Monday, February 28, 2011

Company

I didn't have to ride by myself today. Instead of heading down the road with just my dogs...


I had company...
ACountryCowgirl came and rode with me!

Hey, is texting and riding even legal in this state?...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Don't Think He Appreciates This

Oohhh, my dear, fat Frosty...
Is not as fat as he used to be. His belly is pulling up and his globs are going down.

Frosty is the horse that really brought Insulin Resistance into my vocabulary. For years now, I have thought a lot of unflattering things about him, mostly about his mental capacity, but last year was just the worst time I have ever had with him.

I felt like I was practically starving the poor horse and he just wasn't losing any weight. He started bucking me off. He acted overly sore throughout his body and when he started getting really tender-footed, I was at a loss. There was just sooooo many little things going on and it all ended up in one big mess.

Thanks to a bunch of reading, he is well on his way to recovery. He has been on Horse Sense since January, he is on a limited, but reasonable diet and the weight started coming off right away. First the globs and now the belly. This last week of ponying and riding every day is making a huge difference.

I do wished I could say that I think the bucking fits are behind him, but I don't think we have gotten beyond that yet. However, I think I figured out the trigger to them and have so far been able to stay one step ahead.

One of the things I read about IR is that the horse's muscles lose elasticity. Hence their tendency to become so sore in the body even when being used lightly. Well, one thing I will say about Frosty is that he is not a very stoic horse. Unlike Spooks, who was probably just as stiff and sore. Once upon a time, Spooks was a working horse, so his ethics are different than Frosty's. Frosty has never really worked in his life and when he decides he is done, he is like a petulant child. He just doesn't want to move anymore. He will only take so much bumping with the leg before he has had enough and he just blows up.

I figured a lot of ponying would be good for Frosty. When he is with another horse, he does try a little harder. But...I still need to be riding the horse. Ponying and lunging is good exercise, but it's not going to create a broke horse. So, after a lot of thought, I figured out maybe the best solution would be to ride Frosty til he gets to that 'I-don't-wanna-go-anymore' spot and then get off and lunge him. And that is what I have been doing.

It doesn't take very much riding, maybe 15-20 minutes and Frosty is governed out. It's like it just becomes an effort for him to pick one foot up and put it in front of another. The loss of energy is apparently a very common problem with IR horses. I can feel when Spooks bottoms out as well, however, I don't fear his reaction to my repeated asking of him to keep moving the way I fear Frosty's reaction.

Yes, I am actually a bit fearful of the big buckskin. Oh, my gosh...he is probably one of the smoothest, easiest riding horses I have ever rode. He just a rocking chair. But when he blows...there is no way I can ride the tornado he turns into. I've stuck with him a couple of times, but for the most part he is just so quick and powerful, I'm off before I even have time to grasp the fact he has just blown up. (I do breed for athleticism remember? LMAO)

Frosty doesn't want to move when I get off and start lunging him either, he likes to keep facing up, but it's a whole lot safer for me to chase him around to make him move, than to be picking myself up off the ground. LOL. Another 15 minutes or so of lunging at an extended trot and a working walk and fat boy is a huffing and a puffing. This is what he needs to get those bound up, out of shape muscles of his to working again. He's also learning he has keep moving, regardless of what he thinks...At least that is my hope.

I cool him out by hand-walking him. It's actually good exercise for me too. I walk a lot back and forth with the horses, but I hardly ever just get out and walk. By hand-walking Frosty, I am getting some exercise and he has to do a little power walking himself to keep up with me. The goal is to get him freed up and by whatever means necessary get some elasticity back into his muscles.

This week has been pretty good. The real test will probably come in the next couple of weeks. Always before, it seemed that about week 3 or 4 is when Frosty's brain started to have melt-downs. If we can get through a month, without any major blowups, we will have made it farther than I ever did before on him and I just keep hoping this year, we will come out the other side. Frosty is an incredibly nice horse. I think he has a lot of potential as a barrel horse. I'd sure like to be able to tap into that potential.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beretta

This picture cracked me up. Beretta and Spooks are pretty well matched in the 'chrome' department. She is like a miniature version of an adult horse...

For only being 21 months old, she sure isn't very gangly or even all that immature looking...
I think she needs to grow UP this year.

She's gonna be a brick if she doesn't get some height to her.

That fact that she is still butt-high gives me hope. Well, that and the fact that she is genetically inclined to end up at about 15HH, which is plenty big for me.

Still has all of her baby curiosity though...

Red Dog isn't sure what to think of her checking him out...

He would like to play...He's just not so sure playing is what Beretta has in mind.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Riding

I have been riding! All 4 of my saddle horses...if you can believe that.

Since my riding area was still muddy and the canal roads were still muddy, I headed across the road to here...
The big parking lot...
Technically, the canyons are over the hill behind the parking lot. It's quite beautiful back in there, but I haven't ventured there with the horses yet. I took these pics early in the day, so there is very few people here yet. But this is a very busy place. Tons of bicyclists. I wanted to make sure the horses got a little more familiar with seeing people on bikes before encountering them in any numbers in the canyon. They have all seen that now and of course they all had to stare, but no freak-outs (Whew!).

For now, I am staying on the north side of the canyons and riding down the dirt road you can see a little bit of in this picture...
There's about 3 miles of road before coming to a fenceline. At this point, I turn around and head back. It's a good little workout for the horses. There are some nice long hills and a couple of shorter, steeper ones. However, there are miles and miles on the other side of the fence and even more canyons to ride in. I could spend all day riding just one horse out here. Just my little jaunt down that stretch of road takes a little over an hour from start to finish. That's plenty for the ponies at this point. I'm mostly walking the horses, but have been throwing in some long-trotting.

This is about the 1/2 way point, looking back toward the parking lot...
The desert is starting to dry out, but is mostly still pretty muddy and that mud is dee-ep! If we weren't expecting more rain this weekend, I would probably be able to do some off-road riding in the next couple of days. That would really give the ponies a workout.

I'm less than a mile from home...
I was hoping I could just ride over to the park, but the gate beside the auto-gate that goes into the park is wired shut, so I have to load up and haul in. It's no big deal really. Takes me about 5 minutes to drive there.

All of the horses know where home is...
Hey...no remarks about my muddy horse...LOL...I scraped off as much of the mud as I could. Spooks is a P.I.G! If there is mud...he is going to be covered in it.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Because...

This is what breakfast time looks like around here...
And supper time! They line up and combine their efforts to 'will me' to feed them. LOL

(Oh yea, and I have been trying to be a bit productive, even if I couldn't ride...I'm getting that area cleaned up and will be hauling out the last of the junk as soon as I can)

I got a new load of mountain grass hay...
I thought it looked very nice. Green (barn stored) and fine-stemmed. You'd think the ponies would love it.

Yea...Well, the ponies seemed to prefer the last load I got a whole lot more...
When I bought that last load, I thought it was a little coarse. I didn't want to buy a bunch of it, if the horses were going to leave the stems. They never left a scrap of this hay. They licked it up like it was candy. Unfortunately, when I called the guy back, he had just sold the last of his available hay, so I had to switch suppliers...again! The good news is, I will be purchasing at least one semi-load from the supplier with the hay the horses really liked. If possible, I may very well buy an entire year's worth (about 80 bales). He said he would give me a good deal if I bought semi-loads out of the field. Perfect!

The ponies are going to have to survive on the hay from the new supplier for the next few months though. Just because...he's the last one I've located that provides mountain grass hay. I don't think they like the fact the big squares have conditioned hay. They are flipping through their hay piles looking for the seeds heads that were on the last bales.

This was a mess this morning...
I needed to hook up to my old trailer because I want to ride across the Interstate at one of the trailheads. There is plenty of parking over there, but the accesses to the parking areas are too narrow to get my big rig in and out of. Unfortunately, the ground did not freeze hard last night and the mud on top of frozen ground was slick. Every time I would get backed up to within a couple of inches of the trailer ball, the butt of the pickup would slide over and I couldn't get lined up. Talk about frustrating! Yea, wasn't I smart parking the trailer so it was on the high ground?

I finally got it...
There was much cussing and kicking, but I was bound and determined...I WAS RIDING TODAY!

And I did!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Little Weekend Visit

I drug my lazy (not-feeling-so-good) carcass out today and made a little trip over to visit with ACountryCowgirl and her hubby. Actually getting out and going for a little drive made me feel a whole lot better. I think it's the weather. It's been fairly decent here...Spring is definitely in the air, but the ground is so muddy I have no place to ride...so I'm a little depressed about that.

I don't think I ever got around to telling you guys I got to meet M&E last fall when they moved out to this neck of the woods.

When I read they were moving this way and a little worried about the housing accommodations for their ponies, I let them stay at my place for a couple of weeks. The horses that is.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of each other over the winter and I didn't do so good at getting my new friend located any nearer to me in this last move either. :(

They are getting settled into their new place and believe me...It's a whole lot better than the other place they almost moved into! My gut was telling me THAT place was aalllll wrong, even before the psycho landlord incident.

They fed me yummy chili, some absolutely delish cornbread and even dessert.

So where are the pics?

I dunno...I remembered to take my camera, but as is always the case, M and I get to visiting and laughing and all thoughts of taking pics go out the window. Alas, maybe one of these visits, one of us will remember to take out the camera and snap a few pics. Anyway, it ended up being a really nice day and I am really glad I went.

I have a few barrel racings over that way, so there is no doubt I will be coercing M to come with me whenever possible. She is a hoot and it will be nice to have another horse-person along. Now if the weather would just cooperate a little, so I can get back to riding...

Friday, February 18, 2011

If Wishes Were Horses...

If Wishes were horses, this adorable little gelding would be standing in my pasture...

Sorry, bad pics! I went out to start riding my own crew and...it started raining, so I decided to go run a couple errands instead and my little buddy was standing by the road.

I have been fighting the urge to buy this horse since last year. He belongs to one of my neighbors and is for sale. A mere $500. He is registered, but I have no idea what his bloodlines are...and quite frankly don't care, cause...OMG...this little horse is just sooooo freaking cute.

He's a coming 5y/o and the neighbor says he is a sweetheart to handle. He's been saddled and ponied, but he just hasn't gotten around to putting any rides on him. He said he actually bought him as a project horse for his daughter a couple years ago. She's a few years younger than Megan. So I know he must be pretty gentle. He's not the kind of dad to buy some rank sucker for his kid. Unfortunately, he and his wife got divorced and well...We all know how those things go.

I dunno...I keep thinking he would make a good project horse for Megan and I....

Quick...somebody slap me!!!

Anybody else looking for a colorful, registered, gentle, sorta-started, well-taken care of, never-been-abused project horse?

I really need someone to save me from myself because I feel my will-power slipping.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spooks On Cattle

If working cows on Moon helped me figure out a few things about him (and myself)...

Working cows on Spooks was just as effective for figuring him out a little.

Spooks is a bit of an odd duck.

Besides trying to figure out all of the little physical things that are going on with him, I've been trying to figure out his mentality as well.

Spooks is not a real personable horse, but he is not totally lacking in personality. He is not timid, but he is not dominant either. He will stand his ground with the other horses, but he mostly just quietly eases himself out of any line of fire or stands back and waits things out.

I have yet to figure out exactly what is going on with Spooks physically. Everything I've done seems to have helped a little in it's own way, but even all added up together, there is still something 'funky' going on with the way this horse travels. Sometimes he seems to be in obvious pain, other's he just travels weird.

As a run-down to what has been done to him;

Teeth-not as bad as I thought they were = No change.

Feet-ran into old abscesses and bruising when I was trimming him last summer, had him shod and kept him shod for 6 months = better shaped feet, bruising gone, heels back on his hind feet and a mild improvement to his gait. Had shoes removed a week ago = Not sure what to think. He acted very tender-footed at the clinic, but it almost felt like it was in his right front shoulder (that's new) and he is back to slapping his left hind on the ground (not new, but did notice that it was less exaggerated when he was shod). Prognosis = probably going back to shoes. :(

Possible old injury-Spooks has an old scar on the inside of his hock on his left hind. I suspected possible tendon damage. Vet checked = If tendon was damaged, it has healed together and his flex tests show normal use should not be affected. **However, a full flex test and chiropractic exam on him was not an option at the time, as he was dopey from getting his teeth done and we wanted to give him some time after having feet and teeth done to see if those were causes. I will be scheduling a chiropractic appointment for him in the very near future.

Condition-Last fall, I noticed Spooks' mane noticeably thinner and it suddenly decided to part in the middle of his neck. Spooks' has always had a rather coarse neck. There was no obvious crest to his neck, but when a mane suddenly starts parting in the middle of the neck (when it didn't before), it's a good indication that there is a crest there. Started feeding him IR supplement. He was already on double doses of MSM. His mane is back to laying on one side, is growing in thick again and his neck has smoothed out a lot. I have also noticed that what I thought was strange muscling over his hip has gotten soft. That was not muscling...That was a rock-hard fat pad.

**I have never wasted the money to have a horse tested for IR. There is nothing in an IR supplement that will harm a horse that is not IR (and the extra Magnesium is actually good for all working horses-I have Moon on the IR supplement and he is NOT IR). Sooo...either you see improvement and it probably was IR or you don't see any improvement and that's not what it was. (shrugs) Oh well, move on to the next possible cause.

Now here's the thing I am learning about IR horses...it's not just a matter of feeding them a supplement and it magically gets all better. Depending on how long a horse has been suffering the condition or how severely, they can come out of it relatively quickly or it can take months of work. The thing about it is, working a horse that is sore and/or obviously lame goes against everything we learned as good horseman(woman). However, it is paramount that IR horses have regular, structured exercise. Their muscles have lost elasticity and the only way to get that back is to make them work. Even if they are mildly lame.

At this point you are probably wondering what the heck any of this has to do with working Spooks on cattle?

Well, Spooks is inherently a pretty laid-back (read...LAZY) horse. I have been trying to figure out how much of his stiffness/lameness/ya-ya-whatever attitude has been really due to whatever physical issues he is suffering or if he is making a mountain out of a molehill. Some horses are just pea-hearted. They lack try...desire...work-ethic...whatever you want to call it.

At this point, I believe the horse to be compromised. Working cattle is in this horse's DNA. I could physically feel him lock onto the cow and he really was attempting to work, but he kept getting stuck. If you go back and watch his video again, you can see where a couple of times he simply didn't move with the cow and he was always late. Videos It's not that he didn't want to move, he just was having difficulty responding or stretching out.

If I am to work more cattle on this horse, I would not attempt cutting again. At this stage, it is too difficult for him. I would like to work him on cattle up and down the fenceline. That would give him the opportunity to have time to stretch out and that would help loosen up his muscles.

Now, I still have a couple of options left. First, while we are waiting for the chiro to give him a good going over, I am just working on lots of stretching, bending and getting Spooks to drive from behind. Second, will be a thorough going over by the chiro/vet and I will have her do accupuncture on him as well. Third, While I hardly think shoes should be necessary, since the ground is now soft and there is no gravel or rocks that should cause Spooks to be soooo tender-footed...I will have him re-shod. Fourth-Depending on what the chiro finds, the horse needs rode. Long-trotting is probably going to be the most beneficial, but he needs a lot of loping as well. That kind of work, coupled with a lot of softening work will help limber up his muscles.

I am giving this a couple of months to come together or I will be hauling Spooks back home and he'll go back to mostly pasture-puff status. He's sound enough that using him on the ranch here and there won't bother him. But if he isn't going to make a performance horse, he can't stay here.

I find it sadly ironic that when I brought Turk and Spooks out here a year ago, I had no idea if Turk would be salvageable or not. However, I did not consider Spooks to be a 'problem' horse. Just goes to prove (yet again) that you never know what you have until you put them to work.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Enjoying The Sun

Oohhhh...this sun feels soooo good...
Oh! Hi...
Hey...Rub my belly...
Wait...was that a mouse?...
Megan's cat is such a goob!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Have The Bug

I was dang sure bitten by the 'cutting' bug last weekend. Yea, cause that's just what I need. One more expensive hobby. My Honey is going to make me get a job here pretty soon. LOL

As MiKael predicted...this clinic was the perfect opportunity for me to get some control over Moon's shoulders. LOL-If you ever want to find the holes in your horse or yourself...do some cow work. Things you didn't even realize will become glaringly obvious.

Things I learned about myself;

#1-I am riding too tight. Back when I used to ride a lot of colts, I know I rode a lot 'looser' than I do these days. Back then, if a colt jumped or spooked, my first instinct was to grab the saddle horn, scootch my butt into the saddle and just flow with the colt's movement. My legs stayed loose. Cause god forbid you clamp down on a colt with your legs. You could turn a little jump into a full on bronc ride by doing so. As I have gotten older and graduated to riding broke horses...well, I'm less inclined to think about things like that and somewhere along the line, I have started riding differently. I really noticed that I have started clamping down with my legs. My first cutting run on Moon was W.i.L.D!!! I picked a fast cow and Moon was all over the place. He was slinging me around like a rag doll up there and I could not get ahead of his movements. Because I could NOT let.go.with.my.legs! Ugghhhh!!! When I finally got him off of the cow, Carl told me I needed to get my horse gathered up and get control of the situation. This is cutting, he said, YOU control the cow. A definite wake-up call.

#2-I need to stop being so damn lazy when I'm riding Moon. I KNOW Moon is the kind of horse that likes to take control. He seldom stays very correct once he knows he's in control. Oh, he's going to do his job, he's just going to do it the way it's easiest for him and going to the left, that means dropping his shoulder and diving. Once he is allowed to do things his way a few times, he does get belligerent when I finally get my act together and say...'NO, you are supposed to do it this way'. So then Moon and I argue over who is the boss 'til I win. I always win. I'm not completely stupid. I know what is correct and I know how to make any horse do the correct thing. I have just gotten lazy and let Moon get away with doing the wrong thing until it creates a problem. So I just need to up my game with the horse.

It's no big surprise that Moon was doing the same thing working cattle that he was doing running barrels. When the cow was moving so that Moon's left side was to it, he was leading with his shoulder. You can see in the video in several places, where I was really hauling on his head, trying to get him to move that shoulder over, arc his neck and lead with his nose. We was not liking that AT ALL. We did get a ton of improvement by the end of the day. But I had to do like a thousand reverse arcs when we were doing slow work.

Here's how that worked-Moon's good turning side is to the right. So if he was tracking a cow so his right side was to the cow, when the cow turned, Moon would sweep across himself correctly. But he didn't like completing the arc. He would get about 3/4th of the way through the turn and then try to take off after the cow with his left shoulder leading. NO, NO, NO!!! So, as he came around, I would pick up the inside (left) arc and force him all the way around in a 360. He had to complete the arc and leave after the cow with his body in the correct position.

That is exactly what was happening in our barrel runs. Moon would make a nice right hand turn at the first barrel, but he never finished the turn. When he left 1st barrel and headed to second, he was leading with his left shoulder. I was not catching that 90% of the time and when we would get to 2nd barrel, the only thing Moon could do was arch his neck away from the barrel and dive around it with his left shoulder leading the way. No freaking wonder his 2nd barrel was a mess.

Of course, by the time he got headed to 3rd, I would have his left shoulder moved over and his head and neck arced correctly and we never had much of a problem there. I have to be careful because Moon does like to roll back and slice off his turn coming out of 3rd, but all it takes to prevent that is a little lift on the rein.

Now, this reverse arc is something that I can do a lot of with Moon anytime. Sue Smith showed us how to use it in the barrel pattern and I have used it forever in my day to day training. I just didn't realize where Moon's problem was in the barrel pattern. It's not AT 2nd barrel. It starts all the way back to where he is leaving 1st barrel. Realizing this now and knowing I have exercises that can 'fix' or at least inhibit Moon's natural tendency, I guess now I don't know whether to switch him on the pattern. I don't think it hurts a horse to know how to run the pattern both directions though. So I'll probably keep working him both directions until he can at least lope a nice pattern either way. In his case, I don't think anything that makes him have to think about things is a bad thing. Moon is way too smart for his own good.

I do know there is a lot more cow-work, specifically cutting exercises in Moon's near and indefinite future. I can work him for a long time on cattle without ever burning him out vs. trying to accomplish the same thing on the barrel pattern. In Moon's case, working specifically on cutting type maneuvers is very beneficial. He is a front-endy kind of horse, so the 'get-back' style required in cutting really helps him.

Spooks...not so much...but that is a whole 'nother story!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Technical Part Of The Cutting Clinic

For the record, I'm giving this clinic an A and will definitely be going back to DoubleTree for more of Carl's assistance.

Now, technically speaking, we worked backwards from what you would do if you were training a cutting horse. But, for the benefit of training riders, this worked really well. As par for the course, we were all eager to get to working cattle and by jumping right into the herd work and actual 'cutting' of cattle, Carl played it pretty smart.

After a warm-up and just a few minutes of practicing a few specific maneuvers to get everyone concentrating on getting their stops down and showing everyone how to get their horses into the correct body position, it was right to cattle work.

While the cattle were being settled, Carl spent time explaining the jobs of the cutter's helpers, their positions and where the cutter should try to be...
In cutting, the cutter has 4 helpers. Two people sit in the corner's by the herd. Their job is to help the cutter push the herd forward when he rides into it to make his selection, make sure the herd stays pretty much centered, stays against the fence and also guards the fence against a cow that gets back in the corner. Technically they are not supposed to push the cow out of the corner if it gets back there, but by keeping their horse's butt close to the fence, they can effectively block a cow from getting back to the herd, which is a major fault in cutting. Points are of course deducted in competition as well if you let your cow get back into the corners, but it won't 'kill' your run the way losing a cow will. The other two helpers are your turn-back people and their job is to keep the cow not only from running to the far end of the arena (LOL), but to keep the cow coming back to the cutter. Learning how to ride turn-back effectively, without ending up engaging the cow yourself is definitely a learned art. If your turn-back pushes your cow to you too hard, they can force it into the corners (losing you points). If they do not push the cow into you enough, the cow can totally lose focus on the cutter and just sort of wanders around in a 'safe-zone' between the turn-back and the cutter. For a cutting horse to be really effective, they need to have the cow engaged with them as much as possible.

Now, people who are eager to learn and do something are as bad as a fresh colt. They don't want to think, they just want to do! (Guilty!!!!) So, when I say that Carl played it smart by working in reverse, I mean, he utilized everyone's freshness to get through the herd work. The horses were fresh, the riders were fresh and the cows were fresh. We all got two trips through the cows doing herd work. I actually got 4 runs because I had the two horses. At the time I registered, there were only 5 other people registered and Carl told me it was okay if I brought 2 horses. By clinic day, the class was full (12 people) and I think Carl forgot about me bringing 2 horses. However, he was good to his word and let me ride both horses.

But, once we all got the high off, Carl switched to some slower work and started focusing on correctness. By now, both us students and our horses were ready to listen-LOL.

Carl split everyone into pairs and we started working on 'shadowing"...
Shadowing is an excellent exercise, particularly if you are stuck working slow or sticky cattle or have a friend that likes to work cattle too. Both riders focus only on the cow, not what the other rider is doing. It's really good for training, refreshing correct body position for your horse and nipping any tendency a horse has to anticipate or cheat the corner in the bud.

While 1/2 of the people worked on shadowing, the other half worked in the round pen...
If you ever want to work cattle by yourself, are stuck working by yourself or starting a horse on cattle...this is the perfect way to do it. All you have to do is throw a few flakes of hay in the middle of the round pen, the herd stays there, you can sort out a cow and work around the outside of the round pen. It's usually nice quiet work and can give you and your horse lots of time to work on reading the cow, figuring out how body placement of the horse affects the cow's movements and due to it's mostly slow nature, builds a solid foundation and lets you and horse work on correctness.

I am hoping to find someone local who has some cattle, so I can work on them more regularly, but if I have to, Carl does rent out his cattle for $30 a session. He has enough cattle that I can work a couple of horses at a time for that price. But his place is an hour drive away. Not bad, but not something I could afford to do a lot. It's definitely something I need to get back into doing.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sooo Much Fun

Today was way fun. It was a good solid refresher for me.

Blogger is being freaky and the videos are covering up text, so I guess it's just the videos for tonight...








Thursday, February 10, 2011

False Alarm

Here I was, all set to have a really educational 'fixing this old cripple' post, Aaannndddd....

I got nada!

I explained to the farrier about Turk's bobbling in the pasture again and his stumbling and told him to do what he thought would be best for Turk.

He looked Turk's feet over, pulled a shoe and whistled.

There was a ton of growth to Turk's feet that was barely discernible by looking at him from the topside. And honestly, he didn't look that long from the bottom either. I mean, I knew that Turk was due to be re-shod and I did end up having to go 9-weeks because the farrier was out of town last week, but Holy Moly...
Of course, looking at the freshly trimmed hoof on the right compared to the still shod hoof on the left, it's obvious just how much Turk's feet had grown out.

We have not seen this much growth in this time-frame ever. Last summer when we first started shoeing Turk, we thought he would need to be reset at 6 weeks. Well, that ended up being needlessly frequent, so we went to 7-8 weeks. The last time I had Turk re-set, the farrier said that 8 weeks would be fine during the winter. The horses were off grain and only on grass hay and of course when the weather gets cold, the growth slows down a bit as well.

The farrier did say that this was the best looking and feeling hoof he has trimmed off of Turk to date. Yea! We have hit good foot!! Turk stayed in regular shoes and for the first time, both of his front feet are at the same angle.

I wonder if the Healthy Glo-rice bran and flax supplement I have been feeding had anything to do with accelerating Turk's hoof growth?

Needless to say, we are back to a 6 week reset schedule.

This is what we started with 7 months ago (and I was already 2 months into working on him on my own)...The Comeback Kid

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Prepping

So yea, I'm a little bummed because I won't have riding time before the clinic this weekend...

But, I'm still up for it. After all, I'm taking broke horses, that have working experience. It won't be a total wreck.

In preparation though, I organized all of my tack in the horse trailer, made sure I have everything I need, put in a couple of new bags of shavings and just have to pick up a square bale of hay to take with. I also scheduled a trip to the farrier,

Spooks...
Is scheduled to have his shoes pulled on Thursday. We are going to go back to barefoot and see how he does now that all of the bruising and almost all of his flare is gone. He has some heel on his hind feet again, so we shouldn't run into problems there.

Turk...
Is also scheduled to be re-shod on his front (although he is not going to the cutting clinic...he's just due). The last time I had him re-set, his feet had improved enough to move him out of the bar shoe that was on his injured foot into matching regular shoes. I don't think that worked for him. I don't know if it is because of the frozen ground or the lack of the heel support the bar shoes gives, but I noticed Turk is back to 'bobbling' at the trot.

It was worth a shot to see if he could travel sound in regular shoes, but I suspect that they just do not provide enough support for his floating heel bulb. It matters naught to me what kind of shoe the horse needs to wear, as long as we can keep him sound.

In fact, Turk's injured foot is of less concern to me than his uninjured foot is. That is the one that took the brunt of supporting Turk as he avoided putting too much weight on his injured foot. When we first started shoeing Turk, that is the one that was spread out like a pancake and I had also notice Turk popping a knot in that knee. There has been some improvement, but there is still quite a bit of flare on the inside of that hoof, not enough heel and I have noticed that he seems to stub his toe on that foot quite frequently.

We'll have to see what the farrier comes up with.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Figures!

This is what it looked like here this morning...

(l-r) Frosty, Spooks, Bugs...
Gray, but nice enough temps, no snow and the mud had finally dried up.

As I type this...the snow is falling heavily and we are expected to get 2-4 more inches.

I won't complain about the temps, because it's not supposed to get that cold...but...

Darn it! The ground just got good enough that I could do more than walk around the neighborhood.

(Big sigh)...Winter came back at a most inopportune time. I was really hoping have all week to ride the horses I plan on taking to the cutting clinic this coming weekend.



Friday, February 4, 2011

My Daily Project

I finally found curtains for the dining room window...


I got those hung and the little red shelf to the right put up today...


I wasn't really interested in red curtains for the dining room, but I saw these a couple of weeks ago and they stuck in my mind. Since nothing else has, I guess that meant these were the ones. They do have a tan embroidered pattern in them, so it subtly breaks up the red.

I need to add a shade to the window too. This is a west facing window and I found out last summer, there is a lot of heat that comes through. I was going to go with the levelor room darkening shades like what I put in the bedrooms, but man 'room darkening' is no lie. Now I'm thinking light filtering. These curtains are lined, so in the summer, between the shade and the curtain, that should keep the heat out. And I have to replace the actual window as well. I don't know what the previous owners did, but the window is completely warped. I have the seams stuffed with window caulk to keep the drafts out at the moment.

Maybe now I will end up going with the red marbled look behind the bookcase-LOL. It seems to be a theme and the house sure handles the color well.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Incentive

The hardest part about riding this time of year is that the events you are trying to get ready for seem so far away. The first barrel racing isn't until the first weekend in April. That seems like eeee-ons.

So I decided to do a little something different this year. There is an awesome trainer who puts on Versatility Ranch Horse competitions in the summer although my barrel racings always seemed to conflict with those dates last year. However, he is putting on a cutting clinic next weekend (the 12th) and a reining clinic the weekend after that (the 19th).

The clinics are one day only and reasonably priced. I figured going to them would give me a little something to look forward to this month.

It's a little scary to think of how long it's been since I have done any real cutting work...

Uuummm...19 years!

Oh my gosh...how the years have flown.

Anyway...

Although, I don't have what I would consider a real cutting 'type' horse here, I think I can make do with some of my boys. Spooks, the black horse was an excellent sorting horse and Moon is no slouch himself. I'm also going to take Frosty. That horse needs as much exposure to cattle and activity as I can get for him. Taking Turk would be useless. That horse doesn't have a stitch of 'cow' in him.

The following weekend, for the reining, I will take all 4 saddle geldings. I don't think Turk is really up to par to get much accomplished on, but it will be good experience for him. I do intend on showing Frosty and Spooks in some reining classes at the open horse shows this year if I can wiggle some in. So this should really help me get an idea of what to focus on. I'm a bit afraid that is going to be everything.

But at least it will make February more interesting and time does fly when there are things to do.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Boys And Their Toys

Like much of the country, we are experiencing some bitter cold, but thankfully none of that nasty white stuff.

The wind yesterday was bitter enough that I pulled all of the geldings off of the pasture. Luckily the house provides a decent windbreak to their pens and I even bucketed warm water to them. Now, ya'll know it must have been cold for me to to do that-LOL. Ya, ya...every once and a while I have to soften up a little and make those rotten ponies feel special.

This morning, dawned still bitter cold, but clear and by tomorrow we will be well above freezing again and then back into the 40's.

And that's your weather report from western, central Colorado...LOL.

My idiot dogs don't care how cold it is though. They hovered around me while I was doing chores...begging me to play with them...
Each dog has a favorite toy now and each of them carries their toy with them pretty much everywhere I go. Just on the off chance, I'll take a second to kick it for them.

Of course there is Red Dog's ball...
The dog is maniacal about his Jolly ball. No big surprise...those of you that have heelers know what they are like and those of you that have Corgi's know what they are like. Combine the two and you have...a Red Dog. He was trying very hard to get back in my good graces this morning because yesterday, he went into working mode and almost got me run over several times as I was bringing horses in. Every so often, he just cannot help himself and he thinks he has to help me by heeling a horse. I do not appreciate this, even though he has never actually bitten one of the horses. Number 1-I don't like getting run over by one of my fat crew as they try to avoid getting nipped and Number 2-I don't need a damn vet bill from the dog getting kicked in the head. So RD got spanked with a lead rope and told to get to the house. The spanking he could care less about. Not being able to help mom?

OMG-That tears him up.

He sat diligently on the corner of the cement pad and watched my every move...Hoping I would relent and let him help again.

Yeaaaa...NO! Sometimes I just don't have time for his shenanigans. I don't care how much HE thinks he is helping.

My baby boy, Ute on the other hand...Not so much a worker. He's my lover. And he has been over the moon for the last couple of days because he now has a sheep again...
When I got Ute as a puppy, My Honey bought him a small stuffed sheep that squeaked. Ute fell in love with that toy and carried it everywhere. He was very gentle and loving with his little sheep. He would lay forever with it between his paws and gently turn it, while gently biting it, looking for the squeaker. When he found the squeaker, he would bite it rapidly and then look at us all with a surprised look on his face. Every single time. It was quite funny.

Well, along came Red Dog...who was a holy terror and he tore Ute's little sheep to shreds (along with a whole bunch of other stuff). Poor Ute carried the remnants of his little sheep around for quite a while, obviously distraught that it no longer could be made to squeak. We tried a few other toys, but anything with a squeaker in it drives RD to instant destruction. He simply must get to that squeaky thing.

Well, this sheep does not have a squeaky and RD has his ball now. Ute may finally be able to keep a toy all to himself.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peppers and 'Shrooms

Recipes (sort of!) as requested ladies...

Hope ya'll are familiar with a 'pinch of this and a dab of that' style cooking. :-O

Stuffed Jalapenos:

6-10 Jalapeno peppers (I usually buy a dozen, that way if I can always clean a couple of extra ones to use up the filling)
1 box Cream Cheese
Some grated cheese...I just use the pre-grated, yellow and white style, but you can use whatever flavor you wish if you want to experiment with flavor.
Tony's Seasoning (optional)
3-4 slices bacon-cooked and crumbled or chopped

Set the cream cheese out to soften a bit while you are cleaning the peppers and pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Half the jalapenos lengthwise and clean out seeds (a spoon works well). You can cut stems off if you want, but you don't have to. Place on cookie sheet.

Mix the cream cheese, a few dashes of Tony's Seasoning and a handful or so (about a 1/4 cup I'd guesstimate) of the grated cheese in a bowl with a fork.

Fill the halved jalapenos with the mixture, about level with the sides of the pepper. If you overstuff them, all you end up tasting is the cream cheese.

Top with bacon pieces.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. 15 minutes if you like your peppers tender-crisp and 20 if you like them more well done.


Stuffed Mushrooms:

1 lb. pork sausage
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs (regular bread crumbs works as well), finely ground
1 egg-beaten
A little seasoning-I like a dash of sage and a couple of pinches of tarragon.
1 lg. pkg of white mushrooms, about 20 or so 'shrooms
Some onion if you like-chopped fine.

Brown sausage, crumbled and set aside.

Wash mushrooms well and pat dry. Pull the stems out of the mushrooms and chop fine. Saute the chopped mushroom stems and onion (if you desire) in the sausage grease. Drain and add to sausage.

Add the bread crumbs to the sausage and mushroom and mix up. Add seasonings to taste.

When you have the sausage mix tasting like you want it to, pour the beaten egg of it and mix well.

Spoon the sausage mix into the stem of the mushroom and place on a cookie sheet. I have found it is the easiest if you hold the mushroom and use the spoon to pack the sausage mix on top. Depending on the size of the mushroom, it takes about a tablespoon.

Place mushrooms on cookie sheet and bake in oven that has been pre-heated to 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Mushrooms will 'sweat' and turn brown.

If you desire you can top the mushrooms with a bit of grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese when they come out of the oven.

Saver's tip: If you don't want to make a whole bunch of mushrooms or end up with some left-over stuffing-you can freeze it for next time.

**See pics of the pre-baked results below. No post-baked results available...LOL...They are inhaled right out of the oven. ;-)