Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rescue Number Two, and the Final Member of my Herd

On Tuesday I saw an advertisement for a pony on craigslist at work. She feet were dreadfully long, and what really hit home was her age. She's just 2 years old. If there is anything worse then neglecting an animal, it's neglecting a baby animal. They were asking $800, and I knew that it was going to be a rescue.
The photo from the craigslist advertisement. 

The pony was about 45 minutes north of me, and I asked my mother to accompany me. So we started the trek up after work today. I got there, and met with a very nice young lady, and her father- who spoke mostly Spanish. She's been living in a good size pen, with chain link and wood fencing, near goats. I'm happy that she had the goats as neighbors, because there are no other horses around her. They told me that they have had her for 8 months, and there 5 year old son has been riding her. It makes me sad that they rode a 2 year old.

But the father went in to get her, she was not easy to catch, but not too terrible. Her feet are so long, but she didn't seem like she was in pain. She saddles up, and leads ok, and she does takes the bit real well. She bites. She's so angry, and mean. To see a baby who is so nasty, to mean it translates to not being treated well.

They popped the 5 year old up on her, with a helmet which I was thrilled to see, he seemed nervous. The pony lunges herself if you stand in the middle. I watch for a bit, then asked to work with her.

She has no clue what the bit means, so I very highly doubt that she knows leg cues. I didn't get on her, because her feet are so bad. I looked in her mouth, and she has lots of sharp hooks and points; ouch. She rushes through everything, trotting everywhere that she goes. When I tried working with her, I asked her to flex, and she just rushed through everything. She did walk when I asked her to, and when I said whoa she turned in to me and stopped.

My mother asked about veterinary care, worming, and her feet. They said that they were done two months ago, judging by the length, I very highly doubt that. She is fat, but has not foundered! I am thankfully that they didn't starve her at least. I really don't think that they meant to be neglectful, but horses are not dogs. They need a lot more care, and attention.

Blossom comes home tomorrow. Hopefully my sweet girl will do just that, blossom into a happy healthy pony.

Just look at those feet. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Leads, and a Week of Rest

Yesterday was a work day at the ranch. Our barn manager has been out of town on vacation, so we have had to keep it up ourselves. As a feeder, stall cleaner, and slave *cough* I mean assistant, I take a lot of pride in the property, and want it to look nice. We hauled lots of big heavy rocks that had been left near the barns when the shipment of dirt came in. We loaded them into a wheel barrow, and pushed them across the ranch by the wash rack. It's about 50 feet away. They were heavy. I really wanted my golf cart, but it was a good work out. I racked up some loose hay to clean the ally ways of the barns and mare motels. The horses really enjoyed their after breakfast snack.

After that I got onto Nova to work her. I've given her a week off. I rode her really hard a few days in a row,  We worked, unsuccessfully  on leads Wednesday and Friday, and left her sweating from head to toe. Then went on an hour trail ride on Sunday. And on the next Monday she wouldn't follow me in the round pen. It broke my heart a little. So I put her up for a week. She turned out with Roxy a little, they are starting to get along better. Roxy pins her ears, but doesn't lift the hind leg or whinny anymore.

I've been very frustrated about Nova's leads, as I mentioned before. I was giving her flex tests, picking her legs up super high, listening for pops in her pastern, stifle, and hocks. Her left hind pastern does pop occasionally when I flex it a lot. Although I know that she is very sound on all of her legs, I was starting to have doubts. Maybe this lead issue was a lack of power in her hind end.

Well, yesterday when I rode her I asked a friend to take some pictures (I'll put them up here once the friend gets them to me). I mentioned how I was having trouble with the right lead, and she asked if I had tried pulling her head into the rail when I ask for it. Here, I have been so concentrated on keeping her arched properly I haven't pulled her into the rail at all, so I had forgotten this is a great training technique for teaching leads. I asked her once with her head turned into the rail, she didn't pick it up. The second time I asked her picked it up perfectly!

So yesterday was very successful in my book. Now back to some sweaty saddle pads, and getting the baby on her proper diet and work load again. I am feeling good about riding, I'll be out there tomorrow to get back on her back.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Green Broke

Today I decided that Nova is green broke. She has 15 rides on her, she has an amazing whoa. She actually slid stop yesterday a few inches! She has almost 100% steering. She stands still to mount, and saddle. She takes the bit ok. I need to bring a little honey out to flavor it with. We went out on a trail ride today.

All of my girls got to go actually! My mom took Dolly, a friend of mine took Roxy, and while I could have taken some other more broke horses, I wanted to take Nova. She did great! Nova has been on trail 3 days in a row, and she gets better every time. We usually just go around our block. Which constitutes a very quite back road, with some horse property on one side, and a very busy road with lots of large vehicles on the other side. It's perfect, you want a quiet ride go down and back the quiet road. Want to see some obstacles  go down the road side. But today we went far. We went all the way down under the highway, about 2 miles down the busy road. Nova was great. She spooked at a couch yesterday, didn't even flinch today when she saw it. She spooked at a car coming up behind her really fast once, and that was it. She amazes me. Roxy and Dolly were both great as well.

My girls before the ride.

Roxy has gotten out the last 3 days in a row, and I actually think that it's a little too much for her. Her leg seemed to bother her on Saturday. Which made her a really nice ride for my friend. Sometimes she can be a little spookish on trail if she hasn't been out recently enough. The mild discomfort kept her really calm. She was completely sound, just a little stiff. And the ride was by no means too much. It was a lot of walking, and less work then riding in the arena would have been for sure.

Overall I am super, super happy with Nova. She is amazing. However, she won't pick up her right lead. Does anyone have any suggestions for training techniques? My trainer's daughter says to ride more aggressively, but I really don't want to. Nova is so sweet, and so gentle, I really don't think riding her harder and reprimanding her is the right approach. She's not being naughty, I think she honestly doesn't know how to do it. Does anyone else have a gentle approach to encouraging picking up leads?

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Lately I have been feeling the over whelming urge to get a dairy cow. And chickens. Possibly a goat. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get fresh eggs, and cow's milk every morning? I think I need to quit my job and move to Colorado. Maybe I ought to do some more schooling first. The mini-farm will come later. Frankly- I think Dolly would love to be stall-mates with a goat.

I enjoy having my own stall, thank you very much. 

Hmm... Well perhaps I should just wait until I find a wealthy person who wants to invest in some horse property. And they want a young lady, full of passion are persistence to manage it. All wishful thinking for now. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ms. Piggy

I am having SUCH a blast with Nova! She is just amazing. Today we had a fantastic ride in the arena. We walked, trotted, and loped! A-ma-zing! This little mare is just fantastic, I am in love. After our ride I untacked her, and hung out with her in the arena under a shady tree.

I was rubbing on her, touching her all over. Nova got a little mouthy on me too, grooming me as I was her. She just lipped my shorts for a moment, and I think it's absolutely adorable when they return the favor, so I let her. I have come to realize that I own a toddler horse. Just like a young child, she's exploring everything with her mouth, and I want her to explore the world. So I do let her lip anything she wants, but once teeth get involved I draw the line. There are two things that Nova is not allowed to do, use her teeth on anything but food, and rub. I have a strict 'no rubbing until you are 10' rule. Nova has quite some time left before she can rub on me.

I have also started to document Nova's weight loss. She is still really fat, and I honestly see no weight loss in pounds, but I see her toning up. What do you think?

The day that I got her

Sometime last week. 

Last Friday (oct 5th)

Lets see just the first two
I know the 'before' picture it kind of far away, and not a great conformation shot, but it's the best I have. 

I really still picture her as this though:

So I suppose the founder neck is well on it's way to disappearing. I love appy necks, but I hate founder necks. What do you guys think? See any dramatic changes in her weight/overall condition?