Archive for January, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Sue- How Do You do in the Ozarks?













Caitlyn on Velvet – Nichole on Sue

I let Sue roam in the pasture with grass just too long.  She is starting to get the first sign of a cresty neck.  Then, she started limping…abscess.  This is the first sign that insulin resistance has started and laminitis is around the corner.

I tried shutting her in her stall with limited turn out.  This is a horse for whom weight loss is DIFFICULT!

I had a brilliant idea!  Jenny’s daughter, Nichole, is a wonderful rider.  She’s might not yet ready to start colts, but darn near.  I had a conversation with Jenny and before you can say wowsa, Sue is down in southern Missouri being rode consistently by a fun loving confident 12 year old.  You can’t get better than this.  Sue is turned out.  She is rode up and down the Ozark hills, thru water, over logs, thru brush everything.  A miniature horse has fallen in love with her and follows Sue and Nichole everywhere.

Sue is slimming down and muscling up. What improvement to her mental situation is happening with Nichole as her best friend and partner!  I say a TON!

Sue has a problem with catching, you know.  plus she’s in a 40 acre pasture.  But,  she is letting everyone catch her most of the time.

Sue will have spent all of October and November with Nichole.  She’ll come back to me in December.  What a time we will have then!

PostHeaderIcon Sue- How Do You Do Amazing with Nichole Copple!

Sue – How Amazing You are with Nichole Copple!
 We had a group lesson 1/11/08 and I got to watch 12 year old Nichole ride Sue.  In the recent blog, I mentioned how Sue had gone to the Ozarks to be rode by Nichole.  Sue was getting very heavy and I knew that being with Nichole would give Sue much more confidence and muscle to replace fat.

I knew Sue’s confidence would improve, but until you see it in person, you just don’t know.

I did note (upon Sue’s return) that her eyes were even brighter. Maybe it was her body posture…brave instead of trying to be invisible.  She started coming right up to me and demanding things…like “do you have food for me”. 

But to watch her being calm in an arena with cantering careening horses all around…and a carrot stick being used by another rider.  My GOODNESS!  This was her first time in an arena in many months.  Remember Sue can be claustrophobic in an arena.  She hates arenas unless she knows every horse.
At one point all but one of us were resting down at the end of the arena.  We had a big gelding being rode on the wall.  He wasn’t wanting to canter. Horse and rider were clattering around the arena…fast.  To get him to lift his front end and feet, one, two and then three PVC poles were laid out (about 3′ apart) right behind where we were standing.  Three times he refused to lift his feet and exploded and tripped over each pole.   Crashing horse feet into PVC poles make an  outstanding racket. Sue and Nichole were standing about 5′ away from the poles and Sue was facing away from the poles. 
Sue didn’t flinch the gelding  zoomed behind her and came around the corner.  She didn’t flinch when he clattered over every pole….behind her.Three month earlier, Sue would have left the country if something like that happened!
Now that was amazing…miracle!
At one other point while JR and Sue were resting together, Nichole swung her entire arm up and waved it around like she was going to rope something. Then she brought her arm down at a high rate of speed and pretended to spank Sue’s behind with a pretend string.  I tell you what, Sue would have been in the next country 3 months ago! 
Nichole was relaxed. Sue didn’t flinch.  Nichole kept doing it and I just had my mouth dropped open to the arena dirt.  My mouth was still filled with arena dirt where it dropped to the ground after the clatter of the PVC poles…and the mouth filled up again.  In astonishment.

I knew Nichole would be good for Sue.  I just wasn’t prepared for the magnitude.
At the end of the lesson, we were all standing around and I thanked Nichole…I sniffled.  I decided to send Sue home with Nichole again.  She deserves this much happiness and the return of her real self..not having to be scared all the time.
Sue is back in Fair Play with Nichole.  My eyes have a suspicious wetness to think about it even today.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How do You Change from Right Brain to Left Brain 100 times!


Sunflower Ride - 1st Real Trail ride -Summer 2007

The positive wondrous news is that I Sue and I went on a trail ride at the same place where she bolted, spilled her rider and became retraumatized fourteen months ago.  On this month, we had a wonderful ride.  I was with a calm gelding and his calm owner. 

My plan was for the gelding to lead and we would follow, thus getting more and more confidence.  My plan was thwarted right at the get go when the gelding refused to lead.  To get the gelding to go, my riding partner would have had to raise her arms and swing the mecate to get to phase three or four.  We both knew this wasn’t a good idea with Sue.  So Sue and I took the lead and never faltered except for one head-up startle.  We had a good time, indeed. 

The low was an Impulsion clinic this Saturday.  We had eight riders in the arena. the riders made noise and some of them swung carrot sticks around.  Rain was beating on the roof.  In the three hour morning ride, Sue and I had at least 15 mini bolts down the rail and 50 skin-inside-out flinches and at least 100 tense-up/bolt-coming times. 

I managed to relax enough on the bolts so I could bend her instead of knee-jerk reaction-pull-back on the reins. That was a big plus for my emotional fitness. 

Near the lunch break Jenny told me that usually Sue relaxes by now and it’s probably the rain that kept her tense.  My good friend looked at me when Sue did her startle flinch and told me that she admired me for what I was doing. 

It was then that my insides started to cry….and then it was lunch time.  I was so tired at lunchtime that I took a nap during a lecture that Jenny gave us after lunch.  I slept in a chair without a headrest. That was suspicious.After lunch, I thought perhaps I had recovered. 

I got on Sue after lunch and after one big flinch, it was all over for me.  I was an emotional strung out mess.  I got off.Jenny got on Sue and stood around on her the rest of the clinic.  Every now and then as Jenny was talking, she gestured at something and Sue startled the opposite way. 

There were times when it appeared horses were coming straight at Sue. Sue tensed, but didn’t bolt away.I noted that it doesn’t look all that bad.

What I was feeling all morning was the impact of huge bursts of electrical charged fear drilled into to me.  It had been multiple instant Right Brain and then back to left brain for Sue and I. 

After the clinic I could hardly drag myself out to the trailer.  Upon reaching home, I could barely drag my body to and from the barn and then walk to the house.  I was more exhausted than I remember for a long time.

You know what it was…it was the adrenalin that shot through my body all those times on that day.  I had so many right brained episodes that it used up all my energy and then some.  That’s why I teared up…my body was drained of energy.  I was drained at noon!

I would hate to feel like that a lot.  I surely sympathize with horses and humans that have to go through that.  It’s just hell. Life goes on with a project horse.


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