Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Not one of my own yet... but over at The Process of Learning there's one for a new Showsheen shampoo. I love showsheen stuff, and you should too. Plus, with show season coming up, who doesn't need more awesome grooming stuff right?

In other news, the whole farm decided that gale force winds out at the barn last night meant it was time to run around like crazy. I didn't know this until I found the evidence in the stocking up in Bijou's hind legs this afternoon. I contacted the BM about horsey news and she told me what they had been up to. I buted, linimented, and cold-hosed after walking her around trying to get the swelling down all to no avail. She did look a little funnier to the left when she trotted for a second in the round pen so I'll have to keep an eye on that.

I've been having a thought... well rather a series of thoughts. With Bijou being so short strided lately, and bucking to the right again, I think I'm going to just go all out to make her better. I have a feeling that it's a combination of two things. I hate that it's always a combination of many things because you always have to pay someone to do each thing and each person wants lots of money for doing their thing! I am going to have the chiropractor out again, as he really seemed to do a lot of good, and Wyatt really benefited from a second adjustment, so maybe Bijou will too. I'm also going to put front shoes on. This has really helped in the past, and allowed Bijou and I to get our best work done, I think she's a wet weather kind of horse, as that's when her feet grow the most and look the best. When it gets dryer out, like it has been, her feet just start to crumble away, no matter how much hoof moisturizer I put on them. I doubt its a nutritional thing since she's out on great pasture, so I think it's just genetic and this is the way things are.

Right now I don't have much cash to speak of, and she doesn't have much hoof wall to speak of, and we have to deal with this sore/puffy hind leg thing... so I'm going to save up for a bit while she re-coups and then put my combination approach to the test.

And if all else fails... Well you might be seeing another kind of giveaway (of the equine variety) up on this blog soon! :P

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good rides make the whole world better

I have had a few major life changes lately, mostly for the worse. Quite a few things were piling up on me and one of the heaviest was having an unsound horse. I know that she just had a night out on the farm and pulled something somewhere, but it wasn't getting better and since she wasn't really ride-able I didn't have my stress relief mare to go to when all else fell apart.

That all changed on Monday. I had the inclination that by Monday she was going to be back to normal after I had lunged her on the weekend (due to time constraints it was all I could do). I decided to put on the saddle and try to really ride again, man am I glad I did! It was much quieter out at the barn since I went earlier in the day before everyone gets out of work/class and Bijou was still finding things to be distracted by, though they were much fewer and farther between. One of Joujou's pasturemates was being trained to ground tie without grazing by her oh-so-evil mom who would flick a lunge whip stick with a scary plastic crinkly thing at the end every time she tried to eat, which Bijou looked at, but did not react to, and got patted every time she trotted past. For some reason, she was just more submissive... I don't know if it's because she's finally feeling better or what, but rather than fight about every little bit of contact that I tried to put on her, she took it and almost asked for more. She wasn't hanging on me, but it was almost like she needed just a constant heavier contact than what I'm used to. We worked on lots of trotting, mostly in straight lines, that was round and collected and forward without being rushy. It was nice to have her in front of my leg without having her rushing around, which is one of her big habits.

We also did some trot poles, which I set purposely close to get her to think about where her feet need to be, rather than just getting over those damn scary things as fast as she possibly can. This resulted in her being VERY bouncy and stepping on a pole or two at first, but then she settled in and took her time over them. I also set up one ground pole to help with our canter transitions. This part might get a little long winded... I've noticed that she is much more sensitive on her left side than she is on her right. This is true when I'm lunging her, riding, or even just handling her. She shies away from the fly spray more on her left side, leg yields away from my left leg better, reacts to smaller movements on the lunge when she's going to the left, etc. This presents an interesting problem when I'm practicing canter transitions, because I use my left leg to cue her into the right lead canter. I don't boot her, or even really nudge at all, I just lay my leg against her, and she leaps and charges into the canter. What's even more confounding is that most of the time she charges into the left lead canter... big no-no, so I quickly get her back to a trot, and set her up again, and cue again. Except now she's in a tizzy waiting for me to use that left leg. She gets nervous in the place where I cued her before and starts tossing her head and bouncing around like an idiot. So to keep her from anticipating I try to catch her off guard which hasn't been working so well.

This is where the pole comes in. I know it is kinda cheating, but I trot her at the single pole and encourage a big bounding trot up to it, and most of the time she comes off of the pole in a canter. I canter her around for a bit, and then go back to trotting the pole at a medium pace so that she doesn't always canter the pole and can't really anticipate any cue from me so she doesn't get all worried. This resulted in some of the nicest canter we've had in a long time. I figure if I get results, then I have to be doing something right, right?

I think for next time (once the weather dries up) I'll try getting her to listen to my seat more and see if that helps. Any other suggestions are welcome too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Beautiful days should be spent with horses...

.... whether they are sound or not. So that's what I did today. I've been taking it really easy on the little mare, but I think her sore hip/hind area is maybe maybe finally clearing up. I've been getting on her for a few minutes at a time and just riding around to check her soundness since it's hard to see while lunging... it's gotten to the point that if I wasn't looking for anything, I wouldn't feel it. However, there were a few days when I decided to try really riding (like with a saddle and bridle and everything!) and when I asked for a trot, Bijou literally tip-toed around with the SHORTEST stride ever, which is very unlike her, so I backed it off. The only thing I can afford to do is just wait and see. My vet gets really expensive when I go to him with "she's just not right" because they run every test in the book with inconclusive results.

I've given up on even going to the show this weekend. Oh well. I just get to keep this shiny pony loveliness all to myself :P

Monday, May 9, 2011

lameness is lame

Bijou and her mare friends (who are all coming into and out of heat) decided to have a girls night out about a week ago... They tore through their electric fence and ran a muck around the property for a night. After this fiasco, she surprisingly (NOT) came up quite sore/off on her left hind. I decided to give her the week off with just little bareback rides to check her progress since it's pretty hard to see on the lunge. On Friday she was pretty darn close to being sound, so my little bareback trot turned into a little bareback buck fest in which Bijou succeeded in bucking me off. I'm relatively unscathed, although realizing that bouncing back up isn't as easy as it might have been back when I first started riding.

I also have a pictures-post coming up soon of when we went to the beach before the girls night out where I feel like we made a breakthrough in the canter. I can't wait until I can look back on the ugly canter phase and realize it was just a phase.... right now it looks more like an epoch...

Also, there is a schooling show coming up on Sunday... which is pretty last minute to begin preparing for it, but I figure if worst comes to worst I'll just bring her a long to get a feel for what she behaves like at a show, just to know what to expect for next time.