Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekly Summary - Feb 27, 2015

Not much has been going on here.  Saturday I was still not feeling well and decided not to ride.  Later that afternoon my husband and I went out and built snow mounds in the paddock and put some carrots in them. I think Max enjoyed the diversion and the treats.  It was also the day I realized that he's starting to shed. Spring is on its way!
Om nom nom

Sunday wasn't too bad, but decided not to ride.

Monday it got colder but I did a mini desensitizing lesson with the pony. I brought out my umbrella to see how he would do.  He just kept trying to eat it.  I think I can count this as a +1 towards my obstacle goals.

Max says "Stop the shenanigans, just feed me already"

Tuesday was miserable.  I don't think it got above 10F and the wind really picked up in the afternoon.  The roads were starting to drift over. Max was a little crazy about the wind and was bucking and trotting around while I was getting his grain.

Wednesday, it was a tiny bit warmer so I decided to go on a quick ride. I threw on the bareback pad and we wandered around the pasture, then the woods for a bit. He was fairly good for me, just a little impatient to get back to the barn for his grain.
Too much ice to cross the creek. He's not disappointed.

 Friday was windy and snowy but we got a beautiful sunset along with more snowfall.

Yes, it's snowing with the sun out.

Monday, February 23, 2015

TOABH: Costly

From Beka at The Owls Approve:

What has been your horse's most expensive injury to date? Let's exclude maintenance things, like hock injections and the magical monthly package of MSM. What single episode blew your savings or left you boiling ramen? If you want to get technical about it, time is money, too. 

Thankfully, other than routine vaccines, Max has only seen the vet once for an emergency type situation since I've had him.  Last winter (on one of the coldest days) he coliced. That vet bill was just under $300 I believe.

The dirty pony decided to stay out in the snow Saturday morning.

Friday, February 20, 2015

So Very Cold

This week has been utterly miserable.  It's been extremely cold this week and I've been trying to fight off some kind of bug.  This is the second day this week that schools in my area have been closed due to the cold.

I tried doing an exercise from Cherry Hill's groundwork book the other evening before feeding, but my fingers started going numb even while gloved, so I tossed hay and got back up to the house. We need to go get more hay this weekend and it's supposed to snow. I don't know why D is insisting we go on Saturday. 

For everyone east of the Rockies who is battling unusual cold, stay warm and safe.

 Warmer times last spring. Think green, think warm.
I want nothing more than to curl up in a little ball under my heated blanket until spring.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Riding A New Horse

Monday, I took a day off work to go look at a horse up in the northern part of the state.  The horse isn't for me, but for the therapeutic riding center I volunteer at. 

She was a sweet paint horse that responded very well to pressure.  It was shocking for me. I've gotten so use to riding horses that don't respond to leg pressure that riding her was a challenge.  It made me feel like a complete beginner. We are taking her on a trial. I'm hoping she will work out so I can get some lessons on her.

Will move over for food, but not away.
Sadly, the weather is looking miserable for the rest of the month.  I don't think I'll be riding much.

Monday, February 16, 2015


This week's blog hop from The Owls Approve
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Every horse seems to have at least three names:  the "real" one, the barn one, and that special one.  What are some of your pony's names?
Goat Beard
Max doesn't have a show name, so registered name it is.
Registered Name: Melvis RDP
Barn Name: Max

  • Fat Boy
  • Pony (Pony Boy, Golden Pony)
  • Shit Head
  • Brat 
  • Maximus
  • Droolie Boy
  • Fuzz Butt
  • The Yak

Friday, February 13, 2015

This and That

The weather has turned nasty again. There was freezing rain on the drive home along with wind and cold temperatures.  We are staying well below freezing through the weekend at the very least with more wind.  I'm guessing I won't be working with the pony too much.  Instead, I ordered a couple of books. I purchased Equine Fitness after reading L. Williams review and Cherry Hill's 101 Ground Training Exercises.  I'm hoping these will give me some exercises to do while riding and working from the ground. 

Before it got cold, I installed a slow feed hay hoop.  Max supervised its installation.

So far so good.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Weekend

This past weekend was very horsey for me.

Saturday was the annual Horseman's Forum at Purdue University.  This year's topics were great and I learned so much.  Much better than last years.  There were discussions about forage quality, trailer and hitch safety, care considerations for older horses, and vaccinations relevant to our area. I learned so much and the speakers answered questions I didn't even know I had. 

Western saddle, english bridle, snaffle bit and cotton reins. This says something about me, I'm just not sure what yet.

We also had a beautiful weekend and the weather was warm.  Sunday morning I rode Max in western.  He has such a nice little western pleasure trot when he feels like doing it.  We ended up working a lot on consistency.  He would go nice, then speed up, especially when we were facing the barn.  He was also tripping quite a bit, but I think it's because his feet are getting long. Due to the weather, the farrier hasn't been able to make it out for a while. We still did a lot of trotting to start getting back into shape.

I do think he's starting to get the idea of moving those back legs over under saddle.  He didn't quite make it while I was riding, but came very close.  We did it well from the ground though.

Work is crazy this week. But if it's not too cold and I can get home before dark, I might be able to get some ground work in this week. That would put be back on track with my goals.

Monday, February 9, 2015

TOABH: Idiosyncrasies

This week's blog hop from The Owls Approve.

What personality quirks does your pony have?  What makes him or her special?
 Where do I begin?  Most of Max's idiosyncrasies revolve around food.  First, whenever I come home, he meets me at the corner of his paddock and gives me "the stare".
The stare
Then he will whinny when I actually get out of my car, or come out of the house, or even open the house door to let the dog out. Or when someone else pulls up and gets out of their car, or any other time he thinks he will get food.  He loves his food. 

While I'm getting food ready, he paces. In and out of the stall, then a quick loop around the paddock and back to the stall. He learned very quickly that he has to move away before I'll dump the grain in his bucket.  He knows to stand outside his stall until I have the hay bags hung.  Smart boy. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

January 2015 Goals: How Did I Do?

So, how did I do with my 2015 goals in January? 

The short answer is not so good.

It's hard to get motivated when the snow is blowing around.

Goals for Max:
- Improve leg yields
: We worked on this a little under saddle.
- Get a decent turn on the forehand and haunches: Worked on this mostly on the ground.
- Work on some trail obstacles: We went though brush and worked on backing an L

Goals for Me:
- Continue lessons in some fashion:
No lessons. My instructor doesn't have an indoor, so lessons are on hold.
- Be able to sit the canter under saddle: I didn't work on this. I haven't been riding in a saddle lately.
- Build/set up some trail obstacles: Yes!  I set up an L. Then my husband deconstructed it without telling me. 
- Ride the pony with the goal of working on something, at least once per week*: I've only ridden him twice this year with a goal in mind.
- Doing groundwork or lunging at least once per week**: Did this once during the month. 

Snowy (and dirty) pony bubble butt.

Other Goals:***
- Have at least one lesson on Max
- Take Max off property at least once for a trail ride

No trailer, so no progress on the other goals. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thoughts on Max Part 2

 Read part 1 here

I know Max has been taken to shows. When I search his registered name, I get some hits for the Illinois State Fair. I'm fairly certain he was shown in halter and maybe some driving classes.  There are also pictures up of him showing at the old lesson barn he was at. I imagine it was either 4-H, local shows or just schooling shows held at the barn. But that's about it.

Trail Riding:
This is a bit of a mystery. I have no confirmation that he ever went on trail rides.  The one time I was able to take him off farm, he was a lot more forward and excitable that I was expecting, but only hesitated at a couple of things. He was very willing to follow or do the obstacle if he saw another horse do it. This included walking through a covered bridge, walking over one of those wooden bridges that moves like a teeter totter and walking up and over a dirt filled tractor tire.  However, he hates cars.  Being a trail horse will be his primary job with me.

The covered bridge.  Then cars started coming and he nearly lost his mind.

I doubt he's been trained to jump, but he is very willing to jump anything you point him at.  This includes jumping over muddy ditches rather than walking like he should, jumping through deep snow, rather than plowing through, like I expected, and jumping the temporary electric tape line (about 3' high). I'm considering taking him to another barn for lessons with the expectation of jumping, but will decide that later.  I need a trailer first.

Overall I'd say that Max has some decent training put on him. He lunges in side reins or just with the line through a bit. With just a halter though, he's a beast. I don't have a roundpen so we are working on that. He needs work on moving off pressure, turning, personal space and simply not grabbing for grass at every opportunity. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

TOABH: Self-Actualized

Another great blog hop from The Owls Approve!

Assuming that your horse has absolutely everything he needs (food, bedding, a warm stall, plenty of blankets, and a pasture mate he neither humps, maims nor gets abused by),  what does your horse need to be the best version of himself?

Be sure to check out the original post linked above for a full explanation. It includes a nice graphic.

First, I think he needs to have better respect.  He is constantly testing me and trying to get his own way.  We are constantly working on maintaining space as well as doing what I tell him to do, when I know he knows better. The perfect example of this is grass snatching. He knows he's not supposed to, but still does. 
Pony says "F- this weather. Imma stay out in the rain/snow/sleet"

The second one I'm borrowing from Beka since it also applies to me and that's rider confidence.  I'm still a fairly green rider but feel I have a decent seat.  I'm constantly questioning if what I'm doing is the correct way to train him, or if my timing is too slow, and the list goes on.  I can also be a bit nervous under saddle which transfers to him and ties into his respect and confidence.  Yesterday, my husband and I drove to a local trail for a quick hike. The up hill side of the trail is paved for hikers/bikers/strollers, etc. The downhill/ditch side is a horse trail for a couple of miles.  All I could think about were all the things that would possibly spook Max. There were dogs barking, cattle on one side of the fence, mud, low branches (to knock me off when he bolts).  The pedestrian trail is also elevated, so having people with dogs and bikes whirring by above his head won't help things either.

See...rider confidence. 

It got foggy after it stopped raining/snowing.  Today it's just really cold.