Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sometimes he's hard to love

(sure he looks all sweaty like some sort of horse that was actually cooperative or something. but it's all an illusion)

Trust me, there was very little to love about Canyon today.

You know those ads that say you can have the horse turned out in the pasture for months then come out for a ride and it'll be the same as if you were riding 'em every day?

That's not my horse.

I went out to the stables tonight. It was a beautiful late afternoon, the sky a perfect azure with a scattering of clouds hinting at more rain. It was cool but not windy, quiet but not eerily still.

It was perfect.

Apparently I was alone in this assessment.

I knew I was in trouble when we stepped in the round pen. There it was. The buck.

I know, I know, people say a buck in the round pen when you're just getting started is no big deal. But I know this horse. A buck means it's going to be one of those "let's re-establish this whole herd thing for the next three hours" thing.

So that's what we did. I rode down the road and he was blowing sideways at the reflector. Which apparently has recently become threatening. It went down hill from there.

Sensing his insanity, I got off just past the gate and started to line lunge him because he was just too distracted and nothing was working in the saddle. He was so freaked out he ran nearly sideways in the circle, even did a little tiny rear at one point.

We kept walking, stopping to lunge and work on ground manners, try to maintain a tiny bit of focus. I think I brought him down from a 9.9 to a 9.8 or 9.875.

Crazy. On the way back I got back on and he was jigging like a maniac. I had to turn him so much I briefly wondered if I'd be better off on a merry go round horse.

(Canyon with his "you're not the boss of me" face on.)

Then back in the round pen for a work out and some side pass work. I'm trying to teach him to side pass and had some new techniques to try. We had a millimeter of success.

By the end of our round pen session and during our walk back, he was down to a manageable level. 9.7 at least.

Just kidding.

And, to add insult to ... well, insult, since there was no injury, he knocked me on the head. Not that hard, really, but clearly he was crowding me.

That was it. I backed him hard, "bit" him, and then moved him around. He snapped a bit back into place.

Then he got a bath and a nice long lesson in patience.

I know how we got here. I haven't been able to ride and it's much too long between our sessions. This is what happens with him. I wish I could maintain leadership, but I guess the lack of consistency is really problematic.

There is good news: In my experience the next ride after one like this is usually great.

We'll see. Humph. Dumb ol' horse.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New shoes

I met the farrier out at the stables today but had to leave. I wanted to photograph his rig, but I had to run a bunch of errands. Here was his report:

I had to put on new shoes. I was able to eliminate the sole packing mtl. and replace the large wedge with one somewhat smaller. All feet look really great.

So Canyon's hoof is growing out and his wedge is shrinking. His shoulder has evened up and he is good, if slightly rotund. I miss him, the stables are so quiet these days is sort of sad. When we first went there it was filled with activity. Now I'm just about the only rider left.

I'd like to find our next place, and I think I have. Next week, now that we've closed on our SBA loan, I'm going to check on a land loan. I want to bring my horse home.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dog meets Horse

We finally got some rain, and it's a bit too muddy for any serious riding. So we decided that since someday our dog and horse will live together, they'd best meet.

Here is a video of that first meeting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hero time

Having trouble breaking free for horse time, but at least I'm dressed for it. (Wings are my back up plan for bucking). Get your own self hero'd up.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Photoshop Phriday

Thursday, March 12, 2009

First Canyon Cartoon

I'm making some cartoons at work and thought it might be fun to try one with Canyon...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Horse Laws - okay, I agree with this one

Abilene, Kansas, City Ordinance 349 declares: "Any person who shall in the city of Abilene shoot at a horse with any concealed or unconcealed bean snapper or like article, shall upon conviction, be fined."

I particularly love this one because it's so easy to visualize how it came up.

Watch those concealed bean snappers, people. I wonder if you could get a carry permit for those? Where's the NRA on bean snappers? How about Chipmunk based pea shooters?

Interestingly enough there's also a law in Kansas against shooting rabbits from motorboats. Presumably this became a problem when rabbits took up water skiing. Silly wabbit. Twicks are for skiers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Off topic - broken hearts

Over on my crib notes blog I'm putting up part of an online journal I kept when my daughter had open heart surgery. April 7th is the 10 year anniversary of that day.

Here's an excerpt from the first entry, click on over if you'd like to read more...


.... The shock and sadness overwhelmed us all. I don’t know exactly how we are going to make it through the next few months, but I know we will.

And I know that this determined little girl will make it through the surgery she needs. She’s already proven she’s in charge and won’t take no for an answer.

Through this I know that many of us will learn even more about what really matters. Maybe we’ll all heal some of the fears and wounds in our own hearts as she heals hers.

Finally we ride out on our own

Well, turned out Canyon didn't need shoes. So I'll have to get back to you with those pictures in a few weeks. Apparently his hooves are slowing down their growth with these natural balance shoes.

But we did have an adventure.

Ever since I discovered that Canyon had... an attitude problem*having ruled out saddles, back pain and other ailments) I have been reluctant to ride out on my own. But there aren't many people to ride with these days so I had to bite the bullet on Saturday.

And we rode. By ourselves

And made it back in one piece.

Here's a little video...

As big of an accomplishment as this is, it's getting pretty tough to find people to ride with - my old circle has scattered. So I guess I need to do the equivalent of cruising bars.

Play dates.

Sigh. I'm not competitive so I'm not crazy about the play date idea. But it's that or lonely rides for the duration.

Any suggestions?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Photoshop Phriday

Wordless Wednesday, Silent Sunday... hmm. Well how about time for photoshop phriday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What the hell, I'll keep him

My irritation at Canyon has passed over. Sometimes I think we are in high school and in some weird on again off again dating thing. Maybe I should seek counseling. Could this be a bigger problem than I realize? Am I continuing an abusive relationship because of low self esteem?

Ok, you can stop laughing now.

Since my horse is actually my therapy, I clearly need this kind of couch...

Mmm. Yes, I really like this one. Particularly the fringe. But I digress.

Yes, he bucks. But I know when and where. And I'm going to follow some advice (thanks everybody) and try to work through it. Because the truth is that we HAVE come a long way (his spooking is way down, he lopes without freaking, he can handle distances away from his buddies better) and if I can just get past this last hurdle he's a pretty good horse.

Basically I need to get in a relatively safe situation, recreate the problem and run the living #$@$ out of him when he tries. I'm thinking of doing it under a trainers supervision so they can help spot anything I'm doing that may need correction.

If it still doesn't work, then I have to decide how big a problem this is for me.

Frankly until I can ride more regularly (read: get our own land), it may be that I can't really solve this problem, because I can't get in the time necessary. But I will keep trying and realize that by stretching this out it will take longer.

Its very comforting to talk to others who keep their bucking broncos - thanks for helping me not feel like a lunatic. ;)

In the meantime I need one of these shirts...

Tomorrow he's getting his fancy schmancy shoes and I'll talk to the farrier (who has the coolest rig. I'll try to get some photos). Maybe he'll have some advice too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The buck is back. Damn.

Yes, the bucking bronco is back.

What the @#$@?!

We went on a trail ride and there was the buck. We were loping circles in an open area and Canyon got worked up running just behind Woody. His head went high and I could sense his energy change. It was run with the herd time. I'm not sure if picked up the rein too tightly, or if I was on a lookout because I knew he was no longer listening to me, but down went his head.

He curved up like a cat and gave one buck before I yanked his head backup. Then I ran him around the field a few times for good measure.

But the issue isn't that he's bucking because he doesn't want to run. The issue is he wants to give over leadership to the high horse and if I attempt to take any control during that moment of high headed running, there goes the buck.

So I'm pretty seriously discouraged. We had been very well connected all this time. We'd round penned, he'd responded well to my speed control in the arena and he was fine being in the front, back or middle of the herd during the ride. He even spooked in place at the vicious armadillo.

It's all about another horse running near him and me trying to slow him during that moment - but I don't remember actually trying to slow him. Frankly I'm not sure I did anything than draw up reins when he was starting to round his back.

Did I mention he can buck at a lope?

So what are my choices? Here's my thoughts:
  • Be very choosy about when we run on the trail - no running with a herd buddy or running to "catch up"
  • No running on the trail period. Save it for the arena.
  • Get him to a trainer and see if they can break this habit somehow (not that I have money for that, but it's a thought).
  • Think about another horse.
  • Or, as DH would like me to do, get out of horses for a while.

Trainers talk a lot about picking your poison. I love this horse. But I'd like to run without worrying about a bucking bronc ride. Another horse might jig, another might be stubborn. Mine bucks when he thinks he might be being forced to be left behind.

Bottom line, he hasn't given over to me yet.

Do I need more time with this horse? Do I need to walk away so I don't get hurt? I hate being in this place again.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Curly Hair

Here I go, off topic. But since the wind kept me inside, I had a chance to make a movie of Mireya's first hair cut.

Mireya has crazy curly hair.

No, seriously. Like INSANELY curly.

So I was nervous to get here hair cut, because everyone with curly hair says it's impossible to cut. As a result she had these long bits and short bits, and wild bits everywhere.

It was time.

It was past time, actually.

Here's the video.