Sunday, February 26, 2017

Contemplations


This week has been rough on me emotionally... Not really sure why, maybe it is the impending venture into endurance with a 3rd horse somehow, but I find myself hurting.

I long for Traveler, and the relationship we had.  I have relived the last day of his life several times in my mind this week.  Looking back at photos of the ride, remembering nearly every person that passed by us on the trail that day asking if we were O.K.

My heart aches for Tesla, and a life cut short. Dreams of mine dashed, questions unanswered, reliving the phone call and the decision I had to make...



I am trying hard with Prophecy, but I feel like we have taken huge steps backwards recently.  I know he could use 30days with someone to 'finish' and work out the kinks with us, but that is just not in the cards at this time.  Meanwhile, I do what I can and try to establish a relationship with him that we can keep building on and moving forward together with.  The return of the white line has led me to wonder if we have greater issues going on, but I can't chase every thought.  His returning attitude for tacking up makes me suspect ulcers. His loss of confidence out on trail riding alone leaves me questioning his confidence in me... Sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into...



Saturday was Asher's last soccer game for the winter - a few weeks off and then Spring SOCA starts... which means a new schedule for accommodating a practice and Karate during the week!



We made it home and into the house before the weather let loose.  Started as heavy downpour, quickly added hail for a good 15 or 20 min... Crazy!
Just a few min in

yikes!

Hail pile/flood

One of the pieces on our porch
Once the weather cleared we all went out to the barn and Doug installed new brackets a coworker made for my transporting my portable panels...  After, I brought Prophecy out for the kids to brush.  He wasn't too thrilled, and earned himself a few good reminders that grabbing me is not acceptable (he got my jacket a few times).

I returned on Sunday with original plans to haul him to a friend's place to ride with her gelding. Adjusting to the ever changing life situations, we did not get to do that.  But, I did still hook up and start prepping for our ride coming up. I filled up my water tanks and have some of his ration balancer packed up.   I did a few tweaks on the panel tie-downs on and then went out to get him from the field...

I've noticed this past week he is not as easy to catch, usually blowing past me and waiting at the gate instead of standing in the field to be haltered.  Today was much of the same.  As frustrating as it is, I do enjoy watching them run and play so I just stood back and recorded it ... This is Prophecy and his pasture-mate Ransom, across the driveway you can see Marty running along too.





Pretty moving boys



So after about 10 min of running themselves around and doing some gelding play (rearing, biting, etc), Ransom decided to roll and then was done playing so I was able to walk up to Prophecy and bring him in.  He wasn't 'sweaty' but could feel his warmth for sure.  We went into the wash stall and cross ties to groom - he wasn't too thrilled.  Then we went to the round pen to work on some lunging and moving off cues.


Lastly, we headed out to the trailer and practiced loading to make sure he would be good for Saturday - since it has been a few months since his last trip!  Took about 20min to get him on a few times. And he got to enjoy carrots, peppermints and and small amount of his buddies grain as reward.  Of course there was a second brush out for completion, and hoof treatments before turning back out.


Planning to get a few short rides in this week before we head off for our intro ride at the new Blackwater Swamp Stomp!  Will update upon our return :)

all ready to go!




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One hurdle down

Yay, truck and trailer are done! Hitch is in and I had the full hook up checked for level and turning radius.  I have more than enough room to move forward and be completely cranked on the truck (like a u-turn) without worrying about the cab by using the hitch extender.  The set up was actually level without adjusting, and I have MORE clearance from the trailer to the truck rails than I did before (even though the bed feels so much taller standing next to it).

It was a little unnerving driving it for the first time.  Different hauling experience for sure compared to the 2008!





Now this weekend I need to hook up and take Prophecy somewhere to ride :P ...  I have tentative plans, but have to see what the weather does.

Next and last is getting my new and improved heavy duty panel brackets up.  Doug will help me mount them this weekend; they are all going on the passenger side since I have enough length to hang 2 sets of 4 without issue.  It was a tight fit to have one set under the awning before so this will make that less a hassle to tie in place.



Finished up for the night
Monday's ride was less tense for Prophecy. I decided to play music while we rode and try an ease my tension too. He was a bit "looky" with a big spook once and a few smaller tantrums, but overall much better than Sunday. I felt comfortable having him trot and not feeling like he would blast all out, unlike Sunday.

I worked him in the round pen a bit more before our ride, and got to see a nice extended trot using the Scoot Boots.  I think he is adjusting well to them :)  I really like how simple they are to get on and off!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

closing in

We are closing in on the official "start" of my & Prophecy's AERC journey together.  Granted, we are only doing the intro - but he has a lot to learn yet (as do I).  I have high hopes for the year, but not so many goals as I have had in the past, trying to let us go with the flow a bit and see how he does. The ultimate goal being decade team together and happy and healthy partners.

Crupper training
Attempting to untie himself
This week we did a walk with a 'tight' crupper instead of flapping in the wind behind Monday, and then some round pen work trying out yet another pad combination Thursday (no go), and lastly Sunday we had 72 degree day to enjoy the trails!  Of course, with each of those came also treating his front right hoof for the WLD....sigh.



The ride Sunday unfortunately did not go as I hoped.  He was quite the argumentative one and threatened to buck many a times.  So, we finished the loop that I started him on and then did some round pen work.  He was sweaty after that, so given the nice weather he got a hose down!  He has made me think about sending him back a trainer for a refresher, but this is the first "bad" ride we've had alone.  This ride is coming on the heels of the two past rides with horses that spooked and sent him into a tizzy, so I may be having some regression of his confidence out there alone.




The cool thing about it though, was I got a pair of Scoot Boots to use on his front feet! The company is based out of Australia, and they are super simple to put on. He took a few funny steps as we went to the round pen, but then adjusted easily.  I gave him a few minutes to figure them out in there and then we headed out with a good boy at the mounting block without running off...so I not all was lost today - we had good moments. 

We did about 1.25miles before deciding I was better off doing some round pen work. No rubbing of the boots noted and they were easy to get take off and hose them out.


Horses always leave you guessing... I am not exactly sure what the problem for our ride was, as we did go back to trying the Skito today and I just think it is too much for him and slid forward worse than the Matrix combo on a hill (without a crupper). We'll go back to the Matrix without inserts and I'm hoping to add a Dixie Midnight pad to help with the rolling since a non-slip liner has done so well.  As he muscles up and drops the chub more I can add the inserts back in, but for now it seems he is best suited to not have any in the pad.


Post trails and round pen... Am I done now?

waiting for a bath

Right to Left shoulders are looking 'less' uneven... good spinal clearance

Drying off itching his face





And some funny videos

Prophecy playing with the hose and Roll Time! 
He booked it as soon as I let him back to pasture to roll






His feet have me spinning... I looked back through the photo journey of his WLD from June and noticed a trend with front right wanting to "separate" on the outside quarter.  I'm hoping that getting him balanced mineral wise will help us beat this (he was high iron and out of sync ration for Copper and Zinc), but not ruling out the option to x-ray his hooves sometime soon to know where we stand if there is something more behind it all.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

wacky weather

What a week of weather we have had... Last Monday was beautiful again and the barn manager and I took the boys for what was supposed to be a relaxing walking ride after I got out of work ... HAH!  Minor meltdowns on both their parts made for just a short ~1.5mile jaunt.  Live to ride another day!

Monday through Wednesday was warm, hitting 71... the weather turned leaving us in the low 40s Thursday with major winds keeping us feeling like 20s!  I did not have time to ride Thursday as I was taking the truck back out to the dealership 1.5hrs from the barn to have the bed-liner done. I did freeze a bit between doing a mock hookup on the trailer to the truck and getting Prophecy's supplements set up for the week.  Things looked good between them, might need a little re-leveling but it isn't on completely level ground so hard to say for sure. I'll get a better idea once the hitch is on. One of the machinists at work used to work for a big trailer company here and is going to help me get panel brackets onto the trailer again, hopefully in time for our intro ride in a few weeks!

Friday was much of the same at barely 40, but less wind.  Prophecy has been using the shelter just fine, so we haven't had to blanket since the single digit weather last month.  Friday was his trim, and he has a crack on his right front that had a pebble stuck and made it back to the white line, so it was opened up for me to treat and hopefully keep ahead of white line disease.  I guess this will be our battle... we have a nice spot indoors to deal with it during the winter in the wash stall so that won't hinder us too bad...just the "time" thing of that I want to ride and he needs to soak! At least it is only one foot this time (knock on wood).

 And then this weekend we returned to 60s and 70s!

First picked up the truck Saturday morning - bed-liner is done, interior and exterior protection as well. I put in some new floor mats (weather-tech like) and kick mats for the back of the front seats.  Hitch is next on the list to get things ready to roll!


Asher had a soccer game too.  Very evenly matched teams and he had his best game yet getting more aggressive going after the ball. He is a very good defender and likes to play goalie too.





Sunday we had a summer camp fair to go to (now have lots to figure out and quickly as space here doesn't last!), then I headed off to the barn. It was 82 according to my car! Brushing him out I didn't notice any shedding, so I guess spring isn't too close yet... The wind picked up earlier than expected, and did not have any riding buddies today, so I decided to work in the round pen on mounting.  I made some changes to the Ghost, adding shims to the front panels to help with his downhill build so I wanted to see how that felt, as well as trying a longer girth.
This is what Prophecy thought of the block...


We actually had a really good time of mounting with just the halter and waiting to walk off!  We made a few laps around the pen, then I got down and repeated the mounting request.  I decided to give it a go and put his bridle on and opened the gate so we could head out on trail.  Yeah, the wind was just too much today for Prophecy.  1/2 mile loop back to the barn is all we did then I played some more with the saddle set up to make sure the panels are in the right spots and back to treating that front hoof for WLD. Prophecy enjoyed his massage while he soaked, and a yummy carrot :)



And tomorrow/Monday is supposed to be a huge temperature shift again...Windy overnight, not quite making it to 40 with windchill in the 30s for tomorrow :(  Not sure if we will ride or just treat that hoof again.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

getting ready

Well, we knew were going to upgrade on the truck this year and decided to do it at the end of January. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise at the trade-in inspection reveal a possible transmission issue that you can bet I would have been the one left stranded while hauling.  We need some more back-seat room for the kids and decided to go Crew Cab this time.  I love the new F150s; huge tow capacity on the 3.5 V6 and I'm more than covered with my 2H steel gooseneck at it's max weight expected with 2 horses and stuff.
It is a beast compared to the old F150, but so much fun :)

It is still Doug's everyday vehicle, but I do get to drive it on occasion and of course it is my hauling and camping vehicle :)  This week it goes back for the bedliner spray-in and then I can bring it to my trailer guy to have the new hitch put in (with an extender for the short bed).

I will be ready to go for our first ride March 5th, with a least one practice haul/ride before! lol

I'm definitely keeping us at the intro level this ride. It will be a good gauge of his mental status with the ride hustle and bustle.  He did well camping at IMJ, but I didn't get a chance to ride at all while there.





We tried out the Skito in the round pen - just walked around in a halter and lead rope. He has a great stop and did well responding to my leg - he kept asking to go out through the gate so I know he wanted to do more! (fortunately had it closed). I'd like to get the pad centered more in the gullet, but otherwise seemed to feel pretty good and this cut works under the Quilty.  Again he gave me the offside for mounting from the fence... Unfortunately my right side mounting skills need some refreshing (and hip stretches!)  ;)
I also added my rhythm bells on this time.  Something for us to listen to while out on trail and scare up the deer.





With the impending start of our endurance season comes all the plans/goals/dreams for the year.  It is looking like we be pretty light on the rides until August.  I'm really hoping we can step into 50s in the fall, but I know that is a long ways off and a lot can change between now and then.  There are some kinks to work out in his training still, miles to get riding, and shoes to get put on (or boots)... It seems like all the stars have to align.  Either way, we will enjoy the time getting there.  He is fun to take on the trails around the farm alone, not horribly spooky and likes to keep going - not trying to return to the barn or call to his buddies.  New boarders are expected in the spring who love to trail ride, and I'll be able to trailer out to meet some local endurance folks too.  Weather permitting on the days I can ride - we will make it happen!

I didn't go ride Thursday eve - I took the chance to get a much needed massage on my shoulders and neck!


So I went out on Sunday, which was the slightly better of the two days for weather (they were both pretty nice for Feb!)  Sunny, mid 50s, some strong wind out of the trees at times.


Worked on his cross-tieing while tacking up... Better, but was getting scolded here for pawing.  We rode in the Skito this time. I left the inserts in, and it felt a bit "springy" at the trot.  Still rolls a little, but it was mainly at a huge spook that sent us tipping, however he stopped quickly and let me fix us without having to get down.





 It was a better ride with Ransom - Prophecy wasn't being quite as obnoxious about needing to be up front.  Our issues came on the hill in the meadow as I have not allowed him to trot/run down it yet and Ransom did, and then at the back side of the pasture where the other 2 horses decided to run up and go bucking along the fence-line with us.



Heading out again Monday!  Getting this boy into shape for 2017!