Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh man.

I'm never going to be able to catch him again.


He was Displeased yesterday. Heh. Well I have a chiro appointment set up now, and we'll get to the bottom of all this. But that's just him trotting, when he really gets going he leaves a lot of the younger horses in the dust.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Got to meet some very nice folks today. :)
I learned a lot about saddling and stuff, which was good!
Not so good is that Solly was bucking, and it's clear that something in his back is bothering him. Hrm, he used to be okay under saddle, slow to stop but relaxed and appearing to be fine. Now he is bucking and squealing a little bit, ears pinned, tail swishing, and he squealed when I pulled on the cinch to "unlock" it. Not good. So. I am trying to get into contact with one of the two or so chiropractors who will come to the town Solly is boarded in. Hopefully they will gall back and have a rate that isn't entirely insane. Both that I was told about were recommended by a couple of people. Hopefully they can figure out what is wrong and fix it. If there's something that can't be fixed, I guess Solomon will retire and I'll sell his saddle.
But hopefully he'll be okay.
Saddle appears to fit but maybe it doesn't, maybe it's putting too much pressure on his hunter's bump, maybe I need a longer seat and a saddle that is a square skirt instead of round. Or maybe one of those short English saddles. Blargh, I don't know. But I'll figure it out somehow.
So here, have some entertainment! Dragon was having ticks removed from his sheath by a volunteer.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm back!

Back from visiting my folks! I am never driving all the way down I-5 again, arrgh!
I am going out to visit Solly very soon. I'll probably have a video for y'all of him tearing off into pasture today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

buuuh

Thomas had the car uh, 1 day? and this morning some ass broke the rear door handle off and left it lying there in the street. And he cracked the body of that door when he did it. WHY.
Man I need a shotgun and some rock salt I tell you what.


Went to barn to try out new wintec loaner. A kindly stable hand (love those guys enough that I'm considering learning to speak Spanish, really, it's useful anyway) held sol so I could get on. I'm getting quick. Sit down gently but get yourself in position fast with no pulling the saddle off balance. I AM A MOUNTING NINJA.
I thought the wintec looked balanced BUT
It was one of these options:
1. Mad about shitty ride yesterday.
2. The rainstorm.
3. poor saddle fit on the winted.
4. residual soreness from poor saddle fit from my saddle
5. hotness from being cooped up all day for a few days
6. "bitch I wanted to go flirt with venus"
7. Psychic horse brain scanorama detects insecurity, BLOOP BLOOP BLOOP!
that caused Solly to run off with me, fighting back against the 1 rein stop, to flirt with Venus, which I did not allow, and then when I got him away from there and back to the lot he decided to give me a few crow-hop bucks. BUCKS!!!!
I got off. Yeah I did, because we haven't established whether it is a behavior issue or a pain issue, and I am not going to punish him for being in pain by hurting him more. Once I have saddle fit down though? Nononoonooooo we will NOT be doing THAT crap.
Exasperated "wait just STOP AND STAND A MOMENT dammitt" worked and he stood calmly while I dismounted.
Found a Western lady to look, she said the gullet was low on the wintec, the fit looks great on it's own. Hm. I need to find a fitter for sure. And an equine chiropractor.
But once there is a fitting saddle situation and a back exam pass, I'm sticking to his back and we are WORKING. And before then we are doing serious ground work with me establishing my alpha HUMAN status nice and crystal crystal clear.

He gets a break and a nice lady at the barn will turn him out a few times. I get to drive to San Bernadino with no defogging or ac/heat in general vents and a tire that is slowly going flat. FUN FOR ALL!

Except while signing cards for the barn staff, who are awesome and I love them, I locked my keys, backup keys, wallet, info book, and phone in my car. AAA couldn't find me the first time. Second time they could but they woudln't help until I gave my parent's new address, as I am insured with them. It took two conference calls, a total of 5 people, and at least half an hour to get them to send out roadside assistance, who took 30 seconds to unlock my car and scan my card.

I got to know my wonderful barn owner a little better. I gifted her with flowers because I didn't know if she only liked skulls from things she'd killed herself or if any animal parts would do. She used to be picky, she told me, but now not so much. She did like the miniatrue rose plant though. Golden petals with pink tips. PRetty and loud, and kind of go with her kitchen. :)

After, the man took me to noodles. Mmmm noodles.

I need to teach Solly RESPECT.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A rather miserable day.

Cold and rainy today. Solomon was really pushy and rude. Today really cinched it, no more hand treats. He isn't listening at all on the ground.

My lunge whip was missing. I keep it in the ship holding vase thing next to the fridge in the tack room. It's next to my tack area, and I asked the woman who it belongs to if I could put my whips in too, which she said was fine, especially since people wouldn't mistake it for a trash can as often with more whips in it.
Turns out a lady whose tack is elsewhere (?) thought it was a communal whip and was lunging her horse with it. Dragging it in the mud, heh, but oh well. I don't care all that much. I got it back with a "thank you for letting me use it!" Haha, well technically she used it before asking, but I told her it was okay with me if she used it from now on, so long as it was put back and I knew where it was. Damned thing never works with my horse anyway.
Point in fact, today I tried to lunge him. Figured 3 days in his stall (there was a big storm) would make him eager to do it, but no. He trotted after me, tossing his head and annoyed, but wouldn't lunge like a normal horse. I leaned the whip against the arena bars and tried to lunge without it, no more success. Then he stiffed it, picked it up in his teeth, and followed me around, tapping me with it.
I think I need help with my horse. :<

So I tried out that bareback pad today. I am starting to wonder, actually, if maybe it's the scar tissue on that spot feeling a little achey in the cold, because if I press it he doesn't flinch, but if I run my fingers over it lightly he still does a little. Anyway, I'm going to have to get a pro saddle fitter out. I don't really see any way around it at this point.
So yeah. Bareback pad.
I cinched it up as tight as I could. Of course Solly was avoiding the mounting block like normal, and the picnic table trick didn't work a second time (for having such a small brain he learns way too damned fast) so I found a boarder who was willing to help get him in place long enough for me to get on.
Buh, I fail at bareback. FAIL. Fail fail fail.
I didn't want to press on his spine, so I tried to hoist myself up a little bit on my thighs so the weight would be on his sides and not his center line, but that was too much squeezing, and made him think I wanted him to trot, which I didn't. Cue pad sliding to the side. Cue me getting pretty worried- the road is a long ways down. Luckily he stopped when I asked him to. And he turned his head backa nd gave me a "WTF" look. Guy who helped me get him in front of the block said "uh, maybe you want to ride in the arena? I can close the gate for you?" Yes, yes that was a good idea.
So hey we did ride around for a bit. I did get a tiny bit better. But not much. And wow did it hurt. I was trying my best to be balanced and loose while not pressing on his spine, to make it as comfy as possible for him, but I wasn't balanced and he couldn't tell if I wanted to trot or canter or walk or WHAT and he actually got irritated enough to briefly pin his ears at me. He didn't when I had to lie forward for a moment and brag his withers so I wouldn't fall off, but eventually it was just too much and he went to the rain and pinned his ears. I had to agree with him there, and dismounted, because wow do I suck at bareback. :(
"Now you know why it was free!" said the guy who helped me with the mounting block.
Yeah, now I know.
So. I need a saddle fitter. I need a trainer. I can't really afford either. I feel like I'm failing my boy. But we'll find a way because I don't think I could find a good home for my stubborn scarred up old boy, and I don't want to lose him, but I want to give him the best chance possible should anything happen to me.
I am thinking of maybe looking around for an experienced horse person for a partial lease. Maybe even free if they are willing and able to teach him a thing or two. Have to figure out if anyone would be interested, and how to screen.
Unlessss of course Imaginethewolf is interested, eh? :o

I do have to say one thing though, once we were done and I was ready to untack him, I found that there was a horse between us and the halter, so I told Solly to stand while I went and got it, and he did. He didn't move a muscle, and was a very good boy. He also knew the riding was over and done with, and that dinner would be there soon, heh, so maybe that helped. But still, at the end he WAS a very good boy. And he did not throw me while I bumbled through bareback though if I were him I would have been sorely sorely tempted to do so.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crazyday!

Well today Solomon was sore in that spot I was worried about, so there was no riding. I'm not sure if that saddle is going to work out after all. Very frustrating. And expensive. I can't afford another saddle either, so uh, hm.
Well I have that bareback pad. Maybe I'll just, once his back isn't sore, have to learn to be a good rider very quickly. Heh. We WILL find a way to get a new saddle though. I'll have to sell the old one first most likely. Perhaps I can find an English saddle this time.
The whole (slow and stubborn, but with lots of nuzzles) walk down to the paddock barn, he was calling out and being answered. I'd noticed that the herd was a lot smaller, and that his friends were missing. Turns out they were all in the paddock barn! Venus, Shadow, and Dragon were all in there, calling to him. When I walked him through they all nipped each other, crazy horses, even though they were so excited to her him calling. I out Solly in his paddock, which ended up being next to Dragon's. They stood side by side and one of them would slooooowly snake his head between the bars and gently nip the other, who would sort of quietly squeal, and then the other one would do it. Hey, if it keeps them entertained...
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1208/SollynDragon.jpg

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1208/dragonplay1.jpg

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1208/dragonplay2jpg.jpg http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1208/dragonplay3.jpg
After that I had a chat with the barn owner. Not only did something sketchy happen with a buck and the grey horses yesterday, which ended with the buck having to be shot, but also a horse had an accident and broke his leg all the way through. :( Poor baby had to be put down. Broken legs are a terrible nightmare for a horse owner, right up there with a bad colic. I knew him, too, he was in the barn Solly and I moved from. Very tragic. My heart goes out to that poor boy's momma.
I picked up his wormer. I was considering hiring the barn staff to worm him, but I decided to give it a try. One of the nice boarders was around and she helped, actually she was the one who get it in him. Her hoss is named Dante, and he's a huge guy. I THINK he's some kind of warmblood. Very pretty boy, and very sweet. She clearly loves him a lot too. She said she had the same problem with him that I do with solly and worming. She was very parient through all his head tossing and eventually got the wormer in him. Oh he was so disgusted! I put his head on top of mine when she stroked his throat until we were sure he had swallowed. Oh the faces he made! And then he tucked his face under my arm and stood like that for a while. "Mommy the awful lady made a bad taste in my mouth HIDE MEEEEE!" Thank you, Dante's momma!
Solly is spending the night in his paddock today with Dragon, Venus, and Shadow. There's a storm and all his friends are in, so I think it'll be good for him to stay the night. Dragon keeps reaching his head over and playing with Solly's toys, which he mostly ignores.
On the drive home I came across a nice woman who was in distress, as two of her tires had blown out. There's a lot of random junk tossed alongside the road and in it, and her tires were shredded to a scary degree. I'm glad she didn't crash and was okay. We called AAA and I told them how to find us (she didn't know where she was, it's really confusing out there) and we chatted about horses. She wants to come meet Solomon, and I hope she does!
After that it was crackers and some cheese from Trader Joe's. I'm so cold though, the rain started and it was nasty, even though I had an umbrella. My skin is cold as ice!
Everyone be safe out there, it's going to be a rough one.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The outside of a horse is the best thing for the inside of a person.

So yesterday I found out that a dear friend of mine killed himself. She shot his dog, and then he shot himself. I was a wreck. I am very sad about it. Was hard to hear.
Today I decided come hell or high water I was going to go see my horse.
I went out, and there was ice on the road! Ice! Here! Hey you people in places where it snows, stop throwing things at me!
Anyway, I got to the barn and went out to the pasture with cookies in my pocket. Solomon was reluctant to leave the pasture, though he wasn't quite as stubborn as the other day. I did not want to spend an hour playing the "no really, you must come with me" game, so I pulled a cookie out of my pocket and held it between my teeth. Suddenly Solomon was very interested in walking with me. Yep, that's my boy. I told him, not that he understood, but I told him that he could have the cookie if he walked with me without resistance, but if it was a fight, then I was going to eat the damned thing myself.
Hey, those horse cookies smell really good!
But Solly decided that he really could be a good boy after all, and followed me fine, so he got his cookie when he was in the cross ties.
His feet look good. Quite good. Yay for the farrier!
So today I decided that we would try out the swayback pad and his tack. Today we were going to RIDE.
I've been really nervous about getting back in the saddle actually, but today for some reason I wasn't at all. So I saddled him, which took forever but I wanted to get it right, put on my heeled boots and helmet, and then bridled him, after trying to warm the bit up a bit. He actually was a very good boy and took the bit right away. Yay!
I had kind of high hopes for the mounting block, but he pretty effectively dashed them. He was up to his same old tricks again, swinging around and facing me when I climbed up the block, but this time he thought he could get away with it by acting cute and being affectionate. No, it is not cuddle time, it is work time when your bridle is on, Solomon.
So, did I want to play the "Haha you climbed the block and I am moving so you can't quite reach me" game today? No, no I did not. I eyed a nearby picnic table. There is a big lovely paint mare named Spirit in a paddock/stall combo next to the table. She's very attentive and interested in the world around her. Solly likes to stare at her. So I thought, aha, a distraction!
We walked over to the picnic table, and I acted casual, sitting on the table while he gased at miss Spirit. When they were almost close enough to sniff noses, I slipped the reins over his head and swung myself up into the saddle. Hah! Sucker!
That probably won't work twice.
Of course once I was in the saddle he was totally clam about it. He just anticipates too much. Heh.
So there's a trainer at the barn who will soon be moving to SoCal to train with an Olympic dressage trainer. He's such a doll. Just very sweet and soothing. He goes great work with the horses here, and I am sure will be sorely missed. He of course was passing by right when I executed my picnic table mount. Hah. I think he made some gentle "oh nice work" jibe, heh. He made it amusing instead of stinging though. It was kind of graceful considering, if I do say do myself.
So nice trainer said he would ride to the covered arena with me if I'd like. I thanked him profusely. Solomon did try to run off to his pasture with me, but I know the one-rein stop now, haha! It's circles for you, buddy!
Nice trainer fellow gave me a lot of good tips. He has a way of explaining things simply that just make them click. He told me to not worry so much about my heels being down and under my hips yet, to start with just doing what I needed to do to feel comfortable and balanced, and to move my hips with his back. And it helped! It helped a lot. Instead of worrying as much about looking proper, I was able to get in tune with Solly's movements more. He gave me tips on rein holding and making myself more clearly the leader, and why I should. I told him if I were rich and he were staying I would totally hire him. Haha.
Really I wish I could!
Anyway, Solomon and I did big wide figure 8s, and by the second figure 8 he was walking in very nice circles. Those dressage cones are actually quite useful for orienting yourself! So we practiced that, walking along the rail, walking on the center line, and walk-halts. Trainer fellow suggested getting him really comfy with the covered arena since it's winter and all.
After a little while I decided it was time to go back. Kind of a short ride, but I think we both need to be eased into it after so many months of inactivity. So! I opened the arena gate on his back! Yay! Heh, I unlatched it and pushed it open a bit, and then Solomon opened it the rest of the way. He likes opening gates. I should get him a ginat rubix cube or something to play with so he won't get so bored.
In the arena he got more and more responsive with the halts, but out of the arena he was not so into that, because the environment was much mroe interesting and he wanted to GO. Well, I got him to walk. Passed a trio of Western riders. Amazing! Heh, they were out trail riding. I was inspired by this site and decided that we would ride on part of the bridle path around the small apple orchard.
Well, the path on the other side of the orchard was covered in ice and frost! A rather novel phenomenon for around here. Solomon thought so too, because he decided it was oh so very much time to trot. Well, it was a day for new things, so I let him have his head for a little ways.
Funny thing, there's a fellow on one of my horse forums who is all about dressage, and all about Invasor, this lovely white horse from spain with a powerful neck. Invasor is amazing and can do all sorts of very very impressive things. I'm sure he's worth many millions. Anyway, his rider didn't do that stiff stiff posting that I see people do, instead he undulated with his horse's movements. I'm not olympic dressage rider, but seeing that helped me. I thought, well maybe instead of resisting and trying to pop up and down, maybe I can sort of roll my hips and my body with him when he trots. And lo and behold, it worked. I did not bounce on him, I did not slam on him, and I even got a quasi-post going, though it was not terribly easy on a giant trail/roping saddle with stirrups that my toes can barely reach, haha. Welll you aren't supposed to use the stirrups to post really, anyway, right?
So then we got back to the mounting block area. We circled the block and managed to stop NEAR it, but not quite near enough. I ended up dismounting to the ground, but somehow it didn't hurt, yay! I did my best to not drag on or hang off the saddle at all either. Yay, I felt like a real rider!
So then I untacked Solly, who had not a drop of sweat on him, brushed him, and gave him a back massage. Trainer fellow said that when I rode him he looked totally relaxed and not at all uncomfortable, which is always good to hear.
I did notice, however, that the very back area of where his saddle touches had a dark marking from the new saddle pad. That worries me. I think it might still be bridging a bit, and that's no good. I'll have to put a little more padding in the middle somehow. I have a therapeutic foam pad from Cashel. Maybe I'll put that overtop the swayback pad the next time I ride, to give the saddle something to sink into more so the pressure is more even, and to give me more of a visual idea about where the pressure is concentrated. Of course I want it even on his sides all the way down the length of the saddle.
It might also be that the pad just was dusty there or something, but I don't want to take any chances, so we'll keep working on it.
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1208/postride1217.jpg
Here he is after the ride. You can see the grey bit on his back. Actually I think it goes farther back than the saddle did, so maybe it's actually a mud rolling spot that I brushed out earlier? He did have a lot of spots on him. What do you all think?
After getting Solly all taken care of and back in his pasture, I chatted with the one guy at the barn who does roping. I like him a lot! Really nice guy, easy going, doesn't put on airs. Not uptight at all. Actually people generally aren't uptight at my barn, they're really nice. Maybe sometime I can go trail riding with him. His horse is named "Rebel." Is that a roping horse name or what?
So when I headed out to the barn I was full of sorrow and grief, but when I left I felt elated, full of life and joy. I wish my friend Clif had tried working with horses like I suggested. Maybe he would have found a reason to stick around. But I don't know. Now no one will know.
Life is precious, folks, and there's so much in the world that makes it worthwhile. And once you're gone, you're gone. Maybe there's reincarnation, who knows, but this life that you have now, it's the only time you'll have it. So stick around. There are horses to hug. And tell the people you love that you do love them, because you never know. So as Joe from TB Friends says, be sure to hug your horses, and I'll add, be sure to hug all your loved ones. I love the world. I do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My farrier is a keeper!

My farrier went out in the storm yesterday and caught Solly in the pasture, brought him in,a nd trimmed his feet without me there because I am sick as a dog. It's the flu. Blargh.
I need to mail her fee to her. I think I'll get her a card too.
She says his feet are improving a lot. Yay!
I hope I can get back out there again soon. I e0mailed the BO though, asking if it was possible to pay for someone to worm him. She mentioned the possibility last time. I think it's like $5 or $7. I can barely walk to the kitchen at the moment so handing an angry and disgusted Solly is not something I can do. I told them at the end to the e-mail that if they do it they'll want to worm him away from any low hanging roofs since he'd rather break his skull than take wormer, and that a twitch would be a good idea. I don't like the thought of twitching him, but it's better than him seriously injuring himself or his handler because he is a butthead about the taste of wormer.
I keep meaning to try the applesauce in the tube thing. Keep forgetting to buy the sauce. Though I think he'll be able to tell the difference before the paste reaches his mouth anyway.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Today at the barn.

I think I'm getting a cold. :<
But I went to the christmas party at the barn. It was in the indoor arena, but there was a nice cheery fire pit, yay! The BO asked if I wanted a marshmellow to roast, and I nickered, so she gave me one, haha. I talked to a lot of people, met some of the dressage barn people (they were actually really friendly!) and I am pretty sure I didn't make an ass of myself, so yay! :D

Went out to see my horse. It's cold out there. Some sort of arctic storm is supposed to be making it's way to California, somehow. I huddled up against the pasture horses. They were very warm. Venus tried to eat my Thor's hammer briefly. Hah! She came up to greet me, Solly was eating hay and occupied, but he did accept a cookie. I got his feet picked out (where does he find that stuff to step in? Eugh!) and huddled up against him for a while, but I think I must have been too cold for him, hah. It was dinner time and he takes eating pretty seriously. I am considering giving him some warm grain mash each day, though he seems to be taking the weather fine.

I decided to leave him out for the storm. He gets really upset sitting all alone in the paddock, and nobody else brought their horses in. The BO thinks he got hurt because they were all playing and he went through the fence on the hillside, then maybe hurt himself trying to get back in the pasture, who knows. Hopefully he'll do fine this time. They're all sticking pretty close together, feuds foregone because there's warmth in numbers. Our wimpy wimpy California horses! Horses in Minnesota are standing out in fields in blizzards, no blankets or anything, and we're worried they'll get chilled out here. It's supposed to maybe get to 28 degrees in this storm at some point. I might bring him in and blanket him if it gets that cold since he is still only a little fluffy. He does have a winter coat now though. It's so silky soft! A lot more white than his summer coat too I think, but then he's so often dirty it's hard to tell. He looks clean in the photos but believe me, he's not. His mane and tail are supposed to be almost pure white!

In which Solomon tries to play Ghandi.

Ahh, passive resistance. The noble protestor who does not fight, does not attack, but merely refuses to move.
This is actually quite effective when one weighs around 1300 pounds.

Solomon, you see, does not currently come running to me when I walk to the pasture gate. This is because (I'm fairly certain) lately it seems, in his mind, that when I come to the pasture gate, I approach him, say something exasperated, force him to LEAVE his beloved herdmates and his even more beloved new green grass, take him to the EVIL WASH RACK, wrap a bunch of random stuff around one of his legs with some neosporin, and force him to go on STALL REST! Noooooo!
So now he has associated leaving pasture with being trapped in a cage far from his friends. Oh, wonderful.
Solomon is, thankfully, a gentle soul. Good at embarrassing mom, but not mean. He is also unfortunately rather clever.
So he knows the "get them moving by going to the side or circling" trick. He will happily walk any direction that is NOT towards the pasture gate. But even if you circle him and get him moving, the moment he's turned towards the gate, he stops. A tap with the lead rope or even a dressage whip will get a sad little sound of protest but no movement. I'm not going to beat the hell out of him, even if I were that type, and I'm not, it didn't work for the previous owner.
My stud chain was at home from the time I wore it around my neck and forgot about it when I left the barn. So.
So it was a contest of wills. Who was more stubborn? I decided at one point that Solomon was a mule in disguise, not an appendix. :p He let me rock him back and forth. He let me pick up his feet. He even let me mess with his mouth like never before. I found a cut on the inside of his upper lip, but it's healing. I tried tickling the inside of his ear, which got him moving twice and then he just raised his head up higher than I could reach, and I don't want to teach him to be any more headshy than he already is, heh. Of course a number of people with their well-trained, well-behaved horses passed us.
So, we did circles. I carefully moved him by pulling his head to the side and pressing his butt so that we were about half a foot closer to the cross-ties every time we completed a circle. He got annoyed, of course he did, but he just tossed his head and grunted a couple of times. When we were almost all the way down the road to the pasture he finally gave in and walked with me. I have to say, I wasn't sure how long I could be patient about it, but I knew I couldn't let him win this battle. I was thinking "where did all those months of work go???" but he did finally give. He wasn't lame, he didn't flinch or even react at all when I poked his heel, I felt his legs and his whole body, no heat. He was fine. Just didn't want to go.
So we got to the cross ties and he was calling to his herd. Calling and calling and calling. And every time I went into the tack room out of sight, he'd call to me. Then when I came out he'd nicker. Yeah right, no treats for you today, buddy!
He got groomed, and then I checked out the fit of the saddle with his new swayback pad. Seems like the bridging is gone. Yay!
I also noticed that he's getting a little bit chunky. Hah, wow! Well, as long as he doesn't get fat, and doesn't founder... if he stays sound enough for a while, we'll start riding soon. Soon as I am sure he's fine and soon as I'm not too nervous about riding again. I'm nervous about starting up again. I know, I'm silly. :/
Anyway, I tried the saddle on him. I think I need to use the rear cinch with it anyway, even though I'm not roping cattle. We'll see.
Then I took the saddle off (oh he was making such a tragic face when I saddled him up, heh, this is a horse that has gotten used to not working) and made a point of walking him around in the arena. He was very good. He was downright sprightly on the walk back to the pasture, which just told me that he wasn't hurting in any way, he just didn't want to leave his herd and grass. He had to help me walk back up there because the struggle down the road took too much out of my ankles, but he was just fine with that- he was going back to pasture! He was kind enough to not toss the halter when I took it off him, but he did turn around and walk away rather brusquely, heheh. Eventually he'll see coming out of pasture as a good thing again. It'll just take a little time for the memory of stall rest to fade.
So anyway, I have pictures! Pictures of Solly and some of his friends out at pasture.
By the way, while Solomon makes a lot of little noises, the other horses in pasture are almost always silent. Silent and ninjalike. And they like to stand in a ring around me and, after giving a soft greeting noseblow, very gently rest their noses on me. And just stand there. Touching me with their noses. In a circle. Buh?

Solomon, out at pasture, looking suspicious. That metal trough is on the other side of the fence, prolly a holdover from the days when the barn was a cattle ranch. His eyes were all goopy, and I did manage to wash them when I got him in, though he was QUITE displeased about it.


His saddle:



No bridging now. Look at that belly though! He's getting wormed tomorrow, but I think that's a new grass belly, not a worm belly.

He had just whinnied up a storm here, and then I reappeared in the tackroom doorway.


Most of his herd, but not all of them! A very colorful bunch, eh?


Venus! She always comes up and says hi. :) She's usually hanging out with Solomon. I guess he won the fight for her?


To bite, or not to bite?


Bobby the 2 year old says "are you lookin' at me?" Actually he's really sweet and friendly too. He comes up to see me when I come out there as well.


YAAAAAAAWN!!!! I don't know his name.


He has a cute face


And a blue eye! Actually they are both blue. Horse pupils are kind of rectangular, like a goat's.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In which Solomon is impolite.

Solly is doing just great now.
I took him back up to his pasture. He was wearing his danceypants all the way up, so we had to stop a few times before he decided that rearing or trying to run to the pasture gate was a good idea.
Oh boy howdy was he ready to go back! He almost took off as soon as he was through the gate, but I got him to stand for me while I unbuckled his halter. Once the buckle was off though, he tossed it right off his head just like last time, and went CHARGING across the field. Got a few of the other horses running with him too, even though it was dinner time. Well then!



After he settled down to eat I took this video. Hm. I am going to lay off the hand treating for a bit, he's getting WAY too pushy and mouthy. My friend L said he was going to bite me, that it was only a matter of time, and I think she's right. Hand treats are a privilege, not a right, and he's getting too far out of line with it, heh. 'Course teaching him tricks with treat rewards has really made it worse, though he is good with the tricks!

Yeah, he bites Venus in the end of that video. He loves her, but he loves momma and the treats she gives a lot more.

But yay for his foot healing up! No sign of infection or proud flesh. I think we did well on this one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

No no, it's not what it looks like!

Well today after Solly's spa treatment (which I am adding a bit of betadine to) his scab was loose, so I pulled most of it off to reveal nice pink healthy flesh, yay! Also he did not visibly limp. Heh, funny boy. He got bored and acted up a bit while soaking- he managed to get a lot of his soaking solution on me. Cold Ev. Bad hoss!
So then he decided he wanted to go back to his old paddock. He was a little too dancey for my comfort, so I stuck him in the cross ties to dry while I went to get his stud chain, which I latched around my neck for convenient conveyance. Usually now the sight of it makes him behave. We both hate using it.
Of course when I got back he had a lot to say about me abandoning him there FOREVER, at least 2 minutes. He yelled at me, haha, I mean it was a cross between a nicker and a bellow!
One thing I can say is that he is very good and very careful when I crawl under him to tend his wounds, which are usually on the inside of his legs. Didn't move a muscle. Got a cookie, heh. "Thanks for not killing momma" treats, yay.
So I put him back for the night and drove to Trader Joe's, tired but craving goat cheese with honey. I did all my shopping and got in my car before I realized that I was visibly soaked from the crotch down, and I had this big chain around my neck. Hah!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Well, Solly is settling fine into his new digs. I do like the water better here. Don't like the paddock barn as much. He doesn't have a wall in this one, and there's a mare who is in heat right now, screaming and screaming. Solly is nervous, but he has food so it's all okay. He took to the move quite well, though he was confused when I left the pen without him. "Wait mom, aren't you going to take me back home?"
I moved all my stuff out of my tack locker. Bye bye, locker. Hello communal tack room. But the fridge is bigger, much bigger, and I secured a nice spot. Lots of room, really, and the whole tack room locks, which is a bit more secure. I do not think anyone will be stealing from me. That doesn't seem to happen at out barn, yay!
Tomorrow I'll go get some plastic storage containers with drawers. Hopefully I'll be able to organize my crap in a non-obnoxious fashion. I do like the saddle racks in there a lot. I think we'll settle in fine.
Solly is not limping much at all now. Yay! He is feeling better quickly. I am a relieved horse mom. Seems like it really was just a scrape from his hoof. He is wearing an easyboot loaned by the BO to help keep it clean, though I don't want to leave it on for long, since she could only find one. It must not feel great to stand all uneven like that. So probably just for the next day.
BO was very nice and quite helpful. And I know she wanted me to move over there anyway. So everyone will be happy. Solly and his pasturemates won't be freaking each other out. The BO will get her back paddock secton to herself and the volunteers. I'll put on my big girl panties and deal.
I also found out that the tack exchange stuff was still there, and I scored some awesome things I overlooked last time- I got a helmet that fits my head really comfortably, more comfortably than my other helmet. I got a bareback pad that I hadn't realized was a bareback pad the first time, but it's heavy duty, VERY thick and long and cushiony, with a fleece girth. Someday when I am a better rider I will try it. :)
It was dark by the time I was able to tend to Solly's foot. I put him in the cross-ties at the new tack room, and he was a scared boy. He kept half-spooking, eyes wide with lots of white showing, nostrils flaring, but he did try to be good. I couldn't see anything at first, but then the source of his fear emerged:
A kitty cat.
Heh. That's my boy.
It was one of the BO's cats, roaming around, hunting mice. Solomon was certain that the cat was in fact a lion. Telling him everything was fine only helped a little bit, so I shurgged and walked over to the cat, petting him and telling Solomon that it was fine, that the cat was a force of good and would not hurt him. See? The cat didn't eat me! So the cat will not eat you either.
Hah, and it actually worked. He calmed way down. I let him smell the cat on my hands. He let me mess with his foot and put that boot on him. When I left he was nomming on hay. The mare was screaming and pacing and presenting, but he couldn't have cared less.

I do look forward to him getting back to the pasture though. And to being able to ride again. I haven't even checked out how the swayback pad works with his saddle yet!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Guh.

My horse has been screaming and calling to the pasture horses, who have been whipping themselves into a frenzy trying to get to him. They broke down the fence. So now I have to move him to another section of hossmoor, to the all mare-motel area near the BO's house. Which might mean that he can't have any of his paddock toys to keep him occupied, if he makes a lot of noise with them at night. I dunno.
Back hurts, feel kinda sick, not looking forward to moving everything out of my tack locker and into another tack room somewhere. Bye Bye heated wash rack too. :( Guh.
I hope the filly didn't hurt herself. The day I led Solly limping out of the pasture, she actually tried to nurse off him. Way too old to nurse, 17 months, heh. But there she was. Doesn't work so well on a gelding!
I think they were upset that I complained about the water, too. Well, it was brown and scum was floating at the top. It smelled strongly of rotten eggs. I let them skim the top with a fish net and backed down because I felt like I'd get kicked out if I pressed the issue too much. The BO's son said they liked the water like that, and it had nutrients they needed. But it seems to me that Solomon drinks less, and the time we cleaned his water barrel out completely and refilled it, he immediately stuck his head and and started gulping water down, even tried to do it while we ran the hose.
Am I too picky? Am I being a demanding princess? Board there is very very close to the amount of rent I pay for my own home, I don't think that asking for fresh, clean water is asking that much. But maybe I'm being unreasonable. Maybe people don't usually clean water buckets once a week. Or more than once every couple months. Maybe I shouldn't make such a big deal out of it, and I need to be less overprotective?
Hoss people, please tell me, when is horse water too dirty to be acceptable?
He's a hay dunker too, heh.

Anyway, I'll move him. I don't want to fight over this, and if the herd horses and Solomon are getting really upset by being able to see each other but not reach each other, then maybe it is best that he be moved to a different area.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A bit better today.

Well, Solly's wound drained last night, quite a bit from the looks of it. It's still tender, and he is still limping, but not quite as badly. My friend L picked me up and we went out to the feed store, then we went to the barn. She got his face really cleaned up and de-itchified (he'd gotten a lot of scabs from tick bites) and I groomed his body. I put his foot in a bucket of warm water with epsom salt, which I think he loved. He didn't try to take his foot out of it, and only moved a little a couple of times. He was loving the attention and the skritches, and I think the epsom salt felt good, because he didn't want to take his foot out of that bucket, heh.
I got him a toy at the feed store- a Jolly Stall Snack.
http://tinyurl.com/5vuhem
I wonder if it will still be in one piece by tomorrow?
Thank you for driving out there with me and helping, L!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My boo is hurt again. :(

Songs of "vet bill" Solomon is lame today.


So we're on leg #3. I'm learning to not panic as readily now. But my poor baby. He was actually letting it SHOW how much he hurt. Limping badly. Whimpering at every step. Head bobbing really far every time he walked on his left front. At first he refused to walk towards the gate at all. He had that tragic look on his face.


Ah shit.


Venus, the little 17 month old filly, was trying to nurse off him a few moments before I snapped this picture. Both the babies were clinging to him for some reason. Bobby, the 2 year old, is back behind them I think. Solly isn't looking really forlorn here, but he was whimpering every time he walked or was asked to walk.

One of the Nice Boarder Ladies was there, very very sweet lady who likes Solly a lot, and she helped me coax him out of the pasture and to his paddock. First he walked with just encouragement, then he followed a fistful of hay, and then eventually we had to use the stud chain to get him to move, but once he realized that we were going to his paddock, he came limping along easily enough. We took it very slowly, but he behaved.
Washed the wound and it looked like this:



And his front legs look like this:

Nice Boarder Lady thinks the tendon might be swollen on his lower legs, but isn't sure. I can't tell. Anyone have an idea?

I asked one of the on-site trainer to look at it, which he kindly did. I was thinking at first that maybe it was an abcess that had drained maybe, but he thinks that Solomon kicked himself, maybe while getting up from rolling or something. He also thinks that he'll be okay. Probably it just hurts a lot. I hope. I just want him to be okay. And I want him to be happy. Yeah I want to ride but that is not the most important thing. Buh. Any thoughts?

Monday, December 1, 2008

A peaceful pasture dinner in the mist.



Heh, I don't know why Bobby in particular (the young 'un) was so fascinated with me today. Luckily Solly likes him. Earlier it was Nick-Knack coming up behind me. I didn't see her and she's a giant grey ninjamare, but Solly did, and he tried to tell me, heh. I chased her off because she has no concept of personal space with humans, and will attack my horse while I am leading him out of the pasture. Not so safe. It's too bad, because I like her, but yeah, she needs to keep her distance.

Looks like he is going well with the rest of the herd though. :) Three horses on one pile of hay! There are always a lot of extra piles, but there they are, peacefully eating together. Well mostly.

Still a bit of heat in his leg, but it does look like it's healing. If it stays hot or swells up or anything I'll call the vet again and get some antibiotics. But mostly what you see there is his old injury, which he has had for as long as I have known him. It doesn't seem to bother him, according to the vet.

Got ripped off on e-bay. I ordered a case of 18 rolls of vetrap. What I got was some off-brand, and while the auction claimed the rolls were 5 yards, they were half the thickness of the last roll of vetrap that I have. Grr. Here's hoping it can be dealt with peacefully.

I'm waiting for a swayback pad to arrive. Solly's saddle was bridging a bit, I'm still learning about fitting properly, and the pad should fix that. Not riding him until his legs is totally better anyway, but I'm also not going to ride him until I'm sure he'll be comfortable. I also got a better girth for him. Didn't like that old rope one.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Kiss me!"

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1108/kissme.jpg

Awwwh. :)
Solly had a nice roll in the mud again, but it isn't as bad as it was last time. His mane is looking kind of stringy though. I am considering braiding it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Note to self: tick and fly control

So according to some horse folks, an equal mix of listerine (regular) baby oil and apple cider vinegar is an excellent fly spray, though it'd turn Solomon yellow, heh.
To keep away ticks, 1'4th a cup of apple cider vinegar a day is supposed to work wonders.
2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder twice a day to keep flies away.

So maybe I'll pick up some more LMF Senior tomorrow since I'm taking a friend to the tack and feed store, and maybe I'll try it out and see how it works. Why not, eh?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hurt my leg.

I ate a pile 'o' spinach last night, and what happened?
LEG CRAMP!
I thought it was supposed to help STOP those, but every time I eat it I get a leg cramp. In my calf muscle. Which attaches to my Achilles tendon. Which has chronic tendinosis.
So yeah, walking? Not so much today. Thankfully there are a bunch of volunteers at the barn where I board my horse. They love horses and don't have their own, so they get to spend time with horses who are very old or whose owners aren't around. It's great therapy for everyone involved, and one of the volunteers is rather fond of Solly. She is checking on him, and I think she even blanketed him, heheh.
So Sol is living the good life, and I am playing the Mines of Moria expansion on lord of the rings. Not a bad day, but I do miss my giant white (currently fluffy) lump'o'love.

Man, we both are good at injuring ourselves. You know how pets and owners are supposed to be kind of alike? Well, we have the "dumb injuries" thing down.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Solly was a total angel today! No obedience problems at all. :D Good boy.
I put some liniment on his legs today, and the liniment smelled like mint. Peppermints are Solly's favorite thing EVER and he was just SURE that my hands contained some of the coveted sugary treats.



Don't feel too badly for him- he got a few treats for obeying commands so well today. Let's hope this is a trend, and he's putting the stall-rest crazies behind him!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Darned bugs!

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1108/bugbites.jpg

I clean Solly, then I brush his hair against the grain, spray on bug spray, and brush the hair back, but they are still eating him alive, poor boy. :(

His fly mask was lying in another part of the pasture today. I had been thinking of taking it off anyway, but when I found Solly his eyes and face were COVERED in flies. So that's no good.

He's still fighting with other members of the herd over the new filly, apparently. When I found him today he wasn't with the herd, but when I put him back he went right to them and was chilling with them. The filly was close to him.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1108/hillside.jpg

His wound is healing, though it is still split-looking. There will probably be a scar, maybe worse looking than the cut that was sutured up, but it isn't too bad. Not much swelling now, and I can hope for no proud flesh. That leg already has enough of that on the back. He was still stubborn a few times on our walk together, though we did okay. His hooves are getting nice and hard again. No more mushy crumbliness.

The rescue that my barn is donating stuff to is making out like bandits, especially with the horse blankets. Tons of those!

I need to mess with padding for my saddle a little bit. There are a couple of spots where the pressure isn't even because he has a bit of a sway back. I'm probably going to make something myself, since the bad that fixes that problem is around $150 or so. Screw that, I'll get a memory foam pillow from costco and carve it up to the exact shape I need!

On the way home I ended up driving behind this:

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1108/oldcar.jpg

Neat!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tack giveaway day!

Today there was a big giveaway. People brought stuff they didn't use any more, and other boarders could take it if they wanted it. Anything that isn't taken will be donated to a horse rescue. Good stuff all the way around.

I gave a little foam wedge that ended up being too small for my saddle. I got some shampoo, some fungicide (in case he gets a fungal infection of some kind) and some hydrogen peroxide. I missed out on a dressage saddle. Blargh. Probably would have been too small for him anyway. If I rode English I would have been SET though, man there was so much English and dressage stuff there! Almost nothing Western.
Solly, for his part, was a pretty good boy except for a short "I'm not moving" incident. I tried a big new noisy weatherproof blanket with a closed front on him. Got it a while ago, but he hasn't needed anything that heavy. He looked at it funny and moved his head a bit while I put it on him, so it got a little stuck over his head, but he was a very good boy and just stood there until I got it off his face and on his body. What a good, calm boy!
Apparently he has been fighting with another horse over the new filly. Bad Sol. I don't know how I could stop him. :/
But he did have a buddy to hang out with today!





(Yeah, it was over 75 degrees at the barn today, and there were lots of flies! In November!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

*whew*
"Well," said the vet, "I COULD surgically repair him, but honestly if he were my horse I wouldn't bother. He's going to heal whatever you do. Just put neosporin on it. You can bandage if lightly if you'd like to keep the wound clean. And he'll be happier if you let him go back out to pasture."
So that is what I did.
He did his refusing to move thing when I started to take him past the cross-ties, because he knew that meant that I wasn't putting him away in his paddock (the one he hated being in and would kick the walls and bars of, mind you,) but the barn owner was there and she made some move along noises behind him while I coaxed him from the front, and he got going. I praised him for walking with me when he didn't want to, and sang the "walk" song, which helps him focus on me and on walking to the beat of the music. Sometimes singing is the only way to get him to get over something, hah.
So there was no more trouble, and he went into the pasture no problem, and let me take off his halter. He has his fly mask on- it's really hot and the flies are bad. In mid-November, I know, but hey, my tomato plants are still producing ripe tomatoes for me, so it's not all bad!
Also, he was very good for me. Almost no hesitation going into the wash-rack, which he HATES with a passion that burns like the fires of a thousand suns.
Also, the vet, bless his heart, didn't charge me anything, and gave me a lot of good advice.
Hmm, I wonder if any of the vets at the horse clinic would be willing to let me tag along for a day or two? I'd happily hold horses for them, and I'd love to learn more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

sdfasdfsdfasdfds2!$%!%$!%$

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1108/wellshit1.jpg

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1108/wellshit2.jpg

Yeah, this is the OTHER leg.
Vet is going to look at it in the morning. I did the betadine scrub, the triple antibiotic ointment, the cold hosing for the swelling, the wrap to help the wound close and keep it clean, and he is back in his paddock. GUH.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There's a new filly at the barn!

Her name is Venus, and she's I think a little less than a year and a half old. She is an Arabian, and I don't have a conformation shot but I think she looks rather nice.








And here's one of Solly grazing in his pasture. Look at that shark fin he has, and that's with him bending his neck down to eat! Saddle fitting, not so easy actually.



Venus' new mom decided to let her girl go out into the pasture with the herd. There was a lot of running around, some squealing and kicking, but she seems to be settling in fine. She has made tentative friends with Solly, though when I was out there he pinned his ears and chased her off. "MY MOM!" Heh.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heh so you can't exactly tell from the video, but as soon as I unbucked Solly's halter, he THREW the thing off his head and over the fence then ran away, hah!
Yep, today was the big day- Solomon got to go back to his pasture with his herd. We were walking past it, and he was all kinds of hot. His friends came running up to the fence as if to say "SOLLY omg how are you? PLEASE COME BACK!"
He rolled a couple more times after the camera ran out of memory, and he was alternating between grazing on the tiny fresh new grass and charging around. He was such a happy boy!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

"But MOOOOOOOOM, it's DINNER TIME!"

So Solly was nice and calm today, which was good. I picked and medicated his feet, brushed him, got some more clay out of his mane, and then turned him out for a little while. He wasn't so big on the turnout because it was around dinner time, but he didn't flip out.
When I brought him out of the turnout pen, I decided to take a walk down to chat with one of the Nice Boarder Ladies. NBL was talking to another NBL and wondering why I was sitting in the middle of the turnout pen, heh. Welll I left him alone in there but after a while he just stood at the gate waiting to be brought back in. If I go in with him he'll wander around more. So. Yeah. I'm sure people think I'm crazy, heh. But we worked a little more on "help me up" too. So that was good.
Anyway, so I thought we'd walk down to talk to NBL. Nope. Uh uh. No way. He wanted to go BACK to his PADDOCK and he wanted to go NOW.
But of course I couldn't let him just plant his feet and refuse to walk in that direction. Oh it was a battle of wills and stubbornness, but with a little advice from NBL I finally got him to obey me. I hate having to be harsh, I'm not a harsh person by nature when it comes to animals. But he can't be refusing to obey just because he wants to go eat. It's dangerous and such a bad thing to teach him that he can get away with. So we walked all the way to the end of the orchard, with plenty of halts, and then back again, also with halts. We came to an understanding, and he became obedient. I hate when he closes down on me though, which he does sometimes when I have to be really firm with him. I'm not sure how to describe it, except that he is a very expressive horse and when he's worried that I'm going to lose my temper with him as people have in the past, he just closes down.
But I can't let him get away with not obeying basic ground work commands. I'll turn him and back him and whatever else that is within reason until he yields. If it means having to be a little harsh then I'll have to be a little harsh until he yields. Of course if I were to lose my temper I would lose the argument, and if I were to go above and beyond what's appropriate to make him obey I would also lose the argument. But if I were to have just taken him back to his stall, I would most certainly have lost. So we worked at it and worked at it until he was whoaing and walking as soon as I told him to.
A lot of the discipline difficulty is the long stall rest, I think. Once he is back in his pasture and feeling secure with his herd, he'll be back to normal. Or at least not so bad, a friend told me that an injury and stall rest can set you back 3 or 4 months of work easily. Guh. But we'll work though it.
I ended the day with some positive reinforcement, doing a bit of "kiss me." He knows what to do for sure now, but we still have to work on him doing it when I say so, not just to try to get a carrot bit when he knows I have one. Heh. Just have to be very patient and consistent, like with everything.
I put his blankie back on for the night. Tomorrow it'll probably come off again, and he will likely go back into the pasture. I'll take him out at feeding time so he can eat first thing instead of running around all crazy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Solly update!

Hey there, sorry it has been a while- it's time for a Solomon update!

So Solly is having a few discipline problems because he is feeling so much better and is so sick of being cooped up, plus the weather is really turning these days, which is making a lot of the horses a little bit nuts.
Solomon rolled in the mud when I turned him out the other day. The mud around here is clay, major clay, and he GROUND that stuff into his mane. I'm working it out bit by bit, but it's hard to remove it without removing the mane. So that's why his hair is so messy at the moment.





Oh I wish I had gotten pictures when he was almost a solid dark brown. But he was not being a good boy that day, not at all, and I did not have time for photographs. Grr. But he's better now. I made two mistakes-
1. I turned him out right after a storm.
2. I turned him out at what he thought was dinner time, because horses don't understand daylight savings.
A boarder told me to let it dry and then try to remove it, so that is what I did, and it worked pretty well. I got most of it out. Only took a few hours.
Another boarder had a lot of extra blankets. She found a very light one that she thought would look very pretty on my Solly, so she gave it to him. The boarders here are so kind. He hasn't gotten wooly, and the blanket is very light, so for this past cold snap I put it on him. It's off again now. I wouldn't have used one if he had gotten shaggy. But it's pretty on him, eh?



Solomon doesn't charge around along the fenceline as much if I'm in there with him, at least at first, so I sat in his turn out for a few minutes.

"Hi mom!"



"What's up? Besides me. HUR HUR HUR."



My pretty boy. The really crooked fence posts in the far back are on the property next door. The t-posts here are capped. Not that it makes them 100% horse proof. I don't think ANYTHING can be 100% horse proof. :/



Solly really wants to be friends with Joline, the grey mare with Cushings. Joline wants to beat the crap out of Solly.



WHEEEEEEE!



In another part of the barn, in the stall areas, Bubba is taking a nap! He snores...



And so does his girlfriend Spring Loaded!



In other news, Solomon has now fully (I think) learned the trick "kiss me." So tomorrow we'll start on "put your head on my shoulder." That's a lot of words for a horse to learn for a trick! Of course he will learn to simply recognize the phrase and gesture as a cue, and he won't really understand what each word means. But he's a smart boy, and his pushiness and food fixation both make him a good trick horse prospect.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ugh, I have a low grade flu or something.
Thankfully my sweetie was willing to drive me out to the barn, so Solly got turn-out today. I sat in the dry-lot pen while he ambled around, and then we practiced "help me up," which honestly I needed help with today. He's a very good boy, and rather intuitive for a horse. He comes over when I call him, puts his head down, lets me get a hold of his mane, and then when I say "help me up" he raises his head. No, I don't lean a bunch of my weight on him. He just helps me balance and makes standing less painful. Also helps when one is dizzy and nauseous, as it happens. We did okay with "kiss me" too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trust.



Despite needing to re-learn some discipline in a few areas, Solomon is a very, very KIND horse. He is a very forgiving horse. And while it would be foolish to entirely trust any being that is not entirely in control of themselves (instincts can and do take over, especially with a prey animal that is wired to flee from danger) I trust him a lot. Up there? He closed his lips around two fingers and drooled on them, but did not bite or threaten to bite.
Every day I show him how I trust him. I pick up his feet and clean them out, though he could easily kill me with a single kick. I walk behind him, though I always let him know that I am there with sound and touch. I brush his massive body that's so tall I can't see the top of his back.
And every day he shows me how he trusts me. He follows me. He lets me touch him. He listens to what I say, and when I am clear and consistent, he obeys me. He lets me lead him by a rope, even though he could easily run off and just drag me along with him. He lets me take him around corners, show him new things, go past big scary cars and even scarier deer. Sometimes he spooks, but always he stops and defers to me. And even when he panicked on Saturday because he was confined, and really REALLY wanted to run free, though he reared he did not strike, though he pranced he did not step on me, and though he bucked, he did not kick, nor did he drag me away. He was overcome, and he begged and screamed, but he did not fight when he couldn't easily flee.
Every day I'm awed by him.

Before I get too sappy, heh, he got turned out (now that he has gotten the ants out of his pants and is nice and calm) next to the old mares. He tried to impress Pica Aloha. Here's the old girl giving her opinion of him:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zomgz an update!

Sorry to keep y'all in suspense.
Solomon and I are okay, some other people are having drama and one party wants to bring us into it I think. It's a complicated situation that I would rather just stay away from to be honest. Don't worry, everyone is safe. There are a lot of good people where we are.

So Solly is doing a lot better! He has now gotten two turn-outs. Okay, his first turn out day wasn't so great, because he had decided he was FED UP with stall rest and was rearing and bucking away. He bit his lip a little, I got a bloody finger, but we survived the incident, he did not get loose and run away, no one else was touched, and he was not actively trying to harm me. A horse whinnied and it set him off, then he wouldn't calm down. But once I put him in the wood-paneled round pen, he worked the ants out of his pants.

Today went a lot better. I made my own stud chain for him, which worked splendidly. He still sticks his nose right into the halter when I hold it up, and does not complain. But he knows he's working when the chain is on. There was a little bit of unplanned halting that we worked through, but otherwise it was okay. I went in the round pen with him this time, and he was nice and relaxed, considering. He still did a little giraffe-necking and a bit of calling, but the first thing he did after sniffing around a bit was roll.

http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/longroll.jpg

Haha, he always rolls all the way over! Apparently a lot of horses don't do this. they do one side, then the other. Except perhaps Icelandics. The Icey at our barn, who will soon be moving off to Oregon, sadly, rolls onto his back and sticks his legs in the air, then STAYS like that. Heh.

Okay, it's an odd point in his trot, and bear in mind that he's turning a bit, but he's trottig here!
http://www.niceboots.org/~evergrey/horsestuff/Solomon1008/trotting.jpg

Yes, he does extend way more. And yes, he was a little stiff on the wounded leg. But it is holding together- no bleeding, no split skin. And I think that he will end up sound. He still has at least two more weeks before he can go out to his pasture, but at least now he can have turn-out! After I took these pictures we did some walking and trotting together- no halter, so he only had to do what he felt up to doing, which was more than my ankles were up to, as it happened. But we did some walking and trotting, and then he went into a big turn-out pen, where we did more walking and trotting.

He has gotten rather herd-bound to me though. If I am out of his sight for a moment he calls for me, and if I leave the pen he's in he charges back and forth until he can see that I'm not leaving him there. I sat on a picnic bench for a while while he wandered around sniffing poo (a favorite activity of his) and then got up to take the apple-picker into the round pen. You would have thought his tail was on fire, he ran to the gate of the turn-out pen so fast. I was worried he'd go through the fence a little, but he's good at charging around and then coming to a dead stop.

Not so good at that when it's slippery and muddy though, which apparently is a bit of a difficult concept for him. Sigh.

Anyway, he's healing really well, and the BO loaned me a book of horse tricks to teach Solly. Right now we're working on "kiss me," which I am positive he will get down very quickly. Next will be "put your head on my shoulder," which he likes to do anyway. Of course I must be consistent and only give him a carrot bit when he does it on COMMAND. Not jsut any time. Heh.

But yes, we're okay, Solly is healing well, and overall life is good.