Monday, June 28, 2010

Horse report...

Sera seems happy in her work ... walk, trot and CANTER! We kept the lesson light because she's been rested for 8 weeks. We didn't get into the small figures or collection. It felt like I was "home" to be back on her. I really, really, really love my red-head mare.

We discussed a couple shows in August... I hope things stay good and we can try some Second Level tests!! Fingers crossed!

My lesson on Rosso was also great... we didn't really DO so much as it was more of a thinking lesson for me and I completely dug it! I lunged him before I got on him like I always do.

Someone was loading their horse up to go home.. it was a big stock trailer and it was loud - lots of banging around...UP went Rosso's head... he hollowed out and began scurrying madly around on the lunge. He still listened to me insofar as his transitions... he'd trot, canter and walked when I asked.... but he looked a mess - quick, inverted, strung out, high headed, eyes bulging.

I accepted it cuz he was listening to me and changing gaits when asked. Nope it wasn't enough. I felt a little embarrassed since I've had this discussion with Rex before but maybe the light bulb was just a little slow to really be illuminated?

I've always thought of the lunge as a way to expel excess energy... and it is... BUT it is a really great tool that can be PRODUCTIVE. Rex discussed how you see horses running willy nilly on lunge lines across all diciplines. She says no, you won't tire your horse out on the lunge contrary to popular belief. If you use the lunge correctly, you will help to create a more fit horse. One that can do the work you are asking.

This we think will also assist Rosso... he gets nervous. When he is more fit, he will feel stronger and the work on the lunge will also help him feel more confident.... and to me it's also a submission thing. I can evaluate his mood before I'm on his back.

Rex had me get him balanced, get him round and get his attention back on me. I want him on the lunge just like he'd be with me on his back. So when he begins to looky-loo and go around all disjointed... what would I do were I on him? I'd get his attention on me, get him balanced and listening... get him round. (well after I stopped screaming that is... snicker)

Once he was going nicely, I got on him and there he stands... perfectly still... sniffs my toe... I pat him and tell him how great he is and I settle in... I wiggle around... and I ask him to move off. He does... quietly. (oh hooray!)

He is opposite Sera in his carriage. He carries his head very low. I am constantly struggling to keep Sera deep and going lower. It's very interesting to me.

He seems to relax more, chew the bit more, his ears relax and get a bit floppy the lower his head goes. Yes, he is probably over deep at this point, but this is where he needs to be right now.

His contact in the reins is even and steady... Rex confirms he is using his back. She asked if I could feel the relaxation and swinging through his back .... (uh? Through my clenched buttcheeks? No. I'll take your word for it! )

She talked about how Rosso uses his ears as radar. When he is going to get upset or freak out his little ears come together and point straight forward... it is up to me to get him paying attention to me any way I can... and I can tell some of his attention is on me when I get an ear or two swivelling back to me. Watch his ears.

When his head comes up like a giraffe, there is going to be trouble... I have to get him down and round WHEN I WANT HIM THERE NO MATTER WHAT is going on around us.

We practiced this with the next truck and trailer pulling in... as he gave some "looks" in that direction. He wasn't flighty or freaking out but he was looking... I practiced and he responded. It was really cool.

I enjoyed my lesson on Rosso in a huge way. Made me think things are just gonna be A-OK between us. Felt like I was thinking about him and how he goes and what he needs from me... really learning to ride this particular horse.

Anyway, it was cool and I was so happy all weekend long thinking 'bout my two nice red-headed OTTBs.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Snake check...

This part has nothing to do with snakes but thought I'd share some pix... the "new" garden bench I found on Craig's List... the one I bought from the Denver market last year rotted. Whaaaa! I sat on it and it busted. And of COURSE I don't think I need to lose weight... heh heh.

It was unfinished so I'm coating the crap out of it with Minwax sealant... This looks like your plain white geranium. Oh-ho! Do not be fooled people. This is the first ever YELLOW geranium. I saw it advertised on the sign at the nursery I pass on my way to and from work...."First ever in the U.S. - yellow geranium - available til gone!"

I bought one.

Furry Husband says, "How do you KNOW it's the only yellow geranium?" I really don't... I took the nursery sign at face value. So call me a sucker....

Our rose bush... this thing will outlive us all in the event of a nuclear melt down. It blooms wildly for 2 weeks in June and then it makes plans for world domination.

We cut it back to the ground one year per the advice of a landscaper... we did it later than we should have and we were worried we may have killed it.


We simply made it stronger.

The sad part of this picture is that we had black-eyed susans planted in front of it and none of them came back. I don't think I'll try again... my vision of thick, happy black eyed susans nodding in the breeze all summer long has been destroyed. sniff.

And now here's something you'll really enjoy! (do you remember those Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons?)

Friday night, Mojo, our giant black kitty ... someone had to have removed him from a litter o' panthers and stuck him into a litter of barn cats... was all a-gog. He kept looking, running and was repeatedly trying to get to the other side of the garden square fence.

I figured there was a vole or a mouse playing in the weeds or something.

Didn't give it another thought.


Furry Husband pointed out a big ol' snake on the other side of the fence! I handed him a manure fork. We smooshed the snake under the fork to examine it closely without allowing it to strike.

Turns out it was a 4-5' long bull snake.

They mimic a rattler and their markings are similar ... but there were NO rattles on it's yellow and black striped tail.. We relaxed and watched the now EXTREMELY pissed off snake coiling and hissing and striking.

Then I thought... OH! Perfect opportunity to test out the rattlesnake clinic the dogs went to!

I brought each dog, one at a time, on lead from the house. Bequia didn't want to go near the snake. Sammy didn't want to go near the snake. Toe.... well..... Toe ran to the snake to investigate but stopped about 3 feet away.

And for Toe, this is showing quite a bit of restraint. His m.o. is to run in (just because he's short does not mean he is slow that's fer sure!) touch, grab or eat whatever it is before the hoo-man can say "leave it" or grab him and take the "prize" away...

Since he was still SO interested in the snake, I did give him some leash corrections with a very firm LEAVE IT.... he got the point....

We went inside to get the camera and when we came out the snake was gone without a trace. He slithered away from our place as fast as his little scales could carry him....

Who can blame him? He'd been smooshed, poked, prodded and used as bait for 3 dogs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Goat noise...

Houston, we have a problem. Goats seem to be quite pleased with themselves if they can make a little noise....

The kids figure out how to jump on top of their housing and they begin tap dancing like Gregory Hines. You can see them grinning with each little staccato noise....

Speck in the doe pen not only accompanies the babies with her own tap routine on top of her very own house, but she grabs this little welded chain that hangs off the doe pen gate. (It came with the gate, we didn't put it there.) She holds it in her mouth and nods yes. It makes a constant rattling noise which sounds a little like the clickity clack of train tracks.

And yet, we take all of this in stride because we love our little caprine friends.

However, our buck, Mario, is being annoying. EXTREMELY annoying....

He has been lying/laying - whatever the correct grammar is - in his house and running his horn scurs (yes, he was disbudded but the raging testosterone in his system caused some horn to grow back) across the corrugated metal that is his quonset hut house.

It sounds like a rapid fire machine gun BRRRAAAAAPPPP, BRRRAAPPP, BRRRRAAAAAAAAPPPPP

In betwixt the running of his horn scurs back and forth is the intermittent BANG! BRRRAAAAPPPP BANG! BANG! as he bashes his head against the house.

He does this at midnight. 2am. 2:45am. 3:18am 4:32am 5:00am. 5:07 am.

I think you get the idea.

We decided to put the street sweeper thingy in his pen. It's a cylinder of hard, bristly spikes to scratch against. Our hope was that he would run his scurs along this thing vs. his house.

Please, oh, please, oh, please let it work.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wilbur's Goat Fest

This was our fourth year bringing our goat kids to town for a little goatie love. Lots of children and parents come to see the goats... This is the guy who makes it all happen... he wuvs the baby goats! What a softie...
One little boy (not the one below - tho his stance helps to illustrate my story) was having a merry old time with the goats... laughing, giggling... the goats nibble. They nibble shirt hems and pants and pockets and zippers.
This particular boy had some cargo pants on. There were many, many zippers and pockets to nibble. He was giggling and telling his Mama, "Mama, Mama! They like to eat my zippers!" and then....
Oh lordy.... you can see it coming....

The goat kid moved around front and began to investigate the boy's fly zipper... "OH! Mama! They like eating my pee pee too!"

Try explaining THAT story to your friends later....

There are lots of adults that don't want to come in the pen and you can tell they are just itchin' to pet a goat. I like to keep one up on the "wall" for people to see, touch, ask questions about...
There were some college boys that stopped by. "What IS that?" When I told them it was a goat kid, they exclaimed, "Dude. That is SICK!" They called a couple friends to tell them they were petting a goat.... they took a couple pix with their camera phone.... totally sick.
I know. Right?
Mostly we get questions about what happened to their ears? Nothing, they are Lamanchas and their ears come out that way. Little gopher ears that make them look like Kermit the Frog... or like grasshopper heads....
How big do they get? 180 - 200 lbs, about mid-top thigh high...males being bigger
Are those their horns growing in? No they are disbudded...
Why do you take the horns off? Because their heads get stuck in fences, they can injure themselves or us... (I know others do not disbud and it's all good, there are a ga-zillion ways to raise goats!)
What do you do with them? We milk the does and use the milk for drinking, cheese, yogurt, soap, lotion etc. Males usually go to homes to be companions for other animals or as pets or people raise them and eat them....
I bet the goats eat everything huh? Actually no. They will go straight for your expensive landscape vs. the weeds you want them to eat!
Is goat milk really different? Not if it's handled right. We have taste tests all the time with people using whole cows milk from the store and our goat milk. In 6 yrs one person picked the goat milk. Everyone else says the grocery store milk must be our goat milk.
We had leashes on the goats this year which worked well. Many people hesitate or linger at the gate to come in. The gate stays open and baby goats are quick! If one escaped, it would not fare very well against the cars in the busy parking lot.
I'm guessing a smooshed goat kid would cause lots of emotional trauma to the young children.... years of therapy... Do you still hear the lambs screaming Clarice?
If a goat was eyeing the open gate, a foot on the leash or grabbing up the leash worked like a charm. Besides, little humans like to have something to DO with the goats and this way they could "walk" the babies. Not that there was much room to go a'walkin'. The children don't seem to care.

One more successful goat fest under our belts!

Monday, June 21, 2010

General update at Star's Hollow Farm...

Mondays are HARD. Hard to come back to cubicle land after two days of freedom.

Saturday we had Goat Fest at Wilburs Liquor Store in town. We take our kids to meet people and spread the goatie love. There are many misconceptions about goats. I have pictures and a post to write up for you!

After Goat Fest, we rushed home, I changed and headed to a lesson with Rosso. He was a very good boy. Every time I ride and have a good experience, I feel my confidence strengthen. So here's to more and more good rides!

Did I tell you I taught him to give me a hug? I stand at his shoulder on the off side and say "hug"... he wraps his big ol head around me. I give him a cookie. He does it without the cookie tho he always looks a little surprised there wasn't one. It was another thing that helped me work with him to get over my fear issues. Next is to teach him "smile" by lifting up his lip. He has missing front teeth from a starting gate accident and looks very goober-like... it will be an amusing trick. My white trash, overly sensitive, race track reject.

Next weekend is my first real ride on Sera to see how she rehabbed and if she is sound at canter. Keep your fingers crossed! I scheduled two lessons tho' so I can keep going with Rosso.

I sprayed our yard with 2,4-D this weekend to kill the weeds but not the grass. I have more grass seeds - blue grama, some buffalo and a little bit of white clover for nitrogen/natural fertilization to sow once the weeds are gone.

My dream is a yard of native, low growing, xeric grasses. We'll never have to mow! (Wait. We? I mean Furry Husband will never have to mow!)

My water lillies are going CRAZY. My tiny pond is too small for two full plants. I'm going to call Koi Lagoon to see if they'll take one and trade me for in store merchandise. Tho' I'm a little loathe to get rid of one. Sort of silly for me to keep both and overcrowd my pond tho'.

Toad is happy. I like to call her Esther, Furry Husband calls her Big Head Toad... we often find her sunning herself on the rocks and sitting in the pond with her head peeping out under a lilly pad. Last night she was near the house catchin' bugs like a good toad.

That'll do Toad. That'll do.

Friday, June 18, 2010

On my way to work...

I see so many little things that make me smile as I drive to work.

O.k. sure, I have tunnel vision and people tell me they honk and wave and I stare straight ahead like a zombie on a mission. I've offended people who think I'm ignoring them... I'm not at all, I promise... I just ... uh.... focus on the road?

Furry Husband will probably drop his jaw to the floor over this post because he teases me all the time for being so ... zombie like... when I drive.

I do see things... really I do....

I see our vet's calico cat across the road from her house, hiding in the tall grass hoping to catch a mouse or vole.

I see the shiny mules and horses in the pasture next to the big power lines...

I look for pronghorns in this pasture. I saw 20 or more there once and haven't seen them since....

I saw a little bunny to my right jumping around in the grass. I thought he might dart in front of my car so I slowed down as I passed him...

I saw the pretty heads of 2 Jersey milk cows as they poked them thru the feeding stanchion for some breakfast at the small dairy on Taft Hill Rd. I used to sell that guy feed when I worked at Ranchway Feed Mill and always really liked him. Glad to see he's still there...

I saw a red and black truck parked on the side of the road. It looked like our neighbor's truck and I wondered if it was them and if they needed help and if I shoulda stopped? They know my cell number and my phone wasn't ringing... so I'm pretty sure it wasn't them and whomever it was was there on purpose (I hoped). Fixin' fence perhaps?

If I leave for work on time, I always see a guy going in the opposite direction on his motorcycle... in all black, shiny black helmet, legs sticking straight out in front of him, arms high on his ape hangers.... he must work the graveyard shift.

I pass the house with the beautiful flowers in front. Always flowers for every season... there is a sign in the yard that says "Garden Goddess". I believe it!

A nursery with a sign about buying blooms for July and all the fabulous hanging flower baskets...

Suburbia begins to appear.... I go through the round about... the children normally waiting for the bus in front of their houses are gone... enjoying summer vacation. Man, I wish I got a summer vacation!!

I wait at the intersection of Taft and Prospect and I watch the swallows... little fighter jets... diving and swooping and near misses as they chase moths and bugs... I'm amazed how fast, reckless and precise they are in flight.

Closer to work I see a sign on the corner hand written in Sharpie marker... "Fresh boiled or live crawdads Today only!" And that is funny to me. Especially since the sign has been there all week. It's also gross to me... eww.... crawdads.

Oh - there is the curly red haired lady who always walks her red with a black saddle bloodhound dog. They always make me smile and she walks him every day....

I make the turn into work and begin my day....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rain, rain go away...

We've been getting lots o' rain lately. I heard on the radio that Denver is running out of places to store water... pretty amazing since our state is usually drought ridden.

When Furry Husband and I went on our honeymoon, we travelled on a Windjammer cruise to some small islands in the Caribbean. It rained one day and one of the island natives said with a smile, (say this in your best island accent now) "Any-ting from above is blessing!"

I try to remember that but when it begins to interfere with riding and seeing the sun... well... I begin to get a bit grumbly. The little boreal chorus frog living in our pond was the only happy critter at our place, singing his little green amphibian heart out in the rain. Kermit woulda been proud... tho' it was no Rainbow Connection and I don't think our frog has learned the banjo yet.

The goats and horses stayed under cover doing their best to keep out of the mud, looking gloomy, disgusted and bored.

Sunday I had to cancel my normal 10:00am lesson because we had a lake forming in the front pasture and that happens to be where we park our horse trailer. The clay soil becomes so sticky slippery and there was no way I'd be getting it out to head up the road for a ride.

We saw sun yesterday for the first time since Friday. Oh, it's nice. Amazing how I instantly feel better with some vitamin D and blue sky ... bye-bye doom and gloom!

We got the trailer out of the pasture last night, (next big rain, we are parking that sucker in the driveway where we can get it out ) loaded Rosso and headed off to Rex's barn.

I tacked him up, lunged him and got on. He was sore in front from the wet... it softens his feet and makes them a bit ouchy. He is sound at walk and a short ride would be good for both of us.

We stayed at a walk... leg yield, small circles, serpentines, lots of changes of direction, spiral in and out on a circle... he was very agreeable and offered a trot. I kept him walking. After about 15 min. we stopped and hung out... I jumped down and gave him lots of praise.

See? We'll get past our brain bugs yet....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crispy and Rattlesnakes

Last week, our little dog, Bequia... we always call her little dog cuz she was the smallest dog we ever owned. Now we have Toe and he is literally the littlest dog...

Bequia has come to know her nickname "Little Dog", we continue to call her our little dog and people give us weird looks. (we are so used to people giving us weird have no idea)

Anyway, Bequia, was sick all last week. I pulled half of a mummified vole out of her mouth one day pre-sickness. Maybe she found the rest of it somewhere?

She acted like she felt o.k. only she got us up all hours of the night to go out and do her bid'ness. I felt like we had a newborn baby. I've never had a newborn baby but I've seen parents of newborns at work. They look like the living dead...sleep deprived and not fully functional.

Bequia is fine now and we are VERY relieved to get a full night's sleep. Shew.

We took all the dogs to a rattlesnake clinic last weekend. Gulp.

Electric collars are used. Live, de-fanged rattlesnakes are set outside and the dogs get zapped if they show interest in the snake.

We watched them work the dogs. It was very straight forward and there was no unnecessary shocking or roughness.

I put our dogs through the course. All 3 went directly to the snake to investigate and promptly received a shock just as they touched it.

It was not easy and I would not say it was fun.

However, it was probably no worse than when they accidentally hit our electric fence with 10,000 amps. It's what I kept telling myself anyway.

(is it amps that cause pain and volts that kill? I don't remember but we have 10,000 of whichever kind doesn't kill... or our neighbor Bill woulda been dead long ago... he finds more ways to come into contact with our fence .. I'm beginning to wonder if he LIKES it)

All our dogs are fine, they handled it o.k. and hopefully they will skirt clear around any sort of snake they come across from here on out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Gordon Setter National Show

One of the Gordon Setters today... her owner told me that this dog understands there are two types of people in the world. 1. Her friends. 2. The friends she hasn't met yet.

That actually describes a Gordon Setter to a T to me.

My buddy H needed volunteers to help steward at the Gordon Setter Nationals hosted by the Colorado High Plains Club this week. I took today off from work to help out.
I had a Gordon Setter, Booker, who died last summer, I know a few of the Gordon Setter people, and, well, I just couldn't let my bud H or the big ol' black and tans down.

Uh. No. This is not a Gordon Setter.

This is a 9 week old whippet puppy who is owned by H's lil' sis. She kept trying to untie my shoes.

Please ignore my hair. It was humid today - there is no point in straightening it on hoo-mid days. You shoulda seen it when I lived in NE. Horrifying.

Had to get a pix of the whippet bitch with Toe. Yes, you can say bitch in the dog show world and it's "proper" terminology. Isn't that FUN?

Furry Husband sorta likes whippets cuz he's a frisbee guy. Ashley Whippet is legendary and I had to rub it in that I got to meet a cute, tiny, 9 week old, whippet puppy who pounced, and frolicked and cavorted...

I helped the Rally Obedience ring today ... I ran the stopwatch... helped check people in...helped to post scores...took leashes... handed back leashes...

Gordon's are funny to watch. Most people think they are stupid. They are VERY goofy. I wouldn't say they are dumb... but they really are NOT cut out to be obedience dogs.


No they are not generally good at that sort of thing. So they can sort of look a bit... slow...

Booker was the number one Novice Obedience dog back in ... oh... I don't remember. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. He was published in the Front and Finish obedience magazine. I still have it, so I have written proof it DID happen.

They are big, lovable, goofy dogs. I think people who own them have a good sense of humor. They are not necessarily obedient tho they will love you with their whole heart and they will make you laugh every day in spite of yourself or their behavior.

Someone told me the Disney character Goofy was based on a Gordon Setter. I have no idea if this is true or not. I absolutely believe it tho.

You watch a Border Collie ace an obedience test with a blind fold on and one paw tied behind it's back. You are impressed with their smarts and speed. You want to watch a Gordon in an obedience test? Be sure to bring popcorn so you can kick back and enjoy the entertainment.

Oh - don't get me wrong. There are really nice working Gordon Setters, I've seen them and they are beautiful, beautiful, happy dogs.
Well, they are beautiful, beautiful happy dogs anyway.
It just seems that most hear the command sit and it takes 5 minutes for the meaning to actually reach their big black and tan behinds... you can almost hear the wheels grinding as they process it.

They need a "reason" to do most anything. They don't just DO anything you ask them. It has to make sense to them but that doesn't mean they are stupid. They are simply wired for different things.... coursing a field and finding birds... not for the close working relationship required in an obedience dog.

An example:
I wanted to take the dogs to the lake one hot summer day. I asked our two border collie dogs to get in the car... my car's windows had been rolled up... it was like an OVEN in my car.
Dangerous heat.
They obediently hopped in like the good, smart border collies they are.... I told Booker to get in... he stuck his head in the car as he was preparing to jump in, felt the oven heat and was like "NO way am I risking my life to get in that OVEN! Lady, you are quite mistaken if you think I'm getting in there...."

He had a leash on and I forced him in. He had fun at the lake with Sammy and Bequia...

I always thought that really showed his independent nature... and his smarts.
Dogs overheat in cars... dogs die in hot cars... you hear about it on the news, you read about it in the papers.... Booker was smart not wanting to get in the hot car!

This is what used to happen when I tried to practice yoga at home... Booker to one side...
cats everywhere else...

He was mostly our 80lb lap dog. He loved being near us and ON us any chance he got. He was the sweetest boy and we both loved him so. He never knew a day without love and he loved everyone right back.
I had a good time watching the black and tans today. We are glad Booker was in our lives and at the same time, I'm glad we now have Little Toe. Toe helped to heal my heart when we lost our big, beautiful boy, Booker.
Toe isn't Booker, but Toe is Toe. Another perfectly unique personality brimming with love to give. A new, beautiful relationship has developed between him and us.
I read somewhere once that dogs don't live as long as we do because they are SO full of unconditional love. It's as if they realize other dogs need to come into our lives to love and be loved. They leave us out of ... and because of... love.
Isn't that a lovely idea?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kiss that frog...

The garden toad is back.... Toe (who is fine from his mushroom ordeal) wants to kiss that frog....
Itty Bitty Opal Kitty thinks that is absolutely disgusting and must look away.

Speaking of frogs... my lesson with Rosso today was interesting. I asked Rex last time if she'd ride him so I could see what he looks like, get her impression etc.
I did NOT have to read any of my rider psychology books at breakfast this morning.... I did NOT have to go running down the driveway to exert the swirly twirly fear inside of me to get on him today...
I took Rosso up to Rex's, lunged him and got on. I walked all around and when I asked for a trot, he was being a big ol' butthead. Maybe he doesn't like working in the heat? Too bad, so sad.
Tho his butthole antics were making my legs a bit jello-y. I still stayed on and dealt...
Rex came out ready to hop on... I gladly let her drive...
At a walk he was fine. Well not "fine". But he wasn't being a big butthead. He was very against the aids and grabbing the left rein and being very stiff and very resistant.

Rex kept him at a walk for a while - working thru the resistance.
Then up to trot... where he wasn't "bad" but he wasn't even in the contact and not exactly bending or supple either. She kept him at the trot until he began trying.

I couldn't figure out the "action" setting on the camera so most pix were bad and blurry. Sorry~!
Anyway - when Rosso was being bad... she kept him forward... she was overbending him to the left since that is the rein he kept grabbing and trying to run thru.
Once he gave, she gave. If he tried to suck back, she gave him a big kick and his reaction was great - to go forward. He danced around - jigging. threatening, trying to suck back to get his way - she kept him forward, between her hands and her legs...
We had a discussion after he gave in and submitted. If your horse isn't on the aids at a walk... and you punch the gas... things are only going to escalate out of control.
This was my mistake when I brought Rosso home from The Cowboy trainer. He told me sometimes Rosso was like a pop bottle with too much fizz and I needed to let him go to get the energy out... when I tried this, I got dumped.
I'm not saying The Cowboy was wrong --- but he could recognize those times better than I could because he had more experience training young horses. So this is my mistake for not thinking things thru and blindly thinking that when Rosso was being bad, he needed to go, go, go and get some energy out.
When in fact... he needed more time on the aids until he was listening... then I could let him out more.
There was a really really great article in Dressage Today by Jennifer Baumbert who I clinic with when she comes out this way. Her article was about treating the symptom vs. the underlying issue.... like when a horse is overly spooky because his buddies are in the pasture screaming to him... or there is a scary bush... or the million other reasons horses spook.
She said the issue wasn't really the horse spooking but that your horse isn't really ON YOUR AIDS. You can't punish a horse for being a horse. They're gonna spook.... but if they are on the aids, they can be ridden more effectively.
I think this is what I learned today with Rosso. It was great watching Rex deal with him because truly, he was not dangerous. He did not buck. He did not bolt. He was having a tantrum and once she said, "No. We are doing it this way." He backed down. I saw it and know I could learn to deal with what he throws my way.... there wasn't anything awful about him.
No, I'm not taking him down the road anytime soon on a trail ride... but I am looking forward to learning. I'm looking forward to overcoming this and learning more about HOW to ride this young horse.... and that is good.
Rex and I also discussed how we don't think Rosso is truly spooking but that he simply doesn't want to do it and is using excuses... by acting afraid and acting spooky... he is trying to intimidate and bully to get out of his work. If he acts big and scary, maybe the work will stop.
Rex said he probably tried that with The Cowboy for about 3 seconds before he got his ass kicked... and I am not The Cowboy. It's o.k. - we'll get it figured out - the good thing is that the Shanster brain is returning!
(and now if I could just grow a pair... it's always been my issue... not being aggressive enough - and I don't mean over the top - but there are times you need to make something happen. I'll work on channelling that determination/aggression. Wish me luck! I'll keep you all posted ....)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Toe and the mushroom

This morning we were up and at 'em at 5:30 so Furry Husband could leave for his frisbee tournament...

I was done milking the goats and when I came out of the milk room, I noticed Toe was eating something on the ground... "Whattya got Toe?" I moved him away and it's a mushroom.

Flash back to the drive up for the Cheyenne schooling show and discussion of mutual friend's dog who was acting drunk and collapsing and they thought he was going to die... when they took the dog to the vet... they thought antifreeze poisoning initially but did not find the right things in the bloodwork.
They decided the dog had eaten poisonous mushrooms... and then discussion turned to the friend's son by marriage, who is 18 - and how he's home now after his court ordered stay at a ranch in the middle of nowhere ND to work and stay away from his drug influences here...and the dog may have eaten some of that kid's drugs tho' they thought he was clean... it wasn't determined what the dog ate that caused it to act like that. Was it really poisonous mushrooms or was it something else? (dog gonna be ok? yes, dog gonna be ok)

Now Toe had eaten a mushroom... is it poisonous? I picked up the part he had not eaten. It was maybe 3" in diameter and he'd eaten half.

I came inside and began looking for mushroom id sites on the web. Evidently there are a MILLION types of mushrooms and no really good id site that you could quickly determine if the partial mushroom sitting next to me was poisonous or not.

I found plenty of CO sites saying mushroom poisoning is happening a lot right now in CO because of our wet spring. If your dog has consumed a mushroom, induce vomiting with either syrup or ipecac or 3% hydrogen peroxide and call your vet.

I called our vet - she said he has to puke before it gets into his system. She told me to use the ipecac or 3% hydrogen peroxide...

We don't have either and the nearest store is 30 min away... I called our favorite neighbors. They had the 3% hydrogen peroxide... the vet told me to give it to him in 10cc doses with a syringe and it would make him gag and puke. If I couldn't get him to puke... load his system up with stuff that would coat like milk and watch for vomiting, diarrhea, nervous system issues and that it could really affect his liver and/or kidneys.

We dosed him with 10cc ... nothing.

I dosed him with another 10cc.... nothing.

Great. I have the ONLY dog with a cast iron stomach that will not vomit.

I dosed him a third time.

VOMIT! I've never been so happy to see vomit!

We scooped it up to search for mushroom... there was kibble from his breakfast, which he ate prior to his fungus foray, a piece of grain from his raid of the milk stanchion bowl the goats eat their grain from while being milked - also prior to his mushroom discovery... and there was mushroom.

I can't be sure if it was ALL there? I dosed him 3 more times with the hydrogen peroxide tyring to get a second round of puke. No luck and I began to worry if I could poison him with hydrogen peroxide? I decided to stop and gave him a bowl of milk. Now we wait and watch.

The web said symptoms can occur 30 min to 6 hrs... our vet thought we'd see something tomorrow. Luckily I saw him eating it, remembered the discussion from a few weekends ago and was able to act quickly.

We have the other part of the mushroom in tupperware... hopefully it is NOT a poisonous 'shroom and all of this was just a little exercise in torturing my dog!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Not much to work with...

J's mare had a colt Wednesday morning. I called her because we were supposed to go tracking but my Mom was coming up so I had to move our tracking appointment.

J told me her mare, "Critter", had a little bay colt that morning and if we wanted to stop by with the whole fam damily we'd be welcome.

Furry Husband and I asked Mom and Step-dad if they wanted to go see a 12 hr old foal after dinner... but it was too late for them. They wanted to get back to Denver so we said our good-byes and began cleaning up. We were doing dishes and Furry Husband said wistfully, "I would have kinda liked to see a 12 hr old baby...."

Always game for baby horse viewing, I told him, "Let's go!" I drove fast since it was 8:30 at night and daylight was fading fast. We arrived in time to see the little dude before the sun set.

There is NOTHING cuter than a foal. Baby goats got nuthin' on a baby horse. How do those long, long stilt legs fit all up in the mare?

We admired the little guy. Furry Husband was able to meet Harley the pig and give him a friendly pat or two.

J and I talked about going out Saturday morning for another trail ride... Furry Husband asked J if she was going to make me brave.

She was squatted on her haunches, scratchin' the colt's nose and she didn't turn to look at him: "Well, Furry.... she doesn't give me much to work with...."

Funny, funny people.... hey, I'm goin' ain't I?!

Maybe this time I'll remember a camera so it's fully documented. Colorado Chicken on a trail ride.... come to think of it, on the last trail ride I think we saw some sasquatch footprints...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The pond store...

I have this itty bitty pond. 4' by 4'... I don't have fish. I only want some water plants... water lillies, some horsetail, miniature cattails and a few hyacinths.

I stopped by the pond store to pick up some fertilizer tabs for my lillies to get some nice blooms on them this summer.

And then I was distracted by the fountains....

Big tall vase like things where the water spills over the side onto what looks like solid ground... only they are on a grate covered with river rock and there is a vat o' water underneath with a pump recirculating the water back into the tall vase.

Well lets just say I'm a bit spatially "slow".

I made this poor girl who worked at the pond store show me the grate, explain to me the pump and the tubing and the recirculatin'....

She had to draw me pictures.

Then I got overly excited about getting a small spitter for my pond... a small figurine of a frog or a turtle that spits water out it's mouth recirculating via pump and tubing....

Poor pond working gal had to explain it to me over again... and draw additional pictures...

I decided it was a project for another day and I should just take my lilly fertilizer along with my hyacinths and get the heck outta there before I dropped any more $.

I told Furry Husband all about it when I got home.

He was really glad he wasn't at the pond store with me. REALLY glad.

In fact, he asked in a way you might talk to a small child, "Honey... did you give those people something to talk about over dinner?"

Well duh .... who else is gonna keep them entertained?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rosso and Sera

I had a lesson on Rosso Sunday morning. I get so frustrated with myself cuz of my fear about him. I can't even convey how frustrated I get ... I read my little rider psychology stuff about fear at breakfast to psych myself up and say the things to myself I need to say to be able to get on him and ride.

I trailered him over to Rex's... and I could feel the fear energy swirling around inside me... so I ran away.


I know I looked like a huge dork (ha! what else is new?). I'd read that sometimes fear can be dispelled by exertion... I went running down Rex's driveway... down the road to her neighbor's mailbox... did some jumping jacks... ran back.

It did help. I was still feeling fear but it wasn't immobilizing.

I lunged the baby boy Rosso... he listened to me very well... he was even letting down (*ahem* letting it ALL hang out... if you know what I'm talkin' 'bout) So I know he was relaxed and fine...

I took him to the middle of the arena... did not do all the slapping and laying my body over the saddle cuz duh - he knows what is coming and dammit, if he pulls his crap and dumps me while I'm getting on he will pay! (I really do need to get in touch with my barely existent aggressive side)

I climbed on.

He stayed still. I took some deep breaths, wiggled around... and off we went. We had a very lovely lesson of leg yields, shoulder fore, spiralling in and out on a circle, transitions to walk and back up to trot where he stayed in my hand and connected... lovely.

The more nice rides I have, the more confident I will get. Simple as that. Before you know it, we'll be out and about.

Still ... I get really frustrated with my stoo-pid lizard brain which is all about instinct and preserving the life of a neanderthal, and how the lizard brain keeps jumping in front of my Shanster brain.

And now for the segment you've all been waiting for... my big yeller chicken trail ride.

I trailered Sera over to J's house which backs up to Robert's Ranch. It is so incomprehensible to me how a family can own SO much land. It just goes on and on and on... gorgeous and beautiful land for miles as far as the eye can see.

I got Sera out... walked her around and let her graze a minute - take it all in. I walk her over to where J is getting out the horse she wants to ride...and there is Harley the pig in all his 300lb glory.

Sera doesn't even twitch an ear at him.

He sort of came over and made this big grunty pig noise... uh.... Sera didn't even look up from grazing... she just did NOT care about the pig in any way. I took her over to him and her nose was like 3 inches from the damn pig... she really could not care less! How funny is that?

We took the horses into J's arena... rode them around... warming them up ... then we went out and thru this other gate into Roberts Ranch... it was just WIDE OPEN blue skies, sun, green grass... gorgeous.

There were prairie dogs all around and a lot of holes to navigate around... a cow skeleton... a coyote skeleton... we sent a pronghorn antelope herd skittering away.... we rode thru this gully area, up this steeper hill and then back down... it was really steep for ME, Colorado Chicken, but Sera was perfect.

She spooked once at the pronghorn herd but other than that... she just went anywhere I asked her to go without any fuss. It was so much fun.... J wanted to go further and steeper etc. but seriously... for Sera's first outing like that, she did so great and why push her to her limit... let's keep it fun for her... so I was the party pooper and asked to go back. We were out for about 2 hrs...

It was so much fun.... I'm really glad that I went out of my comfort zone, took my damn skirt off and just went.

J kept teasing me that her horse was scared of Sera cuz Sera is so big... and Sera is not big compared to all the other dressage type horses, she is 16hh even. Tho' I suppose it's all relative. She was much bigger than J's QH and I didn't really notice until we were riding side by side.

And may I just say how much I love, love, love my big, red-headed Sera Sue? I think I have little cartoon hearts swirling around my head because of her today....