Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa, baby


OK, I'll admit that nothing too interesting has happened this week. Other than the frequent Christmas carols playing over the radio... Which doesn't bother me at all. So here, in lieu of a Christmas list, I have my own adapted Christmas song. Enjoy!








Santa baby, slip a saddle under the tree, for me

I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a passier bridle too, bradoon!

I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the ponies that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be oh so good
If you'd check off my Christmas list
Boo doo bee doo

Santa honey, I wanna pad and really that's
Not so bad

I've been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, there's one thing I really do need, my steed
wants a new blanket

Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, I'm filling my stocking with a quarter sheet, and treats!
You can order online!

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Dover’s Saddlery! 
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean a phone

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight



Merry Christmas every one!

A girl can dream, can't she?

The Hood

So this weekend was cold.
Bitter bitingly cold.
So cold that I couldn't feel my fingers or toes... before I even finished tacking up Pony 1.

Yeah, I know this is a blurry terribly picture from my phone, but my truck's thermometer says TWO degrees! That's hardly a temperature.
Of course, at this point, I should have said to myself it's too cold. On;y a total loon would be out trying to work horses in this weather. But instead the peptalk I gave myself was more along the lines of dont be a pansy! It's only going to get colder, then what are you going to do? Pathetic....


Never let your subconscious mock you. It's a disturbing trend.

All of the horses were good, cold not withstanding. RC rode in his fleece cooler the entire time (otherwise his tail disappeared into that giant butt and he wouldn't go forward. At all).
Delight was pretty good. I think we're making leaps and bounds to correct this spooky pony issue. We're defeating the scary corner one leg yeild/ shoulder-in/ half-pass at a time!
And Chantilly was the naughty pony. Now, her version of naughty isn't nearly what Delight's can be, but it was out of character for her. She flipped her tail over her back and extended trotted around the ring with her nose in the air like a retarded arabian. Of course after two or three laps she let me steer again, then we were back to the pretty pony that I knew was in there some where. Changing direction, changing bend, lengthening and starting transitions... Chantilly is becoming old hat at this stuff. I guess it's time to push her a little further.

Of course, RC CANNOT be expected to enjoy himself outside when it's two degrees outside. Unless he's wearing a hood.

Oh, and his neighbor (not Delight) was terrified of RC's mask. I think he's kind of adorable in it... Don't you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Morning Warfare


My month of Scott is over halfway through. Which may very well be a good thing (a person always like their dog(s) the best….)…
"Hi....."

First the good: Scott completes his morning rounds with a look of joyous rapture every morning. It makes me smile to watch Bacon and Scott frolic (there is really no other way to describe their running styles) in big looping circles through the snow, avoiding the driveway because neither of them can handle the ice.  The other plus is that on cold nights, I have a big black foot warmer (poodles don’t do feet).
Now for the downside of Sotters. Mr Scott likes to get up around 5:30 in the morning. That is a good three hours before the sun rises, and a good hour and a half before I would prefer to rise. He used to start his morning by talking and shifting around. When that was ignored by a dead-to-the-world Me, he upped his ante by leaping off the bed, making those strange Sheltie noises, then leaping back onto the bed (which he thinks is the neatest trick yet!), circling the bed-first at the walk, then after several more leaps on and off the bed, at the trot and Sheltie run. It’s hard to ignore a 30 pound Sheltie who is running over your bladder/kidneys/head.

So I lobbed him off the bed. I was NOT going to give in to Sheltie peer pressure, and I sure wasn’t going to ‘rise and shine’ at this ungodly hour.

After a week and a half of being lobbed off the bed into my dirty clothes hamper, Mr Scott has changed his tactic. He no longer runs and jumps on me at 5:30 in the morning. He now waits until 7am. Sharp.
Evidently he refuses to take his cue from the poodles, who will open their eyes when I roll over or shift around, but won’t actually move or think about getting up until I make the executive decision to drag myself out of bed.  Even then, on most mornings (nearly all now that it’s cold and dark outside) Tempi will rush outside to relieve herself then flee back upstairs to snuggle back in the warm spot she recently vacated on her pillow.

This morning Scott upped the ante to get me out of bed – seeing as I was still firmly ensconced at 7:04, according to my alarm clock. He walked up along my bed until he was staring at my head, making his Sheltie noises in the process. Then he farted.

A big loud whoopee cushion type fart.

THAT got my attention. I rolled over, and glared at him gagging on what can only be described as a Cloud of Death.  Even Tempi fled to the chaise….

He smiled.

Scott: 1, Alison: 0 for the morning.

Instantly followed by Stairs: 1, Scott: 0. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BiPolar... But Mostly Polar


The weather in this place could drive a person crazy... 
All last week was cold. Extreemly cold! Less than 10 degrees while I was riding (days of zero degrees in the arena…brrr!)
That's right. 4 Degrees. Brrr....

Then Sunday rolled around. 30 degrees an sunny when I got up with the dogs. We went on a nature walk… all the way around the back field with me carrying Tempi (the snow is taller than she is) and Scott and Bacon taking turns ambushing each other, while nearly knocking me over. Let me just say that it s more work than I had expected walking in knee deep snow…

By noon when I was preparing to head out to go ride, it was 40 degrees, the sun was still shining. By the time I rode Tilly (who was a champ, even though everyone though that she was RC…) it was up to 50 degrees! Off went the blankets (except for RC, who just traded blankets for his light weight one… what a wimp), off went my jackets. Delight was, for once, a delight.  She still tries that silly spook in the corners thing, but wasn’t too terribly tricky to ride. We worked mostly at the canter because I’m sick of the “pony says whoa” and we just needed to move OUT! So we cantered left, cantered right, and by half an hour we were both sweating up a storm…
RC was my last ride of the beautiful day… And we took it easy. I worked without stirrups t try to combat that terribly tendency of letting my heels creep up when my legs get tense. Now, two days later, all of the little ligaments are still screaming at me. Ouch. 
It's pretty here, if nothing else...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things that go BUMP....

In the barn....

Ahm, after yesterday's unplanned excursion involving two Dans, my truck and a ditch, let's just say that the Ponitas had two days off. While Tilly can handle this kind of lackadaisical work schedule, La Ponita Uno will not tolerate this kind of laziness! And she will punish it in ways that make the tiny muscles in my forearms hurt, my abs hurt, the muscles along my spine hurt... All to try to keep myself in the center when she decides to teleport sideways.

Of course I worked Delight first. Always start with biggest handful first; the reasons are twofold. One, this way I have the most energy to counteract the Pony chess game that occurs every ride (must think three moves ahead of Delight.... otherwise she wins), and two, while expending that excess energy to outwit the pony, I work up a good sweat. This way I am nice and toasty through my rides. No getting chilly for me when it's 13 degrees in the arena, no sir, I'm out there shedding coats so that I don't over heat.
Long story short (too late), By the end of my hour with Delight, we had mostly come to an understanding, that I was going to keep her connected on the bit and she was going to go forward. We achieved this through liberal application of ten meter circles, leg yields and shoulder-ins but by the end of the ride, we looked more like a dressage team in training and less like an out of control pony clubber who's be severely over horsed.

RC was next. Not for any good reason, just that he and Delight are penned right next to each other and he was pretty certain that I had taken Delight inside for the sole purpose of feeding her delicious goodies. Joke's on him when we actually tack up to work! Hah!
Anyway, we amble into the arena with the fleece cooler over the saddle covering RC to prevent his tail from disappearing any further into his butt (he really would prefer a heated arena....), where I promptly ditch my coat, again, and we warm up a bit on the loose rein. I can hear the wind picking up (and my phone is buzzing with texts from the weather service: 4 messages warning of lake effect snow sometime in the next few days), and while RCs eyes get oddly wide, he's pretty much unpreturbed as long as he's snug in his blanket. We even moved on to some stirrup-less work (because obviously I haven't worked hard enough yet. Take that legs and abs!) to try to erradicate some of those bad habits that seem to creep into my riding.
So two good rides. Most underwhelming blog update ever, right?

Tilly's turn!

I brought Tilly in, brushed her, gave her a carrot (finally a treat she loves), saddled her up then stood there talking to her for a minute while warming her bit up with my bare hands (bwwwahhhh! brrrrrr...). As I'm bridling Ponita Tres, we hear the WHUMP! WHUMPWHUMPWHUMP! of a nail gun. Tilly, stoic pony that she is, leaps about two feet straight up in the air at the initial WHUMP! For the following whumps, she does the pony crouch, where the pony seems to shrink and could bolt in any direction (just to let you know that they could and you should appreciate them all the more for their pony bravery), but then returns to the original standing position instead. Great.
I lead her into the arena, using the lungeline, since I figure that two days off in the cold might have earned her a few minutes on the lunge before I get on her... And she's fine. As if nothing had happened.
Psh, what a wimp you are, I scold myself as I swing up on to the flat hunter saddle I've been using on Tilly.
WHUMP
WHUMP WHUMP
And Tilly is out of there!

We probably set a pony sprinting record.... With me flailing around on top of her like a limp noodle (great riding... This is what years and years of lessons should look like, I'm sure) trying to find either of my stirrups and not get left behind the motion. But it's ok. Forward is good, right? We ride our young horses forward through the problem, so just let her go, but start asking for connection. That's the game plan now.
I get her back in the trot, and we start doing figure eights, 12 meter circles, changing direction willy nilly, and she's starting to settle down. And of course, I'm starting to sweat again, so off comes the jacket.

She's a pretty calm pony, I winder if she'll mind if I just toss it to the side?
Yes. Yes she did.
With a snort that Opie would have been proud of we teleported 20 meters to the left with her tail over her back and her neck arched like an arab.
And I did my limp noodle riding impression again.
Back to the changing directions, small circles, figure eights and baby connection. We dabbled in the canter a little bit (didn't even bolt at the next volley of nails) then called it a day.

And I do this all for fun. I'm gonna need to soak in a hot bath tonight.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

...My Bad

I woke up today the pressure of 35 pounds of Sheltie standing on my lower back making odd squeaking noises, poodles curled in the crook of my shoulder and on my head. All was right in the world.
The sun was starting to peek over the horizon, and I was getting my game plan in order: What to work on with each horse, who to work first, remember to bring the carrots for Tilly.

After all, it was only a partly cloudy day. The play of sunlight on the fresh snow was energizing. Who cares that it's ten above out side? Scott and bacon did their morning laps through the snow (until Bacon got an iceball in his toes and had to call a timeout) while Tempi rushed out, took care of business, then hurried back to my nice warm recently vacated bed. She has her priorities.

The School House at Dawn
Mocha brewed, I hopped into the truck (which had been conveniently parked in the barn, so I didn't even have to sweep the snow/ ice off of it) and slowly made my way towards the barn. The roads were covered with a thin layer of snow, so I opted to take the back route to the barn and avoid the hill near town. Why take the trickier route? I reasoned.

Why indeed.

As I turned on my new found 'easy route', I noticed that there was no snow. I could see the blacktop. Right decision I smugly thought to myself, easing up to a whopping 35 mph. That's right. I was flying.

Two more turns and then I'll be there.  Already I was going over my plan of attack for this morning.
Make the first turn. No traffic makes the drive easy and fairly stress free...

I'm going maybe 15 mph (hey, I just made the turn and no one was around to judge me for how slow I was going) when I feel the rear of my poor truck slide. I tried to correct it (Turn in to the slide, don't stomp the brakes) but I slid right on to what must have been the slickest patch of road in America.
Me and my truck did the worlds slowest triple lutz ever completed on ice.  We were moving slow enough that I thought that I'd come to a complete stop as soon as I ricochet off the little snow lip, an then I'd just have a good story for the rest of my day.

Obviously I underestimated the momentum of a 5000 pound vehicle on ice....
So glad dad isn't here to give me crap....
At least the front tires are still on the road!

But now the truck won't start up again, since it turned itself off in the 'crash'. Ok, ok... think! There's a fuel shutoff somewhere! That must be it. Now all I have to do is find the switch... to the owner's manual I go!
OK, found the page. With a picture. But I still cant find the switch....
Right about here, a nice older gentleman stopped and asked if I needed help. Umm, yes. He gave me the number of a towing company and told me to mention his name (you guessed it, Dan).
Perfect! I'll ask the wrecker where the switch is!

Turns out, I forgot to take the truck out of gear...
The wrecker guy (also named Dan. I wish I could be making this up!) gave me the most pitying look when he told me that the truck has to be in Park to start it. Thank goodness I didn't tell him I'm employed as an engineer...Pretty sure UMR is on their way to collect that degree from me, as I exhibited exactly zero engineering or mechanical know-how. Useless...

So I paid my $60 "Driving like a dipshit" tax, and was on my way!

I guess it wasn't quite the beautiful morning I expected.....

Oy vey.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Everyone's an Expert...

Those of you who keep tabs on my might have noticed that there seems to be quite a lot of advice from the railbirds at my barn. Now, I'm doing my best not to come off as the Dressage Queen who only rides Imported Warmbloods in silly circles until we get dizzy... Which is why I have to share some of the barn happenings with you guys, otherwise I'll simply explode on the next horse whapping carrot stick weilding neophyte that lobs a truth bomb in my general direction.
"What a Beautiful day to go riding" I naively think to myself
Case in point....

I've been playing with the changes on RC, and he's getting closer. Now, the good thing about Mr. Chompers is how hard he tries all the time. The bad thing about him, is how hard he tried all the time. Sometimes RC get's himself too worked up about something (Sit? More? Is that enough? Too much? AHHHHHHH) and gets tight in his back. Sounds serious, doesn't it? His canter gets ugly and stiff, and his nose comes above the vertical. Terrible, terrible.
Our local expert (who I've never seen on a horse), Mr FreeLunger, was watching me ride (why? I'm not sure... Probably my tight abs and great ass... under 30 layers of clothing). Ovbiously he was not impressed with Mr. C-sters changes. Even when I moved on to the counter canter and counter bending on the circle to help RC relax a little bit more, I could tell that more wisdom was about to burst forth from the lazy boy at C (no, seriously. There's a Lazyboy recliner in the end of the arena. Legit, right?).

"You know why your having so much trouble with that horse?"
Oh yes. Tell me oh wise one. Enlighten me as to the problems between my and this horse
"He get's tense in the back after the changes so I have to work on relaxing him again in the canter" was my thoughtful, PC reply. I think I covered all of my bases, my answer was technical without sounding arrogant and hopefully headed off any advice.
"No that's not it. He's got white feet"
Wait, what? Is this about him being short last month after the bad trimming? He's great now, but maybe he looks off in the canter when he braces. I mean, these guys can't tell when a horse is cross-firing in the canter, so maybe they just see that something is NQR, I think magnanimously. 
"Um, what?" I ask. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Never ask a railbird a question!!!!!
"Yep, horses with four white feet aren't good for nothing"
Stunned silence. Nervous laughter. Pick up the trot and pretend like the last five minutes of my life never happened.
"There's a saying you know...."
Oh, god no. The wisdom just keeps coming.....
"If a horse has one white foot you buy it. Two white feet you try it. Three white feet you look about it and four white feet you oughtta go without it. Four white feet and white on it's nose, shoot him in the head and feed him to the crows.... Someone oughtta told you that."
Shoot... ? Crows...? Seriously?


It's a good thing that his wisdom is being passed down generations. I mean, if no one had told me, I might have wasted years trying to get RC to be a competitive show horse....

Oh wait. I did.
 He is.

It wasn't me! It's the Socks! They made me do it!
So, maybe it's not true...

At least I dodged the bullet and didn't buy a chestnut mare! Ha, those suckers!
Even has the four white socks. And white on her nose... The Trifecta!

Damn it. (And that picture of Tilly is a still shot from my attempt to film her on the lunge. Her head's not really that big)


Scott and Bacon inventing winter sports
At least I have three mostly happy dogs to return home to. Oh, except that Scott chewed off all the hair on Tempi's tail... now she looks (maybe appropriately) like her little poodle bottom is flipping me the bird... Sigh.
One of these dogs isn't enjoy this....

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Slaughter Issue


Obama signed a bill into effect last week re-funding USDA certification and inspection of horse meat. Now everyone on the interwebz is claiming that he had made slaughter legal, but the fact is that it was never illegal, the USDA simply lost funding for certifying and inspecting horse meat, thus the plants closed and a bunch of horse lovers got to feel good about themselves.

Wait a minute, you say, you’re PRO-SLAUGHTER?!?!

I like to think of it as pro-choice, in much the same light as abortion or gay marriage. If you don’t support it, then don’t do it, but the government shouldn’t have the right to outlaw something just because it doesn’t give everyone the warm fuzzy feeling that we as a society seem to crave.

To clear things up, I wouldn’t send my horses to slaughter. Every horse I’ve had to date has retired to family property where they either babysit other horses or new riders (old age doesn’t mean that they don’t have something to teach new riders) until they are no longer comfortable, then they are humanely euthanized. In a perfect world, every horse would have a home for life, either with its breeder, trainer, or the little girl who learned to ride on it. This world is not perfect. I feel that we can all agree on this as fact.
There are far more horses than homes. We can see this in the craigslist ads that read “10 horses must find new home today! Can no longer afford to feed!” or even by the BLM holding stations that have 1000’s of mustangs removed from public land so that they don’t starve to death by overrunning the available resources. All of these horses need food and water. Not all of these horses can or will be ridden or ever enjoyed in a sport capacity. When we look at the number of homes for older, retired, arthritic and unrideable pasture puffs vs the number of unsound (of body or mind) unfit horses in need of a home… well, let’s just say that those are statistics that are about as depressing as a midwinter Michigan day. Those of us that do have the room for the pasture puff generally use that room on the older retired former show horse or ‘heart’ horse, not to some random unknown freebie from CL.

Even after horse slaughter was ‘banned’ in the US, 100K horses on average still shipped out of this country to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico. This means that the same number of horses was still being slaughtered; only they had a much farther trailer ride to endure first. While it probably made some people feel good that they weren’t being slaughtered in our country – ‘Not here so it’s not my problem’- it also means that we have no control in how humane or controlled the process is (not to mention all of the potential jobs and revenue loss since there is no tax on exporting livestock on the hoof). The drop in auction price in horses, since the hauling to the boarder is that much more expensive, has resulted in now worthless horses simply being turned the horses loose to fend for themselves-especially in the southern states- when their owners cannot longer afford to care for them (especially in this economy, it might be difficult to come up with the $600 to euthanize and dispose).

Next argument: “It would be like eating your pet!”
My answer: Horses are livestock, not pets. Yes, I love my horses, but they are still livestock. And no, I personally wouldn’t eat horse meat, however I also don’t eat peanuts but I wouldn’t ban them from being produced or sold in this country. Americans in general, don’t consume horse meat so slaughtering/rendering horses would be almost exclusively for export. I’m sure that there would be a few “Whole Health Foods” type places that might stock it… and horse byproducts are probably already in your sausage and hotdogs (ewwww), especially if made in Canada or Mexico.  
The only way that horses are like pets is the huge overpopulation issue. The uninformed say “Oh, let’s make horse sanctuaries or shelters, like we do for our dogs and cats”. If it were that easy there wouldn’t be so many equine rescues that are overflowing with unwanted horses. The only difference is that horse rescues usually don’t have a euthanasia policy, and simply turn away owners who can no longer afford their horses. Just take look at your local shelter (get real, they are ALL kill shelters), and estimate how many dogs and cats are euthanized in a year. Those 5-100 pound carcasses are much easier to dispose of than a 1000+ pound body.
Slaughter is an ugly issue. None of us likes to think of our show horses, retired packers or ‘heart’ horses riding that truck towards the boarder, but for some, it is indeed a kinder fate then what might otherwise await them. By allowing horse slaughter in this country we are able to keep a closer eye on how it’s being conducted. Pretty? No. Necessary? Yes.

The best thing we can do for our horses is to install good manners and quality training in them, in case they ever are sold they will have some skills to offer.


This blog was a downer, but it had to be said. Now I have to go ride so that I end my day on a good note…

Two-A-Days

So, I am experimenting with a new approach to Delight. Don't worry, it doesn't involve carrot sticks, bitless bridles or training with 'lightness and joy'.

Since I moved her and RC to boarding for the winter, she's become much more reactive and a little more tense. My working theory was that she just needed to settle in. Well, it's been six weeks and I've changed the saddle that I use on her (which she's much happier about) but she's still very reactive. She's happy to go to work, and other than pinning her ears when the blanket comes off, she's still the sweet mare that I know is in there.

My new theory: she's not getting enough 'play' time to stretch and use her body on her own. She's in a solo turnout (because RC tried to get her hemmed in to beat her up, that jerk) for 8 hours a day in a 20' x 30' pen, but it's not the same as being out all day in 5 acres with RC (where she can either get away from him or ignore him, which ever she prefers). Add in the high energy feed that they have been switched to, and what I have is a very fit young pony with not enough exercise.

New plan?
Free lunging in the morning and actually working her in the evening. It makes sense because I have time to ride two in the morning- with time to spare- but not to work all three. This way I can work Tilly and RC then let Delight stretch her legs out a bit without 'working' per se.

But wait - doesn't  it piss me off when people free lunge? Why yes it does, so I am not going to just let Delight run around willy-nilly, cutting corners and doing rollbacks because she's all amped up and being chased by the whip. She still has to go in the gait I ask in the direction I tell her for as long as I ask. Really, it's just lunging using the whole arena (which works out since no one is around in the mornings)- even the 'scary' places.
Delight seemed to really enjoy it this morning. She could trot around in her big long trot and get everything loosened up. It's really startling to see what she looks like from the ground. For one thing, this is one fit young horse. As she's trotting and using her body, it's easy to see her using that long back muscle to lift her shoulders, or flex the muscles in her hindquarters when she does a transition.

Maybe I'll start a trend of actually controlling the horse on and off the lunge line. HA! Who am I kidding?

Today is the first day of my experiment, so we'll see how it goes...

In other news, for those of you languishing away in 70 degree Texas... it was 12 degrees F here this morning! That's beyond cold! I remember thinking that it was cold when I went riding at 18 degrees in Missouri! Yikes!!! (PS: that weather channel screenshot is from 1PM!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

There Goes the Sun


After a week of beautiful 50 degree sunny weather, we are now back to the standard Michigan MO: Grey and cold. The last two mornings that I’ve been out to ride, it’s been under 20 degrees outside. Yesterday the snow started again.

The upshot about snow is that Mr. Scott loves it. He was in high hog heaven when I opened the door and let the dogs out to pee while I brewed my morning coffee. Running (and yapping) with Bacon in big sweeping loops was high on Mr Scott’s agenda this morning. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have too many close neighbors….
"Weeeeeee" says Mr Scott

Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday visitors is over, I’ve started a new riding schedule: Horses in the morning, work in the afternoon. The upshot to this plan is that no one else is using the arena when I’m schooling my ponies, the downside is that it’s dark when I leave the house in the morning and dark when I get back in the evening, so no light to walk the dogs. They seem to be ok with playing fetch by flashlight, though. .. Scott seems to think that by ‘fetch’ I mean catch whichever poodle got to the ball first. Tempi is not a fan.

"I got the ball! It's MINE!"
As for the barn situation, RC is handling the cold with food. Keeping plenty of hay in front of him at all times seems to take the edge off, so he’s happy, I’m happy, we’re all happy. Delight doesn’t even notice that the cold is here again. She’s in her fuzzy german pony coat, impervious to the wind and snow. Tilly (now affectionately known as the Tillner, thanks Courtney) is growing her winter pony coat at an alarming rate. She won’t be cold as winter hits (though she does love being blanketed. Spoiled rotten ponies).
RC shuns hair growth for the food method


Delight’s new ‘spook at everything’ phase is presenting a little bit of a challenge for me. I oscillate between trying to hold her together, which only slows her hind legs allowing her to become even more reactive, and treating her like a young pony and not forcing the issue. Neither is the right answer (but shoulder ins are so hard!). Now I’m much more careful about asking for leg yields through the corners or a baby half-pass to leg yield on the long side (Deli’s half-passes at the walk are super, but the trot is still a bit… erratic). She did manage to catch me off guard and sling me over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. So glad that no one was around to see me eat dirt (even though it was an embarrassingly pathetic fall, where I slid over her shoulder and landed on my feet facing a very surprised pony)...

Tilly has been the good pony this week. We had one spook and scoot where she rushed across the diagonal, but other than that, she’s been a wonderful pony. I hope that she’s not too calm (already kicking myself for thinking this, especially since I have Delight in a tough phase at the moment) to be a good competitor not just an ammy friendly horse. Crossing fingers… Anyway, she has been walk-trot-and cantering with me all week! Her canter is a little rushed, and I keep catching myself leaning forward (stop it! Stop the ugly riding!), but we’re getting it! Her trot work is slowly becoming more and more on the bit, even though she still has those moments of “I can’t do this without my head in the air!”, but they are getting fewer and farther between. Thank goodness.

And RC… Well, he’s my wonder pony. On those days when I worry that I’ll never be able to take Delight anywhere or that Tilly should be farther along than she is I can take him for a ride and reassure myself that I do, in fact, know how to train a nice horse.
Sigh. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Time of Thanks

Sorry to leave you all hanging for a week, but the holidays are here, and I got all caught up in the Thanksgiving celebrations and haven’t had time to type!
We had the family thanksgiving up here in the ‘frozen tundra’… even though it was 55 degrees and sunny for Turkey Day.  We had a big family dinner with aunts and uncles and cousins (and one random awkward, possibly frightened guest). It was a smashing success for 14 Metsa’s sitting around a table.  It was a bit different than the usual four person dinner (complete with a pie per person) followed by Christmas movie after Christmas movie, but quite the holiday, none the less.
One of the better parts was I got to show off my horses! To someone who gets it! Of course, by that, I mean that Courtney both rode my ponies and gave me lessons! Finally! After so long without any direction, I needed those experienced eyes on the ground to keep those bad habits from creeping back in while ensuring that I’m not straying too far from the ‘right’ training.
It’s amazing how little things creep up on a person… For instance, on RC I’ve developed a disturbing tendancy to both lift my outside hand and over flex RC to the inside. As it would turn out, I also need to step it up with Delight. I tend to ride her like the young horse I broke, not the developing horse that she is today. Leg yields and shoulder fore to work her past the ‘scary’ places in the arena that seem to pop up everywhere nowadays. Silly pony…
Also, I got to show off Tilly to Courtney and mom, who might actually appreciate her quality. Yay!
So for the quick list, I’m thankful for family. They mean well, even if they can be overwhelming in the advice department.
I’m thankful for having quality horses, and the all of the time and effort that all of my previous trainers put in to teaching me what I know.
I’m thankful for my poodles. They make me laugh even when I’m stressed and are more than willing to cuddle up next to me on a chilly UP night.
Finally, I’m thankful for my current adventure. I know that I’m lucky to have the education, connections and chance to make such a big change while I’m still trying to figure out my life. There’s no telling where I’ll end up, but I’m glad that I’m taking the chance and trying something different.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and takes a moment to count to good points. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and caught up in the annoyances and bad things that happen, sometimes it’s cathartic to stop and count your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's the Holidays...

You know you're not in the city anymore when the radio announces "The holidays are here: Deer season, Thanksgiving and Christmas!"

This was my weekend to be overwhelmed, evidently. I should have known that it was not going to be my day when, on the way to the barn - in town- there was a guy cleaning his deer on the side of the road. Nice.

I got the the barn around 10 am -  early enough that few people were there, not so early as to be in the way of the stall cleaners- and got Tilly all tacked up and ready to go. As it would turn out, she'll do anything for a carrot (which is good, since she was not a fan of the peppermints, at all), so we hustled into the arena and made it half way through lunging, when the door opened.

Now I could probablly forgo the lunging, but five min of lunging before the ride seems the smart thing to do with a young horse on a cold day. With the snow creaking on the roof...

A neighbor from down the road poked his head in the arena and asked if I was done.

Nope, sorry, just got started.

Well, we just walked up here and no one was here, so we brought our horses. Could you just give us half an hour?
I explained that while my horse is young, I am perfectly able to share the arena.
Except I wasn't.
Because they brought in their two horses, unclipped the halters and set them free.

WTF
Who does that with another person in the ring?

So I took Tilly and made her stand in Delis stall for half an hour, fuming. Why is my time less important than theirs? While I do spend quite a bit of time at the barn, warming my pony up, then making her stand in the cold for half an hour is NEVER my plan.

Finally the interlopers finished their 'free lunging' and I was able to work Tilly. She was great. True, we had to warm up again and only worked for about twenty min, but we got a nice walk trot and canter to both directions. Even when the ice/snow came crashing off the roof, Tilly only crouched down, then resumed her trot like nothing had happened.

It must be the Code of the Pony: Thou shall not show fear.

Of course, by then I should have known that something else would go wrong.

As I'm walking Tilly back to her pen - brushed, blanketed and fed- I see everyone walking in the back corner of the property. After a "big black horse". In a raspberry blanket.
Delight.

Evidently the ice/snow that fell off the roof slid into Deli's turnout, sending her over the 4' fence, down the road, back up the road and around the property at top speed. I was beyond upset about this.
What if this had happened in the afternoon when the stall cleaners/I wasn't there? Delight could have been loose for hours.

I walked Deli around, gave her some bute for lewer leg swelling, and took RC for a cathartic ride.

When I went home I had to play with the poodles just to remind me that this isn't the worst place in the world... Just a bad day.

Tempi has a squeaky snowball
New snow siled by Poodle tracks...

"Why is it so deep!?"



Going boldly where no poodle has gone before... today.



Friday, November 18, 2011

Embrace the Snow...

So the poodles are no longer troubles by the cold white stuff that covers the ground, in fact, Bacon seems to love to frolic in the snow. He's making his own track where he's joyously leaping and running in giant loops circles. He even got Tempi to play with him....

Weeeeee!!!!

Super Poodle!

Dashing through the snow....

I hear poodles were hunting dogs at one point.... Bacon is a pointer!

Even Tempi is getting in on the action!


It's cold. Very cold.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Snow Poodles

I'm afraid that I don't have any witty anecdote for today's post, just pictures of last night's fresh snow. Enjoy!
My barn, complete with new siding and nifty garage door!

Tempi want's to know why all this cold white stuff is on her lawn?

Tempi knows there's a squeaky tennis ball in there somewhere... Bacon just wants to play!

My house is just cute in the snow... The horse trailer kind of ruins the quiant picture though.

Bacon, leaving footprints where no poodle has froliced before.



Now off to ride some ponies in the cold!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Like a Good Neighbor....

So, this morning I’m afraid that I did not endear myself to my neighbor. In case anyone lives in a less redneck location, today is the first day of deer season. Keeping that in mind, I brought my poodles outside for a little walk then an game of fetch (using Tempi’s new squeaky tennis balls. She loves them). So, I’m standing by the windbreak behind the barn so that I can throw the ball down a hill to hopefully wear the poodles out, when I see my neighbor and his buddy, decked out in his orange finery, walking the property line between my place and his.


The hunters stop. The look at me (probably because Tempi was viciously squeaking her tennis ball), then look out into my field behind where the horses were previously pastured. Then they look at me again.

My buddy, the buck, whom I met over the weekend, was standing there staring… probably at the tennis ball squeaking poodle.

Now, I first saw this buck on Saturday. I was dismantling my electric fence, winding the electric rope around an old tomato cage to keep it neatly stored, when I heard a snort that sounded like a surprised horse… not quite as powerful as Opie’s “keep away from my stall” snort, but along the lines of London’s “I feel good with my tail over my back and I want to play” snort. Since my horses aren’t home anymore, I ignored it.

And I heard it again. And again. The third time I heard it, I looked up, and low and behold, there was a big buck standing probably 30 yards from me in the middle of my field. He stared at me and snorted another three or four times, before taking two of those graceful leaps sideways, stopping to snort at me another 4 or five times, then slowly walking to the tree line to the north side of the pasture. What’s with the wild life in this place? Jerks.

Back to today…

The hunters looked from me to the buck a few times, obviously wondering if it would be kosher to shoot the thing even though it was in my field. In the time that they were mulling it over, the buck moseyed off again into the north tree line, away from the hunters and still on my property.

Buck, you’re welcome though I really don’t think that this is going to endear me to my neighbors.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Zen

Ah, RC… My trusty quarter horse. I like him again.


Why? Because first, he’s sound (finally!) and second, we had a very good ride yesterday, even after having nearly three weeks off! Sure he started out a little tense, and my Stubben doesn’t fit him as well as his custom fit Schleese (spoiled, much?), but after about twenty minutes of warm up, something clicked in his head and he turned on the working horse gear.

We did leg yields, shoulder in’s, renvers, travers and even some baby half pass (he was a little resistant to those). I even got some canter work out of him! This is the first ‘real’ canter I’ve tried out of him in the last three weeks… the quarter pony lope we played with the other day doesn’t count. He was hardly moving. He is wanting to swing his butt in in the canter, just like back in the day, but we fixed it with some baby halfpass ad counter canter (which would have been easier had there not been a fresian careening around the arena).

Oh, it feels so nice to be reminded that I can ride dressage. There is something passed these young horses. Progress will come… My dressage zen is back.

And, the only comment we received while working RC: “He sure has a huge butt”

Tilly had the day off, and Delight had the arena all to ourselves yesterday. It’s like the stars were aligning for good rides. Now I just need to string a few days like that together…



Hey, I can dream.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow


Ok, first things first: I’ve been singing Christmas carols since the first snow started falling and I won’t apologize for it. I blame my upbringing. I mean, Texas doesn’t really get snow, so I’ve long since been conditioned to equate snow with Christmas movies (thanks, Dad). Either way, don’t judge!

(Baby, it’s cold outside…)

Alright. Main event. Yesterday the snow started lightly falling around two. The area had ice in the forecast, so I went out to the barn to make sure that all of the ponies were nice and snug, and bring Chantilly her new blanket-unfortunately her midweight hasn’t arrived yet, so she’s in her heavy weight. Good thing I brought it out though, since out of the 20 horses on the place there were two that couldn’t hang when the snow started.

RC and Chantilly.

Why don't the ponies like me?
I think Chantilly would have been ok except that she’s turned out in the pony pen, and the little appy ponies wouldn’t let her in the shelter. Then again, she has even less of a winter coat than RC, and way less than Delight, so blanketing it is! Also, she’s so happy in a blanket.

(Chestnuts roast on an open fire...)

RC had to be brought in from turnout before I got there since he was shivering in his midweight blanket when it started snowing. What a wimp. When I got there his neck was wet with melted snow, but he was happily chowing down on hay. Today we’ll try the heavyweight, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll add his hood. Really, this horse is already an embarrassment. What’s one more layer?

Oh, that pony gets to go in first?!?!

Delight was the only one of the three unperturbed by the snow. She gets wicked jealous when I get Chantilly and RC before her, but the cold was not bothering her. Though she worked second in my rotation yesterday, so she was somewhat mollified (and she’s the one who breaks a sweat, so needs to be in a sheet to dry off before she’s done).
No, that's ok. I don't mind. Really....

Riding wise, Chantilly had another good day. She’s going to be a fun little horse, even if she’s still a little wide eyed at some of the shenanigans happening at my barn. Delight was less naughty than yesterday, but she needs a lot more work. I think she’s ready to work harder than I was expecting. It’s an eye-opener riding her right after Chantilly. Oh, maybe Delight isn’t the young green horse that I keep thinking she is. RC was last in my rotation because he felt NWR yesterday at the trot (what little of it we did), he isn’t a priority. Which is a mistake, because that horse makes me smile like the two ponies can’t (yet). Since it was cold and I had already ridden three other horses (I did a tune up on a boarder’s horse), I opted to go bareback, and just walk RC around for a while. And he was amazing. We did our little QH jog and even some of our western horse lope around the arena. Riding that horse just makes me smile- and bonus: the advice giving mother think that I’m the most talented thing since Pat Parelli (cringe) because I can do everything bareback that I can do in a saddle on RC (yeah, NEVER riding the ponies bareback. At least not til they’re in their teens).

Evidently I live in a gingerbread house...

The down side of all this snow: I have a 100 yard driveway and no snowblower. Just me and the shovel this morning, humming christmas carols under my breath with the poodles romping about in the snow, sans blankets because they were so excited about being outside in this new white stuff.  When I was nearly done, I was politely informed by the school bus driver this morning that it's simply not done to shovel a driveway for this little bit of snow unless one drives a Smart Car or go-Kart (maybe not that exact phrasing). Oops. First winter faux pas.

That tennisball is harder to find in the snow...


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flying Ponies

It seems that my life is developing a pattern. I get up, walk the dogs for a few miles, go to work, then off to the barn where – let’s face it- the real work begins.


Yesterday was slightly different in that, silly me, I went for a jog/walk with the dogs instead of just a walk. Ow. I know this last ten pounds is stubborn, but I’m not sure if it’s worth jogging. People run for fun? OW!

So off I went to work, leaving my happy tired poodles sleeping happily in their boxes, with my quads burning. Work was… uneventful.

Then barn time! Best part of my day! Seriously, that physical activity (that isn’t mindless running/walking) is probably what keeps me sane some days. I started with Chantilly, since there was an empty arena and I was going to use it! As it would turn out, she’s a whole lot more comfortable without ponies careening around. Steering is sometimes a little iffy, and she was very very suspicious of the ground poles that I left set out in the middle of the arena.

So, Chantilly (we need a nickname. Chanty? Tilly?) worked well for about half an hour. Check.

RC’s turn.

I chose RC because I knew there was a lesson scheduled, so I assumed that it would be easier to stay out of the way on RC (who is 90% better now!) than on Delight, what with the weather changing and having had a few days off. In the time it took me to get tacked up and out to the arena, there was already another little pony out there. Fine. We can deal. No problem.

Shoulder in, leg yield, baby half-passes, renvers, travers all at the walk for some warm up. Just as I pick up the trot in comes the instructor. Not just for kid 1 on the pony already in the arena, but with four more kids and ponies in tow. So much for that ride… Bogies at 4, 6, 10 and 12 o’clock. I bowed out gracefully, and took RC back to the barn for some serious grooming.

I dawdled getting Delight ready, since I really was hoping for an empty arena (not totally out of the realm of possibility, since it’s usually pretty empty after five), but we had one other horse and rider to dodge. No biggie. We’re both descent riders, we can share.

Since lunging is for weenies, I just hopped on Delight. Turns out, that wasn’t my brightest moment. The other rider chose to lunge, and with the first snap of that lunge whip to get her steady eddy moving, my Delight decided to show off her prowess for airs above the ground. We had a leap and a buck, followed by the typical warmblood proposing.

Side note: Ponies are damn quick (thanks for that sound bite Wayne).

After two more rounds around the arena where pushing Delight forward seemed to not be fixing the problem (think forward leaping and bucking) I wimped out. I wimped out hard. Out came the bright pink lunge line, and we lunged over cavelettis.

Now, I don’t lunge to get the sillies out. I lunge to make them work in the case that there might be some sillies that I don’t want to have to sit out. Ten minutes of lunging, and she was no longer leaping the cavalettis as if they were 3’ oxers, so on I got. Again.

And we had a good ride. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suprise!

I suppose I should start with the Big Reveal: My surprise… I added another pony to the string!


Her name is Chantilly. She’s a 2007 German Riding pony (RPSI, not Wesser-EMS) with 30 days of training on her. When I went for my second visit, I sat on her and though “Oh, this is the one!”


So we did the PPE, then I went on down and picked her up on Sunday. Of course, it was only her third trailer ride, and first time in a slant load, so we had a little pony fit for the for ten minutes or so, then she settled in and ate for the next 7 hours… 14 hours a day dragging a trailer is beyond what I ever want to do again. Oy vey.

Chantilly popped off the trailer with no problem, went for a jog in the arena while I got her new stall ready, rolled then happily went to her new stall to eat some more.

So yesterday I debated about giving her the day off, since she had just arrived, but she met me at the gate and wanted to come in, so I tacked her up and brought her in to lunge. No one was there, so it seemed like perfect timing to me. I cleared out all of the jumps and barrels and ground poles that were strewn about the arena, presumably in some sort of pattern for the lesson ponies. I didn’t think that Chantilly needed any obstacles on day 1, so away it all went. Chantilly was a little jumpy-in the way that ponies seem to spook, with the crouch and look but nothing else.

Oh, and we had 50 mph gusts yesterday too, so the arena was rattling and groaning.

Plenty of factors to make La Ponita Tres a little nervous, yet she lunged like a champ (maybe she liked my neon pink and black lunge line). She even settled down in the trot so that it was reaching as opposed to a little rushed. Just as I asked for the canter, in came another boarder on her big four year old. So no canter… Fine. I can deal with that.

Off came the lunge line, and I hand walked Chantilly around the track of the arena while the big black four year old careened around. Chantilly’s head went up.

The door opened and in came a kid on a little pinto Shetland. Chantilly’s eyes started getting wide. What IS that thing? Shetland and Kidlet 2 started warming up with no discernable pattern or speed. Pony does what Pony wants, evidently. Usually at the sewing machine trot or careening canter… Chantilly’s eyes were wide as saucers at this point, but she was calmly standing next to me.

At this point, I figured what do I have to lose? Might as well get on this pony and see what she does. I mean, worst case scenario, Pony bucks me off and I receive even more advice from the rail birds than usual. So up I get, on to the little Stubben close contact saddle I’ve been using while the Schleese is awaiting repairs (not as secure feeling as my dressage saddle would have been…).

And Chantilly… Stands there. What a good pony. So off we went to navigate through this pony and child mine field. Chantilly’s eyes are still pretty wide, but she’s calmly moving forward. I can feel a little tension in her body, but two or three laps around the ring and she relaxed a little bit (but still never trusted the little pony when it came tearing up behind her).

And the door opens.

In comes the Natural Horsemanship pair of the barn. Saddled and ready, armed with carrot stick and official NH halter/lead rope/reins… Again Chantilly stopped and looked, but she moved off readily enough. We upped the ante to trot work, nice and forward. Chantilly seems happier when moving forward so that she doesn’t have to worry about all of the bogeys in the arena.

Whump. Whump. Whump. Whump.

Chantilly came to a dead halt and craned her neck to look at the sound. Evidently NH warm up includes tapping your horse with the carrot stick, which sounds kind of like a wiffle ball bat on the side of a house.

I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and dismounted. I lead Chantilly around one more lap, then took her back to the stall to untack. Of course, as I exited the arena, what did I hear?

“I have some Natural Horsemanship tapes you can borrow so you can learn how to desensitize that horse”

Thanks, but no thanks. This horse deserves a gold plated feed bin filled with mints and carrots for not dumping me and leaving forever.



Oh, and here’s this week’s weather forecast. Charming right?



Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Monday, November 7, 2011

Do the Twist...

First of all, I will start off with my good news: RC is sound to trot!


Finally! After two weeks off, his feet have finally grown enough for him to be comfortable at the trot. The bute that I’ve been giving him is probably helping… But that boy needs to start working before he destroys the barn. We don’t want to be “That Boarder”. Shudder.

Since RC is prone to annoying bossy behavior of his jerky stud-cold alter ego, Red Fury, when giving any considerable time off, we’ve been spending our time doing about an hour of showmanship or in hand work. Mostly things like stopping when I stop (without having to bump the lead rope), backing when I ask (without having to bump the lead rope), pivoting on his hind quarters to both directions and generally not running me over. We were actually doing pretty well after a few days of practice. RC is always so proud of himself when he knows the answer to the questions I’m asking.

On Friday, I brought carrots for both of the ponies. A little treat for being good, as it were. Delight worked hard, and pretty well, so she got her carrots in her stall after working. RC, nearly frantic that HE was never going to eat again at the sound of Delight crunching away on carrots, got too pushy. So it was off to the arena for some groundwork. I decided to break up two carrots into little pieces to reward him got his groundwork efforts. As it would turn out, a little food reward makes RC very very attentive. He would stop and back without any pressure. His pivots were approaching reining velocity. That is, until his lack of coordination caught up with him.

I was asking him to do a little pattern using the ground poles that were lying all over (as always). We walked over the first three poles, pivoted to the right 270 degrees, walked over three more poles, halt, pivot 90 degrees and set up. We didn’t make it to the set up stage. I tried (silly me) to give RC a treat as I was asking him to pivot the 90 degrees. His body started moving faster than his legs, which got twisted up under him like a pretzel. He hit the ground with a THUD.

What kind of horse falls down in showmanship?

Obviously RC cannot walk and chew at the same time, much less cross his legs while chewing. I should have known better…

Of course, there were witnesses to RC’s moment of grace. Lesson kids on their ponies were staring at him wide eyed as he finished chewing before lumbering to his feet, ready for another carrot piece. What a doofer. Good thing I have Deli, so it looks like I actually do know how to work with horses…



Also… I have a surprise for everyone! Pictures to come….

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Helpful Advice

Well, the change has happened. It’s closing in on winter- a fact that I’m reminded of every morning when I find my slippers to take the poodles outside in the dark. 23 degrees this morning at 9 am (when it gets light). I’ve had to chip ice off my truck for the last few mornings… But my new automatic garage door is nearly complete (along with my stalls-but those pictures will come later), so there is hope from when it’s snowing and blowing and just being miserable. But for now, it’s just chilly.


As for my new barn… Let’s just say that there’s an adjustment period. RC’s still off from the last horrid trimming job. He’ sound at the walk now, with the help of neat purple runner pads and size 000 shoes. To give you an idea on how much foot was taken off, he usually wears a size 0. That’s two sizes smaller than ideal! Not happy…. Where’s Jessie when you need him?

Other than the feet, RC’s fitting in. He’s the only horse on the property who wears a blanket at all times. I tried to turn him out sans blanket yesterday (it was 50 degrees and sunny, with a light breeze); He had to be brought in because he was shivering so badly. I guess he’ll be in blankets/sheets for the next six months. What a wimp. The other bad thing about him being lame for so long (going on three weeks now) is that he’d made the transition into Red Fury. He actually went so far as to bite me the other day while I was picking his feet! Me! I have a bruise on my butt from that horse! Turns out the only cure is about an hour of hand walking and working on showmanship.

Delight, on the other hand, loves having a stall of her own. She could not be happier. She gets to go outside (unfortunately with Red Fury, who is even less of a benevolent leader now with his time off), and come back in to ‘her space’. And the girls at the barn think she’s hot stuff (though they are calling her “Black Velvet”, which I think it worse than Irish Delight, in my opinion). She’s even progressing in the indoor arena- First level, here I come.

Side note: Funny how much more I ask from her in a proper arena than out in the field. All of a sudden I care about bend through the corners and maintaining a proper circle.

The down side of all this is that I am getting all kinds of unsolicited advice…

One ‘trainer’ started telling me that horses can actually wear blankets outside (I know, RC's is hanging in front of his stall and I am paying for full care board).

A lesson kid’s mom knows a woman with a first level school master who could teach me so much.

A boarder knows someone who did dressage and can help me fix my pony (ok, so we had a few explosive transitions. It was cold, she was fresh… these things happen). And obviously a martingale would fix her head set.

I shouldn’t be afraid to ride with other people – There were 5 lesson kids on ponies in there. I think Delight and I needed to wait them out. Safety first.



But really. This boarding thing might work out. Either I've lost all talent in the saddle or I just have to get through this overly helpful initial period. (Though I am really excited about my new stalls in my barn. Spring can’t come soon enough!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making the Move

Yesterday I brought my two to the boarding barn for the winter months. I'm divided about how I feel about the move. On one hand, there were people. I mean, I could actually interact with people around horses. How cool is that going to be? On the other hand, I can no longer go outside and pet a fuzzy pony nose, or listen to RC chew while drinking coffee.... When I woke up this morning with no horses to feed, no hay to bring out, nothing to do but walk the poodles, I'll admit, I felt a little sad. Delight will no longer come running to the fence when she hears the truck come up the drive after work. RC will no longer wait to be let out in the front yard to graze. sigh, I guess I can't have it all.


An Empty Barn

In other, bad, news, RC's been off for a week after getting his feet done. He's very very tender, and yesterday I noticed that his feet were hot to the touch and he's got a ridge at the top of his hoof wall. My first thought was founder. I'm still hoping I'm wrong about that, especially since he hasn't been eating feed, the hay is quality, but not timothy or alfalfa. The grass is fall grass, and mostly dried. I'm crossing my fingers that it's inflammation from a bad farrier job.

I've been spoiled by Jake and Jessie all these years with no shoeing issues.

Unfortunately after that unsettling discovery yesterday, I got a call this morning. RC got out of his stall last night, and -you guessed it- into the feed room. Now I have to worry about what he consumed in alfalfa pellets on top of his existing foot issue. How did that horse break out of his stall? He's the only nut in a box of screws... Day 1 at the new barn did not go well at all.