Saturday, March 30, 2013

Horse week, day 6 and final day.

Helloooo Nice ladies of the world who have big hearts for their ponies! Trax here to tell you about the final day of my ladies "horse week."  I don't really understand why she needs a special week for horses when we are here everyday and everyday she comes to see us and brings us yummy treats, and grains and green squares of hay.  But she says it is horse week, so I do not argue.

Today we went to see the nice man who teaches me things.  She calls him "Em-Kay" but I just call him the nice man.  I wasn't sure if he was a nice man at first but now I know he is and I like him very much.

Every time we go there, before we learn anything he and my lady look at the ground and talk to God. They tell him thank you for a wunnerful horse (that's me- I'm wunnerful), and ask for things called guidence and safety.  When ever they do this it makes me feel warm inside and makes me want to be a good pony.

Then my lady and I did some of the stuff that scares me, but I am less scared now, so it was okay.  She said we were in a pa-raid, and we marched around the arena with a flag.  Then she waved the flag around me and I was not afraid except just a little. But since I was a good boy, she petted me with it.

Then the man got the rope and I was a little afraid at first.  I am not sure why I am afraid but sometimes I think I am so used to running away from it, that now I just do it without thinking.  The nice man says he is trying to teach me how to think about things before I react.  This is a good thing I think.  Pretty soon they had the rope on the saddle and dragged a log around all by myself!  It felt funny at first but then I was all like "pfffft- I got this."

Then the nice man got on me and we just sat still while he helped me loosen the muscles in my neck. It was good too because I have to admit, I was a little tense.  After I wasn't tense anymore he started asking me to do things.  We did things like backing up, and going sideways, and going in circles. He even had me drag the log while he was on me. I did a good job and pulled as hard as I could. I wanted to be scared when the rope touched my butt, but he wasn't scared so then I wasn't either. I pulled it this way, and then that way, and then back the other way again.  It was kind of fun to not be afraid.

The nice man rode me for a long time.  I have decided that I like it when he rides me.  He makes it easy for me to understand what he wants me to do and where he wants me to put my feets. ( When I understands, I do) I think he likes to ride me too because he gave me lots of rests and told me each time  that I was a good good pony.

I heard him tell my lady that I have learned a lot since we first started and that she should be veeeery proud of me.  She said that she is veeeeery proud of me.  I am proud of me too!

Then my lady got on me, and think she is learning a lot too.  I have not always understood what she wanted me to do (when I do not understands, I do not do) but this time she asked just like the nice man did and I knew right away what she wanted.  So I put my feets right where she wanted and she gave me a big rest and lots of pets and told me I was a good good boy.

Then she got off and loosened my saddle so I knew we were done for the day.   We stood around while they (nice lady, nice man, and nice man's boy) talked about things that they want to teach me. My lady does not think I will ever get over being afraid of the rope gate. The nice man says that I can learn anything, and that I am a very smart pony.  He said that if I was a stupid pony, I'd still be roping cows for people who are not nice.   The nice man says that if I was smart enough to show them that I didn't like them being mean to me,  I am smart enough to learn anything, as long as peoples are nice to me.  I have decided that I like learning!

Then they talked about some stuff called coff-fee. I do not know what that is, but it must be very good because they all said that they could sure use some right then.  If I had some coff-fee I would have shared it with them for being so nice.

Then we went home and my nice lady gave me yummy candies and let me go and roll in the mud.  There was water falling from the sky all morning so there was some great mud holes to roll in.  I do love a good mud bath.

Well good bye for now Nice Ladies, and don't forget to hug your ponies today!  Oh and my lady said to tell you all Happy Easter (but I do not know what that means)

Horse week Day 5- revised with better link

Woot Woot!

Look what Trax can do!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Horse week Day 4 (warning photo overload)

Day 4 consisted very little of me and a lot of Simon and Killian.  I decided to give myself a break, and the paint horse too.  MK called at 4 and said he wasn't feeling well either so we rescheduled our lesson for Sat.

I forgot to mention that Wed night when I came home from Kim's, Simon was out in the pasture riding K around bareback with a himself!  I kind of jumped his case for doing this when no one else was home, so he assured me he wouldn't do it again. But kind of got his feelings hurt because he finally got out there and did something, and I yelled at him. He got over it though.

Yesterday he wanted to ride again, I was thrilled!  One, because he is not sitting in front of the TV, and two,because it was a great chance for a photo op.  So here we go.  Some were taken from my bed room window with the zoom lens.

Is there any doubt why the girls fall all over him?

 Then it was my turn. 
Why I ride with my mouth open I do not know.
Makes for some ugly pics though

Whew! Glad its not me today!

This is sooooo boring

Is there anything edible in this poop?

The mighty steed
Then it was time to feed and clean pens.  Today Simon has no school, and he wants to ride again. Maybe we will hit the arena.

UPDATE/SIDE NOTE:  If you look at the picture of me riding and then look at the last picture of Simon riding, you can see that with me Killian is frowning, and with Simon, he (the horse as well as the kid) is smiling.  Simon says that Killian doesn't like me, because he does more stuff for Simon, than me. I say that he is probably right because I make the lazy sucker work much harder than any child does.  I think Killian wants nothing more than to be a horse for children ride, and keeper of the mare.   I noticed that when I was riding Killian was groaning a lot. I believe he was trying to tell me that I am fat.  I do believe that he is correct in his assessment.  I also think he was saying that his back hurts.  He is sure a good boy though.
It is nice having a horse I can trust that much.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I love him

Tough day or not, he's mine and I love him....

This is his "I'm sorry" face

He needs me.

Horse/ride week day 3

Someone stole my horse.

They took my sweet paint boy who has been trying so hard to be good and replaced him with a clone look a like who more closely resembles the jerk of a horse he was 2 years ago...only on steroids.

I was not feeling great when I got home, but better than I was early, so I drank some hot tea, took a 5 min cat nap and decided to go. When I got there Kim was not ready yet, so I had to wait on her.  I did a few little lunge circles with him and a lateral flex on each side from the ground.

I can generally just step up and ride him without ground work if I know we are just trail riding, so I didn't worry so much about a lot of prep.  That was mistake # 1.

Mistake #2 I forgot to pray first.

I stepped up on him and asked for a couple of bends each direction, which took some spinning to get. Typical for the first time so I was not concerned.  Perhaps I should have been.

We headed out and he was just wanting to take off. Kim was on Schnizzle who is 2.  Schnizzle was so calm and relaxed, he was the seasoned trail horse, Trax was the horse who had never been out in his life.

No that is wrong, Trax was the horse that wanted to fly like the wind...while I sat in the dirt.

Schnizzle is a good hand or 2 smaller than Trax and he walks very slow. Trax is a bigger horse who likes to trot, or lope, so to ask him to walk slow was killing him, and wasn't much fun for me.

This is the trail we rode
We headed down the back of her property and then out across the main road (which is paved by my house but dirt by her house) and out to what is called "BB Brooks" land.  (remind me someday I'll tell you the story of the "wild" horses of BB Brooks) 

Every so often I would get tired of just holding him in so I would one rein stop him to the left. I have started choosing the left because it is his stiffest side.  Well this would elicite about 20 spins before he would give in. Not just spins in the same place, but spins as he was trying to move down the trail.  It was interesting to say the least.

I tried 2-tracking him down the path, I even started side passing him all the way down. I could feel myself being tense because he was so tense so I would have to stop and just really let myself relax, hoping he would as well. It didn't help much.

Then Kim says, "Do ya wanna trot?" Trax says, "Hell ya!"  So she and Schnizzle proceded to take off in a nice smooth ground eating trot. For a horse as small as he is, the boy can move out.  Trax had to either lope to keep up the pace or trot and stay behind.  He was not about to be left behind by some 2 year old.  Not once did we ever get that nice million mile trot that he has.

I do not know where my horse went in his mind, but it was not anywhere near me.  I am not sure it was even anywhere in the same time zone.

I finally decided to just let him lope, but I also asked for that little bit of flex to the left and asked him to move off of my  leg.  I'll say he sort of gave into me but not really because he never really dropped his chin.  Eventually he came back down to a trot but it was never nice, and never pretty.

When we reached the end and headed home, he turned the heat up a notch.  We started all over again.  I swear some of those "one reined stops" were down right nerve racking.   I rode them out with MK's voice in my head, "When he gets like this if you can ride it out, it is good but don't risk your own safety."  I seriously had to ask myself a couple of times, "Is this horse going to dump me today?"    He didn't, and I rode out every single one of them, but I was questioning my sanity the entire time.

Finally about a mile from home he started to relax.  I never could really let go of his mouth but he would at least drop his head and not hurt my hands so much.   I tried letting go to see if he would just walk, but as soon as I did he started trotting.  It was the nice trot, but it wasn't what I was asking for so I had to correct him.  He did seem to be happier when he was in front, but we wanted to ride side by side so we could talk, so all this crap he slung at me was not cool at all.

As I lay in bed this morning after letting the dogs out and waiting for the alarm to go off, I analyzed what the issue really was.  First off, we rarely trail ride with anyone else so he is used to being able to set his own pace, and I usually allow that.  When we do ride with someone else they are usually on Killian. Killian is even bigger than Trax and his walk is (or can be) as fast as Trax's favorite trot. So for him to have to match a pace with a horse that is content to meander was hard for him.  It was a new trail with a new horse that he didn't know. But none of that should have mattered.

I think I set us up for failure by not really ground working him first, and by not praying.  He solidified that failure by not listening to me when I asked him to do something simple like walk.  It wasn't like I was asking him to do some hard task or anything. All I wanted was for him to walk.  We will try this again this weekend, just me and him. We will see if he will walk then.

It was not the best of rides, but it was an eye opener for sure.  One of the things I remember reading in his personality assessment, is that horses like him make great endurance horses because they like to just set their own pace and move out.  If they have to conform to another horses pace they can get frustrated.  That was exactly what he was going through yesterday.  Even though I said earlier that he wanted to run away and leave me in the dirt, I don't honestly think that was the case.  He just wanted to do his pace and not worry about what that slow poke horse was doing. He wanted to get in his "zone' where he doesn't have to think about anything, or do any special tricks. Usually I allow that, this time I did not, and he did not understand.

With that in mind I have to ask myself...who failed who this time?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!

As I sit here at my desk and gaze out my window I can see blue sky with just a few high clouds.

I am just on day 3 of my "Horse Week"

I woke this morning with my nose running like crazy.

I thought, "Oh spring allergies, no big deal." and took a Zyrtec.

Now I am sitting here with that flu feeling in my chest and starting to get chills.

This cannot be happening!

I'm trying to ignore it and just push through it.  It isn't working.

Busted out the "Airborne".  It isn't working.

Now I am torn.  

I am supposed to ride with Kim tonight, and it is supposed to be pretty nice.
It could be that this is just a little cold and no big deal.  

On the other hand, I have almost died from Pneumonia, because I chose to ignore flu symptoms like this before.

So what do I do?

Cancel and stay home?  Tough it out and see what happens.

This is not fair!

Day 2 of Ride Week

Day 2 was pretty uneventful. The weatherman didn't lie about the temp but he forgot to mention the bank of clouds that was going to roll off the mountain and right over our arena at the exact time we would show up to ride.

I took my rope gate that TC made (which is made for a pony sized horse and not a big horse like Trax) and some poles to put on the ground.

I remembered to start with prayer, and then went to desensitization.  We used Simon s chinks this time and the bag/flag.  He was not near as relaxed this time as he was the day before. I'm sure it is directly related to no being at home.

When I stepped up on him he was a little run offish, but a few one reined stops helped that.  At least he doesn't run off while I am mounting. He is very good about standing still while I get both feet in the stirrups.  But the second I pick up the reins he starts to walk off. So we stop and go back to where we started and then when I ask to go, we go.

Again he is good with his flex to the right, but fights me to the left. In fact he tries to back up instead of going forward.  Last lesson with MK I was doing some serpentine like Jay had shown me and MK said that since we are trying  to get him to quit moving his hind around so much, to make my serpentine more like a 2 track to the left then a 2 track to the right while always asking for forward.  So I did that yesterday. Oddly enough, in a short time I had him giving me that left bend without backing up by doing this.  So now I know that I have a good tool to use.

Then we went to the chinks which were laying on the fence.  I was able to ask him to stand next to them without issue, and then bend over and pick them up and flop them around his shoulders.  Well done Buddy!

Next was the rope gate.  Can you say "EPIC FAIL"???  I finally got him to stand next to it and relax and lick and chew. But I went too far this time, by trying to reach over and pick up the rope. He did his usual bolt across the arena move, and then refused to stand next to it again.  So we did more work on the other side and then rested at the gate without attempting to pick up the rope.  From now on that will be the drill. I will work his butt off everywhere but there and that will be the only place we rest. Period.

Next we moved on to the poles. I set them up in 2 lines like the were at the clinic.  I am blown away but how quickly he picked up on what the routine is for this task.  I have not quite got him to where I can start at the outside of the poles for the side pass, but I did start him almost at the very end and then side passed him all the way down to the other end. He naturally lines up for the "go through" although got stuck there and kept wanting to side pass again.  I backed him up and we just walked through the middle of the poles 2 times and then started again. A near perfect side pass all the was down, flipped his butt, walked through, then backed back through them with maybe 2 faults for touching the poles.  Kim tried to video it with her phone, but something went wrong when she sent it because the pixels are all jacked up.  All you can see are squares and something moving.

I realized though that I was only asking for hm to side pass from the right, so then we did it from the left and he fell apart.  Knocked all the poles out of place, and got himself all worked up.  So when stepped back a notch and asked for one step at a time. Step, settle, step settle. Things went much smoother then.

His spins are coming along nicely. He can make it almost all the way around before his back end falls out of place. That is major progress as far as I am concerned.

I feel like I am really starting to put things together in my rides.  Looking where I am going instead of looking down is becoming second nature, and I feel I am much better with the way I am using my legs and spurs. More solid contact with the calf first and then rolling the spur on with solid pressure. It shows in how Trax responds, which is less reacting (tail swishing) and more doing.

Holy Crap, you can teach an old woman new tricks!

Tonight we will meet up again for just a trail ride. This is when I will really work on that flex while moving forward routine.  Kim says she has a 2 miles loop that she does, which takes about an hour at a trot.  That should be perfect for what I want to accomplish.

Happy Hump day everyone!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 1 of "ride week"

TC left for Denver yesterday morning with 2 of his shop hands. They are on an auction mission. Today they will bid in Denver on equipment for the company, and then as soon as they get done there it is off to Fort Worth TX to pick up 2 semi's that have already been won on an online bid.  This is part of the plan to update the trucking fleet, as some of the trucks are pretty old and are pushing 2 million miles or more on them.

So anyway, this leaves me to my own demise for the week, which means not only do I have nice weather but I actually have more spare time to ride.  Its not that I can't ride when he is home. I can and he assures me that he doesn't mind. But I am more inclined to stay home and fix some sort of supper for him and sit and watch TV with him. I guess I just like being with him. Go figure!

So I am calling this "Ride Week" and yesterday was day one.

Although I did not ride.   (Perhaps I should just call it horse week.)

What I did do was bring out my newly purchased fancy schmansy 3 dollar shedding blade- curry thingy.  (left the old one on the fender of the trailer and it is now taking up residence on the side of the road somewhere)

I learned many things yesterday, starting with- If you are going to shed out your pony, make them move outside of their stall. This allows the wind to clean up your mess and saves you much time when you are done.

I started with Danny, and got a huge pile of winter hairs.  He is such a good boy, standing quietly while brushed and brushed. I think he actually enjoys it.

This is just from Danny

Then was Trax's turn, he does not care to be groomed. he prefers to do it himself by rolling in the dirt.  But after a bit he stood still (no halter) and let me strip some of the hair off of him.  I am learning that he has 3 different coats.  He has his extra long and thick winter.  (which I have been stripping out for a month now) Then he has a shorter, but still thick under coat for spring.  This part is not falling out yet, and I really did not get near as much hair out of him as I thought I thought I would.  In another month or so when it actually gets warm, he will start shedding again and get slick and shiny. I did not do the red horses, they will get a turn today I think.

Afterwards I grabbed my tools of desensitization and Trax and I headed to the round pen.  I have noticed that he has begun to drop his nose for the halter. The last few times he did it, I thought I was imagining things, but he did it yesterday too.  It is intentional. This is a good thing.

He started by trotting which I was not going to ask for but since he did it, I went ahead and asked him to tip his nose to me.  We did both directions, and he did just fine. I was happy with his progress.

Then we worked on rope fears.  I waved it around, smacked the ground with it, tossed it at his feet, rubbed him with it, tossed it over his neck, tossed it over his butt, tossed it on his back feet, laid it across his shoulders and made him drag it around so that he could see it, and then drag it so that it touched him.  He did wonderfully. I was going to tie it to my jolly ball and have him drag that around, but I could not find it at first.  I now know that my jolly ball is 3 pastures (not mine either) over and I would have to go through a hot wire to get to it. So we abandoned that idea.  I'm hoping the next time the winds blows it comes from the opposite direction and brings it back home.

What I learned from this exercise is that either he is really building trust in me, or he is not as afraid as he sometimes pretends to be. I know that some horses use feigned fear as a tactic to get out of doing some things. Killian is one of those horses. Perhaps Trax is too.

Trax; I am not afraid of a silly old rope
Trax: Hmm, even if it touches my legs it does not hurt.
Who knew?

Then I did jumping jacks next to him. What I learned from this exercise is that old women like me should not do jumping jacks without going pee first. So we abandoned that exercise as quickly as we began it.

Pfffft!  Silly Old Lady! 

Then we worked on the bag/flag.
Since MK said I really need to make sure my body is turned off when doing this I chose to walk like we were in a parade.  I waved my flag back and forth and up and down and smacked it on the ground while he followed behind me.  This required him to walk towards it but I was always in between it and him.  Then I would stop and we would back up together.  Once he was doing that relaxed and with his head down. I was able to stand next to him and wave it around.  At first he was a bit bothered by me touching him with it but pretty soon he was cool with it. I shook it under his belly and rubbed him with it there too.  Then I put it in front of his face and held it to see what he would do.

Um, shouldn't there be treats in there?

He sniffed at it, and nosed it around a little.  I waved it around some and he was like, "Ya ya, its a bag, I get it now."  I waved it around behind his butt, which took a few to get him to just stand.  I really thing this movement was more about him thinking I wanted him to disengage the hind, than it was about moving from the bag.  It really didn't take him long to get over the bag.

What I learned there, is that body language is everything.

Next we worked on our circles crossing over with the leg I was driving for.  He really picks up on this one well. I really shouldn't be surprised by this, because if you think about it the one thing he does best is move his feet.  So it only stands to reason that the tasks he will excel at will involve moving his feet.  Standing still will never be his strong point- halter classes will probably be a no go for him.

Ha, I can see it now. I'll get him squared up and the judge will walk up and Trax will jump into the grandstands trying to get away!

Afterwards I turned him loose and he followed me around. Then I sat in the middle of the round pen to see what he would do.

Trax:  Um Lady, can you come open this gate?
Trax: Hey Sassy, can you open the gate for me?
Sassy: No Trax,-not while she is watching- she must never know of my skills. 
Trax: Lady, what are you doing on the ground?
Please come open the gate. 
Me: Can't you see I am resting?
Trax:  Sassy, help me find another way out of here please?
Sassy:  The fence is the same on both sides ya know. 
I finally let him out and went up to clean the pens and get everyone their dinner.

I cannot imagine why he is so fat. 
I was wondering where Killian was....I should have known.  Now I want you to look at the area he is standing in.  He either has to turn around to get out of there or back his butt up the stairs.  What I learned here is that even this big goofy horse can turn on a dime. That is exactly what he did and barely even touched the sides.  I shooed him out and started scooping food.  But I guess not fast enough....

He came back in to supervise.

Sassy not to be left out, made her way in as well.

I had to draw the line there because one horse is enough in this tiny space.  You can see the have just about knocked down my dirt stairs. Gonna have to get some rr ties to put there.  Meanwhile Trax waited outside like a gentleman.

What I learned here was to always shut the door behind me.

Trax: Hey old guy, what is it with Red horses anyway?
Talk about pushy! 

I really think that Sassy is learning bad stuff from Killian. She has become very bossy and almost mean.  I watched them tag team Trax last night. She herded him over between the wire fence and the skid steer, and then Killian came around from the other side with his ears pinned. They had him trapped and I was pretty nervous about how that was going to turn out . Trax just backed up into her and gave her a double barreled kick to the chest as he split.  As far as I'm concerned she had it coming.  I wish he would get Killian like that a few times. He needs to come down a notch off his bully pedestal. 

Tonight I meet Kim at the free arena. Going to take some obstacles to work with.  Should be fun. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Over posting

I am guilty of over posting today, but this one is short.

I do believe I have Horse woman wood today.

The predicted temps for the next 8 days.

Oh yeah baby!

You are my Sunshine

Back in about 2001 I lived with my husband, Mike, (now ex) outside of Eloy Arizona.  We lived in a single wide trailer on 3.5 acres. On our property was another older trailer which we rented out.  We lived  in a little neighborhood of about 100 homes very far out of town. It was 23 miles to the nearest pay phone, and there were no phone lines in our area at all. It was right at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains and there was endless miles of beautiful desert to ride in. I loved it there.

But alas, I did not have a horse. 

My next door neighbor and his wife had several horses, and boarded some as well.  I often went riding with them, and helped with their horses. I mostly rode with the husband Tim, because his wife Linda, did not ride very much. (she and I did other things together)  He had a horse named Booger, who really lived up to his name. They also had an old guy named Grampa, who I rode quite often, until he was retired.    After a while Tim let me ride any horse I wanted and we often would spend an entire day riding. We would take two out, get them good and exercised, then bring them home, hose them off and saddle up 2 more and so on and so forth until they all were rode.  It was how we kept everyone exercised.   He always said he appreciated the help, I was just always happy to get to ride. 

Tim and Linda introduced me to some other friends of theirs, named Dana and Lynn.  Dana had a gorgeous palomino gelding whose name I cannot recall. Dana was afraid of his horse because he hadn't been ridden in a couple of years.  I have to admit I really wanted to ride that horse, but they did not live in our area, and I was not willing to try it without Tim around in case I got into trouble. (I did eventually ride him a lot,  but that is another story)  Then as it turned out, Dana and Lynn needed a place to rent and our rental was empty, so we struck up a deal.  I would rent the trailer to them and for the deposit they would give me one of their horses.   They had just bought a pony for their son, but part of the deal was that they also had to take an old mare that was there. They called her "Poor Girl"  They said I could have her.  

They took me out to meet her and I could not believe my eyes!  Here was the shaggiest, skinniest horse I had ever seen.  I said, "She looks like she is dying!" They said, "You should have seen her a month ago, she could hardly walk she was so malnourished."  They had had her about a month and had been working hard trying to bring her back to life and get some weight on her.  I went out to get a closer look.  She was obviously quite old, they said 18 but I know she was much older.  When they got her, they started her on some senior feed, got her feet trimmed and had her teeth floated.  They seemed to think she was going to come around. Or maybe they just wanted to dump her off on someone, but I don't think so. They had a few horses, all of whom were relatively well cared for, and they loved all their animals.   I agreed to take her. 

I could not call her Poor Girl, I wanted her name to befit how wonderful I thought she was, so I sang to her. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." He name became Sunshine.  Everyone else called her "The Yak" When she first came to me she had a cut on her leg that was healing so I could not ride her, well that and she was still getting over being starved to death,  But I treated her wound daily. I spent a lot of time with her just brushing her and and being with her. Simon was 3 at the time, and he liked to visit her too.  In fact I had to really watch him, if I took my eyes off of him for even a second I would find him out with her, dragging a flake of hay to her or trying to get her some grain. (she loved him for that). She was so careful around him, which was good because no matter what I did, he was always trying to get into her pen with her.  (He never has listened worth a darn!) I'll never forget the day he darted under her belly. I jumped to grab him but missed. She just stood there and looked at him from one side to the other. It scared me to death! But she never even twitched a muscle. He got a serious spanking, Sunshine got a big hug and lots of carrots. I loved her so much.

 Pretty soon she started to fill out and the light came back to her eye.  Her leg healed and she was getting some spunk back. The day she started to open her gate and wander over to Tim's, at will, he said she was healed up enough to ride.  We had to start locking her gate, she was pretty smart.  She did it 2 times. She never went anywhere else, she just went to hang out with his horses. I'm sure she was lonely. 

We started out slow with our rides, just walking up the road and back, but she really seemed to enjoy the exercise and getting out and about.  Pretty soon we started taking our favorite desert trails.  By about the 5th or 6th  ride, as soon as we turned the corner into the desert she was ready to run.  I never made her go any faster than she wished, but let her choose her pace.  I couldn't believe what an amazing horse she was.  I could go anywhere on her and she loved to go out.
Here she is right before we were headed out for a ride.
FYI- that is her summer coat
I wish I had taken some pictures when I first got her so you could see the difference. 
  Anyone could ride her and she adjusted her energy level for the experience of the rider. For kids she walked slow and methodical, stopping easily.  If I rode her, she was energetic and ready to go.  I could ride her bareback in a halter, or tack her up. She was never cinchy, never rude while we were riding, never rude on the ground. I didn't ride her bareback often though simply because she was sway backed and I did not want to hurt her. Only at a walk did we do bareback.   Some times I would use her to pull fire wood out of the desert thickets so we could load it in a truck and take it home. She wasn't afraid of anything.  I can honestly say that if there was ever truly a bomb proof horse, she was it. If she ever spooked I don't remember it.

It always made me so sad that someone could just
toss away such a wonderful girl. 
During this time Tim joined the mounted Sheriff's posse and had to pass all sorts of equestrian challenges with Booger. He was trying to get accepted before the big parade. One day I was over there on Sunshine as he was trying to get Booger to do the "box". Booger was fighting and fighting. So I said, "Hey let us try."  Sunshine stepped into the box, then she backed out of the box. then she turned around and backed into the box, then she turned around in the box and then she side passed out again.  Tim says to me, "I am not riding that Yak in the parade!"  I laughed and laughed!  She was a good good horse. It was funny because his horses were very pretty, and he was always making jokes about poor old Sunshine, but I think he loved her too.  Which turned out to be a really good thing.....
Here is her winter coat and you can see how sway back she was.
I'm sure I will probably get blasted for a child with no helmet.
But I am prepared to stand up and defend that on this horse
he was totally safe. 
...Because then the unthinkable happened. We lost our home, through a series of really stupid decisions. Really stupid.  I had to leave and I could not take her with me. (by then the "renters" had already moved on)  Of course Tim took her in. He kept me updated on her and I went back to visit her when ever I could. He mostly just kept her happy and fed, unless a child or inexperienced rider came to visit, then he would them ride her around the yard. He told me that he trusted her more than any other horse on his property.  He called her the Old Gal.

Then  one day I got the call.  Sunshine laid down and went to sleep one night and did not wake up. She was just ready to go.  She was not in pain. She did not suffer. But she was tired.  He buried her in the back of his property next to a Palo Verde tree.  We are guessing she was over 30 when she died

This was the last time I saw her. You can see the age in her face.
When I think back to what a wonderful horse she was, and how she could adapt to be what ever horse her rider needed her to be, I think she probably deserved a better owner than me.   Although, if I compare her life with me, to what her life was like before, I know that I did the very best I could for her with what I had.  I know that she was happy and as healthy as she was ever going to be.  I truly believe that God brought her to me.  He brought her to me so that she could be my Sunshine, even for a little while.  So although, her life may not have been great all the time, but in the end she was loved and appreciated for the very special horse that she was.