Sunday, November 28, 2010

sheesh, tell me how you really feel.

I tried a couple of saddles today at the barn that are owned by other boarders who were gracious enough to let me try them out :)

Here are the results:

As you can see, she was NOT happy. These were not rapid-fire shots; they were separate and deliberate bucks. It was kind of comical until I got unseated by one and opted to get off while the going was good, and I wasn't airborne.

Of course this meant that I had to show her who's boss, blah blah blah, so I was stuck lunging her until she settled down.

I guess she enjoyed her vacation more than I thought. I don't think this was all due to discomfort from the saddles. She was ridiculous. They were both well-made medium tree saddles and she had a nice pad, horse?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The saddle search is dragging on and I am NOT enjoying myself! Lucy isn't either. I think she's a horse who really needs to do something with herself. She has been even nuttier than usual coming in from her paddock and she seems bored. I'm not that motivated to ride her bareback when she's acting like such a nutter, though, so her vacation will continue until I can find a saddle.

FYI, I'm looking for a 17" medium tree Pessoa A/O or something similar with long flaps in the $700 range. This is proving a tall order to fill, so it can't hurt mentioning the details here in case any of you know of one for sale.

Friday, November 19, 2010

not good news

My saddle doesn't fit L at all :( :( :(

It is the right sized tree, but the bottom edges of the panels are digging into her sides. Poor thing, no wonder she has been fresh!

I had the option of paying $300 to get the saddle flocked with wool, or I have to sell it and get something else. I chose to get a different saddle because I would never get my $300 back if I sold that saddle (it doesn't make it worth any more money) and honestly I'd rather sell it, and take that money and add $300 to it and get a nicer saddle.

This is just about the WORST time I could have gotten this news. Lucy's insurance is up on Monday and that's $600 to renew. Christmas is coming up. My car needs a service.

I am hoping I can sell my current saddle soon and get something that is around the same price to replace it.

sensitive girly

Recently Lucy has been showing small signs of discomfort when under saddle. Sometimes she will arch her back a little bit, sometimes she will crow-hop, and sometimes she will buck. With my saddle it hasn't been that bad and she always stretches down into the contact and loosens up through her back and hips once she has warmed up. On Tuesday with my leaser aboard, though, she was apparently very clear that she didn't want to be ridden the other day, so my leaser hopped off and put her away. She hasn't been ridden since (nice little vacation, huh?) because I wanted to have my saddle fitter come out and look at her. If he finds nothing wrong with the fit of my saddle and my leaser's saddle, then Lucy will have to suck it up and do some work, but I have a feeling that mine will need some adjustments since the last time I had it fitted to her was when she weighed 200 lbs less than she does now, and had no topline.

My leaser's saddle will also be looked at.

The strange thing is that Lucy doesn't react at all to me poking and prodding along her spine. If the issue is new enough that her back isn't sore all the time, that's great. I WANT to catch stuff early like this before it causes a bigger problem. Getting a saddle adjusted? no big deal, and it takes less than an hour. Getting a horse with a sore back feeling better? Takes more than an hour, often involves massage, takes time and money, etc.

I am waiting to hear back from my Chiro as I want him to look at her, too. I suspect she has some misalignment issues going on, possibly stemming from those two times she got her foot stuck in the damn fence while trying to kill the friendly gelding in the next paddock over...LUCY...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

photos from Equine Affaire

I went to the W. Springfield, MA Equine Affaire this past Saturday and really enjoyed the clinics and demonstrations, especially the two jumping clinics that I watched Denny Emerson teach. What a great horseman. I had fun wandering around the vendor booths and I spent a long time talking to SmartPak about supplements (and ended up ordering SmartCalm Ultra and SmartHoof for L), and also to Poulin. Right now she's on a 12/12 Poulin grain but it has caused her to get very hot under saddle, which the Poulin rep I talked to attributed to the higher NSC values that are in the feed I switched her to. They just came out with a new kind of grain that is 14% fat and 12% protein, but has lower NSC values and is specifically designed for horses like Lucy who need a higher fat content but don't need the extra energy from all those carbs. I began the change last night but I will be doing it over about a months time because a) the weather is changing and I don't want to put her at a risk for colic and b) I have about 3 bags left of the old grain that I've already opened and dumped into my grain bin, so I have to use them.

Here are some photos from EA:

Denny on a participants horse.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

video stills from today

Yay 60 degree weather!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Congratulations to Ashley

1 out of 3 aren't bad odds, and they were in Ashley's favour! Congratulations, you have won the contest :) Email me your address and I will put your print in the mail!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

successful first clipping event and contest reminder: ends tomorrow!

I spent my day off of work clipping Lucy. This was my first clipping experience (well, body clipping; I've clipped legs and ears and muzzles many times before) and all things considered, it went very well!

Don't forget to leave a comment on my previous entry to be entered into the contest for the Lucy print! The contest ends tomorrow!

Monday, November 8, 2010

365 days of Lucy

Today marks the one year anniversary of owning (or being owned by?) Lucy. The top photo above was taken when she stepped off the trailer the day I brought her to my barn. The bottom was taken just a few weeks ago. It's amazing what some nourishment, both emotional and physical, can do.

I spent a little bit of time reflecting on our journey together throughout the year. There have been many highlights and a few negatives, but ultimately she is MUCH healthier and happier now than she was when I got her, and though she is not ready to go jump a cross country course, I am satisfied with what we've accomplished training-wise, especially since I had to unexpectedly do most of it on my own after the trainer I was working with abruptly left the barn not soon after I got L. My current instructor has really helped us stay on track and I am very grateful to him.

I didn't ride tonight, and instead dropped by this morning bright and early before work to give Lucy some snuggles:

And then after work I went back to the barn and made her a super yummy hot mash with carrots, apples, and mints mixed in. Kenny and I had a million errands to run today so I kissed her goodnight and off we went! It'll be back to work for both of us tomorrow, though ;)

[On a side note, it was snowing today. NOT. COOL.]

To celebrate the year we've had together, I am having a little contest. The winner gets an 8x10" print of this image:

Simply leave a comment to be entered, and the winner will be randomly chosen on Friday. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cairo Portrait

Speaking of the little devil, here she is modeling Lucy's clean blanket after it came out of the dryer last night:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

so fresh and so clean

Yet another great right tonight. Lucy was spooky outside and instead of fighting with her, we just rode in the indoor (god I love having an's been about ten years since I've had one to ride in and I LOVE it). Sometimes it's worth having an argument, and other times not. She was spooking at the neighbour clipping some bushes in her yard and she was wearing a white sweatshirt, which looked like a bobbing ghost from behind the bushes. I honestly couldn't blame L for spooking at it, so indoors we went.

And from there, she was really awesome. A bit of silliness here and there but with a firm "CUT IT OUT" she was back to business. We even went over a crossrail three times.

Before I rode, I lunged her and noticed that she is really learning voice commands well, which transfers nicely to her undersaddle work. As an experiment after the ride was basically over, I gave her a firm "WOAH" when we were walking to cool out, and she stopped immediately! COOL! :)

I am washing her LW sheet right now. It's the most adorable blue checkered sheet and it was so disgusting that people started commenting about it. I picked up some special washing detergent at Dover today that doesn't ruin the waterproof properties of the fabric and the sheet looks brand new now, so she can go back to licking Kenny's head in (clean) style like she did back in early spring of this year:

Friday, November 5, 2010

magical manners

I present:

Lucy, With Manners

This new-found good behaviour is a result of me getting REALLY fed up with being snapped at when I simply picked up a brush. I didn't even have to touch her with it, but if she saw it in my hand, watch out! here come the chompers. That is so not attractive, Lucy. So today instead of putting her on the crossties, I kept a leadline with a chain over her nose on her. As predicted, she snaked her head around and pinned her ears and went for me when I picked up the curry comb. Without pause or mercy, I backed her ass all the way up until there was no more aisle. She was shocked! Then we walked back to where the crossties are and I continued. She pinned her ears at me and once again I backed her up. For a third time, we walked to the crossties and I started to brush her. There was nary a pinned ear or a gnashing tooth. She was actually pleasant!!!

There is also a little bit of our groundwork at the end for you to see.

On top of it all, we actually had a pretty awesome ride.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I dug out my pencils and...

It has been waaaaay too long since I've drawn something just to draw.

I am digging this.

ahh, young thoroughbreds in the fall.

In stark contrast to her fantastic behaviour for our photoshoot, Lucy has been an absolute nutcase this week!

So tell me, Thoroughbred lovers and owners: when do I get to look forward to some consistency?!

Her new fun game is Spooking At Things That Have Been There All Summer. She plays this while we're riding in the outdoor ring, because with the leaves falling off the trees, she can now see lots of **very** scary things in the bushes, like hoses and a fallen basketball hoop. My ride on Monday was a tad bit scary to the point where I actually got off and lunged her in her three hot spots, which I NEVER do. I usually prefer to ride it out because I find her easier to control from the saddle than the ground, but there was one big spook where I actually thought I was going over her shoulder. A last chance attempt at jamming some weight into my heels and picking up her face did the trick and I managed to stay aboard, but sheesh!!! I would prefer not to get broken right now, TYVM.

Lunging did the trick and she even started to relax and stretch in the three areas of doom. I hopped back on and we trotted once around without spooking at anything and called it a day!

I was exhausted on Tuesday so I didn't ride but instead went straight for the lunging. This time I also pulled out the side reins but left them off for the first twenty or so minutes while she warmed up. It was the same routine: spook, run, cavort, try to pull back, go forward, rinse and repeat! but after those first twenty minutes she got over herself and did some nice work though she was quite fresh towards me (more on that below). I praised her and hooked up the side reins on the very loosest setting and sent her out again, and we actually got stretching! into the contact! it's a miracle!!

Anyway, about the freshness (and I'm sure you're all shocked at this. Lucy? FRESH?! nooooo, never!) :

A couple of times while I was lunging her without the side reins, she pinned her ears, turned her head in to look at me, and came closer. I took this as a direct challenge. At first I didn't know quite what to do but I do not want another horse who thinks it's cool to run at you (been there, done that with a 17.2hh TB who ran anyone over who came into his paddock...not fun!) so I flicked the lunge line at her haunches, to which she responded by shooting forward.

The next time she did it, I got pissed at her. I mean, come on Lucy. Don't be mean. So I threw the extra lunge line at her shoulder. I didn't really need her to go anymore forward, but she did need to stay out and stop threatening me. She responded to this by spinning her butt outward and trying to back up to get away. I held on tightly and flicked the line at her rear to get her going again, which she did.

She did it once more and I did the same thing again but more firmly with a little bit of verbal backup.

When I was walking her out we did a lot of work on the ground, where I made it very clear that she was not to be in my space no matter what. If I walked sideways into her, she better hurry her little fuzzy butt sideways to get out of the space that was now mine.

She's already tough enough to deal with, without having to worry about a major attitude problem and a taste for blood. She has also started getting really fresh on the crossties and has even tried to bite me. I have NO tolerance for this but I am torn at what to do to correct it, since she's tied and I don't want to teach her to fly forward and break the cross ties. She doesn't currently know she can do this and the few times she's spooked while crosstied, she has stopped immediately when she felt the pressure from them. I could detach them and then discipline her, but I am not sure that the point would get to her when there is that delay. I don't think it's fair to smack her when she is tied, though. It's asking for a big incident.

Monday, November 1, 2010

more from the shoot

Images by James Hazelwood,, and Patricia Axford,