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Saturday, 21 March 2015

U-Turn?

It’s funny how something so small can trigger a huge chain reaction of thoughts and plans.



Last Friday I was taking a lesson at the dressage barn and my coach and I were discussing our schedules for lessons. She said something that got stuck in my brain:

I have a friend who is an eventing coach; she would probably travel to your barn for lessons. I know that’s what you’re really interested in. If your horse is sound you should go for it.”

What?! I moved away from the eventing barn. I accepted my life as a trail rider/occasional student of dressage (until the young horses are grown-ups). I didn’t think about eventing at all anymore.  I gave up. 

Apollo is sound and I’ve ridden every day in March (I suck at my plans to blog every day but I've been doing great on consistent riding and working out!). We’re slowly building up both of our fitness and getting back into a groove. Maybe we could give the eventing thing a try….again...?


Wild mane!



I sent a bunch of text messages to the one person who I knew would give it to me straight.  I wanted her opinion on what I should do with my big pony.  I told her to be honest and not to worry about sparing my feelings in her response. I respect her opinion immensely and she knows both Apollo and I quite well. I sent her walls and walls of text (I’m such a fun friend!) and then I waited for a response.

Whole family



I was expecting one of the following responses:

 “Yes, ride your horse and stop babying him you dumb ass.

Or:

 “You will ruin him, he is clearly not up to it and you have to let it go.


What she wrote back was much more helpful and although a little hard to read it was true. She essentially said I wasn’t doing him any favors by being easy on him. He needs to build fitness and have a job. He needs to be properly conditioned and likely some of his initial lameness issues at the eventing barn arose from him not having enough/proper work for a long time. She suggested really working on his conditioning and then coming to a few small jumper shows with her in May and seeing how he does. I'm trying to take everything in right now and make a realistic plan for my big pony and I.  

I am open to thoughts and opinions from blogland as well if anyone has any wisdom to send my way!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

TOABH: DTR

Defining the Relationship

Snookum-ukums, where do you see this going?  

Let's be realistic.  What's the plan with your pony?  Is it a five-year investment with a return, is it until you move up beyond the Kin's abilities, or is it forever*?
 

I'm finally joining this fun blog hop!  I'm going to devote a section to each horse :) 

Apollo

Apollo is a very special heart horse to me.  I will care for him to the best of my abilities for the remainder of his life.  (spoiler alert: I want to keep all of my horses forever).

<3 !


It's one of my big dreams to move to an acreage; seeing my big colorful pony out the window every day would make my heart explode with happiness. 

Recent soundness issues have changed my game plan in terms of a five year plan.  I'm doing everything in my power to keep him as sound and happy as possible.  I'm tentatively planning to do a dressage schooling show later in the summer.  We are just playing it by ear at the moment! 

If something ever happens to me he will return to the woman who sold him to me, she's probably the only person in the world who loves him half as much as I do!

I'm planning to get an Apollo-inspired tattoo in the next few months....stay tuned for that!



Mystic

I am SO excited to ride this horse!  I spend a lot of time thinking about my dreams and goals for her, so I certainly have a 5 year plan in mind. 



I also intend to keep Mystic for the rest of her life.  I'm don't have any set competition goals beyond dabbling in a few different disciplines and seeing how the horses and I enjoy it.  Here's our little 5 year plan:

2015: (Age 3) Be ponied excessively by Apollo, lunge, learn ground driving skills
2016: (Age 4) Start lightly under saddle with dressage basics
2017:  (Age 5) Continue dressage work, add trail work and light jumping, possibly try some events
2018: (Age 6) Compete in eventing season
2019: (Age 7) See how 2018 goes... :)

If something ever happens to me Mystic legally has to be returned to the rescue that I adopted her from.  I know they will take great care of her and find her a wonderful home.



Henry

I love my cheeky Henry!  I'm in it for the long haul with this fellow too :) 




Henry has a lot of jumpers/eventers in his bloodlines.  I definitely picture us spending some time in the jumping world.  Considering he has jumped out of his pen....I think he's cool with that.

Here is Henry's 5 year plan:

2015: (Age 3) Be ponied by Apollo, lunge, learn ground driving skills
 2016: (Age 4) Start lightly under saddle with dressage basics
2017:  (Age 5) Continue dressage work, add trail work and light jumping, possibly try some events
2018: (Age 6) Compete in jumpers
2019: (Age 7) See how 2018 goes... :)

If anything happens to me two of my good friends will either work together to re-home Henry or will keep him.
 



If anyone would like to buy me an acreage and fund my three-horse habit - let me know! :) 

Thanks Beka for the fun blog hop!  






 

We Are Family

I am still waiting for Henry's warmblood registration papers to come in the mail. 

Seriously - every day I excitedly run to check the mail and hope to see a large envelope peaking out...but so far nothing.  I don't really want to post about his relatives until it's confirmed in writing but I had to share this comparison pic. 

This is Henry's grand sire Ilian de Taute vs. Henry a few months ago.  Does anyone else see the similarity in their faces?


Ilian specializes in jumping over stuff.  Henry specializes in sleeping in his own food. 

I fiddled with the color on Henry's photo because it was so dark, but their colors are quite similar as well...Henry is wearing some type of Valencia filter in his pic.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Monday Bunday: Scarf Edition

I have a very sick husband at home tonight so I only have one bunny pic to add (from last week).  We are keeping the lights low because my husband has quite a bad headache so we can't get any proper rabbit pics!

Topher was hanging out in bed with me when I was reading :)


But....I treated myself to a fabulous bunny-themed scarf today on my lunch break at a local tack shop that I'm pretty excited about!

A spiffy new scarf is an excellent way to celebrate Monday Bunday!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Henry Goes to Bootcamp


Henry is a quirky fellow.  He’s probably the quirkiest horse I’ve ever handled.  He can be kind of dramatic (ie. he laid down on the ground in front of the trailer and wouldn’t get up the first time I tried to load him) or totally non-chalant (ie. I gave him a full bath without any desensitization to the hose or wash rack).  He is extremely sweet and friendly but he has a cheeky stubborn streak too.
We had some words last night because he’s been really pushing into my space lately and he actually bonked me in the head with his head.  I was kind of frustrated with him and to my surprise if I’m a bit mad at him he actually behaves/responds more appropriately.  

I think I have spent so much time stuffing his hard keeper self with food, bandaging his many wounds and changing a million blankets that I just haven’t devoted enough time to ground manners with him.  I need to raise my expectations of his behaviour.  Mystic doesn’t need extra grain/blankets and has never hurt herself (besides an abscess last spring).   When she comes in she gets more time spent on brushing and lunging/ground work in the arena than Henry.  So she is obviously is easier to handle. 
It honestly requires a lot of energy to work with Henry!  I’m up to the challenge and his lousy ground manners aren’t going to improve by doing nothing about.  This month of riding daily and feeding the whole herd their new diet daily means I’m around a lot more to work on Mr. Henry’s ground manners.  Henry needs manners boot camp!




These are my herd rules and expectations to being part of my herd:

1)      Stand quietly while tied

2)      Be respectful  of Kate’s space

3)      Move forward/sideways/backwards willingly when asked

4)      Politely pick up and pick down hooves

Henry needs a little bit of work on all rules!  I know we are both up to it.  :)



Anecdotal Henry Story...

When Henry came to my barn I decided to house him with Mystic in a smaller pen.  It was supposed to be for a few days but it turned into over a week.  I was afraid he would get hurt in the main herd....he was so small and still so sickly looking (wormy belly and recovering from lice).  I was hoping he would make a friend in Mystic and she would ease his herd introduction...but I was so afraid to him out.    I came out to visit them on my lunchbreak one day and to my surprise...Henry was gone! 

Mystic was still in the pen and all the gates were shut.  There is no room to go underneath or through the panels.  I was worried he was stolen or had tried to jump out and hurt himself on the way out.  I ran out to the back pasture calling his name and expecting to find a very injured Henry. 

When I found him he was sleeping with two other horses right in the middle of the herd  - injury free!  He jumped out of the pen (with the 5 foot + plus) without a scratch on him!  It was a good reminder not to coddle him haha :)

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Aural Plaque Experiment

For quite a while Apollo has had an aural plaque in his left ear. 

:(



When it first appeared it seemed to cause him a lot of discomfort during bridling.  Now it doesn't bother him but I'd like it to go away!  At his most recent vet visit I was told to treat it with "benign neglect" and it would subside eventually...now it's been almost two years and I can't leave it alone anymore.

I'm going to give this stuff a whirl:



 http://www.organichorses.us/shop/all-natural-cream

I'll report back with updated photos on how it works.  Has anyone else successively treated aural plaques?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Happy Horse Story

I was checking the local classifieds just before Christmas and I saw an ad that broke my heart.  I can’t remember this exact wording but it was something like this:

“Tall black Arab gelding.  3 years old.  Scars from an old injury but sound. Free, husband wants him gone.”

There are plenty of ads that read like this but something about the photos of that sweet boy made me share the link with my farrier.  I asked her if she knew anyone who could help him.  She offered to take him at her place and work on his hooves (which looked overgrown in the photos) if I could arrange the haul.  So I did!  He arrived on January 9th.  

His name was Smarty Marty but my farrier suggested Phoenix was a better fit.



Here are the photos from his sale ad:



Note the long right  hind hoof...






My farrier worked extensively on his ground manners and slowly chipped away at his hooves.  It turned out that only one hoof was left long, which was on the opposite site of his hind leg injury.  He proved to be friendly and willing, but a bit defensive of his hind end.  Almost as soon as he arrived we quietly put out the word that he needed a new home.  Neither of us was able to add a new member to our herds but we hoped to take the time to find him the perfect home.  We had a few leads but nothing really panned out.

Here are a few pics I took in January: 



Newly trimmed up feet!



About two weeks ago his perfect home showed up!  A woman interested in driving with lots of Arabian experience who recently purchased her own property.  She actually has a black Arab gelding that will eventually make a lovely driving partner for Mr. Phoenix.  It could not be a more perfect match.  One of my farrier’s best friends (who is also a farrier) lives on the property right next to Phoenix and can continue his hoof rehab.  

We will receive updates on Phoenix and have first right of refusal on his sale.  We will do our best to make sure that he is safe forever.  I will share photos/updates as I get them.  My farrier so awesome for helping him out! It took me forever to get this story on the blog but I’m especially excited to share it now as it has a happy ending. :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

FMNM Blog Hop: The Fear

Thanks for the great blog hop from Four Mares No Money :) 




What has been the most fearful moment you have ever experienced with a horse?


I’ve had a few more scary moments than I’d like with horses but I will share my favourite one (because it had a happy ending).


Little back story first:

I had a horse named Rusty from when I was 13 to 15 year old.  He would turf me at random moments and was generally a sketchy horse under saddle (although he was lovely on the ground).  He was too much horse for me and that was really hard to see at the time but I can see it very clearly now.  He turned me into a very defensive/scared rider.  I never trusted him to go on a long rein and I was always on alert for anything he might use an excuse to fake spook so he could buck me off.  I eventually learned to stay on through his antics but to say I was terrified would be the understatement of the year.


Eventually my parents traded Rusty for an older TB gelding named Blue.  I rode him in a Pony Club camp as our trial period.  We did dressage in the mornings and “stadium” in the afternoon (stadium gets to be in quotes because it was in a hayfield with pylons on the gopher holes).  Blue was a gentleman throughout.  On the last weekend of camp we trailered over to a cross country course. 

We learned what “Roads and Tracks” was and were told to canter one at a time on this little track that went down a small incline and then back up a hill and back around to the group.  I just about crapped my pants.  Cantering alone in an open field felt WAAAAY out of my comfort zone.  But since I was even more afraid of my gruff Pony Club instructor I did as I was told. 

Blue remembered he was a thoroughbred and our canter quickly turned into gallop.  I had a vice grip on the reins and tears were flying off the sides of my face (from speed and fear!).  At some point I realized that although I was scared to death, I was safe.  I released my vice grip and enjoyed the ride.  

I did get in big trouble for having an incredibly speedy time on my Roads & Tracks.  But it was worth it1 That day marked the beginning of a wonderful friendship between Blue and I. :)



This is us that day :)




Monday, 2 March 2015

Monday Bunday :)

A few snaps of Mr. Topher from last week.  He has gotten a lot of extra brushing lately, which he loves!  His coat is going through an awkward mottling period but he is still absolutely adorable.


Hello there!



Hanging out with Boots the cat :)




Sunday, 1 March 2015

Nutrition Mission

I confess - I have always felt overwhelmed by equine nutrition.  In recent years of social media sharing (ie. beetpulp hatespeech) and the boom in popularity of homeopathic and natural supplements…I am even more confused. 



After Apollo’s recent possible ulcer issue I decided that I needed an expert.  A few weeks ago I booked a consult with a local expert and I’m so happy that I did.  I had my appointment this morning and I’m pleased to report that I have a proper meal plan for my herd!

Apollo
Land & Sea Oil 30mls
1 Tablespoon of Table Salt
½ Cup of Aloe Vera Juice
1 Scoop of Equine Choice

Henry
Land & Sea Oil 60mls
1 Cup of Aloe Vera Juice
2 Tablespoons of Table Salt
1 Scoop of Equine Choice
5 CC of B12 for 3 weeks (March 4-25)

Mystic
Land & Sea Oil 20mls
1 Tablespoon of Table Salt
¼ Cup of Aloe Vera Juice
1 Scoop of Equine Choice

This will all be fed with a complete feed ration but I haven’t bought it yet so I don’t know the amounts for each horse right now.  According to the equine nutritionist the weather this year caused a lot of horses to have tummy troubles.  Henry and Apollo are both showing symptoms of ulcers.  As I precaution I will do the above-mentioned feeding schedule for 30 days for all three to get everyone sorted out.  Going forward the aloe vera juice will be slowly eliminated and the oil will be reduced.

I am a little jealous of horse owners who have someone else to feed their horse’s daily grain/minerals/supplements on a daily basis.  Because after my herd nutrition consult today…that person is going to be me! :)