Wednesday, April 30, 2008

saddles! grrrrrrr

Falcon was laying flat out in the field this a.m. and Dakota was curled up beside him. I thought Falcon was dead, but as I drove down the driveway, he lifted his head and then got up....shoooo wheee.
Tonight, I just brushed the boys and picked out their feets, combed manes and tails and got them respectable looking so that they could go out in the mud and git dirty again! hee haw.

I figured out that the Tucker Endurance saddle that I bought off of EBAY is just too big for me.So I bought a Tucker Plantation Saddle off of ebay for $650. I was excited to get it for that price. It looks like it is in very good condition.Now I am trying to decide whether or not to sell the Endurance saddle, or save it in case I ever can coax Ed to hop aboard a horse.

Yup, I have ridden Falcon about 18 hours now. and he STILL acts like he wants to dump me off when I first git on. Don't know what to do about it. I am going to email Judie I guess. But first I need to try my western saddle on him and see if he balks at that. If he doesnt, mebbe I will just chalk it up to a saddle that doesnt fit neither me nor him.

Blaahhhh....send me back Sinwaan. I will trade horses with ya. yeee ha! NOT< I LOVE MY FALCON!!!!

Crazy weather crazy unmountable horse

My friend Peggy and I went riding on Sat. for a two hour amble around some fields and through the woods. Falcon was well behaved and gave me no trouble atall.

Then today my "Craigs List" aquaintance came over today to meet and to ride. Falcon was good for saddling but got ornery when I went to mount, so I brought him around and started over, but Karen held him for me, so I don't know if he would have stood still or not, then he bunched up and acted agayne like he might buck, and he backed up and tried to get light on his front feet when I tried to make him stand still after mounting.

Karen had a new saddle and had to do all kinds of adjustments and Falcon was out of control not standing still, so I had to keep circling him. After we got moving he was fine while walking and ornery while trotting, so we mainly walked.

I took Karen up a new trail that I had never been on and it was STRAIGHT UP the mountain and Falcon wanted to turn around midstream, but I encouraged him to go and he did and followed the dogs right up to the the ridge where the trail was not so stressful.

After that he was well behaved and stood still when asked. It started SLEETING. IT was a COLD COLD day. yesterday it was 50. This weather is nuts. Anyway, we rode for about an hour and stopped at Gregs and talked with him for a spell while he was out seeding grass.

Karen said she hadn't ridden since last may and was so excited to get off and not be stiff. (She did have a difficult time getting on though and it served her right, cause she said I was "cheating", because I led falcon to where I can stand on the hill and he is lower where I can more easily board him! ) hee oh ho.So Karen said that Dakota was great to ride, but seemed stiff in his left rear. So maybe he has other joint issues, dunno. The "boys" will get a break for at least a day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Now here be my tale.....My friend Peggy wanted to go riding today and I am glad she did. She doesn't really ride other than at a walk, but that was fine since I hadnt ridden Falcon since the 10 mile ride over a week ago.

I had the horses groomed by the time she arrived and then we walked the horses from the barn up to the house/horse trailer to saddle them.They stood well for that. The sun was HOT and flies abuzzing, but my 3 y/o fly spray seemed to work pretty well.I let Peggy mount to make sure we wouldnt need to adjust the strirrups etc.

Then I tried to mount Falcon, but he kept swinging his butt away and wouldnt let me.So Peggy rode and I walked down to the mailbox after which, on the second try, was able to mount up.

It is a short jaunt through the woods to a gate that opens in to a large pasture where Sinwaan threw me and knocked me out a few years back.I dismounted and opened the gate, the horses passed through and I latched the gate. Then attempted to mount agayne. Falcon acted up so I Swacked him pretty hard on the chest...only problem was, I wasn't holding on to the reins, so he backed up, turned and away he trotted, up the big hill about 2/10 of a mile away.He snarfed around the pond there and looked at us when we called him, then turned and cantered happily away.

Peggy was afraid that Dakota might buck to get away with Falcon, so she got off and we walked after Falcon. He kept right on agoin.

By the way, the pasture is GIGANTIC. About half a mile or so away is an old house and a big barn. We saw that Falcon was trotting to the barn and then I saw him go in the barn lot. I hoped that the gate in to the yard was not open.He then entered another lot where they gather up the cattle. As he snarfed around, we reached the barn lot gate and Peggy and Dakota blocked the gate, while I went into the smaller lot.

Falcon walked away from me, but stopped at the fence and just calmly looked at me. TURKEY! So I walked over and took his rein and patted him on the neck and let him back in to the grass.Again he wouldnt let me mount and tried to get away for sure this time. But I had a tight grasp on the reins and shouted BACK, BACK BACk. I made him keep backing up, then stopped and tried to luck.After at least 6 or 7 rounds of BACK BACK BACK method, he decided that he would stand still and let me mount.

We then had a VERY pleasant ride, walked through 3 creeks and upon reaching the next gate, I let Peggy do the honors! We strolled through the woods and back to the barn. I dismounted and tried to remount, no luck, so BACK BACK BACK, he then let me mount.So I did that about 6 times, but each time when I attempted to get on, he would swing his butt away and I had to do the BACK BACK BACK thing! grrr, well, I will persist and if he is still being bad with mounting by May 31 I will have Judy work with him as I am going over there for a "introduction to Endurance" ride that day.If need be, I will leave him there for a couple of days and pay her to ride him that week. That is two weeks before the Old Dominion.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Riding Partner

As far as a riding partner, I think I may have found one. It is ironic that two of the people that emailed me have names of each of my sisters. Ms 300# woman was a Wendy and now this other lady is a "Karen" Karen Wickens is her name and for the last 4 years she has helped out with the Old Dominion Rides and knows all about timing.

This year she is heading up organizing all of the staff for the OD. So I think I might have gotten lucky.

She used to teach riding lessons and rode hunter Jumpers for years, but now has the endurance bug, but hasnt raced herself yet.

She is purchasing an out of shape quarter/arab to condition for the Fort Valley ride. So we will be at the same level as far as training goes and she lives less than 10 miles away from me.

She doesnt have a horse trailer though, but I figured we could trade services. She can teach me a thing or two and I can trailer her, but she has access to tons of great trails from her house, so I can trailer down there a couple of times a week and do that.

Will be good experience for falcon to trailer short distances on a regular basis. So hopefully this will work out. But I kinda hate trailering out when I have places to train here at home.

oh well such is life.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another great ride

Well, I had ANOTHER GREAT RIDE today. Yesterday, I discovered that there wasn't any work in the O.R. for today. I did not want to spend another day emptying bedpans and giving demented people bed baths on the Med/Surg Unit, so I requested the day off.Then I promptly called up Betsy to see if she could ride....she could.This a.m. I slept in until 7, then realized that the "goat kids" must be hungry, so I drug meeself out of bed and went and fed them.

I scarfed up some oatmeal, threw some water in a jug and put some other stuff in the truck and put the dogs outside in kennels since it was like 75 degrees. Then I went and fed Falcon and Dakota. When done, I turned Dakota out and walked Falcon up to the trailer.He was calm and loaded nicely when I led him on. He looked out of the window at Dakota who was already having a panic attack and was racing up and down the pasture fence and screaming.Falcon didnt say a word at all back to Dakota.

Then down the road 3 miles to pick up Betsy and Tristana. I asked Betsy to drive, because on the last ride she told me I was braking too hard. She was glad to drive.

We drove up to Front Royal to the 4H center-that is the actual place apparently that the US calvary would trade out horses at one time. It also used to be the Start and End point of the OD, but now the OD has moved to a completely different Mountain Range this year.

The horses unloaded nicely and Falcon had to step away when I went to saddle him. He is getting bad about doing that. I try and make him come back to where he starts, but it doesn't last long. But he IS getting LESS "cinchey"So then I tried to mount. Betsy was proud of me for putting him up against the trailer, but uh, that didnt work atall. He has learned my trick and now he just goes forward to get away from me. grrrrr. So after numerous tries, we decided to walk them a little ways until Betsy could find a rock or stump to help her self mount.

There was still fencing at that point, but Falcon still would not allow me to I placed him next to the fence and Betsy grabbed hold of him and I swung on with one foot in the stirrup as he took off at a brisk walk....true endurance horse indeed.Anyway, Betsy has friends up there and told me not to tell anyone about the trail that we were about to ride on which was on private land. I swore that I would only tell my niec Shana who lives in WA! hee hee.

She had asked her friend if the trail was open....apparently so as we went through a few briars at first, but then up a steep hill on a cleared trail.Oh, but then alas, halfway up we ran in to a HUGE downed tree across the trail and BRIARS EVERYWHERE. Ouchey Ouchey. We couldnt go OVER the tree and I poked around in the briars and thought I saw a clearing, so Betsy had me hold the horses, while she went to find a way. that probably took 20 min, and I had dismounted.You couldnt ride through the mess anyway. The branches and vines were too low and rocks galore. So we walked the horses till we got to the trail again.

Falcon tried not to let me mount again...but Tristana was in Front, with trees and vines on both sides and behind, so he didn't give me too much trouble.The trail then was uphill, but rocky. Betsy said it was ok to trot so we did and reached a Sub-Division then and walked through that...while Betsy jogged her memory as to which road to turn on, as there were a few to choose from.Falcon led the way and wasn't afraid of anything atall. He just thought he was somethin!

Thankfully the trucks and cars moved slowly in that area and were respectful of us...then we were in the National Park. The trail was smooth, but there were tons of downed trees that had been sawed to allow for the trail. At first Falcon would sorta spook a little at each one, but there must have been hundreds of them and Betsy yelled at me to give him "LEG" everytime he tried to stop trotting to look at a log. Soon he was trotting at an even pace, and Betsy said her butt was sore and that we needed to move faster than walk or trot.

So he easliy nudged in to a canter and we cantered all across the Blue Ridge.Betsy could tell when his muscles were tiring and would tell me to pull him up and trot or walk awhile. It was SOOOOOOOOO much fun.Betsy kept telling her horse to stop looking at Falcons big white butt! hee hee. She also shouted encouragements to me that I and Falcon were both doing great. That is the most cantering I have done in a lonngggggggg time.After that she told me to work with Falcon on listening better to transitioning from trot to walk etc. Well, everytime he started trotting, he then would try and canter and it was fight fight fight with him, so I made him walk, but by that time we were heading down the other side of the mountain and the trail was narrow and very rocky.

Some places on the right just dropped off and it wouldnt have been a good place for Falcon to spook at the big Rocks on the left, but the trail was too narrow for Tristana to pass, so Falcon just kept leading.When we came out of the park, we had to go down another trail to get back to the backside of the 4H center. I could have just gone down the Rocky hill, but Betsy was off and walking her horse by hand right down the steps...she said it was easier.So I rode Falcon down the steps....about 7 of them, wide gravel and logs. He did very well and didnt balk or hop at all.Then I got off, because it was all down hill and rocky. Man my knees/legs hurt for about 20 steps until I worked the kinks out.

We hand walked the horses for about a half mile I spose and then got back only after Falcon tried to misbehave agayne and I snapped his reins real hard and made him back up two steps while I yelled at him then I quick hopped aboard while he stood still. grrr what a beast.

The trail ended on a dirt road with FABULOUS rock walls and 2 remodeled old farm houses. There was a long rectangular pasture-all fenced by a thick and low rock wall. 2 horses were in the pasture and trotted over to see us, but they didnt act all crazy and Falcon just took a look. Tristana knew the one arab in the pasture, so they had a quick visit and snorts.After that we were on paved road. Some lady (who looked like a man) was putting balloons on a sign, Falcon didn't even look twice at them.We came to a second creek and Falcon and Tristana took a few swallows and then we passed a herd of children on a school trip in the woods. Falcon danced sideways and forward quickly past them and then we were back at the 4H center.So we took about a 3 hour ride with 2.5 of it approx in the saddle. I think it was 9-10 miles. We just got delayed by the Briar Patch.

Back home, I gave Falcon a bath and scrubbed him with shampoo. He was so nice and clean....but you know how that goes....the min. he was in the pasture, he headed for the biggest area of dry manure and dirt and got a good roll him, so now he is a black horse....He peeed and then trotted off with Dakota to munch on some grass.

Betsy thinks that he is a great sensible horse and that after many more miles and working with a few of his "bugs" like mounting, that he will be a great steed for endurance. We haven't checked a heart rate on him, but he seemed to not breathe as hard as Tristana going up the hills.We are at "21 hours" on the AHA web site FRP. I have ridden him a little more than that, but before I joined the AHA thingy, so by next week I will earn my 25 hour pin I spose.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Monster Hill at Andy Guest State Park

At first, Karen, Betsy, Christa, and I had planned on going riding...but then Karen had 500 excuses why she couldnt go, one of which she had been helping with the O.D. No Frills ride all day on Sat. and she was tired.
Christa has little kids and couldnt go so it was just Betsy and Me.

Falcon would not load by himself, but he did walk on nicely with me and stood quietly which was a relief. Despite that my legs turned to jello and shook so hard I could barely get off of the trailer. I felt a panic attack coming on and had to re-focus.

Ok, so then I went to pick up Betsy and Tristana. When I arrived, they were in the pasture, but walking up the fenceline. Christa had just pulled in and got out of her car as I was pulling in. Betsy opened the gate and Tristana wheeled around and ran right over the top of Betsy, knocking her face in to the dirt.

Off she went at a full gallop to her pasture mates on the other side of the fenceline.Then she would not be caught, kicking up her heels and racing all around.Finally she stopped at the fence and attempted to go over it, but thankfully, it was more of a thought on her part and not a lot of action and she stood, sides heaving while Betsy got a hold on her.

Man, I thought we wouldnt go riding, but Betsy said her ankle was just grazed and she was fine....although beat red in the face. She said that Tristana has NEVER done anything like that in 10 years. Well, guess there is a first time for averything eh?

We drove to Andy Guest State Park about 15 miles north. It was very cloudy, 50 and looked like it was going to drop buckets of rain at any time. Betsy said, well, even if we don't ride, it was good trailering experience for Falcon....I think she was wishing that it WOULD rain, so she could just go crawl in to bed and grab a cigarette and a glass of wine! heee hee.

The park has great trails, down a long hill, up to a ridge, ride the ridge, down again and then a lot of floodplain trail and gravel road to trot on. Creeks to cross and two bridges. The worst part is a trail that goes STRAIGHT up, or at least it feels like it and Falcon tried to gallop up it. NOT. My coat got hung up on the saddle horn (which is why I HATE saddles with horns) and ripped yet another button off my coat. So I now am left with 2 buttons!

Falcon just wants to go at full speed instead of a nice steady trot, but we did finally get him to trot along side of Tristana without extending.I only got nervous when a whole club of about 15 riders came up behind us. Falcon was all over the place, very antsy and not listening atall, so when they went right, we went left , only to find that they were just doing a small loop and were gaining on us again, so that is when we took off at a full trot down the river road and got far enough away so that Falcon didnt turn and look for them constantly.
Try trotting or cantering forward with your horse looking at whats back behind fun atall!
Betsy kept asking if I was ok and did I want to trot more, because when she rode with me last week, I mainly kept it at a walk and she was quite bored with the ride and told me that "you really need to trot down hills" and "trot more than THIS" if you are going to endurance ride.So I proved to her today that I could indeed trot down a hill if I had control of my horse and that I could trot longer than one minute.

It did a lot to boost my confidence and I could have ridden longer. Both Falcon and I had plenty of energy left when we were done.I think we rode about 10 miles. We looped back once or twice, so I need to look at the trail map and see if I can figure it out.I have no clue what his heart rate is and need to see what it is now before he ever gets muscled up. He broke a sweat going up A.J.'s Drop hill but he powered up it pretty well for being soft.

When we got home, he was really cute. Didnt holler at all for Dakota, Just looked and hung by me for a min. Pee"d and then walked to the lower field looking for Dakota, When he saw him, he trotted to the lower field gate and Hollered out to Dakota.Still standing at the gate, he waited for Dakota to scream and run FULL GALLOP down and then up the hills from the far pasture. When Dakota arrived, he walked over to some dirt and had a good roll, and then both went about munching grass.I have never seen one of my horses do that when I turn them out. Normally they are tearing out of the halter and racing for their pasture buddies. So it was interesting that Falcon seemed to say "Hey, I had to ride on that horrible trailer and took a trail ride with MONSTER hills, now YOU come to ME!"

Friday, April 11, 2008

The vet came today and did Coggins, gave shots and checked teeth.
Falcon needed his floated, he was also bad to get his coggins and tried to rear once and kept swinging around to crowd the vet or kick her.

She is little, but whammed him good with her elbow a few times.She got a chain and put over his nose, that helped only minimally, so we went back in side of the barn and put him in cross ties. he tried crowding agayne, but knew he couldnt get away from the cross ties, so he finally gave in, but wasnt happy about it atall.

While there she gave him some sleepy medicine before giving the remainder of his shots and we put him in the stall, placed the mouth gag and started filing. Now he doesnt have any sharp points.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yesterday I decided to go for a ride on Falcon. He bitted and saddled nicely, but then swung his body away from me and would not let me mount. grrrr, I kept bringing him back in to position and he would do the same thing.

He is like a kid, always seeing what he can get away with. But then he is also mainly very sweet natured. So I said, ok buddy, we are going for a walk. So I led him up by the house where Oriel was hurling herself at the window trying to get out and attack Falcon to protect me. So that freaked Falcon out, but we kept walking and he was all spooky til we got past the chicken house and started walking down gregs driveway back in to the woods.

Halfway back, he seemed calmer, so I checked the girth and then mounted right up wilst he stood stock still.He was well behaved and interested as we took off up the mountain at a walk and trotted some too. the 4 big white dogs galloped along behind us or off into the woods now and agayne. He also tried to jump two logs instead of walking over them. I guess I should have jumped, but I am not ready for that and never did like jumping. Also too many rocks./ We did some cantering, but there are so many rocks up on the mountain that I had to make him walk mostly.
On the way there is an incline that is all rock and he plowed right up it. Coming down he tried to TROT over it. And also tried to trot halfway down the mountain. I had to keep making him stop, turn around , whoah etc. After awhile he decided he would listen. At one point he tried to head right and go home the way we had come, but I had other plans for him and turned him back left and went by Gregs house, just to make sure Falcon wasn't going to get the better of me. So, all in all we had a good ride and he was all nuzzely and rubbing on me when we got back.