Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Enter the stable: Volume 2

Last night I decided to have another try at getting Cady into the stable. It was still a 'no' but this time I had more time and decided to perservere while remaining kind (hugely lost my temper with her on Monday which every horse owner knows gurarantees immediate victory. Not)

So I kept asking and after a bit one of the other liveries came over and we started chatting about the issue and she helped by getting a bucket of feed and then sat on the mounting block and we kept chatting as the evening went on which actually helped immensly as it stopped me getting frustrated and giving up.

We decided it was the rubber matting she was frightened of and moved the small square of it directly in front of the stable to one side. But the rest of the stable was still fitted with matting so she still didn't want to go in.

She would stop and have sniff and then as I kept asking her to come forward she'd pull back hard. During one of these moments she accidently stepped one front foot on the mat we'd moved and froze. After about thirty seconds she snatched her leg off it and had a lick and a chew. I think that was the start of her realising I wasn't asking her to walk into a giant hole in the ground. To help matters along we kicked shavings over the front of the mat so she could see it was solid.

We both agreed that in the few minutes after that she looked like she really wanted to at least try and sure enough it wasn't long before she walked into the stable. It was a great moment and I made a big fuss of her and proceeded to lead her in and out about a dozen times.

She ate a little feed in the stable and then I led her back to her field. Driving home after I felt very pleased with the process and the outcome. She wasn't bullied into the stable but went in through her choice. It has given me confidence to do some loading practice with her soon as I think it's the same issue and I'm more convinced we could work through it successfully.

So, a reminder to myself when tackling issues.

1. Have time to work through it

2. Have someone else about for moral support and suggestions. They see things that you don't or agree when there's a moment of progress which keeps you motivated.

3. Be kind. It goes a long way.

Happy horsing everyone x

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Much better

A much better night at the yard yesterday. Rodney had a small feed, got doused in fly spray and had a slight haircut. He was very patient and seemed to enjoy the fuss. I started to lunge him but he seemed a bit tender on his lumpy fetlock leg so we called it a day. This morning the lump has gone right down so I think it's just been a knock and he should be fine soon.

So handsome

Having a little nose scratch post haircut

I then fetched Cady in and tried to be a more helpful sort of owner i.e. not ranting and raving (see previous post) She was good to lead and stood very still at the rail even though there was tons going on - multiple horses in the arena, trailers and boxes to-ing and fro-ing, lots of noise and runing around etc...I gave her a brush, put on fly spray, inspected the hole where her abscess was and squished some sudocream onto her head sore. She was really good which just goes to show that she tends to behave herself when I behave myself and do things properly. Or perhaps we were both just in a better mood?

Severe haircut with tufty bit from rug rub over the winter

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

In which I despair

At times, I am surprised by my own naivety. Despite all I have seen and experienced in relation to Cady there are still moments when I am left baffled, confused and hopping mad with rage.

The farrier had a look at her on Friday and dug out an abscess which was great. Now I know why she's been lame and she already looks better, though I think she's still a bit tender on that foot, unsurprisingly.

The tender foot is also not helped by the fact that she is a great, big fat pig at the moment. Last week I tried a grazing muzzle for a few hours a day but after two days she shook her head so much she came out in a sore.

So no grazing muzzle and horse still overweight. Fine. Kind yard owner said I could leave her in a stable a few hours a day and gradually bring her weight down.

So first thing Monday I went to bring her in. Except - no. Cady said "I am not going in the stable' and forty minutes of me ranting and raving did nothing to change her mind.

The best I could get was for her to sniff the area 10cm in front of the stable. Now I know a lot of knowledgable people out there are going to think "Well if you'd given her time to think about it she would have gone in" but I have learned from bitter experience that this is not the case. Cady will stand and sniff in a hopeful manner until civilisations have crumbled and oceans have dried up, without having any intention of moving a foot.

So after 40 solid minutes of wrestling I had to give up and drive to work late and, red in the face, furious and sweaty.

Bloody, bloody, bloody-minded witch - four years on and she won't walk into a stable. I know, from her point of view, it all makes sense, but it would be so amazing if we could do one small thing without a huge problem.

But I am bloody-minded too. So Gail Jeffrey, who helped me untold amounts when Cady was a bit younger is coming to help in the next few weeks. To show Cady I mean business I gave her a severe haircut last night. She looks bald and fat now.

Rodney is a big consolation, but has a hard lump on his near hind fetlock. It had gone down this morning so fingers crossed it's just a knock. He's had his headcollar off all week and been good to catch.

Happy horsing everyone x

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Best buddies and hula-hoops

Phil and Cady seem to be kindred spirits and whenever he comes to the yard she glues herself to his side. Here are a couple of pics from the weekend that (I think) show their friendship perfectly!

In other news. I have taken up hula-hooping. If it's good enough for Sylia Loch it's good enough for me. So far though, not much hooping. It's very difficult when you have the core strength of a stick.

Lovely weather, muzzle grumpiness and extreme photoshop

Well the great weather makes the stables an absolute pleasure these days. I'm got a cracking farmer's tan and all my goals are out the window as I concentrate on just drifting about and pretending to be in Spain.

Cady pops is still lame unfortunately and I've bought her a grazing muzzle to tackle her weight, figuring that being a fatty isn't helping and will place more strain on the injury, whatever it is.

I asked the yard owner to take a look at her last night. We both agree it looks like something in her near foreleg and that it's worse on hard ground.

On Friday the blacksmith's going to take a look to rule out gravel or a bruise and after that I'll ask my osteopath to take a look. The next step after that will be a vet visit. It goes without saying Cady hates her grazing muzzle. I tried to help her figure it out yesterday and she shook her head so hard it banged off my hipbone and left me really sore, so we are both in the wars!

It'll be interesting to see how long it is before she refuses to be caught and subjected to her face brace. I do take her point but why are we owners always having to do things they hate/don't understand to try and keep them healthy? Equine parenting is hard!

Rodney is doing really well. He stomps over to be caught and even when I'm just passing through the field he follows and begs. We did some light schooling over the weekend and a little hack about as it was very hot. He still stumbles a bit on his back legs when we ride out and his next osteo visit is September so I'll know more then. He is schooling nicely though and will have his saddle checked next week.

I've been happily messing about with the special effects button on my phone and here are my efforts.

Happy horsing everyone!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Happy Thursday chums !

I've got my tack all ready today so all being well me and Rodney are going for a pootle tonight. He came over very willingly again last night which is really great. Cady Pickle is also happy and bobbed over to inspect our pockets.

In lieu of having much news, I'm going to recommend the Horse Hero website which has lots of blogs by trainers like Emma Massingale, Jason Webb and Richard Maxwell. There's a lot of good reading on there if you've got a bit of time and want to hear from people who can really work well with horses.

It's free to register and there are videos on there for anyone who doesn't enjoy reading.
Click here to take a look Horse Hero

By the way, this is not a sponsored post - I just think it's a good resource for horse owners :) Hope you enjoy it.

To finish, here's a little picture of Rodney to brighten up your day.

Happy horsing x

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Handsome Rodney

I was slightly worried last night that Rodney would be a sod to catch as they've just moved to a new field. I should have had a bit more faith because he came stomping over for his carrot and a neck stroke. He is so extremely beautiful at the moment it gives me face ache.

Here's a pic from Monday when we lunged over raised poles to help him use his back properly. He's got his weather eye on for some reason but actually I think he didn't mind it too much and it should help him in the long term.

Mrs Pickle is happy as can be with her friends though her grass belly is ridiculous. She'll need the lard come winter though, especially if it's as tough as last year.

Not much else ongoing at the moment so apologies for being a bore lord.

Happy horsing everyone, I hope you're having good weather too x

Monday, 8 July 2013

Must add a couple of pics of Cady from Friday.

She was making the other horses, in turn, escort her to the trough and then buggering off to a safe distance to pull faces.

I thought these two in particular are quite funny...

Cady lame, good boy Rodney + Rodney's salon experience

On Friday I had my lesson booked with Tamara but Cady pulled up lame again. Or should I say, is still lame. I'd trotted her up since last time and she's sound in a straight line but on a circle she's still not right.

Either her near fore or her off hind is troubling her. I'm going to ask the farrier to have a poke around in her feet to see if there's a bruise or some gravel in there. The other possibility is that her hock is hurting - it's been bothersome in the past and she's gained weight so it may be playing up.

The other possibility is that the giant splint just below her near fore knee is now starting to affect the joint. Or it could be none of those things - that is the joy of horses! Needless to say she is perfectly happy in the field with her friends so that's good.

I just couldn't miss the chance for a lesson and Rodney very obligingly agreed to be caught so he was the stand in. I explained to Tamara that he's coming back from a break so we didn't go too mad and focused on some suppling and stretching work. He felt miles better and tried really hard and it was such a pleasure to feel that rhythmical trot again.

On Sunday I took Rodney for a walk out just to stretch and did ten minutes of walk/trot work in the arena. He felt lovely and was happy to be caught so I hope he's feeling better now.

Sadly no riding pics this weekend but I did tackle his slurry coloured tail and these are the results. I think he has the most beautiful mane and tail - when it's clean it's this stunning blend of chestnut, cream and a deep red.

You can also just about see his new field headcollar. It's an Aerborn one and much lighter than his other one so he should be more comfortable and experience less rubbing. Just one thing - why did I buy dark green? It looks good but how am I going to find it if he ditches it in the field?!

Oh, and one more thing - a big congratulations to my friend and her faithful steed for a first in her intro dressage class and a second in the prelim test on Friday. Richly deserved :) Well done!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Good horses, great friends

Last night was a proper treat.

Remember Ice who we picked up from Gatwick a couple of months ago? Well his mum also owns a beautiful Friesian called Luckas and last night we all went for a ride together.

The weather was warm and sunny and the fields were crammed with poppies so it was a golden evening. Luckas is amazing - he has the most giant, stately, cruising walk. He's definitely a Rolls Royce as his mum says. It's a while since I've ridden a horse bigger than 15hh and combined with his long flowing mane I felt ready to charge into battle!

All the horses were really well behaved (Ice has settled in so well and is the sweetpea we suspected) and we had a good catch up on the way round. Perfect.

The only issue is that Luckas may have a sore neck this morning as he had to endure a lot of patting..that's just one of the hazards of being handsome ;)

Happy horsing everyone x

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Noisy, dramatic snorting

Last night was very rainy and I was still sulking (see yesterday's moan fest) so I was tempted just to count their legs and throw them a carrot.

Instead I brought Rodney in (he thought about nicking off when I went to catch him but it was too late - I already had him) checked his feet and his head for any serious headcollar rubs and then grazed him in hand for a bit.
I might try some loose schooling over poles and little jumps soon to see if he likes it and to help him work through...

Cady's field is a bit of a hike but I went and brought her in anyway - just for a quick check over and a carrot. She is extremely tight with her herd (they graze within inches of each other and rarely stray) so even 15 minutes away from them helps to challenge her brain - I think. She did big noisy dramatic snorting throughout the walk to the yard but led correctly next to me pretty well.

Tonight I'm riding out with my friend on one of her horses - I'm very excited as they are lovely. If the rain holds off I'll take pics.

Happy horsing everyone x

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The slump

I'm in a slump with the horses at the moment.

I decided at the weekend to do some very short hacks on Rodney to gradually build him up again. I've been out twice so far for roughly 15 minutes a time and he feels pretty horrible. He's sound but I think his saddle is off and for some reason my weight is now going into my left stirrup rather than my right - possibly because the osteopath visits of late have rearranged me.

The second time I rode him I tried really hard to get my position right and have a gentle but stable contact. It felt all wrong and tense and I was pleased to get off again.

Cady is sound again but I've hit another dead end. As soon as we come out of the field she's on top, top alert and it is exhausting. I think she's lost confidence in me and at the moment I'm out of ideas.

I did see this (see below) on FB the other day - an experienced trainer discussing a complicated horse and his choice of bit. The dedication and time lengths involved in getting this horse happy gave me a bit of faith. There are some typos but you get the gist.

So. I have a lesson booked with Tamara on Friday. Saddler is due at the end of the month. Other than that the plan is to keep on keeping on.

Happy horsing everyone! :)

He has a history as hysteric show jumping pony. We got him cheap when he was 12, he is 23 now. 
 It took a long time to find how to treat him, and as long as we did things that he could not connect to his time as show jumping pony, he mostly was OK to deal with. That's why riding becomes problem and for some years I did not ride him, I worked him in long reins (it was actyallu his normal rein and I walked by his side). He did like that and after 2 years I could start riding him and tried a lot of bits. With the one handed curb he is most relaxed. Still a lot of arguments some days, where it can be hard to find the reason. Last time it was the curb chain, and some weeks ago he suddenly wanted a new saddle as he has gained some weight. Sometimes I also try another bit on him, but most of the times I come back to this as it gives best result.
I am not searching for the tool that makes the horse obey (in the old dominant way), I am searching for the tool that makes him understand.