Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wooly Boy on Soft Ground

Saturday while M and K were at the barn, I asked them to help me get new video of Roscoe. I let K handle the video and pictures while M and I moved him around. We quickly found that the ground was too soft for superior Cob movement. His natural suspension was being absorbed into the ground. He still looked great, though.

After the free portion I put his halter on so M and K could lunge him. Roscoe, huh well figured out they did not have the skills he was used to. M got a better response, but was hindered by the long lead and whip. He did not show them much respect, moving slow and not doing his turns. I was happy he did not take advantage of them. Eventually, I stepped in to make him actually listen and work.
The change when I took the lead was night and day. He knew not to pull the lazy pony shtick with me. He even cantered. Roscoe found some energy and did his turns. We have done this exercises for over a year now and they are great for reminding him who is in charge.
So here is the video:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wild Pony with Video

I made up for the rainy day today by riding twice yesterday. Dottie and I worked on her lifting and bending through her ribcage. I was aided by the spurs and a whip. Whip for forward and spurs for lateral and bend. Surprisingly she was moving well even after the extended break. We could not ride long since as the day warmed the ground got softer and deeper.  M rode Rosemary with us. She did a bit more while I helped fine tune their work. At one point I handed M the whip just to carry. A lot of horses only need to see a whip, to move better. M put herself together, set up Rosemary for a canter depart and was surprised by the response she got. The "Whoa" I heard told me the whip really got Rosemary moving. I just laughed.
Then I went to ride Comrade. Peggy told me she rode him Friday and  even jumped over the little "x's" still set from the gymnastic. So I expected him to be a bit calmer. Oh yeah joke was on me. He was in a total "F you" kind of mood. Good thing is a Cob in that mood means lots of energy but nothing really bad. We definitely had some rough moments, but we did end well. By that time though it was too dark for video. The video shows most of the bad times and some of the nice times. I debated whether to share it, but decided these rides are as important as the super ones. It still shows how well he is moving now. At one point I put him through the gymnastic front portion and his stride has changed so much since it was set, he took it as a very long bounce. The next time through, he bailed. So I broke it down. That is on the video.
Some good things, an awesome lead change right to left and a true rein back. I really wish I could have ridden today because I think he would have been in the right place after burning all that energy.
Here it is, the good bad and ugly :)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Year in Review

This was a year of some highs and some really bad lows. We started off with a bang and not the good kind. Winston had a major freak out, ran into the stairs and flipped over. Luckily he and I both survived the shaky start to the year. The other big thing in January was Rosemary's eye. Her sarcoid reached new heights.

February brought new beginnings with the birth of my niece, Anna and the first time I backed Roscoe. He was a super star.
 In March Comrade and I ventured out to a jumping clinic at Morven park. Though I was totally sick, the experience was enlightening. We learned Comrade needed wooden poles to learn to respect the jumps. He took to the indoor arena like a champ though.
April was a month of revelation. We discovered Comrade needed joint supplement and on his 8th birthday he started moving so much better. He work improved and we finally began to canter without bucking. Rosemary's sarcoid had a piece fall off beginning the size decrease that continues even now. This was the month we began to learn the facets of breeding and training. Roscoe spent the longest two weeks learning to mount a phantom and how to behave around the girls. It was a big expense, but totally worth it to see how well he behaves now.
May brought Roscoe home and one of the worst moments of the year, Winston is diagnosed with Laminitis. Every horse owner's worst fear. We started the cycle of icing, soaking hay and slashing his diet. Our light in the dark, an article I saw on Facebook about a new laminitis drug trial for Laminil. Amazingly, Winston is one of 40 some odd horses allowed to receive the drug. His pain level decreases and each day he moves better. The experience is one that will never leave us.

This month also brought the first Welsh Show. Comrade was double Supreme Champion Gelding, a great result considering we switched him to breed classes instead of ridden at the last minute. Roscoe ended up Reserve Grand Champion Cob under one judge. Even better we found out the boys would go under the canopy :) For Comrade this marked the start of his diet. In retrospect, looking at his feet we really think he had an episode of laminitis too.
June was a month of frisky ponies. Winston was able to get limited turnout and Roscoe got a field trip for his birthday. He and I went for a pony ride with Mom leading the way.
July was a really up and down month. We really started having issues in the mare herd resulting in injuries requiring stitches. That began the downhill snowball of problems with turnout. Roscoe finally had  and kept a collection appointment to finish his breeding season. Unfortunately, neither mare became pregnant :( The upside of the month was really Comrade. He began to trust that he would not be in pain anymore. He readily showed his improvement at our first CT where he led out of dressage and after having a rail down, took 2nd overall.

August was rough. We suffered the sudden death of our 11yr old Corgi Kayla. Animals give us so much during their lives which makes losing them even harder. I did have a good ride on Comrade just because grief put into auto pilot. No over thinking, just natural responses.

As bad as August was, September was great. With a modified muzzle, Winston was able to go out on pasture for short periods. DaVinci's previous owners came for a visit and were thrilled with how well he was doing. Plus we had the second Welsh show where Roscoe got a Grand Champion, Comrade a Supreme Champion and together we rocked the Ridden Cob. Redemption at last. Then the month got better. Rosemary and Comrade were super at a Hunter Pace even with our oops detour. And Comrade did a gymnastic exercise impressively smooth.

Almost forgot, Winston also got a thumb's up from the vet for his body condition and Mom got on for a ride. Told you this month was great.
 October brought a new face into our family: Deliah a corgi puppy.

With her arrival, I felt the pinch financially. So I put two of our saddles and one of Peggy's for sale to raise some money. That has been an interesting experience.
And speaking of saddle's, we found out this month that the shifting saddle problem Comrade had was due to his uneven muscling on his back. Concentrated riding and in hand exercises were his prescription. Plus we used towels to help the saddle panels.

Ah November, not a good month. Dottie began a Mud Fever trial for Hilton Herbs and she ate the medicine. Then things go downhill when I get sick and have to deal with a scam. My horses maintained happy work ethics even with my lack of initiative. M enjoyed Rosemary rides and K enjoys Dottie rides until she falls off and breaks her collar bone :{
Mid month we are devastated by the death of my grandfather. Mom and Dad leave for Florida while my sister and I hold down the home front. I devise a contest to share funny stories and raise my spirits. It really helped take my mind off the sadness. Thanksgiving was subdued but heart felt.
And December has brought crazy work schedules, a few super great rides and lots of precipitation. Did I mention mud? Lots of mud. I have taken the steps to advertise Roscoe's stud services and have talked to his breeder about next year. So hopefully there will be Roscoe babies in 2015. I also have a new camera to play with and have to teach Peggy how to use so I can get VIDEOs :)
Winston has gained free range of the pasture since snow put the grass dormant. I love seeing him run in after being with the boys. His happy face makes the bad parts of the year smaller.
Welsh year end results were finalized this month. Roscoe ended the year as National Champion Colt and Comrade finished 3 place 3&up D Gelding Nationally and 1st place Regionally.
Not too shabby.

This month wraps up my second year blogging. I really enjoy the responses of readers and the support. Can't wait to start the new year.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Scammers, Ba Hum Bug

Well, I have sold two of the three saddles I had posted. Those checks will help pay for Deliah's spaying next month. The last saddle seems to be my scammer magnet. I already told you about my first scam experience. Not long after that, I received another couple emails that screamed scammer so I just ignored them. Then a few weeks ago I had an email asking if the saddle was still available. I said yes and listed the price for the Wintec AP.
She came back saying the price was fine and she would send a check. I did not pull any punches. I told her straight up, any hint of a scam I would cancel the sale. I asked for her information and said I would not proceed with out the information. These people just read what they want and ignore the rest. They sent a check for $2000 from France and no information. The shredder shall do some work and I am sticking with Facebook or Ebay to sell this saddle.
You have to wonder what the heck they are thinking. The scam only works if the person falls for it.
Besides the scam and the fact that both my parents were sick, we had a great holiday. All of us kept it low key this year.
My Confused Pig/Zebra piggy bank and new smelly stuff

Griffyn in his new Grumpy sweater and Deliah's dog toy.
I am enjoying the calm before the storm. Next month is inventory and I have been told to attend as many as I am available for. Which is almost all of them, so life will be hectic starting Jan 2nd. Happy Days!
Hopefully this weekend I can get some rides in before more rain falls.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Return of the Spurs

During our burst of warm weather, I was able to squeeze in a couple rides. DaVinci and I worked long and low to stretch out his tight muscles and mine too. We both enjoyed being able to move without slipping. It was short, but sweet. I think it took me longer to chip his head out of the mud than to complete the ride. Of course he promptly went out and replaced all the mud I removed. He strongly believes there is a reason God made him a blank canvas :)
I wish he were even this clean :/

After the ride, I went on a hunting mission. Ever since the Welsh Show in September, I have been missing one Spursuader. They were in my car, then got put in the truck. I saw them at the show, but then at home only one was found.  I knew the other one must be in my car somewhere. I just needed time to search. I moved stuff around, looked under the mat with no luck. Then I picked up the bag of ribbons from the show and felt a weight. Inside I saw a black spur strap. Sure enough the spur was in the bag. I guess when Peggy's husband picked up the ribbons he did not notice the stow away.
Comrade was in for a reminder. Of course, when I got to Peggy's we had to find the other spur. Yep, that's right I find the missing one only to lose the other. Finally we found it in a drawer. Suited up we headed out.
Still love these, so glad I found the missing one.

He was full of it in a good way, but there was a chink going to the right. Comrade would travel soft to the left then brace to the right. I started looking for the issue. Hind end, stepping under and activated. Torso, bending around my leg both directions. Neck, round to the left, but ding ding tense and raised to the right. All the power he was generating with truly awesome movement from behind was being blocked at his neck.
I started working a series of correct bend, straight and counter bend on a circle while asking him to consistently step under and forward from behind. I set the boundaries, stayed consistent and let him figure it out. Boy did he figure it out. The right began to flow like the left. Even Peggy sitting on the sidelines was amazed at how active Comrade was moving, especially behind. He tends to be a bit lazy. Not this day though. I had a tough time doing a sitting trot.
The icing on the ride was when I glanced down and realized that both directions my inside rein had a loop. Comrade was in my outside rein, carrying himself. I think the combination of his energy and the spurs to help move his rib cage we released his neck allowing for a complete cycle through his body. Definitely one of those perfect moments.
That will have to hold me until the weather gets better. Maybe tomorrow, fingers crossed.
Have a great holiday everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Gifts, Gifts and more Gifts

After a crazy few weeks the Blogger Gift Exchange was a great way to have some fun. My experience was a bit of "what goes around, comes around." I was thrilled to get Allison and Shy from Adventures with Shyloh as my pair to buy for. Since she participated in my contest, I knew Shy would like Uncle Jimmy's Squeezy Buns. So I sent those along with Allison's gift. She has since informed me Shy kind of ate them all including the packaging. Gotta love Ponies.
Well, I had to laugh when I received a card letting me know my gift was on the way. My sender was Allison from PonyTude. Are you beginning to see what I mean? Yesterday my box arrived with gifts for me and treats for the ponies. Wanna guess what the treats are?
Thank you Alli

Yep, that's right Squeezy Buns! I was thrilled to get new lycra tail bags with zebra patterns. Last year we could not find our patterned tail bags any where, so I had to buy plain colored ones to fill the need. Each of the girls got to wear the new bags today.

Are you looking at me?
In addition to the Exchange, I received some other gifts too.

 From M and K, who came to ride today:
Pony treats

People treats

And from my friend's cat to Roscoe :)
New book
 And from Peggy:
My new toy
Now to learn how to use it and maybe get some new video of Roscoe :)

I guess I better get my Christmas shopping done soon and my wrapping. Hard to believe there is only a few more days.
I hope everyone has a great holiday.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Powered By Pine

Whew, I am so tired of Internet issues. My computer is on the end of the house that some days does not get wireless. The best days are the ones where you start out having connection only to lose it when you need to accomplish something. Not that you guys have missed much. We have been slopping through mud for days now. The ground is way to wet to ride.
One positive is that the grass is definitely dormant and we are letting Winston go out on pasture with the boys. He still wears a muzzle and probably always will for our peace of mind. We also put hay out and he actually eats that first. Works for me. Pony gets to play, we use less hay and he stays healthy.
Winston figuring out he can eat grass

DaVinci and Roscoe running to greet me

Sunday once it was apparent no riding would be happening at my barn, I went to Peggy's. Comrade has not worked in like two weeks, so he was due. I walked out into her field to bring him in and found a surprise. He and Sonny were eating a small pine tree that had fallen over. Now I have seen horses chew on pine wood, but they were literally eating the pine needles and baby pine cones. Comrade started swinging a branch to get the needles off. Then as I was taking pictures I started getting frisked from behind. Sonny had snuck up on me and was checking to see if I had sugar cubes.
Eventually I had to take him away from his snack and get my ride in before dark. As we walked back to the barn I caught an smell. I laughed as I realized the strong pine smell was coming from Comrade's breath. It was so strong.

Dirty boy eating pine needles

Sonny sneaking up on me

When I finally chipped him out of the mud, we went to work. After days of cautious walking on slippery ground, he needed to cruise. I let him move as he wanted to warm up. He even offered right lead canter. Yay Pony!
Then I reined him in and made him work. He had so much energy in his canter I played with flying changes. Right to left was really smooth and maintained the forward energy. Left to right, well not so good. He changed in the front, but not in the back. That is the freakiest feeling. Then we moved onto voltes to get him stepping under. Out of the voltes I asked him to open and stretch. He gave some really nice stretch.Of course he would occasionally pull a "Woo Hoo" move before remembering he was suppose to be working. I think he was powered by pine. He never lost the energy.
I decided to test that energy with a new challenge. I started working shoulder in a familiar exercise for Comrade. Once he was listening and responding well I moved my outside leg back asking for half pass. Previously, he shutdown at this point. He said 3 tracks straight, okay, but 3 tracks sideways, no way. Sunday, I got a different answer. We half passed :) It was not long, but it felt amazing.
I ended the ride on that great note. I am so happy at the direction his training is moving. He is healthier in body which has helped him to be happier in his mind.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pony Pimp

That is what my brother calls me because I have started advertising Roscoe to the public. I guess he is not far off the mark since I am selling stud service :)

My photo for the ad, two pictures Lisa took and two of mine.

I decided that if we are going to own a stallion, I should at least put him out there. I am not out to book a ton of mares. He will be only 3 yrs old and as long as he behaves he has plenty of time.
After consulting with Lisa, his breeder, I listed him with a $500 stud fee available for AI or live cover. The mare owner would have to cover collection and shipping fees also. For live cover we would still bring him to the reproductive center so they can handle him. It will cost me $60, but I would rather have someone knowledgeable handling him and helping with the breeding. I am all about keeping us separate from the breeding work in Roscoe's mind.
The response has been surprisingly positive. I have even sent a contract to a respected Cob breeder up north. They have 3 awesome stallions themselves. One of which has similar markings to Roscoe. Even if no one else uses him, but this one farm and his breeder I will be happy.
The hardest part is that he is so young and not done growing. I was asked his height and answered that he was 13.1-2h. Little did I realize I should also put what he will mature to. Such a learning curve.
For the holidays I listed a reduced stud fee, $300. I figured what the heck, added incentive. Maybe I will make enough to cover the bill when he gets his wolf teeth pulled. So hopefully in 2015 there will be Roscoe babies on the ground. Fingers crossed XXX

The ad reads:
*Christmas Special: Stud Fee reduced to $300 till Dec 31st*
Castleberrys ReFflection, (Castleberrys Ffame ap Culhwch x North Star Rosemary)
2011 Section D
currently 13.2h should mature to 14.2h
Located in VA...
Available for Live Cover and AI in 2014
$500 stud fee, discount for multiple mares
Fun Yearling video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nofD6KPeJCI

Please pm or email equinpilot@aol.com for more information
Roscoe's pedigree printed on his papers

 I have to figure out how to add him to All Breed Pedigrees, but here are links to his parents.
Sire's pedigree
Dam's pedigree

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 5: The End

Ah, we have reached the end of the 5 day challenge, but just the beginning of the winter wonderland. The horses crunched around today through the ice covered landscape. All the fences had icicles on every board. It was quite the vision.
The girls decided eating hay was easier than finding grass

All the fences looked like this, some with even longer icicles

21. Favorite classes to watch
Dressage musical freestyles. I love seeing how they put movement to music. A class was offered that would make a CD of music that matched your horse. I really wish I had been able to go.

22. What’s in your cooler at horse shows?
Water, Gatorade, Sandwiches, grapes, chips and probably some kind of chocolate. Except for drinks, I can't touch anything else until after I ride.

23. One thing about showing (or riding in general) you wish you could change?
The expense :( Show fee's are almost crippling now a days. That causes me to pick and choose which horses do or don't do what shows. With out shows it is hard to find the gaps that need filling in your training.

24. Your ringside crew
My Mom and Peggy are my best supporters. They always get my pony ready so I can stay clean. They attempt to take pictures and videos too. Can't get by without them.

25. Best prizes
The best prize I ever got was a surprise win of being closest to optimum time during cross country with Barry. I got a color blocked rugby shirt as a prize. That will always remind me that I was able to ride the correct pace and complete the course. Over the years we also won a couple of plates. One was from my first CT. Ruth, author of Off Centered Riding, had worked with me in the rain and for days to get ready. I was so glad to bring home that plate and show her we won.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Day 4: "Jesus Take the Wheel"

Wow the roads were so bad today. Going to the barn I turned onto this side road out of habit and quickly realized the conditions were not good. Then as I looked for somewhere to turn around, I lost control on a slick spot. We swerved left, right, left. As I saw the side of the road loom close each swerve, I noticed the semi's headlights coming at me. Luckily he saw my problem and was able to stop far enough away. It was a "Jesus Take the Wheel" moment and somehow, someway I was able to regain control. I was still shaking when I made it to the barn almost 2 hours later. I much prefer doings serpentines on the back of a horse.

Onto the questions.
16. One thing you'd like to change about your horse
A lighter front end for Dottie, more Arabian  cheeks rather than quarterhorse for Winston since they cause teeth issues, no melanomas for DaVinci, no sarcoid for Rosemary and no white around the right eye for Roscoe.

17. Your horse's future
Further dressage and driving for Rosemary, my future event partner and stud extraordinaire for Roscoe (hopefully), healthy happy riding fun for Winston, Dottie and DaVinci.
Baby Roscoe

18. Your worst show ever
Hands down Welsh Spring Fling 2012 when Comrade and I had our horrible Ridden Cob. Then he came up lame and stayed that way for two weeks. Plus his breeder was watching, which made the nightmare even worse. But we redeemed ourselves this year.

19. Favorite horse show venue
I really enjoyed showing at Morningside Training Farm with Comrade. Spacious warm up area, awesome dressage ring and a big out door jump ring. Plus the option to play on the cross country field.
Morningside Training Farm map

20. Your show day routine
Get up before the crack of dawn, drive to the barn, load any items not loaded the night before. Then load the horse, stress out on the drive, dose my self with Rescue Remedy. Plan for about 20min of warm up. Mom and or Peggy will help ready my horse while I dress. Then it is show time. In hand shows require a lot of shower in a bottle and spot cleaning of multiple horses. Most shows it is a lot of hurry up and then waiting.

Day 3: Preparing for Bad Weather

Well, we had sun today. While it lasted I did Pony Spa Day. 5 hours later all my ponies had been brushed, sprayed with lanolin, manes and tails sprayed with Canter and tails bagged. The few that needed feet trimmed got that done too. Then I had to get stalls ready for the crappy weather headed our way. Hopefully it will not be too bad.

Today's questions:
11. Critique your horse's conformation
Fresh from Spa day: Winston according to Mom is a little straight in the shoulder. A positive is the nice long legs which really show off lateral movements.
 Roscoe: Love his shoulder and neck. No cons yet until he is done growing.
 DaVinci: Nice long neck, but a flat croup (good thing he is not a jumper) and he tends to stand over the knee (may be due to old injuries) Plus he is pigeon toed.
 Rosemary: Great head and neck set. She is low in the pasterns.
 Dottie: For her breed, I love her balance, her head fits her body. Negative is that her neck is set a little low.

12. Horse's favorite riding exercise
Lets see:
DaVinci loves to half pass
Dottie actually loves to jump
Winston loves lateral work
Rosemary loves lots of changes of directions, so figure eights, serpentine
Roscoe so far likes to follow mom

13. Favorite spa day products
Number 1 would have to be Elbow Grease. It is free, always with you and multi purposed. Elbow grease makes all products work better. :)
Number 2 would be a Lanolin product, we call Pink stuff cause it is a pink concentrate that mixed with water. It is a hair product that helps condition the coat. We use it during this time of year when they are really dry. It gives them a great shine too.

14. Three best things about your horse
Oh boy here we go.
DaVinci: His Garfield ears, Super sweet personality and how he takes care of Roscoe
Winston: His love of learning, His trust in us and his love to touch fuzzy animals
Roscoe: His brain, His adaptability and the fact he was born on Barry's b-day
Rosemary: Her personality, Her crazy Cob laps and her ground covering, full body walk.
Dottie: Her ability to read her rider, Her cool head and I love her eyes.

15. Favorite picture of your horse
Okay I am taking the easy route on this one and picking a picture of Barry and I. This was our first event away from home. Neither of us really loved dressage, but it was a means to get to jumping. We look great though and we won dressage and the whole shebang.
 Found this one while looking for the other. Definitely one of my favorites of the boys.

Now I am ready for my heated mattress pad and getting prepared for the cold day tomorrow, uh actually today.