Saturday, June 26, 2010

Better late than never!

What's the latest and greatest?

Well I am back to work out of town as of this last Wednesday, so I have got a little more time to blog. Consequently, I also have less time for the horses unfortunately (work started back up a lot earlier than I had anticipated but being single now and having some decent bills to pay off myself, well I could use the work anyway so I am not complaining, haha) and thus the client horses have all gone home and I have yet to replace them. I had a few I had to turn down unfortunately! On the other hand, I was getting a bit burnt out and will greatly enjoy the time I have at home to just work my own horses.

Toffee went home after being worked both in the indoor and outdoor arenas - he is a bold horse who really handles everything new like a charm. Not that I expected anything less though, since that is the same type of attitude that was giving us troubles, haha. He finished though responsive to weight shifts/leg aids, consistently stopping on a dropped rein, working off a loose rein, some sidepass, and w/t/c. His canter was beautiful - he was doing several laps of the arenas, no bucking or resistance. I did not feel he was ready to do any trail riding in the fields so we abstained there, but he certainly is ready for trail riding in the bush with other horses, so his owners will be doing that for sure!

Princess left two days after Toffee; our work ended on a high note also. I had done some additional tarp and rope work (including turning her loose in the roundpen with ropes flapping around and between her legs) as well as quite a bit more trail riding in the fields. Her w/t/c was excellent, her canter was starting to slow and balance nicely. Her sidepass, leg aids, leg yields, turns on the haunches/fore, back-up, etc were all fantastic. The day she left I saddled her up for her owner and showed her all Princess' 'buttons' - she seemed very pleased and took her home to do some trails and lots more arena work.

Cody continues to do well and is starting to warm up to me even more. The last few sessions he was not so quick to move away from me after I had turned him loose, so I would pet him then make sure I was the one moving away right away - several times he simply stood and watched me go, as opposed to moving off himself. Our last session together however, he actually followed me to the gate!!! I rubbed him some more before walking through the gate, and he moved closer so that I could rub him through the gate!! It was phenomenal - a small step, but such a huge step for this little guy. I could tell he wanted to be with me and that he wanted the attention, but that he had just been too nervous to actually do it - he is slowly starting to overcome that, which is fantastic! Under-saddle it is still difficult to get him moving loose, relaxed, and supple, but he is getting there. His sliding stops, spins, etc are fantastic - he is so responsive and willing to please.

Not too much new going on with Silver yet. I would like to move him to where I can use him more regularly, but we'll see, this winter is going to be a busy one. I hate that the poor guy is not doing much other than sitting in pasture, but I have yet to find someone appropriate to lease him, and there is no way I could ever bear selling him for fear of what his future might bring. So, the two of us will just have to suck it up for now!

Koolaid is another story. I had been unable to see him for the 4 months he was down at Woodline Equestrian Center (Calgary) and to be honest I did not put a whole lot of effort into the matter because I trusted this well-known, supposedly decent facility. So one can imagine my shock when I went down to Woodline to show Koolaid to a potential lessee and found this:

For reference, this is what he looked like this time last year:

Yup. The photos do not do him justice, but more bones were jutting out than should be, and he had lost that spark in his eye. At first honestly I did not know what to do (except try not to cry); all I knew was that I needed to get him out of there asap, with the least amount of people knowing ahead of time (for fear of some type of backlash somehow). Three days later, I pulled him out and placed him at a different facility, one who is actually *gasp* feeding him! I actually called the SPCA as well as a vet out to inspect Koolaid for documentation purposes; the SPCA, as well as the individuals managing Woodline itself, all told me Koolaid was in good condition. In fact, in their letter to me - that I received after I picked up Koolaid but that had been written prior to my picking him up, the lessee's proclaimed proudly that Koolaid had lost weight and put on muscle. Had I read it prior to my seeing Koolaid, I would have been down at Woodline instantly. Koolaid was at a proper weight when he left, but he did not have weight to lose - he wasn't overweight. He had been at an ideal weight but just lacking muscle. However I know my horse and he needed a good 200lbs - his hip bones were sticking out, his tailbone was prominent, his neck and shoulders and even head were accentuated, and his back was lacking fat. The vet I had out also agreed that Koolaid was underweight (as well as all the individuals at the new facility we moved him to!) and scored him at below ideal as a 4/9. He still had some weight to lose before he was at death's door of course, but he was probably about halfway there. He was nowhere near his alert self and seemed tired and blase about the world. He is since picking up weight and still is being ridden lightly, and you can bet my ass that this time I will be checking up on him reguarly rather than simply relying on a facility's reputation! Lesson learnt here: CHECK ON YOUR HORSES!! We all lapse at times when we are busy, but when something happens, it comes at the expense of our horses.

Link has been doing great; he is at a decent weight and is picking up a bit of condition. He has filled out so much that my instructor, who had not seen him for a few months, mistook him for his bulkier sister - she did not recognise him at first at all!! I actually feel like I have a ton of horse beneath me now ;) Unfortunately I was feeling pretty burnt out and was constantly short on time the past month or so, so he was only ridden here and there. Now that all the client horses have gone home, my time will be dedicated solely to him, Cody, and Onyx. I am hoping we can still hit up a show or two this year, just for the experience at least. We have been jumping a little under instruction and are doing well. It's taken me some time to re-find my seat jumping, but I am getting there quickly and Link is quickly learning to balance himself underneath me as well so that his jump is not so flat. Lots of fun!

Onyx continues to be pretty shy but she is exceptionally intelligent. She should make a fantastic youth or kids horse, so I am excited to get more work in on her and market her as such. We will definitely have to attend a show or two this year prior to her sale (finances and time willing). She handles everything new very calmly and is just an overall absolute joy to work with.

That is about it for now! I will try to keep this blog up-to-date, though I will not be home until after July 7, so it will be a bit before I am back on the horses and have something to blog about :)

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