Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting a Few ZZZZZ's

Yesterday's ride on the horse my Frainer (friend and trainer) wanted me to take a look at went pretty well.  I went home all in a twitter about the horse, golden/red with a flaxen mane and tail, my thoughts fueled from your wonderful responses to my questions in my previous Post (thanks to all who responded).

The one thing (about me) when I am considering a new horse.  I can't sleep.  I was awake most of the night, tossing and turning, thinking about the possible new addition to my world. 

Today I hauled my tack up to ride her again and without going into details; the fact of the matter is, it didn't go well and I know she is NOT the right horse for me. 

Sigh.  So much for my 12-hour horse possibility.  Ironically, instead of being bummed about the fact it didn't work out, I'm actually pleased that I (finally) recognized a prospective horse and I didn't fit.  In the past I would have fought the fact only to find out later, sometimes much later, that we weren't a good match.

I will continue to ride Mr. Peterman (Petey) as a lesson horse and spoil Bob here at home, who is happy as a clam in his newly retired life and doing so well, I'm tempted to hop on him, if only for a few minutes.


In the meantime I'm going to catch up those zzzzz's I lost last night!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mares vs Geldings? What are your thoughts?

This is a picture of me and my first horse, Buckshots Sunshine.  She was a good girl, tolerating the horse crazy green novice who took the $500 from the sale of her beater car and bought the horse she'd always dreamt of having since before she could walk.

I didn't know squat about horses.

I didn't know squat about Mares.  And I still don't. 

All the horses I've had since that first horse have been Geldings.  Why?  Because I found them to be solid in behavior and they didn't go into heat.

Yet to be fair, I didn't know what I know now (nor what I will know tomorrow) about horses.  And as I look back on my time with Sunshine, as great as she was then - she'd have been a real gem to ride if I had her today.

A few weeks ago Venom from Canada offered me her horse.  I declined her generous and kind offer because of the distance and because my neighbor breeds and periodically her stallions get loose and come calling.

But I've been thinking about Mares (closer to home) and wondering why shouldn't I consider them in my search to replace Bob?  I have a gate I can close at the end of my road that will alleviate any midnight visits from neighboring stallions.  I have multiple pastures if I choose to place "her" in one of them instead of with Bob.

My pondering couldn't have come at a better time.  A call a few hours ago from my friend/trainer (frainer) says she has a horse she wants me to come look at.  A horse that she thinks might be a good fit for me.

The horse is a Mare.  Noted to be quiet and calm, with the Western Pleasure gaits that I experienced with horses in my past, and recently on Petey.

I head up to take a look at her in an hour.  Taking my saddle with me. 

I'm interested in what your thoughts on Mares vs Geldings (or if you even have a vs in your thoughts)? 

Do you prefer one over the other?  If so, why?

If you prefer a Mare, do you use a hormonal supplement like Regu-Mate?

If you don't use a supplement, does the heat cycle impact on your riding?

Thanks for taking the time to respond to the above questions as I open my mind to the possibility of having a Mare in my future.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Gift of an "Aha!" Moment

With a heavy heart, in my car instead of the truck pulling Bob in the horse trailer, I headed up to the barn to take my first lesson in my life on a Lesson Horse.

My friend and trainer (Frainer) had advised me to bring my saddle.  She told me she was currently using the horse I'd be riding in a lesson.  As soon as that lesson was over we'd swap saddles before I rode.

I arrived to find the lesson was behind schedule so I sat down to watch before "my turn" came.

I was thrilled to see the horse I'd be riding.  I'd known this horse and his rider since 2004.  They had boarded at the same barn where we had boarded our daughter's horse - Champ, in 2004.  As it is in the horse world, this horse and his rider had popped in and out of my life for the last eight years. 

I KNEW this horse and I LIKED what I knew.

Meet Mr. Peterman; i.e., "Petey".

It was a bit strange to pull off the saddle and put mine on.  I'm so used to prep and ground work before riding.  But I was soon up on Petey and out in the arena.  Shortly after that I was into that slow western jog where I could have sipped tea and not spilled a drop.

The smooth jog brought back memories of riding Poco last summer.

It brought back memories of my rides on Champ, the horse who had prompted me to start this Blog years ago.

Riding Petey was indeed a thrill.  It was like riding a combination of Poco and Champ all in one package.

The lesson/ride was overwhelming.  I rose in my saddle from the confidence I felt as I rode Petey.  I craved the gaits of this horse which brought back great rides I had experienced on my own horses.  I never wanted the ride to end. 

But it was later in the day when I was running the lesson through my mind over and over again (which I tend to do) that I had an "Aha!" moment.

The lack of feeling confident and walking away with little or no sense of accomplishment when I rode Bob had been in the back of my mind for some time.  I had been feeling Bob and I were spinning our wheels.  Obviously my Frainer had also been feeling the same, which is why a few months ago she had suggested I consider replacing Bob with something similar to Petey, Poco or Champ.

At that time I didn't understand her suggestion.  I'd put Bob up for sale for twelve hours before feeling terrible about selling my horse and pulling the add down.  But after riding Petey I understood what my Frainer had been trying to tell me.

I had wanted a horse that "pushed my confidence" when I purchased Bob and I'd gotten exactly what I'd asked for.  But the truth is I don't fit well with a horse that pushes my confidence.  I do best with a horse that nurtures my confidence.

Bob's pushing my confidence and taking me out of my comfort zone made me a more accomplished rider with a higher level of confidence, especially when I rode a horse that nurtures my confidence.  And riding a horse which nurtures my confidence allows me to feel secure and strive to ride better (not to mention thoroughly enjoy the ride).

If it wasn't for Bob, I would never have known this about myself.  What a great "Aha!" moment!!  What a great gift he has given me!

Monday, July 9, 2012

One Can Always Dream

The family, dog and cat packed up and headed to the cabin for a post-Fourth of July parade/potluck.

Our parade is a very sweet part of Cabin Creek.  When I was a kid, everybody participated in the parade.  We all would laugh at the fact that there was nobody who watched. 

These days there are a handful of people who watch (and receive grief from those participating).  I was one of them.  :)

This was one of my favorite pictures.  Great Grandmother driving her Great Granddaughter.

But of all the pictures I took, this is my favorite.  She waved her hat on her own as I raised the camera.  I'm thinking there's a horse crazy girl that might like some 50+ mentoring!

While we were gone I boarded Bob up at the barn.  The stalls are huge and there's daily turnout into large pastures.  Although Bob hasn't cared for the lodging in the past, he's getting better about it.  Text messages from friends who board there reported he settled in nicely.

When I went to pick him up yesterday his knees were once again unstable.  In fact they were so unstable that we were concerned he was going to fall as I checked him out.  We took the risk of putting him in the trailer and ever so gently hauling him the few miles back to our place without incident.

The truth has hit us hard.  I can't take the chance of even a light ride.  I now know I'll never be able to ride Bob again.

I head up to take my lesson in a few hours on the Lesson Horse, which I'm grateful to be able to use.  But I'm all choked up about the reality of my situation.  I have no horse left to ride and like a flower without water, I feel my inner self wilting and fading away.

I've put the word out on the equine telegraph around here that I'm in search of another horse.  I've asked my friends to keep an eye out for an older gelding, a been there, done that guy that I can put family and friends on and know they will be well taken care of.  I'm looking for a guy who is in the upper 15 hands so that my husband can also ride (my husband is very tall).

But the fact is that I'm in no fiscal position to buy a horse right now.  All I have to offer is a good home, care and lots of love.

It's said to not go looking for a horse until you have the resources to purchase it.  I know that's good advice but I'm hoping someone out there has a horse they love but no longer use and all they want is to make sure it goes to a good home.  That would be me.

One can always dream.  And right now that's all I've got...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Good News and Kinda Not So Good News...

THANK YOU!  All of you who have left comments and have given me such wonderful support during this trying time with Bob. 

Many of you sent prayers and they worked!!

As I sent out my last Post, I almost took it down.  The following day I started to notice a difference in Bob - but thought it was my imagination.  Yet as I watched Bob spending more time snoozing in his shavings, it became apparent.  His knees became steady.  In addition, Bob's flighty attitude softened into the funny red horse I fell in love with when I bought him.

I couldn't believe what I was seeing so I waited (and waited and waited), still not sure if those darned knees were going to start shaking again.

But today I left a message for the Vet, reporting what was now a calmer and steady horse.  She returned my call with some good news and some kinda not so good news. 

Good news is that all blood tests, including EPM came back negative.

Good news is that it appears Bob wasn't been getting enough "lay down" time in the paddock while off the rich, spring grass.  Although there was an area with hay for him to lie down on, the guy prefers shavings.  He paws, rolls, lays down, snores, sleeps (and pees) on them. 

Probably should change his name to Pig Pen.

The kinda not so good news is that the Vet is concerned about arthritis in Bob's knees.  I'm to pull out the Butte again if Bob becomes stiff.  Ugh, that stuff is nasty!  I don't know who gets more on them when I try to dose him (he turns his head up at the powder no matter what I add to it).

I'll be ordering the x-rays to confirm where we are with the arthritis.  In the meantime I'm free to lightly ride my horse once more.

I'm humbled to be given another chance to put my saddle on Bob.  I could care less if all we ever do in the future is walk.  After all the hard luck we've had recently with our horses' maybe, just maybe we are heading the other direction.

In closing, I will never, ever take the red horse, standing outside my office window as I write this, for granted.  He has my heart...