Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mind Your Manners Young Lady!

When I was a little girl, whenever I would get sassy, my Mother would say, "You mind your manners young lady!"...actually, now that I think about it I think she said something to that effect last week...but that's neither here nor there...the point is that I hear myself saying all sorts of things to my Hola that are irrefutably the same words and tone of voice that I once heard as a child. Especially when it comes to discipline! I am very lucky that the person who handles Hola most often (turning her in and out daily) is awesome at enforcing "rules", between the two of us she has had a consistent environment and as such has a healthy respect for people... however, being young, a mare and a smart little whipper snapper she has to ask the question every so often....

 "Really? You think you are the boss? Are you sure about that?"

Obviously my job is to ensure that I answer that question every. single. time. with a resounding, "Oh I'm the boss alright! As a matter of fact I want to move your feet and and be snapping about it! Now you can move your shoulder left and right, and now you can backup and you can move your hip left and right and now you can step around me to right and to the left and now you can back up ten steps. What was that you asked? *cup hand to ear* I cant hear you... Care to ask me again?"

The hardest part of training a young horse is not answering the question. The hardest part is recognizing that the question has been asked. And the second hardest part is not choosing to ignore it because you are distracted, impatient, not in the mood or out of time.

I think I'm pretty fluent in equine body language. I would rather answer a very lightly whispered question than wait for that question to become a shout (a kick or bite.) Those small questions are harder to recognize... ie-a slight inward (towards me) bow in the rib cage, taking that extra half step after I've stopped (when leading), lightly brushing my jacket with their muzzle as they turn their head, any seemingly inadvertent touch, even the way a horse will turn and look over their opposite shoulder to where you are standing. The problem is that most of us, including myself, avoid taking action until that question becomes obviously rude and pointed. It is just so easy to get distracted with something or caught up in a conversation and miss those little nudges that become pokes that become a push. But it is when we are distracted and not totally engaged in our horses that it is most important that we do stop and correct those initial naughty little behaviors. It sound evil but I love when I get to bop Hola when she is totally unaware that I'm paying attention. I will be standing talking and she will be sniffing my jacket, not touching but really intent and then I will feel the barest hint of a brush but I'm busy yakking so I ignore it and then out of the corner of my eye I see she has my jacket between her lips and in a split second my hand comes out and up and bop! right on the lip! Her eyes get huge and she jumps backwards and looks so startled... and then she gets to lickin' and chewin' like crazy. I love it. Hola being Hola she usually comes back to ask just one more time, just to make sure it wasnt a fluke. At which time I fix her with a hard stare and make that gesture like in Meet the Faulkers... I've got my eyes on you so "Mind your manners young lady!"

I love my horse!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Operation Gelding

What a busy busy week! I haven't done anything with Hola since Monday. I did blog all about that training session on Tuesday during one of my precious few hours on the computer but in one accidental click of the mouse I somehow deleted the whole thing. Then I said a very bad word.

Anyways, on Monday Hola bolted and spooked while on a lead line over one of those imaginary horse eating monsters that only horses can see or hear. Hola never spooks. I was unprepared but luckily held on to her. She blew by me and knocked my shoulder and my shoe right off my foot. The point of my whole post was to say that the Horse Gods have given me fair warning that it is time to upgrade my shoes! The little slip on leather Clarks I've been wearing (and jokingly referring to as my "safety first footwear") would have become a lesson in irony if I she had stepped on my foot just a little differently. So, I'm in the market for a proper pair of paddock boots. And Hola, she learned that no horse eating monster is as scary as me when she *insert gangsta accent* bust'ed all up in my space, 'n shit.

As for Operation Gelding... I was reading AQHA's America's Horse magazine when I noticed an article called Operation Gelding. This is a program run by the Unwanted Horse Coalition and is meant to provide the opportunity for people with stallions to come to a clinic where they can find affordable gelding services. This hombre gives that coalition two thumbs up!

A link to their site.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hola's Training Log 3

This afternoon I had an awesome day with Hola! She was such a good girl! I took her out to a new arena for the first time in months. It is also the first time that I've tried to work with her around horses (that she doesn't know). We had Ella and friends horse J. working right there in the arena with us and there were two horses sharing a fence with the arena. My goal for today was simply to have her stand quietly and in one relative spot when asked. I also wanted her to lead respectfully and to allow me to move her body around with driving pressure, touch and my "horsemanship stick" :P

Hola was awesome. She showed great confidence, was very respectful and was pretty damn calm about walking by the other horses even when they were trotting up the fence. We stayed at the arena for about an hour and a half and I probably spent three quarters of that time with her standing quietly in the shade. What I was really impressed with was, rather than getting tired and cranky and starting to make a fuss towards the end, she actually settled and became more responsive as time went on. When we got home I tied her to the wall right away and decided it was as good of a time as any to try spraying her with the hose while tied. I only did her legs and chest because that's what she's most comfortable with. She was fine with it. All in all it was another very successful day. I am so lucky to board off of a lady who is willing to take the time to halter and lead her in and out of the field/stall and who has really instilled a respect for space and boundaries. I think that has had a huge impact on her overall attitude and with how great she is to handle.

Right now Hola is going through stage where she really wants to try things on for size and see what she can get away with. So far a gentle reminder has been sufficient to get her to think twice about second guessing the rules.... Well, Yesterday Hola, for the first time since I've had her, decided to give kicking out a try (she was jacked up and loose in the field) let's just say it didn't go over so well... I don't think she will be trying that again anytime soon. Bless her heart, it was worth a shot:)

This afternoon she tried to get in to the barn (she knows she has to wait to be asked). Ella was standing there ground tied behind her... Well Hols was quickly and emphatically shushed out of the barn but on her way out her foot caught Ella's line and somehow it whipped up and smacked her in the belly! Well later in the day I was throwing the lead over her back and belly and she was much more concerned about anything touching her belly than she has been in the past. She even did a little crop/crowhop when I tightened the lead I had wrapped around her belly. By the end of the day she was back to being good about it but it really emphasized for me why it is so important to try to create positive experiences and reminded me how easily and quickly they remember a negative!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hola's Training Log 2

Yesterday I didn't get to the barn until late, right around feeding time. Brought the girls (Marm, Ella and Hola) in from the field loose. Hola was keen to be caught as she associates it with being brought in to her stall (she lives to eat and grain is her faaaavorite so going to her stall is a great thing as it means suppertime!) so I was a bit surprised when I tied her to the wall and she didn't put up any fuss. The past four days I have tied her then gone in to the barn and got a bucket with a handful of grain. (no treats by hand). I guess after just a few days she has figured out that being tied means food! Knowing how positively Hola associates anything to do with food is a serious advantage (in my mind) in that it allows me to easily create a positive experience. however, I know I have to be careful with it and make sure she doesn't start acting up when she doesn't get food. Anyways, rather than aiming for a set length of time I decided to focus on added pressure situations while tied. I had a blanket I wanted to try on her (for fit) so, after letting her give it a good smell, I put the blanket over her back, then pulled it down and around her body. She sucked up a little and looked at the blanket cockeyed (only her 2nd time have one put on) but she seemed to understand that she was tied and didn't pull at all. I then went and got out the fly spray. I have sprayed her a half dozen times and while she is good about it she still is a bit wary of the sound. Note- I filled an old bottle with water and used that to train with which allowed me to spray freely away from her and gave her a chance to get used to the sound before feeling the spray. Well last Night she kinda sucked in to herself a little when the first spray hit her but didn't seem to react at all differently for being tied. I was REALLY happy about that. I then went ahead and prepped all their evening feed (from where she was tied she could hear me but not see me... usually she likes to stand at the gate and watch.) she was maybe tied for 10 minutes total but I was just so happy with how she didn't paw or get stirred up by the sounds of supper, the blanket or the spray. It sure is nice when it all goes right!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hola's Training Journal

Isn't it Murphy's Law that just when I decided I would start blogging again I would loose my laptop! So here I am blogging on my iPhone. It took me 10 minutes to write this paragraph... perhaps this is someone's secret plan to govern my tendency to be verbose. (clearly not working thus far).

I am hoping I can use this handy little ap to kill two birds with one stone... I want to keep a log of my training sessions with Hola (that I started on paper yesterday) and to maintain some semblance of a functioning blog.

So for the past few days I've been tying Hola for ten minutes, picking up all her feet, asking her to follow the line and move her shoulders, hips and to back up by touch and by pressure.

This morning I brought her in and threw a blanket on her which she took like an old hand. I then tied her to the wall and set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes. About 5 minutes in I noticed the flies were really bad and really bugging her (she had no spray on). Now I faced a quagmire, on one hand I didn't want to torture her or create a negative tying experience... On the other hand she is going to have to learn to deal with itches and aggravations while tied without loosing her mind. In the minute I took to stand there to think about it she started to get really pissed and pull on that rope a little. My decision was made. The flies were not THAT bad (there were maybe 5 on her) not biting and she just needed to suck. it. up.. I waited a minute and watched her. Sure enough in just a short time she settled again and stood quietly. I quickly walked over and untied her. It worked out being a great lesson that ended well. She was tied for maybe 8 minutes total. Tomorrow I will spray her well before tying. My goal for tomorrow is to have her stand quietly in hand for 5 minutes as today I stopped to talk to L. and she acted like she had ants in her pants. One of the many things we are going to work on over the Fall/Winter. In fact, the other day I sat down with a few cue-cards to write a list of specific things I want Hola to have a good start on and/or even a solid foundation on by April. Eight cue-cards later I decided to type it out. Two pages later... I think I'm overly ambitious. I will share that list next time:)

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Laptop, Murdered

A few weeks ago DB murdered my laptop. He said he "tripped" but I've never seen DB trip, ever. He said that it accidentally slipped out of his hands. I've never seen anything slip out of DB's hands, ever. He's the most ridiculously adept athlete I've ever met. He says it went sailing out of his hands and off the edge of the balcony. He didnt spare me the gory details. The shards of glass. The bits and bites all over the concrete. I think he murdered my beloved big black laptop in a fit of jealous rage. He has always resented the time I spent with Dell. I have not been unable to blog much lately as a result. Five minutes on DB's PC and I'm ready to go all 'first degree' on the slow-as-molasses-piece-of-shit. I wonder how I could construct a believable scenario wherein it appeared that the massive tower, two speakers and a flat screen monitor formed a suicide pact and threw themselves off the balcony. I could even forge a note, that is if I could get the giant f*&ker to open up Word.

(Last known picture of the late great  Dell)

In other news...

Alas, I found a farrier! I am thrilled! Because in one swell swoop I found someone to do Hola's feet (I dont want to do her feet as she needs some correction and I dont want to fart around with a growing foal) and someone to check up on how I'm doing with trimming Ella myself! I had asked her how she felt about owners learning to trim their own and if she would be willing to give me some pointers and while she said she would she didnt sound keen. I talked to her while she was doing Hola and compared notes, she is a follower of Pete Ramey and once she knew I was genuinely keen on learning she offered to look at Ella. She suggested that I could take her heels down a little further, to go ahead and carry that roll through the whole foot and to be careful about leaving my quarters too long but all in all she said that her feet look great! When she sighted her foot for "balance" she said Ella was bang on! (*happy dance*). I got a surprised sounding "good job" and encouraging "keep at it". I'm not going to lie, it was a huge relief. I dont think I took a breath the whole time she was looking. I am going to trim Ella tomorrow and will be sure to get some pics to post.

Hope you are enjoying the last of the summer! I'm off to research laptops. Oy! I need something good for photo editing. Suggestions are welcome.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Down 11 pounds!!

Down 11 pounds!!! Not me... The dog. :( If only I could be half so strict with myself as I am with my animals. My mom and I (and our respective menfolk) have shared "ownership" of Hunter for years but he lived primarily at her place. At the beginning of this year my mom had a change in her work schedule and it became increasingly difficult for her to keep up with Hunter especially as they live in a condo and she is on the road most of the day. To keep him happy and occupied (he would go to the office and job sites with her) he might have been given a few too many chewy treats, a wee bit too much dog food after a hard days work (at the office) and some extra bones from all the staff who all like to stop by and give him lovin's. About four months ago Hunter came to stay at our house aka "fat camp". Since that time he has drooped a whopping 11 pounds. And he is just as proud as punch about it too! The plan is for him to stay with us indefinitely. I couldnt be more pleased. We love this dog to bits. He is so sweet, cuddly, smart and a little whipper snapper too. There just aint nothin' better in life than a good dog!

Monday, August 27, 2012

On the "Natural" Trim

The biggest challenge facing I faced while trying to learn the skill and theory of horse trimming was actually not how to handle a rasp, though I did bleed, multiple times... no, my challenge was sorting through the rubble of contradictory information and drastically varying theories about just how the engineering marvel that is a horses hoof should operate. Understanding the science behind a method and applying common sense and logic was my only arsenal against the madness. The Mustang Roll was one of the first theories that really made sense to me, though, at first, it rubbed me all wrong.

I hate when mustangs are used to justify a theory. For instance that horses dont need shoes or blankets or grain and shouldn't have their coats or be stalled, clipped etc. etc. etc. because mustangs are sound and healthy without such things. The reason why this logic chafes me is that wild mustangs are not ridden. They are not kept on small properties. They do not naturally live in rain forests. They do not go about jumping fifty fallen logs for fun or lope a dozen circles just 'cause. In fact they dont lope much at all. We ask our horses to live in environments and use their bodies, (or not use their bodies), in ways that are completely and utterly unnatural. It is because we use and keep them so outlandishly that we have come to care for them in such an outlandish manner. However, I think it would be foolish to recognize how amazing it is that mustangs are able to maintain their own hooves, remain sound and  travel over the worst of ground with out a wince. It would also be foolish to not look at a mustangs hoof and try to understand whether the shape and natural wear pattern of that hoof could serve our own horses.

The Mustang Roll is, simply put, a natural hoof wear pattern (found on Mustangs and horses that consistently travel long distances on firm ground barefoot) wherein the outer wall of the hoof becomes beveled or slightly rounded off in shape. What's more is that the entire hoof of such horses have a common shape and characteristics with low heels, short toes, a round foot with a beveled edge and wide thick frog that makes contact with the ground (and that's only the half of it). As it turns out a mustang roll is just one aspect of a "natural" wear pattern that barefoot or natural hoof trimmers are trying to replicate in our "domestic" horses. To me the question was not whether this was true of Mustangs, there are plenty of examples of Mustang cadaver feet to prove this out, it was whether this shape, wear and overall hoof anatomy was correct for our own backyard horses (who are kept in far less than ideal environments, used for sport or left to stand.) At this point I can honestly say I havent come to any conclusions on that front. And I really dont know if I ever will because every horse has such different feet, different needs and environments and uses.

Once again the horse world has become divided between those who believe in the traditional and those who are embracing the new and "natural". Just like in horsemanship I think I'll end up falling somewhere right in between... And, as with any other horsemanship theory, I have to constantly remind myself to treat the horse as an individual, to not impose my ideas of what should work, to not fix it what isnt broken and to keep an open mind to new ideas and concepts.

As I mentioned before understanding hoof anatomy is key. I realized that I cant really explain why some aspects of the natural trim made sense to me without getting deeper in to hoof anatomy. The bottom line is that you can argue any theory if you understand all the parts. So let's look at the parts and go from there.

PS- Below is a link to a hoof anatomy website I recently found that has very clear pictures and descriptions. It is a great place to start. Happy reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stall Mat Quagmire

We usually try to leave the horses outside for most of the late Spring, Summer and early Fall (I live on the West Coast of BC so it rains pretty much rains non-stop 6 months of the year.) Over the past few days I have been doing a little summer cleaning in preparation for the coming fall/winter drudgery. I pulled up the stall mats, hauled them out, hosed them down and left them to dry in the sun. While the rational (and lazy) side of my brain argued that to clean them at all is an effort in futility, the other side found it enormously satisfying to make something so nasty nice and clean. We last stalled a horse in the stall pictured almost two months ago. You can see in the picture that despite the heat we've had, and despite leaving the stall empty, under the mats were still sticky nasty wet.

Ideally I would like to not stall at all but that isn't my reality... So what do you do to combat the nastiness under the mat?

Ps- I am dying to get my next hoof trimming post written but am having computer issues. It is coming soon! (writing on my iPhone takes for-ev-er!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How a Horse Warms The Heart...

The sound of a horse munching grass is enough to warm my heart...

...But watching them play, now that makes my heart sing!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

On Hoof Trimming- Simple Stupid

It'd be just plain delusional of me to think I had gained enough knowledge or experience on hoof trimming to start divvying out advice here. However, what I can share are a few of my ideas on how to navigate a learning curve that is slick with stubborn traditionalists and new-age fanatics.

Oh, and folks like me that fall somewhere in between.

Here is my simple stupid theory:

Understand how the hoof works, understand all the parts and how they fit together and you will ultimately be able to decide, using simple stupid common sense, what techniques or theories make sense to you.
The best way I found to learn about the internal structure of the horses foot is to watch gruesome and gory youtube videos. I'm actually not kidding. Cadaver hooves are a wealth of knowledge, animated cadaver hooves are ever cooler, though not for the faint of heart.

Here are a just a few of the videos I watched that show the internal workings of a hoof. Also there is a link here to a British program called "Inside Natures Giants- The Racehorse" that is beyond awesome. One of the coolest shows I've ever seen. They dissect a racehorse. Inflate its lungs. Snap its tendons. It's a must see.

Inside Natures Giants- The Racehorse

This set of videos is made by a guy who sounds like the evil genius in some action movie but he has some wicked cool video demonstrating hoof mechanism. He believes that to peripherally load a hoof (which is what horse shoes do) is animal abuse. Maybe one day we will come to the point where we look back at the way it was once done and see nothing but brutality... but for now this guy is a wee bit too fervent in his ideas for my taste. However, his video of a laminitic horse's degraded laminae is too cool for school. (Is there anything as uncool as that expression?)

Check out his youtube videos at: Swedish Hoof School

I have added a page under my header called "Handy Horse Links". Here you will find a few more websites that I used while trying to better understand hoof anatomy.

Now, last post a comment was made by a friend who said she would not want to do her own horses feet and that she would rather trust the experience and knowledge of her farrier. (thanks for the comment Crystal:) The very reason why I am learning this is today is because I do not have such a farrier and one is not available to me. Trust me, I looked. My search was so epic it became worthy of  capital letters (see "The Hunt for the Good Farrier" in my last post). However, I would still want to learn what I've learned and I would still want to be able to do some maintainance between trims because...

It just makes plain ol'practical sense to me that the hoof is meant to be consistently worn and kept in shape through natural wear and tear.  It doesnt seem to me that it is ideal for a horse to be allowed to grow it's foot out then have it cut off, then grow it out, then have it cut off, then grow it out etc. etc. etc.. Unfortunately I cant ride enough or keep my horses on a large enough property to allow this to happen naturally. Therefor, I think, it would be ideal if I could (depending on the rate of growth (which for Ella would be once a week, for Hola every two, for Marm every three)) file off the small amount of extra length on the outer wall and just ever so slightly file down the overall length of the hoof to keep the foot in a consistent and ideal shape. I am not experienced enough to create a sound and balanced foot out of a bad foot. But I think that most owners would and should be capable enough to maintain their horses feet between trims. My goal is to have Hola done by a professional very three months even if it means hauling her an hour from home to make it happen. I think, or hope, that I am now capable of maintaining a hoof that an experienced professional has already made balanced and sound. Also, sometimes when things get out of whack it is hard for a farrier to get things straight again in one trim. Being able to progressively work at getting things right by taking a small amount every week (rather than a large amount ever six) is something that even professional farriers are advocating. I have two friends with farriers that have taught them how to maintain their horses between trims for this reason alone. Besides gradually correcting a problem we can also maintain a foot that naturally wants to fall out of balance. The perfect example of that is Ella.

Ella is not correct in her front end. She walks on the extreme outside of her foot and this pressure creates a flare on the inside (think of sitting on one side of a balloon). Two of my old "traditional farriers" would take down a pretty extreme flare every trim even though we shortened her to a four week schedule. They both told me that is just the way it is. Within a week of a trim you could see that flare coming back. Ella's feet grow REALLY fast. Then I had a natural hoof trimmer come out. The problem with her was that she wanted to change the overall angles of Ella's feet to create a proper "balanced" foot. My issue with this was simple- Ella is sound. And has always been sound. She travels beautifully. Again, simple stupid common sense dictates, if it aint broke, dont fix it! Now, for the past month and half that I've been trimming Ella's feet she has not had a flare. This is not because I am the most amazing beginner hoof trimmer of all time! *takes a bow anyways* It is because every ten days I take down that little bit of excess. The other thing I do, that is different than all three of the farriers Ella has seen in the past two years, is I use a Mustang Roll. My favorite new old invention.

More on that... next post.

Friday, August 10, 2012

On Hoove Trimming- All That I Don't Know

(Video of Hola (unrelated to post))

The biggest obstacle I faced while trying to learn about hoof trimming had nothing to do with finding so-called experts willing to share their infinite wisdom via youtube, blogging, websites or DVDs. There is a copious amount of information to be had on the web. Instead the challenge was to find a common consensus on any one topic. I knew that there was a divide between the traditional blacksmith farrier's trim (called a pasture trim I believe) and the so-called "barefooters" but I didn't realize that there were such varied opinions amongst those who have embraced a "new" barefoot or natural hoof trimming ideas. Much like with natural horsemanship, I think we are experiencing a revolution in the horse world with respect to hoof trimming and care. Ideas that were once considered radical are now entering the mainstream. And, inevitable, with change comes conflict. That conflict spurs people to question commonly held practises and ideas and only time will tell which of those will become the new normal. The fact that it is difficult to find a common opinion is not a bad thing, it is simply the byproduct of evolving ideas. However, it sure makes it difficult for a beginner like myself to figure out my ass from third base. Sorry for that analogy:)

I decided to read and watch everything I could, to collect as much information as possible, fill up my proverbial tool box and and then pick and choose which ideas I wanted to put in my tool belt for immediate trial. So far I have figured out that....

1. You must always trim to create a congruent (same) angle from pastern to hoof.

That's it. One thing. What I haven't decided yet is:

-to trim the frog or never trim the frog
-to use a mustang roll or not
-to use a measurement chart or not
-to measure from the visible frog apex or to cut back to find the true apex
-to pare back the sole or never touch the sole
-to trim for a specific ratio (front to back)
-to thin the outer wall to bring the toe back or never touch it
-to trim the bars or not
-to file off flares or grow them out
-to create a break over point or hope one will develop naturally
-whether frog contact with the ground is essential to hoof mechanism
-whether a hoof should be peripherally loaded (weight carried on the wall or over the whole of the hoof surface

and then obvious:

- to shoe or not to shoe
- to shoe only when "needed"
-or to never ever ever ever shoe no matter what

And then there is the whole question of what primary "theory" one employs while trimming:

-the less is more trim is when you take off only the excess hoof wall growth leaving the shape of the foot untouched.

-the "sight"ing trim where you sight the hoof and trim to create a "balanced" foot by filing the sole until it appears visually flat

-trimming via measurement (using a chart or predetermined ratios to create specific hoof dimensions)

And that is just the tip of the "what-I-dont-know" iceberg.

The more I read the more overwhelmed I became and the less confident I was in my ability to so much as pick my own horses feet, let alone trim them. But then i remembered my own golden rule of horses:

1. I will use my sole discretion to determine what is best for my horse. I will do my best and take responsibility for the consequences of my mistakes. (read: It is my horse and if I bugger it up then it is my own damn fault and my own damn problem)

2. Employ good common sense and hope for the best.

I was going to trim dammit and that is all there was too it!

Here is what I figured...

What I absolutely had to learn before I could in good conscience pick up a rasp was to understand the basic principles of how a hoof works and how all the various parts fit together. That is the topic of my next post.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Trimming Hooves and Farriers

Farriers- they're a dime a dozen. So why is it so damn hard to find a good one? A reliable one; one that doesnt end up busted up or burnt out; one who doesnt suddenly jump on the current fad or one-size-fits-all-band-wagon; or one who doesnt fall off the wagon?  Having owned horses for over seventeen years I've met my fair share of both the good and the bad. My biggest challenge has always been finding a good reputable (read popular) farrier willing to come out to trim just one horse. Luckily, I've never had a horse with special needs and so was able to get by with whatever farrier was coming out for a fellow boarder. That is, up until last year when I hit a road block. I was using an old friend, Chrissy, who was fresh out of farrier school to take care of both Marm and Ella (formally Princess). Chrissy did a great job as she was conscientious and took her time. Both horses were barefoot and sound, or so we thought.

 Long story short is that Marm had some issue and after being nerve blocked by the vet we were told she had some issues with her feet (that was unrelated to the farrier work Chrissy had done and that we hadnt previously noticed). The vet recommended a farrier with the experience to do some corrective blacksmithing and pads. I didnt want Chrissy to come all the way out just to do Ella and so we ended up changing both horses over to another farrier. The result being that Marm ended up seriously buggered and rather than fixing a problem we couldnt even see to we ended up creating a problem that left her with misshapen feet and dead lame. It was at about this time that I got Hola home.  Her front right foot was just a little out of shape and flat and she was a litte off on it. This "little bit off" on the right lead to a big problem on the left (which I will get to in another post). Hola and Marm were both in need of a better than average farrier and we still had Ella who still needed just a basic trim. The Hunt for a Good Farrier was on.

Luckily Marm's old farrier (who had retired a few years ago) took pity on her and committed to treating Marm until her feet get back to normal. However, she wasn't able to do Hola or Ella. I found a farrier to do Hola but he ended up being completely unreliable. I lost him after just one trim. Out of pure desperation I picked up a rasp and trimmed my first hoof. No one died. I only bled a little. So far both horses are still standing on four sound feet. 

*dances a little Rocky on the steps victory jig*

I am still completely and utterly terrified that I am going to permanently or seriously lame Ella and Hola. But at the same time I feel so empowered and emboldened to take responsibility for my own horses feet. Have now learned the very basics (I hope) I want to advocate every horse owner to learn the basics of trimming, even if you never pick up a rasp yourself. I know a few of my blogger buddies are die-hard barefooters or natural hoof trimmers so I invite anyone with any links they wish to share to do so here. I hope to do a few posts here over the next month on what I've found out there in the vast recesses of cyberspace (do they even call it cyberspace anymore?)

Like most things in the horse world, the more I try to find information about hoof care the more I realize just how little I know and how much there is left to learn... I've also realized how difficult it is to find two horsemen of a like opinion. Which is hardly a surprise, eh? (I love being Canadian).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Comments On and Chelsi's Favorites- Horse Picks

Okay first things first. I've decided to open up my comments. You see, I wanted to post some of the links I have to horses for sale in my favorites folder, a segment I once called, "Chelsi's Favorites" which the past readers of this blog seemed to really enjoy. So I began with the question, "Does anyone out there remember "Chelsi's Favorites"?" ... But  then I remembered that the people I was asking that question of cant actually answer ... and then I realized that I don't actually know if any of the readers I once had have come back. So I then wrote this question, "Does anyone wonder why I'm asking questions of a hypothetical readers when I wont give them a venue to answer?" Then I answered my own question by writing, "Asking a question of hypothetical readers about asking questions of hypothetical readers is a little weird...and obnoxious and really Chelsi, just a little creepy." Then I rewrote my blog post to include an announcement that I am turning my comments back on... I just thought I'd share. Arentchya glad I did?

So.... Chelsi's Favorites.... Needs a new name. It just doesnt ring!


Here are a few of the horses in my favorites folder...

Put a few hundred pounds on this doe-eyed gal and she'll be a beaut!

 Lately I've been looking at a few Arabs. Long story. More on that later. Like the face on this girl....

A goodie...

Love the color of this roany pony...

The sad fact of good broke STDB is that they can be hard to give away.

Love her face marking, looks like a thistle... fit and shiny this would be a nice mare...

This mare is a Duel Pep gdaughter....

Dun mare...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Crafting- It's a Messy Business

I spent this afternoon afternoon with two children under the age of 7. And we all lived to tell the tale. To say this was a novelty for me is a gross understatement... I haven't spent that much collective one on one time with a small child since... 1998. Approximately. That is a long time ago. Like, in '98 Justin Beiber was 4 years old.

In '98 I was sixteen, Will Smith was singing "get jiggy with it", I was figuring out what "get jiggy with it" meant and Bill Clinton was paying the price for having gotten jiggy with it ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman").

Anyways, the point is that small children scare the bageezus out of me. They are so little. And honest. And insightful. And fragile. I am used to trying to keep a 1200 pound animal from killing itself. Easy. Keeping a determined 5-year-old from using scissors to cut open a tube of glitter paste will perched on a white slip covered chair... Now there is a challenge. We crafted. It was epic. Shockingly, I had fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

SPF 60 of little help...

So it turns out that the SPF 60 sunscreen I have on my bathroom counter is of little help... That is, when you forget to apply it before heading out to spend all of this gloriously sunning BC summer day at the Maple Ridge Country Fair! Oops! And ouch!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back to Blogging:)

I'm back! I miss writing. I miss using this blog as a forum to explore, vent, give voice to and sort through my ever active (horse crazed) mind. I miss having a journal, the chronicle of my adventures and misadventures. Last night I looked back over my old posts and was so happy to have that record and sad to have missed the time that I did. When I quit blogging I started up a private (not even invited members) blog with every intention of online journaling. I think I managed a total of three posts before loosing momentum and finally even the address. It just didnt work for me because on some level I felt like I was talking to myself, which oddly enough lacked the cathartic quality of public blogging. So I am going to start back up right here at Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind because this is where I want to write. It is like slipping on an old pair of jeans. It just feels right.

As much as I've always enjoyed and valued the feedback and community that comes with blogging I've decided to go "comment free". The reason for this is simple... I'm completely self absorbed and want to hear nothing but my own voice. *guileless smile* No, not really. It just feels right.

I cant wait to get caught up! I have so much to share!

To start...

My Oh-La-Hola- The sweetest filly E.V.E.R.

Every time I do something new with Hola I am just blown-away by just what a good good girl she is... from her first bath, first fly spray, first blower-vac (my buddy J was using the blower on his 4H steer and I figured, `why not`!) to her first time being tied and hauled, she has been just as good as gold. I have hauled her out a few times, walked her down the road and ponied her at a new arena. Every time I do something new with her I marvel at her calm, sweet and sensible disposition. She looks at the world with curious wonderment. Hola doesnt step back from the unknown. She steps in to it.

I just love my Hola girl.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shedding Out and Growing Up

Shedding Out and Growing Up...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sleep Like a Baby

One thing I've discovered about my baby...

She sleeps "like a baby"...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hola- My Sweet

Hola, my sweet little filly, is finally home. To stay. For good. *deep contented sigh*

I hope for a long and beautiful friendship with this little horse. I hope to be blessed with time and good health. I hope... for so many things but more than anything I am so grateful for being able to have yet another dream come true. Thank you to EVERYONE who helped make it possible. Especially Mom and DB.

If I am given one day or twenty years I will count myself lucky.

Hola, my sweet, has stole my heart.

Hola is CRAZY about her grain!!

(the girls dont know what to think of the new addition!)

(I dont have my laptop so will have to wait to download some good pictures but my cell photos will have to due for now.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012


That "Drawring" is suppose to be "Drawing" (like making pictures out of pencil on paper) but for some reason, when I think of getting back to drawing, I hear the word "drawring" in my head. I just thought you'll would like to know that.

Over the past year or so I haven't been blogging much as I've been working with my Momma (she hates being called that... didnt like "mommy" either... it was always "Mom" pronounced "Mum"... for long time I called her "Mare" but she hated that as much as Momma) But back to drawring. Which is pronounced "drawer-ring", not "draw ring" like "draw reins". I have been working with my Mom doing interior design and assisting her in her kitchen and bath design business. My Mother Dearest (another thing I often call her) is a very talented designer and while I've been following her around at work for as long as I can remember I never wanted to take it up as a profession. Then I decided I like making my own money. So I gave it a shot. (this making my own money is new to me as I've been supported by a very generous boyfriend for over ten years and for a while the novelty of spending my own money was really fun and exciting but I've now come full circle and realized that spending his money is infinitely better. Just kidding. (not really), no really. I dont know.) I LOVE working with my Mom. She is freakin' awesome. She hates when I use the work "freaking" so I used it there just to bug her because that's what I do best. I compliment her and find a way to irritate her at the same time. It's an art I mastered long ago. I think she loves me for it. *pauses here to think on it*... I am sure she loves me for it... *makes doubtful face*

Anyways, the long and the short of it (this is another expression that DB and I get made fun of for frequently using as we like to tell long and detailed stories and then right before we finally come to our conclusion we say "so the long and the short of it is...") that while I love working with my Mom, and I really enjoy our clients and while the work can be a lot of fun I really don't want to be a designer. The number one reason- I want my profession to be one where 2+2=4 (design is subjective, 2+2= whatever the client thinks) and I want my work day to end at some point. A project is "on" 24/7, from the day it starts till the day it finishes and sometimes not even then as problems can come up weeks, months and even years later. I'm a worry wort by nature. A nervous type. My Mom hasn't gone on a vacation in 20 years without being stressed about leaving behind some client or another. Last year, when we were in Europe, a problem came up in an order and she had to spend hours and hours on the computer (a fortune in Internet time) and had many sleepless nights worrying and working until that problem was solved. And even once it was solved she was holding her breath that nothing else would come up. I dont think I have the constitution to deal with this type of work.

I know that EVERY job comes with its own stresses, positives and negatives. The design business is a great profession for those with the right attitude. I am going to keep working with my Mom as an assistant. I really enjoy keeping her business organized. It is a constant challenge. Just kidding! Not really. Really. I dont know.

So what about drawring (is that getting annoying yet?!? :) I am thinking I might start try to finish a couple large pieces of art. Graphite on paper drawings of a western theme. If I can get ten finished I will have prints made and try my hand at selling them. I'm trying to ignore the voice in my head that keeps telling me that there is no market, no money, no chance I'll ever actually make enough money to buy a new pair of boots let alone pay bills. But then I realized that I'm pretty damn good at ignoring the voice in my head that tells me not to buy/eat that chocolate bar, and the one that tells me I need to get out for a walk, and the one that tells me I should clean my house etc. etc. etc.... If I can ignore those voices of reason, why cant I also ignore the one that tells me I cant become an artist? Why the hell not? Right? I think. I dont know.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hola! Sweet Hola.

Look who arrived this evening!! Hola! (Hello!) Sweet Hola girl!

She isnt officially home yet, but she is within reach... She's being layed over just across the border (in the US) until her health certificate arrives (it didnt come when it was suppose to) and then I can take her across and she'll be come Canadian, eh!

It has been ten months since I saw Hola last. At that time she was just a few days old. I expected her to change some. But she hasnt. She has grown up a lot, no doubt, but she retained that sweet sweet energy and lovely calm disposition. It took all of about a minute for me to fall in love with her all over again.

Shhh! I know what you are thinking... Shhh! Shh! Dont say it! Dont say it... I refuse to even think about that "s" word right. I cant possibly even think about that right now. Let me live in the bubble where I get to keep her forever and ever okay? Just for a little while longer.

Heaven help me.


Heeelllloooo!!! Hello hello!

Late this afternoon I hope to hear a "hello" in return (proverbially speaking) from a certain someone...

... Someone Who is currently traveling Westward to meet me...

*hint* I might hear that hello in a different language!

Monday, February 6, 2012


I'm really not trying to leave you guys hanging... my DB's brother passed away yesterday so I just havent had time to finish writing the next post in that series. It was just about finished before everything happened so I should get it up within the next day or two.

Friday, January 20, 2012


That'd be my wee little Hola on the right (red), a yearling already! Where has the time gone! I am tickled pink with the way this filly is turning out... *deep sigh*... Why is she for sale again? Oh right... responsibility, budget, desire to travel... blah blah blah... The pyramids aren't going anywhere right? I can get another job... I dont have to tell DB...

*taps fingers on desk as she plots*

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Derby Reining Style!

This isnt new but I had to share...

I love the discipline of reining but I sure wish it all looked like that much FUN!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ride Like a Man

Between the weather and the madness of the holiday season I haven't been able to ride much this past month. I am hoping that this week I can get back in the saddle and spend some quality time getting Ella (and me) back in to shape. Over the couple months I am going to be working on cleaning up and fine tuning the basics of the foundation we worked so hard to establish last year. Ella has a great stop, she guides well, she is light in the face, I can move her shoulder and hips around, and her transitions are smooth. She has buttons. The problem is Ella has a habit of dogging it, or rather, I've created an environment where she lacks motivation, enthusiasm and try. Picture a child being asked to clean his room- he protests a little but eventually sloughs down the hall, dragging his feet, his hands hanging limply at his sides, a pout on his face and murmured "I dont want to" on his lips. That's Ella right now when I ask her to roll back, bored and uninterested. I think the reason for this is two fold. First, because I haven't given her a job. More than ever I believe a horse needs a job they understand to be happy. A happy horse will do what we ask with try, heart and enthusiasm. Secondly, because I don't ride her like a man.

No offense ladies, but we nag. We say "Don't do that!" ... and when they don't stop we get annoyed and it becomes "I saaaaid DON'T do that!" ... and of course that doesnt work so we go, *yank jerk* "OMG will you stop f-in flippin' flappin' doing that for finangians sake!!" (or something like that). And then finally, after getting more and more frustrated we go *smack* .... and they are like "Ooooh! Why didnt you just say so?".... To make matters worse the next task becomes a fight because we're still pissed off and royally annoyed about what they were doing before. It's a vicious cycle.

Men (okay not all men but hypothetical "men") dont do that. They say... nothing... they just go *slap slap* and merrily on their way. I haven't resolved to slap my horse more. I've just resolved to not bitch and nag. I'm only going to ask once. Then I'm going to make it happen. And then I'm going to calmly and happily move on to the next task like nothing happened. I'm going to ride like a man. Not the type of man who gets mad or mean or overly aggressive. I'm talking about the proverbial man's man, the quiet soft spoken horseman that quietly and unassumingly gets the job done with a firm but kind hand... that dark haired, cool, confident man that knows how to handle horses and woman in kind... the type that will grab a naughty woman hard by the shoulders and crush her to his chest, who kisses her hungrily... his course stubble rough against her velvet lips... he knows what to do... slips a hand behind her neck, knots her hair in to his fist and twists, thrusting her backwards to expose the pale skin of a long and delicate neck. He nips her, gently at first, teeth skimming her collar bone... then harder as he works his way up to the curls behind her ear. His hot breath licks flames beneath her skin. Her flush rises. In to her ear his voice growls his demand, so deep and husky with want...



I dont know what just happened.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Bob's Saddle For Sale- SOLD

This is the forth Bob's Custom saddle I've owned. I've been forced to sell every one of my beloved Bob's for reasons that had nothing to do with these lovely saddles. The first, a Bob Avila, I sold as I didn't have a horse and had decided I was "getting out of horses for good!" (that lasted all of like three months). I loved that saddle. The second I bought was a Randy Paul in a light oak. Beautiful. I sold because my old horse had a bulging shoulder and needed a treeless to accommodate. The third, my favorite, the love of my life, the one that got away. I sold that one for funds to go to Europe. I miss it every day. Then there is this current beauty... *deep sigh*

I loved this saddle from the moment I saw it. I had dreams of riding off in to the sunset in that big ol' plush seat. This is the first 17" saddle I've had and man, it's like a freakin' Cadillac... I'd love to say that this saddle and I have spent some quality time together but the sad sad sad fact is that we've only had one single solitary ride. One! Uno! I brought it home from the store, tried it on Ella, realized that it didnt have a chance in hell of fitting her ridiculously wide, round, flat and gigantor frame (Who let me buy a halter bred horse anyways?) and just about cried. I tried it on Marm (who is a 15HH stock horse type) and of course it fit... I got on Marm and took it for a tour around the paddock. OMG... I could just park myself in that saddle and go to sleep Lazy Boy style. I just haaaaad to keep it. I justified it by saying that I would just hang on to it for when Abby came home (she isnt freak-of-nature wide like Ella). So I put it away in it's bag and took it home where it has stayed since... since... March 29th 2011.

Now, I would still LOVE to keep this saddle. But I've decided to trade out this thing you put on a horse for something that you put a horse in *wink*

The only flaw on this saddle is a cut in the leather of the pommel. This cosmetic flaw made this saddle go from a $3000+ item to something I could afford. The saddle was also used in a few demos by the tack store that I bought it from so has a little wear (like where the buckles touch leather) but otherwise it is mint. The skirt is a slightly lighter color than the upper (I love that look) and it has the cut aways in the skirt for a close contact feel.

It is a Full QH Bars, a plush smooth padded seat and comes with matching back cinch. This is a 17" cutting saddle on a cutting tree but I planned on using it for everything from penning to reining, cowhorse and trails.

I would like to get it sold asap so have it priced at $1995 firm (us funds)

I *heart* Bob's Custom Saddles

I am trying to show you the cut away skirt in this picture (not my recycle bin:)

(sorry for the weird angle on this shot... was trying to hold the tape and take photo at the same time:)

(see cut in leather above)

(that white line by the Bob's stamp is not a scratch... maybe a hair or something on the lens)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Case of the Jiggles

I watched this video and thought, "Wow! Looks like someone has a serious case of the jiggles!" Then I heard this small voice inside say, "... Pot... Kettle...Black... Seriously."

Spring is around the corner. Looks like Ella and I have our work cut out for us! Oh, and yes, her name is Ella. Ella Blue to be exact. The decision was finally taken out of my hands by L.. It was necessary. I was totally out of control. As L. and Ella have a very special relationship I felt she should do the honors (and that way I couldnt take this one back.) L. picked the name Ella Blue. I love it. It works. And best of all, I cant change it. *wipes brow* Thank Heaven!

Monday, January 2, 2012


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! This coming year is a biggie for me... it is kind of split in two because in seven months I turn thirty... So I have seven months before I leave my twenties behind me for good... before I turn an age that makes me feel so... so... not a kid anymore. I have seven months left. I better make it count.

My goals are:

To travel somewhere by myself, depending on time and money I am hoping for Scotland but maybe just a road trip to Montana.

I want to haul my own horse in my own trailer to a place I've always wanted to ride.

I want to show my horse even if it is just at a local show.

I want to be become a Ninja. Dont ask. It's complicated.

I also want to take up yoga more seriously and become an actual yogi. That too is complicated.

And... well, I want to go to a bar and go dancing and get drunk. Which kinda seems the antithisis of the above mentioned goals... but I think I should do that at least once in my twenties. I said I had goals... I didnt say they were lofty... well besides the Ninja thing.