Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Springtime Chore Poem

Borrowed a friends tractor

Corrals all scraped and mucked
No more smelly winter manure funk

Evening chores now take more time
No rest for the weary , we have to keep it up

April snow showers fall all around

Bundled up and dressed to stay warm
Boots,  hats , layers galore.

Despite the weather it must be done
Fly season will soon overcome

My purple pitchfork and rusty old wheelbarrow make our way

Get those corrals clean for another day

One wheelbarrow at a time I start to get close

Won’t be long now and I ‘ll have just one more to go

My fingers growing colder with every trip I make
Won't be long now and I will have made
The Robbins cheerfully sing their song as I pass by
My wheelbarrow full of poo , one more time.
The wind blows my hat off
Dust burns in my eyes
I cuss this Montana Springtime weather
Giving anything if only to not to have these blasted chores
Instead I could be inside, enjoying the warmth
It won't be long and the month will be May
But those corrals will be clean for yet another day.
Ok folks, I am no poet as you can see,  but I had several lines rolling around in my head for the last few days as I made my way through my evening chores.  It's silly but it was fun to get it all down on paper.
I thought it nicely summarizes my very exciting evening routine on the farm.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hay Analysis Is In...

Here is the Report . You will see a Download button. Hit this and the document should load.

I am reviewing it to see what our hay is missing or not missing.

If anyone has any suggestions to make this easier please share..

Equi-analytical has a helpful hints on interpreting the results @


Jumping lesson #4 -

I had my lesson # 4 last saturday. I didn't do a post on lesson #3 and really I should have because it was a great lesson. I left lesson #3 feeling like I was on top of the world.

Lesson #4.. not so much.

Lesson #4 was fairly awful in my opinion. It left me wondering what the hell I was thinking going back into jumping. I walked away totally discouraged. The mare and I got off to a rough start because I was wearing my shotgun chaps which have fringe . Fancy the Trakehner apparently mistook the fringe for bugs and had a total meltdown, kicking and bucking and reaching around trying to kill whatever that bug was that was bothering her. The fringe wasn't actually even touching her but she was able to see it hanging down from my foot in her peripheral vision. I seriously thought that would have been in a horses blind spot.. but apparently not.  I ended up doing a crude trimming of the fringe at the bottom of the chaps. I haven't totally ruined them in my moment of desparation but  I have to repair them now and I just got them back from the leather shop. Sigh...

We rode in the outdoor arena for the first time. Mind you, Fancy and I are still getting used to one another. So far, she's been a cake walk compared to Maggie. Given our bad start, I think she decided that I wasn't worthy of her cooperating for the day. The grass blowing in the wind was spooking her every time she went into one particular corner. We eventually sorted that out . When it came down to cantering, things kind went really south again.Cantering to the left is harder for me to stay in balance. It is also Fancy's more difficult direction. Fancy wanted to canter alot faster than I was comfortable with in that direction,  so my natural reaction is to sit down and half halt.  Generally, this is the natural cue to slow a horse right? Well, not with her. Fancy responds differently than any other horse I have had to ride. I am not sure but I think it is just how she has been trained ,a ccording to my trainer.
If you sit down in the saddle at all, Fancy thinks that means go faster...She wrings her tail and gets tense.  If you get up into a forward seat, leave her mostly alone and give her her head she will settle into a long easy canter. You can half halt her but only a little and only for one stride.  My trainer corrected me in my half halts saying that was holding her in too much.  She's probably right..My inclination would typically be ask once, ask twice, no response, ask bigger, even if it means we come to a stop. Fancy wasn't responding to my cue so I kept asking and it was just making it worse. Fancy is also trained to "Ho" by my trainers voice command. I don't ever use voice commands on my horses for a number of reasons that I won't go into (it's kind of a soap box for me) exept for some lunge work .

So imagine, everything that is habit for me to communicate to a horse to slow down is now telling the horse to go faster. I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around that and thus our canter was tense and discombobulated. Luckily, we changed directions, and I sorted it all out. I managed to get into the right position , find the right center of balance and eventually  Fancy and I got on the same wavelength with a nice easy canter.  As long as I was  up in forward seat with very light contact life was good. So, lesson learned...#1- I have to just trust Fancy a bit more and I  have to remember that light contact with Fancy is a totally different than what I think of as light contact on my own horses.  It's foreign to me to not have some connection with the horses mouth.

We did get around to jumping a couple of little cross rails and that went pretty well. I still get a bit left behind occasionally because Fancy jumps fairly big and I don't always anticipate it well enough.  I just cringe at the thought of catching a horse in the mouth on the landing which is ultimately what happens when the rider gets behind . What really grates on me is that this little issue I am having was NEVER an issue for me when I used to jump years ago.. Why is this now my issue?? It's so frustrating!

My trainer is no different than alot of hunter/jumper trainers out there. Flat work is horribly boring and it tends to not get as much focus as maybe it should. Trainers are anxious to get their students over fences.

My Plan for next lesson:

Take a step back
Work on stabilizing my position by working over some ground poles in a trot and canter .

Then I need to practice at home.

Home Depot--> Wooden Rails--> Paint--> = Practice, Practice, Practice.

** This is spring break week for "T". We were fortunate to get use of a friends tractor for the week to start on  cleaning corrals and other various projects that are alot easier with the use of a tractor! "T" has gone a little crazy and built a couple of things..Things like a  fixed platform cross country jump to add to our obstacle array. It's super cool. It's contructed of rail road ties and dirt. It's about 18" high and big enough so the horse can jump up at a canter and jump off. 

I will post a photo of it soon!