Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday - First Ride!

Well, first ride at home at least! Sunday after church we came home, ate some pizza per our usual routine and then headed out to play with our new horse! The night before the girls and I went to tractor supply and got all kinds of goodies for him. A new bit, grooming spray, Chloe bought her some special reins to ride him with, and a salt lick. Oh and wormer! I had called the vet earlier that day and asked what I needed to do to get weight back on him. He told me worm him now and then again in three weeks. Feed him some senior feed and add plain vegetable oil on top. Up to a cup a day if they can stand it, he said some horses don't like it. He doesn't seem to mind at all, lol.

So I did a little ground work to begin with. Building on what we had done the day before. I discovered he doesn't like his ears handled much, so we worked on that again. Also added some hindquarter yielding, which he did really well at as long as I was doing what I was supposed to.

His reaction to my touching his ear, lol
Then I parked him by the gate and gave him another good brushing, finally seeing some shine this time! I grabbed the grooming spray and started on his mane. He had had no problem at all with fly spray the day before, so I didn't expect an issue. Well apparently he didn't like it that close to his head and started jiggling around trying to get away from me. Well I just let him go wherever he wanted but he still got sprayed! Finally he stood still snorting and let me spray him, so then I stopped. By then he had quite a wet shoulder and neck, lol. Silly boy. I took him back over to the gate and we proceeded with no further protests from Mr. Harold.

I got him tacked up with no issue (besides the cinch being way too long for skinny boy) and hopped up! He of course tried to move off immediately (at least he doesnt move when I try to get on too!) so we worked on that until he was waiting on me for the cue. I need to get him yielding laterally so he knows he will be doing that right after I get on and not walking off. I will have to wait for a day without the husband and kids waiting on me though.

I put him through his paces again, he was pretty good! I think he was happy with his new bit. It's this one:

Its a D-ring snaffle with a copper mouth. Has a nice curve to the mouthpiece. So I had nice long reins to work with this time instead of those silly barrel/roping reins that was on the cruddy nylon headstall at his previous owners. Which were great for a spanker when he didn't want to trot, and especially awesome to keep at the ready while we were loping as a motivator, lol. 

I enjoy riding him, he nearly always keeps his head level, doesn't move too fast, and is pretty responsive to the bit if I remember to use my reins right. He also doesn't seem to resent being rode, which I got from Daisy a lot, lol. I just wish his gaits were better! I found out he is out of halter blood, which sort of explains it. They are so BOUNCY! 

Here is a short vid I put together! Chloe is on it at the end for her ride, you'll see her AHH freak out face to begin with, lol, she is so timid about everything. But she ended up loving it. ;) If you want the video bigger click the Vimeo icon. And watch in HD! The quality gets a little icky at one point, the husband turned my phone over sideways to video half way through so I had to flip it in an editor and it didn't like that.

Harolds First Ride from Britnieann on Vimeo.

You can see to him a downward transition is a WOAH, lol, which kept catching me off guard. He looks like he could be athletic if he wanted to. Check out his snappy little turns starting at 1:30. I see some jumps in his future! :D

Thirsty horse
I could have rode forever but the natives were getting restless over there on the rail. So I got to a good stopping point and then it was Chloe's turn! He was very careful with her and she was so proud to be able to ride him herself!

So I gave him his first grain and veggie oil on Monday night. I was afraid he might be a picky eater since he didn't eat the watermelon rind we offered him the other night. But he loves it, lol. A little too much the next morning. He tried to make an ugly face at me when I walked up to him while he was eating. But after I chased him around and made him do some turns he decided to be a good boy and haven't had a problem since. 

I have worked with him a few times over this week. Been mostly busy with dinner, cleaning house, doing laundry and babies! Tomorrow is my off day so I want to try to ride him then and give him a bath. 

I took some reference photos the other day so I can see his weight gain. 

Not a great conf pic, but good enough to check weight changes

Whats with the flash photography?? 
He followed the husband all over and just stood next to him while he picked up his manure, lol!
Last night I got to play with him a little. Worked on his hindquarter yield and backing again. Touching his ears. By then it was getting dark so I gave him his grain and went home to play some Uno with the fam, ;).

I'll update again about tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Ol' Harold!

I flipping love my new horse. Well, OUR horse! He is definitely going to be a great 'family' horse. Chloe had her very first ever 'solo' ride on a horse Sunday. He was awesome for her. You could see him almost tiptoeing trying to be slow and easy for her.

I need to get the little squirt a helmet now! Look, how cute is this!!:

Too bad its 50 bucks, ugh. Will have to wait a bit on that. The good thing about though is it has one of those dial things that will adjust and last her a long time.

So! I have a lot to catch up on! I guess I need to start at the beginning. I found him on craigslist last week. I periodically check it out, and a few facebook horse sale pages. Well I called about him and decided he was worth a look. I really liked his sale picture. And PRICE! (I actually didn't pay for him, my parents bought him. I am trading the price of him out for gas. When I go work with their horses they buy my gas (they live on the other side of the county from me), so now instead of that they bought me a horse, lol.)

So I start researching the guy that owns him hoping to find some more pictures of the horse somewhere. Eventually I find out the guy has been on a reality tv show on CMT! I KNOW! So funny. He was on Sweet Home Alabama. It was about 10 city boys and 10 country boys trying to win this one girl. Anyway, he did pretty good apparently but didn't win.

He was super nice and accommodating. He told me he races barrel racers all over the country. He was actually training a nice gelding in the pretty arena he had when we pulled up. He had Harold in the round pen they had in the barn. So he tacked him up for me, well put the saddle on him, and I cinched him up and put his bridle on. He was a gentleman for all of it. Then I hopped on. I found out right away he didn't have any buttons. He also was super lazy and didn't want to stand still after you stopped. Which is kind of strange combination with the laziness. But eventually he figured out if he moved off without being told he had to back up quite a few steps and got better. I bet who rode him before 'trained' him that whenever he was on him he was to be going.

I walk trot and loped him in there, which got pretty dusty, ugh. He was pretty good, I had to smack him a bit on the hiney with my hand to get him to go a few times. The guy was amazed because he hasn't even seen him trot, haha. I didn't really like how he pinned his ears a bit when asked to go faster, but I figured that was something we could work on. I also didn't like how flipping BOUNCY his trot was, ugh. 

After I felt good in there we ventured out into the yard/pasture. The man who owned him went and fetched his horse off the cross ties (I was amazed how quiet and polite he was just standing there waiting) and went on and worked him some more in the arena. So I just moseyed on around and found some scary stuff to go by, over, etc. He did great. I even rode right next to the arena where the barrel horse was tearing it up and he didn't bat an eye. He just trucked on down through the pasture with his head down.

I was pretty sure I wanted him at that point, although wasn't really feeling a 'connection' with him and kept going back and forth. Then I stopped over by the bleachers where my husband and the babies were and he wouldn't stand still very well. Then the man came up on his horse and he neighed at him and after I dismounted he would not be still and stand, Chloe was so excited about petting him and I really couldn't let her because I was afraid he would run her over. So thats when I said no. It was getting late and I felt like I was keeping the guy, so I played it safe. 

We left and went to eat at cracker barrel and I kept thinking about him. Then the next morning I was like, what the crap, I think I want him! I then went back and forth all day, prayed about it. I still didn't make a decision till Saturday morning. So thankful for my awesome husband, he was totally supportive.

So I decided if he still had him I would go get him. He did! He was trailering a horse to bham but was able to get his mom to unlock the gate and take our money. 

I didn't think we would have any trouble with him in the trailer and I was right! He took a look at the pretty substantial step up and then walked right on! Which that huge four horse is pretty inviting, lol. We even stopped at walmart for a bit to get a few things. Never heard a peep or stomp out of him.

Its a good hour 15 or so home. Opened up the doors and had him back off, even though there was plenty of room to turn around. I wanted to make sure he could. He did great. He walked off and just looked around as calm as can be! I walked him to his temporary home in the round pen and let him sniff it and check it out a bit. 

Just off the trailer!
Checkin out his new digs
Then I broke out the Clinton Anderson on him. He wasn't real thrilled with working and I had to give him a few good lashes on the hiney. But soon he was speeding up from just a point and cluck. He did pretty well with his turns, had a few more wrong outside then Stormy. Speaking of Stormy, he is her opposite in so many ways. I kept subconsciously waiting for him to respond like her and was almost confused when she didn't, lol. Definitely an adjustment period!

So I did some follow me stuff, which didn't go too well in the beginning. He was more interested in the grass. But after I sent him back out a few times he was stuck good. I liked how he didnt try to climb in my lap like Stormy did. I put his halter on after that and did some desensitizing and backing up. Which was difficult! Stormy, being very reactive, was so responsive to the wiggle wave. He was just kind of like, oh, are you doing something? Lol, I even tried tapping his nose pretty firmly with the stick and he still just sort of stood there! After two or three days of working on it we are getting a bit better! But a whack on the chest to him is like a fly, lol.

After that he got a good brushing! Chloe girl came in and stood on a bucket to help me. He stood there so good. He was filthy, I don't think he's seen a brush in months. Definitely not a bath in years. If I get a good warm day Friday that will be on the agenda! We are gradually cooling off around here, usually low 80's most days, 60's at night. Fall is a comin!

He has the silliest lazy lip, lol
I looked at his tail briefly and saw a HUGE mat in it. I mean its massive. And solid. I really have my doubts I will be able to get it out. Its a solid mass of balled up hair like four inches long. It's on the inside of his tail so maybe it wouldn't be too noticeable if I had to cut it out. Thankfully he has a pretty awesome tail already.

So that was his first day! I was really feeling good about going back for him! I'll leave our first ride for our next post!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Road Trip Part 2

Yeah, so someone can't make up their mind the first time! I went and checked out that gelding Thursday and nearly put him in the trailer. I talked myself out of him though!

Then I thought about him for two days and decided it was time to go and get him. Womans prerogative to change her mind, right? ;) In the truck about to get him now, will update with more later!

Pic from test ride Thurs

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Taking The Four Horse Out

So, this is going to be hooked up to our truck this afternoon!

Why?? Welllll, just so happens I have a good lead on a horse for ME! My own! And since its an hour away I decided we better bring the trailer to save some gas when I hopefully decide I like him.

There are a lot of unknowns about him, unfortunately. All I do know is he is supposedly 10 (no papers) QH, and was trail rode by a 79 year old man previously. The person that has him now bought him solely to use this summer while his younger cousins were in town to just ride around the pasture and not have to worry about them. Apparently he has all barrel racers and none suitable for kids. (They were 5 and 7 I believe?)

So the guy describes the gelding as being a 'dead head' and broke broke broke. Which can mean so many different things to different people. Its pretty safe to say he is very quiet and laid back, but other then that?? Crap shoot! And the horse is only $350, which is kind of a red flag, but also my budget at this point! So I think he is worth looking at! Here is his pic:

So I was immediately struck by the cute ears/head and long legs. Then I see a fairly typey neck and over all build. He looks like a well bred horse to me! I was very surprised to see his price tag. I bet this boy has papers SOMEWHERE. If I decide to get him I'm going to try my best to get the phone number of the man that used to own him.

So wish me luck and all that! There is also something really funny/interesting I found out on facebook about who owns him now that I will share if I buy him, lol. ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Friday Is Horsey Day

So I love Fridays. More then most people even, because its my OFFFF DAYYY. Whoo hoo!

And the last few weeks it has also become my go to day to play with Stormy.

The day starts with feeding the babies, picking the house up. Hopefully getting a load of dishes started (depends on the mood of Shelby Marie, my 9 month old) and then off we go to run a few errands and put my youngest to sleep. I try to make sure I have the clothes (usually a cool shirt and my sneakers) I need in the car as well as my training whip and rope halter all ready to go. Then I can just go straight past the house and park by the round pen without having to stop and potentially waking the sleeping beast beauty!

So here we go again, trying to recall what exactly I did Friday!

I had a bit of trouble getting her this week. I approached a little more directly and when I went to reach for her halter she walked off. Drats! So the next time she came to get her cookie I just petted her on the head and acted more nonchalant before I took hold of her. She still raised her head up like "aw,  man!" but I had her then! She's not nasty about being caught, I just think someone has been too impatient or rough with her a lot in her past and that has made her like that.

I took her to the tie post and my little helper and I gave her a quick dust off and mane comb.

Silly girl pulling her hand back after petting her 
She stood perfect. I didn't mess with her hooves since I had Chloe with me so we just went on to the round pen. 

Another review of all we have done before! Except I didn't free lunge her at all. She is still sore on that leg -_-. Her hooves still need attention but I can't get her owner to get anyone (or let me) out there. 

I checked on little girl before we went in the pen, then the father in law got there and he checked on her again and told me she had woke up. So he got her out and held her while I finished up. 

I've been wanting to see how she would do with the lunging for respect exercise for a while now. So I practiced a bit of hindquarter yield and then went for it. She did great. I think she has done something similar quite a bit before because she did it all very well, despite my bumbling around. She was a bit more animated with it then I would like (she can be quite reactive) but I eventually got her settled down where she was even just walking. I think CA usually wants them at least trotting but with her being so reactive/hot I thought it was a good thing for her. So that was pretty exciting! 

I had Chloe take some videos but as you imagine they didn't turn out too hot, lol. Here are a few 
0screen shots.

She got a little heavy on the line a few times but all I had to do was tug a bit on her and she would soften. She actually went around looking at me a lot of the time, wanting to stop and come in, or just being attentive. You can kind of see it in the pics.

So I did very little since she is still gimpy and finished up with some more lateral yielding and such. Great session! Especially after the somewhat disappointing one. We had birthday parties all Saturday and Sunday is full with church, so didn't get out there again. Maybe tonight!