June 16, 2010

Indoor arenas are fantastic!

It was such a delight to watch the never ending, record breaking*, June downpour from my office window yesterday and knowing that I would get to ride Rose in a nice dry indoor arena after work! Certainly board costs me a bit more now, but I love the fact that I no longer have to worry about how and under what conditions I have to work under with Rose. Oh yeah, and NO MORE MUD! I know that that is getting kind of old, and I promise to stop talking about it, but after one of the wettest muddiest winters of my life it is just so nice to no longer have to deal with mud.

Rose was still good an calm last night during our walk session. After she started bending nicely to the right (that's her not so flexible side) I decided to spice life up and have her walk figure eights over some ground poles I laid down the center line. She tried to evade them at first, but after a couple go rounds she walked nice and straight down the center of them, and we ended on a very good note with that. She's such a good girl!

*Yep, as of yesterday this June is officially the wettest on record with over 4" of rain so far and no end to it in sight. I may not have to worry about tan lines with my wedding dress at this rate...I'm sure I'll still be glowing in the dark come August!

June 15, 2010

Did you know that pills dissolve in water?

I went out to visit my girl last night. It is so nice to not have to study and make a decision between prepping for my exam and taking care of my injured horse. Had she gotten hurt a week ago i would have been in torture over the situation. Anyway, she seems to be doing fine. She's on stall rest for a week, and had one of the geldings hanging out in the barn keeping her company all day, which she enjoyed.

Since she does not seem to be showing any lameness I decided to ride her at the walk for a half hour instead of just hand walking her. I wasn't too sure what to expect as she wasn't worked the previous day, hadn't been turned out all day, I couldn't longe her (for fear of her breaking into the trot), and we were riding in the new arena for the first time. Before i got on, I hand walked her around the arena a few times so that she could check out all the nooks and crannies. By the time I got on her she was nice an calm, and I think a bit confused and bored as to why we were only walking, but she settled into working on our circles, figure eights, serpentines and any other pattern I could come up with to keep her focused on bending and yielding to my leg. I was very relieved, although I am looking forward to trotting next week and I'm sure she is too. Since she can't be turned out right now, I rewarded her with a good 45-minute long session of hand grazing which she of course loved. Thank goodness for smart phone entertainment!

*On a side note, the barn owner "A" has a very cool method of delivering her medicine tablets. I've always just ground them up and dusted them over her feed, but his method is fantastic. Apparently most tablets dissolve in water, so he simply places the tablets in a syringe and fills it up with water and then gives it to her orally. Simple brilliance!

June 14, 2010

Our lucky streak had to end sometime...

On Saturday morning I headed out to GMF to pack up Rose and to move her to our new barn. Before we left though, I decide to ride her so that she'd be a bit tired in hopes that she'd be nice and calm for the trailer ride and for our arrival at the new barn. So I officially had my first solo ride on her and she was terrific! After that we packed up and hauled her closer to home, to our new barn. She arrived nice an quiet, as hoped, and backed nice and calmly off the trailer and seemed quite content to be somewhere knew. My theory of riding her first seemed to work. We let her settle into her new stall and then turned her out in her own paddock and all was well.

Sunday morning however, she decided to tell off the gelding in the paddock next to her. Unfortunately, she decided to do it through the electric fencing that separates the paddocks. Obviously the resulting shock didn't go over well with her and she ended up snapping the electric fence and knocking down a T-post as well...resulting in several superficial lacerations on her cannon bone, and one deep one that went through the fascia. The good news is that there doesn't appear to be any ligament damage. The bad new is she needed three stitches and is on a week of stall rest and a month of walking and trotting at the maximum until she is all healed up...approximately 3.5 weeks.

So we had a nice stretch of no injuries there for a while, hopefully this is a one-off and we'll return to her staying in one piece for a while again. I am also hoping she's learned her lesson about the electric fence and will leave it alone now. Regardless, I think we'll have to sort out turnout so that she has a mare as a neighbor or a super chill gelding. What do we do now though, with a month of walking? Now that we've tackled our clipping issue, I think I'll dedicate this month to working on ground tying as well getting our steering concrete with leg yielding, haunches in, shoulder in, etc. at the walk.

Oh the joy of babies...

June 10, 2010

Complete ear clipping success!

Yesterday I finished taking my exam. I was exhausted and my brain was pretty much numb.  As soon as it was over I couldn't wait to get back home to go see Rose. It was a rainy (typical) Wednesday and I had an hour drive ahead of me, so I turned on the radio and settled into my drive. By the time I pulled in the barn it was completely quiet, Wednesday being the barn's day off. Tracie's sweet yellow lab greeted me as I opened my car door. I gave her a scratch and sauntered toward Rose's stall. After a few blinks and a bit of recognition she called out to say hello and gave me a snuggle. She can be such a sweetie sometimes and it just warms my heart. It was definitely the greeting I needed after two lonely days in a hotel room and such an exhausting exam.

I took Rose out of her stall and decided to let her stretch her legs in the indoor arena. After hand walking a bit we began working on trotting our triangle pattern for the Oldenburg inspection in August. She did very well. Ever since she's been under saddle she's begun focusing much more on the task at hand and respecting the human "bubble" much more. As a reward I took her for some hand grazing until the rain picked up again.

Since Rose was being calm and quiet I decided to work with her on clipping her ears some more. Given our mild success last time, and body clipping success this past winter, I was hopeful that perhaps we could go the "full Monty" this time. I grabbed a stool from the tack room, put some tunes on the loud speakers, and put her in the cross ties. Starting with the clippers vibrating on her forehead, I moved them up and clipped her bridle path. She put her head down and held perfectly still. "Awesome" I thought, and then moved onto her right ear. I rubbed it up and down with the handle of the clippers vibrating along her ear. No reaction. I quickly turned the clipper and ran it along the outside edges of the ear. She held mostly still and didn't pull her trademark giraffe maneuver. What a good girl! I moved my stool to her left side and gave that ear a go. Again she stood still, and we ended up with two nicely trimmed ears!

I am so pleased that at long last Rose will let me trim her ears. It has been a dream and a goal since November. Although I've had to resort to it many times in the past, I hate having to twitch a horse to do their ears. It is so rewarding to know that with just a few months of patient persistence she is now letting me clip them without any help, drugs or devices. On a side note, you can see in the photo that her ears are trimmed but not gutted. I don't like to trim the hair on the interior of the ears unless it is absolutely necessary for a show, but I do like to clean up the outside of ears on a regular basis. The fact that I can now easily do this is just such a great feeling!

June 7, 2010

Ride no. 4

I had my fourth ride on miss Rose today. We are only at Tracie's barn until Saturday, so I'm trying to get as many lessons on her as possible before we go. Overall we did well although she's certainly a baby and tries all the silly baby maneuvers. She gives up easily though, once she realizes you mean business, so that's a relief. She's really understanding leg now, is accepting light contact and is starting to bend well. Tracie's done such a great job with her, I just hope that I can do her justice. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I'm sure that we will be hauling in for lessons on a regular basis. I feel safe on her though and I am ready to start riding her regularly.

The next few days I'm out of town taking my licensing exam. As such I took the day off to prepare and squeezed a lesson on my way out of town. The timing worked out perfect, and now I'm off to bed to get up early and go take that exam! I'm looking forward to the exam if only to end the all consuming study sessions and to have my spare time back. It also means that I will be riding at least 4 days a week again, at long last. I defiantly feel like I got out of shape over the winter. Although mucking stalls and ground work keeps the upper body strong, it dosen't do much for the abs or legs. The weather also seems to finally becoming more summer like. It stopped raining, and to my shock, when the clouds go away it is hot out! I've had to scramble to find all of my sun screen to avoid ending up with my usual polo shirt farmers tan. I'm thinking that a farmers tan may not go all that well with my wedding dress in August...so sunblock a hoy!

Have a great one.

June 2, 2010

Rain, rain, go away...

It is June.

It is still raining.

Today we are expected to get 3" of rain in the valley, 5" in the hills/mountains. I don't know for a fact, but I'm almost certain that it rained every day in May and that we had a record amount of rainfall. I know that it rained 24 days in April. I'm also pretty sure that we've already hit our average rainfall quota for the year...and it's only halfway over (sigh). Sadly, all of my little seedlings that I planted once I was certain the frost had ended are not faring well. All the crops in the area seem to be rotting from being inundated with rain.

Although I'm sad about my plants, I am so elated that Rose is at GMF now. No mud, no mud, no mud! No mud for the foreseeable future either, as we are not going back to our old barn, but moving onto a lovely place with dry runs and a big indoor arena. We are off to our new barn mid-June, once I've finished taking my exam and can return to devoting more time to Rose's training. I will be sad to leave GMF (nirvana) but I am so excited to not have to study all the time and actually get to ride instead. As I look out my office window at the driving rain storm I can't even imagine having to put her back out in that old muddy field and not be able to ride her while we wait out this bizarrely long and cold rainy season. It makes me so happy to have her somewhere where she gets an unending supply of hay, dry stall run, lush green pastures, good dry footing, and great barn owners. It's heaven I tell you. Just heaven!

On a side note: I rode Rose again on Monday. She has some steering now. She's getting the concept of leg yielding and bending. Also, her trot is so comfortable that I could sit it all day! Tracie has done just an amazing job with her, and I just couldn't be more pleased. My parent's also came out to the barn with me and watched our lesson. They seemed to have a great time and it was adorable watching my mom dote on her and feed her a million cookies. Can you say grandmother?

Have a good one and stay dry.


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