Sunday, January 29, 2012

Yay again!

I rode River today.

His third ride since he left the track.

My second time riding him.

I did it:



And he was perfect.

I'm trying to think of words to describe how I'm feeling... this is about the best I can do: FJDFOIDSFJ0E043%$#@%#@$#@9UFDSA43432!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah. I'm basically quietly spazzing about what a good boy he is. Who knew a recently retired exracehorse could give me so much confidence? I was a little nervous for about 5 seconds, mostly because I was hoping he'd hold still long enough for me to mount and get settled... which he did. Honestly, his worst behavior was lining up at the mounting block, which took a whole two tries.

He is very much an OTTB--going to the right is hard work. He tries, but it takes a lot of work on both our parts to not be awful. But we were able to get a few steps here and there where he wasn't stiff and falling in, so I'm happy. He didn't mind being thumped with my leg to get out. I have no idea how this horse was a good racer. Seriously no clue. I checked his tattoo, he really is River Mountain Rd, winner of 20 races, including a Stakes race, with earnings of $408k. He's also Riv, a lazy backyard pony with a strangely shaped head.

Now that I know he's good about riding bareback, I'll probably start riding him more frequently. I'll try, anyway. It's a lot easier to work up the ambition to ride when all I have to do is put on a helmet and slap on a bridle. I didn't even take the blanket off... not like he's going to get overheated at the walk. I rode my mare, too. It's so easy to ride two horses when you don't have to bother tacking up!

At some point, I'll have to ride him with a saddle, or at least without a blanket between us, if for no other reason so I can use a whip to help get his body where it needs to be. This is a good time of year for all this--the weather is yucky and we don't have an indoor, so we really can't do anything more than walking, but what he needs is lots of walking and bending and suppling. No temptation to skip the necessary stuff and move on to the fun stuff... By the time the weather cooperates and lets us do more, all the boring fundamentals should be pretty well in place.

I am just so so proud of my boy. I don't want to jinx it, just because he's good putzing around doesn't mean he's going to be good when we get to cantering and *gasp* jumping, but so far things look promising. I might be a little biased, but I think I got the best horse on the FLF listings this year... maybe even from any year. He's just such a darn good boy.

(Oh yeah, and his legs are good! No puffiness, and regular applications of Desitin and petroleum jelly are keeping the back of his pasterns from getting yucky.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I apologize for the lack of updates, interesting or otherwise. It's just been so darn yucky out, I don't feel like spending much time at the barn. When I do go out, it's to give Mare and River some grain, make sure they're both alive, and then I leave. Currently it's wet and snowy and windy and just really really gross out. Call me a wimp, but it's hard to motivate myself to do much of anything when it's like that. There are two things I absolutely cannot tolerate in weather: wind and wet. Not a fan of heat and humidity, either, but those things are a bit easier to work around. But when the mud is ankle deep and the wind is blinding... well, I just want to curl up in my bed with a hairdryer under the covers to keep me warm. (Shuddup, there's nothing weird about that.) Also, I keep losing my fleece earwarmers in the black hole that is my car. I neeeeeed my earwarmers in this weather. Cold wind + uncovered ears = raging ear infection. I'm not going to discuss how long it took me to put those two together, but it was a painful lesson that I have learned very very well.

River was still alive yesterday. I'll pop out later today probably, and definitely tomorrow. I haaaaaaaate rain!

I mean, look at this:

This is NOT natural. This is Buffalo. Okay, it's 40 miles east of Buffalo. Whatever. It's supposed to be COLD. It's supposed to be SNOWY. It absolutely positively should not be above freezing and raining almost every bloody day! We've had a few days where it got up to 50 so far this month. Now, if you don't have to deal with being outside in the mud, this weather is probably great. However, because I do have to be outside, it is not great. It is terrible. We already have to deal with a crapload of mud in the spring when the snow melts (not that that'll be a concern this year, the way things are going). But still. The point is, we're supposed to have 4 distinct seasons. Currently, that season is winter, not spring.

Mother Nature, put the bottle down and get thee to an AA meeting. You have a problem.

Here's a random picture of River from a few days ago.

He likes his pink bucket. So there.

Oh, and in case things weren't annoying enough, my farrier and I had a miscommunication and had to reschedule again, and the new wheels for my car equaled a month and a half of board for my two horses. *sigh* I need to find a very wealthy, very generous man who doesn't mind a wife who puts her animals first.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Weather sucks. It's raining and muddy and gross. Here are some pictures from the weekend, when we had a bit of snow.

And my mare and her friend:

She's a wimp and refuses to stand up to him. River, I can give him a bucket of grain and not worry because he won't let anyone touch it. Not the mare, oh no, I have to stand guard over her.

There's really not much to report... Riv's hind legs were getting puffy over the weekend when it was cold and frozen and hard to move, now that the ground is soft again (ugh) he's fine.

At some point, I'll do something with him. Mare's farrier is coming tomorrow (yay!), so I'll have him look at River too. Thursday I'll be at a funeral all day (rest in peace, Aunt Teresa!), Friday is work, so maybe things will work out on Saturday or Sunday. I almost rode this weekend, but then I didn't. Mostly because I didn't feel like digging my helmet out of my car. Yes, I'm aware that that is just about the most pathetic excuse for not riding ever. Oh well.

Oh, but good news! Tomorrow, I should finally get the new wheels for my car!! Stupid thing came with aluminum wheels. Ran over a big rock a couple months ago and ruined one, over $200 for a new wheel. 3 weeks ago, another tire went flat and surprise! That rim was dented and ruined too. So screw that, I'm getting steel rims put on. They got the rims, I went to get them put on, oh darn, the lug nuts aren't right. Come back a week later, the lug nuts are in but they're the wrong ones because the salesman at the.... lug nut warehouse?.... is stupid and insisted they were right when they aren't. So with any luck at all, they'll have the right ones in finally. I've been driving on a donut for 3 weeks. Which for me is something like a thousand miles. Holy crap that's a lot more than I thought it would be...

So... yeah. There we go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quick thing...

The aforementioned very exciting thing is in progress and hopefully there will be news very very soon! Don't know if it's going to happen, but reallllllly hoping it does!

He's alive.

Aaaaaaand that's about all I can say. It's wet and extremely windy, so it was a very short visit. The only reason I stopped was to change blankets around so the mare wouldn't cook, but then I felt her and decided she would be okay in what she had on. So I patted them both, gave them each a kiss on the muzzle, and told them to be good.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Riverless Post

No River today... no bowling, either, one of our group was sick (what a baby) so we decided to skip this week.

No, this post is about my baby! You remember her....


(Sadly, she does not look like this anymore. She looks like a cross between a yak and a mule.)

Enough comments on her incredibly homely appearance... Tonight she was a very very good girl. We've been working on "whoa". Not just "whoa" as in "slow down a bit.. maybe? please?", I mean "whoa" like "come to a dead stop in mid step and wherever your feet end up is where the stay, even if you look like you're playing Twister for a million dollar prize".

She's been getting better and better, so we've been trying "whoa" and then I move around, so she knows to take the verbal cue and obey until she's told otherwise. Tonight was a new one... it took a couple reminders that "when I say 'whoa' it means you plant yo' ass", but she halted and stood perfectly while I dropped the lead and walked around her. What a good girl!

She might be a little hellion, but she's getting good at this well-mannered-member-of-equine-society thing.

Okie doke, that's all. I should have a River update tomorrow, unless he decides to be thoroughly uninteresting.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I really am amazed...

Gosh, he's a good boy. Doing stuff with Riv is like working with a broke old school horse that you've known for a decade. Well, he's a bit more perky than that, but you get the idea. He does what you ask without drama, he waits while I fuss with a gate or equipment, he doesn't spook or fidget. The extent of his misbehavior is sometimes balking at walking through a muddy spot or being in a bit of a hurry, neither of which is a big deal.

So today we did try long lining. Nothing fancy or really productive--the goal was just to see if he could understand what we were doing. He was a little confused here and there, but he figured it out without getting upset at all. He stood for me to get the surcingle on and the lines set up like a gentleman. I just used his halter, no bridle--now that I know he gets it, we'll try with a bridle. Such a good good boy. We walked big circles, little circles, and several figure eights, and he got better and better as he understood what I was asking.

Just... wow. I realize it's not really a big deal--oh, big whoop, he walked around in circles! But what I'm happy about is that he didn't go into it obviously knowing what I wanted (maybe he's done it before, he's had a job for the past 10 years, but he was clearly unsure of the situation), and yet he quietly went on, tried to do what I asked, and after 5 or 10 minutes was responding correctly and without hesitation.

The only problem is I can see myself becoming complacent because he's just such a darn good boy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shocking news!

River ate a whole candy cane without spitting out a single piece and suggesting that I'm trying to kill him by withholding his favorite individually wrapped peppermints! I didn't think it would happen! The red stripes were darker than most candy canes, so maybe that tastes better? Who knows.

River spilled a bit of grain on the ground and worked hard to make sure he got every last bit.


Yes, it's as crusty as it looks. Come spring, we're going to need a jackhammer to get all the ground in, caked on mud and manure off.

Since we suddenly have snow and cold weather (current temp: 6 degrees), I did some blanket rearranging. Irish usually wears a 100gram blanket... not a whole lot of insulation, but enough for most days and not too much when it gets above freezing. I have a heavyweight turnout in her size, so the 100g came off and the heavyweight went on. Riv's blanket is a mediumweight, so the 100g went on underneath. It's a bit too small for him, but it'll do for a couple days until things warm up a bit.

Oddly enough, it doesn't really seem that cold. I'm coldest between about 25 and 35 degrees. Once the temps drop below 20, I'm great and perfectly comfortable. I have absolutely no idea why and it makes no sense to me. But whatever. I'm thinking tomorrow I might attempt to longe River again. I'd feel kind of bad stripping off his clothes so I can ride, but he can walk on the longe wearing blankets. If I get reallllllly ambitious, I can dig through my car and hopefully find a surcingle and second longe line and we can try some long lining.

Or maybe I'll just feed them some candy canes and call it good. We'll see.

Also, today this blog hit 1,000 views! Now I just need 1,000 ad clicks and I'll be set ;)! Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 13, 2012


River's fun stuff has arrived! Here's the pad and boots:

And a closeup of the embroidery:

Hopefully I'll be able to use it soon! He's been such a good boy that I'd be comfortable getting on him without a ground person. Obviously I'd make sure the barn owner knows so she can peek out the window to make sure I'm alive, but... I've only been on him once and I'm surprised and how comfortable and secure I feel on him. Not that I'm going to do anything stupid--if I get on him, we'll walk. Do a few circles and figure eights, halt and walk. Nothing daring or exciting. He's weak to the right and needs time to build some strength and flexibility, so walking and suppling is exactly what he needs anyway.

Probably not going to try riding him tomorrow, forecast is a high of 19. Ew. Especially if it's windy. But maybe I can do some groundwork. Sunday should be a bit better--mid 20s. Ah well, we've got plenty of time.

Also, the exciting thing I mentioned before is still processing. We're keeping our fingers crossed that things work out the way we want.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Few Random Little Things

1. Helpful hint: When you're in the recovery room after having surgery to put a titanium rod and 6 screws in your broken leg and they won't give you enough drugs to make the pain go away, do not ask the nurses to euthanize you. If you do, when you get back to your room, a nurse will very delicately ask if you're thinking about killing yourself and you will have to explain that you wanted them to do the killing but it's okay now.

2. Last night was bowling night and I finished the second game with a score of 136!!! My highest score EVER!!!!

3. I may have some pretty exciting news fairly soon, but I don't want to say anything until things are more solid. But I am so so pumped!

And that's it for now... Hopefully I'll stop to see Riv tonight, depends how late work goes and how sick I am of horses after my other two barns.

Sunday, January 8, 2012




Thanks to my sweet mounting block, getting on him was easy:

(Obviously this is not at the barn.)

Here's a video of me riding him!

I've gotta say, he is turning out to be the best possible horse I could have gotten off the track. He's a darn good boy. The only problem is his Go Button doesn't appear to have been installed. Not entirely sure how he managed to win 20 races and win over $400k... He improved since his ride last week--he turned to the right without getting all confused! Such a smart boy! My friend put us back on the lead and we went for a walk on the property and she had him trot on the driveway. He's a really really good boy and stood quietly for me to dismount.

For being a good boy, he got some grain and peppermints:

Also, here are a couple pictures from the other day that I never got around to posting:

Super super proud of my boy! He really is turning out to be very good and easy. Fingers crossed he keeps it up!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


River got his shoes pulled today! Yes, it's a little late. We kept running into scheduling problems. I'm surprised at how narrow and light they are. Being aluminum, of course they're light, but they seem so flimsy.

His feet aren't too bad. He has an old bruise on one of his hinds, so the farrier didn't take too much foot off to protect him. He also has an old abscess on the opposite front. Geez! He probably needs a chiropractor, so I'll have to remember to call the one I use and set something up.

When I put him out I had to get another horse... while I was doing that, River rolled! It's the first time I've seen him roll and he's so cute!

Awww! Such a good boy!

I'm in the process of building a mounting block. I love the barn, but the only mounting block is a little 2 step thing. There's just no way I can haul my crippled butt up onto 16.1hh River from that. What I'm building is a big, sturdy, heavy-duty thing. You can buy stair thingies from home improvement stores... you know, those zigzag things that you support and attach treads to. I went with the 4 step option... originally I planned to do a 3 step, but it wasn't going to be as tall as I wanted.

I'm making good progress on it. The zigzag things are attached to posts to hold them up, now I just have to add braces and put the treads on. We have a workshop in our basement.. I'm going to have to finish the end pieces, cut the rest of my lumber, and finish assembly in the garage or I might not be able to get it out of the house.

All told, I figure this thing will be about 26" tall with steps 2' wide, the whole thing being about 3' deep. I'm still playing around with the width of the steps... I don't want it to be tooooo unwieldy, but I also don't want it to be wobbly. But from eyeballing it, 2' wide seems like it'll work pretty well. My crash test dummy informed me that *I* will be riding Riv on Sunday, so this mounting block has to be done by then.

Also, is it weird that I really want to paint it fun colors?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Winter is here. Until tomorrow, anyway, when the temps will be back in the 30s.

The weatherman was predicting some major snow.

...or not. Rule of thumb: Whatever the weatherman says, plan for the opposite.

So it's bitterly cold out and the ponies are tucked into their paddock with toasty warm blankets and plenty of hay. Not a bad life, I think.

River is a wee bit herdbound, so yesterday I decided to be very mean. Took him out of the paddock, shut him in a stall, and sat in my car reading a book for half an hour. When I figured he was probably done throwing a tantrum, I went and gave him some grain and groomed him. We'll just need to make a point of doing it as often as possible so he stops being a baby about it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Riv!

He's now officially 12 years old! It's time to get going on his new life... so I wrangled a friend into being a crash test dummy (same friend who did his massage and jogged him for the video I posted a while back). Of course I couldn't find the bit I wanted to use on him (a Fulmer) or a plain full cheek. My only other full cheek is a corkscrew, and that was just... no. So I had to settle for a d-ring. The options there were a Waterford or a Dr. Bristol. I went with the Dr. Bristol. I'll have to see if I lent the Fulmer and regular full cheek to a friend and get them back.

Thankfully, there were no crashes! I put his halter over the bridle and kept him on the lead line at first. We walked a few minutes each way. He only "spooked" once at a very scary jump:


But it was just a spook in place, so no biggie. It's good to see how he reacts to things, although something as non-scary as the coop probably isn't the best measure.

Once he was walked quietly both ways, I unclipped the lead and let them go. He was a very very good boy, but he got confused when his rider asked him to change directions and go to the right. he wasn't bad about it, but it was a bit of a problem.. I took his halter and got him moving right. He was nervous when I stepped away, but the rider was able to keep him moving like a good boy.


(See, I said I have a pink saddle pad!)

OMG, my friends are over there!!!!

Little video:

Then I put the lead back on and we went for a little walk around the property, down the driveway, between the bulldozers, and back up to the barn to untack.

Soooo cute!