Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tari The Great Bay Whale!

Man, when the weather is good, it is SO hard to blog!  (0:
I rode my sweet Remi on Saturday and rode my sweet Tari on Sunday.  It was the first time I had ridden Tari since...

November 2010!  How on earth could I have let a horse got that long in between rides?  Well, she was bred in the early summer of 2010, and her shoes were pulled in November 2010.  She then foaled May of 2011 and then took off to raise her kid.  She came home late October of 2011 and settled in for winter.
And that's how she could go 17 months in between saddlings!

Our ride was actually pretty good.  She was a bit like riding a bag of microwave popcorn...I didn't know where she was going to "pop" out next.  I spent the ride reminding her that jigging was not walking, and that horses are supposed to walk, trot, and lope with their body straight.
She did toss a wee bit of a fit, that included a crow hop or two.  It was the first time since I've had her (4 years) that she tried such a move.  She wasn't good at it, and a little long trotting made her real sorry that she tried such a move.

It was quite enjoyable to be out on Tari...she is such a nice horse.  Every time I let her stop to blow, I asked her to do a little flexing and giving to the bit (even though I have her in a Little S hackamore).  Each time I saw her mouth, she had her happy horse smile on and each peek at her eye showed a happy bright gleam.  She was as happy to be out as I was to be out on her.  Not once did she call for her buddies, nor did she refuse or hesitate when directed in any direction.

Of course the dogs went with, they are soo happy that we are getting back into our riding season.  I think the girls are too...
And honestly I too or three couldn't be happier!  (0:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rode On Sunday!

The weather and my work schedule finally allowed me to saddle up and head out!  
I'm trying to get myself some sort of routine with the girls that allows me to ride out easily...  Not sure how to work it though.  I have two saddle horses that need ridden at home right now, but soon I will have three.  I'm over the moon with the thought of being able to ride Fiona!  I can't even put it into words without sounding like a school girl!!
I've had plenty of time this winter to set some goals and make some plans for myself and the girls for the year.  Here they are in no particular order!
I want to get myself and Remi to a few local play days this spring and summer and then a barrel race or two late summer and fall.  Remi knows more about arena sports than I do, so I just need to leg her up and work on me.  She is broke, broke, broke and I can say with certainty that we have bonded!  So we should have no reason not to do at least OK!
I want to get Tari started on the pattern.  I have rolled around the thought of selling Tari.  I ADORE this mare, and really feel like I have never owned a better bred, nicer built, and easier to get along with horse.  But there are days when I wonder if I'm wasting her, and with her super baby Speedy looking at trying to "earn" his man parts she really should be preforming...  But I love her...and wouldn't sell her to just anyone.  So I will be legging her up and heading her towards starting the pattern.  I am hoping to utilize Mindy's BRC to at least get her and I moving forward...and also coaching Remi and I too!  (0:
For Fiona I plan on as many wet saddle pads as possible.  I am waiting to talk to Brian, the trainer this Friday to see how she is using herself while under saddle now.  I know some horses are naturals and some have to learn... Fi has to learn, but I am still confident she will be an athlete!  (0:
And Horse Girl...well, more on that later...  (0:

Since I needed to get both of my girls out, and the weather was not really all that nice and time was an issue because now that I'm not 16 I don't like riding in the rain.  I decided to pony Tari.  She is not the best horse to pony off of, because she is easily distracted by the horse you are leading.  She also has trouble traveling straight while ponying and after.  I have no idea what this action does that makes her soo crooked for so long, but I have noticed it and with everything else I want to work on why give myself another task?
  She is alpha and gives Remi a pretty hard time in the pasture, but under saddle Remi is all business. God Bless experienced well broke rodeo horses!!  So I figured that Remi would go into work mode and pay no mind to any "mean mugging" Tari might throw her way.  I was prepared however to call it quits if it got ugly and just ride Remi and lunge the ever lovin' tar outta Tari!  (0:
But before I could even get out of the drive way, I had to decided what to do with Horse Girl and the Hee-Haws.

Our fence is 90% finished as far being Hee-Haw proof, but I knew sure as anything that if I chanced it, they'd make me pay.  Sweet little buggers that they are.  They think that are the keepers of the girls and two of their "girls" heading out, may make them think they should tag along.  I can only imagine the chaos that could ensue with that!!  
Then there's Horse Girl.  I love this horse, BUT she is the biggest PITA that you have ever met.  She worries the fence, when anyone leaves the pasture.  If I am leaving her and a friend and the Hee-Haws, I just turn the fence on and shock some sense into her....but with her being the only horse in the pasture, I am not entirely sure that a few jolts will help her get her head on straight.  She pushes and charges the fences and tries to work the gate open, it's quite ridiculous really....  So I have decided that probably the best thing to do is put her in a stall and put the Hee-Haws in the run in front of her.  Sunday was my first test of this strategy.
The worst part is that now instead of catching two horses, I get to catch three horses and two donkeys.  No one is hard to catch, but it does take a bit of time.  And then of course I can't treat anyone like a second hand citizen.  I have to brush them all.  
I decided the best way to do that was to work it like an assembly line.  I started with the shedding blade and used it on everyone.  Then I used the nubby brush on everyone.  Then I used the soft brush on everyone.  I decided not to do manes and tails, because...well I did want to ride at some point.

So everyone got some love and then our two groups went their separate ways.  Remi, Tari, Seven, Abbi, and I to the trail.  Horse Girl, Jack-Jack, and Patron to the "holding" area.  
I down loaded an app to my iPhone that tracks your activities.  It maps your route, speed-pace, elevation changes, miles, and the time you spent in said activity.  I love it.  So I turned it on, just to see what our little trail ride amounted to when we were finished.
Seven was over the moon (you'll notice in the above picture she is standing by Remi.  As soon as I catch that little mare, the dog sidles up to her and waits.  She honestly doesn't leave Remi's side until we have either mounted up and rode off, or the horse is loaded in the horse trailer, or put back into the pasture.  This picture was taken after we had returned from our ride...), she loves trail rides.  Abbi does too.  Unfortunately Kage's trail riding days are over, he turns 9 this year and has had bad hips for a while now...and as he get older they get worse, so he was with his dad.  It makes him crabby to go with Chad, but it's best for all of us.

I'm pretty happy to report our ride was good.  Tari was mostly respectful of Remi and Remi did her job happily.  When I got into Tari for being a crabby cow to Remi, Remi just kept on keepin' on.  She didn't even blink.  
Abbi has a hard time when I pony a horse.  I am not sure what happens to her little brain, but she gets weird.  And when I do have to correct the horse I'm leading, she actually offers to go home.  I really don't get it, she is such a weirdo...Seven doesn't even notice.  She is too busy hunting squirrels and running too and fro.  Luckily the girls worked well enough together that Abbi didn't feel threatened and never once offered to try and go home. 
When we arrived back at Casa de Nikki we had trekked 5.23 miles in just over an hour.  That pace was thanks to Remi liking to jig and some long trotting.  I didn't do too much face paced stuff on purpose because we are ALL at our winter weights!
Horse Girl and the Hee-Haws were happy to see us return.  Horse Girl had dug a small hole at the door of the stall, and left a few strike marks on the door.  But that's nothing really....  The Hee-Haws just pooped alot while I was gone, nothing too dramatic from them.

The return to the pasture was another assembly line.  Everyone got a little nubby brushing and a little soft brushing.  I shudder to admit that it may have taken me as long to get ready to leave and return the equines to the pasture as it did to ride.  
I may need to try and trim some time from my departure and return.  (0:
I thought I'd ride again this week, but so far RAIN has kept me from it.
Oh, well... 'Tis the season!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meet My Farrier!!

This is Jake.  He is the guy that now shoes my horses...
He has been doing this job since he was 17.  And Jake turns.......
68 this year!
He tells me frequently..."Nikki, I was a BAD man when I was younger..."
I say Jake, you scare the hell outta me know.  I am so glad that I didn't know you when you were at your "peak badness".  Then we both laugh...  But really, I wouldn't want to oppose him in a bar fight even now!  (0:
My animals LOVE this man.  Seven "talks" to him when he first arrives and he lets her kiss his face while he tells her how beautiful she is...  He tells Abbi, she is just as beautiful and smarter than the average dog...  He tells Kage he is a grand old man...
He sweet talks the horses, too.  Tari loves everyone, but Horse Girl and Remi don't.  Horse Girl is fine for a trim, but shoeing is another thing.  We have owned this crazy paint mare since 2004, and kept her shod on the fronts consistanly until last year.  Every year she acted like the shoes/nailing on of the shoes were going to eat her from the hoof up...  I have only used 2 other farriers, because I like consistency and to be a good customer of course... Each one was kind and easy on her and she still looked like death was near.  But when "Uncle Jake" put her shoes on this spring, she actually dropped her head and licked and chewed...  I have NO idea why...  He claims it's because he's one with nature and the spirits.  OK.  I'll cash that check if she is good for him on the next visit...  (0:
He adores Remi and can't believe she came outta the kill pen.  Says he'd take a pasture of horses like her.  She is shy around men...but again licks and chews each time Jake sets down a foot.
Jake's not all sugar to the animals though....he does taunt the Hee-Haws.  They are little poops when it comes to being trimmed though...  When he goes to trim them, he does the Jaws them song as he goes toward them.  It makes me laugh every time.  Patron is the worst, he acts like...well an ass.  We have owned this donkey (and Jack Jack also!) since 2005.  We have been trimming his feet since 2005.  He has been bad the whole time.  I'm sure no Hee-Haw trainer I guess...  Jack Jack usually fairly good, but has been known to throw himself on the ground a time or two.
Jake laughs at their antics and tells me he has seen worse...  I'm going to believe him, because...well he has been doing this job for over 40 years!!  (0:

P.S.  The horse in this video being shod is Jake's wife's horse.  As well as the sorrel that is running loose along the fence while Jake leads Raider.  The lady riding the horse at the end of the video is Jake's wife Debbie.  The black Arabian shown loose isn't theirs.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Something I May Have Never Thought Of On My Own...

When I dropped my "baby" Fiona off at Brian's- The Washington Trainer- we went over all the basics.  What I've done with her, how she reacted.  If she had ever bucked, reared, pulled back, bitten, kicked, and so on.
He then told me what his routine was when he first got a horse in...walked me day by day through the first week of getting to know you.  Then he asked me a question I'd never really been asked before...
"If I find it necessary, are you opposed to me laying her down?"
I responded with I can't imagine she'd need it, and would like you to call me first...but if it's your only option, then yes.
He told me it's rarely something that needs done, but it is something has done.
I never really thought anymore about it, then I read this blog post.
I've read it twice so far and think I'm heading out to get a copy of that magazine.  If I had read it before I was asked that question, I'm thinking I would have answered differently...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Seven Stages of Aging on Horseback

Stage I: Fall off pony. Bounce. Laugh. Climb back on. Repeat.

Stage 2: Fall off horse. Run after horse, cussing. Climb back on by shimmying up horse’s neck. Ride until sundown.

Stage 3: Fall off horse. Use sleeve of shirt to stanch bleeding. Have friend help you get back on horse. Take two Advil and apply ice packs when you get home. Ride next day.

State 4: Fall off horse. Refuse advice to call ambulance; drive self to urgent care clinic. Entertain nursing staff with tales of previous daredevil stunts on horseback. Back to riding before cast comes off.

Stage 5: Fall off horse. Temporarily forget name of horse and name of spouse. Flirt shamelessly with paramedics when they arrive. Spend week in hospital while titanium pins are screwed in place. Start riding again before doctor gives official okay.

Stage 6: Fall off horse. Fail to see any humor when hunky paramedic says, “You again?” Gain firsthand knowledge of advances in medical technology thanks to stint in ICU. Convince self that permanent limp isn’t that noticeable. Promise spouse you’ll give up riding. One week later purchase older, slower, shorter horse.

Stage 7: Slip off horse. Relieved when artificial joints and implanted medical devices seem unaffected. Tell the spouse that scrapes and bruises are due to gardening accident. Pretend you don’t see said spouse roll eyes and mutter as walks away. Give apple to horse.

What stage are you at?  :0)  I'm going to say that I'm somewhere in between numbers 3 and 4!  But would use the number 7 explanation to Chad if I became a lawn dart.... What he doesn't know won't hurt him!  Teeheehee!!

Its getting to be riding weather now!  Soooo happy!!  Whoot whoot!!