Monday, May 30, 2011

The Feed Room, Clever Greta, and Baby Birds

This is a really nice blog about equine nutrition (who would've thought with that title?!)

I have not been out to the barn since Thursday, but for good reason. I kind of graduated from high school, praise be! Also, I had family down that I really wanted to hang out with. I did get to go out tonight though, yay!

AND I also have some very good news..... Greta got a tag to go on her black leather halter. Well, technically I got the tag, and I know Greta won't care one iota, but you know what? It makes me feel happy! And she looks sharp!

Now observe as she manages to show it off AND prove that she has the problem solving skills of a great ape (I had to volunteer my thumbs, though haha). Clever girl! I kind of wanted to leave her be and see if she could figure it out herself, she probably would've when she flipped the bag over, but I didn't for her to shred the bag either haha! Also, you will see our resident attention-hog/cat Pyawacket (?) aka Racketwacket. He meows a lot, and I didn't notice it until after the video but there was a little toad hopping around in the aisle as well, near where the cat was haha! I think it's the same on that thought a boarder's saddle in her tack locker would be a satisfactory living location, and leaping out to greet her when she opened it would be great fun. I put him outside, but I suppose he's come back. Anyway.... GRETA!

And one more thing...... meet my two new little projects, courtesy of my bleeding heart!

I contacted Parks and Wildlife today and found out how to take care of them. They were knocked out of their nests or fell out or something, and our 9-month-old puppy Meg was trying very hard to take care of them (however her touch is not as gentle as she probably would hope for it to be, bless her). I've had to handle them several times to get them situated in their "nests" (the one in the rosebush was an old nest that was still usable, yay!) but that was only a few times, so I'm trying to keep them from potentially imprinting on me (cardinals have too poor of scent to reject them because they smell human, but they can still imprint even at this age). Thankfully they're older and starting to experiment with flight (not some new-age drug... I mean actual flight haha) so really I just feed them soaked dog food (that's how they get their water too) if they want to be fed and check in on them. The first is Florence Nightingale and the second is Cardinal Richelieu. Cardinal Richelieu seems to still have mama looking out for him, but so far it seems I am the sole caretaker of Florence Nightingale. Hmm..... hopefully all will be well, but at least I can't say I didn't try! It certainly gives me even more appreciation for wildlife rehabilitators.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dramatic Pony

Very overused idea...... but I couldn't help it.

This is her "APPLE?" face.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Happy 2nd Anniversary!

Greta and I had out 2nd anniversary Thursday, and to put the cherry on top we had a freaking awesome lesson. Cantered down the long side of the arena in a continually cadenced canter. Super chill, really starting to look like a training level canter finally. A good hunter canter, really. She still needs to get the muscles to stretch her topline out even more so she can get that "on the bit" look but she steps under very well (doing so even more will stretch out that topline) and is certainly not inverted and tugging at the bit anymore. I'm also much lighter in the seat (starting to ease myself from a half-seat to a normal seat, as the half-seat was a training tool for both of us to keep me off her back). Her trot just gets better, as does her walk.

It was nice to see and feel this big turnaround from two years ago (even a few months ago, actually) where she would put her head up and invert her neck and really hang on the bit, and I would simply tug back. Baby steps are awesome. And you can see the difference. I will try and get some video of a lesson or ride this week, one of the two.

I feel so lucky to have a such a willing, sweet, and smart horse. Cliche, I know, but it's true! Ask the clinicians, the vets, the trainers, everyone who has met or worked with her! She has never pinned an ear at anyone, lifted a back foot at anyone, nor has not tried for anyone (even when I could tell she wasn't a fan of who was riding her or how they were riding her). She's no push-button pony, but she is awesome. I love the nicker I hear whenever I come near, or how she'll acknowledge me in the pasture (she might even feel I'm privileged enough to walk up to me, her subject, every now and then). It's a nice little buddy-buddy relationship we got going, and I wouldn't give it up for the world.

Here's to many more years!

So yay for a good second anniversary!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lesson 5-12-2011

Greta has three weeks off due to a headshaking problem that turned out to be allergies, thankfully! She was pretty okay for this lesson until the end, because as she was breathing more and more her allergies began to bug her (tried on her new nose net yesterday and she did wonderful!). I was a bit rusty and so was she. She was reverting back to her old rush and pull methods, and I was, thankfully, not reverting back to my old rein-only method, as tempting as it was. Also, she had been in a stall for two days because of rain warnings (notice I didn't actually say rain, save for a 1/2 inch, so Texas is still in a drought and hay still costs you an arm and a leg, yay!) So that will explain some of the tenseness as well. I thought her little baby buck in the beginning of the vid to be terribly funny, even when I was riding it, because she is such a pleaser that she would never ACTUALLY buck. Either way, much better than we used to be, and I'm looking forward to improving more.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quote of the Day - Jane Savoie

"Lots of people ask me how to get the poll up. It's important to focus on the hindquarters rather than the poll. Your priority isn't to get the poll "up". You want to get the croup "down". Once the croup goes down due to engagement (bending) of the hind legs, the front end elevates. Think of your horse's body like a seesaw. When one end goes down, the other comes up." -Jane Savoie

If you have not subscribed to her email updates or watched any of her short clips on YouTube, then you are missing out! She doesn't have any gimmicks, same-old same-old classical dressage, but she puts it in such a way that it's understandable. Like Sally Swift's works, it's pretty friendly wording with some good imagery I can remember. Anyway, a good point she made, and something I hear more often than I would like amongst trainers and fellow riders: "Get the poll up!" or at my level "Get the poll down!" Quick fix, doesn't help you in the long run, unless you're doing it the right way and working to get the croup down (hopefully you're not trying to get it up haha).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!

A Mother's Dictionary (personal notes in parentheses)

Bottle feeding: An opportunity for Daddy to get up at 2 am too.

Defense: What you'd better have around the yard if you're going to let the children play outside (like on a pony!)

Drooling: How teething babies (or teens sleeping in class) wash their chins (or their test).

Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

Feedback: The inevitable result when the baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots (or when your teen does the typical, but thankfully not frequent, "that's not fair!")

Full name: What you call your child when you're mad at him.

Hearsay: What toddlers (or sixth graders) do when anyone mutters a dirty word (hey, Gee, what does **** mean?)

Impregnable: A woman whose memory of labor is still vivid.

Independent: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

Look out: What it's too late for your child to do by the time you scream it.

Prenatal: When your life was still somewhat your own.

Preprared childbirth: A contradiction in terms.

Puddle: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

Show off: A child who is more talented than yours.

Sterilize: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by blowing on it.

Storeroom: The distance required between the supermarket aisles so that children in shopping carts can't quite reach anything.

Temper tantrums: What you should keep to a minimum so as to not upset the children.

Top bunk: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies (or rocking out to Disney movie music when you're five........ it was practice for falling off a horse later on.)

Two-minute warning: When the baby's face turns red and she begins to make those familiar grunting noises.

Verbal: Able to whine in words

Whodunit: None of the kids that live in your house.

Whoops: An exclamation that translates roughly into "get a sponge" (or when your teen makes a stupid mistake that sadly, a sponge can't pick up!)

Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for putting up with kiddos like me, who, even though we're legally an "adult", we are certainly not adults. Love you, Gee :)

Updates :)

I didn't want to post anything until we were pretty sure what was up with Greta and her Willow Smith impersonation extravaganza. It actually reached a point where she would shake her head so much and so violently that, while I was quite sure she would not fall over or do anything to dismount me (, anytime I fall off it's my own doing, dislodging seems to be against her religion, even I though there have been times where I've done some stupid things in the past that I wish she would have intentionally dumped me!) she would shake so much that it was impossible for her to balance, not to mention she'd be so tense, so really riding was just silly if we couldn't get anything done haha! She was quite uncomfortable, and it just gradually got worse, and ear-washing did not help any, so we had a second vet appointment and now we can say, quite simply.........

Miss Golightly has been afflicted with seasonal allergies.

One shouldn't be happy about this, right? Well, I will say that, while I'm not happy about the allergies, it's quite manageable. Nose nets, Tri-Hist, and (if a long-term solution is needed and the vet approves) then I've heard good results about Anti-Oxidants and MSM. He also recommended the Flair strips, but for $10 a strip that have a one-time usage, I think I'll leave them to the pro eventers and racehorses haha.

So, yeah..... an update. I'm going to try and find horse-sized Kleenex boxes so Greta can learn how to blow her nose ;)

Poor thing!