Sunday, May 17, 2009

Paparazzi - I We had a rough winter. Faux Pas, my horse, had the worst bout of discomfort and lameness yet with the cold weather. I eventually switched up his supplements, and added devil's claw to the mix as an anti-inflammatory. It has helped a great deal, and now with warm weather and more regular work he's at about 98%. Again, I have changed our warm up routine, and now we trail ride first, for about 30 minutes to get some blood flowing before we move on to trot work. Since he's still out of shape I'm really only focusing on trotting right now. Once I've built up his strength and stamina we'll work on more.
 I can't tell if this is just an obstacle to work around, or if I just have an older horse now with limited abilities. I suppose time will tell. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

 I've never been known to keep up well with my writing, I apologize.
 Like all of the others, the half-lease didn't last long. The woman leasing from me works in the financial sector, and when the shit hit the fan there her life got very complicated. I understand, but it still sucks. Just before that I had to move the horse to a new farm with very short notice when the woman I boarded with sold her property. We wound up returning to a place I boarded a few years back. I love it there, though previously (when I had two horses) I couldn't afford it. The horse is happy, but he is very slowly working his way up the hierarchical ladder within the herd. Right now I make it out to ride 1-2 times a week, usually just once a week. I am pretty disappointed in myself, but it is 20 minutes further out, so it's pretty out of my way to try and get out there after work during the week. I am hoping that once I settle into my new job, and get my finances straight I will be able to afford some lessons. It's been quite a while since I've had any, and I'm sure I am making some pretty sloppy mistakes these days.

Monday, August 4, 2008


 So I have a half lease. I have had a half lease for two months. Not the same person I mentioned last time, but a different woman who found the same ad. She has been wonderful, but she is currently unreachable. My horrible history with half leases makes me a little nervous right now. I know that she had mentioned that at some point she would be out of town in August, but I also figured that she would remind me, as I remind her when I'll be out of town for the weekend. It is a problem since board was due on the first. It is taken care of, for now, but this means I have zero dollars until the 15th. I'd like to pay my electricity bill, I'm sure the city would appreciate it, too, and I have two wedding gifts to buy. Since both gifts are needed on the 16th, it is going to be quite a challenge.
 Since the half lease began, my horse has made some great improvements. She and I discussed options and treatments, and since then he has been on a joint supplement that has worked WONDERS, and we have changed his warm up routine. His right side has been the epicenter of all of the stiffness, so we work his left first, trot and canter, then canter and trot on the right. This seems to eradicate any problems that the supplement doesn't take care of. For a long time I have had problems getting him to pick up the correct lead tracking right, presumably of the arthritis on that side. Recently it has been much easier, and we often get it on the first try. This is a huge triumph, as the problem began to present itself at least eight years ago. He is even quick cantering right, and my horse has never been known for speed.
 For a horse that just turned eighteen, he is doing very well, and is acting much more like a ten year old. The extra spunk he has does mean that I'll have to work him before I teach a kid's lesson, but the twenty pounds I've gained the last two years makes me think that is not such a bad thing.
 Rain is supposed to come through my part of Texas tomorrow and Wednesday, so I likely will not ride again this week (I will be out of town this weekend). Normally she and I meet at the farm on Tuesdays to collaborate, but I don't know that it'll happen this week. Here's to hoping I hear from her soon. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Months and months later - about a year, actually - I got a call tonight from a woman who found my 'for 1/2 lease' ad posted on Go figure!
I am going to call her back tomorrow night. Maybe ride, too to see how the Horse is doing. He's been a little stiff starting out lately, but he works though it quickly. Hopefully this doesn't douse her interest. I really believe that it is because he is an older horse who isn't getting regular work. If an older person lies in bed all day they don't move too well either. I make it pretty clear in the ad that he can only handle a light workload to begin with, and move into more strenuous work, so at least she knows what she is getting into. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wow, I dropped the ball on this one.

I quit writing right about the time of of my students fell off for the first time. Of course, she was the one who needed to stay on as long as possible to build her confidence. One morning while we were working on steering Horse got just a little fresh and took a few trot strides. Though I told her how to respond she instead hunched over, tensed up, and screamed "I can't!" After the third round of this I finally weighed my options: He was going toward the gate and would stop when he got there. She would fall off at that point since her center of balance was so off. Or, I could try and cut him off ad she MIGHT stay on. Otherwise, she'd only hit sand. This is the option I went for, and The second I'd taken ONE step he cut the other direction and she popped off, unharmed only scared. She is terrified to ride him now, we'll be trying a new horse soon. She still loves him though when she's on the ground. It has been really hard to work around. A bigger challenge than I was expecting this early on. The other two girls are still gung-ho, and want to do more than they are able. Every time the other seven year old asks if she got trot on her own yet we work on our steering and she quiets down about wanting to trot. I think that she forgets lesson to lesson how hard it can be to work so many parts of your brain at once.

Back to trying to find a lease, and back to work.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

whips and spurs

 When I write a "for lease" ad I am tempted to add to it the restriction "no whips or spurs."

I feel that the two aids are misused a lot, though I realize that in some instances each is very useful. Though I haven't used spurs since I was a kid, I do carry  a dressage whip occasionally. That is all I do though - carry it. I never have to use it. I have had to use a whip before I am small, my horse is very large, and sometimes he has a "you can't make me" attitude. If I do use one I use a crop with a very broad flap on the end so that it is more noise and less pain. 

I really don't believe in using spurs anymore. I did use them for a short time while I was in lessons as a kid. At the time Horse had decided he didn't want to move any faster than a trot at any time, and that didn't really work with the courses we were attempting. Eventually he got over it, and I used tom thumb spurs to make up for it in the mean time. I disagree 100% with my then-trainer's method. I feel like a lot of big show barns rush people though lessons to get them to the fun part - jumping - to keep them hooked and pouring money into the facility (At $45.00 + a hour it is quite an arrangement for them!). If it had been my student I would have stopped the jumping and gone back to basics and transitions for a while. If that didn't help I would have had the vet out to check for injury, because there was either something wrong with the way I was asking or the way he felt.  
I have seen some very stupid people do some very serious damage to their horses with spurs. While I lived in Dallas I was training a horse who had been a general western pleasure horse. It took about a month to see some really promising change in him, and he even looked happier when we rode once he learned to be collected and really understood what I was asking him for. The woman who owned him had an incredibly stupid husband.He decided to ride this horse one night in a play day, and to put it lightly, he spurred the shit out of this horse. I didn't know about any of this until I arrived the next day to work with the animal to find tender egg-sized lumps on his sides, and a pocket of drained fluid on his belly the size of half a Nerf foot ball.

He wasn't in the running for a prize since he'd only ridden that one night, so he'd abused that horse for fun. The horse was right back where it had started once it recovered. Angry and mistrustful - and do you blame it?

I think that the root of my philosophy is this: You shouldn't go to use an aid until you have proven that you can get the animal to do what you are asking for. If you're asking wrong in the first place a whip isn't going to help.

Monday, September 24, 2007

 Months later - same boat.  I had a half-lease for about two months. She mislead me in regards to her riding ability and I wound up giving free lessons. It wasn't exactly what I'd had in mind! I hung on though, because I needed the income. Then she and her husband "evaluated their budget" (which is the same phrase she used when sending me the first email about leasing) and she canceled. Now I am giving lessons, which is helping, but I'd like to have a half lease. I'm giving beginning children's lessons right now, if anything I'd like to have an adult student who is beginning/intermediate or returning to riding so that I have someone my age and like minded. If wishes were horses...

This week there is no riding anyway. Power pack time! I should take this time to clean my tack and tack room, but most likely I'll just stay home and watch TV.