Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Diaper

Oh my goodness, my colt is spirited. My BO just about killed me today over the mustang colt- WHOM IS PROUD CUT! Who the hell invented proud cutting? Just whack 'em all the way off the instant that they drop- that's my philosophy. If they aren't going to breed, don't let them think that they are. The mustang is literally the dirtiest horse I have ever met, and he is free fed right now, so he poops are pees all day long. Oh did I mention his favorite game is dump the water bucket often he does it THREE TIMES A DAY!! *sigh* Moving right along. Well my BO moved him across the way to see if he'd do ok there. He tried to jump the mare motel stall to get to the mare next to him. So he went right back into his shit hole. Don't worry I pulled out more then 2 wheel barrows of wet muck. Including dirt that was just so pee saturated, and that he had mashed his own poop into. It's a stinky disaster zone.

So I turned him out for a good 3 hours, and he ran the whole time. I figured that he would be nice and tired when I went to pony him on Roxy. Wrong. He was feisty as ever, and Roxy was in season recently- which he just loved. She is no longer in season, and she is no longer so forgiving of his shenanigans. But being a really well broke, solid mount, she puts up with him, and listens to me. She even angles herself how I tell her, and pulls him in the right direction when I make her drag him along. Roxy is fantastic, I love that mare.

Gideon wanted to pony super close, he always does. And it is usually fine, it allows me to rub on him, and get him used to me being above him- it is great pre-riding stuff. He was dropping behind us a little, and she didn't like his position, and what he was telling her. She usually just pins her ears, but I felt her kicking at him a little. Had I told her to stop, I know that she would have, but I let her because he needed to be put into his place. Well somewhere along the track he must have kicked, or struck Roxy's rear cannon.

When I put him away, I went to actually ride Roxy, and I could feel that she was lame. So I walked her around, let her really stretch it out. Took her around the block with a friend, then went to hop of and hose her leg down. Sure enough she has a huge welt on her rear right cannon bone. And it was rock hard.

Poor Roxy horse!
I took her over to my BO/trainer after running water over it for a while. And she asks if I have a T-shirt. "No..."
"A diaper?" She asks knowing it's a long shot.
Sure enough, I had a diaper in the car! One of my nieces was with us, and my sister sent one just in case she had an accident. I run to my car and grab it, as well as a standing wrap.
I rubbed some mineral ice on the lump, and then wrapped the diaper around it, and the stand wrap on top of that. My poor little Roxy horse! I'm not really too concerned, she'll heel just fine. I am heading out tomorrow to love on her though.

I suck at wraps. We'll see if they are still on tomorrow. My BO/trainer approved of my wrap job, and I was super excited that I actually had a diaper! Hopefully Roxy feels better tomorrow. And hopefully Gideon does not get any more spirited.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Old Cowboy and his Mustang

I had a fantastic day at the ranch last Tuesday. Roxy was great, Gideon was good. All three of my nieces were well behaved, and so was Dolly. Then it got even better.

My ranch has three areas, the front (pipe corrals), the barns, and the back/mare motels. It's 5 acres; Roxy and Dolly live in the front, while Gideon's stall is in the mare motels. I also clean the barns Tuesday and Saturday. So I am always all over the place. Well when I went to put Gideon away I asked Roxy to stand in front of his stall. Repeatedly telling her "Stand." "Don't even think about it." "Roxy, whoa." and a whole string of stuff like that as I unhaltered Gideon.

A boarder, who was waiting for a friend to arrive so they could ride together, proceeded to ask me how Gideon was coming along. I told her about his progress and how well he was doing, asked her about her horse, and such. Then I went to put Roxy away. I came back over to the mare motels and did Gideon's stall.

When I was done I noticed this cowboy on a lovely palomino horse talking with the boarder. I went over to compliment him.

To make a long story short, the horse was a mustang. We related instantly, and he pretty much threw me onto this horse. It was probably the most well trained horse I have ever ridden. He then tells me about this video of Martin Black that he has. And he asks "Will you be here for a little longer?" I told him yeah, I still had some things to do. So he trots his horse home, which I knew was about a block away, I did all of my stuff, started getting my nieces in the car, and he trots on back with this Martin Black video.

I watched it, and it was fantastic. I learned a lot, and riding that mustang was fantastic too! Overall it was just amazing.

I was just comparing Gideon's 'Day of Rescue' photos, with this very current photo. He's about 30 pounds up, has done lots of shedding, has been working quite a bit, all trot/walk, just a few steps of the canter so far, and I have had him just a month yesterday. I am so excited for the horse that I know he will become!  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roxy Rant #4

My girl has been making me do icky gross head on the ground pleasure stuff lately. I hate this, but I am (barely) a good Roxy horse so I listen. Today was gymkhana day! Roxy horses love gymkhana days even more then carrots, and almost more then grain. So first things first, I had to pee. Then I did super good all day and was a very happy Roxy horse. We trotted barrels, and then we loped them, then we went fast! My girl even let me gallop home once! Roxy horses get very excited about galloping so we don't get to do that much.
My girl's mom took this video of Roxy Barrels, but I had been doing other stuff right before and was a confused Roxy. 

After all that barrel stuff my girl ponied a bunch of little girls around on Dolly. Dolly knows that Roxy horses are in charge and did not challenge my dominance.

After the little girls all rode we did some reining. We did small slow, large fast- possibly my favorite exercise right now. I did a really tinny tiny small circle sooo slow, then we did a big fast circle. I was very nice and collected. I've been learning not to run everywhere I go.

After I had to pony wild horse around. He thinks he's in charge, bad horse has no respect for Roxy Dominance. Roxy is in charge.
Wild horse is getting fatter. 
My girl's mom says wild horse and I look cute together. Well duh Roxy horse makes every thing cuter. 

Ok wild horse, you are cute.
I was already sweaty from gymkhana day, but took wild horse onto the track. This was where he tried to seduce me. My girl reminded me to be a lady, and I put wild horse back in his place.

After 6 trotting laps around the big giant track my girl put wild horse away. She then un tacked me, hosed me off, and let me stand. I stood nicely for an hour, it's a nice time to catch up on some beauty sleeps. I caught a glimpse of her on a pretty wild horse that I had never seen before. Maybe my girl will tell you guys about that later.

Roxy horse is tucking in for the night, even though I get lots of beauty sleeps at the hitching post, I get most in my stall.

Owning a Horse

There are some things that you simply just can't understand about horses unless you have one. Horse ownership is like nothing else in the world. It's not like owning a dog, or a cat, it's my horse. Perhaps it's the fact that they are prey animals, while most pets are predators. But they are so amazing.

I love my horse so deeply, and she loves me too. She nickers for me when I arrive at her stall. She patiently waits for me while I groom, and saddle her. She's eager to be ridden, but not necessarily eager to please. She is patient and forgiving. She falls asleep at the hitching post while I help my students tack their own horses, or while I leave her there to go run and do a quick errand that turns into an hour of work, or while she's drying from a bath.
Here she is dozing off yesterday. Do you see that shoulder of summer fur shining?

Horses are peaceful, even if you don't ride, just being around them is peaceful. I have one mom who told me yesterday "I just like being here, I love to pet the horses."

I love Roxy so much. Just being in her peaceful presence is simply blissful. I love when I ask her to lope, and she releases in short snorts with every stride. I love when I ask her to trot, and she moves out in her Roxy quickness. I love when we finish running a barrel pattern and she walks out with her head nearly dragging on the ground, and she chews the bit due to the endorphins the pattern released. I love all of these things because they are signs that Roxy enjoys her job. Roxy loves her life. She isn't in pain, she isn't lonely, or depressed. She's clean, well loved, and so happy.

Horses are forgiving. Often times I get on Roxy a little too hard. She tries to graze while being lead, and I slap her with the lead rope a little harder then I had meant to. She forgets about it in a second, and tries to graze again. She nuzzles me as I give her kisses, and watches for me with loving eyes as I emerge from the tack room.

I love my horse for many reasons. Some that everyone will understand, some that only horse people truly get, and some reasons that I don't quite understand myself.

Why do you love your horse?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Fantastic and Magical World of Horses

On Saturday after my conference I dragged my mother out to the ranch. How could I not, we were more then half way there!

I told her that I would just ride Roxy bareback real quick. While I was riding her it was so peaceful and quiet. I could see her summer coat starting to shine through on her shoulders. She takes such big powerful strides. I just loved feeling so connected with her. I haven't ridden totally bareback in a long time, and I really have a thing for horse shoulders so getting to see her working in action was great.

Soon my mom saw how much fun I was having with Roxy, just enjoying my horse's company. So she asked "Can I turn Dolly out with you?"
"Sure!" I of course responded, I like to ride with one loose in the arena.

Soon enough my mother had put on her boots, changed her shirt, tied her lead rope into reins, and mounted her horse. Dolly who so desperately wanted her to ride her pushed herself snug up against our awkward railing and let my mother literally crawl on top of her.

It was in that moment with my mother, Dolly, and my beloved Roxy that I remembered how magical horses are. It reminded me to be a better trainer. Horses are so fantastic for so many people, and I get to share it with children!

Have you ever thought about how other people perceive horses?

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Beautiful Week

Last week was BEAUTIFUL. I helped run a birthday party with my trainer/BO. It went super smooth and was fun! I also rode Roxy pretty hard. I have decided to show her again.

We are going to take the summer to train the spots off of her! Oh wait she wasn't born with spots... I have started pleasure training her really hard. Really riding her ass and getting her to collect, and keep her head down. I'm using running reins through my super nice o ring snaffle right now. She does so good too. We had one horse at the ranch that would literally drag her dirt in the nose when you free lunged her, she was just a natural born pleasure horse. Roxy has a good head set, and with a little work it will be great.
The last of our Show Days (2009)

We are also doing a lot of reining. I am planning on showing the tumbleweed circuit next season. Roxy's 10, if I'm really serious about training and showing she'll start doing fantastic at shows.

On to Gideon! Wow my little guy is doing GREAT. He is so stinkin' cute too. He's growing quickly, tomorrow I'm picking up some red cell to feed him so we can really pack the pounds on. My trainer said another 50lbs and I can ride him! I put pressure on his back for the first time on Saturday. I brought him close to the railing in the round pen, climbed up, and then leaned over him. I stroked the opposite side of his barrel, and pressed with my hands against his back. Then, while keeping a hand on the railing, I leaned over him. He put his ears back slightly, and raised his head, but his feet didn't move! I am just amazed by his bravery. I imagine it'll take about 2-3weeks to get him 50lbs up, so I am using that time to get him super ready to be ridden. I want his first ride to be the most uneventful thing in the whole world. He still worries me a little. But lots of people love mustangs, they really are a completely different breed. His mustangness just continued to amuse me.

How's the weather where you are? Is it starting to warm up yet?

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Real Ride with Roxy

Usually when I ride Roxy, I just hop on, go through the paces, and do a gymkhana pattern. On Thursday however I had an extremely rough day at work. We had 8 babies instantly, 4 were teething, 2 were new (so they were fussy, confused, and wanted their parents). Believe it or not, I don't do well with crying. I know it seems crazy for an infant toddler teacher to not do crying, but I just don't. And usually our class has minimal crying. However, Thursday was madness. So what was going to be a day off from the ranch turned into a necessary day on.

Instead of the usual workout I chose to really do some training. Roxy did some reining work, and she loved it. Roxy is SO forward, sometimes I just want to lope, not hand gallop, I just want a nice little lope. However, Roxy interprets 'lope' as 'run as fast as possible without falling down'. So after warming her up really well I did some reining exercises.

I started by loping a spiral. Starting with a 30ish meter circle, and winding down to a very very sharp circle, under 10 meters. We ended with a slide, and did it in the other direction. She did great! The idea behind this method is that she physically can't run in a small circle. So as we continue to lope she is forced to take smaller strides and to collect.

After that we did small slow and large fast circles. I think giving her the cue to speed up is helpful, because she understands that a hand gallop is something that has a cue. Here is the exercise:

I used a barrel to mark the 'bottom' of my circles. Both circles had the same 'bottom'. The first circle was just the width of my arena, which I am guessing around 50 feet probably more, the second circle was about 1/4 of the size. I had her start at the small slow circle, repeating it on a loose rein until she carries herself nice and collected. Then, at the barrel, I asked her to speed up staying in a lope, just an extended lope. I only let her do one or two of these circles before asking her to collect again.

Now let me back up for a moment, I started her at the trot. We jogged a small circle, then trotted a fast one. I didn't focus on trotting it for very long because Roxy knows the difference between a jog and trot quite well. If your horse has issues staying consistent at the trot you'd want to start this exercise at the trot.

Tomorrow I plan on doing some pleasure work with her. Lets see how she does with that!

What exercises do you love to do? What issues are you trying to work through with your horse?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teacher of Many Species

I haven't decided if child care is a passion of mine yet, but children in general are indeed something I am passionate about. Something I clearly know is my greatest passion is riding.

Every horse person has some pretty clear preferences. Maybe we really love quarter horses, but we wouldn't pass up the opportunity to work with an Arabian too. Perhaps we absolutely love dressage, or maybe reining is our biggest riding pleasure. Personally, I love babies (by babies I mean 3-4year olds). Even more then babies, I love rescues. I've worked with a good amount of rescues.

Working with rescues is like finding buried treasure. You never know the real history of that horse. Were they trained for pleasure? Were they a show horse? Did they trail ride? Were they beaten? Do they respond to leg cues? Are they saddle broke? Do they respond to the bit?

The first time I rode Tahiti I was in the round pen, with a helper to lead her around. She was saddle broke, fantastic- that's my least favorite part of training young horses. Tahiti was dead broke. She neck reined, she responded to leg cues very well, and she is quite forward. I think she will make a great lesson horse in the near future.

I enjoy working with young horses because I am a teacher by nature. Under all of the hats that I wear, I am a teacher and a leader. This is the biggest similarity between teaching preschool, and teaching horses.

Another is routine. Horses like routine, some more then others. I worked with one mare, and Appaloosa named Star, that NEEDED routine. With a schedule she was amazing and consistent. Kids are the same way. They like to know what is happening next, and when it is happening. Something as simple as staying outside too long can throw off the entire day for kids. Hopefully your horses aren't so adamant about that one though.

Working through temper tantrums. I work with infants through 4 year olds. This means lots of terrible twos, lots of meltdowns. Working through these meltdown with kids is addressed through redirection, or talking to the child to find out exactly what is wrong. With horses we call these 'temper tantrums' shutting down. Horses are just a little more predictable then kids, when you feel your horse starting to shut down you have got to catch it before they do. After noticing the oncoming meltdown what do you do? You redirect your horse's energy. If you are working on side passing, you ask for one more step, then you let them cool off at the walk for a lap or so. Same exact technique, different species.

I am sure that there are a million other similarities, but those are the most notable to me. I find it interesting how similar these jobs really are. Training horses, and teaching children. Oh and of course the children get clucked at plenty out of habit. As does the dog, my mom, my boyfriend, the car; pretty much everything that moves gets clucked at.

Is your job similar to your horse hobby? What's your favorite discipline, breed, or color?

Monday, April 9, 2012


Today I gained my 20th follower. Wow! 20 people think I have something interesting to say, so cool! Although I did create this blog as a reflection for myself, I'd like to shape it into something that is pleasant for others to read and learn from as well. Thus, I have a few questions. Hopefully your answers will let me know what you want to hear about next!

What horse, or horses, do you like hearing about best? My battles with the strong willed Roxy? The adventures and excitement around Gideon (the mustang colt)? Dolly's (and the other's) trials as a lesson horse? Or the random horses I ride and work throughout my ranch days.

Do you enjoy reading about my chaotic life as a preschool teacher? (I do plan on writing a post comparing all of the similarities between teacher children, teaching horses, and teaching lesson kids).

Do you want to hear more about my training methods? Also I am SO sorry that I have yet to bring the tripod out, my plan is to do so tomorrow before my lesson. I want to get a little video of Gideon's ground work lesson.

Do you enjoy the nostalgia posts? I know I like reflecting on the past, it is impossible to learn a thing if you don't ever reflect.

Thank you so much for following my blog, and for answering the questions!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Work Day

Today was an exciting day at the ranch! I had to head out and do stalls, so it turned into a work day. I did the barn stalls, there was a lot. 3 heaping wheelbarrows full of manure. After that I hung my first, second, third, and championship ribbons on the door of my tack room! They look really nice, and I feel inspired to do some more shows. I'd like to show a few times before the season is over, and then next season going in for high point.

After that I rode Roxy. I've been doing a lot of pleasure work with her, and she kind of hates it. So I told her today that we would do gymkhana, her true love. Needless to say, she was thrilled to be able to keep her head up, and to run. I even took her onto to the track and did some long trotting. Roxy has a beautiful long trot, she has the largest stride I have ever seen. Someone once asked me if she was a trotter, she moves so quick. I let her canter a little too.

The mustang colt finally has a name! Gideon is the handsome boy's name. He is also almost 30lbs up! We are planning on asking the vet about supplemental for him. I've never seen a horse in such poor condition, let alone cared for one, so I'm clueless about what supplements he'll need to put the weight on without upsetting his fragile system. He is doing GREAT with his feet, he lets me pick all four of them. He also leads very well. Today was actually a pretty big day. I've had him 2 weeks now, and he always amazes me with what he knows. I ponied him on Roxy in the arena. We trotted 2 laps in both directions, and he did great! Then we went down the road a few blocks. In true mustang-ness, he is fearless. I think he'll be a great trail horse.

After the ranch I came home and rested for a few hours. My ear infection seems to be clearing up, and I'm feeling sooo much better, I don't crash in the middle of the day anymore. I was needing a nap in the middle of the day, like some elderly woman. So, with my mother, I decided to head over to my uncle's for Easter dinner. It was quite tasty.

How was your Easter? Any projects you've been needing to get done?

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Stunning California Coast

Sorry that I have been so mia, I was on spring break! The preschool that I work at follows the school district for breaks, so we get a spring break. Me and my mother (mostly me) decided to go on a vacation. So we drove up to the central valley to visit some family. I drove all 6 hours up by myself, and on the way back I did most of the driving too. My mother did drive us through LA, which was very traffic heavy.

We were visiting some very close friends. We stayed in their BEAUTIFUL new home. It's a mansion- seriously. It's very grand but it wasn't over the top. There was lots of wood beams, high ceilings, and hardwood floors. My cousin has a beautiful eye for decoration too. As large as it was, it was still very comfortable, you didn't feel out of place. It was 6 bedroom (one is a man cave, another an office), it had a formal dining room, a large living room, a great kitchen, and like a million bathrooms. One of the bathrooms has a hot tub. They say that they use it all the time too!

Well this family lives about 35minuets from Cal Poly, so I got to visit the boyfriend a couple of times. I told him about how beautiful my cousin's house was, and how I couldn't wait to get my own to decorate.
He sighed and told me "No."
"What?" I asked him
"I am not buying you a house," He responded.
We joke a lot. I hope that never leaves out relationship. We share a lot of laughter together, it's rather nice.

We had such a nice time we decided not to come home for another day. What was a quick up and back trip turned into most of the week! Although I am now missing the Buck Brannaman clinic, I would say a much needed vacation is worth it.

Now I am so excited to head out to the ranch today! I get to saddle up and lunge the colt, ride my Roxy, and give a lesson to my niece. I also have a little boy who is getting a lesson, and I have what are probably the worst stalls on earth to clean- YUCK! I usually clean tuesday, but I asked to switch to fri. The girl who does them with me is out of town. So I seriously think they haven't been done since Monday morning. Soooo gross. Hopefully my mom will help me.

Do you have any spring break adventures?