Thursday, October 7, 2010


Today I decided that small children have the right of it.  The word is not "gravity" it's "grabbity" because it sure as heck feels like someone GRABBED me and body slammed me into the ground today.  I had a lovely, long ride around the neighborhood on Tina yesterday and today hubby wanted us to both go riding down the road a little ways for a change of pace.  We've done this with Tina and Traveller a few times and Traveller has been ok as long as Tina's there with him.  We even put in a new little trail through the cedar to the road so that the horses don't have to go on the crushed stone driveway since it seems to bother them so much and I was kind of looking forward to trying it out. 

We didn't ride that far, maybe 10 minutes or so, when we turned back for home.  Tina was doing her speed walking trying to hurry so I thought what the heck, Traveller's done this route a few times now, he should be ok, and asked him for a little trot to catch up.  He frickin bucked!  I had one of those moments where you have a split second to think, hung on tight trying to find the right moment and spot to go flying off and, thank goodness, managed to miss being splatted on the pavement.  I almost stuck the landing in the grass but I came down on one foot before the other so it crumpled under me leaving me with what feels like a sprained ankle.  But I gritted my teeth and got back on. 

At that point I was DONE, absolutely DONE with gentle and nice so when he started doing some little half bucks I really clamped down on those reins and put him back on his hind!  We've got a super gentle bit on him so I didn't feel bad nipping another incident of me taking a flying lesson in the bud.  I just want to cry!  This is really eroding my riding confidence!  Yeah I got back on and made him behave but I got off and walked him the last little bit to the pasture because I was scared he'd do it again when he got in sight of Brother and Nugget. 

Once we got in the gate I got back up on him.  He stopped at the post where I tacked him up like he thought he was all done but I gave him a good nudge in the ribs and made him keep walking!  Oh he didn't like it!  He tried to stop where Tina was being unsaddled, stop again at his spot, walk at a super reluctant slow, cut corners, speed up to get to Tina or his spot faster...UGH!  I finally had Eric hand me a crop and the next time he tried to stop I popped him one.  He startled and I had to clamp down on the reins again.  For some reason his whoas have gotten bad so for awhile I just did walk and whoas trying to work my courage up enough for a trot.  I was so scared that he'd buck again if I asked him to trot and honestly I'm terrified that my luck may be running out!  I've been HURT plenty bad during the few times he's thrown me but I haven't been really INJURED yet. 

I came really close to chickening out, just stopping the ride without asking for a trot at all, but when I finally just made myself do it everything was fine!  Sure I had to cluck and squeeze more than once because I was trying to ease him into it but for a second he gave me a really gorgeous, soft, dreamy trot!  It turned into his ugly trot, fast, choppy, bouncy, doesn't want to be controlled but for a second it was like letting out a great, big, pent up sigh of relief.  What the heck goes on in their minds?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


While searching for a good new home for Brother and Nugget my family has been undermining my determination.  The children all boo-hooed at the thought of rehoming Nugget because she's their favorite.  It seems a little strange to me since she's the one that we can't even get on so far but I guess you'd have to meet Nugget to see just how darn sweet she is.  She really is just so darn SWEET (repetitive, I know, but it's really the only word to describe her) that you just fall in love with her even if you can't ride her.  Just hanging out with her is relaxing.

And for all his talk about rehoming Brother being the smart thing to do and how financially we'd be better off Brother has always been dear hubby's baby.  The reason we got Brother in the first place was he and Eric seemed to have an instant connection of some sort.  He's not as blatant about it as the children, of course, but he has been dragging his feet around when it comes to this whole rehoming thing.  I found one place that has a special place in their hearts for OTTBs that would retrain them and keep them for their clients that come there for treatment which sounds like it could be a very nice place for Brother and Nugget but hubby's answer was "nah, they'll probably want us to deliver them which means we'd have to borrow a trailer or something."  Sounds like a silly excuse to say no to me!

I'm actually surprised that someone hasn't grabbed them up!  These are quality horses with some very rich blood running in their veins free for the taking but once I tell them that Nugget roars or that they'll need a very experienced rider to get them used to being ridden again the people that were so eager to hear about them just dry right up.  I'm not really complaining since I'd rather keep them but it does make me wonder just what the heck people are expecting???  Do they honestly think that someone is going to hand them two blue bloods with perfect conformation, fully trained and bomb proof, no quirks or flaws whatsoever on a silver platter for free??? 

But the big news is...I rode Brother (sorta, a little)!!  Eric was hemming and hawing about things and decided that he'd like to put Tina or Traveller's saddle on Brother just to see what he'd do.  His idea was that maybe Brother just needed to "buck it out" so Tina's saddle which has a back cinch would be best since Brother's almost sure to buck not being used to that second cinch.  This kind of talk was making me really nervous really quick so I decided that I'd best do something with Brother to thwart my sweet hubby's plans.  I don't actually object to letting a horse "buck it out" to some extent as long as he's been prepared and the saddle fits well but neither Tina nor Traveller's saddles fit Brother properly! 

So instead I asked Eric to hold Brother's lead rope while I got on and off him bareback.  Every time I got on Brother got a cookie.  That went so well that after several mounts and dismounts I had Eric lead us around the round pen while being generous with the cookies.  It all went very nicely and Eric was satisfied so I was happy but I knew I still needed to find some way to put a complete end to this talk of using Tina's saddle on him.  Yesterday I got my chance while Eric was at the band parent's meeting.  I put both saddles on Brother in the round pen but took the back cinch off Tina's and only cinched them up enough to keep them from falling off.  Brother was good walking the round pen carrying the saddles but now that I've actually seen them on him no, I do think that they sit too low over his withers.  Plus although Brother was good about it he did seem a little tense and twitchy.  Eric came home just as I was finishing with the 2nd saddle and disagrees with me.  He says he thinks he could make it work with the right saddle pad.  At the very least I know that I don't have to make any kind of solid stand unless he gets another saddle pad so for now we're safe on this point!  And it's looking more and more like maaaaayyyybeeee we won't end up rehoming them after all!  We'll just have to keep seeing what happens one day at a time I guess.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The blues

Yes, we did get a chance to ride since my last post but it wasn't until yesterday.  It seems like the more I say I'm going to ride the more all sorts of different things try to get in the way.  Maybe I should start saying that I'm absolutely NOT going to ride?  Who knows, life might start throwing things at me to get me to ride then!  We even rode off our property a little ways!  It was a lot of fun but a little scary too.  The last time I tried riding Traveller off property he bolted out from under me and I was hurting bad for awhile.  This time I think it helped that he had Tina with him, he cozied up to her as if for comfort a few times, and I put a slightly tougher bit on him (an eggbutt snaffle) just in case I needed some emergency control.  I really did my best to stay very relaxed and he actually did very well!  He did swing his head around a lot looking at everything and felt tense under me like he could spook though he never did.  Hopefully with some more practice and life experience he'll mellow out better.  He's such a good horse I have to keep reminding myself that he's rather young and green!

But today I've got the blues.  We have officially decided that it would be better for us and them to find Brother and Nugget more suitable homes.  It just kills me because I've grown to love them so my heart doesn't want to but my head says it's the smart thing.  They need someone who can tune up their training and get them under saddle, someone very experienced, and while at one time I was a very experienced rider it's just been too many years.  They're both just loving being pasture pets for the most part, of course, but I also have to admit that if we're going to put out this much time and money on a couple of horses I'd like to be able to ride them. 

I started today with five emails from people all asking about them which bummed me out.  Two of those are automatically out of the running just because I don't think Brother and Nugget are suitable for what they want.  One wants to know if they're small enough to be used as polo ponies.  I don't know just how small they'd have to be but I kinda doubt that at 15.3 and 16.2 they'll make the cut.  The other really likes the looks of Nugget's bloodlines and would like to use her as a brood mare.  On the one hand I think Nugget's personality would make an awesome brood mare!  She's so sweet and quiet I can just see her loving having foals to nurture.  Unfortunately, though I don't have an eye for judging horse conformation yet, I really don't think she's got the best conformation and she has the defect of roaring.  I've shown and bred Great Danes and I would never, ever have bred one that was less than as close to perfect as possible, completely forget one that had any kind of major defect, and I would like to think that it's the same with horses!

We'll see what happens but I already know without a single doubt that I'll miss these guys so much.  They're not even gone and my heart is breaking.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rain, rain, go away

Sunday I swore I was going to ride but when I went out to actually do it the weather wasn't cooperating.  Now they've had a few days off again so I'm thinking they'll be back to their uber-brat states.  I will ride today, damn the weather!  I mean, come on!  During calving season did the cowboys say "nope, it's rainin out so those heifers are just gonna have to give birth on their own or die"???  No!  They tossed on a poncho or something, got on their horses, and took care of business!  I'll be back to let ya know how it went >.<

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time off

We weren't able to ride for a few days so Thursday I insisted that I had to ride or I'd implode.  As we were tacking up unexpected guests arrived but I was determined to get at least a quick ride!  Eric rode Tina, I rode Traveller, and we both experienced some of the same things, horses acting bratty.  Neither of them did anything awful but they had a general "do we gottaaaaa???  Why can't we just have a cookie insteaaaaad???" attitude trying to stop, go, and turn where and when they wanted to instead of when we asked them.  It seems a few days off are not good for these two at this point!

So Friday I gave both of them a more thorough ride.  The last time I asked for a canter on Traveller he threw me off so on him I'm doing a lot of work at the walk and trot, cantering we practice on a long line in the round pen.  I felt confident enough on Tina to ask for a canter for the first time and it wasn't too bad!  Eric was watching and said she has a "really funny lope" but it felt ok for a first time.  I really want an arena!  Right now I can either ride off our property on Tina (not on Traveller yet!) which means I have to keep it at a walk or in a space in the pasture which I know is safe for them but hard, uneven, and I have to keep a lookout for rocks.  It makes it tough for me to figure out what's going on with them exactly.  Is this "funny lope" her normal stride, being a stinker, feeling unconfident, or a bit of uneven ground? 

Yesterday we had to go work on my friend's garden.  She has a bad back so she asked us to put in a raised garden for her which we're doing with the wonderful natural rock that's plentiful on our land.  We finished laying the concrete footer for it at about 10pm then we had a two hour drive back home.  I'm so sore today and my poor hands!  Ladies, if you want beautiful, soft hands never have anything to do with concrete because that stuff will just eat your hands up!  I'm really hoping we can get this done in the next month or two because our next project is going to be my arena!  But even sore and not having an ideal place to ride I gotta get back up in the saddle sometime today. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Horses UGH!

Sometimes I wonder why I'm so addicted to horses.  Honestly sometimes I think we're all completely insane to want to be around them at all!  They're tons of work, really expensive, and act like complete stuck up, spoiled brats.  I just went out to feed mine their dinner.  Usually they're all up at the fence but from time to time for some horsey reasons I don't know they'll be out in the field somewhere at mealtimes.  When they're not nearby all I have to do is whistle a few times and they'll come ambling in from wherever they are because they know I'm going to feed them or at least give them some nice cookies for coming when I called.  Once in a blue moon they won't be up and they won't come when I whistle but I figure they just don't hear me for some reason.  Those times I go find them and they just follow me right up to the fence.

Not today!

Today I tromped all over the place to find them and they gave me their usual sleepy "oh, did you want us?" look.  I started walking back, paused to listen for hoofs following, and nothin!  When I walked back they were in exactly the same place still calmly grazing away.  Hmm so maybe I'd just ride Traveller back?  Heh no chance!  I gave a few jumps trying first to do a land-across-his-back-on-my-tummy-then-wiggle-into-a-sitting-position move then a stand-at-the-shoulder-and-jump/swing-one-leg-over manuver but I just aint that young or in shape anymore.  So I found a nice downed cedar that I could mount from, cleared a few sticks away from it for Traveller's comfort, and tried to get him to move over there.  That horse went just about everyplace EXCEPT near that downed cedar! 

I coaxed, called, whistled, and tried to work various things out till I was a sweaty soggy mess then gave the hell up!  The last thing I told them was that I was going up.  If they came along I'd feed em and if they didn't then they just must not be hungry enough.  I guess they just weren't that hungry because they didn't even stop grazing! 

The thing that's really going to send me right over the top is now, 10 minutes after all of this, I bet they're all at the fence wanting their dinner!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More training

Brother STILL has his shoes on!!  I had to get that off my chest because this is the longest he's ever kept shoes on for us! lol  And it's because of those shoes that I'm able to get Brother back into training.  So far it's just been the leading exercises that we started last week but today I got him back into the round pen.  I only had him go for maybe 15 minutes, most of that just walking in both directions, and only a few turns around each direction at a trot then ended it with a little more leading practice.  He didn't even breathe harder but I want to take it slow and build him back up.  I've finally got him at the weight I want him to be so I hope he doesn't start losing it again!

Traveller I walked and trotted in both directions to start.  His trot is really coming along very nicely!  He's beginning to relax and give me more of a very soft, smooth, floaty trot that's so wonderful to ride.  His canter, on the other hand, needs some serious work.  His last owner really loved for him to go super fast while I'm not as concerned for speed as much as quality of movement.  While I was riding him once I cued him to canter and he very smoothly bounced his back end in the air throwing me right off.  Now I know that if I'd only asked him to canter in the round pen I could've seen straight off that I wasn't ready to ride him at a canter.  He seems to get very irritated when asked to canter, tossing his head around, often breaking down into a crazy fast trot.  A work in progress like everything else!