March 26, 2015

Ground Work Training Goals for April

Given that I am just lightly riding Gentry at the moment I think it is prudent to work on his ground work...aka manners. Overall, he is a really gentle well behaved horse, but with every horse there are always little things that need attention.

The importance of focusing on the little issues was a lesson I learned when I decided to sell Rose. Looking at her through a potential buyer's eyes, a lot of ground work "holes" needed to be filled in. Once I realized that, I wished I had looked at her through that viewpoint from the beginning, and vowed that I would always look at my horses that way in the future.

Despite the fact that I have no intention to ever sell Gentry, I still want a perfectly well behaved horse. Horses with good ground manners are safer to be around and are more fun because you can take them places without stressing about all the things that they do that could spoil the outing. Not to mention, if the sky suddenly started falling and you had to sell your horse in a hurry it will be that much easier to find a good home.

Here is a list of the issues I plan on tacking during the month of April:

1. Pawing in the cross ties

Gentry is a solid citizen in the cross-ties. He figured them out quickly and is quite content standing in them. That is until he decides he wants a treat, or if Hugo walks past the barn door. Then the pawing starts. He quickly stops with a little reprimand, so I am not concerned that we will be able to overcome this annoying (and dusty) habit. Also, I would like to get some rubber mats for the grooming stall. That will give him less material to work with while he attempts to travel to china.

2. Girth sourness

Gentry has always been girth sour. At his previous home he was ridden in an English saddle and a western saddle. I am guessing the western saddle girth cinching is what made him sour to it. At first he would dance around for the saddle pad and the saddle as well, but with some simple training has stopped with that now. He still gets fidgety when I put on the girth though, so I will now focus on that.

3. Picking Up feet

Gentry has been less than helpful with picking up his feet. He has gotten better, but not great. Sure I could live with how he is now about it, but when I touch his tendon that foot needs to willingly get picked up right away. Someday, when he is older, I would like Junior to be able to groom and tack up Gentry independently. A kid having to fight with an 1100lb horse over picking up feet is just painful to watch. So, feet you must start jumping for joy at the sight of my hoof pick!

I think that this is enough to tackle by the end of April, and I am excited to get these little "holes" filled in and checked off the list.


March 23, 2015

More Saddle Time

The weather was beautiful on Sunday, so I just couldn't help myself and I went for another ride on Gentry. This time EB and I rode all the way down to the arena. Once we got there, my neighbor ST came to join us. She was on foot though, as she hurt her back this winter and is under doctor's orders to stay off a horse for two more weeks. Eventually ST will join us for our little rides around the hood and also help me maintain the arena in the park.

We didn't do much in the arena, as I didn't want to stress Gentry's leg too much, but EB trotted Hugo around a bit. Mostly though we all just stood around in the nice weather and chatted. I was shocked when we got home to find that we were gone for two hours! It's amazing how fast time flies when horse women sit around and talk about horse stuff. Hubs probably wouldn't consider that amazing though...

Once again I forgot to take any photos because I was just so pre-occupied by the fact that I was actually RIDING my horse! However, I have started a list of training issues that we need to work on, but that is for a future post.

Hope your Monday is off to a good start!


March 22, 2015

Green Means GO!

Yep, that is right folks. Yesterday my vet gave me the all clear to start lightly riding Gentry! So that is just what I did. I was even given the all clear to start jumping him in the fall if I want, but I think I will still wait until next winter/spring. Give that tendon a whole year to heal up.

The morning started with a nice cup of Joe and breakfast for the boys while I soaked in some deliciously warm early morning sun. Hubs and I had gotten the trailer sorted out the night before, so once EB arrived there wasn't much to do but groom the horses, load them, and be on our way. Despite not having seen the trailer since November, the boys jumped straight on the trailer and hauled perfectly there and back. My vet took a look at Gentry's leg, EB discussed joint supplements for Hugo's hocks, they both got their shots, but didn't need teeth done (yay) so we were back on the trailer and home lickety-split.

Once home, the weather was still nice so EB and I hopped on the boys and went for a leisurely walking trail ride down to the arena with the intent to ride around in the park for a while. Well, EB would ride around; I would stand there happily sitting on my horse in my tack. Sadly, once we got to the arena the mother of all wind storms blew in, so we just turned around and headed home.

Post ride...all smiles!

Regardless of the short and breezy ride, Gentry was terrific. He was the bold calm leader that Hugo needs off property. I love this horse. He is seriously my rock. I am so glad that the healing process is going well. I also got to ride him in my new saddle finally too. I am very happy with the purchase. It fits both of us really well and is nice and comfortable.

*On a side note, the vet tech that day was one of the gals that were seriously interested in buying Rose. So we had a good time catching up and oddly talked a lot about chickens. Good times!


March 19, 2015

The Waiting Game

I am patiently waiting to start working with Gentry until the vet's okay on Saturday. Seriously, this takes a lot of will power. To ease my pain I longed Hugo today for EB. He was a stinker, as expected (he's been giving EB troubles lately on the longeline), but quickly realized that I was not going to play his game and fell into line. Twenty minutes later he stared at me like I just ran over his dog or something. Clearly the Alpha Mare put him in his place. Fingers crossed he is a good boy for EB next time she is out.

He is looking awesome and very ride-able at all three gates.

In the mean time, I literally have nothing to talk about in regards to training Gentry. Not wanting to put any stress on his tendon really eliminates most things other than grooming and shoving treats in his face. So, in lieu of anything else, I give you this morning's photo spam.

Gentry hadn't yet had his morning cup of Joe.

Okay, I took a serious one too.
Working from home, and having one's horses at home, certainly has some entertaining coffee break advantages.


March 10, 2015


Itching. I am itching to get on my horse.

No, I didn't get on.
I just wanted to see how the new saddle fit him.

I know he is still recovering...growing new tendon scar tissue and all. But when I see him careening around the pasture at a full gallop with Hugo, all-the-while looking basically completely sound, it is really hard to remember that.

The weather has warmed back up to high's in the mid-50's and all the snow has melted. Things are still a bit muddy, but a few days of sunshine will take care of that. Then I plan on riding. Riding Hugo that is. EB is happy to have the extra help getting him back in shape, and riding him should alleviate some of my desire to hop on Gentry.

The boy's have their spring shots and dental work scheduled for the 21st of this month, and I will have my vet take a look at Gentry then and tell me what he thinks about when and how I can start riding him again. I've more or less decided not to ride him until April at any rate, and I will not be jumping him this year. I really want that tendon to fully heal before putting that kind of stress on it. So far though, I am really pleased to see how fast he seems to be healing up now that he is back on full turnout. Happy Happy Joy Joy.


March 4, 2015

Operation Freedom Complete!

On Sunday, I decided to put the boy's together in the dry-lot and see how they would do. I expected some rough-housing and wasn't disappointed.

First there was some of this...

then this...

and this..

and of course this...
All was well for a while despite the foolishness, which was surprisingly all instigated by Gentry and not Hugo. However, about 10-15 minutes into the bucking bronco routine I saw Gentry take a funny landing and start favoring his leg. Within an hour he was fine again, so I am thinking it has more to do with weak muscles than the tendon at this point. Does that seem plausible or am I fooling myself here?

At that point I separated them again, but let them continue to share a fence-line, assuming they got most of the silliness out of their systems. I was right about that. For the next two days they behaved very well over the fence and seemed happy just to be able to hang out over the fence.

Since all was going well, and Gentry seemed to be back to "normal" I decided to try putting them back together in the dry-lot yesterday. This time there was no crazy bucking routine. Just your expected face fighting and chasing each other off hay piles. Whew!

This morning all was well, so I decided to let them out in the big pasture this afternoon. So far so good!

Happy to have freedom to roam together again!
Fingers crossed everything continues in this direction.

And for one last final progress report (because I am sure you are all as sick of them as I am), here is what Gentry's leg wound looks like today, week 8.

Cannon Bone Wound - Week 8



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