Friday, February 27, 2009

Cat Tales 4

Well, after my dirt sample I shortened my stirrups a notch. Seemed prudent. She has never bucked me off since that day. I shut her down immediately. I know I can't ride that ass in the air, shove backwards move while she walks on her front end. What was that Dirty Harry movie where he says, "A man's got to know his limitations." Well, so does a woman. I remember telling both Sabrina and Sheri, "I can't ride that move. She can get rid of me." They didn't get it. They hadn't met a horse with a move they couldn't ride if they were paying attention at that point. Well, just boot her forward, spank her. Or just ride it out, she'll quit. Uh, no she'll buck my happy ass off, thank you very much. If she starts to rise in the back like she's going to go...I just have to make the mean, "aaaahhhh" sound. She quits now. It wasn't always that way.

Cat can be a real jerk about picking up the left lead some days. Don't know why, she'll grab the right and immediately change, just doesn't want to depart on the left. Other days, no big thing. Bad days she'll hunker down, run backwards, spin, just basically have a fit about it. Some years ago I was riding in the indoor at RA with Sabrina, and her mom was watching from the rail. I'm circling left, working on the left lead. I'd ask, she'd start to buck. I'd shut her down, pull her face into my knee, and kick her in a tight circle till she quit. Then go back and ask for the lead again. Sabrina watched this happen about three times. She's irritated. Say's, "Give her to me, let me ask her." Allrighty, Cat you is in big trouble. I'm concerned, but Sabrina's mom is pretty confident she'll be fine.

So, Sabrina gets on and asks for the lead departure to the left. Cat starts to buck. I'd been riding with 8' split reins, Sabrina picks up those reins, and starts to spank her in an over and under motion on the haunches, and kicking. Cat stuffs her head and starts to go for it hard. They are making a lap around the perimeter of the arena. Oh yeah, that mare can buck, bronc bawl and all. They make a complete lap, Jeanne (the mom) says, "I don't know if she's going to be able to stick this much longer". Hey a minute or so of full on bucking is exhausting, it seems like an eternity. I'm thinking great, she loses this round we're all hosed. At about that moment Cat gives it up. Comes to a halt, and just blows...letting out all the tension. Sabrina says, "Okay, sweety, let's try that again." Boom, canter depart on the left, no problem. Cat can still be sort of a pill about the left, but nothing like she was. And she's never seriously bucked since that day. It is not a method I would recommend, except as a last resort, and you better be riding.

What did Sabrina say, "Holycrap my abs are sore."

Sheri has since met a horse with a buck she can't sit. She says, "About every six months like clockwork he just hammers me. I get what you meant". He's scary though, he'll come back and stomp on you while you're down. That's another story though.

Sabrina? I don't think she's met the horse yet. We all seem to sooner or later though. I watched her on a scurry run with her old horse Cowboy (amazing horse). He bobbled, or tripped, it popped her out of the saddle over the first scurry jump. Her right foot is stuffed behind the cantle of her barrel saddle, bent at what looks to be a pretty uncomfortable angle, it looks wedged, she still has a pole turn, and two jumps. They didn't even slow down, and ran clean. Yeah, she's crazy, but not as crazy as Sheri. lol

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Laptop What is the Truth?

My boss has a phrase that I really like. When trying to figure out a claim, or just dealing with human beings on a daily basis, "There's your side, my side, and the right side." We all look at situations through our pretty subjective views or filters. It can be tough to be objective.

I get one story from one party, and a very disimilar story fromt he other. There are pieces to the story that match from both parties. Good start, right?

I had originally heard the owner that gave the horse to the girl I got him from couldn't afford him. Was afraid of him. That the first time she saw the girl and the horse, the girl was getting bucked off. That the horse was more of a 'goofy Arab' than a WB. He was spooky, and fearful. That you had to be on the aids. That he was very thin, and in overall bad condition when she got him.

So here is the first email from the girl.

>>Emily probably told you she contacted me about Laptop. It sounds like you are the one for him. I'm so happy! I have been so concerned because I have not been able to get ahold of Robin this whole time and a few months ago I got a stange email from someone saying Laptop was couped up all the time. I was so worried but I knew my gut feeling about Robin was right and that she knows horses, especially ones like him (sensitive). I am so excited that he is in the right hands. I normally don't get rid of animals but I just couldn't afford him. Are you here in Humboldt with him or out of area? If you don't mind I would love to come see you ride him sometime. I don't mind if you'd like some time to get used to him though. How is he? Robin said she could get him more secure or find someone else who could make him a less nervous boy. I guess that's you! I'll forward you the email I sent Emily that has some of his background info that I am aware of. Talk to you soon. By the way, in the video on youtube I had a very severe bit in his mouth. I had left my kimberwik at home and only had my stepdad's western bit. I didn't usually ride him in that. <<

Okay that explains the bit, and possibly the hands.

Then I asked what the true story was, if he had lameness issues etc...

>>Wow, it seems like Robin hasn't been very honest with you and it doesn't seem like he was well cared for. Thank god he's out of there now. Ok here's the deal with Laptop. Years ago now, Rudy Leone owned him and sold him to a young girl. He came back to Rudy absolutely terrified to jump from any long distant, I mean terrified! The only way to get him to jump was to beat him through a course. I worked for Rudy and started riding Lap every day because no one else wanted to. Very slowly he and I bonded and he started jumping again. We literally started with ground pole courses and worked up very slowly. I got him jumping but he was still unsellable as a reliable jumper so Rudy gave him to me. When I left there I took him to my mom's where he became the leader of their 7 horse herd on a 200 acre ranch with endless trails leaving the property in all directions. He is an incredible trail horse and he loves it! My stepdad checked his heart rate once on a long ride and even the fit arabs they were with couldn't compare to Lap's (obviously his lung capacity is bigger though). I sent him to a training stable near the bay area for a woman a little better than beginner to try him out with her trainer to buy. He proved too much for her and apparently bucked her off. I have never seen the horse buck in my life! If he was bad it was never a buck, often a spin when he spooked (ALWAYS to the left) but never a buck. They had him vetted and found arthritis, I think in his left hock?. I talked to many people who said what horse, or person for that matter, doesn't have some arthritis. He has never shown any lameness in my experience, never even one off day. We got him back from that stable and I brought him up here with me when I moved but couldn't afford board and shoeing while I'm in school and paying rent, etc. I rode him on the trails up here where we saw multiple bears and one time came face to face with a roaring dirt bike. I was terrified because we could hear it before it came around the corner but Lap was soooo good and didn't do a thing. I think he was in shock but he didn't spin which he would normally do, watch out for that but maybe Robin got him to stop that. He used to be an extremely insecure horse (dripping sweat out of the trailer or even on a very low key ride) and would spin, to the left, for any and every reason, even if nothing seemed to be scary. Robin said she knew she could get him through that though and sounds like she did. Yes, he needs to eat A LOT. I am sad to hear he was thin and needed floating. He was in great condition when I gave him to her and his feet were good too. I guess I gave him to her 6 months ago or so. I had him on Grand H.A. Synergy powder supplement. Through my research I found that one to be the best for joints. <<

Okay, so this is a pretty good summary of what I see in the horse. He is not unknown to her. She knows his issues, and truly seems concerned about him. When I spoke to her on the phone she seemed very relieved, especially when I told her she was welcome to come and see him anytime. She got rid of him because there was no way she could work, go to school and financially support this horse. It seems like she was being a responsible horse owner, she was trying to find a home for her horse before he was thin and neglected. So, why the song and dance from the other girl. Why the misinformation? Every time one of her dire predictions about this horse is proven wrong she'll switch it and say, "I told you he was fine. He can do this, and this, you know he has tempis....." WTF? When did she say this. Well, I'll know in a month or so if he has tempis. lol

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laptop 9 Things Are Not What They Seem

After my lesson with Carrie I was thinking this horse was not what he was reported to be. So, I started to do some searching. Blueheron also started to search. Well, he was a Hunter. Had been ridden by kids. Okay, not exactly the froot loop, dangerous type, right? So, why I was wondering all the dire warning about this horse. He's nervous, he's unpredictable, he spooks, he bucks, he bolts etc... Things just weren't making sense for me.

Blueheron watched the YouTube video again. Decided she would register, and try and contact the person that had posted the video. The response from the previous owner was almost immediate. She had been worried about him. She had repeatedly tried to get a hold of the girl I got him from. Never got a response. Odd, don't you think? If someone had given me a horse I would answer any questions they had. Ask them to come out and see him anytime.

Blueheron forwarded me the girls response.

>>I am so happy to finally hear from someone about Laptop. I gave him to Robin awhile back and have not been able to get ahold of her since, her phone is always off. I have been worried about him as he is a sensitive guy but am so glad to hear he is doing well. Thank you so much! I was given him by Rudy Leone, a very high level hunter/jumper trainer in Sacramento. I was given Laptop because I was the only one who could get him to jump. It was thought that he had a traumatic experience with a young girl who had bought him and then sent him back to Rudy. He refused to jump and was a completely different horse when he returned to Rudy's. He trusted me but was unsellable as a jumper because of his inconsistant jumping. Laptop was also owned and shown by John French, another very high level rider, before Rudy owned him. I trail rode Laptop a lot and he was amazing at it, far outdid any Arab. The least spooky he has ever been so I hope he has a chance to be out of the arena sometimes, but probably not. I had him at a stable in the bay area for awhile with a trainer who was trying to sell him for me but apparently he bucked a woman off. He has never bucked me once in the entire time I rode and owned him. Robin mentioned that they could have been holding his head in too tightly and he couldn't breathe or something else because it is so not like him to be a jerk. Insecure maybe but not a jerk. Anything else you can tell me about how he is doing I would really appreciate it. I wish Robin would have let me contact her just to know he is alright.<<

So this does not sound like a derelict owner. Or someone that just was dumping a horse. I had Blueheron give the girl my email address. She contacted me right away.

HMMM...the plot thickens. What's real? Right.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Laptop 9...How'd You End Up Here?

Okay this is the video of Top, one of my students found it on YouTube. I am really curious as to how he fell so far, so fast. I watched the video again today, and really observed what was going on in it.

This is not to offend either of the riders in the video...except for whoever thought a gag bit with a shank (elevator bit?) was needed for this horse. Both riders have terrible hands. The first rider in the video comments how he is so light mouthed. Uh...honey that isn't light, that's self preservation. Compounded with the fact the you ride with puppy paws, which makes a far stronger, less forgiving hand bothers me. The second rider needs to quit levering her butt out of the saddle off the horse's mouth. I would put you both on lunge lines without reins to work on your seats. An independent seat doesn't just happen, you have to work for it. I'm still working on it, will be for life. It's a never ending process folks.

Neither rider is steady in their connection. So they are in and out, banging into his mouth. I'd rather see a little too strong, than this in and out. Either pitch him, or keep the connection. You say he's not 100% sure. How can he be? You aren't giving him a secure consistent place to go. He can't trust you, so he's looking for where he's supposed to be and you are rarely in the same place to meet him. That's what all the in and out, wiggle left, wiggle right, what the hell are you asking for is. And he looks off on his right hind. Why are you riding a horse that is off? Or is everything just so unsteady he looks off?

I took Laptop to a lesson with a trainer I haven't been to in a few years. I really enjoy this instructors teaching style, always have. I didn't realize it had been that long since I'd been to Carrie Harnden. I've already booked my next lesson.

I'll have to admit I was pretty nervous taking him, after only being on him twice. Once just sitting, the other riding. The second time riding I was in a large 250 x 300+ arena. Alone, nobody else up there. Okay, so not brilliant. He seemed a little tight, time bomb feeling at first. So I went to long and low, trying to get him to stretch down and relax. Well, something got him, his head popped up, and he started to scoot. Was like riding a giant inverted Arab. We went to a smaller pen after that. lol Oh, what bit am I riding him in? A loose ring french link. He's fine in it.

I'd messed up my ride time, so I was an hour and a half early. Which actually worked out really well. Top got out of the trailer, sweaty and white foam. Not such a great hauler I guess. After we arrived I pulled his blanket off, brushed him and we went for a walk. Just checking out the place, and what was going on. He snorted a little on the way down the hill to the indoor arena. Other than that, pretty casual boy. We watched the end of one lesson, and the beginning of the next. Between lessons, I took him over to graze. He thought this was a splendid place to roll. So he rolled all the way over twice, and wiggled and scrubbed his face in the grass. Happy, happy boy. We went back and watched more of the lesson. After 10 minutes or so, we head back up the hill to my trailer. I tie him up, and brush him again, and tack him up. I lead him down with my lunging equipment, and an extra bridle, and the (just in case) German Martingale.

Carrie tells me to bring him in and walk him around while the other lesson is finishing, so he can get used to the place. He's fine. Curious, but not worried. Taking in the sites. He likes Lazy L, a lot. I swear he had this attitude of, "Well about time. This is more like it." Big indoor arena, great footing, sane, pleasant laughing people...woohoo. lol

I'm a little nervous after the horror stories I've heard about this horse. Thinking I've gotten off easy with my inverted bolt across the arena. (He did shut right down from his bolt, but he held the time bomb feeling). I tell Carrie I'd like to start from scratch with lunging and progress from there. She's fine with that. Tells me to hook up the balancing reins like I usually do with him, and just proceed like normal. He's great. Walk, trot, canter both directions. Had nice tempo, good quality to the gaits. Only a couple yahoo canter transitions, but what the hey, I'm feeding the crap out of him.

Carrie says he' looks fine. I should get on. I'm hesitant. For 24hrs I've been working myself up to an anxiety attack on this deal. The girls I got him from had said the previous afternoon, "You're going to take him? Are you sure? You've only been on him twice. You better lunge the crap out of him before you go." Great, real confidence builder girls.

Carrie can see I'm not wanting to do this at all, let alone in front of an audience. She looks at me, cocks her head and asks, "What is going on? You ride hotter horses than this. You own hotter horses than this. Get on." I make my friend Teri walk down to the mounting block with me to hold him, and give me that added confidence. (If I didn't say it before....THANK YOU TERI). I get on. He's fine, tense but fine. We walk back to the other end of the arena. Carrie has me ride a diamond. After I finally figured out where the lines of the diamond were, we did pretty good (hey I'm the goober in a lesson one day that tried to serpentine M-X-K, for those of you not familiar with a dressage court, that's a straight line across the diagonal). The quieter and steadier you are, the better he his.

He was well liked at the lesson. The other ladies thought he was nice, and shouldn't be a problem. Somebody trained this horse. Somebody did do a nice job with him. It's just going to take some time to get his confidence back.

He's still about 150lbs underweight. I've put close to 100 on him. His feet are looking much better, two trims in now. He's had his teeth done and been wormed twice. Now, truly I think it's just groceries and time.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cat Tales 3

After the initial ride I rode Cat a few more times. Hated it. Kept thinking there had to be a way to lighten this mare up to the aids. I didn't want to go to a crop, or spurs, or a bigger bit. But she was a miserable ride. So, being the adult I am, I threw her out in the field for another six months. I'd look at her, groom her, have her feet done, etc. All the while she's relaxing more, not being such a schizo. Still has her moments, but getting better. I'd look at her and think, 'gawd I can't believe I bought this horse.'

Still to this day when you halter her, call her so she comes to you, open the halter wide and tell her, "Put you head in here." She dunks her nose into the halter, and you flip the tail over her neck, and quietly fasten it. Don't hurry, don't reach your hand up quickly. If you do, she's likely to come off the ground in the front, and fly backwards. Then she's snorty and big eyed, and you have to start the process all over again.

One day I'm working in the barn. I look up and my toddler is gone. Stealth boy. Every mom knows that sudden clutch, frozen inside feeling. I can hear him humming. So I walk out of the barn, and there he is, with psycho Cat. She has her head down, and he's giving her head a full body hug, rocking side to side, humming to her. I now feel like I'm going to be sick. I don't want to startle Cat. I also don't want this to continue. So, from the barn walking slowly I ask, "What ya doin?" He stops, turns his head to look at me, still holding Cat's head with a big smile, "I'm singing to Cat. She's my horse." Great. Great combo, she's 3 and half or 4, he's 2 and a half or 3. Oh, my personal nightmare.

He pats her between the eyes, and comes towards me, she follows him. She really likes him. I think it's probably a safe bet it wasn't a kid that cooked Cat. She loves him to this day. When they were both a little older he'd ride her. He'd have to kick and kick to make her go. If he got off balance, she'd halt. The first thing I tell adults that get on her, "Stay off her mouth, stay off her sides." She's not as forgiving with grown-ups.

This incident was enough to light a fire under me, to get busy on fixing this filly. We start really slow. Still having to untie her to put a saddle on. First order of business is to fix the walk, and lighten the rein aids. I'd take a contact in one rein. When she'd give, even a hair, I'd drop the rein...and I made it a point, almost tossing it on her neck. Pretty soon I was releasing as soon as I felt her even start to give. She got lighter and lighter. To keep her moving in the walk I'd squeeze, as soon as I got any response, I'd take my leg off. It was like popping the clutch on a car at first, but got better. It took six months of work before I got a swinging walk on a loose rein. Then we started on the trot, that had been this little shuffling jog. She still prefers a hair of contact in the trot. Which is fine by me. I don't think they did much canter work, it was pretty much fine. Except to the left. She was an absolute hag about picking up the left lead. Bucking nasty about it. I'd have to shut her down, make a circle and ask again. Odd, she's better to the left. You just gotta wonder sometimes.

So, I'd been riding her for about a year. A few of us decide to go trail riding. Sheri needs a horse. Yanki was off, and someone else was going to ride Splash. So, she gets Cat. Cat still isn't going the greatest. Sheri likes a horse that walks out, and is higher octane. Cat is still just kind of starting to get it together, and a new rider knocked her back a few steps. By the end of the ride Sheri is irritated, and frustrated. She says, "This mare is never going to be any good, what a stupid horse." Oh, throw that gauntlet. I say she'll be fine. Something along the lines of you'll be surprised when she's done. I think Sheri actually snorted. (Nice friend. lol)

I start hauling to an indoor in the evenings with my friend Karen during the week, and hitting the roping arena on the weekends. Karen's mom is a really good barrel racer. So, we start pattern-ing Cat. Just going slow, you know perfect practice and all that.

Well, I decide to take her to the first gymkhana of the season. She feels a little twitchy. I tell Sabrina she feels like she wants to buck. Sabrina poo-poos me. Okay, first event of the day is barrels. So Cat and I take it in a long trot, midway between the first and second they say something over the loudspeaker, and it crackles. Her head pops up, she then sees all the horses along the fence, and people sitting on the fence...and just breaks in two. I have my stirrups too long (like equitation length) a french link ring snaffle in her mouth, and I'm trying to pull her head up, while reaching for my stirrups. She snaps again, lands on her front end, ass in the air and shoves backwards with her head down.....and I'm outta there. I hit the ground so hard. She takes off flying around the arena. I tell the guys that are trying to help not to chase her, they'll just scare her more. Sabrina walks into the arena and yells, "Cat, come here." She looks up, sees Sabrina and flies over to her. Sabrina (another nice friend) says, "Did they scare you sweety?"

I come walking up to get my horse. Sabrina is trying not to laugh. Asks if I'm okay. I nod yes. She starts cracking up, "Man that mare can buck. I hope my mom got that on tape." Yup, love you too Sabrina. Her mom did get it on tape. Oh, Sabrina's mom was the breeder, by the way.

So that evening at dinner, I get to watch slow motion, frame by frame my buck-off. Sabrina saying things like, "Look, look there you were already done for, she already had you. Right there" Pause tape. I'd nod. "I don't know how you made it to the next jump....but then you were off." And watch it again, just in case we missed something relevant. This is all very educational you know. "Hey are you sore, you're probably going to be pretty sore tomorrow."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cat Tales 2

My friend and the crazy people make the deal to swap Cat for Leggs (TB mare). Their trainer, thinks Cat is sweet, and of course she'll be a great dressage horse. Mmmmm K. Can anyone here say 'job security'. The term 'unscrupulous bitch' also comes to mind.

Three months later I get a call from the mom. It's close to midnight (clue #1). She tells me their dog needs surgery, the vet wont do it without cash up front. They need to sell Cat right now. They knew I liked her so they thought of me first (clue #2). I tell them I don't have $3500-$5000 for this filly right now. She asks me how much I have on hand. I tell her I have like $500. She says that's fine, she'll take $500 (giant clue #3). I have to come and get her by the weekend though (it's Wed), oh and she wants cash.

I am to meet her at her house. I can pick up Cat's papers, and the file on her vaccines, and trims etc. Oh, and bring cash. So, I do as she asks. Ask her if she's going to follow us out to the barns. Nope, it will just be too upsetting for her. She wouldn't be selling her if it wasn't such an emergency. So, this is all feeling pretty weird to me now, well even weirder.

My friend (the breeder) and I head out to RA to go take a look for Cat. I can't find her. My friend spots her right away. The only way I recognize her is her half white eyelashes over one eye. This is not the same filly that was delivered just over three months before. My friend is almost in tears.

I'm at a loss. I can't believe this is the same horse. I exhale, and push my bangs off my face with my right hand. It scares Cat so bad, she flies backwards and hits the back wall of the pen. The pen is 32' deep. I'm standing 3-4 feet on the outside of the pen.

Cat's hip bones are hanging out, you can count every rib. She's stocked up on all four. Has dried crusted sweat all over her, and she's lame. Fabulous. My son is tiny, 2 at this time. I'm thinking there is no way I can do this. I tell my friend, that I'm not sure I can do this at this time. She says, just take her. Please get her out of here. If it doesn't work out, I'll make it good somehow. Okay, she can go be a pasture ornament. What the hell, right.

So I take her home. I call the vet. Yup, she's lame. Sore tendon, no rips or tears. He figures it's bruised. What was making her really appear lame, was they had done her feet 4 times in three months. She had no feet, and the soles were paper thin and horrible bruised. I have no idea what the hell they were trying to do. Cat has a slight rotation on the left front (worse after their spectacular foot care). The leg is straight, it rotates up high, it's like she holds that elbow in, she travels straight.

Fast forward 2 months. Her weight is looking pretty good, she's sound. I have my friend Sheri meet me up at my place. Figure I should have someone there for the first ride. You know, just in case. They told me they'd been riding her, and she was fine. I have Sheri hold the lead, while I tack her up (she was the set back queen when tied, I think she broke 5 halter and leads before I switched to hope halters, with no hardware). I still have one halter with the ring that's bent where you hook the lead. I groom her, and put the saddle pad on. Her back raises, and she gets big eyed. Sheri gives me the look, and says, "She's broke?" I say, "Yes, they said she's broke, that's she's fine. Give it a rest." Sheri loathes these people. I put the saddle on, reach underneath her to grab the girth. As soon as the girth just brushes her belly she catches three feet in the air off all four. I grab, and steady my saddle. Sheri looks at me all calm, with the rope still loose and says, "Yeah, she's broke." I think I said something really deep and meaningful like, "Up yours."

So I lunge her a couple circles, and she seems fine. So I get on. She hardly moves. You have to have a 40lb pull on the reins, and your legs on like a vice. Then she can walk (sort of) with a tiny stride. If you release any pressure, from leg or rein she wanders and halts. Lovely.

Cat Tales

When I first saw Cat she was a suckling. Very pretty baby. Huge butt, and huge eyes. Very cute. She and her dam belonged to a friend. I said something about her being a nice looking baby, my friend said, "Yeah she is." Oh, this was looking like a keeper for them. I said "Well if you think about selling her, I'd be interested." My friend laughed at me and replied, "I bet you would."

Well, two and a half, three years later a woman I knew wanted to get rid of her 10 year old TB mare. This mare was gorgeous. The woman had to have her for her 10 year old daughter. This was not a child's horse. She was a wonderful horse, very well trained, good manners, and brave. She was also an Intermediate Level Eventer. Not a kids horse...k. I had advised these people, not to buy this mare. I hadn't seen her, but didn't think a horse that jumped 5', and could keep up with the big boys on a cross country was a great candidate for a spoiled 10 year old. A kid that always blamed her horse when things didn't go as planned. The kid was hard on horses, unfair and mean. (She grew out of it, and is now embarrassed if you bring up her past behavior).

I was there the day the hauler delivered the mare to the barn. When he unloaded this mare, she took my breath away. She was an absolutely beautiful, exquisite mare, in her prime, black bay, refined, uphill, super fit and just glowing with health. The woman asked if I thought she looked okay. Good lord, the woman had no clue how special this mare was. I later found out, the mare had belonged to a woman that trained and had a eventing/dressage barn, (I'd shown at this woman's place small world, huh?). The horse was her daughter's. The daughter wasn't doing what she was supposed to, or paying much attention to the mare, so the trainer/mom sold the horse.

After the mare had been there for a week, they asked if I'd ride her. There was a jump course set up. The mare felt pretty good, responsive and quiet. So, I thought what the heck and started the course. This mare made me feel, and look like a genius. I swear she counted her own strides between jumps. Never hurried, she'd land a jump and calmly look for the next. Way cool horse. The woman asked if I thought the mare was tough to handle, that their trainer didn't like her. Their trainer has beautiful equitation, looks great in the saddle. She is however, one of those strongly on the aids riders. Legs clamped on, and a very strong contact...more pulling than contact. I don't think this was a good mix for this light sensitive mare.

After awhile this family decided the TB mare was crazy. The mare was not crazy, the people were. I took my friend to see this mare, as a potential broodmare. The woman goes to get the mare out of the stall. Mare is quiet, comes out of the stall quietly, sees the green grass and gives a little tug to get to the grass. The woman screeches, throws the lead rope at me, and yells, "Take her, take her, you take her!" Both the mare and I are looking at this woman like she's nuts.

My friend likes the mare. Wants to know more about her. So we hunt down the trainer. I ask the trainer some questions about the mare. The trainer dislikes her...a lot. I asked what the mare did. The trainer responds, "She ran backwards and sideways with me." So, I'm waiting for the rest of it...expecting to hear that she reared up, slammed her into the arena fence, fell down...something. When no further explanation came I say, "And?" The woman gives me a nasty look and says, " I feared for my life, I will never ride her again." Allrighty. Okay so in my mind I'm thinking 'you fuckin pussy, how can you call yourself a trainer'? (I'm a much kinder person now, I'd just think...oh you freaken wuss).

My friend still likes the mare, even after hearing how horrible, dangerous loco'd she is. (Yes they used the term loco'd) Yup, we're on the nor cal coast, no loco weed here folks. My friend wants Elaine to look at her before she decides. The people haven't set a price, so we're kind of up in the air. Elaine's comment when she sees the mare..."Load her up."

Turns out, they want to swap the TB for a young horse that they can have trained. My friend has quite a few young horses, some started some not. So, we're pointing out the horses more suitable for dressage, and some hunt classes. I'm pushing George, big 2.5 year old, flat muscled, good mover, and super kind and easy going. They don't like George because he's a funny color. He's a bay roan...he's a silvery lilac color through part of the year. I think he's beautiful.

The mom asks me what horse I like. I say I like Cat, but she's not a dressage prospect. She's more of a working cow type horse, and she's kind of fast twitch. Oh no, I'm wrong....she'll be a great dressage horse. They must have her. Cat is 3 at this time, has 30 days on her. Doesn't the mare in the picture look like a smokin dressage horse to you all? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Last night on my way home I get a call from a student. She is riding a guy's horse for him. He doesn't have time, or like this horse as much as his others. This is a young quarter gelding. I think he's five. He's a good looking halter type horse. No, not my cup of tea, but a really nice looking horse just the same. She calls, because she was looking for a tube of bute paste. By the time I could call her back, she had already located some. She needed the bute to give to this horse she's been riding. The horse has been tying up. This was the third episode this week.

I'm horrified. The third time in a week? I asked he what the owner said. "Oh, he said to just give him some bute, he'll be fine. He always does this." I asked if she called the owner. "Yes, but the only contact number I have is his cell, and it's always turned off."

Now, I'm pissed. This is a reoccurring problem. He hasn't had a vet pull blood. He hasn't tried to see if it's nutritional, or genetic. The horse is in pain. The horse is often nasty cranky-mean. (Oh gee, I wonder why?) He looks off on his right hind....I don't know if he's off, or just stiff, bound up. Well, that would be off too, wouldn't it.

So, I'm going to be hunting this owner to have a discussion, if he ever gets his happy ass out to the barns. He's gotta check on his horses once in awhile, right?

Oh, and he has a young stallion at home, that he wants to breed. Same lines, same dam as the gelding that is tying up. Seems like it might be a real good idea to find out what is causing the tying up in the horse's siblings...ya think?

So, I told my student that when she got home she was to look up tying-up/rhabdomyolysis online. Not just what one of us morons with a blog has to say, genuine veterinary information. Okay, aside from the muscle damage, and the toxins etc...tying-up is painful. That poor horse hurts. Ever had one of those cramps in your calf you can't get rid of? Think of your whole body like that.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Well, I forgot I had this blog. So, I'm going to start using it. I'm going to start with posts regarding Top (aka Laptop 9). My latest rescue horse. He's a 16.2h Oldenburg gelding. Bay with 4 white socks. One of my students had rescued him. She and her girlfriend had spent some time with him, and had put quite a bit of weight on him. He still needs about 100lbs. I had a 16h 5 year old buckskin paint. Jasper was a starving and abuse case. He has some real issues. He was coming along pretty good, but still pretty unpredictable. I knew that I had to re home him sooner rather than later because I have a ten year old student that goes through his paddock at least once a day. Jasper had been there for close to two months. Everyday the wheelbarrow with food goes through his paddock with hay, and comes back empty to the barn. This is every day twice a day. I was in the barn watching my student wheel out the food, feed and as she is coming back with the empty wheelbarrow, Jasper spooks. He spooks so hard he hits the ground. All because he saw a wheelbarrow. Oh, not good with kids around.

A few days later I'm talking to my on again off again student. I'm telling her about Jasper. She says, that she really likes him. We go over all his issues. I'm baffled that she likes the horse, but okay. I ask her if she wants him. She asks how much? I tell her I've just started one of mine. If she'll just ride her to walk, trot, canter we have a deal. She's shocked, asks "Is that all? That's it?" Uh yeah. Nothing fancy, just time on the filly, no hurry. Deal.

Well, they have Laptop. They hate Laptop. (poor guy) They don't have room for Jasper, until Laptop gets a new home. Okay, no big. Call me when you find Laptop a home. So a month or so down the road, one of the girls calls me. Asks, so do you want Laptop? Uh, not really, why? Well, we can't seem to get rid of him, and we don't have a spot for Jasper until he's gone. So, if you'll take Laptop, we can take Jasper. Lets see...hmmmm? Psycho paint gelding, that runs backwards kicking at other horses, through a fence. Falls down when scared? Or an underweight WB, that has issues with manners, and being a giant Arab? HMMM....Yeah, I'll take the WB.

They picked Jasper up in the morning, and dropped Top off in the afternoon.

Laptop is a huge goober. OMG. He has no herd sense. Cant walk without sliding if it is slick at all. I find myself calling him Dork Boy. How terrible is that. I say things like, "Hey sweetie, hows my dork boy." He's all big doe eyes, happy to see you.

I had him in my small pen (100' x 150') across the fence from my horses for 3 weeks. I had everybody out of the field except Cami. Since Cat is at Sabrina's, Cami is queen at the moment. So, I catch Top, lead him into the pasture. I take him over to meet Cami. They greet, smell noses are quiet and seem fine. Cami walks a little ways off and starts to graze. So, I stand there holding the lead, letting Top graze. We do this for 5 or so minutes. I then unclip the lead, and he continues to graze for another 5 to 10 minutes with me standing there. Suddenly his head pops up, he looks around, sees Cami and runs towards her at full tilt. Scares the crap out of Cami who takes off. Now he isn't running after her like he's chasing her to be mean. He's running after her like he's trying to catch up. Cami is flying...she runs up to the barn, sits, slides does a rollback and is out of there. Top right on her heels tries to duplicate the move. You know, big warmbloods really don't rollback like a cutting bred qtr horse. He fell down so hard. Hopped up, looking surprised, and right back after Cami. I call Cami, and she runs over and hides behind me. Top comes trotting up and stops right in front of me, looking at me, "so, what are we gonna do now?" I clipped the lead line back on, and said you're going back in the pen. I then grabbed my 20 year old qtr mare, and put her in with him for manners and company.

He still makes goo goo eyes at Cami whenever she's around. He thinks she's beautiful.