Vocabulary Sunday

Withers – The withers of a horse is the muscular ridge where its neck and back join. It is the highest constant point on a horse, and, as such, is the point where all horse heights are measured from. It is also the point of reference teachers will give you when teaching you where to holds the reins.

Rump/croup – The rump, or croup as it is also known, is the fleshy area at the rear of the horse. This is often referred to in beginners’ classes, as it is the rump you will need to swing your leg over to mount and dismount the horse.

Fetlock – You will often hear people refer to the fetlock. It is the joint at the base of the horse’s leg, above the hoof. It can be seen quite clearly, as it usually protrudes from the rear of the leg.

Muzzle – The muzzle, much like that of a dog, is the area of the horse’s head covered by a halter. This includes the nose and mouth parts.

Language of Touch: the study of the communication between rider and horse by touch and training the horse to respond to aids by reflex. It begins by training the horse while he is consciously processing your requests. After schooling he will react by reflex.


Snooping for treats

The DOR came to visit and I was really tired, well at least I was putting on a good show. I figured that if I was very tired I wouldn't have to work.

She came in the paddock and I gave her the hug that she gets every morning and evening....that should confuse her a bit. She will think it is time to feed not work.
Then I started snooping for treats. I know there are some in her pocket.
Hey where did her pocket go? Noticed how fast my nose moved? My sniffer can follow a treat at thirty paces. The DOR says I have a busy nose, it gets into everything. Well what does she expect? She is the one hiding the treats.

There are my treats, in with my hay. See my plan worked, I convinced her it was feed time and not work time. The treats in the tub are not the sweet treats she has in her pocket. The DOR carries sugar-free peppermints in her pocket. They are sugar-free so both Ginger and the DOR can eat them. I like peppermints, I really like Altoids, they make my lip curl.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


I get it and speak the truth

This Marie Antoinette award is from Rambling Woods and is supposed to be passed to bloggers “Speak the Truth” and “Get It!”
That is one thing about horses, we never lie, we speak the truth. Sometimes we are a bit too honest. I never pretend to like something I don't and will quickly make that clear if the DOR isn't listening well. I know that a creatures word is all they have of value, so it is important to make sure that your words are true. In a world that practices deception as a normal part of the way things work it is nice to know that there are beings that believe in honesty above all else.
Horses do "get it", we know what is important and take care of those things. The members of you herd are very important and it is each members job to care for the others. Good food and water are important, we share what we have with our herd mates (my herd always has more than enough). I think the most important thing we have is our relationships with others, it is important that we nurture and care for them.
I would like to pass the award on to:
Swamp Suburbia
The Eagle the Lion and the Dove by kimmysharinglight
Bush Babe
A Cowboy's Wife
Red Pine Mountain
Toltec Insights with Dr. Susan Gregg

There are a lot of other great blogs that “Speak the Truth” and “Get It!” (I think everyone I follow fits the criteria), I am sorry if I left anyone out
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Skywatch Friday No. 20

This is my first Skywatch Friday. I thought it might be fun to watch the sky around the oak tree in my front yard. I live in a house that was built by my uncles, dad, and grandfather. We grew up spending our holidays and many a summer day at my grandparent's house, it has been a sanctuary for the entire family. This tree was the first thing we would see when we got close to the house, it is a family landmark.
I thought that I would use the skies around the tree for Skywatch Friday for the next year. It will allow my family to enjoy the tree that has so much meaning to all of us.

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at SkyWacth Friday

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!
I have so much to be grateful for:
*My mom being rescued from a hoarder
*My first owner who was a really nice man
*Full Circle Ranch where I was trained (it is a really great place if you are a horse, if you are a DOR taking lessons put on your Kevlar undies)
*My DOR's friend who introduced us
*My DOR and support crew
*The place where I live and all the wonderful food
*My herd mates
*My blogging friends that I have visiting me and that I visit
*The special treat tub that the DOR gives us every holiday
I hope that everyone enjoys a day of gratefulness, peace, and love.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Round pen safety

Behind the Bit has a great post featuring a cautionary tale about round pens.
The DOR has never put any of her herd in a round pen unsupervised, luck for us. I encourage everyone to go read this post, it could save you some heart ache down the road. Thanks to Stacey Kimmel-Smith for this posting on her blog.
I thought I would let you know as a result of my game day behavior the DOR has created a list of things I need to work on. I have been informed that every Saturday will be spent working on the list, so I may be too pooped out to post. Here is the list:
1. Cantering on the long-line without a saddle
2. Cantering on the long-line with a saddle-without the shoo fly
3. Cantering on the long-line with a saddle-with the shoo fly
4. More desensitization exercises featuring-grocery sacks, things being put up above my back
(like someone handing the DOR something), dealing with "white things" (no I don't like white
things coming at me like paper cups, eggs, and Kleenex), noises, things touching my belly, and anything else the DOR can come
up with.
5. Riding by things that make me "blow marble" without dancing sideways
6. Standing still while the DOR is one me while a person on the ground walks up and hands her something.
We won't be doing everything at one time, but together the DOR and I are going to pick away at them. There may be other things added to the list as the DOR finds more things that make her say "isn't that interesting" and then sets out to investigate why I am doing what I am doing. By the time we are done the DOR will be well trained on how to deal with my quirks and I will be more confident in her leadership.
Our journey continues...we are having a great time together, we just need to get over this little bumpy patch in the road.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Playing with marbles

No, not the kind I blow out of my nose. I am talking about the kind used to control the heat cycles of mares. We all know what a mare in heat can be like...a real pain in the rear. They squeal, scream, kick, and are grumpy. So mares are impossible to deal with when they are in heat.
This topic came up when the DOR was talking to one of her friends about grouchy mares. Her friend ended up using this method to help one of her mares when everything else failed, it was a success. It seems like a simple solution and as one of the male horse population that has to put up with moody mares I thought I would share it with you. Besides with all of the unwanted horses around this is good option to help control the horse population. It could be a nice solution to the overpopulation of the wild horse herds, rather than euthanasia or shooting them from planes.
Simply put a glass marble is placed in the mares uterus, causing her body to believe she is pregnant, thus preventing her to go into heat. Usually the marble is taken out after 120 days, the mare goes into heat and then the cycle begins again. The procedure has been practiced more commonly in Europe and was introduced to the US in 2001, as an alternative to chemical alteration.
The following interview with Dr Nie is an excerpt borrowed from dvmnewsmagazine.com* Apr 1, 2003 - "The size of the ball is important, and a 35-mm diameter ball seems optimal. After adequate preparation, a sterile palpation sleeve is used and the glass ball is passed vaginally through the cervical lumen and into the uterine body. The glass ball can then be manipulated via rectal palpation and moved further into the uterine body.
Correct placement of the ball at the horn-body junction can be easily confirmed with an ultrasound examination. Some practitioners follow placement of the ball with infusion of antibiotic (ticarcillin at 1 gram is recommended by Nie) to help with any possible infection. Correct sterile technique will lessen the need for such use however.
The ball should be placed within 24 hours of ovulation. Some veterinarians have reported that certain mares will spontaneously expel the balls, but this is uncommon and was not observed in any of the mares in Nie's study. The use of glass balls to suppress estrus provides the practitioner with a safe, simple method of keeping some mares out of heat.
This method does not have any significant disadvantages for immediate performance use or for long-term reproductive use. It does not require extra-label drug use and it offers the owner a more "natural" means of controlling a potentially difficult mare. So before you lose your marbles dealing with that "witchy" sporthorse, consider putting one in." Kenneth L. Marcella DVM - DVM Newsmagazine
So if you have mares here is one way to help out with the moodiness and to give all of us innocent geldings a break.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


All the Arabs are mad at me

So I have been working on the ranch peace plan...
My bucking stunt on game day seems to have set the progress with the Arab contingent back a bit.
The horse with Dakota is Dancer. She is a lovely little Arab mare who is very protective of her friend Ginger and whoever the human is that she is working with. Well when I had my come-apart I managed to buck my way down to where Dancer and Ginger were standing with their humans. Dancer got between me and her charges. Boy is she serious; she was pinning her ears, shaking her head, and was not amused by my behavior.

This is Beau, he is the King of the ranch. Boy am I on his list! He does not tolerate any shenanigans. I have been informed that he thinks bucking is bad, bucking off your DOR is unforgivable. He spent the rest of game day glaring at me with his ears pinned. He also would turn his hind end at me...I think he wanted to plant a big one right on my rear.

When game day was over I went back to my pasture. I figured I would be safe with friends...no such luck. Salty wouldn't let me eat out of my tub, in fact he chased me off of all the tubs and made me wait for a bit. I snuck my way back in only to have him nip me and give me a kick on my butt.
What is with these guys? Do they have a plan in place that says when a horse at the ranch misbehaves all of the Arabs will treat them with disdain? I feel bad about my come apart, I am sorry I bucked off the DOR, I feel bad her whole left hip is bruised and she is hurting, what else can I do? Can't the Arabs give me a break? After all the DOR got back on and finished game day, she said she had a blast, and she is even laughing a bit about being bucked off...that should count for something.
I have been out in the pasture practicing my cantering without bucking, actually it never seemed to be a problem before-I have no idea why I turned into a werehorse again. The DOR thinks that the "shoo fly" attached to the cinch started tickling my tummy when I cantered which scared me and then I had a fall apart, she is going to take it off. We will be doing ground work with me cantering under saddle to see if we can sort it out. The DOR understands that at 8 years old I am not really "finished" yet, she actually has put more time on me in the past 7 months than I have had my whole life...I still have a lot to learn.
The DOR is a bit battered, really bruised up, and she still thinks I am the best horse ever. I am pretty lucky that she feels that way or I could be in big trouble!
I promise to do better in the future, really I never want to have the whole Arab population mad at me again.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Note from the DOR:
Jack has never bucked with me riding him before. Several of the people who saw what happen and I are in agreement that something scared the holy cow poop out of him. Jack is very sensitive all over, but his belly is super sensitive. I am pretty sure that once he started cantering the shoo fly brush his belly terrified him. He didn't quit bucking once I was on the ground, he headed toward the older horses hoping to get help, and once my husband gathered him up Jack's eyes were still popping out of their sockets. Jack is only 8 years old and has a lot of growing up to do. We are going to work more on desensitization activities and put in more time riding.
Fortunately for me Jack is a good guy, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body-a few mischievous ones-but he would never try to hurt anyone on purpose. Jack and I have learned a lot from his fall apart, things that we needed to know. Other than a severely bruised and sore rear I am fine.
And yes all of the Arabs at the ranch are mad at Jack. It is a bit funny to see Salty giving him the cold shoulder and fish eye.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoy the company of those you love.


The DOR can still bounce!

Game day was Saturday and fun was had by all! The weather was perfect, a nice sunny day with cool temperatures, but not cold. The DOR had me wear some antlers for the ground portion of game day. You can see from my face how thrilled I am with that-not. She also called me Rudolph, maybe she was hoping if I had a different name that a blue tarp would not scare me. If my old owner is reading this please help me, this crazy lady is making me look silly! It isn't fair that such a handsome guy is made to wear silly costumes.
So the first event of the day was an "in-hand" obstacle course, no touching your horse allowed.

The course started off with....the blue tarp from heck! It was a giant blue tarp and we were to stand still with all four feet on it for 5 seconds. I had decided that I was going to give it my best shot, after all the DOR had fed me early so I wouldn't starve during the games. I managed to get all four feet on the tarp and stood still for 5 seconds! The DOR got a big grin and gave me a kiss. Maybe calling me Rudolph did have the desired effect.

The next obstacle was walking across the bridge...no sweat at all. I got all four feet on and waltzed across like it was just another day at the ranch.

The next task was to either walk over a pole or jump two barrels. Extra points were given for doing the jump rather than the pole-bonus points for jumping both directions...I got all of the points.

The we had to walk over to a big ball (I don't like this ball by the way). We were supposed to touch it or let our DOR touch it on us. I was not touching that ball, so the DOR picked it up and set it on my back. Did I mention that I had to stand still in order to get the points? She then bounced it by me, again I had to stand still, and we got extra points.

We also did a circling game where we had to stop the closest to a cone. The DORs then got extra points if we touched it. My DOR looked pretty silly leaning over trying to get me to put my nose on the cone-I got even for the antlers.

We dazzled everyone with our figure 8 around barrels with the DOR standing on a mounting block. We then played a bit of soccer, the DORs kicking the ball. Did I mention that a few of the DORs, mine included, decided to roll the ball under their horse's belly? I can tell you I stood there, but I did not like it-no not one bit.

The DORs took a break and ate lunch. Then it was time to ride. Simon says was the first game. We came in second...I knew the event manager hadn't said Simon says so I wasn't listening to the DOR-but she wouldn't give up and was busted for giving me orders. We had the full cup of water race around the arena, I got second. We had the egg race, Dakota won that. There was the team zig-zag race, where you weave the opposite direction from you partner crossing paths between cones. The DOR and her partner went forward going up and then decided to earn style points by doing it backwards on the way back. I do not like backing very much, but I gave it my best shot. We had flag race...I was not playing with flags today, not after the backing stunt, so the DOR had me do the race with no flag.

Then we did the key hole race. I started out well, really I did, but then I had a fall apart. I started to canter, hunched my back and took a hop-I was thinking if I bucked all the way we would get extra style points...yep that was it! If the DOR would have cooperated things would have been fine, but no she remembered her one rein stop. She rode the first buck fine while turning my head around to her right knee. That was where she made her mistake, you see by bending me around I moved right out from underneath her when I pitched the second buck-that and I gave her a serious rope burn yanking the rein out of her hand. Hard to land in the saddle when the saddle isn't there anymore. The DOR landed in the nice soft sand on her left hip, bounced up a bit and then ended up on her right side. I continued bucking around the arena, working on those style points. The support crew chief caught me and then got on, he made me turn and back until I gathered myself together. The DOR got back on and had me trot through the keyhole race. That was the last event of the day and I ended in a flourish!

The DOR and I won the ground work competition and I won an award for the best imitation of a bucking horse...see it did pay off!

The DOR says I have to work on my cantering without bucking. I am glad she was not hurt, well her tailbone and hip are bruised up and she had sand in her hair. She kept her sense of humor about it and really had a great time. She did tell me that she would appreciate it if I didn't buck again, that she hates falling off.

Here is Dakota and his best friend Colin. Colin came in second for the riding events.
Thank you to the event manager and her great support team. We really had a great time. The DOR won't admit it, but she was glad to see she could still bounce a little bit and get back on, even if it does take her a bit longer to get up off the ground.
A poem to the DOR (borrowed from Winnie the Pooh):
The wonderful things about DORs,
Yes DORs are wonderful things,
Their heads are made of the rubber and their bottoms are made of the springs.
They're bouncey, bouncey, bouncey, bouncey fun, fun, fun, fun fun.
The wonderful thing about DORs is that mine is not the only one.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Vocabulary Sunday

A rare marking found in some horses, it is also called marbling, catbacked, or giraffe. The horse will have white along the spine, usually starting as a small patch or patches, then the white will increase as the horse ages, spreading out into connected, squiggly lines. Some horses will have large, beautifully patterned backs from this marking-- it really resebles lace or the coloration of a giraffe. Most people who have a horse with this rare marking do not know it is a marking but mistake it for a form of scarring; they think incorrectly the horse had an allergic reaction to something, had some sort of injury, etc.

(Singular Lamina). Laminae are the soft tissues inside the hoof. There are two types of laminae, sensitive (located between the bone and hoof horn) and insensitive (outer layer of laminae).

Is a bruising or inflammation of the laminae of the hoof (from hormonal imbalance, stress on the hoof, toxic chemicals that enter the hoof, etc.). If left untreated, it can develop into founder.

A long rope with a noose on one end, used for roping cattle or horses. Comes from Spanish "La Reata", meaning "the rope".

Partial paralysis of the horse's larynx, which can cause the horse to 'roar', or make a whistling/roaring sound as the horse breaths. It can make it difficult for the horse to breath, especially when being worked hard. It is also called "roaring". It may be hereditary in some horses and seems to affect very large horses (17 hands +) most often. Surgery can correct laryngeal hemiplegia.

When loping (cantering), a horse is either on the right or left lead. When going to the right, the horse should be on the right lead, meaning his right front leg will land on the ground ahead of his left. When going to the left, the horse should be on the left lead. Most horses will pick up the correct lead because it feels most natural and keeps them balanced. It is harder for a horse to lope on the wrong lead.

An eye disease which causes a cloudy/milkey look and inflammation of the eye. Also called periodic opthalmia, or uveitis.


Game day!

Okay, it is not at the level of the World Equestrian Game...but it is going to be a bunch of fun.
The DOR fed us all a bit early. She says I pout if I think the other horses are eating while I have to work, well I do-they might be eating ALL of the food and I could starve by the evening feeding. Good thing she is making sure my tummy is full, I will behave better that way. Both members of my support crew are playing games also. Games start at 10:00 AM and end with a BBQ.
I have been promised carrots for good behavior, I am going to earn a bunch of carrots!
I will give a report on Monday. The DOR is at a WERA meeting tomorrow (Washington Equine Rescue Association), so enjoy you Vocabulary Sunday.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Still moments

The DOR comes out every morning at 6:00 to give Freedom his morning mush. She cooks breakfast for the old man every morning...all I get is cold hay, hmmph.
I like the quiet moments that I get to steal with her each morning. Sometimes I sneak up quietly behind her and make her jump because she didn't realize I was there, it is easy to do with my coloring. She will be busy latching the gate the goes into the hay pile and I will stealthily make my way over to her and then blow in her hair. She always jumps just a bit, then turns around and gives me a big kiss on my nose.
The DOR and I have found a peace in each other's company. It used to be that we had to be doing something in order to know how to interact well together. Now we are more like a herd, we can just "be together." Those quiet moments spent together are like little treasures that makes her feel good, they also make me feel good too.
I think it is a good thing when humans learn to be at peace within themselves, then they can be at peace with their animal companions-peace is a good thing. I want to encourage all of the DORs out there to spend some quiet time with their horse, dog, cat, or whatever animal shares their life. Just sit quiet, still, and listen quietly...you will be surprised what you hear-you may actually hear your companion speak to you.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR



The DOR has been reading about bars, no not the saloon kind, although is she was researching those she might be smiling more. She is reading about the bars on horse hooves-no there is nothing that you would want to drink found there.
There is a bit of disagreement in the horse world how long the bars on of hooves should be and if they are truly weight bearing.
James Welz says: I am very picky about trimming bars. When trimming bar, ONLY the bar should be touched. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to trim sole at the same time as they trim bar. Another mistake they make is to not touch the bars at all, with the idea that the bars will magically take care of themselves. If the walls need trimming, the bars probably need trimming, too. Bars are an extension of the wall—neither the walls nor the bars should bear too much weight. The same signs of peripheral loading that I can now readily recognize in weight-bearing hoof walls, are also becoming apparent in weight-bearing bars. The bar has a distinct function, which I believe is to limit excessive hoof mechanism, and in order to perform their function, they must be shaped properly. Bars should taper with the concavity of the hoof, and should bear weight only in the very rear portion. I trim the bars separately, fairly straight, and flat on top. I have had the best results in hoof health when the bars are trimmed to end at the mid-point of the frog. This corresponds with the location where the bar laminae end. The rear of the bar and heel form a weight bearing platform of support, or “heel purchase” area. I decided to encourage this after I observed that most wild horse hooves demonstrated this characteristic.
Another barefoot trimmer has this to say: A proper ‘Barefoot Trim’, modelled on the wild horse’s hoof, has distinctive characteristics:
~ short toe~ low heels (level with base of frog and base of heel bulbs)~ arch in the quarters~ frog is left thick, wide and weight bearing~ strong curved bars (non-weight bearing when horse is stationary)~ bevel (roll) at the base of the hoof wall (the famous ‘Mustang Roll’) that allows perfect break over at toe and prevents any impacting rocks from creating cracks~ good sole concavity, healthy solar vault~ no flares/ no toe pillars/ no cracks~ dense well connected white line~ thick tough sole callus at toe, protective sole.
So it appears the bars should bear weight when the horse is moving. When weight is put on the hoof the hoof expands and then weight is distributed across the bottom of the hoof. The bars need to be long enough to do this, but not so long that they are in contact with the ground when the horse is at rest. Pete Ramey says: What is "the right" bar length? As discussed at length in the previous article "One Foot For All Seasons?" it varies dramatically with terrain. The bars need enough relief (solar concavity or slope from the heels) that they can descend and the hoof can expand, but more importantly, they need to be in place to "bottom out" to provide vertical support at peak impact loads. On hard, flat terrain, a 1/4 inch taper from the heel buttress to the end of the bar might be perfect. On rocky terrain, much more taper or concavity may be necessary. On soft arena footing the same goals and support ratio may require a bar to be longer than the hoof walls. Severely foundered horses; particularly "sinkers" often love to have all or most of their weight carried by the bars..... I wish it were easier, but honestly listening to the hoof will take you to the right place.
This is a photo of one of Harley's front feet on the day the DOR got him.
Here is a picture of the same hoof after a year. It is better, but not good enough yet, he still has to grow a decent frog and expand his heels. The DOR thinks his bars are a bit too long, Harley has navicular and she thinks he needs to bear more weight on his heels and not be tempted to walk on his toes. She never wants one of us to end having hoof problems and to be able to help Harley get better.
My DOR wishes it was easier too, so much to figure out, so many opinions to muddle through...well it gives her something constructive to do with her "non-horsey" time.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Some things are off limits

I overheard the DOR talking to a friend about possible games for Saturday. She isn't too thrilled with some of my picks. I want to make it perfectly clear dear DOR there are some activities and objects that I think are off limits, so please read carefully.
First of all there are to be no blue tarps....
Don't ask me to walk over one, go near one, or even look at one. If you think "drape the blue tarp on the horsey" is a good game be prepared to watch me launch to the moon. If you have a good hold of the lead rope you will be the co-pilot of the Starship CJS.
The second thing I don't want to play with is grocery bags. Don't hold on to a stick with one hanging from the end of it while riding me unless you are trying to see how far I can leap in one big jump. Just remember you will most likely stay in the saddle for half of that big leap before you eat dirt...so think carefully. I don't think hanging the bag on my saddle would be a good idea either, I am NOT a grocery cart, and the eggs won't survive a 0 to 50 mph acceleration with a jump over the fence included.

I have already been a good sport in the game of ring toss, so can we please not do it again? If you must please don't make me wear a mask that is girly colors-it is so embarrassing, thank you.
I will play the "wear something silly on your head and walk around" game only if you do the same thing. Oh wait, you are planning on wearing that bright pink helmet that Dakota gave you aren't you? Never mind you can't get much sillier than that, my bad.
We could have the biggest butt at the ranch contest. I do have an advantage in that area, besides think about how you would feel if you won-let's just save some tears and skip this game.
I do think the "funniest face made in a photo" contest would be good though. Each DOR and their horse pose together and see what they can come up with. I also think that extra points should be given for wearing a bit of holiday cheer during the games. I am looking for a pair of antlers to sport around for the day.
I am getting really excited about game day. I hope that there are plenty of apples and carrots for prizes.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Playing games with the DOR

Boy it is hard to photoshop with no fingers....
Anyway you get the point, the DOR is having to ride while carrying a poop fork of poop without dropping any. The point of this you may ask, well let me explain-Saturday is "Play with your DOR day", better known as game day.
The herd and I are trying to plan some fun games for all of our humans. So far we have:
*Try and catch your horse while trying to get your boot on.
*Poop fork race-no poop dropping.
*Pick out all of your horse's feet from one side.
*Trot with a glass full of water-see who spills the least.
*Get your horse to do figure eights around barrels while you are standing on the ground.
*Touch your nose to this-that is when the DOR tries to get us to touch our nose to different objects by thinking really hard and looking at the object.
*A mini obstacle course-I am nixing any blue tarps being part of the course.
*Quickest waiter in the west contest-that is when the DORs leave us tied, race to the barn, and return with a treat tub for us. I think we may have to do this one several times-best three out of five works for me.
*Blindfolded muck raking-each DOR gets a pile of poo that they have to load into a wheelbarrow while blindfolded.
*Pony Express-the DORs have to deliver the "mail" flags by placing them into a variety of receptacles without dropping any.
Then just for fun we should wrap up with an old fashioned square dance on horseback.
If you have any good ideas about games we can play with the DORs let me know.
Dakota is going to ride Ginger, the support crew chief may borrow a horse unless he chickens out and only takes photos. Fun will be had by all.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Gravel road

When the DOR said she was going to make each of us work out on the gravel road I was hoping she was thinking of this place, Gravel Road Restaurant in Grayton Beach. We would all sit down and enjoy a nice Waldorf salad and a side of alfalfa. Nope that isn't what she had in mind at all.
The DOR came out with halter and grooming box in hand. Looked like a day we were all getting spoiled. It soon became clear there would be spoiling but we also had to work. There is new sand with some pea gravel in it covering the ranch driveway, along with sand in the arena. It is really nice to look at but I had no intention of having to work hard enough to slog my way through it-the DOR did though. She haltered us up one by one and took us for three laps each.
I felt like I had moved to Egypt. It is hard work lifting these big old hooves up out of sand-did I mention there were hills involved? After we each went for our walk we got groomed, or hooves cleaned out and treated with betadine (it has been really wet here the past two weeks). I was tired and almost felt bad for the DOR, she did the laps with five horses and I only had to do my round. The DOR is going to make us all do this both days on the weekend and then take turns during the week. She is also doing Freedom's therapy everyday, she thinks it is important that he remembers that he has a right hind leg and butt cheek.
I am glad it is getting dark early, that way she can't make us work everyday. Give the DOR enough daylight and she would have us all doing a Pilate workout everyday!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Vocabulary Sunday

Colic caused by a blockage in the intestines. Hardened feces may block the passage, or an enterolith.

Training a newborn foal. Usually the foal is handled and petted all over at birth, the feet are picked up and tapped on, the mouth and inside the ears are pet, and sometimes the foal is exposed to loud noises. All of this 'imprints' the foal so that when it is older it will not be afraid of these things. Usually this training is done within an hour of birth, then the foal is left to bond with and nurse its mother.

The act of breeding related horses to one another to try to develop a certain trait. This can preserve or enhance specific traits, but if done too much can create weaker animals. Inbreeding in any species results in less genetic diversity, leaving organisms less able to adapt. The results of too much inbreeding can be seen in many show horses today that have conformational defects or over-enhanced traits that sacrafice the rest of the body.

When a hosre is hanging on the bit and pulling on the rider's hands.

Describing a vice where the horse will balk and sometimes back up when asked to move forward.

A breed of horse that lives wild in New Zealand. The name means "Eat the wind" in Maori. This is a small, hardy breed of horse that was first reported in 1876, and descended from Exmoor and Welsh pony stock brought to the island in the early 1800's. In 1941, the mounted rifle cavalry units at Waiouru released several horses when a Strangles epidemic threatened. In 1960, an Arabian stallion was turned loose.These feral horses stand 12.2-15 hands high. They are strong, sure-footed, and very intelligent. They are domesticated and used in a variety of showing disciplines.

Kissing spine is a painful disorder in which the horse's vertabrae touch each other because the horse's back is curved downward, sometimes caused by excessive back stress such as a heavey rider. Chiropractic treatment can help to reduce the stress that builds up in the joints surrounding the affected area and will also help in relieving some of the pain associated with this problem.

A drink made of fermented mare's milk, used by the Tartar tribes of Central Asia. “Kumiss is still prepared from mare’s milk by the Calmucks and Nogais, who, during the process of making it, keep the milk in constant agitation.”—Rawlinson: Herodotus, vol. iii. book iv. p. 2.
Scientific name Equus hemionus luteus, also called Turkmenian or Mongolian wild ass. The kulan is a rare race of wild Asian Ass (the others are the kiang, onager, and ghorkhar) that lives in Northeast Asia. They are smaller than the African asses.They are endangered because livestock are taking over their feeding grounds and they are hunted for their meat and hides. The Asian wild ass typically has a sandy-colored coat with lighter-colored legs and belly, a short erect black mane, a black spinal stripe, and a black tail tuft.


Freedom seems to have lost his butt

Today we had a visit from an equine therapist. We all got the once over to check our alignment and nutritional needs. The DOR found it very interesting. I found it delightful because the therapist loved my butt.
Freedom has been having a bit of trouble with his hind end off and on for about a year now. Sometimes his hips are out a bit. The DOR had a chiropractor get everything back in line. At Freedom's age it doesn't take much to throw things out again. Well an interesting discovery was made today...sometime between this morning and two days ago Freedom has lost his butt, actually he seems to have lost his right hind leg...he doesn't seem to know it is there. We know it happened in the last couple of days because the DOR had his standing on it while she picked out his left rear hoof. Today if you picked up his left rear he would sink and sit down...he can't support any weight on it. He is also dragging it, this is the same horse who gingerly picked his way over all of the props around the hay pile without dinging a single one.
The photo is of Freedom out on an orienteering ride, the old fart just about did himself into the ground. He didn't want to go slow and take things easy. What I am wondering is how he could forget that spotted butt is back there or even forget about half of it? Seems like he would at least notice it following him around. The DOR teases that Freedom is getting senile, but even a senile horse should know he has a butt. The therapist worked with him for a bit and it seemed to help. Freedom picked his tail back up and started putting a bit more of the load on his right hind, poor left leg is going to get pooped out if the right leg doesn't start carrying its own weight-what will he do then? Freedom now has a physical therapy routine that he needs to do. I am laughing a bit about that because he is an opinionated of fart and the DOR is going to have her hands full getting him to do some of the things he is supposed to do. The therapist will be back in four weeks to check on how things are going.
We all got told we have to move around more. The DOR was saying she is going to come out each evening and chase us around the pasture for 20 minutes before we get to eat. Well good luck with that, I don't think the DOR can run us around for that long-she isn't in that good of shape. Maybe the therapist is having the DOR make us move so she gets in better shape, the therapist is just being kind saying we need the exercise. Between the 20 minute aerobic exercise, bending to pick out all of our feet everyday, and throw in moving hay bales around for us the DOR is going to be a new woman come spring. Yep that is it, all of us horses are running a gym for the DOR...we should be charging her for all of this individual fitness coaching that she is getting.
All in all it was a great day! The DOR hung out with us from 8:30 am until 5:10 pm. She got a bunch of "horsey time" and that makes her happy.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


My virtual trail ride

I went on a virtual trail ride today courtesy of Middle of the road,
The leader of the trail ride was PC Pony Girl, with her favorite trail pony, My Boy. My Boy is a lovely appy too! We were joined by C-ing Spots , Latigo Liz , and Sunnysd .
To the horse who followed me I appologize for the fact that you had to stare at my butt all day. The DOR had on her regalia, so what you see in the photo is not what they stared at all day, but it was also her backside along with mine. I also apologize for any road apples that I left, but I ate too much before the ride and couldn't help it.

The DOR was wearing this dress. It is a beaded wedding dress. I am not sure what the point of wearing a wedding dress was, she is already married to the best guy in the world. I think it is the only beaded dress she had handy.

She couldn't make up her mind which fan to carry, so she brought them both. She hung the fly whip on the saddle horn, just in case the mosquitoes were a pain. She threatened to bring the paddle, I think she was trying to tell me to be good.
I wore my side-pull bridle.
I was saddled with a western saddle, the DOR won't ride trails bareback, and had a wool pad with a fringed blanket over it.
Our ride leader took us on a wonderful trip through Douglas firs. I was on the look out for blue tarps, I hear the ride leader's horse has been spotted wearing one a time or two and I didn't want him surprising me with one stashed on the trail. We had smooth trails, gentle climbs, and lunch served in a meadow complete with teepees. We headed back down the mountain to the rest of our friends. We enjoyed a wonderful Italian meal and lovely beverages. The DOR was warned to stay away from the "fire water", something about it causing possible silly behavior. I don't know what she was worried about, she had already ridden through the forest in a wedding dress flapping a fan.
The DOR broke out her peace pipe and offered to share. She thought that making peace with anyone behind us was a good idea.
I want to thank Saddle Mountain Rider for allowing us to be a "Pony Cousin" for a day and putting together a wonderful virtual trail ride for us. The DOR and I had a great time!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


The DOR goes visiting

The DOR got to visit her two horses who are in Ellensburg yesterday. She was really excited to spend some time with these guys. The big varnished roan appy is Hank Astin, he is also know as Hank the Tank and Hankamus Tankamus. Hank was in training with the CWU equestrian team. He was doing well jumping, but after a period of time it became evident that while he loved to jump he could not do it everyday without tearing his body apart. So now he is hanging out, helping raise an orphan foal and giving lessons. The DOR and Hank play parelli games and then he gets his favorite spot scratched until he just about falls over.

Who wouldn't love a face like this? Hank will be giving lessons to the DOR's niece and nephew (who live in Ellensburg) next spring. He will most likely return back here and hit the trails this summer. Hank is fearless on the trails, nothing bothers him, and he loves to go out for a long ride.

This is Scooby, he is the DOR's blind appy. She says he is the smoothest horse she has ever ridden-that hurts a bit to hear, but I am working on collecting myself. Scooby has been raising an orphan foal for the past five months. The reason that he is in Ellensburg is the DOR is pretty sure that she would ride him if he was still here and that is not a safe thing anymore because Scooby occasionally has panic attacks. The last one he had when they went out for a ride resulted in a few broken bones in the DOR's left hand.

Scooby knows when the DOR is around because he recognizes the lavender scent she wears. He is always happy to see her. Scooby and the DOR do a bit of groundwork, she gives him massages, and rubs his eyes (which is his all time favorite thing)

The little head you see peeking over Hanks ginormous butt is Hildalgo, the orphan that Hank and Scooby are raising. Everyone gets lots of carrots and Altoids before she leaves.
The DOR went to a board meeting for a rescue she works with after her visit. There are so many horses who need help right now. People are not able or willing to take care of them for a variety of reasons. People need to realize the horse market stinks right now and quit breeding their horses. They also need to step up and do the right thing for their aging and crippled horses rather than just trying to pawn the duty off onto someone else.
I am glad I live where I do. We have everything we need and want. We have plenty of food and attention. We are treated with kindness, dignity, and respect.
I encourage my readers to research their local rescue and help out if they can. Buy some hay, donate money to an account set up with the vet they use, pay the farrier to work on a few feet. You can even donate some time doing chores, grooming, or just visiting the horses. Your life will be blessed by the time you spend with a horse and your time will be a blessing to a horse.
Well I am off to make Harley move. Part of his rehab program is making sure he walks enough to strengthen up his heels...I am really good at that part of his rehab.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


I'm a dirty boy!

Yep, it is true I am a dirty boy...

The DOR is embarrassed by my messiness, but heck it is part of life. I always wonder why people don't share more photos of the everyday aspect of us horses. Sometimes we are sparkling clean and other days we look like walking mud holes...it is all just a part of life.

The DOR brushes me each night and I look like this the very next day. It has been raining and muddy for the past week here. I have to roll and waller in the stuff, it is sooo much fun. If you think I look bad you should see Salty the Wonder Horse, the white guy, he is looking like a mud ball right now.

I have been trying to convince the DOR that I am an Indian war pony (don't I look like the horse in the painting?) and that I am just wearing my warpaint. After an American Indian warrior dressed for war, he often painted his favorite war pony with the same pattern and colors he used for his own face and body and his weapons. A painted pony or horse always carried a message about his rider and sometimes about the quality of the animal bearing the marks. Each symbol had its own specific meaning and the purpose was determined by the nature of the dangerous job which the horse would be asked to do. So this would mean that my DOR runs around muddy too. She isn't buying it, she says I am just a dirty horse who likes wearing mud-yep she has it, I love being dirty.
Please support me in my wish to be dirty, send in your photos of your dirty horses...I need to prove I am not the only dirty horse in the world.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

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