Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

See other things to be wordless about at wordless wednesday

(Quick note for those of you who have wondered where the heck I have been. Well unfortunately my internet has been out, what else is new. I am slowly catching up on your blogs when the internet sporadically decides to start working)

Monday, April 26, 2010


"A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open." ~Gerald Raferty

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunday stills: Barns

The barn on the farm is quite old. It's a dairy barn since the horses live outside 24/7. There is one stall.
It was actually moved from further back the property to it's current location. In the mow there is a pulley system for lifting hay way back before balers were invented and hay had to be lifted up by the load into the loft.

Now birds enjoy the loft and some cats. Round bales cannot fit up there.
If you read why barns are red it explains a lot.

This is the old horse barn on the local homestead. John R.Park has a lot of old historic barns on the property but this was the only one used for horses minus the blacksmith shop where shoes would have been made and other metal things.

I would upload some more recent but my internet has been less than favorable. It took me over an hour to load these pictures because it kept timing out. What I wouldn't do for a reliable, working internet connection. Can't say I didn't try.


Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Name that song.

Indigo had her annual vaccinations, though it seems she gets her tetanus shot several times a year due to her injuring herself just by looking at something pointy.

Indigo is such a good horse when it comes to our vet known to us as Dr.Bob. He came to float her teeth, give her a physical and collect some manure for a fecal exam.

I do most of my shots myself. Not only does it save money but it saves the poor horses from associating a vet visit with being stabbed by a stranger, which a lot of them do remember year after year.

Doing shots intramuscular, meaning in the muscle, is a relatively simple process that ALL horse owners should know how to do. You never know when your horse is going to get hurt and you are going to have to administer medication this way. It is always wise to have someone help you if your horse is not that good with needles.

Pick a spot as indicated below by the blue dots/boxes.

Anyplace within the blue boxes/dots is an acceptable spot for a intramuscular injection.
It's the spots on the body that have the thickest muscle.

I do my shots in the triangle on the neck. It's quickest and if you have a horse that has issues when they get their shots done your not going to be in the way of flying hooves.

Shots for my area that are recommended are west nile, rhino, rabies, 4 in 1 (tetanus, eastern+western encephalitis and influenza). Plus I get their teeth done once a year. I do them all myself minus rabies.
I had to get Dr.Bob to administer her rabies vaccine since that is one I cannot obtain and do myself. She got her joints checked and her teeth floated. So did Keebler. Neither of them or the other horses had to be sedated to get their teeth done.
He noted as he checked Indigo's joints and knees for a horse her age (shes 18 this year) she has such good knees and an excellent, very strong heartbeat.

After a quick lameness test on Indigo's knees (she trips sometimes when I ride her but shes a little base narrow in front we have figured thats what causes it) we gathered a fecal sample from her and Keebler to have checked to know what we need to worm for.

Dr.Bob checked her shoulder where she lacerated it last fall and he couldn't believe how well it had healed. Take a look for yourself.

I hope this is our only vet visit this year but knowing my horse there may be another.

Do any of you do your own shots? Why or why not? Do you have the vet out in spring to have shots done? What do you get done other than shots.

(Note: Some of you seen a post that appeared but when you clicked on it in your reader it said it was not there. Blogger decided to post a post that was not supposed to be posted. I deleted it but for some reason it still shows up)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Science VS tradition: Posture and hand position

As some of you have noticed I have been kind of AWOL this week and last. I have exams so I have been studying and working my butt off. Next Tuesday is my last exam so until then I will be a little less frequent. Back here soon though as I am almost done class for the summer.

This weeks science vs tradition is one not often thought about. Instructors often look it over for a long time and I am sure we have all made one or all of these mistakes in our riding careers.

We look at the proper rider posture as modeled by my good friend Korinne.
Ear, elbow and heel make one complete line as illustrated by the blue line in the first image. She is looking forward where she is going which will lock this in. It does not matter if you ride English, Western or driving. This rule should apply to all riders riding/driving with two reins in regards to hand position. It puts you properly over your center of gravity and will help you not tip forwards or backwards if the horse makes sudden movements or changes gait.

Her hands are low, she is looking where shes going and her heels are down. This creates the ear, elbow, heel strait line. Ideally we would ride like this always but sometimes horses throw you curve balls (or bucks or rears or bolts or teleports). Creating muscle memory with proper posture can help you stay in the saddle better.

When riding with two reins imagine you have an ice cream cone in each hand (or two bottles of beer or two wine glasses if you will) if you tip your hands forward, sideways or upside down your icecream will fall off the cone in your hands, or of course spill out of the bottle or glass. Hehe.

It looks like you could plop a cone in each hand and ride like that without your icecream falling off the top. There could almost be a little more bend at the wrists but everyone has a slight variation. It depends on your bodies make up more than anything of how much your wrists will be bent in order to achieve the proper riding posture.My riding students/people riding with me laugh when I start hollering "DON'T TIP YOUR ICECREAM" or the ever popular "QUIT SPILLING YOUR BEER!" alcohol abuser
So remember, don't tip your cones/spill your beverage.

When you hold your reins/icecream cones like this and your elbows are bent properly you have a strong point to work with. The strongest point in the human body is the elbow. If you have to make a 90 degree angle with your elbow you are making a very strong point. If you need to use a little more oomph in the reins this will help you achieve that. This 90 degree angle and hand ice cream cone posture goes for when your lunging or leading an unruly horse. It gives you a place to brace the tension on the line on rather than have it just rip through your hands.

Here are some common mistakes when it comes to hand posture/arm posture that break the deep seat and ear/elbow/heel line, which you should always have.

Puppy paws or piano hands. Generally riders adapt this when they have an insecure seat. Their heels are not down and they tend to tip forward. A lot of the time their elbows are also strait or in a weak angle. They want to lean forward and tip onto the horses neck when it stops or makes a sudden move.

Holding the reins against the legs or out and down. As you can see this straitens the arms. The rider spreads his or her arms and lets them straiten and go down, forcing the horse into a frame. You have no bend in the elbow and your center of gravity is way off. Not to mention your elbows are way away from your sides. I see a lot of riders doing this and sawing on the reins in an attempt to get their horse to go on the vertical (on the bit). This creates a rigid back in the rider, along with arms and hands. It does not allow you to flow with the horses movement and absorb it but rather fighting against it. A lot of riders also hang on the reins this way instead of using seat balance.

Pulling up towards your shoulders and face when asking for a horse to stop. This is just wrong but I bet every one of us has either done it or seen it happen first hand. It puts off your center of gravity and if the horse decides to put his head down your gonna tip right over it. Plus the horse is gonna throw his head up high and make it even worse to stop him. When asking for a stop/half halt/slow down you should always pull to your hips. This creates that strong 90 degree angle in the elbow and gives you the leverage you need. Not to mention you keep the proper posture.

Strait arms. So your hand posture is great but your back is rigid and your arms like stiff boards. This normally is an attempt for the rider to "give" to the horse. If you exercise proper posture you should be able to give the horse more rein and keep your body in line, not throw your arms forward. This sets you up for tipping forward.

One hand ahead of the other. One arm is strait, the other is correct. This might be a riders habit due to a horse that does not bend properly on one side or a rider that has uneven muscle development. This is going to make you want to tip to one side and may create one sidedness in both rider and horse.

Hands up. Most riders want to hold the reins this way the first time they are on a horses back and that is fine so long as the habit is broken young. It weakens the 90 degree angle and also your fingers are going to be weak all in a row rather than stacked together. Think about pulling a heavy box towards you that is loaded with junk. If your arms can reach around it you want to grab it by the sides and slide it close. Your wrists are weak in this hand position with the palms facing up, which a 1000+ pound horse can plow through.

So weather you have good hand position or bad this can help you identify common hand mistakes. Hopefully paying more attention to your hands wile riding you can help improve your horses comfort, especially if you use a bit and your own riding posture.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday stills: potluck

I apologize first of all for not posting much this week. Thank you followers for sticking with me here as I go crazy.

Exams are in full swing, a couple of my barns are closing and I have been running around like a mad woman. I haven't taken my camera out this week at all other than to take images of horse hair items I made last week and forgot to take pictures of then.

Here are some pictures from the recent past, since it is potluck.

WARNING: If you don't like needles, do not look at the second picture!

I got one picture of Indigo before it poured cats and dogs last week. It's dried up pretty quick so pretty much everyplace was rideable the day after, other than the gigantic lake in the lane. I do ride Indigo through it, who insists on drinking out of said lake. The story(ies) on her trying to drink puddles is for another time.

I apologize in advance for those who are squeamish. Be glad I did not show the after pictures, there was blood involved. My friend Keri got her belly button re-pierced. Only this time she got it inverse, which means the ring is on the bottom of her navel, instead of the top like normal. She had the top done before but it got a cyst on it and she took it out. Navel piercings take a long time to heal no matter what. You are always moving around and breaking scar tissue. Mine took over 10 months to heal completely and that was 6 years ago and then a bit.

This is the gigantic GM building across the Detroit river just at sunset. I love going down riverside in the city. It's lovely and theres great running/bike/rollerblading pathes my friends and I like to go down a few times a week. Unfortunately after spending an hour or more down there I end up really sick the same night (as mentioned about the last East Indian wedding I did with Indigo). I went to the allergist and along with a few other things such as dry mould, dust and tree pollen, I am very much allergic to pollution. It makes sense when I go down riverside and get sick because theres big factories right across the river in Detroit, belching out black smoke and other pollutants. I guess I can officially say now I am allergic to the city.

Last but not least (mostly because the internet rots out here in the arse crack of the world and it's taking me 15 minutes a picture to upload) we have my mom and dad riding their iron horse. This ride is particularly special, not only because I successfully managed to run across a parking lot in high heels and not break my neck to get this image, but because they are giving their best friend his last motorcycle ride. My dad's best friend, Big Eddy passed away the other week. He was kind of like an uncle to me. It was a sudden and heart wrenching death. Last minute my mum and dad got together a bunch of motorcycles from their motorcycle club and drove him back home on the bike. Something, along with drawing amazingly well and entertaining every kid within his vicinity, he always loved to do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Getting into the fray of things

As a photographer taking pictures of horses, I understand sometimes the longest telephoto lens is not enough. You have to get in the fray of things, stand amongst a herd of stampeding, farting, bucking horses.

Unless this particular day they are being totally placid instead of galloping around like a bunch of buffoons.

C'mon, trot, canter, buck, rear, gallop!! Something other than walk and forage. Please?

Sebastian and Indigo making peace for once.

I probably have a million pictures of horses eating.

So I sat down on a big rock and waited. If you wait long enough they just might do something. Waiting and waiting, more waiting and then waiting some more. Make sure your schedule is clear for the day.

I think Indigo was the only one who noticed me sitting out there. Every once and a wile she would come over to see what I was doing then wander away.

Then Stormy noticed I was sitting there.
She spotted me and the curiosity got the best of her. She was so intrigued at what on earth this silly human was doing sitting down in the paddock and how did she miss seeing it come over? She has never seen a person sitting that she could go investigate. She made a beeline right for me, leaving the herd way across the paddock to see what I was all about.

Notice her ears, flared nostrils, craned neck and quick pace towards me. Horse body language is so interesting. What she is doing when displaying that body language is adjusting her head so her eyes can see me better. Horses eyes do not focus the same as ours so they must move their heads to see far or close up. Her ears ate pointed on the source of any sound I might make. They can also only pinpoint a sound within 25 degrees where we can pinpoint a sound within a degree, hence their radial ears.

Why hullo thur.

Boy was she curious. Almost a little started at why I was there and not moving.

She moved in for the kill. Note the lowered head, that is how shes focusing on me as she gets closer.


Mauled my head and camera with curiosity.

OOF! Too close Stormy! Too close!

She respectfully sniffed me all over, smelling my hair, lipping my ponytail and sweatshirt.
She hung out for about 10 minutes with me, smelling me all over and even tried to swipe my lens cap a few times that dangles from my camera strap.

Then a flock of birds flew out of the tree behind me and she was off, just realizing how far she really was from the rest of the herd.

Can you spot the three birds that she nearly trampled?

Buh bye.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday stills: Hands

So this one is a little late. Should have been up last night. I was up for a long time finishing more horse hair commissions. I think I might go blind after doing so many button and ring knots.
Some of these are archives. The ones of my hands are not.

Hands are a wonderful thing! What on earth would we do without them?

Hands can also tell you a lot about a person. How hard they work from the callouses, how high maintenance they are from how nice their nails look. If they like to stay clean in an office or get good ol down and dirty.
I prefer callousy hands to soft ones, a little dirt under the nails. It tells me a persons got a healthy work ethic and knows how to do some hard work. It's like a wooden board on a really old barn, it may be weathered but you know it held up for a long time to keep that structure sound.Freckles and wrinkles and veins and scars. Can you spot them all? The weird thing about this hand is the vein pops out on top and looks like a capital M. Weird.
Theres also something about the way peoples fingers spread I can't quite remember. The pinkie on mine as you can see is always spread out more than the rest.

Indigo has this thing for licking hands. If you've been around here long enough you would have seen numerous posts with her tongue sticking out or her mouth gaping oddly in some sort of zombie horse pose.Actually she has a thing for licking people in general. No clue why she just decided the moment I took her off the trailer when she became mine that she wanted to lick people. You can try to stop her from doing it but she will find a way to get you with that slobbery big ol tongue of hers.If I don't pay attention she will lean over and lick my shirt (especially if it is white) and leave a trail of dirty slime on me. God forbid I don't pay attention to her int he barnyard whatever article of clothing I have will be shortly slobbered.

Theres the lines in hands that also tell you things. For instance I have what is called the "Loop of humor" see it? Click on the image to enlarge it.The loop of humor is a little loop between your pinkie and ring finger (Or Mercury and Apollo), kind of like a teardrop of lines. It means you have a very good sense of humor and find things others don't very funny. Did I mention the terror I wreaked on April fools day?
There are also whorls, loops, arches and tented arches all over your hands. Check it out

So what what kind of hands do you have?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Horse hair hat bands and some not

I have been making hat bands like crazy. I have two more to finish before I start some more horse hair jewelry commissions. Business is booming. All proceeds go to the "Sydney is going to Ireland and going to probably spend way too much money" fund. Of course I have donated quite the few horse hair pieces in the past.

This one is for fellow blogger Linda of the late equine blog celebrity, Lyle.
Even though I have made hatbands several times before each piece I braid is different. Every time. Different hair means different braids and thicknesses and tightness of the strands and knots. Lyle's hair had several dark, almost black hairs that were black near the roots but light near the ends. It was also pretty brittle I had to re-start a couple of places with new pulls because some of the hairs snapped. Light hair is normally thinner than dark.
I had to count every single hair in this piece before I braid it. I have counted close to 1000 hairs for a hatband, button knots and ring knot included. Hat bands are rewarding to make out of horse hair. I greatly enjoy it but it is time consuming. Especially in the last two weeks. Normally I would have been done this quicker but with school coming to an end for the summer and my dads best friend (who was like an uncle to me) passing away, I found little time for more than the necessities.
The hat band did turn out. I love it. It's going to look lovely on Linda's hat.

I did however find a little time to make myself a hat band of leather, silver and shiny things OH MY!

How I love shiny things.
So much.
As my mom was ordering things from Tandy leather the other week (she makes purses, vest chains, dream catchers and other misc motorcycle leather stuff) I spotted a shiny silver buckle I liked. I pointed out how my black hat's band was plain ugly, white and red braided string on a cheap looking gold plasticy strap. I decided to splurge and make myself a show legal leather hatband with turquoise and white crystal rivets.
See horse hair hatbands with the tassels certainly are eye catching but they are not legal in the show ring for anything more than barrels or poles.
I do have plans to braid a hat band out of horse hair and get another, fancier buckle and make myself one of those for my other hat.

The weather is great today, I think after I go riding I am gonna head down to the dock to catch some fish if I don't come back too late.

PS- Does anyone know whats wrong with blogger? The actual number of comments to a post does not math the number shown.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin