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, January 31, 2009


I had been looking at a saddle for Solly, but my poor kitty is hurt, and medical bills are what my saddle sale money is going to. Back to the drawing board!


Today was sheath cleaning day.

Solomon was not in the mood today. Last time he was kinda into it, but this time, no-ho-ho-ho-noooooooo.

I actually managed to get one bean, but he had a much much bigger one up in there, and the cleansing had taken a LOOONG time, so he was SO THROUGH. Through enough to start cocking his leg in warning, and even to cowkick a couple of times, but at least not at me. I kept grabbing his ankle and making him put his foot down, which I think a less kind horse would not have put up with. Once we were done and I had moved him to his more familiar cross-ties, he continued squealing and kicking out when I touched his side or his belly, so I kept petting him and telling him "no" when he did something bad, making soothing noises when he didn't, until he settled down again. And even dropped. But I did not have my gloves on at that point, and I decided to end it on a positive note, so there was some hand grazing.

That made things okay again. *shudder* I have to go back in after that bean eventually though. DO NOT WANT.

By the way, I don't know what you call this on a horse... on a dog it's called a dewclaw.

This one is kind of getting long. Should I be doing something with it? Or should I just leave it be? I am guessing the answer is leave it be...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Grooming went fine except that he, as it turns out, had this on his butt:

Some other horse probably went om nom nom on him.
I did the leg stretches that ladygzb showed me, and then we did our carrot stretches, which Solly did with quite a bit of enthusiasm. I need to vet a video of that sometime. It's pretty amusing.
Three irritating little souls went to Tickhalla after an epic battle between Solly's teeth, my fingers, and a hoof pick against a rock.
After that, we did some nice hand-grazing. The grass is very lush right now, but folks are worried. The talk around the barn today was that the weather is gorgeous but if we don't get a lot more rain soon, everything will burn in the summer. It is a terrifying prospect. So many horses and homes are lost, in grassland, chaparell, and forest. The drought was bad last year. This year it could be even worse.
Anyway, after Solomon's grazing fun time, I decided that we would push a boundary a bit. Time to *GASP* walk across the property! OH NOES! Two trees that were blocking the view on either side of the bridle path were cause for concern, but we got through, with a bit of snorting.
Once we got into the parking lot that heads towards the covered arena, though, it was "I'm really a mule" time. Many chances were given, and then it was stud chain time. Only took a little bit of persuading then. We walked to the covered arena and stood in the doorway, watching the dressage horses do fancy stuff. We stayed there until he stopped impersonating a griaffe. About when he relaxed was when the feed truck drove in to pick up hay, so I took off the chain and we walked back across the lot. Then we turned around again.
Oh how evil I am, according to my horse. We walked ALL THE WAY BACK to the covered arena! This time I used the lead rope, looped over his nose like an insta-bosal. No pulling or pressure, he knows what that is and he yields to it immediately. Maybe I should try a real one for riding.
After we walked back to the covered arena a second time, I let him eat a bit of hay that had fallen off the truck. I like to try to end anything we do on a positive note if I can. Then it was back to the cross-ties. Oh he was not entirely pleased with that. He wanted to go back to his pasture. I know, his life is SO hard. Then he got tick sprayed. Oh wow does he hate that. Even made some nasty faces and cocked a back leg while I was back-brushing his hair to spray it. Oh no you don't, hoss. This is not hurting you.
So the walk back to the pasture was mellow, and then I took the video. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

These saddles

Hey, what do you think- gimmick or the real deal?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mellow day

Today was gorgeous, simply gorgeous.
Solomon came straight to the gate. Such a good boy. He has gotten over his bath, and gotten some nice thick clay in his hair as well.

He came in just fine, got groomed, and then I hand-grazed him a bit.

(Note that he does not at all look like he got a bath a couple of days ago, heh.)

He was actually resisting leaving the tasty green stuff. "Hey, that's a treat, not a privilege," I said, leaning into the lead rope. He gave in a few seconds before I was going to pull the stud chain out. I always give him a chance to correct himself and obey again.

So we went out to the pasture, and were greeted by Dragon. :D

Okay, I don't like how I look in this picture, but I love Solly in it and how much of a sweetie he's being.

Solomon didn't see Venus, who happened to be in, so it was Follow Mom Around time.

Mostly he walked beside me. I got some pretty good shots of how he moves while he walks, which I'll use for an upcoming painting of Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse who is Odin's steed and the child of Loki and a giant's horse.

He is being a bit careful with the mud here:

And on sturdier ground:

So we walked together, sometimes with him behind me, sometimes with his head rested on my shoulder, and sometimes side-by-side. We went all the way out to the water troughs, and when we got to the area there with unsure footing, he followed behind me.

First he scoped the scene:

Then he drank:

And THEN he let another horse know that he wasn't totally cool with said equine also coming up to drink. This horse is a little lower in the hierarchy than Solomon is:

Here Solomon is telling the old grey horse on the right (who has ringbone I think) that HE is going to eat the hay on the ground there, so the grey had better move. Look at their body language- they are saying a lot to each other. "Move it!" "Okay okay, I don't want any trouble and I'm yielding!"

Bobby is around 2 years old. The young ones like Solomon. He is in charge but I think they feel safe with him. Bobby and Solomon will graze together with Venus, though Venus will chase off Bobby if he gets too fresh. They are comfortable together, but there is also some respect being shown.

Solomon and Dragon are friends, and on pretty equal footing. Dragon is pretty much friends with everybody. Solly and Dragon can sometimes be seen grazing side by side, though not quite so often now that Solly has Venus.

This horse is higher up and will happily bite, chase, and squeal at horses who are lower down. Unfortunately I cut off the tail in this photo, but this horse is making a very "loud" statement. "GTFO!!!"

Ahh, but Solomon found some hay that he liked, and everyone had a place to hang out comfortably within the herd. Note the bands of cheek muscles that are working as he chews.

Mom is here and can keep watch, so it's okay to relax a bit.


(he'll happily lift his head for nose kisses though! If I approach and come down to him a bit he'll lift his head up and blow in greeting, touching hoses with me.)

And now for a little bit of artsy photography.

Winter in California. Well, when the sun is out anyway!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bath day.

So Solly came to the gate to see me today, though I would say it was more of a mud-ski than a walk. He was very careful about it though- he pretty much just slip his hooves along the ground, slowly and carefully. The entrance to the pasture is so slippery right now! I almost went down three times out there today.
It was raining, and he was wet and dirty. Not all muddy, but dirty, as he hadn't had a bath since shoot, September I think.

Man, totally soaking wet on top at least:

And here I was worried he wouldn't get wooly!

So I hadn't pushed a boulder up a mountain for a while, and I am paranoid about rain rot and whatever else can grow on a dirty wet horse, so I figured hey, I might as well wash him. There's a hot water wash rack and a friend gave me this nifty big cotton blanket for wicking up moisture after a winter bath, so off we went.
Solly walked around very nicely until it became clear that we were going to the Evil Horrid Bathing Place Full Of Acid And Bears.
then of course he planted his feet. My stud chain has gone missing (I think he hid it somewhere) and I didn't want a long fight, but I anticipated stubbornness (it IS Solomon after all) and packed a carrot in my pocket. Half of this was offered up at the back of the rack. He decided that it was worth it, thank goodness.

So yea verily, there was washing and scrubbing. There was also, of course, pawing and stomping, though he was a very good boy for most of the time. MOST of it. We have a compromise going now where I barely dribble any water at all when I am washing his upper neck. He cannot stand the thought of the horse spraying close to his face. I misted his face but that was it. So his face is still kind of yellow, but that's okay. Instead of breaking his skull on the roof, he just curled his upper lip back when I misted him. His tail is now so long that the tip of it drags on the ground. I should cut it just a bit but I don't want to make it look stupid. Maybe I should just grip the very end tightly and sorta pull the tip a bit. I don't know.

But then he got tired of being bathed, and unclipped himself from one side of the cross ties.

"What?" you may be saying, "that's not possible! How could he do that?"

Be assured that I am asking myself the same thing. I think that we are all doomed. I think tomorrow I will find that horse out in the pasture building a robot. A robot with lasers.

So I had been scrubbing his tail and the next thing I knew Solomon was running around the post, out into the muddy and sorta steep embankment next to the rack. And then he was tossing his head. I swear to you it looked like he was trying to grab the clip with his lips.

"Stop. Stop, you're going to freak yourself out," I said, and he listened I guess and let me unclip him and lead him back around, until we got back to the wash rack, whereupon he planted his feet again. Good think I had that other carrot half. I wasn't rewarding him for escaping of course, but for coming all the way back in.

The rest of the bath went very well, heh.

So we walked to his paddock, which is sort of like jail with good food in his mind. Except there was a strange horse in his stall. The hell? So I put him in the next stall. He was displeased, oh so displeased. Paw paw paw.

Well I moseyed on over to the BO's house and asked her what was up. Turns out 3 new horses moved in last night at around 10pm, and they were so herdbound that they panicked if they weren't all next to each other. They'd lived in a pasture together for years. I rarely bring Solly in so the BO didn't anticipate me needing his paddock. Totally understandable, I don't mind. Solly stayed in the paddock next door for a while.

I brushed and brushed and brushed him, in part to get him nice and dry, and in part to mend fences since he had to endure that horrible evil bath. He got nice and relaxed, but also really bored.

Oh, but it was neat to see him CLEAN.

I brushed his tail too, that took forever. It's so long! I joked with one of the stable hands that I should make hair extensions out of it, hah.

So yes. He sparkled. He gleamed. He was gorgeous. He was FURIOUS.

Hard to control walking back to the pasture. He was worried he'd end up on stall rest again, I think, and still mad about the bath. Hopefully he'll remember that he got brushing and massage and that he got to go back out again. We need more positive paddock experiences. I hurt the side of my finger a bit. Stupid rope burn. he wanted to run so badly that he dragged me a couple of feet. I made him stop and lower his head for me to take off the halter though. Sigh.

Those of you who have worked with horses know what happened after I set him loose in the pasture, of course.

He went running, he climbed a little hill of gravel to scout out the best, nastiest, dirtiest spot, and when he found it he rolled in it. Well, it was new mud and filth instead of old mud and filth! So uh yeah! Mission accomplished!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Learning herd dynamics

So I think I'm getting better at interacting with Solomon in the herd, and dealing with the herd in general. :)
Generally the horses back off when I tell them to, I can navigate through the herd, and I am learning how to navigate Solomon through safely too. He has raised his rank in the past few months, which helps, though he's still not really high up I don't think. I have watched him pin his ears and move a number of horses off their hay piles. This works out okay because there are always more hay piles than there are horses, so when a horse gets moved he just goes to a different pile.
Mostly, however, it's learning which horse is higher, which is lower, which is a friend, what the mood of the herd is, and what mood Solomon is in. I certainly haven't mastered these things, but I'm learning. The fellow at the ranch I've been visiting told me that training, riding, and herd interaction are three distinct and unique things to learn in the field of horsemanship, and most people are not really good at all three. This was encouraging to hear really, because there is just so much to learn!

So one of the things that I have noticed since I have been establishing my dominance a little bit more and learning how to interact with the herd better is how Solomon will now defer to my judgment when we return to the pasture. Often the hay has been set down, and after I take his halter off, if he isn't mad about having been made to work, he'll stand and wait for me to continue to lead him. So I evaluate the way the herd is set up, pick a free hay pile that is in a "safe" place for him to go, and walk there. He follows me, head down, until we get to the hay and I stop. Maybe I say "okay!" which is my "at ease" for him, and he lowers his head and eats. Then I give him a pet, say goodbye, and back away.

Sometimes I stick around to watch though, because every moment I watch how they interact, I learn something. I learn who is in what place in the hierarchy, who is an enforcer, who cringes and runs, and who is aggressive. It's actually a very fluid thing and a dominant horse rarely has to do more than pin their ears at a horse to get him to move.

This last time I took a bit of hay and gave it to the old grey with ringbone. Poor baby is in so much pain, and everyone picks on him now. I feel so badly for him. He's walking all tender. I know his owner is trying to find a solution for him, something to make him better. I hope she does, and if a fix isn't possible, I hope he finds peace and mercy quickly. I do not know much of anything about ringbone though. I guess I'll research it.

Also, I think that hand-grazing him has also helped a lot. I make it a point to give him a really loose line, but to wander a bit. At first he fought, but now he follows, trusting me to find more nummy green grass! :D I'm going to be sad when it all dies again mid-spring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Freedom and joy

Today is a day of new beginnings.
Today is a day of hope.
Today is a day of joy.
Today is a day when that which was thought impossible have become a reality.
Is there any soul that embodies these things better than that of a horse?
Eagles may fly, but horses do too, without wings.

When I first met Solomon, I never thought that I would see him run. I never thought that I would get to see him free and happy, charging down a hill with other horses, full of joy. Today is a day of glory, and I am so grateful to have lived to see it.

Horses don't know what's going on in the world today. They don't know or care about politics, policy, speeches and handshakes.

But they know that life is good, life is precious, the world is beautiful, and there are great things work saving, wonderful things worth living for.

May love and compassion triumph, today and always.

Yet another saddle fit question.

Hey hey again folks...
I need to get an English girth. The billets were really flexible and just pressing on them a moment wrapped them around him near the bottom there. And this one I *think* really is a dressage saddle? Anyway, he squealed and jumped a number of times when I touched him with the saddle or put it on his back, but this time I am not sure I believe him. That's not to say I know whether it FITS or not, but I don't think it was hurting him. I think it's his new "hey if I do this I don't have to work" tactic.
So! Here are some angles. What do you think? I felt underneath and it doesn't bridge, nor does it SEEM to pinch anywhere, but I have been wrong before.

All that clearance over his spine... bad?

Solomon's Story, continued

According to the horse dealer, it was over 5 years ago that she had Solomon. She bought him from a man in the air force named James Wells, who is now deceased. She said she thought he was used for trail riding. Couldn't really remember much more than that. She said he was the only grey horse she really ever got, which is why she remembered at all.
Hm, what now?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Solomon's Story, an update.

I got more info about Solly!
Solomon can now be traced back four people.
There was a horse dealer, and I might be able to contact her. She sold Solomon to a person who some also say is a horse dealer. That person sent Solomon to a Charro place in Vacaville. I have been given the name of the road that the Charro place is or was on, and it is not a very big road. Maybe I can find it. A little nervous about that though.
Anyway the charro guy liked him but he wasn't what he was looking for, so he gave him back to the person who got him from the horse dealer. That person then sold him to Solly's previous owner, who had him in Vacaville for a while, took him to a local stable, and then moved him to another local stable, which is where I found him.
So. I have a couple of leads. The horse dealer gets their horses both from private homes and from an auction in Roseville. The Roseville auction is a kill-buyer auction. Many horses who go there are going to their deaths, after a long and frightening ride to Canada or Mexico. If Solomon was there, he got lucky. If he came from a private home, I wonder if it would be possible to talk the dealer into telling me where he came from, and if I can get a hold of those people. If she even remembers him.
Guh, I was really hoping he hadn't ever really been a Charro horse. :< But at least I have more info now!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tomorrow is a big get-together (okay maybe 6 people isn't big but anyway) up at the paint and quarterhorse ranch I visited the other week. I have directions mapped out. I have three freakin' saddles in my car (Western, Endurance, and Dressage) one of which I did a temporary trade of my all-purpose to try out. Hah, you'd almost think I have money! But the all-purpose was a generous gift (that person got a way better saddle and gave it to me to try) the endurance cost me $41 on e-bay ($63 with shipping) and the Western is my actually expensive saddle. It does not fit my horse of course, nor does the Endurance. Maybe by some freaky miracle of nature the dressage saddle will fit him. We'll see.
There is meat that is about to be marinated for the BBQ. There are cookies waiting to bake. And I need to be in bed by 10pm at the latest. Probably I will go to bed earlier. Need to be sure to get a full night of sleep. I'm getting up at 6am tomorrow.
There will be cooking. There will be riding. There will be a lot of gossip about barns and horses and people because that's what horse people do. Well most of 'em at least. I am hoping for a smooth trip, a smooth gathering, a lot of laughter, a lot of fun, and a lot of learning. Tomorrow we will stop at the barn of the frined I'm giving a ride up there to, just for a few minutes. Then we are stopping at MY barn. Just for a few minutes. Of course this will be a few minutes in barn time. Arrival time up north is 10am. I told the person whose ranch it is that we'd aim for that but people would probably arrive later. Any time there is travel to an event this tends to be the case! 10am will probably be 11am, which will be fine.
I think that this is going to be big fun! I hope that at least one of my saddles fits one of the horses there. Have to get my helmet, girl, and stirrup irons from the barn because I was stupid and forgot to pack them in my car every freakin' day. I have to run up to the pasture to do Solly's stretches with him anyway. That's fine, he knows exactly what to do now and does it just right. Good boy!

Chow fun for dinner. I am getting good at making it. Way too oily, but otherwise I think it turned out well. Chicken and tofu and veggie bits. Bliss. After this I'll take a bath. Double bliss.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back tracing!

Hey hey!
Today my lovely friend Imaginethewolf came out and helped me with my saddle tracing. :D yay!
There is an awesome guide here:
So, armed with the info I needed, some really gaudy wrapping paper with glitter (hey, they suggested wrapping paper, haha!) sidewalk chalk (pink actually showed but I had to lick the tip a lot, heh) a flexible curve (best thing EVER by the way) marker, etc, I went out to see my horse. While we waited for my friend, I did the stretches with Solomon. He did them perfectly today, with no hesitation. He has it DOWN. And once I ran out of carrots he did all three stretches a bunch more times without any prompting, hoping that I would give him more, haha. He'd do the entire routine, both sides and then down, and then look at me significantly and nicker. Silly way too smart horse! So now in addition do doing "kiss me" when NOT prompted to, he stretches. Well, the stretching on his own is a good thing! And he's still moving way better than he was before.
After the stretches and stuff we did some walking around, and then I hand-grazed him until my friend arrived.
So. Squaring up. Solomon does not know how to do it. Oh, but he was trying to figure out what we were asking, and he learned pretty well. It'll take a lot more work before he really gets it down (no, only move ONE foot, not two!) but he was thinking hard. You could see the three little wheels in his head spinning. Also when he's trying to learn something, he twitches his lips a lot. Up and down, side to side, it's just this "I'm thinking hard" thing he does. Heh.
So these first shots are not squared up, but not TOO far off. He's standing a little awkwardly because he's not used to standing squared up, and it is weird to him. Also his hips were out for so long he got used to standing with one foot forward.

Yeah I know, I know. But whenever he relaxes even a bit, he drops. Hah. Anyway I was looking at those pics versus his first pics, and at first I thought "HEY, his mane has gotten SO MUCH SHORTER" but actually it hasn't, not really, his neck has just gotten a lot thicker!

So... the tracing! I'll get a pic of that tomorrow- battery is dead in the camera right now. And maybe I'll have the other pictures too. But I learned some things. Solomon is very asymmetrical. Solomon really IS wide. And his scapula goes way far back. Waaaay far back. So saddles that look like they are in the right place often pinch because he needs a lot of room for movement in his shoulder area. The lines are crazy to me, but maybe it's just because I'm new to horse anatomy, not sure.
We tried my friend's saddle on him, just putting it on his back, and he is so hypersensitive and worried about pain from shoulder pinching that he giraffe-necked as soon as he saw her COMING with the saddle. We put it on him and sure enough, too narrow. And when she took it off him, he flinched big time and squealed. Poor baby. Some of that is just attitude but really he's just saying "this is WRONG and it will HURT" in a way he knows we will understand. He started out subtle, so subtle I didn't realize anything was wrong, and slowly bit by bit got less subtle until I heard him loud and clear.
Don't worry lovey, we'll find something that doesn't hurt you, and I won't ride you until we do.

Back in the pasture he wandered around, calling and calling. Venus had been brought in by her mommy, and he was upset that he couldn't find his girl.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Today's stretching work.

Today Solly came up to the gave at a nice brisk pace. He had been running around with Venus, playing. Or showing off. Not sure which, haha.
I did not put the stud chain on him today, and he did well. We have gotten back to the "coming in is good" headspace. I might put it on still sometimes, just to remind him, but it is a good sign.
So after his feet got picked and his grain got eaten, I took him out to the little pea gravel arena to do his stretches.
Now, yesterday he learned to do the stretches but doing each one twice. Today I pulled a carrot out and said "okay we're going to stretch-" and he immediately rocks his legs forward off his heels and onto his toes, stuck his head between his legs, and opened his mouth. Hahaha! "hurhurhut!" he said when I wasn't quite fast enough with the carrot. Damn he's a smart horse.
The head-to-stifle stretch was harder because it was more work, so he kept trying to cut corners. 'Course the trainer I know best there walked past while I was chasing his butt in circles. We did manage it pretty quickly though. He had a harder time stretching on his right side than his left. Hmm. I'm hoping with stretching the work he got done with "stick."
After the stretches he let me pick up all 4 of his legs and move them around. He is way more chill about it, though I could have sworn he was a little disappointed that I didn't pop anything! I don't want to try to without knowing how to do it properly, though he did pop a couple things doing the stretches, which I think was good.
I tried to get some good photos of his spine. I need to also get some back tracings. Keeping him squared up by myself was not possible, however, and the pics I tried to take of the top of his back mostly came out like this:

I kind of like this one though:
Look at those hills!

Horses have lost their homes and food in Washington.

This is a very bad situation, actually. Horses with good responsible owners are at risk of starving because of the floods.
Here's how you can help.

Crazy dream!

Last night I dreamed that Solomon became certified as an official service animal. I took him through an eatery, a grocery store, and a department store, where he balked a little at a narrow escalator ramp type thing, hah.
And I dreamed that I started an equine service animal training organization that was Norse themed. It was called "Thaned Hooves." *groans at subconscious*

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chiro visit!

First off, hooray for kindly stablehands!

They won't let me climb the hill to try to catch my horse any more. Of course because he had an appointment he completely ignored the grain bucket today. Heh. But...

Solomon finally got his back done today!

Haha, look at that face! Oh and it gets better.

There were a couple of times when he really wasn't sure about it, but he always ended up relaxing into it big time and signing. He stretched and yawned a lot, and she got him to really loosen up and relax. She popped a bunch of stuff back into place. She showed me where his vertebrae were out of place, and you could really tell. She showed me how his hips were crooked even when squared him, how his lower back was all kinds of locked up and how he wasn't engaging his hind end.

He really liked her. Her name is Sandi Neal, and you can reach her through here:
She told me that his pelvis was very high on the left, he was locked through his croup and his spine being out of whack was probably why he had a roach back and his back was a little hollow. She said he wasn't actually swaybacked, just underdeveloped on his topline because he hasn't been moving properly.
The c-1, c-4, and c-5 in his neck were out of place. She had me feel it, and showed me where his muscle was overdeveloped and underdeveloped to compensate. She also felt a lump in his neck and said to watch it, that it might be really overdeveloped muscle but to make sure it doesn't change a bunch, especially make sure it doesn't get bigger, since greys are prone to tumors.
She said the t-15, t-16 and t-17 were would of place as well. He was stiff in both hips, his left stifle, and both front fetlocks.

He really enjoyed the work for the most part. Wow his hips getting popped looked crazy! But he seemed really relieved afterward. At one point she was doing some sort of skritchy massage that he really liked. He started scraping his teeth on my head, aaa! She told me that it was a mutual grooming thing, but to not let him do that, haha!

Haha, I wish this had been in focus. LOOKIT MAH TEEFS!

You can't really tell from this picture, but after all the work she did on him, he was moving both his legs under him WAY better, moving his front legs better, you could see how much more he was using his hips and back muscles, how his head was lower (though he was sniffing around a bit here, heh) and how his eye was softer.

We also got the saddle on him, and she showed me how it was not actually his lower back that was being bothered so much, though the scar tissue from that wound was quite evident and it may have been irritated- actually the saddle was pressing on his scapula, and having someone sit on it certainly would hurt a lot. She showed me how to feel for it, and sure enough it was pressing more on that spot. So the saddle most certainly has to go- she said no amount of re-stuffing it or pads would fix that. I figured I'd have to get rid of the saddle, now I know for sure.

Anyway, she showed me some stretches to have him do for now on, but especially for the next seven days. Hmm, I will be gone on Sunday. Maybe I can get someone to do them with him. It's pretty simple and doesn't take long, though he really doesn't like reaching between his legs, haha. He pawed at the ground a little, but the lure of a carrot got him to do it- she calls them carrot stretches, and you just hold a carrot next to his stifle to get him to stretch for it, and then you hold one back between his legs. He, of course, being Solomon, will try to find ways to cheat. I'll get him to do it though! Treats are an awesome motivator for him.

When I let him loose and got him to wander off (he didn't want to at first, heh!) he ran the entire fenceline and then went and chased the other horses away from HIS filly, so I think he was feeling pretty good!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It was worth it.

I'm going to so pay for jogging with my horse. Already hurting. But it was worth it. There isn't a feeling in the world quite like having a huge equine freely choosing to run with you, and knowing he won't run you over.**

**most likely.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Are you looking for a horse of your own?

If you are looking for a horse of your own, you should check out the rescue TB Friends!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Yesterday and today!

First yesterday:

So today I decided to go out and try some of the things I learned from watching and listening to ddranch. Hey, it really works! He really did soften and yield a lot- felt a lot more like my pre-stall rest boy. Well, and pre-girlfriend. Here he is from a handful of days ago with Venus, so is so totally his filly now... though it is not a paternal kind of relationship, I don't think. Heh.

Now the other day my ass fell down the steep slippery muddy hill. It was in a really not good to try to maneuver on section, and I went DOWN. The barn staff had to help me down and drive me back to the lot in their ATV. Scary times. I was hurting but thankfully fine the next day, when I got to go visit ddranch. SO. Not climbing the hill to try to get my horse again unless it's a major emergency. The staff made me promise to have them go get him instead, but I have this stubborn not asking for help unless I have to streak sometimes, and I thought I'd try to get him down with his grain scoop, which totally looks like a punch pitcher but that's uh, yeah that's a coincidence.
Warning- I am a total babytalking dork here. Might want to turn your sound down a bit, heh. But he came down that hill, so yay! He got a bit of the grain when he came to me, but the rest he had to wait for until we got to the grooming area. It was good actually, because we worked on manners and not being pushy on the walk back. He did get nice and submissive, so yay for that. Mostly positive reinforcement, with one bit of having to use the stud chain a moment when he realized that we were leaving his herd behind.

So! Since he runs around on 90 acres and climbs up and down hills a lot now, Solly has actually gotten some muscle! He's still lanky, that's just his build I think, but I am happy to see him get some actual conditioning. The vet said he looks 100% better than when I first got him. Yay!
So this is the wonderfully dignified photo I got on the first try:

Ahem. Let's try again. Bear in mind that he's standing a little downhill, which is why his rump looks kinda higher than normal.

Woowoo muscles! His chest is half again as wide as when I first met him.

You can see his QH blood in his butt:

We went out into a little turnout pen, and while he did need to explore and sniff poop because he had never been there before, he did keep coming back in to check on me. This is his cookie smile:

We walked around a bit, and when I stopped to try to get a picture of us both, he had to check me out and see what was going on:

Pulled a nasty giant tick off him too. They really torment him.
I let him roam at will and when I decided to take him back to his pasture, I jingled the halter from the other side of the pen, and he came right over and stuck his nose in. So I learned a lot from my visit, and it is already helping. I don't expect every day to go perfectly, but today went really well, and I'm proud of how healthy my boy is becoming!

Today everything went right. One of those days you live for as a horse owner. He came right up to the gate. He picks all of his feet up without hesitation and didn't try to take any of them back. He was not pushy. He didn't refuse to move at any time. He shoved his nose right into the halter. No shifting around or pawing in the cross ties.
We went out to the turnout pen and he walked and trotted with me, backed without me having to turn around or touch him- I just walked backwards and he was right there with me. Stopped with me too. All with no halter. ddranch says it's no big deal in a way, but hey, it's good to know he willingly does it with me again, eh?
All the way back to the pasture I just had the lead rope tucked in my waistband, really loose. A rider on a trotting horse passed us, and he was so good. No hesitation, no flinching, not snapping or kicking out, he was totally focused on me. In the pasture he lowered his head nicely for me to take his halter off, and then stuck with me instead of running off. We walked all the way to the hay piles, and then he even left them after a couple bites to nuzzle my hands gently. Respectfully even. He was submissive, gentle, and for the most part way more conscious of my space than he has been in a long time. There were still nuzzles and head rubs because I allow them (hah and I am not the only person who is okay with that, woohoo!) but he wasn't stepping on me or shoving me with his shoulder or head, he was backing up and standing at the gate until I said it was okay to go, and it was just... one of those wonderful days. Just perfect. :)