Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pandora, the Roan Beast!

I wear towels on my head!
After the magical roan pony was captured, it was a whooooole different story. She did whatever Blake wanted her to do, and avoided me at all costs. I was the evil person that captured her, after all. She started to look less emaciated and more like a healthy happy girl. After a couple of months passed, we still tried to get her papers going through her previous owner. There was always some excuse. AKA lazy witchness. Blake's approach to horses is probably quite a bit different from a lot of people's. At every chance he gets, he runs, jumps, makes crazy sounds, grabs, dances, and does whatever weird maneuver her can to them until they just don't care anymore. The boy is amazing at groundwork. Whenever I have a problem, I hand a horse over to Blake, and he uses his magical skills.
I'm a nun!
Cowhorse. For sure.

We took Pandora with us to all of the shows that Vegas went to. Blake even showed her in some in-hand trail classes a few times and halter once. She placed 4th in halter, which Blake was pretty excited about (even though they both looked like they were falling asleep). They also did fairly well in their trail classes. But everyone thought Pandora was a POA, and he certrainly was not amused. At this point, he was still not too worried about her size, but I had a feeling she would never be a big lady.

We also dragged Pandora to my lesson sessions with Karaly and Tim. Everybody was always worried when we left Pandora in the pen with all of the giant horses and mules that were fairly aggressive. But, when we came back, she had all of those horses obeying her orders. And I mean ALL of them! Even the 17H mules! Pandora doesn't take crap from anybody but her older sister, Vegas.
So cute!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

In the Box!

Sorry folks! I have had some massive headaches this past week...don't know what's up but hopefully they go away....Anywho. Let us continue with the story of the mighty midget, Pandora!

Crazy roan pony

This had to be the most difficult horse we had ever worked with. That didn't say much for Blake, because he really hadn't worked with a lot of horses, but he had natural horse handling skills (score for me!). Blake would sit in the middle or side of the round pen and do his homework. He would sit there for 2 hours, and that horse would not look at him once. She avoided all eye contact and wasn't even curious about people and even acknowledged the fact that we provided food for her. We would lunge her, and get her to turn in, but it was rather difficult, and she never stayed there long. We would work her, and let her stop and relax next to me on the other side of the fence to show her that people were a good thing. But she didn't really buy into it. After about 2 weeks, Blake decided that he would rope her. He has NO roping skills, so he tried a few swings but quickly realized that his little cutter bred horse had figured out this game and very quickly avoided all of his attempts at playing cowboy. I suggested that I hold one side of the loop in the rope, and he holds the other side, and lunge her into it. And, it worked! But holy crap that little horse can buck!

She bucked and wheeled around and ran and ran some more. He finally go her attention and got her to stop and somewhat have her front end aimed at him. Though, I still think she was avoiding eye contact. He tried to pull her around with the rope around her and start to teach her pressure and release. It was obvious she was smart. She figured it out quick, and we thought that would be a good place to stop. She let Blake get within 5 feet, and he took the loop off. She ran to the side and ignored us. We came out again, and roped her again, although it was much more difficult to lunge her into the loop. She fought again, but not as much. She pictured Blake as the bad guy in all of this, so Blake lunged her next to me, and stopped her by my side of the fence. I reached out, and touched her butt. She flinched, but stayed there. I rubbed and rubbed and was soon to rub all over her butt. I switched places with Blake and could get within a few feet of her. It took about an hour, but I could reach out and rub her butt. Then, I could rub her shoulder. She was very touchy about he head area, so it took a while to move my hand up her neck towards her head. Blake handed me her rope halter, and I rubbed her neck with it and put my arm over the other side of her neck and continued rubbing. We use rope halters, so I tied it quite loose around her neck. Now, I just had to fling it up over her nose, the one area she would NOT let me touch. I flung as quick as I could, she took off in a blur, and...

I got it on. Boom. I was able to get up to her again, and clip the lead rope on. And just like that, she decided I was the most evil person in the universe. And just like that, she automatically knew how to lead. Blake came back in, and it was like she had been haltered and led around her entire life. Blake started to rub on her. He was so happy to finally be able to touch his horse and get her attention. We entered her box. It wasn't long after that that he started to turn her into his perfect bombproof pony.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She Brought Her Box

I love my dad.
I wanted Blake to have his own horse. So incredibly bad. I wanted a riding buddy, and I knew he would really enjoy having a horse. And I needed some way to get him away from them dang motorcycles. He thought about it a lot, and never really got comfortable with the thought of owning his own horse. They aren't very cheap of course. At this time, we started watching Downunder Horsemanship every Tuesday evening. It had become our new ritual. Eat dinner. Climb into bed, and watch Clinton Anderson do things with horses. To Blake, this guy made perfect sense with horses. Blake would go out and try the same methods on Vegas, and really liked the results. I know, not everybody likes the aussie, but we really enjoy him. He is a lot more entertaining and clear than a lot of other clinicians. And, I have to give him credit for giving Blake the idea of having his own horse.
I am a little roan horse.
After a few months of watching the show, Blake decided on his own that he would get his own horse. Pause. YAY! I was thinking, a nice older broke gelding, with plenty of miles. Blake was thinking, yearling filly with no training. Everyone told him no. He told himself yes. He wanted himself a little cowhorse. We scoured through craigslist and found a breeder out in Payette with a large group of yearlings for sale. Peppy San Badger bred babies. We told the lady we wanted a baby that would grow to accommodate Blake's larger stature. She told us all of them should be fine. He wasn't looking for a specific color, so we started meandering through the group. Only two little bay colts were broke enough to come up to us for a rub down. She said the others had been handled, but it really didn't look like it. In the middle of the group, I saw a little bay roan. She was the most hidden, and avoided all eye contact. I asked Blake to see which horse caught his eye. He didn't really know. I pointed out the little roan, and he automatically decided he liked her. Now, I don't know if this was because I pointed her out, or if he really did like her. We singled her out of the crowd with one other little colt in the round pen and watched her. She really really did not want to be in there with us. Her eyes were wild. And Blake loved her. The lady wanted $400 for her, and Blake agreed. She told us she would hold her for us until next weekend, and would start her papering process. Blake was excited.
I was a little under cared for.
We headed off to Clinton Anderson's Walkabout tour in Redmond, OR and it was a blast. It was so cool to see him live and I only wished it to last longer. The following weekend, we would be getting Blake's new girl. We brought out little straight load two horse and made the journey out to get her. They had her ready in the round pen, and we back the trailer up to it. We then fashioned a chute, and chased the little roan into it. She wanted to get away from us so terribly bad, she hopped right into the trailer. She looked so scared though, and I was so worried she would jump out the back on the trailer (she was loaded without being tied), so we took lead ropes and baling twine and made a spider web pattern on the back to discourage her. We were promised papers within a month, and off we went.

Let me tell you, seeing a little horse stick its head out the side of a trailer going 80mph is terribly funny. She tried to keep her eyes open, as her lips flapped in the air and mane blew straight back. He first trailer ride seemed to be really fun for her. As we pulled into the driveway, Blake's family was so excited to see his new baby, his mom reached her hand into the trailer to pet her. Bad idea. Little roan horse flipped out. I don't think he mentioned that she was untouched. And a little wild. We backed her into the round pen, her new home for the next couple of weeks. She got some hay and a drink of water and explored  I told Blake that having this horse felt like opening pandora's box. And the name Pandora stuck. What a scared little horse.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Year of the Vegas

I am beautiful.
Unfortunately, Vegas did not get too much play time last year. I tried to get her ready for some shows, and each time, she "tied up".  It was depressing. I had three other distractions as well. Bacon had entered my life, and it was the first riding season for having Lucy. And Pandora had a little more size to her to start doing a little more work as well.

Vegas, the steady mount.
But Vegas did play well for others to ride her. She is good at toodling when a novice is on her, and takes great care of them. She does take advantage of them though. She is good at stealing snacks and going her own path. She never takes others seriously, so when they ask her to lope, she just rolls her eyes at them. I would too, since her new passengers never put more pressure on her than a half winged fly. But it is great that I can allow people to come over and ride, and not worry about her. And at this point in time, she is only 5 years old.

We did make it to one show, where we did not do so great. But it was nice to get out and do something. She was all fired up at the show and raced around the arena. We did beat a couple people. And she got to look really pretty!

Don't need a fake tail!

Also this year, I started moving her into a shanked bit. For her 6 year old show season, she needs to be in a curb bit to follow show regulations. She will be considered a senior. To me she is still a baby, but I will roll with it. I put her into a broken small-shanked bit. She had no problems what so ever. She is not perfect yet with the neck reining, but she did great. And then I thought to myself...I wonder if we could do a flying lead change. So, we started loping around in a circle, and when I came to the middle, I shifted my weight on my hip, and pressed back to move her hindquarters over to initiate the switch. And BAM. Flying lead change. Now, I want you to know, I have never even performed a flying lead change on any horse. Ever. So for me to train her to do this was pure awesome. I got so excited. And we did it three more times. The next time I rode her, we did thirteen. They are not the prettiest things to watch, and sometimes she misses the switch, but yay! Flying lead changes!

I am now a shanked horse!
One day at the beginning of fall, Blake hopped on Vegas in his beautiful McCall versatility ranch saddle. I hopped on Lucy, and went to work in the arena. Blake checked Vegas' maneuvers, and asked what I had been doing with her because she was being amazing. He said that she was the best she had ever been. I had hardly ridden her, so I think she must be maturing and giving up the fight. He side passed her all over, did some pivots, and some good stops. He then went to ask for a lope departure. Now here is the thing. The gate was left open. He never put her boots on. He forgot to re-tighten her cinch. He also left her back cinch too loose. Everything was wrong. And it was about to get worse.
We're fancy.
They started to lope, but didn't make it far. The saddle slid completely sideways and Blake fell off to the side. She stopped. The saddle slid all the way underneath her. And then she took off. Blake, seeing his $3,000 saddle (the most expensive thing he has paid for in his life), start being scraped across the fence and stomped all over, started screaming at Vegas to stop. I raced Lucy to the gate before my horse ran out it, only to never return. Vegas desperately tried to escape the "animal" latched underneath her. Blake desperately tried to stop her. I tried to keep Lucy calm and tried to get Vegas to stop. But she just kept going, and the saddle kept being ripped on, and Blake kept yelling. And then Vegas somehow got her back leg through one of the metal stirrups, which made her run hard. She broke the fence. I thought I was going to watch my horse break her leg. Finally, she stopped, and Blake's dad grabbed her. Blake took one look at his saddle, and walked into the house. I handed Lucy to Blake's mom, and tried to get the saddle off of Vegas. But I was going to have to pick the saddle up underneath her in order to undo it. I told Blake's dad specific instructions. DO NOT LET GO. No matter what. I tried to soothe Vegas. Her legs were covered in blood, especially the one stuck in the stirrup. The hide on it was gone. I tried and tried to get the saddle off. Like some sort of weird magic, our friend Ross showed up. I yelled at him for help and he hurried over. He picked up the saddle, and I quickly undid it. I carefully slipped her leg through the stirrup. She was till breathing hard, and her eyes were huge. But, to my surprise, she walked without any lameness. I hosed down her legs with cold water and betadine. I tried to be as gentle as possible when I applied the antibiotic sauve and wrapped her legs. She got a good dose of banamine and I put her back. I took Blake's saddle and hid it in my truck so he couldn't see it. I will have to come back to this night in Bacon's story, as more happened, if you can believe that.
So sorry Vegas. I love you!

The next day, we had our vet out to check on the girls. He suggested giving Vegas some antibiotics to help her heal. Blake felt terrible for how he reacted the day before, and hugged Vegas. He realized it was his fault more than anything. It was a bad day. Later on, as her legs tried to heal, she contracted scratches. I had dealt with this before in my previous horse, and I wasn't about to let her deal with that crap. So, I grabbed some ointment similar to Panalog from work, and went to healing her up. I am happy to say, by the end of the year, she was fully healed, with minimal to no scare tissue and lameness.

I am really hoping that this year will be a great year for the both of us. It is time for us to hit the show ring again, and show everybody how it is done! Love my Vegas horse!

We're cool.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The "Showgirl" Comes Out!

  Year Four has been our most victorious year to date. Vegas decided she was going to cooperate a little more this season, and we hit the most shows this year. I, of course, thought this was awesome. I can't speak for Vegas though. And as we started out the season, she has two episodes of "tying up", also known as Azoturia or Rhabdomyolisis. This was painful for me to watch, but even more painful for her. It didn't take much to set it off either. She felt a little funny under saddle after some jogging around, and I hopped off. Then I went to get her to move, and she couldn't move her hind end at all. I got her back to her pen, called the vet, and watched as she wretched and made faces, trying to avoid the pain. I gave her a shot of banamine and some electrolytes, and minimized her movement. She healed up alright after a few weeks off. She also had to deal with some real "nut jobs" in the pen. In the warm up arena, a not so skilled fella was riding a not so sane gaited thing, and the gaited thing decided it was going to ride up behind Vegas, and try to swing around and rear and buck and do all kinds of acrobatic maneuvers. Vegas meerly ran sideways to avoid being tangled in that, and the guy continued about his business. Thanks a lot tard biscuit. 
Just keep pivoting!

    And yet again, doofus was standing (if you want to call jigging in place standing) next to us waiting to enter the arena, and the horse swung around and started kicking Vegas into the wall. I screamed and hollered at the tard ass, and he didn't say one word. He turn his horse around, and walk to a different area. Oh, if I could take your danglers and put them in a vice grip, that would be lovely.
Trail is not our best, but we try

   But other than that, we did alright. We successfully showed in trail (kind of), showmanship, english pleasure, western pleasure, horsemanship, and english equitation. The Silver Spurs Show was probably our biggest show, with a few hundred horses and over 1,000 entries. We tried for all around walk/trot and halter busted us. But, I was more than thrilled when we placed second against 24 in our english pleasure class. We showed at the Idaho Horse Park, which was a new place for us, with a crap ton more horses than we were use to. And I thought our horsemanship and english equitation went very well too, but I was never told what place we made. We were third overall for high point. But, we went against seasoned senior horses with more skilled riders, so I thought that was pretty dang cool.

Rockin' the english

  The other big show we went to was the local Double Point show. Well, there is actually two, one for spring and one for fall. We got second overall at the spring double point. And in the fall, we got third for fall overall and claimed the High Point award for both shows combined. I was really not expecting that! I was very proud of my girl! 
Win kisses
We are stylin'

 She also took really good care of my mom and grandma, who wanted to ride her when they came to visit, and taught Blake a lot about riding as well. What a nice horse.

Grandma Riding!

Blake Riding!

Mom riding!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

She Still Ain't That Peachy

Look, I'm an elephant!

To me, Vegas' two year old year couldn't come any faster. With me wanting to buy a baby for some dang reason, I forgot how long I would have to wait to ride it. I was so worried I was going to "ruin" her, I went in search of a good, but fairly cheap, trainer. In the months leading up to her "camp of adventure", I saddled her, got her use to the bridle, booted her up, and even sat and laid on her. She could lunge piece of cake! A friend I work with recommended the guy that her mom used all of the time. I called him up, he sounded like a cowboy, and said he would take my girl for 30 days.

2 year old Vegas ready to rumble

  Blake and I waited for him to come and get her. I got really nervous, it would be weird not seeing her for such a long time. And we waited. And then I got less nervous. And then he called and said he would be out the next day, some cows got loose somewhere and he had to go gather them. So the next day came around, and I was sitting on her when he showed up. The cowboy looked at me and my horse, puzzled, and asked how old I was. Twenty. He gave me another look, and grabbed my horse and started leading her to the trailer. The last time she was on one of those bad boys was when she came to me. And, miraculously, she hopped on in. O.K. I won't complain. And off they went.

I can handle the cowboy mom.

We were on our way to the motocross track, and I cried (I know, I am a sissy la la) and Blake told me she would be fine. And then I get this phone call. Cowboy sounded a little worried, and told me he had good news and bad news. Good news was, they made it to his place. Bad news was, she must have freaked out, and almost scalped her forelock off. WHAT! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! He told me I could come and check on her if I wanted. And I sure did the next morning. She was in a pen by herself, and I called her name, and she screamed at me. And followed me everywhere I went. It really is weird being able to pick your horse's forelock up off of its head. He was putting some medicine on it, and she seemed alright, just really confused. I made the next 30 days of this guy's life hell.

I called just about every day. He didn't answer just about every day. He did tell me on the first call that he had jumped on her bareback for their first ride and went on a little trail ride. And called me another time to ask if he could use her to move some cows. And another time to see when I wanted her back. I think she really only stayed with him for 22 days. But I wanted me precious pony back, and I wanted to ride! He brought her back, she looked confused again, but he saddled her up and showed me what he had done with her. She knew all of her basics, and was starting to neck rein and side pass. And said that she was the easiest horse for him to break ever. Yay Vegas! And then I hopped on.

2nd ride!

I rode her almost every day until it got too nasty in the pen to ride. And she wasn't too bad, she was very smart, and picked up things pretty quickly. But she did have to argue about it every time I asked. She was a two year old lady, what else did I expect. But I couldn't wait to get her ready for some showing the following year....

For a 2 year old...                                                         ...she was really good about the bouncing wings!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

She ain't that Peachy

Big Boss Mare

See that face? It looks so sweet. But it lies. It lies all of the time...Anyways, I thought I should start out with my current gathering of horses in order. She is the queen and ruler of all who wander the property. She has faithful servants (I am one of them) and is always battling her enemy, Blake. She is a registered APHA tobiano, who came into this world in 2007. I went and saw her when she looked like this.
Baby Vegas!

I had lost my beloved paint gelding in March of 2007 and desparately wanted another horse. And for some odd reason, I wanted a baby. We looked at a few babies here and there, all paints and quarter horses, and then made the trip to Ontario, Oregon to see this precious thing. I was told that her registered name was DORS Peaches N Cream. Yep, friggin' PEACHES N CREAM. And she called her Peaches for short. Nooooooo I say! I know it is bad luck to change a horse's name. But I must. So I thought and thought, and it came to me. She is flashy like a Vegas show girl. Vegas it is! I do have to give credit to this lady though, she put her trust into an 18 year old girl to pay $1,000 in payments, and a painting from me to cover the other $500 she originally wanted, and halter break her before I got her. But I wanted that thing, and Blake liked her (even though we didn't touch her) and I was rushing, so we got her. And in Feb 2008, she arrived at our house, and promptly fell out of the trailer. I had a heart attack, but she was O.K.

My first moment with Vegas

She was absolutely disgusting and covered in mud, but I was so excited! I just rubbed her all over until it was dark out. The next morning, I couldn't wait to see her again. She soon figured out I was the bringer of food and treats, but I could see a little attitude showing. She was, after all, a cutter bred horse. I had such a hard time catching her once, I just sat down and cried and she looked at me carefully, and then came over. She isn't all evil. Soon she looked like this!
Almost yearling Vegas!

She figuring stuff out, and Blake promptly went to work to his thing (he never really learned how to act around horses) which in turn, really helps to bombproof the crap out of them. We didn't do too much our first year, but she sure did grow into a pretty girl.
Soooo pretty!

Well, I better get ready for work, so this storybook romance will continue next time...let me tell you, it gets interesting!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello. I have a lot of mares.

Soooo...I doubt too many will be reading this blog. But, I do what I want! Let's see here. I guess I better let you know a little bit about me. I am a 23 (almost 24) year old lady who has, you guessed it, four mares. And no money. But I wouldn't trade my mares for any money! I know you are all thinking "this chick is crazy" and yes, yes I am. I get told I am weird just about every day, and I like it that way. I also have two dogs, one English Mastiff by the formal name of Archimedes, Meaty if you want to be informal. Roxy is my harlequin Great Dane. And then, there is the Blake. My other half who tolerates my animal obsessions, and even joins in with me every once in a while! I got him turned from motocrosser to cowboy (oh yeah!). 

  And then...the mares. We have Vegas, Pandora, Lucy, and Bacon. I will do more in depth blogs on them throughout the week so you can meet them and get the idea of my herd of hormones. But for now, pictures!

My girls Bacon and Vegas

Blake, the most handsome boy ever.

Blake and his girls, Pandora and Lucy

Me, Roxy-Moo, Meaty, and Blake

The whole dang family!