May 31, 2010

A filly no more...Rose turned 3 this month.

To celebrate her big birthday, Rose enjoyed a bunch of carrots (one just for Dominique) and some yummy apples. It was a quiet day at the barn, but we had a nice celebration. Also this week I succeeded in finally getting my clippers on her ears! That was a very big and exciting moment. Hopefully soon she'll be comfortable enough that the trim job will look a bit better.

Also, I finally got a video posted of our first ride from the 22nd. Enjoy!

May 23, 2010

My first ride on Rose!

 Saturday was the day! I got to get on Rose for the first time. Although my expectations were to merely walk her out after Tracie's ride, to my delight Tracie had me walk trot and canter her for the second half of her lesson. I cannot express how much fun it was to finally get on her. It's been a long 8 months coming, but worth every cold rainy ground work session. For not being entirely balanced, she was awfully comfortable at all three gates and easy to transition.

She's progressed so far in just 2.5 weeks I just can't believe it. Tracie's done an amazing job, and I could not have asked for a better trainer to get her started. I'm one happy horse owner at the moment.

May 19, 2010

Canter, check!

I just got an update from Tracie, Rose's trainer, and she's started cantering under saddle this week! She's doing well and continues to be a quick learner. I simply cannot wait to see her go on Saturday. Darn day-job!

Desensitizing those ears...

When I first got Rose she was good about having her muzzle trimmed, and that was about it. Feet, bridle path, and ears? Heck no! So over the winter, during a few long, wet, dark, muddy months, we worked on trimming with some success. As a result, at least once a month I trim her muzzle, feet and bridle path. The bridle path is still a bit of a struggle at first, until she gives up resisting and just puts her head down and lets me get on with it. Those ears though...she's not so convinced about. So, I've decided that this month is trimmer month. Every time I go to the barn to visit her out come the trimmers. Patience and persistence...that's my game plan with trimming. I managed to trim everything up except for her ears this past Sunday, so last night I decided that we would work on desensitizing her ears to the clippers.

After throwing a bit of a fit in the cross ties and impersonating a giraffe, I decided to hold Rose in hand and try to clip her that way. Her ground tying is not so great, but we are working on it. Regardless, the barn was quiet, so I didn't really need to worry about her going anywhere. I started slow, just rubbing her ears with my hands and then the powered-off clippers. She couldn't have cared less. Holding the clippers mid way up her neck I would turn them on and then slowly bring them closer to her ears. She would instantly turn into a pill. After repeating this for a while it was clear to me that she wasn't having it, and I was in no position (without a helper) to force the situation. I needed a different approach. I gave her a rub on her forehead, and then decided to try bringing the clippers up the front of her face. Guess what? She stood there with her head down and let me rub them on the front of her ears. So I tried bringing them up by her neck again, and instantly she was on guard. For some reason she's more comfortable with them in front of her face than approaching from the back. Perhaps because she can see them coming in the front? Whatever the reason, we had mild success with her accepting the turned on clippers rubbing on her ears, so I will try the front end approach again next time. Fingers crossed!

About the clippers:
I decided over the winter that I could make trimming a lot easier on myself and decided to look for some new clippers. My requirements were quiet clippers and no cord. After a bit of research I settled on the Wahl Moser Arco SE clippers. I patiently waited for their arrival from and immediately fell in love with them from the first moment I snipped some hair! Much to my relief they lived up to the hype and I have to say that they are very quiet. Nothing is silent, but I've never heard quieter clippers (unless there is a silent clipper out there...then I guess I wouldn't have heard it...deep thoughts). In addition, it is so handy to have a set of cordless clippers for this exact training purpose. If I need to spin Rose in a circle or if she needs to pee and starts dancing around in the cross ties I don't have to worry about the cord getting stepped on. Plus, I never seem to have a helper when I'm working with her, so the cord is one less thing I have to concern myself about. If you are interested in your own pair they are on sale at Dover Saddlery right now, and I think that they are worth every penny. My old set of Wahl Stable Pros, although still in perfect working condition and having never failed me after 10-years, have since been retired to the dog grooming/emergency back up clipper department.

May 7, 2010

She's officially been backed!

Update: Rose was backed yesterday!

I finished studying last night and noticed that I had a new email from the trainer. During yesterday's training session they sat on her for the first time. Apparently it went well, and she's also being turned out with the other mares now, and having a great time with them. She's such a sweet social butterfly. She makes me proud. Anyway, I simply cannot wait to see her work on Saturday. Here I thought I'd just be watching her longe in side-reins, but now it seems like we'll get to see a bit more!

May 4, 2010

All's well.

Rose got her first lesson with her new trainer yesterday, and according to all reports she did great. It was the first time she'd been lunged in a bridle, and with the stirrups down on the saddle. As you might imagine I am relieved and very excited! I am very much looking forward to seeing her go this weekend. If it weren't for the necessity of a day-job I would definitely be out there watching and absorbing every minute, but for now I will be content with getting to watch her work on Saturdays.

May 2, 2010

A new barn and time to get started!

This weekend Rose moved to her new barn for the next 6-weeks, where she will be getting started! We got to our old barn bright and early Saturday morning, to get her ready to haul down the road, as well as do a bit of housekeeping before we left. She had managed to rattle the bolts off of her hay feeder door recently, so we fixed that up and I also had to strip her stall and pack up my few remaining tack and feed room items. All in all, we were done and had her loaded within one-hour! After a brief farewell to our old barn and half-hour drive later we navigated our way to the new barn, road detours and all, and arrived with a curious but not too-hot Rose. She backed calmly off the trailer and seemed to settle into her new stall and run pretty well. She is stalled next to a big beautiful black Oldenburg gelding named Logan, whom she instantly bonded with. Much to her dismay, there is hot wire on top of the run fencing keeping her from bonding too closely! Oh yeah, and she got to re-learn what hot-wire was. After getting her settled we headed home and I hoped that she would take to the new barn and surroundings well.

What can I say but I love our new barn! Saturday night I got an email from the trainer letting me know that she was doing well and a little anxious, but not more than to be expected. My fiance was extremely impressed about how organized and on top of things that they are, and I have to say that I am too. I had initially decided to not visit Rose today and devote Sunday to my studies, but that didn't happen. All morning I just kept wondering how she was doing and finally decided to just go out and see her. As you can imagine, that was a recipe for disaster when it came to actually getting any studying done! I don't know what I was thinking. There was no way that I could not go see her. Off to the barn I went, no GPS needed this time.

When I arrived, everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. It was a sunny-ish day, so the barn was buzzing with activity, quite the contrast to the previous morning. Apparently Rose had been calling to Logan, who was off with his mom, shortly before I arrived and their abrupt love-affair was the topic of conversation. As I walked down the aisle, I greeted a few boarders and their sweet calm horses. I have never been in such a calm, quiet and happy barn before. One of the ladies I met today welcomed me to "nirvana" and I think that she was spot on. This barn is definitely nirvana. I found Rose in her spotlessly clean stall with a nice big pile of hay, happily munching on her lunch. She seemed a little out of sorts at first, but instantly relaxed when she realized who I was. I decided not to lounge her, as I wanted her to just keep settling in today, before her real work begins tomorrow. Instead I took her out and hand grazed her in the pasture for a while until she seemed to really relax. There was an exciting moment where I led her over a culvert in the pasture. I wasn't sure what she'd do, but decided to take her over it anyway. She looked down at the ditch and calmly followed me right along. I my heart instantly warmed to the thought of the trail rides that were in the our near future.We finished up spending a bit of time grooming in the cross ties and just hanging out in her stall. Lately she's taken to licking my hand like crazy and actually cuddling me with her neck, which I find completely adorable. She's really starting to grow up finally and is turning into such a lady!

Stay tuned, tomorrow is her first training session and I cannot wait to hear how it goes!


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