst in my spinal cord.  Not exactly good news. 

So now, I get the process of trying to figure out which insurance will cover an additional MRI with contrast to see if the cyst is still there and more MRI to image my neck/skull as he thinks I may have Chiari's, upon examining more of my past history.

I have to be honest, I am usually a pretty cool person, but this is a little unnerving to me.  My husband worries a lot, so I told him a bit of what the doctor said, but not the full ramifications if it is Chiari's.  I'm hoping it's just an artifact in the imaging or something easy and then I'll just be able to go on my merry way. 

Definitely one of those days where I needed a little horse therapy, after trying to wrap my head around this afternoon.  I went ahead and rode the semi feral mare who was pretty good.  Thankfully not so goofy, which is good.  We even had quite a few more good trot circles to the left.  The cantering to the left was not so good and I need to make a mental note to work more on transitions the next time.  Or should I say, more work on the half halting into the transitions. 

I then lunged the little red filly tonight too.  I should go ahead and get her driving stuff back out and work on driving her again, but sometimes it's just easier to lunge and go.  But I did put down trot poles and she did those easily.  I put up cavaletti and she was lazy, lazy.  How are you so lazy horse?  She is bred pretty "hot" in terms of having a lot of park/English pleasure horses in her pedigree, but she just wanted to jog along.  Hah, I look forward to seeing what she's like under saddle.  Silly filly.

So here's to hoping that my Black Friday really wasn't so bad after all.  We all have bumps in the road, so I suppose I'll just keep going down that road. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I am naturally not an optimistic person.  But I have made a concious effort to try and remodel my mode of thinking.

So while today is Thanksgiving, I am going to try and list a few things I am thankful for and am positive about.

  • I have a job.  Well, I have more than one job.  But I have enough employment in this economy.  
  • I made enough money today working in one day to pay both horses' board.  That's something positive for sure.
  • I am grateful that the Semi Feral Mare survived her large colon displacement this past July.  That was as close to a miracle as I've ever seen.  So grateful to everyone that helped me while I was literally climbing up the walls.  
  • I am grateful to my husband who puts up with my shenanigans and my overwhelming desire to turn our house into an extra large tack room.
  • I am thankful to have some awesome friends that can jump in when things matter most.  Not sure how I manage to get such nice friends.  :)

    I'm sure there is more, but after eleven hours at work today (short day!), I can't think on my feet exceptionally well. 

    Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!  I am planning on having a quick T-lunch with the husband tomorrow!  Due to the crazy work schedule, I haven't actually seen him this week.  Egads!

    Yep, grateful for even this accident prone pony.  Too bad I don't work for for an equine vet to get discounts on her. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Small Victories

For those that have never had the childhood experience of riding bareback, I am sorry.

I look back at how many wonderful rides I had bareback and the incredible sense of balance I developed.  I also developed some bad habits too, but still, there's something great about that keen sense of knowing where the horse is underneath you while he is galloping in a group or going down the side of a hill or over an obstacle.  

Even better are the memories of trying to get on said horses!

In my experience, there are generally two ways to mount a horse bareback.  One is what I would call swinging up, where you grab some mane in the left hand and swing, using your momentum to get up and onto the horse.  Generally the graceful way in which people get up and it enables you to get on taller horses.

Then there is what I call bellying up.  I don't know what other people call it.

It's like doing a giant pushup on the side of the horse, flopping and pushing yourself up, onto, and over the horse.  Unfortunately, since physical strength is required to push your own mass up onto the horse, it is often delegated to the smaller animals.  In my experience, fatter horses are also harder to get onto using this method.

But once upon a time, I wanted to prove that I could belly up onto an even bigger horse.  This horse was 16.2 1/2 hands. 

The first time, I tried I ran flat into his side. 

The second time that also happened.

Here was the third try.  

Not sure why I did that weird dolphin kick.

But here you go.  Blog proof that I have been on a horse before.

And I am also (not so) secretly congratulating myself on figuring how to download old video I had and then make it into that animation.

Small victories, you know.  That's the life of a semi feral rider.  Can't get too tame or overly ambitious.

How about you guys?  Anyone enjoy riding bareback?  How do/did you mount your willing steed?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Little Freedom

I am working a crazy week again.  Go figure right.  Including two different jobs on Thanksgiving.  The shift this week is the 4 AM shift which is not spectacular because of the whole 4 AM part, but the good part is getting to leave while it is daylight out.

I went ahead and beat the crazy traffic and went out to the barn.  :)  

The semi feral mare was pretty good.  A lot of trot work and a few canter circles.  She didn't even sweat, which is good because I don't relish the thought of drying off a wet hairy horse with an arctic type windchill out there.  We even had a few strides of a good balanced canter to the right, so I called it quits on that and just went back to the walk for a while, asking her to relax and not be so uptight. 

She must have been tired enough or finally catching onto the idea that my goal isn't to snatch her in the face every forty-five seconds, because she relaxed down and seemed to enjoy waddling along like a bloated walrus.  OK, she was actually moving like a very elegant, winter weight walrus, but still progress.

I bundled her back up and tossed her back outside to the wolves--err--wind and cold.

I wanted to spend a few minutes with the filly too.  We've been taking it easy for the most part.  I need to still schedule an appointment to pull her wolf teeth, but haven't gotten around to that.  She has so many changes in her mouth lately, that I don't really want to bit her up we usually just lunge a little and play around with halter type things.

Tonight, I let her have her freedom instead.  Sort of, anyway. 

We are able to turn horses loose in the arena when it isn't in use and the horses certainly seem to enjoy it.  

The filly looked more than feral tonight out there.  Bucking and having a good time. It was nice to see her moving freely without interference (lunge line), since she tends to be a little lazy on the lunge.  She is finally growing up I think.

She blew off enough steam and was happy to come back down to earth for a while.  I think it can be hard on the horses to not be able to enjoy good footing or do a whole lot while it is so muddy, icy, and miserable outside.  Right now we don't have enough snow to cushion the frozen mud, so it's just an invitation for sore and bruised feet.  :(

The filly seemed happy enough to come and say hello when I asked her to come over.  She then decided to stand up in hopes of a treat.

So hungry.  See, I'm already chewing with anticipation.

Such an abused little animal, isn't she?

Too bad, she's taken to sleeping in the show ring.  At least that should be more beneficial undersaddle.

How about you guys?  Can you turn horses out loose in an arena or on good footing when the weather is bad?  I've never boarded at a barn where it wasn't permitted, but was surprised reading online that so many places, it's strictly banned.  

The poor little filly would be so very sad under those circumstances I think!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Memory Monday: The Compromise

It seems that a lot of my memories are about falling off.  And that's true, because they all seem to be memorable occasions.  Good thing there aren't that many falls, so folks, there will have to be a new topic on Mondays.

But without further prolonging my inevitable agony.

Remember Alex, the cute Arabian gelding I liked to ride?  Yeah, he is once again the star of the show.

It was a run out to the far fields again.  Alex loves to lead and so leading we were.  The thing about leading is that it's not always as simple as it seems.  A fast enough pace must be maintained to keep the horses from slowing down and grazing, but slow enough that the slower horses don't wonder where the leader went and quit running.

Add in a further run and fields with some grass between point a and point b and the level of difficulty increases.

So, off we went as leaders.  Unfortunately, I lost half of the horses partway through and had to turn around and run back to the field where we left half the herd

.  Part of the run was through a heavily forested area.  There were clear paths that the horses often took with thousands of hoof print etching themselves onto the roots.  There was one fork where someone could turn left or right and essentially go around the same tree.  

Not the actual tree

I wanted to go left.  Alex wanted to go right.

We compromised.

And hit the tree dead on at a full gallop. 

I don't actually remember hitting the tree.  I remember the "Oh crap" thought about .02 seconds from impact.  I then remember hearing my walkie talkie crackle with people asking me where I was.  I am fairly certain that there was a time lapse in between.  Actually I know there was lost time. 

To my amazement, Alex was still standing next to me waiting.  I jumped on and we continued our run back out and finished the job.  Little did I realize later with the one heck of a back-and-headache what had actually happened.  Then, the following day, an astute kid pointed out there was a hoofprint on my sweatshirt, which happened to be the one I was also wearing the day before.

What is with horses stepping on me??

But my sage advice is this:

When you come to a fork in the road with a horse and there's any sort of speed involved, let the horse pick!  Compromise isn't always a winning solution.

Friday, November 22, 2013

They Still Have Four Feet

It's been one of those weeks, where at the end of the week, I still hope the horses have four feet since I haven't been able to do justice and do anything with them.

Between the twelve to thirteen hour workdays and another little snafu, I haven't been able to go out to the barn.  Unfortunately, running out there at 11pm isn't in the cards for me.

Enter, my little snafu

She doesn't have a name yet.  We picked her up from my SIL last Friday and she supposably came with a clean bill of health from the animal shelter.  This is the short version of a much longer, sadder story.  But regardless, I realized my new to me kitty had some problems.  She wasn't eating or drinking and had developed a pretty severe respiratory infection.

 One positive thing is that one of my part time jobs is working for a veterinarian so I am able to access medications, fluids, and so forth for a much more humane cost.  Unfortunately, I still get the luxury of paying full price for the blood work that was sent out.  I love it when free things aren't really free.

But that was OK.  At least it looks like after many, many hours of force feeding, running fluids, and so forth that this little kitty is turning over a new leaf (or catnip?  What would a cat turn over anyway?  A mackerel?)  She ate about half a teaspoon of food last night, which has left me on a cloud high enough, it would be the equivalent of really nailing a riding lesson.  Also on the positive side, it appears her antibiotics are beginning to work. 

Hurray.  I could now go to the barn for a few hours without worrying that I was going to find a not so lively kitty.  Plus Friday was my day off, which meant the whole work thing wouldn't be so interferring.

I found that the semi feral mare had indeed managed to return to a state of feralness (not a word, but now it is).  She is also in heat.  One of those things may definitely correspond to the other.  She danced, she pawed, she was generally obnoxious.

I have been trying to get away from the need to lunge my horse (ala Arabian style) before riding because 1.) my horse needs some TLC on her legs now post injuries and 2.) she often goes into auto lunge mode and doesn't watch her footing so she has a tendency to slip and slide on the arena footing.

But tonight was one of those lunge-before-riding-to-assess-the-brakes kind of nights.  She was a bit of a dork, once again, so lots of transitions and a bit of CTJ.  She is a really sensitive horse, so I always feel like a bit of jerk when she is harshly corrected and looks at me with those big doe eyes, but hey, if you're an idiot, expect to get corrected.

So, I decided to go ahead and saddle and ride the critter.  I did go for the western saddle just for extra fun though.  Also, I was wearing snow pants (seriously) over my breeches since I apparently don't own any winter breeches despite living in the frozen tundra.  I really just didn't want to take the snow pants off to ride either on what was probably a frisky horse.

She really wasn't too bad though.  A little bit of dorking around and not wanting to be soft or give to the bit.  Lots of good circles to the right and then her brain work up a little.  Left still was not so warm and fuzzy looking, but we did a couple decent looking circles before calling it a night.  Walked down on a loose rein, even on the scary end of the arena. 

Why is it that horses associate with having a scary end of the arena anyway?

Since they are calling for a massive drop in temperatures overnight and blustery winds tomorrow, it was time for an outfit change.

So I now present...

The headless horse.  Just kidding.  She still has ears.

Not to be forgotten, the little red filly had a workout too.  She was pretty good, despite her cold weather spunkiness.  She just seems to enjoy working and interacting with people.  I have her tail up now to try and see if I can get it to grow to an appropriate Arabian-style length.  I took it down and maybe it's just my imagination, but it looks longer (and certainly) cleaner than the usual status of her tail.

Giving a new conditioning spray a try...My husband won some Equi-Spa leave in conditioner a while back, so I put that in the filly's tail and put it back up.  Anyone else have experience with Equi-Spa products?

So all in all, good night and good end to a crazy week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Memory Monday: I Spotted A Problem

And it was an Appaloosa.

Don't get me wrong.  I think Appaloosas are adorable in an old grandpa type of way.  I love their crafty, thinking ways.

But this particular day in my life, there was a particular spotty problem in that leopard Appaloosa gelding.  I needed a comfortable horse to ride to go check the fences and gates on the pastures.  There is quite a bit of acreage and I was going out bareback with a pair of friends.  My friends had chosen a couple of my favorites: an Arab and an Arab cross, so I settled on the Appaloosa.  He had a smooth canter and gallop and had a wide, flat back which is much better than riding a shark finned, narrow horse.  If you've never had the luxury of riding a shark finned horse bareback, try it once.  You probably won't try it again without some extra padding.

So Appaloosa in hand, I mounted comfortably, clipping a walkie talkie to my belt.  We typically carried walkie talkies while out and about in the far recesses of pasture in case of emergency or trouble, we could radio up for help.  No big deal.

Or in this case, it did end up being a slight problem.

I comfortably galloped along with my friends and realized my horse was a little fat and slow compared to the Arabians.  It was OK though.  It was a beautiful May day and my spotty fellow was trying his hardest to catch up.  And then the problem.  My walkie talkie dislodged from my belt and started falling through the air (or possibly accelerating towards the Earth in a way that would make my physics professors proud).

The Appaloosa spotted this out of the corner of his left eye.  What then transpired was something like this.

I too, apparently needed a lesson in the laws of physics and the effects of gravity on my mass.  I remember thinking on how much that was going to hurt before hitting the ground and seeing his bedazzled hiney six feet away before I hit the dirt.  He took off towards the other forty acre pasture like my coworkers leaving work after a twelve hour shift. 

Too bad it was a nice warm May day and the dirt couldn't have been say...a little softer than rock hard.

What then transpired also belonged in a cartoon.  As I lay there trying to figure out where my arms and legs were, as I had somehow landed in a pretzel formation, I realized something.  He was back.  Oh cool, my ride was back and I wouldn't have to hoof it all the way back on foot.

Or not.  He was back already.  Back long enough to run me over and then run away again.  No lie, I still have an indentation on my calf where he hit me and then he took off.  

Fortunately, he did catch up to those Arabians in the other field and my friends realized that there was a horse without a rider and came back for me.  I got back on and we rode again, finishing up our jobs.  At the end of the ride, we stood talking with a neighbor who was lameting about her new horse: a half Arabian.  She eyed up our mounts, stating on how she would definitely prefer to ride the one I was on.  Hah.  Too bad I wasn't too witty at that moment.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I did have a fairy severe concussion that I paid for the next morning, along with realizing how classy my road rash and bruises were.  I also learned what one of the functions of the cerebellum is, as I apparently bruised it.  My lack of coordination was more than a little amusing.  But hey, I always got the questions regarding the cerebellum right in my later anatomy and physiology classes...

So there you go.  Once upon a time, I spotted a problem when my spots spotted another problem in the form of an innocent walkie talkie.

How's that for a tongue twister. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Five Things...Equine Style

I'm sure most people on facebook have seen the number of things about me going around.  Something along these lines.
"My number is 5. These are 5 things you may not know about me. Like and I will give you a number. Then copy & paste with your own "things" on your wall."

So in that vein, here are some about myself and the horses.

1. The filly was born with three white feet.  I noticed this past year (seriously) that she now has a white freckle on the fourth foot.  Where the heck was that hiding for a year and a half?

 2.  I can remember my first horse's birthday (and birthyear) off the top of my head.  I am still confused on what day my mother's birthday is on.

3.  The first foal I had a chance to be around and help raise was a black Quarter Horse mare named Lola.  I still have a soft spot for that bloodline of Quarter Horse.

4.  Lola was the first horse I learned to do a jugular blood draw a two year old filly.  She never even flicked an ear.

5.   My first fall was off of a galloping Paint mare bareback.  It was a bit of a hard fall, but hey, I lived to tell the tale.

Sweet Lola.  RIP little lady.

How about you guys?  Anyone want to do this equine style?  :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Contest Giveaway

I am new at this blogging type thing, but I am quite excited to find things like contests on blog communities.  Seriously.  I never win anything in my life, so this gives me hope that one day, I too, could possibly be a winner.

Once, there was a drawing where everyone but one or two people at the gathering would win a prize for attending a clinic.  Guess who didn't win?

Anyway, I digress.  The contest that I think more people should know about is hosted by Hillary at Equestrian At Hart  She is giving away a Cinnamint Scented High Standards Leather Care Saddle Soap. 

I have actually been coveting ordering some, so here goes.  If I don't win, I suppose what my next step will be.  Just don't tell my husband.  I've been sizing up the Fox's Vanilla Lavender personally.

So, if you are looking for a new saddle soap to try or are hard luck in the contest world like me, go take a stroll (or a mouse click) and go check it out.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Shiver Me November

OK, so it wasn't really so cold today, but still cold enough.  I definitely need to start digging out the colder weather horse gear.  

The semi ferals and myself are based in the frozen tundra. This is a good thing at times since in winter, we no longer have bird sized mosquitoes to carry us away.

The downside is the know frozen tundra part. 

But hey, I finally had time to make it out to the barn this evening.  My other shifts this week have barely let me out before 10 pm which isn't really conducive to barn hours and riding.  Today, I was a kind soul and covered for a 4 am shift.  I came, I saw, and conquered enough microbiological testing for a small army and hurrah--I found myself on the way to the barn.

The only downside is that when I was up, blindly fumbling for my coffee pot at 3 am, I didn't really plan ahead on what I needed for appropriate barn wear.  But, it's been a couple hours since I've been home and I think I found my toes again.  Sad thing is, it's still pretty warm here.  Good grief. 

Semi feral mare after she was undressed.  She's busy checking out her beau.

Since my hours have been so long, semi feral mare has been well...semi feral for the last week or so.  Weather is cool, so I decided to just go for it and hopped on.  Usually, I would go for the good old standby and lunge her, but I thought that a.) I can actually ride so why not and b.) I would probably freeze lunging two horses since I still had the filly to work.

Mare was actually pretty good.  We spent probably five or six minutes walking like a drunk giraffe until we settled down to business.  Good trot circles to the right, drunk trot circles to the left.  The left is our bad side, given her injuries and mine, so I know we need to keep on working.  I think I need to look into a few more exercises to start working on to keep strengthening her side and I know that I need to keep up on my strength and core training to help make up for her inadequencies.  

But something I finally noticed tonight, which of course, is trivial to many people with more advanced horses, is that tonight was the first night that she seemed to be responding to the idea of leg being lateral without her immediate reaction that had been drilled into her of leg=speed.  I like doing variations of spiral circles and she was truly starting to understand with the leg associated with it.

Small baby steps. 

Even though we will never get to a high accomplished level, if I can learn to be a more effective rider on a horse that is honest and shows my flaws, then I can be an even better rider on a horse that will carry me higher.

How about you guys?  Any particular exercises or adventures in working the one sided horse?  I worry about drilling so hard on left circles since she did fracture part of her left hind a couple years ago and had a flexor tendon injury last spring and so forth. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Memory Monday

It was a warm, sticky day in July.  The air hung heavy with humidity, but not as heavy as my eyelids.  I was in a new relationship and had spent too many hours up talking late into the night and not too many hours sleeping in my sagging summer camp cot.  I was a wrangler, riding hours each day and teaching dozens of children, leading numerous trail rides for campers, outside groups, and girl scouts. 

And this was ride number four of the day.  I looked across the group of horses and selected a small bay mare.  I liked to rotate horses so the favorites weren't used as much and so I settled on Ana.  She didn't have much in the way of redeeming features in my opinion, since she was a bit scrappy and prone to either biting other horses at will or throwing in a small, happy buck.  But she hadn't been ridden that day, so Ana it was.  She, in typical feisty fashion, had gotten into a scrape and had a bite mark in her cinch area, so she couldn't be saddled.

No worries.  I hopped onto her bareback and was ready to head out on the ride.  The group wasn't my favorite, but I wasn't paid to give my opinions, so everyone was safely settled aboard their steed and out we went.  I decided to lead, as I yawned and scratched Ana's neck.  The group was quiet and we set about enjoying the scenery of a green Wisconsin forest.  The horses quickly snatched leaves from the trees as we meandered and ambled. I yawned again and then urged Ana back forward.  She was leading and I would prefer her to keep her mind in the game and not be too enthusiastic about this task.

A moment later I looked up at my surroundings.  We were heading back towards the home trail.  What the??  I thought we had just headed out moments before and then I quickly checked my watch.  No, somehow I had managed to lose a good twenty minutes.  Twenty minutes?  How had I managed to not be aware of the time and trail for twenty minutes? 

I realized that I had managed to fall asleep.  On a horse.  Bareback.  On a horse that occasionally bucked.  How was this even possible?

I still don't know.

But I smile warmly upon that summer day when things were simple, riding was all I needed to do, and in desperate times, a nap could be had on the back of a little bay mare.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Moving On

Sometimes moving on and breaking up is quite difficult.  I tend to give people chances, wait, and hope things will get better.  I see only the good and not the bad.  I remember all the positive times and not the negatives.

But Thursday, I made the plunge and broke up.

With my farrier.

I had a different one out on Thursday morning to work on the girls.  The previous farrier wasn't bad.  He was pretty good with the horses and chatty sort of fellow, but as time progressed, I became a little more unhappy and dissatisfied.  I began to question if my horses were really sore because of the summer and the angulation that I was seeing was really their conformation. 

After all, being a photo junky, I have at least a thousand photos of my horses.  My husband would say at least two thousand.  Too bad, they aren't all high quality pictures.  

My husband asks what's the point of this picture.  I don't really have an answer.  I just like pictures.

I digress.  I took the plunge and signed on with a different farrier.  I don't subscribe to radical thoughts of pretty much anything and this is no different.

This new farrier is female, which makes no difference to me, but what does make a difference is her desire for knowledge and education.  I am pretty much a knowledge junkie.  I need to know why something is good or bad.  I want to be able to apply what I know about physics and angles. I'd like someone to tell me how to improve my knowledge in order to benefit my horses.

So, so far so good.  I am looking forward to taking some more photos and seeing how their feet progress in the next month or two.

I rode the semi feral mare tonight and she was pretty good.  No tripping, which shows a positive sign for her angles on her hind feet.  When her toes weren't rolled off in the past few years, I'd occasionally have issues with her stumbling and tripping.  While she does have hock arthritis issues and injections do help, a good trim job seems just as important.  The last weapon in my arsenal with a sore hocked horse is the back on track boots too.  So if anyone has similar issues, feel free to see if any of these changes will benefit your sassy (or not so sassy) equine.

So while, this immediate change is a little uneasy for me, as I am not a fan of creating new relationships (comes with the whole introverted thing, I'm sure!), I am hopeful that it will be a good solid relationship for the future. 

How about you guys?  Easy to move onto a new professional?  Worried about change?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Love A Little Love

Some memories are incredibly precious.  Here is one and just in time for the holiday season is a fuzzy tale to warm our hearts.

It's about a princess of a red mare named "Love".  My part in this story began when I was in school.  I was not an equine science major or anything along those lines, but for kicks and giggles, took the  intro to fences riding course my senior year, last semester.  Perfect for a senior in full throes of senioritis.

One other back story here.  I have a bad left knee (among other things).  That was a horse injury, but it meant that some horses were much more difficult to ride than others due to the jostling in a rough trot.

The original horse I had been assigned to ride had a bit of a brutal trot and I thought I would possibly die or at least saw off my leg if I had to keep riding him, so I was reassigned to a chestnut mare that I would later know as Love.

What I would also learn is that Love, while smooth gaited didn't really know anything about fences.  We did some interesting type maneuvers in that class, while not always clearing said obstacles. But still, I could tell she was a good mare and had been well trained, if not misunderstood at the school.

I graduated and moved with the Semi Feral Mare in tow, but never forgot the red mare.  I had a friend still at the university keeping tabs on her.  The thing is, that many people don't realize is that university horses are just another piece of property.  It depends school to school on how they get rid of them, but most are pretty slick and just call up a horse dealer/seller/whatever and off they go.  Some just dump the horses at auction with no information and so forth.  There is no calling the donator to see if they want said horse back or offering the horse for public sale or whatever, which is a shame because so many of these horses were high end horses at one point.  I knew this and am a bit of a soft person, hence trying to keep in the loop on what was occurring.

Well, I got my chance.  Fortunately, my friend had heard that the red mare's days were numbered.  I also happen to have some of the best friends that are also a little soft, so between a group of women, we managed to get the mare paid for, transported to my new boarding barn, have a place to live at said boarding barn in exchange for doing lessons, and so forth.  Amazing how quickly things can come together, as if it were meant to be.

I should also say, I had found out after I graduated who this mare was.  She was a mare that one wouldn't think would be casually discarded, having won many ribbons up to the National level.  Safe, sweet, sane, and sound.  I also managed to find her owner who donated her to the university and I realized that she had no idea what happened to donated horses.  She was and is still incredibly helpful with everything regarding her youth show mare.  She thought that this mare would be an incredible lesson horse since she had a lot to offer, which was true, but often donated horses are at a whim of a certain person's approval or disapproval and it seems that the red mare didn't fit the desired look of the university herd.

Also falling into place was the fact that my best friend J (who keeps making regular appearances on this blog!  Soon she'll have to do a guest entry or something, geeze) was working in the area for the summer.  Since I now had three horses and not much time...could she please come ride?

A couple days after she came down from the university.  She began to literally brighten up with her new surroundings.

I'm sure everyone can guess what happened.

It's hard to not fall in love with a horse named Love.  J took her home.

This past summer, Love returned to the Class A Arabian show ring with a person who had never shown at the recognized level.  Actually, correct that, she carried two people into the show ring: one being her owner and the other myself.  She came home with ribbons and looked so incredibly different than when I first met her in the muddy school field.  She was regal, proud, and majestic.  She strutted and danced. 
See Clueless rider. That would be me.  ;)  Her owner is a lot more competent I think. 

What a star of a mare who almost ceased to exist. 

And that my friend is such a precious memory and who couldn't love a little Love?

Thank you to everyone who helped with Love's rescue, placement, recovery, and continued endeavors.  I am so grateful to have been a part of this. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Where Did The Day Go?

Ever have one of those days when you have no idea where the time went?

That was pretty much my day today.  Did barn chores this morning, which was fine.  More horses in than normal, so it took a while.  I'm also looking forward to Daylights Savings so I don't have to turn horse out in the dark.  Unfortunately, I found out this morning that when aiming for the handle in the dark, it's possible to touch the electric fence.

That was a little hair raising and considering I have a lot of hair, I'm sure there was plenty being raised.

The feral mare and myself the first year I met/had her.  Notice copious amounts of hair to which I could easily frizz.

But besides that, I did all that typical stuff, did some home errands, went to job #2 and back to the barn and fell into the vortex of horsedom.  I do vaguely remember lunging the semi feral filly and putting her tail up and getting the semi feral mare out.

I have been trying to work on being softer in my trot/halt & walk to halt cues and being more self aware and consistent with my seat as the primary aid.  Harder than it seems, especially when I keep trying to stiffen and protect my back which in turn locks my pelvis.

I find it amazing how horses are willing to trudge through when we are so conflicting and inconsistant.  Really, they are quite good natured critters.

But back to the void.  After that, who knows what the heck I was doing?  Somehow I managed to be at the barn from four thirty until nine thirty.  One would think I might have accomplished more, but who knows? 

Anyone else have a tendency to get sucked into the void?