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.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Om nom nom nom!

Today Sol got a new treat!
Miniature watermelons were on sale at the local grocery store, so I bought a couple. When I got to the barn everyone was eating alfalfa, which made me happy. Some of the horses there are really REALLY skinny though, and I wonder why. They get fed twice a day, one flake of hay each time, at least that's what I'm told. Maybe that is not enough for some horses? Or maybe they need probiotics and their teeth floated. I don't know. :(
Sol's stall is getting bad again. Tomorrow if it is still bad I might end up trying to clean it out myself, though I'm pretty sure that is a bad idea with my back.
Anyway, Sol got his carrots, which he chomped down immediately, and then I gave him his blue treat bucket with the watermelon, which I broke in half for him. WOW did he love it! He made really really loud slurping noises and got his whole nose red with watermelon juice and pulp, hehe.
Then he started taking a bit of watermelon and a bite of alfalfa and chewing them together. When the pulp was all gone, he picked up the rinds and threw them in the air a couple of times before eating them. I think that's the most playful thing I have seen him do.
I watched one of the boarders lunge his TB without a whip, using only verbal commands. There was a language barrier, but he offered to help me teach Solomon, which is awesome. :) I hope that will not annoy the BO, but I don't think it will- that guy seems to do things around the barn every once in a while.
I discussed lunge techniques with a friend of mine who is a horseperson, and she brought up some good points about why rope shaking is a bad technique for teaching a horse to back up- it not only frightens the horse, but it also teaches him to back up whenever he gets startled. I'm sure you can imagine why that isn't a good thing. I also want to be able to lunge him without making contact with the whip. I really do believe in positive reenforcement, especially when working with a previously abused animal. He has had enough fear and pain in his life, and if I can find a way to get him to do things without resorting to either of those, I will go with it. I'd much rather bribe him, if that is what it will take. I think that fear and pain are often used as shortcuts, and that they ultimately damage the relationship. A quick and brief "I am bigger and scarier than you" demonstration when a horse is doing something seriously unacceptable is one thing- like people have told me, and like I've seen now, that's how horses tend to interact with each other. Beating your horse or scaring the living shit out of him to make him run? Not good.
So today was mostly a treat feeding and hoof cleaning day. The thrust isn't going away as much as I would like, and I might end up trying the bleach solution or getting some of the spendy medicine. What really needs to happen is that someone needs to clean Sol's stable every day, which is what is supposed to be happening, but it isn't. :(
Walked around in the arena briefly, but my ankles acted up and Sol felt hot, so we didn't do a lot of active stuff.
Oh yeah, I also sat in a chair in front of his stall window while I watched that nice fellow lunge his horse, and Sol stuck his mouth right next to my ear and chewed his hay. Haha, startling! I guess he wanted to say hi but didn't want to stop eating. There's probably some alfalfa in my bra. :p
This is a bit rambly, apologies.

Oh yeah, and if you don't know of it, every day you should really check out the TB Friends blog. Joe only posts each entry for a day, and they are always worth reading.
And of course there is Fugly Horse of the Day, which everyone should read through. Everyone should know just what the hell is happening in the horse industry right now. There are also often posts with horses that need to be upgraded, so if you are looking for one, this is a place you can watch, and maybe find a life to save.

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