Saturday, August 29, 2015

Comp Time and Peanut Rolling

This week has been one full of earned Comp Time and because of that, little riding. With my promotion at work, I moved from earning overtime to earning comp time to be used later. My office is short handed and we could end up working up to 5 extra hours a week. I definitely hit 5 this week.

Needless to say, I had horses that needed work. Roscoe especially. One day I could have ridden, but I was feeling sluggish. So we went for a walk in the woods and I had Roscoe jump over some of the trees and barrels. I tried to get pictures, but it was a total failure.

Today I decided to actually ride Roscoe. Well he thought it was too hot to work and he would rather eat his hay bag. He did finally come into the barn with me and get tacked up. Roscoe even picked up the bit on his own. I figured he was ready to work.

In the arena Roscoe decided to act spooky at some differences, so we had to work through that. Then we moved on to just trotting around. He had his normal big trot for a few laps. Then for some reason he figured it was time to roll some peanuts and western jog. His head was so low I worried he would drop and roll. Of course this was the ride I grabbed the fly swisher, dang big horse flies, instead of a whip. So we jogged along and I just kept him going. I did have to flip the swisher around to swat him with the wrist band. Plus while he had his head down, he was not wanting to get off my left leg. Next time I think I need to put the spurs on to encourage him to bend through his middle.

4 years ago DaVinci and 2month old Roscoe
This pony constantly keeps me on my toes. Who knows where he got the idea to roll peanuts. He has never put his head so low under saddle before. Now I have to see if I can lift him up a little so he can get his big trot back. The only other horse that I have ridden who did this is DaVinci. Maybe he learned it from him.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Funny

Thanks everyone for the comments on my last post. Peggy and the horses are doing well. DaVinci and Comrade came away with some weird crud, but the others came away unscathed. Peggy had to be careful the following days to not overheat again.

After that long ride, those four horses definitely had ride time credit. I was going to focus on the two that did not go, but one day I just needed a quite, easy ride. So Rosemary was elected.
Trail Ready, complete with sparkles :)

She is such character and never fails to make me laugh. I came toward her to fly spray and noticed her standing funny. It is amazing how some horses can turn their legs. Her back legs were almost completely pointing to the left.

Left???.... Right???
When we came back from our trail ride, she focused on my lunch bag. I don't know how she knew, but she figured out there was a banana inside that bag. At one point she had her nose inside and only me calling her, stopped her from getting the banana. I told her she had to wait until I ate my part. Then she could have her part of the banana.
Someone found the banana

I have managed to ride Roscoe a couple of times in the last week. He is picking up the bit again when I tack him up, a really good sign. He is not shaking his head or throwing it up at all. His teeth must have been bothering him a lot. Roscoe was happy when I let him go for a trail ride. We are finding our groove again. I think it is time to contact the instructor I know. Roscoe did not feel like posing for pictures though. Ah well next time maybe.

"Hey Mom, I think I see Peggy in the house!"

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"911, What is your Emergency?"

Yeah, so that happened...

We made a trip to a huge wooded area that is a wildlife preserve and is used by riders and hikers alike. Mom, Peggy, my sister and I loaded up the stock trailer and headed out about 930. The girls were wearing some cute ear bonnets and we were armed with horse hair swishers. I had a pouch with my phone, a map of the area (such that it is) and treats. The plan was to ride for about and hour and head home.
Fancy one for Dottie

Blingy bead for Rosemary

The trail was a gravel road at first, which the horses were not thrilled with. So we veered right onto a grassier path. All the horses were great, even with the huge horse flies attacking. Dottie showed her hunt background, by taking the lead much to my sister's surprise. We had to tell her to not get too far ahead. They all seemed to think this was snack time too. Especially when we passed corn fields.

As we crossed a water spot, we decided to head back to the trailer. Since we had made what we thought was a loop, it should have been easy to find our way back. Well, an hour or so later we still had no idea where we were at. At one point Dottie was adamant about going a certain way. We did not listen to her and looking back I seriously wonder if she knew the right way. After traveling one way and not finding anything but unending trees, we turned around and started back tracking. Peggy started to have issues with the heat and the worry in us all grew. Things could get really bad. At 100pm, she hit the wall and had to dismount. She laid on the ground in the shade, trying to cool down. It was clear she was not going to be able to get out of the woods on her own.
So I made the call to 911. Did not think I would hear that typical 911 response when I left home today. We had no water, two phones (mine on low battery) and no idea where we were. I was able to say that we were by the power lines just past a water crossing. This trail system had NO MARKERS. Seriously it was annoying. We were now in the waiting mode. Of course I lost connection with 911 and it half an hour to reconnect. The operator said "there are a lot of people looking for you." Oh yay, how embarrassing. Soon after that, we heard a truck. Rescue had arrived.
They were able to give Peggy water and pour it on her head to cool her down. Then fire station SUV arrived and an ATV. The horses just stared at all the people. Eventually, it was decided that Peggy would ride in the EMS vehicle and we would ride out. They gave us directions, which by the way, we were headed the right way. That also meant we had to pony Comrade and get back on the horses. My sister is shorter than all of us and she had to get on 16h Dottie. Peggy gave her a leg up, but it was an ugly process. Mom ended up using the truck to get back on DaVinci since her bad knee could not handle a ground mount. I was determined to get up on Rosemary, but needed someone to hold the off stirrup. I called a cute fireman over (that was a bonus factor to the whole episode), and asked him to hold the stirrup. Que the blank look. Oh, just hold the foot thing. He figured it out and I, whew, made the mount with tired legs.

I held Comrade and we headed out. Quickly I realized Comrade was going to be a pain to pony. He refused to travel by Rosemary's shoulder. With him behind her, he somehow managed to get the reins caught under her tail. I had to drop the reins. My sister was able to get them. Problem solved... or not. Dottie refused to walk with Comrade and my sister is not experienced enough to handle the drama. So Mom ended up with him. Again he was dragging. No way could we go the rest of the way with him like that. Mom was able to undo his reins and hook it to his noseband on one end and the other was eventually hooked to DaVinci's grab strap.
We found our way with tired ponies who were seriously over the gravel. As time ticked away we did not stop worrying until we finally saw some familiar sights. Never have I been happier to see a downed tree. An hour after Peggy left us, we saw her waiting at the gate with the firemen. Lights still flashing on their SUV. With the end in sight, we decided to get off and walk the horses the rest of the way.
Ah the good before the crazy time
Peggy said when she arrived there was 2 county police cars, 1 state police car, EMS, and the truck and trailer that carried the ATV. All their lights were flashing. She also said before they found us, they were 15 minutes away from calling in the helicopter. Fortunately, we stopped in the best location and the land manager knew how to get to us when I described where we were. Peggy chatted with someone who uses the trails often and he said without an app on his phone he would get lost. So at least we were not alone. The firemen who stayed with her kept asking whether we should have returned by now. I don't think they could understand just how long it takes to walk back with one horse being ponied.
We finally headed home just after 3pm. I think we were in the saddle for about 4 hours. The horses all got a liniment rub down and a meal. All the humans had to drink a ton of water. I have to say I can appreciate an event course even more now. I love directionals and clear maps. At least we all made it back in okay condition and the horses dealt with everything like pros. I think we will all feel it tomorrow though.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Finding My Inner Wet Towel

I battle with finding the confidence in my riding to develop Roscoe correctly. Since he has come home, he is so full of energy. And that energy is showing under saddle. My first couple rides, I did not have the right bridle. He was a bit "up." I seriously worried about screwing him up. So we kept things slow.

When I got his bridle in workable condition, we tried again. This time he was still energetic, but less flippy with his head. Roscoe was still not thrilled with his bit though. So the next ride I changed him from the D ring two piece to the D ring three piece revolver bit. He definitely was happier. We walked around working on his focus. This was a tough job for him since Larry was working on the arena. The tractor was in there, jumps all in the middle and the drag in a different spot. He eventually figured out Larry was not doing anything all that interesting and that he could get to work. Except he wanted to trot and he did a bit of a hop too. Did I mention all his energy?

Now my nerves kick in. Is he going to explode? Can I handle what he will give? Do I know the right answer? What the hell am I doing training a 4 year old by myself? Will I ever get us back to where we were before he left?

We continued to walk around as I fought my demons. I remembered when Winston was being trained. His rider said she had to act like a wet towel. She needed to be a quiet, but solid presence on his back that moved with him. A wet towel does not flap or react. So I decided I needed to find my inner wet towel. My pony wanted to trot and I needed to let him. I had to just be a wet towel on his back. It took a few more laps around before I convinced myself I could pull it off.

After all my worries, he gave me about a half an arena worth of really energetic trot before settling into his working trot. I swear he was like "See, no problem." My pony is awesome to put up with me. Some days I think he is training me. We kept trotting and we both enjoyed the release of energy. And as if I was not happy enough with him, Roscoe started reaching down, stretching. All I could think was that there was proof I was not screwing up my pony.

Hopefully, during my next ride the wet towel will only be needed to wipe my brow after another great ride. Plus all the horses had a dental visit so Roscoe should be more comfortable with his mouth.
It is tough to realize I am the one holding Roscoe back, but in the long run I know going slow won't be bad. Right now it is more difficult because I see other Cobs his age doing so much. His half sister who we just brought east when we dropped him off in May, already looks great under saddle. Someday, we will have our moment to shine.