Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hey there! Aren't you forgetting somebody?

Yesterday was spring shots and dental day for the ponies. We had the vet take a look at Baythoven. We had thought he was relapsing with his ringworm. Instead we find his ringworm has most likely been cleared up for quite some time. We have continued to treat it as if it were still there because of some scaling we were seeing...the scaling turned out to be a dead skin layer. Apparently we were too diligent and had blistered the skin underneath the new hair growth. Poor Bay has been suffering for nothing these past few weeks! The vet told us to leave it alone and let it heal...he's not contagious anymore, so we can put him back out on pasture with his buddies too. The barn owner turned him out this morning and she said he literally jumped for joy! I wish I could have gotten a picture of that! I did manage to take one of Boo yesterday hanging his head over his stall door wondering why he didn't get to go outside with everybody else. The boys got today off just in case there was any residual soreness. Tomorrow it's back to work as usual!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Busy weekend

Spent the better part of Saturday afternoon helping to spring clean the barn. Most of the boarders showed up to help and we made short work of clearing cobwebs from the rafters and scrubbing down everything in sight. Small price to pay in my book for having such a wonderful facility to house my horses. The barn owner fed us all for our trouble and was very appreciative.

After coming home to clean up, we headed out to comparison shop on dishwashers. Mine has died. Got 14 years out of it which I think is not to shabby. Decided on a Bosch 500she45. Waited until today to actually purchase it because a promotion started today which gets you back the money you pay to have it installed. So with 10% off and the rebate I am a happy camper. My new stainless steel dishwasher should be here in about a week. Wanna take any bets on whether or not that happens? The best thing about it is how quiet it is. The old one has been squawking and squealing for about a month. It was loud anyway, but the squawking and squealing about drove me nuts. I got to where I would wait for hubby to be home to run the dishwasher just so it could annoy him too. Figured I'd get a new one faster that way!

Went out to ride today and had a pretty good ride. He seems to be stiffer on his right side...I wonder if he really is though because I know I am stiffer on my right side and Boo may just be reacting to that. He also had a tendency to want to rush on his forehand and rush right through my aids. We worked until I finally started getting a nice round canter and then called it a day. Looks like we will have to warm up with get in front of the leg, but then work on listen to the seat too! It has been quite a while since I have had a lesson. I think it may be getting time to pony up for one. Luckily for me we have a trainer at our barn who knows her stuff, so it will be easy to get the help I need. I'd also like to start going to a clinic here and there.

Bay seems to be having a relapse with his ringworm. We have the vet coming out on Monday and will have him take a look. I am worried that this is an immune system problem here. I certainly hope not, but with Bay it seems like it's something every spring. Then, to top it off I took my coming 10-year-old collie in for her annual physical and teeth cleaning and her blood work came back with an elevated white count. I had hubby pick her up and he didn't catch that there was a problem so he didn't ask any questions. I found it in the paperwork when I got home. I'm going to call tomorrow because he said they said something to him about further tests but he didn't remember what for. She is the best dog I've ever had, so I hope there is nothing seriously wrong with her. Keep your fingers crossed for Poko.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A visit from an old (young) friend

We all have dreams. Sometimes we know what they are from a very early age. For the lucky few those dreams are fulfilled while we are young. For others there is a bit of a wait. I have always loved horses but I rarely got the chance to be around them. I fantasized about having my own horse for most of my childhood. It wasn't until later in life that I was in a position to begin the process of making my own dreams come true.

When I turned 49 I realized that if I didn't learn to ride NOW...I probably never would. So I set out to educate myself about horses and then to find someone to teach me to ride. I rode one of those "worth her weight in gold" lesson horses, the kind that will put up with beginner after beginner after beginner. I rode her once a week for a year ...then I sponsored her which gave me the freedom to ride her as often as I wanted. I guess I averaged about 3 days a week. One of those days being lesson day. I did that for another year. A lot of people would have gotten over it by that time...the work, the expense, the cold, the heat, the mud, the mucking of stalls, the smell. I didn't get over it. I decided I wanted a horse of my own but I didn't think I could afford it. One day a good friend told me "if a person REALLY wants something they will find a way to make it happen. It turned out to be good advice...I really wanted a horse of my own...so I bought Boo.

He was beautiful, and muscular, and about 10 years younger than my trusty lesson horse. He was not a hot horse, but he was also not a beginner horse. Yet, I was still quite the beginner having never ridden any horse other than the lesson horse I started out on. It didn't take me long to figure out I was over horsed. Either this guy was going to scare me off of riding, or I was going to ruin him with my inexperience. It was shortly after I bought Boo that Lauren entered our lives. She was probably all of 14, but she could ride circles around this old gal. Lauren needed to move up to a better caliber of horse, and I needed someone to keep Boo tuned up, toned up, and amped down.

For the next 2 years we were a happy horse family. Lauren would ride Boo in her lessons and I would ride him in mine. We split up the week and Boo would get worked 5-6 days a week. Lauren showed him in the Arabian class A circuit. She did ring classes like hunter pleasure. She did sidesaddle, and native costume, and she did dressage. She went to regionals with Boo, and we both did trail riding. Lauren did OHSET. It was the best thing that could have happened for Boo and me. It gave us time to get to know one another and it gave me time to become a better rider. When Lauren moved on which is inevitable in that type of situation we missed her, and when the time was right we found another excellent young rider to help keep Boo in shape and keep him showing.

Lauren is in college now and today, while home on spring break, she came to visit Boo. Horses must have a long memory because Boo remembers Lauren. He was quite happy being the center of everyones attention. It was a beautiful thing to watch seeing a horse and a young woman reunited. I am happy to have been a part of it. All in all between both Boo and Bay, we have had 5 young women share our horses with us. There has been tremendous value and satisfaction in the arrangement both for the people and for the horses. These are young women I will always care about. They are young women whose lives I will follow. They are young women I will never forget.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Whirlwind weekend

Had a great weekend. Spent Friday at the Horse Expo, Saturday morning at the Canby tack sale, Saturday afternoon at Devonwood's Spring Into Dressage, and Saturday night back out in Canby at the Clackamas County fair and rodeo court coronation. This morning we got up early and drove back to Albany for the day.

I think the highlight for me on Friday was watching the Stallion presentations and of course the highlight of that (for me) was watching Rembrandt strut his stuff. He is an absolutely gorgeous Friesian stallion. Seems to be pretty even tempered too, what with all the peering into his stall and petting and scratching from strangers that was going on.

The tack sale was fun. I ended up with some books to read to my grandchildren the favorite being King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian. Got a kick-ass ball cap too with a cow hide brim and some bling.

Devonwood had us showing up at the tail end of one young rider we had gone to see, but I did get there in plenty of time to watch the young lady who use to show my Boo ride her very first 3rd level dressage test. That was a proud moment. She did an awesome job.

The coronation turned out to be fun too. We know the family of one of the princesses and had a good time catching up with old friends we hadn't seen in awhile. Bought the most to-die-for homemade turtle bars in the auction. All I know is they said they were made by Aunt Shelly and I couldn't find her although I tried. I wanted the recipe. I ended up getting an original watercolor painting of a horse and rider too. That was the highlight of my evening.

Today we watched the end of the extreme cowboy race and first and second place were taken by cowgirls. Yah! Hoo! Watched a stellar FEI level dressage demonstration, and watched the Arabian showcase. They had driving, reining, halter, western pleasure, sidesaddle, and native costume all in the ring together. I had to wonder though if they want to show versatility why they didn't have someone doing dressage.

All in all this has been a great weekend. I'm glad I got to do so much. Riding my own horse suffered because I didn't have time for that, but I will more than make up for it this week!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's up with my crazy Arab???

I think it is bizarre all the weird happenings with Boo this week. Went out this afternoon to ride. He seemed fine when I brought him in from the pasture. Once we were tacked up and in the arena I did the normal ground work that I do with him in order to check out his mood and obedience level. Kind of a test to see where his mind is. We do forehand and haunch turns. We back up, and we do sidepasses. Today was pretty much like most days. So I went down to the mounting block to get on and from the moment I got onto his back he was lit. He didn't want to be anywhere near either short end or anywhere near the outside wall. He was all snorty and blowy and jigging. I immediately started him leg yielding and doing circles. We did all the ground work again only this time from the saddle. Still he didn't want to settle down. After about 7-10 minutes of this I decided that I wasn't willing to get hurt over it, so I got off and hooked him up with his halter and longe line.

We longed for probably 25 minutes and most of it was at the canter. He really worked himself up into a sweat and he still tried to avoid the short ends of the arena. I finally got him obeying voice commands for the walk, trot, and canter, so I put his bridle back on and got back into the saddle. We walked around for about 20 minutes to cool out. Did lots of suppling exercises. He seemed fine then. I have absolutely no idea what his problem was. This has happened a couple of times before, but it has been a long long time. He didn't seem to be sore in his back and his legs and feet seemed fine. Guess he was just out of sorts today or something.

At any rate, he ended up working harder than he would have if he'd just behaved himself. I realize that, but I'm not so sure he does. I have a lot going on this weekend and most likely won't make it out to ride at all. We will see how he does on Monday. If he acts up again and I can't find a reason for it, he'll get the same treatment. Most likely he'll be just fine though. That's what has always happened in the past.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Did a little slip- sliding when I went to the pasture today to get Boo. It's not so bad except for right at the gate. I think it would pretty much ruin my day if I fell down in that stuff ya know. I managed to navigate both Boo and myself back through it and out the gate still upright. Boo decided to have a mud bath and it took me quite awhile to get him cleaned up enough to ride. He's also shedding like crazy. I'll be glad when that's done.

I felt more flexible in my own body today, so the ride went better than it has in quite some time. Maybe it's the warmer weather, or maybe it's that linedancing class I went to this morning with a friend. At any rate, I wasn't creaking and popping like I have been. Yay! That just tells me I have to be more assertive in conditioning myself for riding.

We worked on transitions and canter departs. Both are a little rough. We still have a ways to go, but I did feel we improved over the course of the ride. Walked around outside for a few minutes. Boo tried to avoid every mud puddle I pointed him at. This from a horse who has obviously been rolling in mud puddles since Sunday. AArrggh!

I got careless when I was untacking and nearly got myself hurt. I cross tie Boo right outside of his stall to untack. All the other horses were in their stalls having their dinner. Once I was ready to put Boo away I undid the cross tie farthest from his stall and walked over to get his lead rope. Boo either thought he was untied and ready to go into his stall or he was just anxious to get to his dinner because he started into his stall with me standing in the doorway and knocked me inside with him. I ended up at the back of the stall about the time Boo figured out he wasn't untied and he swung around to face the door putting me directly behind him. All I could think was don't get scared and kick out cause I have nowhere to go.

I immediately took him out of the stall and spent the next 5 minutes going to the door and making him wait for me to tell him he could enter. I could tell by the way he acted that he knew he had done wrong. Once I finally let him in with his food I made him wait to eat until I told him he could. I'm probably going to have a bruise on my hip where I banged into the door jam. Sure taught me a lesson though. Pay attention! Don't release the tie farthest from the stall door first that way he can't get to the stall door until you take him there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We live to ride another day

Tree limbs littered the roadway on the drive out to the barn. The sky goes from light to dark and back to light again. Occasionally the sun breaks through the clouds and causes the raindrops dripping from the tree limbs to shimmer in the sunlight. The clouds soon scud across the sky again and close the blue gap. Once again all is gray.

Rain pounds down on the metal barn roof while wind rattles the barn doors and whistles down the alleyway. There are creaking and groaning noises coming from the rafters. When Boo and I crossed the short end of the arena by the barn door the wind whipped up and it sounded like a locomotive was about to burst through into the arena.

It happens so quickly. Boo throws his head up and whirls away from the barn door, every muscle tensed for flight, and before I can react he is heading for the opposite end of the arena. I try to bend him to slow his flight. I am conscious of not hauling back on the reins, instead I keep them elastic not wanting to increase his panic by making him feel trapped. In my mind I am thinking he needs to know he can move away from the source of his fear. I reassure him with my lack of panic and my repetition of "easy boy". Luckily for me his flight was short lived. We circle back to the scary end of the arena and spend some time there. We ride by giving the short end a wide berth, but with each pass we come closer and closer until finally we can get back to work. We live to ride another day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

My first crocus of spring

Lovely day at the barn. I won't lie to you, it started out cold, but I layered up and before long it was warming up and as pleasant as I could ask for. Had to go out early to meet the farrier. I'm keeping the boys barefoot right now, so all they needed was a trim. Didn't take too long. Once they were finished, I decided to longe Boo without sidereins. Nothing to strenuous as he'd just been trimmed. Asked the farrier if he thought it would hurt anything and he said it shouldn't. So we did some nice trot and almost immediately Boo tripped. A little later he tripped again only this time he went to his knees. After that he seemed to be fine. I don't know if he just wasn't use to the shorter feet...we didn't take that much off, or if he just wasn't paying attention. I have to admit I don't know diddy squat about feet and what they should look like etc. I have to rely on the farrier. Sure hope he is alright. I'll be keeping a close eye out the next few days.

Once we finished longeing we cooled down by walking about and then I took Boo outside and let him graze for about 10-15 minutes. We finished up with him getting at least half my apple and he got to leave his blanket off for the day. Hubby is going out tonight, so he will put it back on then. All in all it was a very pleasant morning and I'm looking forward to more of the same. Now if the weather will just cooperate!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Horse filled weekend!

Unbelievable! Is it me or has it snowed more this winter than in all the winters I can remember? I don't mean accumulation so much (although we have had that too) but just so many times?

This is just the beginning this morning but right now it is snowing heavily. I am at 700 feet. The neighborhood kids are standing at the bus stop wearing shorts...but then again it seems as if they are always wearing shorts nowadays no matter what the weather.

Went to a schooling horse show yesterday. Just to watch a friend and hubby ride. It took forever to get through in-hand and showmanship. By the time we were finished with the English classes and had an half hour lunch break, the western classes didn't start until 4:00. Hubby ended up riding in 2 classes instead of 4. Getting to late and to cold. He did alright though. Came home with a 4th and a 5th. One class was really large and the other (the one where he got 4th) only had 5 riders. He hasn't been riding much, so this was a work the kinks out deal. A lot of people showed up at this show. Lots of quarterhorses and paints. I don't think they expected such a big turnout what with the economy the way it is.

This weekend is the Dressage for the Ages show at the Salem fairgrounds if anyone is interested. I am probably going to try to go down for a while on one of the days. Try to take a few pictures. Anyone riding in it?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Boo is anticipating again

Boo was not happy about working today, and I can't figure out why cause he had yesterday off! How ungrateful can one horse get? It was raining and blowing when I got out to the barn. The arena had been watered, and I am a bit nervous about that but it actually was just fine. We took quite a bit of time warming up. It worked for him but not so much for me. I stayed stiff. Kept getting my feet to far into my stirrups and one time I actually had to use my dressage whip to get my foot unstuck. How dangerous is that! Okay, I guess my stiffness is probably why Boo had the attitude that he did...

I have been doing things at the end of the ride like haunch turns, sidepasses, forehand turns, and backing up. Today I couldn't get Boo to do a forehand turn for the life of me. He just would not do it. I got off and had him do 5 or 6 of them from the ground and had hubby get on and do a couple from the saddle. Even hubby was having trouble with him. I think he just wants to rush through all that stuff because he figures it signals the end of the work session and he wants to be done. So...I had a young friend get on him and ride him at trot and canter for another 10 to 15 minutes. He thought he was done, but he had another think coming. He gave me quite the wounded look when we were all finished. It's good to mix things up. Horses are much smarter than we give them credit for. At least our Arabians are. I haven't had much experience with other breeds but I would bet they are too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Odds and ends

I had a wonderful time this afternoon riding my pony. He was being obedient but not very light. Had fun anyway. It was windy and he didn't spook at all. Then...it was time to go scrub down Bay's neck and medicate him. By the time I got to that chore I was the only one left out at the barn. Bay was not cooperating at all. He pranced and danced and swung his body this way and that. He pulled back on the cross ties and then went forward until he couldn't go forward anymore. He tried to bite me more than once. Finally I decided to call for reinforcements. It was well after 5:00 so I called my hubby and had him come out to help me. Bay is his horse after all. I can see that this whole ringworm business has been extremely hard for him. I'm sure he is uncomfortable when we are scrubbing down his neck to remove the scaling. It has to be done though and quite frankly it is looking really good. I think we about have it licked.

Is anyone else out there as jazzed as I am that the show season is about to begin? I love going to horse shows even if I am not riding. I go to watch my friends and just to learn by observing. I think I am going to volunteer at a couple of them this year. I volunteered at the AIM Back to Basics show last year in the office. This year I might try scribing or being a runner etc. The only thing I don't want to do is bit checks. Don't plan on sticking my fingers in any horses mouth let alone one I don't know. I am even looking forward to the Albany horse fair. I'd go every single day if I could.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Clueless owner awesome horse and rider

Got a letter from the Arabian Horse Association last Friday. Apparently our guy Bay who is sweepstakes nominated won a bit of money last spring. Being clueless about all things complicated (or at least complicated to me) when it comes to showing, I had no idea until I received this letter. He took reserve champion at both 1st and 2nd level at the Arabian sporthorse regional championships in the amateur to ride division. The young lady who rode him did an awesome job. She has since moved away and is not showing him this season. We are very proud of this rider because as our trainer said of Bay "he is a tough nut to crack." They did it though...together.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Silence is not golden

I traveled this past weekend to watch my grandsons and niece participate in a gaming day. They are 6 and 7 years of age, and the premise is to leadline them through a barrel course, poles, and stake race. Gaming is the province of the cowboy and cowgirl up wing of the horse world. It is a western riding at its finest, no guts no glory, kind of atmosphere. Helmets are not a common sight. Maybe it is because I came to riding later in life...maybe it is because I am not naturally athletic, maybe it is because I have been riding for 8 years and I have had 2 bad accidents in those 8 years, probably it is because of all of the above that I believe in wearing a helmet each and every time I ride. If I believe that for me imagine how much more adamantly I would believe that for a child.

On this particular day a lot of mistakes were made and the biggest one was that I yielded to the opinions of others not wanting to sound like the anal and overprotective grandmother that I am. There apparently was no helmet available and no one was worried about that except for me. My daughter and I had a conversation about it before the playday began...I was overruled. Moms, Dads, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. No one said a word. Even the officials running the game day had nothing to say until afterwards. Afterwards they came out in favor of helmets. After the game day was to late in my opinion. It is also my opinion that they should make helmets madantory for at least the peewee's.

My grandsons made it through the game day unscathed but my niece did not and neither did another little girl who looked to be no older than 10 years old. My niece came off her horse while doing poles and thankfully she landed flat on her face in the dirt. I shudder to think how badly she might have been injured if she had landed on her head. The other little girl came off during the stake race, and she too landed in such a way as to avoid serious injury. Twice in one day disaster was averted.

Now, I am not criticizing gaming. It's an exciting sport and there is potential for serious injury crossing the street, playing baseball, swimming, riding any other horse discipline etc. I just think it would be nice if we all took the precautions available to us that might mitigate the seriousness of any accidents that do happen, at least where the children are concerned, and I promise myself and everyone else that when I am around I will never just be silent again.