2012 - here it is! Another year flies by. Another year of ramblings, musings, analytical riding, and trying to figure out these darn horses.

Updated: April 30, 2012
March, 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tragedies abound

No, don't worry - no tragedies here! Tango and Corky both look 100% today. I think I will try to ride Corky on Tuesday and possibly get back to work with her. However, it seems like tragedies are flowing around friends of mine. I have a friend who has been in the hospital for 3 weeks, incommunicado, from a fall off of a horse. Another couple friends lost their farm and their horses in a devastating tornado on Friday. So much sadness and worry. I often wonder why so many bad things seem to happen to people who truly don't deserve it. It makes me want to get philosophical or religious...not going there here but it sure makes you think about your own life, doesn't it? Nothing more I can do but pray...

Tuesday, March 5, 2012

Finally I was able to ride Corky. It's been forever! I didn't longe her or anything - just turned her out while I cleaned stalls and then saddled up and hopped on. She was surprisingly good for having such a long vacation. I really do thin she is finally maturing and not needing as much consistent work to stay on her game. This is very good news for me because this summer is not looking like I will have any more free time than I did this past summer.

I kept the ride fairly simple and low key - just some trotting and cantering, simple transitions and big circles. I was very happy with the ride. If all goes well, I hope to haul her to Springfield in a couple weeks and ride around in the arena after the show is done. It's time to get her out riding in public again...it's been a long time!

Tango, on the other hand, is a different story. Tango without a day-to-day job is a jerkjerk. I have been trying to at least lead him around a bit each day and make him behave in my space, and he does OK with the chain over his nose. However, he knows when he is free, and the takes advantage of that. He has been bullying Corky terribly - badly enough that I am considering separating them (which would mean they would each get turnout only every other day, which I hate). He now is starting to try to bully ME and that is NOT acceptable,. I had to get after him today for grabbing at my arm...of course this resulted in a broken halter (it was that ugly green and orange one I got for $5 so no big loss!). It all just kind of put the sour on my mood tonight. I think for both of our sakes I am going to have to do some sort of work with him - something low key and low impact but something that makes him work so that he gets back into the obedient frame of mind. I am stretching my brain trying to come up with some ideas.

It's weird - today we reached the mid-50's. It has been a warm, warm winter (no, I am NOT complaining!). Both horses are shedding like mad. It's so early to shed! Hopefully we don't get a major cold spell after they are half shed out.

Wednesday, March 6, 2012

My ride on Corky was good today. Interestingly, Tango led out of his stall and out in the arena quietly, and behaved all day. I think yesterday's "argument" left an impression on him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I had another good ride on Corky - still keeping it low-impact and letting her get legged up again. She is getting a little heavy in the bridle. Both she and Tango are shedding like mad. It's awfully early to be shedding that hard, but this mild winter has everybody thinking spring EARLY!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What a gorgeous day! It was 60 degrees and sunny today, I am definitely thinking spring. Today I rode Corky in the twist, and she was as light as a feather. Because of this lightness, our ride improved tremendously. It was marvelous! I can always tell when she is a bit out of shape because I have to work a lot harder to keep that right shoulder up when cantering to the right. The twist lightened her enough so I didn't feel like I was holding her entire body up with my right rein. I feel really good about our rides - no more fighting and no more training "arguments"! My plan is to make this a quiet season where I ask and she gives and we live in perfect harmony. Don't laugh! We will see how it goes!

I decided that enough was enough - Tango needed to get back to feeling like he had a job. I will keep things easy and low-impact, but no more letting him run wild like a mustang! He has been getting more and more unruly with no work schedule. Today I saddled him, put a bit in his mouth (he accepted easily without any applesauce!) and walked him on the longe line for a little bit. we did a tiny bit of trotting on the long straightaways, but mainly we walked and reversed. Nice and easy, he was very quiet and it was neat to see him flip the switch and immediately settle down to work as soon as the saddle went on him. After we were done with our little 10 minute walk, he was as quiet as can be for the rest of the turnout time. This is definitely what he needs! I think I will do this maybe once a week or so, just enough to establish a work routine.

One thing I did notice with Tango today that although he hasn't grown a bunch (he is a shade over 16 hands at the hip but almost 3 inches shorter in the withers) he does look a lot more mature in the body. Look at this photo of him wearing the saddle. Suddenly he doesn't look like a little kid playing dress-up! His body is filling out and he is looking stronger.

I am on a mad search for a Weimaraner puppy that is born some time this month that I can take possession of as soon as school is out at the end of May. It's been a tough and long search. Looks like I am going to have to travel a bit to find a good one that is available. Days like today make me ache for a dog companion. Pasta and I would have had a great time today at the new property exploring the woods and running in the fields. I just think I was never meant to be without a dog.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today was a busy day - worked all day, had to pick up a new engine for my purple truck (named Ralph), and a meeting at work in the evening. I managed to squeeze in some stall cleaning. Tango seemed very lethargic when I turned him out today. He didn't even try to run around or pick on Corky. Either he is feeling sore or he is feeling ill. Either way it has me a little bit worried. We'll see how he is tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Glorious, gorgeous day! Mid 60's and sunny. Is this really mid-March in Ohio? Of course I rode Corky today. Even my ride was glorious. I ache to ride outside, I really hope things dry up enough that I might venture out this weekend. Corky needs to stretch her legs after a long winter of riding in the cramped indoor. /p>

Tango still seemed a little lethargic, but he is bright-eyed, just not very energetic. Maybe it is the sudden onset of warm weather? Both horses are shedding, though Corky has a much heavier coat and is shedding harder.

I'd like to introduce the newest member of my family. Um...I don't know exactly which one he is, but one of those puppies is going to be MINE and come home with me at the end of May. I am giddy with excitement! Soon my training diary will include dog training updates. I am actually crazy enough to consider showing him (the breeder is talking me into it). I know nothing about dog shows, but one thing I do know is that it will take a HECK of a lot less grooming than what I currently do to show hunter under saddle!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This weather is unbelievable!. It hit the mid-70's today, and the 10 day forecast shows 60';s and 70's every day. I can't wipe the smile off of my face!!!

Of course I rode Corky today. I think she is baffled by all the riding I am doing day after day. Gosh she is riding so well...I look forward to every moment in the saddle with her. We worked on some simple lead changes at a figure-8, and did some showmanship schooling when I was done riding. I worked her over good with the shedding blade, and then clipped her ears and gave her a bridle path again...and cut her reiner's mane. I realized that I hadn't clipped her or trimmed her mane since last May!!!! Her ear hair was long enough to be braided LOL!. I also washed and conditioned her tail. Tomorrow it will be Tango's turn. I hope he deals with the clippers OK, it's been a while.

On the agenda this weekend is riding with a friend on Sunday, and then next weekend I will probably haul to Springfield one evening to ride around in traffic after the show is over. Yeah, exciting...I know! :-]

Friday, March 16, 2012

I had a great short ride on Corky today (the arena was getting hard, didn't want to stress her feet). This is getting boring, isn't it? Blah blah blah, great ride on Corky again, blah blah blah. Yeah, but it's the kind of boring that I LIKE! No major problems (knock on wood), things are plugging along and getting better every day!

Today it was Tango's turn to be clipped and cleaned up. I brought him in Corky's stall (since hers is the double stall and near an outlet) and tied him to the wall. I was prepared for battle, so of course he stood practically like a rock the entire time I clipped his hears, bridle path, and legs. He raised his head a few times when I clipped his right ear (that ear is more sensitive for some reason), but other than that he was a gem. I love it when I prepare for the worst and get the best. It's a reward for being a pessimist!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day! The weather has continued in the 70's, and it's been an amazing few weeks of March! Today when I was done cleaning stalls I decided to comb and cut tango's mane. No biggie, right? I mean, the guy just had his ears clipped yesterday and couldn't care less! Well, he did NOT like having his mane cut or combed. I know that cutting mane hair doesn't hurt, but he kept jerking his head away and moving back and forth while tied to the wall. I finally had to untie him, put the chain over his nose, and have a friend hold him. Once I did that, he stood like a rock. Go figure. Now both Corky and Tango have clipped ears and respectable manes. Tomorrow my plan is to haul over and ride at a friend's place (with a nice outdoor arena) if the weather is good. I am jealous of those people with nice big sand outdoor arenas. If only....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I hauled Corky over to a friend's place to ride in their big sand outdoor arena. The weather was warm, but windy with storm clouds scudding by. Corky was wound up!!!! I had to longe her quite a bit. Eventually I just got on and rode her through it. It was frustrating for a while, because I had really hoped we were beyond the 'losing marbles in a new place' stage. However, I thought back to all those successful rides I had at Darla's these past months, and most notably that ride in January when we rode outside and she was so awesome. The thing I needed to remember was to trust her, give her some rein and don't try to over-control every stride. BINGO! I trusted her, and forced myself to relax and ride her like I ride her every day at home. She relaxed, and suddenly our ride did a 180 degree turn and was great! OK, took me long enough but I think I finally learned something about my horse and the way I ride.

The true test will be riding around next weekend at Springfield. Corky HATES that arena. I might try plugging her ears to see if that helps.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Today was a tragic day at our barn. Last night my friend's 2yo filly (by Hot Ones Only) got cast in her stall, and ended up with severe head injuries and a badly broken shoulder. The vet had to put her down. Just another example of how fragile these darn horses are! Both Corky and Tango seemed very quiet and subdued today. I know they witnessed everything, and I often wonder just how much horses understand about life and death. Does this event make them worry about their own lives? I wish I could read their minds and see what they see.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mid 80's for March in Ohio? Great temps for the first day of spring! Being a heatmeister, I LOVE this weather. This afternoon I spent most of my time unloading 60 bales of shavings. I hope this lasts a long long time. Kind of disheartening to spend what equals several months of grocery money on something for my horses to poop on.

I spent some time talking to my friend today who lost her 2yo the other night. I went home, bit the bullet, and filled out an application for an insurance policy on Corky. Morbid, depressing, and a bit scary...I had insurance on her years ago but let it lapse. Now I am afraid I can't afford to NOT have insurance. I went with Markel. I hope that was a good choice. They seemed to work well with my friend in her situation. I will be highly depressed if I get dozens of messages from this diary about disaster stories with Markel. I will just try and be confident that I did the right thing.

OK, so let's do the math here. Multiple thousands of dollars on a new engine for my truck, big money for a required graduate course I need to renew my teaching license this coming year, ridiculous money on a big supply of shavings, and now an insurance policy on my horse. All within 10 days. I am now accepting donations of pretzels and spaghetti. Please send quickly!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I had a productive ride on Corky today. About halfway through the ride she decided to start surging on her own. I used my legs to slow her down, and pulled her to a stop a few times to give her the message clearly. We ended the ride with some successful canters at MY speed, which is always good!

Since it was in the mid-80's today and both of my horses are barely even halfway through shedding out, everyone was covered in sweat. This meant everyone got a good hosing down outside. Corky first - the water ran off her body in a dark brown color! Tango wasn't quite so dirty, but I was more worried about how he would stand for a hosing. He actually stood really well - I had no trouble with him at all. Always a surprise, that one is. I have been putting off the sheath cleaning. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe Friday. Maybe Saturday LOL!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tango was in a very playful mood today, so I tossed out his ball (mainly to keep him from "playing" with poor Corky!). He raced around playing, jumping, and spinning - all 100% sound. I tied him to the wall for a bit, then decided to put him on the longe line just for a few rounds to see how he looked. I was very happy with what I saw! As he is maturing in the body, his movement is cleaning up and looking stronger and nicer than ever. I can tell he will be one that will get a LOT better as he gets older, so I need to try not to rush things in getting him ready to show as a 3yo. He just may not be ready! I keep telling myself that it is OK if he doesn't show right away as a three. I have to keep his long term health and soundness foremost in my mind.

I rode Corky today, and it was so weird how we started out. She had been turned loose in the arena while I cleaned stalls, and she trotted and ran around with Tango. When I got on her after saddling, it was like her whole body was so stiff she couldn't move her legs forward. I had to urge her hard to move forward into a walk, and for the first 6-7 strides it was like her legs were tied to a board. Eventually she loosened up, and we had a really good ride overall. She did loosen up, but she never got completely loose in my opinion. It was like she was ever so slightly stiff all over for some reason. Rather than push the issue, I quit riding after about 20 minutes. It might be just one of those stiff, icky days for her. Possibly the temperature changes affected her. Yesterday it was 85 degrees, today it was about 65 and rainy. I will try again tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I decided against hauling Corky to Springfield to ride today. I just have way too much work to do since I am leaving tomorrow to chaperone a class trip to New York City. It's going to be a busy week! I did manage to squeeze in a good ride on Corky today. She is still a bit stiff-feeling. I tried stretching her legs, and she about fell over when I pulled her front leg forward. I am thinking maybe a chiropractor visit is due. ugh...I need to schedule the chiro, the equine dentist, and the vet for her vaccinations and Coggins. That's a lot of appointments to try to fit in (not to mention MONEY). When I was done riding, I did some showmanship practice. I brought my 'real' camera out and took some pictures as Tango frolicked with the ball today.

Tango is intent on chasing that ball down!

Tango runs over the ball...

Tango gets a hold of the ball and flings it over his head.

Tango first being nice to Corky...

Tango picking on Corky!

Corky, my beautiful girl.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lots of excitement at our barn while I was away - 2 foals born (owned by friends of mine). Luckily there was no excitement with my horses. Excitement = disaster in my case LOL! Today I finally had time to get some stuff done. I saddled up Corky to ride, got about a 5 minute ride in before I had to get off when someone else came out to work their horse and got into a fight with him...I didn't want to risk being in the saddle if the other horse got loose.

Tango is looking more and more mature, body-wise. I measured him today - he grew a smidge. 15'3" at the withers and 16'1" at the hip. Still two inches off! I wonder what he will look like when (if) he evens out. He has not been even since the day he was born. I really hope he just isn't programmed to stay 2-3 inches off. I think I will start him back to work soon - just a light work program of saddling and ground driving. I will keep the longeing to a minimum, and probably won't get back in the saddle until May or so. He needs a job! He was very impatient being tied to the wall today while I rode. You can always tell when I am gone for a few days - the horses turn into wild mustangs! Time to get back into a regular program...whatever that is.

April, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wonderful day!. Corky was great - I am working on getting her more comfortable going off the rail and doing circles and serpentines while keeping her frame and her legs consistent. My goal is to be able to do a circle off the rail at the exact same speed, tempo, and frame as if she was traveling on the rail. I am still worried about how incredibly stiff she is at the start of each ride. When I have her tied and am grooming or saddling her, she stands really weird - with her back feet and front feet way underneath her (like she is standing on a pedestal). She has been standing like that for the past year or so - I am not sure what that means. Once I get her moving at the trot, she loosens up and looks great, but she starts off as if her muscles are completely locked up, and this is after she has been turned out for a half hour or more while I clean stalls. Puzzling.

Today Tango re-entered the workforce, on a limited basis. He got saddled up and briefly longed. You know, Tango is usually either black or white for me - some days I LOVE his movement and some days my stomach churns. Today I watched him - huge floaty stride that skimmed the ground - I was thrilled! Maybe, just maybe he will be one that is worth waiting for. He does have his moments! He longed quietly and calmly. I put the long line son him and did some ground driving at the walk - did circles, changes of direction, and even backed. He went around as if we had been doing this every day, and he did it with just a fingertip touch of the reins. It was fantastic. I would have never guessed he would be this good after more than a month and a half of nothing but turnout. My plan is to do minimal work like this with him maybe once a week or so, and then when I feel he is strong enough (probably June?) I will get back on his back. My plans change daily, so who knows what I will really do?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Corky's initial stiffness is worrying me. Today I longed her a bit after saddling her to loosen her up. She was a lot less stiff under saddle, but I am still wondering what the deal is about how she stands at the tie ring. She stands with her feet way underneath her, and she ONLY seems to stand that way when she is tied at the rail. When she is out loose, she stands normal. I took a few pics (will upload later) - She is less severe with the way she stands after I rode her, but it is still strange. The photos will show what I am talking about, maybe someone out there has an idea? I would guess that maybe she is sore somewhere, but quite honestly she has never moved better - shows ZERO signs of soreness (other than being stiff at the beginning) and is going around quite happily right now. If she had the least inkling of pain, she would let the world know! Another thing I am thinking about is that when she is stiff like this, it is REALLY hard to get her back feet up to pick her hooves out. Once again, she is obviously better after being ridden. I have never dealt with a horse that is so stiff, and it's been that way for the past year or so.

Other than that, our ride was good. I worked a bit on setting the speed and tempo of her trot - doing a collected sitting trot, regular working trot, and extended trot...and mixing up the three and seeing how well she listened. She did pretty darn good. I am going to work on this a bunch this month, eventually translating this to the canter also.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I am sitting here trying to figure out why I am having such GREAT rides on Corky this year. Granted, we haven't gone anywhere much other than to Darla's and some other low-key places a few times, but still! Corky seems so much happier - she travels willingly with hear ears up most of the time (other than a few of those darn transitions where I have to use a lot of leg!). A big part of me believes that it has to do with the fact that aside from one or two instances, we have NOT gotten in big battles this year. It's not that I am not asking for her to work hard - I am making her do things that are tough and that she doesn't really like, but instead of anticipating the problem and stressing over the solution, I am just riding. Maybe taking a year off from the show pen not only helped her, but helped me also. Without the stress of a particular dhow to aim for, I am not worrying over every little detail of my rides. I ride, I ask, if I run into a problem I fix it in a quiet way and just move on. Corky is way more relaxed, and seems a lot more willing to work now that she doesn't have the periodic battles to contend with. I effectively removed the fight out of both of us! It's a good feeling.

Today I threw a pole on the ground and did some work over it just to change things up a bit. We worked a lot off the rail, went over the pole at all three gaits and sidepassed both ways over it. It was a nice change of pace and gave Corky something else to focus on. Once again...it was a wonderful ride. These good rides are awesome to live through, but I am sure they are boring to read about. Oh well, too bad! :-]

Her initial stiffness is still worrying me. The way she stands at the tie rail is definitely worrying me. She has been like this for over a year, but for some reason it's now starting to bother me. I don't dare post the picture here, I am sure someone will freak out and say how she looks as if she is in pain...but she just stands that way ONLY when tied to the rail. She stands normal out on her own in the arena or when I practice showmanship. I just don't get it. I am putting a call into a chiropractor tomorrow. Maybe that will shed some light on things. A part of me wants to do the ostrich method and bury my head in the sand - she is riding awesome and I don't want to go looking for trouble. However, I tend to be far more proactive with my horses than I do with my truck, so I will investigate further.

Farrier appointment tomorrow - I am interested to see how that butchered front foot trims up and whether he finds and lingering signs of the white line disease. Hoping and praying NOT!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Farrier appointment today! It looks like Corky still has a touch of a white line issue in her foot. It looks to be more off to the inside towards the heel. My farrier dug it out a little bit and I medicated it. If it still looks to be affected at the next trimming, he will have to cut a significant portion out and then have to rebuild the hoof to hold a shoe. I hope and pray this won't be the case.

Tango stood really well for the farrier today. It helps that his knees are not hurting anymore. He was in a lot of knee pain from the epyphesitis at the last farrier appointment and it made him not want to stand well.

Well, I have a chiropractor appointment scheduled for Corky at the end of the month. Tomorrow I am heading to Cincinnati to meet my new puppy! I wont get to take him home yet since he is only 4 weeks old right now, but I am excited to meet him and see the breeder's other dogs.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I drove to Cincinnati to meet the litter of Weimaraner puppies! there are 2 boys and 2 girls, and one of those boys is MINE (I already named him "Pretzel"!). I can't wait to bring him home...he will be coming at the end of May. So long to wait...

ON my way home I stopped to clean stalls. I debated over skipping the stall cleaning since I spent so many hours on the road and was feeling lazy, but I talked myself into being a good horse owner and stopped at the barn. I was happy to see that Corky didn't look at all sore today. That's good news!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It was such a gorgeous day outside, I decided to make an attempt to ride outside. Keep in mind that we don't have a 'real' outdoor arena here - just an area of mowed grass that isn't fenced in. I took Corky outside to longe her first. The neighbor was in his driveway running his saw, the breeze was blowing, and Corky was W-I-L-D! I longed her for a while but was really worried about her grabbing her shoes, especially the one that isn't on very well due to the white line disease. I brought her back inside to ride. Wimpy? Yes, I guess I am! You know, 2 years ago I would have hopped on and bullied my way through our ride, but today I am feeling more cautious, and I don't want to kill the trust we have. I will get her outside gradually.

I set up my video camera to record my ride. It was a great ride - her ears were up and she was happy! I was so disappointed to find out my camera battery went dead after one trot pass so I got nothing recorded. I really want to see how she looks right now. She feels phenomenal, but you know how off perceptions can be sometimes. After my ride I unsaddled her and took her back outside and let her graze where I longed her. She was much more relaxed. I will do this for a while, let her relax outside before trying to get any real work done. I wish I had a nice sand outdoor, with a fence! Longeing on grass is so risky because no matter how dry, they tend to slip a little when they start carrying on.

After Corky was done, I brought Tango outside on the longe line. I know better than to let him graze, because once I let him graze on the longe line he will become a real pain and try to do it every time. As it was he tried very hard to keep snatching grass. I kept him at a walk most of the time, just let him stay quiet and observe the neighborhood. He was very calm...wide-eyed but calm. He tensed up a few times at the sound of the saw and broke into a trot. Ye gads, his trot looks horrible when he is tense! I can see my number one goal when getting ready to show him is to keep him relaxed and loose.

My plan is to hopefully haul Corky to that huge indoor I went to last spring and ride on their open ride night on Monday. I'd like to get her in a big arena and see how things go.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I hauled over to that big indoor arena to ride tonight. It started off really well - there were about 6 or 7 people riding, everyone was respectful, and although Corky was a little bit lookey she handled the traffic with ears up and we started getting some really good training accomplished. Her canters were getting really forward, and the longer I rode the more forward they got. It was getting a bit uncomfortable. It was the typical snowball effect when I ride her - she starts surging out of control, and when I take hold of her either via the reins or my legs she gets angry and surges more...and on and on and on. I was just starting a plan of action with her to try some circles and serpentines so that she couldn't surge hard on the long rail...and then the barrel racers showed up. 12-15 of them, some of them incredibly rude and out of control (and deliberately trying to run me down in my English saddle...gee buddy THANKS, your horsemanship skills are SO impressive!). It all went to hell in a handbasket after that. I stayed on her, I rode her through it, made her stop and watch the action for a while from the middle of the arena...walked circles, did a little trotting (on the edge of control), even a little cantering for short spurts...but I had been on her over an hour by this time and she was exhausted in the body (mind was still a-whirlin'!). So...it was a rather unsatisfying ride. I never got to ride though the issues and solve them, so I am left with the worry that the issues are all still there lurking under the surface to come out at every crowded horse show. I get such incredible perfect rides at home, but those are useless to a show horse! Now what????

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today was Tango's turn. Saddled, put the bridle on, longed him for about 5 minutes (he was about perfect!) and then ground drove him. I did a little ground driving at the trot...man I can't keep up with him anymore, his stride has gotten so big! I almost did a face plant trying to run in the lumpy dirt in my boots. That would have been bad (along with embarrassing since there were actually people around!). I am sooooooo tempted to climb up on him next week. I talked about it, mulled over it in my mind, debated, still not sure what I will do. One thing I WILL do is start riding Corky outside! the outdoor dirt riding track has finally been dug up and is ready to ride as long as it stays dry outside. That's my plan for Sunday...should be a wild ride!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It turned out to be a gorgeous day. I started off riding Corky in the indoor. I had a friend video my short ride to see what she looked like. After my ride I took her outside and longed her a bit. Like usual, she started off fairly quiet, but then something set off her mind and she raced around. She jigged when I led her back to the barn, she was all wired up and tense. That is the number one problem I have with her and if I could solve it, we would be a massive team. When something sets her mind off, there is NO way to get it back. No matter what you do, once her mind goes off she is DONE for the day and everything from riding to simple brushing makes her nervous. I can go an entire ride with zero problems, but if one little thing fries her mind, she is DONE. This has blown so many classes I can't even count the number. I need to make it a priority to figure out just HOW to get her mind back, and quickly enough to have a successful show. But how? I tried hand-galloping her like Darla suggested but that seems to rev up her mind even more. Longeing doesn't help, because she just works herself up into a frenzy and gets worse. I am open for suggestion, because I need ideas!

When I got home and watched the video from my ride, I was not totally thrilled with what I saw. Granted, it was right at the beginning of our ride and we only rode for about 10 minutes, but she looked a little stiff and didn't seem to have the flow I like about her. Plus every so often she looked maybe a hair off on the front end. I am wondering if that white line disease is starting to hurt her. Maybe it isn't all cleared up like I had hoped????

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I was determined to ride Corky outside today. First I free-longed bnoth her and Tango in the indoor. They were very revved up and raced around the arena for quite a while. After that, I tacked Corky up and headed outside to longe her. She was bothered by seeing the mare and foal out in the paddock for some reason, but then I could tell she was in that kind of mood where everything was going to bother her. I should have quit right then, but no....I kept on. I longed her for a while outside, longing her in every corner of the track and trying to get her mind to settle. When I thought she was somewhat settled, I hopped on. We did a lot of walking and a little trotting, but she was getting higher and higher. Although I swore I wouldn't, after about 15 minutes I got off her and put her back on the longe line, where she ran around like an idiot. I got back on her, did a little walking and trotting, and finally gave up and took her back inside to finish our ride. On the walk back to the indoor, she was leaping at everything! I really got after her then, because enough is enough! Our ride inside was not good, once again she was un0saveable after she lost her brain outside. I am so frustrated with this. I need to find the key to her mental state but I can't find it no matter what I try. She needs to learn to adapt and to come down off her "high" when something sets her off, but how?

I left the barn feeling very down and frustrated. It seems I really made ZERO progress in the past few years in regards to this issue. I felt like all that work and riding and thinking I have been doing about this has gone completely to waste. Now what???

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back outside we went today, but my patience level was a lot higher this evening. I longed Corky a bit, then got on and mainly just walked her all over. I did a tiny bit of trotting, but mainly we walked. When I was done, I got off, took her bridle off, and let her graze. Tonight's lesson was all about keeping our ride pleasant and stress-free, with a little bit of a reward at the end. She was on edge, but since I didn't push the issue and just walked around, we didn't really have an issue. Not sure if this was the right thing to do, but it was the right thing for me at this moment!

Friday, April 20, 2012

I rode inside today. We had a fairly decent ride. I did some hand-galloping, and then asked her to rock back into a regular working canter. It was a bit rough. This is something we need to work on a lot, and it is a way to get a little bit of her adrenaline going inside even when nothing is bothering her. Maybe this is a training tool I can use to find the key to bringing her mental state down when she gets revved up?

Today one of our age-old problems reared it's head again - her ultra-sensitiveness to my legs on her sides. She got a bit angry when I started putting leg pressure on her, and I had to revert back to my old method of over-exaggerating my legs on her side and just forcing her to get over it. Generally when I hit upon a day when she is in that mood, she is usually a bit less willing and more resistant to training in general. This was true today, though we rode through it and had a decent ride.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The temperature dropped a good 30 degrees today! I hate these crazy temperature fluctuations in the spring. Tonight was Tango's turn. After he played during turnout, it was saddle time. He was a little hesitant about taking the bit today. He and Corky had their teeth floated last weekend, and he had his wolf teeth pulled, so maybe he was remembering the sensitivity? I longed him for about 10-15 minutes. At times he looked decent, other times he looked gawky and awkward. Typical 7/8 thoroughbred two year old!

I did some ground driving. At first, Tango majorly over-reacted to the bit pressure when I went to turn him. He flung his head, hopped up and down in the front end, and inverted his neck. I kept my hands quiet and kept asking and he dropped down and gave to the bit. After that, he was perfect - we did circles and changes of direction and he was great. We did some trotting, and as I trotted him in a circle and was running slightly to the side of him, I got a good look at how he was moving. When I ground drive him, Tango seems to like to drop his neck down and carry it level, and let me tell you it looked great at the trot! He looks so much better when his head and neck are flat and relaxed. Watching him on the longe line makes me realize now that he really isn't a "longe liner". He isn't totally comfortable on the line. He travels very upright on the longe line, and it isn't really indicative of his true movement. Some horses are like that. I have a friend with a really nice HUS horse that looks like a misshapen giraffe on the longe line. I guess I probably did Tango a disservice by showing him in longe line last year - he didn't look his best...but it was fun doing it (and that's what counts!) plus it was great experience for him.

Taking a good hard look at my finances tonight was a bit depressing. Buying a new property and attempting to renovate it, plus dumping $5,000 in repairs on my truck, it's been getting harder and harder to make ends meet. I really should consider putting Tango up for sale. I need the money, and paying for the board and upkeep on only one horse would really help me out a lot. I looked at him tonight, wondering if there was anyone out there that could look beyond his awkwardness and see the potential he has. Then I looked down at his left front foot. That is why I will have a hard time selling him! That little white triangle on his foot that matches the one Taylor had...different foot but similar triangle. It will be HARD to sell my only remaining link to Taylor. It's a lot to think about right now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tango and Corky were full of it tonight. I let them run like wild horses in the indoor, and then I took Corky out just for longeing outside. She was calmer than last week, but she kept whinnying and whinnying for Tango. Over and over and over again, it was hard to get her to pay attention to me. the only time she stopped calling out was when I let her graze for a bit.

When i was done with her, I turned her back out in the indoor and took Tango outside. Tango was VERY on edge outside...kept leaping and darting at everything. It didn't help that there was a good 40mph wind blowing. The whole time I had Tango outside (we kept mainly to a walk) Corky was inside just whinnying and hollering like crazy. I can't believe as irksome as Tango is to her that she could miss him that much when they are separated. I see a new problem in our future. I think I need to start separating them. When I was done outside, I brought Tango back in and turned him out in the indoor, and put Corky back in her stall. Hopefully this doesn't become a new issue. we haven't even solved our old issues yet!!!

In honor of Tango's upcoming birthday on Friday (he turns 2!), I compiled some video clips from the past few weeks:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I longed Corky outside again today, she was better than she has been, though she did whinny for Tango a lot (Tango the darn stinker started whinnying back!) I got on and trotted one full lap around, but the wind gusts were SO bad it was hard to breathe when riding into the wind. We ended up going inside and doing a quick, but excellent ride indoors. Eventually the weather and my horse will cooperate and I will have a good ride outside...maybe!

I am a little worried about Corky's foot. Every now and then it feels like she is taking a slightly gimpy step. It's so slight it's hard to tell. I could just be feeling paranoid, but I am not sure. I started thinking about this afterwards...what if that white line disease is still present and doing more damage behind the hoof wall? I have been medicating it, but maybe the medicine isn't getting to where the infection is located??? I also worry about her incredible stiffness, though I am hoping our chiropractor appointment on Monday will solve that issue. Aw heck, it wouldn't be right if I didn't have something to worry about, right?

Monday, April 30, 2012

I spent the weekend in Kentucky watching the Rolex 3-Day Event with some friends. We had tickets for the cross country. It was pretty impressive! There is nothing like seeing an event like that live.

Today I hauled Corky to a friend's place where the chiropractor was coming. As I figured, Corky needed quite a bit of work done. He worked on her for over an hour (though he spent a lot of time talking LOL!). He noticed how tight she was in the pelvis, making her stand camped under. I don't know if this was the miracle cure, but when I brought her home and turned her out she had the loosest walk I have seen in months. It definitely helped her...the question is will it help her long term or will we have to go right back in a week or two?

Today was also vaccination and Coggins day. Both Corky and Tango got the 6-way plus rabies and intranasal strangles. Hopefully this time we will not have any bad reaction to the vaccine. There is always that worry.

My plan is to possibly haul Corky to an open show this weekend. We might just do showmanship as I don't know if her foot is good enough to attempt a riding class...I would hate to have her suddenly looking lame in the class. I will probably just do showmanship and then ride her around the crowds for experience. Hopefully the weather will hold out! Corky hasn't been in the show pen in almost 2 years, so let the re-training begin!

Speaking of re-training, I think I will try and get on Tango tomorrow if all goes well. It's time to re-break him (or see how much he remembers from our last breaking episode).