Sunday, November 23, 2008


He was good today. I wish he wasn't so mouthy. He's started grabbing the lunge line and holding it in his mouth. The baby moose needs a pacifier or something. I don't know what magic trick to use, but what I've been doing is pinching his lower lip and saying "Let Go!" until he drops it. He won't let go if I pull on it. He's just such a baby. There was an article in H&R recently with some of the information of Parelli's Horsenalities. He definitely fit in the Left Brain Extrovert category. Mouthy, friendly, playful, curious, etc. Sometimes he makes me really miss Lark. But only sometimes. Lark had been trained to stand with her head low and her whole body perfectly still in cross-ties. You could do ANYTHING to/around her and she would hold not move. She was not so good at lots of other things, but at that she was fantastic.
I think I like riding my boy more than her, though. She was much further along in her training and much more elegantly coordinated, but I like the relaxed way Jr moves.She is a long story for another day, though.

Lunged for a bit (forgot my watch again) and still had to make him continue back to the right after a few attempts to switch back to left. His right lead used to be his better side but I don't think it is anymore. He did well, though, no real issues.

The ride was pretty good. I think he's getting better and better at getting into frame. He still has these moments where he sticks his face up and tries to be defiant about it, but he's down to one per ride. Two if he finds something he's more interested in than me, such as another horse. He actually starts nicely and it's after a while that he does this. I just fight him through it and drive him forward, releasing as soon as he drops at the poll. Our lope today was really good! He took off correctly to the left without swinging his butt out first and we kept in a circle at one end of the arena. He did get a little stupid after a bit and started refusing to bend and then tripped - always a good way to make me swallow my heart. Every once in a while he won't listen to my aids and nearly crashes us into a wall. Makes me nervous but he hasn't done it for a while and it was only like twice today. The lope time overall was really good, though. I had to move his shoulder up on the right lead several times, but he did what I asked. He's getting slower. I'm learning to keep my weight back. I was trained with a very forward seat. Whether or not that's what my instructor intended, it's certainly what I learned. I'm doing fairly well at keeping the right position at the walk and jog, but I still have a tendency to lean forward at the lope. It's the one gait KAT still reminds me to sit back and stretch up. I think he's clumsy. I don't know why he is. Is it me? I'll bet with his outgoing horsnality he'd be a pretty good jumper, but I'd worry about his coordination. And besides, I don't want to jump. I have no desire to jump again. At least not anytime soon.

I don't know how long I rode him but it was long enough for him to get long and low and still make some nice serpentines without dropping a shoulder every time. He had hay in his stall when I put him up so it was a mild fight to keep him in hand to switch his bridle to a halter.

I started thinking about some gripes about my boarding situation. Now, keep in mind I know no place will be perfect (until I win the lottery and build my own damn barn) and I think I'm at the best place for me right now, but here's my gripe list:

Lighting - There ONE compact fluorescent bulb in my stall. I can barely see anything below his legs while grooming/etc. There's also no light in the parking lot so when I leave at night it's kind of difficult to see which one is my car.

No Cross-ties - The "way of the barn" is a single tie on one side wall of the stall. So instead of taking him to a new space so he knows it's time to work, I have to go into his home and tie him up and invade his personal space. No wonder he's not always amenable to the idea.

Paint - The buildings are either wood, steel, or cement block (my barn) and nearly ALL of them need paint and a damn good power-washing. My stall is painted block, boards, and steel bars. It's ALL dirty and needs a coat of paint.

Doors - There are huge double sliding doors at either end of the barn. They are difficult to move, especially while leading a horse. There are no "people" doors.

Manure - When I muck my stall (they do it 6 days/week, but I do it on Saturdays and when it needs it) I have to use the little manure tubs. There are no carts for them. The tubs need to be emptied into the honey wagon which is either parked outside the big barn doors or if it's wet outside they leave it in the barn aisle. The tubs need to be lifted over the wagon edge and dumped into the wagon. Why can't I wheel a wheel barrow and dump it into a pile that then gets front-end-loadered into the wagon? Or have an earth ramp so the wagon can be parked in a way that allows the tubs to be dumped from the ground over the edge. I don't muck every time I go out, but since he's in so much and he tends to lay down a lot I hate it when he's covered in poo.

Stall Floor - I can't tell what the floor is. It doesn't seem to be cement, but it's rock hard and I can't seem to keep enough bedding in the middle to keep him from scraping the outside of his hocks. Can you wrap/pad a hock?

Arena footing - too many rocks. I worry about him getting an abscess because I didn't get all the little stones out of his feet.

Turn-out - I am a big fan of letting horses be horses and live outside. At this barn it's pretty much stalls 24/7 and they only have a limited number of all-weather turn-outs so I don't know when he was let out last. I AM lucky that KAT turns him out with the other school geldings, but I don't know when that last happened. All the big turn-outs are padlocked so they don't get ruined in wet weather. I let him out on Saturday for a few minutes and would've let him out today but someone was using the one turnout by my barn.

Tack storage - I have one rack in the tack room and it happens to be behind a chair. When I go get my saddle I have to maneuver around a rocking chair and ottoman. When someone is sitting in that chair it's even more difficult. That rack is my only option. I have a box outside my stall to keep the rest of my stuff in and a three hook rack. There's a bar on the door for saddle pads and his blanket when he's not wearing it.

Cost - I pay $425/month for full care. If/when he seems ready to be a lesson horse the board is reduced to 385, but I've NO idea when/if that'll happen. The other places I looked at were all under that.

Location - It's about a 30 minute drive from my place. There are lots of closer places that I didn't like as much.

The GOOD things:

The biggest thing is KAT. I've learned more from her in the last year than I think I've learned in the last 15. Se just makes sense to me and when she rides JR he improves SO much SO quickly. Her prices for private lessons and training rides are super affordable.

I also know he's taken care of. The rest of the boarders all look out for one another. He's fed and hayed and watered and someone is through the barn at LEAST twice a day so if anything was wrong I'd be informed.

The stalls are big and safe.

Show trailering - I know I will have lots of opportunities to go to shows in the summer. I won't be able to go to APHA shows, but I can go to shows and have KAT as my coach. There's no way I can afford a trailer and tow vehicle right now so this is the only way I can still show.

Now, after all that bad crap it sounds like a terrible place. It's not. I just wish there was a perfect world, you know, like if I could build my own facility and hire KAT as a private trainer. That would be super.

1 comment:

  1. I've never boarded, but it does sound like boarding barns can be an interesting tradeoff of things. Bummer.

    Regarding the leadrope, Andolu loved chewing on his. I do several different things when he's chewing: I either stuff more and more in his mouth, like, "Here, have some more yummy rope!" which usually makes him bored quick; or I sort of saw it back and forth lightly until he lets go; or as I am leading him around I might twirl the end of the leadrope in front of me. This is also for when he is in a nipping mood. For either of those problems, it is a very impersonal (not a game) way of making him respect the lead rope and pay attention. He has gotten a lot less mouthy, so those tips might help your guy.