Monday, January 27, 2020

Health Check: Baby Bronc

anuary is my month of inventory at work so riding has been nil. The weather has also been wet so I have not really missed too many riding days. But Mom and I do try to work Ember when we are both there.
After the last ride where we cantered, he was a bit sticky. Ember would trot a little bit then stop suddenly. He has not done that since the very beginning. With all the mud we have had, we worried he pulled something and was a bit sore. So we moved on to him following Rosemary and learning about being in company. We chose her because either of the boys might incite him to jump and play. Ember was pretty quiet and followed her around. We even did a little trotting. That got him a bit excited and he thought he could play with Rosemary. Luckily he settled down. Mom trotted Rosemary while I had him stay in the middle and then we made him trot while she stood in the middle. Not too bad for his first time.

Last week we were together again so we tacked him up. This time I put the bit in his mouth which is the first time he has worn it while I was on him. The reins were still on the halter. He was still a little sticky but more willing to work through. He was a bit of a drama king, stomping his foot. I just moved him on. The wind picked up as we rode. Ember did not do anything that would lead me to believe he would be very dramatic. So I wanted to canter.

My difficulty was that he kept going high on the rail where there is a bank of sand which tripped him up. Added to not having much steering, the transition was interesting. I like to ask going into the solid fencing rather than the temporary one. Well Ember picked up canter and proceeded to do his impression of a bronc.

 I had a death grip on the horn as I just tried to stay on. The entire episode lasted about 6 seconds, but it was pretty amazing. I did manage to stay on and I kept him going at a trot.

 The next canter was smoother, but faster. Ember does a good job of staying under me even with all his funny business. We did a little to the left before ending the ride with a walk in the big side of the arena.

Though people would see it as Ember being naughty, I choose to see it in the positive. He picked up canter when I asked, only his second time under saddle. I was physically able to ride his drama. We all know six months ago it would have been a disaster. And after all the fun, he was still listening and willing to work. I shared it on Facebook because it was an accomplishment for me. For once the video matched what it felt like. No one should think less of Ember because he was a baby bronc. I have always heard some of the most talented horses can be difficult. He has time to grow up and I have time to let him. We also scheduled a chiropractic appointment to give him a tune up. And can you believe Mr. I HATE Needles actually let her put acupuncture needles in his butt??? Even Roscoe won't put up with them.  Ember had some tightness in his pole and his right hind. Hopefully he will be feeling better.

Next time I am not putting the bit in his mouth, maybe he will be less distracted. Yes I may still have to shell out some money to get a pro on him, but I am not ready to give in yet. I passed that health check, bring on the next.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Flying High

This year has been the hardest one yet after losing both my grandmothers and hitting rock bottom health wise. But I have an amazing support system in my family, friends and my online cheering squad. So I am skipping the year end review and focusing on the recent high points.

First I felt a bit lost when I received my blogger gift exchange person and she did not want stuff. For the last five years my sister and I have done a framed cross stitch. So we had to think of a way to still give our person a personalized gift that did not fall in the category of stuff. Fortunately I remembered my sister gave my mom and I shirts with heads of our horses painted on them. My person had a cute picture of her two horses wearing bows, which sparked the idea of putting Christmas bows on the painted heads. My sister was the mastermind for this project and she really pulled it off and even made her own ribbons using an infant sized ribbon. The best part was when our person asked if it was okay to frame a t-shirt.  Of course now I have a ton of Christmas movies to watch since I did not have late nights cross stitching.
Painted Portion

With external bows


Second riding has been at a minimum due to the weather. The times I do ride I enjoy fully. On New Years Eve I did short rides on the three older Cobs. Roscoe volunteered to go first. I nearly regretted the choice to ride bareback. My core was screaming, but having muscles to scream was refreshing. We are not perfect, but I feel like the move to first level is doable.




Up next was Rosemary. She has come so far in the nine years we have had her. I was pleased she did not have any hind end issues after all the mud we have had. She is always full of drama, but also willing to try. We made her day today by taking her for a drive. Her heart is really between the shafts.














Then it was Comrade's turn. He is still recovering and healing his tongue wound. His weight has improved and he looks healthier. I was not sure how much he could do since like me he lost a bunch of muscle. Surprisingly, we walked, trotted and cantered. He had a literal bounce to his step, that again had me questioning the bareback pad. I think he was really happy to work.

I was totally glared at by Ember, but since I was solo I could not ride him. He had to wait until today.
Which brings us the the third point, my awesome baby boy. On Christmas we did another ride offline and he was better. He still had some stops and our steering is nonexistent. He had some spring in his trot and we actually did one stride of canter.




 I shared a bit of his trot and a Cob breeder said it was "suspended and reachy." The next day was the first time we have been able to work in twice in a row. He was even better and listened mostly to me instead of mom. At the end we opened the little area and walked him into the bigger side of the arena. He stayed next to mom and was pretty brave.

Today it was all me and Ember. Mom took video while we walked and trotted. I carried a whip for the first time and used it to keep him from falling in and to encourage him to keep going. Man I was so happy with what he was giving me. I decided to try for canter. Mom had to help so no video. Ember once he picked up canter was actually pretty smooth. I am flying high with how good he is doing. I can't wait to see what happens next time.

Bring it on 2020!

Friday, December 20, 2019

2019 Blogger Gift Exchange

Tracy of Printable Pony has hosted this exchange for seven years and I have been lucky enough to participate each time. Normally I can think of something small I have wanted/needed. This year I drew a blank. You would think with all my horses I could think of something. I felt bad for who ever got me.

So when my gift came in today, I was happy to recognize the name of the sender. Karley is a friend on Facebook and I enjoy following her horse and family fun.


The box contained something for the horses and humans. Chocolate for me and Mrs. Pastures for the horses. And then she nailed it with a brush. I don't think I have mentioned before, but my favorite brush is a mixed stiff/medium made from natural fibers. The brush she sent is just like that. Happy dance!

Thank you Karley! and thank you Tracy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Three Years Together

Ember has officially been ours for three years now! He has fit our herd perfectly. Which considering I had five foals to pick from is awesome. And now we have started working with him under saddle. I am excited to see how he will be. We have taken it really slow since Mom and I are not often at the barn at the same time. Ember has been figuring it out a little more each session.
Baby got moves







He likes to keep me on my toes though. One time he did a big spook with a leap. I was shaking like crazy after that move. Then when we started to ask him to trot, which he really does not think he can do, he went about a half a circle before falling to his knees. Amazingly he was able to stay under me and get himself up.

Each ride we both figure out things. I have to remember to sit back and just be there. Ember is figuring out that he can trot with me on his back. The Sunday before Halloween, Mom and I made time to work him again. He had not had a session for a couple weeks, so we did not know what to expect. Mom got him listening to her on the line before I hopped on. We actually managed a circle at trot both ways.

Then the weather went to mud and rain and wind, causing us to delay further work. It is so tough when he shows progress. So this past Sunday we set up the portable panels to shrink the arena with a plan to take him offline. Mom worked him first so he could get used to the panels on the lunge and then off. He was a bit full of it, but soon settled. I got on and we started out on the line. Ember was listening really well and was better about maintaining. Sometimes he thinks too much and has to stop to check to see if he is doing the right stuff. I am okay with him choosing whoa over go right now. Ember actually started taking verbal cues from me for our trot transitions. Man is he going to have a great trot.

After a deep breath and a break to wait for dogs to pass on the road and the barn dog to get contained, we started to work him offline. Ember questioned being able to move, but did listen when Mom told him to. He was behaving so we moved up to the trot. We kept it to short periods so he could gain some confidence.










I am so proud of our baby giraffe, who seems to get bigger each time I hop on. He has not had the work time Roscoe did, but he has the brain and work ethic to retain what we do with him. Of course he has a bit of Rosemary's drama which keeps things interesting. One of these sessions we will manage to get some video of him trotting. But it is tough for Mom to move him and video, so just a picture for now.

I am finally feeling more human and less chained to a bathroom. Now the dang weather needs to cooperate so I can get back to riding. Ah well I will enjoy these times while I can.
My baby giraffe, he is getting so big

Seriously, he can be handsome

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hard to Say No

Thanks everyone for the positive thoughts for Comrade. He is still at Morvan and on his way to healing completely. He took awhile to clear the salmonella test but finally came off iso last week. Peggy said he has put on 80lbs and has eaten them out of Dengi. Hopefully he can come home in another week or so.


Someone is looking good!

In other news, I think I just might be turning a corner in my own healing. I hesitate to hope or even write it, but there it is. It comes at a good time since Roscoe seems to have lost all his exercise riders. The teenager was not unexpected once school started. Kelly was a hit. She had all these plans and then poof... no more. I can understand the time to come out is tough. She did offer to care lease him for a year and bring him to her trainer's. It was hard to say no, but too many factors make the situation difficult. I promised Roscoe he could have turnout buddies and live as normal a life as I could give him. That would not happen at a boarding barn. Plus the added difficulty of him being an active breeding stallion. Kelly does not have a trailer, so I would have to pick up my trailer then go pick him up before a collection which would be a nightmare timing wise.
I think she thought there was a chance I would let him go because we have started Ember. Except Roscoe is my therapy pony, who keeps me motivated while dealing with all my health crap. So we will go back to the slow track we were on and continue to build from the progress Kelly made.

Recently I have taken him out into the turnout for his rides. He has to figure out how to hold himself up on the uneven ground. The first day he said it was too much work, but the next ride he went right to work. A benefit is that he can't run through stuff as easily and slows down. Then when we go back in the arena, he listens to my cues better. We have had some really fun rides. Maybe if I keep improving we just might be able to do a first level test in the winter series.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tongue Tied

Send healing vibes for Comrade.

 Like me, his recovery has been slow. And now his tongue is infected again. He has been making funny faces and having some issues since the surgery. The vet said the scarring could make him chew funny. So we began to think we were worry warts. Then Thursday he did not eat his food and was drooling like crazy. Even at his worst before the surgery, he always tried to eat. Peggy arranged for the vet to come Friday. Of course by then he was colicky from not eating. Banamine helped him feel better and eat some hay. The vet came and looked at his tongue. Sure enough it was squishy. The options were another course of antibiotics for a longer time or bring him back to the hospital. Peggy chose the hospital and fortunately he could go right away. The vet who did the prior surgery kicked himself for not having Comrade come back for a follow up. He said this time they would get it fixed. As he poked and prodded the tongue, it exploded push. About 1.5 cups of that nasty white stuff. He could stick his finger in the tongue and feel the bottom.  To keep the wound open and draining, they cut a hole all the way through. Then they tied a rubber tube through the hold around the tongue.  Comrade was literally tongue tied. The vet figured it would not last long but it would help.
Peggy had a minor panic attack when she received an update on Saturday. A different vet  said that around midnight he had a "seizure." Then he kept going as if it was not a big deal. Peggy finally asked what him having a seizure means. The vet proceeded to say "his temperature went up." And a light bulb moment, the vet's accent made "fever" sound like "seizure." She could relax again.
The next update was less exciting. Comrade had diarrhea caused by one of the antibiotics. So he had to go on a sort of isolation until he passed three salmonella tests. He also lost his tube.
Hopefully he will be home next week and be on his way to being completely fixed! We certainly could not have done the targeted flushing that the hospital can, but we miss him. Comrade though is loving all the attention. He even nickered at the vet.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Playing Catch Up

I was excited this year to get Ember started. Those plans have been pushed back since I could not even think about crawling on him. Mom and I have both worked him on the line a few times. He has some really nice movement. But he also still seems to be figuring out how to use those long legs.
Well Saturday Roscoe got a Magna Wave tune up and I wanted to let him be fresh for Kelly. Mom headed out to ride Rosemary and I decided to bring Ember out. And for the hell of it, I put the western saddle on him and brought my helmet. He was full of it on the line and I questioned whether I would be able to get on him. Plus the big horse flies were out.

Ember did well with the distractions. When Mom finished working Rosemary, she ponied him to make sure he was tired. It took some work because Rosemary was not thrilled to have her grandson tagging along. It was so fun to watch. From the side he looks big next to her, but from the front he is half her size.


Then it was the moment of truth. Rosemary calmly stood by the fence as we brought Ember to the mounting block. Even over a year later, he had no issues with me getting on. He was more worried about being sweaty. Mom led us around with no drama. Maybe we will get him started a bit this year. I still may explore having a pro get him cantering since he is the least balanced at that gait.
We hoped to try him again on Sunday, but the horse flies were about to carry the horses away. Ember especially was seen running for the shed many times. Ah well there is time. I am so proud of him. I can't wait to see him work under saddle. We may be playing catch up after my down time, but we will get there.