Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jumpin' Jackson

"WOW, mom this look FUN!"

Me showing Jackson the jumps he will jump. His reply?
"Let's do it NOW!!!" So we did. OK. Just not this one! This one's for next week! :)

Wish I had pics of all the jumps, with the one's in the pasture and in the woods, there are about 15-18 large jumps.

Linda taking Shorty over--I took Jacks over the same one quite a few times-really not even high enough to two-point over--but he LOVED it and I can tell he wants more!!! :)

Marking the easy pink trail

Putting up the flags.....

Went out to Linda's today and we trailered the five minutes over to Triple H Equitherapy to mark the pink trail which is the easiest one. All the trails (there are three--easy, interm. and advanced) have ten obstacles to find on the scavenger map and this year we are making some new obstacles and adding to the advanced trail (actually blazing NEW trail) so the people who have been coming for the past five years don't get too bored...I suggested a stop called "Hobo Hollow" and now I am suddenly the creator of 75-100 little tiny hobo bags with a bit of cotton inside attached to a popsicle stick...(Do you ever notice this happening when you open your trap with ideas?) Guess I will go to Michael's and do some shopping! :) Luckily, I am quite crafty when I want to be, so this should be OK...At every obstacle you need to bring something back--and the ULTIMATE is to get it all from the back of your horse without getting off--if you bring back all of the items from all ten obstacles you get a prize. There's a band, lunch, and a Peruvian Paso drill team performance. It is one of the major fundraiser's 0f the year for Triple H Equitherapy, but it is SOOOO cool!! So this is the first year I have rode Jackson while blazing, marking the trails and setting up the obstacles, and he took it in stride. Last year I rode Shorty the Leopard Appy in this posts pics... We began making pink flying ribbons, attaching them to clothespins and then 20 to his saddle and asking him to stop under trees and beside fences to constantly leave our "marked trail" so folks will know the correct direction. After a couple of hops when I first started to reach off of him to attach a marker to a fence he gave a sigh and then began to enjoy himself. I really enjoyed myself because this whole pink trail is A CROSS COUNTRY COURSE, part of it in a pasture and the rest in the woods; with huge scary downhill things, ditches, and tire jumps along the way!!!!

Much of the area that we traveled through had little jumps to practice over and since it is a REAL course it also has the requisite scary HUGE ones that Jackson was quite interested in!!! My horse wants to be a jumper!!! Thank you God! After we set everything up, we took the 1.5 mile trail at a fast trot to make sure that people could follow our handiwork. We took lots of little jumps through the woods, most of them quite a bit bigger than cavaletti. The only thing I have ever done on him is cavaletti at a trot and he does that well without hitting them, and I know that it's a start but this was just FUN and he was loving it! Of course, the big jumps are down the road, but I am just thrilled that I had the opportunity to do this and Jackson was SUPER and EAGER for more! We are in the process of finding a trainer and I am confident that with all the riding I'm doing I'm going to have a BOMBPROOF AngloArab! Hmmm. OK. It will most likely depend on the day! :) He is such a forward, willing horse and praise the Lord, he has NO bad habits. At 10 years old (on 9 May) that's really good! We then went and did arena work for approx. 20 min. Lots of transitions. I am also teaching Jacks "side" as we are learning to open gates, not always easy, but very necessary when you trail ride a lot!!!! After we finished, I went and got a 15 minute refresher course to do volunteer sidewalking in order to work at Triple H for a few hrs. each Wed night. This entails walking beside a horse in the arena; as a sidewalker you are there to provide safety and support to your rider. I did this when I lived in Washington D.C. , in addition to volunteering with the jumpers in Special Olympics. These riders have developmental and physical disabilities, some of them are there for psycho-horsie-therapy too--for example war veterans. Lord knows that's why I have a horse--for my psycho-Jackson-therapy--what a great thing, eh? So in addition to me being a sidewalker I have been asked to be a handler in which you actually are the one leading and controlling the horse. This requires an "official" class and a certification. I think I floored the Volunteer Coord. when I told him I really just wanted to be a sidewalker in order to have the interaction with the students. (After all, I "handle" my horse all the time...)I worked with folks with dev. disabilities for 12 years in Key West and Pa before finishing my BSN and becoming a nurse, and I MISS it.... Apparently, sidewalkers don't need to have any horse experience and are the bottom of the totem pole--the "handlers" are the cool thing to be... I told him I would do it in case they got stuck and needed a handler, but I WANT to be a sidewalker... BUT, obviously, if you don't have a handler you can't do anything, so I will be a back-up handler. Anyway, I am looking forward to starting next Wed.!

Jackson stepped on my foot two days ago, (very accidently as he was near the edge of concrete that dropped off a bit, so it was MY FAULT) and since I wanted to ride the second day in a row--I vet wrapped it and put on da' boot.... Well after 2.5 hrs. (and one re-wrap) of lots of trotting, jumping, and then trotting and cantering in the arena for 20 min. I have a really pretty foot! Enjoy the colors! Amazing the injuries we ride with eh? I continued to ride with my shoulder broken 2 yrs. ago....BAD, BAD I know!!!!

I think it MAY look worse than it feels, except after 3 hrs. of riding on it! Hmmm. Go figure as my mom likes to say to me...
Pain medication and ice are heaven sent friends!
Yep, and I DO need a pedi, but with the rest looking so bad, I have a little time to make it pretty again, dont'cha think?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mane Pulling----the Easier Way....

Just so you all know, I love this thing and IT REALLY WORKS GREAT!!!!
Found it cheaply, check out web site at bottom of page!!!!

Pulling manes can be worse than pulling teeth – unless you try one of the new high-tech gadgets. Now and then, nearly every horse needs his mane tidied up. Some thin-maned horses or horses who keep their manes long just need a little shaping, while other horses need major work, and frequently. There are a variety of methods of dealing with long manes – from the (forbidden) scissors approach to the old-fashioned pulling the hairs out. The difficulty with the first is that the result looks like the mane just got chopped off – which it did. The difficulties of the second approach are many – irritating to the horse and hard on your fingers, just to mention two.
So we experimented to see if spending money for newfangled tools would be warranted. We took two tools, the Grooma ManeMaster and The Mane Puller, to a busy barn with professionals, adult amateurs, children taking lessons and moms who don't ride. Just for fun we asked the experienced mane pullers not just if they would spend the money for these tools, but to mentally compare them to traditional tools – mane pulling combs, thinning shears and so forth. To our amazement, everyone voted for the gadgets. While some nearly choked at the price at first, in the end even they felt the money would be well spent if they had a number of horses or a horse with a sensitive mane. Which tool to use depends on the horse's mane.

ManeMasterThe Grooma ManeMaster ($44.95) is an ABS plastic comb with two stainless steel cutting blades hidden in it teeth. It comes with a cordura pouch that clips to your belt, so keeping it with you is easy, which is important because at that price, you don't want it misplaced or sprouting legs (if you know what we mean). The housing that covers the blades is locked into place but can be removed so you can clean the blades, which you should do periodically.
The ManeMaster doesn't pull the hairs out, but cuts them off. You hold the longer hairs while backcombing the rest. When you have only the hair you want to cut left in your comb, push the lever on the top of the comb and the hairs will be cut. The comb is a good fit for the hand and even little kids could manage it, though we'll warn you, it takes a bit of practice.
Some testers found it more convenient to depress the lever with their thumb, while others found it worked easier with their thumb below the comb and the first finger depressing the lever. The trick for gaining speed is to have only a few hairs in the comb at a time. Ironically, the fewer hairs in the comb, the quicker you can move through the mane.
If you want a professional-looking shortening job, be mindful of how close to the neck you are cutting or you'll end up with hairs of greatly varying lengths, which can stick up or be difficult to braid. This product is also helpful for tails, either shaping the top of the tail or trimming the bottom.
Horse & RiderFebruary 1998, page 70.

We passed the Grooma ManeMaster to English riding coach and competitor Susan Gustafson of Bridlewood Stables in Woodland Park, Colorado. She tested the mane-shortening tool on two horses: one with a long, thin mane; and one with a medium-thick, kinky mane.
Susan was amazed at how this comblike tool with stainless-steel blades cut her mane-trimming time in half. She was able to complete an entire mane in 30 to 45 minutes. She also reported that the tool-which cuts hairs to thin the mane instead of pulling them out-made the task virtually painless for her horses. As a result, they were more cooperative than when she pulled their manes by hand.
Susan realized she had to be selective about which hairs to cut, or she'd end up trimming the mane too short. With practice, she found if she used a comb to tease the shorter mane hairs out of the way, she was able to snip off only the remaining long ones, creating an even appearance. Overall, she reports the ManeMaster contributed to the best mane-shortening jobs she's ever done-especially on the medium-thick mane.

–I found one at Dover Saddlery for $34.90 AND at it was only $23.98!!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Good Life

Hello all! (Especially KK and Esther, I REALLY am still around, thanks for caring to leave messages!!!) It's been a while, eh? No excuses from me, but here's a nice piece for you to enjoy. I sometimes put in volunteer hours working at a place called Triple H Equitherapy where they have horseback riding for the handicapped. They take physical and developmental folks and show them the joys and the actual therapy that can come from riding a horse. We get folks who have MS, guys back from the war with injuries, and kids/adults with Down Syndrome, etc.--you get the picture. Sooooo, every year for the past two years I have been helping with their yearly fundraiser which is a huge scavenger hunt on horseback. We set up three (this year four) trails and then have all kinds of "things" you need to find and bring back with the help of trail markers and a map. The trails range from easy to super difficult. Last year I helped set up and take down the trails (the longest is ~4 miles) with all of the super cool things you need to find. All of the areas and treasures you find have different themes and names. For example, "The Pirates Booty" requires you to get off of your horse and climb up a small cliff and bring back a gold coin. "Raindrop Canyon" is an umbrella full of jingle bells and you need to bring back a bell. (This can be a scary, hard one for some horses...) At "Frog Hollow" you need to bring back a plastic frog from a big rock that has been scooped out like a dish over time; but first you have to find the rock.... The set up and then going and retrieving everything when the event is over is a LOT of work, but much fun. My big "at home" volunteer work this year is to make all of the markers for the trails--about 300--plastic colored tape tied to clothespins for easy application to trees and bushes. The fundraiser isn't until June, but yesterday we actually went out to blaze a new trail; it will be the blue trail and the hardest of all to navigate. Whew! Branches, cliffs, etc. 2 hrs. later (we got through approx. 2 miles in 98 degree heat) we had a better idea where we wanted the trail and where to mark so the "guys" could come through and clear the branches and undergrowth, etc..all the stuff we somehow plowed through. No spider sightings so all was right in my world... In exchange for the work we do, we are free to ride the owner's absolutely gorgeous and varied acreage, and to use her round pen and arena with FAB footing. If you are interested in viewing what exactly this incredible place is all about please go to Be sure to go to the bottom and check out the videos, the first one about Mike (super neat guy) is quite interesting and the second one will show you what it's like when we volunteer to actually work with the disabled and what the special folks who come to the facility get out of it. Before I became an RN I worked with the developmentally disabled for 12 years, so this is dream volunteer work (if you can really call it work...) for me!
I added a pic of Jackson and I in the a bit of water we found, he has always been skittish around water so imagine my surprise when he plowed right in and started pawing away at it. It was SOOOO funny and cute. Also a pic of Jacks in the round pen--we are working on the perfect canter but that guy is SOOOO green still and VERY fast. He'll always be fast, I just need to get my confidence and more hrs. in the saddle; and yes, I am actually hitting the gym to work on my core and bring some muscles out of hibernation....(all for the sake of my riding of course!) LOL...Lots more work ahead. Then you get to see Jacks having a roll after all his work!