Thursday, October 4, 2012

a better update...

We had the fun show at the barn a few weeks ago.  The day before I set up a cross rail and then had to have someone keep putting the rails back up as Nina trotting across them and knocked them down.
It was a departure from her Mach10 style the last time I tried jumping her so we did a class at the fun show. 
OK, it is just a cross rail, but she is straight, relaxed and actually jumped.  I was very pleased with her AND with the fact that after a long break I did not look like a demented monkey clinging to her neck.


And she stood around at the ingate like an old pro. 
So now we have a project for the winter..... some serious jump schooling.  Yay!

Friday, August 24, 2012

a sort of update....

I decided last week to start jumping Nina. 
I dragged some standards out into the ring, built a crosspole with trot poles leading to it.
When I tacked her up I dug around til I found some jumping boots and put them on her.
We walked around the arena to warm up, she was happy and forward.
I asked for a trot - and she was head-bobbing lame!!!
I messed around for about half an hour walking and trying to trot and got the same thing.

She could have told me BEFORE I dragged this stuff out into the ring and spent time finding the jumping boots. 

Turns out she is shedding her frogs and getting sand stuck up in the yucky pieces as they come off.  She is also barefoot so no help from shoes. 
This will be over eventually and we will try again. 
This is about the only excitement in my life right now, hope everyone's summer is going well.

I can't wait to get internet service back in my house again.




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics

During the Olympics the TV is turned, by default, to whatever channel is broadcasting the competitions.
I don't have cable so I am stuck with the network broadcast of volleyball and swimming.  To be fair, they did show some track action and some crewing. .

The only equestrian action that I have seen was the end of a show jumping round, mostly of the horse's head, and 20 seconds of Ann Romney's horse circling the ring.
*sigh*
The cross country day of eventing pulled a crowd of 50,000+ which is more than what is going on in the stadium for the most part, but the network doesn't think anyone wants to see it.  Of course this is the same network that broadcasts Rolex with some basketball color guy admiring how pretty the horses are - repeatedly. 

A friend of mine texted me that the cross country was starting.  I texted back that I didn't have cable.  She answered that she didn't either - she was sitting in a restaurant watching it. 
I didn't even think of that!!!

For those of you who have cable (or high speed internet) enjoy whatever you can see.  For the rest of us - crewing is always fun to watch, talk about timing and rhythm!!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

sort of an update

I have not fallen off the edge of the world - I am alive and well.  I turned off my internet access to save money, intending to make use of WiFi - which is, of course, available everywhere - and have not done it.  I need to try harder, I am cut off from all the news!!!

I do have one piece of very good news.  One of my students wanted to go out to Spring Gulch, which is a cross country course at a state park, usually open for schooling. 
I really felt that 100 degrees was just tooooo friggin hot to walk around teaching a lesson and I really needed transportation.  So I took Nina.  All I wanted her to do was keep her brain in her head and walk around and let me teach off of her. 

She was a rock star!

We had a few tiny glitches.  I felt like I was chasing her around trying to tack up as she tried to keep track of what was going on from both sides of the trailer.  There were other horses and riders out schooling that day.

I also was a little nervous getting on her.  We use picnic tables - steel, set in concrete - for a mounting block and she started to rear twice.  I wasn't about to get half way on and get flung into that! She finally settled and once I was on her she was obedient, generally very calm and wonderful. 

A horse schooling near us got loose and galloped right past and she just calmly watched it go.  She climbed up and down the hills, although she stared at the first really steep climb with a 'you have to be kidding' expression on her face.  She did get stuck when we got to the top of a hill and she was staring at the view.  Not nervous, just staring. 

I was thrilled.  For once she was looking to me for guidance instead of just reverting to taking care of herself. 
That's all for now, I will try to get to a WiFi and see what you all are doing soon.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

updates, fires and horses

Some good news on the fires.  The Fort Collins fire is gradually becoming contained.  Some of the people who were evacuated over 2 weeks ago are finally being able to go up into some of the canyons, but many many homes were destroyed in these areas and it was sad to watch people waiting in line in their cars to be allowed to drive 'home.'  The ones whose homes are gone already have been told, but as they say, you have to see it for yourself.  Imagine being evacuated in an emergency, waiting for weeks and then being allowed to return to wreckage.  Long drawn out torture.

Boulder fire seems to be under control and contained up on the mountain.  Less wind and more rain would be nice.

Colorado Springs
The Colorado Springs fire is just an escalating nightmare as the fire burns its way into the northern part of the city.  The last I heard the Air Force Academy was trying to defend itself with bulldozers - good luck with that.   The north suburb has lost hundreds of homes, others look safe, but the fire changes direction all the time.  There is less smoke today so it is easier to see the area.

Horses...... Nina.
Poor Nina has not been out of her pen for 8 days.  And while I had vague hopes that 100 degrees might give her a hint to just calm down - Nope.  Actually I just didn't have any energy and was hoping.  I never did make it out to the barn yesterday, the days kept piling up.
But Nina is improving.  I don't know exactly why but her bad habits are quietly being pushed into the background. 
I hosed her off before tacking up and she was quiet until she was 90% done.  When I walked her to the round pen she started prancing and stepped on the edge of my boot - I chewed her out a bit and she settled until I closed the gate and took her lead rope off.  She did her tearing around thing for a few minutes.  I went to get my helmet and when I came back she was eager to greet me and stood quietly while I slipped her bridle on.  Then she trotted around a bit, stiff legged like she gets with worry, but only for a few minutes. 
Really not bad considering being cooped up for a week after only being ridden for a few days  and her apprehension at being ridden. 
I felt a little bad when I got on - no energy, remember - I clipped her on the butt with my boot.  She did look over her shoulder at that but did not move. 
Then I only rode her for about 10 minutes and she launched into a big swinging trot and was so nice to sit on. 

Something has clicked for us and it feels like all the bad behavior and nervous resistance have moved into the category of minor obstacles to be dealt with so we can move on to fun things, instead of those issues being all there is.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

little update

cresting the canyon wall

First some weather/fire stuff.
Fort Collins is not, at this moment, under threat from the fire, but hundreds of homes nearby have been destroyed.
A brand new fire started by lightning was suddenly threatening the edge of Boulder.  A sudden evacuation notice for the closest area went out yesterday afternoon, so far the fire is being contained.
I stayed up late last night watching the horrific fire in Colorado Springs.  It seemed to come to life mid afternoon exploding, swirling and sending cyclonic fires into the sky.  It also marched down a canyon too narrow for the air support to fly into.
I was fascinated at the sheer insanity of the helicopter pilots flying over this fire while it exploded, creating its own weather and wind.
Firefighters were working to beat this fire back when it crested the side of the canyon where there was minimal fuel.  Unfortunately, as it crested a wind sprang up - 65mph and it blew through the firefighters and started an unstoppable march into a suburb called Mountain Shadows.  32,000 people evacuated almost instantly.  I-25 closed for a while for the evacuation.
The picture above does not have location identification, but all of the information coming from the ICP was discussed at a location on I25, looking toward the mountains, with the subdivision in between, burning.  If this pic is near where I think it is, the Air Force Academy is just off to the side - also evacuated.

I do have to comment that I have been watching these ICP briefings, given to press and public at all the fires and ONLY in Colorado Springs were people accusing the firefighters of not doing their job to put out the fire.  They were demanding to know NOW whose homes had burned - as you can see the area beginning to burn.  They accused the firefighters of quitting when the truth was that they were IN that burning suburb fighting the fire in the dark.
I can understand the fear and anxiety and panic as you watch an out of control fire march toward the area where you live, but this sort of finger pointing accusatory crap is totally uncalled for.
At the briefing this morning people were insisting that they wanted more information about the 'person of interest' being talked about on FB.  Questions until the Chief of Police stepped in and said there WAS NO PERSON OF INTEREST.  He had to repeat himself several times.
This crowd was demanding, rude and ready to fire the incompetent 'help' - too bad one outspoken asshat, who told the Commander that obviously nobody was in charge, couldn't take a little stroll up to the fire, hundreds of feet high, stretching as far as you can see and moving faster than you can run, and just tell everyone what to do to put out the fire.  He needs to get out of his glass cubicle more. 
Ok, only a handful, but you don't see this attitude after weeks in Fort Collins or in the  panic in Boulder.  It says something.


ok, horse update.  
I got to the barn to feed on Saturday and Sunday and expected that Nina would have lost weight, but Fawkes owner very nicely was feeding her alfalfa and she looks fine.  She also has a new best friend!

Did a lesson with Fawkes and even though it was almost 100 at 9am we made some progress.
Here's a hint.  Want to learn some new ways to deal with some evasions?  Gather up your reins in one hand, hold a bottle of water in your other and deal with it.  You will come up with some interesting cures that will shock him and straighten his game playing butt out.
We made some progress and he jumped a grid again with nice forward impulsion, sometimes too much.  I had to sit on a barrel to be able to talk.
I was so exhausted I could barely put away the jumps and did not have the energy to even get Nina out.  I was less than happy about people making fun of me for being worn out by the heat.  F--- you!  And may you enjoy this nasty bug. Still feeling crabby.
I was watching the timeline countdown to the fun show and it has been cancelled and moved to fall.  Much better for an enjoyable day.
Today it is supposed to be only 90 by noon so I am going to ride, or at least sit on my horse.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

no energy and tooooo hot

I finally got out to the barn today.  Nina was happy to see her beet pulp and allowed me to pat her neck while she ate.  I had planned to get her out to lunge or turnout or roll or something.  I did not have the energy to ride.  A bank near the barn said that it was 103 degrees.  That and nothing to eat for three days about did me in.  I was exhausted walking from my car to Nina's run.  And she showed NO interest in getting out, it was probably too hot to roll in the burning hot sand.
Just put that beet pulp right here in the shade and all will be well.   There was a little breeze so the shade wasn't bad.  I gave Fawkes some alfalfa pellets and left them both happily munching away.

Friday, June 22, 2012

All better

I really think that when you get one of these bugs you should be able to check out for 48 hours or whatever it takes instead of living through it.
I spent the last two days mostly in bed, miserable, wondering if dead was this bad. 
Tonight I dragged out to the den, wrapped in an electric blanket (in 97 degree heat) and curled up to watch Big Bang Theory while I tried to die. 
Suddenly I was thirsty and then hungry, very hungry, ready for pizza or some other greasy junk food.  Apparently the bug is gone, like flipping a switch.  I'm glad it's gone, I think I will settle for a good night's sleep and skip the pizza.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I am so sick!

I have been dragging around for the last few days with no energy - but it has been 100 degrees so I didn't think much of it. 
Yesterday I was really tired when I left the barn and by 9pm I was puking my guts out.  I still am.  A tablespoon of water was enough to set it off.  Although I am taking tiny sips of limeade for a little while and haven't died yet.
I hurt from my head to my toes and I have lessons to teach tomorrow.  I don't usually get these bugs that go around and I am not very happy.  And it hurts!  Somebody send magikal relief!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

prattling on

So now that Nina is back to work you have the choice of skipping this blog - or listen to me prattle on about every little thing.  Repetitiously!

So we have only had 4 rides and she is being great.  I feel like we are picking up where we left off 2 years ago, which is the last time I had a plan, goals and some focus. 

I have been letting her do her crazy flipping around in the round pen before we work.  It is caused by her apprehension and she can just work it out.  She behaves while being tacked up and waits to be released before she takes off.  When the nervous energy is gone she stops.  I think this will disappear with regular work.  Today I tacked her up, let her go to run and she whirled around, ran about 2 strides and turned to look at me.  'What am I supposed to be doing?'  She did launch into a 19h trot but only for a few minutes, looking sort of puzzled.    I don't expect that the running is over, but this does indicate that she didn't get wired up with adrenaline today while being tacked up. 

My plan is to start with nothing and introduce asking her for something new everyday.  We started with a day of walk.  Added some trot transitions.  Added trot over poles.  Today we added trotting laps in a nice forward rhythm.  This sounds simple but it was an issue for us.  She fussed about maintaining a rhythm, fell into a jog or spurted into a canter and was pissy about having to go back to a working trot.  Today we did laps and laps, reversed over some poles in the middle of the arena and did more and more laps.  Forward, driving trot, totally relaxed.   For all her foibles this is the most powerful horse I have ever sat on.  She isn't powerful charging forward or when she feels like it - instead she pushes off hard with hind legs for every single step when she trots or canters.  You better sit up to post or you could slide off the rear!

She had some hardware problems today.  My fault.  She walked off at the mounting block - a huge No No for me and I corrected her more harshly than needed with a hackamore.  She spooked and gave me a dirty look, but stood like a rock.  Sorry 'bout that - sort of.
Later she was falling out of the trot, I was using more leg, I got tired of that and gave her a swift kick - forgetting I was wearing spurs.  Ooops.  Oh well, no more lagging in the trot.

Not a big deal, she is accepting and seems to be glad to be back to work. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

back to work Nina

Nina was very good today.  Very forward and mostly relaxed. 
She did bash herself with the hackamore by sticking her head down between her knees but it wasn't me and she seemed to know it.  Two tries and no more.
We did figure 8s over a line of poles, she changes bend nicely.  Leg yields were good. 
She is so sensitive - when her mind is on her work she is great.

She is very apprehensive when I am tacking her up and wants to run around the round pen with her head up in the air, but she is getting over it.  I think it is odd that she can remember things that I taught her, like the leg yielding and do them calmly and cheerfully, but she is worried about being ridden until I actually get on. 
She would delight a shrink.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Onward and upward

I am feeling very psyched about getting back to work with Nina. 
Last year we did nothing.  I rode, we worked on things but I had no focus, no goals, I was overweight and out of shape and did nothing about it. 
This year I have lost weight and I am getting in riding shape.  I know there are a lot of riders who are pretty hefty and ride like I wish I could, but for me if I am not feeling in shape I feel off balance and vulnerable when riding.  Not all the time but often enough that it discourages pushing hard toward goals. 
Also last year I spent 6 months recovering from multiple skull fractures which kind of sapped my energy. 

This year I am feeling antsy to get things done.   I rode Nina on Wednesday and Thursday and she was fussy and then great and I was totally relaxed and enjoyed just sitting on her.    When I got on her a few times in the last few weeks I was tense and she was tense and I was anticipating an explosion and she was threatening. 
The last two rides have been like old home week.  No tension.  She pinned her ears and shook her head and stomped and then just abruptly stopped.  I rode her around in the arena on the buckle, turning and stopping and starting, walking and trotting, just off of leg and seat - so she did learn something last year - and it felt great!
I hope this continues, I am getting excited about saving the summer!

Tamarack Hill photo

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

hackamore

The hackamore may actually work. 

Poor Nina has been standing around for months and all her old defensive-you-can't-make-me attitudes woke up at the sight of a saddle.  Yesterday she was a jerk.

Today I put a surcingle on her.  I just wanted to put a little pressure on the hackamore without getting on her and see if she flipped out at the pressure. 
So I lunged her a little in the surcingle and suddenly she did not want to be caught. Running wildly.  She would stop when I told her to and then wheel around and run off in the other direction.  

When she got tired she seemed to suddenly realize that I was not the enemy. 
Followed me over to where the bridle was hanging, stood quietly while I put it on and took it off and adjusted the headstall and the curb.  Waited to be told to trot off and was very obedient.  I tied up the reins to put a little pressure on her and while it pissed her off when she ran into it abruptly, she seemed fine with it. 

I suppose it is not at all surprising that after so much time off she would revert to her old behavior.
It is just so odd to watch her flip from scared wild animal to following me around and sticking her nose in the straps I am trying to fix like "what's up? what are we doing now?"
I am glad she is able to make the switch and that our experiences seem to bury the old bad ones - after a while.

And while I can't do the training she really needs in a hackamore (accepting the bit), we can both get some exercise and work on lots and lots of other things. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

good Monday

 I did a lesson with my newest student today.  With the horse that was previously left at my barn.  She has worked hard this week and he is SO much better.  Slower than the speed of light.  It is always nice when something works.
We actually jumped him over a crossrail today, just to see if he would.  He thought it was boring and wanted a different fence setter who could reach higher.  She would love to jump him - might be able to.

I tried a hackamore on Nina today.  I wanted to see if there was a possibility that I could ride her in one until her teeth get done.  I put it on the wrong headstall, it hung down to her nose and she was a JERK while I was adjusting it, jumping around.  So I took ahold of the top of the headstall and pulled it off of her - intending to adjust it and then put it back on - but I left the reins looped around her neck, forgot about them and she took off, dragging my good bridle in the dirt.  We were in the round pen so she couldn't go anywhere.  She only went to the other side and stood ON.MY.BRIDLE!  But she stood still while I walked over and unbuckled it so it fell off her.  I was a little pissed.  The bridle wasn't damaged but it is SOOOOO dirty it may never be the same again (not really).
I adjusted it, slipped it back on her and it was still too far down her nose.  I was going to take it back off but she was back in jerk mode, flipping her head up and down so I couldn't unfasten it.
So I lunged her, at a canter, balancing the hackamore on the tip of her nose.
I found an old headstall at home that is just a little shorter, it may work.  Try again tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Yay Fawkes!

Fawkes has been difficult to get started jumping.  He can jump beautifully, but he could not deal with the idea of more that one jump.  He would leap over one jump and bounce around in a panic because there was ANOTHER one.

We have not tried him through a gymnastic in over a month.  Gymnastics teach them so much about balance and speed and jump that it is difficult to progress much before they understand a simple grid.
Getting him to watch where he is going has been difficult but stepping up on the flat work and demanding that he pay attention seems to be paying off.

He jumped through a standard 3 jump grid today, watched his distance, jumped beautifully and didn't get frazzled over it.  YAY!  Big big big progress for him.  And he was jumping using his neck and back and picking his knees up - not just vaulting or cantering over.  I was very pleased with him.
I did tell his owner that if by the time he is jumping 3 ft courses, he is going around quietly and Nina is going around like her hair is on fire - I will be pissed.   I was promised a round on Fawkes to make up for it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

the Camelot horses

Like many others I try to share photos of the horses at Camelot in the hope that someone, somewhere will see a horse that interests them.
 I am always amazed that the photographer, Sarah K. Andrew, manages in this stress filled environment to capture such great images.
This is an article about how she does it.
http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2012/06/07/qa-her-photos-at-camelot-help-save-horses/

This is the head shot of the last horse I posted, last weekend.  He found a new home.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

crappy day....

Nina is feeling good so the day wasn't all bad. 
But Fawkes was adamant that he has never had a person on his back before and he was a jerk.  He eventually was fine but it took a while. 
One of my students has scheduled and cancelled three lessons and a schooling show this week.
That is a lot of time to have set aside and not make a penny. 

I only have to survive three more months to have some income that I can count on again. 
If we can survive for three months.

goofy Nina

I threw a saddle and halter on Nina and was going to spend about 5 minutes riding her around the round pen.  And hour and a half later we had FINALLY worked through one of her hangovers from her previous life.

I know I posted about this before but I can't find the post so here is the Reader's Digest version:
Only in the round pen and only under tack a very strange behavior emerges - only a few times since I have had her.  She stands facing me, about 19h tall, sweating down her neck, rolling her eyes and determined to stay facing me no matter what.  She can back faster than I can run.
I first thought this was some sort of aggressive play but I am sure this is a learned/taught behavior and it is high stress for her.

When she has pulled this in the past I have been totally unable to change the behavior after trying everything I could think of.  I ended up just leaving her tacked up in the round pen and eventually she would relax.  But that is not dealing with it so yesterday when she did this I tried again.

I had a stool in the ring to use for a mounting block so I just sat down and ignored her for about 20 minutes.  She stood like a statue for a long time and never did move, but she finally let me walk up to her and touch her without running backwards.
After a while more I was able to lead her around the edge of the pen, when her neck relaxed I was able to back away, tell her to 'walk' and she would continue.  At the 'trot' command the weird behavior re-appeared.

But I was onto something, this is a horse that lunges to voice command like a machine so I just continued and eventually I was able to get her to relax and walk and trot.

Then I got on and had my 5 minute ride.

This is a bizarre, frustrating behavior that is learned, stressful and involves her just tuning out.  It also only appears at undetermined times and I am not sure what triggers it.   But at least I think I found a way to relax the tension and get her doing something that she understands so maybe with some luck I can make it disappear.
I would really like to meet the person who taught her these weird things with all the fear involved.  They need to be banned from ever watching a DVD on NH again.   Banned from getting within 5 miles of a horse, except possibly to shovel shit.

Today I need to make up the ride on Fawkes that bit the dust while I was spending all this time on Nina.  I will try to get to the barn earlier before the heat and the wind.




Monday, June 4, 2012

new student



I started working with a new student and horse this weekend and this team has a special little twist.  The rider is experienced and the horse used to live at my current barn.

As far as I know he was primarily a trail horse but he scared his previous owner.  I don't know all the details but eventually she gave up riding or trying to sell him.  Nothing worked for them.

He stood around at the barn for a while and several people tried to figure out what to do with him.  Then he left and that was the last I knew.

Horses who have scared their owners into getting rid of them often have a dismal future.  There are just too many unwanted horses in the world.

Well this one got VERY lucky.  His new owner is not the least intimidated by him, enjoys him a lot and wants to progress with his training.  He seems equally happy, trying hard and tuned into his rider.   It is nice to see a happy ending.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Riding this week

I did get some riding this week.
I am working with Fawkes, who is coming along in a steady way now.
He had to figure out that he was not carrying around a twit flapping on his back, but that the legs and hands touching him actually meant something.  Now he is getting into it.  He is fun.

And this week I got to ride Ned for a few days.  He is the Dutch/TB cross that belongs to a client. 
He is a big powerful boy, reminds me a little of Scotty.  He can also be very tense through his neck and so I was happy to be able to get him to relax his neck and stretch forward.  He was very fun to ride also. 

Lots of posting trot for me, I think that is one of the best ways for the rider to strengthen the core.  And no, I don't do it without stirrups.  I should, but I don't. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nina, May 2012

Nina is finally putting some weight on.  She is still thin, but she is gaining now. 
I took her off processed feed and put her on alfalfa pellets and plain whole oats.  Seems to work better.  She is hard to keep weight on.



Friday, May 25, 2012

How is your day going?


I lifted this from Tales From a Bad Eventer.
Hopefully she doesn't mind.  It just spoke well over a thousand words to me!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Riding (?) Nina

So sick of not riding Nina.  So yesterday I cleaned her up, threw a saddle on her and got on in the round pen in a halter with reins.  Not really any control but the illusion is comforting.
She stamped her feet, tossed her head and made ugly faces for, oh, about 2 minutes and then just walked around.  I got off after just a few minutes.  I think I need her martingale to try to stop her from standing up.  If she bucks I am just SOL, but she is not a bucker - knock on wood. 
At least I can do something with her.  Something has to give in the job/money arena and I will be able to get her teeth fixed and get back to working.  She will have had a slow motion return to work. 

In other news Fawkes is doing very well, starting to track up (every once in a while) and softer in his neck and poll.  He is smart and fun.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'll Have Another wins 2012 Preakness in Photo Finish

This horse is incredibly strong in the stretch. I wonder if he can do it over the longer distance?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

6. Your most accomplished horse. 30 Day Challenge

With nothing much going on I was looking for things to write about cuz if I don't keep writing this blog will wither away and I want it to be here when I get back to some serious training with Nina.
I nearly forgot the 30 Day Challenge which I had decided to use as prompts for posting on an occasional basis.
I am only up to 6... Your most accomplished horse.

My first vote was for Scotty, who was so athletic and had such a good temperament and would do anything if asked.  Then I started thinking about the first horse that I owned, SR.  He was an appendix who looked like a small TB.  He was the first horse that I backed - and got left in the dirt on the first turn.  He was the first horse that I trained and without a trainer.  I did spend a lot of time watching trainers at shows and at home, I listened, sometimes I asked questions, sometimes good advice was offered to me.  Looking back at the things SR did in his life - it is a long list.  Some we did well and some not too well, but we competed sometimes and did fairly well.
SR (Silent Run) was intended to run the 870, but he quit the minute he got his head in front and he wasn't fast enough for shorter races so he had an extremely brief career. 
I got him at just 3 years old.

  • We spent a couple of years doing poles and barrels.
  • Switched to reining, which was much more laid back and fun back then and did this for years.
  • Did some Western Pleasure - they were more forward back then with slow and fast gaits. 
  • Did some arena trail which I thought was fun and SR thought was boring. 
  • For years we worked back in the pens and chutes for the junior, 4-H and Little Britches rodeos. 
  • Did all of our training on the extensive ditch road system in Albuq - no arena. 
  • Also did many many many hours of trail riding, watching the wildlife.  He was also perfectly safe walking down a busy road.
  • My Sergeant, who was an asshole - no apologies here - got married sitting on him and he was like a photographer's pony, putting up with the crowd and picture posing and the jerk riding him who felt it necessary to wear big western spurs to get married. 
  • I packed into the Jemez mountains with him for weekends, he played pack mule and was quiet and calm grazing on a long line all day. 
  • He did escape from his home one night with a friend and the two of them ate a large strawberry patch and ran through a neighborhood covered in sheets off of a clothesline prompting calls to the police about ghosts and monsters.
  • A friend talked me into trying jumping with him and NOW I understand how good he was, jumping big jumps safely and without drama.  I did not know back then what potential he had.  I didn't know what I was doing, my friend moved away and this was short lived. 
  • He did have some frustrating issues, he was a bolter at the beginning and he would jig the minute we turned toward home.  A very nice Arabian trainer gave me some good advice and he got over those problems.
I wish I knew then what I know now about nutrition.  Just like every other horse I knew of, he ate alfalfa and sweet feed.  He might have been a little easier to handle if he had been fed correctly. 

I owned him for 11 years and although our training of each other was rough and tumble, he taught me a lot

I had to sell him when I moved to Colorado - the cost of keeping a horse was several times what it cost in New Mexico and I could not afford it.  He went to a friend who had been trying to buy him for years and became a full time trail horse.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

boring time...

I haven't posted in a while because there is not much to post about.
I am job hunting for a part time job - can't live on cancelled lessons.

Fawkes is now on a training program so I will be able to bring him along faster.  I'm enjoying working with him.  He tries hard to understand the stupid things I am teaching him - which are of no use on the race track.
He is the first horse I have worked with who makes it clear that humans are not very bright.   I have to laugh so I am not insulted. 
Nina is barefoot and on vacation.

Nothing else going on.  I am reading everybody's blogs and glad to see that lots of you are progressing nicely this spring. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fawkes I

Fawkes is doing very well.  I decided that my goal for the two weeks would be to get him more accepting of the bit.  He is quite comfortable using it for balance any time he wants but the idea that the rider might be trying to tell him something is remote.
I am also working on him being more accepting of the leg.
So today we got our first shoulder fore - just a couple of steps and later moving the hip in response to leg, which had him flipping his head in my face until he accidentally stepped over and I patted him.  Then he did it several times.
He is very trainable, just a little confused.

Monday, April 23, 2012

ups and downs

Since I enjoyed Saturday apparently I had to pay for it on Sunday.  My car shut down, just refused to start, nothing happening and on a busy street in a not wonderful part of town.  It has a new battery but I called a friend and we tried to jump it anyway. 
Did not work, had dash lights come on, turn off, come on....
We gave up getting it to start, put the cables away, closed the hood and suddenly it started.
I spent last night going thru the manual trying to find something I could fix, no go.  It is apparently something wrong with the ignition/electrical system.  Since I don't have 2 cents to fix it I am just driving it and hoping for the best.  I hate this. 

Nina, on the other hand, fed my ego today by being thoroughly pissed while I was working with Fawkes.  She paced around in her pen enough to get her exercise for the day.  When I went to get her instead of greeting me at her gate as usual, she came to the gate and then stomped off and stuck her head in a corner.  She gave up and came back to me in a minute but kept her ears pinned and walked as far away from me as possible. 
She is funny.   We decided on Saturday that she may actually be a cat stuck in a horse body.  It would explain a lot.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

hunter schooling show

In our third - or was it the fourth? - attempt to get a client to her first over fences show since she was a child and her horse to his first over fences show ever - we finally made it!
We had a plan, we stuck to it, she rode great, the horse got more confident with every course and it was a good day!
Unfortunately, no pics.  I find it hard to coach and take pics at the same time but another trainer from the barn was there and I didn't think to give him the camera. 
I also got to visit with people that I haven't seen since Scotty died, traded gossip, admired new horses and had a fun day. 
I think I need to get out more! 
And get out to the show barns, not the open shows that are from a different planet.  I had forgotten how encouraging the hunter people are around here.  My client had a refusal at a fence and had to stuff him over it, it was ugly but she got it done and got a cheer from the other riders. 
Good Saturday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

a horse to ride...

I am going to be riding Fawkes for the next two weeks while his owner is out of town.
I hesitated a little about it because I haven't ridden lately and he is as quick as a Quarter Horse in the sideways moves.  But now I am looking forward to it.
He spooks less than Nina, he just has a quicker spin -- so we will try to avoid spinning.  I hate clinging on like a monkey - it is .... hmmm ..... unseemly.
I want to get him more connected with his outside rein, which has not been a light bulb moment for him yet.  Hoping for good weather.  

crappy picture - cute trot

Saturday, April 14, 2012

no title

So, here it is Saturday afternoon.
I was supposed to have two horses at a horse show today but I found out last night that the show was cancelled.  The organizers have been watching the hysterical weather forecasters all week and couldn't resist.
I stay away from the locals when they get hysterical.  There is some severe weather going on around us, but we - as in the Front Range, not my neighborhood - are supposed to get a thunderstorm and some rain tonight.  Later.
So I am sitting here watching the sunshine and wondering how in the hell I am going to make up for the lost money from cancelled lessons and shows in the last month.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A week's update

It had been a week of minor ups and downs.  We did get the cold and wet for a couple of days, but it warmed back up quick and the outdoor arena was dry enough for jumping by Thursday. 
Not being a cold weather sports person I am happy to have an early warm spring, but the ski resorts are closing early, which is not a good thing for this area.

Nina suddenly decided to let go of her winter coat a couple of days ago and is now shedding like a neglected sheep, big chunks of hair falling off of her.  Currying and brushing just seems to create a hair cloud, but I feel guilty if I don't try.  I have doubled the calories I am feeding in her extra meal by adding alfalfa pellets and Amplify and I am telling myself that she is gaining a little weight. 

A client and I hauled her horse to a H/J barn for a schooling show yesterday.  It was supposed to be his first over fences show.  We got to the barn and found out that they had changed the date of the show because they realized it was Easter weekend.  WTF???  We only got the info off of their website a couple of weeks ago.   Oh well, we wanted the outing to be low key and a confidence builder for the horse, who is a worrier.  I guess a long ride and no work is low key.
I have a schooling show scheduled for a couple of horses this next weekend, so we will try again.  Also this barn is closer.

I might have another horse to ride for a while this summer, I'll let you know how that goes.  I will be riding Fawkes in May, hoping to improve his outside rein contact while his owner is on vacation.  That should be fun.  Right now Nina is just on hold.

Nothing exciting this week. Nina can't decide if she is bored or thankful for her time off.


Monday, April 2, 2012

cold and wet

It was 39 degrees today when I got to the barn and with a cold wind blowing.  Since it was 85 yesterday it was quite a change.  I personally don't care much if it snows or rains down here in Denver but we really did need some wet to put out the fire in the foothills.

Nina gave me a little reminder again about her English skills.  I was dumping her feed in her bucket and wondering if she was going to eat it.  I added some alfalfa pellets to her beet pulp and messing around with the beet pulp can be a serious offense. 
So while I was scraping the last of it into her bucket, and without looking at her or stopping what I was doing, I said 'come here and taste this and tell me what you think.'  Next thing a black head slides into the bucket.  Since she does not eat until I tell her it is ok.... you just have to wonder.
Anyway, the alfalfa pellets were apparently edible and I left before I froze.

Friday, March 30, 2012

bad blogger!!

I have not been able to leave a comment on any blogs for two days.  I get a 'request cannot be completed' error message.  Being shunned in the blogger community.
I wonder if this has to do with the new and wonderful changes to blogger in April.  Anybody else having this problem?

edited to add: I just left a comment on a blog and 5 minutes later got a pop-up message from blogger saying "comment posted"  geeeeeeeee

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Having a sale...


 I decided I needed to sell some things that I have been hoarding.  Hoarded stuff doesn't seem to get used.  I added a page to list things, there is a button in the page bar above and a link over to the right.
If you are interested in anything or have any questions just let me know.  There is an email address at the top of the page.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Interesting new neighbors

There are new horse neighbors next to the barn, right behind Nina's stall.  Not close, a pen, a large ditch and an access easement are in between, there is just an interesting line of sight. 
Things are quieter than a few days ago when there were trucks and trailers moving in and out and people chasing groups of horses around in small pens with lots of yelling.  Nina and her buddies were fascinated. 
So that part died down and yesterday I heard a woman screaming 'they're out.'  I walked out to where I could see more of their property and saw that the driveway gate was closed and three horses were grazing next to the driveway.  They were out all day, the screaming stopped after one go round.
Late in the afternoon every day the driveway fills up with trucks and people chase horses around.  Don't know why, it has become enough of a routine that the horses at the barn don't watch anymore.
A couple of days ago I saw a western saddle on a fence..... a WHITE saddle, really really white. It could be an interesting summer. 

AND I had to apologize to Nina today, which she seemed to enjoy.  Remember the drama over me hacking off some of her winter mane?  Turns out she was being VERY good, I was being the bad guy.
Between the dead winter coat, the dry hard ground and a little breeze blowing hair around - every snip of the scissors was causing a static spark to jump from the scissors to her neck.  
I saw it today and along with feeling bad for her, I started laughing.There is always something going on with her, I need to stop jumping to conclusions!



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nina's little quirks

Nina acted very fearful around me when I first started working with her again.  Lots of skittering and snorting and wide eyed looks.  Then she calmed down and started acting normal.  But she is still either playing around testing or not really trusting. 
She was an ass the first time I cleaned her feet, the next day she started offering one at a time, just like she used to.
Putting eye drops in her eye that gets irritated was scary - for her, not me - the next day she yawned.
A couple of days ago I decided to shorten her winter mane with scissors and she was skittering around like I was threatening her with the scissors and jumping at every click.  Today I decided it had to be done and she stood on three legs and tried to go to sleep.  If she had a cud she would have chewed it.
I am trying to make a list in my head of everything that she resisted when I got her and had to learn to go along with.  I have a feeling we have to spend 5 minutes on each one.

Oh well, I guess it is something to do until I am riding again.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

schooling show....

We actually had nice weather (all week, really) and I got one horse and rider out to their first schooling show at a nearby barn.  It was a nice day, horse and rider did well.  This is a horse that we have been working on.. relax, relax, relax.  He is a big WB who is used to doing things by brute force but he has just lately started coming around and thinking maybe our way is easier than his. 
He alternated being his tense self and his relaxed self in the ring.  I was happy with that - it is progress.
I find it difficult to take picture and actually keep track of what is going on in the ring.  This is probably the best picture I got and except for no head, they look pretty good.   I love a rider balanced over her feet and not laying on the horse's neck.

Nina got shoes this week.  I still need to get her teeth done, but at least she is eating ok.  I have started free lunging her every other day, trying to replace some butt muscle.  She has finally relaxed around me and except for objecting to having her mane trimmed she has been very good.   I'll get a pic after I win that one.  Like most horses she is shedding in clouds of hair, but most of the winter coat seems to still be securely fastened.  
We are getting rain next week, hope it dries out soon. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunny day...

I was really really sick of all the grey days with cold and wet and cold......
We have had more nice days than not for the last week and more coming up.  I don't mind the snowstorms, I just need some SUN in between.
Anyway, had a nice day today.  Ned got to jump outside for the first time in MONTHS.  We have been working hard with trying to get him to just relax and not be so stiff and resistant.  He was very relaxed today and jumping with knees up and even (not in the photos I took of course) and looking more like the athletic guy that he can be instead of just doing it by brute force.  This was a nice lesson.  This was a best of several bad shots.  I have trouble taking pictures of a horse jumping when I am teaching.


  EDITED TO ADD:  (a much better picture)

And Fawkes was getting some exercise at the same time so I got a couple of pics of him.  I think this might be his second or third time outside in months.  He was happy to be out. 


Nina was more relaxed today.  I put her in the turnout next to the riding arena.  Since I throw dirt clods at her when she hangs out in the corner she spent a lot of time wandering away everytime I walked near that area.  She has no respect for my throwing arm since she only sauntered about 20 ft away.  She was relaxed about being groomed, even while I was trying to get the adobe out of the hair around her ears.  She has been standing stiff and braced with her head up in the air, hard to reach at her height.  Today she actually put her head down so I could work on her.  I think she is finally deciding that I am still me and not going to attack her. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

no show after all




So, at 7:30 this morning I am at the barn talking on the phone to my client who is sick and not going to the show.  I am trying to figure out what to do about my own chores etc.  Nina was just getting fed as I pulled in so I am not going to get her out of her pen and work with her.   I have her bucket of beet pulp with me but I don't want to feed it this early because she will ignore her hay, walk all over it and then not eat it later.  The grocery is on my to-do list, but it is not open yet and beside losing the show fees I don't want to spend money driving back and forth to the grocery. 

I decide to give Nina her beet pulp, clean her shed really well and maybe her hay will stay clean enough that she will eat it later.  She seemed to enjoy having me wandering around in her pen, alternating following me around, getting in my way and eating.   Her spooking away from me and flinching when I touch her was absent this morning so maybe the time spent was good.  In fact she was sticking her face in my face trying to get me to scratch her forehead, one of the few places she likes to be petted.

I stopped for groceries on the way home, and right now I am taking a break from cleaning the house.  This isn't exactly how I wanted the day to go, but that's how things are sometimes. 


Friday, March 9, 2012

snarky until I get to the barn


I have been stuck at home some lately and so I am watching the dreaded daytime TV.  I watch a few cooking shows, I love Simply Ming.  I also sometimes watch Rachael Ray, The View (not often) Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus.  That kind of show.  Not the ones where people try to goad each other into murder. 

What is up with the idiotic audiences?  Is there a sound gauge that determines the shows ratings?
Every time anyone says anything the audience on all of these shows (except the cooking shows) cheers and claps and screams like a bunch of hungry circus seals spotting the bucket of fish.  I have almost stopped watching anything, (which is not a bad idea) because the noise is annoying and drowns out the show.   And I hear people who work shifts especially, say there is nothing on TV in the daytime.  We are getting there.

On a brighter side.  Tomorrow I take a young, new to jumping horse to his first hunter schooling show.  It is at a hunter barn so I know the courses will be set up correctly.  He is jumping 2ft+ at home but we are doing cross rails.  We expect him to be a little distracted.  Should be fun.  Wish us luck. 




Wednesday, March 7, 2012

small updates

Running errands on the way home from the barn yesterday I spotted these guys.  Hoped for a better pic but they were on top of a 2 story building.  I don't know what the fake scary owl was supposed to frighten away, but obviously these pigeons thought he needed company.
While I was taking this I remembered when I lived near a bridge where pigeons nested.  I would frequently see them sitting on the phone lines..... along side the local sparrow hawks.  They towered over the sparrow hawks and obviously both considered the idea of a hawk eating a pigeon to be a big joke.

We had two days of warm temps, sunshine and very little wind.  We managed to get Fawkes outside for a lesson, he was a little distracted by the commotion in the ring and just being outside but he did very well.  He is another English speaking TB.  After several times of jumping a small vertical with three feet and forgetting about the fourth one..... I told him that two nice straight clear jumps would earn him the right to go eat dinner.  The next two jumps were perfect.

Nina is having a cold spring but seems just fine.  After she was a dangerous nut over having her blanket taken off two days ago I decided that I just did not have the time or energy to play 'dance with the horse' and she could just go without.    OK, really I decided that if it got really cold I would tie her to a building and put a blanket on her but not until then.  After two warm days today we are back to spitting snow but it is not really cold, just hovering around freezing.  When I went to the barn today I expected her to be cold and figured I would have to take the time to tie her up and put a blanket on her.  To my surprise she seemed to be comfortable.  Good.
She is still a little spooky around me, getting better, she wants her pats and treats again but I still find some strange behavior.  The other day I was cleaning her feet, something startled her and she spooked a little.  I yelled a bit, not loud, more like 'watch out' because I had my feet too close to hers and I was hoping she didn't land on mine.  She reacted by jumping as far away from me as she could get, stopped by her halter lead.  Just a touch of over reaction.  She has always been spooky and I have always spoken up to get her attention when she spooks toward me.  Today I put her beet pulp in her shed, out of the wind.  Normally she eats outside and if I put food in her shed she stands at my shoulder counting each morsel until she is told that it is OK to eat.  Today she circled outside the shed, occasionally peering in but not coming into the shed until I called her to come to me, which she did immediately.  Then she did not eat until I left the shed.  This is all spooking, distrustful behavior.  Apparently our train wreck really frightened her (despite the fact that half the barn thinks she attacked me!).  I was talking to another trainer and said that I thought we (Nina and I) should sit down and compare injuries and bruises and see who should be afraid of whom.  The trainer said that wouldn't work, Nina had made up her mind that I was scary.  Hopefully it will all eventually fall away.  This does show how quickly a horse that has been taught to fear people will go back to that behavior when a more normal horse would not. 

The last two warm days have really improved my mood.  Nina gets new shoes next week and hopefully a dentist visit.  Then we can get back to work.

Friday, March 2, 2012

schooling greenies

I had two lessons today with two horse just starting to learn to jump. 
It is interesting to watch their reactions and work with their confidence level. 

One has only previously jumped a cross pole and a tiny vertical with a series of ground poles leading up to them.  Today we started introducing him to a gymnastic.  He had trouble focusing on two jumps so we worked with a cross pole, one stride to a tiny vertical.  He jumped the vertical well and trotted the cross pole.  The one time he jumped the cross pole he got to the vertical without seeing it and managed to hop over it.  He is pretty typical of the horses I have worked with, he is forward, willing, seems to think it is fun and gets a tiny bit better every time the exercise is repeated.  He is less confident than he first appears and is carefully trying things out, but happily.

The other has been going through small gymnastics and today jumped a few scattered small verticals.  This horse is a worrier but he seems to enjoy the jumping very much.  His progress goes in spurts and leaps.  The first time he jumped a one stride of cross poles he was totally focused on the second jump - an alien object had landing in front of him, requiring twice the jump as the first one.  He was tense, staring and alarmed for about 3 jumps.  Then he blew out a big snort and suddenly this was old hat and very fun.  Totally relaxed, an old hand at this job.  This has been his reaction to every change.  Total focus, a little worry and then a total pro who will show you how to do it.   Today he jumped some single jumps for the first time.  He was hesitant the first time at a trot, then confident, then asking to canter.  At the canter he was again hesitant and tense, and then suddenly totally relaxed. 
These horses have two different ways with coping with learning something new.  One is making small steady progress and comfortable with it.  The other has an on/off switch with nothing in between.

It is interesting to watch their expressions and watch the concerns come and go.  The worrier is practically putting on a silent drama, the other is more stoic. 




Wednesday, February 29, 2012

sunshine and a nice afternoon

I got to the barn during the lull between the high winds this morning and the predicted high winds tonight and it was very nice.  The sun was out, the turnout was dry enough for a little running and bucking and Nina got some exercise.
I wish I knew what had turned her into a dangerous nutcase when it comes to blankets.... until just a few weeks ago I used to be able to throw blankets on her without needing a halter.  Now I hard tie her and get the hell out of the way as she swings around.
One little glimmer of light over this behavior - at least the lessons in standing tied have not fallen out of her head.  For a horse that refused to stand tied when I got her, she slams on the brakes now at the first touch from the lead rope when she is tied.  OTOH - having to tie her to take a blanket off or put one on is ridiculous, especially since you still have to get out of her way as she spooks away from it, but hopefully she will get over whatever convinced her that blankets are scary monsters.
Blankets aside, she got to run a bit, followed me around when she got bored and got to roll on dry ground!  I tried doing some grooming but the wind picked up again and I swear it was changing direction to blow dirt and hair directly into my face.   I got tired of that quickly and Nina did not enjoy having mud pulled out of her hair either so we quit. 
It was nice to spend a little time at the barn without being miserably cold and wet.  Never happy, I now want a couple days in a row of nice weather.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

oh joy! (not)

I was hoping the sun would come out before I went to the barn.  It is SUPPOSE to be high 40s and sunny today but with high winds, 50mph+. 
Instead, what is it doing..... snowing.  And I'm sure the high winds will arrive on time. 
I am hoping to be able to have some jumping lessons outside this week........

Friday, February 24, 2012

sunshine!

OMG, the sun is actually shining.  Not peeking out from the clouds, but actually shining.  The wind is not blowing.  It is cold but what an improvement.  I taught a couple of lessons indoors and it was cold inside, but just walking back outside is a lift. 
Of course, the weathermen are talking about the next snow - Tuesday?  Just ignoring them for now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

we are getting blown away

The wind here is incredible tonight.  We have had a couple of mild, windy days which has been nice because that is all it took to make a huge difference in starting to melt some snow and dry things out.
Today it was 60, but too windy to ride outside, so I taught inside. 

Tonight we are suppose to get high winds and a snow storm.   Really high winds, like 80-100mph are not unheard of along the edge of the foothills.  Boulder, Arvada, Golden are all western suburbs of Denver that get winds like that about once a year.  This year several more times than once. 
I am east of there and generally those high winds do not carry very far east, fading to just normal strong winds by the time you get to Denver.

Tonight DIA which is east of the Denver city limits, is having 90mph winds that is causing flights to be unable to land or take off, waiting for the winds to quit.
We are having winds at my house that are a little scary.  There are lots of very big mature trees in this area and they are moving around a lot!  They are not used to this kind of wind.

I am ready for the snow to start if it means the winds will stop.  Lets get this over with.  Nina should be fine, she has a nice solid shed for shelter that is built to handle these winds from this direction.
Good night to just take shelter and wait for it to blow over.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

benefit for Nina


On Sunday the barn threw a benefit show for me and Nina.  The proceeds were unbelievable and Nina's board is paid for a couple of months.  One huge piece of stress lifted.
Lots of people got involved, the show was really a series of demos of different horse sports.  It was fun to watch, there was lots of good food and everyone seemed to have a fun time.  The weather was cloudy and cool but not bad at all. 
I knew that the show was planned about a week ago but I had no idea how many people were involved or how much support there would be.  It was fun and Nina is one less stresser right now.
The picture is a Western/Dressage demo by the barn manager and the dressage instructor.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

good days are hard to find...

but I found one today.  Between the snow, ice, water etc etc, many of the horses are getting sick of limited riding in the indoor and everything being wet all the time.  They don't complain as much as the people do, but all in all everyone is running out of patience with winter. 
So today I taught a couple of lessons, had happy riders and eventually happy horses and made some progress.   Other than freezing my feet off, it was a good day. 
Need more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

I wanted to post a nice, current picture of Nina for Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately that would be in a dirty blanket, mud up to her hocks, standing in water and with an extremely unfriendly expression on her face.  We both agreed not to immortalize this moment in history so here is a pic from a couple of years ago - please notice the GREEN.
And include your horse in your list of things that you love and are grateful for.

just had to edit to add... there is a snow storm blowing in tonight.  Nina and I are SO excited! (if you don't get sarcasm, you are reading the wrong blog)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

trying again



 The more subtle color change toward spring just didn't help at all.  Around 10am it was 8 degrees at my house, wind chill was -4.  So going a little more springlike for the background.
I am really hoping for a heatwave, it would put us nearly under water and mud but it would still be worth it.  

I am working out a very little bit and mostly exhausted.  Nina is continuing her vacation, there is no point in trying to get her conditioned when there is snow and ice everywhere.  

I am seriously considering moving before next winter.   We have never had winters like the last few here.  We always laughed at the idea that we were buried in snow all the time.  The mountains got the snow, what we got (and sometimes a lot) melted off fast and if you have ever lived at altitude, 30s or 40s under a clear sky and hot sun is perfectly comfortable.  This has been miserable.  There is still, underneath the snow from two weeks ago, snow from before Thanksgiving.  I know that is not unusual for part of the country but it is here.  Maybe Nina and I would be better off in New Mexico.  I lived there for almost 20 years and love it.   Have to consider that. 
In the meantime, hoping for spring to arrive soon so we can get to work.

Friday, February 10, 2012

attempting to salvage February

I am finally starting to feel human again so I am working out in preparation for an (EARLY!) spring and riding weather.  I am in exactly no hurry to get back on Nina in this weather.  First she needs her teeth done and I would like to be able to ride two days in a row.  
So, since I have not been fit enough to jump since before I got Nina, I have some catching up to do.  I am not going to start jumping her when I am working at keeping a good position on the flat.  It gives me something horse related to do while we survive the rest of winter. 

I taught a couple of lessons today, in the indoor.  It was 37 degrees when I arrived at the barn and 23 degrees when I left.  I wore heavy gloves and found a couple of numb fingers when I got in the car.  Have to rethink the gear, I thought I was well dressed for the cold. 
One of the lessons today was the little orange TB from Maryland, Fawkes.  He is going to be very fun, he is athletic and has a brain.  I like him.

Speaking of weather, the snow that we got a few days ago was supposed to be a light dusting and turned into 12 inches.  It is supposed to start again tonight and carry on til Saturday evening.  Another light dusting.  How does it snow for over 12 hours and end up with a light dusting?
I made sure I had enough coffee for the weekend.   I hope some of you have sunshine and dry ground.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

sliding down a black spiral .... just weather again

Yesterday we managed to find a quiet time in the indoor for a lesson and nobody froze to death.  Actually it was in the 30s - not too bad.
A 'little dusting' of snow was expected overnight, maybe an inch at early rush hour.
So at 1pm it is still snowing like crazy.  Fortunately a snow plow got lost and wandered down my street.  Seriously, they worked on the residential streets.  I think the snow didn't get too bad on the major roads because it was coming down during rush hour and getting beat down.  If the plow hadn't come past my house I could never have gotten out today. 

Nina was anxious for her beet pulp and happy to get it.
This was also one of those days that pointed out how weird it is to keep an OTTB in a primarily QH barn.  Nina and her neighbor, Fawkes, were alert, watching what was going on, a little on their toes, not crazy, just alert.  I think they were the only two horses in the barn that were not asleep. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Snow report

The snow started Thursday night, as predicted.  By mid day Friday it looked like it might leave early, the sky was bright and it quit snowing for a couple of hours.  I went out and shoveled sidewalks and driveway.  But apparently this was the eye of the hurricane because Friday evening it was beating down again.  By Saturday morning you could not tell that I had shoveled anything.   It is Saturday morning now, still snowing a bit, but really just a few flakes.  We will spend a few days digging out. 
I noticed on the national news last night that one channel told the story here - everything shut down, flights cancelled, highways closed.  Another one said that Colorado had a little snow and it might be serious as it moved east.  Guess it all depends on whether you are the one being buried or not.

This is Friday morning - the black streak at the top of the pic is my neighbors car.
This is Saturday morning - the black dot across the street is my neighbors car.
A snow plow just came through and cleared a path down the center of the street without making big dams every where.  Now all I have to do is clear the driveway and halfway out into the street.  I may wait til tomorrow.  Last heavy snow I got stuck just up the street dodging some idiot in a 4x4.  It took about 15 people to push/pull me out. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

storm coming

This storm has been predicted for a while.  It was being pushed back a few hours at a time all week,
I was kind of hoping it might blow apart or change its path and miss us.
The forecasters are predicting 16" of snow.  I am firmly hoping they are all smoking crack.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Updating for (or hoping for) spring...

I enjoy playing with the blog layouts and backgrounds and I decided to try to make up for an early (and disastrous) mistake. 
Back in early November I came across that photo of the Acropolis in the snow and thought it would make a great background.  I really enjoyed it except for one thing.  It seems that it brought winter along with it.  November is usually my favorite fall month, full of sunshine and just warm enough to be comfortable.  Winter doesn't normally start here until late December and really gets going in January and February.  But I am looking at snow in my yard and on my street that fell in early November - apparently following the example of the blog background. 

So the background is gone, replaced with a neutral, hopefully springlike background.
The date is not random, February 1 is Imbolc.  For those of you not familiar with ancient Celtic celebrations....  Imbolc is halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  It is also the start of lambing season.  And it is the holiday of Brigid.  
It is the early warning that spring is going to come soon. 

I am so sick of winter that I figured this couldn't hurt. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

on her very best behavior

Look at that innocent face.  Would this horse ever act like a banshee?  *sigh*

I finally got Nina out to run in the turnout today.  I haven't been able to, by the time I have been getting to the barn there is no place to turn her out.  Today the big turnout was empty.  It is fairly dry on both ends with standing water and mud in a stripe across the middle.  This is from the melting piles of snow against the fence between the riding arena and the turnout.

Today right after I got to the barn the wind picked up and was howling for a while.  I put her halter on and set out for the turnout wondering how high she was feeling.  She plodded along next to me like a tired donkey, stood quietly while I fastened the gate.  Then we had to walk to the other end to close that gate which meant wading through the mud and water, no problem.  After I fastened that gate I reached to take the lead rope off and she started to bolt.  'Here we go' did cross my mind, but she immediately took a step back to me and stood quietly while I unfastened the lead and told her OK.

I was assuming that this was not a big deal, but when she heard OK she exploded into action.  Running and bucking, rolling, trying to start trouble with horses walking by, inviting the foal in a pen to come and play with her, then running some more.
She definitely needed to burn off some energy so she was on her very very best behavior before being turned loose.

And as a last note - if I ever complain about having problems with her and water this summer, someone please remind me that she was galloping through icy water with NO hesitation today.

Friday, January 20, 2012

wind wind wind

The wind seems to be finally drying things out.  We have had high winds here quite a bit lately.  A few days where highways were closed due to wind, more often high winds overnight dropping to more reasonable levels during the day.  Last night Boulder had winds of 96 mph, we have had 80 mph winds at the barn a lot.  The wind feels cold as it is roaring down off the mountains but the temps have been mild and I am glad to see things starting to dry out.  I have lived in Colorado twice for a long time and I am surprised and unhappy that we are dealing with the same snow that fell in November.  Unbelievable for this altitude!  At least the roads clear off. 

Browsing through lots of horse blogs yesterday and today I have been surprised at how many photos of semi flooded pastures and turn outs are being posted.  It looks miserable.... I will try to stop whining about the wind.

I played a little with Nina yesterday and I am convinced that she has teeth problems.  I may have just forced her to act like a total spaz if I hurt her mouth while we were waltzing around. 
She comes up to me to be petted and then flinches and ducks away.  She finally stood still to get her face scratched yesterday but there was no way she wanted me to touch her mouth.  So I need to get the vet out for that before we go back to work.  Unfortunately, I am now over a month without any income.  I have lessons today and public service is giving me some time, but there is no cash for a vet, so that will just have to wait a little while.   If she has teeth problems I will just write off the day of insanity.  In the meantime she gets some time off.

So what is going on in your area?  Cold, wet, dry, warm, normal or odd weather?

Monday, January 16, 2012

new saddle pads

Over at The Adventures of Lucy, Kate posted some of her latest saddle pads. 
I love her work and really would like to buy a couple. *sigh*  Maybe later.  This is my favorite out of this group.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

a new path, a confidence builder.......

Before my client bought the little orange TB we talked a little about leasing this horse.  She did not think she would be interested in buying and waffled about leasing.  This is a big boy, over 17h and a very honest, confirmed 3ft hunter.  He has done a great season at 3'6" but he prefers 3ft.

I have known this horse for over 10 years.  His owner and I boarded at the same barn for several years.
He is available as a lease or purchase to the right person, right now he is out on pasture for the winter. 
I recommended him to a trainer I know and his owner asked me to call her.
She is a little undecided; sell, lease, retire.  We chatted a bit and I told her that I was thinking about him while I was in the hospital.

I have had so many bad experiences this last year that the thought of having a nice, uncomplicated, honest horse to ride, start jumping again, rebuild my own confidence on a horse that needs to be well ridden but is not difficult.  A horse that is fun.  She told me that she would love it if I would lease him, free lease, at my barn.  She trusts me, she knows I would enjoy him.

I have forgotten what it is like to canter down to a fence on a horse that is calm and relaxed and confident. 

A free lease would be board, shoes and small vet bills.  Right now I am struggling to find a way to just feed Nina, the dogs and me.
I think I need to recharge my batteries, spend a month getting back in good shape and find a way that the expenses of one more horse would not be impossible.   I think this sounds like a good idea, a fun idea, a way to get back into competition.  It would give Nina a breather, see how things go if we just mince along - meanwhile have a trained forward horse to ride.

This sounds almost impossible - but it cannot be.  I have already started letting the wheels grind away and see what I could come up with.
In his favor - I could school this horse cross country, which would be new for him AND I could use him as a lesson horse, with some careful sorting of clients.
I have to find a way to make this work.
Here he is, I think a couple of years ago.



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