Sunday, September 30, 2012

Maybe there is Hope?

Today was moving day.  I was supposed to meet with the trainer at 10, but she called me at 9 and canceled.  I sort of wasn't surprised really but I told her that we were coming to get Falcon at 11 anyway.  She said a few choice words, not at me I don't think...she just said them, then said OK...
I paid her for the last Farrier visit and then T arrived to pick up Falcon.  J couldnt find Falcon's halter and lead and so I ended up with a very pretty Teal halter and matching rope that looked basically new.
Falcon loaded fairly well after some snuffing at the sawdust in the trailer.  Then we went to pick up Nevel.
Nevel walked right on to the trailer!  What a good boy.  Within 30 min of pick-up we had the horses unloaded and in to the pasture.  I was nervous because I didn't know how everyone was going to behave.  Nevel kept pulling on me as I walked him around.  I don't know where my nervousness has been coming from.  Guess I have been away from the big beasts for too long or something but my hands were shaking like a leaf.  Don't know how I even got the pictures!
Nevel and Falcon met the gelding and mare pretty quietly. Then trotted 
off to nibble on GRASS....oh YAYYYYY NEIGHHH GRASS!
Falcon said "WHOAH< AM I BACK IN VIRGINIA????"
Then they both went racing through the sprinklers.

Nevel took off across the creek trying to keep up with Falcon
Seems they had basically bonded in the 5 min. they were on the trailer together
but later they did go nose to nose and had a dash of squealing and front hoof striking.
Tana the mare says "I'm not so sure about this, now what have you done...
put some silly youngster and some silly spotted horse in here to hog my hay???"
Falcon took a dip in the creek.  Laid right down and rolled in it...
not once, but about 4 or 5 times.  He was a very happy boy.
No doubt he will go wading in the pond next!

Mr mud boy Falcon
T showed me around the place again and I signed the release papers.
Everything felt JUST RIGHT for the first time in a long time.

On the way home I stopped at the local garden center on the corner...
Pick a Peck of Pickled Pumpkins?
It seems too hot to be decorating for Fall!
So Falcon's feet need some major work done on them.  Will need to ponder what to do next, but for now the boys are happy in a more normal horsey environment...or maybe it is just me happier to see them on green grass once again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thanks everyone-great advice/perspectives.  I agree with most of it.

I have come to the conclusion that Falcon needs a break.  But I am also not sure that he is the horse for me at this point in my life.  (almost 53 with creaky knees)

Falcon was accustomed to being on 15 green acres in Virginia...roaming the hillsides with 3 other horses.  When riding time came he had already worked out most of his silliness from galloping up the hill to the barn for a handful of grain before saddling.  Now he has been paddocked for months with strange things going on.

I don't want him to go to a bad home or worse though and have decided to give him until the end of the year-on pasture and hopefully some desensitization and a barefoot trimmer.  I did find a person on-line in Auburn-who also sells the Easyboots.  Don't know if anyone knows anything about this person and her capabilitites-though she does offer sessions to teach the horse to stand quietly for trimming.

Below is a pic of Falcon during the first hour of his shoeing-prior to the crazy rearing and subsequent problem attention to his feet.  As you can see he seems to be mainly relaxed and not causing problems.

The other thing is the nonsense of him not being able to tolerate the girth being tightened nor mounting from the ground.
When I had him I always pulled up the girth very easily until it was flat on him but not tight.  I would then either stretch out his front legs or walk him a few steps and put on his bridle then tighten it a little more...enough so the saddle would not slip when I stepped into the stirrup.
I am a slow mounter and sometimes have to work a kink out of my hip once aboard...but after that I can go for miles at a there any other way to ride?  ; )

So that will have to be worked on all over again! grrrrr!
I agree with the advice to hand walk him and reintroduce stuff slowly to that I can at least find him a good home.

The shorter days don't leave me much time now either...but the good news is that my job description is changing for the interim of I don't know how long and so I will go in to work earlier and hopefully get off much earlier in the day at least a couple of days a week-such must be the life of O.R. management.

When I lived in Virginia I only worked about 20 hours a week and rode my horses EVERYDAY but was afraid I would go hungry.  Now I work 50 hours a week, am overfed and never ride horses...where is the happy medium?   zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
What is the endurance saying?
"You can rest when you die?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The "Falcon" story is long I suppose.  He has always had issues from the beginning.  But still he was great on the trail once I got on him.

Issue 1:  His feet.  1/2012  One hour into a shoeing experience with him standing quietly and the farrier still didnt have his shoes fully on him  but he was standing quietly until the water truck drove by and spooked him.  He danced off of the mat and slipped, ended up stepping on his left newly applied shoe (that still needed more nails in it)  The shoe slid sideways and he must have gotten jabbed with a nail?  no clue.
But after that?  there was no holding him for the shoeing.  He tried rearing several times.  I lunged him then brought him back.  Same result.  Another farrier was at the facility and saw my farriers plight and tried to help.  Between the two of them they finally got him done but not without using a twitch.  And not without dodging several rearing episodes...the total episode lasted 3 hours.  I would have had them quit except that we had on 4 shoes which were only partially nailed on.

1 month in to his training he supposedly got a stone bruise or something and was lame.  The vet came out, took some X-rays and ascertained that he had minimal ringbone issues.  Several injections were given in the area for swelling and pain relief.  Also, the new farrier had basically trimmed his feet down very short and it seemed to take forever for them to grow out as they were working on getting a better angle on his feet.  Finally his feet were looking pretty good...

On my last visit to see him last week he had BAR shoes on the fronts and no shoes on the backs!  Why?  how?  WHAT???  The trainer had not communicated with me at all.  Then told me I owed her money for shoeing.  I told her no-that the farrier had billed me and I had paid him directly for the previous shoeing but this BAR shoe thing was new and I wasn't interested in paying for something I did not know about.
When I inquired about the back feet and no shoes at all, she told me that she had not been there for the shoeing and that the farrier wouldn't shoe his back feet without her being there.
That was a red flag for me-I asked her to explain and she said "well, he is really really good with his front feet but not always with his backs and I have to give him a sedative sometimes to do his backs"

It was all I could do not to be enraged.  So instead of re-educating Falcon she drugged him.
Lovely, just lovely!  NOT!

I have re-read my emails to her about what type of training/desensitization that I thought he needed.
She assured me that she handled those types of behaviors.  I spoke to several people who she had conditioned horses for and they gave her kudos-but what I realize now is that she didn't train any of those horses.  She was only conditioning them for me...
I am too trusting AND I have previously had horses trained in Virginia and PA.  I sent my horse 4 hours away to be trained and 6 weeks later went back-went for a ride-then took my "ponies" home.
Then of course we had to "learn" each other...but at least I had honest/good trainers.

ok...this is already too long for issue 2.  So I guess I will end here and now and ponder it further.
Any advice gladly taken.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'll Try and Keep it Short

...and not too whiney or sad!

In a nutshell...I am done with Falcon!  :(
Too much money/time spent to tune him back up.
Results basically NILL in my mind
Feet look horrible-now he even has bar shoes on the fronts.
I am very very frustrated but a lot of it is my own mistake for not watching the training process much earlier in the game AND not asking about some type of guarantee in a certain amount of time.

Last night the plan was for me to take my tack and make it sure it fit him
Lunge him then ride.
Trainer has been trail riding him up at Folsom Lake.

First of all Trainer is not home when I arrive on time...but she had a flat tire...was thirty min. late so by now it is 6:40 and sun is setting.

Next she doesnt like the bit I had been using on Falcon in the past-no prob, I have another type of snaffle at home.
He bitted nicely in her bridle.

Then I take Falcons old saddle to him-let him sniff- he is ok with it, I put it on his back and he jumps a mile!
OH COME ON!  He has been with the Trainer since Feb although some of those months he was just being boarded due to lameness.
He was nervous about the saddle but he settled down enough for us to take a look at it.


He has grown by leaps and bounds since I last rode him in 2008-I think he must be 16 hands by now at age 9 but we didnt measure him.

Ok, no big deal...will have to try another saddle next time.
Next she throws her little endurance saddle on him.  He stands nicely.  She barely tightens the girth.  Says she always rides with a loose girth!  WHAT?  It was VERY loose. That sounds dangerous to me...AND you couldn't POSSIBLY mount from the ground like THAT!

She takes him to the mounting block-climbs up-he steps away when she goes to mount.  He does that repeatedly.  She says he NEVER does that....yeh, whatever!

Actually the mounting issue was one of the reasons I had taken him to 5 months later same issue?  It has nothing to do with the girth that she says I must have tightened too much when I rode him...(even though she has never seen ME handle him) BECAUSE she has the girth so loose.
The other thing she said was that she didn't believe he had ever been ridden when she got him.  He had been ridden for two weeks by a trainer (who moved to Texas) prior to going to her...I had WATCHED HIM and VIDEOED several I have Pics of me ON HIM and Riding him without too many issues!
In fact he is in the AERC records under his registered name and mine!

She lunged him and tried again-same issue AND when she put weight in the stirrup he bunched up like he was going to buck.  I felt pretty angry inside in a way-but on the other hand, I know Falcon very well...
So we left him in the round pen and he knickered heavily at us...not wanting us to leave him....sheesh...what a brat.  He does like her, that is obvious because when he saw me alone he knickered at me, but when she arrived he definitely upped the ante on the knickering.

It was dark...I went home...Upset...SAD...MAD...that I had spent so much money on him and her telling me he was doing great.  I believe her somewhat, but not totally.  I rode him for two years, I did two LD's on him...NEVER had problems with his feet, he was GREAT most of the time on the Trail, but then was pastured for 4 years when I moved from VA to CA...He went back to wild during that timeframe! agha

At this point I don't have the time or money to start all over with him.  AND it would most likely HAVE to be me trying to get on him because he gets attached to ONE person and if another person shows up that he was previously attached to he gets confused and starts acting out.

He is a Love and emotionally it is so hard, but I don't have free pasture anymore...I just can't do it.
He would have to be someones project horse that was willing to start from the ground up with him.
Otherwise-pasture potatoeness for him...

I told the trainer not to re-shoe him.  I was really mad about the bar shoes-she did not consult me about them...He will stay with her until the end of the month and I told her to please NOT  with his feet the way that they are.

Soon he will be on pasture...he will be anxious because it will be a new place.  But he will maybe settle down since he isn't cooped up in a small paddock. I will have his feet trimmed up by a Natural Horse feet Trimmer person and see if we cant get his feet reshaped.  In the meantime I will try and place him somewhere somehow so that he doesn't end up at the meat knackers.

That is it...that is the story too long...not short...A BIG VENT story.
Where's the tissues!  : (

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

M Busted

Too late to weep out my story tonight so I will just post a few pics of Mr Nevel.

We had a nice "walk-a-bout" the ranch day and he walked right across this "bridge" without complaints.
But then the Monster Water Cart gave him quiet a I don't have a photo of that since I preferred hanging on to him rather than snapping a photo!

Another Halloweenie Scary Fright...
This one deserved a STINK eye from Nevel!
But "nuthin'" that a patch of GREEN grass won't cure
Following this the Round Pen was FINALLY free of use.
I turned him loose and despite my making him stand for a petting he still lept up in the air with a small rear and than a couple of good bucks before settling in!  Ugh, I hate small paddock life for horses, 
but just two more weeks and Nevel will have a nice sloshy pasture to mosey around in all day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

No Carrots Tonight

Yep, had those carrots in my lunch bag.  Three big bright Juicy Orange ones!

But as luck would have it the sun was setting as I walked out from work!  I really didn't feel like driving all the way out to feed Nevel some carrots for 5 minutes.
Instead I drove on home and found that the pears I had purchased at Machados were perfectly ripe.


When Nature beckons I must listen!  

So I found myself 9:30 at night canning pears.  I decided to spice them up with a stick of cinnamon in each jar along with cloves and vanilla and light syrup.  They smelled great-but EVERY jar"no opening until Christmas!"
Other Fall Delytes from the weekend included some very healthy (though slightly over-baked) 
Pear Spice Muffins
Fresh Fruit

Maybe tomorrow will entail some horsey tails/tales!  : P
Happy Fall Everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Going Barefoot.

Barefoot?   But summer is over isn't it?  Almost over anyway.  I had already decided that Nevel...would go barefoot. His breeder keeps her haflingers that way and proved to me that it can be done after showing me one of her haflingers that had just completed a 25 mile endurance ride.

But now Falcon.  I have always had shoes on him when I rode him...pads were always added for the LD 's.  then he was barefoot for 4 years...but wasn't ridden at all.  No issues that I know of.
Then shod for he has had numerous issues and STILL gets sore with shoes and pads!

I am convinced I need to try the barefoot route and have found someone to work with Falcon.  Boots will be needed for the transition period...which may take awhile.

So, in a couple of weeks, Falcon will be moving away from the doubt his twitter -pated self will have to get used to me riding him again. We will be starting all over, taking it slow and easy, barefooted...regardless of the weather :)

Tomorrow I finally will go visit the place I hope to stable him at...updates later...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Mr. Nevel Nuts has not had his feet trimmed since he arrived a few months back so it was definitely time for a "pedicure!"

I want to keep him barefoot and found someone who only does barefoot-no shoeing.

The guy was great with Nevel even though Nevel was a little impatient at times.
and managed to get them shaped up pretty well although it is hard to tell with Nevel pointing
 his left fore outward
 Nevel was NOT impressed with having his back feet worked on and got a little light on his fronts.  He even managed to stand on one front and the opposite hind at one point...thus the whirry blurred picture!
But all ended well
Especially when Mr Trimmer scratched Nevel's rump with his rasp.
His eyes drooped and his bottom lip quivered....
"ooooh....hope this guy returns soon...I like the rasp scratching!
So back to the paddock and stick my head in the hay bin....
Having a pedicure isn't so bad afterall!
(or is it NEIGH-EEEE-aYe?)