Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Until I sign in again, have a great week and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Star, however, is not always so sure about the whole ordeal. Until we got Mercy, we really never fed her mashes of any kind. She takes a while to get her lips icky, but once she gets past that part, it's gone.
Mercy was having such a fun time eating her num nums that she forgot to keep it in the bowl! Silly mare! I'll remember to buy the deeper ones next time...
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Coming down from the top was a little challenging. My friend has reiners, still in slid plates, and the ground was rain soaked clay. We slipped and slid all the way down. Thank goodness I trust the gelding I was riding. He is such a fun ride!
I got home with just enough daylight to jump on Mercy for a short ride. I grabbed Star on the way out and we headed out for the short loop. It was kinda windy, so we took it easy walking through the clear-cut, but we managed to stay spook free.
The next morning it was brisk and clear. A storm was just off the WA coast and steaming our way quickly, so I wanted to head out for another ride as soon as possible. I wanted to really ride Mercy, so Star got left at home. I headed off to the left and up the rocky hill. I should have know this was going to be another challenging ride because when she climbed the hill, she loped. As you probably remember I have been having issues getting Mercy to move out on the trail recently. Nope. Not now. She blasted off up the hill! Usually at the top she walks really slow. Nope Not now. She continued to lope down the trail. I let her keep going for a ways before I asked her to slow.
Then, to my shock and amazement, she willingly turned and carried on down the hill once in the woods. This NEVER happens. She hates going down this trail because once you start down, you can hear people on the trails above us. She has to see who's up there, always. Nope. Not today. We got to the bottom in record time. We stopped by the apple tree, where the last apple was still hanging. I grabbed the trunk and shook it. The apple dropped to the ground and rolled a ways off, so I had to help Mercy find it.
After Mercy's tasty snack, we headed for the train track. This is where all hell *almost* broke loose. Mercy took off without me being ready. Well, I was ready for her to lope, but she lunged at the hill. I lost my seat and couldn't gather my reins quick enough, and Mercy knew it. She hadn't even finished the turn on the hill when she took off bucking. It wasn't a really serious bucking fit, more of a 'it feels cold out and I feel frisky,' but it wasn't acceptable. Once she hit the flat, straight track I had time to regain my seat and suck the reins back up to stop her. Even once she was stopped, she felt like she could shoot off again. I insisted she walk straight and brisk. When she wigged out, we backed up on a loose rein, then continued. Grrr...
From that moment on, I insisted she control her own speed or pace. If she took off without me cuing her, I hauled her ass down. Then we started over again. If she stopped without me sitting or reining her down, she got her sides kicked into a new gear. I had finally come to the realization that allowing her to choose her own pace was the worst thing I could let her do. She is the kind of horse that will take advantage of anything, any mistake or unseen opportunity. I have to control every movement she makes. If she doesn't listen, there will be consequences, no exception.
For the remainder of the ride I practiced my new epiphany. Guess what? By the end of the ride (which was just taking switchbacks home, at a walk) she was listening and reacting to every cue I made. She no longer took off at the bottom of a hill, assuming we lope on every hill. She also waited until I decided which trail to follow. It is no longer her idea.
Even with the rough start, I am glad it happened. I finally figured something else out about Mercy. I NEED to be her leader. She needs to rely on me for everything. I can't wait to see how this translates to the show ring.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The only thing I was nervous about with this whole adventure was loading Mercy into their trailer. Their trailer is a massive 4horse with a monster sized tack room up front and a rear tack room in back gooseneck... with a ramp. That's the part I was nervous about. She loads in any trailer with other horses and hay, but I have never squeezed her into that narrow of an opening after climbing a ramp. Plus it had been months since I'd loaded her. Hmmm....
Well, my good friends got to my place around 12:30 and pulled up in front of my house. We loaded Mercy's tack up and then I went to grab Mercy. I quickly brushed her down while my mom grabbed her cooler (just in case) and we headed up to the house. Mercy took some very slow steps toward the trailer, but she never stopped moving forward. I lined her up with the ramp and trailer stall and walked in in front of her. She took one big step onto the ramp, paused, and then came forward easily . She wanted to smell the horse in the 3rd stall, but that's not allowed! No touching of the other horses! LOL! When I told her 'no' she backed out slowly, starting to get a little nervous. I asked her to come in again, which she did, and showed her the hay in the hay bag. Oh! She liked that. she reached forward and took a nibble, then backed out. One of my neighbors had been patiently waiting in their car to drive by so I took Mercy off the ramp and let him pass. After the very short break I tried driving Mercy into the trailer instead of leading her in. Voila! It worked! She climbed in and dove into the hay while I closed the butt bar and tied her in. We were off!
She hauled great and when we got to Spanaway she unloaded like a pro. I tied and tacked her up quickly. We were running late, the show had already begun! Not only that, but this was the largest showing of participants this show had ever had- a new record for them! This meant that I had no time to ride in the indoor arena and every rider was working or waiting in the smaller covered arena. No big deal right? Wrong.
That was a horrible shot. Her ears look as long as her head, Ugh. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to take many pics and most of them were in REALLY low light, so ya...
A little better, kinda. This time it's her suspicious/evil eye going on. I should have known this was to be a challenging day...
Mercy basically bolted down the rail all the while trying to kick the horses working around us. I couldn't believe it. I had zero control of my horse. I was finally able to gather my reins, but Mercy was already way too flustered to calm her down quickly. We had bolted back to the 'calm' side, so I worked on bending her head around and getting her mind back with me. We progressed into walking and then trotting small circles around the other groups of horses that were 'resting.'
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It was a beautifully sunny day for a ride. I was still feeling a little 'weird.' so we took it slow to start and took one trail at a time. After getting past the crunchy leaves, we headed out toward the creek. The surroundings were certainly looking a little less colorful then even just a week ago.
We picked our way through the rocks and logs and finally reached the creek. Lately Mercy hasn't shown any interest in going into the water, but on this ride she insisted that we go down there. I'm pretty much a push over, so down we headed while Star and mom stayed on the trail to wait. She took a good drink, looked around for something to eat, and stared in the direction her trail mates were waiting.
When Mercy had finally decided to leave the water we headed up the service road and took the first trail to our left. Usually we ride this trail the other direction, but it was time to try something new. As we rode along Mercy and I started hearing other people on an adjacent trail. I ignored it for the time being and continued on behind Star. We ran up the hill at full speed and when we hit the top we ran into the gals I had heard, on horses! Cool!
All the maple leaves on the track are down now. From the weather being difficult to me being sick, we didn't get to ride there during the peak leaf fall-out. The year's best pictures come during this time. Oh well, next year.
When we rode off the track trail we stopped by the apple tree to steal a couple apples for the girls. Just as we reached it the other riders came down the trail ahead of us. After saying hi again and making Mercy stand still and mind her manners, we all carried on our way. Coming down the rocky hill we met two bikers. They pulled off to the side so we could pass and continue on our way home.
Star, not so much. Sorry girl...
Chai couldn't be outdone so she came out to help us clean the paddocks.
She was watching something amongst these sunlit maples...
On Tuesday, both my mom and I were both home so we headed out for a quick ride. We rode out to the lake and then followed the creek trail back home. It was really weird being on that trail after more than a week. The leaves are ALL down and the creek is really visible and loud because of it. The sun is easily able to filter through the saplings now, highlighting neat branches and stumps.
We rode while it was pretty windy, but the girls remained calm and as a reward we let them haul up the hill leading home. I love Mercy's explosive power when I let her loose!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
I was able to get out of the house yesterday. I was feeling good enough to get dressed and go to the feed store with my mom to pick up some stall pellets. I made sure I stayed away from people and cough in my tissues. I also didn't touch anything around me.
I am still not feeling great, but I can move around now without body aches and sneezing boogers on everything. And the biggest thing for me, I can sleep! Those first two nights I didn't sleep. And I am not one who naps easily. Thermaflu finally helped that.
Now that I am feeling kinda human again, we are going to try going for a ride today. I'm trying to wait and see how the Seahawks game will go, but it's sunny outside and I don't want to wait too long. I will say that I am interested to see how Mercy rides today. We recently bought some nice alfalfa to see if the girls just need a little more protein. I haven't ridden since starting their 2-3lbs a day alfalfa treat. I'll let you know how I survive!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
When we headed out, Mercy and I found one of the last remaining clumps of vibrantly colored maple leaves. Mercy just wanted to eat them...
... but once I got her situated better I was able to get a better close up. The colors were so much brighter then my camera portrays, but the range of colors is still impressive.
While we wandered back to the rocky hill, I noticed that the trees in the woods that still had leaves never got really bright. This most certainly is because they are located in the shade of the trees, but it was odd seeing almost paper white leaves still clinging on.
When I got back from my ride I noticed the huge branches that had fallen from our large maple tree in the pasture. Good thing too. I have been wondering how to get the dead limbs down without hauling out a ladder. Thank you Mother Nature... this time...
Both my mom and I got home early on Thursday, so we hit the trails! We stopped by the apple tree on the way out to the train tracks. Of course the girls got one each!
The leaves on the track are almost all down now. This is my FAVORITE time of the year to be on the track. I love the crunchy leaves and the colors all around us! Beautiful!
We just walked along until the end; no jogging or loping, too wet. We did decide to explore the 'biker trails,' a trail system we, until recently, had no desire to explore. Well it turns out we took a loop, a short loop, so we didn't have that much to explore and it was good enough for the day.
After further investigation, we discovered where the blood from the mouth was coming from. She had split her gums on her corner feed tub in her stall. There was blood splattered in and around the tub. Poor girl! We cleaned her up and discussed what to do. We ended up having me ride Mercy and pony Star while my mom walked along. It worked out pretty good. I did have to pass off Star a few times when we either got the chance or I needed to work with Mercy's patience issues. And get this, Leo was off the leash again! GRRR!!!!! Freaking dog. Thank goodness her responds to "Go HOME!" We only rode to the lake and then headed home along the creek.
We got back home and I fed Star an apple. The poor girls gums started bleeding again. Her mouth is doing much better today and I picked up a new feed tub. But, her legs are really stocked up. Standing in her stall and walking around her small paddock is tough on the old girl when it rains hard all day and night. Good grief Star.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Dang it Star. At least it was only a little hide missing and not a gushing bloody mess. Grrr.... It wasn't sensitive at all, so I ignored it, lol! I got Mercy saddled up and headed out. Since I wasn't sure how sore Star still was, we took it slow and only stayed toward the service roads to get to the lake. Of course, we had to take a few trails to get to the roads. The lovely fall colors made up for the huge rocks I tried to avoid, for Star's sake.
We had almost reached the roads when we found our first downed tree. I had forgotten that we did just have a huge weekend of wind and crazy storms, so of course I forgot to being my little saw. I got off and tried to snap a few branches off but the limbs were still 'alive,' making it very difficult to do. I ended up just bending and tucking some back, just enough to get through.
Mercy wasn't too sure about that mess, but she walked over it just fine after getting the chance to lick the moss on it's bark. *sigh*
The roads were clear of debris, so we were able to really focus on getting to the lake without too much distraction. A pair of ducks were the only other things at the lake. Mercy couldn't keep her eyes off of them. Maybe I seriously need to get some geese or pigeons for her to herd, lol!
if I had let her, I'm sure she would have walked/swam out to them, even though it was not quite swimming weather. Star was interested too, but I think she was mainly thinking about the grass on the other bank.
Making our way to the park we met a nice dog (on a leash!!!!) being reminded she had to 'heel,' even around horses. Then we finally got to the grass. Mercy was being patient, for once, but Star was just awful. She kept walking past my knee (a big no-no) and diving for the grass. So we worked on that for a while. Every time she went past my knee I stopped her and backed her immediately. Once I could stop Mercy and Star would stop and look at us for her next instructions, I let them graze.
After grazing for quite a while, it was time to head back. The rain was coming in fast so we headed into a brisk trot. Didn't last long though... we ran into the good dog again and another, evil dog. "Leo" is a super aggressive mutt that has actually come to our place and harassed our girls. And he is NEVER on a leash. If I was in more of a foul mood I would have told his handler off, but I just wanted to go home. Next time Leo, next time...
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Anyway, we hooked a right onto the creek trail and took our time wandering along it's banks. When we reached the tree bridge, Mercy decided that it looked like a good place to cross. Wrong! this bridge is definitely HUMAN safe only. The tree is pretty cool actually. Someone has wrapped the truck with chicken wire to decrease the risk of any slippage, as well as add a 'zip line,' which you can barely see on the right of the bridge, to aid in making it successfully to the other side. This is a great passage during the winter especially since the creek can get moving really quick and high.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Her hooves don't feel warm anymore, but I'm thinking abscess. She is not sensitive on her leg at all, so that is really the only thing I can think of. And of course our farrier is on vacation this week, so we will just keep an eye on her and try to keep her comfy. Kinda hard to do though when I take Mercy out, lol!
Actually, on Monday Mercy and I had a great ride. We headed out to the train tracks, but before we even got started, we stopped to take these stunning pictures. The hillside looked like it was on fire. I love fall! After taking that quick break, we headed up the rocky hill and down the other side. At the bottom I grabbed an apple for Mercy and we continued onto the tracks. There was no one in sight so I pushed Mercy into brisk trot. And we trotted and trotted and trotted. We only loped for a brief minute just to check that she was listening to me. Then we trotted some more. Finally we reached the end and we broke to a walk. We wondered through the woods a little and made our way to our "running hill." This is the hill that my mom and I love to let the horses loose to run up as fast as they can. It was so much fun not having to worry if the other rider was ready or OK behind us. Just Mercy and me.
When we got to the top of the hill I asked her to continue. We loped for a little ways more then I slowed her to a trot for a weird dip on the trail. Once we passed that, we loped again and jumped a downed log. Mercy liked that! I had to pull her down pretty hard to get her to walk before the next one up ahead. Maybe that is her new calling?! Ah, too bad I down have anywhere safe to practice. Boo.
BTW, I was trying to make a 'paint' map of my trails so I don't keep saying 'this trail, you know!? The one?' but the paint program on my laptop is not working right now. So, I will need to do it on another computer and upload it later. Grrr.... Anyway, something to look forward to!