Saturday, October 22, 2011

It Wasn't a Fluke!

Things always work out in exactly the way they are supposed to. This morning, I was wide awake at 5am and rather than fight it, I just got up. What a perfectly beautiful morning it was! And the good news is that all my chores were done by about 10:15am.

It developed into a cloudless and sunny day, with temps in the 80s, but there is a 60% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. Since it was so early, I loaded up and headed to Iron Ridge. Our Sunday morning pony party will likely be rained out, or so we hope.

I was not the only one trying to squeeze in a ride before the rain. Erica had already finished riding Lady by the time I got there. She stayed for about 30 minutes longer.

Heather rode Poko and I rode Jaz in the arena. I'm delighted to report that our cantering last week was not a fluke. Heather is helping me get the cuing and the timing right. What I find so odd is how much smoother Jaz's canter is than his teeth-jarring trot. I like it; I just need to get used to it. And Heather actually saw it this time. We took a few steps a couple different times. Not pretty, but it's a start.
About midway through the ride, Jaz started acting as if he were exhausted, although I hadn't ridden him hard at all. By the time I tacked him down, he seemed like he felt pretty punk. Heather gave him a cookie and he wouldn't eat it. That's a red flag for my chow hound. Heather listened to his gut and it sounded like he might have gas, so she gave him the end of a tube of Banamine. I turned him loose and he nibbled the nubs of grass poking their way though the dirt from the last rain. There's not much, but it's something to do. I thought he was feeling better ...
If 19-month old Daltrey is not as tall as Jaz, he's close. His back used to be at the level of my outstretched arm, but now, it's up. He's finally starting to look like a horse. His back used to be flat, but now you can see defined withers. His barrel has deepened. Although he almost looks a little fat in this photo, he's actually ribby and hollow-hipped from his last growth spurt. I think he will surpass Heather's height estimate (based on the length of his cannon bones at birth). He may be every bit as tall as Scorch.
By this time, Chris and Rachel arrived to visit Moon. Chris usually claims Poko, but since Heather had already ridden him, he had the honor of Moon's first ride since her rescue 5-6 weeks back. Happily, it was uneventful. He bought her from Heather for Rachel, but I don't know ... he seems pretty smitten with Moon himself.

All the horses seem to feel the change in the weather. The wind shifted and clouds began to form. Jaz was not the only horse acting "not right." After rides and grooming, we all sat down to talk  I glanced over to see Jaz lying down in front of the water trough in the house pen. As we walked him back to the barn to give him a full dose of Banamine, he was farting with every step he took.

I left to get groceries on my way home and when I called to check on Jaz, Heather had also given him a little Bute, which seemed to make him more comfortable. My delicate grey flower.

Mr. Fry borrowed the Iron Ridge tractor, which has a bucket, and worked hard all day busting up the hard packed dirt and planting grass seed. I sure hope this rain doesn't miss us.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Uncharacteristic Brevity

Today, Jaz & I took about a half dozen steps at the canter.

Thanks to Heather for tilling the round pen, which always gives me a bit more confidence and sense of security when trying anything. I know now that my problem has been timing. I was thinking that canter had to be faster, and so I was getting into a really fast trot and asking for the transition, and Jaz wouldn't. Today, I asked for the canter from a slower, more fluid trot. I still have to convince him I'm serious, because we've just trotted for so long. I don't blame him for not believing me. Everything else must have also been right, because after I did it once, I was unable to duplicate it.

I'm whupped and super happy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Showing Our Appreciation

I've said it many times and I'll say it once more: without Heather and her family, the good folks at Iron Ridge Sport Horses, I'd have prolly ended up dead in a ditch somewhere long ago. They have taught me everything I know and continue to teach, encourage and support not only me, but our whole group of Pony Party Pals.

Today was a day set aside to show our appreciation by having a BBQ on their behalf. Burgers, dogs, chips and soft drinks were provided, and everyone brought something or other to share. There was a great dip, dump cake, beer, and I made brownies.

And everyone came bearing gifts: buckets, hardware, vet wrap, halters, shampoo, conditioner, fly spray, brushes, dewormers, cookies, alfalfa cubes, Gatorade, etc. The most awesome gift: arena lights so we can ride at night!

 Watching a minor drama unfold in the arena
 Casey & Z (My D Zire — The Polecat x OK My D Lindy)
Z threw a tantrum. Casey showed him the error of his ways.
 Steph and the beautiful Godiva

Even some horse hubbies showed up, including Mr. Fry. Met some nice new people, saw some folks I haven't seen in about a year, rode Jazu, played with Daltrey, had the requisite moments of pony drama (none of which involved me or my horses), ate, drank, laughed, and of course, told lies. In other words, pretty much a perfect day.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Familiarity Breeds Contentment

I decided to vaccinate Daltrey against strangles because of new horses coming and going at the farm. I remember when I first met Heather and her family, they had a bout with strangles and it wasn't pretty or fun. The horses were miserable and everything had to be scrubbed with bleach. Jaz had it when he was a baby, and they build immunity, so no vaccine needed for him. Daltrey was feeling a bit under the weather immediately after the injection, but he seems to have completely recovered today.

Although it's still warm, the weather is pleasant enough to finally remind me of why I love Texas. This is by far the most gorgeous time of year. Today temps were in the 80s with a light breeze and nary a cloud in sight — a perfect day to ride.

After my totally boring (but good) ride on Jaz today, I brought Daltrey out for some patience lessons. I tied him, groomed him, picked all 4 feet, washed his face, etc. I took him in the arena and led him over the ground poles, around the barrels. We practiced walk, whoa and back. I brought him up alongside the mounting block, stood above him and leaned over him. He did well, but he's still very much a baby. He likes to chew on the lead rope and starts getting impatient after a few minutes of doing anything. Can you believe he's already 19 months old? It's gone by so fast!

Not much else going on with me or mine. Heather and Jae are on an adventure picking up a black Percheron mare. Last I heard, they had already blown 2 tires on the trailer. It may be a very long day for them. Oh well, it's good blog fodder.
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