Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting The Right Fit

Obviously no clinic is complete without at least one question being asked about saddle fit, pads, bits...etc, etc...

Barrel racers are particularly keen on these issues as our tack is absolutely vital. In the race against the clock, the fact is, the wrong or ill-fitting tack can cost us. Oh yea...and then there is the consideration of the horse. ;-)

Early in the year, I was running Moon in that beautiful new Cactus All-Around that I bought in January. That saddle fits all of my horses just wonderfully and I love riding it. However, once Moon started getting some speed up, I felt like he was starting to set me out the back. So I tried that Sharon Camarillo I had picked up cheap. I felt good in that saddle, but even with the new Tod Sloan pad I bought, it was just a bit to snug over Moon's shoulders, so I switched to using this saddle...
I had bought this saddle specifically for Moon because it has an 8 inch gullet. I ran him in it a couple of times...but to be honest, I was hoping to find something that looked...uummm...not so cheap or old looking.

Yes, I am a bit vain. I like a nice, quality looking saddle and this isn't exactly it.


As cheap as it looks, it DOES fit Moon...and it DOES fit me...

So there ya go. This is what I ride/run him in.

I was surprised when Ed was checking saddle fits on everyone's horses that he said he thought it was a nice little saddle. In fact it is made much more correct than many of the fancy saddles that the other girls were riding.

Here is why...Look at where the D ring is placed on the majority of new barrel saddles...

Trace a line from the front of the D ring up to the swell. See how the front of the D ring is actually in front of the swell? Ed says no wonder so many saddles slide back or cause fit issues. The D ring needs to sit directly above where your girth lays. If you don't want your saddle to move backward (or possibly cause sores due to rubbing), the D needs to sit farther back and should be placed so that the front of it is toward the back of the swell, like my el cheapo saddle does...
*I* like a back cinch on my saddles because I think it helps keep the back of the saddle down on the horse's back and lessens movement. This saddle did not come with flank straps (which is common for barrel saddles, particularly these round skirted ones.), so I bought some and put them on myself. I liked this style simply because they are easily removed if I want to use them on a different saddle.

I was never been a fan of the round skirt barrel saddles, but I will say, I agree with Ed that the most important thing is freeing up those hips and these saddles with little tiny skirts do that and they are lighter. I don't think my el cheapo saddle will be going anywhere soon. LOL

The pad I am using on Moon in these photos is too big. Ed does not want anything hitting a horse's hips. Saddle or pad. Normally, I use the 3/4th's of an inch thick, 30X28 Tod Sloan barrel pad I bought earlier this year. That fits under this saddle perfectly and completely frees up Moon's hips. I had just started using the thicker pad because I wanted extra padding on Moon's back because of the way he was acting.

I know we have all had this discussion before...Orthopedic pads!

Even though, I have a couple of saddles that fit Moon across the shoulders, I still have a bit of a problem with them sliding back. So after much reading/research, I went ahead and spent a heafty chunk on this Sharon Camarillo ortho pad...
It is supposed to fill in that area behind the shoulders, which is apparently a really common issue on barrel horses, to support the saddle and prevent the saddle from wanting to slide back to that dip. The problem is and probably always has been, that these speed horses we are breeding for have a wide shoulder and a narrower ribcage. So when you have a saddle that is wide enough to lay properly over the shoulder, there is always going to be that 'dip' behind the shoulder that the saddle wants to slide into. Always make sure the saddle is wide enough for the shoulders and then find the right kind of Ortho pad to support that area to prevent the saddle from wanting to slide back.

Let me tell you...the SC pad was a total waste of money! Not only is there a huge 'cut' over the wither area of the pad, which allows it to sag when you are riding it, the pads are h.u.g.e and overlay the shoulder!!!

Compare that pad to the pad that Ed makes...
Luckily one of the girls had an Ed Wright Ortho pad, because Ed does not actively try to sell any of his 'stuff'. He doesn't bring anything with him. I tried this pad on Moon and the little built up area fits perfectly behind the shoulder and fills in that gap. My saddle didn't slide even without the cinches being done up.

(Sigh)...That was an expensive lesson.

Anyone interested in a Sharon Camarillo Ortho pad? I'll make you a deal. ;-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Starting Beretta

Well, now that I have waited until almost winter...LOL...I decided it was time to get back to working with the horses. I have been riding Moon and Frosty, so they are starting to come back and look a bit more fit again.

I decided that I might as well start working with Beretta...
Now, Beretta is as gentle as they come for her age. Megan has already been on her bareback and has ponied her from the corrals to the pasture. That's been a while ago though.

Baby girl got her first formal lesson in ponying and she was a rockstar. We went down the road and over to the field I ride in and made a few rounds. Not a single problem.

Now to start the sacking and saddling process!

Monday, October 24, 2011

That 'Thing' He Does

So as you guys know, every since Moon jammed his back in July, he's kind of been doing this 'thing'. He doesn't do it so much at home, but then we mostly ride out in the open. I have gotten increasingly careful about the amount of tight work we do. To be honest, I completely laid off the horse for 2 weeks and since then riding has been hit or miss. i knew Moon was slowly losing his peak condition, but since we haven't been running much, knew that he was still in good enough shape to make a run here and there.

Moon isn't a stationary horse. He moves a lot all on his own, so I don't ever worry too much about his muscles getting tight like say, Frosty and Spooks do if they aren't ridden regularly. He isn't prone to getting fat and even though he has a chronic cough, which is only slightly mitigated by supplements that are supposed to help, he maintains good wind.

When we get to barrel racings is when I really notice Moon starting to do his 'thing'. Which is stopping and acting like he needs to pee. Although he never stretches out. When he does have to pee, he does stretch out and has no problems taking a healthy pee. He is also carrying his tail higher than normal. Moon does have a high tailset, so even when his is fine, his tail does not lay down between his buttocks. When he starts to get uncomfortable acting, he really raises it up and has actually started wringing it on occasion.

Every since I found those beans, I have been cleaning him every month and specifically checking for beans. I've gotten a bit of soft stuff out, but nothing hard again. Moon always has been rather nasty in his sheath. I actually clean that every few days cause he gets those chunks of goop and grunge. I'm really lucky because Moon likes to be cleaned. He's very accommodating.

When we got to the clinic, I figured Moon would do his thing right off the bat because of the length of the haul, but he didn't show any discomfort until Sunday afternoon.

I have eliminated every possible physical thing I could think of-chiro, flex tests, electro/myopulse treatments and finally a blood workup and urinalysis. Nothing is showing up of a physical nature and I was starting to think that this was possibly a mental thing. I've talked with several of my friends about this and had them watch Moon, but I think they think I am over-reacting. Moon certainly does not look like a nervous horse.

When Moon started doing his thing at the clinic, I pointed it out to Ed and told him the history of what I have done to 'fix' Moon. He watched for a minute and told me exactly what I was starting to conclude myself...Moon is exceptionally nervous. Ed could see no physical reason for Moon's discomfort, except that he internalizes his nerves and that is causing his loin to tighten up. That's when the physical discomfort comes in. It's like when a person gets so stressed that their stomach knots up and pretty soon their lower back starts hurting.

I have always said that Moon is a difficult horse to read (for most people...apparently not for Ed). He acts so calm and laid back. Few people ever believe, until they see him run, that he is capable of the explosive speeds and turns he has. From what I have read, this is characteristic of the Lady Bugs Moon horses. As race horses they were very quiet and almost dead-head acting until that gate popped and they blew everyone away.

This explains so much about Moon's behavior and the last couple of runs we have had, where he was difficult at the gate. The poor horse is just a bundle of nerves and so uncertain about how things are going to go.

I wasn't completely oblivious to the problem. I've never made a gate-sour horse in my life. So I know if one of my horses starts having gate problems, there is a reason. Now, I know I've had this conversation before...But there is a HUGE difference between a horse that is gate-sour and one that is just amped to the gills and has difficulty getting moving in the right direction. The differences are sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious.

For me with Moon, it's obvious. When Moon is amped and ready to go, he may get to going sideways or even kind of suck back a little bit, but I can feel the energy in him. The last time I ran him, he sucked and ducked every direction but toward the gate and I felt resistance, not energy. He was definitely saying...Uuhhh-UH! I am not going in there!

That is when I decided I would drive to hell and back if I had to to get to an Ed Wright clinic this year. This roller-coaster ride of up and down for Moon and I HAS to come to an end or I need to just stop trying to run him. I am not about to ruin a good horse because I cannot seem to figure out what I need to do next. Moon has made it very clear, he is done with the BS too. For his sake, it's time to get it right and keep it going in the right direction.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blogger Meet-Up

What really frustrated me the most at the Ed Wright clinic was the fact that my mind was trying to do what Ed was telling me to do and my body...

Well, I wasn't incredibly successful at getting my body to respond.

Muscle memory just took over!

But before I go there, I got to tell you that one of our fellow bloggers lives right close to Moriarty and we got to meet up...
(Yea buddy, I got some sun. Sure didn't think I would have needed sunscreen this late in the year.)
On Saturday evening, Fantastyk Voyage came up to have supper with me. It's a good thing too, cause after I had my little 'cry' and finished taking care of horses, I met my hubby at the only bar in Moriarty and was fixing to get waist-deep in some Crown and Coke. LOL.

Heeeyyyy...Ed did tell me he thought I needed to show up about 1/2 drunk the next day so I loosened up a bit. I was just following his instructions. ;-)

We had an awesome visit that evening. She came out to the clinic the next afternoon (and thanks to her, there are some nice pictures) and then on Sunday evening I went to her place for some homemade pizza and got to meet her darling crew. As I have noticed before when meeting fellow bloggers that I've been reading for awhile, it's like catching up with an old friend vs. meeting someone for the first time.

My hubby was doing his own thing. He had met up with some of his club brothers in Albuquerque and spent the day riding with them. I think everyone thought we were a bit of an odd couple because we drove that far and then I did my thing while the hubby did his. But that is how we roll.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Time Out...I Got Photos Of My Filly

Thanks to my niece for getting some photos of my new girlie.

Here she is as a newborn...

Whew...those legs were a little scary looking at first...

Looking at those pictures of the filly as a newborn is like deja vu'. The new filly looks exactly like her mother did when she was born.

Didn't take long for the little girl to fill out and straighten up though...

The two photos above must have been when she was just a couple weeks old. Beauty must be milking like a Jersey cow. That's awesome for a maiden mare.

The photos below are of her at one month old...

I haven't decided on a name for her yet...kinda leaning toward Kimber (another good gun name ;-)...but I hear her nickname around the place is 'Goat'. She's always climbing on the hay bale and her mother. Sometimes jumping from the hay bale onto her mother. Oiy Vey! She's quite the character.

I'm thinking this little girl is going to be a keeper. ;-) Hahahaha...I say that about all of them. Since we raise babies for ourselves and not for resale...They are all keepers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

We Are A Sorry Lot

I have known for a long time that Ed Wright has a reputation for being a tough SOB to ride under. Knowing that he is a horseman's horseman...I understand why. People like him have a love and appreciation for the horse that is far beyond most people's comprehension. They understand horses on a level that the vast majority of us can only hope to touch on. They have a highly developed sense of timing and a feel for every movement the horse is making and how what they are doing in one stride is going to translate into what they will do the next stride.

I'm not going to even try to say that his clinic was easy for me.

It was quite possibly one of the hardest, most frustrating experiences I have ever had.

Ed was hard on me. With good reason mind you.

He may not have thought much of Moon when he first saw him, but once he saw him on the barrel pattern, he made sure to tell me 'That horse has moves!'.

(grins)...Moon makes people say that a lot. LOL

That was pretty much the only compliment I got from Ed that weekend. After that, he started chewing my butt.

Ed didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, I have just become unsure of how to proceed. Advice from friends is invaluable. I have a couple of local friends, who's advice and opinions I respect, but things have not been working lately and I don't think continuing on the path I was, is going to get any better. I needed the assistance of someone like Ed, who sees everything and knows exactly how to break it down, correct it and build from there. I know that my biggest problem with Moon is that I do one of two things with him...

I either get to the barrel and completely quit riding him. Leaving poor Moon to fend for himself in the turns...


I get much too heavy and over-ride the hell out of the poor horse.

I think what made Ed so mad at me is the fact that I do not ride Frosty that way. He asked me why I ride the buckskin horse so light and quiet then switch to Moon and become this Dragon Queen?

Honestly, I KNOW I have a problem when it comes to Moon. I didn't really realize I was getting so harsh with him though.

It seemed to me that every time I opened my mouth to explain to Ed the problems I have been having...I said something that made him look at me like I was the stupidest person on the planet. It's really tough to have someone you respect so much look at you that way.

Now I know in this 'pat everyone on the back and tell them they are great' society that we have become...most people do not appreciate someone giving them the harsh reality...

But I did not drive 500+ miles to have someone pat me on the head and tell me I'm wonderful. I specifically wanted to be told what I am doing wrong and what I can do to make myself better so that Moon finally gets the opportunity to just go do his job.

I guess no matter how prepared you are for a tough's still a bitter pill to swallow. By the end of the first day, I was so frustrated with MYSELF that I went into my trailer, sat down and cried. Ed's clinics are not only physically difficult, they can be mentally difficult as well.

Ed's no dummy. He knew. The next morning he told me I needed to quit being so hard on myself. Rather than becoming frustrated because I did not improve 120% in one day, I needed to recognize that I had improved 50% in one day. And then he told me something that made me laugh...because it is so true...

We barrel racers are a sorry lot. We are the only speed competitors out there who think we can get a horse to go fast by sitting on our butts, kicking and pulling at the same time.

He showed us two pictures to show us how he expects a barrel racer to ride...
The WH cover pic above is one of the pics that Ed showed us. The picture below is one I pulled off the internet because here is a guy riding in a curb and using a romel rein. He is still up and over his horse's first 2 ribs and both hands are up, in the correct position and he is riding his horse f.o.r.e.w.a.r.d...

Ed's philosophy about turning a barrel is unique. Where most of us think of running to the barrel, slowing down and getting a horse to turn, Ed thinks of turning a barrel as...Run to it, gather up, shorten stride and run around it.

Just like a GOOD working cowhorse rider does when they are circling a cow at the end of their run.

Pretty interesting huh?

I didn't really get what he was trying to explain to us until I have had time to think about it and really absorb what he was trying to get me to do at the clinic. Change is difficult if you really don't have a clear picture of what you want to change to. Now that I have this mental picture in my mind and a more coherent mindset of what I need to be achieving in the turn, it's just going to take work to bring it all together.

Ed crammed a lot of information into a very short time, so there is more to come...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bad Horse Mommy


Having Ed Wright tell me within an hour or so of meeting him that I was a 'bad horse mommy' was fairly demoralizing.

Ed had me pull Frosty's saddle and showed me an incredibly easy...but highly effective stretch to ease Frosty's knotted sides.

Now, Ed called this a ligament and even told me the name and l didn't get the name wrote I forgot it. I looked in my Equine Anatomy book and do not see a ligament in that region. What I did find was multiple layers of muscle. The outermost muscle and the one we are all most familiar with is the Latissimus Dorsi, which is #15 on this schematic...

(Photos will enlarge if you click on them)

On the front end the latissimus dorsi ties in under the Long Head of the Triceps Brachii, #17 on this schematic.

Under the latissimus dorsi lies the Serratus Ventralis Thoracis, #10 on this schematic...

This is actually the muscle that I think Ed is talking about becoming knotted and causing problems. See how it runs down the side of the horse toward the cinch area and flares over the ribs? The spot just behind the elbow, in the girth area is where Ed had me digging around and what caused Frosty to flinch.

I'm not trying to second guess what Ed said, but since none of the anatomy pics I looked at showed any 'ligament' in that area, I'm guessing he may have just likened it to a ligament since when it is knotted the way Frosty's was, that is what it felt like. Once we got Frosty stretched out, that ropey, rubbery band feeling under my fingers disappeared and felt smooth and elastic.

Here's the thing...

You know all those horses that people say are 'cinchy'?...or 'cold-backed'?...and they never seem to come out of it?

Oh sure....when we work with them every day, they get better, but give them a few days off and it's like we are starting all over again, with the humpy, jumpy, cinchy behaviors...

Ed says most of the time those problems can be attributed to a horse that gets tight and knotted up in this area.

It took 5 or 6 stretches on each side to get Frosty to relax, but the improvement was noticeable and immediate. I re-saddled him and rode right off. Ed told me I should never saddle this horse without doing these stretches and making sure Frosty was relaxed through that area. He said it would probably take 30-45 days for Frosty to get completely over memory of the discomfort/pain he previously associated with being cinched up, but as long as I kept up with it, I shouldn't have the saddling/cold-backed issues with Frosty that I had become so accustomed to having to deal with.

So without further adieu, this is the stretch...

Sorry for the poor quality of these photos. I didn't realize I was standing in such a bad spot for the lighting.

Simply pick your horse's front leg up, slide your arm under the leg and lift it up as high as you can and hold it for up to 30 seconds.

(Moon does not have issues with that area, but I figured this was a pretty good stretch to add to the program for everyone.)


#1) DO NOT attempt this with your horse TIED! If a horse is uncomfortable with having their leg lifted that high, due to pain or just because you've never done it before...They will pull back.

#2) DO NOT attempt to hold them if they resist and pull back. Simply let go of the leg as smoothly as possible and start again.

To start, ask the horse to pick up his front leg. Bring the leg forward, keeping the knee bent. Gently raise the front leg until you can slide your arm under the upper leg and lift the leg as high as the horse's body allows. Keeping the knee bent, you can support the lower leg by holding the toe with your other hand.

Keeping your body close to the horse will help to keep his front leg in proper alignment. DO NOT pull the leg away from the horse's body. Work on lifting the leg as high as the horse's body will allow, but it may take several stretches to get them to release all the way.'s a stretching exercise. The point is not to force the horse, the point is to encourage the muscles to stretch out and become more supple. It may take multiple stretches, but the relief (if there is a problem) is almost immediate.

On day 2 Frosty was 50% better before I stretched him and 90% better after his stretches. On day 3 he was 90% better before I stretched him and a 100% relaxed after I stretched him. Talk about a much more relaxed and happy pony to saddle and ride off on. If I learned nothing else that weekend...that was worth the drive!

But really, that was just the tip of the iceburg...Ed was just getting warmed up with me!

To Be Continued...

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Impressions

Wow...made it back from the Ed Wright barrel racing clinic in Moriarty, NM....

It was brutal!

Thank you all so much for you kind condolences about Turk. Believe me, that made leaving the next day a tough decision.

Thanks to my local friends for stepping in and helping take care of the rest of the crew. I didn't exactly find how Turk injured himself in the pasture, so I did not want horses out there. That meant keeping the remaining 4 head in individual big pens while we were gone. I was scrambling to move panels around, water tanks around and get everyone situated. Instead of having one person check on everyone once a day, I needed someone to stop and feed twice a day. Between everyone that volunteered, we got that covered.

The plan was to leave early Thursday morning and drive all the way to Moriarty in one day. Me hauling horses and the husband on his bike.

That didn't happen. I didn't get left until almost noon on Thursday. Too many things slipped my mind the day before. So when we got to Cortez, CO. at about 4pm, I decided to get to get a hold of a barrel racing buddy down there and have her tell me where the fairgrounds was. I knew Cortez had a nice facility that was safe to overnight at. They did have 10x10 pens set up in one of their barns, but I much prefer the horses to have lots of room to move around, so I put them down in the big bucking stock pens by the outdoor arena. Cortez isn't exactly the 1/2 way point, but I didn't know what kind of facilities we would find to overnight the horses farther down the road and I didn't want to risk having to stop and get settled somewhere after it got dark.

Once the horses were settled, the husband and I headed to the casino to get something to eat and unwind a little. I never used to gamble, but my husband has ruined me. ;-) I lost my cash on the tight-assed slot machines, but won all my money back on the roulette table.

Interestingly enough, MH and I had two of the most unusual gambling experiences ever at that little casino. I had won my money back and was getting ready to cash out my chips, but I still had one chip on the table and one in my hand. Not being one who likes odd numbers...I doubled up the chip that was still on the table. I had just hit on that number mind you...and double dog-dared the dealer to hit that number again.

He did! Back to back number roll.


Two dollars turned into $64.

Gotta love that.

I cashed out my chips and hunted up the husband to tell him I was ready to eat. Right when I walked up to the machine he was playing, he hit the bonus round. Thirty-five free spins!

Free spins are great, but only if they hit more credits. Ya know?

Well, that machine wasn't hitting much for credits on those free spins...but all of the sudden it hit the bonus round again. Thirty-five more free spins.

And then this is where it got weird...

The machine just kept hitting the bonus rounds and we thought the darned thing was stuck.

By the time it was all done and said...One Hundred and Ninety free spins.

To bad the machine didn't really hit anything super big. MH won a little over $800. He's won way more than that off of just a single bonus round, so the payout wasn't that spectacular (although that is nothing to sneeze at and it paid for our trip), The number of times the machine kept reseting and giving him free spins was definitely unusual.

The next morning, we waited until it warmed up a bit, so MH didn't freeze his butt off on the bike...loaded up horses and headed down the road again. It was a nice drive.

Initially, my thought had been to go over the mountains from Grand Junction to Durango and straight down to Albuquerque. I didn't realize the road that way was probably not the best option with my rig. Some friends enlightened me to the error of my ways so we went the much easier route of over to Moab, UT, down to Monticello, back to Cortez, CO and then straight south through Shiprock to Gallup, NM, jump on I-40 and straight through Albuquerque and on east to Moriarty. Five hundred, thirty-eight miles from door step to door step. Heck, that's a shorter trip than going back to South Dakota.

We found the arena easy enough and got horses unloaded. I hand-walked the boys while MH got the trailer situated. The horses looked and acted like they had handled the haul pretty well. I always hope that they will figure out how to roll in the arena while on a lead line, but so far none of my horses will do that. Since there were people saddling up horses to ride, I figured letting them loose probably wasn't an option at that moment, so I went a head and got them situated in their pens. Both horses drank good and wanted their hay.

When we had pulled in, one of the guys saddling horses had shouted 'Hi, How Are Ya?' and waved where they were saddling horses. I had waved back and returned the shout, 'Fine, Thanks.', but didn't go over to introduce myself until I had my horses taken care of. Come to find out, the friendly gentleman was Mr, Ed Wright himself...

We visited a few minutes and I asked if they minded if I saddled up and rode with them. Ed said that would be just fine. I saddled up Moon first. I wanted to know if he was going to start acting uncomfortable in his back. That has become a problem every since he jammed his back in July. The chiro says nothing is out. Moon is not sore in the stifle, hock or hind fetlocks. I had a blood work-up and urinalysis done on him and everything is right down the middle. It's frustrating to think that there is something not right with my horse and not be able to find what exactly is the problem. I have had a niggling little suspicion though and was hoping Moon would do his 'thing' while at Ed's clinic. I figured Ed would have some insight.

But no...Moon was right as rain that night. I saw Ed sizing him up and got the distinct feeling he didn't think much of my horse. I'm used to that by now. Moon certainly does not give the impression he has much talent for anything the way he plops around. I have grown to take delight in that. He's a sleeper. I wasn't planning on doing much but just ride around and let Moon stretch his muscles. Ed however had us do some circling exercises, stops, backs, etc. I think he was trying to get a feel for what Moon was. Moon was unimpressed with Ed hollering instructions to me and having to work. When we quit I got the distinct impression Moon knew Ed was calling the shots and he was mentally flipping him off.

On to Frosty...

Frosty was acting like it was his first trip from home. He was bouncing around, didn't want to stand to be saddled and had a huge hump in his back when I let him to the arena. So I did what I have been doing with him when he acts that way...lunge him a little bit and then work him back and forth a little bit to get his feet. Frosty settled down a little bit, but his eyes were still bugging and he still had a hump in his back. I walked over to shut the arena gate...just in case. The guys turned around to watch and I warned them that Frosty may just bog his head and go to bucking when I stepped on. I didn't want them to be caught unaware as they were riding young horses themselves.

Ed jumped off his horse and headed toward me hollering, 'Baby girl...NEVER step on a horse you think is going to blow up.'

He came striding toward Frosty and poor Frosty lost his mind and started running backwards. Ed grabbed his leadrope and went with him. Telling Frosty what a nimcompoop he was being. Frosty kept going, running backward and spinning in circles. Ed just kept going with him. Talking to him in a rough voice, but never pulling on his head. Pretty quick Frosty decided that was too much work to run away from Ed and stopped. He was shaking and his eyes were bugging out of his head, but he was faced up. Ed reached up and started flopping the fender. Frosty was jumping around, flinching and acting like this was the first time anyone had ever done such a thing to him. It was rather funny. Frosty dang sure needs to be handled by other people.

Ed banged around on both sides of the horse and started working his hips and then back and forth on the leadrope. He didn't stop until Frosty stopped acting like a fool and started paying attention to what Ed was asking him to do. When he finally calmed down, Ed asked me how long I had been tolerating such broncy behavior and I had to admit...generations. After all, Frosty's mom was broncy, her mother was broncy and the great-grandmother was pretty snorty and a witch as well. Good enough using horses....but snorty and humpy their whole lives. They work for me, but I sure wouldn't put a horse like that on the market. Frosty is the last of that line for a good reason.

Ed reached in under the cinch, along Frosty's elbow, dug around and poor Frosty went to jerking, spasming and jumping away from his hand. Ed turned around, grabbed my hand and pushed it to the spot he had had been digging in. He said, 'You feel that?'

I wasn't quite sure what he wanted to me to be feeling, so I dug around like he had been doing until my fingers pressed against a rope-like spot and as soon as I pressed on it, Frosty flinched and jumped away. Ed tells me that is a ligament that should NOT feel like that. It should feel smooth and supple under the finger and a horse sure as heck should not be flinching and jumping as soon as you apply pressure. Ed Wright looked me straight in the eye and told me I was a 'Bad horse mommy!'.

This wasn't starting off with quite the impression I had hoped for...

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

With A Heavy Heart

Things have been exceptionally hectic around here these last few weeks, so I haven't had much time to blog. This morning I was walking around taking pictures of all of the projects going on and planned on doing a rather long post to fill everyone in on all the happy stuff.

Instead, I am very sorry to say that instead, I have to say Rest In Peace to Turk...

As you all know, Turk has been a project horse. For the last year and a half, I have worked on getting him sound again. Due to a massive injury to his right front foot when he was a young horse, I have had a lot of experimental type shoeing done on him to see if we could rectify a floating heel bulb. Although his foot came a long way, it did become apparent to me that he was probably never going to be completely right and at best would be a light riding horse. My mom and I have had several discussions these past few weeks about what exactly we were going to do with him. Taking him back to SD was not an option due to the fact he needed those front shoes and they needed to be reset every 4 weeks. Can't even find a decent farrier in our neck of the woods in SD, much less one that is reliable enough to come reset shoes every 4 weeks. Without the shoes, Turk would have gone back to being completely unsound, in pain and inevitably his front-end would have given out.

The damn thing of it is, the horse has always been accident prone...note the bandage...

If anybody was going to get into something they shouldn't or get hurt...he was the one. Unfortunately poor Turk used up his 9-lives this morning and I had to put him down.

I still have not really figured out how he did what he did, but he was in the pasture with Spooks, Bugs and Jet. Moon and Frosty were in pens waiting for me to clean them up for my trip this weekend, so I know that it was not a fight between Moon and Turk. Anyway, I saw horses at the tank this morning when I left to get work done on my trailer, when I came back, they were all at the far end of the pasture. That's normal. Turk was off by himself. That is also normal. I get a knock at the door with an unfamiliar lady telling me they were working on their fences and noticed my Paint horse had some blood on his leg and wasn't standing on that leg.

Already sick to my stomach at her words, I grabbed a halter and ran up to where Turk was. There wasn't much blood and although the gash in his leg looked horrible at first glance, by the time the vet got here, I realized the gash wasn't that bad. I knew the vet would be putting him down though. He had fractured the high motion joint (the front of the hock). The vet confirmed what I already knew in my heart. The chances of that ever healing right...very slim.

I called my mom. After all, Turk was her horse and I thought she should have the final say. She agreed putting him down was for the best, so that's what we did.

Rest In Peace Turk...You had hard-luck in this life, but you were a pretty nice guy in spite of it all....

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm A Big Girl Now

I felt kind of bad that the last few pics I have have put up of Miss Beretta have not been exactly flattering. So I asked her to give you her best race horse pose...

It's not difficult to determine she takes after her mother's side of the family...

I am hoping the weather holds up because it's definitely time to get little sister started under saddle. I've been busy getting all of the new trim primed and painted for the house though. It's been tough to keep up with the contractor. But I'm not complaining. As hard as it was to find someone who shows up and gets things done (and done right)...I was more than happy to give up some of my own time to save a few bucks and keep them on a roll.

I can't really afford to let Beretta mature too much on her own though. The one thing I have found with these blockier made kind of horses is that if left to long, they get really stiff bodied and start to lose maneuverability. If you start them lightly when they are this age and work with them consistently, it goes a long way toward them developing into a more limber and agile adult.

The Lady Bug's Moon's that I have rode seem to have a propensity to want to be a bit heavy on the front-end. Beretta doesn't seem to be so far...but both the Leo's and LBM's are heavy shouldered horses. It's going to take consistent work to keep Beretta mobile in the front as she develops even more. Luckily, she has that strong stifle and a good hock-set. She may never be sweepy in the front, but from the way I have seen her move, she seems more inclined to keep her center of balance off her front-end and uses her stifle and hocks to really stop and get turned around.

The stinker can fly too. Watching her run is interesting. She moves very differently than my other horses. She carries that head and neck very upright and all of her speed comes from under her. She reminds me of my friend, L's winning little barrel mare. I don't know if Beretta will ever get a real opportunity to show what she can do. It depends on if she stays sound on that hind leg where she shattered her sesmoid bone, but every since the chiro adjusted her hips a couple of months ago, she has been sound and traveling square. She may hold up better than the vet said she would as a riding horse, but I'll only know if she'll hold up for barrel racing years from now.

First things first though...gotta get her started and riding.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Road Trip!


I have something to be excited about!

I just made arrangements to attend the only Ed Wright barrel clinic that is anywhere near me...

Moriarity, New Mexico

In two weeks!


I was very bummed that the Ed Wright clinic that was scheduled in August, just an hour from me was cancelled. I figured I would have to wait until next year and try to catch any one that was even within a day's drive.

But I talked to my husband this evening and asked if he cared if I went to the one in Moriarity, which is just outside of Albuquerque and he said that was fine. As luck would have it, that is when he has scheduled days off. We will go a couple days early and MH is going to ride his bike down. We'll have a full day to ride around Albuquerque and check out the sights.

Woo-Hooo...MH and I are actually taking a trip together and I get to play biker chick and cowgirl all in one weekend?

It just doesn't get any better than that!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Big Dork

Another Finals over. I only ran Spooks because he was the only one in the standings.

I was tied with another girl for 4th in the 4D but I had won more money, so that slot was sewn up, but I was only a few points away from moving up to the 3rd hole, so my goal was to just let Spooks make the same run he has been making all along and hopefully pick up the needed points to move up another peg.

Of all the gosh-darned days for Spooks to decide to be a barrel horse. (Harrumph)...Silly horse ran a 3D time today. Took 7/10th's off his normal times in this arena.

He just made an effortless run and turned the barrels a lot quicker than he has been.

I dunno...

I knew I shouldn't have trimmed his feet.


Now who on earth would think that a barrel racer would come out of the arena thinking...'I wished he hadn't gone so fast!' ???

I knew he had a pretty good run put together and purposely slowed him down and he still ran too fast. (giggles again over the thought of any barrel horse running too fast.)

Oh well, Spooks earned his 4th place headstall...
It was a fun day...beautiful weather and great people. Spooks has had a great year...considering I just started hauling him a couple of months ago and only did because of Moon's back problems. I thought this would probably be Spooks' last run of the year, but come to find out, he is still near the top in points at that little play-day series I started him out on early this year. There's two more of those play-days in the series, so I guess we will go to those and see if he can't pick up the High-Point Buckle for the year.

I thought October would be a slow month and then we would pretty much done, but it's actually looking pretty busy all the way into November. If my plans stay on track, I could be busy with horse-stuff all winter.