Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yard Sale!!!

Not sure if anyone reads this blog anymore, but I thought I would post some items for sale. If you are interested, contact me and we can negotiate prices. I will continue to add items and pictures as I get to them.

 Circle Y Expedition saddle. 15" rough out seat. Lightly used, great condition, has light scuffing on right side. Includes rigging and *nice* dark green carry bag. $1300

 SOLD!!! Zilco endurance bridle- dark green biothane, headstall snaps onto halter. Great bridle, brass is no longer shiny. Arab sized. $60

SOLD!!!  Biothane sponge leash and natural sea sponge. Sponge is brand new in package. leash is silver. $20 for both

SOLD!!! Easycare cantle pack. Dark Green, holds 2-20oz water bottles, included. Brand new, never used. $50

SOLD!!! Toklat cool back saddle pad. Round shape, 30x30. Dark green with suede wear leathers. Nice. $50

Reinsman Tacky Too saddle pad. 28x33, shaped/contour pad. Fits tucker and endurance type saddles. $75
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
SOLD!!!! Renegade Hoof Boots- barely used. dark green. Pair. Size 1. $120/pair

Hay bags, really nice.Fabric with 'grid' window in front, velcro closure, and wood at the top to hold shape, straps are nylon with buckles. Dark green. $20/pair
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Blankets/sheets/cooler- 70"-72". most are used, some are new. Price varies.  All are from Schneiders.

 StormShield New Briton Bellyband turnout blanket in Navy.  These are the midweight blankets and have been torn and repaired several times.  Still work, would be perfect as an indoor blanket or under a waterproof sheet.  I wouldn't rely on them to be waterproof anymore.  I have a 70 and a 72 inch.  The 70 has "Sabumi" embroidered on the bellyband.  $20 each

SOLD!!! DuraTech Tekno-Fleece Contoured Cooler- 70", black, has "Sabumi" embroidered on the bellyband.  Great condition, Great cooler.  $25

Dura-Tech Viking II turnout-midweight blanket and sheet- both are 72" and green with black trim.  These were used for less than one winter season.  Were worn indoors for majority of the winter.  Very good conditions.  Practically brand new!  $40 for the sheet, $50 for the blanket.

Truckbed Tent- really cool tent.  Fit our F150 6'6"bed perfectly.  $100
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

SOLD!!! Vibram 5 fingers Bikala LS- ran in them for one mile every other day for two weeks- less than 8 miles total.  Sz 36, which is about a 6.  $75

2006 F150.  74k miles.  Super Cab XLT.  4x4 high and low, Tow package, B&W turnover ball, break assist in cab.  Great condition.  $15,500.  Check link for ad on 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Awesome Boomer Update!!!

I just checked the AERC horse records and saw a great update on Boomer! His new owners took him to NJ for a 50 mile ride in mid-November and he did AWESOME!!! Our of 34 starters, 28 horses finished and Boomer finished 12th with a ride time of 5 hours and 14 minutes!!! I knew that he could be a rock star with the right owner! I am so proud of him!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New blog!

With this new stage in my life comes a new blog!  

Join me over at Mama Mullholland to keep up to date with our life!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perfect Match!

Well, friends, I am SO happy to tell you that Boomer has found the perfect home!  

I am so glad that this story has a happy ending!  

I posted Boomer on classifieds and got several replies.  The one that stood out was from a couple from Iowa.  They have several decades of arabian and endurance experience.  They have thousands of competition miles.  They do FEI rides.  They travel to Florida in the winter and do rides year round.  

They came to meet Boomer and were very happy with him.  They are aware of his behavior issues and did not seem phased by that at all.  

This is the perfect situation for Boomer and I am able to move on with a happy heart!  

Thank you all for being so understanding and supportive during this difficult time for me!  


Horses will always be important to me.  I hope to take frequent riding lessons and continue to learn and improve.  I also hope someday to own another horse.  But, for now, I am endlessly happy to spend my days with this little joy:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

We Need Help

Fellow readers, you may have noticed that the blog was closed for several days. I have been in a period of deep thought while trying to cope with the situation of finding Boomer a new home.

I am at a point where I am emotionally ready to rehome him. Unfortunately, the horse market is not active right now. Especially not for a horse like Boomer who has a behavior problem (ie. pulling back and chinchyness).

I need help finding him a good home. This is not about money or making a profit off of him. He just deserves a good, understanding home.

Currently, he is starting his second month of training. He has not pulled back in over 3 weeks and is riding well. He needs someone who wants to work with him regularly to hold him accountable and have high expectations for him. He needs someone who is confident and strong on the ground.

I do not have the kind of time he needs and can't justify having a horse with his needs as a mother to a young baby.

I need him to find a good home by the end of this month. We can't just keep him in training indefinitely.

In the past, Boomer was a wonderful project for me. My perspective has changed since having a baby and Boomer and I are no longer good partners. When I was working with Boomer daily and getting him regular exercise, we were a great team. Now, with only two days a week to see him and a new baby at home, I can no longer invest the time and attention that Boomer needs to thrive.

Please, if you know a person or a rescue organization who would take Boomer, contact me. He is a wonderful riding horse if you can just work through his ground manner issues.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

End of the road

I'm really sad, but not at all surprised that I am writing this post.  

We have tried to help Boomer for over 3 years and he just is who he is.  Unfortunately, his bad habit is dangerous.  

For those of you who have been following the blog for a while, you know we have had our ups and downs.  I have always kept trying and kept giving Boomer more chances to prove himself.  

The fact is that he is an incredible athlete.  I know he could be a star.  He is totally capable of being a 100 mile horse.  He could probably do Tevis. I am amazed at his ability and strength.  

Unfortunately, he is reactive.  I wouldn't even say that he is spooky.  When something happens to upset him or doesn't go his way, he reacts in a big and dangerous way.  This manifests as either pulling back while tied or throwing himself over backwards.  

I have tried avoiding situations that make him flip, which does work to an extent, but makes me miserable to be walking on eggshells around him.  We have thrown countless dollars in training at him to no change.  

Our trainer agrees, he isn't scared.  He gets mad.  

I think that someone with more time, confidence, and knowledge could give Boomer a great home and use him to his potential.  

I am just no longer able to feel safe around him.  I have spent the last few weeks thinking of what I need to feel safe with him.  I need to hear the words "He is cured, he will never pull back or blow up again".  No one can tell me that.  He went almost 2 years without pulling back.  No one can guarantee that he will never blow up again, because he does it in protest, not out of fear.  

If it was fear, it would be something that sacking-out or exposure could fix.  

Unfortunately, my confidence has taken a pretty big hit in this process.  I have a bit of fear and anxiety now around all horses.  I feel like I am just waiting for them to blow up and flip over in the cross ties or whatever.  

I need to take a step back and just take lessons for a while to rebuild my confidence.  Maybe try a new discipline and ride a few solid horses.  I'm not looking to own another horse anytime soon.  Our next horse will be one that I can actually enjoy and is also safe for our whole family.  

By all means, if you think you can help this horse and give him the home he needs, please contact me.  He is dangerous on the ground and I have no doubt that he will hurt someone someday.  He is also a dream to ride and learns quickly.  He is built for endurance and will do great things in the endurance world.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Boot Camp Breakthrough

First day at the trainers, Boomer tried to hang himself on the hitching post.  Not sure exactly what happened, but Trainer had to cut the rope to free him.  I asked if he was scared or being bad.  She said that she would understand if he was scared, but he was just mad that she was pushing and he pushed back, and she didn't relent, so he threw a tantrum.  He was even trying to kick her as she was cutting the rope.  Classy.  

John and I have both seen this in him.  When you ask him to do something and he says no.  You better drop it or else he is gunna get mad.  When he gets mad, his general response is to blow backwards as hard as possible.  Luckily, Trainer isn't a wuss and she kept pushing.  

After this, she tossed him in the round pen with a tarp.  He proceeded to run through the panels and escape.  He scraped up his front leg.  His reward was to be tied to a tree, away from the barn, in a pasture of llamas.  Apparently, he stood quietly for the remainder of the afternoon.  

Next day, he got tied up to have his leg hosed.  He stood dead still for that (!!!) and also stood dead still for the next 6 hours while a variety of tractors and 4-wheelers buzzed by all afternoon.  

We think he knows.  

I am glad that he had such big blow-ups right away.  At first, I was disappointed, but John pointed out that it is a really great sign that Trainer is pushing all of the right buttons.  She knows first hand what she is working with and can quickly set goals.

3 days down...  57(?) to go...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boomer goes back to Boot Camp!

I think we all knew it was in the cards for Boomer.  At some point he was going to need a tune up.  

As far as riding was going, he was doing great.  Better each time I rode him and we were having a blast.  However, his ground manners were shit.  Also, he knows exactly how to manipulate me.  

When riding, I have stopped being afraid of him and have gained enough confidence to push him through and silliness.  So, he has pretty much stopped trying.  

On the ground, he knows that all he has to do is give something the hairy eye, or twitch the wrong way and I will untie him right away and hurry up the tacking up process.  

I'll give a quick synopsis of his shenanigans in the last few months.  The first time I went to ride him after 6ish months off, he was great for both tacking up and riding.  We did one easy lap around the pond.  Second time, he pulled back when I walked towards him with the saddle.  He spooked when I threw the pad over his back and raised his head so that I couldn't bridle him.  Third time I just got on bareback since I didn't want to tack him up.  When I got the new saddle, I had to saddle him up in a small paddock for the first 6-8 times because he was spooky like he had never seen a saddle before.  He would run backwards as I would approach, would skitter sideways as I tried to adjust the saddle.  It really pissed me off.  

I really don't think any of this is a pain issue as he is a gem once we are riding.  Granted, I have recently discovered how crooked I am.  This surely causes him discomfort.  However, he is NOT the kind of horse who would ignore or be passive if it were so painful he didn't want to work.  He is fun and happy for our whole ride.  He doesn't move while I mount up and doesn't resist under saddle.  When my saddle fit poorly before as his topline developed, he would stand tense under me while I mounted and would shake his head and swish his tail.  

The final straw was a few weeks ago, I threw the saddle over his back and he spooked into me at the cinch and stirrup falling on the other side.  He stepped on my foot, the saddle fell off, and he almost ran me over.  He had been getting SO MUCH BETTER about being saddled too.  For the last few weeks he was standing still the whole time I saddled him, like he SHOULD.  Well, it didn't end there.  

The barn owner came over and held him for me so that I could resaddle.  I got him cinched up and the barn owner walked off to finish chores.  Boomer was standing with his head down and a calm expression.  I asked him to move around me in a circle, as I always do, to get him to unbloat so that I can finish tightening the cinch.  Well, instead of moving forward, he froze and flew backwards.  He fell onto his side and then hopped back up.  The lead rope never even pulled through my hand.  It was like he had pulled back, but there was never an ounce of pressure on his face.  He scratched up my brand new saddle.  He also scratched up his knees and hock.  

I was ready to send him through auction at that point.  

I have NO desire to have such an unpredictable animal.  None.  I don't care what his reasons are for being a fruit.  I expect him to behave like any other normal horse.  If he can not behave like a normal horse, we are done.  No excuses.  

So, to boot camp he goes.  

I told our trainer that I need her to find out if this is a behavioral thing that can be trained out or if it is a mental thing and is just who he is.  

Last time he went to her, it was primarily for riding issues.  We have had no problems with riding since he returned in November of 2009.  I have high hopes that she can knock some sense into him.  

For the record, this is not a natural horsemanship, hugs and kisses type of blog.  If you don't want to read about my horse getting 'cowboyed up' go somewhere else.  I know this animal well enough to know that he is smart.  He takes advantage.  He needs to be knocked down a peg.  I have allowed him to believe he is above me on the food chain and he is about to learn the hard way that he is, in fact, pretty damn low on the totem pole.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My crooked horse

Boomer has always been crooked- banana left- if you will.  It takes all the strength in my right leg to get him to bend around for a circle to the right.  Or so I thought.  

I have recently realized that the problem is mine.  Big surprise.  

Since getting a new saddle that fits better and having a much more round horse, my saddle has been slipping ever so slightly to the left.  I generally have to dismount mid-ride and straighten things up and tighten the cinch.  

I was frustrated with Boomer at first.  He was bloating up and not allowing me to get the cinch tight enough until he trotted a little.  

Then I realized that the saddle was always slipping left.  Even if we only went right and even cantered to the right, which would cause me to weight my right side more (or so you would think).  

FINALLY, I realized that the saddle slipping to the left was making it uncomfortable and possibly painful for him to bend right!  He was having to bend into the spine of the saddle.  

After our 10 mile ride in the field, where we were mostly traveling straight, I did notice that my saddle was slipping a little to the left, but not enough to bother me because it had been a gradual change.  I also noticed that Boomer was getting increasingly more 'banana left' towards the end of the ride. 

*light bulb*

He is crooked BECAUSE he is uncomfortable.  He is uncomfortable because *I* am crooked.

Aw, crap.  So, what do I do?  First, I need to be more diligent about making sure my saddle is secure and comfortable for him the whole ride.  Then I need to focus on staying centered and not weighting my left stirrup more.  But, how do I do that if riding crooked feels straight?  I do notice that I feel my left foot pushing down into the stirrup when I post.  

Any suggestions?

Monday, July 25, 2011

10 mile training ride!

We, like many others, have been experiencing a heat wave.  The highs have been over 100 for about 2 weeks and we were on a heat advisory the whole time.  I went out and rode Boomer once midweek and by the time I pulled him out of the pasture, I only had enough energy to hop on a walk around the arena for 10 minutes bareback.  It was still nice to get out and DO something with him.  I also trimmed his feet that day.  

Sunday was the last day of the heat advisory and the morning started cool.  It was 80 degrees at 7:45 when I headed out the door.  There was a storm blowing in and by the time I was on my way home several hours later it was down to 78 degrees!  Of course, it DID heat up to nearly 100 by the end of the day.  

Anyhow, I was up early Sunday with the GPS watch on and we headed out ready for a few miles around the property.  Boomer was awesome!  The perimeter of the field is .8 miles with the alley back to the barn being .1 mile.  For the first 3 miles he was UP and tense.  He wanted to toss his head and fling his legs around.  Then he started listening to the bit and tried ducking his head and pulling while trotting faster.  Luckily, we were in a safe, enclosed environment and I just let him get his energy out on his own.  After the first 3 miles he really calmed down.  We continued on and changed directions every few laps and at about mile 8, it started to sprinkle.  Boomer got a second wind and was frisky for another lap.  We ended at mile 10 and then walked back .2 miles to cool out.  He was awesome!  I really have NOTHING to complain about!  We saw a lost calf on the gravel road on the south end of the property, which Boomer grew used to quickly.  I was so proud!  He did spook and spin at something BIG that jumped into the pond.  I assume it was a giant bullfrog.  It made a HUGE splash about 6 feet from the bank- quite a leap!  The ripples on the water were big.  I stayed put and was glad I wasn't in my tiny english saddle.  Those spook-spins will get you!  

After I left the barn, my friend texted me and told me that Boomer was napping, laid out, in the sun.  I felt like doing the same!  I am so proud of him for being so good and also impressed by his fitness considering how random our training has been!  

We did the 10.2 miles in 1 hour and 41 minutes, which is somewhere around 10 minute mile pace.  Not super fast, but the important part of training right now is just knowing that he can go the distance.  I don't care if our first ride takes us a full 10 hours to finish!  

Check back soon for my thoughts on having a crooked horse.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good and Bad

I was lucky enough to get two days with Boomer this weekend.  Though, I knew going into it that the send day riding in a row is never as good as the first.  He just doesn't do as well with back to back rides.  

Saturday was good, we just rode in the arena for 30-45 minutes and his cantering was great.  I finally figured out why he always bulges away fro the rail in one spot in the arena.  The footing is deeper and he is avoiding that.  So, now I feel even LESS sympathy for him than before!  I thought it was a physical difficulty in staying straight after a corner.  No.  He is just smart and lazy.  But we already knew that.  

I have been working on Les Vogt's 5 easy pieces with him.  This is just a good test to see if you have control of all parts of your horses body.  First you pull their head around in a small circle until they start to relax the jaw and swing their outside front leg around making larger steps.  Second, you use your leg (knee pressure) to move the across the arena- leading with the shoulder.  Third, you use leg pressure to side pass. Fourth, you do a turn on the forehand.  Fifth, you back in a circle.  

The first 4 parts are gaining control of each individual part, the 5th piece is putting it all together and seeing what isn't working.  So far, Boomer is doing well with everything except side passing and backing.  His turns on the forehand are beautiful!  Saturday was the best day we had so far.  Very proud.  We just spend the last 5 minutes of the ride doing this exercise and it seems to be getting better each day. Probably wouldn't hurt to do it at the beginning AND end of the ride.  

Sunday's ride was not as good.  He was fighting me almost the whole time, which is his usual behavior when we ride two days in a row.  We were out in the field and he decided that he had forgotten the cantering lesson we had.  So, I had to buck up and do it again.  Except this time it was 95 degrees and humid.  I finally got him to slow down and behave after cantering for close to 30 minutes straight.  By then, I was done.  Surprisingly, he was NOT TIRED after that.  He was panting and puffing, but still asked to trot after that!  We rode for a total of 2 hours- 30 minutes of walking, 45 minutes of trotting, and 45 minutes of cantering.  I would say that I am confident that he can do a 25 miler right now.  In a month, he will be ready to do a 50 miler.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Boomer the wonder jumper!

Boomer, being the brave soul that he is, is learning to jump!  I went out to ride him on Wednesday and ended up going out around the pond and to the jump field with Julie and the barn owner, Dennis.  I trotted and cantered Boomer around and he was very good.  I had lowered the bit by one hole and it took him a little bit to get used to it and stop resisting.  I got to bragging on Boomer and how brave he was to have trotted and cantered over the flowerbox.  I then realized that he was sure to make a fool of me by acting terrified of it.  Surprisingly, he headed right towards it and hopped right over!  Julie moved the flowerbox to a new location and he was STILL fine with it!  She then set up a few cross rails for us and we went over two in a row!  I was so proud!  The most complicated and difficult thing we did (can you sense the sarcasm yet?) was canter down hill and make a U-turn to the cross rail.  I actually missed it a few times until Julie pointed out that I wasn't looking at the jump.  Once I looked around the turn for the jump, Boomer sat down and turned hard.  It was actually pretty cool to feel him sit and turn like that.  

I am so happy that Boomer seems to be enjoying himself!  He goes around the whole time with his ears perked forward like he is really having a blast!  It is a really fun change of pace from the flat work we have been focusing on.  I am actually pretty excited about it and hope that we can actually jump something someday instead of just taking bigger steps to clear the obstacles.   

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

He jumps!

I went out Saturday morning to ride and see if Boomer remembered his cantering lesson for earlier in the week.  Again, he was straight and even at the walk.  We trotted a little to warm up, and then I asked him to canter.  He was great!  He started off nice and easy and only rushed for about one lap before settling down into a nice even gait.  We did both directions and did several simple lead changes through the center of the ring.  I had him on a loose rein he whole time.  After a while, I decided to take him out for a little trail ride to kill some time before I had to leave for the airport to pick up my dad.  I sidepassed him to the arena gate, opened it, and sidepassed him back to close it!  Yay Boomer!

Out in the field, we trotted around the pond and into the jump field.  He was feeling very nice and I decided to see if the cantering lesson still applied out in the open.  Turns out, Boomer actually LEARNED something!  He was very good and listened well.  Going down a very slight decline, he wanted to rush, but I lifted his head and kept my legs on him and he balanced himself well.  

It was about 99 degrees out and VERY humid, so I asked him to walk and started to cool him off.  But, he kept trotting and asking to go faster.  So, we trotted and cantered some more.  Eventually, I had him walk and we went over the ground poles and flower box in the jump field.  I even had him trot over them!  He actually seemed to enjoy that!  I was so surprised!  I decided to push my luck and ask him to canter over the flower box.  I have never cantered him over anything, even a single ground pole.  He perked up his ears and cantered right over it without hesitation!  What a good boy!  

We headed back to the barn and he was hot, hot, hot.  He was panting and had some good white foam across his chest.  I took him into the washrack in the barn (which he is usually nervous about) and hosed him off.  I spent a long time hosing him and started very slowly, only hosing his legs and neck until he cooled off.  I saved his large muscle groups (rump and back) for last in an effort to keep them from getting tight.  He actually really enjoyed the bath and allowed me to gently spray his face and he even licked the water a few times!  

I was just so happy with him!  Boomer really is a good little horse, he just has his quirks.  He is very smart and capable of learning, but he learns lessons best when he is worn out and worked hard.  With Boomer, the lesson has to be drilled home really hard once, and then he gets it.  

I think he is starting to get back into shape and I am still cautiously optimistic about doing a few rides this fall.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fixing the canter

I went out to ride on Tuesday with the intention of fixing the canter issue we have been encountering.  

My goal was to get off the 'safety circle', use the whole arena, push him through the bucking, and not let him slow down.  

So, we started out walking with some light trotting and he was incredible.  I was shocked.  I had moved my saddle back about an inch further than usual and he was so even and straight!  I couldn't believe how straight he felt down the long sides of the arena!  I was amazed!  He was on the bit and connected.  He was listening.  He didn't even need our usual neck flexions to get him soft and paying attention!  

On to the canter, I asked he moved right out.  I aimed him straight down the rail and he reached under and dug in to go faster.  I just let him.  I was in this for the long haul, whether he knew it or not.  Around the first turn, I lifted my inside hand and weighted my outside stirrup for balance.  Along the second long side, he arched his neck down and tried a buck.  I pulled in around into the 'oh shit' circle, aka- disengage the hind end.  I kicked his hip around a few times and asked him to walk off.  He was tossing his head and pissed off.  I asked him to canter again.  Again he took off with some speed.  I just focused on sitting back and deep.  He tried  bucking again going into a corner, so instead of disengaging his hip, I just pulled him into a small circle but kept him cantering.  We went on.  He tried one last time to buck on the long side and I pulled him into the small circle and kicked him forward, not letting him break gait. That seemed to solve the bucking issue and now I just waited for him to try to slow down.  When he did, I pushed him forward faster.  We did a total of 20 laps around the arena to the left.  I wanted enough horse left to go the other direction, so we did a lead change through the trot across the diagonal of the arena and kept going.  Again, he wanted to go fast, so I let him.  We did about 12-15 laps to the right.  By the end, he was on a totally loose rein, cantering along nicely and doing circles off of my seat!  I was in awe!  We did a circle steering with seat only, then a simple change with seat only and a circle in the other direction off of my seat only.  I asked him to halt, scratched his neck and let him cool out at the walk.  

It was a really incredible ride.  I was proud of myself for bucking up, so to speak, and getting it done.  I have really gained patience and confidence with him lately.  

To finish cooling out, we walked a lap around the pond with my friend Julie and Boomer's pasture-mate Ringo.  

I am hoping that this lesson sticks with Boomer.  He seems to be the kind of horse who has to learn a lesson the hard way, but once he learns it- its there for good.  Thats how it went with trailer loading and being barn sour.  So, I am hoping that this was enough of a workout for him to have learned his lesson.  He seemed pretty pooped afterwards!  I was so very happy with the results though.  So, next time we ride will be the real test!  

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bareback and the cow!

I went out this past weekend and it was so hot and muggy that I couldn't muster the energy to lift my saddle.  So, I just hopped on bareback and we walked around the arena.  We did lots of leg work and we mostly focused on stopping off of my seat.  He was very good and I enjoyed the ride.  

The highlight of the day was a rescued calf out at the barn!
One of the owners found him while mowing the fence line.  He couldn't have been more than 2-3 days old and was laying down, abandoned.  
They brought him in to the hay shed and set him up with a box fan and bed of hay.  They fed him a bottle of milk replacer and we loved on him for a few hours until the rancher came to pick him up.  I was really hoping they would keep him.  He weighed maybe 50 pounds and was pretty darn cute!  Sorry, no pictures.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

75 and Breezy

That is the best way to describe our ride last week.  It had been in the mid 90s and HUMID.  So humid you had to check and make sure you weren't melting.  

Then a storm blew in and it was 75 and breezy.  Boomer thought that was fun.  So, we worked on behaving and focusing on me.  He did pretty well, except that I realized that his new little habit of trying to buck at the canter was becoming an issue.  

The first time it happened, I wondered if he was uncomfortable.  We pushed through and he was fine.  The second time it happened, I got a bit nervous and clung to the 'safety circle'.  Only cantering in a circle is no fun, but much harder to buck.  When he still tried to buck on this day, even on the circle, I choked up on my reins and started getting nervous.  He tried bucking on each circle and I quit after we got one good circle in one direction.  Not very good.  

So, that gave me something to think about.  I realized that waaaay back when he was younger and we were still in Oklahoma, he had tried bucking at the canter and I realized that it was my fault for holding his face too much and he was bucking because he felt trapped.  

More to come on this issue...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day!

Sorry, Charley.  Ice cream cake is for dad only!

Paisley took this process surprisingly well!


Making the print!

So sweet!

Getting ready for the next print...

Final product!

Ice cream bowl!

Coffee Mug!

Chillin' at the end of a good day!

We painted pottery at SunFire Ceramics.  They will do the clear coat and fire them for us.  The final products will be ready for pickup later this week.  Totally fun activity!

Monday, June 20, 2011

I had a REAL barn day!!!

John, being the amazing man that he is, took on the task of getting Paisley to take a bottle.  Saturday morning, I grabbed Charley, kissed them goodbye and headed to the barn.  

It had rained REALLY hard the previous few days, so I hadn't planned to ride.  I was just going to trim feet and groom.  When I got out there, two other ladies showed up and were going to ride.  Their horses are Boomer's two pasture buddies.  We took our time getting ready, then rode in the arena for a while and Boomer was very good.  It was nice to have another set of eyes to watch us ride.  Boomer did well, but is still super stiff on his right side.  After having Julie watch us ride a few circles, she could see how stiff he was on that side too.  When I was riding with Karin for lessons, she always got on to me about not using my right leg.  This got me thinking, is he stiff on that side BECAUSE I am not using my leg?  

After we rode in the arena, we went out and rode around the pond.  Boomer was a champ and let me close the gate from his back!  At first, he moved into my leg instead of side passing away, which was ridiculous.   But after a few good kicks (where were my spurs the day I needed them?) he straightened out and moved right over to the gate.  We rode around the pond and through the jump field and all of the horses were great.  

Charley got to play with his buddy Duke and they went swimming, caught frogs, played fetch, and did all kinds of fun 'boy' things together.  

I ended up spending 5 hours at the barn!  That was the longest I have been away from Paisley so far.  She was totally fine and took the bottle from John, no problem!  John had fun with her and enjoyed their daddy/daughter day.  I had a blast riding and I'm not really sure when the last time was that I had so much fun riding!  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bravest pony in the land!

Took Boomer for an easy ride today with another boarder, Julie.  Her horse Fitzy is an enormous 3 year old Hanoverian.  We rode around the dam and then rode in the jump field for a while.  There were a couple of ground poles set up, a flower box, a set of 3 ground poles, and two verticals.  

Fitzy had to lead us over the 3 ground poles and the flower box.  Once Boomer figured out that he could do it he was SO proud of himself.  He was licking and chewing and had his ears up- very cute.  We did quite a bit of trotting and he stayed very connected and round.  We worked on him not falling apart when trotting down the slight hill.  Going up the hill REALLY got him pushing with his back end and he very naturally come up onto the bit and was feeling awesome!  I need to work out there more often!  

My goal for the ride was to have him as responsive as he is in the arena.  I think it is more about me being a RIDER and not a PASSENGER.  

Overall, it was a very good ride and Julie and I were both proud of the boys for being so brave.  Boomer didn't get barn sour at all and I couldn't have asked for him to behave better.  Very good day!  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beautiful Saturday Ride!

John, being the wonderful husband he is, carried Paisley out at the barn and hung out while I rode Boomer.  

Boomer is doing well, especially considering I am only getting out to see him about once a week.  I wish I cold see him more, but that is life.  Paisley is on a bottle strike right now, so I am unable to just leave her at home with John and go out to the barn.  And yes, a bottle strike is exactly as much fun as it sounds like!  

Anyhow, I rode Boomer in the arena and he did pretty well.  He is actually surprising me by being very connected and rounding up into the bridle.  Most of the time.  He did throw a bit of a fit when I asked him to canter, but after some stern words (ie, kicking) he straightened right up and gave me quite a few nice canter circles in each direction with several good transitions.  We ended with some serpentines at the trot with very nice direction changes and stretchy trot circles.  He was very good!

When I ordered my new saddle- Circle Y Expedition- it came with a free Reinsman Tacky Too saddle pad.  I am interested in testing this pad out more before forming an opinion, but so far it seems great.  It had really nice grip and kept the saddle from sliding, which has been an issue lately seeing as how Boomer has taken on a rather... round... shape which isn't great at holding a saddle.  After riding for about an hour and getting rather sweaty the pad had not retained heat and was surprisingly cool and dry on the underside!  I don't know if it will retain heat on longer rides, but I sure will test it out!  My main pad, that I love, is the Toklat Coolback.  It breathes, keeps Boomer's back cool, dries in minutes- which is great at vet checks, and washes in the washing machine! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We suspected it all along...
Boomer is an out of shape, fat-ass.  

The CTR we were going to volunteer at was cancelled due to the EHV-1 outbreak.  

John and I hauled out to Pomona Lake for the afternoon to ride.  He, Paisley, and Charley played in the lake and hung out in the air conditioning while Boomer and I explored the trails.  I do have to say that Boomer loaded into the trailer perfectly both times with not even a moment of hesitation!  Pretty good for not being hauled in over 7 months!

We ended up doing exactly 4 miles in an hour and 20 minutes.  It was about half walking and half trotting. The trails were single track, lots of mild climbs with areas of mud and rocks.  There is a total of 16 miles, 32 miles out and back.  It was about 90 degrees and very humid.  By the end of it, Boomer was sweating and panting.  I think he could have done another 4-5 miles if we had walked the rest of the way.  

We had a good time.  Boomer did try to be an ass a few times.  Once we had just gone over a log and had to go through an opening in an old rock fence.  He boogered at it and started backing up, rather than back into the log, I spun him around.  My saddle slipped a little, so I hopped off to adjust and tighten my girth.  I then had him straddle the log to let me mount back up easier.  We headed back towards the rock wall and he boogered again and spun around.  He was acting a fool and I ended up just going back instead of pushing through.  Bad, I know.  But, I was frustrated.  I got over it and the next time he boogered at something and spun around, I jerked him back around and spurred him several times.  He spun again, and I jerked him around harder, spurred him HARD and he went though the 'scary spot' just fine.  We did eventually go back through where I had given up earlier and he put up his 'helicopter ears', but kept moving.  Same for the big boulder that was spray painted glitter orange (yay for spooky trail markers).  

I was pretty proud of both of us.  I had a realization while I was riding that I just don't care about his shit anymore.  My priorities have changed and he is no longer a top priority, so his bad self doesn't get me riled up anymore.  I have a lot less of an emotional reaction and can ride him better and more aggressively.  

I do have to brag about how good he can be.  He allowed me to mount while he was straddling a log.  He crossed several streams with no hesitation.  He picked his way carefully through rocky sections.  He slowed down for downhill climbs.  He never once knocked me into tree trunks.  He completely ignored me while I flailed about wildly trying to get spiderwebs off of my face.  He is quite a solid little trail horse.  I was very pleased with him.  

As we were headed back, we encountered a tree stump.  Those have always been scary for Boomer.  I joke that he is afraid of the tree-hating, chainsaw-wielding, horse-eating monster that must be lurking about.  It was on the side of a gravel road and I wasn't sure he was going to pass it.  He kept spinning away and I kept jerking him around and spurring him past it.  On the third time, he faced it and walked bravely up to it and sniffed it.  He took a bite of it, a piece of bark fell off and he skittered back.  Then he approached it again and we walked around it and moved on like nothing ever happened.  Good Pony!

Now we just need to get him into shape!  

Photo Bomb!!!

Chillin' in the AC with dad!

 Headed for the trailer

A little cheek-shoulder interference on the chubby baby.

Almost there!

So Sweet!

Yay Boomer!  We made it FOUR whole miles!!!

Best husband ever!  


Obligatory 'ear shot'!

Can you believe that this horse was doing back to back 50 milers just one year ago?  Jeesh.  Now he looks like a quarter horse from behind!


Grillin' burgers with the fam!

Monday, May 30, 2011

What a workout!!!

Boomer and I went for an unexpectedly long ride today!  I showed up at the barn as two of the ladies were just tacking up to go out.  Emily has a 13 year old warmblood and Julie has a 3 year old with just over 30 days on him.  We walked around the pond and grassy jump field and explored and practiced being good.  It is sort of disheartening for me to have as much attitude and trouble from my horse as Julie did from her baby green horse.  Part of life with an Ay-rab, I suppose.  He was just occasionally getting excited and jigging when we headed towards the barn.  We would back up and he was fine.  We walked Julie back to the barn and then Emily and I went back out to trot and work up a sweat.  That went really well for the most part.  I tried cantering in the open field a few times, but that was just too much for Boomer's poor little pea brain.  So, we stuck to trotting and I had him going really well after 20ish minutes.  I did have to get off to tighten his girth and he spooked at the stirrup hitting the girth AGAIN!  It is the stirrup on the off side, so he humps up and jumps towards me and forward which makes it difficult for me to stay out of the way and get over to the other side to show him where the noise is coming from.  He is so dang round that the saddle kept slipping and I had to tighten the girth several times!  

We rode for a total of about 2 hours, with most of it being trotting.  Towards the end, it was ME who gave out first!!!  I have a 'floppy ankle' from a jogging incident in college and apparently, it has lost strength.  At first, my stirrups felt funny, like they were adjusted wrong (they were fine for the first hour and 50 minutes!), then all of a sudden, I realized that my ankle was rolling every time I stood up to post.  So, we ended up walking and heading back to the barn.  It wasn't bad though, we were already heading back to the barn and walking was good for all of us!

The part of the day that really irritates me is that I had to have Emily help me get him saddled.  He still is spooking at the saddle pad, and with all of the wind we are having I need someone to hold him and hold the pad while I get the saddle up on him.  I feel so ridiculous.  My horse acts like a 2 year old who has never been saddled up before and I need help tacking up.  

Though, the ride was really good for him because we went all over the place instead of just doing a lap and heading back.  He really couldn't guess where we were going or when we were going to turn home.  Since we walked back once to drop off Julie, then went back out that seemed to help him stay calm on the walk back in when we were really done.  He walked in on a loose rein the whole way back!    

When we got back to the barn, I hosed him off and then sacked him out with the saddle pad.  I thumped it all over his back, belly, neck and legs.  He was fine with it the whole time.  The ting about Boomer that gets to me is that I KNOW he is doing his bad behaviors on purpose because he ONLY does them before we ride.  He has NEVER pulled back after we were done riding and he is never spooky about his tack/fly spray/etc once we are done riding.  It is all evasive behavior and he is just too damned smart!  I suppose one solution is to lunge the hell out of him, then tack him up, then ride.  But, that just seems like too much of a hassle.  I just want a normal horse!!!  

I'm just going to keep on working with him and hope he continues to improve.  Really, he is already better than he was a few weeks ago when he flew backwards at the sight of the saddle.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yay Boomer!!!

I rode Boomer this morning and he was great!  He felt totally sound!  The saddle fits great and is super comfortable.  I have been lunging Boomer several times a week and trying to build fitness.  It seems to have worked.  Well, he is still obese but at least he is stronger in the hind end and not lame!  

We rode for almost 45 minutes and he was a champ.  I had him in our endurance bridle and bit.  It is a kimberwicke with a low port.  He doesn't love that bit but he does respect it.  On the trail, I can generally keep out of his mouth, but he does occasionally need a slight correction in the first few miles of a race.  In his defense, we generally ride the last 20-30 miles of an endurance ride without a bit at all.  He respects the kimberwicke, but he has a tendency to fuss with it and toss his head at first before responding.  So, I worked on getting the 'right' response from the bit, which is to give and lower his head.  By the end of the ride, he was doing great.  I'm embarrassed to say that it was the first time I have consciously worked with him on that.  

I do have to mention that although Boomer was a champ, he did make a fool of himself after I got off and was leading him out of the arena.  He suddenly jumped forward with a humped back and tried to run around me in a circle.  He kept humping up and acting like he wanted to spook.  I stopped him and suddenly figured it out.  He was afraid of the metal stirrup knocking against the metal buckle on the cinch.  I banged both stirrups against the girth until he realized where the noise was coming from.  I swear, he looked downright sheepish when we walked off again and John and I were laughing at him!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


We have had a ton going on lately, so my Boomer time has been limited.  More on that at a later date!

I have gotten the opportunity to volunteer as a drag rider at a CTR near us in a few weeks!  There is a CTR at a local lake that my friend is hosting.  Boomer and I plan to be the drag rider behind the novice group on Saturday.  We will follow the last group out and help anyone who has trouble on the trail, gets lost, or whatever.  This will be about 20-25 miles at about 4 miles per hour.  I figure that is half walking and half trotting.  I think that will be a perfect fitness test for the fat pony! 

To get him in shape for that I have been lunging him as much as possible since I can't ride often.  I wear Paisley in our Beco pouch while I lunge Boomer.  I lunge him for 20-30 minutes.  A bit of trotting to warm up, then we do trot/canter sets- two laps of each until he has done at least 10 laps of cantering in each direction, then more trotting to cool down.  Paisley generally sleeps the whole time.  His fitness is already improving.  Another few days of that and he should be ready to go 20 miles!  

After that, there is an endurance ride at the end of June, we will take July and August off for the heat, and hopefully we will be back in shape Sept-Nov!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

He remembered!!!

Boomer is so smart!  

John and I went out on Sunday to try on Boomer's new saddle (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and to go for a ride.  I tacked him up in the small paddock.  He cant pull back if he isn't tied!  He, of course, acted scared of the saddle pad.  Once he got over that, I was able to tell that the saddle fits really well!  It was also super comfy!  

We went for a ride around the pond.  We used John's GPS watch and it clocked at exactly 1 mile.  

I was curious to see if Boomer would remember his little lesson in backing.  He was great for the first half of the ride and when we got to the halfway point, he got a little 'up', but stayed sane.  I left the reins loose and let him make his own decisions about his behavior.  All I wanted was a loose rein and a flat, 4 beat walk.  He *wanted* to jig, but he keep his cool.  Once we got to the alley where you can head back to the barn, he turned his head and pricked his ears as we walked past, but he stayed going forward where I pointed.  We went through the gate and turned to go up the hill to the barn and he did get a little excited, but wasn't misbehaving *yet*.  I turned him around and backed him up about 20 strides just for good measure.  After that, he was totally calm and cool for the rest of the ride!  

I was very happy with his behavior and attitude!  What an improvement!  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hoof Trimmin'

I decided to take Paisley and Charley out to the barn this afternoon before it started to rain.  It was the first time I would attempt to take Paisley to the barn alone.  It was also the first time I was taking her somewhere where I expected/hoped to actually get something done!

My goal was to trim Boomer's hooves and maybe lunge him if I had time.  

I put Paisley in her vibrating bouncy seat (LOVE THAT THING!) and set her under a tree.  I took Boomer to the small paddock about 20 feet away and got to working on his hooves.  I had to take one break to change a diaper, but then Paisley fell asleep and I had plenty of time to get things done!  

I would say that I did a good job on his front feet, but was tired and did a half-assed job on his back feet.  I will try to start with the hinds next time.  I also want to get back into the habit of trimming him up more frequently.  I used to do once a week, but that seems like a lofty goal at this point in my life!  

After I trimmed him, I free lunged him around the paddock.  He looked really good.  Still just a tad weak in the left hind, but most of the time he looks 100%.  I also did some ground exercises with turning on the forehand to get him to cross over with his hind legs and hopefully build up some muscle.  I only trotted him around for about 10 minutes with just a bit of cantering and he was worn out!  He was sweaty and blowing.  So out of shape!  

I really want to aim to get out and work him twice a week in the daytime and then ride once a week on the weekend when John can help out.  I think if we can manage that, I can have him in much better shape and much stronger before he goes to boot camp.  Only 4 weeks and 3 days until Boomer gets a reality check!


In other news:
She smiles!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Boot Camp Preview!

Boomer is officially signed up for boot camp starting the second week of June.  I'm VERY excited!  
Unfortunately, he wasn't on his best behavior on Sunday and he got a preview of what is coming...
This is a map of the property where we keep Boomer:
You will be referring back to this map during this post.

We like to walk or ride the loop from the barn around the pond and back.  This loop is about a mile, if not a little over.  There are two ways to get to the pond.  One goes between two pastures straight west and one goes north to the property line and then west to the northernmost point on the pond.  The alleyway between the two pastures can be seen if you look for a solitary tree in the middle of the screen.
Sunday, we chose the northern route as the gates between the pastures were open and blocking us from accessing the alley between them.
I should back up.  As we drove up to the barn (John, P, Charley, and myself), John asked if I wanted to ride.  I answered that I was wearing sandals and couldn't.  He asked if I was scared.  I answered honestly- Yes.  He asked if I was scared of riding or just tacking up.  I answered honestly- just tacking up.  He suggested that I ride bareback.

So, I put on Boomer's bridle and we walked around the east half of the property before heading to the pond.  Boomer was being a dream.  He was great for the whole walk around the property, great when we left the property line, great around the pond.  We got to the far west point on the pond and Boomer startled at some cows on the adjoining property.  I decided to hop off, just in case.  The dam we ride on around the pond is about 8 feet wide and has a pond on one side and a 20 foot drop off to a barbed wire fence on the other side.  So, I jump off and we hang out until Boomer is done cow watching.  I hand walked him about 50 ft to a picnic table and attempted to remount.  He stepped to the side.  This went on for quite some time.  He was clearly DONE riding and was throwing quite the fit.  I started backing him and moving him side to side.  Eventually he was much more pleasant and stood for me to mount only to toss his head and act like a twit as soon as we started walking.  I hopped off and backed him quite a ways down the hill along the south side of the pond.  (see the SW corner of the picture- the open area is a gently sloping hill where there are frequently jumps set up)  I backed him down and back about halfway across the open area and back to the picnic table.  We tried again and he was much more reasonable.  Suddenly, I realized what was going on.  We were headed BACK TO THE BARN.  We walked nicely through the small open jump area, through the stand of trees and were just coming along the east edge of the pond, headed north when Boomer started getting light up front, tossing his head, and trying to grab the bit and pull towards home.  Aw, hell no.  I was frustrated because I just wanted a nice calm, relaxing ride.  The training is supposed to be done by a trainer.  I just want to enjoy my horse.  So, I hopped off and started backing Boomer.  And we backed.  We backed north along the pond the continued east until we got to the dirt road and backed north along that for a ways.  I'd say we backed about a quarter mile.  Boomer was sweating and ready to quit.  I hopped back on him and he stood quietly while John helped hoist me up.  We headed back north for about 200 feet until we got to the alley between the two pastures where we USUALLY head home.  I bet you can guess what happened.  Boomer wanted to go up the alley.  So, I got off and backed him some more. We backed along the dirt road north to the property line. We backed through ruts and mud.  We backed through a gate.  We backed around the corner and headed east.  We backed up a hill.  We backed until we were halfway between the pond and home and then I got back on.  Boomer walked off on a loose rein.  He stopped quietly when I asked and hesitated before walking when I asked.  We walked back to the bard and I walked him around the farm on a loose rein before I hopped off for good.

Here are some visual aids:

 He had been just side stepping, but here he went backwards.  Which is what gave me the idea to make backwards a punishment.  

This is how things started.  He kept side stepping away from the table, so I got down to move him over and he would resist and swing his hind end into me.  Right as John stopped filming, I turned him around and started backing him down the hill and then back up to try again.  

temporary success!

This was the last of the pictures, but only the beginning of the struggle.

In all, I think he backed about 1/3 of a mile.  I am VERY curious to see how the next ride goes.  I'm pretty sure Boomer is going to be sore for a day or two.  That was a lot of work for a fat, out of shape pony!  But, in all fairness, he brought it on himself.  I think that it was a good day overall.  While I was a bit disappointed in the turn the ride took, I am very satisfied that I did not let Boomer win.  I really think that we are at a critical point right now where he must not win.  Oh, and by fat, I mean that he has a cresty neck, fat deposits around his tail, and a gully down his back...