Saturday, May 30, 2009


So today I didn't really "work". I got to sleep in til eight! Then I cleaned some stalls... Then it was lesson time.
RC did NOT want to sit at all today. I think he might be a little sore from yesterday, but even on the 10m circle, he was really really stiff. It probably took the better part of 45 minutes to get him to relax through his back enough so that he wouldn't pop into the canter every time I close my outside leg. The one thing that I did learn is that the most obvious sign that RC's not really connected is that when I half halt through the outside rein, he tilts his nose to the outside, or wags his head. If the head is moving, the connection is lacking. By the end of the lesson, his canter work was really good. He did some swapping behind at the beginning, but once he figured out that I wasn't asking him to sit THAT much, he settled down and was a good boy.
Then I lunged Deli. I'll have to put a pict up of her in all her finery, but I don't have anyone to take it... Maybe I can talk MD into it. Today we lunged without the halter on over the bridle. I even left the irons on the saddle, and after an initial start that something had hit her in the sides, Deli just went about her business. It all comes down to Monday. I'm going to sit on her then... We shall see...

To at least act like it's a weekend, I went into El Paso today. I fount a Barnes & Nobel about 20 minutes from here, so I drove down and just perused through the books. There were a few that looked fun, and I wasted a whole afternoon there. Maybe I'll go to the museums next weekend. I should really try to do SOMETHING each weekend...
And finally, today's picture was taken out of the window of my truck. Sorry if it's kind of blurry, but I kinda took it on the fly. What possessed someone to build a house like this in El Paso? it's kind of goofy looking....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Half Day!

So, the title pretty much says it all. I only worked half a day today. I was done by three, which was a good good thing, since my feet were killing me. I am not used to wearing boots all day!
(To the right you can see the incoming rain... who would have thought that it would rain so much in El Paso?)
So, today starts like all the others: clean pens, groom Derringer and give him his shots, then get RC for a lesson.
Today, RC was really trying (I think). I am so sore in the left half of my body, I cant really honestly tell what was his stiffness and what was mine. After about 20 minutes of not being able move his ribs over, MD kicked me off of him and rode him straight for about five minutes. Then I got back on him, and RCs half-passes were MUCH MUCH better. As it turns out, I need to kick his middle to the outside, otherwise he can't go forward at all, and ends up turning a half-pass into a side pass. All in all, I think that both he and I were too sore to be much good today. So we're gonna do it again tomorrow!
Deli was a delight (no pun intended) as usual. She lunged, outside of the arena, in a saddle and a bridle. She was very very good. She walked, trotted and even picked up her leads on the first or second time. That was her issue yesterday, but she is a smart little mare. Her only objection (read: bucking) comes when I touched her with the lunge whip, but as long as i didn't touch her, she was more then willing to stay out on the circle at the gait I told her to. MD thinks that I can get on her on Monday... we shall see!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Click, Click, Boom!

So, today was not nearly as eventful as the beginning of the week. I rode a few horses, cleaned stalls, cleaned some tack... the eventful life of a working student.

<= The El Paso scenery. Evidently, the area near the mountains is government property.

I started the day with RC, as usual. Today we worked on getting those shoulders up and in line with his hips. It's really tough for him to lift those fat little shoulders, but by the end of the lesson, he was starting to get it. The other thing that MD thinks will really help him out at shows is to really nail those transitions. He CAN do it, he just needs to learn that hes HAS to do it EVERY time. Evidently MD thinks that's where RC can pick up the points that judges don't feel they can give him for not having the extravagant gaits of those big warmbloods. All he has to do is move forward in a consistent frame through both the up and down ward transitions.

On the plus side, MD thinks that thanks to RC's lack of self preservation instinct, he could be the perfect training project and might go farther then his build would suggest. That he lets the rider contort him into any unnatural shape is actually a good sign for his future training. MD thinks that he's practically a second level horse, and may just be learning the third level movements by the end of summer. She even told me that he might be able to go all the way to PSG, though I shouldn't expect 68% scores... that's ok, I'll take it!

After working RC to a panting lather (poor guy), I took him on a little trail ride around the property and down the road. He's liked exploring before, so I figured that he would enjoy it again. Imagine my surprise when i heard thunder. In the desert. Weird. then RC went stiff and spun, i nearly lost my stirrups! The I saw the clouds of dirt about 50 feet in the air. As it turns out, the land to the north of us is a military training establishment, and they were setting off blasts. Huh. That explains all of the helicopters....

After that excitement, I got to work with the cremello mare. She got to wear the bridle for the first time. As it turns out, she is not nearly as calm as she seemed yesterday. When I walked her around with a halter over her bridle, she was ok for about five minutes, then she went nuts. She reared and lunged away from me while MD was riding, and all I could think was "How embarrassing would it be to lose this horse right now". So I hung on... She dragged me about thirty feet, before she chilled out enough to just stand while I cooed at her. I got one hell of a rope burn for my efforts too. I think that she's going to be a tad harder to break then Deli seems to be.....

Later, I rode Diva. I really like riding that little mare. I just feel like I really need a lesson on her from MD. That way MD can tell me how to sit correctly. I fee that the whole issue is how I hold my hips... but who knows.

Finally, guess what Deli did today?

Deli lunged in a saddle and bridle! I introduced her to a bridle yesterday, and she has only learned to lunge in the last three days. As it turns out, she might have a few bucks in her as I bring her along, but she is really really eager to please. She just doesn't like it when either me or MD does something that she thought that she made clear she didn't like (like being touched with the lunge whip). Oh, I'm so excited. MD said that maybe on Monday I'll sit on her. We'll see.. We shall see....

Do you like fish sticks?
You must be a gay fish!!

OK, I'm done.... PS: leave a comment if you actually wasted time to read this! I wanna know!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bucking Good Day

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Thank you to all of the vets out there. You can see Deli and RC relaxing on the holiday>>
As everyone who has ever worked with horses knows, there are no days off, so today was my first OFFICIAL day working with MD. That's right. First day. So how did I impress my boss? Well, let me tell you....

Right off the bat, I cleaned pens then I swept the stalls out, turned everyone out and gave Derringer his shot (that poor horse must be an angle, he still likes me even after I poke him full of holes) then it was lesson time.

After my first lesson with MD, I have come to one conclusion: I need to learn how to ride. I mean, I have been riding dressage for a decade, and just plain riding longer then that. So, I learned that my hips are all wrong, my hands need to change and RC needs to be much more elastic-y. Great. But on the plus side, MD thinks that my little Mr. Chompers has the potential to go all the way to Prix St Georges, although she did add that he may only score in the low sixties while a horse with natural talent would score 68's with the same level of effort. It's ok. I'll take it; it's still good enough for a silver medal. Not bad for a little backyard bred quarter horse. >
Tempi, the wonder poodle, ran around the barn all morning. During my lesson she sat on the telephone poles that make up the arena fence. It was kinda cute until she decided that she had to go keep MD company, then Tempi got a little in the way. Later, Tempi helped MD's husband do some repairs. Now there is one more member of the Tempi fan club. I was pretty surprised that she kept up with everyone all day, she didn't lie around like the other dogs on the place, she was always where the action was (which could be a little annoying). Though it just goes to show that a mini poodle can in fact keep up with barn life. And to think, some doubted her. Tsk, Tsk.

Anyway, after my lesson on RC, I got to experience some of MD's horses, all of whom are four or under. MD rode a clients horse and told me to walk Sonnet around, and that Sonnet hasn't been ridden in about a month. Great.

"Oh, and she's a little humpy" was the parting comment. I was already a little nervous, since MD had mentioned while I was getting after RC for not standing while I was getting mounted that none of hers stand. I don't like it when the horses walk off, it just seems rude and it doesn't give me time to get settled. As it turned out, a little walking away would have been the least of my problems.

I adjusted my stirrups, climbed onto the block and started to swing my leg over this little mare's back and BAM! This horse did not just buck, she bronced. All I know is that at one point I could see all of the bird poop on the top of my trailer. I lasted probably four good straight legged, head down, back humped bucks before I came off. And did it ever hurt. I landed on my feet then rolled, getting the breath knocked out of me and bruising the hell out of my backside.

Keep in mind that this was the first horse I have ridden (that I don't own) for my new boss. Great first impression. I think that my definition of "a little humpy" and MD's might differ slightly. But I prevailed. I got back on, and walked Sonnet around until her back was more relaxed and she was listening more. We even trotted some circles for good measure.

After this I rode two more horses, both of which MD worked first, so that I could watch them move. The first little mare was steady as a rock, for being a 4 year old. She was quite fun to ride, and I didn't think that she was as plain or pony like as MD said. I had a blast on that mare. After her, MD and I spent half an hour trying to catch the final horse of the day. The aptly named Diva is a whole different package from any of the other horses. Diva has had some growing issues and is, according to MD "deformed". But she sure can move under saddle. Diva looks like a totally different horse under saddle then she does at liberty. I really liked riding this mare, and I feel that she might have to most to teach me in preparation for Deli.

I didn't work with Deli until before dinner time. I was chilling in MD's pool for a few hours, in honor of Memorial day, gossiping about barns we have known and crazy horse people. Deli was her usual lovely self when I pulled her out of her pasture instead of feeding her. She stood in the wash stall, and let me brush her while everyone else ate. She was quite interested in the mastiff walking about though. MD loved her neck, she said that it was exactly what she would look for in an FEI horse. It may be a tad early in Delis career to be talking FEI, but I still liked hearing that. I then proceeded to walk Deli around the property, just like I have for the last few days. She was actually pretty good, considering that everyone else was eating dinner.

After I put Deli away, and fed both Deli and poor starving Mr. Chompers, I wondered over to MD's house where her husband made dunner for us while we watched "Much Ado About Nothing", the Keanu Reeves version. Excellent.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 2

Well, I got up this morning around 6:00 am, local time. The last thing that I wanted to do was be the later sleeping college kid, you know? So I was up and at ‘em bright and early. I got my two fed (Martha doesn’t feed grain in the mornings). I then cleaned out my trailer and after Martha came outside, cleaned out the pens.
I brushed Deli. She didn’t really like being forced to stand in the cross ties, but she adored getting all of the attention. She may turn out to be a little attention whore. You never know. Other then being resistant to having her feet picked up, she handled it all pretty well. She let me use the summer spray and fly spray on her with no issues; she even let me brush out her tail. In a side note, she has one of the thickest tails that I have ever seen. She has Bucky beat out for sheer tail volume. And when it gets long, she’ll have those quarter horses beat out too… The down side to an impressive tail is that she also has a massively thick mane. It is going to be a pain in the ass to braid. I am not looking forward to pulling and thinning for shows.
The farrier showed up while I was brushing, and even trimmed the first horse outside since I was using up the wash stall. I felt kinda bad about that, so I kept the farrier company. She (yes, a woman farrier) was pretty funny. A real nice person with some good stories. She was even smiling when one of Martha’s mares used her farriers box as a manure bucket. Good aim, mare.
So then I was at a loss of what to do. So I went back to my room and took a nap. It wasn’t very peaceful considering that there were some construction workers walking around and I was paranoid that they were going to look in on me while I napped. And Tempi kept barking at every little sound. Where did that little habit come from? It needs to stop. After my nap was a fail, I brought in the last few things from the trailer and made my self a beautiful lunch of rice-a-roni, “the san Francisco treat!”. It was supprisingly good, If I do say so myself. Post lunch, I gained internet access (yay!) then went out to work RC.
RC was not so happy that everything is sand around here. The arena must be at least six inches deep. That poor little work horse was puffing away after just a warm up. I let him walk after everything we did, just to keep him happy. All in all he got better and better the longer I worked him. By the end, he was really starting to push off from behind. I didn’t get afer him too much for being lazy today, seeing as he did just complete a 1120 mile trip. I have some compassion for the little guy. After 40 min of walk/trot/canter, I untacked, gave him a bath, cleaned my tack (all of it) and then preceeded to try to back my trailer into position. That’s where it all went bad.
I was going to pull my trailer around on the chat area, so that I (hopefully) wouldn’t sink up to my axle. But as I was pulling the truck and trailer around, the heavens opened up. And I sunk. Damn it. I sure do hope that Dan can figure out a way to get me out of there… I have no idea how this is going to work. I can’t see any way out of it.
Update: With the use of a tractor and a chain around my rear trailer axle, we puller my truck backwards. And it got stuck again. So we pulled some more. And it got stuck again. So we tried a different tactic, then the havens opened up and it poured. I got soaked through to the skin for the second time in six hours… So the trailer remains stuck in the driveway. For now…

Day 1

Today I finished the drive from Rolla, MO to El Paso, TX. I left Abilene, TX this morning at quarter til eight, and arrived at 5pm local time.
The drive was really straight forward: I-44 west to 277 south (I-44 becomes 277) to Abilene then 277 south to I-20 west until it intersected I-10. Then I got a little lost in El Paso, and have formed the opinion that the boarder is kinda scary. Actually it’s really creepy. It was almost enough to send me packing off to Houston, but I didn’t. Instead, I drove around downtown El Paso with a three horse trailer until I ran into I-10 again, then I headed east to try to follow Martha’s directions again… This time it worked. I made it, parked the trailer and unloaded two happy, healthy horses.
RC and Deli have eaten an entire bale of hay today while en route. They have been troopers while on the road. They drank every time I offered water, ate, pooped and peed when they had the opportunity. Even after ten hours on the trailer, they hopped out bright eyed, looking around and taking in their new surroundings.
RC and Deli get to be pasture buddies, if you can call it a pasture. Everything here is about six inches deep in red sand. I feel gritty just thinking about it. Anyway, RC and Deli get to share a one acre sand lot, with two run-in stalls. The bed room of my rented apartment looks out to their stalls. Deli hasn’t noticed me here, but Mr. Chompers sure did. He was staring intently as I was unpacking. I think that he was willing me to give him more feed…. Too bad it didn’t work out for him. I have a hard time feeling too bad, the ponies are going to get a 50/50 split of grass hay and alfalfa this summer. After being here for a few hours, and actually talking to Martha, I feel a whole lot better about this decision.