Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In the Arena # 114 - First ride after the trim, first bath of the year, more proof that me and videos are incompatible, + one happy accident. (or how do I love thee, let me count the ways...)

Another good ride with the new tack, and another breathtakingly beautiful day. Sunny, perfect temperature, Carolina jasmine blooming up a storm and the Osprey couple that returned last weekend were wheeling around loudly calling out suggestions to each other about this year's nest site.

Val seemed a tad mincy from the trim yesterday, so I planned on keeping it to a walk. We did a lot of on the buckle work. Took up contact, and once again, keeping my thumbs on top of the reins and pointed toward the bit resulted in good arm form + immediate reaching into contact.

We flowed around working on our big walk - with Val stepping up under himself - using cones for the patterns. It really helps my steering, and my addled mind, to have a visual target, so the cones are great. I focused on the timing of my leg in asking for the inside hind to come under. I aimed for just before it left the ground.

At this point Val seemed okay so I asked for some trot. He was slightly short strided at first, but this improved within a few minutes. I spent some more time focusing on staying super balanced through the turns and corners, and got more improvement in lugging and stalling. I must remember to sit tall and straight, ie no leaning into the circle or in the corners. We are making slow, but sure progress. :)

After riding, we finally washed off the accumulated winter filth, and for one brief, shining moment. my horse was clean. Sparkling clean. He was so l-o-v-i-n-g it, even asking for his head to be soaped up and rinsed. I scrubbed him within an inch of his life.

We air dried while grazing, which made poor Cowboy so jealous, he nearly exploded in fits of frustrated lip flipping. I thought I videoed that cuteness, just like I thought I videoed some of our ride. Nope, when (due to a combo of polarized sunnies can't see display screen + stubborn videographer not acknowledging the need for actual glasses) the camera was on, it was actually off. When I turned it off, it was actually on. (imagine lots of cussing) I did manage to catch the first thing Val did when I turned him back out...

I also (sort of) videoed was Val's new found love for the Kubota. Now, whenever I drag the ring, he deposits himself in my way, refusing to move, and nosing around on the tractor, located mere inches away from his feet. I believe he reckons it's a super large version of the clippers. The little clippers feel gooood on my muzzle, maybe the giant orange machine will feel really good. [ Note the mad skillz - who can be bothered to remember that the camera must stay horizontal. Not the first video fail for me...]


 Wherein my horse tells me what's up the best way he knows how...

So - yesterday evening as I did barn chores, I noticed Val reaching his head around to his left hind, which he was holding up in the air. I have seen him do this a few times recently, and because of his hip injury it's hard. Usually I figure it's a bug bite and offer to scratch.

A few minutes later, he was holding the lh up really high under his belly, stretching it forward and looking distinctly uncomfortable. Like it was stuck. Oh heck - has he done something to his stifle? Is that why he felt stiff under saddle this morning? I flew into a panic... time for an inspection!!

 I started massaging the front of his stifle. The look of pleasure from Val was immediate and unmistakable. He closed his eyes, stretched out his neck and both his lips began trembling uncontrollably. As I looked more closely, with my head stuck up in his area, I found three ticks attached to his inner stifle, one of which was terribly swollen. I picked off the ticks. Then I scratched some more for him. He looked like he was going to pass out. His nose hit the electric fence twice. Pure pleasure lol. I applied some Veterycin (holy water) to the bites and we were good to go.

Oh - still working on the cliffhanger post...


  1. Love the videos for the second one where he was being really cute with the Kubota I just laid on my side on the couch to watch it. Looked fine to me! He's one handsome guy and he was very clean...for a few minutes anyway.

    Nasty ticks, I just despise them. Bet he was very happy to be rid of them. Sounds like good work in the arena too.

  2. Your grey horse is clean! I'm jealous!! I'm glad you found the ticks and helped your boy out. Brett's horse, Flash, loves the Kubota tractor too.

  3. It's really weird that our dog will pick up ticks like crazy in the spring but I never find *any* on the horses. Once in a while I find a tick crawling on a cat, but the little buggers seem to only prefer dogs. It may be that our ticks need sagebrush to hide in over the winter (our pasture is all grazed down).

    Too funny about Val and the Kubota--I can totally see the clipper/Kubota connection!

  4. He's clearly telling you that you NEED a Kubota of your own... for him, of course. You wouldn't deny your horse, now would you?

    And I'm glad you found those nasty ticks! Horses are very interesting and will often "tell" you when something is wrong or they need help with something (aside from the obvious "feeeeed meeeee" vibes that come from the barn every morning and night, lol!). Good thing you're tuned in to him like you are!

  5. Ugh, I forgot we're into tick season already! I bet it's going to be a crazy year because of the warm weather we've had.

    I've been reading a lot of your past posts. Your blog is great, I love all the pictures and I love the way you have your posts organized! I had no idea we were neighbors, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  6. Found one tick myself already. Those are a major downside to the warmer seasons.

    Val is too funny with the tractor! I think he would have stayed there all day.

  7. The post bath roll makes me happy. I couldn't leave Bif on the lawn long enough; sure enough, back out in the pasture he rolled in the dirt/mud after HIS bath today.

  8. LOL, Val cracks me up. He's got so much personality!

    I am super jealous of your clean horse. I love Dixie so much but I am so unbelievably tired of how disgusting she smells. It's gotta be 6 months of riding since her last full bath... ugh.

  9. Gave my pony her 1st bath last week. Used lots of white shampoo so she was almost iridescent. Little "princess" didn't even wait till I left before she rolled in the mud.

  10. you are so lucky for such beautiful weather i am so jealous!
    Val is adorable and so much personality.

  11. I am in CA and you are having better weather than we are! No fair. :) I'd love to get baths in! Sigh.

    Love the tractor shot, too. There was an OTTB (not mine) at our barn for awhile that loved (adored?) my Miata. He would walk right up to it and start licking it. He was a little odd.

    And thank you, thank you for your wonderful comments on my last post. I agree with you -- hoping the focus actually helps all horses!

  12. I found a tick on my boy this weekend too! Awful!

    I like the sideways video, mostly because Val looked so darn happy and contented in it :)

  13. lovely blog!

  14. I just read your last 10 posts or so to catch up (I've been away for a while.) Okay, first - YAY for the new saddle! So glad that it's working for both of you. But, good for you for riding a Thoroughbred bareback. Those withers! The picture sequence with the jeans and white hair was too funny. Val looks fantastic (even when dirty). Sounds like things are going well for you two!

  15. Sounds like your riding is going really well. I must remember to try the thumb position :)
    Cute pictures and videos. Our horses like to follow me on the lawn tractor when I rake the arena. Val looked very cute with the Kubota.
    So glad it was just ticks making Val ask you for help. It's so sweet and smart of him to show you what's wrong.

  16. Adorable Val. He is a helper boy with dragging the ring. And, also for putting the dirt back where it belongs - on his body!

    Glad he tells you about the ticks. I find them on everyone's underbellies. Poor sweetie pies.

    I dreamed you and Val lived down the street from our house last night and I thought we could ride together! Isn't that funny? When I woke up this morning I started laughing thinking that would be a long ride - PA to NC!

  17. What a brave Val he is :) And YUCK Ticks!!? I haven't found one on Laz yet and hope I never do! Poor itchy boy was like "ITCH HERE!!!!!!!!!" What good listening skills you have too :)

  18. Isn't that always the way--you get them all nice and clean and then they roll! But if feels so good, ma!
    Ah yes, the ticks are back with a vengeance. I don't think they ever really died off since we had such a mild winter up here in Maine. I pulled 3 off Harley and 5 off Rolex yesterday!

  19. Oh jeez--I almost thought you were going to say that weird horse posture meant he was colicking! I got scared thinking this beauty who looks great in lavender was suffering. Thank goodness your post didn't end that way. Did I ever tell you how much I love Val's black lips? So cute.

  20. First, I just got all caught up on your posts...soooo thrilled the new saddle is working for both of you! Also, jealous of your raised garden beds. I doubled the size of my garden this year, and I'm doing everything from seed because of the reasons you mentioned AND because I'm trying to grow all older heirloom varieties this year rather than hybrids. We'll see how that goes. My daughter and I are planning to frequent the farmer's markets this year and peddle our wares. :)

    Those ticks are itchy buggers, that's for sure! Do you guys have to worry about Lyme disease where you are? That's always one of my biggest concerns around here...Lyme disease is pretty rampant, but I've managed to get a handle on the tick population with chickens and guineas.

    Happy trails

  21. I am dying to give cassy a bath but almost April and it is still too cold. 42 and raining today, blech!

  22. Val is gorgeous and mine love to get dirty after a bath. Sigh, we can expect a bad tick year due to a warm winter? Oh, hadn't thought of that - And I have come home just as hairy as you (a few posts down). Some of my barn mates have shaved their horses. We live in NC and wow, has it been warm here. I think my new pad is a thinline. (no nice fleece edge, though)

    I enjoyed catching up a bit here. Enjoyed the foal video and photos (my friend's foal is due beginning of May. You mentioned a studio... are you an artist?

  23. LOL!!! The stifle scratching story had me cracking up lol.

    I meant to comment on the other post about how cool his love of clippers is. That is so adorable. :D

    Good thing your gray horse likes baths. :) What age did you get him? How long did it take him to turn gray? Chrome is turning gray so it's fun to ask everyone lol. I'm wondering if his mane will stay dark like Val's or go white. Right now half is white and the other half is black. Really weird, but cute. :D


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