Sunday, 23 September 2012

Appreciating The Big Guys

The one good thing about Artemis being a jerk (does it make me a bad horse owner to call my horse names?) is that I've been spending more quality time with Socks.  As the most laid-back and experienced horse we own (a.k.a the horse who needs the least work) she doesn't tend to get as much personalized attention from me since I'm always trying to sort out either Jimmy or Artemis.  Not to say I ignore her because I certainly don't.  I've said it before and I'll say it many times, she is my heart horse.  I spend a lot of time with her, but I tend to focus on the other two a little bit more.

Since I still can't ride, I've been taking her for walks.  My mom has been riding Jimmy outside in a field more often, so while she does I take Socks on the halter and walk around the field with her.  It's nice and relaxing.  She walks at my speed and lets me ramble on about whatever I want.  It's one of the only things I can do with her.  I do groom her but since I'm trying to use my broken arm to do that, I can only do it for so long before my arm hurts too much.  Speaking of though, I cleaned her front hoof, completely and properly, all by myself the other day.  It completely killed my arm but I was very happy with myself.  And then kind of upset that I was pleased with that, but I take what victories I can.

Jimmy has been great lately.  The bitless bridle has made all the difference in him.  He's so much more willing to do everything.  Not to say he isn't still stubborn, because he's just a stubborn horse, but now we can at least say that's part of his personality and isn't being caused by discomfort. 

We had the vet out on Friday to do Strangles for the three of them.  Strangles is a nightmare to do every year, Socks hates it, Jimmy usually tries to rear and this was the first time Artemis was going to have her strangles done.  We usually try to do it on our own but the vet was already coming out so we figured we'd get them to do it.  I'm very glad we did.  Socks was perfect.  She didn't put her head up or react at all.  Jimmy got very nervous when I gave the lead rope to the handler and the vet student walked over to him, his back arched, he went stiff everywhere and his eyes were rolling into the back of his head, but he was perfect too.

Artemis on the other hand, was her usual self.  My mom went to catch her when we first got out there and by the time the vet was finished with the big guys, they had only gotten halfway across the field.  The vet student, the handler and I walked out to them to save time, since they had another appointment to go to. 

For the actual Strangles, Artemis was great.  There was no reaction from her.  She's just still being awful to bring in.  Just out in the pasture, once you reach the gate then she's fine.  It's extremely frustrating.

Socks also has a new paddock mate, a bay mare named Lily.  Lily was here the winter Socks and Jimmy arrived but she was kept in a stall.  I was actually worried when I saw Lily was in with Socks because they hated each other.  I couldn't tie Socks up to her stall because they'd be pinning their ears back, squealing and snapping at each other. 

The first day they were together Lily kept chasing Socks away from the food.  T and I were a little concerned because Socks is a horse who can't afford to miss a meal.  Socks is smart though.  She just hung back and slowly inched her way in, slowly letting Lily get used to her presence.  T promised to keep watching them and I knew Lily would be moved if she kept keeping Socks from the food.  However, we don't need to worry about that.  They seem to have sorted it out and are fine now.  They hang out a lot more than Socks or Felene did.  I'm very happy they're getting along.

Socks also got a much needed bath today.  She was great for it, considering she doesn't get bathed very much and having a bath inside is still a new experience.  She did get spooked badly when someone dropped something just as L walked in the door beside her.  My poor horse almost had a heart attack but we got over it. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rough Spot

So things have really just been kind of dark and depressing here in my corner.  The weather has been dark and cold, but not raining and weather like that always makes me depressed.  I don't really know why but when it's dark and cold I have no motivation to do anything.  I'm better if it rains. 

My arm is a great source of frustration.  It's going on four months since I broke it and I'm not any closer to being normal.  My doctor won't even discuss the possibility of me riding anytime soon, and while I understand, it's insanely frustrating at the same time.  I can't even clean my horse's feet yet so I know riding anytime soon is unthinkable.  It would just be nice to have some timeline in place instead of feeling like I'll never be able to again.

Jimmy is doing good.  He's going great in the bitless bridle.  He's mostly had time off due to other issues I'll get.  He's always happy to see us, he keeps coming to the gate for some attention. 

Socks is great.  She keeps reminding me over and over why she is the greatest horse in the world.  She's so dependable, when I go out and I'm stressed, she's more than happy to just take a walk with me and let me calm down.  It's such a relief to have her to turn to, knowing that she'll be calm and quiet.  She's adapted really well to the few things I have to do with her.  When I pick out her left hooves (I can sort of do them, but her right side is too much for me still, since I have to lift them with my right arm, which is the broken one) she doesn't put any weight on me.  She's leading great from my left side and has learned to walk nice and slow.  Seriously, I love my horse, I don't say it enough here but she definitly is my heart horse.

Artemis.  Well, Artemis is...kind of being a major brat right now, to put it lightly.  We've been having a horrible time with her.  It started off with her not wanting to come in from the field.  She fought every step, to the point where she reared up and smacked my mom in the face with her leg, though thankfully her hoof missed my mom's face.  I can't tell you how thankful I am that it wasn't worse.  She was leading and then she suddenly jumped up, whirled to the side and reared. 

After we brought her in that day, we spent a good deal of time in the round pen.  What she did was completely unacceptable and she learned it.  My mom is fine by the way, thankfully.

The next time she was perfect.  But then, in part because of some people doing something they really, really should not have (I'm trying to keep as much drama out of this blog as I can) she was so freaked it, it was just becoming a very bad situation.  To avoid further harm to my mother or Artemis, we let her off the lead rope and she went to the gate by herself.

That was two very bad experiences though and today she was awful to try and lead.  It look over an hour to bring her in from the pasture.  However, we didn't give up and by the end she was leading better.  Then when we were setting her free, we made her walk a good ways into the pasture, reinforcing control by getting her to stop and turn and basically just pay attention.  We took her off the halter and she stayed put, which she usually does.  When we turned to leave, she followed us.

I hope we made some progress.  We have a plan in place so we'll see if it works.  I really hope it does.  I do think I get more frustrated than I need to, it's something I'm trying to work on.  I really wish I knew other people working with yearlings, or who had more experience working with yearlings, so I could see what is normal and what isn't. 

Hopfully the weather gets better and with it my mood.  My sister and I did go to the mountains a few weeks back, that was a nice change of scenery from my house and the hospital.  She even found me some bears like I asked.

A Bighorn Sheep licking the salt off the road.

A grizzly bear cub.

The mother of the above cub.