Sunday, 31 March 2013

I Can Be Stupid Sometimes

Sev, Jimmy and Socks about a month after we bought Jimmy and Sev.

It's been almost a year now since I broke my arm and for the most part, I think I've adapted fairly well.  My left arm is so much stronger than it's ever been before.  Except for writing or drawing, I use it for everything.  I don't even think about using my right arm anymore. 

When it comes to the horses, I do everything on their right side now (my left side).  As everybody knows, the left side of the horse is the traditional side to do everything on, but that would mean I'd be doing most of the leading and such with my right hand, which I can't do.  Luckily, our three guys couldn't care what side you did anything on so it hasn't been a big change for them.  I do sometimes give our stable owner a heart attack when I help bring horses in and I lead them on the right side, not all of them are so good with that haha. 

Socks and Jimmy are great about me being injured, maybe they realize I'm not 100% but they go pretty easy on me.  Artemis does not.  If anything, she takes advantage of the fact that I can't do everything I used to.  I'm still her primary handler, my mom has taken over riding the big guys, so that leaves her with little time to work with Artemis.  Since I can still do some groundwork, I usually work with her while my mom rides.

Lately, Artemis has been getting worse and worse.  It started innocently enough.  I brought her into the arena one night when three people were riding and one guy was waiting around to lunge.  I'm trying to expose her to all the craziness of the arena as much as I can, so hopefully when she's ridden in there, it won't be scary.  Well it was pretty crazy that night.

There was one horse who's extremely strong when he jumps, so his owner was working on that.  The other horse that was jumping decided there was no way she was going over another jump and would throw a little bucking fit when her owner tried to make her.  K was riding Jimmy (who was the calmest one, it still weirds me out) and then the horse waiting to lunge was waiting patiently with his owner.

In short, there was  alot going on and it was not, at all, a calming environment.  The second we walked in the arena Artemis' ears went up, her eyes went white and her mind went blank.  I was completely forgotten and she was focused entirely on the other horses.  Then when they began acting up, she protested by rearing up.  When that didn't get anything for her, she tried running in circles around me.  I did calm her down, although she did have a few more outbursts while they were getting the one horse to go over the jumps again.  We ended the day calm though.

Well next time I brought her in the arena, she immediatly went to rear up.  She didn't actually, she gives lots of warning so I stopped her before she did.  I wasn't really impressed, but we moved on.

So comes Friday.  One other person was in the arena riding.  It was calm, there was nothing going on.  I brought Artemis in and immediatly she went to rear.  I smacked her with the lead rope but it didn't really do much.  Then we started working.  One of my methods is that when they misbehave, they back up.  I find they usually pay better attention after I make them back up a ways and it also helps improve their backing up skills.  It's getting two birds with one stone really.  Well Miss Artemis decided that she'd back up if she had her back to the other horse, but if she was looking at him, she did everything she could to squirm away from me.  And there was nothng I could do.  I had to hold her with my left hand and my right hand was useless. 

I brought her out of the arena and grabbed my dressage whip.  I planned on using it as an extenision of my arm.  We came back in the arena and immediatly she reared up.  I smacked her hard on the shoulder with the dressage whip and her attitude changed immediatly. (When I say hard,  I mean hard enough she got the point, definitly not anywhere near hard enough to hurt her).  She went "Oh wait a second, you are serious".  We went back to work at the mounting block and when she misbehaved, she had to back up.  Like before, she tried to get around me.  I was able to use the whip as a block, to keep her from getting over and then she had to back up.  It took two times before she realized she wasn't going to win.  In all, it took about ten minutes for her to start acting like a perfect angel.

For my sake, I probably should have stopped there.  I however, wanted to push her.  So we left the arena and went outside.  I wanted her to learn that it's not just in the arena she has to behave.  It took a little longer, about a good twenty minutes before she was being perfect again.  Again, I used the whip as a block. 

We would walk up the driveway and I'd stop, with no warning.  She is supposed to stop the second I do.  If she doesn't, she has to back up so she's a step behind me.  This shows if she's paying attention to me or not.  If she is paying attention, she stops when I do and usually backs up a step on her own.  If she's not, well, she tries to keep going.  She also kept trying to get on the other side of me.  So I took the dressage whip and held it so the long, whip part was coming out behind me.  Everytime she tried to duck over, the whip was there and she had to come back to where she was supposed to be.

We walked everywhere over the farm.  All up the driveway (we had a problem when she caught sight of the neighbours on a quad but she did rememeber that she has to pay attention no matter what is out there).  We went through the mud (rubber boots are the best invention every) nearly went swimming in one of the massive puddles, and she was fine for it all.  The only problem we had was when we went on the grass behind the arena and the princess decided she was going to eat.  When I didn't let her she threatened to rear up so she got another smack.  We didn't have any problems after that. 

We ended it after that, and it was a very good day for Artemis.  I think she needed it badly.  It was not, however, good for me.   My arm is still recovering.  It only took an hour after we left for the pain to really set in.  We were supposed to go out today but we're going to try to give me a few days to get the pain back under control before we go again. 

I think it was worth it though.  She changed her attitude pretty quickly, although we'll see next time if it stuck.  And I had fun going on a walk with her.  She's like her mom about things, it doesn't matter where I take her (three feet of mud comes ot mind) she'll follow me anywhere. 

That's all from me for now.  After writing this I have to go rest my arm some more.  Happy Easter everyone!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


I'm still too sore to type a lot, so have a small update and then some pictures.  The horses are pretty good, there's a nasty cold that's going through the barn.  Artemis has it but seems to be doing better now.  Her issue is the other pasture horses have been using her as their kleenix and she's a little...disgusting...right now.  The first warm day we get, she's getting a bath.

Socks and Jimmy are good, they have a lot of time off except for when K rides them.  Socks is in a snaffle for now because K does a lot of direct reining with her, and her usual bit, a curb bit, isn't the greatest for direct reining.  And since Socks goes fine in either bit, we figured it wouldn't hurt to switch for a while.

I'm too sore to do much, but I made sure I got to hang out with the horses a lot the day before my surgery.  I took my camera out so enjoy some of the pictures!


I hope you guys are all warmer than we are!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Bleh, Winter.

I figured I should get in one last post before my surgery on Wednesday and I can't type for a while.  For the past few weeks I've been out at the stable almost every second day it feels like.  I've been trying to get in as much riding as I could because I'm not sure when I'll be able to get back on.

To make it easier, I'll split this post by horse.


I've ridden Jimmy twice in the past few weeks.  I really should have ridden him more and I have no good reason for not riding him, other than I just honestly prefer riding Socks.  It's bad, I know. 

He's had a lot of time off since my mom fell off.  She hurt her back and hasn't been able to ride much. 

He was...difficult...during our rides but he always started listening by the end of them.  I ask for more from him than my mom does and he doesn't always like that.  A big thing we were working on was that I choose the speed we go at, not him.  He has a bad habit of the second he gets to trot or lope, he tries to go as fast as he possibly can.  I spent a good hour and a half working on him trotting at a nice, slow, steady speed I chose.  (Of course he wasn't trotting straight for the whole ride, that would have killed the poor boy).  It wasn't perfect at the end of the ride but he was doing much better.


Here, finally a picture of Socks in her blanket.  Her very dirty blanket.  You have to love Alberta weather, last week was so warm, the snow was all melting and the stable was one big mudpit.  A day later, we were all buried underneath a massive blanket of snow.  Lovely.

Socks has been great lately.  Her and I haven't been doing much other than getting on and messing around in the arena.  The more exciting news is that K has ridden her a few times for me.  She offered to ride Socks for me while I'm recovering (which is great, seriously, I can't describe how grateful I am).  I love when someone else rides my horse because I think it's great for Socks.  There's a lot I don't know that other riders can help us with.  It's still strange watching someone else ride my horse though.


Okay, I've been slacking off in this department majorly.  I haven't done any real work with her in a while.  Just the usual leading, barn manners and that stuff.  She's had it pretty easy for a while now.  And she'll keep having it easy for a while longer.  I don't think she minds too much, she still comes in at least once a week. 

The horses' had their feet done last week and, surprisingly, she was the best behaved of the three of them.  She's usually pretty good but tends to get impatient by the time her feet are almost done.  Not this time, she stood quietly the entire time.

One more inch and she'll be fifteen hands.  I keep hoping she'll reach it by her birthday at the end of April. 

That's all from me.  I'll be back, eventually.