Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Excited, But Terrified

So...this followed us home Sunday evening.

It's not perfect, but it's ours.

I just need to finish scrubbing the inside and get the mats back in, then we will be good to go.  Since D drove it home, I am now tasked with learning to drive the thing.  I have issues with tight turns in our truck, so the addition of the trailer will prove interesting.

Our first trip with it will be up north to pick up a bunch of hay. No more 20 bale trips. We are loading this sucker up!

Now, this leads me up to why I am terrified. It means I can take the pony off my property and out of both our comfort zones. I'm finding myself in a confidence funk right now and it isn't pretty. I really need to get a boost.  There's a CMO near by this weekend and I can borrow a horse I trust. I might do this, but haven't decided yet. I think it might be a good start since there will be a lot of trotting and cantering.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Max is not a patient pony.  Since he came to my home at the end of 2013, I have rarely had him tied, especially for longer than 5 minutes.  I haven't needed to.  Even when I boarded, I never left him alone long. The few times I did, he would stand at the wall, holler, and paw.  The one time I took him trail riding, he stood patiently for a few hours only because he had a bag full of hay to occupy himself.  I've no doubt he knows how to tie and be patient, he just hasn't had the chance to do it for a long time.

Well, now he's going to learn how to high line.  This happened over the weekend.

First, we started with this:

Dafuq?  You took me out of the lush pasture for dis shit!

Then, he realized this....
This is a little better, but the pasture is longer.
 Then, I look back out to the pasture to see Cinderella running around upset that Max had left.  She slipped through the electric rope before I could catch her and went over to the pony, so then this happened....

Cindy: "WTF! I should have stayed in the pasture."  Max: "Duh!"
There was much circling on both their parts. I also need to learn to tie a better quick release knot. Mine always seem to loosen when horses pull. Not a big deal yet, but it will matter in the future.

So, after I was assured that everyone wasn't going to flip out and strangle themselves, I decided to up the torture pressure. There have been plans brewing in my head for a new obstacle, but it involved power tools. What better time than now?  I set up near by and got to cutting wood. Other than some "oh woe is me" looks from them both, neither cared about the circular saw and my swearing at making bad cuts.

They were out maybe 45 minutes at most and did very well. I was pleased and plan on upping their times on the rope in the future.  Cinderella is going to be included since she is clearly more attached to Max than I thought.

On a side note, that is totally my front yard, complete with homemade chicken tractor.

On another side note, exciting news coming Wednesday. Eeeeee!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Lazy Days

So really, nothing has been going on at Howling Owl Farm.  It's been almost two weeks since I rode the pony.  Really, there hasn't been much of an excuse, except for the crazy windy and cold weather we've had this week.

Last night I got home late and put the critters out in the pasture.  It was dark when I went to get them. I called out on my way down to the barn....silence.  Then I opened a stall door and heard thundering hooves. That boy can stop on a dime when he's motivated by food + electric fence. I was worried he was going to try to run through for a second.

"Hand over the grain or the fence gets it!"

Cinderella is not the easiest llama to catch so I brought out some grain, which Max promptly tried to steal. Because I'm too lazy to bring them in one at a time.

I also have some evil plans brewing in my head to torture pony boy with, but it will take energy to finish, which I seem to be lacking. 

I took the day off work and hope to ride the pony later this morning before the rain comes in on Saturday. There may be some exciting news next week, but at the same time, it may fall through too.  Who knows.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

FCEBH: Fav Ribbon/Prize/Award

It looks like 'Fraidy Cat Eventing is taking a stab at blog hopping.  Today, the question is:

What is your favorite ribbon / prize / award that you've won in relation to horses? Is there a story behind it? Or was it a bucket list prize you'd been chasing for ages? It doesn't have to be from a traditional horse show, and ribbons that are the favorite bc they are the prettiest are just as awesome as awards with a great story.

I don't show Max or any other horse yet.  So no prizes. Really, the only horse related award I received was Volunteer of the Year for 2013 for my work at a therapeutic riding center. There were actually 2 of us who won, because we both rock!

The crowns that Max and Cinderella are wearing were part of our award package. The other person who won let me borrow hers so I could do this.  It was highly amusing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Funnies

The past week has been crazy and I have been exhausted. I may have missed the ideal time to ride the pony Saturday. It was beautiful and warm and wonderful. But, yea, exhaustion.  This week is supposed to be cold and rainy.  I'm also more nervous than I should be for my lesson tomorrow, assuming it doesn't get canceled because of rain.

So, as a Monday pick-me-up...some funnies.

This will be me one day. (found here)

Seriously... (found here)

Been there, done that. (found here)
I don't have to deal with this :)  (from here)

When it finally goes wrong, it makes for good entertainment for the rest of us. (from here)

*yank, yank, yank* on horse with curb bit. (from here)

Friday, April 17, 2015

TOABH: History of the Horse

Since I started this blog at the beginning of the year, I ended up missing several of Beka's blog hops. I'm going to go back through and post the rest of them over the next few weeks. They're a lot of fun and make me think about some things I probably wouldn't have thought of before.

Going back to the very beginning at The Owls Approve:

History of the Horse
Before you met, where was your horse?  Who bred him/her?  What do you know about his sire and his dam?  What do you know where he came from?  Tell me about the time before he had a trainer.

Showing off our 'new' tack shortly after I got him.

Max was bred and born in Illinois.  According to his papers, he was sold twice, however, there were at least two more owners who aren't listed that I know of.  I do know he came to a local lesson program and was sold to a former adult student about a year before he became mine.  In searching his registered name, he pops up on an Illinois State Fair results website as being shown in a halter class. I'm guessing he was also taught to drive since the owner listed is was also in a bunch of driving classes. However, they don't list all the horses names for those.  In the year before I got him, he was pretty much a pasture puff. The previous owner said the riding program didn't use him very much either.

Max comes from the 'M' line of haflingers.  His great-grand sire is Midas Touch NTF.  I believe the M line tends to be somewhere in between the drafty types and the sporty types of haflingers. They make good driving ponies.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another Weekend Ride

 Sunday we went for a ride and Max was a very good, yet frustrating boy. There were a bunch of kids running around next door and screaming in the woods. D was in the garage working on the ATV making noise.  I decided to stick to the paddock and pasture.  We mostly worked on consistent speed at the walk and trot as well as increasing the speed of each.  Holy hell is it difficult for me to get him into a working walk or working trot.  Actually, the working trot was easier than a working walk. He's such a pokey pony. 

We went longer and faster than last week.
 So, we need to work on both consistency and different speeds within each gait. I think I've been pushing the slow, western trot too much. Plus, he's just not fit and lazy. Hopefully he will be more willing once he gets a little more fit.
Green in the mane. Did he piss off Cinderella again?
Probably not. I found this while riding. It's full of haflinger fuzz.
D and I went to the Hoosier Horse Fair on Saturday.  It was a huge disappointment. I did get to see a little bit from Tommy Turvey, which was fun, and part of a cow work clinic by Al Dunning. But there were hardly any vendors and the one that might have some stuff I needed was so crowded and closed off, that I didn't even bother.  They did have a few trailer dealers there, but they were nowhere to be found amongst the trailers. We were hoping to talk to them about installation of a gooseneck hitch on our truck.  I heard the Rodeo that evening was a bust. There are a lot of people who were complaining on Facebook about the lack of everything. Next year, D and I are considering taking a long weekend to Ohio for Equine Affair.

OMG this hill* is so tough! I need to rush to make it to the top! *note* said "hill" is not a hill. You'd barely notice it while walking.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Weekend and A Lesson

Saturday was beautiful but a windy and a little chilly. I put the pony boy out on pasture for a bit then took him out for a hand walk. We played in the creek for a bit, then continued on Coming out of the woods into the back yard, pony bolted.  There may have been a tiny noise from my husband in the garage that spooked him, but it really shouldn't have.  Max was really good and not very forward at all during our walk, so it was completely unexpected. I caught him again and worked him in the paddock for a bit and he spooked at nothing yet again. Otherwise he was okay.

Later that evening, I was talking to my husband about Max and he offered to ride him.  Long story short, Max was very good for him. After a while, I was trying to get him to spook, but he never really did. I tried shaking branches, took a large cone and started throwing it behind him. put the cone on his butt and let it fall off (this got a small scoot), but nothing I did made him really want to spook. Hmmm....this is more confirmation that my anxiety is getting in the way.

See, I rode. Also, the grass has gotten so green :)

Sunday I got up on him with the western saddle and he was great.  We mostly trotted around the pasture. He was all looky towards the north east for some reason, but never offered to spook. I also tried out a new app for recording distance and speed. My part of Indiana is a joke in terms of elevation, so it's not really necessary. Pony boy is sloooowww.....

Looking at the individual segments, maybe our trotting wasn't too bad. Clicking should make it bigger, if you're interested.

Monday, I had my first lesson for the year.  We have a new therapy horse under trial who is still a bit nervous and getting buddy sour.  We worked on leg aids and keeping her on the rail. Every time we'd go past my instructor on her own horse, my horse would bend her neck away, but move her body towards instructors horse. We spent a lot of the lesson spinning.  It was good for my confidence though.

So far this week I haven't been able to ride due to rain. Driving into work on Wednesday was freaky. It was gray, but light, then BOOM. Engulfed in black. Can't see oncoming tornadoes in the dark.  I hate tornadoes. They cause me a lot of anxiety this time of year.

Saturday D and I are going to the Hoosier Horse Fair.  We want to talk to dealers about trailers. Exciting!

Monday, April 6, 2015

TOABH: 18 on the 18th

Happy birthday Archie!

Eighteen on the Eighteenth.
In honor of Archie's 18th birthday, tell me 18 things you love about your horse*.
1. His good nature
2. His intellegence
3. That he is low to the ground
4. That he can be goofy
Goofy boy!
5. His colors
6. That he loves food
7. That he calls for me whenever he sees me
8. His little pigeon-toed front feet - they're adorable

My brave pigeon-toed pony. Yes, we went through the bridge.

9. He can be very brave
10. He is easy to catch
11. He has a great walk to woah
12. That he loves his afternoon naps with Cinderella
"Oh, hi there. Are you bringing me some food?" *gets up to investigate*
13. His curiosity
14. He puts up with my shenanigans
Saturday, we became chicken feed

15. That he stays relatively clean compared to some horses
16. That he has a lot to teach me
17. That he keeps me on my toes
18. That he is mine, all mine

I loved this blog hop! Thanks Beka! I'm thinking about going back and posting the ones from last year that I missed. 

On another note, I start my lessons again on Monday. Won't be riding Max, but we have a new therapy horse I'm excited to ride. Lessons on her will do us both good. 

And finally, I think I want to cry.  Such lovely, warm weather, but storms and more storms. Tis the season for tornado anxiety....


Friday, April 3, 2015

SFTS BH: Happy Place & Riding

  I really liked this question from Stories From The Saddle. 
What barn and/or horse chores put you in your happy place?

For some of us, it's the feeling of methodically and meticulously cleaning tack. For others, it's the repetition of braiding a mane. For others, it's the quiet moments of filling the water buckets or sweeping the barn aisle after everyone has left for the night. 
 Hands down, feeding. Specifically the evening feed. I love that Max calls out when he sees me (for food) and that he gets so excited to get his grain and hay. At least when I'm not planning on riding.I love the sound of them munching quietly on their hay.  In the morning, I usually just toss hay and run off to work, but in the evening, I usually have time to relax a little.  
I also really enjoy organizing things in the barn.  I get to do that again soon, since I will be putting winter equipment away and bringing out the summer stuff. I also need to put up more shelves and get through my pile of stuff that still needs a spot.  

Bikes can sometimes be scarey. At least he has his ears up for once.

In other news, I rode Tuesday and Wednesday this week, though they were short. Thursday it stormed all day and evening, and looks like it will rain most of Friday too. Yuck.

It looks like our neighbor's son will be building a house soon just to our north. For whatever reason, Max has been very concerned about the goings on up that way this week.  Tuesday, they were out pounding in poles to mark the corners.  Even though there wasn't any noise while we were riding, Max spooked and I came off again.  This time he just spun and walked off.  I was kind of mad because there was no reason for him to do that. I hopped back on and we worked on some leg yielding and called it a day. Note to self, quit being lazy and put on a damned saddle.

Wednesday, I got off work early since it was beautiful and I have to come in on Saturday (yay science!). Well, I lay down on the couch for a few minutes and woke up several hours later.  Ooops. So much for enjoying the beautiful day. By the time I got done with chores it was starting to get dark. I decided to enjoy the pony before the rain and cold came back, so I hopped on bareback (again...) and we plodded around the paddock instead of the pasture.  He was still being all looky to the north. Neighbors must have been out doing stuff during the day. He did good though. We did some trotting on the compact uneven ground and he didn't trip at all. Yay for ponies picking up their feet.  He didn't spook when my husband went riding by on his bike either. Or when I walked him by my bike coming back into the barn.   

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 2015 Review

How did I do with meeting my goals during March?

Riding:  March was the best month so far this year.

It started off bad, with Max more concerned about dinner than anything else.  We had a spin and bolt, which resulted in me flying off to the side and him galloping to the barn. Well,  maybe not galloping, but definitely cantering. This was followed by ice, snow, rain, and the resulting melting snow, making it difficult to ride.

The rest of the rides occurred on beautiful days. We mostly focused on leg yielding. I've been seeing some minor improvements.

Mr. Looky-loo on Tuesday, shortly before a spook and spin.

Groundwork:  Not so good
We only did groundwork a couple of times this month, both were lunging exercises. The one time was not productive and resulted in him taking off. I will likely back off and work in the paddock when it's not too muddy to get his head in the game.

Filthy creatures get a grooming and learn some patience, including the escape llama.

Obstacles:  Great!
The only true obstacle I worked on was updating some of my ground poles to make them more visible. However, I made great progress in getting the pasture fenced in.  I'm counting it as a +1 in my book. I also stuck some cones out that will stay there on a semi permanent basis. I need to find some smaller ones that my feet won't hit as we are walking by.

  • Continue working on yielding under saddle and from the ground
  • Work on consistency at walk and trot
  • Simply trot more for exercise
  • Work on figuring out and loosening my back
  • More obstacles
  • Start my lessons back up (not on Max yet)