Sunday, December 19, 2010

Disposable Horses

That is my Spyder horse in the picture, the dark mare. How the hell does that happen, having no pics of horses you had for years. I loved this mare. I realized I don't have any pictures of Leggs. Also an amazing mare.

Spyder and Leggs weren't really wanted by the majority of the horse world. Spyder because she didn't want to jump after an injury. Leggs...okay I have no clue why Leggs wasn't wanted. Spyder was a Swedish Warmblood mare. Whoever trained her did a lovely job. She was one of those horses that was quietly companionable. Just really nice to be around and hang out with. Things could be going to hell and I could just go sit in the field and Spyder would be this lovely quiet presence right next to me. All 16.2 or so hands of her. She loved water. She would bury her face to her eyeballs in the trough and blow bubbles or splash massive quantities of water out. She taught that to her daughter.

She was tough to keep weight on. I had to keep three different kinds of hay on hand. She apparently liked variety. She never seemed to have a great appetite. If you sat with her, and kept her company she'd eat more. In her later years I she ended up on hay and this mush mixture. The mush mixture was the bomb according to her. As I was mixing it up she would bang on the gate in an attempt to speed up the process. It was a mixture of rice bran, beet pulp, alf pellets, a cup of soy oil with joint supplements and just a tad of cob for flavor. OMG...she loved it, and actually got a little tubby.

She passed from colic a few years ago. Horrid way for a horse to go.

Leggs I got for the cost of her last vet bill. She was a TB mare. Black bay and exquisite. I mean take your breath away beautiful. Wonderfully trained. Had been an 3Day horse before I got her. I guess she went Intermediate in eventing. I rode her dressage. She was marvelous. I think some riders in the past may have run into trouble by being 'too much on the aids'. She could get a little claustrophobic (and that was a little scary). When she went there, pitch her and push her forward...then go back to picking her up.

Leggs could make you feel like a genius when you rode her. I took her through a jump course the first time I rode her. AMAZING! I swear that mare counted her strides. She'd jump an obstacle, she'd land, collect herself, look for the next jump and calmly canter toward it. Easy peasy. I might consider getting off the flat again if I had something that went like her. lol Nahhhh...this fat old woman likes it on the flat. I lost her to EPM a few years ago. Just awful.

Now there is a new 'Disposable Mare' in my pen. Canyon Kate. Kate is beautiful. Kate is a really good mover. Kate is a pyscho! She is unpleasant with people. She is unpleasant with other horses. Hence the 'in the pen' part. (Okay you all, it's not like she locked in some 32' x 16' she's in a 110' x 130' foot pen, with Divi the Wonder Horse keeping her company. Poor Divi, she's such a good girl she always get the crap detail. (Oh, you can't ride for sh.... let me get Divi. Oh, your confidence is shot....let me get Divi). You get the picture. Divi has earned a cush retirement. Although she LOVES children. She'll either retire with me and eat well and kick it, or I'll find a good home with a little kid. Or she'll go back to original owner who still loves her and would take care of her. (Divi is the red mare with the child on her)

So, yesterday I'm talking to my ex about Kate and her issues. She belongs to our niece. When her mother died a few months ago she inherited the mare. He says, "Well, sometimes those horses that are bred so much to run loose other attributes." I say, "Yeah, she looks like a running Qtr. He looks at me like I'm pretty vacant. So I ask, "How is she bred?" He gives me a little lopsided smile, "She's Julia's daughter, you know the mare that took your cousin to the NFR in barrels." Well hell. She was pretty skinny when she arrived. Draggin her hind legs around all lethargic. So, I fed her up. She's now fat and sassy and BORED. Apparently good food and a sedentary life style make Kate nasty.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Checking In

Whoa, is my Cami horse fat or what? I swear she has cellulite on her butt. Hey I knew she was tubby, but DANG. Do you think photos put 100lbs on a horse if they put 10lbs on us? She is fine boned, but her legs look like toothpicks in comparison to the girth.

Her weight of course has nothing to do with my schedule. I'm blaming it on the pasture. Look at that field they are walking through. It rained late into the season, and never really got hot enough to crisp the grass. It just kept growing.

Iris the Virus is so fat she waddles. Seriously. She's kind of a short backed mare with a big barrel anyway...but she is turning her stifle joints out a little to get around her gut. She and Maisa are back together in the field so they are slimming down some. They play. Especially fun is tag, or I run at you, then you run at me, and we'll both buck and run off again woohoo woohoo. They are just goofy. I've taken to calling Cami, Maisa and Iris 'The Three Stooges'. All grass and no work makes for goofy horses. They careen around, bounce off each other and freeze and stare at me like, "Hey are we going to go do something?"

Iris resembles a 'Thelwell Pony'...I swear to god. One day when I went out to catch her, she dropped her head, looking at me out of the tops of her eyes. It was a straight on shot. Have you ever seen the tee-shirt with the pony, and the script says, "I can only please one person a day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either." Well that would be Iris.

It has been pretty hectic since December 15th. I hope things have leveled out to just mildly insane and I can do more with my horses, and post more often. We'll see. lol

Friday, April 2, 2010

Top is Moving

Woohooo, Top is leaving the barn in town. He is moving closer to home. There is an opening at a boarding place near my pasture and barn. It seems great. Top will have a shelter and large pen. It is probably 200 x 150' pen. All lovely green grass.

I went with Blueheron today looking for places to board her horses. They only had one opening. Blueheron said, "This would be perfect for Top." I was hesitant at first. I've been pricing gravel, and trying to figure out how to get him home. This will at least buy me time to figure out a good set up for him at home. I don't think he'll ever be able to function in the general population of the pasture. I could be wrong, but I don't really want to risk injury to him, or any of my others. He really has no herd sense.

I am going to try and get him moved tomorrow. I have to check the weather. I don't want to have to haul hay in the rain.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Things Have Been Hectic

Well, my life has been total chaos since mid December. My boss has been very ill. I've been alone at the office. He is retiring the 31st of this month. I'll be starting a new job on April 1st.

I haven't been riding my horses. By the time I finish at the office I'm beat. I've been keeping up with a few of my lessons, so any free time I have tends to go to the students, and their horses.

They have certainly stepped up to help me out with feeding and cleaning. Another old student is coming back soon and says she is more than happy to help pick up the slack. Hallelujah. She is the one that was thinking of taking Top for the winter.

That's Top in the picture. I haven't been on him since early January. Figured it was better to leave his fragile self alone, rather than go erratic on him. Too hard for him when there isn't a routine. I'm going to try and move him home in April. It will make it much easier to have all the horses in one location.

My next Top goal is to take him down the beach. I figure after a couple weeks of consistent riding, he ought to do well. I'll take him with a safe sane horse and rider. I really really don't want Top running loose on the beach if I come off. lol That would be awful. I don't think he'd be an easy catch. I think he'd lose his little mind and run in a panic.

So, hopefully I will be posting more regularly soon. Once I have some sort of real schedule it should be easier to ride, post on my blog and breathe. lol

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Maisa's First Carrie Lesson

That's Maisa. He had his first lesson with Carrie today. He kind of looks like he's saying, "I went to Carrie's today. I'm a very good boy. They all thought I was very smart."

In all fairness Maisa is very smart and has a very good mind. Not much bothers him. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I've seen him spook. Oh, he's aware, he just looks, doesn't get worried. Goofy Arab, don't you think?

With all the insanity that goes on at the barn in town he stays steady. He hasn't been there much. But he seems to take it in like it was 'Horsey TV'. It is there for his entertainment. Sometimes he'll look over at me, like he's looking for some sort of validation, "Can you believe this? Did I really just see that?"

I hadn't ridden, or done anything with Maisa since Christmas time. I pulled him out of the pasture, loaded him in the trailer and headed up to Carrie's. The first thing I did when we got there was to head for the wash rack. Had to hose most of the mud off of him, well his legs and tummy anyway. After he was sort of clean, I tied him to the trailer and knocked the mud off his neck, chest and face. He at least looked sort of presentable.

We went down the hill to the indoor arena. Ran into Cathy on the way. She looks at him, says he cute, but boy does he look like a baby. Well, he does. He's just one of those late bloomers. She asked if I'd be more comfortable in the round pen on him, and that would be no problem for Carrie. I told her I take him down to lunge, see how he was and go with whatever Carrie suggested.

So we 'gumby' ourselves the rest of the way down to the arena. He's got this loose elastic way of going. Looks like slow motion, with all kinds of supple elasticity to him. (He just smokes way too much dope. Think Shaggy on Scooby Doo).

I hook up the balancing reins (Yes GL....Strangler Reins), and put him to work on the lunge while Carrie is finishing up the lesson before me. He just goes to work. Looking around a little, but pretty good.

After we lunge for a bit, I head down to Carrie. She's looking at him. (He's definitely not Top). She asks, "Who's this?" I say, "This is Maisa Fahim." "Oh, it's your baby. He seems pretty settled. Has he been here before?" I say, "No, this is his first time here." Carrie looks more interested, "Really? He's a very good boy isn't he."

So, we lunge some for Carrie. She has me shorten the lines some, push him up more. And states, "Well, you may not have done much with him, but what you have done is very good. You've done a nice job with him." With just a hint keep going, finish the job!!! She's ever nice, but she gets her point across.

We finish lunging. I'm thinking...'okay we're good. either we're done or heading up the hill to the round pen' Carrie says, "Okay, get on." I just looked at her for a moment. She says, "What, he's fine. Get on." I say, "I haven't even sat on him in a month." (yes I lied. I didn't want her to know I hadn't done anything with him since Christmas). I just pulled him out of the pasture, and hosed the mud off of him. "He's fine, get on." (yeesh, this is becoming a reoccurring theme with her, and my horses).

I lead him over to the rail, and hang the side reins, and lunge line there. Go to get on, and stab him in the side with the toe of my boot. Nice...ever graceful. Stella was there, and asked if she could help. I said, if she could just stand on his offside we'd be fine. She did, he was and off we went.

Maisa went pretty well. Struggles with staying between the lines. He'll bow and against your leg, and run through the outside. We worked on that, it did get better. We ended with trot work. He was going pretty good by the end. I usually just post on youngsters. Easier on them. Well, I was struggling with him falling in and out. So, I sat to try and correct our line of travel. He was in a good sized working trot, heading toward a medium. It took no effort to sit at all. I was shocked. It was soft, easy, forward. I don't need no stinking abs. Pilates, schmilates.

I say, "He is so much easier to sit than Top." Carrie, "It looks great, just sit, he does much better with you sitting, now push up a little more...see how he handles it." OMG....EASYBEANS. How cool is this. The more connected, the more forward, the more forward the easier to sit, and the more connected and through he was. I am SOOOOO pleased.

We talked a bit after my lesson. She is really pleased with his mind. Says he is going to be a really fun horse. I said, I realized he probably wouldn't be 'monster horse on the dressage court', but he'd be really competitive Sport Horse. She said, Sport Horse will be no problem for him. It will be very tough for a little half arab to compete against WB's in open dressage, but we have a shot. It is beginning to really show now. This mind seems to really run true. So far (knock wood) all the Omega Fahim babies have been like this. I think I need another one. lol

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Top's Bad Day

A few days ago Top had a very bad day. He hasn't had one of these for quite awhile.
I felt like I was watching him shake apart and there was nothing I could do to help him.
This wasn't all Top's doing. I hold a great deal of responsibility for his meltdown.
He really hadn't been worked in a couple weeks. Things have been so hectic lately he just hasn't gotten out like he should. He was worried and puffy getting tacked up. These are some photos from his bad day.
It took awhile on the lunge before he even was present. When he was present it was shaky at best. He had foam between his cheeks within ten minutes. Not work sweat, but brain sweat.
I should have just quit when he was going sort of decently on the line. Called it a day. Gave him some treats, groomed him and put him up.

I was feeling the pressure of time and not getting him out enough and though I should ride. Felt obligated too. Even when I was questioning if I should. Even asked it out loud. If I am second guessing getting on a horse that much...I need to not get on.

Well I got on him, and my stirrups were at jockey length. Really not a good thing on Top. He felt like a coiled spring under too much pressure.

Blueheron was there. She was trying to adjust my stirrups while Top was whipping around, slamming into her.
One of my students asked if I was moving him. Uhm, no. He's just doing it himself. Finally got my stirrups down a bit, but not far enough.
I swear, I am going to whack the next person that uses my saddle and doesn't put my stirrups back.
He just couldn't get it together. I guess I have too good of a front. Nobody realized that he was so out of control and I had no way too salvage the situation until I said, "Grab him, NOW!"
He was kind of shifting, scooting. Rocking back on his haunches like a dog sitting, head up in the air, trying to whip it around to see me. He'd get a glimpse...settle for a nano second...spring back up. It felt like we were headed out over the rail and I had no way to get ahold of him. He'd stuff his head to his chest, and sling his body to the contact in the reins.
Blueheron got a hold of him, and I got off as quickly as I could without flat bailing. Figured that would of just cinched his meltdown, I think he would have crumbled if I'd panicked.
He did get in trouble. He was blowing over me on the ground. I took him out to go find the monsters. Told him, "I am way scarier than any monsters out here." So we went for a walk. We walked with intent..."Lets go find the monsters." We went to every place that seem scarier to him...look for the bogeymen. "Nope no bogeymen." After about three of his omg scary spots he almost seemed embarrassed and quit. He did have one moment where he went to run over the top of me, and I kicked him in the chest to keep him from flattening me. HOLYCRAP...who knew Top was a full contact sport. He quit. He seemed genuinely shocked that I'd kicked him. Not more worried, but kind of ashamed. It seemed like slapping a hysterical person to snap them out of it.
I took him out the next day. He'd lost 2-3 inches in girth size in a 24hr period. He was much more himself the next day. Kind of subdued, almost fragile. He got treats, lots of praise and pets. I put one of my old students up on him on the lunge line. She was a witness to the previous day. Kind of in shock at his behavior. Her quote was, "That is the scariest thing I've ever seen." He did really well with her on the lunge. I did not turn them loose. She noted, "As long as he can see you he's fine." They'd be on the circle around me, and he'd look at me, checking in...'Am I good? Am I doing it right?' He did quite well, and we ended on a good note. Hosed his legs off. Groomed him well, more treats and put him back in his pen with a snack.
This horse can make me feel so sad. I can't imagine what it must feel like to check out in panic like he does. I'm glad these episodes are becoming few and far between. In the moment when he's checked out he's a danger to himself and those around him. We're going to work on this. These is nothing so scary or bad that is going to come for him that I wont stop before it gets to him. That's what he has to believe. He was starting to believe it on our walk. Now we have to reinforce it with repetition. He almost has to believe that I am scarier/meaner than anything else out there, and I'm on his side.