Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I missed it!

2013 was a big year for me in terms of horses.  I bought Max and brought him to the boarding barn on July 13th.  Later that year, around Christmas, he came home.  Two days later I bought and brought home Cinderella.

Max is my first, and so far only, horse.  We've had our ups and downs and continue to butt heads occasionally. He isn't being ridden at the moment, but I have plans to at least climb on and walk around a little.

This is one of the first pictures I have of him modeling his new tack at the boarding barn. The saddle is a Wintec close contact that was purchased used. After sitting in a pasture for several years, he wasn't too excited to be tacked up.  Note the swishing tail. I'm not sure how my riding instructor got his ears up for this one.

We managed to go off site one time to some trails. He did really well, aside from being very forward. And the cars. That came up after this picture was taken. He really wanted to bolt.

Trying to get a Christmas-y shot a couple of weeks before he came home. He wasn't having it.

He came home and a week or two later we get hit by a massive snow storm. I wanted to see if our road had been cleared, but couldn't tell from the house.  In some spots, Max decided that jumping the drifts was easier than plowing through them. Koda followed in the trail we blazed. Note the half buried chicken coop to the side. The girls were nice and toasty inside their coop.

In 2014, we didn't do a whole lot. Mostly just conditioning around the property.  I discovered just how much Max hates mud when he decided to keep jumping a tiny, muddy ditch instead of walking through. That led to my first big fall off a horse.  But I got back on and made him walk through some other muddy areas, then called it a day. Thankfully, I was only sore.

One thing I noticed last summer was that we didn't have horse flies.  I was ecstatic.  Those suckers are nasty and hurt like hell when they bite. Last summer, my foot got fractured while camping (with my in-laws horses), when the one I was holding jumped on to me when a horse fly came swooping in trying to bite. I've also had issues with them while trail riding.  If they come close, the horse I normally ride likes to try to crow hop when she hears them. This isn't so good when you're on a steep, rocky slope.

Sadly though, I saw a horse fly yesterday in our pasture.  Max came trotting up from the back area when it was time for feeding and it was following him.  Thankfully, he wasn't jumping around or kicking, just aggressively trying to bite it when it got near.  I hope he stays that calm when they're around. Horse flies are why I'm trying to desensitize him to me randomly slapping him.  I'm hoping he'll understand that I'm trying to help him by killing them and stand still, rather than kicking, or otherwise flipping out when I'm near.

Anyways, sorry for that tangent. Horse flies = bad.

Monday, July 27, 2015

TMM Blog Hop:Bit of Luck

An interesting blog hop from The Moody Mare

I think that we all have those tried and true bits in our collection while others we just steer clear of.  Are there any bits that work like magic for your horse?
I've only ridden Max in a double jointed snaffle.  His current one is an eggbutt with a copper lozenge.

Like this, only with a copper lozenge.

 I had read that Haflingers tend to have lower palates than your average horse, so I went with a double jointed. I wanted to keep it as mild as possible. The copper provides something a little tastey that he could play with.

That being said, I'm not sure how much he likes it.  We go well enough, but he can get bull headed and try to push through it or ignore me. I've been wanting to try other bits, but I'm not sure what. Plus, time and money are at a premium at the moment.

I've been considering a baucher, some sort of happy mouth bit, or an elevator. I like the idea of the elevator simply because you can adjust where the reins attach and use it as a simple snaffle, or use the curb action.

I feel like I have good, steady hands and don't lean on his mouth for balance. But he has his moments when he decides to grab for grass and yanks me down with him. Those Haflinger muscles are no match for me.

Any advice?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Link Love

Posting mostly for my own reference:

KEP Italia: Buyer Beware @ The $900 Facebook Pony - A helmet is destroyed on impact and the company's response is to call the rider a liar and threaten to sue over defamation.

 How to Help Your Spouses Sanity If You Get Smushed By A Bus @ She Moved To Texas - Not really horse related, but it's very important for everyone to have a plan if you die.  Even if you don't have a partner, it would be helpful for your friends and family to have easy access to this information.

10 Things to Give Up to be Happy @ Viva Carlos:  Great list. This might go along with #10, but I would add, "Give up caring about what other people think."

Fear @ A Enter Spooking:   Fear and anxiety are a big part of my riding. This post is very well thought out and helps explain some of the anxiety I feel. I especially like the section on rational vs. irrational fear. I could (and should), write a post on my own fears. It might help to clear things up in my own head.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

WW: Itchy Pony

Poor boy. The mosquitoes are awful this year. But look at him move that tree!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Frustrated Pony

Since half our barn is currently stuffed full of hay, I've been using a halter to bring Max in and out of the barn. The aisle is now only wide enough for either one person, or one horse, but not both, side-by-side. 

Max loves his halter. All I have to do is hold it open and he shoves his nose into it. However, I've noticed he gets frustrated when something goes wrong. Like when the lead rope slips from my arm before I can get the crown over his ears, or the throatlatch flips under and gets caught on the side of his cheek and I have to readjust.   He glares at me when this happened. It's like the fat pony version of the mare glare. He's impatient and knows the halter generally means something good is coming. In most cases, it's pasture time.

Not the fat pony mare glare. More like a "there's hay about a foot away from my mouth. Give it to me now, glare.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Vet Visit

The vet came out Wednesday to take off Cinderella's bandage and have a look at her foot.  Good news is that it had healed better than he had expected. Bad news is that it hasn't healed as much as I was hoping, but I'll take it.  She'll have to stay in the stall for a few days and see how she does on the foot without a bandage.  I'm hopeful she will continue to heal.  She might have a limp for the rest of her life, but it shouldn't really cause her issues...not in the same way it would with a horse anyways.

Hack job with her wool. I had to be quick before she started to wake up.

She kept kicking so the vet had to knock her out with some happy juice to get a good feel of the leg. Once he left, I did all her nails and hacked away at her wool. All that was much easier when she's asleep, aside from having to roll her over. Also, she was snoring.  I got some video, but I'm not sure how well you can hear her. I might post it later.

Max was pretty worried about her too.  The vet mentioned that he was much worse when he came out at the beginning of June. He was pacing and pawing at everything.  I think maybe because Cinderella was out and there were only strangers there.  This time, I was there and he just kept watching through the slats.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Max Gets Some Exercise

I apologize for the lack of updates. I really haven't been doing much with Max lately, especially with all the rain. I have several posts started, but no photos to go with them since my computer is trying its hardest to bite the dust.

Saturday, we were having a load of hay delivered in the morning. 226 heavy bales to be exact.  So at 8, I went to put Max and Cinderella out in the pasture so I could get the stalls cleaned and the barn cleared for the hay.  My thought process was "hey, he will love going out on pasture and eating some yummy clover over old hay".  Apparently I was wrong. 

I brought him out, let him loose and he did a 180 right out the gate before I had a chance to put the hotwires back up.  Okay....I go get him, put him in and chase him off enough for me to get the middle line up.  I usually do this so he stays in and I can bring Cinderella in without taking it down. Well, he comes cantering up and tries to duck under the line back out into the yard.  Thankfully he listened when I yelled at him to whoa. So I put up the other two hotwires and hope he doesn't try to run through those. 

Well, he didn't like this.  He took off galloping at a mad pace around the pasture.  I've never seen the fat boy move so fast before.  I watch for a minute to make sure he's not going to try to run through or jump anything, then head back to the barn.  My new thought is that he was upset he didn't get his morning hay. In the barn I could hear him thundering around the pasture.  I ended up putting up a bag of hay in a tree and that seemed to calm him down.  Cinderella went out and I managed to get the barn clean just in time for the hay guy to show up. 

He looked something like this. I wish I had my camera with me.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quick Updates

Big blog world hugs to everyone who is going through stuff.  I know there are at least two bloggers with horses in a hospital right now. Scarey stuff.

The bugs are horrible at our place right now.  We've been getting a lot of rain, and with the creek and floodplain, there's a lot of standing water which means mosquitoes galore. It's insane. I'm so glad I got those fans this year.  Most of the time, Max doesn't even come out of his stall to greet me like normal.  He's always ready by the gate to come in from pasture in the evenings. I think he just gets sick of the bugs.  I've been slapping him to squish bugs. This is partly to desensitize him for future trail rides. The Brown County trails always seem to have a ton of horse flies and we try to kill as many as possible when they're around the horses. They're nasty buggers. I would rather he stand and let me slap those suckers dead than flip out and buck like I've seen some horses do. I want to work with him, but those mosquitoes scare me away. I won't even go back in our woods right now.

The farrier was out last week and mentioned Max had a broken bar in his hoof. She didn't seem concerned, just wondered how it happened (I have no idea). I don't know that much about hoof conformation and all that, but Google tells me it's not a huge deal. He's not showing any signs it's bothering him. 

Cinderella seems to keep getting better. She's limping quite a bit, but is putting weight on her foot.  She got out the other day and we ended up herding her back to the barn. She was moving too quick for us to walk up to her, but I didn't want to pick up the pace and make her work harder. The vet is coming out next week to take the bandage off and see what's going on with the leg. Hopefully it's healed and she will continue to get strength back.

This was our back yard a couple of weeks ago. The creek is past the wood line.  Normally, you can't see it at all from the house because of how far back it's set. You can just see the edge of the shed to left. The barn is farther up.It's been a lot higher than this, but not for a couple of years.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I think this is the dirtiest I've ever seen Max. He's not a horse to go roll around in the mud so I was surprised to come home to this. Can you tell how impatient he is to go out to pasture?

We also made some minor improvements to the barn. Each stall now has its own fan. It's helped so much with flies that I don't think Max leaves the stall often during the day.