Thursday, January 27, 2011

Love ya babe, but...

The morning started out pretty well.  I was able to get up with the alarm and not hit the snooze for a half hour so I fed the animals and rode the TWH.  Worked on some 2nd level lateral movements and the canter/walk transition.  Fixed the falling in on the shoulder that happens at the canter again (it keeps coming back, figures).  DH said goodbye, he was going to work.  Finish riding, cleaned stalls, put loaded hay nets in stalls, filled water and was ready for some breakfast!  I had only been working for 3 hours at this point.

Go to enter the garage and was denied, DH had locked the garage's side door we use to go to the barn.  Locked as in engaged the deadbolt. Called DH and complained he locked me out, was basically told "Love ya babe, but I can't leave work.  Break a door down".  Tried to break the side door, no luck. Tried to break through the patio door, no luck.  Probably could have made it but was afraid I would break the glass and wasn't willing to take that chance.   Looked for unlocked or unsecured windows, no luck.  How are we so damn secure?  Stupid us for changing the cheap locks for heavy Schlage deadbolt locks.  DH finally says I will have to break a window because he can't leave work.  After making the wise decision to not break my hand, I got a sledge hammer and broke the window on the side door on the garage.  Surprisingly, double paned tempered glass is really hard to break and makes a huge mess when it finally does.  45 minutes later I was able to eat breakfast and start my shift.  I am now one step closer to being a real burglar, cross that off my bucket list.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Have money, can travel

I like eventing, been playing with the sport for a couple of years now.  Now, as a new resident of the area, I have been on the lookout for a new trainer.  I have taken dressage lessons fairly regularly this last year but almost no jumping so I am currently looking for an eventing trainer.  I was given the name of 2 people, from different sources, and left them messages.  NO ONE called me back???  I finally got a hold of eventing trainer last night (3x calling), said she doesn't travel to give lessons, roads aren't good for hauling in and basically she wasn't interested and I should try person X but didn't have their number.  She "feels bad about passing you off already, but it sounds like X would be better for you"  I didn't realize mid-Michigan's economy was so good that you could turn down new clients but I guess it is?  5 days later still haven't heard back from trainer #1 and can't find the number of person X in Google.  Even placed a CL ad without a response. 

I just need someone to nag me into riding better, doesn't anyone want to be paid to nag me lol! Hoping to find someone soon, I need a goal to work towards and a good nagging is a good incentive.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wishing for warmer days

I was born in the wrong section of the country.  I am a cold blooded, sun loving gal and was born, raised and still live in the cold, cold northern section of the country.  I do wonder what is wrong with my head sometimes, I shouldn't willingly stay here.  I am able to obtain, what is lovingly referred to as, "ice cold, frozen turkey butt" without even really trying.  I am accused of not actually having blood when my body decides it just can't produce the heat needed to keep my toes/hands/face/body warm.  I can, and do, shiver uncontrollably when other people are "chilled, but not too bad".  It's a miracle I haven't frozen to death yet.

Because of this issue, I dress in layers.  Lots of them.  When I go out in the morning to take care of the critters, I am normally in merino wool thermal pants, flannel lined jeans/polar fleece breeches, long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt with optional thermal shirt, arctic insulated carhart bibs and jacket and a felted wool (handmade) hat.  As a result, I look like I weigh about 300 lbs and move like a penguin but at least I am warm(er), right?  I have air activated hand warmer, toe warmers and even air activated foot insole warmers. I have found UnderArmour ColdGear Base Layer to be one of the warmest pieces of fabric to ever be made.

Why bring this up? Because my region is getting some of the coldest arctic air yet this winter.  I watch the news and see people in the 30's and am envious.  I dream of warm breezes and a bright sunbeam where I can go outside in less than 4 pounds of clothing.  Ah the things we sacrifice for love and dreams right?  So I hope others are keeping warm and are enjoying the weather in your neighborhood, I am doing my part to burn calories by shivering.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I stand on 4 feet

Busy weekend, like I am sure everyone had.  Why do they go by so fast and why do we always have so much to do during them?  Rode the TWH on the road, as I haven't found actual trails here yet, there is a nice "block" that takes about 45 mins to ride.  Had a good ride, even towards the end.  Heard snowmobilers coming up a road had I just came off of.  Of course they turned my direction.

Now some quick backstory, the TWH was bought by a lady who used to lease my Appy.  She wanted a horse of her own, I didn't think she was ready but said if she insisted on getting one, have me look at it.  Instead she brought another friend and ended up with a padded horse-throw away, bred by the president of TWHBEA.  Probably ridden at 18 months, his front pasterns clicked, he was a little jumpy and very green, he was 3.  I told her she needed to really train him as he was green, that was the last I saw of him for 6 months.
One day I got a call from her, she was pretty upset.  She had moved the TWH to a TWH show barn, they had brought him to a show and the TWH had reared and flipped.  Barn wanted him put down as a dangerous horse but she didn't want to because she loved him, could I come take a look and give my opinion before she had the vet out?  Went out and saw the horse, he had heavy shoes with heel caulks, wore a saddle that didn't fit and was riding in either a bicycle chain shanked bit or a double twisted wire long shanked bit.  I tried to touch the reins and he immediately reared up and was very tense.

I advised her I would only try this if we did it my way and switched over to a copper mouth snaffle with some draw reins as a safety.  Anytime his head went straight up, I pulled the draw reins so his head went to his chest.  If his head was normal, I left him alone.  Worked for about 30 mins trying to explain to the TWH that legs do not mean hurry up, the bit won't hurt and there isn't any reason to rear if I touch the bit.  When done riding, I showed her marks on his mouth where his lips had been cut from the bits he was being ridden in.  I explained he was rearing because he hurt, he wasn't dangerous.

She had me start working with him once per week, eventually moving to the barn I was at, I worked with him 2-3 times per week , progressed to close to full time and he was basically my 2nd horse and she paid the bills.  His training came along quite well however his biggest issue was rearing.  He would rear when spooked, rear if the question was too hard, rear just because.  I hit the ground more times with the white beast more then the number of times I've fallen off of my Appy which I've had for over 15 yrs.  Finally, a couple years later, the rearing was cured.  I moved to Michigan and she sent the TWH to live with me.  Back to the original story.

I stopped the TWH and turned to face the snowmobilers.  They ride the roads and around all the time, perhaps it wouldn't be too bad for my spooky horse?  As they approached, they did what I dreaded.  They revved their engines and accelerated.  TWH raised his head and tucked his butt as he walked forward a few steps, a quick tug brought his head down and back under control in less than 3 seconds.  As I watched the snowmobilers, they then glanced back to see the chaos they tried to create.  Thankfully all was good by the time they looked, just a nice quietly standing horse.  Thank you TWH for standing on 4 feet during your first really big spook in over a year. I am proud of you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Impressed with my donkey

So on Dec 21st I made the fateful decision to take a free donkey, sight unseen.  Was told her feet were bad, and needed a trim, but she moves good.  She was friendly but standoffish, a herd donkey for sheep and the farmer had 2 intact males, it was getting too hard to keep them separated.  Hooked up my trailer after digging it out of a snowbank and off we went.  Turns out she was 3 legged lame and had a bad case of slipper feet (her hooves pointed out like elf shoes from being overgrown).  They had to use a pulley rope to get her out of the "stall" then out of the barn and into the trailer.  His last words were "don't stand behind 'er, if she has legs she'll kick".  Drove her home and the inside of the trailer looked like a sauna, she was dripping wet and the trailer windows were covered in steam.

Had to pulley her off of the trailer, wary of a kick/bite that never came, and discovered she would walk to the new barn if someone stood behind her, from a distance of course.  Had a barefoot trimmer with slipper foot experience trim her up some, made her look 100x better.  Kept her on stall rest for almost 3 weeks with a goat as a pal until the goat made fun of her ears, SO said the goat was hiding in corners and shaking, that the donkey was chasing her around pretty badly.  Goat went away and she was introduced to the horses as she is mostly sound.

So far the donkey hasn't kicked or bitten, or threatened to kick or bite a single time through this entire ordeal.  She was been dewormed, vaccinated, hooves trimmed, blanketed (sort of), led, brushed and is working on having her feet touched without showing any aggression.  She now leads fairly well and has even started to stop if I stop instead of charging ahead.  She goes out in the day and in at night, she walks right up to me to be caught both in her stall and in the pasture. 

She is quite personable, she nickers/soft brays at feeding time, she sticks her tongue out after she drinks, for over a minute it just hangs there.  She LOVES having her ears scratched.  She has decided being domesticated isn't so bad, there is GRAIN and warm water (brought from in the house, especially for her), someone will scratch her ears and brush those itchy spots on her back.

I am very happy my rescue is turning out to be so great, one more unwanted animal has found a good home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Too little time in a day

So much happens on a daily basis I don't always know how I can keep it all straight.  Had to travel for work which left the other half to take care of the animals.  He did a really good job and I am very proud of the effort he put forth.  I may have came home to a house that looked slightly worse then when I left it, but everyone seemed happy and healthy and that is the best I can hope for during my first trip away.  I am very thankful for his help, he feeds sometimes to help out but mostly he helps me dump the poo from the poo trailer on the weekends.  After cleaning stalls I never really want to do that task but alas once per week it must be drug over the hill and he does it without complaining.  I am lucky.

Trying to find a better way to ride, the only options I am seeing is to get more hours in the day, hire someone or go to bed earlier.  I really don't want to go to bed earlier, I am already going to bed between 930 and 10p.  Any earlier and it will be like high school all over again but I am just tired when the alarm is going off at 5a so I am not crawling out of bed until 515 or 530 (like this AM).  That means I can't get dressed, feed and bring water/hay outside before 6a.  If not done by 6a then I don't have time to actually ride.  I have to be done riding/in barn by 7a to clean stalls so I have enough time to feed the other animals, eat something for breakfast and shower before I start work between 8 and 830.  Maybe I'll start riding bareback, that requires less work and I would naturally ride less.  Hmm, maybe I am onto something.... I really need to ride in order to have the boys (and myself!) ready for the show season.  How does everyone else do it?