Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So How's Your Day Going?

Top seems to be truly over his cellulitis. Hopefully, I will find time to work and ride him tomorrow. Will have to see what comes up. Cat is home. Not exactly in the condition I expected. Okay, not at all in the condition I expected. She has a gash over her left eye that looks like it should have had a couple stitches, and has been healing for awhile. She is lame at the walk, and her feet look like hell. She is mentally a basket case.

I don't know how many re-treads this mare has in her. Of all horses to have it go bad for...shit. I'm pissed. My friend that had her has a ton on her plate at the moment, serious tough crap on her plate. It doesn't excuse the condition of my mare, but now is probably not the time to talk to her about it.

Cat is almost as worried as she was when I first got her. It took over 10 minutes to get her to stop hurrying away from me, stop and put a halter on her. Well, actually you don't put the halter on Cat. You stand at her left shoulder, open the halter and say..."Put your head in here." I have no idea how I'm going to get a bridle on. Yup, we're back to less than zero.

I had the chiropractor out and he adjusted her today. He was shocked at how lame, and the condition she was in physically as well as mentally. She was out all over the place. More of, 'where isn't she out'.

Hopefully, my farrier can get to her tomorrow. I asked if I should try and clean the feet up as best I could. Nope, he said leave him with as much to work with as possible. He usually says, yeah, go for it. I'm pretty decent at trims, but when I described her feet he was concerned.

She's moving better after the adjustment from the chiropractor. A little swing to her back, and some reach. I've never had this mare lame except for abcesses, sore feet, or when she took down the side of an old growth barn when I first got her, or the time a friend's mare kicked the crap out of her and cracked some ribs.

I'll have to write the story of why she bashed herself out of the barn another time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bobby - Ninja Kitty

The kitty in the picture is my barn cat Bobby. You can't really get a feel for the size or solidness of Bobby from his picture. Bobby belonged to a woman I know. She paid some healthy amount for him, she's never said what. He is supposed to be part Bobcat. Don't know, he looks kind of like one, or just a really big Manx. He's raked like a muscle car, the hind end is higher than the front.

I guess it got to the point where she was worried walking through her house, wondering from where and when Bobby would leap out and attack her. Bobby ran away from home. She looked for him, couldn't find him. He showed up at the local dressage barn. Bobby did fine for awhile there, then he decided he should be the only kitty at the barn. Oh, and his attacking of DQ's was very frowned on. I guess he chased one kitty in front of a car and it died. He put another kitty's eye out, and beat another kitty up pretty bad. The DQ's were going to take him to the pound, or just off him somehow. They'd had it with him.

Elaine called me and asked if I wanted a barn cat. My son was 11 at the time. She tells me all his bad behavior, and how mean etc... Now I'm kind of worried, I don't want some vicious cat at my place around my kid. She says she doesn't think he's as bad as reported. So we borrow a kitty carrier. I'm wondering how to get this beast into the carrier. One lady at the barn that really likes him, puts him in. She recommends I do not leave him in the carrier. That I just let him out as soon as I get to my place. I'm thinking...oh he'll be gone, I'll never see him again.

Once at my place, with great hesitation I let him out. I've put down canned food and dry (they said he hated canned food and wouldn't eat it). He strolls out of the carrier and settles into the can of food. He now gets a can morning and night, plus dry food.

Well, Bobby does have some issues. If you're petting him and he's done he'll bite you. If flops over on his back showing you his tummy, and wriggles like "oh rub my tummy" don't do it, don't believe him. He will latch onto your arm like a boa, and then try to gut your arm with his hind legs. Yes, I have thrown this kitty (that semi panicked...ugh get off of me). Sad but true.

There have been a few incidents with Bobby. My neighbor came up to talk to me one day. Bobby strolls up. She starts backing away from him. She asks, "Is this your cat?" I really want to say, "No, why?" But no, I say, "Yes he is, why?" I guess he showed up at her house and attacked her. (Jerk, really bad form to go to someone's house and beat them up. Not allowed). They get along fine now.

Second incident. I had a mobile vet out to do acupuncture on Shad. Very easy going woman, kind, very kind to animals. Well, Bobby decides to hop into her motor home that is her traveling office with surgery and everything set up in it. Very cool set up by the way. She goes up to her all Mr. Nice. She pets him a few times, and he tags her. She shushes him off, and he goes out the door. Well, he comes back, with intent. He comes trotting up the steps...scopes out where she is sitting and launches himself at her. Hind and front legs splayed...air born. Just as he hits her leg, I grab him by the scruff of the neck, and hurl him out the door about 25 feet or so. He lands, gives me the 'hate you' look and walks off.

I now realize I have just hurled my cat 25+ feet through the air, in the presence of this very nice, touchy feely kind of vet. I'm thinking, great...she's going to think I'm some horrible animal abuser. I hesitate a moment before I turn back around and say, "Bobby's kind of different. If you don't get after him right away in a big way and stop it he gets worse." She is laughing, "Oh, I have one at home just like him. Manx too, but female...I'd of done the same thing." Whew bullet dodged.

Bobby's piece de la resistance was biting the judge's brother. I share my pasture and barn with a local Superior Court Judge. She would have her brother come up and feed for her. He would tease Bobby. My son even told him, don't tease Bobby, you'll make him mean. Well, this guy thought it was funny. He would palm the top of Bobby's head, and shake it and say, "See he's a tough guy he likes it." I said, "No, he doesn't you're going to make him mad. Don't tease my cat."

At the stable in town across from me is a local sheriff. Great person. Love her to death. There is an orange and white kitty there, Fenton. Fenton and the sheriff do not get along. I swear they have a running vendetta at each other. I think Fenton started it actually. When she pulls up in her truck, and gets out....Fenton hurries over and pees on her tires. She always say, "Do something about your cat." Fenton is not my cat, he just decided he would hang out in my tack room. He sprays in everyone elses. (He hasn't in mine, knock wood). I don't feed Fenton, he is not my kitty.

I get a call from Animal Control about my Cat. I assume it's my friend the sheriff messing with me, big joke etc... Then I hear 'cat bite'. So, I call. Yup, it's Bobby. He bit the judge's brother. The judge's brother ended up in the ER. I have to take a copy of Bobby's rabies certificate in to animal control. I get there, and tell them the story. The officer says, "Yeah, the guy is pretty embarrassed, he said he was teasing the cat. But all animal bites that end up in the ER have to be reported." Great. Bobby is on probation.

I later tell my friend the sheriff what happened and what I thought she'd done. She laughed, said if she had thought of it she would have done it Her response to the judges brother situation, "F-ing pussy. Kitty put him in the ER."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Top's Second Carrie Lesson

Well, as soon as I get him away from the stable in town, he settles. He really likes it at the trainer's place. He still is sweaty when he comes out of the trailer, but he wasn't white foam this time. So, some improvement. He does not haul well. He goes right in as we're leaving, he does not want to get in to go home. And he kicks and bangs around most of the ride. UGH. But he comes out nicely. Odd, very odd. I think I'm going to make a point of arriving at least an hour early for my lesson. He needs the adjustment period, as well as the drying time. lol

I let him stand at the trailer for awhile. He was itchy and about rubbed his halter off his head. It was hanging by an ear. Medium was too small, large is too big. Crap. I groomed him for about 15-20 minutes. Lots of hair coming off. His brand is starting to show. Tacked him up, he is starting to get too round for the 22" girth (how sad is it that a horse that is between 16.1-16.2h can even fit in a 22" dressage girth). We're moving up to the big 24" girth. Woohoo. He's also starting to outgrow the 76" blankets, need to get him some 78" ones. Cami will be happy to have her clothes back, if they aren't totally destroyed.

I lunged him. No problems. Easy canter departs, no spooks, no jumps. Even started to relax and stretch over the topline. Big progress for tension boy. We were in the outdoor yesterday so I walked him around to look at things before my ride. Lots to see. He settled quickly.

I still had Teri stand by him while I got on. It seems to help both him and me. We strolled around for bit, then Carrie said, "Okay, pick him up, lets go." No problem, no resistance. We went back on the riding a diamond. Every time he'd get strong, lose his neck we'd halt. Hold until he gave, relax, and then walk again. Then we moved to the trot. He was going really nicely. Has a tendency to want to lean on the right leg, whether it's the inside or the outside. We discussed that. When he'd get too strong, or out of position, halt, hold till he gives, relax and move on. If he gets out of position at all, fix it at the halt then move on.

I was going to try and ride him through it as before, but Carrie said not too. That he couldn't take it, he had plenty of forward when on...that he need to stop, regroup and go again. Not a problem for me. lol I'm used to the...okay forward, don't let them do that, just ride through it, it will come. Not for Top. He's too insecure.

We pretty much had a handle on both our positions and we're feeling confident. We're going along at a really nice working trot, he's feeling all uphill and squishy, I'm loving it. Carries says, "And walk, now walk to canter departure." I said, "No." Carrie, "Walk to canter, now." Oh, just fine. Got my bad self organized, inside leg on, outside leg maybe 1/2" back and ask...it was beautiful. He departs from behind, and just strides into it. We both improved when I decided stretching up might be warranted. lol

The canter is clean with good jump in it. Really nice. Then canter to walk transition. I'd love to say it was the horse, but I dropped him on his head. It felt like falling off a cliff. I slammed down on his back. I felt bad, petted him told him, "Sorry Top, my fault." Then said so everyone could hear, "I guess it might be a good idea to ride the downward transition." We got better. He's a pretty good boy, I just need to ride him. You are always told, 'ride every stride'. Well, with Top, you ride every stride, no sloppiness allowed.

We were cantering along, and something in my hip popped. I suddenly sat alittle deeper, felt alittle straighter. So, I of course announce, "Something just popped in my hip, I can sit deeper." Carrie just shook her head. Back to up and down. He never quit me, unless I quit riding. If you're on, he's on. He does get a little heavy in the connection, but that may just be him. We'll see.
The pictures added are not of the Carrie lesson. They are older pics. I need to take some more pictures.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Top's Not Brave

Last night when I went to work Top he was a total froot loop. He really struggles at the stable in town. The closer we got to the arena the more erect he became. Very tall, and very rigid in his posture. He even halted a few times in worry.

I realized he could see what was going on in the arena long before I could. Wannabes, rhythm ropes, horses faces cranked to their chests and other assorted horsey horrors. I swear the other horses were telling him, "Run away, you don't want to come in here. This is what they do to you, it's horrible, it's scary, it hurts."

The last time we'd worked in the arena he got a scare as soon as we entered. I saw a woman on her mounting block close to the nearest gate, so we went to the main double gate that was open to enter. I'm leading him in. We get about 15-20 feet from the woman on the mounting block. She goes to get on. She apparently hadn't fastened her cinch snug enough. The saddle spun as she was starting to swing a leg over. She has her spur hooked in her gelding's hip, trying to salvage/lever her way on. Scares the living crap out of Top, he's watching this, very erect with a look of horsey horror on his face. When she hit the ground tangled in the saddle and drawreins...he hopped backwards about 12 inches...all four feet in unison, neck arched looking at her.

Now, I'm a tad worried. This is not a young woman. She's 70 something. She works herself free...her horse has not moved a muscle this entire time. (I love her horse, young paint gelding. A true sweety, and a gentleman). She can't right the saddle. So, I have her hold Top while I loosen the girth a bit and shove it back into position, and snug it up. The young gelding never moved. He's a real trooper. I look over to her and Top. Top is standing with all four perfectly square, he has his body bowed away from her, head up, broke at the pole and cocked watching her very carefully. I'm hoping she doesn't move....just stands until I can get ahold of him. He was very unsure of her, and looked spring-loaded.

We go about our business. I lunge him...he goes decently. He watches/looks for her and the gelding often. But goes well enough. I'm about to get on, and more people enter, kids bonsai-ing around...I figured we were done for the day. As we are exiting the arena the woman is by her stall (about 30 feet from us) starting to dismount. She does it again, spins that saddle under the gelding's barrel and hits the ground. (I think, 'Oh just f*#k me'). She gets up, comes toward us saying, "I'm going to need you to fix that saddle again, I know I can't get it." Grabs Top's line. So I go over and fix the saddle again.

I'd made this big statement about a week before about how I wasn't going to be scooping her up off the arena anymore yadda yadda yadda. (Yeah big talk little white woman). Hey, I've know her for twenty years, she's always been nice to me. We may not see eye to eye on training techniques, but she is a nice woman, and I have to give her credit...she's still doing all this stuff. And she is my elder. There are things that are just ingrained into you that never leave, and respect for your elders is apparently one.

Last night he was a loon. Any canter depart on the lunge was a semi bolt...half the time both hinds together. Canter was terrible, lateral (left hind, and left front traveling in unison) and pronky. Assorted spooks, hops and little panic attacks. I'm thinking great, I am going to die tomorrow.