Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Misty's First Ride of the Summer

I started Misty under saddle a couple years ago, but I’ve not felt very confident about it and knew we both needed some professional help.

Since Misty is my first horse following my 20+ year horse hiatus, and….
Since I’d never started a green horse before, and….
Since I didn’t have transportation to riding facilities until this year….
Our progress has been very slow.

That's ok; we aren't in a rush. However, this is the summer for action. No more excuses.

Misty had her first ride of the summer this morning. Not by me, but by a local professional. I’ll call him C.T. for Cowboy Trainer.

I hauled Misty to C.T.’s training facility where he first evaluated her in the round pen. I was happy to see her education from last April’s horsemanship clinic had stuck with her. She whinnied and sniffed the air and was curious about the strange surroundings, but wasn’t goofy or spookish.

In the round pen she initially displayed some defiance. Nothing extreme - just normal equine I-do-not-know-you-so-why-should-I-do-this sort of defiance when asked to work during her usual morning nap time. But in a matter of minutes, she was attentive, respectful, and completely hooked-on to C.T.

Once C.T. had established a relationship with her through ground work, he hopped on her bareback and rode her in the round pen with just a rope halter. Then he saddled her and rode her outside and down a long driveway to the outdoor riding arena, still using only a rope halter.

I was amazed.

She didn’t spook when someone noisily dragged a trash can across the dirt.
She didn’t spook when someone drove by in a loud tractor.

C.T. rode her in the arena at a walk, trot, and canter.


This was the first time Misty has ever cantered under saddle and she did very well. She was calm, relaxed, and obedient.

C.T. was calm, relaxed, and provided leadership from the saddle.

When asked to canter, she picked up the correct lead most of the time. C.T. had no trouble steering her in just the rope halter. She didn’t get squirrelly or try to gallop off when cantering and she came to a stop exceptionally well for a horse transitioning from a canter to a stop for the first time…in just a rope halter.

I was thrilled to see her behave so well and to know what kind of riding horse she will be for me if I too am calm, relaxed, and provide leadership from the saddle.

We have another session on Thursday and this time I will take my camera.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Juliette, of Honeysuckle Faire, has presented me with the Honest Scrap award. Thanks Juliette!

Juliette is a talented artist and equestrienne with a very kind heart. She admirably works to retrain retired racehorses so they may be adopted into forever homes. Read all about her foster Thoroughbreds and life with horses on her blog. You will also be delighted by her unique and colorful artwork. Visit Juliette at Honeysuckle Faire.

The Honest Scrap award comes with a few fun rules that recipients must follow.
  1. Recognize your award presenter and link back to their blog in your post.
  2. List 10 honest things about yourself.
  3. Present this award to 10 admirable bloggers and link to their blogs.
  4. Leave a comment on your recipients' blogs to let them know to visit your post to retrieve their award.
Here are 10 honest scraps about me:
  1. Remember that classic western TV show "Bonanza" about the Cartwright men living on the Ponderosa ranch? When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up and become Mrs. Little Joe Cartwright. I was so in love with Little Joe that my dad surprised me one day and took me to a rodeo where Michael Landon (Little Joe actor) was performing. I was dumbfounded when Michael Landon entered the arena in a blaze of fake gunfire while pretending to shoot himself in the foot. This wasn't the Little Joe of my dreams! And his hair was different and he wasn't riding Cochise, his trademark black and white Paint horse. That was my first in a long string of romantic disappointments.

  2. I consider myself a woman who likes to cook. But since this is honest scrap, I must admit that I like to collect cookbooks and read recipes more than I actually like to cook.

  3. I love black licorice. Most people I know hate black licorice which means I don't have to share mine.

  4. I have an autograph from Sean Connery the actor. My dad got it for me when he sat next to him on an airplane. It was scribbled on the back of an envelope, so I asked my dad to take it to work and have his secretary type it up neatly on a clean piece of paper so I could frame it. Ok...so I wasn't the brightest kid.

  5. I'm a good citizen and faithfully return my shopping cart to the store entrance or to the nearest buggy corral. I never abandon my cart in the parking lot where it might run loose and beat up helpless parked cars.

  6. When traveling long distance in a car I must have Doritos with me. It is not an enjoyable road trip unless I can snack on Doritos while driving.

  7. My favorite color is green.

  8. Avocados are my favorite fruit. Bananas are my 2nd favorite, but they have to be just ripe and I have about a 12 hour window to eat one before I consider it too ripe.

  9. I once rode a camel in Egypt.

  10. I love to knit. This year I hope to finish the 2nd sock in a pair I began knitting more than 2 years ago. But honestly, I do love to knit.
And now I pass along the Honest Scrap award to these fine bloggers:
  1. Adventures Of A Horse Crazed Mind
  2. A Good Horse
  3. Campin' Horseluvr
  4. Green Slobber On My Shirt
  5. Grey Horse Matters
  6. Highland Hooves
  7. Horse Of Course
  8. Nuzzling Muzzles
  9. Rocky Mountain Yankee
  10. When Lilies Fly

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cowgirl Flip Flops

I've been down and out fighting the flu or some such strength zapping virus.

Today is the first day I can sit upright for any length of time, so I must share the new summer footwear I purchased the day before this bug knocked me flat on my backside.

I don't have many cowgirlish things.

I don't even have an authentic pair of cowgirl boots.

I'm repenting.

I'm shopping.

But until I find the right pair of boots, I'll be stayin' cool...or at least my toes will...in my new cowgirl flip flops.

You can see more styles of cowgirl flip flops at Montana Silversmiths. Enter keyword "sandals" in the Product Search box.

Happy shopping, Ya'll.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Road Trippin'

I went on vacation! I got away...out of town...with my husband!

It was a quick road trip, but a trip none the less. It's not often I get to go on vacation with my husband. Thank you to our good friends, D & D, for taking care of our hooved, pawed, and winged family members while we were gone. All the animals, large and small, were happy and healthy when we returned.

We left last Thursday morning and stopped at one of my favorite breakfast spots in Georgetown, Colorado.

Tee Hee Hee.
I wish they sold T-shirts at this place.

We drove over the mountains and into Utah. It's June and what did we find in the Colorado mountains?

That's right. Snow!

Fortunately it warmed up as we left Colorado.

We visited Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. I'd never been there before.

It was spectacular.

The park is full of huge rock formations and over 2,000 natural sandstone arches.

The epitome of the rugged, wild west of the United States.

My favorite rock formation called "The Three Gossips".

My husband under the "Sand Dune" arch.

One of the "Windows" arches.

Utah's famous "Delicate Arch".

"Delicate Arch" from a Pro's perspective.
Photo by "National Park Service Photo".

One of the park's residents who kindly posed for a photo.

Yes, I wanted to bring it home with me. But my husband has decreed a "2 for 1" order in our household. He says if I bring 1 more critter home, I have to get rid of 2!

Dude string horses near Moab.

I would love to return and see the area from horseback.

If you are ever in Southern Utah, be sure to visit Arches National Park. It's incredible!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Is Your Horse Pampered?

My friend who lives in another state mailed an advertisement to me that she clipped out of a local newspaper. I've never seen an ad quite like this one. There must be a large market of horse lovin' women in her town.

Speaking for myself, since returning to horse ownership:

1. I don't have the time to pamper myself. (Too busy feeding, fussing, and shoveling manure.)
2. I don't have as much cash for pampering myself as I did B.H. (Before Horses)
3. I get more joy out of pampering my horses than myself.

For years, I had lovely acrylic nails. They were the first thing to go when horses came to live with me. I don't miss the nails at all. In fact, they were kind of a nuisance. I look back now and wonder where I found the time to sit for an hour every 2 to 3 weeks to have my nails done. I'd rather be at the barn.

There are a couple of pampering activities I still enjoy, but not nearly as often as B.H. Occasionally I will treat myself to a pedicure or a facial, but that's about it.

Nowadays, the horses come first and personal pampering is a hot shower to wash the barn smell out of my hair.

Maybe it is time I made an appointment for a facial.

So who gets pampered the most in your household? You or your horse?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Misty's Monday Muse

Spring! Tis the season for veterinary care. Marley and I have been busy with our check-ups and we have pictures to share.

Usually, our equine general veterinarian (like a human's primary care physician) takes care of our teeth, but this time My Lady called a specialist; an equine dentist/chiropractor. My Lady is very glad she made that call because it turns out we needed a little more than the routine floating performed by our general veterinarian. (Floating is the process of leveling and smoothing a horse's teeth when they wear unevenly).

I went first. They doped me up with some drugs and put a big dental speculum in my mouth to prop my jaws open. I was backed into a corner so I wouldn't fall down while under sedation.

My legs are wobbly.

Feelin' Groovy.

I had some very sharp points on my teeth that were causing ulcerations on the inside of my cheek. Ouch!

The dentist used her power tool to grind down those sharp points and make my teeth level and smooth. Her assistant helped hold my head up. Nobody has ever accused me of being petite; I have a huge noggin!

Bye bye sharp points.

A close up of the power tool in action.
The assistant holds my tongue out of the way.

Equine dentists use a combination of power tools and other instruments much like a human dentist.

In addition to those sharp points, the dentist found the root of a cap (baby tooth) wedged between my molars. I'm 6 years old and this thing should have fallen out by the time I was 4. She said it probably felt like I had a piece of popcorn stuck between my teeth. Imagine if you had popcorn stuck between your teeth for 2 years! The nice dentist extracted the root. Ah, relief at last.

The annoying baby root that shouldn't have been there.

The dentist also found that my TMJ (temporomandibular joint) was a little stuck. This might account for the strange noise My Lady has heard when I chew my food. Since the dentist is also a trained equine chiropractor, she put her hands under my jaw and with a quick move and a popping sound, she adjusted it.

The dentist points to my TMJ.

All done, but still dopey.

Since I had a few issues and seem to wear down my teeth a lot, I'll be visiting with the dentist again in six months.

Next it was Marley's turn. His bite was better than mine and his teeth looked pretty good considering he hadn't been floated in more than a year. However, he did have a cavity. Too many Pony Pops Marley!

Marley gets a minor float.

Leveling Marley's incisors.

Rinse and spit.

Horses don't get cavities very often because their teeth are much harder than human teeth. But it can happen. The dentist filled Marley's cavity because it was large. Equine dentists use the same filling material as used on people and they cure the filling with the same kind of blue light. They don't like to numb the tooth though, because a horse won't understand not to rub their face raw if they can't feel it. The sedation has some general pain killer within and Marley was a trooper. He didn't react to the filling at all. In fact, the dentist said it was the easiest filling she's done in a long time. Good boy Marley.

Here is Marley's pretty new filling. Yes, this is Marley's mouth, not that of a hippopotamus. Look for the part of the tooth at the left that is all white, where the dentist is shining the light. Click to enlarge.

Those dark spots in the center of the other teeth are typical. Horses don't have teeth covered in enamel like people. Our teeth are made up of enamel and dentin, so those ugly dark spots are not decay, but are normal.

Marley is done, but still in la-la land.

While sedated, the dentist was kind enough to take care of Marley's personal hygiene needs unique to the boys. To maintain Marley's dignity and keep this blog G-rated, we did not take pictures of that!

If you would like to know more, here is an interesting article from U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine about Equine Dentistry.

You humans with the opposable thumbs...remember to brush and floss tonight!