Thursday, May 31, 2012


Well, the ponies have been good. I added another two to my work schedule, a friend at work wants me to tune up her 4 year old before she goes to the trainer in September, and her other horse needs basics put on for her niece to comfortable ride her. Unfortunately, that horse came up lame with a swollen fetlock so in the meantime I have been riding the 4 year old, Moxie, when I can. I am still riding Cayenne as well, but my work and school schedule has been hard to work with the last two weeks.

Both horses are doing well; I have had two nice rides on Cayenne since the incident. We put her back into the round pen and are continuing to work on the basics. Currently, when she pics up speed, we one rein stop or "roll back" on the fence the other direction. She is starting to understand that she needs to stay at one speed until/unless I ask her to change. She really is a nice horse and her leg cues are coming along nicely.

Moxie is learning all the leg cues right now. She had been just introduced to the snaffle bit when I started riding her and is doing well. Knows how to move every part of her body and am now taking that into forward motion. She too is a really nice mare - just the opposite of Cayenne. Where Cayenne wants to go-go-go, Moxie wants to slow-slow-slow. Its been fun.

Milo is doing well too. I have been taking him on a lot of trail rides still where we can still work on a variety of things. I am taking him to the Washington State Quarter Horse Association's (WSQHA) All Breed Rookie show in June, which I am really excited about. The judge is NRHA carded and has been judging sanctioned and world events for twenty years. He just moved up to Washington and is starting his own small program. Sarah is interested in taking some babies to him in June and I really want to go with her. We both feel that showing under him and then going for a lesson will be invaluable. He can see where we have issues in the show pen and can help polish some of the reining maneuvers that Sarah can't perfect. I'm really excited about it.

In other news, I went to the doctor for a much needed and very over due physical and checkup. Among other things, she wants me to start going to physical therapy for my back. The skeletal structure, she believes, looks fine, but the muscles are inflammed, uneven, and need time to heal. She wrote me a note and is keeping me on light duty at work for a while. Im not sure how I feel about it, but I guess thats the stubborn part of me. She too is a rider and knew better than to tell me not to ride. I also got a tetanus shot in my appointment and my arm is STILL sore from it - three days later. Ugh.

Anyways, I hope to have more fun updates soon. Exams are keeping me busy, as is a busy work schedule.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Milo in the Empty Paddock

I closed off the hay stall and tossed Milo in the empty grass-filled paddock. He was quite happy...Anna; a little jealous.

(Oh yeah, I hosed him off after the ride)

Poor Anna!!

Milo back in his own stall...wishing he was still in the adjacent one. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Making the Most of the Ride

I find myself often wondering "what is it I will be working on?" or better, "what is it I should be working on?" when I think about heading to the barn for a ride (as I am here now). It seems like there is a fine line between going into a ride with a clear idea of "I am going to work on this today" (a spin, a rollback, a circle, whatever), and "I am just going to ride and see what comes to me". I see benefit and concern in both of these thoughts ahead of getting into the saddle.

Firstly, especially as a rider with goals oriented and specific maneuvers to be worked on as far as competition, I do have clear ideas as to what needs to be "fixed" or worked on going into a ride. But I find that more often then not if I approach a ride with, "I am going to work on our circles today" or "today will be working on counter canter and lead changes" it tends to be a less than luster ride, or I end up not working on that specific element at all because something else arose. It seems that this method of "planning the ride" can seem rather ineffective - it also just sets the tone for demanding work instead of just allowing a ride, does it not to you? As someone who has approached many a ride this way, I know what the outcome can be sometimes, and sometimes it's good to know which things do need working on, but sometimes it also seems that it hinders the actual performance and dance, really, of the ride.

But on the other side of the spectrum are the rides that have no clear goal in mind. And I find that in these rides are the most harmonious. I tend to enjoy approaching a ride with no clear parameters in mind or things to work on and simply working on things as they emerge. Seems like a good way to go into a ride, right? Well, the concern that hits me with this is, from a competitors point of view, especially as someone who has clear maneuvers that need to be accomplished, the concern of how much I am really getting done. By not having clear goals in mind am I really getting as much accomplished in the ride as I could be? Things, admittedly, get forgotten about until I realize it hasnt been worked on in a while. I find it all to easy to just poke around the arena, jog this way, lope that way, repeat, and be done. Am I really utilizing the time in the saddle as well as I could be? Maybe this is just the trap that most amateur owner/riders fall into and why they remain as amateur owner/riders. Is this mindset that which separates the amateurs from the professionals?

What are your thoughts? How do you keep clear riding goals in mind without allowing the ride to become one that is pre-thought out and lacking harmony? How can we still make the most of the time we have in the saddle but still keep it fresh and "in the moment"? Because naturally, even in the best laid out plans, horses are living breathing animals with minds of their own and plans always need changing depending on the actions of the horse and what he/she needs that day. I guess I just find myself wondering how best to work on the maneuvers we need to get done while still enjoying my rides and time with my horse.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Check that Off the List

Cayenne flipped over on me yesterday. Totally unexpected.

She has had an issue with flipping her head when pressure is applied to her nose to ask her to slow down. About 80% of the time she would slow down, the other 20 she would flip her head around - kind of her way of being a sass about it, but then it was turning into a sort of obsession. Her owner read online from Julie Goodnight a method to try and get that behavior to stop. It was (and this is my interpretation of her interpretation, I did not read the article) to apply pressure or create a "block" for Cayenne to run into when she started tossing her head around. I tired this a few times and while it was getting her to stop her head tossing, she was obviously getting agitated - she really does not like a lot of pressure on her face. There were a couple times when she sank her butt into the dirt (like dropped it) when she hit the pressure of the halter. I wasnt so sure I was liking this method, but it seemed to be reducing the head tossing.

Her owner went inside with her daughter for a moment and thats when it happened. We were trotting the perimeter of the arena a couple times, each time she sped up I would ask her to slow back down, give her back her head and continue. If she sped up, we slowed back down. She was going around nicely. Then we got to a point where she wanted to toss her head. So I held the reins firm and let her run into it. She sank her butt down again and cranked her head to the left (I really dont know why I guess she thought she should try and give to pressure to one side...?) Now we were directly facing the fence and I was trying to bring her nose back around to straight and straighten back onto the rail.

When I applied pressure to the right, she started backing up. I brought my hand really far forward to the side to try and get her to understand to bring her head back to straight. She backed faster and more frantically. Then, I think, she stumbled on the back end and tried to correct herself with the front, but her nose was still the wrong way and she upended herself. It was one of those slow motion movements.

I felt her butt hit the ground and knew gravity would pull her front end down as well (although I was anticipating to the side, not over top of me). I kicked my foot out of the outside stirrup so I could hop away from the mess. But we landed first on my inside foot so my leg was pinned underneath her weight. I couldnt jump away from her falling body, and the saddle horn smashed down into my right side - just at the stomach and hip crease. Her front end finally came down and she hit her neck onto the ground, at the same time, the back of my head thumped the ground as well. She scrambled for a moment and got up, fortunately the foot we landed on did not stay in the stirrup.

I saw the reins had come up over her head and I panicked for a moment thinking she might take off and hurt herself. She didnt; once she got up she stood there and looked at me. I sat up, and breathed for a moment. My God, I looked over at her owner's house, hoping she would be right there and might have seen the whole thing. She wasnt. She didnt know what happened. I stood up, my foot was hurting and the spot where the horn hit, but I pulled myself into the saddle and began circling her to the right, making darned sure that when pressure was put on that side, she was to follow it. She obliged, but as soon as I asked her to trot off again, she stamped her foot and pinned her ears.

Oh no, Missy you are not getting away with acting like that. You did not just win some battle. I made her trot off and she immediately started to toss her head, I let her hit the end again and she sank her butt down and acted like she would flip over. I released her not wanting that to happen again. Crap, did she just learn how to get out of something? This mare really is too smart. I didnt want to trot her again until her owner was out. So I continued walking her and making her change directions, slow down, stop, repeat.

Finally her owner came out and remarked that Cayenne looked like she was being a pill. Oh yeah, I explained what happened and she couldnt believe it. Now with her owner there, I trotted her off again, it took a little while but I was able to get her back to the soft trot we had, when I applied pressure she slowed down, repeat. At least I found a good place to end. But we decided finally that she needs to be moved into the snaffle. I think a lot of the problem is coming from the halter and it's sloppy movement on her nose and the confusion she is getting from it. I had been wanting to move her to the snaffle for a couple weeks now but wasnt really getting that vibe from her owner. Fortunately before I got on yesterday, I had put the snaffle in her mouth and worked her on the ground with it to start getting her used to carrying it. Today I am scheduled to go out again, you can be the snaffle will be in.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Pretty Pony

Apparently more than a few people were thought-provoked with Mugwump Chronicles' recent Mouthy Monday post on pretty horses. It got SillyPony thinking over at Diary of the Overanxious Horseowner who wished to see what our not-for-sale horse ads would look like, but I will get to that in a moment.

I will fully admit, when my first horse Koalt was listed on DreamHorse bound for a new home, I had been looking at horses for sale, and I did have a criteria: it must be pretty. I wasnt stupid and ruled out good plain horses, but I didnt go and look at any. I thought if I could pick any horse to be my own, I wanted one with color. I also wanted another boy but if the right girl came along then I would be ok with it. You all probably know the story of how I got Milo now, if not you can read my lengthy series on it here and the unfinished one here. I also made a post about the day I met Mr Milo, here.

But as it turns out, I did fall in love with a "pretty" horse, although he wasnt exactly what I was looking for. I have never been a huge fan of tobianos (not for myself anyway - all that white!), and didnt like bald faced horses. If it had a blue eye, it must be lined with black around it. I really wanted a dark bay overo, blue eyes not necessary. I didnt want a red horse - everyone had red horses. My best friend at the time had a horse who looked like Milo's identical. But, Milo charmed me, and the qualities he had that I had believed I wanted ruled out, seemed to fit. The symmetrical bald face (and not overly bald, his jowls were still brown) with the white forming a perfect triangle up on his forehead, the brown eye had full liner but the blue only half, but it was enough. His white spots were perfect: not over powering like a tobiano, not too much white like a frame overo, but just right. I loved his personality too, I believed I hit the jackpot.

Is it wrong to have color as a criteria? Well, no. You like what you like and if color is what is desired then there is definitely one out there for you. BUT in no way should color be the deciding factor over the absolutely perfect plain horse, or the rogue one with pretty spots. But I would HOPE that would be a given (sadly, we all know it is not...)

Honestly, I love my pretty sorrel overo with a blue eye, but there are many-a-solid-horse out there who has grabbed my attention. Beautiful conformation and a solid color is just as pretty - take Sarah's Wesley for example, I love that boring bay!

2004 APHA Sorrel Overo Gelding 15.3h (16h on the butt)
Western inclined, but did some English in 4H, does not like to move out at the trot. A jog to die for, working on the lope. Prefers only Mom to ride him - is a sass to anyone that doesnt ask like her. Hates giving lessons, is bored by small children riding around, takes boyfriends and other unsuspecting friends for a ride, but decides his own path, gets angry when they try and correct him. Lunges but doesnt need steam worked out of him, prefers to jog on the lunge-line must coax for the lope, will only lope for Mom. Goes on the trail great, prefers a friend but can go alone, must be in the front. Jumps puddles prefers not to get his feet muddy. Loves to work cattle, but likes to bite them. Working on reining, no slide plates on. Learning to get his butt under and use his rear end. Beginner level. Trailers great, prefers the trailer be absolutely level before getting in. If traveling with a buddy (particularly a mare) may get attached to her at final destination - do not stall next to her. Same goes for buddies at home: gets attached to mares, better turned out with another boy. He be-friends everyone, is confused if they dont want to be his friend. Is also confused when mares in heat pee in front of him.  Good for the vet, good for the farrier (sometimes will kick him unsuspectingly, but generally ok). Learning manner in his stall, still need to keep an eye on him during feed-time, has a history of being aggressive, but coming along better. Can touch him anywhere, gets a little offended for sheath-cleaning, but lets you. Has had full-body clips, but hates his ears done. Takes baths, prefers warm water. Prefers sponge bathing for the face with will accept hose water if on a low stream. Loves his blankets and jammies (prefers Camouflage); if its going to rain you better get a sheet on him or he will defecate in the stall when you didnt prepare with bedding (but will do that anyways when the weather is bad). Takes body work very seriously -gets upset if it is forgotten about. Very vocal (obnoxious) to the body worker and seriously expects his ribs put back in place. Stands well in the cross ties, likes to grab the lead rope if left on the halter, if not, will grab the cross ties. Prefers Orchard Grass to Timothy hay, will use the insufficient other as bedding or will simply ignore it. Enjoys sunflower seeds in his grain, loves peppermints. Knows carrot-stretches but should not be regularly fed by hand (never by anyone new). Does not crib, but will chew if bored, requires toys (prefers giant purple balls). A clown, everyone's favorite, will be your best friend and will even play fetch.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Impromptu Schooling Show!

I had requested time off on Saturday for a beginning reining clinic held about 2.5 hours away. I was really excited about going to the clinic, but Boyfriend wouldnt be able to take me. After it was decided I couldnt go to the clinic, my friend and I (who rides Middy) decided we would go to a local show and have fun instead. So we loaded up the ponies and headed to the schooling show.

The show wasnt offering reining but had an Advanced Stock Seat 3 Gait and a Western Pleasure 3 Gait Pattern class. I decided to go into these two, and my friend was going to go into the Mystery Jackpot class. The pattern class had a lot of elements to it like a reining pattern, and it would be good practice for our lead changes. The goal for the show was to have fun and really utilize the schooling aspect.

We got to the show about an hour before our classes (which were held at the end of the day) which I looked forward to as Milo had only been at this venue his very first show - five years ago!! At his first show, we didnt ride in the arena, only doing showmanship, and he screamed the whole time. I was hoping that would repeat this time. When he got unloaded, he yelled a bit to his travel buddy, Middy, and spooked at people walking behind him in the bushes - pulling back on the trailer but fortunately giving in. I was a little nervous after that event but eventually he settled down.


I warmed up Milo in the warm up arena, and was really happy with the work we were getting. His lope was great, his trot was great, we counter cantered, everything was going great and I was really excited for the two classes.

My first class was Advanced StockSeat Equitation, 3 Gait. Apparently I was the only one entered and didnt even realize they were waiting for me when I was standing right outside the gate. Melissa and Grace decided to enter so someone else was in the class. As soon as we entered the arena, Milo's head came up and he got tense. He spooked at the first corner with a girl simply grooming her horse, and immediately I reached for the other rein to correct him. I knew that instant that I blew the class, then thought: who cares? Its a schooling show, my horse is being stupid, I am going to school him. Throughout the class I went from one hands to two when needed. But nothing was like it had been in the warm up - no lope, no jog, I was upset with him but didnt want to get frustrated. He had, after all, never been in the arena ridden before, and the last time we had been here was five years ago with little arena time. I figured I would school in the warm up again (btw, we got second after Melissa, lol) and hopefully get it put together for the pattern class.

Photos from the stockseat class - I picked out the good ones:

Daaaaang, red hair!!
A little forward....which might not have been helping to calm Milo down.
Went to two hands to school.....
Dropped stirrups! Good thing Sarah made me go months without stirrups it was a breeze!
My favorite photo even thought Im looking down, but Milo looks like he is paying attention, but the tail says it all!!
We went back to the warm up arena and schooled while my friend was in her Jackpot class, video: (btw, this was her first horse show, and first time bareback (which they sprung on right at the end). She didnt really know what to do but I think she did pretty well for a Greenie!) Can you spot Wesley in this class? :)

Milo schooled really well after I got after him a time or two, and we got a couple of lead changes, which were called for in the pattern class. I was really happy that he came right back to me in the warm up and thought that we might actually be able to pull off the pattern class. Melissa went first and was my only other "competitor" and she did really well. I knew already that we werent getting first, but I was eager for the opportunity to school, and hopefully, get some lead changes in the show pen. Well...I'll let the videos speak for themselves:

Well, Im happy we got a couple lead changes in the show pen, even though they were rushed and not so nice (and one I had to stop for). BUT at least I can actually try and do lead changes in the class, so thats good. For it being a complicated pattern, Im also happy that we actually stayed on pattern the whole time, and that we did accomplish each element to the pattern, if not done beautifully. But thats the beauty of schooling shows, right? Practice.

And just to show that Milo WAS doing good in the warm up, this was schooling work after the patter class and I found a good place to end the day with.

I noticed in my last warm up/schooling session that in the lead changes, I need to remember to follow through on the front. The first attempt I thought he didnt change, but when watching the video he did change in the back, but I didnt follow through on the front. I felt that after I turned him around and noted that I needed to remember to follow through on the front. When I asked again, he took a step of trot and although I was asking for a true flying change, I was happy with the quality of the change nonetheless, and decided to end right there.

All in all, Im happy with the practice and exposure. Even though it wasnt a super glamorous show, I think it was beneficial. And as I left the arena Sarah commented that she feels more rail classes before patterns are what we need - to get that stupid out. I hate to agree with her because that means spending more money, but I think she's right. Another time in the arena might have been just the ticket to get him thinking in the show pen instead of just the warm up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coreys Day on the Farm

I have been attending Coreys Day on the Farm for five years now. I have always believed it to be a wonderful event that offers special needs children the opportunity to experience how wonderful horses are. I always looked at this event as a great means to "giving back". I never thought of it as much more. 

Today was the first time in the last five years of attending this incredibly special event, that I actually broke down in tears. Never before had I actually gotten that emotionally provoked at the event. There have always been memorable children that attend, but never before had one actually touched my heart and make me re-consider what this event is really about. 

The small boy was carried onto the horse. Initially, we thought a rider might be needed because he was so small. He grasped firmly to the horn of the saddle and we decided that two side walkers should be fine. He didnt saw a word as we spoke words of encouragement and called him a cowboy. He kept his small eyes closed and continued to hold tight to the horn, clearly introverted. I continued to talk to him softly and lightly as we started to make the lap around the pen. A hand on his small back, I rubbed his back and continued talking to him. 

About halfway into the lap, he suddenly turned to me and slowly opened his eyes. He began to smile - a smile that was truely coming from his heart, not from the words I was sawing. His small hand came off of the horn and grasped the air. I offered him my index finger, which the tiny fingers closed around. He smiled so warmly to me and held firm to my finger for the rest of the ride. I couldnt help but just look up at his incredibly sweet face and smile back at him. I was sad that the horse ride was over. I said good-bye and as I left the chute, my throat began to tighten. I couldnt help but start to cry. My friend wasnt quite sure what was the matter. I wasnt quite sure why I was crying, but the tears began to sleadily flow. 

I continued to think about that sweet boy for the rest of the day. I realized that he showed me what this event is about. It's about love, and finding a connection with these incredibly special children. He made me realize something I hadnt before, something I was ashamed to admit. I realized that these children are still competely capable of feeling and knowing love. Even though it might be difficult to see the person behind the exteriors, these children are still incredible souls. That is why we have Corey's Day. That is how we give back - by making that real connection. I truly changed after leaving Corey's Day this time. This is what it is all about. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven Wells Barn Tour

I know its been a couple of months since Milo and I moved to the "new" facility. I was hoping to give you all a video tour sooner, but was waiting for some nicer weather. We have finally been getting our spring here in Western Washington, and it was a good day to represent the barn. Watching the video now, I still find hearing myself talk so strange...

I missed a couple things in the video: the lower barn also has a wash rack (right outside the barn by the trailer parking), and one of the empty stalls (the one next to Milo that you can see hay in) is my hay storage, obviously, haha.

I thought you guys might enjoy seeing my failed attempt at videoing the barn. This was my first attempt, then I figured I should narrate and start at the upper barn. But I like this video because Milo is so cute and there is more of him in it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Miracle on the Trail

I wasnt expecting anything remarkably special to happen as I set out on the trail Tuesday afternoon with my friend riding Middy. Until we snaked our way around the blue trail gate onto a new trail we hadnt yet explored. A single car wide rode, it was nicely groomed with minimal foliage overhang and wide enough for us to potentially ride side by side.

I shot my friend a mischievous look over my shoulder, which only meant one thing: eat my dust! My leg set back on Milo's side and my hips cued him to take off at a standstill. Dust creation was minimal, surprisingly, and happily, as my horse loped down the trail in a calm and balanced manner. I was so surprised and pleased with the quality of the lope as we cascaded down the trail. His ears are pricked forward in eager anticipation, but nervousness or tightness were absent. The trail began to bend to the right, and we were on the left lead. A few strides before the bend, and I cued for a lead change. I half expected it wouldnt happen - the other day was a fluke right? And being on the trail meant that we couldnt possibly get a nice change...?

My horse surprised me with an effortless lead change; all I had to do was change the direction of my legs and hips into the new arc and he changed with no fuss. I loped him for a couple more strides then slowed to the walk, but friend coming up behind us. I turned around in my saddle to see her and exclaimed, "Did you see that?! Did you see?!" A goofy broad smile was across my face and I patted and loved on my horse. She hadnt seen the miracle that happened, and mentioned she only noticed that he did something. But I knew what we did. And on the way back down the trail, we did it the other direction as well.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Two Sorrels Make Big Strides

Today could not have gotten much better.

After school I headed north to work Cayenne. Her owner had recently underwent a somewhat minor surgery, who, while still able to be outside with us, would not be able to assist. Which was fine, just on Saturday she was fresh out of surgery and couldnt even be outside with us so I had worked Cayenne entirely on my own. It was a good thing for her to stand quietly as I groomed, saddled, and booted her up. It was eventful as well with the footing in the roundpen being soggy so I headed to the arena - her first time out of the roundpen. This would also test her steering skills without having someone in the center of the roundpen to help direct her as needed as we had been doing. She did very well on Saturday.

Today, she did even better - completely retaining everything we worked on the ride before, and going beyond. Where previously she was nervous of the treeline next to the arena and the noisy hidden goats on the other side, today she only needed to pass by a few times before just keeping a watchful ear on the area. On Saturday, we stayed on a circle most of the time with some direction changes and figure eights, since the circular roundpen was a familiar pattern. Today, we worked everywhere in the arena, some straight lines, on the rail, circles, and even down to the far end of the arena where previously she had absolutely no interest in heading towards.

But further, her steering skills greatly improved from the ride before and I had stopped on Saturday with introducing her to the outside leg and moving away from single leg pressure, instead of speeding up with both leg pressures. Today, we further expanded on this and she began to nicely step her shoulder away from the outside leg pressure, following her nose in the direction pointed. Her rate of speed is progressing as well, I can slow down the pace of her trot, and even her canter! I was so excited when we loped along and not only could I slow her down, but I for the first time felt I had control over her direction - not only was she not freight training and gaining speed with every stride, but as I expanded the size of the arena there were a few moments were I felt we could have just continued down the length of the arena. She really impressed me and I could not have been happy with the quality of the ride - and it only being the seventh one!

I arrived in Seabeck at Milo's barn a while later, eager to spend time with my own horse. I sang praises about Cayenne to a fellow semi-self-care boarder (who owns the Fjords) as I cleaned Milo's stall. She reminded me that Milo can still do things that Cayenne cant, which I couldnt deny. I still love Milo beyond measure.  I groomed him and saddled aboard, then headed to the arena.

I had no real "game plan" in mind as I walked him around. I focused on my seatbones for our direction, going from circle to rail, rail to diagonal, and keeping his shoulders and hips in line. If I felt his hip drift to the inside instead of moving his shoulders away, I used my seat bones to redirect his hips back into line. I focused on using my hands to lift Milo's front end, but remembered Sarah's warning to not hold him up. Pick him up, then let him go - test to see how long he can stay there. When he deviates, bring him back up, then let him go again. I focused on this in the walk and trot and tried to make a mental note distinguishing the feel between when he was lifted on the front, or falling forward. Then we moved into the lope.

He was a little quick, but I still focused on picking him up, then letting him go and testing where he was. When he sped up, I brought him back. When he drifted his hip in, I (attempted to) put him back in line. I got unbalanced and when trying to push the hip back to straight, turned my hips out. What did Milo do? Change his lead! But only the front changed and we cross fired for a half circle or so. I asked him to change his hind, which he did. Then I wondered, as we counter cantered a couple circles, if I could change him back to the correct lead?

I loped him down the long side (haha! long side...) and tried to focus on my hip placement as I redirected the direction of my hips, and changed my legs to the wanted new arc. Milo changed his lead! Hmm...I wondered. Could we change leads now .... when I asked? I loped him a couple circles, then sent him across the diagonal, then asked for the change. I tried to not lean forward, remembering Sarah reminding me to not fall forward and ask with me hands. I sat on my pockets, but stayed square in the saddle, and redirected my hips and legs. Squoosh! Milo changed his lead! We loped the perimeter of the arena, and I wondered if we could do it again. Without ever breaking down to the trot, we loped a couple circles on this new lead, and I sent him down the diagonal once more. I asked for the change, and he changed once more! A few strides later I stopped him lightly, and patted his neck eagerly, singing praises, a smile spread broad across my face. After only a few strides at the walk, I dismounted and lead him back to the barn, slapping his neck with nearly every stride.

Good sorrel horses. :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cayenne pictures!!

So I finally got the photos of Cayenne's first ride! Here they are! (Who does she remind you of...?) :)

Good Girl! First few moments sitting in the saddle.

Figuring out how to steer haha.
Sucha mover. First trot strides!
Pretty girl. :) So smart!
And speaking of Cayenne, her fourth ride on Wednesday was great! We worked on transitions and transitions and transition, and even got a couple of really nice walk to lope transitions. Im starting to rate her speed a little more too and shes learning how to slow herself down, even reaching into the halter.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I rode Cayenne on Tuesday, it was her third ride. She was a little sassy and had some strange moments. For one, she kept shaking her head and holding an ear to the side. I remembered last summer when Milo did the same thing and wondered if something got lodged down into her ear. Her owner and I checked it out thoroughly but couldnt seem to find anything wrong. She also kept stamping her hind legs and swishing her tail. Picking up her legs and handling them with the SMB boots went well, but her general attitude towards the rear was clear discomfort. We thought maybe the small bugs, flies and gnats were getting to her and swiped her down with some fly spray and even cleaned her teats in an effort to make her more comfortable.

Once I was on, she stamped and kicked her back feet. I reprimanded her but clearly something was still up. The ride did go very well but oddly after I got off I was very lightheaded, was seeing black spots, and wasnt "all there" you know? So I headed to my truck after untacking her and tying her to the blocker tie to get some water. It helped for a moment, but as I returned to her and her owner (and my friend who set us up) I had to kneel towards the ground as things were still not good. My back was in a huge amount of pain and I assumed maybe from the jagged baby ride I had.

Some back history here (haha, no pun intended), I have had moderate back pain that just remains with me. Long time readers will probably recognize the times when I have in passing mentioned it, but only those really close to me know the extent that I daily deal with. I am not a vocal complainer about it unless it is really bothering me that day (after a cart-shift for instance, or sometimes just after working in general) but today something really happened to it.

I abstained from riding Milo today even though I was really looking forward to it. Every movement in my truck sent pain shooting in my back, and not just discomfort, but real pain (and, of course, my old F150 is a bumpy ride...). I felt crippled as I got out of the truck and decided against cleaning Milo's stall. :( I tossed hay and grain to him and patted him for a while then went home.

By the way, I noticed today that the Timothy hay and Orchard that I have been mixing was all gone - he ate all of it! I think I had mentioned that he was picking the Orchard out to eat and leaving a lot of the Timothy (and last Thursday I got five bales of nice Orchard from Sarah). But today nearly every last strand of hay was eaten up. Of course, because today was the day I was getting a ton of emails about it from my craigslist post. Still not sure whether or not I will pursue continuing to try and sell it...

But after I got home, I searched desperately for my rice heating pad - I couldnt find it. I opted to just lay on the couch and wrap myself up in blankets. I have been getting real cold chills and cant seem to get warm. When Boyfriend comes home, I will try and have him help me go through my benefits information and see what I might be able to do/afford. For now, I just know that this must be the tip of the iceberg and I cannot ignore my back any longer.


I havent mentioned on here yet one of the "projects" I have been working on...Here is the back story:

A friend of mine (remember Chica? Milo's old girlfriend? Her owner) has a client with a two and a half year old mare that needs starting. My friend is nearly at the due date for her pregnancy and took a hiatus from working the mare as soon as she found out she was pregnant. With summer approaching her owner was wanting her to get the basics on that way over the summer months she could be working with her. Even with the end of the pregnancy coming near, the weeks (months) to follow would be difficult for my friend to work with the mare. Enter me.

My friend called me up and asked if I would be interested in starting the mare. She had the saddle on a couple times already, but it had been some time since she had been working with her. A couple reasons why my friend thought of me to do the job: 1) she knew I had started Milo five years ago and could get the job done, 2) we have similar "training" background and 3) the mare reminded her so much in personality as Milo. Shes fiery (named Cayenne), can be snarky and have a 'tude, but also incredibly smart. In fact, when my friend and her owner initially went to look at her she immediately mentioned how Cayenne reminded her of Milo (even in color! She's a sorrel overo with two blue eyes).

Cayenne apparently was pretty difficult when they first brought her home. She has bred on a small farm with elderly owners who hadnt the time or energy to handle her. She needed to properly learn how to be handled, haltered, and lead, among other basic things like picking up her feet (which we are still working on for the rears). She needs to learn how to tie and go on a trailer too. But those are more things to come.

I was initially asked to do "thirty days" with her and get her to the point of her owner being able to confidently ride and work with her. Shes not a nasty mare by any means, just fiery and with a mind of her own. When I first went out to work with her and get an idea whether or not I wanted to take her on, I immediately liked her. Its uncanny how alike to Milo she is - practically his female identical.

I spent about a week and a half lunging, putting the saddle on her, and stepping weight into the stirrup. She was coming along nicely and stopped humping with the saddle. The day came that I was going to go astride. I had my friend come out that day to stand in the center of the round-pen and help as needed. All went very well; we walk, trot, and loped both directions and Cayenne only humped and kicked out once at my heel in her side.

Sunday I rode her for her second time and she did very well then too. We have also continued work on tying, touching her legs and belly, and putting wraps on her legs. She is doing very well. I have to keep telling myself: I do not need another sorrel overo...I do not need another sorrel overo. But I cant help myself - I really like her.