Monday, 25 January 2010

Being Big Sister!

The girls were due for their trim and unfortunately Ellie could only do them on Sunday...issue is that the Footy ground in the corner of the field is invaded by hordes of screaming children and rowdy parents...will be great for crowd training, but not great for bringing Dee in for her first trim with me...and I think even Bally might have had an issue being in the corral right next to the mob.

We decided to do them out in the field, but as I was bringing the girls down to the gate B bit D on the bum, who then walloped into me, so B kicked out at D....who proceeded to completely flatten me this time. Reader I tried to hold on to the two upset gallivanting Luso's but at risk of actually having my arms dislocated I did let go of one and ended up with a very prancy Dee dancing around me whilst I'm flat on my arse in front of a crowd of people. (repeat to self I Love Horses..Hmph)
Order was restored as I managed to tow Dee back up the field as a slightly shamefaced Bally made her way back down towards me.
Did Bally's feet first and pleased to report she was an absolute Angel. Foot perfect and the couple of months off work hasn't caused any issues with an excess of flaring. Still a little patch of separation on her right fore, but it's a small stone that's been trapped not an infection, so it'll tighten up itself. It was funny, we just expected her to behave because she's the eldest and suddenly she does!
Dee...well all that practise picking up and holding up her feet counted for precisely zero, because she took exception to being asked by Ellie. I could make my kiss noise and touch her leg and up her foot came.. but she kept refusing to do it for her! Persistance and patience paid off, even with a couple of rears, one body slam into me (I'm thinking of investing in body armour) and one cow kick at Ellie as she gave her left hind back we got all four feet trimmed both in hand and on the stand and given back when Ellie decided not Dee.
I had been hoping she'd behave impeccably but as she's been antsy being handled by both the vets first time when she feels pressured, it was no great surprise. It was important to get the job done, but safely and with as little stress and as much praise as possible which we achieved in the end.

What did make me laugh was the fact that Bally stayed around us and on the couple of occasions when Dee was "naughty" Bally snaked in and threatened her - she was looking out for me and putting Dee in her place! Suddenly she's the grown up mature one!!

Ellie said in her opinion Dee's Carpal valgus was very mild and the deviation in her movement was minimal, certainly better that the other Luso she does and he's supposedly clean limbed. We just have to be very sharp to keep her lateral balance spot on to alleviate any twist as she places her forefeet. She did say that she thought she moved really nicely - very elegant and cadenced

So that's two trimmers and my own vet not being able to fathom why her legs are enough of an issue for Chris Harris to fail her...that along with Steph's assurances that if I buy her she will enter into a written agreement agreeing to buy her back and offer her a home for life if her legs mean she can't be ridden, well I haven't changed my mind just yet, but something tells me it might not be too long before a certain someones passport will be sent back for a change of ownership *whistles*

*Sensible head on* We'll see how this year pans out ;-)

Enough of all that - I decided for all our sakes to start the clicker work with Dee in earnest - she is completely food orientated and quick to learn so it will be a very useful tool for things like standing still / holding feet up and to re-introduce it to Bally as I want to use it in combination with her foray into ridden work.

Will report back on progress........

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Photo Blog

Got some lovely shots from the field today thanks to superhubby and thought I'd share them

The girls are either really pleased to see me...or really want their dinner Lol!!

Some nice head shots...well except mine being missing

Sharing a moment with Little Dee

Took this one for Clare, Bonita's owner...Showoff!!

Beautiful Bailarina

Love this one of Determinada, she's really starting to blossom

Sharing the last of Dee's dinner...not sure she meant that to happen lol!

A bid for Freedom...yeeehaaaaaa

The Three Musketeers waiting patiently for chief slave to break the ice in the water bucket...they do have access to a natural spring, but I obviously need the exercise

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Enjoying a snow day

I attempted to drive to work today....30 minutes and a few miles down snow covered B then A roads to see the M11 with only one lane in use changed my mind and back home I crawled.

So I knew that driving to the girls wasn't going to be an option..out came trusty mountain bike and Spud the dog and I bravely went off into the wild white yonder!

Wasn't too bad a trip, but it was made much harder by having to carry my rucksack stuffed to the gunnels with soaked grass nuts and sugar beet...bloody norah it was heavy!! I'd better be svelte and fit after all this enforced exercise lol!

I think Bally & Dee heard me huffing and puffing up the lane as they were both lurking by the corral gate waiting for me.
Gave them breakfast and then we had a brush off and I tied them up for a hoof training session. Bally is pretty much sorted now in this department and stands patiently - she doesn't "lift a paw" on command yet like Safi used to but I'm sure that will come in time. She does get a bit impatient and lifts her foot away sometimes, but calm repetition and loads of reward when she gets it right is helping :-)

Dee...well here's a work in progress! Sometimes we have hooves thrown at me, sometimes gently given, I have hung on gamely to pistoning and cow kicking and other times she's popped her foot on my knee and happily stood like a lamb...that's babies for you...again just lots of practice and rewarding the good seems to be getting us on the right track. Trimmer is due in a couple of weeks so hopefully I'll have two well behaved girlies before then.

Off course with them living in a field that raises the where do we trim them quandry :-0

The open barn next to the feed room is a crushed hardcore floor and not level, so the only concrete I have to stand them on is in the feed room. This will present no problem whatsoever for Dee as she makes her way in on a daily basis to see if there is anything lying around to snaffle, but Bally treated it with some days I actually inch her bucket in the door then move it right in, she'll now happily walk in and stand and eat her dinner so...I'm hoping that this will do! Of course I don't have any electricity so will have to try and get Ellie to come of a weekend.....and then there is the fun of walking and trotting them up...on the lane.
Practice of this has gone swimmingly I'm pleased to say. So fingers crossed!

Anyway after the hoof work I let the girls out and Bally and I went for a wander round the perimeter of the field, just for a bit of fun and bonding and a sneaky brush up of leading manners. B was in fine form, all sparky but still attentive. She had a couple of yeehaa moments as the horses out at the back of the next farm had a hoolie but she gave me a couple of beautifully up bouncy still in my hand canter strides, did a circle round me with dragon snorts and a bit of a jog then settled down - never pulling away during any of it..brilliant!

We did a bit of controlled walking up and down one of the slopy undulating bits and that was all good too, so as we wandered back over to the others I let her loose and gave her a big scratch and cuddle.

Thouht what the hell I'll do some work with Dee too and made a funny discovery - I don't think she's ever been led from the right. Left - no problem she's really good for a baby, but I swapped sides (I always make a point of doing everything both sides) and she was "um...what??" it totally flummoxed her, so I did a bit of work on this and after a minute or two she got the idea and happily popped into place and walked along with me like a pro.
She's picked up the whistle stop and click for backwards already so we've got a great foundation to work from.

Back up to the others and Dee was let loose with loads of praise too.

I then got to see the whole herd have a play...instigated by Bally of course! She took off in a joyfully mad gallop and hared off in a big circuit...then homed in on the gang who all set off a bucking and a leaping as she approached, then Dee gave a squeal and a few bucks and took off closely followed by Bally and Bonita. Bonita does this hilariously funny whirligig move where she rears and spins 180, lands her front feet and spins another 180 with her bum in the air and leags out in all directions...glad I'm not the one who'll be backing that athletic little miss!
Then we had them all trying to out power trot each other, tails up, heads up snorting a plenty....I'd left my phone up at the barn so missed getting video :-(

As I'd managed to waste a good couple of hours I decided they could have their next meal now to save me having to struggle back had started snowing again by this point so I didn't want to chance it.

So late lunch made up and scoffed and I popped Bally's rug back on, gave them both scritchy scratches and let them out.

The gentle snow had turned heavier so I thought I'd better stick to the tracks on the estate roads (technically shouldn't be on some of them but needs must today) well Spud and I put our heads down and soldiered on our way home ...and on...and on...and I suddenly realised I hadn't got a clue where I was and the snow was a blizzard and I couldn't see any of the local landmarks to get my bearings!!
Thank Gawd for my iPhone and it's GPS locater thingy.!! Turns out I was heading in totally the wrong direction having missed a turning. I'm sure I would still have got home eventually, but I'd have been exhausted!
Directions sorted and I soon found my way back on track and home. Couple of hours later and I still haven't thawed out properly!!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Taking Stock

Well what a rollercoaster year 2009 was - I started it with two horses - Safira and Merlin and ended it with two horses..Bailarina and Determinada, who'd have thought there could have been so much change?

Safi's blog the Long and Winding Road is on a private members forum, but some readers of that and this blog followed and supported me through the very darkest know who you are and Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that x

So onwards and upwards from here I think .....well from rock bottom (as Yazz said the 80's)....The only way is UP!

Bailarina and Determinada continue to delight me on a daily basis, both so funny and full of character, but so fundamentally different!
Bally has always been the baby of the bunch in her life so far and I think she finds the job of being big sis to two yearling fillies a bit challenging sometimes...but oh Lordy does she rule the roost in the little clique which I've christened the Three Musketeers...Bonita and Dee certainly know who's boss in their little gang, but the cheeky pair delight in pushing their luck - I think they sense Bally's inexperience as herd leader. It's fascinating watching them all interacting. I could and frequently do spend ages watching and learning more about their individual characters!

We are all loving life at the new yard..well field! Much as running water and electricity would be nice I cannot complain at having the girls living out naturally in a stable herd.

The herd of 5 are all rubbing along nicely and I've seen them all pairing up separately, grooming each other etc. More often than not they are are in a loosely grouped little set all together keeping an eye and ear out for each other. They have so much space - I really am blessed with sensible yard owners who are adamant that they won't have more than six horses out in the 20 acre meadow.......most of them round here would have it sectioned off and put twenty + horses out on it :-(
Paul the new owner used to keep his youngsters here many moons ago and wants to keep it as it is...hurrah!!!!

I'm still "working" with the girls every day, mainly just at keeping their respect and good manners. This generally involves catching and leading them in (both fantastic considering the amount of land they have to run around in!), checking them all over, picking out feet (and practice rasping), rough brushing etc. Dee has head touching issues so I've made a point of working up to being able to touch her all over her head and ears stroking, scratching and rubbing her so she learns it's a wholly pleasurable experience :-)
I do the odd bit of mini in hand work with Bally just walking halting and reinback from body language so that when she comes into work proper again in March it's not too much of a shock. Once the snow and ice has gone I'll take her out for walks up the lanes and byways we have locally too...looking forward to that!

Today Superhubby and I rode our (new...New Years get fit malarky) bikes

on a 10 mile round trip across, round and over to the girls and took some pics & video of them in the smattering of snow we had today....enjoy!!! (we certainly did!!)