Merry Christmas from the farm!

     Christmas is winding down after a family packed week! Rob and I are exhausted, and the ponies are probably bored of hanging in the stalls all day. Byron is tired of us playing with his emotions. We took him to see Robert’s parents then left him and came back… then left him at the house alone for a night while a friend helped up feed him. Whew! And now we are finally home (at least until next weekend when we travel for work).

Naps at Christmas time!

     So yesterday we had a great day riding some ponies, after a little bit of struggle before Christmas. We have been dying to try Oberon over fences (Ok, myself, Jeannette and Maggie). Finally I made some time during one of my lessons. I expected to be a great example, but Oberon had other plans. We went over a cross rail and he bucked a little at the end and off I plopped. Oops. Robert said my form was ok, I rolled past my head and shoulders. Except then I splatted on my lower back. I got back on and decided jumping crossrails could wait for another day.

     Sunday Robert and I had some extra time (haha apparently, this means I manufactured time for ponies into the schedule. Robert is forever telling me that we don’t have extra time…) and we decided to work the ponies. Robert wanted to work on his communication with Oberon. Oberon requires one to ride with constant contact of the lower leg and constant contact through the bridle. Robert is learning how to do this, and practiced at the walk yesterday.

     Jellybean has been sporadically ridden, so I decided to go back to the round pen and work on walk/trot/canter. Unfortunately the round pen bit me, and I didn’t get to canter around after I jacked my knee. Jellybean did well, and I think I need to focus on riding her in the cutting pen. I have also been trying to decide if she should be characterized as green broke instead of unbroke. I don’t know where the line actually lies… Let me know what you think!

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Good ride on a chilly day

     Happy Monday!

     This weekend blew by, but we did make some time on Sunday to ride the ponies. Jellybean was up first, and Robert lunged her on the line in the cutting pen. Then I hopped on her and walk/trotted around the pen. She did awesome! She trotted off on command (but only until she got tired) and slowed right down on command. She was getting better about turning, but she putzes out when she tries to turn at the trot. 

     It all boils down to Jellybean is super lazy. She is kind of spooky about the cutting pen, and especially the standing water on the other side of the fence. She also spooked off when someone driving down the drive splashed some water. The other awesome aspect of this ride is that we were not the only people riding in the arena! Jeannette was riding Cash, and Jellybean wasn’t paying him any attention! I am so glad we had a good ride, and I hope the good rides keep on keeping on 🙂

All the ponies had fun running around the jump field!

Another day at the farm… and a rant about farriers

     Thursdays have been interesting the last two weeks. I have been “forced” to take the day off from work because the farrier. I guess this isn’t completely true, because I have been growing things at work)This has ended up being a nice way for me to spend some extra time getting projects done at the barn, and a little bit of riding in. Last week, the farrier gave us the run around, saying that he was cancelling (a day out) because it was supposed to rain (which matters not, as we do farrier work under a shelter…). Then he said he would be out, but his truck had problems, so maybe later. Then nothing. I spent the day working with the ponies and cleaning out the nasty, nasty horse stalls.

     So this week, the farrier was scheduled to come at 10am. Good early morning time! Then the day before he rescheduled to 12pm. Ugh. Starting to be annoying. I went out to the barn and piddled, not wanting to ride because I wanted my horses done first. And piddled. Then we decided to grab lunch and got behind, so we texted the farrier to ask him to let us know when he was on his way, if we needed to run. He said he had to get some tools and he would be out soon… Cue 2:30pm and here he is. Starts working on Oberon and first thing tells me that he has navicular because of sensitivity to hoof testers.

     Now navicular sounds pretty bad. Basically, inflammation and degeneration of the navicular bone and the surrounds tendons, ligaments, and tissue cause lameness and pain that increases with time. Long story short, its degenerative, and causes lameness in the front feet and culminates with your horse becoming a pasture ornament. No bueno. Of course, I was very interested in how this works, so I spent some time researching and chatting with people.

     The symptoms of the syndrome include lameness on both front feet, with the horse avoiding stepping on his heel. One foot will likely be more sore than the other. So when a person sees their horse limping (being lame), they will usually ask the farrier to check them out or take them to a vet. The farrier can make some educated guesses, and the vet can x-ray or ultrasound the foot and get a picture of whats happening. Working together, the vet and farrier can usually come up with a treatment plan that maintains the horse’s comfort and longevity.

     Anyways, to summarize that last paragraph, diagnosis occurs with radio graphs and ultrasounds and other in-vet hospital tests. In Oberon’s case, I haven’t seen him be lame… and this is a major red flag to me. The next red flag is the farrier diagnosing a degenerative condition with one small test, that could mean lots of other issues. The final flag is that the farrier said regular shoeing until he becomes lame, then fancy (ie expensive) shoes, then pasture ornament. Nothing was mentioned about working with a vet for a treatment program…

     I guess my summary here is that I am miffed that the farrier jumped to a very serious sounding disease with minimal diagnosis and no referral to the other side of the treatment (aka vet). I think its pretty much bs and a great way to charge me for unnecessary therapeutic shoes. He may certainly become lame later on, and I will deal with that when it comes.

     Ranting…I especially have trouble taking you seriously when you waste my entire day. Just because we can take texts to update ETA and reschedule, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your original appointment. And please don’t make your excuses less compelling when you don’t apologize for being late and then tell me how you were working cows this morning, when you should have showed up at 10am. Ugh.

     And before this blog post gets completely ridiculous and long, I will end on a good note. I have written many times about Jellybean’s questionable behavior and sometimes outright aggression to farriers. Well, with the assistance of the dressage whip, Jellybean was a saint. The excellent thing was when the farrier responded to my description of her behavior by saying it was my responsibility to discipline my horse. Why has no one said that before? Communication is clearly the key. Now all the ponies are trimmed, and hopefully staying dry as the rain comes again.

Well the weather outside is frightful…

     Boy is it cold here. I know, I know. Friends up north reguarly endure temperatures near 30 for extended periods of time. I guess I was spoiled here in Texas last winter. We had a week of 20/30 and then back to 50-70. In any case, its been cold the last week (lows in the mid 20s-30s) and rainy drizzle. You can imagine this tanks any motivation to do anything. Lately we have been running out to the barn to feed and pick up a few piles of poop and then retreating into our cozy houses. So much for the thirty day plan… Although I did pick the absolute worst time to get started. Hopefully we can continue to move along even without the structure. I think it helps that we have worked at all three gaits now. Worst case scenario, Jellybean takes off and I just have to ride it out. While she isn’t particularly comfortable right now, I don’t think its impossible. Regardless, I have my fingers crossed for some nicer weather!

Brrrrr!

I almost got away!

As we near the end of year one of my captivity with my people I have been refelcting on the torture and all of the crazy stuff they have asked me to do.

Since I was adopted by Amanda and Robert they have made me do everything from walking through a water puddle to cantering under a stinky leather saddle.  All the other horses around here tell me this is what it means to be a horse.  I don’t think they really understand who I am.  I am a princess pony!  I do not walk in water! I do not suffer my feet to be picked up by strange men with tools.  I am certainly not a working class pony.  I am Dusty Summer! 

With all of this in mind I saw my chance last night.  Amanda and Robert had brought the new guy, Oberon, and me in from the pasture and left our stalls unlocked while they made our dinner.  I was very cautious and quiet in my escape.  I waited until they were deep in discussion with Jeannette, then nudged the stall door open and made my break for it! 

Alas, my instincts and the people’s snitch ruined my chances.  As I made my break down the aisle to freedom I saw some tasty hay and grain that had been left on the floor!  I tried to ignore it but it looked so tasty!  I stopped to take a bite and that is when I heard Oberon snitching on my escape!  He was pacing and nickering in his stall and then Robert looked over and saw me!  Shoot!  No escaping now!  He came down the aisle and tricked me back into my stall. 

These people are fools.  Maybe next year will be a better year to escape. 

I’ll have to keep my gaurd up around these two legged animals….

Until next time.  Yours in captivity,

Dusty Summer (aka. Jellbean)

Oberon’s One month Anniversary

So, it seems time flies by a lot faster when you are busy!  It seems like just last week when Jellybean met her “mail-ordered boyfriend”, Oberon.  She was very excited and Oberon has grown very fond of his new stable mate.

A little bit of catch up on what he has ben doing lately.  First off, he had to get used to everything at the new place.  Whenever Amanda or I would ride him he would act like Doug from the movie Up.  “SQUIRREL!!!”, oh that’s right, we are riding….  “SQUIRREL!!”….  oh yeah, trotting here.  “OH MOTHER OF GOD! IS THAT A COW!!!!!!!!”  right….  cantering away now!  and don’t forget all the scary flappy things like tarps of tin roofs or dogs, cats, kids…  a practical menagerie of new and scary things to see.

Well, he finally saw all there was to see and started getting bored…  I think bored horses are worse than bored children…  they don’t get in as much trouble but, they are orders of magnitude more expensive when they do something stupid.  Sooo, we set up a work out routine for him.  long and low is his new torture (build that top line Oberon),  also a lot of circles to get that balance and strength back.

Other than that it has been a rough semester,  very little time to do more than ride 1-2 times a week.  I am hoping this will change now the undergrads are gone. I really hope we can build him up and see how he likes jumping in the spring!   Maybe even some fancy prancing dressage…  who knows.

Stay tuned for more fun.

p.s.  he has a twitter account just like Jellybean.  Follow him @oberonthehorse.

Back from vacation!

     I read a lot of horse blogs throughout the day, mostly with an eventing focus. They have been filled with one of two things lately. Either they are traveling south for the winter (NC/SC/FL) or they are bundling up against the cold. For Thanksgiving, we did the opposite, and took off to Ohio to visit my family. All the animals were left behind, with the capable Jeannette (of 14hands.blogspot.com) taking care of the ponies and Robert’s parents taking care of Byron. 

     We returned Saturday afternoon, and tortured Byron a little bit by making him think we were going home immediately. We finally made it back to the ponies on Sunday afternoon, just in time to start feeding and cleaning up poop again 🙂

Robert really wants a helmet for Christmas


     Monday we had a bit more time before Robert tested for his 1st degree black belt in Aikido, so we started Jellybean’s targeted training program. It basically runs on the basis that we will work in the round pen everyday for at least 30 days-ish. Obviously rain and traveling are going to get in the way a bit, but since teaching has died down I can do this if I set my mind. Then I will have my own horse to ride 🙂

     So we were running late, and rushed out the barn to get Jellybean dressed and catch the last piece of winter sun. Of course the arena was populated with all manner of children running around under and over trees etc. Robert worked Jellybean around the pen and got her attention with lots of transitions. Canter, trot, walk, trot, canter, walk, whoa, change directions, etc. When she was ready, I clicked my helmet together and hopped on. Jellybean was surprised by all the extra turkey I was holding onto. 

     Anyways, Robert started the same exercise, except with me on Jellybean. Unfortunately, children picked an inopportune moment to start jumping out from behind things. Jellybean saw them first and took off crow hopping and bucking a little bit. Of course, I was furious that parents were so inconsiderate of other people. I told the children to get away from the arena and tried to continue. Until another child ran beside the round pen and scared Jellybean again. Cue crazy lady. 

      Despite the distraction of my fury, Jellybean was actually doing really well. Normally I am a huge proponent of scaring horses, but its just too much to ride a baby horse at twilight with screaming, running children. We successfully W/T/C-ed around, and ended on a good note, with Jellybean evening moving off my leg. Whew. More pictures soon, I realize the blog has become text-wall like in the business of the semester. Bonus Oberon pictures. Month updates coming soon 😉

Purchase date, 11/3/13

Part of the trial

More trialing.