Monday, February 28, 2011

Stable Management

Yup. I'm considering taking some courses to get a certification in Professional Stable Management. I'm excited. It's a total of ten required courses that I would have to take, and two electives. Each class costs $275, minus the cost of the books, which of course I can buy cheap and used off of Amazon.

It's all online and work-at-your-own pace. :)

I did some scouting last night to see how easy it would be to find a place to hire me, and found that so long as I was willing to relocate to another state or city area, I shouldn't really have a problem finding a job. I'm SO excited.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Hoof Prints

Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoofprint of the horse beside it. ~John Moore

I named my blog before I read this quote. Before I knew it existed. And yet, it's so true. Not just in the long road of history, but the smaller paths, as well. Here on my path, there are many hoof prints. Some of them are more prominent than others, some have crossed my path for only a few minutes, some have followed me for years. There are tiny hoof prints in the dirt of my path, new born foals and miniature horses. There are massive dinner-plate hoof prints as well, Belgians and Clydesdales and Friesians and Percherons. And there are normal sized hoof prints, too. That mix-breed I learned to ride on, the Arab mare that gave me my first solo ride, with no one leading me, June, Siaga... So many.

I can only wonder where my path will go, but I know there will always be hoof prints on my path. Sometimes, they may drift away, but sooner or later, the hoof prints will return. A path walked alone is a lonely path, but I do not intend to walk mine alone. For now, Siaga walks my path, and for now, some of the other horses at Triple S walk my path, too. My path is not the only path they walk, and each walk a path of their own. I can only hope that Siaga's path will stay with mine forever.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


When I was younger, there was a time, every year, when my family and I would go camping at this thing called "Old Timer's Days." This is where I met my first "Horse Soul Mate."

I was drawn to this little Haflinger mare named June. She was like the sun to me. I would sit by her pen there and talk to her, or sit on the fence with my back against a tree and read, or pet her or brush her when she stood by me. I was so in love with her. I'd always bring her apples and she would take the little crab-apples from my hand as gently as could be. Though I only ever saw her for a few days, once a year, she knew my voice, knew me as the little one who brought her apples and knew the right places to scratch and never expected her to do anything. She would whinny at me as soon as I jumped out of the jeep, as soon as she heard me holler her name.

June wasn't actually a nice mare. Nor was she exactly pretty. She had a scrubby little mane and a wide blaze down the middle of her face. Her tail was short and scrubby too, and what of it she had, hung in dread locks. She was temperamental. She had a mind of her own. Try to grab her halter, and she would toss her head away and stamp a hoof, swish her tail. She didn't mind giving other, bigger horses, which were Belgians, by the way, a peace of her mind, kicking and biting and squealing. But to me, she was the greatest thing in the world. I don't know how to describe what I mean by "Horse Soul Mate." If there was ever a thing such as love at first sight, that was it. I just wanted to be with her.

The bond I have with Siaga is nothing like the bond I had with June. With June, it was like immediate friendship. With Siaga, it's a partnership. When I first saw Siaga in the stock trailer in the driveway that day, I fell in love with him, yes, but not because he was amazing or brilliant like June, I fell in love with him because he was mine. I hoped that Siaga and I would make that same wonderful bond that June and I had had. It still hasn't happened. It wasn't an instant bond. It was a bond that both of us had to work on, learn to give and take from.

I titled this post "Victory" because of the bond he and I have. We have developed a bond of extreme trust. He trusts me enough to let me in the stall with him when he's laying down, to let me stand by while he rolls in the dirt. He trusts me enough to follow me through scary situations or obstacles without a lead on. I trust him enough to sit on his back. To sit in his stall, to pick up his feet (which he's always had problems with) in the middle of a wide open space without a line on, and I trust him to not try to bite me in the butt when I'm doing that.

The reason this is a victory is because in the first several years of ownership, countless people told me "You can't do it." "You'll never be able to ride him." "You need a professional trainer." "You should sell him." "You need to buy a school horse to learn on." I have to say, I even told myself this. He would go through phases, or rather, we would together go through phases, where trust was minimal and energy high, and I would be scared to death of him. But here we are today, and while his rides have been minimal, he's been ridden, he's never bucked me off (yet,) he's never bolted with me, and all other sorts of victories, big and small. The previous post, about the farrier and the business of taking the obstacles without a lead on, really hammered this home for me. We've done it. We've created a working partnership.

I've had one friend ask me once, if I were to have to (heaven forbid) sell him for whatever reason, would the new owner be able to handle him, would they be able to ride him? I answered that I was sure that an owner with good horse sense, who was calm and nice, and also an experienced rider with good balance, would have no problem with him. And yet, I'm not an experienced rider. I've never had lessons, and this previous year or so, I've ridden two different horses (Siaga and Reggie) a total of 6 times, and before this year, I hadn't ridden a horse in about 5 years. I'm calm and nice, yes, and I have decent horse sense, but I'm still naive and inexperienced all the same. I guess what I'm trying to say is, Siaga and I have created a bond between the two of us. Neither of us are perfect. Out of this partnership that we had to create, came love.

So. In the face of disapproval, disbelief, and little support from some friends, 4H leaders, and many people online who told me off whenever I asked a question relating to training or my horses health, I would like to claim Victory, because I love my horse. He may not be my "Horse Soul Mate" and I doubt that he ever will be, but I love him all the same. Together, we work. It's a partnership of trust and love, dependability and devotion. It's comfortable. I'm content. Though I'd be more content, right now, if I were sitting on his back, instead of on the couch.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Farrier visit

It went so great. When I got there, another woman was already working him in the indoor, so I took over and free lunged him around the arena while the woman watched, and she was rather impressed that he walked, trotted, and cantered and 'whoa'd' on command, and was impressed with how well he came when called and stayed put when I told him "Stay."

Then we worked more on picking up his feet, in the middle of the arena, with no line on at all, and he stood there just fine, picked up all four feet for me like nothing.

After that I put on the lead and walked him through the obstacles in there. The water noodle frame went well. Then we walked over a puffy mattress things and stopped to stand on it. No problem. Over a shiny silver tarp laid on the ground... he shied a bit at first but then walked right over.

And then the bridge. Someone had set it up with cones at each corner and a water noodle sticking up on top. I tried it like this first, and he refused to cross it, so I pulled all of the cones away and led him across twice, just fine. Pulled one back to it's corner, crossed and then crossed back, pulled up another one, crossed and crossed back, pulled up the third one, until I had him crossing easily with all four at the corners.

Next I let him off the line and just walked around and he followed me. He stayed right beside me the whole time. Here we had fun. I would across or through an obstacle and say "Come here, Siaga" and he would follow, smell the obstacle, and cross through whatever he was facing of his own free will, since I had no line on him and was only asking him to come to me. We even got over the bridge with this, though that took a little longer.

Then Jonathon's mom came in (who drove me there) and she had molasses cookies. We gave one to Siaga and he looooved it. He tossed his head and curled the upper lip and kept trying to get in the bag.

Pretty soon, the farrier came in. This was the first time I had met the guy, and I rather liked him. He looked a lot like my brother and he wasn't a very old guy, I'd guess late twenties or so. As soon as he walked in the door, Siaga, who had been tired enough to not want to move, went all "HIGH ALERT" and pranced around and rolled his eyes. He obviously is scared of the farrier, and this is the same reaction he's given to every farrier he's ever met, and I don't blame him, since one of the first farrier experiences he had, the farrier knocked out his two front teeth by being such a flipping brute.

So I explained this to Jake, the farrier, and he asked if I could pick up his feet. I had Barry, the barn butler, hold the line and I picked up his foot like no problem. Jake attempted to take the hoof then so that Siaga would think it was just me holding his foot, but he didn't fall for that.

So then Jake took the line, walked him off, gave him a good scratching and a bit of lunging when Siaga wouldn't stand still, and once he stood still, he picked up the first hoof, and Barry and I took the line and petted him and talked to him and I rubbed the endorphin glands on his face. This was how we got through all four feet.

It was by far the best experience he's had with a farrier, ever. This is how we will be doing it every time from now on, and he'll be getting his feet trimmed a bit every time Jake is out to get him used to it a bit more. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Add on to all of this the fact that it's 60 degrees Fahrenheit out today, in the middle of February, and I'd say it was one of the best days I've ever had. I'm so happy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


There is a possibility that I will get to go see Siaga on Friday, to help with the farrier experience. Poor guy's like a kid with the doctor. He gets so nervous about it, but I don't really know what to do, other than go there myself on Friday, if I can find a ride, give him a good lunge and workout before hand, and get the farrier to do his business in the indoor, Siaga's stall, or the round pen, if it's not too muddy, though it probably will be.

Siaga also has issues with cross ties, and I'm pretty sure that that is what they put him in when they work his feet, so that doesn't help. I think being in a comfortable, familiar place, after a working up a nice sweat, with me rubbing all those endorphin glands on his face, will help. I hope.

Also, I'm going to watch the farrier work a few horses feet if I can, especially as much of Siaga's as I can, so that I have a general idea of what I'm doing, just to keep his hooves relatively up to date and filed down, that way he doesn't have to have them trimmed as much each time, which will make the process quicker and less of a hassle.

What a pain in the butt he is.

But I love him anyways.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

In the fashion...

Of Endurance Granny, who's blog I follow, I'm going to write a post about why I love my Siaga. :D

Where to begin...

I had just turned 14 when I first got my boy. It was Christmas time. I was so excited to have a horse of my own, especially one I could train myself. (I was so naive...)

When it became evident how much work the little rascal was, I wanted to give up. He would periodically terrify me and make me afraid to even lead him, and then all of a sudden be the most polite gentleman ever to be found. We've worked through a lot of those problem areas, and today, I trust him enough to be in the stall with him, to lead him away from his herd, to climb on his back.

It's taken me 6 years to climb up there. He had so many health problems, from being highly susceptible to colic at the slightest thing, and a few other health problems that arose from my being young and stupid and not knowing that hay grown for cows shouldn't be fed to horses because the horse doesn't get all the dietary fiber it needs from cows hay. I learned that lesson well enough. Anyways. Last year I took him for his first rides, in the indoor arena and the roundpen at Triple S.

We're finally there. This year, I intend to work him harder, ride around the property of whatever stable he's in and work on speed control and transitions and then... finally... get him out on the trail.

But that is just our story. That isn't why I love him.

I love Siaga because of every nicker he ever gave me, every time he whinnied at my voice or when he saw me coming up the hill. I love him for every time he waited at the gate for me. I love him for every time I hugged him, for every time he turned his head around and pinned me to his shoulder during those hugs. I love him for every kiss he's let me place on his velvety nose, every time he's let me slip my hands under his mane or behind the elbows of his front legs to let me heat them up. I love him for every time he's licked my palm for the salt of my sweat, every time he's lipped treats out of my hands. I love him for every time I've sat by him on the ground, my head resting on his belly. I love him for every step he takes, for every time he moves off in a walk, trot, or canter as I vocally direct him, for every sliding, immediate stop when I say "woah," and every smooth decrease of speed at the word "easy." I love him for the way his tail curls into dread locks and his mane does not. I love him for how golden he is in color, and how he turns mahogany when he's wet. I love him for every time he's just stood companionably beside me, every time he's let me lean on him and every time where his strength and solidness were the only things holding me up.

I love him for just being him. I miss my Siaga...

Happy Valentines Day, everyone.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spring is coming around the corner

I saw a robin on my way to work yesterday, yes, WORK! I have a job now. :D

And if all goes as planned, my horse could be moved closer to my parents house soon, hopefully, and then I would be able to stay a few weekends here and there at their house, and visit and work with my boy EVERY DAY. Or every day I'm down there, anyways. Then family visits and Siaga visits will be all rolled up into one thing. FUN!


This spring brings a lot of change with it this year. I'm excited. So excited.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LCC- Save a Foal for me

Last Chance Corral is trying to meet a goal of 200 foals rescued this year. I'd rescue one myself, but... well, I don't have the resources to adopt another horse. I would SO love to though.

Maybe someday.