Saturday, June 30, 2012

What is a girl to do on a hot summer day? Play with horses!

I was on a roll!  After getting on Romeo and moseying around, I started to eyeball Wyoming.  It had been a while since I was on him and I missed it!  How is he going to be my endurance prospect if I dont' start working with him again?  He has a great mind when handled right, so I decided to begin our journey too.  I have been doing a bit of ground work here and there but nothing consistent with him either.  Darn that job that just gets in the way!  Ha!  He is still as stiff as he used to be....when he turns it is like turning a boat.  You know how the whole thing moves without a bend?  Yep, that is my dear Wy.  :-)

I got on with my trusty stump and sat on him a little bit.  Funny....I was back on my narrow horse and comfy as I could be.  I will figure out what is different...I just don't know at this moment.  I did not plan on walking around at all...I was just going to get on and off a few times, and rub all over him while I was up there.  He had other things in mind - he wanted to walk out.  After a couple times of him trying to go, I made it 'my' idea and away we went....slowly walking around the barn lot.  Romeo and Wy are friends, so Romeo thought he would help push Wy along.

Romeo is showing off his stocky butt....he doesn't understand why anybody would want a skinny butt!  

I just can't explain how happy I was!  It has been so long and I had forgotten how fun he is to ride.  And get this...we only walked around and I had THIS MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!  He is very smooth and just needs some time to get used to things again.

Later that day we let everyone out onto the hillside so we could move bales around and get a few things done without having to worry about gates.  Chase LOVES to be tall...and the dirt pile was his cup of tea!

Wyoming and Romeo are at the round bale ring...and Batman is giving the call of the wild wondering where everyone is at!

Wy and Romeo decide to go save Batman!

In the meantime, the rest of the group is in the hay bale storage area munching on weeds and grass sprouts.  Stormy is showing off....he can eat and do the cowboy curtain obstacle at the same time.

Romeo, Wy and Chase at the mud pit pond.

 Chase spent a lot of time in the pond.  As you can see, it is very shallow.  It dried up for the first time last year.  I am hoping we can get a Bobcat out this year when it dries up and get the thing scooped back out again.  Brian would like to fill it in and use it as a training pen area, which is a great idea!  It would be one of the flattest place we have to do it....we shall see.
By the way, Wyoming went trotting across the mud pond before Chase got in, but I did not have my camera with me.  I was just thinking "Good Wyoming!  Self condition yourself for our first endurance ride!"

Then the next day I decided to ride again.  And I found out something that freaked him out!  I tied the lead rope around as a loop rein, and the extra was too short to go in a belt loop and too long to tie up to the nose band.  I decided to just double up and hold it.  I had grabbed the loose end and flipped it around a bit and he went into a panic, like he thought I was going to wap on him.  I thought maybe I just startled him so did it again and he was actually scared.  I did not push the issue...we will have plenty of time to work on that kind of stuff.  I am just trying to figure out where that came from (I have an idea....).  No worries...he is a thinker and we will work thru it.  We just moseyed around instead.

Always a distraction at Kaboodle Farm!  If it isn't guineas flying over head, it is Pimp Daddy strutting in the path.  I love my life!  :-)

I had a great evening!  It was one of those evenings that was planned out, then the plans did not pan out.  So I had to make new plans.  It was one of those evenings that reminded me how blessed I am...

Until later...Karen and Tripp who says to let Wyoming have at that endurance stuff...more power to him!  ;-)

Finally got on Romeo...

June was going to be the month of Red (a.k.a. Romeo).  As it would turn out, I had an opportunity for some overtime at work so I jumped on that, then we just got busy around here.  So I have been doing a little bit of ground work with Romeo here and there...nothing as consistent as I was planning.

One day a couple of weeks ago I decided I was going to get on Romeo.  I went out to do a bit of ground work with him and he was full of it!  He was RUNNING his circles, jumping in the air and twisting around....just having a good ol' time!  I decided I would not get on that day...we would just play a while.  :-)

Fast forward to last week and I decided it was time again.  He is a pretty layed back horse and it was hot.  Good combination!  Even tho he is short my physique makes it a challenge to get on him bareback.  That is where the trusty stump comes in to play!  He just stood there....wishing I would hurry up and do it.

 Alley Oop!  I am on!  We did a few flexes and just stood there.  Now let me tell you, for a short fat flat backed horse he is not easy to sit on!  Not what I was expecting at all.  We did walk around a bit and I had a hard time getting comfortable, and if I am not comfortable he can't be either.  Hmmm....maybe I am used to my narrow mustangs?

We still had a fun time and I have been making a point to work with him almost every night, even if it is just a few minutes.  He is learning that he is not a lap horse.  He is so friendly, will leave the hay bale to be with you, but he wants to stand right on ya.  It isn't a bad thing and he isn't shoving me out of the way...he just likes to be very close.  We are working on him standing over there and me standing over here.  :-)  He doesn't think that is a very fun game.  Hee hee!

Will have more updates as we continue our lessons...his and mine both!  ;-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp who is keeping an eye on this new interloper who is taking too much of Mom's time!

Going to the Drive-In Theater...

Last week Friday my hubby called me at work and asked if I would like to go on a date with him.  :-)
We went to the Drive-In Theater and saw Brave.  We also stayed for the double feature...Avengers....but I fell asleep.  I had a couple days of NO sleep so it was a miracle I stayed up for the main feature...but I was not going to pass up a date to the Drive-In with my husband! 

We had a great time!  To all the couples out there, new and those who have been around a while, my big piece of advice is to never ever forget how to date, and don't ever forget to kiss softly.

Until later....Karen and Tripp who likes his smooches too!

A post from a blog I ran across...The Naughty Tobiano

Every once in a while I come across a blog I like, which takes me to another blog, which takes me to another....I found The Naughty Tobiano a few days ago and have read so much of it!  Here is an entry that I found exceptionally good:

Kids learn from adults and have a tendency to mimic them.  I have met kids who are fun and those who are not fun, those who are creative and those who are not creative, those who are out of control while others are out of control but in a fun way, some who are boring (to me) and some who can't come up with an original idea if it bit them in the butt, those who don't want to go outside - EVER! (kick their butts out the door for a while!), and then there are kids like this one who I would love to meet!  He talks about a topic that touches a lot of people in a lot of different ways...good and bad.  No matter how you feel or what you believe, this is a good write up.  Hope you enjoy it!

Until later, Karen and Tripp who is hoping I am not getting any ideas about feeding children in Africa... (not to worry Tripp...that is not how I roll...your home will always be with me one way or the other)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Trimming hooves with an angle grinder...

Hoof trimming with an angle grinder instead of nippers and rasp...  It is not new, but it is new to a lot of people. 

I have been following Phil Morrare with off and on for quite a while.  The main reason I did not want to try this on my own is #1. I had visions of something going very very wrong and me grinding off 1/2 a hoof (ACK!), and #2. I didn't want to blow money on a grinder that was too heavy, not easy to use, that had a mind of its own, or broke after a couple of uses because it was a piece of get the idea.  One of the barefoot hoof care groups I am on posted about a clinic being held at her farm - so I signed Brian and I up.  We could get hands on instruction and decide then if it is something that will work for us.  We were on our way to Henderson, TN! Thankfully they had a couple of horses for us to work on.  We would not have been able to make the trip if they didn't because it is so far and gas would have killed us.

We opted to buy Phil's grinder since he has been there, done that, and done it again to make it better and better.  The grinder he has is pretty light in weight and is easy to use.  I am a bit clumsy with it since I am not a grinding connoisseur, but I will say that I am a lot more comfortable using it now than I was when I started using nippers.  I also don't feel as beat up as I do after nipping on rock hard hooves this time of year.  Can accidents happen - yes they can.  But no more so than a wrong move with nippers (whether it is you or the horse moving).  When grinding,  a lot of hoof does not come off at a time, which relieved me.  Brian caught right on to it and I was so glad!  He is all excited about this which means I will have help.  Woo hoo!  He got an A+ for technique and I got an A-.  Hmpf, I have work to do because I want an A+ too!  :-)  Brian compared it to grinding on steel...trying to get that fine finish.  I wouldn't know....I just compare it to grinding on hoof wall and trying to get that fine finish.  Hee hee!  ;-)

I need to get one of these signs from! 

Phil worked on a horse the first day to show us what the trim was like, safety things to remember when using the grinder, and answered questions before we got started.  I believe 4 or 5 people brought their own horses and they started that first day. 

Brian worked on the hostesses horse named Glider.  He is a big Foundation QH with the sweetest face!  He was a real doll.  I do want to say that the hostess of this clinic let 4 different people trim on her horses - thank you Ellen!  They are her babies, so she was right there making sure all was well.

All her horses have great feet.  She rides on the rocky roads and they all do well (except Mia, but she has a story)

Brian is getting to know Glider before he begins.

And Glider is getting to know Brian while he looks at the first hoof.

The way it works is like this:  Phil does the first hoof or at least starts the first hoof.  We then pick up the remainder of the hoof...that way we have a guide following what he did.  Then we trim either one or two hooves by ourselves with Phil by our side making sure all is well.  He points things out and gives tips and hints on how to work with the horse, how to make the hoof better, how to read the hoof, etc.

Brian took to this like you would not believe.  I was so happy and very proud of him!
Not bad for someone who has not done much hoof work.

View from above...

Phil pointing out something for Brian to look at.  I know for myself, it was usually a sharp angle when it should all be rounded and smooth.

Two of Brian's completed hooves. 

We did not make it to Hutchinson, KS for the open house at the Correctional Facility this year, so we wore our shirts and shared our experiences with the guys and the mustangs.  :-)

I would like to introduce Mia.  She is a QH and a sweetie!  She worked her whole life, was loved her whole life, then something went wrong and she went lame.  The people that had her were going to ship her to the sale...and you all know what that means for a horse that can't walk. Ellen brought her home and has been trying to do what she can to keep Mia comfortable.  Mia is only 18 yrs old, and this girl instantly melted my heart.  I have never worked on a lame horse before so I was a bit nervous, but it all went well.  We took our time and I am huge on giving breaks when needed.  In my mind Mia needed breaks...she tried real hard to give us what we asked so she deserved the breaks.  Ellen is a lot like we are...ready to save the ones that need saving if at all possible.  I love her for that!

Mia was introduced to the world of SELF PORTRAITS!!!!  Ha ha!  

Tandee, my older mare, is old and creaky, so I try to trim her as close to the ground as possible.  I tried to do the same thing for Mia.  Ellen had x-rays of her hooves but I did not get to see them so am not sure what they looked like.
Notice the leather gloves and the arm guard on my left arm.  Both are just in case I slip with the grinder and hit my arm - which I did.  Funny how it comes straight at me and not the horse...also good it does that!  :-)  Part of learning how to use the grinder is learning what angles to be at.

They had a mini hoof jack with the full size cradle, so we used that a while.

Mia is a sweetie and was comfortable while Mom Ellen held her foot on her lap.  This is how Ellen trims her horses since she had back surgery herself.  

Here is a safety issue picture.  When I started my hair was up in two clips, but as I moved around the horse the end fell out and was hanging down.  That is a hazard because it can get caught up in the grinder while it is still moving...and I am guessing that would not feel too good at all!

Mia has pretty feet.  :-)  She was still ouchy but moved out better than she did in the beginning.  Ellen had her normal trimmer leave Mia alone the last time he was there so Phil could take a look at her.  I feel very honored to work on Mia, and that Ellen trusted me to work on her.

Ellen also has a couple Fjords!  Dang they are cute!  Sam was a rescue.  He was treated very badly and was scared of took a while but Ellen showed him that he can trust her, and now they burn up the trails!

Another safety thing:  Be sure to tie up the horses tail when working on the hind feet.  Same reasons I don't want my hair getting caught up in it, but I have a feeling a flying hoof would be part of the equasion here.

Carrie is her other Fjord and she was a little more moody with everyone milling around her but I think she did just fine.  I keep wondering how ours would have done in an environment like that.  I just don't know.  I am sure Tripp would have been fine, but I don't think he would have stood still as well as these horses did.  Which tells me I have something else to work on.  :-)

So far I have trimmed 4 of the horses since we got home.  Tripp was my guinea pig and he did great!  I make grinder noise and he really could care less...I did a couple of quick zip zip feels on the bottom of his hooves and he didn't react to that either.  While I got him done all the other stood around, so they were getting used to the sound too. 
Rico did not like the feel on his front hooves but was great with the rear.
Nevada did pretty good all the way around.
Stormy was a doll!  He moved around a couple of times, but nothing big.  More to move around to get a better look at what I was doing.  I gave him a treat and he said "Okay, I will stay here."  :-)

I am very excited about this!  The only thing I am not sure about is the heat build up, so I am careful not to grind in one place too long.  I move around the hoof quite a bit just in case...

I am so happy that Brian and I both went! 

Until later....Karen and Tripp who got to show the others that he was the first to work with power tools!  ;-)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tennessee Safari Park, Alamo, TN

Last weekend we headed to Henderson, TN to take a hoof trimming class.  It was how to use an angle grinder.  I love leaving early in the morning because you never know what you might see along the way....

Such as the Tennessee Safari Park!  We were driving down the road and I saw some camels, ostriches and this big sign!  We decided to turn around to check it out.

The park is a drive thru and walk thru.  The pictures will be out of order...but you get the idea.  They have a lot of room for the critters that live in the drive thru part of the park.  The only rule is NOT to get out of your vehicle.  Other than that, you can keep your windows open and feed the critters.  Yep, we had to buy some buckets of feed!  :-)

There were several llamas out there, and adults and babies both had already been shaved for summer.

I loved the hair style of this one.  It was very unique....and I like unique.  :-)

The babies knew that the vehicles were full of goodies!

Some of the llamas were hanging out in the shade...not at all tempted by the goodies.  The baby on the right is already getting good groceries and probably doesn't know we are there. 

I got to feed two baby llamas.

There were several exotics in the park too.

There were a few of these things....'boxes' built out of timber.  There were small deer inside.  What a neat idea for critter houses.

This little deer was so pretty!  His antlers almost don't look real...they look like carved wood.

The buffalo and longhorn were not interested in playing with the humans.

The emus were the most funny....just something about watching them walk at the car....and I still don't know if it was the same few that hurried over the hillside to meet you at another curve in the road.

They do not hesitate to stick their heads in the car to get the food.  They are very aggressive and messy eaters!


In the walk thru area was Gerry the giraffe!  He was allowed to have carrots as treats.  I love his barn!  He has a very tall door and on the inside he has a hay rack that is about 15 foot in the air!  I tried to get a picture but it did not turn out.  Durn it!

When Gerry was not getting carrots, he would go into the barn to munch on hay.

He was so cute!  He would put his head over the railing and stick his black tongue held out the carrot stick and his tongue would wrap around it to pull it in his mouth.

Another one of my favorites is the ostrich.  I still think I would like to raise them but I don't think I would be able to let them go....

The ostrich was a much more gentle eater than the emus.

Close up of his feathers.

The feet of the ostrich are deadly....literally.  I am glad this was a happy ostrich.

Another creative house for critters.  There are pigs in the 'cave'.

This is one of two pigs we saw running around the place.

Water buffalo and I think an elk enjoying the mud hole.

This is the first thing we saw when getting to the driveway of the park!  Awwwww......Mom, baby and Daddy.

The two babies were playing as we were leaving.

This is the last thing we saw at the end of the drive-thru part of the park.  And I was excited!  This is Daddy Camel.  He was gentle when eating out of your hand.

Mom Camel and Baby Camel get some treats too...Mom is eating out of my bucket while baby gets some out of my hand.  I really gotta get me a camel!

Mom seemed to get the raw end of the deal most of the she just pushed baby right out of the way!

Here was a pretty little bridge that I thought would make a great obstacle for the horses.  Pretty and functional!

There was an older cabin with a lot of antique items around and inside it. 

When looking in one of the windows....this is what you saw!  Yikes!

We got a kick out of this sign.  Usually there is a date date on this one!

This is the house that goes with the sign.  There were peacocks all over the place.

We really did have a great time!  I usually get sad at places like this, but there was a lot of room for the animals to roam.  The only ones I am not sure about are the camels and the giraffe....I do hope they have a bigger area to move around once the tourists leave.

Until later...Karen and Tripp who does not think I need a camel!