Friday, July 31, 2009

Horses in need!

First horse has this story on a very desperate situation in Tennessee. I don't know if anyone around here can help but I thought I'd draw attention to it.

At least maybe we can send a modest donation (times are hard, I know)... The bandwidth limit is exceeded on her site, email here for more info.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sold! I have a new horse! No Saddle! Back Up! Lost Dog!

Warning: this post is all over the place. I tried to tie it all together by coming up with a snappy descriptor that starts with B. B for Bouncing, bounding, barely cohesive!

First things first: BOUGHT
(Isn't he just precious?)

Well, we are all good. The-Horse-formerly-known-as-Lobo is coming home with us in a few days - or a week(who knows what I'll name him, but I have at least one idea). I've had some challenges navigating ebay/paypal (note to self: never, ever, ever sell something on there again. What a rip off they've become!), so I'm delayed in getting my payment out.

But we are good and I can't wait to get him home.

Course, I don't have a saddle for him. But I'll just ride in Adam's roomy 17 inch saddle until I find a good 15 inch one - and save up from all this spending!

Horse! Trailer! Budget? Eek! Saddle? Ha!


Given my brand new status as a horse trailer owner, it's time to come to terms with my terror at backing up a truck. Well, not so much terror as plain incompetence.

But lookie here:
This is at the parking garage at work - and this was a bump free (or braille free, as I like to think of it) parking job.

Bring it on, horsey.


I'm reading a book from the library so wonderful that I'm going to buy it (I'm a big library person and don't buy many books. But some you simply must own).

It's Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley. It's about racing, which I have no interest in, but the way she gets inside the head of a horse is astonishing and completely believable. The writing is stunning (she won the pulitzer for an earlier novel), and it is simply a joy to savor. Ask your library for a copy, but be prepared to extend your loan on it. It's huge and you don't want to miss a word.

Favorite character: Just-A-Bob, a sensible thoroughbred who wins repeatedly by a nose, extending just enough to make a difference.

BELLA, aka Lost and Found:

We lost and found our dog today. As we were scattering fliers around and visiting all the area pounds, we realized just how much we love her.

Bella is featured in this popcorn movie (she's the shepherd):

See? Isn't she a keeper?
Welcome home, Bella.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We have a winner! (I hope)

The end???

Sometimes you just have to break all the rules.

All of them.

For weeks I've been following the rules.

Carefully combing through ads.

Getting pictures and interviewing owners in depth.

Running everything through my check list.

And so far it was getting me nowhere. Every horse had issues. Significant issues.

So today I didn't follow any of the rules.

I met up with a trainer a friend recommended, Audrey Tomlin.
She told me she had 4 horses or so for me to look at.

Now, Audrey doesn't usually work in my price range.
She works one decimal point over.

But she's got a good heart and even greater patience.

She doesn't send me any pictures.
She doesn't give me much information about
the horses, just their ages, gender and color.

But I'm just happy to be looking at a bunch of
horses in one day. Better odds, I figure.

First of all I drive WAAAAY out. About an hour and a half away.
Little did I know that would be the shortest leg of the trip, practically.

Our first stop ... doesn't go so well. An auction gelding with no buck who then... bucks. He was actually very quiet and relaxed with me, but nervous for the owner who has just had him out on hay. He's soft and has a great whoa, but has lost a lot of muscle.

He's a horse that tries and worries.

Look at him. I just wanted to embrace him utterly.

I could tell he's a smart, soft horse that just needs someone to take him in. But I can't go to bucking camp again (I think he'd do great with a gentle hand and some ramp up time). If we had our own place, though, I'd take him home and just take my time, let him learn to trust.

But that's not where we are right now.

So we leave to our next stop.

Then I meet HIM.

And it's like ZING! I know that look, that's the look I've been searching for.

His current name is Lobo, but he's no wolf.
He's a big cuddly puppy dog, who is one honest horse.

A horse so honest that I trusted him completely - enough to...


I cantered! It was ugly (I couldn't even remember to give him the correct lead and he dutifully took off on the wrong one) but I was so excited I could barely keep my heart in my chest.

He's wonderful. I'm sold.
He's at the top of my budget, and I still need to hear from the
owner to be sure she'll take what she told Audrey.

I know she wants him to go to a loving home. And I've definitely got that.

Plus he'll be a lifer. He'll retire with us, wherever we end up.

So, hopefully, if all goes well, he'll be coming home...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Off topic - health care

(this is the doctor from star trek, for those of you spared from sci fi geekness)

In my non horse time, I work in politics for a trade association (not the AMA).

Love it, love my job, even though it's not on horseback (darn laptop keeps slipping off during trots). So I found this little thing darn amusing:

The American Medical Association has weighed in on the new healthcare package.

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception.

The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

The Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!"

The Pediatricians said, 'Oh, grow up!'

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness.

The Radiologists could see right through it.

The Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter."

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington .

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to zero AGAIN

I tell you what, losing this one broke my heart a little.

Turned out when the stable owner went to bit her up she got very stubborn, and much training ensued.

Then in the arena she tried to get a one rein stop and the mare just kept circling.

"No, no, she's more greenbroke than I was told," she said.

This one comes right up to you, wants to be with you, wants to sniff everything and with all the goings on, never spooked.

But I don't need a green horse.

And it just breaks my heart because her personality was perfect.

I feel like I'm that person at the restaurant who orders off the menu, then proceeds to modify the entire meal.

I didn't think I was that picky, but this process is teaching me that having any standards is being picky.

And I found out this morning that the gorgeous buckskin was sold.

So I'm BACK to ZERO.

oh darlin. Did you HAVE to break my heart?


Well, another horse is a no go - Lennie the quarter horse is too sway back for my taste.

so onward.

Of course my next contender is breaking the rules.

She's a mare.

She's 4.5.

She's part arab we think.

But I met her and she's just sweeeet.

I'm riding her tomorrow.

And I'm going to try to look at this one.

Isn't he gorgeous?

Maybe too much horse for me...

Then I have this cruddy self confidence issue right now.

I can't bring myself to lope.

Rudy invited us to go out and work cows for the ropers tonight at Cibolo. I worked through some fear issues with that. Cows running all over, Lily not so sure, getting her through that, getting right in there with the cows, them running by like little bovine maniacs.

But I was deep breathing the whole time.

Because, somehow, after riding a bucking horse, I've turned into a wienie. A chicken. A baby. A wimp.

I loved to lope on Canyon in the round pen and arena. I was weirdly confident about that crazy boy. Now that he's gone, I haven't loped once.

Well, maybe once. But that's it.

I'm a huge, lame, chicken.

Gotta work on that. Gotta just lope.


Actually got so discouraged I wondered if I should even do this anymore.


Fear does that. Fear is a half brother to justification. You can justify any decision when you're scared.

I'm going to lope. Then I can decide. Then my head will be clear. I just need to pull my lame self together, sit in that saddle and go fast...


OK, now a training question for all you out there:

Lily is bolting out of the trailer on us. She escaped me (it's a long and somewhat amusing story I'll share later). She literally goes the minute the divider is loosened and it's dangerous for all of us.

Anyway, we know it's not this trailer - she does it in all trailers. She was fixed, then it broke again. Anyone know how to fix this?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lookie! I'm getting a SLANT!

I can't believe it, but I'm finally going to have a horse trailer!

My very own, not rented, not borrowed, complete with a tack room, ever so cool, HORSE TRAILER!

This means I can go places! Like to the lake to trail ride! And to the park to trail ride! And to the vet to... get shots!

Oh my goodness, you'd think I was getting a HORSE or something.

And I sold my saddle!

And I have a new horse to look at in the morning!

I guess I just needed to get to the 20s in July. :)

Here's another picture.

I think I need pads.

It's a 2004 Chapparal. It's got the tack room in the front, just like I like.

I'm sooo excited!

(BTW, very cool post on a Mark Rashid clinic at A year with horses... I've already put one of the ideas to work!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bust in Denison

Well, it was a long way to go for a blind date.

And as it turned out, it was a bust.

I guess I had some warning about how things were going to go, though. The day before I was leaving on my trip, I got a call from the trainer who has the horse.

He needs two weeks, she said.

The alarm bells in my head were deafening. I was planning to take a pretty long trip for a horse that needed two weeks tune up.

What's the problem, I asked.

Well, he's giving me an arguement at the lope, she said.

Okie dokie.

Given that I just spent a year and a half in an ongoing argument with a horse, I felt my spirits sink. Maybe I should have called the whole thing off right then. But we were looking foward to getting away -- something we don't do near enough of.

So I went any way.

The problem, of course, is that I don't know this horse. I know what I'm being told, but, unlike Lily, I can't tell the reality of a situation. Lily needed a tune up, but I knew how she was when she was in shape. I knew what her issues were. I knew I could work them out.

I didn't know this horse's.

I have to say, Denison is some pretty country. I had no idea there were so many hills, trees, and plain beautiful country in the space between Dallas and Oklahoma.

I had business in Ft. Worth, and we made a trip out of it, hitting the zoo (Mireya and snow leopard making friends with the swimming penguin)

barely missing the national cutting horse show (next year, for sure),

stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast near Lake Texoma,

complete with fishing pond.

All before I went to see this horse. Which ended up being a good thing. Because then it did feel like a vacation with a break to see a horse instead of a vacation built around seeing a horse.

Took me a while to find my way around, mostly because the names of things are not consistent from highway signs to google maps in Denison.

I arrived and the trainer let me get him out of the pasture. He walked away from me, nothing too dramatic, but he didn't walk right up to me as she had described. I don't really care about that. Unlike some folks, I really don't expect a horse to accept everyone who walks into their pasture.

Once I got him out, I looked him over. He had some rub spots and scars.

Thin cracks in the hooves too. Not sure you can see them... I suspect just from the dry weather.

Most concerning though were the sores at the corners of his mouth and a rubbed area on his right front leg - in front and in the back towards the girth. Apparently they had tied him off the saddle (going from bit to his leg to the D ring in the saddle) to "soften him in the lope."

I always find the term soften interesting. I presume it means relaxed, but the fact that we use the word soften is telling...

She said he would grab the bit and resist at the lope. He was nervous about going into the lope, she theorized, because his previous riders were heavy, uncoordinated and in his mouth.

I rode him briefly, but it was, in a way, impossible to assess him... I couldn't lope him - even she was visibly nervous to do so (again with the alarm bells. In fact when another rider in the arena kissed she said he wanted to bolt.

Okie dokie.

When I moved him around he didn't neck rein, had a rough trot and just generally was loosy goosey, side passing to stop going forward, etc.

He'll be a different horse in two weeks, she says.

Maybe so. I have no idea.

Frankly, I don't think I can make another trip just to see if he comes around. He's beautiful in many ways and he seems to have a good nature, but I wonder how willing of a horse he is if he had to be tied up in knots and rubbed raw, just to canter.

I've lost a lot of confidence in the last few months, and I don't think this is the horse that can partner with me to help find it.

Strike 2 (the giraffe on the barrel pattern being strike 1).

So I'm back to zero.

Well, actually, there's still Ringo. Maybe I can see him this week.

And I'm looking here too.

And I'm tired of looking... I just want to ride. But I don't want to make another mistake. The right horse has got to be out there somewhere.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Denison or Bust

First let me explain why there are no pictures of the grey horse I went to see.

When I got out of the truck, I couldn't believe the horse that was being led to me was the horse I had talked to the woman/girl about on the phone.

This looked like a rescue horse. Ribs showing. Long toes. Dark scratches all over his legs. One third of his mane gone.

I was so taken aback I couldn't bring myself to take a single picture.

This was the woman who told me she was absolutely firm on the price. He made the Roan look like Black Beauty's irish cousin.

And it got worse.

She pulls out a wire tie down. "I know some people think these are cruel, but he can pull his head up quick and hit you."

I bet he can.

When she showed me his work in the arena it looked like a giraffe was running the barrels. I've never seen a horse with his head so high. He stumbled, of course, given those terribly long hooves, the worst barefoot job I've seen on a horse supposedly recently trimmed.

Then I did my usual quiet bit, where I let people dig their own holes and she dug deep. He was high headed, charging on trails, just wanted to run in an arena, no back up, tough to stand still.

I got on him for about 30 seconds and decided this horse had no brakes, and with his head up in the air, not going to get brakes any time soon. I let him go back to his truck, got off and said "I'm used to something with more training."

Did I mention his hoof was growing crooked?

I felt for him, he was just a sad sack out there, a saddle on his back that had no fleece, in a bleak place.

But I don't run a rescue for horses (if we ever do, it'll probably be for dogs), and am done with challenging training issues.

Someday, we'll have property. Someday we'll make room for a horse who needs to retire. Someday we can have a horse that is just a companion.

But not today and not soon.

So, back to that bay.

Here's what I got from this trainer (recommended by a friend in Dallas):

This is a 7 year old registered QH gelding with very good breeding. Lots of trail experience. Purchased by a father for him and his daughter to enjoy. Father lost his job and took another one that's very time consuming so no time to spend with the horse. 15 hands. Very friendly disposition....stable owner says he just wants to be with you. Adds that he is very pretty and small show quality (she shows). $2,500 firm seems to be a good price. Quiet, gentle, kind. I like his pedigree and conformation....he's too fat but you can see he has a good top line and strong hindquarters, looks like pretty good legs, nice eye; neck is set on low and his shoulder/pastern angles appear a bit more straight than the other bay gelding so you'd have to ride him to see which one was smoother gaited.

When we talked she said he has "colonel freckles" which I've heard before, but had to google to find out anything. He was a champion cutting horse who died from eating blister beetles... Lily has Doc Bar, another aqha hall of famer.

As a mutt myself, I'm a little concerned that my horses would have more notoriety in their breeding than me.

Anyway, after a rather disappointing start to my horse shopping, I'm putting down a hold on the bay and getting a vet check. I'll be up in Denison on Friday to see him. I'm putting a lot of confidence in the trainer, and in what is by far the most attractive prospect I've seen by email. I decide that I'm done shopping until I see this one in 3-d. (The dun had a bad hoof in the picture when I looked more closely, don't know if you could see it...)

Done, right?


Then I'm in the grocery store, content with my horse decision, when my phone rings.

It's Ringo.

No, not that Ringo.

This Ringo.
Ringo is an arab.
And a bay, sort of (what do you call them when they have some white?)

I know, I know. I already sold my favorite arab saddle too.

But isn't he cute??

Only 14.2 hands, which is nice. I could see Sierra on him.But she has a horse... Here's the ad info:

Great trail and 4H horse. Ringo is my 10 yo daughter's "fun" horse. He's very cute, smart, energetic, confident and gentle. He does not hesitate at water or other challenges. Mallory has been riding Ringo since she was 8yo and has had a blast on him! She is now moving into APHA Western Pleasure and needs to find a good home for Ringo.Ringo was separated from his papers in a divorce prior to our purchasing him, so his foaling year (1995) is unknown and estimated below.

Only 1850 for Ringo. And can that kid ride or what?

Ringo has been a lesson horse, kid horse and family trail. He is, as they all are, practically perfect in every way.

I'm still leaning toward the qh, mostly because I'm leery of another arab, the qh looks great and is being referred by a reputable trainer.


Next post: Lost confidence...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dumped by my blind dates


Both horses I was going to see are out - one's price doubled, the other got sold.

I'm looking at this one tomorrow morning, maybe the other on Sunday.

This one is at the top of my price range, but is 16 years old already. That's 4 years older than I was hoping for.

Experienced playday gelding, moving and want a new project. Sound, no vices, a joy to ride. 14.3hh, white/grey flea bit, very stocky build. Anyone can ride, great for girls getting into barrel racing!! Getting coggins renewed this or next week. Call or e-mail for more info, open to all trades.

This one is the right age, but he sounds a little dominant once I pushed the issue - protective of the mares which could be a problem with Lily. Plus his build seems ... odd. Or these are just really bad pictures. Very cheap, at the bottom of my budget.

I have a 6 yr old strawberry roan gelding for sale. appro. 15 hh+. His previous owner was a couple of kids so he is pretty bombproof. He loves to do trails and he probably can be used for playdays.

Here's two late additions: One a trainer in DFW has in mind (the bay), the dun is north of Austin.

Love the bay. Want the bay. LOL

So we shall see. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My upcoming blind dates.

(Update: Pokey sold and can't reach the folks with Butter. So I'm back to zero. sigh)

(Update #2: Now Butter's price doubled! (a mistake the guy says) So I'm back to zero AGAIN).

Here are two I'm looking at this weekend.

I hate blind dates.

I just got the Horse and Rider with great suggestions on what to look for in your next horse.

  • They have the usual tips:
  • Match your energy level
  • Get a vet check
  • Find someone who can help you see past love at first sight
  • Lope the horse.

A couple things I'm going to do:

  • Lead the horse to prime cribbing targets (I had a woman try to sneak past a cribber on me)
  • Try to spook
  • Cinch
  • Promise to sleep on it and
  • see at least 3 horses.

Other ideas?

On the saturday list

Here's Pokey:
Stout Gelding, 15.3 h tall, well mannered, loads, ties, great for the farrier. No vices. Not a kids horse, but well trained.

  • Location: Comfort
image 1258685839-0

Here's Butter

9 year old Palamino, 15.2h very muscled

Butter is a good horse with a great handle. He stands for farrier, tacking, mounting and grooming. He trailers like a pro. He is very stocky and well muscled making him suitable for all sizes of riders. He neck reins great and backs with ease. He is the type of horse you can leave in the pasture for months and then catch him and take off riding without worry. He is current on shots and worming. He also has a fresh set of shoes. I am selling him due to finacial reasons or he wouldn't be for sale. I have ridden him down trails at the river and also through town. He is a very well behaved horse and laid back, so he would make a good horse for children. He does have a good handle but he wont go any faster then you make him. You don't have to take him to the round pen to work him down before you ride him, just tack up and go. He does NOT bite, kick, rear, or buck. He has no bad habits and would make anyone a great horse.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Horse shopping and Lightbulbs

All this horse shopping reminded me of this old series of jokes:


THOROUGHBRED: Who ME?? Do WHAT? I'm scared of light bulbs! I'm outta

ARABIAN: Someone else do it. It might get my silky mane dirty and
besides, who's gonna read me the instructions?

QUARTER HORSE: Put all the bulbs in a pen and tell me which one you
want. (this is precisely why I'm in the market for a quarter horse - winter)

STANDARDBRED: Oh for Pete's Sake, give me the @$%# bulb and let's be
done with it. (hmmm. or a standardbred)

SHETLAND: Give it to me. I'll kill it and we won't have to worry about
it anymore. (right. no shetlands.)

FRIESIAN: I would, but I can't see where I'm going from behind all
this mane.

BELGIAN: Put the Shetland on my back, maybe he can reach it then.

WARMBLOOD: Is the 2nd Level Instruction Packet in English? Doesn't
anyone realize that I was sold for $75K as a yearling, but only
because my hocks are bad, otherwise I would be worth $100K? I am NOT
changing lightbulbs. Make the TB get back here and do it.

MORGAN: Me! Me! Me! Pleeease let me! I wanna do it! I'm gonna do it! I
know how, really I do! Just watch! My parole officer said it's okay,
really! And when we're done we can go over to the neighbor's and chase
their cats! (I WAS considering a Morgan, but now I'm not so sure)

APPALOOSA: Ya'll are a bunch of losers. We don't need to change the
lightbulb, I ain't scared of the dark. And someone make that #$%@
Morgan stop jumping up and down before I double barrel him.

PAINT: What color lightbulb would you like?

FJORD: That thing I ate was a lightbulb?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shopping - Where have all the geldings gone?

Apparently all the geldings are in DFW. I've found an endless supply of trail mares, but geldings are missing. But lookie here:
Wanna talk about color here it is... a 50/50 beautiful Sorrel Overo gelding. He has been exposed to just about it all. He has been taken to shows, used a a trail horse, and a lesson horse. He is very layed back but will get up and go when asked upon. He loads, stands for the farrier, clips, lunge lines, baths, and loves woman riders. Gets along great with other horses. (10 yrs old)

Another nice guy here:
Dakota is a quiet all-around gelding that has done extensive trail riding, play-days, and arena riding with both kids and adults. Excellent ground manners - clips, loads, ties, stands for farrier, etc. Easy to ride and handle, a very easy keeper. Only selling because we are moving and I can't take all of them. (16 years old. maybe too old...)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are you nervous? So is your horse.

Here's a study proving you can spook your own horse...

An increase in a human's heart rate affects the heart rate of the horse they are leading or riding, researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences recently reported.

Linda Keeling, PhD, and colleagues tested horses and riders to see if humans inadvertently communicate fear and anxiety to horses. Using heart rate as a fear indicator, the researchers asked 20 people with varying levels of horse experience to walk and ride 10 horses from Point A to Point B four times.

The researchers told participants an umbrella would open as they rode or led
the horse on the fourth pass. The umbrella never opened, but heart rates in
both horses and humans increased during the fourth trip between the points,
when the human expected the umbrella to open.

"The increase in the horses' heart rates probably means that they are more
alert and prepared to react to any potential danger," Keeling said. "In the
wild, horses are adapted to respond to other animals in their group. A
startle reaction is more likely when the horse is very alert."

If you are a nervous person leading or riding a horse, your nervousness
might increase the likelihood of the "spook" that you are anxious to avoid.

The study, "Investigating horse-human interactions: the effect of a nervous
human," was published in the July 2009 issue of *The Veterinary Journal*.

For this reason it's good Canyon is gone. I was getting ready for umbrellas all the time.