Saturday, January 31, 2015

Not So Serious Saturday

 Because I am having one hell of a week, and because I have had zero pony time, enjoy some of these hilarious and/or cute photos of my animals. These photos make me smile and right now I need that the most.
Ty loves Dairy Queen soft-serve!
Suzie last Winter - just not impressed!

Ty, promoting the company I work for!

Roxy hinting that she wants to play ball.

Spud and Roxy are new to the show circuit.

Riding her hog across the lawn.

Christmas in July parade.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Show/Event Schedule

The most hilarious size comparison photo ever.

Following suit with other bloggers, I’ve been notorious for planning and planning and planning some more. I need to plan for the following reasons: 

a) I work way too much to not have a plan (recap: 3 weeks of 10hr shifts followed by 8 days off).
b) I do not have my own horse trailer and often have to borrow – I am not the kind of person to call and ask to borrow the night before events because I think it’s downright rude. 
c) To ensure my horse is well prepared for whatever the event may be.

But mostly, it’s because of how much I work. Gah, Construction jobs can be killer! 

I have broken it down to events that are happening within more immediate distance to me (1hr-3hrs away) and only those that will be occurring during my time off of work. I didn’t want to take anything off the list, but I don’t want to commit to anything either. If it so happens, it will. If not, no biggie. The Horse Club in the next town is great for having weekend get-togethers and interesting “fun days”, so those will be added to our list along with the horse shows I would like to attend.

Because Suzie can be a bit of a handful at events (because she thinks we are at a barrel race) and it stresses her out a bit, I think the "fun days" would be a wonderful way to incorporate some relaxation and quiet schooling in a low-stress environment. 

And Spud wants to be shown this year. He said so.

Shows are in purple.
Fun days are in blue.

May 8, 9, 10 – Spring Schooling Show
Typically, the Show breaks down to: 1st day is Dressage, 2nd day is English Flat/Jumping and 3rd day is Western. As the title states, it’ll be a schooling show so I’m not certain if Suzie or Spud will be ready for it. If not Suzie, I’d love to take Spud to do some in-hand trail and halter classes for kicks (as they do not have driving classes offered).

Clear Rounds on Cheyenne, circa 2010.
 June 13 – Clear Rounds + Percent Days
Basically a “fun day” for English riders. Clear Rounds pertains to Jumping and you accumulate points throughout the year with the club – for every clear round you get, you get so many points and it is tallied throughout the course of the year for prizes. Percent Days refers to Dressage and the short of it is, you can run through a few different Dressage tests in front of a guest judge for practice/assistance. It actually is pretty fun, as you don’t need to show up in spiffy show clothes or anything. I find it is a great way to get green horses/riders (or nervous horse/riders!) out and about without added pressure. 

June 14 – Gymkhana
Now, with Suzie’s shoulder issues I am not sure how badly I want to do a Gymkhana. However, going out and trying it just for fun wouldn’t be a completely bad thing. I like to keep things fresh and fun. Who knows, maybe I’ll even take Spud to one and they’ll let me do the games with him in hand! 

July 4 – Clear Rounds + Percent Days
This is actually on a Saturday and I’m technically working until Sunday, so we’ll see if this one happens.

Gymkhana on Cheyenne, circa 2010.
 July 5 – Gymkhana
Again, a nice low-key, fun Gymkhana might be worth it!

July 10, 11, 12 – 3 in 1 Breed Show (Smithers)
This Show has specifically been designed to accommodate registered Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Paints. There is an English section, Western section, and in-hand section. This particular show venue is a 3hr haul away so it may or may not be doable, depending on circumstances and how well Suzie is doing – as the class cost is quite significant compared to the more local circuits.

August 7, 8, 9 – 3 in 1 Breed Show
Again, this show is a QH, Appaloosa, Paint show only – there are sometimes an “Unreg” division. This venue is only an hour away, so it’ll be more do-able and there will be fewer competitors. I really want to compete in this one, as I had attempted to last year but I had barely ridden Suzie and was also sick.

August 20, 21, 22, 23 – BVX Fall Fair (Smithers)
This is the show I took Tally to last year. It is my goal to take Spud to show there, as they have a few different Driving classes. Like last year, I will need to request time off, but this Fall Fair is totally worth it, as I have been going every year (even if I don’t ride)!

Showing in September on Geronimo circa 2012.

September 4, 5, 6 – Fall Fair Horse Show
Last show of the year for our local circuit. Again, the 1st day is typically Dressage, 2nd day is English Flat/ Jumping and 3rd day is Western. Certainly do-able, but after a really busy weekend at the BVX it is a bit exhausting to haul out to another horse show a week later.

It does look like quite a bit, but it breaks down to 5 shows and 4 fun days. Bring it on.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On the Right Track

Star attraction!
But seriously, this farrier comes prepared for everything.
He brought his own LIGHTS.

 The Farrier came out yesterday morning to do Suzie’s feet and I must admit, I was a bit nervous and apprehensive to begin with, given my bad luck the last few days. While he set up, I spoke with him and told him my concerns; namely the way her hoof hung over the edge of the shoe and how she already lost one of her fronts in the span of 2.5 days. I felt like I must’ve blabbed on for a while, because Farrier gave no input or otherwise. I know this Farrier is pretty cut and dry – he doesn’t really say much and didn’t really give any inkling or indication as to how he felt about the previous trim/shoe job. When I could feel myself unable to hold back any longer and asked his opinion on it he didn’t really give a straight answer. Somewhat of an annoyance but at the same time I can appreciate his silence because this isn’t a pissing contest and perhaps being a male he is wary of females and their gossiping ways [especially horse women!]. 

To start out, I unwrapped Suzie’s ouchy foot and Farrier used a hoof tester on the length of her hoof and frog and only once did she show any kind of discomfort – which was along the left side of her frog up by her heel bulb. It was mentioned that there may have been a nail that had gone “rogue” and had hit her in a sensitive spot, but she did not test any discomfort in this area when he probed it. She was less lame than she was the day before, but I could see she was still dull and ouchy feeling. 
After the initial foot was done, the rest of the feet went well – there were some moments that Farrier’s brow furrowed as he examined some of her hooves, but other than that, he gave nothing away and did his job. I can’t fault the guy – he certainly did not want to get “involved” in any politics and to be honest, I didn’t want to either. Suzie seemed to give a sigh of relief when all was said and done, and although Farrier mentioned that he wouldn’t be able to do much in the way of shaping her feet (as most of the ‘useable’ hoof was already filed away from the previous job) but he did do some shaping where he could. 

I also confess that I left some information out on the last blog post about Suzie’s feet. When the Other Farrier (OF) did her back hooves she was downright bad. Pulling her hoof away, yanking it out of his hands, etc. Just being a general bad donkey. I have a feeling that she could’ve been stiff in her pelvis, but at the same time, I think she was also playing OF. The OF let her be naughty, despite me giving her a smack or two to smarten up and would cater to how high she’d allow him to lift her foot – and to be honest, any height he held it at offended her. And in my mind, she started to become less pain responsive and more vengeful. It was less of an “ow ow ow that hurts” as it was a “because fuck you, that’s why.” And with Farrier, when we got to the back feet, Suzie was being weird about them again. The hind left was decent, but she yanked her foot away several times. It seemed less malicious to me, and more of an “I don’t wanna!” After Farrier got mad at her, she quit and behaved but on her hind right, she was BAD. Farrier dealt with it pretty well and once he “fought it out” with her, she admitted her defeat and let him finish shoeing… but not before she threatened to kick him! I wasn’t sure what was up her butt, because she never has done that before, but again, she was BAD for the other farrier. 

After Farrier left, I took her for a little walk up and down the driveway and she already seems 90% sound instead of the 0.5% sound she was on Saturday. Hopefully this will be my last blog post about this ordeal - I still have to figure out what to do with OF, as he wants to come and "fix" her feet since I had called him on Saturday to let him know she was already losing a shoe. I think I already have it all figured out though, thankfully. Onwards and upwards.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Spud's First: Drive Away from Home

On to happier and better things.

The drive out there was absolutely miserable.
Spud must've known I would need a pick me up on Saturday afternoon because he completely blew me away. When I pulled up to the Indoor - which is communal - I saw there were probably four other horse trailers already there. I felt a bit dismayed - because if you know anything about driving and miniatures, it's that minis and carts can turn big horses into huge wimps. Those things seperately can turn even the most well-schooled horse into a snivelling baby... combine the two and you have a recipe for disaster. So, I wasn't sure how the horses already in the arena would respond to a clanky cart or a "horse dog".

Once inside, out of the rain, there were probably four or five horses being schooled in the arena. All of them took turns gawking at Spud and a few were brave enough to sniff noses with him. One grey Arabian mare was off-put by him and offended with his existence - so I guess you can't have everything. When I drug his cart in behind me a bunch of the ladies oohed and awed and a few people who were about to leave hung around because they wanted to see "the cute mini pull the cart". It is safe to say that pretty much everyone who was at the arena fell in love with him - I heard a mixture of "look at his small his ears/feet/tail/nose" and a young girl pretty much attached herself to him while I tacked him up.

I was unsure how Spud would react to being in the indoor with all of the horses - some of which were being schooled over some "brush" and a few were loping circles and slinging dirt against the wall. He had never been in a busy arena like this before and I wanted to make his experience a good one. Additionally, a loose horse dragging a cart behind it in a arena full of other horses is just not cool, so we wanted to avoid that at all costs.

Once rigged up, I hand-drove him around the arena both directions at the walk and trot and he didn't put a hoof wrong. He went to work right away and wasn't bothered by the other horses cantering past him or the Arabian mare who literally lost her shit when we were trotting towards her. I hitched him up, donned a helmet and off we went. He was an absolute saint and I was so very, very proud of him. It took him a minute to figure out pulling the cart through the arena dirt, as it was a bit more resistance than he was used to (we normally drive on the paved roads).

We did stop a few times to let him sniff noses with the other horses, meet a few of the riders, and just chill in the center of the arena. He did everything I asked of him and was super responsive in the bridle. He did put up a fight once or twice, but a quick correction was all it took and he was back on track again. A few of the girls took videos of him and whatnot to show their BFs and other rider friends, so I'm not sure I can get my hands on them. It was a lot of fun - we did serpentines, 20 meter circles, walk/trot transitions and he didn't get deep in the bridle at all. He took up a steady, quiet contact and went to work.

 My friend waited to ride until most of the other riders had left, as the gelding she was riding had not been ridden in a while, and Spud and I hung out in the middle of the arena while she cantered around us. And as I was packing up to leave, Spud was whinnying at me while I put his cart in the trailer - completely adorable and hilarious all at the same time.

All in all, it was a super successful trip for Spud and I'm glad I still went to give him that level of exposure that he needs and will benefit him for years to come. He's only five and he's already this good - can you imagine what he'll be like at age 20?

The drive home was pretty gross - still pouring rain and huge swells of water were all over the road. I opted to drive all the way home instead of stopping and unloading Spud because I had to pick up BF for him to back the trailer up to put it away. I had this hilarious idea that I'd pull Spud out of the trailer and walk him up to the front door, knock on the door, and tell BF that "Spud is here for his ride home!" but when I knocked, no one answered. I opened the door and called, "Hello?" No answer. I stepped inside and.... Spud came in with me!! He seemed pretty mellow about it and was looking at me like, "OK, where now?" So I did what any logical person would do - I closed the door behind him and my Brother, who was over helping BF with rennovations, ran to go get BF from the garage because "there was a horse in the house!"

BF is a pretty good guy - he didn't get mad about having a stinky pony inside. He laughed and took pictures instead. After the hilarity of the situation evaporated, Spud was loaded back into the trailer and taken back to the barn, Suzie's fucked up shoe was pulled, and the trailer was returned. It was a bit of a shitty yet awesome day. Thank you Spud for being such a character and keeping me on my toes.

When it Rains it Pours

 As misleading as this title can be, I did have some good things happen yesterday, but a majority of it was pretty rotten luck and after some frustrating tears and stomping my feet like a child, I feel ready to talk about it. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to even blog about this. I remember when She Moved to Texas posted about how we censor ourselves sometimes on our blogs and I looked at how Bakersfield Dressage (Not-So-Speedy Dressage) was able to still talk about her gelding's leg issues without making it turn into a drama fest or have a large amount of backlash thrown at her. I am hoping that this blog post will be similar. I tend to try and post positive things, and leave the negative drama that seemingly follows the horse world, but this is an important thing that has occured and it does need to be talked about. I am leaving out names and I am only sticking to the facts - this isn't a time to be pointing fingers or making it into a bigger scene than it needs to be. Anyways, now that I've throughouly made you all read that disclaimer, enjoy the following post about my day yesterday.

Broken pony is broken.
Like I had stated in my blog the day previous, I was intending to trailer Suzie to the next town over to ride in the indoor due to the monsoon of rain we've been having. I borrowed a friend's trailer and the BF came out to help me hitch up, load, etc since I was taking both horses. I was supposed to be at the indoor at 2PM to meet a friend who offered to ride with me. I was already running behind by the time we got out to load the horses. BF took Suzie and I took Spud, carrying a saddle pad, grooming tote, etc with me. As we approached the trailer, BF says to me (and I quote, so I apologize for any swearing), "What the fuck is up with Suzie's foot?" I handed him Spud's leadrope and took a look.

I didn't get a photo of it, because to be honest, I was initially not happy [she had just gotten her shoes done on Wednesday!] and assumed the state of the her hoof wouldn't change. Basically, the shoe was already pulling off her hoof [again, she had just gotten her shoes done on Wednesday!] - three of the nails had yanked free and taken small bits of her hoof with them, but other than looking loose and obviously needing to be fixed, I didn't think it would get worse. And note, Suzie doesn't lose shoes. She just doesn't. Never has - ever.

I called the Farrier who had done her feet the past Wednesday and he said the soonest he could come fix it would be Monday... Not really the best option, so I offered to trailer her to the indoor still and have him meet us there to fix it (he is not local to us, but he does live in the next town where I was going anyways). No beuno. I tried calling another farrier in the area - no answer. Well, with her foot looking like that, I knew I couldn't ride her. We already had the trailer rigged up and it was 1:30PM. I decided to take Spud with his cart instead of just wasting the rest of the day or just taking the trailer back. I left Suzie at home - there was no point in trailering her an hour to an indoor where she'd stand there. She neighed a few times as we pulled out of the driveway and trotted down the fenceline but nothing major. And to say that I was disappointed is a major understatement - I go back to work on Monday and it'll be another 20 days until I can ride my mare.

I am going to skip over the trip to the indoor, because Spud deserves his own post on that. I talked about hooves quite a bit with some of the people out there and showcased some photos of Suzie's trim job to some valued friends and horse-people (as well as online) because I just had a gut feeling that something was wrong. Not just the fact that her shoe was already falling off, but I had some bad feelings about the front clips which seemed to have caused large cracks and the fact that she shoes don't look like they fit. I will say that I feel awful being negligent and not doing more research - I KNOW what a shoe should look like on a foot, and it isn't acceptable that I didn't speak up or question it. It didn't feel right and I was right - it isn't right. Her hooves are not balanced on the shoe and with her toe "peeking" over the edge of the shoe, it is causing a stress point. After speaking with a Farrier down in the States who critiques trim/shoe jobs, I have my verdict.

One of her hind hooves.

I called another Farrier in the area - he is coming out Monday to fix her feet and now I need to figure out how to 'break up' with the current farrier. I like him and he is a great person - I just don't think the way of shoeing is right for my mare and I hate being the person who makes large issues or causes drama, so I am hoping it will kind of just blow over and go away. The thing is, we do not have a lot of Farrier's in the area as it is, and I do not want to burn any bridges or hurt anyone's feelings, because that is not my intent. My mare's soundness and foot health come first - always.

Back to the trip yesterday, I arrived home after 4:00PM so it was already dark and I had hauled straight home to pick up BF and have him come back out with me to back up the trailer (because I suck) and help me unhitch. I slapped a headlight on my head and went to pull Suzie out for her bran mash. She came inside hobbling on her front right with the shoe completely offset and all fucked up around her hoof. I honestly have no idea how she did this - she isn't a crazy two year old that gallops around the pasture. She didn't freak out when we left and got all rambunctious. The BO said she stood under the shelter the entire time we left and occassionally walked to the fenceline and waited for us to return. My mare is 21 years old - she doesn't go crazy.

That isn't right.
There aren't enough fuck-words in the world to
adequately portray how I felt.
I wanted to cry.

I borrowed a set of pliers from the BO and yanked the shoe off. I gave her some bute for the evening, knowing she was going to be in pain. And this morning she is still in some pain - I wrapped her hoof to try and give her some cushioning and hopefully she can hold off until tomorrow when Farrier #2 comes out to fix them. The good thing is that I have dealt with Farrier #2 quite a few times in the past, but have used him minimally since Suzie pretty much had her own Farrier (Lady Farrier). Lady Farrier is now out of town for up to 6 months at a time, which is why I had to bring in Farrier #1. Let's hope Farrier #2 and I can get a decent client relationship going and Suzie is better for it - that is all I am wanting.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Midget Saddle Came Out to Play

Needless to say, riding with Danielle (Tally's owner) didn't work out today. I am going out tomorrow afternoon with another friend, as Danielle is committed to a riding clinic for the weekend.

It was pretty miserable over the course of the day, so the Hubs and I headed out to check out the land and try and get our bearings. We were pretty overwhelmed with it, to be honest, but we cut down a few trees and walked around trying to figure out where we wanted to place things like the barn, riding arena, etc. I don't think we figured much stuff out, as it is so difficult to even decide where to place things when all you see is trees!

However, I did get some well-meaning pony time in later this evening when my sister texted me asking if Calder, my nephew, could go for a pony ride. I obliged, because I was pretty excited to try out the Midget Saddle.

Although the saddle would've looked adorable on Spud with Calder riding, I knew Suzie is his favorite and with her being more broke, I pulled her out for the ride. As soon as I placed Calder on the saddle and immediately fell in love with it - despite it making Suzie look like she was a Land Whale. It places him in so securely and neither myself nor my sister had to hold onto his leg to support him or to ensure he didn't fall off. He held onto the little grab strap the entire time and was loving every minute of it. Suzie was, as always, well behaved despite not being out for the last little while. Good mare. Spud screamed his head off the entire time we were gone - charming lad he is.

He was all business up there - no smiles, no hint of enjoyment.
But he was having a good time, I swear!
And in other news, it seems as though Suzie's gastric issue has miraculously left us - nothing but formed, solid poops and a clean bottom end! I am going to be keeping her on her Beet Pulp/ Metamucil mix until Sunday and then wean her off of it and only feed Beet Pulp in the evenings. I'm glad I got the Vet involved when I did and I am glad she is also feeling better.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

It must be Ulcers: Part 2

I also make Spud do chores while
we wait for Suzie to finish eating.
As per the Vets instructions yesterday morning I ran out to the next town over with Hubs and picked up some Beet Pulp and Metamucil (we do have Metamucil here, but I figured I'd pick it up while we were out anyways).

I started her on the beet pulp and Metamucil mix that evening and she was more than happy to eat it - but man was she slow! I cleaned her booty [it was semi-disgusting], washed her tail [I also braided it, folded it up and wrapped it with vet-wrap], threw her blanket on to keep her warm and dry, took her temperature [37.2C, so no fever] and cleaned up the tack room. In between all of this, I also chased Suzie around like a lunatic because she was in the barn and Spud was in the back, unable to see her. Spud was whinnying and neighing and carrying on and since Suzie thinks she is Spud's mother, she was all like, "He needs me!" And I was all like, "No, finish your damn beet pulp."

Spud be like, lemme eat it.. Puhleaseee.
Anyways, I ended up having to put her in the back with Spud and have her eat the beet pulp out of her feed trough while I fended Spud off. After she ate all her mushy food, I had to deal with the hay. The Vet wanted me to give her food 24/7. Only problem is that Spud is there and Spud doesn't need food 24/7. So my idea? I filled a nibble net with a bunch of hay, hoisted it up high enough that Spud cannot reach it and fed Spud half a flake seperately. At first, Suzie looked at me like, "Dafuq is this?" but then she ate it normally.

This morning to feed Suzie her beet pulp, I pulled her out of the paddock again and threw some hay at Spud to keep him quiet. She only finished about 1/2 of the bucket and then got bored and felt the need to go back and see Spud. This "neediness" and dependancy on eachother will be fixed as it warms up and I ride more, but for now, I cannot argue with my senior mare. If I try to keep her out, she won't finish her beet pulp and it sets us back in her tummy issues even further. So, initially, I am pulling her out, but when she gets argumentive, I put her back with her bucket and fend Spud off.

The hay net has been working out fantastically, as I'm already starting to notice that there is less hay waste on the ground rather than when I feed in the feedbox. And I also have been checking mare's behind and so far it's staying clean, which is perfect. She is already starting to smell less, so hopefully a week of this helpful fibre will be all she needs to feel 100% again. The Vet has also okayed me riding her, so tomorrow we head out to the indoor in the next town for my first ride of the season!

It must be Ulcers: Part 1

 I think Suzie likes to keep me on my toes sometimes. I truly believe she likes to instill the "OHMYGOD she must be COLICKING" reflex that many of us horse owners have when our horses aren't feeling 110%. I can firmly attest that my Stress-O-Meter went from zero to bajallion in a matter of seconds, all thanks to my special red mare.

It all really started two days ago - I noticed that Suzie smelt... different (and note that the text that follows is quite... informative). When I lifted up her tail to see what was going on, I was greeted by a very sour, overwhelming poo odor. There was no risidual poo on her hocks, but there was quite a bit on her bottom, which is where the smell was coming from. Initially, I didn't have a worry and assumed she was having a mild stomach upset and left it at that. She was still eating, drinking, pooping, and acting generally happy. I gave her some extra hay and tucked her in for the night.

The next morning and evening I paid attention to her "smelly poop" issue a bit more. Same symptoms and same smell. I remember trying to think of what it could be and as I was drying her off to put her rain sheet on, when I started rubbing over the area of her flank just behind her ribs, she tried to kick me.

Say what.
Come closer, so I can kick you.
Obviously there was something more going on. So, I did what every horse-person does. I went home and googled late into the night. What I read both fascinated and scared me. Words like colic, ulcers, death, and veterinarian intervention jumped out at me from the articles online and I grew scared enough to place a call in to the Vet the next morning.

I was given an appointment time to tele-conference at 11am (as I have explained before, we do not have Equine Vets in our area. The closest one is a 6hr round trip away). Anyways, this Vet has seen Suzie before, as they come up to the area twice a year to perform routine exams and other routine procedures. Both Spud and Suzie had a farrier appointment at 9:30am, so I figured we'd be okay for time.

Spud met the anvil.
The farrier appointment went well - Spud did so good - and Suzie was... less good. In fact, she tried to kick the farrier a few times when he was working on her backs - but we both chalked it up to her having some stomach issues. Thankfully the farrier was forgiving of Suzie, as she isn't normally finicky or naughty when being shod.

The Vet called later in the afternoon, as she was running late in surgeries, and we discussed the various issues I was seeing. I outlined that nothing had changed in Suzie's life - still eating the same hay, still in the same pasture, etc. The Vet instructed me to put Suzie on a mixture of beet pulp & Metamucil for 7-10 days, keep as much food in front of her as possible and see if there is any improvement. If it gets worse, call her immediately. I briefly questioned about the possibility of ulcers - as google had pretty much told me that she was dying of them the night before! The Vet did say that it is a possibility, but we want to treat for mild stomach upset first, rather than go with a full blown ulcer treatment if that isn't even her issue.Vet also mentioned that because I feed square bales, it is possible Suzie ate something from the bale or the bale was from another section of the field or whatever else. So many possibilities.

After I hung up with the Vet, I started thinking.... The hay that Suzie and Spud are on is the same. From the same place. BUT. There are some bales that are second cut hay and some are first cut hay. It could have easily been her problem. And I suppose I could guess as to what it is, but I'll never really know for certain.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Another Drive

Yesterday was my first day off of work - wahoo! And I already had a game plan to play around with Spud a bit (Suzie needs a reset of shoes) and take him out for a drive, so when the clouds broke and the rain seemed to disappear, I headed out.

First off, I threw the leadline saddle on Spud to see if it'd fit:

Much sexy.
 I don't think these saddles are intended to really fit a horse, much less be a functional saddle, but I don't see the harm it'll do for short-term. It actually gives him quite a bit of wither room, so I'm not concerned about that. The back of the saddle seems too long for him, but I suppose that's what happens when you're a miniature horse. I don't think the saddle will get much useage beyond the occassional pony ride, so I'm quite pleased with the purchase and OK with the fact that it doesn't exactly "fit", persay. I mean, a custom saddle for a mini would be... interesting!

Next, I rigged him up for the cart - I put on his new harness pads and noseband and he looked ever so dapper. I decided to not use the breeching (although I regretted this decision later on in the drive). And I've decided that Spud needs a new harness more than ever - it's increasingly frustrating, because I know I have to wait until he sheds out.

Look at how cute I am.
I am about to be a shit disturber.
Anyways, he stood rock solid while I fooled around with the straps and buckles and fitted it all to him - I think the green looks good on him, although I'd like if it were more of a true Hunter Green rather than a "Christmas Tree" Green!

We headed out and drove for about 45min and he was pretty good. It decided to rain on and off throughout the ride and we worked on zig-zagging, walking straight lines, stopping quietly and reaching for the bit. I'm not too concerned with connection with the bit just yet- he tends to get too deep when we are trotting and he uses this as an aversion tactic so he can plow through my hands. There were a few times I had to get more aggressive in my approach (essentially, telling him to slow down NOW, rather than asking and asking...).

His bend to the right is a bit sticky and he tends to ignore my requests, so I got after him again for that. I'll ask him to move over along the diagonal and he will drift verrrry slowly over to the other long side of the road. Going to the left he responds much more quickly and he isn't overbent. I tried to support him with my outside rein and "push" him over with the outside rein, but he bulged out and at first I assumed it was because he was confused, but as soon as I gave him a little smack on the right hip with the reins, he moved over beautifully. Jackass was just playing me.

It'll be a bit difficult to find out what he actually does know and understand compared to if I am confusing him. A learning curve for sure, but he does seem like the kind of guy who retains information quite well - so this game playing has got to stop.

A relatively good moment.
On the way home he was ok - still getting too deep in the front to evade the bit and ignore my hands, but I threw in some zig-zagging and "gave" and "took" with the reins and when I gave, he seemed to fall on his face a bit, but understood the message loud and clear - my hands are a reinforcement of 'whoa', you do not lean on them, you listen to them.

He also decided it'd be a great time to start neighing and at first I got after him for it, but instead chose to ignore it - no need to amp up a green driving mini that hasn't been out for the last three weeks. He picked up a trot several times on the way home, and I have to be honest, it pissed me off. He knows better. We walked past the driveway to the house several times to get it through to his tiny brain that he is NOT allowed to trot at all unless I ask. We ended on a semi-decent note, but I will admit it was not the best drive we have ever had.

Suzie is still a peach <3 Both her and Spud get their feet done tomorrow morning and I'll be riding Ms. Mare more now.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bridle Conundrum... Or: Tack Ho's, Come Hither!

Much smoochable <3
I need some help. There are no tack stores around me, so when I purchase tack I exclusively do so online. Sometimes it's such a crapshoot because I must admit I actually don't know what type of English bridle would compliment Suzie best in the terms of Dressage-ness. I do have a bridle that works well enough to be a Hunter/Jumping bridle and I like it. But if I could figure out what shapes would compliment her face, I could potentially find a new bridle [as if she really needs a new one]!

So, I figured I would take it to the masses and ask for any professional and knowledgeable opinions!

My only preferences are that:

-  Affordable (at or under $150 please)
-  Black or Brown (if brown, must be able to match the Wintec CC... I am looking to purchase a black Dressage saddle down the road this year, FYI.)
- Monocrown/comfort crown
- NO white padding
- With reins

For reference, here's her mug:

This bridle has since been dyed dark
brown to match her saddle

The bridle I bought to match the Wintec CC.

So many choices! Do I go with a flatter noseband?

A wider noseband?

A swoopy browband?

Buckles or billets?

I cry whenever I see PS of Sweden posted.
I want one. So. Badly.

Good god, look at me. Buying English things for a Western pony.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Bought a Saddle!

Pre-warning: Blog title is misleading.

Despite me wanting a Dressage saddle for Suzie, that isn't what this blog post is about. It is actually to do with a little midget pony.

Although Suzie could be classified as a midget
in her own way (far right). (And fun
fact, Tally is in the photo too).
 As I am getting more serious about breaking Spud, I started looking around for deals and a possible saddle for him (because y'anno, Suzie's isn't gonna fit him). I ended up finding a pretty sound deal about a week ago and purchased a little Wintec Leadline saddle.

Picture from the seller prior to purchasing.

Another sale photo.

It came with leathers, irons, a saddle pad, and a 22" girth. Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to go try it out on Spud yet, but I'm off work in one more week, so I'll be able to play around with it then.