Monday, September 29, 2008

This is why I hire professionals.

I was able to have a private lesson with KAT this afternoon and I am feeling much better about a lot of things.

1. I now understand WHY he's raising his head.
2. I now understand why it's better if he lowers it, and NOT just for the show trend.
3. I should actually ask MORE of him and let him get away with less...BUT...
4. I should make sure he knows when he's doing what I want, AND
5. "Trick" him into thinking he will have to work less if he does what I ask.
6. That foreign language of "inside rein-lift his shoulder" stuff at the lope makes total sense now.
7. When I was speaking that language CORRECTLY to him he responded perfectly.
8. He really IS as curious and "looky" as I think he is, I just need to set boundaries of when it's okay to look and when it's not. (see #5)
9. As his "reward" we rode along the fenceline where a bunch of horses were in the big pasture. The all came running over and he got excited. I did keep him going forward, but let him look all he wanted.

This is why I have no problem asking for help and hiring a professional. Half an hour later and my biggest frustrations are pretty much gone. I still have some work to do to keep him consistent, but I know more about what I'm asking him to do, and therefore can better know whether or not I'm getting it.

He was out with the "boys" when I got there and for the first time he didn't let me walk right up to him. He saw me coming and I know he knew it was me. I'm trying to teach him to come when called (those turn-outs are huge) but he's not really responding to that yet. He's always let me walk right up to him, though, and I've made a point not to be too pushy about bringing him back in. Something in Parelli's book made a lot of sense to me: how would you feel if you were in your hammock reading a book and your friend drove up, yanked you out of the hammock by the arm, shoved you into the driver's seat of your car and started telling you where to drive to. SO I've been walking up to him with treats and petting him, clipping the lead and letting him take several more mouthfuls before asking him to walk on, and letting us mosey our way to the gate, stopping every few paces for another bite. That way when we get out of the gate and I demand his attention to lead him to the barn he's still chewing calmly. Anyway, I got about 20 feet away and he turned around and started walking away at a 45 degree angle. I turned with the intention of cutting him off and he started walking faster. Of course I'm seeing visions of trying to chase him around the pasture while KAT is checking her watch. So I thought I try something. I looked over and the closest horse was Ripper, my favorite lesson horse. I walked straight to him and pulled a treat out of my pocket and started petting him and breaking off pieces of the treat. You should've seen Junior's face! "Hey-what the? Hey, but, you, wait a minute!" He came up and sort of hid behind Rip with a very sad look on his face so I started talking to him and walked over and gave him a treat. Of course Rip didn't like that part, but I clipped Junior and everything was okay. I figured I'd turn him back out when we were done, but his dinner was waiting for him so he was content to stay in.

He's such a goof. During the lesson if I fully gave him his head he would turn and walk straight for KAT and ask for scratches. What a ham!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Too Cute.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happiness Is...

Happiness Is...
...a calm horse with a relaxed neck, jogging quietly along amidst tractors, ducks, and kids on bikes.
...peppermint scented horse breath.
...being able to leave the dorky ankle boots in the tack box.
...prehensile lips enveloping your hand and gently taking the apple treat.
...having a lunge line in your car for a legitimate reason.
...strangers telling you how cute your horse is.
...feeling your legs getting stronger.
...mucking out YOUR OWN stall.
...a horse big enough to make your butt look small.
...spurs with pink rhinestones.
...being able to ride whenever you want, without making an appointment, or asking permission. Junior.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

Pat Parelli say in the first part of his book Horse-Man-Ship (which, by the way makes me think it's a relationship between a horse, a man, and a boat) that You MUST be willing to accept that when things go wrong, the fault is YOURS and not the horse's. I'm paraphrasing, but still. I do accept this as a fundamental truth. Some exceptions exist, but I'm sure my horse is not one of them, he's a good boy. I'm sure it's me. And don't get me wrong, he's really not doing anything bad, he's just not doing everything as well as I know he can. I also know we're just beginning week three so I shouldn't be so hard on him. I ALSO know that I don't want to do anything to UN-train him or make him not enjoy his job during this very formative time in our relationship. We seem to do better in lessons. HIS concentration is better or he's more relaxed. *I* seem to do better when we're alone. When I'm in lessons I tend to catch myself zoning out. Maybe that's better because *I* am also more relaxed, but I need to be able to work on my own and have progress. I KNOW I shouldn't overreact to these little setbacks, but well, did you read the title of this blog? That's what I do. I ordered that 101 Arena Exercises book so I can do something more than circles and serpentines. When he's "on" he's ON. So supple and smooth, relaxed neck, easy transitions. I can do shallow serpentines with *almost* just leg pressure and body weight and can halt with *almost* just my seat and "whoa." But when he's "off" it's like he's never been ridden before. He takes all cues to the extreme or not at all. He picks his head up when I ask him to put it down. He walks all crooked unless I ask him to turn and then he cranks his head around but veers the opposite way. Yesterday I decided to just see what he would do if I let him go where HE wanted to and hold his head how HE wanted to. What did he do? He walked into all the corners. And I mean straight into the corners. Would've tried to take us into the mess of jump standards if I hadn't pulled him out. Finally he walked to the rail and put his neck over the wall and just stood there. Just stood there. I didn't do anything. He didn't do anything, he just stood there. I let him stand there for a few solid minutes and figured he really DID NOT want to work. So I pulled him back and over to the gate, bent down and popped the latch open. We walked outside and around the building out into the hay field and did a few trips down the fenceline and back. He relaxed a little so I called it good and put him up.

So I know it's me. It's my skill or my balance or my...something. I just need to figure out how to fix it.

In the mean time, I really do love my horse. He's pretty neat.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Yesterday I took my friend (who happens to be a DVM) out to meet Junior. She was really impressed with him and very approving of my choice in him. She was vacationing in Ireland when I made the decision to buy him, so I was hoping she would approve. She had been with me on half of my horse visits and she proved to be a WONDERFUL asset. She (smartly) didn't "vet" for me officially, but she has a good eye for conformation and was able to spot some lameness in one of my previous choices that I didn't even see.

Anyway, I needed to clean his stall so I put him out in one of the turn-outs. There are double fences between pastures so horses can't injure each other if a spat breaks out. This was the first time he's been turned out when there were horses in the adjacent pasture and he went absolutely bonkers! He noticed there were other horses and he walked over to the fence. One of the other horses saw him and came over. Junior's tail went straight up and he took off down the fence line bucking and whinnying and the other horse ran along, too. The two of them (and the second horse in the other pasture) tore back and forth along their fence lines. Junior's tail was straight up and even curled backwards he was SO happy to be "with" other horses! I'm going to look into the turn-out opportunities to find out what our best option is. Turn out isn't included in board but is available through the barn staff. I think it's ridiculous that it's not included, but I knew that before I brought him there. I think it would be best for him to have some social turn-out time.

Riding wise I just got on him and hacked around. Didn't do much schooling, but took him through all his gaits and his lope is getting better and better. His front feet are a little rough on the edges because of the rocky outdoor arena, but Dr.Friend just told me to monitor it. It's so nice to have the shoes off, though, he's so much more balanced. Our lope-off is getting easier, too.

I have some work to do today so I decided to change plans (WAS going to get up and go ride then give him a REAL bath) but since I have such a list of work stuff to do I thought it best to finish it first and then see how much time I have left. So I can have GFBT "Guilt Free Barn Time" without the nagging feeling of still having work to do when I get home and fearing I'm not going to get it done. Rather be able to relax and take my time at the barn.

So stop blogging and finish the work.....!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Digging my horse.

It's Friday night. Friday after the first week of classes and what is my celebratory event? Riding my horse. It's still fun to say..."my horse". MY horse! I don't know what he does when other people visit him, but when I walk up to his stall and say "Hey big boy" (I don't know WHY I say that, I just do.) he turns around and comes right to the door. Maybe he does that with everyone, but I'd like to think he's learning my voice.

Anyway, I bought him a new halter today. It's teal and looks quite nice on him I must say. Weaver has these halters with brushed silver hardware that I've been drooling over since they came out. I HATE the color gold and therefore hate brass. It's EVERYWHERE in horse stuff so when I can find other metal colors I tend to go nuts. I didn't buy the matching lead because I really don't like nylon leads anyway and I really don't care that much. He needed a halter that fit, luckily I found one that's cute. I'm not really concerned about mismatched stable stuff. Now, when I was 13 and wiping the drool off of the catalog pages I imagined my "barn colors" to be purple and hunter I do still like those colors together, but after an MFA in design I'm a teensy bit more aware of the infinite array of color combinations out there. For example, I found a fabric from (I give them a bit of business for my costuming) that has these lovely shades of a grey/blue, brown, white, teal, and black. Hard to explain, of course, but it's in the family of all those show shirts you see with patterned bodies and solid colored collars/cuffs. I have a bag of Ultrasuede swatches from a while back when I was considering making a full show outfit and I found a matching HP for the chaps in "Hide" (brown) and an absolutely PERFECT match for the grey blue....which is no longer available....there are some close matches, though so I might be able to pull it off. I have the samples in my tackbox waiting for a day when I can take him out into the light and have someone else hold him & the samples and I can stand back and see what they look like with his coat. MUST have natural light to compare those. Then whatever I choose I can take to Rods and compare to their vast selection of show blankets. I know they say that spending more time on your outfit than on lessons and training is the first step to ridicule, but this is stuff I KNOW. It's easy for me. I know how to find cool fabrics and notions and I know how to make my own patterns so custom show outfits are easy cheesy. I can do that stuff in my spare bedroom when it's too cold to ride. Show tack? That's yet to be determined. We'll see if we're even ready for that next summer. I have a feeling we might start with HUS since I won't have to worry about slowing him down and can keep some contact with his mouth to keep him with me. But that's a long way off...back to today...

So I decided to lunge him with a halter on (at the suggestion of KAT) to see if that made a difference with his weird one-direction thing. I'm not sure if it did, but it was sure easier on me not having to switch the line to the other side of the bit. (I also bought those little clips to put on my reins so I can take them OFF to lunge instead of trying to tie them to the saddle.) I STARTED him in the direction he had so much trouble with and he was fine. Loped along with his neck relaxed, no issues at all. When I went to change to the "good" direction he did more of his back-away thing, but not nearly as bad as the other day. The good thing is, he doesn't GO the wrong direction, rather he will stop and turn towards me and let me regather my line and walk up to him and try to urge him on. We did this dance (urge, stop, turn-in, reposition, urge, stop...) a few times and then he just went. Weirdo. Since the indoor was freshly raked and watered and there was no one else around I figured I'd might as well stay in there to ride. I turned the lights on, mounted up and started our ride. Every day is better, so much better. Tonight was really good. A few times he wanted to bend the OTHER way than I was asking him to, but I consider that more my fault than his. I'm still learning about using my legs properly because if I used my legs on my old grey mare she would consider that permission to do fancy dressage moves. Not that I minded multiple flying lead changes and two-tracks and side-passes, but when you're supposed to be ON THE RAIL for a pleasure class it sort of makes you look like you have no control over your horse. So I learned to keep my feet off unless I meant it. She did really well turning and bending with slight rein pressure. SO now with a horse that KNOWS leg cues, I must remember to use them or he doesn't know what I want. He's much more relaxed now and I don't really have to mess with his head as much. HUGE change in just a week. Wow, I've had him for a week and a half. This last work week has gone by quickly. I started working on his neck reining, too. The first few days he'd have none of it, too distracted, but tonight he was certainly getting what I was asking him for. He's not ready for one-handed yet, but I'm certain he'll get there quickly. We did lots of circles and serpentines and such and his lope was good both directions. I've figured out that I need to really prepare him before I ask him to lope off. Just some vibrations of my outside leg and a little weight shift REALLY helps him get ready to go off right away and on the correct lead. I did have to restart the left lead a few times, but no biggie. I decided to take him from a lope to a halt for the first time and he was awesome. Nice even stop, in balance, too. I really dig this horse!

Maybe it's good that our first few days were kind of frustrating for me because I really appreciate all of our progress together. Because I know I am the only one who's been riding him since KAT rode him that 2nd or 3rd day, it kind of feels like maybe I'm not so clueless after all? Only time will tell.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Amazing Shoeless Junior

Yesterday, our first day sans shoes, was a good ride. I put the boots on, just in case. We went out to the outdoor and started lunging to the left. No problems, relaxed head, nice even circle, not fussing, all three gaits without a flub.....Then I tried to switch directions and chaos ensued. He's done this before, but not to this extent. I switched the line to his other side and backed away to tell him to walk on. He swung his ass around and tried to go back to the right. I stopped him, regrouped and tried again...and again...and again....then he began to just back away from me as I tried to send him forward to the right. Then he took off away from me in a straight line zipping the line through my hands. I wear gloves now :)because I have learned this lesson. Frustration was mounting in both of us and by this time the next lesson class had come in and since there's still a nice muddy swamp on the lower end of the arena, space is at a premium. I FINALLY got him to go to the right calmly like nothing at all was amiss... weirdo. I made him continue a few revolutions and then stopped him and praised him. The class needed the room so I headed off to the dusty indoor. One rider in the indoor doesn't make too much of a cloud, and I don't mind the solitude. He only misstepped once at the lope/lunge so I we feeling good about the lack of shoes. I mounted and we did our usual routine, laps, circles, serpentines, stops, yields. No real issues. Loped on his "bad" side first to get it out of the way. Not too bad, a little rushing which makes me think he needs more muscle on that side...but what do I know? He eased up when asked and we had a few false starts on the wrong lead. After a few laps I asked him to try the transition a few more times and each time was better. Then more jogging and bending. Then a lope on his "good" side. Nice. Easy. Fun! Some more bends to cool down.

I do adore him.

I put him up and told him I'd come's "tomorrow" now and I need to spend my day prepping a lecture for tomorrow. But I don't think he can speak English so he won't know the difference. I'll get out there Fri Sat Sun, and Mon. He can take a day off.

I re-roached his mane. In hindsight I should've bought a better clipper if I intend to keep him roached. He started looking like a mule, though so I couldn't help myself. I should've bathed him first, but I'll do that this weekend and actually be able to wash his scalp. Supposed to be beautiful out!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Power is Back On!

I lost electricity on Sunday afternoon and didn't get it back until yesterday afternoon, hence the lack of updates. I will remedy that later today if I can get my lectures prepped for the week. Overall we're getting better together every day.

I made this little video right before I lost power - it's just an experiment. I've never even tried to mess with iMovie before so don't judge too harshly! I know the music is a little cheezy, but I like the song and the mood seemed appropriate.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Crabby vs. Crabby

I really wish the outdoor ring didn't flood every time it rains. It's not enough that it's so humid out my horse was actually sticky to the touch. The indoor was just stifling enough to make both of us hot and crabby. NO BREEZE. I also think his shoes are causing problems...and that on top of all the problems *I* cause by not really knowing what to do with him when we're riding alone. PLUS I forgot to put my spurs and learned that they are pretty necessary to getting his attention. There were two other horses in the ring and they weren't a huge problem for him, but I started to feel embarrassed that I probably looked like I didn't know how to ride my own horse. It was weird, he'd go halfway around the rail with a flat neck and a nice slow jog with minimal fussing on my part and then UP goes the head and UP goes the speed and the war begins. I know neither of us was enjoying the heat but it's hard for me to know how far I can push him. He was more trippy than he was on Thursday, too, so I was actually not willing to try a lope. I asked him once and he started to go but really acted like he changed his mind and didn't want to and didn't feel balanced to me. The last thing I wanted to do on this sticky wet day was to slide across the arena together. No thanks. So I chickened out and just made him jog more. Circles, serpentines, bends, stuff like that.

I went ahead and hosed him down afterwards, which he really didn't mind. He had nice dirty sweat marks where his boots were. He needs a real bath, but I haven't figured out where to tie him yet and I haven't bought any horse shampoo so that'll have to wait. I brushed out his tail for the first time with the new brush I got for him. Of course he rolled as soon as I untied him. Of course. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, but I'm going to go out anyway in the afternoon. Hopefully it will be a little cooler. I'll take my new clippers and do is muzzle. Still haven't decided about roaching again or not.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day Four - Happiness is a calm horse.

I was able to cut out of work for the after noon (a privilege I will no longer enjoy with such frequency come Monday)

I got to the barn and he was tied in his stall and his right ankle strike-point was open again and he had a dried saddle-sweat mark... I went and found KAT and she had ridden him for me (yeah! free training!). She had lunged him first and said he did well, but she had to have a "conversation" about the lookiness. She didn't work him too hard so he'd still be okay for me to ride. I tacked him up and put his new ankle boots on - wish I had the video camera on him! He acted like he'd never had boots on, but by the time we got out of the barn he was walking normally. I still thought lunging would be in my best interest since I didn't know if he'd be funny about the boots. There was lots of tractor and bobcat activity going on around the arena but no horses around. I lunged him (forgot my gloves, but no repeat injury) and he broke into a lope and immediately smacked his left hind on his right boot - grey mark I could see from where I was standing (white boots to match his white legs) and he did his little trip while he did it. Maybe he'll stop tripping when he's not hurting himself? He didn't seem to mind the boots though and seemed nice and relaxed. I mounted and was so happy to see he had his naturally flat neck back AND his soft jog. KAT brought another horse in and he wasn't too bad about it. He kept riding really well, doing the lovely jog that he had when I tried him out. Just wonderful and so encouraging! When KAT took the other horse out I was prepared for another fight, but all I had to do was remind him to keep his head in line and on task and he did very well. He did veer towards the gate slightly the next few go-rounds "Are you SURE we can't go see where he went?" but accepted my correction/direction easily with no fuss. If I had been more anticipatory to the veering I don't think it would've been an issue at all. He didn't trip at the lope under saddle, so maybe the boots are helping with that, too? I don't know how long I rode him for because I always forget to check my watch when I start. But if I had to guess it was 45 minutes. Both his boots were scuffed up and grey, but the right one (the one with the wound) was solid grey, must be his shoes. Another reason to consider going barefoot. I groomed him and put him up with clean water buckets and a few treats. My heart swelling for him as he watched me leave. The feeder was throwing hay down so he would get his dinner soon. So much better today. Big sigh of relief after yesterday's "fun."

Don't get to ride tomorrow - too much work to do and I think a day off won't be so bad for him.

On my way home I stopped at Target and bought a cheap digital watch on a fabric/velcro band. I'm going to put it on my saddle (nice to know those training dees are good for something!) and hopefully it'll remind me to check it when I mount.

My new clipper is charging so I have to decide by Saturday if I'm going to re-roach him or let it grow. I plan to have a friend take some quality pictures of him and I this fall, and I don't know if it'll grow fast enough to look okay by then. He looks a little muley right now which is not terribly flattering on him....I really like pretty manes, but I don't know how to pull a mane (Arab girl, remember?) and roaching is so easy.... But you know what's REALLY cool? It's MY decision!! He's MY horse! Yippee!!!

Okay, back to work. Someone's gotta pay for this horse!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 3 or "The Last Time I Lunge a Horse while Not Wearing Gloves."

Oh, where to begin? I suppose on Day One:

Day one began with an all-too early alarm after a not-so-sleep-filled night. I got up and headed to the barn. Filled water buckets...paced...put a little more in...paced. Worried that if I unloaded my car and started putting my box together KAT (Kick Ass Trainer) would show up and I'd have to stop. So I paced. KAT arrived and hitched up the trailer. We drove the 60 miles to get him. I had been warned that he doesn't really enjoy loading into the trailer all by himself. I had a minor panic attack on the way to the barn so I was not 100% and just handed him over to KAT. I had a minor trailer incident about 9 years ago and I still get a little nervous loading. I knew my fear wouldn't help him be confident so I let to professional take over. He fussed and raised his front feet a few inches off the ground a few times, and then just like a switch flipped, he walked forward into the trailer. I met him at his window with treats. I was shaking. Exchanged papers for monies and we were on our way. I'm fortunate that his previous owner (I'm his third) really likes him and is very helpful with my questions. It's really nice (because I'm an OHO) to have all the help and reassurance I can get. I had a pretty major panic attack on the way home. I've had several in the past 7 years so I manage them, but it's tough to manage them when you're stuck in the cab of a pickup truck on a narrow highway. Could I feel any more like I was trapped?!? I ended up allowing myself to fall asleep and even thought I woke up every few minutes with my heart pounding and the tips of my ears tingling I started to feel better. I get car sick, too and the truck seemed to be ever-so-subtly jerky. Just subtle enough that in my overanxious state I became very nauseated. I wasn't really doubting my decision to buy him, I was just having an unfortunate emotional/mental reaction to a big decision. I have a feeling some people do this on their wedding day.

We got back to the farm and he unloaded quietly. He was very interested in the horses in the turn-out pens. Calling to them. I led him into the barn and into his new stall. He seemed just fine to munch the feed and drink his water (he drinks a LOT of water) while I built his box. I was trying to pretend I wasn't freaked out, but I wasn't doing a very good job. Eventually I took him out for a walk. Took him through the indoor arena and the other barn since that's the route to the outdoor arena. He was very "looky" and vocal. I got him into the arena. My new lunge line hadn't come yet so I tried to get him to move around on just the lead. He didn't really know what I wanted at first, but he got it eventually. I put him back in his stall and went home for a much needed nap. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. I was also dreading that night's lesson. I had no idea what to expect.

I felt much more relaxed after my nap and was enjoying the fact that I had a horse waiting for me! He seemed happy to see me. I spent some time brushing him and tacking him. I had planned to try to get him into the ring before the rest of the lesson horses got in there so he wasn't suddenly in a crowd. He was VERY excited and was holding his normally flat neck straight up in the air (His TB was showing...) the very estute KAT suggested I lunge him. There were already other horses in the arena, but okay. He tossed of a few tiny bucks and heel kicks and was very vocal. He lunged for a bit but just STOPPED and faced me and started watching the other horses circle around him as if that's what he came there to do. I let him stand for a bit then tried to get him going a few more times with not much luck. "That's all you got?" I asked him. "Really, that's it? A couple little tosses of your head and now you're content to just stand there? Okay then." KAT had come back with the rest of the lesson so I put us in the back of the mounting line. He stood quietly. I mounted. He stood quietly. I walked him off quietly. He was certainly more animated than he had been at this home, but nothing dumb or dangerous. Headset was pretty much out the window because he was still very "looky" about everything. I think he's going to need a LOT of hauling to shows before he's able to accept the busy atmosphere as the same as any other busy atmosphere.

He did trip at the lope and my dumb ass lost my left rein. I had a second of panic but I pulled his head in with my right rein and told him to whoa...he did. I reached down and grabbed the rogue rein. I didn't think they were long enough to tie and still have enough to use, but I managed to do it today so that shouldn't happen again.

He's so different from my Arabs, it's going to take a while to get used to the fact that things like jumps and barrels don't bother him at all, and getting bumped by a gate is no big deal. Dropped & stepped on rein? Peh. Whatever. There have been many things in the past three days that lots of horses in my past would have warranted at the very least a full-body twitch and a heavy snort and a few moments/minutes to get over the fact that some gravel had been kicked at the wall.

After that first lesson I took him back to his stall and praised him greatly for carrying me safely through our first at-home ride. I was SOOOO tired and had a full day of work ahead of me beginning early in the morning.

Because I can't read memos I thought I had work ALL day, but instead I had off from 2:00 until I headed to the barn. I didn't want to ride because I wouldn't have enough time to get re-cleaned up and ready for the work dinner. He was eating his afternoon feed when I got there and didn't think it would be very nice to pull him away from it so I just tested his feeding time manners, which were fine. I tried on my two old halters and surprise surprise they're too small. Oops, guess I get to buy a new halter! I groomed him and let him out in one of the turn-outs and took some pictures of him being cute. He was very vocal again. Reminded me of how a gelding-who-thinks-he's-herd-stallion I know used to behave. He trotted around and loped a bit but mostly just stood and ate grass and let me walk around him. He let me catch him without an issue and I put him back in his stall, gave him some treats and left him to his hay.

My mantra: It's only day three. It's only day three. It's only day three. It's only day three.

I tacked him up and grabbed my brand new lavender lunge line. (Don't judge - some of that 13yo girl who wanted a pony still lives inside me...and now has money...and a pony!) KAT had two small-frys in the ring and I didn't want to bother them. (He's still an Arab in my mind.) So I took him to the round pen. I hooked him up and stepped back to send him off and he yanked the line through my hand giving me a lovely little rope burn across the palm of my hand and the tips of my middle and ring fingers. Super. Ow. OW! Dammit...Grrrr. I regrouped and got him going. There were some kids playing near the pen so of course he was more interested in them than what I was trying to get him to do. He let off some spunk, but didn't get to that calm state he go to on Day One. I still didn't want to put him in with the little kids, just incase he (or I) did something dumb so I thought I'd try out the indoor. The weather was cool enough and it was light enough out so I didn't need to turn the lights on. We had mounting issues, but we resolved them. He decided to step ON to the mounting block....(again my Arab brain panics, but my Paint does not)....and stepped off again. Spent probably 45 minutes trotting circles and serpentines and figure 8s. TRYING to get him to lower his head and relax and slow down and pay attention and stop whinnying for the other horses. The "best" part was when the next lesson came leading their horses through the arena (it's the route to the outdoor, I can't help it) and he decided to ignore me and go with them. Um NO I think not. Fight ensues. Horses get safely out of arena and close gate, and I manage to get my horse to turn the other direction. It's only day Three, It's Only Day Three, It's Only Day Three. Sigh. Loped a few laps each direction and he tripped again at the lope. I don't know if I should be concerned about this or not. KAT noted that he interferes behind and had a nick on his right fetlock that he re-opened today. He's got shoes on which I'd rather not have, but he just got them on 8/17 so I will wait before getting him a farrier apt. and hoping I can leave him barefoot. I ordered him ankle boots but couldn't tell which was Right and which was Left. I had KAT show me so next ride we'll try them out.

He's such a cuddlebug in the stall! He's winning my heart every day with his kisses and hugs. I've never known a horse so affectionate in the stall. Especially when there's hay! Kinda makes me forget how sore my back is from riding him!

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Saturday, September 6, 2008


I have soooo much work to do before classes start on the 15th. There will be no more blogging today or tomorrow. I NEED to get these things done so I can fully concentrate on the pony when he comes home on Monday.

I'm sure I'll have a lot to say on Monday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mentally pacing.

I feel like I'm pacing...back...and forth... and back.....and forth.... waiting for Monday when the horse is HERE instead of THERE. Sigh.

Not much exciting happened today, just made a saddle decision, mentally not verbally, and shopped for a show halter. Not that I need one, but I thought it'd be nice for pictures. I would like to do showmanship again someday, but currently the boy doesn't seem to posess that skill set. Something to work on, I guess.

It's interesting that, like saddles, you seem to find either the really nice show halters you can't afford OR the cheapie ones that you know are crappy leather (probably Rat or perhaps horse - the irony of which I would NOT appreciate) and radioactive metal composite aka "silver". I know in pictures the cheap ones will look okay, or at least look pretty to my non-horsey friends/family. Maybe that's something to look for at Congress - used show halters. I was told to wait for Congress to buy a blanket, too. I keep finding these cool looking vintage show halters on Ebay, but I'm apparently not the only person who thinks they're cool and those other people seem to think they're worth more money than I have.

Tomorrow it's buckets and a bit, maybe a halter. Then I try to get some work done, spend some time with a friend. We'll have to see how the shopping trip goes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What do you do the day after you buy a horse?

I spent a few hours on the in-ter-web trying to find the best prices for all that "stuff" one needs when one has never owned her own horse. I found success in procuring ankle boots (he interferes behind a teensy bit), a lunge line, clipper, and a sweat scraper.

I also started packing up all the "stuff" I already own that needs to go to the barn. I found a deck storage bench at Target on clearance a few weeks ago. We'll see when I put it together if it was a bargain or not. It's 6.88 cubic feet of storage capacity and my saddle does not need to go in. I'm dimensionally challenged, though, so I have no idea how much room that is. I washed and disinfected my girth, located my halters and my headstall. I also killed a spider that was lurking in one of my storage bins. I am mostly petrified of spiders, but when you're home alone it's kill or be killed, so I grabbed a paper towel and sent him over the rainbow bridge.

The biggest thing on my brain right now is the lack of saddle. I want a roughout trainer. Not that I need the training dees, but I like the gription (yes I made that word up) of the suede and the lower cost because there's no tooling or shiny finish to pay for. Unfortunately I'm torn on which to buy. Rod's has a great one that they carry and sell a ton of. I looked at it and like it. It runs $950. The best thing is that there's no shipping and if it doesn't fit I just have to bring it back to the store for a full refund, no problem.

I've found a few on Ebay, including the kind that my new horse's previous owner has. It's a Royal King. Hers is semi-quarter horse bars and she said he really needs a full QH, but I can only find them with a Veri-Flex tree. They run about $600 with shipping. He's got high withers, too and that doesn't help. I've read some reviews and they seem to be one extreme or another, either "this saddle fits every horse of every size that I own!" or "tree does not flex much and will only fit the narrowest of horses. I'm afraid that it won't fit and I'll be stuck either trying to re-sell it on Ebay or Craigslist OR sending it back and losing $100 on shipping. There's another roughout that's an unknown brand, probably made in India or China and of questionable quality. At half the price of the one at Rod's it makes me wonder if I can get away with it, I can't imagine riding more than 5 days a week on average so i don't need a super-duper saddle, just one that's comfortable, and fits the horse. The seller is questionable, though, several negative feedbacks including multiple "sent wrong size" or "saddle cheaper than advertised" or "tried to use, fell apart, major injury, will not answer emails...." wtf was that, I wonder? The item name was expired on THAT piece of feedback. I had myself convinced to get the one at Rods - paying for convenience and piece of mind, of course, and of course they're on backorder until the end of the month... of course.

I actually got some (job related) work done today so that's good. For some reason I have MORE motivation to work now that I 've found the horse. I've been looking for about a year, but only contacting people and visiting horses since early July. I've procrastinated severely on my course-prep for the fall quarter. Yikes. Only one more week before classes start... ooops.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

10 hours later.

I bought a horse this morning. I did. I took my trainer to see him this morning and with her enthusiastic approval, I said I'd take him.

I have to wait a few days before I get to bring him home because he just wouldn't load into my Honda Civic. I guess a 16 hand Paint Gelding doesn't care for the back seat. Oh well.

We'll go get him next week, which should give me plenty of time to stop shaking and feeling nauseated. Why am I shaking and nauseated? Because I BOUGHT A HORSE!!!!! This is the biggest big-ticket item I've ever purchased, next to the aforementioned Honda, of course, and my college education, but that's not the point of the story. I am a high-anxiety individual. I just am. I manage it, I get lost to it, I celebrate it, and I loath it, all at the same time. I found a wonderful horse that I think will be a wonderful friend and show partner. He's beautiful, and strong, and solid, and kind. So what's there to be anxious about? Lots. The things that go through my head include the state of the economy (will I be able to care for him financially?), the recently discovered loss of my nerve (a few years off made me a suddenly timid rider), what if he gets sick? What if it turns out he hates me? What if I am too busy at work to ride him? There are a lot of "what ifs" in my life. I know that's not so great. I'm going to use this blog to talk about some of those things and reflect upon how I got "here."

Just a note: though the above paragraph sounds oddly grim, I AM SO HAPPY!!!! I have been waiting/working a long, long time to be able to have a horse of my very own. It's hard to believe it's finally happening!