Wednesday, June 29, 2011

These mustangs, fat and healthy when captured, are now starving to death in Michigan and need help.


Click on the link to go to the blog post.  At the bottom of the post there is a list of names and emails of the officials who need to take action but are not doing it.    You could send an email asking them to use their authority to resolve this. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

first show

We both survived Nina's first show.  It went well, I am happy with her even though it was not a stellar performance.  Nina wound her self up to the edge of a total meltdown and managed to back away from it and behave well.
This was a FUN show at the barn where Nina lives.  There were a few extra horses and there was some hubbub and a lot of activity, but it was not like the electric atmosphere at some shows.
I lunged Nina, she was fine and just cantered around, no wildness.  I tacked her up fine.  When we went into the ring to warmup she just lost it.  Trotting in tiny circles around me, head straight up in the air, she could not/would not stand still for a second.  She was jerking away from a couple of people who tried to hold her.  I couldn't tighten my girth enough to get on or get her reins over her head.  And she got worse by the second.   I finally got her girth tightened, got the reins where they belonged, dragged a mounting block near her, told a couple of people not to touch her head (one of them was a friend that I had asked to hold her while I got on - changed my mind).  As soon as I was on her she calmed down.  If that is not typical TB I don't know what is.
One spooky scoot at the people standing by the rail and then she was fine.   We didn't get much forward movement, she was kind of inching along, but she did nice transitions and was listening to me.  We got cut off once while reversing and she just walked, picked up the trot again and carried on.
She was too tense to ask for better movement, I didn't get her into a rhythm until the class was about over.
What I was pleased about is that she was able to calm herself down from near hysteria, listen to me and do what I asked.... even though all those other horses were obviously just trying to annoy her.
When she winds herself up like that and is just a big ball of adrenaline, I have wondered how far she would go, how bad - how out of control would she get?   Now I know.   I am feeling much more confident that she can go places and perform and not have to stay in her own safe environment.
Pictures of the day.  There will be others that will go up on the barn page, I will show you them too.
Oh - we placed 2nd out of 5.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

sort of a warm up

Nina was feeling quite good today.  She walked around for a while on her tip toes.  When I asked her to trot she nearly shot out from under me, taking off like she was pulling a sulky and we were out to set a land-speed record.  There was no stopping her, nothing I did created a working trot out of this high speed charge so we dropped back down to walk, which had a distinct bounce and sway to it.  Sort of like a small boat in a rough sea.  The next few tries at a civilized trot were better but the walk kept getting rougher.  Soon she just cantered in place.  There is probably a dressage description for that and it is probably a fabulous upper level movement, but at nearly 100 degrees today my only description was "stop that, dammit!!!"
I did finally turn her out to run and shortly after had to stop that before she killed and/or crippled herself in the heat. 

On the constructive side, I am laying out the course for the jumping classes and I measured that out and made a decision on the strides for the lines.   I put little ties of pink baling twine on the fence for the outside lines so I won't have to measure in the morning.  I hope they are still there in the morning. 
And I hope Nina settles down.  Depending on what they thrown into the class we might do the trail class.  That would be fun. If we are not spinning in place.

Friday, June 24, 2011

still clean

It apparently did not rain at the barn, Nina is still clean.  I taught lessons all afternoon so she didn't get ridden.  We will see how she is tomorrow.  If she is not sound on Sunday I guess I will coach my students and eat barbeque.  It won't be a wasted day.
What is everybody doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

clean horse

 I gave Nina her bath for the fun show today.  A real bath with soap and a brush and scrubbing.  Usually I just hose them off, but I wanted to clean her up, if she doesn't behave at least she will look good doing it.
I cleaned her up completely, removing all unwanted hair from legs and face and trimming her mane, again, even made a nice clean bridle path.  I was impressed. 
I thought I probably couldn't get near a wash rack Friday or Saturday and if I got her really clean today I can keep her clean over the weekend..... as long as it doesn't rain. 
Guess what?
uh-huh, raining right now. 
This is worse than washing the car (more work too). 
AND I forgot to take pictures. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Continued fallout...

from the Epona TV films of the reining horses at a recent competition.  IMO the FEI has not lived up to its responsibilities for quite a while.  Perhaps the gathering storm over this recent incident will provide some push.  When the videos first went online there was outrage in all directions.  I was interested to note that while most comments from Americans were focused on the rider, most of the comments from Europe were outrage over the lack of action by the stewards.  Now that the dust has settled more and more people seem to be agreeing with this latter view.  WHERE was the official response and who took action to protect the horses?....... all eyes now turn to the FEI.

Here is the link to a new article from Horses for Life

Sunday, June 19, 2011

making progress

So yesterday when I got to the barn Nina had no heat and no fluid in her leg.  She does have some scar tissue laying down.  After I rode there was a little fill.  Today, again there was no heat and no fluid.
I didn't ride, she was batshit crazy and even I could feel the barometer dropping as a front came in, so I lunged her a little, tried to control the spooking and running, gave up and went and got a Mountain Dew.  By the time I got back she had settled and trotted around for a while.  Again a very small amount of fluid in the leg after.. 
I am planning (sort of) to ride tomorrow, give her Tuesday off, ride Wednesday and Thursday.  I have lessons all afternoon on Friday so she will be off, ride Saturday and if she is sane we will do the walk/trot equitation at the schooling show on Sunday. 
She needs to either be lame or do something  on Sunday.  It is the barn's second annual English/Western schooling show.  I judged the English classes last year and didn't want to this year because I wanted to show.  I had this silly idea that we would be jumping by now. 
There is a walk/trot Equitation class - I hate Equitation - but at least we will be entered and it's a fun show. 
If a miracle occurs this week I might shove her over a crossrail and do that, just skip the flat class in the division. 
Hoping for a good week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I finally got ON my horse today.  I gave her a week off and then every day that something came up she got that day off too.
I just walked around today.  Her 'first day back' objection consisted of head up in the air and shaking it, ears pinned etc.  I threw the reins at her and kicked her and apparently that was that.  She walked out nicely, did some turns and leg yielding without any problems.
After trying for over a year to give this mare the incentive to be forward and not sucked back - now I am fighting to get her to just walk, she wants to go, not take off and bolt, just GO!
I can never figure if she is just being contrary or there is a delayed response to training.
But anyway, there was a slight bit of fill in the leg after I rode, we will see how it feels tomorrow.
I have a couple of lessons tomorrow so I may go and ride her in the morning - that will be a shock to her system.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mustang pics

Here are the pics of the new mustang, Karma.  He is very cute, built nice and very accepting of new experiences.  He has been in three trailers and stayed at three new places in the last 4 days.  He loaded up with just a little bit of coaxing. 
He looks MUCH younger than the 4 years he is supposed to be, more like 2.  He was not happy about us wanting to look at his teeth so we didn't get farther than guessing.  He was captured in 2010.  He needs some groceries, but mostly he needs to grow up.  He is very much a pocket pony and follows anyone who gets near him.  His new owners are thrilled with him.

one mustang left standing

At the end of the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Collins, there was one lonely mustang left behind.  It wasn't really his fault.  His trainer had an accident (not with him) and broke his leg so the mustang, who's name is Karma, did not complete his training and did not sell at the auction. 

Lauren, at Diary of a Wild Horse, did not think the poor fellow should be shipped back to the BLM holding pens in Canon City so she brought him home. 
Ali, who you have met on this blog, and my barn manager put their heads together and decided to buy him. 

So I will be going with Ali today to go pick him up.  And I will get to meet Lauren and Marley. 
Nina will get another day off. 
And it is a small world. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Nina got her first exercise in a week.  I mostly kept it to walk and trot, she did manage to throw in a buck or two.  When she got too excited I just left the round pen, it is no fun to act like a maniac if no one is watching.
Tomorrow I will see how the leg is.  If it is not hot or full of fluid I will try riding her at a walk. 
Fingers crossed.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Nina got new shoes today.   She got all four.  Her barefoot hind feet were looking good for a while, but now that the ground has dried out they are wearing off like erasers again.  
It went ok.  I thought she might get impatient since she hasn't had to stand that long for shoes for a while, but it mostly went alright, except......  She did manage to step on the farrier's foot.  He thought she did it on purpose and I thought she was just being careless, except that she did kind of slam it down sort of hard.  No permanent damage done.

I, on the other hand, must have been standing in the wrong line because no one bought new shoes for me today.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I wanna be a diva too!

Nina is adjusting to life without work very well.  Instead of pacing and furious at the lack of activity she seems to be setting sleep records.  She also times to the minute what time meals are supposed to arrive, what time the beet pulp gets fed, how long it takes to clean feet or cold hose legs and she is running the show. 
Today she got a massage and she is getting 5 more - once a week. 
My friend who got the Masterson training is also getting certified in other types of massage, laser therapy and I don't know what else right now.  I know acupressure is in the future plans. 
For the class she is taking now she has to do a case study of some horses which includes 6 weekly treatments.  She asked if she could use Nina.  Absolutely! 
So today she got her first massage for the series.  Since she has been worked on before by my friend she is nice and relaxed now and enjoying it. 
I think Nina had a hard life for part of her life, but she seems to be more than making up for it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Helmet Awareness Day

In honor of Helmet Awareness Day  - me, horse, helmet.  It's our everyday look.

house arrest

Nina was off again on Wednesday, not quite right on the RF. 
I do not have the money right now for scans and tests. (vet house call with scan $400-500) and the scan is not going to tell me that much anyway.  I can palpate and feel that the suspensory ligament is inflamed.  She walks and trot perfectly sound on soft or hard ground, but the leg is NQR on a consistent basis.  This ligament is in charge of stability and that's what you can see, a very occassional wobble, very slight.  The heat is gone, the auxiliary swelling and fluid is gone, the ligament is just not healed, no pain involved.  
This makes it somewhere in the middle of a minor damage scale, which is what a scan would tell me anyway.  SO
She never really got any time totally off, because I thought it was a bruise at first, and very light work, while probably not hurting anything, is not helping it to heal,  so I decided that Nina is grounded.
She get shod on Monday and that would give her 6 days of standing around doing absolutely nothing.  She is getting 1gram of bute.  I put treats in her beet pulp, hand walk only enough to go to the wash rack and hand graze on the way back.  I am trimming her mane into extremely short, but very nice and orderly.  The long periods of cold hosing have tightened up the other three legs into legs of steel (since I am standing there I might as well get them all).   She is being very mellow.  I think hot afternoons and planning and plotting for the bute to end up on me instead of in her are keeping her busy. 
If this doesn't get some healing started so that I can start light work, then I think our summer is over.
And just as a formal protest - I think that it is extremely unfair for horses to be lame in the summer and rideable in the winter.  There should be some sort of horsey union regulations against this.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Colorado Mustang Makeover

The Mustang Makeover competition is this weekend in Fort Collins.
Lauren, over at Diary of a Wild Horse, is hoping to bring Marley home with her on Sunday.
She will be blogging about their progress on her site, you can follow their progress on the blog or on the Facebook page.   I think the progress she had made in obtaining the complete trust of this (formerly) wild horse has been remarkable.
And for your enjoyment, this photo of them, taken and submitted by Katherine Payne, who has been documenting their story, won 2nd place in the art contest.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

slightly off, but obedient

This is a long, drawn out and boring Thinking Out Loud session about our combined insecurities, mine and Nina's.

I have been dithering around for weeks over Nina and her sore leg.  Any other horse, it would not be a big deal.  Give it time and it will heal.  Do a little calculated riding and help it heal faster.  When Scotty put a divet in a tendon he eventually was turned out for almost a year because stall rest, quiet riding and Scotty did not mix well.  But when he started looking healed I jumped on him in the pasture to see how he felt.  When he went back into work we did a little refresher and went back to work.  No drama.   Typical happy horse with a job he likes.

The progress I have made with Nina is no where near enough to offset all her bad training, bad habits and most of all, her bad attitude.  She was just getting interested in relaxing and learning.  Now she seems to be teetering on the edge of returning to her old ways.  All of the head slinging, foot stomping, foot BITING, threatening to rear has just raised in me a dread that we are back at the beginning and quite honestly I just do not have the time, energy, patience or emotional and mental toughness to convince this horse all over again that I am not going to fight WWIII with her and I do not want to spend EVERY ride discussing it.

Today went a long way toward making me feel better about it.
She looked sound in the round pen, she felt sound when I got on her and walked around.  When I asked for a trot the head starting flying around, she tried to bite my foot and the ears disappeared back into her neck.  We went around for a few minutes going trot trot, bounce bounce bounce, trot trot.
I told her to stop acting like a twit (in the appropriate voice) made sure I was relaxed and allowing her to go forward.  Eventually she gave it up and starting trotting.  I gave her a pat, told her how brilliant she was and she gave a big sigh and relaxed.
When she stretched out into a nice forward working trot I could feel that she was a little off on the RF.  So now I am having a debate with myself.  Stop because the leg is off or continue on and see if she will be obedient?
When I am bringing a horse back from a minor injury I will ride them while they feel sound and stop if they feel off and give them a day off.  The idea is to stress the ligament a little, not damage it.
But I am in this dilemma about Nina's sucked back, I don't wanna, foot biting attitude.
So we went on for a little while.  Trot, walk, halt, trot, halt, trot.  I was getting very nice forward, organized transitions, up and down.  She felt sound in a medium trot, off when I asked for more.
After an excellent trot/halt/trot I hopped off.
I was very happy with her willingness to work even though she obviously didn't feel 100% and her obedience once the fairly short game playing was over.
While I was cold hosing her leg I decided to work my way through a list of behaviors and see how close she actually is to the start of our training and how much I am just yakking about in my mind.

+ She stands pretty quietly to get her tack adjusted right before I get on.
- She used to chomp the bit so loudly it could give you a headache and give me the squinty eye for touching her tack.
+ She has always stood quietly to be mounted (another peculiar behavior since she was furious once you got on - but I digress).
+She walks off on a loose rein, head down and relaxed, takes a few deep breaths and steers by neck reining where ever you want.
- She used to take a considerable amount of prodding to walk off at all, tense, sucked back and I think I have had entire rides where she did not breathe.
+ After a few minutes of whining she trots off if I am relaxed and ask and allow her to, rather than try to coax or order her to.
- There was that day that I spent over 4 hours before she gave up and gave me a trot circle, that day was fun. 
+She leg yields from the leg, the less you touch the rein the better.
She was just learning this when all the stuff hit the fan, perhaps she has been reading books.

So, it sounds like, other than the drama and theatrical dance she wants to do now, she really isn't reverting to her old self at all.  Put it down like this and I wonder how I got there in the first place.
Now I feel better.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I think we are back to work

Saturday I had a friend trot Nina for me on the very hard driveway.  She looked fine, landing on her heel, grabbing the ground, even stride.  I was going to ride yesterday but I taught a lesson and was too tired afterward to ride so she got the day off.
Quick aside - I have had one cold after another ever since I got out of the hospital, they totally drain my energy.  I NEVER get colds or flu, well hardly ever and if I do it is gone in a day or two while everyone else is still hacking.  I think I should sue the hospital for ruining my immune system.  It's driving me crazy.
Anyway, back to horses, so I rode Nina today.  We managed to trot over poles, make some circles that were actual circles, stop and start.  It's been so long since I have asked her to do anything that I had forgotten how incredibly sensitive she is and pissy goes along with that.  I was trying for a little bend on the circle; inside leg, outside rein, she very obediently stands up over her shoulder, bends thru the middle, relaxes her neck - until she realizes that I am still asking and How Dare You!  The head flies up and a few stomping steps accompany it.  Try again, let go of the aids as soon as she starts to comply and all is well.
One of Steinkraus' rules of training horses is Use An Aid and Put It Away.
I think he met Nina.  Maybe in a different life. 
I had gotten used to being quiet and quick at the same time with her, but it has been a while and I find myself reverting to my old nagging ways, which in my defense many horses have not objected to. 
Try again tomorrow, also work on my own slouchy posture.  Egad I am out of shape and have not done anything about it. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

do like I say, not like I do

I have been very frustrated with Nina lately.  We are mostly walking, a tiny bit of trotting.  I want to keep her moving and 1. help her leg heal and 2. not make it worse. 
She has been a champion of fidgeting, right back to our very first days of riding.  Head slinging, rooting (she did stop this) just generally making me feel like we have no communication, which I have worked so hard at. 
Today I had a light bulb moment, well, really a big DUH! moment. 
She was slinging her head around, I was trying to keep very little contact, just enough to help avoid being dumped.  I suddenly realized that I was fidgeting with the reins, correcting every crooked step or head toss by fiddling with the reins, not a lot, just ANNOYING.  I told myself to stop it and just hold my hands still and guess what.... ding ding ding... the other end of the reins quit fidgeting too. 
I think I have totally forgotten how to ride. 
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