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

Award!!!


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?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I often wonder...

how some people survive with horses.
So there I was, driving along on a busy and high speed road in my horsey hometown, and I notice someone got a new pony. My first thought is, well that's a small little paddock to keep a pony in all by itself, but let's keep an eye on it.
Two days later, I drive by (it's on my way home), and pony is gone. Hmm, did they sell? Return?
The next day I drive by, and slow down, I'm curious, I see that the paddock looks lived in. Pony must still be there.
Two weeks go by, paddock looks lived in, but no pony!
Last night, I practically stop in the middle of the road, looking for this pony. Lo and behold, there is the pony!!! Tied to a very long yellow rope, one end attached to the halter, one end attached to a golf cart, parked in the middle of the yard. Pony is grazing away at the plentiful grass in the yard.

I am certain Sugar would break all four of her legs at once if I tried this with her! haha

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sugar, 4 year old trail horse EXTRAORDINAIRE!!

I love my horse. I LOVE my horse. I LOVE MY HORSE!!!! Here they are pre-trail ride, representing their personalities, Rally waiting for something to eat him, Sugar dozing off. So, I was finally able to organize a trial ride with almost everyone at the barn going!!! It happened yesterday. There were four of us riding, and since one of the people was the barn owner's daughter who is only 13, her mom walked along with us. It was Sugar's first real trail ride (out of sight of the barn) and she was AWESOME!! Before you read this, please know as a barn, we are overly cautious riders...not the types to saddle up and ride out whereever and whenever we please.
I couldn't have asked for a better ride from Sugar. Other than the 13 year old's wonderful older mare, Sugar was the best horse out there. I was a little nervous at first (I'm more of a nervous rider than not a nervous rider) so BO (barn owner) suggested I ride in the round pen a little (I was the first one ready). Which I did, calmed down and got Sugar's attention.
So, we set off. BF (boyfriend) on his horse, Rally, a 13 year old, semi-spooky Arabian/Appaloosa cross, FB (Fellow Boarder) on her mare, Diamond, a 13ish year old Tennessee Walking mare, BOC (Barn Owner's Child) on her 21 year old AQHA mare, and me on 4 year old Sugar!! FB 's horse in the lead, BOC's mare in 2nd, Sugar & I in 3rd, and Rally in last. Rally needed to be last so Sugar and I could hold him back, he gets very excited and just wants to take off sometimes. However if Sugar is leading, he kind of just puts his nose right up her butt and walks along like that. Lucky for him, Sugar isn't bothered by it. Because this is our first jaunt away from the barn, we decided to pick our battles and that wasn't one of them. We agreed beforehand that we would be walking only, and that if one horse stops due to spooking or whatever, the next horse would continue on.
 FB's horse gets very spooky at a road bridge, and she actually stopped, BOC's horse did the same, so I gave Sugar a little squeeze and we took the lead. Rally was of course right behind us, and we climbed up the hill. Sugar is a slow horse, and once we got across the bridge, FB's horse was back in the lead. This trade off of lead horses happened a lot, with no real issues. Rally seriously prefers to be in the lead, but we did not allow him to be in the lead for most of the trip.
A car came up behind us (sugar hasn't really experienced this before) and she hardly noticed. A motorcycle would later go by us, and Sugar didn't care, an older loud Mustang went by us, and Sugar barely flicked her ear at it..GOOD MARE!!! We crossed several bridges, went by mailboxes, flags, trucks, farm machinery, etc....Sugar would look at it but that's it. She spooked twice...once at a loud noise in the woods right beside the road at one point, and once again when everyone else spooked. It only took that one time though for her to realize that she doesn't need to spook at everything they do.
FB used to gallop her horse and let her take off a little, so her horse was rarin' to go, which made her nervous. BO brought a lead and clipped it to said mare's tie-down, and they worked on that for a while.
It was a great experience, we are looking to repeat it in two weeks...hopefully Sugar's boots will be here by then. Sugar was so awesome, I am just in awe of how awesome that mare is.
PS- I got an Android cell phone...anyone have one? What are good apps? Any horse related apps?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

15 Followers :)

What a nice round number! 15. Welcome, Albigears!! I've read your blog for almost a year now, thanks for following mine!! Albigears writes the blog Wet Reins, it's on my reading list over on the right side. She runs the horse part of a program for children, a job I would love to have!! According to her latest post they are a little down on horse #s, I recommended the COTH giveaways section. If anyone has any other websites to offer, please share!! So I went to the barn to take care of Sugar's poor legs last night. I scrubbed the suspected scratches with anti-fungal shampoo. The back legs are much worse than the front, and the left hind is the absolute worst. Of course it's raining here today. Again. I'm thinking of keeping her inside for a day, but I would have to take her to the lower barn, which she doesn't like as much, and would be fretful without Rally, so I'd have to bring him down too. They look painful...at least the hinds do. I may have to call the vet tomorrow...I'm going to have Bryan check them tonight. By the way, prior to feeding I get her out and do about 3 minutes of ground work with her everday. It has GREATLY improved out groundwork skills. She's a different horse from the pushy demanding little mare I had at the end of winter. I need to make more saddle time, but it's nearly impossible to ride during the week with both full time work and full time school. It sucks, but she's living the good life and I'm making sure she gets to for the rest of her life :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I think...

Sugar has scratches!!! I think. Horizontal lines of crusty dirt between her fetlock joint and coronary band on the backs of her legs? ALL FOUR legs??I tried to bush them, but she didn't like that very much. I was out on Sunday,and she was normal. I was out last night, and she has these. I've posted on COTH. I've researched on COTH. Sugar has very sensitive skin. So I'm going to wash her with antifungal shampoo, concentrate on those areas, and get them cleaned up. Then I read that I shoudl put Desitin or Zinc Oxide on the lines to keep them clean and moisture free. Someone also said I could use Tomorrow, the stuff we use for Rally's thrush. It's been so wet here. I wish our barn was drier.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Do they make horse sized rafts?

I've been reading and hearing a lot of stories about wildfires down south. I sure wish we could send them buckets & buckets of our rain. I hope none of you are in that area. Here in PA, we have had strong, steady rain for three days now. In fact, today we are scheduled to get four inches of rain...in ONE DAY.
The barn is flooding, there's a huge pool right outside of the stalls, and with too much more rain, the stalls will flood. However, the horses don't seem to mind, when I arrived last night all but one of them were out on the pastures sucking up the grass!
I cleaned up the poop piles as best as I could, and spent some time with Sugar :) She thinks every time some plastic rustles around it's a treat for her. So I had some Sour Patch Kids last night, and she of course pricked her ears forward and practically drooled. So, I thought, I'll let her taste a little bite, and she'll spit them right out and learn her lesson! She chewed it up, swallowed it and begged for more!
This is what I spent my whole weekend doing, up in Northern PA. This is my friend's Jeep, and we stopped for a picture, we do not normally stand in the back! I'm the middle girl, in the back.

Here we are again, in another friend's Jeep. We got stuck on a hill in the mud after this, and the boys tried and tried to get the Jeep out. There were two of us women with them, and we took a look at the situation, thought about it, and came up with a plan. When the guys had tried all they could, we took over, started our plan, and got down and pushed with them...the Jeep came right out!!I'm the only girl you can see in the picture, my boyfriend (Rally's owner) is up front on the right side, but you can't see him!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

14 followers!!!

I have a new follower!! Welcome Sarah V.!!! If you have a blog, please share it in the comments, I love to read new blogs!
The substitute trimmer came out, and I found her to be very informative and knowledgeable. She is also based out of Maryland, and specializes in fitting boots!!! Hooray!! Sugar has been fitted for boots and she's a size "0" (ohhh, to be a size 0 again:) in the Easyboot Gloves. I'm really thinking of buyine two (fronts), and trying them. She's very tender on rocks and pavement. So much so that I'm reluctant to take her to our arena, which has a rocky path leading up to it. They are only $58.00 USD right now at Valley Vet. Since I am a "barefooter", I think it's high time Sugar and I can ride where we please!!!
She recommended getting the boots ASAP (while the trim is still fresh), and wearing them in. Upon which time I am to add the power strap to them (small-ish strap that goes across the front for extra stay on power), and contact the trimmer for a small pad to put in the bottom of the shoe. This pad will help stimulate the bottom parts of the foot to keep it growing and assist in blood flow to the hoof.
Now, back to regularly scheduled Sugar-loving, we tried the new bit and bridle. The bridle just doesn't fit her head correctly, it's supposed to be Cob sized, but the noseband is HUGE. I'm thinking about throwing Pride's old bridle back on her. Hmm.
So she's basically cured of the sideways treks up the arena hill when I ride her. Do you ever have anyone else get on your horse to see if they are truly fixed or if you just ride them differently now?
Her newest thing is not wanting to turn well, or also bend her body with the circle. I know that pain can cause this, but to my knowledge, she has not hurt herself. Before I call the vet back out, can you guys offer any training help on getting them to turn better or bend with the circle? Of course we are working on the give to pressure stuff with turning, but other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We survived Irene :) and Mucho Caliente arrived!!!

Well blogging friends, I hope you have all survived or escaped Irene as Sugar, Rally and I have. I work for a government agency that responds to disasters like these so I've been working my keester off all week and weekend at the office, then to the barn to see the princess.
In that spirit, I have seen this video making the rounds, and if you haven't seen it yet, definitely a pretty cool thing to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jaPRZd7gvJc
Probably a mounted search & rescue team, ears forward, slow, steady pace...a horse & rider team trained and experienced at doing what they do...nothing better!!
We didn't have any permenant damage to the barn, some flooding, but it was mostly gone the next morning. Lots of power outages around us, but none at the barn.

Prior to Irene, I got down to the local tack store (Tackroom Treasures) and spoke with the owner. She recommended a copper french loose ring snaffle. So I'm giving it a try. I had Sugar in a mullen mouth, but it's far too large for her, and I'm not sure she's very fond of it. Prior to that, the trainer I no longer ride with had us using a rubber full cheek snaffle, which she definitely did not like. So I figured why not give this a try. The next day, Irene started to hit the U.S. and I haven't had time to actually get on her with it! So hopefully tonight, or definitely tomorrow night! Any knowledge on bits is greatfully accepted :)

Patty, the wonderTrimmer was scheduled to come out in two days, but she e-mailed me last night and said she broke her arm and isn't sure when she'll be back to work! I wrote back and explained to her that we need her and how can we possibly go on without her! lol I also offered to come down and do a work day at her farm if she needs it (thinking who will care for her horses if she's hurt??) Not sure what else I can do for her, she's done so much to help us!
I did a bunch more research, and I believe I found someone that can take over in the meantime, plus this woman knows a lot about (equine) boots...which we will be purchasing in the near future. She also is a long distance rider...so I can't wait to pick her brains on that!!

And finally, last but not least, if you are following the Equestrian Ink summer book giveaway, I actually won a book, and it got here right before Irene did!! I haven't had the chance to even open it yet thanks to work, but I will be diving headfirst into it this weekend!!! It definitely is my type of book based on reading the back. Here is the book: http://www.amazon.com/Mucho-Caliente-Francesca-Prescott/dp/1606011707 I will be sure to let you all know how it is.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I had a relaxing weekend, and didn't get to the Stock Horse Show :(
On Friday, I decided to lunge Sugar, and she was mostly very good. Still bucking a good bit at the canter, but we need to continue building muscle. I know that Sugar knows how to canter/lope because the trainer she went to had her loping off from a walk when he was done with her. Rally carried on while she was gone, running, bucking, whinnying, etc.
On Saturday, Sugar & I were able to ride with Rally & my boyfriend. We were going to go trail riding because the road where we need to ride across was closed, but it reopened. So instead we rode all around in the little neighborhood and all over the farm. Rally spooked several times, but Sugar just kept on truckin', and he quickly got over it.
As many young horses do, Sugar will look around and end up heading off in that direction, instead of keeping a straight-ish line. I have no problem with her looking around, as long as she's not fixating or speeding up or whatever else horses throw at you, so for now I've decided to guide her back with leg yields and some neck reining (Sugar was taught the very basics of neck reining before I bought her).
I have really been paying attention to her trotting off, and I believe for now I've got the cure. Simple half-halts have done the trick as soon as she starts speeding up her walk. Because she's such an honest horse, it's not like she's walking one minute and off on a rampage the next. She gets excited about what's next and wants to get there!
I've also been very careful to not let her speed up when we look as if we are returning to the barn. I think that's a great foundation for a young horse, and if it's possible I would say she actually walks slower back to the barn than leaving. She was slightly riding sour when I purchased her, but I've worked with her on it, and I think she really enjoys getting out now.
Another thing Sugar sometimes tries is walking off when I unhalter her to put her bridle on. That's also been getting better, as she only took two steps this time :) She does not walk off after a ride when the bridle comes off to put the halter on. I can actually take her bridle off, and then scratch all her itchy spots on her head, and then put her halter on, and she stands there. So I have to re-examine the process I use to put her bridle on.
Rally actually sped up this weekend on the way back to the barn. I basically parked Sugar and had Bryan turn around, and go back out on the trail until Rally calmed down, at which point I told him to praise him well, and head back to the barn. He did this twice, and I had Bryan do that twice. I'll be keeping my eye on that.
One more thing, I'm on the search for a new bit, any recommendations?
Oh, by the way, has anyone checked out Mugwump?? She's the new author of the Fugly blog!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stock Horse Association?

So this weekend there's a Stock Horse Association show relatively close to me. I'm kind of intrigued by it, and I think I might go see it. Does anyone know anything about it? What are your opinions? If you don't want to post them, you can email them to me privately.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old pictures of Pride




I found a bunch on my parents' computer!!! What a handsome guy!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I will never own a horse like this!

I step out of the old farmhouse into brisk February evening air. If only I weren't house sitting, and I actually owned this place!! I head straight for the shadowy bank barn, and flip on the first light switch I can remember. Ah, barn and pine shavings, nothing like it! I grab the green lead rope and head straight for the pasture. Seven Arabian steeds to bring in, one at a time.
As I near the gate, soft nickers and expectant eyes greet me. I reach for my favorite, the calm, dependable Luka. Hey buddy, I whisper. We walk to the barn and he gets the first stall on the right. I bring the rest of the horses in, one after another, even my least favorite, the opinionated, bossy, glimmering, chesnut gelding, Pride. He's the best looking horse on the farm, but also quite a handful.
As per instructions, I walk around to each stall, and put blankets on each horse for their night in the drafty old barn. Luka, first because he's my favorite. Pride, next, because he's across the aisle. I reach for Pride's blanket hanging on his wall; he prances around me as only an Arabian can do. I cut him off and begin to lay the blanket across his back. He grabs it and pulls it off his other side, nearest the wall. As I reach for it, he prances around me again. Around and around we go with this game, until I leave the stall and attend to all the other horses. I say to myself as I close his gate, I will never own a horse like this!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Does Anyone remember MySpace?


Well I logged onto mine the other day and found this little snippet I wrote about Pride:
meet the Arabian horse...
he is the most sensitive being you will ever come across,
he notices when you don't come visit him everyday,
he will learn to love you when you put your heart out for him,
he recognizes your car from the pasture,
he catches you when you lose it and almost fall off his back,
he wants to teach you to do his favorite sport,
he forgives your minor mistakes and bad hair days,
he would do anything you asked of him,
and take care of you while he did it.
he's there when your boyfriend breaks your heart,
he is expressive in his feelings,
he comes running when you call his name,
if only there were men like him :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

I am back from vacation!

I am back, Finally!
We have a new follower!! Hooray!!! You are lucky # 13, Cjay! I tried to answer your comment while I was on vacation, but the cable on the island got zapped by lightning.
I hope your horses passed peacefully, and if they did not, it is a hard thing to deal with. I have no words of wisdom other than time has dulled the pain. Pride was really a once in a lifetime horse. I can't describe the bond we had in words. I need to sit down and dedicate a post to him and offer more stories of him, but at the risk of sounding like an neurotic mess, honestly I haven't had the emotional strength to do it.
Sugar was exactly what I needed, and still is. She is also many things I never wanted, a mostly white horse, a moody mare, and lastly...a Paint horse! She is very friendly, with a huge sense of humor and loves to put herself right "up in your business". Cleaning stalls? Oh here, let me dig in the wheelbarrow of saw dust and blow it all out! Cleaning water buckets? I'll pick up the hose and aim it at you! I think she puts up with me, and is just generally friendly to everyone, but our farrier once told me Sugar seems very bonded to me. Who knows!
Speaking of Sugar, she has rubbed a section of her skin by her forelock pretty hard while I was gone. The boyfriend thought it was a cut or injury of some kind, but alas it looks like the Neck Thread worms are back. I have sent him off to Tractor Supply for another round of Equimax. If that doesn't give her relief, I'm calling the vet out tomorrow. I will take pictures tomorrow.
It will be a few days until I post again, lots of catching up to do!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011




How cute is she?? I took this picture last night before riding..I can't stop looking at it & smiling!! What a perfect withdrawl from a stressful week.

ETA: I chopped off her mane (again), thoughts please??

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Warning: Pity Party

Today is pity party day, friends! Do not continue reading if you do not wish to hear extensive whining, poor me attitude, and general complaning.

#1 - In two days, the horse of a lifetime will have been dead for two years...I miss him, I love him, I think of him everyday.

#2 - I leave for vacation on Sunday morning, so I have to get all my homework done for two weeks before then. I also have to get all barn work possible done before that time.

#3 - I have to pack and clean the house prior to vacation.

#4 - Car needs cleaned inside & out and oil must be changed. Must make time with my dad to go over my car to be sure it's ready for the journey.

That's all I can think of right now...but I'm sure there will be a part 2 prior to leaving for vacation! Thanks for listening.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

They don't have those here...

Do any of you read a Horse Crazy American In Germany?

http://horsecrazyamerican.blogspot.com/2011/07/not-science-fiction.html

Robo-Park...weird. It's like little building blocks of cars. I'm completely amazed by this so I had to share!!!


ON another note, it's supposed to get up to 100 degrees today with a 60% humidity...Sugar is parked in front of her fan and pretty much refuses to move elsewhere, come he!! or high water. I certainly am not going to force her out. Tomorrow is supposed to be slightly hotter...HEAT WAVE!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

What a boring weekend Sugar-wise. My sister came to town and I literally stopped in, put on/took off fly masks, dumped feed, and sprayed fly spray. Away I went!
Sugar's pretty stand-offish, I think she's mad, or bored...we'll see!

She's looking long in her front feet toes, I e-mailed Patty about it and asked her to take a look when she comes out a week from now...but that's a whole WEEK!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

CRUNCH

Sugar: "Mommm, get over here, I'm bored!"
Me: Sugar, I'm coming, just a little busy at the moment.
Sugar: "Hello, NOW! Bored smart mare here!!!"
Me: I just have to tie my other boot!
SUgar: MOMMM! Hmm, I'll just chew on this weird spray bottle a while...
Me: Sugar, put that down, you are four years old, almost a grown up!
Sugar: CRUNCH!! So...I don't think the fly spray's going to work anymore Mom."
Me: Really, What gave you that idea? The 5,000 plastic pieces that are all over the floor now? Open your mouth, you probably have some in there.
Sugar: Finally, you're here! Get this nasty stuff out of my mouth...on the double, woman!

Oh, Sugar. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The other day, the subject came up of subtlety (sp?). I have taken two lessons on a wonderful school horse recently, and the instructor tells me I am a good enough rider that I should work on subtlety now. I wonder if riding Sugar has made me unsubtle. Hmm.

Sugar did not want to stand while tied last night. She's been getting so much better at it that I was very bothered by the way she acted. I only tie her now by looping the lead over a board in the barn. She decided to simply, walk away. I put her back and said stand. She fidgeted and then walked away again. I backed her booty up and asked her to stand again. Turn around to pick up my brush and off she goes...oh the pleasures of a four year old :) Well, I can't have that!! I only wanted to brush her last night as it's SO hot (95 degrees and incredible humidity). But this called for some groundwork. So off we go, walking at the pace I chose. Now stopping where I choose. Sugar decides to not stop and keep walking in a circle around me. I asked her to instead move laterally because I asked for a STOP. She nipped at me, but not seriously, so I went boss mare on her and asked a little harsher. She moved until I asked for a whoa. We repeated this process until she stood still for the first request of "whoa". I like to call her an opportunist.

Friday, July 1, 2011

So being the overdramatic person that I am, yesterday was perceived stressful by yours truly, so I texted my boyfriend...in caps, for drama's sake, I MUST RIDE AFTER WORK. Being the routinely calm and laid back person that he is, he answered "alright babe haha".
I get off work, get out of this bankrupt city I have been forced (not really forced) to work in, thankfully free of any annoying/rude/road rage type drivers today, onto the interstate, through all the construction, off onto the busy highway for several miles, a left turn through a yellow light (out of the way folks, STRESSED woman coming through), and onto Main St. of the little town the barn is outside of.
Meet the boyfriend at the barn, Get changed, feed boarded horses, and stomp up to the house barn, where Sugar and Rally live. Turn the corner, and Sugar sees me, her head comes up, ears forward. I can practically hear her say "You're here, FINALLY! Where have you been?? It's dinner time! Rally, RALLY, they're here!!!" Oh mare, you're a lifesaver!!
We saddle up, sans issues :) She gets a little testy with bridling every so often, but not today. She stands now without being tied, after a few sessions of "no, Sugar don't eat that" "NO Sugar, stop that" "SUGAR, KNOCK IT OFF!!!!" We mount up outside of the barn...no mounting block :) and ride up and around the farm to the arena. The arena is freshly dragged (by the boyfriend) and I kind of "dare" him to make a perfect circle. Of course he and SuperGelding complete the picture perfect circle. What's next? He asks, and Sugar and I complete a circle-oval, which is much preferred than it's cousin, the circle-square. I dismount after, because Sugar needs standing still practice/balance. I'll put the jump poles down and we can get them to walk over those! Of course, these two are old hands at that, but we each do that twice. I get down again, and put two barrels on their sides about eight feet apart, so they can practice walking in between stuff. Sugar realized what I was doing, and helped(hindered) me roll the barrels across the arena.
Then, I put two jump poles down, about four feet apart, so we can practice walking through, and starting to back up through them. Boyfriend got a phone call and answered it, so Sugar and I worked on trotting, all over and around, and through. stuff. She only tried to go up the bank once, which is amazing for us. I'm catching her earlier and working on bending her body into the circle, which she understands now.
What a day of riding. We are riding tonight as well :) and will do more obstacles. Any ideas?

I'm ready...

to pack my bag, saddle my horse, and ride across the country. Anyone with me?


The good news, we're already packed and ready :)

What a long week. Really looking forward to the weekend!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Have you ever heard of Neck Thread Worms?

It's just beginning to be continually hot where I'm at and Sugar and Rally have been ITCHY! Rally scratched spot on his chest so badly it was raw skin. Sugar had a spot on her chest that was bleeding slightly. This took only 2-3 days to happen.
So off to the internet I go for research on the first day of scratching. First of course there's Sweet Itch, but after more research I come up with Neck Thread Worms. Nasty little things, here's a thread on COTH about them: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=155469
So I email the resident COTH expert and get the exact treatment, and reassurance that it will not kill my horse, or Rally. Then I go trucking off to Tractor Supply for Equimax wormers and medicated shampoo.
The next morning we bathe both horses and worm them. By the next morning, it was obvious that no more scratching had occurred and it looks like the chest scratches are healing. Sugar has a scratch on her neck which I am concerned about, but have been medicating. It appears to be healing.

I have taken pictures on my cell phone of their chests, and I will post pictures as soon as I am back home with my phone to computer cord.

I just had to share this because I learned that many horse owners have never heard of them. If your horse is rubbing all his hair off his body, or especially mane and tail hair, this is worth looking into. Rally has always rubbed his tail, I am excited to see if this "cures" it. Rally has also rubbed his belly a good bit. Sugar rubs her mane occasionally, and has recently developed a cut on her neck, I believe this is due to her scratching her neck on the wooden wall. Her chest looks worse than his however, and it starting to heal up.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sugar won something!

I entered a photo of Sugar in the dirty horse contest on DressageMom and she was one of five winners!!! The prize is the new ShowSheen product, Finishing Mist. I will do a blog on it when it gets here!!

Patty Lynch, the wonderful amazing trimmer was out Friday and I had forgotten how much fun it is having her out! I always learn something and enjoy talking to her. Sugar and Rally's feet are doing much better, Sugar stands still for her now and she absolutely loves Rally. I've been working a bit with Sugar on standing still when things are being done to her...brushing, feet trimming, mane braiding...and she's doing much better. This is courtesy of Patty's first visit, when I was appalled by my little mare's behavior.
She commented on how perfect Rally's feet are and she really enjoys him, she even kissed his nose. Rally is a gelding, about 12ish and has always been barefoot since before we got him. Everything about him is easy. He doesn't need special feeds or anything to maintain a plump, healthy figure, sturdy hooves, or a happy demeanor. He's the first to greet you at the gate and is very respectful of your space. He ground ties and picks up his feet with ease. Everyone that meets him loves him. He makes a great role model for Sugar :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Check out the followers, friends...11!!! Welcome Mare & Deanna!!! I enjoy reading about your teaching posts, Mare and I thought your mare's roached mane looked adorable, but looks really cute growing out as well!!! Deanna, I LOVE your Fjord. You'll have to share some of your tips on teaching her to neck rein!!!!

I attend school in the evenings as I work full time. I go two evenings a week for four hours. I also do two online classes, which I do all the work for on Saturdays. It seriously cuts down on ride time. However, other than tomorrow, I have three and a half weeks off of school...YES!!!!

Miss. Sugar better get her workout clothes on!
#1 thing to work on: ground work. She's getting pushy and I've got to put a stop to that, other people do handle Sugar, so pushiness is simply not allowed. It's hard to work on this, because she's fine in the arena where it's easy to work, but outside of the arena, she's not so fun.
#2 thing to work on: trotting, trotting, trotting. We both need it and if we ever hope to canter nicely again, we've got to get on it.
#3 thing to work on: ask for the canter after two weeks of trotting, trotting, trotting!!!

I found this little cat in the barn and took it to the York County SPCA. Her tail was badly injured or she would have been able to stay at the barn. I dropped her off on Saturday, but I might call back and see if she's still around. My friends randomly offered to donate to her adoption fee...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ow!

I got my arm stuck between Sugar and her wooden stall gate this weekend...ow. Just a bruise and massive swelling, but not broken! It's on the part of your arm right below the wrist, where it's bony.
We are cleaning up from another massive storm, trees fell on three different sections of fence, and the boys were chopping them up, it just so happened that the stars aligned and Sugar spooked, I was not paying attention because I had brought my aunt to visit my "super calm, laid back, sweet mare". Sugar was the antithesis of calm, sweet, etc. with those chain saws running!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

9 Followers!!!!

Dear people who care about Sugar's life,
THANK YOU FOR CARING!!! We now have 9 followers here at Minus Pride :) Can you believe it???!!! I can't. Almost to the double digits!!!

Welcome, ToCatchAPony!!! Regarding the literal meaning of your name, I never had a pony personally but an old Quarter Horse mare I had once upon a time, named Annie gave me a run for my money several times!!!

Also, the Equestrian Ink blogger, Francesca Prescott follows now as well!!!! If you don't already, you just have to go over to Equestrian Ink and read about Qrac. Make sure you bring tissues to clean up your drool afterwards...he is GORGEOUS!!!

And one more thing...have any of you been over to Dressage Mom's blog?? Absorbine has given her 5 bottles of Show Sheen to give to her readers...you either have to e-mail or Facebook the dirtiest picture of your horse!!! I looked and looked and realized I try not to photograph Sugar when she's dirty!

PS- I figured out how to add the blogs I read list to the side!!! It's at the bottom of the right side. If any of you followers have a blog that's not on there, please tell me. I want to read it!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

7 Followers!!!! :)

I just realized I have a new follower!!!! YAY!!! Welcome Dreaming!!! That makes seven total. Sugar has seven fans...she is at attention hog and I can tell she loves to know that seven people read about her.

I've been busy yet again so my blog posts are intermittent. I did hose Sugar off last week and she appeared to appreciate it. She didn't dance or jig, but just kept grazing. She didn't really enjoy the water dripping down over her back legs, but tought ta-tas Sugar!!

What a weekend. It was beautiful, perfect riding weekend. We rode on Friday evening, got rained out on Saturday, and rode again on Sunday. Sugar has seriously limited trail experience, and she needs miles. To set the scene: the barn is fairly close to town, on a dead end road that is right off of a very busy, very loud road. So, there's a trail that goes around their pasture, which takes about ten-fifteen minutes to ride, and that's about all there is on the property. We have permission to ride through a neighbor's yard to a quieter road.
There's a perfect farm behind us, but the owner is worried about liability. I keep urging the boyfriend to go over and talk to him and tell him about the Equine Law in PA...if you post the two signs you are released from liability and the Equine Council will fight any legal battle that comes out of it.

Sugar has no on road experience, at all. She is fine around the farm's tractor, implements, four wheelers, etc. but they have never come up upon her in the manner that a car would on the road. Also, she spends little to no time walking on paved roads. Rally used to trail ride every day when I had Pride (Pride was a master of trails and any off farm experiences as long as it was me riding him) but Rally has become less immune to the sights/sounds/etc. involved in riding off farm.
So I think we will slowly expand our horizons until we are able to go anywhere. On friday we rode to the lower barn, and out on the dead end road the barn is on from the driveway of the barn to the driveway of the house (a whole 40 ft. :)As luck would have it, a car did come up behind us and slowed down and drove behind us for half of this little jaunt. The car was new and shiny, but very quiet. Sugar was unaffected and I assume Rally was as well because he didn't go flying by us. I did open a gate from her back as we rode around the farm, and she wasn't bothered by that. I also got down and back up at another gate and she didn't want to stand still for me to get off, but wasn't exactly bad either.
On Saturday, we went over to ride, but a thunderstorm happened while we were there, so we decided to brush Sugar & Rally. Bryan came up with the idea to braid their manes, in the Arabian type manner, I had never done it before, but I had the concept :) Excuse the blurry cell phone pic, but here are the results:

A little wavy, but she's so cute!! She's bothered because Rally was getting a treat where she's looking and all I want her to do is stand pretty!!

On Sunday, we went the whole way to the dead end and around the little cul-de-sac circle and back, and also the little trail around the pasture. Rally spooked once while we were on the pasture trail, but Bryan is so unflappable that he calmed right down.

All in all, our first "trail" riding weekend was a success. Sugar generally leads because she is so curious and Rally is much more timid. Sugar's curiousity really helps us because most times she is much too curious to be bothered with spooking. Rally is willing to lead when he is familiar with the territory.

The only trouble I really have is Sugar trying to trot off every so often instead of just walking along. I have tried jiggling the reins to get her attention back on me, but that didn't work. I thought maybe she's just nervous/excited and then just sat through it, but that didn't work. So then I squeeze back with both reins. I think I will try doing some circles when she gets like that. If anyone has any suggestions other than that, they would be much appreciated :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More on the reining horse on Fugly

So I read the post that Mugwump Chronicles did on that video, and it really made me think. I posted this in the comments on her blog...
What an interesting post. I'm just reading this on Tuesday morning after watching the video and posting about it on Fugly and my own blog. I think I would like to take back what I said and say hmm, not how I would train/compete a horse, but competing is not my livelihood. I don't have to get my horse in first place to put food on my table and hay in Sugar's mouth. I think this trainer did what he had to do to win, and while that's not what I would do, I can see why he did it. I really, really appreciated that post and it seriously opened my eyes. As always, you make me think Mugs!
And I would like to continue writing about it (I like to type and ramble so once upon a time I started a blog so I could do that) because I thought even more about it. My next thought is that this guy chose horse training as his career. I did not, because I didn't want to have to put training like that on a horse in order to pay my bills. If he wasn't really prepared to receive this sort of a response, maybe he should have been a car salesman or something. If he is prepared to receive this response...yikes who would want that!




In other news, it was over 90 degrees all weekend so I chose to leave Sugar and Rally alone and let them weather the heat. (of course I fed them and gave them water, etc.) but all I wanted to do was hug my air conditioner and go outside after dark only, I can imagine she wouldn't have enjoyed a ride. Fans are being unearthed from the back of the loft and will be going in by the end of tomorrow, and horses have been switched to night turn out.

Sugar did manage to find the one and only screw that pokes out in the barn and catch her fly mask on it, right beside her eye. She must have ripped it off her head because when I found it, it was hanging on the screw, velcro still attached. It happened on Sunday morning right before I went to feed her. I know this because when I walked in, her eyes were as big as a half dollar and her nostrils were all flared up with crazy breathing. She didn't get injured but of course it worried me!!

Couple Questions...Does anyone ride after dark in extreme heat like this? If I hose Sugar off when it's this hot will she only stay cool while I'm hosing her, or will her being wet afterwards help to cool her?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Check out Fugly today...

Have you guys seen that video of the reining horse on Fugly?? I think (&hope) Sugar would buck me off in a heartbeat if I did that to her. I had to stop the video, it was too awful to watch.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Something is wrong with my comments! I can't comment back to you Wolfie. But here is what I wanted to say...
You should try bareback...it's awesome! lol And it made me a better rider :) I used to lean forward everytime something out of the ordinary happened, and then the instructor I had while riding Pride took away my saddle for a month! We did everything bareback, and I thank her for it to this day! I rode all over the farm bareback, I even trotted bareback and it was really cool. Pride was a very patient fellow and he didn't mind going along bareback, stopping, getting down, looking at something in our path, sidling up to a rock/fence/tree/etc. so I could get back on. It really assisted my canter seat. Someday, when you get the chance to do it, you should! It was a little shaky for me at first, but then I got the hang of it!!

The wormer...we literally JUST switched to the way you describe...it seems to be the new way to do it...I'm excited that we don't have to dump chemicals down their throats every other month!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Great Weekend

What a beautiful Saturday we had here in PA. I rode Sugar bareback for her first time!! (her first ever, not mine). She was perfect, I rode her in the round pen to be sure we had good control. Right after I got on her, someone decided to pull in and park a camper about 50 ft. from the round pen. She looked a little, but I reminded her that we're working, and she went on about the ride. When i got off, she watched them a while, but no spook...I just love her!!
Her winter coat is almost all gone. I learned something from Patty the other day...if the extra long guard hairs remain on your horse, they need wormed!! We wormed them last weekend...Rally was a little difficult but not awful. Sugar was very interested in the packaging.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let me in!

So Sugar (& Rally) are getting weaned onto pasture. Her stall is on the end, because she was the last horse to arrive at the barn. The pasture they are in has a gate on the opposite side of the barn, and the electric braid fending has the little handles right by her stall. I've never let her in through there.
So when I call them in from the pasture, I step out, whistle, and Rally comes running (he's a food hound). Sugar looks up, takes three more bites, and starts walking. Then she starts trotting, right up to the little handles in the electric braid fencing. She stands there like hey mom, let me in. I'm hungry. I point to the gate at the other end of the barn. She looks at the gate, and looks back at me. Hmm. I decided to walk down to the gate, and she follows me on the other side of the fence, til she sees it, comes blasting through, and right over to her stall. Oh mare, you are too cute :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Update!

First of all, I just found out Sugar's sister lives about ten minutes down the road from her, I'm trying to arrange a visit!!
So on Saturday, we free lunged and did some liberty work. Also, I brushed her and she stood still at the tie post without being tied!! I am not a natural horsemanship crazy person but I love to do some of that stuff!! Free lunging is my favorite because Sugar gets to kick up her heels and I get to see her move almost totally naturally (it's a 60 ft round pen so I don't think horses were really meant to run in circles). So after she gets to fiddle around for a while and burn some energy, we get down to some more challenging work. She mimics me with ground work. I "cluck" and begin walking, and she does too. I say whoa, and stop, and she stops. I turn around and walk in place, and she backs up. This weekend, we even got turns down. I turn left or right, and she does too!! I tried to get her to trot with me, but she wasn't as keen on that. Oh well, that will work out!
On Sunday, I really wanted to get a quick ride in, but the only thing I do at the barn on Sundays is feed in the am and let the horses out. So I decided to ride before she got to eat...she was not happy. She was kinda bad actually. But I got her all tacked up (no thanks to her), and headed down to the round pen. I got on her in the round pen, and left the gate open. I worked with her a little in there, until she seemed to be more focused on me, at which point I decided to ride around the farm. She passed the arena digger, the tractor, the trailer with four wheelers and snow mobiles, all without a look. She passed the truck cap, saw her reflection and startled! What a good mare, she spooks in place normally. I love her!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

6!!!

Six people want to know about Sugar's little life :)
Today, I'm welcoming Knight to the blog!!
So more on riding this weekend.

As I've stated before, Sugar has this tendency to go right on up the steep little rock hill in the arena...I've got to get a photo, it's quite dangerous. So I've really been working on that. This weekend, I gave her the cue to turn a little earlier, and that seemed to help a lot. I also got her more focused on working on collection rather than toodling up the side of the hill.
I tried a new bit for her, and she really seemed to prefer it. It's a mullen bit, with egg butt type sides. I'm not sure if that's what is normal for that type or not. I bought it for another horse I was riding, and Sugar's been chomping on her rubber full cheek, so I thought time to change it up!
It's a little large for her, so if she continues to do well in it, I'll probably go buy one just for her. I also decided that her bridle is extraordinarily large for her head. I bought it used from the old trainer, so I don't know if it's regular horse size or not. My cob size bridle fit her on it's largest settings. This bridle is kind of loose on it's tiniest settings. Off to the consignment tack store...i think so!!

SO I find myself wondering if the earlier cues are what made the difference or the new bit...I suppose we shall find out as time goes on!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Snakes!!

Got to ride this weekend!!! I also practiced giving Sugar "turn here" cues a little sooner, which she seemed to appreciate. Perhaps I'm too used to riding arena horses and I need to realize my own horse is NOT arena trained!!! Which is a good or bad thing...

In other news...let me tell you about a text conversation today.
Boyfriend- sends picture message of snake
Me- Yikes!!! Is that Rally & Sugar's fence?
Bf- I saved Sugar!!
Me - Did you kill it?
Bf- Sends picture of dead snake
Me - I kind of feel bad for it...
Bf- It went into Sugar's area and she tried to play with it...i saved her! lol
Me- You're like my very own knight in shining armor...

Dear Sugar: Please refrain from playing with snakes, some of them can be deadly. You are lucky this snake did not get you!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

No riding last night :( But we did start weaning them on to pasture!! YAY!!

The barn owner wants Bryan and I to step into more of a farm manager position, which sounds pretty exciting. I created a website two years ago, so I'm updating that, and putting out ads for boarding. I wanted to get some opinions on it, before I send it out, so this is what I would use for like the online ads:

Small boarding barn in (town name) has openings. Geldings or mares welcome, though not currently set up for stallions.


We are a quiet, small farm with personalized care. Because our farm is small, we can boast the personalized care that your horse needs. We have the horses outside as much as possible with weather permitting. Daily turnout, twice a day feeding, always good hay and quality grain! Stall size 12 x 13, and matted with a high ceilings.

We have hosted miniature horses and donkey, Paint horses, Thoroughbreds, Tennessee Walkers, Arabians and Quarter Horses. We enjoy the mixture of breeds and how that ads to the "farm family". Some are western show horses, others relaxing and on vacation, others english hunt seat competitors...some enjoy trails. Also great for retired horses that need a nice, relaxed place to call home. We are an easy going farm and "no judgement zone"!!!!

Large outdoor riding arena and round pen available as well.

Please contact us via the e-mail address above for more information and to set up a tour, we look forward to meeting you and your horse!




and this is the website: ETA: I can't get links to post correctly...here's the address you might have to copy and paste www.pheasantviewfarms.webs.com

I'm getting more pictures tomorrow...what would be a good idea to get pictures of? And should I have horses in the pictures of for example the arena and round pen, or best to be empty?

So constructive criticism is helpful...help me out!!! Thanks!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big plans!

Guess what!!! 5 FOLLOWERS!! Yes!!! Welcome Rocky Mountain Yankee!!! I noticed you have a three year old Appaloosa!!! I'm off to thoroughly browse your page and learn what you know about young horses, so I can know it too. I once thought I was a horse riding extraordinaire, so I bought calm, easy going Sugar. I later found out I am but a mere mortal and know half as much as she does about the world :).
Not sure where all of my 5 FOLLOWERS are from but I live in Southern Pennsylvania, and we have been hit again by very nasty weather. Last weekend, a huge storm hit the farm, and washed out the nice little creek, and stole half of our round pen footing (which has never happened before). This morning, another storm hit. It's the leftovers from what decimated the Southern US (by the way if any of you are from there, my prayers and thoughts go out to you and your families). We actually had tornado warnings and potentially had several touch down. My normally brave little dog climbed up into bed, woke me up, and attempted to sit in my arms for a little while.
Now you ask, why did you tell that story? Because I planned to ride tonight!!! So hopefully I still get to. We actually have a natural long sloping hill on the property of the barn that is 100% perfect for getting back into shape, but it's grass & mud now (I assume). But now the weather is nice & sunny...hopefully it dries out. If all goes well I get to ride four days in a row, which hasn't happened since last year!!! AND I get to give Sugar a bath this weekend!!!!
Also, sitting down with the barn owner tonight to talk about chores for the summer. Bryan and I do work for the barn owner in return for reduced board, I know it doesn't work out for a lot of people but we have a great and longstanding relationship with this woman...she's the best!! She's going away for the summer and is asking us to take on a little more in order to make her trip possible. I'll try to bribe Bryan into taking a picture or two!!

One more thing...reading What Was I thinking?? gets me thinking about my old girl Annie. My very first horse, so I thought I would post a picture!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Had to share...




When I threw Sugar's birthday party, I invited my bestest friend (who is not a huge horse person, btw)and she finally posted the pictures on Facebook. She got this picture...ADORABLE!!! So I had to share it.

By the way, Sugar got her second round of shots today (vet doesn't like to do them all at once) and she was a superstar (AGAIN). I took Sugar to graze yesterday in the front yard of the BO's house, and brushed her while she ate. Afterwards, it looked like it rained white and brown hairs all around us!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Not much news...

Not too much going on here at all! It's way to wet & soggy to ride. Impossible to lunge...half the round pen footing washed away with a storm last weekend. Pastures to too soggy to graze.
Sugar got her shots and a clean bill of health.
That's about it!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sugar's party!!





Yesterday was Sugar's party!!!
She didn't even like her cupcakes, but another horse in the barn did. My parents got her a ball to play with, but she doesn't seem interested. I'm not sure how to get her to play with it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fours!!




First of all welcome to my newest follower, Susan. That makes four!!!! YES!!!

In Sugar news:
Four days until Sugar's 4th birthday!!!

The traffic cone was an "epic fail". Sugar is uninterested in it. She played with it the first day but hasn't touched it since. So my next try will be milk jugs, as I heard on COTH that horses like to play with them.

I got Sugar & Rally a salt block which they are enjoying.

I also bought that "no chew" spray which Bryan applied to Sugar's chew toy (aka the barn door) and a tree that she enjoys chomping on. He said he went around and sprayed it on the spots, and Sugar followed him around and attempted to lick it off, but she made funny faces after taking one try of it...too cute!

I have a cute video of Sugar and the cone, and another of her spreading her own sawdust, I'll have to post them asap.

I'm ready for sunny and warm...so I posted this picture!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sugar's barefoot journey - Post One



So, I decided to type Sugar's barefoot journey so I can remember it when I look back on it.
The shot from above doesn't show much, but if you look close, you can tell she has shoes on her back feet and I can tell you she had shoes on her front feet. This picture is from the day that I signed the contract to begin payments on dear Sugar :)The barn owner and person that I bought Sugar from used to keep all four shoes on all of her horses during all of the months that they could be ridden.
Bryan and I had only Rally at the time that I got Sugar and Rally was barefoot. We had been using a farrier that I wasn't that fond of at the time, but Bryan's horse means Bryan gets to choose who does his feet. As I educated Bryan more and more on the art of trimming, he agreed to stop using this farrier.
We keep our horses in a little town, at a little barn, in our little neck of the woods. We both like it this way because there's never any barn drama, there are never any CRAZY trainers trying to swoop in and overmanage the barn, and there's plenty of grass and pasture for our horses. But, that also means it's tough to get people to come out to the barn to work on our horses.

More to come!!

Sugar's Birthday...6 days!!!

Sugar's birthday is only six days away!!! She'll be four years old...YAY!!!! I've got a cake to make (or cupcakes) and decorations to buy!!! I can't wait to decorate her stall door and get her a little birthday hat(she'll hate it!!)!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lightbulb moment!

I got to ride last night :)
Last year, Sugar had this awful problem going to the right. She would just drift right out and go right on up this really steep hill in the arena. The only way to stop it was to pull her head around almost to my knee. The only time I ever fell off Sugar (so far) was the first or second time she did this. The trainer said she didn't want to work. Which is probably very true, but I think I found another cause last night. Plus it also seems to me, turning in the arena on flat ground is much easier than going crooked up a very steep incline.
Lightbulb moment = I sit heavier on my right side(mainly that little bone in your butt, aka seat bone). I have scoliosis and I believe this is a huge contributing factor. Mind you, it's not awful, but it's borderline to where the doctors want to do something about it. I get a lot of back pain, but I have never let it interupt my life...until now! Sugar can't be expected to tolerate that forever. I MUST start compensating for it and building a stronger core knowing that I sit heavier on my right bones!!!
Anwyays, once I started sitting what I believed was heavier on my left but must have felt pretty even to her she turned exactly as she was supposed to. LIGHTBULB!!!!!

As always, Sugar continues to educate me yet again!!! Who's the young/green/inexperienced here? I guess that would be me! lol Thank goodness she is so forgiving and easy to work with.

In other news: The trainer with drama messaged me and said she had a stall opening up at her barn for a month of training board. My quandry: She is a good rider and has a BEAUTIFUL barn, but her horses have awful ground manngers, and she seems to be involved in general horse drama. But I want so badly to get and give Sugar a good education that I'm not sure what to do.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Patty's Thoughts

She said Sugar's feet look amazingly better!!! Woo-hoo!!!! The number one thing I wanted for my horse is well on it's way to accomplishment..barefoot, correct, comfortable hooves.
I think that's a great goal to work towards because to have barefoot, correct, comfortable hooves, the horse must have regular trims, proper nutrition, excellent exercise, and a wonderful environment. Sugar (& Rally) are getting all of these things now and they are so much happier and better behaved now.
Sugar's abcess has completely grown out and that makes my day!! She hasn't taken a lame step, but the thought of her having an abcess makes me cringe.
I think I posted my worries on here about the TC 30% Supplement making them hot, but it has not yet. In fact, Rally is much calmer and Patty said he was not tense at all. Sugar's body looks better, not that it was awful before, but it looks REALLY good now.
I get to "farm sit" the farm where Sugar & Rally live this weekend so I plan to take Sugar out and hand graze her for a little to start her back on grass for the year, oil the heck out of my newish saddle, find a leather place to get my bridle fixed, and hopefully scrub those legs down!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Patty Lynch comes back today!!!

The amazing farrier comes back today!!! I've completed all of her suggestions from last time, and Sugar is looking much better. I took her off her hoof supplement because the TC 30% Supplement is supposed to have all the nutrients she needs...
Rally has gained some weight, I think we will scale back his ration.

The only bad thing is that I won't get to be there, but Bryan is taking care of it :)

Also, Sugar's toy is getting delivered by Bryan today, I've got to find something that will take her mind off destroying things!! So I read online that horses like to play with traffic cones...now Sugar has a pet traffic cone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

First ride of the season!

First of all...Sugar is a SUPERSTAR!! And remember that she'll only be four this year, so this is her first ride after a break!!

So yesterday Bryan & I went over to the barn to ride. We gave Sugar & Rally a complete groom job, but no bath because it is STILL too cold :(
But anyways, it was very sunny so Sugar decided she would fall asleep while I brushed her, which is fine with me! She has already matured and learned so much because she stands still now when she is tied...which is a huge improvement over when I first got her.
Anyways, we took them down to the round pen together and "released" them. They enjoyed that! They took off and around and around they went, snorting and blowing all the way. Then they would go opposite ways and spook each other when they got too close...beautiful to watch! I took video footage, but I've lost my camera cord somehow.
So after they were done kicking their heels up, we took them back to the barn and tacked up. I've tacked Sugar up several times this past month and lunged her, but hadn't gotten on her yet. So then we walked back to the round pen, Sugar was a little bit spirited on the walk, but calmed down then. Bryan got on Rally the SuperGelding, and of course he was great. He didn't even try to trot/canter/gallop off at all! So I walked Sugar around and patted all around the saddle and such. She was great. So I walked her on over to the mounting block, and climbed on. She stood still and waited...YAY!!! We walked both directions, did two large half circles, and trotted one lap in both directions. She did all of it amazingly!!! She did not want to come up into the bridle at all, but I got a little bit of it towards the end, which was all I wanted. I underestimate her all the time, but it is great to be reminded of how awesome she is. I also got to actually sit in my new (to me) western saddle!!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

18 :(




Pride would have been eighteen this month if he were still around. He was the best horse anyone could ever ask for and it's so hard to form a bond with Sugar after the extraordinary relationship Pride and I had.

I miss you handsome, and I hope and pray that when the time is right, you and I will ride together again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shedding!!!

Sugar is shedding!!!! That's about all the news I have but YAY!!! If it gets warm enough this weekend I want to wash her lower legs they're all grimy.

Have a good day!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Busy, Busy!!!


I got a new (to me) western saddle!! Please excuse all stains on my previously white spotted horse!!! Note the angry ears because I was trying to take a picture instead of giving her the full amount of attention royalty like Sugar deserves!!



I'm so busy lately!
Patty Lynch came out and did Sugar & Rally's feet. I learned so much and I feel like a much better horseperson after learning from her.
That said, I needed to learn a lot about hoofcare. Sugar had an abcess that I was totally unaware of. It may seem odd to be unaware of an abcess but I thought she had a stone bruise and please remember they live in a come and go as you please stall type situation. I now clean out her feet at least every other day no matter what. Patty thinks Sugar will be a great barefoot horse and that she can continue to be barefoot. She didn't like the slow growth of Sugar's feet, so she talked to me about changing around the feed we use (more on that later).
Rally has a bit of a type of thrush that I (nor Bryan) were aware of. Apparently, that's what has given the bottoms of his feet a bit of a concave look/structure and we are now all over that!!! We are using Tomorrow (normally used to treat mastitis in cows) and it seems to be working, however it is so hard to obtain. Tractor Supply no longer carries it, so I have to order it online.
I don't know enough about it, but it seems like Sugar may be developing it as well, I think I may take photos and send them to Patty. She will be back out on April 6th, but I won't be able to be there. Bryan will be in charge on that day but you know how men are...he won't get all the little details.

Anyways...they are now switched successfully to Triple Crown 30% Supplement. It is called a supplement, but it is fed as a feed. The 30% is for the protein amount, and though it does seem high, and some worry that it will make them hot, after EXTENSIVE research on it I have come to the conclusion that sugars and starches are what make horses hot...which this is low in. I think Sugar still needs extra calories, which I will adjust shortly if she does not gain a little bit of weight. Rally is fine on it, and he actually looks less like a pillow and more like a horse :) (sarcasm here, Rally is not in any danger of foundering so don't worry!!)

There's drama at the barn with the trainer that's been coming out and it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth. I used that trainer for about 8-10 lessons last year but I'm considering switching and looking around now. Perhaps I will just ride for the summer and enjoy my horse as my job situation is doubtful at best.

Sugar is bored and I'm dreaming up (CHEAP!!) toys to get/create for her. She has ripped down rain spouting outside of the barn, knocked the stall doors off their hinges and is getting destructive inside. I know she's bored but turning out to pasture at this point in time is not do-able and I can only get out there once a day during the week to get her out of the paddock. She is so smart that I know she gets bored with herself. I think I might see how she feels about squeaky dog toys. It could be fun to watch!!

I got a new (to me) western saddle!! Please excuse all stains on my previously white spotted horse!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The great debate- Barefoot


Five days til a highly recommended barefoot trimmer - comes to visit Sugar & Rally.
Rally, the SuperGelding is of course super when it comes to his feet. They are wonderful barefoot hooves!!
Sugar on the other hand has those tiny halter-bred hooves and had shoes on for about a year before I bought her. I had them pulled by the barn farrier in early January and he gave her a trim, but I wanted someone that would help me get Sugar's best "hoof" forward. I want to give her every opportunity to be barefoot and from what I hear, this is the lady that can do it!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How did you know that you wanted to ride English or Western?

Sugar is a western type breed, and she is a halter horse. She's also only three years old...four in two months!! But at this age, she could go either way.
I started western, bought Pride, went english, and now I have Sugar. I can't decide what to do!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Macho Horse Rally is back at the keyboard-
I tried to make the annoying spotted thing look dumb again the other day, but dude's girlfriend wouldn't stop laughing long enough to realize how dumb the annoying spotted thing is. It's weird that they call her Sugar, she's annoying, not sweet. The annoying spotted thing eats my hay, she follows me around, she DOES EVERYTHING I DO!!! The only good thing spotted thing ever did was let us out to eat all the hay all night, but even then she cut herself and whined about it all night.
Anyways, back to my story,I told spotted thing there were treats in the bottom of the sawdust box on wheels. They bring it around after they scoop up my droppings. The annoying spotted thing went in while they were putting more sawdust down, took a deep breath, and stuck her nose the whole way to the bottom of the box. She dug, and fluffed, and wiggled her weird spotted head back and forth, and she still couldn't find the treats (hehehe). The weird spotted thing was in all the way up to her eyes. Therefore, to get out she blew all the sawdust out of the box, and all over the inside of the barn. Dude's girlfriend just laughed, and laughed. HELLO, annoying spotted thing just made a huge so-called mess all over the barn???

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Barefoot when possible, shoes when necessary


Dear Sugar,
After two years of searching for the perfect barefoot trimmer to come and see your bestie, Rally, I have finally found THE ONE!!! And now that you are part of the family, your little tootsies will get the star treatment as well:)
Rally has perfect barefoot hooves. He came to us without shoes, with hard, sturdy, never hurting hooves. In order to keep them that way, I've been looking on all the natural hoofcare websites to find a trimmer that would fit my guidelines. I knew that I would have a horse one day as well, and therefore not all the criteria were for Rally the SuperGelding. I e-mailed everyone on the lists and no one ever came near my little town, and those that did were the crazy barefooters or the crazy shoe people.
And last week, I found Patty Lynch. Her philosophy is the title of today's blog, and I can't wait to hear her opinions on everything. Yay SuperGelding and MoodyMare your feet will soon be taken care of!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

First Commenter

Side note :)
I got my first comment on my blog!!! YESS Thank you Wolfie!!

If I can get it to work the picture here is another snow picture from Saturday!!

It's snowing!!


After the eight inches of snow that fell last week, I decided I wanted some shots of Miss. Sugar in the snow. I took my camera to the barn with me and lo and behold...it started snowing again!!! Sugar was very intrigued by the camera and that's why I was able to get such adorable shots of her. I'll probably be adding them a few at a time, but this one is my favorite.
Rally doesn't appreciate the flash of the camera which is understandable. He also is no longer camera sensitive because he's been around longer and I love to take pictures.
I was able to groom Sugar on Saturday and she was a star. She rested her head on my shoulder for a while which made everything right in my world!!!

PS-I used Picnik to create the effects for this photo...I turned it black and white and then un-turned just Sugar. I'm experimenting with it and I think I have a cool creation with Rally in it!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rally, the SuperGelding

Rally made me laugh again yesterday. Sugar and Rally share a paddock with access to their own two stalls. They eat hay together twice a day out of an old water trough. They basically spend all their waking minutes side by side.
So the barn owner forgot to get feed for Sugar and two other horses at the barn. My boyfriend buys Rally his own feed as part of his contract. So Rally had feed and Sugar didn't. I dumped feed into a hang-onto-fence bucket and hung it on the board portion of the fence, which happens to be on Sugar's side of their hay trough. Of course she walks right up and takes a bite. Rally was having none of this, and tried to push Sugar's face out of the bucket, which didn't work. SO he bit the side of the bucket and yanked it right out from under Sugar's mouth!!
As always, Rally's intelligence amazes me!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The horses are in the back yard!!

So a month ago, Sugar and Rally got out of their stalls, and into the barn, and had a free for all on the hay and feed (which had been in previously locked bins). It was the general assumption that someone had left one of their stall doors open. Sugar cut her front left fetlock that night as well.
Sunday morning, I went to feed, and opened the barn door, walked over to the feed bins, turned around and saw Sugar walking right out of her stall. Rally was half a step behind. I yelled at Rally to get back in there, and being the wonderful gelding he is, he did. I turned around to grab Sugar (who had wandered right over to the feed bins) and Rally ran out of the barn door.
Great.
Sugar saw him run out, spun, and took off after him. It's an amazing feeling to watch your horses running out of the barn door, away from you. Sort of like that old phrase...
After some play time in the yard, they went right to grazing. Rally the Superstar stood patiently while I put his halter on. Sugar the mare decided she hadn't been grazing in FOREVERRRR and didn't even want to pick her head up. Finally she did and then tried to walk me back to the barn. AHEM, mare, let's have a come to Jesus meeting before this goes any further.
And today, both horses are back in their paddock/stalls with modified latch.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sugar


I just realized I never introduced Sugar!!
Sugar is my new horse!! She's three years old, and is a registered Paint. Her registered name is Custom Sugar Bitz. Her daddy is Cutom Imprint, a halter horse. I'm forgetting her mom's name at the moment, but I'll get back to you on that!! She's bred for halter for sure, but she was never trained, conditioned, or fed for it.

I'm not normally a fan of paints, and in fact I never, ever planned on owning one. But I was horseless, and Sugar was there. The lady that owns the barn where Sugar lives asked me to exercise her because she had to put Sugar up for sale. They hated to do it, but they were in between a rock and a hard place. So, I actually bought another horse (that ended up being unsound, and untrained and ultimately sent back to it's former owner) in the meantime, and started exercising Sugar. Sugar had sixty days of professional training on her, and was then pretty much turned out to enjoy life.
As I hung out with Sugar, she picked things up and wandered around with the un-spookiness of a fifteen year old trail pony. I rode her all over the farm. She sold herself to me, and I knew I had to have her. I worked out a payment plan and a price on a horse that I never could have afforded otherwise.
Then I decided I wanted to learn some Dressage and that it would do Sugar some good to learn it. I put her back into real work, something she hadn't experienced for at least six months.
I know all of Sugar's history, and i love it. The lady that owns the barn where we keep the horses(and my old horse Annie lived here as well) won Sugar in a raffle when she was six months old. She's with me for life and I can't wait to see what this will bring. My blog will now shift to our training escapades and my life with Sugar. I think of Pride every day and I hope that Sugar and I have a bond that will come close to what Pride and I had so quickly.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Years Resolutions:

1. Save $$$$
- One month training board for Sugar
- 30,000 mile service for the car
- Dressage Saddle!!
- Gotta buy a house someday!!!
2. Get Sugar lunging well prior to going to training
- Buy surgical tubing side reins
3. Lose weight
- 15 lbs. before bikini season
4. Straight A's!!
5. Be a better employee!!

Next blog: Plans to make my resolutions come true!!