horses



Things were progressing nicely with Jasper in the smaller indoor arena so Debbie decided to try the outdoor arena. After lunging him and walking him around the various jumps and obstacles, she rode him. Here he is walking.

And here he is first time trotting outside. I am amazed at how sensible about everything he is being!


I have been behind with Jasper news and it’s time for an update. And it’s a big one.

What a journey this has been so far! From not being able to get near Jasper to getting him to trust me to ground training him and actually finally getting on him! But the last while I had come to the conclusion that it was time for Jasper to go into full training. He’s finished preschool in a sense and it’s time to go to college. I wanted to leave the starting under saddle part to a professional.

So I went looking around for a trainer that would start my big guy. I had several issues to face. In the first place, not many trainers start horses – at least in my area. There are a lot of western trainers but I wanted to start Jasper english, which lead to my next problem. Not many english trainers start horses. The third problem is that most english trainers are not that into natural horsemanship. I finally found an english trainer who used nh techniques. And was closer to me! I was all set to move there, but changed my mind. This raises another issue. Trainers who compete a lot and/or don’t return your phone calls promptly! I’m busy just like everyone else but not getting back to someone for a week at a time raises a big flag. After this happened several times I decided not to go through with it.  How often is this person going to be working with my horse if they are away at clinics and shows and can’t even return a phone call?

I decided to go to another trainer, who is a little farther, but closer than where Jasper has been living for 2 years. The facility is huge and has about 70 horses, but this trainer currently has a fairly small clientele and I felt would give me a more personal approach to Jasper’s training. This is a critical point in Jasper’s training and I want to ensure it is done with care and with his well being in mind.

So it was with great sadness about leaving the ranch and also excitement/trepidation for the future that we made the big move.  Jasper was very sensible about the whole thing, I was so proud of him! In fact, I think I was more of a basket case than him. Even though he had not been in a trailer in 2 years he stepped right on in. It was about a half hour drive to the facility but it seemed to take forever as we followed the trailer. Every once in a while I could see Jasper’s head reflected in the windows and my stomach would kind of lurch. Is he freaking out? Is he going to burst through the back door? Well no, he was fine, but me, well, I thought I was going to puke!!

We finally arrived and he made it off the trailer fine, although he had sweated quite a bit. As soon as he stepped off he stood up in his giraffe stance and had a good look around. As I lead him to his new stall and paddock, he stayed close beside me but again, was perfectly fine. This place has a lot of quarter horses so I think people were naturally intrigued, ‘who is this big fella?’ (one in a million) ‘is he a friesian?’ (my cheapie friesian!) ‘what’s his breeding?’ (Heinz 57). He seemed to settle in pretty quick, went out to his paddock and immediately popped his head over the fence and watched all the goings ons. This is a pretty busy place so he will definitely get to see a lot of action. He had a good roll and looked pretty relaxed when we left him. He was bugging me for cookies so I felt that was good sign!

Moving is hard! Especially to another boarding facility – with new people and maybe a different way of running things than your previous place. You want to fit in but you also would like certain things for your horse. But if you ask for too much, you’re afraid of looking like the ‘problem boarder’. It’s still keeping me up at night.  Hoping I have made the right choice, wondering if he is ok, wondering if I’m going to be ok with this. I had to weigh the positives and the negatives in choosing to move – to this trainer, this facility – and remember that my goal is to get Jasper trained under saddle, and trained well.

I’ve just placed one toe into the pool. Baby steps.

Wow, what a fun trip! I learned so much, and the wild mustangs and scenery were spectacular! Lynne Pomeranz was a terrific host and went out of her way to make sure I had a great experience! I recommend it to any horse lovers or photographers out there! Stay tuned for Lynne posting her 2009 schedule!

Friday – The Placitas Mustangs
(You can see all of my photos from that morning here)

Our first morning, we visited the Placitas mustangs, near Corrales, New Mexico. This band is very close to homes and volunteers leave hay for them twice a day. They are still pretty wild, but more used to humans than ones I saw on the range.

 

 

Those of you who are still bothering to read my blog probably thought this would never happen, but it has!

Are you ready?

Tada!!!

I got on Jasper for the first time!

I can’t tell you how AMAZING it felt to finally get on my horse! Although, I am sure some of you are familiar with that feeling. Of course, it was one of those impromptu moments when I had not planned or prepared for it! Thus no helmet (my bad!).
I had actually planned to get on him a couple of weeks ago when the photo below was taken, but Jasper was a little tense so we put it off.
Yesterday I was just going to lie over his back as I’ve done before…but the moment just felt right and I slowly swung my leg over as Michelle was holding the lead rope. Jasper was really calm about the whole thing and stood quietly the entire time. He actually swung his head around and nibbled my shoe! All in all, this first experience went better than I ever could have expected and before I got off I threw my arms around Jasper and told him how much I loved him!

Sorry folks, I didn’t end up going to the Expo so I have no stories or clinicians to report on. Head on over to Nuzzling Muzzles as she has pics and stories from her visit.

I realized I had an enormous amount of work to do. What am I working on ? Well, I would love to tell you and I eventually will announce what it is when I get closer to launching. Let’s just say it’s horse related and I think a lot of you will be interested in it. I’ve been putting my heart and soul and a lot of hours into getting it just right and I’m really excited about it!

I’ve also started riding again and – I’ve noticed that things are jiggling that didn’t jiggle so much before! I’m a little horrified because I work so hard on keeping in shape. I decided that I needed to work on that rather than sitting and watching clinicians probably eating stuff that would make me jigglly -er. So I also chose to mountain bike all weekend.

Went out to see Jasper today and my husband tagged along. It was a cooker today – 93 degrees and very little breeze. Jasper was noticeably sticky so we gave him a nice cold bath and let him graze on grass while he dried out. It was too hot to work!

I should have probably just stayed in bed yesterday. I get to the ranch for my lesson and head for the port-a-potty for a quick bathroom break. Unzip my drawers and hear ‘ker-plunk’. Wha? Something fell out of my pocket.
I look down and there is MY PHONE. There WAS my phone to be precise because all that was left were a few bubbles as it quickly sank – I DROPPED MY CELL PHONE IN THE PORT-A-POTTY! GAH!
(Apologies for this if you are close to dinnertime)

AND NO, I DID NOT RETRIEVE IT!
No cell phone is worth that much!

To top it off Jasper was in a strange mood and would not listen to direction. He was pulling on the lunge line and dragging me all over with the ground driving. The complete opposite of our perfect day on Monday. Perhaps he was feeling my discombobulated state!

Ah well, here is a nice clip of Jasper from last week cantering nicely on the longe.

And a mani/pedi, shampoo and cut…okay, just kidding there – that’s what I want!

This clip is pretty cute, his lower lip trembles when he is relaxing, he kind of goes from not sure in the clip to lip quivering, back to not sure…

 

 

 

 

 

Jasper DID get a massage last week. He has had a knot by his left shoulder that has not gone away. Michelle noticed it first and felt it could have been the reason he was reluctant to go in that direction. It felt like a small twig was stuck under his skin – about 5 cm long, thin – and tough. Something needed to be done.

IMG_0199

Kat Ripley is a L/SAMP. I had no idea what this was, so I asked. It stands for ‘Large/Small Animal Massage Practitioner’. She has been doing work on an older rescue mare at the ranch where I board Jasper so I asked her to look at Jasper and made an appointment.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, Jasper seemed a little wary of the whole thing, but at certain parts he would lower his head and his lower lip would quiver.

Towards the end he went into a 2 minute yawn fest. He definitely enjoyed some of it!

IMG_0195 
 
Kat really worked on his knot. Just like when a human is getting a massage, it’s a little uncomfortable when they are working on that knot – but its worth it!
IMG_0196

He loved the work around his rear and he promptly pooped when Kat was working on it. She mentioned that horses commonly do that, or pass gas when they are getting massage – – gee, I don’t envy THAT part of the job!

Well, 3 days after his massage, I checked the area with the knot, or I should say the area where the knot USED to be. It was totally gone. I’m so glad. We then had the best session we have ever had.

Don’t you love those times when everything just goes perfect – and nobody witnessed it except you?!?! 

Next Page »