June 27, 2011

A little paint mare

So I have been absent on my blog for way too long.  Bad blogger!!  I don't know why and I'm sure why but I make a pact right now to be better!  I do have to say through most of May I felt really horrible, I had bronchitis and was out of work for a week and the recovery seemed to take forever before my lungs felt normal again.  Needless to say I didn't feel like doing much, including riding!

Muddy Millie

 I've been leasing a cute paint mare for a little over a month now.  Her name is Millie and is a nice bay paint (hahaha, I know I leased Willy and now Millie ;-)  I ride her on Sundays as well as Wednesday for $200 a month.  The only catch was I had to pay for my 6 month lease all up front....anyone ever heard of that?  Or well.  The lease price is average for a two day a week lease.  She's boarded at a pretty rickety place, the Flying W Ranch, I would have never guessed.  It's very bare bones but there is a 3 acre paddock owners can let their horses out on for 2 hours to graze.  The location is fantastically close to my house but again, no free grazing for most of the day.  I think horses should be in a paddock as much as possible!  When I first started riding Millie she wasn't very affectionate with me, she was a bit stand-offish but as we've gotten to know each other and grown more comfortable she's sweetened up; not that she was ever nasty by any means!

Cute foal friend
So since riding her I've had another fall, yipee!  I'm getting good at these!  I've been kicked in the knee (back leg hoof picking and she jerked her hoof) and dealt with a couple rearings (while I've been on the ground thank goodness!).  Now this all may sound terrible but let me explain a little to catch you all up on my horsie adventures.

The hoof picking incident occurred because I found she had a habit of kicking out her legs as I was releasing them from being picked.  I just happened to have my knee in the way...oops!  I've since worked with her and held her leg while rubbing her rump and slowly placing her hoof back to the ground.  That seemed to work for her and now she's just a complete rag doll when it comes to moving her legs!  Yea for me and Millie!

Squeals of delight or annoyance?
The fall, happened when we went on our first "trail ride" into a cow field behind the barn areas, she spooked at her shadow, grass, a rock...something!  I came off and nearly hit a cactus...whew!  I need to stop falling and freaking out about falling so I can relax my seat and stay steady!  This is no fun!  Since the fall I did a lot of ground work with her and it seems like she has become a bit more responsive to me.

The rearing occurred because she started getting really upset when ever I put my hands up towards her face.  The first time she did this was one time I was about to bridle her and she reared and pulled way back on the halter and lead.  Those Aussie tie rings are great for horses that need work with tying, she was able to give herself room and then calm down.  Go Clinton Anderson!  I spent many times out to see her just working her on lunging in the halter and then repeatedly moving my hands in the "offensive manner" until she finally calmed down to where she was before.  Her owner thinks she was smacked in the face one day by the remnants of an electrobraid wire that is looped around the top of her pen.  Who knows I may have poked her wrong one time I was bridling her I'm just glad Millie and I worked it out but I'm very steady and cautious as I bridle her now.  I place my hand with the brow band part on her nose and slowly slide up her face...slightly different technique than I'm used to but it seems to work with her.

The good husband!
The first time I tried lunging her I had the same issues with Willy where it felt like the horse was just swinging their butt out of the way of my stick.  I've since watched and re-watched a Julie Goodnight and Clinton Anderson show on lunging and have a better idea of how to get her started.  I don't think I had enough patience to have her catch on to where she needed to go to "relieve the pressure".  After our first round pen session I found myself stuck in the pen.  The chain link was stuck in the opening that you slide it through to secure the gate.  I worked on it for about 10-15 minutes and finally just pulled out one of the sections, and moved it to create a gap wide enough for a little paint mare and me to get through.  Millie just calmly stood by like nothing out of the ordinary was happening.  Oh the embarrassment!  Luckily no one was there to witness it but Millie and of course I'll tell all of you about my mishaps when I could have never even mentioned it...but to laugh at oneself is fun right?  After the fact of course!

Millie is not really responsive to leg yielding and the first time I tried to canter her she spun in a tight circle instead of continuing in the strait line we were on.  Yeah, that freaked me out.  But for the most part I feel I've worked through some of the biggest difficulties.  I'm hoping to make it out by 10am on Sundays to catch a group that goes for trail rides on Sunday mornings. 

How a horse should always be!
I'll have to go into other details about the waterer issue or the muddy fetlocks or the constant bit chewing but I can only take on so much at a time in life and in my blog!  I've only been out to Laurie's a couple times, seems I always forget I want to ride on Mondays and when I remember it's too late notice to call her.  Other times she's been on vacation or I have, that's been the past couple of weeks!  I miss Quinntessential Arabians with a passion!  Anyways, I promise I will not been gone from this blog for so long again!  Hope you all are having happy rides so far this summer!
Hi Millie!  Um I'm trying to take a picture stop coming at me!