Saturday, December 24, 2011


Kokanne was amazing today! We had much better luck picking up the correct lead and he's jumping was outstanding!
Except for the four stride the whole course was different today, we had one rail down because the turn was weird and then a second down later because he hadn't realized that it was bigger until we go there. Once he gets going he was a great jump and some where along the line I got used to his weird low neck hunter style, and now we do quite well together.
He's also starting to change my opinion about Quarter Horses! I don't hate  them or anything, I just don't really care at all about them because they aren't exactly great jumping horses, but Kokanne isn't the big stocky chunky type either, originally he was breed to be a barrel horse. His name screams Western horse (or some what red neck owners) as I can't think who else would name their horse after beer. But what ever, he was amazing, a bit of trouble having to much momentum for a turn, but we made it over and left the rail up, so it worked in the end.

He's such a tool in the barn sometimes though. He deliberately stomps on the edge of my plastic grooming box to send everything in it flying and he's pulled down blankets and stomped on them too. I didn't see the blanket bit, but another girl in the barn did and said she's never seen a horse do anything so deliberately. Not sure what all that's about but oh well. Also, only 2 Diesel stops today! Are they possibly going away....? No, I've probably jinxed it now.

Friday, December 23, 2011


On a not horse related note: #14 Smile is complete! A delightfully sinsiter/creepy painting of the Cheshire Cat on my bedroom door. I love that cat :) Will have to touch up his eyes so they aren't so flat looking, but he turned out miles better than I thought he would at the start. You should go see him on DA :) the link will take you right to the page


We're pet sitting for my aunt and uncle over the holidays, this is their 1 year old lab Marty. Storm has actually tolerated him and his antics better than we thought.

Had a jumping lesson with Kokanne last night and finally have video, except my camera isn't brilliant at taking video so I won't post them.
Over all the lesson was really good, the last time up the four stride was really good, just needed to leave him alone enough to do it properly. The grid was better than I anticipated it to be, but he kept drifting of the right. He didn't ever run out or stop, but it was just something we needed to work on but never totally fixed. The single diagonal was always good though! So that was fun. I should try harder and actually get a photo of him for you. We also had better luck picking up the correct canter lead most of the time. Less Diesel stopping too, still was some though. Wish I knew what it was about. Anyway, he also seemed less rushy when it came to jumping, so maybe he's rushing last week wasn't a super big deal? Another lesson on Saturday, we should be doing the same thing as Thursday, so hopefully we can really build on it, and have a bit more luck.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Worked and rode Kokanne on Saturday and he was miles better than last week, we re did the same course as on Thursday, which is from K's new book "50 ways to torture your lesson students". The course isn't really torture, the torture is trotting jumps. I hate doing that, it's the bain of my existance.  Kokanne did well enough though.
The usual problems of picking up the correct lead (usually the right) and my own inability to feel when he's got the wrong the one. How do you tell? She says its wrong, but doesn't tell me what to feel for. Must figure that out.
He had some really good jumps last day too, which was great, however he's been getting a bit rushy getting to the jumps the last while but we don't know why. I thought maybet he crop made him nervous, but you can't ride without it because if he knows you haven't got it, he will stop somewhere along the center line and not move, not matter what. Usually brushing him with the crop is enough to get him going again without actually hitting him. But K doesn't seem to think that's what it is, so we'll see.

Last uni exam tomorrow, thank god! Equine Science, should be okay I think. Mostly general health will some stuff about parasites and what not. They take waaaaay to freaking long to post the marks from the finals though. Except for French and English, they've all been multiple choice, and since the computer is what marks them and all that, they should have been up along ago. I would like to know asap what's going on with stats, are we redoing 141 or good to go to 252? Best be up by the end of the week because the uni shuts down on the 20th or something and it would be nice to know long before 252 starts...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Back to riding!

Finally got back to the barn after a very long week!

Last Thursday with Kokanne was...disappointing, to say the least. Can't be to upset with him I suppose, the lines on their own were really good, but we had a tight roll back turn to the right and he just couldn't do that. No matter what we changed over the line and the turn, it was to hard for him. He's not a show jumper and he never will be, he's not athletic enough to do the turns because he has some scare tissue on one hip (which is also why he has a super weird canter), so it's the hunter ring for him. It's just frustrating when your like 3-4 strides out from the jump and you can feel him stiffen and you know no matter what you try to do he won't make it over (or even try). Stuff like that always makes me feel like such a bad rider even if there's nothing to be done about it because it physically isn't possible.

I rode Shawn yesterday and he was pretty good over all. A couple run outs and some not so nice jumps but that's because we didn't have enough canter. The lines over all where really good, and he has such great form over them (most of the time) and it makes it more noticeable what I need to work on; better core and keeping leg still over the jump. K has some big dressage trainer she used to ride with coming up to the barn to do a clinic, which would be an awesome experience, but we'll see, I don't really have a dressage appropriate horses to really make the clinic worth it... So we'll see but I can't decide, its kind of expensive to do without Rocky. He's not the dressage horse either, but better than Kokanne or Roxy I would think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a most unfortunate time of the year...

Have not died, it's finals week at uni and it's a most terrible hell, with little time for anything other than studying and drinking energy drinks (cause they are soooo good for you... but i figure every once in a while isn't so bad) however with out them I would have bombed the psych final and fallen asleep during it haha...ahh uni, such a treat!

So, thank you Monster, for not letting me fall asleep in the exam and staying up enough to get as much studying done as possible.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

At Last!!

At long last! The first term of uni is over, the only sad thing is that now it's exam time! Saturday is the first of five. French should be okay, Equine Science-fine, stats/psych/English...mmmm yeah, we'll have to wait and see. But there's not enough hours in the day to get all the studying done. But shall just have to think of Scotland and Australia, that should make it more bearable...I hope.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Spencer is one of the new horses at the barn, his owner hasn't been able to make it out the barn lately, so I got to ride him on Saturday.

He's...different. He's half Cob (section D), a quarter paint and a quarter Arabian, but he looks all Cob. He's a got a lovely trot, which they are breed to have but his canter is kind of weird. He has a proper canter and a four beat "canter", we stayed well away from the four beat, but apparently its good for his owner for some reason.

Jumping was okay, he's jumped 2'6" at his old home, but hasn't done a lot of jumping since coming here. He doesn't have a nice jump. He likes the long distances but sometimes he will change his mind and get in short or he'll chip etc. it's always a surprise with him. So there was a lot of really ugly jumps and he's got such an awkward canter and it throws you back so it makes it harder to get forward and not have ugly, awkward jumps. But over all he was a lot of fun! I wouldn't mind riding him again but he's in a lesson on Thursdays before me and his owner should be back out next Saturday.

Kokanne III

Overall he was pretty good this Thursday but he's still doing that weird thing where he just stops and refuses to move. In the end K gave me a crop just to have and right when he knew you had it he was better. Only had to brush him on the hip with it when he refused to move.

Jumping he was really good, the course was a bit more complicated, but he still did really well. Got a bit wiggly down the 6 stride but still made it.

But I waited to long to write this so I don't remember much other than that.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Had a lesson with Shawn on Saturday, it was decent, but the jumping part didn't start out so great.

Shawn does a fair bit of dressage and so we had more of a dressage-esq warm up which I really liked, so I'm still planning on talking to K soonish to see if it would be possible to start doing more of that. He can bridle up but it takes a fair bit of work to do it and you have to work up to it more than with Zander and Pony. But with Shawn it's actually the coolest feeling! I don't remember actually being able to feel either Pony or Zanders' whole frame adjust to the bridling up, Shawn, it actually feels like he's shrugging his shoulders. So that was interesting. I like actually being able to feel when things are right or wrong, otherwise how would I know when its a free ride? Most of the time I can feel the wrong canter lead, but the correct posting diagonal has always been a bit lost on me, even after all this time. It's a bit sad, isn't it?

We also practiced upward and downward transitions and halting square, which he mostly did quite well. Not always up into the canter, sometimes he got that really annoying rushy trot that we get in trouble for having.

Jumping: we did really well over all, but the first couple times on the circle to the white vertical he ran out. Probably because I looked at it? That and there was no distance one time. After that he was miles better! He really likes the long rein and the longer release but it's not so hard to remember on him because I really don't want to pull on his mouth when he tries so hard to be so brave. Not that I'd ever want to pull on their mouths, but you know what I mean.
Then we did the same bending and straight lines as last week with Kokanne. The first time bending away from home was really awkward because he chipped to make 8 rather than 7, but he's not a horse that likes to take off long, so it was understandable and we made it over and left the jump standing.
However, he almost had a 6 up the straight! I didn't see that distance so I'm happy he didn't take it, but it's exciting that he was going well enough and maybe almost had enough passion do actually do it. Still it I think it's better for him to add the extra strides and make it over than have him losing confidence in himself if something happened.

Another lesson on Thursday, probably Kokanne?

My French partner wanted to meet up then so we could work on our oral exam but I told him to stuff it because the last time I cancelled a lesson for him he couldn't be bothered to show up. Besides, better get it written tomorrow and Wednesday so it can just be over with. Uni is not what I thought, and at this point I feel that everyone who said it was the greatest time of their life, either lied or just had super boring lives (cause mine was sooo exciting...).

PS. Don't you like the new header and background?! I'm hoping to find a better picture of me and Pony for the background, but they are all on my computer at home,  so that won't be fixed until the weekend. But I think it's quite fitting! Would be better if I still had Pony, then we would all be mad, rather than just me! All the horse seem quiet stable so far, well Rocky had his moments I guess. Just not the same though.

Oh I got to see him on the weekend too! Only brought him in for a brush, but better than nothing. He was so cute! He's insanly fuzzy now too! When I went out to get him he did his little snort/whinny thing, but I don't know if it was because a.)he recognized me as the person who brought him food that morning b.)he recognized me not because of the food or c.) he was just happy to have someone come and give him attention...
I like to think B is the correct answer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kokanne Ride II

Yesterday was the second jumping lesson with Kokanne and it was very "Diesel-esq". Not that means much since there's very little about Diesel on here.

But what Diesel used to do, is he stop, just stop and stand and refuse to move no matter what you did, or how much arena dirt/rubber crumb K tossed at his bum. Eventually he would get going again and do brilliant, then it was someone elses turn and we'd have to stand and the whole thing would be repeated.

That's what Kokanne was up to yesterday. It started with asking him to pick up a left lead canter when he swung his bum in and started doing some weird side stepping action and eventually just completely stopping and refusing to move forward or sideways or anything. We couldn't figure out if there was something wrong or what because he was really gassy, so we thought maybe he wasn't feeling well, but in the end he turned out to be fine!

As for jumping, for the most part he was super good! K thought that he might not be able to get 6 strides down the straight, but we did! He can do it, you just have to set him up for it =).
The longer release is getting easier too, so that's good, and I'm sure he's pleased as well.

The leg yields were a lot better as well, he still gets wiggly every once in a while but over all not bad. His other big issue yesterday was picking up the left lead, he really favours the right one, (this is before his standing still stuff) so it took several tries to convince him to pick up the correct one, so that was a pain and everyone was starting to get frustrated, but he finally picked it up, and there wasn't a whole lot of problems after that.

He got his  flying change down the six stride too, so hopefully we can start getting them more often!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hi From Storm :)

My lovely dog making a stupid face. (She has arthritis in her hips so she gets a jacket to help the cold from bothering them.) 

Unnecessary Excitment.

Well despite all my whining about the cold, it really wasn't so bad. Except when I went to take out one of the mares from the barn and put her outside. Because of the ice and snow, one of the big barn doors makes weird squealy sounds, and when I took this mare outside and turned around to close the door, I clearly hadn't been holding on to the rope tightly enough because the door made its spooky noise, and off she went! Like actually just took off down the side of the barn between it and the mare pens, for a minute she stopped to sniff noises with a couple others and I was like oh thank god she's stopped! Not for long, she took off again down the side of this pen and up and down the track behind the pens. Eventually she settled down and K got hold of her rope and she was safely in her pen after a max. of 10 minutes.

I got to ride my friends mums horse today, Shawn. He's such a sweety, like actually he's the kindest horse you could ever imagine. He tries so hard, but at the same time he's got a few devious habites. If you have to much inside rein he will always break from a canter to a trot, and he does things to try and get you to shorten that rein too.

We did the same course as Thursday, and he did sooo well!! K was saying he wasn't taught to jump at a young age so he's not the bravest horse and if he has a lot of time to think about the jump he'll start to doubt himself and will wiggly or cheap or stop. But we only had one run out and it was the 2nd jump in the four stride because I didn't use enough outside leg he stuck to the wall so we jumped a bit weird and then when we got to the second jump the angle was just to steep for him. And we chipped to the very first jump but that had a lot to do with him getting wiggly and doubtful because of the long canter up to it. But he tries so hard, he's awesome.

Still have no idea what will be happening next week, theres a few people coming back who want to start leasing so that's probably going to change things, but K said she might want me to ride one of the new horses. His owner's super new to owning a horse and fairly new to riding and the horse is quite fat so she really wants other people riding him to make sure he gets everything he needs and he's such a cute horse! He's really obnoxious in the barn and standing at the mounting block, but once they get going he's so good! But this whole "wait and see" buissness, is getting a bit old.

Friday, November 18, 2011

But its coooooold!

Feeling very not Canadian at the moment, because I get to work tomorrow and with the wind it's going to be -34! Yay Alberta! Plus the roads will be icy and the van hasn't got snow tires, so that's sure to be a treat. And its going to be dark and cold and I don't own any snow/windproof pants and rubber boots are terrible at keeping feet warm!
Ah I'm sorry, I'm such a whiner. Especially since this is only the beginning...just wait til its -45! and school isn't ever cancelled, uni or snow days up here =(

But look what finally got here! Hopefully I can find to read and you know actually DO the workouts. For the most part they seem like strength training, which is good and then I can do my own cardio. I haven't worked out in ages so I bet I'm back at the stage where a good workout leaves your crippled the next day because of all the lactic acid in the muscle. I hope so, after a while that stopped happening and even though I give nothing more to a lot of my workouts with out dying in the gym I wasn't ever sore the next day, and that just seems to me like I didn't work hard enough, even though there was no way to have done more.
And this is the lovely collage you can see in the back of the first picture. I spent ages making it last weekend after finally deciding it was okay to cut up my Spruce Meadows year book things and the very few English photos from Horse Canada, which is regrettably mostly western oriented.


So I did get to go riding on Thursday after all! Even though there was a whole crap load of snow.

When we got to the barn there was a choice between Zander, out in the farthest pen from the barn, or Kokanee, who is in Pony's old stall... decided not to brave the cold and wind and picked Kokanee.
I rode him once before and thought he had a super smooth canter to one direction, now I have no idea what made me think that.

He has some scar tissue on one hip so his trot is super different depending on the direction, so that takes a bit used too. And the back pain! It hasn't ever been like the time with Pony that it was almost crippling but it was worse than it has been in a while. Plus it started on the right and the moved over to the left as well. But usually it starts on the left and stays there. Not sure what to do about that.

He can also be super wiggly and pops his shoulder out if you aren't careful, which is why we ran out to the first jump.

His canter was crazy weird, very bumpy. K said just don't even bother trying to sit it. So we ended up in some weird two pointy/standing in the stirrups position. And the stirrups on his saddle don't even enough holes for my short legs, so that was annoying, but not horrible.

Jumping was good actually. Sort of? Well, the first jump, my first thought was "crap, should have got Zander." It was just the weirdest effing jump ever and I was not prepared for how low he keeps his neck!! He's more huntery than any other horse I've ridden and he's got the same long neck as Diesel so he needs a bigger release as well. The rest of jumping got better, we were practicing jumping jumps at an angle, so the four stride was a lot of work because he likes to wiggle and wanted to drop out to the right right after the jump. He also goes super well on a longer rein, which is such a weird after Rocky and Zander. And Zander and Kokanee feel so weird because they're both such narrow bodied horses compared to the others, so it's always a strange feeling when we first start riding.
But over all I quite like him, really, it's just something different now but I think we'll get on well enough. Still don't have a lease horse, but being able to ride these 3 will be interesting and hopefully I can improve a lot by the time spring gets here and me and Rocky can start working together again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It's finally snowed here, and it's supposed to be something like 15cm (if not more) on Thursday, and if the roads are super sucky I might not be able to make it to the barn, so that's disappointing, but should give lots of time to start on the Equine Science assignment. We have to make a fact sheet on one of his topics or one of our own. Mine's going to be on bit and bridle fitting for jumping and dressage. It's not due until December, but should start...

Once uni is done in April, I should be able to ride a lot more and I really want to taking dressage lessons too. So I'll have to talk to K when it gets closer, but I'm hoping to swap a jumping lesson for a dressage one. There's basically zero chance of me and Rocky placing at all let alone winning, especially at Amberlea but cross training is always good and there will inevitably be another horse after him and perhaps we will have more of a chance.
This is what I did on my long weekend rather than homework. Hooray for procrastination!

And this is what I'm hoping to buy whenever the bookstore finally orders it in!The Riders Fitness Program and with any luck it will also help with the lower back pain at the trot, although there wasn't any with Zander this week and I don't remember if there was on Thursday.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Horses(Thursday/Saturday)

Well Rocky is officially on winter break so on Thursday I rode Roxy. I rode her a couple times over the summer when she first got to the barn and she's really come along way from how nervous she used to be. Her canter is still weird, it really throws your leg back and when you aren't along the wall she's really wiggly. For the most part she was good, she did start to rush at the yellow jump but after a few times over the other two she was good to go. She's still new to jumping so sometimes she forgets about her back end when she really tries to jump ahead/up with her front end. So grabbing mane = important on her. Especially with being new to it, I don't want her to think jumping is painful by catching her mouth. She was more fun than I thought she would be for jumping and she wasn't the horse I wanted to ride, although other than Rocky I don't know who else there would be. And really I should be grateful just to have a horse to ride at all. Although it's been along time since I've had to look at the white board to find out who I was riding, plus it will be harder to the get the whole "team mate/bond" going on since it seems like I'll be going between horses until winters over the snows gone and who the hell knows when that will be.

Today I rode Zander and I liked him a lot more than I thought I would! I'm not sure why I thought I wouldn't like him, but he was fantastic. He has a really slow walk but once he's trotting or cantering he's got a lot of go! I was a bit worried, since he was compared to a sports car on ice as to how he would be when we got going and he was great. Sports car with snow tires.
He also bridles up really well and riding with more contact is something I really have to work and trying to "ball up" their energy rather than letting them getting long and strung out. Supposed to think of them as springs, which was the analogy with Pony. So must work on that. It seems to help that he has a German martingale, it does something different than a standing martingale I don't remember what exactly but it has something to do with flexing rather than keeping them from throwing their head around. We don't use it for jumping, just flat.
Zander is a lot of fun to jump! He does slow down abit before the jump if you don't keep leg on, but he has such a lovely jump, and no pain at the trot!! So that's exciting. He feels so different than Rocky, he's so narrow with such a long neck and he keeps he's head pretty low, some adjusting to do I think. It will be a different winter that's for sure, I guess we'll see how it pays of in the spring.

that's what a German martingale looks like, it straps around the neck and then the other two straps loop through the bit and then clips to loops on the reins.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Saturdays Ride (and a better article about Hickstead)

Saturday was the last ride with Rocky for the rest of the winter, and I have no idea who I'll be riding next.
For the most part he was really good. He's been slacking on lead changes though, he'll pick it up on one end but not the other and then he'll break to a trot, so will have to remember that for the spring. Jumping was decent, we had a few really nice ones but also some not so great ones, which is kind of lame because we'd done the course on Thursday.

Vancouver Sun
National Post

It's kind of hard to believe he really died, that would just be the most devastating thing, having your horse just collapse from under you that way. He was such an incredible horse. I got to see him competing in person before at Spruce Meadows..I wonder if I could find the pictures.
Such a tragic loss for his owners, Eric Lamaze and show jumping the world over, not just Canada.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RIP Hickstead

Hickstead (ridden by Eric Lamaze) collapsed during a competition in Verona, Italy on November 6th.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not Good Bye Yet

Saturday will officially be mine and Rockys last ride until spring.
I didn't ask who I'll be riding next week, but I should know tomorrow.

Rocky was pretty good, he had some super crazy pony trotting going on at the start of the lesson but he came back really nicely.
We were practicing 20m circles around pylons and we weren't bad but when we started out they looked and felt more like diamonds because we were turning around the the pylon sharper than we should have done. But we got it later.
He was super quick at the warm up canter so going around the pylons (and between the jumps that made it harder) was harder than it probably should have been and sometimes it seemed like he was dropping his shoulder and tipping in. All good things to remember for next year to work then.

Jumping was good for the most part, I've gotten a bit better about not expecting the longs from him at the start, so that's helped, the jumps were also pretty small though.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Horse?

So the cold is apparently on its way (ah Canadian winters are always a treat) and because Rocky is terrified of blankets our time together will be over very soon until spring arrives. Which really sucks, I haven't talked to K today but it looks like Roxy and one other horse are in need or riders and between those two Roxy is my top pick because she's a tad bit crazy and I enjoy crazy. Although I don't think she's crazy like Pony was, she's terrified of getting booted or having her mouth yanked on and that's what makes her do weird things, she's just nervous, but once she figures out that you aren't going to do anything like that she settles right down. I so wish I had Pony back. Anyway, we'll find out if I have a horse at all tonight or if we're driving all the way to the barn for there to be no horses.

I'm rather annoyed now that I might not have Rocky because November is "challenge month" at the barn and today was going to be adding and lengthening strides but I think there's a new girl riding and for some reason this challenge is next week or something like that I don't know. Either way this would have been something me and Rocky could have owned, but now that will probably not be happening.

I guess the nice thing about getting to ride all these different horses is that you get a lot more experience and diversity will dealing with different personalities and preferences but at the same time it sucks soooo bad! One day, one day I can have my own horse and this will be a far smaller problem. But then every horse has something to teach and now it's time to find out what the next horse has to offer...until spring. Then it's back to Rocky.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

it was arson, not an accident.

Perhaps you remember this post from the summer about the fire in Slave Lake that destroyed half the town and the whole place was evacuated?
Well turns out it wasn't lightning, a campfire, a cigarette or a dumpster fire that started it. It was arson.
Yup, welcome to Alberta.
Although it's possibly they were only trying to destroy their own property and commit insurance fraud but in doing so burned down half the town.
They have forensic evidence this is arson but they aren't saying anything other than that and the RCMP still have crap do before they decide whether or not to press criminal charges...really? You need to debate that? Pretty sure if someone burns a city to the ground they should be going to prison.


And to all of you in Atlantic Canada and the north eastern USA, I hope your all okay after that ridiculous snow storm!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Well Who Doesn't Like Eatting Rocks?

I had another lesson on Saturday, and again he was super good, but we probably could have been better considering we had already done the course on Thursday.

We also did the same warm up exercises which was trotting in from B or E and going through X and then changing direction at B or E, then eventually we had to walk 3-5 steps at X (we were trotting) and then we'd have to come to a complete stop and Rocky was really good!! He can actually stop and stand (mostly) square and he listens (mostly) to really light contact, which is good.

I think my leg is starting to get better, I usually get in trouble for not keeping my lower leg underneath me but it hasn't been so bad lately, so I'm happy about that.

For jumping: Rocky was really good again, sometimes we weren't coming in with enough canter which was why a couple jumps were really weird, and then around a couple of the tight turns I was leaning at him a bit rather than staying back and so he almost trotted. No bucking at all for being disunited today, he gets his front lead but not the back one. And he stood still at the mounting block! Yay!

Soon he's going to be to fuzzy and it's going to be to cold to ride him though and then I don't know what's going to happen. Since there's only 3.5 lesson horses (Rocky being the .5). Rocket, hahaha no. He's the one I rode when I was first learning to jump. Zander, can't. He's already being used in the same lesson I'm in. Kokanne isn't so bad, I rode him once before over the summer but I don't if he's a jumper or what level he would be. I miss Pony, despite her insanity. In fact I rather liked the insanity, Rocky is a tad bit crazy and I like him too.

Speaking of crazy. So Rocky and Rocket loooove cheerios, or anything in a plastic bag, because if it's in a plastic bag, it's food and its for them. After our lesson we brought them into the arena to let them roll or whatever they wanted and so we could move the jumps out for K. She'd put her zip lock bag of cheerios on the mounting block and one of the other girls but it underneath so the horses would be less likely to find it. Right when we were almost done Rocky found them! Flipped over the mounting block and since the bag wasn't completely closed, when he grabbed it and threw his head up, they spilt everywhere. He and Rocket were delighted, but the other horse had no idea what they were eating out of the dirt, so he just sniffed around and looked confused. Eventually they had them all cleaned up but they had a crap load of rubber crumb in their mouths. So they were making all these stupid faces trying to get it off their tongues and gums and one of the girls pointed out Shawn was looking at them like he was think "you guys are stupid". But then Rocky decided that little rock on the ground looks rather tasty, and tried to eat it. Several times. He would spit it out and pick it up again, crunch on it and spit it out. Maybe that has something to do with where he got his name?

Best Ever!!

Rocky was amazing yesterday!! It was probably the best ride I've ever had on him!

He was his usual peppy self when were just walking around the arena, anticipating having to actually do work. At the trot he was sooo good!! Usually he does his weird little short pony strides and he gets going really quick, and he definitely had his moments yesterday, it's most noticeable coming out of a circle that he (tries) to speed up. But it seemed easier to bring him back into a normal pace by just slowing the posting rhythm, when before it was that and using more hand contact to also try and pull him back. I don't remember doing that yesterday, but that doesn't mean I didn't I guess.

Picking up the canter was decent for the most part. He does sometimes do a rushy trot or just falls into the canter which was a bit of a problem yesterday but once he had the canter he was really good and it wasn't difficult to keep a fairly steady, forward pace. When other times he just wants to bolt forward or whatever.

He was super good over the jumps for the most part. He has a really round jump so it feels really weird sometimes and apparently he looks like a deer when it jumps a fence from how he takes off, but he was sooo good that I don't even care. He didn't buck that much and actually managed to stand relatively still at the mounting block.

I still have to do a lot of work on getting the following release correct because that really is what he prefers over having his head.
Lead changes are something else we need to work on, he can do them but he struggles a bit, probably because he's had so much time off and hasn't had to bother with them. But he used to start bucking when he got disunited, just little ones not big get-the-hell-off-me ones. I think he may have done a few little ones on Friday but still not like he did in the beginning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Sci- Animal Welfare Lecture: Sport Horses

-Tennessee Walking Horses---> soring/big lick
  -putting nails, tacks, glass etc in the padding to make the horse snap his foot up faster. Usually they don't last more than 3yrs in training because of this. (No market in Canada for these types of shows). USDA inspects these shows. 90% scratch rate when the inspector shows up.
Right this isn't the video she showed, I can't find it. And keep in mind it's put together by the HSUS. She mentioned the stuff about the nails, and they're found through xrays. This is what it looks like:
(and of course they aren't all trained that way but I'm just saying what she told us.)
-oh they also put acid in the padding.

Dressage --> Rolkur
this is the video she showed: 
So the girl lecturing is completely western which is perhaps why she thinks the Rollkur is not banned.  The rider is Patrik Kittle riding in the warm up ring of a competition in Denmark. She described it as "an accepted training method" which I'm pretty sure is bullshit considering the HUGE backlash this video caused and not just from people who don't know anything about horses. And the FEI has moved to ban it (but haven't yet?).

Rodeo Rough Stock: So the lecturer has spent a lot of time behind the shoot for bucking horses (and bulls) and says they like their job. They know exactly whats going on and if they don't feel like bucking, they won't.  However, this is different from the "wild horse saddle bit" I dont remember exactly what its called but basically the competitors have to catch an unbroken horse, trip it up and get it on the ground, saddle it, and ride it. Whoever stays on longest wins. Theres video on youtube.

"Natural Horsemanship": barefoot, tree less saddles, bit less bridles. Some horses are crippled for life because their owners want them to be barefoot. Natural is not always better. Solution must fit the individual. Bit less bridles don't work....(umm what the hell? Clearly you (lecturer) are stupid. They work very well if you know how to use one and it's something the horse responds too. What about Eric Lamaze and his mare that had a cut in her mouth so he used a bit less bridle at Spruce Meadows? Yeah he totally didn't win that because of not using a bit. OH wait! He DID win! Stupid woman.)

Use of drugs (sedatives/cocaine/hormones)
(who the hell is giving their horse cocaine?)

The horse in this video was give 5cc of a psychotropic drug (that is never supposed to be more than 2cc) and it gets or was given Valium shots several times a day. (I think there's sound and the chick says what happened but this is just what the presenter said happened) Fluphenazine is used as a calming drug. The presenter does western riding and apparently they give this to Quarter horses that get obscenely worked up when they see a cow?

An Sci- Animal Welfare Lecture

An Sci = Equine Science

Right, so today we had a guest lecuter who works for the provincal government training SPCA officers about Animal Welfare.  (Her words not mine. You'll be able to tell when it's mine =P)

Welfare Definition: UK Farm Animal Welfare Council: "The welfare of an animal includes it's physical and mental state and we consider that good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of wellbeing."

-HSUS: "Humane Society of the United States" - has more lawyers than any other type of employee (Ie. scientists) (we don't have a group like this, so we learned about yours America)

(I'll have to stick the graphs in when I get my laptop back and can scan and post them, now your stuck with descriptions)
The Social Licence to Operate

Flexible                                                                                                                    Rigid
Responisve                                                                                                             Sureaucratic
Lower Cost                                                                                                             Higher Cost
=Social Licence                                                                                                      = Social Control
                                                           Tipping Point
                                                      single triggering event
                                                      cummulative impact
High Trust                                                                                                               Low Trust
Autonomy                                                                                                               Prohibtion

ie. What happened to BP after the rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico

Animal Welfare =/= Animal Rights

The 5 Freedoms
1. Freedom from Hunger & Thirst
2.                  from discomfort
3.                  from Pain, Injury & Disease
4.                  from Fear & Distress
5.                  to preform Natural Behaviours

ALF (Animal Libertion Front)= terrorist organization in both Canada and USA. (It's basically a front for people to commit crimes in the name of saving animals...which is why they kill them? ELF is the same)

Four "I"'s of Animal Suffering
1.Ignorance: not knowing what to do
2.Inexperience: knowing what to do but not knowing how to do it
3.Incompetence: inabililty to do it
4.Incosideration: knowing what/how to do something and just not caring to do it

Wesland Hallmark (is that the name, not sure what she said exactly)= cattle slaughter in California. They didn't know it but hired and HSUS person who took a cell phone video of other staff using a fork lift to lift/push cattle around. Caused largest meat recall in the world.

Welfare is fluid and dynamic
What was acceptable yesterday may not be today
Quality is more expensive than quantity

"No one cares how much you know, until they see how much you care."

Under Canadas Criminal Code horses are legally considered livestock. Filed under cattle. If your horses stolen they will prositcute it as theft of cattle.

Dr. Terry Whiting 3 kinds of Equine:
Equus pecunia: an economic unit
Equus caballus: what we normally think of when we think of horses. Capable of suffering and pain.
Equus americanus: an icon that doesn't exist in the real world. ie) Spirit, Black Beauty, the Black Stallion

Alberta DOES raise horse for meat.
"horses and other equines play a vital role in the collective experince of the United States and deserves protection and compassion' and 'unlike cows, pigs, and many other animals horses and other equines are not raised for the purpose of being slaugtered for human consumption' House Bill H.R. 503
So it's okay to feed them to tigers and lions but not people?

(When I can scan the graphs i'll put up the bit about compare and contrast welfare) but appearntly horse feed lots are not like cattle feed lots (in alberta because the lecture has been to all of them and they are well looked after)

2 slaughter houses in Alberta.
About 140k horses per year (including those shipped from America)
White washed industry- "processing"=slaughter
Canadian domestic market, theres butchers in this city that sell it (mostly to European ethnic groups living here).
Needs CFIA approval to ship to the EU.
Also requires and Equine Identification Document

Unwanted Horses:
-Loss of disposal method (US)
-Economic Downturn
-Overbreeding (supply and demand)

What do you do with a 1200lb animal with no monetary value?
-auction? -->no/reduced market
-give away? -->flooded/lack of homes
-euthanize? --> finacial/emotional burden
-turn loose? --> no cost/emotional burden (weren't two guys just arrested in the US a couple months ago because this is considered abandoment which is illegal?)
-home made euthanaisa (most disturbing of them all)-->injecting battery acid, shooting (most people assume between the eyes, but that's only the nasal cavity. Only increases suffering)

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Have We Learned Today?

(not much about horses in this post)

So I had my first ever psych midterm today and learned some mind numbingly obvious things:
1. You should eat breakfast before and exam or your stomach will be growling the whole time
2. You should know everything inside and out to avoid stupid mistakes like forgetting which guy first started messing around with ablation (taking bits of brain out)
3. You can't study like you did in jr high/high school (i guess i should say I can't do that)

Yeah, that first test was a real treat, I bet you I bombed it. Fantastic. But it's "only" 25% of the mark, which is better than I thought. Final is 55% need to get a 90... This class isn't on a curve either because it's "too small" with 275 people in it.

Anyway, I have to come up with a better way to study, because I've pretty much forgotten how. As messed as that sounds. I haven't studied properly since like grade 6. I didn't need to jr.high it was soo easy! That my marks where high enough to get me out of every end of year final except for math. High school, it wasn't usually intensive studying. I made flash cards and mind maps for bio and some for social. Can't study for English and math was never my best so I did the reviews. But yeah, I've never really had to super intensive studying, best figure out how to do that....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I got a new computer and the keyboard is insanly difficult to get used too!

But anyway, Rocky did manage to stand still today, but only because he was distracted by the plastic bag on standard because if there's a plastic bag it must have food and it must before him! So he got some cherrios and was delighted.

Less "pony trotting" today, I get weird cramps in my lower back at the trot, usually on the left side and I have no idea why, it's only started happening the past few months, sometime while I was riding Pony. I think it's either my postion or not useing enough core strength and it must be the second one because K would have said otherwise.
But about his pony trotting: he was sooo much better today, at least at the start, that's when his trot is the nicest but once you start going over polls and stuff he starts to get more energetice and more excited he wants to go faster. So then I end up holding more with my hands than I want to, I'm sure there must be something else that would work better. Slowing down the posting rhythm works a fair bit but not always or not quite enough. Circiling helps and slows him right down but once he gets going straight he just picks up the pace again. Not even subtily like some horses do, you can feel him bolt forward.

The jump course was good, I have a bad habit of leaning at him/asking him for the long, especially during the warmup, so today I tried to practice counting strides leading up to the jump and it seemed to work and I was able to not lean at him and we had some really good jumps! One rail down but we weren't sure why he hit it because it was a good jump and there wasn't really a reason for it to come down.

As for bucking; only one big one which was okay because I'd been using to much hand, which he hates. On other one that was for no reason so he got a bit of a smack because he can't just keep doing that when there isn't a reason. If he's pissed that I did something wrong, that is different.

He also prefers to have a following hand over the jump and have steady contact, which is way different than Pony who really wanted her head and would get pissy and not jump as well otherwise. So that will take some getting used to because I'm still getting used to his jumping style.

But I have news about Pony! She's down south (south of this part of the province not the boarder) on some kind of lease where the rider pays 1/3 of the value of the horse and then leases her out for the year. So I'm still sad she's gone, but I know K is happy that no one came out to test ride her at the barn because she likes to test her new riders and just goes nuts, because she wants to know that you can keep up with her or whatever it is she's looking for because K was worried someone would come and try to ride her and then Pony would go crazy and the rider would get hurt.

So hopefully making it out to the barn for a lease ride tomorrow morning, but we'll see cause I need to study like mad from these stupid exams next week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What I Remember From Saturday

Riding first: So Saturday was decent, we have to work on getting a proper horse trot not the rushy short stride pony trot he often has.

For some reason he felt the need to jump the trot poles during the warm up too. So that was interesting, but after a few goes he realized they would not eat him and it was safe to step between them. Jumping for the most part was good, except he had one HUGE buck and the typical few smaller ones.
We thought that he was pissed about a turn or something, we were going over a jump in a circle and I turned him on the land rather than the air or something like that, and he was just not pleased.
I must have jinxed things saying he was finally standing at the mounting block because he's defiantly not been standing the last few times.

I missed my Thursday lesson this week too because my mid terms are at the start of next week and I really need the study time right now. But I work and ride tomorrow, which is nice, but at the same time not because I have to get up super early and by the time I get home I don't want to do anything but sleep...not good for studying.

Oh, and we had a really awesome guest lecturer in Equine Science so I'll put up some of that later.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I got a new helmet! Yay! It's not actually the one I wanted, but I didn't have to pay for it, so no can already see dusty lint crap on it.... Oh well, it's better than my 9 year old plastic one at least. 
And you can see my green hair!  As well as my awesome painting in the background(the orange one with trees)! It's literally my favorite painting I've ever done.

Mostly since I've only done 3 I really like and because of Uni I haven't been able to do any others. Even sketching I barely have time for, the last one I did was a really terrible start to a Slender Man series. But all the drawings start as terrible and gradually become awesome. Not to brag....haha.

Working and have a lesson tomorrow! I missed my one on Thursday because my French partner wanted to meet up so we could practice for our oral exam next week but then he got sick and by the time I found out we weren't meeting up, it was to late to do anything about riding. =(

Saturday, October 8, 2011

No Bucking again! :)

I didn't get to ride on Thursday because I was really sick, but I got to ride and work today and for the most part it was really good.

He didn't buck today! His other big problem though is moving away from the mounting block and it's a big pain the ass but he was getting better the past couple weeks, but today not so much.
He was really peppy and really forward today which wasn't great heading into the bounce so the second rail came down a couple times, but once it was a bounce to a one stride he was a bit more backed off. He jumps super round and way higher than he needs to some everyonce in a while you get really popped out of the saddle you're basically standing in the stirrups and then the saddle hits you in the butt.
In the second part of course we had to try and get from the first jump to the second in as few strides as possible. N did it in 6 earlier in the week and her horse is huge! But he does have a bigger stride and takes of way far away from the jump.
Me and Rocky got 7 on our last try though, really had to be turing when we were in the air and looking around to the 2nd on the land. I'd lost my stirrup on the last try as well but we were doing so good I was like screw it and we did it and it was fine :). Not that it's some huge achievment, we used to jump with out stirrups, without reins, our eyes closesd...not at the same time, well the first two together sometimes but eyes closed was seperate. Loads of fun though. Haven't done it with Rocky but lots of time over the winter, so maybe...

I stopped by the English tack store yesterday just to see what they had in their sale room and pick up a lead rope. I had talked to K about what might be good things to stock up on since I do plan on having my own horse in the nearish future. She gave me a list but all I could find was a pair of open front jumping boots. All their brand new ones were white and like $45. Both unappealing factors. But they do have some used stuff and there was black pair for $8 in his size and I don't really care that they are super beat up because it's kind of hard to see and with a good cleaning they should look okay but either way they'll end up looking like they do now anyway.
I bought it today! I've heard it's supposed to be amazing so hopefully I can actually get to it sometime soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


So Amberlea was this past weekend.
It's a Bronze show and I think it's affiliated with the Canadian Equestrian Federation, so it's expensive and there's a lot of people who go with super fancy horses.

I went on Saturday to go watch, take pictures and help out my two friends who were competing, since Rocky is not in shape enough to compete and to pay the huge entire fees for only two 2'3" class was not at all worth it.

It was a lot of fun, but my one friend had the same rail down in 2'6" and 2'9" and was insanely upset about it. Understandable in a way because she lost out on ribbons but you can't win prize money until Sunday anyway so it was pointless to be upset about missing pay from work when there was no chance on Saturday anyway. I just thought she didn't take the knocked rails down very well, but that's just my thoughts.
I couldn't make Sunday because I had uni homework and had to go see Rocky.
Talking to both of them and reading K's blog it sounded like they did super well on Sunday and kicked the asses of several snotty circuit bitches.

The warm up ring was still a gong show. I hate warm up rings and they are the bain of my riding existence because people are just so snotty, rude and stupid. Especially the circuit bitches.

It was really disappointing not being able to ride in the show though, especially because I think me and Pony could have done amazing, and pretty much the whole time I had her I was looking forward to possibly going to Amberlea. But at the same time, I'm really happy that I was able to go watch and get the feel for how that show is run. So I think that will be some comfort for next year.

I've actually had a few chances to go to this show, in grade 11 I had the option to go with Diesel but the show was the same weekend as the uni open house so I decided not to go. Last year, I think it was sort of a possibility but not really. I spent 5 weeks of the summer in Australia and missed a lot of riding and shows so we weren't really prepared and so I think that was the reason I didn't go, but maybe it's not? I don't remember.

Fingers crossed me and Rocky can go next year...or me and who ever because as we've all seen this past year, who the hell is to say.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rocky Pictures!!

Is he not the cutest horse ever? I surprised him and his pasture mates since they were all hiding on the other side of the hill, and got at least 1 good photo of him with his head up!

Rocky is the far one. Dexter is the other bay without a blanket, Zander is the one in green the back and Rockys son Rocket is the one in the blue. They quite obviously look nothing alike. Rockets mum is also a bay morgan, but he's like 1/16th Appy or something.

And surprise is over, it's just a boring human, back to eatting.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What?! There's boys?! :O

So this weekend is the Amberlea Meadows show, and there was actually guys competition at the show! That never happens!! Ever! In 8 years of riding/showing, I have never been at a show (besides Spruce Meadows) where there's actually guys competing. It wasn't as exciting after we all realized that they were either super old or super ugly and all super dumb. *tear* but even if they had been hot and this still happened:
*in pompous, yet some what surprised tone* greasy zit man says
"I just realized I have to memorize 16 courses for this weekend"
...well that just ruined everything, since brains appeared to be lacking in this situation as well.

Since 1.) this is JUMPING you remember 1 course at a time (this time it was 2 b/c of the immediate jump off, but it was like 5 jumps so really just 1 super long course).
2.) you can forget it right after it's over

N over heard to and said she was pleased he could do basic math. Maybe we were being to mean? But we were all so excited to actually (possibly) meet guys that also ride English and showed! How exciting would that be, when you never meet guys like that? Well they were a bit of a let down. Although the one 65 year old guy had some stylin' flames zocks on.

But anyway. I MISS Pony sooooooo much!! God damn, why did she have to sell before Amberlea? I love Rocky, I do and they're actually quite similar but he's not a show pony who's shown at 3'3" over super wide oxers. She's the one I would want at Amberlea, we could have done so well, and there was loads of other ponies there too. There was no point in even considering taking Rocky, he's out of shape and we haven't been together long enough and there is zero point in paying $300 to ride in 2 classes (4 counting jump off) and have basically no chance of winning money back.

I have (somewhat) more interesting stories about the show, but now I think I'll go be miserable about not having Pony and missing out on Amberelea. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have had the chance to go to and see what the show is like before having to compete but next to whim catering, I'm also very good at wallowing in my own misery and since I haven't done that for a while....

But tomorrow, show stories, possibly uni stuff from psych and equine science and Rocky, since I get to go see him and no one else will be at the barn!

Friday, September 30, 2011

No Bucking!

Rocky was sooo much better this week than he's ever been! There was absolutely NO bucking! Not a single one for the whole lesson! Small, big, Stamped style, nothing!! So does that mean I was actually riding more with my legs?! I should hope so, because he would have made it clear otherwise.
The course wasn't to bad, good thing Rocky can do crazy little turns with out much difficulty.

We had some "first jumpitice" as K says, whatever that is....
The first jump in the course was a white vertical, and almost every time we had a messed up distance or take off, but the last time we turned to it sooner and it was fine. There was a few weirdish jumps, well not the jump, but how we got over them. Luckily I was able to get my hands out of the way so that wasn't a problem but when we first start jumping I find myself leaning at him a bit and excepting the long, which rarely comes, even on course. So I should stop that.

One of Rocky's sons, Rocket, is at the barn as well. And the girl who rides him has a lesson before me and we were talking after and comparing father and son. Rocky has the better colouring, main & tail, Rocket has the better legs and back. Rocky has a little bit of sway back, nothing to bad that's a problem, otherwise he wouldn't be getting ridden and "bench knees" not sure what those are, but he has them K was saying. Their common factors are being short, not liking bits and having a grumpy attitude. But Rocky's the cutest =P.

In Equine Science we've started body scoring as part of nutrition. So in my novice opinion Rocky's like a 7 or so. I'll have to double check on the sheet but I'm pretty sure a 7.  
5 is the best best place to be, possibly a 4 for racehorses.
1 is completely emaciated and 9 is morbidly obese.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Riding and Awkwardness..

So, awkward stuff first.
I work at the barn right, and there's no set pay day, it's kind of just whenever really. And it's not such a big deal. I work like once a week so it's pointless to waste a cheque on that little amount , but it's been like two and a bit months so, I thought I would ask.
One of the most awkward moments of my life. Next to watching Sweeney Todd and my mum came in when they were singing about eating people. It's a good movie actually, but yeah, very creepy.
Anyway, so I sent my boss a text asking if she wouldn't mind paying and that I was sorry for not being able to find a less awkward way to ask that. Have you ever had to ask your boss for a check? Turns out there was no need to find it awkward she said she'd  pay me tomorrow, yay :).

Riding! From last weekend..
On Friday I had afternoon and night chores so I got to do my lease ride with Rocky. He was pretty good I guess. He kept spooking at this spot of grass the cat had been hiding LAST week, so that was annoying. And it seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn't get him to circle properly. It would start out fine, but he kept squaring it off, possilbly dropping his shoulder or something? But yeah, no matter what I tired to fix, we kept having problems. But he's not the greatest shape, so we couldn't keep at it forever, and I don't want him to end up hating work either.
Crazy dressage woman was out that night too, but she was practicing jumping in her dressage saddle, looked comfy [sarcasim]. Her horse is super cute and did really well too. Jumping about 2'6" or so.

Worked mornings on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday I was able to ride with L when she came out to test her new western saddle. We rode inside because it was blistering hot. Roxy was pretty good, she chomps on the bit when we're just walking around though but other than that she was good. She's getting much better the more she realizes I won't yank on her mouth or boot her, like she's worried about so we had zero rushy trot/canter stepping thing.

Still doing nutrition in Equine Science, eventually I'll make some nice long post about it. Been super busy with other stuff and haven't had a chance.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Can You Feed Them Meat?" and other ravings :)

My god, university is proving to be quite the treat!

So I had equine science yesterday and we are still doing lots on nutrition and we were talking about protein and what you can substitute to get it. Ie) Canola Meal when it's mixed and pelleted, Soybean meal, Field peas that can be mixed in with other things (but have less protein).
And so the prof asks, "can anyone think of other things/has anyone used other things?" some kid sticks up his hand and says "can you feed them meat?". There's a few people in the class who know nothing about horses and my guess is he is one of them. It really was probably just a simple question with no sinister motives behind it (see man that feed dead people to pigs) because meat does have protein and I'm guessing he's probably heard about feed lots that mix in meat with all the other disgusting things they feed to their animals.

What else is wondrous about school?
English! I love reading, but I hate having to pick a part the stories, plays etc, to find all the hidden meanings in them. Mostly because I can't find what everyone else seems too, and until last day that wasn't a big deal because he only asked if you put your hand up. But for whatever reason he feels he should be able to match every ones name to their face and so he's now forcing us to answer stupid things about the stories. It doesn't help that the little things I do find, someone else says just before I get the chance or he says it, and then I have nothing to say, because what is there to say after that? Luckily I escaped last day without having to answer anything, but I don't think I will be so lucky today. I was complaining to my friend that they were finding all this weird stuff in these stories and she's like, "no they're just good at making things up" HA! Very true, and I can make shit up! In fact I'm quite good at it! For example, she was telling me she had to find the meaning behind Hansel and Gretel and now a days the meaning is clearly about staying away from Internet pedos. The witch is a pedophile trying to lure the small children in to its web of creepy pedophile-ness by leaving candy (which is whatever creepy Internet people do to get people to tell them personal info) and snatching them away or whatever. See I can up crap! But the thing is, it's easier when you have at least one friend in the class. But I have got some stupid answer made up for a possible question about the latest story and how the rooster represented the kids original opinions and thoughts about his grandpa and then when the grandpas servant carried the rooster away to be killed and eaten it was like his idealize of his grandpa where being killed because now he knows what an ass his grandpa really is. Think it'll fly? I think it's pretty good all things considered, but an answer like that depends on the question too....

Enough of this, I have barn chores tonight so I get to ride both Rocky and Roxy and I'll find out if I can remember a simple dressage test :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I was just looking at the stables website and there's a bit about some of the horses that are for lease and it hasn't been updated in ages! There's horses on there that were sold years ago, like Diesel. Who turns out I lied about in the last post about his height, he was 15.3hh.

I was hoping to find a picture of Rocky to use until I can take one myself but no luck. There was a bit about him under the lease horse section as well: "Rocky. 14.2 hand Morgan gelding. Rocky has show experience in low jumpers,with many wins to his name. He is also the horse I use for ponying horses in
training. This quick and agile gelding has a wonderful jump, but he is very
particular with how he is ridden so needs a quiet rider who will cater to his whims."

Ahh yes, if there's one thing I can do it's whim catering.

So we had a lesson yesterday, there's been some confussion about the lesson times and what starts when and all that stuff, but oh well.

It was tough lesson, not because the course was super hard or Rocky was being an idiot, I was in a lesson with two other people who don't ride at the same level (sorry if this sounds mean and bitchy, I don't mean it too) the one girl is a really good rider but was riding Roxy who is a bit difficult because she's so nervous and she hasn't done a lot of jumping, fine whatever. It was the other girl. She seems really nice which is why it makes me feel a bit bad to complain but she keeps making the same mistakes and not correcting them and then it takes her forever when she's told to do something or correct something and so it gets a bit boring when you have to sit there for ages waiting for your turn while someone keeps screwing up. If it was a different thing each time, that would be different but it wasn't.
Not remembering courses: yeah, everyone forgets sometimes (see last week) and sometimes it's hard to remember the first time you here it. It wasn't a hard course though!
Left lead, circle to yellow, around to white, bend to skinny, long canter, up diagonal, over white, back to skinny.
Not that helps with what the course looks like but that doesn't matter.
This girl went last, after two other people who didn't go of course! It should have been easy to figure out, it was 8 jumps and not a very complicated pattern.

But when me and Rocky finally got to go, he did really well! At the warm up he had refused the white jump, but over the course he was so good. Not at all like last week.
He was a bit more bucky than usual, which was kind of frustrating because I really wasn't using my hands very much at all, but it could have been because we had a super energetic canter and he was just excited to go. It was fun! We got to do higher jumps in the end to and I think he had a bit more fun with and he seemed to respect them a bit more.
Over the last white jump I did get a bit left behind, good thing he has lots of mane so I didn't catch him in the mouth...or face really since there's no bit.

But K did point out that will take some time to find a rhythm with him, especially with all the bucking and the round jumping.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Equine Science- Colic & Nutrition

Fuck you blogger. I had a big huge post typed out from all the nutrition & digestive stuff we did in class today and the blog just ate it and now I can't get it back.

So now I get to start all over again!

Mouth, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Cecum
-horses can't throw up once food passes the soft palate and if it's choking you'll see saliva coming out of it's nose.
-they use their lips to sort food, like when you try mixing vitamins/minerals with oats but they leave all the vitamins behind
-horses can't burp (not so sure, there's a horse at the barn that does...) so they're subject to gas pains
-hay and other fibers aren't easily digested in the stomach
-the small intestine is coiled into the left flank area, it's approx 70ft. It breaks down soluble carbs and protein is absorbed as amino acids, but fiber materials aren't.
-fiber moves through faster than grain
-horses don't have a gall bladder
-the large intestine has about 1billion bacteria and protozoa, they ferment the grain/fiber
-bacteria produce B vitamins
-the cecum is the junction between the small and large intestines
-1m in length with a capacity of 25-35L
-1/2 the volume of the large intestine and cecum is bacteria
-this is where the fermentation of cellulose happens which can take days
-high quality hay takes about 3-4days and lesser quality hay takes much longer and they can't eat as much as they may need because it takes so long to ferment.
-Stabled horses are at a higher risk to colic if they don't get regular exercises because movement aids the digestive process.
-consistent diets are important because a change in the diet/time of feed can upset the bacteria ie) getting a substantial amount of grain when not used to it. Large amounts of grain in hind digestive system upsets the bacteria and can lead to founder.
-energy from hay doesn't go to the mind, but energy from glucose does

Colic: Conditions in the gastrointestinal tract cause pain. The interruption of smooth muscle contractions.

1. Gas- is most common in stabled horses but walking the horse or letting it role can help
2. Impaction- the horse eats more than it can digest. This colic requires vet care to get oil into the hind gut or the palpitation of the gut to get the material to move. Not usually successful and risky.
3. Twisted Intestines- 21m of intestine, loosely wrapped with risk of them getting twisted. High risk in over weight and under conditioned horses. Lots of fat around internal/digestive organs. It cuts of the blood supply to affected area and nothing can move through. Horse will die with out vet care. The vet would preform surgery to remove the damaged tissue, this is somewhat successful, but the cost may be more than what it's worth because the horse is often not the same after.
4. Overload of grain

So he says to walk the horse, and I've heard that before but I've also heard that you aren't supposed to walk them or let them role. Does it just depend on the type of colic they have? I should have asked...

Founder/Laminitis: is inflammation of the hoof, causes pain and permanent problems if it's sever.
Its caused by excess grain, lush pasture or retained placenta.
- In mares: must make sure the placenta has been fully delivered otherwise it acts like dead tissue and releases toxins which can lead to founder.
-Healthy bacteria are not set up to use grain unless the they are used to it. If the bacteria is present in large numbers it can break down grain. Toxic material is released from damaged tissue and effects the feet. Histamine causes dilation of the blood vessels which causes problems in the legs and feet. The frog pumps the blood back up the leg but if it can't get ride of blood sufficiently it pools in the foot. The wall starts to pull away from the coffin bone and can cause permanent damage as they do not grow back together. Common in fat idle horses if the pasture is to good.
But if it's caught early ie) you know the horse got into a grain bin a vet can come out and treat the overdose early it can stop the effects of laminitis so they don't reach the onset and cause permanent damage.

Yeah, so that's basically what we did last day, there was lots about enzymes and stuff, but I think I should say that none of this should ever be considered as advice, this is just what my prof has said and may not always be right (see his opinions on standardbreds) so yeah. Don't take this advice, ever. Go call the vet :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Standardbreds are....

...useless except for pacing/trotting.

That's my Equine Science profs opinion.
But yeah, he really thinks that. Appearntly they aren't atheltic enough for other things. Sure maybe they aren't Grand Prix matterial but really? How many horses are? Very, very few. There's loads of people here that use them for showing at the local level in both dressage and jumping and they do quite well.

I can't decide if I like this guy or not.
So on the second day of class he was talking about different breeds of horses and how they were created, stuff like that but he just went on and on and on. This class is already 1 hour and 20 minutes. Those extra 10 minutes people need to get all the way across campus to their other classes. But he's to old and senile to understand that. So the people who did need to leave started to because he had run over his time. The next day he was all pissy and was like "we have to finish breeds today as well because people just started leaving the day before" but imagine that in some horribly unappealing voice.

It's not like he doesn't know what he's talking about. He did a lot to get the pre-vet equine program going at the UofS and he's got his own horses, years of experience and was head of some big equine organization here in Alberta, until he retired to teach one class a term.
He seems nice enough, when he's not putting his jack ass opinions into what we're learning about.

Last Thursday we were learning about the genetics behind colours which is actually really cool and if I had any of my notes I'd show you a bit of what we did. But then he's talking about appaloosa colour patterns.
He only talks about 2 patterns and can't be bothered to mention there are several others.

Leopard Appaloosa Horse Leopard Appy
Blanket Appaloosa HorseBlanket Appy
Snowflake Appaloosa HorseSnowflake
Varnish Appaloosa HorseVarnish
Varnish Appaloosa HorseFew Spots
Frost Appaloosa HorseFrost

His thoughts: Leopard spotted appaloosas have terrible colouring and it is undesirable. Ummmm, what? Well maybe that's an over reaction because the horse I leased for  3 years was an appy, not a leopard one, but still....

This is Firecracker aka Diesel (the varnish/frost Appaloosa/TB I rode for about 3-4 years)


  Haha I found these last two going through Facebook albums, quite a treat. But yeah, he decided he'd rather not jump the skinny vertical, didn't fall off, though.
These are all from about 2009.

But yes, I'm sure there will be many more "excellent" stories from this class, hopefully most of them will just be on the science part and not the instructors own opinions.

Nervous Mare

I worked on Sunday morning at the barn and got to ride Roxy again.

This time I go to learn more about her. She's here for training and eventually for lessons because the owners kid is afraid of her because she's a bit loopy but it's because she's nervous. K was saying she gets like this whenever a new person rides her because she's worried about being kicked and having her mouth yanked on.
Her weird nervous antics are when you're trying to get her to trot she does this weird canter step with her front feet when you sit down at the post, it took a lot less time this week to get her to come back to a proper trot but she's still a bit nervous. Then at the canter, she gets really scrambly or does a super fast trot. It's really hard to tell with her if she's on the right or wrong lead because she feels so weird and bumpy and the way she moves her body, she pushed your outside leg back to a weird angle and it's really hard to keep it still and in the correct position, so work to do there.

I took her over the trot poles that were out and other than get crooked to the second set she was really good. She stretches her neck out more over them and seems to relax a bit. I'm supposed to ride her again this weekend, so we'll be doing more of those. I'm trying (with little success) to find got trot pole exercises online for both her and Rocky so maybe I'll have to make up my own, unless you have some good ones to share?

As for Rocky, he was pretty good. We rode outside on Sunday since it was so nice. He was a bit more bucky because he had a lot of forward motion over the canter poles so I was trying to hold him back, clearly not the way he wanted, more things to work on! The poor girl that was taking lessons while I was riding! She said later she thought he was doing in on purpose or I was asking him to or something. Not sure why she thought that, but she's only been riding for about a month and I don't know how much time she's spent around horses before now. She's really nice though, she was like "that must be unnerving the first time he does it". I said yes a bit, but it's not. Because I know he does it, even if I think I'm not doing anything with my hands and he bucks, it, it's not unnerving. It's just something that happens, like a weird take off or a fall, it happens and you have to get up and go again and fix the problem. I had a lesson with my friends mum the first time I rode Rocky and she was like "your so unphasable" when he had a few crazy jumps in a row and I'd said something about them being a surprise. I don't know that umphasable is totally correct, cause I was pretty freaked out when Pony had bolted and done her weird buck/rear thing but I still kept going, because what else is there to do?
I have friends that whine or complain when the course gets high or looks hard and I'm not a big whiner when it comes to stuff like that. Mostly I look at it and think "oh shit" but then ride it the best I can. Because whining won't change the course and being worried about Rocky bucking won't change that he does it, and worrying about Pony bolting won't stop her from doing it. Even when something like that comes as a total surprise, I try not worry about it and just be prepared for the next time. Besides, being unphasable may not always be a good thing. Or with the case of Rocky's bucking, ride better so he doesn't.

I'm actually quite pleased to be riding him and have had the time I did with Pony for all her insanity, she was a good teacher. You learn to expect the unexpected and ride better. She liked a quite rider who gave her head, and that's what I always tried to do, luckily that wasn't something I was new to doing (riding quietly I mean) same with Rocky because relying on your hands isn't the great, your supposed to ride more with your legs and body; using your weight and stuff to communicate with the horse not just your hands. So even just knowing how he reacts to to much hand use at the canter makes me more conscious of it and able to correct it when he does buck.
I always try to think of what the horses I've ridden before have taught me and Tangos lessons were loud and clear!
1. Do not look down at the jump because she will stop. Always.
2. Learn to fall. Because you will. A lot.

If it does take 6 falls to make a rider, I must be pretty damn good because there was a lot more falls than that. Diesel also reinforced the falling lessons, but the thing with both of them is they were easily 16hh, Diesel 15.3hh I think, so you have time when falling to catch yourself and try to control the fall. Less so with 13.3hh Pony, so with her there was a lot of falls on jumps or whatever because there wasn't enough time to try and land on my feet or not on the jump. 

I still have to get a picture of Rocky to put on here so you can see how cute he is! And the photos from Ride For Red that I still haven't posted...lazy lazy.

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