Monday, April 20, 2009

Venus aka BAM

April 19

Well, today is the day Chickadee went home. We ended up trailering her down to her owners and picked up another horse of theirs, featured below.

So to start Chicka and I played our 7 games out in the open (indoor arena was in use by 4H) before tacking up and taking to the outdoor arena. She was a little wary of the bleachers, boat, camping trailer, cattle chutes, and grandstand outside of the arena. Not that I blame her, I mean that grandstand was pretty menacing, wooden boards and all. I could just see it's old wooden planks gnashing down on us as if it were nothing. Her leg aids today were absolutely fabulous, she moved off my leg with very little rein back-up, even on small circles on the rail. Figure-8's, weave, sidepass - all were part of our routine, as was walk/trot/canter. She even did a little leg yield (insert amazed raised brow here). Her trot was a little anxious and her canter was downright hilarious, as she kept nearly toppling over (well at least it felt like she would, she was leaning so dang far over) in attempts at cutting corners at the slightest touch of the rein to turn, all as an excuse to evade all those aforementioned horse-eating objects. She was pretty good in all, no huge spooks or anything - and I can hardly blame her for being leery, as this was only her second time ever in that arena (which was quite awhile ago) dealing with all sorts of new objects. We did play touch-it and she walked up to said objects with very little resistance, placing her nose nicely on them. Apparently touch still did not transpire trust but it did help somewhat. Her canter leads too were off but we finished on a good note with a relatively relaxed and balanced canter (or at least as much as we were going to get that day - she was already a little excited to begin with). Next, we hit the trails! We walked, trotted, and cantered throughout 70 acres of pasture, even crossing a bog in which she sank up to her knees. She was a little careful in the bog (the footing was quite bad and I could feel the mud sucking her in) however she did it with little hesitation and very willingly and calmly, despite sinking in up to her knees the entire way. She did offer a little hump during one of her canter strides but nothing more as we cantered away from her pasture buddies and out of sight. Overall Little Yellow Mare did great and was very relaxed returning home. Second shot at the trailer later (first shot she put two feet in but backed out) she hopped all fours in - she wasn't entirely comfortable in there (some pawing) but that's something that will come with more work on her owners' part. She seemed quite excited to be home and back with her old buddies!!

Big-Ass Mare (BAM), as I have aptly nicknamed her, is a good 17hh and is just coming three years old. She's a Thoroughbred (1/4) x Percheron...a huge brute of a mare - she literally towers over me. Oh, and her head is as big as my body. Okay, so I'm exaggerating only slightly. But she's still big. Her owner is the daughter of Chickadee's owners and plans on eventing with her. I'm pretty sure that by the time this mare is finished growing, she'll only have to step over the jumps on course. Apparently she doesn't always tie all that well and tends to have explosive episodes, but has had a bit and saddle (if I recall correctly), though no weight. She's been free-longed (ie. round-penned) and so knows w/t/c/halt voice commands; she's also quite respective of my space (my own observation). Her owner basically just wants her started (30 days) so that she has a good foundation and start on her when she goes to take her on in June. So, here goes! Here's to hoping she's a quick learner, as I would love to get her going well under-english in contact even. Oh, and here's to hoping I don't take flying lessons...because it's a hell of a long way down. And I already know I don't fly so well. No feathers does that to a person.

Good look brushing the top of her tailhead.'s staying dirty.

My making some pretense at preparing to climb the Sears tower. Oh yea and no, those are not "ghost orbs"...they're courtesy of my camera lens. Time for a new camera?

Almost...there...hey, pass me a stool so I can pet her nose...

Chowing down on some hay after our tour about the paddock. One seemingly pretty laid back lady (in general), I must say.

I also took a look at the gelding I am to work with for May, Hard Twist. He's a coming-3yo red roan gelding situated just outside of Airdrie - between home and the location I board Link at, actually. He's a QH with some great bloodlines; I think he might turn out to be a pretty good looking little man. His owner is a carriage company owner/trail guide and just basically wants this little guy comfortable packing people at walk/trot (30 days). He is currently unstarted (only halter-broke). All I can say is I hope he doesn't live up to his name...though I have to admit that if I am doing my job properly he shouldn't. Lol. I am thinking I will start him about May 1.

Two more May horses are coming in from Red Deer April 27, both for just 30 days so they have a good start on them for when their experienced owners take over. Both are 3yo QH mares, one a buckskin, one a red roan, and both unstarted under-saddle though apparently they have some ground work. They'll be boarded where Link is at.

So, 4 outside horses total for the month of May and I am trying to line up 5 or so for June. Plus I have 3 of my own to work on, so 7 horses a day! I will likely try to rotate a bit and leave one day off for all of us. Like I said, no rest for the wicked...but the wicked is lovin it haha.

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