Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thrush? In Colorado?

When Mrs Mom suggested that maybe Estes had deep tissue thrush, I was confused as I've always been told that Colorado's too dry for thrush.  I mean, we worried about it when it was damp for extended periods of time, but not day-to-day.  Mom picked out Estes' club foot and treated it for thrush for a couple of weeks and Estes quit gimping.  Huh.  Thrush in Colorado.

I always thought of thrush (when I thought of it) as primarily attacking soft tissue, like the frog and surrounding tissues, but never thought about it attacking the sole.  Holy cow was I surprised when Mr Mrs Mom took the hoof knife to Estes' sole and found all sorts of thrush.  In fact, her sole looked like marble and her frog was a disaster, even after the two weeks' worth of treatment.

Here's a video of Mr Mrs Mom working on Estes' gimpy foot.  It's long and there's lots of chatter in the background, but you can very clearly see the marbling in her sole from the thrush.

Did you notice that he didn't use a traditional farrier's hold?  I love the way he held her hoof and it's much easier for me, too.

We'd ridden pretty hard before her trim and she was a little sore, which you can see at the end of the video, but it's nothing like her gimpy video.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little Video

Mom and Bill, Mrs Mom and BrownEyed Cowgirls all already have multiple posts up about their visit last weekend.  I'm feeling like such a dang slacker!

To ease my guilt feelings until I have time to sit and compose a post, here's a little video montage of our ride.

The video of the hunters putting their kill up on Eli is a bit jumpy because Ranger did. not. like. it.

Yeah, dead thing on the back of his new herdmate was just too much.  He was pretty good, but wanted to get outta there.

Really, more to come in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The pond on June 10 this year.  Wasn't it gorgeous?  The frogs were singing when I took this picture.  I love to listen to the frogs :)

The pond on October 17.  No frogs singing, but still absolutely beautiful.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was still water in it.  I fully expected it to be completely dried up like it was last year at this time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ornery Estes

Estes has developed a bad habit, one that is totally and completely my fault.  Because she's been gimped up most of the summer, I've only been taking her out for short rides.  As a result, she's become quite barn sour - always in a hurry to get home.  Last week, she and Monster went rounds about her behavior.

Yesterday, Monster and Mom went out and Estes had a temper tantrum.  Monster handled her beautifully according to Mom.  When she got charge-y, he stopped her and made her stand still.  He turned her away from home and made her stand.  He put her behind Mom and Jesse.  You name it, he tried everything in his power to calm her down.  Unfortunately, a twenty year-old horse with a lot of experience isn't much match for a fifteen year-old boy with less than a month of experience and Monster ate dirt yesterday.  His pride is hurt more than his body.  And she really, really hurt his feelings by dumping him.  He's not thinking much about their "bond" right now.

As a result, I had plans on riding her long and hard today to run off some of that excess energy.  Plans changed; after getting out on the mountain, I decided that a long, slooooowww walk was more what she needed.

A big hug for my standing-still-like-a-good-girl mare...

Just before the big tempter tantrum...

...and one very pissed off mare...

...and now we piaffe (Estes two-step)...

"Mom, I am so mad at you!"

...and passage (quickly on the way to pissmeoff)...

...ultimately, I won and she came back like a good girl.

A roll well-earned...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Favorite Equipment

I've been asked on occasion why I choose to use some of the equipment I do, mainly about the length of my reins and my use of quick-clips to attach them to the bridle.

First, the length of my reins.  I use l-o-n-g reins.  Long enough that when I've got them crossed over Estee's neck they still almost drag the ground.  A lot of people see them as trip hazards, and I'll agree that if they were to drag the ground they'd be trip hazards.  The reason I use them is so that when I'm leading out a ride, I can park my lead horse at the front of the line, dismount, play out the reins and help whichever guest needs help all while keeping contact with my horse.  If I had short reins and had to keep my lead horse next to me when I went back to help the guest, I'd lose control of the line.  A parked lead horse keeps the others from wandering off.

What about the quick-clips to attach them to the bridle?  Monster demonstrated it perfectly on Sunday when he had to lead Estes back to the yard.  He was able to leave the lead rope behind.  When riding bareback, there's no place to attach the lead rope unless you leave it clipped to the halter and tie it around the horse's neck.  It gets cumbersome.  When Monster made the decision to lead Estes back to the yard, he was able to quickly disconnect the reins from the bridle and clip one end to the halter and lead her back without putting pressure on her mouth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out of Order

I posted about my ride on Sunday with Monster and then realized that I never posted about his first ride on Estes.

Monster and Estes share a special bond that came from out of nowhere.  Estes decided she loved Monster and he became her human, not-so-subtly removing me from the "favorite human" standing.

Monster's not really a horse guy.  He's a skater dude.  He had no interest in horses until Estes chose him as her human.  He'd probably ridden less than fivetimes his entire life and hasn't enjoyed it much, so imagine my surprise when he told me he wanted to ride Estes.  Estes is not a beginner's horse.  Not even close to being a beginner's horse.  In fact, I was terrified to ride her and then I fell in love with her.  Ashinator is my horse girl and she has no desire to ride Estes.

I was worried about Monster riding Estes due to both his lack of experience and her tendency to be rather mare-ish.  But then I watched them together and realized that she wasn't going to do anything to hurt him, so I grabbed Ranger and we got ready to go.

I don't know if it's because of the extraordinary balance he has to have to skate or if he's just a natural rider.  We went around the block and called it a day.  But the riding bug had bitten Monster.  He's gained a lot of confidence in just a short period of time.  The second time he rode, he rode in just a halter and lead rope (which I haven't been brave enough to try yet).  The third time, he and Bill trotted more than half a mile.  Sunday's ride was only the fourth or fifth time he's been up on Estes and he decided to tackle the trail. 

And he's done it all bareback!

He spent the beginning of the ride asking when he would be able to canter on her.  I told him that he'd have to wait until he got a little bit more experience under his belt before he could attempt a canter - so he agreed to wait until next summer.

We'll see what new goal he sets for himself next weekend when he's working.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Ride

Monster spend the weekend working at the lodge and wanted to go out for a short ride before we came home today.  For the first time, he agreed to go out on the mountain instead of just riding around town.  Since he wanted to ride Estes, I chose to take Compass' horse, Eli.  Compass is off at Meeker, acting as camp cook until Tuesday, when she'll head down to Arizona to drive a team until November.  In the meantime, Eli has joined our herd and she's been telling me all summer I should ride him, so I did.

The weather was less than appealing on the way up...

And it didn't get any better the higher I got...

But the colors were amazing...

I grabbed Eli (isn't he a handsome boy?) and away we went...

Monster hamming it up for the camera...(and Bill riding drag)

Monster lead out for a while and on the way home Estes decided to act up.  This picture was just moments before Monster and Estes had a Come-to-Jesus meeting.  Monster's an intuitive horseman...he doesn't see it, but he's got great instincts for dealing with her.  She wanted to go home at her own pace; Monster said no.  She said yes; Monster said, no and we're going to turn away from home.  She said, yeah, well, take this and executed a perfect roll-back.  Monster said, oh, hell, no and made her stand quietly while he dismounted.

The minute his feet hit the ground and he transferred her reins to her halter to lead her home, you could see her deflate...oops, I screwed up.

 He spent the whole walk back giving her what-for and she listened intently.

Is this a sorry horse or what?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mrs Mom's A'Comin' to Colorado!

Yes, you heard that right.  Mrs Mom and her DH are bringing their expertise to Colorado to help fix Estee's feetsies.  How lucky am I?

I think we've got Estee's thrush under control and she's not limping as much.  You have to look for it to see it now (otherwise I never would have taken her out for a canter) and she's back to her normal mare-ish self.  Now it's time to take care of that club foot. 

Rather than try to figure out how to do it via phone calls, pictures and videos, Mrs Mom and DH are coming out here to teach us how to take care of her feet ourselves.  We missed them at HCR, but we'll still get to meet them for realzies.  I can't wait!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Did It!!!

Back in June, I took my first canter on Estes in a saddle.  I've been whining off and on about not having an arena to learn new things in, because, basically I'm a chicken and don't want to get hurt trying new things riding in the mountains.  After my ride with Compass in June I decided that my summer goal was going to be to ride Estes bareback at the canter.  Summer's technically over, but we haven't taken the horses down to winter pasture yet, so I'm going to continue to think of it as summer, okay?

Our first attempt was a bust.  I started at a trot, cued up for a canter and Estes moved into her nice Morgan shuffle, so I cued up for a canter again and she just shuffled faster.  Bill attempted video, but watch it at your own risk.  In his own words, "it's the planet's most nauseating video".

I pretty much gave up after the aborted attempt.  I was ready, but she was not.  However, I thought I'd give it another go and we had success!!!!!  This video's not quite as nauseating as the first, but don't play it full screen, you'll regret it.

We did it!  Estes was so happy to be allowed to stretch her legs out that we did it again.  She would have kept going, but I thought better of it.  Okay, honestly, my butt thought better of it.  Even with a bareback pad, it hurt when I got out of position and whacked my seat bones on her back.

We've still got some time before winter pasture and we'll be doing this again!