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.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Working hard at doing a whole lot of nothing.

So a week and a half or so ago I bought this guy a couple of boxes of diapers that he said were for his twin babies. He promised that he would pay me back today at 1:45 pm. I would love to tell you a heartwarming story about the goodness and honor of my fellow man, but he probably suckered some store into taking it as a return and shot the profits up into his veins. Of course he didn't show. Do I understand people who lie and prey upon the good intentions of others? Nope. Never have. I guess that's why I'm so easily suckered sometime.
Oh well, I still can look myself in the eye when I look into the mirror at night. Of course, so can a sociopath.

Anyway, I decided to spend the afternoon and early evening with much better company, a.k.a. Solomon. He was chasing the John Deere around the pasture when I got there, but he came to me when I called him. He wasn't with the herd, yet again. Hrm.

It was way up there again today. Maybe triple digits, maybe not. Flies were worse than normal, and so were the wasps. I coated myself in skin-so-soft. It did nothing to keep the flies away. It doesn't seem to help Solomon either. I sprayed some endure on my hair. Dire warnings of doom and gloom decorate the bottle. Meh.

Breakfast for me was a banana I shared with Solomon. Solomon also got some apples from the little orchard on the property. Solomon got brushed, and had his hooves picked. I discovered more thrush today. Rather frustrating. It turns out that it ate some pockets out of his foot sort of UNDER the frog, deep up in there. I scraped it out as gently as I could. Solomon fought like hell when I cleaned his right front, though that one didn't need much scraping. It's the left front that was really bad. He tried so hard to get that foot away from me. It was almost scary, but I knew I couldn't give in, or he'd try it again. Eventually he gave up and let me finish. Didn't resist with the back feet.
I pulled out my little ThrushBuster bottle and poured a bit on all of his feet, into that space between the frog and the hard parts of the inside of the hoof. I think I poured a little too much, because the front of all four of his hooves is now purple at the toe. A rather impressive shade of purple at that. Well, he has purple French tips now, but that's better than thrush. It ought to take care of the last of it, I think. His feet are nice and dry nowadays. Occasionally he steps in some manure and gets a bit stuck in there, but mostly his feet are clean.

The feeding guys came by, and though they tossed the flakes in the other paddocks, they politely placed Sol's flakes in his feeding bin and smiled at me. Nice guys. While he ate, Solomon got a nice long massage. No flinching anywhere, far as I could tell.
I thought I'd try a short little lunge session just to see how he was moving, but that... was an epic fail. Yeah, he wasn't having any of it. Walking is going well, however. He leads even without the line, and is getting better and better at stopping when I stop, or stopping when I say "ho." We walked all the way from the round pen back to his paddock with the lead line draped over his neck. My hand was right by it, of course, in case I needed to grab it. But it went well. He even stopped when I asked him to.
I am out of senior feed, and my friend who buys it off the track hasn't been able to get more to me in a little while. Solomon is getting plenty to eat now, but I still like to give him a scoop a day of LMF because it has lots of good for him stuff in it, and he's still a little bit on the thin side. When Solomon got to the grain room, he stopped in his tracks, looked at his trash can, which I have never opened in his line of sight, but which he learned the location of by hearing me scoop his feed, looked at me, looked at his grain can, and looked at me again. Then he took a step towards his can. Uh, no, I don't think so, boyo. So he got lead by the rope the last 10 feet to his stall. :p

On the way back to the pasture, I went to put my purse in the car, and Solomon stuck his head in the door and I swear to you that for a moment it looked like he was actually going to try to climb in. My horse is such a dork. Just like his mamma. No, Solly, Saturn sedans are not for hosses. At least he stopped the moment I said "stand." Can you imagine that call to the vet?
"Uh, doctor? I don't think my horse is very normal. Y'see..."
Plus, if he HAD managed to climb in there somehow, I have no idea how I'd have gotten him out again. Heh.

So we walked to the pasture with no problems, and I let him go with his fly mask on. Hopefully it will still be on tomorrow. We shall see. I stayed and watched Solomon after I let him loose, and he walked most of the way back to the herd, where there was still hay, but he didn't really join them. He doesn't really have any new horse-caused wounds on him that I can see, so I don't think he's getting beat up, but he doesn't really seem to be a part of the herd yet, either.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

For my birthday, mom sent me a raven puppet, squee! :D
She also sent me Trader Joe's gift cards. This is awesome, because Imaginethewolf and I discovered the utter awesomeness that is their roasted eggplant wraps yesterday. Roasted eggplant, sweet cabbage, and tahini. SO GOOD. Om nom nom.
Yesterday I offered Solomon a banana. Some horses like bananas, some don't. Solomon loves them! Actually I haven't found any horse-appropriate food that Solomon does NOT like. He's easy that way.
My fingers are sweating as I type. Weather.com says it is 69 degrees out. Weather.com is a big liar. It also says that Martinez is 92 degrees. I can tell you right now that if Martinez is 92 degrees, Richmond is NOT 69 degrees. Liar liar lair, weather.com! Of course, weather.com also told me there was a "chance of light snow showers" when I drove to Colorado, and I ended up driving through a terrible blizzard for a good 10 hours.
I am itching to do some training with Solomon today. I'm not sure it would be fair to him in this heat though. I'm not sure I can do it in this heat either. I have so many ideas, and every time we succeed in doing something, it helps.
Imaginethewolf rode Solomon yesterday. Bareback, because we still do not have a saddle. It is very discouraging for me, this search for a saddle that I can afford and that fits both Solomon and myself. Strange, I guess, that the cheap synthetic saddle the kids were using at the old place was so comfortable for Solomon and I. The new BO says I need a huge saddle because of my weight. A huge saddle seems to put my legs in the wrong place though. I'm very short. So I don't know what to do.
Anyway, Imaginethewolf rode Solomon, and she did really well. He has his challenges still, and he didn't obey every time. He did obey a lot of the time though. He trotted and it was hard for him because he is so out of shape. But he did trot, and he did not buck. He didn't look like he was in pain, just like he was working hard to trot, and maybe he was expecting it to hurt. But he was pretty calm and relaxed for the most part, I think.
The mounting block is probably the biggest challenge right now. Imaginethewolf was very calm and patient with Solomon, and worked at getting him to stand for a very long time. A nice (I think, so far) lady came by and chatted with me about Solomon as she tried. Eventually I helped to hold Solly while Imagine mounted, though I think that she will convince him to stand for her on his own soon. He just needs to learn that avoiding isn't going to get him out of work, and that we aren't going to beat the hell out of him.
I kept talking to the nice lady, who is a trainer as it happens. She is willing to give me lessons. She is giving me a good deal. So probably once a week, maybe on Weds. evenings, I'll have 45 minutes of lessons. We'll work on ground manners and stuff first, especially since I don't have a saddle yet, and then we'll go to riding from there. Imaginethewolf is very good with horses and has been teaching me a lot. It will also be good to have some formal lessons too. If things work out with the nice trainer lady, between her and Imagine and my bumbling through stuff, I think we'll get Solomon up to speed.
We had a picnic next to Solomon's paddock. He stuck his head through the bars and tried to steal Imagine's roasted eggplant wrap. Silly hoss. We moved further away, so we wouldn't be teasing him with our food. He had nice grass hay, and he got part of my apple, so he still had a good dinner as well.
I watched a dressage lesson today. It mystifies me. How amazing, they don't look like they are doing anything at all, though of course they give cues to the horses with their whole bodies, and the horses know just what to do. One of the horses bucked a couple of times, probably because it was really hot and he didn't want to work, but still he obeyed and was very good at what he did. His rider is a sweet girl who stayed calm the whole time. I try to picture Solomon and I doing something like that, and I can't. Hah. No, we will be going for gentle walks on the trail. We're both pretty beat up, though he's more sound than I am. And Solomon is getting old. I do not think it would be fair to ask him to do dressage. Certainly not now, anyway. Now we are working on "ho" and "back" and standing at the mounting block. The day we get those things down will be a big triumph. I will feel as proud of him as any girl at a fancy dressage show. And after that, we will go from there. Maybe he will suddenly show a desire to try something new and interesting. He is a smart horse and he gets bored very easily. Maybe he will be happy just walking around on the bridle path and in the hills with me. That would be just fine too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy birthday to meeeee!

The UPS faeries came to my door this morning while I slept!

Heh, most of this stuff is actually for my horse, not for me, though I might actually try out one of the rolls of vetrap on my ankles. :p

They shipped it well enough- the box was in amazingly good shape, actually. Everything was included in the order. The thrushbuster bottle is smaller than I realized, heh. That's enough for uh, one application! Okay, more than that if one is careful and conservative. The helmet- OH MAN that helmet is COMFY. Troxel helmets do really seem to rock. It's nice having one that is my own, instead of borrowing other people's old ones. It is nice and padded inside, and it is very adjustable. I got a medium sized helmet.
The fly mask is the kind that a lot of people seem to use, with fuzzy edges and all that good stuff. I'm not sure how long it will last out in the pasture, heh. But we'll see! Whenever I find one out there I take it and hang it on the gate where everyone's masks and halters go.
So now. I have sponges that aren't soaked in weird chemicals like the grocery store ones are, and that are nice and huge. I have racks for hanging my whips and crops, and I now wish I'd ordered two after all because I want one for home, heh. But it'll be good to hang more stuff up. I have probiotic stuff and sand clear since he had spent time eating off a sand arena in the old place. My own leather punch and a little horse first aid kit, a blanket for sudden cold snaps, and a jelly rubber in purple with little sparklies. The color is random and I am kind of glad it isn't bright pink, heh.
Also I have lord of the rings online as a birthday gift, and a sushi dinner! :D

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pasture herd pic spam!

Okay, I have a bunch of horsie photos for you. I rather like a couple of them.

Okay so their names are not really "annoying horse" and "butthead," but that's how I am categorizing those two in my mind at the moment, hah! I love just about all horses, though. While there are a couple of horses out there that need to learn manners, none of them are outright dangerous. (Well, I guess all horses are a little dangerous, but you get the picture)

So! On to the pic spam.

I have named this horse "annoying hoss." He is freakin' HUGE and grey, and I think he's actually a friendly horse. He just has no manners. He was far more interested in me than Solomon was once I let him loose in the pasture. Here he is with Solomon. Sol's hide has those weird spots because of his fly spray- dust stuck to it in those funny patterns.

I love this picture. You can see me taking the photo reflected in his eye. It was actually hard to get this shot because most of the time I was out there he was TOO CLOSE to get a non-blurry photo. There's a reason why I call him Annoying Hoss. He just sticks his nose up against you and blows and blows and blows and no matter how many times you shoo him off, he comes right back. It is mean, but I'm kind of considering taking a riding crop out there and swooping it at him, maybe even smacking him once to get him to back off, because he's really big and it just feels kind of dangerous.

GO AWAY DAMMIT. (I actually like this horse, but I like pain in the butt animals for some reason.)

NO my ear DOES NOT contain a treat, jeez!

Annoying Hoss: "Hi hi HI hey HI!"
Solomon: "Can you believe this guy, mom? I feel tired just LOOKING at him."

This is Butthead. Also not his name. He is CONSTANTLY nipping the other horses in the butt. He is constantly getting beat up because of it. This does not stop him. He is gelded, but I'm not sure he realizes this. Here he is pestering another horse. Pain in 3...2...1...

I missed the kick, but this is right after he got a swift one. You can see the dust, and you can see him reacting, but did he back off? Noooo...

They can just go ahead and yuk it up together.

He seems to have a bunch of little lumps on him. Thoughts?

Other herd photos:

Heh, here's a Western Pleasure horse for ya, eh?

This hoss has a nice mommy. I believe you call the white hairs roaning?


This horse squealed at Solly and chased him off. Mean horse!

Solomon, pretending to not notice me getting harassed by Annoying Hoss, who had his nose pressed against me almost the ENTIRE time I was out there. Annoying Hoss also wanted to go home with me. No, Annoying Hoss, no.

Schreepy hoss.

This kind of sway-backed grey with the fly mask is very sweet, and has made friends with Solomon.

Kind of interesting coloration, eh? This is Solomon's other friend, who called and called for him when I was leading him away yesterday. Sol himself seemed kind of ambivalent about it all. Sometimes I feel like he could take or leave other horses, really.

"Oh HAI, hey hi hi hey!"

So that's Solomon's new herd, more or less. There are a couple of other horses that belong to the BO who are usually out there, but they are in at the moment.
Well today Solomon got to meet a very nice farrier. The farrier said that he didn't really NEED a trim, but we decided between us to just give him a little touch-up so that a) he might not chip his feet quite as badly, and b) people wouldn't be asking "why aren't you getting your horse's feet taken care of???"

He actually has a horse of his own who is barefoot, and he doesn't really trim her feet all that often. He says that with a barefoot horse, you really don't need to trim every three weeks, or even every six weeks if the feet don't need it. He also says that when a hoof chips, it'll grow the chipped bit back faster, and a little stronger.
Looking over Solomon, he said that he has had some pretty nasty injuries. A number of people have told me this, and have been surprised at how sound he is. He's a tough old guy. The more people I talk to, the more I'm convinced that his right front hoof was NOT injured by him kicking it with his shoe. Everyone from the vet to the farrier to the new barn owner says that it looks like he got his foot caught in a barbed wire fence and just about ripped it off. It's the LEFT front that he was showing a bit of soreness in when the vet checked him out, though I haven't seen any sign of it. Of course, I haven't made him canter on a 10 foot lunge line either. The thrush from his left front is gone though, and that might be helping a lot. The old rear left tendon injury (maybe also from a fence?) also seem to not be bothering him. I massage his legs and ankles every day anyway though, and I have some liniment gel on the way from horse.com.
He seems to like the massage- usually he dozes off when I do it. I have jokingly started to call him "The Narcoleptic Horse" because whenever we stop walking for a moment inside the barn he closes his eyes and sort of nods off a bit, with his lip hanging down. He doesn't act sick, just... really relaxed. Well, that's a good thing, I think!
I also heard some seriously disturbing things about the old barn. I don't really feel comfortable going into it in a really public forum, but I'll just say that I'm really REALLY glad we moved.
So, pictures.

I will get a side shot sometime, to show you this tendon injury better. It's probably from a fence or something.

Here is the really nasty old injury, which amazingly does not seem to bother him at all now. The vet saw no signs of soreness or lameness on this foot, though it looks like it was just about ripped off in the back there.

This lump on his inner thigh concerns me, though I think it has been there for a good long while. He is a grey horse, so it may well be melanoma. The idea I get from horse people in general is that if it doesn't change much, to leave it alone. Trying to remove it seems to often make it spread, whereas leaving it be seems to not cause as much trouble. I will be asking the vet about it though, and I'll be watching it to see if it changes. It's currently hard, on the surface of the skin, not stuck to the muscle, and dry. The other bit of good news is that while greys are more prone to melanomas, it also seems that the melanomas that greys get are often not as malignant as they are in other horses. This is what I have read- any bit of personal input or ideas from horse people are quite welcome.

Pre-trimming feet, sorry about the blurriness of the first pic- I had the setting on the camera wrong.
Front feet.

Back feet.

That chip had me concerned, though it is apparently not really a big deal. His feet haven't really grown out all that much, which is probably good, because he probably won't need to be trimmed constantly. What the farrier and I decided on what that I'd have him take a look at Sol's feet in a month or so when he's out next, and he'll advise me on whether or not he needs trimming. We're never going to do hardcore work, just short, gentle rides once in a while, so he'll probably be fine. And of course if Solomon shows any signs of soreness or lameness, he won't be ridden. I'll be monitoring his health, and I'll have more experienced people monitoring him as well.

Post trim:

I wish I'd gotten the other side of his blond hoof to show you that we did leave a bit of a gap (there really wasn't enough hoof there to trim off the entire chip)so that part of the hoof will hopefully grow in faster and stronger.

The farrier also advised me to find nice horse people who will be willing to help me learn for free, and to not fall into the training game and spend thousands on this or that training. I, for one, WILL pay for training if it turns out there's a problem that I can't manage on my own, because I do want him to have the best possible future should something bad happen to me. I am not, however, going into showing or competitions, so I really don't need a ton of training I can't afford. Riding lessons I will do, but I really don't think that Solomon SHOULD be doing anything too intense. He's an old guy and he has some old injuries that are not a problem now, but I want to KEEP it that way. A little exercise is good, a little light riding is also good because it'll keep him in shape and help him with discipline, but his well-being is way more important to me than being able to participate in any sport.

Heh, well that was actually a bit of a rant, but you get the picture! We'll do what's safe for him to do, nothing more.

Also, my friend with the English saddle couldn't make it out today. Maybe tomorrow, which is my birthday, by the way. I'm turning 29!

A minor miracle

A farrier (well his wife) ACTUALLY CALLED BACK! Solomon is getting his feet trimmed today. Yay!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A positive day.

Today Solomon trotted over to the gate when I came up the walk. He has a new friend in the form of a palomino who came running up as soon as I took Solly out of the pasture. He stood at the gate calling to him the whole time we were walking to the barn. Silly hoss. It's good that there are horses who like him in there. He personally seemed kind of happy to get out, though it was probably because Mommy the Carrot Lady was there.
The mounting block was not a great success today, though I did manage to get to all but the top step before he moved. Well. That's going to take a while.
He obeyed the verbal-only "back" command very well, however. After that we walked down the road (on the stable grounds) past a MOVING CAR, and we went into the Big Scary Horse-Eating covered arena The mirror made him nervous, but I showed him that I was calm about it and since I was between him and it when we walked past, everything was fine for him. When we went to his paddock, he obeyed "ho" and "stand" right away, and did not try to run in when I opened the gate. He didn't move until I told him he could, and he waited for me to take his halter off before trying to eat. Good boy!
He met a new person, and stood very still while I chatted with her. He actually sort of dozed off, despite the nearest horse pinning his ears at him. When I put him back in his pasture, he stood for me while I took off his halter, and then he ambled off to join the herd. I think he's settling in just fine. :)

If I had the cash...

... I would buy this, I think.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Half angel, half butthead.

*grumble grumble*
Okay I am going to preface this by telling you that my ankles hurt like hell today. Imagine going about your day with a couple of dull knives stuck into your Achilles tendons. Okay.
So Solomon was a good boy in some ways and a bad boy in others. I wasn't able to do nearly as much as I wanted with him work-wise today, but it'll come in time.
When I went out to the pasture, he was eating a few last mouthfuls of nice grass hay with his grey pasture buddy. When he was finished, he came to me and stuck his nose in the halter as he usually does. Point for him. I noticed right away that his blond hoof had a big huge chunk chipped off of it. Eek. It looked really bad! The one other person who was out and about said it was just the outside and it shouldn't hurt or anything, and that he was overdue for a trim. He is, he absolutely is, and it's my fault for not being more proactive about that. The amazing absolutely wonderful farrier that the new BO recommended hasn't returned any of my calls. Doesn't matter how amazing a farrier is if you can't freakin' get a hold of him.
So the Big Scary Mounting Block of Doom was on the way to the barn. We practiced having Sol stand at it. I totally bribed the hell out of him with carrot bits too, IF and WHEN he actually stood in the proper place and didn't move. He got a couple of carrot bits, but then fear won out, and he stood out of mounting range while trying to stretch his neck far enough to reach the carrot bit. Uh-uh, nope, sorry guy.
His former "rescuer" (who was nothing of the sort) was a big man who, according to people at the former barn, would get drunk and jump on his back, and kick the crap out of him while yanking on his mouth to make him run around. I'm a big heavy person, and I think he's waiting for me to do the same, though he generally calms down when I am on him. He has a problem standing at the block for me to DISMOUNT too. Odd. I wonder what happened to him. I don't have the best balance but I AM gentle and careful with him. So anyway, it'll take time, but we'll get there.
Next we worked on "back" which he did perfectly with verbal commands only. This gives me hope for getting him to back up under saddle eventually. He knows the verbal command- for a carrot bit, he did it without needing to have his chest pushed on.
We walked into the barn, and he started to speed up, so we did a little "ho" and "stand" work, which he did GREAT on until we got to his paddock. I got him to stop by closing the gate again before he could run in there, but once I had him standing and opened the gate again, he ran in and would NOT come out again for another try. I would have pressed the matter but my ankles weren't having it.
I limped around trying to find farrier numbers to call, and ended up calling the lady running her horse around in the round pen. Ooops. I annoyed her, I think. Sorry!
When I went to my tack locker, I found my curry comb hanging on the door. I guess I accidentally left it out somewhere. Oops! It was so nice of someone to put it on my door. In the old place it would have grown legs and walked away. In the old place it might have done that even if it was in my locker. I love the new place.
I also found a note in my locker with the number of a good barefoot farrier who is coming out next week. Oh yay! One of the people in my barn had mentioned it, and she remembered to leave the woman's name and number with me. I saw her horse's hooves, they looked REALLY good. Yay! So Solly will get his hooves done sometime next week, and if the farrier does a good job, I'll just schedule a visit every 6 weeks.
Solomon did pick his feet up for me, even anticipating and lifting a hoof when I walked to a leg. Good boy. His feet are nice and hard now. There's no sign of thrush that I can see. Everything is nice and dry and clean, and there are no mushy or crumbly spots. So! Once his feet have been trimmed, they'll be in better shape than they have been in a long time. It's amazing what clean, dry footing can do. Also the paddock I picked out is apparently the driest paddock there is in the winter. That's excellent news.
So. Leaving the paddock to go back to the pasture. That was a small dramafest. He really didn't want to go. I thought about letting him spend the night in there, but that would teach him that refusing to move is okay and gets him what he wants. Not a lesson I want him learning. I eventually got him out by making him turn a circle and then keep going. He was unhappy about it though. I wonder why? He seemed calm enough in the pasture when I went to get him.
I had to lean on him on the walk back to the pasture. My ankles were supremely displeased. When I turned him loose he stood there and let loose the most dramatic sigh I have ever heard issue forth from an animal, and then he lowered his head and plodded away, looking like a giant white spotty Eeyore. Solomon is a bit of a drama queen, I think.
So, there was some progress, and there was some not progress, but overall not a bad visit.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I suck at riding, but it'll get better.

Well, the cattle cutting saddle didn't work out. It fit Solomon okay, but it had zero padding on it, which for someone my size is pretty painful.
I had my new horse friend come out, and she rode Solly around bareback and then in the saddle. She did great on him. He was nice and calm and relaxed with her. I hope to become as comfortable and natural on a horse's back as she is someday. Solomon was really responsive, though he has some issues that we're going to have to train out of him. In a way it's reassuring that it isn't just me, but in another way it means more challenges are ahead. He doesn't always stop when he's told to. Sometimes he walks over to the fence instead of stopping right away. He also doesn't actually seem to know "back" from the saddle. If he does, he's doing a good job of playing dumb about it. Also he likes to avoid being mounted from the mounting block. He expects it to hurt. Once a person is on his back and not hurting him, he calms down, but before that he isn't happy about it. No bucking or rearing.
He did threaten to go dashing back to his paddock when I went to dismount. Oh wow, bad horse. We really need to work on that. So it was discouraging- the BO came out to advise on the fit of the saddle, and ended up giving us a brief lesson. She is great and I hero worship her but it's also really intimidating and I think I did worse riding than I would have alone, maybe. Also the way she taught me to signal with the reins was the exact opposite of what they told me to do at the old place, so I kept getting confused about which side to put where to turn him. I think the next time I ride him I'll see what works best with him for me. I'm also going to take some formal lessons with a formal instructor, but for the basics my hoss friend (not sure if I should mention your name or lj name or what have you or not?) said she could certainly teach me.

I need to figure out what I'll do for a saddle though. I loved the tiny little synthetic saddle from the old place, though the new BO says there's no way it would have fit me properly. It was COMFORTABLE though! It didn't hurt at all. :< So I am not sure what do do there. It was also a little harder to balance on the cutting saddle, though it's true that I didn't use the stirrups on it because my shoes were inappropriate according to the BO, heh. I need riding boots proper I guess. I mean, I don't put my weight in the stirrups, but they did help me balance more than I realized I guess. Meep.

So anyone who is larger and rides- do you find that you have to have a giant saddle? Or is a shorter one okay as long as you put your weight in the right spot?

Today we shared some watermelon with Solomon. He took the rinds and managed to scrape ever bit of fruit off them, leaving just the hard green skin, and then he spat the skin into his water barrel. Silly hoss. He fought me going into his paddock because he wanted to rush right in and grab the fresh flakes of hay. I made him stop and wait a bit before going in, kinda, though we really had to wrestle. Not the safest thing in the world, especially since his paddock entrance is the kind they use for cattle, with a bar at the top that he could hit his head on. Eep.
He has this problem because at the old place they just left his halter on (until I raised a stink about it) and would just take the lead rope snap off when he was close to his stall, and had him just run in. Yeah not so good. So he is used to just speeding up and running into his place, especially if there's food in there. I really need to break him of the habit. He usually does fine, but when there's food he still has a problem. My new hoss friend brought up the fact that it isn't safe fighting him right in the doorway about it, because he could hit his head. I could also get pinned, which wouldn't be good. So. I need to get him under control before we're right at the door.
Okay then. Tomorrow Solomon and I are going to work. We'll work on three things.

1. Stand at the mounting block and stay still even when someone goes up the steps and touches his back.
2. Consistently backing up with the verbal command "back," WITHOUT having to push on his chest. I know he can do this because he does it no problem when there's a treat to be had. He'll back up if he thinks I'm putting something in his bucket. From there, we can combine the verbal command with signals in the saddle until he understands that they are one and the same.
3. Stopping before going into his paddock if I tell him to, consistently.

That's a lot to tackle, and we'll probably spend a good amount of time at it, though not TOO much time. We'll take breaks in between "working" time for chilling out, eating, and grooming. Mix in some positive stuff with the work, and give him time to let things sink in. I don't think doing the same thing over and over and over for hours will have a great effect- we'll both get sick of it, and it'll make him more obstinate. Heh. I am not in a big rush to, I don't know, show him or whatever. We have time to do it in a way that will be effective long term.

I may use some treats, because he responds really well to food bribes, but I want to use more positive re-enforcement and making obedience the path of least resistance. We might do a little more "stand" work too, though he responds pretty well to that, it doesn't hurt to re-enforce that too.

So, yeah. Overall a positive day. I felt discouraged about my terrible riding, but I am just starting out and it's the lack of self-confidence that's telling me to just give up. Regular exercise is good for both Sol and I, and should anything nasty happen to me (whale falling from the sky and squishing me, etc) he'll have a much better change at a good life with solid ground and saddle manners.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

He's firguring it all out.

Today when Solomon noticed me, he came to me and stuck his nose in the halter. Good boy!
The walk to his paddock went very smoothly. He wanted to lead the way, even. Silly boy. I wasn't about to let him drag me along, but we walked at a pretty respectable clip, and he was picking his feet up as we went. He paused to gaze into the grain room for a moment, as if to ask "you're bringing me some senior feed, right?" When I put him in his paddock and went to get him a scoop of the stuff, he made his "hurhurhur feed me" sound as soon as he heard me lift the lid on the grain can. I'm not sure if other horses pick up on these things so quickly. Maybe they do. I still think he's a clever hoss though.
Sol was relaxed in his paddock, accepting his brushing happily as he ate. After he finished eating, he picked his feet up for me without complaint. At the old place he refused to pick up his feet if he wasn't tied at the post. Here he does it loose in his paddock, and he even did it loose in the pasture for a new horseperson friend of mine. :)

I don't remember if I mentioned her. She's nice, and she's from Louisiana. She wanted to meet other horse people in the area, and I'm always happy to meet people who share my obsession, heheh.

Going back to the pasture Solomon DID freeze up for a moment, but it was because someone in the solid-sided roundpen was working their horse, and all he could see were ear-tips and a baseball cap. He's still figuring out what all the new stuff here is. I had to take him in a small circle but that got him moving again, and after that we had no problems.

In the pasture, a very large grey horse was really pushy towards me, and it made me a wee bit nervous. I ended up making the horse back off- I don't know that horse, and don't know if he or she (I didn't really check) was thinking of biting me or not. You know how a horse will lip at you and it can sometimes be hard to tell if they are thinking of giving you a nip or if they are just getting friendly? I'll have to ask about that horse.

Anyway, I asked the BO yesterday what she thought Solomon was built for. She said he looked like a racing horse to her. No tattoo though, so I guess he wasn't ever raced. Everyone at the old place told me he was fast. Maybe he would have been good at it. He's far too old to do something like that now though. I don't think he'll mind being a gentle trail horse for me. The BO also said that he isn't all that long, it's just the thoroughbred in him showing. Anyway, I'm hoping to ride him one of these days soon, but I think I want someone there with me.

Soon to be a pasture puff!

Solomon didn't want to leave the pasture yesterday!

His health continues to improve!
Still not a $40,000 show horse, heheh, but his conformation looks a bit better than it did when I met him.

You can still clearly see his jumper's bump, and in this photo you can see the injury on his lower left leg that left him with a swollen tendon that the vet says does not seem to bother him.

Who is that peeking behind him?

Solomon has a new friend! Here you can see that he actually is kind of a big boy compared to other horses. Not as big as a Hanoverian or a draftie, but still pretty good sized.

Today Solly didn't want to leave his pasture, and when he saw that we were headed for the gate he locked his legs. :p I put my hand on his back behind his withers, and that got him to move a few times. I tapped his butt with the lead rope a couple of times (not whipping, just tapping) and that got him to move a few times, but it wasn't getting us very far. Well, who can blame him? He wasn't sure if he was getting moved to yet another strange place, and he rather liked it in the pasture!
Out of my bag came an apple, which I nonchalantly began to eat. Suddenly Solomon was my best friend and wanted to go wherever I went. He wasn't rude enough to try to TAKE the apple, mind, but he had that "maybe she'll give some to me if I am good" look on his face, and there was a serious spring to his step.
Out the gate we went, and down the road that is scary because sometimes there are TURKEYS or even DEER!
Then he realized that I was taking him to the Other Good Place, his paddock which is shady and cool and which has tasty things to eat sometimes. In he went, and he got the rest of my apple, a couple of carrots, and some LMF Senior Feed in his grain bin. His hooves were picked, a call was made to the farrier (I had to leave a message) and he got a nice brush-down. After all that he dozed with his head hanging over the paddock into the empty one beside his. The nice lady from the retirement community who volunteers out there remarked on how relaxed Solly was. Yes, he's a good boy. :)
So. They fed him dinner in his paddock, which I gave him three hours to eat. He didn't eat it all, but I think he ate until he was full, and then just nosed the rest around for a while. Good, good, hopefully he won't overeat, then. We will still need to watch him in the spring when the grass in the pasture is all soft and green. the new BO says he has a lot of thoroughbred in him, which is good, but the quarterhorse side of him might make him want to pig out.
Once he was done eating, I took him out to the pasture again. This time he went calmly and he did not freeze up or whinny the whole way. Yay!

Solomon is now one happy hoss!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Solomon's first day in the big pasture!

It's his first day in the 90 acre pasture, and he is taking to it like an otter to water. I s'pose he has been in a pasture before at some point in his life, and he has been around electric fences too, because he isn't taking any chances with the ones out there. He is getting on with the new herd well, though he's a total wuss and runs when anyone decides to chase him. Hey, that's better than attacking everyone!

He already knew the feeding guys on their John Deere, so when they drove into the pasture he went cantering after them. They drop flakes of hay all over the place so that a horse can eat even if he's being bullied, which was good news for Solly. Also, the flakes are HUGE. He'll get enough to eat, though I'm still going to pull him in every day and feed him some supplement. Bay Meadows (the local race track) is shutting down. I don't know what will happen to the horses there or where I'll get my senior feed. We will figure it out though.
Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend and best friend, Solomon is getting a slew of nifty things (and I am getting a helmet) as soon as horse.com decides to ship the order:

He's getting a blanket for the winter, a fly mask for the summer, clear eyes because his eyes get runny and irritated, liniment gel for his hurty foot, a leather punch to make some holes on his bridle so that it will fit properly, some anti-sand colic supplement since he's in a rather dry pasture that has some sand, (thank you Fugly Horse of the Day,) some pro-biotic supplement, some hooks and whip holders for the tack locker, thrushbuster, sponges, a squeegee, and a jelly rubber, vetrap and a medical kit just in case. Next time I might order a jollyball, but since he's out in the pasture I think he'll find stuff to do, and they'd just steal if from him out there anyway. When he comes in for inclement weather, however, I'll probably get one for him to occupy himself with.
Now we just need a saddle pad, girth, some proper riding boots for me, and a saddle. That stuff can wait, however. Solomon's basic needs come way before my fun. Gentle riding will be good for him, but for now running around the pasture will be a big help, I think. For now, he can run around and just be a horse.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Okay, so he didn't go into the big pasture today- we're going to put him in there tomorrow. Solomon has already gotten attached to the three senior mares in his paddock area. I first turned him out in a pen a ways away, and he ran and trotted around beautifully, and I of course forgot the camera. He was running around like that in part because he was anxious though, because he could not see "his" mares. The new BO warned me that this would happen. I just didn't think it'd happen in a day! That will make tomorrow more difficult, but Sol will adjust fine.
Today I stuck him in a small turnout pen to let him stretch his legs and to see if he knew what a hot wire fence was, or if he'd try to run through it. He seemed to know, because he was careful to not touch it, and he is normally not shy about fences at all.

(once the video has been processed you'll see it anyway)

I wish my camera hadn't run out of memory when he started rolling. I love horse rolling, it's hilarious! Not the most exciting video, I know. I will try to get a tape of him cantering and trotting. I think he moves beautifully, but I am biased.

People who have met him at the new place like him. They say he is pretty and sweet. A lot of people guessed that he was an Arabian. Really? Heh. I told them that he was an appendix as far as I knew anyway.

Here are a few pictures.

Zomgz a tack locker! It's dusty and apparently it's "small," but hell, it's a tack locker and it's MINE! :D And things won't walk away from it either. Big improvement. I realized two things, upon putting my stuff away and then seeing other people's lockers:
1. I have a lot of horse stuff, and
2. There's a lot more horse stuff that I need!
Anyway, after I took that photo I put in a big container of drinking water. You can't see the two hooks on the other wall, but they are there and it's nice. It's great, I love having it there, especially since I just found out that I can't park next to the barn, heh.

Solomon and I shared an apple! :D He's eating it here. Oh yeah, and each paddock has a little sign that you put your horse info on. Under special feeding instructions, I put in my stickers indicating how much of what Solomon should be fed, and then I wrote "OM NOM NOM!"
Serious business, you know! Heh, the uber dressage queens will not know what to do with me coming out there in my skirt and floppy hat, all singing dorky made-up songs to my horse.

Poor Solly gets runny eyes. I need to get him a fly mask, though the last one seemed to make him itchy too. He's a bit worried in this picture, I think. So much new stuff!

Sorry this one is a little blurry- here he is eating hay. See that big hay bucket thinger? The guys who drive around and feed everyone neatly stuck in 2 flakes of hay for him. Wow. The old barn had a totally different definition of the word "flake" as it pertained to an amount of hay. Solomon didn't know what to do with all that hay. At one point he systematically removed almost every bit of hay from the bucket and tossed it around the stall. Good going there, sport. Maybe I'll get him a jolly ball or something for when he's living in that paddock.

The one regret that I have about the pasture is that there isn't perfect footing everywhere (I know, I know, I'm an overprotective horse mom) and that California is so dry and prickly. Well, spring will be awesome anyway!

I think I spent about 4 hours out there today. Tomorrow I may well be out there for longer, we'll see. I think I need to get a book to read, for when Solly is eating. It takes him HOURS to eat a couple of flakes of hay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Solomon is safe and sound in his new home!

...and I was in such a rush to get him to his new place that I forgot my camera. Heh. Don't worry, tomorrow is the big discover the pasture day, and THAT I'll get on video.
Another boarder at the old barn gave us a lift. It took all of 10 minutes. Those roads really weren't safe to walk along with a horse, alone, or anything. Lots of sections were sharp corners with no visibility and zero shoulder. We wouldn't have survived an attempt. As for trails there, I really don't know where those were or how long they were.
Anyway, Solomon loaded fine when old barn boarder took him on. I didn't know how, have a better idea now. Of course, the whole way there it was *STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP* "RHEEEEHEHEHEHEHE REEEEHEHEHEHEHE!" *STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP*
When he came off the trailer he was a little freaked out. Head high, ears straight up, really big eye and flaring nostrils. He was sweaty too. He calmed down on the walk to his new home. Just a couple of minutes after I put him in his mare motel, the feeding guys came by on their John Deere.
"How much do you want us to give him?" they asked.
Holy crap, he can now get enough to eat, how cool is that?
So Solomon got 2 flakes of yummy high quality orchard grass.
He'll get 2 flakes of alfalfa in the morning, and some supplement in the afternoon, then 2 flakes at night. I will possibly cut that down to 1 flake of alfalfa, the supplement, and 2 flakes of grass hay once he is at the ideal weight, but we'll just have to see what works for him.
I washed Solly in the cross ties with the nice heated wash water and spray nozzle with a bunch of different spray options. He still hated it, but not nearly as much as the cold water. Cleaning his face with a sponge was a lot harder, and I ended up getting soaked myself.
Then I thought I would take him on a walk down to the soda machine at the other end of the property so he could dry out in the sun a bit. He saw some deer, froze, and whinnied, but when I put my hand on his shoulder and asked him to walk again he unfroze. The covered arena, however, was Big And Scary, especially since they had it all set up for a show with colored flags and OMG COLORFUL FLOWERS LOOK OUT! So he spooked. He spooked and sat down for a second. Goodbye bath! But dust is better than manure, so I'm still glad I washed him. I made him stand in the Big Scary Arena with me while I bought a bottle of water, and then we left again. He high-tailed it out of there, and I had to make him turn a circle once or twice because he wanted to go faster than I was able to. My ankles were Very Displeased with me walking from one side of the property to the other and back again twice, heh.
Then I took him back to his paddock and let him loose. He set himself to eating like there was nothing strange going on. Well, it was HAY, and really TASTY hay at that! I sat on the ground ant watched him, something I would never do in the deep, soggy manure mash of the old place, if there were even room for me in that stall. I gave him a bit of fly spray. Tomorrow he'll get the curry comb and the brush, and he will be shiny and white again, unless of course he lies down in his own poo even though he has a much bigger space now. He's a white horse, so Murphy's Law says that he probably will.
The people that I met there said that he was a nice boy and he had a pretty face. :D
I called the vet's office up and told them that I had found a ride, and they were very happy and relieved that I got out of the old place and took him to Hossmoor. He went from a dirty bad reputation place to a clean excellent reputation place. Yay!
I wanted to stay there all night, but I needed to get home. Tomorrow I may well go up there twice, once in the morning and once in the evening. There's a lot of stuff going on AND there's a show this weekend at Hossmoor, so that'll be interesting. I really want to hang out with my horse in our new home though!
This Jerry Springer barn drama that I have nothing to do with but that is making it impossible for Sol and I to get a ride? yeah, it's getting OOOOOLD.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So a wise friend once told me...

A friend of mine who worked on the track for 15 years and with a horse vet for 6 once told me this, more or less:
"The world of horse people is like a bale of hay- full of flakes."
This is something that I am learning is crazy true.
I didn't know it would be so hard to trailer a horse 8 miles.
The old barn (the rescue) couldn't give back my board money, which is understandable, but promised to trailer Solomon down the road to the new barn. It was supposed to happen at about 1pm on Tuesday. I waited and waited and waited. I waited until, I don't know, 7 or 8. Was promised that it would happen in the morning the next day.
The next day I waited and waited. Left at 8:45pm. There was a lot of Jerry-Springer-esque drama going on. I wasn't a part of it, but the person with the trailer was, apparently. So I left with the promise that he'd get moved first thing in the morning. A boarder promised me that if he didn't get moved in the morning, he'd trailer him for me at 6. Said boarder didn't get there until about 7:30, he came with a bunch of friends, and did not bring his truck.
So he said he could do it tomorrow. Hrm.
So a third person with a trailer could do it on Saturday probably, for the cost of the gas. I really hope that can happen.
Oh yeah, the barn people called me today and said that they didn't think the trailering could happen, but they could ride him to the new place for $60. Uh what. No. Nononono no. He's a little bit lame in one foot, still a little underweight, totally out of shape, and he just had his teeth floated. His mouth is full of lesions from his teeth cutting him up. I called the vet up and they confirmed my instincts on it- hell no and no. It's 8 miles or so by road, actually probably more from the old barn, and it's through a bunch of hills and stuff.
The stall is filthy, and there are no shavings anywhere. My horse has been kicking the hell out of it, too, now that he has energy. He wants to be able to run around.
I can't wait to move him. I'm really sick of waiting and being promised things that don't happen. I'm drinking mead right now. I'm probably going to finish off the bottle.

Solomon, for his part, aside from wanting more room to run around in, is pretty happy about things. Yeah, his mouth hurts, but he's had mom with him all day for three whole days. Yesterday I sat in a chair in the indoor arena and he rested his muzzle on my chest, light as a feather, his cheek against mine, his nose blowing on me softly. He stood like that for a good 5 minutes, and he's just been clinging to me like crazy. He's getting more obedient too. We're doing well with ground manners. I think he's sick of getting groomed. Well, he doesn't mind the brushing, but he doesn't like being washed and sprayed with Endure and Cowboy Magic. He's loved getting multiple meals of LMF Senior Feed. He destroyed his old bucket, so now all I have is the good one, so I hold it for him. The vet said to feed him from a bucket raised up a bit if I could, since he's sore all over right now from the floating, so I sit in a chair with the bucket in my lap. He drops senior feed and horse drool on me but I don't mind. I massage his jaw too, which he sighs and leans into. If I walk away and he's in his stall, he calls out to me. He's a big baby. People who have been there a while say he looks better than he ever has before, and that he looks like he's 5 years younger. I'm pretty proud of him.

Eh, I hope I don't sound too whiney. I just want him to get to his new home where he will be safe and where everything will be clean and he'll get to eat as much as he needs all the time. His stall is next to the grain room. The new BO gave me a metal can to stick his senior feed in. All I have to do is go around the corner and it's there. I have a locker, too. My own tack locker! Other people will get to ride in my car now without holding a bucket containing gloves, a sponge, and a bottle of Excalibur sheath cleaner. I bet they'll appreciate that. I'll be able to hang up his tack, and even, when I can afford one, his saddle!

So also I got the very paddock I wanted!
It's a mare motel, but it's up against the barn, so he actually gets a real wall on one side. It's 12' by 24' and 12 by 12 of that has a roof. Also I am getting kind of tipsy. This is damned good mead.



He also, of course, gets turn-out whenever I want in this:
Not the arena inside the white fence, though if he has a serious problem with the herd I can do that instead, while supervising, but all of those hills behind it. 90 acres. Hell yeah! He won't be kicking his stall any more there!

I just need to focus on the positive and remember that once he is at his new place, he'll be fine, and he'll survive until then.

You know, Chaucer's mead is not the best mead. That would be Gryphon's Fairy Dew mead, or maybe his Chocolate Strawberry mead. In fact, Chaucer's is looked down upon by mead connoisseurs. But it'll do in a pinch. Oh yes, it'll do.

So anyway, yeah, everything is settled and official with Hossmoor, I am a boarder there now, paid and everything. It's just a matter of getting him those 8 miles down the road to his new home.

PS: Fugly blog people- awwh y'all are gonna make me blush. Okay, I'll come back. To the non-horse forums at first, maybe I'll go back to the horse ones too. I'm just not much of a fighter, ya know? But y'all are great (heh, I WAS actually even taking ol' peanut butter and jelly's advice into consideration, and I thought pretty well of him too) and you've helped me so much, and more importantly you've helped Solomon so much. It's thanks to you, some nice people on my Livejournal, and my favorite scary but awesome soon to be a lawyer redhead that Solomon is getting the care he needs. You all have just been invaluable. I'm still green as hell, but I know how to pick a hoof and clean a sheath, I know what to do to help a horse gain weight, and what to ask the vets to do. And Solomon has transformed to a beautiful animal (mind, I am biased, but everyone is in love with him at the old barn now, hehe,) who is bright and energetic and who lets chickens roost on his butt and children cling to his legs. Not that I encourage the clinging, heh. But when I turn around and one runs up and does it, he stands stock still for them. Amazing.

Today when I took him to the arena for a bit of turn-out, he trotted with me, immediately! It's not something I should do with my ankles, but I just had to at least across the arena, for the sheer joy of it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Solomon gets his teeth floated.

Solomon got all his shots and his teeth floated today!
I didn't get pictures of the shots, though that isn't very exciting anyway, but I did get tooth floating pics. The vet was very nice and she did everything herself!
I am not sure if you can tell well from this picture, but horse people and non horse people, these are some bad bad haven't been floated in years if ever teeth:

This is a very stoned horse. They needed to give him *3* sedation shots. He fought it and fought it.

After the procedure was done, he leaned on me and swayed. I made sure I was fall enough forward that if he fell over, it wouldn't be on top of me, heh. But he used me for balance, and I let him. Poor baby was so stoned. We used a stall closer to the outlet.

Thank you so much everyone who made this happen. Solomon says thank you, or he will when his jaw stops hurting. There were abrasions on his cheeks and tongue from those teeth. Now everything is nice and smooth.

Also, Solomon peed and halfway through decided to do the willy-shaking thing. He hosed down his chest and legs and almost got a lady who was walking past. There was like a 10 foot plume of urine spraying out in front of him. It was epic. Is this seriously abnormal? Or is it the drugs?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tomorrow is a go.

Tomorrow at around 1pm Solomon will get trailered to his new home.
I found out more about his background and there's some interesting news, but I'm not saying anything until after he's been moved. I will know a lot more by then as well. But there might be some hope in finding where he came from, yay! That would be great. I certainly can't be sure, because he is getting up there and has probably changed hands numerous times, but I have more hope finding out about him than I did. Maybe I can even get his earlier name.
So yar. His shots and his dental work will happen tomorrow morning. Ouchy wallet. He'll go to his new home in the afternoon. Double ouchy. But my baby is worth it, and it'll give me a lot of peace of mind, too.

Solomon will probably move early.

Solomon is probably going to move early.
Yesterday I found out that his previous owner stole a couple of horses off the property. I guess the BO is going with the sheriff to get them back. She was kind of evasive over the whole thing. Solomon had something sticky all over his lower front legs. Whatever it was, it didn't really smell like anything, but I washed it off. I took Edwin (my best friend and housemate) out there to meet him, but it wasn't the best introduction because Sol was acting weird, really restless and dancy and he kept shaking his head and trying to itch it on me. I carefully rubbed fly spray on his face and left the mask off when I left, in case it was the mask causing irritation.
But yeah, Sol was freaked about something. I didn't even feel safe picking his back feet. I don't want him to get caught in the middle of drama between the BO and her ex-boyfriend who the BO told me co-owned Sol with her before I bought him. The craziness isn't his fault, and honestly I have enough of my OWN brand of crazy to deal with already. I called up the vet, who can vaccinate him tomorrow, since up-to-date vaccinations are required at the new place. I called up the new place and she said it was fine to bring him early. I'm sure I'll have to pay for it, and it means a little over half a month's board will go down the drain, but I do NOT want someone to pull something with Solomon to get revenge on someone else. I want him out of there now, and I want him to be someplace safe and clean.
I'm not freaking out about it, strangely. I'm just tired of the crazy-go-round.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A very positive day- ground manners day.

So in the past couple of weeks we've been working on ground manners more. I hadn't really mentioned it much because it didn't seem like a huge deal, hah. I got in a bit of a lively debate in a forum about other people reaching around me and disciplining my horse. It turned into a big fight between a bunch of people (on the INTERNET? Go figure) but actually I had been working on him not going after hay while I had him on the lead rope. If I say it's okay, that's one thing, but if I don't, that's another. My real beef was with people disciplining Sol without asking me if it was okay, because
a) that's rude.
b) he wasn't doing anything that horrible, and we were standing still, he just reached for a piece of hay on the ground.
c) They don't know him or his issues. Maybe shanking him makes him rear and strike. It doesn't, but if a person does not know the horse, they should not assume.
d) if I don't teach him to respect ME, and he only learns to obey OTHER people, I'll be in trouble eventually.
anyway, enough of that. We've been working on ground manners, and aside from the nastiness in the thread, I have been thinking about 'em more.
It seems that people just sort of let Solomon do whatever. I did too at first, but I'm learning. He likes going in his stall, and when I first put him back, the young man who was telling me how to put him away said to just get the lead rope off when we were close to the door. They left him in a halter all night then. That doesn't happen now- I've read too many neck-breaking horror stories. Anyway, Solomon speeds up to go into his stall, and will go past you. I can see that being a bad thing if someone is in front of him, or somehow the lead rope tangles around the person walking him, etc, etc. At the end of the day Solomon did not get to run in. Instead I made him stop and stand in front of the stall door, and when we went in I made him turn around and give me his head so I could slip his halter off easily. No checking the bucket before he gets his halter off.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Today we walked back and forth RIGHT past a bale of alfalfa. Oh yes, he was annoyed, but he's also a quick learner, and I think perhaps he was loved at some point in his life and used to behave. Can't be sure, but he does seem to be willing to be a good boy. Anyway, not giving him enough slack to grab at the hay, and giving a light tug if he gets insistent while saying "no" and following with "walk" works well with him. At one point he decided he'd had enough and tried to stop and toss his head, but he nailed himself on my elbow, right on the soft part of his nose. He froze for a moment and gave me this "OMG WTF" look. "Hey, don't look at me, you did that to yourself! Now WALK," I said, and he did. After that he was actually really well behaved, heh.
Today he also advanced in the foot cleaning department. He picked his feet up when I said "give." I only had to touch one hock, and that was the first one. I still have to catch the foot pretty quickly or he puts it back down again, but it's still great progress I think.
We have a bit of a routine when we go into the arena. I let him off his rope and he goes to his favorite spot and rolls. That won't happen in the new arena, which is fancy and groomed and not made with crappy playground sand, but in the new place he'll be able to roll out in the pasture any time he wants. Once he has rolled he comes back and it's time for work until I let him go to wander again. I've really hated not having any place to turn him out, and I'm looking forward to his first time in the pasture. Maybe I'll tape it.
His hooves are still thrushy. No wet dirty stall will fix that more than the coppertox, but in the meantime, coppertox it is.
So anyway, today was a really positive day. Yay!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pics of the new place!

So it is official now. Sol moves in to the new place on September 1st!
The current BO was cool about it actually. She even said she'd trailer Solomon over. Yay! I gave her a hug, because that is how I roll. Heh.

The Icelandic. Skorri is his name I think, though I could be wrong. He spent the first 11 years of his life in Iceland. Now he can never go back because he has left the country. That is I think to protect Icelandic horses from imported disease. You can also see the paneled round pen here, and all of the hills behind him are a part of the big turnout pasture.

This paint says "O HAI!" I didn't see an unhappy looking horse in the place.

Since the sand is watered and combed, I am going to assume that this is an arena.

The holy shit that is nice indoor arena.

So THIS is what arena sand is supposed to look like!

Another round pen.

When I first turned the corner here, I thought this was a loose horse. Hah! The brown thing is a cactus statue made out of horse shoes.

All of those hills are pasture. There's a lot of flat space too.

These are senior horses. This is also the kind of paddock Solomon is getting when he isn't turned out.

I want this one, but I think it may be taken. Hard to tell, since most of the horses are out in the pasture during the summer.

Also sighted- quail, wild turkeys, ravens, humming birds, and a hawk. The grounds have benches and picnic tables in nice scenic spots. There are hot water wash areas too. It's faaaancy. Someone there actually said something about how it isn't the fanciest place but the horses are happy. I told her about the closet door fencing at the old place, heh. This place looks crazy fancy to me!

So, ya think Sol will be happy here? I think he'll be in heaven.