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!