March 31, 2013

Serene Sunday

I had a nice ride with Dani today with 3 other gals in the outdoor arena, some of it we just sat on our horses and chatted.  LOL.  I'll discuss that ride later.  For now the serene sunday stars Rohan and Turry, they were in the east pasture enjoying the really warm weather we had!
 


March 30, 2013

Humiliation?

We did a small photo shoot to get a picture of us with a sign greeting Julie Goodnight.  I went a little silly with the whole Easter theme but Dani was a good girl, though it was clear what some of her thoughts were! 
 
From the mind of Dani:
 
Yippee Mom and Dad are here to play.  What?  Wait what are those fuzzy things?  You're putting them on my head??  As if the shamrock deely-bobbers weren't bad enough!  Okay humans take the picture, I look better in these silly things than either of you would!!  Let's get this over with!
 
 
Mom just let me eat the dried grass bits that you're standing on...you keep making me stand still and face Dad shooting that little silver box at me.  I want to watch the tractor to my left and enjoy the dogs chasing each other to my right near the round pen.
 
 
Oh geeze, him too!!  Why must you pose me like a piece of art? I just want to eat, sleep and play.  Come on!  This is getting very boring....
 
 
Okay darn it!  You aren't doing this right and this is taking WAY too long!!  Give me that sign!
 
 
This is how you do it, Pony Style!!!
 

March 29, 2013

The Mane Task

I've been a bad blogger lately (my last post was Serene Sunday and those posts are so simple!) but this week has just been a little atrocious.  I can't really explain it all but I will in time, I promise!  Nothing related to Dani so no worries!  Anyhow, I've not gone to spend much time with Dani.  I've done checks and quick grooms; I've run my hands down her legs and checked for heat or swelling etc.  She has received a couple nicks on her inside near hind leg, not sure what from, but it's nothing serious even though there was blood.  She wasn't lame either.  I'll be having the farrier out soon to see if perhaps she needs a trim or there is an imbalance with her hooves.  It's been 8 weeks since her last trim but her feet are looking fine just on thrush watch because of all the mud!
 
 
Anyways, one day I went out to groom her and decide to just take my time and untangle her mane perfectly.  A lot of times I take the stiff brush and run it over the mane to get the big tangles out and honestly for the most part she keeps a neat mane for being nice and long and being on pasture 24/7.  I sprayed her mane with the conditioning spray and started at her withers with my hands and began untangling from the tips of the hair.  I used my mane comb as well and did small sections at a time.  I resprayed a few times and made sure to get the under layer of hair as well since she has a pretty thick mane.  Soon when it's warmer I'll give her a good bath and finish with a good conditioner, letting it soak into the hair shaft but the weather is still to up and down in Colorado right now so I'm not quite comfortable with doing a full on bath. 
 
I then did the same job with the tail but that is much easier since the hairs are thicker and stronger.  Dani has a pretty luxurious mane for me not having put major effort into maintenance.  I know the Freisian has his braided and each braid is in a little soft bag, same with his tail.  He has fantastic hair!  I don't want to go that far with Dani but I love maintaining her long thick tresses as best I can.  I don't know if I even want to put a bridle path in her mane since her hair parts so nicely where it should. 
 
 
She's such a beauty but then again I'm pretty biased!


March 24, 2013

Serene Sunday

HEATHCLIFFE!!!!
 

March 23, 2013

Dublin Pinnacle Boot Review

The Dublin Pinnacle Boots were just the style I was looking for.  I'm moving away from really liking the proper English attire mainly because I don't show and I'm a more casual person.  I just want to trail ride and have fun even if I do my riding in a Dressage saddle.  I will have an Aussie or Western soon enough.  This boot seems to sit in the middle just like me and I've seen great reviews.  I think it works for English or Western riders.  Most reviews stated that they run large and most viewers recommended half a size smaller to a full size smaller for better fit.
 

 
I originally purchased the size 6.  That didn't work since I couldn't even get my foot into the heel without fear I would damage the boot.  I sent it back and received the 6.5.  These are U.S. sizes, UK I think a 6.5 is UK 4.  My foot fit in fine with a little wiggling and the actual foot part was roomy.  I could put a gel insole in there easily and not cramp my foot.  I don't feel like I was swimming in them but for some people who really like the tight fit of paddock boots or tall show boots, this boot is looser so I would caution you.  I was worried I like the fit and now after walking around in them I feel like I'm in slippers!!  So comfy without feeling like they aren't secure.

 
The boots come with an inflatable boot tree, I think that's what it is called.  This keep the boot's shape when not being worn.  The leather is soft yet firm and the whole boot feels of good quality all the way from the sole to the stitching this feels like a well made boot.  The lacing is a regular shoe lace type and I'm sure it ever broke it could be replaced easily.  The boot is easily tighten with the lacing and makes for a cute design.  I could tighten the lower part of my boot for a closer fit but I like the looser feel, and like I said the boot feels secure on my feet.

 
The only problem I have with the boot is the closure.  The Velcro is good and sturdy but I think the strap should have had the hooks and the boot part of the Velcro should be the loops.  It's the other way around and since my strap does not fully  tighten I have some of the hooks exposed while wearing these boots.  Sometimes a dangling lead rope catches on the Velcro.  I have a simple solution, I'll get some Velcro and matching fabric and make a little patch for this area but either the strap should be long enough for the full width of the boot and close or switch the Velcro around.  Otherwise I have not had any issues with the boot.



The tread is very nice as well.  It gives a good grip to the stirrup and walking on cement barn isles I don't feel like I'll slip at all.  The sole is thick enough to protect your feet and you don't feel every pebble on the ground.  The heel is also made for riding and the width is narrow enough for safe stirrup use.  Easy to put your heels down too I might add!
  

 I felt that the inside panel gives a grippy feel in the saddle and I felt very comfortable riding in this boot and keeping my leg position where it should be.  The inner layer is thick and sturdy, I think it would protect well in saddles that have even more material under the leg than a dressage saddle usually has.

 
And lastly, my boots do look decent with the gray breeches!  They are very comfy to walk around in and I'm now back to wearing my breeches full time.  I still want the jean look breeches since my regular riding jeans were too bulky to fit into these boots.  My winter breeches should work with these boots but beyond that I don't think the boots are wide enough for thicker fabrics.  Breeches and tights will work best, skinny jeans and jean breeches would also work.  I think they are well worth the $174 I paid considering also that the Ariat Paddock boots I was looking at are anywhere from $120-$140.  Caring for the boot entails wiping them off and then I think regular leather care products will work nicely.  I have to do some research on that to make sure I maintain these nice boots correctly!
 
 
Hope this review helps!  Happy riding!
 

March 20, 2013

No Longer Playing with Breyer Horses!!

This Saturday I had a long time childhood friend, Jessica, come visit with her husband. Jess and I have known each other since we were in 4th grade. We were next door neighbors and went to school together through high school. We played Breyer horses and took riding lessons from many of the same instructors. She's been in Wyoming the past few years so it's been awesome to get together and reconnect while she's out west.
She and her husband came down this weekend and the plan was for her and I to play with horses for the morning. This time the horse I owned was not 1:12 scale and plastic!!  I asked Phoebe at the barn to borrow a horse, she thought Maz (Maserati) would be a perfect choice.  Jess hasn't been regularly riding so we didn't want to have a handful of a horse for her.  Our whole plan was just to walk around the arena and enjoy a nice easy time on horseback.
 

We arrived at the barn, the only person present was Floro.  It was quieter than I'd ever experienced!  Normally on Saturday mornings there are dressage lessons for the Friesian and the warm blood but even though they were on the calendar the ring was vacant.  Sweet!  We went and grabbed Dani.

We were greeted by the usual entourage of horses, Rock, Jolie (Jodie?) and other equines I haven't been formally introduced to.  We meandered our way through the probing noses to Dani who stood with her neck arched in that gorgeous Morgan way and her ears pricked forward in the hope that a treat accompanied these two legged visitors.
 
After grabbing Dani we got Maserati from the small pasture adjacent to the north pasture.  His paint horse friend was interacting with Dani over the fence and trying to bite at her as she waited.  She was not happy and several squeals erupted.  We finally took Maserati in tow, Dani pinned her ears a couple times but abrupt jerks and a NO seemed to squelch that for the moment as we led them both into the barn.
 
 
Jess and I worked on grooming our horses and then getting them tacked up.  I assisted Jess since it'd been a while for her (something I can totally relate to!).  The jumper saddle for Maz was funny to put on since I am now used to longer billets of dressage saddles and had to find the right adjustments so the girth would fit him well.  One thing with Maz that Phoebe forgot to tell me and apologized afterwards about was that Maz has issues with his hocks.  Hoof picking can be difficult since he has spasms in his legs when picked up to that height.  I thought he was trying to kick me but he didn't have a malicious look on his face so I guessed something was hurting and decided to forgo the back hooves.  SO glad I didn't smack his butt in a reprimand!  Dani used to kicked out a little when I first got her and I stopped that right away since I'm very sure it's not a physical issue just a Dani thing that needed to be retaught.
 
Once we got the horses tacked up I helped Jess get on Maz.  She really didn't need any help with the mounting block but the reassurance of someone being there to hold Maz in case anything funny happened is something I can completely understand.  I then brought Dani over to the mounting block.  She started balking at it and moving away.  Really??  This again??  If horses teach you nothing else, they teach you patience!  So I moved her around the block with me standing on it and led her up to it several times.  Rinse and repeat.  Eventually she stood like I know she can and I mounted up.
 
 
Jess and I stayed at the walk and just meandered around the ring.  I did a few circles and serpentines and of course practiced the stops.  Most were not that good but I had a few good ones.  We'll work on it, I think I also want to try a new bit...something milder like a french link.  The single jointed bit I have is not really a D ring but it seems to flip around when I lead her.  Loose ring french link snaffles may be the key and who knows may help with stopping and help with softness.  It's worth a try since I'm reading more about bits and think Dani probably does not like that "nutcracker" effect of the single jointed bit.
 
Jess and I rode and chatted, Dani was a mare a couple times as we walked next to Maz but I reprimanded her with a half halt and a NO.  I still kept the distance between the horses since I didn't want anything bad to occur.  I probably talked too much about Dani and how much I learned from her but I'm sure Jess understood...we grew up horse crazy girls so chatting about horses ad nauseam was par for the course...and sometimes is still that way for me!  I think Jess really enjoyed Maz and was comfortable being back in the saddle.  Awesome!
 
We had a great time relaxing and riding in the indoor all by ourselves.  I'm so glad I got to spend this horsie time with Jess especially since it seems that soon Kevin might get another assignment and I won't have her so close by!  Time with a friend doing something you both love is just priceless!

March 18, 2013

Mud and Poop...deja vu?

I have an Aunt and Uncle that live in Steamboat, CO.  They get a lot more snow than the front range does and as such they have the dreaded springtime mud season.  I've never really had the experience of mud season so much as they do but right now I have more empathy for what they deal with since I am dealing with it slightly at the barn.  Though the mud and poop gives me deja vu from when I leased Willy, that lease went over a winter and such is the life of horse ownership!
 
The snow packs in certain areas around the barn that don't get much sun.  Then the horse poop packs into the snow and forms poopsicles.  These cannot be picked up easily without a jackhammer!  It's just a waiting game until the thaw when one can scramble to clean up the muck!

 
 The barn is trying to get poop scooped up into piles to then dispose of but it's an uphill battle with sudden shifts in temperatures and weather conditions....what we call spring here in the Rockies.  As I write this the last time I was at the barn the mud issue was not so bad we've had a week of warmer temperatures that have allowed even the flooded outdoor arena to be usable again.  A couple times while coming to visit Dani I was afraid my little Honda civic would get stuck in the mud and found that my foot prints were several inches deep as I tried to trudge into the barn.

With all the mud and wetness I'm keeping a close eye on Dani's feet, I don't want any thrush issues.  I'm also worried about the wall of her hoof getting dry from being caked with mud so I'm making it a point to clean up her feet really well and apply the hoof oil more regularly.  Who cares that as soon as she walks into the pasture that her hoofs get covered in dirt and little bits of hay?  It's not a vanity thing even though I love seeing her striped hoof more clearly.

Maserati, the horse Jessica got to ride on Saturday!!
This weekend was a very fun weekend, my childhood friend, who happens to be in Wyoming because of her husbands Air Force stationing, came down for the weekend! More to come on that but above is just a sneak peak. Maz (aka Maserati) will be the horse we borrow for her to ride with me! He's Phoebe's horse and a total sweetheart! Stay tuned!!
 

March 17, 2013

Serene Sunday


Dani shaking her long red tresses....
 
 
This makes me think of the silly picture that's been circulating horsie Facebook pages.  "Maybe she's barn with it, maybe it Neighbelline!"
 


March 14, 2013

Drifting...


The day after the blizzard Steve and I went to the barn. It was still pretty windy and cold but at least the sky was blue and the sun was shining.  It was very obvious that it'd been awful the day before.  All over the farm there were huge drifts of snow.  This one is in Dani's pasture.  You could seriously lose a miniature pony in that thing...or even a cute little husband!
 


March 13, 2013

Hay There...

No one could ever claim my mare is starving...

March 12, 2013

The Pinnacle

Guess what arrived in the mail today!  The Dublin Pinnacle boots.  I tried these boots, one size smaller than my regular size about two weeks ago and had to send them back.  The size difference was based on reviews saying they ran big.  Alas size 6 was too small.  I received the 6.5 today and they fit!!!  My jeans are too bulky under the boot so I'll have to start wearing my breeches again...and I want to get those cute jean styled breeches....but since I bought these boots and have springs shots coming up I can't spend the cash just yet.

First thing I thought when I took this picture, "boots
with the fur..."  LOL
I like them so far!  We'll have to see how they are riding but they feel pretty nice.  They aren't as close fitting in the foot part as my Ariat paddock boots but they don't feel loose.  Now that I have these I'm going to bring my boots into a shoe fixer and see about getting new eyelets put in the boots.  My Ariats are still usable and I want a backup shoe.  I wonder if they can re-dye my Ariats to a black color???  Perhaps I'm getting in too deep with that thought, re-dying could cost more than buying brand new Ariats!  I just want the eyelets to fixed.

So above you can see that my regular jeans are pretty bunchy with these boots.  I have four pairs of breeches, three are regular weight and then I have the black winter weight ones.  Honestly I know I'll be getting winter boots for next year, I had way too many days with frozen toes this winter so I'll be investing in winter boots. 

Now with these new boot I need some fashion help. Until I get slim jean breeches I only have my current breeches to contend with.  What will look okay with these awesome boots?  My brown breeches I know go pretty well with these boots.  What about the light purple breeches?  Do these look okay with these new brown boots?  Could I dye these purple breeches?  Why the heck did I get purple anyways????!!!!


What about the gray breeches below?  Will these just look silly with brown boots?  Do you think I could dye these breeches?  If so what color?  I was thinking a green would work and with the gray color that is already on the breeches it might end up a nice hunter green?  Or I could try to make them brown as well, or maybe blue like denim?  The black breeches?  Perhaps they look okay with these new boots, but those are my heavy breeches with fleece lining; since spring is just around the corner I'm not as concerned with these pants.  I might have the bunching issue with the thicker breeches like I have with my jeans.


Please help!!!!  I have no fashion sense aside from having the keen eye to buy these gorgeous boots!  LOL.

March 11, 2013

Top O' The Morning To Ya!

Steve and I went out to the barn on Sunday to get a few shots for Julie Goodnight's Facebook page.  She's suggested that for the month of March people should post a picture for each week.  The first is your horses home, then your horse with something green, then you feeding your horse and lastly you with your horse and a sign greeting Julie.  I figured this would be fun so why not?


These photos are my attempt at the something green pictures.  Dani already has her green halter so I just added to the St. Patrick's Day theme with Mardi Gras beads and shamrock deely-bobbers.  At first sight Dani started upon viewing the glittery beads but then just ignored them and tried to graze.  We got the beads over her head and then the deely-bobbers on, my mare is so tolerant of me.  It was windy and cold today, VERY COLD!  So while my hubby held her I took some shots quickly with my camera.  Rushing and freezing did not allow for a really good photo shoot.
  

I failed to notice that my camera's white balance was set to Tungsten and since I wasn't shooting in RAW this presented some issues when I tried to correct the photos to make my mare look her usual red and not have the greenish hue over her coat.  It was difficult since I haven't done much photo editing in forever so I struggled and finally accepted that this will have to do.


At least I got a couple cute shots and Dani was mostly cooperative.  Steve doesn't really know how to make her stand so it was hard to get the cleaner background I desired, while she was moving she crept over to the left so the trailer and barn equipment showed up behind her.  The picture below is an unedited version.  You can see how the tone is very cool with blues and greens and it's on the darker side.  Taking pictures in a rush and in the driving cold wind is not the best situation for a photo shoot.  Hopefully the first pic with suffice and Julie will get a kick out of it, at least I get a kick out of it!  Steve and I liked it the best but I think larger deely-bobbers would have stood out more on my mare's head.  These are my personal ones; I need horse sized ones for Dani (note to self).


I also created a cute little frame to set in my office at work, I don't have a picture of Dani at work and it's been 5 months!  Bad pony mom!  Now I'm all set and can place this picture of my girl in an honorable location.


This weekend is St. Patrick's!  I used to love the parades growing up in D.C. with Clydesdales and lots of other horses.  The parade down in Colorado Springs is usually not the greatest, it seems to mainly be advertisements for local businesses.  One of these days I'll head to Denver and see their parade since I heard it's pretty good.  The club I'm looking into joining (more on that soon!), the Kit Carson Riding Club, will be in the parade at least but I have friends coming in town so we might not make it to the parade.

One year I totally decked out my Jack Russel in St. Patrick's attire.  He was so cute he ended up on KRDO's news clip about the parade!  That was in 2007!!  Perhaps someday Dani can be a hit at the parade!  But for now I'll just embarrass her at home and then post the pictures here and on Facebook!  LOL.

March 10, 2013

March 09, 2013

Impending Snow....

I went to visit Dani on Thursday.  I didn't groom her or anything, I just hung out with her as she ate.  I played with her mane and ran my hands down her legs.  That was the extent of my being a horse mom.

 
The outdoor arena is saturated with water and half melted snow and we are expecting a blizzard this weekend too so it will only get worse.  Hopefully soon with the daylight savings time change the arena will eventually be available for use in the evenings again.  I'm so excited!!!

 
When I can to visit Dani she was eating hay with Rock.  Someone had done rocks scant mane up in little "nubbins".  He looked so cute! 
 
Anyhow there is nothing better than the sound of content horses munching on hay and snorting.  I love it!  I rest my head on Dani's back as she ate and scratched her chest.  I love her.


 
Today I went out to get in a short ride before the blizzard descended.  I knew I wouldn't see Dani on Saturday because either I would be in Denver for the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo or I would be stuck in my house because the roads were bad and I wouldn't be traveling.  We'll have to see.  It's 11:30pm as I write this and nothing has started just yet but I'm farther south than the main area of impact.
 
Anyhow, I rode Dani again at the walk in the indoor.  She was good for mounting but walked off once I was aboard.  Still work to do but I have to remember that Willy would walk off right as I was trying to mount so she's at least not doing that.  We did some work on stops and spiraling.  Nothing is perfect yet but we'll keep working at it.  I really want to get some more lessons with Laurie but I have $200 I want to pay off for a Bill Me Later thing on PayPal and then build up a little more savings before I can justify buying the lessons.  This is of course after having to replace shocks on my car in addition to the usual monthly cost of keeping Dani happy! Spring shots are coming up so I need to think of those as well!  I plan on totaling my yearly expenses come the one year anniversary of horse ownership just for others to understand real expenses.
 
 
Dani was doing really well with halts at the end of the ride, I barely had to use the reins.  I was so proud.  A couple times during the ride she was distracted.  The mare that bosses her around, Jonie I think, left the arena, and Dani neighed a few times in distress.  I'm still working on being her main "lead mare".  I directed her into a tighter spiral and then worked on disengaging her hindquarters.  Another thing that occurred was the Bobcat outside was making some noises outside the "garage style" door to the arena and I noticed Dani sort of spooked at the sounds.  I made her circle near the area that was scary. 
 
On a side note I just have to say, the two other riders that were in the arena with me were both riding bareback....walk, trot and canter and I was thoroughly impressed!!  Perhaps someday I'll be there, perhaps not but wow!  I wish that I had stayed riding very regularly all through my college years, it's hard starting up again that's for sure.  My biggest advice to young riders, STAY WITH IT!!!  Even if you just lease a horse and ride once a week, keep going and keeping with the riding.  Being away, you lose that secure feeling in yourself and have to back track and that can take a long time!  I unfortunately had other priorities in college and I really regret that.
 
 
Anyways, back to the precious present, all in all Dani and I had a good ride, still at the walk but I want to feel really confident with her before moving on.  I feel I'm still getting used to her and still getting her used to the cues I use so taking it slow is fine.  Anyhow, she was really cute while grooming her, turning her head to look at me in that Dani way.  It's a curious look and I can't understand what she is thinking.  Perhaps I take too long to groom her?  LOL.  I bundled her up in her layered blanket and even put her hood on since the wind and wet snow could be chilling.  When it's snowy out, the stalled horses are usually outside in their runs and caked with snow.  Their necks all the way to their ears are crusted with frozen snow and ice.  It's interesting because they can easily hang out in the stall but choose to be in the open cold air.  I think worrying about our equine babies is a human thing, they seem to relish the cold and outdoors. 
 
 
So, hopefully I can go to the expo tomorrow but I'm not going to risk dealing with all the crazy drivers on the road if I don't have to.  Bummer though if I have to stay home; but I have plenty of things I can to get done and there are other horse events coming this summer.
 
 Stay warm and have happy rides, hopefully where ever my riders reside, they have nice weather and can get some horse time this weekend!

March 06, 2013

Backing and the Brakes

This weekend was very nice, and warm, not exactly what you would think of as a Colorado winter day...totally not complaining here!  Colorado is a "0 to 60 in less than 24 hours" kind of state.  The bad side is it goes right back to being cold again shortly after a nice autumn feeling day.  Daenerys was shedding again as I groomed her, I did the best I could to get her coat smooth enough for being saddled, I don't want a lot of excess fur under the saddle because I'm sure that can get itchy.

I had a slight issue with bridling today but that was mainly because I poked my finger in her mouth and she really doesn't need that, I just need to hold the bit to her lips and she opens up easily.  I'll make sure to stay consistent with how I bridle her.  The arena was busy with a lesson of three girls on ponies going over jumps throughout the ring.  Lots of cantering and jumping makes me nervous because I feel like I'm always getting in the way.  It's hard to work on spirals, circles, figure eights or serpentines because I'm always on a intercept course.  A couple times I thought I'd figured out which jumps the riders were concentrating on so I was walking Dani past this other one and swoop....the little white pony changed direction and made a bee line towards us.  Oh my goodness!  I cannot wait until the outdoor ring is suitable to ride in again because the jumpers will tend to stay out there in that arena since the jumps are set up 100% of the time.  In the indoor arena jumps are accessible to set up but they have to be taken down after each use...thank goodness for that!  In the summer it seems like the indoor in the flat work ring and the outdoor is the jumper ring...we'll see if that assumption is correct.

Once the ring calmed down there was just one lesson going on with a newer rider and a dressage rider was working her gelding who always seems irritated to me in and out of the arena.  He pins his ears while people work around him; it makes me wonder.  Anyways, all the jumps were away so I was able to work on circling, spirals and figure eights without much interruption from the threat of being trampled.  Such is the life in a large barn, we all have to share the spaces! 

I worked on halts with her; both one rein and regular stops.  We are having issues with the brakes and I'm having trouble figuring out what I'm doing with my cues that could be causing that.  I read an article in Horse and Rider about "Whoas".  It states to ride on, then stop riding the horse (use your seat) then I think you can say Whoa and use the outside rein to stop.  It works best if it's on the rail so that the horse has something that stops them and reinforces the cue.  So I started doing this but I think I could use more practice with my seat, I'm not quite doing the motion for stop like I need to.
 

Sometimes I rode in my own circle and other times I rode around the arena on the rail.  I think Dani will get the concept of leg yielding pretty easily; that will come later as we progress together but I have a feeling she's already grasping it slightly.  At times it seems Dani gets that I want her to move over towards the rail and I don't have to use the outer rein to guide her there I can just "glide" her over there with my inside leg.  She'll get the concept but we haven't really worked on it too much yet.  I really want to get a quick, responsive stop right now. 

Towards the end of the ride I decided to do some backing.  I don't think I've ever backed Dani and my guess was that she's rusty if she knows how to do it at all.  I don't recall if Laurie worked with her on that during the evaluation but again, that was 5 months ago!  So I "taught" backing to her, Julie Goodnight style.  Now this isn't Julie's style alone but in a recent episode it just seemed to work really nicely so I figured lets show Dani these cues.  It starts off with a sit back, lean back, whatever you want to call it.  Then you close the reins and with your legs in front of the girth you rhythmically "flutter" them, not so much a squeeze but a flutter.  Dani's head went up and she swished her tail but then I eventually got one step backwards.  Perfect, good girl.  Let's try again, one more step, then another, and so it went, step by step literally.  Dani started to do really well when she realized what I wanted.  I was so proud of her and proud of me; learning when to release during any training maneuver is the biggest part of training and I feel I'm getting there, slowly but surely.  I'm getting better at communicating with horses and with her in particular.  There's much less tail swishing than the first few times I rode her. She's getting me and I'm getting her and we are starting to really communicate!  I love it!  We are still only walking and doing minor things but you have to start somewhere; every journey begins with the first few steps.

So, on another note....my mare, I claim she has CMS.  This is what I call Chestnut Mare Syndrome.  It means she's a  gorgeous redhead and she knows it (in a very cute way most of the time) but on the one hand she can be a prima donna towards other horses in the arena.  When a horse passes her those ears pin back and I'm worried she'll kick, try to bite or chase them.  I understand this is what all horses do in the paddock but what do I do while I'm riding her and she gets this little "don't get near me or I'll KILL YOU" attitude towards other horses in the arena?  LOL.  I have to laugh, she's her own person that's for sure!  She's genuinely a nice horse to be around and she loves her humans, she just gets an attitude with other horses (not all).  Suggestions?

March 03, 2013

Serene Sunday

Beauty in Red.


March 01, 2013

Spiraling

I was able to have a short ride (30 minutes) on my Dani Girl today.  Phoebe told me that the past couple of days a lot of cars had become stuck on their driveway.  I have not come out in two days and in a way am glad; it would have been embarrassing to get stuck on their driveway!

It's always good to see Dani's sweet face with her ears pricked forward, she's so cute and wiggles her top lip back on forth searching for treats in pockets...I don't think this will ever change but if she tries to bulldoze me I let her know that's not okay.  My mare always brings a smile to my face.  I was all talky with her today, I couldn't stop but she didn't seem to mind and I don't think she judges me on what things I say.  Most of the time I'm telling her how smart and beautiful she is but it's not my try at flattery I promise!

 
We did a good and quick (quicker than usual) grooming, it can't be perfect right now because no matter what the hair keeps coming off her in bunches; there is no stopping it!  Once I was done with the main grooming I grabbed her saddle and only cinched it one hole but Dani sidestepped quickly, I kept the tension on and once she calmed a bit put the tongue in the hole and scratched her chest, reassuring her that I wasn't going to tighten fast or punch her belly like I've seen some people (in my past) do with horses.  She has certainly had bad experiences with girths or surcingles, I'm just making sure to tighten in increments; I'll go and do another grooming task and then come back to it, then walk her and tighten again....so on and so forth.  Next I did her hooves, picking them isn't as simple as it was before winter came.  With all the mud in the pastures there is more stuff in her hooves and the frog seems to slough off a lot more  with the dampness.  I haven't noticed any issue with thrush but perhaps I should apply some thrush meds just in case since it's so muddy and wet right now. 

When I first arrived at the barn I plugged my bit warmer into the socket I knew was working last time but the bit was still ice cold when I was ready for it....darn it!  I really should check when I first bring Dani into the barn to see if the device is even starting to warm, it seems the sockets here are a little touchy!  So as the last resort, I placed the freezing bit onto my belly and held it there for a minute or two until it was a reasonable temperature...my poor belly but that's much better than freezing my hands that still have tasks to perform!


 
 
I really enjoy that Dani is good about bridling, even with my fumbling way.  The bridle is still stiff in the nose band and doesn't sit on her nose the best way, in my opinion, but at least it seems to fit alright and is comfortable for Dani.  We were ready to enter the ring.  There were at least two people in the ring and then about three more joined after I got Dani in there.  I tightened the girth a couple more times and let her sniff the mounting block as well.  We really didn't need to spend much time with that because once positioned by the block she stood still like a good girl.  She did walk off after the mounting so I corrected her and made her stand for a moment even though there were a couple impatient riders waiting for the block.  Sorry, I'm not teaching my horse bad manners if I can help it! 

Once we moved off I just let us meander around the ring getting used to the activity for a bit.  One rider was cantering around a lot and that just makes me nervous since I'm still getting used to a busy ring.  Eventually I calmed and so did Dani.  My girl has some mare moments today.  When one horse, a Cobby looking gelding, passed her the ears went back, pinned sharply and I could feel her tense like she wanted to tell him who's boss. I applied a see-saw pressure on the reins to get her focus back onto me, I don't need attitude under saddle even if it's not directed at this rider!  

 
Anyhow, busy arena aside we got to work on spiraling circles.  We started big and slowly got smaller until we got to the center then I had her disengage her hindquarters and cross her back legs.  I'm still not sure if I completely feel when she does this but I tried my best.  We did this both directions and I was pretty happy though going clockwise is still a bit squirrely.  Before, when we've tried spiraling, we got to the center of the circle way too fast.  I was still getting used to her sensitivity and she was probably still adjusting to me.  This time went pretty well, I'm happy with the tiny progress.  We also worked on one rein stops and stops in general, we aren't doing so well there so that needs some work but we'll get there.  I ended the ride on a good stop though!  We'll let that sink in!
 
Another distraction in the arena occurred with a gal taping stripes onto a cross rail for a jump; the sound of the tape seemed to be upsetting some of the other horses.  Dani just looked at it, so I made sure to walk near this gal several times to make sure she really wasn't bothered. The gal commented about how beautiful Dani was and also how cute she acted at feeding time.  Apparently my expressive mare makes some interesting sounds!  I haven't heard this when I'm there at feed time but I can imagine it, she's got personality for sure!  I had to leave the barn earlier than I like to get home by 6pm, there was a Ask The Vet live event on Laminitis that I wanted to hear. 
 
Today Dani was such a good girl, I love just plodding along in the arena and feel my fear slowly slipping away.  It's still there but I'm slowly realizing that I can control it, of course Dani and I are only doing walk and in an enclosed arena but still...this is good!  Happy trails!