Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some of my favorite things

Like the song but a horse lovers version.

Name 10 things you couldn't live without in your live with horses. It can be clothing, saddles, tack brushes etc. Something that you would recommend to anyone who has a horse or may have a situation like yours. Add a picture when you can.

1.Well worn Blundstone boots.
They are ungodly comfortable. When mine started to fall apart on the soles I contacted Blundstone Canada. The lady replied to me "They are too old you just need to buy a new pair because the soles are melted on and you can't fix them" Screw that! So I guess the head guy in Australia got a hold of the customer service. He was unsatisfied with the letter so today I got my free pair in the mail!! SQUEE!! I can't wait to tromp around the barn and everyplace else in them. They aren't broken in yet but next to my old ones they are still the most comfy pair of boots a person could buy EVER.

I've had these boots for 8 years! They have been through mud and ice, rain and especially horseshit. They have carried me miles on the ground and in saddle. I absolutely love them. The leather is in wonderful condition other than the faded toe and the insoles are a little rubbed down. They aren't discipline specific and will NEVER hurt your feet especially if you have wide BIG feet like mine.

2. Slotted kitty litter scoop from the $ store

Not only are they good for scooping ice from frozen buckets (winter anyone?!) they stand up a lot better than metal strainers from the dollar store. We use them for ice, hay in buckets and the water trough which gets gobs of green algae that are really nasty to grab by hand. Done it, the scoop is worth the 1$

3. Leatherman multi purpose tool

I live by this thing. Leatherman makes the best multi tool ever. You can cut bales of hay open, cut wire on fencing, open feed bags and more. It folds all up into a convenient belt holster. I've had immitation multitools and none meet the quality and long years a leatherman does. When you got a multitool get leatherman or just go home. Nuff said.

4. Shedding blade

For four reasons.
1. Spring when they shed. It takes off more hair easier than any curry comb. Even the ever expensive furminator didn't work on my horses like this thing does.
2. Where there is mud there shall be mud covered horses. It's a known fact and this again, easier than any curry comb.
3. No need to buy a sweat scraper. Out of all the ones I have bought or used this one (the flat edge without the teeth) Just works better. You un attach it and scrape away. You can get more intricate with it than the other two ones.
4. They are like um...3-6$ thats cheap and you get 3 good tools out of it and save money too!

5.Jelly scubber

I like the soft small nubby side. I use it to do legs and all over the place even the face. I found they are more expensive to buy like on average $6 but I use it the most out of all mine. It's like a combination between a rubber curry and a stiff brush. It gets a lot of dirt off but has the softness to do dirt on legs. Plus I use mine to bath and scrub real deep.

6. Riding helmet

Kind of self explanatory but I found I hate the ones with a dial. Especially the cheap plastic helmet ones. However I got a nice International riding helmet, velvet and vented and it fits like a glove just like my old velvet international did (but it's cracked due to a riding fall bareback). I hate how troxels fit. International velvet ones are the way to go, western or english. They save your head.

7. Hamilton halters

Sure they may cost 40$ for a horse size but they come in a BAZILLON different sizes so you can forget about those hard to find halters for horses. And they last forever. The only thing I have had to replace was a snap that my farrier sewed on for 5$. Now they make them with better snaps. The hardware is really durable and I've had horses haul back on them and they don't break.

8. Santa fe coat conditioner

Won't make the saddle slide. Totally worth buying a bottle if you horse has a long mane/tail. Gorgeous hair but not slippery. Plus it smells SOOOO good. I use it on my hair once and a wile.

9. MTG

Does exactly like shapleys says. Smells bad but works. Grows manes, makes them silky and grows hair back in half the time. When you have a cut on a horse and it starts to scab over I use it. Scabs become soft and fall off and the skin is moistureized and hair grows back in record time.

10. Cowboy magic/any product by them

Particularly the green spot remover (waterless bath), detangle and shine and the yellowout shampoo. Green spot remover works better than any waterless bath. I had two white horses (now one very dirty), believe me! I live by this stuff at a horse show and winter. The detangle and shine is just like baby oil only it does not attract dust like baby oil and smell bad. Plus a little bit goes a long way but it IS very expensive but very worth it because you don't use a lot. I use it for manes and tails every other day. No knots here. The yellowout, well white horses but it brings out the shine and opaque hairs any horse has for that really deep down clean look.

So what are your top 10 favorite things?? Reply here or post in your blog and link me. I love to read your blogs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More on barn cats

We do have some resident barn cats that have been around for a wile and a few that were around for not long but their impression lasted a lifetime.

We don't really ever name the barn cats. Theres a lot of them and most of them run away or die or they have more kittens so we run out of names.

Fluffers. Shes got a permanent name. All the other kittens were cute and mewed and played. Fluffers looked like a gigantic frazzled cotton ball. All you could see was eyes and a mouth she was that fuzzy. Cutest kitten ever. I thought I had a picture of her, I guess I don't.

Anyway Fluffers is the queen of the barn. If any unruly kittens come to close they get a taste of her paw and a very growly verbal lashing. She is the first to eat out of the bowl and the first to get scritches and shes got the softest coat I have ever felt in a cat. Shes truely the queen.

Second is this damn cat. As soon as she figured out how her girly kitty parts worked she started pumping out kittens for a few months like there was no tomorrow. The first litter of kittens she had 2/3 died. She was having them behind some bales of hay and heard me pour the food and came out WITH A KITTEN HANGING OUT OF HER REAR because she wanted to eat. OMFG as if we don't feed them enough!!
This cat is really annoying. She will only let you pet her when shes eating. Other than that she just bitches at you when you haven't fed her quick enough.
Like last night I was feeding the horses and I hear this MMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEAAAARRRRRRRRRRR........MMMMMEEEEEAAAAAARRRRRRRRR
I am like "where the hell is that cat!?" I look up and shes peeking out of the very top window in the hayloft and scolding me for being in the barnyard and not the barn to feed her.

Then there is this un f-ing believably cute kitten. I named him Ozzy, because well he looked like my friends cat Ozzy. This kitten had the cutest soft belly and he would literally just sit in my arms and chill for hours. Unfortunately he got hit by a tomato truck just a few days after I took this picture. He was a darn cute bugger. Can never get too attached.

About a year ago this mama cat lost two of her kittens between a wall. They were only three weeks old, cold and hungry. My first thought "they are barn cats theres going to be 15 more to replace them in a month" well a boarder where I work came in, heard the mewing, found the kittens and "we just couldn't leave them!" So I took them home.

I couldn't keep them. Savanah would kill them or at least maul them with enthusiastic dog love.

So they came to my ex'es moms house. She nurtured them and they became rocky and rambo. Rocky and rambo had an odd fascination with christmas light bulbs. They would chew on them or scale the tree and gnaw on the lit ones. I think they liked the clink, clink, clink noise they made against their gnashing teeth. They also broke an assortment of plants and ornaments and other things. We had to barricade everything. One thing they never got over was their ability to scale the patio window in one leap; claws out and into the screen door. There they hung until ex'es mother beat them down with this big tube of rolled up paper.

Anyway it came time they were making too much of a mess in the house and they needed to go back out to the barn. They were TERRIFIED. All the other barn cats rubbed against them in warm welcome and they hissed and hid. We didn't see them for a few days. Well I didn't.

Marilyn was making lunch one day and had the windows open in the house. She heard his forlorn meowing, as male cats often do. Then she hears a horrible shredding noise.

Rambo was on the window screen looking in at her like a long lost love. He missed being a house cat. Marilyn didn't think it was quite as funny and threw a pail of water at the screen, soaking the cat.

After a couple weeks of the two cats meyhem Murdo's brother, Dennis from down the road needed new barn cats so he threw the terrible twosome into the back of his truck and thats the last I heard of them. Well until his wife was cooking supper and a cat climbed up the screen window.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I saw my life flash before my eyes when....

I picked up a bale of hay and three sleeping kittens split in three directions. The fourth launched strait at my face and firmly attached itself to my eyebrows.

Yeah, all in a days work right?

I don't think it realized what was going on and either did I except there was a cat hanging off my face. Before I had time to think about beating it off it took off too and scrambled up the hay chute. I stood there for a moment wondering what just happened. Then I laughed and inspected my face for new holes. I don't know how the hell it did it but theres not even a mark on my eyebrows.

Oh that cat picture there, thats Squeaky. The cutest non-meowing (hence the name) barn cat EVAR!! He was totally in love with my dad. He died though as some barn cats do. He was damn cute though.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

They say...

They say that having to put a pet to sleep is the loneliest feeling in the world. I couldn't agree more.

Naigen Blaze
1988-December 4th 2008

The best, most trustworthy little horse to ever trot on into my heart(and wallet as horses do)

I am glad I had to work today. I knew something wasn't right. I put the ol' girl out in the paddock and she lie flat on her side right in a big puddle and lay there. I got her up and put her in the arena and Chris walked her while I drove into town in a panic trying to find Audry.

Audry and I were there with her from 11:15 till 3 pm when Dr.Bob Featherstone, our wonderful vet came out and determined she had a twisted bowel and needed to cross the great rainbow bridge.
Chris and Audry's husband Ronnie were there too. Even though she was sick she ate some carrot and a banana(her favorite) which Ronnie brought for her.

Audry and I cried for a long time. I still feel like crying. I never cry. Not at funerals or anything but this little horse had a very special place in my heart.

I got a big chunk of her tail so I am going to make a few things out of it. To think when I first got her that tail was one big impossible deadlock. I worked real hard to make her tail as thick and beautiful as it was.

The saddest part was hearing about my friends granddaughters who ride her weekly. Cassidy(3) and Olivia(2). I could hear Cass on the phone as I talked to her "Why Siddy? Why? Why is Naigen gone? Isn't she coming back?" It made me want to cry all over again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I've been doing freelance and just for fun writing for almost ten years now. I enjoy it almost as much as I do creating art. In fact writing is art. Instead of a paint brush and canvas I have letters and a blank word program...It's still blank.

Now, blank.

So I have this paper due. I am outlining braiding for shows and how to maintain long or short manes. It's got to be no longer than 1500 words. I have about 700 so far and so many ideas it's just one of those topics I could write a book on.

What can I say. I LOVE to braid and groom. I could braid manes and tails until the cows came home (which they do just around supper time, I love a good burger). I was just thinking, perhaps I should write a book on grooming and braiding. I love to teach, people love to learn. Braiding is art, writing is art, teaching is art why not have a book on art!? Braiding is a very old form of art. it's so intricate and requires patience, practice and skill. How many of you could use a practical hands on braiding and grooming guide? I can braid every style under the sun on a horse I can.

Heres something I whipped up in a minute on Indigo. Shes a little wind blown don't you think? It's a dutch braid or underhand french braid.

Every winter she grows this stick uppy layer of whiter hair over her mane. It kind of sticks up all over the place until about May of the next year when it starts to lie flat.

So anyway my canvas is still blank. I need words stat. Maybe i'll go braid tomorrow and get some inspiration. I hate winter. It's too cold but it's coming weather we like it or not. Maybe i'll migrate to Florida lol!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Naigen Blaze: The little horse that could.

I write this because although I tell the story frequently, I have never put it down in text.

This is about my little old rescue, Naigen. Shes old, a bit arthritic, going blind and too short for me to ride much. She offers something to the world no other horse in the barn can. She has the words to speak to adults and children the kindness and forgiveness many of us will never understand.
It was three years ago in July. A lady I know named Robyn took the $250 and saved more than a life. The farrier explained there was a cute little horse just wasting away on this run down farm that someone should pick up. He didn't say another word about her. Later that week she was inspected.

The man and woman that owned her had moved to tokyo and left her and her pasture mate at the farm. They were renting the house and the condition that the horses were fed. They didn't have hay or water but thank goodness they had regular farrier care or we would have never known about the events to come.

Naigens pasture mate had died a few years before. Probably starvation which was the road she was on too. The little paddock looked like a swamp. No buckets for water, not even a scrap of hay. We called out and heard a throaty nicker from inside the barn.

Upon inspection was a filthy grey old horse standing on top of a mountain of manure. Her mane was rubbed out where her body hit the rafters. Bones poked out at every angle painfully but yet there was a little spark in her eyes that was the tiny glimmer of hope we had come to give her what she deserved.

We were told very little about her. Mostly ignorance like she was old and couldn't gain weight and that up until two years before she was ridden daily and she was registered in Canada in 1988 with the arab cross registry with the name Naigen Blaze. She was 18.

$250 was her price. She was too small for us and we didn't even know if she was going to make it but at least we could give her a humane end.

She willingly lead down the slope in her stall and stepped into the trailer, looked back once at the hell she had lived in for who knows how many years. Everything was to be up from there.

Once we arrived home all the horses turned out nickered in anticipation when the tailer rolled into the driveway. They stood at the fences waiting to see the new arrival.
Naigen stepped of the trailer like a real lady. With all four feet on the ground she shook like someone had shot ice down her spine. I don't know if she was nervous or the fact that she hadn't seen another horse in god knows how long but she was home.

Putting weight on her was no easy feat. She would only eat a quarter of a flake of hay at at time, a side effect of vitamin E defficiency common in anorexic people. Grain was often left for the first month but surely and slowly she got her eating habits back

We didn't turn her out the first day. She spent the day eating as much hay as she could in a clean quiet stall, looking out the door to the pastures of horse friends she was to meet.

The next morning I was turning out the horses. She was to be turned out with two other ponies. I lead her out of the stall. She was a ball of excitement. As soon as her front feet hit the grass she tried to drag me to the paddock with all the strength left in her bony body. She was home, she had food and friends were on her mind. With minimal squealing and introductory sniffing she setted right in.

By January of the next year her back bone was only visible. We put a saddle on her and I started longing her to see what she knew. She was perfectly behaved for tacking up and longing. We had a bit of trouble with the bit: she hated it! Once it was in her mouth and she was strong enough to hold me (feb) I jumped on her bareback to see what she knew.

First she jumped away from me and the mounting block. I managed to scurry onto her fuzzy back. She walked and listened to leg very well and even knew how to neck rein. Two times around the arena and my friends came with their big newfoundland dog "kodiak". Kody, who adores horses gave a big hello WROOOF! that eccoed on the steel siding. Naigen picked up a canter right away in response to the terrifying bear dog and stopped four strides short, planting her feet and quakeing with terror.
That was the one and only time I have ever seen that mare spook. Kody promptly followed her around the barn for the rest of his visit there, ensuring she was not scared of him next time.

She moved on to teach a few kids to ride in the next time span and is bitless due to a breathing problem and her happyness.
Only two people have fallen off her and both times were not her fault. I recall her star pupil she taught having a tack malfunction. The cheap cinch's buckle shifted and suddenly swung out from off the saddle. She planted her feet the second it happened as I ran to the rescue. You couldn't have asked for a better teacher.

Today she teaches a two and a half year old and a three and a half year old to ride. Shes patient, spook proof and never minds anyone bouncing around on her back or kicking her in the butt when we do around the world.
So she speaks the language of forgiveness. She forgives the last owners for leaving her to starve. She forgives the person in her care for his ignorance. She forgives us for not finding her sooner and forgives the mistakes young kids make wile handling her.

Best of all she thanks me each and every day by meeting me with a happy welcome nicker and a chorus of neighs when it's hay time. This is one horse that will never have to find another home. Even when she is unable to be ridden and goes blind but still trusts me she will be loved by everyone around her and even when she is gone I will have the memories of returning the most gentle, well trained and trusting horses back to health.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Project shake up

Project Shake-Up

Have you ever been to a livestock auction and had a horrible experience?If you have -we invite you to join equine advocates all over America in Project Shake-Up.

Here is what it is about:

You send out your story (complete with graphic photos/if you have them)of your worst experience of equine neglect/abuse while at a livestock auction. You can also participate if you have been involved in helping a friend who had such an experience firsthand even if you did not. There are many advocates that have turned to their friends for assistance in trying to get law enforcement/A/C to these auctions to enforce the law. Because of such involvement -you will have a story to tell,too.

We are trying to get national media attention to expose the greedy,non-compassionate,and neglectful auction dealers. We want to really put the heat on them to stop all this constant equine neglect/abuse. We have been getting so many stories this past year on auction dealers selling horses that were dying,injured,starving,etc. The conditions for these animals are absolutely abominable! Stories like empty water troughs, no food provided, knee deep in manure, horses sitting out in direct 90 degree heat for weeks at a time, handlers whipping the horses, horses crying out in severe pain w/broken limbs left unattended. Dealers selling abandoned horses w/out paperwork. We wonder how many of those horses may have been stolen. No medical attention is ever administered. There are vets at some auctions there for Coggins that just turn their back on all the abuse and look the other way. Dealers hauling horses across state lines w/out coggins/health papers. Animal control officers won't even bother to come out and help,etc. The list goes on and on...

Well,now is a chance for all of us as advocates of the horse to strike back! On Friday November 7th (lucky#7) - advocates everywhere will be emailing their most horrible livestock auction experience to all 3 media news networks. We are hoping to totally bombard the national media-convincing them that there is a real crisis going on in this country with what auction dealers are allowing at their venues all across America. If enough advocates will take the time to do this -we think that even if they don't do an immediate story that it might at least pique their curiosity. That may produce a story at a later time. We invite all equine advocates everywhere to post this on your blogs,websites,forums,etc. Send this message out to anyone who might want to participate.We need everyone to have a chance at success.

All you have to do to participate is on Friday,November 7th - email in a word document your story/photos to :

Dateline NBC: dateline@nbcuni.com

ABC NIGHTLINE: nightline@abcnews.com

60Minutes: 60m@cbsnews.com

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Grass founder

Naigen, Spring 2007. She was still ribby, but enjoying eating the dandelions in the back riding ring.

Because the frost has set in it is an extremely dangerous time for horses prone to founder.

I hope this can benefit someone. I got 100% on it. My instructor was very impressed and it is something that has stuck with me ever since.
Grass founder

Fact sheet by Sydney Kotow

Twelve little ponies graze contentedly in a hilly green pasture during a perfect spring day. It may seem like the dream image to a little girl or horse lover but where the green grass grows, disaster can strike.

Founder, right next to euthanasia is a word horse owners hope will never be associated with their equine health record. We go to every precautionary measure from muzzles to grass less paddocks but do we really know the villain behind this menacing disease?

Founder, the aftermath of laminitis. It can start innocently enough; a horse eats the wrong grain, reacts to medicine, is worked on hard ground or in our case, eats grass.

Laminitis and founder are often used interchangeably but they are two very different diseases closely related to one another.

Laminitis occurs when blood flow is interrupted (short term, constant or infrequent) to the sensitive and insensitive laminae (the tissues that connect the coffin bone to the hoof wall) of the horse’s hoof, causing them to separate. When the horse develops laminitis the laminae experiences decreased blood flow, nutrient supply, oxygen, edema, and death of the tissues in the laminae. Causes for the edema in the laminae are blood clotting, swelling around the blood vessels, and restriction of the veins, that in turn cause the blood to be deterred away from the capillaries in the laminae. (Beadle, 1999) There are two main types of laminitis, acute and chronic.

Founder and laminitis are often confused, founder cannot happen without the horse developing laminitis first and the laminar tissues weakening. When the horse founders the coffin bone tears away from the lamina and rotates. From there the bone can tilt downward until it penetrates the sole of the horses hoof. Generally, severity of rotation in the coffin bone is measured in degrees. 10 being moderate and 40 being severe. Beyond 40 degrees the bottom of the coffin bone will become vertical and penetrate the hoof sole. Over time a vertical coffin bone can deteriorate and the toe portion of the bone can become flat. When the coffin bone begins to rotate, pressure is placed on the toe of the hoof creating the “elf shoe” deformed look in the hoof if veterinarian and farrier care is not called upon. When the coffin bone detaches itself from the laminae it never completely regains it’s former attachment and allows the horse to become prone to founder again. (Avisar, 1996)

Founder almost always occurs in the front feet and it’s easy to see why. A horse’s body was built front heavy with a long thick neck and big head. At adulthood the horse typically carries 60% of his body weight on his front limbs, putting pressure on sore feet with founder.

Founder can be thrown upon a horse in many ways. As caretakers we should know what the signs are and when to call the vet. Any case of laminitis or founder is an extreme emergency. Without a hoof you have no horse so take preventative measures and call the vet early. The horse will usually come in from the pasture or out of the stall lame. Digital pulses on each foot will feel as if they are pounding, heat can be felt, and the horse will be extremely sensitive to hoof testers in the toe area. The horse might shift his weight from one leg to another and walk with very stiff limbs. In extreme cases the horse will not stand square and will attempt to put more pressure on the hind legs by leaning in an attempt to find relief. Some horses lie down on their sides as this is the only way they can relieve the constant pressure being placed upon their sore feet. A horse that has developed chronic laminitis will have rings parallel to the coronary band and bleeding or an enlarged white line area on the sole of the hoof. If the case has been left long enough the coffin bone may drop and penetrate the sole. In cases of neglect, death can be quick to follow.

Grass founder is a very puzzling disease, there are still holes in research today. It is essentially the same as grain founder but with different ingredients. Easy keepers are thought to be more at risk for grass founder as well as overweight, under worked horses. Do not exclude very fit well fed athletes, any horse is at risk. Numbers of grass founder cases increase in the spring and fall; right when growing starts and stops with temperatures fluctuating.

There was a time when grass founder was thought to be caused by very rich green grass. Now we learn fall grass can give horses even more of a risk as it starts to brown and attempts to store nutrients to keep itself alive before the winter frost sets in. Research has shown a starch like carbohydrate to be the delinquent. This carbohydrate is known as fructan.

Fructan is stored by grasses and hays for times of need like an overcast or sunny day with cool temperatures. The carbohydrate is used by plants when photosynthesis of their cells slow or cease. Cloudy days or temperature drops make growing conditions for grasses less ideal so they store fructan for these times. When the sun comes out from behind the clouds or day breaks fructan production commences. Since the weather in spring and fall can change from warm to cool rapidly within days or hours the levels of this carbohydrate are highest to help the plant survive. (Christie, 2007)

Cutting hay during times of environmental stress such as an overcast day or when photosynthesis is not optimal will leave your hay with very high levels of fructan. When the hay is cured the levels stay consistent.

It is almost impossible to test your grazed grasses for levels of fructan because these levels go up and down during the day and vary day by day depending on the weather and where the sun is in the sky.

Fructan is digested in the hindgut, fermenting rapidly and causing an excessive amount of lactic acid buildup. The lactic acid kills the bacteria in the hindgut, which releases endotoxins into the blood. Endotoxins are essentially the dead bacteria. When fructan ferments the bacteria multiply so rapidly that they die off quickly because of the increased acid content in the hindgut. (Thomas, 2003)

Endotoxins effect the cardiovascular system, which in return shuts off the run of oxygen and restriction to the feet. This results in laminitis, the weakening of the hoof structure, and ultimately the rotation of the coffin bone or founder.

There really is no proven way that will help all horses recover from grass founder. However, first removing the foundered horse from grass and any grain or concentrates altogether, is a good method until he is sound. Cool season grasses such as timothy, fescue, and clovers are at a higher risk of larger fructan levels. Although fructan levels are lower in warm season grasses it does not mean the horse cannot founder off them or that they have no fructan in them. Keeping previously foundered horses off grass during spring and fall when temperatures fluctuate is a must as well as never turning a horse out that foundered in the same paddock that gave him the condition in the first place; he will likely founder again. If that paddock is the only one accessible to you, grazing muzzles are an inexpensive way of preventing grass founder.

Some farriers can apply corrective shoeing and others are experienced in the areas of the natural trim, which has recently been shown to work in some cases even better than shoes.

Take the horse or pony off all grain and call the vet immediately if you suspect any signs of laminitis or founder. X-rays of the foot can be taken to determine if the coffin bone has rotated and what treatment should be applied. Some pain medications can be applied to temporarily relieve pain but they only cover up symptoms, not treat them.

It is recommended to feed hay with 10% of fructan or less. This is one more reason it is very important to get a hay analysis. Alfalfa is a good alternative by itself or mixed with grassy hay to make up the protein and calories the grain once supplied to the horse.

Some supplements on the market today help the horse keep the weight on without the risk of too much carbohydrates, starches, or sugars added to the diet. They could be added if the horse has a hard time keeping on weight without a concentrate or grain. Too many calories can be counterproductive in the healing process. Once the horse has healed it is recommended to put him on a low starch, high fat diet to help prevent a repeat episode.

Founder Facts

  • For prevention avoid letting horses graze in the late afternoon/evening, when temperatures drop below 40 or the morning to follow a temperature drop. Overcast days also pose a threat.
  • Brown grass in the fall poses a very high risk, as fructan has saved up high levels in an attempt to live out as long as it can until the winter frost. Wait until grass has browned all the way down to the roots before allowing horses to be turned out on it.
  • Putting grazing muzzles on horses that are high risk or have foundered before are very good and safe precautionary measures. Also turning out in a paddock without any grass is a good preventative choice.
  • When hay is cured fructan levels stay the same. It is possible your horse may have foundered off the hay instead of grass. Local feed stores usually can send samples of your hay to test for levels of fructan.
  • Every case of founder is different. Every case will require a different treatment. Some work, others don’t. Ask your vet and equine nutritionist what nutrient requirements your foundered horse will need and any special things you should be adding to his diet.
  • Research, research, research! If your horse founders, chances are you are in for a long and heartbreaking battle. Do as much research on methods of treating founder as you can. Talk to other people who have had foundered horses, contact specialist farriers and veterinarians. The more you know, the more you will be able to help your horse. Any little bit can help but when it comes to your horse’s feet, take all precautions.
  • Gradually introducing your horse to grass can make the risk of grass founder smaller. Start with 10 minutes and add 5 minutes each day until the horse can be let out to graze for the desired amount of time. Remember, once horses are let free in a grass filled paddock it can be hard to coax him to come back inside. Hand grazing initially is a good insurance plan.


Ralph E. Beadle, DVM, PhD 1999
Professor of Veterinary Medicine


(to find the year the article was written right click and view page info)

Yehuda Avisar, DVM 1996

published in ANVIL Magazine, October 1996


Sarah Christie 2007

Horse illustrated magazine march 2007

“confounding grass founder”

Heather Smith Thomas 2003

Grass founder part 1 and 2


This is something cute I found in my research. I did not know if it was appropriate to place it in my assignment because I did not write it but it is very cute and helpful.

The Fructan Jingle
by Katy Watts

When you wake at crack of dawn
Graze your pony on your lawn
But sugars rise in afternoon,
For foundered ponies, this spells doom

When frosts cause fructans to increase
Your ponies grazing now must cease.
Hold off a day, or maybe more,
Or else your pony may get sore.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The difference between riding and knowing how to ride

Despite the many disciplines and wacko ways people have discovered they can make a name, living or horse work there are actually only two types of riders.

Those who can ride and those who know how to ride.

Those who can ride. They are dictated to quite strictly and learn from another accomplished rider. They never take the horse out by themselves without first learning how to do the task on hand. If they never jumped they take lessons on jumping. If they never chased a cow they go in pursuit of a western saddle and a cowboy. Basically before they do it they must learn how.
You see a lot of them at shows. Even though I've never taken many lessons I realized this year I don't feel so bad about it. The judge does not know who has what trainer and who's horse is better bred because it's about how you ride and your horse moves. I didn't go to as many shows this year as I usually do but I sure as hell got a lot of ribbons. It kind of makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Knowing how to ride is something totally different. Maybe you started out with lessons, but either way this is something that is rarely ever taught to someone, if ever.
You are born with it. A sense inside of your very being. Even if you don't know it right from birth it is inside of you waiting to get a knock on the door of horsemanship. Some people get that knock when they get on their first horse to others it may come late in life.

A lot of us who know how to ride never even had riding lessons. We got on the back of a horse and they taught us what we needed to know. In a bad situation we can answer our own questions, solve the problem and get on with our day. If we never jumped before we try it. If we like it we take lessons. I want to see more people like this in the world.

Those who know how to ride rarely know what to do in a scary, new or difficult situation. They look for help and ask other people. Even though they may not know what to do now, someday they may get that proverbial knock on horsemanships door and open their eyes to a whole new way of riding.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Horse people are horrible people

Thats right, even we hate ourselves!

I remember a few years ago we at our annual trail ride and one person forgot to pick up their poop with bags as dictated in the beginning of the ride.

Me: I told them to pick it up or they can't come on the ride next year!
Friend: it's horse poop just tell the people to kick it. It's just like grass
Me: we are not going to be able to have this ride again if horses are shitting and it's not being picked up.
Friend: it practically disintegrates when you kick it. Try it.

Angry person that has horse poop on the road four blocks from their house: If you are going to use the road pick up your horses poop!!! I don't want to hit it when I back out of my driveway.


We hate eachother, non horse people hate us we all hate us.

We are always squabbling about how mary sue always wins at the horse show and how so and so's horses were not braided right and shmoes horse was dirty and how bob knocked down the soooo simple cross rail.

Us horse people go into a tack store and we are bound to find someone to talk to. As soon as we turn our backs someone else walks in and suddenly we are the light of the conversation. Who knows what we said but sure enough it was something to do with our horses or our order of special feed with 20 salt licks and a fancy shmancy curry comb. I think it's because we are so jigh maintenance or because we love our horses to death.

All I know is I gotta go to the feed store to get wormer. I wonder if they threw out all those wormers that were 6 months out of date from last year?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just when you think you did it all right...

Someone comes along and fucks it up royally.

I am talking about horse training and sending a horse you trained to it's owner and then having to go back and fix yet another issue you thought you could solve the first time.

Every issue a horse has can rear it's ugly head a second time no matter how much training the horse has had. I'm talking about the explosive nutcases, the rearers, bolters, buckers, chargers, ear pinners, scardey cats, aggressive, intimidating shit heads that try and turn you into a human lawn dart given the chance.
Just because it was trained doesn't mean the problems are gone forever. If the person who usually handles or rides the horse can't apply techniques to get the horse under control it doesn't matter how long or how much of a big shot your trainer is. Clip clop still knows he can and will overtake you if you can't put a stop to it there and then you'll have repeats at some time in his life. He will try harder and harder until you run back to big shot trainer crying dangerous horse.

A lady line drives my pony. Yes the pony I was talking about a couple posts ago that I luuurrrv well I was going to f-ing kill him today.
It started off innocently enough. I had my first vacation in two years and you would have sworn I was gone for a month instead of a week. I hadn't had time to drive pony until today because of other catching up I had to do. Of course it was also the only day I did not have my helmet with me.
He was doing really good. I had to correct him a couple times for trying to eat grass (strike 1) because I did not want my reins to get stepped on and I did not have a check. He seemed to remember the last lesson on the consequences of trotting when I did not say so. He walked like a little gentleman two laps around the whole field, then it was time for a trot. I found a patch where it was not like a wash board and trotted him up and down it about 6 times. I seen Barb pulling into the farm so I thought I would go back and offer her a ride.
Just about the time we were about to turn home we went over this bump we had hit a hundred times before. He took off like a bat let out of hell bolting. It took every muscle in my body to keep myself from flying out of the cart. The 30 seconds it took for us to get across the field seemed to take an hour. All I kept on thinking about was my friends accident in the spring and being launched like superman onto my head only he had a helmet on; I didn't.
When I finally got him under control I noticed he had his tail under the breeching so I reached forward to lift it up and he did another dash only this one was shorter. Oh boy I wanted to fucking kill him and the woman that line drives him.
She let him eat the hay in the field, I don't. She put him away when he fucked around: I made him work 10X harder for it.

Long story short he was lathered in sweat from running back and forth over that bump by the time I put him away. He also tolerated me randomly touching his tail.

I think I am going to give up on training the horses and start training the handlers.

You know I love that woman some days but mostly she drives me insane. Ah too bad I have a heart.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random idle thoughts

So I started my two newest courses in the equine science diploma and it got me thinking about a lot of things as one of my courses is journalism.

I took my first vacation in two years. I went up north with my friends and had an amazing time. Check out this real Canadian stop sign we encountered, eh?

Abuse- Is a sin. What people do to horses through intentional actions or plain ignorance is unforgivable. Neglecting to float their teeth, trim their feet or other aspects of equine health care is abuse. Worst of all is the physical abuse that comes from fear. Humans with physical violence towards horses consciously or subconsciously beat their horses out of fear. Fear creates anger, anger creates rage and inhumane treatment. Striking or scaring a horse with an object or ones body in such a way that it creates a fear in the horse is never an aspect of good horse husbandry.

I've seen quite the few horses ruined by trying to use force. Who wins, the 150 pound human or the 1000 pound, gnashing teeth, flailing hooves, swinging neck horse? I think even the cave men figured that one out.

Some people believe wisdom comes with age.
I believe wisdom can come to a person at any age.
It has to do with the experiences you have and what you do in the time you are allowed to experience them in.

On another note we say farewell two two valiant souls. A
good horseman an a hockey equipment guru, Brian Heaton.
He died suddenly at the age of 58 of a heart attack wile at a horse show in London. I had the privilege of riding a few of his horses and they were truely a pleasure to ride. May he rest in peace.

Gazella, a Trakehner mare who always made sure every horse within view knew she was the queen of the barn was euthanised last Tuesday. The vet confirmed she had a couple strokes so it was time to let this 28(?) year young girl go to the big pasture in the sky. No gelding could look at her over the fence without her screaming and stomping in protest. She only ever got along with and could ever be turned out with Shorti who is screaming for her best friend of 15 years to come back. Shorti is turned out with Naigen now but still cries for Giz. I don't think the loss has sunk in.

A friend of mine just found out he was diagnosed with cancer. It is all over his body and he has not been given very long to live. He is a very happy man who is full of life and love. I hope he knows he is surrounded by people who love him even though he never had it written on paper.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The ones you understand

I don't think I ever mentioned my pony. Yes my pony. Hes 11 something hands hackneyXwelsh cross. His name is Keebler.

Keebler is the most push button "yes ma'am!" equine I have ever met. Theres something about him that I just understand. I know why he spooks, why he gets upset, why he shies, why he plays and why he just plain enjoys peoples company.
You never EVER have to teach something to that pony twice and when you do ask him of something he already knows he does it every time without question. Quite a trusting little fellow.
Hes just one of those horses, err ponies that I never have to question why he does something, I just know and I can explain it every time. He understands me, trusts me like you wouldn't believe and goes about his merry way without the fuss or complaint most horses, especially young horses often throw at you.
I think it had something to do with me being the one to train him. He didn't even know how to lead when I got him as a three year old project.
Now he drives, rides, lets kids drag him all over the place and barely ever spooks at anything.
I just understand him better than any horse I have ever worked with, owned or came across. Theres something that clicks there that I cannot explain or any professional horse person can define. It's almost telekinetic.
Him and I make a fabulous team. It's just so relaxing to drive and work around him knowing hes so young, inexperienced but does everything I ask of him like a 20 year old school horse.

Friday, August 8, 2008

One of those AHA! moments

I think I finally figured it out!
Well not it, her more like it.
Indigo to be exact. She can be such a brat.
I got the most AMAZING ride today. I have one of those "I love my horse more than anything" feelings.
She can be quite the bitch sometimes even going as far as throwing a little crow hop and even a little buck. I think I finally got her where that just poof, in one instant goes away.
It's simple. I have no clue why I haven't see it before, maybe because I ride english too much.
I ask for collection and contact and she shakes her head and tries to stick out her nose.
I ask for an upward transition and she balks, sometimes trying acrobatics.

Today I decided to sit tall in the saddle and hold my reins with one hand on the buckle, resting near her withers. I carried a crop, just in case she tried to stick her head down and eat those oh so tempting grasses and weeds.
She was a complete ANGEL. OMG! I asked for a trot, she carried on forward not even a flick of her ear. When I asked for a canter she effortlessly hopped up and carried on down strait and true. She wanted to stretch so I gave her the length of the reins. She cantered with her head between her knees (shes never been trained to do that or ever done it before because I have usually had some kind of contact on the reins) Her back cracked and she was limber and really enjoying herself with her ears forward cantering and then galloping down the trail.

How many of you could/would dare to gallop your horse on a loose rein? It's all in the training.

I love my horse

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The things I love about my girl

After putting straw into the barn today I took Suzy away from Stormy for the first time. She squawked once, Stormy hollered three times and went out into the paddock to enjoy the miserable fly crazy day.

Things I love about Suzy:

  • She is THE push button horse. You say go and shes already going. You say woah and she woahs (though shes always eager to get going again)
  • Would never pull back when tied, ever.
  • I just get this understanding with her that I have never got with another horse. She seems to know what to do in certain situations that you would never expect a horse to pick up on.
  • She loves to be clipped. She stands stock still.
  • She loves fly spray. Sometimes you can spray her with water and she stops stomping
  • She LOOOOVES to be driven. Today she trotted faster under the cart that I have ever had her trot....until we hit a rock and burst the tube in the tire of the cart. We line drove home
  • Shes pretty much bomb proof when it comes to scary things. She hates whips, nailguns and loud random noises
  • Is oh so gentle about taking treats from you. I could feed her with my fingertips and they would still be in tact.
  • Shes THEBOSS no questions asked.
  • Shes also a total diva (except the mud, she loves mud)
  • Shes very sure and confident of herself. God help you if she gets out. She don't give a damn that the other horses have already been caught shes going on her own run to the beat of her own drum.
  • Once you get to know her and know how to ride her crazy bumpy gait she will do anything for you
  • shes always aiming to please
  • Shes hot, but very manageable and smart
  • Shes an amazing mom
  • Shes an amazing horse for kids. She calms right down no matter what.
  • I could go on forever....
Indigo. Now theres some things about her that drive me nuts but shes got soooo many awesome traits.
  • Never, ever would pull back when tied
  • Never, ever panics and bolts
  • Never, ever would kick you
  • Always looking for attention.
  • Always greets me and comes cantering when I call her.
  • Makes cute fluttery-nostril nickers at me when she knows I have grain or treats
  • Is totally trainable with food
  • Is oh so smart and calm about new situations. Never panics where you think a normal horse would.
  • Catches on to things in a millisecond.
  • LOOOOOVES to be groomed.
  • Knows when theres kids around
  • Likes baths (shes white, theres a bonus)
  • Loves fly spray
  • Tolerates all the random wierd things I do to her like sticking my hat on her head or a crop in the crownpiece of her halter or even flapping a big ass scary tarp at her and then putting it on her (she was quivering the whole time, it was hilarious)
  • Loves to be wormed. She practically takes the syringe out of my hands.
  • Has a very reliable woah.
  • Has an almost equal go
  • Is always curious about things and makes me laugh when she sneaks around and gets into the barn or is sticking her head on my dads shoulder wile hes weed whipping.
  • Sneaks into the barnyard before the other horses do so she can creep around and eat their left over hay without being interrupted by the other horses wile I clean the shelter/put feed out.
  • Leads amazing
  • Trailers amazing
  • Is like the puddle/lake/pond/ditch master. She swims, goes through puddles, down and back up HUGE ditches. Shes always had this thing about trying to drink out of every puddle she comes across. Will elaborate later.
  • Is made of teflon. She rolls in the mud (keep in mind she IS white) and it just slicks right off and it's still wet and she looks white :O. Shes also, though all the numerous injuries shes had never been lame *knock on wood*
  • I am sure I will think of more later
So what makes you love your horse so much?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

That scritchy spot

Every horse has one, you just gotta find it. Yep, that spot where you scratch and even the most miserable old brood mare melts and makes happy, twitchy lip faces.

I've been successful at finding it on every horse BUT Indigo. She loves being brushed. She yawns like crazy and makes droopy eye, happy sleepy faces but not that satisfying "thats the spot!" alert and feeling good face.

The other day I was doing belly stretches with her (make clawing motion on her belly to make her lift her back) She cocked her head to the side and her lip immediately started to twitch so I started to scratch and sure enough theres the spot. Around the spot where a horses belly button would be she really got into it. I had dirt under my nails but I finally found that sweet itchin spot. I wonder how long it's been itchy down there. Not like they can scratch it themselves, their buddies sure don't.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ride em like they are two

Mugwump said that to me when I questioned about Indigo's confidence issue.

I baled hay on the wagon all by myself the other day. It wasn't bad because I only had to do one load and then the rest was round baled. Driving a tractor isn't work at all.
The first four square bales were HEAVY! Like upwards of 100 pounds. We loosened the baler and commenced and it wasn't that bad except for the fact that I am terrible at lifting above my head so by the time I reached the end of the wagon I was huffing and puffing from trying to heft bales nearly my whole weight above my head. I got it done though

Theres something satisfying about lifting bales of hay. When you are done you always feel accomplished. You also always feel like you never ever want to do it again; until next years first cut of hay. It really isn't all that bad.

Once I was done when the hydraulic line on the tractor burst I went to ride. First I picked the three year old out of the paddock. Before I started riding her this spring she had a pretty traumatizing carriage accident where the breeching (your breaks) broke: moral of that story is keep your tack in good repair.
She now has some fear issues but shes pretty trusting about me flopping around on her back. She doesn't mind when I lean over and touch her anyplace or grab things off the fence or make sudden movements. Shes pretty cool, unless something scares her.

She blows and snorts and prances and holds her head high enough to knock your lights out if you aren't paying attention on her back. Since this accident shes got a bolting issue. When she gets scared she wants to run blindly.
They were cutting the wheat a farm over. She could hear the tractors behind the barn from the round pen. She refused to go more than halfway across the pen towards the big monsters. I don't get it. She has seen more tractors in her life than my mare Indigo who is almost five times her age (who doesn't even batt a lash at them). Horses still confuse me.
She was never afraid of things before her accident with the carriage. Not afraid of noises in the bushes, not afraid of tractors or trucks or cars. Now as soon as they come close and I don't let her run she freaks.
She could see the round bales sitting in the field from behind the bushes outside the round pen. When I swung a leg up and walked around that way she charged away from them, throwing her head high and blowing loudly.
I decided the pen was only being a barrier. We ventured out. She snorted and rattled and pranced as we walked through the field of round bales. She sees round bales every day. Hell we were stacking them in the barn just an hour before as she stood at the gate and tried to reach far enough to eat them. Horses, they always find new ways of challenging me.

Once I got her close enough to realize that they were edible we played a game. We walked from round bale to round bale. At each one she got to stop and take a bite. Soon she was having fun, she wanted to trot to the next round bale I pointed her to. It was time to get back on. I hopped up and she seemed more relaxed now that she could actually see the round bales. Before the bushes were the barrier. I rode her around from round bale to round bale. We weaved between them and then trotted across the driveway to the other field. More round bales, and her siblings and mother screamed when they seen her. I could tell she wanted to be near them. We went to the edge of the field by the scary porta john. A cat rustled in the tall grass and she spooked. I stopped her but she nearly unseated me in her attempt to bolt. Did I mention I have ridden bolters all my life? Shes not that bad but shes still a little more unpredictable than I would like.

We walked back to the barn. I made her side up to the round pen for me to grab some stuff off the fence and I dismounted on the hay wagon.

I rinsed her and threw her back outside where Indigo was waiting, ears forward and a friendly flutter of her nostrils in anticipation of her turn.

I feel guilty. Every time I take another horse instead of Indigo she follows me in the paddock, I put the halter on the other horse she looks at me with a "You traitor!" look and follows me and the other horse to the barn door. She waits for me and the other horse to come back for her turn.

Shes an attention seeker. She loves people. She loves it when I come out into the barnyard and lock all the other horses out and let her sneak around without their gnashing teeth.

When my dad weed whacks shes right there with her nose next to him. Sometimes he forgets that shes in the barnyard and leaves the barn door open only to discover her big grey rear sticking out of the door as she creeps into the barn. I call her creeper.

I tacked up and plopped on her back. We played the same round bale game as I did with the three year old. I was a little more in tune with her after feeling all the tension of the three year old. Indigo knew exactly what the round bales were. Shes pretty confident when it comes to new things but some things that startle her (like rustling bushes) she jumps at and tries to trot ahead. Silly mare.

We didn't do much but it was an awesome ride. I worked on trotting circles and walking circles and following my body language rather than using reins. Pretty good feeling to have a ride like that. No spooking, only fun.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A breakthrough!!

I just thought of something and it totally makes sense!

When offering the horse world a new tidbit of information we are often confronted with controversy and tradition.

You know, why do something that science can explain in favor of tradition? WHY!? Because it makes sense. I think this is why I get away with my ideas. I make sure I can explain them. I think someone stumped me once. I thought good and hard about the subject and came back two days later to the person and explained yet again.

Guys we can never give up. A revolution in horsemanship bigger than the horses themselves. They all deserve and want this option.

Bitless is for every horse, but not ever owner- Sydney Kotow

Yes, I came up with the phrase science over tradition being applied to horsemanship now I leap for every horse being bitless. By the way, I am not talking about hackmores. I would rather use a curb bit than a hackmore. They are painful pieces of equipment with the curb strap/chain right on the mental nerve.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Of vet bills and bloody clothes

The phone rang this morning. About 7:30 am.
I rolled over in my sleep ignoring it. It was probably my sister calling, wanting me to babysit like I had promised.
My dad yelled up the stairs "phone"
Damn, now I had to make some attempt at human life.
Sleepily I reached over for the cordless on my computer desk and put on my best "I'm awake" voice.
"Hello?" it was murdo
"How are you?" I tried to sound awake.
"Alright. Your Indigo mare hurt her back leg. Shes bleeding pretty bad"
"What? What did she do. Does it need the vet?" I blinked, suddenly more awake than a second ago.
"I don't know. It's pretty bad or I wouldn't have called"
"Alright, i'll be there in a few minutes" As soon as I hung up I launched into hyperdrive. I lunged for a pair of pants. I didn't even know if the clothes I had on where clean.
It didn't matter. My best friend was in trouble.

My mom came around the corner. She was carrying things for the trailer. Her and dad were supposed to leave in a few hours.
"Whats wrong?" she stopped to talk
"Indigo is hurt, I gotta go out there" I dashed out the door hardly having time to tie my long hair back.

When I arrived at the farm she was munching hay and stomping flies. Boy were their flies.
It figures, a horse gets cut and it's the worst day of the year for flies.

Indigo nickered at me when I came through the door. She was munching hay with Sheba at the pot. Boy was she a mess.
Her back right leg was covered in blood. Something was hanging from it. I could only hope it wasn't a tendon or other flesh that shouldn't be there.
Every time she stepped blood shot out of a puncture wound.

Long story short, I brought her to the emergency clinic, tranked her because he thought he was going to have to tie off the vein, the bleeding stopped on it's own so she was dopey for no reason, gave me a bottle of pills for antibiotics and sent us on our merry way with my pin cushion mare. Boy what a day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Of horses and barn cats

Yesterday we had a drive with the carriage club. All went well (except for the fish flies...>:C). We got back to the barn and everyone was lining up for the hose. I pulled Indigo into the barn and my man came up to hold her so I could take her harness off (another horse was in her usual spot).

A couple weeks ago we brought two cats to the barn that were rescued from another barn (mom abandoned them) they were brother and sister. The male cat is extremely friendly. He LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVES! people. Every time I groom one of the horses he tries to wander under them to see me. I boot him (not hard) out from under the horse and he effs off.

Yesterday was that exception. My man was holding Indigo and patting her and telling her shes going to get treats or whatever else he usually says to her and Mr.kitty comes sauntering on up.
You can guess what happened next. Well Indigo stomped a fly...and the cat. Mr. Kitty SCREAMED bloody effing murder. This event made Indigo lunge ahead in fear of the cat howling underneath her feet. My man is wide eyed at this point being very inexperienced with horses and almost trampled he is screaming "WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH!!" which just upsets Indigo even more. She stomps back down on Mr. Kitty again. He HOWWWLLLLSS!! hissing and spitting and sinks his claws into her leg like a pin cushion. Indigo lunges ahead again nearly tramping my still "WOAH"-ing man and knocks over a whole wall of shovels, brooms and various other barn tools which startles her again at the loud crashing noise below her feet. Kitty attempts escape again, darts for the door only to be clotheslined by her hoof booting him on the way out.

He eventually escaped. He was scared but not hurt, my man will probably never come out to the barn again lol. Indigo just had a pin hole that stopped bleeding quickly.

All this time I am standing there because I couldn't get in to intervene and grab Indigo. All I could do was laugh when everyone settled. My man was huffing and puffing, Indigo settled down right away (with a renewed aggression towards cats, she hated them before) The first thing I say is "Shes bleeding, aww poor neigh!" and go to tend to Indigos bleeding. My man looked for the kitty and everyone outside who just heard this ordeal going on poked their heads in the barn to see the aftermath of the war they just heard.

I guess a horse+ my man+ a really stupid cat sound like world war 3.

hahahaha. I still chuckle thinking about it.

Sophie and I are on our 5th ride or so. Shes doing great. She spooked at someone pulling in with a trailer on the other side of the bushes from the round pen. She half reared half cantered across the pen and snorted. Shes doing good though. She knows what leg means. I was going to ride her today but a big storm came up. Oh well. Our next step: the trot!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New beginnings

Today Sophie had her first ride. I kept it short and sweet since it was her first time in the round pen or with a saddle on even.

I worked her on the longe for 10 minutes teaching her how to disengage her hindquarters and react to the word woah. I also worked with throwing ropes all over her in a very rhythmic motion since she was a little scared about waving hands and ropes.
I then did the same rhythmic motion on and off her back with the saddle pad until she stood relaxed and then put it and the saddle on with no trouble. I longed her for another minute and swung up. She jumped forward at the movement of my leg but only went a step or two.

Of course I was riding her in the Nurtural bitless bridle. She has been driven in this bridle and does awesome. Since she had never encountered round pen/longeing/a saddle before this 15 minutes I didn't want to push her so I got on, and just sat there. She stepped forward once but I stopped her and we just stood. Good standing, I think it's the most important but often overlooked thing a horse can ever learn is a good long and beaten (but not literally) WOAH! If you have reliable breaks you can work on the gas safely. If you have a good parking break it makes it easier to do thing without having to wrestle an anxious moving horse the whole time.

Ride#2 is tomorrow so long as it doesn't rain *knock on wood*
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