Friday, April 10, 2015

Excited for the New Season!

Although it has been a difficult year for training, I am very pleased with were the big paint horse and I are at (and the cute little yella fella).

Milo got his sliders put back on this last Tuesday and for the last few weeks (weather permitting) I have been working as best I can to get him not only in physical shape to ask for harder maneuvers, but also mentally ready for the more difficult work to come. In fact, recently I have been riding without spurs in an effort to make myself more in tune with my own body and help Milo be more responsive to my aids. Yet again I am finding that Milo is happier and more willing to do his work when I don't ride with spurs. This encourages me to see how much we can get accomplished without the use of them - and I've been finding that when I give him the opportunity he will surprise me.

For example, coming into spring I decided not to wear my spurs but was worried that I couldn't get him to pick up his back without the spurs. I found this to be true, however it actually showed me that my body was out of position and he needed to respond better to the bit. After only a few rides with this in mind I am happy to find that he is responsive to the bit and my legs - even one handed!

Although this has been a great "re" revelation, I still held a little concern for working on more difficult maneuvers, such as rollbacks, spins, and the all important lead changes. However, with some steady focus and work on it, our spins are coming back together nicely with minimal cueing from me (mostly a seat bone and hand position, with a tap from my leg if needed to keep him in the bend, to speed up, or to redirect weight back onto the inside plant foot). Rollbacks are subsequently being pieced back together too after emphasis on shoulder control and neck reining thanks to the spin work and working more one handed.

I even dared counter canter last night without spurs. I had previously determined that I would not school lead changes unless I had my spurs on - I wanted a sure "back up plan" in case Milo decided to try and take the easy way out of a lead change. However, this standpoint might be changed now after the good ride last night. We counter cantered both directions nicely and with a rather quiet leg. I was pleased that he even was responsive to moving his hip to the inside off of my outside sans spur leg. We also had to work a few small circles and shoulder direction due to sharing the arena with two other riders. With both of these small victories being difficult maneuvers to get (ESPECIALLY without the use of the spur) it really makes me happy. It also makes me consider trying the lead changes this weekend without my spurs (however I may bring up a dressage whip for the just in case).

I'm still on the fence about whether to wear them at the May 2 NWRA show, however.

Baby Whizkey is doing awesome too! He is learning (and growing) fast. Its amazing how much he looks less like a "baby" now, and more like a "horse". It's exciting to see him grow but also sad knowing he'll never have those baby qualities again. In the meantime, I enjoy every opportunity I can to enjoy the baby-esk that he portrays.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ranch Work

My boys have taken over one of the pastures on the ranch,  and without building another structure I wanted to separate them since the baby will get some different feed,  plus give him an ability to get away from Milo,  Who I was afraid may bully him a bit.  So one I decided how to split the shelter I also wanted to address the mud issue.  I went in on a load of gravel with a two others and bought some used stall Mats.  Last weekend we got all the hard labor done and moved Milo in with Whizkey.  Here's the finished,  mud free product!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Baby Getting Learneded

Whizkey is starting to learn some basics including  ground work via  isolating parts  of his body, moving away from pressure, desensitizing, standing at the tie post (!), and all around things that horses need to learn. :)

My friend and landlord Kathy helped us out too. Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mr Yellow

So there's a pretty funny story about Whizkey (Whiz). Remember one of my last few posts this summer before I went AWOL? It was about my horse trailer getting a flat, fender flare ripped off, and yada yada. So the woman I was with, I will call her Jackie, leases a boarding and "training" facility in Monroe, which is about an hour and a half away from me. I met her through another friend, had my own reservations about hauling with her and spending the weekend with her but thought "We'll see how this goes" and bit the bullet.

So you can read the full story on my post again if you'd like, but after we returned back to her barn after the trailer incident, she told me that the next day I "just had to see this colt in the barn". Who can deny 2 month old palomino cuteness? I visited with him and she commented that his dam was a direct daughter of Topsail Whiz ($6 million Hall of Fame Sire).

Woah. What? That peaked my interest. I asked who the sire was and she said Nu Steps to Cash. Hmm, sounds familiar. Aside from him being a Nu Chex to Cash son (a $2 million inducted sire),  I recognized his sire's name as a "local" reining stud. After digging in a little farther I discovered that Nu Chex to Cash is a direct son of Wimpys Little Step.

Wait. Shawn Flarida's stallion? $7 million Hall of Fame Inducted wimpy? Are we for reals saying this is the lineage of this adorable colt who keeps nosing my face. I talked with Jackie about the potential of his sale to which it sounded like either a) the owner was going to keep him herself to possibly stud out or b) Jackie would get in on a deal with him first. At any rate, I said to her then and there to consider my name in the running if they decide to sell or if she wanted to go in as co-owners with me. Of course, I figured this would never come to fruition. With his breeding there was no way I could afford to own this horse.

When Wes picked Milo, my trailer, and myself from Jackie's place I just had to show the yellow colt to him. He nodded, listening to my babble about the great breeding, blah blah. Finished with "you dont need another horse". And that was that.

Fast forward six months. I see a photo of a yellow colt on the Facebook Washington Horse Trade and Sale page. I sent his photo to Kathy, the mutual friend, and my new landlord in fact, asking "is this who I think it is?" She responded promptly with , "Yes!". Could I be seeing his asking price correctly: $2000? I refreshed my memory on his breeding and as I dove deeper and deeper into it discovered just what potential this colt had, and that siblings of only half his his breeding were going all day for $5500+.

"I have to get this colt" I texted Kathy. Would she go in on him with me? While two thousand was a steal, financially coming off a divorce was not the best time to be acquiring a new horse. Unfortunately, Kathy was not interested in buying him. "But," she said, "the owners said they would sell him to me for $1000. I might be able to get that price extended to you as well."

Wait a minute. The valued $5000 colt could be sold to me for $1000? I had to make this work.

Why was the colt so cheap? What was wrong with him? There's a lot of back story here too. So Jackie basically has gone off the deep end and has animal control on her back for primarily the condition of Kathy's previous horse, Poppy, who was found to be in emaciated condition, as were many other horses kept at her barn. Yellow colt and his Mama had left in October just as things were getting bad. Colt himself was in pretty decent condition (except for the the long toes, more on that in a moment), but add to the mess the fact that his owner didnt have much knowledge of foals (or horses for that matter) and had basically been doing nothing with him. Her cousin, actually, was trying to manage her own horses plus her cousin's four horses, yellow colt included. Simply, they just needed to reduce their board costs and as the cousin of the owner said, "he's just too nice to be sitting around."

Because Kathy was a part of a protest against Jackie for the condition of her old horse Poppy (to which colt's owner and cousin were involved in), their faith in Kathy's opinion of a good home (and the fact that he would be living at her place, since that is where I rent from) allowed the reduced price to be reflected towards me.

EEEPP! You mean this could actually happen? I can go get him???

Kathy, myself, and our friend Stephanie loaded up only three days later to go get the colt, on New Years Day. He amazingly loaded really well having only hauled once before with Mama, and now here we are. I'm learning more and more about little Whiz daily, like that he loves loves loves carrots, he is extremely sweet and affectionate, loves to be scratched between his "man boobs", and couldnt pick up his feet.

"I've been bribing him with carrots" owner's cousin said when we picked him up. Truly, she was leading him by dangling a carrot in front of his nose a few inches away to get him to come forward. She didnt have the time or the knowledge to teach him to pick up his hooves either, to which the poor now eight month old, had never had a trim. So, nightly with the light of a few bulbs on the outdoor round pen, I brought little Whizkey in to learn to pick up his feet so the farrier could come as soon as possible. And like a well bred and sensible sweet colt, he learned quickly, and by his first appointment won over the love of the horseshoer.

I am so excited to see where this colt is going to go.

And by the first of February, Milo will officially meet his "little brother", as they will share a shelter and pasture. :) More posts to follow.

Amazing How Quickly Life Can Change

I can't believe i haven't posted since June.  Probably because life has changed so nuclear since then...and please bear with me on this post as i am writing from my smartphone.

In July things at home started going south fast,  and by mid August we had signed divorce papers.  I thankfully found a wonderful situation for me and the boys with a friend where i can rent and board the horses at her farm.

No worries,  I still have Milo (of course). In fact,  we are both doing well and added another boy to the family.

Meet Whizkey, aka Whiz. I bought him new years day.  He's 8 months old with an impressive pedigree including Topsoil Whiz, Wimpys Little Step, and Nu Chex to Cash. Obviously,  he is my new reining prospect.  My name choices right now for registration include Nu Top Shelf Whizkey, or Whizkey Ain't Wimpy. What do you think?