Tuesday, December 29, 2015

String Testing Shenanigans

Recently, someone made an offhand comment that they thought Odin would grow several more inches.  While I hope not, I grew curious when they suggested a thing called a string test.

For background, as most people probably know, there is a theory that you can predict the final height of your horse by certain leg measurements.

This is an equation relating to string theory, not a string test.
I posit that the principle is the same.

There are two different tests google educated me about:

  1. Measure from the center of the knee down to the coronary band, exactly where the hair meets the hoof.  The distance in inches corresponds to the final height of the horse in inches.
  2. Measure from the point of the elbow down to the fetlock.  Pivot the string upwards keeping it at the point of the elbow.  Where the top of the string is, that is where your horses withers will be.

Easy enough, right?  Famous last words.

Doing the first test wasn't terrible.  I had Odin in cross ties after a work out and because he is the bomb, I just brought the measuring tape out directly.  (Side note, why are most horses terrified of measuring tapes?) I tried to find the exact center of his knee while he helpfully shifted around, tried to crane his neck to eat the tape, and generally did anything except holding still.

I measured down to the hairline and had an epiphany.

My horse is currently around 16 hands.  He is 4.5.  He will likely grow another inch or 3 (please no).  So I am performing this voodoo test that relies on my ability to accurately measure within a quarter inch on a moving target.  And with about 18 seconds of patience between the two of us.  What was I thinking?

Stubborn if not smart, I approximated my final measurement as 16.5 inches.  So based on this, Odin will top out at 16.2.  You can take that to Vegas.

Things got busy around the grooming area so I decided to save the second test for another day.

On Christmas it was just my husband and I at the barn and he thought it would be fun to try the second test.  Hey, if you are crazy enough to spend your life with me, you might find things like this fun.  Or it is possible I am remembering wrong and it was my idea, whatever.

And with a dedicated horse handler and dedicated measurer, how hard could this be?

First problem, post op I am not supposed to be bending so measuring fell on poor J with me wrangling the constantly moving baby horse.

Second problem, a horse has a pretty long leg.  And J and I are small people with t rex like arms.  Crouching on the ground while holding the tape at the point of elbow on one end and down to the fetlock hairs with the other was a struggle.

Approximate recreation

And again Odin was doing everything in his power to assist this process.  Leaning away from the crazy humans, sticking his nose in it, making sure his feet never stopped moving.

Precision, we has it.

Eventually, we were relatively sure we had the length mostly correct and pivoted the tape.  Then we couldn't figure out if you should just hold it straight up or follow the contour of his body.  If you held it straight up, which was logical, you couldn't see how it aligned with the withers.  If you followed the body contour, I think my horse is predicted to be about 15.2....shorter than he is now.

Finally we decided to just double the length measured and add on the distance from fetlock to ground.  We did it twice and came up with 16.1 the first time and 16.3 the second time.

So I am averaging that and saying 16.2.  Just trust me on this.

YAY both methods came up with the same height prediction!!  Magic!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Progress (and some mystery destruction)

Odin has been moving along nicely, making his first big step forward this last week.

On the longe line he has entirely stopped butt bumping for canter transitions, and now just quietly canters off.  His right lead is great and his left lead is much, much better.  Usually the first transition or two will be wrong then we hit a sweet spot where he picks it up beautifully like 5 times in a row.  Then as he gets tired he starts getting it wrong.

Another plus is that the cross firing has gone way down.  Once he gets the lead he has been able to hold it until asked to trot.

As Colorado has dropped below freezing and shows no signs of warming up, work has been sporadic but mostly steady.  I think it has been two rides and 4 longing sessions.

On Christmas day I put him in the outside turnout which was a little frozen/slick and Odin was not pleased about that.  He still is learning about this winter stuff.
Orange halter!!  And see, it wasn't even that frozen.  

So I threw him in the indoor and he went crazypants.  Squealing and bucking and doing his full on racehorse impression.  It was really cute.

Yesterday we just longed him in his halter and he was excellent.  Besides cantering like a grown up horse he was offering stretching down at the trot even without a bit or side reins.  He seems to have figured out that trotting along with his nose near the ground is comfy.

We included a pole and at first that was highly exciting.  You could practically hear him say WHEEE as he leaped over it like it was 2'6" tall.  Even then he was cantering it out of stride and on the rhythm and it only got better as he settled down.  Held his leads, and was basically a perfect baby horse.

R2 gave him a training ride today and it wasn't quite so perfect although he is really just still learning things.

I say this often but I can't get past how amazing his brain is.  It was about 10F when we pulled him in, we didn't longe or turn him out first, and he went quietly to work.  The mirrors at the end of the ring were frozen which we worth a hard look or two but no shenanigans.

Mostly his issue is getting a little stuck behind the leg.  Until he warms up he really doesn't want to move forward.  Once he is going he is mostly great but he was demonstrating some gate sourness (but this is where we leave and you give me treats.  Why would I trot past it?) and some general irritation at being asked to move laterally and/or forward.

His rebellion is putting his ears back and shoving his haunches inwards and I think once he might even have stamped a hoof.  Not very intimidating and then he looks a little affronted that no one is impressed with his antics.  R2 is a crazy good rider and she just kept going at it until he settled.

It took a couple tries to get his left lead and there was one small kick out, but once he did he held it the whole time.  To the right the transition was good and once he was moving forward it was a great canter.  Again he got a little stuck.  Overall a good ride with lots of good learning!

As for the mystery destruction?  Well, as lows are in the single digits, I put his heavy blanket and hood on.  After one night, the hood looked liked this.


The giant tear goes all the way through

Even stranger - it was on the neighboring horse when I got there yesterday morning.  Only assumption is it somehow came off (through three different attachment points) and got shredded in the process.  Ended up in his neighbor's pen and the barn crew threw it on the neighbor when they came in in the morning.

But that is a lot of damage and THREE different attachments.  I sent it back to Smartpak since it was the first time being used and there isn't anything sharp in his pen so it seems this shouldn't have happened.  He has had his orange hood on for two weeks with no destruction.  We will see what they say.

Oh, and I am healing fine as well.  About halfway there!  Now back to hot tea, blankets, and my newest Netflix guilty pleasure, Lost Girl.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Odin's week in review

There isn't an awful lot to talk about with a green horse going along slowly, especially with me just observing.  But baby horse did have a fairly productive week.

Most days he was working on his longing.  I asked R about side reins and she does always use them, loosely.  Her viewpoint is that the horse should be reaching for the contact so she doesn't want the side reins always maintaining it for them, instead they engage them by stretching.
Video stills are all we have today

In just the few weeks we have had him, as he has regained some fitness and had some training rides, his trot is already changing.  He tracks up pretty well, is reaching under himself better and is finding a nice rhythm.

His canter is also getting better, although there is still plenty of work to do there and there are still PLENTY of ugly canter transitions to go around.  They usually go something like:

Ask for canter.

But oooh, nice trot

Watch ears go back.


He tries trotting faster.

Slow him down.

He squeals cause this is hard.
I had to use stills from both directions to get the full effect

He flails into canter, usually on the right lead or cross firing regardless of direction of travel.
Picking up the left lead in front, and um, so uphill!

Baby buck and kick out in uncoordinated attempt to fix it.

If successful, canter around looking smug until balance is compromised and swap in back.  If not successful, try going faster.
All the leads!


He is clearly trying so freaking hard and his body is just not cooperating with him yet.  Luckily, he has made progress and maybe 25% of the time he now just picks up the canter with a beautiful, perfect transition.

We live in a world of extremes apparently where it is either a hot mess or a thing of beauty.  No middle ground right now.

He is also showing baby step improvement on how long he can canter correctly when he does get his lead.  At first it was just a few strides, now he can do a couple circles right and a full circle or so left. Not every time, but I didn't actually expect this much progress yet, so I am impressed.

R2 then put a couple under saddle rides on him this weekend.  Mostly trot work but also some canter work.  It took a few tries to get his leads but once he did he was able to do about half the arena to the right and a little less than that to the left before swapping.  Adding a human into the mix definitely ups the challenge level but slow and steady we go.

Very good for clipping his bridle path!  Only
objected to his ears being done.
Sunday we were treated to a surprise as (apparently) overnight, Odin decided to grow some.  R2 said he felt like his butt was 2 inches taller than the day before and he was accordingly uncoordinated.

Please stop growing Odin, I like your size now.  Check that, grow your front end to catch up, and then be done!

After he rediscovered all his parts he had a short ride.  He was a little tired, physically and mentally, from his week, so we kept it short and sweet.  R2 took him over his first cross rail since his test ride before I bought him.  He got a little excited but ended up trotting it beautifully and cantering away quietly.

This horse has just been so much fun to be around. Even just hanging out with him on the ground, he is very interactive and kind of a goof.  Maybe not super bright - the other day we had to fish a hoofpick out of his mouth as pulled the whole thing in and we were worried he might swallow it - but sweet and entertaining.  Oh, and because he is a hungry hungry hippo, his current name is Odinpotamus.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Watching from the ground

Early on in the horse shopping process, I learned that I was going to have to have relatively major abdominal surgery in the near future.  I would be grounded for 6 weeks if all went well, longer if there were complications.  My husband and I discussed holding off on purchasing a new horse until after the surgery.  It made a lot (A LOT) of financial sense of course but I really wanted to get started on this new project.
Glad we didn't wait

I figured I would have a couple months to figure out and play with my new horse and then if necessary I could put him/her in training or my friends would put rides in while I was down depending on the horse I ended up with.  Watching the new horse get worked would also give me something to do while recovering.

Well as the buying process took longer and longer, we started inching closer to my surgery date of December 9.  For Odin himself, we had to push the test ride back a few weeks as he was still ouchy on a relatively fresh splint, and then we had a second delay when he was footsore and we couldn't vet him.  We finally managed to bring him home a mere two weeks before my surgery.
Using those hocks during our test ride

I managed a light ride on him most days for those two weeks, wanting to get to know him and him to get to know me.  And also to figure out what he needs while I am off.  Luckily, he made that pretty clear from the get go.  Weak stifles and struggle with canter transitions/inability to hold a lead in back.  As mentioned before, none of this was surprising given his age and current fitness level but it definitely made sense to put him in full training while I was grounded.

My surgery went smoothly and at day 4 I seem to be recovering well.  I have talked to trainer R and yesterday I even managed to sneak to the barn for a few minutes to watch a training ride on Odin by R's daughter R2.   So what has Odin been up to?

  • New shoes!  He had his first farrier visit.  He was near the end of his shoeing cycle when we picked him up and his right heel was definitely under run so we wanted to work on that.  In addition, we added hind shoes to even him out in back and help his stifles.  I am sad to put hinds on in winter - and also sad bank account - but it is worth it to give him a boost in canter work.
  • Turn out - finally got him added to our turn out schedule and once he learned the minis next door aren't tiny horse demons he has enjoyed his play time.  
  • Longing - R has stated that he mostly needs to work on the canter without a human on his back so he is spending time on the longe line.  I am hoping next week to be able to watch some of his sessions.  I loathe longing agnd therefore am not super educated about it. For example, I am not sure if side reins are being used and/or how they might help him right now.  So I will try and learn about that.  
    Fun for no one
  • Being fussed over and complimented.  Trainer R loves every horse so I am not surprised she loves Odin.  But that won't stop me from sharing some of her positive thoughts.  
    • She called him one of the most sensible horses she has ever met.  He takes new things in stride and is more curious than fearful.  Even when something scares him (e.g. minis) he has a small reaction and then chooses to approach it and see what is going on.
    • Smart and trainable.  I will have to get some videos but you can almost see his brain working.  He has been improving in every session.  Partly because he already knew some of this and was just unfit but he has also been figuring out the differences between our style and his previous owner/trainer and adapting himself to it. R2 noted yesterday that he is moving laterally off the leg and bending around the leg about 100 times better already.
    • Easy going and a pleasure to be around.  Horse just loves people and interacting with them.  
And just a couple other notes since even perfect horses need goals.  He isn't very comfortable with crowding in the ring yet and will kick out at horses that pass too closely.  They are warning shots and not actual attempts to connect but we will work on getting him more used to that.  

And in his riding sessions, he is only doing poles at the moment.  We might throw a cross rail in for fun in the near future but even small jumping work will mostly be held until he can, you know, canter more easily.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Before pics

Sunday J came out to the barn to take some conformation shots so in theory we can do comparisons as time goes on.

Who is a good posing horse?

I would like to eat that saddle please

OK, hands are edible too

No, don't take away the hand chew toy
If anyone sees anything special about his current state or conformation, please feel free to share.  Clearly we lack anything in the way of neck muscle and topline.  Otherwise to my amateur eye he looks pretty good.

I am not highly knowledgeable on conformation but my vet and trainer have said that overall they like his build.  Comments I remember are:

  • that he has a good short back for jumping
  • nice shoulder and croup angles (or he will have those once he is done growing? Something like that)
  • Good pasterns, length and thickness
  • well sprung ribcage
  • nicely uphill although he is expected to grow a little more so we will see if that lasts
  • kind of straight behind
He also has great hair, I hope his tail magically stays nice as I neglect to do anything with it.  Hey, a girl can dream.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Baby needs new things

While bringing your new horse home right before Thanksgiving might not get you much in the way of good weather, it is an excellent time to shop for new horse stuff!  Woohoo spending more money!

Very little of Fawkes' stuff works for Odin. I could get by with it for awhile but Odin is just that much taller/larger/longer that he would need many of his own things. So courtesy of Black Friday sales, here is a tally of what I picked up for the new kid in town.

This was an urgent situation although the lovely people I board with were nice enough to lend me some in the meantime.  My rules of blankets are waterproof (outside horse), 1000D or higher to try and survive a few seasons, and front clips because buckles in the cold sucks.

Schneiders was having a kick ass sale and I picked up a waterproof sheet, medium weight blanket, and hood for $170. There were SO. MANY. COLORS. to choose from. And since Odin is a really dark bay, practically black, he can wear any color.  Naturally I went for the bright orange.

Here modeling the medium weight, the sheet and hood are matching

Smartpak was having their 15% off sale so I picked up the Navy/Hunter Deluxe turnout in heavy weight and another matching hood: https://img.smartpak.com/product/300x300/17376_Navy.jpg  I think hood prices are a ripoff since they are like 2/3 of the price of the blanket but I figured I might as well get the matching one here.  I actually ordered this one first before the Schneiders sale or I might have just picked up another one of theirs, but total was still pretty good at $180.  


As is probably the case with many still growing, out of shape horses...or some horses just in general...Odin interferes pretty significantly.   So I don't get on him without some leg protection. And because white boots make us fancy: 

Man I feel lucky with this horse, look at that trot already
Riding Warehouse had their 20% off sale so for $50 I was able to get a full set of Woof Wear sport brushing boots.  Now we will be extra fancy!

Ok I guess I mostly only purchased things that started with the letter B.  Fawkes was a true cob and while his bridle mostly fit Odin, the noseband was too short and the cheek pieces were on the last hole.  Which led me to believe my new guy was a horse size.  So in ideal world, I was looking for a decent quality bridle, horse size, monocrown, and in a light color.  I know some people don't like the light chestnut coloring but I think it looks amazing on the dark horses.  

Everywhere with great sales only had darker colors available.  My searching uncovered that Red Barn bridles come in this (terribly named) color called Conker that would be perfect for Odin.  And Ebay had a brand new Red Barn Sovereign bridle in Conker for $90, which is about 1/3 of normal retail.  Only downside?  It was a cob.  Online reviews definitely varied for this brand but were largely positive and stated that the bridles ran large.  For that deal I decided to take the chance.  Plus the ebay store had a return policy.  Odin and I got lucky

I absolutely love this color on him.  And I am glad it is a cob, I am not sure a horse size would even work.  The noseband is only two holes down from the top and the cheekpieces are a hole or two tighter than center.   It did come with matching laced reins which I didn't have on today.  I will give them a try tomorrow but I love my rubber reins so I might be willing to have the color mismatch there.  

And the bridle was ridiculously soft right out of the box.  It isn't a monocrown but otherwise I am happy with my purchase so far.  I will make sure to see how it breaks in/holds up.  

I have started working on getting his mane under control.  And I am indeed wearing a
powderpuff football shirt from when I was a highschool senior a long, long time ago.  
There is still at least one other thing (halter) coming and possibly a few other things I will get once my bank account recovers from this whole experience, but I believe we have all the essentials now.  Luckily my saddle/half pad/girth collection was able to fit Odin as is.  Shopping was kind of fun, but now I need to rebuild my horse savings for awhile!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cold Holiday Weekend Made Better

Shockingly, late November might not have been the best time to get a new horse.  Of course in theory, it was perfect.  Get him home right before a 4 day weekend, have unlimited hours of playing. Winning all over.

In reality he came home Tuesday afternoon and the temperature started dropping Wednesday morning.  By Wednesday late afternoon it was frigid and snowing.  Snowed pretty much all Thanksgiving and stayed well below freezing and overcast until this morning.  When I had to go back to work.  Thanks Colorado.  I guess this why most people buy horses in the spring?  Oh well, I always have liked doing things the hard way.

Luckily, Odin has been more than up to the challenge.  I have sat on him every day except Saturday, just letting him wander around the indoor mostly with gradually increasing amounts of trotting and Sunday we even cantered a little.  In spite of no turnout, being in a new place, and the weather, he has been a champ.  If he keeps this level of sensible brain he is going to be a perfect horse.

He did get some turnout in the indoor on Thursday and enjoyed a little bucking and running which was cute and surprisingly short lived.  Then Sunday morning I threw him on the longe since there were too many horses for turnout and I thought he might need play time. I also don't know if he had ever worn a quarter sheet before and didn't know if he would object.

HA.  HA squared
Calm down there crazy man

Odin just lazed around all "why are we doing this small circle crap?" and then went quietly under saddle.  We did our first real trot work and he just got better and better as we went.  Softening in the contact and actually holding it there, reaching more under himself.  This is definitely a well started horse which will make life easier as we go.

Like most horses I have ridden, he is more flexible to the left and we have work to do on the right.  But even to the right he has reasonable softness, just requires more work and more leg.  Always more leg!
My husband sure loves taking pictures in our indoor.  But look at the relaxed babyface.

Not going to lie that cantering is a bit more of a mess at the moment.  He has been mostly out of work due to the popped splint so he is pretty weak behind.  Add that to his stifles not being of much help at the moment and it is a struggle.  You can tell he mentally knows - he threw in one perfect transition to the right, but he isn't strong enough to really hold the lead behind or canter more than a lap without losing rhythm.

And I was warned when I bought him that his left lead is not solid yet.  Which the vet said isn't surprising as his right stifle is the weaker of the two.  So we didn't even try that lead.

I also didn't want to push the cantering as he was starting to get a smidge more exciteable.  He even spooked once by scooting forward two steps.  That was adorable.  Please Odin, let that be your spook forevermore.
He snuggles too!

All of which helped us develop our short term game plan.  To be conservative, probably two more weeks of light work to be extra sure the splint is set.  He also is due for the farrier but with our farrier's schedule might go late, so again, keep it light until feet and splint are good.  Focus on the trotting and maybe add some poles in during this time.  Some longing and side reins are in order to start building up the back end/stifles and get back into canter transitions.

Most importantly, act really cute, make friends, and learn more about each other.
The cute is a given.  I have total new horse blindness.  He can do no wrong right now

Friday, November 27, 2015

Horse shopping and Introducing Odin!

After a fun summer spent riding other people's horses (OPH) I decided it was probably time to get back in the market.  I need a project in life and while part leasing Clementine was awesome and she is a fun mare, I wanted my own project.

She should be a catalog model
Horse shopping was not as fun as I wanted it to be.  It took me a little while to figure out what I was looking for so I spent a lot of time perusing ads and then thinking about what appealed to me or didn't about that horse.  For example, I wanted a horse that was brave to fences after Fawkes took a chunk of my confidence but I didn't want a totally made horse.  So I focused on horses that had been started over fences but were still green.
~Around 5 or 6 although not firm on that.
~Forward thinking but not crazy.
~15-16 hands or so as I am a fairly small person
~Reasonably priced for their breeding, experience, etc (that was probably the hardest of all.  Some people really like to ask a lot for their warmblood mutt that has never done anything)

The very first horse we met was a 4 year old TB, track bred but never raced, chestnut filly. She was sensitive but sensible, clearly loved to jump, and fit me really well.  It seemed too good to be true and it sadly was  - she failed her vet check.  Her owner had her from a young age so I don't think she knew about the arthritis in the hock, but maybe I am being too nice.  Either way, I didn't want to take the risk.

I was so bummed, I get attached way too quickly and easily with horses.  After that was just a frustrating month or so.  People would say they want to sell their horse and then cancel a showing last minute or just stop responding.  One horse went on the market on a Saturday night, I scheduled a showing for Sunday afternoon which was the first time the owner was available.  She texted me around lunch saying the horse had already sold.  I gave up even trying to schedule my trainer to come as it wasn't even worth it, just had my husband take video and photos to show her later.

On the positive side, I do think most of the horses I met were advertised honestly.  Except height.  People lie their asses off about height.  I don't get it, people are going to notice that 15.3 horse is really 14.3 but I also admit that I lost all sense of horse size after a short time. I even liked most of the horses I tried but some just weren't the right match and others were overpriced and I think it would be insulting to offer about half what someone was asking!  I was losing hope and winter was coming.  But then I met Oatie.
Who, me?
He is a 4 year old OTTB who didn't make it as a race horse.  Only 3 starts and apparently he was a bleeder.  16 hands ish and by Dynaformer.  I pretty much loved him as soon I sat on him.  The boy has a great calm vibe.  But that doesn't mean he isn't an athlete...
Video still
When we went to vet him it was a terrible day.  Wind gusts near 100 mph, the vet was super late, the indoor ring was packed -  and then Oatie was super lame!  As he had been sound when I tried him I had the vet look for the source and as soon as he got the hoof testers out it was clear we had a stone bruise type situation.  Wah wah.  Vet liked his conformation and demeanor and suggested we come back once he healed up.  Can't really flex a dead lame horse.  Sigh.

Luckily he healed quickly and we came back for round two.  My trainer decided to send the trailer to the vetting so we could get him home before Thanksgiving if he passed.  I wasn't sure if a little optimism never hurt anyone or if we were jinxing the whole operation but as the blog title implies, we were in luck.

The poor baby has several (mostly) cosmetic things going on - lumps on his head that show he fractured his face on something once upon a time, a pretty recent popped splint, and a lump above his left knee that was xrayed and ultrasounded by the seller so we were already confident that wasn't an issue.  The head lumps mean we should watch out for sinus infections and the knee lump isn't bothering him at all.  The splint was still a tiny bit sensitive but is mostly firmed up.

He did have slightly "sticky stifles" (maybe a 1/5 on flex) but I learned this is common at his age and in TBs.  He has also mostly been out of work while the splint healed so he isn't very fit.  We took a stifle xray to be safe which was totally clean so we are thinking that growing and getting back into work will strengthen them up (on the longe he was swapping leads in back a lot and bunny hopping a bit but while all things horse-wise are a gamble, odds are this all ties together.  Fawkes couldn't hold a lead in back in the round pen for months when I first got him).

After talking it all through with vet and trainer, we decided he would be suitable to purchase!!  I was beyond excited and also probably would have wanted him if he had a broken leg so I am not sure I should be allowed to make decisions like this.  It was such a relief to be told I now had "permission" to fall in love!
Because I totally already loved him.  That face.

While his registered name of Hay Oats and Water is just terrible, I kind of thought Oatie was cute.  So I decided on the name Odin with a nickname of Odie.  Although with that dark bay coat it will be super tempting to show him under the name Slightly Darker Black (I love Archer!).

He has been settling in really well at our barn.  It is cold and snowy and he has taken it all in stride.  Clearly I don't expect him to be perfect but so far he just....has been. Under saddle and on the ground.  Of course there will be challenges but we are starting off on a great note.

We are going to be taking it slow.  Give the splint a little more time, get him some farrier work as he is a little underrun in the heels, and even then he was a late foal and won't even be 5 until May. We are in no rush.  But I am very excited for his future.  I am so grateful he made his way to Colorado and we found each other.  And I am back in the blog game to track our adventures!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

So long, and thanks for all the fish

So, in kind of a crazy whirlwind, it all went off without a hitch and Fawkes is at his new home. Because I didn't expect it to go so quickly I wasn't prepared with anything.  I had to get a Coggins pulled and a brand inspection and he was due for the farrier so I wanted to get that done before he left too.  Somehow, it all got done and he left on Friday.
We got one last ride in too

 His new home is everything I could have asked for and I can't believe how well it worked out.  He moved to a facility farther away from the metro area with big fields for turnout and a really talented young adult rider.

Yeah, he looks pretty happy
I am definitely a little sad - we have been partners for 3.5 years after all - but I can't feel too badly.  He is in a great place with someone who is already in love with him!

As for me, I don't plan on taking a break from riding.  My horse friends are already generously offering up their horses and I might pick up a part lease this summer.  Hopefully, some other life stuff gets worked out in the next few months and then I can figure out my horse future.  It seems unlikely I will blog much if at all for a bit, but I am going to keep this active, keep up to date with everyone else's blogs, and maybe start up again when I have a new journey to share.

Once last roll in the indoor with that wild pony mane
Thanks for sharing in Fawkes' story!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

On a Sunday (I'll think it through)

It has been a busy week.  I may have a home lined up for Fawkes, which would be surprisingly fast.  I will post all about it once it goes through...or not.  I have a good feeling about the situation but I guess I am a little superstitious and don't want to talk details until it is all done.  Of course there are an awful lot of emotions swirling around in my brain about the whole situation but I am currently delaying dealing with those.  Avoidance is my friend.

In the meantime, the weather here has continued to suck so yay for a barn with an indoor!  I spent the whole weekend riding.  Sadly, J didn't want to spend his whole weekend taking pictures of me but he did swing by briefly today.  I was lucky enough to get another ride on Tonka the wonder horse.  We started out a little fugly over a cross rail.
 Tonka can be very hard (for me) to trot over a fence.  He REALLY wants to canter the last stride but also is sensitive so trying to hold him to the trot but not drag him down to the walk is challenging.  We had one that wasn't documented-phew- where he got confused and sort of stepped over with his front end and then stopped.  Good horse.  Luckily, we eventually got it together and cantering fences is much much easier.

He is barely even trying.  Love it.
 I am a lucky girl to have such amazing horses available to mess around on.

Fawkes was also spectacular under saddle but sadly no photographic evidence.  J did get a couple pictures of him in cross ties before he left.  I asked for a leg wound shot because I wanted to capture that is it finally healing.  It really needs a day or two in the open air but since my horse currently lives in a mud pit, that will have to wait.

 It looks so tiny in a picture.  And I guess it is in real life but it has produced some truly gross weeping and swelling.  And Mr (not) Stoic hates for it to be touched.  So doctoring it has been tons of fun.  But I am happy with the progress and the fact he has remained rideable.  Definitely think we dodged a bullet with the damage level.

And on a final note, my very favorite picture of the day.  Fawkes and I do not have many sweet moments as neither of us really enjoy touching or snuggling.  However, they do happen sometimes and I am happy to have photographic evidence of this one.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A real ride, over fences and everything

I had my first real ride in awhile last night, and it was entirely unplanned.

In very un-Colorado fashion, the weather has been cold and rainy for days with no end in sight.  This is bad in the big picture because it inevitably leads to flooding and in the small picture because of the very bored horses that aren't getting turned out.
This is in our future with all the rain

I was planning to go to the barn after work to hop on Fawkes and let him just walk and trot some.  He seems to be fully sound again, or at least 99%, but the wound is still open so we are keeping it wrapped and with antibacterial ointment to ward off infection.  He lives outside but when it rains he refuses to leave his shed so he ends up just standing around and needs to move some.

However, when I got there, trainer R had already worked him for the day, cleaned his wound, and re-wrapped him.  Didn't seem to be any good reason to mess with his wraps more, especially when there were plenty of other horses who could use a workout.

So I got on Eric, the bombproof packer whom I want to steal, take home, and hide in my bedroom.  He literally doesn't care what you do in front of a fence, he has GOT this.  And in more surprising news, I rode really well.  A few times I tensed up or fell forward a little bit, but I didn't blow anything completely.

We were able to mess around in one line and do both the add and the stride, alternatingly (that is a word blogger, shut up), and then went through a bounce to a vertical no probs.  Got several really good lead changes too since I was pushing him to be straight.  Shout out to Fawkes on making me much more attuned to the need for straightness and the skills to get it.

Hopefully can keep up this weird trend of actually riding horses

Sunday, May 3, 2015


After being stuck at a work event Monday-Thursday, I was looking forward to being able to ride on Friday.  I did get a hilarious call from my trainer on Thursday that Fawkes had been out in turnout and while all the other horses stayed clean, Fawkes dedicated himself to finding the one small puddle that was left and with monumental effort managed to coat himself head to hoof in mud.  She said she would bathe him Friday and he would be ready to go.

Except instead, it appears during his shenanigans in turnout he somehow managed to gouge himself on the inside of his left front, just above the fetlock.  The cut is so tiny it wasn't noticeable and didn't bleed much at the time, but it is pretty deep and by Friday his whole leg was swollen and it was oozing.

Blurry horse doesn't hold still for photos
He has spent the last few days getting cleaned and wrapped.  By today the swelling was down and he wasn't lame anymore but there was still a fair amount of....junk draining from it and it is still not close to scabbing over.

Still not interested in the camera lady.  where are my pity treats?
He will get a few more days of bandage changes and hand walking, then we will re-assess.  I am really, really, REALLY grateful that it appears to not be serious.  Still kind of bummed though.  Also, got the letter today that starting June 1st we have a $45 board increase.  Not surprising, but board is already painful and I am not expecting a quick sale here.  Especially not if Fawkes keeps up with the self mutilation.

Don't mind me, I will just be consoling myself in the corner here: