Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Always Interesting

The road trip between Western CO and SD is always interesting. It was 'summer' weather when I left home.

Still winter in the mountains...

And I got the joy of driving right into a typical Eastern CO/NE spring storm. Hail...
Complete with funnel clouds and everything.

We survived. The pickup only ended up with one hail ping and the trailer escaped unscathed. Thank goodness.

Thanks to the weather, the trip took extra time and I had some tired ponies when I reached mom's place.

Everyone recovered just fine though and Strawberry was being such a little freak about the mares that were in heat, we promptly hauled him out and dumped his butt in the pasture.

Beretta really liked hanging out under mom's barn...

I may have waffled back and forth about whether I liked this little girl a bit over the winter, but I sure don't have any major complaints about her now...
Actually the only think I hope changes on her is her rather big jaw. If she grows into that rather than it continuing to grow with her, she is going to be stunning. The rest of her suits me just fine!

This yahoo remembered immediately that inside this barn is where he got grained...
He really, really wanted back in. Cause ya know, grandma is always good for some grain...LOL.

Sorry bub...your grain days are over for a while. It's grandma's lushious, magical grass for you.

So he decided to go get acquainted with his new running buddy instead...

I'm going to miss my babies, but it is so, so wonderful for them to get to spend the summer living out in big country. I know mom will take wonderful care of them too.

One day is all I got to spend though. I had to turn around and head back to CO.

Ooohhhh did the wind ever blow those two days. Gahhhhh!

I waited it out until sunset and headed out. I don't mind driving at night and when it gets hot, I actually think the horses travel better then. I drove until I couldn't anymore, pulled off for a couple hours snooze in the trailer and got back on the road.

The sunrise was beautiful...
Although I couldn't quite get it in the photo-LOL. It's kinda hard to drive and get those photos just right. ;-)

I didn't make much headway hauling horses back to SD though. My intention was to get Strawberry and the two youngsters out of my way and pick up another horse to get seasoned on barrels.

I ended up bringing a motley crue back to Colorado with me though.

Mighty Mouse, the pony came...
I'm kind of hoping the guy who boarded my horses over the winter will take The Mouse for his grand-daughter. Mouse really needs another kid to love and spoil him. But more than anything, he needs a full-time farrier to keep his little hooves trimmed down. Mom tried to get a couple of different people to come trim him in between my trips home and couldn't, so I have some work ahead of me to get his toes back to right.

At the last minute, I decided I had better bring Gunner with me too...
So much for getting rid of babies right?

Gunner is gentle, but he is not broke to lead, nor good about having his feet handled. Meg and I will get that remedied in no time, so I can get this guy's toes whipped into shape as well. Gunner's legs straightened up, but his toes are long and he has a difficult time standing straight. His legs are much like Beretta's were, without the lumpy joint issue. We will have him fixed up in no time though as all he really needs is trimmed and balanced a couple of times and he will be right as rain.

Finally, there is the horse I had intended to bring back...
Turk...In all his straight out of the pasture glory...LOL.

Normally, I don't especially like to have to drive all the way home and not have time to actually get anything done...lord knows there is a ka-jillion things that need to be done...

But My Honey and I had other plans for this Memorial Day weekend...

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Now, I have some rest to catch up on....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

There's A Lot Involved

It seems I have started the topic of conditioning a competitive barrel horse...A LOT....

I just never seem to get very far with far as the blog is concerned anyway.

I haven't gotten as far with Moon as I think I need to yet either.

Darn life keeps getting in the way...the kid in school, cleaning and trying to keep the weeds from taking over the new place, the Honey Man is working...ALL THE TIME (bless his heart), Eight head of other horses to take care of too...

Well, you guys all know how it is.

But as soon as I get home from delivering the babies and poor, outgrown Strawberry back to the ranch in SD, picked up yet another project horse and the pony and I am ready to get completely focused on getting Moon into tip-top shape.

He's not in bad shape now though.

At least I have been able to stay fairly regular with him.

The thing is, riding is really only part of the equation when it comes to keeping a horse in top-notch shape.

The other things that take just as much time include;

Working out the best feed program-In Moon's case this includes spending the night in the pasture getting his belly full of green grass, the day in his pen with multiple flakes of green grass hay and his grain. Right now he is on whole oats. I am probably going to switch him to steamed, crimped or rolled oats. He gets a gallon a day-split into 2 feedings. His supplements include-Lamphley's Basic Mineral, 2 scoops of MSM per feeding, 1/2 c Apple Cider Vinegar. I am looking to add some fat to his diet, but have not settled on exactly what...Rice Bran? Flax? Corn Oil?

Performance horses need fat in their diet. Actually, most horses need the addition of fat to their diet vs. protein/carbohydrates. It does tremendous things for their stamina and their disposition/nerves.

Stretching-At least once a day, but preferably twice a day I need to put Moon through a full round of stretching exercises.

Grooming-Becomes more like a full body massage vs. just cleaning the daily dirt off.

Hydrotherapy-It is important to at the very least thoroughly groom the sweat off after each ride, but it is better if Moon can be rinsed with cool water and a brace to assist in cooling his muscles down quickly. I also spend time running cold water over his knees, stifles and hocks. Every other day or every third day, I thoroughly massage Lamphley's External Rub into his stifles and hocks.

Not everyone in the herd gets the full extent of that treatment, but as each horse progresses towards being competitive, the level of commitment to keeping them happy, sound and not sore increases. The riding part...that's the easy part-LOL.

See ya'll in a few days!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where To Look

Since Breathe asked, I figured explaining where to look might be more effective in a post.

The simplest way to explain it, is to simply say, you need to look where you want your horse to go. Just like any other discipline. The most effective way to get your horse to travel from point A to point B is to simply look at point B. It's amazing how effective a person's body becomes at getting a horse into position to travel that distance in the proper frame.

There are two styles of 'The Look' in barrel racing.

The first and probably the most recognized is the old classic style, where the rider runs to the barrel looking between their horse's ears at the rate spot on the pocket. When they get there, it's usually one more stride for the horse to be around the back side of the barrel(when they are all out running), then the rider turns their head and looks at the next barrel.

Like this...

The second style of 'The Look' is more directed at keeping your eyes focused on specific points in front of the horse as he turns the barrel.

Like this...

Either style is effective and correct, but it does depend on the horse you are running. If the style you use is not bringing the horse around the way he needs to be coming, then you need to look into doing something different.

I have seen more than one horse blow completely out of a barrel, the rider is looking at the next barrel and it is very difficult to get your horse back on track.

My problem however, is that I am very good about picking my rate spot, getting my horse there and then rather than using either of the appropriate looking methods, I am simply letting my eyes slide down my horse's neck and fixating them on the top of the barrel.

Similar to this...

Can you see how different this horse is turning the barrel vs. the horse in the first two pictures?

He's dropping his shoulder and bracing into the barrel. The other two horses are bending around the barrel.

It's a bad habit to get into and one that can be a bit difficult to get out of.

A horse will go where your eyes are telling them to go and with me looking down at the barrel, Moon, being the uber broke horse he is, is like 'You want me to roll over more? Okay!' and he is cutting back on top of the barrel. The ducking and diving between the barrels is happening because Moon is cutting to close to the barrel. I have become literally fixated on the top of that barrel and I'm still looking at it as Moon is trying to leave. He has no idea of where to go.

Bad Mommy!!!

A more forgiving or solid horse may not react as much as Moon is to the problem, but this particular horse can go from 0 to 60 in a single stride and simply drop back to 0 in mid-stride. It's one of the things that makes him remarkable. But it does make him difficult, as it gives me little room for error.

Personally, I am more of a fan of the way Charmayne James and Ed & Martha Wright train themselves to look at specific points in front of the horse during the turn, rather than the sideways look, especially during slower than competition speed practice. But it does take more practice to get it right. Rather than try to re-explain it, here is an article written by Charmayne that shows her Axis Point pattern and her philosophy....The Eyes Have It.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finally Figured It Out

I did not have good runs in Eagle on Saturday.

On Moon's first run he slammed around first and then started ducking and diving. I barely managed to get him around the second barrel.

But we left all three standing.

Normally, if there are multiple runs available, I will pay the entry fees for both and carry over my time from the 1st run. I'm not a big fan of putting multiple runs on a horse in a single day.

However, because Moon was so radical, I decided to run him in the second race.

That went better, but Moon was still trying so hard that he just did not make good time.

Rather than stay overnight and blow another $75 in entry fees, I decided to come home and do a major back pedal.

This morning I hauled Moon to a playday down the road and was determined to figure out what our problem was.

I'm happy to say that the problem is simply....



I tell ya, it is such a relief to figure out exactly what the problem is.

I have gone over every thing in my head, over and over and over...until I thought I was going to go crazy.

I am not one of those people who defines the definition of insanity...

'Someone who does the same thing over and over, expecting different results'

Things can and often do go slightly awry during barrel runs. Minor bobbles here and there. Those don't bother a person so much.

But when the same thing is happening over and over again, it's time to start breaking everything down, piece by piece, stride by stride, until you figure out what is causing the issue.

In this case, it didn't really hit me until we got home this evening and I pulled out my two bibles, Ed & Martha Wright's and Charmayne Jame's barrel racing books and started reading. There it was, word for word exactly what I was doing to exacerbate Moon's natural tendencies.

I would say about 90% of what is going wrong is happening because of where I am looking during my runs. It's an old, re-accuring problem of my own. One I've had to work on repeately over the years. It has never cause this much of an issue before, but after our particularly wild, slippery saddle run, Moon is a little off kilter himself. He's not a particularly forgiving horse.

Well, now I know what I have to work on. I'll be taking Moon over to a friend's to work on a full sized pattern on good ground, cause we are going to have to work on things with a little bit of speed.

Oh, and I hauled Frosty to the playday and used him in all of the events. We just long-trotted and loped through everything. He did good in the arena. We just need to keep going to smaller events like this, as he is very nervous about being around other horses milling around during warm-up and outside the arena.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Where Do The Days Go?

I feel like I lost this entire week. Two days on the couch and I am back among the living though. Mostly.

I'm off for the weekend, going to a barrel race. I have my fingers crossed I have worked out my bugs and Moon and I can put together a couple of good runs. Now that I know he is not hurting anywhere, I'm a lot more confident pushing him.

This guy is really starting to shape up...
(That picture looked a lot better on the camera. He is long-backed and short-legged, but not posty behind nor does he stand uphill-LOL)

I laid off of him for a couple of weeks because he seemed a little tender on his right knee. Sound on the straight-a-way. Off when working in circles. Mom had told me she was sure he had tweaked his knee just before I picked him up. Mean-ass probably did it when he took after another horse. He is notorious for that.

He seems much stronger now and I started working him back into about 15 minutes of lunging every other day. Mostly walking. Lots of sacking and grooming time. He's very spooky about things dropping around his legs or dragging on the ground. I don't really remember him doing that a couple of years ago when I was working with him, but memory could be failing me.

We are going to work all of the bugs out and then I'll be sending him someone else to put the first few rides on. He's going to try something. It's just his nature. I'd prefer it to be with someone younger, stronger and more in tune with putting the first few rides on a horse. I am sorely out of practice and really don't have a desire to start back on this particular horse. After all, he's 10. He's pretty freaking stout.

But he is turning into the drop-dead gorgeous horse we always knew he was underneath all of the excessive weight he usually carries. His nick name for a couple of years was Fat Albert...Hey, hey, hey....LMAO. I cannot wait to get him back after he has been started. I think after he gets a solid foundation and some miles on him, he is going to be a barrel horse extraordinaire. Short-legged little sucker can mortally fly, he is as quick as a cat and enough power to pull a house over. He may have the ability to put his 1/2 brother, Moon to shame.

Have a wonderful weekend...and keep your fingers crossed that can I remember how to ride my barrel horse.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thinking Like A Chicken

I'm sure that title got a giggle or two...LOL

The mystery continues...

I have not found bird nor feather in the last two days.

Until this evening, when I went to close the coop door for the two remaining birds. I don't know why I bother opening it. Those two are definitely not interested in going outside. Poor little girls. They are terrorized and you can just tell they are very confused that they are the sole survivors.

I was mistaken thinking the black one was one of my Austrolops, it is in fact the black Blue Andalusian, Andy.

I found the fresh body of a black chicken in the yard. I do believe my Ute dog has found the chicken's hiding place. Megan and I searched high and lo again. Nothing.

It is so frustrating. Obviously they are around here...Why can't I find them?

At least my hopes are renewed that there are survivors...that is if the dog does not hunt them down one by one...Grrr! He knew he did wrong too. But, I did not scold him. I was actually kind of happy to see that fresh bird laying there. Tells me they are around....


I have been trying to think like a chicken, although this bunch has me a bit confused. Like any animal, chickens react in a fairly predicable manner. When panicked, the flock may initially move as a unit, but chickens normally have a propensity to scatter. Each chicken running willy-nilly, flapping and squawking. It's generally a really good response because it often leaves the predator confused at which way to go.

But chickens aren't really known for being 'travelers'. They usually have a pretty set perimeter about how far they will go outside of their comfort zone. Even being chased or harassed having a whole flock disappear is extremely unusual.

Since I have been unable to find any feathers or 'poof piles', I have been unable to determine which direction this flock headed. It's amazingly hard to track a chicken-LOL.

Thankfully, the partial body of the chicken I found tonight still had the craw attached and I now have a clue. In the craw were partial field corn kernals and green grass. I do believe they have taken up residence in the shrubbery next to Mr. Farmer's field. I do not know which chicken I found though, pretty sure it was one of my Bantams.(sniffle)

Finding any of the rest of them may still be a difficult job. But at least I have hope that there may be a few remaining survivors.

The fact that this head/chest cold is kicking my butt is not helping matters. I thought I had it whooped this morning, after an absolutely miserable night. But no such luck, by the afternoon, I was back to suffering. I should have known trying to trim feet was not a good idea.

How is it possible to be completely stuffed up and still be blowing snot bubbles? I can barely breath and yet it's like someone turns the faucet on in my nostrils. I'm coughing, wheezing, hacking and sneezing. I think the cold medication is making me loopy. But it sure isn't doing much to stifle the symptoms.

Wish me luck though, I am bound and determined to find at least some of my remaining flock...a.l.i.v.e!!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Absolute Devastation

Yesterday, we lost all but two of our chickens.

Two sole survivors were found under the straw bale.

It was one of the cats.

They have hung out down by the coop and pen everyday. At first we were worried they might try to go over the fence, but all they ever did was lay there and observe. My big cat seemed to get quite a kick out of laying around watching the chickens.

As the chickens have gotten quite big and the cats never seemed interested in trying to get into the pen, I had pretty much gotten over worrying about it.

However, yesterday while Meg and I were over at the other place doing chores, one of them somehow managed to push the bottom of the chicken wire away from the bottom board. The wire was stapled to the board, so all I can figure is that they have been working at finding a weak spot for some time and finally managed to get the wire loose.

Whoever it was, killed My Honey's 2 beautiful ducks and my 2 little Wyandotte's. We had picked these last few up a few weeks ago. Been meaning to post pics of them, just never got around to it.

Except for the two Megan found under the bale(one of the Australops and her favorite, Cheep) and the body of the one bird I found in the yard(Silver) of the birds are gone. Poof! No bodies, no feathers...Nothing.

Meg and I immediately started searching last night, but it was getting dark and I figured if anything they were bedded down somewhere...terrified.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning, hoping that they would come out of hiding and be somewhere around the yard or in one of the neighbor's fields.


I drove around everyone's properties on the 4-wheeler and walked all through the neighborhood. If anything, I was at least hoping to find feathers or bodies or something...????

How can 15 pretty good sized chickens just disappear without a trace?

Not a body, not a feather...just GONE?????

We are all a pretty sad bunch around here today.

MH is livid. He was really fond of those ducks.

I have the cats locked in the garage, both for their own safety and in hopes that if the birds come out of hiding that they will wander back into the yard.

So far, no sign.

If they don't turn up before dark, I don't suspect they will last another night outside around here. Lots of coyotes and fox.

It was a pretty crappy day all around. My attempt at rednecking the irrigation did not work, we got yet another card in the mail from school about Megan's habitual tardiness to classes(besides the fact that her grades are shit) and MH had to go to Denver yesterday and some jack-hole whacked the side of his Suburban with something and put a huge dent in the fender. Random vandalism! Nice.

Oh and all of that on top of the fact that I have the worst head/chest cold I have had in forever. Meg has it too, just not as bad.

However, everything else pales in comparison to the loss of our beautiful little herd of chickens.

Gonna go look around the neighborhood again. I just keep hoping they turn up. Preferably alive, but geez-even finding some sign of them would help solve the mystery.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day One

Now this is some redneck irrigating...
I have waited and waited to irrigate, hoping that I could get My Honey's help. To no avail. He started his new position as a consultant and is working very, very long hours.

The irrigation pipe that was left on this place is trashed. Cracked, broken and missing numerous gates.

But my grass is eaten off and drying up. They had been threatening rain all week. No luck. So I finally decided to take matters into my own hands. I started dragging pipe out of the pile and cutting off the broken ends. It just kept shattering. Finally pissed off beyond believe, I simply went over and turned the irrigation headgate on. To heck with it. I was going to get water on my grass at all costs.

Now this is the way my luck usually runs...
Sure enough, no sooner did I have water flowing over my dry, parched pasture and it rained. It's still raining off and on. Oiy Vey!!!

But lo and behold, for some unknown reason, this was to be the day that this guy decided I'm okay...
Out of the blue, Jet decided he did not have to run from me when I reached out to pet him.

I guess I should explain. Jet is not a wild horse. He has just been rather uncomfortable being handled. Not one single time that I have been in his pen that I could just walk up to him and he would stand for it. So every time, I have had to move him around, ask him to face and work my way to him. He has wanted to be a friendly horse. He watches and he approaches when you are not looking at him. Turn around and he acts like the Boogy man is after him.

It's perfectly understandable. He has had minimal handling in the last 4 years. He's gentle...but not that gentle.

I was a bit surprised when I reached out to touch him and he did not leap away. He stood. Wow! So I petted him a bit. Finished cleaning his pen and reached out to touch him again. He stood and accepted being petted for the second time.

Now, we can make some progress. He's mentally getting cued in and is going to turn into the absolute pocket pony I know he really wants to be. It just took this long for him to let his guard down.

**I would just like to mention, Jet is NOT a product of our breeding 'program'. He was bought at a sale as a weanling. I have no idea what my brother was thinking. I am not a fan of QH's that look like Thoroughbreds. He's a nice horse, just not the body style I prefer. He's made nice enough though and has a great mind. We'll muddle though and see what he turns into.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


(The view from the new place)

I was letting my imagination run a little wild...

But I have not lost my 'touch' for being able to feel if something is wrong or not.

I have also found an absolutely wonderful new equine chiropractor.

I am soooooo happy!

I do have horses that are in real need of chiropratic adjustment, so it's wonderful to have found someone that I know can get them all lined out again.

Thank you everyone for your positive comments on acupuncture as well. I did let her provide that service for Moon at the end of his manipulations and he certainly did relax for quite a while.

Now, for clarification about Moon's adjustment...

See that back? The chiro said that back was the nicest back she has had her hands on in over three years!...

No sore spots, stiffness or damage. His spine is straight, strong and he has superior and equal limberness on both sides. Moon showed no reaction to the flexion test in his left hock and only the slightest of reactions to the flexion test to his left stifle. He had no reaction to his flexion test on his right stifle and again, the slightest of reactions to the flexion test on his right hock. The vet was amazed at how straight and true Moon traveled.

Now, you may ask, what exactly was the reason I thought he might need an adjustment?

Three years ago, I let my niece run Moon at a couple of rodeos and she is not the greatest of riders. She let him run strung out, which of course Moon took full advantage of. At the last rodeo, he left the gate in the wrong lead and when he went to switch leads at 1st barrel, he hung his toes in the deep wet sand and pulled both stifle muscles. He was out for nearly a year recovering. It was actually thanks to Mrs Mom and some very specific exercises that she gave me that helped to bring him back the next spring. Hats off to you MM!!

Every since then, I have often wondered if Moon did not also rotate his hips when that happened. I could never see any indication that that was so, but Moon is a stoic horse. He has little reaction to day in and day out work. He is equally well-leaded and changing leads is supremely easy for him. Annoyingly so. Due to the way he travels, it was really difficult to tell if he was just being annoying with his natural tendency to want to flip his hindquarters out or if he was actually in pain and he was just trying to get things done as easily as possible.

The answer is...

He was for the most part, just being the major pain in the butt he is.

The vet was able to get the smallest of pops out of his left hip and two equally small pops out of his sacreal. She said it may free him up some, but probably minimally, if it was at all noticeable. Mostly, it probably just felt good at the time-LOL.

One other little thing has bothered me about Moon the last couple of years as well. When riding in the pasture, he has the most annoying habit of hanging his head off to the right. Always too the right. Again, it's one of those things that nothing other than that tiny detail was telling me he was 'out' anywhere. Moon really likes to turn around and go back the way he came, so I contributed a lot of that to being annoyingly concerned about going home. But I wondered...

The vet found one good pop in Moon's neck on the right side and a corresponding pop in his poll on the left side. He is slightly stiffer in his neck flexion to the left than he is to the right.

Again, nothing major and the vet said that I may or may not notice a difference, but that I should work specifically on neck stretches in both directions until Moon can comfortably bend his head, while it is perpendicular to the ground, to at least slightly past his shoulder. Preferably his hip, but that will take some time.

Hmmm...I have been wanting to add some flax to Moon's diet, guess I will be investing in some of those flax treats.

The rest of Moon's leg flexions were perfect. No sign of anything.

The vet was very complementary of my farrier...

LOL-That would be me.:-)

She loved the fact that I run my horses barefoot.

She was also very impressed with Moon's manners and the ease of which he handled all of the manipulations(He was on his very best behavior.:-), so we had a great conversation about training well rounded individuals and what a difference it makes. I love being able to show people that not all barrel horses need to be super-freaks and Moon is a fine ambassador.

The only thing the vet said is that she wished he had more padding on his hindquaters.

Me too sister...Me too. I just don't think that is in the cards for Moon. We will continue to work on figuring out a way to get him to fill up back there, but I'm not going to worry myself sick about that anymore. The horse is what he is.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Awwww Geez

Stinking cats!!!

It's not unusual to find tons of little carcasses laying around this place. All over outside, in the garage, heck in the house back when the cats could come and go as they pleased. **That's another story on it's own(insert eyeroll over the 'cat drama')

But yesterday morning, Meg's cat showed up in the garage with something a little larger than usual...And it was still alive.

I cannot stand it if I happen to catch one of the cat's playing with their prey.

Yes, I know it's cat behavior. Cat's are definitely not the most humane of hunters.

But I don't like to watch it, so I usually capture the poor, tortured prey and give them a second chance in the field next door. Who knows if they make it. Who cares. As long as I don't have to see them being tortured anymore.

The cats are less than impressed with me when I do this. Wished I could have gotten a picture of Deuce's face when he came through the cat door and I was standing there. It was a total "Oh Crap...There goes my fun" look.

He spit this out...

Just G.R.E.A.T (read heavy sarcasm there)...

A baby squirrel.

When I caught it, I wasn't sure it was going to make it. There was no blood or torn skin, but I didn't know if it was crushed inside or not. It was pretty freaked out....

I would be too!!!

So I wrapped him in a towel and put that on a heating pad and left him alone for a couple of hours. Didn't know if he was dying or just in serious shock.

He's alert now and his little ribcage feels okay. No sign of internal bleeding.

Found a couple of fleas though.

Oh yayyy...(again with the sarcasm)

I had no idea which direction the cat came from and this little guy looks to be too young to be on his own yet. Probably his first venture out of the nest and Yikes...Nabbed by a hunting fool of a white cat.

Once I figured out he was going to live, Meg and I headed off to the store...Pedialyte, kitten milk, a bottle and a syringe. Meg kept giving him a little Pedialyte until he was re-hydrated and then got a little kitten milk into him and he had a warm bath(as recommended). Today, I will hit the pet store and see if they have any of the recommended milk replacer for wild animals, as he seems to be quite willing to eat.
I think we have a pretty good chance of getting him raised. According to what we have been reading up on, another couple of months and he will be big enough to re-release. Like all of the other wild animals I've raised over the years, they usually stick around for a little bit and revert back to the wild quite well.


So, I have Moon scheduled in with a highly recommended equine veterinarian/chiropractor...

She went through her procedure process and ended by saying that she does acupuncture after the adjustment.

Ummmm...I'm not so sure I want that done to my horse.

I told her this, but kind of left it at, "We'll see what you find when you work him over."

Has anyone had acupuncture done on a horse?

Why did you have it done?

What is your opinion of the outcome?

Fill me in guys, I'm all for exploring new options that help, but I am very cautious about falling into doing something that is unnecessary and/or ineffective.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Must You Show Off So?

It's all part of the 'training program'-LOL

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Moon and I are struggling in our barrel runs. I don't have a video of this last run, but it doesn't really matter. It was rather all over the place.

Moon plowed over 2nd barrel. That's the first time that has ever happened and it really shouldn't have happened at this arena at all. It's a huge pattern, so there is plenty of time between first and second barrels to get your horse set.

At the last barrel race, Moon got a bit rattled and didn't want to stand near the gate. Unusual for him, he is usually quite placid standing around waiting for our turn. He is very alert and watches, but has never before acted like he couldn't handle the pressure of being near the gate prior to his run.

So this time, I made a concentrated effort to make sure to 'camp' on him around the gate and made him walk in and around the gate area during each rake. In no time, he returned to his normal quiet self. I will have to make sure to do that more often with him, so as to keep the 'freaky barrel horse' stygma at bay. Having a gate sour horse is no fun.

I think part of the errors in the run, was that I wasn't really feeling the need to push him in his run. He entered the arena nicely, started to pick up his right lead, flipped into his left, so I rated him down, make him pick up his right lead and let him stretch out for 1st.

He set into first really well and then I think I just quite riding. I must have, cause Moon didn't complete pushing through his turn and just about knocked 1st coming out of it.

Other than closing off his turn a bit too quick, he came out and was line up for 2nd. I just let him go. When we got to 2nd and I asked him to rate, he flipped out of his left lead and dove into the pocket. I got his shoulder picked up, but he knocked 2nd over with his nose on the backside.

When he came out he was still in the wrong lead and was running kitty-wampus toward 3rd. When we got to 3rd, I just set him down and made him trot around it and trot home. At that point, there is no sense in pushing. He was completely out of position for 3rd and we had a barrel down, which is a no time at 4D competitions.

Man, that is frustrating. We have regressed to the same issue we had last spring. Only Moon seemed a little more determined to carry it through this time. Maybe it's because I was unprepared for it.

Walking Moon out afterward, I was in a bit of a quantry. Usually when something like this happens, I prefer to stick around until after the barrel racing and work on the issue. It has never made any sense to me to wait until we go home and work in it, because it is not an issue at home. It is a competition issue, whether it's mine or Moon's, it only plagues us then.

But, I had my kiddo participating at her own playday and I knew that had to be getting close to being over as well. So, I didn't even bother unsaddling, I just loaded Moon up and hauled back to where my daughter was. I figured I could work in this little issue there.

And that's just what we did.

I am a firm believer in slow and repetitious patterning. I am. I think it fixes many problems and Moon will be seeing that as well, but there are times when it takes a full sized pattern and some repetitious practice runs to get things right.

I don't like to knock my horse, but Moon is not what I would call an easy horse. He's a whole lot lighter in the hindquarter than I prefer a horse to be and his corresponding habit is to want to flip out of his hind lead, so that he can dive around the barrel. That is the easiest way for him to turn a barrel, although it is horribly incorrect and if allowed to do so, he would not stay sound very long.

We work a lot on collection and exercises to build his hindquarter strength to counter act his natural tendency to want to travel by pulling himself along with his front-end. But to get him to run correctly, I have to ride like the dickens to keep him driving from behind. Today, I failed to do that.

Well, at least there is one winner in this family...

Megan racked up the wins in her age division at the playday. Her and her big blue roan horse won every class-barrels, poles, keyhole and flag.

Way to go Meg!!!

The most important thing she had a lot of fun.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day In, Day Out

We've pretty much settled into a routine here. As always, when you are involved with animals, most of what you do is the same old, muntane in, day out, so it gets harder to find things to blog about.

Don't get me wrong...when it comes to animals...especially the horses...muntane and routine is GOOD.

Things are coming along though, I am getting Frosty and Moon rode regularly. The sorrel horse, Bugs has been saddled several times and ponied. He did yank away from me the first day though and freaked out about the lead rope dragging. I guess now I know that the horse can't buck. He makes a lot of noise, but that's about it. He got to drag a leadrope around the pen for a day until he finally figured out that it wasn't going to eat him. I think I am going to hire a guy down the road to put 30 days on him when he is all settled down though. He is just too darn stout for me if he would decide to blow up.

By the time I get horses fed and watered, pens cleaned, horses worked, brushed, bathed, feet cleaned and all of the trimming that seems never ending...

It doesn't leave much time for all of the other things that need to be done too. MH finally told me to hire one of the high school boys to haul hay for me when I need it, tear the roof off of the little barn and whatever else I want/need done, so that I can focus on the horses and not wear myself out so much.

Megan helps too. She does a great job of coming over in the evenings, taking care of her own horses and getting them rode. She still has a few weeks of school left, so I don't want her wearing herself out either.

Now we are starting to run into the scheduling conflicts I had anticipated would happen. Megan is interested in participating in some of the local playdays and the first one is this Saturday. I also have a barrel racing in Delta. Luckily, this time I will be able to take her and her horses to this playday, drop them off and go on to my barrel racing. When I get done running, I can come back and pick her up. I'm hoping that for other events, that either MH will be able to haul her or we can hook up with some of her friends to come get her.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Due To Weather...

My barrel racing this weekend was cancelled/postponed.

I was NOT bummed.

My last week went to pot about Wednesday afternoon. The wind came up. Actually it howled.

It managed to take part of the barn roof off...

So guess what is now on my immediate lists of projects? Yep...finishing tearing off that barn roof.

Saturday, we got in a good day. My Honey mowed the lawn at the new place and tilled up the garden. Meg and I did manual labor.

My cleaning spree is pretty much halted until they come dump my dumpster...

I'm tired, achy and cranky. Getting older is not for the faint of heart!

We are supposed to have nicer weather this week. So far, no 'windy' days in the forecast.

I have to get humping on those two I brought out to get started.

I have had the sorrel horse saddled....

He was a piece of cake. A few days of saddling and ponying and I will have to see if that HS kid will come over and put the first few rides on him. There will be no hesitation getting him going this year.

The big bay is coming around. At least I can walk in the pen and pet him, catch him, groom him and pick up his feet. I'm not sure trimming his feet is going to be much fun, but it has to be done before I start working him. He has some long toes.

I don't anticipate he will be much of a problem to start saddling. He's a really kind colt. I like him, but he sure is different than any of our other horses. Not sure what he is going to be good for. My middle brother(who actually owns the horse) sure has a soft spot for him though, so onward, forward ho...

Moon's cough is back. Not that it ever really goes away a 100%, but it's one of those things that bothers me when I hear it. MSM is on the way. Hopefully it works as well as it did last year.

There's more...there's always more. It's impossible to have this many irons in the fire and not have a bajillion things going on at once....Stay tuned.

Sorry no pics...I'm just to darn tired and crabby to bother loading them. I would love to be in bed sleeping right now, but my darn hips just about have me in tears. If only the Tylenol would kick in...