Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Can the saddle be the difference?

This people, is not the nervous Nellie horse I've been working with the past month or so...

Nor, is this the horse my trainer rode on trail just two weeks ago...

Grace has been at the trainers barn four days, other than turnout, she hasn't been messed with or worked. 
She's back to the horse I tried when I bought her!

Water crossing, no biggie...heavily wooded area, open field, between corn fields, la, la, la!  She didn't mind leading, or following behind a much slower horse. 
Trainer suggested we leave our normal route and do one I've yet to ride before just to test Grace. Come upon a water crossing with very steep incline, down she goes, up and out, good as gold. Trainer calls back to me, "yup, this is a trail horse!"  The horse I was riding was less than thrilled with the tougher terrain, Grace was just moving along, no rushing, avoiding, worrying...
We had a few glitches, one being a new post in the middle of the trail, she objected strongly to passing first. We switched places, Lou & I led, she was fine, along the road the first vehicle spooked her, after that none of the vehicles phased her.
She even
 Led the way thru the narrow entry way into & out off the arena. Once back in the arena she relaxed even more and was doing the neck reining she'd been taught in her youth. 
Ok, so barn full of horses is a pretty big change, but it appears that perhaps the biggest difference in today from the past may just be the saddle?  
The saddle I'd tried her in was a normal treed saddle, I've been riding since then in a Sensation Treeless saddle. I've noticed as trainer did that no matter how much the girth was tightened there was slippage. Our last trail ride when Grace was a basket case, the saddle was slipping constantly. We opted to use a treed gaited saddle today. Seriously!  Could that be the issue?
Trainer listed her on this morning, I'm glad she doesn't take good pictures as I'm seriously rethinking selling her. One of her boarders is going to let me borrow her treed gaited saddle to try on her this weekend in the arena. Back to banging my head against walls on what to do!
Input please

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Empty pasture blues...

Grace headed over to trainers yesterday, I feel naked not seeing her out in the pasture. Part of me wants her back right now. Logic sadly intercedes as it just wasn't working out. I so hope she finds the right people and has friends there.
When I took her over, we turned her out in her field, then let her new "frenemies" out. They all made a beeline for her ears back ready to put the new girl in her place. Grace whirled hooves a blazing, as a group the others all pealed off away from her and went about their business. Later I could see her from our barn strolling about with a smaller bay with her. Appears she's got a friend πŸ˜€

She hadn't seen me yet.

Hey Mom, if I walk real slow I can come see you...

This little mare appears to be her friend. 

She seems happy!  Though I know the hay isn't to her liking!

Trainer said she'd turned Grace out last this morning, she ran right to "her" herd. I'm cleaning Grace stall, so will get to see her everyday until she's sold. She must have recognized me from a distance as she began gaiting right to me from the pasture.  Another mare, I'm guessing the boss suggested with her ears that Grace stay put. She listened and stopped. Though a little later she managed to head my way, along with I'm guessing the little bay I'd seen her with yesterday. She came over for just a moment, got a drink then back to the gang. Including Grace there are 6 in her field. One gelding who minds his own business, the rest mares, ones a mini. 
I just feel empty. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Banging head...

I feel so back & forth on this Grace thing. She's totally catchable again, but feels very unrideable. During uncatchable week, that's what I concentrated on with minimal in hand work along the food aggression. 
I started tacking her up to longe the yesterday, it's pretty ugly. Ugly enough that I'm sure not getting on her. She suddenly feels she should call the shots on direction,  last night she tested it. Tonight she was demanding it and it didn't matter which direction either, when she wanted to change it, she felt I had to allow it. I'd get her going just fine. She'd suddenly be "no, I'm going this way now!"  I'd of course not allow it, after a few times of this, her demands were accompanied with head shaking advances in my direction, some kicking out, (though not at me) she adding threats to rear as well. We kept at it until she realized her threats weren't going to deter me. Once she began listening without protest, I decided to longe untacked. Two reasons, one being I didn't want to reward her by untacking and just leaving her be, the other to see if it was her tack. 
Started out with BeyoncΓ© from the get go. It was getting dark, but once again I kept at it till she was cooperating. Then, I left her stand tied while I put her tack away, brushed her & let her stand a bit longer.  While Clinton Anderson is not my hero, I brought him into play a lot tonight. I never felt in danger, but she most definitely felt like she wanted to intimidate me. 
And here I was going to get her a pony of her own!  I'll be talking to trainer Wed. at our lesson about putting her up for sale. Yes, I'll waiver, I'm sad, & disappointed  but, I'm just to damn old for this shit! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mani pedi...

Wednesday Grace had her second mani pedi day. Grace came gaiting in from her field, standing like a lady, hanging out after to eavesdrop a bit. Her event lines are growing out nicely, new one appearing as expected from her move/diet change coming here. Feet are very nice, I'd already planned to add river Rock around the barn (again) and on must travel over paths. Trimmer brought it up so when we hopefully hit the trails she'll already have been traveling over gravel. 
I do believe last weeks conversation with Grace regarding her wanting to stay worked.  I'd have to say "yes, indeed it did."  Of course it could be the ulcer treatment doing its job, perhaps she was in or coming in season when playing the keep a away game? Most likely the meds doing their job.  Haven't had opportunity to ride, this Granny Nanny with the boys takes so much time and sucks so much energy. No help to Grace on that. I do have energy to spend time, grooming, in hand work, and sometimes just chilling with her daily thankfully. 

Sunset after a day of rain yesterday. 

I do believe Hubs realizes that with the Donkies gone & new neighbors weighing options as to what their livestock options are thru winter, Grace requires a friend. On that note, I've been looking online for a large Mini or small Pony. One that's rideable to lead Lincoln about. We'll be going to a Horse & Pony auction at fairgrounds next weekend. Living quarters for the moment will basically be, the area within the barn used for run in. I'm contemplating asking Hubs to enclose a portion of the barn patio with opening into the barn. We'll see what he thinks and when he'll have time. I've been told Grace stall is large enough for a room mate, but I hesitate to do that.
Sounds like Ms. Grace as widened her window of opportunity πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The food aggression...

I'd mentioned working with Grace food aggression in my last post. It's another thing that "seemed" to come out of nowhere. One that could possibly go with my suspicions of ulcers.
At first, like Camryn, I'd fly mask while she enjoyed breakfast and she "seemed" fine with it. Then she began pinning her ears making "mare face", I chose to respect it as I could understand not being messed with while eating.
Then she began pinning her ears and snaking her head at me as I fed!  While I get after having come to us very thin, food was very important to her. It's not something I find acceptable for any reason.  I began keeping her back and away from her feed with my stick. She now turns her head/shoulder away now until I give her th OK, if she doesn't, it's "outta the barn girl."  Of course I have my stick in hand still. This may or may not be part of the reason she's been leaving the barn as I enter?  Cure one problem, start another kind of thing right!
I informed her yesterday (tears involved) that she had a narrowing window of opportunity to decide what if she wanted to stay. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Whits end?

Just came in from putting Grace fly mask on. Only took a half hour!!!  Seriously a half our for her fly mask. It all "seemed" to begin after our trail ride on Wednesday.  That's how long she's been trying to evade both me and the fly Mask!  
The donkeys, goats & chickens moved last week, I'm guessing their absence plays a part. Though you'd think that would make her want to be with me "her herd!?"  Her Ulcer meds & new supplement arrived and were started on Thurs. Is she feeling better & stronger, she's now loaded with beautiful dapples, you can see & feel how much healthier she's become. So, she's more willing and able to take off and run for a half hour?  I just don't know. 
When I say evading me, I mean if she's in the barn when I enter, she leaves, if she's in the pasture paddock and I approach, she leaves. Prior to Wed., (aside from a few can't catch me the first few days) she's always come to me, fly mask was her friend as was I?  Loved being groomed, rubbed on, followed me about...where did that go in just a few days?  She's also suddenly back to battery acid in the fly spray. Not as badly as at first but, it's becoming a bigger battle daily. 
Having the boys during the day, it wasn't possible to make the right thing easy, wrong thing difficult till evening since Wed.  So she succeeded in evading the fly mask/me early in the day. Later after the boys left, we'd work thru it in a few minutes. Today, I think she fully expected to evade, then come back peacefully to her meal. I'm sure the new neighbors think I'm horrid chasing her about as I have been, ecspecially today. 
I don't know what I'm going to do. It's really getting to me big time. Is this how it's going to be?  She's not a baby, she's 16 for heavens sake. I didn't buy an older "supposedly" been there done that horse because I wanted to retrain the simplest of things frequently because the boys or weather have me busy for a few days.  I'd happily get her a mini or some such company except she's food aggressive (yes, another thing we're working on, I'll save for another post), I don't want to bring some poor little one in to have the crap kicked out of it. The run in area in the barn would prove dangerous if she weren't wishing its mealtime company in bad weather. 
And certainly not for a horse that is telling me she's not a willing teammate. I've texted my trainer, feet are being done Wed., if she'll cooperate!  She may be moving on 😒

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ulcer meds...

Grace ulcer treatment meds arrived today. Started them with her lunch, some confusion on whether to give with/before or after meal?  Since she's out 24/7, (except bad weather) doesn't really matter I think
She'll get two sachets of AbPrazole Plus for 28 days, then one sachet for two weeks. It's not an American brand but, a fellow blogger, one of trainers barn girls & lots of Internet talk gave it a thumbs up. Certainly can't afford the 30ish $ a day of the American patented version for 30 days!  She'll have been on the loading dose of Finish Lines U-7 supplement this coming weekend and will drop to maintenance. I will be changing the supplement to SmartGut as soon as I run out. The liquid U-7 isn't as doable come winter and I've heard the powder version isn't one most horses like. 
I'm sure hoping it does the trick for her, she was a very cranky monkey earlier today.  I'm guessing yesterday's stress irritated her gut. If it is truly ulcers we should hopefully see a distinct difference overall. If it's not, sadly she and I quite probably won't work. She's so awesome on the ground, but I want/need to ride. 
I'm also thinking the saddle I'm using isn't going to work for Grace. It's designed for a rounder, low whithered horse aka Camryn. I'd hoped once she got her weight up it would work. And while she's up to 950ish lbs, she's much more A-framed than a Haflinger for sure. I do have another older treeless Barefoot Arizona that I plan to try next. I don't plan to even contemplate a new saddle for her till I know she's staying however. 
Anyone looking to buy a gorgeous barely used Sensation Western Sport?  It's an awesome, well made saddle and soooo comfy!
Lincoln is loving Pre-pre school, I asked if he had fun when I picked him up today. He said "NO", of course this concerned me, until I asked why it wasn't fun. He told me "because you picked me up!"  He'd wanted to stay forever he said. He's a hoot!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lesson #3, on the trail...

Had our 3rd lesson this morning. I pull in with Grace, take her to round pen and trainer comes out. "Tack her up, I'll saddle Lou, we're going on the trails!"  I knew as soon as she said Lou that he'd be my mount. He's a good ol boy, been there, done that steady kind of guy. The perfect horse to take both for Grace and for me if things didn't go well.

Grace was on high alert & on edge starting out, actually pretty much the entire ride sadly. We go between two horse properties, past trailers, open barn doors, signage, horses turned out on both sides of us, she was taking it all in anxiously. Grace checked back a few times to get a read on Lou's response. He's just "la, la, la, another day at the office. 
As we were about to hit the corner of a cornfield that leads into the woods, I spotted several deer coming out. One stood watching us, the others went just out of sight. I could see just the tail of one, so knew they weren't moving on. Trainer opted to change course just in case as Grace who was still tense wouldn't handle it well. While Grace didn't do anything wrong, she certainly wasn't the mare I'd tried when I bought her. Trainer asked me this as we moved along. She did finally begin to relax, then we came to an oil well, again nothing wrong, just very worried. We decided to stay on the paths at the edge of the woods and fields rather than thru the woods.   

Plenty to test both horses. You can't see them in the pix, but the Nexxus pipeline people have flagged posts driven in all along part of our route. As they've just gone in, even Lou was pretty looky at them. At the end of this private lane we come to the main road. We rode alongside the hay field about 10ish feet from the road.  Grace again was anxious, but didn't do anything wrong. Trainer did keep her on a tighter rein constantly here as she said it felt like Grace wanted to jump the ditch and into the road. The only spook we had was at the first flagged post flapping in the breeze. 
Once back at the barn we cooled them out riding around the circular barn drive. Grace wasn't thrilled with a flapping American flag so we rode past it several times. 
Then trainer decides we'll go in the arena, you enter the barn thru a narrow hallway with a bulletin board with flapping papers, then straight into the arena. I'd warned her that I didn't believe Grace had ever been in an arena. Grace was very iffy in the hallway, I kept Lou well back just in case and told trainer she had bigger balls than I. She didn't push Grace, just took it a step at a time. Once Grace did back out, and Grace doesn't back in saddle!  Trainer kept at it, suddenly all the horses stalled on both sides called out. That's all it took, Grace figured if there were horses inside she could do it and in she went!  So, we all walked about the arena allowing Grace to get comfortable again, even checking herself out in the arena mirror. 
We dismounted, traded horses, I led Grace out the the round pen to untack her...

Talk about wet saddle blanket rides!  She was covered with sweat, luckily we have a morning lesson. Though, Lou wasn't nearly as sweaty, my guess is her nerves were the main sweat producer. The jury is still out on her being a keeper, not that I don't want her to be. She's so wonderful on the ground, but sigh, perhaps not the most suitable mount for me πŸ™. Trainer is suspicious like I now, that she'd at the very least had the crap rode out of her the day I went to see her and brood mare had been her main focus in life. 
Disclaimer here; Anytime you see at non helmet rider, know it's not me!  

Another topic, Lincoln is now an official three year old AND today was his first day of preschool. He walked in like he owned the place lol. Animals really do instill confidence...

He and his bestie Theo❤️

Monday, September 5, 2016

Not so good...

SIGH, we've been having some decent rides, tonight started out really good. Grace wasn't cinchy at all!  I've been taking my time only brushing the areas necessary to saddle. I brushed a shoulder, up a notch, other shoulder, another notch, see where I'm going?  This has become our routine and tonight she seemed to get it. She's been taking the bit better, meaning she's not going total giraffe on me lol. She felt so good, I only longed her at a walk before mounting. She's also been really good at standing to mount and not walking off as soon as I've mounted. 
All was going great till I noticed the saddle slipping, I adjusted it putting weight in the opposite stirrup as usual. Something must've pinched, Grace tried hard not to wig out, but she really wanted to. Every time I attempted to dismount she'd start jigging sideways, I'd calm her and try again. I think it took five times before I was able to. Poor girl, while we didn't end on a good note, sure could've been so much worse!
I'm thinking my saddle isn't working well for her. It's design is for a lower whithered horses. I'd hoped once Grace gained weight it might work for us. Don't think it's going to happen I have another treeless that may I hope do the trick. At least for now. 
I wrote this post Monday night, but for some reason saved it as a draft rather than posting it. Soooo, here it is now. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Grace & the birthday boy (pic heavy)

I've been riding Grace in the paddock, almost rode in the field this evening but, she was fidgety which isn't her norm. She can be girthy & cranky but, never fidgety, decided to stick with the paddock. Her donkey, goat & chicken neighbors have moved, I'm sure that plays a part in it. The new people I understand have or are getting goats. Fingers crossed. 
I'm working on remembering to keep my hands more level with her headset. My rememberer isn't real reliable just yet though. I'm also working on keeping my legs off until I'm asking for something. Unlike Ms. Drafy Hafy, Grace is very sensitive to any leg, another thing I'm noticing is if I keep my hands wide apart, she's as slow as you can get.  Close together and she speeds up, I'm beginning to learn her nuances now, hopefully we'll get each other all figured out and partner up. 

Hubs did some work on he barn roof where we had a little storm damage last week...
Supervisor stood nearby ready to help. His climbing on the roof was a non issue to her. 

I'd been dumping the wheelbarrow behind her field and turned to see her enjoying a good roll...

She laid there munching before rising.  Hoping this means she's not to upset by her neighbors move. 

Someone is turning 3 this week on the 7th. Yesterday was the big birthday party...
His Godmother made this fantastic cake with his fave Sonic characters. Taste as good as it looks too. 

We got him a tire swing, the box was so big he was crawling all over the top of it as he unwrapped. 

His very own GMC Danali, he and a few of his buddies cruised the driveway a bit. Under direct supervision of course lol
Eleven small children without any incidents. Doesn't hurt that they've got so much to keep them all busy, enormous playground set with three slides, a bounce house, playroom, Lincoln's bedroom of dinosaurs was a little boy magnet. Anytime a child came up MIA, that's where they'd be found. 
Seems like just yesterday he was newborn. Time really does fly when you're having fun. He's a child you can't help but have fun with.