Archive for April, 2017
Sunday Clinic Day with Jennifer Vaught
It was a most amazing time riding Cisco. Firstly, I asked for a bit of speed and he hollowed out his back and paced. We worked on that. Then he would go nicely until the corners where he paced. The first exercise Jenny had us do in the clinic today, involved a lot of walking and leg yielding. We were walking the long way down the middle of the arena when Cisco suddenly began walking faster with a huge long stride. Then he got excited and we jigged around. He wanted to dart and go fast. We got that under control. The last exercise of the day was everyone went to the rail, one at a time. We were to do transitions, all the gaits and canter. We did an awesome flat foot walk. We did an amazing soft fox trot! Cisco and I have not cantered all winter because he couldn’t. So today, I asked him to canter. We went on wrong lead. But, it wasn’t a “lameness” canter attempt. We stopped and tried for the correct lead again. Zowie! We cantered one beautiful lap around the arena. Cisco has recovered!
Here is Cisco’s translation. “It is going to hurt when I go faster. I dread it so much that I’m going to hollow out my back to help stop the pain. Hmmm. Nothing hurts. My shoulder can move underneath this saddle! My goodness! I’m going to walk fast and see what that feels like! Wow! That felt good. OMG. My body feels great under this saddle! I want to run! I want to dash around! Yee Haw! Wait! You want me to fox trot? OK. Doesn’t that feel good! Now canter? I can’t wait! Isn’t this fun! Thanks for getting off. I’m a little tired with all this exercise. We haven’t done this in a long time!
Now get those ticks out of my mane! Let me eat some grass! Take me home!”
Lucky has a new saddle and suddenly he is one of two riding horses. Half the pressure is off! Next is to give Lucky the chance at the new saddle. I told him tonight when Cisco returned to his pasture. Lucky said, “A different saddle? I’ll really like how it feels? Well, that is s p e c i a l. I volunteer to let Cisco use it all the time. I’ll just stay here and run things at home. Sweetie and Delta need me full time to run the pasture process.” The Lucky SNORT was directed to my face.
Cisco and Lucky own a Parelli Natural Performer saddle. The gullet is extra wide. It is 16.5 inch and was made in Germany in 2010. It is a good thing we got the extra wide. The standard would have been too narrow.
The bucking rolls are gone. Thanks Yellow Boot Saddelry for making the fenders short enough for me and removing the bucking rolls. The bucking rolls made the seat too small for me.
Cisco’s lameness was stifle and something else. I guessed the saddle was causing problems. My beloved Circle Y Flex Lote saddle was discovered to have a broken tree last year. I’d been using my original
Circle Y Flex lite saddle. It occasionally caused me to get sore. It was probably too narrow for Cisco. I no longer endorse the Circle Y Flex tree saddle.
The stifle and mystery lameness got better and got worse. Stifle injection made Cisco worse. Cisco got better with each shoeing by Healthy Stride Farrier, Tony Vaught. But we couldn’t keep the plus progression of zero lameness strides. Cisco got a month of freedom to heal.
Saddle search was on and I made a big commitment to the Parelli brand. I know if I ever sell this saddle, there will be buyers out there in the world looking.
Can it be that Cisco and I rode once on a trailride in the fall of 2016 and nothing since? The best thing to bring Cisco’s legs back to health is good straight line riding. Amazing that the Rock Island hiking, biking and equestrian trail near my house was just completed. I haven’t rode him in a month or so and we are going on a very short trail ride with 3 other riders.
The equestrian parking is right next to an outdoor tree covered hoarder 1/2 acre like you see on The Pickers tv show. It even looks a little scary to us humans.
Cisco always is nervous in new places, but he manages it well. He manages it by moving. Getting on Cisco atop the trailer wheelwell took a minute or so. He finally stopped long enough to make it safe for me to climb on. We walked around the parking area and got calm enough to stop and wait for the other riders to get ready. Then off went the group!
Oh, we discovered the hoarder has a barking dog that was coming at us. Most of us relaxed when we saw the dog had a chain. Then a man’s voice called the dog’s name and told us that we were not bothering the dog. “The dog is OK with horses,” the voice yelled. There is no house in the hoarder lot, but there is a funeral home tent.
After we got past the hoarder and we were all able to breathe again, we discussed that experience. We were not worried about us bothering the dog. We were worried about the dog bothering our horses. Our leading rider thought that the chain was not attached to anything. She did not relax when she saw the chain. We also thought maybe the hoarder lives in the funeral home tent.
Cisco was OK behind the lead horse. He likes to get calm by walking faster and faster, but I managed to keep him out of the lead horse position because we would have been out of sight of our group in minutes.
After about a mile, Cisco snorted about six times. That was his tension leaving his body. I loved hearing those snorts.
We turned around to return to the parking lot. On the way back, Cisco snorted again several times, but the snorts were much softer. He still had tension to get rid of, but it was much less. We had to pass an large object that was wrapped on light weight plastic. It billowed in the wind. The horses all checked it out and continued to walk on.
Cisco had walked for about 45 minutes without a misstep. I did ask him to speed up into a gait when we got to the parking lot and he immediately started pacing. I shut that down quick. We were done. The group picked up another rider and were going to continue the ride in the other direction.
I loaded Cisco into the trailer and headed home.
On my dead end road were two little doggies. They had no humans with them. One of them stood in the middle of the road.
I stopped the truck and got out. They took off running.
I went around to the back of horse trailer and called the dogs. One of them decided I might be a nice human. They circled back to me.
This is when Cisco joined our conversation. Cisco did not like being in the trailer. He started yelling and stomping his feet. If I were little dogs, it would scared me too. Off they ran.
Finally the mini boarder collie looking dog, came back and allowed me to pet and lift her into the truck. The other dog came close, but was too scared to let me touch him. I decided to go home, get Cisco out, get the doggie passenger in my car and return to the lost dog area.
I discovered my passenger had tags with name and phone number! I had to wait at the lost dog area only a little while before the rescue posse showed up. Nikki was on my leash and Charlie hovered nearby.
Job done and nap time for me!
Lucky – “How often have you walked 4 miles mom? Four miles carrying you is not a short trail ride. Take me home! Feed me!”
Me – “Yes Lucky”. (I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow for riding. Heh. Heh)
Lucky Star – “A four mile trail ride is NOT a short ride! And why those other horses cantered around in the field at the end of the trail ride is just ridiculous. I could see the trailer when you asked me to exhort senseless energy to canter in circles when I was exhausted! Snort! Take me home! Feed me!” “Ride Cisco!”
Next time I rave on and on about how Lucky Star has changed into the horse of yes, just smile and shake your head. Susan never learns.
I played with Cisco first. We are learning driving skills. Yes, I bought light weight long ropes. I attached them to my Parelli Bridle. At the end, Cisco was trotting around me in the pasture. His back legs look good. I took off the bridle and he walked with me back to the barn. I said, “Cisco, I love you the most. You are my favorite horse.”. I might have repeated that three times. I can’t believe that Lucky Star might have heard me.
Lucky became the horse of no again when I started riding. We were riding very near the herd who were all locked in their stalls. We were about 1/4 of a football field away from the other horses at the furthest. We tried zipping in a large dressage 20 meter circle, passing by the stalls.
Oh we had maybe two circles out of all I tried where we maintained a gait faster than a stall. I used all my strategies to stomp out the “no”. Lucky started nickering to his friends. This meant his attention was not focused on me. I increased my domination. We backed, we turned on the hindquarters many different times. Then something different happened. Lucky squealed. He stalled. I noted that my temper had escaped from deep within.
When the horse makes you mad, he wins. You cannot loose your temper when riding. Luckily, I was able to have a discussion with myself. “Get off! Continue this with Lucky on the ground. You have a lot more power over his impulsion on the ground”.
Lucky was astounded. He probably thought he was the top dog. We went to the trailer and took off the saddle. Lucky was chortling. We put the halter on and went to the round pen. Oh what a shame. Lucky had to canter and gallop around the pen. He used his body language a lot to express his displeasure. When that was over, I decided to have him canter in circles around me very close to his friends in the stalls. Shoot, I need a longer rope. I cleverly tied one of the thin driving ropes to my regular rope.
Your horsemanship is determined by the tools you use. I learned why a skinny rope is not a good idea. Lucky was engaged in another war with me. He was stopping when he was behind me. I tagged him good with the string on the end of my stick. He pulled away. O U C H! He got away and I got a rope burn. Oh, the thin rope doesn’t work well! I caught Lucky and we continued our discussion. He thought it was really cool how he escaped me. He tried it three more times. Cleverly, I had taken off that rope burning little rope. I was somewhat handicapped as the regular rope was only twelve feet long, but I managed. Now let me mention that my twenty two foot rope was a short distance away. I should have made the effort to use the suitable rope. This was a lapse of intelligence on my part. Lucky and I managed to end our discussion soon after that. I took off the halter and my 49% partner walked right beside me back to the barn. I truly was shocked. Lucky was telling me that I was the leader. He wanted to be with me.
I staggered into the house and got food in me. I had run out of energy during the monumental battle. I’m anxious to see what happens the next time I ride Lucky Star at home. Will he be the horse of no or the horse of yes!
The round bale had been consumed leaving only a cushion of hay on the ground. The horses deserted the round bale to the green grass. It appears that the green grass has been eaten down to the dirt.
Lucky Star has been telling me that he is starving. I retort and tell him both of us need to lose our roundness. He snorts on me and is actively looking for a smart phone that is nicker activated.
Lucky Star hates Siri. She never responds to his nicker activating attempts to contact the Too-much-Horse-Exercise Hot line.
Today I put out a brand new round bale to stop the horse starvation. All the horses ignored the round bale. They all went into their stalls and waited for the horse feed.
I kept telling them that the hay was their special treat today. After they gave up waiting for their horse feed, I saw Cisco use the round bale as a scratching post. Delta laid down and used it as a scratching post.
The starving horses have been eating the starvation dirt grass all the rest of the day.
Did Lucky Star lie to me about starving!
I go now to feed them their sweet horse feed.