Friday, July 31, 2009

John rode Taz again!

I convinced John to go riding with me today after work! Awesome! He borrowed Taz the Tennessee Walker again! It was a blast. I have been wanting to show John around the trails for a while now! So, we went around the big hill, through the trails to the hay pasture, down the gravel road and then back through the trails to the top of the big hill by the manager's house. We rode for about 1.5 hours and mostly walked. We trotted a little, but not much since the horses just ate before we got there. John did really well. I only had to remind him to keep his heels down a couple of times! :) Taz was testing him a little and didn't want to trot/rack at first but I showed John how to "ask, tell, demand" and they both caught on quickly. Boomer was really good too! He thought about balking once on the road, but never stopped and once going out on the trail when we were pointed home, but then turned away, he balked but was easy to correct. Otherwise, he was on a loose rein the whole time, even on the road! He can really be a model student sometimes!

I really had a good time and thought it was so cool to have John come along on a ride with me! I know it probably isn't his cup of tea to go riding after a hard day at work before he even gets to go running, but it was cool for me! I like to ride alone, but John is my first pick when it comes to having a partner!

It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so no Clinton Lake. I hope to get out there at least 1-2 more times to camp before the endurance ride on Sept 19th. Though, looking at our calendar, it may not happen! The next two weekends we will be in CA, then the the next weekend we are going to a friends wedding in OK, then the next two weeks John is in TX for work (not excited about that, but my mom is coming to visit and I will be in school so I should stay busy)! So, that leaves the weekend of the 12th to camp before the ride! I will have plenty of time to keep conditioning him and hopefully everything will fall into place and we can go to the ride!!! I am not holding my breath, but I am pretty excited to get out there for a ride!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Phew!

I just spent 5 hours at the Eudora Animal Hospital and it was awesome! I did almost pass out watching my first spay/hernia repair. After that though, I was fine. There were two more spays, a declaw, and a crazy abscess. There was also a cow with a hoof abscess, a constipated calf, and two cows with pink eye. I also watched regular appointments for a cat and a small dog. It was a pretty busy day! I can comeback anytime and hopefully if I show up more often I can start going on farm calls too. That is what I am really interested in and I would love to see some of the AI and repro stuff. Apparently there is a Friesian farm nearby that breeds. I'm not really sure what else to tell about, but I am excited to go back! It was a really laid back and fun environment. They even let me give a few shots of antibiotics!

As for now, I am working on getting enrollment all squared away. I want Physics at KU and Chem II at K-State.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hooray!!!!



I took Boomer on the barn trail ride this Saturday and he was great! I was happy to find that when you get enough horses (16) together, Boomer doesn't look half bad! Really though, he was a very well behaved gentleman! He thought about balking on the road once, but was easily persuaded to keep going and once on the way back I kicked my foot out of the stirrup to stretch and he jumped forward. Other than those two minor issues, he was perfect! Which, with horses, is pretty darn perfect!

In other news, I have been working on trailer loading and that is going well. I had help backing the trailer up to the round pen and my plan was to work Boomer at the canter and occasionally ask him to load, if he didn't I sent him off again. Well, 30 minutes and 8 tries later, he finally got in. I was afraid he was going to run himself to death before he got in. I have never seen him to sweaty. I knew I couldn't give up, but I was starting to worry that I was being cruel!!! But, he got in on the eighth try and stood for about 30 seconds, then jumped out, so I ran him around more for about a minute and asked him to load again and he did right away, then he just stood there. He wasn't getting out of that trailer for anything! So, I let him cool down and relax in there for about 15 minutes. Then I unloaded and loaded him a few more times and called it a day. The next day I parked the trailer near the round pen and tried again, he hopped right in and out no problem. Today we went for a trail ride at clinton lake with a few others and he was good loading at first, then we decided to unload him and put another horse in first, after that Boomer wasn't sure he wanted back in the back compartment. We had to use the panels to get him in, but I really feel that it was a space issue, he had his saddle on and there was another horse in the front, so I don't think he knew he could fit. Once we were loading up to come home, he went in like a gentleman. So, hooray for that!

Dripping with sweat!




video
This was the last loading attempt. He was so great! See how much easier it is to be in the trailer than running around working hard!!!!


This morning John and I met the ladies out at the barn for a trail ride at Clinton Lake from the dam. The barn manager let John borrow her TWH gelding, Taz. He was great! John had a blast with him! John said his gait was just so smooth that he couldn't help but smile! Taz is a chestnut gelding who is 19 years old and about 16.2hh. He and John were great together! His owner is having knee surgery in a week and told us that we could borrow him anytime since she can't ride for 6-8 weeks!

The trail ride was so much fun! We were out for 2-3 hours and the trail was pretty challenging. Bonnie and her horse Ginger (24 years) know that area like it is home, so we were trail blazing part of the time! We also went to the beach and walked along the water for a while! That was so much fun! I was so proud of Boomer for going in the water! The other horses were Ella- the cutest halflinger mare you have ever seen, Cowboy- a 3 year old paint, and K-Lar- a 19 year old arab gelding.

We really had a blast and I am so happy with how well Boomer is doing with his trailer and riding training! I think in the next few weeks I want to work on more trotting and maybe cantering around the big hill. I am a little nervous cantering out in the open, but I think we may be ready in a week or two!

Friday, July 24, 2009

It is starting to look real!!!

Monday morning at 7:15 I have an appointment at Eudora Animal Hospital to shadow a doctor! He does small animal surgery from 7:15-9 and then starts farm calls at 9. I am so excited to shadow him! This experience will also serve as an interview of sorts. Hopefully, they will allow me to volunteer at their clinic.

It is amazing to me that this time next year, my application will be sent in and I will be awaiting news of my fate. I know a year can be a long time but this is a process and I have a lot to get done between now and then!

My goals for the fall semester are to successfully take Chem II, Physics I, and possibly Intro Communications. I also want to join the Pre-Vet club at K-State and get this volunteer program started!

Wish me luck on Monday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Testing the boot camp!

I went for an evening trail ride today with Belinda and Bonnie. Belinda has a 14 year old QH/Paso mare named Jesse and Bonnie has a 24 year old paint mare called Ginger. They are both great horses. Jesse is currently in attitude training for her kicking habit and she is learning quickly! I got to the barn about 2 hours before the ride time and started working with Boomer. I lunged him at the canter for a solid 30 minutes and then I got on him to 'test ride'. I decided to lunge him first because it was a little chilly and windy. On our 'test ride' around the hill he was very good and never balked or spun. So, I put him in the cross ties until the other ladies showed up and lunged him lightly while they were tacking up. We left the barn going towards the road which we had never done before and rode along the highway for about a 1/4 mile. Boomer did very well! We stopped at a neighbors house to invite her along but she wasn't able to ride with us. So, we kept going along the gravel road (it had been sealed, so it looked like gravel but was hard packed) for quite a ways. Boomer hesitated at a dirt road that leads back to the property, but I could kick him on easily. He did balk once over a bridge and I had to get off to school him from the ground (I hold the reins in my left hand and slap him on the rump to get him to hustle around me). The ladies kindly waited and Boomer was fine once I got back on. After that, he balked once or twice more, but was easy to get back on track without dismounting. We were out for about 1.5 hours and just rode along the back roads. Afterwards I lunged him and put him away. It was a great way to test Boomer's boot camp training. So far, so good! I am happy with how his training is going and I think I will start working him more while riding rather than lunging. Maybe I will start by riding him in the arena pretty good, then take him out, then bring him back to lunge before putting him away.

The barn is hosting a trail ride/BBQ this Saturday and I think I will ride since Boomer is doing well! The ride plan is to go off the property on the back roads to another property where there is an old ski hill/lift. They call it Blue Mound and it is supposed to be a really good climb!

First Blog award!



Thanks to Ellie of Ellie and Werther for this cool award!


honestscrap.png


I think this award is particularly relevant in the horse training/riding community. Horses are incapable of being anything but honest. Thus, we, as riders, should strive to be just as honest as our partners in order to make our communication as clear as possible. Sometimes that honesty isn't pretty, sometimes it makes us proud.


Here are a few things I have learned about horses by being honest with myself:


1. Its best to admit when you have done something stupid. (remember that time I rode... ahem... got bucked off... my green broke horse in a halter bareback, without telling anyone where I was, or wearing a helmet?)


2. Sometimes you have to evaluate your own riding to understand your horses misbehavior. (like when Boomer was bucking at every canter depart until I let go of his face)


3. It is important to look back and see the progress you have made, especially if you are experiencing difficult times. ( just one short year ago I was focused on picking up Boomer's feet and getting him to stand still for the fly spray)


4. Never underestimate what you CAN do! ( more recently, I have been struggling with Boomer's attitude and barn sourness. This is something that I thought was out of my control, but after much thought and planning we are succeeding and making progress!)




I am supposed to pass this award along to fellow bloggers, but I'm not sure who hasn't done this one already! So, if you want it, come and get it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Odds and ends

It is pouring down rain right now. It is also supposed to rain tomorrow. I really hope the trails are open next weekend because I REALLY want to go again!!! I gave the horse the day off, I figure if John and I are sore and Charley is still worn out, the horse may enjoy a day of rest as well! I went out to visit him and doctor his various wounds. He has a scrape on the shoulder from flipping over backwards, a small nick on his back left stifle from something on the trail, and a few rubs from his halter around his nose from the frequent hard lunging lately. So, I put ointment on him and took him back to his paddock fora quick lunge and a carrot. Oh, Boomer likes carrots now! I brought a bag this weekend for cooking and knowing that he doesn't like carrots, I decided to investigate. He sniffs them, but is uninterested. So, I forced a piece into his mouth and held up his head so he had to eat it. He crunched it up, lost a few chunks and swallowed a few. Upon being offered another piece, he gummed it, then crunched it up and bobbed his head for more! He just didn't know how to eat them and after all of these years, he can be a real horse and eat carrots! Now, I'm not really a 'treat' kind of person, but I think it would be fun to take carrots on trail rides or camping adventures as a reward for being good in a foreign situation.

I am in the process of starting Part 2 of Boomer's Boot Camp. Part 2 is trailer loading. At the time, we can get him loaded by putting two panels of the portable corral behind him and he hops right in. However, I would really like to just be able to load him up with no fuss or force. So, off to the round pen. Last week it had a new horse in it for 4 days (grrr) and just today they took it apart and leveled it and put sand in it. I am happy for the improvement, but if someone else puts a horse in it, I'm going to complain about it. I want to back the trailer up to one of the two gates and then bring Boomer in the other gate. My plan is to get him working hard for a little while (cantering around the round pen), then stop him and offer him to get in the trailer (stand at his left side with him facing the trailer and point in the trailer), if not- off he goes (more cantering), I will repeat this until he gets in and then he can rest for as long as he needs. Hopefully, this will only take a few sessions and he will load up without much fuss. I am hoping that he will start to realize that the alternative to doing what I say is to work until he sweats. I hope to start Boot Camp Part 2 on Wednesday evening.

Tomorrow there is a trail ride planned for 6pm with a group. They will go down the road a ways to see some buffalo. I think it is about time for Boomer to get out on a real ride again. I figure if he acts up, I can just hang back and school him and that should take care of the problem. If not, we will just head home and I will lunge him until he hurts. So, wish me luck!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We went camping!!!









Taking the horse camping has been one my biggest goals since I got him. Since we got the trailer in April, training, weather and the move have all kept us from getting out there! Friday afternoon I found out that the Clinton Lake horse trails were going to be open this weekend! I called John and he surprised me by getting off a half day early to help pack! We were packed up, hitched up, and headed out by 4pm. We got to the camp grounds and there were only a handful of other people there and most of them were just regular campers, no horses. There are about 50 camp sites in a big circle with a huge (3-4 acres?) grassy area in the middle. We picked a site, unpacked and set up Boomer's corral.

He settled in quickly and we spent all of Friday evening just hanging out. John went for his run, we grilled out, made a camp fire, and went to bed in the nose of the trailer.

That was the worst night of sleep of my life. I had a headache, my eyes burned from the fire, I was sleeping on steel, it was freaking cold (52 degrees in July???), and I was hypersensitive to every noise. I may have slept from 3:30-5:30, but not much. Boomer was pacing a little, but I just couldn't let myself sleep! What is he got himself so worked up that he crashed through the corral? What if another camper tries to bother him? What if? What if? It was awful. So, I woke John up around 6 am and made him babysit the horse, whom I had tied to the trailer to stop his pacing, while I tried to sleep. No dice. After a while I just got up and started the day. Boomer did really well tied to the trailer for about 4 hours, but as soon as I put the saddle on him, he pulled back, came untied, and flipped over backwards. Of course, he flipped into a metal post with gravel around it and scratched himself and my new saddle. But hey, that was the worst thing that happened the whole trip, so... no harm, no foul?

I had brought along my lunge line and put it to good use. After he flipped over, I lunged him pretty good. It seemed to help him.

After that ordeal, we headed out for our first of three ride/hikes. There are actually three trails all connected at various placed by small intersecting trails. There is supposed to be about 50 miles total. The three trails are Blue, Yellow, and Red, with White connecting. Blue is hardest, then Yellow, then Red. We wanted to get to red, but to get there, you had to go down this...

We led down the first two rides and I rode him on the third ride. He was nervous the first time, but better the second time, and the third time he was great! He followed John the third time while I was riding him and that seemed to give him confidence on there to step. We were the first riders out on Saturday morning, which was a mistake. Spider web city. John was in front, trying to get them with a stick but we were both still getting a lot of web and arachnid in our faces. Not so fun. The horse was good though! On the second ride on Saturday, we went out after many riders had come back in. Boomer was MUCH better and really did great! We had a ton of fun exploring and Boomer was on a loose rein pretty much the whole time. He really seems to enjoy exploring and I also think he enjoys being at the front of the pack. Charley also had a blast. After that ride we met and hung out with some of our neighbors for a few beers and burgers. By Saturday afternoon the camp had filled up and there were at least 15 trailers. It was pretty cool! A number of people had mules.

Saturday night, I had learned my lesson and slept in the back seat of the truck, it was really comfortable and I slept very well. John and Charley cuddled in the nose of the trailer, which Charley LOVED! Boomer seems to do really well in his pen and progressively calmed down as the weekend wore on. His main issue was at the crack of dawn he started pacing, bumping his chest against the corral, and calling to the other horses. So, I got up before the sun hit the horizon to lunge the jitters out of him. It actually worked! He went right back to eating hay and I was able to sleep for another few hours! After that, even when other horses started calling, he didn't call back! We had a leisurely morning, making s'mores for breakfast and waiting for others to head out and clear the cobwebs for us!

The sunday ride was awesome. Boomer started out jittery and I had to have John lead for a while to help us keep a reasonable pace. After about 30 minutes or so, I was able to take the lead and put Boomer on a loose rein! We really had a blast! There were a number of water crossings, a few big hills up and down, a little rock, and a few areas that were out in the open. It was a fun ride that wasn't too challenging. Boomer seemed to have fun, but he really got upset if we stopped on the trail. He was a little prancy and just didn't want to stand still. We worked on that a little, but I think he just wanted a job to do.



I think we all had a really good time and I hope we make a habit of going out there! I know John was bummed because we had hoped the trails would be runnable, but they were too muddy. Maybe if we go after a full week of no rain, it would be better.

Now for the random Pictures:

Nature in our camp ground!


His tail touches the ground!!!!


Nice, thank you.


Tricky stuff!


At the top of the 'super rocky and steep hill'. The power climb to the top and the resulting adrenaline rush was not exactly what Boomer needed as we headed back into the camp! He calmed down quickly though!


Good boy, out on the trail Saturday morning!






Thursday, July 16, 2009

Baby steps

Today was a good day. Boomer, Charley, and I were all able to enjoy a trail ride. How is that, you ask? Well, Boomer wasn't a little shit. I lunged him for about 15 minutes, bridled him and headed out. He didn't balk once leaving the barn, crossing the 'gully', heading into the trails. Nothing. He got a loose rein and had a blast. I was too busy ducking spider webs and wildly flailing my arms when I hit one to worry about Boomer. He was great. He handled the mud, logs, everything! He did speed up a bit when we turned around at the sight of a web that I just couldn't stomach going through, but once he figured out that home still wasn't 'just around the corner' he settled back into a more normal pace. We went through two different trails, one short connector and one longer that we turned around on. Then we headed up around the hill some more, away from home. He was fine with that too. Then we headed home and once we were nearly back, I did a lot of back and forth, trying to get him to balk. Nothing. He just went with it. His neck reining isn't as good out in the open as in the arena, but that isn't something I mind working on at all! Once back at the barn, I decided that we would open and close the gate to the outdoor and ride in there a little. Well, We got the latch open and all of a sudden got attacked by a very angry wasp. Apparently, he had taken up home in the gate latch. Oops! Abort mission! Instead, we walked past the junk pile. He almost bolted with me going past it, so we went through it a few times until he was able to relax and stand still. Then came the bad news. There was a horse in the round pen and Boomer refused to go past it. I tried being nice, but he wasn't listening. So, I got off and sent him around me like crazy. He slipped on the grass, got mad and spun around, so I sent him off the other way. After a while I got back on and he was fine. We made three laps around the round pen in either direction. Then I lunged him for another 20-30 in the indoor. What a day!

Overall, I am so happy with him! I really thought this was such a huge problem and I needed a trainer. But, once I stopped and started to make a plan, We got things done pretty quickly! Smart horse, eh? I plan on continuing to lunge him before (maybe) and after (always) for the next ten rides, no matter how good. Then just sporadically after that. Boot Camp isn't over yet, but I have a smile, and thats a start!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Boomer's Bad Behavior Boot Camp!

As I went out to catch Boomer this afternoon it was cool with a breeze blowing. We know what that means in the summer time! Rain! I got him into the indoor arena just as the rain started coming down. I thought he would be upset by the noise, but he wasn't. I decided to lunge him in the indoor while it rained, that way if it stopped I could ride and if it didn't stop raining he would still get worked. It did eventually stop after 20 minutes or so and we tacked up and headed out already sweaty (him, not me). We headed towards the hill and he gave me one little "I don't want to" balk. I gave him a sharp left turn, then kicked him right and off we went, no problem. After that he didn't give me any more grief at all. Once we headed back I started turning around and going back out, then back towards the barn, taking different paths and going for different lengths of time. About half of the time he would balk when I turned him away from home, but it was more of a "mom, I don't really want to" as opposed to the "f*** you, I'm going home" that I had been getting from him. We even went up the road towards another trail head and the trailer parking. He was pretty snorty up there, I think what was genuine nervousness. He was very good though and I even asked him to walk up a hill between two trailers. He balked, I took him sharp left, then back right and he walked slowly through the trailers! I was very happy with him. Overall, I can actually say that we were both relaxed for once.

As happy as I was with him, he still doesn't get off easy for being 'good'. So, back on the lunge line he went in the indoor after we finished. He worked hard for another 20 minutes, doing lots of canter-walk-reverse-canter transitions. Those are hard work! Once he reversed and bucked into the canter, getting his hind leg over the lunge line. I dropped it and he galloped, bucking around the arena once. I said woah to him, not knowing if he would listen and he sure enough did. He blasted right up to me and then slammed on the breaks with his nose to my chest. I undid the rope and he was fine. So, not only do I make him work, I can also make scary ropes 'get' him, AND I can save him from said scary ropes. It is good to be the human.

After I cooled him out and rinsed him, I made him trot around the lead rope in his paddock for about 5 minutes before letting him go for good measure.

Why do I think he was so much better already? I think he needed a reminder that I am perfectly capable of cooking and serving him for lunch, if I were so inclined (and European). I can and will make him work his ass off. This is not a leisurely vacation where he easts his fill, and packs me around as he wishes. No sir, I make him work as hard and long as I see fit. I think once he realized that yesterday and today (as I lunged him hard before riding the trails) he made the connection that I am in control and when I say 'go' he better GO!

So, boot camp continues. I hope that he will continue to realize that he works at the barn and in his paddock and any other time I deem appropriate. I also hope he continues to realize that the less of an ass he is on the trail, the more relaxing it is for both of us. Everybody loves riding on a loose rein!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The seed is planted...

Today was the first day of "Get your butt in gear training camp" run by yours truly. We started out by tacking up and heading out to the hill before the trails. The hill has a mowed path around it and takes about 10-15 minutes to get around. It hooks up with 2-3 wooded trails. We have been staying on the hill path for now. When Boomer is a good boy we will go back out on the trails.

So, we headed out and he immediately started trying to go backwards. He was looking out towards his paddock with his head high and ears up. So, I backed him for a while and then gave him the option to go forward. He went forwards about 30 feet, then started backing and trying to spin. I tried backing him but felt too much resistance for my comfort (ie, next step was a rear), so I hopped off an chased him around me a few times. Then I got back on and we went another 30 feet. More of the same shit. I think I got off three times before he started to settle down. We were never relaxed though, lest you get the wrong idea. On our way back, I made him serpentine his way along the path, sometimes circling back the other way. He was better but I have a hunch he knew we were headed home. So, we got home and I put him in the cross ties as usual, took off his bridle and put on his halter. Then, I brought out the lunge line. We headed into the indoor arena and we cantered and trotted for 15 minutes until he was dripping with sweat. I think he has gotten out of shape! Then we went back to the cross ties, where he stood saddled while I put away my grooming box and got the hose out. After I unsaddled him and hosed him I took him and the lunge line out to his paddock for more work. I lunged him for about 20 minutes until he was totally dry, then I let him go.

He was worse on the trail than he has been, but I worked the hell out of him twice for it. I plan on using the same tactic tomorrow, though I might lunge/work him before the trail ride as well. I have a feeling that it will only take a week or so of this before he learns that the trail ride is the relaxing part, if he would just keep his shit together. The plan is in action and moving forward at full force. I hope it works!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July got a little crazy!


John and I dropped Charley off at his sister's in Jenks and we headed out to Lake Tenkiller for the 4th. I learned a lot about myself. I am fully capable of drinking until 4 am, waking at 8, and starting over at noon. For three days in a row. We had a blast though. Two of our friends who were there were also from out of state, so it was nice to see them. On the first night, someone drunkenly decided to unhitch their boat so that they could drive in to town and buy an air mattress. Here is what happened:



The following morning we all had to get up at 8 am to hitch up my truck, which was more powerful than the SUV it had been unhitched from, and start pulling. It didn't budge. There were a number of degreed engineers there and John was the only one with the idea to jack up the axel and put stuff under the wheel. It didn't take very long, but I was nervous about the three tree stumps stacked up to 'hold' the boat. I floored it and made some ruts, but pulled the thing up. We were all just really glad it didn't hit the deck at any point.

John had his first golfing experience, which he really enjoyed, and I had my first experience leaning that 'golf time' is not the same as real time. I'm pretty sure it doesn't take Tiger Woods nearly seven hours to shoot 18 holes!

After all of the adventures and fun, we were glad to be home. We went straight out to the horse and he was fine. Charley was happy to be home and happy to play with his Jolly Ball while we scooped poop.
I did ride the horse yesterday and considering he hadn't been worked in four days, he was very good. He was thinking about bucking a little at the canter, but got over that. His main issue now is that he just wants to go so fast. I am trying to let him have a loose rein and figure out how to rate himself, which works well in the round pen but in the arena he just gets so speedy on the long sides. At one point he went down to his knees and I was on his neck, that wasn't fun. Somehow in that tangle I got the zipper on the front of my paddock boots caught in the top of my stirrup between the leather and the iron. It wasn't until we were cantering again that I noticed my foot wasn't sitting right. I got him stopped and was trying to not think of being dragged by a crazed horse. I had to lean over and use both hands to get it loose. He was a good boy for that. I have been working on opening gates with him and he did well at that again today too. I got him to open and go through it. We haven't figured out sticking around to close it though. I rode him up around the hill between the barns and the house and he did well. He hesitated a few times, but I stayed totally calm and didn't push him until he relaxed and he never refused. We walked past a scary pile of hay, a hay baler, and a junk pile with no real issues! I also walked him down to the hitching post and up to the hill a few times. This is one of the places he has given me trouble before,but he was good. I think I will start trying to take him out again either by myself or with Belinda once it dries out a little. I think I just need to stay more calm and relaxed and not let him escalate to the point where he refuses to go forward.