Archive for December, 2011

PostHeaderIcon I’m in the MFTHBA Online Newsletter!

Newsletter ….Down the page under Upcoming Demonstrations and Clinics

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PostHeaderIcon Grumpy Spots Erased

Here’s the morale of the story.  If the horse is doing something that is not normal or weird or bad behavior, we rule out the physical first.

Lucky Star still had his grumpy spots during the lesson.  He flashed his ears back again when I put my feet in the stirrup with a little weight transfer.  Sort of like I was going to get on him, ya know like mounting him.   That’s just not his personality.

So, Lucky Star got to go see Dr. Randy again, but this time for a chiropractic adjustment.

One hip muscle was spasming, one side of his withers (shoulder) was out and his poll was out. Dr. Randy said Lucky Star really needed an adjustment.

It’s about 30 some miles to go see Dr. Randy and I didn’t hear Lucky Star neighing for the first time.  He’s starting to accept being in the trailer as familiar now.  Yay

Lucky Star needs some time to get familiar with his new adjusted body.  He should be feeling great when he goes to stay with Tony and Jenny Vaught for his training starting in January.  Yee Haw!

PostHeaderIcon Staggering and Skipping

Lucky Star and I went over to Pine Dell for our 2nd group lesson.  Lucky Star learned how to skip and stagger. Well, really he learned how to stay calm and quiet while I skipped and then staggered around him.  It’s a desensitizing thing.  He got to have all the fun, watching a lunatic and then get petted.  I was dressed in my sexy red Christmas Rueben fleece coat (50% off from Curvy Cowgirl) and my Santa Claus hat.  It had gotten up to a 60 degree grey day and the temperature had plummeted down to nearly 50 something when the lesson started.  I started sweating.  I won’t mention the panting.  Soon, I had to take my Santa hat off. Lucky Star got to carry that on the saddle horn.

Finally Karen was happy with my stagger and skipping skills and she let us play The Seven Games with an obstacle.  Lucky Star chose an orange traffic barrel for his obstacle.  I drug it in front of him and let him try to eat it.  We maneuvered his front end and then his back end around it. We backed around the barrel.  I even picked up the barrel and told him to move his hindquarters and then his forequarters.  “Hey, no problem…if the barrel tells  me to move a particular part, I will!”

He wanted to sidepass over barrel, but Karen stopped him.  She told him he might panic if this was the first ever thing he sidepassed over.  She told him that he might get one of his feet stuck in the barrel and get a little nervous. So, Lucky Star picked a pole to sidepass over. We returned to the barrel and used it to play the squeeze game between the barrel, the wall and the pedestal.  Oh my he was having a great time.

Then Karen told me that I had to skip and stagger around him again.  Then I had to take my beautiful coat off as the sweat really started.  I flung the coat around while I staggered and skipped.  He really didn’t like it too much when I flung it over his eyes, but he stayed calm and still.  He didn’t care a whit that I flung it over his neck while I was hanging on to his mane in between my crazed antics.

Say, did I ever tell you about the time when I was riding Velvet in a lesson with Jenny.  The temperature had plummeted to less than 20 degrees.  I was a frozen human when the lesson ended.  We were all gathered around Jenny in a horse huddle when I dismounted.  However, my legs were frozen and I staggered around for a moment and then fell underneath Velvet in a heap. Thanks to the early staggering desensitizing game in Velvet’s youth, she just ignored me.  I just wanted to tell that story of how you might actually stagger in real life!

Lucky Star had time to drag out a big ball and had me bounce it off his back for a minute or too.  He wanted to impress Karen.  He told me to roll it under his belly. Sadly, Karen missed that part.  She was actually paying attention to another horse and rider team in the group lesson.

Karen and the other lesson people missed my mounting step dismount too.  I was having Lucky Star practice coming to get me on the  mounting block.  Sadly, he came a little close, I got a little off balance  and chose to fly off the mounting block steps.  Luckily, I didn’t have me beautiful red coat on when I dove into the arena dirt!  Lucky Star was carrying my coat for me then.  Lucky Star wasn’t too interested in the fact that I dove into the arena dirt either.  He just stood there.  People without horses just don’t have this kind of adventure!  What they are missing!!!

Lucky Star had to circle around me at a gait faster than a walk and maintain it.  Since he doesn’t see the point in keeping up any kind of speed, it was difficult to convince him to keep going. But we managed and got some praise. We were both exhausted at the end of the lesson.

Karen told Lucky Star that he is going to make someone a wonderful horse with his confidence and calmness.

Lucky Star is owned by Teresa and Junior Osborn.  He might be for sale after the Missouri Fox Trotter World Celebration in September.

PostHeaderIcon Why Can’t I have My Own Facebook Page

Why Can't I have My Own Facebook Page by susanfxtrt

I told Lucky Star we needed to get a good picture as I had not put his picture up on Facebook for a while. Then I had to explain Facebook. I explained that he had fans. I explained that his fans were following his progress on this blog.
Well, Lucky Star wants his own Facebook page so he can tell the truth about how he’s coming along. He’s afraid I might not tell everything.

sigh…who am I to deny “Mr. Cuteness” anything.

We played in the small outdoor arena at Pine Dell today.  I had a whole new impulsive Lucky Star. He cantered around the arena without much asking on my part.  He has a wonderful canter.  He might have been a little bothered by the stirrups banging on him.  He carried his head low most of the time like he was thinking about a new career as a rodeo star..not the cow horse or barrel horse kind, either.  He wasn’t thinking of me being a rodeo queen either.

We practiced him coming up to pick me up on the mounting block.  He’s great on one side and it took lot’s of convincing him to not to swing his body out on the other side.

Then I tried to bridle him.  He’s been started, but he was not a fan of the bridle today.  So he got to wear the 6′ rope Cherokee bridle for most of today. At the end of the day, we practiced yielding his head down and keeping it close to the ground.  He was not a fan of that either. Finally, things were fixed.  I put the snaffle bit on and he wore that for about 20 minutes.  He had a fine time experimenting with where his tongue should go..above or under the bit.

Finally, we went back to the trailer just as all the pasture horses were being brought in to be fed.  The ones not picked galloped around for a while. That made Lucky Star just a little anxious, so we played the backing game until his attention was diverted to  me.

Both of us expended some energy today!

PostHeaderIcon Just Keep Your Mouth Open for a While!

Lucky Star got to visit Dr. Randy Huenefelg (Dr. Randy) at Adrian on Friday morning.  It was a dentist vet visit for Lucky Star. He also got his picture taken to be put on his Coggins paper.  For the non horse people that read the blog, Coggins is a test that every horse must have to go visit a horse show, another boarding place etc.  It is a test that makes certain the horse doesn’t have the horse form of HIV. The Coggins paper will show that Lucky Star had his blood tested and he does not have the disease.  It also gives Lucky Star’s name, color, breed and age.  His picture will be on the certification.  The age was a matter of discussion. Horse have baby teeth and then the adult teeth.  A vet is well trained to be able to tell the age of the horse by looking at their teeth.  Also the horses’ teeth continue to grow.  Grazing on the grass that the mustangs grazed on, keeps the teeth under control.  Sadly, we don’t have that kind of grass here on our pastures, so the horse needs his teeth “trimmed” yearly.  If the teeth continue to grow without enough saw grass grazing, the teeth will start chewing on the horse’s tissues in his mouth.  You know how painful it is when you have a condition that causes you to bite the inside of your mouth.  That’s what happens to our modern day horses.

Anyway, Dr. Randy told me that Lucky Star is four years old. He has a four year old baby tooth that hasn’t yet been replaced by an adult tooth.  I called up Teresa for another reason and she checked his papers.  Indeed, he is a 2007 model!  He’s in his fourth year.  When his birthday comes next May, he’ll be five. For horse show purposes (and racing) every horse attains the next age on January 1st.  That means this coming January, if Lucky Star and I were in a horse show, he would be five years old.

For the trailer ride to Adrian, Lucky Star rode in the first position in the trailer.  The divider bar locks Lucky Star into a narrow place in the head of the trailer. The bar is made so that Lucky Star can’t get his head over the divider and bite the horse next to him.  When we got to Adrian, I got Velvet out and tied her up.  I got back into the trailer and Lucky Star had somehow got his head turned around so he was looking backwards.  There isn’t really enough room for a horse’s head and neck to be in the same place in this narrow confinement.  His nose was touching his withers. That made his body press on the divider bar. There was too much pressure for me to release the divider bar. Probably there was nearly 700 lbs of pressure on that bar.  No way could I get the release to work.  I called for Dr. Randy and then Lucky Star was able to get his head back to where God made horse’s heads to stay and I released the divider bar and got him out. Good GAD!  I didn’t have the strength of will to put him back in the lead trailer position on the way back home.  I just couldn’t get that vision of his head squished against his shoulders to go away.

Velvet went to for a chiropractic adjustment. Velvet has been telling me that her back, sternum and neck are out and that she needs me to get that adjustment done.  Velvet is well able to make her needs known without using the English language. Velvet uses her ears-flattened against her neck, her head snakes, and she clicks her teeth when she is really trying to get her point across.  Let me tell you, it would take a blind person to ignore her expression of displeasure!

Velvet had an extensive adjustment done. She was out of place nearly everyplace a horse could be.  She gets some time off to heal up that soreness.  I’ll be anxious to see what she tells me the next time I ride her.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star Lesson at Pine Dell Farm

Karen Moulis was my first instructor.  It was she that took me from rigid fear to someone that could ride.  Karen is great for beginning riders, aging old beginning adult riders and everyone in between.

When I passed Level 1, I discovered lessons with Karen’s daughter Jenny and my life with horses evolved.

Karen is still instructing at Pine Dell Farm and has thousands of students since I left her way back when.  I decided that Lucky Star would benefit highly in weekly lesson at Pine Dell Farm. Where else can you take a trailer ride, be in an arena with other horses, encounter every scary object possible and learn to communicate with your blessed human partner.

The temperature started out a warm 40 degree during the day, but had plummeted to the low 30′s by the time the lesson got done.  No problem for me!  Lucky Star and I played on the ground.  I got to move so much that my muscles warmed up my entire body.

Lucky Star became a “Horse That Wouldn’t Move”.  Lucky Star became a boulder.  Do you remember driving in a car up a steep Colorado mountain and looking at those boulders. Remember thinking, what if that boulder decided to drop into the highway. The boulder would be bigger than the road and if you were lucky enough not to be squished, your drive to the top of the mountain would be terminated.  No one could move a big boulder.

That’s what Lucky Star was last night.  Sadly I had to move up to phase four to get him to move. We had a move battle.  I stayed at phase four whenever he gave me the smallest try. That is a sin.  Release for the smallest try, even for a boulder.

Treats work really well for Left brained introvert horses.  I explained to Karen that I had been unable to get Lucky Star to accept a treat.  He didn’t know what I was trying to put in his mouth and wouldn’t try it.  I didn’t have any yummy Winnie’s cookies to try..just pepperment nuggets and a carrot. Failed

Karen had been through this before.  Alfalfa cubes smell like delicious grass. She got some alfalfa cubes.  Lucky Star moved without effort on my part and he got a treat. When he took that alfalfa cube into his mouth, his entire life changed.  His horse expression couldn’t have been clearer!  WOWSA DOWSA!!!  Humans have delicious things!  Lucky Star tried to crawl into my pocket the rest of the night.  He did a lot of backing.  He is really good at backing.

Karen also suggested that we use a plastic bag on the end of the carrot stick.  Many times a shaking of the plastic bag to ask a horse to move is more effective than the string slapping the body.

We got the plastic bag carrot stick.  I carefully opened it up.  I drug the plastic bag and Lucky Star instantly followed it.  We walked around the arena for a while with Lucky trying to get his with his teeth.  After that, I swished the bag all over his body and he remained a confident horse.

The lesson was about ended.  Karen took Lucky Star and tried to sidepass on the wall with the stick and bag as directional tools.  It worked great.

Tonight, I got Lucky Star out of the pasture and in the barn light, we did a few circles both ways.  He was not a boulder tonight.  He was the ocean waves.  He moved along nicely with some slow down and speed up moments.  We finished up by backing into the barn.  I told you he was good at backing!

Karen has group lessons most every Wedneday.  Anyone from Pine Dell can come.  If you would like to trailer in for lesson, give Karen a call at 816-540-3566.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky Star’s Pedestal Debut

Lucky Star pedestal by susanfxtrt

Introvert  horses like to stand still.  Lucky Star likes to stand still on a pedestal where everyone can admire his “cuteness”.

Tonight when we got into the arena, I was chatting with some Lucky Star admirers.  We had just got done chatting and Lucky Star decided to leave me and investigate the arena on his own.  humph!  So when he turned his rear towards me, I told his rear that it had to move on out at a quite faster speed.

He sped around the arena a couple of times without too much slowing down, but then he veered and ran right to the pedestal and stopped.  I came to him and asked him to stand on the pedestal. After testing it out with both feet, he decided it was safe to stand on.  And there he stayed.  I hurridly got my camera out as I backed away hoping I wouldn’t be too late.  No worry about that.  He posed for as long as I wanted.  Above is the best picture.

Lucky Star hopes you will enjoy looking at him!

We have one more story of the night.

Barb Martin came into the arena to pet “Mr. Cuteness”.  We chatted, she petted him.  She turned and walked towards the gate and Lucky Star followed her.  Of course she was delighted.  She walked about halfway around the arena with Lucky Star right on her heels like a nicely trained dog.

She stopped at the gate.  I went to get Lucky.  I tried to get him to follow me, but he was having none of me.  He wanted Barb.

Barb Martin stole my horse tonight.  Thank goodness she left without him and I managed to get him to follow me to the trailer and got him home.

Country Frank's Lucky Star is owned by Teresa Osborn of Stoneride Farm

PostHeaderIcon Jenny Ends the Lesson

Jenny ends the Lesson by susanfxtrt

Turns out it was a great day even though it did rain and rain.  We got to be out in the outdoor arena right before our lesson was scheduled.  Lucky Star and I arrived at Kitty Hawk.  This is the third place Lucky Star has ever been.  It’s a large boarding stable filled with horses, indoor and outdoor arenas and lots of things and other horses to look at.  Lucky got out of the trailer and acted like he owned the place.

We looked in the indoor arena before we noticed that Jenny and her lesson had moved to the outdoor arena.  Lucky and I walked to the outdoor arena without being in any obvious panic.  I would like to add that this is awesome behavior for a horse new to the world beyond his pasture.  He still gets excited being in the trailer.  It makes him nervous. We drove for a lot longer time than it takes us to get to Pine Dell. Still he got out and is in his “thinking” left brain.

We get to play in the outdoor arena.  I lug his saddle and saddle pad to the outdoor arena.  Usually, saddles are carried from the trailer to the place of business by the horse, not the human. But I had never saddled Lucky Star.

As soon as I got back in the arena, it started to rain and a kind hearted person lugged the saddle into the indoor arena for me. I was attached to the horse and was only able to carry the saddle pad.

Lucky and I played a little bit until it was time for his lesson with Jenny.  I got settled into my chair and enjoyed my learning lesson.

She tested out his grumpy spots.  He wasn’t showing her his grumpy spots as he had a lot of distraction. She got on the mounting block and pressed herself on his back.  He then displayed his irritation (ears back) at that. She worked it thru. She was pretty certain that he was not used to people using his back without a saddle being on it.  It felt really weird to him.

She saddled Lucky Star without any negative reaction at all and resumed her activity at getting on his back from the mounting block.  He had no reaction at all.

She played most of the seven games with him.She got to the circle game and Lucky Star gaited around her.

Jenny then told us that he was gaited up the whaazooo.  That’s what we gaited horse people say when the horse displays a natural talent and performs the signature gaits, naturally.  We clutch our hearts and say, WOW..  When it’s an awesome display of the natural gait, we exclaim, “He’s gaited up the whaaahoo!”  I’ve never known how to spell whaazoo, but that’s what it sounds like.

She explained that he appears to be giving his hindquarters when she asked for a turn on the forehand, but there was resistence from his body. She said that it might be because he is so gaited that his body is built to go forward, not flex like a ballerina (the ballerina word is my interpretation).

She ended the lesson getting on him.  She got up and stood in the saddle many times on both sides. By this time Lucky Star was fixated on looking out the door of the arena.  Jenny got a little frustrated because he was in a zone and was totally ignoring her. She thought if she got on him and then  he decided to become aware of her again, he might be startled to find her sitting on his back. We don’t like the thought of startling a horse that we’ve never been on.  It makes us anxious.

Finally, Lucky Star’s brain came back into the arena and became aware of Jenny. She hopped up on him and sat there.  He didn’t move a muscle.

Both Jenny and Dr. Patrick Handley pronounced him to be an left brained introvert.  He did show some playful behavior and willingness to move forward into our human space.  But in actuality, he’s not a fan of forward movement. It takes quite a bit of effort to keep him going in the circle game.

Jenny handed him back to me.  “I like him very much.  He’s very confident.  He’s able to keep his left brain in stressful situations and think things through. This will serve him very well in his journey.  Don’t let him walk into you at all. Don’t tolerate any rude behavior”

PostHeaderIcon Grumpy Spots

Tonight we started out with our “go touch it” game.  He touched a ball, some barrels and the pedestal with his nose.  He had to touch what I “sent” him too.   We squeezed between the pedestal and some barrels.

We played the half circle game (with my back on the fence). We tried to combine that with sidepassing.  It takes a horse with some impulsion for this to work well.  His impulsion isn’t quite up there enough yet in the short time we played the half circle game. I had forgotten the sidepass game until tonight.  We tried to sidepass up and down the fence and we made some sideways headway.

I continued to insist on asking for a back up and then not ever taking a step forward unless I ask.  I remembered tonight to let him lick his lips after each learning task.  It takes him about 30 seconds to lick his lips and that’s a long time for me to be patient and do nothing.

He played the lay down and roll game.  That’s a fun game for both of us. Fun for me to watch and admire his bravery and confidence and nice for him to let out the trailer ride tension.  He still neighs occasionally in the trailer.  He yells when we arrive at Pine Dell, but when I unload him, his feet are still.  I really like that about Lucky.  He yells and stands still.

Lucky Star has been a perfect little horse until tonight when I found some grumpy spots.  Lucky Star gets angry when I jump up and down besides him.  It happens on both sides.  That’s the great thing about horses is finding the holes.  If you can find a hole, you fix it. That makes you just that much safer when you do ride.  That’s what these games are all about. Do it on the ground to ensure your safety and success in the saddle!

He also has an ear that he’s not fond of me touching inside it.

Jenny takes him tomorrow for a lesson and I’ll be happy to tell her about his grumpy spots!

He’s getting better at maintaining a trot on the circle game.  He believes me now when I insist that he not stop.  We might make it up to three circles before he stops the next time we play.  I love horses that are not very impulsive until you insist!

I love Lucky Star.  Hope you can come watch his lesson with Jenny tomorrow at Kitty Hawk. We’re on for 10:00am

PostHeaderIcon EEEK, It’s Not Even that Cold Yet

Sorry Lucky Star fans.  I tried to play with him tonight.  I was not dressed for success.  I had only one layer of work clothes on.  I did switch into my wonderful Muckboots (they now have purple Muckboots with which I am totally in love with.) with the Toasty Sole heat generating insoles, but it wasn’t enough.  I got cold at work this afternoon, warmed up in the ride home and was determined to get on with the Lucky Star and Susan “playland”, but I got cold on the walk to the barn.  I fed the beautiful horses, watered them in their electric heated buckets and headed for the house.  I really hate to get cold.

What I need to do is get home a little earlier than 7:00pm and already have all my warm layers on. Getting cold early in the process of going over to Pine Dell Farm in the cold did me in.

So, I worked on my book.  Here’s the story about the book.  It’s coming along!  If I keep the book open and ready to dive into, I sit down and write.  If I tell the book to go into the file and wait for me, it’s a lot of effort on my part to find it and then open it up to the story that I’m working on.

So while I’m telling you how weak I am, I’ll tell you that I’m going to keep the book open so I can just sit down an immediately write and wear my 14 layers of winter wear to and from work.  It only takes me about 10 minutes to get ready to come from work when I’m all dressed up in my layers. I always put on scarves and hats and cover my face hoping no one recognizes me.  “I, it’s your co-worker, the wooly mammoth.  I engage in outdoor activities during the winter nights.  Yes, I am crazy. Don’t tell anyone else that you saw me like this!”

New Year’s Resolution Time-dress warm and keep writing!

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