Riding

I love doing tricks with Rusty. It is our favorite thing to do together and has built an amazing foundation for us. One that we can go on and build upon to do anything else we could ever want.
When I first got Rusty, before I discovered what we we would actually end up doing, I wanted him to be a well rounded ranch horse who could do some reining and cutting.
We got a bit sidetracked.
Not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean in any way that we can’t go back and keep working on the original goal.
Only now work on that goal is going so much smoother and easier than ever before.
With very small moments of training I feel like we are accomplishing far more than I used to with hours of drilling. I ride him once or twice a week for a half hour at most. Rusty is happy to be doing the work and I am enjoying teaching him. We wont be making any big local shows, he’s feeling nice but we’re not ready for that, maybe we’ll give a virtual western dressage show a try. When we find time. ๐Ÿ˜

 


Tanna And Harvey

Tanna came out to ride the other day. I took advantage of having her out to get Harvey ridden.
Poor Tanna, I made her ride in my daughters saddle. Tanna’s legs are so incredibly long that the stirrups don’t go long enough for her even on the longest setting. I also made her wear my helmet. I’m not one to insist on, or wear, helmets every time anyone is on a horse.
There are two rules though.
My kids have to wear helmets.
Helmets must be worn on young, green horses.
Harvey has been very good but has a long ways to go before I stop insisting on helmets when he gets ridden.
Tanna did a warm up from the ground asking Harvey for some Spanish walk to get him listening to her and ready to go. Once on she followed me and Rusty around the arena a little before setting off on their own.
Harvey was doing great so we went off through the yard. I didn’t tell Tanna he hadn’t been ridden out of the arena off of a lead before. Somethings are best not worried about
He followed happily along behind Rusty and even stopped following when asked. Tanna had him steering all over the place on his own.
On our way back Tanna asked what the cue for Spanish walk was from the saddle. I told her and she played with it until she was able to get it! He’s only done Spanish walk while ridden a couple of times and it is still very much in the training stage.
Switching riders can be hard for a horse and it was great to see how well Harvey took to Tanna. She’s a great rider with lots of patience and feel so it’s not surprising that they did well together. I just wish we got Tanna to play with more often!

 


Trail Ride

Tanna came to play this morning!
That’s always exciting. I want to ride with her, both kids want to ride with her. It’s always a little difficult too.
Today everyone got to ride!
We have enough horses. Hieldorf is coming off a small injury and hasn’t been worked with enough that I’m comfortable putting a small child on him anyway. Need to get to playing with that horse!
Rusty has reached a point in his life though that I am comfortable doing almost anything with him. My youngest could ride with me.
The oldest has claimed Harvey, Harvester she has decided, for her and Smoke is wonderful for anyone to ride.
There was only one problem.
I wanted to put Tanna on Harvey/Harvester first. Before the herd of us went out together. After a very small polite tantrum my daughter agreed to share her horse and wait to ride.
Tanna worked with Harvey on the ground a bit first. He hasn’t been touched in a good week or so. Then she climbed on and we rode around the arena a little. Harvey was doing great off the lead so we headed out to the yard.
Harvey zipped all around the yard following behind Rusty or going by himself. Until we started back and he decided he was not moving. Then it was nice to still have the lead rope on him to help encourage him to move. About the time we got done withย  the ride throughย  the yard I mentioned to Tanna that it was Harvey’s first time out of the arena loose. Maybe I should have mentioned that sooner? ๐Ÿ˜‰
Then we picked up the kids and switched horses around.
Tanna took Smoke and Harvey’s lead rope. My daughter got on Harvey and I picked up my son to ride behind me on Rusty.
We went to the mailbox and back with everyone behaving beautifully. It was so nice to be able to get out for a ride. Hopefully Tanna comes back again!


A Love Hate Relationship

I love this bit of video and I hate this bit of video.
I love it because Rusty and I are doing so good. From first realizing I had so many issues to work on with trying to sit this horse bareback while he skittered nervously beneath me to a fairly secure seat and him listening calmly. It’s a big change from a month ago.
I hate it because I have been working so hard on my seat. My hips are contorted in all sorts of painful and terrible directions trying to force my legs to hang down straight. I was so proud of how good I was doing. Looking at this though,I can see that they are still sticking out in front of me! I see a few good moments, so there must be some improvement.
I don’t believe I can get them any more beneath me. I just don’t bend that way.

 


Smoke

My daughter isn’t the only one out riding and training with me.
My son has been busy riding his horse too. Not Heildorf, not yet. I need to get to working with that one. If only there were enough time in a day to play with all the things
He’s been happily riding Smoke every chance he gets. If we stay away from places with grass he can even ride all by him self!
If there’s grass Smokes love of eating over rides his desire to be a good boy and he can’t resist. Soon though, they’ll be going all over the place together!

 


Little Bits

I have hoped from the first I saw Harvey that he could someday work out for my daughter. They are both fine, delicate, fey, elfin type creatures.
Harvey’s legs scare me half to death they are the main reason I held back so long from adopting him. He came lame and the terrible pin firing on his hind legs show a history of lameness. My mom has been convinced from the beginning that he has or is going to develop DSLD. Those hind pasterns are icky.
The point of all that being that I think I’m too big to ride him. He’s sound now and doesn’t give me any real reason to think he’s going to go lame but better safe than sorry.
My daughter on the other hand will still be thin and delicate once as she grows up. She’s perfect for him.
I’ve ridden him enough, and done enough ground work, to know that he’s not going to offer anything bad. He has no clue about forward or steering. I feel safe letting her sit on him while I lead them and let the two of them get to know each other.
She got on and helped me show how to transfer Spanish walk to under saddle. Then we went for a walk. She laid down across his hind quarters, pointed lots of stuff out, and helped me do more training on him. They did great together.
I have lots of theory about how a wonderful kids horse can be made with clicker training. She is helping me put the theory into practice.
Small children have a hard time giving the cues that adults do. Once they get on a horse has to learn all over again what is being asked. If she can give the cue and I can ask for the behavior from the ground we can make this much easier for everyone involved. Hopefully.
They wont be getting turned loose anytime soon but we will be doing lots more of this in the future!

 


Harvey Is Ours

It’s official now and time to make the announcement.

Harvey is mine!!!

We’ve loved him since he first got here as a foster horse but always planned for him to find his own home some day when the right person came along.
Then a person came along. She might have been a great one for him. I was sad, but fully intended to do what we had planned all along and let him go to her if it was right. I hated to see him go and spent a fair bit of time praying for it to turn out for the best, whatever that may be.
Then I looked him deep in the eyes one day and realized that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let him go.
I got a hold of Forever Morgans and told them that I wanted Harvey! We’ve finally gotten all the paperwork done and he’s really mine.

Harvey arrived here a little short of a year ago. He was no longer terrified of people, like he had been when Forever Morgans first picked him up, but still didn’t want much to do with us. The terrible pin firing on his legs tells a story on its own of a hard life and reason to fear. The lady who delivered him was horrified that I was going to turn him out without a halter on so I could catch him again.
I turned him out without and didn’t even try to catch him for a good month.
Then we started over. He was supposed to know how to ride and drive. I didn’t want to ride or drive him following the path that lead him to such fear and distaste for people. I wanted him to like to work with me.
We’ve done lots of ground work, lots of trick training, and a little bit of riding. Harvey is a quick and enthusiastic learner. He may like to be all spooky and silly sometimes but he seldom balks at anything I ask.
That makes him a perfect demo horse for The Horse Tricks Academy (https://horsetricks101.mykajabi.com/horse-tricks-academy). He has been working hard learning new tricks and showing others how to do them too.
Because of that, and because we at the Academy feel strongly about helping horses in need, we are donating a one year membership in The Academy to Forever Morgans in his name. As soon as they decide how exactly they are going to use it I will let everyone know!


The Real Cowboy

We see so many glamorous images of the “cowboy”. A man tall on his horse out galloping across the plains, defending good and right, wiping the trail dust from his face as he greets his good woman who has been waiting for him in a clean tidy home with well behaved children.
I paused while busy trying to keep this calf alive and out of the mud, long enough to take this picture so I could share the reality. He was unlucky enough to be born just as a late May storm dropped over four inches of snow on us all. I’m not sure the vast amounts of mud show clearly enough for anyone to get the full picture.
People so seldom mention the reality of the “cowboy”. The mud and sweat and tears. The fact that many of us are actually the women waiting at home, with a filthy house because we’ve been out trying our dangdest to keep the cattle alive, with children who are half wild animal themselves.
There may be a few who are all pretty, in cowboy hats, chaps, and jangling spurs. A cap stays on better though and can be worn with a warm hat to keep our ears from freezing, and I’m usually covered in too much mud for spurs to still jangle even if I had any interest in wearing them.
I love my cow horse and use him when I can, but a fourwheeler can carry me and two children and the dog and the husband when we are all working together to get the job done. It may not be as romantic but a fourwheeler is also easier to carry calves on. After I manage to heft them up onto the back getting covered in mud, poop, and slime up to my shoulders. But at least I can get them up there.
No one talks about that smell that is unique to baby calves. A mixture of afterbirth, poop, and mud. The way it embeds its self into your fingernails, refusing to wash out no matter how much soap you use or how hard you scrub. Only to waft up to your nose then every time you try to eat. The way it permeates your house, brought in on the clothes coated in it but needed again too soon to have time to wash, so instead they come in to dry out and add a unique perfume to the house. One that can’t be found in any fancy candle.
The anguish of new lives lost despite a hard battle is glossed over. The people who supposedly love animals but can only respond to death and loss with comments about how they aren’t native, how can they be expected to live, or that they were going to be slaughtered anyway, what difference does it make? In their apparent lack of understanding of the difference between a life well lived and a meaningful death, they degrade all life.
Still we are out here fighting to maintain our way of life. Fighting to keep them all alive. Fighting to keep putting one foot in front of another and make it through another day. Always fighting.
And those times when it works, when a calf pulls through and can go back to its mama. The times when the morning frost tips the hair of the cows and horses in white. When the meadow lark sings loud and clear from a fence post as you pass. All those little moments make it well worth it. Mud and all

 


Spring

I haven’t been doing much here for the last week or so. I would like to say it’s because I’ve been so busy doing academy stuff. And I have been! But mostly it’s because it has been cold, raining, and, gasp, horror, SNOWING for the last week or longer. Sometimes it seems that the sun never really did shine and will never shine again. Snow and rain and clouds are in the forecast for the next week or longer.
The horses have been spending lots of time in the barn. I lead them to the run in shed over and over again only to have them run back out to stand shivering in the rain. I leave treat in there. I’m not hauling hay clear over there. They just don’t ant to go in. Apparently they like being locked in the other barn better.
The constant rain makes feeding difficult. Of course the cows aren’t out to pasture yet. The constant rain makes sorting and working and hauling difficult too. The rain sticks to the windows making the hay and dust stick to the windows making seeing difficult as the two ton? truck leg yields and does haunches in through the mud. Of course the windows are also fogged over because the windows have to be up to keep the same mess from filling the inside of the truck.
My last heifer that I have been waiting and waiting on finally had her calf. And she wont let it nurse. She wants him. She just doesn’t want him to nurse. I have to admit I have some sympathy for her there He’s a feisty little go getter though and isn’t deterred. Luckily because she’s kicking the crap out of him She’s up at the barn too and has been through the chute a few times. It seems to be working now to pinch her down fairly tight in the tub and distract her with feed.
My husband has been trying desperately to get the corn planted. Not sure why, it’s not worth anything anyway. We had a couple of dry days predicted and he got the planter all ready to go. And they never showed up with the fertilizer.
So we decided to go get it ourselves so he could get started before it rained the next day. We had no sooner picked it up and where driving slowly down the gravel road when there was a loud pop. We looked around and the back window of the pickup had exploded!
Our son was in his car seat right underneath it. We got him out and looked over. Not a scratch on him! Then we stood looking at the window. An hour from home and a trailer on behind. We moved the car seat to the front seat and drove home. Glass tinkling and falling the whole time.
Once home my husband got the fertilizer loaded and started out to make a lap around the field. And it rained. Poured really.
But luckily, because it was too wet to work in the field, he got to make our daughters kindergarten program. ๐Ÿ˜
He got the field planted a couple of days later. In the rain. Now the seed will sit there for the next week or two in the rain and snow and cold.
And all of that is why I haven’t been posting anything here! Hopefully spring will come for real and do it soon! The cows are getting cold out there and I want to play with my horses!!