Monday, October 27, 2008

Teeth Tales

Nine and Hammar were off to the vet today for some dental work. We did Hammar first, because we only had $250 and didn't know what the cost would come to! Turns out Hammar didn't have any wolf teeth, which saved us $46 per tooth. But he did have some hooks so we floated his teeth. He didn't want to get into the stock and sorta jumped in when he realized I wasn't going to let him have his way. We had to scoot him up a few times because he kept leaning back when the vet tried to put the bar through the back to keep him in one place. Then came the sedation - let me tell you, Hammar HATES shots! So the vet assistant held a hand on Hammar's ear, which made him very nervous but he sure held still! The vet got the vein right away and Hammar got really drowsy really quickly. Hammar didn't like the speculum much, but he was too sleepy to fight. They put a giant halter with a chin pad deal on it to tie his head up, and I had to help lift his head because I think he was completely asleep at that point! He's such a little guy and they give all the horses the same dosage; well, it puts Hammar pretty far out. Or so I thought... Once he felt that drill powered grinder in his head he woke up! He didn't have enough energy to do much, but he just would not hold still! What a great guy, he as so much spirit. Anyway, before long he was floated and done, so we helped him wobble back to the horse trailer. I had Fiance run ahead to get Nine out so Hammar could get in while he had his momentum. Well, Hammar did need one rest, but then he stepped right into the trailer (maybe we should sedate him more often; at home he leaped into the trailer like it was an oxer!).

Nine was in the stock when I got back, and Fiance said he stepped in just fine. I was surprised to see that Nine took up about 4 inches less room than Hammar did; and yet Nine is a good 2 or 3 inches taller than Hammar! But that's good, I like those short-backed horses. But back to the story; the vet had a lot more trouble finding Nine's vein, but luckily Nine behaved just as I suspected; a lot calmer than Hammar! But soon the sedative was taking it's toll on Nine, and in went the speculum and up went the head. Nine, being larger and heavier than Hammar, wasn't as out as Hammar was and helped lift his head for the vet (how sweet!). The vet said he looks like he has the potential to develop a wave which would require floating, but she didn't want to bother with it yet as Nine still has teeth coming in and it might not be a problem. But he had two wolf teeth, so she worked and pulled and pried and pulled some more, and now Nine's wolf teeth are in my pocket. Nine didn't have any drills in his skull to wake him up, and the pulling took less time than the floating did, so Nine was very wobbly when we took him out of the stock. He was having trouble getting - and keeping - his legs under his body (he also had some trouble once the sedative set in; he kept trying to cock on hind leg, then would fall against the side of the stock and correct himself, only to start falling again right away). But we took our time and let him wobble over to the trailer. He got his head in the trailer then wouldn't budge. So I went inside to pay $250 of the bill (I still owe $22) and when I got back out - a good 10 minutes later! - Nine hadn't even moved an eyelash. So we started trying again. I picked up one front foot and set it in the trailer, then Nine heaved and got his other front foot in, then rested again for 15 minutes or so. I tried to put on hind foot in the trailer, but Nine just took it back out again. Me and Fiance switched places so he was pushing while I pulled and urged, and pretty soon Nine was half-lifted into the trailer. I followed behind in my car and kept an eye on Nine to make sure he wouldn't fall down and not be noticed. Hammar was wide awake by then and staring at the trucks on the overpass and the train just behind the clinic (it's a great place to desensitize a horse) so I wasn't worried about him. Nine leaned to correct for one turn and ended up all the way against the side of the trailer, which was way cute and made me laugh. But the rest of the trip was uneventful and by the time was got home both horses were alert and ready to get out of the trailer. I unloaded Nine, who stepped down nicely, and I turned around in time to see Hammar leap out of trailer in his usual style, nearly barreling over Fiance. I was glad to see he was back to his usual self, at least.

So all in all, I am very glad that two of my horses, at least, are up to date on their teeth care and I don't have any more wolf teeth to worry about. And now hopefully Hammar will start keeping his weight on.

In other news, our kitten caught her first mouse today, and even killed it (after playing with it for a good half-hour, of course).

Friday, October 24, 2008

A one-in-two chance of going down...

I rode Nine again today. Fiance was sanding another rifle (his favorite hobby) and the day was so beautiful I just couldn't stay inside anymore. I left Miss Toddler with her dad and went to play with the horses. I put the hackamore on Nine and cleaned out his feet, then next thing I know I've got him standing next to the mounting block and then I was on him! That was the first time he let me mount without someone holding him. I tried to get him walking, but he was just going in little circles. So, I took him out and lead him to the house. Fiance was there (staining the rifle now) and Toddler was sleeping, so I convinced Fiance to come out and help me work with Nine. Once in the round pen I got back on and Fiance round penned Nine, then I told Fiance to get him to trot. Nine did three or four strides then fell back to a walk, but what a trot that guy has! It's almost bouncy, except that you end up getting bumped in a sort of circle. So it's actually a lot of fun (and easy to sit the trot, too)! Then we switched direction (Nine turned off my cues without Fiance's cues, so he's really starting to get the idea) and tried in the other direction.

This time it wasn't so fun - Nine was being stubborn and not trotting, so Fiance did this sort of jump-wiggle-clap thing that would have been hilarious if it hadn't made Nine freak out! Nine jumped strait into a canter, which made me tense up, which made him buck. Luckily this time he used his half-hearted buck that's really more of a run anyways, but it almost got me off! I pulled on the reins, so he bucked a little higher, and I landed on his withers. Then he sort of reared and turned into the center of the pen, and I have to assume that he saw Fiance and tried to stop too suddenly, because he sat down and I fell the rest of the way off. Turns out he wasn't rearing at all, he just fell on his butt, just like me! Well anyways, Nine got up and turned to face me, standing still like a perfect gentleman.

So I lead Nine around the pen until we both stopped shaking, then Fiance held him while I got back on. Then we walked around a few times and eventually asked for the trot again, going in the same direction that we were going when he bucked. It took a circle and a half before he gave up trying to ignore us and trotted. He did about three strides again then fell back to a walk again, so I was satisfied. We walked a little bit more in the opposite direction, then I got off and called it a day. Fiance had to get to work and Toddler was in her room by herself (turns out she had woken up, but she was alright). So I ran out of time but I still feel me and Nine had a good time!

As it stands, Nine has four rides, and he's bucked twice... I'm not sure I like those odds!

P.S. I was wearing my helmet this time, but all I hurt was my elbow - it's scraped up a bit. But nothing serious. Nine is also fine, his fall was nothing terrible.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yee Haw!

Yep, I finally got my butt back on Nine! He was wonderful, no spooking or jumping or any such nonsense. I suppose bareback is the key... Sorry, I didn't get any pictures, because my picture-taker fiance was busy holding Nine and I didn't want him to leave to go get the camera. No one else was home, so no pictures.

Fiance worked with Nine a bit while I got my jeans and boots on, and when I got out there Fiance had Nine in the center of the round pen next to the mounting block, and Fiance had a knee over his back! I was very impressed, especially when I realized Nine didn't have his hackamore on, just a twine around his neck. Nine and Fiance get along so well, I love it. Anyways, Nine wasn't so patient with me; we had to put him next to the fence so he would stop stepping away from me when I tried to get on, as usual. But once he was there with Fiance to prevent him from going forward, he was a good horse again. I got on and sat for a minute, swinging my legs and laying down on his neck to get him used to me being up there again (it's been, what, three weeks since he bucked me off). Then I had Fiance lead him around a bit, then off we went (sort of). Nine didn't want to move much without someone leading him, and he was pretty stiff on his right side. But I got him going in circles (I was trying to go strait, but they were nice circles so I let him do it!) and stopping really nice. Then Fiance lead us around to the right because Nine just was not wanting to turn that way! But once Nine softened and relaxed into the bend he was good. So we switched directions a few times. Fiance stepping into the middle of the round pen and worked Nine for a little bit at the walk, and pretty soon I had Nine listening to my turn and stop (and start) cues without help from Fiance! So that was good news.

I would have liked to get Nine trotting, but I wasn't relaxed enough - even if he was - until it was time to get off and go pick up Miss Toddler from the baby sitter. So we will try again next time I get someone to watch my girl.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Numbers from the Auction

So I got really bored on campus waiting for my lab to start; I went through the auction results on the EMM website and got some numbers:

Nine went for $700
The total average price of all the horses was about $1,094.67
The average price for all the Stars horses was about $278.13 (Nine was the top selling Star! Yay!)
Average price for Idols horses: $823.21
Average price for Legends horses: $1,443.08

The top selling horse was Silverado for a whopping $10,500!

And for my own personal feel-good: Nine sold for more money than 55% of the Idols and 48% of the Legends!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Nine got put to work! (for once...)

Well, it wasn't hard work...

Nine got to stand tied while I cleaned out the round pen, which really needed it! The wind blew all the manure from the other two pens into Nine's home so he had way more than his fair share. Anyways, he stood nicely and then let me clean out all four feet without even a second thought. That was his first time having his feet messed with while tied! He's usually either held by someone or just ground tied in the pen. After that I decided to take Nine with me to go get the cows who had escaped. We ended up walking far longer than necessary, but that was fine because Nine got a lesson in trotting next to me. By the time we found the cows Nine was trotting the perfect speed in the perfect position, and he slowed to a walk with just a touch on his neck from me. Once we got the cows moving, however, he wanted to graze... And since he wasn't being quick enough I just dropped the lead rope and got the cows back on the property myself. Nine was okay with that because he got to eat, and then he stood still while I gathered the rope back up. He went back into his pen just fine. He is shaping up to be quite the gentleman!

I had some other semi-adventures on the other two horses, though. I put a halter on Hammar to clean out his feet, then tried to get him to bow like I had seen other trainers do in Texas. He had it down within three minutes. So I hopped on and practiced some pivots and rollbacks. When Hammar caught sight of the donkeys I let him chase them a bit. But, he decided at the last minute to turn towards the gate, so i nearly fell off and he started slipping! The wind had blown away most of the soft dirt, leaving just a hard packed surface, which is not much good for a running horse. Then Ashley swung her hind end at us, making Hammar even more panicky! Luckily, Hammar is a good little Mustang, and knows how to get us how of such situations. He stopped trying to catch himself and just let his momentum carry us towards the gate (and also towards the feeder!). He saw this of course and just hopped over the feeder and stood there waiting for me to tell him what to do next, like a good boy! We did a little cutting practice with the donkeys (Hammar is actually getting kind good!) and I saw the cows making a break for the gate again!

So off I went from Hammar and onto Ashley, because with Hammar that riled I didn't want to try my luck in the open with only a halter for control! But I trust Ashley a little more for speed (or lack thereof). She was such a good girl and got the cows in for me. This time I remembered to shut the gate tight!

So, that was my day yesterday, and I am glad that all three horses got something to do.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

That Wind...

Well, my knee is not quite fully healed, but the other one is, and the left knee is all I need to get on a horse! Unfortunately, the wind has kicked up in these parts. Not only do I not want to risk Nine spooking from something blowing and end up in the dirt again, bit it's is literally too darned windy out there! I can't even feed with my eyes open for the hay and dust getting in my eyes. My 18 month old daughter can't go outside because she literally gets blown over! So, even though my knees are ready to ride, the weather isn't...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Almost Healed

I can walk without any limp now. My knee gives me a little trouble on stairs still... But I am almost ready to start back up with Nine's riding training. I ordered a mounting block which should be here in a few weeks; until then I want to get some more rides on Nine bareback. But not until my knees are both better.

Until then, I can still get on Hammar, who is a couple inches shorter, and today is absolutely beautiful after the past few days of cloud and cold. So after lunch I will go riding! Yay!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Injury Update

I haven't been back on Nine yet, obviously. My left knee (the less damaged one) is bruised more than I though and has a lump grown on it as well. My right knee is a little less swollen and with hold all my weight now, but only when it's strait - when it's bent it hurts to put weight on it. So I have been using the elevators a lot to get to classes. My right hip is also bruised. The front of my lower left leg is also really tender.

But, all in all, nothing is broken and I think I will make a full recovery! Hopefully no permanent damage...