Monday, July 27, 2015

The Mountain Goat

It's still blazing hot here in Texas, and is likely to stay that way for another few months. Show season has largely ground to a total halt in the dead of summer, and most of us are taking refuge in the AC whenever we're not forced to be outside. Every morning I feed and wash the crusted sweat off of the mares, and if I have time before work, I work O. If I don't have time, I don't even bother considering it. It doesn't cool down until about 10pm here, and our lighting is not good enough at our property to work in the evening. Someday I may put in a small arena and lights, but that's pretty low on my list of current priorities. 

We joke that summer is the time when Texans get seasonal depression, because they don't get enough sun. I'll say this - it's 100% true. When I don't get enough sun, I get grumpy and sad, but going out into the blazing summer sun isn't high on my list of desires. Working outside gives me my daily allotment of sunshine, but I also spent a lot of time indoors, planning for the upcoming show season and the things I'll be able to do when the weather cools off. Texas summer is really just like northern winter - you spend way too much time indoors wishing you could be outdoors. 

O has come back to work good and strong, and feels great. She picked up right where we had left off, and feels great. Currently my main issue, aside from the heat, is wishing I had a studier vehicle. My wooden cart is a beautiful piece of equipment, and I do love it, but it's not really made to stand up to excessive abuse. A lot of tight turns, higher speeds, and rougher ground are going to take a serious toll on it over time, and I worry about that. It's not engineered for that kind of use. If I had a good sturdy marathon vehicle, it would be a different story - those things are built to stand up to torque and abuse. Unfortunately, they are also very expensive. I may be able to find a nice used one, one that can serve me well as a three-phase carriage at the lower levels, but this would take some planning and serious shopping. I also need to take into account the measurements and size of the thing - my truck is a short bed, and my trailer is a two horse. It needs to be able to fit into a truck bed (which is doable with the right carriage). I have no plans on buying a totally new truck and trailer just so that I can buy bigger and fancier carriages - I'm not made of money and we just bought a house! But, I will be on the lookout for something suitable - maybe something will pop up, you never know!

I also don't have many pictures from O's workouts lately, as I don't have anyone to film me a lot of the time. I tried to set my iPad out and record some of our workouts, but alas, this is the best I got:

When I find my GoPro again, I will be able to set that up and get better video and pictures. I think it is buried in my truck? I have no idea. 

On a more interesting front, Pax has found out that jumping up and down off of all the rock banks is super fun:

I love this - this is how you raise a good strong surefooted horse. Or a horse with a broken leg maybe, I'm not really sure. 

One thing *is* for sure - babies that can run and play on firm terrain are the ones who develop little rock crunching hooves:

That sure is a pretty sight to behold.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Pax - 3 Months!

Pax is now officially 3 months old. She thankfully has slowed down her growth some, but is still a mighty big girl for her age. I'm still waiting for her to go through any kind of ugly, awkward growth stages, but so far she hasn't - for the most part she has grown pretty balanced back-to-front so far, and has stayed pretty through it all. She is slightly butt high, but I think once her shoulders develop a bit more and she gets something resembling withers, she'll be quite even. God knows Pmare has the biggest withers on the planet, Pax will probably inherit them too!

So pretty!

Mmmmmm salt!

She is still a total pest, but the mares occasionally pretend to discipline her a bit. Like here, when O decided she was getting tired of Pax's crap:

Ooooo right for the eye

These two really are best friends though. They do EVERYTHING together, all the time, including hanging out at the top of the pasture all by themselves: 

Bes Franssss

Pax's previously super dark coat is lightening up significantly in the sun, which is not surprising given the amount of sweat and sunshine going on in the state of Texas right now. She will probably be just like her mother and grandfather - light in the summer, dark in the winter. Which means there is still a possibility of O and Pax matching perfectly as a team ;)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

In Which B2 Drives O

Since O has been driving, no one but me has handled the reins for the most part. G did drive her a little bit during the lesson I took with him, but it wasn't much, and I was in the vehicle too. That all changed this past weekend when I let someone new handle the reins!

B2 (since there is already a B, who was my navigator at Sunrise Ridge - so now we have a B1 and a B2!), is a local and longtime blog reader (since way back during the Gogo epoch). We've only just synched up recently after years of back and forth saying that we would, and she's been over twice now to play with the beasts. The first time, I took her driving up the road, and let her handle the reins a bit while we were under way. Driving O up the road is pretty easy though, you just sit there and do nothing while she powers along for as long as you want. You could almost take a nap when driving her up the road, she does it all by herself.
The second time she came to drive was this past weekend. It was a scheduled cones/obstacles day on my calendar, so we headed into the front pasture to work. We have lots of trees and terrain, so it's a good area for practicing obstacle work. We drove together for a little while, weaving around trees and discussing the work. Then I hopped out of the cart and told her to go off and do it on her own!

Up the hill and through the cones!
B2 had that look on her face like, "I've heard the stories about this mare.... am I going to die today?" but it soon dissolved into a grin. The grin kept growing and growing as she took O around and around, weaving between trees and going back and forth through the cones I had set for her. O is a bit like drivjng Gumby to the left, and like driving a 2x4 to the right, so I had B2 work primarily on that, aided with the help of the cones and trees. 

By the end of it she was raving about how easy O is to drive. And she's right - she really is easy, and FUN! She's just *good* at driving, she understands it and she always goes right to work. (Well, except for the times when she doesn't.... but there's always a reason for it.) She has a buttermouth, takes a very nice and light contact, and just goes along nice as you please. She's ready to have some real impulsion added to her work now, seeing as she likes to spend most of her time plodding along nice and easy - I'll have to be very careful how I add that in though!

Both B1 and B2 came off their rides in the box seat going, "now WE want to drive!" Muhahah... slowly conquoring the world....


It's been absolutely blazing hot these past few days, so O had a couple days off while I alternated between working and hiding indoors in the AC. Yesterday morning, I got up very early to make I could have everyone worked before it got too hot - this included a leading lesson with Pax, lunging O in the Fauxssoa, and lunging P. Approvals are in early September, and P is looking mighty saggy these days. She's relatively sound right now, and her gut is hanging down to the floor, so I decided I needed to do a little something about it. She can't do much, but maybe we can at least pretend to put a little topline on her and shave some of the sagginess down. To top it off, she likes to stand right out in the blazing sun all day and sweat. Sweat + Texas sun = sunbleaching. I fight it the best I can, but there's not a lot I can do about it aside from wash the crust off her and encourage her to go roll in the dirt to put a protective layer on. Ugh!

Pax was a holy terror yesterday leading, for no particular reason. She just felt like bolting and dragging the human was a fun option, and when she got stopped it made her mad, so she reared and reared to show her annoyance. Rearing is her go-to for pretty much everything. She's not afraid of anything (except maybe the lawnmower, she's not sure about that thing), and whenever confronted with something in her way, she rears at it. For instance, when lunging her mother, she likes to charge at the lunge line and rear at it. Or, when she stops in the middle and I swing the line up over her head, she rears at it then too. Not that I'm recommending lunging your horses with a loose baby around, I'm not going to say it's terribly safe, but when you gotta lunge mommy then baby's gonna come along for the ride. 

She wore herself out within short order, and then she led like a little sweaty puppydog. I took her out of the pasture for the first time ever, by herself, and gave her a nice bath. She's gotten really quite good about her baths, maybe even to the point of liking them somewhat - she at least thinks that playing with the water is very fun. 

After that, I lunged O in the Fauxssoa, and she was lovely as usual. Following this, I bathed and turned her back out, then grabbed P and a lunge whip. I never need a whip for O, but I think I wouldn't be able to physically keep P going without a whip - especially with how saggy she is right now. 

Two for one special deal

And, Pax got a new halter! She needs to grow into it still, but what do you think about the color? It's kind of an orchid color, not really your typical purple... I love it.

Two purples, one filly

Bit of a boring update really, but that's how horses are most of the time - steady on, steady on!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Holy crap. After two months without it, WE HAVE INTERNET at the house!!! Granted, it's satellite, so it's not superfantastic, but it's something and it's SO GREAT.

I have SO much to write about... but for tonight, I'll leave you with a comparison of Pax from month 1 to month 3, standing up next to Future Hubs:

1 month old - so tiny and cute!

3 months old - giant beast! 

She comes solidly up to boob height on me now. However, her string test measurements show her topping out exactly at O's height. I feel like surely she'll be bigger, but who knows? Maybe I will end up with my pair after all!

I really hope she stays the dark color that she currently is. She still has a lot of shedding as you can see, but look around the edges - she's pretty dark! I know a few of you said she could turn back to regular boring chestnut, but seeing how chocolatey dark she has gotten - I don't know. She's very striking with her mealy highlights on her nosey and eyes - she had them when she was born but they weren't very noticeable until she got super dark. Grandpa was a dark bay with mealy points, so perhaps that got passed down from him. She still has lots of shedding to go, but you can see how dark her head and top of neck is, and legs as well. The best way to describe it is tasty dark chocolate color. It's just awesome.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Catch-Up Post: O!

We STILL have no internet – this has literally been nearly two months of trying to get ANYBODY to service us. We finally caved and had to get satellite internet, which is coming next Tuesday. Hopefully this gives me a little bit of time online...

There's been a ton to write about O, and no time to write about it! I'll give the cliff notes version of it, seeing as it can be condensed pretty well.

In May, it obviously rained A LOT. 35 trillion gallons of rainwater + moving house = no ability or time to work the mare. So, she hung out with Pax and P (and later, Darby), and ate food, and was merry. It was good times for all, except for me, who was wanting to get back in the box seat pretty badly.

The beginning of June saw the sun come back out, and when it was dry enough I decided it was high time to put the lady back to work. I long lined her down the road on her very first day back, and she was quite good, considering the fact that she hadn't been away from 'her' baby in a good solid month. However, once we got back home, she absolutely lost her marbles when she saw them again. I wasn't untacking her fast enough in her mind, and she set back twice, once breaking her lead rope and running off, and then once again, when she nearly pulled the metal tie rail clear out of the ground. (Still have to reinforce that with concrete... safe to say we won't be using that anytime soon.) She's not one to set back, so clearly she was REALLY upset about the other mares being 20 feet away from her on the other side of the fence. I got tired of her antics and decided to tie her to the trailer and let her stand there for a few minutes and calm down. She did not calm down, and continued to escalate her frantic behavior. The mares were literally on the other side of the fence, and she couldn't handle being *that* far away from them. It culminated with several very violent setting backs, ones that were so crazy that I couldn't get close enough to her to pull her lead rope free – on the final one, she pulled back so hard that she ricocheted herself forward like a slingshot, smashed herself face first into the trailer, and dented an incisor. She stopped dead when it happened, a little trickle of blood coming from the corner of her lip that she had also bitten in the process. She was quite fine - the tooth is fine, the lip is fine – and she was absolutely immobile. Well, there you go I guess...! I bathed her (she had significantly lathered), and put her back out, where she promptly went to the mares at the haybags and went to eating.

Two days later, I went to feed the mares breakfast, and noticed a very suspicious swelling on her right hind. It looked bang on for a classic tendon/tendon sheath injury, and I freaked out.


She was totally sound, thankfully, and she had a small scrape on the inside of the leg – she is the queen of paper skin, so I felt that it very well could be related to that. She was a bit tender to palpation though, which was concerning. Since I am Queen Tendon, I leapt into action, and started her up on a strict regiment of cold hosing, bute, poultice, and wrapping. There wasn't any way to contain or rest her – especially not if I wanted her to stay quiet with the other mares wandering around – so I just left her out with them. (Note to self: I am so super screwed if I ever need to stall rest this mare.)

The vet came out a few days later to look at P's eye, and I had them look at the leg too. Their US machine in the field isn't very good, so I had her palpate, flex, and jog, and asked her what she thought. O was sound, sound, sound, even with flexions. The swelling had reduced itself about 95% in those three days, and while I could see a tiny bit of filling still (just because I know the leg), the vet was impressed with the amount of swelling I had taken out of it. Well yeah, I'm Queen Tendon! I have a tragic amount of experience getting swelling out of limbs. 

Better but not normal yet

The vet and I agreed that since there was never any lameness, because the swelling was nearly gone, and there was a scrape right where the swelling was, it probably was not ever a tendon - but to just keep an eye on it and bring it in for imaging if I felt it was warrented. As per the vet, we decided to keep resting her for another two weeks, and I went off on vacation to California for one of those weeks. I weaned her off her wraps and she stayed naked the entire time I was gone, and when I returned the leg was still totally normal and cold. Nice!

Back to work she went at the end of June. She had been off for nearly two months at this point, which wasn't a bad thing really – but it meant she had lost some fitness and I had to start back a few steps. She's been lunging a couple times a week, and has been back for two drives, one down the road and one in my pasture. She was absolutely superb for both, managing to only partially act like a crazed idiot when we returned home. No signs of issues with that leg - it's been completely normal. 

It poured like crazy here yesterday, so everything is slop right now again (boooo). She lunged on Tuesday, had yesterday off, and may go for a drive this afternoon, depending on if things dry a bit. Our calendar is a bit sparce until September, so I plan on bringing her back to full work gradually and carefully this month, and then being back in full work next month in preparation for the fall show season. We missed several shows in May/June because of the weather and her leg problem!

August 15th: Horseman's Market Day – not a show day, but a human fun times day. They sell tons of carriages, harnesses, and other equipment and tack!
September 12th-13th: TCA Carriage Classic – this is the pleasure show that we were entered in this past May, but that got flooded out. They rescheduled it for September!
September 26th: NTW Playday
October 3rd: WHOA Drive – maybe! It sounds like a fun playday type drive but I'm not familiar with it.
October 10th-11th: Let's Have Fun in Texas! HDT – a brand new local HDT!
October 25th: NTW Playday
November 7-8th: Black Star Farm CDE – this is our big local one. It's an actual CDE, although they have an HDT that runs in conjunction with it.
November 21st: Crossroads Charity Open Horse Show – just another fun local show with carriage classes!

Keep your fingers crossed on the internet situation... it's driving me crazy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Catching Up on Updates: Pax

Since I have SO MANY updates to go over, given the fact that I haven't really blogged for an entire month, I thought I'd give a breakdown on each horse for the past month, starting with Pax!

When I last left you, it had finally (sort of) stopped raining, and the sun was coming out. I had a very cute, floofy, red little baby horse who liked to play with Monster Dog and be a general nuisance. 

One day early mid-month, I noticed something funny about her goggles. She had sustained a few scrapes and the hair that grew back in was almost black, but I didn't think anything of it. Her muzzle started to shed, and then her goggles. Eyes and nose can definitely be darker areas but I did think the color was a bit.. odd. 

As her face continued to shed out, I realized - she's a liver chestnut! What are the odds. And she'll be a super dark one too!!

She continues to grow and grow. She is 10 weeks old today, and her butt is as tall as my boobs already. She's HUGE! 

She has been trimmed 3 times now, and has been increasingly good about it. She also ties, leads (mostly), picks up her feet, eats all her creep feed, gets groomed, flysprayed, and bathed. She was not a fan of baths to start (who is?), but now when the nozzle is turned her way, she plays with the water, which is seriously adorable. 
Wet Pax is also a pretty good representation of her adult color I think - dark liver with a blaze and three white legs, including that one super high stocking. 

She is a total BEEF.

I decided yesterday that I needed to get some video of her movement, since I've seen her do pretty much nothing but run. Turns out, she is a pretty cute little mover - not super flashy but definitely very cute. 

P will be the first to tell you that she's getting quite tired of her shenanigans though...!