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.

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.