Friday, October 31, 2008

Regret, and guilt...

I am feeling it this morning. If I had a three strand whip, I'd use it on myself.

I feel horrible! Guilty!

Honey is hurting. It's MY fault. And I can't do anything other than try (feebly, I might add) to make her a little comfortable.

When Honey came to me, she had an obviously, previously damaged back ankle. A result of her being on the track, or from wreck...I don't know. But she had it. She was mostly sound, and though it bothered her in deep ground, it didn't seem to ever bother her.

Sometime during her play yesterday, she did something to re-injure the ankle. A pull? A strain? A twist? I don't know. She didn't favor it walking back to her stall.

This morning, she could barely walk. She was limping badly, putting weight only on the toe of her back foot. Then ankle is swollen. Though it's always been large, it's worse now. I didn't however, feel any heat. Curious.

She got some bute with breakfast - which she tolerated reluctantly, by the way. She's always such a lady about these things.

It breaks my heart to know that I didn't this to her. Oh Honey...I'm so sorry.

I'm off to the feed store to get some B-L Solution. This will help protect her stomach from the caustic effects of long term bute use.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raisin' a Ruckus!

I have been lax with turnout. In fact, I've been TERRIBLE!

My horses aren't in 12 X 12 stalls, but they are pretty much confined. Dobbs, Jazzy, Angel, and Millie have access to pasture, so they're getting some exercise.

But Squirrel and Honey do not. Last night, I turned out Squirrel. Tonight, was Honey's turn.

She is SO FUN to watch. She rips around my little arena/big round pen, squealing and squaling and just generally raising a ruckus. It only took about 20 minutes to get her into a lathered sweat! It just cracked me up!

Sometimes I worry that there is something very wrong with this mare. And then I see her run like this and wish I had time to grab my saddle and go for a ride!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Old Faithful

Sometimes, I just LOVE riding Angel. I've owned her the longest and I know exactly what I'm going to get. A frantic, manic, ADD-laced ride!

But Angel gives 100%, every time!

She is sentsitive and reactive and tries so hard to the right thing.

I'm never going to get a buck. I'm never going to get a rear.

The problem is, Angel is VERY smart! She has a brain between her ears and uses it, even if what she does is wrong, at least she's thinking...right? She anticipates what I'm going to ask. She is so sensitive she will react to the slightest of cues. I have a bad habit of over-cueing. Hmmm...

If ever I work her in my arena with the barrels on the pattern, she will expect to work the pattern. I learned that the hard way once while riding bareback.

I've been reading the Mugwump Chronicles(see link to the right) and it got me thinking "what if". What would happen if I turned her out to run the stink off (I love that phrase - borrowed from Mugwump), then got on and did a bunch of random maneuvers using only my seat and my legs?

I set my hand in the middle of the reins and rested my wrist on the saddle horn. She performed rollbacks, backed with just a tilt of my pelvis, pivoted on the front end and back end, circled, and whoa'd. At one point, she was reacting only to the tilt of my pelvis and the weight on a certain pocket.

I always know what I'm going to get... and I love it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeding them makes them feel better...Really?

Who knew?!?

I've had Squirrel for almost two weeks. I've ridden her twice. Due to a migraine on Saturday, and cold north wind on Sunday, I didn't ride. Meanwhile, I've been "feeding her up", trying to get some weight on her.

So tonight, I saddle her up and put my new bridle w/hackamore on her, thinking to have a nice quiet little ride around the arena. Mmmm....think again.

First of all, I seriously doubt she's ever worn a hackamore. She seemed really confused and being a little hot, got frustrated almost instantly. She tried to do what I asked, but....

She did this little rear thing, just enough to bring her front feet off the ground and when I got after her, she squealed and kicked out with one back foot.

Rather than tempt fate, I climbed off and took the reins off the hackamore and sent her around the arena. She took off squealing and bucking, well sort was a pretty pitiful attempt at bucking.

She loped around for about 20 minutes, then I climbed on her again. She was still very confused about the hackamore, but she was calm enough to listen to me.

What I've Learned

1. Stick with what works. I have a nice little bit that Squirrel worked really well in. We'll go back to that.

2. When you're feeding them up and they're mostly standing around, they MIGHT need a few minutes to blow off some steam before you climb on them.

3. Pick you battles. I could have gotten after Squirrel and RODE her out of her little snit, but I chose to let her blow the stink off without my butt in the saddle.

4. I STILL really like this mare!

Shyanna Goes Home

Sunday morning, I trailered Shyanna to her new home. It’s about 12 miles from me in a rural area, but it’s a NICE set-up.

There are three pastures, Shyanna will have her own ¼ acre pasture. Her pen is 50 X 35, There are box stalls, but from what I saw they aren’t being used. The horses there either in a pen or out on pasture. The property owner grows his own hay, which looked really nice!

All the fences on the place are the same, whether for the pens or the pasture. It’s continuous smooth wire fencing, drawn tight and runs through large metal posts, and while not coated, there are 8 strands, placed 4 - 6 inches apart. The tops are welded pipe and painted white. A DOG would have trouble getting through it.

The driveway goes past the pens, then drops 20 feet onto the property. The berm protects the pens from the prevailing south wind.

I stood by and watched while the new owners unloaded all their goodies into their privae tack room. There was a garbage can and bag of feed, buckets, treats, feed scoop, a bucket of brushes, first aid supplies, tack, and a winter blanket.

I don’t like winter blankets unless the horse is really sweaty, it’s really cold, and there isn’t any shelter. A properly cooled out horse, even though still a little wet, won’t get chilled. They stay warmer with proper nutrition and poofed up winter jammies! That is just my opinion, but since I don’t own Shyanna, her new “mommy” can do as she wishes.

She was delivered with papers and a contract that states that if ever Mindy can no longer care for Shyanna, she will be returned to me for rehoming.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A nice little horse!


Mindy and the Mob came to the house today. I say "mob" because I'm not sure who they all were. Mindy, her daughter Shandi (who will be Shyanna's new owner), Mindy's son Shade, Mindy's boyfriend (can't remember his name) and some other young-ish guy that I was never introduced to.

They ALL rode Shyanna. She walked and trotted. She backed, reluctantly. I never saw any loping, but that's ok. Shyanna did everything she was asked to do. She's a nice little mare and really cute under saddle.

Bethany was a novice rider when she bought Shyanna. She is still a novice rider. She never reinforced anything. Shyanna was allowed to get away with whatever it was that she showed resistance against. Shyanna has become spoiled.

That will all change in the weeks and months to come. Mindy, while a little bit "hick", is patient, soft, and kind but will expect compliance and will not allow Shyanna to act spoiled anymore.

I will deliver Shyanna to her new home across the river on Sunday morning. She will go with the condition that if Mindy can not, or does not want her any more, Shyanna will be returned to me.

Click on her name to see crappy photos on my Photobucket page. My computer can't get Blogger to upload them at home.

She's starting to gain weight and is becoming more friendly. I noticed that Sunday, after my ride on her up at the barrel race, that she was acting foot sore. I think that she has a stone bruise. I think that because, well, I picked a rock out of her hoof. It was back near the heel, but into the sole of her foot. I'd like to keep her barefoot if I can. But I also don't want riding to be painful for her. Every time I go out to the barn, I stand and pet her through the feed door as she eat her grain. I REALLY like this mare!

oh yeah....the little darling is now in heat. Gotta love those mares....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shyanna has a new home.

Bethany was 14 yrs old when her mother bought Shyanna for her. Bethany has boarded and occasionally ridden, but only on trails. Bethany is responsible for the cost of owning the horse and is now planning her wedding and preparing to move to Camp Pendleton in southern California, where her fiancĂ© is stationed with the Marine Corps. She can’t keep the horse.

I listed the horse for sale over a month ago and have not gotten one response. There are just too many nice horses out there that she’s competing against. I talked with Bethany at length and her main concern is that the horse goes to a safe loving home. With papers.

I called Mindy, who in her younger years, exercise QHs on track for a living. Mindy used to be married to Larry. Larry is the guy that Bethany bought the horse from. Mindy’s daughter is wanting a horse and Mindy knows Shyanna and how she’s broke. Mindy is going to take Shyanna home this week. She’ll be well cared for and she’s such a sweet mare, she’ll make a nice horse for a 13 yr old.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"sighing with pleasure..."

There was a barrel race at the TRAC facility today, day 2 of a big weekend. I thought it would be good for Squirrel to get started seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and being exposed to the chaos of a barrel race.

Since the TRAC is only a mile from the house, it's really nothing for me to load up and haul in and ride around.

Squirrel loaded, finally, after I figured out that she's used to being led in, rather than being "self-loaded" like my Appy. She stood quietly while I brushed and saddled.

She walked quietly through the horse trailers, and past the stock pens.

She walked quietly into the outdoor warm-up pen.

She walked quietly around the warm-up area and was content to stop and watch all the other horses circling about.

She walked quietly in the holding pen inside the arena. There was one little balk when the horse on pattern was running home and straight at her. Then she continued on in.

For her second ride in five years, she behaved like a pro!


She needs to have her feet trimmed, shoeing won't be necessary.

She needs to have her teeth done.

She needs to be wormed.

She needs to gain weight.

She needs muscle tone.

If that's the worst of it, I'm thinking I'm a lucky girl and this is a NICE mare!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What An Amazing Little Mare

I went for a ride on Squirrel yesterday. What an amazing horse.

We went down the road, across traffic, and out on the trail. She was AWESOME!

She went quietly and willingly on a loose rein the entire time. When there was a "spook", if you can call it that, she merely tipped and ear and stepped around it. The things that she "spooked" at were the storm drains in the road, and a neighbor's irrigation pumphouse.

Walk, trot, lope - all on loose rein. She is smooth as silk! There is one area about 1/3 mile or more where we breeze the horses. She loped with a little speed and responded immediately when I asked for a "Whoa". When we had to stop and wait for traffic, she stood quietly whle the cars whizzed by.

Coming back, the two others that I was riding with decided to race down the "breezeway". She loped along behind them with no frantic whinnying. When the dust clear a little and we could see, I asked her for more speed and she gave it to me. And again, she dropped down immediately when I lowered my hand and sat.

Never in my wildest dreams have I ever dared to dream that she would be this nice. I knew she'd be broke, but this mare is amazing. She carries her head and neck nice and level, and gives to the bit when asked.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Turn Out is ALWAYS Fun!

I had to do some shuffling of horses today...trying to figure out who is going to "live" where. I decided that Shyanna and Dobbs get along really well, so they will live together in the biggest run. Honey will be moved to the pen behind the barn. And Squirrel will move into Dobb's old stall, between Millie and Angel.

I opened the gates to let them all out on pasture and WHOOPEE! Let the fun begin. Jazzy ripped a big old fart, then took off bucking. Angel and Millie joined her. Squirrel, Dobbs and Shyanna just watched in silence, maybe trotted a little. Honey did her little pasture prance, too refined to really let it rip!

Squirrel went to the beauty parlor and I was able to work the massive rats' nest out of her tail. She so reminds me of Heddy...

So now, I'm off to clean up weekend chore.

Update - It figures! The horses stand at the gate to the pasture as if BEGGING to go out. I take pity on them and turn them out. I watch them until them settle down and then get to work. It never soon as I go into their run with the wheel barrow, they come up to check it out, re-spread the poop I just raked into a pile, and generally get in the way. Sigh...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Almost a week ago, Heddy died unexpectedly from a twisted gut associated with colic. We were shocked and saddened by this unexpected loss. ALL our animals are our babies. Although the horses are a passion of mine, my darling husband, Mike, supports my addiction and though not “horsey”, cares deeply about all that are included in my menagerie.

I’ve heard so many time “We have Arabs” or “We have Quarter Horses”…. we have “The Kids”. They all have a story and have touch us in many ways.

There’s Angel – Bright-Eyes Angel – 8 yr old appaloosa with ADHD, whose energy and “appytude” both frustrate me and make me smile. This horse, like no other, can frustrate me to tears, and just when I’m ready to throw up my hands and give up, she gifts me with moments of brilliance. Just when I think she will never “figure it out”, she delivers an effortless execution that makes the casual observer sit forward and say “That is an awesome horse. Where did she find her?” This is a mare I trust in all things. She will die in my arms when it’s her time.

There’s Jazzy – Leos Jazzy Music – 7 yr old QH mare whose dam was the subject of a neglect seizure and as a result, has no papers to prove her lineage. I can only go by what the owner of her sire told me. She was Parelli’s extensively as a youngster, but after a trailering accident left her with a blemish that required more care than her owner wanted to give, she ended up with a horse trader (who, of course, bred her as a 4 yr old), and ultimately, with us. Further, self-inflicted injuries has delayed her formal training, and now, at 7 yrs old, she remains green broke, and because of her Music Mount breeding, a little unpredictable.

Honey – Honey in the Money – 8 yr old Thoroughbred mare who was raced very successfully. After an accident on the track, her owners sought to make a broodmare out of her. Possibly due to the accident, she can not carry a foal to term. Also, it is very possible that she will never be sound to ride. (Finances prevent us from determining that at this time) Can’t be ridden – can’t be bred…that make her worth about $.30 per pound. Except to me. She is the most cuddly, snuggly mare in my barn. Sweet, sometimes silly, stunningly beautiful, graceful and elegant, it’s a lot like standing the presence of royalty. I’m just in awe every day that this beautiful mare belongs to me.

Dobbs – Big Cadillac Mac – 18 yr old Quarter Horse gelding. The horse trader owed me some money and had taken the “old man” in a trade. She didn’t tell me about his old stifle injury. She didn’t trim his feet. She didn’t worm him. But then, being a horse trader, I’m not surprised at that. What I am surprised about is the fact that he is such a perfect gentleman, kind, willing and solid in all things. He is so polite, always, even at feeding time. His chatter fills the barn as he sings for his supper, yet, he’ll pull his muzzle full of slobber out of the way so I can dump in his grain.

Millie – Meritable Millie – yearling Appendix Quarter Horse filly. Pushy, loud, obnoxious, sweet, curl up in your lap if she could, adorable little filly. She’s only been at the house since October 3, so I’m still figuring her out.
So with Heddy’s passing, I received a lot of sympathy, which I expected. What I did NOT expect were the offers of free horses.

My neighbor, Pam, and her guy friend were the ones that found Heddy and helped out until I got home. The guy, Jim, saw that I was really upset and told Pam about a friend of his that has a big ranch about 4 hours north of us and that they were giving away some broodmares, one was broke to ride and was nice and solid. So, Pam asked me if I wanted her to take a look at this mare and her papers for me. I said "Sure, as long as you're up there."

She called me yesterday to double check, “Did I still want her to go look at the mare”. I said “Yes”. She called me about an hour later and said "This is a NICE mare." Bear in mind, normally, Pam has ZERO use for mares. She is strictly a gelding girl. So, what that told me, is that the mare is REALLY NICE! She said that the mare looked a lot like Heddy, but with more QH stockiness.

She got home Wednesday night REALLY late (after 11:00 or so), so I didn't even see the mare until Thursday morning. Pam didn’t know where I wanted her, so she just kept her in a pen close to my barn. I went out to feed The Kids, I came out of the barn, the mare turned to look at me and my breath caught in my throat. She had almost IDENTICAL markings as Heddy, about the same size, etc. This mare's head is shorter and blockier that Heddy's, but she's the same color, size and shape. I couldn’t do anything but stand and stare.

I still don’t know how she’s bred, or what her registered name is, but sometime this morning, in the midst of my mental meaderings, the name “Squirrel” came to me.

UPDATE - Her registered name is JNJ Classy Poco Gal

I haven't ridden her, but somethings you just have a feeling about.

Welcome Home, Squirrel. (I’ll have pics up soon)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turnout Time

It was a lazy day here, so I decided that the most ambitious thing I'd do is turn out each of the horses for an hour in the arena. It's really a BIG round pen, but it get the job done.

Shyanna was first. She bucked and farted for a couple minutes then stood and looked at the house as if to say, "I'm done."

Honey was next. This mare cracks me up. It's like on the track, the exerciser dude would pull her head around to the left and let her run than way. and boy, can this mare buck! Great bounding leaps and twists accompanied by explosive farting!

Then came Jazzy, the self-exerciser. She rolled, stood up and shook off, then began the exercise program that she has in her head. Shortly after turning her out, we left to run to the grocery store so we could make home-made chicken noodle soup. She was still trotting around, shiny with sweat, when we returned.

Angel, my fat little appy, was next on the list. She will sometimes raise a ruckus, but today, she merely walked around for an hour.

Dobbs, the old man, did pretty much the same thing. No acrobatics or excessive expenditure of energy, just pacing.

Millie was last out. Being that she is the new kid on the block, only a year and half, I figured she would lose it. I thought there'd be hysterics and theatrics, squalling, running, bucking, the works. I was wrong. She sniffed around. Push the barrels over and spooked when they fell over. But all in all, it was very anticlimactic.

So now, a 1:45 pm, everyone is back in their bed, happily snuffling through their early afternoon flake of hay.

All that is left is to wait for the soup to cook down, slather some butter on some fresh french bread, and stuff myself, all the while trying to save room for fresh, hot apple pie with some vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A very sad day, indeed.

Around noon today, I got a call from my neighbor that I had a horse down with colic.

I rush to the car and headed for home. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, she called again. They had the mare up but she was really weak and in bad shape. I hung up and called the vet.

We got to the house about the same time. It was Heddy and she was in really bad shape. She was covered in sweat, drooling, trembling.

I said, "Put her down." The vet said "I think that's the right choice. I don't think this is recoverable."

And so we put her down.

She gave me NO indication that there was a problem or that she was in distress. Morning feeding was normal.

I called and talked to Cathy and we both agreed, there was something wrong..something we couldn't see. Perhaps an ulcer or something else. She SHOULD have been gaining weight. She wasn't. If anything, she was declining.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Heddy. Thank you for the memories you gave me in the few short months you were here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This darling baby is PUSHY!!

Millie the Filly....hmmm...

Apparently, I've gotten spoiled with my older, well mannered horses.

Millie will try to walk over me. She has a bad habit of pooping in the barn. I know she hasn't really settled in yet, so I'm trying to be patient. I cleaned her stall last night and she tried to follow the wheel barrow out the front of her stall. I tried to gently push her back, but she didn't know what it meant. So she got popped. And she stood there, half in and half out of her stall. So I REALLY popped her. Relunctantly, she backed into her stall.

Millie will also snatch at her hay when I feed. She knocked it out of my arms. Made me mad! Anyway, now when she tried it, I shove the hay into her nose, poking her. I really need to work on getting that stopped.

I've been so busy since she got her that I haven't had time to really do anything with her. This weekend, if it's not raining or blowing, she's going to get haltered and messed with.

We really need to work on this manners thing though. Any ideas? Anyone? I really AM "baby stupid"!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Why do I like horses? I reckon I must be mad.
My mother wasn't horsey And neither was my dad.

But the madness hit me early And it hit me like a curse.
And I've never gotten better In fact I've gotten worse.

My stables are immaculate. My house is like a hovel.
Last year for my birthday I got a brand new shovel.

I hardly read a paper But I know who's sold their horse
And I wouldn't watch the news If Mr. Ed was on, of course.

One eye's always on the heavens But my washing waves in vain
As I rush to get the horses in In case it's gonna rain.

And though they're wearing 15 rugs, The best that you can get,
I bring them in to keep them dry While I get soaking wet.

I spend up every cent I've got On horsey stuff for sure.
I buy fancy tack and fancy rugs, And then I buy some more.

I should have had that hair cut Or bought that nice blue shirt
At least it wouldn't be now Ripped to shreds and in the dirt.

I can't make a bloody sponge cake I don't even try
But I can back a car and trailer In the twinkling of an eye.

It's jeans and Ariat boots That I live in night and day
And that smell of sweaty horses Just doesn't wash away.

Once every… now and then I can dress up for a ball.
Make up and a hairdo With high heel shoes and all.

I ache from long forgotten falls. My knees have got no skin.
My toes have gone a funny shape. From being squashed again.

But late at night, when all is still And I've gone to give them hay,
I touch their velvet softness And my worries float away.

They give a gentle nicker And they nuzzle through my hair
And I know it's where my heart is More than anywhere

Monday, October 6, 2008

As one life ends, one begins....

Meritable Millie, a one and half year old filly, has come to live with me. She was a gift from my friend Barb and is a half sister (by the same sire) as her good barrel horse.

Millie's future will be in barrel racing. She is very friendly and in-your-pocket. I will be hauling her with me to races and ponying her off my mare, Angel.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Finally at Peace...

Joy is finally at peace.

This morning, I had to load Honey first, because Joy refused to leave her friends. Once Honey was in place, Joy walked right it.

It was a short drive, just a few miles.

Once there, she walked right out of the trailer like a pro, confirming our belief that Joy had vision problems, especially at night. She followed me quietly to the holding pen. I had some hay in the trailer, which I put down for her, a 5 pound bag of carrots, and six apples. One last breakfast, stuffing her face with apples and carrots.

I stood with her until the treats were gone and she started in on the sweet alfalfa.

Then the truck arrived. He was early. I had hoped that I would be able to let the clinic staff hold Joy and I wouldn’t have to be there. But since the truck was early, I stayed.

She went quietly, sinking to the ground and sighing, as if FINALLY, she could lay down and rest. With a soft sigh, she laid over and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.


She can rest without pain.


She can run and buck with the rest of the herd.


She can eat sweet, fresh grass all day under a sun that brings warmth, but doesn’t scorch or burn.


She isn’t bothered by flies and allergies.


She can see every sweet face of the horses that arrived before her.


She is the beauty she was born to be, before the greed and ugliness of human beings robbed her of it.


Joy is free, leaving behind only memories and hoof prints across my heart..

Rest in peace sweet girl. I will never forget you.