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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dazzling white horse!

Today I was actually feeling pretty good!
As a result, I might have been a little gung-ho. We'll find out tomorrow morning when I try to get out of bed, hah.

When I got to the ranch, Bo handed me a mare to walk around. She was more sensitive about flies than Solomon, and more easily spooked by squirrels and motorcycles. We walked almost all the way up the ridge- a first for me! We got to a little below the line where the fire burned, but she was really upset by the smell, so we turned around and went back. She was a good girl and followed me, though she did run some circles around me. I found that she felt more secure with a shorter lead, whereas Solomon is calmer and happier when he has some space.

Next, I pulled my boy out of the pasture. He was in with Poco Joe, and feeling pretty content about that. He came right to the gate though, and was nice and soft about getting haltered and going with me. He still tries to take the halter like a bridle at times, and this was one of those times. I appreciated his gesture of willingness, but of course I had to take the halter out of his mouth. Silly sweet boy!

He really is a good boy, and a total love on the ground these days. I'm pretty proud of that. We have come a long way together.

So the weather is still hot. The photos from today look like it must be cool out because of the clouds, but I think it was somewhere around the 90s. There was a nice little breeze and let me tell you, not being in direct sunlight was nice. I decided it was time to do some pre-autumn preparations. With a retired horse in a boarding situation, that is not a whole lot. But I decided it was time for his bath, his betadine scrub, and the cleansing of his grooming tools.

Betadine scrubs are great. Really great. They kill off a lot of the nasty little organisms that grow in a horse's hair and on their skin. They really help get the horse sparkly and clean. They help you get off old dead skin cells. And despite the orange color of the solution, which you can dilute in water until it looks like tea, when not washing direct wounds, it does not stain white hair. With an open wound, you want to make it look like weak tea. Good stuff, which you can follow up with a conditioner of some sort, as it kind of dries out the skin and hair.

I was talking about tying horses in a forum I frequent, and I mentioned that I disliked cross-ties because Solomon hates them. He's a good boy and he'll generally deal with them, but he isn't happy about them. I saw a Charro video where they were spraying a horse in cross-ties with a really high pressure jet of water, right in the face, and beating him with a crop to make him "dance." If Solomon had that happen, it might explain his dislike of the cross-ties. Regardless, that is not his life now, and I decided to use the wash rack by the tack room, which happens to have cross-ties. They're almost never used, but I figured what the heck?

Solomon registered a complaint to the "sucks to be me" department, population him.

Paw paw paw. I told him his protest had been noted.

Soaked to the skin. His skin, by the way, is black. Black skin, white hair, with little black and brown speckles. Horse colors are crazy!

First I scrubbed him down with Mane N' Tail. It's great on horses, which was it's original purpose, and I like the way it smells as well.

I then turned the hose down really low, and sprayed it in the air over his head so that it would fall down like rain. He was still convinced that I was murdering him with an ice pick, but I am pleased to say that he neither flipped nor broke anything. So there's that! This is why he was standing so crooked in the above photograph. His face DID get cleaned however!

After not getting away with freaking out over getting his face wet, Solomon calmed down and behaved himself very well for the second scrub, which was with the betadine solution. He was so bright white after that, I could barely look at him when the sun shone on him. You could almost get snow blindness! His mane and tail got some Mane N' Tail conditioner combed through it.

While Solomon was drying, I went over to grab a shot of Kizim making friends with Lilah the filly. There was some squealing but they seemed to be pretty interested in one another.

Solomon was so clean he was glowing! He dried very quickly as well.

After that, I used more betadine solution on his hooves, which I scrubbed out very well. They have been pretty clean all summer, only needing the occasional picking. As a result, they're pretty healthy these days.I figured it wouldn't help to kill beasties while I was cleansing the rest of him, however. Then Solly got a fly spray/skin-so-soft combo treatment, which left him even shinier, though I knew his legs would have dust sticking to them as soon as we walked away from the cross-ties. It's better than horse flies, which had been making him bleed all over.

Meanwhile, the Little Bay Gelding was napping. Awwwh!


My grooming supplies, all cleansed with betadine.

I'm not sure what the story is with the wooden rabbit. It just lives on that table.

Bling-Bling the White Horse, looking so hopeful about getting out of those cross-ties.

And since he was so very good for me, he did get out of the ties and got his feed pan.

A closer look at the photo will show you the nasty cut he got on his heel, which causes the crack deformity in his front right hoof. There is not supposed to be a break in his coronet band, which is the border of hair and skin around the top of the hoof.

Next it was time for some roundpenning. Oh, it really looks like it should be nice and cool out!

First, he walked...

Then he went from his walk into a slow steady trot. It's a little hard for me to tell which he's doing here.

Whee trotting.

And then he did a lot of cantering! He is still annoyed that he is being asked to work, but he still canters willingly enough. I need to keep him in condition, even though he's now officially a pasture puff love bug.

He and I are communicating pretty well, and we have both become softer in the roundpen. He did come in without being asked to a couple of times, but by the end of the lesson when I asked him to whoa, he stayed put, yay!

"Okay, what now?"

Then it was hug-your-horse time, so he got lots of hugs and cuddles, which he is happy to get all day if you are willing to offer. He was so clean, and he smelled a bit like coco nut oil, according to Bo. I love his long long tail. The underside of his tail is naked for about 6 inches or so. That's just the way it is, probably so the hair doesn't rub on their sensitive bits. The skin there is so incredibly soft though. It's like living velvet. He loves getting skritches on the top of his tail and rubs on the underside. He also enjoys hugs, and will crane his head around so he is pressing his cheek against mine. He dutifully lowers his head so I can give him forehead kisses, and likes to give me little cheek kisses. A friend of mine said "he's going to bite your face!" Naw, not Solly. He's a lover, not a facebiter. At least if you are human.

I did a lot of walking and bending, I watered three troughs, I got as soaked to the skin as my horse, I sprayed myself in the face on accident, and absent-mindedly left a hose on but clamped, which DeDe caught with her mystical water-wasting detection powers. All in all, a very active day given my recent back troubles. It still hurts, but I was very pleased with what I was able to accomplish today. I did all of that after having eaten only a tiny apricot-sized round of goat cheese. Oh, body, you are so crazy. Why are you so big? :p

DeDe pointed out an interesting thing about my parking habits that I hadn't noticed. If I'm in pain, I park next to the house. If I'm feeling good, I park far from the house, and closer to the horses. It's always the quiet people, folks. They notice everything!

She cleaned out a bunch of cabinets and drawers in her kitchen, and upon discovering that she had 6 or so springform pans and 3 bundt-cake pans, she gifted me with one of each. Yay, thanks! :D

On the drive home, I stopped at Trader Joe's and bought some groceries. Love love love that place. I picked up a package of boneless ribs that, as it turned out, didn't have a UPC code on them, so they decided to just charge me a dollar for them. SCORE!

All in all, it was a really great day.

And now, your moment of zen:

Happiness is a full hay barn.


BuckdOff said...

So pretty and he dazzles! Great job, EverGrey..I also love Trader Joe's, my hubby has now decided he likes it too..He thought it was health food at first and was very scared, LOL!

Evergrey said...

My back is screaming at me today, but I think Solly feels really good and not itchy, so it was worth it. :D

Trader Joe's has some of the best stuff! I just get sad when they discontinue things I really liked, like almond meal. This time they had none, and I am really really hope it comes back! D:

Anonymous said...

Awwwww, Kiz... *hugs, kisses nose*

Evergrey said...

She's really doing great- I mean she's coming into condition quite nicely, and Bo rode her on a lovely long trail ride today. She trotted like a powerhouse, went up and down hills, and even loped out a bit.

Every time I walk Solomon past her, she calls and calls and calls to him, hah!