Monday, February 8, 2010

Triple Play Saturday!

Grab a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of wine.... this is going to be a lengthy post! It will be long because that is how my Saturday was. In fact, I think I overdid it! It was a back-to-back event packed day. As a result, I woke up Sunday morning with a bad headache that left me on the couch all day. I suppose our bodies let us know we need to rest up when we've pushed them to their limits.

First off Saturday morning, I had my second lesson. No pictures again, I'm sorry. I rode the Steady Eddie. This time, he showed some spunk for a 25 year old! I'm still working on leg positioning. I lose a stirrup from time to time. My instructor had me do an exercise where she put me on the longe line, had me drop the reins, and post with my hands on my hips.

I still need to build leg strength and that will just take time in the saddle. I also need to relax at the lope. The good thing is I know when everything feels right and is the way it is supposed to be, I just can't hold it there very long. My instructor said that when my legs go haywire, I correct them on my own. She said I am doing really well.

Next week, she's probably putting me on Zoe. Zoe is a Saddlebred mare. My first Saddlebred! I'm shakin' in my paddock boots!

I left my lesson and headed up to meet a friend and her daughter at a different stable. My friend is looking for a horse for her high school aged daughter. Her daughter has been riding and taking lessons for 10 years, showing in 4-H, pony club, and wants a hunter to finish out her 4-H years with and then take to college.

They had looked at a mare last weekend but she was acting "sketchy." She hadn't been turned out or worked much and the owner was struggling with her behavior starting from the grooming session to the ride. In fact, my friend's daughter didn't even want to ride her. But they wanted to go back and try her again. I learned all this via Facebook and offered to tag along and give my opinion.

I looked up the mare's ad. For once, a for sale ad that was nice. Great pictures and video of the horse. She was priced well and looked really nice. She is a young off-the-track Thoroughbred. She's been in training and has done some jumping.

When we got to the stable, my friend's daughter brought the mare out of her stall and took her to the grooming area. When walking behind the mare, I noticed she seemed to be stepping different on her left hind. In fact, it even made a different sound (she's barefoot) on the concrete. I second guess myself though, and always think I am imagining these things. The mare was really fussy in the cross ties. She was very sensitive about her flank and her skin being groomed in general, and often pinned her ears and turned her head in an attempt to nip. I am not used to seeing a horse act like this. Then again, I think I'm biased because My Boy stands like a marble statue for grooming! The comment was that this grooming and tacking up session was much better than last weekend's!

My friend's daughter longed the mare a bit. I noticed the mare still seemed to be off a bit on that left hind. I mentioned it to my friend and she said something to the owner, who said it was because she was going in such small circles.

The owner could not ride because she'd injured her foot. I think my friend's daughter was a bit nervous to ride, but she did. She walked and trotted. The major issue was the mare's head. She constantly chomped her bit, lifted and tilted her head to the side. She seemed really uncomfortable. I had noticed this a little in the sale video, although it was not this bad.

The owner said she needed her teeth done. It seemed like that could be part of the issue, but it also seemed the mare just hadn't learned to give to the bit fully, which could be worked on.

After my friend's daughter rode, I bravely offered to ride her as well, so she could watch someone else ride her. I donned the daughter's helmet and climbed aboard. Goodness, where am I finding this bravery? I think it's my lessons!

That head tossing and bit chomping was not pleasant. I was able to push her into a trot and she'd start up with the raised sideways head. At her owner's suggestion, I'd put pressure on her reins until she'd drop it, and at some point she would. I'd immediately give her release. My friend and daughter said that when she dropped her head, she looked amazing. Unfortunately, the head did not stay down very long. Please ignore my form in this camera phone photo, I have no idea why my arm position is so awful.

I walked and trotted her, and tried some side passing along the arena wall. Other than the head issue, I felt like she was a nice mover and fairly level-headed. There was a lot of activity around the barn and arena and it didn't seem to phase her. She was a very likeable, smart horse.

This mare is so beautiful, it's hard to see past it. Her eye is big and kind, her face distinctly Thoroughbred. She's petite and elegant at 15.3 hh. I think she needs to mature a bit, and is definitely green, but has potential. I think my friend's daughter could go far with her once the mare was finished in her training.

The owner said that they can come back and ride the mare anytime, and take lessons on her, to determine it is a good fit. I suggested that they also go see as many other horses as they can. This will help them eliminate their must-haves and can't-stands. They aren't in a huge rush to find a horse, they have until this spring to claim what horse the daughter is taking to the fair in 4-H.

Next on my list, I needed to see my own horse! I decided riding was out of the question since I'd already ridden two horses and pushed my poor leg muscles to the limit!

It was an unseasonable warm afternoon. And it was sunny! Everyone on the farm was dozing and lazy in their fuzzy winter coats, including My Boy. That apple molasses treat ball I got him for his birthday? Um, yea. He is now wearing it on his face.

And it won't come off. Note to self- treat balls in the winter are not a good idea. Unless I shave down his muzzle hair first. Oh well, it will wear off or I'll have to wash it or shave it.

On the longe line, My Boy seemed a little off when trotting to the right. I found nothing visibly wrong. He is often "off" in the hind, due to the beginning stages of arthritis in his hocks (I had a chiropractor evaluate him a couple of years ago when I noticed this. She called him a grade 1/5 lameness.) In the past, it is typically his left that was worse, which you see him resting in the photo here.

The chiropractor that evaluated him a said that he compensates on the right for that left, which means the right will also have problems at some point. Or, it's possible he tweaked himself in the pasture somehow. I'll keep an eye on it and have the vet or chiropractor out if he continues to favor it or it gets worse. He hasn't been longed out in two weeks. I didn't give him any bute as I didn't want him to feel better and go on a bucking spree in the mud and injure himself. Also, if he suddenly got worse, I didn't want him to have anything in his system if I had to have the vet out.

My day wasn't over. After tucking My Boy in with his dinner, I rushed home and got ready to meet a friend for the movie "Dear John." Dang that Nicholas Sparks! You think I'd have learned my lesson from "The Notebook," which took me two days to recover from. This one was good too, I think the relationship between the main character and his father was what particularly got me. Horses do crop up in a few teeny tiny parts of the movie, too. The other main character, Savannah, has a dream to have a program for autistic children to work with horses.

I talked to Paint Girl this evening and she gave me some scoop on the beginning of her Scottsdale Arabian adventure, so I will be posting over there for her tomorrow night.

I hope you all had wonderful weekends!


  1. Sounds like you had a very exciting weekend!! See you next weekend!

  2. Sounds like a huge day! I would say trust your eyes on that mare ,if you noticed she was of walking out of the barn and while longing ,she is off. The head tossing etc could be green horse stuff or a response to pain.You gae your friends good advise saying they should look at as many as possible.That said she does look like a pretty girl

  3. Oh my, can I just say a BIG DITTO to the "I need to build leg strength and that will just take time in the saddle. I also need to relax at the lope. The good thing is I know when everything feels right and is the way it is supposed to be, I just can't hold it there very long. My instructor said that when my legs go haywire, I correct them on my own." Ditto, ditto ditto! lol. It is frustrating eh? Your brain knows what it needs to do but I just dont have the strength to hold it there. Breathing helps too... which leads to a more relaxed canter. congrats on your lessons!! Hope to hear more about them.

    I watched Dear John over the weekend... my Mom and sis didnt like it but I did...there was something there that really got to me between the Dad and John. I am thinking of reading the book now! lol

    Have a good week:)

  4. Just a few thoughts on the sale horse...
    1- the grooming behavior. TBs are quite often more sensitively skinned than your typical stock bred horse. I know I use softer brushes and a lighter touch with my TB mare than I do with my Appy and QH geldings.
    2- the head. Could be teeth, especially as she is young. Could simply be lack of training. You did mention she is off the track and green.
    3- your arms. NONE of us are 100% perfect in our equitation 100% of the time so don't sweat it. Also it looks, to me at least, like that may have been one of the moments you were trying to get her head down.
    4- She is a pretty thing but that hind, well it could be nothing or it could be sign of something more serious. If I were your friend and decided to persue the mare I'd get a vet check and make sure to mention that leg.

  5. What an exciting day you had! Wonderful. Of course, waking up with a headache the next day isn't funny, good that it was a Sunday...
    That thoroughbred mare looks really nice.
    If I would be interested in buying that horse, I would tell the owner to have someone come and do the teeth before I would ride her again.
    I think that too many people don't realize how important good teeth are for a horse. They are very important for the horses balance. How? Well, to be able to move balanced the horse needs to be able to move the tongue (it works kinda like the tail-balancing with a dog or cat). When the tongue is not able to "balance out" in the mouth (because of sharp edged teeth or a non fitting bit - or simply because the mouth of the horse is tied together by a tight noseband!!) it affects the entire body.
    The tongue is attached to the Hyoid Apparatus, who is connected to the horses neck, spine all the way back to the last tail bone.
    I am guessing that the mare might also have blockages in her back and it would be interesting to let someone look at her.
    She might also have a problem with the saddle.
    All I want to say is that that head shaking problem has a cause and that needs to be fixed before anyone should try to train her head down.
    Horses are showing us their problems and it is up to "us" (riders/owners/trainers) to find out if it is "the horse" or non fitting equipment or us...
    I used to have a thoroughbred mare, I really miss her a lot! She had such a big heart and I loved her dearly.
    Sorry for this long comment...
    I am happy for you that the lesson went so well, I am looking forward to read about your first ride on a Saddlebred!

  6. That certainly was a busy day. I think I'd have spent the next day on the couch too. Pretty mare, but there are a lot of pretty mares out there.

  7. It was a long day but filled with horses so that made it fun!

    Good job on lesson #2! Hopefully you can walk okay now... :) I have trouble at the lope too. Canter I'm okay but I bounce too much at the lope. My 23 year old trainer tells me to loosen my 47 year old hips. Uh huh.

    The check, vet check, vet check!! A good vet should be able to tell you if her teeth are bothering her even if he doesn't float them - you can feel the sharp spots and know if they are hitting sensitive spots or interfering with her bit. And the hind leg...could be it was just a bad day and she'd slipped somewhere or it could be a lot worse. Your friend's daughter sounds like a strong rider but she'll never do well on a horse she's afraid to ride.

    Good luck!

  8. What a busy day! I will look forward to hearing how your lesson with Zoe goes. I am obviously biased to Saddlebreds but I think you will really enjoy the gaits a lot. They are super smooth:)

  9. {HBFG}~ Interesting information about the tongue! I didn't know that.
    My friend is definitely going to request the teeth being done and a vet check, she told me that before I was going to suggest it. I reminded her that this mare has not sold quickly, and, if they bought her and there was a problem with her health or the behavior was too much, think of how hard it would be to turnaround and sell her in this market.

    {cdnCowgirl}~ Yep, TB's have more sensitive skin, I did say something laughingly to her owner about that as she was turning to (threaten) a cranky bite to my friend's daughter. You could tell she was really ticklish and her behavior was reflecting that during grooming, because otherwise she was fine to handle from the ground.

  10. It sounds like you had a fun day! Good for you on the bravery part - I need a little of that too.

    I think your form on the T-bred looked great - you were schooling the horse (with her head anyway), so of course you're not going to look like you're riding in equitation.

    Your Boy is so darn cute! I just love his eyes and the goop on his muzzle made me laugh - he seems like he has alot of character.

    Can't wait to hear about your next lesson!

  11. It was a busy day, wasn't it? I fell for a TB mare's looks, but she turned out to be all wrong for me, but that's not to say they're all like that. I would want to see her ridden outside, too, and with lots of spooky machinery/cars going past her. Well done for riding two in one day, no wonder you had to rest on Sunday! I love My Boy's face. Max looked like that once when he got hold of a solid molasses likit, and really went to work on it. Trouble was, it wasn't his, and I had to buy a replacement!

  12. I ditto the vet check. I always do it with my horses. But what may be even better is have an experienced farrier look at her--one that is a seasoned horse-person--or an excellent trainer. I have two people--my farrier and my old trainer--that can tell me everything I need to know about any horse. Sounds like your chiropractor knows a lot too.

    Lately I've been hearing lots of people get horses off the track and they work out great. One of my friends is buying them for barrel horses and they're winning everything. They always take them for a trail ride the day after every barrel race to keep them from getting too hot.

    Fun day!!

  13. Did you try riding the mare on a loose rein? In my experience, high headed horses have had their faces yanked on and are expecting pain. You (or whoever) could try riding her using the reins only when necessary for steering, which shouldn't be much in an arena and just let her travel, and see if she starts to relax.

  14. Hey PG! Um, first off...GOOD LUCK with the molasses wearing off! Not gunna happen! ;) I have to periodically wash Caspian's face down with warm sudsy water. At least MB kept it around his muzzle. Caspian gets it on the WHOLE left side of his face. Yuck. I have a thought for your friend...maybe direct her to some local rescues? Don't know where she's located, but SAFE is in Monroe and currently has many good quality horses available for adoption. They are 100% open in regards to health, etc. They are VERY reputable. You can read through their thread on each horses' history & training, etc. Their website is With so many horses needing good homes, I always tend to check the rescues first. Tell them good luck! P.S. I really want to see that movie! Thanks for the extra motivation! :)

  15. I cant wait to see that movie!

    I am not a TB fan by any means, but I would give that a pass. Star was unruly and pissy and we found out it WAS poor saddle fit and a bad tooth.

    That cleared up about 90 % of her grumpiness.

    now about that other 10%...

  16. What a Saturday. Can you walk now? I would be sore I think! I love the TB photos. We use bitless bridles with our Thoroughbreds. TBs are used to taking the bit to race - the bitless retrains them to hear your seat and leg signals without the bit. Later, (not necessary) you can re-introduce the bit. Don't even talk to me about the Hanging Ball goo. I was going to say something in your last post about Your Boy's face after he chomped away at them. What a mess they cause!!!! I love to see how much they love them though, but it is sticky! Glad you had so much fun - thanks for sharing. I am jealous of your weather! I am watching more snow fall this very second. Even you would be sick of this, I think!

  17. I think you looked wonderful riding the mare! And that WAS very brave of you....but you're young and in good shape! Bravo....way to help your friend out to help her see how she looked while you rode. I agree with cdncowgirl...all of it! I will not even put a bit in a horses' mouth to do ground work that needs the bit of work done on their hurts them and is painful. That's one reason I have not done more with Teya (broodmare only) to see what she would do with me aboard....she is due next to have them floated along with 2 others soon. Go with your gut on the hind leg too. I've learned that observation before you get emotionally attached is the best way to stay objective. You made some very interesting points to resale if it doesn't work out for them too. Well done! They are lucky to have you along on their journey to find the right horse. My little TB filly had very sensitive skin too and was the same way. When we brought her home from a trainer's barn at seven months she had lice so I found out just how sensitive after all the scratching was over!! She had hardly any hair left on her! Luckily we did not have Glory in the same barn with her! It was a mess! She also hated to be in a stall.....just wanted to of them just have a heart to race and I believe she was one! Gotta be careful with the TB....they're not all easy keepers. She was Appendix but had more hot TB blood in her....I think she would have done very well on the track (and I'm not into racing them at all) being a direct descendant of War Admiral. She would have been happier there than in an arena or pasture. I say this because there was nothing in the autopsy that caused sand nothing. That's why I say be careful that you make sure the horse you choose is doing what it has been bred to do...although it's a little hard to predict with some bloodlines. I would have never thought crossing a descendant of War Admiral with the top Western Pleasure (Zippo Pat Bar, slow, slow, slow) bloodline would give you a hot horse but it's a 50/50 chance. I think they claim having the mare's genes more than at 50%? Needless to say, I now look more closely at bloodlines. What kind of bloodlines does she have? Go through them and see how much information you can gather. Sorry so long! Can't wait to hear about Paint Girls time at the show. I've been to the website several times online to see if anyone has posted UTube but only past years are on there. I'm thinking about volunteering for next year! Good way to get out of this winter gunk! Have a great week! Hope you're rested up!

  18. Take all the advise given above on a race track baby!!! I have seen some bad things down here in the desert both behavior and physical issues! That could be why her $$$ are right on. Good for you with your confidence level. Next year you get to be the one to ride the bucking equicuz!!!

  19. {LuLo Designs}~ This mare raced, 20 starts. But she was a distance runner and there weren't enough races here. I think she is 5 and has been off the track for a year or so. Her owner has retrained her with the bit, and said that she worked with her a lot to learn that pulling back does not mean "go." Also, she said she's never had her teeth done and wasn't sure they'd ever been done.
    Everyone is providing such great insight to TB's, this is great, thanks! ;)

  20. It sounds like you had an interesting weekend. I hope you have as much fun next weekend! I think you should listen to your intuition, remember what happened with the hay?!!!

  21. Wow...full Saturday all right. I wonder what is up with that mare. Why would the hoof sound different on the floor??? I don't think you should discount those little things you notice....something is going on ther.

  22. You sure have been having lots of headaches! You take care and you think you are just uptight about the riding lessons?

  23. Wow! That was a busy day! Reminds of how I needed several days after my weekend trail clinic just to recuperate. Sometimes it's more than just physical, too. Sometimes your mind needs a few days just to process all the information that you learned and experienced, too.
    What a good friend you are to have went and gave support to your friend and her daughter and to share your observations and opinons, too.

    I have some friends helping me this weekend try out a horse for me actually. Yep. I'm finally horse shopping!

    I think you looked cute on that mare and that you were probably just stiff in the arms from watching and being concerned about the mare's head flagging around.

    Thanks for posting the pic of My Boy's muzzle. I will remember to never buy those lick it balls, unless I figure out a way to chop them into smaller chunks and feed as a treat. lol!


  24. Hi Pony Girl!

    I just wanted to take a minute to URGE your friend to search for a DEAD BROKE horse for her daughter. SO many people don't understand that GREEN rider and GREEN horse is a BAD combo!
    Even if it's something she grows out of in a year it will give the kid confidence and teach her things that will be of so much importance in her riding!
    You don't by a 16 year old who just get's their license a Ferrari do you? NOPE, you get them a 1978 Toyota with 250,000 miles and a headlight missing. I'm sure you know what I mean!
    I work with 4-H kids and way too often see parents go out and buy green horses so the horse and kid can "LEARN TOGETHER" BOLOGNA! Do we send high school graduated into our schools to teach our kids? No, we make them go to college and get a degree and take a test and THEN they get to teach our young ones! Same with horses! old school masters teach so much, even for beginning adults.
    OK, I'll get off my soap box now! :)

  25. I'm with Yankecwgrl.
    Think we're nuts? Go look at my blog from a few years ago. Chewie - the OTTB that scared the beejeebies outta me? Broke a shoulder? Yeah... Green+Green=Black&Blue. And I'm a 30-something adult. And now? Check out all the stuff I'm doing with my 20YO Appendix. Dressage, jumping, even hacking the road a few times.

    You wanna blow a kid's confidence? Put 'em on a skeered hot-blooded horse that spooks just once. Critter takes off, Kid falls off, Parents get a pasture ornament. Just think about it - if the kid gets scared, pulls back on the reins, what's gonna happen?

    We're not alone. Read what some of the NH trainers have to say. Julie Goodnight, Clinton Anderson, the list goes on. Both names listed promote older sound broke horses for kids & beginners.

  26. Pony Girl--it's your lucky day!!! You won a book at my blog. Yay! I'm going to post it this morning. You and Kritter Keeper both won the same book. :) (I'll need an address to send it to). Have a great day!!


  28. oh boy...sorry about the typos. I hope I ride better than I type. Plus I had my caps on and didn't notice till it was too late.

  29. Love that fuzzy chin! I bet your legs were hurting after those rides!

  30. i agree with June...I learn so much from your comments. Gorgeous photos and I haven't seen the movie yet. I have heard mixed reviews..I LOVE the Notebook though!

  31. Sounds like an exciting and fun filled day! Just my two cents you should follow your gut regarding the bay mare - if you noted something funky on two different occasions, there's probably something funky. I don't know...for a kid looking to show, she sounds awfully green and potentially unsound. She is pretty, but I'd bet they could do better (unless she's ridiculously priced).

  32. The Mare sounded like she may need a different bit. Or is a candidate for bitless. She may calm right down. Vet check. Small circles should not make a horse off on one side. Discomfort of some sore is my guess. Also a horse in some sort of discomfort will not want to be groomed. Even if they have sensative skin a soft brush and a light touch will relax them.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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