Monday, November 30, 2009

Cami (aka Shesa Peppy Cami)

This is Cami...most often called Cami-do. Cuz, Cami do everything, and is very pleasant about it. She is my catch all, put pretty much anyone on. Probably one of the smartest if not the smartest horse I've ever owned.

I bought Cami on a mad. I was ticked off. I had just sold my 3rd, training 4th level gelding...because I just had to have the Hann mare. Well, that isn't the only reason I sold him. I sold him because he had broken a coffin bone a few years before, and everytime he fell on the forehand, tripped, seemed uneven I'd panic and think I'd broken him again. So, I didn't use him much, and sure didn't use him like he should have been used. I sold him to a woman as a trail horse...and have regretted it ever since. Have even tried to get him go, no dice. My farrier laughed at me, and said, "You are never getting that horse back. She loves him. I keep expecting him to turn up on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Yeah, Strider has it pretty cushy, with a lady that adores him. It would probably be culture shock to come home.

Well, I was supposed to get this Hann mare, five years old. I told a woman that was going down to this farm if the mare really looked suitable, just to pick her up. I already had a deal with the breeder. Well, the woman picked her up, and when I asked...her price had gone from $5000 to $7,500. The woman bought her. That hauling charge was a just a tad too steep for me. In retrospect, I'm really glad I didn't end up with the mare. Her gaits weren't very good, and she was a worrier.

So, me in a tizzy fit I start searching the horse classifieds. Am I looking for another WB dressage horse? Oh hell no. I decide I'm so bent, I'm over that and those people...screw them. I'm looking at cutters and reiners...going back to my roots so to speak. I find a yearling Camiseta Badger daughter over in Red Bluff...$5000, and chestnut. Allrighty, I like red horses. Well, I watch it for a few days, call the folks...they're willing to sell her for $3500. Sounds good to I make the 3-4 hour drive over to Red Bluff.

I get to these folks' place. Very nice people. Cami is not quite what I was expecting...being a Camiseta Badger x Robs Prescription bred mare. She was kind of scrubby. Her front legs came out the same hole. She's a long yearling, and nobody has ever done anything with her. Oh...PERFECT.

So, me being the diplomat I am...and irritated I say, "There is no way I could see giving you more than $1500 for this filly." The woman should have told me to take my rude butt off her place, she would have been quite justified. It wasn't Cami's or the woman's fault I didn't get the Hann mare (blessing in disguise). The woman says, "Well, okay I think my dad will go for that, but I don't think he'd go any lower." In my little pea brain I'm thinking, 'Well crap, I just bought this dink. Now what am I going to do.'

Cami loaded well, even though she'd only been in a trailer once as a suckling or weanling. I hauled her home to Humboldt in a driving rainstorm. She rode like a trooper. I get her home late in the afternoon. She comes out of the trailer calmly and just looks around. I put her in a pen. She'd spook a bit...but she'd stand still, and drop her head and look. least she's thinking.

I didn't start Cami until she was four. She just looked too babyish until then. Her teeth say she is a year younger than her papers say. I'd be really questioning who she is, except that she's DNA'd.

I started giving sporadic lessons on her when she had about 60 days on her. Cami is the bomb. The first time I took her over to Elaine's after I started her Cami was quite the hit with Elaine. After working with her, Elaine reaches over, rubs on her gives her a pat and says, "You're just the little Einstein of the horse world aren't you." Elaine loves Cami...even if she can't move her way out of a paper bag.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Been Hectic

Sorry for the even later than usual post. I've just been buried. By the time I get home trying to put a post together seems overwhelming.
I haven't gotten to my horses as I should. Had Top out the other day. The footing wasn't spectacular and I realized Top has no sense of self preservation. Yeah, I was scared. Not for the normal reasons. I wasn't worried about him being naughty. I was worried he was going to pull something, bow something, hyper-extend something, or we were going to land in heap in the slop.
I took Maisa out to lunge. There was a big puddle at the back of the arena, but plenty of room in a dry area with good footing to lunge. Maisa decided he wanted to run through the water. He drug me over to the large puddle and gleefully would accelerate his way into the water. He'd canter through, slapping his front feet to make a bigger splash. He did this over and over, like a child playing in mud puddles. One of the ladies from the barn hollered over to me, laughing, "Where are his rubber boots." Maisa is an odd one. At least he's never dull.
I always think of Maisa as a raw boned, kind of rangy thing, without much depth. And then I realize things like, he and Top pretty much wear the same size blanket. They cinch the same, but Maisa needs a wider tree on his saddle. I look at the pictures of him with BH on him, and realize how much shoulder is in front of her leg. It is really quite long and sloped. Kind of curious as to what he'll look like at 7. Most winter blankets are too snug through the shoulders for him. And if they are cut like a Big D...they slide behind his withers and will rub. So, Weatherbeeta's, Turnout Masta, and Pessoa's fit well. His Amigo Bug Buster fits well too. He wears a 76-78" winter blanket. Cob sized bridle with a full horse brow, 5" bit. Passier wide tree saddle. Medium splint boots, med bells. Not sure of his shoe size, probably 1's. Haven't shod him yet. He has very round feet. Perfect circle prints. Stands just about 15.2h.
Top's proportions don't make much sense either. Wears a medium to medium wide tree. Stands 16.2h. Wears #3 shoes on the hinds, and 2's on the front. Regular horse size bridle with 5.75" bit. Large and x-large splint boots, x-large bells. And...a 76"-78" winter blanket.
My student that usually cares for Top and Maisa in town went home for Thanksgiving. I had to move my pen and gravel while she was gone. Feed and clean and do my usual chores. I only got her mare Daf out twice while she was gone. Suffice it to say, Daf is a lunatic at this moment. I let the girl that was caring for Daf lunge her yesterday. OOPS. Kind of a mistake. She has Daf in just a halter on the line. Daf is flying around the girl, slinging her head, and starting to cut in on her. The girl goes to check her, to slow her up and stop the head slinging. A Daf I hadn't seen in a year appeared. She cocked her head toward the girl, and was eyeing her, sizing her up starting to move in on the circle. OH CRAP. I hollered in a mean growly voice, "DAF!" She slowed and looked toward me. Gave me the stink eye as if saying 'You fun killer, I could have had her. '
Daf can be pretty intimidating if she chooses. It is disconcerting to have her tracking around on the lunge with her head cocked toward you...moving steadily around staring you down. Waiting for you to weaken, or lose focus. When she first arrived she cow kick at you, or try and come in on the lunge to get you. One of our first few sessions she came in, head down snaking, stomping her front feet at me. Those of you touch feely folks should probably stop reading now. I slid my whip, handle up, and drilled her right between the eyes with a good deal of force with the handle end of the whip. She stopped, and looked at me in shock. I hadn't given any ground, and she was surprised. I put her directly back to work. We've never revisited the 'I'm going to stomp the trainer into the ground' again. Funny, I'm now one of her favorite people. If her owner is riding her, and she sees me coming, even my car coming...she'll bolt in my direction. "Hello, hello, I'm happy to see you." She's quite the goob, and really terribly sweet. She just has these moments now and again. And if she can intimidate or bully she'll go for it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Maisa, Daf, and Top

I had lessons in town today. It was a pretty nice day. Not the normal lesson routine. Daf has been doing something funky with her right front. She shortens the stride, and sometimes doesn't swing it forward well and will kind of stab it into the ground. Now this is a very athletic you gotta wonder. Not sure what it going on. It isn't consistent. It is intermittent. Gave her owner a lunge lesson on her. It improved, but didn't completely disappear. Put another student up, and it lessened, but would still show up now and then. Had the owner just ride her loose, and forward. Don't worry about position, or anything, just go free and forward. She did better out strolling around the barns than in the arena.

The other student and I went to get Top. She was going to have a lunge lesson on him. She groomed him, and I tacked him up. He was even good, and held his feet up for her. She's 11. Apparently he likes children. A LOT. I had her lead him to the arena. (Yes, we took peppermint treats). I lunged him for a bit to see where his head was. He was very good. Her father had to give her a leg up to get on Top. A little bigger step up than she is used to. I was actually impressed she got her toe to the stirrup...up on her own just wasn't happening. Maybe next time.

We started slow at the walk to let her get the feel of him. She is smiling. Says she loves his walk. So, I have her start to pick him up. Make him round up a bit, and go to the bit. It took more leg and contact than she is used to. It took a minute to get the feel. Once she had it, she was on. We went with this forward, connected swingy walk for awhile. I said when she felt ready to ask for the trot. (I'm the dope on the rope at the moment. Just there as a safety net). She asks for the trot. Top wont trot. She asks again, more firmly...he gives her more walk. I take a good look at him. He's worried. He is walking on eggs. I say, "He's babysitting. He's worried...who knew." She laughs, and pats him, tells him he's fine. He halts, knickers for a treat. She whips one out and gives it to him, before I can say, "No." I tell her to make him go again. She does...he makes a quarter circle, halts, knickers for a treat. UHM...NO. I say, "No treat, push him up, and go. Make two circle...halt then give him a treat. You halt...don't let him decide to halt." She does this. Top now seems to be on the same page as us.

She walks a couple more circles, asks him to trot. No go. I tell her to hold the reins, and grab strap...ask him to go. I take a connection on the line, and lift the tip of the lunge whip and cluck to him. He goes into a trot. Well, Top's version of a western pleasure jog. I have her halt...give him a treat. Tell her to push him back up, mean it...and go immediately to posting. She does, and he 'jogs'. I tell her to squeeze every up stride...and he loosened up a little and had some forward. She is thrilled. Starts to laugh...pats him and says, "He's like a giant Shad. I love him." Kind of choked me up. He is kind of a giant Shad when he's on. This is the kid that could sit Shad's extended trot at 6.5 or 7 years old. And Shad could extend. He'd look like a speed boat cutting across a lake. Haunches buried, and front end elevated and just snapping out the front. She loves forward. Now Shad was a big 14.2h, maybe 14.3h if he needed his feet done, and Top is 16.2h...slight difference. I think there will be more lunge lessons for her on Top. Top likes this kid thing. He drops his head, for brushing, is all attentive and quiet.

When we finished with both Daf and Top, on to Maisa. Maisa is now on about 5-6lbs of grain a day. I'm thinking it is a good thing. One of my students went out and got him. I see them round the side of the barn...and he is just all loose, swinging gumby horse. He looks like he's walking in slow motion, but my student is walking at a good clip. He's all blinky, eyes half lidded...looking like a stoner.
I lunged him. He was a good boy. One of my old students comes into the arena. Now, I'll be perfectly honest here...Maisa's stopping makes me nuts. I get irritated. Not fair of me, I know. But I start to get mad at him. And that just isn't going to help anything. I ask if she wants to ride him. She's more than happy to get on. She rode him after I rode him the other day, and loves how he moves...when he moves. lol I'd forgotten a whip. Of course. I'd packed a whip the last two rides, and the halting had pretty much stopped. Now and then, but pretty much gone. So, he starts out pretty good. Then he starts gawking around and halting. He is in love with a little paint mare that was in the arena.
So, I grab a lunge whip and help from the ground. She got him going, and then we went to trot. I've never seen him trot with a rider as I'm the only one that has been on him. was beautiful. Heather just posted along and let him go. She's very quiet. Once the stop was off, he just went. Free and forward. Once he gets the idea of carrying and connecting it will be gorgeous. I'm so pleased. The first time she rode him, she could see I was getting irritated. Kind of cocked her head looking at me. I said, "You want up?" She laughed and said, "Yeah, of course." She gets along well with him and likes him. Doesn't have any expectations, is just enjoying the ride.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some Maisa Pictures

Okay this is Maisa Fahim. Gee wonder why Elaine hasn't used any of these pictures on her website? LOL I really need to get some good pictures of him.
He is bigger than the Quarter girls. But they just rule him. Kind of sad. Iris is only his friend if her mom isn't in the field with them. He just doesn't get it.

Toys, everything is a toy.

Okay, here is Maisa this summer. ( I think?) lol

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Top and Maisa

That is KB Maisa Fahim with BH on him. Yes, I happen to own the only ugly KB Omega Fahim baby in existence. Go figure. Okay, so he's not ugly, he just isn't as beautiful as his siblings and cousins.

What Maisa lacks in looks he makes up for in movement. I'll be lunging him before we ride, and I find myself just staring at him. It is all so effortless and correct.

So, the rule is now...I work Top before I work Maisa. If I work Maisa first I keep looking at Top trying to figure out what is wrong with him. Is he off? Why is he so thuddy, why isn't there a lovely upward jump to the canter, does he look a little lateral? Why isn't coming through from behind more? Poor Top.

Maisa is still very babyish. Much younger than his years. He looks like he's two, acts like he's two. That is probably my fault. I haven't gotten his training going as I should. It has been pretty hit and miss. I started him about a year ago, and I think I can still count the rides on my fingers. Not good. He isn't fearful, or worried at all.

I was riding him Friday. We couldn't stay in motion to save our lives. Maisa would be trucking along, and suddenly halt. It isn't the normal slow to a crawl baby halt. We have forward, swing and then we have halt. No middle ground. Something will catch his eye, or he'll just stop for no discernible reason I can find. The more that is going on in the arena the more prevalent his halting becomes. Funny, I've never had a horse do this, quite this way. Lovely forward walk to halt. He is either moving forward well, or not at all apparently. His isn't pissy, or resistant...he just stops.

Maisa has kind of been a little contradiction from the get go. He is very people oriented. He is an orphan foal. His mother died when he was 2mths old. When I first took him home to the pasture, I put him in my pen with another babysitter horse. We'd have to sneak away when he was occupied or he would run screaming and calling for you as you went to the car. It was heartbreaking. This lasted for a couple months.

He's never quite figured out herd dynamics. Okay, that is an understatement, he is clueless about herd dynamics. Seems to always have at least one bite mark on him. They warn him and warn him to leave them alone...and he just doesn't move. So, they finally nut up and bite him. Half the time he doesn't move even then. Lately, I've been seeing him stand up for himself more, but still doesn't quite get it. He is the largest in the field, he is however the youngest.

My son taught him to play fetch. (great, that's what I want, a giant Labrador). When we'd had him home for a couple months our old lab died. My son said, "Well, it's kind of okay. We have Maisa. He's black and kind of like a dog."