Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Super Pony to the Rescue!!!

As I was working my last day at work before vacation, my mom calls and tells me she has gotten the mower stuck in the corner field. This field gets so wet you can hear the water running under the surface. I had told her to cut off the end that gets boggy, but she forgot. She tried mats and bags to try to get it out, but no luck.
The Mower, a step down from a sub compact tractor

Since I was stuck at work, I called reinforcements. Peggy and Larry went to help. After looking at the situation Larry deemed they needed horsepower, ie Rosemary. Mom went and got her ready. Then she about dragged Mom out to the field ready to work.
Mom stayed at her head, Peggy directed the mower and Larry managed the traces. Larry also encouraged Rosemary. She loves Larry and will do anything to please him. When they were set, they asked her to push. Pony girl was like "WHOA." Then Mom said it was like the draft pulls, she dropped her butt and pushed into her breast collar. She worked hard especially since she was ankle deep herself, but that girl pulled the mower out of the bog.
The Work Pony

Larry figures the mower weighs about 600lbs. Rosemary weighs about 920lbs. Is she not a SUPER PONY? The best part is we don't have to ask Dad for help. He would have blown a gasket.
Rosemary went off bucking and running, like saying "Hell yeah, Did you see what I did?"

I really wish I could have seen her in action. That pony keeps surprising us. I love that she did something so hard just because they asked her to. Made her Cob brain think, but that was a bonus for her. She is beautiful and practical. I almost wish I was a breeder so I could make more of her :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Let Him Go

I have begun vacation preparations and we had a bit of a snafu between Dottie and Jenna which both caused me delays. The mares decided to have a "Lets kick the shit out of each other" episode with the poor innocent fence in between. This left two of four boards broken, though somehow they did not break the hot wire on either side. There were pieces of vinyl board all over the place, especially on our side. I ended up using jump standards and poles wrapped with hot wire to block the area until we can replace the boards. Thankfully, Dottie only came away with a leg scraped and a small scrape on her inner leg.
My temporary bandaid

Once I finished securing the area and what I needed to do for the day, it was getting dark as I headed to Peggy's. You know me, I will ride in the dark and that is what happened. Comrade was full of it, but instead of being "Up," he was "forward."  When he is up, I us lateral work to get him focused. When he is forward, I let him go but add bending lines to encourage softness. We picked up canter, I got off his back and we went around a few laps. I really enjoyed the quality he was giving. He even did a change to the right lead over a pole with out a thought and continued his laps. Back into trot, I kept my reins longer and began bell curves. If he needed more of a reminder to bend and step under, I threw in a volte. Soon his forward trot turned into a connected, softly suspended movement. He moved evenly between my seat bones and felt balanced front and back. Picture an upper level dressage horse warming up long and low. That is what Comrade felt like. We ended doing 15m figure 8's while he maintained contact on the longer rein and his great rhythm.
Peggy could not see much of anything in the dark, but she said he sounded great. I will take it, rhythm is an achievement. Especially since I let him go and he found it himself.

Today I let him go again, only this time was on trail. He got to choose our direction as we pointed out the jumps we did to Peggy.  When he took us to the big hill, we showed Peggy how we go up and down the graded bank. Then he led us down the hill to the water. We strolled in it for a bit, but he decided he was done and found a low land spot. Well this low land spot was surrounded by a BIG bank. I was going to turn him around, silly me. Comrade decided one bank is the same as another, and up he went. Fortunately my body responded to the jump by itself, because by time my mind caught up we were on top avoiding low branches. It was a totally smooth jump, no problem. And even better was the fact that Addie just followed him right up, no questions. Peggy and I were thrilled with both of them. Great things can happen when you let him go :)

No pictures of Comrade, so enjoy this one of DaVinci being "CUTE AS A BUNNY."

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014


So it seems that we are starving Roscoe.
Driving training

People are concerned with his weight. Which is great, but they don't talk to me about it. Instead they go to his breeder. Yes she bred him, but we take care of him. I am perfectly willing to tell them that yes he lost weight when his hormones kicked in. We are aware of that fact. We also are addressing the issue. In fact he has put weight on in the last few weeks. I can also tell them that he needs to build muscle, not just put weight on. That requires work and when he works he lifts his back and belly making him look thinner.
It is so frustrating! So many Cobs are heavy almost to the point of being overweight which makes Roscoe an oddity. The 3yr old Warmblood that stayed at our barn was leggy and lanky too, but no one questioned his health. Unfortunately he is constantly compared to other Cob youngsters and they have always carried more weight. And I mean that literally from birth. So I guess we starved Rosemary when she was pregnant to cause Roscoe to be born skinny.
See the similar tummy tuck and angles

Heck at this point I may have to geld him just so he will stop watching the girls and put weight on. Whatever, I just need to tune them out and focus on just taking care of him. We upped his rice bran, hay cubes and beet pulp in addition to giving him two days on grass. I want gradual weight gain, not a quick gain. He grows hoof like crazy and is shedding normally. HE IS HEALTHY! He chooses to snooze over munching hay in his stall. He is not lacking.
 One of the biggest points we took away from the Insulin resistance seminar Joyce Harman gave was that how their weight is handled at a young age effects them when they are older. If you keep fat babies, they are at a higher risk for insulin resistance. This is a proven connection in horses and humans. Roscoe's long turn health is more important than whether mare owners want to breed to him while he is a gangly 3yr old. He is behaving so he does have time.
I told Peggy to get Larry to fatten him up while we are gone on vacation. He does a good job with his own :) Okay I vented and feel somewhat better. My horses live better than I do, so it is hard when our care is questioned.
The good news is that Roscoe has started his driving training. He wore the harness and did some ground work. The blinkers were the hardest part because so much of his work requires him to look at us, but he figured it out. Peggy had fun grooming on him and working him. This pony is a super star and if people want to pass him over, so be it.
Now time for the next thing to raise my blood pressure, Traffic.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Work and Fun

It is definitely great to have warmer weather. I seem to get more done and generally feel better overall. That could just be the longer daylight hours and that there is so much more work to do this time of year, but I am thinking positive.
 Saturday M and K came to ride the girls. Dottie was so excited to get to work and K seemed happy to end her riding drought caused by her broken bone. I worked with both of them to make sure they were moving in the right direction. With the bad winter, the older horses lost a lot of muscle and need slow work to get it back. Dottie is not a fan of walking, so I had K doing transitions. Making sure she had Dottie actually moving forward and not just plodding. I also made her exaggerate carrying her hands higher, so we did not have a repeat of her fall. For Rosemary, M needed to work on softening her neck and poll. Rosemary was getting a bit inverted with M before winter. I had her do circles or bending lines. As she circled the inside rein came in, turning the thumb like a hitchhiker, to get the bend in the neck. When Rosemary gave and stretched she brought the hand back in line and added leg to keep her moving forward. If she stiffened, M repeated. Sometimes I had her bring the inside rein back against her neck with the inside leg also asking her to move over into the outside aids. The best part was that Rosemary showed when M was not asking enough and when she was doing it correctly. To the right, M really had to make sure Rosemary was looking inside because she was quick to cheat by looking out. When they put it together, they had a lovely open trot with a nice long neck line.
After they cleaned up the girls, I asked if they could stick around while I got on Winston. When they agreed I got a piece of Rescue Remedy gum and tacked him up. Talk about a big difference in his weight. I was able to use DaVinci's saddle and girth. The saddle is a size down from his usual and the girth is 2 inches shorter. Plus it was up four holes on both sides. I was a bit nervous when I first got on since he was shifty. M held him while I picked up my stirrups. Then we headed out to the front of the barn. He was cool and I got better as I relaxed. He did keep leaning on the left side, which is a change. With inside leg he moved off and into the outside aids. We gradually picked up trot, more for me than him. I think he was happy to be working again. This was his second ride since the laminitis last year. By the end I was able to just enjoy his floaty trot and chatting with M and K.

Then the work began. I had the never ending task of picking the sacrifice area, which takes awhile right now after the wet winter prevented us from keeping up. I let all the horses go out and graze while I tackled the picking. A special treat for Winston. When I quit that task, I had to address Roscoe's feet. The influx of spring grass had brought on massive toe growth. Let me tell you that boy is so flexible. I can put his foot on the stand to trim the bottom and he will play with the floor mats or anything close by. As long as he does not yank his foot away and I can work, I let him be. It was probably the best he has every been during a trim, so I was really pleased. The better he is, the quicker I can get done.
Well, I figured I would attempt to work on his mane. Another ongoing process. I have used grazing as a distraction before and thought to try again. Ah, Nope. The grass was not enough, so it came down to my patience versus his evasions. I won...barely. He eventually figured out I was not pulling, just using a clipper blade and stood somewhat still. Short manes look great but are a total pain in the ass to get that way.
And then on Sunday, I got nothing done except Rosemary's feet because my nieces came to visit. Lily first said she wanted to ride the "White" horse, but then changed to the "Brown" horse. When I pointed out that Dottie is the "Brown" horse and Rosemary is the "Black" horse, she changed her choice to "Black." Rosemary was super, even with the crazy winds. I even let her trot after asking Lily if she wanted to go fast. Lily soon decided slow was better. She also decided she wanted to ride the "White" horse. So we put her down and then put Anna up.

 The helmet was really big but we made it work. She would not hold on, so my brother had to make sure she stayed put. Lily led Rosemary around for her sister. Anna was happiest when the pony was moving so it worked. Then Lily said we had to go back to the barn, so she could get the "White" horse.
Well DaVinci ended up taking US for a walk. He kicked in his cruise mode and we had fun keeping up. Lily even asked my brother to hold on which she normally hates. I guess that's what happens when the pony has not worked in a while. When we got back to the barn, I figured she was done. Yeah Right! She walked over to Roscoe and said she wanted to ride him. Lily has had a connection with him since she saw him the day he was born. I told her she could, but Daddy had to keep a hold of her.
Matching Braids :)

 Roscoe made things difficult by letting out a big breath after we got her on and then not having enough holes to make it tight. He was a little worried by the new situation combined with the wind. Lucky me got to fend off nips, his bad habit he reverts to. But he really was a good boy. We told Lily she was helping to train him and she enjoyed that fact. Since he is so narrow and walks so big, she really felt the dips which worried her a little, but she stuck with it. When we got to the arena, I had her get off so I could work him a little. Burn some of that energy with a familiar exercise. Then Lily decided that while she wanted to ride, she did not want to put her helmet on. Sorry little lady, no can do. No helmet, no ride and she knows it too. So we all walked back.

 Meanwhile, Deliah and Bailey had been keeping Anna company as she enjoyed the freedom of running in the field. Prepare for cuteness overload :)
Free face washes!!!
 A fun day, but exhausting too. Roscoe and Rosemary both needed naps afterwards.
Kitty Hugs

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


This year has brought Roscoe's hormones out in full force. He was telling us it was spring before the girls did. Roscoe knows what it is all about and it making sure we know it too. Well the hormones are causing problems too. We finally were able to take of blankets and found that all the great weight Roscoe had put on over the winter, was gone. He is so busy keeping track of the girls and sniffing girl poop, he is not eating as much. Plus he going through another growth spurt which always makes him look skinny. So frustrating since the show is in another month.
To help with his weight, we added more rice bran to his meal and he gets to go out with out a muzzle every other day. Turn out might change, but we have to see how brave we are feeling. It is a scary prospect putting horses on fresh spring grass after dealing with Laminitis.
Can you guess where the mares are?

In addition to the weight issue, the hormones have made him *cough* BALLSY. Yep I said it. His breeder commented recently that he has a big set. He seems to think he has to share that fact in his actions. Those mares are his. So poor Winston is bearing the brunt of his actions since he alternates turn out buddies. I came in Saturday to find out Roscoe had ripped Winston's sheet in two places. Now previously Roscoe would not even try to engage Winston. All Winston had to do was swing his butt or pin his ears and Roscoe would give him space.
"My Girls are inside, so time to come in"

This new development made me think. I don't want to separate either of the boys. No horse should be alone if at all possible. But I can't have him taking out his frustrations on Winston. I told Mom and Peggy I would buy a cribbing muzzle for him if he keeps it up. It will allow him to eat hay, but not bite Winston. The other thing I did was hold on to Winston and move Roscoe off the fence line. Basically the was the head mare saying he is mine, so bug off. Winston went off to have a rare time grazing while Roscoe would trot up to the fence and bite the top board. He has a healthy respect for the hot wire since he has encounter it while posturing.
On a positive note, we did find kick marks on him Monday. Which means Winston got some hits in. That day when they went out, Mom saw Winston pin his ears and Roscoe went WIDE around him to go eat hay. Maybe they worked it out. We gave Winston the night off from wearing his muzzle just so he had teeth to help ward off the rotten pony. The funny thing is that Winston would rather go out with the boys than the girls. He gives those hormonal females plenty of room and I swear he sighs when we come to bring him in.
Here we are trying to protect Winston's health and we inadvertently put him in the cross hairs of the future herd boss. Oh, the joys of herd dynamics. This should be an interesting year.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Comrade!!!

My pony partner has turned 9 years old today. Where has the time gone?

Isn't he looking athletic? No more chunky, bad fat. He is nice and sleek. Weight loss, joint medicine and chiropractic has done wonders for him. And just today Peggy found out from Lisa his breeder that Comrade had a tough birth. He started coming out the wrong way and Bess, his dam had to get him repositioned. That could have been when he became crooked. So just like the chiropractor said, he has been crooked since birth. I am so glad he is feeling better now.

Yesterday we did some ground work. I started out working him loose, but even though he looked super, he was not really listening. So I put him on the line and did some true work. After a session where he responded quickly and only had a few "I know what I am doing" moments, we went for a walk in the woods. We jogged down the trail, hopped over a couple little jumps then stopped for some desensitizing. Then I decided to play. Connor, his full brother, got to play on banks recently. We don't have any bank jumps, but we do have a spot that was graded leaving a ledge. I walked him over to the ledge and asked him to go down. Ha, no problem. Then I asked him to go up. Again no problem. I was really happy with him and love that he trusts me enough to do what I ask.

We of course had to brag to Peggy. With all his great work, Peggy deemed his birthday was a great time for a trail ride. Sunday brought great weather for the trail ride. I rode Addie for her first outing of the year. She looked down some of the hills and stopped to look for any short cuts. When none were in sight she finally made the trek down. Peggy led us to the creek and surprisingly we walked in it for a length. Addie splashed so much, Comrade and Peggy got wet. They both were great in the water handling the rocks and sand. Then we climbed a muddy bank to find we had to go through brush. These Cobs are amazing. We ducked branches and the horses kept right on going. After going back up the big hill, Addie was huffing but Comrade was like "I'm just warmed up." Gotta love a fit pony. Peggy gave the Birthday Boy a rub down and treats. It was a great day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blog Hop Pony Personality: Earth, Fire, Wood, Water or Metal

Well spring has finally made an appearance in our area. The ponies went out naked for the first time and I cringe at what they will look like after a day on mud. I keep telling myself that it will help shed them all out.
A couple weekends ago, we went to and insulin resistance seminar put on by Joyce Harman. I hope to do a post about it if I ever receive the PowerPoint presentation. If not I will put together some of the take aways. One thing she talked about it the different personality groups our horses can fall into based on Chinese Medicines and Acupuncture. Knowing their personalities helps with monitoring and treatment. So here is the characteristic's of each of the types. Joyce sent this in one of her newsletters four years ago. I was glad I still had it.

Photo from Horse Harmony Test

A basic rundown of the types will be given below. For more detailed descriptions see Dr. Madalyn Ward's book (Horse Harmony).The five basic types are  Earth, Fire, Wood, Water and Metal.

An Earth horse is the classic, perfect school horse/beginner horse. It is totally safe, easy to work around, loves people and may have a tendency to be fat and lazy. An unbalanced Earth horse is irritable and grumpy.

A Fire horse is the typical chestnut thoroughbred mare, flighty and bouncing off the wall. These are great horses for experienced, sensitive riders, and they love people. An unbalanced Fire horse is flaky, flighty and can be very difficult.

A  Wood horse is a workaholic, loves his job, loves the challenge, and has a very strong personality. These can be difficult horses, but if you want to do high-level sports they can be great. An unbalanced Wood horse can be angry and very difficult to work with.

 A Metal horse is a good working horse that does not like to be fussed with. They want to do a good job then go out to pasture with their buddies,  but do not expect to spend a lot of time grooming them. An unbalanced Metal horse may shut down.

A Water horse  tends to come from a fearful place; they worry about everything. If you're patient with them they can work with you, but cannot be hard on them. An unbalanced Water horse  is afraid of everything.

So for the blog hop determine what best suits your horse (s). Here is a link to a site the author has to evaluate your horse and even yourself. There is a simple version and a much more involved version.
Another link to more descriptions beyond the basic five.

Here is how my horses came out:

Dottie is definitely an Earth Horse by a landslide. I would have pinned her that way just from the basic description. Her next closest trait was Metal. This makes sense because I she was very polite when we got her, even a little standoffish.

Winston is a Fire Horse. Who is surprised by that? Ha, he is definitely a challenge and sensitive. He does love to work though so it makes sense his next trait was Wood.

DaVinci is a Wood Horse, but with strong Earth traits too. I think he has changed over the years we have owned him. He probably was more Metal in the beginning and now Earth is edging out the Metal. I am really happy about where he is at mentally.

Rosemary is a Wood/ Earth/ Metal Horse. Not surprising for a Cob.  The Metal stems from her strong Herd mentality. She has Fire as the next nearest traits. The Fire probably stems from her Mare side. But first and foremost she is a workaholic.

Roscoe was tough, but I would say he is a Metal Horse. Earth and Wood were not far behind. I think being a Stallion pushes him more towards Metal, while the Cob brings out the Earth and Wood. He also had a dash of Fire probably inherited from his mother :)

What I find interesting is that Joyce labeled Sherman as a Metal Horse when she worked on him. He shares so many traits with Roscoe that I guess they should share the same personality too. Barry was definitely a Wood horse. He had a strong personality and loved to compete. I did know a Water horse. He was owned by Peggy and battled Founder for years before he had to be put down. He was a worrier though and I think that contributed to him foundering, not once but three times.

Now it's your turn to evaluate your horse and see where they fall. Have Fun!!!