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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Sunday, April 5, 2015

And Just Like That...

... Smudge was gone.(sold that is!)
Last week my neighbour, Mr Tim, called to tell me about a horse trailer he had for sale.  It's exactly what I want but I can't afford it right now.  He said he'd take my trailer on part trade and I jokingly said how much more would he credit it if I threw in a horse.  He asked which one and I told him I was probably putting Smudge up for sale later in the spring.  Mr Tim said he was interested but the difference was still more than I can afford right now.
A couple days later he asked me if I was serious about wanting to sell Smudge.  I told him yes, he's a nice horse but he's not getting used as much as we were planning and he's a nice horse and too young to just sit as a pasture puff.  Mr Tim was interested so we made arrangements for him to come look at him.
Now, some of you may remember but for those that don't... Mr Tim is a horse trader.  I bought Voodoo, Applejack and Smudge from him.  He's always been fair and hasn't steered me wrong.  So yes, he knew Smudge but things can happen in three years and horses may change so I wasn't upset that he wanted to check him out instead of just saying he'd take him.
When he showed up we got Smudge from his pen, he looked him over, saddled him up and rode out.  I puttered around getting stuff ready for chores and about 10 minutes later they were back.  We struck a deal and Mr Tim said he'd be over later in the day to pick him up.  That's got to be the easiest (and fastest!) horse deal I've ever done (as the buyer or the seller!)
Smudge will probably be at Mr Tim's for 2 or 3 weeks to get legged up and then he'll be off to a new home.  Part of me is sad, but you can't keep them all and he was being wasted here. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Successful Failure!

This January I signed up for a Facebook group challenge... you were to complete 30 rides and a total of 40 hours (the time riding counted toward hours) with one horse.  That was the big catch for me, ONE horse.  If I had been able to add together the time and rides on multiple horses I probably would have completed it, as it was I chose Odin and we didn't make it.
In hindsight if I had chosen Lefta or Voodoo I probably would have been able to complete, but with Odin I just didn't feel safe riding alone so we didn't get enough rides in for the challenge. 
However I chose Odin so I'd stay motivated to keep him working throughout the winter.  I knew with how green he was that if I let him sit over winter I'd be mighty hesitant to get on him in the spring without someone else taking him for a few rides first.
BUT I did keep riding him this winter!  And we've made so much progress together.  He's FAR from broke but I have confidence in him and feel like I know how he'll react to a lot of stuff that I would have been worried about before.  And at our last lesson while we were warming up Coach said "Stop!  Now pat yourself on the back!"  so I did, and looked at her with I'm sure the dumbest look on my face.  Then she said "You're riding him like a broke horse!  Not babysitting him like a colt, good job!" :D
So, we may not have gotten 30 rides, but we HAVE been riding and making progress.  I'll take that fail!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Odin Update

See the little teeny blob of a horse and rider?  That's me on Odin at our last lesson!
(photo courtesy of Nell, who was sitting on Zoey at the time)
Now sure, it's a blurry little cell pic, and we're nothing but a blip in the background, but... I noticed two things right away.
The first is I no longer look like Humpty Dumpty on a horse (yay 40lbs gone!) but more importantly, even as a little blob I can see that Odin is carrying himself much better - just look at him stepping up under himself. And this was early on in the lesson, he got much better as it went on.
What I *felt* in that lesson wasn't all an illusion :) 
We had really nice trot and canter work, man does he float when he really gets engaged and starts moving out!  Coach said I need to stop riding him like he's a colt and ride him like he's broke, until we get to something that he doesn't know. lol
I am so looking forward to getting him more 'broke' and started on barrels!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Years Off My Life

Odin and I had a bit of a scary moment last week...

I was hauling him over to the neighbor's to ride in the indoor with a friend.  Went to load him and he stepped in just fine, tied him and just before I turned to get the divider he pulled back hard.  When he didn't get anywhere he set back and pulled back H.A.R.D.  He ended up slipping and falling.  When he jumped to his feet he lunged forward then set back again, did that a couple times.  Fell at least once more during all that.

*keep in mind I'm at the front of the trailer during all this with no place to go*

My mind was racing trying to figure out what to do.  I had already tried to untie him but he had pulled too hard and the "quick release knot" was jammed.  I didn't have a knife on me but I did have my phone.  Did I have time to wait for someone to get there to help and who would be the quickest to reach and get there?
He paused and I started talking to him.  I honestly don't know how I kept such a calm, logical tone of voice as I spoke to him because I was pretty damn nervous.  I babbled something about needing to stop being bad and act like a grownup, how he had been in the trailer plenty of times and knows how to load, I told him he needed to come and stand up at the front of the trailer beside me and just be g.o.o.d.  He calmed right down and stepped forward, then touched his nose to my elbow like he was saying "Sorry Mom.  I'm not sure why I freaked out." 
He wouldn't come forward quite enough for me to get the divider closed, but he stood stock still while I smacked him in the ass with it to try to get him to step forward.  Oh well, better than another freak out lol 
Then I talked to him about what our options were.  I didn't want to leave him in the trailer alone while I got a knife to cut the leadrope loose just in case he started to pull again.  The knot on the halter was jammed as well.
(so much for the theory that if you tie a rope halter properly you can un-jam the knot if they pull, I guess there's only so much pulling it can take at a time) 
Thankfully I park the truck and trailer beside the barn, I told Odin I was going to slip his halter over his ears, that when he was loose he needed to let me get out of the way and then he had to go to the gate and I'd let him into the alleyway.  Sure enough as soon as the halter was off and I was out of the trailer he stepped out and went right to the gate, I opened it and he walked into the alley nice and calm.  While he hung out eating some stray bits of hay off the ground I grabbed a different halter from the barn and caught him up again.
We went back to the trailer and I closed the divider and loaded him up in the back half.
(probably not the safest way to haul but I was going less than a mile, literally right next door)
I was quite happy with how calmly he just stepped right in, like not a thing had happened just minutes earlier (I know *I* was still shaking, and it wasn't until a few minutes into my ride that I stopped)
When we unloaded at the neighbor's we went right in to ride and he was just fine.  Moved out pretty nice, a bit of a looky-loo at first (it was his first time there).  Went to load to go home and he loaded just fine again.
Why he freaked out will be a mystery.  However it does underline something I've been noticing about this colt... he may have a bad moment here and there but it's usually pretty brief and he comes back SO nicely.  Like Monday night at our lesson, when I asked him to lope he kicked up with his hind end, I said in a stern voice "Hey now, none of that!" and he settled in to work.  Sure he was just feeling goofy but he stopped and came back with a good attitude and a good mind.  The trailer incident was the worst he's freaked out in ages, last time was during the first bit of doctoring that leg wound that was down to bone.  However I hope he doesn't freak out that big again, this one took 10 years off my life!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Last night there was a barrel jackpot at Prairieland and I had the night off so heck yeah I was going!  Better yet, my bestie Nell was going to tag along which meant that I could take two horses :)
(There's a 'no tieing' rule at Prairieland so unless you rent a stall it's really tough to take two horses without a babysitter.  Fees are already a bit steep at these jackpots and being that I was going more to season Lefta and get Voodoo out again I was pretty sure there would be little to no money in it for me, I don't really like dishing out any more than I have to)

Nell and I had a quick warm up on the ponies before the time onlies started.  I had bought 2 minutes for Lefta, being as green on barrels as she is it's nice to put some work on the pattern with her right at a jackpot but before the run.  The huge turnout (over 50 open in the first jackpot, great numbers for a winter jackpot here!) and the amount of people that were wanting time only runs put the start time of the jackpot behind but they still gave us another warm up between the end of time onlies and starting the jackpots so we warmed up some more.  One of the times as she loped by Nell hollered "I love your horse!" :) 
After the second warm up she said Voodoo was feeling really good, moving nicely and he was very soft and responsive  
*keep this in mind*

I had entered both horses in the first jackpot but only Lefta in the second, testing out the "maybe Voodoo is a one run horse" theory.  I was up on Lefta first and we loped through, hey at the last jackpot she was trotting so there's some improvement lol
Then Nell and I switched horses, Voodoo was still really chill and we just hung out for what felt like forever.  (I was up something like 9th on Lefta and 51 on Voodoo)

During the rake just before my run for Voodoo I started to walk him around, and he was a jerk.  Kept trying to drift over and wouldn't keep his nice shape on the circle.  I kinda chuckled to myself and figured not much had changed.  We went in for our run and I was pretty happy that he didn't have any of the gate nonsense he had been having last year.
Our first barrel was okay but he came out quite out of position, heading more for the middle of the second barrel and could easily go to the wrong side so I lifted my rein and used my leg to push him over.  Over he went nice and easy, and then as we turned the barrel he D.O.V.E HARD.  We hit that dang (metal!!) barrel so hard that he actually knocked my stirrup right off my saddle!! :o
(only thing I can figure is that when he hit he also rubbed around the barrel and it made the blevins buckle slide??)
Going to third I knew I didn't have my inside stirrup but just figured I'd keep riding and try to catch it on the way home.  Yeah, obviously that didn't happen and when I went to get off I saw why lol
I turned toward the pen and one of the rakers was already running up with my stirrup.

I took Voodoo to Nell so we could switch horses and she said "I swear he wasn't bad during warm up!"  I told her it was okay and that I believed her, he's can be an angel during warm up but gets on the muscle and a bit ignorant when he knows his run is coming.  I got Nell to hold both horses so I could run to the washroom and check my leg - yep already bruising and a bloody scrape down the front of it just off my shin bone.  This morning it's very tender and swollen.  Darn metal barrels!!  Nice thank you from Voodoo for the two massages he's had in the last two or three weeks! ;)

The second jackpot started and I loped through on Lefta's next run.  It was a bit faster than her first, not much but still improving.  She's a bit all over the place going from first to second and drifts wide going to third.
I'm sure glad I talked to the neighbour about using his indoor, I see barrel practice in the future for two horses of mine ;) 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brrr &*$^% Brrr!

I've lived almost my entire life here on the prairies, I know it gets cold in the winter.  But holy heck has 2015 started out C.O.L.D!  The weather icon on my computer has more often than not been a little red square with a lighting bolt instead of the temp... the dreaded weather alert icon, in this case a cold warning. 

It's put a bit of a damper on my riding plans.  Not only is penning canceled when it's really cold but my Monday lesson is canceled and I don't haul to the neighbor's arena when it's that cold either.

There's a Facebook group that I joined this year, to help motivate me to keep riding in the winter, the "2015 Twelve Week Horsemanship Challenge".  But this cold weather has put me behind on that as well. 
We're supposed to do 40 hours with our horse and get in 30 rides, and you guessed it... there's 12 weeks to do it.  The time riding counts toward the total hours, part of the time can also be groundwork but heck it's too cold even to do groundwork right now! 
I made the challenge an even bigger challenge for myself by choosing Odin as my partner.  If I'd chosen Lefta or Voodoo I wouldn't be as worried about completing it because I could take them to penning and count that time in but Odin is sooo not ready for that lol

I tell ya, it sure is nice to come inside and curl up by the pellet stove after chores.  That's one bright spot in this cold.  I plan to spend one of these cold days by the fire cleaning tack, but first I have to get some supplies.  I have a "new" saddle that's desperately in need of some TLC and all my regular use saddles could use a cleaning.  Nice project in the winter, too bad I'm not already stocked up on my supplies!