Friday, September 28, 2012

The Horrors of Blanket Washing

Yesterday, the package containing Princess' new winter blanket and a bottle of blanket wash arrived.

First, the new blanket is hot pink.  I mean HOT.  PINK.  I might need sunglasses to look at him.  I should feel bad.... but I don't.  At all.  I was at the feed store talking to a girl who works at the barn, and she said she was so confused for a while about River/Princess and Irish and trying to figure out which is the mare and which is the gelding.  She feels bad for Riv's pink blanket.  Oh well.  Besides, we're at a mostly-western barn where silver and bling and crystals and bright colors are normal.

Now on to the main portion of today's post...

I know I'd talked about going to a laundromat to wash blankets.  I gave it up and decided I wasn't going to make it there, so yesterday I washed the light stuff.

Sheet One:  River's Rambo Wug.  Found a dead bug in the washer.  Ewwww.

Sheet Three:  Irish's 100g Rambo.  Nothing scary here.

Now for the gross one...

Sheet Two:  Irish's Schneider's sheet.  Found a dead caterpillar in a cocoon, with its head and big eyes sticking out of the top.  I know it doesn't really sound all that icky, but trust me.  It was that icky.   *shudder*

I still have a sheet that's MIA, and frankly if it does turn up I may well be too afraid to touch it.  (BO who didn't feed my horses borrowed it and never returned it.  Gr.)

Blankets remaining to be washed:  Irish's heavyweight Rambo (which cost me $75 brand new!!!!  Deal of the century!) and Striker's midweight Schneider's.

Haven't seen Princess or the mare since Tuesday morning.  Pretty sure they're still alive.  I did see my baby Tuesday.. she's alive and well.  I'm almost looking forward to winter.. she's gotten fat on grass.  Not horribly obese, but too fat for a yearling.  Hopefully the cold and hay will slim her down a little..  she hasn't had grain in about 3 months!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Busy :(

Riv has been ignored for a while. 

Friday I worked all day, then did night chores at Riv's barn and went to bed.

Saturday I worked until noon, chilled out at home for a little while, went to the barn to water the ring (which took a good 2 hours), then went to my old guy's barn.  I trimmed two wee ponies' feet and did my stall.  Contemplated doing something useful, but decided to go to bed instead.  Here's one pony with one foot not done and one foot done:

Sunday I worked until 1 or so, took a nap (oops), went to a friend's house to get petsitting instructions, went to Riv's barn to do chores (stalls and feeding), went to the old guy's barn, cleaned 14 stalls, went home and went to bed.

Monday I got up at 3:30 in the morning.  Eeeeek!!!!!!  Took aforementioned friend to the airport, got home around 5:30, went back to bed for a couple hours, got up, went to old guy's barn, got 5 stalls done, went to work, got out of work, finished stalls and fed dinner, ran errands, took care of dogs and cats, went to bed.

This morning I got up, took care of the critters, did morning chores at Riv's barn (grain the few horses who get AM grain, put everyone out and throw hay), now I'm at work.  I need to do my old guy's stall.  I need to visit my baby.  I haven't seen her in over a week (!!!!!) and should probably verify that she is still alive.  I also have one more wee pony to trim.  Then petsitting duties.  I have no idea if I'll have time to ride today..

Tomorrow is going to be a long day at work.  Thursday and Saturday I'm working 6am to 2pm.  Ew.

I hate being too busy to do anything!!  Oh, and did I mention that my part-time job is going to SUCK for the next few weeks because the store is being converted into something else and the construction is ridiculous?  Yeah.  Gonna be super fun.

And it's starting to get cold.  I finally ordered blanket wash, so at some point I need to find time to go to a laundromat to wash all my horse blankets.  Anyone know how much pay washing machines cost?  I'll probably need a roll of quarters....

On the bright side, I ordered Princess a new winter blanket!  He has a purple Rambo Wug sheet, and soon he'll have a hot pink midweight turnout from Schneider's!  I also have a couple liners/underlayers, so I can adjust warmth as needed.  I'll err on the side of more warm, as he's still needing to gain weight and I don't want him burning calories to stay warm.  The mare will need her clothes, too..

So that's the story.  Sadly, not at all exciting...  just busy with stupid stuff.

Friday, September 21, 2012


We did it!  River actually went correctly last night!  Okay, it was only in one direction and it took about 15 minutes to get him there, but we did it!  AND at the end of the ride I did a couple halts and backs, then figured I should have him trot forward before we finished so he ends on a forward note..  As soon as he picked up the trot, he reached right for the bit on his own and went nice and round.  He's figuring it out!

I also rode my mare for the first time in almost a month.  I've waffled on posting this, but I've decided to put it out there.

This is the mare when we moved:

This is the mare one month later:

Yeah, it's pretty appalling.  I didn't realize at first how bad she looked, it was a pretty big shock when I realized how grossly underweight she'd gotten.

I was so disappointed when my old BO announced she was leaving.  I had been perfectly happy.  Yeah, River was ribby, but he was getting lots of grain and getting better.  Irish was a little thin, but she wasn't on any grain, so okay, no big deal.  We were there for two weeks after BO told me she was leaving.  In that time, the boarders' horses went from being a little ribby to very ribby.  

Looking back, it's obvious our horses weren't getting fed like they were supposed to.  I was paying almost $150/month for River's grain (6 bags of Ultium).  Another horse was supposed to be getting Ultium as well.  River was supposed to be on 10 pounds of Ultium a day.  Now he gets probably about 3 pounds a day--2 bags a month.  He's gained a significant amount of weight.  Irish gets probably about 2 or 3 pounds of senior feed a day.  As you can see, she's gained a LOT.

I'm so upset with myself.  How did I not notice how bad her condition had gotten?  I think it came down to trust.  I trusted my BO to take care of my horses.  It never occurred to me that she might be either pocketing the money I paid for my horse's grain, or giving my grain to her own horses, but that's likely what happened.

Moral of the story:  Don't be too quick to trust.  If what you're being told doesn't match up with what you're seeing, investigate further.  Don't be blinded by your faith in someone else.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I neglected to tell you that I'd be neglecting you.

My apologies.  You and River have been pretty much ignored for the past few days.

I took my old guy to a show on Saturday.  It was...  um.  I survived!  That's really the best that can be said.  We did an Intro horse trial.  Dressage was decent (35.0 penalties).  Stadium was ugly and then I fell off with two fences left.  It's very much a schooling show, so they let you complete it even if you get disqualified.  I was going to ride xc, but I was just too afraid*.  He can go from being wonderful to being nuts in a second, and when that switch is flipped, you can't stop**.  The last time I rode in a field, I broke my leg.  I am understandably nervous at the idea of a repeat.

So I had someone else ride him for me.  She rides much more than I do, and is braver and stickier, and therefore much less likely to die.  He was reasonably behaved...  he jumped everything without stopping and wasn't too out of control.

*Once upon a time, I'd rather have died than admit to being afraid of my horse or a jump.  Now, I'll shout it from the rooftops, I don't care.  Yes, I get scared.  I get scared about a crossrail or a 12" vertical.  I know what can happen and I have a great deal of respect for the dangers of horseback riding.  I try to push myself enough that I'm not stagnating, but not so much that fear will interfere with my ability to ride well enough to get the job done.

**Contrary to how it sounds, my old guy isn't crazy and dangerous.  Not really, anyway.  He just gets excited about jumping and sometimes his brain turns off.  He's perfect and wonderful and I love him more than anything... but his show name is Suicide Run for a reason.

Some xc pictures... the only ones I have because I was riding the other phases and obviously couldn't take pictures.

Isn't he ADORABLE???  Even when the rider is pulling with all her might to slow him down and he completely ignores it and keeps going...  Love my boy so so much <3.

Anywho, now that the show is over I'll be able to pay attention to River again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

He jumps!

Kind of...

I didn't feel like riding today.  So I decided to try free jumping Riv instead.  It took a couple tries for him to figure out what I wanted, but he got very good about going to the left.  To the right..... not so much.

Note that I say he's "good about going", not that he's actually good AT going.  He managed to jump without hitting the rail maybe once or twice out of a dozen or so jumps.  Next time, I'll set up trot poles before to get him set up well and picking up his feet.


And some video:

And River being dumb:

Long one

I have to make a list for this post.  I usually post while I'm at work (bad me!), so there are lots of interruptions.  Making a list so I don't forget what I want to post about:

1.  Feet
2.  He's going to kill me
3.  Saddle pad
4.  Whip
5.  Go button
6.  Wilson's song
7.  Theme songs

Yeah, it's gonna be a long one.  Just for fun...  I'm starting this at 9:40am EST.  Let's see how long it takes to finish.

Feet.  Fourth time was the charm!  Farrier was supposed to come out last Tuesday, but the weather was too bad, so we rescheduled for Friday.  He got stuck around NYC doing polo horses and couldn't make it, so we rescheduled for Saturday.  His truck broke down and had to be towed.  So we very very carefully rescheduled for yesterday, trying not to let The Powers That Be know so they wouldn't arrange for a new disaster.  I took decent before pics of my mare's feet, need to get good afters.  The mare has funky legs and feet, and you would not believe what a difference a good trim makes in how she looks.  Riv's feet are slow growing, but they're improving.  We think both of them will improve a lot with the new barn.

He's going to kill me.  "He" being River.  I rode last night after the farrier.  Keeping our ride with Jeff in mind, I kept up a chant of "turn the key, release.  Turn the key, release."  Out loud.  For the entire ride.  I'm shocked River didn't stop, turn to look at me, and yell at me to shut up.  Poor Princess.  He was okay.  Not as good as when Jeff was telling us what to do, but that's to be expected.  We did a decent job on our own, I guess.

Saddle pad.  Because Riv is a skinny TB, we've needed some help to keep the saddle off his withers.  I'd been using one of these pads:
It's done the job, but I'd noticed that Riv was ouchy when I brushed his back after riding.  So I dug out another pad:
The Thinline Saddle Fitter pad... it's sheepskin with pockets for Thinline inserts.

I brushed him last night after the ride... no ouchies  when I brushed his back.  Either the other pad was quite uncomfortable or the new pad is very comfortable or a combination of both.  I'm sorry for not noticing sooner, Riv!

Whip.  I finally found my sparkly pink dressage whip in my car.  (Yes, it does sometimes take me a week or more to find things in my car.  Don't judge.)  I quite like the sparkly pink whip.  The cover is missing from the last couple inches, so I need to get some duck tape or something.  (I know it's "duct" tape, but I always get the Duck Tape brand because it comes in pretty colors/designs.)

Go button.  We have a go button!  Finally!  I'm not sure if it's because he likes his new feet or because he remembers Jeff chasing us with the longe whip or because he likes the new saddle pad (my money is on this) or because he likes the sparkly pink whip.  Regardless... for the first time, he was moving FORWARD without me getting after him constantly, or even regularly.  So nice to ride a horse who moves!

Wilson's Song.  If you don't remember or didn't read the post from way back when about Wilson, here's his song:

Well, last night I was on youtube and found this...  Wilson's song on violin with harp:

I love Wilson's song.  I love the violin.  I love Wilson's song on violin.  The only problem is that I can't really listen to it without crying.  But gosh is it beautiful...

Theme songs.  I love picking theme songs for my horses.  Several years ago, a barn friend made a DVD for everyone for Christmas.  It has pictures of all the horses set to their own songs.  Every horse had a song that fit them perfectly.  The adorable little gray pony who looked like a unicorn without a horn was "Barbie Girl."  A very sweet but incredibly ugly Appy/Paint lesson horse was a song that goes "they call me Mr. Personality because I'm so ugly."  An old TB gelding with lots of problems was "Tub-Thumper"--you know, the chorus is "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down."  My old guy was "A Good Day to Run."  Which.... LOL.

The red mare kind of has two theme songs.  The primary one is Nelly Furtado's "Maneater".  The chorus is "She's a maneater, make you work hard, make you spend hard .... wish you never ever met her at all."  So true.  Also, Christina Aguilera's "Can't Hold Us Down."  Basically the first few lines...  "So, what, am I not supposed to have an opinion?  Should I keep quiet just because I'm a woman?  Call me a bitch 'cause I speak what's on my mind, guess it's easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled."

Like my old bumper sticker said "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Chestnut Thoroughbred Mare!"

Princess doesn't have a theme song yet.  I'll have to wait for something to come to me.

And the time is...  11:00am EST.  Hm, that didn't actually take as long as I was expecting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick random post

I was just looking at the stats for this blog and looking at the referring sites list.. one heading is "search keywords".  Someone found my blog by Googling "tractor supply paddock boots".  This blog is the 4th result!  LOL, how random is that???

Oh, and so I read that entry to see what it was all about.. This was back in mid-February, mind you.  At the end, I mention how Riv kicked when I brushed his belly and he tweaked my finger.  Just wanted to mention that now, in September, it is STILL not totally normal.  It's good enough, but not as good as it used to be.

Most wonderful amazing astonishing incredible clinic EVER.

Jeff is a wizard.  Seriously.  Know how I've been talking about River not getting contact and going around like a drunken giraffe?  Ten minutes of Jeff telling me what to do and he was going right.  Incredible.  Poor Jeff, however, spent 30 minutes chasing us with a longe whip.  And I don't mean "walking around vaguely pointing it at us."  I mean "chasing us and cracking the whip right behind River's butt."  Because someone doesn't like to do forward.  I'm not going to say who that someone is.  I'll let you guess.  *coughRivercough*

There are three main things we need to remember:
1.  Forward
2.  Position
3.  Release

Forward is obvious.  It's one of those things you don't appreciate until you don't have it.  It is absolutely impossible to get River (or any horse, but this is River's blog, not Any Horse's blog) to soften into the bit without moving forward.

Position...  River tends to put his body parts in strange places (read that sentence as a non-horseperson, it's hilarious!), so I tend to get put in weird places.  I need to focus on keeping my body where it needs to be, regardless of where River tries to push me.

Release.  The thing I, erm, kinda-sorta maybe forgot about.  Okay okay, I totally forgot.  Let the flogging begin!  It basically went like this:  turn the key, turn the key, RELEASE,  OMG he's reaching for the bit and not imitating a giraffe!  Turn the key, release, holy crap he's on the bit!  Turn the key, release, are you sure this is my horse?!  ("Turn the key" means turning your hand like you're turning a key in a door, works like a charm to unlock a horse's poll and jaw.)

We also did some turning on the forehand, but not the way I'd been doing it--halting on the rail and asking.  Because Riv struggles with forward, we did it at the walk.  The goal wasn't to do a perfect turn on the forehand, but to get him crossing his hind legs under him.  So we'd walk forward across the diagonal or down the centerline, then keep the outside rein firm and smack right behind my leg with the whip to get him to step over.  Riv is pretty dead to leg, so we'll be using lots of whip.

Jeff asked about the canter, and I explained we haven't attempted it yet.  He advised basically doing lots of what we've been doing, as well as working the canter on the longe so when we get to the canter, he'll have all the prep work down.  My crash test dummy is away at vet school and will be back for Thanksgiving, so we have more than two months to get him ready to canter.

Jeff got on to reinforce what we did.  I took some video and pictures.  (Nothing of me riding--it was just me and Jeff, and he had better things to do than take pictures, lol.)

This is how Riv starts out :

And after a couple minutes:

Even to the right!:

Here are a couple stills:

Doesn't he look so GOOD?????  I wish Jeff could stay for ever and ever and ever.  He won't be back until probably May :(.  For some strange reason, he'd rather stay in Florida for the winter than Buffalo...  go figure!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Naturally, the day I decide to wear breeches is the day I don't have time to ride.

Was going to ride Striker... Ended up cleaning stalls instead.

Was going to ride Princess...  Ended up helping catch a loose Great Dane* and then making 4 trips with my mom's old Trailblazer to move all my jumps from the old barn to the new one.  Still have to get the jumps put away properly, but I wanted to get them moved before it was too late.

*Tuesday morning I was on my way to work when I spotted this enormous animal wandering in the road. Is it a deer, a bear?  No, it's a skin-and-bones Great Dane who recently had puppies. I tried approaching her, but the poor girl was afraid. She clearly wanted to be friendly, though. I called the sheriff dispatch and they sent out animal control. I left to go to work and called the shelter later to check on her, but they weren't able to catch her. I didn't see her Tuesday evening or wednesday morning. Wednesday evening, though, I saw her with animal control and a random person trying to get her. Hung around for a few minutes, left to get the aforementioned Trailblazer, and when I came back through the ACO had just caught her. I stopped to chat and say hi to the dog, who is just gorgeous and an absolute sweetie, even though she is horribly skinny and mangy and scared. The shelter will get her cleaned up, fattened up, and adopted out in no time. My guess is that someone bred her, sold the puppies, took her for a ride, and dumped her on the side of the road. Poor girl :(.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

River and the Post of Many Titles

I Demand a Refund!

My Thoroughbred  ex-racehorse is not nearly crazy enough!

Everyone knows that OTTBs are firebreathing monsters that require at least two people with chains to keep them under control.  River is clearly defective

Just look at him, standing there all quiet and placid:
This is not natural!  I want a refund, there is something wrong with my OTTB!

Oh wait....  he was free.

How Did I End Up with the World's Laziest Thoroughbred?

It's actually kind of annoying.  I longed him yesterday and he was okay, so I decided to put up a crossrail for him.  Um, no.  Keep in mind, he's gone over poles and elevated poles before, so it's not like the idea of hopping over something is totally foreign.  Except, apparently, it is.  He absolutely would not go over it unless I walked over it with him.  He's going to make an interesting show horse...  "oh, hang on a moment, Judge, we have to do the course in hand first, then we can ride it!"  Except I tried jogging him in hand.  Um, no.  I'd try to jog while dragging him, he'd amble along behind me and refuse to move faster than a stroll.

I finally gave up and just had him trot on the longe line for 3 seconds so he didn't start thinking that forward is optional.  Well, so he didn't think that even more than he already does...

Perhaps I should invest in a cattle prod...

Lookin' Good, Handsome!

Princess River is really looking pretty good.

Late June:

Last night:


Obviously he still needs a good bit of weight, but he's looking much better.

Also, I would just like to say:  I like big butts and I cannot lie.

I'm Going to Rent River Out to Horse-Crazy Girls
River is Just Like My Dog

You know the type.  Girls who dream of a big, handsome, blingy horse that loves them and craves attention and has a special bond with them.

Last night, as I was trying to get him to trot over the crossrail, I discovered that Riv is a lot like my dog.  My dog gets upset when he is confused and needs to be hugged and cuddled so he can regain his composure.

Not kidding.

River was upset by the whole "trot over a pole" thing, so I was petting him.  He responded by sticking his head into my chest and snuggling.  I silently squealed about how adorable and sweet and cuddly he is and we proceeded to have a moment.  Several moments.  And later, some more moments

Turns out, Riv's idea of heaven is snuggling with a person.

Hence, my plan to rent him out.  For a fee, horse-crazy girls can cuddle with him for 30 minutes or an hour.  It's a win-win-win:  River gets his snuggles, girls get their horse time, and I get money.

He's so darn cute, and I'm a sucker for a snuggler.

Farrier had to reschedule due to weather.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Laziest ex-racehorse ever.

River is actually in consistent work!  Granted, the work doesn't last long (15-20 minutes, usually), but whatever.

8/27 - long line
8/28 - long line
8/29 - ride
8/30 - ride
8/31 - ride
9/1 - off
9/2 - ride
9/3 - ride


Today he's getting his feet done, and then hopefully I'll ride after.  I probably will.  It's so EASY to ride that I can't find an excuse not to.  And he's quite pleasant, so that helps.

Yesterday I forgot my whip in the car and decided we'd manage without.  That lasted about 3 minutes.  I jumped off, crosstied him, got my whip, and got back on.  We just did some walking, trotting, circles, etc and he was very good, so I decided to get creative.  Jumped off, let him stand loose by the gate (staring longingly toward his stall), put out some trot poles, hopped back on.

(I should mention that I rode in the middle of the day for a change and had to take him away from the red mare, who spent the entire time hollering for him.  He called back a couple times... such a pathetic old-man whinny.)

We walked over the poles a couple times, then trotted them.  The third time through, he was a clod and completely ruined the spacing so there was no way to trot them anymore.  I considered fixing it, but decided that I'd already dismounted twice, and my third dismount was going to be the last, so we just worked around the poles.

Still struggling with relaxing his head and neck..  He goes so nicely on the long lines, but when not when I ride.  He's pleasant and obedient, but tense.  I may try a different bit on him.  I've been using a fulmer (single jointed).  I think I have a french link d-ring somewhere.  Or maybe I'll just use the mare's bridle (figure 8 with a loose ring Myler).

I'll probably try a different bit or two, just to see, but I'm not going to do much about it right now.   Partly because he probably still needs to get used to his new life, but mostly because a dressage trainer I adore is coming this weekend for a clinic and Riv and I are riding with him on Sunday (but shhhhhhh, do NOT tell him, I don't want him getting injured!!).  Wonderful Trainer can fix us, so for now I'll just putz around and do simple stuff.

Oh, but back to my post title!  Yeah, so freaking lazy!  I've given up on trying to ride him without a whip.  I have to either nag him or boot him, and I'd rather he not end up dead to leg.  A sharp tap with the whip is much much more efficient.

Lastly, I hosed him off for what I believe is the first time.  Gosh I love OTTBs.  They're so used to being hosed off that they completely ignore it.  Even when the spray got near his face he didn't react.  Such a good good boy!

But he's still a princess.  At this point, I'd say he goes by Princess 60% of the time, River 20%, and Riv 20%.