Friday, December 30, 2016

Windy play day

Thursday was kind of wet and weather couldn't decide what it wanted to do, so I left Prophecy alone.  I went back today to brush him out and play with our new soccer ball!

Didn't last long out there...the wind gusts today were 50mph at times...I arrived in some light flurries in sunshine which was really pretty.

Prophecy didn't run from me when I went to get him, so I guess I'm forgiven!

Not afraid of the soccer ball in any manner...actually was searching for a way to pick it up!

Being a goober who wouldn't leave me made it difficult to play! I did get him to pass it back to me once, but didn't catch that on video.

And as promised...some pictures to show his body post work up:


I let him play with a towel to occupy himself...

Look at the wind in my mane!

Does my butt look big?


ok fine, no more treats...

Our Ghost saddle is on its way from OR, only another week and we can get back to riding! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A long Wednesday

Tuesday's loading practice run went very easy as well, however he was more in a rush to back of the trailer I think due to all the commotion around us; Successful none the less and by the last time he was waiting on my cue to back again.

The boys watching me leave Tuesday

The update promised from Prophecy's visit with Jeannie Waldron and Jessica Martin for Osteopathy...

My day started out early - I planned in lots of extra time just in case I had difficulty loading and for traffic.  I needed to be on the road by 830 at latest to meet up with Jerry, turned out we ran WAY early!  He was nice and easy to catch, put the cooler on and load, so we hit the road just after 8.  The traffic was very minimal, so we got the clinic about 45min early.   
Prophecy came off the trailer rather hesitantly, a first.  He was very slow about backing out and off. He really wanted to turn and look, but that isn't all that possible in our trailer!  We took our time and he did step off without rushing or stumbling. Since we were early he got to go out in a paddock for a bit and while he was nice and settled in the beginning, apparently the hunt club came through so he was a sweaty muddy mess when it was time for his appointment!

Am I glad I spent my day hauling him for this appointment - YES
Jeannie and Jess worked with him over 2 hours getting his back into "place" again.  His hip/pelvis issue that I had addressed in Sept by the Chiro was much more in depth. He was really locked up in the back end, his withers, diaphragm, ribs, and sternum were out, plus something with his jaw.  It was a really interesting experience, both the internal and external work done on him.  Jeannie also showed me some balancing things to improve on his hooves so I can discuss with the farrier. One comment she made: keep his hooves balanced and teeth in shape and you'll have a long term career.  If the hooves continue to be out of balance he might be lame "by 17"; keep the lightest shoes possible on him and get him moving correctly (not heel landing first).   The plan is ride for a few months and see how he goes and return for a check-up/readjustment with saddle check.

We all could see some visible changes immediately in him.  His is now very obviously butt-high (which explains the saddle creeping issues we had and they suggest a well fitting crupper used all the time although the ghost does not creep), but also has a little more wither now that things are corrected.   He took a little more convincing to get back on the trailer to go home, but chilled out OK standing alone on the trailer while we stopped for a very late lunch on the way back. 
He took off from me when I turned him out, and when I was done unloading everything he looked to be moving around pretty well outside.  He could be sore a few days as his body adjusts so he gets a few days "off" ... which means really nothing different since I have no saddle - BUT I did get word it is finished and shipping from Italy!  

When the weather allows I will be taking out our soccer ball to play with! I'm sure he will enjoy it as Tuesday he discovered the stall toy I had for Tesla being nosy in the trailer with me and was having fun with it :)

I'll have to get some new pictures of him when he is cleaned up a bit. I didn't torture him upon our return with a brush out today.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Christmas craziness has passed, Hanukkah has started.  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate!

We finished our daughter's loft bed a few days "early" from our plan - it came out really cool and she loves it.  She got a major room overhaul and our son got some new things too to make it all work.

So what have I been up with Prophecy since our demo saddle had to be sent back?  Trailer practice and ground work!  Aside from anxiously awaiting our own saddle to come in from Italy...
Friday brush out
He has appointment with the Osteopath a few hours away this Wednesday, and since I haven't asked him to load since arriving at Still Pond, I figured we ought to have a few dry runs.  Normally he goes on with minimal issue; never has taken more than 20min and few on/off attempts... however, when I asked him to load on Thursday we ended up in a 3hr standoff over the last foot coming on.  I had no intention of leaving before getting him to load all the way, but I could see he was mentally over it all so I took a few steps "backwards" and just asked him to calmly load his front feet and back off at my asking and called it a day.  I returned on Friday with a similar idea in mind and discovered after a few attempts that part of our issue was the butt bar for the back door as it laid against the wall - he would rub into it and get goosed and say "hell no." So I took the bar off and this time within the hour I had him loading several times with minimal resistance (pressure and release to forward motion following me on). He travels in the front stall with the divider closed, so the butt bar is just added security - we will work on getting past that goosing sensation in the future.

He was also highly motivated by his buddies sweet grain and some real peppermint candies!

An hour later and we are on :)
I returned on Monday to do more practice. This time I put a cooler on, as I think Wednesday morning that is how we will haul out there (30s in am, but afternoon will be warmer and may not need it coming home) and I want to expose him to how things will be before it really happens.

I think I got my boy back!  Within 30 minutes I was hooked up, caught him, brushed and put his cooler on AND loaded 3 times!  He barely balked the first time.  I asked with some pressure and reminded him of the yummy stuff waiting in the feeder and he eagerly came up behind.  He got a few mouthfuls, we backed off and turned around to do it again. This time I closed the divider on him and went around to the escape door. Had him stand in there munching for a bit, then backed him off, took a short walk around the driveway and came back to load once more - he got some more yummy treats and then I backed him off and called it a day.

One more practice run for Tuesday...then the real deal Wednesday! I'll update about the appointment after - I'm really curious to see what she finds and what she says we can fix/work on with him.

Cooler is almost too tight in the chest!

Ok mom, now what? :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Final Demo Ride

Monday night I had my final demo ride...Tuesday I ship it back for the next person.  The only thing I changed from the last ride was adding the pommel bolster to see what kind of difference it would make on my knees, since I seem to be sensitive to slight twist changes.  It felt pretty good overall, so I will make sure I have one.  

It was a really fun short ride.  I took him to the round pen for a few to lunge first, and used the fence to get on. He did pretty well at standing still after because I turned him into the fence.  Then we headed out on the back trails to avoid going by his buddies in the barn.  A few discussions in the beginning but then he settled in nicely...we walked, trotted, and cantered.  All alone, even with his barn buddies calling to him, scary deer staring at us, and some weird looking logs/stumps and well pump heads to pass by.

We came up the hill to finish with the moon rising... although hard to see in this pic - it is to the right of the trees

Ears forward and go!

Done with our romp

The all important dinner

As the moon shines over the hills and his pasture

To top Monday off, in the mail was

The weekend did not really go as planned, as mine "started early" with working from home with a sick Skyler on Friday.  We did manage to go see Santa but did not get a chance to ride as I had hoped between the cold snap and wind.

The trees behind his workshop

The boys were all too interested in the work being done to fix their waterer on Sunday when it randomly froze as the weather dipped below freezing late morning.

Monday, December 5, 2016

December craziness

Only a few days in and we are feeling the crunch of holiday crazy time!

We started out with Skyler's school play Friday night.  She was a choir Angel in "One Starry Night" this year.  The 3-5 year olds are so cute and it is always a fun time.  Her favorite song to sing was "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" of course!

The truck had its mirror replaced and we also did family pictures this weekend at a Christmas Tree Farm. Saturday night was the Parade of Lights in Stanardsville which Doug & a few Legacy band members played music beforehand.  The kids loved running around in the cold (the only ones warm because of it!) and then getting to see a bit of the parade with Santa in a horse drawn carriage and all.

The band and the kiddos (Doug on Bass)

We decided to make Skyler's big present her new bed and bed set - a loft bed. So that means lots of building time for Doug needed!   I get to start painting the parts he's built already this week.  Ever the girl, she has picked out Pink, Purple, Teal and White for it.  We also got Asher a new dresser for his room (surprise for him) so we will move his long dresser to her and get rid of the tower dresser that has been around for over 7 years now between both of them!  Furniture changes all around for presents :)  Next comes having the stairs and guest room carpet redone.

We put up our tree Sunday evening... Must dig up all the ornaments and some colored lights to add to it.  We'll decorate more on the weekend, the weeknights are just too busy.

Fitting in time to ride around the ever changing weather and schedules can be tough for sure.  I've got the Ghost demo through the upcoming weekend so trying to squeak in a few more pad trials and figure out as much as I can before mine arrives!  Oh yes, that's right - I ordered one!  Mine is going to be black & navy, and western rigged since I have a cinch that works already.  But, they are super easy to change so I can always switch to an English girth if I find that is the direction to go in the future.

Hey now!
We squeaked in a ride Sunday - sort of.  He was better for tacking up, still not great at standing still.  I took him over to the arena and he remembered about the mounting 'block' (upside down muck bucket lol) and standing still.  Until I was on anyway...we'll continue to work on that one!  I was using a Christ pad and something was causing an interference and could heard the pop/rubbing sounds with his shoulder strides so I didn't ride much at all (probably related to the short girth and billet keepers on the pad).  I hopped off, we did some work at the mounting block and then walked about a mile on the trails on property with him just tacked up.  Not wanting to waste any moments I had with him, when we reached the barn I grabbed the crupper and took him to the round pen.  I purposely set it a little on the tighter side to see how he would react...  No bucks, but tucked that tail and rear when he felt it! He is relatively tail sensitive to begin with and tucks it at first so not surprising.

Ok, not so big a deal

I loosened it and he relaxed a bit - moved him both directions at a trot and called it a good session as he didn't blow up over it (Tesla bucked during his intro to it, and a few other times it engaged when I was on!).

I learned that if he is worked a bit already, he will stand at ease for saddle play. When we were done in the round pen I took the saddle and pad off and played a little with putting things back on him and he never moved off.  Hmmm...maybe we need a little lunge work before tacking up?  The barn owners are looking at putting in a hot-walker, so we might make use of that someday!

Monday night I had very little planned other than to take him to the arena and try out the Matrix with inserts.  We had some "words" about standing for tacking up (he got to do some circles in the grass until he settled down and stood nicely) but once we understood each other he was very good at letting me get things straight with this combo and girth him up - slowly. He really despises that part so I take it one hole at a time and try giving treats here and there.

We took our walk down to the arena - which is nice because it warms us up and gives the girth a chance to settle (usually meaning I tighten 1 more hole after).  We had our discussion over the mounting block and then he was pretty good about it tonight. Still walked off when I got up, but better than when I have just put a foot in a stirrup.

We walked and trotted around the arena a few and he was so good.  One of the best arena rides I've had on him regarding actually going with my cues and focused on me, moved out well without head tossing, etc.
Fuzzy boy ready for his saddle
So...I chanced a trail ride alone, worst case I'd hop off and walk him back to the barn.  We left the arena and walked back to our gates and the trail access and took a walk/trot ride :)  He was such a good boy!  One stand and stare at the deer herd we spooked away, and one spook (teleport sideways) I knew was coming because he has reacted to this log/branch group every time we have seen it!  He stood nicely for my dismount - which I have been purposely doing to the "off side" since if I bail I seem to have a tendency to go that direction so may as well see how he does with it. He squashed my foot side stepping after I got down, but quickly moved (and didn't fully stomp/step on me thankfully). Made it back to the barn before it was dark.

I came home a very happy horse mamma tonight. I love getting to go out on trail and while we weren't speedy in the slightest he was enjoying it and forward, not worried about barn buddies or trying to get back to them.  Now I know we can head out alone more!

Post ride

Bonus happy news for a Monday - I had a message this morning that I won the drawing for 6 free Magna Wave sessions for Prophecy with our equine massage therapist Sarah at handshooveshearts  This guy has it made for 2017!

Monday, November 28, 2016

More demo fun

I've gotten in some good rides on the Ghost Quilty through today, but now I have to wait till the weekend to ride more due to everything else going on.

I think I've figured out the correct stirrup set-up, and now I'm just tweaking the saddle pad. It really feels comfortable for me, no hip pain, I've remedied the knee issue from the first ride (and resulting ruffling of his coat as I kept adjusting in the saddle during our ride), and I still have a few more adjustments I could make for myself if I need to.
I rode with the Ghost wool pad without inserts for a few rides and then Sunday tried my Matrix without inserts. I didn't get it centered up into the saddle as well as I should have (resulted in pad shifting), but I will have to play with that next time.
Based on Prophecy's build the recommendation was to start without pad inserts as the panels have their own "inserts" for weight distribution and I'm not heavy enough to 'require' pad inserts as well, however they are a good idea for long term use and distances in general.

Monday night I tried out a friend's Skito (with the inserts) over in the arena next door.  Another short ride due to loss of daylight and boredom, but it gives me an idea of how it feels with inserts in the pads and if it is still able to maintain levelness and stability side to side as well (one of the major issues with most saddles we've tried).  It did hold the side-to-side level but seemed to perch it off his back a bit and caused it to be lower in the front (which can be fixed with shims). We'll see how the Matrix does when I add inserts back in next weekend if it is any different.

One of these days I'll get around to trying to mount from the ground and see how much shifting there is, but since the girth is actually a little shorter than he apparently needs, and tacking up is still a dance, I'll wait till I have my own saddle in hand and some more fitness.  Being able to do so would be nice, in case there is nothing around to get me a boost on a trail. He really hasn't huffed and puffed much at all with our trotting or having him walk uphill to engage the butt so cardiac wise he is keeping himself in shape in the to get the muscle tone!

All in all I'm feeling like the Ghost is a successful fit (and wondering why I didn't trust my gut earlier this summer to demo it).  I will have a little bit yet to figure out on the best pad option for us, but I think this is a good saddle to get us going for 2017!  As we get to true Endurance distances (50+miles) I will have to keep an eye on everything and make sure - but I know several others having much success in this brand for 50 & 75 mile rides.

Sunday I took the kids and Doug out to meet Prophecy (finally) and he snapped a few pictures of us on our short ride in the paddock.

                               The kids loved helping to brush him and of course gave a few treats too!

Monday night coming back to the barn from the arena next door

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Overall Prophecy has done well with the move. The first day he definitely ran a bit and had a sweat matted coat when I visited.  I brushed that all out and when I returned the next day there wasn't anything new so he had calmed it seemed.

I went back Wednesday morning (took the day off of work) and met the 'new' farrier.  He liked Prophecy's feet (other than not much concavity going on) and agreed the WLD is basically gone. But we'll all keep a close eye on them in the spring for it to return.  We talked shoes and boots, and what my riding intentions are.  He is willing to do the composite types, but will not guarantee them to stay on unlike his own steel shoeing jobs. All things to consider - but he won't be sporting any shoes for a while yet anyway. Planning to stick to barefoot friendly areas for a bit.

Prophecy was completely worked up after the trim (new horse arrival, etc), and I ended up turning him out figuring I wouldn't get a chance to try out the Ghost on him.  After a whole lot of fun chatting, we all decided to go ahead and ride for a bit before JS's lesson at 12.  I grabbed him back from the field and tacked him up - took pictures of the saddle with and without a pad.  It actually stayed level after adding a pad!  Every other saddle the stirrups looked uneven as soon as I added a pad.

Level even after lunging!

                                                                           Post ride

We walked down to the outdoor next door and tested it out. My stirrups were way off length wise and of course had to tighten some more on the girth!  We rode back to the barn with JM &K, and picked up JS to head out on trail. He was definitely full of it for a bit but I think he did pretty well for not having much riding in the past month... The saddle didn't move much at all even without a breast collar or crupper and we went up and down some hills. I didn't attempt to mount from the ground as I know that is almost futile with his build!

The Ghost is super-lite and was very comfy for my hips. I didn't feel like I was straddling a barrel :) The thigh blocks didn't bother me, and came in handy on the hills and when Prophecy took to spinning when I said we're done but 2 of the other horses kept going on trail.  I had a little bit of pain in my right knee, but I'm not 100% sure of the stirrup position and also the bars on the stirrups need to be switched out to a shorter one (which I have) as they are 2" now to accept fenders from before.  I'll get back out again this weekend to keep tweaking things and play during our demo period.

The 23rd marks 2 years ago that I picked Tesla up... I remember it so vividly, just as so many other moments.  I still can't believe he's gone, or Traveler really.  I now have a bracelet that combines both boy's tail hair in one...


While this year has certainly dealt me some sh*t, I'm thankful for so much in my life. My little family of 4, my health and theirs, a job, and much more.

I hope everyone has a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Moving day

So this weekend before Thanksgiving seems to be "the time" for me to make major changes...

2 years ago I was on my way to pick up Tesla... which turned out to be just shy of a year of when I moved Traveler from TN to join us in VA

And now, I'm moving Prophecy to a barn that is a bit closer to home and work with lots of trails for us to enjoy.
The owners have recently acquired this place and have been doing some major renovations and learning along the way.  They started their own blog to catalog the process :)

Prophecy will remain in field board. He has a good fuzzy coat, and is obviously at a good unless he is shivering I will not be likely to blanket him (maybe the winter cold will help him shed some pounds keeping warm!).  He does have a lightweight now, and got to try it out earlier in the week due to a cold night with rain expected.  He was much less worried this time about getting it put on, maybe he wanted it?  It was kind of funny to see his expression as he walked off in it, but settled into wearing it easily and it stayed on without any rubs overnight :P (or undressing attempts by his pasture mate)
Green is not my choice of color, but you get what you can in their size!

72" seems to fit well

This past week I got to put new tires on the trailer!  They are maybe a little overkill for my trailer weight (Load Range F), but even when empty the ride was much smoother coming back from install.  Main difference is these are radial ST's, not the bias-ply LT that was on there before.  The ride was nice and smooth Saturday morning to the new barn too!

New tires and peace of mind!

Our demo saddle from Ghost is due to arrive Monday, and with my time off work around the holiday I'm planning to put it to the test! Marlene at Badlands Equine is great to deal with, and we have already been talking about what adjustments might need to be made for him as we trial it, and the demo time allowance is generous.  The hard part will be waiting on my order to arrive if it works for us!  And even harder will be starting over again if not...  I have researched a ton of saddle makers at this point and have a few directions I could go to find a "good enough" fitting tree for him.  I don't want to go full custom unless we really have to, and after he's gotten some of the excess fluff off.

The move itself went well...though my day did not start out great.  Heading out to the barn and not even 3 miles from home I got clipped by a van going the other direction. They crossed the yellow line just as we came upon each other. I had very little room or time to respond. He attempted a slight recovery as well and ended up taking out my mirror (old work type van with metal mirrors I assume).  Tried to chase him down to get some info for insurance but could not find him.

Prophecy loaded pretty well, traveled nicely and came off the trailer gently.  A little worked up and confused, but turned out and explored a few before a roll.  He will be in a field alone for a week, but he is across the driveway from another horse (a TWH named Marty) and they were running the fences together.  They are similar personalities (very playful people loving horses) and should have a blast once together in a field :)  Ransom (their QH)  returns this week from his boot-camp as well, so the 3 boys will get to have their own little bachelor parties in a week.

Coming to see me after exploring his field

Getting some attention from Joanna as I was leaving
I'll be out to visit him almost daily this first week there.  Wednesday we will meet the new farrier as well. Looking forward to our new adventures!

*I've also recently noticed something funny going on with google and not showing all my pictures on the blog :(  I'm going to try and get that figured out!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

too many choices

Good grief...trying to find a saddle again!

So many choices on treeless and treed.  Custom or trying to make a standard work.  My head is spinning!  I'm glad there are options, but so many is proving difficult to determine my next move...

I now have 4 tires to put on my trailer, and it is going in Tuesday to have them mounted and installed, so some freedom again!  Seems like I can't have both the trailer and a saddle going at the same time so that we can get out and condition though...

Saturday I tried out the Barefoot Cheyenne lent to me.

It seemed to sit nicer on his back, staying in the right spot and not creeping forward. But I know the pommel size isn't right for him (those can be changed out) and it felt very wide/lack of twist.

This is the Saga personality...must play with something and keeps pulling the corn stalks apart while we groom!
Fuzzy pregnant gelding lol

> Post 20-30min working in the arena.  No saddle rolling when we trotted.  I had to work to get the girth tight so we wouldn't have rolling to mount (mainly because he is so 'puffed' out to start with).

Cleaning up some crumbs when done

Then came over for a scratch

And yawning

He asked for a little hamstring massage

and then picked up a stick and drew while I massaged (zoom in)

He kept looking back at me

But finally decided to head out to the other boys

I'll head out again Monday early evening to give it another spin with shims on the right... then it is a waiting game for the Ghost to arrive!