Me & my horses.

- the trails of my life

Heather's Blog

Deposit for Tiff's training sent!

Posted by Heather on October 13, 2011 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (1)

I was recommended a trainer in Temperance MI, about 50 miles south of where we'll be. The girl who uses this guy has a morgan mare as well and she and I started talking on HGS. Her name is Laura and her horse's name is Alice. 


http://weaverappaloosas.webs.com/


The trainer's name is Dean Weaver and from the emailing I've done with him he seems like a pleasure to work with and has gotten fantastic reviews from Laura. I was particularly interested since his website says that he is willing to work with problem horses and well, Tiffany is definitely one of those. 


I'm not worried about someone manhandling her, honestly she could probably use it at. I'm wondering if 3 years off in a herd has made her better, worse or not changed her a bit. Either way, she needs a tune up and I'm too scared of her at this point to keep trying. Last week I wrote a check for half the month's board and training costs and sent it in to reserve her a stall. 


I'm so happy! I've been waiting three years to do that! I'm really hoping that things go according to plan and I can be home in time to take her there Dec. 1st. We'll see. Oh and I got to watch the Morgan Grand Nationals live streaming online. How cool is that? 

Almost pony time

Posted by Heather on October 2, 2011 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (1)
I've got to admit, one of the things that I have been enjoying the most is shopping for horse things. I've waited for three years to add to my equipment hoard ... mostly because there was no reason to shop for anything and I didn't like thinking about it. Now though, it's part of my ritual for going home. I'm allowing myself to miss the horses and to think about all the work I have ahead of me.
 

The prep work, the thinking about what I'll need, the scouring for good deals ... it's therapeutic in a way. I've picked up a set of boots, rope halter and lead, and the bit that will be Ember's first among other things. The only stuff I really have left is the side pull bridle I want and some winter clothes.  I can get those later though. It's fun to go to the P.O. and open packages of horse gear. I got a pair of bell boots and when I opened them, I had forgotten just how big a hoof was. Surreal.


I'm getting ready to make a deposit for Tiffany's training with the barn/trainer that I like. I don't know when I'll be back in Michigan exactly. I know that Nov. 1st is the day we are slated to detatch from this command, but God only knows when we'll actually set foot in MI. I am thinking of reserving the month of Dec. for her. My intention is to get 30-60 days on her and then swap out Ember. I'm anxious to see Tiffany again to decide if she's changed at all, and then to get a professional opinion. 

Also, I can't wait for that first quiet moment where I'm just standing there, the horses and myself in the quiet. I want to smell horse fur and hay and feel the chilly air. I'm sure I'll cry, and it will be beautiful. 


She doesn't know anything.

Posted by Heather on September 14, 2011 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I can probably name what Ember knows on one hand. Including 'wear a halter', 'stand in crossties' and 'follow person with a lead rope'. 


She is so ... blank. I mean, I don't know what she remembers but I'm going to treat her like the spoiled 4 year old she is  when I get back. I have to assume that she doesn't even remember what whoa means. I think the first week will be spent grooming. I'm anticipating that first bath for her will be heinous. The amount of grunge that can accumulate boggles my mind. I will have to detangle her nightmare of a mane and tail. Then I have to get her used to the rest of the grooming basics. Hoofpick? What hoofpick? Oh dear goodness ... the clippers


After that I think it's just going to be basic walking on the lead, not crowding and getting a solid whoa. Then I think I'll do some ground tie training and begin teaching her to set up? The rest of the ground stuff will come along with that I hope. I've got the Clinton Anderson "Respect on the ground'' DVD and I think that's a good place to start with her. 


I'm just used to horses with baggage or attitude or at least some experience. I am hoping that her mind is developed enough so that she can learn and apply things a lot faster than a yearling. I know she'll have her 'But Gramma never made me do that!" moments. I expect it. I will be pleased if she retains lessons and makes progress. I definitely need that.  


Overall, I'm still quivering with excitement.  I get to see the horses in 48 days! 



Newest Ember photo & Fury photo

Posted by Heather on August 27, 2011 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I'll just leave this here. 



Ember, posing "cutely'' atop some debris and other junk that I will have to clean up upon arriving home to MI before I can actually begin to use the indoor arena. *facepalm*



And this one for comparison.


This is Fury, he just won Top 5 at the Region 18  Canadian Regionals. In the Arabian Hunter Pleasure AATR class. 


Ember's first bit

Posted by Heather on July 26, 2011 at 3:36 AM Comments comments (0)

What a milestone for me! I found a person selling pretty much the exact bit that I'd like to get for Emmie. It's a french link baucher. It's a 5 inch, which is average. Tiffany has a tiny head and mouth and takes a 4.5 so I'm taking a chance that Emmie is more average sized. A little big would be fine, I can always use bit guards to squeeze the fit a little.



After this, I only need a couple more things. A starter bridle/sidepull and a training halter and stick. Yay!

I would have preferred a copper mouth and a bean link rather than french like this : 

The ultimate nicest one I've seen is this one, shaped mouth (bars) and copper with a bean (ebay):



My ultimate goal is to get her used to carrying a bit and once she stops chewing up her first one, then I can get her a nicer, more expensive one. The first one only cost me 10$ plus shipping. Totally my favorite way to buy. Used! I can't believe this Saturday is her birthday. I remember dreaming about it when I first had to move away, it seemed too far away to ever happen. I have mixed feelings but more good than bad. I hope I can post again soon with some birthday photos! (I did send an email to Rose asking *crosses fingers* ) 


Equipment wish list!

Posted by Heather on June 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Well, looks like I'll be needing to get some new stuff. It's really fun for me to finally think about some of the things I'll need for when I get back to the horses. I've had it put in a mental box in the dusty back corners for so long. I need winter gear and some training items that I didn't have before. I'm sure I'll come back and add things to this post.

*I will be editing the items to purple as I acquire things and adding what I paid with a description.

First the tack stuff:


I need a rope halter and training lead for Emmie. I don't know what size she needs for most things, so I'll assume she's cob sized like her mom for now. Uniquely Equine makes some nice looking rope halters, but there are a LOT of people who do so I guess price and available colors will be the determining factor. I'm not sure what color I want, something to coordinate with the boots I choose probably. A combo of black, brown, pink, blue or teal would work. Or I could just pick a neutral type of color. Gold, grey etc. 

I got a training lead and halter set from theahimsacollective for 50$ shipped. I got a black lead and a black halter with pink camo (grey, white, light pink, hot pink and black) and black nose knots, it also has cheek knots for decoration. I can't wait to see it! In my 'fancy rope halters' post, it's the first photo for the style.


Next on the list is a set of bell boots. The ones I like are the Classic Equines in one of these two patterns. I like the multi colors. They can go with a lot of different things. I'm leaning toward the top pair though. Looks like they can be found on Ebay for about 25$. 

got these! 25$ The print was discontinued, I'm lucky to have found them!

 

 

Next, I really like the Pegasus Air Boots. Brand new they're 69.95 a pair, but I'm a bargain hunter. I think I can beat that. They come in 'one size' which I like, and can be used for the front or back. Unless Emmie ends up needing the pony size they offer. One of these 3 colors I think would be best. 

I got the boots!! I found a brand new pair for sale in the HGS classifieds for 40$ shipping included. The pink ones. Maybe some other time I'll get another color for vanity's sake. I must say that I truly enjoy getting a deal!  

Since I got the airboots before the bells and they are the pink ones, I will be looking for the 'dots' bell boots to go with them. Maybe saving the swirls ones for another set with the other color of air boots.


Next, I need a training stick. I have dressage whips and lunge whips, but neither of those work for ground training as well as a 'training' stick. Which, in my opinion is just a glorified cattle sorting stick. I'm thinking about making my own for 10$ rather than trying to buy an actual training stick for somewhere between 25-50$. That's just silly, people don't know though.



I just need to figure out how to attach a loop to the end of a sorting stick to make it work with the 'string' part. These people show a loop attached with a heat shrink tube, that could work if I could find the leather ends somewhere. I also assume I can paint the fiberglass stick part if I wanted to. 


I was GIVEN a training stick and string by a wonderful and generous person over on HGS. It's this one! 


Next up is a side pull bridle. I want one with a jowl strap and a place for a bit to snap to if I decide to use one with it. I found this place online and I hope they can add the jowl strap to theirs for me. It's the best price I've found too! 42$

Then I need a set of reins to use with the side pull. I like rope with leather ends and would rather have buckle ends than clips. I mean, I don't like the idea of metal clips jingling against the bit or metal rings on the bridle. I want to stay quiet with Emmie so she doesn't get fearful or irritated, she's just a baby training wise. The site that has the side pull has these reins for 30$. I might be able to find something just as nice for a better price though.

Last thing is a bit for her. I should pick something with small rings because of the space between the upper side pull rings and her mouth being a smaller space. I had originally wanted a full cheek with a link or bean. But I don't know if the upright pieces will get caught up in the bridle. I still have no idea what size her mouth is either. 

However, if I can adjust the bridle so that it fits like this one I should have plenty of space for clipping a bit on. Too bad the one in the picture is about 300$! 

I got a french link baucher for 10$ off the classifieds board at HGS. Love that!


If I don't have that much space I can do a half cheek like this but with the uprights underneath:

 

For the next part of this entry, I will list the things I would most like to get for myself. I won't say 'need' because usually I can make do, but some new things would be nice!

The most important thing on the list is a new helmet. I have a velvet Troxel one but it is at least 5+ years old and after five years, you really should replace a helmet. The materials deteriorate and also styles change. I will most likely get a schooling type for now and later invest in something for showing. I like the Lami Cell low profile, the Ovation Deluxe and the IRH Elite. The prices range from 50$ - 160$. Mostly it all depends on fit with a helmet. Here's what the IRH looks like :

The next things are winter apparel. A pair of mountain horse tall boots will be excellent for the snow and mud. I borrowed a pair from Rose before and I loved the fit. My tiny little duck feet are a pain to fit. The Ice High Rider are the object of my affection right now. 129$ 


Next up are a pair of winter gloves, jacket and pants. I figure I can get away with one pair of 'fancy winter' pants that I can just wear over regular breeches. These (also Mountain Horse brand) seem like they'd be great for repelling snow and keeping me warmer. 140$ range



The most important part of winter gear, besides keeping warm, is the ability to move effectively. I mean, who hasn't had 'snow suit syndrome' and felt like a fleece and fiber fill burrito before? If I'm going to the barn, I want to be able to actually groom, manipulate tools and get into the saddle without a hoist system.


I also lust after this Comfort Plus Bareback Pad with ThinLine. The nice one with the ThinLine is 120$ and the other one without it is 69.95$. I could live with either one honestly. 


  


This coming winter with the mares

Posted by Heather on June 1, 2011 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (1)
The first winter back is going to be excruciating in more ways than one. I'll save my blog the grumbling of my personal woe considering it will primarily be an extended "I can't believe how cold it is, poor me!" whine. 
Tiffany, dear Tiffany you don't know what you're headed for do you? I found a friend on HGS that has a morgan mare named Alice that was gotten from a horse trader with some issues. She lives near where I'll be in MI and has her mare in training at a place about an hour's drive from Northville. The trainer, Dean, has been doing amazingly with her and I'm so impressed. 
Let me share with you a little bit of what he said in one of our emails - 
I get great satisfaction working with young horses and having their initial training be positive and putting a great foundation on them upon which all future training can be built. All, of course, with positive experiences. I have never started a colt which, later, exhibited problems like those you've described with your older mare. That, of course, is the goal...to do things correctly to avoid future issues. (Don't get me wrong,I also get great satisfaction helping identify, diagnose, and solve problems....but it is nice to work with young horses so that the problems can be avoided in the first place).
If all goes according to my plans, I'd like to arrange dropping Tiffany off at Dean's place the month I get back to take full advantage of the winter. That way I can have her back (hopefully) with a verdict by spring time. I know the money stinks that I'll have to spend but if I don't, who will? She's a nice mare and deserves a chance. 
I am hoping that all this time off at Rose's place will have been a help and not a hurt to her mentally. The coming spring I'll be able to make a decision on what I end up doing with her. Keep her and ride, keep her for breeding purposes, or sell her on if she's got a decent head on her shoulders. At least after having her in training for a while I'll be able to say I did what I could. Plus, with Tiff in training, I will have no reason not to focus on Emmie during the winter. 
Which brings me to my next issue. What am I going to do with Emmie over the winter? I guess the only things I can do which will be handling and grooming and working on her ground manners. It's going to be winter so I suppose the grooming will have to be minimal. Hoping that her coat isn't too nasty to start with I might just have to scrap that, she's never had a bath at Rose's. Rose does have an indoor wash rack, but I don't know if it's -
A. Empty. Last time I was there it was packed floor to ceiling with dusty junk. Yay. 
or
B. if Emmie is mentally ready to go into the big scary wash room and get a bath after 3 years of being turned out. She could be an angel or a total ding dong about it. 
I know for sure that I intend to clean her mane and tail the best I can and put them up for the winter using this method with vet-wrap or possibly sheeting. I know that the mud etc. is super damaging and I'm a mane and tail queen, not gonna lie. I am dying to get the dreadlocks out of her mane and tail! Heck, if I'll dye the sun bleached ends of of Tiffany's mane and tail what's that tell ya? 
I guess I'll just treat Emmie like a giant yearling and go from there. I am hoping that she's going to be more mellow after being allowed to mature but I am more afraid that she's going to have that 'but Grandma never made me do that!" spoiled attitude. Either way, I have to start somewhere. 
I will have to be traveling to the barn all the time, which means I'll probably be the enlisted barn lackey. (UGH!) However much that sucks, at least I won't be here! I do miss barn work but Rose makes such a mess I almost can't stand it. Her barn is not easy to care for and it's because of the way she does things. I am also not sure that I can simply overlook some stuff and I know I'll designate myself to clean them up and organize. She is a hoarder/pack rat and has had five years without me there to do damage control. 
Also, Rose (bless her heart) has an indoor arena. However, it too has become a victim of Rose-itis. She has been using it (since I left) as an indoor turnout if you can believe such a thing. So five winters of hay, and poo ... and poo and hay. There's buckets and barrels in there, wood and old fence parts. I even saw that she had begun erecting temporary fencing for pens inside the arena at one point? 
I will have to clean it out, in the winter, to be able to do anything with it. I know, I shouldn't complain after all she's done but that just sucks. I'm willing to bet that I'm going to spend a lot of long days there while Aaron is with his Mom at work. At least I will be alone there. I have to say that I miss barn work, so thanks universe for the heaping helping. 
The main reason I even care about the indoor is because I want to be able to start doing some work with Emmie myself. I know I will probably take her to Dean for her official starting but I can do a lot of the ground work myself before hand. In a perfect world I'd have her ready to begin mounting by spring but I don't know how far I've got to go. The girl doesn't even know how to lunge. I can't even guarantee she remembers how to stand tied! 
I am sort of scared to see what will be waiting for me there. I am preparing for the worst so that I might be pleasantly surprised. Maybe. 

A new photo of Emmie (finally) and some other thoughts

Posted by Heather on May 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM Comments comments (2)

I swear I have to beg and beg for photos of the horses. When I finally get them I am over the moon! Here's the latest photo of Emmie. At first I truly didn't think it was her!! She looks so mature and beautiful. There were two photos from Rose but the second one was a blurry mess. Can't say photography is her strongest talent, but it means a lot to me, that she tries.


Here's my 'baby' Emmie - 


I wish I could guess how tall she is now, Rose is my height. That looks like a regular horse size halter on her too? Big and droopy so she hasn't grown a monster head at least. haha! She turns 4 July 30th. How time flies...

A few of the things I am absolutely DYING to do and see are her true and actual COLOR. I have never seen her summer coat with my own eyes. Isn't that awful? First it was the foal coat, then she went into her winter coat, began to shed and then went to Michigan. Since then I only saw her in her winter coat after that. 

Here's a random photo showing her chocolate color from the summer of (2008 ) her yearling year.

I am pretty sure she will be a different color than I am used to with Tiffany. Tiffany isn't as dark. 



 


I am also about to die of anticipation of seeing how TALL she is. Tiffany is pretty small but Emmie's sire is 15.1 according to his website. I'd love it if she wasn't as small as her mother. Also, I can't wait to actually see her with my own eyes, groomed and washed and trimmed.


She's in the worst pasture condition and I know that takes away from her overall appearance. Not to mention more than likely being OBESE. Once that is taken care of, I can really evaluate her conformation and suitabilities. So there's the list of things I'm waiting for, besides just getting to know her again. I have this fear that she's going to be a huge spoiled brat and we won't get along. It's a case of wait and see on all counts. 

I miss the little things

Posted by Heather on May 12, 2011 at 4:47 AM Comments comments (0)

Today is a rainy, dreary day and I'm still not out of my pajamas. It's entirely likely that I won't get out of them until bed time either. (nudie sleeper) I had a cup of coffee and now I'm feeling awake, but pensive. 

I was thinking about the some of the things I miss. 

I can't believe I've gone without horses or any of the work/chores related to them for so long. As much as the monotony of the barn chores can wear on a person, that routine is therapeutic. I'd much rather scrub buckets and weigh out feed than vacuum the house. I think every horse person is like that to a degree. Horse chores are by their nature, just more fun than people chores.

One of the things I miss is the smells. The smell of shavings and fresh hay, the tack room that smells like sweat and leather. The sweet smell of the feed room with all the buckets and bags of grain. I miss the smell of the horses and the sun heated wood of the barn. I miss the way the insects of summer sound, nothing like the humming buzz of the cicadas. 

I miss sitting hunched over on an upturned bucket with a pile of dirty strap goods to clean. The smell of saddle soap and leather, the grungy task of poking sweat out of buckle holes and scrubbing crusty bits of hay off of the bits. Wiping on the oil and setting to put things back together again. 

Sweeping the aisle was one of my favorite tasks too. I like that neat and tidy feeling that came with getting the daily dust out of the corners and looking back to admire my work. Stacking hay for the next day and being sure a pair of scissors was poked into a bale just where it should be. 

Standing in the barn when everyone is inside ... the chores are finished, just standing there. Listening to the munching of hay, swishing of tails and soft nickering. That is a peaceful place to be indeed. Bonus if a soft rain is falling. 

Mumbling, "Goodnight everyone, see you tomorrow" before I switched off the lights. 



In the beginning

Posted by Heather on May 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM Comments comments (1)

 

This is the first post for me so I guess I'll keep it short. I have a really interesting and blessed life. I can gladly look back on everything that has happened up until now and see that even in the worst times, I still have it really good. I have more than I deserve and more than I ask for, and I am grateful and humbled by everything. 

The next chapters of my life are going to be really, really exciting and I am about to burst from Joy. 

I'm still figuring out how to best use this site, but I plan to update fairly often at least when it comes to our move and planning the new house and barn. I can't write much about the horses until I'm at least in the same zip code as they are. At the very least I'll beg my mother in law, Rose, to send me updates and photos. 

The thing I'd like to note about today is that I found the original breeders of Tiffany! (Sparkling Trinity Run) I'm excited to share my site with them and maybe get some baby photos of Tiff and some pictures of her Sire and Dam. I was googling to dig up some info on her parents and kept getting kicked back to this one site where I found them mentioned. I took a chance and sent a short email. 

I got a response and it was a yes! How exciting. I got some details on the how and why of Tiffany's name and I feel like I've made a really good connection to some great Morgan people. I look forward to getting to know them and sharing my story and photos.