There will be mud

May
2014
02

posted by on Life with Circe, OTTB

It rained a lot which mean ponies were eager to get out after being stuck inside. It also meant mud. Oh how the ponies love the mud. Especially The Circe Effect she is a total pig pen photo 2photo 3photo 4photo 1(1)photo 5

Raindrops

Apr
2014
29

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

bucket heads

bucket heads before the storm

It’s raining and its going to rain for days. Stupid. I was planning on washing and re-waterproofing my blankets and sheets this week. Yeah thats not happening how can i dry them in the sun with yanno no actual sun. Instead i will trot my happy ass back and forth to the barn every 4 hours so the girls have some turnout and don’t get to drenched and i can keep an eye on them. This is a downside of self care thats a 30 min drive from your house.

Last night when i brought the girls in because of the rain i noticed they were both extra mellow and though they ate their dinner neither was too interested in the hay i tossed or the flake of alfalfa each got to entertain them. Which for my horses is really freaking weird. There is a minor virus making the rounds at a few private barns so of course i got my panties in a bunch and debated with myself for an hour while i watched every single little move they made if i should call the vet or not.  Maybe they had been running around the field like idiots, maybe they were full on grass. My barn is often a deserted island so its not like i could ask anyone if they had noticed anything. I went over and ovet every possibility. They were both bright eyed but very sedate. Which isnt the norm with my girls. I opted to let it go one night and see how they were in the AM. Stacy who does my mornings has reported they both ate all their hay, ate breakfast, drank water and  Jez was no longer “mellow” and was circling ready to go out in the rain. So out they went. Of course in 2 hours i’ll be out there to dry them off and assess if they need to be in for the rest of the day and over night. This will be going on until Thursday until the rain stops. Good times.

This and that

Apr
2014
28

posted by on Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel, OTTB

Finally standing at the block

Finally standing at the block

When the vet came out to chip the girls i had her to an evaluation on their body conditions, i spoke to her about the constant heat cycles, their separation anxiety and we discussed the spring grass and if i should be worried about it.

Heat cycles: Circe is in almost constant heat. Jez isn’t as bad she was in for 9 days went out no big deal, though 9 days is a little long for her. I’m keeping an eye on it for now as its spring and the first heat can be intense. If it doesn’t even out by summer though i might have to re-address it. Circe is super cranky and though i haven’t chalked up her tude to horse PMS just yet, its possible this is the source.

View from the top of the field (too much clover)

View from the top of the field (too much clover)

Spring grass: After discussing with my vet the pros and cons and my horses histories im letting them live off the land for spring. Both girls are on a ration balancer now so they are not getting any grain and being thoroughbreds and from MD i’m not to concerned with them over doing it on the rich spring grass. Though i will be keeping an eagle eye on their weights, checking for pulses, heat in the hooves and on the look out for possible gas colics which there are more of during the spring. Their body conditions are pretty good according to my vet. Circe is a 6 and Jez is a 6.5 both need to muscle up and Jez could stand to lose 50 lbs. That will come with work which i hope will start happening end of the first week in May. By then her ulcer meds should be in full effect. I will be starting her over from the ground up. I really want to set her up for success.

walking around the parking lot

Walking around the parking lot

Surprise: Circe has a stone bruise. Right hind, so she has the week off. Its a small one  (chickpea sized) so i’ve been putting Duresole on it and it really doesn’t seem to be bothering her much as shes been tearing around the field like a goofball. I’m glad we got in a session with Michelle before all this came up cuz were also expecting rain this week which is going to put a hitch in my step and really piss the girls off because they will have to come in over night and they are now wild ponies who only want to be outside all the time. That totally happened fast then went from spoiled stalled half the time horses to demanding to be outside all the time wild ponies who only want to live off the land.

Chip chip hooray!

Apr
2014
26

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Life with Jezebel

microchip

Gettin’ chipped

It was something I wanted to do before I moved but it didn’t work out. My vet needed to get a new reader and it was going to have to be done after the big move. Yes, i’m talking about micro-chipping my horses. As animal owners we regularly chip our dogs and cats, its kinda a common practice but with horses not so much. It really should be for a few reasons but the most important is positive identification. If your horse is lost or stolen a microchip will almost always work as proof positive who the owner is. Nothing works better. Not a tattoo, registration papers or 100 photos of you smooching your horses face, nothing. A chip however can not be altered and is proof as to who owns the animal.

Horses get lost and stolen. It happens even though it’s not anything we want to think about. Fences come down in storms and horses get out. Unscrupulous people back trailers up to barns, cut fences and steal anything they can walk on to a trailer. Contrary to popular belief (and contrary to the person I got into an argument about this with just last week) horse thievery is not a thing of the past. People steal horses to turn a quick buck and auctions are supposed to scan for chips before a horse can be sold. Now thats no guarantee but if you can track a horse to a sale even if its already sold you have a better chance of getting your beloved horse back with a chip implanted.

I cant tell you the countless number of times I have seen people trying to retrieve or track down a horse they sent away for training that got mysteriously sold. I swear I see a post like this on Facebook alone twice a month. Imagine if that happened and you found your horse only to have a dispute over who actually owns the horse. These things happen and your best defense is to protect your horse with a chip. Especially if its not that expensive to get done. Mine will come in around 80 bucks a pop but i could have gotten it cheaper if i bought the chips though NetPosse. I opted to just go with my vet from top to bottom since it is a 14 gauge needle. She numbed up the spot first and it made the process so much easier with calm ponies. They were in fact both calm and it went very smooth. I have a little more peace of mind knowing that in case im ever separated from my lovely mares that i can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they belong with me.

Need another reason? Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, all horses newly-registered with the FEI must be microchipped. Its the wave of the future in horse identification.

posted by on Review

The Viper Noble Outfitters

The Viper In Zebra!

When the good folks over a Noble Outfitters approached me about reviewing one of the their products i couldn’t have been more thrilled as i secretly had been spying their site and products for a while. They have a nice line of equestrian clothes, bags, footwear and accessories. After looking over the catalog of items I decided I wanted to give one of their barn knives a go and put it though its barn knife paces. Having just moved to self care for my two OTTB mares I am finding theres a lot of little things I need to make my every day care possible and a barn knife is definitely one of those things. The Viper was selected and I was pretty happy when it showed up and the handle was in zebra print!

Pros: It’s a nice sized knife and fits in my hand really nicely. I wear a size 8 glove so this was almost a perfect fit for me. The construction was sturdy, this knife feels substantial and not like the flimsy pocket knives we all had in Girl Scouts. The handle construction is of a molded plastic that feels strong and tough. It has a really great matte finish to it which also helps to keep the knife in place in your hand while you’re using it. Slippage was not anything I was worried about. Also it’s sharp as all get out. I was able to cut my hay bale twine with ease, sliced right though what I wanted it to… like butter.

Cons: I had some trouble figuring out how to close the knife. I keep looking around for a button or some mechanism so that I could easily fold it without cutting one of my fingers off. I would totally be that person. I did eventually figure out that there a bar on the inside where the blade sets that you have to push then the knife closes very easily. Maybe i’m knife stupid but this feature being a little more obvious would have saved me a little frustration.

Lowdown: Over all The Viper by Noble Outfitters is a really great little barn knife. The price point is affordable at $22.99, it feels really good in your hand and for barn chores its a great choice for a knife. I’m definitely keeping this thing handy, it has a clip so keeping close is easy peasy, its so much better then trying to run down a pair of scissors (yanno the pair you can never find) or using that one left over half dull steak knife of doom that you have laying around the barn and have to use like a saw to get bailing twine off hay.

posted by on Barn tales, Off Farm

It was a beautiful day, the perfect day for riding. I however have one horse with ulcers and the other AKA spooks-a-lot is not yet conditioned to her new ring so were still just doing ground work together for a bit. So after i visited with my girls and did my barn chores i headed down to my old barn to visit with M and Peanut.

In the woods!

In the woods!

It feels a little funny diving up the long driveway of the barn i used to board at but i have no regrets making the move on to greener pastures. I noticed that the property was put up for sale in the beginning of April because i check horse property sales like i have OCD so I might not be the only one moving in the months to come if the place actually sells.

Willa, M’s horse is fully in rehab for her laminitis flare up. Shes under saddle and doing trot sets which is awesome and shes cleared to start cantering next week if every thing stays on track. Willa is now in a small paddock outside the back of the barn next to the hospital paddocks that Jez spent months in after out arrival at this farm last summer. Its a dry lot and thats what Willa needs. I opened the barn doors and called to Willa and she nickered to me, came right over and nuzzled me! It totally melted my black cold heart that Willa is so sweet to me. The usually stoic pony really warms up to you if you invest a little time gaining her trust. I told my better half about it when i got him and he said ” Your part of Willa’s herd”  I think he’s right. I thought i was there to help M organize her new tack locker which btw is my old tack locker but M had other ideas. M Tacked up Willa and we went for a trail ride and by that i mean M went for a trail ride and Peanut and i huffed and puffed on foot behind her.

photoshop magic

Willa and M

We walked out the bridle path up the hill past the indoor and out into the woods and did the loop. M on Willa me on my feet, peanut on her paws. It was such a beautiful day i didn’t even care that i’m old and out of shape. Willa is a great trail horse i was so impressed with her. Here i was tagging along on the ground and she didn’t even bat an pretty black eyelash. Calm and steady the whole way. If they got a little ahead they would wait for the rest of us to catch up and Willa stood  on a loose rein and didn’t dance around, she was just happy to be out and having fun. She didn’t prance, jig jog or spook once. Even when i would come up behind her and put my hand on her rump, or the neighbors dogs came running out. Oh and it was WINDY out! Earlier in the day Circe had a lesson with her trainer and the wind really freaked her out but Willa… rock solid.  We did the loop and headed back i have that ridden the trail with Tina and Wasabi on Jezebel. It was only a few miles but it felt like 10 when we got back. I can really feel what not riding does to you it makes you huff and puff on a little trail walk. Note to self get back in the saddle.

It made me eager to get my own horses trail ready so that M and i could ride together on nice days. M has said she would trailer out to me and explore the trails in my area thats something I’m really looking forward to. I never really got to do the trail riding i wanted to over the last year at that place. With the winter from hell, Jez’s rehab and subsequent ulcers, Tina left, Willa had the flare up and the other ladies at that barn were none to keen to go out on the trial with a OTTB (which boggles my mind but whatever) So the fates were stacked against me but this year… this year will be different.

 

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Jezebel, Training

Purrty!

Purrty!

Jezebels meds have arrived! They have been sitting in customs since April 7th and finally got here.  I’ve been checking my international tracking number every day like i have OCD. There is light at the end of the Jezebel tunnel. Meds you ask? I decided to go ahead and treat her for gastric ulcers as well as the hind gut. She was palpating for the gastric and with the move and everything else i thought it best to just treat her and then start her training over… from scratch.  She will be getting Omeprazole (aka blue pop rocks) and since its way way way cheaper to order direct outside of the US of A thats what i did. Takes a while but 175 bucks versus 1000 makes my shrinking wallet happy. So she starts her meds tomorrow. I will be top dressing her food with it for 28 days.

In the meantime i’ve decided to work with her a little on the ground. Nothing to stressful and nothing that will make her stomach acid slosh around too much. Just some simple walk, halts, back ups. A little time on the lunge just to remind her that she is required to work and listen to me. Nothing more then 10 to 15 minutes a day. Once shes a couple weeks into her meds i will have Michelle work with her to get her restarted for real. Poor baby is always in some kind of rehab.

Graze break!

Graze break!

I walked Jez out to the small paddock. I had to go all the way to the far end to find a place that was flat enough. On the way out i would stop and ask her to lower her head. Jez is an expert at this game. Halt, then a small tug on the lead and she lowers her head, its a three tug game to get her nose all the way to the ground. However we’ve only played this game in a ring never in a paddock. A paddock with lush green grass none the less. Jez decided that the game was to go like this. Halt, small tug, eat grass with your nose to the ground. Ha! I kept telling her it was a three tug game but she kept making it into a one tug game! Score one for Jez. Next i put her on the lunge and asked her to go out to the left. She did great except for that part in the beginning where she decided grazing was better then working. I asked more firmly and Jez relented and went out on the lunge at the walk then the trot. She did great to the left, relaxed happy and she always had an ear on me. Then we went to the right and she wasn’t as good. She was nervous and twitchy. Thats the same direction that she would rear. So note to self next time start right and see if this is a “bad” direction for her or maybe its just that the stomach acid was sloshing since going to the right i asked second.

I’m excited about the possibility of getting my horse back. I’m excited about having a plan for her  and that her meds are finally here. I’m excited about the weather not being so cold i can see my breath all the time. Spring is finally here and I’m optimistic i will get to share some of it with my beautiful ex racer Jezebel. I’m so excited i feel like jumping around because the new phone book is here! Now things are really going to happen.

posted by on Barn tales

The women who taught me to ride

The woman who taught me to ride horses

This isn’t really a Viva Carlos magical blog hop as in who inspires you. But I was inspired to write this after reading her blog. Mrs Bobbi Williams. The women who taught me to ride horses… for real. I was a tiny kid, 7 years old and I had done my fair share of pony rides. I wanted real lessons and I got them. From Mrs Williams. A weathered, hardened old women who owned the only local barn there was in my area of Los Angeles. She was a scary women, she was tough, she never smiled, she barked orders, she yelled really loud. She was also my only option for lessons, so I took them for years and she taught me how to ride. I went from being hauled around the ring on a broken down old nag to riding horses at the barn no one else would because they were afraid of them. I went from once a week lessons to working at the barn all summer for ride time, lessons and free leases of barn horses. I went from knowing shit about shit to being  able to really ride.

Lessons were group. Two to 6 riders. I moved up fast and progressed mostly out of sheer will. As a kid I had a natural seat, great balance but terrible posture, I never feel off (until i started jumping) I also had dyslexia and bad Nero Motor Function in a world before that was even a diagnosis of a learning disability. It affected me in not being able to understand left from right. I still have trouble with it and have real problems reading a schismatic or a map. I used to ride with a rubber band on my right wrist so I could turn right. Sadly I would often turn left. Mrs Williams was brutal, she yelled a lot, she was that kind of instructor. She never praised good riding she only criticized bad riding. Good riding was ignored. I would try and try and try to please her. I rarely could. I would run to the car in tears after my lessons but I always went back. My love of riding and horses won out of over her extreme teaching style. My mother would say she was harder on me then the other kids because she saw potential and I suppose looking back that might be true but from ages 7 to 14 it just felt like she was picking on me. More was expected of me, then the other barn rats. This was a fact and every one knew it. When I finally bought my own horse I stopped taking lessons from her. In fact I stopped taking lessons entirely because I just was burned out on being yelled at. I wanted to have fun with my horse and that’s just what I did. I boarded my horse with her for years until moving to a small private barn by the Griffith Park hills where I wouldn’t have to encounter all the negativity daily.

Looking back though she did teach me. Though all the yelling and criticism and tears, I learned proper position, I learned how to really ride, I learned how to jump, I learned horse care, I learned a whole lot. It was an amazing foundation that I call upon today. Would I trade it? I don’t know, I grew up in a very volatile home and the barn was my escape it would have been nice if that place was a happier environment for me but it was what it was. I would often escape to a stall with a favorite horse (i’m talking to you Answer) and just be with horses, that helped and that was allowed to happen.

Mrs Williams is gone now but the barn still stands, I believe its being run by a grandchild of the family. Parcels of the land has been sold off and condos surround the barn but its still there. Many people have very fond memories of the place but my are mixed, I do owe that mean old women some gratitude as I wouldn’t be the hardened, mean bitch, who can ride a horse I am today with out her influence. Its funny how life is.

Barn cats

Apr
2014
16

posted by on Barn tales, Rant

Flossie- The best kinda barn cat!

Flossie- The best kinda barn cat!

Who would have thought that barn cats could be a contentious issue. They are. I’ve been in a lot of barns and barn cats are necessary. They help to keep your barn pest free. Barns have rats, mice, snakes, birds. Barn cats help to reduce that. Barn cats are truly working animals. They have jobs, important jobs. In exchange for their work you provide them with proper medical care, a place to live and an occasional scratch. In the winter months you give them some supplemental food and maybe a heated water bowl depending on your climate. Barn cats shouldn’t be completely feral as you should be able to pick them up or at least get them in a carrier to get them to the vet once a year. Often they are pretty feral animals though which can make medical care a challenge. Unless of course you are in one of the barns I’ve been in, including the one I’m currently in. In that case what you have is big fat, overfed, over pampered, mollycoddled, house cats that just happen to live in a barn.

Bootsie- Terrible barn cat, great house pet!

Bootsie- Makes friends, never hunts

In my last barn we had four cats all ladies and I loved each and every one of them. Two cats lived in each barn. Only two out of the four cats actually hunted. The two that hunted, were really good hunters! I’d often watch them stalk a bird or a mouse until they got their prey. I always told them what good kitties they were when they caught a mouse a rat or a bird. I’d see one cat in particular always  in the field next door looking for critters to catch. It was more sport with the two that did hunt because I never saw an empty food bowl. Never. They were given two kinds of food, treats and lots of pets and snuggles. The two that didn’t hunt were just house cats. Always asking to be lap cats, crying for treats and food. They were sweet kitties but they were hardly working animals. They were pets. In other words they hit the lottery. They were lotto kitties.

Sasha - Hunter AND purr face!

Sasha – Hunter AND purr face!

When I moved into self care I knew there were two cats, one for each barn. Sasha a long haired calico female who is very social and Dash a gray male who was more reserved. Because its self care the veterinary care of the cats is voluntary and before i got there i hear there was a big squabble among the boarders of each barn about it. I’m glad i wasn’t there for that. Though Sasha is really the other barns cat i’ve seen her in my stalls stalking a mouse! Good girl! I leave my stall doors open during the day just enough for a cat to get in for just this purpose. Girl cats tend to be better hunters which is why you almost always see female cats when you’re at a barn. I’ve also seen Sasha in the manure pile looking for creatures and ive seen her in the back of my SUV when shes jumped in while i was unloading my car. Like i said social.

Dash is more reserved, i haven’t seen him stalk anything yet. Not in the barn or out of the barn. I have seen him begging for food. In fact i’ve seen him begging for food a lot. He talks as male cats do but Dash’s talking is more demanding. Yanno for food. I was up in the hay loft  and that is seems is where the cat food is and the litter box. Really a litter box for barn cats?!?  That too me is a bit extreme, i didn’t sign on for cleaning a little box for a barn cat. I muck enough stalls. up in the loft, Dash has has made himself comfortable on MY hay. I guess my hay being by the one closed window in the loft decided I had the best spot. I also see two giant bowls full of cat food, a cat igloo and  small pies of lose hay that was gathered into piles and i what i can only assume are many random cat beds. Really?… what… the …fuck…. Theres a section of the huge hay loft that we use for general barn storage and that section smells like cat piss. I’ve also seen evidence of cat spray. Another good reason to have female barn cats.  So basically its like a little kitty slice of heaven up there. Beds, never empty bowls of food, littler box and a free place to spray your cat piss. Good times.

AKA Freeloader

AKA Freeloader

Then I see dash begging for food. I tell him “i’m not feeding you” he continues to cry at me all afternoon and ignore him. He’s not real friendly so he wont really let you touch him but man oh man will he whine like a bitch for food. When his overflowing food bowls are up there with an abundance of cat food in them. Yeah, hes also a lotto kitty. In contrast I have yet to see Sasha up in the hay loft (where i really need her to be hunting) I’m guessing the loft is  Dash’s realm or as i have renamed him “Freeloader” I’m not giving him anything until i see him at least try to do his job. No treats, no extra food, no scratches or pets.  I cant really blame him too much as its being made easy for him not to work. Real easy.  Barn cats need to earn their keep, if i wanted a house cat i was responsible for id get one and it would be sitting on my lap when i write blog posts. I certainly am not interested in having a house cat at the barn I’m responsible for. Unfortunately its not just me and i cant make an arbitrary decision about how to handle the barn cat issue. I can however decline to participate in the whole barn cat thing. I have a feeling i would be met with much resistance if i tried to introduce a new barn cat policy. As in lets let the cats do their jobs and stop acting as if they were spoiled house pets. Instead i will quietly not be a part of it. When it comes time to pay for vet care of buy food i wont be laying down my cash. Well maybe a little for Sasha but Freeloader… no way.

 

 

Indian love call

Apr
2014
15

posted by on Barn tales, Life with Circe, Training

Just to give an idea of the scope and scale of the new ginormous ring.

Circe started off really good. Calm, relaxed ready to work when she walked across the street, into the ring and even on the lunge. That was until Jezebel started to call to her from across the street. Took Jez about 10-15 minutes to realize Circe was gone and then lost her mind. Eventually the calling back and forth came to a stop. Jez lost interest and Circe did some really nice trot work. Then we worked on the mounting block which she really didn’t want to stand next to but eventually did. It was a successful training session but Circe did have her mare moments. Made me really happy i have Michelle on my team once again. Circe is still in heat. Been like 15 days. The vets coming out in a week and a half i’m going to ask her about it. Seems prolonged to me, longer then shes ever been in heat before since I’ve owned her. Jez has been out of heat since the 9th Circe though… the heat that will never end!

Jezebel and Circe were totally doing the Indian Love Call song. Its a nasty habit and i will eventually break it but until i do whenever they call back and forth all i can think of is Slim Whitman! When i’m calling yooooooou, will you answer tooooo!