Friday, June 28, 2013

Q's way of going

Decided to drive Q for the first time today. After she had her initial spazz attack on the lunge line of, OMGOMGOMG THESE STRINGS ARE FOLLOWING ME. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG. Life was pleasant. She was a champ. I drove her all over the property and down the road a ways.

And thus, a perfect opportunity to film her way of going from a different point of view. Watching her move like this was great for me to see from a hoof care standpoint. It helps me to understand why structures on her feet form as they do, what ways I can trim to help her move the best, and gives me better understanding of what's normal for her.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Equine Therapy

First, go here and check out RAINIER THERAPEUTIC RIDING.

Further more, check out this news article on the program (thanks to 2-point Bling for sharing this on FB and bringing it to my attention!)

How incredible is that program? As a horseperson, I know (and you know) how incredible these animals are. How they have uncountable ways that they help people through so many life situations. This program is just another facet in the amazing saga of the horse.

From the article:  

"The horses themselves are able to understand what it feels like to have PTSD because that's how horses live. They're always hyper-vigilant, they're always anxious of their surroundings and they're slow to relax and slow to trust," says Mutter. "So I think for someone with PTSD, coming in and first having a horse that understands and doesn't judge and doesn't talk back and can't tell your secrets, is really the first piece to it."

Incredible. Totally not surprising to me at all. I love that there is a program like this out there. And while I know I could never manage running such a program, I would absolutely love to involve myself with such a program one day.

Additionally, aside from the obvious reasons this program is incredible in the way of helping veterans, I love that they lease the horses in the program. It keeps their costs down and provides the horses security of always having a home. If they can't be used in the program, they go home to their owners. Beyond helping veterans, how awesome would something like this be for horses that can no longer withstand "full" work like a strict, structured jumping, dressage, reining, or cutting regime? Horses that may still be capable of light undersaddle work or endless groundwork? Groundwork is the foundation for any work with horses; a program such as this one with lease horses would give horses like the aforementioned ones a new lease on life.

I'm in love with this program in so many ways. How about you?

Atticus and Kenai II

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

+/- of Scioto Run 50

Will the mileage count for Siena and I? No. But other than that I have no complaints about this ride experience at all. We're both happy and healthy and so much went so right all day that I have no complaints. I learned so much about managing myself and managing my horse on this ride. And the big thing? I know I'm capable of riding 50 miles. And honestly, at a slower pace than what we rode, I'm confident with the training I do on Q that she is capable of doing 50 miles, too, someday.

So now, a recap of what worked (+) and what didn't (-) on this ride.

+ Food and drink. I ate well and drank well all. damn. day. I had very little time to get ready for this ride, so I basically just threw a few things in a cooler. Hard-boiled eggs; Danimals yogurt smoothies; V8 Fusion energy drinks; watermelon; Gingersnap Larabars; PB-cheese crackers; pistachios; white cheddar cheese curds; Arizona green tea + honey; Tradewinds sweet tea; H2O. All of these things were easy to eat and eat quickly. I could throw them in my mouth at each check. The drinks were all canned except for my H2O which was in my Camelbak. At each check I'd chug a can or two of tea or V8 and refill my water for the next loop. While on loops, I made an effort to finish my Camelbak each time - except for the cool first loop that was only ~11 miles. I knew I was doing pretty well taking care of myself because I peed 2x at every check. In the future, I'd like to incorporate some protein in the form of meat (chicken salad probably) at the checks. At the end of the day, I polished off all food I hadn't finished and dug into the watermelon like whoa. Watermelon is the best thing to revive me post-exercise in heat like that. After I'd finished the watermelon, I really had no desire to eat a single thing until Sunday morning. Heat does that to me. I had no headache post-ride though.
+ Camelbak and nothing else on trail. When I ride my horse with my gear, I always have my cantle pack full of this-and-thats for the ride. If this ride had been on my own horse, I would have done this. If the ride had had 3 loops instead of 4, I likely would have stuffed my Camelbak full of more than I did. This was minimalist riding for me, but it really worked well this time around.
+ Da Brim. In past usage of my awesome helmet brim, I've received a lot of flac for it. Headed out on the 3rd loop of Scioto, I donned it. It was heating up and I needed that extra protection. Sunscreen works, too, but it makes me feel sweatier on my face. Keeping my face shaded kept me cooler and protected me from the sun. Additionally, I received SO many compliments on it. Teddy from Running Bear even snapped a photo of me. Other riders and crew had a lot of compliments as I rode out for that 3rd loop. Damn straight, y'all.
+ Fitness level. I may not have been riding my horse much these past few months, but I have been biking 2-3 days a week and climbing a fair bit. My fitness level was in a pretty incredible place. I felt great all day. The only thing that really kicked my rear was those damn stirrup leathers interfering with my legs. Were it not for that, I think I would have come out of this ride minimally sore.
+ Ariat Terrains. SO AMAZING. Walking, hiking, jogging in these was amazing all day. I have no blisters at all and wasn't footsore in the slightest!
+ My DevonAire breeches. Unlike my Kerritts bootcut breeches, these don't have a seem along the inside of my leg. This is CRUCIAL to me not getting any chafing.
+ Patagonia boy short underwear. These were AWESOME all day. Well, right up until the creek crossing when I doused myself with water. I had no chafing from underwear lines and no issues at all until they became wet from that creek. Then in a very short 5 miles I earned chafing. Grumble. But I'm noting this as a positive because I believe if I hadn't gotten my rear wet, I'd have been just fine.
+ Changes of shirts/bras all day. I sweat like a man. For each loop, I changed clothes. It didn't solve the issue 100%, but man was it nice to feel *sort of * clean. Wicking shirts all.the.way. Tank tops for the win.

- A saddle I wasn't used to. This was the biggest negative of the day. I don't know why it went so poorly for me. If I ride Siena in the VA Highlands 50 at the end of August, I'm going to bring my own stirrups/leathers/wool covers. I think maybe the wool covers will help life. It'll make the area bigger and perhaps that's the real issue? Worth a try. I'll also bring my own saddle, too, but if it doesn't fit Siena then well, that's an issue to solve later.
- Not enough NSAIDs for myself. The stirrup leather issue caused my calves to be INCREDIBLY sore. Walking down so many hills had my quads really sore, too. My core, traps, and hamstrings all had mild soreness from riding. Nothing crazy in those three muscle groups though, nothing I wouldn't expect from 50 miles of riding. My quads and calves formed this perfect storm of destruction though for my efforts to walk for 2 days post-ride. Guys, I've NEVER been that sore. It was awful. AWFUL. Day two post-ride was the worst, too. My inflammatory response peaked that morning. Despite anti-inflammatories in my system, I was miserable. I could *barely* walk. It was an exercise in futility and misery to climb stairs, sit and rise, get in and out of bed. All my body's resources were focused on those two muscle groups in my legs leaving nearly no reserves for the rest of my body. I was in bed for the large majority of that day. I had no choice. This issue is likely one I will encounter again, but I hope it is never to this extreme. I will have to be cautious to prevent it as much as I'm able.

Another big thing about this ride that is neither negative nor positive, but is merely something worth noting and learning from: I didn't really have to take care of my horse all day. Mary had that shit DIALED. I offered to help and she let me help here and there. But for the most part, she did it all. She said she liked doing it and was happy to do it. I didn't push her. I knew if it were me I'd want to do the same. I know my horses and know their tack and their habits of eating, etc. I know I can guarantee them the best care possible and it really doesn't take too much extra time to tack up two horses. Mary had food and water prepped and ready for them. She whipped up various electrolyte concoctions throughout the day and gave them to them (both horses are SO GOOD about accepting syringes with elytes - ohmygoodness). Honestly, if I'd had to worry about how my horse was doing I'd have run myself into the ground FOR SURE. Being just a rider for my first experience with a 50 was perfect. I observed the management of horses the whole day and learned a lot. I was able to perfect management of myself. Knowing what works for me and getting that dialed before I have to worry about a horse is something I feel is very important. That way, in the future, I can be a better and stronger team member for my equine partner.

This was such an incredible, incredible experience. The positives far outweigh the negatives. I had such a blast. I cannot wait to do it again. Next "big ride" experience where I'll get to use some of my new knowledge and see how it works for Q and I will be when we sweep for our endurance ride in August. We'll only be doing 14 - 18 miles at a moderate, relaxed pace, but the heat will be an element to challenge my management of Q and myself for the day. I can't wait!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My First 50

Oh, I didn't mention I was doing a 50 this weekend? Huh. Fancy that. Probably because the decision was made Thursday night at 9p, I left Friday morning at 7a, and returned at 1a Sunday. Talk about last minute!

: : : : :

Thursday late afternoon I got an email from Jen that her friend needed someone to ride her mare in the Scioto Run 50 on Saturday. She asked if I was interested and told me to call her around 9p that night. My mind immediately went into hyper drive as I tried to work through all of the logistics and whether or not I'd be able to pull this off. I'd had other plans, but nothing in stone and nothing that couldn't be postponed or moved. I had a hard limit I needed to attend to for Sunday, but Jen had assured already that we'd be back Saturday night post-ride (not a long drive for us && her two horses were doing the 25).

I was visiting my old summer camp Thursday night (Happy 150th West Virginia, couldn't think of a better want to spend it than at the Mill with 4-H). I had no very little time to prep. I made a plea to my brother's friends to get Kenai out on some walks the two days I'd be gone, and I made the call to Jen to get logistics while I was visiting the Mill.

Everything fell into place rapidly.

On my way home from the Mill, I picked up some snacks. I packed very conservatively and efficiently that night, and had to run by the barn for only one thing on my way to Jen's the next morning. I arrived at her place around 8a and helped Jen and her daughter finish packing, fetched their two Arabs from the field, and loaded up. We were pulling out of her place by 8:30a on our way to Scioto.

As we drove, Jen told me about her friend whose mare I would be riding the following day. Mary had been involved in the sport since the late 90s, and she had experience with events around the country and internationally. Jen assured me I'd love her and we'd get along great. She was right.

As we pulled into ride camp, we looked for Mary who said she'd save us a spot. We'd driven an entire loop around the area, confused because we hadn't seen her, only to turn to loop back again to see a woman of slender, athletic build with blonde hair, wearing neon pink sports bra and shorts, and the most radiant smile you've ever seen jogging through the grass waving her hands at us. Meet Mary.

Mary helped us get situated and then we all settled beneath the canopy to talk and avoid the sun for the rest
Little Siena and I
of the afternoon. (So. Hot. And. Humid. UGH.) Jen and Mary shared so many stories about ride experiences around the country and internationally, incredible stories! It was so much fun sitting there soaking in all of those stories. From getting lost on a pre-race warm up ride in Montana (complete with search and rescue) to learning to drive a hatchback through France. So many

Registration was at 3p so we all wandered over and got situated there without issue. With a signature on a check and waiver, I was all set up for my first 50. A lime green card was handed to me and off I went to vet in Miss Siena. This redheaded mare is a grand daughter of Belesemo Trad, a stallion from a breeding program whose horses I've had my eye on for years. I was over the moon to be able to ride her for my first attempt at a 50. She and the other three horses (Mary's Gryphon and Jen's Vinny and Prince) vetted in without any issues.

Immediately after, the four of us tacked up for a short ride and headed out. I needed to figure out if Mary's tack would work for me. She'd told Jen to let me know  that I could bring my own saddle as long as it was a smaller English-type saddle. I had figured if she already had a saddle meeting that criteria, then I would be fine. And thus, I found myself in an Ansur dressage saddle. It. Was. LOVELY. Siena was a bit sassy, tossing her head here and there, but other than that, she was a very wonderful little ride. Her sassiness was definitely of the sort that would disappear with some miles. Her gaits were very pleasant and we got along relatively well from the get-go. I say relatively because this little mare is a bit stand-offish with her affections. I mean, we had just met. She tolerated me and I her. Civil but no love. She was certain to let me know when she didn't approve of my riding, however. Whenever I would adjust myself and put myself off balance for a moment in doing so, she let me know with a evil little stare over her shoulder. What a character!

: : : : :

The morning dawned early. I was awoken at 5a by a phone alarm and throaty nickers of horses greeting their humans. It was chilly in the 60s, but I welcomed it. Highs were to be in the 90s and the humidity would make it all the worse. With a pulse criteria of 60 we'd need to be careful. Mary was shooting for a 7 hour 50 with progressively faster loop splits as the day went on. She knew her horses, so I followed her lead.

There were 36 entries in the 50. We left at the 6a start in positions 11 and 12. The ride would be 4 loops. Pink was just over 11 miles and blue was around 14. The order of our day was: pink, 45 min. hold, blue, 45 min. hold, blue, 30 min. hold, pink. Four loops sounded no bueno to me, but more opportunity to be in camp with my food and water refills was lucky.

The first loop was quick. The hills were steeper and rockier than anticipated, but the horses did well. Mary and I chatted amiably as we went. The sun crested the distant mountains as we reached the ridgeline. We pointed and ooo'ed and aww'ed at it as we went. I was impressed with the terrain in a state I'd previously considered flat. The valleys were full of morning mist and cooler as a result. The ridgelines were already warm from the rays of sun that reached them; our long shadows bounced off distant trees as we trotted along. Before I knew it we were back at camp and vetted through without an issue. The horses were already eating and drinking like champs, so I joined their efforts with some of my own. I can happily report (spoiler alert) that Siena and I both were peeing well all day long. Very hydrated ladies, we were.

Off we went to the second loop, our first round of blue. The steep climb at the beginning of this loop was just lovely...not. Nothing too bad in my mind, but for horses that predominantly train on the flat it was bad. Both Siena and Gryphon tackled it like champs though. This loop had a lot more up-down than the pink loop and 3 miles on a gravel road (blah). The road went quickly though, as we were able to canter most of it.  Ride management had a truck with chocolate goodies for the riders and water, alfalfa, timothy, grain, and oats for the horses. Our horses were drinking at nearly every water-filled creek. Plodding along without issue. Me though? I was starting to find issue with the saddle. While the stirrup leathers and stirrups were the exact same as I use, the stirrup bar placement on this saddle was different. Something about it caused the stirrup leathers to put pressure in an undue place on my shin/calf area. That steady, constant pressure was starting to concern me, but I rode on. I didn't really have any other choice, and I figured I could deal.

Mary and I rode several miles of this loop with another rider who is in her late 70s. The three of us chatted for a bit and I shared my knowledge of the flora and fauna with them as we went along. At the most significant downhill of this loop, Siena decided it was time for me to start doing my part and walking. Mary has been babying her on downhills because she's only 5. I hopped off and continued on foot. Happy to do my part and help the horse out. The third rider we'd been with rode off as I took time to find a tree to use to remount (treeless saddle). While mounting from a downed tree is a normal thing, I have to mention the fact that the fallen tree I found was at least 3 feet off the ground. I had to scramble up on it and do quite the vaulting act to get onto an uncooperative Siena. I was successful though, complete with fist pumping and a cheer.

: : : : :

Out trot out for the second vet check/hold presented a little blippet in our day. The vet insisted that Siena was lame in her RF. He determined it was in the ankle area and that it wasn't major; he gave her a B for it, and wanted us to monitor it. We were pretty certain it was probably from her over reaching with her hinds and clocking herself a time or two, but we were glad he'd planted a seed of doubt in our minds so we could go easier on the third loop. We iced also iced it during the check. I stuffed my face as the horses stuffed theirs. Before I knew it, we were heading out onto the third loop, round two of blue.

The first mile was misery for me. Those stirrup leathers were really making me sore. REALLY sore. I was focused on determining if Siena was off at all (she wasn't) and on how much my legs were hurting. It was a mile of discomfort and worry. However, with the realization that she was fine, just needed to get her mojo rhythm back, I quit worrying about her and became more focused on my own pain. Blah. Additionally, the heat was vamping up at this point. The humidity had been misery since our first hold, but the added heat (a high of 96!!!!) really made it rough.

That long hill was conquered again at a more moderate pace. Uphills were easier on my leg. Cantering was much better on it, too, as that movement was different from the steady, consistent trot. However, by the time we'd reached the chocolate truck on this loop not even the canter was appeasing my discomfort. I'd already dropped my stirrups one hole on the second loop (I knew I'd drop them as she settled into her work), but I dropped them another hole on the third loop. It relieved the pressure the tiniest amount. Mary was worried for me, but I told her that I knew we were halfway through this loop - I'd make it. Jen and her daughter would be finished when we got in for our last hold, I could use one of their Boz saddles to finish the last 11 miles. I dislike the pommel on the Boz saddles, but I could deal with it for 11 miles. I could no longer deal with this pressure on my legs.

I walked all of the significant downhills on this third loop. Our time was slower than the first time through, but we were being conservative for Siena. I was happy to get off and walk for my own comfort level as much as for her's.

At the third hold the other vet vetted us through. She had no issue with the RF, insisting instead that it was the LH. She noted that Siena was cramped up in that leg. This was fixable. There was a masseuse in camp. However, we couldn't find her during the 30 minute hold. Mary massaged Siena's rear for a bit while Jen tacked her up with her daughter's Boz for me. We decided I would post to the right diagonal to help conserve that LH and that we wouldn't canter at all. It was only ~11 miles. We were out of camp at 2:43p, plenty of time to finish within time.

Siena was whooped. Gryphon was whooped. Mary and I were hot, but still had go in our tanks. We walked all downhills. Mary walked one uphill. Gryphon appreciated it and helped push her up the hill with his nose time and time again. Sweet boy. I stayed IN the saddle for the uphill though as I was starting to feel adverse affects from the heat. I'm very prone to heat illness, so I have to stay diligent with myself. We rode several miles more and finally reached a stream crossing. I was already off from walking down the hill with Siena. I let her drink as I splashed water all over myself. If it weren't for wanting to keep my feet dry, I'd have lain down in the creek. I was THAT miserable and concerned with my well-being at that point. Thoroughly soaked except for my boots, horses sponged with thirst quenched, we set out for the last several miles to the finish.

Gryphon was getting excited. He'd picked up his big trot again and was moving out in front of us. Siena's mojo hadn't really returned for this loop. Poor girl was really fading with the combo of heat, humidity, and hills. Terrain was ROUGH, yo. Almost as bad as our ride, but not *quite*. Ohio does have more flat areas than we do, after all.

Siena trotted along behind Gryphon, but fell further and further back. I let her. I called to Mary that Siena was whooped and we slowed for awhile. But we trotted again as we reached camp. We'd passed several riders on this last loop and Mary wanted to trot on into the finish in case they tried to
Siena munching post-ride
race us. Siena perked up once she could see ridecamp.

Mary and I rode across the finish line hand in hand. We'd tied for 5th. Now all we had to do was pass the vet check!

The masseuse saw to Siena's rear end for a few minutes. We stuffed the horses faces. Jen and her daughter helped us out as we were both whooped. After a short time, Mary decided it was time to meet our maker to see if Siena would pass or fail that final check. I was hoping we'd get the vet who thought it was her LH, as none of us could see the RF issue the other vet noted. The LH vet wasn't around though, treating one of several colicky horses it sounded like.

 Mary trotted Siena (she'd done this at the second check, too, as Siena was perkier for her than me). The vet muttered about the RF again. He listened to her gut and looked her over very thoroughly. No one said anything. Within a minute or two he said she had thumps. Crap. He told us to get her some calcium and alfalfa. I watched as he scrawled "PULLED: METABOLIC, LAME RF" on my card. I gave a small sigh. Mary trotted out Gryphon, got her completion, and we headed to attend to Siena. Mary was so sorry for me. I was sorry for myself, but not much. I'd ridden 50 miles, hadn't I? That was a HUGE first. I was proud of myself. I was proud of Siena, and now it was time for us to make sure she was going to be okay. We gave her calcium orally and got her in the shade and eating alfalfa. Within 20 minutes she was her normal self again. Relief.

So, I didn't complete my first 50. But I did ride (and hike) for 50 miles. A faster 50 miles than I'll likely ever ride on my own horses. We came across that finish line around 4p. With two hours of holds, that gives us a ride time around 7 hours. Hot damn. Additionally, I'd managed myself relatively well with that awful, awful heat. I ate and drank well, all damn day. Siena was healthy, happy, eating, and drinking. So we got pulled at the finish. So WHAT. There are far more positives than negatives in this situation.

The bigger positive though? In doing this ride I gained a friend and so, so, so much experience and knowledge. Riding 50 miles with someone who has over a decade of experience in this sport led to so many conversations and tidbits of helpful information. In fact, Mary hopes to have me ride Siena in some rides later this year! That is so exciting for me.

Oh, and as an added fact, only 18 of the 36 starters finished that 50 mile ride; I'm uncertain about the 25. Those aren't great odds.

But our crew came through without any major incident. Jen's horse (his first 25, and she walked/jogged half of it to conserve him - she's seriously, so, so good to her horses) didn't pulse down until the last minute and ended up getting the turtle for the 25; her daughter's horse had no issue. We may not have finished/finished where/when we wanted, but we were all healthy and happy. I count it a success...even if my phone did quit working and lead me to have very few photos and no GPS for the ride. ;-)

That's all folks!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Confo critique

Hey y'all. I need a favor. Please give your opinions about the conformation of the little Gypsy Vanner sporthorse filly so far; she's around 1.5 months old in these photos.

Her current owner was working on very basic lunging with her (momma was nearby eating grass and VERY unconcerned with baby's training session). In the filly's exuberance (encouraged by Kenai's herding) she went over this little jump. We let her do it a couple times more for photo's sake. She was not over worked or abused in doing this. It was minimal effort. It is no different than her antics in the field leaping the stream or jumping over Kenai as they play together (no, seriously, that happened once).

Where do you think her potential future career lies? 
What would she excel in?

Please, please, please comment with your conformation critiques. Polite constructive criticism welcome. Rudeness is not welcome.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Q's hoofers

Or is it hooffers? Hoofers. Hooffers. I like the one "f" better.


Here is a photo documentation of Q's hooves. PLEASE EXCUSE THE SCRATCHES TREATMENT. It looks like she's got an oopy-goopy diseased leg. That is not true. Okay, well, its partially true, I suppose. Scratches is a bitch to treat and Q hates me messing with it. Just ask the bruise the size of an orange on my quad where she kicked me [I deserved it]. But seriously, the pink salve is a miracle product so far. Unsightly but oh-so functional.

So without further ado, photos of Q's hoofers.

No contracted heels here!
Right front. Frog still hasn't come back as full as it was, but with more and more work it returns.
Still trying to determine if the flaring she develops on her fores is necessary for her and where the happy balance is.
Left front.
Right hind. Helloooooo beefy frog.
Right hind with scratches treatment. This frog has some catching up to do with its neighbor.

My "mustang roll" efforts are far from beautiful and she could use a touch up trim to polish up her edges. What I'm doing it seems to be pretty damn functional for my horses. Additionally, check out the return of her frogs! Get this girl into full work and those frogs beef right up. She still has a lot of false sole, but wow, her soles and overall hoof horn is in SO much better condition than when I got her a year ago. She still doesn't have beautiful glossy sole like Griffin does, but she's got some right tough feet that truly crunch some gravel. They're very, very functional for her. What more could I ask for?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WW: Horse suitcase

Seriously guys, how awesome is this suitcase? I scored a huge deal on it (like 75% off!!) and I'm pretty psyched to have something that will stand out in the turn-style at the airport whenever I travel.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Typical evening

This is purely a post so I can share the following two photos that haven't found a home in previous posts.

This photo is demonstrating the lovely, weird weather we have in WV. Sun shower or sunflakes.

And then here is our lovely little herd. They've grown in recent months. We have quite the array of coat colors represented.

From the far left and working right as each appears in the photo we have:
Saja; grey Egyptian Arab
Q; brown Morab (yes, in case I didn't mention that on here recently either, the consensus of many lately is that she's likely a Morab)
Griffin; grey TWH x
Filly; roan buckskin paint Gypsy Vanner sporthorse
Mayer; sorrel QH
Calamity; purlino QH
Little Bit; overo painted TWH
Oliver; black (that fades brown) Kentucky Mtn. horse
Pokey; red dun QH
and Bill; overo painted TWH

Monday, June 17, 2013


Liebster Blog!

I'm happy (and at the same time doomed to answer a million questions) thanks to Saiph. She has tagged me as a recipient of the Liebster Blog Award. Thanks, lady!

How to Accept the Award
The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs that have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a word in German that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links back to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
11 Random Facts
  1. To the disbelief of many, I am a natural redhead.
  2. I'm a bit of a gear slut; I have an insane amount of outdoors gear and can get rather techy when you ask me about specs relating to it.
  3. I hate moving, which is a pity because I'll be moving in about 2 weeks.
  4. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone kicks the back of a chair I'm sitting in.
  5. While I've traveled to 38/50 states including Alaska and Hawaii, I have yet to live outside of WV.
  6. Along that line of thought, I managed to get a position working in my home town after college so I've moved back. My job wasn't stable enough to sign a lease until a few months ago, thus I'm finally moving into my own place in a few weeks.
  7. While rarely (if ever mentioned on my blog), I work as a biologist and GIS technician as my 9-5 (okay, 7-5) job.
  8. I have witnessed and handled many endangered and threatened species throughout my career.
  9. I originally thought I wanted to be a veterinarian, but changed my mind in HS when I realized how long I would have to remain in school and be stressed and competitive with my courses to be a vet/make it into a good vet school. Additionally, to be the kind of equine vet I wanted to be, I realized I would have virtually no time for a life outside of work. I live for my weekends and adventures (if that wasn't obvious), and thus I chose a different career path.
  10. I'm a bit of a neat freak and have most of my possessions organized very tidily into boxes/shelves/etc.
  11. While spiders definitely startle me, I'm not nearly as deathly afraid of them as I once was. The majority of spiders I encounter I can now confront calmly. If they have abdomens bigger than a quarter and hairy though? All bets are off. I will scream, run away, talk myself down, then return with something large that has smashing power.

11 Questions from Saiph

1. Who is your favorite horse? (Either real or fictional) Why? The Red Stallion. I dreamed of finding an island, braving the maze of tunnels, and then discovering a secret horse herd just like in the book.
2. What is the most exotic/unusual pet you've ever owned? I have owned Madagascar hissing cockroaches (the huge cockroaches they use in all the movies, think Men In Black) and I have owned an albino hedgehog.
3. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a horse trainer. And then when people told me I'd always be poor and not be able to have a ton of horses I wanted to be a vet. And then I realized what I covered above and decided to do something within natural resources.
4. If you ended up being something else, what made you change your mind? See above.
5. What are your long-term riding career goals? Compete in a 100 mile endurance ride. Maybe compete in some sort of XC event or fox hunt.
6. What is your greatest riding achievement? As far as awards go, I was High Point Champion at a show years and years and years ago. Beyond that, I think starting Griffin and doing all of his training on my own is a pretty big deal.
7. What is your greatest regret? Not being able to buy Stanley and have him as my own. ...there may still be time one day for that though.
8. What is your favorite movie? Why? Ack, I hate this question. I have way too many favorite movies in way too many genres.
9. Have you ever read a book that moved you so much that it changed your life? Which book? I don't know that any one book changed me super radically. Certain books I've read at certain points in my life have definitely had an impact on me (i.e., Eat, Pray, Love when I was going through a really hard break-up).
10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? What would your house be like? I love WV, but I've been here forever. I really covet the west and hope to live there for a part of my life. West or high elevation WV - Canaan or Spruce area. Either location I'd have a cabin-esque home. Something homely and rustic, yet with a modern twist to some of the interior features.
11. If you could have any saddle, which one would it be? I haven't ridden in one to know for certain if it would work for me, but I'm lusting hard after a Specialized Endurolite. We shall see...

11 Questions for Those I tag
  1.  Do you remember when your love of horses began?
  2. What horse-related thing do you hope to accomplish before you die?
  3. What is a non-horse thing you hope to accomplish before you die?
  4. Did your parents support your horse-habit growing up, or was it something you pursued on your own?
  5. Unicorns or pegasus?
  6. If you had the opportunity to go to the Olympics in any sport, equine or non, what would it be and why?
  7. Most amazing vacation destination you've ever been to? A place you haven't been to yet but hope to one day visit?
  8. Shoes, boots, or bare? Why?
  9. Best birthday ever: what did you do and why was it so awesome?
  10. Blogosphere friendships, do you know/have you met any of your blog friends IRL?
  11. Seriously, guys, which came first, the chicken or the egg?

11 Blogs I Nominate  
  1. Therese at Evan's Eventing
  2. Allison at Adventures with Shyloh
  3. Andrea at Andrea's Animal Adventures
  4. Jordan at A Little Slice of My Life
  5. Ashley at Go Pony
  6. Funder at It Seemed Like A Good Idea
  7. Jessica at Hopeful Jumpers
  8. Molly's Hoof Blog Journey to Better Hooves
  9. Val at Memoir's of a Horse Girl 
  10. Bird at Redheaded Endurance
  11.  Irish Horse at Trails and Trials

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Friday was a long day, a good day.

I was out the door by 9:30a and headed to pick Jordan up. I dropped her off at her barn, went to mine and hooked up the trailer, went back to hers and picked she and Orion up, headed back to my barn where she played in the round pen with him a bit, then loaded him back up and headed to that flat FS road in the adjacent county (Dee was hauling her horse, T's horse, and Q). We had a bit of a parking snafu with the bigger rig when we got there, but with three problem-solving brains at work we eventually got it figured.

And so we headed off! We had a late start to the day (3p) but we had the best weather of the day for our ride. We rode for a good 3 hours, two out and one back. I was so happy to be seated behind those lovely dark brown ears on the trail again. Griffin's ears are lovely, too, but I really missed my girl.

Q and Saja trucked right out from the get-go. Both horses seemed to think they were trekking out on an endurance ride. After a few suspicious logs and rocks Q seceded from her "I must lead" role and let Saja take over. The road was intermittently gravel, gravel + sand, cobble + sand. Q was barefoot the whole day with minimal issue. Not too shabby for a horse who's been on stall rest and pasture since April 27 with minimal work!

Jordan and Orion
It was Jordan's first time riding her horse away from home - and I think her longest ride ride to date probably? She rode very well and even saved herself from tumbling off his back at one point, it was quite the save and something to be proud about. Once we get her in a true saddle and not the "treeless" thing she's in (I refuse to even call this thing treeless, its basically a glorified bareback pad), things will be lots better. I don't like how much she's having to compensate with her riding to make up for how much the saddle sucks (constantly slips, stirrup bar waayyy too far back so her legs are thrust backward while her upper body is thrust forward). Its not fair to her, though in her credit she does a phenomenal job!

When we got to the overlook this time, I hopped off and led Q through the dense tunnel of rhodo and laurel out onto the exposed cliff top.Why? Because she'll follow me anywhere and I love that I can enjoy a view like that with my horse. The fact that she was on an exposed rock face high above the Blackwater Canyon was a complete nonissue for my girl. The slow realization that there was no grass on top of that rock face? That was a growing concern for her. All the same, we got a few good photos, and one silly video when I thought I'd been in photo mode which I have shared for your amusement. (Yes, I always talk to her.)

I was on cloud nine the whole ride because I was riding my girl on the "trail" again and she was doing so well. Eager ears were out, she was eating and drinking like a champ, and really seemed to enjoy herself on the whole. So much for the rehab program of 30 minute flat rides, we ended up doing a 3 hour flat-ish ride.  Dee kept close watch on Q throughout the day, telling me how awesome she looked the whole time. Not even a flicker of unsoundness in her gaits.Yes, gaits. We walked, trotted, and even cantered some. And when she realized I was okay with letter her canter little spurts she was elated.

I was really proud of her the few occasions when I wanted her to hold back and not canter and gallop with Dee and T since Jordan was hesitant to go that fast. I held her down to a trot and then a walk, told her it was just like a race, the front-runners get to go do their front-runner business and we stay where we are. It was one of the moments when I would swear she understood exactly what I said as she settled RIGHT down into a walk. SUCH a good girl.

All in all, we probably did about 12 miles. Two hours out until we decided to turn around, and at an average walking pace of 3 mph, that would put us at a total of 12 miles on the day. Q looked strong and sound the whole time. Happy ears. Sparkle in her eye. I worried a little that it would be too much for her, but its a flat road with no tricky footwork and minimal inclines. For the horse who is accustomed to rougher trails, this was simple. I think it was the best form of rehab for her as it got her off the farm and back into her element and her favorite job. You can bet we'll be going back out there later this summer for training rides! There is even a single-track trail that is really rough like portions of the OD trails that we can practice on. I can't wait to give her the opportunity to practice fancy footwork on tricky terrain like that.

Love my girl. Love this state. Love these trails.

Sunday Stills: Griffin

Headed out on ride #2 away from home with little man today.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Catch Up: Hard to bit

A week or so ago, I agreed to help Miss Jordan, who bought Orion from me years back (my first horse for new readers), with Orion's newly developed I-hate-the-bit routine - which could also be referred to his I-believe-I-am-the-world's-best-giraffe impression. He has no dental, skeletal, or muscular issues. This is strictly a behavioral issue. And he's not violent about not wanting his bit, he has just learned that he can evade Jordan if he thrusts his head waaayyy up high. And evading bitting is evading work in his mind.

Jordan is hands down one of the best entry-level horse people I've met. She's got really good instincts about what is right and wrong. She's not afraid to ask questions, not afraid to search for her own answers among reputable sources, and not afraid to ask for help when she's uncertain. Traits that are very admirable and that I wish more people (myself included) possessed more of.

However, she's still new to the whole owning a horse game. Newer than most new folks even. See, Jordan didn't have the luxury of growing up around horses all the time or having lessons and constant interaction like many of us (I fall into the lucky group, here). Some of the intuition around horses comes from time spent. The longer you spend focused within a certain subject matter, the more subtleties and idiosyncrasies you notice and become accustomed to that will help you better understand. Learning is never (ever ever ever  - getting back together no we-ee are never ever ever getting back together) ending.

And thus, small warning signs of Orion's developing aspirations to be the world's greatest giraffe-horse may not have been as obvious until he had truly perfected the art of giraffitude. But no worry, we know he was once capable of being a true horse and not a giraffe, so bringing him back to his roots shouldn't be impossible, right? Right.

I really had no idea where to begin with this pursuit.  I figured cookies should be involved. A head down cue perhaps? But its not like he wouldn't put his head down per se. He'd put it down. But then as soon as the bit came near - like very near on the cusp of entering his mouth - he'd go into full-on giraffe-mode. Stick his nose way up in the air and just leave it there. You take a step to counter this he takes a step to counter you. It seemed he'd turned the entire bitting process into a game.

So how did I experimentally approach this?

My goal was to evolve this game into something else entirely that he would hopefully find more fun. Cookies if he let us simply slip a finger into the corner of his mouth. Excessively. Get a finger or thumb in and just hook his cheek as you would a fish. Cookie if he dealt with it without being a giraffe. If he was a giraffe leave finger hooked until he brought the head down. He realized [relatively] quickly that we weren't going to play his game any more. He couldn't merely "escape" by being a giraffe. Within 20 minutes he let us put the bit in his mouth with zero issue.

We'd taken his evasion game and instead turned it into this fun game full of praise and cookies. The issue became a non-issue in well under an hour - versus prior it was taking an hour plus for Jordan to even put the bit in his mouth! I think the video I took for her at the end was a whole 12 seconds in length from me saying, "I'm filming" to her having the bit in his mouth. Hurrah!

I let her know she'd likely have to pursue part of the cookie game each time she was ready to put the bridle on for a week or so, but that she'd definitely be able to wean him off cookies quickly. So happy (and surprised) that the experiment went well and solved his "issue". I think he agrees, too, cookies are always a plus.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dressage beginnings

In our half-hour sessions, I've realized its the perfect time to start incorporating some dressage work and getting Q to go "on the bit". Cowboy taught her how to "give a soft feel" which is essentially the cowboy term for what you dressage people call "on the bit". She's got an incredible foundation on her training from cowboy man (his methods incorporating training similar to that of Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman), all the better for me to build up from! With just a little encouragement I can get Q to "give a soft feel" and be "on the bit". The current problem is keeping her focused for any length of time when working at the barn. She'll collect beautifully and then she notices her friends in the field and is all, HEY! THERE ARE MY FRIENDS! DO YOU SEE MY FRIENDS? DO YOU SEE THEM?! THEY'RE OVER THERE! Annnd then we begin again. I think its progress though.

We'd been riding on the nice flat road, hence the hi-vis vest

Some folks I know will argue that "a cowboy-trained horse can do anything", but in reality the proper training base on a horse will allow that horse to do anything. I know people from the western and English disciplines love to pick at each other about who is "best" and what is "better" and "proper" and "functional" and any number of other things. But from my observations of well-trained cow horses and well-trained horses in English disciplines, much of what the horse ultimately does is the same. Different terms are used. Different tack is used. But when it comes down to it, both training methods will turn out a horse who can travel in a very collected fashion and can utilize their body and its movements in efficient, sometimes "fancy", ways. And frankly, English disciplines (moreso, certain trainers pushing for too much too fast on a "hot" horse that is so wound up from standing in a barn and not having a life as a horse that it can't think straight) have trended toward applying excessive "contact" on the horse's mouth in recent years to the point where I feel (and I know Saiph has shared this view) the integrity of what a horse and rider can accomplish together has been a bit tarnished. The "old style" of dressage accomplished just as much (or more) without plowing away on a horse's mouth. I have personally witnessed cow horses (I say this instead of QH because not all working horses are QH just as not all endurance horses are Arabs) collecting and doing beautiful movements without the kind of "contact" many English disciplined riders would use.

But I'll step down from my tiny soapbox and give you more video screenshots from Monday evening (ones above from last Thursday). Monday Q was feeling QUITE feisty about life. She executed a lot of lateral movement at the trot and even tossed in some super collected canter in her efforts to gravitate toward her friends. Oh, and its worth mentioning that throughout the entire sequence in photos below there were chainsaws, a screaming child, a puppy, Kenai, and gun shots happening. I may post the video eventually. I'm currently too lazy to wait for that to upload.

You want lateral movement like this?! Fiesty, fiesty mare!

It will be interesting to see where some formal lessons get us in a few months. Guidance from fellow bloggers on how to proceed with this whole mess is helpful, too. Guess we'll see what I can do with her + what lessons can do for us. My riding attire will never be formal though, haha.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dog of Water and Rocks

Zonked out in his dug-out dirt bed
I could tell about another perfect climbing weekend with great people complete with three great rope climbs at Kaymoor and a day of deep water soloing at the lake with all the pertinent climbing details
about the routes, but instead I'm going to tell about how incredible my dog was throughout all of this.

I had obligations at home Friday so Kenai and I made an early departure Saturday morning to meet folks for a day of climbing at Kaymoor. The weather wasn't ideal, so we met at the house and got a little bit of a late start, but it was all good. We arrived at the parking lot above Butchers Branch to find only a few cars. VERY odd for a Saturday at the NRG. It ended up being our group and one other group for the day. SO awesome.

The other group had three dogs. Kenai was a very good citizen around them, even though one of their dogs was really jealous anytime Kenai was close to the other dog's "girls". For all climbing trips, Kenai wears his remote trainer/shock collar. Its rare that I have to shock him as he sticks around  very close to where I am, usually dozing on a rock or dirt bed or exploring the bushes.

A short crisp whistle stops him in his tracks to turn and make eye contact with me; a whistle followed by his name has him pay even more mind; a whistle, name call, and arm gesture brings him to my side to check-in. I can call "No" at him to stop things, "C'mere" to have him stop and come to me, "Go" to have him move away from wherever he is (if he's standing on a rope for instance). He is respectful of people and children and other dogs, though he is a shameless beggar who will sit feet away from those who are eating and giving them his best sad husky puppy face (to which nearly everyone except me gives in to whether I've banned this action or not).

I had more compliments about his behavior than ever before this weekend. I'm not particularly certain why, but was proud of my pup for being so awesome. His worst trait about being a crag dog is that he occasionally likes to curl up and sleep atop ropes. No, no, no. Ropes need to be respected as they're helping protect our lives and this means no humans or canines standing or lying upon them. Usually a sharp "NO" and "GO" will redirect Kenai.

He runs ahead during our hikes, stopping around corners to wait to see me come around them ebfore going too much further, or pausing at my whistle. When I'm climbing or when he's grown tired, he finds an out-of-the-way place (usually keeping me in sight) to nap. If its sunny, he'll find a shady napping point, usually locating himself as close to me as he is able. He'll just doze in his spot and watch activity around him.

Saturday at the crag he had the "safety net" of his remote collar on, but Sunday at the lake he didn't. He was just wearing his life jacket. I towed him out into the water and had him swim several hundred yards (a break in the middle and a noodle under his waist on the way back for more assistance as the water was choppy from wind and boats). He was tuckered out after that and spent the rest of the day dozing uphill in the shade. There were easily two dozen people crammed in the tiny area near the cliff access at Whippoorwill. Despite the whirlwind of activity Kenai dozed most of the day post-swim, or silently observed all that was going on. We made certain that at least one person was on shore with
him at all times so he didn't fret too much (apparently he really cried the first time we all swam away and around the corner), but other than that, he was left to his own devices for the day.

Did my husky, with no containment or remote collar "safety net" run away? No. Not at all. In fact, I have more and more people comment to me how he is the ONLY husky they have EVER seen that behaves this well, sticking around and respecting my every word (most of the time). When he begged from people when I was in sight of it I'd give him a terse command and he'd cease the behavior and move onto another activity, sleeping primarily.

He was gentle with the small child who was there for part of the day, respected the space of climbers and their belongings, and came to check in with me at the waters edge when I gave a whistle. SUCH a good boy. I'm seriously going to be so hard-pressed to ever find/create a dog as wonderful as him. He's creating some seriously large paws to fill one day. He's seriously [one of] the best dog[s] ever.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rehab riding

Two sessions down, another few weeks to go. My BO and vet and everyone else that has seen her in action thus far thinks she's great and that she's gonna be fine far before I think she will be. And this may very well be true! However, I'm cautious. I would hate to do something too fast and then "break" her for life. She's got way too much potential and way too much life ahead for me to risk that. Its killing me (yes, even after two sessions) to not push a little harder. But I'm going to stick with it. The fear of her hurting is enough to keep me on track with my plans.

Saiph sent me a rehab riding plan for weak stifles that I'm following. It consists of 30 minute rides 5-6x/week. Beginning with 4 min. trot/1 min. walk for 6 reps. You slowly increase the trot minutes and decrease the walk minutes as the weeks pass, or stall at one particular set if needed. Saiph suggested flat without cavaletti or ground poles for the first month; add cavaletti and ground poles and slight slopes with trotting and cantering for second month; resume normal activities on third month.

Post-ride; she wasn't even sweaty!
Keeping slopes out of the workout is nigh impossible at home. I live in WV! Smack in the middle of are the Mountain State only the eastern half really has the sizable mountains)! The barnyard is flat. Any other riding from the barn involves hills, though there is only 1 short incline between me and the rail trail which is flat... At any rate, bottom line is that I'll have to trailer away to gain more flat area to work on.
the Appalachians at that (no, the whole state is not within this mountain chain, though we

I will likely move faster through the program than what is described above, but will do so cautiously. We are walking and trotting ground poles currently. I have to hold her back from trying to canter, too. Yes, only after two rides! And only riding in the "boring" barn yard. She just gets a little eager and zoomy on our 1 minute trot sessions right now and will go into her ~10mph trot without any encouragement on my part. As BO has observed, watching Q's behavior while she moves suggests a horse that has no concern about pain at all. Her eyes are bright, her ears are forward and eager, her movement is forward and steady with no noticeable hitches in her stride and movement.

My goal for the rehab riding is to keep it to flats as much as I can these next two months. Barn yard. Rail trail. Flat USFS road in the adjacent county. Trailering to the local arena. Trailering to lessons.

Wait, lessons?! Yes, lessons. There is a centered riding instructor about an hour and a half north of me. I'm looking forward to trailering Q up there some next month and August for a few lessons. The concepts I gain from her coupled with the 101 Dressage Exercises book will be great training for little miss Q. And then, come August, its back to jumping, back to trails, back to "full" training (3 days a week: 1x speed intervals, 1x hills, 1x strength incorporating dressage, jumping, and distance into those categories) with the goal of doing Fort Valley I and II at the very end of October.

The accident has definitely been a blip in our competitive career, but a good thing as far as progressing our teamwork and abilities in other disciplines that will ultimately help our endurance career. I'm looking forward to moving forward with dressage concepts this summer.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Riding hurts

...or at least riding youngsters hurts.

Saturday mid-morning I headed out with D and T to do a little ride on a flat road in the adjacent
county. D's been telling me about this road for awhile noting how awesome it would be for Griffin since its relatively flat. He'll be 3 years old next month, and while I've started him under saddle, I don't want to do frequent or heavy US work with him yet. So a flat road ride through the woods on USFS road that doesn't get a lot of traffic sounded like a perfect idea.

We loaded the three horses into the stock trailer - Griffin loaded like an old pro - and headed out. Upon arrival at our destination about 30 minutes away from the barn, I pulled Griffin off the trailer to find him VERY sweated up from the ride. Poor fella was a little stressed (and it was hot and humid) from the ride. No heavy breathing though. Within 10 minutes he was drying off. Not bad for first trailer ride away from the farm.

We tacked up the horses and headed down the road; Griffin wasn't even bothered by the Renegades I'd tossed on his front feet, he'd never worn them prior! Good man. The rpad was a very gentle grade that followed along the upper contour lines of the Blackwater Canyon. Intermittently shady and sunny.

Griffin started out so eagerly. He has an incredibly fast walk it seems. He plowed out ahead of the other two horses fearlessly. He led for much for the first third of the ride. He oggled a few boulders along the roadside, but learned quickly that while they are big and contrast in color greatly from the surroundings that they aren't, in fact, horse-eating monsters.

We stopped through a campground to see if the horses would drink from the stream about a third of the way through the ride. The seasoned ex-endurance horse (19 yr. old Arab) plodded down through the little single track leading to the stream and right into the water. Oliver (4 yr. old KYMH) hesitated a bit, but did go down and get a drink - D led him.

I also decided to lead Griffin down when it was his turn. He was having none of it. I think the majority of the issue was that the stream bed was bedrock/boulder which were all a very light cream/white color in comparison with the surroundings. This wigged him out. He's encountered streams, but not with a bedrock-type like this. Ultimately I grabbed a stick and did the same routine I did (and Dom does) to get a horse to load on a trailer. We never made it all the way to the stream (sigh) but we did end on a positive note of him stepping forward. Note to self: bring dressage whip always for future outings! That stick wasn't big, but far more dense and therefore heavy.

We plodded along down the road a ways further. A large stumpy branch was stuffed in a sink hole in the road to ward away cars. Griffin bravely surpassed this "monster" first before the other horses. Very good boy! However, a little ways further there was a stream crossing in the middle of the road. Same cream/white bedrock. We had to herd Griffin across it, but it didn't take much effort. On the way home later it was a non-issue.

We got to what I deemed should be the turn-around point for our ride and headed back. When we were about half way back to the trailer after the turn-around the "fun" began. My steady-eddy youngster decided he was through being awesome and would now exhibit some true greenie behavior.

We were chatting away, walking three abreast down the road with Griffin on the far right. I don't know WHAT he saw or WHY he did it, but suddenly (within a 3 second span) he leaped straight up into the air, swerved/dodged to the left, threw a  buck or two, and suddenly I was hitting the ground. I sat the jump and the swerve/dodge and the first buck but the second had me off. I 'd maneuvered well enough to not crash into the ground at too bad an angle, but still landed HARD on my right hip, catching myself with my right hand. It was as graceful as it could have been, all things considered. Still hurt like a bitch though.

And the freak thing? (Because clearly having freak occurrences with my horses is the norm?!) In his acrobatics Griffin managed to throw off his rope halter with attached Zilco bridle and Cashel quiet-ride fly mask. HUH?! For those of you familiar with those products you know they all clamp down rather securely. I don't know HOW Houdini managed this bit of action, but he did. It will remain a mystery much as Q's mechanism of injury from the No Frills ride. Additionally, a stirrup and accompanying leather came off, too. Wintec saddle stirrup leather bars have no "lock in" so when torqued from the right direction they come off easily; this has never been a problem. I figure my leg must have flown backward in my attempt to right myself in my fall.

So here's the scene now: I'm gathering up the halter/bridle/flymask + stirrup and leather and Griffin is trotting the opposite direction free as a bird with nothing on his head to catch him with. D and T try to wrangle him with no luck. I gather myself and try to wrangle him with no luck. He darts in the opposite direction with speed when anyone nears him. Little shit.

We participated in this song and dance routine for about a half hour. Many expletives were said, most of which were in English but with a horrible French accent because it made the words sound better. "Come here you leetle sheet foo-kair!" Yep. Lots of that. Eventually, with all manner of tactics attempted, we gave up. He was headed toward the trailer and I just decided to follow him.

I set off at a nice little walking pace along the left side of the road, Griffin on the right about 20 yards
I've decided he should wear purple and Q should wear the
orange; both colors pop better on the horses
ahead. I kept my eyes downcast and my pace steady. I paid him absolutely no mind and just focused on keeping my pace steady. Within 3 minutes or so the distance between he and I had dwindled to nothing, then he let me pass him, then he stopped and turned away slightly. It was funny because his body positioning in relation to mine was as if he'd been lunging me and was asking me to come into him. I approached and haltered him as if nothing had happened. He'd realized that I'd quit playing his game and gave up. Note to self: Don't even start playing his game in future occurrences.

We removed his Renegades so he had to think a helluva lot more about what he was doing with his feet for the last bit of the ride and headed on our way. No more antics. No more issue. Back to being a solid little citizen.

He loaded up like an old pro back at the trailer. I downed some ibuprofen. And that was that. I ended up spending most of Sunday lying around as a result of being SO SORE, but not too worse for the wear all things considered.

The one incident left a pretty bad taste in my mouth about the day, but overall, he did SO well for his first away-from-barn outing. He was forward, brave, and responsive 90% of the time. I'm bound to end up a little black and blue during the training of my greenie. Glad its not any worse.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Griffin: Fawn-stomper

I have a post per Griffin's first away-from-farm ride coming later tonight or tomorrow, but in the mean time I want to share this story from my BO from this morning:

When I took Keely for her 6:30am walk the horses were at the fence and all was well. At 7am, I went to the kitchen and looked out the window - they were all clustered together and focusing HARD (ears pricked, necks arched, tails up) on the ground. At first I thought it must be a snake but then realized it was too cold for snakes. They'd focus on the ground then look up towards the road - I suspect the mom was vocalizing. They started pawing the ground, etc ... about that time I figured it must be a fawn. Just when I made that conclusion, Griffin reared up into the air and came down hard with both front feet. I high-tailed it out there and indeed, it was a little fawn.....all was well (no broken bones -that I could feel-, breathing/heartbeat steady, no bleeding). I ran the horses off and left it alone. I'll go back out after a while and make sure mom collected it.

Who would guess that horses would react that way? National Geographic moment on a Monday...... never dull.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lunging the beasts

First up, Griffin over one of the jumps. He did excellent considering the tight space and Kenai being a tardface about everything. I'm glad Griffin is so willing and eager to do things like this.

And then Q over ground poles. The video doesn't do justice how gorgeous her coat is lately. I LOVE how dark and shiny it is with all of the brown accents pre-sun bleaching from summer.