Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day of Firsts!

Absolutely one of the prettiest spring days you could ask for!  Sunny temps in the high 60's.  I brought Ozzy to the barn with me this morning as most of the other boarders have been bringing their dogs and I thought it would be could to get Ozzy acclimated to the horses.  I took him and G for a walk to the back of the property and except for sniffing each other, they were both fine with one another.  Soooo I tacked up went and got Ozzy and we headed off to the trail.  

It was my first time out on the trail with G (with exception to going up the hill to the trail head).  Ozzy's first time out on the trail and with a horse, and G's first time on the trail with Ozzy.  It went even better than I expected.  For the most part Ozzy stayed way out front of us or behind a safe distance.  As we got deeper into the woods Ozzy started to stop in the trail behind us and didn't move forward until I called.  After the third time he did this, I thought he was trying to tell me something.  Either he didn't like something he smelled (I hear there is a bear somewhere up this way as well as coyotes) or maybe he was just plain tuckered out.  He was after all running/jogging for a good 30 minutes.  So I decided to call it a day and turn around.  Ozzy was running so I think the tuckered out theory was out.  I had to keep calling him back cause he just wanted to go home.  It was neat that when we came out of the woods, Ozzy knew where to turn to head back to the barn.  The hill up the side of the Christmas tree farm is really long and steep and since Ozzy was cantering, Mr. G thought he should too.  I kept half halting and bringing him back to earth.  He got a wonderful hindend workout today both down and up this hill.  Its a great hill!  The trails are really pretty, some black flies but not bad and no mosquitoes.  Hallelujah!  By now the trails behind are old barn are infested with them.  

A took a couple of videos to show hubby what a great trail dog Ozzy is!  It's a bit shaky here and there, but hope you enjoy the scenery, I sure did!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Move to G's New Barn - 4/15/10

I couldn't have asked for a move to go smoother than today; it was truly one of the best horsie days I've had in a long time.   We arrived right on schedule and the barn owner was there to meet & greet us.  We put G out in the outdoor arena with some hay while we took care of the boarding contract etc.  We got to talking and due to the weather I agreed that G was being so mellow that maybe it was a good time for him to meet the herd boss one on one, so she went and got Suny and brought him over.  Suny is maybe 14.3, and black.  She put in another couple flakes of hay and G of course went right for it.  Suny had other ideas.  They squealed at each other, pawed at the air and Suny ran G off the hay.  I'd say it took about 40 minutes and when I looked out, the two of them were standing together nuzzling each others withers.  When the owner came back out we talked about how great it went, and she said that Suny generally doesn't take to other horses like this.  So if he got along with Suny, the rest of the group was a piece of cake so we put him out with the herd.  It was so interesting to watch how if a horse started to get a little too pushy, G would walk over to Suny and Suny would pin his ears at the pursuer.  G's smarter than I thought....befriend the boss and he'll be your protector, lol.  Anyway, this is the first time in  5.5 years that he's been turned out with other horses, and it so did my heart good to see him play and behave like, well a horse!  So what we thought might take three days took less than an hour, and G now has four herd mates. 

Meeting the rest of the herd (Suny is the black horse on the left):

lol, meeting Irish up close and personal like:

The barn:

Yep, I hear a dinner cart coming!

Big roomy stall with mats and lots of cushy sawdust:

 When we drove back in after dinner we were greeted with this face (he's got a runout out this door):

 Two H A P P Y campers!!

A little video of G, Irish and Suny:
 I believe we may have found horsie heaven.  Tonight I am going to sleep soundly for sure.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dressage Saddle - Reflocking

A couple of lessons ago, Debbie mentioned that she thought I needed to have my saddle checked.  She noticed that I appeared to be having trouble keeping my position, and at the canter she noticed movement in the back of the saddle.   A few others at the barn also needed a check up so I volunteered to set it up with their favorite saddle fitter.

This is the first time I had Patty Barnett (East Crow Saddlery) work on my saddle and I have to say I wasn't disappointed.  She starts out with general information on your horse - age, breed, disciplines besides english/dressage, any medical issues, etc.  I was happy that she didn't notice any asyemmetrical issues, which means we're doing a good job working both sides of the horse.   What she did find was that he was ever so slightly tender in the rear thoracic.   Exactly where the rear of the saddle would've been bouncing.  She also found that the panels were beginning to pinch and rock at the stirrup bar.  So to fix she added wool to the rear 2/3rd of the panels to firm and raise the cantle and added just a smidge of wool to the panel fronts to firm up and alleviate the pinch/rock.  When she was finished she said although she didn't make any major adjustments that I should notice the difference immediately.

She wasn't kidding.  The minute I sat in the saddle my positon was perfect.  My legs fell exactly where they should and no shifting to find my seat bones.  Off the the outside track we went.  I'm thinking this is great, I feel more balanced I hope G feels it too.  We walked a few laps to warm up and then I asked him to step it up into the flat walk and what he did next surprised the heck out of me.  His beats were so even I started clicking my tongue softly and within a minute or two his ears started flopping back and forth along with his funny little grunts he does when he gets chugging along.  G has never ever flopped his ears when gaiting, never ever!  Yeah he'd flip one back here and there listening to me, but this was pure relaxation.  Big heavy sigh~ lol.  I just figured he wasn't one of those horses that did that!  Ya know some click their teeth, some flop their lips.  So now that I've seen it, I know it's there!! It didn't last though, because as we were riding along they started taking horses into the barn for dinner.  Well, you've heard stories, Mr. G is all about food.  Food is his life, and with each pass I could feel his body change - he would turn his head toward the barn, head and neck would raise, ears forward, body tense.  I got him to refocus on me a couple of laps, but he never got back into that relaxed groove and as we rounded the corner by the thick bushes he dropped his shoulder and spun to the left.  I remember when moves like this would've unseated me.  Part of the reason I started wearing full seat breeches.  But lo and behold I was wearing my new Fuzzy Logics that don't have full seats and I still stuck like glue to my boy.  Another heavy sigh.  So I asked him to pick up a canter and completed the oval and brought him back to a walk.  I was having such a good time I hadn't realized that we had been out there 40 minutes.  So I called it a day and walked him back to the barn.  Now it was his turn for a heavy sigh. 

So six months from now I will have Patty come look at the saddle again, as now that I've seen how it should fit, and how well it works when done right I'm all about saddle adjustments!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And so begins the transition.....

On the advice of our vet during G's spring checkup/shots, he advised that we transition G as slow as possible (10-14 days) to the new hay and grain - based on his impaction back in '08.  Since he's headed to a herd environment I figured the best way to do that would be to transition him over to the hay at the current barn, and then when we get to the new place we can take a week to transition over the grain. 

So we picked up four bales of hay from the new barn on Sunday and I've written up a schedule to transition G from old to new.  By the time the 15th rolls around he will be on the new hay.  Yesterday was his first taste and when I offered him a half a flake he ripped it out of my hands like it was filet mignon!  It's real purdy hay - last years second cut but still showing traces of green.  Oh and the smell is heavenly!  I'm really happy, as the new barn's hay all comes from the same farm/fields all year long so it'll be real consistent.  With Mr. Fussy eater, this will be a great thing.  It will be interesting to see if he gains weight with it, or because he won't be in a paddock alone for the am and noon feedings if he gets cheated out of his fair share.  He's certainly not missing any meals, but it will be worth keeping an eye on him for sure.

Only ten more days!  I am so looking forward to riding in the outdoor arena - the footing is awesome, as it is in the indoor.  I think I'll enjoy being in a little bit of a smaller barn too.  Less politics and he said/she said (I hope!) I've promised myself to be Switzerland all the way. 

I'm sure the first snowy day I have to drive further I'll be cursing my decision, but it's 9+ months away so for now I'll be in horsie heaven.