lantairvlea: (lantair look)
The other morning Ruby, Tru-D, and McLintock were lined up in order of size. By the time I got my phone to take a picture Mac had moved, but it did give a good size comparison between Ruby and Tru-D currently (with Charm-N peaking over their backs).

More pictures and rambling )
Tomorrow is another full day and it looks like there are many full days ahead, which is good because in another month it is going to get even hotter and we'll see how many wilt.

The lady with the gypsy cob wants to move forward with driving training, but is weighing her options. Full training is still in the air, but traveling to where she boards is also an option.

The couple who started driving a couple weeks ago have a horse they are wanting to get driving too.

I might have found a bit of a niche with this driving thing.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Saturday was the Draft Horse Expo in conjunction with the local rodeo. What started out as me checking in with the Rodeo people to see if they wanted us to participate again turned into me managing the entire affair.

Many things learned for next time for sure and also for the upcoming show in November (eight months, aaaaggggg!). I didn't feel like I could push the event until it was locked in and I couldn't lock it in until we had insurance information taken care of and I had to wait (weeks...) on another member to get that taken care of. The problem is that the group is in flux and disarray so she assumed we weren't doing any events and didn't renew the insurance (which covers three events) when it expired.

I had a couple emails sent out through the group as well as an event posting on the Facebook page. I had two other people express interest ahead of time and Troy (our former President) called me this week saying one of his sons would be there.

Friday evening I had Henry and Bud. Bud had a minor meltdown over some kids setting up a lemonade stand. In his defence it did involve a pop-up shade, ice rattling around, the chest opening and closing, small sneaky-looking creatures (children), and a hand-pull wagon. I could have just let him jig-jog past it, but we turned around and passed it again and again until he was walking without more than a half-glance at it. Since it was right next to home we had to pass it again and he would have been perfect had they no dumped some ice into the bucket, but I'll take the half-second side-step over the shenanigans he was doing before!

I finished up with Bud and swung by Bashas' to see if I could find a table covering becaue I knew a least one of my tables was covered in paint. I ended up not needing it because the second one was reasonably paint-less, but while I was there I got a call from Lea.

She was concerned about the arena we were supposed to be in. It didn't appear to be set up for what we needed to do. At first I was hoping she had her North/South directions confused. I decided I needed to see for myself and since it's just a mile from home I drove down and jogged over to the arena. Nope, she was correct on her directions.

What we were dealing with was an arena set up for roping. It wouldn't have been too bad, but there were three sets of loose panels leaning up against the fence rail, the cattle chute was not blocked off and of course the "boxes" on either side that work great for small horses to wait for the cow to pop out of the chute are a death trap for something larger, especially something larger pulling a cart or wagon! To make matters worse, the North gate that we had used two years ago had temporary panels blocking it. There was a gate there, sure, but it had a 6' arch over it, which would decapitate anyone riding a draft and be impassible with a cart.

Troy's older son Riley was there (Troy 2.0 he said as I initially hailed them with "Is that Troy?"). He figured they would move all of it and it'd be good by morning as he headed off, but Lea was not so easily passified. The other thing is that the arena is right next to the carnival. Not only that, but all of the obnoxious swinging, twirly rides were in sight of the arena. Even if we did go down to the South end and use the big gate there (passing the cattle chute and all), we'd have to travel between the arena and the rides in a 30' path.

So I called Brook, the lady I have been conversing with via email about the event and she booked it down to see what we were talking about. She passed us in her little golf cart, swung to the North end of the arena to see the gate, and came back with apologies about the state of it.

Now there is an arena directly South of Arena 4, the one we were supposed to be in. Arena 2 had nothing in it but their glorious red dirt (Arena 4 had had the red footing pulled and replaced it with brown dirt to cater to whatever roping event they held previously). It also had a larger set of bleachers. Lea and I asked what was going on in Arena 2. Brook said it was the Corn Hole Toss Tournament and it didn't start until noon. I don't know about you, but I think the corn hole toss requires a big set of bleachers for spectators, really glorious footing, nor a full 150x300' arena. Brook said she would check with the organizers and get back with me that evening about what they could do.

While farther away from our parking and staging area we could access Arena 2 from the side road and not have to go anywhere near the carnival stuff. We did have the carnival rides going two years ago and most of the horses did surprisingly well, but Charm-N and I did nearly end up putting the forecart in a post when one of them started up. I think individually the rides wouldn't be a deal. Moving thing, okay, somewhat suspiscious, but predictable. Flashing lights? Okay, again, if it's predicitable and consisted they can chill out about it pretty well. Add in people screaming at random? Well, every horse has its limits.

Brook called me as I was finishing up dinner to say we had Arena 2. I quickly sent everyone messages about the change and we were good to go!

In all we ended up with nine horses and ten people participating. I had Kitt, Ruby, and Charm-N along with two students, Olivia and Susanne. Chris helped out and manned the table. Had it not been so hot (95°F!) we would have hooked Ruby and Chris would have done some driving too.

Lea and her husband had her two Percherons, Christina brought down her two Clydesdales and two people (didn't catch their names), and Troy's son Hayden did a demo with a team of Shires. So we had the four major draft breeds (Ruby is a Belgian) plus a Fjord.

We started out a little behind. While Lea got there before us they were still loitering around as we lead our crew over to the arena to start the halter classes. We did have the horses saddled, but it made the tack change later quicker as we just pulled the saddles and stuffed them in Lea's trailer. We were about 20 minutes behind to start, but Christina had a two hour drive to get down here with her rig so all in all I don't think that was too bad of a lag. Of course had we had anyone volunteer to give demos between classes we could have filled the dead space, but ah well! Next year!

I served as the announcer and judge to start. Everyone said I did well, but I can't help to feel like I sucked. This is why judges should also be impartial 3rd parties as I didn't want to place my students high because that would totally look like favoritism, but I didn't want to place them too low either because, if I do say so myself, my horses aren't all that bad looking. It didn't help that all the horses were pretty well put together.

I figured the best thing to do with Charm-N would be to hold her since she probaly wouldn't be happy left tied to the fence as six other horses left her behind. She wasn't overly happy being 60' away from them either and I dropped the mic once as she stepped on the cord. My papers also flew off once so I was feeling all types of professional.

Maybe next year we'll have actual entries and numbers and information sheets for people. As it was it was Fjord #1, Belgian #2, Clydesdale #3, Clydesdale #4, Percheron #5, and Percheron #6 in order of line-up. If I remember right I placed them Clyde #3, Percheron #5, Belgian #2, Clyde #4, Percheron #6, and Fjord #1. Kitt got last because she failed to trot in-hand the first time out. I also wasn't clear enough in my directions to Olivia and she and Kitt left the arena after the did their initial attempt at jogging instead of coming back around behind the last horse.

As we finished up the halter Hayden appeared with his team of Shires and he put on a great demonstration while we did our tack change for the riding classes. I also called Brook to hunt down the barrels that we were supposed to have since I didn't see them anywhere.

We had a moment after Hayden exited as we were mounting up that Lea's two horses got loose as they were getting their bridles on. I was laready on Charm-N so I was able to block Greta's escape and while I wasn't confident to get close enough to grab her I did manage to guide her into the arena gate where Lea got her. Her gelding Thor didn't go far and then the rest of them mounted up. I headed in first followed by Susanne on Ruby and Olivia on Kitt. We started our walk as Lea and her husband Mike reorganized themselves. On one pass I asked if they were going to scratch or not and they said they were good and joined us shortly thereafter.

Charm-N was a little looky and wanted to cut in away from the crowd a little, but didn't do anything to out of line. Ruby was her usual awesome self swinging along with her ears up and eyes bright. I swear she loves the squishy red dirt at Horseshoe. She gets an extra spring in her step and you wouldn't know she had severe ringbone in her right fore. Kitt was good and calm as well and didn't seem to mind Ruby and Charm-N marching boldly ahead of her.

Christina was on the mic served as announcer and judge. We picked up the trot and at one point Kitt got a little strong on Olivia while heading towards the gate (surprise) and cantered a couple strides. She got her back down with no issue. Lea and Mike hung in the center and let their horses google-eye stuff rather than take them around the ring. We changed direction at the trot and everyone kept gait this time before walking and lining up in the center. Christina then had each of us back before making her decision. Susanne and Ruby took first, Kitt and Olivia took second, but only because Kitt broke gait, and Charm-N and I took third. Mike and Lea got honorable mentions for at least making it into the arena.

The barrels had arrived and Chris and I set them up after the riding class. Lea was the timer and off we went! Charm-N trotted mostly and rolled into a canter heading home. We managed about 52 seconds on our run as we were a little wide around the turns. Susanne and Ruby did a solid trot the whole way. With Ruby's ringbone I told her to keep it at a trot. I don't remember the time, but it was close to Charm-N's. Olivia took Kitt in and the little goober dove to the gate after every barrel. Everyone figured the little sporty pony would get the best time, but it took her over a minute! I decided the cheeky pony needed a little schooling so I swing up and after adjusting the stirrups a about four holes up (I have nubby, nubby legs compared to my students) Kitt and I went for it again. She was quite strong any time the gate came in view, but I checked her strongly around and we managed to do it in 42 seconds, taking the best time. From there the plan was some driving, which required another tack change. Someone pulled the barrels as we headed back to the trailer. I lead Charm-N and the two girls rode behind me.

I hosed down Charm-N because she was done for the day and we pulled the tack off of Ruby and Kitt. We only brought the Kutzmann cart so just one horse at a time. Ruby and Charm-N hung out in the trailer as we hitched Kitt and I took her down.

Kitt was very vocal as we left her buddies behind, but kept a steady walk down the access road. As I was getting ready to turn towards the arena I spotted a water truck heading our way and put up my hand to ask them to stop. I actually raised my hand several times in a stopping motion as soon as I saw him a couple hundred feet away, giving him plenty of room to stop a fair distance back. Despite that as I swung Kitt around in order to make the opening the truck rumbled within 20 feet of us which didn't make me happy and made Kittquestion hard about swinging towards the truck and then squeezing between the barricades. The road we just came down looked like a much better option. Chris finally came and I told him to lead her through. I had to remind him he couldn't pull her around as sharp because we were in the cart not the carriage. We got through and I took her the rest of the way into the arena without incident. I think had the water truck not kept creeping up on us we would have been fine, but the big rumbling, moving barricade was a little much for Kitt at the moment. It has been well over a year since she has been off property while driving after all.

We had lost the majority of our crowd at that point and it was just Christina and I with Kitt and her Clyde playing around in the arena as Lea snapped some pictures.

I got the chance to get Kitt going a bit. Sneaky little bugger got a bit strong in the trot and offered a couple canter strides as we headed towards the gate. She would then nearly die as we got near the gate so we worked on trotting smoothly past the gate and called it good once she trotted without stopping.

I will probably pull off the driver's wedge from the cart. While I have my little foot box to give my nubby legs some purchase the wedge puts me up another two or three inches and pretty much negates it. I ended up bracing my heels between the wedge and the seat to feel like I had enough grip to keep myself stabilized. It was nice to be able to trot her out and get some nice big figures going. The footing is not so condusive to carts, especially after horses have been riding in it creating innumerable divots for the tires to roll through. I also think a piece of pipe wrap or some vet wrap will be in order next time I have the chance to cruise in it as the heel chains are a bit annoying.

By that time it was over 90 degrees and we were hot. I asked Christina if she was okay with us nixing the obstacles and she was fine. We didn't hook up Ruby for the same reason. Too hot for our fuzzy Yaks. We cleared out of the arena a bit before 1pm. After loading Kitt and the cart Chris and I went back for the table and stuff.

I had contacted several breed organizations and told them about our event and that we wanted to share information about the draft breeds and most of them were very generous! People didn't take as much of the literature as I had hoped so I still have stacks of flyers and booklets from the Shire, Clydesdale, Percheron, Belgian, and Fjord registries. I forgot to grab the Suffolk stuff from Hayden, but that's okay. I was pretty impressed with their response and generosity and plan on having a similar display during the show in November, possibly adding the Haflingers (can't remember if I emailed them), Spotted Drafts, and maybe I'll contact the Gypsy people ... maybe. I remain unimpressed with some of their breeders.

Everyone seemed to have fun and I think it was good experience as I have a better idea of a few things for the show, primarily concerning tack change times. Definitely need a good-sized break between riding and driving classes!

I also have thoughts and ideas concerning this event for next year. I think the quieter arena suited us better. It would be awesome to get the covered one, but that spot is already spoken for and so long as it isn'1 too hot the uncovered arena is fine.

If I can get people to do demonstrations between classes that would be awesome. That has always been a bit of the trouble, filling time with tack changes and the like. Considering there were just four groups of us at work I think we managed to do really well. if I had another Hayden-like demo while we were getting the horses changed over from riding to driving we probably would have kept more of a crowd. Of course as we were breaking down the table we had a few people who were disappointed that they missed it.

A couple things I wish I had were solid information and flyers about the show in November, and membership forms for the club. I had emailed Kellie Thursday I think about it, but should have thought of it sooner. Drat. Well, next time!

We were pretty tired once we got home. We got the horses put up and the driving stuff away before cleaning up ourselves. The saddles and table are still in our horse trailer, but those could wait. We needed the driving stuff out of Dave and Marty's trailer first so we could park it back where it belongs.

As we were cleaning up Marty had sent me a text about Dakota an Hershey. Apparently her cousin's step-daughter was interested in them and possibly my parents' horse trailer. I got Marty the keys for both the property and trailer so they could check it out more. The tires on it are shot, which isn't a surprise. I don't think it has moved in a year and a half. We last put tires on it when we took Jed to the pleasure driving show in 2012 and it sits out in the sun all the time. Jeremy, Jessika's husband, climbed under it and discovered the back half of the floor is pretty much rotted out as well so they're going to consider what repairs will cost and make them an offer on it.

They decided free was a good price for Dakota and Hershey and they picked them up last night. It was a little weird this morning passing their empty pen and strange not having to feed an extra set of horses.

Yes I won't have the $400 in board a month for them, but close to half of that went into feeding them plus the chore of feeding and watering them. I also don't have to worry about being paid back for their vet and farrier work. The other week Marty had asked me about when Rowdy had first come over (the gelding they had before Hershey) and as I poked through my old entries I realized I have been a bit bitter and put out about taking care of my parents' horses off and on for a long time.

It's not that I actually mind taking care of them, but I very much mind thier lack of care for their own horses. I compared it to a child wanting a puppy and promising they'd take care of it and being the parent who ends up bathing, feeding, and cleaning up after said puppy that the child just HAD to have and was going to take such good care of.

I hope Jessika and Jeremy enjoy the two old mares and make their last years good ones.

In other news I now technically have space if I were to take a horse into training.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I was able to work Tru-D again yesterday morning because my 8am was sick (so many sick people canceled this past month). I used the Parelli feather lines again and attached them between the cheek pieces and throatlatch in the cross-under configuration. I had Susanne mucking in the arena so I took Tru-D out and around the house.

She did pretty well. We have some work to do on her bravery. With the work on the driveway and some other things moved around things Were Not The Same so she was a bit suspicious the first couple of passes. There were a couple moments of jigging that she came back quickly from and also a couple moments of trying to eat.

I definitely think the weight of the beta lines was the issue with her drifting backwards as she once again stood pretty solid when asked. I may work her a few weeks in the feather lines before going back to tbe beta lines and see what happens.

I did take the new whip as I worked her and it had a good reach. It is ridiculously light for its length and I like the lash length in addition. I need to get a longer lash for my other one. I need to start focusing on getting Tru-D calmly responsive to the whip aids while I ground drive her. She tends to speed up right now as she moves over so I need to step back and reinforce her moving sideways off of it.

Thursday I had Nelson with Roy and Molly. He had the farrier out the other week and the farrier and Molly had a bit of a disagreement. Nelson had mentioned that we haven't been tying her solid. She has a tendency to set back and rather than have her break things we do a couple loops around the post to create a little friction to have her feel some pressure, but not enough to go into a full panic. If she sets back you just ask her to step back up and snug it back down. It's a lesson I learned with Judy's mare Sweeti who broke more halters and lead ropes than you could shake a stick at. It's no big deal and Molly has been getting better about standing "tied" with fewer incidences of setting back and coming forward quicker after it. Nelson had noted a couple months ago that the farrier appreciated that Molly was being better about her feet since I started working with her. This last session, however, the farrier's assistant got it in his head that he was going to "teach her" and snubbed her down on the post, which resulted in her setting back (surprise), fishtailing, and ultimately scraped her chest on the hitching rail as she came back forward. He was not able to get her back feet done at all.

I had offered to bring out my tools and at least knock the rough spots off. I forgot last week, but remembered Thursday. She had been good for Nelson cleaning her feet so I figured it wouldn't be much of a deal. We had built a decent rapport the last six or so months and I was hoping it would be no problem.

No such luck. She saw the bucket with the tools in it and her hind end became a 100% no go zone. We were back to square one with her spinning circles if I even got near her flank, let alone her hip and foot.

She reached one point where I was able to pick up her foot and was feeling like she needed a mental break so I spent a couple minutes putting the bridle off and on Roy. Royal is doing consistently better about his right ear, but is still touchy.

When I went back to Molly I was able to work her left hind and knock out the extra sole as well as trim the wall and do some rasping. Unfortunately we had to call it quits there. I was back out today. Molly was a little reluctant to be caught, but she just walked off about 50 feet and that was it. Nelson lead her up under the shade where we usually tie them, but when he went to put the rope over the rail she rocketed backwards. She was then wary to be under the shade at all and I had Nelson pause when she gave him a couple good steps forward before I took over.

Knowing her high anxiety under the cover I didn't push it and just kept her in hand. She was wanting to spin and I changed up strategies, instead of putting pressure on her gaskin as she walked and spun I slipped the rope around her leg and put some pressure on it. With my hand on her gaskin she would slow down, but it would take several steps (or spins) and she really was locked into a bad mental pattern. With the rope around her pastern I picked up pressure and she rethought her tactics very quickly. I kept the pressure on until she would relax the foot and then I would let it go. I was able to work down to touching the foot and eventually got both of them cleaned out before grabbing the hoof knife and focusing on her right hind. I had to use the rope again, but she settled quicker. She had worn out most of her sole so there wasn't much for it and gave her foot back before heading over for the nippers.

I can't remember if it was with the nippers or rasp that she kicked out just as I was about to give it back. Molly thought for sure I was going to explode on that one, but I just picked up the rope, quietly grabbed my tool, and worked to get her foot back, fussed with it again, and moved on.

I rasped the left hind a little again and then gave Nelson directions as to how to work on it until I came again Tuesday. He doesn't quite have the skill and timing to do it exactly as I did, but he could work on getting her comfotable again with him approaching and rubbing her barrel, hip, and eventually the leg.

Nelson and I talked quite a bit as I was working with her both days and while I didn't quite say my full thoughts we both came to the conclusion that the "teaching" that his farrier and his assistant did the week before last almost put us back to square one with Molly on her feet.

I admit I was not happy to see all of our good work pretty much flushed down the toilet because some idiot thought he was going to be a macho man and teach a horse how to stand tied by snubbing it to the post. Especially a horse that already has a history of setting back and in particular before she had a chance to do anything "bad!" Talk about setting her up for failure.

Nelson mentioned that Molly actually gets a little anxious when she sees the farrier's truck, which tells me he was already a source of anxiety. Nelson also said that his (soon to be former) farrier had set in his mind how Molly was and kept the opinion she just wasn't a good horse despite her improvement over the past six or seven months.

Molly definitely has some self-protective habits, but she certainly isn't a mean horse. The bucket of tools was definitely something she associated with People You Do Not Trust so it took a while to reconvince her I wasn't a threat.

I am of the mind that it isn't the farrier's job to teach my horse how to accept being trimmed and shod, but he certainly shouldn't make the horse worse! I gave Nelson Kevin's number and we'll see how that goes. I think we'll try to schedule it so I can be there when he comes out the first time. Not that I doubt Kevin's skill in handling horses, I did a 150+ hour internship with him for my Equine Science degree, but I don't think it would hurt if Kevin heard my direct perspective and be there to hold Molly if needed. Nelson is getting better, but he just doesn't have the years of experience to hold a horse that is working through issues.

In happier news we hooked Ruby and Charm-N up to the carriage again today and I think we finally have it set the way we need it. I'm ready to take them out and about! Once Ruby and Charm-N chilled out a bit Chris even drove them for a bit and the little men joined us. Tristan went around a couple times before deciding riding his bike was going to be more fun, but Kelhan hung out until we were done and then had to be persuaded to get off. He climbed on again as soon as we had the horses unhooked and was pretending to drive his team while Chris and I detacked the horses. I didn't take any pictures, but Chris managed one.

lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Yesterday I had one lesson and since Susanne is quite indpendent I grabbed Mac and rode him while she was on Kash.

It was Mac's first time in the bitless bridle and my first ride on him (third ride back, Ruby Wednesday, Kash schooled briefly Thursday). I did have two students on him since he arrived, which gave me some feedback, but he hasn't done anything since we got his teeth done so I was curious and figured since the goal is to get him bitless with students like the rest of the crew might as well just dive in on it. I will eventually get him his own bitted bridle to work in.

I also worked him today and between the two rides I can say most of his head unhappiness the first ride was related to him thinking this work thing might be for the birds. He was a bit pushy about his direction and had a few spots where he was pretty sticky. He'll definitely need some work on loosening up his shoulders. Today he came off of the leg a little nicer and was a bit more forward. He did get a little nervous when I growled at Kitt and her rider, but towards the end of the ride he realized if I hadn't asked him anything the grumpy voice wasn't ained at him.

I was able to get him to trot quite a bit yesterday and as I suspected he didn't need a whole lot of goading forward despite how his previous rider rode him. He did suck back here and there, but it wasn't much to get him going again. I sent him over a pair of cavelletti today and he went over them atraight and honest, which was quite nice.

I'm hoping if I keep working him a few days a week by the end of the month he will be ready for students to start using during actual lessons and I'll have a pretty good handle on how he functions.

Yesterday after we ran some errands Chris pulled out Ruby and Charm-N. We had used Ruby the other day to get some measurements for a chain attachment for the Challenger (Chris jokingly dubbed it the "bank robber"). The Roberts carriage had used a neck yoke and this one just has two rings on the end of the pole. If we had breastcollar harnesses there would be straps that ran from the breastcollar to the rings on the end of the pole. With our harnesses thereis a neck strap that comes down from the collar and usually snaps onto a neck yoke. The straps usually sits center of the chest and reaching it across the front of the horses to the pole wasn't going to happen so we had a piece of chain to bridge the gap.

We got them adjusted and I took our maiden drive. Both mares were a little forward, but not bad. The breeching wasn't engaging ad I liked and we fussed a bit with the adjustments, but didn't really find anything we were happy with. Then we realized the breast strap's snap slid along the strap, which really didn't help as it kept increasing the distance before the breeching engaged!

We brainstormed a bit and decided we're going to order a neck yoke that will bolt to the end of the pole. We've seen other configurations with chains and such, but the neck yoke will give us a nice fixed point to work with and not have to worry about getting more chain and fussing with it to no end. Just hook up the yoke and adjust the heelchains as necessary.

We also had the evener fixed and I'm not sure I like that. We removed the bolts so that the evener will do it's job next time.

It does look pretty sporty all hooked up!

There is a mixture of excitement and terror driving the new carriage. The terror will wsne as we become more familiar with it and certainly once we get the fit properly adjusted. I trusted it to turn a bit better than the Roberts (might be the shorter pole) and I will probably notice the ride better when I'm not worrying so much about how the horses' harnesses are engaging.
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.


Nov. 1st, 2016 10:03 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
This happened today:

Chris had them harnesses up when I got home from my first lesson. He ground drove them before we hitched them to the forecart.

Tristan was at school, but Kelhan was with us and did a super job of watching and staying out of the way while he waited to ride.

I drove first before Chris and Kelhan joined me. Charm-N was a little jiggy, but not terrible. They both did quite well and we're very pleased. We may adjust the forecart to encourage Charm-N to be a little closer to the pole as she tended to hang out and forward, but we'll see. It'll be really fun to have them hooked up to something with a better turn radius!
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
I'm not sure which one works better in this case, but "herd dynamics" it should be. I should probably get a better dictionary on my phone or maybe actually pull out one of the five I own...

I had noticed it a while ago, but it still strikes me as funny. Most people think of herd hierarchy as being fairly linear. You have the "boss" and then everyone follows in succession after that, right? Nope, not always.

The current status of the herd has Ruby still as undesputed benevolent overlord. Charm-N is next in line followed by Kitt, Tru-D, Chewy, and Kash, but not quite. There is a funny thing between Kitt, Chewy and Kash that is more pronounced around feeding time. Kash has typically been bottom man on the totem pole. He has had moments like when Zetahra was a baby and when Tru-D was a yearling where he wasn't going to put up with crap from a stinky baby. Of course Z eventually knocked him down a notch, probably around her turning one because she was such a strong personality. Tru-D is ahead of him now at two, but it took her getting to be his size for that to happen.

So watching the horses Kitt, Ms. Bossy Boss who had taken over the whole herd at one point until Ruby and Panda got sick of her bossiness and knocked her back down, but Kitt's there chewying on a pile and here comes Kash. She and Kash have been buddies for a while. They swish each other's flies and groom eachother and Kitt tries to flirt with him when she's in heat so I assume Kash is going to just share her pile. Nope! Angry ears and a tail swish and Kitt walks away!

Kitt then proceedes to Chewy's pile and shoos the little mare off. Chewy turns and goes back to Kash and nudges him off of his pile without a fuss and rinse and repeat until someone realizes there is a pile that no one has claimed. I find these litte dominance triangles quite amusing. One horse is dominant over another, yet submssive to the horse who is submissive to the one they are dominant over. Not linear in the least!

I imagine it gets even more complex with larger herds, especially those that have multiple generations growing up within them.

Last week my rope traces came in. I got to use them on Tuesday with Dragonfly. Dragonfly is a 17.1+hh Shire mare, classic black with a forelock to her nostrils and a broad white blaze. Maria wanted to get her driving so those were the skills we have been working on. Tuesday I dragged around the pvc pipe again, which she barely looked at compared to her 10 minutes of wiggling last week. I also banged around the singletree and only did two passes because she was getting bored and starting to play with the fence.

Maria said she had the harness on Dragonfly before so I went ahead and tossed it on. She was good for the saddle and breeching, but was twitchy as I played with the breastcollar. The traces were stitched in so I had to tie them up rather than removing them and as they brushed her front legs and armpits she was humping and twitching a bit. I managed to secure the traces to the tug straps and turned her loose. She bolted around the roundpen and I tried to turn her, but she was having none of it. I'm not going to argue with 1900lbs and she showed no sign of acknowledging me at all so I sat on a barrel and watched until she started to check back in. She didn't charge around very long before she started to look for someone to tell her what to do with herself. She hooked on and got rubs and love before I checked her flinchy spots. When it was clear she was settled I grabbed the long lines and rubbed them around before hooking them onto her breeching the goal being to check her response to pressure and start teaching her about pulling.

Maria held her lead and I had the long lines. I leaned pressure into them and waited until Dragonfly sat into the pressure before I released. When she was having a little hard time with it I had Maria reinforce the idea of backing into the breeching through the lead line. Dragonfly ultimately gave us a couple nice backwards steps and we called that good. I swapped the long lines out for the rope traces and gave Dragonfly a brief introduction to their feel. Because the breastcollar didn't have a buckle (I will NEVER buy a breastcollar harness that has stitched-on traces! So annoying!) I had to jury-rig it, but it worked. I put pressure on the traces and waited for her to lean into them. She did really well and we got her walking as I put pressure in the traces and pulling me around like it was no big deal.

The good and the bad is that Maria will be moving Dragonfly along. One of the other ladies in the draft horse circles is thinking about taking her on. Wendy P. has a grey Perch mare that drives well with Maria's Belgian Emmett (whom Wendy bred, raised, broke, and then sold to Maria several years ago) and they're seeing about a trade. If Dragonfly doesn't work for Wendy, she knows of someone else who is interested so it should all work out. I wish I had more time to work with her, but she should be in good hands with Wendy and Maria is excited to be getting a horse that is a well-broke driver already and matches Emmett.

Maria was heading up today to make the exchange and she just sent me a video of Dragonfly pulling a giant tractor tire. And by giant I mean it was a good 2' wide and probably close to 4' across. Dragonfly looked like she was pulling it like an old pro. I'd like to think the few hours of work I was able to put in helped.

Speaking of horses in training. I pulled ou Tru-D this morning because it was still not 100 by the time lessons were done at 9amn and maybe not even 90. The humidity was high, but at least we had clouds so it didn't feel like a sauna.

I pulled out the training surcingle and rope traces. I need to remember to snag some electrical tape and wrap the splices so I don't have dangly rope ends sticking out. Anyway, I warmed her brain up with some desensitizing with the whip before parking her at the "station" and introducing the rope traces. She sniffed and eyeballed them slightly and I definitely am going to need to rig up a trace holder for the future. The surcingle currently has a riding breastplate on it, which is nice for introducing pressure there and keeping the surcingle from wandering, but is no good for actual pulling. I don't qhite want her in the full harness all of the time just yet because it doesn't really fit her and I'd rather not try to adjust it out for her when I'm going to be potentially driving Kitt as well. For today, however, and the minimal weight of the rope traces I went ahead and snapped them onto the breastplate and Tru-D got to feel her first little bit of drag. She did quite well. To the right she wanted to swing her butt out and kept stepping on the outside trace (thus the need for trace carriers), but she straightened out.

I just walked her on the lunge until she thought it wasn't much before swapping out for the sidepull and long lines. She was a little bit of a handful on the long lines as she tried to noodlebout of going in certain parts of the arena, specifically towards the corner neighbor's place as they've been moving things around and their yard hasn't looked the same two days inba row of late. Eventually she realized that listening to what I was asking was easier than trying to noodle around it and we got some nice, big, steady, and forward circles in the trot before calling it a day.

Not too terrible for not having done anything in over a month. I need to buckle down and get her worked at least once a week during the summer and then moreso as it cools down. I need her long lining skills to be solid before I consider hooking her to anything and that is my goal by the end of the year to have her pulling the tire.

I'm looking into some options for driving breastcollars. I don't necessarily want a full pleasure harness right now, but the breastcollar would allow me to do training like I am with Tru-D without having to haul out the full harness. Plus they are way more adjustable than a collar and something that fit her would probably fit Kitt (and potential client horsrs...) as well and for just dragging the tire now and then for a short time, being able to throw something light on rather than hauling out the whole draft harness would be nice. I can always piece together a full harness if I want to, but right now I just need the breastcollar for training since I already have the traces I'm going to be using.


Mar. 12th, 2016 09:40 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Kugelpunkt? I am not fluent enough to know how "bullet points" would translate and my phone dictionary fails me.

*Have a talk in church tomorrow, subject: The Atonement (because Easter is close, I imagine). I haven't talked in church in over 10 years. They ask for 10-12 minutes, wish me luck. They like to ask couples to speak so Chris is up there with me too, no idea who speeks first. His talk is funnier than mine, but that's okay.

*Kitt had a brief bout of colic tonight. Just a little off, heart rate just touching 40. Some banamine and being banished to Ruby's stall for the night. Last I checked she said she was hungry so she got bran and electrolytes, which isn't quite what she was hoping for.

*Draft horse people and Rodeo people flubbed it today. Two weeks ago the Rodeo people contacted Troy saying "hey! we want heavy horses there after all! You have two hours Saturday!" Rest of the group got one week notice and last night Troy called me and said he had stuff come up and we were the only other ones to commit and weren't going to go do it all on our lonesome. Told Troy they can have someone call ME and coordinate something for next year. Not this last-minute half-baked crap. We can do better than this!

*Got the larger surface. First coat of gesso applied, needs another. Then I can grid the thumbnail and transfer. Smaller surface has not yet arrived. I need to do a test painting of the tack. I also need to get the Rosmalen design on the mare and foal test painting.

*Kelhan is adding words. Newest: "hot."

*We drove Ruby today, boys rode with us. Kelhan insisted on holding the reins. I might have to start showing them how to steer because they have the "whoa" and kissing noises for "go" down.

*Got Tristan a dresser for his room finally so the boys now have their own clothes in their own rooms, yay!

*Hung a whole bunch of family pictures on the walls this last month.

*Kash got his new boots and is now barefoot when not ridden. New discovery: he wings in slightly with hisbright fore. Not enough to hit himself, but enough to brush the outer edge of the boot.

*Need to get the schedule down for next year on the private school classes. They're adding a second campus in Gilbert. It's growing!

I'm sure there are more things I'm not thinking of.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I worked with Roxanne and Gypsy first this morning. We were in the roundpen at the property working on the canter. Roxanne had not yet cantered on Gypsy and had done it a little on Kash earlier this year. It had taken a while to bring her and Gypsy up because there was a saddle fit issue that we finally got resolved this summer. We had some good trot work then worked on the canter.

Roxanne had some anxiety starting the canter. We insisted on slow and correct rather than trying to rush or push Gypsy into it. We did manage a few good canter strides, but we have some work to do to keep Roxanne thinking and feeling through the transition rather than shutting down when she gets a little anxious.

Next week we'll work on the same and she has some exercises to work on between that will hopefully help with her anxiety.

My next lesson was a new-ish one. I had worked with Vickey briefly about a year and a half ago as she was dealing with some anxiety. She since lost her long-time mount, was horse less for a while, and ended up with a nice molly mule named Maybell. A couple months ago Vickey had a wreck on Miss Maybell during a multi-day trail ride. Day one was great, day two Maybell turned away and wasn't happy to be caught. On the third day Maybell was a pill to be caught and was a grump to saddle, but did well until they got on a steep grade and had to stop halfway down as the people ahead of her stopped in the trail. Maybell had finally had enough and bucked. Vickey got hurt pretty bad, but with where they were she had to get back on and ride the rest of the way back to the trailer, which Maybell was great for.

Needless to say she has since gotten a proper mule saddle and while Vickey had not ridden her since the wreck, her husband Jon has taken Miss Maybell hither and yon and even on a multi-day hunt trip with zero issues.

Vickey had tried to get on before I arrived, but Maybell had fidgeted and Vickey's anxiety was up so we started at ground zero. I showed her how to encourage Maybell to stand still by standing on the block, rubbing and stepping down, working towards putting my foot in the stirrup, down, standing, down, and eventually swinging on. The idea being it gave Vickey the chance to start somewhere she was comfortable and build from there. I walked Maybell around once and halted before swinging off. Nothing exciting for my first ride ever on a mule, but I can now say I've ridden one! Jon even got a picture, I'll share it when I get a copy.

Then it was Vickey's turn and we started with the same, step up, tell Maybell how awesome she was, and step down. We adjusted some of the things she was doing slightly mounting up, like having the mane and rein in her left hand instead of holding the saddle in both as well as thrusting off of her right leg versus stepping down into the left stirrup, which provided a smoother and more balanced mount.

Vickey was so happy to be back in the saddle. She admited she wasn't sure she'd be able to swing on because her anxiety had been so bad in her previous attempts after the wreck. We're looking forward to more progress next week! She rode around, got off and on two more times and we did some minor tweaks to her steering aids, but the big thing was getting Vickey comfortably on and off, mission accomplished!

After Vickey I had an extra lesson with Sue and Bud. We worked driving with the reins in one hand, which Sue found much more comfortable not having to work the whip and right rein at the same time. Following that I had two more lessons, Eleyna on Chewy followed by Susanne on Kash. Susanne had a really good ride on the boy and we hiked her stirrups up a hole or so, which seemed to help a little over the crossrails. She's really getting how to handle Kash now and is having a ball jumping him (even if they are just baby crossrails).

I rode Sunny during Susanne's lesson and she did much better than Monday. I kept her forelock under the browband, which seemed to help in keeping her forelock from tickling her ears. I think the second day of work also helped get her out if feral horse mode and thinking she was retired. I took her over the crossrails, which she pretty much just stepped over, did some canter, and held the trot fairly nicely. She still needs some work on being more supple and actively listening to her rider, but I'd feel comfortable with some of my intermediate students on her again.

The final task of the day was getting Ruby x-rayed. She is moving great and I think tomorrow we may drop the ointment to once a day for a couple days before backing off the bute another gram or two.

Preliminary look says that it is still very much in the pastern joint and the coffin joint is not involved. It is not fused yet, which is why she was so painful when it flared up. I forgot a thumb drive and will need to drop by tomorrow with one to get the images and see about printing some off for Kevin to look at.

And now I should be in bed. Only four lessons tomorrow (three are half hour) so a short day. Try to hit the feed store before it closes and drop by to pick up the x-ray images.

Happy New Year all!


Dec. 29th, 2015 09:35 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Ruby is moving much better. She jogged in for lunch yesterday and was moving very freely this evening as she moved the herd around to be sure she got every bit of alfalfa from all of the hay piles (we do a mix of mostly Bermuda and then a little bit of alfalfa in the evenings). I was tempted to ride her this afternoon, but ran out of time.

I did work Tru-D and she was a little hot. She hasn't been worked in close to three weeks and I haven't had her out of our arena in longer. She was a little gooberish to catch, but stood well in the crossties to be groomed. I then lead her in front of the house and to the roundpen. She was a little jiggy here and there, but manageable with small reminders.

There were some chairs sitting next to the roundpen, which made things Not Right in her eyes so I sent her back and forth through the gatr until she started doing so calmly. She also approached the chairs and snuffled all over them, knocking one over without scaring herself to my pleasant surprise.

I worked her in the roundpen, mostly just dictating direction as she was very much in a moving mood. Dave had moved the Camaro over by the roundpen and the presence of the car was also Not Right, though she eventually stopped cutting halfway across to avoid it.

I was mostly seeing where her brain was at and how she was moving. She looks 100%. I think any bobble behind was more her excitement and the clumsiness of a young horse in the canter. The trot looked great and she has some lovely flexion in her hocks and some good spring in her step. I think she gets the movement from the Haflinger side. While her butt is trailing some I think the potential is definitely there for some really nice movements as she develops. She is a quick study and while a little on the nervous side she happily takes direction and tries her best. Walking back she eyeballed one of the folded tarps so I took the opportunity to stretch it out (while still holding her and seeing her eyes bug out, but stay with me) and then send her over it. She sniffed and scuttled, but quickly turned it down and soon was walking across. I then asked her to walk with me a couple times to which she was slightly concerned as I stepped on the tarp first and it made a noise without her.

She led back to the arena nicely and I need to lunge or otherwise work her a couple times a week, even if it is just 10 minutes. She definitely needs more work desensitizing so she can relax better in her work. I love how sensitive and ready she is to respond, but I also want her calm and happy. She has a 10 month disadvantage compared to Zetahra and while we're catching up there's still some ways to go.

Tomorrow another five lessons and taking Ruby in for some x-rays on her right fore. We've cut her Bute down to two grams am and pm and will see how that goes. If she does well on that I might drop the cortizone/DMSO to once daily and go from there.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Quick update on the big lady, she's moving much better this afternoon. She actually jogged in for lunchish when I put the horses up before afternoon lessons.

I have set up to take her for x-rays Wednesday to see where we are at with her ringbone. I'll be keeping up the cortizone plus DMSO and am thinking of dropping her to two grams Bute morning and night because I don't want to be looking at ulcers and if she does stiffen up with the lower dose I can always up it again.

Another minor update, Tru-D seems to be over getting stepped on by Charm-N. I haven't lunged her yet to see how she's moving on a smaller circle, but I didn't notice any hitches today.


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: (bastek kunst)
Saturday was day two of the Roots N' Boots Rodeo. The ADHMA was invited this year to give a show/demonstration/expo thing on day two of the three day event. It flew by the seat of our collective pants and not due to weather (unlike the first time).

I have come to the conclusion that I need to just stop waiting around for anyone to contact me about these things and just need to step in and do it. Yes, Troy is the President and Jay the V.P., but I am technically on the show committee so that should mean I have some clout and say, right? Just because I am the same age as some of their kids doesn't mean I have to wait around for them to decide to do something, right? I can say "Hey! Let's do a meeting for this thing!" or "We really should get on about having a program for the show this year." and the like.

Anyway, Saturday dawned early and we fed the herd and finished loading up. Chris had taken Friday off to get things ready, but since he didn't tell me until Monday or Tuesday I didn't cancel or reschedule lessons (I had five). We did get time in to play with Ruby and Charm-N ground driving as a team again and loaded up the wagonette in the little red trailer among other things, but we didn't have nearly so much time together as I was running around doing lessons (two were off property).

Haley, the intern, was a good help throughout the day Saturday, even if there was quite a bit of hurry up and wait going on. Did I mention before that I picked up an intern from the same two year Equine Science program I went through? I did, and she's doing well I think.

We took Kitt and the forecart with the truck and horsetrailer and followed Chris who had the Whimobile and the wagonette in the little red trailer. Chris then went back to get Ruby and Charm-N as Haley and I lead Kitt around and got our bearings. The carnival rides were mercifully quiet.

Chris came back with the big girls and we started grooming up. I can't remember the exact order of everything, but I warmed up Charm-N in the forecart and was very pleased with how she did. While she wasn't completely loose and swingy in the walk the whole time she did walk for the majority of the time, which is a big change from her old "shut up and let me drive" mind set. She knows how to handle herself in a cart, she just doesn't always think she needs input from her driver.... I am also happy to report that she worked the whole time on the snaffle ring of her elbow bit with the low port. Up until this the last few drives under Michelle's instruction I have always worked Charm-N on some sort of leverage option either on the liverpool or the new elbow we acquired, but I think we have managed to come to a happy place where the leverage is not the go-to and we can happily work on the snaffle setting. Friday while we ground drove them Chris actually hooked her lines to the bitless bridle as a sidepull and she actually did pretty well with it. I have thoughts of acquiring a bitless driving bridle now for sheer curiosity's sake. Stopping wasn't the best under the sidepull option, but it was OK.

Chris hooked up Ruby and I tacked up Kitt and we cruised down to the arena to scope it out before the show officially started (bumped from a 9am start time to 10... ish.). Kitt was OK, though she did throw a few bucks on me. A little bit was nerves, some from the strangeness, some from the speaker noise, some from her not thinking she had to work so hard. She was really perturbed when Chris and Ruby left and I wouldn't let her vacate the arena. She finally settled and worked really nice once she realized that leaving the arena was not an option (even if the gates were wide open). I know there were spots that I could have handled better, especially when I realized I stopped using my legs at some point and guess what happened when I started activating them? She was a bit more obedient! Imagine that! Anyway, she got worked entirely in her bitless bridle Saturday from the morning warm-up to the breed demo that we did between the Unicorn hitch and the Four Abreast and the barrel race in the afternoon.

(Feel free to critique form. I know I am far away and there is a Clyde in the way most of the time [I was kind of hoping she would walk the horse around and not just stand in one spot...], but you can have at it just the same.)

I have some video proof of our demo ride. Chris hung out next to the in gate and shot it. Before I went in I had asked the lady with the Clyde if she wanted to join me as all three hitches were leaving the arena and I was thinking Kitt might enjoy the company. I was wrong. Kitt just needed to be told that the in/out gate was not the place to be and she then settled nicely. I even got her to gallop a bit and do some really nice halts. I haven't ever asked Kitt to go that fast before and she did it brilliantly once she realized that listening was a whole lot easier than arguing.

The show schedule seemes to fluxuate on Troy's whims. Did I mention that we had no judge? No placings, no ribbons, but also no entry fees so I guess it's all good.

I missed the Western riding class with Kitt because Troy had told us it was after the Street Cart class so I was with Chris in the wagonette waiting for the Street Cart class to start and then realizing that there were the Western riding people in the class... ah well. Ruby did great pulling the wagonette in the class, even with the carnival rides going full tilt (you see the ferris wheel and catch a brief glimps of one of the others, but there were four different spinning, twirling rides screaming people and all).

There was a lunch break in there somewhere and I got on Kitt again to hit the barrel race. No bucks during the barrel race (she did jump a pee spot another horse left coming to the third barrel) and she still had plenty of oomph and attitude to go. Kitt is in much better shape than I give her credit for with all the lessons she does. I had a lot of pony still left at the end of the day.

There was supposed to be a cart obstacle class, which we had hoped to run all three mares in, but it got nixed. There was also supposed to be a log skid, but that got nixed too because Troy forgot the log or didn't bring it. There was also no feed team race as Troy didn't bring the sledges (maybe a little too reliant on or fearless leader?).

Not that I want to harp on Troy or anything, but I do think that the club needs to decentralize a bit. Granted I do know that Troy probably has most of the experience out of everyone with his hitch that he tours with and demos all over the country, but he is a busy guy. He's also a good guy, but I do think the club needs to be able to function without waiting for his word on everything, even if he is the president of the club.

So we didn't get to do quite as much as we had initially hoped, but it was definitely better than the first time we were invited to Roots N' Boots! I do hope they invite us back again next year and hopefully we can all get our acts together (read: I finally step up and take some responsibility and help get the thing organized properly) and make it even better.

After the last class a crowd of us managed to get together and have a pseudo meeting. We talked about the fun trail drive coming up at the end of the month, the Equistar show in May that is supposed to have draft classes, and the possibility of shifting the yearly show to be with Equistar Show rather than the Equifest Expo in September like they did last year (heard it was quite a bust). I also brought up the possibility of a vehicle maintainence clinic, which they thought was a good idea and something to do towards the end of the year as it cools down again (bring your own vehicle! Pot luck perhaps?).

I'd have pictures, but I was too busy doing stuff to take any. I'll have to ask Haley if she took some and pester my clients who were there as well (had a half dozen show up I think).

Edit To Add: The bitless bridle functioned great. I did have a slighty issue with the noseband creeping down towards her nostrils at one point, but I only had to move it once during the whole day and I am not sure if that was due to her head-dipping threaten-to-buck shenanigans or what (probably). I did want to mention that the reins stayed as they should and the crown didn't get twisted at all on her head. I do think that the throatlatch attachment is what makes the difference in this function in steadying the pressure so the crown doesn't twist. Five stars.
lantairvlea: (New filly)
Tru-D has become super social over the last four weeks. It is quite an amazing change really. She is starting to border on obnoxious, which means it is time to start doing some training beyond just loving on her. Yesterday we had the farrier out again to do her feet. Since she went almost 10 months without any work whatsoever I want to do some catch-up and get ahead of the curve. Chris actually caught and held her for Kevin and she did great. Her feet are looking much better and we may just do a couple more extra rotations between to really get her where she needs to be to ensure no twisting or other funkiness around her growthplates. Her cannons and leg bones appear nice and straight thusfar and we'd like to keep them that way.

Today I led her out of the pen and hand grazed her a little. She's leading well enough now I can probably take her to work in the round pen without worrying about having trouble on the way there. I also groomed her up, cleaned her feet, and started on some exercises with the whip both to desensitize her to its presence and to get her to move away from it when asked. I also discovered that she likes udder rubs as Charm-N is so fond of.

Yesterday Ruby got grumpy at Charm-N and as she kicked out she managed to get her leg caught in the panel. Thankfully I was right there. She still pulled the panel around and rearranged her and Charm-N's stalls, but then she stood and kindof sat on the panel as my student and I pulled the pins, cut the twine and let it drop as gently as possible. She was able to step out of it without further issue and didn't have a scrape on her. I was able to put everything back together and the fence only has a slight tweak, but is functionally fine.

I gave her some Bute last night, this morning and again this evening and she seems to be moving well on it. I think she and Kitt had an argument last night as both of them have scrapes on their inner hind legs (I thought I had missed seeing scrapes from the panel, but I would have noticed them I believe after cleaning her up this afternoon and getting a close look). Mares.

I failed to mention that Christa decided to take a pass on Panda. I had called her and she sent me a text in reply and it annoyed me. I guess it's consistent with how it has all gone with Christa and Panda. Lack of communication, half-stories and the like. Whatever. She was boarding a friend's horse and decided to buy him instead despite her going on about how she didn't want to think about a horse that wasn't Panda and she rode her bareback when they were at the other boarding place and this that and the other thing. I am still annoyed.

I did have a lady come out and look at her yesterday. I don't know what it is about the timing always being when it has rained and we're restricted to the roundpen to show her. I think the only one who got to ride her in the arena was Donna (and man how I wish she could convince her husband to let her buy her!). Tammie liked her and said she'd get back to me, but we'll see how that goes.

I hate selling horses ... or maybe I just hate selling Panda.

I hope the next horse I have to sell is a Jutland foal from my first crop of Jutlands after importing them from Denmark to my ranch that doesn't exist yet. Mmm... Jutlands.

Like this little chunk. That will turn into one of these:

lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Chris and I put the arena together Sunday after church. A good family activity, unfortunately Tristan had fallen asleep at Farfar's by the time we were ready for him to help.

Special thanks to [ profile] suraineko for giving me the initial thought to build my own.

70 - 8' landscaping poles
75 - "A" Cinder blocks
half dozen stakes
Over 550' of twine

Trailer for poles
Big truck to haul cinder block

Pictures and Rambling )

Yesterday it rained mid-morning to early afternoon. The Wedge of Wetness continues to be the bane of my existence. I had a single lesson and a group and while the footing here was fine I didn't feel like fighting the Wedge or being restricted to the 50' roundpen so I told them to meet me over at the property. I was a little off in my time assessment and the first student beat me there, but I helped her tack up and we were going in about the usual amount of time. I had loaded up Kitt, Ruby, and Chewy as well as the tack required. Kitt got to hang out in the roundpen and I rode Chewy with the student on Ruby.

I apparently miscalulate my horses' laziness when it comes to going over things as within the first five minutes Ruby marched right over the rail and Olivia had to bring her back in. Ruby's knees are just above the rails so it isn't much effort for her to step over. I tols Olivia to be sure she doesn't let Ruby get perpenticular to the fence to avoid a repeat and she didn't have another problem. We worked along the perimeter to start and then built up to some serpentines. I need to get some letters up so we have some points of reference and at some point bring the cones and things over to help with visualization on the figures.

The second lesson was going to be a "group" of two. My usual 5pm student plus one who comes in the morning with his brother, but deferred to the evening instead. I ended up with three students as the older brother had a boyscout hike that was canceled due to the rain (whimps!). Their mom was good and said she knew I hadn't planned on both boys and if I couldn't accomodate the older boy that was OK. I happened to still have the dressage saddle in the truck from working Bud in the morning, but he usually rides Western. I asked him if he was game for it and he said yes. The girth I had for it fit Kitt otherwise I would have put him on Ruby and I gave Hannah choice between Kitt and Chewy as she got there first and technically the girth on Chewy for the general purpose would fit Ruby in the Dressage, but that's okay.

So I had Hannah on Chewy, Eli on Ruby, and TJ on Kitt. First instruction was to ride parallel to the rail and check steering and breaks. Then the fun started. Ruby wantered out of the arena again and then Chewy followed suit, but her little legs don't clear the poles so well and she knocked over three blocks and their attached rails. I did a lot of rail re-setting!

Chewy was giving Hannah a lesson on the importance of the outside aids. They would be parallel to the fence and either Hannah would ask her to turn in or Chewy would start to bow out, but the result was the same, Chewy would get over bent as Hannah relied on the inside rein to turn or correct and Chewy would swing her outside shoulder around, get perpenticular and over she went! I had ridden Chewy in the first lesson (easier to keep up with the students!) and she had considered this trick once, but a quick check with the outside rein and leg and she went on straight again. I talked with Hannah some, but spent most of my time working between the two boys who are less experienced. She kindof enjoyed figuring it out herself with some guidance from me.

While Ruby did wander out of the arena a few times on him once he shortened up his reins it worked much better. He even trotted on her briefly towards the end.

TJ has some confidence issues to begin with so the strange saddle and not being as familiar with Kitt plus new place wasn't the ideal combination. Kitt marched out of the arena on the South end once and was striding with purpose through the debris field as TJ just sort of held on until I instructed him to stop her. (Amazing what happens when you actively ask the horse to do something!) He did alright and I had him focus on simply walk and halt and told him to keep Kitt in the center of the ring.

Overall I think it was successful for the first official lesson in it. I do need to school my horses over there more and perhaps what needs to be done is riding them in the ring on a loose rein and when they choose to leave the arena make them work extra hard, return to arena and relax, leave it and hustle, rinse and repeat. Kash is going to take the most work with the theatrics he put on Friday over there (crow-hopping,charging, popping up his front end, etc.). The others should pretty much be their normal selves.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)

Ruby was a bit forward and prancy to start, but considering they all spent the last 48 hours in their stalls and it dropped a good 20 degrees for the high we don't really blame her!

Tristan got to ride and wanted to drive and my mom even dropped by for a brief ride too. Now if we can make this a weekly thing...

Resolutions to come.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)

We pulled the wagonette and forecart over to the property. Chris drove Ruby and I had Charm-N in the forecart. It was awesome.

You wouldn't know Ruby's been driven like five times since she was six (15 now!). Charm-N was very much in her "shut up and let me drive" mode. She doesn't sit near so well as Ruby does.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Joyful Yule, or whatever other holiday you might celebrate this season!

In Brief

Sep. 18th, 2014 09:24 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Birthday was good. Chris and I took Ruby and Charm-N out on a trail ride. All involved did excellent. Apparently Chris and I haven't been out together since before Kelhan was born! Issue remedied.

We had Chris and I's parents plus my brother Tye and his family out to dinner and we got a carrot cake from Baci's that Marty and Dad came over to enjoy. Mom had a class and Tye and family headed home from the restaurant. Marty took a slice home for Dave and we've been working through the rest of the cake.

Panda came home yesterday morning. Jess pulled up a little before 7am. He said Panda didn't travel so well this time, kicking around whenever he would stop and I don't blame her! He had those ridiculous 24 inch trailer ties and had it attached to the bottom of her halter so she couldn't even drop her head level let alone down low enough to properly clear her airways! FOR EIGHT HOURS. It may be less, but it is a six and a half hour drive without a trailer. She was all sucked up in her flank like she hadn't had any water and probably no food either.

The more I think about it the more irritated I am and the happier I am that she is here and didn't stay. She has two scuffs on her front pasterns, rubs just in front of her elbows on both sides, a scrape on her face, a few on her hip, and fresh ones around her hocks and other things here and there that were not there a week and a half ago. The ones on her forearms/elbows and front pasterns are concerning as to why they are there and how they happened. She also apparently was rubbing her neck as the top side is metal grey.

I put her back in the pen with two full buckets of water plus a handful of hay that was thoroughly soaked. She drank half of one od the buckets (probably close to 10 gallons) and I gave her a flake of bermuda also thoroughly soaked. She looked a bit better, but not quite so good as I remember her looking before stepping on the trailer. I think she somehow managed to lose some condition over the week and a half.

I rode her this morning during a lesson and firstly she wandered off when I asked her to stand. Twice. Then I go to mount up and she immediately walks off on me. I spend the next few minutes re-establishing that she needs to stand still.

And this is getting long, ramble more later, but needless to say I am slightly annoyed and wonder how people can untrain things so quickly.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
So I went out to work Z and found this:

"What gate?" Ruby says.

By the time I got the gate down and replaced it with an 8' panel we had laying around we had a storm blowing through pretty good so I abandoned ideas of working Z, fed the herd, and called it good.

Then there was this morning. I started Z with the tire and she did well. I added the doubletree for extra clanging, which she also did excellent for walk and trot. The doubletree fell off of its own accord as the baling twine had gotten under the tire and wore through. I tired the two cans (food storage/large coffee sized) to the tire and we set off again. The cans clanged and I was able to kick them around no trouble. I guess I sbould have left it at one lap as when we came alongside the neighbor's block wall she got up and spooked forward. I tried to sit down on it, but she blew right through it and I thought of bending her around too late.

So the tire is flying behind her, banging into the fence. I am trying to get at the lines, but they got sucked up witb the tire. The tire swung up during one of the turns and caught the fence, which she then pulled a quarter of the arena in on itself before it dislodged and we both realized the pass through gate was still open. Exit Zetahra.

She stopped at her gate, puffing and Chris came out at that point. I tokd him we were both OK. He looked at me like I was crazy when I insisted she pull again. I thought he had closed the pass through and she got away from me again (getting up near the fence) and through the gate, not nearly so dramatically though. Closed the gate, reset (just the tire now, the cans had been ejected in the chaos), and got some nice walks out of her and called it a day.

I am 99% sure it was something on the other side of the fence that she spooked at and as she got up of course the sounds increased and startled her more.

The thing that makes me beat my head against the wall is just this morning I had a half-dream about how to do a emergency disconnect between her heel chains and the singletree. I thought to myself as I was setting up "O, I'll try that next time." Famous last words apparently.

Z managed a scrape on her forehead, and abrasion on her right stifle and a little scrape on her left rear cannon. All superficial and she doesn't seem any worse off mentally and doesn't associate the tire with what happened. So I think we'll try again when it cools down this evening with safety measures in place and see how it goes.

While not entirely my fault I can't help but believe I could have prevented it by trying the disconnect this time rather than waiting. I feel like an idiot.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)

What bit do you ride your current beastie in and why?

We'll go alphabetically again, because it is easier.

Chewy- takes a 5 1/4" eggbutt with a copper lozenge/oval. Yes, my 13.2 hand pony takes an over 5" bit. She started in a short-shanked Tom thumb with a center copper cylinder until I realized it was too narrow, poor saintly Little Mare and I decided against leverage because she has beginners on her 99% of the time and she responds fine without it. I don't think she really cares what is in her mouth.

Charm-N- rides in a 6" eggbutt with a center lozenge. She can either have the best stop or the worst stop. For me she stops off of the voice and seat the vast majority of the time. Some of my students have managed this, but some of them can't get her to plant her feet to save their lives and I don't think it has much of anything to do with the bit. She drives in a straight bar liverpool on the smooth side (recently switched her from the rough side). Sometimes she drives on the snaffle setting and sometimes on the first hole, depending on how much she is trying to tell me "shut up and let me drive." She came with a plain loose ring single joint snaffle, which I don't think I would ever drive her in. I tried her in a French link/"dog bone" butterfly once, which she did not like. I think it was more the mouthpiece than the cheeks. One I feel adventurous again I may try a mullen mouth butterfly.

Kash- English he has settled into a 5" D ring with a copper lozenge and his Western bridle has a Tom thumb with swept back shanks and a snaffle option, the mouthpiece has a center cipoer cylinder that allows for tongue relief, but doesn't collapse quite so much as your typical three piece mouth like an oval or French link. I have tried a LOT of bits on the boy. He is my only horse with a 5" mouth so my whole 5" collection has been used on him at some point. He likes copper and he likes double-jointed mouthpieces, more the lozenge than French links or Dr. Bristols.

Kitt- uses a 5 1/2" French link Eggbutt. I had started her in a single joint, but she had a tendency to suck her tongue back and get it ovet. When I switched to the French link she greatly reduced that tendency. I have a copper French link butterfly whenever I get around to driving her.

Panda- (Since she's officially mine again...) She has ridden in both a 5 1/2" curved single joint D-ring and a eggbutt with a center lozenge and I recently had a single joint full cheek I had her in too because it was what the bridle had on it. She doesn't seem very opinionated about what goes in her mouth. Now that I have her bridle back it's the curved single joint D again. Z inherited her English bridle with the lozenge.

Ruby- rides in a 6" Eggbutt with a lozenge and drives in a French Link d-ring because she doesn't need anything else and it was a 6" bit that we happened to have laying around. She was in a plain single joing Eggbutt for the longest time and I decided to try the lozenge and she seemed to like it.

Zetahra- rides in a 5 1/2" Eggbutt with a lozenge she inherited from her mother. I started driving her in a single joint full cheek, but switched to the copper French link butterfly when ahe went into the closed bridle. She (thusfar) drives on the snaffle setting.

I think you might notice a slight trend. I admit to being partial to double-jointed mouthpieces. One you avoid the tongue and bar-pinching nutcracker effect and the horses seem to like them. I lean towards the lozenge/oval because it provides a "quieter" smooth surface whereas the French link and Dr. Bristol tend to push into the tongue where they join the center link, which some horses seem to appreciate less than others.

I like the butterflies for driving because they have that little bit of slide before engaging unlike the liverpool and elbow bits. I do like having "options" on the driving bits depending on how the horse is responding. In my opiniom leverage is for finished horses and esperienced riders. The idea is that you can use even softer, more refined cues before the curb engages. If you feel like you have to use your leverage all the time there's something wrong with the horse's training or the rider's use of it.

I admit to never getting into loose rings. I tried one on Kash once, which was a disaster because despite saying it is 5" it actually measured closer to 4 3/4". I also worry about pinched lips.


lantairvlea: (Default)

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