lantairvlea: (lantair look)
This morning started early with Bud. Sue was finally feeling better after her back surgery last year and joined Bud and I on a slow walk around the block. We then swapped Sue for Henry to do some trot sets. Bud was confused. He has gotten good at passing home, but stopping was a little much. There was some weaving drunkenly across the road, but he eventually straightened out so he got to turn back home ... and passed it again. We also went through the driveway and out again before finally turning in for home.

As my 8am had dress rehearsals for their play I pulled Tru-D out and threw Kitt's harness on her. She is great for putting the noisy thing on and even tolerates the collar being pushed over her head. I buckled the holdbacks to the shaftloops this time. With the team harness the quarter straps already keep the breeching from moving around too much, but I wanted to make it just a little more solid against her haunch.

I have to admit, she looks good in harness.

She was a bit tight to start and just wanted to trot with it. She wanted to kick up again and I grumped at her, asked her the yield and then sent her off again. She tried it a couple more times with the same response from me and decided it was better to just canter without being opinionated about the thing on her butt.

I sense some more lungeing with the harness in her future. She did it with the Western saddle Wednesday which has leather ties on it. Previously she hasn't shown a propencity to buck up and kick out, but the harness can't be scootched out from underneath so I guess her next logical thing to do to get rid of it would be kicking up.

I think I mentioned ride # 3 went well on Wednesday. Hopefully I can get her worked 2-3 times a week whether it is under saddle or in harness.

I can't get over how GOOD she looks. Maybe I'm barn blind, but outside of her hip being on the steeper side I think she is a pretty well put together horse.

I called Galen and got her dam's name (Babe) and birth year. She can be registered through the Draft Cross Breeders and Owners Association (their website kindof sucks) so I wanted to have a little more information about her to send in. I chatted with him a bit and learned that her sire has passed away. No more possible siblings. I let him know how she was doing with her training and he's welcome to drop by. He hasn't had much occasion to get his horses out recently, but has been doing well enough overall.

I think we managed to find a pretty nice filly in the little 10 month old wild creature that she was!

Today was the last day for the private school horsemanship classes until fall. I need to get my schedule sorted.

We have the class list and entry form finalized for the show and need to polish up the sponsorship package. I need to hammer out a renewal/membership letter this week and get that out!
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Today was crazy-busy. I had five lessons starting at 7am and then took a client to pick up her new mare from Casa Grande at 2pm. After all was said and done I got home a bit after 5pm.

I'll talk about my client and her horse later (spent four hours horse shopping Thursday). Today is about Bud! Well, actually it's about Trensen Knebel.

Bud is sporting them, though he wasn't being very photogenic for me.

I don't know if there is even an English word for them, but I guess "bit cheeks" would be the best descriptive words for them. The dictionary wants to call then "bit gags," though trensen refers more to the cheeks of the bit than the whole bit to my understanding.

Sue and Henry were feeling under the weather so I put a ride on Bud today. He goes quite well in the Stark Naked Bit (the purple thing), though I wanted to secure it so if he fussed with it, it would stay secure. For the most part he's good about not messing with it, but that's where the trensen knebel come in.

As you can see they are a small piece of metal with a hook attached. The "cheek" so to speak, goes through the ring on the halter and then hooks to the bit ring.

Bud did well. We reinforced the lesson that if he goes straight past home without changing pace or wriggling he gets home faster.

The Trensen Knebel are an awesome thing to have in the toolkit. You can use a regular bit on a horse who might have issues with its ears being handled (buckle the halter on, slide the bit in). It is an easy way to try multiple bits without having to fuss with buckles. It basically makes any halter a halter-bridle.

I picked up three pair from . They were happy to take my order and it was about $30 for the three pair including shipping, which was quite reasonable! The only downside is that you have to speak German in order to naviagte the website. A few places I looked at wouldn't ship to the USA so I was happy to find one that would!

I plan on messing with them a bit more here and there. I haven't tried them with the rope halters and I don't think it would be very feasible since it wouldn't have a good place to lock into, but I'll play with it and see!


Dec. 22nd, 2016 03:38 pm
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
So we're taking a slight gamble, but hoping it plays out well.

Tuesday we took the little gelding to have a vet check. We used Roach because Chatham broke his hip last week. They went ahead and gave him a whole hip replacement and he thinks he'll be back to it after Christmas (I think he's pushing 80, tough old guy).

There was nothing major outside. She did think he had a lot of sand in his gut as it was making some swooshy noises and suggested an intense round of psyllium. She also thought he might have some ulcers because he was sensitive around the girth, but with as enthusiastically as she was poking around his girth area I don't blame him for being a little flinchy.

He had some hooks and will need his teeth done. She then looked at his eyes and went straight to suggesting squamous cell carcinoma. I explained the previous owner's story with the fly exposure and how the spots were supposedly much worse previously. After some reading I suspect he may have had the misfortune of having summer sores in his eyes (ulcers created by a stomach parasite that flies end up depositing in wounds, pretty nasty). Dr. Roach suggested sending pictures to another vet who does a lot of work with eyes. We took pictures and got the email from his office staff and sent them along.

We did flexion tests and he came up with a vague bob when his right fore was flexed, but moved perfect on the other three. We did two flexions in the hind after the front right and he trotted even so it was very slight and only when aggravated. When we tried him out Sunday I had poked around his front suspensories and he had twitched a little high on the right so I wasn't terribly surprised that he showed a slight positive on the right front. She was talking about xrays and nerve blocks or just doing a round of bute and retesting in a month or so.

We initially called the owner and said we'd be taking him back. The prospect of eye surgery was more than we wanted to invest ontop of his purchase price. She offered to drop $500 off the price right away and we politely declined. I told her we had sent in pictures and were waiting to hear back on a second opinion, but we were pretty sure he was going to be heading back North.

Needless to say we were not looking forward to a six or seven hour roundtrip to take him back. Chris and I did a lot of serious talking and hoping that the other vet would get back with us.

Since this pony was 100% for the lesson program we shifted to the business angle. How long would it take for him to earn back his cost? We had dropped the initial price from $2500 to $2300 already on account of his eyes being questionable. She was willing to knock off another $500, which would put him at $1800. At what price point could we potentially make back his costs and be even financially if it were a big issue?

I figured the eye issue wouldn't be more than $1500 to deal with, even if they completely removed his third eyelid on the left side. The eyes weren't bothering him and the tissue wasn't red and angry at all. I want to take the previous owner at her word about the flies and that the part on his actual eyeballs is just scar tissue and nothing too nefarious.

I called her back Tuesday evening and offered $1500. I don't think she even batted an eye. She admitted with the knowledge we shared she'd have a hard time moving him on at their original asking price and would rather see him in a place that sounded like they would get it taken care of and use him well than not. She will send us back the check and then I'll mail her a new one for the agreed upon price and there's that. We have another Haflinger pony. We're calling him McLintock after the John Wayne movie (Kelhan's favorite) or Mac for short.

During the vet exam he was extremely good and showed what a nice-natured pony he is, which can be hard to come by.

Yesterday morning after her regular lesson I had Susanne climb on him and give him a test ride for me. He was a little sticky here and there (really wanted to sniff all the new poop), but not at all phased by the new environment. His mouth was a bit noisy, but new bit plus teeth needing to be done makes it understandable. I wasn't quite going to throw Susanne on him in a bitless bridle since he has never been worked in one before, but we'll work up to that and see how it goes. Chewy's bridle and bit fit him pretty well. He moved well under Susanne and was not a runaway by any stretch of the imagination. I have a couple other students I can use to feel him out until I am ready to get back in the saddle, which is a nice place to be in.

Yesterday I got an email back from the other vet saying that the spots most likely won't vanish on their own and should be removed. Depending on the treatment chosen it would be between $750 and $1500 for all three spots done at once, right on the money.

Eye pictures )

The current plan is to get his teeth taken care of and perhaps have a second (third) opinion from Chatham about the eyes. We will get it treated, but how soon is going to depend and since he's gone at least a year I don't suspect putting it off a few weeks or a month will hurt. The other vet said it could require a second treatment four weeks out so he could top out at $4500 in costs with purchase and treatment outside of his basic care, but hopefully he can earn that back in the coming year and then some.

Yesterday I dewormed him, which he was okay with once he realized he couldn't back out of it. It rained last night so I went from five lessons today to zero. We moved Mac into the spare stall Dave and Marty had. Once it dries out a little more we'll move him into the turnout and he can start getting acclimated to the herd. Cinnamon apparently thinks we've brought her a handsome man as she has been standing by his gate sniffing and squealing while lifting her tail.

We'll see what the weather looks like tomorrow and whether we'll have dry space to work. Saturday was already cleared out being Christmas Eve. There is also a 100% chance of rain Saturday so it is just as well!

By the way, Mac sports a pretty spiffy mustache.

lantairvlea: (Tru-D)

Since Chris is driving and we have another few minutes to home a quick announcement.

The horse trailer has had its first occupant. He's 13.2hh and is a bit small in the big warmblood-sized stall. He's around eight years old and supposedly ride/drive, though he hasn't been asked to drive for about a year. The owners are moving out of state and thus downsizing the herd.

He was a little twitchy at the start, but chilled out as we worked with him.

There is one question mark that we'll be having the vet check out this week before making it final. He has some corneal scarring on both eyes at the edges of his iris and sclera. The lady said they used to be huge and angry. The people they bought him from had many animals, I assume poor manure management, and didn't believe in fly masks. He does have a good menace reflex so vision isn't impared and after calling and chatting with our vet he didn't think it would cause issue. We'll get an in-person check to confirm that this week.

They called him Tom, but that name definitely isn't staying.

Edit: I was thinking. This little gelding is seven years younger than Chewy was when we got her. If he holds up just as well he'll be with us 17 years (!!) by the time he is Chewy's age. This definitely puts into perspective how old the little mare is. Fingers crossed all is well and he can start filling in Chewy'd shoes.
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Tru-D has been doing well in her training and I'd like to get her put to the cart this coming year.

She'll be three in April and while she is probably close to her full height I imagine she has some filling out to do. Unlike Zetahra she doesn't quite fit in Kitt's harness. I tried it today and she still looks like a little kid wearing her mom's sweater.

2016-12-14 19.43.04.jpg

2016-12-14 19.42.32.jpg

Not nearly so bad as it was this spring when the top of the hip strap was down by her tailhead. It is still way more adjusting than I want to do back and forth and the collar is definitely too large for her. I'm sizing up my options as I don't want to be stuck with a harness that ends up being too small!

Speaking of driving I ordered the last two parts of the Parelli/Nate Bowers DVD series for driving. I wasn't super impressed with the value of the first one for the money, but they had a really good sale and I picked up both of them for less than one of them normally retails. We'll see how they are.
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Well, she only danced a little bit. She mostly walked like a good girl.

My usual 9am is drowning in final papers and exams so I had an extra hour between lessons. I debated on what to do with Tru-D, but since my working students were hard at work in the arena I decided to take her for a walk around the house. I wanted to put her new bridle to use so I threw on the training surcingle and grabbed the long lines.

I took her for her first ground drive "in the open" around the house. She was a little distracted passing Ruby and was very suspiscious of the blue tarp by the pepper plants. Chris helped by offering a little hay and walking by her head the first time past. We went back and forth a few times until she was passing it calmly before heading on around the front.

Chris had hosed off the Jeep's trunk mat so there was a damp spot trickling off the driveway. She was suspiscious about it, but crossed without too much fanfare. I let her graze a little for being so brave, but then had a little fight about the difference between her being given permission to eat and when she's supposed to be working.

I turned her around and we went back across the front. She suddenly decided either the flag or the porch decorations were of grave concern. We did a lot of circles back and forth and a couple times she was a little surprised as I picked up the outside rein to turn her and it suddenly came across her haunches. She got over herself and we went past the tarp a couple times without issue and ended crossing the front of the house without fanfare before stopping at the cross ties.

Chris wanted to measure and Tru-D shows almost 15.2 hands already. She may just hit 15.3 at this rate. She's about 1050lbs, which is less than I was expecting, but she has a few years to fill out.

She certainly looks huge in this picture! She is staring very intently at the offensive blue tarp.

Her bridle fits nicely and has room to grow. I am debating if I should adjust the breastcollar yet or not. I figure she needs a dozen or two pulls on the tire before I try the drag and she needs several calm ground drives around the house before adventuring farther afield (and probably a few more walks to the mailbox and back too).

She isn't quite so huge looking here.

I'm still on the fence about when to really start looking for a harness for her. I know the harness should have adjustability, but I wonder about how much filling out she will do in the next three years ad I'd prefer to buy just one harness. I think I'll have to try Kitt's on her again and see if I might be able to make it work. If I get her a collar I want to do an adjustable one and have it so that the smallest size fits her now as I doubt her neck will gain another two inches. I haven't dealt with enough young driving horses to know what to expect when it comes to them filling out a collar. I know with Kitt between four and six years I went from using a collar pad to none because she had filled the space (about an inch).

And someone just posted a Haflinger gelding about Chewy's size and eight years old. Might be worth a look...
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
My drag finally came in Tuesday. The gate that we ordered was not the right type and wouldn't work with our panels even though I specifically mentioned the brand and color when I ordered it.

I ended up ordering another one with the product number from the H&W website and they said they should be getting it in shortly (relative to the 6 weeks it took for the drag and the wrong gate ...).

Then it was a matter of finding the time to use it!

Today I had the private school classes and the last one drove Kitt. Since Kitt was already harnessed up Chris asked if I would just leave her harnessed and he pulled the drag into the arena and we hooked her up.

Chris drove her first and I walked by her head just in case. She's always been good with the cart and tire, but you never quite know and it's better to be safe than sorry with new equipment. In the seven years of having her this was actually the first time that Chris has directly worked Kitt. He's never ridden her and I think only the boys have been in the cart with me while driving her.

Chris went around several times and then asked me if I wanted a go and of course I did! He even offered to take some video.

Yes, eight month pregnant lady dragging the arena with her Fjord.

The drag didn't make much of a dent on the dry stuff, but it dug into the wet areas nicely and I'm hoping if I do it regularly I'll see a more even distribution of moisture so I no longer have the stark contrast of dry and rock hard or boggy wetness (where the horses pee...) and instead have semi-moist dirt with a little spring to it all around.

I may have to get a small tire to drop on the drag so it digs in a little better, but the big ones I currently have (off of tractors and semi trucks) are too massive to expect a single horse to pull it in addition to the drag for long. Either one singly would be no problem, but the combination of tire weight, drag weight, plus the resistance of the drag as it digs it the dirt would be a bit much.

Also: From the back you can't even tell I'm pregnant. The overall make it a little ambiguous too, but that's fine by me.

Edit: I did the assessments today for the Horsemanship classes. Hard to believe only one week left in classes! This semester felt incredibly short.

Two of the intermediate class students chilling as they waited for another to finish her assessment. I think Kitt and Chewy enjoyed the chill time as much as they did!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
The view from the driver's seat.

Kelhan is going to be a good driving buddy.

Chris got to drive his team.

We put the pole to the wagonette today. Chris had set up the forecart at the beginning of the month and we had a successful first drive with them together and hooked (we have ground driven them a few times together). They have both pulled the wagonette singly so as a team wouldn't be a problem.

I ground drove them a bit and we set set up the tie back on Charm-N. The two of them match well in their paces, but Charm-N has a hair-trigger for her "go" button while Ruby needs some extra encouragement sometimes. Charm-N can also be a little on the hot side to start and occasionally jigs here and there. She could use a good couple mile warm-up by herself to get settled, but at least she isn't dumb about it and is easy to ask back. That said she tends to walk off ahead of Ruby and occasionally jogs ahead of her as well so the tie back is there to encourage her to keep Pace with Ruby. It consists of a lungeing "Y" (I think some call it a "V") that snaps onto her bit and then another strap that goes from the bottom ring of the lungeing attachment to, in this case, Ruby's hames. If we had a long enough strap it could go all the way back to Ruby's singletree and Charm-N would end up pulling the carriage with her face, but the strap isn't that long and she isn't that bad about it. Turns to the right were much improved with the tie back as it kept Charm-N waiting without my accidentally correcting Ruby through the reins to keep Charm-N from rushing the turn. For those not familiar, when you drive a team (or pair as it is called among the pleasure driving sect) you have a single set of reins to communicate with both horses, which can make it difficult to do individual corrections.

Chris took over the lines to get them hooked up. The wagonette's pole is longer, but taller than the one for the forecart and I wasn't convinced they could be stepped over and backed into it. As it was Ruby did beautifully and Charm-N swung her butt wide to the right, which required some manual manipulation. Of course just as we were hooking up the neighbor's grandkids started zipping around on their quads. Perfect timing guys!

There was a brief moment where both of them went to step off and I had to check them hard, but it settled quickly and they stood like rocks the rest of the time.

The pole for the wagonette is really long. Both mares were at the ends of their heel chains and I had to lengthen Charm-N's false martingale to keep the breeching from riding up her butt. We suspect underneath the layers of tube insulation and pipe wrap the pole actually telescopes, but since we plan on moving it on once the cart and carriage arrive in January there really isn't a point in cutting through all of the padding to find out. Plus it works well enough as is for what we're doing.

Once hooked up I took them around the arena a couple times (quads revving and roaring just over the block wall the whole time...) and Chris opened up the fence so we could get out front and away from the noise a bit. Since the girls seemed fairly settled Chris went and retreived the little men from Marty and the four of us drove around the front and side of the house for a bit before returning around back to the arena for a few more laps. Tristan lost interest first so Chris hiked the little man back to Gama's and Kelhan and I drove some more until Chris returned and climbed back up. Kelhan thought he was done a short while later, but then changed his mind and at that point Chris got the lines and I sat in back with Kelhan. By now Charm-N was waiting for Ruby to step off first and was pretty consistently in her "sweet spot" where the tie back did not engage.

Chris enjoyed driving his team and even took them out of the arena and parked them in front of the workshop so we could unhook the carriage and not have to push it very far to park it!

Kelhan was very good at waiting to the side while we unhitched and then "helped" me lead Charm-N back to where we untacked her. He then decided Gama's was going to be more fun and Chris and I finished up hosing them down and putting away the carriage.

I'm looking forward to more driving with the big ladies. I just wish they were both seven instead of seventeen. We'll just keep being grateful for whatever years we have left with the two of them.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
After we lost Zetahra I was looking for things I could have made to remember her by. I settled on a ceramic pendant that used a few of her hairs to burn a pattern onto the piece. I usually just wore it on Sunday and Tristan liked the look of it. A couple months ago he got into my jewelry box and pulled it out as I was finishing lessons and Chris was trying to clean up. Tristan claimed that Kelhan broke it, but either way it was broken.

The lady who did the original piece had retired and turned her studio over to someone else. I contacted him and he said he'd be able to replace it. I also contacted a lady in the state draft horse group who does something similar.

A few weeks ago I received the replacement pendant(s!) from the first studio. Not only did he replace the pendant, but he sent two more plus the leather necklaces to hang them!

This week he emailed me asking how they arrived and sent a link for the video showing the process, which was pretty cool.

I mailed a hand-written "thank you" today including a sketch of Z.

I also sent Christina one, but failed to take a picture of the drawing before I sealed the envalope.

Here are the resulting pendants:

The round ones are from Dancing Fire Pottery and the tear-dropped shaped one is from Christina at FlyingMane Pottery.

The backs of the Dancing Fire pieces have "Z" stamped on them.

They all have their unique design and it didn't take much hair at all. The nice thing is that you don't have to have particularly long hair or a great amount of it to do these unlike the braided horsehair jewelry you see. They are also pretty sturdy, though I wouldn't recommend trusting them to a four year-old...

Overall I'm very pleased with how they turned out.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Six years ago today...

We said hello to Zetahra.

She and Panda were pretty adorable together.

After her first bath

She was pretty fancy from the start. Here she is at six weeks.

Man, if things were different what would we be doing now?
lantairvlea: (lantair look)

This is how Rolo looks when she flops on the patio. She is very athletic and has a surprising amount of endurance for a bulldog. Chris took her for a walk around the house this morning and she only flopped twice. Once when he first put the leash on in the house and the second time in the yard. She jumped up like a bolt when Chris opened the little yard gate, however.

In the evening between 8 and 9 she tends to get a bit hyper before crashing for the night. She plays fetch pretty well and gets about five good runs in before she starts slowing down.

We continue to be grateful she is a sturdier dog as little men like to lay and roll on her. We try to keep this to a minimum, but don't stress too much now that she weighs almost as much as Tristan.

As of next week all of my broken toe students will be back, yay!

I worked on the painting some more this morning/afternoon. More work on the wagon. I'm hoping to finish the main wagon part next time I sit down with it, which might not be until Monday. The good news is the art classes are off the next two weeks so the three hours I would have spent doing that can be redirected to finishing the painting. Fingers crossed I can bang it out by the end of the month.

Now it's getting the other wheels to look as good as the first one...

By surface area the painting is about 75% or more done, but the devil is in the details and at this point a lot of it is details!

I pestered Tru-D today with the 13" Western saddle. I even slid the blanket off of her head as well as tossing it up her neck and sliding it off of her rump. The saddle was tossed on from both sides before I cinched it up. We did a brief walk before I checked the cinch and sent her out on the lunge line in all three gears. She cruised around about how she has been going so next time I might get out the 14" which had a back cinch to introduce something new to the equation. She's already had the surcingle with breastplaye and crupper sonl I don't think a back cinch will be much of an issue, but it's good to introduce all of the things!

I need to call Tom and see if he had the billets on my surcingle done yet (Cinnamon busted one of them and since Bud already popped one that I had repaired I figure replacing all of the billets with thicker leather would be the best option). I'd like to do some more ground driving with Tru-D but don't feel comfortable doing it with the saddle just yet.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Chewy's new bridle arrived today. She now has one custom-fit for her and the same color as her rope halter. It makes it easier for the students to tell which goes to what horse when they're color-coordinated. I also finally got her a slightly smaller nose net so it rests closer to her nostrils.

The little mare looks pretty sporty in her burgundy bridle. It also has reins a foot shorter than the other bridle so my students aren't having to deal with an insane amount of slack. It got its first use today and has received a preliminary stamp of approval from all parties.

I'm giving the old blue one to Tru-D ... or at least that's the theory! I had to loosen the nose and drop the cheeks and throatlatch all the way down. I suspect she won't fit in it come next year when I start getting her ready to ride. It should hopefully work while I continue to build her ground driving skills, but she may need a Tru-D specific one in the next year (I am sure Lisa will be thrilled with my continued repeat business!). Of course the blue one does fit both Sunny and Cinnamon too so it isn't like there's no one else for it to fit.

Baby horse does look pretty good in blue. I worked with her on bending both ways in it and asking her to back. She was pretty light and soft left, but a little sticky right. It didn't take long for her to loosen up and give easily. I then played with her in pseudo-liberty. She was still wearing te bridle and I asked her to yield herforehand and haunches as well as follow me turning both ways. I had not asked her for that type of thing before, but she did great with it and I only touched the reins once.

Tru-D is going to be a very sensitive, careful horse. Depending on how she does I may not want to let students on her in another three years .... I had the same debate with Zetahra, but never got the chance to be shelfish. Z, however, while sensitive was a little less reactive, though a good share more opinionated. Tru-D is like Panda in sometimes getting herself overly stressed about trying to please. Zetahra was a people-pleaser (and mugger for attention...), but she didn't stress if she wasn't getting something. I guess Tru-D might endbup being a mix between Panda and Zetahra, though I guess I should compare her more with Chewy, who is related to Tru-D's sire (can you seethe resemblance?).

A sensitive mare in her own right Chewy can get herself a little stressed trying to find the right answer and has an incredible amount of give. However she is, for the most part, pretty unflappable and that is a combination of training, personality and time. I wonder if that is a C-line mare trait.

Of course Tru-D is the one who will trot up toand follow around the boys as they drive their rather noisy John Deer Gator power wheel toy.
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
I had started with the intention of working on the chuckwagon, but as I mixed the paint a good color for the brown dun showed up so I went for it.

I started out just defining the overall shape after having run over it while doing the background. I actually sketched lightly with some watered down paint first, but didn't take a picture then.
more pictures of pictured )
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
More progress on the painting. Other than a couple of touch-ups on the grass I think I can say the background is done. I haven't planned on doing detail in the grass, but that might change. We'll see.

I did the trees and the distant field. This was actually the second iteration on the trees as they were a bit dark to start and they needed a little bit of depth to them.

And then I did a third layer on the trees to make them actually work.

The painting then spent some time upside down so I could do the lower part of the grass without driving myself nuts.

I did run out of the green I was using and had to remix it, which was annoying. I was smart enough to leave enough on the pallette so I could compare as I was mixing. My second batch of green was much larger and I had plenty left over.

I also poked around one of my artmaking books to see how other people do this acrylic thing and the one artist I had a step-by-step for didn't really work back to front consistently, tending to focus on the subject first. So I shrugged and continued on my way.

I think there are a couple little spots in the grass that will need more, but I was wise and mixed A LOT of paint and have plenty more of that lovely green stored in a 35mm film container (obviously minus the film). I'm hoping it keeps the paint fresh for a week or so.

Now we're at the tricky part where I have to do details and decide which spot to tackle first. My initial instinct is to paint a little bit on all of them, but without a good way to keep my colors I fear I am going to have to tackle it one subject at a time. I know with oils I could just throw some seran wrap over it and it'd be good for weeks, but I don't think I could trust the acrylics to not dry into hard little bits of plastic. The good news is I have very few colors I am working with so unity isn't too much of a problem. I still just have one shade of red and yellow. I do have two blues and picked up two shades of green raw umber and burnt sienna plus a shade of purple.

lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Ug, grammar fails me (those with better German than I can feel free to correct any mishaps in my titles).

I worked more on the painting today. I am finished with the snow and itbturned out fairly well, I think, though I still had my moments of doubt.

And then I tried to start on some of the lower areas on the mountain that are more grassy and I think I am going to have to repaint those sections (again, the first round was pretty grotesque, we won't speak of it...), but I am going to let it "rest" and do the middle-background trees first and am probably hoping in vain that it will settle and look less horrible once there are more colors and context in the painting to help it settle in.

I am getting along okay with the acrylics. They still aren't very natural for me to work with, but used in mostly large blocks of color this way with a little dry brushing and such here and there it isn't so bad. I am enjoying having an "excuse" to have studio time, though even getting paid for it I still have some vague guilt. I was having thoughts today that I could do this art thing for a living, but I think it would be way too sporadic and now would not be the time to try and build a new business venture.

Granted business with lessons is almost too good. I've cut the discount I offer on books of four lessons in half (was $20 savings, now $10) and am seriously considering raising the prices on my private lessons for new clients. I currently have a $10 difference between a group and a private lesson and am thinking about making it $15. I had a new student start last week, another one came out today to watch a lesson and ask questions (they're starting Saturday), and a new one starting Friday, plus another new set of siblings starting Saturday afternoon on top of all that. Oh, and an email I need to get back on asking about lessons too!

I am close to scheduling 30 lessons a week. Holy crap.

If I keep this up I should be able to pay off my credit cards fairly quickly...

I also measured Tru-D and Chewy today. Tru-D is a tick under 15 hands (14.3 and a half hands) and about 960lbs. Chewy has gone from skinny to Very Fleshy. I did too well getting her fattened back up and she measures at 1260. Of course two years ago she was less than 900, which was way too skinny. A couple weeks ago I dropped her pellets by 6lbs (she was getting 18!). I'm going to check her again next month and see if she is making progress towards a good weight (ideally about 1000lbs, maybe towards 1100). Her shoulder blades are disappearing and her tailhead is sunken into her butt as well as the gutter developing down her back. Hard to believe I was worried about her being too skinny for a while there!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Wendy asked if getting the poster painting done by the time she has to go to the NFHR meeting the beginning of April was within the realm of possibility. She wanted to be able to show it off since it is the artwork to be used in promoting the August Fjord horse evaluation in Montana she is coordinating/running. I told her the beginning of May would be more realistic, but I would put in my best efforts.

The smaller surface still isn't in yet so the decision was made for me as to the size of the piece: 18x36 inches it is! (~46x91cm). The 12x24 would have been a pansy size anyway... or at least I'll tell myself that. I'll have to find something to do with the smaller surface when it finally comes in. I had gessoed it over the weekend and got the thumbnail printed out and gridded yesterday before getting it sketched out.

The thumbnail drawing is on a regular letter sized copy paper (8.5x11") for size reference.

I was able to get the sketch roughed out. I didn't do too much detail, mostly just getting proportional relationships down because I know I'll be painting over most of it anyway. I am trying to be careful in my treatment of the acrylics. We have not gotten along well in the past so I am trying to be careful to respect the paint's properties.

Flat sky color. She wanted it somewhat reminiscent of a block print so no super fancy gradations here. I also really need to pick up some ultramarine or cobalt because pthalo is driving me a little nuts, though I think I managed to get what I wanted out of it.

Did I mention I currently only have three colors of paint? White and black don't count as colors, but you can say I have five paints to work with right now. Can you tell I wasn't quite ready to dive into the full painting just yet?

I added some clouds and then realized the three or four smudges of clouds just wasn't doing it. I also made the shadow color WAY too dark so I modified and added more clouds and lightened up the shadows.

And I think I am done with the sky. I might consider the painting 10% done at this point, but probably not. It's hard to force myself to be flat and blocky, especially when the paint was still a little wet, but I think I managed okay.

Next up is the mountains. I am debating if I should pick up more paint Friday when I have a chunk of free time or if I should wait until the other surface is in. If I go sooner than that I may just hit Michael's despite its terrible prices because it is 10 minutes away instead of 40.

Wendy at least understands that it will probably not be finished by the 1st, but I will give it a good shot! I need to do some sketches of the people and figure out how to dress them. Being several inches tall instead of just one or two makes a big difference in details. I also need to mess more with the tack design for the horses. So many things to do! The background is only going to keep me busy for so long.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Acrylic Fjord painting progress.

The foal turned out way more painterly than initially intended. I'm debating if I want to repaint the mare, try to smooth out the foal, or just let it be the way it is. I will be adding some sort of ground line and debating on being a bad painter and redoing the background. Not sure. If all else fails I can always paint over everything because that is the glory of paint!

Rolo is a strange little dog. She's about 32 pounds and dense as a brick.

Also don't believe the people who say bulldogs are dumb. They are not. They're just a bit muleish and have to know what's in it for them and then decide if it's worth the effort.

Sometimes she comes great. Other times she stares at you like "and why should I do that?" Food isn't always enough to inspire her either.
lantairvlea: (Kash)
I was able to put in a second ride on both Chewy, Kash, and Kitt and rode Bud in them as well this week.

Here are my overarching observations that one might consider with these bits:

This is not a bit you let the horse just "hang out" in. Some might be okay, but most will start playing with it to some extent and will end up dropping it given enough time. I discovered this as I had to get on and off resetting poles as students knocked them over. No problem if you have a headstall, which is an option with these as well, but just as the jaw bit you don't want to leave them alone with it too long.

It's also not good for grass snatchers and drinking (having to swallow and move feed around makes them push the bit down because it doesn't have anything holding it up). It is also not good for leading unless your horse is SUPER light. I didn't push trying to lead with it because I knew the mechanics of it were non-condusive. If you need to lead a horse either leave the halter on or wait to put on the bit until right before you mount up.

On to the working thoughts: I have been able to use them with four horses at this point, Chewy the Haflinger, Kash the Arab, Kitt the Fjord, and my client's Haflinger, Bud. Chewy was the initial driver since she as the facial nerve that misfires. I know it is the trigeminal nerve and not the caudal, but I figured it was worth the shot at least. She still had some head shaking so that theory is out. She does wear a nose net on her usual bridle, which does help so I'll either need to put on a cavesson with it or put one on her halter. She was pretty good in it, though might have been slightly offended as she hasn't worn a bit in almost a year! There was a good amount of mouthing the first wearing and she dropped it a couple times (see above!). She didn't feel too different from her bitless and I would have to pull out her bitted bridle to see if there is any difference there (takes a double-jointed eggbutt with copper lozenge). The second time she was less mouthy and I was able to trot and bend and turn a bit more. She was wanting to fall in on the turns to the left, but that's more her than anything on her face or in her mouth.

A rare picture of the little mare. Biggest eyes I've ever seen on a horse of any size.

For Kash the first thing I noticed was how QUIET he was in his mouth compared to every other bit I have tried on him (and over 12+ years I have tried a lot of bits!). Yes he played with it a little to start, but he wasn't constantly jawing is as he is wont to do when not actively engaged in anything else (he goes pretty quiet when his brain is engaged). I got two rides in it with him thusfar and I'm pretty pleased with how he felt in it. He was off for other unrelated reasons (stepped on himself and biffed it a couple weeks ago and is still just a little sore), but so far as bit function goes he felt really good in it and it was so nice not hearing "Ka-clack, Ka-clack" and he chewed on his bit. I think it's also pretty hard for them to suck it up into their molars (no scratches, yay!) because of the snugness and the fact that the jaw gets wider towards the molars. Kash also neck reined beautifully with it and he was lovely and soft in it. He's not a very stiff horse in general and tends towards bending too much, but I think he was more responsive because he wasn't so distracted with trying to chew on it as he is with his conventional bits.

The first time with Kitt she played with it a moment, but then was pretty quiet until she got a bit of grass in her mouth to chew on and had a hard time figuring out how to work around it. I didn't do much hard work either ride with Kitt so it's still in the "wait and see" column. I did note she fussed with it a little more the second time, but I did leave her alone with it too. When I picked her up into a trot she responded pretty well with it. She did want to drop her head a bit more, not quite rooting, but not quite an honest stretch either. It'll help if I get the time to put in a "real" ride on her. We worked turn on the haunches and forehand today, which was good and she bent pretty readily.

I wonder with my three if any of the initial weirdness is due to them not working bitted at all for almost a year. I imagine there would have been a more notable difference going from a metal bit to the the biotbane jaw bit and less of an offended "why are you putting things in my mouth?!"

Bud went okay in it, but I think I had some other things going on with him too.

I thought he might be a little lame in his turnout so I took him out to the road where I would have a flat, straight surface that would tell me clearer. The neighbors down the road had some workers in their yard and a big stack of pallets that he was giving The Eye. He bowed out terribly and was sticky going forward and since I didn't have the whip I had to kick, which he was pretty dead to and was pretty exasperating. Once past it and turned around he power-trotted towards home dead-even. I was able to back him off pretty well with the bit and tried getting him the other way again with marginally more success. He wanted to rush home again and I finally picked up the whip and threw on my vest (I like having my vrst when riding on the road). The whip seemed to help since I wasn't throwing us off balance kicking him. He might have been a little less responsive than his usual low-port Kimberwick, but it can be hard to tell with him if you don't ride him in two bits side by side. Considering I had to work him past a super scary pile of pallets and didn't have the whip like I usually do he did very well! He came back from his power trot home well enough so that was the important part.

I think the Stark Naked Bit is an interesting option to have. It seems that no one is objecting horribly to it (yet). My horses who haven't had bits for close to a year were more skeptical than Bud who works in a bit all the time, but they all seemed to settle fairly quick so long as they don't have something else in their mouth or are left alone to play with it. I like that it molds easily around the tongue and while the stitches provide some texture there are no points, nubs, or joints creating possible pinch points or poking into the roof of the mouth. It also has a softer feel on the skin than any metal bit could, especially thinking about how this might feel on the bars of the mouth compared to metal.

The construction was nice with sturdy stitching. I also liked that they gave you options for strap width as well as ring diameter for a customized feel for both horse and rider. I went with the 3/4" strapping because I thought that the 1" might be a little too wide and isn't comparable to any bits I've ever used with my crew. They also offer a 1/2" which was narrower than I was wanting for my group.

I plan on continuing to try them now and again and hopefully get more of a ride in on them, but as most of the rides have been while I'm teaching there does end up being a lot of standing and observing than actively riding the horse.


Jan. 12th, 2016 09:17 pm
lantairvlea: (armaina)

Friday we took a trip to the snow about 30 or 40 minutes past Payson. It had rained Monday, but cleared up before the three lessons that afternoon. And then it POURED Monday night, which left my away lesson sopping wet, even though she is higher up the hill than I am and it rained more Tuesday so I ended up rescheduling Tuesdays lesson. Wednesday my morning lessons were underwater, but I managed to get Bud worked. We did some puddle hopping. It also rained MORE on Wednesday and into the night. I did have a single die-hard Wednesday afternoon.

Haley worked in the roundpen and we did some turns on the haunches and forehand. She was surprised how wet it was and I told her when I am thinking about cancelling a lesson it has to be really wet!

Thursday, SURPRISE! more rain and no lessons. It was just too horrendously wet and getting wetter. We decided it'd be a good time for a snow trip. I canceled Friday's lessons (too wet anyway and it RAINED MORE) and we loaded up the boys and headed for the snow.

Tristan was so excited for his first snow trip! The reality wasn't quite as exciting as hoped. It was about two feet of fluffy powder, which doesn't make a good snowman and he sunk up past his waist trying to wade through it. Kelhan wasn't really happy except for when he was on my shoulders dictating where we should go and that's okay.

When we got there it was all virgin snow, not a track. We worked up an almost sweat (kept my jacket open!) stomping down a good track through the trees and wandered here and there for a while before Tristan decided it was time for lunch and he needed a corn dog. Thankfully there was a Dairy Queen in Payson that could satisfy the starving little man. Kelhan had one too and Chris and I had KFC before heading back down the hill to home.

Saturday was rain-free, but soggy. I did manage five lessons, though it would have been more because 10am wasn't feeling well and Sue was still underwater. Lots of work in the roundpen! Saturday was also the first day the horses really got turned out. They had an hour or so here and there during the week, but they pretty much spent 22 or 23 hours a day stuck in their stalls. Ruby was in the "spare" covered stall with access to the arena and Tru-D had the turnout and access to Ruby's stall, but the other four were stuck.

Saturday Susanne and I managed to get the stalls all mucked at least and I picjed up five bags of shavings. I used four of them on the stalls (I just have spot-shaving use where the horses pee because I'm cheap and also we just have mare motels so no solid walls to keep shavings in anyway). The last one was vainly used to help dry the turnout, which is still a mess because it gets shade from all sides with the little house, trees, and the L-shape of the shade. The edges are drying somewhat, but we're bumping the farrier until next week so he doesn't have to traverse the mud puddle on the South side of the house to get to where the horses are.

My normal book of lessons is getting back in gear after the mayhem brought about by the rain. The private school classes start this week with the art class tomorrow(!!). Next week is the driving clinic and life is chugging right along.


Dec. 27th, 2015 08:19 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
A week ago Thursday or Friday Ruby came up sore on her right fore. My first hope was an abscess as I couldn't feel any heat. She has had ringbone in that foot since before we bought her as a six or seven year-old in '06. She was an Amish horse and our best guess is that she suffered an injury that caused damage to the bone. She has some external scarring going into her coronary band that is usually hidden by her feather. She bowed the tendon on that leg as well about two years ago in some freak accident while turned out as she wasn't in much work at the time. We have done a few x-rays over the years that show some pretty impressive remodeling spiraling across the front of her short and long pastern bones. Her last set about two years ago showed some fusion in the joint, which explained the slight hitch in her get along as she has reduced shock absorption with the joint progressing towards fusion. The good, big lady also has shivvers, which shows up in her right hind, especially when you try to pick the foot up too fast, but also occasionally when she steps off after standing a while.

I had Kevin deop by Tuesday to hoof test her (I should get a pair someday...) and he didn't find anything of concern. The one spot I thought was a little soft was just some dead sole needing to come out anyway. Drat. He did note that her ringbone lump was larger than he remembered and he also poked at her shoulders a bit to see if she wasn't sore further up.

So I got her on some Bute twice a day and put her back on a loading dose of MSM because I have been bad about getting it to her regularly, but come Friday she wasn't moving any better and was actually pointing her right fore and very reluctant to move. Arthritis gets better with movement, but as the uncontested benevolent overlord Ruby moves for no one and she barely has to shift her weight to send the others back pedaling. I put a call into the vet Saturday and given her size we upped her to three grams morning and night. We also shaved her pastern, which revealed that it was actually convex and I could feel some warmth on it. We slathered it with hydrocortisone and DMSO gel on top to help it carry into the joint.

Today she is no longer pointing that leg and while still limping seems to be more willing to move around. I hope she continues to improve. We're going to set up to have the vet come out and do a new set of x-rays on her to see where it is now.

I really hope this is just a blip as the joint finishes fusing. Ruby is not one we would necessarily be looking for a replacement when she goes, but I really would hope she sticks around a few more years. She's only 16(ish). She has given us nine pretty much sound years despite coming to us with a substantial case of ringbone to begin with. I don't have delusions about nine more, but maybe four?

Ruby and Charm-N geound driving together (you can see Chris' leg back there). We haven't quite gotten to hooking the pair to a cart. They are surprisingly well-matched.

Ruby and the boys last year.


lantairvlea: (Default)

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