Sunday, May 31, 2009

June already?

Seems like May flew by... where did it go? I have been struggling with a decision, though I think I know the answer. The deadline for application for the Eastern States Mustang Makeover is tomorrow. I have been going back and forth on whether or not I should apply again. I really don't think I'll have the money, especially if gas prices keep going up like they say they will. I also don't know that I could let another mustang go... and I know I'd have to. It was easier than I thought to let Luna go to a new home... but I pretty much had an entire year to prepare myself to let her go. I also didn't have near the amount of work in her that I would put into another mustang...

I got an email from her new owner today. She and Luna are working with the barn owner/trainer. She said that the trainer is very impressed with Luna, so that made me feel really good.

Anyway... I could still fax in my application tomorrow... but I haven't asked Aubrey's dad if it would be okay to take on another mustang... it's their facility after all. *sigh* I guess I will sleep on it and see what happens when I wake up...

The weekend was good. Saturday I went to a lesson and we worked on collection for the most part. It was enlightening to say the least :-) I wasn't going to go because I am trying to save money, but I have a hard time passing up a chance to learn more while actually riding my horse.

Later, my mom wanted to go for a ride, so I saddled up Risk for her and I took Remington. We just rode around the property, but it was fun. My mom is so good at stating the obvious when we're around horses... It's not exactly funny at the time but looking back it makes me laugh. Like when Remington lifted his tail to poop... she lets out this huge gasp like she's completely appalled... Really, mom??? You've never seen a horse poop before?? I don't always have the patience I need to explain horseback riding to my mother, so sometimes I get a little short, I hope she doesn't mind. Riskie puts up with her antics well enough, though. After my mom figured out that the reason Risk kept trotting off, was because she was leaning forward, they got along much better. Risk sometimes takes advantage of my mom's inexperience, but I know she wouldn't do anything crazy (it's not like I give my mom spurs to wear!).

I didn't do any riding today, just let the horses out to pasture. The air show was going on this weekend, and Aubrey's place is close to the airport. The horses had the Blue Angels flying over their pasture all weekend. That's quite the desensitizing experience. I don't think they mind as long as there's grass in front of their faces!

Here is Remington wondering why the heck I'm snapping photos instead of unsaddling him and letting him out to eat grass... All the horses are so shiny now, I sure don't miss those shaggy winter coats...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Bridle

Here is a photo of Rem and his new bridle... well I guess it's not that new anymore. I got it at Midwest Horse Fair.

It's been rainy all week again, so I haven't done any riding at all. The horses sure are getting fat though. I'll have to start feeding a few flakes of hay and locking them off the pasture soon. Remington is still growing, so he's not quite as fat as the 2 mature mares. They are about ready to burst at the seams.

Hopefully I'll get some riding in this weekend. I can't believe I still have one more day of work. It was a short work week, but it seemed so long... Oh well, maybe tomorrow will go by fast.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Now what??

Selling my Appaloosa sure has got me wondering what I should call the blog now that I'm down to 1 Appaloosa and 1 Mustang... I'll be thinking about that for a while...

Luna is at her new home now. I am glad I was able to drop her off, it gave me a chance to see where she would be living. It's a really nice place, with very large pastures. I think she will like it, though I am sure she will miss her friends. I wonder if I am humanizing her too much... but I really believe that horses make bonds with other horses that can last a lifetime. I also believe that even after years of being apart a horse will recognize a herd mate. What do you think?

Anyway, before I dropped Luna off I went to roping practice again with Risk. I was able to take her on Tuesday night, too. She's not a rope horse yet, she's still learning, and Tuesday she was still afraid to get up behind the steer in the position she needs to be in order for me to throw my rope... so... today I decided to wear spurs. Well, I have worn spurs on her in the past, but apparently I didn't use them the way I did today, because she got to bucking when I asked her to move up behind the steer. I stayed on her longer than I would have stayed on Remington... but she did get me off. So, I tossed my rope aside and hopped back on... she'll learn to deal with these spurs I told myself. So, I asked again the same way for her to move forward and she got to bucking again, but I was able to hang on this time... though it wasn't pretty. We worked things out and in the end she realized that spurs are not a cue to buck... My trainer tells me that if a horse can tolerate a saddle on his back, then he can tolerate a spur to the belly, and I'd have to agree with him. I know many people think spurs are cruel, and I may have thought that once as well, but just like any other training aid we use, in the right hands (or should I say heels?) they are an excellent aid. The last run I took on Risk was perfect, she broke from the box like a bullet and when my header ducked off to the left she fell right in line behind the steer and set me up for a perfect throw, I was able to catch both heels. This time, she knew what I wanted, and I didn't even have to use my spurs.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sold! and a busy Sunday...

Just when I was thinking I'd be holding onto Luna for a while longer, I found a home for her. A woman from Illinois found her on Craigslist, and we'd been emailing back and forth for a week or so. She and her husband came out to see Luna on Saturday.

Luna, happened to be on her worst behavior when they showed up. Probably because of my own nerves... She didn't stand stock still for saddling the way she normally does, but it wasn't that big of a deal. She still stood well for a 3 year old, just not like she usually does. Then, when I took her out to the arena she started screaming for her herd mates. She normally never does that. She insisted on trotting while I longed her, even though I wanted a walk... I finally got it. And then, she wanted to trot off under saddle, which also is not like her. I suppose it's good that they saw the worst of her and still wanted to take her.

Before they left, they said they'd give me a call and let me know their decision, that afternoon. It wasn't 10 minutes after they drove off that I saw their number pop up on my cell phone. I thought for sure, such a quick decision would be that they didn't want to take on such a green horse, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they really liked her, and wanted to take her! So, next weekend I'll be hauling her to her new home.

I sold her for less than what I was asking on the stipulation that she would get at least 60 days of professional training. I am not sure how much the woman who is buying her knows about green horses, but I do know she has owned horses in the past. Luna will be stabled at a boarding barn, so that makes me feel good. She will have company, and her owner will have good advice from fellow boarders, I hope.

Today was a good full day of riding. Since they put a deposit down on Luna, I decided to go to the group reining lesson this week. We worked on really setting our horses up for their leads. I have a tendency to over bend Rem when I'm asking for a lead. I always thought that you had to have their nose tipped to the inside, but really all you need is for them to give you their chin. Once you have their chin, you can slow their front end down and push their rear end up into it for collection. After that, you ask for their hip to move over with your outside leg, and support with your inside leg so that just their hip comes in, not their shoulder. Then you can ask them to lope off. I don't usually have any problems with my leads, but Remington only knows how to run into them, so breaking it down and making sure I slow his front end before asking really helped him to lope off collected instead of running off. Now I've got something new to practice for a few weeks. It's so exciting to feel my horse getting better and better. I am confident in my ability to start colts, but beyond the basics I can't say that I know a whole lot about finishing a horse. That's why I am taking lessons, to learn what it takes to finish out a horse.

After my lesson, I decided to head over to team roping practice to watch my Uncle Bill, and his friend's, Steve and Bill, rope. I thought about taking Riskie along, but decided against it so I just had Rem with me. Rem got a chance to track a few calves and he did really well. I think he had a good time.

When they got started roping I decided to unsaddle Rem, since he had been wearing it all morning, and just watch. Apparently my Uncle decided that meant I should rope off of one of his horses! Oh boy... I haven't roped in a while, but I thought it might be fun so I agreed. It turned out to be a blast! I had so much fun. I rode my Uncle's youngest horse, Brady. He took good care of me, even though he is kind of new to roping as well. I think he is 6 this year. I was heeling, so I didn't dally or anything like that. I missed most of the time, but I caught a few singles.

Steve decided we should rope for money, so everyone put a dollar in the pot (I only had a 20, so my Uncle paid for me). It was Steve and I against Bill and Bill. Steve talked the Bill's into letting us have 8 points right off the bat, since I'm new to this. Each horn is worth a point and each back leg is worth a point, so you can get 4 total, per steer, but the header and the heeler have to catch in order for them to count, you won't get points if just the header catches.

We had 8 cattle to work with but only 4 counted for points, we took the 4 best runs. I think I caught two singles in our set, so we wound up with 13 points.

Bill and Bill actually missed their first 4 steers, so Steve and I thought we would win for sure. But then, things changed... The Bill's pulled things together and wound up getting points for all four of their last steers. They ended up tying us with 13 points!

It was pretty exciting, actually. We had to have a rope off! We would each get a chance to catch one more steer. Steve and I went first. Steve hardly ever misses, and he caught our steer, but it was only one horn. As I went in to follow I started to swing my rope and it wound up around my horse's head somehow... heh heh... whoops! Steve told me to get untangled and keep trying, so I was able to straighten things out and get up behind the steer, I threw my loop and wound up catching one back leg! So, we had 2 points, even though it wasn't much to watch.

Bill and Bill missed their steer (possibly on purpose, to make me feel good), so Steve and I won the rope-off, and we each won 2 dollars!

I didn't have any photos from this weekend, so instead I'll include some from last year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stormy Wednesday

It's been threatening to rain and storm all day, and it finally decided to let loose as I was driving home from work. I was hoping it would hold off so I could at least get the dogs out to the barn for a little bit, but that didn't happen. I decided I should really get to the gym, because I haven't gone since Saturday, so I went and rode the stationary bike for half an hour. I don't like going when there's so many people there, so I didn't want to hang around for long. I have lost six pounds since April 25th, so I am excited that what I am doing is working. Hopefully I can stick with it.

Caper is very afraid of storms, so he was happy to see me when I got home. He hasn't left my side all night. It is calming down now though, so hopefully he won't stay too stressed out about it.

Caper, happy in this picture because the weather is nice!

Winter is so long that I forget the things I don't care for about Summer... The bugs have been bad lately. Especially the ones that bite the horse's ears. Aubrey learned about parasites last semester, so she was telling me the names of all the different pesky flies, but I forgot them already. All I know is that they're a pain in the butt!!!

Aubrey went to Farm and Fleet yesterday and bought some fly spray for the ponies. However, she forgot the horse cookies.... See all those horses lined up at the gate, patiently waiting for a horse cookie? Well, there was none to be had... I made sure they knew it was Aubrey who forgot, not me... I think they're at least thankful for the fly spray. I'll have to stop and get them some cookies next time I'm out that way.

What do you mean, there's no cookies!?!

Well I hope the rest of the week goes by fast for everyone! I don't have much of anything planned for the weekend, but I'm hoping it's nice so I can get a few good rides in...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Riding Luna

Luna's face is just about healed up, so it's back to work for her. I saddled her up tonight and took her out to the big arena. I realized I really didn't have any riding pictures of her, besides the few from when I had Aubrey climb on and off when we first started her. Riding pictures would probably help sell her... So, I took advantage of Aubrey and her photo taking skills, once again.

Luna is obviously still very green, she doesn't really have steering down yet, but it's getting there. I can't expect to much because I have taken things so slow with her. I don't believe she's had more than 10 or 11 rides. I guess the main reason I don't want to put too much work into her is because I'll probably end up getting too attached to sell her... and that is not an option. I've got to cut costs somewhere... But, I know she will make someone a great horse, she is so level headed.

I've gotten a few emails from people wanting to see photos, but no one has offered to come out and see her in person yet. I am thinking I should probably put an ad up on a horse for sale site instead of Craigslist... Now that I've got a few photos of her being ridden, that's probably what I'll end up doing.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I had Aubrey take a short video of one of the things Rem and I have been working on. Rollbacks!

I think out of the three rollbacks in the video, the first one was the best(shown 2 times). We worked on rollbacks in the last couple of lessons that I took. I took a break from them for a while because I was getting a little frustrated with Rem and myself. I picked them up again a couple days ago, and the break seems to have helped Rem get things together. He is a really fast learner, which is good and bad. He can learn a bad habit pretty quickly, so I was a little hesitant to continue the rollback work by myself, without my trainer there telling me what I need to do. But, at the same time, if I just wait around for a lesson to work on this stuff, we probably won't get much better.

Anyway, here is what I learned about rollbacks from our lesson... you can watch the video and tell me if I'm following the correct sequence.

The single, most important aspect of the rollback is to GET OUT!!! Heh heh. You can do all the other steps, but if your horse doesn't think he needs to get out of there, it won't be a really good rollback. Rollbacks are supposed to be complete 180 degree turns. You can see in the video that Rems rollbacks could be tighter (the first one was okay, probably because we rolled back into the fence). I think I need to get him back on his haunches more when I'm asking him to leave in order to achieve this. Anyway, back to how I cue.

I trot Rem in a straight line and stop. It's important to trot your horse into the stop when practicing rollbacks so he doesn't learn to run off. Once stopped, I ask for a back, first with my reins and once he is started backing I ask him to continue with my spurs. It's important that your horse backs off of leg pressure, and not reins because the rein is what cues him to roll back.

The reason we back our horses before the rollback is to get POWER. The power comes from their hind end, and they're already on their hind end when we ask them to back. Once my horse is backing in a straight line off of my legs, I move my inside leg back, and out of the way to allow his shoulder to come through. I turn my head and look the way I want to roll back, past my horses hip and then I cue him with my neck rein. He should follow my gaze and respond to the neck rein by rocking back on his haunches, doing a complete 180 and GETTING OUT of it.

It's a lot to remember, but Rem has learned that when I move my leg back and out of the way it's time to move. It's a lot of fun, and I'd venture to say that he enjoys it too!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

For My Mom

Rem, Mom and Luna - taken last summer.

Happy Mother's day, to my mom and all the wonderful mom's out there.

I just wanted to take a little time to say how important my mom is to me. She always put my brother and I before herself when we were growing up. She made sure we had all the things we needed and then some.

As most of you know, I've always been horse crazy, and she did everything she could afford to make sure my need to be around horses was met.

We couldn't always afford lessons, so she worked for me to take them. She mucked out stalls at the boarding stable in exchange for me to take riding lessons. She would also drive me out to my Aunt and Uncle's place on many summer weekends so I could ride their horses. (I also have my Grandma to thank, for driving me out on weeknights when my mom worked).

When I graduated high school, I decided it was time I finally owned my own horse. Although I heard from many people that it was not a good idea to buy a horse when I would be heading to school, I did it anyway. My mom has always supported me in my decisions, even when she doesn't think they're always right. She isn't afraid to give me her opinion, but at the same time she doesn't try to persuade me one way or the other. She always says, I need to do what's right for me, not anybody else.

So, I just wanted to say happy Mother's Day, to my mom. Thanks for raising me to be the woman I am today :-)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Yesterday was fun, although not everything went as planned. I got the truck and trailer hooked up and was ready to go when I realized the truck tire has a slow leak again, and apparently I'm no good with a tire gauge. I thought it was leaking faster than it really was, so I called my uncle and he offered to change the tire for me, so I headed out that way only to find that the truck doesn't even have a spare tire! He told me that the leak wasn't too bad and then he let me borrow his air tank so I could fill it up if it got too low. So, about 2 hours after I said I'd meet Jess, I made it to the trail head! She didn't mind at all, as she had a few errands to run before hand anyway.

It was close to dinner time so we decided to take the trail into a town called Eagle and eat at a bar. The bar has a really nice little enclosed corral set up for horses with individual tie stalls. It's really nice to be able to tie your horse and not worry about them getting loose while you eat!

Just as we were tying the horses up we heard loud cheering from inside the bar... we had just missed the running of the Derby! As we came in we saw Mine That Bird being pulled up on the television. Lots of people were wearing fancy hats at the bar, and one guy was dressed up as Seabiscuit's jockey. That made me laugh. The food was good, but our waitress was new and seemed to be the only one there, so I can't say the service was too good... That's alright though, we still had fun.

The trail that goes into Eagle is really hilly and rocky, so Jess and I didn't really get the ride in that we had hoped. We decided to keep riding past the parking lot in the other direction. Those trails were wide and flat so we let the ponies stretch their legs. Riskie loves to run, and every time Jess and Nash would draw even with us, Riskie would flatten her ears and run faster. Perhaps she was running her own Kentucky Derby :-)

We saw a few whitetail deer on the trail, and Jess and I found it odd that they really weren't afraid of us. We were probably less than 20 feet away and talking loudly and they just stood there staring at us. Riskie spotted them first, I wouldn't have noticed if she hadn't stopped dead in her tracks and raised her head up to stare back at them.

It was a really good ride on a really nice day! I am looking forward to many more this summer.

Luna's face is looking better and better each day. I finally got a picture of it, but it sure doesn't look the way it did on Monday morning. It's gotten considerably smaller, so that's good. I guess I forget how fast horses heal.

I don't have a whole lot planned for today. Probably a nap, and then I might take Rem out for a ride, and finally I've got to pick up more hay tonight. I think weekends need to be 3 days instead of 2...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Derby Pick

What a relief, this week is finally over! I am looking forward to a pretty relaxing weekend. Tomorrow, my aunt, cousin and mom are going out for lunch to celebrate my mom's birthday. After that, I've got trail riding plans with Jess. I am going to take my mare, Riskie. I need a relaxing ride, so Sir Spooks-a-lot is staying at home!! Heh heh, no he really isn't that bad, he's still a youngster though, and Riskie's feeling neglected so it will be good to get her out on the trail.

My mom and I took a look at the derby field the other night. She hasn't made her pick but I chose "Hold Me Back" for mine. Nobody really stood out to me, but I really like his trainer, Bill Mott. That's pretty much the only reason I picked him. Cigar is my favorite racehorse of all time, and Bill Mott was his trainer. Anyway, I probably won't even get to see the race live, I'll be out riding.

Horse racing is getting harder for me to watch with all the breakdowns happening. I used to follow it rather closely. Aubrey and her family used to go to the races a lot and they would take me along too. We've been to the Preakness and the Breeder's Cup, when it was at Arlington. It was really fun. The best part about it is when the the grand stands aren't crowded and you can go sit right by the track. You can just about feel the horses thundering towards the wire.

Luna's face is much better today. The swelling is all but gone. The wound is still open but I think it will heal okay. I was going to bring my camera to get a picture, because my blog needs more blood and guts I think... but I forgot. Maybe I'll remember tomorrow.

Well I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!! Let me know your derby pick if you have one!