Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lesson miscommunication...

Grace & I were to have our third lesson together this morning. Hooked up trailer, loaded tack last night so I wouldn't feel in a rush. Loaded Ms. Grace & down the road we went. Unloaded her, put her in round pen, then went to find trainer.  Apparently she forgot to tell me she'd be in Florida this week. When the barn help realized I'd trailered in for the lesson, their eyes bugged out. I'm guessing they expected an angry outburst. I told them I'd trailered an entire 5 acres, so really not a biggie. Plus, it did Grace good to have another off property outing no matter how short it was. We chatted while Grace chilled in the round pen a bit, a handsome gelding was led by. She called out "Hay, good lookin!"  Then danced about, tail up trying to look good. Still don't know how to tell when/if she's in season. This may have been it, as last week, she only glanced at a passing gelding even after he'd called out to her.
I ordered an Ulcer treatment that had been recommended by a fellow blogger along with a few other people from Alber in Canada. It's sooooo much more cost effective and has good feedback. Will take a bit to get here, also Smartpaks Smartgut supplement is on the way. It will be easier to deal with during the winter than our current liquid supplement.
Attaching a video of her supervising my cleaning blown down tree branches this afternoon. She was my shadow the entire time. I'd stop, she'd stop, such a sweetie she is. Hanging out yesterday with her head on my shoulder yawning in my ear over and over. Mmmmmmm, that's good isn't it?

The neighbor donkeys were moved today, the goats this evening. The new neighbors I understand are getting goats.  I sure hope Grace is OK in the interim with just the trainers boarders in the distance. Today was the first time she's not run back to see the donkeys after unloading from her trailer.
Fingers, paws and hooves all crossed.

Monday, August 29, 2016

At last...

Lincoln has been asking to ride his Gracie Grace for weeks. Weather & hands available had him waiting quite a while. Today promised for a decent day weather wise, plus both Grampa & Daddy would be available at the same time!!!  I told Lincoln pre-nap, he was dancing all over the place, he awoke from his nap immediately chattering about riding & his upcoming 3rd birthday party in unison. Finally, Grampa & Daddy both arrived from work, boots were thrown on, helmet grabbed and out to the barn we went...

He happily waited while I readied his mount...

He's a natural.

Lincoln's so happy & proud on his girl, he liked the "bumpity" feel of riding her. Not sure why, but while he adored his Camryn & sat on her nearly daily, he was always done riding after just a few minutes?  Grace he'd have stayed on all day, we took two laps around the pasture, then unfortunately Jefferson could be heard fussing for Grampa back at the barn. Lincolns counting on a repeat tomorrow, fingers crossed. 

Hugs for Gracie Grace, Lincolns nickname for her, carrots too of course. She was a very good girl, a tad unsure of Chris walking alongside at first, gave two teensy scoots. 

Jefferson of course needed to give it a go as well...
I'm pretty sure I heard a "YeeHaw!"

Jefferson just turned 7 months, Lincoln was just a month older his first time in saddle!  Lincoln had a much larger noggin even when a wee one. No way was his helmet going to fit. 
Now if only I could find time to ride this week too 😶

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Daily Grace & boy routine..

Since I "Granny Nanny" the boys, they're both part of Grace daily routine. A part she's become quite fond of, what mare wouldn't enjoy delivery of fresh carrots from such cuties? 

Lincoln: "Here's your carrot Gracie Grace."  The name Lincoln chooses most often for her. 

Lincoln: "Do you like it?"
Grace: "Can't talk, mouth full"

Lincoln loves watching her happily nomming on his gift

Lincoln: "Oops sorry, I dropped one"
Grace: "It's OK kid, I got it"

Grace: "More?"

She chooses to just hang out and be loved on a while, even with carrots gone. Jefferson is learning the ropes from big brother, soon he'll have his own carrots to share as well. This is the first time Jefferson & his stroller were in the field. Normally, he either stays behind the gate napping or Grace now knowing that Lincoln equals carrots comes to the gate when he calls out. 
Note the sorry state of her field, back to brown & crunchy. All promised rain blows right past us. 

Lincoln always chooses a carrot for himself. Quincy isn't above snatching it! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lesson #2...

Today was Our first off site lesson together...
Grace hopped right on the trailer and off we went, an entire 5 acres from home. Made for a long drive  LOL. I have to admit, I was a nervous wreck. The ulcer supplements really helped her for maybe a week. Then she became uber cinchy again along with a few other behaviors that had been occurring  prior to the supplement. Basically, it told me I'm probably correct regarding the ulcers. The supplement however only masks the ulcer and doesn't treat them. Treatment is on the pricey side. Hubby is in Canada, so we haven't been able to really talk options yet. After today, I sure hope we can find away to add treatment to an already tight budget.
Anyway, back to today. As we pulled in, one of the barn horses just knew someone new had arrived and called out. Grace called back, which started a barrage of greetings to her. There are approx. 30 horses there so, lots of talking going on. Grace was anxious, though she only called back twice.  I was anxious, I pulled up my big girl panties, unloaded and deposited her in the nearby round pen.

Grace: "Where am I?"

Grace: "Mmmmmmm, this poo isn't mine"

Grace: "Oh, she's gaited to"
No crazy running, bucking, snorting, calling out, she just explored. Even as the trainer came around the corner on another mare, which is what she's looking at above. For some reason she held onto one piece of hay from the trailer as she explored lol. 

As trainer walked into round pen, Grace came up to her nice as you please. She tacked her up and sent her off to work. Even as a gelding was led by calling for her attention, Grace merely looked up but, continued on...
Just got a short video of her working, it was easy to see she's been round penned. I asked trainer if we could move it to my house!
Trainer mounted up, she said she could feel Grace hump her back for just a moment then relax just as quickly. She was actually more relaxed riding there than here in her paddock, which trainer gave several different reasons why that may be.  
One thing that really stood out to me is Grace was stopping off her seat, something I've had issues with. She also was able to neck rein a few times, something I was told she'd been trained to do but, many years ago. 

Of course no video of my riding 

My turn went nicely as well, we worked on my stopping off my seat, I need to exaggerate it a bit more than I have been. I have a tendency to make "the right things easier" but, don't make "the wrong things" quite hard enough. I got her gaiting but, had a hard time keeping her in it. She began trying to turn in one spot with me, I'd work her thru it & she'd try a few feet further...trainer suggested as I'm Grace's "herd" at home, she may just test me a bit more as she would her herd. Just a thought she threw out there.  I suggested that Grace understands that trainer knows more than I. 

Grace is very senative to your leg, so I need to work on keeping my leg off. She has a naturally higher headset, I need to learn to place my hands a few inches higher than I'm used to, to accommodate that, particularly when gaiting. She doesn't know how to back under saddle, she didn't in hand either. So we need to work more on that on the ground & then in saddle. 
Trainer feels that even as novice as "I feel I am", that she'll work for me. Thruout the lesson she kept saying how good she is and how much she likes her. She also feels that our weekly lesson, along with working at home will get us where we need to be together. She doesn't  feel that I need to keep Grace there for more intense training. Once we've had a few more lessons, the plan is that I'll ride a lesson horse while trainer rides Grace back on the trails. 
It all went so well, I nearly hugged trainer. I told her I was feeling so much better & I always do after our lesson. 
Grace hopped right back in the trailer, unloaded then went back to be sure her donkeys were still there. Feelin good. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

After trailer runabout...

First off, you may recognize my able assistant... 

Hand him a muck rake & he's on a mission lol. With little Jefferson to care for as well, Lincoln isn't getting nearly as much mucking time as he'd like. It's difficult at best with two of them to watch, one being only 6 months. Jefferson is a happy boy but, sitting in his stroller while Lincoln & I appear & disappear in the stall is a bit much for him. I can't just wheel him in the stall without the risk of him wearing what Lincoln is scooping lol. He still lacks control with his aim. Hubs is going to cut back his rake handle to hopefully help. 

Today part of trailer practice included loading, moving the trailer then unloading on my own. It's one of my goals as while Camryn loaded well, it was a 2 person job. I have to lead her in, someone else had to remain at the back, then to do the butt bar before she backed herself right back out.
 Grace did awesome A+.  She's been loading with me standing outside and sending her in. Then stands allowing me to do the butt bar, she also waits till I ask her to unload. Once I unloaded her, then led her back in the paddock, she took off running & running & running. I'm pretty sure she had to make sure her neighbor donkeys were still there. A few time in the clip I lost her in the frame. Very difficult to see if I was focused on her with the sun behind her. That tail up, is she impersonating an Arabian?

Hubby is leaving for Canada in the morning, I'll be practicing loading outside the paddock, hoping that goes well. Plan to trailer her for our lesson on Wednesday. Hooves crossed!  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It's that time again...

Nothing better than hay in the barn prior to winter...
Maizee thinks it's pretty nice too. I think she's picking her winter spot already. 
Unfortunately due to the drought, I was only brought 50 bales. He's not running out but, is low enough he doesn't want to be short handed should a customer find themselves in dire need. I do like how he takes care of the regulars, & his hay always being consistent. He even keeps several barns with different grades of hay. Came in quite handy while we figured out Grace's preference. Which of course is the pricier stuff. 
Also unfortunately I've been feeding a lot more hay this time of year. At first it was cease of Grace needing weight. Now, it's because the pasture became so dry she'd starve on it. We've had some rain causing it to begin to rebound thankfully. 
He does feel he won't have a problem making sure we'll have plenty prior to winter as we've had several decent rains recently. Still it makes me nervous. I know you totally understand Lytha. 
He also brings bags of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, whatever he has growing near the hay barns. Stuffed peppers coming soon. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lesson day for Grace...

I've been taking lessons again since spring, originally a private lesson. Then when Camryn was at the barn for sale, my neighbor girl joined us. She rode Camryn, while I rode a lesson horse. We continued our lessons together till today when her school year began. The plan was for me to regain my private lessons then.  I hadn't realized school had started today, my instructor had expected Grace to be with me. Oops!  
She thought a moment then said, let's go to your place!  I only live five acres away. Grace met us in the barn, trainer was "OMG, she's beautiful." We saddled her up and trainer began longing her to get a feel for her. She was surprised at how well Grace longed, Grace offered gaiting, trotting and cantering. Trainer noted she prefers going left, and suggested I work her more to the right...

After working her and making sure Grace was paying attention, trainer mounted up...

First thing she said was "OMG, she's smooth", lots of OMG moments, all good. 

Trainer smiled a lot. 

She loved my saddle, having never ridden treeless she was surprised at how comfortable it was. Once again she noted Grace preference for going to the left. And that Grace seemed to not understand being asked to turn! She was quietly asking for turns and could feel Grace was "getting it!"
Once again I have the feeling Grace was more a brood mare and either rusty, or green under saddle. 
My turn, Grace did great, best ride we've had, no arguing,thoughts of bucking, no rushing in turns. Now that I understood she wasn't sure, I was asking differently and she didn't feel she was being pressured. I think the ulcer supplement came into play as well. Did you know for instance one of the meridian lines for ulcers runs right where the girth lays?  
Trainer felt Grace was turning much better for me than she had for her. 
Her thoughts on Grace were that I'd picked a good one, that she was sound, sane, smart and easy to be around. She also mentioned that if Grace didn't work out, she could sell her in about five minutes LOL. 
My home work is to tack her up whenever I work her, even if not riding and work more often to the right. 
Next week, we'll trailer to her, not sure if Grace has ever been in an arena. We'll play it by ear. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Grace & her boy...

Wish Grace hadn't had her fly mask on in the header pic and the following pix I took today...

Definitely some bonding going on here. I often wonder why so many people generalize regarding little girls and horses. Little boys can adore them just as much...

To darn special for words ❤️  Lincoln loves her velvety nose, it really is the softest I've felt too.
Camryn was very good with Lincoln but, if carrots weren't involved she'd dismiss his attentions as so boring. Grace just stood there being worshipped for 20 minutes. 

She's been on the Gastric Aide three days now, a few things I've noticed, including not just that she had patience for Lincoln, she also seemed to enjoy it. Another is from day one, she's held her right leg up the entire bucket of hard feed. Yesterday, she brought it up momentarily, this morning she never held it up. She's not been all "feed me now d#*^ it, either last night or this morning either. Also haven't noted any weaving! 
Had the boys all day, then it began drizzling before I could work her. Haven't worked her since she started the supplement due to our much needed rain. Just as well, give her tummy a chance to really settle. 
I have given thought to some of her behavior possibly her being in season. As Camryn never showed any signs of being "in!"  I'm no pro at knowing. If next month despite the supplement she returns to the Grinch, I guess I'll know?

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Finally, we're having some healthy rainfall. We've had some the past few days but, only like 20 minutes a day at most. Today, it's been coming down all day, a few down pours, for the most part just nice and steady. It's actually hard for me to recall its ever being this dry in NE Ohio.  Our pasture and yard had become brown & crunchy. The humidity levels have been "tropical" according to the weather people, real feel in the upper 90's for several weeks. We've had several instances where storms could be seen headed our way that they've all broken up, or just blown on by. 
Grace has been spending the majority of her time hanging in front of the fans, munching hay. Today though, even though she's aware she has hay she's choosing to be outside. Started her gastric aide supplement a few days ago, we'll see what happens. She likes it, that's a good thing. 
What, you've hung hay? 

I'm good, thanks though. 

The clean up crew from next door rain or shine!  Love these girls, haven't had to clean the field or paddock all 
summer...  Do wonder why they didn't do this with Camryn though?

Lincoln talked Grampa into attaching the ladder to his top bunk. Gramma wasn't so sure however...

Up, up and away...

He volunteered two hours early for his nap lol
One happy little boy ❤️

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Trailer practice...

Trailer practice is going quite well...

"Yummmmy, hooves up for this kinda practice!"

Had closed everything up, she was totally chill 👏🏻

Graduated to tying her to the trailer...

My training assistant gave Grace a thumbs up. Since Maizee is a polydactyl kitty, (she has thumbs) she can actually do that lol. 

Yup, A+ here. A+ on fly spray as well!  I'm finally able to spray the real thing on her now, whoo hoo!  Still touchy on her bum and I test wit the water spray before wasting the real thing. I think she finally gets what it's all about and that I'm not attempting to spay acid lol. 

On a not so good note, from the get go, Grace has been cinchy, given her girth galls when she came, I understood that. She's  also always held her RF up any time she ate her feed. Suddenly on Sunday I noticed several behavioral changes that concerned me. Midday I'd gone down to open the front barn door for circulation and she began weaving!!!  Later, I'd gone down intending to brush her, she began spooking badly and pinning her ears at me as I entered where she stands to get out of the heat/flies. Normally, she's really relaxed, greets me and enjoys it very much. That evening as I went to remove her fly mask, more spooking, more ear pinning. Monday same thing, though outside she's her normal self, very content, and willing, at one point I'd gone to leave her and she blocked my exit for me to continue brushing her.  She's great working and walking about her field. The behaviors all seem to take place prior to feeding or once she's finished her hay net. Oddly enough this all has coincided with my not adding alfalfa pellets to her hard feed. 
I did some googling, all evidence seems to point to the possibility of ulcers. I found a video showing the acupressure points to test for ulcers, she showed a "moderate" response when I tried it. So to "test" out my suspicions, I've ordered U7 Gastric Aide and am once again adding alfalfa to her feed. I understand alfalfa can act as a buffer in the digestion tract. If it's ulcers I should see a behavior change for the better not long after I begin the loading dose of the U7 and will go from there. If not, well...not sure. 😕

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Had a lovely get together this past weekend. Everyone, ecspecially the cousins had a wonderful time...

Not sure who's having the best time here. Lincoln takes his pushing duties very seriously. He loves being with his cousin Kennedy. 

Of course he enjoys being swung even more. My cousin Michelle has the pushing honors...

The smallest members of the family ❤️

Kennedy gets to meet my brother, her Great Uncle Micheal...

With Jillian living in NC, most of the family hadn't yet met our wee princess. 

Just chilling prior to the feast. Emily found a friend in Courtney, who now is a Pitbull lover. Everyone brought a little something, I was beyond full after...

After we all gathered out front to watch a hot air balloon launch scheduled at a small airport below us....

Sam & Jefferson wait together...

Then finally the balloons begin to appear one at a time...
Sadly the winds weren't in our favor, still I do believe everyone had a good time. I know I did. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It's the little things...

Sometimes don't the littlest of things just feel so darn good.   Still hot as HE-double hockey sticks here. 
Decided we'd work on the trailer again and the dreaded fly spray. Loading was great, each time is better and better, did the butt bar at the end with no issue. Great way to start our evening.
 Grabbed the fly sprayer (water) a few "heeeelp, it's horse eating acid" jigging awamoments. Then suddenly, she stopped moving away and stood chewing and licking her lips like crazy. I'm like "OMG, she's figuring it out!" I was able to mist her neck and torso on not just one side, but on both sides for the first time!  She was so totally relaxed, even on her off side her head hanging with huge yawns. Lots of goooood girls, hugs and no clicker after the possible "gimme" episode either. 
We then went for our pasture walk, I changed it up a bit by walking super slow, normal, backward. After a few changes she figured out what was up and copied me. Just an awesome evening with my girl. 
Started the day with a lesson this morning. sometimes we work in the arena, today we hit the trail. This time none of us rode bug hating horses. So peaceful and relaxing an all around great day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trim job & cousins...

I couldn't stand looking at Grace's mane any longer, had planned to ride this evening, but black clouds were headed our way.  (Of course they amounted to nothing.)  No amount of conditioning was helping her locks, it was several lengths, the ends being very straggly and damaged.  I know how to pull a mane, just didn't want to take the time or inflict Grace with the "ouch, ouch, ouch of it.  Despite me, it looks much thicker and healthier, hoping the biotin supplement for her hooves will help in that dept as well.
Not professional job by any means, Grace doesn't seem to mind.  Her weight is holding steady at just under 900 lbs. With very little rain, our pasture is brown & crunchy, enough so that she's actually now eating the hay I've been hanging in the morning. 

In other news, I was quite happily surrounded by Grandbabies this weekend. We'd had the boys for an overnight while Daddy & Mommy got some adulting time together. My daughter brought Kennedy over for a visit. Best day ever ❤️

Lincoln will be 3 next month, sweet Kennedy just turned 9 months, Jefferson just turned 6 months.  

Kennedy isn't tiny as it might appear giving the 3 month difference in age. Jefferson however certainly isn't either. His birth weight was nearly 11 lbs!

Kennedy lives in NC, Jillian & I do a lot of FaceTime when the boys are here. Lincoln was so into seeing her. He's a total love bug.