Monday, May 25, 2009

Side reins on a young horse?

I'm debating whether I should try side reins on Norman. He's five, and needs a lot of work on his balance. My trainer said I should wait, but I've heard other people say that it's great for teaching balance and rhythm to a youngster. I've seen four and five year olds with side reins before, and they did fine. They worked wonders for Victor. They evened out his trot like a dream.

Norman is also about 100 pounds overweight right now. I finally convinced my mom that he doesn't need grain in the summer. Needless to say, he desperately needs exercise. I'm worried about him foundering because of all that excess weight. I'm starting to go out more and more often, and I'm lunging him as much as possible.

So, has anyone had experience with using side reins on young horses? What are your views on it, and how old should a horse be before introducing them? Any and all input is appreciated!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I was shocked.

That post on FHOTD piqued my curiosity and I looked up Vic's ancestors. He's got pretty decent bloodlines. Native Dancer, Damascus, Mr. Prospector. His sire was the Illinois Stallion of the Year in 1995.

Vic's ancestors.

I was shocked when I saw My Babu and Ribot. They're way back in his ancestry and there have been enough better horses to "over-ride" it, but sweet mother of Christ. Babu's back was like a freakin' ski slope. I have no clue how he got to be a successful runner. Ribot was just plain ugly. His structure wasn't that bad, but his overall appearance wasn't at all attractive. Along with Hastings, Pharamond, and Fair Play. It was a whole wall of fugly. How do you get nice horses out of so many fuglies? I'm glad we did, though. Horses like Marcovil (scroll down a ways on Vic's page) probably contributed a lot to it. He was nice. It's crazy to see how horses have changed in the past several decades.

I also discovered that Vic has a full sister named Athena Gold. I think I remember seeing her once when I first went to look at Victor.

Would it be weird to change a horse's name after four years?

You've all probably heard me whining from time to time about how much I loath the name "Norman". His first owner (the one who gave him away because she didn't like his color) named him that because she thought his stripe looked like the silhouette of Norman Rockwell.


His stripe looks like a stripe to me. And the name makes him sound like some big, stupid oaf, and he's not like that at all. So, I came across the name Drigon (dree-gan) and I really like it. It has the "an" sound at the end, so it would be easier to pick up on. Or I was thinking of Rogan. Honestly, anything is better than Norman.

It would be different if he was like, twenty years old, but he's only five. That's a heck of a long time to be calling him by a yucky name. ;D

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Very sad story

The neighbors in back of my BO's property had a little yearling paint filly. Her name was Brooke and she was a birthday present for their 13-year-old daughter. Well, my friend told me today that they'd found her dead a few days ago, tangled in the fence. I feel so bad for the poor little thing. She must have suffered. I feel sick just thinking about it...

I can only have so much sympathy for the owners, though. Their fencing is scary. It's like chicken wire with gaps about six inches wide. I think they have a hot wire going across the top, but it was still an accident waiting to happen. Which it did, and now it's too late. And now their other horse (super old gray mare) is all alone and their poor filly is dead. I just hope they learned something.

On a lighter note, my trainer fixed Norman! He lunges fairly well now. Ten times better than what he used to be like. We even did trot poles today. It's hard for him to coordinate himself, but he tries.

RIP, Brooke. :(

Friday, May 8, 2009

HA! I don't think so!

My trainer called me up with a very interesting piece of information.
She had just talked to the BO and apparently she has a new instructor going out there to give lessons regularly. I met the lady once, and I thought she was a little bizarre. I got the impression that her head was up in the clouds or something. I wouldn't take lessons from her if she was the last horse person on the planet.

My trainer asked what horses she was planning to use for lessons, and it sounds like the BO wants to volunteer our horses! Ours, as in my two and my trainer's old grade mare, Missy. (My trainer still owns one of her horses. Long story.)

She just seems to think she can do whatever she wants with Norman. She sees him as this docile little angel who will pack around anyone without drama. I don't know where the HELL she got that idea, but I think she wants to use him for lessons. I don't think she'd try to use Victor, but I'm not sure about Norman. And I know she wants to use Missy. But that's not going to happen.

Excuse me for going beyond my rights, but I will NOT have complete strangers (and beginners) plodding around on my horses. That's an absolute no-no for so many reasons. If the BO mentions it to me, I'm going to make it very clear that no one has permission to be on my horses.

Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Potential new barn.

My mom found a lady that's offering free board in exchange for help with her horse and around the barn. She apparently has a Percheron gelding that she drives, and is looking at purchasing a Percheron filly.

We're going out to look at the place on Monday. You never know what to expect, but I'm crossing my fingers.

The lady told my mom she would be willing to teach Norman and I to drive. :) She's got all the equipment for it, and Norman is the perfect horse for it. She also knows someone who shows American Creams. You know how hard it is to find people who have even heard of them? It's crazy.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A new barn is looking better and better every day.

The BO called me up this afternoon and told me that Norman had broken the chain that separated the dry paddock from the pasture, and all the horses had gotten into the pastures. She said she'd been chasing them and trying to shoo them back into the dry lot since nine in the morning, and she called me at one in the afternoon.

My horses had been on sweet grass for five hours. I've only hand grazed them twice this year, and I'm hoping to God that they won't get sick. I got out there at about 1:45 and led them all back to the dry lot one by one and got heavier latches for the chain (which was previously hooked with small latches that aren't meant to withstand heavy pressure). I'm worried about C and M's horses because they haven't been hand grazed at all. Furthermore, the BO didn't have brains enough to close the chain and lead them all back separately through the other gate. She just tried to herd them all back, and not surprisingly, the horses kept running back to the grass. You'd think that after 20 minutes of chasing horses around in circles, she would have concluded that it wasn't going to work. But no, she kept at it for several hours. I guess you could give her a few brownie points for determination.

I suppose I'm not going to hear the end of it when I go back. The BO will be picking on Norman for being "destructive". You know what? It was your own damn fault. Right now, Norman's herd is only getting one bale of hay a day. That's not enough forage to keep 6 horses happy. They're hungry. Of course the grass is going to be a huge temptation, and Norman happened to be the one that ran through the chain. The chain that was latched with flimsy little clips and was just asking to be snapped. How does she even know it was Norman? She never told me she saw him do it. I know a couple other pigheaded furballs that would do something like that. Good thing the pastures are drying out. It's too wet right now, and they already tore part of it up.

I'm seriously considering moving my horses. The management there has just gone downhill ever since C and M showed up and my trainer left. I'm on the fence with the idea because the farm is 10 minutes away, and it has an indoor and outdoor arena. Plus really nice trails. I guess it all depends on how long I can tolerate C and M.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A much-needed rant.

Not really intended to be a comprehensive post, and I don't know that you guys will know what I'm talking about. I just need to blow off some steam. And yes, it revolves around our good friend, C, and her dickhead cousin M.

Last Tuesday confirmed my suspicion that C is absolutely nuts. She was came out to the barn while I saw feeding and asked me how long her cousin's (M's) horse, Nikki, had been eating. I told her about half an hour. So, of course, she's too much of a moron to wait the full hour before working the horse. She was giving a lesson to some girl, maybe 14 or 15 (poor girl doesn't know any better) on Nikki. She takes the horse out, tacks her up, and puts the girl on her. Throughout the whole lesson, the girl was leaning forward, heels up, and her seat didn't improve in the least. From an hour of instruction, I would at least expect to see the heels down and the rider's upper body nice and tall. But nope. I didn't see an iota of improvement. Here's were it gets funny. About 20 minutes into the lesson, I notice that C is now on Nikki's back behind the girl, apparently teaching her how to hold the reins or something.

That was it. I'm now 100% certain that C has lost her marbles. I just stayed in Norman's stall and laughed my ass off. I don't know if she heard me, and frankly, I don't care. It was hella funny. Stupid, dangerous, and ridiculous, but amusing. Except for the fact that she was sitting on the poor horse's kidneys. And you know, it's just C's way of showing off. The way she vaults up on the horse and whatnot. You know, C, if you want to show off, take some proper riding lessons and come back when you have a solid seat and can actually pick up the right diagonal. You have no business at all teaching someone how to ride when you yourself don't know shit about horses.
It's impossible to tell that woman anything. She's got this know-it-all mentality and if you try to tell her something, she gives you this attitude like, "what do you know?"
She rides that horse into the ground. She's made Nikki lame before - and just laughed it off. And didn't do anything to care for her. Just tossed her back out into the paddock. Everything is a fucking joke to her. She doesn't give a damn about anything.
And she's still using other people's equipment. Not mine, because I keep it locked up, but the BO's tack and stuff. She doesn't take care of it. That one time Nikki rolled with the BO's saddle on, when she was left loose in the arena, C just laughed about it. She never even cleans it. I know I've never seen her soaping saddles.

After her "lesson" last Tuesday, she didn't even have the girl groom or untack Nikki. How the hell do you give lessons and not have the students take care of their horses before and after the ride? All the girl did was ride. She didn't groom, she didn't tack, nothing. How are riding lessons useful if you don't even know how to properly saddle a horse? Shouldn't you know how to do that before you actually get on the horse? I don't know. I don't understand people like that.

My mom and I are getting fed up with the BO as well. She doesn't keep on top of things the way she should, and she's real pals with C and M. She's spineless when it comes to laying down the rules and confronting people when those rules are broken. It's not my place to say this, but C and M need to go. They're the cause of all the tension in the barn. My trainer left because she couldn't deal with their shit anymore. Before C and M came, it was just me, my trainer, and two other boarders that aren't even out very often. We got along and it was just much more relaxed and enjoyable. Nothing was locked up. We never locked our supply stalls or tack trunks because we just let each other borrow stuff and trusted one another to put it back. You could leave a 50 dollar bill laying on your tack trunk and no one would take it. Now, all my stuff is locked up and only my trainer and one other friend know the combo. It's sad. It's just one headache after another. My mom and I are looking for an alternative place, just in case. It's just that we've been there for 4 years, longer than anybody else, and I keep my horses there in exchange for labor. I don't know if I can find a deal like that anywhere else. Plus my current barn is set up beautifully. And indoor and outdoor arena, huge pastures, a wash rack, big tack room, and about 2 dozen stalls. I don't know of any other barns that have stalls available, and the ones that do don't have arenas. An indoor arena is a must.

We'll see how it all goes down.

On a better note, I had a lesson today and Victor was incredible. I was terrible, but Victor did everything right. I'm so proud of him. ;) He was so balanced and his walk/trot transitions were perfect. He got those shoulders powerhousing and was just awesome. I'm way out of shape and probably looked like a complete idiot, but he was awesome.

I have a work day tomorrow from 9 to 5 at the barn. It sucks because I'm sure I'm going to be extremely sore in the morning. I'm always sore after lessons. :(