Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Almost Ready to Roll


Dazzby and I had the most delightful ride tonite.

We just ran down to the trail by the river to get a quick 5 miles in.  We are leaving for the Milwaukee Road Rail Trail on Friday, so it was just an easy ride this evening.

Backtracking a bit. 

Last Wednesday we went out for a similar ride and Dazzby was a spooky nut.  We'd finished the 5 mile trail and she was just full of herself, still.  So, we went off trail into the sand and did a little cantering.  We'd been going for about a mile or two and she was just getting stronger and stronger on the bit. She was galloping and I felt like I was back galloping racehorses!   Finally I pulled her up, and she was a blowin'.

Dazz was covered in sweat from head to toe, and we walked and walked to cool out.  I thought we might have over done it just a  tad.

Two days later we went out for a slow ride with Michelle and Coco.  Coco is Michelle's awesome trail mare, she goes anywhere!  And is sure footed too.  Coco is a big QH, and doesn't have as fast a gait at Dazzby, usually.  Well that day Dazzby was just lagging behind, ears kinda flat, gait kinda flat.  We did a little bit of jogging and smidge of canter but mostly walked the five mile loop.

Well, today I had my usual mare back, ears pricked, on the bit and forward!  Yeah.

Now, I just gotta pack, go grocery shopping, do laundry, figure out something for the potluck (eeek), and, oh yeah, I gotta find some plain old grass hay!  Apparently the 450 bales we put up last summer wasn't quite enough this year. 

Almost ready!
Dazzby at Ft. Stevens 2009

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I'm getting ready to send in my pre-entry for the Milwaukee Road Rail Trail ride on April 30.  I haven't been to this ride before but I hear it can get pretty windy some years.  Hope this isn't one of them!

I've been contemplating what went wrong, and right, at HTTR.  Given Dazzby's frustration and acting out at the beginning of the ride, (well I guess it did go on for 15 miles)  I think I will try a different tactic this time out.

For starters I will try to get to ridecamp in time to take a short leg stretcher on Friday before the ride.  I think my girl needs to blow off a little steam after the trailer ride and to help her settle in and relax the nite before.

Second, I will try to get saddled and warmed up for 1/2 or so before our ride starts this time.  If we're able to do that, then we will be able to implement step three of the plan.

Third, we will head out at a little quicker pace that I tried at HTTR.  She seems to settle in quicker if she can move out.

I realized the other day that I train her to want to move out.  Since I tend to work so many hours and have to squeeze training in sometimes, I tend to rush home, groom, saddle, trailer to the trailhead, walk a 1/4 or 1/2 mile or so and then trot, trot, trot.....canter..... trot, trot, trot........ and so on and so on.  We don't tend to dawdle around.  So, I don't now why I've been expecting her to behave differently at rides!

I will say that Dazzby spends all day turned out, so it's not like I'm taking her out of a stall and running her straight off or anything.  We do warm up-  we just do it pretty quickly.

So, that will be the strategy for ride two!

And, I will try to be more conscious of what I'm training my horse to do, in relation to how I want them to behave at rides, especially when I start in with Cartman.

Speaking of Cartman, after all the wierd skin/fungal/bacterial stuff he's had going on, yesterday he developed hives all over the left side of his neck.  I brought him and Dazzby in about 6pm and fed them their nightly alfalfa.  By the time I was done doing chores and feeding the others Cartman had gotten hives.  I watched him for the next few hours and they didn't get worse.  This morning they were completely gone. 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Indulging Anti-Establishment Tendencies?

No, seriously.

I stumbled upon this on the internet tonite, I found it fascinating- and scarey.  If you can spare 10 minutes or so I think its worth watching:

So, what's safe to eat?????

I had the good fortune to have been raised in a family where my Mom actually cooked all of our meals from scratch!  We even had a garden.  Thank heavens for growing up in the 1970's!

 I realize that's pretty much an impossibility for most people today. 

At our house we are lucky to get real "cooked" food three or four days a week, and that just might include some tasty Idahoan dried mashed potatoes from a foil bag.  Eeek.

It's no wonder Americans are getting so fat (as a nation), and I don't believe for one minute those commercials about HFCS being the same as sugar. 

Sugar (Succrose) is a disaccharide, made up of a glucose and fructose ring attatched  together. Our bodies have to cleave the two saccharides with an enzyme in order to digest the sugar.

HFCS is also a disaccharide with the same molecular formula as Sugar C12H22O11.  However, the two rings are not attatched in HFCS.  Our body doesn't have to break the bond to digest it-our bodies can send it straight to the hips, and thighs, etc., etc.

Not the same thing.....

Oh, one more big difference between the two, HFCS is cheaper to put in our food than sugar from sugar beets. 

Once again, wanna know what's going on?  Follow the money trail.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Close Call

Today Cartman almost gave me a heart attack!  I was performing the evening ritual of bringing him and Dazzby into the barn from the paddock.  Due to the current regimine of Scratches eradication (foot washing and drying of both horses), I stuck Cartman in his stall with his halter and rope still attatched and ran over to grab Dazzby and placed her in the stall next door to Cartman.

As I was walking back over to Cartman's stall I noticed he was messing with the stall door.  Before I could reach him he hooked the bottom of the rope halter over the bolt that latches the door shut.  This is a swinging stall door that will go either direction, into or out of the stall.  He than pulled the door backwards and was hooked, basically pulling himself into the door. 

He started to thrash and I thought, this is it, he's going to break his neck right here.  Then he froze, still pulled tight against the door.

By this time I had a closer look at how he was caught, I could easily slip that loop back off the bolt if he would pull his head forward.  I was too scared that if I tried to get him to move he would either pull back again, or might even pull my fingers into the halter as I tried to slip the loop free.

I ran over to the feed room and grabbed my old kitchen knife that I use to cut hay bales open with. 

He was still frozen and was looking at me with a very scared eye as I slipped the knife under the halter and cut it free. 

A small cut on his muzzle and some severe ruffled hair on his poll area are the only visible marks on him, but he was standing there shaking his head for a minute or so.

As luck would have it, my horse chiro called to schedule an appointment for Dazzby this evening, so he will be checking out Cartman's head and neck for any problems on Saturday morning.

I will definately get a leatherman into my saddle pack and make sure I have a good knife easily accesible in both areas of the barn from now on.

Edited to add:  I might also go back to leather halters, I've been using the rope halter on him because he tend to get a little "heavy" on the lead rope.  Perhaps a nice rolled leather halter would work.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ack, Scratches...

Yup, they've got it. 

After we got home from the Las Vegas trip Cartman had a slight case of scratches on his hind pasterns.    He had been out in the back field with Dazzby, Girlie, and Draol for six days.  It is very wet here in Western Washington, but he has, what we call, the the largest run-in shed in Cowlitz County  (a 60 x 100 arena) to get out of the weather under.  Apparently he spent the whole time out in the wet grass and muddy spots.

I treated him with Eqyss Microtec spray for about a week and it appeared to be gone.  Then, two days ago Dazzby comes down with it!  Ugh.  These horses come in every night, and have their feet sprayed off religiously. 

We have a ride in three weeks! 

Today everyone got all four feet throroughly scrubbed with Chlorhexadine shampoo.  Hopefully that will do the trick and we can get back to business.

Anyone tried the Q-shot stuff for scratches?  I'm thinking of getting some for future use.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Imelda Marcos Moment

It happened again.  I was casually perusing the Smartpak website after ordering Cartman's SmartHoof supplement, I had fleetingly considered getting Dazz a new halter when I spotted a closeout.

There is was, a closeout deal on a red Horseware of Ireland Amigo halter.  She has the red Amigo blanket and this halter is made to match it.  At $18 it was cheaper than the halters they have down the street at the feedstore, and it came with a matching lead!   Whew, into the shopping cart it went.

Then, before I could stop it, the demon shopper had inhabited my body.  I was once again in the blanket section of the website. 

Another closeout beckoned.   A red Amigo Lite blanket, it matches the halter I just ordered and would look so stunning on my dark mare!  Her red blanket is awesome, it doesn't shift or rub at all and is on its second year completely waterproof.  The only problem, it is now really too warm around here for the thick winter blanket.

Surely Dazzby deserved a new matching sheet, halter, and lead set to wear at her next ride???


I. Will.  Stay.  Off.  The.  Smartpak.  Site.