Friday, June 19, 2009

Strider's Beginnings

Years ago I had a quarter gelding, Strider. I owned his mother Winnie. She was a Cal Bar mare. Nice mare. She'd had her hock broken when she was coming four. A pony and a gelding sandwiched her between them, and kicked the snot out of her I guess. Busted her hock. I got her when she was 8. She'd had two foals. The folks that had her, had been riding her. I got her so she wouldn't be ridden, could hang in the field, and make me a foal. This was back in '88. There is no way I could have afforded this mare if she wasn't so damaged. I also really liked the mare. I'd tried to purchase the filly she had at two days old. One of those, 'omg...that's the horse' moments. Doesn't happen to me often. It's immediate, I can't explain what it's just a feeling.

So, the owner of the mare said I could buy the filly when she was weaned. I showed back up when she was five months old. The owner said, "Oh, our daughter wants to keep her. So we sold her to our daughter for $1000." I almost had a full blown temper tantrum on the spot. I didn't...I bought the mare, and the older gelding. Screw em, I'll make my own. Yeah, the conceit of youth.

I bought the gelding for my boyfriend the chef. His name was Ohm. Gotta love it. He was very anything you asked. Ohm fit him. Kind of like the meditation mantra ...'ohhhhhmmmmm'.

So, I bred Winnie to Poco Joe Satan. Terrible name. Great horse. 15+h black AQHA stallion, by Hot Lightning out of a Poco Bueno bred mare. I knew the stallion well. I used to work and ride him, and handle him for breeding. We got on well. You didn't pick at him, but you didn't give any ground either. You just had to be clear, and fair and he was great. He had a sense of humor. As I've noted before, not always a good thing in a horse. I swear that horse could tippy toe...stealth horse. I was bent over cleaning out his water trough one day. Never heard him. He put his nose on the back of my neck and blew. Scared the living crap out of me. I jumped about 5' in the air, screeched and swung my arm at him as I turned. He hopped backwards, just out of range, ears straight up like he was grinning at me and saying, 'What? I didn't do anything.'

I remember one afternoon I was riding him out on the trails. He decided he wanted to go one way, when I wanted to go another. We were at an impasse. He was a stout old boy. I couldn't even bend his neck. I was like the little kid on my giant Shetland pony that wouldn't move. I'd yard on the reins, kick his side, kick his shoulder, lean and pull. Yeah, my big 120lbs was really going to knock him off balance. (Bastard) So now I'm cussing him. Giving him the Alpo lecture (you know...'Do you know what Alpo is? Do you want to be Alpo....) basically starting to nut up.

He's a giant black rock underneath me. Well, he takes a step in the direction he wants to go. Steps on a branch that snaps and drills him right in the gut...or further back, not really sure. He thought I'd gut shot him. He rocked back on his hocks, and turned the direction I wanted to go in the first place, at a pretty good clip. I slowed him his neck and said, "Good boy." You bet...take your gifts when they present themselves. Serendipity. That sulling up...we call 'Poco Bueno-ing Out'. Stubborn...but once you win, you win forever.

Well, the lady that owned Satan sold him to Winnie's owner. The new owner thought it was cool to have him all wound up a blowy. (Yeah, novice). Satan was more than happy to oblige. It's a good thing whoever trained him originally had really ingrained his manners on him. Satan never hurt these people. I remember one day the owner came running in the drive with Satan. He'd take him on walks. He wasn't much into riding. Well, Satan saw my colt Shad, and wanted to go visit over the fence. So he's basically dragging this guy over there. The guy tries to set his heels, and is kind of skiing-skipping along. Well, he gets to the apple tree. He thinks if he plants his left foot against the tree, and braces with his right foot on the ground, he's going to stop this 1200+ pounds of testosterone that is in motion.

It levered the guy through the air. It was like he leaped through the air off his left foot that he'd placed about three foot up that apple tree. (Think para-sailing) He landed in a face plant and let go of the rope. Satan jogged on over to talk to the yearling, oblivious the havoc he'd created behind him. The guy jumps up and says, "Well I'll be damned." At this point I started cracking up. Told him, "I've never seen anyone catch that much air. It was like a Tom & Jerry cartoon. " The guy was a good sport, and is laughing too. Then he tells me he used to be a wing walker. The guy is an adrenaline junky. He now builds canons and blows things up. He's great fun, and has great stories.

His wife on the other hand is always getting hurt. It's like inevitable. You ever meet people like that? She decided she wanted to groom Satan one day. So, I get sent out to supervise, and handle the horse while she grooms. She's grooming away, brushing his tail and falls down. Falls right under the stallion. I tell her, "Just roll away, get clear, then stand up." She wallows herself around until she's sitting 'indian style' directly behind the stallion. Before I could say or do anything she reaches out and grabs his hock with one hand, and his tail with the other and heaves herself out of the dirt. I quit breathing. Satan whips his head around and looks at her, whips it back to look at me. Little wrinkles above his, "What the hell? Did you see that?"

After she left I went inside with the previous owner. She made me a White Russian.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Maisa's Allergies

That's Daf on the left, and Maisa on the right. The student in between is taking a brush away from Maisa. He of course is ever hopeful she will give it back.

This is the first time I've ever had to deal with a horse with allergies like this. This is worse than my old Lab that had flea allergies, and was allergic to dry grass. Last year my vet gave Maisa a cortisone shot. It lasted a grand total of three days. Since then I've been trying to manage his allergy to gnats with fly spray, fly sheets, spot on fly repellent, MTG, Gentocin, mink oil, a cream from Dynamite vitamins, vinegar, garlic, rabon blocks, skin so soft, swat, gnat away. That's all I can think of off the top of my head. (Good lord, I look at that list and think...whew I'm a crazy woman).

I kind of tipped over when he bloodied both of his shoulders in a twelve to twenty-four hour period. It was still winter. We had two or three days of nice weather, the gnats came out, and just tore him up. I'll see him out there, swishing and stomping, and the horses standing next to him are unaffected by the gnats. They seem to just mob poor little Maisa.

So he lives 24/7 in a flysheet with a neck cover and bellyband. The Amigo Bug Buster has worked the best, but it's pretty much destroyed. I purchased two Saxon soft mesh ones, with bellybands, and necks. That was just a couple weeks ago. He's already destroyed one...with Daf's help. I put the second new one on him last night. Daf is locked in the pen with Cat...we'll see how the sheet fairs. We may be accusing Daf unjustly. Although, day one (hour one) of the first new flysheet she bit him in the butt and put a hole in it.

Even with being covered, fly sprayed, flysheet fly sprayed, and monitored daily. He has rubbed out his tail on the right side, parts of his face, and his tummy. The tummy really kind of baffles me. It's covered for one, and there is nothing he can straddle to rub it out.

One of the really tough things is I can't really ride him. He is so distracted by the itchiness he is almost immobilized. He tries to scratch his neck on the reins. Anywhere tack touches he tries to rub up against. He's like a manic, twitchy itchy mess when under saddle. He'll come to a halt, and just sling his head down to bite his chest, legs or side. Yes, I have fly spray on him. It's like if he gets bit anywhere on his body, his whole body itches. It's not just at the site of the bite. It has to be just miserable for him. There is no way I'm going to try and force him to concentrate on going under saddle when he can't even be present due to the itchiness.

Making an appointment today for Maisa and Daf at the vets. Maisa for allergy testing, and shots, Daf for re-check on her eyes, and whatever this odd unbalanced...feels like she's going to fall down when you ride her deal.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thinking of Breeding

That's Iris the Virus in the picture with a student. This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't situations. It appears that Cat will be off for awhile. Playing with the idea of breeding her. If any of you have followed any of my posts regarding breeding on FHOTD you'll know I'm not a gung ho kind of breeder. It's pretty stressy for me. I've bred two mares in just under 20 years. The first was my old qtr gelding Strider. He was probably one of the best horses I've ridden, let alone owned. The second was Iris...aka Iris the Virus. Iris is just started, and is a pretty good girl...but she does have opinions. She's very athletic, very pretty and her ambition is to grow up to be head mare like her momma.

Iris is Cat's daughter. Kind makes me pause on breeding Cat again. lol Iris is probably not going to be a 'for everybody' kind of horse. If I choose to sell, Iris it will be more difficult to place her in a suitable home than a less ambitious soul. Iris is in no way mean. She's just a lot. I don't think it would be too hard to have a mess on your hands, if you went about things the wrong way. There is however no guarantee that the next foal will have the alpha qualities Iris does. It could be a nice easy going middle of the road kind of horse.
Iris is the filly JR was supposed to pick up to start on his way to Fug's. He didn't stop by. Smart man. lol So, the old fat woman had to start her. Oh well, it went fine. It's just the getting time to ride her and continue her training. So adding another foal into the mix at this time is probably not a brilliant move.
Just not sure what to do. I'll probably procrastinate long enough that it will be too late in the season anyway. It's pretty late as it is.
I was thinking of calling Cheryl Humphrey of North Quarter Ranch. I've always liked her, and her horses. Loved Topolena. What a great horse. She has two very nice cow bred stallions standing now. Might be worth a call.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Carrie Lesson with Top and Blueheron in Tow

Rider's shouldn't talk, and use hand gestures when holding the reins. I think I was explaining something about Top. Told Carrie he had been a jumper...Blueheron said, as soon as I said, "He was a jumper..." He looked over at Carrie, stood up tall, and looked at her, like he was saying, "Yes! I was JUMPER." That's when she snapped this shot. lol

Ignore the fat old woman on the nice horse. As you can see by the position of her hands, and the cords standing out in her arms...Top was a little strong. In, out, up down, soft, strong...leaving. That would describe the ride.

Can't really blame the horse. He hasn't been ridden with any sort of regularity. The last time being in a thunderstorm.

He really had a tough time in the trailer this time. When I pulled him out, and pulled his sheet, not just his neck and butt cheeks were white foam...all of him was white foam. He was soaking and foamy along his side, his tummy, his face. I haven't figured out yet what makes the difference. He's always a little nervous and damp when he comes out, but nothing like this.

We had about 45 minutes or so before we were up. I toweled him off, hosed down his legs, shoulders and neck. Then took him to the round pen to lunge. Just walking, with a couple spurts of trot here and there. Figured I didn't have much horse left for the lesson.

Well, I had horse left. He felt pretty wound when I got on. That time bomb feeling we all just love our horses to have. The rails on a dressage court don't really offer a great sense of security when sitting on a ticking horse. He kept it together. (Thank gawd, would hate to take a dirt sample in front of everybody). We both started out a little tight, he got over it before I did. lol At one point when working on canter transition, trying to maintain (get?) softness and bend to the right Carrie says, "Don't worry, I wont let him buck you off." Made me laugh, so I relaxed and said, "What, are you going to run out here and catch me?" She said, "Of course." Made me laugh more, and I got the bend, and grabbed the lead...amazing how it works when you don't think so hard on it.

The owner of the stable that Top had been at was at Carrie's when I arrived. I was glad to see her. I've been meaning to get by and get the scoop on Top from her perspective. She was very happy to see him. She obviously really likes him. She had to take pictures for her husband who I guess just loves him. She said he'd be very happy to see Top, and how good he looks. She said Top wasn't as heavy at her place as he is now. She was impressed with how 'beefy' (her word) he was now. I asked her how he looked at her place. Well, no ribs showing, but nothing extra. She said they struggled keeping weight on him, and he was a little more down when he showed up than when he left. So, she was able to get some weight on him.

The first thing she asked me was, "Has he dumped you yet?" I said, "No, knock wood. Why?" I guess the previous owner came off of him often. Great. My stable owner friend said she couldn't figure it out. They'd be riding along, everything would look fine, and suddenly his rider would be on the ground. I guess one day the girl was showing him to a perspective buyer, and he dumped her. No sale.

Another friend of mine was up there. She also has an Omega Fahim daughter. She was visiting with Blueheron. The first thing she says, "Oh, he's an Anglo-Arab, isn't he?" Poor Top. Everybody thinks he's an Arab. lol

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rode Top Today

Poor Top. The day just didn't start well. He was kind of 'big' as soon as he got tied to be tacked up. Another trainer (yeah, use the term really lightly) was there with a passel of kids. None supervised, all cleaning and watering...and acting like unsupervised kids.

So, I'm brushing Top. This kid comes up at mach 5, and starts to pull the hose on the wheel right behind him. He looks around behind him, body all tight. I ask her if she needs to do that right now. (My hose, and my wheel by the way). Kid looks at me blankly. I say..."You're standing directly behind my didn't say anything to him, and started pulling the hose with no warning. If it had been another horse, you may have been kicked." One of the adults with that crew told the kid to just fill the bucket later, when I was done. (Gawd forbid I mess up their routine).

This is the same 'trainer' that moved Top from his stall, and is unkind to him when she thinks no one is around. Yeah, I'm waiting...something will present itself. At this point I just feel invaded, and am close to nutting up on people. Things go missing. Stuff is moved. They are just rude, rude people. Did you know that wash racks are tie and tacking racks?

I'm apparently not the only one fed up with this woman. She left a halter and lead out...someone threw it up on the roof on the barn. Man, someone even pettier than me is ticked at her. She leaves her infant in the truck while she gives lessons. More times than not the truck is running. I just want her to go away. She's not safe. Her lessons aren't safe, the kids are at's just a mess. Okay, I may be overly cautious...but dang. She has a mare in, that belongs to an acquaintance of mine. The mare rots in a stall. Rarely gets out. Stall if often filthy. The mare is now cranky, and lunges at people and horses as they walk by. Oh, the mare is in to be marketed and sold. The woman is getting paid for this. Un-freaken-believable. She is worth less now, than when she came in.

Okay, back to Top. Got kind of sidetracked on my rant. Well, the clouds were coming in. Figured I had some time. We head to the arena. Top is having a hard time keeping it together to even get the lunge line on. Allrighty. One of my students is in there lunging. I tell her..."Move down, now." She takes one look at Top, and scoots down. Top explodes forward just as I clip the line on. Just couldn't contain it anymore. Then had no clue where to go (typical Top). Turns and looks at me like, "Did you see that ghost bite my butt?" Uhmmm, no Top, I didn't see any ghost. So, he is of course semi explosive on the line. Starts to settle...then some girls decide this would be the perfect time to practice walking their horses over the wooden bridge used for trail classes. Top thought this was very very wrong, and would bounce...halt and stare at the girls. Make a circle...bounce, halt stare. Enough already. We had to go see the bridge. 'Oh, it's some jump standards, and a looked different from over there. '

Well, he starts to work pretty decent. (God is not on my side today) It starts to rain, lightning and thunder. (Really glad he had the Wintec on). So we then have to get used to this. He does. We are both soaked. My intent was to ride, and by gawd I'm going to ride. So I lead him over to the fence...climb up and on. I'm sitting on a giant coiled ball. Oh, this just does not feel good.

We start to walk, making large soft circles. Working toward even connection and forward. Lightning...little hop, followed by thunder...a scoot, with a bigger hop...and back to work. I really did feel like I was on a giant Arab. A little inversion here, a drop and scoot there. And one good bounce. Finally got some decent forward, even horse in both reins and called it a day.

Oh, and just an FYI...did you know that jeans, and a wet Wintec makes for a really grippy seat. Your butt does not move.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Catching Up

Well, Cat is still lame three Legend shots in. Pretty frustrating. The next step is Adequan. I've been shopping the price on it. So it will run me about $300 for seven shots. She does have a much better attititude than when she came home. Happier, friendlier and demanding attention.

On a good note, I'm to ride for Carrie this coming Saturday. Top is pretty fat and sassy. Hasn't been used much lately, and is eating really well. He's still a good boy and does his job well, just a tad more exuberant about doing it. Had one woman ask if he was an Arab the other day. He was bouncing in his pen. Of course the student that was with me just cracked up. Really wanted to say, "Yes he is. A big f-ing Arab."

I'm beginning to think that things in my life, and the animals in it are just odd. The half Arab...everbody asks if he's a Trakehner. He is so easy going you have to kick start him and when you watch him he looks like he's moving in slow motion? Bobby the Ninja Kitty, Iris the Virus the evil filly with a sense of humor. Cami...the Camiseta Badger daughter out of a Doc Prescription mare that everybody thinks is half TB or bred for wp and ep. How the heck did my little cutting bred mare end up 15.2h and light boned, with a natural slow and low jog? Then there is the ex-cutting mare you can put anyone on and she babysits them, so she's my main lesson horse. But I get on, and she's like, what are we going to do? Wanna rollback? A spin...? Your choice let go do something...see any cows?

So, at my house things are just never what they seem. I guess I just need to roll with it. lol
(The pic is for Golightly...she wondered what Top was up to).