Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Saw A Difference

*Last Day For Canter Mane and Tail Contest* Winner announced tomorrow :)

6 weeks ago, we noticed Comrade's back was uneven muscle wise. We used towels to help the saddle fit and focused his work to consistently address that area. Lateral, bending, voltes and hill work have really helped. Well today we again looked down his back and I saw a difference.
Still have some work to do, but the change is amazing. And yes he was totally dirty today. Plus he was wondering why I was standing up behind him. Recognizing a problem really is half the battle.

Now for a Rosemary eye update. It has been just over a year since we started her on the Chinese herbs. The sarcoid is still there, but it is vastly different.
Feb 2012 after removing the first sarcoid

Nov 2012 side view

Nov 2012 front view
And now:

Nov 2013, a big difference

Front view, only a little bump
I am so happy that positive changes are happening all around.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sharing a Meal


Happy Thanksgiving!!! Our big meal will be delayed until my parents come home. So we had turkey pot pies and M gave us a pumpkin pie. I hope everyone else was able to enjoy the day and share a meal. Rosemary and Deliah certainly did.

And here is a funny song for Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"More Please"

7 more days to enter the Canter Mane and Tail give away :)
Comrade has been asking for more work for a couple weeks now. Between weather and health I was not able to satisfy him until last weekend. The trail rides we took with Peggy were just a warm up for him. We would get back to the barn and he would look at me like "What, was that it?"
"Are we working today?"

So I was not surprised to have a go-go pony ready to work on Saturday. I did have to do a lot of lateral work to get him to loosen up. Shoulder in and leg yields mixed with quarter turns really helps him find his shoulders, hips and middle and utilize them. Once I had him warmed up, I made the work tougher by adding voltes. This got his brain working and his body engaging. He had to step deep and push to balance on the circle. Then out of the voltes, we opened the trot before beginning another volte. I have to remember to really think inside leg to outside rein for this exercise because Comrade will lean on the inside trying to get me to hold him up. Most of the time I think shoulder in on a circle to help keep the steps in my head.
Even with all the tough voltes, he was still energized. Time to put that energy to use. I did a trot serpentine with transitions to halt in the middle of each loop. The trot-halt-trot, got him working from behind, so when the next halt came I asked for canter. We had a few walk steps, but overall I was really happy with the push he had into the gait. Plus he maintained that energy within the gait. At canter we did a larger serpentine with the same halts. Except for him anticipating the upward transition or change of direction, he did great. The transitions were sharper than I expected after the down time.
The best part was that the saddle did not shift. The towel is still under the panel to help, but even at canter I did not feel the saddle move. Working those specific areas on his back it helping. Peggy is going to have her vet evaluate him for body work or chiropractic. Can't wait to hear how that goes.

As for other Cob news, Rosemary is a super star. Okay I know, that is not new. M came to ride again and took Rosemary for a spin in the icy wind. They both are slowly figuring each other out. Still some things to work on, but overall a happy pair. I froze my fingers getting some pictures.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Square Vs Rectangle

Thanks to those who have already entered into the contest. 10 more days to share a funny story and share the contest. Moving on...
I have actually been able to ride recently, but this post is about watching our friend ride. M, our friend, came out both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday she rode Rosemary again. When I asked if she wanted to ride Dottie, she answered "No, I want to ride the pony." Love sharing the fun of ponies. Each ride they both get more comfortable with the other. This time Rosemary cantered more easily if not for very long. M changed direction to try to get her to pick up her right lead. If given a choice she will always go left. M made a couple attempts, putting Rosemary on a bend for the transition then going straight, but they did not get the right lead. I watched and realized she was dropping her hands when she asked for the lead allowing Rosemary to change her bend. Once I got M to shorten and raise her hands, Rosemary picked up the right lead. That pony is so great. Nothing teaches someone better than clear results.
Well on Sunday, I did not give her a choice. I told her she needed to ride Dottie in case Rosemary was not available at some point. Plus I wanted to ride the pony :) I let her use the dressage saddle on Dottie and put the wide on Rosemary for the first time. Just needed some extra padding. M choose not to carry a whip, which I gave an evil internal chuckle over. Even I do not get on Dottie without a whip. So of course, Dottie pulled the slow as molasses routine. It is so funny to see a 16h horse doing barely a jog. Unfortunately that also brings about tripping too. I told M Dottie did not trip once when I rode her the day before, so she really needed a more active trot. After a bit of work on her part, she did get Dottie moving better.
Just like with Rosemary I constantly had to remind her to carry her hands. I had her shorten her reins and bend her elbows to help. Well Dottie began to slowing seduce her into easing not just her hands forward but her shoulders too. Time for an intervention. I racked my brain on how to get through to her what she needed to do and feel. This is what I came up with.
I told her right now she and Dottie were traveling in a rectangle, long and stretched. That is how Dottie wants to travel and she is following.
Different friend riding, but close to the "Rectangle"

Instead she needed to ride a in a square, put together and even. If any part of Dottie is outside the square she needed to bring Dottie into the square.

"Square" More up in the shoulder and neck

So if she gets heavy on the forehand, raise your hands, bend your elbows and put your shoulders back to bring her front end within the limits of the square. If she trails her hind end, use your leg to activate and push her forward into the square. I really stressed that she needed Dottie to adapt and not herself.
Can you believe it worked? Bless Dottie for showing exactly what I was talking about. M was amazed at the suspension Dottie achieved when she was not on her forehand. Even I was a little surprised how well they came together. I said "See the Big Girl can be fun too."
M probably could not walk the next day after that ride. It was great to see her more aware of how her own riding really effects how the horse moves and reacts. My riding improves when I watch others and help.
A valuable lesson I learned in high school was that the best way to learn is to teach.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Canter Giveaway Contest

Ok I have devised a contest to help give me some laughs in this hard time. So here are the details

From Nov 17 to Nov 30

1. Write a comment about which treat under $10 your horse would like from

2. With your treat, either include a link to a blog post or just write about a funny/unusual story involving your horse

3. Share the contest :)

My grandfather was always one to crack a joke and even as sick as he was he would banter with my grandmother. So share some laughs and get a chance to win a bottle of Canter Mane and Tail which I wrote about back in September.

My funny story is about Barry and stressful times. During high school and college when I got really stressed I would have funny dreams. They ranged from being chased by crooks, running from burning houses or taking exams. The one common factor, Barry was with me in every dream. If I was running from crooks, then I would be shoving Barry (all 800lbs) into the car. Seriously can you picture that? I never questioned why my pony was in my house when it burned, I just made sure we both got out. These were completely off the wall situations, but in the dream moving Barry here, there everywhere never seemed to be a problem. I swear I survived high school and college because of that pony and those dreams prove it.
My Dream Partner

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Queen and Trace Clips

Well I have been on a bit of a rollercoster. You all know about my scam experience (thanks for the responses), and I will say after my "bug off" email she has left me alone. That is a huge relief. Then it was the wait to get Dottie's shoe put back on. I did not want to pull her other shoe until I knew when my farrier could come out. She has a huge crack from an old injury we prefer to have it supported. Since Dottie wears a size 5 shoe he does not carry them regularly and of course he did not have them when I called. Luckily, the holiday allowed for me to be available for him to work on her. She was due next Saturday anyway.
Much to my surprise my farrier was able to reuse her shoes. Yes I know resets are normal. What is not normal is being able to reset shoes...3 times. Yes that's right Dottie has be able to wear these shoes 4 shoeings. Drafty girl is the Queen of Resets. Our farrier said she could probably go through winter in them :) Advantage of riding on grass.
After the farrier visit the same friends from the mishap came over to ride again. Rosemary gave the girl a really great ride. She even cantered for her. I had to remind her to reward Rosemary with sugar often to keep the work positive. Our injured friend chatted with me on the sidelines. I am glad they both are still coming to the barn.
Nap after working, I love how tucked up she is

Watching Rosemary work made me happy that I FINALLY got to do trace clips. Once I got the blades to stay on (they kept falling off) the clips when well. All three need touch ups because I did not have someone there to pull legs forward. I only do a narrow clip up the neck and then about halfway across the belly with high sides in the girth area. I started with Rosemary because she is dark and I need the most light. She stood so well while I was fixing the body clippers. Then I tackled fuzzy Dottie. Partway through I had to go talk to the Quarter horse owner. I left Dottie standing at the doorway with the lead line tossed over the door rope. I looked over to see her happily watching and waiting. I love my horses. DaVinci was my last one as the light faded. Ever sheared a Polar Bear? Well I think he comes close. I was totally covered by the time I finished with him. Hair everywhere, Ugh.

Clip 1: Rosemary the easy one

Clip 2: Dottie the fuzzy one

Clip 3: DaVinci the polar bear

The end result of clipping

My super cute pony

So those are the ups, the downs are I am sick again. This weird weather is not helping at all. Then we received the call we all have been dreading, my grandfather passed away. Though not a surprise, it still hurts to think my favorite Greek no longer brightens the world. Plus now the worry moves to my grandmother. Her focus has been on his care and now she has to find a new outlet. Mom and Dad have driven down while we take care of things at home. Hopefully, the time off of work will help me feel better on both fronts.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saddle Sale Gone Strange

After we lost Kayla, I knew we would eventually get another puppy. I also knew I needed money to be able to do that. So I posted 2 of our saddles and 1 of Peggy's, graciously given for the cause, for sale to raise money for a puppy fund. Well as you all know, Deliah came sooner rather than later. I dipped into my money cushion to help pay for her. Now I really want the saddles to sell in order to repay that money and have some for spaying the little girl.

Snuggly Puppy

I posted the saddles on Facebook in different groups and my page. I received a few questions and even thought someone was going to buy the Wintec dressage saddle. Instead the dressage saddle ended up going to PA for a trial. I may be weird, but I like the idea of my saddle going to someone I know and like. I should hear soon whether the saddle works or not. Fingers crossed.
The other two still remain and I posted them on a local site. Again both had interest. For the Wintec all purpose I got an email from a lady asking my final price. It was listed for $300 OBO and I told her $250. It would be for her client. She agreed and sent my information on to her client to have a check cut. Included would be money to give to the person picking up the saddle. I thought that was weird, but went with it. As the conversation progressed, I asked what size tree her client wanted. I offered wide or extra wide. She answered back to leave the current one in even though I specifically stated that had to come out.
My bullshit meter began pinging. I kind of thought it was because I love the saddle and hated selling it to someone unknown. She kept telling me to let her know when I received payment so she could tell me what to do next. That put me on edge. Then I get an email saying USPS would be delivering the check. Ok, good news. I headed to work. Later I receive a text message saying to check my email and get back to her NOW. Seriously!!! So I look and the email said that USPS could not deliver since I was not there to receive it. That got my back up. I told her had I known it was signature required I would have let her know I am not home between 9am and 930pm. So now I had to go to the post office to pick it up. And it figures that the post office is 20 miles the opposite direction of the barn. I headed there while my Mom went to the barn.
I opened the envelope and got a massive surprise. The check was for $1650.22. WTF!!! Now I was freaked. I immediately told the lady I needed an explanation. She told me the extra was the amount to be paid for shipping commissions of not only my saddle but others things for her new store. Excuse me, why the heck am I paying these people instead of her. Especially when she said I would need to send it by Western Union. Plus she kept saying was proceed to the bank and deposit the check even after I said I wanted it verified. Sorry not happening.
I talked to people at work, my family and called Peggy. My bullshit meter was off the charts at this point. Beyond the amount, the check was from a bank in Rhode Island for a company in Alaska and was mailed to me from a guy in South Carolina. Everyone agreed, SCAM.
All the bad vibes were not just sellers remorse. It was still super stressful. Can't wait until all this is behind me.
So if you know anyone who wants either a 17.5 inch brown Wintec All Purpose saddle with adjustable gullet or a 17.5 inch Dressage Treeless Saddle with monoflap and velcro seat that allows for changing stirrup position let me know.

If dealing with a scam was not enough, today Dottie pulled a shoe. No big deal right? I wish. Our friend, same girl from last weekend, was riding her when it happened. Unfortunately, her tendency to lean forward in combination with Dottie's bad step caused her to fall off. Never a good thing when the rider does not get up. She was in a lot of pain and had blood on her face. Her friend ended up bringing her to the hospital. She fractured her collar bone and is out for 5 weeks. Even worse, she was scheduled to go to the Marine Corps Ball tonight. I felt so bad.
Then...this happened on my way back to the barn from Peggy's

Windshield vs Turkey

I am so ready for the new week to begin. I can say that my two rides today were great despite everything and I am no longer sick. Counting my blessings :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hilton Herb Mudfever Trial

Well this must be our year to participate in trials. Though unlike Winston's Laminil trial, this Hilton Herb trial will last 6 months and will involve Dottie. A few months ago Mom saw a posting about the trial and a request for horses. This year Dottie had a few times where she popped up with krud ie mudfever. One time is was bad enough she had puss running down her hoof. Most of the time it is when they have not cut the grass in a long time and the dew causes problems. She was so very itchy it was difficult to do her shoeing. Having a 1300lb horse lean on you to scratch her legs is not good.

We used Cowboy Magic's Krud Buster for a while with good results, but they no longer make the product. So we fell back on an old trick we used back when Sherman was effected: Medicated body powder. It dries out the icky spots and helps with the itch. Smells good too.
When Mom saw the post, I figured what the hell and signed Dottie up. I had to fill out an initial survey about her and our feeding/turnout practices. Then about a month later they requested pictures of the affected areas. For her it is basically her legs. Then another month later I received an email saying the products would be shipped soon.
At this point I have not be given any specifics other than I would have to fill out surveys and we could not use any other treatments during the trial. I was even more curious when the UPS tracking information came and it showed the package was 32lbs. Whoa!! What were they sending?
And the answer came on Monday:
5 containers of the Mudfever trial supplement
1 bottle of the topical lotion
1 bottle of coal tar, neem and tea tree shampoo

This is a 3month supply and more will come towards the end of that period. Dottie at 16h has to get 4 scoops (50cc) a day of the supplement. It smells really good. So far we think there is garlic and flax seed in it. Wish I knew what the rest was. They said you may have to ease them into eating it, but Dottie is already familiar with the flavor since we feed minced garlic during the summer. She licked it right up. We only feed one meal which makes 4 scoops a lot at one time. To help we are making a medicine ball out of a scoop for the lady to feed her at night. Let's hope she does not mix up Rosemary's and Dottie's medicine balls.
The lotion is to be used if she has a breakout. To be preceded by the shampoo if necessary. Both are suppose to be able to be used on broken skin.
So that is the scoop on this trial. We shall see how this goes.

Hilton Herbs is a great company that makes natural supplements from herbs to help not only horses, but dogs and cats too. They are pricey, but worth it. At least all this is free for the trial.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ill Observer

That is what I have been for the last week. In retrospect I totally should have called out of work, but I always felt not too bad going in. So well I was out of commission my poor parents had to shovel a dump truck load of sawdust into the shed, strip stalls and load stalls. This was after a weekend of getting another load of hay, which I was able to help with. But as bad as I was feeling I did see some great things.
Saturday an old friend and student of Mom's came out to our barn with a friend to ride. My head was way to muzzy to get on a horse so Mom rode DaVinci while they rode the girls. As we watched both Mom and I tried to give them pointers. Our friend riding Dottie kept leaning forward following Dotties downward head drop instead of picking her hands up and making Dottie lift her front end. Dottie will not give anything extra without being asked to. She goes into the lesson horse "jog" and takes advantage of any weakness she feels. After telling our friend to keep her shoulders back and her hands up, Dottie started to look better. At one point Mom demonstrated picking up the front end with DaVinci who performed it like a pro. Of course he was in total show off mode.
The other girl rode Rosemary, who showed she was not doing anything if she felt the girl was not ready. She did a deliberate plod as I have only seen her do and would walk if given a chance. I noticed the girl got stuck doing long side, circle, long side and never changed direction. Pony girl was completely bored. She kept going though and never fussed. When Mom finished with our friend, I sent her over to the other girl. With Mom's help she got Rosemary moving in a truer trot and more focused. I love that as green as she is, she still takes care of her rider. The girl could not get her to canter, no surprise, but seemed to enjoy the ride.
The girls stole a bale later on

Even more than the ride they seemed to crave the instruction. I can respect that especially when they are riding our horses. I think the girls have gained new riders to play on the weekends.

Afterwards Mom worked Roscoe on the line to show off his movement. He was ready to work and listened really well to her commands. Later on when I turned him and DaVinci out they both took off running. I love watching my guys run in the field. Such a joy when I had been feeling so bad.

Roscoe working

Roscoe at play, Love his upwards canter :)

Then on Sunday we went to the National Zoo. So pretty with the trees changing colors and all the animals. I did okay for the first part, but was reminded that I was still sick by the end. Worth it though. So here are a few pictures.

Gat and Lita, youth cheetahs named after the fastest Americans in 2012 Olympics

A Maned Wolf, looks like a red fox on stilts and smell like a skunk. He was enjoying a treat.

The famous Mama Panda enjoying a snack away from baby

Lion marking his territory while pacing

Przewalski Horse, so cool to see in person.

Red Panda, it was heading for a drink of water

6yr old Grevy Zebra, I love those ears. They only have bachelors and train them until they are needed for breeding.

Look familiar, they do target/clicker training with the zebras to move them  around. They are so aggressive the handlers never go in the enclosure with them. The other two brayed when they heard the clicker, knowing what was happening

Super cool leg stripes

Interesting raised dorsal stripe

Out of 53 animals, Lily chose to ride the Zebra on her second go round.