Thursday, December 31, 2009

Airs Above The Ground

Today I rode Hammer while Kate rode Ashley. Hammer was really hyper, almost as hyper as he was last time I rode him, just before we left to go to Houston for Christmas. Then he practically sprinted 4 miles and was still trying to take off on me when we got back.

Anyways, today we rode again. We thought it might be fun to rear Hammer a time or two, and as I was talking I told Kate about how, occasionally, Hammer used to hop into the air mid-rear, thus doing an air above the ground. I believe this is called a corbette. So I got Hammer to rear and gave him a squeeze as he was going up, and lo and behold, he jumped! So we worked on that for a while. It took him about 20 minutes to figure out the difference, and for me to figure out a separate cue. It was awesome! Someday I will get pictures, once we perfect this!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update on Hammer

Hammer is back to normal - the vet suggested I put the horses on psyllium for 2 strait months. I don;t have the cash for that, but I am going to try 1 month, then regularly 1 week per month after that (I tend to slack on it). But Hammer is okay, hopefully for good. I will take it easy on him for a while.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Update on Hammer

This morning shows no major improvement. Hammer did not eat all his food - though some is certainly gone. He still has diarrhea but at least something is coming out. He still wants to lay down but isn't rolling.

I gave him some alfalfa pellets soaked in warm water, and he has been going for that. Just nibbles for the most part, but he is eating it. Which also means he is getting some water in him.

Oh yes, this morning he has more gut sounds, which is great, though his heart rate isn't as slow as I'd like. He has been pacing at a quick walk when he isn't nibbling or laying down. I hope this passes soon...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hammer's Colic

So this is just copied from another site:

So that running yesterday might have been a bad idea; today Hammer is colicking. I noticed it this morning, and as of now (7 PM) he isn't all better. He has stopped trying to lay down so often (only once in the past hour at least) but he still isn't eating or drinking. He hasn't broken a sweat all day, and he has remained clear eyed and alert. But we had a scare when he laid down and apparently had a seizure - we were sitting by him as he lay, but as he wasn't trying to roll we weren't trying to make him get up. But then we heard a loud gut sound and he laid flat and started twitching. His eyes rolled back in his head and when Kate tried to pull him up by the lead, he was completely unresponsive. I started pushing on his withers and got him partway up but he wasn't getting his legs under him so I punched him in the ribs a couple times. That woke him up and he jumped to his feet and started trotting around. He looked like he had no idea where he was for a minute.

He has only laid down once since then but Kate had him up pretty quick. He still isn't eating. Kate brought him some warm water as he has only drunk once today (and has not peed at all - only pooped twice and those were both small). But now it's my turn to stay with him for 20 minutes. Update soon.

Edit at 9:30 PM: He has eaten, and Kate said he was asleep when she went to check on him. I will check on him once before bed (hopefully soon - I haven't been this physically tired in a long time).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Walk on the Wild Side

My awesome boyfriend Paul had a good idea yesterday afternoon - we took the horses for a walk (we didn't have enough time to ride). I took Nine and he took Ashley. I was showing off a bit and asked Nine to trot. He was going along alright once he realized Ashley wasn't going to eat him when he got in front of her, but then he started slowing down so I clucked at him to get him to get quicker - well, he did that! Next thing I know he was passing me like a bat out of hell, then he was out of there! He ran down the road then turned; once I realized he was heading back home I ran to intercept him at the gate. He just ran back and forth waiting for me to move.

So Paul released Ashley - yes this was off the property, but our horses are pretty predictable - especially at feed time! So Ash bucked for a few minutes, then ran off and Nine followed. They came tearing back at the speed of light, it seemed!

So that was my day. I also got on Nine - before we had them running around. He let me get up on the mounting block and slip right up there. I didn't stay on long and I was laying over his neck, but still. It's a big step :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Today I went into the corral to finish mucking, and Nine was laying down. I walked directly up to him and he did not get up. Then I sat right next to him and rubbed him down. He was still fine (with two unfamiliar people and a guitar near him!) so I sat on his back. Still fine, so I straddled him. Still fine! I sat there for a while just rubbing him down and such, but when I tried to get him to lay the rest of the way down (completely flat) he stood up. Anyways, it was still a huge step, for me as well - I wasn't scared the whole time. I guess my knees aren't hurting anymore and my brain has finally forgotten the Nine + riding = PAIN misconception. YAY!

Then I was showing off to my friends and I stretched Nine's hind foot out, set it down, and squatted right behind Nine while rubbing his legs. He was so completely unconcerned that I felt like an idiot, hehe! But it got my heart thumping a bit and forced me to let go more of the lingering fear, so I really think I'll be ready next time I try to ride Nine. I'm learning not to be afraid, and how to manage the lingering fear.

Some things that have been helping are goofing off around the animals I am comfortable around; standing up on Hammer, crawling under, over, around Hammer, Ashley, and the donkeys... Today I "cowboy mounted" the donkey (I've heard it called that once before :P) - I ran strait at his hindquarters (thus the fear factor and trust building) and vaulted up onto his back from there. I used to do that all the time on my donkey Rocky but hadn't done it in forever until today. That also teaches me to just go for it - commit myself! I also stood up on Rocky several times today, and he even walked around while I was "surfing" on his back - Okay, so I wasn't totally standing up while he walked, but I was up on my knees! I was fairly impressed with myself, hehe!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on Nine Again

Well, Nine seems back to normal. I hope this is past us, not just getting worse... But for now I will think positive! He's healthy and ready for a ride!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update on Nine

So tonight Nine seemed better, finally! He wasn't laying down, he took a big bite of psyllium/grain mixture before I got the hay into the feed bin, and his gut was making big, lovely gaseous sounds! This morning he was laying down but let me come up to him and even sit on his back! I was very happy about that. We'll see tomorrow if he really is better.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nine is Sick!

Saturday morning I noticed something odd about Nine; he has standing odd, and though he had his head down in the feeder, he wasn't eating. He has been buckling his legs as if he is going to lay down, but he doesn't. The way he stands is abnormal - he usually has one leg cocked, but now he's doing it differently. The leg is out from his body, like he's spreading his legs (but only one), or he stands with his hind legs stretched out behind him, almost like he is about to pee, but again, he doesn't pee. And his legs are close together, not apart like they would be if he were peeing. Usually one is also on it's tippy toe (it seems to mostly be his hind right but I haven't observed him enough to know if that's the only foot he tippy toes on). Yesterday I walked him for probably half a mile. Part way through he pooped - it seemed darker and drier than normal, so I checked his capillary refill time and that seemed way slow. But he had gut movement sounds returning, and on the way back towards home Nine showed life again - so I lunged him a bit and he trotted on his own will, tossed his head, even gave me a playful little squeal. So i took him home and thought he was better. But then he lingered at the gate longer than normal, and when he left he promptly went and laid down. He did not roll so I left him alone and just watched. He just plopped on down and sighed, so I slowly got closer and closer until he let me lay on him with my ear on his belly - his gut was making perfectly normal sounds. Through all this I kept checking his heart rate, which remained perfectly normal.

Today I put him in the round pen by himself. When I went to check on him he had eaten all his food (yay!) and his mouth was wet because he had just taken a drink. This is also a good sign, because he likes to put his grass hay in the water and play with it. So he seems to be acting somewhat like himself. But the way he was standing was still odd - he had both legs stretched back a bit, one tippy toed, and his tail was arched up and his penis was dropped, but he didn't pee. He walked up to me normally and stood normally once he had moved. I gave him more grass because hey, if he's eating then that's great! I want him to eat all he can at this point. As I left to get the hay he turned his head to look at his belly. It seems to hurt up high towards his back - he keeps his croup hollowed and there were slobber marks like he's been nipping himself. It's on his barrel but about as high as he can reach. His poop still seems dark and a little dry, but he is pooping with no trouble. I haven't seen him pee yet. I'm thinking it might be possible that he has a bean, so perhaps I should clean his sheath... Later (after I write the paper than was due on Wednesday :P) I plan to take him on a longer walk, and once the horse trailer is emptied of firewood I'd like to take him on a trailer ride - I remember reading somewhere that the vibrations from the trailer can help colicky horses.

I'd love some input from anyone! Nine is definitely feeling under the weather but since I bought the horse trailer I seriously don't have enough money to take him to a vet. If it turns bad and I have a serious emergency on my hands I'll take him, but I don't know how I'll do it... SO - ANY ideas would be MUCH appreciated to avoid a huge vet bill!

Oh, here's something - just a couple weeks ago all our horses had a week of psyllium. Nine doesn't seem to like psyllium but it's usually gone the next morning so I have to assume he's eating it. The point is that I don't think this is sand colic. Also, Nine is only 4 years old! He's too young to have built up enough sand to cause a twisted gut. And he isn't acting like this is a sharp pain - I think it's more of a dull, constant pain. I'll update frequently, I hope.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pictures, Finally!

So I took these pictures of the horse trailer like a week and a half ago but didn't get them on the computer until the other day and now I have finally remembered that I still need to post them! So here they are:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Horse Trailer

So I impulsively bought a horse trailer! It was at a yard sale - the guy is moving to Phoenix and wanted to get rid of most of his stuff. I also bought a pack saddle with panniers and pad and all the rigging and such for just $75!

So the trailer - it's a 1990 Delta, a stock trailer that can fit three or maybe four horses. It has a nice roomy tack room - no saddle rack, but several bridle hooks and like I said lots of room. It's a bit heavy for my dad's old truck but he says it can haul two horses in there alright. The trailer was just $850, which really is quite a good deal! I'm pretty broke now, but we've worked it all out and we can make it through this semester. My dad is going to give me money for the pack saddle which will pay for gas this whole month; of course then the saddle will be his, not mine, but that's fine.

I will get pictures this afternoon and stuff. I also bought saddle soap to clean the pack saddle, and a hoof knife and gloves and things to trim Nine's feet, so that's a high priority too.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Horse Show, weeeee!!!!

Another horse show today; wish us luck! My MiL and I are both riding, and Elayne (Miss Toddler) will also be in the lead line class.

M'kay - the results are in! I came away with one blue, two reds, and a white ribbon. Not fantastic, but I learned a thing or two and we had fun. I've got some pictures. Here's Elayne and her Granny in the lead line class:

And here they are with the blue ribbon and the stuffed animal! The other boy in the class got the same thing, but hey, they're kids and they enjoyed it!

As for me, I got 5th in the Extreme Trail Class - Hammer just would NOT stick his head into that stupid "car wash" obstacle... Ashley and the Granny/MiL got 4th. So we kinda blew that one, hehe. But then I did okay; I got 3rd in Hunters over 2' - 2'3". There were only two other people, so that's last, but hey. We DID go off course and had to start over... The judge gave me great feedback and I know what to work on. She mentioned that Hammer's stride and movement was a lot better than the other horses'; they were pleasure type Quarter Horses, so that made me feel pretty great about my little Mustang! Then we pulled 2nd in the Jumping class. For this they raised the jumps a notch and put things like flower boxes and fake brick walls under the poles. Hammer didn't mind most of it, but he refused the brick wall the first time - he was looking at it really intently and knocked down the one he was going over at the time, too; So we had two big faults. Both other horses had at least one refusal as well, but I ended up with 2nd for whatever reason. But that's fine. Here's a good picture that highlights what the judge was saying about me "throwing" myself over the jump; this might actually be from the Hunter class:

So here's the flower box from the Jumpers round:

I got 2nd in the bareback horsemanship as well. I don't have any pictures from that, or from the egg and spoon race, but if you find me on Facebook (Christina de Pinet) then you can see some short videos my momma took. I got 2nd in bareback horsemanship and won the spoon and egg thing by a long shot! My MiL dropped her egg as soon as we were asked to trot, and the other poor girl's egg fell into the swell of her saddle soon after, so she got pretty messy! I told the judge that was too easy, so they asked me to canter. I made it ALMOST all the way around the arena before the wind caught my egg and tossed it. But my mother was very impressed. I was happy enough - yesterday while practicing (with a larger spoon and a smaller egg, to be fair) I was even able to jump twice without dropping my egg. Not the big jump, but still!

Okay, bedtime!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trotting Nine

I don't know if you were aware, but Nine has this problem; when I ask him to trot when I'm leading him, he either flat-out refuses to speed up at all, or her takes off like a bat out of hell and jerks my shoulder out of the socket while he's at it. So, my mother in law got out her stud chain and we worked on it.

I asked Nine to stop from a walk a couple times so the sudden change from soft rope halter to stud chain wouldn't freak him out completely; the first time he slid to a stop! Only one leg, because he was just walking, but still. He has potential. So, after a crash course in what to expect, I asked him to trot. I had been asking him in the same spot because he would indeed speed up for me. It took about 2 or 3 times even with the stud chain before he would stay at a trot and not bolt. But once we tried it with a longer lead rope so I wouldn't let go as soon as he ran, he got it.

The we had to get him so he would pick up the trot when asked at any spot. Again, I had to employ the stud chain, but the=is time pulling him forward. Twice was all that took, then he was trotting nicely next to me and slowing down when I asked. He did that a few times then pulled away again, he he. However, once he realized I would just catch him and make him do it all over again, he calmed down and went nicely with me.

The only problem is that when my MiL is walking behind us, Nine gets too quick and I get left behind; so naturally I pull on his lead rope, but that makes him lean to the left (where I am) and he ends up crowding me... Ah well, it was a HUGE breakthrough for us, in trust and respect and all that good stuff. Soon I can take Nine with me on jogs and get into a decent shape!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Results from the Horse Show

Well, the show was last weekend - sorry this has taken so long; my internet died. We are getting satellite internet soon!

I was disqualified from Hunt Seat equitation because Hammer refused one of the jumps like 4 times... But we got blue in all three other classes! Bareback there was another girl riding in the arena with us, but she was being judged separately because she was doing novice and I was doing open. When we were asked to canter the second time her horse tried to do something silly, went over a jump that was set up, and she fell. She was alright, but disqualified. Here is a picture of Hammer and I with our ribbon:

In Hunter Hack we were the only competitors, so even though Hammer nearly refused both jumps, we got blue.

In Working Hunter there was another girl competing, but we still got the blue; it's the only ribbon I feel I earned!

This weekend is the actual Fair, and my chickens got blue as well, so I'm coming away with 5 blue ribbons this year!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Show Time!

Horse show tomorrow! I am only just now, at 11 PM, starting to get tired! I don't know if I'll be able to sleep! WEEEE!

Wish us luck...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ho Hum.

No baby sitter this week, so not much riding... Ashley's back to normal, don't know what was wrong with her. MiL is getting a medicine hat Paint, did I mention that yet? He's fat, but pretty good looking. I might be the first to ride him out here; we're not sure of his past training but he's apparently a really sweet guy.

So I have a problem; the Mustang Makeover blog is gone for me! The only way I can get to it is from the EMM website, and I can't post anything anymore :( I need an invite or something I think. So if you know anything, please help.

We're going camping this weekend, so I need to go pack.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hammer Time

I've decided to officially change Hammar's name to Hammer, because it's pronounced the same and I don't want the announcer at the show later this month to mispronounce it or get confused.

Hammer has been getting very, very hyper (to say the least) over jumps, so I decided to take him out on a long ride today and just let him run as far and as fast as he wanted. We went about 4 miles, trotting most of the way, jumped a downed tree, then galloped around a hill and 1/4 of the way back. Hammer trotted most of the way home again until I brought him down to a walk to cool down. But then of course we saw the tree that I like to jump, so several tried later we got over it, then Hammer galloped around like a crazy horse for 10 more minutes (we practiced flying lead changes and "barrel racing" around trees). Finally we get home, so I took the saddle off Hammer, brushed the sweaty grime off and jumped back on bareback. I tried to practice my English bareback equitation, but I've determined it is completely impossible to post bareback, at least when your horse is acting like a complete maniac.

Long story short, Hammer is a beast who cannot be tired out.

Ashley, my mare, is feeling off, I think. We had been working her harder and it's starting to really show; she hasn't looked this muscled ever! But, her coat is dull, her head hangs even lower than usual (she's half Quarter Horse and it shows in her level top line) and her eyes have lost their gleam that is usually present during any weather (and it's monsoon season). Something's wrong with her. My MiL thinks she's either pregnant, in heat, or cystic. I've put her in the round pen so I can feed her separately and monitor her and all that. I might take her out tomorrow and see if maybe she's just more bored than usual or something. I doubt it though - it's something inside her, a virus or something. Or cramps; maybe it's just the wrong time of month and it's hitting her harder than usual... We shall see.

I have an eye exam tomorrow so Nine might have to wait until Friday, or next week.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Two Days, Two Spills.

On Thursday I had Fiance up on Ashley to hold Nine while I get on. It went well up until I asked Nine to move his hindquarters over so we could move out, then Nine started bucking. My fiance says I stayed on really well until he started spinning. But I made it about 5 seconds! Not bad, if I do say so myself. I wasn't hurt badly; My wrist hurt and I now have two bruises on my legs, but I'm fine. I got back on and had Fiance pony Nine around for about 7 minutes; that's all I could do because I started feeling the nerves. An airplane flew over head, which didn't bother Nine at all, but it made me feel like I would throw up, gah. So I got off, stumbled to the fence and sat down until I stopped shaking... Then I went and sat on Hammar and cried (I have no idea why that hit me that hard and so long after I had been thrown) while Fiance worked with Nine, sacking him out and all that.

Then, yesterday (Friday) my friend came over to get some more pictures taken for her Senior Pictures. We had daylight left over, so I saddled Hammar up in his English tack and took him over some jumps. Casie was crouching next to the bigger jump to get a shot while Hammar was air born, but evidently Hammar wasn't expecting it, he swerved to the side, and I fell off. Again, I was okay - I had dirt in my breeches, my hand is scraped up and my pinky finger was hurting... Luckily I was wearing my helmet, because my head did hit the ground fairly hard. But I didn't even have a headache later. I was also wearing the helmet on Nine but I didn't hit my head that time. Anyways, I got back on Hammar, walked him back and forth around the jump so he could see Casie and knew she was there, then he tried again. He did the jump, but the pictures we took came out pretty blurry...

The idea was to get some pictures of us jumping so I can have my position evaluated - I'm taking a Hunt Seat Equitation class at the horse show next month. So I guess I'll post them here and anyone who sees them can give some input. We have some decent ones of Takeoff, Airborn, and Landing. Sorry some are blurry! We'll try to figure out how to do it right by the time the show rolls around.

Takeoff on the smaller jump (I know my hands need to come forward; I have this problem on small jumps apparently):

REALLY blurry Airborn over smaller jump - again my hands should be more forward, but hey:

Takeoff on larger jump:

Landing from larger jump (yes, Hammar over did it, he gets very enthusiastic; and yes, that's my daughter on the mounting block in the background):

So there it is. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Ride!

My younger and less broken friend came over today to help me with Nine! Nine was doing his act of half buck, half jump as we try to get on - it's becoming more frequent which means we need to stop letting him know that he will get away with it! Anywho, he was doing that yesterday when I tried briefly to mount him, and it freaked me out more, and then we ran out of time. So today we tried again; me, MiL and Casie, the younger less broken type. Casie lived through Nine's antics twice before he would let her get all the way up on him. She followed my routine and got all her weight on him once or twice before swinging the other leg over. Unfortunately she has a blister on her heel and her boot broke it open again (ouch)! So I traded with her and took over from there - Nine was perfect! MiL was - as usual - on Ashley acting as a rock for Nine as well as for me (and Casie this time too). But MiL had to leave for work so I only had 20 minutes to work with him - I got on and we ponied around the round pen for a few minutes, then I got off. Nine spooked when I came off, so I got back on and dismounted again; that time he was good. We could have ridden some more, but I wanted help from MiL putting the saddles away and such.

Tomorrow Casie is going to have her Senior pictures taken with Nine, 'cause he's the most gorgeous thing in existence and all that. I had mine with Hammar so it's turning into a tradition - high school pictures and wild horses, hehe! Afterward we might have time to work with Nine and riding again, then I need to haul a goat to her new home. I sold little Thelma for $60, so now I have some gas money to haul Hammar and Ashley to the County Fair horse show, yay! Ashley's just coming along for the ride and so Casie and MiL have a horse to muck about with; Hammar and I will compete in English Bareback (equitation class on the flat), Hunter Hack over fences 2'6" (only to jumps, but I think we will be the only ones in the ring at a time), Hunt Seat Equitation over Fences 2'6" (this is more than 2 jumps; like 6 or 8 I think), and Working Hunter over Fences 2'6" (at least 8 jumps). I should be fun!

Well goodnight everyone; I'm off to Dream Land for the night.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hammar and Ashley

Sorry for the lack of updates; I have done almost nothing with Nine except leading him from one pen to another and putting fly spray on him... But Hammar and Ashley have been being worked.

There is a loop of road that goes around Saddle Crater; I thought it was about 3 miles, but it takes Hammar 2 hours to trot it; I KNOW he's going more that 1.5 miles per hour... So I figure the loop must be more than 3 miles. Anyways, Ashley can do it alternating walk to trot back to walk every 20 seconds; Hammar can do it at a trot almost the whole way - I let him walk for 20 seconds every time he wanted to slow down but he only needed 3 breaks like this the whole way.

Yesterday Ashley got a fairly hard lesson in right leads. Some days she changes leads just fine, some days... well, not so fine. She very rarely does flying lead changes, but yesterday she was being especially tough. So I let her run for 1/2 mile or so, then we cantered some circles. It took many many tries before she got on her right lead. She only did it then, I think, because she had gotten SO frustrated with me... She bolted when I asked her to move in to a lope. BUT - she was on the right lead when she did it! So I kept her going in a circle to the right, and had her canter as long as she would. Then it was only about 500 tries again before she got the right lead again, hehe.

Today my mother in law and I rode out across the road. We had a very nice run through a cinder pit until Ashley broke the brush she was tied to while MiL took a pee. My MiL estimates we went at least 10 miles, and Ashley has really shown a huge improvement in her stamina. She still has energy left over, even though she has been worked fairly hard (for her) twice this week. Hammar was being rather callus in that he kept scraping my knee on Ash's flank, and ignoring my leg cues. But he showed his worth on the cinder pit, running like the wind! He has barely broken a sweat this entire week, even through the unknown length trot, and even through the cinder run he had to catch his breath (he is rarely worked hard enough to be breathing hard - he just doesn't run out of wind!) he still was only sweaty under the saddle. Ashley has - both days - has sweat on all parts of her body, but she is feeling great and looking awesome! Her hindquarters are really filling out, finally. She's half quarter horse but you'd never know it looking at pictures of her minuscule hindquarters!

Starting Tuesday Elayne goes back to the sitter's and I can start back up again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Scaredy Cat!

Today the plan was to ride Nine with my mom as well as my mother in law along. Well, the winds and rain (if you can call that sprinkling "rain") have been coming in earlier in the day so it was already breezy when we got out there. Then the Grandmas started very subtly trying to best each other in every aspect imaginable... The tension got to Nine and I. Nine hasn't been ridden in at least a week, and he was, well, spirited today, which didn't help at all. I was getting extremely nervous and I just had a terrible feeling about riding him. Last time I actually got on a horse acting like that when I felt like that, I got bucked off Hammar. So I worked with Nine until he would stand for my weight in the stirrup then called it done.

Me (safe on Hammar) and my mom rode to the wash, maybe 2 1/2 miles away, and we got some pictures:

Then back home we posed for more photos:

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rode Again

I'm sorry, no pictures today... Fiance was sleeping because he has to work tonight, so we didn't have a photographer. But my dad took Elayne while me and the MiL worked with Nine. This time I got on without anyone holding Nine, and I rode him around the round pen for a while and got him used to the crop - he's really quite lazy! Then we opened the gate and followed Ashley off the property! Nine tried to eat once we got near the grass, and he was really quite diligent about it too, so I had to hand the lead rope to MiL so we could pull Nine off the grass. He wasn't pulling hard on the bit, but he wouldn't raise his head or move his feet either. My dad rode by three times on his Harley (yes, he had my 2 year old daughter on the motorcycle - they stay very slow and never go near pavement, and Elayne loves it) and Nine just looked at the bike as if he was wondering how his baby got up there... We went back onto the property and I took full control of Nine again. We stepped over the few obstacles I have around the place, mostly jumps that have fallen down and two halves of a barrel that was cut "hotdog style" with the sides laid end to end. Nine took it all in stride and even trotted a little bit for me. I was able to turn him away from his mare, and he spotted the chickens too. He was not at all concerned about the chickens; he was more interested in the hay they were pecking at!

Then we met back up with Ashley and MiL to try to trot again before I put Nine away. Well, MiL was using the end of her lead rope as a whip for Lazy Ash, and the end of it got pretty close to Nine's nose and brought him up short. Then I applied the crop, and he gave one jump, stopped, bucked and took off at actually a very nice high-headed canter, but strait for the garden fence! I was pulling on the right rein like I usually do when Hammar pulls crazy moves on me. But Nine responds better so far to the left rein. But Nine finally saw the garden and turned right - towards the corrals. Then I released the rein pressure as he slowed to a walk. I have a small scrape on my arm and I had a bunch of juniper tree in my mouth, but I was otherwise unharmed and I still had my seat. Then I tried to walk Nine until my heat slowed, but he kept scraping me in the trees and "spooking" when the branches touch his flanks! It was like was trying to find an excuse to "play" some more! So we went back into the round pen and walked around twice each direction, stopped, backed up two steps (his record so far) and walked forward half the radius of the pen, then stopped again. He was perfect as I dismounted and lead him to the inner tube to tie and unsaddle him. As I walked away with the saddle Nine gave me an almost pleading look as if to say, "please don't go! I'll be good, I promise!" But there is a storm brewing and I was starving to death so away I went.

Soon the baby sitter will be able to watch Elayne again (she's been away with her family) and I can get more rides on Nine. Wish me luck!

Pictures this time, yay!

I rode Nine again, this time outside the round pen but still with my mother in law holding the lead rope (more for my comfort than for control of Nine). This has been helping my confidence so much! Nine has really been enjoying it too, I think. He has been much more friendly. He was never "cold" towards me or anyone, but he's turning into a puppy dog these days, licking our hands and following us around. Here are some pictures from yesterday after we got back on the property.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I did it, I did it!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I rode Nine. We had an hour or two while Elayne napped and after Paul got home, so I and my mother in law went out to work with Nine. He remembered everything like we did it yesterday, not nearly two weeks ago. I quickly was on him, then we ponied him from Ashley around the round pen for a while. Then MiL got off and tied the lead rope to Nine's saddle and we rode around unconnected, so to speak. All in all, I was on Nine about half an hour! We didn't trot, but Nine soon relaxed and settled into a nice swinging walk. Tomorrow morning we will hopefully be able to take him on a short ride outside the pen before we're off to town to buy groceries.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The New Excitement in the Neighborhood

Well, my foot is feeling much better! Apparently nothing is broken. Whenever I can get some babysitting help (my normal child care provider is out of town) I feel I can get back up on that high horse, literally. However, there is something a little more urgent happening around here!

My mother in law is getting a very early Christmas gift from her neighbor; a 9 year old registered Quarter Horse mare. She will be here in 2 weeks, so we need to get the MiL's fence fixed before then! There hasn't been a horse on that property in ages, so the fence is in a sorry state, but I think we'll manage. It will be a lot of work, and we need to find a saddle and bridle for my mother in law, since all her tack was destroyed in a house fire a few years ago. But soon I will have access to another horse to train my horses to ride around a strange horse! Yay! Also, MiL can ride her mare, leaving at least two more ridable horses at my house (three once Nine is started well) so everyone can ride together! I just had a little image in my head of MiL riding her mare (she thinks she'll call her Sally), I riding Nine, my fiance riding Ashley and ponying Hammar who will carrying our daughter. Cute!

Friday, June 19, 2009


So on Wednesday I did manage to get myself on the horse. It fried my nerves, but I sat all the way in the saddle, and Nine never even flinched. I was going to try to ride him on Thursday as my mother in law ponied Nine from Ashley, but as I was saddling Nine he spooked, stepped on my foot, then jumped off my foot, leaving a hoof shaped mark in my favorite boots and a swollen bruise on my foot. Today (Friday) I can walk, but I am very sore from being so beat up and my foot is quite tender. So I didn't get on Nine again :( My baby sitter is out of town for a while, so I don't know when I'll be able to work with the horses again for the next two weeks. We'll see. Well, I will. I doesn't seem like anyone is reading my posts anymore :P That's what I get for not posting for weeks at a time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good News!

So I had my mother-in-law come over to help me work with Nine, and owing to the emotional/courage support and a person on another horse to hold Nine, I managed to get all my weight in the saddle again! And, this time it was without a mounting block. Nine wasn't snubbed to saddle on Ashley, but the other horse standing there did help hold him still! Got to do dishes now, but I'll work with Nine again tomorrow, hopefully this time actually straddle the horse, and post some more.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wow, No Updates...

Poor readers! Well, honestly not much has happened since Hammar's sheath cleaning... I still haven't done Nine... Nor have I ridden Nine, but we're getting close! Hammar needs his feet trimmed up and Nine is currently having his mane trained to all lie on the right side of his neck (to better show his freeze brand) but other than that life with the horses has been pretty routine. My mom and my mother in law have both helped me by ponying Nine from Ashley while I ride Hammar (therefore getting all the horses out at the same time) and I have ponied Nine from Ash by myself as well. Nine is getting pretty good about it all.

Hammar and I had a fun ride a couple weeks ago; we rode along the road, past big trucks and a construction zone to a gate, then trotted to my mother in law's house to race her truck. She has a 85' Mustang but insisted on using the 71' Ford truck to race instead... We had a false start when the truck stalled, and on the second try she was only along side Hammar and I for half a second, but we caught Hammar going at least 36 mph! Not bad for an old man. Then it started raining and we had an excellent trot home. Lost my dog, but she showed up a while later and is now on a diet!

The whole family has been sick with some sort of stomach bug for a few days, but we are starting to get better. Next week I will hopefully be back to normal and get going with the horses again.

Sorry for the lack of updates, but our internet connection went down the toilet!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hammar's Adventure

On Friday my Mother in Law came over to help me with a little something; she brought gloves, if that gives you a hint.

We cleaned Hammar's sheath! The poor boy has always had a sensitive, um, private area. I know it hurt him, and I strongly suspect that's why he has been scratching his hindquarters so much. We had him tied to the inner tube that is wrapped around a pole while I got started. I used another article from an old Perfect Horse to guide me; I stood at Hammar's shoulder so I was out of kicking range. And a good thing, too - Hammar did several cow kicks before he settled. We found it worked best to get some of the Excalibur sheath cleaner (I love that name!) soaking into the smegma, then let Hammar walk for a minute or two before he got tied up again. Then we pulled out a few chunks of ickinesss, reapplied more sheath cleaner, and let him walk some more. By that time he was fine with the whole affair. We ended up taking turns, then used a Pepsi bottle to rinse him (the hose water was too cold). We filled it up with warm water, then squeezed the water into the sheath. Once the water was dripping out clear we applied some baby oil to keep everything soft. That afternoon, while Hammar was eating, he finally dropped and I saw how much better he looked! He still had raw spots (it was bad) but nothing was rubbing them anymore. So now he can heal up and I feel comfortable enough to do it again and again every spring! We didn't find any "beans", the little lumps of smegma that can collect above the urethra, so I hope Hammar just didn't have one...

And guess what I'll be doing next weekend! I still have about half a bottle of Excalibur for Nine... Maybe we'll get pictures this time!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Close to Mounting

I have a collection on old Perfect Horse newsletters, and I was reading an article outlining John Lyons' method of mounting a horse for the first time. This method takes it all very slowly, so I felt confident it would work for me and Nine, because it would give ME time to feel comfortable with getting on the horse. So yesterday, I gave it a try.

I let Nine decide when he was ready to get saddled, which means he got to run when he felt like it, and it took me an hour to saddle him! However, when I did saddle Nine, he was untied and didn't resist. He gave one buck once the cinch was tightened, then we got the bridle on and I started. First I just stood next to Nine and shifted the saddle around. Then I backed off and let Nine relax. Then I stood next to him and flapped the stirrup around, then backed off again. We have done this stuff with Nine before so he was fine. It was when I tried to reach my foot to the stirrup that he got nervous. But I only got my foot to+ touch the stirrup, then I backed off again. Nine was very surprised at that! But when I tried again, he stood! So, I put my foot in the stirrup 25 more times, adding weight and hopping when Nine was doing well. Then I repeated it all on the other side. Nine wasn't as fond of that, and I wasn't either, but we did it, and I feel a lot more ambidextrous because of it.

After 25 repetitions (I told you it was slow!) came the big part - I was supposed to hop up to stand my full height in the stirrup. For whatever reason I am terrified of actually getting myself on that poor horse. Anyhow, after a few tries I worked up the nerve to try. But because I hesitated, my knee jabbed into Nine's shoulder and caused him to jump sideways. Fortunately, he didn't go far and he turned to face me immediately. But after that Nine didn't want my foot anywhere near the stirrup, so I just spent a few minutes backing up so I could again get my foot in the stirrup and hop. Then I unsaddled Nine and we called it a day. All of that took me less than four hours. I have deciding to just keep doing the same exercises until I feel more comfortable. Then I will get on when I am good an ready. Will keep y'all posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Poor Hammar...

Hammar has been scratching himself - on the barbed wire, no less - and it's getting worse. I am officially worried sick. He gets wormed more frequently than the other horses, and although he is chronically thinner than the other two, he isn't really underweight. I can't see any ribs, though his hips are a bit bony... He's always been that way though. I don't think worms are his problem. Hammar's tail has always been rubbed a bit, but now he is rubbing it tot he point that he has a little bald spot. And his hindquarters (and occasionally his pasterns) have been sprouting cuts from the wire. I can see tufts of black hair caught in the barbs. You think if he was itchy he would scratch on the pine poles, but no, he has to cut himself of the barbed wire. I swear, if we had enough money I would tear down that wire in a heart beat...

Anyways, I know Karen will probably read this, so if you have any ideas, please help me! When it gets warm enough I want to give Hammar a thorough bath. He's never had one before - he hates water. But it is time. I want to find a shampoo that might help him - maybe some sort of allergy shampoo, or ultra-hydrating. Maybe Hammar's skin is so itchy because it's just dry, who knows? Then, with the help of some rope and 2 or 5 people, I want to tackle the awful "s" word: sheath cleaning. I can't afford the $106 vet bill they quoted for sedation plus sheath cleaning, so I am going to try it myself. My Mother in Law had a theory that Hammar might be itching because of a kidney infection! That scares me something awful, but given how Hammar doesn't stretch out all the way to pee (he hasn't since he cut his tendon in his hind leg) and how when he starts shedding the hair collects on his "water spicket" and gets all gross... Maybe he has developed an infection. Again, this makes the sheath cleaning all that much more vital. Any tips on that would be helpful as well, given how Hammar, my trusted steed that will go anywhere and do anything I ask, kicks and throws a fit whenever my hand gets near his sheath... Do they make all-over body helmets?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Internet Troubles

Sorry for the lack of news lately! Our internet was completely out for a month or so for technical reasons I don't completely understand. But it seems to be back in business, at least for the time being, so I will try to get a brief update:

Nine is doing fantastic! I haven't ridden him (I'm getting tired of saying that) but I have gotten pretty close twice recently. I am having SERIOUS confidence problems, and I have come to realize that I need to simply get my helmet on and tell everyone to GO AWAY because I get nervous and irate when anyone is watching. That, in turn, makes Nine nervous. But, on the ground, these past couple of weeks have shown some real progress! When the ground is fairly clear and thawed, I go and play with Nine for a few minutes while I feed. The result is that he comes all the way up to me about half the time I ask, he yields his hindquarters and keeps his head facing me without a halter or lead, from any distance in the round pen, he lets me come up to me and pet him while he is laying down, he let me file away at his front two feet - he stood better than Hammar did! - and he is generally being a good guy. After a few months of seeing me in a big jacket that makes weird sounds, he has calmed down a lot about it, and I can even blindfold him with the jacket if I am patient and let him set the pace. Usually I can get the jacket over his face in 5 minutes or so, letting him run when he feels he needs to, and letting him stand when he feels okay with that.

When I got Nine, he had a horizontal crack in his hind left hoof, on the outside. It has since grown out sot hat the outside of the hoof wall chipped off, and there is a section about an inch, maybe and inch and a half, long that I am a little worried about. It is soft and he doesn't mind me wiggling it, but I am afraid to try to nip it, in case it will hurt him. But other than that, he is sound and looking good!

Hammar and I have grown even closer, if that can be believed! I had the bright idea that working up the nerve to stand up on top of a horse would help me learn to handle my nerves when I get to ride Nine again. So, I used Hammar to learn some trick riding. I can stand up on him, and he stands still for it! I even once stood up on him bareback, though I had to take my boots off for that. I can also lean down to pick something up off the ground (though NOT bareback, and yes, I have tried) and only at a standstill - I haven't managed to lean down far enough at a walk. I can also go underneath Hammar, though I have been able to do that for a while; I just hadn't tried it crouching down - previously I have gone under on my hands and knees. But Hammar is fine with my head bopping under him now. I have also been riding him in a halter, which he seems to appreciate. Now Hammar will lope (a word previously unknown to Hammar) in a circle both directions, with perfect flying lead changes, in only a halter with the lead rope tied around into a rein. I have also ridden him outside the corral - even outside the property! - bareback and bridleless, with only a neck rope. Hammar has stopped bolting towards the corrals, even when Ashley is not next to him but rather in the corral. This suggests to me that Hammar has finally decided that he would rather be with me than with his mare, which is monumental! Unfortunately, Hammar has been doing something funny to his fence - every day, it seems, at least one wire is broken, and he has new scrapes and cuts every so often. He has never had any problem with wire fences before, and the best we can assume is that he is huddling up into the corner to be closer to Ashley, and ends up putting too much pressure on the wire, and it snaps. It can't be that he is actively trying to escape, because 1) his gate is always open and he can leave whenever he wants (though he doesn't) and 2) he has had all but the very bottom wire snapped, and the remaining wire so loose that it was touching the ground, and he did not step over it. I don't know what is going on. We are trying to get a hold of some more pine poles, perhaps from the forest service, to replace the wire fencing with wood (finally, we are entering the 20th century!).

As far as things go with Ashley, she is doing well. My friend Casie jumped on her bareback three times the other day without Ash taking off and leaving Casie in mid-air. Yes, this is a big step for the Ashster. She hates standing still for people to get on her wile she is in her corral. She stands pretty well outside, but when she is in HER home, her territory, NO ONE gets on! But, Casie did, three times! Also, Ash has developed some sort of fungal infection (I think it's fungal) on her head, where the headstall goes. The headstall she had been wearing is a Wintec EquiLeather padded headstall, which is pretty bulky and doesn't allow much circulation. She has problems with the Wintec girth I have as well; she gets galls after 10 minutes. So I switched her to an ugly neon blue nylon headstall, which clashes horribly with her leather reins, but is narrower and allows her skin to stay drier. I have also been using an antibacterial and anti-fungal spray on the bald spots. I was putting it on twice a day for 4 days or so, and now she gets it once a day. Her skin looks a lot healthier now! Before I started spraying it, the skin was dry, bald and flaky. Now the outside layer has flaked off, the new layer looks moisturized, and new hair is coming in. She still looks rather morbid, because she has a bald spot bigger than my fist on the side of her head, but it is definitely healing up. Ash seems pretty susceptible to fungal infections. Every summer her face gets itchy and she rubs it so that the hair gets rubbed off and she gets little scabs from underneath her eyes, along the sides of her face, clear down to her muzzle. What seems to help the most is to put Corona ointment (contains lanolin, which is a life saver!) to her face, but that uses a lot of ointment and makes her all sticky. So this year I will try my new spray (I don't remember what it is called - I just looked at the bottle long enough to see "anti fungal"). The point I was originally getting at, is that the first day of spraying, Ash was a nightmare - she was tossing her head, trying to run over me, and being a general butt. Fiance, whom she likes more that me (she really likes boys!), managed to get the spray on the worst area. But by the third day she was standing perfectly for me, and now I don't even need to halter for it! Which is awesome, because that was her skin can be open to the air and not have to be under a halter being rubbed.

Even my cow has been learning to lead a little bit, though she hates it! We're expecting baby goats any day now, and I will definitely try to get some pictures of that! For now, here are some recent pictures of the three horses:
There's Nine.
And Hammar.
And Ashley, guarding the cow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Getting Back in Business

Yesterday and today I worked with Nine. I almost got on him both days, too. Yesterday I was really close, but decided he had come really far, and I didn't have time to start over if something went wrong when I was on him. So I unsaddled him and called it a day. He deserved it; he was standing still for me while I put my foot in the stirrup and all that stuff.

Today I just had too many people standing around making me nervous, and Miss Toddler started a tantrum which put me in the wrong mood for working with unbroke horses. SO I called it a day again and e-mailed the trainer I have been in contact with. My mom said she could "donate" $50 to the cause if the trainer will put two rides on Nine. We will see how that goes.

In other news, Hammar bows like a pro now, and I am working on getting him to stay down so I can eventually get on while he's down. A neat trick, but not really necessary. I can vault onto Hammar no problem. But now I know how to teach that to a horse and can start Nine on it some day! Ashley tossed my mother in law when Ash kicked at me and Hammar zooming by the other day, but everyone is okay. It was interesting to see a sign of life from the mare. I want to say "old girl", but she's only 9 this year. Hammar is the oldest horse at 12, and Nine is a 4 year old now. Speaking of Nine, his scars from jumping the fence are quickly vanishing and he's still perfectly sound.