Cat Friend

When I had my horse, Bogie, at a boarding facility, I discovered he had a real affinity for one of the barn cats. He didn’t much like other horses, but he loved this cat. I would frequently find the cat in his stall, enjoying the snuffling and nuzzling from his oversize  friend.

We don’t have any cats at our barn now — too many coyotes for outside cats — so I don’t know whether my horses would like a cat pet. Freedom loves dogs. He loves to nuzzle them and blow in their fur. Not too many dogs reciprocate this feeling, but he has found a few puppies who will lick his nose!

About these ads

Lost and found

This week in the Boston area we saw the temperatures range from a balmy 60 degrees to a bone chilling 20. Hunting in these weather shifts is challenging for both horse and human as one day you’re too hot and the next you’re too cold. Helping the horses stay comfortable is key.

Freedom trace clip

First “draft” of Freedom’s trace clip. I’ll play with it until I get it right. Freedom is harder to clip because the color difference between his clipped and un-clipped coat is so drastic that it’s more important to look neat.

During the warm days we had I finally got both horses trace clipped. Usually I’ve gotten this done earlier as I think that trace clipping is a great way to keep your horse from overheating while still leaving enough coat on to keep them warm. For Freedom, it’s essential: he gets so excited and worked up that he can easily become soaking wet and then get very cold.

Zelda doesn’t get as hot. Probably because she doesn’t work as hard!

Why hadn’t I clipped them? This will sound dumb, but I couldn’t find my big clippers. I hadn’t used them since the spring and they were nowhere. I searched both barns from top to bottom. Eventually I found a pair on Amazon (open box return) at a good price and as soon as they arrived? You guessed it! I found the old ones. The new ones are slightly nicer so I suppose it’s a net gain and now I have a spare.

Then I had to wait for a day that was warm enough to give them baths, dirty horses and clipper blades just don’t mix. Finally I had clippers in hand, fresh blades AND a warm day.

Unfortunately, this mislaying of objects has become a disturbing trend. The same thing happened with my tall boots. At the beginning of the season I couldn’t find them. Normally, during hunt season, I keep them in my trailer along with the other things I need for hunting. My dressing room is resplendent with stock ties, jackets, spare bits, hunt bridles for each horse, and a few extra girths, stirrup leathers and saddles. It means that when I load up to go, I know everything is there.

During the “off” season, when I usually ride in paddock boots and half chaps, I usually leave them there or . I have an old, spare pair, but they aren’t really tall enough. After wearing them a few times, I found a really nice pair of Tredstep boots on eBay. Just my size, worn once and less than half of retail. So I bought them.

Guess what? You got it. I found my boots almost immediately.

So now I need to figure out whether this is just a case of brain overload — to many things going on — or old age. Let’s just hope that I don’t misplace anything more important!

Submit your post to the 2014 November Blog Carnival of Horses

Blog Carnival of HorsesOn November 3, Equine Ink will host the 2014 November Blog Carnival of Horses. Please submit your post here by end of day on November 2nd. You might also have noticed the on-going Blog Carnival on Equine Ink’s Facebook page. Using RSS feeds, that page now works as a  curated page, adding links to each of the posts from our participating equestrian blogs.

The Blog Carnival — and now the Facebook Page — is a great way to get more exposure for your blog and to find new blogs to read. The curated page is on-going, so you will never miss another post of your favorite blog!

Welcome to the October 2014 Blog Carnival of Horses

Blog Carnival of HorsesWelcome to the October 2014 Blog Carnival of Horses. There are some great posts here, including an inspiring video on how to work two horses simultaneously (Freedom and Zelda take note) and a funny photo from Bromont (back in the day when I used to take photos at horse shows, I got a great photo of a friend of mine falling off her horse. It did not make me popular).

There’s also an interesting post on the economics of equestrian blogging — in other words, do we bloggers make any money by writing about the animals that we love? You may notice that I run WordAds on this blog. It’s WordPress’s version of AdSense. I hope it doesn’t bother any of my readers. I don’t make much money from the ads but they require no attention on my part and every little bit that goes to the horse budget helps.

Back Home in Bromont presents Oops: Lost my Rider posted at Back Home in Bromont saying, “During the Bromont International, I spent 12 hours a day shooting, scrambling to get press photos out and try and get at least one post on my blog of the days events. This went on for three weeks. One night I was getting a bit squirrelly and rather than post the winners of the day, I chose my favourite photo. The caption pretty much says what happened. To my surprise, it was an immediate hit and to this day it receives “likes” and comments on a number of sites. (It still makes me smile every time I look at it) (Oh and the rider was fine. A wonderful person, who’s comment to the crowd was, “My bad!”

Martine presents Pas de Deux Part Deux posted at Tails from Provence.

Martine presents Dressage at Vidauban posted at Tails from Provence.

Yulia Frolova presesnts EquiBingo posted at EquiGeo.

Lauren presents Equestrians at Sea posted at She Moved to Texas.

Lauren presents Mobile Ponies posted at She Moved to Texas.

Shya presents Saône Stahl~ A magnificent Sculptor!! posted at The Flying Shetlands.

Shya presents Longines LA Masters Grand Slam ~ David Mach~ posted at The Flying Shetlands.

Shya presents Heartland~Diane Williams ~Spirit Of Horses posted at The Flying Shetlands.

Katharine Wolcott presents Sine Die … Or Not posted at Rodney’s Saga.

Exploring Dressage Biomechanics presents What, When, and How in Horse Training posted at Exploring Dressage Biomechanics.

Tiny Tim presents Tim’s Wish on National Poetry Day posted at HoovesWho.

Becky presents Premature posted at Kicking On, saying “This post was my most popular piece last month – it’s a photo story of an extended trail ride we took some of our campers on during the final week of the summer. Great memories of possibly my best day at work!”

Becky presents A Thousand Words posted at Kicking On, saying, “I’ve been meaning to submit for a really long time, sorry it’s taken me so long to get involved! This post was one of my most popular ones in my horse category during September (my blog is split into two categories: “horsey” and “everything else”): it’s a photographic recap of my summer, which I spent teaching kids to ride at a camp.”

Viva Carlos presents 2Pointober posted at Viva Carlos. (Note: I’m afraid that my late posting of this Carnival means that if you want to sign up for this you need to do so by tomorrow. My old legs have told me that my baseline would be pathetic.)

Suzanne presents Just Say Yes posted at Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Overthinker. (Full disclaimer — this post features some awesome photos that Suzanne took of my Zelda).

Suzanne presents A Word to the Wise posted at Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Overthinker.

Amy presents ISO Saddle Time posted at A Work in Progress: One Middle Aged Broad’s Decent Back Into Horse Madness.

Bad Eventer presents Bad Horse Transporter posted at Tales from a Bad Eventer.

Fran presents 10 Years on the Hoof Blog: A Little About You posted at Fran Jurga’s Hoof Blog.

That’s all for this month. I hope you enjoy the posts as much as i did. You can submit your post for the next issue at any time.

A little pre-hunt excitement

It was a beautiful, cool morning — perfect for hunting. Zelda was obviously feeling a bit excited about the prospect of hunting, so I turned her out to get her sillies out. She really enjoys running around in her field and her friend, Curly, got into it too. You’d never guess that Curly is 22, would you?

Thanks to Suzanne who had her camera with her and was able to take these great photos. I’m sure she was glad to see Zelda get her bucks out as she was the one riding her in the hunt.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The three second rule

Biting horse

This biting horse is actually a wild horse, not a domesticated horse.

I think we’ve all seen horse owners who are afraid of their horses . . . and many times those horses see that leadership vacuum and step right in, treating the humans around them like they are subordinate horses in the herd — and that can mean biting or charging at humans.

I’ve been up close and personal with two horses who had those tendencies — one charged me in the pasture, rearing up and striking out at me; the other would try to bite you while you fed.

It’s no fun to be in situations like that and even less fun when it’s not your horse, because the owner might not appreciate your method of dealing with their behavior. In these cases I’m a strong proponent of  John Lyons’ three second rule. In Lyons on Horses he wrote:

The horse never ever has the right to kick or bite you. Biting is more dangerous than kicking because it is a more aggressive act on the horse’s part. You can’t every justify that action in your mind.

I don’t want to be bitten. If the horse tries to bite me, I will try to kill him. His act is that dangerous and my rule is that simple. I have three seconds in which to kill this thousand-pound beast. The only limitation I’ll put on the murder is that his head will be off limits. Remember, I don’t want to blind him, I want to kill him. Immediately after I’ve exhausted the three seconds, I’ll pet him to reassure him that I still like him, but he knows that he made a serious mistake that almost cost him his life.

While this might seem to be an overreaction, you should take some time and watch how horses interact in a herd situation. Retribution is swift, can look harsh, and when it’s over, they all move on.

I won’t say that I tried to kill any of those horses but for those three seconds I was loud and scary. With one, I carried a whip and used it (not on his head).

My own horses are not aggressive. They can’t be — I’ve always had larger horses and it’s meant that manners are important for my safety and for anyone else who handles them. I have a zero tolerance for bad behavior and so most potential issues get nipped (pun intended) in the bud, before they become a problem.

Freedom will, on occasion, give me the evil horse face and pin his ears, but he backs right off if you growl at him or assert your leadership. Once or twice he’s cocked a hind leg — when that happens, he gets to run around in the field a bit until he wants to “join up” and behave like a domesticated animal again. In fact, he looks very offended if you chase him off.

Zelda will push the boundaries (she is, after all, big) but in a totally passive way — by not moving, or by walking off slowly, knowing there is no way that you can stop her. With her, it’s important that she always respects my personal space, picks up her feet nicely for the farrier, and stands quietly for getting tacked up.  She occasionally needs to be reminded that she can’t always be the boss, and she generally takes reprimands well. A growl or chain over the nose is enough to convince her to step down before any force is required.

How do you keep your horse in line? Have you ever reverted to the three second rule?