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Allergies to flies?   
09:33am 26/08/2007
  This is the weirdest thing, my mother's care giver's wife's horse, Rebel, has turned up alergic to flies this summer (vets diagnosis). His front legs are swollen along with his chest, belly and genitals. I haven't seen him in a week, so I don't know how he is doing.

Initially they were giving him antibiotics for this, but he turned up allergic to that so he was put on steroids.

I hear now that there is a problem with maggots, but I don't know the specifics.

He is an flea bit grey, though more white than anything. I was thinking that maybe his color had something to do with it. I have noticed over the years that the flies seem to "go for" the light colored horses more than the dark ones.

I'll post more as I hear more.

As far as I know Fionnabhair is fine, thought I haven't been able to see her recently because of mandatory overtime at work.
     4 Tasted freedoms| Post
Horsie pix   
11:34am 01/07/2007
  More pictures...

This is an old one that I had of Federal. I had been meaning to scan it in for a long time, but never could be bothered to do it.

This was probably eight years ago? Not sure on that.
     1 Tasted freedom| Post
Some people just can't load a horse...   
06:01pm 30/06/2007
  I went out to the stables today and when I arrived there was a truck and trailer parked in front of the line of hitch rails that are available. There were a man and woman attempting to load a horse. Now I have witness these people around their horses, so I knew this would be bad.

They had a two horse trailer and they were trying to load the horse into one side without opening the other. I don't know why they just didn't open the other side of the trailer and lead him in that way... Maybe they were trying to train him to load when there was a horse loaded on the other side already.

So what they were doing was leading him away from the trailer and then leading him to it. Then stopping at the door, and then trying to urge him in by tapping him with a whip and then telling him verbally, "get in." So he would get so far, put a front hoof in and then back out. Then they would immediately take him away from the trailer and lead him back to it then repeat the process.

I'm sure he had been trailered before but the poor animal didn't know what they wanted... I'm sure he felt he was doing what they wanted him to. They were moving way to fast for him to get a handle on what they were doing with him.

So I go get Fionn, and of course I have to tie her at the very end of the hitch rails... the opposite side my tack room is at. No biggie, I just have to lug the saddle further. So I do my usual thing I brush Fionn down, saddle her take her over to the round pen. Work her out in the round pen a bit and then get on her and ride her. I rode her for about thirty minutes or so.

I decide to go around the back of the tack rooms to get to the hitch rail at the end. So (I'm riding Fionn) and I turn the corner and what do I see? The woman had fallen and had the horse by the lead rope, and he is running around her in a circle. So I dismount from Fionn and tie her up. I hear the woman telling the man that the horse stepped on her and that is why she fell down. The she trades off with him and goes to get some iodine.

They had gotten to a level of insanity that it should have never gotten to. The horse was sweating, the people were sweating they were all stressed and upset. Fionn was standing quietly while all this craziness was going on.

I just wanted to grab the lead rope from these morons and scream at them they were doing it all WRONG! All they were doing was teaching the horse to do exactly what he was doing.

I unsaddle Fionn and took her back to her stall, cleaned the stall, and when I got back they were still at it. They didn't even think that the horse might need a break? They were trading off, to get a break, but the horse didn't need one apparently!

I was disgusted. I don't understand how people like this can have a horse and think this is "fun." I mean why would you do this on your days off? "Saturday I plan on fighting my horse into a horse trailer."
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
Someone doesn't like to be sprayed   
09:31am 24/06/2007
  I went out to ride the beastie, and since I didn’t feel that well I didn’t go at 6:00am as I had planned. Fortunately I felt better later, and decided to go at 11:30. So that would make it about 106-109.

So I took Fionn out for a short ride, and when I went to put her away I decided to spray her down.

*Luck was with me because there were a couple of girls spraying their horses down in the wash rack, so I figured I would just take Fionn down to her stall and do it.

I had the halter on her and brought the hose near and let the water run on her legs… Turns out I don’t think she has ever been washed. She was double plus unhappy with the water running on her. Though I did manager to keep her calm and get her nice and wet. Yay more stuff to work on.

* It could have been a bad wreck if I had her in the wash rack and tried to spray her down… glad those girls were taking their time.

X-posted to skullarix
Horsie pix!   
09:58pm 09/05/2007
  cut to save friends listCollapse )  
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
Laying down   
09:46pm 09/01/2007
  Fionnabhair was being a goober today. She was all excited to see me. I put her halter on and took her over to the round pen, I took her halter off and flung it over to the side as I always do when suddenly I get a text message (okay I was texting I admit it). So I pause and respond to the message, while I'm doing that Fionn decides to lay down. I just look at her funny, she just lays there with her butt to me.

I think, well, this is interesting I wonder if she will let me get near her while she is down. So I go over to her. At first she didn't seem to approve of this idea, but then she decided it was okay and just stayed there. So I squatted down in front of her and rubbed her head and she sniffed my shoes. Then I stood up wondering how I difficult it was going to be to get her up, then she just stood up. I guess maybe she just wanted my attention?

Anyway we proceeded with our ground work. I figured tonight was a goof off night anyway. After that was all over I turned her out in the arena just for a change of pace while I cleaned her stall.
     1 Tasted freedom| Post
Arizona Trek   
11:15pm 29/08/2006
Susan and Bethany will ride from the Utah to the Mexico border, following the historic Arizona Trail. Their quest is to make history by being the first equestrians to complete the Arizona Tail in one ride.

I'd nearly sell my soul to go with them.

     1 Tasted freedom| Post
09:20pm 28/12/2005
  Fionnabhair was pretty good tonight. It has been nearly a month since I have been able to really work with her (due to being sick and the holidays).

I was impressed with how much she retained! She did very well. She still isn't turning in towards me all the time, but it seems like she is turning in more often.

I'm still reading Bill's book. He talked about overexposing a horse, and I am wondering if some of the methods I have learned tend to do that. I don't know I'm going to have to read further in the book to find out I think.
True Horsemanship Through Feel   
12:14am 20/12/2005
  Finally! After this book supposedly being delivered to my house which it wasn't.

Apparently Amazon uses some carrier that drop ships to the US postal service. Then the postal service delivers the packages to the locations.

Well according to this carries website (dhl?) they had delivered my package. I was afraid that there had been some Hexmas swiping going on. I was pretty upset, glad I didn't write Amazon and tell them that I didn't get the book I guess. We found the little card in our mail and went to the post office today.

Hubby was in a pretty pissed off mood, and he didn't want to stand in line. I told him he could go home and I would call him when I got the package. After Hubby agreed to stay some guy grabbed us out of line since we were picking up something and not mailing something. So we got in and out of the post office in about 10 minutes!

I have to admit this book is MUCH bigger than I thought it was. I'm so excited about it though!

     1 Tasted freedom| Post
Ranch grooming next wave of 'whisperers'   
01:33pm 04/12/2005
mood: sick
All-natural technique is foundation of program

Perry Backus
Nov. 25, 2005

DILLON, Mont. - Famed horse trainer Ronnie Willis used to say a horse's basic motivation is simple: All it truly wants is to be without fear.

"He'll do anything to be free of fear," Willis once said. "If he gets scared, he becomes a throttle-aholic. He's a gone unit. That's what kept him alive for 50 million years."

Willis died in his sleep...Collapse )

If I was a teenager I would give sell my soul to go to this. Unfortunately I'm married and grown.
Random musings?   
09:50pm 29/11/2005
mood: sore
when my little mood fox looks sad I feel bad :(

Yay! Cheesy diagram time.

What I am trying to depict here is what I think is going on. She is getting me out of the saddle to quickly. I don't even know what is going on 'til I'm flying through the air.

I think she is stopping ever so slightly, and when I come forward, she is ducking out laterally (depicted by the arrow). So I think I'm sort of getting a spin on my flight, and then I land on my back on the ground. After she stops I think she is putting her head down, and this might be the precursor to a buck (I'll have to find this out later).

Random things I have noticed:
1) I changed to a snaffle from a halter and she dropped me the first time I use the snaffle
2) She dumped me in the large arena first (less control?)
3) She dumped me crossing the water (less control?)
4) She hasn't dumped me in the round pen (more control?)
5) I go off left back as she is moving right forward
6) When in the round pen, at first, she won't turn inward; when she is turning right, it takes a little time to get her to turn in, not out.
7) When round penning her, she seems to do all the things she should do. She comes to me and follows me around, but when I get close to her I notice that her ears are pointed back as if she is listening to something behind her. I'm thinking she might still be thinking of escape. It just seems really weird, she does all the things she should do but with the ears back is she still thinking of escape?

On item #7 I want to take her out into one of the arenas where she can get away to see what she does.

I did go and work her tonight for about an hour, just in the round pen. I didn't ride, just ground work. I did the bag trick again, she was pretty spooky and ran around snorting. Though she calmed down and let me wave it all around much quicker.

I then went ahead and worked on trying to get her to pay more attention to me. So any time her attention wavered when I had her in the middle I made her go out again. Any time her attention wavered when she was out I made her change direction.

Now on to the spills...

I figure that it can be one of two things, and neither are that great.
1) Just random spooks that landed me on the ground. The bad part is that if this is the case she isn't managing her fear very well, and just bolting when something scares her.

2) She is trying to escape from me. The bad on this one is that somewhere I missed something in the training. She is trying to get away, and she hasn't learned the lessons that being with me is a better propostion than away from me.
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
Why horses shouldn't step on people...   
07:18pm 28/11/2005
mood: amused

This is why you shouldn't let the horse step on you... Not that I let her... Not that I even realized that she did it until I was done riding her and wondered why my leg wouldn't move.

I think it is funny how when you have adrenaline coursing through your veins you don't know things like this happen to you. Then later you are wondering how you ended up with a bruise or a cut or even a broken bone.
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
Thoughts from a cowboy...   
09:09pm 26/11/2005
mood: hopeful
Welp, I just got off the phone with my mom's neighbor. He is an old cowboy type, he has riden more rough stock than I can even dream of.

You know what he thought? He thought that with the way she is fine... fine... fine... dumps me... fine... fine... that it is her equipment or a burr or something that is poking, pinching or otherwise annoying her. So when I go out to see her next I will examine all her equipment with a fine toothed comb. I do have to say that I did switch to a clean cinch and a clean pad cover. The stuff I had been using on her was Federal's old dirty equipment. I wouldn't expect clean equipment to bother her though.

He also thought changing up her routine might help. So ride her first and then do the round penning. Not to sure on that one.

The other thing he thinks is that she has figured out a little trick that just throws me. Well I can see that, because Federal had his little trick, which was the 180 degree turn at mach 1. I figured that. I just don't know what to do to fix it. Once Federal had discovered one trick wouldn't work he thought of a new one. I had hoped that Fionn wouldn't do that because she has only been worked with for six months in her whole five years of life.

I hope I wise up before I get broke down.

I know I had hinted to saigh_allaidh that I was going to sell her if she didn't straighten out. Well, I will exhaust every avenue I can think of before I do something like that. I still think she has great potential. I'm just not holding up my end of the bargain right now I guess.
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
Round 2: Horse 2 Human 0   
04:08pm 26/11/2005
mood: distressed
As you can guess by the subject line, Mr Ground and I are becoming good friends. Fionnabhair dumped me again.

I don't know what is going on. I'm not sure if she is bucking or just jumping forward. Whatever it is I come off when she does it. I've never had a problem like this before. I have always been a good enough rider to stay on.

So I suppose I should start from the beginning.

I took her to the round pen and worked with her on the plastic bag. She did really well. We got to the point where I had it tied to the end of a whip. She was standing and I was waving it all around her. In front, behind, over, under, you name it I was waving it there. Then we stared the leading by the legs. Somewhere a girl opened up the gate to the round pen and said, "oh, I didn't know anyone was in here." Okay I can understand this because it is the wood side round pen. Then she just stands there with the gate open. I tell her I'll be done in a few minutes, and still she stand there with the gate open. I'm just thinking, "What do you want me to do? I'm not done. I pretty much ignore her and continue to work with Fionnabhair.

Now these round pen sessions take at least 30 minutes if not an hour. So I don't feel that I am rushing Fionnabhair through anything. Fionnabhair is the one that sets the scheduel not me.

Anyway I take her out and saddle her up and get on. All the arena's are full, so I ride her around the compound. She is doing just fine, walking around turning, stoping. I decide since she is doing fine I'm going to take her over to the water and ride her over it again.

As we go up to the water she is looking at it. It is running much faster and deeper now. She mildly resists me when we get up to the edge of the water. I turn her to the water again. I take her part of the way into the water and try to stop her. She doesn't want to and manages to turn around and we ride out, the way we came in. Well, fine lets go back in. So I take her back in the water and she again won't stop, so I think fine, if she wants to ride through the water lets go. At some point I'm guessing she longes forward. Now here is where I think she is bucking. It seems to me that while I am flying through the air she is jumping, frogging, bucking something. I just find it difficult to believe she is just taking off. So I end up air born, cussing and fuming all the way. Splat I land on the ground and she runs back across the water to the stable side. I think she may have stepped on me too. There is a nice bruise forming on my left thigh.

So I walk back over the long way (over some sort of bridge/dam set up). Some woman was kind enough to meet me and ask me if I was okay. Yes, I'm okay, just bruised and battered again. I collect the horse and take her back to the tack room.

I'm thinking maybe she is getting away from me because the bit isn't strong enough for her. So I switch out of the snaffle to Federal's old bit, which is what we call an "Army Bit." Then I took her to the round pen and rode her around in there for an hour. She did jump and try and take off on me once, but I got her stopped before she could do anything.

I probably should have gone back to the water, but to be honest I don't want to get really hurt by falling on the rocks. It doesn't seem to matter, she is still dumping me in the same way.

I don't know what I'm going to do. She is doing excellent on the ground work, and she does excellent when I ride her except for these instances. I don't know what I'm missing.

I don't know if this has anything to do with anything. This started when I started using a snaffle bit on her. It is just a simple O ring snaffle. Before that I was just using a halter. She didn't do anything when I was using the halter.

I'm not sure I could swich back because now she knows she can dump me. It might not make a difference. Then again it could all be a coincidence.
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
Horse crazy   
01:06am 26/11/2005
mood: bouncy
Today I feel "Horse crazy."

I don't know what it is, I just want to run out of the house, to the car, to the freeway and to the horse.

Damn horse messed me up. I couldn't even turn my head on Wednesday! I still can't walk with out limping right now. (I think I over did it trying to get my husbands suprise birthday together). My hip hurts to walk... I'm still not 100% but I am MUCH better than I was Wednesday. I can't even sleep on my right side.

Like I said I had to put my husbands suprise party together, so since the time I woke up 'til about 7:30pm has been constant party organization! He had a good time though, that makes me glad!

Still with all the running around and cooking and serving, in the back of my mind I am trying to figure out how I can steal away for an hour or so. I have to remind myself that Fionnabhair takes more than an hour right now, and she messed me up.

Maybe part of me is sick and twisted and wants to know if she is going to dump me again. Or maybe I just want to get out there and shape her mind into something beautiful. Maybe I feel like she will think she won because I have had to take time to recover physicaly from my dumping.

It has been three days and I am going insane! I can't wait 'til tomorrow. I feel like a kid at Hexmas...

I forgot to mention that I told a girl at work that I was going to dye my horses blaze (I said nose to her because she is a dude). Now this girl won't leave me alone! Every time I see her it is, "did you dye your horse yet?" According to my friend Steph, she is even talking about it when I am at lunch or on break! Eeep! I created a monster...
     1 Tasted freedom| Post
Round 1: Horse 1 Human 0   
05:50pm 23/11/2005
mood: sore
So I went out to ride Fionnabhair last night. I went and got the halter before seeing her which I don't usually do. So wen I get to her stall she is standing a the very edge waiting for me. "Hmmmm, this is an improvement, let see if she follows me..." she did follow me right to the gate and stood quietly while I haltered her.

So I took her to the round pen and brought out the o'le plastic bag. I tied it to the end of a whip and wave it all around trying to mimic what it might do in the wind. Fionnabhair was being very good and let me wave it all around and touch it to her legs etc. After the bag we moved on to putting the bit in her mouth. She did perfectly. After bitting we did leading by the legs. When we finished all four legs we went to tack up.

So I take her down to the tack shed and get her all brushed out and saddled up. I was quite happy that no one was in the lit arena.

I deposited my 50 cents for 30 minutes of light. We just walked around turning, stopping, and backing. Pretty much all we have been doing for the last two weeks. Suddenly I find that I am no longer on the horse, but air borne. I'm not really happy, but I don't panic, Gods know I have fallen off horses before. Once on the ground I manage to regain my composure, and I walk down to the other end of the arena where she is now. I get back on.

I must say I was pretty pissed off! I mean if she had bucked me off that would be one thing, but all she did was jump and run forward. I shouldn't have come off. I must have zoned out and that was just long enough to be dropped. I don't think she just randomly jumped, I think she spooked at something.

Immediately preceding and once I had gotten back on she was perfectly quiet.

Yes, I'm okay... nothing broken, but I damn sore! I can hardly move my neck, and my hip hurts. I landed on my right side. I think my pride hurts the most.

I find it amusing that the night I get to use the lit arena, and this should be superior to riding around the compound I biff it. Though I am thankful it was the arena I fell of in and not on the gravel outside.
The Break Through   
10:41pm 17/11/2005
mood: blah
I've been bad about updating, not about riding :)

I've been going out to work with Fionnabhair almost everyday. I haven't been riding her much, but at this stage of the game, that really isn't that important.

Now Fionnabhair, is typical from what I know of mustangs. She is defiant, and constantly tests to see where she can build resistance. If a mustang succeeds in building resistance in one area then they use that as a wedge to resist in more areas. I think this is why many people think mustangs are good for nothing.

I can tell you first hand mustangs are very clever, and they don't "think" like a normal horse. It is very hard to explain to someone who hasn't been around a wild animal that has been born wild and then domesticated. The don't "think" the same way. To them danger is very real, it isn't, "oh, I'll booger at that." it's "HOLY CRAP, that is going to eat me!" It's almost like they are more self aware than an animal that was born domestic.

Our "Break Through" was last Friday...

I use "Natural Horsemanship" techniques. These are techniques that Ray Hunt, Pat Parelli, and John Lyons use. So I do alot of work in the round pen.

Now on to the Break Through. I've been exposing Fionnabhair to new and different things as often as her schedule will allow. Truly she is the one that sets the pace, I'm just there to guide her in the right direction.

On Friday I tied a soft cotton rope to one of the back D rings on my saddle, and clipped the lead to the other. The rope was then run around her rump, as a britchen might be. I had actually done this with her before, so this wasn't that new to her. She decided that she was going to test my metal. So she loped around the round pen for nearly 2 hours. Keep in mind I was not forcing her to run, it was her choice. All I did was control the direction and the speed. My mom calls to see when I'm going to be coming up about 30 minutes before the Break Through. I told my mom what was going on and she didn't understand that Fionnabhair was doing exactly what she should be.

So like I said nearly 2 hours of loping around the round pen, I decide that I'm going to be there for quite a while, so I started putting more pressure on the directional changes. I guess Fionnabhair had had enough, and just stopped and faced me.

When I approached her there wasn't a dry spot on her, seriously! I went over to the rope and pulled it... nothing, she just stood there. I pulled it again and she still stood. I went around to the other side and pulled the rope, and again she still stood.

At this point I decided it was time to quit, I took her back to the hitch rail and let her stand for five minutes, to catch her breath. Then I walked her out, once she was pretty cool I brushed her out.
She was so wet that when I put the saddle back into the tack room the sweat was running off the cinch and out the door!

I was very concerned that this was a failure and not a Break Through. I figured I would know the next time I went to see her.

If you have been reading my journal you would notice that Fionnabhair tends to resist being caught. So the next time I went to see her, I wanted to get some pictures, so I didn't bother to bring a halter down thinking she would just stand and look at me. NOT SO she followed me around her stall like a puppy dog.
There had been a marked change in her demeanor since this point. She has become much more respectful and willing. I'm very happy with her progress.
     12 Tasted freedoms| Post
Pictures of Fionnabhair   
04:39pm 13/11/2005

This is her freeze brand it shows her year of birth and serial number.
Backing away from me   
08:51pm 08/11/2005
mood: quixotic
Rather than bore everyone with the horse stories, I'll just post them here.

I went out to see Fionnabhair tonight, and when I went into her stall she started backing away from me. She even ran and put her nose in a corner, which is a big no, no. I don't know if I surprised her (this is only our second training session), or if she really didn't want anything to do with me. I kind of think this is something she learned yesterday with the plastic bag, since she wasn't actually running from it, just backing away from it.

Fionnabhair remembered the backing up exercise (not related to the bag), and the... I don't know what you call it. It is a kind of circling exercise.

Anyway she seemed to come around from our initial contact when I went over to check her feeder to see if there was any food left. Food... the great communicator.

Well, I guess we will see tomorrow if she backs up from me in the stall again.

Temperature = 86 degrees F
Riding = 0 minutes
Ground work = 1 hour
General Care = 30 minutes
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post
10:24pm 07/11/2005
mood: hopeful
As of Sunday I have a new horse. I have decided to call her Fionnabhair.

She is a 5 year old black/roan-ish mare (I hope to get some pictures tomorrow). She is also a BLM mustang, like Federal was. She hasn't been ridden or handled much in 2 1/2 years. That is such a shame, because thus far working with her for all of two hours she really seems to have some great potential!

Today I just did some ground work with her in the round pen. I think most of what I was doing was old news to her. So I went ahead and grabbed a the all scary plastic grocery store bag. She actually handled that pretty darn well! She seems like she is a very calm horse.

I ended our session with the bag tied to the end of a whip. I was starting to touch her front legs with it. She wasn't to excited about this idea and rather than run away she decided she was going to hold the bag on the ground with her nose! I thought that was quite clever.

I kind of feel like I am betraying Federal some how. I got all choked up when I saw his bridle hanging in the tack room. I guess you just have to keep going.

Temperature = 86 degrees F
Riding = 0 minutes
Ground work = 2 hours
General Care = 30 minutes
     2 Tasted freedoms| Post