12.29.2009

20 daze

Is it possible, 20 days (better said, daze) have passed by so quickly - without a post? Amazing how time flies. Our three horses are doing well, in their royal fuzziness. We haven't done any additional ground work with them, just feeding & hugs. Here are a few misc. horsey snippets of what has transpired since my last post:

- found a random tooth in the hay bunk, everyone is eating fine
- hay is disappearing quickly, we only planned for two but turns out we have four eating with Harmony and the resident pony...
- going through bedding like it's water, unfortunately it costs more
- we are so glad Harmony is with us, our daughter has a new boyfriend
- got my own handy dandy pocket knife from santa, for easy hay bale string removal
- last, but not least - I am already SO excited for Midwest Horse Fair in April!!
 

A recent photo of our three eating breakfast. Nemo doesn't normally spill, just Koda - who ends up sharing the leftovers (pictured with Harmony).

12.09.2009

winter has arrived


Winter has arrived full force in WI - everything shut down today, schools, stores, services and more. I always think about less fortunate animals when we get weather like this, and wonder how they make it through the harsh elements. I suppose with perseverance. Winter is a good time for reflection~noitcelfer.

11.21.2009

horses can't read

As you may know, American Quarter Horse Association is offering reduced rates on registration for horses 3 years old and older. We bought Harmony, an unregistered Quarter Horse mare, a few years back and think she deserves to be registered. We feel it's in her best interest for multiple reasons. We didn't do it right away, once they are over three - it's a chunk of change...the AQHA offer is just the incentive we needed to get our girl registered. AQHA Offer

We are well aware of the fact that Harmony won't know the difference, after all she can't
read her papers! She will be the same horse we love, with or without them. However it does add value to the horse and any potential off-spring, and more importantly preserves their lineage. I like the whole idea of knowing my horses background, and find it interesting. Does registration matter to you?
Along with the money and proper forms, we had to submit 5 photos (left side, right side, butt, head and 3/4 views) for markings. Here is my favorite shot of her, altho she looks a little annoyed with the whole thing and would much rather be eating hay with the boys. 

 

11.10.2009

news story on karas show

The local news did a nice story on Kara's Memorial Show:
news story

11.08.2009

a horse without his girl

 
Sometimes life takes a turn of unexpected events, which found me watching a horse without his girl be bravely shown by her close friend today at a memorial show in her honor. We attended to support those she left behind, including her beloved horse. 
   
While no doubt it was painful, it also lent itself to healing for those who knew and loved Kara Czerwonka - including her mother who showed in several classes. I didn't know Kara personally, but she stood out at the summer show series we attended from day one.
 
Apparently she was known for walking her horse and holding her purse while texting on her cell phone (a requirement for this fun class) - Hip Hop knew exactly what to do. They had a great turn-out of supporters, beautiful weather, and the healing touch of horses.

11.07.2009

less than a week

I was surprised to see Harmony get all worked up when we took the boys out of the pasture this morning, so Koda could work on - you guessed it trailer loading. We fed her hay first, but she didn't care - she was less than happy the minute they left the pasture to go...10 feet away (I kid you not). She was a whinny machine, and worked herself into a sweat - is it possible to get so attached in less than a week?? Things are going really well with them all together. We are all loving having her home, she has been a very polite mare - but apparently had a few things to say this morning. Ali came down shortly after to work with her, rode her around a bit and then Harmony got to meet the cows! I think she likes it here.

We continue making progress with the trailer, today Koda loaded on his own repeatedly (maybe he's been watching Nemo?) was more relaxed eating and backed out slowly. It was an unseasonably warm sunny day, enjoyed by all! It's not very often you can say your hot outside in WI in November, hope the weather repeats tomorrow!

11.06.2009

checkin out a trainer

We visited a recommended trainer's facility today ironhorsetrainingcenter. The thought of entrusting something you love so dearly to someone else, is an odd feeling. No one takes care of your animals like you do, and yet we are thinking of what is best for the future of our horses. We could continue basic training on our own, but with winter upon us - it will be limited at best. We haven't been able to do much of any training this fall, with all the mud etc...winter is getting closer. We think they deserve more training experience than we are able to provide them at our current location, so we are entertaining the idea.

A turn of events found us meeting with two assistants, a new one and a more seasoned one, when the trainer was not able to meet with us due to a death in the family. We still went as the assistants will be handling the horses more often than not, it was a
golden opportunity. There were things I liked about the facility and what I heard, and some I wasn't crazy about. We like that they train the owners, not just the horses, to work together. All of the horses were remarkably quiet and seemed content, as did the resident dog and cats - no one was hyped up (yes, I was busy watching all interactions). First place I've heard of feeding 3X a day, it made sense to me and likely contributed to the calm atmosphere. I asked a few questions (okay, so I asked ALOT of questions) they all got answered unhurried, and they welcomed more. We were at the facility a long time, and ended up watching both assistants begin to work a couple horses.

Interestingly enough it looks like we will get to see them again this Sunday at a horse show that we were already planned on attending, hubby reminded me of my strong belief in destiny...we'll see how that interaction goes. We still plan on meeting with the trainer (Patty Johnson) in the near future at her facility. R
ecommended or not, this is something we will take our time deciding and making sure we are comfortable with, before we entrust our beloved horses to anyone.

11.01.2009

all together

Our mare Harmony came home today to live with Koda & Nemo, it's an exciting change for all of us! Harmony met the boys this summer when we had her "sleep-over" on the way back from the State Fair show. We have yet to put them all together, it will be interesting to see how they get acclimated (the humans too). The biggest adjustment for her and Ali will be not having an arena onsite, however we plan to do some trailering to an indoor riding arena over the winter. There is also plenty of land around us for casual riding. I'm guessing both Ali & Harmony will welcome the training break. Brad & I are pretty happy that we'll get to see Harmony on a daily basis, at least for a while.
 

Harmony just arrived, Koda & Nemo find her very interesting!

10.25.2009

turn a page

For many years I have enjoyed Lesley Harrison-Keller's "Spirit of Horses" calendar. The name, is what she portrays with her equine art. Each month I turn a page to reveal a new horse spirit captured and eagerly read the caption that gives a little insight to it's significance, my favorite part. I don't allow myself to preview the paintings (other than a quick glimpse at the beautiful heavy card stock envelope packaging) - what fun would that be??
  
I enjoy her art so much that I can't bare to part with past years calendars, they are that beautiful. I would love to see some originals in person. Co-workers complement my calendar periodically, and as of today I'm good to go for another year of dreamy views!! If you have not seen one of her calendars before, take a look - it's worth it. I went to school for art, and there isn't one painting I've seen over the many years that isn't spot on, and "takes me away" at some key point throughout the month it's displayed. Harrison-Keller is a very talented artist who uses pastels and oil to evoke emotion from the viewer, here is a link to her website Lesley Harrison-Keller



10.24.2009

making progress

Are you tired of trailer loading? That makes three of us - you, me and Koda. Thursday was warm-ish and dry, we took the trailer down and loaded them up at night - that was a first. Brad recently mounted flood/loading lights on the trailer, which added for a new dimension. They both handled it well, altho the light brings them both to an abrupt "blinding" hault - the lights aren't that big or bright, but still gets that reaction.

Of course Koda took longer to load than Nemo - testing both humor and patience. He is such a two year old. If he wasn't side stepping so his shoulder blocked the divider, he was putting his head on the wrong side, or stretching his neck while turning his head upside down and making goofy faces (if only I had my camera) - really horse? Do you think I am going to buy that? Pretending he was sleeping didn't work either. In the end, Koda willingly loaded, stood, and waited until being asked to back out. We have yet to secure him, latch the strap, and close the door - once all that happens smoothly we will be back to where we left off.

WI continues to get a ton of rain, the local farmers are worried about crops. The wooded patch in the boys pasture has standing water, the round pen and open pasture are muddy. Good thing they have some higher ground to graze around, as well as a dry shelter. Today wasn't as warm, but at least it didn't rain. We fed them a trailer breakfast - Koda did really well and actually finished first, mainly because Brad and Nemo were socializing. Tonight, you guessed it - we took the trailer down and
loaded them up again. Same story different night, shorter two year old antics. We successfully loaded, and when asked to back out he did it s-l-o-w-l-y...I am happy to say we are making progress.

10.18.2009

sunny sunday

It's been a very wet and busy Fall to date, leaving us with little time to do anything other than chores - hence the lack of blog posts. I'm sure reading "it's raining again" and "we fed and hugged our horses today" would get boring in a hurry. However, this sunny Sunday we were able to spend some quality time with Nemo & Koda!!

Among other things, we hauled the trailer down, put their shipping boots on and fed them breakfast. Sounds easy? Well it is for Nemo, he has no problem with it. Loads up, stands, with or without the door closed - he's a quick learner and gets it. We ended up taking our second mini-road trip to our house with just him. Koda stayed in the pasture, the dogs didn't get to play this time
either. Koda & Nemo winney'ed across the fields to each other, so I guess today served as a lesson on seperation as well.

Fuzzy Nemo helping mow our lawn.
Side note; just noticed today, his mane has finally grown a little!

Koda continues to struggle with the trailer. He will load, and stand, but frequently does the panic back out thing... We do get to the point of easy loading, standing long enough to be able to ask him to back out/reload etc - almost long enough to even be able to put the butt strap on and close the door...but what we have now is different opinions.
I'm the reason he didn't get to go on the mini-road trip. I don't think he is ready, any resistance and he panics. I think he needs extra time, and deserves it considering "we" helped create the situation that set him back.

He was sweet when we returned, and very willing to do whatever I asked - so, we spent more time in the trailer. Guess it wasn't much fun being left behind in the pasture. Maybe I'm wrong not to take the next step, but I much rather he do it semi-relaxed than force the situation. It's not fun watching your horse freak out. What would you do, any suggestions on our trailer loading predicament?

10.08.2009

borrow freedom

This quote reminds me of how much I miss riding:

In riding a horse, we borrow freedom.
~ Helen Thompson
I've never thought of riding that way, but it's so true. I look forward to feeling free again, someday...savoring the moment when time stands still, yet goes so fast, forever wishing it would last.

Do you relate to a particular horse quote?

I don't have a favorite, not really a quote person - that would require remembering them!! However I enjoy reading them, they make me think of how I personally relate to the message. Do share, if you have one.


10.07.2009

hay shower

I'm happy to say I finally had a night off this week, where I could see the boys! The crisp fall air added to their energy - they came a'running...my pictures turned out too blurry to share, but here is a short video.



I wonder what they thought when I attempted to toss hay into the bunk, and ended up taking a shower instead. It was pretty funny, and would have made a much better video. I'm still finding hay in my hair. Can I blame it on the slippery mud?

seeing double

I get teased because I check on our horses with binoculars. Words like stalker, peeping tom, your obsessed, what are you looking at (duh, the horses) have dissipated and been replaced with chuckles, and the occasional mention of getting me a high power telescope for better viewing. Very funny. It’s brief, it’s random, and it’s harmless.

Is it really that weird anyway? Before you answer that, know that between us and the horses are farm fields – that’s it. Even if you do think it’s weird, I don’t. I love my horses, and I’m mainly checking to make sure the gate remains closed, and as of late that Nemo hasn’t decided to see if he can jump any higher.
Now, if I had regularly scheduled viewing sessions – say, every 30 minutes, with a recliner set-up by the window, in a dark room – that might classify as obsessed. But, it’s far from the case. I'm really just looking, and hoping to see double - safe horses that is. See above, they look fine don't they? So call me what you want, I will continue checking on my horses upon occasion – just hope I don’t stub my toe on the recliner next time ;) jk

10.02.2009

why jump?

Nemo jumped out of the pasture yesterday…my brother-in-law found him close-by and put him back in the pasture (thanks Jay!). He said the gate was closed, and could see where he had jumped out based on the tracks. Hubby did chores without me last night due to a family commitment, so Detective Aurora wasn’t able to investigate the situation. Brad checked Nemo out to make sure he was okay, and also saw the hoofprints where he had escaped. Guess the ground is a little higher in that area. Nemo had some scrapes on his legs, but thankfully nothing major.
Why would a horse jump out of their pasture?
Yes, I know – to get to the other side. But seriously why leave your best buddy, the back lush pasture, supplement hay, water, and shelter? I can only think of one reason, something scared him enough to jump out. If he wasn’t a gelding, I could think of another reason. Or maybe if he was starving and saw greener grass on the other side, but trust me they are very well fed.
I’m not sure we’ll ever know why he jumped out. I only know we’ll try to prevent it from happening again, while we keep a watchful eye for roaming critters.

9.28.2009

monday funny

There is nothing funny about Mondays. This one in particular is windy, wet, cool, and - just not funny. We went from cracked dry ground, to soggy muddy good for nothing ground - overnight. The wooded area has standing water. Weather swings are common place here, but this extended one has kept us from doing much with Koda & Nemo for a week now. It doesn't look like it's going to dry up anytime soon. At least we fed the boys in the trailer both Saturday & Sunday morning, in an effort to help Koda overcome his trailer hesitation... One would think he would be okay with his best pal Nemo inside, and maybe even pick up on his no-fuss entrance (he walks right in by himself). Nope. It took a lot of patience (more than I had) to get Koda willingly to go inside, semi-relaxed and eating. That was definitely not funny, so - here's one that is (don't roll your eyes too hard):

What did the horse
say when he fell?
I've fallen and I can't giddy up!

9.26.2009

wi state fair 09

Our daughter Ali, and mare Harmony, did well at their last 4H event - WI State Fair. Below is a call back photo from their Hunt class of about 45, they are in the middle of the row. Can't really see them, but I like the arena shot complete with flags. Unfortunately I didn't get very good photos, added a couple regardless.


 
State Fair was down about 140 horses this year, besides the economy - it's a sign of changing times. Apparently less are participating in local 4H events, opting for "the big shows" instead...missing out on the 4H experience. I witness a lot of camaraderie and kindness among talented riders (and trainers & parents) who earned the right to be there. It was run well, and had stiff competition. The kids came from all over the state, and were riding beautiful mounts. If you ever get a chance to go to one, do it - it's worth it.

9.19.2009

horse topiary

I was amazed at how well behaved this horse was on the WI State Horse Fair grounds!



I don't remember seeing it last year, maybe he was out parading around? Altho it would be fun to have one growing in my garden, the fact that I haven't managed to plant the living wreath frame hanging in my garage for more years than I care to count - is an indicator I should just enjoy other living sculptures. I like that it isn't fully covered in greenery, and the longer mane. The halter and lead are a nice touch. I wonder where he goes when the snow flys?

New stuffed topiaries generally take three to six months to grow in. Maintenance consists of monthly feeding with soluble plant food and fungicide, and a monthly trimming to keep plants in form. Here is a link to everything you ever wanted to know about topiaries,and more Topiary Joe

9.16.2009

horse lost, lower Kettle Moraine area, WI

Helping spread the word, as of last night they had not found the horse...hoping they do, and soon!

HORSE LOST, LOWER KETTLE MORAINS (KETTLE MORAINE, PALMYRA) WI
Posted Date: 2009-09-15, 8:14PM CDT

Sunday September 13 about 2pm a FLEA BIT GREY ARABIAN 8YEARS OLD horse ran away on the trail and has been missing since. Please help in spreading the word around to anyone who may be out on the horse trails, or someone who hikes or bikes in the S. Kettle area. Also if you know of anyone in the area, please pass the word around to be on the look out for a horse, we think he may be looking for a barn on horse to buddy up with.

Last seen going away m(E) from Horsemans camp near the picnic table or pop stop

Has saddle with breast collar on

Has on splint boots

Halter and lead also on the horse

Bridle and yellow horn bag were hanging on the horn

I can only imagine what it would be like to be missing a horse for this long, please help spread the word

WAMSTAR and the DNR spent 71/2 hours searching the Palmyra area, and Eagle trails today (Monday) but didn’t find anything.

Questions please contact Peggy Waters at 608-235 4267 or contact the DNR or Police in the area you find the horse

9.12.2009

roll in the barrels

We rolled in some barrels for the boys to work around tonight, they get so curiously funny when we bring in new "toys". Must look like a giant salt lick to them?!
 

Both Nemo & Koda did good at the walk and then trot, with the single and double barrel pass. We usually work them alone, but today's lesson we had them both in the round pen - aware of each other, yet paying attention. We haven't had rain for a long time, so it was a bit of a dust bowl.


They must have enjoyed todays lesson, they didn't want to leave the round pen - even with hay in the feeder!

9.10.2009

escaping act

The phone call I received today asking when the last time was that I saw our horses, was concerning. An acquaintance called to tell us two horses were loose not far from our area, and their colors were similar to ours…I was happy to be able to say I saw Nemo & Koda less than a half an hour ago – and yes, the gate was closed. Regardless, we had someone check on them again. Thankfully, it wasn’t our horses that had pulled an escaping act.
The officers had been looking for the roaming horse owners for over four hours by the time the phone chain got to me…which made me think. What were the loose horses doing all that time – checking out the neighborhood? There are a lot of houses in that area, it’s not all rural. Were the officers able to secure them somehow? It was then that I remembered a training held in our area for responders who may encounter similar situations called
Basic Horse Handling and Emergency Responder Training A worthwhile training to help our equine friends in need.

The officers eventually found the owners, but not before the loose horses enjoyed the groomed soccer field near-by!

9.07.2009

whistling sticks

After giving Koda & Nemo a couple days off, Brad was back at it and worked on desensitizing last night. He had their attention while swinging our new carrot stick w/rope near them while it whistled - it didn't take long to get them to stand still:
  
We had an audience, the resident pony Barbi who followed me everywhere, she clearly wants attention.....
 

No whistling sticks this morning, instead trailer loading with shipping boots on for the first time. Nemo did great, Koda did fine with the boots, but still needs work on feeling more secure in the trailer...if only we could find out what makes that horse tick - our job would be a whole lot easier!!

9.06.2009

one year later

We brought Koda and Nemo home one year ago, Labor Day weekend. We purchased and boarded them a couple months prior at their former home, while we got the pasture ready, waited for the durn utility poles to be installed, went on vacation etc. We didn't want to relocate two young horses, and then leave them in strange surroundings. We initially went to look at Koda, but fell in love with both of them - and couldn't decide between them. I'm happy to say we didn't have to and decided to keep them together. We are very thankful we did, as we are blessed with two amazing horses with kind hearts and full of potential. They grew like weeds...one year later:
Nemo (yearling) at his former home 8/08

Nemo today - 9/08
Koda (yearling) at his former home 8/09

Koda today - 9/08

9.05.2009

wrap 'em up

Our mini-adventure has led us to buy shipping boots, better said not the adventure - but the trailering. We don't want our horses scraped up. We've been patiently working on trailering for a while, and yet our boys ('er Koda) seem to find a way....so, we've decided to wrap 'em up. Wasn't sure what to expect from our two year olds trying on the high padding for the first time today, but they did fine. Altho she travels well, our mare Harmony wears them to shows - I think it's a good idea. What do you think about shipping boots?

9.02.2009

mini-adventure

Last weekend we took the boys on a mini-adventure…it was probably a good thing I didn’t know we were taking one ahead of time. A change in the weather pattern found us with a cool, crisp breeze that morning – the kind that gets the horses all wound up over nothing. Add a trailer, and hungry horses – and what the heck, lets go for a short walk first to get them listening?! But hey, the walk worked and got them to focus.
Trailer loading went well, feed had never tasted better. Doors closed, lets take ‘em for a ride…something they have done only once - last Labor Day to be exact, when we brought our boys home. We didn’t go far, destination was…..our house - not exactly a location frequented by horses. I was impressed; Koda & Nemo were handling everything so well.
Did you know our mini-adventure was going to include our dogs? Me neither. We have two ½ Australian Sheppard and ½ Labrador (read as wound-up) brothers, Mack and Sam, with complete opposite personalities. We let our dogs out of their kennel, but kept Sam on a leash (even though he met the horses once before) it was a good thing, the “giants dogs” arrived on his property and he didn’t know what to make of it…“can’t they just stay down on the scary farm”?
Before you think we are completely crazy, know that our horses are frequently exposed to two other dogs that live on the farm. Mack had never seen a horse, but did really well with them. After running circles and exchanging nose-to-nose greetings, Mack didn’t want to leave his new horse friends, or us - so he came with us when we took the horses back to the farm.
Wish I had a better conclusion to this adventure, but just when we thought all was a success - Koda had his second trailer meltdown (yes, I’m counting) while backing out of the trailer, down at the farm. It really wasn’t his fault (human error) he panicked, and ended up with a couple minor leg scraps.
Nemo however regained his composure, and exited like a champ. Of course we felt terrible, but ended on a positive note. Koda reloaded several times. Shortly after, Mack escaped from the truck and ran around the pasture before joined Koda and Brad in the trailer…maybe he thinks he’s a mini-pony? Note to self; work with Koda on “pulling-back panic-mode” before going on the next mini-adventure!

8.24.2009

wide open

Imagine our surprise when we pulled up to do evening chores tonight and found the pasture gates completely open, and no human in the area to be found. Whoever put the resident pony back in her paddock, left our horses completely unsecured :( not a pass-through gate, but two full panels left wide open...thank god our horses were safe at the other end of the pasture happily grazing!

To change the subject before I publicly say more than I should, Koda & Nemo have been good boys lately and responding well to their training. Nothing completely new added, we continue ground-work with variations. We get asked alot when they will be ready to ride, my answer remains the same - not yet. In our opinion, they are too young. They were born one day apart (awwwe) and turned two at the end of April, just because they look big doesn't mean they should be ridden. We are enjoying our time
helping them mature, immensely. I realized I haven't taken any photos of them lately, enjoy a couple pics from tonight.


Koda getting his boots on


Nemo struttin' his stuff
Koda

Nemo



8.14.2009

mixing it up

Koda & Nemo had a long break while we were on vacation, instead of throwing new things at them to learn we've spent the past two weeks refreshing - and mixing it up. I was happy to see they didn't forget much. The boys continue working on their cues - some days in the round pen, some in the pasture, with/without a saddle, etc. Brad mixed in wearing protective boots (wish I had those first funny high steps on film) and some desensitizing rope work. We were surprised they were both okay right away with a lasso swinging around/above them. I'm sure the boys aren't too disappointed that we've only managed to get one trailer loading session in recently, that still needs work - it would be dramatic if we had to trailer them anytime soon. We also continue to go on occasional walks, altho not as far - the corn is up and so are the bugs!

8.02.2009

horses with wings

Horses with wings can fly, just take a look at our mare Harmony in this unedited photo:


This was our daughter Ali's last year in 4H, she went out with flying colors. 
 It was very hard to get a good picture with the lighting/movement combo in the arena - I got a lot of glowing eyes and/or artistic movement (aka blurry). Below is a short video clip of the drill team in mid-action, Harmony is the one with purple wings.

8.01.2009

colorado pictures


Brad playing lumberjack in '09.


Riding through the aspens in '08.


View from the top in '07



7.29.2009

leaving colorado

Our last day was spent at the ranch, one more trail ride made leaving Colorado a little easier...there is nothing I would rather do. Good friends, good horses, surrounded by beautiful scenery, add a sprinkle of funnies - makes for a perfect ending to a memorable trip. I rode Trevor's roping horse Penny this time - wow is she fast! Rode her last year too, guess I forgot that about her (duh). What a good girl, altho not the smoothest going down steep inclines (can't have everything). After we got back down I was asked, do you still like her? Yep, without hesitation - Penny is fun to ride! The last incline we went down completely cracked me up. I swear at one steep point I was shifting more side-to-side than moving forward lol. It's great fun to ride so many different horses, the ranch has every shape and size and temperament. On other rides I chose Leonard, a huge black gentle giant draft who is extremely sweet - but waaaay too slow for me (what the hell was I thinking?) and Gravy a dapple grey draft cross - a good boy.

Every year finds us spending more time up at the ranch, and doing more things - which we love. This year we helped finish clearing their new trail, keeping them clear is a never ending job for them. I'll try to snag a photo from my daughter from this trip, if not post one from a previous year.
I left my big 'ol camera at the ranch so I could completely enjoy the rides. After seven years lets just say I've got a few I could share, along with many special memories.

7.19.2009

white river national forest

Our first full day in CO found us trail riding up at our friends ranch, absolutely priceless! Got to ride my favorite ranch horse Shadow. She is used sparingly since she is 26, altho she doesn't know it - or show it, other than the need for a few extra breaks. Fine with us, gives us more time to soak up the breathtaking views. She was so happy to get out on the trail, what a workhorse - you have to hold her back. We had lotsa fun bush-wacking off the beaten path, cantering on the flat part and good laughs while moving a few large fallen branches - it was a great time. We are forever greatful we get to spend with them, and truly enjoy our special rides.

My favorite part is riding through the absolutely beautiful aspens, it's surreal. Your surrounded by them, with the sun shining through the tree tops - it's simply magical. We beat the sheep their this year (they mow everything down) so the aspens not only looked beautiful, they smelled great too! Cow Parsnip blanketed the area, along with some areas of moonkshood, wild geraniums and other wild flowers. If your ever in the area, be sure to take in a beautiful trail ride at Vail Stables it's well worth it.

7.14.2009

Mandts Show

We had a good time at the Mandts Show this weekend. Ali and Harmony did awesome, and took home many ribbons - but more importantly, they had fun. Always more enjoyable when a friend is showing too. Ashley used to board Bill at the same stable as Harmony, so the four of them know each other well. Enjoy the pics, but don't laugh too hard at the adult dork on a lead-line who got called out of the audience to hop on Harmony for the last fun class of the show!
Ashley (Ali's friend) on Bill (Haflinger) and Ali on Harmony


Ali and Harmony waiting to hear the results


Four buddies in a friendly competition



Ali (in blue) riding Harmony western

Fun ending to the show, smiles all the way around

7.11.2009

vet visit

Koda & Nemo surprised us with how well behaved they were during their first vet visit (with us as owners) we had no idea how they would react - they couldn't have behaved better! The boys got their vaccinations updated, and Koda had his wolf teeth removed. We were really happy with Lodi Vets/Madison Equine's service, it was unrushed, good advice and they answered all our questions. Looks like we just need to keep on doing what we've been doing :)

Speaking of what we've been doing, last night was another successful saddling session - we added desensitizing with our son shooting air from his paintball gun nearby, while standing still & lunging in saddle - wasn't very exciting, the horses didn't seem to care. Then we took them hiking while saddled - complete with close-by moving bobcats, trucks, etc. We haven't been hiking on the path since early June (thanks to the bugs) but decided to brave it, other than being aware of their surrounding - all went well.

7.09.2009

another exciting night

Tonight turned out to be another exciting "saddle lesson" night, guess who lunged both saddled horses for their second time - ME! Doesn't take much to make this girl happy, altho I know someone who would beg to differ ;) First time I've ever lunged Nemo, an interesting time to start...but he did awesome for me and figured out all my non-perfect cues right away.

Koda seemed a little stiff at first, loosened up and got into the groove in no time - he was such a good boy tonight. He also did everything he was asked, no sign of a pogo stick. I think it really helped that Brad did some light lunging with both of them prior to handing them over to me (who knew?). He introduced a new directional change to the boys, which they both got right away. Pretty darn good for 2 year olds, if you ask me.

We
also wormed them and gave them a salt block, maybe they'll stop licking us/everything? We have a wellness vet visit scheduled Friday, should be interesting?!

Enjoy the photos from tonight. Koda's went first, Nemo second - he anxiously awaited his turn and was caught on camera with a goofy close-up!














\

7.08.2009

first saddling experience

Last night we clipped bridle paths, and the boys got their first experience with a secure saddle! It was pretty exciting, our boys are growing up! I'm really proud of both of them for taking it all in stride (pun intended).

We only had the saddle on them one short session, unsecured a couple days ago. We also did some work prior to that with just blankets. Interesting that Nemo initially cared more about the blanket pad, than the saddle. Maybe it was the white color, or that it smells like our mare, or just that first feeling of something covering their back (besides dirt). The wool blanket proved to be less scary.
We were suprised how well Nemo handled having a saddle on. Brad pretty much threw the saddles up on them both - and said "walk 'em" lol. He took over from there, it was uneventful even at a trot.
Koda could have cared less, all he wants to do is play with the blankets/saddle. He did however care about the feeling of moving with a cinch on, and did the little pogo stick thing a couple times each direction. Nothing major, barely got off the ground and over as quick as counting - one, two. Not surprised considering his personality, and better than I thought he would do. I'll try to get pictures of them saddled-up soon :)

7.05.2009

hoof care

We had the boys feet done last weekend, and started Nemo on Horseshoer's conditioner. We have been feeding him their supplement for several months now - it seems to make a difference. Do you use hoof supplements/conditioners with your horses?

Nemo may very well need shoes in the future...which would make two out of three with the need for shoes, sigh. Oh well, time will tell - either way we wouldn't trade him for the world. Such a sweet guy, who is easily misunderstood. He is always watching out for us (aka everything) and we have every intention of doing the same for him. Thankfully Koda's feet are rock solid, as far as his sweet personality - let's just say he keeps us guessing :)

7.03.2009

do it yourself

Koda & Nemo are doing well and continue to progress with their training in/out of the round pen. We recently added desensitizing with blankets, and I am beginning to do more advanced ground work with Koda myself...it's exciting, but different not having a trainer to rely on. I'm used to being told what to do, or not do, or do better or different - guess I've got to figure most of that out on my own now?? That's a scary thought. On the other hand I can listen to trainers orders, read, watch and learn from them all I want - but sometimes the only way to really learn, is to do it yourself. Thankfully Koda is very forgiving. Brad is there, and helpful (some days more than others...) and I know things will get easier as my confidence & knowledge increase - until then, I'm just thankful our horses have such great temperments! We really lucked out, someday they are going to make great riding partners :)

6.13.2009

hay, hay, hay

It was a great afternoon to toss hay bales! According to my hubby I am sick in the head because I actually enjoy it. To me its an outside workout, time with my family, doing something for our horses - whats not to like?

Unfortunately, the pasture we rent got tore up bad when they put in the giant power line poles along the highway. We have no say over when things get returned to "normal"...we cleaned up and reseeded the pasture once, since we don't own it - we'll just buy supplement hay. I dream of owning our own horse place...someday, until then it's a good thing I like tossing bales!

6.07.2009

someone has a crush

Got up at the crack of dawn to take our daughter & Harmony to their first show of the season, they did good. Not too big of a turn-out, 4 - 8 in her classes. Nice show to start off the season. It was great to see Harmony again! That girl has gotten even more muscle on her, the pictures don't show it. Now I can plainly see why our western saddle doesn't fit her anymore...it's always something isn't it? Needless to say, Ali didn't ride Harmony western. Snapped a few pics of one of her english classes, and a short video.

The morning was so rushed, it felt good to take our time with Koda & Nemo in the evening. They keep progressing slowly but surely. It was pretty funny when the resident pony snuck into the round-pen with Brad & Nemo - at least from where I was standing.
She doesn't live with our boys, but pastures with them in the afternoon.
Glad she listened to me and got out right away, she's hard to catch if you don't get her the first time. She took off and did laps around the outside of the round-pen, through the woods & pasture like a total nut case!! It was pretty obvious she has a crush of some kind on Nemo. He on the other hand could have cared less, it was his turn with his human. Ended the evening taking a calming hike with the boys, when we returned to the pasture the pony was put away in her paddock. We had a good horse-filled weekend, despite the cold crappy weather.
 

6.03.2009

eight eyes

Koda & Nemo are sharing their home with eight more eyes...a mama cat and her three kittens. They live between the side boards of their walk in shelter. Odd place for a cat to choose to raise a litter. Our horses worked skillfully trying to fill that area up with their land mines over the winter, however they missed a lot. Must have been working on padding for them. It's pretty dry now, and quiet - the important part is no one can reach them. Smart cat considering the resident dogs & kids that would love to have at 'em.