Why do injuries always happen when we are unsupervised?

Howdy all,

The summer has been surprisingly busy and I have not had the chance to write for your entertainment.  Please accept my apologies and allow me to rectify that situation.

Some of you may be aware that until 2012 I was never really a horse person. However, circumstances changed with the arrival of the most amazing woman into my life.  She also managed to coincidentally herald the arrival of horses in my life.  At the time, I knew two things about horses… “They are dangerous at both ends and, crafty in the middle.”- Sherlock Holmes.

That being said, I immersed myself in horses.  I tried to soak up all the information, all the situations, all of the knowledge that anyone let slip about these big, beautiful, majestic, expensive and, suicidal animals. I still listen to everyone and take the nuggets of wisdom and tuck them away for later use.

If you would, keep these things in mind as I relate to you a story that occurred earlier today.

My horsewoman has left me for the weekend.  She has some duties to see to back home on the east coast. Most of these duties involve the marriage of one of her best friends and the assorted maid of honor things that guys don’t understand.  I have been told there is wine, beer and, horse stuff going on. Either way, I am home alone and in charge of my own life as well as that of the dog and two horses. No pressure right?

This morning I decide that I should go and check on those two beautiful, majestic, expensive and, suicidal animals. As I walk up the driveway to our paddock Jellybean nickers and starts walking toward me. Gracie, on the other hand, is happy to hang out in the back of the pasture with her boyfriend Orion.

Jellybean thought I had treats

 I had treats in my pocket so I figured that is why she was so interested in seeing me but as she got closer I could see her left eye was a bit swollen. Sadly, it looks like someone kicked her in the face!
This is where all of that listening and watching and storage of nuggets came in handy.  I did NOT freak out.  I got the halter and pulled her out of the paddock. Now I could really see the swelling.

Swollen left eye

Laceration

Now, here is the point I would like to talk about how far I have come in the last 3 years.  I mentioned that my horsewoman was out of state. What I failed to mention was that the barn owner and exceptional horse medic is ALSO out of town.  So, here I am, on a Saturday morning with a swollen bleeding 4 year old horse that does not like being tended, all by myself.  Time to suck it up and make it happen.

Thankfully the cut is very superficial.  She was most likely kicked at feeding time this morning since the swelling is still pretty high.  My response was to go get the betadiene and some gauze so I could wash it out.  As I was digging through the first aid kit, I remembered how much Jellybean likes (Severely DISlikes) the medical supplies.  This wonderful memory of a kicking pony inspired me to pick up the dressage whip as an aid. (See!  I learned to take a training aid with me!)  
There is still some learning to do though.  My first attempt was to squirt some betadiene in/on the wound…  she did not like this and stomped her feet,swished her tail, pinned ears and, pulled back rather insistently. I was NOT going to deal with THAT response…. so she got the whip! After she calmed down and walked forward again I tried option number two.  Gauze soaked with betadiene…  Turns out horses can smell really well!  She still knew it was betadiene and did the same stunts as before.  This time she got the whip twice.   Thankfully, That got through to her. She came forward and let me clean her cut.  

Cleaned up

After that I had the task of calling and informing Amanda about the injury.  I have learned not to communicate these things through text and NEVER to send pictures without warning. I am not sure if she was as okay as she sounded or just resigned that she could do nothing herself but, I did not get a million questions and I was actually praised for the cleaning and handling of it all.  

All in all, it was not as exciting as I have written but, I realized how competent I have become with horses.  It is a good feeling to know you have come so far.  Oh, and just so you can rest assured… Jellybean went right back to photobombing as soon as she was turned out.
Did you want a picture of Gracie?  NOPE!

Phone?  Pictures?  I am a pretty horse too!

I am the subject!  All your pictures are of  ME!!!!

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The tale of the side eye: or a brief about personality in red horses

First off, this post isn’t about Jellybean.

I know, the title had you convinced. This is actually about Knots. As you may remember, Knots had an interesting life before I started riding him. I don’t exactly know what, but I know there was definitely a tie down, and he galloped away like his life depended on it when the wrong button combination was pushed.

Fast forward a couple of years. At this point in our training, we have started figuring out some things. We mostly know how to move of the leg, and we can almost carry ourselves at the canter without leaning on a shoulder (except in jumping situations). We are fairly comfortable over 2’6″ and we have jumped over 3′ a couple of times without dying. As Knots has gotten more confident that I am not going to murder him (at least not on the daily), he has developed some… quirks.

Knots knows his name and my voice. He likes to train me to collect him from the pasture. Sometimes he will come trotting over… and sometimes he will turn and gallop away. This is oddly directly correlated with how many cookies I have brought into the pasture recently…

Did I mention Knots loves all kinds of horse cookies? [warning, poor training ahead] I have actually jogged up the driveway with Knots following me for cookies a few times. He didn’t make it all the way to his pasture though, because the grass was easier to eat than the cookie.

Its slightly unwise to stand in front of Knots and chat with people. He gets bored with people talk and looks for more exciting things. Like shoulders. Did you know biting shoulders was fun when people are doing boring things?

Knots also gets bored when you stand in an arena and talk to people. He doesn’t care if your instructor is providing key feedback. He doesn’t care if someone is relating a crisis. He’s bored. And this means he needs something to chew on. Every once in a while he surprises me and chomps down on my foot. Usually though, I can pull my foot back just in time for him to rake his teeth across the stirrup iron…

Finally, the most expressive thing Knots has is his eyes. Specifically his side eye. He especially likes to demonstrate his annoyance at me when he’s on the lunge line.

Knots thinks lunge lines mean too much work. He could be getting enormously overweight eating a round bale instead… Knots likes to throw down the side eye in other situations too. A couple of weeks ago the chiropractor adjusted him. When she started moving his tail around, she got some major side eye. He really thinks he is just too good for the rest of us.

Don’t worry, Knots doesn’t quite have as much personality as the red mare in my life, but is that nature or nurture at this point?

Knots on left, Jellybean on right

New friends at the farm

Last week we got some new friends on the farm! These two ponies were given to Maggie by a lady in town who’s children outgrew the pony phase. The palomino paint is named Mickey and the black and white paint is named Sue-Sue. We are going to rename Sue-Sue Minnie.
So cute!

What are these things?

Knots is confused.

One of the kids rode the ponies over the weekend, and they did ok. They have fantastic ground manners, although they are somewhat skittish. They both walked and trotted with a bit of encouragement. They aren’t very forward thinking at this point. The kid did manage to fall off in the most hilarious way. There were tears in my eyes, and unfortunately no actual video. However, I am linking a video that basically shows what happened.

The trot was so smooth on Minnie that our kid wasn’t really posting, and as we were talking about it, the kid leaned forward in a two-point-ish position. The pony just dropped her head and the kid slid forward over the neck. Minnie was a sweetheart and didn’t even walk away. The rest of us were laughing so hard we couldn’t offer any helpful information. Including the kid. So fun.

Kid falling off a Shetland

Nothing else interesting happened. We haven’t cantered them yet, but we plan to start back in the round pen/lunge line and see what they can do. We have images of one of our smaller kids taking the pony green as grass next fall…

Another summer update

Did you know grass dies when the temperatures are over 100 for over two weeks?

Rob and I moved into our new house a couple of weeks ago and the previous tenants hadn’t done a great job keeping the grass happy. Now, after two weeks of 95-105+ humidity… the grass is having a hard time. We bought a sprinkler (after realizing that Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowes were all sold out) at the co-op, and have tried to breathe some life into the lawn. Its a slow process, but I can see some small patches of green trying really hard to repopulate the scorched brown spots.

In other news, we have been riding a bit in between the 100 degree weather. I don’t remember all the small rides, but the biggest and most exciting event was the cross country schooling at Meadowcreek Park. Rob and I took Gracie and Knots, and we also brought a couple of students with Maggie.

We had a really great time. Gracie was very game when Robert was committed to the jumps, and Knots was more relaxed than he has been at other off site group rides. This was definitely some good prep for me to mentally prepare for Pine Hill in October. I’m trying to get back on the bandwagon, but be prepared, its getting crazy as we approach back to school time.