Quote for the week

I will acknowledge your neurosis but will not indulge it.
- Bill Basham
When the DOR first heard this statement she was working with a rescue horse that had been ruined by the people who had been in her life in the past. The DOR was busy telling the trainer how hard the horse's life had been and how he needed to understand her past. The trainer was Bill Basham and he quietly told the DOR this week's quote and went on to explain his thinking. You see it turns out we all pack around a few issues. Those issues can become something that we wallow in, never making any headway in our life's journey or we can acknowledge they are there and then deal with them. By making the little rescued mare face her issues and deal with them, in a supportive environment that was set up for her success, the little mare was able to move forward in her life's journey in a happy and productive manner.
The DOR has come to realize that one can be too sympathetic, becoming a person that enables a horse to stay stuck. She hates causing us distress and often will not push us out of our confront zones. It is good she knows that. She is working on that with trainers and at clinics. However she also knows when we need pushed harder that she is able to push, so she sends us off to have someone else do it for her...she says it is so we aren't upset with her-I think it is because she is a big softy.
The Trailboss made me work through my issues and I am a lot happier too. Dealing with my issues has made me a stronger, happier, and wiser horse....I am SUPER APPY!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your


Freedom Speaks Saturday-Holy snake bite

It is me, Freedom. I am thinking about taking over Jack's blog once a week to give some advice. Shandi thought it should be called "Grampers gumming", I think that is undignified..I am going to call it Freedom Speaks Saturday.
The DOR says there are a lot of blogs talking about snakes being out. Yep, they are out and they are sneaky little critters. There are snakes at the ranch, what would one expect? Lots of wide open fields, rodents running in the orchards, and plenty of places to hide. The ranch dogs do keep them at a minimum, but they are there just the same.
The DOR isn't fond of finding snakes out on a trail, but that happens too. She had one horse that would stomp a snake, even when she was trying to get the horse to keep moving-that horse really disliked snakes. She has one horse now, Jack, who gets all bug eyed and snorty when the wind rustles dry grass making is sound a bit like a snake. He definitely won't be doing any snake stomping, more like the snake skedaddle.
I have made it this far without snake issues. I have learned if you leave the alone they won't bother you, stay on the trail, make a bit of noise so they know you are coming, and doing the snake repellent dance/shuffle before heading out helps too.
There are some precautions that DORs can take to help protect their horses legs from a snake bite.
A nice settle of leggings helps a bunch. Make sure they are snug, but not tight. Check that the length is right and that they don't interfere with you horse's leg movement.

Ad a nice set of boots to the leggings and you have full-protection on all fours, or at least a good head start. I think that Jack needs the polka dot ones to match his polka dot butt. Again make sure the boots fit well. You also need to check that the boots don't wear a raw spot by spinning around, there are boots out there designed not to spin.
So take safety precautions and have a great ride. In case the unthinkable happens and your horse does happen to get bit these sites has some good first aid advice Horses and Horse Information and Practical Horsekeeping
Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Skywatch Friday No. 46

I thought I would play around a bit with some effects and the oak tree. The first photo is the original, the one following is the effect.

It was fun to take a different look at the tree that has been such a part of my life.

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Afternoon kisses

This is the treatment the DOR gets everyday when she comes out to see me after work. I usually walk, sometimes I am in a bigger hurry, over to her as soon as I see she is in the pasture. When I get up close I stop, then I reach out so she can smooch my nose. I then get lots of hugs and rubbed all over. As you can tell in the video I was a bit flummoxed when there was no afternoon smooch.
I managed to loose my mask sometime on Wednesday. The DOR accused me of rubbing it off and hiding it somewhere. I am stunned that she would think such a thing!

You don't think her suspicion has anything to do with the grass stains on my forehead do you? I hid the mask really good, she couldn't find it. I am sure there will be a search party called in to find it tomorrow, she is very insistent that we keep our masks on. To top things off Freedom has been giving me a raft of cow poop about not wearing a mask. If I have to hear one more time, "If you don't wear your mask you could get eye cancer. Do you want to go blind? I suppose if all of your friends jumped off a bridge you would too. If I knew then what I know now...." I am going to bust. Of course I wouldn't jump off a bridge if my friends did...that would mean I would have to walk out on a bridge, there is a better chance of Ginger becoming a fancy show horse than there is of me going out on a bridge. Sometimes I wish the old man would just mind his own business. Hmpf, he is always trying to teach us a thing or two. Of course he is pretty smart about how to get your DOR to wait on you...I guess it wouldn't hurt to listen to him after all.
Well I am going to see if I can talk my sister into hiding the mask in her pasture. It will be fun to watch the mask rescue team wander all around my pasture searching for something that isn't there.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Less words Wednesday

I have given up...who am I fooling? I don't do wordless Wednesdays, I just do less word Wednesdays. So I am just calling it what it is.
Got spots? The DOR missed my spotted rear while I was gone.

Shandi and Grampers enjoying a lazy afternoon.

Shandi is the only one that Grampers (Freedom) will let eat out of his bucket...what is up with that?

Here Shandi is trying to see if anything is left after Mushboy fed Freedom. Notice that Shandi's two doting uncles are still leaving Freedom's bucket alone. He is a tough old guy and we know better than to mess with him or "his Shandi".
Ginger started shedding early this year, well early for her. The DOR spent a bunch of time on Saturday trimming her 4 inch long winter woollies down with scissors, but there is only so close you can safely get with those. The Ranch Manager surprised the DOR and has spent time clipping Ginger with battery operated clippers. Ginger really appreciated it. Her supplements are working well because under her winter woollies is a beautiful normal coat! Ginger is enjoying the "air conditioning" and the geldings are all checking her out. Way to go Ranch Manager!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Lesson report

This is a picture from last fall, it is one of the DOR's favorite riding pictures-she thinks I look grand in this photo.
The lesson went very well on Saturday. The DOR and I worked on the bio mechanics of riding, keeping me and the DOR straight. I have a tendency to turn my nose to the outside of the ring, which tweaks my spine making it hard for me to stay round and collected. The DOR has a tendency to drop her right shoulder, which then causes her back to curve to the left. Those two things together are enough to make traveling straight hard. Having the instructor catch it right away helps us both work on staying straight.
I would rather do the lessons at a trot, it is less work for me. Walking and being collected makes me really have to use my rear and I get tired. We also worked on transitioning from a lateral trot to a straight trot. The DOR and the instructor worked together to come up with a clear cue that did not make me act like a "Mexican jumping car", it was nice to get that sorted. The DOR is finding that the new saddle helps her maintain a better riding position, I appreciate that too.
There is a corner in the arena where all of the barrels, torture toys, and a tarp are stacked when they are not in use in the arena. The DOR calls it the bugger corner because every time I go by it I snort and start dancing around. Well what does she expect? Some of that stuff is no fun at all, like the white bag, and I don't like going by them. I showed the DOR how far I have come, I went by that corner and never snorted or danced around once. I gave the corner the evil eye a couple of times but that was it. She was very proud of me and gave me a bunch of pats for doing so good. She also knows how much I like my new saddle. I am lining up to the mounting block and standing still so she can get on. She is glad to see that the saddle isn't pinching and that I like to go for a ride once again. I didn't fuss my bit during this lesson either, I was much more relaxed. Part of the reason I am more relaxed is that the DOR and I are communicating better, the other part is the DOR has more of her confidence back and I don't feel her nervousness. She is even talking about a trail ride soon.
I got to rest on Sunday and Monday, the DOR was home with a sinus infection. The Support Crew Chief and Mushboy did the chores. I gave Mushboy a big goobery kiss to take home to the DOR, I am sure that will make her feel much better.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Memorial Day wish

May we never forget those who have served our country. May those who paid the highest price be remembered for their commitment to our freedom. May those who are serving now come home safely. May there come a day when there is no more war and we all live in peace.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Quote for the week

We're always so busy trying to show horses what we want from them that we don't take the time to listen to what they're trying to say back.-Mark Rashid in Considering The Horse

One of the things that the DOR has been working on is listening to what I am telling her. She realized that she will ask me to do something, I do it, then she asks me to do something else, I do it and the cycle continues. She was not pausing to listen or to feel what I might be telling her about how things were going. It became clear to her when I protested about having to start trotting straight after trotting laterally. She thought about that for a few days and realized that she hadn't felt the hesitation in my step when she gave me the cue to change directions. That if she had she could have cued me a bit differently and gotten a better result, rather than just getting tighter on the rein. I hate it when a rider is on my face, it is the one thing that makes me crow hop every time....getting on my face with no release for too long. If I don't understand what is wanted it helps just to be more clear, not to argue.

The DOR practiced just sitting on me, closing her eyes and seeing what was happening through feel, rather than just using her eyes. At first she was nervous, but she has learned that I am going to take care of her when we do this exercise so she is okay. She will sit and ask me to collect myself while we are standing by lightly tickling the bit. She can now feel when I drop and tuck my head. She is working on the same thing at a walk. She is slowing down what we do and how fast the succession of requests are, it allows her time to recognize what I am telling her after each request. We are becoming a better team this way. Sometimes she thinks something and begins to cue me and I am already on it. I can feel the most subtle muscle shifts in her, knowing that has helped her lighten up her cues which in turn has reduce my "squirty" responses. It is fun when everything falls into place, but for that to happen a rider must listen to the horse. Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


A day of spoiling

This is a picture of my feet from last summer. I actually have nicer feet now and I plan on showing them off to the farrier.
The farrier and equine therapist are coming down today. I am going to dazzle the farrier with my rock crushing, trail riding, hard as nails appy feet. I should have had my feet done a couple of weeks ago, but I was gone and I have done my imitation of a wild mustang and did my own feet going down the trail. I do have a bit of a flair on my left hind but other than that I am looking pretty darn good.
The therapist is going to check my flexibility to see if my massive muscles are more supple. The DOR is also taking a riding lesson, that means I am taking errr giving a riding lesson. She says we will be working on the bio mechanics of riding. I think that means I trot and she works on sitting in the right position...alrighty then, just wait until she sees the trot I have planned for her! I am going to be nice, the DOR says I have to behave or she will take the new saddle off and put on the pinchy one. I know she really wouldn't do that, but the thought of wearing the pinchy saddle is good motivation to be on my best behavior. The DOR told the clinician last weekend that I am always on my best behavior, it is just that some days my best is better than other days, but she always gets my best for that day. I am so glad she understands that no matter what I am doing the best I can.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR
I hope every one has a safe Memorial Day weekend!


Skywatch Friday No. 25

This photo was taken at sunset on the drive home.

Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

Water horses

Every time the DOR tries to spray me down with the hose when she is filling the water tub, I run like the wind to the far corner of the pasture. I am not too cooperative with a bath either. Until yesterday afternoon I had her convinced I didn't really care to get wet. Unfortunately for me I got busted.
I was teaching my niece about the joys of eating while standing in the sprinkler. I was explaining to her that it helps keep you cool and works especially well for keeping off pesky flying bugs. We were enjoying practicing that lesson when the DOR showed up and caught me standing in the spray. Oh well, the secret is out...I love the water, now I suppose I will have to take a bath once in a while.
The other advantage of standing in the sprinkler is that if the DOR is in a bit of a hurry I get out of having to work. She has been haltering me up each evening and working with me on some of the "buggers" that bother me, one still being the grocery bag. Well I escaped last night because she needed to get to a meeting and wouldn't have time to change out of wet clothes. Hmmmm, I wonder what would happen if every time she shows up this week she finds me under the sprinklers? I wonder if I can convince the cow boss to leave the sprinklers running 24/7 in my pasture the entire summer? You don't think the DOR would show up in a wetsuit do you....
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Not wordless Wednesday-I have a niece

Yep I look a little goofy, my fly mask is askew...but I am busy taking care of my niece. Shandi has decided that Uncle Jack is pretty cool. She has been hanging out with me the past couple of days.
The old farts are hanging out under the tree "drinking coffee" as the DOR says. They like to just watch what is going on and talk about the good old days. Shandi wants to run and play. So she has decided that when the old guys are camped out she will hang out with me.

Here I am giving the old guys a raspberry. Neener neener, I have the filly! Yesterday afternoon Shandi was running circles, doing flying lead changes, and jumping the logs. She would buzz by me and tease me that she was the fastest horse in the pasture-well alrighty then, the race is on. The DOR busted a gut laughing at the two of us racing around the pasture, jumping logs, and bucking. I was playing follow the leader with Shandi, I let her be the leader. She is a fast little thing, but I could beat her if I wanted to, I just let her win so her little feelings would not be hurt. Of course her running circles around me makes it hard not to get dizzy.
I decided that it was time to eat and she still wanted to play and wouldn't take no for an answer. Now I think I know why the old guys have so many coffee breaks. I had to give Shandi the butt treatment several times before she would calm down and munch some grass. As soon as she stood for a bit I nipped her butt, took off running, and it was another game of follow the leader with me in the lead. I think I like this playful uncle role.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR



The clinic was a great time and the DOR was on her best behavior. We worked on ground skills each morning and then riding in the afternoon. This is the first ride we have had together since the "tumbleweed twister". It was also our first ride in the new saddle.
I like the new saddle it doesn't pinch me. It is a draft horse saddle, yep now you know how massive I am. It is also a lot lighter than the saddle the DOR had been using. The DOR never got saddle sore riding in her old saddle, she got a bit sore after two days in the new one...it just needs broke in. The DOR will learn to love this saddle too, well at least she is willing to live with it for my sake.
I did everything I was asked to do. I learned to trot in a lateral motion. I really liked doing that, I looked very fancy and collected. The DOR thought it was fun too. I did protest a bit when asked to move forward in a straight line after trotting laterally for 10 feet. The clinician said I looked like one of those Lowrider jumping cars and the DOR made me turn in a tight circle and walk off-I guess I wasn't supposed to protest. I had to do something to let them know they were spoiling my fun.
We worked on gait transitions using a half-halt...I rocked every one of them. I transitioned within one step after each half-halt the DOR did. The DOR got told her riding form is 98 out of 100, she lost points for looking down and sometimes having her getting too tight. She worked on looking five feet ahead of us and started humming to reduce her tension.
I am glad we are back riding again. I am going to take good care of the DOR, I want her not to be worried when she is riding. The clinician told her that it is normal to be fearful after what happened and that time and success will help her get over it. This weekend went a long way to help her get back to where she was before I threw her last fall.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Late night post

Good evening! The Internet was down for a couple of days. The DOR is tired after two days at the clinic. She is a bit of a slacker if you ask me, I have been working everyday for three weeks straight. Maybe she needs to go to DOR boot camp and get ready for a busy riding season.

The clinic was great, I will report more later. I was grand, I impressed every one with my ability to trot laterally across the arena.
The picture is of my new saddle. It is the one I will be using until the DOR gets enough funds saved up to have one made just for me.

I am going to take a rest.

See you tomorrow.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Clinic time

The DOR and I are spending today and tomorrow at a clinic. Good thing too! We have been apart for three weeks and we need to get to know each other again. Like humans who go off to boot camp, trail horse boot camp has change me.

Bill Basham will be teaching a Horsemanship and Biomechanics of Riding Clinic. Bill is well known in the Northwest for his practical natural horsemanship methods. His training center is in Potlatch, ID at Full Circle Ranch. He has specialized in endurance riding and training endurance riders, working cow clinics, training hundreds of horses under saddle, and teaching numerous people how to have a better relationship with their horses. Bill's mentors include Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, and Buck Brannaman. He has also been studying with Wendy Murdoch to learn how to help his students advance their skills in the saddle.
I will give a report on Monday.
Have a great weekend!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Skywatch Friday No. 24

Each day at trail horse boot camp was filled with wonderful views. I spent my non saddle time in the valley. Rides would find me hiking up the hills to their crests and then riding fence line or herding horses.
The sky seemed to go on forever, so did the hills.
I think the lone tree was nice to look at.
I got to spend Thursday just slacking off. I did try to con the little filly into hanging out with me instead of Grampers. I even shared my treat tub with her, well I let her nibble out of it after I had ate most of it.
Please go visit the other great Skywatch participants at Skywacth Friday There are wonderful photos from all around the world!
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


I am home! Thanks to Freedom for guest writing for me while I was gone.
The Trailboss and I plotted to give the DOR a big surprise. I was supposed to be home by Friday, but the Trailboss saw how much the DOR missed me and brought me home early. He got up Wednesday and saw the weather was not going to allow him to work with any of the horses and he knew that the DOR wanted to spend a bit of time with me before we headed to the clinic this weekend so he called her up and told her he was bringing home early. I could hear her whooping it up on the phone, I bet she was doing her happy dance too. The Trailboss got everything ready, put on one of his "going to town" outfits and we hit the road.
I arrived to one grinning DOR and a new filly in my pasture. Seems that while I was gone a yearling decided that she loves Freedom, she calls him Grampers. She follows him every where. When he is in his paddock eating mush she stands right by the rails and waits for him. When he gets out and takes off running, she is right at his heels. I thought she might follow me around, but she only has eyes for the old man. She and I have the same birthday. The picture was taken in the morning as the sun was rising, it is the little filly and Grampers munching away. I will post a better picture of the filly soon, she is a cute little thing.
I am going to spend the day telling my friends about my adventures, eating grass, and I might even take a nap. I have been working hard and need to rest. The DOR and I will be heading to a clinic for the weekend, rumor has it a cow or two may show up. I am looking forward to wearing my new saddle and have a fun time.
Here is a big hug and kiss to all of my friends out there, I have missed you a bunch.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Wordless Wednesday-Jack working

This is a photo of part of "trail horse bootcamp". One of the resident horses decided to head for the hills. The Trailboss was showing me a few things about Jack at the time, so off they headed to gather him up. I was pleased to see Jack going through brush without a snorting, cantering without being a twerp, and ponying another horse.

Here he is bringing the escapee back home.
It was grand to see him, he loves being a working ranch/trail horse. He did protest a bit that it was his birthday and he should be being pampered in a manner worthy of his royal blingness.
The Trailboss has addressed every issue I asked him to and done a fine job. Now it is up to me to "cowgirl up" and keep moving him forward.
Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Happy Birthday Jack

Photobucket Hi it is me, the DOR.
It is Jack's birthday today. I have been blessed to know many horses in my 50 years. Jack has become my best friend, partner, therapist, and the highlight of everyday. I am so very lucky to have him in my life. He is a gentle soul with a wonderful sense of humor. Jack is a patient teacher. His mission is to make me a better horseman, one that he is very kind about doing. Jack loves his friends, is kind to those who may not be so nice to him, and is always finding a way to have a peaceful existance. He is honest, faithful, smart, and has the biggest "try" of any horse I have known. In short, I think Jack is as close to perfect as they come.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of the "King of Bling". He got a new saddle, a box of Honey n Oat granola bars, and ten pounds of carrots. The Trailboss even smooched his little nose.
Have a grand day and don't forget to hug your horse.


Spring shedding time

Well it is spring time, time for shedding. Not only do horses loose their winter coat in the spring, we also shed our frogs.
Horses shed their frogs twice a year, any more than that and you want to check for thrush or other hoof issues.
When a frog begins to shed, it is a flap of insensitive tissue that can be trimmed as if it was a flap of dry skin. Don't pull it off! Use pruning sheers like the Corona AG 5030 Grape Sheers above to remove the part that's lose. These sheers are wonderful because they are easy to sharpen, have a curved edge and blunt tip. They are also inexpensive tool for trimming frogs, cutting bale twine and as a general stable shear. They are easily found on-line or in garden centers.
Other tools for removing bits of lose frog include hoof knives, exacto knives (be VERY careful!), wire hardware brushes, hoof nippers, large scissor-type nail nippers or any similar tool.
Watch to make sure your horse does not develop thrush, which can happen easily in the damp spring weather. The other thing that happens once irrigating starts is the soft hoof/dry hoof cycle. Hooves dry out and get hard, sometimes cracking if left too long, when the ground is dry-when the pasture is being watered the hooves then soften up, which can cause "folding" in hooves left too long. It is very important to keep hooves properly trimmed during, especially during this time of rapid growth and more riding.
Good hoof care is important for the health and well-being of your horse. Start trimming your horses when they are babies, it is never too early to set their little hooves down the right path. Too many horses are lost because of poor hoof maintenance. They are set up to become navicular, to have under run heels, constricted heels and other problems. If the problems continue over the span of several years they can be unfixable and the horse will need to be let go. Harley Darling is an example of a fine horse whose poor hoof care history made his hooves unrehabbable, such a waste.
Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Quote of the week-Happy Mother's Day

The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.~William Goldsmith Brown

This is Jack and his mom when he was a day old. I want to wish all of the moms out there, human and animal, a very happy Mother's Day.

The DOR says there are "tummy moms" (those who give birth) and "heart moms" (those who raise others as their own). The DOR is both and she has found great joy in caring for all of her children, human (heart and tummy) and animal. She says it is the best blessing in the world to be a mom.

Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Bees bite

This photo sure makes bees look interesting and beautiful and they are-from a distance. After 40+ years I know enough to avoid them because the little buggers bite! Well actually they sting, but it still hurts
A friend of mine Red at Baba Yaga's Mirror got stung on his face and his eye sweld shut. I got a sting on my rear last year and it made a big old knot that took a few days to go away. Salty seems not to have any problem with bees. Bees will land on Ginger and ride around for a bit, but she has not been bitten yet. The DOR says it is our smell that can attract bees...who knows.
Just like people, horses can be allergic to bees. Encyclopedia Equestria has an interesting post on bees. It talks about preventive measures, treatment options, and is a nice read.
Be careful out there on the trails, dress lightly and avoid wearing that stuff that smells sweet. Even the best horse will get upset by a bee sting, there is no way to desensitize us to that!

Life is so good! Oh and Jack told me to remember to say: Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR

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