Saturday, May 11, 2013

Keep your panties on, we're working!

Zoom zoom!!

 Spring is springing and the hormones are raging here in Texas, a fact that is not lost on O-Ren. She is all but crawling over the fence to get to S's boys, both of which must look like Prince Charming with their palomino good looks and flowing golden locks. (I have no idea how she ended up with two palominos at the same time... I suppose in the same way that I said I would never own a bay and am now on Bay #4.) P-mare and Imogen are more appropriate in their girlishness - Immy ignores them like the dignified queen that she is, and P-mare, though very distracted whenever they come around, is far more interested in food than anything else.   O manages to keep herself together for the most part, but there is an awful lot of screaming going on whenever she is out of sight of the others, and under saddle she is a totally distractable wet noodle. (Can noodles be distracted? I'm not sure but that's what riding her feels like right now.) She did the same thing last month when she was in heat, although there was much more in the way of flailing and rebellion last time. She's been excellent under saddle (for her) up until this week, but she's been a bit of a twit ever since she came back into heat. Not that she has been BAD, per se... just not as good. I suppose being a hormonally challenged tween will do that to you. 

Ignoring the obvious wardrobe malfunction happening in this picture (the saddle pad without billets about to fly away in the breeze), she can sure sit down and power on, can't she?

Under saddle, we've been working on much of the same - walk/trot work, with some canter tossed in here and there, just keeping the same rhythm and speed. Val mentioned dental work and I agree that this might be part of the issue - I'm still trying to match up with my dentist for an appointment but I'm partly convinced the man is a phantom. If I can't get ahold of him soon, she'll just have to go to the vet instead. I don't *think* she has much in the way of dental problems, given how much she has improved with the contact both on the lunge and under saddle, but it certainly doesn't hurt having it checked out. She was supposedly done recently, but she also supposedly had her feet done 6 weeks before I got her.... right, sure she did:

First photo is when I got her (pre-trim), second photo is after her second trim, which was last weekend. I'd say there's a slight improvement, wouldn't you?

Despite being in flaming, violent heat, she's still adorable. I broke out the clippers for the first time and took care of her bridlepath (which I had done with scissors before) and whiskers - I have no idea if she had ever been clipped before but she thought it was great fun and tried to eat the clippers. She cleans up nice, don't you think?

Yes, yes... warmbloods DO look funny in rope halters. For whatever reason, I have transitioned totally away from leather/nylon halters and only use rope now, mostly because they don't break if your horse pulls back or does something goofy. Once upon a time I always made sure my horses wore a breakable halter, because I thought it was dangerous to not have something release-able on the horse should they pull back. Unfortunately, when your halters break and you have a smart horse like Gogo, you run the risk of them figuring out HOW to break the halters and get away, and because I worried that she would hurt herself whenever she set back (which was often), she always wore breakable halters. (I have about 20 broken halters in my trailer, just an an FYI.) When I got to Texas and was suddenly surrounded by horses who all tied like perfect little angels to anything anywhere, I realized how helpful it is to have a horse that understands and responds appropriately to pressure. I decided at that point that I wanted MY horses to tie too, and taught them all how. All of them tie like rocks, and if anything DOES spook them and cause them to set back (VERY rare), they always hit the end of the line and bounce back to where there is slack in the rope. You have NO idea how helpful this has been! WHY didn't I teach this to Gogo!

The wildflowers are unreal... thanks in part to the rain! It has been storming for about 3 days here, with today finally being sunny enough to dry things out. I'm not complaining, as it softens up the rock hard ground and makes the grass grow, but the mud is a little bit annoying. (Thankfully it is also short-lived... the girls were standing in ankle-deep mud this morning, and by this afternoon it has firmed up enough to ride. Awesome!)

Spring is AWESOME


  1. Yeah, one of my western friends here in Canyon, TX is convinced that english people don't really teach horses to tie... The ones we get in donated don't hardly tie, and the ones we borrow for the IHSA shows have to be baby sat all day or they'll do something dumb.

    Baby Skye has gotten too used to breaking things and running away (either stall doors, or ropes) so she is going to get to spend lots of time tied this summer until she gets over it.

  2. That wild flower picture is one cool shot. It belongs on a canvas! I miss the blue bonnets of my Texas living days though not enough to move back from New England!

  3. Agree I love the wildflower shot.

    This post is also exactly why I don't have mares hahahaha!

    I teach my horses to hard tie too, but I grew up riding western lol. :D

  4. I primarily use a rope halter with Lucy for the same reason. She figured out she could break the leather ones and was breaking one every month or so. She'd just lean back in the crossties and "pop!" it would break. She respects the rope halter much more and ties really well.

  5. Hmm, that is really interesting. I always thought it was best to have a breakable halter, too - at least if you're leaving it on for turnout. I had never even seen or used a rope halter before until my friend got into NH and started using them on her WB who I rode. *DISLIKE* This horse is huge, well over 17hh and with a ginormous head. I felt like I was trying to lead a T-Rex with dental floss, seriously. Friend eventually agreed and he's back in his stout leather halter. However, he doesn't pull back, either. I can see your point if they've gotten smart and are busting leather ones on a regular basis. What about nylon? Hate those?

    And while we're on the subject of halters, please allow me to pose a question about something that's been bugging me for AGES. QH people snug their halters up on their horses 'til they're practically choking them, and not just for halter classes. I saw them in their stalls like this last show I went to. Very tight. Not a big fan of that. On the other hand, TB breeders leave the halters on the mares and stallions in the fields with almost criminally loose nosebands. Granted, they are leather halters, but I was taught you don't want the noseband super-loose as they could put a foot in it ( or a baby could if it's mare/foal pairs). So I'm afraid I just don't get either option! Can anybody shed some light on this?

  6. Aaaaaaah these are all good questions. The main reason I use rope halters now (now that my horses tie) is that I don't really care if they get wet, dirty, or faded. I can bathe my horses without changing halters (leather gets ruined when wet, nylon stretches like crazy until it dries) and they're lightweight and easy to just toss on the mares... they're DIRT cheap and they never, ever break.
    As for rope halters on ginormous warmbloods - or ANY rude horse - I HATE them. People think that since they have knots on them or are thinner that they will somehow sting more if you snatch on them... wrong. Horses in rope halters will just as happily drag your butt around as a horse in a nylon or leather halter will, maybe even moreso. For mannering, call me mean, but I always use nylon/leather and a chain. Until they lead like champs all the time, they wear that, no exceptions. (I used a rope halter with a rawhide noseband on O for a little while, it was S's and she told me to give it a try... now THAT works well too!)
    (For the record, I am pretty anti-NH, for all that I am into barefootedness and keeping horses naturally and whatnot.)
    As for the really tight and really loose halters, your guess is as good as mine but I totally agree. Western people tend to choke their horses up in nylon halters, racehorse people tend to leave them falling off the nose (not as often on their stallions, as it looks bad for pictures)... personally I think leaving a halter on a mare with a foal at foot is criminal, period!

  7. O is looking gorgeous! I love the pictures of her lunging, she is looking so much better than when you got her :-)

  8. She does look wonderful. The change in her hooves are amazing. Some people's concept of time alludes me.

  9. Thanks for all your thoughts on the halter issue! Yeah, it makes me so nervous when I see those TB mares and babies with the nosebands dragging on the ground. I don't know if it's tradition or what but I WILL find out one day.

    100% agree with your comments on rope not being suitable for huge WBs. I didn't even tell you but it's like you read my mind - talk about rude, the horse I'm referring to had deplorable ground manners. Especially Not Good when you're dealing with 17.2 and 1400 lbs. Did I mention he put Friend in the hospital twice from knocking her down and stepping on her, once on her HEAD? Do you wonder why my hubby gets nervous when I go ride him? I'm happy to say his behavior has improved in recent years after Friend finally cracked down on him (I have always done my best to make him behave but I'm just not around that much). Getting rid of the rope halter was a good first step. :-)

    P.S. Word verification: Mucosum. How nice!