Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I mean, really. How do these things happen?

A quick summary of yesterday: I glued Red's foot with turpentine and wrapped it, then took Bobby for a canter around the hay field where the path is mowed. It was 7pm and 95 degrees out, so we only did a lap and a half before calling it quits. While we were finishing off, a creepy old dude drove by in his white car with white interior and a white Westie in the front seat and yelled out, "That's a good looking pair! Let me drive with you so I can give you a speed." Uhh, no thanks, creeper. Of course, Bobby's extremely rare competitive side kicked in and he tried hauling my arms out to race the car. Thanks, dude. Very helpful. Do you want to walk my horse out for the next hour now?

I got to the barn early today because Bobby NEEDED to be galloped. 86 degrees at 9am, but it wasn't quite as muggy as yesterday and there was a teeny tiny breeze, so we were going out. Period.

He power walked the whole way out to the gamelands, then immediately picked up a real gallop when asked which he usually never does. After a few strides of him trying to gallop over the knee high grass instead of through it, he straightened out. Then, he had to decide what lead he wanted to be on a switch over, then he had to remember that the back end does indeed connect to the front end and his hind legs should probably be on the same lead as his front ones.

We powered through there at a really strong gallop. Like, two minute licking for four minutes (I timed it this time. Yes, I can stay in half seat with short stirrups for long enough to get through a course. Thank goodness.). Just as we were going through kind of a tunnel of trees on each side to the final field, a deer blew out directly in front of us. She was a smaller doe all by herself, and she ran RIGHT UNDER BOBBY'S NECK! Bobby threw up his head and hesitated for a stride, then carried on like, "Whatever. Moving on. Deer run into me all the time." I, however, let out a rather loud "HOLY SHIT!!!" Then, if that wasn't fun enough, just as we entered the field, a bird got stuck in the tall grass directly beneath Bobby's feet. Bobby cocked an ear down at it and proceeded to tromple it to death. Better the bird than me.

He pulled up well and we walked back past that field and the trees to catch our breaths, than trotted home. Poor pony was soaked. He looked like he'd been hosed down he was so sweaty. I jumped off when the barn came into sight and undid his girth and breastplate and walked him the rest of the way home, He kept jigging to get back so he obviously wasn't about to keel over.

The new boarder was just finishing up bathing her too cute yearling paint filly, so Bobby got walked in a small circle in the shade while we waited for her. I hosed him off and scraped him three times before taking him out to walk again. He actually wasn't breathing hard or really in distress or anything--just hot from the hot weather. He cooled out really, really quickly. I gave him one more hose down just to keep him cool, then took Red out.

I wrapped Red's foot to lunge him so it wouldn't get worse, but I only got about ten minutes of trot and canter to the left before it ripped off. Urghghg, Friday get here already so Bill the Farrier can come patch it up! No more missed rides!

While I was cleaning up, BO came in and said he'd unlocked the paddocks and mowed the border so I could turn my guys out if I wanted. HALLELUJAH!!!!! I immediately put their fly masks on and chucked them out before he changed his mind. It was hot and buggy, but there's great grass out there and it's turnout!!!! I think they'll learn to suck it up.

They walked right in and dropped their heads right at the gate and didn't move at all. I think the new boarder's comment, "So I WILL see her outside tomorrow, right?" finally knocked some sense in BO.

Josie--the new hoss.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial weekend rides

First, I made another purchase. A girl I went to college went was selling a bunch of her unused stuff and I picked up a pair of rubber reins for $8. Holla. I love rubber reins. I really love rubber reins for under ten dollars. They should get here in the next day or two.

Saturday, I dragged Hubby out to the barn with me for a late afternoon trail ride. We mosied on down to the road lake for a swim. Along the way, big headed Magee walked directly into a scrubby tree hanging over the path while we were trotting next to Red. The tree hit him in the head, then swung back and got stuck on my leg, digging a big hole into and ripping off a bunch of skin. It's now bruised and killing me. Stupid horse. Who doesn't see a tree in front of him?? He came out fine, of course.

Both horses were totally fine walking into the water, but they both were snorty and looky at a stroller parked on the side of the road. Forget the river monsters--beware the missing babies. There were a few people out on a boat, but we stayed well away from them and the horses didn't seem to care very much.

Bobby was pretty silly the whole time. Not like, "omg I'm going to get bucked off" silly. Just "I need to get ridden more, you lazy cow" silly. He hadn't been out to the gamelands in at least a month, and he hasn't been ridden consistently for awhile now either. He's due for a gallop.

Yesterday, we were headed up to NY to get some bees from Hubby's padre, but we stopped so I could get Hubby to video my dressage test. I'll let the video speak for itself. Blah. Here are the things we need to work on: 1) Picking up the right lead. Helloooo, when did this happen?? It doesn't help I have alot of trouble telling if I'm on the correct lead or not. 2) Making circles circular. Maybe if he was on the correct lead, he'd be able to bend properly.

While I was cooling Red out, Hubby asked if I noticed the crack in his hoof. Huh? So I jumped off and there's a HUGE crack in his RH. I have NO idea how I missed it when tacking him up because it's fucking enormous. I'll grab a picture later. I'm going to wrap it to ride and get some turpentine to try to glue it together until I can afford the farrier Friday. Storm, the OTTB I sold in January, came in (as in, I bought him with) with a big crack, too. I had it cautered and hind shoes put on. Looks like I'll have to do the same with Red. GRRRRRR. As long as he stays sound. Puh-leeeeease stay sound!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I don't know how I'm going to survive the summer....

This heat is already killing me and it's not even June yet! (Although it is less than a week until my birthday. Hint, hint!) Yesterday I waited until 4:30 to head out to the barn in hopes that it would have cooled off some by then. It was still hot and disgusting when I left the house, but I had to swing in to Hubby's work to grab the debit card for gas and the wind had brought the temperature down some. Like, from 90 to 85. I grabbed the card and headed back out, and instantly saw why it had cooled in the ten minutes it took me to get there. Monster thunder clouds along the horizon towards the barn. The kind that look nice and fluffy white, only the entire sky is bruised purple behind them and they're ten millions times bigger than regular nice fluffy white clouds. I headed right back home to bring my doggies in and see if it might just be a passing storm.

Yeah, right. Tornado warnings were back in place by the time I pulled into the driveway and it was nonstop rumbling. They eventually got downgraded in our area to Severe Thunderstorm Warnings, but as a girl who grew up in IL, I know allllll about "Thunderstorm Warnings" that make the sirens go off and you scamper down into the basement. The storm hit Hubby before me while he was out in the truck with the sprayer and he got a picture of golf ball sized hail he was afraid was going to break the windshield. I'll have him send me the photo off his phone. Scarily, he was less than a mile down the road from where I had my horses on pasture board before I moved in January. Yay for having stalls now!

Needless to say, between the hail, lightening, and thunder, I stayed put. Pennsylvania knows how to put on a storm!

Today, I headed out early to try to get some of the cool without the storm, and was much more successful this time. I remeasured out my dressage arena and took Red out. I gave him a fairly quick workout since it was still 80 at 10am and muggy again (the worst kind of hot), then started the test. Once again, we had trouble picking up the canter from trot both ways. He got it the second time (I had my spurs on this time) to the left, but it took three times to the right. He also was sticky on his halt at X. I ran through the test once more with an Ok depart to the left, and two retries to get the canter to the right.

I decided to break down the last three steps: trot circle to R, canter circle to R, halt at X. I figured out what I was doing wrong (don't you love when you can actually FIX things??). I sat a couple of strides of trot before cueing the canter so Red wasn't confused by my posting and asking for the canter lead at the wrong time. He picked it up MUCH better after that. He still makes himself square up before halting completely, but I guess that's better than standing like and idiot at X. Hopefully we won't get any points off for him taking an extra step or two to square himself.

He got a looooong cool out and hose off after that because ginger pony turned black from sweat. I don't blame him. I was disguisting, too. When I got in my car to leave, I was like, "Ugh! What is that smell?! Oh, wait... It's me." LOL. We played the "Spray my face and I'll make sure it gets you too" game for awhile before I put him away with his hay.

I was too hot and tired after Red to do much with Bobby--another reason he really needs to get sold--so I lunged him for awhile at the walk and trot in the arena. He was totally happy to bounce along. His lower lip and big donkey ears were flapping in the breeze, totally relaxed and happy to be doing something easy. I hosed him off, too, and gave him some more hay.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yay for supplements!

I've got a couple days to catch up on, but let me just say....YAY FOR SUPPLEMENTS! Red has been jumped, galloped, ridden down the road, and galloped some more and his RF is still tight and cool. He's been on the SmartTendon for two weeks and he is going to stay on it forever and ever. I am so happy with the results. Bobby has been on the SmartGain for two weeks as well, and I am definitely seeing a difference in weight. He's still thin, but he's gained more weight in these past two weeks than he has in the three months of me trying everything else. The alfalfa and Aloe Vera Juice are probably helping, too. We're moving in the right direction. Holla!
two week update

I long lined Bobby two days ago. I don't think he's done it since he was a yearling, but he picked it back up pretty quick and was a good boy. Then I took Red on a really long trail ride. Like, three miles each direction. We were out for about three hours. We did a lot of trotting and we walked half of the way back because it was sooooo fucking muggy out we were both dripping. (Guess who thought it'd be a good idea to throw the vest on for shits and giggles? Moron.) The plan was to ride out to where there are four hanging logs at one of the pull offs for the gamelands in varying heights. We got there just fine with minimal screaming (and no screaming after he got punched between the ears one time. Shut UP, Red!), but much to my dismay, the ground behind the logs was pure mucky swamp so we had to forego it. However, we got in a really strong gallop through lots of puddles with zero fuss, and then powered up a long but not too steep hill. That's when we started walking. I've realized I'm much better at keeping my gallop position A) on Red instead of Bobby, and B) going uphill instead of just flat. Should serve us well for what looks like a rolly Plantation. (Less than three weeks! Ahh!)
Yesterday, I lunged Bobby in side reins to warm up, then set up some tiny jumps for him. One was just a tiny cross rail and the other was a 2'3 vertical with ground poles set out to the end of the bottom of the standards on each side so he wouldn't get right on top of the jump before going over it. He didn't feel like jumping over the cross rail, but trotted and cantered over it fine. I raised that to a vertical and set the ground pole out further on that one, too. He jumped the smaller vertical fine at both the trot and canter. I only did the larger vertical at the trot, but he did really well over that one too. I should have left it at that, but of course I had to do the small one "one more time" at the canter. Well, then he didn't want to pick up his right lead. So that turned into a battle that I eventually won, we got over fine, and ended it there. He also tends to drift to the right just before and after the fence so I was once again working on straightness. He was soooo sweaty when we were done, so he got a nice cool bath.

I lunged Red w/t with side reins on pretty loose, then tightened them a little more. I jumped on him for about five minutes at the trot with the draw reins on to work on bending circles. he did ok. Not great, but not horrible. He was soaked with sweat under his girth and on his neck and flanks just after that. It was at least 85 and muggy as hell again.

Today, I set up a jump chute for both boys. Bobby has never done one before; Red has. I put one side up at 2'7 and the other on the ground. He went over that--not prettily, but he did go over. I raised the other side to the bottom rail of the fence and sent him through again. Nope. No way. He figured out how to dismantle the jumps and stepped over the now-ground pole. Dick.

Red went over all three levels just fine. He doesn't enjoy doing it, but he does it anyway. He even stops and let me grab him when he's done, unlike a certain big headed bay we all know and love. They both got hosed off after because it was 90 when I left for the barn at 11am. At least there was no humidity for once. I wanted to do my dressage test with Red again, but it was just way too hot for it. I need to start going much earlier or much later.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


My muscles have gotten really tight since I started riding harder this spring. I used to be ridiculously loose--like, toss my foot behind my head without thinking twice. Now, I'm sore, tight, and stiff and it's probably affecting my riding, too. So today was stretching day for both me and the horses. I did about half an hour of yoga and pilates with some jumping jacks thrown in. I feel soo much better and looser. My back and neck cracked about a hundred times, and I feel like I can move my shoulders now. I definitely need to make a point to stretch either before or after riding every day.

And if I felt this tight, I can't imagine how Red feels--or even rarely-ridden green but getting stronger Bobby--so they both got a "break" today. I took both of them out to the round pen with me and let Bobby graze while I lunged Red. As always, he didn't want anything to do with cantering, but I forced two circles out of him. The pen was a little churned up so I didn't want to press the issue too much. I stretched out all of his legs and did carrot stretches with him. I think you can tell the class of barn your OTTB was in by how well they stretch. Red hands over his leg and stands without moving whiel you pull and push his legs around. Bobby and my last OTTB, Storm the Gate, have zero ideas what stretching is. Red was with Zito for quite awhile and started with the very classy Niall Brennan, finishing with Howie Tesher. He was obviously well taken care of and knows all about getting pampered.

Bobby got lunged w/t only each way since his canter is still uncoordianted on such a small circle and it was so slimy around the track. He was a good boy. He's actually really light on his feet and bouncy, and you can't hear him stomping along and hitting the ground hard like you can with some horses. He is also seriously looking more filled out. Hubby said the same thing Friday, but I definitely saw it for myself today. His coat is looking good and he's getting less ribby. It will be two weeks on Wednesday of him being on the SmartGain, one week on the alfalfa and Aloe Vera juice, and five days on the Safe Choice. I think we're finally figuring it out! Yay, pay off!!

He's really just not that attractive of a horse unfortunately. He still needs topline work and neck muscles. I'm going to start him long lining and lunging with side reins on tomorrow. I'm basically going to come at him like a just off the track Thoroughbred instead of a horse that was off for a year and used in a lesson program. That's kind of the way you have to approach Cobleskill horses. Don't trust that the school has done anything useful to them or for them.

I let both boys graze for a little while when they were done.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

First run through the dressage test.

After I chucked Robert out on the grass in the holding area, I measured out the official small arena. It looks wide. Like, more wide than long. But I used my measuring rolly-outy tape wheel thing and got it spot on so theoretically it's right.

I did a quick w/t/c both ways warm up with Red, then stood there and read the test out loud while pointing out where I needed to do what. I have done one real dressage test with Red before about five years ago, so I needed a serious refreshing. Red, on the other hand, was obviously listening better than I was because he trotted down the center line and away he went on his merry little way like he had the test in front of him. Have at it, old chap! The first run through went ok; it went like a first run through. I got confused at one point, but corrected myself before I went all the way through with the movement. Red was anticipating each movement right before we did it which I find kind of annoying. Yes, I KNOW we're going to canter next, but you wait until I tell you to!

The second time, he didn't want to pick up the canter from the trot. At all. So I had to do several small trot circles back to where we were supposed to depart, and after a rather hard smack across the rumpus, he finally picked it up. A little sticky halting at the X, but it was more him trying to square himself up than continuing walking.

The third and final time, he didn't want to pick up the canter from the trot from the left, but only one circle fixed that this time. Same to the right. His downward canter to trot transition to the right was also a little sloppy. Halt at X was good.

After that, I did a few trot to canter and canter to trot transitions just around the arena. I definitely realized what I needed to do to make the downward transitions better, and he was doing the upward ones much better by the end, too. Things we need to work on: 1) Real circles. I didnt put the letters up, but I think once I do I'll be able to get them more round. 2) Upward c-t transitions. They need to be sharper. 3) Downward c-t transitions. They need to be more collected.

He was pretty low energy and has been for the past few rides. I slowly upped his grain so that by the end of this upcoming week, he'll be on 10lbs of Safe Choice a day. Hopefully that does the trick. He might have to start sharing some of Bobby's alfalfa cubes.

I'll try to get Hubby out to video the test tomorrow. Or we might just go for a trail ride, depending on how many ticks we feel like pulling off ourselves and the horses.

Involuntary Dismount

Finally! For the first time since October 2009, I fell off a horse! Of course, I fell off almost every single day in October trying to break out this literally neurologic Quarter Horse that went over on me multiple times and nearly broke Hubby's arm. But anyway. Back to present day.

I was doing the beding line exercise again and the striding was just not working out from either direction this time, no matter how I tried to approach both fences. I can't even use that as an excuse though. Hubby and I went down to the barn around six because it was turning into a really late day, and since he sometimes gets home at five, I figured I'd invite him along (and put him to work exercising Bobby so his enormously stocked up legs would go down). Red thought this was much too late to work, especially since he had a giant pile of hay just put in front of his face.

I thought I had a good canter going into it, and he took the first vertical okay, but he went too far to the left headed for the second fence. I assumed he was going to jump it since, HELLO, it is only 2'3, but dear old Red thought otherwise and ran out. I did a very slow slide off the right side of him, barely missing the standard, landing right on my butt, flopping onto my back, and bouncing my head hard off the ground. It is here that I say I will never own another crash helmet besides a Charles Owen. They're so cushion-y, I didn't even have a headache. Hubby didn't even see the fall, but amazingly caught the most kick ass picture ever.

No harm done besides a very uncomfortable ride with sand down my ass. We had a couple of knock downs from him being super lazy, and I finally caved and got the whip out. No problems after that!

Bobby was good for Hubby. He rode him in the western saddle and di alot of trotting with him, including going over the trot poles a bunch of times. Hubby got him going in a nice big trot up to them and he stretched out really well. They also did a little cantering to the left. Bobby didn't want to pick up the correct lead a couple of times, but they did get in a couple of good laps. He rode for probably forty five minutes and it took the whole time for his legs to go down to normal size. And of course it's been raining on and off for several days now so the paddocks will probably remain closed for another month. Fuck.

I'm going to clear the jumps and measure out a small dressage arena so I can start working on the dressage test. I'll alternate that with some hacking in the gamelands for awhile so I don't burn out his pea brain on jumping. I'll leave you with some cheese...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This year's schedule

Ok, I sat down with the calendar and the pay check schedule and made my show schedule for Red for this year. Still very temporary, of course, since I won't know until closer to the opening dates for most of these, but I feel confident about it. Drum roll please.....

June 12: Plantation Fields. Unionville PA. (Already entered. Woo hoo!)
June 19: Impatient Stables Hunter Pace. Cohocton NY. (Only $20, but there are still "natural obstacles".)
July 24: Impatient Stables Hunter Pace. Cohocton NY.
July 30: High Standards. Dansville NY. (Coincedentally where Hubby was born.)
August 7: Bucks County Horse Park. Revere PA.
September 10: Fair Hill. Elkton MD.
October 9: Bucks County Horse Park. Revere PA.
October 29: Plantation Fields. Unionville PA.

Nothing crazy by any means, but certainly alot of money will have to go into it for fuel if nothing else. I'm happy with it. Hopefully Red pony holds up and Hubby can get away for all of them.

Finally rode again!

A week break was exactly what I needed. It was horribly, disguitingly muggy out yesterday and I turn into a total Snickers-needing diva when I get hot. However, even with a few frustrating moments, I totally kept my cool and didn't get upset about anything. My head is back in the game and I'm ready to get my beastly Red stallion ready for Plantation.

I gave my shiny horse a quick curry since there's almost no hair coming off now (YES!), then debated on whether or not to boot his bald leg. Decided against it since I have only neoprene lined boots, and left him bare. I would have thrown some polos on, but the arena was kind of muddy still and I hate soggy polos. I took him out with me so we could set up a jumping exercise. 2'9 vertical closer to the right side of the arena (when tracking left) eight strides from when we turned off the rail, then a six stride bending line to a diagnol 2'4 vertical. Make sense? I'm better at drawing, so see my diagrams below.

First, we did a kick ass warmup. Usually Red's kind of pokey when moving off my leg in warm up, but since he hadn't been ridden in a week, he was moving out great. He was also BENDING at his circles while still moving forward! Usually it's one or the other. We practiced out trot to canter and canter to trot transitions for the BN dressage test. Usually I pick up the canter from the walk, and it took Red a big squeeze for him to pick it up from the trot, but he did do it, and his transitions back down to trot were really well balanced and dead on. We did those a few times each way, then moved on to the jumping.

He went over just the diagnol first. We tracked left, then came off the corner it was in and jumped it, picking up the right lead when he landed. I took him over the big vertical by itself next and he jumped it perfectly. Since he hasn't done anything but little 2'4 verticals once since his XC school, he was awesomely cool and collected about it. No out of control leaping or anything.

Exercise 1: We put the two together. First time over, knocked down the vertical, made a quick adjustment to get the line, jumped the second fine, didn't get his lead, but when I asked for it, he switched right over. Set the jump back up, and tried again. Knocked the first over again, got the second fine, got his lead fine. Tried again. Same thing. Now, as said many times before, Red hates touching rails, so for him to continually bring them down something was going on. It felt like he was having to get a half stride in there, and Red doesn't do great with half strides. I'm actually surprised he didn't try to just take it from a really long spot. I decided to try from the other way (Exercise 2) with a BIG canter. You know, a show jumping canter. Helllooooo. No hunter canter over a jumper course! Not surprisingly, he nailed it. Back we went to Exercise 1 with our new-found big canter. Perfect. Found his spot, didn't touch the rail, got the six to the second fence with ease, and landed on the right lead. We did that a couple more times correctly, then had a quick breather.

Exercise 3: I decided to mix it up and do each fence seperately but in a more challenging way. I came up to the diagnol fence tracking right and got the short three strides to it after a tight turn. That was a tricky one since Red was pulling his "I'm cantering strongly. Why must I also bend?" Didn't touch the rail though. Then we went to the big vertical tracking right. That was also a really tight turn that we didn't manage to make so that we were lined up straight to it right after we turned, but I got us straightened out quick and had a good five strides up to it.

I feel more confident after that school for this event. Since I only have two sets of standards, I can't practice an entire course, but at least I can break it down into combinations and work on those. I've also been psyching myself out over some of these BN fences. Not height so much as fill around it. I hope Red puts on his brave pony pants and doesn't throw a fit.

Now for Robert. It's been one week since he's been on the SmartGain and while he doesn't look like he's put on any more weight, after his really thorough grooming, he is definitely shinier and his coat looks healthier.

Note the one wrapped leg. He had a small bandage bow on his LF from the day before from him dicking with it, so I just left it off and put on even more chili powder on the right one. He's not lame on it in the slightest, but the bottom half was still really swollen. I sweated it again after giving him a kick booty lunge--15 minutes each way at the trot and canter, in which he let out crazy little Bobby bucks and head tosses. He was really sweaty afterwards, so he got a nice long walk out. He was striding out so great with this big swinging trot and stretchy canter. All this alfalfa (10lbs a day) should be upping his energy, so he'll get lots of lunging and hand walking to put the muscle on him the old fashioned sales prepping yearlings way.

I really wanted to take Red to Olde Hope, but there are just too many issues. 1) It's a Saturday. Hubby works Saturday, and obviously Friday. 2) It's five hours away. I already sent in my entry for Plantation and I need to save all the money I can for fuel to get down there. 3) No truck. 4) I don't really even have the money for the entry fee.

I'm going to do some serious bill rearranging and planning and map out a really, really specific plan for this summer and fall. I want to do as many events as I can, but until I sell Bobby, it's going to be really tight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back for a visit to the barn

Sunday, Hubby and I stopped by the barn to drop off more grain while we were in the area fishing. Hubby also forked both boys about thirty pounds of hay while I refilled water buckets. Funny, BO had already fed PM feed at 4:30 and yet no one had any hay left, and neither of my horses had ANY water. Fabulous. NO wonder they look so great.

Yesterday, Hubby threw them some more hay when he went to pick up my too small saddle that I sold ($100--which will go to getting my little pig dog spayed the 31st). 

I finally went back today, thinking I was going to ride. By the time I got there though, it was pouring--like, the monsoon rains have come. So I gave both boys the groomings of their lives and finally shedded out Red. The only bald patch left it his RF where it's also really dandruff-y. I don't think I'm going to put anything on it; I'll just wash it with my normal Mane and Tail when he gets a bath. He's still kind of ribby, but he's definitely putting on weight easier than Bobby, and at least his coat is nice and shiny and soft.

It's getting to b countdown time for Plantation, but I'm confident Red will be ready and plenty fit for it. It's only a ST at BN.

Bobby's coat is really rough and gross. He's mostly shedded out, and he's really dandruff'y all over. When I was grooming his legs, I noticed his RF was enormous. No heat or any obvious cuts, but full of fluid. I took him into the washstall to scrub it down to see if I could see anything. Nope. There was runoff down just that hoof though, which made me think wound somewhere, so I sweated it. I also covered both wraps in chili powder in hopes his punk ass won't yank the bandages off in an hour. His saddle pad sores are about 85% healed, and his hair has kind of poofed up around where Red bit him on the butt.

I've made a plan of action for both horses feeding wise that I am absolutely going to stick to:

For Red: 8lbs Safe Choice/day. SmartTendon as his supplement. A huge pile of hay whenever I'm at the barn.
For Bobby: 12lbs Safe Choice. I really want to put him on the TC Senior, but I can't afford it. I'll used up his BL Pellets and U Gard for the rest of the month since I already have them, but I won't be ordering them again. He'll stay on the SmartGain 4. 60cc of Aloe Vera Juice a day. I bought a big jug today and it was so cheap, I'm definitely willing to give it a try. Around 5lbs of alfalfa cubes a day. I haven't weighed them yet, but that's about what it felt like. He'll also get a big pile of hay whenever I'm at the barn.

That's the best I can do for them for now. Hopefully it dries out eventually after all this rain and BO gets his head out of his ass and opens the paddocks. I'll go to the barn early and throw both boys put myself and he can bring them in. I just want to get weight on them!! I'm so sick of failing at making Bobby and Red look good. I know I'm working against the most important thing--turnout/fresh grass, which is making it that much harder, but I still want them to be fat and shiny!

Also while at the barn, I come home with a dog. A German Short-haired Pointer. Apparently the amish keep trying to ditch him at BO's farm, he keeps taking it back, and on and on. So I'm a huge sucker and told BO I'd take him. He's currently passed out on the couch next to me with his head on my lap. I think he's a little older. He's really mellow for a GSP, and his greying around his muzzle. Might just be his markings though. He's really thin--even for a GSP--although after he got some food into him, he looked better. He also has a mostly-healed massive scar around his throat like his collar (which he didn't have on) was way too tight. He's super, super friendly, and aside from being really clingly and not wanting my two girls to come between me and him, he's really good with the other two. He's also afraid of the cats, which I prefer over being too nosy. He is not, however, nuetered. And one of my girls isn't spayed until the 31st, as mentioned before. I don't know if I'll keep him. Hubby doesn't even know I about him yet. I might just take him down to the SPCA. They're a no-kill, really friendly, and good a placing dogs. As a purebred, he shouldn't have any problems finding a home.

Let me also share to you why Red does not get Lickits if they don't hang from the ceiling. Really, no words are needed for explanation. Although I will tell you how much time elapsed between the two pictures: five minutes. Max.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Hot DAMN, am I miserable right now. I am taking a much needed and probably long overdue several day break from the barn. Between the BO's diva gossip, the never-ending "blllaaaaaaahhhhh blah-blah blah" that comes out of CL's mouth as she shadows me around, and the moronic, whiny, spoiled, selfish, shit-head of a  child that uses my horse for her "lesson", I am totally and completely set to snuggle into my quilt on the couch with my kitties and doggies and watch t.v. in isolation for at least half a week.

Oh, and did I mention I am in excruciating pain? My left knee--my dear, old, permanently injured left knee--is swollen and stabbing, my right knee aches constantly, and my hip feels like it needs to be kicked back into alignment. My wrists hurt, my head hurts, and I am exhausted. "Stop whining!" you say. Well, poo on you. It's my blog and I can whine all I want. I have the body of an eighty year old, I'm PMSing, and right now I want no human interaction.

I just sent in my entry for the Plantation Field Starter Trial June 12 (ten days after my brithday!) for Red. No one tell him, lest his leg explodes. I'm hoping the chilly weather that just set in today after a week and a half of low-to-mid eighties will make his bald patches grow in. He's got them on his belly, flanks, and front legs. His neck is pretty much shedded out to its lovely copper color; hopefully the rest will follow.

Bobby has amazingly gotten several inquiries already. No lookers yet, though someone was supposed to come on Wednesday, but never called to confirm. I got an email yesterday from someone with a lovely lesson/training barn in KY, but no reply back from her either. The problem I am of course running into is that he is skinny, skinny, skinny so sending conformation pictures kills the deal. So I took him off of the two sites that were free. I couldn't bring myself to take him off the two that I paid for. Only $25-ish, but $25 could have bought me a new saddle pad. So I'm hoping he'll stay on the DL for just a bit longer until he packs on the pounds. He started the SmartGain Wednesday (and Red started the SmartTendon). Hopefully in two weeks he'll start looking acceptable. Red also took a great big chunk off hair off of his ass yesterday. His saddle pad sores are healing beautifully, and you can barely tell they're there anymore.

CL's daughter, who lessons once a week on Bobby, wanted to ride him in a local show Saturday, and I very tentatively said I'd think about it. I told CL's friend that if we went, we could use my trailer and her SUV. However, this was Tuesday. The trailer is sitting in the driveway with one wheel off waiting for enough money to order a new bearing for it, and I feel like punching anyone that tries to have human interaction with me. CL has tried calling twice already, and while it's a childish, selfish thing to do not picking up or calling back, I simply do not care. My horse, my trailer, my money. Suck it. Your daughter rides for shit anyway.

Speaking of money, I had to have my mom send my birthday money early so I could buy dog food and grain. That just makes me want to jump right up and spend a hundred bucks in gas driving to and fro and getting the wheel fixed before I need it. So that was $60-ish, the entry for Red was $90. I still need a white saddle pad, preferably a new helmet but not dire, and a whole lotta dough for fuel to get down there. Fortunately, my padre and brother are coming out after my brother's graduation from high school, and they should get here a day before my birthday, and he always gives me money. Yay for fuel!

I'll throw in a few pics, just to make this blog less torturous.

As high as I got.

Show off.

Starting to look really good!

Red escorting the hounds to the gamelands.

The puppies after a nice swim.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Much better Bobby times

Apparently Bobby got over his dick headed-ness. He was an angel yesterday. Didn't make a fuss on the crossties, didn't pretend to be lame, warmed up great. We did an awesome w/t warm up, then did a full circle of the arena and a 20 meter circle each direction at the canter. Picked up both leads first time, wasn't too quick (though his hind end felt a little wonky, like he was cross cantering.). I put the two verticals down to x-rails and trotted him over each one a few times. Again, really good. No crazy leaps, no grabbing the bit and hauling ass at the canter after the fence, and he stopped just fine after. I worked on doing a couple steps of backup twice. He was better the first time since the second time we were all done cooling out and standing at the gate. He is now officially for sale, though I'm not going to go hog wild advertising him until he gets some more weight on him. Here's his ad on equinenow.com.

I gave Red a monster of a grooming, and while I was working on his belly, HUGE chunks were coming off. He has a giant bald spot now. I gave his a scrub down bath to try to loosen even more hair, then took him and Bobby out to graze.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Diastrous Bobby times.

Yesterday, I rode Red on a nice, loose rein for about twenty minutes at the walk, then did a little relaxed canter. He was perfect at it, and I think he was happy to get out again. Today, I did a w/t warm up, then trotted him over four ground poles leading up to three trot strides to a 2'3 vertical. He could barely make himself get over it. After all, we were just bounding over giant piles of logs. Who needs these pathetic little stadium jumps. I took him over it a few times, then did some cantering and put him away. He wasn't lame in the slightest, but his leg is still hot and swollen around that cut. I sweated it again, and I guess I'll just keep sweating it until it goes down.

Now, for Bobby. Yesterday, he was outside grazing in between the barn and arena while I was riding Red and he got some serious sillies out. I put Red out there to graze while I got Bobby ready, and when I led him out, he was short in his RF. I jumped on him anyway and did one lap at the walk, and he was still short. So I wrapped him and put him away....and he walked to his stall totally fine. Sound suspicious?

Then, CL calls me for her daughter's lesson and was like, "Do you want him ridden with his wraps on or his boots?" No "Is he lame? Is it ok if he gets ridden?" Ugh. So I told her he seemed a little off that morning, but to have their trainer take a look at him and if she thought he was fine, they could take it easy with him. I forgot to tell her about using a different pad for the sores on his withers, so I called her back and she seemed totally confused about who she was talking to. Uh, did we not just speak TWO seconds ago?? I told her to use "my white show pad". I have that one, a brown one, a purple one, and a red one. She then calls me back to ask if it's the white one with fleece, or the red one that's white on the inside. Really? Calls me back again to say that trainer that he just looked sore and would benefit from some stretching trot. Ok. Fine. Wrap him after. No problem.

Today, I get there and he's got one wrap off and the other sooo tight around his leg from him tugging on it that it's got a bow. I guess it's my fault for saying to wrap him since I KNOW he doesn't like to get wrapped, but I was still pissed.

I've had one other horse do this one other time from being wrapped too tight, so I know it's nothing to freak out over. I tacked him up with polos. He walked out short again, took two steps at the walk lame when I got on, then trotted out miraculously sound when I cracked him on the shoulder with the whip. Surprise! Red used to do this to me when I first got him. "I'm soooo lame. I can't pooossibly be ridden. I neeeeed to go back to my stall!" And once you turn them loose, viola! Perfect. Dicks. So I warmed him up at the trot for about five minutes, then started over again at the walk.

I did the same exercise with him as I did with Red--trot poles to small vertical. He was good the first couple times, then started jumping HUGE, even though I was giving him great spots. So I decided to work him over a different vertical, still 2'3, so we could focus on just the fence. ENORMOUS jumps, really, really strong up to it at both the trot and canter, and REALLY strong cantering out. I was not pleased at. all. So each time he landed, we did several circles at the canter at the end of the arena.

Then, we moved on to just cantering up to it, and he didn't want to pick up his left lead. So I'd try to bring him back down to get him to pick up the correct lead, and he wouldn't stop. At. All. So I'd have to stop him by turning him into the fence. Ughghghgh. He FINALLY got the idea and picked it up well each time, then plowed through my half halts--my huge, sawing on the reins half halts--after each fence. So we moved on to trying to stop before we ran into the fence. He barely got it each time, and this is a 300' long arena with the jump set about 45' in. So he had 255' to stop (yes, I did have to use the calculator for that.). I finally got so sick of fighting him, I made him trot over the ground pole, then stop in three strides. Done. Barely. I ended it there. And, his leg went back down to normal.

I don't know what got into him. Maybe just not being worked hard enough? Too much grain? (Which I will have cut down to more than half in a week.) I don't know. Maybe he got word that he was getting put up for sale and wanted to make it as hard as possible for me. I'm going to ask CL's trainer if she does training rides next Tuesday when she comes for their lesson. He needs to go. I don't want to work with him anymore, I don't want/need a lower level horse, and I think he'd be best suited for a kid to work with. He seems to do better for them. Once he gains some weight, which will hopefully be a only month with the new supplement, he's going up for sale.

Here are current confo shots of both boys:

Obviously still more weight to gain, but they're getting there. Especially Red.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day After

I took Red's wraps off first thing this morning after his cold hose and rub down from last night. I turned him and Bobby out in the arena since BO had the two paddocks padlocked again. I understand he wants to grow enough grass for all summer, but horses need turnout--a concept he doesn't seem to understand. Anyway. Both boys did good rolls, and Red was cantering and trotting around quite a bit for the first few minutes, which he doesn't usually do. He was clearly happy to be able to stretch his legs after his long day yesterday. They were out for about an hour while I gave them hay, cleaned my tack from yesterday, and reorganized everything.

Red's dreaded RF had a teeny bit of swelling in it. As I was feeling it up, I noticed a little scrape right by his tendon. It looked really new, so maybe he scraped it while he was running around.

I cold hosed him again for fifteen minutes and spent a long time debating what to do with it. I finally decided to sweat it, since he's gotten tiny cuts like this before and sweating is the only thing that makes the swelling go down. I cleaned off Bobby's wither sores that are already scabbing up really well.

After the boys had been scrubbed clean and taken care of, I tried to make my breastplate work. Either I'm incredibly stupid, or this thing is incredibly large. I would have used it yesterday, but Hubby and I couldn't get it to fit right and we didn't want to spend alot of time messing with it. I finally punched holes waaaay up on the straps that attach to the D-rings on the saddle and did a funky thing with the girth to make it look good.

It actually matches that saddle nicely, but about that....I did alot of research on saddle fit after Bobby's sores appeared and I've been torturing my poor Red Pollard in a way too narrow saddle for the past month. There should be two to three fingers all the way around the front of the saddle, and you can stick one in at the top, none at the side. I feel so completely horrible. Needless to say, that saddle is going. I put my AP saddle on that I orginally bought for him five years ago and it was three fingers on the side and four at the top. A smidgen too wide, but plenty of room for a good pad and a topline to develop. I fitted both on Bobby and same results. Anyone want a narrow tree 17" close contact saddle? Pay for shipping and it's yours.

Speaking of better improving my horses and horsemanship, I'm also going to adjust my SmartPaks and feeding. After doing alot of reading and even more thinking, I'm going to ease myself into the "new school" grain feeding techniques--less is more. No more U-Gard for Bobby. I've used it in two other horses before and saw improvent in two weeks--it's been three months and nothing. So I'm going to get him SmartGain 4 and cut out quite a few pounds of grain--slowly, of course. I'm going to keep him on the B-L Pellets for joints. I'm also going to put Red on SmartTendon, since now I have the eventing fever and want to work him a little more, and he's going to need help to stay sound.