Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 3rd of July

Cartman, Buddy, and I took a two hour pre-4th of July ride today!

It was already getting hot at 9:30am but there was a nice breeze down by the river and surprisingly there was nobody down there!  Score!

We managed to get 9.22 miles in, but about 3 of them were in deep sand... so I'm counting those double :)  Cartman got really sweaty and even had lather under his breastcollar.

We also got some time in the water, as there were not throngs of people there yet....

It was a great day to ride.

I should back up...

Last weekend Michelle and I planned to do a short ride on Friday night up at our favorite trails.  Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) the Timber Companies closed their land that day.  It has been so dry here that we've been expecting it.  So we had to settle for a ride at the path.  We rode about 6.5 miles and I practiced making Cartman go behind Cinnamon some.  This is a nice safe place to work on things like that. 

Sunday we had decided to do a long ride as it is two weeks prior to the Bandit Springs Endurance Ride that we plan to attend on July 11.  We picked Fort Stevens due to the hot weather we've been having and set out at 8am.

I almost wore a tank top as it has been in the 90's here for day.  Thankfully I put a t-shirt on over top and had a sweat jacket in the horse trailer as we got RAINED ON heading west to the beach!  I was almost to Cathlamet when I realized I had taken to long route...

Ooops, so we got to go across the Astoria bridge, which they are working on.  So, we got to sit on the Astoria bridge, which was down to one lane.  The wait was brief though and we were finally to Ft. Stevens at almost 10:30am.

Next I missed the turn that lead straight to the horse trailer parking and we got to do a scenic drive thru of the rest of the park... Goodness, so much for getting and early start on the day.  It was, however, still a bit grey and breezy...

We were on trail by 11:15 and headed out for the long walk through the sand dunes.  I was hoping to get C a teensy bit tired before we braved the wide open beach area and Cinnamon has never been there so we thought we'd start off with some trail.

Luckily Michelle had also brought a sweat jacket so we were pretty comfortable temperature wise, and it was not raining.

Some of the trails were extremely overgrown, one I think was called Sleepy Hollow Trail and I was seriously wishing for  a set of brush cutters on that one.  I had limbs, leaves and Scotch Broom seeds all over me and Cartman, in the saddle, in his mane, etc. by the time we got off that trail.

We did get some great stretches of long trot though and Cartman was totally into it!

We hit the turn around area and the mesquitos were out in full force.  C was  swishin' his tail and I even found a few on me (misquitos- how do you spell that????- they usually hate me).

We headed back on the loop trail and at one point came upon a very tall log across the trail.  Cinnamon has not quite figured out the tall log thing and Michelle stepped off to get her over the log.  I pulled Cartman up and waited for them on the narrow trail. 

Michelle decided to adjust her saddle and as we waited Cartman was getting very agitated.  I think it was the bugs because he was swishing his tail and being a brat.  Cinnamon got over the log but before Michelle could remount Cartman started backing up into her. 

He was totally ignoring me and wanting to back up where there was no room.  Michelle was behind us and was forced to let go of Cinn's reins or get backed up over!  Eek, it was not a fun moment.

Cartman finally stopped (we're only talking a few feet here- but there was very little room on this trail) and Michelle was able to get around us and grab Cinnamon- who had stepped on and then into her reins! Thankfully she didn't take off down the trail.

Now Mr Pissy Pants was in back.  He was not happy.  I felt like I was riding a stick of dynamite for the next quarter mile but he held it together.  When we came out of the woods to a clearing I recognized an old dirt road heading back to the south that I had galloped one time with Glenn, Flo, Shannon, and Alex. 

I said hey I think someone needs to do a long lope! We took off down the road and Cartman was jogging about 10-12 miles an hour.  The footing is nice, the gravel is old and there is a grass strip in the middle that is a bit softer.

Cinnamon, being a normal Thoroughbred, decided that it would be more efficient to pick up a canter.  Cartman, born a Thoroughbred- but wanting to be a Standardbred- continued on at the trot.  I could have asked him for lope and he would but his true preferred gait is obviously the trot.

Cinn finally passed us after about a mile.  We were having fun and she was starting to stretch it out a little bit. 

Then I saw it.... the dreaded steel shoe with green pad.  This could only have come from one place.

I yelled at Michelle to pull up and sure enough, Cinnamon was missing her front right shoe.

It was thankfully a clean pull, she didn't even bobble and was quite content to carry on loping down the trail.  But we knew our ride was over for the day.

I turned around and jogged back North towards the center of camp to see if I could find a good spot to come in with the horse trailer and pick up Michelle and Cinnamon.  As luck would have it we were only 1/2 mile from the main road that goes out to the horse trailer parking area. 

I headed back into the woods to catch up to the trail that leads back through the dunes and Michelle waited on the corner where we could get the horse trailer in.

It was about 2.5 miles back to the trailer.  We jogged where possible and finally made it to the trailer after about 45 minutes.  I let Cartman eat beet pulp while I untacked him.  He refused water (big surprise) but did want to pee before getting in the trailer.  I love this horse.

We pulled in and picked Michelle and Cinnamon up and headed immediately (well not quite immediately- we did let Cinn have some beet pulp)  to the Fred Meyer's Starbucks :) then home.  All in all, we didn't get to ride the actual beach but it was a fun outing and we managed an 11 mile training ride.

I have settled on doing an LD at Bandit so we should be in good shape for that anyway!

Now, I'm off to do the Firecracker 5K.... it may be slow one today :)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

TB Feet

Four days after we got home from Prineville Cartman was due to have his shoes replaced. 

When Gary pulled off his right front and started to trim it he discovered a small bruise in the toe.  It was actually oozing a little bit of fluid :(

As he trimmed he even found another tiny spot of bruising, also in the right front toe.

We deliberated.  At first he wanted to leave the shoe off and have me wrap his foot.  I was OK with that but didn't want to wait too long to get the shoe back on.  The earliest that he would be able to fit us back into the shoeing schedule was 6 days later.

I was really hesitant to leave the shoe off that long, uncertain whether I could successfully keep his foot wrapped for almost a week.  It is really hot and dry here and Cartman lives in a field.  I could just see the wrap wearing off one day and him bruising that foot up even worse.

Finally, after several minutes of examining the bruise and coming up with other options we settled on a plan.  He would pack the toe of that foot with a medicated material that he uses under the pads on Navicular horses.  The regular Equi-Pak would fill in behind the medicated material and support his foot as it normally does.  The medicated stuff is a little softer than Equi-Pak so would allow the spot to have less pressure.

If I observed any soreness, swelling, or other signs of foot trouble I would get the shoe off and start soaking.

Its been 10 days now and Cartman seems absolutely fine.  Michelle and I did a real easy 8 mile trail ride the weekend after shoeing and he had no troubles with that. So, we have been back to regular training for the last week.

I believe that the bruising was caused by me riding him too hard on the logging roads prior to having his pads put on:(  He never seemed sore or lame, except for that freaky spell right before Klickitat- and that was the OTHER LEG????  WTH.  Horses will give you an ulcer!

My plan for next year is to pad immediately when I have his shoes put on for spring training.  I always try to be careful with Cartman and it was just horrifying to think I caused him to bruise his sole.

Last weekend we got in almost 10 miles on our home trails on Saturday and the horses did some killer hill trots.  I made sure that when we were riding on the older logging roads that we stuck to the grassy strip in the middle to keep the footing as soft as possible.

Sunday Todd and I took Buddy Weiderman to his first car show in Woodland.  It was a blast. We relaxed and got some sunshine and even got some yummy Teriyaki!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Clinic at Sabiq Arabian Ranch!

I've been trying to write up a post about the Celena Pentrack clinic Michelle and I attended at Sabiq Arabian Ranch two weekends ago.... stuff keeps getting in my way (like a 3 day splitting headache, and a car show, and shoeing appointment, and of course, work!)  So, I'm going to do a clinic pictorial and  recap what I can before I need to get to bed tonite :)

The weather has been unusually warm here in W. Wa. so we decided to wait until later in the afternoon to head over to Prineville.  I definitely did not want to get stuck in Portland traffic with horses in the trailer during rush hour and it being 85 degrees and all.

I had most everything ready to go Thursday evening so I worked until 3pm and then headed home to get Cartman.  I didn't really have time for dinner but I did try a new protein shake recipe- I used one meal replacement mix and instead of water I used a Starbuck coffee and milk.  It was really yummy and helped me stay awake for the four hour drive.

We pulled into Celena's driveway about 10:15 and unloaded the horses.  As luck would have it they had just gotten back from an evening ride and were having dinner.  We had some salad and rotisserie chicken and everyone headed to bed pretty quickly.

Saturday morning was clear and sunny :)

We did a meet and greet with the other participants and talked about things we were hoping to address over the next two days.  I was hoping to get some more instruction and practice on the horsemanship ground manner stuff that I struggle with.  I've been having a few small problems with Cartman that have just started to pop up a bit more frequently.  For instance, the misbehavior when we do an out and back and we turn for home that started on our first ride out on trail this year...  Then the issue of him not wanting to follow but to always lead..... etc. 

I've thought a bit about these issues and have the suspicion that his misbehavior stems from me being a bit too permissive with him and that starts on the ground. 

Another thing I wanted to work on was getting my signals clear under saddle, kind of more refined I guess.

We made coffee and ate breakfast- Celena is an awesome host- she had all kinds of goodies out for us to chose from. 

About 9am we went out and learned some yoga moves.  I have never done yoga but some of the stretches felt pretty good!  They offer a yoga class at the gym on Sundays and I think I might have to give it a try.  It turns out I'm a little tight in the hip flexors- what a surprise! Lol.

After Yoga we got our horses and headed for the arena for groundwork exercises.  Cartman and I definitely needed the refresher....  He was pretty good though and I Celena showed me how to get him to back off of me and follow less closely.  I've been practicing this since the clinic and the other night I was able to hose C off with him ground tied!!!  No sneaking off or leaning into me either.

It becomes so apparent when learning this stuff that you can build a real partnership with your horse through these methods...

Cartman likes Celena and it was quite interesting to see how he behaved differently when she was working him and then when I was!

After lunch break we saddled up and worked in the arena.  I can't do all the concepts that we covered justice- so I will just say that I learned a whole bunch of interesting things about how we as riders affect how our horses move with our body position and riding style.  I tend to lean a bit too forward with a closed hip angle- hey, didn't we just discover something similar to that in the yoga session?  Hmmmm.

It was fun to watch the other riders as learned to influence their horses strides by posting lower and slower to slow down and posting higher to lengthen.  I think we had some lightbulb moments!

After the second session of under saddle work, I was a ground helper for this one and got some good pictures, we all headed up the driveway for a short trail ride.

We hadn't gone too far and were riding along a canal when the resident stallion decided to put on a show for us!  All was well at first, and I used some of the breathing techniques we covered in the arena to try and calm Cartman.  It worked the first time, but when Mr Studly geared up for round two I felt like I was on a keg of dynamite.  I circled Cartman and asked for a little room, Michelle and Cinnamon jumped out of our way... I was sure C was going to kick out- he was just pumped up.   As soon as I felt him hesitate for a second I kicked out of my stirrups and jumped off.

Several other riders had dismounted and we all worked the horses from the ground.  We backed up, backed him off, and made him move his back feet.  In a few minutes C was leading attentively and the extreme excitement had dissipated.  Whew!

So, there is one thing (actually there a many things!) I really like about Celena's teaching style and why I think she is one of the best teachers I've ridden with ( and I've ridden with a lot of different trainers in my life, despite what one  would think after watching me ride).  She never makes you feel bad about yourself or your riding. 

The ability to take something that could be very negative (for example many trainers would belittle a rider for chosing to get off a horse and not ride it through the issue), but turns the incident into a learning experience that is positive for both horse and rider.  This instills confidence and I ended up learning a new way to deal with this type of situation- so instead of avoiding a situation like this for fear of "failing" I can go on and work through it.

This is how I want my horse to be trained and taught.  Always give them the chance, and set them up to be successful.  It works for people too! 

I've been doing a lot of training of staff at work lately (I am not a natural at training people) and this is an awesome example for me. 

I was going to skip to Sunday but have to mention Saturday dinner.  It was yummy- lasagna.  I have not eaten lasagna for probably 10 years... it was devine- and gluten free noodles!

I stuffed myself at dinner with the lasagna and the cheesy bread but could not turn down dessert.  Woody's cheesecake!!! OMG I was in heaven.  I told Todd all about it when I got home, since cheesecake is his favorite dessert and all....

Sunday we continued on with our Yoga, another session of groundwork and then more arena work with more canter transitions and some ground poles.  After seeing the photos I am committed to trying and opening up my hip angle a bit more. Ugh.  What works on the trail isn't always that pretty in the arena :)

Oh my, its almost 10pm.... I gotta get to bed to be up at 4am.  I will post some pictures though!