Archive of ‘The Horses’ category

Horses Out and About

The ponies and I had a very productive and fun weekend!

We kicked off Saturday morning by heading to a lesson at the barn where I bought Coco when she was only a few months old. Her flat work has been going really well and I know she’s ready to jump, but I also know that I need some eyes on the ground to give me feedback to bring along a youngster. Being that this barn raised and trained her dam (as well as multiple half siblings), stood her sire, and two grandsires I value their input both as professionals in the hunter/jumper world, but also their knowledge of her bloodlines. They hadn’t seen her in person since she was a baby baby, so it was fun for them to see her grown up.

Coco handled the “new” place quite well. She looked pretty hard at some jump standards in the corners of the ring, but she didn’t say “no” to anything. She also handled the traffic in the arena much better than I would have anticipated. One of the down sides to keeping horses at home is that they don’t get much time in an arena with other horses. It took Sterling a year or two of showing before he stopped panicking about horses coming up behind him on the rail. I could feel Coco’s energy when horses would jump nearby, but she was never naughty.

We did lots of flat work, walked and trotted through some ground poles and ended the lesson by trotting and even cantering over a crossrail. The trainer’s feedback was that she jumps cute, even over such a tiny fence. She also really uses her hind-end into the canter transitions. Coco will definitely be a talented jumping horse, so hopefully we will get a solid base and get to start showing over fences next spring!

Pretty (and very sweaty!) Coco after our lesson.

 

The norm lately has been a lot of rain and random storms. Saturday night brought over 1.5″ of rain at our house! My horsey besties and I had planned a trail ride at the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth and we didn’t let the rain deter us! It was misting a bit when we set off, but it cleared up and turned out to be the perfect weather for a Sunday morning ride on the Trinity Trails. Plus the weather seemed to deter others from heading out so we didn’t see more than maybe 15 cyclists and that was it.

All of our horses thought the stripes in the parking lot were walkovers. It was funny.

It is delightful to live in (near) a city that is so welcoming to trail users. The Trinity Trails system has many miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails that allow you to ride right up to downtown Fort Worth. We got some pretty amazing photos!

This is Casey’s “but I want to eat all the grass not take a picture” pose! Downtown Fort Worth is in the backdrop.

Casey behaved really well. He looked at lots of things, but never spooked. There was a donkey on the other side of the river from us and he really talked to us when we rode by him! Thankfully we have Pablo at home because donkeys often scare the pants off of horses when they bray.

It’s so nice to have this much green grass in August. You wont hear me complain about the rain, that’s for sure!

Does your town have trails for riding, running or biking? Do you ever take your horse out?

Casey Goes to a Horse Show

This past weekend I took Casey to a Stock Horse of Texas (SHOT) show in Sweetwater, Texas. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m hoping to sell him for Mom and thought a horse show would be a good way for him to get some exposure. I had never been to one of these shows before so  had limited expectations. I read the Handbook prior to going and watched some YouTube videos of the classes to have an idea what to expect. From my research I concluded that SHOT is geared towards horses that aren’t “show” horses, but are just ranch horses. Somewhere in the middle. The classes offered are: Ranch Riding, Ranch Trail, Ranch Pleasure, Reining, Working Cow Horse and Cutting. I entered Trail and Pleasure since I felt the most familiar and prepared to show in those classes without making a complete fool of myself or my horse.

The show was Saturday so we went Friday evening in order to get settled, see what kind of horse I had and check out the digs.

The stables were quite nice. All new stalls under cover. Casey settled in with his hay immediately!

I was immediately impressed by the facility. All arenas were covered and the coliseum was air conditioned. AC with horse shows can be a mixed blessing, though. I was relieved that we didn’t show in the AC because on super hot days (and it is August in Texas) going from the hot warmup pen to the cold show pen can give your horse a BLAST of energy!

Casey’s stall was in the same building as our trail and pleasure classes would be held. There were a few Big Ass Fans which seemed to really help keep the air moving.

I was by myself at the show and didn’t know anyone so I didn’t get any photos or video of us showing, by I can attest that Casey was really good! We showed in two divisions; Junior (horses 5 and younger) and Limited (a non-pro division). I did two divisions to get more arena time. First thing to go was the Trail. We were able to practice all the obstacles the night before the show so I knew going in that the only thing Casey was a bit worried about was the log drag. We had practiced it a few times at home, but he just wasn’t quite OK with it yet.

I opted to do the Limited pattern first because it was a walk drag and the Junior patterns required a trot while dragging. All was well with the walk drag (which was in the shape of a figure 8 while dragging a log) until the rope got on the right side of Casey and we were going to the left. This causes the rope to pull on his rear end and he was pretty unnerved by that. We got it done, but it wasn’t pretty. Below is the score sheet from the Limited Trail. We were 116. You can see that we got pretty good marks until the log drag. Had we had a better log drag we probably would have been in the top 3!

We are at the bottom of this score sheet and ended up with a 69 1/2.

 

I thought our Junior Trail pattern was really nice, but evidently the Judge and I were on very different pages. The trot drag went better than I’d hoped, but it wasn’t great. Everything else felt rock solid.  The only thing I can attribute the penalties to was he may have touched the logs on the trot and lope obstacles, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t. I have a suspicion that Casey was a little bit too “show horse” for this crowd and the judge just inherently didn’t like us.

Junior Trail scorecard. Not so great, but not terrible.

 

I didn’t stick around to see the score cards for the Ranch Pleasure classes, but here is the recap. The classes were scheduled to go at the same time and I was first to go in the Junior and last to go in the Limited. One would think that the Junior would go first and the Limited after that. I stuck around the arena where the Junior was to go and was told by another exhibitor that they were looking for my number at the Limited arena. Oops! So we trotted over and in our class we went.

This pleasure was different from any I had done before. Usually everyone in the class goes in the arena together and the announcer calls gaits (walk, trot, lope, etc) and then the judge pins the class. The Ranch Pleasure had exhibitors go one at a time. You start to the right of the arena and exhibitors go one at a time. There are signs around the arena telling you what to do. This is my recollection of the Limited “pattern”: Extended Walk, Trot, Extended Trot, Lope, Stop and Reverse, Walk, Lope, Extended Lope, Trot, Stop and Back. Our walk was good, trot felt good, extended trot was happy, lope was smooth and nice, stop had Casey fall almost on his face, reverse was terrible, like he had never been asked to pivot before, walk was fine, lope was nice, extended lope was smooth and nice, trot transition was a bit bumpy, but not bad, stop and back was solid. Other than the stop-fall-on-your-face-why-cant’-you-pivot part it felt nice. This was the judge that REALLY didn’t like our trail pattern so I don’t have high hopes for how we did in this class.

The Junior pattern was basically exactly the same and we went a few minutes after doing our Limited pattern. Here is the overview of our performance: extended walk was fine, trot was very nice, extended trot was lovely, lope was awful, who knew the outside leg asked for the left lead and not the right lead CASEY?!, stop was better than the Limited, pivot was also terrible, lope, why do I have to lope again?, so that didn’t go well, extended lope was good, stop and back was fast (because we couldn’t get out of the arena fast enough). Definitely don’t have high expectations for much from this score card. Hopefully they will be posted this week and I’ll provide an update on Farm Friday.

Proof we were there, my shirt was popular and Casey is muy handsome.

I don’t know that we will do another SHOT show, mostly just because I don’t know that Casey is “ranchy” enough for this crowd. He definitely goes like a show horse. I could not have asked for a better behaved horse, though. The warm-up arena was completely wheels off and he never got flustered once. Sterling would have been in the rafters after 30 seconds. Casey didn’t spook at anything, he never didn’t try to do what I asked of him and he was generally fantastic. I really enjoy riding and showing him and may try our hands at an AQHA or Palomino show next. Whomever buys this horse will get a very solid citizen who is as pretty as he is sweet.

Farm Friday 08.04.2017

Happy FriYAY all! Casey and I are headed west to a Stock Horse of Texas show. This will be my first horse show in western tack in about 15 years! Hopefully all goes well and we get some ribbons and some interest in buying Casey.

This week has been delightfully less eventful than weeks past. Still lots of prescription meds in the cabinets for various animals, but most seem to be on the mend.

Catfish and Mickey snuggles before Mickey had his surgery. Catfish is always sweet with the little dogs, even though he can’t see them.

 

We got nearly an inch of rain this week and the temps have been amazingly cool. The forecast for the next 10 days has the highs in the low 90s and high 80s, which is remarkable for Texas in August! I’ll take it! Sterling got the all clear last weekend for turnout (with a quiet buddy) and walk/trot rides. It has been nice to be back in the tack for some easy hill walking.

Sterling also enjoys the rain. Why is it that the horse that is closest to the color white is the one that most feels the need to roll in mud? None of the brown horses have this dirty habit.

 

The muppies are continuing to eat and grow,eat and grow, and eat and grow. The puppy timelines say their eyes should be open by now, but they are taking their time and appear to be enjoying their eat and grow schedule. Very few workouts for these muppies so far. I’ll probably be eating my words a week from now!

Muppy pile!

 

Harriet is almost done with her post-heartworm-treatment meds and is ready for YOU to adopt her! She is so wonderful and will be an amazing doggo for someone.

Harriet found/made her very own doggy canopy bed. This is her new favorite place to sleep.

 

Happy weekend y’all!

Catching up!

Hi! Things have been NUTS at the farm! This is a very brief update, enjoy!

 

Harriet, our foster from the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control shelter has finished her heartworm treatment! Only a week or so left of the meds and she will be ready to join her new family! If you’d like to adopt Harriet please let me know and I’ll help you make it happen. She is a suspected Corgi mix. She is probably the easiest foster dog we have had so far. She minds well, is potty trained, gets along great with other dogs (large and small) and she LOVES her person!

Harriet also has NO problem relaxing!

 

Mickey had his surgery last week. The vet removed his broken toe and put a plate in his broken leg. He’s on 24/7 crate rest and has to wear a cone for two weeks. Life is HARD when you are Mickey!

See how hard Mickey’s life is?!

 

I lost my mind, again, and agreed to foster this “little” family. Mama is a suspected Wolfhound cross and no one knows who the dad to these little dumplings might be! Only time will tell, Jesse is a fantastic mama dog and so far all the puppies do is eat and sleep. I’m confident I will be second guessing my sanity in taking these kids in in a few weeks, but for now I’m smitten by puppy breath and squeaks.

Happy Mama dog with her litter. Doesn’t she look like a Muppet?!

 

Casey has FINALLY shed out entirely! It only took the poor guy until JULY in TEXAS to get rid of his Montana furry coat. We are going to a show next weekend, for which I’m pretty excited. I haven’t shown in a western saddle in over 10 years so this should be entertaining!

Here he is listening intently to whatever nonsense I’m telling him. Notice his beautiful golden coat!

 

Have a GREAT week!

Farm Friday 07.21.2017

This has been quite the eventful week, and not the good kind of eventful. On Tuesday morning Simon came in from turnout extremely lame. Thankfully it turned out to just be a pulled shoe. I got Boot City to come to the barn to help me pull it off completely and while he was pulling the shoe Mickey, our 5lb (and fearless) foster dog kept going into the stall to try to eat Simon’s food. I kept shooing him out so Simon wouldn’t get stressed about Mickey in his feed pan WHILE Boot City was pulling on his foot. Then, all of a sudden, we hear a blood curdling screech coming from Sterling’s paddock.

I ran out the barn doors to see Dickens staring at Mickey writhing on the ground. My first thought was that he had a back/spine/neck injury. Few things are worse than a horribly maimed animal that isn’t dead, but needs to be put down. Especially at 6a on a Tuesday morning. I ran over to get him out of the proximity of Sterling, who was still munching on his breakfast and seemed curious about the commotion. Thankfully Mickey’s head, neck and spine seemed fine. He was writhing around, but it seemed to be from pain and not from the lack of ability to control his body. He whimpered and slowly calmed down enough that I was able to identify he had a very smashed left front leg and quite a lot of skin and fur torn off his right front foot.

From what we could ascertain of the situation, Mickey was probably eating Sterling’s food and Sterling took a stop in exactly the wrong spot and stepped on Mickey. Sterling isn’t at all food aggressive and doesn’t seem to mind sharing with the dogs, so I have no reason to believe that it was aggressive or purposeful. Just a tiny dog at the wrong place at the wrong time.

After a tour of North Texas vets we finally got x-rays on Wednesday and determined that he did have some broken bones.

Broken right front foot toe.

Very broken left front leg

I was really hoping this would be an injury that could just be splinted for recovery, but alas it will require surgery. Since Mickey is a foster the rescue group will be utilizing a lower cost option, but it is still expensive. Mickey and I would be GREATLY appreciative of any donations made to his surgery cost. You can click here to make a tax deductible donation to the Urgent Animals of Fort Worth rescue group who are paying for the surgery. This is an amazing rescue group that purely focuses on getting the most urgent dogs and cats out of the Fort Worth shelter. Dogs that have respiratory infections and heartworms are the hardest to get adopted and often the first to get euthanized. Every dog we have fostered has been an Urgent dog. Mickey is also currently undergoing heartworm treatment.

Mickey came back home yesterday with leg splints while he waits for his surgery. All he wants out of life is for me to carry him around 24/7. He’s always liked being held, but even more so now. Sweet little guy.

Back home and ready to pass out. Poor little guy was tired!

Other, happier, news is that Sterling’s leg is looking MUCH better! A couple more weeks of stall rest and he should be back to regular turnout with his buddies and hopefully rideable soon after that.

Very little fluid left and the holes are healing nicely.

Trail Riding!

This past weekend a group of us affiliated with the fox hunt I ride with went on a trail ride at one of the properties where we hunt. This is newsworthy because the weather was AMAZING! It was forecasted to be in the high 90’s and we got lucky with a very cloudy morning and even a few rain drops.

I took my Mom’s little yellow horse, Casey. His mane has completely grown back and I think he should be called Fabio now.

Casey and his Fabio mane. I keep it braided at home so his neck doesn’t get so hot, but took out the braids for trail riding day.

Casey was awesome on our ride. He hasn’t done a ton of trail riding so I’m always happy when we get out and he has a good experience. He’s only 5 so getting good miles in now will pay off a lot on the long run. Trail riding can be unnerving for horses because they see things they don’t normally see out on trails (animals, 4 wheelers, all kinds of things!), riding in a crowd can make them nervous, and having to cross water and ditches can be scary.

A group selfie. You know your horse is good for trail riding when you can take photos and completely drop the reins and he just keeps going.

Since I’m working to sell Casey for my Mom I want him to have good, constructive experiences when we leave home and he got just that last Saturday. He crossed all the ditches, never spooked at anything, didn’t get terribly worried about where the other horses were. We rode in the front some and in the middle some. He’s got a pretty good walking pace, so he’s unlikely to be at the back just because of his speed.

Literally my favorite view. #lifebetweentheears

We are always so grateful when our hunt landowners invite us out for trail rides. It is a great way to explore the properties while not being busy with hounds. This property is still relatively new to us and we have struggled with knowing how to get from point A to point B at times! It has a steep ravine through the center of the property and is quite wooded. We spent some extra time finding ravine crossing spots and pulling down dead tree branches when we had the chance. The nice thing about Casey is that he isn’t crazy tall. This property will be interesting when I start riding Simon because he’s about 5 inches taller than Casey!

Lush green grass in JULY and glorious clouds make for a pretty spectacular view.

Our group stayed pretty slow, which I liked. Galloping in a group seems like it would be great fun, but it always brings out the crazy in one or two horses and someone ends up on the ground and/or scared half to death because their horse is a victim of “groupthink” and freaks out because it wants to win some proverbial race or at least keep up. I’m not one of those riders who enjoys that kind of chaos. Save it for the warmup ring at horse shows where there is always plenty of drama!

Riding in the middle of the group for a bit.

We had a potluck lunch after the ride complete with homemade Shepherd’s Pie and homemade Gazpacho soup.

Farm Friday 07.14.2017

Things have warmed right up here in Texas! Because of the heat I’ve been motivated to get up early and ride before work. I’m lucky to be somewhat flexible in my arrival time at the office, but other than today have been at my desk before 8:30a every day. It is SO NICE to be done early and to not ride in the heat of the day. Coco is a bit extra spunky in the cooler weather and my rides usually start in the dark, but sunrises on horseback are just unbeatable!

Mickey started his slow-kill heartworm treatment this week. I also gave him a haircut last week. I think he enjoys not getting so much gunk stuck in his hair when he’s busy chasing chickens through the weeds!

 

This toad is on our porch every single night eating bugs. I like to leave the porch light on so lots and lots of bugs gather and he gets a smorgasbord!

 

Dickens is the most photogenic dog I’ve ever had. He lives to strike a pose.

 

I have my fingers, toes, arms, legs and anything else crossed that Sterling’s stifle is FINALLY healing. He still gets hydrotherapy twice per day and I like to do it while he’s eating as bribery. He has a lot of help when he’s eating, as you can see here.

 

What are you up to this weekend? I hope it is a great one!

Sterling Update 07.10.2017

This poor horse! I feel SO bad for him! Thankfully he hasn’t seemed to be in much or really any pain, but my gosh this thing is taking FOREVER to heal! This is what his stifle looked like a little over a week ago. Much worse than before we drained it the first time.

The fluid started accumulating inside of the top of his hind leg AND around his stifle. I don’t know that this photo does it justice. It was SO fat!

Last Monday the vet came over again to drain it, again.

If you zoom in on this photo you can see the fluid flying through the air as it drains out. So. Gross.

 

As it was the first time, the fluid was an amber color mixed with some blood. The vet cut two large holes and really got into the fluid buildup to break the capsule where it was accumulating. This time some chunks came out in addition to the fluid, which the vet said were the walls of the capsule where the fluid was collecting. Part of the reason for cutting two holes was to tie a piece of rubber tube through the holes so they won’t close up so quickly and allow the accumulating fluid to build up, yet again.

After the second draining with the rubber tube in place.

 

It has been a week since the second draining and yesterday Sterling was lame on that leg again. I felt like the holes were sore and ready to have the tube removed, so that is just what I did. Took out the rubber tube, cold hosed it for 20 minutes, gave him some banamine and put some DMSO on the swelling. Within a few hours of doing that he was running around in his paddock so I presume the banamine helped! The fluid coming out now is much more opaque and seems like pus, but it isn’t stinky and worrisome.

For now we will cold hose twice a day, DMSO on the swelling and he’s getting an antibiotic just in case there is some infection. This poor horse! Add him to your prayer list that this heals up and he can get back to his normally scheduled life. He is SO sick of being kept up while his buddies go out to graze at night.

At least he has this guy to keep him company. I’ve been making Simon stay in with him because he doesn’t seem to care if he doesn’t get turnout. You know, like most 3yo thoroughbreds who are off the track, he just wants to laze around in his sandy stall run.

They really do like each other, I promise, they were just cranky yesterday. I presume Sterling was grumpy because his leg hurts and he is SO sick of being hurt!

Farm Friday 07.07.2017

Boot City and I both took some time off work this week to get some stuff done around the farm. Usually when we do this we get distracted and hardly accomplish anything on our to do list, but we did really well this time! Lots of gates built, arena sand delivered and some purging of Boot City’s metal collection.

Little Mickey is quite the snuggler. He has no idea that he only weighs about 5lb. He acts like he is a 70lb pack leader! So funny!

 

Casey is spoiled and gets 24/7 turnout, mostly because he is so well behaved and not a fat kid. He often has chicken buddies while he grazes during the day and the other horses are in their stalls.

 

Simon. Just because he is a lovebug and so cute.

 

It has become somewhat of a tradition for one of my hunt friends to host a gymkhana the weekend before the 4th of July. We were blessed with moderately cooler temps this year and had much fun!

 

I got a truck load of sand for my “arena” and the dogs and horses took full advantage of the sand pile. There was much dog wrastling and horses rolling!

 

It is never easy to see them go, but its time for these boys to move on. Boot City took them to the goat sale this morning. I always tell myself that they end up in a home similar to ours and get good lives.

 

What are you up to this weekend?

Going Western

I grew up riding western. I had a brief foray into rodeo events. I won my first belt buckle when I was 9 in pole bending at the Bill Pauley Memorial Rodeo. I won All Around for my age division at the same rodeo. I had a few nice, but safe, rodeo event horses before I was 12. Casey ran some barrels (not to be confused with the current Casey!). Chant Town was an OTTB or OTQH and he was a master of pole bending. Both horses were VERY old when I had them and went on to teach other kids the ropes in rodeo events.

My Dad was a cutter most of my life. I know he did some team roping and snaffle bit futurities, but all I remember him doing was cutting and helping friends and family move cattle whenever needed.

Dad cutting in Idaho on Athena Beau. Probably in the late 80’s or early 90’s.

 

As I got older my interest in rodeo waned and I got into showing Quarter Horses. I did mostly all around events including showmanship at halter, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, western horsemanship, western pleasure and trail with a couple horses my parents had raised. When Jaguar was born he was first my 4-H project, but when we took him to a couple Quarter Horse shows when he was 2 some trainers made comments to my parents that he had the looks of a reiner. Dad was always ambivalent about the “horse show” events and more or less thought they were a waste of time. ESPECIALLY the English events. Therefore he was never particularly supportive of horse showing. Until I got bitten by the reining bug. Reining is an event that is derived from working cattle. You ride in figure eights going slow and fast, do sliding stops, and spins. Basically you are showing off how “broke” your horse is to do the maneuvers necessary to work cattle. The next step is working cow horse then cutting.

Jaguar becomes a reiner!

Jaguar was an awesome reining horse. He is extremely athletic and would stop SO hard. He could be frustrating in that he would stop hardest in bad ground (ground not good for sliding) and then not make much effort in really good ground. He could easily do 20 foot long slides. I showed him in reining from the time I was 15 until I was about 20. He developed a large bump on one of his knees that made spins in that direction uncomfortable. I also was finishing college so didn’t really have time to show. Dad let me go all over the western U.S. to show in reining events. I had a BLAST! The culmination was showing the AQHYA World Championship show. We didn’t do all that well, but it was really fun.

After college and into adulthood living in Texas all I really wanted to do was jump. I got Jaguar back when he was 13 and I was in my late 20’s. In my head he was ready to retire so he hung out in the pasture until I met the fox hunt and he entered his third career (his second was doing all around stuff with my Mom in Montana). All the horses I’ve bought myself have been English horses for jumping and/or fox hunting.

Last fall my Mom let me borrow her horse, Casey (again) to use for fox hunting since Jaguar is no longer sound for riding. He was the perfect fit for a fill in. He was a great sport and did everything I asked of him, but he just is not an English horse. I much prefer riding him western. Mom wants to sell him now so I am legging him up to make some western videos and market him to the western crowd.  He is a super easy and fun ride.

 

 

My parents got me a custom made reining saddle made by Earl Twist when I was 17 and it is the most beautiful and comfortable saddle on the planet. Riding Casey brings back fantastic memories and then I find myself thinking I should get back into reining….. just what I need is another horse hobby! Especially after all the time, effort, energy and MONEY I’ve invested over the past 10 years to get into the hunter/jumper game. I’m sure Boot City would be ecstatic. Nonetheless, I’m definitely going to enjoy the time I have left with Casey and getting to dip my toes back into the western world for a little while.

Lovely day on Casey the QH.

My plan is to get back into reining later on in life when perhaps jumping isn’t safe or if I get burned out or I have the resources to do both. I didn’t keep a lot of my western tack other than my reining saddle and a handful of bridles. My parents had also gotten me a fancy show saddle made by Broken Horn in California that my Mom now uses to show her mare Foxy. It kind of entertains me because that saddle has a silver horn cap with my initials on it.

He looks so cute in his western duds! He still hasn’t fully shed out and it is HOT here so I keep his mane braided and off his neck.

I’m blessed to have and have had some really lovely horses!

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