Sunday, March 29, 2009

Round pen & relationships

Interesting day. I stayed up way late the night before so overslept a bit. So far I am lucky that Cody has never complained if he gets fed earlier or later than the day before... He got his breakfast a little later than usual, but not bad. Things didn't look all that swollen this morning so I just gave him his breakfast (since it was a bit late) rather than working him in the round pen before feeding him.

I was going to take a nap as I was still tired, but some motivation from a friend got me to go out and take a walk. I'm glad I did, the sun was shining and the headache that had been creeping up faded away. Unfortunately, not long after I got back, it returned and I did end up taking that nap so I didn't get near the things done today that I had wanted. And it finally took some ibuprofen for it to go away.

This evening when I went out to work and then feed Cody it was a nice, calm evening. Cody was feeling good though and was wanting to canter around more so than trot. Since I haven't done anything about footing yet in the round pen (and I plan to move it about 20 feet from its current location) it's betting a bit muddy. He just plows right through though. So around and around he went, enough that at the end, his chest was actually a bit sweaty! The cool thing though, is that he is willing to take a few steps in following me, both forward and back. And if I turn and face backwards like I was going to ask him to back, he tucks his nose and back we go, with no halter or anything on :)

On to the relationship part of the title. Not sure why I am writing this here as it's not related to Cody, but I wanted to write a bit and figured here was as good a place as any. So I have been in a long-distance relationship for the last approximately 4 years. Long story short, it was going nowhere and I said good-bye tonight. In some ways, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I guess I was more ready to move on than I realized. I think I am going to go get some sleep as it is after midnight, and will just have to see what tomorrow brings. (It was either going to be said in a voice mail or an email as he is hard to get a hold of, so I sent him an email saying good-bye tonight and so am a bit leery of his reaction).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trot work

I wish I had some pleasant pics to post tonight, but today was kind of rushed and the small camera has dead batteries (going to be getting rechargeable ones!) so no new pics today. He spent the day in the round pen as I figured he'd have more room to move about if he felt like it and he could nibble the grass. He was very cooperative about trotting his laps (not that there is any swelling at this point) and I even got him to eat a couple of treats. The weird thing is that after he's trotted a few times around, he starts sounding squishy where the hole is, it still looks pretty raw. But the vet said it was important to have that movement to keep the swelling at bay, so....movement it is. He doesn't seem sore or anything which is nice. Saturday he may get to learn that the hose is for more than just filling his water bucket so I can wash his back legs off.

I hope everyone had a nice day and at least had time to hug their horse today!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More Gelding Pics

One down (it's in a garbage can)

Any guys out there cringing?

Meet the new gelding

I woke up this morning to gray skies and rain. The weather report said it was supposed to taper off to intermittent light showers which thankfully it did! Dr. Zaccardi showed up at 1pm to blue skies and a bit of a breeze. He had his assistant and then two vet techs in training. One of the girls in training, she got to give him one of the knockout drugs and insert a catheter in his neck. Seems to be the trick with Mr. Itchy is to be scratching his withers when they are doing stuff like that, seemed to keep his attention off of what they were doing just enough to get it done, he didn't even mind getting his temp taken! (It was 99 by the way).

Dr. Zaccardi looked at his teeth and looked at him and he believes that Cody is a 2006 colt. So...he's a year older than the BLM thought he was and the funny part is that it makes him the age that I had actually been looking for when I went down there to begin with! So it looks like Cody and Steve Holt! are the same age. Instead of one being 4 this year and one being 2, they are both going to be 3. I am going to hold onto the hope that he will keep growing though, as the difference between fetlock and elbow and elbow to withers is about 4 inches.

On to the pictures! I would have taken more but the batteries in my camera went belly up.

Watch out, he's going down!

Vet tech in training

The whole crew

They had a rope from one leg, under his hips to the other to hold them out of the way.

Getting things all clean and ready to go to work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quiet time

This evening after work, I went out like I always do to pick Cody's pen before I fed him his dinner. I was thinking about what Andrea had said, about not always working with him when I go out there. So after I was done cleaning, and before I got him his dinner I took his blanket off and just petted and scratched him all over. Didn't have a brush on me, so I just used my hands. I had hair flying everywhere, but he seemed to enjoy it. Just stood there and at times his neck was so stretched out as he wiggled his lips, it seemed twice as long as normal. And then, with his head over my shoulder, I just pet his face. It was a nice, quiet evening.

Tomorrow he meets the vet for the first time (to be gelded). He hasn't really met a lot of people, I hope it goes okay!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Round pen!

I got a call on Sunday that my round pen panels were in! And it worked out to go down to Monroe and pick them up today. Got a bit later of a start than we'd planned as we had to get tabs for the trailer, the right size ball for the receiver, find proof of insurance for my brother's truck, get gas, well, you get the picture. Oh, and on top of that, the lights on the trailer didn't want to cooperate.

We made it safely home and it's time to start unloading!

The first few panels up!

Mom trapped in the round pen...(literally, I had to go get wire-cutters to cut the wire holding the gate shut)

My mom and I got it somewhat set up, the space I had decided to put it isn't quite as level as I'd wished it to be so we have some adjusting to do to get the panels level and even. But it was put together enough to use it tonight, although it was a bit dark.

I can walk up to Cody fine, and put his halter on. Sometimes when I clean his pen and haven't fed him yet, he will come up behind me. But most of the time, he won't really approach me. And when I am working with him, if I have him back up from wiggling the lead rope or something, trying to get him to come back forward towards me, more often than not, I have to pull hard until I get one step and release, but it's like I have to do that fore each step. I feel like I've missed something. He loves the attention of being brushed and will just stand there, and wiggle his lips when I hit a good spot. I have a dvd that I got this weekend on groundwork to watch, and I am hoping that will give me some ideas of how to get Cody to want to catch me, instead of me always catching him. Anyone have any thoughts on that?


Okay, the pictures are awful. But if you promise not to laugh at their awfulness, here are the top 5 from the ECR in Albany OR this weekend. I also didn't write down names so I apologize for the terrible pictures and lack of decent information. I will try to get the video that I took uploaded tomorrow.

1st place. I don't recall her name, but she has competed before, was riding a chestnut horse.

2nd place. Pony named Ginger.

3rd place. The guy on the mustang that fell off and landed on his head....he slipped off during the bareback free-ride too, but landed on his feet this time.

4th place. The smaller, reddish mule ridden by a lady.

5th place. Rose gray 4 year old arab mare.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009


I think I confused my poor sweet pony. He had gotten really good at turning to follow the lead if I wrapped it around his rump and asked him to turn around away from me. So tonight, since I'd picked up another length of 1/2" cotton rope to use as a driving line, I put both ropes on his new halter. At first I just had the outside one draped over his back doing nothing as I longed him one direction and then the other. But when I let the rope drape around his rump, he felt the pressure and tried to turn that way, but then felt the pressure on the other side and tried to turn that way. He bounced back and forth a few times before he just stood there and you could see he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do. I felt so bad for confusing him like that! So now I need to rethink my approach to teaching him to ground drive. We ended on an okay note (after I had to go round up my cat who is a house cat who had snuck out) and I put his old halter on with just a lead rope and we practiced stuff we were more solid with. A surcingle would probably be good, so the ropes don't drag so low. We'll get there, just have to find some smaller steps to take.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


First off, I need batteries! My big camera is too big to stash in my pocket, and my pocket camera has run out of juice. So once again, no pictures :(

Balance is such an important concept, whether it has to do with your horse or your life in general. Working with Cody last night we reached a point where the more I asked of him, the more reactive he got. The evening ended okay, but it got me to thinking. So tonight, while still expecting him to respect me, I tried to ask things in a calmer way, trying to find that balance between getting what I ask for and him reacting instead of thinking.

I think it went pretty well. Had a couple bouncy pony moments, which turned into backing halfway across grandma's big backyard, but we were able to lunge calmly in a little bit bigger circle than the last time when outside his pen. It's not always in a straight line, but when asked to back (and I barely have to touch the halter anymore) his nose is tucked, neck is arched, hind-end is lowered and he just backs and back and backs. I'll have to figure out some way to video it, lol.

So soft and calm but firm when needed seems to be the balance I need to have a positive time on both our parts. I love how there is always more to learn :)

Monday, March 9, 2009


Goofy weather. It snowed. Not as bad as some places, probably 2-4 inches, but still.

Cody and I played in the snow in the backyard. It was pristine, untouched snow until we came along. I really need to get batteries for my pocket camera so I can get pictures more often. We made prints all over. Going forward, backward, sideways, getting loose and running out into the field, backward some more, and he even trotted a few steps with me.

We have an appointment for March 25th at 1 pm to see the vet...Cody still needs to be gelded. I had thought about filling out the application for the free gelding but I figured there was probably someone out there that needed it more and I have my $50 voucher from the BLM to help a little.

I hope the snow melts soon, I want Cody to get back to shedding out that winter coat!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Back and back some more

His new halter that Andrea of Mustang Saga made. Check out her blog, she has a special on rope halters going!

It was still a bit nippy out today, but at least the white stuff all went away!

Sometimes, when I ask him to stop, or try to switch sides, or just whatever, he inches backwards. He doesn't fly backwards, just slowly walks backwards. So! Today, when this would happen, I'd say, okay then, let's back! But we'll do it on my terms, with your head down and soft. He's really gotten that head down and soft part down well. He still stalls out sometimes, but will get going again. He also doesn't do as well when I am on the right (oh, I can lead him from the right side now!) but is improving.

With the extra hour of daylight (yay!) I was able to work with him twice today. The first time we stayed in his pen and he did great (and I got some pictures!). Head up, down, left, right; then back softly with barely a touch on the lead rope. Then we went to investigate the tarp again. He wore it, he walked on it, he backed over it, he lunged over it, and okay, he jumped over it a few times but at least he went forward!

Lol, the tarp matches his boots! Or is it his boots match the tarp...

The second time we went out in the yard and practiced backing and moving his haunches and his shoulder (he can do darn near a 360 moving his forehand, just calmly one foot crossed over the other). Oh, and then we backed some more. I used to back Taffy out of her stall and halfway up to the barn and then we'd turn around and trot the driveway (I was paranoid and had to reassure myself that she wasn't off). We would also back around the arena and her pointy Arab/Thoroughbred butt actually got round! So I think Cody is going to have a lot of backing in his future....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring? pictures again today, I didn't want to take my camera out in the snow....

Spring technically isn't here yet, but surely it's on its way, right? I was out working with Cody this afternoon in the snow of all the silly things. At least the wind had died down at that point so it was just pretty snowflakes instead of awful sideways stuff you can't see through.

This morning I drove a couple hours down to Buckley to watch the Steve Rother clinic that Jamie Thomas had organized. I just stayed for the morning groundwork portion as I didn't want to get caught in nasty weather and I wanted to come home and play with my pony after watching for almost 4 hours!

Interesting stuff. I think the biggest thing I got out of it was that Cody and I have come far enough that I can expect him to know some stuff by now.

So off I went to play, starting with can I move his head up, down, and to both sides. We've worked on him putting his head down already, so that was pretty easy. So then I held his head up high. I thought he had a good point on doing that. If you had to say, hold your arms up for a few minutes, wouldn't the first thing you'd want to do when released was to put them down and relax them? It's just another way that I can say, put this body part where I ask you to. Then came flexing to the left and to the right. He gives better to the right so we'll have to work on the left more.

The other thing we worked on was backing. He backs pretty well from a wiggle of the rope but I wanted him to back with me at his head facing backwards and to back with his head down and softly. This got some uncooperative results at first, but rather than backing down and trying to calm him down, I just kept asking until he gave and relaxed. It took a number of times but he got it. I think this was the hardest I have pushed him but I think it was good. He might have a teensy more respect for me, that I will follow through on what I ask him to do, but if he gives, I will release.

I'm glad I went because I have a renewed enthusiasm for working with Cody on the ground and I think he has a renewed respect for me.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Tarp

No pictures today, forgot to take my camera out with me and then it was getting dark.

We worked on the rope being around his rump, as yesterday he was reacting a bit much to it wrapped around his rump. Took it nice and slow and the word to describe what I am trying to say is escaping me at the moment, lol. Sort of...a flossing motion? around his hindquarters. But watching Kitty Lauman's Ranger video again, saw something that would probably be good to work on, have the rope around his body about where his legs attach and do the same.

But on to the fun stuff. (And I wish I had gotten a couple pictures!) I had taken a "break" to go work on clearing some blackberries. Got maybe a 16x16 patch cleared and hauled to the burn pile and burned. I probably have at least 10 times that left to go unfortunately. Maybe even twice that estimate. But the burn pile was burning (it's maybe 30-40 feet from his pen and the fire doesn't really seem to bother him at that distance at least) and I decided to go grab a tarp. Hadn't introduced him to that blue bit of fun yet. He wasn't too sure about that crinkly horse-eating monster at first. We started with it in a heap on the ground in one corner. I was just lunging him in a small circle, trying to see how close he'd go. Starting with "OMG I can't get anywhere near that thing" we progressed to "Okay, I can walk past it without crowding you but I'm still not going to get very close". So I picked up the blue monster and bunched it up and touched his shoulder with it. Just touch and off and touch and off while he's standing there all bunched up and shaking in his boots. He started to relax a bit and I gave him a bit of a scratch on the withers. Long drawn out tale, but he was able to wear it draped over his back and walk with it on, he was able to step on it and finally walk across a couple of times and probably the funniest thing was when he picked it up in his teeth, and it moved, so he backed up and IT FOLLOWED HIM and he scared himself before he realized to drop it.

I also found a smallish log in the blackberries last night and after peeling the bark off of it (it had stuff growing on it) I drug it out in the yard and we practiced walking over it. Just starting to be able to trot in hand (he thinks I'm crazy) so will trot him over the pole at some point.

I ordered the round pen today! That was a big chunk out of my savings, but it will be worth it. It will probably be a couple weeks before they have it in to be picked up but that's okay.

They sure have some colorful horses on the internet adoption this time around! Funny thing is, one of the ones that catches my eye is an 8 year old mare, listed as a red roan but looks dark bay/seal brown in color. She just seems to have a kind look to her face. I wonder if she'll get adopted?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Photo Tag

I thought I was finally over my cold! But Tracey over at Mustang Diaries passed her virus along.
Well, I have been tagged. Unfortunately, the 6th photo in the 6th folder in the 6th folder on my computer isn't a very good one. It is a blurry picture of my cat. But here it is anyhow.

I guess it's not quite as blurry as I thought when it is smaller like this, lol. This is my cat Bentley. He has a good motor, hence the name.

It's funny, the things that Cody hasn't minded that I know other horses have hated. Like, I can go give him a dewormer without even putting his halter on. And a spray bottle. Some horses detest them, day before yesterday, I took a bottle of mane and tail detangler to spray on his mane, he just stood there. He let me do his tail too. And I was able to use them again today.

Another profile shot, he's looking rounder! You can sure tell he wears a blanket with the smooth body and furry neck though!

We went out and stood by the road for a few minutes so he could watch the passing cars. A few of them, he tried to spin away, but I just brought him back and stood there petting him and he settled and was able to stand and watch them go by. I'd like to take him for a walk down the quiet street across the street soon.

We started to attempt a side-pass today. It wasn't half bad for a first attempt I think. He's getting pretty good about moving his front end or his back end separately.

Still working on being able to lunge calmly when outside of his pen. We were able to get some calm small circles this evening so I figure we'll keep on with that and try and build from there.

We've also been working on me standing on one side, with the rope on the other side and around his rump and him following the pressure around to face me. After a time or two of him zipping around rather rapidly with that rope around his rump, he now very nicely follows the rope around to face me. So I have talked to Andrea of Mustang Saga (she made my rope halter) and she is going to make me another rope halter but this one will have rings that I can attach driving lines to to work on ground driving! It will be kind of like a side-pull. She found the rope yesterday and now I can't wait to get it and try it on Cody!

On a good note, I found a place to get the round pen I wanted! So we will have a bit bigger enclosed space to work in so he should actually have enough room to canter around instead of just trot. I'm sure he'll appreciate the chance to kick up his heels as well!

I just thought this was a cute pic with him looking back at me taking his picture :)