September 30, 2013

Hugo Pics

As I mentioned earlier Hugo is a supposed five year old OTTB. He is tattooed but it is really faded, so looking it up hasn't happened yet. EB adopted him from a horse rescue who got him from the loose horse sale at a local auction house. He was very malnourished, but other wise a sweet heart. It's unknown why his previous owners who got him from the track dumped him at auction, but apparently all they used him for was trail riding. Reading between the lines my best guess is that he was a hard keeper and if all they did was walk on trail rides and he bolted and dumped/scared them then those two things would probably be enough for them to dump him. It would be great to get a read on that tattoo to try and fill in more info on his history. So that's all we know about him. He's a great find though and has a lot of potential, so I am really excited for EB and to see where they go.

Conformation photo. Built to jump not just to run!

On the go.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 28, 2013

Hugo learns to free jump

When I first met Hugo last weekend, EB casually mentioned that she wanted to free jump him to see if he can jump and how well. A plan was quickly hatched to free jump him this afternoon. With the help of EB's boyfriend E, we quickly got a shoot set up and went about introducing it to Hugo. It seems to me like he's never seen one before, which is always a good sign with a young horse that has a mysterious back ground. It tells me that it's unlikely he's ever jumped, or if he has it hasn't been anything big or strenuous. After watching him go through and figure out how the gymnastic line works I feel fairly certain that he's never jumped anything.

Hugo figuring it out. 2'3" vertical. Nice knees and well planted hind end!

I like to "teach" horses to free jump, rather than just chase them through the shoot. Sure, if you are only ever going to put them through the shoot once, video, and take pictures and never do it again, then it does save time to just force them through it. However, these horses inevitably have a rotten experience, thus making it harder the second time. It's pretty evident when they start running out, tearing down the shoot, and all around don't learn a dang thing except to avoid the shoot.

So how do I "teach" them to do the shoot and "enjoy it"? The jump set up is as follows: ground pole, 9' distance to 2' exe, 18' distance to 2' vertical, 21' distance to 2'3" vertical (eventually this would become an oxer and made larger as the horse becomes better at jumping). Our assumption was that Hugo had never been through a jump shoot, so we set it up, put all the jumps down leaving ground poles and walked him through it. After he came out we gave him a treat. We repeated this a couple time until he got the idea that going through meant treat. This also provides the bonus that the horse doesn't gallop around the arena afterward, but stops and seeks out the treat person. Then slowly, one trip through at a time we put up the jumps to small ex's, and then graduated the final two jumps to small verticals until the final jump was a whole 2'3".

Hugo did great and caught on. The first few trips were funny to watch since he didn't really know what to do with his legs, but he figured it out quickly and by the end had it down and finished on a really good note. EB was very happy and we all had quite a bit of fun, including Hugo. As for E, he is quite the curious fellow and had a fun time learning all about free jumping and was very helpful. There is certainly good horse hubby potential in that one. Wink wink EB.
Family pic. EB, Hugo, and E
EB will be out of town for the month of October, so I am going to try and ride the boy twice a week if I can swing it. We shall see.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 27, 2013

Return of the pick up rider

It's been four years since my last regular gig as a pick up rider. Four years since I regularly rode a different horse than Rose. It had also been one month since I last rode Rose. One LONG month of "jogging". Something needed to change, and something did.

A while back I mentioned that EB who used to hack Rose for me a couple days a week bought a rescue horse, and sadly I lost my spare help. However, EB needs a hand with her boy, so I will be riding him once a week for her. I wish I could ride more, but really that is all I have time for right now.

So, this past Wednesday I hurried to EB's barn in a race to beat the fall thunderheads that were threatening to open up and pour down a deluge of rain. I found a rather chill Hugo in his pen, having just finished dinner. Hugo is a 16.2h five year old bay OTTB. His body condition was really poor when she first got him, but he's put on a good 100lbs, and has probably another 100lbs to go and definitely needs muscle and a top-line. However he is a very chill OTTB and five year old in general. He happily and quietly stands tied for long periods of time, and most days does not need a longe before being ridden.  Really, all he needs are riding miles and a formal non-track education.

That means back to green baby 101. After getting a feel for him we worked on leg yielding, lots of circles/serpentines/change of directions and walk-trot transitions. He is super willing after he's tested you out and realizes that yes, the monkey on his back means business. He's also smart and figures out what is being asked of him quickly and tries really hard to do the right thing.

We had a great ride and finished up right before the downpour started. I have a feeling that I'm going to have a fun time hacking Hugo and seeing him develop. I'm so happy for EB as I think she's found a really sweet boy with a lot of potential. As for me, I came home with a huge smile on my face and a total post horse fix high. Just what the doctor ordered.

Happy trails and swooshing tails! 

September 20, 2013

The Grieving Process of Selling a Horse

When Rose first left I didn't really feel any one way about it. The only sensation I noticed was that of stress relief and a sudden awareness of a lot more time in my day. This was a bit odd, as it had gotten to the point that I only went to the barn twice a week. Clearly, although I wasn't at the barn that often, I had pleantly of horse "stuff" taking up time in my mind, of course my blog, etc. This was all (except the blog) suddenly gone. I had A LOT more time on my hands.

This started out great. I began jogging four times a week. The house got cleaned, the dog got A LOT of attention. I finally had time to venture forth into the world of water bath canning for the first time ever. This was spurred on by my sudden free time that allowed me to attend the final few local farmers markets of the season. They are of course held on Saturday mornings, when I would normally be at the barn. I made pickles, lemon confit, and for once I beat the deer to my rose bushes and made rose hip jelly (this is quite a feat let me tell you). It was a splendid and productive two week period.

Then, I got a really unpleasant cold.

Now I am better, but unfortunately sitting around on one's duff for a week leaves a lot of thinking time. All my energy for pursuing fun new adventures went out the window immediately. Any and all strength I could must up was expended to ensure the small human is fed, changed, loved, and played with. So I got to think, a lot.

I have entered the, I miss my horse stage. I'm not sad, it was still the best decision for everyone for her to move onto a new home at this time in my mommy hood life. And a great new home at that. But I miss her. There is definitely a horse void in my life. Hopefully jogging will fill it? Yeah right.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 17, 2013

Rambo Fly Protector Sheet...update.

Last winter I bought a Rambo Fly Protector sheet for Rose. It was a steal of a deal and I hoped with fingers crossed that it would hold up to the hype and solve the issues I've had with other fly sheets. I did a little first impression review at the beginning of the summer here:

Our last day together.
Sadly, I completely forgot to take a full body photo of her wearing it before she left. But you can see it in the above photo. Regardless, I couldn't have been happier with it's performance and how well it held up. Thus it shall remain among my prized possessions as I do plan on having another large horse at some point in the not too far distant future.

Here were the issues I've had in the past that this sheet fixed:

  1. Where I board they don't take fly sheets off, just winter blankets. So it needed to hold up to 24/7 wear.
  2. It needed to not rub the hair off on the shoulder.
  3. It needed to protect the hair at the top of the tail from being rubbed due to annoying late summer mystery flies.
  4. It needed to actually do it's job so that she wouldn't loose half her tail again swatting at flies.
  5. It needed to not rip or tear easily.
  6. It needed to feel comfortable (oh so silky to the touch).
  7. It needed to make a mostly black horse feel not so dark in the hot summer heat or cause her to sweat.

These sheets are a pretty penny, but there is not one tear that needs to be mended on this sheet after three solid months of 24/7 wear by Miss Thing. In fact, one quick wash and it looks almost new again! Granted she had finally passed her blanket destruction days of her youth, but she could on occasion still be rough on things if she gets bored puts her mind to it. However, I have to say that I am solidly a Rambo blanket convert now. Let the bargain hunting continue...

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 11, 2013

Tack For Sale

I decided that my tack sale should have it's own post, so here it is. I'll keep it updated as things sell.

Saddle For Sale:
Beautiful and comfortable 17.5" wide (5.5") Cardanel Capri close contact jumping saddle for sale. These are handmade in England and retail new for $2,500. The saddle features a spring tree, wide parallel gullet, wool flocking, and a 13" flap measured from the stirrup keepers down to the bottom of the flap. Serial number 402050302. The color is Australian Nut and had not been darkened with oil, although the saddle has been conditioned. This is a very comfortable and lovely saddle. Saddle only; saddle pad, stirrups, leathers, and girth NOT included. More info on Cardanel saddles here: Asking $1200 (free shipping).

  • (New) Rambo Wug Turnout 200g (Mid weight) in Navy/Silver, 81" - $250
  • Schneiders Stable Blanket, Navy, 78" - $50
  • Schneiders Dura-Mesh Original Fly Sheet: Size 80". Has one missing leg strap D ring - $25
  • White Cotton Sheet, 74" - $15

Dover shaped saddle pad - $5
Roma Fleece Half Pad - $10 SOLD
1-Contoured Baby Pads with Black Piping - $5 ea
2-Square White Baby Pads - $5ea

Bits ($10 ea):
5" Loose Ring Snaffle
5" Egg Butt Snaffle SOLD
5" Copper Egg Butt Snaffle SOLD
5" Full Cheek Snaffle
5" Hollow Egg But Snaffle

(New) M. Toulouse Shaped Girth w/Sheepskin: 48" - $95.
Paris Tack Fleece Lined Overlay Girth: 46" - $40.
Ovation™ Airform Dressage Girth: 26". Some loose stitching at billet keepers - $15.

Leather and Cotton Web Halter, Hunter Green: Horse Size. Some damage on end of crown piece - $20
(New) Likit Tongue Twister and 3 Likit Re-fills - $45
(New) Likit Paddock - $15
Wrangler Fly Mask: Horse Size: $5
Black Leather Wrapped Plastic Roller Ball Spurs w/leather straps: $25
Chrome Roller Ball Spurs w/leather straps: $25

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 6, 2013

Spring Cleaning & Tack For Sale

I love getting things organized and getting rid of things I do not use and likely will not have a use for again. Once Rose left, and all my barn things came home, it was time to clean out the trailer and organize all of my tack and equipment. First I like to assess everything at once. This requires locating everything and pulling it all out where I can meticulously go through it. To be honest, I am overly anal about being organized, so a lot of my things were already organized, but just needed to be gone through for the gleaning and re-organizing process.

The loot (not pictured is a closet in my home office that stores my saddles and girth):
Lots of stuff in and on the trunks to the left, piles of blankets to wash/repair and trash cans for feed filled with buckets, grain scoops and feed pans.

Messy tack room that hasn't been cleaned for (sigh) two years.

A tower of tack, horse vacuum, and equipment in tubs hiding in a corner of the garage and also exploding into the local vicinity.

 The final results:
Everything except the dirty blankets neatly stored and tubs labeled with detail lists of contents. The tubs will go up high on storage shelves and only contain things that I need once I have another horse. Sadly, I have a feeling that they will be collecting dust for a while. The trunks hold my riding gear, which I still plan on accessing regularly. 

Swept, dusted, and vacuumed tack room.

Dusted and swept out trailer (forgot the before pic, sorry. Basically it just had lots of hay dust and fine manure remnants).

My 8 (turning 9) year old English shadow Shepherd Bourke. He's kind of taken a back burner in the last four years, but is now being once again tortured spoiled with regular baths and constant grooming. I imagine he'll be a bit more a feature in my blog in the foreseeable future. So everyone, meet Bourke!

That's it. Spring cleaning galore. I've also ended up with a nice list of things for sale, which are featured on my next post here:

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 4, 2013

She arrived...

I got the call Tuesday afternoon that Rose had arrived at her new Colorado home. She traveled very well, not a bruise or a scrape, and was settling in nicely. That's not news to me. That's always been par for the course with Rose. She's always been quiet and relaxed in the trailer. The only difficulty they had was loading her in the trailer the next morning. Not much trouble by any means, she was happy to put her front feet on the trailer but needed a little dressage whip encouragement from behind to get all the way on. Her new owner didn't seem much bothered by this, I think it was more of an informational tid bit during our conversation than anything else.

Given that Rose was being asked to get on yet another new/different trailer after a very long haul the day before, and this time by someone she doesn't know, I'm not to surprised she was reluctant to hop straight on. Once they get to know each other a bit more and Rose gets hauled around more frequently she'll be back to hopping straight on the trailer again I'm sure.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 2, 2013

The Long Goodbye

I got to the barn early this morning. I wanted to have enough time for Rose to eat, groom her, and just have some relaxing hang out time before she left.

That did not go as planned.

When I arrived at the barn Rose was happily munching on some hay that the barn owner (BO) had just threw her and her paddock mate. All was well with Rose and she was certainly enjoying the sunshine. However, a rather distraught looking BO started running my way as she headed for the barn to call the vet. Her 23 year old gelding was down in the pasture. I made sure that Rose was situated and then went to help the BO. Her gelding was not colicing and his hind left looked oddly contracted and despite trying he could not get up or put any weight on that leg. He was laying with that leg against the ground so we couldn't get a good look at it. I hung out with the BO in the field until her husband and the vet arrived. Then I got Rose's things quickly organized, groomed her and threw her in a foaling stall with some hay and returned to the field with the others.

The diagnosis was a broken tibula, and it had happened rather recently. Not that that makes it any better, but at least the poor old man hadn't been suffering for long. Bears have been coming down from the highland recently so they may have spooked him. Perhaps he ran into a golfer hole? It's rather hard to guess how it could happen. Following the diagnosis, the rather devastated BO made the decision to put him down. I don't think that there would have been any other option regardless of his age. I'm fairly certain that healing a broken tibula would be a monumental task in an equine patient. At this point the hauler still hadn't arrived, and I was glad as it was nice, quiet, and peaceful at the barn. However, the moment that the vet injected the old man I saw the hauler's trailer turn down the drive.

Quickly I took my leave and headed down the driveway to stop the trailer for a few minutes so that there would be less chaos for the BO to deal with during the final few moment's of her geldings life. Luckily the hauler is actually a vet as well so they completely understood what was going on and were fine with waiting.

After it was all over we packed up Rose's extra feed and travel documents for her new owner and loaded her up. I was quite proud of her. She hasn't been on a trailer other than mine since she was two, and this trailer had a giant (close to 2') step up. It took a few minutes and then she got right in and got busy eating hay. I had just that quick goodbye, and then they were off down the drive headed to Colorado and I was back in the field with the BO giving a combination of condolences and goodbyes.

It was an odd morning, and certainly put things in perspective. I started out the morning a bit melancholy thinking about Rose leaving and then ended it grateful that she was alive and healthy and headed to a wonderful new home. Sometime the Universe makes its point loud and clear.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

September 1, 2013

One last day

I'm meeting the trailer that is picking up Rose tomorrow morning at 8am. As such, I decided that I would give her a bath and finish packing up her things while we were at the barn today to pick up my trunk and trailer. We had a nice afternoon and she is all shiny and clean for her long trip tomorrow.

JR having so much fun with Rose.

After her bath, JR had a blast petting Rose's nose. She kept lipping his little hand and he would squeal with glee. It was very cute to watch. A little sad too considering how good she was/is/always has been with him.

One last impromptu photo with my girl.
Anyway, it was a good day. A bit bittersweet, but sweet non-the-less. However, I best be off to bed to attempt sleep before I have wake up to an alarm (when was the last time I needed to do that?) to get up in the morning...just in case JR sleeps in. With my luck, this will be the one day he sleeps in...the one day I actually have to get up early!

Happy trails and swooshing tails!


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