Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Saddle up?

Sully's & my "first ride" at the barn. Short and sweet.

Snapshot off my video cam.  Not perfect, but saddle time!

So now that Sully has blown an abscess he is sound, but still landing toe first.  We are still working to get the right boot fit - the Easy Boot Trails didn't survive in pasture turnout either (also too wide), though I didn't find them in the mud but two random spots in the pasture the next day!  So I gave up on using anything for turnout right now, and have the size 2 slims coming from Scoot Boot to see if they fit well to use for riding comfort.

I spent most of the week dealing with rain/storms and just checking on them all with feeding, and doing some hoof treatments when I had him in.  I'm also trying to get him worked in to the schedule with Sandy for an adjustment and Sarah for a good body-work session!  Lots to work around trying to do all that, get some riding in, and hoof trims...

Last week I questioned whether he was a pig (loves mud and had himself caked), a giraffe (eating leaves), or a horse?! I guess I've been spoiled by my previous geldings who didn't like to roll in the mud!

muddy rump (it was also all over his legs and neck)

Ali has now "claimed" him as hers, being in season and running herself sweaty one night while I had him up at the barn... Cheyenne calls for him too when I take him out, but not with the same gusto per say.

love birds 
Saturday I had a plan - do his first ride in the ring and then work on the trailer unloading, and be home around lunch...

And of course things go to plan right?!

The riding part went well - literally a 5min walk around the ring but I still need to tweak the saddle so didn't do much there.  He was good. Stood stock still for mounting and walked off when asked.  Gosh I have forgotten how big his walk is! I did use the snap on bridle with the French-link snaffle, eventually we will go back to an S-Hack.

Spent a long time like this!
After that we dropped off his tack and went out to work on the trailer.  My plan: to work him like a difficult loader - front feet only, back off, then just a back foot, then back, etc... He is so 'eager' and used to jumping on trailers I didn't catch the back feet coming on when I wanted to back him and then our ~3hr trailer stalemate ensued!   He would back when asked, but just couldn't take that leap of faith there was ground down there when his back foot would come off and would jump forward.  He was really trying, and never mean, several times just putting his head down into my chest and resting. Unfortunately I didn't not find that "thing" that would make coming forward more difficult than continuing backward... I did let him try to turn around and walk off like before, but he was not able to make the turn tight enough and would get in a sticky situation and right himself, and resolve back to standing as he would be traveling.

So I got this idea to remove the divider, but couldn't do it alone without risking dropping it and creating a bit of a ruckus in there so I rang Amanda for help!  We ended up using her husband's help to essentially push him back when he'd try to come forward and finally got him out of the trailer and onto his feet (he was quite perplexed on how to get his fronts under him once the back feet were off).  Then we removed the divider for next time so he has enough room to turn around.  Not my ideal situation, as the divider provides something rigid to lean on if needed, so we will go to a local trainer with obstacles to help him with the backing with a step down to get this sorted long term. Other than some pawing, I do know he will stand in a trailer for hours fairly calm!!

Monday eve met with up with Amanda again, this time to do some back mapping and saddle fitting. It was a bit too hot to ride (temp + humidity), the horses were drenched just standing so we brought them all in for some time under the fans while we played with Sully's back.

Oh the all too familiar struggle of saddle fit!!!  

The saddle Prophecy used is definitely a bit wide, especially on the right... but Sully is also very under-developed comparatively on the right (Track races to the left!)

We tried on my Synergist, a Specialized, a Big Horn, a ghost, and Stonewall templates...   The angles of a 'medium' stonewall tree match BUT too tight on the left, a wide a bit too wide on the right. A SQHB Big Horn was too tight on the left. The Ghost did not sit well at all on him (bummer because I did love mine before!), and finally the Specialized would need some shimming to fit.  So.... now I've got emails into saddle makers and considering talking to Skito to see about just a custom shim pad for him to make the Synergist work (as it looks like with any saddle he will likely need shims until the right builds up).

Wish us luck! 🍀

Monday, July 30, 2018

What's in a name?

And the name that has stuck... Sully.  A big, kind, goofy, and lovable monster :) He has been overall ambivalent about barn names so it was just time to choose!

And some of you may remember the other Sully too!

This week he has continued to improve, even surprising me trotting up for dinner looking sound on Saturday! I can still see some ouchy steps on the rocks and harder ground, but he looked pretty good in the ring doing a trot out.  His hip soreness is lessening from last week's kick, but still treating it every day with TriCare with one spot yet to scab over.  He's had a few new marks show up, but none as bad as that.  They seem to be sorting it out and Cheyenne isn't chasing him as much as just moving him around, and now Ali has joined in the fun of doing that anytime there is food involved and taking charge of Cheyenne again.  I've gotten a routine down of tying up and releasing, but they play merry go round on buckets after each other licking them clean.  I also think we are getting closer for a good ratio of water to cubes, and a little bit of sweetness to get him eating all his food again by the time the girls are ready to be released from their buckets.  But, I guess he is stressing more if I bring him in to feed as we had a short choke episode to deal with Sunday night doing that.

The Scoot Boots (in that photo above) did not make it through staying on overnight in the mud lol (they were a little big), but his Easy Boot Trails have arrived, so we will be using those on the fronts with pads to get him back to landing toe first and then we can get working under saddle.   He still doesn't exactly fit a size, and I'm hoping to get his toes touched up this week to help the trim further, and then watch his feet change :)  We also need to start working on the trailer backing out since he is moving reasonably comfortably now, but need my truck there to hook up for that. 

His new Rope Training Halter

Since he was looking and feeling good we did a short session in the ring on the lunge line Sunday eve. He remembered everything from before about my requests, and was less distracted than before by the girls being so far away.  I've also done some trot-outs to check for the lameness and sent the videos to other Standie folks trying to figure out if was off behind or just doing something funny that is normal - Apparently the issue is that I'm not running fast enough to get him into a big trot, so the back end won't look right! I guess there is no jogging along side - must sprint!  As Patricia told me, it needs to be "Running like you were in a horror movie chase scene" LOL.

As I just said in a private message today ... Every horse is a learning curve!!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

All that is new again

Sleek N Wow has been adjusting to his new herd this week.  The girls are hardly making it easy on him though!  Cheyenne is definitely less than thrilled with his arrival, and Ali looks to her for protection; but remove Cheyenne and he and Ali get along just fine!  I have walked both of them in and out of the barn together without so much as an ear pin from Ali.
Tied to their spots to eat in peace
The first battle wounds I found were on Miss Grumpy Pants... He apparently landed a good kick to her rump that didn't break the skin, but a nice lump was left for evidence. Two days later, he was sporting kick marks on both hips... I'm sure it will still take a bit for her to resign to the fact that there is a gelding living in the field again  🐎

He seems to enjoy selfies too!

This week has mostly been about adjusting, with just a little bit of "work" in there too to establish our relationship. His first Sunday we took a hand-walk hike through the woods a short distance after a few min of ground work to learn the "Back" cue...Gosh he walks fast, but was loving getting out and wanted to keep going.   Wednesday he got to meet my farrier, and of course was super well behaved; we got to work on the Back cue a little more with that too.   After the appointment I measured him for Scoot Boots and sent those off for review. Just as I thought, Prophecy's are way too big for him so we will be trying the 2 and 3 slims to see if we can get a good fit or need to try a different brand boot for now (as hoof shape still needs improving).
Thursday I brought him in again to groom and apply hoof armor to his feet. They are pretty solid from Sabine riding him on rocks, but do still need some help and it certainly can't hurt to use. He enjoyed the pampering of course.  He has a beautiful thick black tail, but his mane is a little sparse in places!
Sadly, he has been off since Friday but between the kicks and trim I'm not sure which is bothering him! Now he has practiced a bunch of trot-outs and he is learning how to circle on the line while I video to assess.

I sized the Beta/Biothane halter of Prophecy's from THT (see tabs for previous reviews) and I think the color is great on him! That lead rope has been with me for all 4 of my boys; it was Traveler's and I continue to use it with cherished memories.


I'm slowly working through my current tack to size it for him, I've already determined he needs a different rope halter long term to fit correctly.  Prophecy's extra halter fits, but it isn't a "training halter" Tesla's is too small for him, and we need the right tools in our box!

Oh, and I weight-taped him on Sunday after his arrival ~950lbs and 15.1H+ (hard to do with the tape vs. a stick).  Next big thing is back mapping to see if the Synergist can be adjusted for him, and resizing the breast collar to whatever saddle we start riding in.

So while I've been through this before, all is new - again.  He is such a different personality, and I've been struggling on choosing a "barn name".  Even when worried he stays with a soft expression and gentle nature. He might jump and flinch a little easier right now, but he hasn't bolted even when free in the field, and I see it improving every day as he settles in.  We tried a few names this past week and right now I'm using one I think describes him as a big, goofy, kind, and lovable monster (TBA once I'm sure the name sticks!)

Friday night a friend came over to help me re-install the battery for the trailer.  Now it powers a roof fan in the sleeping area, my inverter and interior lights when plugged up (and the interior bulbs I've replaced with LEDs except for the florescent ones).  Time to get on that second nose storage box building so I can do a final measurement and order the mattress to "complete" the area! (for now).
During the trip to the barn last week my heavy duty magnet idea to hold up one end of the bucket of buckets failed...so we installed a D-Ring to get that back up off the floor!  We also found the right wire to hook the loading light up, so now I have light on a switch I can use outside the rear of the trailer.  The water pump needs a part replaced, but the motor is good, so that is at least a simple fix! Still trying to figure out how to make the battery charge while hauling...

Looking forward to this next week and continuing to see our relationship develop! ... and hopefully no more mare mishaps and he works out of the soreness going on.