Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New and Exciting things!!

There I went again, over a month since my last post!!!
Well Friends, I am thinking of moving barns. The place she currently lives has been up for sale for over two years now, and the care has been slightly declining, as has the upkeep of the farm. Recently, the owners have purchased a second home and plan to rent the farm and move to the new home. I can only imagine their interest and upkeep of the farm will gently wane as their new home becomes all they ever wanted.
So I started looking around....and found the barn to end all barn hunts :)
Let me tell you about it, and I will provide photos after I take a few. I'll also provide you with the website after things are a little more set in stone!
1. First of all...60x120 indoor arena with clouds for footing (obviously I'm kidding here), this will be a new thing for us, to my knowledge Sugar has never been ridden indoors, and I haven't consistently ridden indoor!
2. Endless (joking) fields with hay thrown out with morning turnout
3. 150x250 outdoor arena, pretty great footing out there too!
4. Wash Rack
5. 40 acres to ride upon!
6. Beautiful, well kept, pre-civil war bank barn
7. A well established and well known horse woman to help us with issues and to give us lessons!!!
The woman who owns the barn has her own career outside of horses and a second career inside of the horse world as a well known judge. She keeps the barn population down by her choice as she doesn't attend shows these days, doesn't take on green or unbroke horses for training anymore, and uses her personal show horses for advanced lessons.
There may be great things in store for Sugar and I. For Rally and the boy...I am unsure, we broke up a while ago, and I've kept my eye on Rally. But I can't pass up this great opportunity for Sugar and I.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm back!

Wow! What a busy couple of months I had. But...I finished school!!! I have earned myself a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice :)
With the new year, I have been able to make myself a get Sugar consistently loping this year. That means we need to strengthen our walk and trot, aka solidify the awesome base we've got and get into consistent work. I'm researching local and close trainers, and have found one, I think. I've emailed her today to see about consistent lessons at her farm (which has an INDOOR)!!
Sugar is a bit of a dirty mess. It's very damp and starting to get very cold here again. How many of you guys blanket your horses? Do you think that it makes a difference in the amount of calories their bodies use if they are blanketed or not?
I'm going to catch up on everyone's blogs in the next few glad to be back!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rearing: "fixed"

I did groundwork last night with Sugar. After my last post about rearing I sat down and counted the number of times she's done this: three to four times. I decided what I had done each time (what I described in my post) was not changing the behavior, it was stopping it after it had started. While that is what's needed at that particular moment in time, For a young marish-mare like Sugar with a mostly nervous rider, we can't let it get that far. She's boarded, it's not safe for her to do that not only for me, but sometimes 11 and 13 year old children handle her!
So last night I purposefully did things to induce her rearing behavior. (Sped up, went out of sight of Rally, etc.)
I paid attention to all of her little signals though this time (before it escalated), and the corrections would be barely visible to an onlooker. I put her in her stiff rope halter (whether you like them or not, a stiff rope halter has a little more meaning than the flat nylons), and off we went. It's pretty big for her little head, so I put my hand just above the knot, kept a light hold and started singing aloud (I was once told that singing takes your mind off of being nervous/tense, and it works for me). She began to pick her head up and I just squeezed my hand shut a little and pushed my hand down and towards me, ever so slightly. Squeeze, release with about two steps and she cut that out. We turned back towards the barn. Shortly after we turned back, Rally could be heard galloping, and Sugar tossed her head slightly. We turned around, and then I did about two more squeeze, release-s and she calmed down again. We turned towards the barn. We had a few back and forths of this for a little while.
With a  few more sessions, she should probably be done with that!!

PS- I haven't been keeping up with reading blogs this week, I'm going out of town this weekend and getting all my homework done early. I'm going to New York City this weekend to visit my sister and celebrate my birthday!!! For comedy fans, we're going to see Kathy Griffin!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The value of a good horse on a rainy day

It's raining here again...big surprise. Kind of metaphoric for my life this week; hectic and stressful.
I went to the barn yesterday and Sugar was fairly dry. I decided to take some of my stress out on her dirty coat. I went to put her halter on and she put her nose down into the halter. (I'm not sure if everyone's horse is like that, but when Sugar does that, I know she wants attention and will be a good mare that day. I really needed a day like that after this week!!)
I looked her over and also found the perfect resolution for a stressful week...a very muddy mare :) We have this ritual; every brush I pick up she gets to smell, and then she takes the liberty of putting it in her mouth, turning it over, and mouthing that side. So I grab the metal curry, and bring it to her, instead of smelling it, she put her head around my shoulder in her best impression of a hug. She's never done that before, but it was such a humbling gesture. 
I brushed her for about half an hour and then put her back into the paddock. She hung around for a while, which is another thing she doesn't normally do...I really love that mare. She always comes through when I need it.

On an exciting note...we have 17 followers now!!!! Welcome:
Smazourek from It's Quarters for Me
Chelsea from huntseatcruizer
and Barbara B. It doesn't show your blog Barbara, if you have one please share it in the comments!!!

Trimmer coming out tomorrow, I'm going to get photos of Dakota's feet if I get the chance, you guys have to see them, I know Smazourek would like to get a look at them. They are so off kilter...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh Gogo :(

Today, I am writing a post honoring Andrea and Gogo, over at Eventing a Gogo. Gogo will cross the rainbow bridge today, after a long dance with soundness. This was the third blog I ever started reading, and I found it to be not only educational, but heartwarming and engaging. If you don't follow her yet, please try to take a look.
I had mere hours to say goodbye to Pride, but Andrea has had to watch her prized and special mare deteriorate. I commend her for trying every viable option for her beautiful bay mare. Gogo has lightened my day and taught me alot in the past two years that I've been reading. Losing Gogo is not her first equine loss; I can only imagine the pain of losing a second treasured friend.
Andrea inspired my barefoot journey, and I can't picture where I'd be without reading her blog. It's weird how you can feel like you know someone just by reading their online thoughts.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I received an award!!! Thank you both Wolfie (@What was I thinking) and CJay (@Artemis Areia)!!! This is my very first award and I can't wait to share it with fifteen others. That's part of the rules and the other part is to list seven new things about yourself.

1. I've played softball almost as long as I've been alive. I started out as a catcher, but it was awful on my knees and gave my teenage face a lot of pimples!! haha I moved to first base, and sometimes filled in in the outfield.

2. I'm a devoted Subaru owner. I learned to drive on a '95 stick shift impreza (with roll up windows and manual locks), and traded it in last year for an '08 Impreza, complete with automatic windows and locks, and the most important part, a "clicker". I have converted many of my friends to Subaru because of my deep love for the brand and also simply, the cars are amazing. I once climbed a mountain in my car, on a dirt road, with up to 8 inches of snow and ice in some spots. When I got to the top of the mountain, and parked, I looked around at all the other vehicles - all trucks except my little Subaru...can't beat that!!

3. I'm going to graduate college in December, with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice. I've been reading all the news articles about the job market, and it is very hard to find a job. I'm looking and have been since early this summer!!

4. I recently got an Android phone, and I'm still getting used to it!!

5.I have two sisters and they are my very best friends in the whole wide world. I know many sisters fight, and we do, but there are way more times when we laugh and talk long into the night.

6. I have a red birthmark above my right eye, and people ALWAYS ask who hit you?? or what did you walk into?? And then I say oh, it's a birthmark!! They always get all embarassed, but I'm happy to tell them, I'd rather they ask and I explain it, then always wonder.

7. I'll be 23 in 15 days...and my birthday is my favorite time of year!!!

Now for the fifteen blogs:

1. Back Yard Draft (I know it's been a while since you posted, but maybe this will jump start your blogging engines again!! lol)

2. Jumpin' Jolly Roger (aka BigRedHorse)

3. Mustang Cheyenne

4. Dressage in Jeans

5. My Country Genes
6. The Grey Horse

7. A Fat Girl & A Fat Horse

8. Wet Reins

9.  The Jumping Percheron

10. Eventing A GoGo

11. Quarters For Me

12. Brays of Our Lives

13. Horse Crazy American in Germany

14. Dressage Mom

15. Living a Dream

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How do you fix a light front end?

Since Sugar is my first young horse, sometimes our "corrective actions" for bad behaviors are more of a let's see if this works experiment.
She's a great horse on the ground, a little wonky still with standing still while tied, but I would say 90% of the time, all four feet stay where I put them. She's a great little horse to lead when no one lets her get away with grabbing a bite to eat here and there, but sometimes she does get worked up. I think a lot of it has to do with the attitude and nervous level of the handler (typically me). I am quick to get nervous, and she usually balances that out because she is not quick to get nervous.
However (you knew that was coming lol), Rally is buddy sour. That is a problem in itself, but when I take Sugar away he runs the fenceline, whirls this way and that, runs in and out of the barn, and whinnies almost constantly. Normally she ignores it, but sometimes lately she gets a little worked up (i guess that means she's buddy sour too??). Say I'm leading her away from the barn (halter and lead) she'll do that head toss thing mares do, and she'll pop up just a little. She did it twice and I growled at her, and she calmed down and walked patiently.
Last night, the perfect storm happened, I had a bad day, she decided to pull this little trick out of her bag and I had enough. She tried to toss her head back and forth, which I corrected with a tug on the the lead and therefore her halter. Then she popped up a little, I growled at her, and she walked a few more steps, then she popped up a little again, and I yanked down and towards myself with the lead. It wasn't a light yank, and I heard the halter snap down on her face. I felt really bad, and I wondered if that was too harsh. I know lots of people say never to yank on the halter, but what are your options from the ground when your horse does this?
 One good thing came out of the halter yanking, she didn't try that again. I did some groundwork with her right then and there, and took her to the round pen, and released her, where she decided to try and run that fence. (I had no lunge line, just a halter and lead)
So, I picked up the whip and sent her off. She chose a fast canter and also chose to buck a few times. I didn't really do anything about the buck. I did not pay attention to her unless she started to cut in. When she started to do a calm trot and drop her head and turn her ear towards me, I praised her with my voice and let the whip drag on the ground. I asked for a walk and she walked (sugar is mostly voice command trained). So I turned her around, and off she went at the almost gallop and bucking...same thing as before. When we were done with that, I did some ground work and turning and backing. She was nice and calm by then, so I took her back towards the barn.
What would you guys have done differently?