Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday triumphs

I've concluded that in buying a horse you enter in an unknown, and somehow, all 3 of mine have had some pretty rough patches to work through from previous lives.  I guess if it was easy it wouldn't be "my style."  I mean really, we have a Golden from rescue that many people gave up on (and on occasion drives us nuts!), and Rotti that was rescued found wandering the streets of TX, who still even after 4years with us thinks food is going to disappear.
More on this thought later...

This past Friday after work I had planned to grab Prophecy, take some hoof/conformation photos, and fix up the Frankenstein muzzle to be less clunky (barn manager added metal clips because a pasture-mate was undoing the straps even with duck-tape).  Of course, it started a complete downpour with flash-flooding as I pull in.  I ended up doing a bunch of organizing between my stuff in the tack room and the trailer. Unfortunately, the heavier rain has shown there is still a leak in one window of the GN, so now I'm trying to figure out where the track is letting the water in.  It isn't huge, but I do have insulation up and hoping to get to adding wall coverings this year so need to fix that!  Plus, once I switch my mattress around the leak would end up on my head!

Saturday morning I met Jen to ride with her & Silver again, before the rain and heat of the day.  Prophecy and I had a few discussions about staying IN the barn when single tied in the aisle.  He was a little more "full of himself" on the ride compared to the previous ones, but not anything like the issues we had before, just more "yeehaw" attitude ... I figure it is because he had a full week+ off with our vacation timing, probably still adjusting from the recent trim, and I had thrown his front boots on to start using them again so we can hit rocky stuff soon.  A short 2 miles (as we are now dodging the flies on the trails harassing us), then hoof pics, a nice hose down and a few min to graze, and then I got to fixing the muzzle.

Almost ready to head out, sporting his Scoot Boots

I could actually take a picture,
 without fear of needing both hands
Monday night I went out to another set of storms rolling through...So, I decided to just hang in the pasture and see what happens. I hopped on the fence rail and eventually he came over for some scratching, nearly knocking me off trying to get his rump in the right spot for me.  I hopped down and did his belly and chest to his delight too.

Ooo that feels good
(he is nuzzling his muzzle while I scratch too)

Right there!
It was so peaceful hanging out listening to horses munch grass, birds in the trees, and the distant thunder rumbling as rain continued to lightly fall.

Back to beginning of this post...
I know I certainly do my due-diligence, but I also know there has to be a line drawn for exploring pain being the reason for under saddle responses vs. a training issue.  Tuesday morning was one of the final pieces of that exploration for me; A visit with an energy and body worker recommended by Dee as she felt from my descriptions of him in April that there was something missing in his physical assessments to get to the root of the issues. Bonus for us that she was able to come to me instead of hauling out several hours to have him worked on in a few weeks since she was coming through the area for other clinics/appointments.  What Sandy confirmed in her work this morning on him - He has an extreme amount of emotional baggage that he has been carrying around for years ... The "performance anxiety" that David pointed out - it is that.  He is holding on to expectations that aren't his own, or even mine right now, and it is causing him all sorts of distress physically.  His sternum and diaphragm were out again (which she explained how that is causing the saddle roll issue I have), his front end was not "talking to" his back end, there was tons of tension in the girth area.  He was actually playing tug of war with the me while holding his lead rope in his mouth as she worked to free him up when we reached a really tense spot (from previous stories you know he plays with just about anything in his mouth's reach normally, but this was definitely a tension thing).  It was really amazing to see as his body changed before us.

There is more yet to do to get him to release all the old memories (like I must find some sage this week), but I'm sure he will get through it and come out so much happier!  I "endured" many horse kisses & hugs from him during her work, along with impatient moments, but overall he did great and was much more relaxed in posture when she was done.  His tack is checking out good at this point - just have to see how he develops muscle wise if we will need to tweak things later!

Fingers crossed for no rain Friday night when I head out next!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I think I have my horse back :)  And me...  We had another great ride last Thursday evening with the barn manager and her big guy Willie.  Both boys need to work off some weight and gain some muscle tone.  It was their first time out together and had no issues.

Prophecy again was very happy to take off leading down the trails, once I pointed him in the direction of which trail.  We did big hills, had a jump spook for a deer running off in front of us, but no major discussions on speed or direction.  He seems to be back to his happy self, walking out, trotting and cantering willingly without the hint of a buck.  Saddle is staying in place on the steeper hills we have at the barn, and only shifting on the spooks a little - or, in our case when I went to mount and didn't have the cinch that extra 1/2 hole on one side tighter! oops.

I guess it is about time to trim down the Dixie Midnight to match the pad contour better (as well as make sure it won't be in the way on the longer cinch we are waiting on). My only issue tacking up at the moment is when I set that on first, evenly, it gets shifted when I put the saddle & pad on and have to fiddle a bit.  Prophecy doesn't appreciate that, but has gotten better about it.

Over the last month Prophecy has undergone diet changes, pasture changes, and human emotional interaction changes lol.  I have learned to keep myself calmer, to let go of my assumptions and hidden expectations (like of him misbehaving for tacking), and it has changed things for the better.  He has even decided being in the barn aisle cross-tied is preferred to standing in the sun single tied and has become quite relaxed for it all compared to before.  This is the time of year he really loves belly and chest scratches so I make sure to spend plenty of time doing that before and after working!

The diet and muzzle are working well. His body is slowly changing and he will continue to stay on the ThyroL.  He seems to feel better all around, so I don't want to rock the boat!  Our pasture analysis came back good and our current regime is balanced on minerals.

Another big milestone...

I now have a 3rd Grader and Kindergartener!  Yikes!

Last day of school - June 9

Skyler graduated from her Preschool
After the end of school we took a family trip to Williamsburg.  Particularly to hit Busch Gardens and Water Country.  This was Skyler's first experience at any type of amusement park, and Asher was not even 3 the last time we were at one.

They loved it :) Both had their first roller-coaster rides and water slides.  Asher even did one that went upside down (twice! once with each of us), though he didn't like the free-fall and hid his head he loved the rest.  I hadn't been on any in years, so it was fun to be a kid again!

Entering Busch Gardens
First stop was the stables!

Now we start the full swing of several different summer camps for Asher; Skyler will stay at her current school for their summer program.  He certainly is not going to be lacking for experiences in new places! :P

The first weeks/rest of June won't result in much changing of my barn time.  But after that we switch to places that are further away and I'll move to heading out late eve, most times after dinner through dark.  I'm hoping to get him trailering out on occasion too, in small riding groups, a few weekends.
I certainly have desires for the fall and getting him to a few AERC rides, but I've also made myself put those aside and see how the summer goes and how I can get him built up mentally to handle ride camp AND being asked to ride in/out of camp!

He was so good for his trim with Paige today. He loved his belly and chest scratches from me while she worked. He is looking pretty good too! Not so much belly from behind :P

Heading back out to graze

Other news on the home front is my decision NOT to continue with our home barn building plans.  It is just too much up front expense for a small acreage set up.  Sooo... on to other home improvement projects!

This past weekend was the OD... I have now missed that ride for two years.  I really hope to be back next year.

Tesla & me at the OD LD  in 2015 - leaving the VC I believe...It was HOT! and humid. We lucked out and had a light rain the last few miles and could fly into the finish in time with my now greenbean teammate Kristen & Flash.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dare I say it?

...that we might finally have the right combination of tack?!  Fingers crossed, knock on wood, and anything else to keep up the good juju! lol

Last week we hit a milestone: I have had Prophecy a year now.  I cannot deny in the past several months doubting my ability to bring him along, or our 'gel' as a partnership.  But, I also know I felt about him at his arrival and many times since... What happened earlier this year between us and the energy level shift really shook my confidence.  It took riding a horse I knew nothing of, flying along with little reservation, to see that I needed to get the attitude in check and energy stabilized again (along with a few blunt words in the SET group!)

So Thursday while I didn't feel we should hit the trails alone, I did ask that the horses in the one field be held up a bit to go out for their night turn-out so I could ride in a more open yet enclosed area (no outdoor arena yet, and round pen is too small to do much and muddy right now).  I arrived with a new attitude. Mind over matter - I checked my emotional baggage, and guess what?  Prophecy was great for tacking up as my own energy was calm about it and not anxious for his dancing.  I took him to the back part of the pasture and asked him to come up to the fence for me to mount.  A few tries and he willingly shoved over to me and I hopped on.  I was in my brace and my saddle felt great for it (I think the Desoto I was riding Ziggy in has the stirrups too far forward for my liking); used his matrix with inserts back in, no pommel bolster but right shoulder shim, and the MB33 combo bit.  Saddle still shifted a little side to side, but I was not using the Dixie Midnight under the matrix.  We walked and trotted, played with the ball some for fun, and he asked to get some water ...

All seemed to be well, and he got a hosing down after as the humidity was high so he was sweaty after just that small amount of work.

This weekend I sent in samples of the grass so we can get a solid idea of the mineral levels and make sure the supplementing is correctly balanced and keep him in check metabolically, therefore avoiding the bigger issues that could come along with his easy-keeping chunky self.

Saturday afternoon Doug & I finished framing the base of the deck in.  Next is the decking "floor". Next summer will be adding railing and such, but once the deck floor is in we can use it!

Sunday I met Jen to ride in the afternoon and she took Silver out.  Prophecy and he seemed to do pretty well together!  I think Silver's attitude of NEVER being a in a rush to go anywhere was good for us! lol.  We walked, trotted, and cantered a little bit!  Dare I say I may have the right combo figured out?! The same tack as Thursday + the pommel bolster added back (to prevent me feeling tipped at the trot), the Dixie Midnight under the matrix, and his crupper.
No head tossing (other than bugs), no refusal to go down any hill (and we went down the big one easily!), no balled up energy.  He was actually relaxed and happy to go out on trail.  In fact, he pulled to the right to NOT go back to the barn so we did a little loop behind the pasture before ending, hosing off  and lastly some well deserved grazing sans muzzle.
We had one discussion when he realized we were heading towards the gate and he wanted to run. That quickly subsided when he saw the cows were right against the fence and then we decided to go up and investigate.  Red-head with no fear!  He thought it was fun to push them off the fence-line :)

Dare I say I might have my horse back?  And that I might have re-found my "big girl panties" and ability calm my energy towards him?

Silver and Prophecy sharing tree leaves