Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Round And Round We Go

I have to say...I think Moon is thoroughly unimpressed with Arizona.

See the thing is, there is a lot of space to ride out behind Mikey's place, and I have been utilizing it. We are spending a LOT of time doing this...

Round and round the bushes we go. Then we do figure eights. Then we do the 'barrel pattern'. Then we walk, trot or lope in a straight line, then we go around some more bushes. Over and over and over.

Moon's pretty sure this should be something that excites him and/or causes him to want to dive on top of a bush, or blow off, or not give and bend to the pressure....But he can't really figure out what that is because technically we are NOT on a barrel pattern...we are just riding.

And outside of me having to kick his ass for acting ridiculously barn sour one day, it makes absolutely no difference to me how goofy he acts or how much he charges around trying to ignore me. He figured out pretty quick that Arizona bushes are NOT worth charging over the top of (snicker), and while he might ignore my request to shape and circle 'this' bush...there are 9,000 more that I can send him around (giggles like a lunatic). And that is exactly what I do.

Believe me an hour and a half into these exercises, Moon was lathered...but much more docile and completely willing to shape the instant I picked up the rein. He was no longer trying to yank his head the opposite direction, no longer trying to shoulder the circle, no longer trying to rush through. Just nice, soft, willing circling. He'd move in and move out, I could shorten his stride or lengthen it out and he never lost his new-found softness.

Not only is this kind of riding the BEST thing I could ever possibly do with Moon, it's giving ME the opportunity to work on what I need to work on...maintaining a straight body, using my legs, lengthening my arms and keeping my chin up and looking.

BOTH of us are re-learning and establishing correct muscle memory...Without ever having to look at a barrel. This is so cool!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kicking It Off

The first run of the season is out of the way...

And it wasn't terrible. Not a winning run though.

It started raining in AZ on Friday...and it hasn't stopped. I called the GCPRA office to find out what kind of pens and hook-ups were available in Lake Havasu City and they said, 'There is none.'

Soooo...rather than drive up the night before, I just got up and loaded horses at 3am to make morning slack. It rained the whole way there...rained the whole time I was there...and then really started pouring when I was leaving. The arena was over the fetlock deep mud and sloppy. Moon acted like it was his first time to town...He was spooking, blowing and snorting at everything...and he was getting really pissed off about the rain. I was soaked and he was soaked. It must have been dripping down into his ears because he was shaking his head and getting madder by the minute. The only thing on his mind was getting back in his trailer. LOL

Moon didn't fire super hard to the 1st barrel and he was a little hesitant to really stride around it. We came out good and then Moon wanted to fade to the left. He really wasn't wanting to come back over but at the last second he jumped back on the correct side of the barrel. He had lost a lot of momentum though and it felt like he was walking around the barrel. Uuggghhhh! But then he took off and finished the run like he knew what he was doing.

Of course it's impossible not to be disappointed when your time is not as good as you know it could be, but to be honest...I don't blame Moon a bit for being a little over-cautious. It's his first run out in over 3 months, a brand new location and not exactly ideal conditions. Ground conditions and being soaked to the bone and cold weren't considerations because everybody was in the same boat in that respect. I tell ya though...afterward, I could hardly get Moon unsaddled and his legs rinsed off fast enough...He wanted back in his dry trailer and I wanted into some dry clothes. It was definitely one of those...we're done...let's get the heck out of here moments.

We have a couple of weeks before our next run and that will be our first WPRA rodeo. The plan was to come to AZ, make this rodeo, close on our house and then make a quick trip back to CO to gather the rest of my stuff and Jet (the big bay horse) and then come back and get settled into the new place. However, the bank is dinking around and has not completed what they need to to finish the closing. It looks like it is going to be a few more days before everything comes together. I am going to stay in AZ until the house closes and just keep working horses...

That is, if it ever stops raining. It's a good thing I didn't have plans to take my trailer anywhere in the next few days. I don't think I can get it out again until it dries up. LOL...I had hell getting it back in and actually slid off of the packed road and got my pickup stuck. Mikey comes out, looks at the mess I have created in the mud and tells me she will call a friend with a backhoe to come dig me out (talk about embarrassing). However, I just decided to unload horses so I wasn't jerking them around in the trailer and I got my rig unstuck. It was a little hairy and it got a little western...but I didn't even wreck anything, except the ditch behind Mikey's house. I have some raking to do to smooth out the ruts I created. :-o

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Most Wonderful Dream

I woke up this morning to the wonderful sound of rain gently falling on the roof...I slid the window open and the air was fresh and warm and the dirt was brown. Not a single bit of snow...anywhere.

I thought I was dreaming...so I went back to sleep. It was such a wonderful dream that I did not want to wake up.

When I woke up again...the dream was still with me...

I AM in Arizona!!!!!

I finally made it!!

With me, I have Moon, Frosty and Bugs. I arrived much later in the evening than I had anticipated but I was still warmly welcomed by Mikey, Mercy and Wade. They had set up some nice large pens for my boys and filled water tanks. All I had to do was throw my crew a bit of hay and they were free to relax and rest after their long trip from Colorado.

It was a good trip. The roads were dry and the traffic wasn't bad. I just got left later than I was planning on because my idiot horses decided THAT was the morning when NO ONE wanted to be caught. I spent an hour and a half trudging around in frigid temps and deep snow trying to catch them. If they had only known that all I wanted to do was leave the cold and snow behind right?

Mikey and I spent some time this morning slugging down a pot of coffee and catching up, then we headed to town to get hay. Mikey showed me around Wickenburg. Lots of new arenas going up in this area. Lots of barrel racings, ropings, playdays and sorting. There is going to be lots and lots to do.

I wished I would have gotten a picture of Wade's face when Frosty backed out of the trailer the night before...even in the dark...it's impossible to miss that, A) He is a b.i.g. horse and, B) He's 'fluffy'...and I don't mean just his hair. LOL...Frosty is not exactly f.a.t....but he's not exactly fit either.

And then I unloaded Bugs. Lord...Now that little guy is f.a.t.! Wade sees these two and says, 'Geez, your gonna think we starve our horses.' Not hardly. I've got some riding to do to get my two pudgy boys in shape...but that is why they are with me.

Since it kind of kept raining on and off most of the day, Mikey and I didn't hit the desert on horseback, but later in the day we headed over to Wade's brother's for some practice roping. I took Moon to make sure and get him stretched out and see how he felt. He was feeling froggy. It took a little bit to get him settled down and working. But I don't blame him...these much warmer temps sure do make a person feel good. He finally settled in after pushing some steers around...

Friday we load up again and head to Lake Havasu City. I am entered in the Grand Canyon circuit rodeo up there. All that was left was the slack, which is fine. I run first thing in the morning on Saturday and then it's back down to Mikey's and I can start focusing on getting horses in shape and be ready to hit it hard in February.

Right now, you'd be hard pressed to slap the smile off of my face!!

Oh yea...And I taught Mercy how to play arena tag...I think I have created a monster. LOL. But it's all good. I didn't want to overdo it on Moon this time, but next time...It's game on! ;-)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

White Lightening

White Lightening is one of the many Frank Lampley products I use...

Frank Lampley Horse Products  (The White Lightening is toward the bottom of the page)

It's designed to be used for trauma, colic, extreme stress and cases of poisoning, including venomous snakebites. Personally, I have had 100% success rate with it bringing a horse quickly out of a colicky episode. My mom is the first person to start using it years ago when she had a mare that just kept colicing. It was the only thing that brought the mare out of it. In hind-sight, the mare probably suffered from some severe ulcers from an extended use of bute. That mare was my brother's #1 roping mare, but suffered from bursitis of the shoulder. The vet's recommended keeping her on a low dose of bute when she was in use. Back then, that was all there was for arthritis and no one knew just how damaging it was. It took a full year to bring the mare around, but eventually she did come out of it and almost a decade later is an exceptionally healthy 22y/o...

We've also successfully used it for performance day stress, rattlesnake bites (on horses and a dog) and on a mare that had a bad foaling. I've dosed horses at barrel races and brought them out of episodes of colic and tying up. Although, I will say, a couple of times, the owners didn't wait for the WL to work...as soon as they could get their hands on some banamine, they used it...and of course, those are the 2 people who don't believe it works. LOL...Not everyone believes in that 'holistic mumbo-jumbo'.

There was one time that I didn't think it worked...I tried it on Moon, back when he was getting radical at the gate (before I discovered his ulcer situation) and it didn't calm him down. He went in and ran like a freight-train. Uummm...After I got Moon's ulcers fixed, he has has run like that every since....so I guess it did work. I was expecting it to relax him like it has on everything else. I guess when Moon's 'relaxed' he just runs harder and faster. LOL

To answer CutNJump's question...Yes, you can add a dab of water to the powder to make a paste, which does make administering it somewhat easier. According to directions though, it's most quickly absorbed if applied directly to the tongue, so if you wanted to use a syringe, you'd have to get one with a wide nozzle and still apply the paste to the tongue, not up the side of the mouth like you would with wormer or something like that.

And unfortunately, I do not know if these products can be shipped to Canada. I know Lisa (CdnCowgirl) looked into Lampley's stuff some years back, but am not sure if she was ever able to get products shipped to her.

Ohhh...And CutNJump...I know you guys are suffering from abnormally low temps...But I would LOVE to see temps in the 20-30's. LOL...Our HIGHS for this last week have barely been into the double digits. We got up to 14*F the other day and it felt like a heat-wave. LOL. The warmest it's been at night was 0*F, but it's been as cold as -22*F (at my house). There was a recorded -18*F at the Airport, which broke a record set in 1907. It's all relative though....I seem to have gotten used to this frigid weather and yesterday I rode with my coat unzipped and no gloves. It was 9*F. :-D.

News on Frosty...He seems to have turned the corner and is coming out of his funk. His eyes are bright, his expression is normal again and he is back to licking the bottom out of his food pan. Yesterday we made 3 trips around the 20-acre field instead of just 2 and even loped some.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trucking Along

Not much change here...I'm still trying to get caught up and the weather is still cold.

But I am getting horses rode.

I really debated about getting front shoes put on the sorrel horse...I just don't like having them on the horses in this snow. They just promote ice balls like crazy and are slick when I ride down the road. Soooo...I bit the bullet and trimmed his heels way down. He still short strides just a hair on the hard ground, but is traveling just fine over in the field, where the ground is soft and the snow is deep.  That will work for now.

Working in that deep snow, with the soft ground underneath is quite the workout for these horses. Two trips around the 20 acre field and Bugs and Frosty are just a huffin' and a puffin'. Moon seems to be handling it incredibly well. Moon always has handled the cold weather better than he handles heat. But I also started him on a new breathing supplement, so that may be part of it.

Frosty gave me quite the scare the other night. His coughing is gone, but I can tell he still isn't 100%. I have been riding him, but just walking for about 20 minutes because I don't want to get overdo it or get him too warm. After I get done riding each horse, I unsaddle, groom and then grain. For the probably the first time e.v.e.r. in his life, Frosty did not finish his grain. I turned him out, hayed everyone and then stood by the gate watching. Sure enough...Frosty started pawing the ground, then looking at his side. About the time I was going to walk in and check him out, he walked off and started eating hay. So I just stood and watched for a while longer. Pretty quick, he starts pawing again and this time, he lays down and starts rolling. I was in that pasture and had him caught before he even got to his feet. Damn!


I got him to the trailer and then almost gave myself a heart attack because I couldn't find my White Lightening. I was throwing shit left and right looking for that little white tub.

I finally found it. Shoved a spoonful in Frosty's mouth and then went to get him a bucket of really warm water. Fifteen minutes later I shoved another spoonful in his mouth and offered him the water. He sipped a little bit. Then we walked for a few minutes and I shoved a 3rd spoonful in his mouth. This White Lightening is the most amazing stuff for stopping colic I have ever used...but it is a real pain to administer. It has the consistency of flour, so the slightest poof of air out of a horse's nostrils sends it flying, not to mention you have to pry the mouth open and dump the spoonful onto the tongue. After the 3rd spoonful, Frosty drank a half a bucket of the warm water and I checked to see if he wanted to eat. When he tied into his hay like nothing had happened, I knew he was over it.

Still, I didn't have a very restful night. I got up 3 times in the night, got dressed and walked out to check on him. He was fine. Whew!

He looked a little brighter the next day and I have been making sure to offer him buckets of extra warm water, which he hasn't done any more than wet his lips from. From the amount he is drinking out of his tub though, he is getting a sufficient intake. So I dunno what that was all about. It's been cold for so long now and like I said, I can tell he still isn't 100%...but there really doesn't seem to be anything specific enough to warrant calling the vet. No temp, his cough has subsided and he is eating, drinking, pooping and peeing normally. Just going to take it easy with him, but still keep going with a regular exercise routine.

Now, if I could just get everything else lined out so I could head to Arizona....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

So It's Going To Be Like This Huh?

I was pleasantly surprised to realize that Moon is still in pretty good shape. He can maintain a nice, steady, strong trot for 9 minutes...in the deep snow. That's good. It means his stifle is in pretty good shape. That left stifle and Moon's breathing are always my top priorities. Both can be judged by working on his trot set times.

It's the other two that are giving me a little grief...

Obviously, I pulled everyone's shoes quite a while ago. I hadn't noticed my little sorrel horse having any problems moving around until I started saddling and ponying him...and sure enough, he's short striding on his right front. That is the foot that always wants to club due to an old scar. I trimmed a lot of heel off, but always hate to trim him down as far as my farrier does. There is some permanent bruising in that heel and without a shoe to protect it...well, he is sensitive and short-strides. Time to get his front shoes put back on. It took a long time last year to get his shoulder muscling re-balanced and get him striding out equally...I hate to work him while he is short-striding and risk unbalancing that muscling again.

And...Frosty has a bit of a cough. I can tell he doesn't feel great, but he doesn't have a temperature and he's eating and drinking fine. I have put him on an immune booster and MSM hoping to break up whatever seems to be depressing him...and at least his coughs seem to be more productive. But, I hate to stress his respiratory by trying to work him in this cold air.

Well, Moon is going to be well on his way to being back in shape before heading to AZ next week, but it looks like I will be starting from scratch with the other two.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Not So Bad

Back to riding, in the snow and the cold...

I love the tracks Moon makes in the snow...

Perfectly spaced zig-zags. The snow here is very dry and powdery. It almost looks fake. It's sufficiently deep that the horses aren't hitting the dirt...not that it would matter...Under all of this snow is perfectly dry and NOT frozen ground. We had no moisture to speak of when it snowed right before Christmas and the cold weather moved in at the same time as the snow...so the ground did not freeze and the snow has not melted. I guess you could say it's about as ideal to ride in as can be expected.

The hubby brought home a Sunday paper and I actually read through the ads as I was wadding them up to start the morning fire. Hmmm....seems January is the time to buy anything potentially related to tax time...(which means I need to load up on the yearly supply of paper/pens, etc)...and also fitness gear. Well, I have been wondering what I could do, besides riding to stay in shape while away from home.

I have a gym membership at home...but obviously am not going to want to be buying day memberships wherever I am, to keep going. I figured I could do a lot of walking and some jogging...typically I'm not a jogger/runner, too many problems with shin splints...but I still like to do a lot of target specific exercises too. Soooo....

I bought myself some new neon tennies and some mobile workout equipment. Last summer, MH brought me a flat-screen for the LQ. I finally got that mounted when I had the trailer serviced, so I went ahead and bought some exercise dvds to work out to as well. I'm set! ;-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

That Messed Things Up

I was planning on starting to ride horses again as soon as we got back from our New Year's Eve trip, but within hours of getting home...I got sick as a dog and was laid low for several days.

That really messed up my plans.

I figured if I had 10 days of nice long stretching work-outs on Moon before, that we would be at least 'ready-enough' to make one competitive run and then I would be staying in Arizona and could continue on with getting horses in shape.

However, I don't feel it's fair to Moon to only get a couple of rides on him, haul him 550 miles and then expect anything resembling a competitive run, so I opted out of entering the first Grand Canyon rodeo of the year. :-(

Getting sick didn't just derail my riding, I haven't gotten anything else done that needs to be done; the trailer packed, tires on my pickup, or the house cleaned. Arrggghhh...Now I am so far behind, I almost don't know where to start.

Gotta start somewhere though...pick a project and just get it done. After I ride my horse though. :-)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And Just Like That


We got the property we wanted in Arizona. All we have to do is wait for a clear title and voila...

Snowbirds. (LOL)

It all went down so quickly and has been such a smooth process that I think both the hubby and I are still in a bit of shock. Reality hasn't quite set in.

Now, that being said...there are still some things we are going to have to get straightened away. The realtor we are working with has been very good about informing us of the differences between buying from a homeowner(seller) vs. buying foreclosed property. Apparently in Arizona, there is a law that says when someone buys a foreclosure property, the buyer is legally responsible for having the septic inspected. That means that we are going to be responsible for paying someone to come out, 'locate', dig up, inspect and then pump the septic. Seems incredibly weird that we are forced to actually dig up the septic for inspection...but according to the realtor...it's usually only a few hundred dollars. The other responsibility we will have is to get with the 2 other people on the shared well and find out how that is set up. Some shared well set-ups require a small monthly due to be paid into a community fund and some do not, any repair expenses to the well come out of pocket at the time of necessity. Either way, we will need to get the previous owners removed and ourselves put on as owners. The realtor is working on getting as much information out of the listing agent for the bank as she can and has done some location research on the previous owners. It's hard to say if the previous owners will be helpful...or just bitter. I am optimistic though. The property we have now was a foreclosure and I did meet the previous owner, who was quite helpful about how the waterlines ran on this property and where exactly the septic system was located, so hopefully these people will be kind enough to enlighten us a little bit.

Buying foreclosure properties is not for the faint of heart. The night after the hubby got the winning bid, I woke up in the middle of the night and laid there wondering about a lot of things we didn't actually have time to inquire about...One of the things that hit me was, none of us (me, the hubby or the realtor) can remember if we actually saw an AC unit outside the house. After looking at several properties that day and remembering that every other property HAD an AC unit outside the house, for the life of me, I cannot remember seeing one outside the house we just bought. Is that crazy or what? LOL

Oh well, I don't suspect that will be a huge issue. After all...Our biggest concern was the actual property...the fact that all 3.36 acres are level, rock free, fenced and there is an awesome cinderblock 2-car garage for the hubby and there is water and electricity. Having an actual house on the property is a bonus...and it's not even beat up inside. The one thing that sticks out in my mind about the house is the horrible job that was done putting in a floating laminate floor. Ohh my!! There were huge gaps between the planks where the flooring was not fit together correctly. It was so bad it actually made me giggle. But again...no worries. That laminate crap tears up very easily. Somewhere along the line, the house will have to be re-leveled, as there is a hump in the center of the house and after we get around to having that done, I'll just redo the floors in a little bit of a higher quality flooring. It will remain to be seen exactly how much time we will get to spend down there...

I can tell you...right now...I'm climbing the walls to get out of this snow and cold. Yuck!!

I am a bit worried about how the horses are going to handle the transition at this point. Not knowing exactly how everything was going to play out, I did not start blanketing anything before it got cold and the ponies look like wooly mammoths. I'm a little worried about how they are going to handle rotating climates. :-/ Oh man...there is a LOT to learn yet about being 'mobile with horses'.