Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Due to some family issues going on, I went to the barn before Halloween and took these pictures, but figured I'd wait till today to post them.

I love Halloween, because it's the only day you can put anything on that you desire, and people can't call you out on it. Plaid and stripes? No problem. Fairy wings and a water gun? Great. No one can say you're crazy, since it's a costume!!

So....I thought long and hard about what to make my horse dress up as for Halloween. Now, he's sorta white, and really big, and loves to mow down anything in his way to get food. So....I searched through my spare fabric reserves and spent many a minute sewing it. I dressed him up...any guesses as to what his costume is?? Ok, ok, a sailor collar isn't a good enough hint...

Maybe seeing his hat will help...

He's the StayPuft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters!!!

 He was such a good sport for the whole thing, holding still for his sailor collar to be put on, and then I showed him the hat, and after trying to eat it, I held it over his head. I plopped it on and he lowered his head and held still while I tied it under his throat. I snapped a few pictures before relieving him of his embarrassing getup, but he seemed unaffected by it and probably would've worn it for as long as I asked.
This was just for fun, no costume contest or event, just because I could. I've already got plans for next year....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


That's what I said on Saturday least in my head. Ok, so here's what we've been up to:

Altivo and I had a lesson last week with our instructor about how a horse can possibly be in a horse trailer without breaking it. (in case you don't remember, here's the blog posting explaining that...) So, my teacher brought one of the lesson horses with us to be a trailer buddy. When horses are riding in a trailer, some of them can be more comfortable if they are with a friend, so we made sure to put the trailer buddy in first, then loaded Altivo up.
He went in without fussing, but wasn't too excited about letting the divider close near him. After some encouragement, he allowed it to close and lock, and we stood outside the trailer to make sure there wouldn't be any anxiety attacks on the inside.

He made it that far! We then drove around in a large circle, and ended up where we started. We stopped, we listened. We got out, we listened. All quiet. We opened the trailer, and unloaded him. No issue. Now, this was important, since I had secured a slot in that very same trailer for the impending Saturday- a trail ride at a lake about 20 minutes away. A. Trail. Ride!!!!!!! Trail ride!!!! ahem. Trail ride.

Saturday came, and I could barely contain my excitement!! This was one of the reasons, maybe even the MAIN reason I have always wanted a horse- to go wandering around the wilderness on horseback, taking in the scenery, and discovering trails. All total, there were 3 trailers, and 7 horses. We made it to the lake, and unloaded Altivo.

The look on his face when he looked around was that of shock and amazement. His ears were perked forward, his head was up, and he sniffed the air, trying to figure out where he was. He wasn't scared, just curious.
He must have been quite a sight to see, since some people who were returning from their rides came up to meet him, and one of them even asked if riding him was possible, since they didn't think draft horses were able to be ridden. Say what?? Oh, sillies.....I educated them, and they were very nice with a pretty palomino. 

After tacking him up, I stared at him, trying to figure out how to get on him....mounting him is a pain as I'm 5' 4" and he's 16.2 I looked around....and found....a picnic table!

I led him to one of the picnic tables nearby, and he stood nicely while I hopped up. All 7 of us started down the trail that would lead to a lovely 2 hour jaunt. Oh, there was one thing he did NOT like!!

 Yes, a yellow wheelbarrow was parked near a muck pile, and as we came around a corner, it seemed to appall Altivo that anyone would make a wheelbarrow YELLOW. He startled, looked at it, quickly determined that it wasn't food, and walked on.  I'm aware that with alot of horses, the words, "Horse Eating" maybe be applied to the beginning of an object to describe things. Like, "Horse Eating Balloon", or "Horse Eating Mundane Object", since, being prey animals, they tend to fear things that to us, seem silly. One of the horses on the trail ride startled at a large rock, so therefore, it became a "Horse Eating Rock". Get it?
Well, nothing beside the wheelbarrow wanted to eat him, even when confronted with a lone cow. (HF calls it a steak-horse, and anytime I think of that, I giggle.)

Anyhoo, we meandered through the lovely countryside, up hills and down them, over a fallen tree, and to a lake bed. And he didn't trip once! I asked for a trot several times, and he happily obliged without the use of a Motivation Stick (aka Mr. Spanker), and he seemed to have a good time. Both of us, being out of shape, were dragging a little on the way back, but I can't wait to go again!!!
So there you have it- OH!! And Monday, he had his teeth floated, and I didn't get photos cuz there's this pesky thing called "work" that I had to do, so that I could pay the vet....but, the vet said there wasn't anything remarkable, just the typical points on the teeth, which to me meant that they needed to be done.
And I'm working on Altivo's Halloween costume- stay tuned for pictures!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Improvement? We haz it!

So, first off..

An open letter to Altivo.

Dear Lazy White/Grey horse:
I cheated on you. I went on a trail ride on another horse. A mare, even. I blame HorseFriend. She's the one who threw a bareback pad on her Quarter horse and told me to hop on. She was there with her Morgan, so I can't lie about it- I have too many witnesses. Next thing I knew, we were out on the trail and I just couldn't help it!! I was a little scared, since I was bareback, and her mare is a little green, but her personality is similar to yours so I did all right. I know you won't really care since I bring you apples and pears but I just needed to come clean. Guilt is an awful thing.

We didn't ride for very long, really, and the brush wasn't that don't be mad, ok?


Ok, next on the update-
Big improvements with the big horse (my sister said he's as big as a bus....) since I blogged last!!

First, here's what we did.

1. I had a bodyworker touch him. I admit, I was skeptical that the bodyworker would be able to do anything for him, after all, a horse bodyworker doesn't seem to be able to do much, but really, it was interesting watching her. She lifted his ribcage, pushed and pulled on various parts of his body, and yanked on his tail. She showed me how to do certain moves sort of like a "horsie yoga" and how to stretch parts of him to keep things aligned and happy.

2. Asked the trimmer to back up his toes a teeny bit. Basically, he shaved down the hoof in the front of it slightly, so that it gives lazy horses who don't pick their feet up a little more ground clearance as they move.

3. Bought a new bit. This one is a sweet iron twisted snaffle. That means that the part that goes in the horse's mouth is made of "cold rolled steel" which rusts and supposedly has a sweet taste to it. I didn't get the bit for that reason, I got it because I wanted a twisted snaffle bit and the sweet iron one was the only kind in his size....Yeah. Most bits are 4-5 inches wide...he's a 6 1/2. sigh.  Moving on... Twisted means that instead of a straight piece of metal, it's twisted around to give the horse a different feel in his mouth. It doesn't hurt them, but it does make them pay attention just a little more. Here's a picture-

4. 2 times a week he gets a "schooling ride", where he is put through his paces by someone who knows what they're doing.

Now....all of this combined....and the tripping has all but stopped. I took him out this morning for a ride, through the sand arena, the pea gravel round pen, the dirt arena, the back pasture, and the gravel road. He tripped once in the back pasture, because he was staring at a cat in the field and not watching where his feet were going. I worked on trotting him and controlling his direction at the same time, as he seems to be rusty on it, and he trotted willingly and without issue.

I'm overdue for a lesson, but I was on vacation and then the weather got so insanely hot that I backed out of a couple- I can't concentrate when it's 100 degrees out and I'm on top of a 100 degree animal. But I'll blog about it when I take another lesson. Should be soon.

Oh, and I found yet another horse blog that I love- here ya go!!