Monday, August 19, 2013

How Awesome Is This?

Pony is still sore.  But we did take a nice bareback gallop up the hill in the pasture... then I got off and walked back down with her since the going downhill is tougher on her. So no idea what to do with her still!!

Anyways, I got a new car for my 21st birthday! It is awesome :) 

I wanted a 'horsie' sticker to put on the back of it.

However, what sticker should I get?! There are so many options out there on the internet....barrel racers, horseshoes, horses, reiners, jumpers, dressage riders.... anything you could long as it pertains to something specific. 

I don't have anything that is specific in my riding.  I ride english, I ride western, I ride bareback.  I do gymkhanas... at a low level.  I don't show, and I don't want a 'cowgirl up' sticker plastered on my car.  

So I decided to get a sticker custom made JUST for me :)

Does anyone remember this picture?

How cool is it translated onto my car?

I love it!!!!

The person I got it from is on Etsy, her store is here, if anyone else has a sticker they want made!

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Days Have Escaped From Me

Don't we all feel that way?

How is the summer almost over? I start school today.  That sucks!

Also, in life updates....I quit my job.  About a month ago.  It was due to life changes in the family I was working for, and scheduling changes.  Good news, is that I have found a new job.  Bad news, is that it  starts in about two weeks, and then since I wont get paid for two weeks after that, it'll be about a month from now before I get paid.  So, I am so broke that I am literally rationing my barn trips to save gas money so that I have gas to get through the next month!

Pony is doing better, her back soreness is being improved every day.  She is picking up her leads in the round pen, I've only gotten on her once in the past two weeks or so, and it was in the round pen bareback.  She lunged fine, but then as soon as I got on her, asking her for the right lope she does this thing when she turns around and pins her ears and nips at me.  My trainer came to watch, and she said she thinks that it's a learned response since she she was hurting so bad after swimming.  So I pushed her through it, let her see it didn't hurt, and got off.

I am just at my wits end with her! Why is she sore? What can I do to help her? What exactly hurts? Who can I call?!

I mean jeez Pony!

In other news, Kadin got retired.

I love that old man horse.  He packed kids around like a protector.  He took me to gymkhanas and did everything I asked for.  I knew that spring stampede would be our last gymkhana.  His age really started to show this summer.  He slowed down a lot, and really showed his displeasure at being made to work.

However, somehow, he got the best retirement home a horse could possibly ever ask for.  Seriously.  Somehow, this situation just fell into my trainers hands, and it worked out perfectly.  She trailered him about three hours north last week to take him to his new home.  It is a beautiful ranch with ten acres of irrigated pasture, two other horses, and a 7 year old girl that loves him beyond repair.  The mother has showered us with pictures of her loving on Kadin.  There are two other horses.  A 4 year old mare and a older gelding.  Kadin has taken on his mare and won't let the gelding near her.  Kadin does not stand up for himself whatsoever, and I am so happy to hear that he is now! I think he is truly enjoying himself there. Nothing could make me happier, and I know no horse that could deserve this wonderful forever home more than him.

Funnily enough, a woman at the barn asked me to ride Toby since I have had a lot of time and she can't get out during the week.  Toby is Kadin's slightly younger 'brother'.  (Kadin is 24ish, Toby is 20ish)

The woman, M, got both horses about ten years ago when a dude string went out of business and sold their string.  M and her family weren't horse people, and since they had visited the dude string a few times, they decided to just take the plunge and get two horses!

I honestly have truly enjoyed riding Toby.  I'm not quite sure why this surprises me so much.  He is like, the exact same as Kadin! And, has the smoothest most rocking horse gaits.  Such a joy to ride bareback :)

Anyways, overall I am frustrated with Pony but loving the horsie life regardless.... Pony and I are doing great relationship wise :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

And Then, It All Went To Hell In A Handbasket

So, I left you all on the day we took the ponies swimming, which was Thursday the 25th.

The next day, I went to ride Pony, and she was really good at first, but then got faster and more strung out.  So I kinda thought that maybe she wasn't feeling her hottest after swimming, that was tough on their bodies!

So I untacked, took her in the round pen, worked on our bowing and picking up her feet, and jumped on her bareback and bridleless for a little while.  She was wonderful :)

I decided to give her the weekend off, she deserved it and definitely needed it.

I came back on monday to find her so back sore she was unridable.  WHAT?!

I massaged, stretched and massaged some more, but it didn't help her.  I emailed the chiropractor, and she told me she could come out on Friday.  So began the waiting game! I came out every day and groomed her and massaged, but she was still back sore.  I also began to think that she was deficient in something....she was constantly eating dirt, and not going for the salt like.

I began researching, and I am assuming she is low on selenium.  Most of california is low in selenium, and oregon has none. Selenium comes from the ground and is naturally in hay.  They way I heard it described best was 'areas where plant roots have to go further underground to get water, the selenium is higher (new mexico, arizona, utah)' but it also has to do with what type of soil makes up your area.  Selenium is important for horses, but the safe zone of feeding is very slim.

Does anyone read the 7msn blog? Who remembers her battle with the infamous Locoweed? The plant that will slowly make horses go crazy if they eat it, resulting in neuro issues and having to be put down.  Turns out, Locoweed is SUPER high in selenium, so that's what selenium toxicity does!

It's more common for a horse to get toxicity than it is for a horse to get a deficiency, because there is added selenium in most grains sold in our area (make sure you don't have any selenium in your added feeds in places like New Mexico, places that are naturally high in selenium!) However, Pony hasn't been getting grained, and we get our hay from Oregon sometimes.

When I began reading about selenium deficiencies, the words 'MUSCLE PROBLEMS' jumped out at me.  Oh, do you mean that some of her soreness could come from a mineral imbalance?

So this set me on the road to find a good grain/supplement for her.  After looking at a million things, I decided to go with LMF Gentle Balance.

LMF feeds are designed for people in my area, which I think is awesome.

Gentle Balance is designed for horses that are in light/moderate work and it is a grain free, mineral and vitamin based pelleted feed.  It isn't exactly low in fat, but I haven't been able to find any grain that does what I need that is low in fat! I didn't want to get a grain, and then a selenium supplement to add in, because grains usually have selenium in them, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't giving her too much.

This grain was on the higher end for selenium, so I figured it would be a good grain to start her on heavily, and then slow to a maintenence dose to make sure she doesn't get deficient again.  I was also thinking about California Trace, or Red Cal...but I am currently between jobs and don't have money to spend 100 dollars on a really long supply, I'd rather spend 20 on a bag of grain that will last me a few weeks.

Typical Analysisprintable product sheet button
Crude Protein, min. ………………….……………….……....12.0%
Crude Fat, min. ………………………..…………………..….5.7%
Crude Fiber, max. ……………………..……………………...26.9%
Dietary Starch, max. ………………..………………………...3.0%
Sugar, max. ……………………………..……..………………6.0%
Fructans, max. ………………………..……..…………….…..3.0%
Calcium, min. …………………………..………………….…..0.9%
Calcium, max. ………………………….…………….….…….2.4%
Phosphorous, min. ……………………..………………..……0.65%
Copper, min. ……………………….…………….………..…..55 ppm
Zinc, min. …………………………..………………………….165 ppm
Selenium, min. …………………..…………………………....0.60 ppm
Vitamin A, min. …………………..……………………….......3500 IU/lb
Vitamin E, min. ……………………….…………….…..….....100 IU/lb

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We took the ponies swimming!

Seriously.  So much fun! Turns out theres a lake about half an hour from the barn that has horse access to swim with horses in it!

We took Pony, Chief and Tally there to swim.  It was fun because you had to park and walk through a campground to get down to the rivery lake access.  While walking bareback and in halters through this campground we realized that we have awesome trail trial horses! This is like, exactly what trail trials are all about hahaha.  There were screaming kids and flapping tents and walking on pavement.

Pony wouldn't step on any of the painting in the road.  She took big steps over or around it all haha, so cute.  She had one small freakout moment when I went to walk her up a sidewalk, but it had those bumpy yellow mat things that are on crosswalks and stuff, and she didn't realize it until she had already almost stepped onto it.  She realized she had no clue what it was and turned away from it, but she turned straight into another one of them! It was hilarious.

How many of you have swam with horses before? Pony was a champ and got into the water like nobody's business.  It was basically a river coming off of the lake, and it was all rocky with a deeper channel that they could actually swim through.  Chief wasn't so thrilled about being in the water, and Tally immediately decided that Pony was her new best friend.

Anyways, turns out that when a horse is actually swimming, it's really hard to stay on their backs! You kinda just have to grab mane and hold on for dear life! I fell off once, it was hilarious because Pony went from swimming to finding the embankment with her front feet and left her back feet dangling in the deep water for a second until they found the embankment as well.  So, her front end went up so fast that I slid right down her butt and off the side hahaha.

Turns out they get super slippery as well.  since their fur gets slippery and wet, it makes you slide backwards on their back, but then since its wet, its really hard to slide yourself forwards against the fur to get where you should be!

Anyways, it was a totally awesome day!

Pony Boot Camp Days 4, 5 and 6

Monday July 22nd
I got to the barn and groomed and tacked up Pony with my new revelation that maybe my whole saddle problem was from me clearly not being an english rider. Checking with my trainer, she told me that as long as she isn't telling me that it was too far back, and it didn't look too far back, then it is working for me! Sweet!

She was well behaved, somewhat slow pokey.  I had trouble getting her to pick up her left lead (which is where her problems started with needing chiropractor work).  I commented on how she is getting super softer in her face, and that while we still weren't doing much trot transition work, I thought we were heading in a good direction!

I untacked her and gave her a massage, because I noticed she was somewhat back sore. At first we were all baffled, since she was looking great, but then my trainer remembered that (being the funny little pony that she is) that she can be kind of funny and sensitive when you touch her when she is hot and sweaty.  Since the next day she wasn't back sore at all, that was what I chalked it up to.

After her massage, I took her in the round pen and worked with her a little.  She was doing great! Her bowing/laying down has improved, definitely at a slow pace of 1% a day, for like 300 days, but still.  Being a half feral pony thing, trusting me enough to lay down near me is a VERY daunting task for her, so we're taking it slow.  I'm also trying to get her to pick up her feet when I touch it with a whip.  I would like her to eventually pick up a foot when I cue her with my foot, but I'm starting from sticks and stones with that one.  My method has been to tap a fetlock with the whip, and then continue tapping it while I pick it up.  Once it is up (I hold it in front of her) she gets a carrot, and then gets to put her foot down.

Before I took her home, I worked on sending her over some things to try and improve her confidence.  Also, I worked on leading her from the right (her right) to try and improve her confidence.  She gets really nervous when she is out of her comfort zone, so I'm also working on that with baby steps.

Tuesday July 23rd
We had a completely Liberty day, except for the ride itself.

I went to get her from her paddock, and she followed me up to the tack area without me ever having to touch her with the halter.  She then stood to be groomed and tacked like an angel! I think that she seemed to enjoy being groomed at liberty more than she does when she's tied up.  She was way more relaxed than normal.

The ride itself was great.  She was way softer in the face, and slower in her lope.  She was also able to sustain being collected up for a longer time.  We did do a few simple lead changes that she was awesome at.

After our ride, we took a lap around the ranch, and she heard something she has never heard before... a goose! She was mesmerized.  She couldn't see him, but she could hear him.  So funny.

She stood awesome to be untacked and then I took her in the round pen.  I worked on picking up the feet with the whip and also her bowing.  Such a good pony!

Wednesday July 24th
We did a liberty day.  She wasn't exactly an angel.  I groomed her at liberty, and then I tried to tack her up.  However, she wouldn't leave the tack area, and my saddle was in the trunk of my car! She kept looking at the tack room, and no manner of pulling on her to leave the area (and go back towards her pen, might I add) would she leave! At the time, I couldn't figure out what she was trying to tell me, however, later, I realized I think that she was waiting to be tacked up!

Since I couldn't figure out what she wanted, I decided to grain her, with a big scoop of electrolytes.  I am worried about a mineral deficiency.  Pony has been constantly head to the ground eating dirt, and I can't figure out what it is that she is lacking.

After she got grained, she was happier to leave the tack area.  We walked around the ranch and over poles and through a few little obstacles.  Then, I pushed my luck and tried to walk her over this big drain pipe thats laying around.  I walked straight, and she veered to the side to try and go around it.  The second that she was out of my reach, she realized it and took off for her pen at a gallop.

Obviously I ran after her with a chorus of people yelling that my horse was looks.  Yup, thanks, figured that one out, I don't generally take runs around the barn for fun.

She reached the gate at her pen and turned around and walked halfway to meet me.  Like, what the hell pony! She got confined to a collar around her neck.  I took her in the round pen and worked on her bow and picking up the feet.  This day, when I tapped her right foot, she shifted her weight off of it, so she is starting to figure out what I am asking for!

Then, I jumped on her and we loped around the round pen bareback and bridleless... a lot.  So much fun! And makes me remember how far I have come :)