February 26, 2013

Defluffing

Today I went to see Dani after a weekend of blizzardy conditions.  It was time for her worming, poor baby.  Even though it's apple flavored she was not very happy about getting the medication.  Her head was high and the whites of her eyes showed as I pressed on the worming tube plunger.  Once the evil paste was in her mouth and she was liking her lips I grabbed my back of carrots and got them ready for her to devour to rid her mouth of the horrible taste.  Neon green, as in the corner of her mouth below, was smeared all over as she grabbed at her juicy carrots.


I moved on to grooming her, I needed a nice long horse grooming session today.  I found an itchy place on her whithers where the blanket normally rests.  She was making the cutest little face, her upper lip was extending way beyond her lower lip as her head came down and her ears relaxed.  She was so happy it seemed!


I just cannot believe the copious amounts of fur that are already coming of my little mare!  It's only February but the days are getting longer and the hair is coming off.  She needs her hair!!  It's cold in February!  Luckily the nice blanket she has will keep her warm.


Are other horses out there shedding like crazy?  I was covered in hair after the grooming session but I think Dani enjoyed getting the blanket off for a bit and having some itchy spots scratched.  I also brushed out the blanket to get rid of itchy hairs and then static guarded the inside.  Hopefully she'll be shock free as well!  My mare always makes my day!

February 24, 2013

Serene Sunday

 
Ah yes, February and March...the time where Colorado seems to get the best and most snow.  When I skied a lot this was my favorite time to ski.  We had another winter storm scheduled to come in Saturday evening.

February 21, 2013

Eez Snow!!!

I dropped by to see Daenerys as the snow was slowly coming into the Colorado Springs area.  She'd finished up her week of Sand Clear so I had to make up her next days of supplements.  She still gets her Vitamins and Minerals every day and just a bit of grain, senior grain with a sweet smell.

 
She always looks cute with the snow on her mane but I had issues with first using my iPhone (the usual "camera" of late) and secondly Rock and the buckskin horse (don't know they name).  Trying to get in my space and herd Dani away from me.  Urg!!!  February and March seem to be the snowy months on the Front Range, perhaps I can get out with my SLR camera on a snowy weekend and get some cute pictures of Dani sans the blanket.
 
We so need this snow.  As I type I've received 4-4.5 inches of snow at my house.  Where Dani is she has most likely received more.  I'll be on snowball duty tomorrow I have a feeling but we'll see.  If it warms enough it won't be an issue.  Weather in Colorado changes so fast!

February 19, 2013

Chai anyone?

This was my birthday weekend (and I have Dublin Pinnacle boots in the mail!!!!)  I took Friday off, my actual birthday, and did NOTHING.  It was awesome!!  Then on Saturday I went to the barn before having dinner and drinks with friends and my parents.  My friend Ashely and Mike came to the barn with their 3 year old son to see my Daenerys.  None of my close friends, aside from Jessica (my childhood friend) really "get" how big a deal it is to have my first horse.  To them it's just a horse.  To me, it's like having a first born child!  I have very few "horse people" as friends.  I consider Laurie, my trainer, a friend and Uschi one as well but we haven't spent much time together...something I intend to remedy!!
 
I felt very loved that Mike and Ashley came out to see my Daenerys.  Liam, their little boy, was a little shy about this big 1,000 lb animal but I think in time we could get him on her back to be lead around.  I'd prefer a western type saddle though so he has a horn to hold onto and of course I will make sure he has a good helmet to wear!  Dani put her head down to look at little Liam as he stood on the ground next to her.  Her head was the size of his body!  It was so cute having her check out this tiny person!  Dani is the first horse he's seen close-up and I'm glad she was chill and sweet towards him.



Before they arrived I did a little bit of lunging with Dani.  She still thinks I just want her to move her butt around instead of trot off in a circle.  We still have some things to work on in that regard, I need to make sure I'm queing her correctly.  Then I worked on her backing up from the wiggle of the lead rope.  She learns fast, I just have to learn how to communicate what I want with her.  After a little bit of work I set her loose in the arena thinking she'd like a nice roll but she wasn't interested.  She mainly just stood still and looked at various sounds or other ponies in the pastures nearby.  I decided I'd sit down on the mounting block and finish up my Chai latte.  Well, Dani couldn't be content with my attention solely on my beverage.  She walked to where I sat and hovered over me, her eyes intent on the chai.  She sniffed and then mouthed/chewed my Starbucks container.  When I was all done with my beverage I figured maybe she'd like the pieces of ice with bits of chai flavoring.  That didn't go so well she lipped it and then flehmened her response.  That was the end of that!  LOL.



Yesterday I had a nice ride on Dani.  My mother showed up to see her, she loves to see Dani and is so happy for me to finally have the horse of my dreams.  She's obviously been there since day one when I first knew what a horse was to falling in love with them to taking lessons and to finally owning one myself.  She gets it and I love sharing this joy with her!  Dani and I just walked around a part of the outdoor arena; we did some serpentines and spirals.  Dani is still pretty sensitive to my body and leg; I barely have to ask her for moving over so I'm trying to work on getting her not quite so sensitive to where she thinks I want her to trot.  I would like to work on leg yielding with the proper body bend at some point but I may need another lesson with Laurie soon; money has been tight so I've not scheduled another lesson just yet.  I need to hunker down and perhaps buy a big package of lessons with my tax return or something! 

  
 Dani was amazing with the mounting block!  She stood like a statue and even stayed still after I mounted.  The few times I've worked with her on this makes me even more impressed with my girl.  I know Laurie told me the high range of repetitions that would be required because it could take that long but Dani will position herself and then I can step up and mount with ease in not so many of those repetitions.  I'd love to be on the block and have herself "park" like the Fjord I test rode but that will come in time.  Right now I'm just making sure that mounting goes well.  I'll have to do some mounting from the ground again to one, check on the saddle fit and my new anti-slip pad and two make sure that she'll be good for the more laborious type of mounting!
 
We also worked on the one rein stop and regular stops as we circled the section of arena.  Sometimes Dani needed the reins and verbal cues but one time, she did actually stop completely on just my seat.  It will take time to get a well timed stop where she is 100% intune to me but I'm happy with the little progress we've made.  My mom even commented on her ground manners and not tossing her head while tied and just her behavior overall.  We've made progress and I know a lot of what's keeping us slower in this is my fear.

I think it's hard for anyone who hasn't had a bad fall to really understand how it is to work back up to riding, and then riding at speed.  Non-horse people for one think you are crazy for even considering getting back on a horse.  Non-horse people would just say "I'm done" and walk away.  Horse people get it that passion and love is what it's all about.  It's like the air you breath, the core of who you are...but the fear you have after falls can really tamper with your feeling of self in a way.  Sometimes the fear is not really there; falls from my past, I just got back on and didn't think anything of it really.  Other times, like after my recent falls, I've been shakingly afraid when in the saddle.

 
The gal who fell off her mare many weeks ago had her first ride in 11 weeks this Saturday.  She rode Tate, the very sweet older horse of Liz.  She was explaining to me how short the ride would be etc etc.  I TOTALLY GET IT!  She broke her pelvis in multiple places, to me she's my heroine!  To get back on after such a tramatic fall really gives me encouragement.  It's a scary thing, these animals can kill you, but so can driving a car, not having a carbon monoxide alarm.  To non-horse people we are insane to want to get back on but to horse people, if you give up on horses completely you are giving up such a huge piece of yourself that you might as well just leave this world.  Sorry to be so morbid but as horse people I'm sure you will all understand.  It's almost like being a horse person isn't a choice, it's just who you are!  Anyhow, be safe and any even a short ride can be a great ride, take your time and enjoy!
 

February 17, 2013

February 16, 2013

Bit Blanket


Sometimes it's the simple things in life that make you smile.  No longer must I put a cold, cold bit in my hands to warm it for my horses mouth.  No longer must I place that bit under my shirt, beneath my jacket onto my warm belly to heat it either.  This item is well work the $40 or so bucks for purchase.  Think of poor Flick in Christmas Story...it's worth it to not have your horses tongue and mouth injured on a frozen metal bar!

 
I plug my bit blanket in the second I get to the barn.  After grabbing Dani's halter, I grab her bridle and grooming tote, within which is stowed the magical bit blanket.  As I pass the wash racks I hang the bridle and plug in this wonderful piece of technology.  Once I've retrieved Dani, finished grooming her and gotten her saddled and ready to ride the bit is nice and warm.  This is so much better than when I would have to stand for many minutes trying to warm the ice cold metal in my hands, which are already frozen mind you from being out in the open working the various brushes and adjusting tack straps.  This is such a luxury item but at $40 it's soooooooo worth it!  The only time I panicked about it not functioning well was when I plugged it into a socket that apparently was not working, hence the bit did not warm properly.  If you plug the apparatus into a functional socket it works quite well and is a god-send during the frigid winter months!
 
As you will note, the warmer comes in several different colors.  Dani's bit warmer comes in her color, green.  Even though she doesn't wear this piece I still, dorkily love having color coordination!!!  This is a must for winter riding.  I think for future use when traveling to locations to trail ride I will have to invest in a cigarette lighter socket adapter.  I love this device that much!!

February 11, 2013

The Boot Debacle

Darn it! My Ariat riding boots are broken! The eyelet hook at the top completely snapped off. There are three on each side so I've just been creative with how to lace my boots but that's not gonna do for too long. I need new boots, I'll bring these to a shoe repair shop to see what they can do and perhaps they can be salvaged without breaking the bank.


My Ariats with the broken "hook eyelet" next to it.


Anyhow, this Sunday I was in Parker visiting a friend who lives in the Cherry Creek area.  I swung by Dover Saddlery to see if they had the Dublin Pinnacles, see pic below.  I really, really, really want these boots!  They are tall boots but aren't formal looking, since I don't show that's perfect.  These will give more support than my paddock boots, they're water proof and man they look so freaking cute!  Perfect for working around the barn, riding in the arena or on a trail ride.  I won't look silly wearing these with a western or aussie saddle either.  Me likie a lot!  I've priced them at $178 cheapest, this includes free shipping from this particular online store.  Dover Saddlery did not have these boots in stock for me to try on which was a total bummer, I really wanted to see them in person.  I guess I can buy some online and return them if I don't like them.  I hate doing that though....but what can you do?

 
I looked at the various paddock boots at Dover and found several comparable Ariats to the ones I broke, and mind you I've had for 12-13 years (with only the last three years of regular use).  These are the Ariat heritage boots below.  I'm not making the mistake I did with my unused black paddocks and going cheap....you get what you pay for!  There are many styles of Ariats and the prices range from $119 to $150 for the ones I like, some of the paddock boots are upwards of $300!!!  So, why not get the boots I've been pinning for if I have to get new boots?


 
 
Again another unexpected expense but I need safe and comfortable boots to ride in.  One thing I do have to mention is all the Ariats I viewed at Dover now have metal eyelet hooks instead of the plastic ones like mine that broke.  Phiff!  We'll see what the shoe repair guys says and see if I can squeeze out a bit more life from my Ariats.  But I still am gonna get those Dublin Pinnacles sometime in the near future!!
 




February 10, 2013

Serene Sunday

The last thing a hay pile sees!

February 09, 2013

The Mounting Block

I’ve done several sessions with Dani around the mounting block.  The first couple , which occurred a couple weeks before my lesson with Laurie, I would go up the mounting block and if she backed off I would make her back or turn her in circles.  Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy. 
 Then I started working on rubbing her while on the standing on the block, then leaning on her; this is what Laurie had me do during our lesson.  Since then I’ve done some work where she was just in a halter and I led her around the block, got up and down on the block and asked her to move at least one step in the direction towards the block.
 
 
The evening Steve came out with me we did similar work with him leading her up to the block while I was standing on it and vice versa.  We loved on her and leaned on her and then would step away and then step back on and up the block.  She became pretty relaxed toward the end.  Then we set her loose and I took a rest on the mounting block.  The picture above is her looking at me saying, "Hi mom, what cha doin?"

Today I went out to get a ride in before some icky cold weather hit, but of course we desperately need the moisture!  I spent time grooming Dani, always my favorite part of being with a horse is making them shine and loving on them! She's already starting to shed out winter coat! I'm excited because it means the days are getting longer...well obviously they have been since what, December 21st?? I got some new stirrup leathers, still synthetic but longer and they are great! I also figured out how the Wintec stirrup leather "loop" works. I was thinking it went through the loop like on other saddles but it actually just goes in and then comes out under the saddle flap. I'll have to take a picture to show it since I can't seem to explain it the way I want. 
 
The other new thing I have is an anti-slip pad under the green pad.  I didn't take any pictures but I suppose I'll have to do a tack post with my new little items because I also got a grab strap to add to the front of the saddle!  This will add some security when I feel I want to grab something solid.
 Today was chilly and the indoor arena was packed with about 10 riders going over a jumps course.  I think there is a show coming up because one girl with a cute white pony was telling me about hoping to show of her pony at the show to find her a new owner.  Anyways, out into the driving wind and cold we went.  We approached the mounting block and I let Dani sniff it.  Then I stood on it and had her move around it, I had her reins off like I was leading her.  Then I put them on her neck and led her up to it.  I got prepared to mount and she stood like a good girl.  Once I was on though she walked off before I asked; I abruptly asked her to stop.  I was so proud of her though, little steps of progress.
 
I know we'll have some more work to do on mounting from the block but I'm very happy with this progress.  I actually mounted three different times.  When I first popped on I noticed my stirrups were adjusted way too long; I was reaching for them and it was like being stirrup-less.  I decided to jump off and adjust those from the ground because it would give me a chance to mount again.  Then the second time I dismounted was because of Canadian Geese honking and flying towards the barn. Daenerys bolted while in the paddock last weekend when some geese were honking and flying really low.  Luckily I'd already released her and was just chilling in the paddock watching the horses.  I envisioned this could be an issue still and I am trying to figure out a way to desensitize her to this, so I decided to bail and just stand by her just to be on the safe side.  I turned her towards the flock but they were much further away from us than when I had seen them in the paddock last weekend so she didn't seem to have any issues.  I think in the paddock they were flying really low and really loud so I can understand that to a horse that was a horse eating pterodactyl!
 
Anyways, I had a third chance to mount from the block and she was good just like the other times.  This third time she didn't immediately try to walk off so I praised her.  Pretty soon I started seeing snowflakes and since I couldn't feel my toes I figured it was best to head inside and untack.
 
 
 
The barn was busy with people getting blankets on their horses and feed time was getting prepared.  Floro the main groom, came up to me and brushed snow off my jacket when he asked how I was.  I said "Freezing!".  He laughed, sometimes his mexican accent is hard to understand but he's a very sweet and friendly guy and great with the horses.  I quickly groomed Dani and got her blanket and under blanket on.  Within that time the wind and snow had picked up quite a bit.  Horses were already getting covered in a dusting of snow.  I led Dani out to the paddock and gave my girl a hug.  I was headed home to my warm house and she was anxiously awaiting her hay with no concern for the flying snow.  I'm so glad today went well with the tack, the mounting and the ride!  I don't know if I'll see her much tomorrow since I have to run some errands in Denver but this week we'll continue on with the mounting block lessons.  Happy riding!

February 08, 2013

Let's Play Tag!!

Not the best quality since it was inside but still very cute!!
 

February 06, 2013

Motivation and Timing

Motivation is so lacking these days and I don't know what to do about it. Am I setting myself up to fail with putting too much expectation on myself? Shouldn’t I be jumping up and down and wanting to see my horse every single second? I chalk it up to the winter blues in part and wishing she was in my backyard with a open window into my bedroom so she can “hang out” with me when I’m reading in bed. I'm becoming less and less happy with cold weather and it’s honestly been mild just windy, I want to stay inside under a heated blanket than spend hours in the barn working on something I'm not 100% confident on how to work on! Even with the indoor arena I find the chill miserable. What’s wrong with me??  Look at that cute face!!




I've gone to see Dani most days the past couple of weeks, I maybe didn't see her for two days in a row at most. I also didn’t even do any “work” with her this weekend. Why? I’m tired, unmotivated in general and the weather in the evenings gets cold…not a good excuse! I haven’t been to the gym myself in who knows how long because I can’t seem to get myself out of bed in the mornings! I know my mare is happy and fine living her life in a big pasture with other friends, and gets looked at and cared for each day, that’s the benefit of full board. I wish she was closer but there isn’t a facility that is closer to my home that is what I consider a good option for board. Of course I’ll keep my eyes open for one but I like Whispering Winds, I can’t complain except for my proximity to it. Uge, I’m rambling. I just feel unmotivated in life in general. Don’t know what my deal is but I need to change that!


In previous posts I mentioned that I would go home from work and then go to the barn, well that time slot doesn’t work really well…especially since the husband has been home. It’s hard for me to leave the time spent chilling with him to go see my little mare. I’d honestly rather just leave from work to get to the barn first thing at about 4:30pm and then get home around 6:30-7pm. But 4:30pm is right when the horses are being fed, so what am I to do? I wish I got off work earlier but I don’t. I have a little hay net and used that once so Dani could snack while I groomed her but is this a good practice? I don’t want her tummy grumbling and I feel she’ll be in a better mood if I’m not completely taking her away from her meal. I don’t have time to work her each evening for very long so it’s not like all the blood will be leaving her stomach to go to muscles and potentially cause issues with her GI system. The other thing is that she gets only hay in the evenings. Her supplement, which is vitamins and a handful of grain to mix, is fed in the morning. I really just need to go when it’s best for me or I won’t go at all!! Like I said I don’t have time to “really” work on things when I get out there so I should just go and work on tiny things when I go. I need to get better about this and know that I don’t have to go every day, if I can make it out certain days of the week to start that will be good. Small changes!


Now as to the gym…I need a cattle-prod alarm clock! Anyone have an idea where I can get one of those?



February 03, 2013

Serene sunday

I love my pony!