Friday, February 27, 2009

I can just about

Do what these guys are doing in this video. The way the cats are breeding in the barn and are there will be 20 more by spring. They are probably their own grandpa's. We have tried fixing them and everything but the damn things get killed when we do. So instead of spending 1300$$ to fix cats and upwards they get to be wild, which some are. Others love when I come around for pets because I am the only one that petses them. I bought them some cat treats yesterday. I can feel my fingers being bitten already.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some food for thought

I don't often open forward e-mails but this one is mighty insightful.

This comes from 2 math teachers with a combined total of 70 yrs. Experience.
Here is a little something someone sent me that is indisputable mathematical logic. This is a strictly mathematical goes like this:

What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help y ou answer these questions:


Is represented as:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%


11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But ,

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%


2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

1+19+19 +11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you over the top.


Another note: I went to the fair board/4h meeting today. I have taken over as a leader for the horse club. I have been a junior leader for two years and pretty much helped run it but now it's all mine.
I gave clubs that had conflicting schedules for achievement day a new insight on what we were doing. Everyone wants to do the dairy and beef club you see, you get your own cow to take care of and get ready and it's a lot of fun. Because of this and fair schedules we often have half our kids missing on achievement day. We combated this by hosting a second achievement day. The kids that could make it to the fair did and got their 10$ for participating. We always try to incorporate some sort of judging and public speaking.
So the kids that make it to the fair achievement and the ones that don't can all go to an achievement day together at another farm and put their skills they have learned to use. Mind you maybe 2 or 3 out of the 20-30 kids in the club actually have horses. Maybe a 10 out of that have taken lessons at one point or ride regularly.
But to see some of these kids when they first joined who were timid and couldn't get one word out of them now nearly impossible to shut up, thats what 4h is all about and that is why it's worth getting any kid to join the club. They learn so much.
Anyway, the fair board and leaders of the club are all over 45 and some upwards of 70. I am this 20 year old girl taking quite a stand at taking one of the biggest clubs and really stepping up. One of the oldest and most active members stood up and congratulated me on behalf of the fair and 4h for making things work. I feel quite honored.

Weird wednesday

Because everyone knows I can't be wordless, not for a minute.

Everyone envies my rainbow hat and matching scarf. It is not only warm but incredibly bright and stylish.
Indigo has a neon, tye dye lead rope to match. She matches the dirty ground and me.
I love that lead. I would certainly never lose it. I should have bought the halter to match it but do I really need a 15th halter? I kid you not! I have them in many colours and sizes. Hey I can't pass down a well made halter if it has the right price on it. Mine last forever too cause I never turnout in them and I wash them often so they all look brand new. If a snap breaks my farrier is an excellent repair man and charges me 5$ per piece of hardware. That halter on her there was a birthday present from August and the nylon still has the new shiny look to it. I really should sell some tack.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Horse treats

I regularly bake horse cookies for my horses. Usually I use a little heart cookie cutter and cut about 200 cookies out of dough and the horses love them. But the all time favorite, never refused, always begging for more Nickers N Neighs. Yup, they are named for the exact reason of when the horses know these treats are coming they nicker and neigh every time without fail.

I don't care, apples and carrots got nothin' on this recipe. They often crumble apart but the horses don't care one bit.

Indigo's Nickers n' Neighs

1cup oatmeal or bran
1cup flour, preferably whole wheat
1/2 cup diced apples (as small as you can get them without chopping fingers. Don't shred them they don't have the same effect. Leave the peels on)
tsp salt
tsp cinnamon
tsp sugar
2 tsp of desired oil (sunflower, flax, wheat germ, vegetable etc...)
1/4 cup molasses

Mix dry then wet ingredients and then apple chunks. Make into little balls. Preheat 350 and bake for 15 minutes. Serve to your favorite nicker or neigh, preferably still warm but they still like them a few days after. They don't have a very long shelf life compared to my other cookies, so I usually make them and give them to the horses warm and don't worry about them molding. They absolutely love them, will take them over a fresh apple any day. Oh and cows also like them lol! I used to get the whole herd of heifers at the gate when they knew the horses were getting them.

Indigo says:

"I demand compensation of cookies for this humiliation! Look what she makes me wear!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Four things meme

My own rendition on the very, very old four things meme. Although I haven't been blogging long I have had internet and been writing on the internet longer than anyone I know. So here is my version of this meme. Feel free to add pictures to yours.

Four articles of clothing you can't live without
1. A good thick, fleece sweatshirt. Usually 2 sizes too big.
2. Underwear with the fabric waistband. They are very comfy! Honestly I don't mind I pay 4$ a pair for the stinking things and they may or may not have insanely girly patterns on them (bleh) but they are so damn comfy.
3. worn in and almost worn out blue jeans. Believe it or not my mom used to have to literally wrestle me into jeans when I was young I hated them. Times change.
4. Something green. I like green. It makes my eyes look greener. I always have some sort of green shirt around.

Four accessories you would never wear
1. A purse. I just never have found a reason for having a purse. Pockets rock
2. Those big pilot goggle sunglasses. My sister has an obsession with them.
3. Dress shoes. First of all I can never find them in my size, second of all I never wear them, third they hurt my feet no matter what size they are. I just borrow that stuff from my sister and don't walk much in them if I can help it.
4. Frilly things...ugh I shouldn't have to explain myself I am clearly not the frilly, lacey type. When I was little my sister wrestled me into a dress and put me in the car wile she ran back into the house for a moment. When she came back out I had ripped the lace off the bottom of my dress and proceeded to attempt eating the evidence.

The first four songs that play when you put your music player on random
1. And I love her- The beatles
2. Under the boardwalk- The temptations
3. Electric avenue- Eddie Grant
4. White room- Cream
I love my rock n roll <3 style="font-weight: bold;">Four pets you want or have
1. I wanna big colourful talking bird
2. A mini horse and a mini donkey!
3. A tiger would be cool!
4. An Irish wolfhound they are so pretty

Four websites you visit daily
1.bloodstainedsilk @ deviantart
2. mugwump chronicles
3. horseshoeing housewife
4. gizzards and calf fries

Four favorite things to eat or drink
1. My moms home made tacos. She makes the shell and everything. Nom nom nom
2. Fettuchini alfredo
3. crab or lobster
4. I really want ginger candy right now mmmmm must go to the oriental market.

Four things you do on a daily basis
1. Think about horses
2. dream about horses
3. Shovel horses shit
4. pet horses

Four things on your desk
1. Hand made clay beads
2. some feathers, a few wild turkey, crow, seagull, an eagle and some hawk feathers.
3. Horse girl body lotion in sugared vanilla. If you have never used this lotion, you must it smells and leaves your skin feeling SOOO GOOOD!
4. A big cluttered mess lol!

Four things you want to buy in the near future
1. natural ride bareback pad
2. a new book on hitching horse hair
3. A new computer monitor
4. A professionals choice western saddle pad. mmmm pretty colours.
I guess I am looking at about 600$ worth of stuff, thats not bad.

Four things you haven't told about yourself in your blog yet.
1. I am a video game and computer nerd. Yes I said it I fix computers and play video games when I am not working or around my horses.
2. Art is the music of the soul. If I wasn't allowed to be creative I think I might go picasso on you all.
3. I love to stop and watch the beauty of nature. The tiny flecks of colour in a feather, the way the grass sways in the breeze, the colours in an ordinary piece of glass and the light that reflects through it. Beauty is all around us. If you try hard enough you can find it in even the most ugliest of creatures.
4. I might be ADHD but I believe I am just an extremely outgoing person. I never have a problem concentrating.

Four places you have gone on vacation or visited
1. Cassadaga florida. Visiting there on Halloween is a complete must!
2. Algonquin park, wonderful wilderness and howling to the wolves and such
3. Cape breton, Nova scotia
4. Wawa Ontario. Talk about an out of the way place. Just great, gorgeous trails.

Four places you want to visit
1. Australia. I was named for my grandfather who lived in Perth but could not go back due to age and health problems.
2. Japan. A culture that spends every waking moment trying to perfect whatever they persuit. I love their art.
3. Alberta. I love mountains and natural beauty.
4. Arizona. I love reading everyones blogs from there.

Four things you would change about the world
1. Peace, well thats a far shot but you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
2. Enviromentally friendly. So some ways may take longer but if it means change for the future lets go for it!
3. People who are cruel to animals need to be never allowed to have animals again.
4. Living expenses should come down. The economy is hitting close to home now.

Four people you are gonna tag to do this meme:
1.pony girl
2. mikey
3.The wife
4.You? If you happen to stop by take a whack at it. Make sure you comment and link back I love reading your blogs

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update on level rider
So I e-mailed the company and got a very prompt reply. I wanted to know about an english saddle level. Skip (that is the owner) replied asking me to call him.
So I did. We chatted for a wile, he was riding his filly at the time and stated he wants me to have a level and write about it! Cool! I was just about to buy one but sticking my nose in products (as always I research before buying) and I get free stuff, kind of how I got into nurtural horse and helped them develop their new rein straps. Cool eh? I will for sure write about the level when I get it and try it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Useful item for any level rider

Every so often I come across one of those items that before I even buy it I go "wow that is so useful!"

Well this one has that. Level Rider

It is a saddle level for your western saddle. I wish they made it for english too. I am going to buy one for myself and use it for my students.
I think every rider could benefit from this tool. I mean how often have you a) shifted your weight to the opposite leg because your saddle was slipping b) had a saddle slip or c) had your instructor holler at you because you were leaning to one side.
Sure putting your heels down sticks in your head after a wile, but what about things like lead changes. I noticed with my students when asking for lead changes the ones that leaned to one side or the other were the ones that had the hardest time doing lead changes. To remedy this I would make them ride without stirrups for a wile. I wish I had this tool a few years ago. What a neat idea! I hope they come out with an english version soon too!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What I like to wear

Big puffy, down filled coat that makes me look 200 pounds heavier than I actually am, hair tied back and usually windblown. Dirt on my face, horse slobber on my hands and all over my coat and a horse in my arms. Yup sounds like a moment in the barn. Here Indigo takes the opportunity to reach over the line of sight to slime my other arm. Those sunglasses, yeah the only ones that a horse hasn't stepped on yet. I usually leave them in the car or house just in case.

Below, well she demands payment of the cinnamon hearts in my pocket for her wonderful talent of smiling for the camera. Anyone know a hollywood agent? Move over Mr. Ed

Monday, February 9, 2009

More on treats

So further thought on trailering and giving a horse treats to do it.

Asking a hard to load horse to come into the trailer for a treat, grain, hay, buddy etc. is extremely pointless. Now before you get your panties in a bunch listen to the explanation of how a horse feels about this situation.

Say you and your friends were at the grand canyon. Remember this reference from a few posts ago? Yeah well they said they would give you a one hundred dollars to jump off. You look down into the canyon and theres many, many feet of sharp rocks, ledges, trees and other things that will hurt you. You know you are going to die if you jump. But they protest. They say "We did it and we are alright." You look again, no way would you even be able to jump as far to miss the first ledge with large pointy rocks. You back away and refuse to go, knowing you would see the end of your days if you jump, despite the fact your friends said they were ok.

See where I am getting?

When you take a single carrot and ask a horse that is afraid to load in the trailer you are asking them to jump off the grand canyon for that money. They think a dark, closed in, scary, noisy, maybe windy box may end their lives. It would be like a wild horse walking into a cave. That cave might have bears or lions in it and if they go in there most likely isn't an exit directly in front of them. You can use food in ways such as every time the horse puts a foot closer he is rewarded. I've used that for my pony after the fact he would load normally. I wanted him to have a reason to want to load other than me asking him. You need to have that trust there as your parachute. You need to show your horse that trailering isn't scary and it's actually better to hop on the trailer than balk. Remember it takes two to fight.

So after some time on the side of the canyon and you decided you wouldn't jump your friends say "Oh yeah, by the way you get a parachute" So you decide to jump after all and got that $100.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Form vs use: bitting

The original purpose of this blog was to educate the horse community on the proper, and more importantly, improper use of a bit on a horse. Since I have been short on time lately I give you this paper I wrote my first year of university. The teacher was astounded by the resarch. Enjoy. I will for sure revise this at another date.

There are over forty recognized diseases and ailments caused by regular bitting of a horses mouth and many times more that amount in behavioral problems. Almost every horse owner has done it, bitted their horses and had a behavior problem and then proceeded to blame the problem on the horse. Webster defines the adjective “cruel” as willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress. So why is it every time a horse runs away with a rider, grabs the bit with it’s teeth, and refuses to let go or shakes his head so violently he nearly unseats his passenger, we still put a bit in a horses mouth?
There is a list of diseases and other ailments caused by bits that goes way beyond traditionalist training diagnoses on the horse, and delves into science. Sometimes these ailments are not caused by the bit but they can be aggravated and worsened by the use of one. Some horses are more susceptible to these diseases than others due to the conformation of their head, neck, back, and mouth.
A very common disease that more than half of horses ridden with a bit contact, is mandibular periostitis or better known as bone spurs. The area of the mandible when inspected on the skeleton of dead racehorses showed that most of them had very large bony growths right where the bit would rest on the bars of the mouth. This disease is not limited to racehorses, any horse with a rider with heavy or inexperienced hands can bring it upon a horse. Other injuries such as stepping on the reins or being tied by the reins and pulling back, along with several types of bitting rigs can cause mandibular periostitis.
Less common, but still probable is the injury of the inter dental space of the maxilla. This injury can be caused by a jointed bit of any kind. When a rider exerts pressure on the reins the bit acts in a nutcracker effect, pushing up into the roof of the mouth and causing trauma. In older horses it is common to see the first molars to come in contact with the bit eroded away. Equine dentists file the first molars to create what is known as a “bit seat”. Wolf teeth are commonly compressed painfully or even pulled out of place. Most horses have them removed at a young age because they are in the way of the bit.
The list of bit induced oral problems is equaled only to a list of respiratory diseases. A very common problem caused by flexion of the poll and the opening of the mouth with the bit in place is asphyxia. When the horse is asked to carry it’s head and neck in such a position that the soft palate becomes elevated as the laryngeal entrance becomes significantly smaller cutting off or decreasing the air flow to the lungs due to the reflex of breathing and swallowing.
The saliva created by the tongue moving over the bit needs a place to escape and the horse either has to do that by swallowing or drooling. It would be expected that horses cannot swallow and breathe properly at the same time it simply is like rubbing your stomach and patting your head in unison.
A horse that breathes normally when loose in a paddock suddenly emits the sound known as “roaring” typically emitted by RAO (Recurrent airway obstruction) diagnosed equines is an effect of bitting. The horse will only emit this sound when being worked bitted, and it will go away completely when worked without a bit. The name of this condition is known as dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP).
DDSP occurs when the apex of the soft palate rests on the epiglottis and creates a barrier that does not allow air to efficiently enter the larynx. The noise the soft palate resting on the epiglottis can be characterized as a roaring, gurgling, or a decreased ability to inspire. Some horses can overcome this by using a flash, grackle nose band or tying the tongue to reduce the action of the horses mouth when bitted.
Other respiratory diseases that are afflicted upon horses, which are ridden with a bit include, collapse of the larynx, low blood oxygen levels at the time of exercise, Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), pulmonary congestion, and Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter. There are many more diseases concerning other parts of the body veterinarians believe to be related to the bitting of a horses mouth.
Trigeminal neuralgia is possibly the most common ailment. Almost every horse owner has experienced it. A horse that violently shakes his head when being ridden. Many vets have blocked several of the cranial nerves in an attempt to stop the bazaar ridden behavior. In reality it is the bit to be blamed Of course there are few other cases that head shaking can be place upon, such as neurological issues, not only the bit.
This condition can be caused by sensitive horses anticipating the pain and pressure of the bit in their mouth. A past injury such as, an injury of the spinal column, tooth problems, ulcers on the tongue, breathing problems, a sprained or strained muscle of the back, and/or neck when being ridden can aggravate and lead to this condition long after the initial injury has healed. The list can go on and on for the bit related problems of head shaking.
Some horses can become dehydrated when they refuse to drink because of a painful lesion caused by a bit having been previously in their mouth. Some horses gain scar tissue on their lips and corners of their mouths by bit’s that pinch and an overzealous riders hands. Others refuse to eat and have permanent scarring in their minds and mouths from the memories of the length of steel that was inserted there.
The bit not only affects the cranium but also affects the spine, the surrounding muscles, the back, legs and many tendons because of the use we put it up to. An example is metacarpal and metatarsal osteitis or splints caused by the horse being constantly on the forehand. When the leg strikes the ground in such a manner it creates trauma in the metacarpal and metatarsal bones and depending on your horses conformation he may, or may not, develop splints because of this.
Bits are not the only thing we stick on a horses head that can cause medical and mental problems. Bridles and bazaar contraptions come in every size, colour, and fancy sparkling styles you could possibly imagine and you can attach them to your horses head and bit every way fathomable. The most popular English bridle is the Caveson. It consists of two straps that attach to the bit, a nose band, a brow band a throat latch, and all the straps connect to create the crown piece which goes over the poll. With the bit in place in the mouth the only other misunderstood part of this bridle is the nose band. The Caveson nose band is used to keep the horses mouth closed when he opens it excessively to avoid the bit placed in his mouth.
There are many types of nosebands out there. Almost all of them are designed to place some of the bit’s pressure on the nose and keep the horse from opening his mouth excessively when being ridden. The whole idea of nose bands when not directly attached to the reins is to provide support for a horse being ridden with a bit.
The Aachen Caveson, or flash nose band is designed to keep the horses mouth shut. When the horse continues to fight this type of nose band the results are usually the rider tightening it. An overly tightened nose band can lead to asphyxiation because the delicate nasal passages are compromised in an unnatural position by the flash attachment. When the nostrils cannot flair properly and the horse cannot breathe through his mouth due to anatomical conformation. He is stuck to breathe the best he can.
Another problem the flash nose band creates is ulcers of the mouth. With a regular Caveson already designed to keep the horses mouth shut and a flash keeping it tight shut the horses teeth, especially if not serviced, can cut into the cheeks, pinch the tongue and create infected, painful sores in the mouth. Crank nose bands work similarly. to the Caveson but are tightened with a pulley strap mechanism to result in maximum tightness, which human hands could not otherwise achieve by pulling a strap through a buckle.
The Grackle or figure eight nose band was designed to keep the horse from opening his mouth or crossing his jaw when being ridden. It was also said to keep the horse from getting his teeth completely on the bit and allowing him to run away with his rider. This bridle; however, does avoid the teeth, and letting the delicate cheeks become free of being pinched by a tight nose band.
The drop down nose band offers a different degree of mouth closure. The nose band is situated where the mouth will have the most leverage to open, about an inch above the relaxed non-bitted mouth and below the bit when the horse is completely bridled. If tightened it can also restrict airflow like the flash nose band. It is designed to place some of the pressure of the bit on the more sensitive areas of the nose. It does not allow the teeth to be in constant contact with the cheeks but still keeps the mouth closed to keep a horse from avoiding the bit.
Western bridles are very similar in bit’s except the nose band. Classical western riders do not use nose bands, but those riding in speed events often have tie downs. Tie downs are used to prevent the horse from excessively raising his head. It is also referred by some riders as an aid to keep the horses balance. Would you be able to walk across a tightrope if your arms were tied to your waist?
The jointed snaffle and non-jointed bit exert pounds per pounds that your hands are placing upon the reins on the horses mouth. Add a curb chain and it is roughly amplified by ten. The mouthpieces of most bits can vary in thickness, type of metal, ports, number of joints, and a vast assortment of other add-ons to cause pain and injury to the horse. Other attachments help to work with the anatomy of the horses mouth but in the end there is still a solid object being placed in the most sensitive cavity of an equines body.
The most commonly used English bit is the loose ring, egg butt, Dee ring and full cheek snaffle. Each usually have the same mouth action but with different attachments for the reins and functional uses, such as, for horses that get pinched on their lips or cannot stand the rattle of a regular loose ring snaffle. When the reins are pulled upon by these bits they exert pounds-per-pounds of pressure onto the bars of the horses mouth. If jointed once the bit will fold, press on the bars of the mouth, and poke into the hard palette. This action is often referred to as the “nutcracker effect.”
Some bits, such as, the strait bit (mullen mouth) and ported or curved bits allow less or more room for the tongue to move around. The strait, non-jointed bit lays flat on the tongue, compressing it. Bit’s with ports or a curved mouthpiece allow the tongue to lay in a more natural position. Of course there are double jointed bit’s, which allow the tongue to lay in a more natural position. When the reins are pulled upon with this bit in a horses mouth the usual V shape of a single jointed bit turns into a U.
Curbs and bits with shanks add an increase of pressure exerted on the horses mouth and poll. The longer the shank on the bit the more severe the pressure when a curb chain is added and a rider holds the reins. When a rider pulls back on the reins that are attached to a curb bit the shank moves rearward, the curb chain tightens on the mental nerve and puts pressure on the poll causing the horse to have no escape but give into the pressure. The mental nerve connects the lower lip, chin, and just behind the chin to the brain giving it feeling.
Western bits with large ports can create additional damage further back in the horses mouth on the hard palate. These bits are designed so a rider should use almost no bit contact on the mouth and use other forms of riding aids such as the seat, legs and neck reining. The port does not move. If a horse were to suddenly throw his head up in the air and a rider holding on to the reins in a regular western fashion the port would poke sharply into the hard palate and cause trauma. Horses being ridden in western with a port have actually been euthanized because the port of the bit ruptured the soft palate into the nasal cavity. Such injuries can happen quite easily if a horse steps on a rein.
Unfortunately, in most associations a rider would be disqualified as it is an offense to ride without a bit in a horses mouth. Some English events such as hunter and some jumping or western barrel racing allow the use of a hackamore, bosal, or side pull. Even when the hackamore and side pull are used it still exerts pressure on the sensitive nose and cartilage structures of the face as well as the poll because of the shank action.
Hackamores can be just as unnerving to a horse as a bit because they use a shank under the chin in the same fashion as a curb bit. A side pull is gentle and provides good steering but limited breaks. A bosal is essentially a nose band made of rawhide woven over metal or a stiff core. The bosal applies pressure both on the nose and under the chin when rein pressure is applied. The Mecate reins are also usually made of horsehair and rough to encourage the horse to neck rein and move away from the irritating rein pressure.
The only bridle that has been known to allow horses with previous bitting problems to put it in their past are the no-bit bridles from various companies. These bridles do not harness a bit and the control comes from the nose band, and two rein straps that cross between the underside of the head just after the chin and before the cheekbones. To turn this bridle, one should apply indirect pressure on the opposite cheekbones. Stopping power is applied to the bridge of the nose where the nose band lies and gently tightens the rein straps under the head. These bridles feel identical to any snaffle bit but provide a happier, more in tune horse and virtually no ways to harm the horse. Of course anything can become harmful if used improperly.
It is easy to see why some horses are only controllable when ridden in a rope halter or bit less bridle. There is no pain. When pain is involved the horse goes into flight mode, looking for a way to escape the pain and discomfort of a bit or other mechanical device, which humans use to control the horse.
In conclusion, there are many way’s in which, you can use a bit and each and every one of them have the possibility of causing mental or physical damage to the horse without a rider even on their back. There are also many more add-ons and different types of bits and bitting devices not mentioned here. The information provided above should make it easier in future decisions about bitting your horse.
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