Sunday, June 28, 2015

Feet

I like having barefoot horses, it's cheaper, and it's more "natural."  I had front shoes on Stanley, shoes all around with pads in front on Nikki, but Annie remained barefoot through everything we did.  

When I still had Annie I was considering looking into hoof boots, for situations where we were trail riding on a lot of rocks.  You do have to mind rocks and long stretches on pavement with barefoot horses, and a lot of miles will cause the feet to wear out faster so boots can help keep a horse barefoot the rest of the time.

Stella is on a hoof supplement right now, in addition to her Omega Horseshine (which also helps the feet), and we have finally noticed some good foot growth.  Which is awesome as my farrier is working hard at making her feet look the way he wants them to look.

I took these pictures approx a week after a trim to have a representative of a few boot companies measure Stella for boots.  Unfortunately she has round feet, where most boots fit oval feet.  I even had one representative flat out refuse to size her at all until I addressed her trimming issues.  Thanks.  She also grows one foot funny with a flare my farrier is trying to address, which will also cause boots to not fit properly.  I'm hoping that after a couple more trims and some supplements to help her feet grow faster and grow with more quality that she will turn around and I'll have an easier time finding boots for her.  


I am well aware that there is a rabid religion around trimming feet and I am expecting the smiting to commence hence forth.  











Friday, June 26, 2015

Fly sheet review

Today I'm going to review the Eous Fly Guard Sheet.  This sheet was on closeout and came with a free neck cover.  I paid $45.00 for the sheet plus neck cover.

I was looking for a sheet to help keep Stella from fading in the sun, I've since then learned that black horses fade more from sweat than from the sun so oh well to that idea.   Sure enough, you can see a reddish brownish imprint of where her saddle gives her sweat marks.  Grumble black horses grumble.   However, Stella as it turns out is a total PANSY when it comes to flies and has a snit fit every time I take it off her in the crossties so I literally have to strip the sheet off then fly spray her all over to avoid a drama meltdown.  I have no idea how she went through life without a flysheet.

So, bonus points because I know the sheet is working.  She's also been out in it in our hot and humid Indiana weather and never comes in sweaty or warm under it.

It also works well to keep the mud off her, all the mud seems to stay on the outside of the sheet which cuts my grooming down drastically even in this spring of isitevergoingtostoprainingandletthemuddryout.

The neck cover?  Lasted 8 hours.  Literally.  I put the brand new sheet and neck cover on her, put her in her stall, and when I showed up the next morning, there was Stella standing in her stall looking for breakfast with what was left of the neck cover hanging around her neck.  I'm not sure if maybe she caught a foot in it overnight or caught it on her bucket but I was not very happy.  Since it isn't stiff it did tend to wrinkle up on her neck when it was up in the air, and gap a bit around the withers, but I didn't think that would be an issue.  HA!

THIS is why I don't buy you nice things!!!!!!

I filled out the survey the company sent me asking my opinion on the transaction, waited a week, then sent them an email to their website with an attached photo of the neck cover.  Never got an answer.    Guess I found out why it was free.

Here's the sheet on Stella, as you can tell it already has a hole in it.  With the soft mesh material I think that any bite from a pasture mate or scraping it on a tree branch will tear it easily so I would not suggest it for a horse that gets beat up a lot, or is around a lot of brambles or thorny things.


Would I buy it again?  Nope.  Although it was a good price it isn't going to last more than one season, and I'm unhappy with the customer service.  I would have at least liked a "it was free because it sucked" response about the neck cover.  I guess I'll get my money's worth out of this sheet, but had I spend a little bit more I think I could've gotten something worth several seasons.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Gadget Tuesday


I love this very simple but very effective gadget.

First, what's a gadget?  Anything used to artificially affect the horse's way of going, for better or for worse. You don't have to be afraid of the word, or using gadgets, but you do have to use them properly.

Why do I like it?  Simplicity.   Mine is a rope, a knot to shorten it, and two snaps.  That's it.  I also like it because it allows the horse to figure things out for himself and it doesn't punish the horse for going with his head in the air, but encourages them to lower their heads and work over their back.  I like using it on high headed or tense horses.

We all know that horses are supposed to work over their back, but it seems like most horses don't know this!  I like this because it helps show the horse "the way"  The horse follows the contact down and out, his back goes up, and he goes, "hey!  this feels great!"

I'm  using it right now for Stella once a week where we lunge instead of ride.  I want her to learn how to put her head down, stretch her neck, and use her back without being worried about what her rider is doing, and without something forcing her into position which defeats the purpose of relaxation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cowboy Obstacle Challenge

Stella goes on an adventure!

Over the weekend Stella competed in her first Cowboy Obstacle Challenge.

http://cowboyupnaturalhorsemanshipchallenges.weebly.com/photo-gallery.html

I thought it would be a fun and different thing to do with her, she's done some obstacles before when we were at Ed Chambers barn, and I think the exposure would help her both learn to trust me, and me learn what areas she needs work on.

First obstacle wasn't even an obstacle.  I've always wondered how you go about teaching horses to highline.  Do they understand what they are tied to?  Do they need work desensitizing?


Apparently not, especially when they are the type of horse that really likes to hang out and do nothing.

The first obstacle was "flexing"  Can you flex your horse's head to the left and right without them moving their feet?  It's a pretty basic NH move that you might be rolling your eyes at, but can your horse do it?  Stella said UNUHHH??

Second obstacle was a giant yellow ball.  You had to pick it up and touch your horse with it.  Stella didn't care about this under saddle or in hand.  Points!!

Third Obstacle was a very narrow bridge with a railing made of balloons.  Stella was a little spooked by this but willing to go over when prompted in hand.  Under saddle she got a couple feet on and then backed off sideways.

Next up was a giant filled tractor tire.  You had to have your horse climb up on the tire and off again.  This was a no go in hand and I didn't try it under saddle.  She simply didn't understand what she was being asked to do.

After that we moved onto shower curtain streamers.  She's worked this at Ed's place and did not enjoy it at all.  I was actually surprised I got her to go through it in hand, although she did rush through it.  I didn't even try under saddle.  I'm not sure if it's her unwillingness to walk through something she views as solid, or a fear based response to things being over her head.

Then we had a stream crossing, no problems here.

Moving on we had a white feed sack that we had to drag behind us.  She didn't even look at it in hand, but I couldn't even get close enough under saddle to grab the rope.  She was for sure eyeballing the sack, and she didn't even look at it in hand.  I think with more time I could have gotten her closer to it, but we really only had three tries and this was more of a 10 minute thing.

A rain slicker proved to be no big deal, I've worked on taking jackets on and off on horseback at home.  You don't want to discover your horse doesn't like this!

Last up we had a bunch of plastic jugs tied together that made a big rattling noise.  Stella looked at it hard in hand but stood firm.  Under saddle I had a hard time getting near it and she spooked off when I picked it up so I dropped it.  I think that her inability to move sideways didn't help here.  She wasn't afraid of the barrel, she just didn't want to get close to it.

You can see pictures of me in all the in hand obstacles at this Facebook link, I'll post under saddle photos when they come up.  Let me know what your favorites are!


https://www.facebook.com/brett.erwood/media_set?set=a.10204440682964771.1073741848.1462399286&type=3

What did I learn?

First, drink more water.  I got a heat related migraine and bailed on the end of the day, then did some barfing when I got home.

Stella is much more obedient in hand than under saddle.  She's not entirely observant of what you want and where you are in relation to where she is (she walks on you when she isn't paying attention) but she is more likely to do the same thing in hand and not under saddle.  This is pretty much par for the course with her.  Things under saddle are often optional.  She needs more work on her ground manners and MUCH more work respecting the aid to go forward under saddle.

I think that doing things like obstacles will improve her rideability so I have some things planned for her at home!  Poor Stella!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bumper Pull Bunk Beds


What a cute idea!  Not a luxurious amount of space but it gets the job done.  More secure than a tent, cheaper than a hotel, and cute as a button!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Casual Tuesday

I've been riding the struggle bus recently both with my riding and with this blog.  I've had plenty to blog about but I've not added anything.  I'm either boring, a terrible blogger, or both!  Do you read my blog?  Do you enjoy it?  Should I post more often, not talk about myself so much, talk about myself more, tell you when I suck or when I'm awesome?

For now, while I decide what to do, here is a picture of me on a casual day at the barn.  That should give you something to talk about.


Molly Sue Kinnamon Clinic

Last weekend I participated in a Molly Sue Kinnamon clinic at local dressage/eventing barn  Greystone Equestrian Center .  Although I had s...