Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting the Stink Eye

Winston has perfected the stink eye.  This afternoon I lunged him and he was not thrilled.  He started out lazy and listless.

We picked up the trot and then the canter.  We worked on prompt, obedient (haha) transitions.  He was much better than last time with the transitions, smoothly stepping into canter from my voice. 

Then he started transitioning back to trot after barely one 20m circle.  I told him to keep going in canter and to make it a nice forward canter.  He gave me the stink eye, bucked, kicked and took off hell-for-leather.  I got a forward canter alright.  I kept him going until he was relaxed, praised him for the forward, relaxed canter and then asked him to trot.  Okay, then.

We quit on that note.  My back is still very painful.  I asked Winston to pick up the lunge whip for me because I can't bend over very well, and he just looked at me and laughed. 

Jackson watched the whole thing.  I think he was encouraging Winston. 

Brett got Flash out and they worked on Flash's stretching exercises. 

We had a warm, sunny day in the mid 70s.  In the late afternoon, clouds moved in.  

Happy Halloween everyone!  We had two trick-or-treaters this year.  Pretty pathetic.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Video of Drifter

Here is some video I took Sunday of Drifter.  The owner rides him first, and then Brett got on.

I sent the video to our trainer Gayle last night.  She reviewed it and then gave Brett a call.  She thinks he is a really good fit and recommended going forward with the vet check.  She likes how he moves and she likes how comfortable Brett looks riding him.  I love Gayle.  She isn't focused on high dollar, big moving, warmbloods.  She looks at the rider and the horse, what they want, what they need, and their connection.  Her biggest question to Brett was "did you feel a connection with the horse." 

Fingers crossed on the vet check front.

Beautiful morning at Aspen Meadows.  My thoughts go out to all my readers and followers on the east coast.  Stay safe and dry.  Hurricane Sandra looks like she's going to blow hard.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Meet Drifter

We left early this morning for the three plus hour drive to Ojai where we would meet Drifter.  Ojai (pronounced OH-hi) is between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in the coastal hills.  It was dark when we pulled out.

When we arrived, we walked out to the paddock to meet Drifter.  He gave us the once over.

and then the twice over...

Get a load of his mane.  The owner gave him the nickname "Mufasa" because of the glorious mane.

He stands a little oddly at times, with one hind leg splayed out.

But, other times he stands perfectly square.  He's even and sound at all gaits.  It may just be a quirk but we'll ask the vet about it anyway.

Over the past year or so, Brett and I have looked at horses online.  Flash is getting more difficult to keep sound and, honestly, how many injections and medications do you cram down their throats in an (unsuccessful) effort to enable them to do what is difficult?  We think Flash is ready to move to a more leisurely lifestyle; doing the things he loves like mounted patrol work and easy ambles around the ranch roads.  The tough, steep trails and the dressage work... not his favorite thing.  And difficult for him.  Very difficult.

So, yesterday when I saw the ad for Drifter I immediately ran down to the barn and snatched Brett away from his work.  Drifter does obstacles, he rides on the street in traffic (motorcycles don't even phase him), he's eight, he's tall and stocky, he goes up and down steep rocky trails, and he pushes big time with that hind end.  His gaits are really pretty.

See how he's standing weird? 

But not all the time.  Or even most of the time. 

Brett rode him in the round pen and then they trailered out for a long trail ride.

We put down a deposit, will send video to our trainer, and schedule a vet check.

...back home just as the sun was setting over the ridge.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Quiet Day

I did something to my back, I think when I was mucking this morning, and it was back to VERY painful today.  I did a little laundry, played a lot of card games on the computer, and sat with the goats.  So productive, I know.  Brett planted a cottonwood tree in the goat area.  Gophers killed the sycamore we planted there last fall. 




Sedona on patrol

Another warm day here.  Tomorrow we are driving three hours up the coast to look at a horse for Brett.  Stay tuned.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fitness Friday. Ugh.

First, I want to thank everyone for their kind and supportive comments regarding Flash.  TeresaA asked if we had considered that it might be a sacroiliac (back) problem.  This is actually something the vet at Alamo Pintado brought up.  Since there is no easy way to diagnose it and treatment involves injecting with a VERY long needle, the vet recommended that we exhaust other more straight forward avenues first.  Otheres asked if Brett could ride Winston.  And, of course, I would let Brett ride Winston but that isn't something he is particularly excited about.  Winston needs to go forward at all times.  When he resists the contact, he needs to go forward.  When he throws his head, hops, bucks or otherwise shows appy-tude, he needs to be sent forward.  And Winston's forward is VERY forward.  Brett isn't used to Winston's big gaits and he doesn't find them comfortable or particularly fun.  So, while he is happy to help with Winston's education with sensory stuff, he's equally happy to leave the wild careening around the arena stuff to me.  Lori mentioned the possibility of a feed lease horse (basically someone lends you their horse for free -- you pay for the care: the feed, farrier, etc.).  Fortunately, Brett will be able to start riding Flash at a walk in just over a week.  Once they start on that part of the recovery path, Brett won't have a lot of time for another horse.  And the stuff that he loves to do with Flash like mounted patrol work... well there aren't many well trained mounted patrol horses out there for feed lease. 

Enough procrastination on the topic of this post.  Fitness Friday.  Hahahaha. 

Ten days at the Alisal = three large meals per day = gaining back the two pounds I lost plus an additional two.  Lumbar sprain means limited exercise.  I am getting less sore and stronger every day.  I can now muck, I can go for walks, I can ride at walk and trot.  I'm hoping to go back to the gym next week.  I'm trying something new, something someone told me about while we were at the Alisal.  She said she had the best luck with losing weight (and she's my age) when she gave up bread and refined white flour products like pasta.  I'm giving it a shot.  So far, so good.  I'm down almost two pounds in a week.  I've been a very good girl - until tonight when we had a wonderful baguette with our chicken and potato dinner.  You gotta live too.

My bucking boy is feeling fit and fine.  I worked him on the longe line the other morning so we could do some canter work.  The rocking of the pelvis and lumbar required to effectively ride the canter are not a happy thing for my back.  I'm also not ready to ride out the occasional buck he throws in when transitioning to canter.  Good thing.  He was in a vinegar mood and took exception to me demanding that he transition when I asked and not when he felt like it.  He bucked.  A lot.  Silly boy.  When I ride him, he is improving in his rhythm and suppleness.  It's all good.

Lastly, here is the first installment of the daily picture.  Votes came in all over the map with no clear winner.  So, I am going to take Terry's advice and use the front porch view since it will be easy to photograph in all kinds of weather.  Today was warm, not hot, and breezy.  Beautiful.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Flash Saga, continued. Again.

Poor Flash.  And poor Brett.  Figuring out and fixing Flash continues to be a huge challenge.

Yesterday morning, Brett rode Flash in the arena.  He looked and felt fine at walk and canter.  They did a bit of warm up trot/jog and Brett didn't notice anything.  I was busy putting Winston away after lunging him so I can't say if he was 90% or 100% sound at the jog.  But, he was sound enough that Brett didn't feel anything.

On my way back to the house, I walked out and stood in the middle of the arena and asked Brett to trot Flash forward so I could see how he went.  Initially, he looked good.  Then he took a step on that left hind, stumbled, and was way off.  He didn't work out of it, instead it got more pronounced.  Brett said to me, "its like he pulled a muscle or something."  Hmmmm, that got me thinking that maybe we are dealing with a soft tissue injury.  I sent an email to our vet and she concurred that it was worth a try putting Flash on a soft injury recovery schedule.  We don't have the money to do an MRI or ultrasound so we will just try this. 

Brett is grumpy and discouraged... and broke.  Flash is on pasture rest for two weeks so Brett is depressed about not riding.  Let's just say Brett's not in a good place and leave it at that.  After the two weeks of rest, Brett can ride Flash for five minutes at walk, once a day, for a week.  Then 10 minutes a day, for the next week.  Once he gets to 20 minutes, he can add five minutes of trot building to 20 minutes; then add canter.  It's a long haul.  I've done it before with Auke, when he had a tendon tear, and it worked well but it does feel like forever.

Beautiful Day today -- Passage was soaking up the sun under a muck cart.

Now for a survey.  On a couple of blogs I read, the posts end with a shot of the garden or ranch or whatever.  The same shot, the same time of day, included on every post.  I like the idea and I like watching the changes so I'm going to do the same.  Or, try to do the same.  My question is: Which of the following "views" would you like to see at the end of every post?  The view with the most votes will be the one I use.

The Garden view

From the Front Porch view

From the Bedroom Porch view

Boulders and arena view

Barn to the House view

Across the Pasture view

Back Driveway view

I'll compile the votes over the next few days and start my "view shots" next week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Git Along Little Doggies

Sunday morning, before checking out of the Alisal, we drove cattle.  We started by moving 100 head from one of the holding pastures up to their winter pasture by the lake.  It was cool, with misty fog hanging over the ranch when we set out.
Saddled up and ready to go.  Brett's leading the way on Wilbur.
Tony Thompson, head wrangler at the Alisal.   Tony is a cowboy in the best sense of the word.  He's all about riding with feel; soft hands; and compassion.
Sue, one of our fellow boot-campers, looking at the cattle we are going to move.

Tony lined us up in the holding pasture and gave us instructions on how to collect the cattle.  

Some of the cattle were still taking their morning nap and weren't real interested in moving.

And some others were way off under the trees.
We moved them into a big bunch...

...and started moving them out of the pasture, and up towards the lake.

Calvin (my awesome palomino) and I were right behind Tony, at the front of the herd.  Our job was to keep then from veering towards us. 

We did such a fine job that the cattle foreman, on the left, asked Tony if we would help him move two more herds.  Heck, yes!!

Brett on Wilbur.  When we left the Alisal, Brett said to one of the wranglers "How 'bout I pay you a couple thousand dollars and you put Wilbur in my trailer."  ... Brett loved that horse. 

This is Wes on Tonto.  Wes had never ridden before and Tonto, a little pinto, took great care of him.  Tonto wouldn't do more than walk, or reluctantly trot if Wes kicked with all his might, legs and arms flapping with the effort.  Wes got the "best sport" and bootcamp mascot award for trying so hard and joining in the laughter about poor Tonto.