December 06, 2011

Swing that Butt!!

So there are bad days riding and good days riding.  Still any day at the stable is a good day overall.  I have of late felt down on the riding, I’ve had a few bumps in the road with fears that I still have to deal with but I know in time I can get there.
Pstar and Brownie in the pasture

The last riding lesson I had was Monday Nov. 28th after work.  The day temperatures were nice and sunny, of course when I left work at 4pm the sun was already setting behind the mountains as per this time of year.  When I got out to the stable I turned on the lights as I made my way back to the tacking area.  I still had my clothes on from work so quickly changed into my jods, boots, shirt etc.  Then I opened the garage bay door to head out to the field and get Divine.

The wind was horrendous!  Divine didn’t seem to bothered that I was bringing her inside since she probably knew it would be nicer in there.  Grooming and tacking her up in the relatively warm barn was difficult as usual.  Divine has the habit of not staying put where she’s tied.  She swinging her body into the barn aisle and I had to keep backing her up, around the corner tie and into place.  She was driving me nuts!  On a lighter note though I had a slightly better bridling experience with her.  She lowered her head and didn’t fight as much.  Only issue was when she opened her mouth at the same time she also swung her muzzle away from my hand that was supporting the bit about to go in her mouth.  It took a couple tries but eventually she was bridled.
Not so clean Eksodus was chilly so I'm sure my nose
wasn't too dry either!

The riding lesson itself was off the lungeline.  I was surprised since I felt like we’d do some canter try outs again but perhaps Laurie is wanting me to not get frustrated, throw in a few lessons where I feel more comfortable so they aren’t all “tiring, facing my fear” type of lessons!  Anything that is difficult it is best to take in little steps and not thoroughly concentrate on the task 100% of every lesson so I wasn’t disappointed.  I did trot work and circles on Divine.  I worked with her on her trouble areas where she fought to go through the door out of the arena back to the barn and where she tried to stop or walk in the corners instead of keeping her bend and circling like I was trying to ask.  It was a lot of work for me too trying to keep her impulsion up and then either posting or sitting the trot correctly and balanced.  It felt good and little successes made me happy

Next we worked on a serpentine at the trot and then the walk.  The walk serpentine had an extra task of moving her hindquarters, yielding them, around the turn.  It was fun and took a lot of concentration to keep her in the path I wanted.  If I didn’t let up with one leg or keep a wall with the other, or keep the right amount of pressure on the bit at the right time Divine would walk through my aids and side step down the arena instead of getting back on track with the serpentine.  I was worn out.
I love the smell of hay!

Later after the lesson and Divine was all groomed up and untacked she got a nice meal of hay in a warm stall.  I love the sound of horses munching on hay!  Glad to have a good lesson again!  Perhaps next time I’ll have some confidence to go with the canter again, we’ll see what Laurie has planned!

December 05, 2011

Horse Slaughter Legalized in U.S.

The past five years there has been a ban on legal horse slaughter in the U.S.  I didn't realize it'd only been for that short time, I thought it had been decades.  Of course slaughter has occurred, horses have been sent to Mexico or Canada.

I never, ever want to send an animal I have loved dearly to the slaughter house, nor do I want to place an animal in a situation where I won't know it's fate.  I want to keep my horse for life, if I can but I know realistically that a lot of people can't do that...who knows something drastic could happen in my life and I wouldn't be able to continue to keep my horse.  Life changes and if someone is faced with a job loss, foreclosure, and supporting their family...pets will go by the wayside.  Hopefully that person will find a good home for their horse or find a rescue to help them.  Unfortunately others can't stand to part with their horse and many are left to starve on the sparse pastures we have here in Colorado.

So this blog is about questions.

Will legalizing horse slaughter prevent slow, cruel deaths to horses?

Will it create a better slaughter house environment compared to the slaughter houses in Mexico that horses were exported to?

If there are local slaughter houses will there be regulations on the transport and slaughter practices?

Will a rancher or horse owner, down on their luck, be more likely to sell, give away, euthanize or send a horse to slaughter?

Is horse ownership verified before some of these sales to slaughter houses?

Do we need to worry about our mustangs?  What about our herds of horses in the fields?

This is a tricky issue from many angles. 

I eat meat, I eat cows, lambs, pigs, etc.  Other countries hold the cow sacred.  Other countries eat dog and cat meat.  Where do you draw the line?  Who are we to say but animal can be killed for food and what animal cannot?  Is it the type of animal that is most distressing?  Is it the endangered status (um that ones a no brainer I think!)?  Is it how the animal is killed (quickly vs. bleeding out)?  If an animal is humanely taken care of and then humanely killed I don't find an issue with it, in general.  But, I could never eat a dog, cat or a horse.  I just couldn't.  The thought makes me sick.  But I have to remember that same thought is one Indians have about eating cows, it makes them sick.

I do strongly believe though that these auctions with under nourished horses that have obviously been neglected should be fined, the sellers tracked down and animal should be starved or mistreated like that.  Sure maybe the horse will be killed quickly just like cows in a slaughterhouse but can we really advocate the inappropriate treatment at any time, of any animal, no matter it's fate?

These questions really make me sick.  I love horses and would never want to have one of mine or ones I've known killed for meat, even if it is done quickly and humanely.  Period.  But what about all the other horses? 

What are peoples opinions?

Coiled Like a Spring

I had a lesson the day after Thanksgiving. I was tense. Really tense. Laurie had me on the lungeline and the thought was to try the canter out. I guess the thought of it had me really tense.

Sometimes I wonder if I just have issues trusting Divine and she certainly picks up on those feelings. She tends to be reactive to everything I do wrong. I lose a stirrup, it bumps her, she’ll jump. She “shies” at something I’m not even sure of what! It’s hard sometimes, I lose confidence on her when she gets upset because I am not leaning the right way or I’m tense. I have to admit it gets frustrating! On the other side of the coin though the challenge of Divine is that she will tell me what I’m doing wrong…and theoretically I should know what I’m doing wrong and fix it. It’s a lot of pressure thinking about it you know?
Eksodus mug shot!

She’s a pretty good horse for learning on but I think at this stage in my life I enjoy a horse that I can relax around a little more. Sometimes I really feel about of control with her. Grooming and tacking up she still doesn’t stay still, I have to keep moving her back to where she needs to stand. It’s exhausting! But I guess she’s good to learn on, it will give me patience and small problems that occur with my future horse might not seem as big. It can just be pretty frustrating to learn on a very sensitive horse. I have good days and then I have bad.

Towards the end of the lesson at least I started to relax more and Divine was going better. I can be a sensitive person, I think a good match for me would be a horse that is easy going and not so sensitive. I don’t want anyone to think bad of Divine, she’s just a touchy type of horse.  Some riders really dig a sensitive horse, most top horses tend to be.  If I can ride her and ride her well I think I’ll be well on my way to being able to ride a lot of different types of horses.