Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Fauxssoa

Before I forget to post these (again)...

Griffin's 3 year old stats
Height at a solid 14.2hh
Weight taped at 770#

I realized his height last night when I walked around his bum, tracing my hand up, over, around as I do, and lo and behold - my arm really has to go UP now to make that maneuver! He's not some pipsqueak anymore at all. While not quite the mass of Q since he's yet to be balanced out in the muscling realm, he's definitely got height. I can't deny that.

I'd like to see him muscle up and put on more weight over the next few months. Hoping the Fauxssoa will help the muscling and feeding grain after will help the weight issue. The goal currently is to do 3 20+ minute Fauxssoa sessions/week.

Because I made new reins/tailing line for Funder, I decided I would just get a lighter rope for the Fauxssoa. The retired climbing rope I was using prior was bulky (which I think helped in some ways) but it was bothersome to deal with every time. The rope will now be used for making reins through the years as its the perfect diameter (in my opinion). It may not be safe to take a fall on anymore, but its definitely got tons of life left as reins!

Griffin had a lot of spring in his step for last night's workout. However, it seemed that each time the camera came out he lost that spring. I recruited the fence as a tripod for my phone and filmed. Better, but not his best cantering of the evening (I think this is partly due to the noodle riding up on his rear [wow, one could really take that sentence out of context]). Dog chasing is a must in all videos apparently. These two, I swear.

We're getting there. I'm having a blast working with him steady-like as I did when I got him. He's having a blast having a job again. This horse thrives on work. His eyes seem so much brighter after our sessions. I'm excited to see where the next few months will lead us.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I 110% agree. 

Read for yourself (its a whole 3 paragraphs).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Q: Parade Pro

Firetruck? With sirens and horn and flashing lights? No problem.
Obviously Arabians are CRAZY.

Seriously. She's a parade pro now.

The parade we were in this weekend was our first parade last year. Q and I were the only ones in English attire this year.

I Frenched her mane instead of doing the hunter braids, as well. SO MUCH EASIER. I can respect a pulled mane for the showing disciplines, but gah, braiding that nonsense? Eff that noise. This was so much nicer.

For the first time, I hair sprayed her mane and tail with a "light" hold spray to help keep things tight. It was perfect! When I took out the braids post-parade there was no lasting sticky residue like a lot of hairsprays leave. Wonderful!

Several of the other horses riding toward the front half of riders had issues with the firetrucks honking this year. The lights weren't of great concern, nor the sirens. The occasional fog horn-like honking though? That was too much for a few of the horses.

Q plowed ahead like a pro when the others were balking away. I could barely hear myself clucking and speaking to her, "walk", "trot", "whoa" because the whole atmosphere was SO LOUD. But Q could hear me. She responded beautifully to all my requests. Such a great mare.

I'm so proud of how far she's come and the trust she has in me in these away-from-barn situations I throw her into. This event was the first I'd pulled her solo in the trailer and the first time I'd trailered myself to an event without help. (This weekend at the endurance ride where we will sweep ride will be the second.)

I love doing these parades and bringing huge smiles to kids' faces. The wonder of horses is still strong in kids despite the fact that many sit inside playing video games and watching TV.

Love my little mare!

Not quite dry from her impromtu bath - all braided though.
Wondering why in the hell I had to go and braid her forelock
Q the giraffe
She was sort of snuggling pre-photo
Waiting...waiting...waiting...on the five-lane
Q: But I don't WANT to stand by the firetruck
Me: But you need to for a photo!
Q: But those lights are scarier when I see them closer!
Me: You'll be fine, now pivot and back up beside the truck!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Seriously, guys, look at the change!

He went from such a scrappy little colt to a beautiful gelding. If you'd told me when I got him how well put together he'd be at 3 years old I'd have had a very hard time believing you. VERY hard time.

Additionally, if you'd told me my THREE year old would ground tie for all of his birthday photos AND stand patiently while I struggled with a damn metallic, shiny birthday hat trying to put it on his head for TEN minutes...I'd not have believed you at all. Three years old with the patience of a saint (some days). Such a good, good boy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Griffin!

Well, not-so-little man, you're three!

And finally starting to look like a horse and not a baby! More and more of Griffin's expressions strike me as "horse" now and not so "baby". His mannerisms are still goofy more often than not, baby-like frame of mind. But physically, he's much more horse.

Its weird coming to the "he's finally a horse" conclusion because he was so small for so long. He still is small, all things considered. But height-wise, he's passed Q now. When I see him in the field, I still think of him as being much smaller than he really is, but once he's in and I'm working him, not so much. Riding him and having others on him really hits home how big he really is.

Dee and I and others all thought he was going to be such a little guy. Dee remarks weekly how he's surpassed all of her expectations. He was a bit scrappy when we got him.

Oh the change.

And more evident change? The comparison of him working in March of last year (first video) and this week (second video). HUGE difference.

Watching the old video again lets me really see the faults I had when working him initially as I was learning about groundwork, body language, and pressure from my body. Hard to believe there was a time not very long ago when I really didn't know how to work a horse from the ground very well.

Griffin has allowed me to learn so much in the groundwork realm. And what I've learned has completely changed my whole way of being around horses. Its made me so much better.
I've got Griffin to thank for that.

His mind, his willingness, his forgiveness of all my beginners errors. He's been a phenomenal teacher even at his young age.

Thanks, little (you'll always be to me) man. Can't wait to learn more from you and teach you new things in coming years.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reachy reachy with hind feetsies

Dog chasing aside...even if Kenai eggs Griffin on and wants him to do it...

He's looking lots better! I hope to keep him to three or four 20-30 minute Fauxssoa workouts a week for a month. We'll reassess and see how he is after!

He's really learning to use his body much better with the Fauxssoa. Saiph thinks I should roach his mane when he develops a nice neck; he has the thinnest, most pathetic mane ever! We'll see. I think as the part that he pulled out in the hay feeder grows longer I'll trim the rest of his mane to match. Then maybe I'll consider a roach...but its taken him 4 months to grow it an inch....sooooo. Haha.

The key to lunging him in the Fauxssoa right now is keeping him very forward moving. I'm glad he's capable of a western pleasure jog, but its completely unnecessary right now. I'd rather him scooch those hind feet under himself and really move.

An added plus to using this device and doing increased workouts with it, is that it is teaching him that some pressure on his mouth is not the end of the world at ALL. Before, he'd get very offended at continued contact. He's still super soft about cues, but not so upset (crow hopping) when they're applied. He just stretches and tucks his nose to the contact instead of trying to bully away from it. I see this being a wonderful thing as I begin riding him more in coming months.

Monday, July 22, 2013

More WV adventuring

So Jeremy and Saiph had a sort of tag-team visiting scheme completely by accident. The result was a huge week of WV adventure for me. Staycationing this summer is proving to be quite the win-win situation for me.

In an attempt to escape the heat, I showed Jeremy some parts of WV he'd yet to visit. We discovered some fun looking boulders, picked some wild blueberries, stumbled across a nice little honey hole, and I even got to watch some grey fox kits totter through the woods:

We ate well, drank well, and exercised a lot as we explored around. It may be hot as stink lately, but there is still plenty of fun to be had. Love me some West Virginia outdoors.

5.8 in foreground, 5.11b in background
The 11b
Can't climb with Jeremy and NOT see a black snake; surprise on this day though, a copperhead at the top of the climb!
Pondering the next climb
Had to swoop in for a photo; North Fork Mountain behind us
Sunset from home that evening

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Another blogger visit!

Because seriously, y'all, why not visit and play if we live relatively close? In May I went to visit Dom. And this past week Saiph and her husband came to visit me!

I was feelin' the pressure for this trip. It was their first time visiting the Appalachians for true and their first
time to the heart of West Virginia. I was born, raised, and now find myself working here for the time being - so I should be a good guide, yes? My childhood and past jobs have lended me knowledge of some of the best places this state has to offer as far as outdoors pursuits, but all the same, it was a little bit of a challenge to puzzle the best summer spots together for my guests!

It took a bit of thinking, but I did manage to fold together a perfect combination of horse fun with WV pursuits - all activities in attempt to fulfill some goals they had. I hope they will be back in the fall and winter to see even more of what this state has to offer, I cautioned them that what they saw this time were only "summer" things. I'll have lots of other things to share as the seasons change!

Charles and Saiph rolled in Tuesday afternoon. I made certain we were all fed, and then we darted off to Spruce Knob, the highest point in WV (and surrounding states) and my favorite place in WV. I also toted them around the Sinks of Gandy, primarily a little dip into the cave there. The enthusiasm they both had on this first mini-venture never waned the whole time they were here. I had such a blast sharing things with them.

Because Charles' career is one with long shifts, he had been up for >24 hours by the time we'd finished our high elevation pursuits. Saiph and I dropped him at the house to catch some shut eye and we rolled out to the barn so she could meet Griffin and Q.

I was a bit shocked when Saiph expressed to me how beautiful she thought Q was; she noted how photos really don't do her justice at all. I'd always thought that, but then at the same time just sort of figured I was maybe biased because she's my horse. I'd quit worrying about it as a result, accepting things as they were. Imagine my surprise when a relatively unbiased person noted the same thing, and then doted on how beautiful she really was! I was too shocked at the time to be happy about it, but now I am thrilled that Saiph shared her observation and opinions with me about Q. Love my little mare.

We waited out a thunderboomer in the barn riding in the ring some where we noted that Q was off on the fore at the trot. It seemed to be hoof related, perhaps a stone bruise or abscess so I didn't worry too much. Post-storm we were able to tour around the property on horseback, Saiph on Q and me on Griffin (who was in a right mood that day - angsty teenager phase). We had a lot of fun laughing at my horses' personalities and making the most of the evening.

Post-mini trail ride, I popped Q's Renegades on to successfully mitigate her offness on the fore. Additionally, I got to test out Saiph's Alta Escuela saddle (which she'd been riding Q in) and then turned Q back over to her, insisting that she had to canter her. I love Q's canter, and I know with Lily on stall rest lately, Saiph has missed cantering. With darkness falling, we finished up our equine fun with Saiph taking a cooldown ride bareback on Q as I putzed around the barn putting things away.

From the barn we scurried home to shower and change, consumed way too many calories at McD's and headed to Augusta for a live blues/swing band and dancing. All in all, a good time was had by all on day one of three.

: : : : :

Day two dawned relatively early. We had a breakfast of pancakes loaded with peaches, strawberries, milk and white chocolate chips, and all three of us headed to load up my horses for a morning of play at the big 4-H ring.

Both horses loaded and unloaded without issue from the trailer. We battled the flies, tacked up, and had a fun time riding. Griffin got his first significant workout since the trail ride where he tossed me off and then ran around in a teenage fit of angst. Q got her first significant ride since the No Frills incident. And Saiph got to jump for the first time in two years!

It was hot, hot, HOT by the time we finished and dropped the horses off. We snagged lunch at the local Venezuelan place and then headed up to the closer of my two favorite swimming holes. It was a good thing we went to the closer one, too, as the water was up a LOT from the thunderboomers and if we'd hiked to High Falls we would not have been rewarded with a swim because with flows like that swimming would have been very dangerous!

That evening Charles and Saiph cooked wonderful Puerto Rican food for me. *swoon* I was one happy girl.

: : : : :

Day three, Saiph and I headed out to trim Griffin, share trimming techniques, and go on a trail ride. I try to trim my guys every 2 weeks. It makes it so all trims are just maintenance trims. This way I don't have to work excessively, they don't have to stand around forever, and sometimes I don't have to do anything if they've been working a lot and wearing their feet as a result. Saiph is thinking about doing Lily's feet completely on her own now, too, so it was fun to trim and observe one another's technique and discuss some things.

After we trimmed we tacked up and made sure we had plenty of water for our trail ride since it was HOT. I didn't know how long we'd ride for, but I figured it would be in the ballpark of 10-12 miles. I rode Q and Saiph rode Dee's TWH, Little Bit. We ended up doing a really fun 10 miles that included a little bit of exploring and me managing to create a nice lollipop loop out of shear luck.

Saiph got along really well with Little Bit. She loved how he moved - she'd not been on a TWH previously. I was thrilled that they got along so well. I think he's found a home with her if Dee were to ever sell him, haha. Saiph's perma-grin the whole ride spoke volumes.

After our trail ride, we snagged some DQ for lunch (oh my the calories, hahaha) and then showered, changed, and headed to Seneca Rocks. Saiph and Charles were headed for home after Seneca, and I was meeting Jeremy there to climb up to the summit for sunset and rap off in the dark - something I've wanted to do for awhile.

Unfortunately, the weather was iffy when we arrived and Jeremy had zero desire to play human lightning rod (surprise! haha). Instead, the four of us hiked up to the top. It was a great finale for Saiph and Charles' trip and good exercise for Jeremy and I - even if it wasn't climbing.

I had an absolute BLAST showing new friends around WV. It was a really incredible few days for all involved.

And now, have all the photos!

Look! He's growing a a nice big boy tail!
Q in the Spanish browband <3
<3 my mare
She seriously didn't stop smiling
See? Smiles.
Fauxssoa work
More discussing and learning
Griffin worked beautifully in the high setting for the Fauxssoa; working him in it made our ride so much better
because he would duck and give to the pressure instead of becoming offended by it
Square halts!
Lets ignore my funny face and instead focus on how cute Griffin is!
He was so forward and focused on this day; proud of little man.
Didn't. Stop. Smiling.
Hot weather makes my shoulders slump. Such oppressive heat. Gah.
Q baby.
Dear self, close those fingers. Kthnxbye.
Dear self, congrats on those closed fingers!
Good shot of size comparison of the two of them.
And again, blurry, but look how big Griffin is! In my mind he's still itty bitty, but reality says otherwise.
Surprise! She's smiling! ;-)

Wandering away from me while I went to get something from the trailer.
Having a discussion about that whole "wander off" thing.
Zoooom! My 14.1 mare has a huge stride.
Look! Q hunts jumps!
Prepare for take off...
She flies!
So I had to try, too!
At the swimming hole, high water! We swim below the stepping falls.
Mule Hole
Tostones! Best I've ever had!!
My chefs
I can haz tostones?
Annnd he thinks the dishwasher is a good place to be now.
Trimming Griffin.
We took turns leading.
Shoulda grabbed a breastplate, ah well.
All grins despite the heat.
Smiling, still.
Fun bareback jaunt post trail ride.
And one final grin. =)