January 30, 2011

Steve and the poop

Steve came with me today, not to ride but to hang out and do some mucking of stalls.  He watched me tack up Willy, commenting on how fuzzy Willy was.  He has that goat hair under his chin and Steve thought it was cute.  We called him the Willy Goat.  Once I was done with tacking up I mounted Willy and Steve went to work cleaning the wash rack area that had three piles of manure on it, not Willy's.  Then Steve worked on Riddles stall and another stall too.  Another older man was there and mucking the mini's stall and Willy's.  He apparently was a trainer that was working on some of the horses at the ranch.  Steve and the older guy were talking while doing one of the runs and mentioned how much hay was wasted here.  It seems that big bales of hay are just placed on the ground in the pens and most of the hay ends up wet in urine and poop.  Also the twine for the bales has always been left on and it littered the whole property.  Not a safe environment for the horses!

I rode Willy around the big arena, not working on anything in particular just getting nice trots out of Willy and concentrating on my lower leg position.  I did a few canters that were nice and smooth but then did one where Willy started to take off at a gallop.  I slowed him down and pulled him to the side then had him flex his neck on each side towards my foot.  I didn't let up until Willy "gave" to me.  Then I worked him at a walk and trot.  Then I cantered him again, he listened much better and didn't try to take off

Later I tried to just do some simple trot circles, unless I'm in the indoor arena or the smaller arena it's very hard to find flat even ground.  I was having a time of Willy not listening to me, trying to stop trotting as we went around the circle.  Eventually I got him to go around the circle a couple times without a fuss so I stopped at that.
video

Good enough.  He's not Divine and certainly has a lot of holes in his training, if he was my horse he would have been at the trainers long ago as I've said before.  But for having a good time riding a horse on Sundays he fits the bill quite well. 

After the ride Steve helped me groom him.  He started one side with the curry brush and I finished with the stiff brush.  Then Steve picked his hooves.  I'm so proud of the hubby taking the time to learn about this horse stuff.  It will most likely be a while before we get him his horse, well cross my fingers maybe sooner so he can come ride with me but at least he's learning to be around horses.  He'll be around mine a lot and he needs to feel comfortable with that.

We put Willy back in his run and gave him and Two Socks some carrots.  Misty was already taken out to get ridden by her leasor.  Then we went and said hello to the little mini's.  Gee Gee is the bigger and darker one and Lacey is the smaller one that has more brown on her.  Steve thinks they are so cute!  We gave them some carrots and then called it a day.  A nice warm house awaited us!

Darkness Decends

I went out to ride fairly late on Friday.  4:30pm lesson.  I was riding Divine.  She was a bit antzy in the cross ties today, wiggling around and pooing a couple times. 

Today Laurie had me working on keeping collection with Divine and a consistant trot while I posted and sat the trot.  I definitely notice the difference when I ride Divine compared to Willy.  Since Willy doesn't collect much and I'm not a trainer I don't think about collection when I ride him.  I just ride and have fun.  With Divine I get challenged.  I can't wait to have my own horse to take lessons on where both me and the horse are getting challenged and then I can continue on that path during the week on my own!

Divine and I had a few minor arguments while doing some circles but we went pretty well together.  I certainly got a workout! 

Laurie was excited that things were moving forward with the new property and I am estatic for her!  I dream of having land and an indoor arena some day so I know she is just through the roof with excitement!  I can't wait to see the new place!
Pstar in a fly mask from last summer

After I groomed Divine and brought her to the arena with the other mares I visited Pstar.  She was sweet as ever and her sidekick Psylk joined us, her black coat just a shadow.  The only way I could actually "see" her was by a reflection in her eyes.  She was black as the night!  Then all the other mares tried to gather around me and I found myself surrounded by mares in the dark...with the boss mare Sala getting a bit testy that the others were nearby.  I was out of there!  Not a comfortable situation!  Safely on the other side of the fence I gave each mare a carrot and then headed over to see Eksodus. 

Laurie said Eksodus had already been acting much better since the surgery.  When I went over to pet him he came up with his bright eyes twinkling in what little light there was.  A few pets and he made to nip me again.  I tried one more time and he tried nipping again.  Perhaps he still needs more time to mellow or he just senses my timid feelings, I don't like the idea of getting bit.  I don't feel like he respects me and I haven't given him a reason to yet, he always scared me a bit when he went to bit me.  Hopefully as the gelding fully takes effect and he gets put out with the mares he'll start to chill and I can get to know him a little better.  I just don't know what to do around young horses!  I'm certainly not ready for one that's for sure!  Someday I'd love to "raise" one but not anytime soon!

January 23, 2011

Back to the Trail

Today I decided I would see how responsive Willy was being and if it turned out well I would take him for a short "trail ride" in our favorite little neighborhood.  When I arrived Lorraine was cleaning out the paddock of her beautiful Friesians Willow and Gracie.  She said hello as I was grooming Willy in the wash rack area. 





His mane wasn't covered in hay today so the grooming was a quick chore at least!  While I was grooming him the cute little tabby cat came over to say hello.  He wove in an out of the horse's legs making sure to rub up against each one.  As I wrapped Willy's legs in the polo wrap the cat wiggled in between my legs, nudging my bottom.  A little friendly isn't he?!  I shoed him away from my deriair and then he proceeded to nuzzle the wraps as I was trying to get them around Willy's legs.  I had to laugh as I pushed him out of the way and secured the last Velcro strap.  Then I put on Willy's saddle and bridle, walked him a bit and tightened the girth a couple times.

I led Willy over to a fence so I could have him stand facing it while I mounted in hopes that would prevent his walking while I was mounting.  I often wonder if his former owner as an endurance horse trained him to keep moving while they mounted to save time during the race?  I don't care about that amount of time, any horse of mine will be trained to stand steady, even while I'm wiggly and getting comfortable in the seat.  Only when I ask them to move on will I allow them to.  I mounted up on Willy, instead of moving forwards he swung to the left a bit.  I said whoa many times as he tried to take a few steps while I got situated.  Then I had him stand for a few moments before asking him distinctly to move forwards.

I rode around the big ring, did a little bit of trotting and then headed out to the road.  Willy was a little hesitant to go down the driveway and tried to turn around a few times.  It was weird!  Once we got on the road he was fine, I just started talking to him about random things, perhaps by talking I calmed myself a little and hence calmed him.  He took a look at some fabric on the ground that made him nervous but he eventually realized it wasn't going to eat him so he moved on.

We stayed at a walk and just calmly walked past horses and cows in paddocks.  A chocolate lab came running out of yard and then under a fence and right at Willy.  I kept talking to him but he didn't seem fazed at all.  The dog was running behind him and barking up a storm but Willy just plodded on, his ears pricked forwards and occasionally looking at the dog directly.  I want my future horse to be this good around strange crazy dogs!  That's something that will have to be worked on of course by taking a horse to a location where there are lots of dogs on the trails and desensitizing them to it.  Santa Fe trail would be a great location since there are bikers, walker/joggers and dogs all the time on that trail.  Willy and I moved up to Eggar Court and passed the group of boxers on the corner...they didn't bark but up at the top of the culdesac the black dog was making a ruckus and upsetting me more than Willy. 

When we headed back to the stable I was hoping to get a picture of the cute donkey but he was too far out in the field.  His little horse friends weren't in the field, just cows and llamas.  I continued to just chatter to Willy about the scenery etc.  I'd read in a magazine that this one woman started doing that with her young horse as she rode and it really helped her out.  Might be a good idea to remember especially if I end up buying a younger horse.



After getting back to the stable I untacked Willy and groomed him down.  The weather had started getting more chilly as the day had progressed so I was ready to get back home to a warm shower.  The same little tabby cat was back hanging out with Willy and I.  He found a nice resting spot on my saddle!  I returned Willy to his paddock with Two Socks and Misty, fetched a wheel barrow and proceeded to muck the area.  It was definitely nicer than it had been.  No one had arrived yet to muck any of the paddocks so I figured I'd get it done.  The inside of the shelter needs some fill since there is a big dip in the middle that is pooled with mud, urine and rotting old hay.  I could have dug a hole 2 feet deep but just cleaned up the manure.  If it was my facility I would do a lot of things differently since there's a big problem if urine just stays in puddles all the time.  The drainage needs to be corrected.  Oh well, two wheel barrows later and I came back with carrots for Willy and the crew...to include the minis.  Then I headed home.  I love my Sunday rides!

January 22, 2011

Floating and Gelding

Tooth floating in horses simply put is sanding down the rough edges of a horses teeth.  Horses teeth continually grow throughout their lifetime and being domesticated they don't grind on grass and forage as much as they would in the wild, therefore their teeth don't wear in quite the same way as wild horses.  The lower teeth tend to get sharp edges on the inside, near the tongue and the upper teeth tend to get sharp edges on the outside near the cheek.  This can be an issue since it can cause painful sores and then of course an unhappy mouth can cause bitting issues.  It's best to have your horses mouth checked out once a year and depending on the horse any dental care or floating that occurs will be based on their needs.  Young horses, like any baby animals, can have baby teeth still present when the adult on erupts and therefore need the baby tooth removed to allow the adult teeth to come into the correct position. 

Legs is so sweet as he has his heart checked...he is so cute!

Horse skull showing the wolf teeth and the "gap" area for the bit

Another thing that horses can have are what is called "wolf teeth".  In a horses mouth there are the front teeth (incisors) that tear off the bits of grass and then the back teeth which are the molars that grind the grass.  In between the front and back teeth there is a gap with no teeth present, this conveniently allows a bit to rest across the tongue and be used to transmit aids in the form of pressure to the side of the mouth, tongue and bars (lower gum line on the jaw) of the mouth.  While having teeth floated it's also a good time to remove these wolf teeth that sit right in front of the back molars, where the bit would sit.  It interferes with the bit and can often get broken by the bit which, I'm assuming, would be a more expensive dental cost to remove a broken wolf tooth.  Not all horses develop a wolf tooth and they appear at different ages.

Pstar nose, you can barely see the wolf tooth but it's right in front of the molars

The process was pretty simple.  A halter with a lower cushioned bumper is hung from a rafter in the ceiling so the horses head can be held up at the proper height.  Each horse is sedated, placed in the halter and then a mouth speculum (I looked up the term, I knew it reminded me of the gynecologist!!) it used to open the horses mouth.  Then the vet uses a drill looking tool that has a circular rasping plate on the end.  Then it's just like sanding wood in a sense!

The speculum (shutter...)
The rasping tool (more shutters...)

The victim (shutter...poor Legs!)

The tooth pulling meant that local injections of anesthetic were administered.  Some of the wolf teeth were tiny, others were huge...Pstar had pretty big ones removed.  I wonder if that means she has the spirit of the wolf in her...one who is social and loyal...yep that sounds like Pstar!  LOL.

All in all it went pretty quick and it's a necessary maintenance, same as humans going to the dentist.  The poor babies though!  At least they were sedated for it!  I wish I could be whenever I go in for just my cleanings!


Next it was Eksodus's turn.  He's just  yearling who will turn two in July I think.  I hadn't seen him up close in a while, he's almost as big as Pstar is and she's 4 going on 5!  What a handsome boy!  Since he's still pretty young the vet thought it best just to check his teeth since he still had a lot of baby teeth.  His wolf teeth would be removed but the main job today was gelding (castration).  I've seen castrations before in Leesburg, VA back in 2000 when I worked as a tech in an equine operating room one summer.  Usually the castrations were older horses.  I guess doing it in the OR, instead of doing it in the field, was because of the amount of fat and size of the vans deferens. 

Handsome boy!

Eksodus was sedated, then given another shot that made him even more sedated to the point where he plopped onto the ground.  The vet moved him to a safe location and cushioned his "fall" by holding his head up and then helping him roll down onto his side.  It was pretty much the same procedure as in the OR just not with the nice cushioned walls that you wedge the horse in between or with the cool hydraulic table.  It was quick and easy though.  Make an incision, pull out one testicle, cut the vans deferens and clamp for a few minutes, pull out the next one and do the same.  Then the doctor tidied the area up so fat and other skin wouldn't hang out of the wound.  It's left open to drain, and the swelling that will then happen helps to close up the wound.  I don't remember if they stitched it up in the OR or not but in the field since it's not sterile it's best not to sew up the area.  Esksodus then had his wolf teeth removed.  Shortly after, he started to get up, he layed on his belly for a little while before fully standing and then was led to stall for 24 hour stall rest with two weeks of hand trotting exercise.  It will be interesting to see how Eksodus is as a gelding, hopefully he won't be as nippy with me!  He'll be three next year, still very young and compared to Pstar it would be hard to think of buying a three year old I couldn't ride when I could buy and be riding Pstar.  2012 is far away, yet very close....must keep my head in the debt reduction game (aka Project Buy a Pony!)

An iodine scrub to clean the area

Eksodus: "Yikes, that was a horrible dream I just had!"

I was so happy that Laurie let me come out to witness all of this!  As a future horse owner I want to soak up as much information as I can to learn about the proper care of horses.  I subscribe to Dressage Today, Practical Horseman, Equus and now as a member of the Arabian Horse Association I will be getting their Modern Arabian magazine.  Each horse magazine has articles on behavior, training and care of the horse but nothing beats seeing things firsthand!  Thanks Laurie!  Hope the horses are feeling better after their dental appointments, reminds me I need to get my Jack Russell in for his!

So I'll end this post with a cute pic of Pstar.  Awe!

Cleaner stalls and runs!

Susan had a bunch of workers out today cleaning the stalls.  Willy's paddock that he shares with Misty and Two Socks was much nicer looking!  No much to report with Willy today just a nice day to ride around the yard.  I worked on his trot gait and tried to get a better canter transition...he always speeds up really fast into a bumpy trot before kicking into the canter gear.  Not fun!


I took some pictures of his hooves, freshly trimmed too!  I've definitely noticed a difference in horse hoof shape.  The front feet are usually wider than the rear feet because most of a horses weight falls on the front feet.

So here's Willies front feet:


And here are his back feet.  The back feet are lighter in color since the horn is lighter due to the white socks on his back legs.


  Some horses have little dots of black or irregularly patterned socks that end up making the hoof have a stripe....love that! Willy has it a little bit and so does Pstar.

See the tiny dot on Willy's back leg?  It makes the horn below darker


Pstar's hoof stripes are more defined and her's are on the front legs

Whether the different colors are well defined or not it's easier to see when the hooves are cleaned up and polished.  I've never done much about any dirt on to outside of Willy's hoofs, just taken care of the important frog, which is the triangular shaped cushy area in the middle of the hoof.  You have to make sure to pick the hooves and get any rocks, sticks etc out of the hoof before you work a horse since you can cause lameness or other injuries if a foreign object gets up into their hoof.  Also it's important to keep the manure and mud out from the frog on a regular basis to prevent a fungus called thrush from taking hold.  The hoof is an amazing part of the horse anatomy but there is a lot to learn about from laminitis, where the laminae inside the hoof swells and can cause the hoof wall to slough off, to hoof cracks that can spread up or down the hoof.

Inner workings of the hoof with the "toe bones" coming into the hoof, live tissue like blood vessels and laminae that can cause issues if they become injured on infected. 
With a good diet, exercise, a clean living environment, regular hoof trimming and picking of the feet most horses don't have an issue with any of the above hoof ailments but they are always something to be on the look out for.  Checking the feet daily is an excellent preventative routine to get into with your horses. 

Easy Boot Glove
Maybe I'll have to do a post sometime about hoof care as I learn about it.  I just know the basics of picking the feet, getting them trimmed by a farrier every 6-8 weeks and for a lot of endurance horses they are moving away from traditional nail on shoes to the hoof boots that protect hoofs from the extra wear that they can incur during a 25-100 mile endurance ride in the mountains.  Arabs tend to have really good feet and don't need to have those traditional steel shoes but as I said earlier the endurance riders seem to be leaning more and more towards the hoof boot


Above is a happy rider and her horse in easy boot gloves, all four hooves.  I guess they do put the boots on all fours instead of just the front hooves.  I have so much to learn!  I'm excited though, I've contact Kenlyn Arabians in Fort Collins about their Urban Challenge, which is a 15, 25, or 50 mile endurance ride they host each spring and fall.  I want to assist in some way and learn a little about the sport....plus take pictures if I have the time!  I'll be able to see all the interesting types of tack they use for endurance and how the owners care for their athletes...that's a whole new post in itself!  I know I can always start off with a fleece covered dressage saddle and those comfy stirrups to start but if I really want to get into it I'll need to get the really comfy tack!  Anyhow that's my post on feet and boots for now.  It can get boring posting about walk/trot transistions with Willy! 


January 17, 2011

Pstardancer Lunging Lesson

This Saturday I had my regular lesson with Laurie but the exciting part was I was going to use Pstar as my lesson horse!  She's not under saddle yet so this was going to be a lunging lesson, both for me and for Pstar.

I arrived at the stable and saw the mares in the arena.  Pstar's ears were pricked forwards, she was looking very fuzzy and cute.  I retrieved her from the arena.  She seemed surprised I was leading her out of the arena and kept looking at me with an excited look in her eye.  I brought her into the cross tie area.  She hesitated but stepped up and I turned her around to get hooked up to the cross ties.  She sniffed around the area and watched me as I clipped each side onto her halter.  I wasn't sure if she'd been up there or not so I stroked her and talked softly. 

Funny angle, her head looks huge in this pic but she's really almost perfect in conformation! 
To really get good pics of horses you can't be this close to them, it's better to be further away
 and use a longer lens but of course this is just a cheap point and shoot.  I'd love to do a real
 photo shoot with the horses someday!
Then I started to groom her.  She'll be five in July and she's a dainty little thing.  I guess she's about the height of Divine she's just very slim and refined.  I wondered if I would be too heavy for her if ever I rode her!  Her neck was upright and her head inquisitive as I worked around her.  She stood pretty still, much more so than Divine on most days.  I was pretty impressed. 

Laurie arrived at the stable as I was grooming.  She then told me that Pstar had not been in the cross ties before and how she thought she was being really good.  Pstar did poop several times, definitely a little nervous at this change in situation and change in handler!  I then worked on picking her feet.  Divine just has to have her legs touched and she's ready to give me her hoof.  Pstar wasn't so sure so Laurie showed me the way she had her trained.  Pstar was a little nervous I wouldn't give her hoof back or something, she was a bit reluctant to give me her foot!  The back feet were the most difficult, I wasn't quick enough to get my hand and leg under her to support the leg and she sort of panicked with a "kicking" motion.  Later after my lesson the kicking motion nearly got me several times.  Talk about adrenaline!  Anyways, once the hooves were done I wrapped her legs with the polo's.  Her cannons are nice and short so I had to adjust how I wrapped them, with some help from Laurie as to the tension I put into the wraps as I worked my way around Pstar's delicate leg.

Laurie did some lunging with her, playing the "Two Eyes" game from Clinton Anderson.  Pstar was pretty frisky and even reared (first time ever!).  I admired how beautiful Pstar was as she trotted in circles and pranced about at times.  She was very feminine looking but with a sense of strength, like a taunt rubberband, you could feel her energy ready to burst forth.  She calmed down a bit but always was a spring ready to release.  I lunged her at the walk and worked on changing directions now and again.  Then Laurie showed me how to have the horse back off from my space and also to follow.  I'm not using the correct terms but the whole thing is you get the two eyes on you and then wiggle the lead and walk with a big posture towards the horse.  They should back up.  Then you change your posture to a meeker position, back up and the horse should follow.  Pstar did quite well and I guess so did I.

After the lesson I groomed Pstar again and I put her back in her stall to eat some hay.  Then Laurie and I talked a little about breeding, bloodlines etc.  We also discussed a possible lease.  I would pay Pstar's board and thus have access to work with her.  Laurie would also work with me to get her under saddle.  It could be an interesting prospect, I would get to really know Pstar and see how we work as a team before committing to buying her.  I liked how she worked today though I was so nervous about messing up that I feel we could have worked even better. 

I do have concerns though, I would want to see her in many situations.  Loading on a trailer alone.  Taking her on a trail alone.  How would she react to traffic?  Bicycles?  Dogs barking at her on the side of the road?

Many times while out with Willy I've had barking dogs run right up to us and he's been really calm about it, granted he's 19 years old but can you get a younger horse at least pretty safe and reliable in that situation?  How do you get them used to the Santa Fe Trail where there are bikes, joggers, dogs and children that may not be "horse smart".  How do you progress with a young horse's training?  What if I do something really wrong and screw her up somehow?

I don't know if I'm ready to take on a young horse I might feel more confident with a horse that has a couple years under the saddle.  Maybe I'm just scared and this is the learning experience I need to just dive head first into.  I know I can lease her and if I feel things aren't working out the way I want I could end the lease.  But honestly it's hard for me to think about quiting the lease on Willy and look how many complaints I have about him! 

At least I don't have to decide to lease her this second, I still have my lease contract with Willy.  I'll be leasing Willy at least to the beginning of April (as per my contract), and at that point I can decide if I want to lease Pstar.  I'll ask Laurie to do a few more lessons with me and Pstar in the next couple of months and then see how I feel about her and the prospect of working with a young horse....to include less time in the saddle for me as we work on ground work with her.  It's an exciting thought starting from the ground up on a horse, and a potential life riding partner but also I'm not sure I want to take that on.  Do I want a horse that is a few years older that has been on several trails and seen a bit more of the world?  One who has experience dealing with changes in their lives?  One who I can get up and go riding down a trail in Black Forest or take into the mountains right away? 

I also don't know what price Pstar will be next year.  She only just came into my range over Christmas and will most likely go up in price as she gets more training.  I'd hate to fall hopelessly in love only to end up not being able to buy her in the end.  Uge.  I just need to take this one day at a time.  There is a lot of ground to cover between now and even April when I will be able to change what horse I lease if I so desire.  I have to think sensibly and remember that Pstar is a wonderful mare and I love her affection and cuddles but I have to be objective about myself as a rider and her as a horse.  What mount would be the best match for me to accomplish what I desire to accomplish in the horse world?  I also think it's a good idea to see other horses on the market, kind of that "dating around" to find your match theory. 

Anyways I can ramble on, I just have to be patient and not let my emotions and desire to have a horse of my very own take over my logical thoughts. 

On a completely different note I'm excited for Laurie since she and her husband just put an offer on a 40 acre property with a nice house, stable and indoor arena!  How cool is that!  I hope the offer is accepted and Laurie gets the dream property!  She deserves it so much! 

Well until next time, I'll keep this blog updated with my workings with Pstar.  I have time to figure out if taking on Pstar as a lease horse is more than I can chew or if it's a challenge I can face right now.  I just need to get comfortable with the idea and if not move on at least knowing that I fully investigated the possibility.  Happy trails!

January 11, 2011

Wallpaper

I've had various wallpaper at work.  Some gorgeous, nameless Arabian of one sort or another.  I figured why not give little Pstar a chance to be on my screen.  Laurie has great shots of her when she did photo shoots of all the horses.  This is my wallpaper right now.  Copyright of Quintessential Arabians.



My lesson this next Saturday will be with Pstar.  I'll be lunging her and learning some groundwork.  This should be fun!

January 09, 2011

Snowy Ride

Riding in the winter can be a challenge for most riders.  Only those insane enough about horses will face a cold, snowy day.  It helps remarkably to have a indoor arena at my disposal, otherwise on days like this I doubt I'd get riding in at all.  There are some things though about riding on a cold wintry day that warms the heart.

  • Snowflakes in pony's dark, fuzzy coat
  • The tabby cat sleeping on the seat of an old western saddle
  • Horse breath in your pockets searching for carrots
  • The warmth of a horses back as you ride without a saddle
  • My warm, fleece lined winter jodphurs
  • The silence of the barn yard
  • The protection and subtle warmth of the arena while you and your horse are bundled up in jackets, looking into the cold outdoors
  • The black dog curled up in a pile of hay, so content and deep in sleep he doesn't bother to look up as you trudge by carrying your armful of tack

It was just me and Willy today, I didn't see anyone else aside from the horses, dogs and cats.  We stayed in the indoor arena, which I am so glad to have access to this during the winter.  Any place I decide to board will have to have one of these!  I'd pay extra just for that luxury!  I rode Willy at the trot mainly and worked on my leg position like in my lesson on Friday.  Then after about an hour of riding I took off the saddle and rode him around bareback at the walk.  On days like these I wish I had a bit warmer, the cold bit in my hand is freezing and then also is cold against my stomach as I warm it up within my jacket.  I know Willy appreciates not having a cold bit in his mouth, I would just love to have something that did it quick and easy!

I thought about Pstar today though.  I really can't afford her.  On paper I can but my budget would be so tight that if something happened, a car issue, a doctor issue...I would be living so tight and never able to make headway on getting my debt down or taking care of other obligations.  I owe it to myself, Steve and my future horse, whether it will be Pstar or someone else to be in a better financial position when I take on horse ownership.  In 7 months I will have $300 more a month after paying off one bill, in about 6 or 7 more another bill paid off will give me yet another $200.  This is on top of the money I have each month that makes it so "I could afford a horse right now" and pay $250 board and a payment on the horse.  If I bought her now my financial cushion would be a rock...a year from now, it will be a pillow top mattress with a heavy down comforter on top!  I will be sitting in a much better place to keep a horse and build my savings....and yes even have a life outside my horse. 

I owe it to Pstar to not be hasty in buying her but by getting set up right so I can indeed offer her a forever home.  Again she may not even be the horse for me but if she turns out to be I don't want to have remorse in anyway when I do claim her as mine.  Hopefully I can get to know her better in the next year so my worries about whether we'd be a good match or not can be calmed.  She is for sale and I know Laurie needs to get some of the sale horses moving so she can get another lesson horse.  If she is sold to someone else, it wasn't meant to be between us, if she isn't sold by the time I can buy her then perhaps she is my dream horse.  Only time will tell.  I'm glad I have Steve to talk to me sensibly, he understands the emotional side of me and that the feelings I have around Pstar can get me thinking with my heart more than my head.  I need to get the stuff my head is concerned about squared away and then I can think all heart and choose my riding partner for life!  Oh the heartache!
Misty, one of Willy's new paddock mates.  He's not nice to her though!

January 07, 2011

Heartache

I finally made it out to Lauries today, holidays and really bad weather have kept me away.  How I've missed the lovely Arabians!  I had a little Christmas gift for Laurie so I came totting that and forgot carrots!  Eksodus and Pstar were in the first two stalls.  So I greeted them with a pat, Eksodus being his little saucy self!  Laurie came in and we hugged, catching up on our holidays.  Then she had a gift for me...a beautiful ornament her mother made and an awesome teeshirt with Gadiel pictures on the front and back!  I have a pony shirt to wear with my pony PJ bottoms!  I gave Laurie her gift, the size and shape of the horriblly wrapped present sort of gave it away, I'd gotten her a new riding whip/bat.  I'd been at Big R a couple weeks ago and saw it.  I thought it was perfect since she wanted one a little longer than the one she currently had.

After our gift exchange I got Divine from the arena and began getting her groomed.  She was so fuzzy she looked nearly pure white instead of the flea bitten grey/white color she is in the summer.  I rode on the lungeline today and Laurie had me working on my leg position.  It still comes forward a bit when I post so we worked on that with posting trot, sitting and two point.  Towards the end, I guess after I'd warmed up a bit my legs relaxed into the correct position.

Laurie and I talked a lot about horses, as usual.  I asked about Ekstasha and she said she wasn't sure if one of her younger students was interested in her.  Ekstasha is Eksodus's mom whom someone else owns but is giving up their horse because of a move...honestly that's the excuse, I think they just don't have the interest anymore.  Then Laurie mentioned that she had told the family that Pstar would be a nice match maybe for their daughter.  My heart fluttered a little.  I talked to her more about horses and buying a horse not under saddle, how to judge the fit of the horse. 

Apparently a statement I'd made on my blog about Pstar not being a good fit for an endurance or trail horse was a misunderstanding.  Laurie doesn't know how she'd be.  Pstar isn't herd bound as they say, she just likes to be around other horses but Laurie said that if she's alone with no other horses she may be the kind of horse, since she's so human oriented, that would be fine with her human as the boss mare.  I'm not saying this really eloquently.  It sounds like Pstar could get accustomed to be "alone" on a trail with just me and be perfectly fine.

After the lesson and I'd gotten Divine in the cross ties, untacked and partially groomed Laurie tested out some treat samples.  Divine ate them readily but did a funny smacking motion with her mouth, the treat pieces must have stuck to her roof and teeth in her mouth, it was so cute!  Pstar didn't seem to like them, I gave her one twice and each time she just turned it around in her mouth and then dropped it out.  Eksodus did the same.  Later while talking with Laurie I was petting and snugging with Pstar, her lips toyed with the zipper on my jacket.  Horse lips are so funny!  It was so nice with her in the stall, when she's in the run in shed it's harder to get to her, since because of the design of the door there is also a little electric fence strip.  She's gotten pretty fuzzy too and has that extra poofy hair under her jawline like Divine does.

After saying goodbye to Laurie and the horses I headed home.  My mind wandered to conversations we'd just had about horses and finding that connection with a horse.  Nearly home I started to tear up with the thought that Pstar could be purchased by someone else and I would never see her again.  When I walked into my house the tears started running.  Later when Steve came home I talked with him a seriously about Pstar and he seemed a little hesitant but said he wouldn't stand in my way.  I just don't have the money for her right now, I want to pay off some debt but I do have a small raise coming.  I pondered options that might sound reasonable to Laurie, part ownership or leasing etc.  Steve and I will go over the budget and figure out what we are willing to do.  My debt will still get paid off, just a little more slowly if I have a horse to pay for too.  I haven't felt a connection like this since BC, my favorite lesson horse when I was younger.  Of course I don't want to get ahead of myself, Laurie has said that I'd have to work with Pstar and see if she works well with me and I want to get some idea of how Pstar might act in a new situation or place so I can assess if she'd be a good trail horse.  I know training and positive reinforcement is good and then repetition as I grow in a relationship with her and bring her to new places she'll gain the confidence that it's okay. 

Am I being crazy?  I pay all my bills monthly and on time, I'm not hurting in that sense.  I just want the bills gone, so I wanted to increase the payments on them to get in a better place.  I just don't want to lose Pstar if she's the mare for me...I've felt something in my heart about her for a long time and the scare that someone could sweep in and take her away forever is just heartbreaking to me.  Lots to ponder, some soul searching to do and the practical financial plans to construct....

January 02, 2011

Thaw, mud and poop

The snow is thawing and melting around town.  I expected lots of mud at the stable and indeed that's what I found.  I loaded up several wheel barrows of manure from Willy's pen.  There are two other horses in there with him so I don't feel like I should muck the whole thing as part of my lease when I'm only leasing the one horse...honestly I was never told by Susan that I am required to muck his stall, only to clean up after him in the arenas and wash rack area, I've just done it to be nice and help out a little.  There is a lot of gray area when it comes to the mucking.  Some of the lessers have mucked at times and other times they haven't.  It's really bad when it seems like there hasn't been any mucking in a couple of days...I don't think that a lesser should be required to do all of that when Susan and her "gang" have slacked off in the chores.  Granted if it was my own horse no question, I would leave a dry stall!  Most stables I have looked at online have the full care option for boarding and since I live in town it only makes sense to fork over the money but I would expect the stall to be kept much better than these stalls are and I would still do some mucking to keep it in tip top shape.  These stalls often don't seem to be mucked regularly and multiple loads of manure is a decent contribution to something I'm not required to do in my lease.  I'm going on a  rant but I just don't like this gray area.  I feel I pay good money for the priveledge of leasing Willy but he's also not my horse.  I'll do some mucking when the area is pretty bad but I feel that Susan should be able to either hire someone to clean stalls with all the horses she leases out for riding and I feel she has the responsibility to muck the stalls daily.  Okay I'm done.

So it was pretty muddy today and after mucking some of the worse areas of the pen I got Willy out and tacked him up.  I worked in the big arena.  Willy seemed a bit lazy today, it was hard to get him to keep trotting or cantering.  I worked on his off side with circling since he's a little stiffer that way.  It's hard doing the circles on the slopy arena since Willy plunks along going downhill and has a nicer more lifted walk or trot going uphill.  I worked on his head carriage more often today and he seemed to comply quite well, lowering his head.

After riding a bit I dismounted and grabbed a wheel barrow to get the two piles Willy left.  I also picked up about 8 other piles that had been left from who knows when.  One pile would have been the 9th but it was frozen to the ground!  I definitely do my share and more of cleaning up this farm.  It seems like a lot of the kids from Saturday or whenever don't care and then Susan doesn't do any maintenance herself.  Oh ranting about poop what fun!
Fuzzy mini horse legs!

I untacked Willy, returned him to his cleaner pen and then said hello to the little horses with carrots.  Willy got his share as well.  Hopefully next Sunday will be less muddy and all the horse stalls will have been cleaned out a little better.  My standards are a little higher I guess but I'm torn when it's not my horse and I'm paying money to lease them.  Cleaning up after Willy is one thing, mucking his stall that he shares with two other horses that looks like it hasn't been mucked in several days is another!  Okay, I'm done complaining!

Frozen but indoors to ride....

I'm a crazy person and decided to get an extra day of riding in on Willy since I wasn't having my lesson on New Years Eve.  It was freezing, I think the thermometer on the bank said 9 degrees F!!!  I decided to just ride Willy inside and just stay mainly at a walk so I didn't have to worry about a sweaty horse in freezing weather.

I was trying out my new winter jodphurs.  They are fleece lined and very soft.  I love them!  Only issue I noticed was when I mounted, I couldn't quite flex my knee the way I normally do so it was harder to get my foot into the stirrup.  I walked Willy around the ring a little bit but then decided that bareback riding might be warmer for my bottom.  It was.  Willy didn't seem to mind the nice lazy day.

I like the little indoor ring here.  It's not much wider than your average round pen and it's double the length.  Susan has a storage area and sitting area in part of the ring so it's not a full rectangle to ride in.  I want to get one of these when we have property.  This isn't a big building and there is nothing really fancy about it.  It's just one of those steel garage type buildings but there is room enough to do a little riding when the weather outside is ucky.