Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Time Flies

I wish it was because I was having fun, but no such luck. I can say I am almost done with my crazy work schedule, yay. Horse wise, well it is cold and hard. I have hauled a lot of water since our barn pump decided to freeze. Luckily at least one other pump on the grounds was working.
Some good points that have come out of all this cold:

1. 30 degrees feels warm after all negative days

2. We don't have to worry at all about Winston eating grass because it is basically just frozen hay.

3. Rubbing alcohol applied to the pump has helped with our freezing problem.

4. Roscoe got a new heavy weight blanket and he is getting to use it plenty.

His new Schneider's blanket

He is up to a size 66, only a size smaller than the other three
Hard to believe he used to be this small. Dec 2011
 We do get lucky with Roscoe. He wore his first blanket for two seasons, his sheet almost as long and he is able to fit some of our spare blankets. Mom only bought the new one because the waterproofing  failed on his red blanket and the Picador (fleece lined)is a bit long on him.

Roscoe does give us hope for spring. His hormones have started up which must mean the weather will change. Of course the real sign will be when Dottie responds to him too. I am so ready to be done with frozen ground, poop and air.

Now I need to pick my pictures for the photo contest the Welsh hold every year. I have two in mind, but need a third.

Stay warm everyone :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Born Crooked

I finally made it out to see Comrade today. Unfortunately, being sick has sapped my energy. I knew he would be frisky after not working for over two weeks. So I decided to work him on the line. As I was brushing him, Peggy told me he got a chiropractic visit. The vet said his left side was not too bad, but his right was locked up almost the whole length. She said as drastic as the differences in his sides was, he probably was born with the issues. It is amazing how much he has given us over the years despite his body. I think he will respond well to the chiropractic treatments considering the changes we have seen since finding his uneven back muscles.
He has another appointment on Friday. Then we will see how long the treatment lasts to see how often he will need further treatments. What will be really cool is that another vet has an app that will take video/pictures of Comrade at his different gaits. Then it can slow it down to show when he moves unevenly and where. Peggy needs some good weather to get this done, but it will be worth it.
I took the wild boy to the arena and did a little Clinton Anderson exercises. His lunging manners are basically nonexistent, so this all went toward a common goal. First I worked on him yielding his hind end. Left side he crossed over nicely without me having to make contact with the whip. The right side he did need the whip to encourage crossover. When he responded quickly to my cues, I moved him out on a circle. He of course picked up a trot and took off. I let him go a few times around before asking him to yield his hind quarters. Shorten the line, step toward the horse, look at the hip then swing whip towards hind end. I tend to make a whistling sound to help my timing, plus the horse hears and knows what is coming. This exercise made me wish for a rope halter to help stop his front end. I had to tug the lead line a bit more than normal, but he did have some really nice yields. He is nowhere near ready to do the rollbacks that Roscoe and Rosemary do to change direction. They have more time with the method.
In typical smart horse fashion, Comrade started anticipating my directives. He would change direction when I was going to stay in the same direction. I had to think fast and get him thinking. So I did a "C" pattern where I stayed in one place and when he passed me, I asked him to yield, then change direction and repeat the other way. He did really well with that exercise only going too far a few times. When he settled and did what I asked promptly, I ended the work. He was not sweaty, but he was huffing.
I decided to desensitise him. My guys fall asleep during this exercise, so I figured it would be good for him. Well, lets just say the reactive pony took over. I had to let him run off because when I get sick I get a rash on my hands which is painful at times. He cob trotted away basically flipping me off. Undeterred, I walked over to him and started over. I made sure I was placed correctly to allow him to move around me and I focused on my rhythm flipping the lead. It took a few minutes of him moving before he realized I was not stopping. Then he stood while I was able to flip the lead over his back and butt. We repeated the process on his other side.
He was definitely more frisky then I expected, but I was happy with the work he did. We ended taking the dogs for a walk in the woods. Hopefully I will feel up to riding tomorrow.
Also today is Griffyn's 5th Birthday :)
Birthday Boy

Friday, January 17, 2014

Show Me Your Barn Blog Hop

Since I am sick, again and tired from working 15 days straight, I am joining the Blog Hop.

Our barn is a converted cow barn over 100yrs old. When we moved in, there were still feeding troughs in the stalls and a cow run. After a ton of work the barn now has 6 stalls for horses and 1 stall for hay or extras. The largest stall, Roscoe's, is about 10x16 and the others are about 10x 13. Two of the stalls, originally Barry and Shermans, have two fans secured to the ceiling, while the others have one fan each. We have plugs by them so we can used heated buckets in the winter. I love the open stalls and bars between. Horses can be claustrophobic so that really helps.

We have a tack room that runs nearly the length of one side of the barn across from the girls stalls. Inside we have a day bed, table and chairs, cabinets, 8 saddles, 6 bridles, driving harness, bench, dog beds and a dog crate. It is about to be reorganized to better use the space.

In addition to the tackroom we have a feed room and a storage room. My dad recently renovated the feed room so we have more cupboards and counter space. It is a narrow so space is a premium. We lost some room when the appy came over.

 We have a fridge, microwave and our tea pot. The doors on the cupboards are painted with chalkboard so we can leave instructions easily.

Outside we have two huge fields probably about 3 acres each. Then we have two areas we use as sacrifice or fat pens during the summer. They are mud slicks right now :( In the big sacrifice area there is an "L" shaped run in which connects to the other barn on the property.
In the smaller area there is a typical run in.
We are  able to rotate which field the boys get and which the girls get. There is one really small area that we used when Winston could not go out on grass at all. It connects to the barn giving him some outside time.Gates allow us to play with access.
Our riding area is an open field we keep mowed. We picked out a spot a little higher so the rain drains off. Over the years we have mapped a dressage, small and full, out in the grass. We used to mow the edges, but recently have gone to letting the grass get long to create a natural edge. It works because when we drive we can still go through the ring with the cart. The edge is enough of a visual aid that the horses respect it. We have room outside the dressage area to set up jumps or poles. Having room to move made all the difference in not only my riding,but my horses movement too. Sometimes rings can be so confining.
In addition to the field we ride in there is also two ponds and farmers fields we can ride around. That is one of my favorite aspects of this property.

This is as close to having our own place as we can get right now. Next will be seeing if we can own our own barn. Something to hope for.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sweaty Girl

After 5.5hrs of typing discrepancies from the inventory the other night, I was ready to get to the barn. I decided to attempt a ride. Since I was not sure what the footing would be like, I tacked up Rosemary. Being younger, she can handle the footing better.
Walking out the ground felt good and the pony was ready to go. How ready I soon found out. After walking, I asked for trot. Holy Cow! That girl was off. And like a snow ball she got faster and faster. As much as I wanted to just let her open up and burn some energy, the ground was not good enough. I settled for getting in two point and letting her trot with only some half halts and vocal "steady's" to check her speed.
Gradually, she found her pace and stopped trying to canter off. I began posting and asking for serpentines or circles. She tried to rudely root the reins, but I just added leg to move her on. I think at one point her knee hit her head. Learning she can stretch down with contact will be a hard lesson for her. We never got any brilliant moments, but those are not needed every ride. We both needed to burn energy more than anything.
I had to end the ride because I looked down to see a sweaty girl. Lower forties is to warm for her it seems. We did a few laps around the field to cool down.

 Then I took pictures, but someone was not paying attention.
I am thinking someone may need a bigger trace clip. Where she was clipped was barely sweaty.

 Looking at her long shadow :)

"Look even my eye's were sweating" Her ears were totally sweaty too because she has active little ears.

Wearing her Dover Chill Chaser after getting rubbed down with a grooming net. Cruising the barn to dry some more before getting her blanket back on.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Where There is a Will,

There is a way. My dad sent me this picture and explanation a while ago, but it was recently posted to my Facebook page.
The story is that a farmer was denied the necessary permits to build a shelter. So instead he built a table and chairs, which do not require a permit. He found a way around crazy rules and accomplished his goal in the end. Plus he has a great conversation starter.

Well Cobs are like this farmer. You say no and they find a way around the restriction or through in some cases. Roscoe and Rosemary both have a family history, Comrade too listening to Jen. Almost 3 years ago when we brought Rosemary to Peggy's before Roscoe was born, Comrade's oral talent began to develop. When Roscoe was born the boys were so fascinated by him, we would find them loose in the barn. A certain pony found that he could manipulate the slide door latch allowing for freedom. I woke to hoof beats many a time during the two weeks after he was barn.

So attempt one to contain the pony: double end snap.
Comrade's response "Child's play" out in no time

Attempt two: key hole clip
Comrade's response "Hmm a challenge" but only lasted a few days

Attempt three: putting another slide latch or hook lower on the door.
Comrade's response "Why won't the door open, I undid the {upper} latch?" SUCCESS!
Also used was the C shaped quick link, screwed to keep the latch secure. This worked well.

For a while that system worked as long as the main and backup were used. Then Comrade figured out that Addie's door is open to the barn aisle at night. All the stalls have dutch doors to the turnout and single door to the aisle. With Comrade on dry lot to lose weight, he had plenty of time to figure out a plan.
Peggy started finding the horses loose in the barn and Comrade having dumped everything out of the trash. Since Addie's outside door only had a key hole, she added the quick link. End of problem right?
Ha, nope. Comrade showed that he had indeed figured out the quick link. Peggy found it on the ground after he ponies greeted her at the barn entrance. That is some serious oral skills that pony has. I think getting him healthy has improved his problem solving in addition to his movement.
The next attempt Peggy tried was putting lower latches on the inside of the dutch door. I think Comrade sees this stuff as new puzzles. This lasted a few weeks before he or Addie figured out how to undo the inner latch.
When I was last there, Peggy had installed a lower latch on the outside of the dutch door hoping Comrade would not figure out to look lower. Verdicts still out on whether it works or not.
The latch/ clip mastermind :)

If he did not make a mess of the barn it probably would not be such an issue. He sure keeps Peggy's brain sharp though.
We survived the crazy cold weather and are enjoying 30's now. I hope we stay that way awhile. Stay warm everyone.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Brr, Chilly PT

I have to say I am not totally sad about this weather. If it was perfect weather I would be so bummed to miss riding time due to working all these hours. With the cold, crappy weather I am not missing out.
I still get my PT, pony time though. Roscoe almost made me late yesterday with his antics. I put DaVinci into his stall and then as I was putting Winston into his stall, Roscoe decided he wanted to be with DaVinci. So he went UNDER the stall guard. Well limbo champion he is not, so he ended up opening the eye hole. I told him he had to go to his stall, silly boy.
I did not have time to go get the hammer and beat the eye hole back into shape, which meant DaVinci got to roam the barn. Before he left his stall though he had to rub his wet neck on the door frame. Later I found that he had rubbed on the open eye hole, tearing the lining of his heavy weight blanket. Since tonight is bringing the coldest weather we have seen in years, I had to patch up the liner so he could wear it tonight. My quick patch included cutting a piece of an old lycra tail bag and sewing it over the hole. Let's hope my sewing holds up.
As I was going horse to horse dressing them in coolers and heavy blankets, they all knew I had cookies in my pocket. They each went to their "go to" trick to try to earn cookies. DaVinci is head down, front leg up and cute ears pricked. Winston does the controlled pawing we taught him during his rehab time. Roscoe's is head down. Rosemary is stretch in any direction you are standing. Dottie just uses those big brown eyes of hers. Of course their antics made it difficult to put on blankets. I told them they could have cookies afterwards. They made sure I kept my word.
My PT was chilly, but definitely worth it. 8 days till my day off, Yay.

Here is our double layer marshmallow:
He is a lucky to get one of the real liners we own. Mom put some darts the neck to help the fit.

I have another late inventory tomorrow, but at least I have caught up on sleep. Plus I should not have to clear snow off the car after this one :) Bundle up everyone and stay warm.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Breaking Point

Well, I have not been to the barn in a couple of days and won't make it there until tomorrow evening. Tonight I was enjoying an early day when my Mom came home and told me a lovely note was left for us from the Appie owner. Since the spilt, we throw her horse hay once a day and she gives medicine to Rosemary and some hay to the boys once a day.

Well it seems she "wants to get home earlier" and does not like going in the dark. I can understand the second, but the first is a slap in our face. She only thinks of herself.
So she wrote that she will come out in the mornings, but could we let her know when our days off are. That way WE could feed HER horse on those days. Seriously, anyone see an issue with this? She does nothing for us, but we still take care of her horse 2-3 days a week.

Saw the note today and it was even worse then what Mom explained. Here is the note:

When she was in her own field before, she did it all herself. If she did not come out one day, she just put extra hay out and did not worry. After nearly a year of co-op, she is picking the stuff she liked and not doing the things she did not.
In response to the note, Mom told her to take care of her horse and we would take care of ours. Saving gas money is not worth the stress of dealing with her. Plus I may be able to talk to M about stopping by to give Rosemary her medicine.
Lot's of little things have bothered us, but this was the breaking point.

This is too much drama to deal with on 5 hours of sleep. I can only imagine the note that will await me tomorrow.

Hope everyone is staying warm in this cold blast of weather we are having. Snow and ice seriously tested my driving skills while tired. Off to bed now. I am counting the days (14) till my next full day off.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Anniversary!!

I hope everyone had a great New Year's. We enjoyed a meal at Peggy's. After a the meal I went to make room for dessert by riding Comrade. He was sooo full of it. I am enjoying his new level of energy. I used opening and closing the trot to burn some of it so he could focus. Can I say it totally brought out the Cob trot. He was literally throwing me out of the saddle with suspension. So cool. I had to use George Morris's "keep you hands up" method until he realized he was working harder resisting than submitting. Then the awesome trot work really came together. Not a bad way to start the new year.

This is also Equinpilot's anniversary. 2 years ago I started this blog not knowing what to expect. I had very little experience with blogs, so it was definitely a learning experience. I really enjoy the feedback from readers and the connections I have made over the years. Writing my 2013 year in review, it was great to be able to look back over the year and see how much had happened.
So what's next?
Finances will restrict a lot this year. For Comrade I hope to get to more CT's and maybe a trial. He will also step into some peripheral fox hunting(riding to the beagles) with his owner.
For Roscoe, of course the big thing is him standing at stud. We also are looking to get him started under saddle. If all works out, someone braver than I will take that training on. He will do at least two Welsh shows maybe more if I have the money.
For Rosemary, hopefully more time and mileage under saddle. I would love to get her to some shows, Hunter or Dressage. Plus I want to drive solo this year.
For DaVinci and Dottie the goal is always to keep them working and healthy.
For Winston I really want to get him back into consistent work to rebuild the muscle he has lost during his Laminitis. He will be watched closely the minute the grass even grows a millimeter.

For me I hope to get more ride time overall and to get into better shape so I can show off my ponies.

That said, I may be out of the loop for the next month. I got the bad news I have to work inventory for all locations. Hello crazy hours. I keep reminding myself the money from overtime will be really helpful. Deliah needs to be spayed and Roscoe needs his wolf teeth pulled.
If I don't write, it is because I am counting and recounting retail merchandise. Think of me as you ride your ponies.
Oh and some good news, I SOLD THE LAST SADDLE :) Yippee!