Thursday, July 29, 2010
As I come up over the first ridge, I see about 5 cars all wee-waw on the road and on the easement, and 3 horses on the wrong side of a fence. Uh-oh! An older gentlemen is standing as far away from one of the horses as he can and still touch it with just his fingertips, patting it tentatively on the butt. Nice horsey.
I stop and ask if I can help. He says they belong to Marching Man who has reversed direction and is now headed down the road towards us. The guy's still a fair distance away, so I walk over to the closest pony, a nice looking palomino, and I start petting him and talking to him. The other 2 are bays and they are eating the tall grass with a fury. I'm talking to them, petting them, and Marching Man finally makes it to where we are. I ask if I can help. The guy is obviously keyed up, possibly in a hurry. He says if he can get the horses away from all these cars, they'll calm down and come with him.
I'm thinking, dude, they aren't the ones that need to calm down. They are perfectly calm and munching happily.
A car pulls up, Marching Man opens a back door, pulls out a halter and lead rope, and marches toward the horses. The ringleader, one of the bays, does a little play buck in MM's direction and off they all trot. I so want to tell Marching Man to relax, take the halter and lead rope from him and just get the job done, because this guy's energy is all wrong. But I don't know him and I'm sort of handicapped by the way I'm dressed anyway, so I just settle back for the show.
The previous scene repeats itself 2 more times until it finally dawns on me to pull out my camera. Excuse the quality, because I'm driving even as the horses are moving.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The homemade flier was from the local distributor. It explained about the product, and included several testimonials, one of them recent (mid-June 2010), at an Athens, Texas horse show. A mare was given the product, and not only recovered, but was able to compete in her events. It even gave a local phone number if you want to talk to an eye witness to the mare's recovery at the show.
Ingredients: Irish Sea Moss, Magnesium, Kelp, Peppermint Oil, Phosphorous, Calcium, Vitamin D3, Potassium, Purified Water, Molasses, Sorbitol. This product has a shelf life of 12 years!
They claim it will stop a normal bout of gas colic in 90-200 minutes, with a disclaimer that it will not help in cases of torsion, rupture or twisted gut, or blockages due to foreign objects or tumors.
If it works, it would certainly be worth it to have a bottle stashed away. Every time Jaz has colicked, it's been on the absolute worst night of the year, when my vet is out of town. Except for the colic due to strongyles, it's been because the doofus eats too much too fast, like when I bring them back from the farm and he pigs out on the lush grass. Or he doesn't drink enough when it gets cooler.
Paul Taylor is a well-respected local business. They don't carry faddish, stupid stuff. It must have some measure of credibility. Has anyone ever used this product or even heard of it?
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I must decline
For it's on my steed I will rely
I'm underneath the open sky
I'm subject to the natural forces
Home is where my horse is
— Title track from Lyle Lovett's 2009 album "Natural Forces"
I usually send them up to the farm in the Spring to allow the land to rest and the Boyz to shed some weight. Didn't happen this year because Jaz stayed there when he had strongyles, Scorch came here, and I really couldn't afford to board them after all the vet bills. Plus, I just wanted them home. Here they have 5 hard-scrabble acres to graze and free-choice hay. As you can see from any pix of them, they ain't starving. Up at the farm, they go back and forth between various pens, the arena and stalls. They get 2 meals a day. I'm sure you'll be seeing some truly pathetic faces, as they try to convince me that they are abused and wasting away.
Heather had asked me to bring Jaz up for a play day that involved a convergence of yuppies unaccustomed to neither the heat nor horses. They showed up about the time we would normally be done and cooling our jets. To the old adage about mad dogs and Englishmen in the noonday sun, add Dallas yuppies.
My back wasn't up to heaving tack around, so Kris did the mule work and picked feet. I moved horses, brushed, sprayed, and coached a couple riders who had never been on a horse. We used Jaz, his brother Boo, and Nita's aged mare, Keeley. The adults took turns on Jaz and Keeley, while a young girl rode Boo the entire time.
The heat index was 105°. It was blistering, and for poor Kris, I mean that literally: her shoulders bubbled. I usually tolerate it pretty well, but twice I had to get out of the sun. You know you're in trouble when the top of your head starts to tingle and you have an odd sensation of being chilled, with waves of queasiness. I took my Gatorade into a dark stall with a fan. Nita brought some not-too-sweet banana bread that hit the spot. And never underestimate the therapeutic effect of a few ice cubes in the cleavage.
Poco was in an outside stall where he played over the rail with Quagga, but he was sweating so badly, we moved him into the dark interior stall with the fan. We hosed down all the horses that got used, and I hosed Poco down as well, since he felt gross and crusty from dried sweat. I hand grazed them in the shade, then we put them out in the arena since everyone was done. The yuppies were amused that the Boyz immediately dropped and rolled in the tilled arena. They couldn't understand how that could be okay with me after their "bath". Yeah, they're horses; it's what they do.
Little Daltrey has begun spending more and more time away from his dam, so Heather and I decided the day before that I'd leave the Boyz up there to make his weaning official and see how everyone gets along. We started with Daltrey in a long pen that is between the arena and the pasture. That means he can see and interact with the Boyz and his mother through the fences on either side of him. Nita and I walked Daltrey into the arena to meet the Boyz face to face. I get tickled at that baby puh-puh-puh licking and chewing sound they make. "I'm a baby, please don't hurt me!" Poco looked at him dismissively, like, "Yeah, whatever, kid." Jaz, the stinker, copped an attitude: "Don't mess with me. I'm the boss of you. I could bite you, you know." It's a joke because poor Jaz is so submissive, it won't take Daltrey long to see through him.
Heather reports today that Poco has stepped up to the plate and has taken the little guy under his wing, even sharing hay with him. Isn't that sweet? I can't wait to take some pix.
I miss them already.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
There is more detailed info in the book, but here's the basics:
The Wild Card — Dominant, Energetic, Afraid, Friendly
Strong minded but insecure, this personality needs an equally strong rider to help them feel safe. Be loving and affectionate, but don’t give up your leadership. Once you have them on your page, they are very friendly and have a strong desire to please. They can be highly competitive and will give you their all. Not a horse for a junior or amateur until much later in life. Note added by me: Interestingly, she says that sometimes novices do well with WCs because they "come to an agreement" with them, allowing them to make certain decisions a more experienced rider might not. WCs have big egos and appreciate this freedom.
Repeat lessons often
Be their boss
Honor their energy
Keep a steady training program
Skip steps in training
Show weakness or fear
Have huge expectations
Jump into new territory
Steady Eddy — Submissive, Lazy, Confident, Friendly
If you are a novice or amateur, this is the horse for you. They are quiet and predictable, loving and engaging, willing to learn new things, willing to hang out with you and do nothing. This is not your big ego, career-oriented horse. They are happy to just be. Consistent and loyal, all you need to do is enjoy!
Whatever you want
Play with them
Keep variety in their work
Keep workouts short
Have huge expectations
And just for fun, because, after all, he is only 4 months old:
The Goddess — Submissive, Energetic, Confident, Friendly
The Goddess is loved by most of the other horses and most people. They are expressive and sensitive and emotional. You will know how they feel. They try very hard to please and will worry and be anxious if you are not happy with them. In the negative they can have scattered energy that is hard to get focused. This personality can be loved on as much as you want.
Listen to them
Play with them
Ask for what you want
Allow them friendships
Be their friend and leader
Give them variety
Own them forever
Be rigid, bossy, boring
Move them frequently
Keep them alone
I was so impressed with the description of Poco, that I emailed Dessa Hockley. I was delighted to get the following email back from her:
"Thanks so much for your kind words.
I seem to get most of my emails from people with Wild Cards and they seem to be most popular at our barn as well. They are our new learning so not sure if we have them entirely figured out yet. As with all learning it is never a static thing especially with horses. What I wrote in the book seemed to be what worked at the time but I am seeing now people coming to us with a DEAF and the rider is trying to be something they are not and this is what is creating a problem.
What seem to demand from us is that we show up and be authentic. The strong boundaries stuff that I mention in the book is all good if that is who you are but they can sniff out a phony leader from across the pasture and then they will pull every string you have attached. They demand that we show up 'real'. Now what that looks like if you are soft and a submissive type yourself is far different. From what we are seeing here, in that situation you then forget training on them and just be that friend. I have a couple of very soft women who have their Wild Cards here and they understand that they cannot be the boss. I know it goes against all training manuals that have ever been written but for them the relationship is all that matters and they only ride when the horse is ready and wants to. The horses in this situation seem to take on the role of teacher and they really like it. I have a whole story on one of these that I want to get on my blog if I ever get the thing up and going. I'll let you know when that happens. Thanks for the reminder.
So I guess where I am going is to stay 'who are you' and as long as you can be clear within that they are fine. Stay within what keeps you and them safe. We use the same personality assessment for ourselves and it is unbelievably accurate, although the names are a bit odd for people. I can give you some tips on that if you are interested....again a good thing for the damn blog if and when.
Steady Eddy's are exactly what you need to calm your nerves after dealing with the Wild Card. Good choice. Goddess would give you some energy without all the anxiety so also an easier one."
How cool is that?! I can't wait til she gets her blog going. Dessa, if you are reading this, the blogosphere awaits!
Friday, July 16, 2010
I had some closeups of his eyes,
but they were blurry because I
didn't use the macro setting.
and does he ever know how to push my buttons!
He loves kisses.
I found his tickle place:
right between his shoulder blades.
When I scritched him there,
he reminded me of a dippy bird.
We're going to have so much fun!
These are exciting times at Iron Ridge!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Shine, the weather's fine
Can you hear me
That when it rains and shines
It's just a state of mind
Can you hear me
Can you hear me
— "Rain," Lennon & McCartney, 1966
(B-side of "Paperback Writer")
Saturday, July 10, 2010
My only complaint is that the unseasonable rain has done weird things to my horses' feet, which would ordinarily be dry and cracking about now. Instead, they are white, soft, and crumbly. They shed their entire frogs at once — I pulled them off with no effort at all — and they were completely white. I put ThrushX all over the soles of their feet, but it's too wet to do anything about it right now. My back won't allow me to bend over to do anything anyway. All I can do is hope.
So the Boyz's job this weekend is to mow the dog yard, which makes them very happy.
Hope y'all get to enjoy your ponies this weekend.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Heather turned me onto this great stuff for Poco's thick, frizzy mane. I used it last time we rode up there and was surprised at the results. We also used it on O's ball-of-a-tangled tail with great success, so I headed to the ethnic hair products aisle. I excuse myself to an older African American woman checking out the products. I grab 2 bottles of Pink and this woman looks rather incredulously at my poker straight hair, then at the bottles in my hand.
Her: You use this?
Me: Uh, not exactly. I have this horse with the nappiest mane you've ever seen and it really works.
Her: Does it smell bad?
Me: No, it smells pretty good.
Her: I'm gonna try me some.
Crap, I've turned into a People of WalMart.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The letting go has taken place
I have held the winter's son
Become one, set my pace
Isn't that what we wanted all along
— "The Letting Go", Melissa Etheridge
from her 1992 album "Never Enough"
Heather said I'd get 2 lessons, and had suggested the first one be on Nita's aged mare, Keeley. Keeley is a good ride, but I haven't ridden Jaz myself in awhile, and he hasn't been ridden at all since O got hold of him, so I opted to use him for the first part of the lesson. The barn was full, so after consulting with Heather, I put Poco with the junior stallions and tied Jaz to the stocks to get tacked up. Poco was in hog heaven, because he had a pen full of youngsters to boss around — Zire, Rico, and Scorch plus the lame QH gelding, Rover.
How quickly we forget ... Good gawd, Jazu has the worst trot ever, on top of a case of the I-don't-want-to's. If I could get past his trot to the canter — skip 2nd gear altogether — it would be great, because he has a nice canter, but I'm not there yet. He really didn't want to work. I rode him through it for 35-40 minutes, then hosed him down and tied him to the stocks while I fetched Poco.
Yeah, about that... I walked into the junior stallion pen and Poco took off in the opposite direction at a trot, tail flagged. Nanny nanny boo boo! Look at me, boys, I'm too cool for school.
No, really, Poco.
I approached him again, and Mr. I'm-All-That-And-A-Bag-Of-Chips took off again.
Seriously, you're running from me? FINE. I will run your sorry proud-cut ass until you beg me to stop.
And I did, while Heather, Kris, and Jason laughed hysterically. Picture this: Poco was trying to hide in a corner behind the juniors so I wouldn't make him run anymore. The young boys knew he was in trouble, because they weren't running from me, and they started picking on him. He was so concerned about keeping away from me that he didn't even bother trying to fight them off. Even bottom-rung-submissive Rico got a couple good shots at him. Finally, I toned my energy down and led a heaving-and-humble Poco to the stocks to be tacked up. It was over in less than 5 minutes.
What a freaking amazing ride we had. He was more than amenable to my cues and commands. I was able to get him up into and hold him in a perfectly lovely, well-paced trot, as opposed to trying to catch it on the way down.
Then, I let go and gave him his head. You know what happened?
I had one hand on the horn, prepared for him to escalate into the canter/lope, but he held where I put him. I could not have asked for better. He got hosed down, lots of "good boy's" and Gatorade before we called it a day, loaded back up, and headed home.
Gotta love it when you're gone and back, rode 2 ponies, trailer put up, gear stowed, cleaned up, and drinking beer by 3pm. That was no small pen I had to run the Pokester around. He's not the only one whupped from the day's efforts.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
I think she wants us to poop in those bags.
That's the silliest thing I've ever heard.
Friday, July 2, 2010
That look on their faces: Priceless