I realized the other day that it has been forever since I have done a blog post. In fact I don't think I have done one since Trax was sick.
Obviously time flies when you are moving slow!
So some quick updates:
Trax is doing great. Last blood tests showed that his liver enzymes were darn near normal, and all other blood work was dead on where it should be. BEC was kind enough to send me some info on herbal supplements for liver health and he has been on those ever since. He has gained his weight back, without going overboard, and is back in training for......well what ever it is I am training him for. At this point I just don't know. However we have another little local western and ranch versatility show 7 days from now, and he will be entered.
He appears to be less than thrilled about this news. We have been working on our reining patterns, stops and "spins". The sad part is that his stops would probably be fabulous if I could just learn to sit them right. Dana taught him that when you touch his neck, the stop is coming. I gotta tell ya, it is one of the coolest new tools in my toolbox. When I touch his neck, he stops...right now.
It is such an amazing tool I have carried it over to Killian and Melody. Again, it would be perfect if I could just sit the stops correctly, but seriously when you touch Melly's neck, she stops so fast, sometimes she almost loses me. Killian has begun surprising me by laying down some of the most gorgeous 11's in the dirt I have ever seen. They aren't 20 feet long mind you. But hey, 3 ft sliding marks from a 21 year old horse is pretty darn impressive in my book.
The sequence is supposed to be "touch, whoa, lift" I tend to be more like "touch, lose my balance, and throw my hands up in the air". Yeah I have no clue what that is all about, but I'm working on it, and when I can get it right, even Trax gives me some pretty nice stops. Dana has been coming semi regularly to help us out, so I know I will eventually get it figured out. She is quite good at figuring out how to get me to understand, and physically carry out a task, even when "normal techniques" elude me.
Yesterday Trax and I worked on log dragging. It has been a while since we have visited this. In fact I am not sure that we have done it since "that day" when things went so terribly awry. I have spent much time contemplating what I should have done differently. Not so much on "that day" but just in general. obviously there was a terrible hole in his training....a large, swallow you up, bury you in darkness, and get you all jacked up, hole. We fell into the gaping chasm, and it is up to me to get us out and to fill that hole with concrete.
I thought back to where we first started, in WY. I clearly recall asking Mark, "Can I have him ready for the show in 1 month?" He promised to do his best, but he also said that he would not be "really ready".
We had done the task at the show, we had done it even in practice. But every time we did it, there was always tension in him, and me, and I was constantly having to check him back. He was doing it, but he was never relaxed about it.
I rushed it.
So yesterday we started at the beginning. I rubbed him with the rope and he was fine. Head down, no stress. That was good. Then I hooked the rope around the horn and we started dragging. He was jiggy and nervous, I left a good length of rope behind us until he calmed down and stayed calm. Then I shortened the rope up so there was a little more tension. We did figure 8, after figure 8, until he did 2 in a row without throwing his head up or even taking one unrelaxed step. He was licking and chewing, with his head down. I resisted the urge to keep going further and stopped right there. We took the log to the fence and when I released the tension he let out a huge sigh. I loosened the cinch right there and gave him major lovins. It was a good place to stop.
Next time we will do the same thing, I have decided that I will stay on the ground with him until we can do this 3 separate days with no tension in him what so ever. Once we can do that I will get up on him. So, that means that if he is not ready to drag a log by next Sunday, we will take the DQ and not attempt the task. It isn't worth it to me just for a silly old ribbon.
See, I really do learn!
Princess Melody has been on her own medical rehab. She put her hind foot through a fence while fighting with Sassy. I found her shortly after it happened, with some pretty good scrapes running from the hock to fetlock. A couple of small cuts were also present, but she was not limping on it, so I didn't worry about a vet. I scrubbed her up, slathered on some Natures Edge to keep it pliable and keep the flies off and gave her a small dose of bute.
The next day she was pretty stocked up, and not lame so much, but clearly stiff and sore. She got more bute and the cleaning ritual. That was about a week and a half ago. She has remained a little stocked up, but completely sound, so again, I am not too worried. When she is out in pasture and moving around me the swelling goes down to almost nothing. Exercise seems to be the key to keeping the swelling down. Makes sense to me, so I went ahead and saddled her up for a ride yesterday.
Can I just say that I have never in my life met a horse so stubborn and set in her ways as this one. What she knows, she knows well, and as long as I communicate clearly, we do fabulously. But this mare has ZERO interest in learning anything new. I mean none whatsoever. I realize that I have to be tougher that her, and insist, but after hours of fighting over the simplest thing, I finally come to the point where I start to question if it even matters. Is it ok for her to just be a reined cowhorse, and give up on things like stepping over poles?
Oddly enough, a few weeks ago I took her to a neighbors house who had some barrels set up and on a whim we did a little barrel pattern, first at a trot and then at a lope. We loped the first barrel she didn't shy away from it like she does at home, we headed towards the second barrel, she did her lead change before I even asked for it and turned the second barrel with out me really even asking her too. Then she headed off towards the 3rd like she knew what she was doing, made quite a nice little turn and headed for home.
I was flabbergasted.
Granted, I am not going take her out and start running barrels on her, I just don't think her hind end could handle it physically, but I swear this horse is an anomaly to me.
There is much more to update on....Killian and the camel, the new boarder horse, Jimmy the sheath cleaning guy, and just life in general. But those are all posts that will have to come on another day. The sun is up high, ponies are banging around the feeders, and dogs are stalking me for breakfast.
It is nice to be back here where I can write down all my thoughts, and share them with others. It was also nice to go through your blogs and get caught up on what has been happening in your worlds. I have missed being here. I need to come back more often.