July 31, 2013

He Thinks My Tractor's Sexy!

I started off last Saturday looking at the arena ground and watching the sky with Ross, our Gymkhana guy.  Way before the fire I’d been trained on the tractor to drag the arena.  The biggest down side to the job is that the arena has to be wet and the club has an archaic way of wetting the soil.  They run a 1000 gallon water jug around the arena 5-6 times to wet it down…then they can run the groomer on the arena and it’s done.  A full 4-5 hours of work to get both arenas ready for the gymkhana!!

They have a sprinkler system on one zone for the whole arena and the water pump can’t do that.  If they had three zones it might work.  I have a former boss that is still a licensed plumber….hmm.We received decent rain Saturday though so there was no need to water the arena but there sure was a lot of waiting around and wasted time trying to figure out what we were doing.  I groomed one arena and then the next.  You start on the outside and then go down the center, then you move to the left of the outside line and go around and down the left of the center line…..circles, circles and the thing ain’t that fast but it was fun.  I only did a small retouch after several of the games halfway through the gymkhana.

The rest of the evening I was able to get Dani out and ride her around all the activity.  She was pretty alert and several times kept trying to break into a trot.  She tossed her head a lot and pulled hard on the reins nearly ripping them out of my hands at times.  I tried to do changes of direction, backing up etc.  She responded well but it didn’t keep her occupied long enough before she was back to looking around and quickening her pace.

I’m also still having some issues with my saddle.  The stirrup turners, I got different ones that stay put, work nicely but I still have my foot falling asleep in the stirrup.  The ball of my foot hurts and it just feel really restrictive.  Not sure but thinking that an angled stirrup may help?  A thinner stirrup more like the English ones I’m used to?  Or should I get synthetic Fenders and leathers to ease up on the amount of resistance?  I just don’t know what is causing the discomfort. For the most part the saddle feels comfortable in the seat it’s just a lot of leather for the fenders/stirrup leathers compared to English.  I don’t want to keep having to try different tack items to find what works.  It just seems that my foot can’t find a flat foothold on the stirrup easily without having to push out hard on all that leather.  Western fenders have like three layers of leather right at the ankle area, especially when you have them on the shortest hole so perhaps the angled stirrups are the way to go?  I guess I can always return them if they don’t, I will read the fine print!

Not me.  This was one of the trainees when I got trained up

Anyways, sorry for that tangent....I tried to end the Saturday ride on a good note but with Dani trying to trot off or not responding to a stop it was nerve racking.  She just needs more exposure to this noise and activity.

 So Tuesday I went out and round penned her for a short time then mounted up and rode in there.  We trotted a couple times and I posted in the western saddle and tried to keep my cool about it.  I haven’t trotted much with her, feel like I need to get the brakes and steering solid at the walk first before progressing.  It only makes sense.  The round pen trots were fine, not really graceful but I think it’s the way to go as we practice.  I then got her out onto the grounds and walked her around.  A couple showed up with three horses and their truck/trailer.  Cool a little bit of “excitement”.  I walked her around and noticed she was still alert, just being in new surroundings was exciting.  We did some changes of direction and neck bending exercises.  Near the windmill on the property there was a bit of a scary spooky sound and movement of a trashcan lid????  She was nervous about that so I’ll have to continually expose her to that.

Steve wasn't there to film me in action but next time I'll make
sure someone does!
We practiced several stops and I even worked on lowering her head with sponge squeezes of the reins as we walked.  As soon as she lowered her head a bit I released the pressure.  This is something we’ll have to do in the arena during some concentrated training.  If a horse is lowering their head generally they are calmer and less tense, so teaching them to do this under saddle is helpful…Julie Goodnight just had an episode about this not too long ago.  We will keep working and I can always walk her around at other gymkhanas or have her in one of the pens near the activity. 

July 28, 2013

Serene Sunday

Givin you two eyes ma!!!

July 26, 2013

Water Woes

This is just a silly post, a rant about how ucky water gets so quickly in the summer!  Dani, like most horses goes to their water with a full mouth and drinks the water.  Then she seems to slop the water around to clean off the bits and pieces of hay or grain.

Uck!!  I daily use a fish net to filter the water and sometimes twice a week end up dumping and refilling.  Not the best thing in the world during a drought but my girl needs clean water!  I start with a fish tank siphon since I find it easier than the plug that exists in the tank, less mess and I can make sure the water goes out of her stall instead of spilling on inside it.  Then I scrub the inside with a brush, hose it out and dump that last bit and refill.

I plan on investing in self waterers on my own future property.  These will only have a small amount of water in a bowl at a time but the horse will always have a clean supply and when you clean out the bowl (easily done daily) there is maybe only a gallon that is wasted.

I am seriously thinking of getting one of these though since there is a heater that will attach to it in the winter.  I originally thought "why not a fish filter?" but found they have filters specifically made for water troughs.  Cool.  Can't seem to post the video here but check it out!  http://youtu.be/polT3Oj0jAA

July 25, 2013

Dani's Full Sister!!!

I was surprised with an email recently. A lady named Barb contacted me about Daenerys. Apparently way back, before the person who I bought her from had bought her, Barb inquired about Dani’s full sister. She bought her full sister Maddie; full name Lady Madeline. It sounded like they were interested in Dani (called Maggie at the time) but that the owner didn’t think she should be a child’s horse…they thought she required an expert rider. My mare?

Lady Madeline

I was told that those that owned her at the time kept them in Woodland park and only visited in the summer and that the property owner wasn’t much of a horse person so probably just didn’t know how to deal with Dani. I’m betting with Dani’s “in your space” personality that it can be a bit much if you don’t know how to handle it. Anyways B had searched for Steiners Honor and found my blog.

Grazy Maddie

She told me a little bit of Dani’s history. Her breeder most likely was the one who had trained her to drive.  When the breeder passed on the horses were sold and there is evidence that Dani was trained and ridden hard by whoever that trainer was at that time. The marks on her sides and topline are from an ill fitting saddle. I’m guessing it was probably the same trainer that probably introduced her to the trailer or where she had a bad deal with the trailer that was never corrected. That’s a shame considering that with her mind and willingness she could have easily learned to load and be comfortable at a young age.

Lady Madeline

She lived in Woodland Park being ridden only in the summers by her owners that resided in Arizona as I stated before. So there was little formal training, aside from the one trainer it sounds like, during those years like we’ve suspected but she was pretty well broke, as they say. It sounds like she had good treatment there but was most likely not trailered much.

Lady Madeline, what a cute face!
Then the gal I bought her from purchased her and did some work on her head shy issues and tried to work on her with trailering. Her daughter rode her mostly around the house and in the fields since she couldn’t be trailered. They loved her I already knew that but they couldn’t get the trailer issue worked out so put her up for sale. Barb had encouraged her to keep Dani but the trailering issue was just too much. Some Morgan breeders were interested in Dani but I lucked out and am now owned by this diamond in the rough!

Lady Madeline
Maddies owner sounds really nice and Maddie sounds like a great mare to. It sounds like they show a lot and just generally love hanging out with their Morgans. Her account on You tube is Morgans4Us. I’ve posted one video on here of Maddie. It was a fun email exchange and it was great that she sent pictures and the video links that she stated I could share on my blog. Both from Barb and Laura from the “Old Morgans” blog I follow (see left side of this blog) I’ve found out that there is a lot of Working Western blood in my mare.

Dani and her sister are from the Western Working and Brunk Lines. Here is an excerpt from information sent by Barb: http://www.rafterbardmorgans.com/history.html

In 1893 Joseph Brunk and his family established the Brunk line in and around Springfield, IL. Joseph Brunk had a serious interest in Morgans and his sharp sense for horses led him to raise some of the most influential Morgans of all time. These horses were known for their high action, sound, correct legs and feet and all around athletic ability. They were often line-bred and usually high quality, showy horses. The Brunk influence is felt strongly in the ranch breeding of the west known as the Western Working family of Morgans.

Flyhawk was the mostly widely known stallion of the Brunk family. He sired many great Morgans and his influence is still seen in many breeding programs today. He was noted for his big ground covering trot, dense bone, hardiness and athleticism.

Some of the well known stallions in Brunk breeding are Flyhawk, Jubilee King, Senator Graham, Senator Knox, Mr. Breezy Cobra, Beamington, Congo, Go Hawk, Stetson, Red Vermont, Agizzaz, Flying Jubilee, Juzan, and Allen Franklin.

Some of the well known mares include Senata, Florette, Sentola, Daisy Knox, Bens Daisy, Jubilee Joy, Sentana, Daisette, Liza Jane, Neliza, Paragraph and Juvina.

I find it interesting to learn more about Dani and to learn more about Morgans. It still just all goes back to that moment though, when I first met her and knew there was something special about her no matter what her shortcomings. We’ll walk the path together, and together overcome our fears. I love my girl!

My girl!

July 24, 2013

My Busy Life...

I still feel like I’m trying to recover from this summer!!! I’ve been going nonstop it seems since May. In May my step daughter graduated high school. We spent the week out in Maryland, luckily able to spend it in our friend’s house to save on hotel money. Our friends right now are stationed in Cheyenne so only their 19 year old daughter was there but she was a fantastic host. Steve’s parents also stayed with us there. It was a gorgeous house and so perfect for my childhood friend. I could see why it was her dream home!

 Cierras graduation was great to see and it was fun meeting many of her friends and family.  We went to Baltimore aquarium, saw movies and just caught up.  She is so grown up!  Starting college is one of the best times in life!  She is going to Salisbury University in Maryland and will be studying Marine Biology (I love aquatic sciences!).  It was so fun so see her again.  Hopefully we can attend some football games and cheer her cheering!!! We  also got a chance to chill with Steve’s parents at Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, a must for any home brewer!

I came home to find Loki with blistered type pustules on his face. The vet wanted $600 for a test of the face but for easier sampling we went with his belly where there were also outbreaks. Couldn’t justify the extra money when both outbreaks occurred at the same time, I figured they were related. The results were inconclusive and assumed an allergic reaction. To what I don’t know, the kennel he stayed at didn’t do much different than other kennels. The only thing was that perhaps he was exposed to those red ants since it was out in Falcon. Oh well, after several weeks of medication he got better and is perfectly fine and happy.

Then my brother was out to visit from Virginia. His wife, Brianne and their boy Bryson (only 8 month) also came with Brianne’s parents Lane and Donna. We did a lot of things after I got off work like dinner etc. Bryson even came out to see Dani at the barn. He was fascinated! It was great to have everyone out; we spent a nice day in the Black Forest Regional Park, grilling up brats and burgers. Steve and I made a big deal about collecting all the ashes for fire safety. The Tuesday following my brother’s departure started the Black Forest Fire.

The fire started west of the regional park we were at on Sunday but I was pretty sure the park must have burnt. I was activated for the emergency operations center and was busy for several weeks. Dani was moved for my peace of mind since I couldn’t easily have moved her while I was working the situation. You can read about that here.

After the fire was out I had a preplanned vacation where my freshman roommate and good friend Marie came out to visit for a week. I made sure my vacation was still a go and it was. We spent a good week in early July together chilling, doing some pony stuff, going to the pool and hanging in Denver for some fun exhibitions. It’s great to hang out with Marie, we always can just pick up where we left off and chillax. We even got to attend the 4th of July parade as pooper scoopers for the club! LOL.

I then was back to work and really wishing I could just take a week to do nothing. Housework is unfinished, the lawn is a wreck (though pretty green from the recent rains). My hubby constantly travels for work and most times I only get to see him Saturday because he has really quick turn arounds flying in on Friday night and leaving Sunday morning to head back to another job. Sometimes he actually gets a full weekend and that’s a little better. It gets old and I hate choosing between him and the horse but on the short turn arounds he’s usually just doing laundry and repacking and submitting his expense reports….

I’m trying to just get back into the groove of “normal” life and do a little at a time. I am trying to spend more time with Dani, working her on the Clinton Anderson method etc. I’m desensitizing her to the lead rope and stick and string. Whipping the ground near her is freaking her out but she is calming down. I’ll be getting to even scarier objects soon…like dangling noodles!! They’re gonna get her! She will benefit from a lot of different desensitizing. I really want to trail ride with her so all this is leading to that.

Right now I’m working on a co-op for buying hay, $11 a bale. That’s about $3.50 cheaper than this spring though some places are still charging that price. Hopefully it will come down even more next year but I’m happy with that price for now and it’s good brome hay. It’s taken a bit to get a hay co-op thing worked out for Kit Carson Riding Club, I’ll be discussing details with the board on August 7th and have a forum created already to hopefully help this along for the coming year. Can’t wait to launch it and get members on the forum!! Anyhow, that’s my life the past couple months!!

July 21, 2013

Serene Sunday

Let me out!


I'm soo cute, you have to let me out of the arena!

Sand and Sores

So tired today....
In Dani's new place....well since May, the ground is pretty hard.  I finally went and got two truck loads, aka 6,400 lbs of sand to put in her stall.  It is much cushier!!!  This sand is what they use in arenas, good stuff and less dusty than the silt layer that feels like it's over concrete that's in there now.
My hubby had just gotten in late last night and then is leaving 5am Sunday so it was just me working on the stall.  Steve travels a lot for work so when he has these quick turn arounds where he doesn't get a full weekend it really sucks.

I still had a good day and got several inches in Dani's stall.  Hopefully the extra cushion will alleviate the issues she's had with her hock.  She's been getting sores on her hock.  Poor baby.  It's been getting better with Corona (not the beer!) ointment, hopefully the extra dirt will help.

Kit Carson Riding Club also had a bunch of people at the grounds to make a showing for a Gazette reporter to promote the club.  Some people were out there running barrels and doing pole bending.  It was a lot of fun and I got to just walk Dani around and get her used to the activity.  I'm still getting used to my western saddle.  I also rode her closer and closer to a horse cart that had lots of flappy things on it, we just did lots of changes of directions and I let her look at it.  For the limited exposure she has had she did well. 
I feel accomplished having given her a bedding substrate for her stall.  She eats hay out of a bin and same with her food, plus I have her on sand clear because the dirt is sandy here anyways.  I think this should do the trick for her hocks.  I hate seeing ouchies on my baby!  Hope all is well with your alls horse worlds!!


July 16, 2013

Western Saddles

In between graduations, visits from family, fires, flash floods and visits from friends I've worked on getting my western saddle ready to ride for me.  I purchased stirrup rotators so that my stirrups are at a 90 degree angle to the fenders.  I noticed with the normal way western stirrups are there is just too much torque on my knees. The rotators added about 4 inches to my fenders and therefore even on the last hole the leathers were still too long.  

I brought my saddle into the Pikes Peak Saddlery in Black Forest.  To get the fenders adjusted for me and to also have some D rings attached would cost about $69.  Awesome.  A week later I could pick up the saddle.  I was very happy with that.

 I got my saddle back and wasn't sure what had been done but the fenders were able to be shortened though on one side it's on the last hole and the other can be shortened even more.  Not sure what is up with that I think I just need to work with it and condition the leather some more on the fenders.  I guess if I need to I can bring it back but I don’t want to keep paying him money if it wasn’t done right the first time!  It felt a bit short for me so I'll try my next ride on a lower hole...perhaps I need to add a hole in between if it's too long??? 

The stirrup rotators don't accommodate all the strapping so you can see in the picture below what I have to do with the one strap. I don't get it.  At least with the stirrup hobble I can keep it all tight but if I shorten my fenders too much there isn't enough room for the hobbles.  Western saddles are so complicated! 

I'm still trying to find a good pad too.  The one I have been using looks like a bath mat and is a bit long for Dani's back.  I just got a barrel pad and it's so HEAVY!  It also just barely fits under the saddle too!  Starting to feel like Goldilocks in my quest for a perfect saddle pad.  It's really thick and not sure how much that will change the saddle fit.  I also can’t push the pad up right where her wither are, I’m assuming you do that with Western saddles just like English.  Ugh.  Tack just irritates me sometimes!

July 13, 2013

Spencer and Dani

So long before the fire...gosh that seems forever ago...I brought my little Jack Russel to hang out with Dani.  He met the two paints across the fence and was really good not barking at them too much.  He just kinda chilled.

Dani was her usual self with the boys, lifting her tail and making a disgusting mess of her backside!!!

But then she was a sweetie and said hello....
She later moved on to grazing the "weeds" in the arena with her friends.
I don't know what Spencer was thinking this whole time with this 900 pound beast above him but he had a good time chillin with the big dogs.

Talk about a third wheel though!!!

July 07, 2013

Serene Sunday

WOW.  This has been a calm Sunday.  Still busy but not like my life has been lately.
Starting in May I went out for my step daughters high school graduation, then came back and my brother was here with his family visiting...while we were dealing with a Hepatitis A outbreak at work.  Right after he left the Black Forest Fire erupted and I was activated for the Emergency Operations Center with my fellow Public Health EP Peeps.  That was a couple weeks worth of crazy time working 15 hours a day at least.  My boss is amazing and tries to spread the work amongst our team so we don't get over worked. 
After the fire and when a lot of the recovery efforts were winding down a preplanned "stay-cation" occurred with my friend Marie coming out from Houston to hang for a week.  It was great to just chill and she didn't mind that my house was still essentially a wreck since I hadn't had time to clean in about a month!
I promise to get back to blogging now that life will hopefully give me a bit of a breather.  I have several blogs in the "queue" that I will post even though the events occurred WAY before the fire.  I will also hopefully get some good ride time in since I haven't in soooo long!  Life is good and Dani is good so crazy, busy times aside all is good and well.
I also have some serious blog READING to do since I haven't kept up on everyone else's blogs!!!  :-(