December 28, 2011

She's Alive!

As I drove to the barn this afternoon, I imagined that Rose may be covered in mud and looking a wreck. I also figured that she'd be standing in the far back corner of her new giant pasture (it's at least 20 acres, if not more) and refuse to walk to the gate. However, when I arrived I found a rather clean Rose sleeping in the giant hay pile along with Roxy and Molly (the Mule), while wise old Seequin stood guard. On all accounts the introduction to the mare herd was a non-event and all four girls have been getting along nicely. That is a thing that warms my heart. I'm so used to Rose's terrible fours at this point that when something as trivial as herd introduction goes well I'm over the moon happy about it!

The Girls
Sleepy Rose, slowly realizing who I am and no doubt debating
whether or not she's happy about my return.
My cute fuzzy Montana girl. She's much fluffier this year than last!

After cleaning Rose up we worked on the people door some more, did a little longeline work, and then played chase the tiger. She instantly remembered about the flag "target" and was all about it this time. It was nice to see that she remembered the game after only doing it once before and having a two week break.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

December 25, 2011

Christmas Goodies

It's a Christmas miracle! I actually got needed and usable horse related items for Christmas for the first time ever.

My awesome father in-law got me divider bumpers for my horse trailer, my mother in-law bought me a Murdoch's gift card, and my very talented husband made me a tack trunk. The tack trunk is not yet finished, but will be shortly. I am so excited to retire my old steamer trunk. No longer will people ask me about my days as a marine (there are bumper stickers on it)!

Here is a pic of the unfinished product, as of Christmas morning:

Unfinished tack trunk and perplexed 60lb English Shepherd for scale.
It's made from maple plywood and will have maple trim around the top, lid, base, corners, a wood insert in the lid for bandages, and a sliding half shelf for odds and ends. Then it will be stained a dark color...I'm thinking cherry, but the maple is a really pretty finish in person so I'm thinking maybe keep it a light stain color. The debate on stain color rages on. The findings will be black cast iron and will include handles on the sides, hinges, lid support, front lock and corner protectors. Of course the front will don a personalized oval pewter and black name plate. I'm so excited to see it all done!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday, weather it be Christmas, Khanukah, Kwanzaa, or a non-holiday celebration.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

December 21, 2011

People Vacations

The best part of being self employed is the vacation package. The worst part is that work seems to follow you on your vacation. Regardless, I've been away enjoying the first "vacation" that I've had in a long while. Last Wednesday, following Rose's trim and barn horse shuffle, I headed off on a road trip to Seattle for a girls weekend and to go wedding dress shopping with my step-sister. We had a wonderful long weekend, and she found a spectacular dress. I got to indulge in all my favorite ethic food that our town lacks, and I think my pregnant belly doubled in size over the weekend. I was even treated to a chance meet up with my old friends JI & BA, who just happened to be in the city for the weekend as well. They are the friends that helped me pick up Rose on that rainy Oregon night over two years ago.

After a thoroughly fun weekend I headed to the airport and flew to Jackson Hole to meet up with my husband, dog, and in-laws for a fun filled Christmas holiday. However, prior to that I had a layover in Portland, where by complete coincidence I ran into my old friend CD, whom I hadn't seen in over three years. Even more bizarre is the fact that we were on the same flight and assigned seats next to each other! The next week of my trip revolves around tasty food, Christmas presents, and skiing. I love Jackson in the winter; such a beautiful town filled with so many wonderful friends. However, I am slightly dreading the dirty mess of a horse I will be returning home to after two weeks away. I hope she's having a good time with Roxy in their new paddock and getting to be a wild pony with no expectations.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

December 13, 2011


Today was a big day for Rose. She got her toes done this morning, and then moved to a new paddock. We played horse shuffle with all but two of the barn's horses today. The reason for the shuffle? Upcoming weaning of the foals.

For about 15 minutes, all the horses were understandably excited and running about their "new" paddocks. Rose and her former neighbor and BFF Roxy are now together in one really huge double paddock. They love each other, and playing around. I think it'll be good for Rose while she has her time off.

Rose checking out her new digs.
I love how all four feet are off the ground when she trots!

She was better behaved today than she's been in the past few weeks, so I think that perhaps the raspberry leaves are kicking in once again. Another thought I recently had is that maybe, just maybe, she can hear my baby's heart beat? Given that it is quite faster than mine, could it be that she might be getting confused and thinking that I'm excited/nervous etc. and perhaps that explains her recent behavior? Just a thought.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

December 8, 2011

Fun and Games

I've had a super busy week and haven't made it out to the barn until today. Feeling super prego and bloated I decided against riding, and instead headed out to groom Rose and just give her a once over. Instead of dealing with the cross tie drama, I decided to take her into the arena to groom her. She was stubborn about the people door again. I'm noticing that she's better about it after we've ridden, and will walk right through. When she's fresh she is more reluctant to go through the door. This kinda solidifies my current stance that the door issue is more attitude than fear. At any rate I got her through it, and then worked on "whoa" and "stand" while I groomed her. She is definitely rusty on her ground work, so it turned out to be a good exercise.

Then I decided to play a game with her.

I know that it doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but quite frankly it's the first "game" we've ever played. When I first got Rose, there was so much ground work that had to be tackled there wasn't any time for fun and games. As such, we've just never played around. Sad, I know. So after we got done grooming, I decided to try and play chase the tiger with Rose and a training flag.

She was utterly perplexed.

At first she tried to longe around me. So I stopped her and decided to try and teach her to touch the flag like a target. I don't have a clicker, not that she'd know what a clicker meant anyway, so I just said target when she touched the flag with her nose, then good girl and gave her a treat right away. She caught on pretty quick, and no matter where I put the flag she'd touch or lip it for her treat. After that I started trotting around the arena looking a fool and she'd follow the flag to try and touch it for a treat. We certainly looked pretty funny, but I think it was good for her to think outside the box and play a pointless game for no reason.

Oh, and I had fun with it too!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

December 6, 2011

What Time Off?

I felt like a million bucks by 4:30pm yesterday!

Around 2:00pm I headed to the barn to ride Rose. It had been -11ºF overnight, and was about 12ºF and when I arrived. The sun was glistening off the freshly fallen snow and Rose was busy stuffing her face with her hay pile. It was the coldest night she's ever had in her life, but seemed just fine. After a brief greeting we headed up to the barn.

Once in the cross ties she started acting up again, as she has for the past two weeks. I'm not sure why she's suddenly having cross tie issues, but I decided that I would take a different approach to the problem. Previously I've just stood there watching her, waiting for her to settle down, with little luck. This time, I brought some horse treats along, and decided to praise her and give her one every time she listened to my "whoa" "stand" command. She caught on quickly, as she is passionate about treats, and we had visible improvement. However, I am certain that we will be working on it again for a little while. After that, we tacked up and headed to the arena.

Rose is getting better about the garage door, but she still trots around a bit while I'm closing it. I imagine that too will improve with time. After a quick longe I hopped up on her. I have to say, that I'm a huge fan of longeing her without a line. The day she figures out that I don't have any control over the "circle" will be sad. For now though Rose is being great about it and my shoulder and elbow joints are very happy with our new longeing technique. Granted, this only works when no one else is in the arena.

I wasn't sure what to expect after her having two weeks off, but aside from being a bit stiff, she was great, and acted as if she's been ridden this whole time. The only difficulties I had was that in the past two weeks I suddenly started seriously showing. I actually look prego now, not just like I ate too much holiday candy. My britches didn't fit any more although I managed to squeeze my round belly in them with some discomfort and my belt was on the last notch. Honestly, it could have used another. Mounting was surprisingly awkward, even with the use of a mounting block, and my center of balance was off at the trot. Walking and cantering were a non-issue though. By the time we were done with our ride, my stress level plummeted, my endorphins were soaring and I'd gotten my ridding fix. I guess I'll just leave out that part that I'm still riding at my OB appointment this week.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

December 4, 2011

In Need of Equine Therapy

I've had a very long and exhausting weekend. My volunteer job as the IHSA coach has become a lot more involved than I originally expected, however it is very rewarding! The team did great this weekend, taking home Reserve High Point Team. At any rate I survived the weekend and our home show, but I need a stress relief. The past two weeks of not riding have driven me crazy. So, whether or not my OB likes it, I'm going to ride Rose tomorrow. I think I'll just keep riding until I'm too uncomfortable and then stop. I just can't deal with the not riding, and she's not really that unpredictable to ride. Actually, she's probably safer to deal with under saddle than on the ground. Okay...I might just be trying to justify it now...

Oh, and we found out the gender on Friday. We are having a boy!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 28, 2011

Full of Piss and Vinegar

Yep, that describes how I found Rose today, after a week away. She was completely full of herself. Since it was such a great day and ride, I had sort of decided that our ride last week might be our last until the baby comes. So today I planned on simply going to the barn, dropping off her grain, grooming her and working on the people door some more.

All of that did happen, but all the while she was a wiggly in-heat mess. Apparently she is unaware that it is nearly December. Sheesh. She would not stand still in the cross ties, even after I just sat there for a half hour waiting for her to settle down, so I decided to free longing her in the arena to burn off some energy.

At first she madly galloped around the arena as I appreciated her seamless flying changes, collections, and extensions. Her canter, and even gallop, are looking so balanced and powerful these days. She is really using her hind end well and getting underneath herself. Once she burned off some steam I asked her to do some work and to my surprise she voluntarily started longing around me on a 20m circle without a longeline. She listened to all my vocal commands and even changed direction on cue. I have to say it was a very cool experience having her longe around me without a line. After all that, she was a tired mess and back to her usual self. So once all the sweat dried off her I returned her to her paddock and called it a day. I can see that she might be a bit of a handful over the next 5 months without regular work. I guess we'll see how it goes and figure it out along the way.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 21, 2011

An excellent Monday indeed

Today was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Perfect for riding. It is amazing how the sunlight is intensified by snow. As I lead Rose from her paddock to the barn I paused for a moment to appreciate the sunlight sparkling across the snowy fields, and the horses sound asleep in their hay piles.

Rose was an absolute gem today. All of a sudden, my well mannered sweet girl returned from the depths of wherever she had been the past couple of weeks. She was nice and quite in the cross-ties, great about the garage door, awesome under saddle, and then once again walked straight through the people door without hesitation. Given that my riding days are soon coming to an end for a while, it is nice to get to cherish days like today, and be thankful that I own such a sweet and talented mare. I just need to remember that when we are having an "off" day.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

A Gatsby baby in a kill pen

The good news: Rose is now walking in and out of the people door without hesitation. Yea!

The bad news: It recently became public knowledge that Granville, a 2002 Gatsby gelding, 17.0h and branded RPSI in the kill pen in PA. Reportedly the rescue Another Chance For Horses originally was asking $800 for him until they found out who he was by. Now they want $6000 for a horse in a kill pen, that they won't let anyone look prior to sale. They do have recent video of him (jumping in a western saddle on a hard dirt road...ugh) on their very poorly designed website here: They are taking bids though and the highest recent bid over the weekend was only $4000 and they settled on that but then the buyer backed out when they wouldn't let her see him before paying for him. Can't blame her there. You can follow more about this on Gatsby's facebook page here:

He seems like a nice horse, and would probably be a very good buy. Nothing like a bright bay with chrome! Right about now, owning a 9 year old gelding sounds pretty good to me, but getting to PA is not really a possibility in my world right now, nor is forking out $$$. Some of you may know that I'm very much against horse slaughter, so the thought of one of Gatsby's get ending up on a truck to Mexico breaks my heart. Not to mention that this horse has shown and competed and has likely been given lots of different drugs (like bute) over the course of his life, which poisons the meat. Honestly, slaughter of performance horses is really really stupid in my book from a health standpoint alone, not to mention the cruelty aspect of it.

At this point I guess I will focus on my own Gatsby baby, and hope that something works out for Granville. I wish I weren't just a helpless spectator in this, but that's all I can be at the moment. That and spread the word. Maybe one of you are looking for a nice warmblood gelding with eventing potential to call your own? Andrea of Eventing a GoGo come to mind...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 17, 2011

Two Minutes

Yep, that's' how long it took her to walk through the people door today. All walk, no bolt, heading inside and out. Just warms my heart. :)

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

Some semblance of normal

I had business meetings all day Tuesday that kept me from the barn. Wednesday I headed out with a clear head and positive thoughts about the garage door and people door. At the very least there was no wind, and that would be a bonus. My hope was that we'd be able to make progress with both issues.

We repeated our technique from Monday starting with tying Rose up at the post while I opened the garage door. This time she stood nice and quiet immediately. Inside the arena I removed her lead, as the tie ring has not been reattached to the wall, and closed the door. She ran around the arena a little bit, but not as reactively as on Monday. Given my two free hands, I set up some ground poles to play with. We ended up having a very nice ride. I was glad I thought of the poles, as she seemed very interested in having something more stimulating to do than circles, half-halts, shoulder/haunches in, and transitions. I need to remember to put some more fun back into our rides now that we are taking a break from jumping. After our ride, I wrapped her reins back up and left her loose in the arena to open the door. She just stood there nice and quiet the whole time. Yea!

After our ride it occurred to me that I could probably get a remote control garage door opener, thus negating the need for tying up altogether. That will allow me to stand at a comfortable distance and slowly get her used to standing closer and closer to it, desensitizing her over time. I plan on asking the barn owner if they already have one, otherwise I'll go out and get one ASAP.

Given her overall good attitude, I decided to work on the people door after our ride. Once she was cooled out and untacked we headed back to the arena. Immediately she almost walked all the way in. Wouldn't you know it though, just as she placed one front hoof in the doorway the neighbor started shooting his rifle! He does this often, so I'm fairly certain he's set up a target range behind the arena on his side of the fence/creek. Rose immediately pulled out of the door, got super tall, and ridged. It took me another 5-minutes to get her attention again. Once I did though she focused and walked in. Grand total of 10-minutes! Plus, she WALKED. She didn't bolt through the door. After she ate her payload of timothy pellets and got lots of praise we turned around to go out the door. She calmly followed me right along, without pause, and again WALKED out the door. I can't express was a great feeling that was. Such a good way to end a day.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 16, 2011

Intro to the garage door

Monday's ride was, well, a MONDAY. We had 50mph winds when I got to the barn, which did not do much to settle Rose. I lowered my expectations, rode, and called it a day. It was also our first time sorting out what to do about entering the arena via the garage door.

The problem: The garage door only opens from inside, and Rose is not accustom to the noise.

The solution: Tack up horse and place halter and lead over bridle with reins wrapped. Place a blocker tie ring near by the arena to a sturdy post and tie Rose up. Open garage door. Enter arena. Tie Rose with another blocker tie ring inside the arena. Close door. Ride.

The reality: Initial tie up to the post was a challenge due to wind gusts. After about three pulls on the blocker, she finally settled long enough for me to get into the arena and open the door. She had no response to the door opening and stood nice and quite. Whew. I rewarded her with a small, bit friendly,  treat. She easily walked through the garage door and I tied her up inside the arena. I went back to the garage door (about 50 feet away) and closed it. She pulled back startled, but was still tied. I decided to be smart stupid and practice opening and closing the door to desensitize her to it. At each additional opening and closing she pulled back more on her tie until she managed to pull the tie ring out of the wall...even with the blocker tie ring attached. In hindsight I should have re-tied her each time keeping the lead rope short. Ugh. I took her lead rope off and let her mill about the arena loose. I then opened and closed the door about a dozen more times. At first she wildly galloped around the arena, but once she appeared bored and was just standing in the middle of the arena I stopped. I closed the door for the final time and shrugged, thinking to myself "well, at least she is warmed up".

Our ride was challenging due to the wind and ice falling off of the roof, so I didn't ask to much or expect too much. After our ride another boarder was in the arena, so she helped me out by opening and closing the garage door for us. At that I called it a day. It was too cold and windy to work on the people door.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 13, 2011

Working through it

I will not be defeated. I might be prego, tired, and fed up with Rose's attitude, but at the end of the day I will win over the people door issue. Even if Rose never walks through a people door tacked up again (my saddle has been taking quite a beating from her bolting through the door), I will get her to willingly walk through it sans-tack. I don't want her to start applying this issue to all doors, which I've noticed that she has begun to do.

Rose and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad people door.

Saturday morning graced us with a 5" snow storm.  My husband was leaving to go hunting for the weekend, and I had all day to myself. After deciding that I would not be defeated on this issue I decided to head to the barn once the snow stopped falling (er-blowing sideways). My plan was to put on a million layers, take some hot tea, get a long lead rope and just stand on the inside of the arena as long as it took until she decided to walk through the door. 2 hours and 25 minutes later, she walked through! We did it twice and I should have stopped there, but then on the third attempt there was no more moving of the feet. 45 minutes later, the sun was starting to go down and I needed to get through the canyon before the roads froze over into a sheet of ice. So I got her feet close to the door, rewarded her with some grain and called it a day.

The big debate: shall I repeat it again today? My horse training brain says yes, my energy level however is trying to sway me otherwise.

Thanks to Kelly's encouraging comment, I made it to the barn today for a repeat door training session. This time it only took 30-minutes to get her to walk through the door! I am now feeling a sense of relief and invigoration about the whole door thing.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 12, 2011

More People Door

Yesterday I was about to write this "The people door situation is improving. She's being less and lest resistant and I can tell it's only a matter of time before she cracks and gives into my Alpha Mare dominance (regarding the door) for good." Then I went to the barn.

I got her through the door in a relatively acceptable period of time. Granted she BOLTED through the door, whacked my saddle on the door jam, and caught my expensive half rubber reins in her foot while I pleaded out loud "please don't break them", and then she managed to stand in one spot until I rescued her from the reins. Note to self, until door issue is resolved, perhaps switch to cheap web reins.

Once I got her in the arena we warmed up for our lesson. It was probably a 20 minute warm up, as I had given myself a lot of extra time to get her through the door. Upon our lesson starting, trainer C and I discussed the door issue, as she got to see it all first hand for the first time, as did the owner of our barn. She asked if I wanted her to give the door a go, and I figured why not? Well, that horse was not going to go through that door one more time come hell or high water! After probably a good 30 minutes of trying trainer C decided it was a bigger issue than her being a brat, and she thinks that Rose is legitimately frightened of the door. I'm still not totally convinced, but I'm willing to give that a thought.

The other thought I've been knocking around in my head is that I'm sick of this sort of thing. I'm sick of my giant pushy bull headed mare's attitude at times. I would really love to own a gelding version of Rose. In every other way she is the horse that I've always been looking for and is perfect for me. This week I seriously started considering selling her. After a long talk with trainer C about it, I went about my day and eventually in the evening caught up with my husband and discussed the matter more. As always, he calmed me down and talked me out of selling her. He thinks it's crazy that I ever expected her to go through a tiny door in the first place. He's got a point there. Also, she's been off her raspberry leaves for 2-weeks unbenounced to me, and she's in a paddock across from a 2.5-year old stallion who's recently started realizing he's a stallion and stares at her all day long getting teased and getting himself off. Rose being the hussy she is, is happy to be the teaser mare as well. The plan is to move the stallion to a far paddock away from Rose and by geldings, and of course I'm just waiting on the raspberry leaved to come in the mail.

To sum it all up, I guess Rose has an excuse for her recent bad attitude, and perhaps she is legitimately scared of the people door. My solution for now will be to use the big arena garage door to come and go, and unfortunately the arena will get a bit colder when I ride for the next 2-weeks. I will also see if I can work on the door issue, sans-tack, with little expectation. After that, it's time off and probably a good mental break for both Miss Thing and me. She is still just four, and that could be a lot of the attitude too.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 9, 2011

The terribly frightening people door!

Rose was introduced to walking through people doors when we moved to Montana in April. For some reason (i.e. to keep the cold out) everyone around here uses people size doors to enter barns and arenas with their horses. Which is fine with me, but seriously, the doors should be wider and taller than regular people doors for this purpose. Surprisingly Rose has been just fine with them from the get-go, until last Thursday. She utterly refused to enter the arena.

My personal opinion of this sudden fright was that it is all attitude. It is her current baby trick to of the week to try and get out of work. Unfortunately my crop was inside the arena, so it took a bit of time and help from a passer by to get into the arena. Once in, we went in and out a few times. She more of bolted through the door than walked through it. Regardless she got through it and I had foolishly hoped that would be the end of it. Once under saddle she was perfect.

Yesterday, I only had time to groom and longe her. Instead of longing, what ended up happening was me fighting with her for an hour to get through a damn door and into the barn. Unfortunately no one was around to help this time. Eventually, after getting no where I tried a different people door, which happened to have a training flag/crop by the door, and I managed to get her through that one. We practiced a few times with little improvement. Without the crop she won't go through, with the crop she bolts through. I have a feeling that this stupid issue is going to plague us all week. Argh! Babies can be such fun...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 7, 2011

I don't need two babies on my hands

Several people had/have suggested that I hurry up and breed Rose while I am pregnant. It was theoretically possible at the time as it was late summer and she was still in heat. As of late, several people have mentioned that it's a shame I wasn't thinking ahead and bred her. Um, yeah, I did think ahead and that's why she's not bred, thank you very much. While I know they all meant it with good intentions (because everyone loves foals) there is no way I would breed her right now and I certainly don't feel like a chump for not having gotten it done. It's not like it hadn't crossed my mind. Although I know very little about being pregnant myself, and even less about pregnant horses, I do understand the basics of when and how a horse can be bred. So I thought about it and realized that I didn't want to go there. Once the mini-human comes along, my time and check book will be strapped, and I don't see any room for raising and handling a foal. Plus, I would be far more stressed and concerned about Rose's pregnancy than my own.

Even so, in a perfect world if I were to breed Rose it would likely be with an embryo transplant, which means leasing and boarding another mare. Something that I won't be able to afford for a while and I'm not inclined to do until we have our own land and I don't have to board a broodmare. In addition, I only intend to breed Rose to keep the foal for myself as my next prospect. I'm not foolish enough to think that with no breeding experience that I could actually turn a profit on breeding a foal (I think that is where a lot of people get in financial hot water with breeding). These are all reasons that lead me to think breeding her while I'm pregnant makes no sense whatsoever...for me. Maybe it does for others, just not me.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 3, 2011

Avoiding Scratches

Scratches (aka. Mud Feaver / Greasy Heel) have been the topic of the month at our little barn. Scratches are a combination fungus/bacteria infection, not unlike thrush, generally located on the back of the pastern and they look like horizontal scratch lines. Sometimes they can be found on other parts of the lower leg as well. They can cause the horse a lot of pain, and can even cause lameness. It's something that's best avoided.

So, why is it a current topic? Scratches generally show up in the spring and fall due to mud. As such, there is one old retired mare on the property who just moved to our barn a month ago, and she has scratches. Now, comparatively to other barns I've boarded at, our barn doesn't have much mud and the grass pasture she's in doesn't seem to have any. I don't know if her owners come out and do anything with her, I assume not, since she's on retirement board. So, the un-groomed horse with long feathers on her feet on course post-hayed pasture grass has scratches. I kinda assume she came with them to be quite frank, but it wasn't noticed until she arrived and now she's getting daily treatments for it. It is possible that the combination of the course grass and morning dew could have caused the scratches as well.

For some reason I'm often asked if Rose gets scratches. She does have three white socks, so I can see why people assume that I must be an expert on the topic. Oddly, I have become very knowledgeable on the subject, but not because I've ever had to deal with scratches. I've become knowledgeable on the topic because everyone asks me about it all the time.

The reality behind it though, is that Rose has never had scratches. Nor has any horse that I've ever owned or leased. It was never a concern of mine in Oregon, because she lived in a gravel dry lot with no mud. This meant her feet got wet from the rain, but not muddy. Plus our part of Oregon was very humid, so it was damn near impossible for anything to ever dry out and crack. However, when we moved to Montana it was mud season, and she went directly into a gross paddock with a foot of mud. Regardless of the mud, it's very very dry here all year round. The muddy paddock only lasted one month however, before I couldn't take it any longer and her tiny Morgan mare paddock mate was beating the living tar out of her. At that time scratches became the topic of the month as well. Since I knew very little about it I did all the research on it that I could, talked to anyone that knew anything, and put a plan into action to avoid her getting scratches. That being said, I haven't a clue if she'd even be prone to getting them. I honestly think the white sock thing is a bit of a old wives tale. However, I generally prefer to avoid injuries/infections than having to deal with the healing process. So, without much more adieu, here is my scratches prevention technique, that has thus far worked for us.

My method to prevent scratches
Every time I ride (about 4x/week) during mud season I do the following: 

  1. Year round I keep feathers trimmed up. Not shaved, but trimmed so that there isn't' excess hair for mud to clump onto. Plus I think horses look neater with their feathers trimmed. Of course breeds like Frisians and Gypsy Vanner are excluded from that statement. Shaving the feet can cause horses to be more prone to scratches as there is less hair to protect the skin on the pastern from mud. Ironically, you'll need to shave your horses pasterns if you get scratches, but that falls under the topic of curing scratches, not preventing them.
  2. Pull horse from paddock.
  3. Take horse to wash rack and gently hose muddy feet off with warm water. Use only your finger tips to help remove mud. DO NOT brush mud off feet, ever. Brushing the pastern can cause tears in already dry skin that lays below the mud and infect the tissue with bacteria/fungus loveliness...causing scratches.
  4. Gently dry off the legs with a towel. Some people use a paper towel to avoid all possible cross contamination or re-contamination, but quite frankly I've never had an issue using a regular towel. I just wash my towels regularly and don't use them on any other horses, which is easy when you only have one horse. If you have multiple horses, taking a sharpie and writing their names on the towels is a good way to keep them separate. If a horse has scratches, make sure to use fresh towels every time...or resort to paper towels at that point.
  5. Allow leg to completely dry. This is usually when I ride. The leg must be very dry or you will end up trapping in bacteria/fungus during the next step.
  6. After the leg is clean and dry (dust it off if you rode), liberally apply diaper rash ointment to the back of the pastern and heel area. I buy aquaphor in a big tub. Desitin works great too, but it's more expensive and I've yet to find it in a tub.
  7. Return horse to paddock.
  8. Cross fingers and pray you get through the mud season with out scratches. Don't worry, your horse will make sure to get some other injury just to keep you on your toes!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

November 1, 2011

Training for the Square Halt

Monday's ride was pretty good. Rose was a somewhat silly baby in the cross ties, but her new habit of  last week, which was trying to bite me when I brush her has vanished and that is something to be thankful for. Well, that and my handy little jumping bat which helped to convince her that it was a bad idea. Under saddle, she was terrific. She's really getting the hang of the half-halts now, although at times she overreacts and halts, but I ask her to move on when she's made that mistake, and it doesn't happen too often.

Speaking of halts, they are really improving. We've been working on developing a square halt for a few months now, and all that hard work is really starting to pay off. I'd say 65% of the time when she halts now it is square, the other 35% of the time I can now say "square up" to her, apply a tiny bit of leg, and then she thinks about it and fixes her feet. It took some time for her to put all the pieces together, but with repetition and diligence she's gotten it. It's pretty darn cool! Here is how we've gotten where we are with the square halt:

How I've been training Rose for a square halt:
  1. From the trot I ask her to to halt through my seat (it is easier for the horse to halt square from the trot than the walk, as the horse is only operating of diagonal pairs of feet rather than all four individual feet).
  2. I look down or in a mirror and check all four feet.
    1. If they are square, I pat and praise Rose saying "square". I want her to associate the word square with the stance.
    2. If they are not square, I ask Rose to take a step or so forward until they are square and say "square up*". Once square I then pat and praise her saying "square". I don't ask her to square up by backing because that is a fault in a dressage test at the halt...a bad habit I don't want to start.
  3. Repeat periodically throughout our schooling session.
  4. When we are finished, and after our cooling down walk, we trot down the center line and halt at x.
  5. I look down or in a mirror and check all four feet.
    1. If they are square, I pat and praise Rose saying "square" and dismount immediately before she has a chance to move an inch. Dismounting is the ultimate reward for a good deed!
    2. If they are not square, I ask Rose to take a step or so forward until they are square and say "square up*". If she doesn't get square from the walk, I come back around down the center line and try again from the trot. Once square I then pat and praise Rose saying "square" and dismount immediately before she has a chance move an inch. Dismounting is the ultimate reward for a good deed!
*At first I didn't say "square up", I only said square when she was square. Only after she started associating the square halt with the word square did I start using "square up" to communicate verbally to her what she should do when she got it wrong.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 27, 2011

Thoughts on Riding While Pregnant

I'm not planning to ride past 20-weeks, but why? Plenty of us ride up until the labor pains come. Am I being a chicken? Nope. Do I like following doctors orders? I've never been too good at that. So why?

If my livelihood were riding and training, I likely would not be so cooperative with my OB. I am a good rider with a Velcro arse after all. If I had additional horse options I would keep riding less risky mounts past the 20-week stage and ride until I gave birth, my balance got so out of whack I couldn't do it, or my belly got too big to get on and off. However, since this is my one and only (that's the plan), and it's not my livelihood to be in the saddle, and the only horse I have to ride is an unpredictable 4-year old warmblood mare, I figure I can suck it up for 5½-months and not ride. It won't be easy of course. I will definitely be risking my mental stability by not riding. Also, the closer that 20-week mark gets (only 5½ weeks left) the more I start thinking/realizing that I may not be totally on board with doctors orders.

For anyone who has the audacity to ask me why I'm still riding, I've found that telling them my doctor said it was okay usually puts the issue to bed right away. After all, who is going to argue with doctors orders? Granted, I still don't look pregnant, so it's not really an issue as of yet. As a visiting trainer to our barn said the other day in retort to my being 4-months along "you are going to be one of those tiny pregnant women". I couldn't quite tell if it was a complement or not, but I decided to take it as one. I have after all gained 2 pounds! Anyway, even if people know I'm pregnant they don't seem to think about it. I think it's an out of sight, out of mind, sort of thing. I'm guessing that disapproving people won't really get in my business about it until I look pregnant.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 25, 2011

Good bye cold, hello winter!

I woke this morning to 25ºF temperatures and frost covering everything. I was excited by the frosty temperatures, as it means snow and winter are finally on the way.  Call me crazy, but I love winter. I love frozen ground and lack of mud. I love the sun shining off the glittering snow. I love sweaters and hot chocolate. I love skiing and snowball fights. Most of all, I love winter in Montana. Now granted, if I didn't have an indoor arena, I might have more issues with winter, but as I have an indoor to ride in, I take great delight in the change of the seasons.

Rose...learning to winter like a Montana horse

Maximum Oregon winter coat length...keep on growing!
My cold has finally gone away, so I can breathe, function, and ride once again. Yesterday I headed to the barn to find a very fluffy Rose munching away on her hay pile. She skeptically watched me muck her paddock, while not moving an inch. Normally she follows me around and sniffs my wheelbarrow.  All I can imagine is that she focusing all her energy on growing more hair. Currently she's at her maximum Oregon winter coat. It is my hope that she will turn into a massive woolly mammoth before the real cold weather arrives. If not, I guess we'll have to deal with blankets. Normally I clip her, and do the blanket routine all winter, but since I won't be riding her past November my plan has been to leave her fuzzy and naked. We shall see.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 19, 2011

Darn Cold

My dear sweet husband brought home a cold virus last week, and regardless of all my best attempts to not get it, I've been suffering from full on cold symptoms since Sunday. This of course has kept me from the barn the past two days. In denial, I did drag myself there on Monday to ride, and Rose was a good girl and we worked a bit on our half-halts. However, once Tuesday rolled around I was in full on tissue box couch mode.

The only thing worse than having a cold is being pregnant and having a cold. This means no drugs to ease the symptoms, and let me tell you, it sucks! Sucks big time. There are only so many hot showers and mugs of hot water and lemon one can drink to ease the symptoms. I'm hoping that I'm over the hump as my sneezing seems to have slowed down this afternoon. I feel the count down clock ticking away every day I don't ride as every day December 1st gets closer and closer. I have aspirations to ride tomorrow, or at the very least make it to the barn and longe my girl.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 17, 2011

Yes, I'm PREGNANT and I'm riding my horse!

How's that for a sensational post title?

You may have been wondering why my blogging got a little sparse and my adventures got a bit tame this fall. That's because in early August we happily found out, after a year of trying, that I was pregnant! I'm currently at 13-weeks (4th month) along and this is my first pregnancy. It's pretty exciting, but at the same time a little nerve racking. Of course I found out when I was only 3-weeks pregnant, because apparently I am a great HCG hormone producer. I immediately became freaked about about the controversial complications that come along with the combination of being a riding addict and pregnant. Also, the fact that it took so long to get pregnant had me worried about loosing it during every stride of sitting trot or spook. As a result, in the first few weeks I irrationally cut back on my riding and cancelled my fall showing and hunting plans. I also stopped exposing Rose to any new things that might pose a falling risk.

Morning Sickness
So far, I have not suffered from anything remotely related to morning sickness. It is a big relief to not have to dismount mid-ride and vomit all the time. I know that I'm in the minority and I count myself very lucky in this regard! Oddly, I've spoken to a few equestrians who all said they never had morning sickness and rode through their pregnancies. Maybe there is a connection there...and riding is actually good for pregnant women? Research paper anyone? I'm sure every doctor in the USA would cringe!

When to Stop
I know that many equestrians ride right up until the day they give birth and prior to actually getting pregnant that was what I always imagined that I'd do. However, regardless of how mature Rose is most of the time she remains an unpredictable 4-year old. For instance, recall our recent longeing incident? I was 10 weeks along at the time, and it definitely opened my eyes to few good realizations. I'd never heard of a pelvic girdle before, but at that moment as I lay face down in the sand with a bloody elbow, I was really happy to know that the baby was still protected by it! Had I been further along it could have been a bad situation. I realized then that Rose just isn't the right horse to ride long term during pregnancy. Transversely, I don't want to give her a full year off either. I don't think that I could physically or mentally handle that, and she likes having a job to do. So what should I do? This is a question I asked myself a lot in the beginning. I came to the conclusion that I would allow myself to wuss out come winter and stop when it got too cold to ride comfortably...or maybe abide by doctor's orders.

No More Jumping
Regardless of my nerves of steel and riding addiction, I did stopped jumping Rose when I was around 5 weeks pregnant. She was doing well and I didn't want to take any chances with her suddenly deciding to stop at fences. Plus it was getting really tempting to put the jumps up...and teaching her to jump bigger would likely be a BAD idea while pregnant. If she were more experienced with jumping I would likely still be jumping her.

The Dreaded Doctor Visit
I was looking forward to our first 8-week ultrasound and seeing if there was really something in there. Sure enough, there is a healthy little "peanut" in there waving it's stubby hand. It certainly looked like it was practicing a dressage salute to me! However, I was greatly dreading the "I am addicted to riding horses and I turn into a sucky person without my fix" conversation with my OB. I fretted over nothing. It turns out I have an awesome and understanding doctor who was happy that I voluntarily stopped jumping. As such, she threw me a bone and said that I could absolutely keep riding until I am 20-weeks along without any argument from her. That means I can ride until the beginning of December, coincidentally when the cold season arrives. Since Rose is due for her 4-year old vacation this winter anyway that works out well. She'll just get to relax for a few months longer than originally planned. It does however mean, 5½-months of no riding (including the 6-week post-baby recovery). That's a thought that doesn't sit to well with my "riding fix", but I figure I can still sort of get my fix by spending the time honing Rose's groundwork and teaching her a few pointless but highly entertaining tricks. Although after that longeing situation, I am re-thinking ground work. Maybe we'll just stick grooming until baby is born?

The Husband
So, what about the other half's opinion on my continuing to ride? I know that many non-horsey husbands and family members make foolish requests that their baby carriers immediately stop riding "those dangerous animals". Like we haven't already given up all the fun vices of life, not to mention just some basics (I very much miss roast beef sandwiches, sushi, and oil painting...acrylics just aren't the same), so why not just pile one more on the heap? That is just adding insult to injury (or pregnancy) if you ask me. Lucky for me, I am blessed with a non-horsey husband who fully appreciates how horses keep me "sane" and from day one has encouraged me to keep riding. Best husband in the whole world! 

Anyway, that's my big news that I've been dying to share with you all for months now. Fear not however, unless there is an interesting topic that pertains to training/riding Rose while I'm pregnant, I won't be boring you with discussions of onesies and organic diapers. First and foremost, this blog is and will remain about Rose and our training adventures.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 14, 2011

Developing real Half-halts

Somewhere along the way Rose graduated from learning the rough and ready basics of getting started to refinement. That's where we are now in my opinion. She knows fundamentally how to go, stop, change direction, etc. but now she needs to learn how to do it all in a balanced and refined manner.

In our lesson with trainer C yesterday we started working on half-halts. I've been aware for a long time that our half-halts didn't really exists and were more of a "hey, slow the hell down for just one second" whilst using lots of hand kinda thing. I was delighted that by the end of our lesson Rose was really listening to half-halts from my seat and making tiny incremental changes as asked. She had a lovely balanced trot, with a nice slow rhythmic tempo, and we made lots of little half-halts through the gate. It is so fun to work with Rose when she "gets" it. She's so proud of herself that it is just adorable. In addition she is so smart that she hangs onto everything she just learned. I know when I go out to ride her today that those half-halts will still be there, and I full intend to keep working on them for a while.

So what did we do?
  1. Starting out trotting we did trot-walk transitions entirely from my seat and NO HANDS. Luckily I did teach Rose a while back to walk and halt entirely from my seat, so this was old news to her.
  2. Next I'd start to ask for the walk, but then push her on into a tiny trot right at the apex of the downward transition, only using my seat...again NO HANDS.
  3. Once she figured that out, then we were able to just ask for the half-halt within the gate, rather than asking for the walk. Once she'd half-halt, I'd ask her to supple and stretch through her neck more accepting a long contact (almost stretchy-trot) and ask for slightly more forward trot. Anytime she'd start to rush forward I asked for a half-halt immediately. The result was a beautiful even tempo trot that felt like heaven!
  4. Finally we implemented this a few times at the canter until she got it, and then we ended on a good note when she gave a beautiful half-halt in the canter.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 11, 2011

Rose's barefeet get a trim and we think about Andrea & Gogo

As I awoke this morning to a cloudy drizzly fall day, I was reminded of mid-winter in Portland. I shrugged off the dreariness, content in the knowledge that unlike in Portland, the mountain storm would soon pass and the sun would return. I layered up in some warm and waterproof clothing and tamed the excitement bubbling up within me as I headed to the barn. Rose was due for her 4-week trim this morning, something which I always look forward too. Standing in the cross-ties, I soaked in the morning hustle and bustle of our little barn and happily chatted away with my farrier about how good Rose's bare-feet were doing and I paused for a moment and quietly thought about Andrea and Gogo.

Andrea's blog; Eventing-a-Gogo was one of the first barefoot performance blogs I came across when I decided to try and keep Rose barefoot. Never having had a barefoot horse before, I knew almost nothing about it. I learned much from Andrea's trials and tribulations over the years and her knowledge of barefoot eventing. Without having stumbled upon her blog, I might have long ago succumbed to the "traditional" way of doing thing and have put shoes on Rose. Rose who is in full work and is completely sound on her rock hard awesome bare feet. So, I'd like to let Andrea know that she and Gogo are in our thoughts today, and we are ever so thankful that their blog came into our lives when it did. What Andrea is going through today is one of the hardest parts of horse (pet) ownership. Regardless that we try to do the most humane and "right" thing for our animals, when the moment comes, it is our hearts that break with the loss of a friendship that we are forever saying goodbye to.

Hug your horse today!

post signature

October 6, 2011

Subtle Transitions

I have been working on subtle transition cues with Rose ever since our last lesson. It is amazing the change not only in the quality of hack but in her attitude as well. She is transitioning to the trot with the tiniest flexion of my thigh muscles, and the canter as well. No leg pressure needed. In turn our downward transitions are improving as well. I'm using more seat, however subtle, and much less hand. More or less, I'm just thinking the transition I want, and she's giving it to me! As a result she is much quieter and is using her hind end nicely and is stretching down and into contact. All of this is without spurs by the way. She's a super sensitive horse, so I've never really used spurs with her. However, I didn't realize she was capable of being this sensitive. Previously she'd go around behind the vertical and heavy on the forehand, tearing my arms off and knocking me off balance. It is so much easier to focus on my position when I'm not fighting an 1100lb horse for an hour.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

October 3, 2011

Dressage Reining? Yes we can!

This past weekend was my team's first IHSA show of the season, and I was really pleased with the caliber of our riders, especially given the complete lack of recognition and funding from the University.  I have got to work on changing that around. But I digress, the kids did very well and it was fun to watch the western portion. When I rode IHSA on the East Coast we only had a Hunt Seat team. I found it interesting that the western horsemanship position is very similar to dressage. Aside from that, rail classes are rail classes and there isn't much difference between the hunt seat rail classes and the western, except for the blingy western outfits. Now the reining class, that was interesting to watch. I wanted desperately to hop on one of those horses and do a big fast, small little, quarter line canter and sliding stop. Ah, but I was coaching not competing. Maybe I'll throw my hat in and do it Alumni reining next year.

As I was inspired by the reining at the show, I thought to myself "I can do that, Rose can do that, and I'm pretty sure my dressage saddle can do that". So, today I gave it a go. After a nice warm up working on our balance and transitions I decided to mix things up for Rose and do some simple reining patterns. After all, she already knows figure eights and simple changes. The big change was going from halt to canter, and of course those turn on the haunches. Guess what though? She loved it. I let her stretch long and low and canter her little bum off. She had no problem going from halt to canter and nailed all the transitions. Our sliding stop was definitely more of a trot to halt dressage transition, and our turn on the haunches is rusty, but we got them anyway. It was such fun! I can only imagine how exhilarating it would be to do on an actual reining horse.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 30, 2011

2nd Anniversary

Two years ago today a couple of good friends and a stock trailer helped me bring Rose home. It was a wet dreary fall day in Oregon. Today it is a beautiful sunny HOT fall day in Montana! It's amazing how quickly two years have gone by, and how much has happened and changed in both of our lives since. All good stuff by the way! As frustrated as I might get at times in our training, it impresses me how far Rose has come only being under saddle for a year and a half and how much we've accomplished in that time. Despite her occasional baby mare "dumb-blood" antics she is a pretty smart and willing cookie. I am lucky to own such a mare. Below is a before and after photo of when I first brought her home and one from this week. Enjoy!

October 3rd, 2009

September 27, 2011
Unfortunately most of the photos came out blurry, due to some camera issues. This was the least blurry photo of the bunch, although not the best in regard to conformation (ie. her head and neck position...not that it's good in the first photo either). Hopefully we can re-take them next week and get some better photos.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 29, 2011

Mystery swelling

I have more or less recovered from our longeing incident on Monday, although I make sure to avoid doing anything that remotely puts me in front of Rose. Unfortunately when I went out to ride on Tuesday she had some swelling on her RH pastern so I cold hosed her, longed her and did not ride. She didn't appear lame on it at all, and there was very little heat, so I probably could have ridden but decided to play it safe. It appeared to me that she must have whacked herself on a fence post or something as the swelling was only on the outside along her canon bone. Yesterday evening I threw on jeans and cowboy boots and went out to check on her leg (our day off). The swelling was gone and she seemed in good spirits. Of course I didn't have my riding clothes on or with me. So she had a second day off. I'm hoping this afternoon the swelling is still gone and we can get back to work and get something productive out of this week.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 27, 2011

Flash-back to 2010

I have been away for about a week, so Rose got some time off. Apparently she forgot she's a trained horse. So, I decided to longe her before our ride yesterday. Then suddenly we had a flash-back from 2010.

I thought I had posted about that, but it appears I didn't. I believe it happened before I started this blog. Basically back in early 2010 I was hosing Rose's muddy feet off while holding her by her lead rope. Somehow she managed to step on some plastic corrugated pipe that was in her vicinity, which spooked her, and she knocked me over and ran straight over the top of me. I don't recall if I had a helmet on at the time or not. She did manage to avoid stepping on me at least, which was certainly a good thing.

So what happened yesterday? Rose was well mannered and relaxed in the cross ties, regardless I thought it would be wise to longe her to loosen up her muscles if not burn off some extra steam. All groomed and tacked up we headed to the indoor arena. Just as I had run the longe line through her bit and over her pole, and was about to snap it to the far bit, she suddenly bolted forward, knocking me over and going about 30 feet before she stopped. There was absolutely nothing to spook about. In my opinion her action was all attitude. The unsnapped longe line simply slipped loose from the bit and the worse that came of me was a skinned elbow and hitting the dirt. Again, she managed to not step on me at all. This time I did have my helmet on though! So, no harm done really, but it certainly reminded me that regardless of her general good behavior, I still shouldn't trust her as much as I have started too. Basically I was lucky, and I seem to say that far too often with her. After her little stint, a rather guilty and remorseful looking Rose got a good workout on the longe with side reins and then a thoroughly tiring dressage school.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 20, 2011

Who's idea was it to keep her barefoot?

I don't know why, but for some reason Rose being barefoot is more of a novelty in Montana than it was in Oregon when I was around dressage people 24/7. I guess that shows my own stereotypes about "western people". Apparently it's just as weird to western riders in my area for a horse to be barefoot as it is in the hunter circuit. Odd, because I always thought it was common for western horses to be barefoot (that would be my stereotype). So far, dressage people have been the most accepting of it without looking at me as though I have three eyes. Although she is barefoot, I don't preach "mustang rolls" and "natural hoof trimming". I just have a good farrier that does a nice balanced trim, doesn't mess with her frog, and cleans up the edges. So, where exactly is that third eye of mine? I'm still looking and don't see it...or out of it!

Anyway, I've noticed that at some point since moving back to Montana I started getting defensive when people comment on her bare feet. When the question was posed to me recently it was meant as a complement, although my immediate reaction was to be defensive. A very nice gal at our new barn was simply curious about why/how I'd managed to keep her barefoot, who trims her, and thought it was great. Apparently she's aware of all the "it must be shod" mentality in our town and gave me kudos for sticking to my guns and not giving into pressure. It's nice to know that there are a few people around that have no issues with a perfectly sound barefoot sport horse.

Speaking of feet, Rose's feet are also very happy about our new barn. Every single hoof has shed it's frog and the very hard dry cracked solar horn she's been sporting all summer. She'd had rather ugly looking Jabba the hoof frogs going on ever since we moved to Montana. I figure that was partially due to the major environmental change (it's very dry here) as well as suddenly standing in a stall 8 hours a day. Now that she's walking around all day again her hooves are letting go of all that gross stuff and beautiful smooth frogs and horn have once again emerged. It is truly amazing what can change in 3 weeks. I even struggled to get the girth tight on our usual setting today. Looks like we might be letting it out again at long last!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 19, 2011

Upping the work load

After discussing our current work load with trainer C, I've decided to up Rose's workouts to 4 days per week. She's definitely been enjoying having a break, and is finally gaining back the weight that she lost during her spring growth spurt. I'm surprised that she's gained weight so quickly after only 3 weeks at the new barn, after trying all summer to get it back on her.

My theories are thus:
1. She's happier so she's less anxious and not burning extra calories.
2. Her pasture mate had been running her off her feed at our old barn.

I'm guessing theory #2 is the most likely, as Rose is actually eating a little bit less hay (although she is being fed a lot of hay) than she was at our old barn (maybe the new hay is better?) and during the last month at our old barn Rose started coming in from turnout with missing hair and bite marks all over her hocks and rump. In the last few weeks she also started becoming sour in her stall toward her previously great pasture mate and they had to move her pasture mate to a different daytime stall. My guess is she'd always been getting run off her feed, but finally started making a stand against it, hence the stall attitude? Who knows. I was never at the barn in the evening to witness dinner time in the paddock. However, now she looks nice and round again and I think we can burn an extra hour of calories without the ribs coming back.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 16, 2011

Lesson Wrap Up

We had our first lesson today since April! It was well needed, and such a treat. Apparently my dressage position has improved (as I hoped it had) and is quite decent. We worked mostly on our trot, finding a consistent forward tempo and rhythm while having Rose stretching down through her poll into contact. It was the lightest she has ever been on the bit, and I loved every moment of it! Definitely an "ah-ha" moment. After that we worked on our trot/canter transitions that have been irking me for a while now. I thought our big issue was the downward transition, but apparently that's linked to our upward transition, during which Rose tends to throw up her head and hallow her back and GO. So, we worked on asking for a nice quiet but forward trot and then a very subtle canter transition, while keeping her stretching down and accepting contact. In the end we had some rather nice transitions both up and down! Lots of homework to keep working on, but I am invigorated again and feel like we have a focused direction to work in once again.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 15, 2011

MT Brand Inspection

Rose is finally, officially a Montana resident and can now move freely in and out of the state. I had been putting off doing her brand inspection, mostly due to accident. I simply put it at the bottom of my moving priority list and then conveniently forgot all about it. However, this week I decided to call the State Department of Livestock and get it done. This afternoon a very awesome old cowboy named Don met me at the barn. He looked over all my meticulously filed paperwork in Rose's binder (well, just her breed registration, health certificate, and coggins) and in a matter of 20 minutes or so, he handed me a lovely laminated card with her lifetime brand inspection on it and I handed him a $48 check.

Back side of card. Front side is a text description of Rose.

I was surprised by how simple the process was, especially since I was sweating bullets about the fact that I was supposed to have gotten it done within 30-days entering the state. Ugh. Like I said, it was low on my priority list as I wasn't anticipating moving her around or showing all summer. Regardless, I always suffer from massive amounts of anxiety when it comes to dis-obeying authority, so I was thinking up every thing that might go wrong or that I might get a fine, etc. But that was all for not. There was no issues with me having gotten it done late. However, had I known how easy it was and that such a cool cowboy would show up I would have gotten it done back in April! I love old timers and their stories. Definitely something to aspire to in the next 40 years.

Tomorrow is our first lesson since April (last weeks had to be rescheduled due to client meetings), so I am very excited. Rose was great under saddle today (and has been since our arrival - she seems to love her new home) so hopefully we will have a repeat tomorrow, and there will of course be a full report!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 12, 2011

A new height

A measuring stick has finally come back into my life, so I put it to use today, and I am happy to state that Rose is a SOLID 16.1h now. I have a feeling she's definitely going to hit 16.2h by the time she's done, which would be just perfect. Right now we are playing catch up from her latest growth spurt and trying to get her nice and fat again before winter arrives. In our part of the world, that isn't far away. We've had a delightful summer though, and so far an amazing fall Indian summer, so I can't complain about the arrival of winter.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 8, 2011

Rabicano Ticking

I thought I'd post a little update on Rose's rabicano expression. She definitely has a lot more ticking this year than last and she will keep getting more every year (click here for last years article). The ticking is much more noticeable in person than in photographs, due to her shiny coat. This summer was the first time anyone else has ever really noticed it and asked me if she was "roaning".

Here's the current pic and a comparison from last year:
August 2011

May 2010
Equine Genetics Rant:
In case anyone is interested, horses don't "roan". Roans are born roan and stay that way, and you'd be hard pressed to find a roan warmblood. When a horse starts having white ticking show up every year and get more and more white, it means they carry the rabicano gene, as Rose does (click here for rabicano pics). Rose is not the most expressive rabicano out there, but I do wonder just how much white she will end up with. Some rabicanos are pretty darn cool looking, and if I ever bred her I might just look for an Oldenburg stallion that expresses the gene (in addition to talent, etc.) and hope for a foal with a really great skunk tail or max expression. For instance Rose's sire Gatsby does have a small amount of ticking (her coloring comes from Gatsby's side and dates back to the TB Birdcatcher), as does the stallion Escapade and a few others.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature

September 7, 2011

All's well

Rose is doing great at the new barn, and is settling in well. She was a bit hot with her new surroundings before our ride on Monday, however today she was more like her usual self. She's working really well in the new indoor arena too, NO SPOOKY SPOTS! I'm very happy about that, as we can actually get straight to work rather than spending 20 minutes desensitizing/fighting over a spooky spot before every ride. Big relief. Also, we are having a lesson on Friday! First one since April, when we moved back to Montana. I can't wait.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

post signature


Related Posts with Thumbnails