Monday, August 24, 2020

My name is Fred, they call me Fred

I've been meaning to write updates for all of the horses, cause this is a horse blog after all... I figured there should be some horse content occasionally.

Before I get into recapping Fred's impromptu training session, I'd like to add that I've made a late Q3 addition to my goals list: get more f*@*ing pictures for the blog.  LOL  But seriously, I could use some current media.  

 Last Sunday the Cowboy was here for Ivy.  He worked with her for about and hour or so and decided she was good and needed a break.  I had told him about Fred, so we decided with the 45 mins left of my time, we'd assess Fred and see what he thought about breaking him out for me.

A pic from last fall with the other trainer

We threw the saddle and bridle on Fred and he was worked on the lunge for a bit.  If you remember, I had someone sit on him a few times last fall, but we never had her off the lead line.  The cowboy quickly ran Fred through some basics to test where he was at: leaning on him, mounting/dismounting stirrups flapping, etc.   I really need to get a video of this for you guys, but this trainer can jump on from the ground - with a western saddle, no less - with just a couple of bounces and Fred is close to 17hh!
Actual footage from that day: Trainer bouncing and chubby me looking perplexed!

Anyway, once he saw that Fred was good with a rider pretty much climbing all over him, he got on and tested out the controls.  This is where Fred got confused - he was fine to back under saddle and even turn on the forehand.   Moving forward was very hard for him, for some reason.  Often if that is a problem, the rider uses an open rein and encourages the horse to take a step to the side to start, then they get some forward momentum.  This sort of worked with Fred, but he didn't really catch on to what was being asked. 

Now, this was his first session under saddle since the fall, so I wasn't expecting any miracles.   Fred was super good in that he never offered to kick or buck or rear when he got a bit confused by the trainer asking him to do stuff.  He has a very quiet temperament and is just maybe a bit less smart than others (lol poor Fred) and a bit stubborn. 

Cute, but confused? 

Without pics to show you, there isn't much more to add.  The trainer kept trying different techniques to get a few steps forward and it would work one time, then not the next. We gave Fred short breaks every few minutes to ensure he wasn't completely overwhelmed, but I think maybe he had had enough.  He is 5, so I was hoping he could work in larger chunks of time, but maybe not.  Anyway, I'm officially considering this ride 1 on Fred and I'm hoping to do more with him over the coming months as the temps have started to cool down.  

I don't have any experience starting a young horse, but since I know Fred is so quiet, I feel it should be safe for me to do some work with him in between pro sessions.  I don't have the budget to send him and Ivy this year (Ivy goes tomorrow for her bootcamp) so I'll have to do a bit of work on my own.  

Right now my plan is to show him a bit next year (if we ever have shows here again???) and get him started under saddle w/t at least, so I can find him a new home or keep him and trail ride him or something.  I have the foal coming (fingers crossed) in Feb, so I'll be busy with that little creature as well.  It seems weird to even attempt to talk about plans for next winter/spring, since we have no idea where the pandemic will take us at this point!  

Monday, August 17, 2020

A chestnut mare - what was I thinking?

Internet update: I've had internet since last Thursday evening. That is 4 days straight. Amazing!


I've been meaning to post an update on Ivy for a while, but there wasn't much exciting news to report.  The first couple of weeks were a bit stressful, as the little herd shuffled the dynamics and they all had to adapt to the newcomer.  Fred quickly fell in love and the two of them are often quite close.

I was second-guessing myself on her a bit the first month - her heats were atrocious - messy and dramatic with lots of pinned ears and squealing.  Her heat was like that at her previous owners, as we went to see her the first time in the middle of her heat cycle.  

side eye level - expert

I had an acquaintance out to try her under saddle  during that first month to see what we were dealing with.    That didn't go well, as she hadn't yet had her teeth done and was clearly uncomfortable with a bit.  She was also reallllly attached to the herd and didn't want to be too far from the boys.  We decided not to push the mare and have a bad experience under saddle. We determined she was only green broke at best and left it at that. It then got blazing hot for weeks and I was not motivated to do much!  And sorry no photos - I do have a couple of the rider on board, but was too lazy to photoshop out her face!  LOL  (bad blogger!)  

In addition to the other small problems, she was also very difficult to catch in the field.  I could let her into her stall from the paddock no problem, but if you went out with a halter, she was like, "nope BYEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!"

Actual photo of me during the first month with

After her teeth were done, I noticed her settling in a bit more.  On the advice of my friend, I started her on a herbal supplement for her heat, which I was very skeptical of at first.   By the time her next heat rolled around, it was waaaaayy less messy and she was much sweeter and approachable. I was all of a sudden able to catch her and had less problems handling her overall.  This made me heave a sigh of relief, as I really don't want to deal with a nasty, ill-behaved creature out in the field.  

I'm not sure how much of that is due to the supplement and how much is due to her settling in and relaxing a bit. We'll never  I'm keeping her on the supplement until the fall when she should stop coming into heat as the days get shorter. 

Heading out to the pasture...

This past week, my friend (who co-owns the mare) found a local trainer, who I'll refer to as the Cowboy from now on.  She knows people who have worked with this guy and had good things to say.  I had him out here on Sunday to assess Ivy AND Fred (yes, Fred had a rider on board again!).  He did a lot of work with her and though she would come along quickly with a few more rides.  She is basically green broke, but willing to try.    My friend and I decided to send her to his place for two weeks, instead of having him come here 1x a week or something. It just seemed to make more sense that he could accomplish more if he worked with her more often.  

And guess what? I was out with the horses and the trainer for almost 3 hours and did not take one. single. picture.  Gosh, this blogging thing would be easier with some media!  lol    I'll do a separate post with an update on Fred...spoiler alert: he is kind and calm, but stubborn AF!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The "I'm still here, sorta" update

In the interest of trying to write more, I was thinking of doing a weekly update.  However, when you rarely leave your home, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to write about!  This update covers the past two or three weeks…if not longer.

My Mom is working on cleaning up old photos and sent me this gem:

Me at the Kentucky Horse Park sometime in the 80s. Note the love of green even back then! lol
My first update is that our internet has been crappy for the past month. It sort of stopped working properly about a month ago. Calls to the company just resulted in “turn it off and back on again” type of advice.  Fun.  

We have a whopping 2 options for internet service here (15 minutes outside a major city!)  and the first one is now toast, so the 2nd company is coming on Thursday today to set us up.  

Cross your fingers that it works, because we are running out of old dvds and puzzles.  LOL  Totally a #firstworldproblem, I know, but important when I’m trying to work from home!

My second update is that my boarder is leaving in mid-September. This is not a bad thing, I’m kind of looking to have my place back to myself for a bit.   Her horse has been here for 6 or so years though, so I will miss seeing him out back.  What I won’t miss tho, is the extra mouth to feed! 

Which brings me to important update #3: due to the drought earlier this year, hay is in majorly short supply around here.  The price is at least $6 a bale if you can find any and closer to $7 if you go through a supplier and have it delivered.  The price will likely continue to climb over the fall/winter.  I have 120 bales in the barn, but it won’t last me very long, as I’m starting to feed a bit of hay now as the grass was toast due to the drought as well. 

We have had some rain, so it came back a bit, but not enough to support the 3 big horses.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about how to supplement forage, so there are some good options to stretch out hay.  We also have a lead on these great hay cubes that you can feed dry and are a total hay replacement (long stem forage) so my friend and I are going to do a big order of that in September.

I hope to get my butt outside with a camera in the next few days so I can do some pony updates!

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason. On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just...