Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not the "Best Day Ever"

I had made plans with Kim to go ride on Wednesday night.  I woke up Wednesday morning with a migraine, but managed to get my butt to work. Through out the day I considered canceling, but since my headache was getting better decided to go ahead and go.

As I was leaving work to go home, the Suburban wouldn't start, had to get a jump, I should have just accepted that sign of doom.  I am so good at talking myself out of stuff and then regretting it, and I am trying to change that, so I ignored the warning.

I figured that if I gave everyone just a little bit of food, it would make them a little less pissy about having to work before dinner.  I thought wrong. Danny was mad mad mad!  I did remember to grab the blankets this time though.

I got him saddled up and tried to get him loaded. For the first time ever he refused to go into the trailer.  I mean flat out, backing up and being a total jerk, refused. I was shocked!  I wanted to put him in the front so I could shut the divider and give him support.  But since he was being such a pain, I decided I didn't care if he had support. I tied him to the trailer and tacked up Trax. Of course Trax went right in, like he always does. Then I tried Danny again. Still a no go. Finally I had had enough! It was cold and getting dark and I wanted to get on the road.  I made him start working his butt off. It was hard on him in the driveway of crushed asphalt (which was frozen and really hard) but it was the only thing I knew to do.  One thing I know about Danny, he can get pushy and bossy, but it doesn't take too much to bring him back to where he is supposed to be.  FINALLY he loaded up.

We get to arena just as the last light faded, no cars..yes!!! I was encouraged by the thought of having the arena to ourselves. Kim pulled in right behind me.

Danny about ran me down coming out of the trailer, I made a mental note to work him on his respect issues. Trax was just Trax- to him trailering is just a part of life.

I started with working Trax, ground work, lunging, etc. He was really wanting to go so we spent a good amount of time on downward transitions. Then I did something different. I asked him to move his front end in a circle away from me, while keeping his hind in where it was.  He did good to the right, couldn't do it to the left. I settled for a few steps to the left, and called it good.

Apparently I forgot how to tack a horse on this day, because I didn't even have his bridle on all the way when I got on.  When I was asking for the lateral flex I noticed flapping buckles and had to dismount and complete the task.  I was happy with him for that, because he didn't move a muscle while I got on and off.  He was not like that when I got him. He was notorious for running off on a mount or a dismount.

RC had told me to get some spurs to help me get him off my leg. So I did. I was curious to see how he would react to them, given the harsh riding he endured in the past.  He actually didn't react badly at all. Of course I was careful to always be respectful when applying them.  I worked with trying to get him to collect like she has showed me, it was a complete and utter failure. I'm not sure who was worse. Me or him. I was trying to recall all the things she told me, but it just wasn't working.  His head was straight up most of the time. I don't know if it was because I went back to the d-ring snaffle or just because he was in a crappy mood, but I do know that it sucked.  Since I could tell I was just confusing him, I quit that exercise.

Kim was there about 10 minutes, but poor Fawn was hacking and wheezing pretty badly, so she opted to take her back home until she knew why. So now I was on my own again.

The hardest part of trying to train on my own is that I cannot see what I am doing wrong.  Couple that with not knowing what I am doing in the first place, and I can get frustrated very easily.  I decided to go with something I knew.  We trotted.  I would ask for a slow trot, and when he would take off I would stop him and back him up and then start again.  Finally I was able to ask for a nice easy trot, and get him to maintain it. We cantered a little, but I didn't want to get him too sweaty with as cold as it was outside, so we kept it brief.   We did a couple of decent side passes, and worked on some spins, but really can't seem to get the hang of those yet.  We were able to end on a positive of an easy trot and a nice try on a stop, but I wasn't feeling real good about the ride overall.

Next came Danny. I stretched him, I lunged him, I made him canter for a decent amount of time. Then I got on him.  He was a little wild at first, but pretty soon we were able to settle in to a nice postable trot. We also did some backing up to get him to lift that rib cage some.  He really wanted to run, but I decided against it.  

About that time, mother nature hit me by surprise and with a vengeance and I was totally unprepared for her. (explains the migraine from the morning) There usually is no reason to carry my purse with all those "things" a woman needs, to the arena, unless I know I am going to need them. From now on, I will take the purse no matter what, or find a place to stash some in the trailer.

Well crap! Could the night get any worse?  Well heck ya it could and it did.   As I found myself paying attention to what was going on with me, I lost my focus on Danny who took advantage of it and started to "dance" around.  It feels more like you are going to fall over, so I clamped my legs on to him for balance forgetting that I had the spurs on. Yeee Haww!  I swear I have never seen him jump so high!  I got ride off of him and rubbed his sides, to try and undo some of the mental trauma.  Poor guy never saw it coming. I felt bad, but he got over it pretty quick.

So now what, I couldn't just go home, I had two very sweaty horses (Danny especially-he is so out of shape) to cool down and dry off. I continued on with the job at hand, feeling very... uncomfortable and self conscious. 

When I first started working Danny a young couple showed up and the girl had gotten her horse out and by this time was riding him around bareback. She was cantering and just having the time of her life. Then her boyfriend got on with her and they were walking around the arena on this wonderful horse. They were holding hands as they rode together. She had dropped the reins and was guiding him with her feet as he pushed a ball around the arena. It was cute to watch, but yeah, I was a little jealous.  Sometimes I wish I had a horse that easy.

Cut to the chase, I got them cooled down and blanketed, and was ready to load up to go home, I carried both saddles out and got them put away. Took Danny first, and got a repeat performance. So I got Trax, and put him in. There was hay on the floor that he wanted so I reached down and grabbed some for him. I generally do not have to do the flat palm feeding with my horses, they are all very carefu,l as am I, but I guess I wasn't careful enough because he bit my fingertip this time.  Yes it hurts like hell. I honestly thing he was as surprised as I was because he let go immediately   I had to work Danny again to get him to load, but the work time was much less.  I was as happy as they were to head home and get them fed and put away. By time I was done, I was frozen.

I have come to realize that when it is cold like this, it is a lot of work to travel to ride with even one horse. To do so with 2 is too much on my own.  It isn't bad when I can go out to the trailer to tack down, and groom and dry off. But to have to pack everything back and forth when I am freezing...its hard. Too hard.  I can't wait to have an arena of my own to ride in.

I ended the night feeling very discouraged.  I found myself second guessing myself and my horse and wondering if Jay is right, maybe Trax is just too damaged to learn. Or maybe I am just rushing him.  I still can't help but feel if I had someone to work with me on a consistent basis with one method of training instead of several contradicting methods, we could get further.  An example is backing up. One person says to seesaw the reins just a little, another says don't. One says set the bit then tap with your heels to ask for movement, another says to just set the bit.  So I teach him one thing, and then am told to teach him different, and it messes with his head.  I feel like he wants to learn. I feel like he is trying really hard because the minute he understands what I am asking, he gives it to me without question.  For example, if I set my bit, give a very tiny see saw with my reins,and a squeeze with my legs, he will back up so smooth and fast, it is beautiful.  To him that is the cue. If I just pull back, his head goes up and he fights it and when he does finally go, it isn't pretty, because he doesn't understand. Then he gets frustrated with me.  I can't say that I blame him.

We have the halter clinic on Saturday, and then hopefully I can hook up with RC again on Sunday.  I'm not going to give up over one bad night, but I have got to find some consistent help, a real trainer to work with me, if we are going to make some real progress.

Here is a picture of Danny being angry.

More on "The Exterminator"

I posted this picture yesterday and a few people mentioned that they have never heard of The Exterminator.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia story about him, but it is not near as good as the book I had as a girl called
"Old Bones The Wonder Horse" which was illustrated by Wesley Dennis. A wonderful rags to riches story about the worlds ugliest race horse, who was able to continue racing and winning until age 9. That is pretty old for a race horse.

Also, yesterday I said that the picture of the Goldophin Arabian was illustrated by Charles Farley and I was incorrect on that. It was actually done by George Ford Morris (I was thinking Walter Farley when I said "Charles Farley, but Walter Farley of course is the Author of The Black Stallion series).  Marguerite Henry wrote a book about the Goldophin Arabian called King of The Wind, illustrated by Wesley Dennis, which I also had as a kid, but I have read that most of that story is made up or based on assumptions rather than fact.  I have located a  more accurate story about him here.

As a kid I loved loved loved to read. Always books about horses or dogs.  Of course I read all the Black Stallion Books, (my favorite was the Black Stallion and The Girl and The Black Stallions Ghost) All the Billy and Blaze books, and then My absolute favorite was Tam the Untamed by Mary Ewlyn Patchett.  Of course we cannot forget all the wonderful books by Marguerite Henry, Misty of ChincoteagueJustin Morgan had a Horseand the Album of Horses.  I read many of her books, loved them all.  I also read all the books by Albert Payson Terhune, like Lad a Dog.   I still have some of these wonderful books, and have started finding copies of the ones I had lost.

If you have a minute, please tell me what your favorite books were as a child?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Other Peoples Horses and Horses of History

Since I don't have anything cool to post on my own silly ponies, here is another picture of some different friends horses that I think are super cool.
I do not know this horses name, but he belongs to the same guy we got Killian from.
I swear he looks like he is spray painted but Chris assures me that he isn't. 

This is Gumbo. He also belongs to Chris.
Last I knew he was for sale. Good horse. 

This is Checkers.  I went one day to look at a palamino for sale
who ended up being pretty much crippled and unsafe.
Same guy also had Checkers for sale. I rode him bareback, I rode him
with a saddle, I fell in love. I was prepared to buy him on
the spot, but his owner had someone making a long trip to look at him
and he promised that person that he would not sell till he got there.
That guy ended up buying him. I was so sad. 
This old guy is "Red".  He belongs to a friends dad, who almost sold him
to Simon. I was prepared to sell Sassy (before she went lame) to buy this guy.
Mostly because he is the ultimate in kid safe, and he and Simon really connected.
At the last minute he decided to keep him and still has him to this day. 
This is Cool, one of my friend Jays horses. This is the day he brought him home.
I wish I had a more recent picture of him, because he is all grown up and
seriously drop dead gorgeous. 

These three big boys (and girls) live where I got Trax from.
They are polo horses, and they are huge!
In this picture they are watching me ride Trax.

Lets talk about a few horses from history.
Her are a couple of my very favorites:

Zantanon, one of the founding fathers of todays Quarter Horses.
He is one of my favorites. I don't know why for sure.
When I was a very young girl I had a book on Quarter horses and this picture was in there.
His story is pretty cool. He was a mexican race horse, and won almost every time.
Then was retired and a QH breeder found him half starved on his owners lot.
The breeder ended up buying him and kept him from then on.

This is the Goldophin Arabian, said to be one of the founding fathers of Arabians.
This drawing I think is by Charles Farley

How many of you have heard of "The Exterminator"?
Another book I had as a girl was the story of this great racehorse.
If I recall correctly he was never beaten. 
And of course, who doesn't remember the great Man O' War.
I had a book about him as well. 
So those are my random horse pics today.
I'm curious to know, who is your favorite horse from history?

can't speak wednesday (tee hee)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I tried to call a snow day

I tried to call my boss and say I was "snowed in". It didn't work. He lives one street over from me, and he knows TC very well. He knows we have several 4wd vehicles, and a tractor, a skid steer, and even a big loader which could get me out of the drive.  Well can't blame a girl for trying.
I did get some good pics.
I'm not going caption, you get to add your own today.
Update: I'm on my lunch break now so I can ad some captions
Hiya Lady, look I'm an appyloosya!
Wheee! I'm coming out!
Stand aside, cripple guy coming through

Hey lady, is there something on my eye?

Ha! Ha! Big K, I'm out and you're not! 

I get to lick the block first old man

Ima snooooow pony

Danny: Your so short
Trax: I can still bite ya though

Aw man! There is snow on my yummy block

Bite my butt one more time, I dare ya!

Danny" Aw come on fat boy, can't ya share a little?

Heeeey Laaaaaadeeeeee! The fat kid won't share!

Watch out Lady, manly man coming through!

Can you step aside I can't see what my mare is doing?

Gosh I get tired of him bossing me around

Hey girl, you come back here, don't make me chase you.

Um I don't mean to be pushy, but could you drop the box and get to scooping?

Sassy:  Hiya Lady, do you need some help, cuz I could come in
and help ya, I'm not scared at all, I been in there before
ya you really look like ya needs some help I could hold the bucket 
or maybe open the lids on the yummy stuffs can I can I huh huh?
Killian: Can you throw in a little extra for a manly horse?

Sassy: See I told ya I wasn't scared, Here I come
Me: Sassy Don't! Its slippery and there are tools! 


She's making faces behind me isn't she?

Percheron needs good home

Most people who read my blog will have already seen this, but in the interest of reaching even one person who hasn't, I will repost again
There is a beautiful percheron in need of a home. He does have some fear issues, and a some baggage he needs help working through.  He will need a good solid trainer for sure.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finally a Schedule

March 2nd- The shaggy paint goes to Halter clinic (oh yeah this should be interesting!) Where we will receive tips on how to show in a halter class and get some badly needed grooming tips.  In the RHS there is a halter portion of it, and I need to be prepared for that. ( I kind of hate to lose his wild and oh so cool, floppy mane that goes in different directions. It is sort of who he is)

March 16th- My most awesome trail horse learns the difference between a show trail and a cow trail.

March 30th- My hard headed, hard mouth paint, who drags around a suitcase full of baggage, will learn the fine art of Reining. 

April 6th- My old school ranch horse learns that there is a difference between Western Pleasure and        "Cowboy up!"

April 19th, 20th, and 21st- We travel far far away (about 60 miles) to Douglas WY, for the Wyoming Horse Expo.  This is put on every year by the Wyoming Horse Owners Association.  This will be a 3 day reining clinic by a top competitor and trainer, whose name I do not recall right now. But I was told that it will help me and Trax immensely. (er, I mean Trax and I)

May 25th- Open Horse show.  I see a lot of classes in this show that we might could do. There is a "Color Breed Halter" class. I don't know what that is. Will have to look into it. My horse has color but isn't registered so I don't know if he can be in that class. Besides I'm pretty sure that "color breed" doesn't really refer to paints.  There is Western Horsemanship and Western Pleasure, neither of which I think we could do very well right now, but perhaps after the clinics we could at least know what we are supposed to try to do. Then there is The Trail Class which we will enter, because it is the one thing I know he can handle. There is Walk Trot Pleasure, which I need more info about. He is getting pretty soft and easy so maybe we could do this.  OH! And I see there is a Ranch Horse Pleasure, now that is right up our alley, as long as no roping is involved. Obviously I need to find out more about the classes.

June 23rd- Ranch Horse Show, is the day where we will shine. This is the day where we show everyone just what we are made of. This is the day we have been training for all year. This is the day where we will show off his Mad Cow Skills., that didn't sound quite right. This is the day where he shows the doubters that he is a Bad Ass Cow Horse.  Yeah that's better.  This may also be the day where he face plants me over a stupid rope "gate"

That will probably be the end of the summer for us, because I am convinced that we will be moving throughout July. If not then there are more shows. In fact there is another Open Horse show on June 22nd. But since our main focus is on the Ranch Horse Show on the 23rd, I don't want to burn him out.

I know that some of you compete in some of these classes, so if anyone wanted to give me a heads up about what some of the classes involve, I'd really appreciate it.

UPDATE: Just got an email back from the club, they said at this show registration with a specific breed registry is not required, so we will be in the Color Breed Halter Class.

How to Tell When it is Cold

When you look out the window and the horses are not standing at the gate for breakfast like they usually know it is cold.

When you go out to leave for work and the only vehicles that will start are the old Dodge Diesels, and even those require cycling the glow plugs 3 times to get any know it is cold

When you have to pry your pick up doors up with a screw driver because they have frozen know it is cold.

When your cd player in said pickup cannot read a disc because the "eye" is frozen in one know it is cold.

When you go to get the step stool you need to stand on to scrape your windows (because you insist on driving lifted vehicles)and it is frozen to the bed of the pick know it is cold out.

When your icicles have icicles... you know it is cold out.

When your teenage opts for wearing a jacket for warmth, over looking cool for his classmates...You really know it is cold out!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ranch Sort continued

These two pictures are of my friend and her horse Fawn. Fawn is only 3.

My next favorite horse to watch was a pretty little strawberry roan.  She actually looks smaller than she is in these pictures, because the gal who rode her was about 6' tall.  One of the things I thought was cool about this horse, besides her ability to work a cow, was that outside she was as calm as could be.  At one point her owner was riding her around the staging area without a bridle or anything on. She just had the reins looped around her chest.  It was a cool thing to watch.

Isn't she pretty?
I have one more horse to show you.  I never got to see him run, but I had to take his picture. I spent some time talking with his rider too.

Does he remind you of any body?  I'm not just talking about the color of his face.  This horse is built so much like Trax it is almost eerie. They have identical big strong solid feet, same bone structure, and the same look in the eye. I would even say they are about the same height. They even move the same.  This horses name is Duece, and he is a registered paint. He is also 17, and was a stud horse until he was 7.  Trax is about 10 or 11. They both come from the same part of the state. His owner was very nice,we talked for quite a while. She told me that he is the most wonderful  horse she has ever had.  Just calm and quiet until its time to work, but stamina for days if you need it.  We joked a little that maybe he is Trax's dad.  She couldn't say for sure as he was gelded when she got him, but it says on his papers when he was gelded.   I don't know why I am still searching to find out where Trax came from. It won't change anything, but it just seems like a horse like him should have been registered at one time.

So the day is still early but I probably still won't ride.  It just doesn't seem fair to make them work and get hot and sweaty and then throw them back out into a cold pasture. Hopefully it will warm up a little this week.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

Ranch Sort Competition- and yes I am a wussy

I have been trying to get up the desire to go ride all day today. It has been...well way too long.  Too make matters worse I spent all day yesterday at a Ranch Sorting Competition watching everyone else ride. It made me want to go home and get on my own horse, until of course I stepped outside and was knocked down by 30mph winds.We got 2 inches of snow last night, and the wind hasn't stopped yet. It just takes all the fun out of it.

Why yes I do have an indoor arena close to my house to ride in, but I don't have a nice place to tack up, nor do I have a nice warm stall to let my poor hot sweaty pony dry off in. What I have is a cold ass pasture or a cold ass barn, or stand in the wind next to my cold ass trailer. Suffice to say, I'm not digging it one bit!  I know..."poor me".  I'm sorry folks, I have to admit it, I am a wussy when it comes to weather.  When I lived in AZ I thought 40 degrees was freezing!  I know better now.

I really had wanted to join in the ranch sort, but I had never even seen one before so I wasn't sure what the rules were, how they work, or any of that stuff. There was a clinic Friday night, but I was still on the road with my unlame mare (oh yeah!) so I had to miss that. Since I had to miss the clinic, I figured it best that I don't just show up and say- ok show me now.

I did go to support my friend Kim, who went to the clinic and then entered one of the classes on Saturday. Unfortunately I did not get to see her compete because there were so many people entered the classes that were supposed to run an hour or two, ended up taking four or five. She ended up scratching and going home.

For those of you who don't know what Ranch Sorting is (like I didn't), here is how it works. Two riders team up on either 5 or 10 cows, depending on the class. The cows are numbered.  When the announcer says go, he calls out a cow number and they have to sort out that number first and the drive it out the gate.  Then they have to pull each cow out after that in succession. So if they start with cow 4, then it is 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0, 1, 2, 3.  If a cow slips through the gate out of sequence, they get a "no time".  Sometimes they only have a certain amount of time to get all the cows out, sometimes it is the combined fastest score with the combined number of cows. Each class takes the top 10 and then they re-compete for the top five which is when they win money. So, I may be missing some information,because I only figured this out by watching,  but that is the main gist of the competition.

I did however get some pretty cool pics.  These first 2 are of a gal I thought was very good. Her horse flat out got after those cows, and I just really enjoyed watching the two of them together.  In these two pics she was "guarding the gate". This gal, like many whooped and hollered at those cows. But she was really loud, and was a fantastic gate guarder.

One thing I noticed was that there were two kinds of horses here. Some were really hot all the time, and some were calm and cool until it was time to go to work.  Can you guess which ones were the better competitors?  Yup those calm cool ones.  The hot ones, were too hot and couldn't seem to concentrate on what they were doing. I also saw a few riders that kept trying to keep their horses worked up by spurring and yanking them around a lot. As the day went on, their horses were mentally and physically exhausted, and never did perform well.  I watched one guy whip/yank his horses head back and forth with the reins about 20 times in about 10 seconds trying to get him "warmed up". If I ever tried that with Trax, he'd face plant me so fast it would make my head spin.  He does not tolerate crap like that.

This guy was also very good.
This kind of gives you and idea of how crowded it was

There were a ton of kids, and I mean young kids, competing. Some were just hanging out with their parents, but when the parents weren't riding, these kids were on the parents horses riding all over the place.

Here are a couple of the child competitors.  Let me tell ya, these kids can pretty much out ride most adults I know.

Look at that seat!

This next group of pictures are of a young gal who really caught my eye. Her horse was probably one of the best horses there, pretty thing who really took care of her rider. When they were waiting to compete, she was loving all over this mare, it was so darn cute.

mare says" yes little girl I love you too"

Then came time to compete.
Ears are up, she is ready to get down to business.

She was one of the few kids who managed to run a perfect score. 

 I have more pics but will start a second post.