Monday, September 29, 2014

Another Week

Sweet face!
Not too much interesting to report. Didn't get to ride this past week, but did get to play with him a few times. Mainly just reinforcing our back and yielding hindquarters. Then one day we worked the forequarters and made some good progress. I am a member on a CA group on Facebook and they gave me some good tips on teaching it. The big thing that helped was putting the stick down and just using my hands.

Still working on not making ugly faces when its grain time. I'm sure it doesn't help that he is in with another horse now. But he has to learn he doesn't get to make faces at me no matter what.

Friday was a fun day. I walked out with the girls in the double stroller and fed the horses. Then got Harold out and worked him a bit until Shelby started getting antsy. After that he got a good grooming. I took a picture to compare to his others. I think he is definitely filling in, yeah. I really hope I can get him pretty close to ideal weight before the cold nights set in. 

2 weeks ago
Mainly I see it along his topline/backbone. He is filling in a bit around his ribs too. I'm going to worm him again next week per the vets instructions and I'm sure that will help too.

As an aside, anyone had a horse that has a GORGEOUS tail but totally cruddy mane and forelock??

Also, STILL NO PAPERS! Going to text him again today.

Until later!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Perfect Monday Afternoon!

Totally goofy selfie! But I have no other photos, lol

I am happy to report my utter pleasure with new gelding today! He was great yesterday! I hope I don't have a Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde horse, geesh. 

Anyway the little stinker was asleep on the way home so I went out and parked by the pasture. I was successful at getting Chloe's shoes on and her out of the car without waking Shelby up so I went ahead and grabbed my halter and stick. I parked little girl in a chair in the shade with a video on my phone and went to get ole Harold.

He stood and let me catch him! Thats so nice when you have been dealing with a hard to catch horse for a while, lol. He didn't have a smidgen of problem with the spring loaded little gate we had to squeeze through to get out either. 

The breeze was blowing, the sunlight was coming down through the trees at a pretty autumn angle and it was just perfect. He was calm and quiet, listening well and being a super sweet boy. Just a great end to the first day of the week!

So I worked some more on his back, which is still very slow. And then on his hindquarter yield. Its pretty good on his better side, getting a tad better on his bad side. Then I added the forequarter yield. Which was a pain again! I had an awful time with Stormy too. Apparently it's one of the hardest exercises to teach.

He would do it great the first time each side and then walk forward, walk back, etc. Everything but what I wanted! I got a few good times and quit, hopefully to build on it next time. I liked that even though I was having to back him up a lot to correct him, and he wasn't really getting the right answer, he didn't get flustered or upset at all. Just kept trying to figure it out.

Here is a video I made the other day of my hubby riding! Very short. The girls also make an appearance briefly.

And here is a video from the other day. Just some back up and hindquarter yielding.

Well, got to go, have a fussy baby today, adios!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting To Know You

So when I get a new horse I don't usually take things at face value. I wish horses were the same every day and you see what you get, but that's just not the case.

A little discouraged with the new gelding right now. He showed some goofy tendencies last night that I wasn't real thrilled with. He also seems to be pulling that ugly face I talked about (pinning ears) more then I like. Although to be fair, I still haven't really decided if at some times its just the way he listens. (While riding I mean.)

So anyway I didn't get to do anything with him Friday actually. We have small group at our house every so often and I was quite busy cleaning and making food most of the day. Plus the little stinker took her nap at the wrong time, :).

So Saturday I had my plan to ride and then give him a bath. We had a birthday party that afternoon so didn't have quite as much time as I'd like. I wanted to move him out of the round pen and in with the father in laws horse but we ended up doing that the next day.

So I worked him in the halter for a bit and then rode. Went pretty good, but he was more sullen that day, and I noticed him putting his ears back. Which he seemed to do also the last ride, but I guess I didn't notice it? I went back and looked at pictures. He was better at respecting my leg, I hardly had to smack him with the reins at all. I didn't lope, but did a lot of trotting. I was happy to notice again that his trot is much more sittable when he settles in and gets a nice sow pace going.

My husband wanted to ride this time! And let me just brag on him for a minute. He has been awesome with him. He even keeps volunteering to feed him for me! I know! He has also approved a plan of trying to fence in our OWN PASTURE! There is a large at least 1 acre field next to our house that we usually mow. I have always wanted to fence it. I finally got the go ahead from him, but still have to talk to the in laws (about a quarter of it would be their land) and also make sure the black walnut trees won't be a problem. (they aren't in the pasture but I have read the roots under ground can be a problem).

What do you all think? Ears are back, but eyes seem relaxed

Ears back, eyes look a little annoyed
As an aside, let me know what you all think about the ears back thing. Just listening, or annoyance?? Thanks!

Anyway, the hubby did really well! Harold tested him to begin with but after he figured out he would smack him with the reins too, he did fine. And my guy has only rode like maybe half a dozen times in his life, lol. Then he asks me how to make him lope, and I was like wha?? Then says I mean trot! I was like yeah, you don't want to lope him, lol. Although I guess he would be as good as any horse unless you had a western pleasure machine. Anyway, that was a little hairy at first. He couldn't get him to trot and then finally he smacked him and then he was all over the place, lol. And his trot is so bouncy and fast at first the husband wasn't real thrilled, at one point he says, "it feels like he's running now!" I laughed and assured him he was still trotting!

After he was done I tried to persuade little girl to get on but she didn't have her special reins so she didn't want to, lol. So over to the bath tree and he got what I am sure was his first bath in years.

He did great, not a problem at all about walking out of his round pen and over where he had never been before. Which confuses me about what happened the next day. Anyway, he didn't mind the water at all until it got close to his head. But even when I washed his head he did pretty good! I put some baby oil in his tail, hoping that will help loosen that big mat. Also put a ton of conditioner in it. One of these days I'm gonna have to find time to work on it!

So onto Sunday. After I came home from band practice (I play violin in our church) we traipsed out there with the girls. I got Stormy (after a bit of chasing around) and threw her back out with her 'boys' then came back and fetched Harold out of the round pen. Who proceeded to turn into a fire breathing monster! Snort, snort, snort, head in the clouds, jumping at every little thing. UGH!! I was not pleased, to say the least.

So I made him woah and back back back. He would stop snorting and calm down and on we would go a few more feet. He would be back to snorting, tense, head up, so we would back back back some more. We did this all the way over there. Once we got to the pasture I made him stand still and just look at Chatterbox for a while until he quit trying to move and calmed down a bit. Then I let them sniff each other through the fence. Chatterbox tried to strike at him once (and met the gate, lol) but that was about it. So I had the husband distract him with some grain away from the gate and put Harold in there.

And everything went good! They sniffed each other and then Harold went off checking out the pasture with Chatterbox trailing him.

BTW, does anyone but me think the FIL's horse is fat as a hog?? He doesn't think so! Yuck. So this morning everyone seemed fine. I did see a small rub spot on Harolds head, and the top hot wire by the little gate was down for some reason -_-, but other then that, nothing. I was also in a hurry to get to work, so I'm HOPING that is all.

I'd like to get out there today and do some more round penning with him. I need to get him started on lunging for respect. I'm hoping these things will create the trust and partnership I need to have a good relationship with him.

I've also been checking the mail every day in great anticipation of his papers arriving! I hope they will be here today! Or at least this week.

Until later!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday - First Ride!

Well, first ride at home at least! Sunday after church we came home, ate some pizza per our usual routine and then headed out to play with our new horse! The night before the girls and I went to tractor supply and got all kinds of goodies for him. A new bit, grooming spray, Chloe bought her some special reins to ride him with, and a salt lick. Oh and wormer! I had called the vet earlier that day and asked what I needed to do to get weight back on him. He told me worm him now and then again in three weeks. Feed him some senior feed and add plain vegetable oil on top. Up to a cup a day if they can stand it, he said some horses don't like it. He doesn't seem to mind at all, lol.

So I did a little ground work to begin with. Building on what we had done the day before. I discovered he doesn't like his ears handled much, so we worked on that again. Also added some hindquarter yielding, which he did really well at as long as I was doing what I was supposed to.

His reaction to my touching his ear, lol
Then I parked him by the gate and gave him another good brushing, finally seeing some shine this time! I grabbed the grooming spray and started on his mane. He had had no problem at all with fly spray the day before, so I didn't expect an issue. Well apparently he didn't like it that close to his head and started jiggling around trying to get away from me. Well I just let him go wherever he wanted but he still got sprayed! Finally he stood still snorting and let me spray him, so then I stopped. By then he had quite a wet shoulder and neck, lol. Silly boy. I took him back over to the gate and we proceeded with no further protests from Mr. Harold.

I got him tacked up with no issue (besides the cinch being way too long for skinny boy) and hopped up! He of course tried to move off immediately (at least he doesnt move when I try to get on too!) so we worked on that until he was waiting on me for the cue. I need to get him yielding laterally so he knows he will be doing that right after I get on and not walking off. I will have to wait for a day without the husband and kids waiting on me though.

I put him through his paces again, he was pretty good! I think he was happy with his new bit. It's this one:

Its a D-ring snaffle with a copper mouth. Has a nice curve to the mouthpiece. So I had nice long reins to work with this time instead of those silly barrel/roping reins that was on the cruddy nylon headstall at his previous owners. Which were great for a spanker when he didn't want to trot, and especially awesome to keep at the ready while we were loping as a motivator, lol. 

I enjoy riding him, he nearly always keeps his head level, doesn't move too fast, and is pretty responsive to the bit if I remember to use my reins right. He also doesn't seem to resent being rode, which I got from Daisy a lot, lol. I just wish his gaits were better! I found out he is out of halter blood, which sort of explains it. They are so BOUNCY! 

Here is a short vid I put together! Chloe is on it at the end for her ride, you'll see her AHH freak out face to begin with, lol, she is so timid about everything. But she ended up loving it. ;) If you want the video bigger click the Vimeo icon. And watch in HD! The quality gets a little icky at one point, the husband turned my phone over sideways to video half way through so I had to flip it in an editor and it didn't like that.

Harolds First Ride from Britnieann on Vimeo.

You can see to him a downward transition is a WOAH, lol, which kept catching me off guard. He looks like he could be athletic if he wanted to. Check out his snappy little turns starting at 1:30. I see some jumps in his future! :D

Thirsty horse
I could have rode forever but the natives were getting restless over there on the rail. So I got to a good stopping point and then it was Chloe's turn! He was very careful with her and she was so proud to be able to ride him herself!

So I gave him his first grain and veggie oil on Monday night. I was afraid he might be a picky eater since he didn't eat the watermelon rind we offered him the other night. But he loves it, lol. A little too much the next morning. He tried to make an ugly face at me when I walked up to him while he was eating. But after I chased him around and made him do some turns he decided to be a good boy and haven't had a problem since. 

I have worked with him a few times over this week. Been mostly busy with dinner, cleaning house, doing laundry and babies! Tomorrow is my off day so I want to try to ride him then and give him a bath. 

I took some reference photos the other day so I can see his weight gain. 

Not a great conf pic, but good enough to check weight changes

Whats with the flash photography?? 
He followed the husband all over and just stood next to him while he picked up his manure, lol!
Last night I got to play with him a little. Worked on his hindquarter yield and backing again. Touching his ears. By then it was getting dark so I gave him his grain and went home to play some Uno with the fam, ;).

I'll update again about tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Ol' Harold!

I flipping love my new horse. Well, OUR horse! He is definitely going to be a great 'family' horse. Chloe had her very first ever 'solo' ride on a horse Sunday. He was awesome for her. You could see him almost tiptoeing trying to be slow and easy for her.

I need to get the little squirt a helmet now! Look, how cute is this!!:

Too bad its 50 bucks, ugh. Will have to wait a bit on that. The good thing about though is it has one of those dial things that will adjust and last her a long time.

So! I have a lot to catch up on! I guess I need to start at the beginning. I found him on craigslist last week. I periodically check it out, and a few facebook horse sale pages. Well I called about him and decided he was worth a look. I really liked his sale picture. And PRICE! (I actually didn't pay for him, my parents bought him. I am trading the price of him out for gas. When I go work with their horses they buy my gas (they live on the other side of the county from me), so now instead of that they bought me a horse, lol.)

So I start researching the guy that owns him hoping to find some more pictures of the horse somewhere. Eventually I find out the guy has been on a reality tv show on CMT! I KNOW! So funny. He was on Sweet Home Alabama. It was about 10 city boys and 10 country boys trying to win this one girl. Anyway, he did pretty good apparently but didn't win.

He was super nice and accommodating. He told me he races barrel racers all over the country. He was actually training a nice gelding in the pretty arena he had when we pulled up. He had Harold in the round pen they had in the barn. So he tacked him up for me, well put the saddle on him, and I cinched him up and put his bridle on. He was a gentleman for all of it. Then I hopped on. I found out right away he didn't have any buttons. He also was super lazy and didn't want to stand still after you stopped. Which is kind of strange combination with the laziness. But eventually he figured out if he moved off without being told he had to back up quite a few steps and got better. I bet who rode him before 'trained' him that whenever he was on him he was to be going.

I walk trot and loped him in there, which got pretty dusty, ugh. He was pretty good, I had to smack him a bit on the hiney with my hand to get him to go a few times. The guy was amazed because he hasn't even seen him trot, haha. I didn't really like how he pinned his ears a bit when asked to go faster, but I figured that was something we could work on. I also didn't like how flipping BOUNCY his trot was, ugh. 

After I felt good in there we ventured out into the yard/pasture. The man who owned him went and fetched his horse off the cross ties (I was amazed how quiet and polite he was just standing there waiting) and went on and worked him some more in the arena. So I just moseyed on around and found some scary stuff to go by, over, etc. He did great. I even rode right next to the arena where the barrel horse was tearing it up and he didn't bat an eye. He just trucked on down through the pasture with his head down.

I was pretty sure I wanted him at that point, although wasn't really feeling a 'connection' with him and kept going back and forth. Then I stopped over by the bleachers where my husband and the babies were and he wouldn't stand still very well. Then the man came up on his horse and he neighed at him and after I dismounted he would not be still and stand, Chloe was so excited about petting him and I really couldn't let her because I was afraid he would run her over. So thats when I said no. It was getting late and I felt like I was keeping the guy, so I played it safe. 

We left and went to eat at cracker barrel and I kept thinking about him. Then the next morning I was like, what the crap, I think I want him! I then went back and forth all day, prayed about it. I still didn't make a decision till Saturday morning. So thankful for my awesome husband, he was totally supportive.

So I decided if he still had him I would go get him. He did! He was trailering a horse to bham but was able to get his mom to unlock the gate and take our money. 

I didn't think we would have any trouble with him in the trailer and I was right! He took a look at the pretty substantial step up and then walked right on! Which that huge four horse is pretty inviting, lol. We even stopped at walmart for a bit to get a few things. Never heard a peep or stomp out of him.

Its a good hour 15 or so home. Opened up the doors and had him back off, even though there was plenty of room to turn around. I wanted to make sure he could. He did great. He walked off and just looked around as calm as can be! I walked him to his temporary home in the round pen and let him sniff it and check it out a bit. 

Just off the trailer!
Checkin out his new digs
Then I broke out the Clinton Anderson on him. He wasn't real thrilled with working and I had to give him a few good lashes on the hiney. But soon he was speeding up from just a point and cluck. He did pretty well with his turns, had a few more wrong outside then Stormy. Speaking of Stormy, he is her opposite in so many ways. I kept subconsciously waiting for him to respond like her and was almost confused when she didn't, lol. Definitely an adjustment period!

So I did some follow me stuff, which didn't go too well in the beginning. He was more interested in the grass. But after I sent him back out a few times he was stuck good. I liked how he didnt try to climb in my lap like Stormy did. I put his halter on after that and did some desensitizing and backing up. Which was difficult! Stormy, being very reactive, was so responsive to the wiggle wave. He was just kind of like, oh, are you doing something? Lol, I even tried tapping his nose pretty firmly with the stick and he still just sort of stood there! After two or three days of working on it we are getting a bit better! But a whack on the chest to him is like a fly, lol.

After that he got a good brushing! Chloe girl came in and stood on a bucket to help me. He stood there so good. He was filthy, I don't think he's seen a brush in months. Definitely not a bath in years. If I get a good warm day Friday that will be on the agenda! We are gradually cooling off around here, usually low 80's most days, 60's at night. Fall is a comin!

He has the silliest lazy lip, lol
I looked at his tail briefly and saw a HUGE mat in it. I mean its massive. And solid. I really have my doubts I will be able to get it out. Its a solid mass of balled up hair like four inches long. It's on the inside of his tail so maybe it wouldn't be too noticeable if I had to cut it out. Thankfully he has a pretty awesome tail already.

So that was his first day! I was really feeling good about going back for him! I'll leave our first ride for our next post!